The Masked Hero Archetype is a warrior-based Archetype in the Yu-Gi-Oh! Franchise, having existed in Duel Links since the release of the box Valiant Souls and the structure deck Destiny Rulers in April 2018 and February 2018, respectively. It became meta right away, dominating the tier list for a long time. Eventually, with the semi-limitation of Destiny HERO - Celestial and limitation of Vision HERO Vyon, the deck lost most of its consistency and started to fall from grace. Some control-oriented versions using many backrow cards like Wall of Disruption and Paleozoic Canadia tried to keep it competitive, but eventually it just lost space in the meta. However, recently, the deck has received a lot of support, with the release of Selection BOX Vol 3 and the box Fortress of Gears, bringing the long-awaited Elemental HERO Stratos and vision hero support through Vision HERO Faris and Vision HERO Increase respectively. Besides, both Destiny HERO - Celestial and Vision HERO Vyon were released from the banlist. Those two factors contributed to the deck’s reappearance in the tier list not long after the release of Fortress of Gears.
Hello, my name is Luxun and I have been playing Duel Links since early 2017. Unfortunately, though, I have only joined the competitive community early in 2020. In a few months, I have managed to get 1st place in six tournaments so far, being three of them Duel Links Meta tournaments (two Meta Weekly and one Giveaway), and many top cuts. I started playing Shiranui, but after a while I was caught up by Masked HERO’s charm of ending duels quickly. I have also come up with a different build from the standard one, by adding techs that can turn up bad matchups and removing cards that used to brick me. This deck is very powerful right now, but the best thing is that it still has so much support to be released in the future (such as Elemental HERO Absolute Zero, A Hero Lives, Elemental HERO Shadow Mist, and the extremely oppressive Masked HERO Dark Law) that could really make it a Tier 1 alone or maybe even Tier 0.
The Masked Hero archetype focuses on summoning powerful monsters such as Masked HERO Anki and Masked HERO Blast easily through Mask Change and ending duels very quickly. They also have easy access to Polymerization through Vision HERO Vyon’s second effect. This allows monsters like Vision HERO Trinity and Vision HERO Adoration to be summoned very early in the game, both of which have very strong effects and can generate an OTK even without Mask Change.
Each HERO has a different special ability. The deck mainly uses Vision HERO Vyon, Destiny HERO - Celestial, Elemental HERO Stratos, Vision HERO Faris and Vision HERO Increase effects to have a very aggressive turn two, very frequently OTKing if your opponent does not have protection. These effects range from searching a Polymerization to destroying your opponent’s Spell and Trap cards and drawing two cards as if you played a Pot of Greed.
However, due to the deck’s nature playstyle being OTK oriented, it usually has a weak turn one. It is, however, possible to fill the field with two or three HERO monsters in defense position, depending on your matchup. Unfortunately, coinflip is important for this deck. Going second with the perfect hand can generate OTK through almost any deck, even if your opponent is playing grit.
DISCLAIMER: This guide was made before the announcement of the new Banlist. And it will be updated once new builds are tested.
These are the cards that should be present in every competitive Masked HERO deck.
Elemental HERO Stratos (3x)
Elemental HERO Stratos is this deck’s most important card at the moment. It can add any HERO from your deck to your hand, which is why you will always want him in your opening hand. His search effect usually goes for Vision HERO Faris to start your combos with Vision HERO Increase and Vision HERO Vyon. An important fact is that he can search for another copy of himself, unlike most searchers. This can be useful against heavy backrow decks, especially if you go first, since you can summon your second copy next turn and get rid of your opponent’s Spell and Trap cards. The downside is that this card is currently a Selection BOX exclusive, which makes the deck extremely expensive.
Vision HERO Faris (2-3x)
Faris is the second most important card right now, being one of the elements that gave the strength Masked HEROES needed to reach the tier list once again. By discarding another HERO monster, you can special summon Faris from hand and also bring a Vision Hero from your deck to your S/T zone. Usually, you will bring Vision HERO Increase, which will ultimately lead to a fusion monster on your side of the field by the end of your Main Phase. This removes the requirement of opening Vision HERO Vyon or a Polymerization to go into your powerful fusion monsters, especially Vision HERO Trinity. Keep in mind that Faris only brings from the deck, so if you open two Vision HERO Increase, he cannot summon any of them.
Vision HERO Vyon (2x)
Vyon has been a great card since its release, which was why he was limited in the past. He has two amazing effects: he can send any HERO from your deck to your hand upon his summon and he can search a Polymerization by banishing a HERO from your Graveyard. It is thanks to Vyon that this deck can fuse into Vision HERO Adoration or Vision HERO Trinity very early in the game. Vyon thins your deck so much, which usually lets you draw your side cards e.g. System Down early.
Destiny HERO - Celestial (1x)
Celestial’s first effect allows you to destroy a face-up Continuous Spell Card and deal 500 damage to your opponent’s LP. This can be very useful in some matchups. Usually, though, you will prefer to have him in your Graveyard early on so that you can use his second effect on your next turn. If you have no cards in your hand and have another Destiny HERO in your Graveyard, except during the turn Celestial was sent to the Graveyard, you can banish himself and your other Destiny HERO to draw two cards from your deck. This is extremely relevant in a deck that focuses on OTK, since you have one more chance to draw a Mask Change from this effect.
Vision HERO Increase(2x)
Increase allows you to tribute a HERO from your side of the field to special summon itself and then also bring another Vision HERO from your deck. You will usually bring Vision HERO Vyon from your deck to go for a fusion monster. Keep in mind that you can tribute a face-down HERO that has been hit by a Floodgate Trap Hole. Also, this effect is great to dodge potential problematic cards like Fiendish Chain, Forbidden Chalice and Void Trap Hole. You simply need to chain Increase to your opponent’s card and he will allow, for instance, your Elemental HERO Stratos’s effect of popping your opponent’s Spell and Trap Cards to go through. You can also use this effect during your opponent’s Main Phase, if you feel like you need more monsters to protect your LP or if you want to thin your deck even further to increase your chances of drawing the card you need to win next turn.
Destiny HERO - Malicious (0-2x)
Malicious has an amazing effect: if you banish him from your Graveyard, you can special summon another copy of him from your deck. This combos well with Vision HERO Vyon’s first effect. However, due to the fact that he is a level 6 monster and that Vision HERO Faris is also a monster that requires a tribute to be normal summoned, he can clog your hand if you open him as the only monster. For that reason, some recent builds have chosen to use another Destiny HERO in his place to go with Destiny HERO - Celestial’s second effect.
Destiny HERO - Plasma (0-1x)
Plasma can be a key card in some matchups. Although he requires three tributes to be Special Summoned, something that can be easily achieved in a standard build of this deck, his effect is worth it: he negates all effect monsters on your opponent’s side of the field. Keep in mind that this does not stop effects from the Graveyard or from the hand. Aside from that, he can also equip one of your opponent’s monsters and gain half of its attack. If you equip a face-down monster, it won’t gain any attack. However, similar to Destiny HERO - Malicious, some recent builds are no longer running him in order to reduce the chance of bricking. Those builds play Forbidden Chalice in his place to still have a way to negate your opponent’s key monsters from using their effects.
Destiny HERO - Decider (0-1x)
As the trend of removing high-level HERO monsters such as Plasma and Malicious from your main deck starts, Decider has found his way back to some Masked HERO decklists. He is used mostly to allow you to have access to Destiny HERO - Celestial’s second effect, but he is a good card on his own. He can recover a HERO from your Graveyard to your hand during the End Phase he is summoned (usually Elemental HERO Stratos). He can also protect you once from taking Effect Damage. This is great against cards like Lava Golem. Finally, Decider cannot be targeted for attacks from monsters that are level 6 or higher. This can be extremely useful in some matchups.
Mask Change (3x)
This is the deck’s core card. It allows you to go into Masked HERO Anki and Masked HERO Blast easily. You simply need a HERO with the same attribute as the Masked HERO you want to summon. This card can be searched once per turn through Masked HERO Anki, which is one of the main reasons this deck can OTK consistently. With the recent surge of Void Trap Hole and Floodgate Trap Hole, this card gives the deck an advantage that decks that rely on Synchro Summon or on fusing only through Polymerization cannot afford to have: it can be activated as chain two or higher, allowing your Masked HERO to dodge those threats.
Form Change (0-1x)
This is a very similar card to Mask Change, but it requires you to already have a fusion on your side of the field. It also requires you to play one Masked HERO Dian, which forces you to play only two copies of this deck’s most important beater Masked HERO Anki. For those reasons, it is not played as often.
This card is very important in a deck whose extra deck is fully composed of fusion monsters. Here, Polymerization has the benefit that you can search it through Vision HERO Vyon, which allows you to consistently summon a fusion monster early on. Thanks to that, playing one is usually enough, but since you have no way of recovering it after it is in the Graveyard, you could play two to get most of Vyon’s effect, although it can brick you.
Masked HERO Anki (2-3x)
The deck’s best warrior. Anki is the main reason this deck could OTK so much back in 2018: he can attack directly and inflict 1400 damage every turn to your opponent. Aside from that, he can also search for any Change Spell Card from your deck after successfully destroying a monster in battle. This means that you can end the duel if your opponent only has one monster with 1600 or less attack. Also, Anki’s effect allows the deck to OTK even through a full field if your opponent is low on LP. Ideally, you should play three copies of him, since three direct attacks from Anki are enough to end the duel.
Masked HERO Blast (1x)
Blast is the deck’s second Masked HERO. Differently from Masked HERO Anki, Blast is used mostly to deal with potential threats because he can return one Spell or Trap card your opponent controls to the hand at the cost of 500LP. This is extremely good against Continuous Spell and Trap cards, which lose their effects if returned to hand as soon as they are activated. Blast can also cut one of your opponent’s monster ATK in half upon being summoned. This is a great out for monsters that have 2800 or more ATK points, which could destroy Anki in battle.
Masked HERO Dian (0-1x)
Dian is your third and final Masked HERO monster. With over 3000 DEF, this can serve as a wall. He can special summon a HERO monster from your deck after successfully destroying a monster in battle. Usually, you will go for Elemental HERO Stratos so that you can thin your deck by searching another HERO or deal with your opponent’s Spell and Trap Cards. However, due to it being EARTH, you would need to play a monster of that attribute in your deck or run Form Change. In the end, it generally is not worth playing this monster if your focus is OTKing, since Masked HERO Anki does a better job due to his ability of attacking directly.
Vision HERO Adoration (1x)
Summoned through fusing any two HERO monsters with Polymerization, Adoration has an effect that helps you to OTK without needing Mask Change. He can reduce an opponent’s face-up monster ATK and DEF by the value of one of your other HERO monsters. This is very useful if you already have an Anki or Blast on the field, which will leave most monsters with 0 ATK.
Vision HERO Trinity(1x)
The deck’s ultimate Hero. Trinity requires three HERO monsters to be fused, but do not worry: it is completely worth the cost. During the turn you fusion summon Trinity, his ATK goes to 5000. That and the fact that he can attack three times per turn makes him your most trustworthy OTK friend, especially if your opponent plays a deck that fills the field with many monsters. Keep in mind that Trinity cannot attack directly, but that hardly ever is a problem. If he hits a field while your opponent has no protection, it is most likely the duel is over.
Some of the most played and also most viable Tech Cards for this deck. Main Deck:
Hey, Trunade! is the most played tech in Masked HERO decks. This card is devastating if your opponent does not have any handtraps to deal with the many attacks they will suffer this turn. It ensures OTK through a field otherwise filled with dangerous trap cards. Now that Elemental HERO Stratos is obtainable, however, you do not necessarily need this card to deal with your opponent Spell and Traps. However, it is extremely recommended to play or at least side one copy of this card. Depending only on Stratos’ effect to deal with backrow sometimes simply is not enough.
Treacherous Trap Hole
Treacherous Trap Hole has a good synergy with the deck since Masked HERO decks usually do not run any Trap Cards. That also comes from the fact that the deck does not have any natural way of destroying monsters if not by battle. However, this is not a problem for the deck since Masked HERO Anki just ignores your opponent’s monsters and goes straight to their LP.
Forbidden Chalice has always been played in most Masked HERO decks since 2018. It has such synergy with the deck’s most frequent beater Masked HERO Anki. If you activate it during the damage step, Anki’s effect will be negated but the attack can no longer be stopped, so you will deal 3200 damage. That is enough to OTK a player that has already used Cosmic Cyclone or that has already been hit by Anki once. Aside from that, Chalice can be used to disrupt your opponent’s plays, especially as a replacement for Destiny HERO - Plasma. I would recommend playing 2 copies of Forbidden Chalice so that it has a bigger chance of being in your opening hand.
The meta’s favorite card can find a home in Masked HERO decks as well. This card is very good to deal with opponent’s Spell and Trap Cards while also triggering some skills like No Mortal Can Resist and Master of Fusion. Definitely worth siding at least one. It has an advantage over Hey, Trunade! in the way that it can deal with Continuous Spell and Trap cards. Overall, one or two copies are more than enough. Otherwise, you might open all copies of it and brick.
The game’s very first staple can be used in Masked HERO decks to ensure OTKs. This has multiple uses here: you can turn a weak monster into ATK position and OTK with monsters like Vision HERO Trinity or you can steal an opponent’s monster that would otherwise be hard to deal with e.g. Shiranui Sunsaga. This card can also stop your opponent from Synchro Summoning by stealing their tuner e.g. Shiranui Spectralsword, from fusion summoning by stealing their fusion materials e.g. Aleister the Invoker and so on. I would strongly recommend playing one and siding another copy for matchups in which Hey, Trunade! simply is not relevant, such as Thunder Dragons, mirror matches and Blackwings.
Lancea is a very relevant side card at the moment. Stopping your opponent from banishing cards can literally force them to simply pass their turn. This is especially useful against Thunder Dragons, by stopping them from using Gold Sarcophagus, and Invoked, by stopping them from getting an early Invoked Caliga. It also slows down a mirror game by stopping Vision HERO Vyon’s search effect and Destiny HERO - Celestial’s Pot of Greed effect. Siding one or two copies of Lancea is more than enough. Sometimes you probably will not want to side it, simply because you will probably have to take a HERO out for it and that might brick you.
Considering that this deck has a weak turn one and that one might rather not play Grit, Sphere can play a big part in ensuring you survive against another OTK deck if you lose the coinflip. However, should you already main Grit, you could use your side deck spaces for other cards that can win you specifically bad matchups.
This skill lets you survive once with 1LP if your LP is 4000 or more during the start of the turn. This skill is very good for decks whose main focus is to OTK early, like our Masked HERO deck. With it, depending on what you are facing, you can simply pass if you start the duel and go for it during your next turn, especially if you have Hey, Trunade! in your hand.
See You Later!
This skill allows you to return a monster whose control is originally yours to your hand. This means that you can summon Elemental HERO Stratos, search for another HERO, most likely Vision HERO Faris, make your plays and then return Elemental HERO Stratos back to your hand, so you can use its second effect and destroy your opponent’s protection next turn.
No Mortal Can Resist
While this skill has no specific synergy with the deck, it is the most popular skill in the meta right now. It hurts a lot of meta decks by simply deleting your opponent’s Graveyard. However, to use it, it is best to add tech cards like Cosmic Cyclone that can help you meet its requirement early on. This is extremely useful when facing Shiranui.
Master of Fusion
This skill allows you to return one card in your hand to your deck and add a Polymerization from outside of your deck to your hand. It can be extremely useful if you open all of your Vision HERO Increase in your starting hand, as that stops Vision HERO Faris from searching it. It can also be very useful if you only have a single copy of Increase. Similar to No Mortal Can Resist, this skill is better if played with at least one or two copies of Cosmic Cyclone to ensure you can trigger it early on.
If you are lucky enough to go second, you should almost always go for game, unless you brick. If you have Elemental HERO Stratos, Vision HERO Faris and another HERO monster, you should go for Faris first. He will put Vision HERO Increase in your S/T zone. Next, tribute Faris to special summon Increase from your S/T, which will also bring Vision HERO Vyon from your deck. Mill Destiny HERO - Celestial and banish Faris to search for your Polymerization. Then, use Stratos to pop your opponent’s Spell and Trap Cards. If you also started with a Mask Change, you can chain it to Stratos’ effect so that you get an extra pop, since by the time it resolves you will have Masked HERO Blast in Stratos’ place. That is usually enough to deal with your opponent’s protection.
As previously mentioned, this deck suffers if going first. If you are playing Grit and are sure your opponent is not playing an OTK deck, you can simply pass if you start, especially if you have Hey, Trunade! in your opening hand. However, if you feel like that is not the way or if you chose to use another skill, here are some plays you can make turn one:
- If you open Elemental HERO Stratos, you can normal summon him and search for Vision HERO Faris and start your combos with Vision HERO Increase and Vision HERO Vyon. By the end of that turn, you will have considerably thinned your deck, which increases your chance of drawing a Mask Change, an Enemy Controller, or a Forbidden Chalice next turn.
- If you open both Elemental HERO Stratos and Vision HERO Faris, you can normal summon Stratos and search for Destiny HERO - Celestial. By discarding Celestial, you special summon Faris, which will bring Vision HERO Increase along with Vision HERO Vyon. Vyon will mill another Destiny HERO, which will give you all you need to get Celestial’s Pot of Greed effect during your next turn.
- If you open Vision HERO Faris and another HERO that’s not Elemental HERO Stratos, you should go for Faris play as it will grant you that Destiny HERO - Celestial is in the graveyard through Vision HERO Vyon so that if you topdeck Elemental HERO Stratos or a second copy of Vyon, you can use Celestial’s second effect easily.
- If you open Vision HERO Vyon and a Mask Change, you should use Vyon’s first effect to mill Destiny HERO - Celestial and set your Mask. This is useful in most matchups, except if you are playing against an Invoked deck.
- If you open Elemental HERO Stratos and a Mask Change, you should get both on the field. Masked HERO Blast can disrupt decks that rely on trap cards. His first effect can also allow him to stop a monster with less than 4400atk from destroying it in battle.
- If you open a hand that does not contain Vision HERO Faris, Vision HERO Increase and Elemental HERO Stratos, you should play accordingly to what you believe you are facing. For instance, if you open Vision HERO Increase, Mask Change, Forbidden Chalice and Destiny HERO - Decider, and you believe you are facing Thunder Dragons, you should summon Decider and set your two quick-play spell cards. Hands that do not contain any starters are hard to deal with in any decks, but you should still be able to do some plays with what you have if you are not fully bricked. Bear in mind that the builds that have topped tournaments lately are very consistent and not likely to brick, even though any deck can brick.
What to Fuse into with Polymerization
Another relevant matter when playing this deck is choosing if you will go for Vision HERO Adoration or Vision HERO Trinity with your Polymerization. Initially, if you see a field filled with monsters in ATK position, you will probably want to go for Trinity. You should bear in mind that as this deck climbs the Tier List, your opponents will start siding cards specifically for this matchup. Our worst enemy here is Sphere Kuriboh. If it hits Trinity, your plan to OTK is pretty much over unless you are lucky enough to have two copies of Mask Change. With that, I suggest you go for Adoration if your opponent only has one monster whose ATK can become 0 after being hit by Adoration’s effect. That way, you can OTK with Adoration and Stratos, without needing to use Mask Change. If they have a Sphere, they will have to use it to stop one of your two initial attacks, leaving Masked HERO Anki free to end the duel.
Avoiding Trap Holes and Dealing with Fiendish Chain
Lately, Void Trap Hole has become a staple card. This is an extremely powerful card right now, alongside Floodgate Trap Hole. However, they have a weakness we should exploit: cards that are worded “When” can only be activated if their requirement happens as Chain 1. This means that they can only stop a monster if the summoning of that monster is the last thing to happen. There is no way to dodge this if you are playing a Synchro deck or a fusion deck that can only fuse through Polymerization. Here, in a Masked HERO deck, though, we can dodge those threats simply by activating Mask Change as a Chain 2 or higher. This can be done easily since most of our monsters have effects that they can activate upon being summoned, like Vision HERO Faris, Vision HERO Increase and Vision HERO Vyon. Simply chain Mask Change to their effects and you will be safe from those trap cards. It is relatively easy to read a Void delay: it will only happen when you summon a 2000+ ATK monster. So, if you have already summoned many monsters and your opponent’s only set does not give any delay, it can potentially be a void, so watch out for that.
Just like Elemental HERO Stratos, Fiendish Chain came in the latest Main Selection BOX and has thus far become a staple in most decks. It will usually be activated in response to Elemental HERO Stratos’ effect of destroying your opponent’s Spell and Trap Cards. This can be dodged in two ways: 1) you can chain Vision HERO Increase, which will remove Stratos from the field and thus make Fiendish Chain useless; 2) you can chain Mask Change, which will bring Masked HERO Blast. With that, Stratos will get an extra pop and you will also have the chance of using both of Blast’s effects, potentially dealing with all three Spell and Trap cards your opponent has.
See you Later, Decider!
There is a very interesting combo that is better if you are running See you Later!, which requires you to open Destiny HERO - Decider and Vision HERO Faris. It works like this: Normal Summon Decider, activate its effect, return him to hand using Mokuba’s skill, Special Summon Faris by discarding Decider, bring Vision HERO Increase, tribute Faris to special summon Increase, which will bring Vision HERO Vyon from your deck. Here is the interesting move: instead of sending Destiny HERO - Celestial through Vyon’s first effect like we would usually do, we will be sending Elemental HERO Stratos. With this, during your End Phase, you will be able to retrieve the Stratos you just sent thanks to Decider. This combo is best used against heavy backrow decks, in which Stratos’ second effect becomes extremely relevant. Notice that this combo can also be achieved if you are not using See you Later!, but it becomes a bit harder to pull off since you would need Decider + Faris + another HERO in hand.
Yoshifumi - 2nd place MCS #30
Cryston is a deck composed of Machine type monsters, whose main characteristic is that they can Synchro Summon during their opponent’s turn. Their boss monster Crystron Quariongandrax can be a huge problem here, having 3000 ATK and DEF. This matchup is favored for Crystons due to their ability of using their tuners monsters’ effect during your battle phase. They can easily bring Crystron Ametrix during your turn, especially through Crystron Citree. This can easily stop your Vision HERO Trinity from bringing the duel to its end. Even though you can use Mask Change after Ametryx has put your Special Summoned monsters in defense position, it will still not be possible to OTK, unless you have three masks in hand, which is extremely rare. Your best friends in this matchup are Destiny HERO - Plasma, Forbidden Chalice, and Enemy Controller.
Some general tips:
- You do not need Grit for this match. It is better to play See You Later!, No Mortal Can Resist or even Sealed Tombs. See You Later allows you to recycle stratos so that you can destroy their tech cards next turn, especially if you go first. No Mortal Can Resist and Sealed Tombs can force Citree to activate its effect earlier than your opponent would like to, allowing you to OTK easily. Sealed Tombs completely shut the deck down if not for Crystron Rion.
- You need either Forbidden Chalice or Destiny HERO - Plasma to stop your opponent from Synchro Summoning during your turn. If you can successfully stop this, you are more than likely to win the duel.
- Even if you do have Chalice, be aware that Crystron players use Forbidden Lance, which stops Chalice. If possible, try to use Elemental HERO Stratos’s second effect before using Chalice.
- If you let the match go on too long, it becomes harder with every passing turn. This is because of Crystron Impact, which can negate both Forbidden Chalice and Destiny HERO - Plasma’s effect of stealing your opponent monster. While you can search Plasma through Elemental HERO Stratos and he is not hard to summon in standard builds, he can brick you in other matchups.
- Enemy Controller can also help you here, by stealing their tuner after they have activated its effect. This will stop monsters like Crystron Ametryx from reaching the field, even though the monster that Crystron Citree or Crystron Rion targeted will still be Special Summoned.
- A great card to side here is Crystron’s worst enemy: System Down, which can completely kill the deck if they do not have a card like Artifact Lancea to stop it. Some other cards can be interesting like Foolish Return and The Transmigration Prophecy, which you can use to stop Crystron Citree’s effect, by returning the targeted monster to the deck. Fiendish Chain is also great, mainly because it cannot be negated by Crystron Impact.
Dark Magician decks focus on having Dark Magical Circle and Magician Navigation so that they can banish a card you control during your turn. They have a very consistent turn 1 if they do not brick, mainly thanks to Magician’s Rod. However, as Masked HERO decks run Hey, Trunade! and thanks to Elemental HERO Stratos’ second effect of destroying your opponent’s Spell and Trap cards without targeting, this matchup is highly favored for our Masked HERO Decks.
Some general tips:
- You do not need Grit here, nor do you need No Mortal Can Resist. Your best skill for this match is See You Later!, since it allows you to recycle Elemental HERO Stratos during your next turn. If you can fill the field before normal summoning Stratos, you can normal summon him and destroy two of your opponent’s Spell and Traps, which will force them to use Navigation before they would like to. Since Stratos does not target, you will destroy their Circle and whatever other set they have and they will not be able to banish one of your cards.
- Your best bet here is on Masked HERO Blast. He can halve a Dark Magician’s ATK and, more importantly, return one of your opponent’s Spell and Trap cards to their hand once per turn. If you can, return Dark Magical Circle upon activation because that way your opponent will not be able to search any cards with it and they will have to wait another turn to activate it once again.
- The problem here is Kycoo the Ghost Destroyer. While he is on the field, we cannot use Vision HERO Vyon’s second effect to search for a Polymerization nor can we use Destiny HERO - Celestial’s second effect of drawing two cards. But if we have a single Mask Change in hand, this matchup is pretty much over.
- Lately, Dark Magician players have started using Dark Magic Expanded, which can increase Dark Magician ATK to 3500. Be careful with that if you feel they have it or if you saw them searching it with Magician’s Rod or through Dark Magical Circle.
- If you cannot end the duel fast enough, be careful with their favorite skill: No Mortal Can Resist. They can easily trigger it with a single Cosmic Cyclone, Herald of the Abyss or with a Dark Magic Curtain. This can turn your friends Vision HERO Increase and Destiny HERO - Celestial into Skull Servants. However, I tell you: do not be afraid of that skill if you can drop your opponent’s LP below 1000. That way you stop their copies of Cosmic Cylone, which are a key for them dealing with Vision HERO Increase and other backrow you might have like Forbidden Chalice or Enemy Controller.
- Be aware that Magician Navigation can negate Vision HERO Increase if he is currently trying to get out of the S/T Zone, which means you will tribute a monster for nothing.
- The best card you can side for this is a second Hey, Trunade! and/or more copies of Cosmic Cyclone. You can also use other cards that deal with their Spell and Trap Cards like Typhoon, Night Beam, and Unending Nightmare. Just be careful not to side too many cards and end up bricking, especially considering that Dark Magician is a very consistent deck.
Elementsaber-Invoked is a deck that focuses on stalling with Elementsaber Molehu and trap cards such as Fiendish Chain, Floodgate Trap Hole, and Void Trap Hole while waiting for Aleister the Invoker so that they can OTK you with Invoked Purgatrio. Against a Masked HERO deck, though, they will usually play a bit differently. Their main goal is to bring Invoked Caliga as early as possible because he slows us down by allowing only one monster effect per turn. They can even banish our Destiny HERO - Celestial to bring Caliga out, which is even more troublesome. As it stands, this match is favored for Elementsaber-Invoked.
Some general tips:
- Elementsaber Molehu can be very hard to deal, but it is better to see him than Invoked Caliga during their first turn. If you can fuse and also have a Mask Change, you can easily deal with him since your opponent will need to use Molehu on your fusion.
- Elemental HERO Stratos is your best friend here. You need his effect to destroy your opponent’s dangerous trap cards and their field spell Palace of the Elemental Lords. If they cannot stop this, the duel can end very quickly.
- Although Invoked Caliga is very problematic, Masked HERO Anki can still deal 1400 direct damage once per turn. It is very important to activate Mask Change as a Chain 2 or higher if you suppose your opponent has Floodgate Trap Hole or Void Trap Hole.
- Differently from the Cryston matchup, against Elementsaber-Invoked, Forbidden Chalice is favored over Destiny HERO - Plasma. This happens because Plasma can easily be hit by Floodgate Trap Hole or Fiendish Chain. Chalice, on the other hand, against Invoked Caliga allows you to play normally as if he were not on the field. Chalice also helps Masked HERO Anki OTK your opponent thanks to the boost it gives to him, causing 3200 damage.
- Hey, Trunade! Is your favorite semi-limited card in this match, if you can wipe out your opponent’s Spell and Trap Cards, this is probably over, even through an Elementsaber Molehu and Palace of the Elemental Lords if you have a Mask Change to use after baiting out his effect. Treacherous Trap Hole also plays a nice role if you open it, as a way of removing either Molehu or Invoked Caliga.
- The best card you can side here is Artifact Lancea. It will stop your opponent from fusion summing through Invocation and therefore keep you safe from Invoked Caliga if you open with it. Non-Fusion Area is also great against Invoked, but it hits you too, by stopping your own Polymerization. Bear in mind, however, that NFA does not stop Mask Change since it does not Fusion Summon. Even so, it might be best to stick with Lancea. Offerings to the doomed could also be helpful, especially against Caliga.
Shiranui is a Zombie-type deck that focuses on using Shiranui Squire to Special Summon Shiranui Spectralsword and using its effect on the Graveyard next turn to fill their field with powerful Synchro monsters like Shiranui Shogunsaga and Shiranui Sunsaga. They also use a lot of backrow like Fiendish Chain and Ballista Squad. The match depends heavily on coinflip and if the Masked HERO player opened Hey, Trunade! or not. Overall, with Trunade in hand, Heroes have the best shot in the matchup. Another possibility is to use the skill No Mortal Can Resist, which is Shiranui’s worst enemy at the moment.
Some general tips:
- The best skill here is No Mortal Can Resist, since it completely kills the deck. If you can turn both copies of your opponent’s Shiranui Spectralsword into Skull Servants, it is over. For that to be effective, you should run or at least side two copies of Cosmic Cyclone.
- Be aware of your opponent’s set cards. This is the deck that uses most Trap cards in the meta. If you do not open Hey, Trunade!, it is better to force their backrow through Elemental HERO Stratos’s second effect. Even so, you probably will not be able to OTK turn 2, unless you have 2 copies of Mask Change.
- Shiranui players often side Sphere Kuriboh, which is our worst enemy here. It can easily stop an OTK. Next, they will go into a powerful monster like Shiranui Shogunsaga and OTK you if you are not running Grit.
- It is hard to judge what semi-limited card is best here. For one side, Enemy Controller can steal your opponent’s Shiranui Sunsaga, which is a monster that is hard to deal with. For the other, Hey, Trunade! ensures you OTK them if they do not have a hand trap. I would say that it also depends on your opponent’s skill choice. If they are going with No Mortal Can Resist, Trunade is better because they will not be able to go into their big bosses early on. If they are going with Level Augmentation or Level Duplication, Enemy Controller might be the best choice.
- Although not useful in this matchup as in others that we have already discussed, Forbidden Chalice can be useful if you draw it during your first turns. It can negate their precious Shiranui Squire and even Shiranui Solitaire. If they tribute it, its effect will not go through. This is one of the few situations in which Chalice is better than Fiendish Chain, since they can tribute Solitaire and bring Shiranui Spectralsword even if he is hit by it. Chalice can also stop Shiranui Sunsaga from protecting himself from Vision HERO Trinity and Shiranui Shogunsaga from going to over 5500 ATK.
- The best cards to side here are cards that disrupt your opponent’s Graveyard. Examples of this are: The Transmigration Prophecy and Foolish Return. Both will interrupt Shiranui Spectralsword on the spot. This is extremely important because most recent builds of Shiranui seem to focus more on making Synchro from the Graveyard than from the field. Another devastating card against Shiranui is the recent Karma Cut. If you can hit a Shiranui Spectralsword with it while they already have one in Graveyard, it is pretty much over unless they are running one Gold Sarcophagus, which most builds seem to have stopped playing.
Cyber Dragon is a Machine-type deck whose main focus is to OTK early thanks to their boss monster Chimeratech Rampage Dragon, which can declare an attack three times per turn. They also have access to a very powerful trap named Cybernetic Overflow, which can destroy without targeting. This trap card plays a major role when Cyber faces a Masked HERO deck. If you cannot deal with it through Hey, Trunade!, the match becomes complicated, especially since Cyber Dragon decks can OTK even through Grit. Thus, the match is favored for Cyber Dragon. I would say that this is HERO’s worst matchup, mostly because against other OTK decks it is a simple matter of who wins the coinflip, while here it depends entirely on your opening hand to decide if it is better to start or to go second.
Some general tips:
- Hey, Trunade! is your best friend here. With it, you can return your opponent’s dangerous Cybernetic Overflow to their hand and easily OTK through their monsters. Not opening Trunade is really bad in this matchup.
- If you go first, build a field so that you can have plays turn 3. If you are on Grit, you should live just fine if you have Vision HERO Vyon and Vision HERO Increase in defense mode. This is not a game you can just pass if you go first, even if you are currently playing Grit, since Chimeratech Rampage Dragon can OTK through Grit. Do not forget that Cyber Dragon decks have many ways of putting it on the field turn 2.
- Setting cards if you open first is not a good idea because of the three copies of Cosmic Cyclone your opponent is playing. This will not only get your cards banished, but also give them access to their Cyber Style.
- If you go second without Hey, Trunade!, you should try to play in a way that you still have one monster on your field after they use Cybernetic Overflow. As in most matches, Elemental HERO Stratos is very important here. Forcing your opponent to use Overflow before Battle Phase is important because otherwise they can allow you to destroy their monsters (which will let them use Cyber Style next turn) and easily OTK you next turn.
- Opening in a way that you can special summon Masked HERO Blast during your opponent’s turn is also a good possibility, since you might just be lucky to return their overflow to their hand during their End Phase. Blast also has enough attack to defeat Chimeratech Rampage Dragon, which can force them to go for Cyber Twin Dragon, and that may be better for you since your opponent will not be able to fill his Graveyard with Cyber Dragons through Rampage’s effect.
- Forbidden Chalice is helpful here if you can chain it to Cybernetic Overflow activation. In this situation, you can force your opponent to keep their Cyber Dragon Core on the field, as it will not be treated as a Cyber Dragon due to Chalice’s effect. Vision HERO Trinity has lethal over a 800ATK Core.
- The best cards to side here are your 2nd copy of Hey, Trunade!, Cosmic Cyclone, and System Down. While it is true that System Down is not as useful here as it is against Cryston, it still has a lot of value as it shuts down their Cybernetic Overflow, which is the biggest threat to a Masked HERO deck.
Blackwing is a deck that focuses on searching many monsters in one turn thanks to Black Whirlwind, especially through Blackwing - Simoon the Poison Wind. Like a Masked HERO deck, Blackwings are better off going 2nd. Unfortunately, this means that the most important thing in this matchup is the coinflip. It does not mean that if you go 1st it’s over, even though usually it might be, considering that bricks and other things happen. I’ll guide as to how you should play if you go 1st. Bear in mind that if you win the coinflip, it is most likely you will OTK them turn 2 if you open a good hand. This matchup is favored for who plays 2nd.
Some general tips:
- Grit is the best skill here, without a single doubt. No Mortal Can Resist does not hurt Blackwings much and See you Later! Is also not recommended for this particular matchup.
- Differently from every other matchup that has been previously discussed, here, you will want to keep Vision HERO Increase in the S/T zone until the time is right. Even though Blackwings play one or two copies of Cosmic Cyclone, you need Increase to survive their OTK. If they open their combo + a Cosmic, you would lose anyway. Be aware that they can OTK even through Grit. The strategy is this: you will only use Increase’s effect as a chain to Assault Blackwing - Raikiri the Rain Shower’s effect of destroying your cards. Doing that, you will have two monsters to defend you against their OTK, which will most likely allow you to live another turn if you are on Grit.
- If you go second, be aware of their counter trap Blackbird Close, which can be activated from their hand if they have a Blackwing Synchro monster. This can lead you to lose if you do not have a way of putting two monsters on the field (one via Normal Summon and another via Special Summon). If you feel like they have it, it is better to play safe. Only use a monster effect if you can recover from a Close.
- Going first or second, Forbidden Chalice plays a big role here. If you go first, you can use it on Assault Blackwing - Raikiri the Rain Shower to stop him from destroying your cards. If you go second and have a Mask Change and a DARK-attribute hero, you can go into Masked HERO Anki and OTK them if they have used Blackwing - Simoon the Poison Wind during their turn, which costs 1000LP.
- Vision HERO Trinity is great in this matchup as Blackwings flood the field with a lot of monsters. Remember that Trinity does not activate an effect when he goes to 5000ATK, so he is immune to Blackbird Close.
- An interesting card to be run specifically for this matchup is Vision HERO Minimum Ray. While he slows you down by forcing you to use Vision HERO Faris’ effect to add him instead of Vision HERO Increase to your S/T Zone, he can disrupt your opponent by destroying one of their level 4 or lower monsters.
- The semi-limited cards you should use are Enemy Controller and/or Treacherous Trap Hole. Both can disrupt your opponent and stop their OTK if played at the correct time. If you decide to go for Treacherous, remember that their Blackwing - Kris the Crack of Dawn will not be destroyed by it, which will allow them to play normally if they have a tuner to spare.
- The best cards to side here are Sphere Kuriboh, Kiteroid, Paleozoic Canadia, Floodgate Trap Hole and Void Trap Hole. Floodgate is more relevant than void because they can revive the Synchro you destroyed with Blackwing Tamer - Obsidian Hawk Joe. Canadia and Flood stop them from Synchro Summoning, which is the best out to them. Sphere and Kiteroid save you from OTK, but you will need to OTK them next turn. Artifact Lancea might seem a good card to side, but it is not useful if you do not open with it very early in the game.
Thunder Dragon is a deck focused on banishing through Gold Sarcophagus and going for very powerful Synchros like Brionac, Dragon of the Ice Barrier and Black Rose Dragon. As such, it is classified as an OTK deck just like a Masked HERO. Similar to the Blackwing matchup, coinflip here is very important, but a bit less than against BW. It is easier to disrupt a Thunder Dragon than it is to disrupt Blackwing. A simple Enemy Controller on their tuner should keep you alive for the next turn. Based on all I have seen so far, I would say that the matchup is favored for the Masked HERO player, even though it can become troublesome if the Thunder Dragon player opens with a Sphere Kuriboh.
Some general tips:
- Grit is the skill you want to have here. Thunder Dragons can easily OTK if they go second with Gold Sarcophagus and Charge of the Light Brigade.
- If you go first, you should not simply pass, even if you are on Grit. Do the plays you can and end your turn. There is no need to save Vision HERO Increase in your S/T in this matchup as they can easily go for Black Rose Dragon. Do not forget that the new rule will stop Increase’s effect of bringing another Vision HERO from the deck if he gets destroyed upon summoning (like in the situation you try to chain it to Black Rose’s effect to nuke the field).
- Elemental HERO Stratos will be focused on searching for another HERO here, as Thunder Dragons do not play backrow, except for Enemy Controller. Try getting Destiny HERO - Celestial and another Destiny HERO in your Graveyard as soon as possible to set it for your turn 3 or 4.
- Enemy Controller is the semi-limited card you want here. Their tuners usually have an effect that allows them to come back from the Graveyard (like Glow-Up Bulb, Jet Synchron and Plaguespreader Zombie), which makes Treacherous Trap Hole less optimal for this particular matchup.
- Once again, Forbidden Chalice plays a nice role. It can stop any of their powerful Synchros’ effects or even Chaos Dragon Levianeer. Be mindful, though, that if you use it on Levianeer, it will be able to attack this turn, so think it thoroughly.
- Be aware of how many Light and Dark monsters there are in your opponent’s Graveyard. This is because of Chaos Dragon Levianeer, which can be a big problem here. Its effect can destroy two of your cards without targeting. Then, if he has Glow-Up Bulb in his Graveyard, he can make Vermillion Dragon Mech and OTK even through Grit if he can get Thunder Dragonduo and another Thunder Dragon on the field through Thunder Dragonhawk’s effect. If you feel like using Enemy Controller on Raiden, Hand of the Lightsworn to prevent its effect of sending two cards from the deck to the graveyard, do it.
- The best cards you can side here are a second copy of Enemy Controller, Sphere Kuriboh, and Artifact Lancea. Lancea hurts this deck so much by stopping your opponent from banishing cards. It will most likely force them to pass their turn with a Raiden, Hand of the Lightsworn alone on their field. Sphere can protect you from OTKs and then you can OTK using Vision HERO Trinity during your next turn. Be aware that they will also have sided one or even more copies of Sphere trying to counter you.
Masked HERO (Mirror Match)
This is, sadly, pure coinflip, unless you are using techs like Forbidden Chalice, Enemy Controller, and Treacherous Trap Hole. Whoever goes second has a major chance of winning. If you are on Grit, you might be able to survive one turn if they do not open any copies of Mask Change. Any other skill and you will probably be OTKed unless they brick.
Some general tips:
- You can play Grit or No Mortal Can Resist for this matchup. While Grit makes it more likely you will survive if you lose the coinflip, No Mortal Can Resist can delete your opponent’s Graveyard and stop them from using Vision HERO Increase, Destiny HERO - Celestial, and Destiny HERO - Malicious, which can give you a big advantage.
- If you go first, you should try filling your field with defense monsters. While it is true that Vision HERO Trinity is able to crush all of them, they will need at least one Mask Change to OTK you. Having Enemy Controller or Forbidden Chalice set can help you a lot too. However, remember that if they have their own Increase in their S/T Zone, they can chain it to avoid your quick-play spells.
- If you go second and they have Elemental HERO Stratos and a set card, be careful because that may just be a Mask Change. Masked HERO Blast can return your Vision HERO Increase and stop your plays if you are not careful. You should also play like this if you go first with Stratos + Mask Change.
- If you have Vision HERO Trinity and a copy of Enemy Controller, you can flip their Vision HERO Vyon to OTK if they are not using Grit. When doing this, toggle on. Only activate your Controller after the attack declaration, when you are sure they do not have a Sphere Kuriboh or that they decided to save it for a direct attack.
- Remember that Vision HERO Increase can only use its effect during the Main Phase, which means that if you use Forbidden Chalice on a Vision HERO Trinity during the Battle Phase, its ATK will go to 2900 and it will not be able to declare a second or third attack. You can also use it on Masked HERO Anki to stop it from attacking you directly and also from searching a second Mask Change.
- If you can survive their turn 2 OTK somehow, you have a high chance of winning if you go for your own Vision HERO Trinity during your next turn.
- The semi-limited cards you should run are Enemy Controller and/or Treacherous Trap Hole. Both of them are very nice in this matchup, being able to save you from getting OTKed right on the spot.
- The cards you will want to side here are a second copy of either Enemy Controller or Treacherous Trap Hole if your main deck contains one of that and one Hey, Trunade!. Aside from that, your best choice definitely is Sphere Kuriboh, as it can stop Vision HERO Trinity from emptying your field or a direct attack from Masked HERO Anki.
Due to the rise of Shiranui to the Tier 1 in the Tier List, Ritual Beasts have reappeared. After winning May’s MCS, this deck will probably return so it is best to know how this matchup goes. As it stands, it is favored for Ritual Beasts for a couple of reasons. They are putting Herald of the Abyss on their Main Deck in order to trigger No Mortal Can Resist early on, which hurts us Masked HERO players a lot. Other than that, they are running Needle Ceiling, which forces you to keep track of how many monsters you have on the field. It is certainly a very complicated matchup.
Some general tips:
- Although not as relevant as in other matchups, coinflip is still relevant here. Going second can allow you to OTK if they do not open well. Going first with a bad hand can allow them to OTK even through Grit thanks to the effect of returning cards to the hand of their Spiritual Beast Pettlephin.
- If going first, just like in the Blackwing matchup, it is better to let Vision HERO Increase in your S/T zone until your opponent uses Spiritual Beast Pettlephin to return one of your monsters to the hand. Doing that you at least make them use that effect for nothing once per turn. Keep in mind that they can use it twice depending on which turn it is and how well the Ritual Beast player can play this deck.
- If you go second and they have a set monster, you should attack over it. It can be Spiritual Beast Tamer Winda, but it can also be just a bait. Vision HERO Trinity can destroy all of Winda’s floats anyway. If you leave it there, next turn they will combo a lot and OTK you unless you have an Artifact Lancea to stop them.
- Forbidden Chalice also plays a great role here. Differently from Fiendish Chain, Chalice will force your opponent’s fusion to tag out as an answer to its activation or otherwise it will not be able to tag out at all until the end of this turn. This can stop their OTK as it will stop them from searching their key cards. Similarly to the Shiranui matchup, Chalice is better than Fiendish Chain.
- Be aware of their techs: Sphere Kuriboh and Needle Ceiling. Kuriboh can stop Trinity from clearing their field while Ceiling can wipe out your entire field. Notice that Mask Change is not useful against Ceiling. If you do chain it to its activation, your Masked HERO will be destroyed too.
- The side cards you need here are Artifact Lancea, Poisonous Winds, and maybe Chaos Hunter. Both Lancea and Hunter completely shut them down, but beware if you put Chaos in ATK as Spiritual Beast Tamer Winda can suicide herself and bring their Ritual Beast Ulti-Apelio, which has more ATK than Chaos. Poisonous Winds is a version of System Down for Wind-attribute monsters. However, this is a Continuous Spell, which means it can easily be removed via Cosmic Cyclone.
Masked HERO is a powerful deck that can easily OTK thanks to their powerful monsters e.g. Vision HERO Trinity and opening multiple copies of Mask Change. While it has its flaws, it’s a deck that always comes back the Tier List after it receives some kind of support. Although it is a very expensive deck, it surely is worth it, as a long time investment. Besides, there is still a lot of extra support to come and give the deck more power. The deck will also benefit when we get more extra deck spots to fit more fusions like Elemental HERO Great Tornado or more copies of Vision HERO Adoration. It is a great deck for KCC cups and has been proven to be good enough for tournaments as well, as seen in its recent toppings in MW and also in the MCS.
- I would like to thank everyone from the Masked HERO channel. It is a very nice place to hang out and discuss builds for this deck. Check it out if you can.
- The friends I have made throughout my time in the community. It really is nice to receive support from your friends when luck simply is not on your side.
- RandomPl0x for finishing the editing and uploading this guide to the website.
- Dkayed and the entire community for making this such a wonderful place to be. My life as a Duel Links player drastically changed for the better after I joined DLM.
- Everyone that took their time to read this. Hope you enjoyed it!