Duel Links Meta

Cyber Angels Guide

Table of Contents



Cyber Angels is a deck that has undergone many changes since its admission to Duel Links. While previously an OTK deck, CA has evolved to a fast deck that can OTK but is best suited for controlling the board and overwhelming opponents through resource management. This guide will briefly discuss common plays, but the goal of this guide is to make you recognize possible options that are being neglected.

Adressing Nerfs

How Have the Nerfs Affected CA?

The nerfs to Cyber Angel Dakini, Machine Angel Ritual, and Balance are serious concerns, however I understand the necessity to do so. What was once a tier 0 deck is not tier 0 anymore, but CA without a doubt is a strong deck. The reason CA performed so poorly prior to Meta Championship Series (MCS) 5 can be attributed to Enemy Controller and Floodgate Trap Hole remaining in the meta. However, as CA representation diminished, these cards were swapped out for more effective options against Red-Eyes Zombies, Hazy Flame and Gladiator Beasts decks. Much like how Dkayed placed first the November KC Cup with Ninjas, CA won the MCS through a mixture of surprise factor and taking advantage of the meta.

Short Hands and Abbreviations

CA: Cyber Angels
GB: Gladiator Beast
Hazy: Hazy Flame
REZ: Red-Eyes Zombies

Game State:

Fast: Effects and results are immediate. Often refers to monster/spell effects as they can be activated on the turn you draw them and don’t require much setup.

Slow: Effects that are delayed or will only occur in specific circumstances. Often refers to traps and cards with similar trigger conditions.

Lethal: You can kill your opponent on your current turn.

OTK: “One Turn Kill”. When you or your opponent can inflict 4000 or more damage in a single turn.

AGG: Ancient Gear Golem
AMA: Anti-Magic Arrows
Andal: Gladiator Beast Andal
Anubis: Curse of Anubis
Batman: Gladiator Beast Nerokius
Bestiari: Gladiator Beast Bestiari
BR: Beast Rising CC: Cosmic Cyclone Cerb: Hazy Flame Cerbereus Chalice: Forbidden Chalice Dimacari: Gladiator Beast Dimacari Econ: Enemy Controller Electro: Sergeant Electro Floodgate: Floodgate Trap Hole Gyokkou: Fire Formation - Gyokkou Herak: Gladiator Beast Heraklinos IA: Impenetrable Attack Laquari: Gladiator Beast Laquari Murmillo: Gladiator Beast Murmillo MW: Mirror Wall REZD: Red-Eyes Zombie Dragon SE: Soul Exchange SK: Sphere Kuriboh Sphynx: Hazy Flame Sphynx Spirit: Red-Eyes Spirit SRH: Super Rush Headlong WoD: Wall of Disruption Xing: Xing Zhen Hu

The Decklist Breakdown

Skills To Run With Cyber Angels


Balance is the most consistent of the skills CA has to offer. You are guaranteed to have at least 1 ritual spell, meaning you have plays 99% of the time. The downside to Balance is that you can’t run spell techs as you are more susceptible to bricking. If you plan on playing spells tech cards, you are better off running a different skill. Balance is one of the best skills for every CA matchup except the mirror.

Duel Links Card: Saffira,%20Queen%20of%20Dragons
Duel Links Card: Saffira,%20Queen%20of%20Dragons
Duel Links Card: Saffira,%20Queen%20of%20Dragons
Duel Links Card: Cyber%20Angel%20Dakini
Duel Links Card: Cyber%20Angel%20Idaten
Duel Links Card: Cyber%20Angel%20Benten
Duel Links Card: Cyber%20Angel%20Benten
Duel Links Card: Cyber%20Angel%20Benten
Duel Links Card: Senju%20of%20the%20Thousand%20Hands
Duel Links Card: Senju%20of%20the%20Thousand%20Hands
Duel Links Card: Senju%20of%20the%20Thousand%20Hands
Duel Links Card: Cyber%20Petit%20Angel
Duel Links Card: Cyber%20Petit%20Angel
Duel Links Card: Machine%20Angel%20Absolute%20Ritual
Duel Links Card: Hymn%20of%20Light
Duel Links Card: Hymn%20of%20Light
Duel Links Card: Hymn%20of%20Light
Duel Links Card: Machine%20Angel%20Ritual
Duel Links Card: Sprite's%20Blessing
Duel Links Card: Sprite's%20Blessing

Decklist by: Whilipino
Notable placings:
1st MCS 5 by Whilipino
3rd MCS 5 by Taichi0715


Restart is the most versatile of CA’s skills. CA already has a somewhat low chance of bricking, but with restart you can lower it even farther. Restart helps you open with tech cards or cards that you believe will help you the most in any given matchup. However, the issue with Restart is that there is no guarantee, only a second chance. Restart is the best skill for the mirror and is not restricted from using spells in the same way Balance is.

Decklist by: Darkking
Notable placings:
2nd MCS5 by Darkking

Duel Links Card: Saffira,%20Queen%20of%20Dragons
Duel Links Card: Saffira,%20Queen%20of%20Dragons
Duel Links Card: Saffira,%20Queen%20of%20Dragons
Duel Links Card: Cyber%20Angel%20Dakini
Duel Links Card: Cyber%20Angel%20Idaten
Duel Links Card: Cyber%20Angel%20Benten
Duel Links Card: Cyber%20Angel%20Benten
Duel Links Card: Cyber%20Angel%20Benten
Duel Links Card: Senju%20of%20the%20Thousand%20Hands
Duel Links Card: Senju%20of%20the%20Thousand%20Hands
Duel Links Card: Cyber%20Petit%20Angel
Duel Links Card: Cyber%20Petit%20Angel
Duel Links Card: Machine%20Angel%20Absolute%20Ritual
Duel Links Card: Machine%20Angel%20Absolute%20Ritual
Duel Links Card: Enemy%20Controller
Duel Links Card: Enemy%20Controller
Duel Links Card: Hymn%20of%20Light
Duel Links Card: Hymn%20of%20Light
Duel Links Card: Hymn%20of%20Light
Duel Links Card: Machine%20Angel%20Ritual
Duel Links Card: Sprite's%20Blessing

The Core Cards

Cards Necessary in Every Competitive Cyber Angels Deck

Techs and Replacements

Tech cards are an important part of every deck. However, it is important to know that some tech cards synergize with a deck more than others. Please remember that “what is or is not good” is intended as “what is or is not good for CA.”

What is Currently Good

Enemy Controller

Duel Links Card: Enemy%20Controller

Econ has historically been the poster child of countering CA. With little to no backrow, CA is susceptible to econ take plays as well as losing Dakini if she uses her effect. While I believe Floodgate is presently the most effective card against CA, econ is still the strongest tech in the mirror match.

Tech / Can replace:

Duel Links Card: Senju%20of%20the%20Thousand%20Hands
Duel Links Card: Cyber%20Petit%20Angel

Strong Defensive Traps

Duel Links Card: Curse%20of%20Anubis
Duel Links Card: Wall%20of%20Disruption
Duel Links Card: Mirror%20Wall
Duel Links Card: Windstorm%20of%20Etaqua

These traps vary in use. Curse is arguably the most versatile of the four, but Wall of Disruption is the best in the mirror. These cards will help you stall until you can get more combo pieces, but I recommend a soft limit of 1 because stall cards don’t really work towards CA’s win condition.


“Anti Backrow” or “Backrow Hate”

Duel Links Card: Cosmic%20Cyclone
Duel Links Card: Fire%20Formation%20-%20Gyokkou
Duel Links Card: Double%20Cyclone
Duel Links Card: Greenkappa
Duel Links Card: Fenghuang
Duel Links Card: Lyla,%20Lightsworn%20Sorceress
Duel Links Card: Xing%20Zhen%20Hu
Duel Links Card: Anti-Magic%20Arrows

The catalog of cards CA has available to deal with backrow has increased significantly since the last time I’ve updated this guide. The best options available are the first three. There are a number of other cards that have seen use, but will most likely be relegated to the side deck.


What Might Be Good But Is Underutilized

Bacon Saver

Duel Links Card: Bacon%20Saver

While previously seen as a REZ only card, Bacon Saver is also a good tech card for CA because of its level and graveyard effect. Bacon can be used to win the mirror going first; summoning a searcher turn 1 without protection is almost a guaranteed loss in the mirror, but setting bacon turn 1 and passing is far safer and a great defense against Dakini pushes.


Floodgate Trap Hole

Duel Links Card: Floodgate%20Trap%20Hole

Floodgate is an overall good card, but lacks synergy with CA. Setting problematic monsters face down is best reserved for monsters with strong effects, not just monsters with strong attack. However, eliminating monster based threats is not a task CA struggles with, and floodgate is not an effective counter to the current tier 1. While they may not be common in the most relevant decks, you can activate Floodgate in response to your opponent summoning Lava Golem, as well as in response to a Gemini Summon.


Forbidden Chalice

Duel Links Card: Forbidden%20Chalice

Chalice has not seen much use, but I believe that it may become a tech to handle the mirror and to stop GB tags. It may also be useful against REZ to prevent milling, but negating a searcher’s effect or a tagout can win you games as it slows down their deck and can swing the momentum into your favor.


What May Be Good Later


Duel Links Card: Skelengel

Skelengel is a Free to Play substitute for other searchers but has no real place in an optimal build for CA. For a while it was considered for CA, and even found use in Bamboo CA, but spending a Normal Summon on Skelengel is a dangerous game. You only want to see Skelengel early and it doesn’t allow you to choose what you get from the deck.

Can replace:

Duel Links Card: Senju%20of%20The%20Thousand%20Hands
Duel Links Card: Cyber%20Petit%20Angel

Sergeant Electro

Duel Links Card: Sergeant%20Electro

Electro struggles to find a place in CA. Electro is a relatively weak monster that can only lock down 1 card at a time; using electro will result in multiple instances where you attempt to lock down a backrow just to have him get outed on the next turn. CA cannot afford to waste card space or Normal Summons on electro and have no consistent way to protect him. Running Electro in CA requires you to rework most of your deck to accommodate for the slower style, and will likely result in a harder time in the mirror.


Sphere Kuriboh

Duel Links Card: Sphere%20Kuriboh

SK used to be a semi-common tech in CA, but as time has passed people have realized that SK is not very effective. This is mostly because econ does SK’s job and is far more versatile. Running 1 is fine, but running 2 may be a tad much. Don’t run 2 SK just because of its secondary effect. Relinquished was able to run SK because they are both level 1 and it was a free summon at no cost. CA can run SK, but all of the core monsters in CA are of even level, so using SK second effect of banishing from the grave won’t get used unless you are able to get both SK into play (your hand or graveyard).

Tech / Can replace:

Duel Links Card: Senju%20of%20the%20Thousand%20Hands
Duel Links Card: Cyber%20Petit%20Angel

“Spell Counters”

Duel Links Card: Spell%20Shield%20Type-8
Duel Links Card: Magic%20Drain
Duel Links Card: Magic%20Deflector
Duel Links Card: Riryoku%20Field

These cards saw some play at the start of the CA meta, but have died down in popularity as they are not as versatile or consistent as other options.


What Is Not Good

Super Rush Headlong

Duel Links Card: Super%20Rush%20Headlong

Super Rush had it’s use in the previous meta, but the monster removal Dakini provides is far better, not to mention econ has more utility. This card is terrible in the CA mirror because your opponent can banish a MAR or Hymn and the result is usually crashing into an opponent’s boss monster.

Divine Wrath

Duel Links Card: Divine%20Wrath

Divine Wrath and similar effect negation cards can negate effects, but this effect is not as relevant in the current meta. If you chain dwrath when an opponent summons a Dakini, their Dakini will be safe as long as they tributed a Benten or an Idaten for the summon. This is because of a ruling in Yugioh called “SEGOC” or “Simultaneous Effects Go On Chain.” Since dakini’s effect and Benten’s / Idaten’s effect would all be activated simultaneously, they go on chain; dwrath can only negate the last link in the chain, so Dakini gets protected. Chalice is overall a faster and less costly option, not to mention it is chainable.

Sky Scourge Enrise

Duel Links Card: Sky%20Scourge%20Enrise

With the excess of LIGHT fairy type monsters in CA, some people have tried running Enrise along with SK, or at the very least have attempted to do so. The problem is that Enrise is far too slow for the current meta. Enrise requires multiple turns of set up to even summon, turns that the opponent can use to draw into their answers.

Combos and Plays

The nerfs have hit some combos harder than others, but most are still possible. The nerfs have limited the use of combos to only allow for 1 dakini and 1 MAR or 2 dakini and 0 MAR, and combos that rely on MAR being in the hand or in the Graveyard are far less applicable.

Idaten + Benten

Don’t always go for this combo. Tribute Benten for Idaten to search for a fairy and a ritual spell. When using your search for a fairy, don’t tunnel vision on Dakini. Quite often you will find Petit or Senju will do a better job; they serve a similar function to searching Dakini with Benten, but taking the extra step thins the deck and gives you more levels to work with, leading to more consistent results. Even though you can’t search Saffira with Benten’s effect, you can stlll search for Senju which can search Saffira.

Unstoppable Fodder Theft

A tactic that is sometimes used to enable a ritual summon is to summon a searcher, use their effect to search out a combo piece, then use econ to tribute your lower level monster for their higher level monster and use their monster to ritual summon. The key to this combo is to activate your cards in the correct order. Consider this example in the CA mirror:

Opponent’s field: 1 Dakini, 1 Benten, 1 set econ

Hand: 1 Petit, 1 Dakini, 1 MAR, 1 econ

  1. Summon Petit and search for Idaten.

  2. Activate MAR.

  3. Chain econ to MAR.

  4. Use tribute take to get control of your opponent’s Dakini.

  5. Use their Dakini as a tribute to summon your Dakini.

The defining factor in this combo is that you can chain econ take to a ritual spell, and since chains resolve on a last in first out basis, you gain control of their Dakini just in time for you to use it as tribute fodder. In this instance, your opponent cannot stop your econ take with their econ because the only monster you controlled was tributed to activate your econ. If you activate econ take before you activate MAR, your opponent can chain econ to your MAR activation, tribute taking back their Dakini, and preventing the summoning altogether.

Using Saffira’s effect

With Saffira becoming the new boss monster of the deck, many people may wonder which of Saffira’s End Phase effects is the best. Each effect has a use, but some are more situational than others.

Draw 2 Cards, Discard 1 Card

This effect is arguably the best of the 3. This effect is most effective early game to turn brick hands into playable ones. Don’t forget that discarding a card is not always a downside as you can discard extra Hymns to use as protection, or even discard Bacon Saver to give yourself a defense against OTK attempts.

Discard 1 Card From Your Opponent’s Hand

The most overrated of Saffira’s effects. If you can’t guarantee game on your following turn, discarding from your opponent’s hand is a poor option. This is because most decks run multiple monsters and defensive cards, so even if you can burn 1 of those resources they can have a second. Sometimes you may even hit a dead card and as a result the effect will have been a waste. Discarding from your opponent’s hand is best for putting your opponent in top deck situations and limiting their combos so that you may make a push for game on your following turn. For reference, here are some general rules/examples of using the discard effect.

  • If your opponent has 2 or less unpredictable material. If they have set cards on the field but only one card in hand and no monsters, then discarding is fine as long as it puts them in a topdeck situation. If you can reasonably predict what their backrow is then you swing the game heavily into your favor.
  • If you are playing against REZ, discarding is ill advised. Most of the time they are holding onto their boss monsters and dead cards in hand and discarding them will leave the gamestate unchanged.
  • If you are playing against GB and they set two face downs and summon a monster, it is very likely that their hand is another gladiator. Do not go for the discard effect unless you first remove their monster on the field. If you can’t get rid of the one on the field, then the one in hand is less valuable to them anyway and you will benefit more from drawing and discarding.

Add 1 Light Monster From Your Graveyard to Your Hand

This effect is most effective in the mid and late game where you want to retrieve an Idaten or Dakini from your Graveyard. In matches against slow decks/stall decks, this is also a strong option to speed up Idaten boosting so you can threaten lethal sooner.

Stealing Saffira’s Effect

During the End Phase, if your opponent will get Saffira’s effect that turn you can econ tribute take their Saffira and you will be able to use that effect instead. When doing so, your best effect to choose usually depends on whose End Phase it is.

On Your End Phase

1. Discard from opponent’s hand
Discarding from your opponent’s hand will give them the least options on their turn.
2. Draw 2 discard
This option is good for getting protection into your Grave and for recouping some of the losses caused by the econ take.
3. Add 1 Light monster from your graveyard to your hand
Adding a light monster from the grave sets up for your next turn, but this implies that you will survive until your next turn. The mirror match is very volatile, so this effect should be saved unless you can guarantee they will not OTK you.

On Your Opponent’s End Phase

1. Draw 2 discard
This is your best option in most instances; you set up your plays for your next turn and can optimize your hand so that you can make a strong push on your turn.
2. Add 1 light monster
Adding a light monster is strongest when you know for sure you can get a specific combo off if you do so. This option is not as explosive as draw 2 discard, but is definitely the most consistent.
3. Discard from opponent’s hand
Seldom the best option. Instead of giving yourself options on your turn, you limit what they can do on their following turn. The problem here is that you are hitting their hand, but unless you have a Saffira or Dakini of your own, you won’t be able to take full advantage of this effect.

The Matchups

The Meta has changed since the inception of this guide, and as such some of the information provided illustrates the meta constantly changing. While I have played and theory crafted these matchups, please remember these are my opinions, not definitive representations of the game.

The Mirror 50-50

Turn 2 is favorable over turn 1, but going first or second does not guarantee victory or defeat. Econ is the most deadly weapon in the mirror because it cucks Dakini, and even if your opponent plays around econ, you can tribute take their Dakini and use it for fodder to summon your own Dakini.

How to Play the Matchup:

  • Going First: going first in the CA mirror is widely considered a disadvantage. You want to set up a solid defense and be prepared for your opponent to be able to summon a Dakini turn 1. Your end board should have at least two lines of defense, whether that be two monsters or a monster and an econ. If you can get a searcher, an Idaten, and an econ face down while still being able to summon a Dakini on your following turn, then you are almost guaranteed to survive until your next turn.
  • Going Second: You have the advantage; you get the first draw and the first Battle Phase. Your goal going second is to be aware of when your opponent’s face downs can be activated. If they can chain to a monster summon, but not to a spell card activation, they most likely have a Floodgate. Keep this in mind when deciding which monsters to ritual summon. If they don’t have backrow, try to go for Dakini. Boosting her with Idaten is a plus, but not necessary. If you can’t OTK, try to follow some of the same rules as going first: have at least two monsters on the field to defend against an opponent’s Dakini.

Effective Techs for the Matchup

  • Enemy Controller: Saves you from OTK’s, counters Dakini’s effect, and can be used to take enemy monsters to use as tribute fodder.

  • Forbidden Chalice: Chalice is good for cucking search effects, but is also great for Dakini’s effect. If your opponent uses Dakini, you can Chalice to negate it, or if you use Dakini, you can Chalice your own Dakini if they try to econ take. Has the added benefit of being usable in the Damage Step.

  • Floodgate Trap Hole: Strong answer to Saffira, Queen of Dragons. Doesn’t negate Dakini’s effect on summon, but stops her End Phase recycling effect, Idaten boosts, and piercing bonus.

  • Curse of Anubis: Can be used to stall a turn, or set up or an OTK. 0 defense monsters are also susceptible to piercing; something to keep in mind.

CA vs Ninjas 60-40

Ninjas have seen a resurgence after KC Cup. This shift can be attributed to Dkayed’s success in KC Cup, finishing first with the deck. However, do not be fooled into thinking Ninjas can dethrone CA as the best deck. Ninjas lack the consistency that CA provides, and I believe one of the key factors in Dkayed’s success in KC Cup was matchup unfamiliarity, as most players didn’t understand how to beat Ninjas, or at even how to beat Ninjas of such a high caliber. This is not to detract from his accomplishment as I personally can’t say that I got 1st place global, but remember that Ninjas haven’t magically become the best deck because the best player used them, and that beating Ninjas is about planning out your win and not playing mindlessly.

How to Play the Matchup:

This matchup is very coinflip dependent. Going first against Ninjas can sometimes be like going first against CA, where you have to set up a good defense and hope they can’t OTK you.

  • Regarding Boosted Dakini Turn 1: Some people have tried summoning a boosted Dakini turn 1 as a means to combat BDN OTK’s, but this a hard gamble. If we use Dkayed’s ninja list as a standard, then the chance that Ninjas have BDN with at least 1 banish going second is 54.53%, not taking into account instances where they start with Black Dragon Ninja, Armor Ninjitsu Art of Alchemy, Ninjitsu Art Notebook, and another Ninjitsu Art and can potentially use Alchemy to draw another ninja (which would add roughly another 4%).
  • Going First: Going first is similar to going first against CA; set up a defense of two monsters to prevent OTK’s. If they open perfect, then they can still OTK through two lines of defense, but understand that this is a rare occurrence, and happens less often as you getting double Dakini.
  • Going Second: Ideally, you want to OTK them, or at least extinguish all of their resources so that they won’t be able to summon another BDN. Do this by summoning double Dakini, boosted Dakini, or even double boosted Dakini.

Effective Techs for the Matchup:

  • Forbidden Chalice: Chalice can be used for 2 purposes: prevent a BDN banish, boost a Dakini in the Damage Step to get over a BDN. Do not activate Chalice unless you are chaining it or are in the Damage Step. If you activate Chalice without chaining, then BDN can banish itself to dodge Chalice.

  • Cosmic Cyclone: Do not activate CC unless you are chaining it to their ninjitsu trap. If you activate without chaining, then a BDN can self banish to detach itself from a ninjitsu trap, nullifying your CC. If they activate ninjitsu art notebook, don’t immediately activate CC. If they try to activate notebook’s effect, chain CC to their discard; this will result in notebook getting banished and them forfeiting a ninja, a 2 for 1 trade.

CA vs Red-Eyes Zombies 45-55

REZ has remained a top tier deck for such a long time because of its versatility and space for adaptation. With Ninjas now competing as a tier 1 deck, REZ has to adapt to them as well, and as a result are becoming slightly less consistent against CA. However, the main advantage REZ has always had over CA is that REZ can tech for CA, but CA can’t tech against REZ without decreasing consistency in the mirror.

How to Play the Matchup:

  • Summoning Dakini: When summoning Dakini’s with Idaten boosts, do so in defense unless you plan to go for an OTK. This is because summoning Dakini in attack can often lead to econ take plays in the Battle Phase.
  • Using Dakini’s Effect: In most matchups, it is best to not activate Dakini’s effect if you believe they have econ. In the REZ matchup, there are some instances where you have to use Dakini’s effect whether you think they have econ or not.
  • You Can’t Play Around Everything: A bad habit that I used to have when starting with CA was trying to play around multiple different cards. If they have two cards set and one of them is a spirit, you don’t have the luxury to play around both Enemy Controller and Mirror Wall. In some scenarios, you have to gamble on which you think they have, as playing too passive will allow them to set up for an OTK. If you think they have econ and don’t activate Dakini’s effect, then you should attack and force them to use it. If you think they have mirror wall instead, then you should activate Dakini effect and not swing. What you should not do is think they have econ and not have Dakini effect, but also try to play as if they could have mirror wall and not swing.

Effective Techs for the Matchup:

Keep in mind that most of the techs that you would use against REZ are weak against Ninjas or the mirror.

  • Curse of Anubis: If your opponent is able to establish their board before you can fully set up your defense, Curse of Anubis can be used as a backup strategy in the event your opponent goes for econ take. You get to stop the play and get your Dakini back, effectively wasting their econ.

  • Xing Zhen Hu: The nerfs will make Xing a strong tech against REZ with the nerfs. If a REZ player sets two spirits turn 1 while not having 2 REZD in the grave, you can target both and cut off half of their striking power. If you hit a WOD and a Floodgate, you clog their backrow and leave them with only 1 spot left which is susceptible to a second Xing.

  • Cosmic Cyclone: CC is the fastest option for CA; you can use it in the End Phase to snipe spirits or econs.

  • Duel, standby!: DS is not a tech card per se, but definitely improves the matchup. REZ is a reasonably quick deck, but when both CA and REZ get another material CA takes advantage of much more. Combos like double Dakini are much more common with DS and allow CA to outpace REZ.

CA vs Gladiator Beasts 60-40

I would like to preface that I have not played many games against GB, so my opinion on the matchup may change with time. As of now, I believe that the matchup is in CA favor. Impenetrable attack doesn’t stop Dakini’s effect, and Dakini has piercing so they can’t confidently play defense. GB’s normal gameplan is to use their tagouts to slowing gain advantage, but if you can prevent the tag then you can overwhelm and out-resource them.

How to Play the Matchup:

  • Watching for delays in this matchup is more rewarding than any other. Most of their cards can be activated at different times: Chalice: monster on the field, Econ: monster on your field, Floodgate: on summon, Impenetrable Attack: any point in the Battle Phase, WoD: on attack declaration.

  • Stopping their tags is important but you should know when it is okay to let them tag. Summoning Idaten is a bad play turn 1. If you go first, it is better to summon a searcher and end than to summon a searcher and summon an Idaten. If you summon Idaten, then you give them a target for Gladiator Beast Murmillo.
  • Activating Dakini effect is almost always the right option. GB don’t run many monsters, and unlike REZ they can’t swarm or resurrect themselves. If they lose all of their Murmillo for instance, their tags won’t matter as much because they will have to contact fusion or econ take in order to get over a Dakini.
  • If you run Chalice, remember that you cannot chain it to their monsters’ tag out as shuffling back into the deck is considered a cost. If you want to stop the tag out, turn your toggle to ON and activate Chalice after damage calculation. The game will not ask you to activate at this time if you have it set to AUTO.

Effective Techs for the Matchup:

All techs in this matchup are used to prevent tagouts as that is the source of GB’s strength. Since all of the cards serve the same function, thorough explanations will not be given.

  • Forbidden Chalice: stops tagout via effect negation
  • Enemy Controller: stops tagout via position change
  • Bacon Saver: stops tagout via attack negation
  • Curse of Anubis: stops multiple tagouts via position change

CA vs Burn 40-60

How to Play the Matchup:

  • When playing against burn, hold back on summoning Dakini.
  • Your best monster is usually Benten; her attack is higher than swordswoman, and if swordswoman dies to a Benten, she deals 1600 damage to your opponent.
  • Idaten is also an acceptable but not as effective as Benten.
  • Dakini should be reserved for tributing a Lava Golem and/or removing any large tokens that were spawned from The Golden Apples.
  • If they activate Massivemorph on Dakini and crash with Swordswoman, you will take 3900 points of damage. Keep this in mind any time you are tempted to summon Dakini.

Effective Techs for this Matchup:

  • Forbidden Chalice: Chalice negates a monster’s effect, so if your opponent tries to crash with swordswoman, you can flip the OTK. Chalice is arguably your best option when taking into account other matchups.

  • Mystik Wok: This is a solid answer to everything burn has to offer. If they try to Draining Shield your monster, you can use Wok and you heal instead. If they summon lava golem, you can use Wok and you heal instead. If they Massivemorph your Dakini, you can activate Wok and Dakini will no longer be a burden. If you can get them to activate a combination of the aforementioned cards, then you let them waste their resources. I ran wok in MCS4 and can attest to its value.

  • Fire Formation - Gyokkou: Gyokkou allows you to pin a backrow and prevents them from chaining it. Xing allows you to pin 2 backrow, but is slower and does not prevent chaining.

  • Nobleman of Extermination: Nobleman can help you remove all copies of a specific trap. If you open with it going second, you can bar your opponent from using an essential defensive card such as massivemorph or golden apples.

  • Enemy Controller: Econ is used for stopping singular attacks so you can attack into those defense position monsters.

  • Curse of Anubis: Use this card to stop literally any and all attacks. This card is best saved to neutralize aggressive swordswoman plays and stop skystarray from chipping away from your life points.

  • Anti-Magic Arrows: AMA trashes burn. The only reason CA shouldn’t run this card is because AMA has limited value in other matchups when compared to econ, and is nearly useless in the CA mirror.

CA vs Ancient Gears 60-40

Of all the matchups against the current top 6 decks, CA does the best against AG. Decks that run heavy backrow tend to do well against CA, but the problem with AG is that they sacrifice one of their backrow spaces for ancient gear castle. The result is a slow backrow heavy deck that can’t run heavy backrow until late game, but AG struggles with surviving long enough to do so.

How to Play the Matchup:

  • Overpower Them: AG lack the speed to compete with CA. Summoning double Dakini or even just a boosted Dakini can often result in massive tempo swings in your favor. If you let the duel drag out, then AG can draw into AGG and play like any other backrow heavy deck.

Effective Tech Cards for this Matchup:

  • Forbidden Chalice: Chalice is mostly just to counter and econ take play. If you aren’t losing your Dakini when they econ take, then they lack the necessary means to defeat CA. However, you don’t really need to tech against AG, so Chalice is good because it’s decent in more relevant matchups.

Matchup Chart

Skill: Mirror 3SD Ninjas REZ GB Burn AG
Restart 55:45 60:40 45:55 60:40 40:60 65:35
Balance 50:50 60:40 45:55 60:40 35:65 60:40
Duel, standby! 50:50 55:45 55:45 60:40 40:60 65:35
Mind Scan 45:55 55:45 40:60 50:50 45:55 55:45
Overall 50:50 60:40 45:55 60:40 40:60 60:40

Frequently Asked Questions

When newer and less familiar players enter the CA channel on the discord, many of them ask similar if not the same questions. This section may see additions in the future.

“Is CA still the best deck? Dkayed won KC Cup with Ninjas”

CA is still the best deck, but by a very small margin. Ninjas have a good matchup against most decks, but they lose to CA. Dkayed did win KC Cup with Ninjas and made mention that he consciously decided to play Ninjas over CA, but Ninjas are not better than CA. Ninjas were a better pick in KC Cup because it was an uncommon deck that was not fully optimized and could rack up quick wins.

“When I activate Idaten’s effect, when do I search a ritual spell from the deck, and when do I take one from the graveyard?”

There are 2 things you want to consider when deciding whether to retrieve a ritual spell from the grave or get one from the deck:

1. Do I want to have MAR in play?

Machine Angel Ritual is your best ritual spell. It can be searched by Petit, returned by Dakini, doesn’t require exact levels, and can stop a monster from being destroyed. However, with MAR at 1, you want to consider what you need it for. In the CA mirror, I would advise against pulling MAR with Idaten’s effect because keeping MAR in grave means protection and having MAR in the deck means that you can search it with Petit. In slower matchups and when you have all monsters in hand, adding MAR from the grave is good because you allow yourself to have a play on the following turn.

2. How will this affect my next draw?

Knowing what you do and don’t want to draw will depend on you knowing what cards remain in your deck. If you have a spell heavy hand, use Idaten’s effect to take a ritual spell from your deck so that you are more likely to draw a monster on your next turn. If you have a monster heavy hand, use Idaten’s effect to take a ritual spell from your graveyard so that you increase your chances at drawing another ritual spell on your next turn.

“What is the best skill for CA?”

I believe that Balance and Restart are the best skills for CA in the current meta and I have achieved KoG with both. Mind Scan is not good in the current meta, and while I think Duel, standby! has potential, it lacks results in tournaments.

“Should I spend gems on [insert card]”

Unless that card is in the core of CA, you don’t need to spend gems on it. Cards such as Nobleman of Extermination and Cosmic Cyclone are nice to have, but are not necessary and are easily replaced by econs.

“What are your thoughts on Saffira?”

Saffira is strong in the current meta because Saffira builds don’t run backrow, but as a result CA becomes weaker on ladder because defense helps against rogue decks.

“What are your thoughts on Anti-Backrow? (Xing, Nobleman, etc.)”

On ladder, cards to deal with backrow are not needed. You should instead try to increase the consistency of your deck in the mirror and against Ninjas. For tournaments however, teching in 1 or 2 cards to deal with backrow can prove viable, but it depends on the format and what other people will be running.


Replays coming soon! Old replays were prenerf, so I have deleted them to make room for more modern replays.

Special Thanks

Dkayed: For fostering a productive, competitive community with Duel Links Meta; also for dealing with all the memes.

Vincenity: For repping CA in DLPT’s / Team Wars and giving me competition while trying for deck expert. The understanding that I wasn’t the only person interested in the position helped me work on my guide, even if we both got it in the end. Congrats!

Nix: For giving me solid advice on my guide and helping develop DDraw burn. Now there’s legit no excuse for complaining when people lose to CA.

Snowstar: For his insight on Curse of Anubis and Duel, standby!, but also for helping review my guide a bunch of times because konami keeps changing the game.

CrimsonLTCR: For helping theorycraft and test techs, alternate skills, and how best to use them.

pll: For gathering data and helping us all understand how the new Balance works.

Remarkable_Jam: For looking over my guide and giving me some good ideas on how to improve it.

Everyone Active in the CA channel: You guys help keep the channel productive and alive.

Netdecking Reddit Plebs: For giving me all the free DP in KC Cup :D

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