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The best Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel decks for every summoning type

This is just a Tribute.

Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel is a game not lacking in playing options. The game’s vast array of monster types, playing styles and summoning choices spread across an assemblage of over 10,000 unique cards is a dazzling display of Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel’s player freedoms. With this amount of freedom, however, comes caveats. With so many options, it can be difficult for new and existing players to find the best Master Duel decks for every summoning type.

Best Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel Decks by Summoning Type

This list comprises the best Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel decks for every summoning type, from Pendulum to Fusion, Link to Ritual. For the purposes of this list, the featured deck will be one where the core effect engine focuses on one specific summoning type. Often, the best meta decks in Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel mix and match different summoning styles - hence why they exist on a different list.


The Best Fusion Summon Deck in Master Duel: Despia Shaddoll

Puppets with teeth

The counter-play and crowd control of Depia Shaddoll builds make them some of the best Fusion summoning decks in Master Duel.Image: Konami

Fusion summoning is one of the original summoning types dating back to the early inception of Yu-Gi-Oh! The original idea was that a player uses two cards as tribute to summon a more powerful monster that is a combination of the tributed cards, using a spell card such as Polymerization to achieve this goal. As the game has evolved, Fusion summoning has had to become more adaptable to keep up with other summoning types that do not require a spell component to achieve their goal. Depia Shaddoll decks are one of the most successful at this in Master Duel, thanks to their counter-play and crowd control abilities.

The Fusion spell itself, Shaddoll Fusion, is adaptable in that if an opponent has summoned a monster from their extra deck, you can use a monster from your deck as well as hand and field as tribute. This all but guarantees that you will be able to summon the monster you want when you want it. Make sure to start by utilising the flip effects on cards like Shaddoll Dragon, which allows you to return an opponent’s card back to their hand. This can negate a deadly attack or remove an imposing spell quickly and effectively.

Join Wheels as he plays Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel for the first time

Fusion monsters such as El Shaddoll Winda are excellent at controlling the field, as when the card is face-up either player can only special summon once per turn. This is excellent in dealing with decks that rely on repeat summoning like Salamangreat. El Shaddoll Apkallone can fully negate the effect of a monster on the field when summoned, whilst El Shaddoll Construct will allow you to move one of your monsters to the GY - which sounds useless until you realise that the Shaddoll cards have GY effects ranging from drawing more cards to destroying spells and traps your opponent controls.

With Despia Shaddoll monsters already able to control the flow of the game, pairing them with disruptive traps like Infinite Impermanence, which can negate the effect of a monster as well as the spell/trap on the same column as said monster, as well as classic disturbance spells like Lightning Storm and Harpy’s Feather Duster, means that soon your opponents will be left with very few options against you.


The Best Ritual Summon Deck in Master Duel: Blue-Eyes Chaos MAX Dragon

Big Blue Dragon

The iconic Blue-Eyes White Dragon makes an appearance, but it's Blue-Eyes Chaos MAX Dragon that drives the game-winning ability of this Ritual deck in Master Duel. Image: Konami

Ritual summoning, another early summoning technique, is very similar to Fusion. But rather than needing two specific monsters or specific conditions to summon, you need to tribute enough monsters to match the desired monster’s level. So, for example, if you’re looking to ritual summon Magician of Black Chaos, you need the spell card Black Magic Ritual and tribute monsters that equal that card’s level of 8.

When it comes to the best Ritual deck in Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel, the undisputed king is Drytron and the Herald of Ultimateness that bosses that deck. Details on that deck can be found in our list of the best meta decks for Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel, so instead let's go with an iconic deck - and no deck is more iconic than a Blue-Eyes deck.

The goal here is super simple: get as many Blue-Eyes White Dragons on the field as possible to ritual summon Blue-Eyes Chaos MAX Dragon. Getting Blue-Eyes White Dragon on the field is simple. Bait your opponent into destroying weak cards like The White Stone of the Ancients and The White Stone of Legend. This will allow you to fetch and special summon Blue-Eyes straight away. To be able to ritual summon Blue-Eyes Chaos MAX Dragon, you’ll need a Blue-Eyes in the GY. The spell One for One will help with this. Once there is a Blue-Eyes on the field and in the GY, you can summon Blue-Eyes Chaos MAX Dragon with the Chaos From spell card. This version of Blue-Eyes is grand in its ruthlessness - it can’t be targeted or destroyed by card effects and has 4000 attack. Using a spell like Return of the Dragon Lords will bring back one of the tributed Blue-Eyes White Dragons and suddenly you have over 7000 attack power on the field.

Blue-Eyes Chaos MAX Dragon is a bit of a blunt instrument in an increasingly elegant effect-based meta. But there isn’t a greater feeling than cackling like Seto Kaiba whilst your almighty dragons destroy your opponent's fourth-rate deck.


The Best Synchro Summon Deck in Master Duel: Swordsoul Tenyi

Tuner salad

The best Synchro decks in Master Duel can summon monsters at a blistering speed. Image: Konami

Synchro summoning takes the idea of level-based tributes from Ritual summoning but removes the spell card requirement. Instead, as long as one of the tributed cards is defined as “tuner”, you can synchro summon a monster of your choosing. Removing the spell card requirements that often plague Fusion and Ritual decks allows for a much more focused deck based around monster effects versus fetching required spell cards. What makes Swordsoul Tenyi decks especially devastating is their ability to generate “tuner” monsters through card effects.

The deck is already stuffed with valuable tuner monsters like Tenyi Spirit - Adhara, which can be special summoned provided you currently control no effect monsters, and the much maligned Ash Blossom & The Joyous Spring, but the real fun begins when you summon key monsters such as Swordsoul of Mo Ye. With this monster, as long as you can reveal another Swordsoul or Wyrm monster in your hand, you can instantly summon one “Swordsoul Token”. Tokens act like monsters on the field but do not exist within your deck; when they are destroyed or tributed, they simply disappear. This particular token is a level 4 “tuner”. Therefore, just by summoning Swordsoul of Mo Ye, you have organically generated the required tributes to synchro summon the brutish Draco, Berserker of the Tenyi, which once per turn will just straight up banish an enemy monster if it tries to use its effect.

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There are myriad playing choices you can take from here, but we would recommend starting to banish your own cards using spells like Called by the Grave (an excellent Ash Blossom counter also) and Crossout Designator in aid of powering up the recently added Swordsoul Supreme Sovereign - Chengying, which will gain 100 attack on top of its base 3000 and weaken opponent monsters by 100 attack per banished card.

Swordsoul Tenyi decks can be devastating in the speed they take to summon their most effective monsters. Alongside being very powerful, Swordsoul Tenyi is far simpler than other Synchro decks like Adamancipator thanks to keeping its core focus on Synchro summoning.


The Best Xyz Summon Deck in Master Duel: Numeron

Gate together strong

Numeron isn't just a fantastuc Xyz deck in Master Duel, it's also fairly cheap to put together. Image: Konami

Xyz decks (pronounced ek-seez) are unique in that whereas all other summoning techniques require the tributed cards being sent to the GY, monsters for Xyz summons attach to the new monster. This means that for monsters to use their card effects, they need to remove an attached card. The payoff is that you might be able to activate a powerful effect more than once per turn, but once the Xyz monster is out of attached monsters, it cannot use effects at all. Well, this is how it normally goes. Numeron decks are different.

The idea with Numeron decks is to destroy your opponent in one or two turns. Doing this is shockingly easy. First, aim to go second in the turn order as this will allow you to attack your turn. The key is getting the field spell Numeron Network into play. Monsters like Planet Pathfinder and spells such as Terraforming can do this easily. Numeron Network allows you to send a Numeron spell card from your deck to the GY and activate it. In this case, Numeron Calling. This card allows you to special summon four Numeron Gate monsters from your special deck. These will be the tetralogy of Number 1: Numeron Gate Ekam, Number 2: Numeron Gate Dve, Number 3: Numeron Gate Trini and Number 4: Numeron Gate Catvari. Then it's time to attack.

Numeron Gate cards cannot be destroyed in battle, so you should hit whatever is in front of you even if you take LP damage. Every time a Numeron Gate card attacks, you can double all other Numeron Gate cards’ attack power. Normally, you would need to remove an attached card to use this effect. However, because all four were summoned via Numeron Calling, that requirement is removed. The trade-off is that the cards are all banished at the end of the turn - but that won’t matter because by the fourth attack you’re up to 8000 attack and that’s usually enough to win outright.

If for some reason this doesn’t work, you can tribute Number 1: Numeron Gate Ekam in Main Phase 2 to xyz summon Number C1: Numeron Chaos Gate Sunya. This will then banish all monsters on the field. On your next turn, as long as Numeron Network is still in play, you can bring Number C1: Numeron Chaos Gate Sunya back, inflicting the combined attack of all banished Xyz cards to your opponent's LP.

Numeron decks are easy to pull off, cheap to assemble and extremely effective. A shining example of the flexibility of Xyz summoning as well as an effective budget deck for Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel.


The Best Pendulum Summon Deck in Master Duel: Pendulum Magician

That one It’s Always Sunny meme with the corkboard

Pendulum summoning is one of the most complicated parts of Yu-Gi-Oh! to learn but comes with the potential for some seriously powerful Pendulum decks in Master Duel. Image: Konami

With Pendulum summoning, Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel displays in all its glory just how complicated this trading card game can be. The base mechanics of Pendulum monsters are that they can act both as standard monsters as well as spell cards. Each card has a numerical value between 1 and 9. When placed at either end of the spell/trap zone, the numerical values act as a gateway to summon as many monsters as you have available whose level fits between the Pendulum monster’s numerical value. So if on the left-hand side you place a Pendulum monster with a value of 4 and on the right a value of 8, you can pendulum summon as many monsters in your hand and face-up extra deck that fit between levels 4 and 8

For decks like Deskbots, this is simple enough and is a great way of stacking the field with monsters. But the very best Pendulum decks in Master Duel, such as Pendulum Magician, throw additional effects on top of this base mechanic - such as the ability to sacrifice and replay monsters to gain the materials needed to dismantle the enemy and employ other summoning techniques to win the game.

The only way to really explain this is by running through an example turn. Starting off with placing the Pendulum monsters Black Fang Magician and Wisdom Eye Magician in the spell/trap zone will already give you the ability to pendulum summon monsters between levels 5 and 8. But we don’t want to do that. Instead, we want to destroy Wisdom Eye so we can fetch a different card: Oafdragon Magician. The destroyed card doesn’t go to our GY, however - it instead goes to our Extra Deck face-up, thus creating the extremely rare face-up Extra Deck. Because a card has been destroyed we can special summon Chronograph Sorcerer (if in hand) and an additional card in hand - in this example, Performapal Odd-Eyes Synchron. We will then have the requirements to link summon Heavymetalfoes Electrumite.

An example of a powerful Master Duel Pendulum deck in action

This monster’s effect allows us to fetch a Pendulum monster from our deck and place it face-up in the Extra Deck (like the previously destroyed Wisdom Eye). We can then use another of Electrumite’s effects to destroy one of our own pendulums; this time, Black Fang to add the previously fetched Pendulum monster to our hand, such as Performapal Skullcrobat Joker. Because a monster was destroyed, the third effect of Electrumite lets us draw a card. We then normal summon Skullcrobat so that we can use its fetch effect to add Double Iris Magician to our hand. Placing Double Iris into the spell/trap zone triggers Oafdragon’s effect which allows us to take another card from our face-up extra deck to our hand, bringing back Black Fang. We then actually use the Pendulum summoning mechanic to summon Wisdom Eye and Chronograph from our face-up Extra Deck and Black Fang from our hand, alongside anything else useful in-hand like a “tuner” monster. Congratulations: you are about one-third of the way through your turn. By the end of this turn you will have Fusion summoned, Synchro summoned, Xyz summoned and have a field filled with monsters that can pretty much shut down anything your opponent would want to do.

Pendulum summoning is the most complicated mechanic in the game. Pendulum Magician decks are the most complicated in the game. These decks are not for the faint-hearted. You need to invest serious time and resources into acquiring and understanding each possible permutation to this strategy. If you manage this, however, you will not only possess an extremely powerful Master Duel deck, but you will have a much greater understanding of how the game as a whole functions.


One Link to rule them all

The infamous Salamangreat cards make an appearance in the best Link summoning decks in Master Duel, yet it's Accesscode Talker that will deal the killing blow. Image: Konami

Link summoning is the most recent addition to the summoning pantheon of Yu-Gi-Oh! and shares similarities with most other summoning techniques. The desired Link monster will need certain monster requirements met as tribute and then you can summon the new monster. What is unique about Link monsters is that they only have attack power and cannot be placed in defence. They also have arrows pointing off each corner of the card. These arrows point at different positions on the board and can allow for some interesting card effects. Ultimately though, the best Link monsters are stacked full of effects. In the case of the Salamangreat deck, these abilities include being able to recycle themselves as tribute cards to eventually allow one of the most powerful cards currently in the game to run roughshod over your opponent.

The overall game plan with Salamangreat decks is to summon and tribute enough Link monsters to eventually summon Accesscode Talker. For Accesscode Talker to be truly effective, the monster needs plenty of Link monsters in the GY as Accesscode Talker will be banishing them in exchange for destroying an opponent monster. As the number of Link monsters sitting in the GY will need to be quite high, recycling effect monsters to be able to link summon monsters that will in turn be tributed is absolutely key. This deck is stacked with monsters that can do this, such as Salamangreat Gazelle, which can be special summoned if there is a Salamangreat monster already in the GY and can then send one Salamangreat card from your deck directly to the GY. Which doesn’t sound great, but when Gazelle is tributed alongside any other Fire monster to summon Salamangreat Sunlight Wolf, this new Link card can pull one Fire monster from the GY to your hand allowing the chain to continue. Pair these Link monsters with spells such as Salamangreat Sanctuary, which allows the tribute cost of a link summoned Salamangreat to be just one other link summoned Salamangreat, and soon you will have filled your GY with the cards needed to make Accesscode Talker a behemoth.

Much like Pendulum Magician, Salamangreat decks are complicated and chock-full of card combinations and techniques that have to be mastered before you can play them effectively. However, once you do master them, these decks have the capability to completely dismantle even the strongest decks in Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel.

About the Author

Michael Leopold Weber avatar

Michael Leopold Weber

Contributor

Michael has always had an obsession with traditional games. This has reached a new peak with his pursuit of Shogi fame (which is going terribly) in his current home of Okayama City, Japan. When he isn't concocting the next great tactical manoeuvre, he can be found eating copious amounts of baked goods and slowly atrophying under his kotatsu. Michael also has an inexplicable need to carry a Professor Rowan Pokémon card on his person at all times (just in case).

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