The “Stromberg”/“Fairy Tale” archetype made its first appearance in Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Links in the Dimension of Wizards Mini-Box in March 2019, making it one of the longest “Tournament Topping” decks in Duel Links history. The deck focuses on the Field Spell Golden Castle of Stromberg and has two distinct engines built in it: one focusing on Prinzessin and its direct attacking effect and another more combo-centric one focused on Iron Hans and Iron Knight. Upon release, the Prinzessin version of the deck was quickly dismissed as gimmicky burn / stall strategy, while the Iron Hans/Iron Knight version, although receiving some attention due to its synergy with Silent Swordsman, didn’t feel powerful enough to be worth playing. Since the discovery of the Psychic Wheeleder and Pumpkin Carriage combination, however, the Prinzessin version of the deck, which will be the main focus of this guide, has slowly but surely shown itself as competent Anti-Meta strategy. Abusing the capability of the deck to avoid battle and play around the win-conditions of some other decks, while at the same time being able to fit in tech cards for the metagames it finds itself in, Stromberg can be a very scary deck if played and built correctly.
Hello, I am OstrichChild. I have been playing Stromberg since May of 2019, 2 months after its initial release. I immediately gravitated toward the deck after seeing Frost play it in a Meta Weekly, and ever since have pretty much exclusively played it in tournaments and KC Cups, in fact I have reached Top 32 in all 6 Meta Weekly events I have played Stromberg in. Other notable performances Top 16 in MW #84, 2nd Place in SGL #9, Top 16 in multiple giveaway tournaments, quite a few tops in Battle Phase events, and many First and Second place finishes in smaller events.
The Prinzessin version of the Stromberg deck is an Anti-Meta Control strategy that uses the Special Summoning effect of Golden Castle of Stromberg to generate card advantage and setup a powerful board that allows you to avoid direct confrontation with your opponent’s big monsters, like Invoked Purgatrio or the entire archetype of Darklord monsters, when they declare an attack. Unfortunately, this one-card setup comes at the cost of giving up your Normal Summon and banishing the top 10 cards of your deck face-down during your Standby Phases. Despite that, there are various ways to mitigate these downsides, such as tech cards, Gren Maju Da Eiza, and/or playing more than twenty cards.
This guide’s objective will be to present to you what the deck excels at, how it manages to adapt to the current format, and hopefully give you information about the deck
In the current meta, with Lightsworn engines and Shiranui everywhere, almost every deck has enough cards in their graveyard for Shadow Game to build up and start doing massive amounts of damage. This skill is beneficial for Stromberg players, as we rarely have more than a few cards in the graveyard, and can use Naturia Barkion to banish even more. This is probably the best choice at the moment, in both competitive and casual play.
See You Later!: See You Later is probably the most skill-capped skill for the Stromberg deck. It is the only skill to rival the competitive viability of Shadow Game, allowing the user to quickly escape from Floodgate Trap Hole or Paleozoic Canadia. Especially good against Dark Magician decks, this skill allows you to summon Glife the Phantom Bird to destroy an opponent’s face down, return the Glife to the hand, and then make synchro plays using Psychic Wheeleder. The applications of See You Later are very good, making it another viable competitive option.
Reversal of Fate Arcana Force XII - The Hangman can be used in a more casual build, or potentially in the future, if big beatsticks become the meta. The skill ensures that Hangman’s effect is tails. This skill is not recommended in the current meta, but if played correctly, can be a very scary combination with Hangman, especially against Blue-Eyes / HERO.
Golden Castle of Stromberg (3x):
The deck lives for this Field Spell and its two main effects that provide you access to your deck’s main monsters and “battle protection”. The first effect lets you, once per turn and at the cost of your ability to Normal Summon for that turn, Special Summon from your deck any monster from your deck that lists Golden Castle of Stromberg in its card text, which includes the rest of your direct-attacking and protection setup in the forms of Prinzessin and Pumpkin Carriage and backrow removal in the form of Glife the Phantom Bird. Its second effect destroys any opponent’s monster that declares an attack, while also burning them for half of that monster’s ATK on the field. The price to pay for these amazing effects? You must banish the top 10 cards of your deck face-down during each of your Standby Phases, which isn’t optional, or Golden Castle of Stromberg is destroyed. While this sounds like a very heavy drawback, the deck often only needs to pull off its one-card setup once to achieve its win-condition. On top of that, Gren Maju Da Eiza benefits from the effect of banishing, gaining 4000 ATK points. If that wasn’t enough, the higher card count of this deck, prevents us from decking out before we reach our win condition.
Glife the Phantom Bird (3x):
After Pumpkin Carriage, this card may be the second most relevant reason as to why the deck has any viability. Acting as the three extra copies of Golden Castle of Stromberg by having the excellent ability to discard it from your hand and add Golden Castle of Stromberg, this card helps with the deck’s inherent issue of having to run more than 20 cards to not deck out. If that somehow wasn’t enough to make it a definitive 3-of staple card in the deck, Konami was generous enough to give it a simple, but effective, extra effect that allows it to pop one of your opponent’s back row cards if Normal or Special Summoned, which also further adds to Golden Castle of Stromberg’s overall utility (note, however, that the specific wording in Glife’s text means that it cannot destroy Field Spells but only the cards in your opponent’s Spell & Trap Zone). Having 1500 ATK also makes it a decent beater, especially if your opponent’s non-fairy monsters are equipped with Glass Slippers.
This is the deck main beatstick and an example of how appearances can be deceiving. This small 300 ATK monster boosts itself to 1300 when, through its own effect, it equips itself with Glass Slippers after bringing out a direct-attack enabling Pumpkin Carriage. Add Golden Castle of Stromberg’s protection to the equation and you’ve got yourself a surprisingly stubborn monster to deal with. A successful direct attack from this pretty princess can transfer Glass Slippers to other monsters on the field, either putting a handicap on them (non-fairies) or buffing them (fairies). With all of this combined, Prinzessin is not a fun card to play against.
Glass Slippers (1x):
This Equip Spell is the final piece of your one-card setup, and also your only major garnet. After using Prinzessin’s effect to bring out a Pumpkin Carriage, you can also equip Glass Slippers to the Prinzessin as long as Golden Castle of Stromberg is also face-up on the field to give it an extra 1000 ATK, since it is a Fairy. But its extra effects also add to deck’s power as an Anti-Meta strategy: firstly, when equipped to a non-Fairy monster it reduces that monster’s ATK by 1000 while also stopping it from declaring attacks altogether (great for equipping onto a Lava Golem)- add Prinzessin’s ability to swap Glass Slippers around the field after a direct attack and you get a pretty annoying set of effects to deal with, as it can either cripple your opponent’s monsters or further boost any other Prinzessin you may have on your field. Secondly, it can re-equip itself to a Prinzessin if the monster it was previously equipped to is destroyed by any means, which further improves the deck’s resilience. With this effect, you can equip Glass Slippers to an opponent’s monster, destroy it in battle with another monster like Glife and get back the Glass Slippers on your Prinzessin for a 1300 ATK direct attack.
Pumpkin Carriage (1x):
Normally, carriages are the ones being carried around by some animal, but, in this case, Pumpkin Carriage is the one carrything the entire deck on it’s back. Stromberg decks would likely have zero viability if it weren’t for the myriad of things this card does for the deck. It protects Stromberg from destruction and targeting effects, it gives Prinzessin the ability to attack directly and access to Slippers, it is the main enabler of Synchro plays in the deck - as it is Level 3 and fulfils the special summoning requirement of Psychic Wheeleder. It even makes Rose Archer a viable tech choice in the deck. It isn’t a Garnet, as Prinzessin can also bring it out from the hand, which justifies playing just the 1 copy. Pumpkin Carriage does so much for the deck, and this deck would be nowhere near how good it is without it.
Lava Golem (1-2x):
A staple in most Anti-Meta strategies and decks that don’t need the Normal Summon to execute their gameplan, Lava Golem is your main way to dispose of monsters that refuse to stay quiet when faced with Golden Castle of Stromberg and its one-card setup, like Invoked Cocytus, Samurai Destroyer or any monster that can’t be destroyed by card effects, while also aiding your chip damage strategy with its 1000 burn damage. Most recently, it’s utility was improved with the addition of Crystrons to the meta, a deck that aims to consistently put multiple monsters on the field to overwhelm the opponent with the repeated usage of their synchro monsters. You can also equip it with Glass Slippers to stop it from attacking altogether or to reduce its ATK enough to be destroyed by Psychic Wheeleder in a follow-up Synchro play, not only clearing the field but also giving you the chance to re-equip Glass Slippers back onto a Prinzessin, enabling an otk. Always be sure to check if you can kill your opponent by summoning the Lava Golem in Attack position for a Econ-take play. Remember to make sure your opponent doesn’t have Sphere Kuriboh or Kiteroid before doing this.
Gren Maju Da Eiza (3x):
Being a free card that you can get from Pick a Gift Campaigns, or even just KC Cup SR Tickets, Gren Maju Da Eiza. After paying the maintenance cost for Stromberg once, this monster becomes a Normal Summon with 4000 ATK and DEF that can be even stronger if you were hit by cards like Cosmic Cyclone, Dark Magical Circle, or even your own Naturia Barkion. It’s also a Level 3 monster which can enable some Synchro plays with Psychic Wheeleder, such as going into Brionac, Dragon of the Ice Barrier.
Psychic Wheeleder (3x)
While the one-card setup can potentially when you games, it’s always good to have a secondary, or even tertiary win condition. Psychic Wheeleder acts like the ambassador between Stromberg’s main deck and extra deck. Being able to special summon it, almost for free, makes Wheeleder a great enabler for Black Rose Dragon board wipes, or crazy otks. This card adds an insane amount of consistency to the deck, and the fact that is in the same mini box as the rest of the Stromberg cards, makes it very easily obtainable.
There are many Synchro monsters that can go into this deck’s Extra Deck. The main Synchros this deck can take advantage of are Black Rose Dragon (BRD), Naturia Barkion and Ally of Justice Decisive Armor (AJDA). As of now, BRD is arguably the best level 7 Synchro in the game with its board clearing effect. If made while Pumpkin Carriage is on the field, Golden Castle of Stromberg will not be destroyed, which can potentially recover your board presence if you still have targets left for the Special Summoning effect in your deck. It’s also deadly if you are able to summon a Gren Maju Da Eiza after the board wipe for a clean lethal hit. Naturia Barkion is currently the most controlling Level 6 Synchro in the extra deck (along with Brionac, Dragon of the Ice Barrier), being able to Negate a trap card (this effect is NOT once per turn). This effect has the ability to shut down a few decks, such as Dark Magician and Cyber Dragon. Note that CyDra will still get to search for a “Cyber” spell or trap if Cybernetic Overflow is negated. AJDA is made with Psychic Wheeleder + Pumpkin Carriage/Gren Maju Da Eiza + Prinzessin/Glife the Phantom Bird, and serves as a sort of meta call. Its effects are all anti-LIGHT-monsters and can often secure you a win with it’s 3rd effect against decks like Blue-Eyes and Thunder Dragon, while also being a fat 3300 ATK/DEF monster. The rest of the Extra Deck can be filled with whatever Synchros you may need/have: other Level 6/7 Synchros should be considered like White Aura Dolphin, Goyo Guardian, PSY-Framelord Zeta, Ancient Pixie Dragon, and Samurai Destroyer, the latter being able to make the Magician Girl monster’s battle effects useless. Samurai Destroyer can slo be used to stop Crystron Ametrix. Preventing your opponent from activating spells/traps and monster effects on it’s attack is just a very powerful effect in general, and should not be overlooked. Ancient Pixie Dragon is also an important card to mention, as it is a free draw, and can help with OTKs by destroying an opponent’s monster, or by baiting out a Fiendish Chain.
World Legacy Clash and Enemy Controller
Why even explain, you already know what they do. Some of the best tech cards in the game. Enemy Controller is especially useful when taking a Lava Golem you gave to your opponent in Attack position after attacking directly with Prinzessin equipped with Glass Slippers. While World Legacy Clash can banish a Synchro Monster or Glife the Phantom Bird to inflict massive damage, prevent massive damage, or free up space in the monster zones.
While Glife the Phantom Bird’s backrow clearing is very useful on its own, Cosmic Cyclone’s utility as a Quick-Play Spell is very appreciated by this deck that does not enjoy facing cards like Floodgate Trap Hole, Wall of Disruption, Treacherous Trap Hole, Paleozoic Canadia, or, ironically Cosmic Cyclone. It’s also the best card to use against Dark Magical Circle to prevent banishing, or Darklord spell/traps to prevent too many special summons for your liking. Cosmic Cyclone is much better in the See You Later! build, and is not recommended in the Shadow Game build as it has you pay 1000 life points, a major cost when you can easily burn yourself to death.
Floodgate Trap Hole
A great generic Trap card that can stop problematic monsters like Invoked Cocytus, Samurai Destroyer, Assault Blackwing - Raikiri the Rain Shower, etc. It can also force your opponent to summon another monster, giving you the ability to give them a Lava Golem
Beast King Barbaros
An up and coming card in the Stromberg deck, Beast King Barbaros can be easily special summoned using 3 monsters, doing which will destroy every card that your opponent controls. This is a great way to clear your opponent’s back row, as well as freeing up your field. If you normal summon it instead, it can also be paired with World Legacy Clash and/or Forbidden Chalice to make it a 3k beatstick that can beat over Invoked Cocytus Masked HERO Anki and even Vermillion Dragon Mech. It is really good in the current meta, and will definitely continue to see play in the future.
The only archetypal non-engine card worth considering running in the deck, Iron Cage removes any monster on the field without destroying or targeting it, although Golden Castle of Stromberg needs to be face-up on the field to be able to send an opponent’s monster with its effect. As an added bonus, during your Standby Phases, you Special Summon, to your field, the monster that was sent to the GY by this effect. It can be especially devastating if the monster sent to the graveyard was a powerful boss monster like Invoked Purgatrio, Destiny HERO - Plasma or Shiranui Sunsaga. If used on a Glife the Phantom Bird you control, you can also destroy a backrow card again. But be careful as the rules of the summoning conditions still apply here - for example, Neos Fusion isn’t a Fusion Summon, but a Special Summon that ignores summoning conditions, which means that if you send an Elemental HERO Brave Neos to the GY with Iron Cage, you won’t be able to Special Summon it during your Standby Phase, as it states that it “must be Fusion Summoned”, which it was not.
Red ResonatorPsychic Wheeleder, Red Resonator has the ability to, on normal summon, special summon a level 4 or lower monster from your hand. This combos well with Prinzessin, as with Golden Castle of Stromberg on the field, you can normal summon Red Resonator, special summon Prinzessin from your hand, special summon Pumpkin Carriage from your deck, and then Synchro Summon Brotherhood of the Fire Fist - Horse Prince, allowing you to summon Gren Maju Da Eiza from your deck.
Mithra the Thunder Vassal
Mithra is Lava Golem’s best friend. If your opponent figures you have a Lava Golem in your hand, and continuously plays around it by only controlling one monster, such as Samurai Destroyer, you can activate Mithra the Thunder Vassal’s effect. This will allow you to summon a token onto your opponent’s side of the field as well as special summon Mithra to your own field. That will mean your opponent has two monsters, finally giving you the chance to give them the Lava Golem. Another use is to clog your opponent’s field, preventing them from summoning any more monsters.
Artifact Lancea and Chaos Hunter
Artifact Lancea and Chaos Hunter are some of the best anti-meta cards in Duel Links at the moment. There are cons of each card for sure, Artifact Lancea only lasts one turn and prevents you from banishing cards, while Chaos Hunter has to discard a card to be special summoned. Artifact Lancea can stop an Invocation as well as Cosmic Cyclone and Dark Magical Circle, while Chaos Hunter sticking on the field can stop the Ritual Beast Archetype until they can draw Herald of the Abyss or another out, as well as the Dark Magician Archetype. Overall it’s a choice of preference, but to sum it up, Artifact Lancea has the edge against Blackwings, Elementsaber, and Cyber Dragon, while Chaos Hunter has the edge against Crystrons, Dark Magician, and Ritual Beast. Both cards are very good against Shiranui. And against HERO they can prevent the effects of Destiny HERO - Malicious, Vision HERO Vyon and Masked HERO Koga.
Rose Archer is one of the best handtraps in the Stromberg deck, as it can negate major cards such as Treacherous Trap Hole, Cybernetic Overflow, Magician Navigation, Floodgate Trap Hole, and many battle traps and other traps. It is definitely a must in any backrow meta and is a good replacement for Hey, Trunade!
Similarly to Rose Archer, Hey, Trunade! is excellent in any backrow meta. Being able to stop Cyber Dragon decks from using Cosmic Cyclone or Cybernetic Overflow, and other decks from using staple backrow techs like Floodgate Trap Hole, Ballista Squad, or even Enemy Controller. Hey, Trunade! is most certainly a great deck, but be careful as you can only play two total copies of both Hey, Trunade! and Enemy Controller
Noteworthy Tech Cards:
Stromberg, like all decks, has its good matchups and its bad matchups, however, if Stromberg has managed to stay relevant for about a year, it must be doing something correctly, especially when most cards that banish directly support the archetype and Gren Maju Da Eiza.
Masked Heroes are a very linear matchup. If you can do the one-card setup without being interrupted, it is a pretty easy deck to play against. Other than Destiny HERO - Plasma negating the effect of Pumpkin Carriage, they don’t have an out to Golden Castle of Stromberg’s setup, and it should be one of the easiest matchups.
Cybernetic Overflow can prove to be a very problematic card against the Stromberg strategy. Being able to chain it to Golden Castle of Stromberg’s effect to special summon from the deck, means that you won’t be able to normal summon or set, or even special summon with another copy of Golden Castle of Stromberg. Other than Cybernetic Overflow, Cosmic Cyclone is another card that challenges this deck. With the amount of trap cards that Cyber Dragon decks play, it is a very challenging deck to play against. If trap weren’t enough to deal with, Chimeratech Rampage Dragon being able to destroy Golden Castle of Stromberg if Pumpkin Carriage is not on the field, is another problem, which just goes to show how hard the Cyber Dragon matchup is for Stromberg decks. Artifact Lancea is great because it can stop Cybernetic Overflow but other than that, it’s one of Stromberg’s worst matchups.
Blackwings are probably the closest matchup for Stromberg at the moment. If they go second they can pretty consistently break your board with Ancient Pixie Dragon and Assault Blackwing - Raikiri the Rain Shower. Its effect to destroy 2+ cards really comes in handy, making our only real comeback a Lava Golem or Gren Maju Da Eiza. Blackwings going first however, is pretty easy to break, with either a Psychic Wheeleder play, or dropping a Lava Golem. Stromberg can win going first however, with their traps such as Fiendish Chain, Floodgate Trap Hole, Forbidden Chalice or even Paleozoic Canadia, by preventing them from using Raikiri’s effect, or preventing them from making Synchro monsters in general.
Dark Magician decks are known for their turn 1 setup of Dark Magician in hand, Dark Magical Circle on the field, with a set Magician Navigation, to start your combos, and play on your opponent’s turn. Being able to banish Golden Castle of Stromberg when it activates, is very powerful, as it can halt your combo, unless you are lucky enough to have another Golden Castle of Stromberg. Luckily, the game is still winnable if you have Lava Golem and a few backrow, as Magician Navigation will most likely be used to negate Golden Castle of Stromberg, so they can freely attack. Artifact Lancea and Chaos Hunter, like in many matchups, are very good for stopping Dark Magician’s interruption, with Chaos Hunter being able to stop them for potentially even the rest of the game.
For this matchup, you have to capitalize on keeping the Shiranui Spectralsword on the field, preferably face down, so that they don’t have the ability to make Shiranui Sunsaga, which can avoid destruction from the effect of Golden Castle of Stromberg. At first, Shiranui Squiresaga may seem problematic, as its effect to destroy a spell or trap card doesn’t target. However, you have to remember that Pumpkin Carriage also prevents Golden Castle of Stromberg from being destroyed by card effects. The key to winning this matchup is through the combination of Shadow Game doing burn damage, and chip damage by Prinzessin or Synchros. Gren Maju Da Eiza is especially good against Shiranui, as you can set it to play around Sphere Kuriboh, and wait for them to swing into it. Remember Shiranui Spiritmaster only targets face-up cards.
Crystrons are one of, if not the, most complicated matchups. The battle protection effect really comes in clutch, but if they make Samurai Destroyer, who can attack through stromberg as long as you control a monster, try to deal with it ASAP. Tips on this matchup are to save your Floodgate Trap Hole and Fiendish Chain, the latter for Samurai Destroyer or Crystron Quariongandrax and the former for Samurai Destroyer or when they are about to make Crystron Quariongandrax. Shadow Game is especially good in this matchup, along with Artifact Lancea and Chaos Hunter who effectively turn off Crystrons graveyard, and prevents them from making further combos.
Making an unexpected comeback, Ritual Beast can be a pretty tricky deck to deal with. Being able to recycle their Ritual Beast Ulti-Apelio and Spiritual Beast Pettlephin can be a mess., however, summoning Chaos Hunter can often end the game, and Artifact Lancea is often the end of their turn. With the deck adjusting from it’s old self and not playing much backrow, if you are able to prevent getting one turn killed, you can usually make a Black Rose Dragon and out recourse your opponent. Time your traps well, as they can chain their fusion monsters effect to escape the situation. It is one of the most skillful matchups, but if you learn it, you should be able to win it fairly consistently.
The deck that doesn’t want to die, Invoked Elementsaber, is a very real threat to the stromberg strategy. While Chaos Hunter is better against Dark Magician and Shiranui decks, It can’t stop Elementsaber from making their first special summon. Usually this special summon will be in the form of Invoked Cocytus, as it can swing past Golden Castle of Stromberg without a care in the world, and act as a wall for even Samurai Destroyer. Artifact Lancea however, can chain to Invocation and stop them from banishing their monsters, making them either unable to resolve invocation, or occasionally summoning Invoked Caliga. With this information Artifact Lancea is a much better choice for the Invoked matchup, and is probably the best decision if you’re planning to see a lot of this deck. The keys to winning against Elementsaber are Naturia Barkion as it can negate Fiendish Chain, Floodgate Trap Hole, and any other traps you may encounter, Lava Golem as it can take care of Invoked Cocytus, and Gren Maju Da Eiza as it can swing over Invoked Cocytus as well as Invoked Purgatrio.
OstrichChild: I have been playing Stromberg since May of 2019 and I have been able to make the deck so many different ways with so many different skills. The amount of tech that this deck is able to play, really makes me think Stromberg iis sort of a timeless wonder. The deck is still missing it’s boss monster and even without it, it is able to consistently top. I am definitely looking forward to Stromberg’s future, and am interested in seeing where the deck can go.
Scrocky: I love this deck because being able to go +3 in card advantage off of a single card is unparalleled in Duel Links, and is an absurd effect all together. I consider Forbidden Chalice a major staple, as it can be used for defensive purposes by negating monster effects, or even boosting up your own monsters for OTKs. Although the deck is very weak to the number one staple in the game, Cosmic Cyclone, it remains one of the best anti-meta rogue decks in the game, even being able to take advantage of the skill Shadow Game.
KingKrabbe: Although 26-28 cards is considered “optimal”, 24 cards is a very viable way to play the deck. You lose out on a few techs, but the extra consistency is definitely worth it. 24 cards lets you draw Psychic Wheeleder with Golden Castle of Stromberg more often, and it leads to more broken hands.
I would first like to thank Frost for inspiring me to start playing Stromberg in the first place, and helping me learn and build the deck in my early days of competitive Duel Links. He was a great mentor, and I am very thankful to have met him.
The Stromberg discord channel, where great conversations about the deck ensue, which was a great source while writing the guide.
Everyone who has given Stromberg a chance in competitive events, such as Hexie, Scrocky, Gregulator, KingKrabbe, GoldenEye, CANCER, and anyone else who may have used the deck.
The Original Stromberg Guide Authors: Goldeneye, Hexie, Frost, NormalNinja, and DoxJJ for helping to make the shell for this guide.
Hexie and Scrocky for providing extra information, playing in tournaments, and contributing to the guide.
I would especially like to thank DuelLinksMeta and specifically Dkayed for creating an amazing community and way to express our ideas. I am truly thankful that this community is here, and I am looking forward to seeing it grow every passing month. I can’t thank DuelLinksMeta enough, and I, and many others, are truly grateful.
Finally, Jadehex for helping with the resources I needed to develop and format the guide.