Tier List Update - November 12

Top Player Council Thoughts

With the arrival of the box Blackstorm Rising, we have two new additions to High Potential: Bujins and Dragunities. The rest of the meta continues to slowly shift as we head towards MCS XIII this weekend.

The official Duel Links Meta format has returned to 1 deck + 5-card side and the Tier List is applicable only for that format. However, before every KC cup the Top Player Council will do a special “KC Cup edition” Tier List that will be a prediction of the meta at the top of the KC Cup.

Tier 1

After a brief stint in Tier 2, Vampires have risen back to Tier 1. The reason for their demotion was a bad match-up with the other Tier 1 deck, Masked Heroes. Destiny HERO - Drilldark's pierce effect combined with Destiny HERO - Celestial's ability to destroy Vampire Kingdom or Vampire's Domain put a lot of early pressure on Vampire players and left little room for comeback plays. However, many Vampire players have found success by going beyond 20 cards with additional helpful defensive traps (like Widespread Ruin and Drowning Mirror Force), while not hurting the consistency of the deck. In addition, Vampires' excellent versatility and recovery continue to make it a popular choice for all competitive events and keep it a step above the Tier 2 decks.

Masked Heroes remain in Tier 1. Backrow hate like Galaxy Cyclone and Xing Zhen Hu has become mandatory to deal with hard counters like Banish Control.

TPC Comments:


The two best decks. They have answers to the rest of the meta, forcing many decks to play defensive cards which hurt their consistency. These two decks have both defensive plays and very strong offensive plays.


Vampires do extremely well in a side format, having such a consistent and strong core with few tech slots, they can easily utilize their 5-card side to focus on and improve their most difficult match ups. Hey, Trunade! allows the deck to easily OTK, returning all backrow and then having frontrow removal with Vampire Grace + Vampire Kingdom. Heroes continue to do well in both formats, being overwhelmingly powerful and too fast for some decks. Games are usually ended swiftly with a Mask Change play, especially after returning, or locking, the opponents backrow with either Trunade or Xing Zhen Hu.


Heroes remain in Tier 1 due to a highly adaptable backrow lineup that only gets better with running Balance in side-deck format, allowing you an increased chance to start with your side-deck cards, particularly if you sided in multiples of the same card.

Tier 2

Blue-Eyes has remained in Tier 2, laregely thanks to a very good Masked Hero match-up. Tech cards like Forbidden Chalice are becoming popular to help interrupt faster decks like Vampires, and Breaker the Magical Warrior/Destructotron is being used at 2-3x in top-tier Blue-Eyes decks to clear the way for easy OTKs.

TPC Comments:

Luke Tyler:

Blue-Eyes keeps its rank of Tier 2 by being the aggressive powerhouse of the format, while also being able to manage its card advantage effectively. The deck continues to perform well in tournaments; as such, demotion would be unnecessary.


Blue-Eyes continues to see a good amount of play and can be a very difficult deck to deal with, even for fast, aggresive decks like Heroes & Vampires. First turn 3100 ATK Cosmo Brain with techs like Destructotron, or in some builds Psychic Ace, can really help take board advantage and clear out any threatening cards your opponent controls. The high attack power often leaves your opponent reliant on backrow cards to get over your monsters, and the Dragon Spirit of White backrow removal spam can usally prevent that.


Blue-Eyes exists as a strong Tier 2 contender with its worst match-up being its own potential bricks. Though this deck can more often than not put out a 3k+ ATK beater on turn 1, on the instances where it’s unable to, it has very few other plays available. When the deck gets going though, it’s a freight train of 3k ATK beaters that’s very hard for most other decks in the meta to stop.

Tier 3

Banish Control has been promoted to Tier 3 after a very successful week in High Potential. An extremely difficult match-up for both Masked Heroes and Spellbooks, Banish Control has taken over as the best-performing "cancer" deck that impedes its opponent's ability to make any strong plays. Side-decking can hurt this deck a lot, however, and it may be difficult for Banish Control to rise above Tier 3.

Buster Blader has also been promoted to the Tier List after continuing to be a relevant tournament presence. Sitting on DNA Surgery with Buster Blader, the Dragon Destroyer Swordsman is extremely oppressive and many decks struggle to break that kind of board. Consistency remains a concern for the deck, but Buster Blader decks should no longer be ignored when preparing for a competitive event.

Spellbooks have been demoted to Tier 3. In side-deck formats Spellbooks can struggle from an inability to side well (thanks to such a large core) and are extremely susceptible to common side-deck cards like DNA Surgery.

TPC Comments:


Buster Blader can beat Blue-Eyes and Spellbooks but have a 30/70 match-up against the Tier 1 decks. Banish control does well vs Heroes, Spellbooks, and sometimes Blue-Eyes but struggles against all backrow removal, especially Vampires. The cards are at best trading 1-for-1 and the deck must draw Amazoness Princess and traps in the right order to do well.


Buster Blader has the most unfair advantage state of any other deck on the Tier List. If people don’t respect it more in deck building I could see it rising even higher. To me it is the second best deck behind Heroes.


Buster Blader with the use of DNA Surgery is almost impossible for any deck in the meta to deal with. Balance gives this deck an extremely high chance of opening with its key cards such as Dragon Whelp of the Destruction Swordsman or DNA. The Buster fusion with DNA on the field can really abuse decks like Vampires or even Heroes since they have very low defense. It also prevents their effects from being used, so it can counter plays from Vampire Vamp or Grace, for example.


I voted Spellbooks Tier 3 due to the side-deck format. A lot of Hero players switching their skill to Sealed Tombs also makes the match-up a lot tougher. (Balance Hero is ez clap for Books).


Busted Blader showed that it may have been a sleeper deck from the last minibox after a recent win in a large tournament. With a decrease in the number of decks running 3x Cosmic Cyclone, and a general increase in the value of being able to run DNA Surgery, this deck proves tricky to deal with unless the opponent is properly prepared for it.

Spellbooks are Tier 3 due to being a deck that’s easy to side against and having many of the weaknesses we’ve all known about for months now. The deck still needs Silent Magician earlier rather than later to survive, and it’s an uphill battle to deal with a heavy amount of anything (whether it be heavy backrow or large monster swarms).

Banish Control moves to Tier 3 due to strong matchups against a lot of the meta. Without bricking or the opponent drawing an early Hey, Trunade! this deck can quickly become a nightmare for most other meta decks to deal with. Having such a large variety of backrow makes it tricky to play around the correct cards without falling into the wrong ones. In addition, an Amazoness engine in the deck allows for increased offensive abilities, further pressuring the opponent to make a move sooner rather than later or risk being beaten down.

High Potential

Thanks to the box Blackstorm Rising we have two new High Potential decks.

Bujins have been moved to High Potential exclusively on the back of Bujingi Crane, a ridiculously strong addition to the deck that makes any battle with a Beast-Warrior Bujin much scarier (and alleviates their previous weakness to Wall of Disruption by resetting ATK stats). Bujins can struggle with backrow like Paleozoic Canadia, the Sealed Tombs skill, and side cards like DNA Surgery, so it will be interesting to see how they adapt to deal with these counters.

Dragunity has also been moved to High Potential as perhaps the best Synchro deck to date. Dragunity Knight - Vajrayana when equipped with Dragunity Aklys is an OTK machine, and Dragunity Knight - Gae Bulg is a similarly potent offensive threat, usually being able to get to 3700 ATK on either player’s turn. Unfortunately Dragunity is similarly weak to Canadia, as committing an Akyls, Dragunity Dux, and Dragunity Divine Lance in an attempt to pull out Dragunity Phalanx to make Vajrayana can be stopped by a single Canadia for a 3-card loss. Hey, Trunade! has therefore become a staple card in Dragunity almost immediately, and the deck may trend towards becoming a pure OTK deck.

TPC Comments:

Luke Tyler:

Bujin: Crane does so much for the deck. The deck’s performance is subject to what trap cards are popular and how common DNA Surgery is in the side deck.

Dragunity: A deck that has multiple powerhouse plays but is very sensitive to disruption. The expectations for this deck are not too high but the potential to do well is definitely there.


Dragunity seems decent but I expect it to fall off HP after a week. Bujins however might make their way into Tier 3 on the next update. I will be pushing for that for sure.


Bujins will have to adapt around DNA Surgery being an increasingly prominent side-deck card, however if they can do this then they remain a very tough-to-deal-with deck for many other meta decks. The fact that a majority of their monster-based “backrow-like” effects are able to sit safely in the hand or mostly-safely in the grave gives them a unique advantage due to decks typically having to run backrow cards that deal with things on the field. Bujins’ other large weakness will be struggling to swarm and suffering against non-battle monster removal. Where this deck will fall onto the Tier List remains unsure, however it will more than likely make its way onto the list somewhere.


Gladiator Beasts have been removed from the Tier List. Their best match-up in Spellbooks is becoming less common, and the reliance on a successful battle means that Widespread Ruin is a huge weakness. If Gladiator Beasts are allowed to get rolling on top of strong protection, they are undoubtedly a threat to most decks. Unfortunately they can often be disrupted before reaching this state, and have extremely poor recovery from a broken field.

TPC Comments:


Gladiators’ best match up was Spellbooks, having an easy out to Silent Magician LV8 with Gladiator Beast Murmillo. However, with SB also falling off, this deck has no good match ups. Many of the top decks have easy ways to remove backrow and GBs too heavily depend on their backrow to protect and make plays off tagging their monsters in and out.

This week we have the Meta Weekly on 11/14 at 7pm EST, MCS XIII on 11/17 at 1pm EST, and other community events throughout the week. Expect the results of these events – MCS XIII especially – to have a strong influence on the Tier List.

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 superforms.

Loading comments…