Subterrors were introduced to Duel Links on May 20, 2019, and this archetype revolves around “Subterror Behemoth” flip effects, and the recursion of the central card, Subterror Nemesis Warrior, that summons Subterrors from the deck. Despite the inherently slow nature of Flip monsters by themselves, the core trap card, Subterror Final Battle, greatly speeds up the deck and can enable some swift OTKs. Some advantages this deck has over other decks in Yu-Gi-Oh! is that Final Battle gives this deck the ability to play under Destiny HERO - Plasma, Necrovalley, Fiendish Chain, and other monster-effect suppression cards, and even a way to dodge certain spot-removal/board wipe cards like Herald of the Abyss, Karma Cut, and Needle Ceiling.
Many variations of the deck have been experimented with since its release. The most successful ones nowadays are the pure and the Winda variant. Other known options use Ties of the Brethren, Trap Monsters, or a small Invoked engine. Out of all of these, the pure variant remains the most consistent, but the Winda variant is currently recommended as Spiritual Beast Tamer Winda is a fantastic counter to the deck’s biggest weakness (nontargeting destruction).
The pure version is most consistently able to take advantage of World Legacy Pawns to activate your Flip monster effects on the opponent’s turn, while the Winda version has a much-improved matchup against decks like Cyber Dragons, Noble Knights, and Desperado, which typically do not get rid of monsters by means of nondestructive removal.
Some potential support cards to look out for in the future for Duel Links are Subterror Guru (a searcher + “Book of Moon” Flip monster to add consistency), The Hidden City (a searcher + disruptor Field Spell to add stability), and Subterror Nemesis Archer (an aggressive nondestructive removal option that is also an answer to Black Rose Dragon). There are other support cards, but for Duel Links, this is all we realistically need.
Also of note, in the Duel Links Meta Discord within the #subterror channel, you can check the Pinned Messages for an FAQ that will be frequently updated, but you can definitely feel free to ask questions there for quick answers as well!
Here are lots of example duels showcasing Subterrors in action! Some of these duels are from old metas, and some from new metas, but we hope these give you the gist of what this deck can do! If you’re struggling with a given matchup and one of them is listed here, hopefully that will help you with key interactions! (Links are clickable)
Advanced Subterror Interactions! (Invoked Variant)
Invoked Subterrors Ladder Highlights (using World Legacy Pawns)
Winda Subterrors Ladder Highlights (using Book of Moon and Winda!)
Before we proceed, let’s just briefly ask ourselves why people continue to experiment with hybrid builds, among those who continue to use a pure or a Trap Monster build. Keep in mind if you are in the DLM Discord, you are always free to ask members of the channel to help build your deck! Please ask if you want to see builds (especially those not shown in “Sample Decks”), and we will provide. NOTE: Builds that are no longer recommended include Darklord, Invoked, and Thunder Dragon hybrids, so they were omitted.
- The Winda version provides Spiritual Beast Tamer Winda, who floats into the Ritual Beast Ulti-Fusions, which makes matchups against decks containing nontargeting or massive destruction effects much easier, such as Cyber Dragons (Overflow), Gladiator Beasts (Gyzarus), or Shiranui (Ballista Squad, Raigeki Break, etc).
- The Neos version provides Elemental HERO Brave Neos as a strong body, with a one-time protection from destruction that improves matchups against Ancient Gears, Triamids, and other decks that are able to turn off effect activations or nuke the field with Black Rose Dragon. Provides pseudo-card advantage from a searched Neos Fusion for if you use Labyrinth Builder on a later turn.
- The Ties of the Brethren version plays various Lv 4 EARTH Warriors such as Justice Bringer and D.D. Assailant, to work with Ties of the Brethren in order to flood the field with 3 monsters (including Nemesis Warrior) at the cost of 2000 LP and skipping your Battle Phase on your opening turn. These monsters add one negation of special summoned monsters’ effects and a banishing removal option, using the above example Warriors, but most notably, it plusses quite a bit with monsters on the board without relying on using a skill to set that up, leaving you with more backrow to work with. Labyrinth Builder is still a backup skill in a pinch.
- The pure versions are generally most consistent in controlling the field, since each of the backrow cards generally functions together with the monsters. Flip Flop Frog continues to be a strong Flip monster that is nontargeting nondestructive removal, a fantastic counter to Extra Deck monsters, especially those that cannot be targeted like Lunalight Sabre Dancer, or would not mind being in the GY, like Fortune Lady Every. It also has a good amount of room for tech cards because of not carrying cards from other archetypes.
- The Trap Monster version adds tribute fodder in the form of Trap Monsters like Statue of Anguish Pattern and Tiki Soul, and the former, on the summon of a Trap Monster, can target and destroy any 1 card on the field. Traps are slow though, and sadly, targeting destruction isn’t so good nowadays. Once you get set up though, this version makes you play through full backrow and can wear you down with skills like Chain Reaction and Endless Trap Hell. Despite the April 20 rule unifications though, this build didn’t really see significantly increased usage, even though you are able to have full backrow alongside Trap Monsters.
The following is the best and most-used skill(s) for the deck, but an honorable mention is Draw Sense: Low-Level, which is used in a Trap Monster variant of the deck to draw Nemesis Warrior. There have been a few tops every now and then from users of this skill, but in major tournaments like the MCS or Meta Weekly, and even among just King of Games decks, Labyrinth Builder dominates in usage.
- Labyrinth Builder: This is a similar skill to the now unusable Masked Tribute that people are primarily using nowadays as the next best option.
The most important benefit of this skill is that it gives you a monster to tribute with Subterror Nemesis Warrior, but does not restrict you from Special Summoning in that turn. Often it is worth considering that no one can respond to a Skill, and as such, it will matter whether you use the Skill and THEN summon Nemesis Warrior, or the other way around. Decide that order wisely!
- Reinforcements: This is an okay option if the deck can Special Summon monsters easily and you just want to be able to have instant access to Nemesis Warrior. It can work well for a Trap Monster build nowadays.
NO LONGER USED:
Masked Tribute: This skill is pretty much no longer used for this deck at all, because a recent nerf to it prevented Tribute Setting or Special Summoning for a whole turn, leaving the deck susceptible to Treacherous Trap Hole, Sealed Tombs, and Lava Golem, all of which are easily sided for in a tournament setting, even though the former two are not as popular on the ladder right now.
Heavy Starter: This was experimented with early on after the Masked Tribute nerf, but over time many people have realized that it often gives you hands with multiple monsters and 0-1 backrow card(s), which is not so great in a meta where Cosmic Cyclone is incredibly dominant. For casual play or skill farming, this is a good temporary skill, but is not recommended for tournament play.
timaeus222, Current Build (Winda)
ShinySopheon, KoG Jan 2021 (Pure)
Bremsklotz, KoG Jan 2021 (Invoked)
These are the cards that are used in almost any Subterror build you may see. Keep in mind that there are other Subterror cards that we don’t necessarily recommend, that you may still want to consider as temporary filler cards before you finish your ideal build, such as Subterror Behemoth Ultramafus, Subterror Behemoth Speleogeist, and Subterror Cave Clash. However, the below are THE recommended cards.
Subterror Behemoth Umastryx (2-3x):
This is your main boss monster, who flips to target and banish your opponent’s monster; that gives this deck a nondestructive removal option, which is very important in the current and future meta, where many monsters have protection from destruction effects. Note that running 2 copies is acceptable, because the best Subterror hands have at least 1 backrow card to protect him, or flip him up on the opponent’s turn as disruption, although a few people do run 3 Umastryx.
Subterror Behemoth Stygokraken (1-2x):
He flips to target and destroy as many face-down cards (on either field) as there are face-up Behemoths you control on flip. He is less useful in the current meta than Umastryx, but he can still be used to help deal with backrow in backrow-heavy decks like Shiranui and Dark Magician.
Subterror Nemesis Warrior (3x):
The main recursive option you have in this deck. Perhaps the best part of this monster is his Quick Effect of milling a Behemoth from the deck as cost, then tributing at least 2 monsters (face-up/face-down, including himself, but without targeting) as an effect to Special Summon/Set the milled Behemoth. Not only that, but if you flip one of your Behemoths face-up in any way, you can Special Summon this guy from the GY with priority on chain link 2, so he’ll help you “chain block” your behemoth (you will see this come up in the Combo section).
Subterror Final Battle (3x):
This is the best trap card in the deck, period. It has multiple uses, most notably, flipping your Subterror monsters (1) face-up or (2) face-down, or (3) bestowing them stats equal to their combined original ATK/DEF for the rest of the turn. None of these target, by the way; you choose the affected card on resolution. Lastly, the final effect, though underrated, is (4) to prevent anyone from negating the activatable effects of Subterror cards. This last effect actually comes in handy against Fiendish Chain, Necrovalley, The Sanctified Darklord, etc., and should NOT be confused with preventing the negation of activations; it only prevents negation of effects that WERE successfully activated.
World Legacy Pawns (2-3x):
This is recent support that came in the Judgment Force box. It is like a second copy of Final Battle, except that it is generic, so it works on other Flip monsters as well. This speeds up the deck as it allows you to control the field with cards like Flip Flop Frog and Tsukuyomi. Worth noting, it does target your monster, unlike Final Battle (so Dark Cavalry can negate!), and keep in mind that Flip Flop Frog can miss timing when using Pawns (it is a “When…: You can” effect!).
Flip Flop Frog (2-3x):
This is a key starter card to this deck. You need monsters that can flip themselves face-down (as a stand-in for Subterror Guru while he is not in the game), so that on the off chance you do not open with Subterror Nemesis Warrior, you can still Special Summon Behemoths from your hand. He also provides a disruptive threat on later turns, by being able to bounce your opponent’s monsters back to the hand on flip. Golem Sentry is still also used sometimes, but Flip Flop Frog does not target, and also does not have to Flip Summon, which is extremely valuable. (It also therefore works with World Legacy Pawns while Golem Sentry does not.) Tsukuyomi is also another option, although it has a mandatory effect to flip something down, and does target.
Spiritual Beast Tamer Winda:
Winda is very good in the deck (as in many decks), because she is able to float into Ritual Beast Ulti-Pettlephin to tank hits and resist destruction effects. This will let you stall until you draw into the cards you need.
This is a very good card for controlling the board, and for making your Subterror Behemoth Stygokraken usable more often. However, as we will see in the matchups below, it can also be put to great use against the mirror match to force missed timings.
This is a nice option as well, if you are low on copies of Subterror Final Battle or World Legacy Pawns, or if you want more ways to flip your Behemoths up on cue. A card that functions similarly in this deck, Ghostrick Scare, is available at one copy and could also be used for more control over which monsters (and how many) are flipped. This no longer sees much play, but is mentioned here anyways as a temporary option for budget players still lacking one or two more Final Battles.
Basically a way to dump Nemesis Warrior in the GY, used in the Neos hybrid variant. Provides a strong body on board as well, with protection from the GY.
Still a very broken card option, and should be considered, since just like Cosmo Brain, Nemesis Warrior can tribute your opponent’s monsters (of pretty much any level) if you tribute take them with Enemy Controller.
Deep Sea Diva:
Combined with the Level 5 Labyrinth Wall from the Labyrinth Builder skill, it gives instant access to Crystron Quariongandrax to banish 3 monsters, or Black Rose Dragon to nuke the field. It is a fun option for the ladder to include this in your deck for the power play options!
A good card back in the day in the Ancient Gear meta (late 2019). Recently it became meta again in backrow decks (July-August 2020).
Statue of Anguish Pattern:
A staple in Trap Monster builds, but isn’t otherwise, so it could be considered a tech. When another Trap Monster is summoned alongside it, it pops a card, so it functions in a 2-card combo to be a more aggressive Bad Aim, in a way.
Here’s a quick rundown of combos that you can do with this deck. We’ll keep it generic here.
Pure Build’s Turn 1 SetupSealed Tombs or Lava Golem in the Draw Phase and then summon Subterror Behemoth Umastryx or Subterror Behemoth Stygokraken, depending on the matchup. If Sealed Tombs is on, you would not be able to summon from the deck, and you would not be able to summon Nemesis Warrior from the GY either on flip of the Behemoth.
If Activatable Monster Effects are Turned Off
“Chain Blocking”Dark Cavalry, Crystron Impact, Maiden with Eyes of Blue, and many Counter Traps (which often would negate Nemesis Warrior instead of the Behemoth), such as Blackbird Close (completely dodged), Rebirth of Parshath (hits Nemesis Warrior instead), etc.
Pushing for OTKSphere Kuriboh or Kiteroid for example, but should only be done if you are sure that your opponent won't have any more follow-up. Assuming a board state of Final Battle set, with Nemesis Warrior and any other monster (preferably one you can attack with), attack with one or both monsters. Whether your opponent does anything or not, you can chain Nemesis Warrior to that, then tribute Set a Behemoth like Umastryx from the Deck. Flip Final Battle to flip Umastryx, then re-summon Nemesis Warrior. Attack two more times!
Here are the most common matchups in this meta (October-November 2020). Note we will denote any important advantages available in the matchup within pure and any notable hybrid version(s), and that we will be lumping the pure and Trap Monster variants together due to the similarity in playstyle. Let’s get started!
This is not a hard matchup. The only things that counter us are Abyss Dweller and Marksman because Dweller turns off Nemesis Warrior in the GY, and Marksman could target Final Battle, and even though Final Battle re-Sets itself, it is still the same Set target and would be destroyed by Marksman. Also worth noting, they often carry Book of Moon, and if they have any idea how our deck works, they could chain to make the Behemoths in hand miss timing to summon themselves from the hand.
Nevertheless, here are some quick tips against this deck:
If they Normal Summon Infantry first, then don’t let them go further; while it is off the field, they cannot extra Normal Summon, so just banish it with Umastryx immediately. Or, if they use Diva to go into Infantry, just let them Xyz Summon before banishing them to play around them opening Silent Angler as well so that they don’t follow up to summon Brionac to bounce your field.
If they are running Necrovalley (which some do to counter Thunder Dragons), Final Battle will allow Nemesis Warrior to activate and resolve from the GY under Necrovalley, so try not to use Nemesis Warrior’s effect until you have Final Battle in that case.
If they target your face-up cards with Infantry or your face-down cards (except Final Battle) with Marksman, you can flip the card face-up or face-down (depending on which one is being used at the moment), and if your card becomes face-down on resolution, Infantry will not pop it, or if your card becomes face-up on resolution, Marksman will not pop it. These Atlanteans only understand how to destroy targets that do not change their “state” on resolution.
(An exception is that you must pre-emptively use Pawns on Flip Flop Frog with Toggle On to have Fast Effect priority to bounce a Dweller because otherwise you would miss timing while trying to dodge their Atlantean effect. If they chain to Pawns, they will be CL1 to your CL2 Frog, and they will not “fizzle” your effect.)
- Keep in mind the Atlanteans trigger on the next Chain Link after a WATER monster triggered them by sending them to the GY for cost, and since they are mandatory effects, they will often be nearly first in the Chain Link. In general, don’t chain to the WATER monster that sent the Atlantean for cost—chain to the Atlantean itself.
Other than that, again, not a very hard matchup. You just have to understand Atlantean rulings and Trigger Effects, basically, and you’ll accomplish a lot just from that.
Blue-Eyes is a pretty tough matchup. You pretty much need Final Battle or World Legacy Pawns against them in order to be aggressive enough before they can break your board. The most common playstyle now is an aggressive version with Cards of Consonance and the Ultimate Dragons skill, due to the recent release of Blue-Eyes Alternative White Dragon as a card outside of the Alternative Evolution skill.
Duels against Blue-Eyes can get out of control quickly. Because of the flexibility of the deck, here are some general tips:
In general, try not to use Nemesis Warrior’s effect to tribute Set a Behemoth until you’ve baited out pertinent backrow, because if they know what they’re doing, they can “fizzle” your effect by using Raigeki Break or Karma Cut on either Nemesis Warrior or the Labyrinth Wall.
If they Normal Summon a Tuner (instead of setting it), they likely have Sage with Eyes of Blue in their hand. Therefore, try to get rid of it with Umastryx/Frog (don’t chain Final Battle/Pawns to Sage, do it pre-emptively, because your Flip Effect won’t activate until the next Chain Link), because they cannot target a face-down monster with Sage. If you can afford it, you could also flip down the Tuner with e.g. Book of Moon, Paleozoic Canadia, etc.
If you happen to see a Maiden with Eyes of Blue, you can let them attempt to target her with an effect, and if you simply chain to it with any card or effect that does NOT target her, that chain blocks the Maiden from summoning a Blue-Eyes White Dragon.
After the April 20, 2020 rule unification, if they get a Blue-Eyes face-up on the field AND you notice their Extra Deck size is NOT larger than the current maximum (currently 7), be sure to banish it pre-emptively with Umastryx or bounce it back to the hand pre-emptively with Flip Flop Frog because it is probably Alternative Evolution. You will not be able to respond directly to the skill, so Blue-Eyes Alternative White Dragon will target your Flip monster before you can respond. At that point it would be too late to use Pawns/Final Battle on your monster because it will have left the field before it could attempt to activate on the field (even though it flipped by the time the chain resolved). (Before April 20, you would have activated off the field.)
Blue-Eyes Spirit Dragon can negate Nemesis Warrior (or Winda) in the GY (even in the Damage Step), but cannot dodge Umastryx in the Damage Step.
Overall, it’s kind of a sweatfest against Blue-Eyes. Be on your toes!
Darklords (Star Seraph)
Hybrid: The Invoked variant could possibly summon Invoked Caliga using a Darklord monster as material. That would slow them down for a bit. The Winda variant can help against the Seraph part of the deck.
Although not the best deck, Darklords are still a menace in this meta, and even with Contact and Ixchel to 2 and Sanctified to 1, currently the best version uses the Star Seraph draw engine that gives them 3-material Rank 4 Xyz monsters like Evilswarm Ouroboros and Stellarknight Delteros. They negate monster effects with limited-to-1 The Sanctified Darklord.
Since this deck has no set combos/strategies nor predictable turn 1 boards, here are some general tips:
Remember to remove or flip down the Star Seraph Scepter if they want to go the 3-material Rank 4 Xyz route and you also have the interruption, because the Star Seraph Sovereignty is useless with only 2 materials to use, and because Stellarknight Delteros does not let you respond on his Summon to the destruction effect granted by Scepter.
Unlike many decks, Subterrors actually do have an answer to Darklords’ negations. Many people forget that the 4th effect of Subterror Final Battle is quite relevant here, because it prevents the effect of The Sanctified Darklord from being able to negate your “Subterror” monsters’ effects. They can still gain LP, and the effect will appear to be negated, but your monster will not be affected, regardless of when in the turn or when in the Chain Link this 4th effect is activated.
If they Tribute Summon Darklord Morningstar, whether you have Final Battle or not, your best bet is to tribute Set your Umastryx from the deck. If you no longer control any face-up Effect monsters, Morningstar won’t be able to summon anyone else from the Deck and can therefore be targeted.
Overall, not as bad of a matchup as it used to be, although they recently did get more versatile with the Seraph draw engine.
Hybrid: The Winda variant has access to Ritual Beast Ulti-Pettlephin, which cannot be destroyed by card effects. This can help stall until you bait out all their backrow, such as Offerings to the Doomed or Cybernetic Overflow (but don’t stall too much or they might bring out Cyber End Dragon and break your board). The Neos variant could survive 1-2 Cybernetic Overflow, but does not last as long.
Probably our worst matchup. Often times you’ll find yourself topdecking, and fending them off with no backrow. You might have a chance if you first with your full setup, or if you open Spiritual Beast Tamer Winda who can potentially fend off the full Fusion Gate combo.
If I go first, I usually summon Stygokraken and pop their middle backrow in their End Phase, as I assume they set Cybernetic Overflow in the middle (them getting a search isn’t a big deal, because Overflow is the biggest threat). If they also opened Cyberload Fusion, so be it, because at the very least, you can banish Chimeratech Rampage Dragon with Umastryx in the Damage Step even if they destroy Final Battle or Pawns on-summon.
If you are using Fiendish Chain or Forbidden Lance, Fiendish does make the “Cyber Dragon” monster forget how to call itself “Cyber Dragon”, or Lance makes it unaffected by other Spell/Trap effects, which prevents it from being banished for Overflow’s effect. If you are seeing this deck en-masse, it may be worth maindecking those 2 cards if you have them.
If you go second and you opened full combo OR Winda, it’s usually best to just set Winda and let them commit to their attempt to OTK. Chances are, they won’t realize it’s a set Winda and just go all-in.
Again, this matchup is far from easy, but Winda definitely makes the matchup a lot easier. Try to save your Final Battle / Pawns until you’ve baited out the Overflows, and you might have a chance.
This is a very time-dependent matchup. What you want to do is not activate your monster effect until you have a way to flip down the Arvata (e.g. Book of Moon, Canadia, etc), so that he cannot negate, and you’ll want to try to have Final Battle to simply beat over Arvata without any monster activations. Nemesis Warrior does NOT chain block Arvata because both Umastryx and Nemesis Warrior are valid choices to negate.
Other miscellaneous tips to deal with this deck:
Feel out the delays when you attack directly, and if there is one before the attack resolves, it is probably Kiteroid, or if there is one after the attack resolves, it is Battlin’ Boxer Veil. This is quite annoying because it has exactly 1800 ATK. To avoid Veil altogether, you have to just one-shot them with a 4700 ATK Umastryx until you grind through all the Kiteroids.
If it gets to the point that Garunix is about to activate in the following turn, you want to chain Final Battle to the Garunix’s GY activation. That way, Garunix’s mandatory on-field activation will be CL1 to Umastryx’s optional activation being CL2. Do NOT chain Nemesis Warrior as CL3 or he will be destroyed too. (If you were to chain to Garunix’s on-field activation instead, that is WRONG because then Umastryx will flip up but NOT activate in time due to the rulings with being in the trigger location when the trigger timing was met.)
If they use Onslaught of the Fire Kings to bring out Garunix, remember that it will be destroyed in the End Phase, so if you have Umastryx set up, make sure you banish it before they Normal Summon Arvata (while also making sure you do so before the End Phase). That will stop them from setting up a Garunix loop.
Otherwise, this is a very scary matchup that just gets worse as the turns pass. Try to win as quickly as possible, but of course don’t rush it and get sloppy and accidentally give them Destiny Draw.
This is not a fun matchup to face, mostly because they can currently run Hey, Trunade!. You have to basically open World Legacy Pawns and Nemesis Warrior specifically if you were to counter that. Going second is generally better in this matchup because it gives you a greater chance of opening Final Battle or Pawns (or both).
Here are some general tips to deal with their Xyz:
Against Photon Strike Bounzer, Final Battle does stop Bounzer from negating you in the first place. Also, Nemesis Warrior from the GY chain blocks Umastryx from being negated. So, as long as you Special Summon Umastryx face-down BEFORE Bounzer is summoned, you are safe to get rid of it. This is assuming Abyss Dweller is not active to turn off Nemesis Warrior in the GY. Either way, Bounzer isn’t much of a problem per se.
Steelswarm Roach is funny because it doesn’t do anything against this deck. Our Special Summons from the hand (or from the Deck due to Nemesis Warrior) are due to activated effects, and he doesn’t understand those kinds of summons.
Against Constellar Ptolemy M7, Number 70: Malevolent Sin, and other cards that target monsters to remove them, you want to make sure you use Pawns to flip a Flip Flop Frog before they target, so that you will not miss timing. Or, if you have the Nemesis Warrior setup you can just dodge it and then banish the monster.
And here are things you can do to stop them when have gone first, or when they are trying to make a comeback, assuming you have Pawns and Nemesis Warrior:
Banish the Sister with Umastryx if it was the first Normal Summon with nothing else on their field, but wait for them to search first, then banish on resolution so that they cannot change their mind to search Gagagawind.
Banish the Onomatopoeia if they were to summon that first, since it enables a summon of Gagagacoat by its own effect, and it also enables them to swarm the field by its own effect. Also, it means a Gagagacoat cannot later revive an Onomatopoeia (since it was banished).
Overall, it’s a matchup where you’d rather go second to have that extra card so that a Trunade will probably not matter and hopefully you got the Pawns to have a backrow that sticks, but if you went first, you NEED to have that Pawns to survive.
Thunder Dragons (TDs) can be quite scary. The main challenge with them is that they replace themselves upon being banished face-up or being sent from the field to the GY in any way, so they have a strong grind game. They often use Level Duplication these days, to help them go into Heliopolis or Ptolemy M7, and perhaps Photon Strike Bounzer.
Because this deck has no set combos, here are some general tips against this deck:
The “TD” monsters’ effects are “one effect per turn and only once that turn” effects, so as soon as they use one of the effects of Hawk, Roar, or Dark, that monster can be safely banished by Umastryx with no consequence.
They are mostly opting for Charge of the Light Brigade for their semi limit, so try not to let them get any “TD” monsters into the GY, especially if the first thing they do is Normal Summon Raiden, Hand of the Lightsworn (in hopes of finding a monster to revive with Thunder Dragonhawk, most likely). If they open with Charge, then assume they have Levianeer.
Always count the DARK/LIGHT monsters in their GY in case of Levianeer. For that you’ll want to maindeck or side deck Fiendish Chain or Void Trap Hole to negate it, as Levianeer often destroys 2 cards without targeting and gets chain-blocked by Roar/Dark/Hawk (i.e. can’t use Counter Traps). Keep in mind that in the case of Levianeer, if its activated effect (i.e. the effect is allowed to activate) is negated by a card like Forbidden Chalice, it is NOT prevented from attacking (if confused, the same kind of effect text is found on Offerings to the Doomed and the analogy is there), which is why Fiendish Chain or Void Trap Hole were specifically recommended.
A common Xyz for them is the Rank 6 Ptolemy M7, so it is not the best idea to just set Winda and pass unfortunately because they can just bounce it back to the hand. Instead, it is better to just have the regular Nemesis Warrior setup if you have the choice, so that you can dodge it, and try to banish something other than it because it is not bigger than Umastryx’s 2700 DEF. However, if you spot Levianeer in the GY, do banish Ptolemy early so that they can’t grab Levianeer back to the hand.
Funny enough, we have a counter to Strike Bounzer. The 4th effect of Subterror Final Battle states that your activated effects cannot be negated, so Bounzer will not negate you and there is no -500 KEKW.
If you see the Rank 8 Heliopolis, remember that it does not target, nor tell you which monsters will be tributed on activation, so just get rid of it ASAP.
An important Synchro to watch out for is Black Rose Dragon. Currently, this is most often done with a Glow-Up Bulb and either Dragonroar or Dragonhawk. Of course, banishing the Bulb is the best choice here. (Also worth noting that they could use Level Duplication to reveal a Sphere Kuriboh onto a Raiden, but you can’t really play around that, so don’t bother.)
Overall, definitely not an easy matchup, because they can play through 1-2 disruptions with the sheer number of extenders they have. The main threats are Black Rose Dragon (banish the Tuner) and Levianeer (negate it! But you can’t use Chalice). If you can ward that off, and keep track of the hard once per turns of the “TD” monsters, you might be able to steal the win.
Popular Ladder Matchups
And now, the matchups which are generally considered rogue, but that you shouldn’t be surprised to see on the ladder nowadays.
Triamids are kind of like Ancient Gears in a way, but this is a better matchup than Ancient Gears would be. Most notably, Triamids have Triamid Kingolem, which during battle with a Triamid monster, turns off activatable card and effects, just like an Armades, Keeper of Boundaries, but at least it’s not a mechanic built into the monsters themselves. Both decks need 1-2 turns to set up an appreciable board (unless Triamids open Treacherous Trap Hole, but that’s the case with any deck with no native Limited 2 cards).
General tips against this deck:
The key to beating Triamids is to interact on the Triamid player’s turn. Using Paleozoic Canadia to flip Triamid Hunter down would slow down their swarming. Flipping Subterror Final Battle to use Umastryx to banish a monster would reduce how many times they can swap out their Field Spell on your turn, and using Stygokraken to pop their facedown potential Triamid Pulse in their End Phase prevents them from saving it by flipping it up early on your turn.
Remember that Triamid Master can target a Set card and destroy “it”, not “that target”, so if he is Summoned, be sure to flip up World Legacy Pawns early so that any Set cards cannot become a target of Master.
If you go second though, a good way to break their board is to tech in Cosmic Cyclone to hopefully snipe their Triamid Pulse (try not to target their Field Spells since they can chain), as their backrow is their main outlet of destruction (you don’t want to hit Treacherous Trap Hole, because it’s obviously going to be usable immediately and if they carry two, you’ve let them use both). Perhaps a safer play is to just snipe the already-face-up Pulse in chain to when they use its face-up effect, to fizzle it, as it must remain face-up on the field to resolve.
Either way, be sure to win as fast as possible, because Triamid Dancer can boost them by 500 ATK each turn. They start out peaking at roughly 2300 ATK, which is beatable against your 2600 DEF Stygokraken, so don’t let them get too big and then attack under Kingolem!
In general, Blackwings can pop cards with Raikiri and swarm the field. They swarm as long as there are differently-named Blackwings on the field from the one(s) in their hand. Recently Blackwings have adopted a going-second Level Reduction build that ideally ends on a 6000 ATK Onimaru, a Raikiri, and a Hawk Joe. Thankfully, they have Blackbird Close semi-limited, so while that was a past concern (despite having a counter to it, it called for awkward timing choices to play around it), it no longer is (unless they’re actually next-level and don’t play Blackwing - Oroshi the Squall!).
Here are general tips on how to face them:
Cosmic Cyclone will be extremely helpful in stopping them from rolling by banishing Black Whirlwind in chain to Blackwing - Simoon the Poison Wind‘s Normal Summon effect, or just sniping a Necrovalley they might end on if they brick. If they end up opening multiple Black Whirlwind, you should respond with Floodgate Trap Hole, or even Forbidden Lance, to nullify/hinder their searches all in one go. They will still get another Normal Summon, but at least you’ll stop 2-3 searches.
In general, you’ll want to Special Summon Umastryx before they activate Raikiri. Then, flip Umastryx to banish the Raikiri so that there is no way for them to keep reviving it to pop more and more cards. They tend to use Level Reduction on it and Synchro it off, but thankfully that is often very telegraphed or done in such a way that you have the chance to banish it in time.
Keep a close eye on their hand, because Blackwings will tell you exactly what is in their hand, except for 1-2 cards.
It remains that this is a difficult matchup, just because of the deck’s ability to basically Normal Summon twice, and its ease of Special Summoning. One final note is that the deck still occasionally main decks Ancient Fairy Dragon to search Necrovalley on their first turn by using the Peak Performance skill. If that happens, you could use Final Battle’s 4th effect to play under Necrovalley, but it’ll be annoying.
This is kind of a similar matchup to Blackwings. It’s easier when you go second because they are a going second deck that makes awkward plays going first. They can run Cosmic Cyclone as well, so you might just autolose this one going first sometimes.
Here are some key interactions that you need to watch out for:
You pretty much need Final Battle because people often maindeck Plasma, against which you must rely on Final Battle’s 4th effect to prevent your activated effects from being negated.
Stratos is also something to watch out for if the first thing they activate is Vision HERO Faris, because Stratos can destroy backrow without targeting with another HERO on their field—if they start with Faris, chain Nemesis Warrior right away so that you would be ready to respond if they drop a Stratos to destroy backrow.
If for some miraculous reason they go second and open no backrow removal (no Cosmic Cyclone and no Stratos), you can probably survive even if they have Mask Change. In that case, check for delays while they are attacking you to see if they have Mask Change, and just let them attack into Umastryx instead of flipping him early; they can dodge the banish, but NOT during Damage Calculation! If they just poke with Anki directly, simply banish Anki in the End Phase so that even if they try to dodge with Mask Change at that point, it would only waste resources to do so.
Overall, very coin-flippy. Not too difficult to win if you happen to go second because they don’t often build a strong turn 1 board, but could be a struggle if they go second.
Hybrid: The Winda variant does give you access to Ritual Beast Ulti-Pettlephin, which helps against any destruction effects Dark Magician decks might bring (more info on this down below). This will let you stall until you draw your combo pieces (Nemesis Warrior and Final Battle).
Dark Magician is a coin-flippy matchup. Recently they adopted the Star Seraph “Stick and Chair” engine (Star Seraph Scepter and Star Seraph Sovereignty), to at best draw 3 cards and target and destroy 1-2 cards (this is what Winda helps against).
Some tips against them:
If you go first and they start with Magician’s Rod, you’d best go for Stygokraken and attempt to snipe the Magician Navigation. I would personally recommend having Cosmic Cyclone too, as it helps in case you miss the Navigation—in that case, just banish the Circle, should you have missed.
If they manage to pull off using Navigation, your main priority is to get rid of the Magician of Dark Illusion (e.g. attacking over it with any Subterror + Final Battle, or just banishing with Umastryx) so that he cannot trigger to revive Dark Magician later for another banish with Circle.
If they get 3 Seraphs on the field, you do want to try to prevent them from Xyz summoning by removing the Scepter from the field or flipping it down, because Stellarknight Delteros does not let you respond on his Summon to the destruction effect granted by Scepter.
Navigation CANNOT negate in the Damage Step. Take advantage of that if you can take a given turn into the Damage Step and use Final Battle at that time.
Other than that, this is a pretty straightforward matchup. You have to win fast, and preferably before they get to Dark Cavalry via The Eye of Timaeus (if they even run it anymore). However, even then, we chain block Dark Cavalry anyway (it can’t negate, as long as Nemesis Warrior can summon himself from the GY), so as long as you have Final Battle available to boost Umastryx to 4700 DEF, and they don’t run any random tech cards to force out Final Battle, you’ll be fine.
Noble Knights are a very tough matchup, although it is easy to win if you are going first (just banish Merlin or Medraut immediately, and by next turn you should have the resources to play through a Karma Cut using Final Battle and have enough to prevent further setup). So instead, let’s focus on what to do going second. The main obvious thing is, use Labyrinth Builder before summoning Nemesis Warrior if you open that kind of hand, so that they cannot use the Merlin/Until Noble Arms combo that pops your monster using Drystan on your summon, before you can place the Wall.
Worth keeping in mind that Noble Knights are not going to open the full combo as often due to Balance receiving a hit around March 17, 2021.
Anyways, here are such tips for going second:
It’s hard to predict Karma Cut while going second if they have the trap in the GY, so you’ll want to wait on tributing off the Wall with Nemesis Warrior until they activate their face-down card themselves (if it’s the Until Noble Arms, they should do so by the End Phase), OR until Final Battle (or Book of Moon) is live to flip Nemesis Warrior down in response to dodge it if needed.
Toggle On if they make the Rank 5 Artorigus, when you have Flip Flop Frog and Pawns, so that you can flip Pawns on Chain Link 1 to bounce them back to the Extra Deck without missing timing. Since Frog doesn’t target, it may force out the Until Noble Arms. If they choose to summon Drystan, you can bounce Drystan instead, then if you happen to also have Final Battle and Umastryx for example, you can banish the Xyz.
If you know there is not a Karma Cut yet, don’t flip up Pawns unless you are forced to do so by the effect activation of Arfeudutyr. That way, if they chose to equip it to Drystan, Drystan cannot destroy the Pawns yet, allowing you to Special Summon Umastryx face-down before you would use Pawns.
There’s not really much else to say; this is a very difficult matchup when you are going second (thanks to Merlin, the GY Trap, and their backrow), and mostly a blow-out if you went first and have control over when you need to use Nemesis Warrior’s on-field effect (so you can dodge Karma Cuts with Final Battle or his own effect).
Invoked Neos is actually a somewhat similar matchup to Blue-Eyes, but could potentially be a bit easier. The main thing is to just play around Karma Cut; unless they do not run Winda, they do not have room in their Extra Deck for an Invoked Magellanica, so you probably don’t have to worry about that.
Here are some general tips:
Toggle On if you have found out that one of their monsters is a Winda, because they may try to fool you by setting a second Winda to Contact Fuse face-down (setting a card does not start a Chain, which means Duel Links does not prompt you when you have Toggle Auto). That way, you can try to use Umastryx to banish the Winda early, wasting their Normal Summon/Set.
If you believe a Karma Cut is live, do not activate Nemesis Warrior until Final Battle (or Book of Moon) is live. That way, if they are smart enough to chain Karma Cut to target a “Subterror” monster, just flip it down in response to dodge. Also of note: Book of Moon is even better for this purpose because if they are TRULY knowledgeable on Subterrors, they will target a non-“Subterror” monster with the Karma Cut, so that Final Battle will not save it, only Book of Moon.
Flip Flop Frog to control the board is really nice here. Unless they are incredibly lucky to have Neos Fusion and Invoker and a FIRE in the same hand, you usually can counteract their main play each turn using 1 disruption via the Frog or Umastryx. Never underestimate the flippy floppy nontarget bounce!
Overall, you basically want to treat this matchup like Blue-Eyes backrow (Karma Cut, Raigeki Break, sometimes Fiendish Chain) paired with slightly smaller beatsticks than Blue-Eyes would have (2600-2700 base ATK), combined with the extra buffer of floating from Winda. A few layers to this deck, but nothing too incredibly difficult other than playing through the backrow.
Hybrid: Winda actually helps a lot against this deck. Some people could run Revived King Ha Des, but if you have Book of Moon, Canadia, or other flip cards, Winda might actually be able to successfully float and keep you alive here after you turn off the Ha Des. (If you happen to be running the Invoked variant of Subterrors, you could fuse off their monsters for Purgatrio, but still be mindful of their backrow, which they won’t run short of…)
This is actually not that bad of a matchup anymore. For the most part, all you care about are their Ballista Squads and them being able to get Spectralsword into the GY without you being able to banish it. Nowadays, they mostly run Endless Trap Hell, maxing out on Samurai Skull and Gozuki to send a one-of Solitaire to make their one-of Sunsaga at some point. Other somewhat relevant backrow are Karma Cut and Bad Aim.
Here are some of the things to now watch out for:
It’s possible for them to still run Shiranui Squiresaga, who does not target and does not pick which monster to banish during the effect, so just don’t let them activate, and use Frog+Pawns to bounce her back to the Extra Deck immediately.
Their main play will be to get Solitaire and Spectralsword into the GY to make Shogunsaga by climbing up. To stop the sequence of events from proceeding into a Sunsaga, since they can only run 1 Solitaire at the moment, make sure you prevent Shogunsaga from getting into the GY; try to banish it or bounce it back to the Extra Deck.
As usual, try to play around Karma Cut by waiting until Final Battle is live before using Nemesis Warrior’s on-field effect. Or, if you predict Ballista Squad, try to attack their only monster to force it out before you would chain Nemesis Warrior’s effect, so that they cannot “fizzle” the Special Summon.
Besides that, nothing too complicated. Remember, we don’t care about Floodgate or Canadia. Try to read the backrow as best you can, and be mostly reactive to the backrow so that you can dodge it, as opposed to acting early and getting hit by the backrow in response.
Kind of a weird matchup, not unlike Crystrons and Magnets since the “Ritual Beast Ulti-” fusion monsters can tag out as a quick effect.
Some general tips against them:
If you go first, you’ll want to watch them closely to keep track of who they have already Special Summoned, then deal with the Fusion monster at the end of the turn. Earlier in the turn, they do not care about Floodgate Trap Hole because they can contact fuse face-down and the fusion monsters can dodge Floodgate by tagging out on Chain Link 2.
You can use Umastryx to banish the Spiritual Beast Cannahawk right away, so that they cannot set up their banish pile with more than one different kind of monster (Spiritual Beast vs. Ritual Beast Tamer) while also having a fusion monster on the field to tag out for those monsters. Watch for delays on-summon if they have something in the GY/banish pile, to check if they opened Ritual Beast Return or Ritual Beast’s Bond, because if so, they could continue extending.
Flip Flop Frog is a great way to just kill their mood because it doesn’t target. Just bounce the final Fusion that they put out if you catch them unable to tag out, and you are probably free to OTK if they didn’t set up Ritual Beast Ambush.
Lastly, a few people might still use Destiny HERO - Plasma, but we don’t really care too much because Subterror Final Battle can just be chained to Nemesis Warrior’s effect to make your activated effects unable to be negated.
Overall, not as bad of a matchup as it seems at first. You’re going to have to pay attention and have your toggle on though, to watch for key points of interruption which are (1) banish the maindeck Cannahawk or (2) Floodgate/bounce/banish the fusion that they end on for their turn.
Hybrid: The Invoked variant adds Caliga which could really slow down the deck. Also, Purgatrio or Magellanica can be made after they Black Rose you to help you push for game if that comes up. The Winda variant can withstand Black Rose if it comes down to it, although they could choose to make Samurai Destroyer instead.
Witchcrafters are currently a rogue, but still a relatively competent deck, even with Holiday and Charge of the Light Brigade both semi-limited, still using the Lightsworn engine to set up their GY and sit until they can OTK with Verre’s boost effect and Collaboration for multiple attacks. However, our deck actually has some incredible advantages against them, being a Flip-based deck that otherwise has protection from being negated.
Here are general tips to beat Witchcrafter:
With Book of Moon available, if you were fortunate enough to have it to supplement Canadia, you should Toggle On in the Draw Phase on the off chance you topdeck it, and that will let you target and flip down a small Witchcrafter (Schmietta, etc) while Verre is not on the field, so that they cannot tag out to summon Verre. That will give you a window to OTK if you are already set up.
Subterror Final Battle is an MVP in this matchup for setting up the Umastryx. Its 4th effect prevents your “Subterror” cards’ activated effects from being negated that turn, no matter when in the turn or when in a Chain Link you got negated. As soon as Umastryx is face-down, don’t Flip Summon him unless you have the ability to flip Final Battle to prevent yourself from being negated, because if they manage to negate him, he is negated from flipping back down as well. By the way… even if they have already negated you by activating Verre after using Unveiling, you can still resolve your effect by flipping Final Battle anyway. That’s how broken that is.
Verre cannot negate in the Damage Step, so if you know their Deck count is lower than yours, wait for them to attack into you, and instead prepare to fend off a Collaboration push. It’s on them to not deck out. Meanwhile, if they do attack into you, they cannot negate Umastryx or Flip Flop Frog at that point. Be careful to not give them too much time though, and act with reasonable urgency.
Try to prevent Black Rose Dragon as much as possible. Umastryx can banish the Minerva, Lightsworn Maiden so they can’t revive it with Witchcrafter Edel, but keep in mind that they can make Black Rose with either Minerva + Schmietta (3+4) or Raiden + Pittore (4+3). (It’s not really practical for them to go for a Arcanite Magician that you can’t respond to through the use of Unveiling because Black Rose is more impactful, but if they do, Toggle On, so that you can use Nemesis Warrior’s effect, then flip up the Umastryx before Arcanite Magician can activate its effect to destroy anything.)
Storm can also be a threat, so you should Toggle On and act immediately as soon as you see your opponent set a backrow. Set up Umastryx, and if you happen to have Final Battle, flip it so you cannot be negated. If they destroy Pawns, it is what it is.
Ultimately, the only real threat is Black Rose Dragon, and occasionally a well-timed Storm. If you just let them attack into you to trigger your Flip Effects, they cannot negate that, and Final Battle prevents Nemesis Warrior, Umastryx, etc. from being negated at all by Verre in any circumstance. Take advantage of this and you should be fine!
Magnets are kind of similar to Crystrons in a way, because the level 3 guys can dodge your targeting effects on YOUR turn. Berserkion the Electromagna Warrior, their main boss monster, can destroy an entire field. Nowadays, they also have Destiny HERO - Plasma, which is a huge problem for us because we need 2 Final Battle to counter both Plasma and Berserkion. So, you’ll want to prevent them from having Alpha, Beta, and Gamma Electromagnets in the GY as much as possible. Also, with the introduction of Xyz, they can use Diamond Dire Wolf to bait out backrow, Leviair the Sea Dragon to recover banished magnets, Stellarknight Delteros to protect their Berserkion’s Special Summon, and Soul of Silvermountain to bait out a Set backrow, which are other ways to extend.
If you go first, you’re at an advantage when you can just summon out Subterror Behemoth Umastryx from the deck and banish a Lv3 Magnet monster in their End Phase. They have Magnetic Field, so they could bounce your Behemoth back to the hand I suppose, but they will get hit by its effect beforehand on Chain Link 2 (do not be confused, as this is NOT changed by the April 20 ruling unifications!), so it may not be a good idea to attack into you in that case!
If you go second, the best way to deal with them is to attack them and force them to chain and summon Delta The Magnet Warrior, which cannot really do anything other than attack or be destroyed. You’ll want to try to make sure they don’t get 3 monsters for Plasma, but also not clear their entire field, so that if Berserkion does come out, if it’s destroyed, it won’t float. Carefully evaluate what their hand could be, and how many monsters they can get on the field on any given turn. You want them to only have 1 Delta on the field with no way to get to another one.
Overall, this matchup used to be feasible, but their recent access to Xyz actually makes them a pretty formidable deck… Definitely not that easy anymore.
Crystrons at the moment are in a rough place with many semi limits, but they can still make decent plays. The main things to look out for in this matchup are:
- They often interact with you on YOUR turn, so they could dodge your targeting cards.
- They can “float” when destroyed (namely, Crystron Ametrix summons a monster from the GY, Crystron Sulfefnir summons into a monster from the deck, and the Tuners Citree [yellow Lv2], Rion [gray Lv3], and Quan [blue Lv1] dodge targeting effects to go into a Synchro Monster).
Keep in mind that the Tuners cannot respond except in your Main Phase and Battle Phase, so you can catch them in the Draw Phase or Standby Phase. They are likely to be set up with Quan on the field and a Rosenix in hand (for Ametrix), or Rion on the field and a Lv3 in the banish pile (for Powered Inzektron).
If you go first, flip the Tuner face-down on their End Phase using cards like Paleozoic Canadia, so you can be free to get rid of them on your turn. If you were to chain Canadia to flip down Rion/Citree in response to its effect, the monster in the banish pile/GY (respectively) still comes back negated but no Synchro Summon occurs. If you chain it to Quan, then the monster in hand will not actually summon, and under the current rulings, the hand is also not revealed to verify.
If for some odd reason your opponent is still able to run it, we do have an inherent counter to Crystron Impact, because Nemesis Warrior chain blocks Umastryx or Stygokraken from being negated (see Combo section)! As long as Nemesis Warrior is in the GY, you cannot get negated by Crystron Impact. He’ll just jump onto the Chain Link on Chain Link 2, thus backing up the Umastryx and they can’t negate him.
If you duel the SSA variant and they manage to set that up, you’ll need Spiritual Beast Tamer Winda so you can float into Ulti-Apelio and attack to be unaffected.
Overall, the main things to keep in mind are to respond to their actions and not the other way around, and to be keen to disrupting them in the Draw Phase, Standby Phase, or End Phase.
In general, Subterrors easily counter DARK Machine decks that utilize Desperado Barrel Dragon, given that Subterrors focus on controlling the board while being able to flip your own monsters face-down, but Desperado loves to destroy face-up monsters. Thankfully, the recent March 2021 hit to Ms. Judge and Head Judging to 2 means you do not have to play around those anymore.
Some general tips for dealing with this deck:
Desperado cannot destroy face-down monsters, so if he activates, then you can easily chain Nemesis Warrior to Special Summon Umastryx face-down and he will HAVE to destroy at LEAST ONE of his own monsters if he flipped one Heads!
Most of the builds right now run Karma Cut, which you can dodge using Final Battle or Book of Moon to flip yourself face-down.
Some (not all) Master of Destiny builds right now continue to use Rebirth of Parshath, so try to Flip Summon Umastryx (as opposed to flipping Final Battle) to chain block his banish effect with Nemesis Warrior from the GY, if possible. (Or, a Pawns flipped early, before the Parshath could be live, will never be negated because after that point, it’s a Trap effect instead of a Trap card that is being activated.)
Some Desperado players use Black Salvo, which gives them Lv7 Synchros like Black Rose Dragon and Samurai Destroyer. That now adds pressure to banish the Lv4 DARK Machine that they revive to stop that (typically Orcust Harp Horror or BM-4 Blast Spider), but flip your Behemoth up in Defense so they can’t crash into your monster to bring out Desperado.
Other than that, this matchup is not too difficult.
Invoked Magician Girls
This matchup can be a grind. Not a lot of their backrow actually does that much to you, except for cards like Ballista Squad and, to a lesser extent, Karma Cut (if they even use it). To handle this matchup, you’ll have to be able to read their backrow well enough to know when to hold off on using Nemesis Warrior’s quick effect.
Here are some general tips on how to handle this deck:
Upon the summon of Aleister, try to have the Umastryx banish ready and use it immediately, before they activate Invocation. That way, they cannot choose to banish Nemesis Warrior on resolution of Final Battle. Since they use Berry Magician Girl, they’re most likely carrying Invoked Magellanica so it wouldn’t be a bad idea to play around that.
Nemesis Warrior chain blocking Umastryx actually means Berry cannot summon from the deck, because she needs to, but cannot respond directly to Umastryx. This is the same as the interaction with Maiden with Eyes of Blue.
To beat Invoked Purgatrio, you’ll have to have Final Battle, or Flip Flop Frog. Flip Flop Frog just returns it to the Extra Deck, which is a temporary solution. Final Battle helps Umastryx wall off Purgatrio and banish it easily.
If you suspect Floodgate (but not Fiendish Chain), use your Labyrinth Builder skill first, then Normal Summon Nemesis Warrior so that you can respond to it. If you suspect Fiendish Chain, don’t use Nemesis Warrior’s effect unless you have a Final Battle to back you up with its 4th effect.
The backrow often isn’t the issue in this deck unless they just opened everything, but you can’t let them have too much field advantage, so handle this matchup with reasonable urgency. Not the hardest matchup, but can be a bit frustrating if your RNG isn’t the best that day.
Gouki is a similar matchup to Shiranui in a way, because they use similar backrow (Ballista Squad, Fiendish Chain, sometimes Bad Aim for example). If you can play through the destructive backrow, namely Ballista/Bad Aim/Raigeki Break, then that’s the main challenge. However, they do currently maindeck Necrovalley, so that can be a hindrance, and makes this harder than Shiranui. They can ultimately swing advantage back over to them if you don’t win fast.
Here are the main interactions you’ll want to be aware of:
Subterror Final Battle prevents the activated effects of your “Subterror” cards from being negated, which DOES include going up against Fiendish Chain and Necrovalley, both relevant cards in this matchup. So, provided you have Final Battle, you can actually play under Necrovalley. The Gameplay Demonstration section shows this interaction!
Against Gouki Twistcobra tributing a Gouki for cost, they do have to do it early (the Damage Step, before Damage Calculation), because Umastryx flipping up from a battle can choose who to banish after Damage Calculation, which is too late to activate Cobra. After that you’ll have an opening, having dealt with 2 monsters using 1 Umastryx, so try to push for game at that point.
As mentioned, destructive backrow are a problem because on Chain Link 2, they can “fizzle” Nemesis Warrior’s effect from summoning. Karma Cut and Enemy Controller can also be troublesome if they chain it correctly (Chain Link 2 to Nemesis Warrior effect); otherwise, against Karma Cut and Enemy Controller, you can flip your “Subterror” monster down to dodge it with Final Battle; however, if they target a non-“Subterror” monster, that’s unfortunate and your Special Summon “fizzles”.
In the end, the “Gouki” monsters themselves aren’t too threatening. Instead, consider that about half their backrow is a challenge (Ballista/Bad Aim/Raigeki Break), and the other half (Floodgate/Canadia/Fiendish Chain) is nothing to worry about. Necrovalley can be oppressive, but Final Battle can deal with it. A lot can go wrong for either player, and that can provide an opening for you to push for game.
This is a fairly coin-flippy matchup. Whoever opens Subterror Final Battle and also goes first, usually wins, as they are likely to be able to flip up a Behemoth to disrupt your field before you can flip up your backrow.
Siding Bad Aim is recommended, as typically you can (1) respond to Behemoths in the hand to pop a monster on their field, disrupting them as they come in or (2) pop the monster that could be tributed, in response to the activation of Nemesis Warrior’s Quick Effect.
Paleozoic Canadia can be chained to your opponent’s starter monsters, like Golem Sentry or Flip Flop Frog, to flip them face-down on Chain Link 2. To do that, chain to the effect they use to flip themselves face-down. That will make the Behemoths miss timing, and often end their turn outright aside from some set backrow.
You can actually use Subterror Final Battle to flip your opponent’s Subterrors face-down in a pinch, either to stop an attack or to act as a pseudo-Canadia for forcing missed timing.
Hybrid: Elemental HERO Brave Neos can strengthen the turn 1 play vs. a Dual Wield + Shi En board, compared to trying to swarm the board with Flip monsters. The Winda version adds Spiritual Beast Tamer Winda, who can simply crash into Shi En and float into Ulti-Apelio and beat over Shi En while avoiding Dual Wield altogether. The Ties of the Brethren version lets you use Justice Bringer to negate Shi En’s negate (but only if you are going first).
Despite their two nerfs in a semi-limited Shien’s Dojo and Legendary Six Samurai - Enishi, they are still a pretty good deck, with consistent draw power in Six Samurai United, a good negation in Legendary Six Samurai - Shi En, and the good nondestructive removal option in Enishi. Recently they have gained access to Rank 4 Xyz, like Number 39: Utopia or Zubaba General, but that doesn’t really make the matchup any worse.
General plans going first/second:
If you are going first, Subterror Final Battle disrupts them by banishing a summoned Fuma with Umastryx to prevent Shi En from coming out. Cosmic Cyclone as a side deck card might also help to banish their typically-one copy of Shien’s Dojo, or their Six Samurai United to capitalize on a brick. The nice thing is that going first, the Neos hybrid build provides a turn 1 play that does not require you to put more than 1 card on the field, playing around that Dual Wield.
If you are going second, assuming they have Dual Wield against your pure build, the best play is to simply hope you opened Subterror Behemoth Stygokraken, then tribute Set it using Labyrinth Builder until you are able to take out the Six Style - Dual Wield, OR Normal Summon Winda and crash to float into Ulti-Apelio and beat over Shi En that way if you have that option. You might even want to just set a single Flip Flop Frog and pass, and if they attack into it, bounce Shi En back to the Extra Deck.
Lastly, important note… BE CAREFUL HERE:
- Final Battle does not prevent Shi En from negating another copy of Final Battle. Shi En negates the activation, not the effect, so his negation will go through regardless.
This matchup is actually kind of similar to Desperado (see below) because Fortune Lady Every only banishes face-up monsters, and we can flip face-down. Otherwise, Fortune Ladies are backrow heavy, and we deal with backrow with Stygokraken popping face-down cards, and with Every (or any of the other Synchro monsters in their arsenal) with Umastryx banishing her.
Things to watch out for:
Don’t get too complacent when you see a Lv3 Tuner plus a Lv4 non-Tuner, because they CAN use Black Rose Dragon. If they have Fortune Vision active and they banish Fortune Lady Light in an ideal combo, they can nuke the field without destroying their monsters.
Since they have access to Enemy Controller, be careful to check that they have NO delays before using Nemesis Warrior’s effect (or use his effect before their backrow becomes live), so that they cannot use Enemy Controller to take your non-Nemesis Warrior and “fizzle” your Special Summon.
Overall, not too much more difficult than any generic backrow deck. Just remember that Every can only banish face-up monsters. Keep yourself face-down until you’re ready to react, and don’t let them get a Black Rose Dragon, which they will telegraph by having Fortune Vision on the field most of the time (if they aren’t dumb, and they actually nuke the field only when they have a follow-up play).
Aroma / Aromage
This matchup is not hard. Although this tech isn’t as popular anymore, it is worth noting that some do still play Solemn Scolding, which the deck can natively use because it uses primarily continuous traps and continuous spells, so it can have 1 set backrow by flipping the continuous trap(s) early. Of course, it would instantly tell you to play around Scolding if they flip a continuous trap in your Draw Phase. The key cards to play around otherwise are Blessed Winds (target-dodging, recursion, and revival respectively) and Aroma Gardening (summon from deck when lower LP than you); don’t even worry about the rest.
Don’t let the duel drag on too long so that they don’t obtain more resources than you have. To maintain advantage, banish Cananga (green boy) immediately to keep your backrow safe, or banish Jasmine (white girl) to prevent drawing cards. Rosemary (blue girl) and Marjoram (purple lady) aren’t really a problem, and Bergamot (red man) is only dangerous in the Battle Phase for piercing.
Don’t try to OTK through Aroma Gardening until you can see yourself removing 2 monsters via card effect in the Battle Phase, which requires a Flip Flop Frog, an Umastryx, World Legacy Pawns, and Final Battle. Instead, work on banishing the monsters summoned, or those revived by Blessed Winds, to diminish their resources. Once that is out of the way, either wait until they have more LP than you and attack directly in one shot with Umastryx (less than 4700 LP), or wait until you have that 4-card setup and OTK through that.
Play around Scolding by waiting until their LP drops to below 3000, then use the effect you didn’t want negated before they resolve effect(s) to gain enough LP.
Overall, this is a control matchup. They have more versatility than us, but our removal options are more impactful. Don’t let their many effects dazzle you too much—stay focused!
Pure: This is one of the hardest matchups, because their best hand can rip apart your worst hand. If both of you have good hands, you may still be likely to lose your Subterror Final Battle to Ancient Gear Reactor Dragon.
Hybrid: Elemental HERO Brave Neos does help wall off Reactor Dragon with its one-time protection from Neos Fusion as a continuous effect, compared to a more-likely board wipe in the pure variant. Invoked Magellanica in defense actually walls off Reactor Dragon with its 3300 DEF, surprisingly enough, if that comes up.
The main problem in the pure variant against Ancient Gears is that their Ancient Gear Wyvern and Ancient Gear Reactor Dragon turn off monster effects during their attacks, making you flip Subterror Final Battle early to boost your face-up monster, or to banish their monster before they can attack. As such, if you don’t draw Final Battle in time, they will have no problem attacking you. The Neos hybrid variant helps put a strong body to wall off the Reactor Dragon and Wyvern.
See the Gameplay Demonstration section for an example of playing against Reactor Dragon!
Bad Aim is great in this matchup, as it can respond to cards like Double Cyclone or Galaxy Cyclone (including Galaxy Cyclone from the GY) to pop Geartown on Chain Link 2, making it miss timing. It could also respond to the activation of Ancient Gear Fortress to pop an Ancient Gear Castle, if you are detecting a brick and a reliance on Tribute Summoning via Geartown.
Cosmic Cyclone is risky, but also nice if you can banish the Geartown or a suspected Drowning Mirror Force.
This matchup can be difficult, especially if you are going second (but I suppose it’s like that no matter what deck you are playing against them). Their Spellbook of Fate banishes anything without targeting, which is instantly oppressive.
The main concern is not really on being able to break their board, but being able to build yours when you go second, because they can just banish your Starter Card and then you can only set 1 or 2 backrow that they can easily deal with later. A while back, they got High Priestess of Prophecy which is really scary, because she pops a card, and she’s not hard once per turn.
Some quick tips for this deck:
A single Book of Moon can be a funny way to turn off their Fate if they don’t have a Spellbook of Wisdom also set if you are going second. Then you can in the Draw Phase, banish their Magician of Prophecy, and MAYBE they won’t have a follow-up at that point. Cross your fingers.
Going first, this is quite an easy matchup if you can bring in multiple monsters right away. Spellbook players tend to struggle when they can’t clear a field of monsters with their 1 Spellbook of Fate per turn, because the deck is made for dealing with backrow and a fairly-sparse monster field, and lost its access to Treacherous Trap Hole quite a while ago. The addition of High Priestess could improve their going-second ability, so watch out!
The best point of interruption is to use Umastryx to banish their Spellbook Magician of Prophecy as soon as it’s summoned, so they can’t use Spellbook of the Master to start filling their GY. If they happen to summon Temperance of Prophecy, then if for whatever reason they tribute it early for High Priestess to bait backrow, banish the High Priestess, and they cannot follow up with another High Priestess because of the restrictions from Temperance.
A risky thing you could try is Cosmic Cyclone to banish Spellbook of Secrets in response to its activation, so that if they don’t carry Spellbook Library of the Crescent, they cannot make any more plays that turn (which all stem from Spellbook of the Master). It’s risky because they can still likely do something next turn, so if you don’t beat them in your turn, they can follow up.
Overall, not exactly an easy matchup. You just have to hope they didn’t open High Priestess to play through your main interruption via Umastryx, and remove their Spellcaster from the field and hope.
Both pure and Neos variants of Subterrors have shown to be extremely viable, as they have topped in some of the past DLM tournaments, and have also performed well in, e.g. DLE at a 50/50 split of the total tops between pure Subterrors and Neos Subterrors. It is on you to test each variant (pure, Neos, Winda, Invoked, etc) and see which one fits your play style more, as only a select few are viable in the current meta.
Overall, this is actually one of my all-time favorite archetypes to come to Duel Links, and despite being based around Flip monsters, do not underestimate them. They can easily OTK if given the opportunity, and are quite resilient! Hopefully we will get more support for them in the near future! Hidden City would add amazing consistency support without too much oppression, and Nemesis Archer would be great against a Black Rose Dragon field nuke.
If you made it this far, thank you for reading this guide, and if you have any questions, feel free to ask me about substitute tech cards, any tips and tricks you want to know, evaluation of your replays, etc. I am also open to updating this guide if there is anything you want to add, or if I have made any silly errors! Have fun flip flopping around and watching your opponent squirm! :D