A Guide To Making Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters Decks

Welcome to a work-in-progress guide to helping you create (better) Duel Monsters decks. One note the I should tell you about me is that I am only an average card game player, and make only average decks. However, I have had a load of experience in playing and creating decks, and this kind of information could be invaluable to you as a Duel Monsters player. I learned some important lessons from a player who taught me how to play Magic: The Gathering. Despite learning them from that game, they can be easily adapted to other games with relative ease.

When creating your deck, you need to keep several things in mind (which, coincidentally, are the major topics of this guide):


If you learn only one thing from this guide, learn this: DON'T JUST THROW CARDS TOGETHER TO MAKE A DECK. It's because the deck will be unfocused, and you will never know what will be coming up, and the chances that you will have some cards to back up the others is slim at best. Of course, you could be some king of DM genius and subconsciously pick up cards and form a deck that works all of the time. However, if you're like me, that kind of thing will NEVER happen, so you'll have to rely on hard work to make your deck work correctly.

The Theme is one of the most important parts of a deck. Though its key lies not during a Duel, but rather what will go into your deck. What constitutes a theme? Think of it as a basis, or a common element that links the cards of your deck into one strategy. That's another good word for it. The theme can also be a specific strategy. Some of you already know at least one theme deck: The Exodia Deck. That deck is based solely on getting all five parts to Exodia in your hand, and winning the game. Exodia is its theme.

You're not limited to just a specific card (or cards) as your theme. It can also be a card main-type, or card sub-type. For example, the character of Jounouchi/Joey in the animated series and comic has Warrior and Animal Warriors as his theme (with just a splash of Gambling cards). Perhaps you like Angels, Dragons, or Demons as your sub-type.

For some other themes, let's take a look at the characters in the series:

Once again, you are not limited to card types. Some things to consider are:


Once you have your theme set, go through your collection first and pick out cards that DIRECTLY relate to your theme. For example, if you want a Direct Damage deck, go through all of your cards and pick out the ones that do direct damage. Do so whether or not you are going to use the cards or not.

Now, go through your collection AGAIN and pull out those cards the INDIRECTLY relate to your theme. You can also think of this as cards that SUPPORT your theme -- for example, high defense strength Monsters to protect you while you get cards for your combo out, or cards that will help you get to other cards.

Don't make your deck yet!


"If it ain't broke, don't fix it." -Anonymous

Truer words have never been said. In the case of this card game, it is the "staple cards."

"Staple" doesn't mean the little metal things that you keep papers held together with. This tense means "standard," or "reoccuring." The staple cards in DM are the ones that show up in nearly every deck, tournament-level and fun-level. Generally, these cards have also been restricted by Konami for use in tournaments. Regardless, their power cannot be overlooked. Here are some of the staple cards that you should ALWAYS consider putting in your deck:

With the following cards, you should HIGHLY consider putting these in your deck:


Now, for all of the cards that you pulled out of your collection and the staple cards, and begin creating your deck out of them.

Now, there are some "pointers" to creating decks. All decks should contains some cards that relate to the following. You should include at least TWO of each of these types of cards in your deck. Your chosen cards may already contain some of the types. Along with Monsters, if you have the following types of cards, you can be ready for most of the situations that you will run into.

The "Surprise" type is two or three cards to deal with a particular situation in your area. For example, if the players in your area play a lot of copies of particular Monsters, add a Chain Destruction, or Bottomless Pit Trap. Perhaps they use a lot of Magic cards. Add some more negation cards. It's your choice with what to include in this type.

Here's another saying I want you to remember: "Speed kills...your opponent." What this means is that faster you get to the cards that you need, the faster you can decimate your opponent. Speed is also a bit of a psychological factor in the game. If you get to everything you need really fast, then it puts your opponent on the defensive rather than the offensive, which leaves you in a better position.

When including Monsters in your deck, if you are going for power, the following cards represent the best of their levels. A good idea is to have a number of small Monsters in your deck, then have one or two big hitters to clear a path for your other Monsters.

When making your deck, I should says one thing:
Think of it this way: "Every card that you have over forty is one more turn until you draw the card that you need." Of course, they are ways around this, if you include more card drawing in your deck.

For a standard forty card deck, try this formula:

For including Monsters in your deck, you should porportion the number of their levels. For example, you want more level 4 or less Monsters in your deck, compares to level 5 or higher Monsters. This is due to the fact that you need to sacrifice the level 4 ones to summon the bigger ones. Try this formula:


Sure, you could be some sort of deck-building genius. You could make decks that work the first time, every single time. But if you're like the rest of us, you need to test the deck. Test it thoroughly. Test it A LOT. When testing your deck, ask yourself these questions:

These big questions will unlock the key to becoming a better deck. These questions are there for you to add/remove cards to suit the situations.


Well, I hope that you enjoyed reading through this guide. I also hope that you have gained some additional insight into making your decks, and making your decks better. You also have to know that this guide is only that: a guide. There are some techniques that work well for one person, and fail for another. The best thing to do is suit your decks and play style to yourself. And as the saying at the beginning of the Battle City story says in the animated series:

"Obey the rules and your manners, and have fun dueling!"

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