Duel Links Meta

The Heroes' Code

Table of Contents


Introduction & History

Masked Heroes is an archetype that was released on April 2nd with the 11th Main Box - Valiant Souls. The deck found an already established core in the Destiny HERO archetype. The deck rose to top tier status very quickly due to the formidable stats and effects of Masked HERO Anki. The numerous effects of Anki as well as his synergy with meta tech cards are what make heroes so explosive and dominant. Anki’s 2800 attack stat gives him the ability to easily run over top tier boss monsters such as Sylvan Hermitree and Cyber Angel Dakini.

About the Author

Hello, I’m Negative1. I’m presently a Cyber Angel expert in the DLM discord and Masked Heroes are one of my favorite new decks. I wrote this guide with some help from Jonesy9027 on the introduction, tech tier list, and matchups sections and I hope you all find it helpful! :D


Decklist Breakdown

Fusion Variant vs Dark City Variant

Fusion Variant (FV) with Restart vs Dark City Variant (DCV) with Destiny Calling
Many people are curious as to which version of the deck is better. While the Dark City Variant (DCV) has more representation, I believe the Fusion Variant (FV) is the stronger deck for the following reasons:

  1. FV is capable of milling through the deck much faster. With Destiny HERO - Malicious, Vision HERO Vyon, and Destiny HERO - Dangerous, you are able to thin your deck to the point where you are almost guaranteed to draw into Mask Change and other important cards.

  2. DCV has no inherent method of sending Destiny HERO - Celestial to the grave except through Mask Change or Destiny Draw, and therefore is reliant on hard drawing Mask Change. This slower engine does not compliment the deck’s playstyle; Heroes is not a control deck.

  3. FV runs a few monsters that can cause bricks, but with Restart the deck is much more capable of opening well. DCV does not run any monsters that cause bricks, but as a result, the deck is less explosive.

  4. DCV has an overall worse matchup spread. The field spell Dark City affects Destiny Heroes on both sides of the field meaning it isn’t a bonus in the mirror. Against Sylvans, you may struggle to activate the skill because they will often OTK you before you get the chance to use it. Against Archfiends, 2600 is useful against defense position boss monsters, but this benefit will only last for so long before they pop the field spell with Archfiend Emperor, the First Lord of Horror’s effect.

Conclusion: The Fusion Variant is better.

Monster Cards

Note: The monsters we use and optimal counts will vary significantly based on the current meta. The current guide was written for May 2018. We will go in depth on how to use these cards in the match up sections.

Duel Links Card: Destiny%20Hero%20-%20Malicious
Duel Links Card: Destiny%20Hero%20-%20Decider
Duel Links Card: Destiny%20Hero%20-%20Drilldark
Duel Links Card: Destiny%20Hero%20-%20Celestial
Duel Links Card: Vision%20Hero%20Vyon
Duel Links Card: Destiny%20Hero%20-%20Dreamer
  • Destiny Hero - Malicious [Optimal Count 2] Malicious can lead to bricks and therefore decreases the overall consistency of the deck, but the trade-off in consistency is more than made up for in power and speed. Keep in mind that Malicious can only special summon another Malicious from the deck. If you draw your second Malicious then you will want to get him out of your hand with Polymerization, Destiny Draw, or Destiny HERO - Dangerous’ effect.

  • Destiny Hero - Decider [Optimal Count 1-2] Note: Either run Decider or Drilldark, but not both
    When normal or special summoned, Decider asks you if you would like to add a HERO from your grave to your hand in the end phase. If you won’t have a HERO in your graveyard, do not activate Decider’s effect. If using Decider’s effect will prevent you from activating Destiny HERO - Celestial’s effect on your following turn, do not activate Decider’s effect. If you have Dangerous on your field and will have him on the field at the end of your turn, activating Decider’s effect is a safe option.

  • Destiny Hero - Drilldark [Optimal Count 1-2] Note: Either run Decider or Drilldark, but not both
    Drilldark is useful when going first against Spellbooks as he will allow you to swarm the field even if you do not have access to Vyon. Drilldark is also capable of summoning Malicious from hand when he would otherwise be dead until you draw Vyon/Poly, so an early Drilldark can lead to a decent board presence if you lack Vyon.

  • Destiny Hero - Celestial [Optimal Count 3] Celestial is most effective when in the graveyard. Whether you use Celestial to summon Dangerous or if you Mask Change him for Masked HERO Anki, having Celestial in the grave is important so that you can use his +2 effect on your following turn. It’s important to remember that Celestial has a secondary effect. His ability to destroy a face-up Spell Card and deal 500 damage to your opponent’s Life Points will become extremely useful if Field Spell centered decks return to the Top Tiers.

  • Vision Hero Vyon [Optimal count 3] Vyon is one of the best cards to open with while playing Masked Heroes. We will discuss the best way to utilize him later in the guide.

  • Destiny Hero - Dreamer [Optimal count 1] Dreamer is the best defensive tool Masked Heroes has. It prevents destruction by battle and any causes battle damage to be zero. Dreamer can also open up possibilities for aggressive plays as you can attack with a Destiny HERO to bring Dreamer onto the field and then Mask Change Dreamer for an Anki. Keep in mind that Dreamer only protects Destiny Heroes, not Vision or Masked Heroes.

Note Running 0 Dreamer is slightly more consistent but has a weaker mirror match. A wise man once said that a deck that can’t win a mirror match is a bad deck.

Spell Cards

Note: The spells we use and optimal counts will vary significantly based on the current meta. The current guide was written for May 2018. We will go in depth on how to use these cards in the match up sections.

Duel Links Card: Mask%20Change
Duel Links Card: Destiny%20Draw
Duel Links Card: Polymerization
  • Mask Change [Optimal Count: 3] Mask Change is the core spell of Masked Heroes and is what propels them into the top tier of the current meta. This card acts as both offense and defense providing an aggressive OTK tool and protection against targeting effects.

  • Destiny Draw [Optimal Count: 0 - 1] Destiny Draw improves draw power while putting a Destiny HERO into the graveyard. It can be used to enable Malicious or set up for Celestial.
    Note: Many players have started to take Destiny Draw out of their decks in favor of other tech cards. This decrease in popularity is understandable as it can often be dead, but in builds with higher monster counts I believe this card is much more useful and helps consistency. In builds with 20 cards however, I would agree with those opposed to the card that it is unnecessary and can be replaced with a tech card.

  • Polymerization [Optimal Count 1] The fusion variant of Heroes allows them to mill with Dangerous to enable Celestial or summon Vision HERO Trinity to push for game. Poly is usually best at 1, but 2 can be ran to utilize both Dangerous and Trinity. Keep in mind that this is an uncommon occurrence, so running 1 is preferred.

Extra Deck

Duel Links Card: Masked%20Hero%20Anki
Duel Links Card: Vision%20Hero%20Trinity
Duel Links Card: Destiny%20HERO%20-%20Dangerous
  • Masked Hero Anki [Optimal Count: 3] Anki is the newest edition to the HERO roster and is the most defining monster of the deck. Anki provides consistent aggressive plays including OTK’s and explosive comeback potential.

  • Vision Hero Trinity [Optimal Count: 1] Trinity is an OTK machine. If your opponent has no method of changing Trinity to defense, you can often OTK your opponent or at the very least wipe their board. In the mirror, Trinity can be used to kill an opponent’s Anki or even force them to Mask Change their monsters for a defense position Anki to prevent lethal.

  • Destiny Hero - Dangerous [Optimal Count: 1] Dangerous is a boss monster that you can get out early and use to thin your deck each turn. If you want to summon him turn 1, you are best off summoning him in defense alongside another HERO to prevent an OTK. This works best if you have a card in hand to discard for his effect. During your opponent’s turn, if they try to kill your Dangerous by battle, you can use his effect to send a Destiny HERO - Dreamer from you deck to the grave in order to protect him. If they do not push for game, then you can use Dangerous’ effect in their end phase to send a Celestial to the grave. While this is initially a -1 in card advantage, it is to set up for a Celestial draw effect on your turn which results in a +2. This play ends with you going +1 in card advantage.


Tech Card Tier List

S Tier: These are the best tech cards in the current meta as they can be useful in all top tier matchups. These are the first tech cards you should add before touching techs in lower tiers.

A Tier: Secondary tech cards that are almost as strong as the S tier techs, but are either not as versatile or are ineffective in at least one top tier matchup. The quantity you main may vary, but limiting yourself to 3 is a safe threshold.

  • What does A+ tier or A- tier mean?
    A+ and A- tier are both part of A tier; this distinction is to clarify that some of the techs in a given tier are better than other techs in the same tier.

B Tier: This tier of tech cards covers techs that you will not main, but will often put in your side deck. They typically fall under one of the following categories:

  • Incredibly effective in a singular matchup while having little to no use in others.
  • Generally good card but does not have immense synergy with the deck’s engine or is not very strong in the current meta.
  • Strong card that serves a similar functions as a higher tiered tech, but is either more restrictive or not as fast/strong/resilient.


S Tier

Duel Links Card: Treacherous%20Trap%20Hole
  • As of now, I believe TTH is the only S tier tech card in the current meta. TTH prevents you from activating it if you have any traps in your graveyard so it does not follow the old methodology of “run minimum of 3”. However, it is no surprise that some people still opt to run multiple TTH because it is so strong even if they will only be able to resolve the effect once. Destroying two monsters on the field for the price of one card is amazing in this meta, especially in heroes. With the power of Mask Change, you can target an opponent’s monster and a hero you control and chain Mask Change so that you can dodge the destruction effect on your monster.


A+ Tier

Duel Links Card: Offerings%20to%20the%20Doomed
Duel Links Card: Cosmic%20Cyclone
  • Offerings is a strong card and is argued by some to be mandatory in Masked Heroes, however I do not believe that Offerings is as strong as TTH. In my MCS list, which you can find here, I have 2 offerings in my side deck but have mentioned that I thought maining them would be a good idea after my experience with them in the MCS. After more testing I believe that Offerings is not mandatory to main deck, but an optimal build will likely have at least 2 Offerings in its main or side deck. Running 3 is possible, however I personally believe 3 is neither necessary nor optimal.

  • Cosmic Cyclone is a strong backrow removal option to out individual cards. While overall not as aggressive as Hey, Trunade!, Cosmic Cyclone does have the benefit of being a quickplay spell, meaning it can be chained to continuous cards such as Amazoness Onslaught, Amazoness Willpower, or Powerful Rebirth. The chaining prevents their effects from resolving and you also have the option to activate it in your opponent’s end phase to snipe off their backrow without giving them the opportunity to respond.


A- Tier

Duel Links Card: Forbidden%20Chalice
Duel Links Card: Hey,%20Trunade!
  • Chalice is starting to mimic E-Con as a similar staple card because Duel Links is moving towards more monster effects. Fast negation is warranted to interrupt your opponent’s plays. Running 2 should be your limit. Do not run alongside Offerings as they both serve as monster disruption.

  • Trunade supports the HERO play style because it results in fast OTK’s, but it also has some hidden synergy with the engine. A common play in Heroes is to set all of your spells and traps to empty your hand and use Celestial’s effect, but the downside to this is that quickplay spells cannot be activated the turn they are set. Trunade circumvents this drawback by returning those unusable quickplays to your hand thereby making them live and giving you more options to OTK. The key weaknesses keeping Trunade from being placed higher is its weakness in the Amazoness matchup and the effectiveness against the other tier 1 decks. Amazoness players can chain Amazoness Onslaught and Trunade is nullified. Sylvans run minimal backrow, so often times Cosmic is more helpful as it can banish any backrow in their end phase. Against Spellbooks, Trunade is generally better because Spellbook players will often set extra Spellbooks as bluffs. Since that matchup is already in Heroes’ favor, Trunade is not wholly necessary except as a counter card. The mirror match is probably the one place where Trunade and CC are roughly equal in utility. This is because Trunade can clear more backrow space, but CC can be bluffed to appear as any assortment of backrow and is overall faster.


B Tier

Duel Links Card: Enemy%20Controller
Duel Links Card: Fire%20Formation%20-%20Gyokkou
  • E-Con has historically been one of the best cards in Duel Links. It has seen play in practically every format. E-Con complements the HERO play style as it opens up possibilities for aggressive plays and large shifts in momentum. The reason why it has been moved from S tier to B tier is because it is not as strong in the current meta. Of the top 4 decks, the HERO mirror is the only matchup where E-Con is truly useful. In most instances, Offerings or Chalice are more effective against the current top decks as the meta is more reliant on monster presence and E-Con tribute take is costly because it diminishes said monster presence.

  • Gyokkou is arguably a stronger Cosmic Cyclone but the drawbacks are the speed and reliance on surprise. On the ranked ladder, Gyokkou is much stronger because almost nobody plays around it. Without the surprise factor, the card has less weight. In the mirror, Heroes are able to chain Dangerous’ effect and subsequently their face down in the event they want to use it. Gyokkou is better against boards with singular backrow, but a card that is strong against a weak board is not as valuable as a card that is strong against a strong board.


Example Lists

Offerings Heroes

skill Restart
Duel Links Card: Destiny%20HERO%20-%20Malicious
Duel Links Card: Destiny%20HERO%20-%20Malicious
Duel Links Card: Destiny%20HERO%20-%20Decider
Duel Links Card: Destiny%20HERO%20-%20Celestial
Duel Links Card: Destiny%20HERO%20-%20Celestial
Duel Links Card: Destiny%20HERO%20-%20Celestial
Duel Links Card: Vision%20HERO%20Vyon
Duel Links Card: Vision%20HERO%20Vyon
Duel Links Card: Vision%20HERO%20Vyon
Duel Links Card: Destiny%20HERO%20-%20Dreamer
Duel Links Card: Offerings%20to%20the%20Doomed
Duel Links Card: Offerings%20to%20the%20Doomed
Duel Links Card: Hey,%20Trunade!
Duel Links Card: Mask%20Change
Duel Links Card: Mask%20Change
Duel Links Card: Mask%20Change
Duel Links Card: Forbidden%20Chalice
Duel Links Card: Forbidden%20Chalice
Duel Links Card: Polymerization
Duel Links Card: Treacherous%20Trap%20Hole
Duel Links Card: Masked%20HERO%20Anki
Duel Links Card: Masked%20HERO%20Anki
Duel Links Card: Masked%20HERO%20Anki
Duel Links Card: Vision%20HERO%20Trinity
Duel Links Card: Destiny%20HERO%20-%20Dangerous

Monster Heavy Heroes

skill Restart
Duel Links Card: Destiny%20HERO%20-%20Malicious
Duel Links Card: Destiny%20HERO%20-%20Malicious
Duel Links Card: Destiny%20HERO%20-%20Drilldark
Duel Links Card: Destiny%20HERO%20-%20Drilldark
Duel Links Card: Destiny%20HERO%20-%20Celestial
Duel Links Card: Destiny%20HERO%20-%20Celestial
Duel Links Card: Destiny%20HERO%20-%20Celestial
Duel Links Card: Vision%20HERO%20Vyon
Duel Links Card: Vision%20HERO%20Vyon
Duel Links Card: Vision%20HERO%20Vyon
Duel Links Card: Destiny%20HERO%20-%20Dreamer
Duel Links Card: Cosmic%20Cyclone
Duel Links Card: Cosmic%20Cyclone
Duel Links Card: Mask%20Change
Duel Links Card: Mask%20Change
Duel Links Card: Mask%20Change
Duel Links Card: Forbidden%20Chalice
Duel Links Card: Forbidden%20Chalice
Duel Links Card: Destiny%20Draw
Duel Links Card: Polymerization
Duel Links Card: Treacherous%20Trap%20Hole
Duel Links Card: Masked%20HERO%20Anki
Duel Links Card: Masked%20HERO%20Anki
Duel Links Card: Masked%20HERO%20Anki
Duel Links Card: Vision%20HERO%20Trinity
Duel Links Card: Destiny%20HERO%20-%20Dangerous
skill Destiny Calling
Duel Links Card: Destiny%20HERO%20-%20Decider
Duel Links Card: Destiny%20HERO%20-%20Decider
Duel Links Card: Destiny%20HERO%20-%20Celestial
Duel Links Card: Destiny%20HERO%20-%20Celestial
Duel Links Card: Destiny%20HERO%20-%20Celestial
Duel Links Card: Destiny%20HERO%20-%20Drilldark
Duel Links Card: Destiny%20HERO%20-%20Drilldark
Duel Links Card: Destiny%20HERO%20-%20Drilldark
Duel Links Card: Cosmic%20Cyclone
Duel Links Card: Cosmic%20Cyclone
Duel Links Card: Cosmic%20Cyclone
Duel Links Card: Mask%20Change
Duel Links Card: Mask%20Change
Duel Links Card: Mask%20Change
Duel Links Card: Forbidden%20Chalice
Duel Links Card: Forbidden%20Chalice
Duel Links Card: Forbidden%20Chalice
Duel Links Card: Enemy%20Controller
Duel Links Card: Enemy%20Controller
Duel Links Card: Gravity%20Lash
Duel Links Card: Masked%20HERO%20Anki
Duel Links Card: Masked%20HERO%20Anki
Duel Links Card: Masked%20HERO%20Anki
Duel Links Card: Mokey%20Mokey%20King
Duel Links Card: Mokey%20Mokey%20King



Combos and Plays

Using Vyon’s Effect

When using Vyon to dump a HERO into the grave, the monsters you will want to target are Vision HERO Vyon, Destiny HERO - Malicious, and Destiny HERO - Celestial.

Vision HERO Vyon

Vyon is your best target if you want to get Polymerization into your hand. This is because Vyon is most valuable at the start of the game but drawing Vyon mid or even late game is not as good because he is not a Destiny HERO. As a result, Vyon cannot be banished for Celestial’s effect so you are better off banishing a Vyon for Polymerization rather than a Destiny HERO.

Destiny HERO - Malicious

Malicious is your best target if you already have Polymerization in hand or have multiple Mask Change and plan on going aggressive. If you don’t have Polymerization or a Destiny HERO to use to fusion summon Destiny HERO - Dangerous, Malicious is a good option to thin your deck and prevent future bricks.

Destiny HERO - Celestial

Celestial is not often your best target, but in a few niche situations he is the best option. If your hand is monster heavy, milling Celestial is good because drawing into another Vyon is more likely, and your second Vyon can mill your third Vyon. Celestial is also good if you have a second Vyon in hand as you can set up a Celestial effect on your following turn.

Responding to Forbidden Chalice

If your opponent activates Forbidden Chalice to interrupt Vyon’s effect, you can chain Mask Change to Chalice and you will dodge the negation. This is because Mask Change removes Vyon from the field before Chalice resolves. If this scenario occurs, you will usually want to mill a Malicious or a Celestial because milling Vyon is only really useful if you plan on banishing it for Polymerization.



Matchup Guide

This covers the tier list as defined by Duel Links Meta and the Top Player Council. This section also includes decks that have fallen off of the tier list but you may still face from time to time.

Mirror Match

  • Matchup Odds:
    • 50/50 Justice Prevails

The mirror match is a lot about reading backrow and thinking ahead. Knowing how cards interact as well as what attack/damage thresholds you can reach are crucial to winning.

Matchup Tips

  • Dangerous is good for sending Destiny HERO - Dreamer to the grave to stop aggressive pushes, but recognize that Dreamer can also be a liability. With 0 atk, an Econ on Dreamer into attack combined with a Mask Change is lethal. A common counter to Dangerous’ effect being used to send Dreamer is to chain Forbidden Chalice to prevent Dreamer from hitting the grave and saving your monster. You can play around this if you have a Mask Change by using Dangerous’ effect in the battle step. Your opponent is then forced to either let Dangerous’ effect resolve or to use Chalice’s effect preemptively and you can then chain Mask Change to still resolve Dangerous’ effect.

  • If your opponent over-commits to the board, Vision HERO Trinity is a strong option in the event they don’t have an Econ available.

  • Always pay attention to how many Destiny Heroes are in each player’s graveyards, and what those Destiny Heroes are. This will help when calculating the boost from Dangerous’ effect and whether your opponent has a Celestial play ready for their next turn. If your opponent does not have both a card in hand and either a Celestial play set up or a Dreamer in the grave, you can sometimes force them to give up a Celestial play on their next turn by forcing them to drop a Dreamer to stay alive.


Sylvans

Common Skills: Grit, Restart

  • Matchup Odds:
    • 55/45 Domination of the Forest

Sylvans are one of the contributing factors as to why Heroes is currently a top tier deck. Sylvans rely on targeting removal, where cards will select a card to destroy upon activation. What this means is that if a Sylvan player tries to use a Sylvan Marshalleaf’s effect to destroy a HERO monster, you can dodge the destruction by chaining Mask Change. This is because the card activated last will resolve first, so mask change will send your HERO to the graveyard before Marshalleaf destroys it.

Matchup Tips

  • Playing around Grit is vital for you to beat Sylvans. Before pushing for game, you will first need to decrease their life to a range where Grit is unlikely to pop. Playing a slower game is necessary to employ this whittling process. Shout outs to Jadehex and Snyffus for testing grit and giving us all a better understanding as to how the skill works. Click here for more information.

  • Mask Change and Forbidden Chalice are the most effective ways for you to deal with a set Sylvan Komushroomo, so restarting for at least one of these options is preferable.

  • Some Sylvan players will run counter traps such as Ultimate Providence or Divine Wrath. To check whether a set card is one of these or if they are just running Econ, you can summon a Celestial or a Decider and not use his effect. It there is a delay then you know that the face down is likely an Econ, so be wary of overextending.


Spellbooks

Common Skills: Restart

  • Matchup Odds:
    • 60/40 Defeat of the Dark Wizards

While not heavily popular in ladder, Heroes have a number of strong tools to deal with Spellbooks. Their primary objective is to set up Spellbook of Fate and maintain the ability to banish your cards in any situation. Heroes win this matchup by eliminating fate using backrow removal, or forcing fate to be used so they can survive. Most of the time you will be trying to end the game quickly as the long game tends to favor the Spellbook player, but be sure you do not overcommit and dig yourself an early grave. Misplays are very punishing against a good spellbook player, so make your decisions carefully.

Matchup Tips

  • One feature of Spellbooks is that each one can only be activated once per turn, so if you are able to force them to waste a Spellbook of Fate, then you will not have to worry about Fate for the rest of that turn.

  • Hands that you may keep against other decks you will want to Restart against Spellbooks. For example, multiple Mask Change are not very good unless you have a method of forcing out a set Fate. Vyon is a strong opening card because it can send Malicious and that gets you 2 monsters on the field. Since they can’t Fate both, you can push for damage or even game.


Amazoness

Common Skills: Restart

  • Matchup Odds:
    • 30/70 Fatality from the Femmes

Amazoness is presently the strongest counter to Heroes in the current meta. Through the use of Amazoness Onslaught and Amazoness Queen, they are able to prevent Anki’s effect from activating. Onslaught banishes your Heroes, so be careful not to play aggressively unless you have a way to remove their Onslaught or can OTK through their defenses.

Matchup Tips

  • Dealing early damage is important for setting their boundaries. Making sure they can’t attack with their Amazoness Princess into an Anki or Dangerous to get their Queen out.

  • If you summon Dangerous turn 1, summon him in attack position; summoning in defense will allow them to attack with Princess and get a search without sacrificing their Princess.

  • If you cannot summon Dangerous, avoid committing monsters onto the field that either have less attack than Princess, or monsters less that how many Mask Changes you have set.

  • When trying to prevent your opponent from resolving Princess’ effect, make sure you toggle ON in your opponent’s main phase. Once their battle phase begins, activate your E-Con or Mask Change so that they cannot swing into your monsters for free.


Geargias

Common Skills: Restart, Balance

  • Matchup Odds:
    • 35/65 Heroes Vanquished

Geargia is the hardest matchup Heroes face in the top tier decks because of two key features: non targeting removal and Pulse Mines. Non Targeting removal is simply the name given to effects that select the monsters they will destroy upon resolution rather than on activation. If Geargianchor is flipped face up, then you will have to respond to the activation of the effect because you will not be given the option when your opponent selects your monsters to be destroyed. Pulse mines is also a problem because it switches not only your current monsters into defense, but all future monsters you summon that turn as well. Your best chance at beating Geargias is by holding off on summoning big monsters and using Chalice to stop Geargianchor’s effect.

Matchup Tips

  • If you activate Econ take in response to an Anchor’s effect, make sure you Econ take a monster other than their Anchor. This will result in them having less destruction effects.

  • Since Geargianchor does not target, activating Mask Change in response to Anchor will only result in Anki getting destroyed.


Archfiends

Common Skill: Restart

  • Matchup Odds:
    • 50/50 Good Versus Evil

Fiends can be a difficult or an easy matchup; it all depends on their build and starting hand. If they run Invader of Darkness then you may find that they can shut down your entire gameplan early on, but without him fiends have a harder time. Another contributing factor is the volatility of their deck, where they can either brick super hard or open perfect hands and the result of the duel is decided without you making any decision.

Matchup Tips

  • Activating Cosmic Cyclone should be reserved for hitting Call of the Archfiend, but can be used in their end phase if they have limited backrow set to hit a Needlebug Nest to prevent them from milling their playmakers. Using CC blindly is not recommended however, especially when they have 3 backrow.
  • While summoning Dangerous turn 1 is a safe play in most other matchups, against Archfiends you will want to hold off on going all in on a Dangerous play until you are sure they will not simply destroy it immediately with Archfiend Emperor, the First Lord of Horror’s effect.

Aliens

Common Skills: Restart, Balance

  • Matchup Odds:
    • 60/40 Invasion Repelled

Aliens can be a simple matchup but misplays can easily alter the odds. They are backrow heavy and Alien Warrior can simply attack over the 1600 atk Destiny Heroes. Aliens use A-Counters which reduce the attack of a monster with a counter by 300 for each counter and for EACH Alien on the field. You will need to be careful and quick with your calculations when attacking with a monster that has A-Counters. If you try and over extend to kill Alien Warrior, they can easily use “A” Cell Recombination Device’s second effect to search an Alien monster and mount a comeback. However, A-Counters only decrease attack when battling an Alien so they do nothing to weaken Anki’s direct Attack damage.

Matchup Tips

  • Do not blindly Mask Change the second you get an A-Counter placed on your monster. Your opponent could be baiting out an Anki to Brainwashing Beam.
  • It is important to note that summoning Anki triggers Alien Kid. If you summon Anki with an Alien Kid and 2 other Alien monsters staring him down he will lose 900 atk from a single A-Counter.
  • As with Archfiends, if they have 3 backrow it is not smart to blindly Cosmic Cyclone and possibly waste a resource.
  • Gravity Lash can be very effective in this matchup as your opponent is likely to attack into your monster thinking the A-Counters will allow their monster to win. Most Aliens have a decent attack and a Gravity Lash play could save your monster for a next turn Dangerous or Anki play.
  • Hey, Trunade is great in this matchup as Aliens heavily rely on backrow such as Wall of Disruption and “A” Cell Recombination Device to weaken your monsters and gain board advantage.

Red-Eyes Zombies

Common Skill: Restart,Straight to the Grave

  • Matchup Odds:
    • 90/10 The Living Bury the Undead

Red-Eyes Zombies are not as strong as they used to be. Red-Eyes Zombie Dragon is only 2400 and they do not generally run anything to increase this. If they are running Straight to the Grave, they will be 2600 and still too weak to kill Anki. The only threats Red-Eyes Zombies provide are backrow. Red-Eyes players have Econ and Mirror Wall that can devastate your momentum. Some players may still run Wall of Disruption but most have switched to Mirror Wall to counter Hey, Trunade! Once you overcome their backrow, Anki runs them into the ground.

Matchup Tips

  • Backrow removal makes this an easy matchup. When there is no backrow to fear, Anki can easily overpower anything the REZ player can send out. Hey, Trunade! Will force the Mirror Wall or remove any other backrow leaving them open for an OTK.
  • Cosmic Cyclone in the end phase can devastate REZ decks. Whether you hit their Mirror Wall or Red-Eyes Spirit they will be severely hindered in their next play.
  • Be sure to keep an eye on their graveyard for Bacon Saver. Do not over extend if your opponent has a Bacon in grave as they can choose which attack to stop.
  • Forbidden Chalice can be useful against a Snipe Hunter or Gozuki effect. This negation will kill their momentum and could set you up for a game ending battle phase next turn.

Gaia Plate Magnets

Common Skill: Restart

  • Matchup Odds:
    • 60/40 Magnets Repelled

Magnets have fallen in popularity but a Magnet deck can run over you if you aren’t prepared when you face it. Magnet Warriors focus on getting out their boss monsters Valkyrion the Magna Warrior and Gaia Plate the Earth Giant as quickly as possible. Both monsters can easily run over Anki and their deck is full of backrow that will disrupt you. The worst case scenario would be a skilled Magnet player opening with Delta the Magnet Warrior, Powerful Rebirth, Econ and Divine Wrath. Against Magnets you need to keep a close eye on their graveyard. Once they get 3 Magnet Warriors in the graveyard and Delta is destroyed they can summon a Valkyrion.

Matchup Tips

  • In this matchup it is important to watch for delays. If you have a full board and run head first into a Wall of Disruption it is unlikely that you can recover before they get a boss monster out. If there is no delay on summon with a monster in their grave it is likely Divine Wrath or Wall of Disruption set.
  • Be wary about overextending going for an OTK. Magnets have swarm potential in effects and Powerful Rebirth. If you fail in the OTK Magnets can bounce back with force.
  • Forbidden Chalice on Delta is good in this matchup as their power comes from having monsters in the grave.
  • When watching for delays, if all signs point to Divine Wrath don’t activate Anki’s effect.

Sea Stealth Attack

Common Skill: Restart

  • Matchup Odds:
    • 70/30 Liberation of the Sea

Sea Stealth Attack had a short run as tier 1 and while not as strong as it once was it can still cause problems if you are unprepared. Citadel Whale can pull a Sea Stealth Attack from the deck and once they are set up any monster that battles Citadel Whale gets banished. Luckily we have Destiny HERO - Celestial. His secondary effect will destroy Umi/A Legendary Ocean on attack. This forces them to banish a monster every turn to keep their field spell from being destroyed. Abyss Soldier is another large threat in this deck. His effect can return any monster to your hand and his 2000 atk hitting you directly is not something you can take twice. His effect is also a great way for your opponent to force out your Mask Change or Forbidden Chalice so don’t waste resources unnecessarily. They will likely start by getting Citadel Whale out early with an Econ set and hoping to banish your Anki before you can knock out their Life Points.

Matchup Tips

  • Get a Destiny HERO - Celestial out as quickly as possible. SSA decks will likely only play 1 field spell at most in addition to the one provided by Mythic Depths. Once their field spells are gone their deck crumbles.
  • Cosmic Cyclone is great in this matchup as you can use it to banish their field spell or Sea Stealth Attack. While it may be tempting to banish their Sea Stealth Attack, it is more likely to permanently disrupt the deck to banish the field spell as they cannot banish to protect it and they likely run another trap but not another spell.
  • Do not overextend with an all out Dangerous play turn 1 unless you have a Forbidden Chalice to set. A turn 1 Abyss Soldier return could leave you defenseless with no resources and a 2000 atk monster on the field ready to attack.
  • Forbidden Chalice works well to negate Abyss Soldier’s return effect, but if there is a Citadel Whale on the field it can negate the target of your Chalice.

Cyber Angels

Common Skill: Restart

  • Matchup Odds:
    • 70/30 Triumph over the Heavens

Cyber Angels is one of the few remaining decks from 2017 as it has strong combos and boss monsters. Heroes win this matchup through patience and knowing when to play aggressive. Destiny HERO - Decider is your best friend in this matchup, but it is key to not summon him too early. CA’s only effective means of handling decider are Cyber Angel Dakini’s effect and Gishki Chain swinging over it. Your best responses to these cards are Forbidden Chalice and Enemy Controller. Your general goal should not be to Mask Change early for an OTK but if the opportunity arises then go for it. Your goal is to wall them out from playing aggressive by negating Dakini’s effect and stopping Gishki Chain from killing Decider so that you can build enough resources to make your own push for game. This will usually come in the form of a Vision HERO Trinity as he can attack multiple times and has 5k attack the turn he is fusion summoned, and since CA runs no backrow to defend themselves you win by beating over their searchers and boss monsters to shave off life points and if you can’t deal enough damage to lethal them you Mask Change into Anki to finish the job.

Matchup Tips

  • If you can’t protect a Decider with backrow, then don’t summon him. You would be putting one of your strongest defensive tools out in the open without any backup.
  • Trinity can attack over any searcher to put them below 1k life points, meaning lethal range with Anki. Trinity and a Mask Change is quite often game.

Note: Amazoness and Spellbooks Matchups coming soon


Special Thanks to the Following

  • Dkayed for fostering a competitive and productive Duel Links community through Duel Links Meta.
  • Everyone contributing in the Masked Hero channel of the discord and everyone pushing the deck.
  • My Team Wars family Murder Inc for being dope and helping me improve as a player.
  • Check them out on the Team Wars Discord.
  • Jonesy for helping bring this guide to the website.

If you have any thoughts or questions, leave a comment below!
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