Tier List Update

Tier 1

TPC Comments


As Darklords used to be in the past, Elementsabers are the gatekeepers of the current meta, if your deck can’t deal with them consistently enough you will probably not have a good time in tournaments. The addition of Appointer of the Red Lotus adds another way to play around Artifact Lancea and a way to get information on your opponents’ hand so you can do your plays safely by knowing which backrow you need to play around.

Shiranui didn’t change at all, still a small core with a lot of space for tech cards so it will keep on doing decent despite having a low ceiling and a small amount of starter cards.

With the addition of Ryko, Lightsworn Hunter the deck has access to another Turn 1 play and an out to popular floodgates like Shadow-Imprisoning Mirror and Necrovalley. The deck still has the highest ceiling of all decks in the format, being able to build and break boards without losing resources and access to Chaos Dragon Levianeer so expect it to consistently reach far in tournaments, even though it will have to adapt a bit in this Necrovalley-heavy meta.


Thunder Dragons have moved up to Tier 1 for its explosive second turns, being able to easily put enough damage on the board past Grit (which has gained a lot of popularity) while Chaos Dragon Levianeer clears your opponents’ cards to make it easy to do so. And since switching skills from Baggy Sleeves to Grit they have a higher chance to survive the first turn so they can have that big retaliation.


Elementsabers are the control deck that can keep up with the fast OTK decks, even trough Hey, Trunade! OTK attempts they still have the defensive play with Elementsaber Molehu. The importance of Turn 1 Invoked Caliga is rising, as it completely shuts down the combos of Thunder Dragons, Masked HEROs and Crystrons, since they cant build strong boards and use their full potential under the limit of one monster effect activation per turn. A new tech card has shown up in the KC Cup in Appointer of the Red Lotus. The card has a really good synergy with Elementsabers, it not just removes problem cards from your opponent hand like Artifact Lancea, it also triggers Destiny Draw, letting you close out games fast with knowledge of your opponents’ hand, and removing the card that could stop your lethal attempt next turn. Due to the its versatility and strength, Elementsabers stay at Tier 1, as one of the strongest deck of the format.


Thunder Dagons will continue to be explosive in side deck format. With the ability to side Techs and Skills they feel like the full package.

Elementsabers are still here baby. Abusing god tier backrow with a great engine will be a factor in deck building for the foreseeable future and Elementsabers still do it the best. With the introduction of Appointer of the Red Lotus they even have a card to trigger Destiny Draw and out Artifact Lancea in one. Overall Elementsabers continues to be the gatekeeper of the meta.

Shiranui rounds off the tiered one decks as another abuser of god tier backrow. As long as traps are relevant so will Shiranui.


Thunder Dragons were a fast and streaky deck during the KC Cup, but prior iterations lacked a really good defensive play for Turn One. Grit helped a lot, but a lot of other techs cards also helped solved the problem going first, particularly Ryko, Lightsworn Hunter and Hyper Psychic Riser. With these techs the deck obviously lost some aggression power and became more balanced. The only backrow-heavy decks in the format are Shiranui, Dark Magician, Elementsaber and Cyber Dragon, and none of them can OTK through set Ryko. It also serves as great non-targeting removal that also mills cards, which can be vital. It’s hard to tell how Thunder Dragons will perform in Side Deck Format, but one of the best side cards against them, Shadow-Imprisoning Mirror, is easily dealt with by Ryko. However, a well-timed Artifact Lancea will slow the deck’s pace, but most likely not stop it. We will see how the situation will develop and adjust Thunder Dragons’ placement accordingly

Tier 2

TPC Comments


Crystrons performed well in the recent KCC and the Sea Stealth Attack version is becoming more popular. Citadel Whale and Sea Stealth Attack definitely raise the ceiling of Crystrons by allowing you to dodge your opponent’s backrow cards, giving access to non-targeting destruction, and by adding more protection from targeting effects. The downside to the SSA package is that it is weak to banishing effects that remove Umi since there is no inherent way to recover the field spell. Many meta decks also play Cosmic Cyclone or have access to banishing effects. The SSA package does allow Crystrons to have a favorable matchup against the current Elementsaber build since they cannot use Cosmic Cyclone and because Invoked Purgatrio cannot attack into your high-level monsters without getting destroyed. It’s hard to say if the SSA version will become the most played version of Crystrons because of its weakness to banishing effects and because other decks could adapt to counter this strategy if it becomes more popular.


Masked HEROs move to T2 from T3, we can see HEROs performed well during the KCC. They’re an OTK style deck with no limited cards (allowing you to run Hey, Trunade! just like old Blackwings) that isn’t easily stopped by flip face-down effects thanks to Mask Change. The number of Destiny HERO - Plasma used in the deck is increasing, helping you deal with hard matchups like Crystrons. Even though you need to use a lot of resources for Plasma, cards like Destiny HERO - Malicious and Destiny HERO - Celestial in ur GY actually provide you with enough resources for both Plasma and a Fusion Summon. Despite this, we’re tentatively placing them at Tier 2 since there’s actually many ways to disrupt Masked HEROs. For example, Invoked Caliga and Kycoo the Ghost Destroyer can stop HEROs from making plays. Additionally, HERO’s tight list doesnt have many free slots for Side Deck cards, and is really easy to counter in Side Deck format.

Tier 3

TPC Comments

Autumn Leaf

Cyber Dragons have always been a KC Cup favourite and with its popularity a new build arises - Fusion Gate allows the player to fuse multiple times within the same turn with conjunction with Cybernetic Fusion Support. Fusion Gate fuses first by banishing the materials from the hand/field, but with Chimeratech Rampage Dragon‘s milling effect, Fusion Gate may activate again with Cybernetic Fusion Support’s effect that allow players to fusion summon by banishing materials from the graveyard. The player may then fuse once again using Cyberload Fusion to summon Chimeratech Overdragon with at least 4800 ATK and DEF during either their main phase or battle phase. It will be interesting to see whether such an aggressive strategy will survive in side deck format.


Blackwings are still a decent deck and right where they belong at Tier 3. The deck still struggles with disruption and against decks that are able to float. As a result of this, Masked HEROs have pretty much taken the role of the aggressive and fast deck which Blackwings have held for a while. Despite all of this, with the Necrovalley + Ancient Fairy Dragon strategy growing in popularity, Blackwings have been able to improve several matchups, most notably against Crystrons and Thunder Dragons. It should still be seeing some play in tournaments for the near future and it will be interesting to see how it performs.

Blue-Eyes has fallen to Tier 3 due to consistency issues and various awkward matchups. Blue-Eyes definitely has the potential to compete with every meta deck as it can be tough for most decks to deal with Blue-Eyes swarming and being able to disrupt plays. Sadly, Blue-Eyes is plagued with consistency issues and matchups like Crystrons and Thunder Dragons can give it a lot of trouble. Through meta changes and potential support, Blue-Eyes may be able to rise again but for now they should remain at Tier 3.


Blue-Eyes under performed in the previous KC Cup, because they could not keep up with the super consistent OTK decks, like Masked HEROs and Blackwings. Blue-Eyes has no tools to play trough Grit (which was one of the most used skill by the aggressive decks) and close out the games fast. Some builds shown up in the KC Cup tried to adopt to the meta with the usage of Necrovalley, which is a really effective card in the current meta. However, Necrovalley is a double-edged sword, as it affects the revive effect of Azure-Eyes Silver Dragon, and The White Stone of Ancients cant add back cards to your hand by banishing itself. In return, you can cut the main win conditions of other decks, Elementsabers cant change attributes in grave and cant cycle Alister the Invoker, Thunder Dragons cant revive monsters from the grave, and cant Summon Chaos Dragon Levianeer or Thunder Dragonduo, HEROs cant use Vision HERO Vyon effect to search Polymerization, and out Shiranui Sunsaga. The return of Side Decks, and a meta shift towards a control meta could help Blue-Eyes become strong deck, but for now, due to its bad bad matchups against the OTK decks, Blue-Eyes is demoted to Tier 3.

Off the Tier List

TPC Comments


Darklords have fallen off the Tier List due to their hard time against backrow-heavy decks such as Elementsabers and Shiranui which are dominant in side deck format. That along with their last nerf semi-limiting Darklord Ixchel have made them too weak to keep up with the current top decks in terms of consistency and power.

Find out more by joining the Duel Links Meta Discord.
Be sure to check out Guides and Reviews and King of Games Decklists.
Learn more about the Top Player Council members.

Tier List update written by Jadehex.

Loading comments…