Top Player Council Thoughts
With the KC Cup now complete, the Tier List will return to focusing on the 1 deck + 5-card side tournament format.
Vampires are now the sole Tier 1 deck in Duel Links. Their consistency, versatility, and ability to push through common disruption is unparalleled by most other decks in the game. Their biggest weakness in Masked Heroes is becoming less common, thanks to Heroes’ weakness to most other decks on the Tier List. It will be interesting to see how Vampires handle being the deck to beat however, as they do have significant weaknesses to side-deck cards like Skull Meister.
Vampires easily adapt to meta changes as well as format changes and remain the most consistent and strongest deck in the meta currently. With other tiered decks keeping Hero decks in check, it gives Vampires even more room to dominate.
Blue-Eyes and Masked Heroes have been demoted to Tier 2. Despite being the two most common decks used in the KC cup, neither did particularly well as top-performing players instead flocked to Vampires, Spellbooks, and various control decks. However, with side decks both Blue-Eyes and Heroes can improve their odds significantly against poor match-ups and therefore remain a step above the Tier 3 decks.
Blue-Eyes is still extremely versatile and strong, but Vampires (especially those with Sealed Tombs) being so successful lately is bad news for this deck. Heroes are also on the decline due to the recent success of Banish Control decks. D.D. Assailant is for sure this deck’s worst nightmare.
Banish Control and Buster Blader remain in Tier 3, joined by new additions in Bujins, Fur Hires, and Gemini, as well as the demoted Spellbooks.
During the KC Cup, Banish Control underwent a subtle but important change: The Amazoness core was replaced by Breaker the Magical Warrior and Dust Tornado. This made the deck significantly more aggressive while maintaining the strong control features, improving the Vampire match-up and overall consistency. Used by the #1 global player during the KC Cup, Banish Control will likely continue to excel in the side-deck format.
Bujins have been added to Tier 3 after being removed during the KC Cup. Bujins have a love/hate relationship with side-decks; on one hand, it’s very useful to side into extra backrow-hate or generic defense depending on the match-up, but on the other it’s extremely annoying to be forced to fight through multiple DNA Surgery in many players’ side decks. The top-performing Bujin decks of the KC Cup used Restart and Ties of the Brethren to aim for an oppressive turn 1 board, although different variants have had success in other tournaments.
Buster Blader remains in Tier 3 after a successful KC Cup. Capable of perhaps the most oppressive board in the game, Buster Blader can struggle with consistency and backrow. Last Gamble is often used to solve both issues, drawing the cards needed to build the lock of DNA Surgery + Buster Blader, the Dragon Destroyer Swordsman on top of mass backrow removal like Hey, Trunade! or Xing Zhen Hu.
Fur Hires have been promoted to Tier 3. Another form of control, Fur Hires now like to sit on Wiz, Sage Fur Hire with heavy backrow. Game-stealing techs like Double Magical Arm Bind and Inverse Universe (which is especially potent against Vampires) are then used to push for lethal damage with the help of Wiz’s negations.
Gemini has been added to Tier 3 after an especially strong Top 4 showing by Luke Tyler in the latest MCS. Another fairly straightforward control deck, Gemini boasts monsters larger than many other relevant monsters (including every Destiny HERO + Samurai Skull and Gozuki, with Heavy Knight of the Flame also swinging over both under Vampire Kingdom) and has one of the best disruption cards in the game in Gemini Spark.
Finally, Spellbooks have been demoted to Tier 3. During the KC Cup most Spellbook players opted for the high-risk, high-reward use of Mind Scan over Restart or Switcheroo, and took advantage of the lack of side-decks to perform very well. With sides, however, their weakness to DNA Surgery (shared with Bujins) is significant and can seriously hurt the deck’s effectiveness.
As a general comment on Tier 3 as a whole, we’re in a meta right now where a lot of decks can sneak their way into tournament tops. There’s a lot of legitimately viable Tier 3 decks out there right now and the large amount of diversity makes it tough to be able to properly prepare your deck to be able to beat all of it. Spellbooks are in Tier 3 for the usual reasons, they’re strong but have hard counters in the side deck. Fur Hires fall into Tier 3 due to still being a relentless control deck able to survive on Wiz and heavy backrow until it finds an out to whatever situation they’re in. Gemini control is a very powerful deck that has a lot lot of versatility, manageable card economy, and gets tougher and tougher to beat the more it gets set up. Breaker control is Tier 3 due to being a more optimized way to run what was previously banish control. Buster Blader still falls into Tier 3 due to its powerful “Exodia combo” and decent matchups against many higher tier decks.
In a side deck environment in the current format, Geminis are in a great position. A majority of the well-represented decks have trouble beating the deck, and Geminis’ primary weaknesses can be addressed through side decking methods. For example, Hey, Trunade! can be tackled by Magic Deflector and Spellbooks and Bujin can both be directly countered by DNA Surgery.
Buster Blader is extremely difficult to deal with for any deck in the meta if they manage to put out a Buster fusion + DNA Surgery. However, its inconsistency is keeping it from going any higher on the tier list currently.
Spellbooks now having access to Breaker the Magical Warrior gives them a fighting chance in a side deck format, being able to deal with their worst nightmare, DNA Surgery, with his effect.
Fur Hires have adapted to the meta and have pretty good match-ups against Vampires and Heroes. The deck can OTK, play the control game, or the (Wiz) stall game which makes it really versatile. Paleozoic Canadia make Recon, Scout Fur Hire much more relevant, being able to pop face down monsters or backrow, and techs like Inverse Universe and/or Double Magical Arm Bind can really be huge game-changers.
Bujins have not yet lived up to the hype since the release of Bujingi Crane, however the deck does have great match-ups against Heroes & Blue Eyes and can steal games against Vampires with the proper techs/side deck. Bujins have also begun to run Ties of the Brethren in 20-card builds, giving it a way better turn 1 than a single Bujin Yamato/Bujin Mikazuchi which could be the change the deck needed to be more successful.
This week we have the Meta Weekly on 12/4 at 2:30pm EST and other community events throughout the week. Expect the results of these events to have a strong influence on the Tier List.
Tier List update written by superforms.