In December 2017, Duel Links added the popular Six Samurai archetype to the Blade of Spirits box. Blade of Spirits included The Six Samurai archetype with their boss monster, Great Shogun Shien.
However, they failed to make any real impact in the meta due to their inconsistency from a lack of searchers, and slow speed against the once popular Cyber Angels. To further capitalise on Six Samurai’s popularity, the Secret Six Samurai support cards were eventually added to the Crusader Battlegrounds box in May 2018. While Crusader Battlegrounds did include much needed support in the form of Grandmaster of the Six Samurai, Secret Six Samurai - Doji, Secret Six Samurai - Kizaru, Secret Six Samurai - Hatsume, and Secret Six Samurai - Rihan, it still wasn’t enough to warrant a spot on any competitive Tier List. This is because the archetype was (and still is as of February 2019) missing their best support in the form of the Legendary Six Samurai.
Although Six Samurai are still missing key support cards to make their own archetype flourish in Duel Links, the addition of Junk Synchron in the Secrets of the Ancients Box and Akiza Izinski’s What Grows in the Graveyard skill allowed Six Samurai to adapt to the current meta by enabling consistent and powerful Synchro summoning.
The remainder of this guide will be explaining how to optimally play Six Samurai in the current format (February 2019), their future potential, and match-ups against popular decks in ranked and tier lists.
The Synchro Six Samurai variant has seen the most success at seeing players in the Duel Links Meta discord reach King of Games and the occasional tournament win. To play this version, the deck relies on using Junk Synchron and Akiza Izinski’s What Grows in the Graveyard skill to synchro summon either Armades, Keeper of Boundaries, or X-Saber Wayne. The latter is combined with Secret Six Samurai – Kizaru to enable his effect to search for a Six Samurai monster with a different attribute to what’s currently face-up on your side of the field. Typically, Kizaru’s effect would be used to search for Hand of the Six Samurai. Hand of the Six Samurai allows you to tribute a face-up Six Samurai monster to destroy any monster on the field, dealing with powerful monsters such as Koa’ki Meiru Maximus.
The rest of the deck uses general spells (e.g. Enemy Controller) and traps (e.g. Paleozoic Canadia, Mirror Wall, or Floodgate Trap Hole) to ensure you can achieve the decks goals with protection and little interruption.
- What Grows in the Graveyard
This skill is obtained by duelling against Legendary Duelists (AI or multi-player) while playing as Akiza Izinski. It adds Dark Verger to your graveyard at the beginning of the duel, allowing Junk Synchron to add it to the field when he’s normal summoned, enabling the synchro summoning mechanic for the deck to function.
- 3x Junk Synchron
Junk Synchron is the main reason this deck works so well. Paired with What Grows in the Graveyard, it allows you to synchro summon X-Saber Wayne
to enable Secret Six Samurai - Kizaru
, or Armades to bypass battle traps and monster effects. You ideally need 3 copies of Junk Synchron before playing this deck.
- 3x Secret Six Samurai - Kizaru
Kizaru pairs very well with X-Saber Wayne, as X-Saber Wayne enables Kizaru to search for Hand of the Six Samurai
(or any other Six Samurai monster with a different attribute to the monster’s face-up on your side of the field). In addition to his search effect, his 1,900 ATK points forces Destiny Hero players to use Masked Change to deal with him.
- 2x Hand of the Six Samurai
One of the best Six Samurai monsters in Duel Links, Hand of the Six Samurai will reliably deal with high ATK monsters by tributing another Six Samurai monster. She can be added to the hand by utilising Kizaru’s search effect.
- 2x Grandmaster of the Six Samurai
Grandmaster of the Six Samurai is a very good card to use in a meta where destruction effects from e.g. Koa’ki Meiru Maximus are commonplace. Once he’s destroyed by card effect, you can add any Six Samurai monster from the graveyard to your hand (including himself). He also pairs well with Kizaru, as his 2,100 ATK points combined with Kizaru’s 1,900 ATK points, can lead to OTK’s. Lastly, Junk Synchron
and Grandmaster of the Six Samurai
can aid in synchro summoning Junk Destroyer (primarily used for niche situations).
- 1x X-Saber Wayne
X-Saber Wayne’s sole function in the deck is to enable Kizaru to search for Hand of the Six Samurai. In addition to this, X-Saber Wayne’s 2,100 ATK points and Kizaru’s 1,900 ATK points can lead to OTK’s.
- 2x Armades, Keeper of Boundaries
One of the best synchro monsters in Duel Links, Armades can easily be summoned by Junk Synchron and Dark Verger. Armades is necessary at 2-3 copies due to the reliability of summoning it, and it’ll help you deal with powerful monsters/traps such as Silent Magician
and Amazoness Onslaught
- 2x Enemy Controller
Enemy Controller is incredibly versatile, and it pairs very well with Junk Synchron. Once Junk Synchron summons Dark Verger from the graveyard, you can potentially tribute Dark Verger for your opponent’s monsters and use it as synchro material for e.g. Junk Berserker
- 3x Paleozoic Canadia
Not only is Paleozoic Canadia an incredibly useful card for defensive capabilities, it also pairs well with Junk Synchron as it can be used as material for synchro summons.
- 3x Floodgate Trap Hole
Floodgate Trap Hole is best used against Koa’ki Meiru because they have no reliable way of removing monsters that are permanently shut-down. However, Floodgate Trap Hole is vulnerable to Hey, Trunade!
(typically used by Karakuri) so be careful about using this card.
- 2x Mirror Wall
Mirror Wall is one of the best defensive trap cards in Duel Links. I was able to win most of my duels against Masked Heroes and Karakuri because Mirror Wall reducing Masked HERO Anki
to 1,400 ATK points, and it prevented Karakuri from attacking into my e.g. Armades.
- 1x Xing Zhen Hu
As most of the synchro Six Samurai decks have no backrow removal, Xing Zhen Hu can be an excellent way to control the duel at your own pace by preventing the use of 2 spell/trap cards your opponent controls. It also pairs well with Paleozoic Canadia, as it’ll special summon it from the graveyard after it activates.
- 1x Secret Six Samurai - Hatsume
I personally like to use 1 copy of Hatsume in all of my Six Samurai decklists. Although her effect can be slow due to the requirement of 2+ Six Samurai cards combined from face-up on the field and in the graveyard, she can also win duels by reviving e.g. Kizaru to search for Hand of the Six Samurai (or simply by reviving Hand of the Six Samurai).
- 1x Great Shogun Shien
Great Shogun Shien is a very strong card if summoned early. Against decks such as Spellbooks, it usually results in an immediate surrender. However, using this card can occasionally result in bricking, so I would recommend using it if you only have 1 copy of Grandmaster of the Six Samurai.
- 1-3x Powerful Rebirth
Powerful Rebirth is a great card for this deck. It enables Kizaru to search for Hand of the Six Samurai, and it allows you to use Junk Synchron more than 3 times. However, it can occasionally cause consistency issues if ran at 3 copies. So try to find the correct number for your decklist.
- 1x Junk Destroyer
Junk Berserker is a powerful synchro monster that allows you to destroy cards up to the number of materials used to summon it. In this decklist, it can either be 1 or 2, so summoning it usually requires a niche scenario to do it in. For that reason, I would only suggest using 1 copy of it.
- 1x Junk Berserker
Junk Berserker is a strong synchro monster that is relatively easy to summon with this deck. For example, Junk Synchron + Kizaru, or Junk Synchron + Paleozoic Canadia + Dark Verger can be used to summon it. It can be useful to destroy powerful monsters in defense position.
- 1x Stardust Dragon
Although the current meta uses many cards that destroy with effects, Stardust Dragon isn’t always useful as e.g. Diamond Core of Koa'ki Meiru
can protect Koa'ki Meiru Maximus
from being destroyed from its effect. However, if you don’t have a copy of Junk Destroyer, Stardust Dragon is a great replacement in the deck.
### Emma’s Synchro Samurai:
Tekumse’s Synchro Six Samurai:
Lord’s Synchro Six Samurai:
vs The Current Meta
Arguably the strongest and most powerful deck in Duel Links in the current meta, this is a difficult deck to beat. However, if you’re able to survive the initial OTK attempt from Koa’ki Meiru Maximus, you can win by using Hand of the Six Samurai to tribute another Six Samurai to destroy Maximus.
Here’s some replays against Koa’ki Meiru:
Although Ancient Gear isn’t on the tier list, they’re very popular due to their recent release, so you’ll expect to be playing against them a lot in the ranked environment. Similarly to Koa’ki Meiru, Ancient Gear has the potential to win fast due to the easy nature of summoning multiple Ancient Gear Reactor Dragon’s by destroying their own field spells. Again, Hand of the Six Samurai is the best way of dealing with the high ATK monsters.
Here is one replay against Ancient Gear, demonstrating the above:
Karakuri has a relatively high skill gap due to the possibility of misplaying with its large number of combos, so you won’t see this deck too often in ranked. Karakuri tend to make use of Hey Trunade to reliably OTK, so Mirror Wall can counter this deck very well. In addition to this, most Karakuri decks utilise Offerings to the Doomed – a card that Grandmaster of the Six Samurai and Secret Six Samurai cards excel against due to their destruction-based effects. Overall, the favourability of the match-up depends on if you can protect against their initial OTK attempts.
Buster Blader is an extremely difficult deck to beat once their field is setup with DNA Surgery and Buster Blader, the Dragon Destroyer Swordsman. To beat the deck, you need to either win very quickly, or you need to flip Buster Blader face-down with Paleozoic Canadia and remove it with Hand of the Six Samurai or Junk Destroyer. Overall, this matchup is very difficult due to the massive field control it offers.
Here’s a replay against the Buster Blader deck:
Masked Heroes have been a popular tiered deck for nearly a year due to Masked HERO Anki’s ability to search for multiple copies of Masked Change, allowing them to OTK very quickly. However, due to the length of time the deck has existed in Duel Links, they’re very predictable and easy to counter. Cards such as Mirror Wall and Armades, Keeper of Boundaries prove to counter the deck reliable and consistently. The matchup is very favourable for Six Samurai.
Vampires are a powerful deck with the ability to consistently search for their core cards, alongside Vampire Kingdom making Samurai Skull and Gozuki more powerful than Grandmaster of the Six Samurai. To beat Vampires, you need to save Paleozoic Canadia to shut down Gozuki from milling their decks, and to stop Vampire Grace from destroying your cards. In addition to this, Armades, Keeper of Boundaries excels against Vampires because it can prevent Gozuki and Sphere Kuriboh effects from activating. Overall, this matchup is even.
Here’s a replay against a Vampire deck demonstrating the usefulness of Armades:
Although Spellbooks are no longer on the DLM tier list, they’re still quite popular in ranked. The matchup for this can be difficult if Silent Magician is summoned early. However, Armades can negate her effect to special summon Silent Magician LV8 if she’s destroyed by battle. In addition to this, potential replacement cards such as Great Shogun Shien can hugely counter Spellbooks due to his 1 spell/trap per-turn limitation effect. Overall, this matchup tends to favour the player that has their field set-up first (e.g. Paleozoic Canadia to stop the use of Spellbook of Fate, or Silent Magician negating potential Enemy Controllers).
Summary and Future Potential of Six Samurai
Six Samurai is my absolute favourite deck in Yu-Gi-Oh/Duel Links. I always enjoy playing them in ranked and it’s incredibly satisfying to reach King of Games with them every month. The synchro deck is undoubtedly the best way to play Six Samurai in the current meta, and I’d love to see more players give the deck a chance.
However, as I stated in the introduction, Six Samurai are missing their Legendary Six support cards in Duel Links. The Legendary Six Samurai allowed the archetype to achieve its goals of swarming with the field with multiple monsters to ensure a strong field presence. For Six Samurai (without What Grows in the Graveyard) to potentially find their place on a tier list, these are some of the cards that would improve their overall performance:
- Legendary Six Samurai - Kizan
His effect is simply to special summon itself if there’s a Six Samurai monster face-up on the field. Essentially, Kizan provides Six Samurai with a huge consistency and speed boost.
- Legendary Six Samurai - Kageki
Kageki pairs very well with Kizaru for a search effect, Kagemusha for a quick Shi En summon, or any other Six Samurai monster to provide them with a speed boost.
- Legendary Six Samurai - Mizuho
While Hand of the Six Samurai tributes a Six Samurai monster solely to destroy other monsters, Mizuho’s effect allows her to destroy any card on the field. If she’s ever added to Duel Links, she’d be an incredible card to own. She also pairs very well with Shinai from their shared effects.
- Legendary Six Samurai - Shinai
Shinai can be special summoned if Mizuho is face-up on the field. If tributed, you can add any Six Samurai monster in the graveyard to your hand. He’s a great card to use for control decks.
- Legendary Six Samurai - Shi En
To put it simply, this card is incredible. Imagine Silent Magician/Swordsman being able to negate a trap as well as a spell card. That’s how difficult this card would be destroy.
- Kagemusha of the Six Samurai
Kagemushi is a 2* tuner that pairs very well with Kageki to summon Shi En. I personally prefer Fuma, but Kagemusha is still a good card.
- Secret Six Samurai - Fuma
1* tuner monster that not only has a great special summon effect, but it also pairs extremely well with Kizan for a fast Shi En summon.
- Six Samurai United
This card lets you potentially draw 2 cards simply by summoning 2 Six Samurai monsters. It’s a great card to ensure room for making plays.
- Shien's Smoke Signal
This card allows you to search for any 3* Six Samurai monster. I’d personally love to see this in Duel Links, especially as other archetypes such as Koa’ki Meiru have access to a much more powerful searcher in the form of Diamond Core
- Gateway of the Six
Essentially, this card’s existence in Duel Links would potentially put Six Samurai at tier 1-2. It’s absurdly powerful and enables consistent searching, deck thinning and OTK’s. I personally wouldn’t want this card for how unfair it can be, but it could be added in the future.
Overall, I hope you all enjoyed the guide on how to currently play Six Samurai alongside a glimpse at their future potential. Feel free to comment any questions and I’d be happy to reply to them.