Ritual Beasts are a Duel Terminal Archetype that were released in Duel Links in the Spirit of the Beast Mini Box; since their release Ritual Beasts have gone on and off various tier lists as a top tier deck that is very free to play friendly, with all of its core cards being inside its debut box, but also holds a reputation as being one of, if not the, most difficult decks in the game to both learn and master. Since the February 2020 ban-list, which saw the core card of the deck, Ritual Beast Tamer Elder semi-limited, Ritual Beasts were initially discounted by many, however in spite of this devastating hit to the deck it has managed to persevere, and remains a frequent contender in the meta to this day, continuing to top tournaments and will likely continue to do so for many days to come!
Greetings, my name is Acier and I am the author of this guide to Ritual Beasts. I have been playing duel links irregularly since early 2019 but since late 2019 I have begun playing Duel Links on a more competitive level and have managed to top several tournaments in my short time on the competitive Duel Links stage. There were numerous qualities about this deck that drew me to it, the artwork, the playstyle, the high learning curve e.t.c, but the thing that really enraptured me was the lore behind this archetype, as the successor to the archetype that got me introduced to Yugioh as a child and is still to this day my all-time favorite archetype, Gusto’s, I knew instantly that this was the deck for me, and I have been in love with the deck ever since I picked it up!
“Ritual Beasts” are a Fusion archetype that is divided into two “sub-archetypes”, the “Ritual Beast Tamers” and the “Spiritual Beasts”, with both names counting as “Ritual Beast” monsters, but with “Ritual Beast Tamers” not counting as “Spiritual Beasts” and vice versa (save 1 exception in Spiritual Beast Tamer Winda); the Tamers are all Psychic Type Wind Attribute monsters resembling humans and the Spiritual Beasts being Wind Attribute monsters of various types that resemble animals. Unlike traditional fusion decks however, this deck does not utilize fusion cards such as Polymerization, instead it utilizes contact fusion (similar to Neo Spacians or Gladiator Beasts) by banishing 1 Tamer and 1 Spiritual Beast to special summon an “Ulti-” Ritual Beast monster from the extra deck (NOTE: this is NOT a fusion summon, it is considered a special summon); Also, All of the Extra Deck Ritual Beasts currently in Duel Links share the effect of “During either player’s turn: You can return this card you control to the Extra Deck, then target 2 of your banished monsters (1 “Ritual Beast Tamer” monster and 1 “Spiritual Beast” monster); Special summon the in Defense Position” (Will be referred to as the “Tag-Out” effect from here on out for simplicity’s sake); it is important to note that the Ulti-Ritual Beasts can tag-out into any banished Spiritual Beast and Ritual Beast Tamer, it does not have to be the monsters that were used in the contact fusion.
As such, Ritual Beasts are a control deck that can quickly flip to an OTK strategy, initially focusing on establishing a strong and unassailable defense by utilizing the powerful floating properties of Spiritual Beast Tamer Winda to float into herself or any other Ritual Beast from both the main deck or the extra deck to match the situation needed, either an Ulti-beast from the extra deck for more defense, or a Spiritual Beast Pettlephin to facilitate an OTK next turn and help control the board by dismantling the opponent’s resources. Or, more traditionally, the deck will utilize the effect of Ritual Beast Tamer Elder to gain an additional normal summon of any Ritual Beast monster and facilitate a contact fusion opening combo that typically ends in a Ritual Beast Ulti-Pettlephin on turn 1 and, if used with either Spiritual Beast Cannahawk or Spiritual Beast Rampengu, can help set up a large banished pile for the on field Ulti-Ritual Beast to float into. This gives Ritual Beasts unparalleled defensive capabilities and the ability to dodge some of the most played and destructive backrow in the game, alongside just being a giant headache for your opponents to deal with.
As the monsters in this archetype are themselves divided into sub-archetypes, I will be ordering this section in the following order:
- Ritual Beast Tamers
- Spiritual Beasts
- The Extra Deck
- Spells and Traps
Another important detail to mention here, is that all “Ritual Beast” monsters share the following restriction: “You can only special summon (X Monster) once per turn”
Ritual Beast Tamer Elder (2x)
Easily the most important card in the entire deck, and one that would be a 3-off if not for it being semi-limited in the February 2020 ban-list, Ritual Beast Tamer Elder allows you to normal summon 1 “Ritual Beast” monster in addition to your normal summon or set and is the primary playmaker of the archetype, allowing you to normal summon any Spiritual Beast and follow-up with a contact fusion. Usually accompanied by Spiritual Beast Cannahawk as the main follow-up play, Elder is the primary combo enabler of the deck and the well-known “Elder+Cannahawk” opening is the most feared of all of the Ritual Beast openings, being a 2-card combo that at its most basic sets-up a banished pile of 4 differently named Ritual Beasts alongside allowing you to search for any Ritual Beast card in your deck through the effect of Ritual Beast Ulti-Cannahawk. The sheer amount of combos that Elder kick-starts will be explained in much more detail in the combo’s section of this guide, but for now it is most important to stress that Elder’s effect does not start a chain as it is not an effect that “activates” and therefore cannot be negated with cards like Fiendish Chain, Forbidden Chalice, and as it is not an effect that “activates” cards such as Divine Wrath cannot negate it either.
Spiritual Beast Tamer Winda (3x)
The next most important card in the deck, Winda serves as an alternative opener to Ritual Beast Tamer Elder as a powerful floater that can float into any Ritual Beast monster from both the main deck AND the Extra Deck including herself as long as she wasn’t special summoned on that turn already. Windas importance is not restricted to her impressive floating capabilities however, in fact that isn’t even her most important use in the deck, rather, her name is her most important feature since Spiritual Beast Tamer Winda counts as both a “Ritual Beast Tamer” and a “Spiritual Beast” for the purposes of fulfilling the fusion requirements for the Ulti-Ritual Beasts. This makes Winda the most versatile card in the deck, not only allowing her to fuse with both Tamers and Spiritual Beasts, but also allowing her to fuse with another copy of herself; This allows for a very interesting interaction when Tagging-out with an Ulti-Ritual Beast - Since Winda counts as both a “Ritual Beast Tamer” and a “Spiritual Beast she meets both requirements, which means that if two copies of Winda are currently banished you choose both Winda when you go to tag-out; despite Winda sharing the restriction of “You can only special summon (X monster) once per turn” with the other Ritual Beasts, you can in fact summon both Winda with the Ulti-Ritual Beasts tag-out effects. This works due to the wording of their tag-out effect, because of the wording both of the tag-out targets are special summoned at the same time; this means that both summons occur and resolve at the same time, allowing you to effectively bypass Winda’s once per turn summoning restriction and making her the best tag-out target for defensive plays. By using this trick to special summon 2 Winda’s at once, it provides for an incredibly defensive “Winda wall” that is extremely difficult for the opponent to get over during the battle-phase without running the risk of facilitating an OTK follow-up next turn by allowing you to end on a board with a Spiritual Beast Pettlephin, whether directly from a Winda float or from Winda floating into a Ritual Beast Ulti-Pettlephin, that then proceeded to tag-out into any Tamer other than Winda and Pettlephin.
Ritual Beast Tamer Lara (1x)
Ritual Beast Tamer Lara is typically run as a 1-of, her primary use is to recover Spiritual Beasts that have either 1) Been sent to the grave as fuel for the search effect of Ritual Beast Ulti-Cannahawk or 2) Been destroyed by the opponent and sent to the graveyard to the facilitate a contact fusion. Whilst Lara is not as versatile as Ritual Beast Tamer Elder due to requiring a Ritual Beast monster to be in the grave already, alongside the fact that due to her special summoning the monster it limits how far her combo plays can extend to, she provides the deck with additional recovery options, allowing her to recover a destroyed Spiritual Beast Apelio or a Spiritual Beast Pettlephin and immediately contact fuse.
The Spiritual Beasts
Important Note: Each of the Spiritual Beasts has their own effect that are all “Once per turn” effects, due to the wording they are considered “Soft” Once per turn effect, this means that every time a spiritual beast leaves the board, whether it be banished as a material for a contact fusion or sent to the graveyard, once it returns to the field, such as being special summoned by the Ulti-Ritual Beasts tag-out effects, the card will effectively “refresh”, allowing you to use its effect once again. Understanding how soft once per turn effects work is vital to understanding how the loops generated by the Spiritual Beast cards work, something which will be explored more in the combo section of this guide
Spiritual Beast Cannahawk (3x)
The next most important of the Spiritual Beasts, Spiritual Beast Cannahawk and Elder are most often paired with each-other and create the infamous “Elder-Cannahawk combo”; Cannahawks effect acts as a Gold Sarcophagus on legs, banishing a Ritual Beast card from the deck face-up and adding it to your hand after 2 turns, also allowing you to thin the deck. However, the “adding to the hand” part of Cannahawks effect will very rarely see actual relevance as the true purpose of Cannahawk is to send Ritual Beast monsters to the banished pile that the Ulti-Ritual Beasts can then Tag-out into, making Cannahawk the most important play extender in the entire deck. As mentioned above, Cannahawks banish effect “refreshes” if it leaves the field and returns, and as such if it is used as material for a contact fusion, and is then special summoned by the tag-out effect of an Ulti-Ritual Beast, it will allow you to banish another Ritual Beast card from your deck. When paired with Elder this allows you to banish a Spiritual Beast, contact fuse, tag-out, and then banish a Ritual Beast Tamer, allowing you to contact fuse and then tag-out once again into two entirely different monsters - This is the Skeleton for the Elder-Cannahawk Combo, which will be explored in much more depth in the Combo section of this guide.
Spiritual Beast Rampengu (0-1x)
An alternative starter to Spiritual Beast Cannahawk, Spiritual Beast Rampengu banishes a Ritual Beast monster from the extra deck to send a Ritual Beast monster of the same type to the graveyard; due to the Rampengu also consuming resources from the extra deck, it is only typically seen as a 1-of since it is much riskier than Cannahawk, and it sends the main deck monsters to the grave instead of banishing them. After the semi-limit of Ritual Beast Tamer Elder some builds have decided to cut Rampengu entirely, or if they do still include it, only use it as a 1-of run with a second copy of Ritual Beast Return to help with OTK set-up. however, Rampengu does provide an alternative opening when combined with Elder, and serves as another name for the Fusion monsters to tag-out into, whilst the “Elder+Rampengu” opening may not be as infamous as the Elder+Cannahawk opening, it is still powerful in its own right, and does just as impressive a job at filling up the banished pile with fuel for the Ulti-Ritual Beasts to tag-out into.
Spiritual Beast Pettlephin (1x)
The deck’s primary source of removal and another potential starter if going second, Spiritual Beast Pettlephin banishes a Ritual Beast card from your hand to target one card your opponent controls and return it to the hand. Particularly effective on Extra deck monsters since the bounce effect returns them to the extra deck. Pettlephin is the primary way Ritual Beasts control the board and clear the way for an OTK by removing troublesome backrow or monsters that Ritual Beast Ulti-Apelio cannot swing over whilst simultaneously adding resources to the banished pile to fuel the search effect of Ritual Beast Ulti-Cannahawk or simply to add more names to the banished pile to extend into contact fusion plays, making it also serve as an effective combo starter with Ritual Beast Tamer Elder as well as a fantastic float target for Spiritual Beast Tamer Winda. Pettlephin is only run at 1 copy due to the ease at which you can search it with Cannahawk and Ulti-Cannahawk, recover it from the graveyard with Ritual Beast Tamer Lara or Spiritual Beast Apelio, or simply float into it with Winda and as such there is no need to run any more than 1 copy.
Spiritual Beast Apelio (1x)
The deck’s primary recovery tool alongside Ritual Beast Tamer Lara, Spiritual Beast Apelio Banishes a Ritual Beast card from the Graveyard to boost all Ritual Beast monsters by 500 att and def during either player’s turn; Apelio’s primary use it to recover cards in the graveyard that have usually been sent there by the search effect of Ritual Beast Ulti-Cannahawk, or destroyed during the opponent’s turn, thus having a role similar to Lara as a recovery option and making it the most common choice as a banish target for the Elder+Cannahawk opening combo. However, the attack and defense boost should not be underestimated either, as it is a quick effect and can be used on the opponent’s turn, it can be used to boost a Ritual Beast Ulti-Pettlephin to 3300 def, potentially putting it outside of the attack range of opponents boss monsters, keeping it safe until it can tag-out during the opponent’s end phase into a potential Spiritual Beast Pettlephin play.
The Extra Deck Monsters
As mentioned previously, all of the extra deck monsters currently in Duel Links share the “Tag-Out” quick-effect to special summon 1 Ritual Beast Tamer and 1 Spiritual Beast from the banished pile to the field in defense mode.
Ritual Beast Ulti-Apelio (3x)
The decks boss monster, when Ritual Beast Ulti-Apelio attacks it is unaffected by ALL other card effects until the end of the damage step, a powerful effect that makes Ulti-Apelio a dangerous OTK machine, bypassing all battle traps and certain hand traps uch as Sphere Kuriboh. Sitting at 2600 att might not sound all that impressive for a boss monster, but what Ulti-Apelio cannot swing over Spiritual Beast Pettlephin can remove from the field and clear the way for this beast to OTK the opponent; It is important to note that Ulti-Apelio does not benefit from the attack boost provided by the effect of Spiritual Beast Apelio when it attacks, this means that if Apelio’s effect has been used once, it will be resting on 3100 att, however when Ulti-Apelio attacks it will drop back down from 3100 att to 2600 att; this will only happen when Ulti-Apelio is the one attacking, not when it is being attacked however, so it may still be possible to protect Ulti-Apelio from battle destruction on the opponent’s turn by boosting over their boss monsters.
Ritual Beast Ulti-Cannahawk (2x)
Limited to 1 in the TCG due to the timing issues this card can cause, Ritual Beast Ulti-Cannahawk is the most important card in the Extra Deck and the one you will be summoning the most, it is the searcher for the deck and the reason this deck takes so long to make it’s plays. Ulti-Cannahawks effect allows it to target 2 Ritual Beast cards that have been banished, return them to the graveyard, and if you do, search for any Ritual Beast card in your deck; that makes this searching effect so powerful is the combination of the wording of its effect when combined with Ulti-Cannahawk’s tag-out effect - Due to the way the search effect is worded, only ONE card that is targeted by Ulti-Cannahawk needs to return to the graveyard for its search effect to resolve, and as a result if you chain Ulti-Cannahawk’s Tag-out effect to the search effect and target: one of the monsters targeted for the search effect, and one monster not targeted for the search effect, the chain will resolve backwards, special summoning the two monsters chosen for the tag-out effect, and returning only one monster to the graveyard whilst still resolving the search effect. The importance of this trick cannot be overestimated, by mitigating the cost of Ulti-Cannahawk’s search effect, you can maintain a large supply of resources in the Banished Pile for future searches, or as tag-out options for future searches, whilst simultaneously searching for combo pieces needed to secure and OTK.
Ulti-Cannahawks effect is also a “Soft Once Per Turn” just like with the Spiritual Beast monsters, meaning that you can use its effect once again by re-summoning it after tagging-out which allows you to effectively loop Ulti-Cannahawk search effect for as long as you have special summon-able monsters available in your banished pile. This allows you to get as many as potentially 4 searches off in one turn depending on the number of different names of Ritual Beast Tamers and Spiritual Beasts you have banished. Remember however: each main deck monster can only be special summoned once per turn, so there is a limit to the amount of searching Ulti-Cannahawk can do, and you must take extreme caution about what you choose to send to the graveyard and what you choose to tag-out into. Keeping a close eye on your resources and ensuring you don’t send certain important combo pieces to the grave without a way to recover them (such as sending Spiritual Beast Pettlephin to the grave without a Ritual Beast Tamer Lara or Spiritual Beast Apelio to recover them) is the most important part of the Ulti-Cannahawk loop. This, and the speed at which you can perform a full Cannahawk combo, will be what separates the average players from the good Ritual Beast Players and I strongly recommend practicing the combos that will be listed in the combo section of this guide on NPC players where the threat of a time limit loss does not exist.
Ritual Beast Ulti-Pettlephin (1x)
Ulti-Pettlephin is the most common turn 1 play to rest on, and compared to the other Ulti-Ritual Beasts it’s effect and role is a simple one, it cannot be destroyed by card effects; sitting at 2800 def and being immune to effect destruction Ulti-Pettlephin plays an important role in the current meta, being immune to the destruction effect of Assault Blackwing - Raikiri the Rain Shower, of Shiranui Spiritmaster and Shiranui Sunsaga, as well being high enough defence to stop Vision HERO Adoration and Masked HERO Anki from destroying them without the help of Adorations effect (from which Ulti-Pettlephin can just tag-out to evade destruction by battle) or Forbidden Chalice. Ulti-Pettlephin’s role is to be a wall that can survive until the opponent’s end phase, this allows you to set-up multiple Spiritual Beast Pettlephin bounces by tagging-out into her during the end phase of the opponent’s turn to set-up OTK’s or allow you to control the board and slowly dismantle the opponent’s resources.
Ritual Beast’s Bond (1x)
Ritual Beast’s Bond is a quick-play spell that serves a simple role in the deck in the grand scheme of things, it allows you to banish 2 Ritual Beast monsters (Including the Ulti-Ritual Beasts) from the field to special summon a Ritual Beast monster from the extra deck, ignoring its summoning conditions. Bond’s primary purpose is to help push for an OTK by special summoning Ritual Beast Ulti-Apelio from the extra deck for an extra 2600 damage after having cleared the opponent’s board, and should typically be conserved until such a time that you can use it to push for an OTK. However, Bond can have a more flexible application in times of emergency, such as allowing you to fuse into a Ritual Beast Ulti-Pettlephin on the opponent’s turn after tagging-out into a Spiritual Beast Apelio, letting you end the opponent’s Battle phase on a 3300 Def Ulti-Pettlephin that can then tag-out during the end phase, possibly into a Spiritual Beast Pettlephin to help clear the opponent’s board. Bind also allows you to fuse two Ritual Beast Tamers or 2 Spiritual Beasts together into an Ulti-Ritual Beast, whilst this Ulti-Ritual Beast will likely be unable to tag-out without prior set-up, in an emergency it can help unbrick otherwise brick-y boards full of Spiritual Beasts but no Tamers or vice-versa.
Ritual Beast Return (1-2x)
Ritual Beast Return is an incredibly flexible Quick-play Spell card that allows you to banish a Ritual Beast monster in the hand, then special summon a Ritual Beast monster that is banished or in the graveyard. Like Ritual Beast’s Bond, Return is most often used to facilitate OTK’s by summoning an additional body onto the board for extra damage that can then also be used as fodder for Bond; however, return can also be used as another way to recover important resources such as Spiritual Beast Apelio and Spiritual Beast Pettlephin from the graveyard, or as an alternative starter for the deck when combined with Spiritual Beast Cannahawk or in an emergency Spiritual Beast Rampengu and any other Ritual Beast monster in your hand. Traditionally only one copy of this card is run, however the ratios are usually down to personal preference.
Ritual Beast Ambush (0-1x)
Ritual Beast Ambush is typically only used in builds that run Lava Golem or Destiny HERO - Plasma to offset the costs and restrictions of each of these monsters as well as acting as an alternative method of recovery for Ritual Beasts sent to the grave besides Ritual Beast Tamer Lara, Spiritual Beast Apelio and Ritual Beast Return. The strategy is to use Bring it! or Draw Sense: High-Level to search for either Plasma or Golem and use them to out monsters that you would otherwise be unable to out without Herald of the Abyss; by using Ambush, you can mitigate Plasma’s large tribute 3 cost by recovering a Tamer and Spiritual Beast from the graveyard, and if using Golem it allows you to continue to make plays despite not being bale to normal summon anymore. Despite this however, Ambush is considered too slow for the current meta, as a trap card it can be easily removed by an opponent’s cosmic going second alongside competing for a slot in the deck with the many other methods of recovery that are faster and much more efficient, serving double utility by providing towards RB’s OTK strategy. As such, Ambush is recommended for new players who may not have access to more efficient methods of removal such as Herald and need to rely on Lava or Plasma but should typically only be run at 1.
Herald of the Abyss (1-2x)
The most important tech card in the deck, Herald of the abyss is a fantastic removal option that forces the opponent to send one monster on the field with the same type and attribute you declare to the Graveyard, with its effects and the effects of other monsters with the same name as it negated until the end phase. Herald is the decks now primary out to cards that Ritual Beasts have no inherit out to, such as Invoked Cocytus or Lunalight Sabre Dancer due to the archetype lacking any kind of non-target removal, removing critical obstacles that stand in the way of your OTK. Alongside this, Herald serves an important function as a way to trigger the Sealed Tombs skill, the most important skill in the meta right now and vital against decks such as Crystrons, Shiranui and Elementsaber Invoked when attempting to control the board, diminish their resources and limit their plays.
Cosmic Cyclone/Forbidden Lance (1-2x)
Cosmic Cyclone and Forbidden Lance serve as more than just backrow removal, but your choice of card is going to be largely dependent upon which skill you are using in the deck and what deck you are facing at the time, making it a common choice by players to main deck one whilst side-decking the other. Cosmic cyclone is most commonly used in Sealed Tombs and Destiny Draw builds that serves primarily to remove back row, but also to make it easier to trigger the skill by having more proactive LP loss alongside Herald of the Abyss, as well as being a very important card in the otherwise very unfavorable Dark Magician match-up to help deal with Dark Magical Circle. Furthermore, in the Hero match-up cosmic cyclone can be used to interrupt Vision HERO Increase plays by chaining cosmic to increase’s effect activation, effectively removing 2 monsters at once and stopping the Vision HERO Vyon summon. Conversely, forbidden lance can be used to double as both protection from backrow and as a way to reduce the attack of a problematic monster on the opponent’s board into the range of destruction for Ritual Beast Ulti-Apelio. Lance also serves an important function in the Invoked and Hero match-ups, by chaining lance to the activation of an Invocation and targeting Aleister the Invoker, as long as the opponent does not have another copy of Aleister in the hand this will cause the Invocation to fizzle out, leaving the opponent with a vulnerable Aleister on the board and no way to recycle their invocation. In the Hero match-up, it is most commonly used against the activation of a Mask Change to prevent the summoning of Masked HERO Anki and stop any possible OTK’s from Anki’s direct attack, or if mask Change isn’t suspected can be used to force the opponent to keep a low attack hero, such as Destiny HERO - Malicious or Increase on the field.
Sphere Kuriboh (1-2)
The quintessential hand trap of Duel Links, Sphere Kuriboh has begun seeing main deck play in many Ritual Beast decks due to the rise of Heroes and the popularity of Blackwings; Sphere Kuriboh prevents Vision HERO Trinity from running rampant against your entire board and clearing a path for them to OTK you before you can dismantle their board, as well as preventing Assault Blackwing - Onimaru the Divine Thunder or Assault Blackwing - Chidori the Rain Sprinkling from forcing a Ritual Beast Ulti-Pettlephin tag-out. With the recent introduction of another OTK deck into the meta in D/D/D, Sphere Kuriboh has never been more essential as a main and side deck option in modern Ritual Beast lists.
Artifact Lancea (1-2x)
One of the most popular side deck Choices right now and taking an occasional spot in the main deck, Artifact Lancea is the bane of many meta decks (including ours) existence right now; it is a hand-trap that can only be used on the opponent’s turn and it prevents both players from banishing cards for the rest of that turn. Lancea is critical in stopping graveyard Synchro plays from Shiranui and to prevent Crystrons from banishing Crystron Thystvern or Crystron Smiger to search a monster or a Crystron Impact. Lancea is also incredibly important in the mirror match, preventing your opponent from using their monsters to fuse into an Ulti-Ritual Beast and prevent Spiritual Beast Cannahawk from banishing a Ritual Beast card from the deck, It should be noted however that we do however have ways to play around lancea, unlike those other decks mentioned - 1) If the opponent does not have their toggle set to “on”, if you set a Ritual Beast monster the opponent will not be given a prompt to activate Artifact Lancea, since the Ritual Beasts monsters can still contract fuse while facedown if you already have a set Ritual Beast (such as a Winda) on the board you can then set a monster and contact fuse whilst bypassing the opponents lancea; 2) suiciding Winda into an opponent’s attack position monster can be used in a pinch, or if lancea is being used mid-game whilst you still have resources in your banished pile since Winda will special summon an Ulti-Ritual Beast straight from the extra deck.
Void Trap Hole (0-2x)
Void Trap Hole is a tech choice that rose to prominence as an out to Thunder Dragons after the release of Chaos Dragon Levianeer and as a way to prevent Black Rose Dragon’s board wiping destruction effect; void has begun seeing more less play in favor of Needle Ceiling due to the removal of Thunder dragons from the meta, but still remains a solid alternative against decks such as Crystrons to remove Crystron Ametrix and Shiranui to destroy their synchro’s.
Floodgate Trap Hole (0-2x)
Similar to Void Trap Hole, Floodgate Trap Hole is another versatile generic backrow option that is less situational and more generic than void, allowing you to flip down tuners and prevent synchro plays as well as preventing Crystrons from activating their ignition destruction effects; it does however leave a monster remaining on the board and does not negate monster effects like Void does, so in certain match-ups where the monster may simply be tributed away to prevent it from clogging-up board space, or where negating the effect is more important than flipping down the monster, void is more use than Floodgate.
Needle Ceiling (1-2)
Needle Ceiling has begun seeing play in Ritual Beasts decks very recently after seeing a large amount of success in competitive play as a way for Ritual Beasts to stem the tide of decks that focus on special summon large amounts of monsters and OTK quickly or decks that require a substantial board presence to function; due to Ritual Beast Ulti-Pettlephin being immune to effect destruction it has a good amount of synergy with this deck thanks to Ulti-Pettlephin alongside the fact that this decks most common opener now is simply to set Spiritual Beast Tamer Winda and pass. This card is most effective against Blackwings, Heroes and D/D/D, all decks that aim to swarm the board and OTK quickly and are easily and efficiently punished for over-extending by this card, to a point where the mere threat of this card being set is enough to dissuade opponents from being hasty with their resources, forcing sub-optimal plays just to avoid getting hit by this card.
Twister (1-2x [3x if no Cosmic])
Twister has begun seeing increased side deck play due to the rise of Dark Magician’s and Heroes as well as people beginning to side deck Poisonous Winds against us; this card acts as a “2nd cosmic” against Dark Magician to help deal with Dark Magical Circle upon activation, as well as allowing us to destroy Palace of the Elemental Lords to prevent the search effect from resolving as well as preventing Black Whirlwind from resolving and being chainable to the effect of Vision HERO Increase to have the same effect as cosmic.
Beatdown/The Tie that Binds
Draw Sense: High-Level/Bring it
Xeco, 1st Place Anytime Season #25
The following opening combos comprise the skeleton of any Ritual Beast combo, they are the most common opening combos alongside the most common variations of those combos, but it is important to note that these combos are Skeleton’s: What separates the good Ritual Beasts players from the expert Ritual Beast players is identifying the areas of deviation within each of these Skeleton combos and adapting to the situation accordingly. This section aims to outline the most common points of deviation, and the most common ways to deviate from a standard opening combo with Ritual Beasts, to help the reader better understand just where they might want to deviate or potentially cut combo’s short depending on the situation (such as to leave a tag-out alive to avoid being hit by disruptive backrow e.t.c).
- Elder + Cannahawk: (turn 1 combo)
Ritual Beasts bread and butter turn 1 combo:
- Normal summon Elder to then normal summon Cannahawk
- Use Cannahawk to banish Apelio then contact fuse into any Extra deck monster
- Immediately tag-out into Elder+Cannahawk and use Cannahawk to banish Winda
- Contact fuse into Ulti-Cannahawk and search, targeting Apelio and Cannahawk,
- Chain Ulti-Cannahawk’s tag-out to the search effect and tag-out into Apelio+Winda, searching any future combo piece necessary (Your own judgement will be necessary here in deciding what to search for future plays),
- Use Apelio to banish the Cannahawk sent to the grave by Ulti-Cannahawk’s search effect and contact fuse into Ulti-Pettlephin.
- This turn 1 play allows you to have 2 Tamers and 2 Spiritual Beasts in the banished pile whilst sitting on a high defense monster immune to effect destruction, establishing a solid defensive wall that allows you to tag-out into Winda+Cannahawk on the opponent’s turn. If destroyed Winda may float back into Ulti-Pettlephin for another tag-out during the opponent’s end phase, you may then use Apelio to banish your destroyed monsters once during the opponent’s end phase, and once more at the start of your turn, negating any resource loss you may have potentially incurred.
1.1) Elder + Cannahawk + Winda/Lara: (Alt turn 1 combo)
An alternative version of Ritual Beasts turn 1 combo for decks that run Rampengu a much more aggressive opening than the normal one, arguably the most powerful opening in the deck:
- Normal summon Elder and then normal summon Cannahawk
- Cannahawk banish Rampengu and contact fuse into any Extra deck monster, immediately tag-out into Elder+Cannahawk and banish Winda
- Contact fuse into Ulti-Cannahawk and search for Ritual Beast Return, targeting Rampengu and Cannahawk
- Chain tag-out into Rampengu and Winda and use Rampengu’s effect to send Apelio from the deck to the grave and banish 1 Ulti-Apelio from the extra deck
- Use Return to banish the Winda in hand and special summon Apelio with Apelio banishing the Cannahawk in the graveyard.
- Contact fuse with Elder and Rampengu into Ulti-Pettlephin
- This is the most aggressive turn 1 opening Ritual Beasts have to offer, setting up a double Winda Tag-out on the opponents turn as well as thinning the deck by a staggering amount and placing many combo pieces in the banished pile, this is Ritual Beasts most powerful turn 1 opening but is also the rarest.
1.2) Elder + Cannahawk + any other Ritual Beast Monster: (turn 2 combo - leads to an OTK)
A deviation of the standard Elder+Cannahawk combo that works going second if the opponent has at least 1 card on their board (can lead to OTK if opponent has only 1 set monster, use meta judgment if backrow has been set):
- Normal summon Elder and then Normal summon Cannahawk, banish Pettlephin and contact fuse into Ulti-Cannahawk
- search targeting Cannahawk and Pettlephin and tag out into Elder+Pettlephin searching for Apelio
- Pettlephin banish Apelio to bounce 1 card your opponent controls and fuse into Ulti-Cannahawk
- search targeting Elder and Pettlephin for Ritual Beast Return and use Return to banish the other Ritual beast in your hand to Special summon Cannahawk
- Cannahawk banish Winda then tag-out Ulti-Cannahawk into Apelio and Winda, Apelio banish Pettlephin and fuse:
- Ulti-Cannahawk and search Bond targeting Pettlephin and the RB used for Return
- Ulti-Apelio and swing for lethal
- This deviation sets-up an OTK by ending on a board of Ulti-Cannahawk at 1900att and Apelio at 2300att after having returned one monster the opponent controls to the hand as well as allowing you to search for bond, alternatively you can simply set up Ulti-Apelio at the end and swing for lethal if you either have bond in hand already or do not wish to drain your banished pile of more resources - this version is the most susceptible to interruption and care must be taken when trying to secure an OTK this way, but it can however be improved.
1.3) Elder + Cannahawk + Winda/Lara: (turn 2 combo - leads to OTK)
An improved version of the first Elder+Cannahawk deviation that leads to a more secure otk:
- Normal summon Elder and then normal summon Cannahawk
- Use Cannahawk to banish Pettlephin and contact fuse into any RB extra deck monster
- Immediately tag-out into Elder+Pettlephin and use Pettlephin to banish Winda/Lara from the hand, contact fuse into Ulti-Cannahawk
- Search targeting Cannahawk and Pettlephin and Chain tag-out into Cannahawk and Winda/Lara,
- Search for Return and use Cannahawk to banish Apelio:
a) If Return is live: special summon Apelio and banish Pettlephin, contact fuse into Ulti-Cannahawk and search Bond by sending Cannahawk and Elder to the Grave, your board should be the following:
b) Ulti-Cannahawk+Apelio with a bond in hand to summon Ulti-Apelio=6800 damage with Pettlephin, Winda/Lara + 1 other Ritual Beast banished
c) If Return is not live: then contact fuse into Ulti-Cannahawk and search for Winda sending Cannahawk+Elder to the grave, use Return to Special summon Apelio and banish Pettlephin, your board should be the following:
d) Ulti-Cannahawk+Apelio but no Bond in hand=4200 damage with Pettlephin+Winda/Lara+Winda banished
This version can potentially allow up to 6800 damage to your opponent if Return is live due to having a 4th Ritual Beast monster in your hand, allowing for a more secure OTK that, in case of emergency, can allow you to use bond to protect your monsters if the OTK needs to be cut short for any reason. This version also gives you flexibility when deciding whether you should return the opponent’s monster to the hand with Pettlephin, or their back row due to having 3 attacks instead of just 2 - this variation also allows you to OTK even if the opponent has Grit thanks to Ritual Beast bond
- Elder+Rampengu (Turn 1 combo)
An alternative but riskier opening using Rampengu instead of Cannahawk, another bread and butter opening:
- Normal summon Elder to then normal summon Rampengu
- use Rampengu to send Apelio to the grave and banish Ulti-Apelio from the extra deck, contact fuse into Ulti-Cannahawk and search targeting Ulti-Apelio and Rampngu,
- Tag-out into Elder and Rampengu, searching Ritual Beast Return:
- If there is no Winda/Lara in hand: Activate Rampengu to send Cannahawk to the grave and banish Ulti-Cannahawk
- contact fuse into Ulti-Cannahawk and search targeting Ulti-Cannahawk and Rampengu to search for Winda
- use Return to Banish Winda and special Summon Apelio, use Apelio to banish Cannahawk and tag-out Ulti-Cannahawk into Winda+Cannahawk
- use Cannahawk to banish Pettlephin and contact fuse into Ulti-Pettlephin (If going first) or Ulti-Apelio (if going second and battling), your board should now be:
- Ulti-Pettlephin/Ulti-Apelio + Apelio - Pettlephin + Winda + Elder banished - Rampengu + return + Ulti-Apelio + Ulti-Cannahawk in the grave: banish Rampengu with Apelio on the opponent’s turn.
- If there is a Winda/Lara in hand: Activate Rampengu to send Cannahawk to the grave and Banish Ulti-Cannahawk
- activate Return to banish Lara/Winda and special summon Apelio, use Apelio to banish Cannahawk and contact fuse using Ramengu+Elder into Ulti-Cannahawk
- search targeting the Ulti-Cannahawk and Cannahawk and chain tag-out into Cannahawk and Winda searching for Bond
- use Cannahawk to banish Pettlephin and contact fuse into Ulti-Pettlephin (if going first) or Ulti-Apelio (if going second and battling), your board should now be:
- Ulti-Pettlephin/Ulti-Apelio + Apelio on board - Pettlephin + Rampengu + Winda/Lara + Elder banished - Return + UltiApelio + Ulti-Cannahawk in the grave - Bond in hand.
2.1) Elder+Rampengu - If Apelio is in the hand
- This version is in the case of Apelio being in the opening hand alongside Elder+Rampengu:
- Normal summon Elder and Rampengu, use Rampengu to send Cannahawk to the grave and Banish Ulti-Cannahawk
- Contact fuse into Ulti-Cannahawk and search targeting Ulti-Cannahawk and Rampengu, tag-out into Rampengu and Elder and search for Return
- Use Return to banish Apelio and special summon Cannahawk, use Cannahawk to banish Winda
- Contact fuse using Rampengu and Elder into Ulti-Cannahawk without using Rampengu’s effect beforehand
- Search targeting Rampengu and Apelio and tag out into Apelio and Winda, searching for either Pettlephin or Bond (if Pettlephin is in the hand)
- Use Apelio to banish Rampengu and contact fuse into Ulti-Pettlephin using Winda+Cannahawk, your board should now be:
- Ulti-Pettlephin + Apelio on board - Rampengu + Cannahawk + Elder + Winda banished
- Elder + Pettlephin + any Ritual Beast card (can be simplified if this is a monster other than Elder or Pettlephin) (going second)
An opening only available if going second, this opening is attempting to OTK the opponent by using Pettlephin’s bounce to build resources for Return:
- Normal summon Elder to then Normal summon Pettlephin, use Pettlephin to bounce a card on the opponent’s board to the hand then Contact fuse into Ulti-Cannahawk
- If trying to OTK with no monsters on opponent’s board: Search targeting Pettlephin and the other Ritual Beast card, special summon Pettlephin and Elder and search for Apelio, banish contact fuse into Ulti-Cannahawk, and search targeting Pettlephin and Elder for return, use Return to banish Apelio and summon Apelio, use Apelio to banish Pettlephin and swing for lethal.
- If not attempting OTK: Search targeting Pettlephin and the other Ritual Beast card for Lara, contact fuse into Ulti-Pettlephin or Ulti-Apelio (use your own judgement here when deciding whether to risk pushing damage with Ulti-Apelio, or to play it safe and rest on Ulti-Pettlephin
- Cannahawk + Return + Any Ritual Beast card (Turn 1 combo)
An opening available if you did not open an Elder combo but need to secure a turn 1 fusion with a rather open-ended follow-up search play:
- If you have a Tamer in hand: Normal summon Cannahawk and banish Winda (if lara in hand) or Lara (if Winda in hand)
- use return to banish Winda/Lara and special summon Lara,
- contact fuse into Ulti-Cannahawk to search targeting Winda and Lara and tag out into Cannahawk and Winda searching Pettlephin,
- Cannahawk banish Apelio and contact fuse into Ulti-Pettlephin, your board should now look like:
- Ulti-Pettlephin on board - Apelio + Cannahawk + Winda banished - Lara in grave - Pettlephin in hand The advantage of this opening is that it allows you to follow-up on your opponent’s turn with a Winda and Apelio tag out, allowing you to banish the Lara in the grave so that if Winda is destroyed she can float into an extremely difficult to get over Ulti-Pettlephin with 3300 def that can tag-out into Lara+Cannahawk, setting up an idea scenario to OTK the opponent next turn with a Pettlephin normal summon for double bounce and potential return search to recover the resources sent to the graveyard.
- If you do not have a tamer in hand: Normal summon Cannahawk and banish Winda
- use return to banish the Spiritual Beast in hand and special summon Winda
- contact fuse into Ulti-Pettlephin and end turn
- Unfortunately, this opening is much less impressive if you do not also have another Tamer in your hand, as there is no way you can tag out from the fusion during your turn, it does however allow you to end on a turn 1 fusion with either an Apelio/Pettlephin or Rampengu (if ran) in the banished pile alongside Cannahawk and Winda.
- Rampengu + any tamer + Return
A significantly weaker and simpler version of the Elder Cannahawk combo, this version simply uses Rampengu to send Apelio to the grave and banish Ulti-Apelio, return to banish the tamer and special summon the Tamer, then contact fuse into Ulti-Pettlephin
This version is the weakest turn 1 fusion opening the deck has and does not facilitate any follow-up searching, as well as having a steep resource cost.
- Set Winda pass
The most basic turn 1 play for the deck is set Winda pass, a self-explanatory first move that relies on Winda’s exceptional floating capabilities to provide a sturdy defense whilst simultaneously setting up the board for the following turn: What you float with using Winda is entirely situational, but here I will explain some of the most common scenarios and what to float into using Winda, but it is important to stress that you must use your own judgement to determine the most appropriate card for the variety of situations you will find yourself in
- If the opponent destroys Winda, the most common and usually the most correct play is to simply float Winda into another Winda if the opponent has further methods of removal or battle destruction, this is to thin the deck and reduce the possibility of the opponent OTK-ing you
- However, after you have special summoned Winda, if your next Winda is destroyed take care about what you float into next:
- If the opponent has no more removal, cannot swing over an attack of 1400 and you have a Tamer in hand - Special summon Cannahawk in attack mode.
- If the opponent has no more removal and cannot get over an attack value of 2300 - Special summon Apelio to banish the Winda’s in your graveyard, protect your LP, and set-up for next turn.
- If the opponent has no more removal, cannot get over a defense value of 2000 and you have a tamer in hand - Special summon Pettlephin in defense mode.
- If the opponent has no more removal and cannot get over a defense value of more than 2000 and you have a Spiritual Beast in hand - Special summon Lara in defense mode.
- If you suspect the opponent still has methods of removal outside of battle or can swing over a stat value of more than 2300 but not 2800, special summon Ulti-Pettlephin in defense mode.
- If the opponent can swing over 2800 regardless of whether they have outside of battle removal or not as at that point it is irrelevant, special summon Apelio in defense mode and banish Winda As stressed prior, these should not be taken as gospel or as objectively the best plays in these scenarios, use your own head and judgement to determine the best follow-up plays in that scenario.
What to search and When to search it, Follow-up play tips
Now that I have explained this deck’s opening combos, it is time to explain the next most important factor in playing this deck - What to search with Ulti-Cannahawk and when to search it:
At the very start of the duel it is integral that you have your end goal in mind, you need to understand what your path to victory against certain match-ups is as soon as you see your opening hand and identify what the opponent is playing. Are you going to play the long game? Or OTK as quickly as possible? This will have a large impact on what you search with Ulti-Cannahawk and will require a high level of meta knowledge and understanding that each player will have to pick-up for themselves, but I will be going into more detail in the match-ups section below about how you should attempt to deal with each of the meta decks and what your path to victory may look like against them.
The following is an example of the basic checklist I run through in my head when deciding what to search and when to search it with my 3-4 Ulti-Cannahawk searches:
When trying to OTK: Pettlephin - Elder:
a) If no fodder exists for Pettlephin in hand: Pettlephin fodder (any Spiritual Beast or Ritual Beast Tamer of a name not included in the banished pile) - Bond (or more fodder if needed)
b) If fodder already exists for Pettlephin in hand: Return - Bond
When trying to out-resource the opponent: Pettlephin - Elder - Apelio (If already banished, search Return) - Winda
If Pettlephin is already banished: Apelio - Elder - Return - Bond
If Apelio is already in hand: Rampengu - Elder - Return - Bond
And so on and so forth: I keep this checklist of names in my head constantly to maximize my search efficiency without drastically reducing my resources that are banished and holding onto ways to recover them or assist in OTK set-up and board extension.
You must always be vigilant with your searches, as well as your Cannahawk banishes, trying to stack as many unique names in the banished pile as possible to give you more tag-outs and therefore searches to acquire combo pieces and thin your deck to help draw your tech cards and minimize the chance you draw your combo pieces.
Shiranui are a graveyard focused synchro deck that utilizes its small engine to run copious amounts of backrow to help pave the way for their boss monsters to dominate the opponent’s board, making a versatile powerhouse that can easily adapt to the meta:
- A surprisingly easy match-up for Ritual Beasts, Shiranui struggle to OTK on their first turn, and many of their interruption strategies are relatively ineffective on Ritual Beasts which make them Ritual Beasts most favorable match-up in the meta right now.
- Common backrow staples such as Fiendish Chain and Floodgate Trap Hole have virtually no effect on the Ulti-Ritual Beast monsters due to their ability to tag-out and simply avoid these, whilst using them on the smaller Spiritual Beasts may slightly interrupt your combo, but will not prevent you from contact fusing, even if they are flipped face-down, causing your opponent to simply burn through all of their backrow in an attempt to interrupt your OTK set-up.
- This isn’t to say their back-row is entirely useless against you however, a good Shiranui player will wait to use their back-row once you have run out of ways to tag-out your Ulti-Ritual Beasts, or will use cards such as Ballista Squad on the Spiritual Beasts if possible to try and prevent further fusions or disrupt their effects to interrupt your OTK set-up whilst simultaneously setting up their graveyard.
- Furthermore, the only extra deck monster Ritual Beasts have to fear is Revived King Ha Des, who can be special summoned using the effect of Shiranui Spectralsword; Ha Des will cause Winda’s floating effect to be negated when she is destroyed by battle with a zombie monster, allowing the Shiranui player to dismantle your strongest line of defense.
- However, Shiranui is incredibly weak to the skill Sealed Tombs which prevents them from banishing the monsters in their graveyard on their next turn for Shiranui Spectralsword, completely crippling their graveyard synchro strategy and preventing the summoning of Ha Des to negate Winda’s floating as well as stopping any other possible follow-up plays they may have.
- Sealed Tombs is such a threat to the shiranui strategy that activating cosmic or Herald at the start of the turn will force them to make the suboptimal play of using their own cosmic on your card, just to prevent you from falling 1000 LP below them - This knowledge can be used to force your opponent to use their backrow removal early if they have it, or force them to lower themselves into potential OTK range.
- Their boss monster, Sunsaga, is little threat due to Ritual Beast Ulti-Pettlephin being immune to his effect destruction, and Spiritual Beast Pettlephin’s bounce removal returning Sunsaga to the extra deck, which Sunaga cannot defend against; if that wasn’t enough as mentioned prior Herald of the Abyss forces the opponent to send Sunsaga to the grave, meaning it’s protection effect does not activate.
- Finally, the prevalence of Artifact Lancea in many side decks will allow you to stall their graveyard synchro’s for a turn and prevent them from making plays with Shiranui Squiresaga and Gold Sarcophagus, causing them massive disruption and providing another way to delay the summon of Ha Des.
As such, Shiranui are an extremely simple match-up in the current meta, by keeping an eye on your remaining tag-outs, and given the plethora of out’s to Shiranui that is run in Ritual Beasts, this match-up is largely in Ritual Beasts favor.
Crystrons are a control deck that focus on piling resources in the graveyard to generate advantage and disrupt the opponents plays with a timely synchro summon during their turn using Crystron Rion or Crystron Citree.
- An unfavorable match-up for Ritual Beasts due to the skill nerf of No Mortal Can Resist, Ritual Beasts versus Crystrons makes for one of the grindiest games in the meta that favors Crystrons as the match goes on due to RB’s losing their best way to eliminate Crystrons resources and their access to Samurai Destroyer.
- The trick to this match-up is to set-up at least 2 Spiritual Beast Pettlephin bounces during your turn, and to use this to force Citree or Rion to synchro summon early to potentially bait out a Crystron Ametrix, and to then bounce it back to the extra deck with a second Pettlephin bounce to clear the field for an OTK or by sending it to the graveyard with Herald of the Abyss.
- Due to the nerf to the skill No Mortal Can Resist the best skill for RB’s to use against Crystrons is now Sealed Tombs to prevent them from using Citree to interrupt you when you try and OTK them, as well as stopping Crystron Ametrix and Samurai Destroyer from floating upon destruction (the latter by card effect).
- System Down is a fantastic card to side against Crystrons to eliminate all of their resources on your turn whilst simultaneously lowering your LP to potentially trigger your skills; it should be noted however that it is possible for Crystrons to recover from a system down by using Crystron Impact to recover a banished Rion, who can then use the banished Crystron to synchro summon.
- Their easy access to Powered Inzektron however can be a huge hindrance as it prevents them from taking damage for the rest of the turn, stopping your OTK and being a monster you do NOT want to return to the extra deck for them to re-summon and re-use its effect.
- Crystrons also have access to Samurai Destroyer, an incredibly dangerous card that can prevent Winda from using her floating effect, allowing them to swing the grind game in their favor if it goes off: However, Sam Destroyer has been made easier for Ritual Beasts to deal with thanks to the recent rule change:
- Before the rule change: If Pettlephin bounced Samurai destroyer, it would be able to re-summon a Crystron from the graveyard, which would allow them to out-grind Ritual Beasts and set-up for a re-summon of Sam Destroyer on their turn.
- After the rule change: Samurai destroyer no longer floats into a Crystron from the graveyard if it is sent from the field to the extra deck, making Pettlephin a good out to Sam destroyer and allowing you to save your Heralds for Ametrix, or Crystron Quariongandrax.
- The timer is a real issue in this match, both for you and the Crystron player - due to the complexity of the match-up and the plays required from both players, it is very easy to lose track of time, this will force both players to make suboptimal plays and it will become evident in the late-game whether both players are running low on time
- Effective use of the “toggle” will be necessary in this match-up to save every possible second, turning the toggle to “off” when it is simply not needed is an extra tool in your arsenal when playing in this match-ups long game, the less you have to worry about the timer, the better
This match-up is fairly even for Ritual Beasts, and will be determined by how efficiently each player manages to play the grind game and how fast each player can make their plays; this is easily one of the longest and most boring match-ups in the meta right now but is very winnable for both players and will depend on tech choices and skillful yet efficient plays swinging the game in their favor.
One of Ritual Beasts worst match-ups in the meta right now, Dark Magician plays a simple but effective strategy of establishing a turn 1 board of Dark Magical Circle alongside Magician Navigation to disrupt the opponents plays and summon two Dark Magician to the field.
- This match-up is extremely luck dependent if going second - If DM manage to open a Circle + Nav combo it is almost impossible for Ritual Beasts to recover going second without Ritual Beast Return to recover the banished monster, Cosmic Cyclone to banish the Circle, or Forbidden Lance to protect against the Circle banish.
- If going first, the match-up still remains unfavorable but becomes winnable if you open with a fusion combo on your first turn.
- When going first, setting cosmic is a great way to potentially end the duel quickly, by chaining cosmic to Circle’s activation the search effect of Circle will not resolve, this is because for the effects of continuous spells and traps to resolve they need to remain on the field, as such you can interrupt their search, get rid of their circle, and potentially critically disrupt their core combo.
- If you do not open with a fusion combo going first and have to rely on setting a monster and passing, whether you win or not will be almost entirely dependent upon whether your opponent has their toggle set to “on” or not.
- This is because if their toggle is set to “auto”, they will not be given the option to respond to you if you set a monster; as such, an effective way of “cheating” out a fusion monster could be to set a monster instead of summoning it so that the opponent does not get the chance to respond with Nav into Circle banish.
- Even if you managed to get a fusion summon out, you must be extremely careful with when you tag-out, if you tag-out during your opponent’s end phase whilst they have a set Navigation and have no monster in hand then you will be unable to follow-up with a contact fusion if they have their toggle set to “on”, or you try and use an effective that isn’t Spiritual Beast Pettlephin bouncing the Circle.
- As such depending on the situation it may be advisable to simply not tag-out at all, and rest on an attack mode Ritual Beast Ulti-Apelio and only tag-out when targeted by Circle.
- The following are the circumstances when I would and would not advise you to tag-out during the opponent’s end phase, if they have a Nav + Circle play set-up:
- You have no Ritual Beasts monsters in your hand to summon after you Tag-out: - DO NOT TAG OUT, wait for the circle to try and banish your fusion and tag-out then to avoid it
- You have a Winda in hand: DO TAG-OUT, Winda can be treated as both a Tamer and a Spiritual Beast, so regardless of whichever monster the opponent chooses to banish you can always follow-up with a contact fusion
- You have a lara in hand and no Spiritual Beasts in the grave: DO NOT TAG OUT, the opponent is much more likely to banish your on board Spiritual Beast than they are to banish the Tamer in an effort to prevent you from using their effects to establish an OTK, as such if all you have available in your hand is a Tamer and no way to follow-up with a Spiritual Beast, you will be left with 2 Tamers and be unable to contact fuse
- You have a Lara in hand and a Spiritual Beast in the grave: DO TAG OUT, even if the opponent banishes the Spiritual Beast you special summoned during their end phase, Lara has a target to special summon, leading to a contact fusion
- You have an Elder in Hand and no Spiritual Beasts: DO NOT TAG OUT, same reason as to why you do not tag-out if you have Lara and graveyard set-up
- You have Elder in hand and a Spiritual Beast in hand: DO TAG OUT, if you are lucky enough to be in this situation, then there is little reason why you should not tag-out since you will be able to follow-up with multiple fusions
- If you managed to surmount the initial obstacles DM throws your way, the only obstacle left in your path is The Eye of Timaeus special summoning a Dark Cavalry, a massive threat to the deck due to it being able to negate Pettlephin’s bounce effect and being too large for Ritual Beast Ulti-Apelio to swing over, as well as its piercing damage being able to help the DM player end grind games quickly. As such you will need to rely on your tech cards to overcome it if it hits the board, either Herald of the Abyss or Sphere Kuriboh to allow Ulti-Apelio to swing over it, ideally however you would end the match before Cavalry is ever even summoned.
This match-up is easily Ritual Beasts 2nd most challenging match-up, and it can be over before it ever began thanks to the massive consistency of DM opening up their Circle + Nav combo, however if you open with ways to surmount the initial onslaught then this match-up is very winnable for RB’s, debatably even becoming favorable around the mid-game.
Formally Ritual Beasts worst match-up, thanks to the limit 3 of Cosmic Cyclone and Palace of the Elemental Lords, as well as the nerf to their core skill Sorcery Conduit, the deck has shifted to a heavy backrow control style of play that greatly favors Ritual Beasts, making this match-up favorable for Ritual Beasts for many of the same reasons Shiranui is favorable.
- With the consistency hit to this decks ability to search Aleister the Invoker, it is a lot harder for this deck to summon its biggest out to Ritual Beasts in Invoked Cocytus, which Ritual Beasts have no in-archetype out to and have to rely on Herald of the Abyss to remove.
- This monster is still a huge threat to RB’s however, acting as an insurmountable wall that the deck simply cannot out without hard drawing its tech cards, as such the duel should ideally be ended before Cocytus is ever summoned.
- Tech cards such as Forbidden Lance and Cosmic Cyclone have incredible functionality in this match-up thanks to the deck now lacking cosmic itself as an out to the opponent’s back-row:
- Forbidden lance can be chained to an on board Aliester after they have activated Invocation, if they do not have an Aliester in hand this will cause Invocation to fizzle and leave them stuck with a weak, vulnerable monster in attack mode
- Cosmic cyclone can also be chained to Invocation to banish it, this will prevent them from adding Aliester back to the hand for future follow-up fusions or to boost the decks boss monster Invoked Purgatrio to where it can swing over Ritual Beast Ulti-Pettlephin or Ritual Beast Ulti-Apelio; also, if they only run 1 copy of Invocation this will prevent them from any further fusion plays, allowing you to win the grind game easily
- As with Shiranui, this deck relies on copious amounts of backrow to control the opponent’s board including Fiendish Chain and Floodgate Trap Hole, alongside these Elementsaber Molehu provides an additional source of disruption for them, all of which are however easily avoidable with the tag-out effects of the fusions.
- Molehu should generally be given priority as a bounce option for Spiritual Beast Pettlephin to prevent it from flipping a fusion face-down in case you run the risk of running out of tag-outs
- As the deck now runs Destiny Draw, make sure you do not reduce your opponent to below 2000 LP if you do not plan on OTK-ing them that turn as you do not want to allow them guarantee an Aliester draw that could potentially swing the entire game in their favor.
Like with Shiranui, Ritual Beasts can handle E-saber Invoked’s new strategy with ease, with the match-up coming down to how quickly they can secure an Aliester.
Another favorable match-up, heroes rely on an OTK strategy to win combined with Mask Change to blow the opponent out, a strategy that has massive constancy thanks to Elemental HERO Stratos and Vision HERO Faris.
- The biggest threat to Ritual Beasts in this match-up is Vision HERO Trinity, on summon Trinity can attack your monsters a total of 3 times while sitting at a massive 5000att points. Trinity is not insurmountable however, in fact depending on your opening it still might not actually be able to clear your entire board on it’s own if you opened Elder+Cannahawk, leaving you with at least one monster left on the board, but depleting you of most of your resources, making a comeback difficult.
- Cosmic Cyclone and Forbidden Lance once again shine in this match-up:
- By chaining cosmic to the activation of Vision HERO Increase’s effect, you can banish Increase after it tributes a monster on the field as part of the cost for its special summon, thereby preventing it from special summoning Vision HERO Vyon, activating No Mortal Can Resist, and effectively dealing with 2 monsters all just by activating 1 card!
- As for Forbidden Lance, it’s best use is going to be chaining it to the activation of a Mask Change to prevent the opponent from blowing you out with direct attack OTK’s.
- NMCR is once again a fantastic skill in this match-up, by activating it you can turn their Destiny HERO - Celestial’s and Vision HERO Increases into skull servants, preventing them from making potentially dangerous follow-up plays.
- Ritual Beast Ulti-Pettlephin is going to be your most important defensive barrier in this fight alongside other tech choices like Sphere Kuriboh, something that is seeing more and more main deck play due to this decks prominence; Ulti-Pettlephin sitting at 2800 defense means that without a Vision HERO Adoration, Masked HERO Anki cannot swing into it and search a Mask Change, making it a fantastic floater target for Spiritual Beast Tamer Winda
- A great side deck choice for this deck is Non-Fusion Area, this is because non-fusion area does not hamper your own ability to contact-fuse, since their summon is not counted as a fusion summon, it is treated as a special summon instead.
- Be ever careful however of the triple mask change OTK, as well as the possibility of the Hero player having Forbidden Chalice in hand; if Chalice is used while Anki is attacking directly it will negate Anki’s attack reduction, but will not stop Anki’s direct attack, allowing him to hit for 3200 damage, as such Sphere Kuriboh is a vital choice in this meta to prevent yourself from getting sacked by such an opening.
- If they are going first, it is entirely possible that the Hero player will simply choose to pass their turn and sit on the skill Grit, this is a fantastic outcome for you due to the numerous ways Ritual Beasts have to achieve 3 attacks thanks to Ritual Beast’s Bond, allowing you to OTK them even through Grit
Heroes are another simple match-up where your primary goal is to establish an insurmountable defense whilst slowly dismantling their board with Spiritual Beast Pettlephin by returning the fusions to the extra deck, or if possible preventing the fusions from being summoned at all.
Another decent match-up, they live and die by the opening hand; Blackwings are an OTK deck that focus on swarming the board and synchro summoning into their boss monsters to wipe board and OTK.
- This match is one of the more coin-flippy match-ups, there really isn’t much Ritual Beasts can do if they go first against full combo BW ending in either an Assault Blackwing - Onimaru the Divine Thunder or an Assault Blackwing - Chidori the Rain Sprinkling, as such this match-up is entirely about your tech cards, specifically Sphere Kuriboh, Floodgate Trap Hole, and Void Trap Hole.
- Cosmic Cyclone also see’s good use in this match-up as an out to Black Whirlwind, as Black Whirlwind is a continuous spell you can cosmic it to stop it resolving
- Floodgate is one of the best tech cards for this match-up: If you floodgate their normal summoned monsters, not only does this prevent them from following up with any of their special summons, but it also stops the search effect of Black Whirlwind since a monster that is face-down is considered to be an “unknown”, and therefore has 0 att points.
- Timely use of Floodgate becomes more important in instances where they also begin with Blackwing - Simoon the Poison Wind acting as an additional normal summon for the deck.
- In these situations, it is best to wait for the BW player to flood their board and, use Floodgate against one of their tuners in an attempt to lock down their board:
- The next biggest threat is the existence of Blackbird Close; this counter trap can be activated from the hand if they have a Blackwing synchro on board and negates activation and effects of your monsters on the field and destroys them, allowing them to then special summon a Black-Winged Dragon from the extra by sending a BW from the field to grave.
- Whilst Blackbird close cannot negate Ritual Beast Tamer Elder since it does not activate, and cannot negate effects in the graveyard like Spiritual Beast Tamer Winda it can negate the tag-out effects of your extra deck monsters: This typically means that it is only a matter of time before they sack you if you suspect this card, as you will be severely restricted in how you can play (they will not however, get a Blackwing dragon in the event of negating a tag-out as they will not have destroyed your monster)
- The best way to try and play around Blackbird Close is by forcing it to negate Pettlephin by using it to try and bounce the synchro’s back to the extra deck, however this requires you to actually have Pettlephin, either in the starting hand or have searched it someone with any of the search process being negated.
- Blackbird close is however easily telegraphed, if the Blackbird player ends on a board of 2 synchro’s and 1 non-synchro Blackwing, it is usually to use as fodder for BBC to summon Black-Winged Dragon
Blackwings are very much a coin-flip, if they go first and do not open with Close you can easily use Pettlephin to dismantle their board and win the grind game, if you go first however it is very easy for the Blackwing player to proceed to dismantle your entire board even without the use of Assault Blackwing - Raikiri the Rain Shower.
- Your best opening play against this deck is honestly to just set Spiritual Beast Tamer Winda and pass; Winda acts as a fantastic wall to prevent Cyber Dragons from OTK-ing you, allowing you to exhaust them of their resources and float into whatever you need to break their board; Once they break the second Winda, what you float into will be very situation dependent:
- If you do not suspect a Concentrating Current and you have either Return or a Tamer in hand, summoning Spiritual Beast Apelio and boosting it to 2300att is a fantastic play to ward off their attacks and fuel the banish pile full of Winda’s to hep wall them off even further in the future.
- If you do suspect 1 current, Apelio should still be summoned and if the opponent is still at full life, should be summoned in attack mode to trigger NMCR, this will allow you to turn the cyber dragons in their grave that were sent there as fuel for Chimeratech Rampage Dragon into Skull servants, limiting their fuel for any further Overflow’s.
- If you could not start with Winda, try and summon Ritual Beast Ulti-Pettlephin as soon as possible to wall off Cyber dragons, forcing them to use their resources for Cyber End Dragon or Chimeratech Overdragon.
- Sphere Kuriboh is once again a fantastic card to have if you did not manage to start with a Winda in your opening hand.
This decks worst match-up in the game right now, Blue-Eyes is a synchro oriented deck that swarms the field with powerful Vanilla beaters after using it’s lv 1 tuners to synchro summon their boss monster Blue-Eyes Spirit Dragon
- Another luck-based match-up, this match is decided by tech choices and whether the Blue-Eyes player bricked or not
- Their synchro monster, Blue-Eyes Spirit Dragon is their biggest threat to Ritual Beasts, preventing Spiritual Beast Tamer Winda from using her floating effect to special summon another Ritual Beast from the deck, as well as preventing you from special summoning 2 monsters at the same time and having a high enough defense that Ritual Beast Ulti-Apelio cannot swing over.
- As a result, this stops you from tagging out with your fusion monsters and acts as a floodgate against your monsters, completely putting a halt to your strategy.
- The decks only outs to Spirit dragon are Spiritual Beast Pettlephin and Herald of the Abyss, normal summoning Pettlephin will force Spirit dragon to tag itself out into Azure-Eyes Silver Dragon, allowing you to tag-out with your fusions again, but leaving them with a 3k defense non-targetable monster that revives their 3k beaters. Herald is more effective solution, forcing them to send the monster they tag-out into to the grave as well, however this only works if Spirit dragon is their only Light dragon on the field, or you have a way to remove the other light dragon from the field, which is a rare situation.
- With the introduction of Malefic Blue-Eyes White Dragon this match-up has only gotten worse for Ritual Beasts, Malefic Blue-Eyes allows them to more consistently turbo out their synchro,
Blue-Eyes are nicknamed “Brick-Eyes” for a reason, the deck has a high chance of bricking in it’s opening turn, but when the deck makes its synchro it’s usually game over for Ritual Beasts, making this one of the worst, if not the worst, match-ups for Ritual Beasts in the entire meta, and it is advised that you tech in cards such as Light-Imprisoning Mirror if Blue-Eyes regains its meta relevancy.
Ritual Beasts (Mirror Match)
Likely tied with the Crystron Mirror as being one of the most complicated mirror matches in the entire game, the Ritual Beast mirror match is a game of skill and resources - whoever can use their resources most efficiently and in the least amount of time will win this match-up.
- Herald of the Abyss is one of, if not the, most important card in the match-up combined with Spiritual Beast Pettlephin:
- The key to victory is to try and secure a board state that allows for 2 Pettlephin bounces every turn, 1 to bounce their fusions and force a tag-out, and another to bounce their Spiritual Beast Tamer Winda’s to prevent floating into Ritual Beast Ulti-Pettlephin and allow them to tag-out into their on Pettlephins during your end phase.
- Herald of the abyss is critical in the case of a double Winda play, in the mirror match it is common to summon 2 Winda after a tag-out to force the opponent to run into one of them that will then proceed to float into Ulti-Pettlephin, that can then tag-out into their own Pettlephins to swing the tempo of the match in their favor.
- Herald of the Abyss is key in stopping this, as not only does it force them to send their own Winda to the grave, but they will not be able to activate the effects of the second Winda they summoned thanks to Herald, allowing you to safely destroy it and clear the way for an OTK.
- Artifact Lancea is another key card in the mirror, preventing your opponent from being able to contact fuse on their turn causing them to rest on a weak board with limited a limited banished that, even if they have a Winda, will not be able to float into much good and is easily removable with Pettlephin
- (NOTE: If your opponent suspects you have a lancea they may choose to set their monster and try and sneak out a fusion, remember to have your toggle “ON” during the main phase in case they attempt to do this, otherwise you will not be able to respond to them with your lancea.
Due to the complexity of this mirror, it is extremely difficult to write a full guide on how to tackle the mirror, as both players have a relatively even chance to win regardless of who goes first or second, it is a match decided by player skill, and whoever draws their lancea’s/other tech cards first.
Ritual Beasts have always been a solid choice since they released in Duel Links, their raw defensive prowess and play style has withstood the test of time; even after the semi-limit of this decks most important card and the introduction of tech choices that hard counter this deck it still continues to prove itself as the best rogue deck in the meta, stealthily topping tournaments left and right and proving itself to be an absolute force to be reckoned with in capable hands.
- I would like to thank everyone in the Ritual Beasts Channel for being such a fantastic channel! I have never seen such a kind, welcoming and passionate channel for any other deck in game! All of you guys encouraged me to write this guide and I can only hope it is to your guys liking, I wrote this guide for you because you deserve it, and I hope I did this deck justice!
- My friends from the community, Whirlwynnd, Hawks, Shinjo, yobromikehoe Mordecai, elthor38, Uros (and buns I guess ;) ) Without you guys, I would never have been able to finish this guide.
- My good pall Dragun for being there to cheer me up when I hit my absolute breaking points writing this guide, if it wasn’t for you pal, I would absolutely have gone insane writing this guide!
- GadgetBug for helping get started with this guide and setting me in the right direction.
- RandomPl0x for helping me finish the formatting and editing of this guide as well as uploading it to the site.
- Dkayed and the entire DLM Community for being one of the best competitive communities I have ever been apart!
- My fellow Deck Experts at DLM for giving me a lot of useful feedback to help me update this guide, see where I went wrong, and give me lots and lots of useful information!