The main new card to be highlighted from the selection box and EX structure deck releases is Fiendish Chain. Being both proactively and reactively useful and useful, Fiendish Chain holds a lot of value as now being recognised as one of the most versatile generic Trap cards in Duel Links. It is expected to see a fair amount of play in the competitive scene in the upcoming week.
Blackwings have moved up to Tier 1. They have good match ups against most of the Tiered decks aside from Elementsabers. One of the only decks that doesn’t lose to popular cards like Cosmic Cyclone or skills like Sealed Tombs and can also utilize them both very well.
Darklords strength and versatility help it remain at Tier 1. The engine is extremely strong, especially with the help of Compensation, and it is difficult to stop when it gets going. However, it may be demoted very soon due to changes in the meta. Previously, it had a difficult Blackwings matchup but boasted very strong matchups against everything else. Now, with the rising popularity of Dark Magician and 30 card Shiranui, it has some very difficult and awkward matchups. Despite a possible demotion, Darklords should remain very relevant in the meta, just no longer dominating as much as it once was.
The rise of Darklords and 30 card Shiranui decks put Blackwings in a very strong position in the current meta. The aggressive playstyle paired up with Sealed Tombs gives them advantage over the 2 most popular decks of the format.
Though no longer a lonesome Tier 1 deck, Darklords remain in a prevalent position in the metagame, with the popular skill still being Compensation. Boasting an arsenal of strong engine cards, Darklords haven’t fallen out of relevance ever since the introduction of Banishment of the Darklords into Duel Links. Despite not being an RNG lenient deck, Darklords have the ability to instantly swing duels in its favour through fortunate top decks and/or hitting good cards with Compensation. It’s evident that only a forbidden & limited list change can erase Darklord from the metagame - as powercreeping the deck out of relevance entirely is unrealistic. In regards to deckbuilding trends, the deck is continuing to use the newly received card to its tech pool in Artifact Lancea. Lancea holds a lot of value in matchups across the board; with Darklord in particular the card sees play in most side decks, with many (though less than last week) main decking a single copy. Strong results from Darklord are expected to continue.
Blackwings rise once again on the Tier List, this time bounding from Tier 2 up to Tier 1. This comes as a result of an increase in popularity from its favoured matchups, and a decrease in popularity from its unfavourable matchups. Darklords are seeing more representation in tournament environments, whereas Invoked usage is continuing to trend downwards. Such is an indication of Blackwing’s further uprise in relevancy. Due to Sealed Tombs, a recognition for powerful plays and cards like Blackbird Close, Darklords are recognised as being a favoured matchup for Blackwings. With all the harsh interruption from Elementsaber Invoked, Blackwing is notoriously weak against the deck. In regards to deckbuilding trends, we may see players try using Fiendish Chain in their Blackwing decks due to the interaction it has with Blackwing - Zephyros the Elite (getting to return it to hand to reuse it).
Blackwings have performed well this past week resulting in the bump to Tier 1. The emergence of 30-Card Shiranui has given Blackwings another favourable matchup in the meta, with this version of Shiranui relying heavily on its graveyard effects to protect itself. Blackwings can easily capitalise on this under Sealed Tombs for a quick OTK.
Shiranui is a deck that shows a lot of promise for the future (most notably the 30 card variant). The popularity of the 30 card variant is rising and showing to be a very well rounded and strong deck. It takes advantage of That Grass Looks Greener and uses Spell Specialist (which guarantees at least one Spell card in hand) to increase the probability of opening it. It is weak against Sealed Tombs decks (most notably Blackwings) and Invoked, however, these matchups are definitely winnable. Against the rest of the meta, it is definitely favored and can out grind most decks. The mirror match is sadly very bad, so would matchups against other 30-card decks, but nonetheless, I think this is a good investment especially if you already have Gozukis.
Dark Magician has moved up in Tier because its strong engine giving them the ability to have interruption on their opponent’s turn. The Darklord matchup can be coinflip that is also dependant on what techs and Skill the DM player is using. The deck however struggles with Blackwings because all the monsters in DM are weaker than all the Blackwing Synchros (which they can typically make two of per turn). The Elementsaber match is more in Dark Magician’s favor unless they have no answer to Invoked Cocytus, then esabers will be able to draw into their combo pieces and take over the game.
Elementsabers stay strong at Tier 2 because of the good matchup is has against Blackwings and Shiranui. Cosmic Cyclone being one of the core cards for this deck gives it decent utility to deal with Dark Magician as well. With a possible decline in Darklords in the meta due to their bad matchup with Blackwings and coin flip matchup with Dark Magician, Elementsabers can do well in this meta.
Dark Magician rises further up on the Tier List due to its recognition as a powerful control strategy. Dark Magical Circle is an incredible boost for Dark Magician. The card is a boost in consistency, offence and defence all at the same time. The removal it provides is superb, and the ability to search/rearrange is fantastic too. When playing uninterrupted, Dark Magician is able to establish setups which are difficult for many decks on the tier list to effectively deal with. And because of its consistency, these strong set ups happen quite frequently. In regards to weaknesses, the deck’s standard opening of Dark Magic Circle + Magician Navigation is rendered a lot weaker with Cosmic Cyclone, and unfortunately for Dark Magician decks Cosmic Cyclone is one of the most commonly used cards in the game at the moment. The deck doesn’t immediately fold to Cosmic Cyclone, however.
Coupled with the Elementsaber engine, Invoked with Sorcery Conduit is recognised as being a consistent strategy with menacing backrow. Elementsaber Invoked is able to play a slow-pace game while also having the ability to swiftly hammer down on the opponents Life Points. Despite its capabilities, Elementsaber Invoked faced demotion last week as a result of the introduction to Artifact Lancea to side decks as well as an uprise in Darklord popularity. In regards to recent deck building trends, Fiendish Chain is a fantastic tech option that may see a lot of play in Invoked decks.
Shiranui maintains its relevancy as a solid deck amidst the meta, with multiple strong tools at its disposal. Far more aggressive than the recognised backrow heavy build - the That Grass Looks Greener variant with Spell Specialist is seeing a lot more attention as a result of its sheer explosive capabilities when drawing That Grass Looks Greener, and when it doesn’t draw Grass it’s simply a regular Shiranui deck with a slightly different playstyle. In order to fully utilise Spell Specialist, builds play 3 Grass and 4 1-of Spells to maximise the chances of opening Grass. Strong performances from Shiranui are expected to continue, both the Grass build and the recognisable backrow-heavy strategy (though moreso the Grass build).
Elementsabers can make good use of Fiendish Chain, the latest tech from the selection box. A very strong tech that certainly improves the deck’s Darklord matchup and one that I expect to see a lot of play moving forward.
While previously a control deck, the addition of That Grass Looks Greener and Spell Specialist opens up options for the deck to be more combo focused. This is in part thanks to the shadow buff Spell Specialist received (about 3 months ago) which makes opening Grass much more consistent than before. While we are not 100% sure how the current version of the Skill works, it undoubtedly makes Grass consistent enough that it can be a very explosive and effective strategy.
The strength of the Dark Magician has truly been seen in their scary Turn 1 boards and devastating ability to negate on the following turn. There are scenarios where if the opponent doesnt open Cosmic Cyclone or a way to play through the Dark Magical Circle they lose automatically. Furthermore, the flexibility of the 13-14 card core makes it so that Dark Magician players can run lots of scary unpredictable backrow. The ability of the deck being able to run multiple Skills further propels Dark Magician to Tier 2 status. Starting slow against Dark Magician players is not an option and I expect to see every player maining some way to protect against Circle. It shall be interesting to see as Cosmic usage continues to grow if this deck can manage to adjust. This deck most certainly has a target on its back now and is in every competitive players minds.
Cyber Dragon remains at Tier 3. Despite underperforming in the competitive scene, it feels too early to demote it - it can be argued that low representation is a cause of underwhelming performances. The deck may very well pick itself back up in the upcoming week to further justify itself being on the Tier List. Cybernetic Overflow is a powerful trap card that so happens to be easily accessible through Cyber Dragon Core. The deck is well equipped for decimating decks that commit lots of cards to the field without much follow-up, especially backrow-heavy strategies. It’s weaknesses still lay with slight consistency issues as well as a noticeable struggle to deal with decks that can constantly pump out monsters larger than Chimeratech Rampage Dragon.
Ritual Beasts remain at Tier 3. Despite being a powerful deck with the ability to pop off under most disruption, the side deck continues to be a massive threat for Ritual Beast. The deck already had its flaws, and Artifact Lancea is able to stop a Ritual Beast turn almost entirely. Ritual Beast is still strong, however. But it’s recent performances in the competitive scene are not an indication of necessary promotion nor an indication of necessary demotion.
Not much has changed for Ritual Beasts, they have performed well enough to stay Tier 3 despite the release of Mind of the Plana
Dragunity find themselves in High Potential. They have a similar strategy to Blackwings, with high OTK potential going second with a powerful Synchro engine. And with the addition of Dragunity Legionnaire, it gives dragunites another strong line of play if used with Dragunity Aklys.
The new EX Structure Deck came with multiple new tools for Dragunity - the deck is now equipped with a powerful main deck monster to enable its plays in Dragunity Senatus as well as a somewhat easily accessible boss monster in Dragunity Knight - Ascalon. Despite this, Dragunity remains to have a fragile playstyle and a noticeable weakness when playing against multiple variations of disruption. The deck is not expected to perform exceptionally well in the upcoming week, but usage amongst competitive players is still to be expected - perhaps with some strong performances too. It will be interesting to see how Dragunity does.
Off the Tier List
The lack of a strong Turn 1 Play, and bad matchups against the Tier 1 decks means Thunder Dragons have no room in competitive play.
From the newest box, Thunder Dragon recieved a much needed boss monster in Thunder Dragonduo. Symbolic of the iconic chaos monsters, Thunder Dragonduo is easily searchable and upon summoning it you get to trigger more Thunder Dragon effects. However, the deck faces demotion due to its underperformance in the competitive scene. This underperformance could very well be as a result of its lack of optimisation, as well as noticeable underrepresentation. Thunder Dragon is a very resilient deck and is far from a deck incompetent of success. Perhaps the deck will find a suitable spot on the Tier List as more tournaments occur, but for now demotion seems to be the appropriate move.
Tier List update written by Jadehex.