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Shiranui Guide

Introduction

Shiranui are a synchro-based, Zombie archetype that debuted in Duel Links December 2019 with the Soul of Resurrection minibox and quickly gained traction in the meta with its small, but sufficient combo engine. Unlike the many other combo decks that dominated the meta at the time (e.g. Darklords, Blackwings, and Ritual Beasts), Shiranui decks were able to fit in a sizable amount of backrow to complement their core monsters without loss of consistency. This gave Shiranui (as a deck) a balance between having aggressive, one-turn-kill (OTK) plays and room for defensive tech cards to counteract the meta. As time went on, and the “shadow buff” to the skill Spell Specialist was discovered, players shifted their builds to focus more on That Grass Looks Greener and turned Shiranui into an explosive combo deck. However, with the Feb 2020 banlist hitting both Spell Specialist and That Grass Looks Greener, as well as the May 2020 banlist hitting Gold Sarcophagus (i.e. another card that enabled combo play), players have gone back to the more balanced builds of Shiranui, which play as a control deck early game before transitioning into a beatdown deck mid-to-late game.

The core of the Shiranui archetype focuses around using and recycling its key tuner, Shiranui Spectralsword, to synchro climb from the initial levels 6 Shiranui Samuraisaga and 7 Shiranui Squiresaga into the game-ending levels 8 Shiranui Shogunsaga and 10 Shiranui Sunsaga. The gimmick of the archetype is that Shiranui Spectralsword allows the player to essentially “synchro summon from the grave” by banishing the monsters involved. As such, all the Shiranui main deck, non-tuner monsters have dual effects that (1) help get Shiranui Spectralsword out of the deck and into the grave and (2) trigger on banish to enable further plays. One of these plays forms the basis of the synchro climb by bringing back Shiranui Spectralsword from the banished pile (via Shiranui Solitaire’s effect) to allow for another synchro summon. This synchro climb also recycles Shiranui Spectralsword and puts it back in the grave for use again next turn, thus making Shiranui a very resilient deck that always sets itself up for follow up plays.

As a foreword, this guide assumes that the reader has an intermediate level of knowledge of the game mechanics in Duel Links and Yu-Gi-Oh! in general. The main concepts that we expect the readers to already know – beyond the basic rules of e.g. summoning and activating spells / traps – include the Toggle Button, reading “delays,” the Duel Links Limited 1, Limited 2, and Limited 3 lists, soft and hard once-per-turns, and Chain Links. We refer to these terms throughout the guide.


Core Cards

The Play Starters: Shiranui Squire (3x), Shiranui Solitaire (2-3x), Gozuki (0-2x)

Duel Links Card: Shiranui%20Squire
Duel Links Card: Shiranui%20Solitaire
Duel Links Card: Gozuki

These three monsters are the main starters of the deck, with Shiranui Squire being the most important, Shiranui Solitaire being the next important, and Gozuki being nice to have, but not absolutely necessary. These starters get Shiranui Spectralsword out of the deck to then put into the grave to initiate the synchro climb next turn.

Shiranui Squire and Shiranui Solitaire each have a primary effect that activates on the field and a secondary effect that activates on banish. Each effect of Shiranui Squire and Shiranui Solitaire is a hard-once-per-turn (HOPT).

Meanwhile, Gozuki also has two effects – one on the field and another when sent to the grave. Both of Gozuki’s effects are HOPTs as well.


The Combo-Oriented Monsters: Shiranui Spiritmaster, Shiranui Samurai

Duel Links Card: Shiranui%20Spiritmaster
Duel Links Card: Shiranui%20Samurai

These two monsters are best used in combo-oriented builds of Shiranui (e.g. That Grass Looks Greener variants), since their effects require an already established graveyard. For that reason, neither Shiranui Spiritmaster and Shiranui Samurai are used that often in the standard, balanced builds of Shiranui.

Both Shiranui Spiritmaster and Shiranui Samurai have a primary effect that activates on the field and a secondary effect that activates on banish. Each effect of Shiranui Samurai as well as the on-banish effect of Shiranui Spiritmaster is a hard-once-per-turn (HOPT).


Tuners: Shiranui Spectralsword (2x), Shiranui Spectralsword Shade (0-1x)

Duel Links Card: Shiranui%20Spectralsword
Duel Links Card: Shiranui%20Spectralsword%20Shade

The tuners of the deck are the level 2 Shiranui Spectralsword, which has a HOPT in-grave effect, and the level 3 Shiranui Spectralsword Shade, which has a HOPT on-board effect. Both tuners can be easily accessed from the deck via Shiranui Squire and Shiranui Solitaire’s effects, or special summoned from hand or grave by Shiranui Spiritmaster. Between these two, the level 2 Shiranui Spectralsword is arguably more powerful and is the central focus of the standard, balanced build of Shiranui.

As of the Feb 2020 banlist, Shiranui Spectralsword is now Limited 2, which restricts the deck from using other, powerful Limited 2 cards such as Enemy Controller.


Synchro Monsters: Shiranui Samuraisaga (1-2x), Shiranui Squiresaga (0-1x), Shiranui Shogunsaga (1-2x), Shiranui Sunsaga (1-2x)

Duel Links Card: Shiranui%20Samuraisaga
Duel Links Card: Shiranui%20Squiresaga
Duel Links Card: Shiranui%20Shogunsaga
Duel Links Card: Shiranui%20Sunsaga

Shiranui have Synchro Monsters for levels 6, 7, 8, and 10, with the levels 6 and 7 typically being used as bridges to synchro climb into the game-ending levels 8 and 10. All four of these Synchro Monsters have a HOPT on being special summoned. This means that one cannot summon multiple copies of the same Shiranui Synchro Monster in the same turn. This is something one should always keep in mind when planning out their synchro climb.

  • Level 6: Shiranui Samuraisaga

  • Level 7: Shiranui Squiresaga

    • Shiranui Squiresaga is the archetype’s main way to freely banish its own Shiranui monsters. When on board, Shiranui Squiresaga can banish one’s own monster face-up on the field or in the grave to trigger up to 3 effects, as stated on the card.
      • On the first effect: if the banished monster were Zombie type, then all monsters that one controls gain 300 ATK PERMANENTLY.
      • On the second effect: if the banished monster were Fire attribute, then one can destroy any spell or trap card on board. This effect DOES NOT TARGET.
      • On the third effect: if the banished monster were a Synchro Monster, then one can destroy any monster on board. This effect DOES NOT TARGET.
      • Note that, if needed, Shiranui Squiresaga can banish HERSELF to trigger all 3 effects.
      • Early game, Shiranui Squiresaga is typically used to banish Shiranui monsters (usually from grave) to either trigger their on-banish effects or to set them up for Shiranui Solitaire to bring back when he gets banished. The banish can facilitate so many combos, that one often does not actually care about the 1-3 effects that trigger on resolution – her 3 effects are typically just “icing on top”. See the “Combos and Plays” section for further detail.
      • Mid-to-late game, Shiranui Squiresaga’s on-resolution effects can become incredibly powerful forms of spot removal, as they DO NOT TARGET.
  • Level 8: Shiranui Shogunsaga

  • Level 10: Shiranui Sunsaga

    • Shiranui Sunsaga is the main boss of the archetype with two incredibly powerful effects. The whole archetype is designed around setting up a synchro climb to eventually get him out.
    • On-summon, Shiranui Sunsaga returns any number of Zombie Synchro monsters from one’s grave or banished pile back to the extra deck to destroy THE SAME NUMBER of cards on the opponent’s field.
      • Note “THE SAME NUMBER” above. If one returns e.g. 2 Zombie Synchro Monsters, but the opponent only has 1 card on board, then Shiranui Sunsaga WILL NOT destroy anything.
      • Shiranui Sunsaga‘s effect on-summon can not only be a game-ender, being able to clear the board and go in with his whopping 3500 ATK, but it also recycles one’s used Shiranui Synchro Monsters to synchro summon again if needed. In other words, Shiranui Sunsaga also aids the deck’s grind game.
    • On board, Shiranui Sunsaga allows one to banish a Shiranui monster from grave to protect one’s Zombie type monsters from destruction. This protection includes Shiranui Sunsaga himself.
      • This effect makes Shiranui Sunsaga a threat even after his on-summon effect is used. Not only does it make him incredibly hard to take out, but it can also be used as an opportunity to trigger an on-banish Shiranui effect. For instance, one can banish e.g. a Shiranui Spiritmaster to not only protect Shiranui Sunsaga but also destroy a face-up opposing card in the process.

Synergetic Tech Cards

Revived King Ha Des, Doomkaiser Dragon, and Archfiend Zombie-Skull

Duel Links Card: Revived%20King%20Ha%20Des
Duel Links Card: Doomkaiser%20Dragon
Duel Links Card: Archfiend%20Zombie-Skull

These three Zombie Synchro Monsters can be special summoned off Shiranui Spectralsword’s in-grave effect, as it can bypass the restriction of normally needing Plaguespreader Zombie. Of these three, Revived King Ha Des is the most aggressive, as his effect negates the effects of problematic monsters like Spiritual Beast Tamer Winda and Thunder Dragonroar that float upon battle destruction. Doomkaiser Dragon can play a major role in winning the mirror match though – see the “Matchups” section for more details. Meanwhile, Archfiend Zombie-Skull has a nice protection effect for all of one’s Zombie monsters on board, allowing one to do their combo plays without having to worry about e.g. Treacherous Trap Hole and Offerings to the Doomed.

Note that Revived King Ha Des’s effect lingers as long as the monsters destroyed in battle remain in the grave. To put it into perspective, suppose Revived King Ha Des runs over an Elementsaber Molehu or an opposing Shiranui Spectralsword. In the former case, Revived King Ha Des’s effect will then prevent Elementsaber Molehu from changing its attribute in grave for an Invocation play later. In the latter case, his effect shuts off the opposing Shiranui Spectralsword in grave, preventing the opponent from using it for a follow-up play.

In general, these synchro monsters are good mid-to-late game options to summon with Shiranui Spectralsword’s effect over Shiranui Samuraisaga.

Red-Eyes Zombie Necro Dragon

Duel Links Card: Red-Eyes%20Zombie%20Necro%20Dragon

Red-Eyes Zombie Necro Dragon is a level 7 Zombie Synchro Monster that particularly shines in the Shiranui mirror match. Red-Eyes Zombie Necro Dragon can get incredibly large in that matchup, gaining 100 ATK and DEF for every Zombie monster on board and in both player’s graves. Red-Eyes Zombie Necro Dragon can also revive opposing Shiranui monsters in grave via its effect, as long as those Shiranui monsters were originally, properly summoned. This lets one potentially steal a properly synchro summoned Shiranui Samuraisaga or Shiranui Squiresaga or even a Shiranui Sunsaga from the opponent and use it against them.

Red-Eyes Zombie Necro Dragon has less use outside of the Shiranui mirror match, but can still be a nice option to have if one needs a bigger beater than Shiranui Squiresaga for a level 7 Zombie Synchro Monster.

Generic Synchro Monsters

Duel Links Card: Brionac,%20Dragon%20of%20the%20Ice%20Barrier
Duel Links Card: Black%20Rose%20Dragon
Duel Links Card: Vermillion%20Dragon%20Mech

Being a synchro-based deck, Shiranui can potentially synchro summon powerful, generic Synchro Monsters outside of the Shiranui archetype. The only restrictions on synchro summoning with Shiranui are when one activates the on-board effects of Shiranui Squire or Shiranui Spectralsword Shade, both of which restrict one’s special summons for the rest of the turn to Zombie monsters. However, the other Shiranui monsters do not pose such restrictions.

One simple combo into a generic synchro summon is with Shiranui Spiritmaster and either Shiranui Solitaire or a Shiranui tuner in hand. On normal summon, Shiranui Spiritmaster special summons the other Shiranui monster. If it is Shiranui Solitaire, then one can trigger his on-board effect to tutor out a desired tuner from the deck. This is an easy level 6 or 7 synchro into e.g. Brionac, Dragon of the Ice Barrier or Black Rose Dragon respectively.

The main concern with running generic Synchro Monsters in the deck is the limited extra deck space. Typically, one wants at least 1x copy of each of the Shiranui Synchro Monsters plus another level 6 Zombie Synchro Monster like Revived King Ha Des or Archfiend Zombie-Skull. This thus leaves only one tech slot in the extra deck.

Samurai Skull


Duel Links Card: Samurai%20Skull

Samurai Skull is arguably a poor man’s Gozuki, but has its advantages in some respects. Unlike Gozuki, Samurai Skull’s mill effect triggers on summon and thus cannot be stopped by e.g. Floodgate Trap Hole and Paleozoic Canadia. Samurai Skull’s second effect can also be a form of passive protection against monster removal effects, since it will float into another level 4 or lower Zombie monster from the deck if removed from the field by card effect. Thus, Samurai Skull’s field presence discourages total field wipes from e.g. Assault Blackwing - Raikiri the Rain Shower.

That said, Samurai Skull does not synergize as much with the Shiranui archetype as does Gozuki. Gozuki‘s secondary effect to banish a Zombie monster from one’s grave upon being sent to the grave is unfortunately irreplaceable.

Dragon’s Mirror and Dragonecro Nethersoul Dragon

Duel Links Card: Dragon's%20Mirror
Duel Links Card: Dragonecro%20Nethersoul%20Dragon

While initially viewed as a meme, Dragon’s Mirror is now worth considering as a way to unclog one’s monster zones if one does not own Ballista Squad. Dragon’s Mirror started rising in popularity in Shiranui after the Feb 2020 banlist removed Enemy Controller and Treacherous Trap Hole from the deck, but fell back down to non-usage with the release of Ballista Squad in the Fortress of Gears minibox. Both Dragon’s Mirror and Ballista Squad can be used late game to clear away one’s monsters that were hit by Floodgate Trap Hole.

Dragon’s Mirror is also useful as a countermeasure against decks using No Mortal Can Resist, since the Skull Servants can still be used for fusion summoning Dragonecro Nethersoul Dragon. Additionally, after using No Mortal Can Resist, the opponent will likely be below 3000 LP, which is lethal range for Dragonecro Nethersoul Dragon. Of course, one should note that No Mortal Can Resist is no longer as popular of a skill after it was hit by the May 2020 banlist.

Do note though that Dragonecro Nethersoul Dragon is a Dragon monster, not a Zombie monster. Thus, if one were to activate Shiranui Squire‘s effect to summon a tuner from the deck, then Dragon’s Mirror CANNOT be used as a followup, since one will be locked into special summoning only Zombie monsters for the rest of the turn.

Dragonecro Nethersoul Dragon’s typing also means that it cannot be used as synchro material for the synchro summon of e.g. Shiranui Sunsaga. However, the tokens that are summoned off Dragonecro Nethersoul Dragon’s effect can actually be used for such a synchro summon, since the tokens themselves are Zombie type.

That Grass Looks Greener and Burgeoning Whirlflame + a mill engine

Duel Links Card: That%20Grass%20Looks%20Greener
Duel Links Card: Burgeoning%20Whirlflame
Duel Links Card: Needlebug%20Nest
Duel Links Card: Dice%20It

The explosive way to play Shiranui is with a 30-card deck and That Grass Looks Greener to load one’s grave with Shiranui monsters off one card and then proceed to spam their on-banish effects with Burgeoning Whirlflame. Burgeoning Whirlflame is an incredibly powerful card if it gets milled among Shiranui Squire and other Shiranui main deck monsters. If one banishes Shiranui Squire as one of the two targets of Burgeoning Whirlflame, then one can trigger Shiranui Squire’s Dark World Dealings effect to discard Burgeoning Whirlflame back into the grave. Since Burgeoning Whirlflame does not have a HOPT effect, it can be used again afterward to trigger more Shiranui on-banish effects. Furthermore, because Burgeoning Whirlflame is a trap, it can be used to banish Shiranui monsters from grave as a quick effect on the opponent’s turn as a means of disruption. See the “Playing with That Grass Looks Greener” section of the guide for further detail.

Note that with the Feb 2020 banlist hitting both Spell Specialist and That Grass Looks Greener, this way to play Shiranui is no longer as effective. Furthermore, the May 2020 banlist hit to Charge of the Light Brigade has also made the Lightsworn mill engine no longer a viable substitute for the missing copies of That Grass Looks Greener. The best options now for milling outside of the 1 copy of That Grass Looks Greener are Needlebug Nest and Dice It, both of which are unfortunately slow due to being traps.

Ghost Meets Girl - A Shiranui’s Story

Duel Links Card: Ghost%20Meets%20Girl%20-%20A%20Shiranui's%20Story

Ghost Meets Girl - A Shiranui’s Story is worth considering as either a one-off tech in the standard, balanced builds of Shiranui or as an alternative combo enabler to That Grass Looks Greener, since, unlike That Grass Looks Greener, Ghost Meets Girl - A Shiranui’s Story can actually be run at 3 copies.

In the standard, balanced builds, Ghost Meets Girl - A Shiranui’s Story can be a nice, late-game recovery card to summon back the likes of Shiranui Shogunsaga and Shiranui Sunsaga from grave. However, it is often not ideal to open with this card or draw it too early. One would usually rather have another defensive backrow in its place. Thus, most players actually do not run Ghost Meets Girl - A Shiranui’s Story at all.

For more combo-focused builds, Ghost Meets Girl - A Shiranui’s Story is ideally used to discard a Shiranui Spiritmaster to grave and summon Shiranui Samurai from deck. This sets up Shiranui Samurai‘s quick effect to banish Shiranui Spiritmaster on either player’s turn for disruption. Thus, one would probably want to max out on copies of Ghost Meets Girl - A Shiranui’s Story as well as Shiranui Spiritmaster here, plus run Shiranui Samurai at 1-2. At the time of this guide update, these combo-focused builds are still developing and have yet to have any major tournament success.

Gold Sarcophagus

Duel Links Card: Gold%20Sarcophagus

Gold Sarcophagus used to be an amazing combo extender for the deck as it can trigger any on-banish, main deck Shiranui monster effect without using up a normal summon or any other resources. However, as of the May 2020 banlist, Gold Sarcophagus can no longer be run in Shiranui decks as it competes with Shiranui Squire for the Limited 3 deck slots.

If used, then this card can trigger any of the following effects:

Forbidden Lance and other anti-backrow cards

Duel Links Card: Forbidden%20Lance
Duel Links Card: Night%20Beam
Duel Links Card: Twister
Duel Links Card: Typhoon
Duel Links Card: Unending%20Nightmare

Shiranui, being a synchro-based deck, does not appreciate disruptive traps like Floodgate Trap Hole and Fiendish Chain. The deck also dislikes Necrovalley, which stops the effect of Shiranui Spectralsword in grave. Cosmic Cyclone used to be the universal answer to all these cards, but Shiranui unfortunately can no longer play it due to the May 2020 banlist.

Forbidden Lance is the most commonly used substitute for Cosmic Cyclone, as it allows one to make their Shiranui monsters immune to cards like Floodgate Trap Hole and Fiendish Chain for the turn. This spell also helps in the Invoked matchup as a way to potentially make an opposing Invocation fizzle. See the “Matchups” section for further detail on that. Unfortunately, Forbidden Lance is not a complete substitute for Cosmic Cyclone since it cannot out Necrovalley, but at least Shiranui can somewhat rely on Ballista Squad for that.

Other anti-backrow substitutes for Cosmic Cyclone include:

  • Night Beam: This can pop face-down traps without giving them a chance to respond, making it perfect for sniping off e.g. Magician’s Navigation. However, since this card is not quickplay, it has to be used preemptively, which can force awkward situations where one has to blindly guess the correct backrow to hit when the opponent has multiple sets.

  • Twister: This quickplay spell can be chained to the likes of Fiendish Chain and Dark Magical Circle to remove them from the field and “negate” their disruptive effects. It can also be used to remove Necrovalley. However, this card cannot touch face-down cards.

  • Typhoon: This card is similar to Twister and can also be used from the hand, but requires one to have no backrow set to do so.

  • Unending Nightmare: This is a slower, but more powerful Twister as it can be used multiple times while its on the field. It is slow because it is a trap.

Ballista Squad

Duel Links Card: Ballista%20Squad

Ballista Squad can be seen as the new replacement for Enemy Controller and Treacherous Trap Hole, now that Shiranui can no longer use those cards as of the Feb 2020 banlist. Ballista Squad by itself provides the deck three key utilities that other cards at the moment do not:

Note that Raigeki Break CANNOT accomplish the same thing as Ballista Squad in the above-mentioned play. This is because Shiranui Spectralsword will be on the field as opposed to being in the hand for Raigeki Break to discard. Thus, an opening of Shiranui Solitaire + Raigeki Break is much weaker, as it cannot guarantee that Shiranui Spectralsword hits the grave for the followup play. The only instance where Raigeki Break can help set up is if one opens with a Shiranui Spectralsword in hand to discard, but such an opening does not set up the full Shiranui Spectralsword + Shiranui Solitaire combo either (at least not with just 2 cards).

To put it further into perspective on why Ballista Squad is so good with Shiranui, compare the card to Shiranui Style Swallow’s Slash, one of the most powerful cards in the Shiranui archetype. Duel Links does not have Shiranui Style Swallow’s Slash yet, but Ballista Squad is a pretty close substitute in both its cost and effect.

Needle Ceiling

Duel Links Card: Needle%20Ceiling

Needle Ceiling can accomplish a lot of what Ballista Squad does and more, but has a much more restrictive activation condition.

On one hand, a 2-card opening of Shiranui Solitaire + Needle Ceiling can potentially board wipe the opponent’s monsters while also setting up the deadly Shiranui Spectralsword + Shiranui Solitaire combo as mentioned in the Ballista Squad section and the “Mid-to-Late Game Combos and Plays” section. Needle Ceiling also combos well with Archfiend Zombie-Skull and Shiranui Sunsaga, as these Synchro Monsters protect one’s own monsters from being wiped, while the opponent’s still get destroyed.

However, Needle Ceiling can only be activated when there are 4 or more monsters on the field, and so it is only really good against decks that spam the board, such as Blackwings or HERO. Against more control-based decks that only summon 1 or 2 monsters, Needle Ceiling can be a dead card.

On a last note, there is a cute interaction between Needle Ceiling and Shiranui Shogunsaga that can sometimes steal games. If Needle Ceiling is used to destroy Shiranui Shogunsaga and “return” a Shiranui Spectralsword to grave on one’s own turn, then Shiranui Spectralsword’s effect can be used immediately that same turn to summon e.g. Shiranui Sunsaga. This is of course assuming that Shiranui Spectralsword’s effect has not already been used yet that turn. This is thanks to the technicality mentioned in the subsection on Shiranui Shogunsaga in “Core Cards”, where “return”-ing a card to the grave is not the same as “send”-ing it to grave.


Generic Staple Backrow

Duel Links Card: Artifact%20Lancea
Duel Links Card: Chaos%20Hunter
Duel Links Card: Sphere%20Kuriboh
Duel Links Card: Forbidden%20Chalice
Duel Links Card: Curse%20of%20Anubis
Duel Links Card: Divine%20Wrath
Duel Links Card: Fiendish%20Chain
Duel Links Card: Floodgate%20Trap%20Hole
Duel Links Card: Karma%20Cut
Duel Links Card: Paleozoic%20Canadia
Duel Links Card: Raigeki%20Break
Duel Links Card: The%20Regulation%20of%20Tribe
Duel Links Card: Shadow-Imprisoning%20Mirror
Duel Links Card: Void%20Trap%20Hole
Duel Links Card: Wall%20of%20Disruption
Duel Links Card: Windstorm%20of%20Etaqua

The balanced builds of Shiranui have a lot of deck space for generic staple cards. Of the above-listed staples, the most popular choices are Artifact Lancea, Sphere Kuriboh, Fiendish Chain, and Floodgate Trap Hole. However, some of these popular choices can be replaced with cheaper (though less effective) alternatives such as Chaos Hunter over Artifact Lancea and Forbidden Chalice or Void Trap Hole over Fiendish Chain. It is up to the reader to decide which of the above techs best fit their deck while also taking into account their card inventory and budget.


Invoked Engine

Duel Links Card: Aleister%20the%20Invoker
Duel Links Card: Invocation
Duel Links Card: Invoked%20Purgatrio

With the Shiranui core monsters all being Fire attribute, and Invoked Purgatrio being such a huge win condition in the current meta, it is only natural to think of incorporating the Invoked engine into this deck. There is however a caveat with mixing the two archetypes.

Both Aleister the Invoker and the Shiranui combo starters compete for one’s single normal summon per turn. This can especially be awkward early game, as one likely does not have a board or grave set up yet to perform both an Invocation fusion summon AND a synchro summon for a Shiranui Synchro Monster on the same turn. Thus, one has to choose which of the two archetypes to put out first, potentially leaving dead combo pieces in hand until next turn. Ideally, one starts with the Shiranui engine and then draws Aleister the Invoker later after already establishing a board.

On the flipside, there are some advantages to using the Invoked engine:

  • The Invoked engine can improve normally bad matchups for Shiranui, such as vs. Ritual Beasts, as well as give one an advantage in the mirror match. This is all thanks to Invoked Purgatrio being able to pierce through entire boards of DEF position monsters for lethal. And in the mirror match especially, Invocation can stun the opponent by banishing an opposing Shiranui Spectralsword from the grave.

  • Early game, the Invoked engine helps unload extra Shiranui cards in hand to the grave through Invocation. In particular, it allows one to fuse off Shiranui Spectralsword in hand to set up for his synchro-from-grave effect next turn.

  • Mid-to-late game, Invocation can be used to unclog one’s monster zones that were hit by Floodgate Trap Hole.

  • Mid-to-late game, Invocation can be used as another avenue to banish Shiranui monsters on board or in grave to trigger their on-banish effects (while also getting a big Invoked Purgatrio out). This can open up some combo plays that normally require Shiranui Squiresaga’s ability to banish Shiranui monsters at will.


Vendread Engine

Duel Links Card: Revendread%20Slayer
Duel Links Card: Revendread%20Origin
Duel Links Card: Glow-Up%20Bloom

The Vendread engine synergizes with Shiranui by providing alternative methods to banish Shiranui monsters from grave via Revendread Origin and Revendread Slayer. Assuming one has their grave set up with Shiranui monsters, Revendread Origin can be used to trigger their on-banish effects while also ritual summoning e.g. Revendread Slayer to the field as a respectable boss monster. Revendread Slayer not only has his own built-in protection from destruction through Revendread Origin, but his effect on battle is another way to banish and trigger the on-banish effects of Shiranui monsters in grave. Furthermore, this effect of Revendread Slayer is a quick effect that can trigger at any stage of battle. In particular, the ability to trigger Shiranui Spiritmaster’s destruction effect in the damage step, when few cards can respond, can be a powerful form of removal.

Glow-Up Bloom has use in this hybrid build as well, being able to add a Vendread ritual monster to hand after being sent to the grave. It does synergize with the Shiranui archetype in that it can be special summoned from the deck off Shiranui Solitaire’s effect. One can then tune Glow-Up Bloom with e.g. Revendread Slayer into Shiranui Squiresaga or even Black Rose Dragon and reap the benefits of both Glow-Up Bloom AND Revendread Slayer’s effects on being sent to grave.

That said, one caution regarding the Vendread engine as a whole is that it is already bricky by itself, being part of a ritual-based archetype. Mixing Vendreads with Shiranui can lead to potentially brickier hands. Doing so also means that one has to dedicate deck space to the Vendread cards, taking away the Shiranui deck’s strength of having flexible deck slots.


Skills

The standard, balanced builds of Shiranui have the flexibility to run any skill they want, since the deck’s core cards are self-sufficient enough to get the game plan going without relying on a specific skill. At the time of this guide update, the most popular skill for Shiranui is Level Augmentation, which helps faciliate additional synchro plays.

More combo-oriented variants might want to consider the skill Spell Specialist to more consistently open either That Grass Looks Greener or Ghost Meets Girl - A Shiranui’s Story. As of the Feb 2020 banlist, Spell Specialist has been nerfed to no longer be as consistent as before, but it still gives larger sized decks a good chance to open at least one spell card.

  • Level Augmentation

This skill enables additional synchro plays that normally would not be available, such as:

At the time of this guide update, it is recommended to play Level Augmentation with Sera as the character, as she can bluff the Mind of the Plana skill. This can be especially advantageous in a side deck format where one can swap Level Augmentation for Mind of the Plana during games 2 and 3 without needing to switch characters (which would otherwise give the skill switch away to the opponent).

  • Level Duplication

Similar to Level Augmentation, Level Duplication enables additional synchro plays that are normally unavailable, particularly plays that turbo out the level 8 Shiranui Shogunsaga. For example, with Shiranui Squire plus Shiranui Spectralsword on board and a level 4 monster in hand, Level Duplication turns the usual level 6 synchro summon into a level 8 synchro summon. Furthermore, on summon, Shiranui Shogunsaga can banish Shiranui Squire to draw and discard a card in addition to threatening massive damage off his 4500 ATK.

That said, Level Duplication is less versatile than Level Augmentation, but it can more consistently get out an early Shiranui Shogunsaga. Level Duplication with Artifact Lancea in hand is also an option for getting out Shiranui Squiresaga, without needing to run the level 3 Shiranui Spectralsword Shade.

  • Spell Specialist

Despite the nerfs from the Feb 2020 banlist, Spell Specialist is probably still the preferred skill for the Grass variant of Shiranui. The community has yet to fully understand the exact way the skill has changed, but from empirical testing, it appears to give a 30-card deck about a 91% chance of opening at least one spell card, assuming that the deck is built with 3 copies of a key spell, such as Ghost Meets Girl - A Shiranui’s Story, plus 4 one-off cards as the only spells in the deck. Of course, one of these 4 other spells should be That Grass Looks Greener.


Example Decks

Beginner’s Free-To-Play (F2P) and Budget Builds

See the F2P Decks Guide for more information and instructions on how to build a competent Shiranui deck on a new account. A new player can pretty quickly make the following build in a few days of starting Duel Links:

Duel Links Card: Chaos%20Hunter
Duel Links Card: Shiranui%20Solitaire
Duel Links Card: Shiranui%20Solitaire
Duel Links Card: Shiranui%20Squire
Duel Links Card: Shiranui%20Squire
Duel Links Card: Shiranui%20Squire
Duel Links Card: Kuriboh
Duel Links Card: Shiranui%20Spiritmaster
Duel Links Card: Shiranui%20Spiritmaster
Duel Links Card: Shiranui%20Spectralsword%20Shade
Duel Links Card: Shiranui%20Spectralsword
Duel Links Card: Shiranui%20Spectralsword
Duel Links Card: Book%20of%20Life
Duel Links Card: Dragon's%20Mirror
Duel Links Card: Raigeki%20Break
Duel Links Card: Raigeki%20Break
Duel Links Card: Hallowed%20Life%20Barrier
Duel Links Card: Hallowed%20Life%20Barrier
Duel Links Card: Hallowed%20Life%20Barrier
Duel Links Card: Windstorm%20of%20Etaqua
Duel Links Card: Dragonecro%20Nethersoul%20Dragon
Duel Links Card: Shiranui%20Squiresaga
Duel Links Card: Shiranui%20Sunsaga
Duel Links Card: Shiranui%20Shogunsaga
Duel Links Card: Shiranui%20Samuraisaga
Duel Links Card: Shiranui%20Samuraisaga

A budget player can further improve this build rather easily by (1) buying the Sphere Kuriboh, Paleozoic Canadia, and Mirror Wall bundles from the shop and also (2) grinding a bit to unlock Odion and Curse of Anubis:

Duel Links Card: Dragonecro%20Nethersoul%20Dragon
Duel Links Card: Shiranui%20Sunsaga
Duel Links Card: Shiranui%20Sunsaga
Duel Links Card: Shiranui%20Shogunsaga
Duel Links Card: Shiranui%20Samuraisaga
Duel Links Card: Shiranui%20Samuraisaga

Additionally, see the following video for Dkayed’s King of Games run with his own F2P Shiranui build:


Current Standard Build

Duel Links Card: Shiranui%20Sunsaga
Duel Links Card: Shiranui%20Sunsaga
Duel Links Card: Shiranui%20Shogunsaga
Duel Links Card: Revived%20King%20Ha%20Des
Duel Links Card: Archfiend%20Zombie-Skull
Duel Links Card: Shiranui%20Samuraisaga

This is pretty much the standard, balanced build that all Shiranui decks follow. The backrow lineup might vary depending on what cards players own and what decks they expect to play against. For instance, if one expects to see a lot of Blackwing or HERO decks in an upcoming KC Cup, then one might include more copies of Needle Ceiling. Or if one expects to see a lot of Dark Magician decks on ladder, then one might swap out cards for Chaos Hunter and Typhoon. Floodgate Trap Hole and Paleozoic Canadia are also popular backrow cards for Shiranui. See the “Synergetic Tech Cards” section for ideas on how to customize the deck to one’s own liking and budget.

Recent Tournament Top Decks

Jun 2020 1st Place MCS 31 - ZaGaZaGa

Jun 2020 Top 16 MCS 31 - kuraki

Jun 2020 Top 32 MCS 31 - Sakku


PAST META Sample Decks

These decks are here to give an idea of how Shiranui were built in previous metas and to potentially give people ideas on how to adapt the deck as time goes on. Note that some skills and cards might have been changed or limited respectively since then.

Apr 2020 1st Place MCS 29 - SIMON

Apr 2020 1st Place Giveaway 22 - Luxun

Mar 2020 Top 8 MCS 28 - Mithyard

Feb 2020 #9 Global KC Cup 14 - Kanzawa


Feb 2020 1st Place Meta Weekly 111 - Tenma

Feb 2020 Top 4 MCS 27 - aleebr


Jan 2020 Top 4 MCS 26 - AndyTsang

Duel Links Card: Nine-Tailed%20Fox
Duel Links Card: Gozuki
Duel Links Card: Gozuki
Duel Links Card: Gozuki
Duel Links Card: Shiranui%20Solitaire
Duel Links Card: Shiranui%20Solitaire
Duel Links Card: Shiranui%20Solitaire
Duel Links Card: Shiranui%20Squire
Duel Links Card: Shiranui%20Squire
Duel Links Card: Shiranui%20Squire
Duel Links Card: Shiranui%20Samurai
Duel Links Card: Shiranui%20Samurai
Duel Links Card: Shiranui%20Spiritmaster
Duel Links Card: Shiranui%20Spiritmaster
Duel Links Card: Shiranui%20Spiritmaster
Duel Links Card: Shiranui%20Spectralsword%20Shade
Duel Links Card: Shiranui%20Spectralsword%20Shade
Duel Links Card: Shiranui%20Spectralsword
Duel Links Card: Enemy%20Controller
Duel Links Card: Offerings%20to%20the%20Doomed
Duel Links Card: That%20Grass%20Looks%20Greener
Duel Links Card: That%20Grass%20Looks%20Greener
Duel Links Card: That%20Grass%20Looks%20Greener
Duel Links Card: Mistaken%20Arrest
Duel Links Card: World%20Legacy%20Clash
Duel Links Card: Burgeoning%20Whirlflame
Duel Links Card: Burgeoning%20Whirlflame
Duel Links Card: Burgeoning%20Whirlflame
Duel Links Card: Needlebug%20Nest
Duel Links Card: Needlebug%20Nest
Duel Links Card: Black%20Rose%20Dragon
Duel Links Card: Shiranui%20Squiresaga
Duel Links Card: Shiranui%20Sunsaga
Duel Links Card: Shiranui%20Shogunsaga
Duel Links Card: Archfiend%20Zombie-Skull
Duel Links Card: Shiranui%20Samuraisaga

Side Deck:

Duel Links Card: Tackle%20Crusader
Duel Links Card: Cosmic%20Cyclone
Duel Links Card: Hey,%20Trunade!
Duel Links Card: Paleozoic%20Canadia
Duel Links Card: Paleozoic%20Canadia
Duel Links Card: Needlebug%20Nest

Jan 2020 Top 4 MCS 26 - gift

Duel Links Card: Gozuki
Duel Links Card: Gozuki
Duel Links Card: Gozuki
Duel Links Card: Shiranui%20Solitaire
Duel Links Card: Shiranui%20Solitaire
Duel Links Card: Shiranui%20Squire
Duel Links Card: Shiranui%20Squire
Duel Links Card: Shiranui%20Squire
Duel Links Card: Shiranui%20Samurai
Duel Links Card: Shiranui%20Samurai
Duel Links Card: Shiranui%20Spiritmaster
Duel Links Card: Shiranui%20Spiritmaster
Duel Links Card: Shiranui%20Spiritmaster
Duel Links Card: Shiranui%20Spectralsword%20Shade
Duel Links Card: Shiranui%20Spectralsword
Duel Links Card: Shiranui%20Spectralsword
Duel Links Card: Gold%20Sarcophagus
Duel Links Card: Enemy%20Controller
Duel Links Card: That%20Grass%20Looks%20Greener
Duel Links Card: That%20Grass%20Looks%20Greener
Duel Links Card: That%20Grass%20Looks%20Greener
Duel Links Card: Mistaken%20Arrest
Duel Links Card: World%20Legacy%20Clash
Duel Links Card: Floodgate%20Trap%20Hole
Duel Links Card: Floodgate%20Trap%20Hole
Duel Links Card: Floodgate%20Trap%20Hole
Duel Links Card: Paleozoic%20Canadia
Duel Links Card: Paleozoic%20Canadia
Duel Links Card: Burgeoning%20Whirlflame
Duel Links Card: Burgeoning%20Whirlflame
Duel Links Card: Black%20Rose%20Dragon
Duel Links Card: Shiranui%20Squiresaga
Duel Links Card: Shiranui%20Sunsaga
Duel Links Card: Shiranui%20Shogunsaga
Duel Links Card: Archfiend%20Zombie-Skull
Duel Links Card: Shiranui%20Samuraisaga

Side Deck:

Duel Links Card: Nine-Tailed%20Fox
Duel Links Card: Cosmic%20Cyclone
Duel Links Card: Forbidden%20Lance
Duel Links Card: Forbidden%20Chalice
Duel Links Card: Offerings%20to%20the%20Doomed
Duel Links Card: Paleozoic%20Canadia

Dec 2019 2nd Place MCS 25 - Mithyard

Duel Links Card: Shiranui%20Solitaire
Duel Links Card: Shiranui%20Solitaire
Duel Links Card: Shiranui%20Squire
Duel Links Card: Shiranui%20Squire
Duel Links Card: Shiranui%20Squire
Duel Links Card: Shiranui%20Spectralsword
Duel Links Card: Shiranui%20Spectralsword
Duel Links Card: Shiranui%20Spectralsword
Duel Links Card: Cosmic%20Cyclone
Duel Links Card: Cosmic%20Cyclone
Duel Links Card: Forbidden%20Lance
Duel Links Card: Enemy%20Controller
Duel Links Card: Enemy%20Controller
Duel Links Card: Floodgate%20Trap%20Hole
Duel Links Card: Floodgate%20Trap%20Hole
Duel Links Card: Floodgate%20Trap%20Hole
Duel Links Card: King's%20Consonance
Duel Links Card: Paleozoic%20Canadia
Duel Links Card: Paleozoic%20Canadia
Duel Links Card: The%20Regulation%20of%20Tribe
Duel Links Card: XX-Saber%20Hyunlei
Duel Links Card: Shiranui%20Sunsaga
Duel Links Card: Shiranui%20Shogunsaga
Duel Links Card: Shiranui%20Shogunsaga
Duel Links Card: Doomkaiser%20Dragon
Duel Links Card: Shiranui%20Samuraisaga

Side Deck:

Duel Links Card: Poisonous%20Winds
Duel Links Card: Poisonous%20Winds
Duel Links Card: Wall%20of%20Disruption
Duel Links Card: Wall%20of%20Disruption
Duel Links Card: Chthonian%20Polymer
Duel Links Card: Chthonian%20Polymer

Combos and Plays

Shiranui decks have strong options going first and second. This section lists some of the more common plays that will come up as one plays the deck. Similar to how the “Core Cards” section is formatted above, this section will differentiate between “early game” and “mid-to-late game” plays to emphasize when a certain combo is best used.

Note that this combos list is not a be-all and end-all, but is rather meant to be more of a foundation. The Shiranui deck playstyle often requires the player to adapt their synchro plays to the current game state rather than memorize bread-and-butter combos to win. Thus, one should also become super familiar with all the “Core Cards” to be able to see and make creative plays when needed.


Early Game Combos and Plays

Shiranui Squire in hand

Option 1: End on Shiranui Squiresaga

Going second or later, this simple play results in a non-targeting spell or trap destruction with Shiranui Squiresaga’s effect. In general, this play also allows one to unload a potential Shiranui Spectralsword in hand to the grave to set up for next turn while also digging through the deck for another backrow or combo piece.

The end game state here is:

  • Shiranui Squiresaga on board with 2400 ATK
  • 1 non-targeting spell or trap destruction
  • 3 cards in hand (going first) or 4 cards in hand (going second)
  • Potential setup in grave for next turn
Option 2: End on Shiranui Samuraisaga

This play sets up Shiranui Spectralsword to be used next turn from the grave, which can actually pressure the opponent into NOT destroying one’s Shiranui Samuraisaga on their turn. Doing so would give one the opportunity next turn to banish both Shiranui Spectralsword and Shiranui Samuraisaga from grave for Shiranui Shogunsaga. This mindgame can actually come in use if one did not draw enough backrow to otherwise protect the lone Shiranui Samuraisaga.

Compared to Option 1, this Option 2 allows for more follow up play next turn, especially if one has Shiranui Solitaire in hand (see below for further details). Option 1 only sets up a follow up play if one is able to discard a Shiranui Spectralsword after banishing Shiranui Squire.

The end game state here is:

Shiranui Spiritmaster in hand + Shiranui Solitaire either in hand or grave + a Shiranui tuner in deck

Option 1: End on Shiranui Squiresaga

This play is more suited towards going second as it results in a non-targeting spell or trap destruction with Shiranui Squiresaga’s effect as well as a targeting destruction on any opposing face-up card with Shiranui Spiritmaster’s on-banish effect.

The end game state here is:

  • Shiranui Squiresaga on board with 2400 ATK
  • 1 non-targeting spell or trap destruction
  • 1 targeting destruction on any opposing face-up card
  • 3 cards in hand (going second)
Option 2: End on Shiranui Samuraisaga

This play sets up Shiranui Spectralsword to be used next turn from the grave, which can actually pressure the opponent into NOT destroying one’s Shiranui Samuraisaga on their next turn. Doing so would give one the opportunity next turn to banish both Shiranui Spectralsword and Shiranui Samuraisaga from grave for Shiranui Shogunsaga. This mindgame can actually come in use of one did not draw enough backrow to otherwise protect the lone Shiranui Samuraisaga.

Alternatively, one can also banish Shiranui Spectralsword and Shiranui Spiritmaster next turn to not only special summon a level 6 Zombie Synchro Monster but also target and destroy an opposing face-up card with Shiranui Spiritmaster’s on-banish effect.

Compared to Option 1, this Option 2 allows for more follow up play next turn, especially if one has Shiranui Solitaire in hand (see below for further details).

The end game state here is:


Mid-to-Late Game Combos and Plays

Shiranui Spectralsword + Shiranui Solitaire in grave

This is the deadly Shiranui Spectralsword + Shiranui Solitaire combo that often ends games. The combination of a 5500 ATK Shiranui Shogunsaga and -500 ATK debuff from Shiranui Samuraisaga’s effect allows one to deal 4000+ LP damage by running over any opposing ATK position monster with 2000 or less ATK!

Note that one can also summon the likes of Revived King Ha Des or Archfiend Zombie-Skull with Shiranui Spectralsword’s effect instead of Shiranui Samuraisaga, if the -500 ATK debuff is not needed.

The end game state here is:

Shiranui Samuraisaga on board + Shiranui Spectralsword in grave + Shiranui Solitaire in hand + a Shiranui tuner in deck

Note that this initial game state actually comes up quite often. Simply opening Shiranui Squire and Shiranui Solitaire in hand, and sitting on the Shiranui Samuraisaga made from Shiranui Squire for a turn leads into the following combos.

Option 1: End on Shiranui Shogunsaga + LV 6 Zombie Synchro Monster (e.g. Revived King Ha Des or Archfiend Zombie-Skull)

The end game state here is:

Option 2: End on Shiranui Sunsaga + LV 6 Zombie Synchro Monster (e.g. Revived King Ha Des or Archfiend Zombie-Skull)

This play trades the 5500 ATK Shiranui Shogunsaga from “Option 1” for Shiranui Sunsaga, whose effect allows up to 2 non-targeting destructions on ANY opposing cards.

The end game state here is:

  • Shiranui Sunsaga on board with 3500 ATK and destruction protection
  • LV 6 Zombie Synchro Monster on board with 2450 or 2500 ATK
  • Up to 2 non-targeting destruction on ANY opposing cards
  • Guaranteed follow up play next turn with Shiranui Spectralsword in grave
Option 3: End on Shiranui Shogunsaga + Shiranui Squiresaga + Shiranui Samuraisaga

The order in which one summons Shiranui Shogunsaga and Shiranui Squiresaga can actually be switched. If one fears an opposing backrow card, then one can summon Shiranui Squiresaga first and snipe away the backrow. The monster banished to trigger Shiranui Squiresaga here CANNOT be Shiranui Solitaire though. This is because one needs to banish Shiranui Solitaire off Shiranui Shogunsaga’s effect instead to bring back Shiranui Samuraisaga in the end. The advantages of going this route instead of the bullets above is that it can get rid of a disruptive backrow earlier, but the disadvantage is that Shiranui Shogunsaga ends up being only 3500 ATK.

The end game state here is:

Option 4: End on Shiranui Sunsaga + Shiranui Squiresaga

Alternatively, one can activate Shiranui Squiresaga’s effect before summoning Shiranui Shogunsaga. Doing so can first snipe away at a potentially disruptive backrow card to ensure the safe summon of Shiranui Shogunsaga and Shiranui Sunsaga. The downside to going this route is that Shiranui Sunsaga will not get the +300 ATK boost.

The end game state here is:


The 2x Shiranui Sunsaga play with Level Augmentation

This is a 2-card, two turn combo that puts out a big Shiranui Sunsaga on the first turn for massive field presence and a second Shiranui Sunsaga on the second turn to destroy up to 2 cards on the field. This is pretty much the bread-and-butter play of Level Augmentation builds.

Shiranui Squire + Shiranui Solitaire in hand

First Turn: End on Shiranui Sunsaga

The end game state here is:

  • Shiranui Sunsaga on board with 3500+ ATK and destruction protection
  • 2 extra cards in hand (going first) or 3 extra cards in hand (going second)
  • Guaranteed follow up play next turn with Shiranui Spectralsword in grave
Second Turn: End on 2x Shiranui Sunsaga

Note that Archfiend Zombie-Skull is mentioned specifically here as the most ideal level 6 Zombie Synchro Monster for the combo because its effect will protect both itself and the first Shiranui Sunsaga from destruction effects like Treacherous Trap Hole. One cannot rely on protection from Shiranui Sunsaga at this point in the combo because there will be no Shiranui monsters in grave to banish.

Additionally, note that drawing the second Shiranui Spectralsword with Shiranui Squire’s on-banish effect is no big deal. If this happens, then simply discard Shiranui Solitiare with Shiranui Squire’s effect and normal summon the Shiranui Spectralsword instead. Then proceed with steps (4) and (5).

The end game state here is:

  • TWO Shiranui Sunsaga on board with 3500+ ATK and destruction protection
  • Up to 2 non-targeting destruction on ANY opposing cards
  • Guaranteed follow up play next turn with Shiranui Spectralsword in grave

Playing vs. Sealed Tombs

The skill Sealed Tombs alone shuts down many of the combo plays of the Shiranui deck. This includes:

  • Stopping Shiranui Spectralsword’s graveyard effect for follow-up plays.
  • Stopping Shiranui Sunsaga from being a valid Turn 1 play, as he can no longer banish Shiranui monsters from grave to protect himself.
  • Stopping Shiranui Squiresaga from banishing a Shiranui from grave to both eat away at the opposing board and extend one’s own combos.

When playing against an Ishizu player, one wants to play conservative with their backrow so that they have enough resources to outlast the opponent’s initial turn (when the opponent clicks Sealed Tombs) as well as the turn after Sealed Tombs is clicked. While Sealed Tombs does not prevent one’s Shiranui plays on the field, it is unlikely that the opponent will allow one to make any power plays to summon Shiranui Shogunsaga or Shiranui Sunsaga without any aid from the grave. Thus, one usually has to stall out another turn before they can really start playing the game again.

Note that the opponent needs at least 1000 less LP to activate Sealed Tombs, so another way of playing around this skill is to keep the LP difference small or be the one at lower LP. Alternatively, not setting any backrow against an Ishizu player is an option so that the opponent cannot easily get the 1000 LP difference by activating a simple Cosmic Cyclone.


Playing vs. Artifact Lancea

Artifact Lancea is a handtrap that, like Sealed Tombs, can stun the Shiranui deck’s combo plays for a turn. Usually, Artifact Lancea will be chained to Shiranui Spectralsword‘s effect in grave to stop the banishes and, as a result, the synchro-from-grave effect altogether. One then has to wait a turn before they can try to make another push. Thus, like with Sealed Tombs, one wants to play conservative with their backrow against Artifact Lancea to live another turn. Note that it is often easy to read when the opponent has Artifact Lancea in hand by its delay – if there are no activatable cards on board, but the opponent’s hourglass is still flashing, then there is an Artifact Lancea in hand. This lets one know ahead of time when to play conservatively to not lose to a timely Artifact Lancea stun.


Playing vs. No Mortal Can Resist

The skill No Mortal Can Resist is the most deadly for Shiranui – that skill can essentially wipe away all the resources in one’s grave, including Shiranui Spectralsword. This can be especially deadly for the Grass variant of Shiranui, which relies on a loaded grave to make plays. The way to play around No Mortal Can Resist is to actually keep Shiranui Spectralsword banished and out of the grave on the opponent’s turn. For non-Grass Shiranui, this can be done by banishing Shiranui Spectralsword off Shiranui Squiresaga or Shiranui Shogunsaga’s effects. Shiranui Shogunsaga in particular will be able to put Shiranui Spectralsword back into the grave when destroyed for a followup next turn. Meanwhile, Grass Shiranui has more avenues to banish their Shiranui Spectralsword (e.g. with Burgeoning Whirlflame) as well as more ways to recover the banished Shiranui Spectralsword with multiple copies of Shiranui Spectralsword Shade.

As of the May 2020 banlist, No Mortal Can Resist is no longer as popular of a skill because it requires the player to be at least 2000 less LP to activate. The only deck in the meta at the time of this guide update that can consistently trigger No Mortal Can Resist is Dark Magician, via Dark Magic Curtain. So if one is playing against an Ishizu Dark Magician, then definitely keep No Mortal Can Resist in mind. Otherwise, the Ishizu player is more likely playing Sealed Tombs.


Playing with That Grass Looks Greener

First, see the subsection on That Grass Looks Greener and Burgeoning Whirlflame in the “Synergetic Tech Cards” section of the guide for a basic overview.

Note that as of the Feb 2020 banlist hitting both That Grass Looks Greener and Spell Specialist, this variant of Shiranui is no longer considered top tier. To add insult to injury, the May 2020 banlist also hit Charge of the Light Brigade and Gold Sarcophagus to further limit the ways that Grass Shiranui can fill its grave. As a result, this variant of Shiranui is more for fun now, rather than for competitive play. Still, the combos and plays for the deck, as mentioned in this section, are the same as before the nerfs – the deck itself is just no longer consistent.

Before playing the Grass variant of Shiranui, it is recommended to get comfortable with the core cards by playing the non-Grass variant first. This will familiarize one with every core monster besides Shiranui Samurai and Shiranui Spectralsword Shade. Once one has the combos of the standard build down and knows most of the effects of the Shiranui monsters by heart, learning to play the Grass variant should be a cinch.

This section of the guide is divided into three subsections:

  • Playing Optimally with Burgeoning Whirlflame
  • “Turn 1” Plays - Establishing a Board and Followups
  • “Turn 2” Plays - Looking for an OTK

Because of how many options there are after a good That Grass Looks Greener mill, the latter two subsections are by no means an exhaustive list of all possible plays. Rather, they discuss only a couple of combos that come up often and that a player should definitely know. However, players should feel free to improvise and create their own combos as they play and get more comfortable with the deck.

Playing Optimally with Burgeoning Whirlflame

Burgeoning Whirlflame is the other key card besides That Grass Looks Greener in the Grass variant of Shiranui. Its effect in grave is a quick effect that lets one banish two Fire attribute monsters from the grave to add the card back in hand. Since all the Shiranui core monsters have effects on banish, Burgeoning Whirlflame enables some explosive plays with a loaded graveyard.

Here is a quick reminder and reference of each on-banish Shiranui effect. Keep in mind that these are all HOPT.

The above-mentioned effects trigger a Chain Link in the order that they were banished. For instance, if one selects Shiranui Spiritmaster first and then Shiranui Squire second with Burgeoning Whirlflame, then Shiranui Spiritmaster gets banished first, putting it on Chain Link 1, while Shiranui Squire gets put on Chain Link 2.

The ordering of the Chain Link can be important as it allows one to chain block negation effects as well as dodge Floodgate Trap Hole. Consider the following examples:

Knowing how to order Chain Links properly with Burgeoning Whirlflame is key in playing this deck well.

The other key thing to keep in mind when using Burgeoning Whirlflame is the count of each Shiranui monster in grave. Ideally, there should be a Shiranui Squire in grave to banish off Burgeoning Whirlflame so that one can discard it back into the grave to be used later. A common misplay that new players to the deck make is using Burgeoning Whirlflame without a Shiranui Squire to banish and then getting that card stuck in the hand, where it becomes a useless.

The other Shiranui monster to especially keep count of in grave is Shiranui Spiritmaster. A common mistake is to banish Shiranui Spiritmaster on one’s own turn to make an aggressive push, but then have none of him left in grave for disruption on the opponent’s turn. One should only exhaust all their Shiranui Spiritmasters in grave on their own turn if they have a way to win that turn.

“Turn 1” Plays - Establishing a Board and Followups

There are two main goals to accomplish when going first:

  • (1) Establishing a board with enough field presence to protect one from attacks and with ways to disrupt the opponent’s plays on their turn.
  • (2) Establishing followup plays for next turn to push for game or get closer to winning the game.

Establishing a Board

Typically, one does not have to worry much about setting up a form of disruption for the opponent’s turn because a simple That Grass Looks Greener mill can do that if Burgeoning Whirlflame and Shiranui Spiritmaster are both among the cards milled. Even just milling Burgeoning Whirlflame and Shiranui Solitaire (but no Shiranui Spiritmaster) can be fine, since that combination can be used to block a direct attack.

Things get complicated however when one does not mill Burgeoning Whirlflame. When this happens, one wants to find a way to get Shiranui Samurai on board for his quick effect. With him on board and Shiranui Spiritmaster in grave, one can still use Shiranui Samurai‘s effect to banish Shiranui Spiritmaster anytime during the opponent’s turn for disruption.

Keep an eye out for the following combo, as it not only gets Shiranui Samurai on board but also gets out massive field presence to pressure the opponent.

Requirements: A Zombie in hand + Gozuki, Shiranui Samurai and Shiranui Spiritmaster milled + Shiranui Solitaire in hand OR milled + a Shiranui tuner in deck

Note that one can change up their plays depending on the Zombie monster in hand.

The end game state here is:

The video below shows a replay of this combo at work. In general, be on the look out for ways to banish Shiranui Samurai and then Shiranui Solitaire to get Shiranui Samurai on board. It does not have to be via this combo – e.g. a combination of Gozuki’s effect to banish Shiranui Samurai from grave and Gold Sarcophagus to banish Shiranui Solitaire from deck can also work.

Establishing Followup Plays

In general, the idea behind establishing followup plays on your first turn is to think ahead and conserve enough GUARANTEED resources for the next turn. Guaranteed means not relying on RNG, i.e. the next draw. In regards to Grass Shiranui, conserving resources usually means not getting too trigger-happy and using up all the on-banish effects in the grave with Burgeoning Whirlflame on the first turn. Rather, one wants to still have some available for next turn to push for game.

Some of the key cards and resources to be wary of when establishing a followup:

“Turn 2” Plays - Looking for an OTK

The main Turn 2 OTK option for Grass Shiranui is the 5500 ATK Shiranui Shogunsaga. If one does not see an opening for him to get lethal, then it is typically better to slow play the game and just establish a board Turn 2 (see the above subsection on “Establishing a Board and Followups”). One would then have more resources to work with on Turn 4, such as Shiranui Spectralsword’s effect from grave. However, if there is lethal on board, then by all means go for it.

Below are some of the more common scenarios for when one might have Turn 2 lethal with Shiranui Shogunsaga. In general, one needs to mill Burgeoning Whirlflame and have access to Shiranui Solitaire and Shiranui Spectralsword, with the latter usually accessed through Shiranui Squire or Shiranui Spiritmaster for the initial synchro summon into Shiranui Samuraisaga.

There is also a combo at the end of this subsection that opts to go into Shiranui Squiresaga and Shiranui Sunsaga instead of Shiranui Samuraisaga and Shiranui Shogunsaga. Board wipes from Shiranui Squiresaga and Shiranui Sunsaga can still lead to lethal with an additional monster beside Shiranui Sunsaga.

Requirements: A Zombie in hand + Gozuki, Shiranui Samurai, Shiranui Squire, Shiranui Solitaire, and Burgeoning Whirlflame milled + Shiranui Spectralsword in deck

Note that opening with Shiranui Squire in hand can also work – in that case, Gozuki and Shiranui Samurai are not needed for this combo. One can also change up their plays depending on the Zombie monster in hand.

If there is no other Fire attribute monster to banish in step (8), then one can banish Shiranui Solitaire and Shiranui Spectralsword instead in step (6) to special summon back the Shiranui Spectralsword. From there, proceed directly to step (9).

Requirements: A Zombie in hand + Gozuki, Shiranui Samurai, Shiranui Spiritmaster, Shiranui Solitaire, Shiranui Spectralsword, and Burgeoning Whirlflame milled

Note that opening with Shiranui Spiritmaster in hand can also work – in that case, Gozuki and Shiranui Samurai are not needed for this combo. One can also change up their plays depending on the Zombie monster in hand.

Requirements: A Zombie in hand + Gozuki, Shiranui Samurai, Shiranui Spiritmaster, Shiranui Spectralsword, and Burgeoning Whirlflame milled + Shiranui Solitaire in hand + Shiranui Spectralsword in deck

Note that opening with Shiranui Spiritmaster in hand can also work – in that case, Gozuki and Shiranui Samurai are not needed for this combo. One can also change up their plays depending on the Zombie monster in hand.

Requirements: A Zombie in hand + Gozuki, Shiranui Samurai, Shiranui Squire, Shiranui Solitaire, and Burgeoning Whirlflame milled + Shiranui Spectralsword Shade in deck

Note that opening with Shiranui Squire in hand can also work – in that case, Gozuki and Shiranui Samurai are not needed for this combo. One can also change up their plays depending on the Zombie monster in hand.

If there is no other Fire attribute monster to banish in step (8), then one can banish Shiranui Solitaire and Shiranui Spectralsword Shade instead in step (6) to special summon back the Shiranui Spectralsword Shade. From there, proceed directly to step (10).

This combo can get lethal with Shiranui Sunsaga plus the Zombie monster summoned off Gozuki’s effect.


Matchups

Blackwings

Popular Skills: Harpies’ Hunting Ground, Peak Performance

This is a matchup that can go either way depending on how well one opens up with backrow and techs. Blackwings are incredibly vulnerable to early-game disruption, particularly from Ballista Squad, Needle Ceiling, Floodgate Trap Hole, Paleozoic Canadia, Forbidden Lance, and Shadow-Imprisoning Mirror:

Note that all of these cards are also just good generic cards vs. the entire meta. So a typical Shiranui deck should already have most of these cards in its (flexible) backrow lineup before even side decking. This makes the matchup vs. Blackwings mostly a matter of drawing one’s backrow early enough before Blackwings can get their combo plays going. This also makes going first in this matchup ideal as it lets one set all their backrow before the Blackwing player gets to establish a board.

Going second though is much more difficult as cards like Floodgate Trap Hole can be useless at that point vs. an established board, and the threat of Blackbird Close becomes a possibility. It is typically very difficult to play around an early Blackbird Close, as the Shiranui archetype has little to no comeback ability if its initial monster effect gets negated. Typically, one has no choice but to just go for the initial combo plays despite a potential Blackbird Close. If the Blackwing player has Blackbird Close, then they have it unfortunately.

Thankfully, Blackbird Close becomes less of a threat if one does manage to establish a board and grave. For one thing, Blackbird Close can only negate monster effects on the field, so it cannot stop a Shiranui Spectralsword effect from the grave. Furthermore, one can actually chain block Blackbird Close when summoning Shiranui Shogunsaga off Shiranui Spectralsword’s effect if the other monster banished is Shiranui Samuraisaga. Activating both Shiranui Shogunsaga and Shiranui Samuraisaga’s effects in this instance will put Shiranui Shogunsaga on Chain Link 1 and Shiranui Samuraisaga on Chain Link 2, preventing Blackbird Close from chaining to Shiranui Shogunsaga’s effect and destroying it. From there, one could potentially threaten lethal damage with a big Shiranui Shogunsaga, especially since the Blackwing player has probably already taken prior damage from the side effect of their combo starter, Blackwing - Simoon the Poison Wind.

Side Deck / Tech Choices

Duel Links Card: Artifact%20Lancea
Duel Links Card: Ballista%20Squad
Duel Links Card: Floodgate%20Trap%20Hole
Duel Links Card: Forbidden%20Lance
Duel Links Card: Karma%20Cut
Duel Links Card: Needle%20Ceiling
Duel Links Card: Paleozoic%20Canadia
Duel Links Card: Raigeki%20Break
Duel Links Card: Shadow-Imprisoning%20Mirror
Duel Links Card: Sphere%20Kuriboh

Blue-Eyes

Popular Skills: Alternative Evolution

This matchup is favorable for Shiranui thanks to Shiranui Sunsaga’s high ATK and protection from destruction. These factors let the Shiranui player just sit on Shiranui Sunsaga until they gather enough resources to make a push, as the Blue-Eyes player can neither beat over Shiranui Sunsaga with their 3000 ATK beaters nor destroy him with Blue-Eyes Alternative Dragon’s effect. Thus, turboing out Shiranui Sunsaga as early as possible, especially with Level Augmnetation, should be the gameplan when playing against a DSOD Kaiba.

The tricky part when playing against Blue-Eyes is in baiting out their backrow. Blue-Eyes, as a deck, often runs many counter traps, such as Ultimate Providence and Divine Wrath, as well as Raigeki Break to discard their White Stone of Ancients from hand and summon a Blue-Eyes monster in the end phase. One wants to avoid triggering these traps before establishing a board, since the Blue-Eyes that gets summoned in the end phase can not only be hard to out, but also banish one’s own backrow if it is Dragon Spirit of White. Playing around Raigeki Break can be difficult, but playing around just the counter traps can actually be easy by slow playing the game – i.e. avoid activating monster effects too early. Consider the following replay:


One might notice that Blue-Eyes Spirit Dragon does provide an inherent out to Shiranui Sunsaga by tagging into Michael, the Arch-Lightsworn. While this is true, this is also an unoptimal play for the Blue-Eyes player, as it does not lead into any offensive pushes (due to Michael, the Arch-Lightsworn being summoned in DEF) nor is it efficient on resources, with Michael, the Arch-Lightsworn being destroyed in the end phase.

An early Blue-Eyes Spirit Dragon can be annoying for Shiranui though, since it can negate Shiranui Spectralsword’s effect in grave. One wants to remove it as soon as possible by either forcing it to tag out with a card like Ballista Squad or simply beating over it with a monster with over 3000 ATK.

An even better scenario would be to stop the Blue-Eyes Spirit Dragon synchro summon all together by disrupting the synchro materials with cards like Ballista Squad or Floodgate Trap Hole. Do watch out for Maiden with Eyes of Blue though. Avoid targeting her with e.g. Ballista Squad or she can spawn a Blue-Eyes White Dragon. Instead, one usually wants to make Maiden with Eyes of Blue miss timing if the Blue-Eyes player tries to target her to proactively trigger her effect. Simply chaining a card that does not target Maiden with Eyes of Blue to the Blue-Eyes player’s card will make her miss her activation window, stopping the Blue-Eyes White Dragon from coming out.

Finally, as a last note – avoid attacking into set monsters in this matchup until one is able to deal with a potential Dragon Spirit of White or Blue-Eyes White Dragon that may come out after a set White Stone of Ancients is destroyed and sent to the grave. Alternatively, one can run Revived King Ha Des to avoid this issue, as his effect will negate the effects of any White Stone of Ancients that get destroyed in battle by one’s Zombie monsters.

Side Deck / Tech Choices


Crystrons

Popular Skills: Heavy Starter, Mythic Depths, See You Later!, The Tie that Binds

The Crystron matchup is one where the Shiranui player needs to make an aggressive push and close the game early, or Crystrons can easily outlast and win the resource war. Negation cards like Fiendish Chain, Divine Wrath, and (to a lesser extent) Forbidden Chalice are key to winning this matchup.

Going first against Crystrons, one ideally opens with disruptive backrow such as Ballista Squad and Floodgate Trap Hole to stop their synchro plays. The targets for disruption are usually the Crystron tuners, Crystron Citree and Crystron Rion. Destroying and flipping down these tuners not only stops any synchro summons, but it also prevents them from using their quick effects later. Their quick effects are particularly dangerous because they allow the Crystron player to summon Crystron Ametrix or Powered Inzektron on one’s own turn. Crystron Ametrix is especially dangerous because its effect switches all of one’s Shiranui Synchro Monsters to DEF mode, and of course, all Shiranui monsters have a weak 0 DEF.

Going second against Crystrons can be difficult, since the deck can consistently establish a board that leads into a Turn 3 synchro summon for Black Rose Dragon and Crystron Quariongandrax. Both of these monsters can wipe away one’s board when summoned, and Crystron Quariongandrax in particular can even remove Shiranui Spectralsword from the grave and stop one’s followup plays. Furthermore, when destroyed, Crystron Quariongandrax can steal one’s own banished Shiranui monsters and summon it to the Crystron player’s field. It is important to recognize when the Crystron player can make this play, so be on the look out for the following board states:

With this board state, the Crystron player can use Crystron Citree’s effect to go into Crystron Ametrix to stop any offensive pushes during the battle phase, and then use Crystron Impact in the end phase to bring back Crystron Citree for an immediate level 7 synchro summon for Black Rose Dragon next turn. Crystron Sulfefnir and Crystron Prasiortle then enable a followup into Crystron Quariongandrax.

The trick to stopping this bread-and-butter Turn 3 from Crystrons is in playing negation techs like Fiendish Chain, Divine Wrath, and Forbidden Chalice.

Use the above-mentioned techs to stun a Crystron player’s board, and then push for game with the non-targeting destruction effects of Shiranui Squiresaga and Shiranui Sunsaga. Needle Ceiling is also another great option for non-targeting destruction. These effects not only play around Crystron Impact, but also the tag out abilities of Crystron Citree and Crystron Rion. Against Sea Stealth Attack variants of Crystrons, the non-targeting additionally gets around Citadel Whale’s negation.

One last thing to note is the importance of Archfiend Zombie-Skull against Sea Stealth Attack Crystrons. Archfiend Zombie-Skull‘s effect allows one to safely attack into the Crystron player’s high-level Water monsters without fear of Sea Stealth Attack. Shiranui Sunsaga can of course do the same, but requires a Shiranui monster in grave to banish; and sometimes, that is not an option in a long grind game vs. Crystrons. Thus, it is often best to play conservative with Archfiend Zombie-Skull if one is playing against a Mako Crystron player.

Side Deck / Tech Choices

Duel Links Card: Archfiend%20Zombie-Skull
Duel Links Card: Artifact%20Lancea
Duel Links Card: Ballista%20Squad
Duel Links Card: Divine%20Wrath
Duel Links Card: Fiendish%20Chain
Duel Links Card: Floodgate%20Trap%20Hole
Duel Links Card: Forbidden%20Chalice
Duel Links Card: Needle%20Ceiling
Duel Links Card: Paleozoic%20Canadia
Duel Links Card: Raigeki%20Break
Duel Links Card: Revived%20King%20Ha%20Des
Duel Links Card: System%20Down
Duel Links Card: Void%20Trap%20Hole

Cyber Dragons

Popular Skills: Cyber Style

This matchup can be sort of a coinflip, with whoever going first having the advantage. However, once one gets out Archfiend Zombie-Skull or Shiranui Sunsaga, it is usually a win for Shiranui. For that reason, Level Augmentation is the best skill for this matchup to turbo out Shiranui Sunsaga.

If one is indeed running Level Augmentation, then summoning Shiranui Sunsaga as soon as possible Turn 1 or 2 should be the gameplan when playing against Zane. Shiranui Sunsaga‘s protection from destruction shuts down Cybernetic Overflow, which is the main form of monster removal for Cyber Dragons. Once Shiranui Sunsaga is out, the only way that Cyber Dragons can get rid of him is with a tech card like Herald of the Abyss, which they have to hard draw. One can even stop a potential Herald of the Abyss by reducing the Cyber Dragon player’s LP to 1500 or below so that they cannot pay the cost. In general, an early Shiranui Sunsaga is usually an auto-win for the Shiranui player.

Without Level Augmentation, the goal going first is to set up Shiranui Spectralsword in grave to summon Archfiend Zombie-Skull next turn. Like Shiranui Sunsaga, Archfiend Zombie-Skull also shuts down Cybernetic Overflow. The only way that Cyber Dragons can get rid of Archfiend Zombie-Skull or any big Shiranui monsters alongside it (without relying on a tech card) is by beating over them with Cyber Twin Dragon or Cyber End Dragon, both of which are susceptible to backrow.

Going second, one wants to open with backrow removal like Night Beam or a card like Forbidden Lance for the Cybernetic Overflow. Getting rid of Cybernetic Overflow and then summoning a monster with more than 2100 ATK should put one in a good position. The monster discourages the Cyber Dragon player from summoning the 2100 ATK Chimeratech Rampage Dragon to destroy one’s backrow. At that point, this becomes similar to the going first scenario, where the Cyber Dragon player has to rely on Cyber Twin Dragon or Cyber End Dragon, both of which are susceptible to backrow.

Since the goal in this matchup is to get Shiranui Spectralsword in grave as soon as possible, it is usually better to go into Shiranui Samuraisaga first. However, if one opens with a Shiranui Spectralsword in hand, then one can go into Shiranui Squiresaga and then use her effect to banish Shiranui Squire to discard the Shiranui Spectralsword to grave. This is fine as long as one has a way to get another level 4 in grave next turn for Archfiend Zombie-Skull. Shiranui Squiresaga can apply a lot more pressure than Shiranui Samuraisaga, especially Turn 1, since the threat of her non-targeting spell/trap removal can force the Cyber Dragon player to flip up their Cybernetic Overflow early and use it suboptimally.

Cyber Dragon players do usually run 3 Cosmic Cyclones to have an easier time triggering their skill Cyber Style. This makes Artifact Lancea not a bad tech in the matchup to stop the Cyber Dragon player from removing one’s backrow with Cosmic Cyclone on their turn.

Finally, on Zane’s Cyber Style skill, it is recommended to not attack until there is lethal, to avoid triggering the skill too early. Of course, this may not matter if the Cyber Dragon player is already low on LP from using e.g. Cosmic Cyclones, or if one already has Shiranui Sunsaga established on board.

Side Deck / Tech Choices


Dark Magician

Popular Skills: Balance, No Mortal Can Resist, Power of Dark, Sealed Tombs, The Tie that Binds, A Trick up the Sleeve

This is a difficult matchup for Shiranui because of Dark Magical Circle and Kycoo, the Ghost Destroyer. The matchup is all about whether the Shiranui player can deal with these two cards, especially Dark Magical Circle. Going first, one can thankfully rely on staples such as Ballista Squad and Raigeki Break. Going second however is usually an auto-loss unless one draws tech cards that counter Dark Magical Circle, such as Forbidden Lance, Twister, Typhoon, Dicephoon, Night Beam, and Chaos Hunter.

At the end of the day, this matchup really comes down to whether one opened with the right techs to deal with Dark Magical Circle and Kycoo, the Ghost Destroyer. Once those two threats are dealt with, the rest of the Dark Magician core is actually very manageable for Shiranui. Shiranui Shogunsaga especially is a massive win condition in this matchup, since Dark Magician players often leave a vulnerable 1600 ATK Magician’s Rod in ATK mode. A 5500 ATK Shiranui Shogunsaga deals lethal damage over a Magician’s Rod after a -500 ATK debuff from Shiranui Samuraisaga, so the bread-and-butter Shiranui Spectralsword + Shiranui Solitaire combo is even more deadly than usual here!

Side Deck / Tech Choices

Duel Links Card: Artifact%20Lancea
Duel Links Card: Ballista%20Squad
Duel Links Card: Chaos%20Hunter
Duel Links Card: Dicephoon
Duel Links Card: Fiendish%20Chain
Duel Links Card: Forbidden%20Lance
Duel Links Card: Mirror%20Wall
Duel Links Card: Needle%20Ceiling
Duel Links Card: Night%20Beam
Duel Links Card: Raigeki%20Break
Duel Links Card: Shadow-Imprisoning%20Mirror
Duel Links Card: Shiranui%20Squiresaga
Duel Links Card: Typhoon
Duel Links Card: Twister

Darklords

Popular Skills: Destiny Draw, No Mortal Can Resist

This is a hard matchup for Shiranui due to the combination of monster effect negation from The Sanctified Darklord and grave removal from No Mortal Can Resist. One needs to rely on heavy backrow for this matchup. Thankfully, Darklords have no inherent out to backrow and can get easily crippled by Fiendish Chain as well as battle traps like Wall of Disruption.

Going first against Darklords, one ideally draws an ample amount of backrow to prevent the Darklord player from establishing their board. Fiendish Chain especially is the best card for stunning Darklords – that card can negate their attempt to copy Banishment of the Darklords or Darklord Contact while also stopping the big Darklord monster from attacking. If one is facing a Lightsworn variant of Darklords, then also consider using Fiendish Chain to negate Raiden, Hand of the Lightsworn. Do this if the Darklord player has yet to fill their grave with Darklord monsters. In this scenario, they are likely relying on Raiden, Hand of the Lightsworn to mill a Darklord monster to then revive with Darklord Contact. Thus, negating Raiden, Hand of the Lightsworn can put a stop to their entire turn.

Contrary to the usual Shiranui plays, getting Shiranui Spectralsword in grave Turn 1 can actually be detrimental if the Darklord player is playing Ishizu. Doing so risks the Shiranui Spectralsword getting wiped by No Mortal Can Resist. It is actually more ideal to leave Shiranui Spectralsword on the field and then get him into the grave on the opponent’s battle or end phase with e.g. Ballista Squad or Needle Ceiling after the Darklord player no longer has the opportunity to click No Mortal Can Resist.

Going second and countering a typical Darklord opening board can be very challenging. Getting one’s normal summon effect negated by The Sanctified Darklord, either through a hard activation or a Darklord monster’s quick effect, can be devastating, as the Shiranui archetype has little to no comeback ability if the initial combo starter gets negated. Forbidden Lance can help against a set The Sanctified Darklord by making one’s Shiranui monster immune to the negation. However, if The Sanctified Darklord is in grave and there is a Darklord monster on board to copy it, then the only real way to avoid the negation is with Forbidden Chalice. Even then, Forbidden Chalice will not work if there are multiple Darklord monsters on board to copy The Sanctified Darklord.

If one does manage to get their Shiranui combo plays going, then a simple board of Shiranui Sunsaga backed by a Floodgate Trap Hole or even Paleozoic Canadia can actually be tough for the Darklord player to out. Shiranui Sunsaga’s monstrous 3500 ATK means that none of the Darklord monsters can naturally run him over in battle. This forces the Darklord player to rely on Darklord Desire’s effect as their main out. However, Darklord Desire is not a Turn 1 play, and so it is highly susceptible to getting hit and neutered by e.g. a Floodgate Trap Hole that was set on a prior turn.

When relying on Shiranui Sunsaga in the above-mentioned manner, one does need to be wary of Darklords resorting to deck-out as a win condition. Shiranui Sunsaga is only one monster and thus cannot clear a full board of DEF mode Darklords by himself if he has already used his on-summon effect. Meanwhile, Darklords can special summon each other back from the grave and shuffle back cards into their deck to stall. One still needs to make an aggressive push – most likely with a second Shiranui Sunsaga – to seal the game.

As a general note, Darklords can only make plays if they have enough LP to pay their 1000 LP cost effects. If one can make a big push early (e.g. via a Shiranui Sunsaga direct attack) and get the Darklord player to below 1000 LP, then even though it was not lethal damage, it is likely enough to cripple their deck and steal the win. The only way that the Darklord player can heal up at that point is through a hard, on-field activation of The Sanctified Darklord, which can be hit by e.g. Ballista Squad the turn it is set, or through Darklord Morningstar, which is susceptible to Floodgate Trap Hole.

Siding in battle traps like Wall of Disruption and Drowning Mirror Force can mitigate the disadvantages of going second in this matchup. Darklords, as a deck, rely on tech cards like Cosmic Cyclone to out backrow, and they generally only run 1-3 tech cards or risk bricking. As a result, opening and setting multiple battle traps against Darklords can slow the pacing of the game down and allow one to eventually get the Shiranui combo game going.

Side Deck / Tech Choices

Duel Links Card: Ballista%20Squad
Duel Links Card: Dimensional%20Prison
Duel Links Card: Divine%20Wrath
Duel Links Card: Drowning%20Mirror%20Force
Duel Links Card: Fiendish%20Chain
Duel Links Card: Floodgate%20Trap%20Hole
Duel Links Card: Forbidden%20Chalice
Duel Links Card: Forbidden%20Lance
Duel Links Card: Karma%20Cut
Duel Links Card: Needle%20Ceiling
Duel Links Card: Paleozoic%20Canadia
Duel Links Card: Shadow-Imprisoning%20Mirror
Duel Links Card: Sphere%20Kuriboh
Duel Links Card: Void%20Trap%20Hole
Duel Links Card: Wall%20of%20Disruption

Elementsaber - Invoked

Popular Skills: Destiny Draw

Contrary to what one might think, the Invoked - Elementsabers matchup can often go either way. While it is true that Elementsaber Molehu and Invoked Purgatrio can be massive headaches to the Shiranui archetype, which is synchro and fire based and made up of 0 DEF monsters, Shiranui as a deck actually has quite a number of ways to out these threats. This is thanks to the large amount of tech space in Shiranui, allowing the deck to run hard counters to Invoked - Elementsabers in Artifact Lancea and Forbidden Lance, both of which also double up as good generic staples. The key to winning this matchup is to basically not allow the Invoked player to play their game and fusion summon.