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5 best Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel decks 2024

Crown duels.

Image credit: Konami

As Yu-Gi-Oh! continues its 25th-anniversary celebrations into 2024, the Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel meta continues to shift and flow as Konami adds more card types and deck engines into the game. With so many different types of decks out there to play, from classics made famous through the anime to vastly complex and technical decks, discovering the best Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel decks in 2024 can be intimidating.

Best Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel decks 2024

Throughout the last year, though plenty of new card types have been added, we need to look at what has been restricted or banned instead to understand the Master Duel meta. Staple cards for many decks like There Can Only Be One and Pot of Duality have seen heavy restrictions. Most notably, Terraforming and Card of Demise among others have been banned entirely. This alongside other heavy card restrictions has made a lot of previous top meta decks like Runick and Floowandereeze much less viable.

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If you are looking to make your way up to Master Rank in Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel, or simply looking for new ways to torment your friends and enemies that still insist on playing Blue-Eyes White Dragon, the best Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel decks in 2024 will be sure to show you the heart of the cards.

1. Purrely

These kitties got claws

Purrely might look cute, but its Master Duel deck can steamroll opponents by boosting monsters' attack power with attached quick-play spells. | Image credit: Konami

With all the heavy-metal designs floating around Yu-Gi-Oh! as a whole, it is always a delight when the game’s artists embrace its cute side. Purrely, with their cosmic kitten aesthetic and generally high levels of adorableness are up there with some of the cutest card designs ever introduced to the game. But don’t let their fluffiness fool you; a Purrely deck is vicious when it needs to be, and offers one of the most unique deck engines in the entirety of Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel.

With Purrely you’re going to want to do two things as soon as possible: farm for Purrely-themed spells such as My Friend Purrely and Stray Purrely Street, to get as many of the quick-play spells in hand as possible, and use the effects of the base monsters Purrely and Purrelyly to quickly Xyz summon key monsters such as Epurrely Beauty, Happiness and Plump. Once the Xyz monsters are in play, this is where things get very interesting.

You see, Purrely Xyz monsters are unique in that, thrice per turn, you can attach a quick-play spell that would typically be resigned to the graveyard after use as a material to said monster. When attached to a monster, this will give that monster additional benefits. For example, Purrely Delicious Memory will grant the additional bonus of an added 300 ATK/DEF for each card attached to said monster alongside the spell's standard effect. But that’s not all. For each Purrely Xyz monster, there is a corresponding quick-play spell that will grant an additional bonus when attached to its partner. So, if you were to attach that Delicious Memory to Epurrely Plump, that monster would gain an additional, unique bonus of being able to target two spells in the graveyard to attach to Plump (increasing ATK/DEF by an additional 600) and banishing an opponent’s monster till the End Phase.

The combinations and plays go on from there, making Purrely one of the more fascinating engines existing in Yu-Gi-Oh! today. Though there are simple hard counters that can be deployed such as any hand trap like Droll & Lock Bird that’ll restrict player summoning and render a lot of a Purrely players turn redundant, the combination plays on offer here are too irresistible to ignore.

2. Labrynth

Haunted furniture

Labrynth lives up to its name by locking your opponent into a chain of traps and monster effects. | Image credit: Konami

Labrynth is another example of a deck engine loop that works so uniquely within itself that it’s hard to imagine how you could incorporate other tactics within it. However, this loop is not only relatively simple to achieve for new and existing players alike - especially compared to other decks within Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel that feel like you would need a bachelor’s degree to fully understand - but it provides that sweet sweet sense of villainy that Runick was able to provide within last year's meta.

The key here is to utilise chain links alongside the various Labrynth cards to set and activate traps and monster effects to fundamentally lock your opponent out of their turn. The flexibility of this deck allows you to achieve this goal in myriad ways. For example, Normal summoning Arianna the Labrynth Servant will allow you to fetch Lady Labrynth of the Silver Castle from your deck to your hand. In turn, because you have activated a Labrynth card this turn, you can then immediately Special summon Lady Labrynth without paying a summoning cost. The key is ensuring whatever you do on your turn, you are setting at least one of the key Labrynth traps: Welcome Labrynth and Big Welcome Labrynth. From there, the very moment you can act on your opponent's turn you start triggering the effects of the traps, which will in turn trigger the card-fetching effects of Lady Labrynth and cascade into a whole mess of disruptive play. My personal favourite is the use of Eradicator Epidemic Virus to sacrifice the Lady (which you will be able to fetch back) to destroy all the spells in the player's hand.

With all of this disruption, alongside Lady Labrynth’s impressive 3000 attack power, the Labrynth engine allows players to play disruptively and with cunning, whilst not having to wade through the murky waters of other time-consuming and vastly more complicated decks.

3. Superheavy Samurai

Super heavy learning curve

With Superheavy Samurai Motorbike driving the Master Duel deck with its card effects, Superheavy Samurai can bring out some immensely strong monsters. | Image credit: Konami

With every meta, there will always be a deck engine designed solely to bring out some of the game's ubiquitous powerful cards. Monsters like Baronne de Fluer and Borreload Savage Dragon offer so much in terms of opponent negation, alongside their formidable attack power that they will always appear in the meta in some way. Though the Superheavy Samurai card archetype has existed within Master Duel for a couple of years, the introduction of Superheavy Samurai Motorbike in the early days of 2024 has rocketed these machines right up the meta.

Motorbike’s influence can be felt through its card effects, which can be flexible depending on the job you need the monster to perform. If you need to fetch other Superheavy Samurai cards from your deck, you can offer Motorbike as tribute to do so. You can then use the effect of Superheavy Samurai Scales to retrieve Motorbike from the graveyard and back onto the field of play. This is when you can use Motorbike’s other effect and raise the star level of any monster by two - for example, raising the aforementioned Scales’ level from 4 to 6. Combine that 6-star rating with Motorbike’s 2, in addition to Motorbike being a Tuner monster, and you have all the prerequisites to Synchro summon Borreload Savage Dragon to the field of play.

The play options can go from there, with certain Superheavy Samurai monsters like Wagon, Soulhorns and Soulpiercer all having attach effects and tribute effects that can help fetch and summon more monsters including Baronne and the fearsome Superheavy Samurai Brave Masurawo, alongside the deck utilising Synchro and Link summoning mechanics and you have yourself a very complex series of mechanics. But these colossal machines could provide the lift up the rankings you have been looking for.

4. Mannadium

Synchro-nicisty at its finest

Mannadium may well be the very best Master Duel deck of the moment, thanks to its Synchro summoning potential. | Image credit: Konami

The Mannadium engine is another unique system which resolves its boss monsters around cards that aren’t within its archetype. By the end of a turn, monsters like Baronne de Fleur, Chaos Angel and Bystial Dis Pater will provide the negation powers essential for any Master Duel meta deck. However, the introduction of key cards throughout 2023 and early 2024 has propelled Mannadium up the charts to become the Master Duel deck to beat.

Though Synchro summoning is the key mechanic being deployed throughout this deck, the main objective is to make sure you can fetch Visas Starfrost, as many of the core elements to this deck revolve around this monster being in hand, in play and subsequently in the graveyard. The recent additions of Mannadium Trisukta and Visas Amritara have made it even easier to achieve this, as their Synchro tribute costs (6 stars and 8 stars respectively) are incredibly easy to achieve early in a turn. For example, Normal summoning Mannadium Riumheart gives players the ability to fetch Mannadium Meek from the deck. Because Riumheart is in play, you can immediately summon Meek. As Meek is a 2-star tuner card, you can then Synchro summon Trisukta, which when summoned allows you to target a level 2 tuner in the graveyard and summon, bringing back Meek. Then Synchro again to summon Amritara, which in turn fetches a spell that mentions Visas Starfrost from your deck. This is massive, as Visas Starfrost is the linchpin to the deck engine. This high-level Tuner monster allows the effortless Synchro summoning of the deck’s boss monsters but, to add an even more delicious twist, can be used from the GY to Fusion summon Vicious Astraloud.

Mannadium has quickly established itself as one of the very best Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel decks thanks to its quick and effortless ability to summon some of the game's most powerful and often infuriating monsters.

5. Vanquish Soul

Your hand is your greatest attribute

Vanquish Soul finds its strength in showing your opponent cards in your hand to trigger their effects. | Image credit: Konami

More often than not when playing pretty much any card game, you want to keep the contents of your hand a secret. You don’t want to let your opponent know what options you might be able to deploy on them because this will give them the edge in countering said options. However, with Vanquish Soul, the contents of your hand are key to disrupting your opponent’s plays - and the more you can show them, the more damage you can inflict.

Each card titled Vanquish Soul has a unique ability connected to whatever card attributes you have in your hand. For example, Normal summoning Vanquish Soul Dr. Mad Love will allow you to fetch a Vanquish Soul spell or trap from your deck, but if you also reveal a card from your hand with the Dark attribute, you can make an opponent’s monster lose 500 attack. The variety in which you can deploy Vanquish Souls is nearly endless, but you will want to make sure you Link summon Rock of the Vanquisher at some point within your turn. This will both protect the Vanquish Soul monsters on your field of play from enemy attacks as they will only be able to target the monster with the highest attack in play and, once per turn, allow you to Special summon a Vanquish Soul monster either directly from the GY or hand. This can allow you to summon Vanquish Soul Caesar Valius with its mighty 3000 attack power and ability to protect itself from card effects by relieving a card from hand with the Earth attribute.

Vanquish Soul is yet another unique and fascinating deck engine within Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel, allowing new and existing players to try something completely new whilst dismantling the enemy's play. The Master Duel meta has never been more vibrant and engaging than in 2024 thanks to tactics such as these.

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