Tier List Update


2021 has not been a great year for Duel Links. We started it of with Noble Knights, which some could argue was a Tier 0 format. After Balance got nerfed we entered our Tier 0.5 format filled with Star Seraph Darklords and Blue-Eyes. Thankfully we got some peace with Harpies and Resonators entering the format which could be annoying because of how pretty much every deck was running 3 Book of Moon, 3 Mystical Space Typhoon and 2 Treacherous Trap Hole but it was still enjoyable for the most part. Unfortunately, now we are right back into a very toxic format.

Onomat is the best deck and there is no good counter against it. The best counter to Onomat is another Onomat variant which focuses on Gagaga Head and a lot of backrow, trying to stall and plus with Gagaga Head. With that there is no denying that we are in a Tier 0 format with Onomat unfortunately at the top. While there are decks which try to compete with Onomat, they are outclassed in at least one if not multiple areas.

While Thunder Dragon might be as strong as Onomat, Thunder Dragon does not have reliable consistency and will inevitably brick. On top of that, Onomat sides Artifact Lancea which in combination with Constellar Ptolemy M7 results in a deadly lock. The other decks in the format have a lower power ceiling like Harpies and Resonators. Currently the one of the only reasons to play one of those decks is because they have access to 2 Treacherous Trap Hole unlike Onomat which is a very strong card against them. Harpies on top of that have Harpies’ Hunting Ground which results in a favourable matchup against the slower Gagaga Head version. Unfortunately it does not have a consistency skill in the vein of Onomatoplay and Demon’s Resonance, so it will brick more often. As it stands, Harpies and Resonators may need to give up on their current playstyle and try out new stuff if they want to stay relevant in the upcoming weeks.

As a result of Onomats dominance, a new deck emerged. Hero Flash!! stall is a 30-card deck filled to the brim with at least 18 Trap Cards in addition to some handtraps. The win-con is try and draw every Trap card possible to slow down Onomat enough and than either deck them out or wait until one draws into Aleister the Invoker or a similar blowout card.

The only way out of this format is either an emergency banlist, a new box which will change things up or someone makes a new discovery that drastically changes the format. Until that happens, Onomat remains as the dominant force of the format

Tier 0

TPC Comments


Onomats rise to Tier 0 status thanks to a very consistent and oppressive Turn 1 thanks to Gagaga Sister and Zubababancho Gagagacoat and going into Digital Bug Rhinosebus and having multiple disruptions set. It can also easily OTK and has the best follow up plays thanks to Onomatoplay and Gagaga Head. Additionally, there is no real counter to Onomat right now.


Putting Onomat to Tier 0 sounds crazy but if we look at the reasons why, it does make sense. First of all, Onomat has the most representation due to being by far the best deck; If you are not playing Onomat yourself you would need to heavily tech against it in your main deck to not have a bad matchup.

The main problem is there’s no deck that really has a good Onomat matchup. Thunder Dragons have the best chance from all existing decks. However, with Onomat beeing able to side into three Artifact Lancea makes the slightly unfavoured matchup even harder for Thunder Dragons, especially when you factor in Constellar Ptolemy M7 beeing able to keep adding it back for an instant win-con.

Slower versions of Onomat came from the fact that the best counter to Onomat is itself. Essentially what I’m saying is there’s no surefire good way to deal with the Onomat engine (especially when you also factor in the slower builds with three Gagaga Head)

So, to sum it up:

  • A Lot of Flex Spots,
  • Strong Xyz Monsters
  • Consistency Skill
  • Option for a good grind game with Gagaga Head
  • No real bad matchups.

Altogether, this is enough for me to make it Tier 0


Calling Onomat Tier 0 is a huge step when in relation to some of the past strong Tier 1 Decks (Like Darklords, Crystrons, Shiranui, Witchcrafter, etc.) you could argue the deck is weaker, but what we have to look at it in context and compare it to the options across the board (if they can even be considered that at this point).

Onomats are evolving every single day in different ways, essentially becoming the best fast deck, the best slow deck, and everything in between. Onomats only rivals in the grind game would be Thunder Dragons, but by playing multiple copies of Artifact Lancea and being able to recycle it with Constellar Ptolemy M7, Onomats are not scared of Thunder Dragons in the slightest. The deck keeps evolving to defeat its other variants and doesn’t really care about any other deck. By changing the amount of techslots and “Dododo” cards (some cutting them entirely in the case of the triple Gagaga Head build, which revolves around winning the grind game with Trap Cards and recycling), the deck is able to adapt to any occaision.

The boundaries between Onomat variations are hard to determine due to shared Skill, deck size and core, and it almost seems like new builds establish themselves with every tournament. Sadly, there isn’t much motivation to play any other deck in the way we’ve seen them, but who knows, perhaps an original idea can change the format as we know it (similar to how the triple Gagaga Head version of Onomat did).

That being said, one must keep in mind that decks should be built to defeat Ononmat first and foremost, primarily with main-decked techs that would normally be found in the Side Deck. This further exemplifies Onomat’s Tier 0 nature this format.


Onomat has once again proven its worth in this format, as the deck gets better and more versatile while the competition falls short. Displaying a top-notch consistency and an above average strength, the deck warrants being called Tier 0 - not because its power level is nothing Duel Links has ever seen before, but rather because there’s no real counter to the deck, barring trap heavy strategies (which might also fail, as their consistency can’t always rival Onomatoplay).


Ah Tier Zero. Is it necessary? What’s the difference between Tier Zero and sole Tier One? Semantically it’s the same, it shows the deck is set apart from the rest. However, I believe the great distinction is a special place for a deck to achieve. There are distinctions that can be made and criteria a deck can check off:

  • Does it represent over 50% of a Top 32 cut in tournaments? (Onomats accomplished this in various tournaments throughout the week)
  • Is the overall usage over 50%? (seemingly true based on results this week)?
  • When you build a deck do you have to counter this deck at all costs without really considering other decks (for me I do this currently when thinking of deck building)
  • Does this deck have different ways to be played and flexibility? (there are multiple ways for Onomats to be played and adapt to anything)
  • Is this deck oppressive? (yes)
  • Does another deck consistently beat all versions of a deck? (I’d say no right now)
  • Does the deck go first and second well? (Onomats can set up a turn one board or OTK consistently going second) To me there doesn’t really feel like a reason to play another deck (outside of “fun”) if your goal is to win. Can you beat Onomats with other decks? Yes. But at the top level of play will the best players using all versions of the deck beat your non-Onomat deck a majority of the time, yes. This is why Onomats have been voted Tier Zero. It’s not the only deck you can play but it certainly is the best.


No deck in the meta can come close to rivaling onomats in terms of power, consistency, and flexibility all at once. Some decks can get close to reaching that power, like Thunder Dragons, but lack the consistency and also get countered by the flexibility of Onomats, like being able to perform an Artifact Lancea loop with Constellar Ptolemy M7. Onomat also has the ability to set up an oppressive Turn 1, OTK Turn 2, or simply break any board and put the opponent in a near-impossible state to win. A powerful and consistent counter to Onomats doesn’t really exist, resulting in the best way to beat the deck being playing the mirror match. This is highlighting the flexibility of the deck, being able to run more control-oriented builds or builds with three Gagaga Head and various backrow techs to have a better chance in the mirror match. At this point, your best chance at having success in this format is either playing Onomat or finding a strategy that can reliable handle all the options Onomat has, which is extremely difficult.


Onomats are promoted to Tier 0 as no deck can keep up with the deck in the current meta. The deck has tools to deal with every deck (especially with Side Deck letting them loop Artifact Lancea and D.D. Crow with Constellar Ptolemy M7). There’s also no clear counter to the deck due to its verstality, since most builds play protective backrow that’s coupled with Turn 1 Digital Bug Rhinosebus to stop the opponent from making plays, while still having an explosive Turn 2. The deck has no close rival, so much that if you enter a tournament to try and win, your only reliable option is to play Onomats and be ready for all the mirrors.

Tier 2

TPC Comments


Thunder dragons remain at Tier 2 as it’s the only deck that has the abilty to sort-of compete with Onomat, with its floating advantage, handtraps, and its boss monster in Chaos Dragon Levianeer (assuming it’s not negated}

However, Onomats siding cards like Artifact Lancea (which can be recycled with Constellar Ptolemy M7) in and extra deck monsters like Steelswarm Roach make it near-impossible for the deck to place any higher on the Tier list. The becomes heavily favored for Onomat post-side, forcing Thunder Dragons to grind through multiple Lancea and pushed with handtraps and cards like Thunder Dragons’ Hundred Thunders. As a result, Tier 2 is best it can do right now.


Thunder Dragons remain Tier 2 for the time being because it is one of the few decks that can keep up with Onomat. Chaos Dragon Levianier is still able to break almost any board, including Onomat’s. However, the deck mostly loses against itself because it simply brickes way too much. In addition, cards like Necrovalley, Artifact Lancea and Shadow-Imprisoning Mirror are still popular Side Deck cards that stop Thunder Dragons from popping off.

Tier 3

TPC Comments


The strength in the Harpies is their ability to pop multiple backrow with Harpies’ Hunting Ground and the help of Swallow’s Nest, but now with a backrow versions of Onomat existing, with the ability to go first and pop Harpies’ Hunting Ground before setting their own backrow, that’s not always the case. Harpies adapted in the past week by adding Forbidden Chalice to their toolbox, but now they are starting to have to deal with both Digital Bug Rhinosebus and backrow (Which Harpies are not always able to play through).


Harpies fell this week even (although I personally believe them to be Tier 2). Harpies have the room to tech for Onomat with cards like Forbidden Chalice and Fiendish Chain. This deck can still maintain good matchups against lower tier and rogue decks which make them a solid pick right now. The one problem with the deck compared to others is that it lacks a consistency skill as broken as {!Onomotoplay}. The deck can brick just like Thunder Dragons can. When Onomat “bricks” they still end with a board with Digital Bug Rhinosebus (and potentially another Rank 4) or a devastating follow-up if you can’t OTK them. However, if Harpies draw well they can definitely be viable.


Due to its relatively weak conversion rates since the rise of Onomat, Resonators remain in Tier 3 this week. Its engine, while extremely consistent, lacks the power needed to regularly push through opposing boards in this meta. The recent Meta Weekly has seen some Resonator decks bounce back, but its harsh reality of essentially being a weaker version of Onomat is felt. With the right tech choices and a strong pilot, Resonators are expected to continue to perform if the pilot can successfully adapt to this oppressive meta, however, the odds are against it.

Off the Tier List

TPC Comments


When it comes to decks like Fire King and Shiranui, while they are still functionally playable, they fail to maintain relevance in the sea of Onomat variants, while also not having the ability to reliably counter them. Both decks can still pop up within the tournament scene, however they are not expected to perform, warranting demotion.


It was a nice try. In theory the deck isn’t even bad. Having a tpm of floaters, negation in form of Fire King Avatar Arvata which could work against Onomat if it would not be too slow in establishing those resources. If the deck could go second every time with something like Onslaught of the Fire Kings, Aleister the Invoker and backrow hate it would have absolutely no issues dealing with Onomat. But unfortunately just like many other decks, Fire King does not have a consistency Skill, and as such, one asks the question if there is a reason to run Fire King if one can just run Onomat, which is more consistent, can be just as explosive, and even controlish if needed. As such FIre King is being removed from the Tier List


Is there really a reason to play Shiranui over heavy-backrow Onomat decks? I can’t really justify picking Endless Trap Hell over {!Onomotoplay}, it’s just way less consistent. For this reason we have demoted Shiranui back off the Tier List.


While in theory “Set 3 Pass” is good against Onomat there are some issues in that matchup. If Onomat goes first they will summon Constellar Ptolemy M7 and bounce back a Gagaga Sister for next turn. On first glance that board does not sound intimidating but M7 is a huge issue to deal with. Once Shiranui summons Samurai Skull or Gozuki and mills Shiranui Spectralsword, Constellar Ptolemy M7 can just return it to the Hand from the GY. That sets back Shiranui another turn back in which they cannot put up pressure. On top of that, the returned Sister can return Gagagabolt or Gagagawind and force backrow even easier. The heavier Gagaga Head version of Onomat especially summons a lot of Rank 6 Xyz Monsters which are naturally bigger than all the Level 6 Synchros Shiranui can summon if they ever hit the field. This version of Onomat is just a better version of Shiranui, with a bigger toolbox and better consistency.

As such, it is just like the other decks without Onomat’s consistency: Onomat can just fullfill its role in the metagame. With that, Shiranui is getting removed from the Tier List.


Shiranui is off the Tier List due its playstyle not being able to keep up with the current meta and there existing other decks that do it better. Summoning Samurai Skull with 3 Sets isn’t a strong opening against the popular decks, as some of them are even running Forbidden Lance.

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Tier List update written by Jadehex.

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