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Vampire Guide

Overview

The Vampire archetype made its splash on the Duel Links meta in August 2018 with the release of the Empire of Scarlet minibox. The minibox introduced consistent searchers for the archetype in the form of Vampire Familiar and Vampire Retainer as well as key win-conditions in Vampire Kingdom and Vampire Vamp. These cards revamped (no pun intended) the archetype from the mishmash of odd Zombie monsters from earlier boxes into a top tier deck that stole 1st place in the September 2018 KC Cup and continued to dominate for the rest of 2018. Vampires eventually got to the point where they ended up being hit on the March 2019 Forbidden/Limited List, which put a key card, Samurai Skull, on the Limited 2 list. Since then, Vampires have unfortunately been power crept hard throughout the 2019 year, being too "fair" of a deck to keep up with the new, more "unfair" decks. So while the recent October 2019 Forbidden/Limited List did unlimit Samurai Skull, it is not enough to bring Vampires back to top tier status. Nevertheless, that does not mean that the deck is no longer viable -- Vampires are still capable of producing a fair number of early King of Games (KoG) each month as well as the once in a while rogue top placing in a community tournament or KC Cup.

Introduction

Vampires as a deck is best described as a “toolbox” deck. It has such consistent and accessible searchers in Vampire Familiar and Vampire Retainer that the deck is able to “tutor” i.e. access whatever combo it needs for the given situation. Of course, the deck's most iconic and primary go-to combo revolves around Vampire Grace, using her effect to trigger Vampire Kingdom to destroy any card on the field. Both the effects of Vampire Grace and Vampire Kingdom are not hard once-per-turns, hence they can be abused in multiple copies to wipe an opposing board and enable a devastating one-turn-kill (OTK). Complementing Vampire Grace is Vampire Vamp, otherwise known to the community as the “good succ.” Vampire Vamp has an ability that lets her “succ up” opposing monsters with more ATK than her (2000 ATK by default), equipping them to herself and raising her ATK by their ATK stat. Thus, not only can Vampires threaten board wipes into OTKs with Vampire Grace and Vampire Kingdom, but they also have one of the most reliable outs to big boss monsters in Vampire Vamp.

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


Core Cards

Combo Starters: Gozuki (2-3x) and Samurai Skull (3x)

Duel Links Card: Gozuki
Duel Links Card: Samurai%20Skull

Gozuki and Samurai Skull are the main combo starters for any Vampire deck. Both monsters are able to mill a Zombie monster from one's deck to the graveyard the turn that they are summoned. Since Vampires are a Zombie-based archetype, they have many monsters that want to be in the graveyard to trigger effects. This includes the two searchers of the archetype, Vampire Familiar and Vampire Retainer. The Vampire archetype also has revival cards in Vampire Takeover and Vampire's Desire -- hence, sometimes one might also want to mill a particular Vampire monster to then resurrect it with either of these cards.

One key difference between Gozuki and Samurai Skull is that Gozuki's mill effect is an ignition effect that must be manually activated, whereas Samurai Skull's mill effect is a trigger effect that activates immediately upon summon. This difference actually matters quite a bit as it means Gozuki is far easier to disrupt than Samurai Skull -- e.g. the opponent can activate a trap like Paleozoic Canadia upon Gozuki's summon to stop the Vampire player from activating his mill effect. As a result, Samurai Skull is actually the more reliable miller, as it can only be disrupted by a negation from a card like e.g. Forbidden Chalice.

Gozuki and Samurai Skull also have secondary effects that add to their utility. Gozuki, if it is sent to the graveyard, allows one to banish a non-Gozuki Zombie monster from the graveyard to special summon a Zombie monster from the hand. The effect triggers no matter how Gozuki gets sent to the graveyard -- this allows one to e.g. mill Gozuki from the deck with another Gozuki or a Samurai Skull to use its effect and special summon a Zombie from the hand.

On the flipside, Samurai Skull, when removed from the field by an opponent's effect, floats into any level 4 or lower Zombie monster that one chooses from the deck. This comes in use when Samurai Skull is removed by e.g. cards like Treacherous Trap Hole or Dimensional Prison, allowing one to replace him with a Gozuki or a low level Vampire.

Because these two monsters are the deck's main avenues to dump Vampire Familiar and Vampire Retainer into the graveyard to start plays, one ideally wants to max out on the number of copies in the deck to make it as consistent as possible. This means running 3 Samurai Skull for sure. As for Gozuki, running 2 should be consistent enough for deck sizes up to 22 cards -- however, 3 Gozuki is definitely needed for larger deck sizes (23+).

Searchers: Vampire Familiar (2-3x) and Vampire Retainer (2x)

Duel Links Card: Vampire%20Familiar
Duel Links Card: Vampire%20Retainer

These two monsters are the searchers of the Vampire archetype. If Vampire Familiar is special summoned, then one can search any Vampire monster from the deck and add it to the hand at the cost of 500 LP; Vampire Retainer has a similar effect, but it searches any Vampire spell / trap instead. Both of these effects are hard-once-per-turns, meaning one cannot activate e.g. two Vampire Familiar search effects in the same turn.

Both monsters also have the effect where one can send a card with “Vampire” in its name to the graveyard, from either the field or hand, to special summon them from the graveyard -- however, if they are summoned this way, then they are banished when they leave the field. Note that this restriction makes it so that one cannot send e.g. a Vampire Familiar that was special summoned via its own effect to summon another Vampire Familiar from the graveyard, since the first Vampire Familiar can only be banished, not go to the graveyard.

The ability to search any card in the entire Vampire archetype with Vampire Familiar and Vampire Retainer is what makes this deck so consistent and powerful. One typically wants to open with a combo starter (either Gozuki or Samurai Skull) and another Vampire card in hand. The combo starter mills one of the searchers, which can then special summon itself from the graveyard by having one pitch the Vampire card in hand. Then, once the searcher hits the field, one can pay 500 LP to add whatever Vampire card they want to the hand.

The most ideal opener is a combo starter plus Vampire Familiar in hand. This opener allows one to mill Vampire Retainer, pitch the Vampire Familiar from hand to special summon Vampire Retainer, search Vampire Takeover, and end on a board of a combo starter, Vampire Retainer, and Vampire Takeover, with 2 extra cards (assuming going first). Then, on the opponent's turn, one can flip over Vampire Takeover to play Vampire Kingdom from the deck and revive Vampire Familiar to search one of the Vampire boss monsters for a follow up play, effectively going +3 in card advantage -- see the Combos section for more details. With 5 combo starters and 4-5 searchers, Vampires are able to consistently generate such card advantage.

For the above reason, a ratio of 3 Vampire Familiars and 2 Vampire Retainers is theoretically ideal, as one wants to open with a Vampire Familiar while keeping the Vampire Retainers in the deck to mill. That said, players have had success just running 2 copies of each searcher, either because they do not own a 3rd Vampire Familiar or because they want to cut down on deck space. As a result, running either 2 or 3 Vampire Familiars has become more of a preference choice -- it should be noted though that having more Vampires in the deck helps pay off the cost for Vampire Kingdom.

Win Condition 1: Vampire Grace (1-2x), Vampire Kingdom (2x), and Vampire Takeover (1x)

Duel Links Card: Vampire%20Grace
Duel Links Card: Vampire%20Kingdom
Duel Links Card: Vampire%20Takeover

Vampire Grace in combination with Vampire Kingdom is the primary win-condition for Vampires. Vampire Grace has an ignition effect that allows one to make the opponent mill a monster, spell, or trap from their deck to then trigger Vampire Kingdom. One can then send a Vampire monster from the hand or deck to the graveyard so that Vampire Kingdom can target and destroy any card on the field. This gives the Vampire archetype a powerful form of spot removal for any problematic card on the opponent's field.

Setting up Vampire Grace plus Vampire Kingdom is also really easy with the searching power from Vampire Familiar and Vampire Retainer. Typically, one uses a combo starter to mill Vampire Retainer, then pitch the Vampire Familiar from hand to special summon Vampire Retainer, and finally search and set Vampire Takeover. Then, on the opponent's turn, one can flip over Vampire Takeover to play Vampire Kingdom from the deck and revive Vampire Familiar to search for Vampire Grace, who can then be tribute summoned next turn.

Alternatively, one can play Vampire Kingdom directly from the hand without the need for Vampire Takeover if one has Vampire's Domain ready to help tribute summon Vampire Grace. Another option for summoning Vampire Grace is through the use of Vampire's Desire to revive a copy of her from the graveyard.

Note that Vampire Grace and Vampire Kingdom are both soft-once-per-turns. This means that one can trigger their effects multiple times per turn with multiple copies of each card. This is the main reason why it is ideal to play two copies of both Vampire Grace and Vampire Kingdom. Suppose one manages to set up Vampire Kingdom with Vampire Grace in hand thanks to Vampire Takeover on the opponent's turn. After summoning Vampire Grace to trigger a pop with Vampire Kingdom, one can then mill either a Vampire Familiar or Vampire Retainer -- depending on which one is needed in the graveyard -- to then search for a second Vampire Grace or Vampire Kingdom. With the help of Vampire's Domain or Vampire's Desire, one can then easily play the second copies of Vampire Grace and Vampire Kingdom on the same turn for a second pop. This “double pop” combo is typically done to push for game -- see the Combos section for more details.

One thing to keep in mind though is that, since Vampire Kingdom is a field spell, the opponent can chain spell / trap removal to its effect to effectively “negate” the pop. This is because Vampire Kingdom must be on the field when its effect resolves to destroy a card on the field. Hence, this deck is unfortunately weak to spell / trap removal in the form of quickplay spells or traps -- e.g. Cosmic Cyclone and Dust Tornado. As the power creep in Duel Links gets steeper and steeper, and more and more decks start to run disruption for field spells, one might consider cutting Vampire Grace down to just one copy in the deck, as her combo with Vampire Kingdom becomes a less reliable win condition.

Finally, it is worth it to mention that Vampire Grace has a second effect that triggers from the graveyard when one special summons a level 5 or higher Zombie monster. When this effect triggers, Vampire Grace special summons herself back from the graveyard at the cost of 2000 LP. This effect can actually come up for the deck when one uses e.g. Gozuki or Vampire's Desire to special summon a high level Vampire boss monster. Though more often than not, the 2000 LP cost is too steep of a price to pay -- but the option is there.

Win Condition 2: Vampire Vamp (1x)

Duel Links Card: Vampire%20Vamp

Vampire Vamp is the deck's main out to big, opposing boss monsters. When she is normal summoned, or when a Vampire monster is normal summoned beside her, she can target an opposing monster with an ATK stat higher than her's (2000 ATK by default) and equip it. She then gains ATK equal to the original ATK of the equipped monster. Not only is Vampire Vamp a great out to a problematic monster, but she also enables potential OTKs, as her own ATK stat typically skyrockets to lethal damage after gaining the equip.

Vampire Vamp also has a second useful effect that special summons her back from the graveyard if she is destroyed while having a equipped monster. This forces opponents to often deal with the equipped monster via spell / trap removal like e.g. Cosmic Cyclone as opposed to dealing with Vampire Vamp herself -- as she just comes back otherwise.

Utility: Vampire's Domain (1x) and Vampire’s Desire (0-3x)

Duel Links Card: Vampire's%20Domain
Duel Links Card: Vampire's%20Desire

The two utility spells of the Vampire archetype, Vampire's Domain and Vampire's Desire, are used as extenders so that one may pull off more plays in one turn -- i.e. they aid in stringing together longer combos.

Vampire's Domain is the more important of the two, as it allows one to pay 500 LP to gain an additional normal summon for a Vampire monster that turn. This effect of Vampire's Domain lingers even after Vampire's Domain leaves the field for e.g. a cost to special summon Vampire Familiar or Vampire Retainer from the graveyard. The extra normal summon is extremely beneficial for Vampires, allowing one to summon Vampire Grace or Vampire Vamp on the same turn that one normal summons a combo starter. This enables one to make proactive Turn 2 plays of say starting with a combo starter and ending with Vampire Grace plus Vampire Kingdom. The extra normal summon also helps in summoning multiples of the Vampire boss monsters in the same turn -- e.g. two times Vampire Grace or Vampire Grace followed up by Vampire Vamp.

Meanwhile, Vampire's Desire is the more optional of the two -- some Vampire players consider it core, while others find success without it. This card has two nice utility effects, with the first making it a combo starter like Gozuki or Samurai Skull. It can be used to target any monster on one's field and change its level to that of a Vampire monster in the deck; that Vampire monster is then milled to the graveyard. When used in combination with Vampire Familiar or Vampire Retainer, Vampire's Desire can mill the other searcher, which can then use the searcher that is already on the field as a cost to special summon itself, effectively starting up a combo.

The second effect of Vampire's Desire is a pseudo Monster Reborn -- one can target a Vampire monster in the graveyard and special summon it in place of a monster that is already on one's field. This can not only be used to revive say a Vampire Grace, but it can also send Gozuki from the field to the graveyard in her place and trigger Gozuki's special summoning effect. A very typical use of Vampire's Desire is to enable a double Vampire Grace plus Vampire Kingdom pop in one turn. It can also be used to play around disruption like Paleozoic Canadia or Floodgate Trap Hole -- one can use Vampire's Desire to e.g. send a Vampire Grace hit by a Floodgate Trap Hole for a second Vampire Grace in the graveyard.

Note that Vampire's Desire's second effect will not resolve if the monster selected on the field is a Vampire Familiar or Vampire Retainer summoned by its own effect. Under these circumstances, Vampire Familiar and Vampire Retainer are banished when they leave the field instead of hitting the graveyard. And since the selected monster on the field does not go to the graveyard, Vampire's Desire does not fully resolve.

It is also worth mentioning that Vampire’s Desire opens up synchro-based combos with Plaguespreader Zombie from the Curse of Dread minibox. Note though that one might want to up the number of copies of Vampire’s Desire in the deck if choosing to go this route, hence why it is suggested at 0-3x copies. See the subsection on Plaguespreader Zombie in the Synergetic Tech Cards section for more information.


Skills

  • Sealed Tombs: The anti-meta skill. As Duel Links continues to include more and more recent cards from the real life trading card game (TCG), the meta finds itself with more and more decks that can abuse powerful graveyard effects. When a player activates Sealed Tombs (once per duel), they shut down any reviving and banishing from either player's graveyard until their next turn. This effectively stuns and slows down any opposing deck that relies on such effects. Of these decks, Vampires are no exception. Hence this is arguably the best skill to run for the mirror match, allowing one to shut down the opponent and push for game the following turn. This also makes Sealed Tombs the most dangerous ability to play against as a Vampires player. In the current meta, Sealed Tombs disrupts quite a number of popular decks, including Darklords, Fortune Ladies, Invoked, Six Samurai, and Neos variants.

  • No Mortal Can Resist: Another anti-meta skill. Similar to Sealed Tombs, No Mortal Can Resist is a skill that is mainly used to disrupt opposing decks in the meta. A player can activate No Mortal Can Resist each turn as long as their LP is 1000 or more below the opponent's LP (which is an easy feat for Vampires and their array of LP cost effects). When activated, No Mortal Can Resist turns every monster in the opponent's graveyard into a Skull Servant. This is particularly useful against decks that rely on effects that trigger when specific monsters are in their graveyard. For instance, the now more rogue Blue-Eyes and Neos variants utilize the effects of The White Stone of Ancients and Bacon Saver respectively, both of which require the named card to be present in the graveyard for the effect to trigger. This skill also serves as a great way to disrupt decks like Darklords and Fortune Ladies that like to send their boss monsters to the grave and then revive them. No Mortal Can Resist wipes such cards from the opposing graveyard, thereby eliminating any threat that they may pose.

  • Posthumous Army A once gimmicky skill that now has both anti-meta relevance and synergetic plays with Vampires, the latter thanks to the addition of the Zombie synchro monsters from the Curse of Dread minibox. Posthumous Army can be activated each time the player loses 1000 or more LP to change all monsters on the field and in the graveyards into Zombie type monsters until the end of the opponent’s next turn -- it is basically a temporary Zombie World. This skill is a fantastic anti-meta tool against the current popular Fortune Lady decks, which require Spellcasters on the field in order to synchro summon Fortune Lady Every. The skill is also great against the now more rogue Desperado decks, which rely on their monsters being Machines to make any power plays. Note that Posthumous Army also changes their face down Machines into Zombies when flipped face up, as long as those monsters were on the field at the time of skill activation. Thus, the player can comfortably attack over set monsters against Desperado after activating Posthumous Army, without any fear of triggering Desperado Barrel Dragon. That said, one should keep in mind that Posthumous Army can be overridden by DNA Surgery if the opponent activates it after one’s skill activation -- this makes the skill not too effective against the now rogue Buster Blader decks. For more information on how Posthumous Army works with the various Zombie synchro monsters, see the subsection on Plaguespreader Zombie in the Synergetic Tech Cards section.

  • Destiny Draw: The “toolbox” skill for a toolbox deck. Destiny Draw can be triggered once per duel after losing 2000 or more LP during the draw phase and allows the player to draw any card they choose from their deck. As mentioned in the other skill descriptions, Vampires have an incredibly easy time reaching low LP thresholds with all their LP cost effects. Hence, the deck synergizes well with Destiny Draw. This skill is most often used to draw into game winning cards such as Hey, Trunade! and Enemy Controller.

  • Bandit: The anti-backrow skill. Bandit can be triggered once per duel at 1500 LP or lower to allow a player to steal an opposing facedown card, effectively giving that player a free +1 in card advantage. Given all the LP cost effects in the Vampire archetype, the deck has a relatively easy time reaching the 1500 LP threshold. Typically, Bandit is used in combination with multiple uses of Vampire Grace and Vampire Kingdom in one turn to fully clear opposing backrow and guarantee the OTK. As one might expect, this skill is at its best against backrow heavy decks, but is subpar vs. more offensive decks that may not run much backrow.

  • Reinforcements: A matchup dependent skill. Reinforcements can be triggered in the main phase after losing 1800 or more LP to allow the player to add a random Warrior monster card to their hand, at the cost of shuffling back a card already in hand. This skill is used in combination with 1 copy of Destiny HERO - Plasma in the deck to out problematic boss monsters like Invoked Cocytus that Vampires cannot naturally handle. Normally, a card like Invoked Cocytus just shuts down the deck, with its immunity to targeting and large stats. However, Reinforcements allows Vampires to easily search Destiny HERO - Plasma when needed. The deck can often trigger the 1800 LP activation requirement for the skill and then get 3 monsters on board to summon Destiny HERO - Plasma. Destiny HERO - Plasma then negates all opposing monster effects, including the anti-targeting effect of Invoked Cocytus, allowing him to target and remove it as a threat.

  • Monstermorph: Evolution: This is a neat skill that can be activated each time the player loses 1500 LP to send a monster on their side of the field to the graveyard and summon a second monster of the same Attribute and Type from the deck that's 1 level higher. In the context of Vampires, this skill lets a player:


Synergetic Tech Cards

This section mainly examines specific tech cards that synergize with the Vampire archetype. More generic tech cards such as Sphere Kuriboh or Paleozoic Canadia are instead listed in the Matchups section as side deck or tech choices for specific matchups.

Vampire Grimson

Duel Links Card: Vampire%20Grimson

Vampire Grimson is one of the best cards in the mirror match and also really good for keeping one's monsters alive in general. For the cost of 1000 LP, Vampire Grimson can protect one's monster on the field from destruction via battle and card effect. She can be quite susceptible if put into defense though, so be aware of that. Vampire Grimson used to be a must have in the side deck when Vampires were a top tier meta threat -- but her use is rather limited in the current meta. Depending on the format, she could also be a main deck worthy card as a searchable, defensive option. One particular, defensive application of Vampire Grimson is to summon her with Gozuki's effect when it is destroyed on the opponent's turn to prevent more destruction and potentially block an OTK.

Enemy Controller and World Legacy Clash

Duel Links Card: Enemy%20Controller
Duel Links Card: World%20Legacy%20Clash

This might seem odd listing such generic staple cards here, but these cards in particular actually synergize with the Vampire playstyle and give the deck a chance against the oppressiveness of one of the current best decks, Darklords. Both World Legacy Clash and the tribute-and-take effect of Enemy Controller remove one’s own monster from the field as a COST. This allows one to chain these cards in response to certain monster effect negation attempts -- e.g. an activation of the The Sanctified Darklord -- to remove one’s own monster from the field and allow the effect to still resolve.

For instance, suppose one tries to activate Vampire Vamp’s effect to remove a Darklord monster from the field, but the Darklords player chains The Sanctified Darklord in response to negate the effect. One can then chain World Legacy Clash or Enemy Controller’s tribute-and-take effect to The Sanctified Darklord to remove Vampire Vamp from the field so that the Darklords player can no longer apply the negation effect of The Sanctified Darklord to her. As a result, Vampire Vamp’s effect will still resolve and remove the targeted monster. This sequence can actually effectively remove TWO monsters from the Darklord player's field, one via Vampire Vamp and another through the Enemy Controller.

This application of Enemy Controller and World Legacy Clash is not just limited to the Darklords matchup -- one can also makes similar plays to ensure that their monster effect still goes off against general monster effect negation cards that require the monster to be on the field of resolution, e.g. Forbidden Chalice. Because Vampires are such a monster effect reliant deck, cards that enable ways to dodge common forms of monster effect negation should definitely be up for consideration.

Of course, do note that Enemy Controller and World Legacy Clash are both on the Limited 2 list. Of the two, Enemy Controller is more recommended.

Plaguespreader Zombie and Synchros

Duel Links Card: Plaguespreader%20Zombie
Duel Links Card: Red-Eyes%20Zombie%20Necro%20Dragon
Duel Links Card: Revived%20King%20Ha%20Des
Duel Links Card: Brionac,%20Dragon%20of%20the%20Ice%20Barrier

Plaguespreader Zombie is an excellent Zombie type tuner from the Curse of Dread minibox that enables potential synchro-based plays. It can be milled off Gozuki or Samurai Skull and then special summoned from the grave at the cost of shuffling a card from the hand back into the deck. As a result, a single successful mill off Gozuki or Samurai Skull leads into an easy level 6 synchro summon, giving the deck access to powerful cards such as Brionac, Dragon of the Ice Barrier.

More importantly, Plaguespreader Zombie gives access to Revived King Ha Des. Revived King Ha Des has a lingering effect that negates the effects of all monsters he kills, thus stopping cards like Dawn Knight, The White Stone of Ancients, Bacon Saver, and even Secret Six Samurai - Fuma from activating later in the grave if he runs them over. He also hits 2950 ATK with a Vampire Kingdom boost, allowing him to potentially run over the problematic Invoked Cocytus. This gives the deck another accessible out in the Invoked matchup.

Other synchro plays with Plaguespreader Zombie require also having Vampire’s Desire in hand to manipulate monster levels. After doing the above-mentioned combo to get both e.g. Gozuki and Plaguespreader Zombie on board, one can then use Vampire’s Desire to change the level of one of the monsters to go into any level 4 to 9 synchro monster. In particular, the main level to focus on is 7 -- one can change e.g. Gozuki’s level to 5 by targeting it and milling Vampire Grimson with Vampire’s Desire to then synchro with Plaguespreader Zombie into Black Rose Dragon or Red-Eyes Zombie Necro Dragon.

Going into Black Rose Dragon with Gozuki as one its synchro materials leads to an interesting interaction. If it is usable, then Gozuki’s effect will trigger on Chain Link 1 while Black Rose Dragon’s effect goes on Chain Link 2. This allows Black Rose Dragon to nuke the entire board while also causing the opponent’s card effects to miss timing if applicable. Furthermore, because Gozuki’s effect resolves on Chain Link 1, one can use it to summon any Zombie monster from hand after the Black Rose Dragon nuke for a follow up.

Red-Eyes Zombie Necro Dragon is worth mentioning as it can become a huge powerhouse in combination with No Mortal Can Resist or Posthumous Army. Both skills change all monsters in the opposing graveyard into Zombie type monsters, giving Red-Eyes Zombie Necro Dragon a 100 ATK boost for each. Note that Red-Eyes Zombie Necro Dragon also gets a 100 ATK boost for each Zombie in one’s own graveyard. Hence, it can get some impressive stats depending on the game state. The second effect, which revives a Zombie monster from one’s own graveyard when another on the field is destroyed by battle, does not come up too often, but is an option in situations where one might want to suicide say a weaker Gozuki while Red-Eyes Zombie Necro Dragon is out to revive a stronger e.g. Vampire Grimson.

Finally, it is important to note that Plaguespreader Zombie does not always have to be used for synchro-based plays -- it is also amazing in general for tribute fodder, such as for Enemy Controller plays or tribute summoning a Vampire Grace or Vampire Grimson.

Glow-Up Bloom

Duel Links Card: Glow-Up%20Bloom

Glow-Up Bloom is another Zombie type tuner introduced in the Curse of Dread minibox, though it has more utility for its search effect when sent to the graveyard than for synchro-based plays. Glow-Up Bloom, when sent to the graveyard, allows one to banish it as a cost to add a level 5 or higher Zombie monster from the deck to hand, with the condition of only special summoning Zombie type monsters for the rest of the turn. This lets one mill it off Gozuki or Samurai Skull to search e.g. Vampire Vamp and go +1 in card advantage. While this can be a neat play, note that the Vampire archetype already has Vampire Familiar for searching the high level Vampire boss monsters -- so Glow-Up Bloom can be redundant.

Where Glow-Up Bloom really shines is in a That Grass Looks Greener build. Milling Glow-Up Bloom off That Grass Looks Greener allows one to gain back card advantage after the -1 from playing That Grass Looks Greener. Furthermore, Glow-Up Bloom has combo potential with That Grass Looks Greener if milled after Gozuki. Glow-Up Bloom and Gozuki are placed on the Chain Link in the order that they are milled, so if Glow-Up Bloom is milled after, then it ends up on Chain Link 2 -- this lets one use Glow-Up Bloom’s effect to add a high level Zombie monster to hand and then follow up by special summoning that same Zombie monster with Gozuki’s effect.

Glow-Up Bloom also has synergy with Zombie World, letting it not only search a high level Zombie monster but also special summon that same monster if Zombie World is active. That said, running Zombie World would conflict with Vampire Kingdom, hence it is not recommended.

Note that while Glow-Up Bloom can be used for synchro-based plays, it cannot special summon itself, unlike Plaguespreader Zombie. This forces one to either waste a normal summon on Glow-Up Bloom or use something like Gozuki’s effect to get it on the field. In other words, Glow-Up Bloom can be too slow to be used as an efficient tuner.

Nine-Tailed Fox

Duel Links Card: Nine-Tailed%20Fox

Nine-Tailed Fox is a defensively-based monster that can be tech-ed into any Zombie deck. It can be special summoned from either the hand or graveyard at the cost of tributing two monsters on one’s side of the field. Since Nine-Tailed Fox can be special summoned from the graveyard, one can mill it off Gozuki or Samurai Skull for easy access. It is also relatively easy to summon with Vampires, since the deck can naturally get bodies on board for tribute fodder. The main reason to run Nine-Tailed Fox though is for its ability to spawn two tokens if it gets destroyed. If the opponent does not deal with the tokens, then they can be used for tribute fodder next turn to e.g. bring back Nine-Tailed Fox, tribute summon a Vampire, tribute for Enemy Controller, etc. Worst case scenario, the tokens serve as decent defense to buy a turn for a deck that normally lacks solid defense.

Note that Nine-Tailed Fox, being a level 6 Zombie monster, can also be searched off Glow-Up Bloom if one’s running both. Since Nine-Tailed Fox also does not mind being in the graveyard, one can run both Nine-Tailed Fox and Glow-Up Bloom in That Grass Looks Greener builds for more options.

Simultaneous Loss

Duel Links Card: Simultaneous%20Loss

Simultaneous Loss was used as a tech in early Vampire builds, allowing one to trigger Vampire Kingdom without relying on Vampire Grace. While the card became absent from competitive play for some months, it saw a comeback in usage during the February 2019 KC Cup. One reason for this resurgence is the importance of disruption in the meta then and now -- with so many decks like Ancient Gears being able to OTK Turn 2, having a way to pop the opponent's cards on their turn can be incredibly useful. Furthermore, Simultaneous Loss can unbrick hands that open with a Vampire Kingdom, but no easy way to summon Vampire Grace. In a meta where games only last a turn or two, one wants to have as many playable opening hands as possible.

Parry Knights

Duel Links Card: Parry%20Knights

Parry Knights is a handtrap that triggers when one takes damage from an opponent's attack -- one can then special summon Parry Knights plus other monsters from the hand such that the total ATK of these other monsters add up to less than the damage dealt by the attack. The main use of Parry Knights is to not only block an OTK from the opponent, but also to special summon a searcher from the hand, i.e. Vampire Familiar and Vampire Retainer. Their attack values are low enough that one is often able to summon one of them upon taking an attack and then get a search off to go +1 in card advantage.

Destiny HERO - Plasma

Duel Links Card: Destiny%20HERO%20-%20Plasma

See the Skills section on Reinforcements. This card can also be used with Destiny Draw for similar utility.


Current Sample Decks

Psych0P, Top 16 Meta Weekly 97 (November 5th, 2019)

Main Deck

Side Deck

Psych0P's comments:

He rushed the build for the Meta Weekly and thinks it could be better, but he's sure on Destiny Draw as the best main deck skill. He made a costly misclick in Top 16 and possibly could have gone further. He did not face any Invoked, which was what Herald of the Abyss was for, but might try Destiny HERO - Plasma instead in the future.

Rezileen's comments:

Psych0P's build is a pretty good example of what Vampires probably want to run in the current meta. The deck's ability to easily trigger and abuse Destiny Draw to draw into game-winning 2 limited cards like Enemy Controller and Hey, Trunade gives Vampires a niche that other decks do not have. Personally, I would still run a reasonable extra deck, in case I steal an opposing tuner with Enemy Controller and have the chance to synchro summon.

Rezileen, Early King of Games (November 2019)

This is a more balanced build for both ladder and tournaments, with Destiny Draw to fetch game-winning cards like Enemy Controller and Hey, Trunade, as well as Destiny HERO - Plasma for the Invoked match up. Destiny HERO - Plasma can also come in clutch against Darklords and Ritual Beasts, as he negates their quickplay monster effects.
The one of Plaguespreader Zombie can be milled off Gozuki or Samurai Skull and then special summoned for an instant level 6 synchro summon. The main level 6 synchro is Revived Ruler Ha Des, who hits 2950 ATK under Vampire Kingdom, allowing him to potentially run over Invoked Cocytus. Note that this King of Games run was done before the release of Brionac, Dragon of the Ice Barrier or Dark End Dragon, both of which should definitely have a spot in the extra deck.

PAST META Sample Decks

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

Wayne Kenoff, 1st Place MCS XI (September 2018)

Eugen Heidt, 1st Place Global KC Cup (September 2018)

monkeyboy44, 2nd Place MCS XII (October 2018)

メイン, 2nd Place Global KC Cup (November 2018)

gift, 23 1st Place Anytime Finishes (December 2018 - February 2019)

Duel Links Card: Masked%20HERO%20Anki
Duel Links Card: Buster%20Blader,%20the%20Dragon%20Destroyer%20Swordsman
Duel Links Card: Armades,%20Keeper%20of%20Boundaries
Duel Links Card: Underworld%20Fighter%20Balmung
Duel Links Card: Giganticastle

Rezileen, Top 16 MCS XIV (January 2019)

TsunTsun, 1st Place Global KC Cup (February 2019)

Serenity and SmugAnimeGirl, multiple Top 100 Global KC Cup Finishes (February 2019)


Combos

We've actually compiled an annotated video guide that showcases most of the combos and plays that one can make with this deck.

As a foreword, all the games in this video are from the early January 2019 meta, so a lot of the matchup specific plays might be out of date. However, the main ideas behind the Vampire combos are still relevant. There are comments within the video itself, but for convenience, here is a list of timestamps, pointing out where in the video we go over what.

  • 00:27 - Setting up and using Vampire Takeover for card advantage.
  • 00:56 - When to revive a Vampire with Vampire Takeover vs. not giving the opponent a replay on their attack.
  • 01:17 - Showing the fact that Vampire Grace and Vampire Kingdom are not hard once-per-turns, allowing one to do “double pops”; also shows Vampire Grace's 2nd effect that can occur once in a blue moon, where she revives herself at the cost of 2000 LP.
  • 01:59 - Less than ideal Vampire Takeover openings when clogging one's monster zones.
  • 02:39 - A quick aside on Sealed Tombs.
  • 02:47 - A typical set up for a double pop using Vampire's Desire and then stealing the game; using Vampire's Domain instead of Vampire's Desire could have achieved similar results.
  • 03:18 & 03:45 - The usefulness of Sphere Kuriboh in the mirror match.
  • 03:34 - Samurai Skull's ability to float into another Zombie from the deck when removed from the field by a card effect; avoid triggering an opposing Samurai Skull's effect in the mirror match.
  • 04:13 - Using Vampire's Domain to not only get an extra normal summon for a Vampire, but to also pitch it as a cost for reviving a Vampire Familiar or Vampire Retainer for a search; note how Vampire's Domain's effect lingers even after it leaves the field.
  • 04:31 - Playing patiently and slowly popping backrow with Vampire Grace and Vampire Kingdom.
  • 04:47 - Quick aside on how to play to one's outs.
  • 05:05 - Another double pop play for game.
  • 05:31 - Milling Gozuki from the deck to trigger its second effect to special summon a Zombie from the hand; in this case, one uses this to summon a 2nd Vampire Grace to prepare for a double pop.
  • 05:55 - Using Vampire Vamp to out big boss monsters.
  • 06:13 - A replay that shows the “toolbox” nature of the deck, and how sometimes, one has to make up plays on the spot; watch carefully.
  • 07:44 - Summoning Vampire Grace on the opponent's turn with Vampire Takeover, and an aside on how one can do this to prevent e.g. Paleozoic Canadia from stopping her next turn, as she can just be flipped face up if flipped down.
  • 09:18 - Another replay to show the “toolbox” nature of the deck; sometimes one has to fight the urge to give the opponent the “good succ” with Vampire Vamp in favor of a safer win condition.
  • 10:54 - Running out of Vampires to mill for Vampire Kingdom's cost and resorting to deck out as a win-condition with Vampire Grace's mill effect; note that if Vampire Kingdom triggers, but one has no more Vampires to pitch, then the game will reveal one's entire hand to the opponent.
  • 11:33 - Mirror match nuances; summoning Vampire Grace Turn 1 and ditching Vampire Vamp as she's useless in the mirror.
  • 12:12 - Chaining Vampire Takeover to an opposing Vampire Kingdom in the mirror and the interaction between two Vampire Kingdoms on board.
  • 12:22 - An aside on discarding a Vampire from the hand to trigger one's own Vampire Kingdom instead of milling one from the deck to avoid triggering an opposing Vampire Kingdom.
  • 12:30 - Vampire Grimson in the mirror match.

Matchups

Ancient Gears

Popular Skills: Middle Age Mechs

The Ancient Gears matchup is generally unfavorable for Vampires, as these decks main deck tons of spell / trap removal, have a piercing boss monster in Ancient Gear Reactor Dragon, and can potentially protect their monsters from targeting with Ancient Gear Fortress. Vampire Vamp becomes the main win-condition in this matchup, thanks to her ability to equip an opposing Ancient Gear Reactor Dragon and attack for huge damage. The standard Vampire Grace plus Vampire Kingdom plays can work as well, though they are much more susceptible to the myriad of spell and trap hate in a typical Ancient Gears list. While Vampire Vamp herself can also lose her equipped monster to spell and trap removal, she at the very least removes a big threat in Ancient Gear Reactor Dragon from the field.

In this matchup, one typically wants to target the Ancient Gear monsters when triggering Vampire Kingdom. Otherwise, there is a chance of popping an Ancient Gear Fortress, which, when destroyed, enables the Ancient Gear player to summon an Ancient Gear monster from their hand or graveyard and potentially put themselves in a game-winning position. However, the risk of Ancient Gear Fortress also makes playing around backrow harder. Knowing that their opponents are afraid to target their backrow, Ancient Gears players often use traps like Drowning Mirror Force to steal games. When playing against Ancient Gears, one needs to pay close attention to the delays to read whether the opposing set card is an actual threat or just an Ancient Gear Fortress.

Cosmic Cyclone is an amazing tech in this matchup as it can disrupt attempts to summon Ancient Gear Reactor Dragon. Using Cosmic Cyclone on a Geartown is always safe, since that card must be destroyed on Chain Link 1 to summon an Ancient Gear monster. In other words, if Geartown is destroyed by a card effect that is chained to another card effect, then it will miss the timing, and its summoning effect will fail.

On the other hand, Ancient Gear Fortress cannot miss the timing. When trying to remove an Ancient Gear Fortress, one must make sure that the Ancient Gears player cannot chain a spell destruction card like Double Cyclone to the Cosmic Cyclone -- else, the Ancient Gear Fortress will be destroyed before Cosmic Cyclone can go off. Typically, one wants to chain Cosmic Cyclone to the Ancient Gears player's e.g. Double Cyclone, Galaxy Cyclone, Twister, and Breaker the Magical Warrior -- to banish Ancient Gear Fortress before the destruction effect resolves.

In some circumstances, one might also want to use Cosmic Cyclone on Ancient Gear Castle, which is put into play by an Ancient Gears player's skill, Middle Age Mechs, at the start of their first turn. When Ancient Gear Castle has 2 or more counters on it, then its owner is able to tribute the card instead of monsters to tribute summon Ancient Gear Reactor Dragon. If Geartown is on the field at the same time, then the Ancient Gears player only needs 1 counter on Ancient Gear Castle to make this play. When trying to remove Ancient Gear Castle, one often wants to turn the Toggle on and use e.g. Cosmic Cyclone during the Ancient Gears player's Standby Phase, before they are able to tribute summon in the Main Phase.

Besides Ancient Gear Reactor Dragon, the other monster that Ancient Gears commonly run is Ancient Gear Wyvern, which stops all monster effects from activating until the end of the Damage Step when it declares an attack. This can cause issues for Vampires in two ways. First, it means one cannot respond with a hand trap such as Sphere Kuriboh to the attack. Second, it means if one activates Vampire Takeover to summon Vampire Familiar or Vampire Retainer after Ancient Gear Wyvern has declared its attack, then the search effect from Vampire Familiar or Vampire Retainer will NOT go off. Hence, one needs to activate Vampire Takeover immediately at the start of the Battle Phase before Ancient Gears declare their attack, to get the full bonuses -- this also applies to Ancient Gear Reactor Dragon.

Finally, one needs to be careful about leaving any Ancient Gear monsters alive on the Ancient Gears player's field. If Geartown is activated, then Ancient Gear Reactor Dragon can be summoned off just one monster tribute; if the tribute were an Ancient Gear monster, then Ancient Gear Reactor Dragon gains the ability to inflict piercing damage, which can be game ending vs. a 0 DEF Vampire.


Side Deck / Tech Choices

Duel Links Card: Skull%20Meister
Duel Links Card: Cosmic%20Cyclone
Duel Links Card: Enemy%20Controller
Duel Links Card: System%20Down
Duel Links Card: A%20Major%20Upset
Duel Links Card: Bad%20Aim
Duel Links Card: Curse%20of%20Anubis
Duel Links Card: Simultaneous%20Loss
Duel Links Card: Windstorm%20of%20Etaqua

Blackwings

Popular Skills: Sealed Tombs, Harpie's Hunting Ground, Level Reduction

Blackwings is the newest top tier deck at the time of this guide update. While the deck is still being optimized, it is undoubtedly going to be a top contender for the upcoming November 2019 KC Cup.

Even with preliminary builds, Blackwings going second can easily OTK Vampires through Vampire Takeover. One needs to open with a tech like Floodgate Trap Hole, Enemy Controller, or Simultaneous Loss to have a chance of surviving. If the Blackwing player does not open Blackwing - Simoon the Poison Wind going second, then one wants to disrupt the normal summon with e.g. Floodgate Trap Hole immediately. This is because Blackwings need another face-up Blackwing on board in order to special summon themselves, so removing the only face-up Blackwing can stop their turn right there.

If the Blackwing player did open Blackwing - Simoon the Poison Wind, then it can be a toss up on what to disrupt. Even if one uses Floodgate Trap Hole on Blackwing - Simoon the Poison Wind, the Blackwing player might have also opened a level 4 Blackwing to normal summon and start their synchro plays anyway. If one chooses not to disrupt Blackwing - Simoon the Poison Wind, then it is typically best to wait and disrupt the synchro monster, e.g. use Floodgate Trap Hole on Assault Blackwing - Raikiri the Rain Shower, instead of the tuners. This is because the tuners can search other tuners off Black Whirlwind to continue the synchro plays.

Spell and trap removal techs like Cosmic Cyclone and Typhoon can be useful to get rid of Black Whirlwind to prevent a search. However, this is once again a toss up if one decides to remove the Black Whirlwind played from Blackwing - Simoon the Poison Wind's effect, since the Blackwing player could have opened with another Black Whirlwind plus a normal summon to follow up. It is noteworthy that Typhoon can be activated from the hand, which can come up if one gets hit by Hey, Trunade, though one has control no other spell and traps to activate it from hand (i.e. no Vampire Kingdom).

Going second against Blackwings, Vampires still need a rather fortunate hand to come out on top. One needs to open full combo, e.g. get Vampire Grace plus Vampire Kingdom, and OTK that turn, or the Blackwing player will likely OTK on their turn. Thankfully, Blackwings have relatively weak Turn 1 boards, so the bread-and-butter Vampire combos should be able to break through them. Hopefully, the Blackwing player did not open with Blackbird Close to disrupt one's combo -- there is not much one can do about that.


Side Deck / Tech Choices

Duel Links Card: Winged%20Kuriboh
Duel Links Card: Enemy%20Controller
Duel Links Card: Cosmic%20Cyclone
Duel Links Card: Debunk
Duel Links Card: Divine%20Wrath
Duel Links Card: Floodgate%20Trap%20Hole
Duel Links Card: Paleozoic%20Canadia
Duel Links Card: Simultaneous%20Loss
Duel Links Card: Typhoon

Blue-Eyes

Popular skills: Sealed Tombs, Alternate Evolution

Blue-Eyes is an incredibly unfavorable matchup for Vampires if the Blue-Eyes player is using Sealed Tombs, which is the most popular skill of choice among competitive players. Blue-Eyes is an aggressive deck with incredible OTK potential, especially against a defensively weak deck like Vampires -- combine that with Sealed Tombs to shut down any big Vampire plays, and the matchup is usually a loss. On the bright side, Beatdown Blue-Eyes is a bit more manageable and still relatively popular on the ladder.

The key card for Blue-Eyes decks is The White Stone of Ancients, which, when sent to the graveyard, enables the Blue-Eyes player to summon either a Blue-Eyes White Dragon or Dragon Spirit of White from their deck at that turn's End Phase. Once the Blue-Eyes player gets one Blue-Eyes monster out, it becomes pretty easy for them to swing the momentum of the game to their side, especially if they tutor out Dragon Spirit of White to banish a spell or trap and have a Blue-Eyes White Dragon in hand to go into with Dragon Spirit of White's tag out ability.

A very typical opener from a Blue-Eyes player is to simply set The White Stone of Ancients or Dawn Knight, which mills The White Stone of Ancients from the deck if it is sent from the field to the graveyard. This seemingly open field is usually backed by handtraps such as Sphere Kuriboh and Keeper of the Shrine for defense in case a simple set monster is not enough. So while it might be tempting to go for the OTK against such a weak looking field, one should also make sure to not overextend and put oneself in a losing position if e.g. a Sphere Kuriboh stops the OTK push.

The tricky part when playing against a set monster and pass play from a Blue-Eyes player is deciding whether to actually kill the monster and go for damage or to hold tight until one has more resources. One could go for the kill and potentially win the game right there if the Blue-Eyes player does not have a handtrap ready -- but there is no way to tell if that is the case until it is too late. On the flipside, waiting it out could also lead to a losing position -- if the Blue-Eyes player special summons Cosmo Brain next turn, then they can tribute off their set The White Stone of Ancients or Dawn Knight to summon a Blue-Eyes White Dragon from the deck and then summon another one or a Dragon Spirit of White in the End Phase, effectively swarming the field with three big beaters.

The key to making this matchup somewhat manageable is No Mortal Can Resist. This skill allows one to kill a set The White Stone of Ancients or Dawn Knight with Vampire Grace plus Vampire Kingdom and then proceed to nullify any threat of a Blue-Eyes monster coming out by turning The White Stone of Ancients in the graveyard into a Skull Servant. The skill can also eliminate Keeper of the Shrine as well as any Blue-Eyes monsters in the graveyard, preventing the Blue-Eyes player from recurring their resources and resummoning them. For those reasons, No Mortal Can Resist is arguably the best skill for this matchup -- one can even overextend and miss an OTK due to a Sphere Kuriboh but still be in a manageable position if The White Stone of Ancients in the graveyard are removed.

The matchup becomes hard when the Blue-Eyes player is able to start off the duel with a proactive play -- e.g.. they open with the ability to summon Cosmo Brain and pump out one to two Blue-Eyes beaters by the end of the turn. The high attack stats of these monsters can easily rush down Vampires, and Sealed Tombs just adds insult to injury. Defensive techs, especially handtraps like Sphere Kuriboh and Parry Knights, really shine here. Simultaneous Loss with Vampire Kingdom and Paleozoic Canadia are also good disruption options to prevent Cosmo Brain from activating its effect. However, if one does not open with these techs, then the next best option is to build the biggest field possible with defense position monsters and hope to survive the onslaught and have a follow up next turn.

Outside of killing the set monsters, Vampire Grace and Vampire Kingdom are actually not too effective in this matchup, since Dragon Spirit of White can remove Vampire Kingdom when it is summoned and also tag out into Blue-Eyes White Dragon when targeted by an effect. Vampire Vamp becomes the more reliable win-condition if the game drags out, especially since Blue-Eyes decks nowadays have limited options in dealing with a boosted Vampire Vamp. Most Blue-Eyes decks no longer run Silver's Cry or Birthright, giving them no real way to summon Dragon Spirit of White on their opponent's turn for disruption. This allows a boosted Vampire Vamp to get off a big attack should she manage to equip any of the Blue-Eyes deck's large monsters. Be careful using Vampire Vamp to equip a Dragon Spirit of White though -- make sure there are no delays to signal that the Dragon Spirit of White can tag out to Blue-Eyes White Dragon via its quick effect. If there are, then try to bait the tag out first with Vampire Grace plus Vampire Kingdom or a tech card before going for Vampire Vamp.

The other big threats to look out for in this matchup are Koa'ki Meiru Ice and Snipe Hunter -- Blue-Eyes decks tend to run one of the two to destroy an entire field of cards in one turn. Koa'ki Meiru Ice destroys a special summoned monster for each discarded card, being a massive threat to Vampire Familiar and Vampire Retainer and potentially Vampire Grace if she were summoned through Vampire Takeover. Meanwhile, Snipe Hunter has a 2/3 chance to destroy any card on the field per discarded card, including Vampire Kingdom and backrow techs. Luckily, No Mortal Can Resist slightly hinders the effectiveness of these two monsters by removing the The White Stone of Ancients from the graveyard and preventing the Blue-Eyes player from banishing the stones to add more discard fodder back to their hand.

Overall, Vampires do actually have a fair amount of tools for this matchup, but the threat of Sealed Tombs makes it impossible to fully utilize them until it is likely too late. Hopefully, one can survive being rushed down and have enough LP next turn to OTK back with a follow up.


Side Deck / Tech Choices

Duel Links Card: Ally%20of%20Justice%20Cycle%20Reader
Duel Links Card: Parry%20Knights
Duel Links Card: Skull%20Meister
Duel Links Card: Sphere%20Kuriboh
Duel Links Card: Enemy%20Controller
Duel Links Card: Leeching%20the%20Light
Duel Links Card: World%20Legacy%20Clash
Duel Links Card: A%20Major%20Upset
Duel Links Card: Curse%20of%20Anubis
Duel Links Card: Paleozoic%20Canadia
Duel Links Card: Simultaneous%20Loss
Duel Links Card: Windstorm%20of%20Etaqua

Darklords

Popular skills: KaibaCorp Bling, The Ties that Bind, Destiny Draw, Posthumous Army

Darklords is one of the current best decks in the meta due to its ability to oppress any other deck that relies on monster effects -- Vampires are no exception. The recently added Banishment of the Darklords gives Darklords such a significant consistency boost that the deck will almost always be able to establish a formidable board of two or more Darklord boss monsters, e.g. Darklord Ixhcel and Darklord Nasten, with monster effect negation ready in copies of The Sanctified Darklord on the field or in the graveyard.

Both Darklord Ixchel and Darklord Nasten have the ability to apply the effects of a targeted Darklord spell or trap in the graveyard at the cost of 1000 LP and then shuffle that target back into the deck. So even if The Sanctified Darklord is not directly set on the field, the Darklords player can still have a monster effect negation ready with a copy in the graveyard and a Darklord boss monster on board. Upon the activation of any of the myriad of monster effects from the Vampire player -- e.g. Gozuki, Samurai Skull, Vampire Familiar, Vampire Retainer, Vampire Grace, Vampire Vamp, etc -- the Darklords player can simply chain a Darklord monster quick effect to copy The Sanctified Darklord and negate (while also gaining some LP at the same time).

The saving grace here to play around such monster effect negation is to use cards like World Legacy Clash or Enemy Controller’s tribute-and-take effect to remove the monster that’s trying to activate its effect from the field. If the monster is no longer on board when The Sanctified Darklord resolves, then the Darklords player will be unable to select it for negation. This allows one’s monster effect to go through -- e.g. if The Sanctified Darklord is chained to Vampire Vamp’s effect, then the Vampire player can chain World Legacy Clash to remove Vampire Vamp from the field so that her effect still goes through and removes a problematic Darklord monster. See the following video for a replay showcasing this interaction, though with Vampire Grace instead of Vampire Vamp:

Note that Darklords do have a hand trap in Darklord Tezcatlipoca that saves their monsters from destruction, e.g. a pop from Vampire Kingdom or just general battle. One needs to keep an eye on the Darklords player’s graveyard to make sure there’s no Banishment of the Darklords when trying to go for something like a Vampire Kingdom pop on a Darklord monster. If Banishment of the Darklords is indeed in the graveyard, and a Darklord monster like Darklord Ixchel is out, then the Darklords player can just chain Darklord Ixchel’s effect in response to Vampire Kingdom to copy Banishment of the Darklords in the graveyard and search Darklord Tezcatlipoca to avoid destruction.

The skills Sealed Tombs and No Mortal Can Resist can also help make this matchup playable for Vampires. While Darklords do have ways to summon monsters from the hand, e.g. Darklord Nasten or a tribute summon for Darklord Desire, most of their summons will be from the graveyard via a hard activation of Darklord Contact or a Darklord quick effect copying a Darklord Contact in the graveyard. Sealed Tombs stops such plays completely for a turn and thus can possibly win the Vampire player the game if one’s able to use it before Darklords are able to establish a board. For instance, if one gets to go first and uses Sealed Tombs immediately before the end of the turn, then it is possible for the Darklords player to end on a very weak board, allowing the Vampire player to OTK next turn. Unfortunately, Sealed Tombs may not be too helpful if the Darklords player already has an established board, as they will probably have the resources to play through a turn without needing to summon from the graveyard.

No Mortal Can Resist brings to the table a similar utility to Sealed Tombs in this matchup -- rather than stopping Darklords from summoning from the graveyard for a turn, No Mortal Can Resist can just eliminate the Darklords in the graveyard from the game. This allows one to not have to worry about Darklords potentially reviving one another by copying Darklord Contact in the graveyard and just focus on what’s on the field. That being said, No Mortal Can Resist cannot stop Darklords from setting up a board unlike Sealed Tombs -- rather No Mortal Can Resist is more to prevent Darklords from having follow ups after one deals with what’s already on board. In that sense, both Sealed Tombs and No Mortal Can Resist have their ups and downs for this matchup.

With the huge influence that Darklords have over the current meta, it might not be a bad idea to main deck specific cards for the matchup, especially for the ladder where there is no side decking. Such cards include A Major Upset and Liberty at Last!. Since destruction is often not too effective against Darklords due to Darklord Tezcatlipoca, one might rather use these cards instead to bounce problematic Darklords on the field back to the hand or deck. A Major Upset in particular is very abusable in Vampires due to how easy it is to get Vampire Familiar and Vampire Retainer on board.

Battle traps in general are also relatively effective against Darklords. Cards such as Wall of Disruption, Drowning Mirror Force, and Dimensional Prison can be particularly effective when used at the right time. Of course, a good Darklords player will try to play around battle traps once they see a lack of delays from the opposing backrow. Loading up the deck with too many battle traps also weakens the matchup vs. Ancient Gears.

Cards such as Floodgate Trap Hole and Paleozoic Canadia are actually not too great in this matchup. While these cards can slow Darklords down, they only do so if the Darklords player has yet to establish a board. Floodgate Trap Hole in particular becomes a dead card once Darklords already have e.g. their Darklord Ixchel and Darklord Nasten out. Paleozoic Canadia is a bit more flexible, and flipping a Darklord face down also stops it from copying a Darklord spell or trap in the graveyard or getting protected by Darklord Tezcatlipoca. This is assuming that the Vampire player has a follow up play after flipping the Darklord down.

With all that said, this is a very uphill matchup for Vampires that comes down to drawing the right techs. Darklords just naturally shut down decks such as this one that rely so much on monster effects. Without a card like Enemy Controller or World Legacy Clash ready to dodge The Sanctified Darklord, or a cute tech like A Major Upset to turn the tables, it is very unlikely for the Vampire player to come out on top. At the very least, even though Darklords is an incredibly oppressive deck, it is also a very predictable one. The deck’s combo orientated nature means it cannot run too many techs, or it risks bricking. That means there should not be too many surprises when playing against Darklords -- it will usually just be whether the Vampire player can get their typical plays going or be shut down.


Side Deck / Tech Choices

Duel Links Card: Parry%20Knights
Duel Links Card: Sphere%20Kuriboh
Duel Links Card: Enemy%20Controller
Duel Links Card: Forbidden%20Chalice
Duel Links Card: World%20Legacy%20Clash
Duel Links Card: A%20Major%20Upset
Duel Links Card: Curse%20of%20Anubis
Duel Links Card: Debunk
Duel Links Card: Dimensional%20Prison
Duel Links Card: Divine%20Wrath
Duel Links Card: Drowning%20Mirror%20Force
Duel Links Card: Floodgate%20Trap%20Hole
Duel Links Card: Liberty%20at%20Last!
Duel Links Card: Paleozoic%20Canadia
Duel Links Card: Wall%20of%20Disruption
Duel Links Card: Windstorm%20of%20Etaqua

Desperado

Popular skills: Master of Destiny, Sealed Tombs

Desperado is a matchup that went from decent for Vampires to somewhat unfavorable now due to the meta shift that Darklords brought with their new dominance. Because of Darklords, Desperado decks are now main decking cards such as Necrovalley and Fiend Comedian to essentially floodgate Darklords players from being able to play the game. Unfortunately, these cards, especially Necrovalley, also act as massive floodgates for Vampires.

There is not much to say about dealing with Necrovalley -- the only real outs that Vampires have to Necrovalley are to either set up and trigger Vampire Kingdom without relying on any graveyard effects or draw a tech spell and trap removal card like Cosmic Cyclone. That said, spell and trap removal in general is incredibly valuable in this matchup, as Desperado decks tend to be very backrow heavy. This is thanks to their ability to run Cup of Ace, which becomes Pot of Greed thanks to the Master of Destiny skill, allowing Desperado players to draw into their resources. Thus, main decking cards such as Cosmic Cyclone is in general a good idea for this matchup to deal with the multitude of backrow.

In a way, the backrow heavy Desperado decks play similarly to the old Control decks that Vampires thrived on towards the end of 2018. Thus, the same strategies from back then also apply to beating Desperado now. In particular, knowing how to play around Paleozoic Canadia when setting up Vampire Grace is crucial for the matchup. Ideally, one wants to revive and safely summon Vampire Grace with Vampire Takeover on the Desperado player’s turn, usually during the End Phase. Doing so allows Vampire Grace to avoid getting disrupted by Paleozoic Canadia, as she can simply be flipped back face up during one’s own turn. Vampire Takeover can also be chained to another card effect so that it summons Vampire Grace on Chain Link 2 to play around Floodgate Trap Hole. In either case, getting Vampire Grace plus Vampire Kingdom on board without getting disrupted usually swings the momentum of the game in favor of the Vampire player.

The ability to destroy the Desperado player’s monsters with Vampire Grace plus Vampire Kingdom is incredibly valuable, since it allows one to force the summon of Desperado Barrel Dragon from the hand during the Main Phase. The reason Desperado decks are so dominant is because their boss monster, Desperado Barrel Dragon, is also a handtrap that can summon itself when a face up Dark Machine monster is destroyed on their side of the field. Once out, Desperado Barrel Dragon can use its effect to apply non-targeting monster removal each Battle Phase, destroying up to three monsters on board based on the number of heads it gets via its coin tosses. This poses a huge threat to decks that rely on the Battle Phase to destroy opposing monsters, as Desperado Barrel Dragon can come out and wipe the board. Thankfully, Vampires can destroy opposing monsters during the Main Phase, allowing one to follow up with say a Vampire Vamp summon to remove the Desperado Barrel Dragon that comes out before it becomes a threat. This play of following up a Vampire Kingdom pop with Vampire Vamp is what gives Vampires an advantage in this matchup -- the Desperado player cannot just carelessly throw out Desperado Barrel Dragon.

Besides Desperado Barrel Dragon, the other key monsters to watch out for in this matchup are Blast Spider and Dekoichi the Battlechanted Locomotive. Blast Spider can be particularly annoying since it can destroy both Vampire Kingdom and itself, thus removing not only a key win condition for Vampires, but also allowing the Desperado player to bring out Desperado Barrel Dragon on their own turn. One needs to rely on general disruption techs like Paleozoic Canadia to prevent Desperado players from gaining offensive pressure via Blast Spider. Meanwhile, Dekoichi the Battlechanted Locomotive is a more defensively orientated monster that often gets set. When flipped face up, Dekoichi the Battlechanted Locomotive draws the Desperado player a card. This effect can be particularly nasty if one say flips and runs over a Dekoichi the Battlechanted Locomotive in the Battle Phase, since the Desperado player could potentially draw into Desperado Barrel Dragon if they did not already have it in hand and immediately summon him upon Dekoichi the Battlechanted Locomotive’s destruction. Therefore, one should to try to destroy the Desperado player’s set monsters with Vampire Kingdom as opposed to battle as much as possible. Plus, there’s always the chance that the set monster is actually Blast Spider, which has an impressive 2200 DEF stat, enough to stop any non-boss monster in Vampires. Do note that the Desperado player can always bring out Desperado Barrel Dragon by suiciding their Dark Machines into higher ATK monsters -- if one suspects such a play and has a defensive tech like Enemy Controller set, then it might be worth using it to stop the attack, even if it is from a weak e.g. Dekoichi the Battlechanted Locomotive.

The final monsters in a typical Desperado deck’s lineup are Time Wizard and Twin Barrel Dragon, both of which can be annoying as Master of Destiny can guarantee their destruction effects. As with Blast Spider, one needs to rely on general disruption techs like Paleozoic Canadia (for Time Wizard) or Forbidden Chalice (for Twin Barrel Dragon) to stop these threats. Alternatively, one can also rely on Vampire Grimson for protection here if she’s in the deck -- note though that the LP cost to protect one’s field from a Time Wizard board wipe can be incredibly steep. Besides Vampire Grimson, Samurai Skull is also valuable for this matchup thanks to its ability to float into another LV 4 or lower Zombie from the deck after being destroyed by a card effect.

Also take care not to overextend when going for lethal vs. Desperado, as the deck also has a handtrap in Arcana Force XIV - Temperance that can reduce the battle damage from one attack to 0. Ideally, one should always make sure they have a follow up for next turn in case Arcana Force XIV - Temperance stops an attempt for game.

With the rise of Darklords, Desperado decks are also starting to run more battle traps such as Wall of Disruption and Dimensional Prison. Luckily, Vampires have Vampire Kingdom to pop such cards before the Battle Phase, but as mentioned above, main decking Cosmic Cyclones for this matchup is also not a bad idea for more backrow removal.

Finally, it is worth mentioning that the skill Posthumous Army shuts down both Blast Spider and Desperado Barrel Dragon, as it turns the monsters on board from Machines into Zombies. Thus, Posthumous Army builds eliminate the biggest threats in this matchup, allowing the Vampire player to focus more on destroying the backrow with Vampire Kingdom and not having to worry about running over the small monsters through battle.


Side Deck / Tech Choices

Duel Links Card: Parry%20Knights
Duel Links Card: Sphere%20Kuriboh
Duel Links Card: Vampire%20Grimson
Duel Links Card: Cosmic%20Cyclone
Duel Links Card: Enemy%20Controller
Duel Links Card: Forbidden%20Chalice
Duel Links Card: Galaxy%20Cyclone
Duel Links Card: Night%20Beam
Duel Links Card: System%20Down
Duel Links Card: World%20Legacy%20Clash
Duel Links Card: A%20Major%20Upset
Duel Links Card: Curse%20of%20Anubis
Duel Links Card: Dimensional%20Prison
Duel Links Card: Paleozoic%20Canadia
Duel Links Card: Windstorm%20of%20Etaqua

Fortune Ladies

Popular skills: Time Passage

Vampires are very capable of breaking apart the main core of Fortune Ladies. Not only is their main boss monster, Fortune Lady Every, a huge target for Vampire Vamp, but both the recommended skills Sealed Tombs and No Mortal Can Resist hit Fortune Ladies hard. These skills shut down Fortune Lady Every’s ability to come back in the End Phase of one’s turn if she is in the graveyard. Of course, No Mortal Can Resist is even more devastating as it just wipes a Fortune Lady Every in the graveyard from the game. Most Fortune Lady decks are starting to only run one copy of Fortune Lady Every too, to make space for other powerful synchro monsters in the extra deck. So turning that one copy of Fortune Lady Every into a Skull Servant just eliminates the Fortune Lady player’s main win condition.

With either Sealed Tombs or No Mortal Can Resist, one’s gameplan in this matchup is to remove Fortune Lady Every from the field with e.g. Vampire Kingdom and then activate the skill to eliminate the threat of her coming back. Usually, Fortune Lady Every causes issues for other decks because of her ability to keep coming back and banish a face up opposing monster on the Fortune Lady player’s Standby Phase. But Vampires thankfully do not have to deal with this.

How difficult it becomes to remove Fortune Lady Every from the field depends on what backrow the Fortune Lady player has. The most common choices at the moment are Enemy Controller, Floodgate Trap Hole, and counter traps like Divine Wrath, with Enemy Controller in particular having great synergy with Fortune Lady Every, as she can just come back at the end of the turn if used for a tribute-and-take disruption play. Because of how reliant Fortune Lady decks are on their backrow, one could argue that these decks play similarly to the backrow heavy Desperado decks. Both decks have ways to draw into more resources, with Fortune Lady decks having Fortune Lady Water -- one might want to see the Desperado matchup guide for tips on playing around heavy backrow.

Note that Fortune Lady Water’s effect to draw two cards only activates when she is special summoned. Typically, this happens through a combo with Fortune Lady Past and Fortune Lady Light. Fortune Lady Past will try to banish Fortune Lady Light from the field to special summon Fortune Lady Water from the deck to draw two. If one sees the Fortune Lady player attempt to go for this combo, and they have a disruption tech set like Paleozoic Canadia, then one wants to use it to flip Fortune Lady Past face down when she targets herself for her effect. This prevents Fortune Lady Past’s level from changing, which in turn stops her effect from resolving. From there, the Fortune Lady player will have a useless Fortune Lady Light next to a face down Fortune Lady Past and likely be forced to end their turn with no real plays.

Note that the skill, Time Passage, can also increase the level of a Fortune Lady monster by 3. Usually, Fortune Lady players like to use this skill to pull off the above mentioned combo with Fortune Lady Past and Fortune Lady Light. They increase Fortune Lady Past’s level to 4 with the skill, then reduce it back down to 3 after resolving her effect so that she can tune with level 4 Fortune Lady Water into Fortune Lady Every. But as said above, this combo is very easy to disrupt. The dangerous part about Time Passage comes up when the Fortune Lady player plans to synchro summon immediately after using the skill. Since Time Passage is a skill, one cannot respond to its activation, giving the Fortune Lady player a window of opportunity to synchro summon undisrupted immediately after its activation. Because of this, one needs to keep in mind the level sums of the monsters on the Fortune Lady player’s board and preemptively use e.g. Paleozoic Canadia to flip down a monster (e.g. on summon) if one suspects a possible Time Passage into synchro play.

The level sums to keep in mind when playing against Fortune Ladies are 5 through 9 and 11. Level 7 Fortune Lady Every aside, the other commonly used synchro monsters at the moment are level 5 Armades, Keeper of Boundaries, level 6 Brionac, Dragon of the Ice Barrier, level 7 Black Rose Dragon, level 7 Arcanite Magician, level 7 Samurai Destroyer, level 8 Scrap Dragon, level 8 Red Dragon Archfiend, level 9 Vermillion Dragon Mech, and level 11 Star Eater.

Also keep in mind that the ATK and DEF stats of Fortune Lady monsters are tied to their levels, so a Time Passage on a Fortune Lady Every can actually boost her up to 4000 ATK for potential lethal. This play can turn a deceptively weak Fortune Lady field into a big push for game.

Overall, the main threat of Fortune Lady decks comes from their synchro monsters. If one can stop their synchro summons, then all they are left with are a bunch of weak Fortune Lady monsters that post little to no threat. The only one to possibly worry about is Fortune Lady Wind, which can destroy one’s Vampire Kingdom and backrow. Note that she can only destroy an equal number of spells and traps as the number of face up Fortune Lady monsters on board, so flipping one face down with e.g. Paleozoic Canadia can help reduce her effectiveness. And finally, even if the Fortune Lady player brings out a big synchro monster, one can always just remove it with good old Vampire Vamp, making sure to play around the backrow of course.


Side Deck / Tech Choices

Duel Links Card: Parry%20Knights
Duel Links Card: Sphere%20Kuriboh
Duel Links Card: Cosmic%20Cyclone
Duel Links Card: Enemy%20Controller
Duel Links Card: Forbidden%20Chalice
Duel Links Card: Galaxy%20Cyclone
Duel Links Card: Night%20Beam
Duel Links Card: World%20Legacy%20Clash
Duel Links Card: A%20Major%20Upset
Duel Links Card: Curse%20of%20Anubis
Duel Links Card: Dimensional%20Prison
Duel Links Card: Floodgate%20Trap%20Hole
Duel Links Card: Paleozoic%20Canadia
Duel Links Card: Windstorm%20of%20Etaqua

Invoked Decks in General

Popular skills: Sorcery Conduit, Sealed Tombs

Invoked variants are a difficult matchup for Vampires due to Invoked Cocytus, which is immune to targeting effects and has a considerable 2900 DEF to wall every Vampire boss monster. The only reliable outs that Vampires have against Invoked Cocytus are Destiny HERO - Plasma, which can be searched with the skills Reinforcements or Destiny Draw, or a synchro play with Plaguespreader Zombie, which can be accessed off a mill from Gozuki or Samurai Skull.

Destiny HERO - Plasma is arguably the more reliable out to Invoked Cocytus, as shown by Ritual Beasts, which also rely on Destiny HERO - Plasma for this matchup. Thankfully, Vampires can trigger the skills Reinforcements or Destiny Draw rather easily to fetch Destiny HERO - Plasma to hand when needed. From there, it is just a matter of swarming the field with 3 tributes to special summon him. Ideally, one of these tributes ends up being Vampire Grace, who can either bait or trigger Vampire Kingdom to destroy an opposing Floodgate Trap Hole for a safe Destiny HERO - Plasma summon.

In the case of Plaguespreader Zombie, the best synchro monster to go into is typically Revived Ruler Ha Des, which can potentially run over Invoked Cocytus with its 2950 ATK under Vampire Kingdom. Since Revived Ruler Ha Des is level 6, one can easily go into him with a simple Gozuki or Samurai Skull plus another card in hand. Gozuki or Samurai Skull would mill Plaguespreader Zombie, which then summons itself by returning the card in hand back to the top of the deck. From there, the monsters on the field make levels 4 + 2 = 6 for Revived Ruler Ha Des. Do note though that the Invoked player can discard Aleister the Invoker during the damage step to boost Invoked Cocytus's DEF by 1000 and protect it from being destroyed. However, this is still ideal for the Vampire player, as it forces the Invoked player to use an Aleister the Invoker defensively rather than offensively.

Invoked decks can pump out an absurb amount of damage out of nowhere thanks to Aleister the Invoker's handtrap ability to boost their fusion monsters by 1000 ATK as well as Concentrating Current to boost them even further. One typically wants to play the weak Vampire Familiar and Vampire Retainer in DEF mode in this matchup, to avoid a surprise lethal from a boosted Invoked fusion monster. That said, Invoked do have access to Invoked Purgatrio, which can pierce through the 0 DEF Vampires -- there is not much one can do there without tech cards to stop it.

It is recommended to avoid playing Gozuki in this matchup as much as possible, as he is Earth attribute and thus gives the Invoked player a fusion material for summoning Invoked Magellanica should he hit the graveyard. Remember that Invocation can fuse away materials in either player's graveyard. On a lesser note, the Invoked player can also fuse away a Samurai Skull or Vampire card in the graveyard for Invoked Caliga, which can be annoying as it limits one to just one monster effect and attack per turn. Thankfully, Invoked Caliga's effect also applies to the Invoked player, so it is more annoying than a threat -- running alternative ways to trigger Vampire Kingdom like Simultaneous Loss can come in handy here.

If the Invoked player is playing Yami Yugi and they have yet to play Aleister the Invoker, then one wants to avoid triggering Sorcery Conduit as much as possible unless there is lethal that turn. Knocking an Invoked Yami Yugi player to 3000 LP or less allows them to fetch an Aleister the Invoker on their next draw phase to start pumping out the problematic fusion monsters.

With the Invoked core monsters aside, the rest of a typical Invoked deck is usually a generic Control-style deck, with Scrap Goblins, Flip Flop Frogs, and Floodgate Trap Hole to maintain field presence. Thankfully, the bread-and-butter Vampire combos as well as Samurai Skull's ability to float when he leaves the field by opposing card effect (e.g. via Flip Flop Frog) can play through Control boards easily. Take a look at the Desperado and Fortune Ladies matchup sections for tips on playing against Control orientated decks. In particular, note that Vampire Takeover can be chained to another card effect so that it summons Vampire Grace on Chain Link 2 to play around Floodgate Trap Hole.

Tech cards that really shine in this matchup include Mispolymerization for disrupting the Invoked fusion summons, Share the Pain for outing a lone Invoked Cocytus, and Mirror Wall for defense. Mirror Wall in particular can be used in the damage step after the Invoked player burns an Aleister the Invoker from hand or a Concentrating Current to minimize their effect. It can also be used to lose 2000 LP to more easily trigger e.g. Reinforcements or Destiny Draw.

For more generic tech cards, Enemy Controller can be an incredible disruption tool in this matchup, as a tribute-and-take effect on Aleister the Invoker can cause an Invocation to fizzle and summon nothing. Floodgate Trap Hole can also be amazing for flooding an Invoked Cocytus face down so that Vampire Kingdom can target and destroy it.

Overall, Invoked can be incredibly rough for Vampires if they get their fusions rolling, but can also be a decent matchup for Vampires if they start off with just the Control half of their deck.


Side Deck / Tech Choices

Duel Links Card: Destiny%20HERO%20-%20Plasma
Duel Links Card: Parry%20Knights
Duel Links Card: Plaguespreader%20Zombie
Duel Links Card: Cosmic%20Cyclone
Duel Links Card: Enemy%20Controller
Duel Links Card: Share%20the%20Pain
Duel Links Card: Floodgate%20Trap%20Hole
Duel Links Card: Mirror%20Wall
Duel Links Card: Mispolymerization
Duel Links Card: Non-Fusion%20Area
Duel Links Card: Simultaneous%20Loss
Duel Links Card: Windstorm%20of%20Etaqua

Neos Decks in General (Non-Invoked)

Popular skills: Neos Space!, The Ties that Bind, Switcheroo, Sealed Tombs

(See the matchup section on Invoked for tips vs. Invoked-Neos hybrids)

Neos variants are arguably Vampires' best matchup in the current meta. While many different decks can utilize the Neos engine of Elemental HERO Brave Neos and Neos Fusion, almost all of them rely on having out Elemental HERO Brave Neos protected by Neos Fusion and Bacon Saver in the graveyard for defense, until they draw into their deck's main combo. Such a setup is luckily extremely easy for Vampires to break.

If one is using Sealed Tombs, then one can prevent the Neos player from banishing Neos Fusion from the graveyard to protect Elemental HERO Brave Neos from destruction, allowing for an easy Vampire Grace plus Vampire Kingdom pop. One can then follow up this play with a potential OTK, as Sealed Tombs also prevents Bacon Saver from being banished to stop an attack.

Alternatively, if one is using No Mortal Can Resist, then Neos Fusion will still be a nuisance, but Bacon Saver becomes a non-issue for the entire duel, as the skill changes it into a Skull Servant. This is more beneficial in the long run, since Sealed Tombs Vampires still have to deal with the Bacon Saver should they miss the OTK the turn they use their skill. No Mortal Can Resist also changes all the Elemental HEROes (as well as any other monsters) in the opposing graveyard into Skull Servants, shutting off Elemental HERO Brave Neos's attack boosts, graveyard effects like A/D Changer, potential Miracle Contact and Miracle Fusion plays, as well as Keeper of Dragon Magic's ability to revive Elemental HERO Neos.

The skills aside, one should also keep Vampire Vamp in mind as a huge win-condition, as she not only dispatches an Elemental HERO Brave Neos without worry of Neos Fusion, but she also gains a considerable amount of ATK from doing so, reaching 5000 ATK under Vampire Kingdom.

Another perk for Vampires in this matchup is that Neos Fusion triggers Vampire Kingdom if it mills any card from the Neos player's deck. This makes the typical Vampire Takeover set up an incredibly strong opening play in this matchup. Suppose the Vampire player goes first and sets up Vampire Takeover. On the Neos player's turn, as soon as Neos Fusion is activated, one can chain Vampire Takeover to place Vampire Kingdom on the field before Neos Fusion resolves. If the Neos player fuses with any card from their deck, then Vampire Kingdom triggers, allowing the Vampire player to destroy a card on the field. Note that unless Sealed Tombs is active, the Neos player can still banish Neos Fusion to protect Elemental HERO Brave Neos -- but at the very least, that's one less layer of protection to deal with. One can also just hard activate Vampire Kingdom going first to possibly discourage a Neos Fusion activation -- this would best be done vs. a Bandit Keith player, as almost all of them are Neos players nowadays. Note that the Neos player can fuse with only cards from their hand to avoid triggering Vampire Kingdom with Neos Fusion -- but if they do this, then they go -2 in card advantage.

Other common cards that Neos variants tend to run are Gale Lizard, Sphere Kuriboh, Cosmic Cyclone, and Lava Golem. The first of these cards, Gale Lizard, is luckily not much of a threat for Vampires. Going first, it is easy for Vampires to build a field of 2-3 monsters, which avoids a Neos Fusion plus A/D Changer and Gale Lizard OTK. Going second, Vampires can just pop the face down Gale Lizard with Vampire Kingdom. However, the other three cards listed can be major nuisances -- one must be careful about fully committing resources (as well as LP costs for Vampire effects) to avoid losing to a Sphere Kuriboh or Cosmic Cyclone disruption, or a Lava Golem burn.

As a last note, good generic traps actually work pretty well in this matchup. Neos decks typically do not run much backrow removal besides Cosmic Cyclone, making them highly susceptible to battle traps such as Dimensional Prison and Drowning Mirror Force. Paleozoic Canadia is another nice tech choice here, since Neos Fusion cannot protect an Elemental HERO Brave Neos that is facedown. Of course, one needs to be aware that running these traps worsens the Ancient Gears matchup.


Side Deck / Tech Choices

Duel Links Card: Parry%20Knights
Duel Links Card: Sphere%20Kuriboh
Duel Links Card: Enemy%20Controller
Duel Links Card: World%20Legacy%20Clash
Duel Links Card: A%20Major%20Upset
Duel Links Card: Curse%20of%20Anubis
Duel Links Card: Dimensional%20Prison
Duel Links Card: Drowning%20Mirror%20Force
Duel Links Card: Mispolymerization
Duel Links Card: Paleozoic%20Canadia
Duel Links Card: Simultaneous%20Loss
Duel Links Card: Wall%20of%20Disruption
Duel Links Card: Windstorm%20of%20Etaqua

Red-Eyes Fusion

Popular skills: Sealed Tombs

The Red-Eyes matchup is one where the Vampire player needs to win fast or else things can snowball out of control. This is because the main boss monster for Red-Eyes, Red-Eyes Slash Dragon, can negate and destroy targeting cards by sending an equip spell from its side of the field to the graveyard. Since Red-Eyes decks typically play 5-6 equip “spells” in the form of Black Metal Dragon and Power of the Guardians -- not to mention Red-Eyes Slash Dragon's own effect of equipping a Warrior type monster from the graveyard -- it's highly likely that the Red-Eyes player has enough fuel for multiple negates if they get to set up. This can effectively nullify the main win-conditions for Vampires in Vampire Kingdom and Vampire Vamp.

The trick with this matchup is to set up a Vampire Kingdom as soon as possible to destroy a card on the field when Red-Eyes Fusion mills a card from the Red-Eyes player's deck. This is pretty straightforward going first with Vampires, as a typical Vampire Takeover setup enables one to chain to Red-Eyes Fusion and play Vampire Kingdom from the deck before the fusion resolves. Almost always, one wants to pop the newly summoned Red-Eyes Slash Dragon with Vampire Kingdom when this occurs.

Note that the Red-Eyes player can avoid triggering Vampire Kingdom with Red-Eyes Fusion by fusing monsters from their hand or field instead of the deck. However, it is unlikely for them to have the resources to do so early on; and if they do, then they most likely do not have any equip spells in hand to fuel multiple negates. Of course, one can also rely on triggering Vampire Kingdom with Simultaneous Loss to destroy Red-Eyes Slash Dragon. If this opportunity comes up, then Simultaneous Loss needs to be activated immediately once Red-Eyes Slash Dragon hits the field -- otherwise, if the Red-Eyes player activates any equip spell (e.g. Power of the Guardians), then Red-Eyes Slash Dragon gains its ability to negate targeting effects, and it becomes too late.

Going second against Red-Eyes can be trickier if Red-Eyes Slash Dragon is already on the field with a Black Metal Dragon or Power of the Guardians equipped. One needs to set up a Vampire Grace plus Vampire Kingdom combo to bait out the negate and then follow up with Vampire Vamp to remove the Red-Eyes Slash Dragon. Such a play however needs an extremely fortunate hand to have enough resources Turn 2 to both burn through the negate and remove the Red-Eyes Slash Dragon.

There USED TO BE a trick here where one could set up the field such that (1) one of the tributes for Vampire Vamp were Gozuki and (2) Gozuki's effect could trigger upon being sent to the graveyard. What USED TO happen in this scenario was Vampire Vamp's effect activated on Chain Link 1, allowing one to target Red-Eyes Slash Dragon, and then Gozuki's effect activated immediately after on Chain Link 2, effectively chain blocking Red-Eyes Slash Dragon from negating Vampire Vamp's effect. Unfortunately, for whatever reason, Konami switched the chain order of this interaction recently without any notice -- hopefully they change it back soon.

It is also important to mention that certain tech cards become really handy in this matchup. The best tech cards against Red-Eyes are non-targeting battle traps such as Drowning Mirror Force and Wall of Disruption, though the latter is not too effective against a lone Red-Eyes Slash Dragon boosted by multiple equips. Red-Eyes decks typically do not run much spell and trap removal beyond a few Cosmic Cyclones, making them highly susceptible to backrow.

Non-targeting removal like A Major Upset and Mispolymerization are also very effective in this matchup. On a similar note, Non-Fusion Area works too, though one needs to go first and open with the card to effectively utilize it.

Skill-wise, both Sealed Tombs and No Mortal Can Resist have their use in this matchup. The former prevents Red-Eyes Slash Dragon from summoning any monsters equipped to it when it dies; it also prevents Red-Eyes Retro Dragon and Red-Eyes Wyvern from reviving Red-Eyes Slash Dragon. Meanwhile, No Mortal Can Resist simply eliminates any monsters in the Red-Eyes player's graveyard, most notably Red-Eyes Wyvern and the Warrior monsters that become Red-Eyes Slash Dragon's equips.

Both above-mentioned skills also effectively stop Necro Fusion, which is a common tech choice for Red-Eyes. Be wary of leaving any 0 DEF Zombie monsters out on the field if there is an activatable set card on the Red-Eyes player's field and a Buster Blader in their graveyard. The Red-Eyes player may flip up Necro Fusion on the End Phase before their turn starts to summon Buster Blader, the Dragon Destroyer Swordsman and pierce the 0 DEF monster for lethal on their Battle Phase.

Finally, it is important to note that the most common skill for Red-Eyes is Sealed Tombs, which makes this matchup harder than it should be. A good Red-Eyes player will activate Sealed Tombs immediately upon seeing Ishizu Ishtar, since there is no real downside to doing so in their matchup spectrum. This makes going second for Vampires in this matchup rather difficult, as all the big Vampire plays are shut off. One really relies on opening with their tech cards in this situation; but if the Vampire player can survive the initial turn of Sealed Tombs, then they have a fair chance.


Side Deck / Tech Choices

Duel Links Card: Parry%20Knights
Duel Links Card: Sphere%20Kuriboh
Duel Links Card: Cosmic%20Cyclone
Duel Links Card: A%20Major%20Upset
Duel Links Card: Curse%20of%20Anubis
Duel Links Card: Drowning%20Mirror%20Force
Duel Links Card: Mispolymerization
Duel Links Card: Non-Fusion%20Area
Duel Links Card: Simultaneous%20Loss
Duel Links Card: Wall%20of%20Disruption
Duel Links Card: Windstorm%20of%20Etaqua

Six Samurai

Popular skills: The Tie that Binds, Sealed Tombs

The Six Samurai matchup is unfortunately rather unfavorable for Vampires, though there are still plays that one can do against a Six Samurai player that opens suboptimally. The general issue for Vampires with this matchup is that Six Samurai is a deck that has many forms of combo disruption, and being a combo-heavy deck, Vampires lose a lot of game momentum if they get interrupted at a critical point mid-combo.

The main form of disruption that Six Samurai have is a free negation to a spell or trap activation for each Legendary Six Samurai - Shi En on the field. Given how reliant Vampires are in activating that Vampire's Domain or Vampire's Desire to extend their combos, a timely negation from Legendary Six Samurai - Shi En can just shut down one's entire gameplan. Even worse, Six Samurai are incredibly consistent in summoning Legendary Six Samurai - Shi En on their first turn -- so one might also be hard pressed trying to activate even Vampire Takeover or a manual Vampire Kingdom if e.g. the Six Samurai player goes first. Note though that Legendary Six Samurai - Shi En only negates the activation of a spell or trap, not the effect of one that is already activated. This means that if one does manage to put Vampire Kingdom on the field before Legendary Six Samurai - Shi En hits the board, then Legendary Six Samurai - Shi En cannot negate any pops from Vampire Kingdom.

Unfortunately, Vampire Kingdom is not a reliable win-condition in this matchup. First of all, Legendary Six Samurai - Shi En has a second effect that allows the Six Samurai player to destroy another Six Samurai on their field to protect Legendary Six Samurai - Shi En from destruction. Second, Six Samurai's core tuner monster, Secret Six Samurai - Fuma, has a graveyard effect that allows the Six Samurai player to banish him to prevent the destruction of a single Six Samurai. In fact, every member of the Secret Six Samurai has this effect, but the only other one besides Secret Six Samurai - Fuma that is often run is Secret Six Samurai - Kizaru for his searching effect. Regardless, the main point is that Six Samurai are well armed with protection against single-target destruction from Vampire Kingdom.

To play around Six Samurai's protection, one has to rely on their skills, specifically the two recommended ones in Sealed Tombs and No Mortal Can Resist. Sealed Tombs of course stops all banishing from the graveyard, rendering the Secret Six Samurai protection useless for a turn, while No Mortal Can Resist just eliminates all the Six Samurai in the graveyard from the game. Considering that Six Samurai also like to run revival cards such as Return of the Six Samurai, Powerful Rebirth, and Double-Edged Sword Technique, one could argue that No Mortal Can Resist provides more benefits here in shutting off those cards for the rest of the duel.

That said, Sealed Tombs has more use against another core monster in the Six Samurai lineup -- Legendary Six Samurai - Enishi. Once per turn, Legendary Six Samurai - Enishi can send a monster back to the owner's hand if a different Six Samurai is also on the field alongside him, at the cost of banishing two Six Samurai from the graveyard. This is a quick effect, which means the Six Samurai player can use this on either player's turn for monster disruption. Legendary Six Samurai - Enishi makes it incredibly difficult to get off a Vampire Grace plus Vampire Kingdom pop, even if one manages to successfully get Vampire Kingdom on the field. No Mortal Can Resist is certainly still a powerful skill vs. Legendary Six Samurai - Enishi in eliminating his banish fodder from the graveyard, but it does not stop the Six Samurai player from simply dumping more Six Samurai into the grave during their turn and using Legendary Six Samurai - Enishi's effect then. Sealed Tombs however does do that, at the downside of only working for a turn and also potentially hindering one's own Vampire combos. Luckily, Legendary Six Samurai - Enishi is on the Limited 2 list along with Shien’s Dojo -- hence, Six Samurai decks typically only run one copy of him if at all.

The ideal gameplan for this matchup is to prevent the Six Samurai player from getting both Legendary Six Samurai - Enishi alongside Legendary Six Samurai - Shi En. To do this, one needs to tech in forms of disruption such as Simultaneous Loss in conjunction with Vampire Kingdom as well as more generic backrow e.g. Paleozoic Canadia. This means that the ideal scenario is to go first. The first priority is to stop the synchro summon of Legendary Six Samurai - Shi En. To do this, one must assess the Six Samurai player's board state and decide which Six Samurai to correctly disrupt:

Case 1: The Six Samurai player uses their normal summon on Secret Six Samurai - Fuma, but does not have a Shien's Dojo with a counter ready. In this case, one wants to use e.g. Paleozoic Canadia on Secret Six Samurai - Fuma, since the Six Samurai player has no way to summon a second Secret Six Samurai - Fuma this turn -- with no tuner on board, they cannot go into Legendary Six Samurai - Shi En.

Case 2: The Six Samurai player uses their normal summon on Secret Six Samurai - Fuma and also has a Shien's Dojo with a counter ready. Shien's Dojo allows the Six Samurai player to send it to the grave to summon a Six Samurai from the deck whose level is equal to or less than the number of counters on the card. Since Secret Six Samurai - Fuma is only level 1, all it takes is one counter for the Six Samurai player to tutor him out from the deck with Shien's Dojo. Thus, in this scenario, disrupting the Secret Six Samurai - Fuma is pointless, as the Six Samurai player can just tutor out another one. Rather, one should disrupt the special summon of either Legendary Six Samurai - Kizan or Legendary Secret of the Six Samurai that follows, and hope the Six Samurai player does not have another copy of Legendary Six Samurai - Kizan to swarm.

Case 3: The Six Samurai player uses their normal summon on a level 4 Six Samurai with Shien's Dojo out and subsequently tutors Secret Six Samurai - Fuma from the deck. The thing to assess here is how many Shien's Dojo are live on the field -- it would be pointless to disrupt a Secret Six Samurai - Fuma if the Six Samurai player can just use a second Shien's Dojo to tutor out another. One wants to hit the Secret Six Samurai - Fuma only if they are sure another cannot come out; otherwise, it is best to hit the level 4 Six Samurai.

If Legendary Six Samurai - Shi En does end up hitting the board, then one typically should try to out it with Vampire Vamp. Parry Knights is an excellent tech for helping one set up for a Vampire Vamp play, as it is a monster effect that cannot be negated by Legendary Six Samurai - Shi En. Parry Knights can also help stop a potential OTK attempt from a full field of Six Samurai. Another valid game plan is to try baiting out a negate from Legendary Six Samurai - Shi En so that one can safely play Vampire's Domain to help summon Vampire Vamp. Paleozoic Canadia is a great tech here for flipping Legendary Six Samurai - Shi En face down.

When going on the offensive, one should be wary of Secret Six Samurai - Fuma's ability to float into another Six Samurai monster from the deck when destroyed. If another Six Samurai monster is on board when Secret Six Samurai - Fuma is destroyed, then the Six Samurai player has the option to float into Legendary Six Samurai - Enishi and use his bounce effect to disrupt your play. Similarly, if one tries to destroy Legendary Six Samurai - Shi En while Secret Six Samurai - Fuma is beside him, then the Six Samurai player can use protect Legendary Six Samurai - Shi En by destroying Secret Six Samurai - Fuma instead. In either case, be sure that one can deal with a potential float into Legendary Six Samurai - Enishi when dealing with Secret Six Samurai - Fuma.

It is also important to mention that Six Samurai have powerful forms of disruption in their backrow as well. Six Style - Dual Wield is a powerful trap that Six Samurai can use when they control a single attack position Six Samurai to send 2 cards back to one's hand. This card is extremely oppressive for Vampires, since the deck needs to put more than one card on the field in order to make any sort of play. Typically, if a Six Samurai player goes first with Legendary Six Samurai - Shi En and a set Six Style - Dual Wield, then that's an automatic loss for Vampires. The bright side is that Six Style - Dual Wield is often easy to read -- if the Six Samurai player only has a single Six Samurai on board with a set card, and no delays show up until one plays more than one card, then there is likely a Six Style - Dual Wield. The issue is that even if one knows there is a Six Style - Dual Wield, there might not be anything one can do about it. Cosmic Cyclone is a useful tech here, assuming Legendary Six Samurai - Shi En does not negate it; Sphere Kuriboh is also useful as it switches the Six Samurai to defense position.

At the end of the day, the Six Samurai matchup is extremely unfavorable for Vampires. A lot of the matchup boils down to opening with the right techs and also going first to set up before the Six Samurai player can get going. Don't be too discouraged if one gets totally lock downed from making any plays here -- it happens a lot.


Side Deck / Tech Choices

Duel Links Card: Parry%20Knights
Duel Links Card: Sphere%20Kuriboh
Duel Links Card: Cosmic%20Cyclone
Duel Links Card: Enemy%20Controller
Duel Links Card: Forbidden%20Chalice
Duel Links Card: World%20Legacy%20Clash
Duel Links Card: Paleozoic%20Canadia
Duel Links Card: Simultaneous%20Loss

Spellbooks

Popular skills: Light and Dark

Spellbooks is unfortunately a difficult matchup for Vampires due to the combination of spell negation from Silent Magician and disruption from Spellbook of Fate. To be fair, not many decks can effectively play through a Books player that goes first with Silent Magician and a banish off Spellbook of Fate set up. Thankfully, such a Turn 1 is no longer that consistent as of the October 2019 Forbidden/Limited List, which gave Light and Dark a LP activation requirement.

Samurai Skull is the most ideal normal summon a Vampire player can hope for going second against Spellbooks, as it cannot be disrupted by Spellbook of Fate. Samurai Skull’s mill effect activates upon summon, hence the second effect of Spellbook of Fate to flip a monster face down cannot stop it. If the Books player chooses to banish Samurai Skull with Spellbook of Fate’s third effect, then Samurai Skull just floats into any LV 4 Zombie monster from the deck. In comparison, Gozuki is unfortunately terrible in this matchup, as it can just get banished on summon by Spellbook of Fate before it can activate its effect, wasting the normal summon for the turn.

Even if one does successfully get a e.g. a mill off and the typical Vampire combos going, it still takes an impressive hand to play through the disruption of a typical Turn 1 Books board. Multiple spells are needed to bait out the negation from Silent Magician and still have a follow up play. For instance, one might need to burn an Enemy Controller for a tribute-and-take attempt to force the negation from Silent Magician. From there, one can attempt to play something like Vampire’s Desire to extend their combo. Of course, there is still the disruption from Spellbook of Fate to consider -- cards such as Vampire’s Domain or Vampire Kingdom cannot be safely played even after burning Silent Magician’s negate, as Spellbook of Fate can just banish them. One would need to also have say a Cosmic Cyclone in hand to get rid of the Spellbook of Fate. Another approach is to search for and set Vampire Takeover alongside other backrow to attempt setting up a board next turn -- hopefully the Books player misses Vampire Takeover and instead hits the other backrow with Spellbook of Fate in the End Phase.

Thankfully, Silent Magician can only negate the activation of spells, not the effects of spells already activated. This means that if one is able to get Vampire Kingdom or Vampire’s Domain on board, then Silent Magician cannot negate the destruction or extra summon effects of these cards respectively. Ideally, one wants to destroy Silent Magician with Vampire Kingdom in the Main Phase as opposed to battle during the Battle Phase. This gives one the opportunity to immediately follow up with a play to hopefully deal with the Silent Magician LV8 that comes out after Silent Magician is destroyed. Note that Silent Magician LV8 cannot be destroyed by Vampire Kingdom, since it is unaffected by all opposing spell effects. One needs to rely on Vampire Vamp or a tech like Dimensional Prison or Paleozoic Canadia (to prey on the weak DEF stat) to help remove Silent Magician LV8.

That said, Vampire Vamp is actually not too useful in this matchup. Any good Books player will keep their Silent Magician at 2000 or less ATK against Vampires to avoid it getting removed byVampire Vamp. And while Silent Magician LV8 is definitely a big target for Vampire Vamp, it is very rare for one to be able to follow up destroying a Silent Magician with a Vampire Vamp summon on the same turn. Usually, one already has to burn through a nontrivial amount of resources just to play bait out the spell negation and {Spellbook of Fate].

Going first against Books is much more reasonable as one has the chance to set up a board without worrying about Spellbook of Fate. Disruption tech cards such as Paleozoic Canadia really shine here, being able to flip down Silent Magician so that the Books player cannot use her negation nor Spellbook of Fate on one’s following turn. Note that Silent Magician will still float into Silent Magician LV8 when destroyed face down, giving the Books player a face up Spellcaster to use Spellbook of Fate. Thus, one should prioritize getting rid of the set Spellbook of Fate before a face down Silent Magician.

Try to avoid leaving Vampire Familiar (and to a lesser degree, Vampire Retainer) on the field as much as possible, since it can give the Books player lethal with its low ATK stats. Remember that Spellbook of Fate’s second effect can switch the battle position of any monster on the field. Hence, the Books player can use Spellbook of Fate like an Enemy Controller to switch a weak Vampire Familiar into ATK mode and run over it, possibly with a monster powered up by Spellbook of Power as well. On a related note, the Books player can also use this effect of Spellbook of Fate to switch the battle positions of their own monsters, e.g. switching a Silent Magician LV8 that got hit by Sphere Kuriboh back to ATK or flipping a Silent Magician hit by Paleozoic Canadia face up with another Spellcaster on board.

Regarding skills for this matchup, Sealed Tombs is actually rather subpar, contrary to what one might think. This is because Sealed Tombs also stops one’s own Vampire plays in addition to the opposing Spellbook plays. With the deck’s combos being so graveyard reliant, one often cannot afford to click Sealed Tombs until they have fully done their play. However, in order to actually make a play vs. Spellbooks, one wants to click Sealed Tombs first to prevent Spellbook of Fate -- this creates a dilemma where there are actually very few good opportunities for Sealed Tombs to decide the game.

On the other hand, Posthumous Army is an amazing skill for this matchup, as it turns all the Spellcasters on board into Zombies, thereby shutting off Spellbook of Fate for a turn without affecting one’s own Vampire combos. With Posthumous Army, one only needs to worry about dealing with the spell negation from Silent Magician and the 3500 ATK Silent Magician LV8 that comes after. This skill definitely swings the Spellbooks matchup more in favor of Vampires; unfortunately, Posthumous Army has limited use in other matchups e.g. vs. Darklords. At the very least, one can side Posthumous Army for Spellbooks if they choose to bring Vampires to a tournament.


Side Deck / Tech Choices

Duel Links Card: Parry%20Knights
Duel Links Card: Cosmic%20Cyclone
Duel Links Card: Enemy%20Controller
Duel Links Card: Forbidden%20Chalice
Duel Links Card: World%20Legacy%20Clash
Duel Links Card: Zombie%20World
Duel Links Card: A%20Major%20Upset
Duel Links Card: Curse%20of%20Anubis
Duel Links Card: Dimensional%20Prison
Duel Links Card: Paleozoic%20Canadia
Duel Links Card: Windstorm%20of%20Etaqua

Vampires (Mirror Match)

Popular skills: Destiny Draw, Sealed Tombs, No Mortal Can Resist, Posthumous Army

The Vampire mirror match often has one play the deck quite differently from normal. This is in part due to the interaction of two Vampire Kingdoms on the field.

First of all, keep in mind that Vampire Kingdom will give the opposing player's Zombies a 500 ATK boost as well. That means that both one's Vampires and the opponent's Vampires may potentially gain a whopping 1000 ATK boost if both players have Vampire Kingdom on the field.

Second, when one Vampire Kingdom triggers and causes its owner to mill a Vampire from their deck, the other Vampire Kingdom triggers after, allowing the other player to destroy a card on board. This can enable some plays with Vampire Takeover, where one can chain Vampire Takeover to the opposing Vampire Kingdom. Doing so will play one's Vampire Kingdom just before the opponent's Vampire Kingdom forces them to mill a Vampire from their deck, giving one a free pop. Of course, a Vampire player can get around this situation by pitching a Vampire from their hand to the graveyard rather than from the deck, when paying the cost for Vampire Kingdom.

Due to the interaction between opposing Vampire Kingdoms, one often needs to target the opponent's Vampire Kingdom when doing the typical Vampire Grace and Vampire Kingdom combo, to avoid triggering an opposing pop. Alternatively, one might want to forgo setting up Vampire Kingdom in this matchup all together and instead simply get Vampire Grace out first to start beating the opponent down.

Vampire Grimson is amazing for the mirror match as its effect lets one protect any monster that would be destroyed for 1000 LP. This can be used to protect one's monsters from an opposing Vampire Kingdom and also be used to protect Vampire Grimson herself when she crashes into an opposing Vampire Grace or Vampire Vamp. If Vampire Grimson survives after crashing and killing a Vampire Grace, Vampire Vamp, or even opposing Vampire Grimson, then ones gets to take control of that opposing monster at the end of the Battle Phase. Also note that Vampire Grimson's LP cost can be used to proc Bandit easier, if one is using that skill.

Enemy Controller is a particularly interesting tech in the mirror. It allows one to steal and then send an opposing Vampire monster to the graveyard to special summon one's own Vampire Familiar or Vampire Retainer from the graveyard. It also enables one to steal an opposing Vampire Grace to trigger one's own Vampire Kingdom or an opposing Gozuki to mill a card from the deck -- there are many possibilities.

Note that if Gozuki or Samurai Skull is summoned while the opponent has up Vampire Kingdom, then their mill effects will trigger the Vampire Kingdom to allow the opponent to destroy a card on the field. This can actually be a positive interaction for one if the miller were Samurai Skull. The opponent wants to avoid destroying Samurai Skull if possible, since it can float into another Zombie from the deck when removed from the field by card effect. Thus, milling with Samurai Skull in front of an opposing Vampire Kingdom can put the opponent in a situation where they are forced to destroy one of their own cards to not give one potential card advantage.

Overall, this matchup requires one to be very comfortable and knowledgeable with the nuances of the deck, since chances are, every little detail of the deck will come into play. Using or side decking Sealed Tombs as the skill can definitely trivialize the matchup, but be aware that the opponent may also be playing Sealed Tombs.


Side Deck / Tech Choices

Duel Links Card: Parry%20Knights
Duel Links Card: Skull%20Meister
Duel Links Card: Sphere%20Kuriboh
Duel Links Card: Vampire%20Grimson
Duel Links Card: Cosmic%20Cyclone
Duel Links Card: Enemy%20Controller
Duel Links Card: Forbidden%20Chalice
Duel Links Card: World%20Legacy%20Clash
Duel Links Card: Dimensional%20Prison
Duel Links Card: Drowning%20Mirror%20Force
Duel Links Card: Paleozoic%20Canadia
Duel Links Card: Simultaneous%20Loss
Duel Links Card: Wall%20of%20Disruption
Duel Links Card: Windstorm%20of%20Etaqua


Acknowledgements

  • Smogon Duel Links - "A shout out to my team for first getting me into Vampires and helping me grow as a player. I would never have gotten so invested into this deck if I hadn't been so impressed by kamikaze and blarajan's early play testing and Meta Weekly 34 1st place finish with pre-nerf Cyber Style Vampires." ~ Rezileen

  • Jonesy9027 - Thank you for formatting and handling the first versions of the guide on the website as well as for pushing through the first set of updates. You were the real MVP!

  • Jadehex - Thanking you for handling all the recent updates to this guide!

  • All the players that continue to play this deck despite it no longer being a top tier contender. You all keep it alive! Big shoutouts to all the people in the #vampires channel in the Duel Links Meta Discord!

  • Dkayed and Gia Joestar - Thank you for Duel Links Meta and all the work you have done to keep the community thriving.


Perfectly formatted and uploaded by Jonesy9027, Updated by Jadehex.
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