Tier List Update - November 20

Top Player Council Thoughts

Less than a week away from the November KC cup, this Tier List update will be focused specifically on the KC cup format with best-of-1 duels on the ladder.

Tier 1

The best decks for the KC cup, expected to dominate the low DP range early and remain strong picks higher up even after counter-pick strategies take hold.

Blue-Eyes has been promoted to Tier 1, in part due to a great performance by BlackJesus who used them to win MCS XIII, but also because their power, consistency, and speed are very valuable for grind events like KC cups. An excellent match-up against Masked Heroes is a strong point as well, especially with Heroes likely being one of the most popular decks of the event.

Masked Heroes have remained in Tier 1 as a consistently reliable choice for KC cups. Pilots of Hero decks have used them to get Top 10 rankings in April/June, and multiple Top 100 rankings in August. Hero decks can be built successfully in multiple different ways: with Balance for maximum consistency, Sealed Tombs for help against Vampire and Blue-Eyes decks, or even The Tie that Binds for a boost in the mirror match. No matter how they’re built, however, Heroes are always good for at least a few free games with an opening hand of multiple Mask Change.

Vampires are the third and final Tier 1 deck going into the KC cup, although they are expected to be less played than Blue-Eyes and Heroes. Vampires’ typical turn 1 set-up with Gozuki/Samurai Skull + Vampire Retainer + Vampire Takeover with another Vampire in the grave leaves them liable to get OTK’d on turn 2 by Masked Heroes. Top-performing Vampire players will have to be very clever and adaptable with their card/skill choices – do you want to use Sealed Tombs for mirror matches (where Enemy Controller is most useful), Blue-Eyes, and Spellbooks? Bandit and Hey, Trunade! for backrow-heavy decks that might otherwise give you trouble? Even Destiny Draw is a very strong option, giving you access to game-ending cards like ECon or Trunade almost at will.

TPC Comments:


Heroes tier 1, hope you were sitting down when you read that one. BEWD and Vampires also have just as much ability to compete as Heroes do in a best-of-1 format like the KC cup. There’s a clear triangle here of which deck counters which and one may end up being a stronger choice than the other two depending on what the KC cup meta ends up looking like, but right now it’s just too up in the air to say that any of these 3 will be better than the others, they’ll likely all top.


Heroes have and always will be one of the best decks to run in the KC cup. Even without Polymerization, the deck still has huge OTK potential with the right build. Vampires also have amazing OTK potential and can often win games by turn 4 or sooner with a Hey, Trunade! play into Vampire Grace/Vampire Kingdom removal. Blue-Eyes will also be a great KC cup deck that can be very overwhelming. Although OTK potential is not as high as the other Tier 1 decks, it can often put 2-3 big bodies on the board by turn 2/3 and remove backrow with Dragon Spirit of White to go for quick games. It may not always win games as fast as Heroes or Vampires, but it for sure will have great consistency in the KC format.


Heroes provide fast and easy wins against a variety of matchups. Vampires will be the Spellbook and BEWD counters in the KC cup; expect to see them widely played. BEWD is another OTK deck that will be used to counter Heroes and stack up wins.

Tier 2

Spellbooks have been promoted to Tier 2 for the KC cup. In addition to performing better in the best-of-1 format (instead of tournament formats where they can be countered by DNA Surgery, Sealed Tombs, heavy backrow, etc.), Spellbooks also thrive on the ladder because they demand that your opponent play well to beat you. This is a deck that can force your opponent to play a grind game with you, battling for the upper hand in resource management. During long, exhausting events like the KC cup, your opponents are more likely to misplay in drawn-out games with a lot of back-and-forth. The flip side to this, however, is that your own technical play needs to stay at a very high level in order for you to get the most out of a deck like Spellbooks.

TPC Comments:


In a best-of-1 format with no side deck, Books will be a very strong “slow but steady” option to grind your way through the Tier 1 decks of the event.


Spellbooks is a slow and steady, but very strong KC cup deck that can steal wins from the top performing decks by negating their key spell cards with Silent Magician and removing other key cards with Spellbook of Fate. This deck may not allow you to net wins as fast as the Tier 1 decks; however, it is for sure capable of having a good win percentage and/or maintaining a high score.


Books are a very good deck to use for KC cup grinding. Expect to see a lot of Sealed Tombs though in the higher levels.

Tier 3

Banish Control

Banish Control and Buster Blader have both remained in Tier 3 for the KC cup. Both of these decks benefit from the lack of side-decks on the ladder, making hard counters like Xing Zhen Hu and counter-sided DNA Surgery less popular. Banish control is designed to do extremely well against Masked Heroes but can also pull out wins against Vampires without Trunade, or even a Blue-Eyes deck that opens poorly. Buster Blader meanwhile can dominate Blue-Eyes decks with a single Buster Blader, the Dragon Destroyer Swordsman but needs the extra combo piece in DNA Surgery against every other deck on the ladder. Neither of these decks should be ignored when preparing for the KC cup, but neither should they be the main focus of your strategy.

TPC Comments:


Buster Blader has been making waves more and more recently. Having a board of DNA Surgery and Buster Blader, the Dragon Destroyer Swordsman is ridiculous to deal with. Add a Xing Zhen Hu locking your backrow and it’s looking bleak for the opponent. With the rise of Blue-Eyes will also be the rise in strength of this deck. Blue Eyes better tech out!


Buster Blader can reliably counter BEWD and can win almost any other matchup when it draws its “Exodia” combo, making it a powerful rogue pick. Banish control will be another option to try and slowly grind through the higher tiered decks, however due to its extremely long duels I would expect it to have low overall representation.


Buster Blader and Banish control are oddly slow and will most likey not be anywhere near as popular as the other tiered decks for KC cup, though these decks can be good “meta counter” decks when a specific archetype(s) become increasingly popular and start topping the event.


Although they will be judged next week on their tournament viability, for this week both Bujins and Dragunity have been removed from High Potential. Dragunity likely has more potential for the KC cup, having access to multiple OTK plays through Beatdown + Dragunity Knight - Vajrayana or Dragunity Knight - Gae Bulg after a Hey, Trunade!, but the deck can struggle without drawing into a starter like Dragunity Dux. Meanwhile Bujins have seen a decent amount of play in side-deck events since their release, somewhat struggling to deal with side-decked DNA Surgery and main-decked Paleozoic Canadia. Overall Bujins are a fairly straightforward deck that can run easily through unprepared decks, but which struggle against many common kinds of disruption. On the ladder especially, having no OTK ability, playing without their side-deck answers for Spellbooks, and being generally unable to out-grind a Stall/Banish control deck, Bujins can be very frustrating to play and are not recommended for making a serious push in the KC cup (at least, not at low DP).

TPC Comments:


Especially for KC cup format I wouldn’t completely count either of these decks out, however both struggle with consistency as well as get hard countered by Paleozoic Canadia, a card I would expect to be very popular this time around.


Dragunity may do well in KC cup due to its high OTK potential, especially while running 2 copies of Trunade, however going first can often be an issue for this deck.

Bujins will not do so great in KC cup where Sealed Tomb decks, and some Spellbook decks, will be very active. They also do poorly versus the Tier 3 decks; for example, Buster hard-countering with 3 DNA in their main deck.

This week we have the Meta Weekly on 11/20 at 2:30pm EST and other community events throughout the week. The KC cup begins on Friday 11/22 at midnight EST. Expect the results of these events to have a strong influence on the Tier List.

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Tier List update written by superforms.

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