Noble Knights are XYZ equip-spell based archetype that excels at summoning rank 4 and rank 5 XYZ monsters. The monsters all have unique effects when equipped with Noble Arm equip spells, and the Noble Arms themselves have a unique mechanic, where they can float from the grave upon being destroyed, leading to boards that can prove very difficult to break. Originally released early on in Duel Links in Crusaders Battleground Main Box, the archetype has been waiting to enter the XYZ era to gain not only its boss monsters, but all of its amazing support that mentions “XYZ” in the card text. The recent structure deck Tales of the Noble Knights has given us great support in the form of Merlin and Until Noble Arms are Needed Once Again to boost the consistency of the deck, while simultaneously giving us the long awaited Noble Knight boss monsters Artorigus, King of the Noble Knights and Sacred Noble Knight of King Artorigus. Having said all that, most of your plays will revolve around Noble Knight Medraut summoning another Noble Knight from the deck and setting up almost unbeatable boards. This deck is also extremely budget friendly, as the new structure deck provides most of the required cards needed for the deck to function, and sets you up for a plethora of support that is to come for this deck. This guide will teach you the basics of the deck in terms of combos and plays and hopefully will make the idea of learning this deck a little less daunting.
Main Deck Monsters
Most of the main deck Noble Knight cards are warriors that have a special lineup of equip spells called “Noble Arms”, which enable their effects. All of the Noble Arms we currently have float upon destruction and re-equip to already existing Noble Knight monsters on the field once per turn, which is a unique mechanic for the deck!
Noble Knight Medraut (3x)
This card is the most important cog in the machinery known as “Noble Knights”. When equipped with Noble Arm, Medraut becomes Dark Attribute Level 5 monster, which then can turn into either rank 4 or rank 5 play, as Medraut can summon ANY Noble Knight monster from the deck, and transfer the Noble Arm to them by destroying it. It’s important to note that you have to control only Medraut to be able to activate and resolve this effect. Medraut is the most important piece of the puzzle, and should never be run at any number of copies less than 3.
Noble Knight Borz (2-3x)
Medraut’s partner in crime, Borz quickly became one of the best cards in the deck with the addition of the trap Until Noble Arms are Needed Once Again . Borz has a unique effect when equipped with a Noble Arm, which allows you to select 3 “Noble Arms” cards from your deck. After that, your opponent chooses one of them randomly and adds it to your hand, while the other 2 go to the grave. This effect is very valuable because of 2 reasons. Firstly, you will always get a card in hand. Secondly, you don’t have to choose Noble Arms “spell”, you can also choose Noble Arms “card”, meaning that we are allowed to to send positive graveyard effects such as already mentioned trap and monster Gwenhwyfar, Queen of Noble Arms which gives us constant supply of equipping - from both grave and hand - as well as ability to special summon any Noble Knight monster from the deck provided that we don’t have a copy of it on field or in grave. Borz also changes his Attribute to Dark and Level to 5, so when paired with Medraut, you are given access to rank 5 xyz!
First non-warrior monster, Merlin still plays a very vital role in the deck. Being able to special summon any Noble Knight monster by tributing himself is great. Being able to perform xyz summon as quick effect is even greater! Merlin, just by existing in your deck, massively increases the consistency of your best combo, making it so you essentially run 6 copies of Medraut, allowing the deck to exceed the 20 card without consistency loss. It’s important to note that the first effect is “ignition effect” so if the opponent has any disruption, such as Paleozoic Canadia or Karma Cut, you won’t be able to “dodge” with Merlin’s summon from deck effect (however, you can use the graveyard effect to dodge those things!) It’s very important to note that performing xyz summon causes the equips to “fall off” and reattach provided that you have a valid target, so you can use that knowledge to shuffle the equips on opponent’s turn! Another thing worth mentioning is that you can’t summon anything other than Noble Knight monsters during the turn you use the first effect of Merlin! Make sure to run as many copies of Merlin as possible.
Noble Knight Drystan (1x)
Drystan used to be a much more valuable piece of the deck. Namely, Drystan gets to destroy a face up card on the field when equipped with Noble Arms equip, which made the main playstyle of Noble Knight revolve around equipping him during the opponent’s turn with cards such as Glory of the Noble Knights for disruption. Since then, metagame has changed drastically, but we can still make use of this effect during either player’s turn! Summoning Drystan with the effect of the Noble Knight trap when equips are about to be destroyed (because monsters they were equipped to is about to leave the field), allows us to use his destruction effect with minimal setup! It’s important to note that destruction effect is mandatory, so if the opponent has no face up cards, you have to target your own cards! Additionally, Drystan has a passive effect which prevents your opponent from targeting or attacking your monsters with less than 1800 attack, which can be used to protect your monsters from otherwise lethal damage! While it’s a good card, Drystan is best used directly from deck, so we don’t want to max out on him to reduce the chance of starting the duel with him in hand.
Noble Knight Brothers (0-2x)
Brothers are part of second wave of support the Noble Knight got, and it has been one of the best additions to the deck, allowing you to recycle all the “Noble Knight” cards (including the xyz monsters and even spell Glory of the Noble Knights) which gives you a draw, while putting useful cards back in the deck. Not only is the draw useful, you also set yourself up to summon with Until Noble Arms are Needed Once Again , since you can’t summon the card you already have in the grave. So by drawing you also get to prepare your trap for a more optimal summon. Summoning Brothers from the deck can allow you to draw a card as well as go into rank 4 play, all while having big defense, which can stop a lot of monsters from being able to attack.
Brothers have another effect where you can summon up to 2 Noble Knight monsters from your hand, which can potentially enable you to beat your opponent in one turn!
There are 2 downsides to the card however. First being that Brothers can’t attack unless you control exactly 3 Noble knight monsters, and second that you can only xyz summon the Noble Knight monsters from the extra deck if you special summon cards from the hand. Despite that, Brothers is simply an amazing card and should be run in every iteration of the deck.
Ignoble Knight of Black Laundsallyn (1x)
Probably the most controversial card of the deck, this monster is a hidden gem of the deck. On paper, this card is a bricky addition that’s cost inefficient, but being summoned from deck with Until Noble Arms are Needed Once Again gives it insane value. You can summon it from the deck and have it tribute itself to give you any Noble Arms equip spell. You can tribute your face down monsters, and even the xyz monsters after they run out of xyz materials(which then you can shuffle back with Brothers) The card even has fringe usage from grave, where you can send Borz or Medraut without equip to grave to special summon itself, which could enable rank 5 plays even with lack of equip spells. The potential uses are there and you shouldn’t be afraid to play around with them!
Gwenhwyfar, Queen of Noble Arms (1x)
One of the more unique cards, Gwen has found her place in every version of Noble Knight decks from the moment she got added to the game. Her value comes from multiple things. First, she is a “Noble Arms” card, which means she can be selected as a target for Borz’ mill effect, which is even greater when coupled with the fact that you can equip her from hand OR graveyard! It’s important to note, monsters equipped with Gwen behave as if they were equipped with regular Noble Arms equip cards! Secondly, Gwen provides a 300 attack boost (which can often make a difference) and a bonus effect based on the attribute of the equipped monster! Light monsters can detach her to be protected from destruction once per turn, while Dark monsters can detach her at the start of Damage Step to destroy that monster with her effect! Overall it’s an amazing card and it’s what makes the Borz effect so potent.
Spells & Traps
Noble Knights cards are supported by a series of equip spells called “Noble Arms”. Currently, all Noble Arms equips share 3 effects; they can only be equipped to Warrior-type monsters, you can only have 1 copy of each equip spell on the field and once per turn, if they are destroyed, they can re-equip themselves to Noble Knight monsters from the grave. This somewhat unique mechanic makes it so it can be rather difficult to clear the Noble Knight field with a proper setup!
Noble Arms of Destiny (2x)
Noble Arms of Destiny is one of the cards that makes this deck somewhat slippery. Once per turn you are protected from any type of destruction. It makes your monsters harder to kill, and if it gets re-equipped it provides protection one more time during the same turn making it so your opponent essentially has to deal with your monsters multiple times. You can also chain Glory of the Noble Knights to attack or effect that would destroy them for instant protection!
Noble Arms - Arfeudutyr (1-2x)
This hard to pronounce card is a real gem. It’s going to bait out more cards than it’s gonna destroy, but that also works. Really nice thing about Arfeudutyr is the fact that it can also be equipped to opponent’s warrior type monsters, so you can reduce their attack and potentially destroy their backrow before performing your summons! And not only that, Arf can also destroy set monsters as well, which brings forth additional synergy with flip-down cards like Paleozoic Canadia and Floodgate Trap Hole. It’s worth noting that Arf says “destroy that target” which means, if they flip the card up (for example Fiendish Chain ) it will not get destroyed, and you will still lose the attack.
Noble Arms - Caliburn (1-2x)
Caliburn is a simple card. You gain life, you get a stable attack bonus. It’s a great card to keep up with meta that has a lot of otk potential. Starting with Caliburn on turn 1 while performing your plays can net you up to 1500 life points, which is nothing to scoff at! Likewise, having a free life points gain every turn makes it so you can use cards like Cosmic Cyclone without ever bringing yourself into lethal range of your opponent, especially if you run this card at 2 in your equip spell spread. All this life gain combined with floating and summoning effects makes this deck a tough nut to crack.
Noble Arms - Gallatin (1-2x)
Gallatin is a pretty straightforward card, it gives a 1000 attack boost that decays by 200 during each of your turns. Even though it doesn’t have any additional effects, it essentially makes your xyz monsters beat over every monster in current meta. Simple and effective, and if your attack boost becomes too low, you can destroy with Drystan or rank 4 Artorigus to re-equip it and get full 1000 again.
Glory of the Noble Knights (2-3x)
Glory is one of the more interesting cards in the deck. It can equip not only Noble Arms, but any equip card to your Noble Knight monster (provided that it’s a valid target)! It essentially allows you to play an increased number of your Noble Arms, which in turn boosts the consistency of the deck. It can even be chained to destruction effect, or battle to protect your monster! It also has very good synergy with 2 of the Noble knights in particular: Drystan and Brothers. Using Glory on Drystan during the opponent’s turn allows for some quick disruption, while Glory in the graveyard acts as a target for Brothers draw effect. It’s important to note, you need 2 free slots in your spell and trap zone to be able to resolve Glory, because it brings the equip spell to the field during resolution(which means they will both be on field before the end of chain link resolution). This is also why chaining Glory to xyz effect to equip cards from the grave is not advised.
Until Noble Arms are Needed Once Again (2-3x)
Until Noble Arms is a card that has an incredible amount of value. The field effect to draw a card is kind of underwhelming, but the graveyard effect is simply amazing. Being able to summon a card that you don’t already have copy on the field or in the grave, which allows you to perform combos upon combos. This card also has amazing synergy with Noble Knight Borz, since it has “Noble Arms” in its name, which allows you to send it to the grave immediately, without having to waste a turn on setting and activating it! Depending on what you summon off of it, you can do a wide variety of plays with almost any of the Noble Knight monsters! This adds depth to the deck and we strongly encourage you to try out various plays involving monsters summoned off of this effect.
Extra Deck Monsters
Noble Knights currently have 2 archetypal monsters at their disposal, rank 4 and rank 5, which both require 2 Noble Knight monsters and share the effect that allows you to target up to 3 equips from the grave and equip them to those xyz monsters. However, if you use Merlin’s graveyard effect in response to something, this re-equip effect will miss the timing! (Noble Arms that were on the field will still float by themselves if they didn’t get destroyed already this turn). Interesting enough, you can summon both of them with a combination of 1 Medraut + any Noble Arm that revives itself!
Artorigus, King of the Noble Knights (1-2x)
This rank 4 xyz is a backrow cleaner. Usually summoned as follow up play, rank 4 Artorigus can destroy a number of spells and traps up to a number of equip cards you control, and not that are equipped to this card. Rank 4 Artorigus also doesn’t target, so your opponent will not know what you are going to destroy until it’s too late. You can also use it to destroy your own cards, which is useful to shuffle around your Noble Arms OR reset the Gallatin decay.
Sacred Noble Knight of King Artorigus (2x)
Sacred Artorigus is your bread and butter monster. Making Sacred Artorigus usually involves Medraut into Borz play, which also usually ends on sending Until Noble Arms are Needed Once Again to the grave, leaving you on quite a formidable board. After summoning it, Sacred Artorigus has 2 effects. First, by detaching 1 xyz material we can use the ignition effect to destroy monsters other than itself. And second, if Sacred Artorigus leaves the field and goes to the grave in any way (even due to your own effects), it can special summon any level 4 or higher Noble Knight monster from your grave! That can easily help you survive the opponent’s turn or lead to extending the plays on your own turn! Additionally, floating into Medraut while you have another equip spell ready pretty much opens up your entire extra deck - so options never stop.
Spells & Traps
While the Noble Knights already have a self-sufficient repertoire of spells and traps, there are a handful of options that help the deck run much more smoothly. In the sake of good housekeeping, we are going to separate them into three categories that all fulfill their own functions.
By the nature of our consistency skills currently run in this deck, you are essentially designing your list to be able to open as little of your traps as possible, in order not to be caught with an Until Noble Arms are Needed Once Again in the hand. Because of this, you will more often than not be drawing into these techs each turn, by way of Until, or Noble Knight Brothers recycling effect.
One of your core objectives is to get your Until Noble Arms are Needed Once Again in the graveyard as soon as possible; either by the effect of Noble Knight Borz, or with one of any of the following “Discard” traps below. Because of how we’re able to out-resource the meta, most of the traps you’ll see below have little to no adverse effect or cost, as we can just recycle or float them back into a good use. If you hard drew Ignoble Knight of Black Laundsallyn, an extra Glory of the Noble Knights, or late game Merlin; what became a slower card to play just became a neutral play with any of the cards you’ll see in the section below: starting with -
Karma Cut (2-3x)
It’s here, it’s necessary, and it’s probably the current format’s most powerful trap.
Even as we’ve seen the meta of destruction protection go down with the significant nerfs to shiranui, crystrons, and the outright ban of Invoked Cocytus - you’d be foolish not to think banishing off the field isn’t one of the best forms of removal we have. Discard any card, take any monster you see out, and any monster with the same name in the graveyard along with it. Many competitive lists run a slimmed down trap section, with three Karma, and three Until. We only recommend not going for three if your card pool is still developing and you’re mostly f2p, as we expect Karma Cut to be limited to two in an upcoming ban list just because of how accessible and powerful it is. It’s just that good.
You want as many as possible in your list in game one, but may elect to swap them out or complement them in your list game 2-3 with -
Raigeki Break (0-2x)
There’s something bittersweet about a tech buried in what’s now considered a dead box. If you’re relatively f2p and didn’t at one point build shiranui, we don’t recommend going for one; but the value this card provides in the side deck is massive in competitive play.
What you lose from Karma in only destroying and not banishing, you make up for it by being able to target any card, whether or not it’s face up or down.
Just being able to go figuratively neutral to remove Zombie World and DNA Surgery off the field in game 2-3 is a huge value proposition for this deck in competitive play to complement your backrow hate techs, in case your list ratios allow them - You want this card in your side deck.
Divine Wrath (0-2x)
Another fantastic tech for Noble Knights, Divine Wrath allows you to negate and destroy one monster - regardless of where it’s activated - and send it to the graveyard. Being able to discard any card type to accomplish this gives it a slight consistency boost over something like Ultimate Providence.
Be weary of having to dig for this card as it’s in one of the worst main boxes in the game. Definitely a good choice for your UR Dream Ticket, providing you already have the rest of your staples.
Ultimate Providence (0-2x)
This discard tech is worth considering. Ultimate Providence allows you to negate any effect at spell speed 3, providing you have the same type of card to discard. Since we have such a huge ability to resource and recover, you will find yourself having multiples of Merlin, Glory of the Noble Knights, or even a Ignoble Knight of Black Laundsallyn ready for extension - to negate a card of that type any time you like. The tech can even negate a trap card by discarding a copy of itself in a pinch; though your prime objective, as with all the cards in this category, is to send Until Noble Arms are Needed Once Again. You can find this card in the Crimson Kingdom main box, or the Dragunity Overdrive structure deck.
Hallowed Life Barrier (0-2x)
A great defensive yet affordable tech, Hallowed Life Barrier is a card that protects your monsters from being destroyed by battle - and you, from all damage - for the rest of the turn. Again, your objective is to discard Until Noble Arms are Needed Once Again, but still allows you to discard any card to keep your Monsters on the field. Another of the card’s merits is being able to be chained to any turn-starting backrow hate, including Hey, Trunade! and Cosmic Cyclone. This card has huge value in the side deck against OTK decks like Onomat, Infernity, and Cyber Dragon; and as a general add, keeps your monsters on the field without the need to equip Noble Arms of Destiny.
You have easy access to this card from Ranked R tickets found by grinding PvP games.
Ballista Squad (0-2x)
One of the most interesting cards in the tech repertoire of Noble Knights, Ballista Squad is by far the most aggressive combo trap you can put on your list. Tributing to destroy one card on the field takes care of any oppressive floodgates, clogged monster slots - which open you up for the graveyard effect of Until Noble Arms are Needed Once Again, triggers the floating effect of your Rank 5 Sacred Noble Knight of King Artorigus to summon another level 4-5 monster.
Not only that, but you get the added advantage of chaining the trap and a ballista with a Noble Knight Drystan pop to start what’s potentially the strongest Noble Knight field condition - with a combo we’ll explain in depth down below. It’s a ridiculously aggressive trap, but you do want to consider your play style in this as it’s found in Fortress of Gears, as a mini-box UR with not much more value in it apart from Aromage and Desperado support.
A main distinction in the Noble Knights archetype you’ll notice is the large spell core in the form of the variety of equip spells, and the quick spell Glory of the Noble Knights to tutor them.
You’re liable to be disrupted going into your combos going second, so for many lists; we recommend running these spell techs to get through to your core combos without as much of a problem. Paired with our optimal combo percentage sheet, you’ll find your draw into these techs more often than not - and you’ll be glad you did.
Hey, Trunade! (0-2x)
Even though it’s a “temporary solution”, Hey, Trunade! essentially makes so you can emulate going first, even if you are going second. Being allowed to set up makes it so you can deal even with 3 backrow sets later on. This occasionally ends up with OTK with 4000 attack Sacred Artorigus, but all in all, seeing Trunade should always let you at least be able to play the game. The disadvantage of running Trunade over Cosmic Cyclone is that opponents can still flip up some of the continuous traps, such as DNA Surgery, or even have Necrovalley on the field, neither of which you can deal with this way. Trunade shines over other options in a format where there is no side-decking involved, since that reduces the chances of facing problematic face-up spells and traps dramatically.
Cosmic Cyclone (0-2x)
For a cheap price of 1000 life points, you banish 1 spell or trap. Simple enough, this card has the main purpose of allowing you to start your plays. The main benefit of Cyclone over other “backrow hate” cards is the fact that it removes both face up and face down cards, so you can deal with a wide variety of threats the opponent’s deck may have. Being a quick-play spell it can also be used to interrupt opponent’s plays on occasions, or deal with traps before they become activatable.
Forbidden Lance (0-2x)
Last but not least, Lance has a somewhat unique way of dealing with backrow. Namely, you will be holding it in hand for the most part, and only using it in response to cards that are activated to stop you! By doing this, you will be completely immune to the effects of spells and traps until the end of the turn. This, however, includes your cards as well, so you will not be benefiting from positive effects of your Noble Arms (your monsters still get the effects that depend on being equipped, such as Medraut becoming level 5). Lance also reduces the attack of the monster by 800, which means it can be used in damage step to potentially turn the favor of your battle around. Despite all that, Lance suffers from the same problem as Trunade, where it isn’t a permanent solution to face-up “floodgates” such as Necrovalley or Zombie World.
Extra Deck Monsters
Noble Knights have access to quite a few non-archetypal rank 4 and rank 5 xyz, thanks to Medraut not locking you into making Noble Knight xyz (however, Merlin and Brothers do). However, Duel Links currently doesn’t have a very good repertoire of generic xyz, so Noble Knight xyz are the best option most of the time. Despite that, there are a few interesting options worth considering for some situations which are meta dependent.
Diamond Dire Wolf (1x)
Made out of 2 level 4 monsters, Dire Wolf serves as easily accessible destruction, usually summoned with help of Until Noble Arms are Needed, has an interesting synergy with the deck. Firstly, you “clear” your own board with it, which allows you to use Medraut’s effect to extend your plays for that turn. It’s also out to cards like Necrovalley because it doesn’t require any equips to be effective, unlike rank 4 Artorigus. Dire Wolf is probably the most useful non- Noble Knight xyz we have in the game, and having access to it will definitely improve your odds of winning even the hardest matchups.
Maestroke the Symphony Djinn (0-1x)
Similar to Dire Wolf, Maestroke is a rank 4 with ignition effect, but instead of destroying, he flips down monsters. This is extremely useful in mirror, making the opposing monster lose all equips, and it also has great synergy with Arfeudutyr, allowing you to pop the monster, bypassing any sort of protection they may have. Maestroke also has a protection effect, which is somewhat nice, but not enough of a reason to go into him in general.
Gagaga Samurai (0-1x)
Gagaga Samurai is yet another rank 4 xyz, but instead of utility, this one offers raw power. Essentially, Samurai serves as a double attacker, which is amplified by the fact that you can equip Noble Arms onto him. However, more often than not, you will have enough attacks to deal lethal damage, especially combined with Merlin’s grave effect. Samurai also has the effect to redirect an attack onto him, but it will likely only be used if you summon him too early, and fail to finish the opponent off.
Gagaga Cowboy (0-1x)
Another Gagaga rank 4 monster, but this one comes with extra utility. Cowboy has 2 effects, based on his position. In attack, he can beat over most monsters(especially when equipped with Gallatin), and in defense he can finish off the opponent with 400 or less LP. You won’t be making him often, but it’s always nice to have the option to win without having to go through their monsters/backrow.
Zubaba General (0-1x)
Somewhat related to Gagagas, Zubaba General offers only high attack value. It has potential to become a monster with the highest attack in the deck, which can lead to unexpected otks. It can be somewhat relevant in matchups where you can’t target, which are very rare nowadays, but otherwise offer very little to the deck. Run if you have no other options.
Number 50: Blackship of Corn (1x)
Blackship of Corn has extreme value when it comes to dealing with stuff that cannot be or shouldn’t be destroyed with normal means because it sends cards to the grave. Noble Knight decks usually rely on effect destruction, but that type of destruction triggers the floating effects of cards such as Spiritual Beast Tamer Winda, which makes it so you have to expand more resources to deal with them. Sadly, Blackship can’t attack after using its effect, so it might be hard to finish the opponent off on that turn, so be careful to not overextend.
Evigishki Merrowgeist (1x)
Similar to Blackship, Merrowgeist deals with the floaters, but albeit in a different way. If you destroy a monster with Merrowgeist, you can detach a material to shuffle it into the deck instead of sending it to the grave. That also helps out versus the cards you don’t want sent to the grave, such as The White Stone of Ancients. The downside of Merrowgeist is that you have to destroy something by battle, and has a somewhat weak attack.
Number 61: Volcasaurus (0-1x)
Very similar to Gagaga Cowboy, this is a rank 5 version of a finisher. While somewhat harder to summon, Volcasaurus packs a massive punch. Every deck in the meta has monsters big enough that you can sometimes win after 1 successful attack, if you manage to resolve Volcasaurus. As a downside, you can’t attack directly after using this effect, but you can still attack monsters which should still ensure your victory on that turn.
Because Noble Knights rely on having both a monster and an equip, the archetype synergizes with skills that help guarantee a spell and a monster. The most popular skills for this are Balance, Spell Specialist, My Monster Cards, and Restart.
Balance is the most popular skill due to the general power, and most importantly consistency, it provides. You can easily build the deck to guarantee a monster and a “Noble Arms” equip spell, while also having a good likelihood of opening powerful tech traps like Karma Cut. Balance synergizes with both smaller and larger builds of the deck, but is most common with 25 card to 30 card builds. The bigger the build, the easier it is to run powerful extenders like Noble Knight Brothers and Ignoble Knight of Black Laundsallyn without a major consistency drop. Additionally, 30 card Balance can also tech in important spell cards like Hey, Trunade! or Cosmic Cyclone. However, the downside of Balance comes with side decking, with skill restrictions meaning it can be difficult to side with. Despite this, with smart adjustment of card ratios, spell or trap side cards, such as matchup specific counter spells or Hallowed Life Barrier for aggressive matchups, can be seen whilst maintaining high consistency. 30 card decks have the easiest time siding of Balance builds, due to their main deck spell and trap tech slots alongside 3 copies of Until Noble Arms are Needed Once Again adding flexibility.
If you want a smaller deck list, Spell Specialist may be the skill for you, as Spell Specialist is most consistent when working with 20-23 cards. Additionally, it remains a consideration for larger builds, albeit with a notable reduction in consistency. The skill works by substantially increasing the chance to open spells, such as “Noble Arms” equips or tech spell cards. Furthermore, the skill does not share the issues with siding seen in Balance, as both monsters and spells become good side options, with seeing these sided spells the particular strength of the skill. However, the weakness is that smaller Noble Knight decks often are forced to cut extenders like Noble Knight Brothers and Ignoble Knight of Black Laundsallyn, which lowers the grind game and ceiling of the deck. Despite this, the increased consistency in pure builds, or the chance of seeing powerful tech or side deck cards in more aggressive builds, makes the skill a powerful option to be considered
My Monster Cards
My Monster Cards is another popular skill, seen most prevalently in the Clan Wars Season 6 quarterfinals. The concept is that since the skill post nerf increases the ability to open a level four or lower monster, you have an increased chance to open Merlin, Noble Knight Medraut, or Noble Knight Borz in your opening hand, in addition to the already high chance to open a “Noble Arms” equip spell. The main advantage to the skill is its freedom for deck building and ease of siding. With no restrictions outside the Lv 4 or lower monster count, the deck can main deck a large number of tech spells like Cosmic Cyclone without a drop in consistency. Furthermore, this skill possesses the ability to freely side level 5 or higher monsters without a risk to consistency, giving it access to a large variety of powerful cards including Chaos Hunter and Artifact Lancea, alongside siding spells and traps, without hindering the deck. The main trade off for the skill is that the consistency boost it provides is significantly lower than Balance or small Spell Specialist builds, leading to more bricks. If you feel the trade in consistency is worth the side deck freedom, then this is the skill for you.
The least common of the four skills listed, Restart uses its skill to help improve the natural consistency of the deck. As Restart requires almost identical, but slightly more restrictive in this case, deck ratios to Balance, the two skills possess very similar consistency, with Restart, in comparison, typically containing a minorly higher chance to open Merlin/Medraut + a “Noble Arms” equip spell, with a minorly lower chance to open Merlin/Medraut/Borz + a “Noble Arms” equip spell. Whilst in theory Restart allows players to see side cards more commonly, the Restart restrictions result in playing a list with similar consistency to Balance, typically only seeing side cards 2-3% more in comparison, but with the likely cost of skipping your draw. This results in high risk for little reward.
Vanitur - Meta Weekly 153 - Top 32
Con Meta Weekly 153 - Top 32
Xyldaz DLE Damage Step Top 16
Vanitur Meta Freekly #20 - Top 32
Merlin/Medraut + 1 “Noble Arms” Equip Spell
This is the core combo of the deck - and the setup you will be doing most often.
(If you opened with “Merlin”, Normal Summon him and then activate his effect in order to summon “Noble Knight Medraut” from the deck.)
- Summon “Noble Knight Medraut” and equip it with your “Noble Arms” equip spell.
- Activate the effect of “Noble Knight Medraut” to special summon “Noble Knight Borz” from the deck.
- Destroy the “Noble Arms” equip spell, and then use its effect to re-equip it to “Noble Knight Borz”
- Use the effect of “Noble Knight Borz” to randomly mill from your deck 2 of 3 “Noble Arms” cards, adding the other to your hand; these cards will be interchanged dependant on the gamestate, but usually on your turn 1 you will want to select “Gwenhwyfar, Queen of Noble Arms”, “Noble Arms of Destiny” and “Until Noble Arms are Needed Once Again”.
- Activate the effect of “Gwenhwyfar, Queen of Noble Arms” (from hand or grave) to equip itself to “Noble Knight Medraut”
- Xyz Summon your “Sacred Noble Knight of King Artorigus”
- Activate the effect of “Sacred Noble Knight of King Artorigus” in order to equip your “Noble Arms” equip spell(s) from the grave.
- (If you added the “Noble Arms” equip spell to hand with the effect of “Noble Knight Borz”, equip that to your “Sacred Noble Knight of King Artorigus”. If you added “Until Noble Arms are Needed Once Again” you will either set it, or a discard trap that you may have in hand.)
Merlin + “Noble Arms of Destiny”
This is one of the power plays of the deck - it gives you on-demand destruction on your opponent’s turn and can be used to avoid certain threats.
- Normal Summon “Merlin” and then activate its effect in order to summon “Noble Knight Medraut” from the deck
- Equip “Noble Knight Medraut” with “Noble Arms of Destiny”
- Activate the effect of “Noble Knight Medraut” in order to summon “Noble Knight Borz” from the deck.
- Destroy “Noble Arms of Destiny” and activate its effect in order to re-equip to “Noble Knight Borz”
- Activate “Noble Knight Borz” effect, selecting “Gwenhwyfar, Queen of Noble Arms”, and 2 copies of “Until Noble Arms are Needed Once Again”.
- Activate the effect of “Gwenhwyfar, Queen of Noble Arms” (from hand or grave) to equip itself to “Noble Knight Medraut”
- (If you added “Until Noble Arms are Needed Once Again” to hand with the effect of “Noble Knight Borz” you will either set it, or a discard trap that you may have in hand.)
Now that you have your combo set up, you have the ability to activate the effect of “Merlin” to Xyz Summon “Sacred Noble Knight of King Artorigus” during your opponent’s turn, as well as the effect of “Until Noble Arms are Needed Once Again” in grave to Special Summon a “Noble Knight” monster from the deck, with a different name to one you control or in the grave.
When you activate these cards, you want to make sure you use “Merlin” as Chain Link 1, and “Until Noble Arms are Needed Once Again” as Chain Link 2. This is because the effect of “Sacred Noble Knight of King Artorigus” is a “When” effect, which means it will only activate if the activation requirement was the last action to have taken place, (In this case, it is the summon of the card”. In other words, the summon of Artorigus needs to take place when Chain Link 1 resolves, or it will “miss timing” on its effect.
- Activate the effect of “Merlin” in grave and chain the effect of “Until Noble Arms are Needed Once Again”.
- With the effect of “Until Noble Arms are Needed Once Again”, Special Summon “Noble Knight Drystan” from the deck.
- With the effect of “Merlin”, Xyz Summon “Sacred Noble Knight of King Artorigus” using your “Noble Knight Medraut” and “Noble Knight Borz” as material.
- (If you have any other “Noble Arms” equip spells than “Noble Arms of Destiny” in the grave, Use the effect of “Sacred Noble Knight of King Artorigus” in order to equip those to itself.)
- Activate the effect of “Noble Arms of Destiny” in order to equip itself to “Noble Knight Drystan” This will activate the mandatory effect of Drystan to destroy a face-up card on the field, which you will use to destroy your opponent’s threat.
Now that you know the core combos of the deck, we will be describing a few plays that you can make throughout a match in certain situations you might find yourself in.
Turn 2 OTK Combo vs. Set Monster
This combo is for when your opponent has nothing but a set monster on the field;
Merlin/Medraut + 1 “Noble Arms” Equip Spell
- Summon “Noble Knight Medraut” (Normal Summon or by the effect of “Merlin”) and equip it with your “Noble Arms” equip spell.
- Activate the effect of “Noble Knight Medraut” to special summon “Noble Knight Borz” from the deck.
- Destroy the “Noble Arms” equip spell, and then use its effect to re-equip it to “Noble Knight Borz”
- Activate the effect of “Noble Knight Borz” selecting “Gwenhwyfar, Queen of Noble Arms”, “Noble Arms - Gallatin” and “Noble Arms - Caliburn”
Turn 2 vs “Necrovalley”
Merlin/Medraut + 2 “Noble Arms” Equip Spells
- Summon “Noble Knight Medraut” (Normal Summon, or by the effect of Merlin) and equip it with a “Noble Arms” equip spell.
- Activate the effect of “Noble Knight Medraut” to summon “Noble Knight Drystan” from the deck.
- Equip 2nd Noble Arms equip to “Noble Knight Drystan” triggering its mandatory effect to pop a card on the field; which you will use to destroy the “Necrovalley.” This leaves you with 2 level 4 monsters that can be turned into Xyz play, but if you have “Merlin” and only 1 equip spell, you can summon “Noble Knight Drystan” directly, and clear the Necrovalley with the mandatory destruction effect.
Turn 2 vs “Ms. Judge”
“Noble Knight Medraut” + 1 “Noble Arms” Equip Spell
Playing into a “Ms. Judge” when “Master of Destiny” is live can seem quite daunting, but this deck handles it exceptionally well. This is because “Ms. Judge” is a mandatory effect, so we can bait it using our equip spell.
- Normal Summon “Noble Knight Medraut”
- Activate your “Noble Arms” Equip Spell, targeting “Noble Knight Medraut”
“Ms. Judge” will activate in response to your Equip Spell, and since it only negates the effect of a card, and not the activation, the Equip Spell still resolves, but with “no effect” which is fine for us, as an Equip Spell will not have an effect on resolution, but has a lingering effect whilst equipped to a monster.
Meta Championship Series 37 was a rough tournament for Noble Knights. Despite their strong position before the MCS and them being the most represented deck during the tournament, only 2 Noble Knight decks hit top 32.
This is primarily due to how almost every player sided anywhere from 2 to 4 cards on average just to prey upon Noble Knights. As long as the deck relies on consistency skills like Balance, My Monster Cards, and Spell Specialist, the deck will struggle against strong side deck options like DNA Surgery, Zombie World, Necrovalley, D.D. Crow, Cosmic Cyclone, and more. However, just because the deck struggled then does not mean it cannot adapt for the future, as shown by the results from Meta Freekly 22, which happened the very next day. When building your deck, keep in mind these powerful side cards.
While some, like D.D. Crow, are difficult to stop, many can be handled by main or side deck techs. Cards like Cosmic Cyclone, Typhoon, and Unending Nightmare can provide important answers to many of the more annoying side cards, all while being versatile enough to be sided offensively for other matchups. Ultimately, personal preference on techs, good deck building, and practice are key for winning matches against the plethora of powerful side options that counter Noble Knights.
Because Noble Knights has a high skill ceiling, incredible grind capabilities, but a very vulnerable initial normal summon, the deck has several matchups that fluctuate heavily. However, despite the match up some things always remain true for the deck: the deck’s win rate is significantly higher if it goes first and the deck’s win rate is lower going second due to vulnerability to side deck and backrow interruption. Due to the high amount of rogue decks and King of Game worthy decks, this guide will focus primarily on tiered deck matchups. Furthermore, please assume that in tournaments, most if not every opponent you play against will have several strong side deck cards targeted at the Noble Knight matchup.
In a vacuum, Desperado is one of Noble Knights’ easier matchups. The ability to use Sacred Noble Knight of King Artorigus and Noble Knight Drystan to destroy multiple monsters and force Desperado Barrel Dragon out early, Noble Arms of Destiny and Gwenhwyfar, Queen of Noble Arms protecting key monsters from destruction, and the general ease for Noble Knights to both push for damage with high attack monsters and with multiple attacks, Noble Knight is normally able to dismantle the Desperado strategy. However, in practice Desperado is able to steal wins through powerful backrow like Fiend Comedian, Head Judging, and Karma Cut. Furthermore, they can side multiple strong side cards, including Necrovalley and DNA Surgery. Nonetheless, the matchup is favored towards Noble Knights. If Noble Knights go first or have protection from backrow and side deck cards, they can easily out grind and out pressure the Desperado strategy. If you are playing the matchup, prioritize getting a defensive monster like the rank 5 equipped with Destiny. Alternatively prioritize summoning Noble Knights who are protected through Destiny and also equipped with Noble Arms- Gallatin, Gwen, and/or Noble Arms - Caliburn to make them larger than 2800 attack and protected from destruction. Doing this while not activating that big monster’s effect will play around Head Judging and force your opponent to have Karma Cut to remove your monster. You can further play through backrow by using the graveyard effect of Until The Noble Arms Are Needed Once Again on their turn to summon Ignoble Knight of High Laundsallyn and then using his effect on your turn to search Noble Arms - Arfeudutyr. This can help you chew through multiple backrow safely while being resilient to Head Judging. If you are going second into side deck cards like Necrovalley or DNA, try to get access to gwen and drystan to destroy them. Similarly, Artorigus, King of the Noble Knights and Diamond Dire Wolf can destroy these threats. Siding Cosmic Cyclone and Forbidden Lance can also help.
Ritual Beasts are one of the more skill based matchups. On one side, Spiritual Beast Pettlephin provides non-destruction removal, allowing the Ritual Beast player to remove Noble Knights despite their equips. On the other, Noble Knights with their powerful offensive pushes can easily grind through the floating of Spiritual Beast Tamer Winda. Unlike other matchups which depend on who goes first, this matchup depends more on what each player opens. The matchup is significantly harder if the Ritual Beast player opens an Ritual Beast Elder combo than if they open Winda and no backrow. Similarly, if you open Borz, the matchup is much harder than if you opened Merlin. If you are going first with a Merlin opener, save your Drystan interruption for when your opponent summons a monster that is hard to recur on their initial play. For instance, using Drystan to immediately threaten one of their summons off their Elder play, you can force the opponent to either commit resources from hand like Ritual Beast Return to continue or they must stop their turn entirely. However, when going second into backrow or into a strong Elder opener, trying to conserve resources to rebuild after your board is cleared will help a lot. One play that does help is when they use Pettlephin to spin one of your Noble Knights, you can chain the trap in grave to summon Drystan from the deck. Then, re-equip Drystan with equip spells to destroy the pettlephin and possibly slow down their plays. For side deck, use Artifact Lancea and Chaos Hunter to stop their combos, but be prepared to play around DNA Surgery.
Noble Knights (Mirror Match)
The Noble Knight mirror can be extremely difficult due to the powerful grind game the deck has. Outside of one player going first with a sacky card like Enemy Controller or Karma Cut and the other player not opening Noble Arms - Arfeudutyr or Cosmic Cyclone to remove the interruption before their turn one play, the matchup heavily relies on resource management, deck optimization, precise gameplay, and playing towards outs and non-searchable resources like Karma Cut. As a result, the matchup is normally won by who plays better during the match or by whoever has the better optimized deck for the matchup. Access to cards like Ignoble Knight of Black Laundsallyn, Noble Knight Brothers, and Maestroke the Symphony Djinn and tech cards like Jet Synchron and Jet Warrior can add additional options to the matchup and help turn the tides in your favor. Similarly, having access to 3 copies of Until The Noble Arms Are Needed Once Again instead of two can help increase the grind game for the deck. If you are looking for side deck options, one of the best is D.D. Crow. While unable to win the game on its own, D.D. Crow can attack the enemy’s resources at key points, such as when a vital equip spell is trying to recur itself, when the trap first enters the graveyard and is vulnerable, or when the rank 5 XYZ is trying to float into a monster. Since the matchup is often won off small differences in advantage, having access to a card that can deny resources is powerful. When in doubt, take some time to practice the matchup to get used to various card interactions, like equipping your Noble Arms - Arfeudutyr to your opponent’s monster to destroy their set card and lower their monster’s attack.
Invoked Neos is the hardest matchup for Noble Knights. This is not because of the Neos engine or the Invoked engine but because of the plethora of traps at the deck’s disposal. Even when the Noble Knight player goes first, you will normally have to grind through multiple high impact trap cards like Paleozoic Canadia, Karma Cut, Divine Wrath, and more. However, if Noble Knights are able to establish a large monster protected by their equips, it’s hard for the Invoked Neos deck to remove it without seeing Karma Cut. None of the strong fusion monsters in their deck can easily kill a Noble Knight XYZ protected by Noble Arms of Destiny and Noble Arms - Gallatin. One way to do this is to force out or remove their backrow by using Noble Arms - Arfeudutyr. If you are playing Ignoble Knight of High Laundsallyn, you can use your trap’s effect to summon him from the deck and then tribute him to access Arf, similar to how you would use him in the Desperado match up. Having access to main deck or side deck cards like Hey, Trunade!, Forbidden Lance, and Cosmic Cyclone can protect your monsters from backrow and provide a win condition by having a bigger monster. D.D. Crow, Cosmic Cyclone, Forbidden Lance, and Artifact Lancea are also strong since they can turn off their invoked engine and limit what win conditions they have. While this is a hard matchup, it isn’t impossible.
Blackwings is one of the more difficult match ups to define. This is because both decks have a high variance in the power of their opening hands. On one side, Noble Knights can easily set up a wall of multiple floaters immune to destruction paired with incredible follow up next turn. On the other hand, Blackwings can loop Raikiri 2 times in a turn and swing for over 8000 damage. The biggest advantage Noble Knights have is that their grind game is much better than that of Blackwings due to Until The Noble Arms Are Needed Once Again giving reset capabilities. When playing the match up, prioritize defense and survival until you are sure you can close the game or until they have run out of resources. Try to get Sacred Noble Knight of King Artorigus in defense equipped with Noble Arms of Destiny to protect against Raikiri clearing your board. Unless you are absolutely sure it will stop their turn, increase your survival, or slow them enough for you to survive, avoid summoning Drystan off the trap for an interruptive destruction through a Drystan + Merlin combo. This is because the trap can protect from several OTKs by either summoning Noble Knight Brothers to block attacks from smaller Blackwing monsters or by summoning Noble Knight Drystan in defense to dodge an attack from Assault Blackwing - Chidori the Rain Sprinkling in case they try to OTK you by attacking over a NK monster forced into attack by Blackwing - Oroshi the Squall and made small by Blackwing - Gale the Whirlwind. Blackwings struggle at recovering resources and at top decking, and their grind game is significantly weaker than NK. If you can survive their OTK push, you will normally be able to close out games and win matches by virtue of your superior grind game. For games 2 and 3 of a match, expect Cosmic Cyclone being sided and for Peak Performance and Harpie’s Hunting Ground decks to side in Zombie World or Necrovalley.
Blue-Eyes is an awkward matchup, primarily due to the deck’s ability to run Karma Cut and other traps with upside, Dragon Spirit of White banishing equips, and Blue Eyes Spirit Dragon being able to negate your equip and trap effects. However, Blue-Eyes also tends to brick or open without interruption. Furthermore, if the Noble Knight player can break the initial Blue-Eyes board and resources, it’s very difficult for Blue-Eyes to recover. When playing the matchup, avoid killing set monsters unless you can afford to have an equip spell banished by Dragon Spirit. Similarly, try to only use your trap effect when Blue Eyes Spirit Dragon has no negation or when you need to force that negation for something more potent. For siding, side cards like D.D. Crow to banish White Stone of Ancients and deny their resources. Be prepared to play around all the standard Noble Knight hate as well.
While the Cyber Dragon matchup is Noble Knight favored, a lot of the matchup depends on if Cyber Dragons go first with multiple interruptions or not. Unlike a lot of common backrow cards, Cybernetic Overflow is not always a blowout against Noble Knights. This is because Glory of the Noble Knights can chain in response and equip Medraut or Borz with Noble Arms of Destiny, protecting your monster. Because of this, Cyber Dragons is one of the only matchups where opening Medraut can be more powerful than opening Merlin. When playing the matchup, your main goal should be to survive the turn after you establish your board. Depending on the resources available to the Cyber Dragon player, sometimes you need to save your trap to summon Noble Knight Brothers and stave off an otk from Chimeratech Rampage Dragon, while other games you can safely use the trap in response to Rampage Dragon’s backrow destruction to summon Drystan and destroy their fusion. Practicing the matchup a few times will help you to know when to summon what monster. If your opponent has Herald of the abyss and uses it while you have your rank 5 XYZ, chain the trap and summon Brothers, then send brothers to the grave for Herald’s effect. That way, if they kill your rank 5, you can float into Brothers and still have a monster with a defense too high for Rampage Dragon to OTK through. If you want to side cards for the matchup, backrow removal and protection are likely your best options.
An awkward skill matchup, Witchcrafters are slightly favored due to Witchcrafter Madame Verre being able to negate the effects of your initial normal summon. However, the matchup isn’t free for the Witchcrafter player either. Gwenhwyfar, Queen of Noble Arms when paired with Ignoble Knight of Black Laundsallyn can provide removal for Verre even while negated, and even Witchcrafter struggles to stop Noble Knights if they have already established their resources. Your main goal should be to first establish access to your traps in the graveyard, Destiny to protect your monsters, and Gwen to threaten Verre. Once that is done, layer your removal effects like Drystan and the rank 5 XYZ one at a time to grind through the Verre negate and push for the game. Lastly, be careful about pushing for lethal when Witchcrafter Masterpiece is in the grave. While Noble Knights can remove one Verre and push for game with some consistency, it is much harder to remove two at the same time. Be careful not to overextend only to be stopped by Masterpiece in grave. If you are seeing the matchup a lot, siding D.D. Crow or Last Day of the Witch can help even the matchup out in your favor.
This somewhat unusual archetype had it’s fair share of struggles over the time. Despite that, this unique combination of brave warriors that rely on their magical swords and Arthurian legends has made it’s own little fanbase. It’s also somewhat bittersweet that this deck is one of the first (if not the first) good xyz decks Duel Links can offer, and we can only hope that these Noble Knights can withstand the test of time, even if only by little.
This guide was made thanks to great support from everyone that believed in the deck from the Noble Knight channel, especially to Mordecai which helped out with matchup testing, Zenith who was always there to put things into realistic perspective, Atlas who did a lot of math which lead to discovery of stronger lists, and wayne kenoff as one of the og Noble Knight masters.