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5 best meta decks in Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel

From Adamancipator to Zoodiac.

Choosing between the best Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel meta decks can be a little daunting, as there is so much variety in how a player can build their deck. You could build decks around an iconic card, such as Blue-Eyes White Dragon or Dark Magician, or focus their deck around a specific summoning type like Pendulum or Fusion. They can find a card style they like, maybe something with all-powerful dragons or cutesy fairies.

All of this variety keeps Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel engaging from duel to duel. But like any competitive game, getting to the top of the standings requires an understanding of the Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel meta - the most optimal way to consistently win Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel duels.

Best meta decks in Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel

Sites like Master Duel Meta regularly update their meta decklists, with the most successful players and decks being shared for players to take inspiration from and copy. The issue is that, without fully understanding what these decks are, this is no more than a card list. So, for this guide, we have compiled a list of five of the best meta decks in Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel, giving a breakdown as to what the fundamental function of each deck is.

These decks vary wildly in the types of mechanics they will employ to maximise their effectiveness. Understanding how they work will quickly catapult you into the upper tiers of the game.


1. Eldlich

Immortal Golden Lordship.

Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG Eldlich Golden Lord card image 2
With the ability to quickly bring out its powerful namesake - and keep the card on the field - Eldlich is one of the most popular meta decks in Master Duel at the moment. Image: Konami

Eldlich is a good place to start when discussing Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel’s best meta decks, as it’s currently the quickest and easiest to assemble. This deck hinges around one card: Eldlich the Golden Lord. In fact, it will be the only monster in your deck. The rest of the cards are spells and traps used to either summon Eldlich, such as Eldlixir of Black Awakening and Cursed Eldland; used as a sacrifice for the “Eldlich Loop” or quick-played to shut down your opponent’s turn.

The “Eldlich Loop” is the key to success here. First, sacrifice Eldlich and a held spell/trap to the graveyard (GY) to send an opponent’s card straight to the GY without triggering the “destroyed” condition. Then, sacrifice another held spell/trap to the GY to add Eldlich back to your hand and special summon one zombie card - Eldlich the Golden Lord. When you do this, Eldlich the Golden Lord gains an additional 1000 attack and defence, pushing the card up to 3500 attack.

On top of this, Eldlich the Golden Lord cannot be destroyed by card effects. This means enemies can’t just Raijeki your field - and you in turn can use Torrential Tribute to wipe out all monster fields except Eldlich.

Eldlich is built around a simple, but effective idea. It’s the perfect entry point into understanding Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel’s meta.


2. Adamancipator

Rock, rock, rock, GO!

Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG Adamancipator Risen Dragite card image 2
The Adamancipator meta deck in Master Duel brings out a lot of monsters in very few turns, before summoning its heavyweights. Image: Konami

Adamancipator meta decks in Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel are excellent at quickly and effectively summoning cards to your side of the field. The trick here is to use the three core Adamancipator cards - Seeker, Researcher and Analyzer - to help special summon each other and then subsequently use their effects to excavate the top five cards of the deck, searching for a rock non-tuner card to summon. Using all three in tandem will allow for three opportunities to get the cards needed to Synchro Summon Adamancipator Risen - Dragite.

Dragite is an extremely powerful effect monster that uses a similar mechanic as Seeker, Researcher and Analyzer in excavating the top five cards of the deck in search of rock-type cards. Only, this time, for each rock-type card you find, you can instead remove a card from your opponent’s field.

If this avenue were to fail, the deck is stacked with Link Summon cards like Crystron Halqifibrax to help summon some more monsters: Knightmare Cerberus, Knightmare Phoenix and Knightmare Unicorn to dismantle the enemy field; and Accesscode Talker that can banish previously tributed Link Summons to subsequently banish enemy cards.

Adamancipator is a complex meta deck in Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel. With so many player options, it’s easy to get befuddled when deciding what to do. But learn the cards well and there aren’t many decks Adamancipator can’t beat.


3. Sky Strikers

A supreme anime shutdown.

Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG Sky Striker Ace Kagari card image 2
Sky Strickers lives up to its name, as the meta deck barrages your opponent with mechs. Image: Konami

Don’t let the anime mech-girls fool you - this is not a cute and fun deck like Toon or Fluffal decks. Sky Strikers is vicious and can often be one of the most infuriating meta decks to come up against in Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel. Thankfully for you, it’s also quite easy to assemble thanks to the key cards mostly featuring in just one secret pack: Singular Strike Overflow. (Here’s a reminder on how to unlock secret packs in Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel.)

This is a meta deck built mostly around spell cards and not having monsters in your Main Monster Zone, instead using the Extra Monster Zone in the centre to dominate the flow of the game with Link Summons and spell effects. Using Sky Striker Ace: Raye’s quick effect to special summon a Sky Striker Ace from the Extra Deck (where your link summons live) is the quickest way to chain Link Summons together whilst keeping your Main Monster Zone empty. Offensively, Sky Striker Ace: Hayate’s ability to attack directly is an easy way to chip away at your opponent’s LP, but it’s in its spells that Sky Strikers really excels.

Cards like Sky Striker Maneuver - Jamming Waves! will block opponent spell effects and destroy enemy monsters, provided there are three spells in your GY. Sky Striker Maneuver - Afterburners! will do the same but in reverse order. Then there’s the dreaded Sky Striker Mecha - Widow Anchor, which will negate face-up monster effects and can even steal that monster for the turn.

The final nail in the coffin is using Sky Striker Ace: Kagari to pull a spell from your GY back into your hand, giving near unlimited access to Widow Anchor.


4. Drytron

Ritual summons that require Ultimateness.

Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG Herald of Ultimateness card image 2
Built around a chain of Ritual Summons and the ability to shuw down your opponent's spell and trap effects, Dryton is a Master Duel meta deck to be reckoned with. Image: Konami

Ritual Summons do not often make it up the meta ranks in Yu-Gi-Oh!. Much like fusion summoning, the act of needing a spell card to perform the summon usually leaves too much room for opponent manipulation. However, even considering the vastly complicated steps required to summon its premiere card, Herald of Ultimateness, the benefits of the Drytron meta deck in Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel are just too powerful to ignore.

The key to this deck is the spell card Meteonis Drytron. This is a unique ritual spell card in that it can be used to summon any ritual monster from your hand or graveyard. On top of this, the card can be recalled from the GY by targeting a Drytron card on the field and lowering its attack by 1000.

Getting Herald of Ultimateness onto the field requires a lot of work. The quickest way is to use Diviner of the Herald’s card effect to send Herald of the Arc Light from the Extra Deck to the GY, to level up Diviner from LVL 2 to LVL 6 and then use Arc Light’s effect to pull whichever card you need to ritual summon Cyber Angel Benten. When this card is tributed, you can add one light fairy monster from your deck to your hand - invaluable to Ultimateness’s card effect. Equally, Drytron Alpha Thuban will also trigger Cyber Angel Benten’s tribute mechanic without the need to ritual summon the card first, provided you can get a Drytron on the field with a spell card like Drytron Nova.

Eventually, if you meticulously play your cards right, you can get Herald of Ultimateness onto the field. As long as you have a hand full of fairy monsters, your opponent will find it nearly impossible to do anything with their turn thanks to Ultimateness’s quick-play effect. In essence, as long as you can tribute a fairy monster from your hand, Ultimateness can negate and destroy any effect, spell, trap and even special summon.

Drytron are slow, methodical and deeply complex meta decks in Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel. If done right, however, they can completely lock your opponent out of doing anything on their turn, other than surrendering.


5. Zoodiac Tri-Brigade

Chain reactions.

Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG Divine Arsenal AA-Zeus Sky Thunder card image 2
Zoodiac Tri-Brigade is arguably the most powerful meta deck in Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel at the moment. Image: Konami

The final deck to examine here is probably the strongest meta deck in Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel at the time of writing. The Zoodiac Tri-Brigade deck, much like Adamancipator, is a hybrid of two different ideas. What makes Zoodiac Tri-Brigade so effective is that it offers game-defining strategies that vary wildly depending on if you’re going first or second.

If you’re going first, using the Tri-Brigade arm of the deck will be most effective. Use Tri-Brigade Fraktall’s effect to send Tri-Brigade Kit from your deck to the GY. This will then trigger Kit’s effect and allow you to send Tri-Brigade Nervall from the deck to the GY. This will trigger Nervall’s effect and allow you to fetch Tri-Brigade Kerass to your hand. Normal summoning Kerass will allow you to use the two Tri-Brigade cards in your GY as tribute for a Link-2 Link summon of Tri-Brigade Ferrijit the Barren Blossom and continue the summoning chain. The eventual aim is to have the incredibly effective negate monster Apollousa, Bow of the Goddess on the board alongside a Tri-Brigade Revolt trap card that’ll allow you to summon Tri-Brigade Shuraig the Ominous Omen during your opponent’s turn.

If you go second, the Zoodiac arm is going to be vital. To truly pull this combo off, you need to be sure you can attack with your Xyz-summoned monster during the battle phase, so having a Lightning Storm spell to hand would be useful. Start by summoning Zoodiac Thoroughblade and use that to Xyz summon Zoodiac Chakanine, then Zoodiac Tigermorter, then Zoodiac Boarbow, finishing with Zoodiac Drident. Now you have an Xyz monster with five materials attached. If you need to, you can activate Drident’s effect, detaching one material to destroy a monster on the field. Then attack. In Main Phase 2, use Drident as the material to Xyz summon Divine Arsenal AA-ZEUS - Sky Thunder with up to six materials underneath it. ZEUS is massively powerful, both in terms of attack and defence as well as its effect ability. In exchange for two materials, ZEUS can wipe the board of everything except itself. ZEUS can also attach cards to itself if your opponent manages to destroy a card on your side of the field.

Zoodiac Tri-Brigade’s flexibility and adaptability makes it the Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel meta deck to beat currently. However, other than Drytron, it is also one of the most complicated to get right. One wrong move, or a perfectly played Ash Blossom & the Joyous Spring, can leave you exposed very quickly.


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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