New year, new series! We have published articles about Yu-Gi-Oh!’s TCG before, but never about the mobile app with over 10 MILLION downloads – Duel Links!
Duel Links is a game I’ve been playing on and off for the past two years. The game has progressively turned from occasional pick up, duel and put down to full blown obsession culminating in achieving a first King of Games rank in mid December. So what better way to kick start an analysis series than by discussing my most successful deck to date – introducing Silent Spellbooks!
The Spellbook archetype is, in all honesty, a slow and tedious one to play; you can win as many games through skill as you can by simply boring your opponent to sleep! In short, the goal is to get a Spellcaster on the field, get three spellbooks in the graveyard so your “boss spell” Spellbook of Fate has all the fuel needed to use any of its three effects; returning a set spell or trap to the owners hand, changing the battle position of any monster or banishing any card on the field. By themselves, Spellbooks are mediocre at best – however, by adding a set of Silent Magicians to the deck, you combine spells, with the ability to control a field from first turn to last, with a powerful set of monsters capable of overpowering anything in the meta!
There are three competitively viable skills to use this deck with:
3. Yami Yugi – Destiny Draw
As good as the Spellbooks are themselves, I’ve lost many a duel from not being able to summon Silent Magician within the first few turns. Destiny Draw helps to mitigate this somewhat, allowing you to draw the card of your choosing once your Life Points decrease by 2000. It’s very easy to lose 2000 LP without your Silent Magician on the field and, with the help of Spellbook of Fate, easy enough to control the damage your take from the first battle phase. Being able to draw your Silent Magician whenever you want, whilst your LP are in a pinch, could give you the momentum boost you need to shift a duel in your favour.
2. Ishizu Ishtar – Sealed Tombs
Arguably the best skill for competitive play, Sealed Tombs prevents BOTH players from Banishing or Special Summoning monsters from the graveyard until the end of your opponents next turn. This skill has the potential to shut down Vampires (one of the strongest decks in the meta) and opposing Spellbooks for a turn which gives you the perfect advantage to swing a duel in your favour.
1. Maximillion Pegasus – Mind Scan
And finally, the skill I use with this deck! Mind Scan lets you see all your opponents set cards (from the third turn onwards) whilst your Life Points are above 3000. This provides excellent synergy with your Spellbook of Fate – allowing you to pick the perfect target for your banish without fail – whilst also preventing you from attacking blindly into a Drowning Mirror Force with one of your Silent Magicians.
The monster choices in this build is the main reason I don’t run the Sealed Tombs skill or tech in any Cosmic Cyclones whilst laddering. Three Silent Magicians is a given, offering a higher chance of drawing her early on. Negating any spell activation is a ridiculously strong ability, as is being able to summon a Silent Magician LV8 when she’s destroyed by battle or an opponents card effect. One Silent Magician LV8 is ample, with enough Attack to overcome almost any opposing monster and an ability which allows it to wall any mirror matches & doesn’t leave you vulnerable for a cheesy E-Con take for game play. One LV8 is ample, though I’ve seen a few duelists running two to catch out opponents carelessly destroying any further LV4s whilst one LV8 is languishing in the Graveyard.
Three Spellbook Magician of Prophecy’s is also non negotiable – allowing you to search for any of your Spellbooks once it’s summoned or flipped face up whilst also serving as tribute fodder for your Silent Magician. Your ideal starting hand will give you a way to summon Prophecy, mill out three of your Spellbooks whilst setting up for a Silent Magician summon in your first or second turn.
Breaker The Magical Warrior is an excellent addition to the deck. Acting as a monster alternative to Cosmic Cyclone with enough attack power to overcome the Level Four or lower monsters from Masked Hero decks (before using your Spell Counter) and Vampire Decks, and an ability which can allow you to remove powerful continuous traps like Amazoness Onslaught from the board.
Chow Len The Prophet serves a similar function to Breaker – enough attack points to overcome popular Level Four monsters and an ability to immobilize a back row card. His effect works wonders with Mind Scan – as you can guarantee an immobilization – but also with other abilities as you’re able to look at any set back row card, regardless of whether you call its type correctly.
Kycoo The Ghost Destroyer was the latest addition to the deck. Serving as a monster variant of Ishizu’s skill, Kycoo was included to give us an added edge in the mirror match – protecting your field from opposing Spellbook of Fates and/or removing from play opponents Spellbooks before they could be used by Fate in later turns. The secondary effect of removing up to two monsters from play after he inflicts battle damage also came in handy whilst facing Vampires – removing them from play before they could rise from the grave.
Whilst a case can be made for Cosmic Cyclone and Offerings to the Doomed in certain matchups, the remaining slots of your deck should be filled to the brim with Spellbooks. If you’re participating in a tournament which grants access to using a side deck – definitely dedicate a couple of slots to Cyclones and Offerings. For laddering, however, fill these slots with Spellbooks. Below is the ratio of books which worked best for myself, but feel free to chop and change the quantities of each however you see fit.
Spellbook of Secrets – 3
Spellbook of Fate – 3
Spellbook of the Master – 2
Spellbook of Power – 1
Spellbook of Eternity – 1
Spellbook Organization – 1
Treacherous Trap Hole… that is all. Defensive back row can be useful in certain situations (I’d definitely consider running a Mirror Wall in a Destiny Draw build) but, with the field control Fate, Silent Magician, Breaker, Kycoo and Chow Len exert over the field, it’s not necessary at all.
The Classic Spellbook First Turn
The ultimate first turn for this deck will often follow a pattern similar to this:
Step One: Play Spellbook of Secrets or Spellbook Magician of Prophecy and search appropriate Spellbook card.
Step Two: Play Secrets or Prophecy (whichever you didn’t use in step one) to search second appropriate Spellbook card.
Step Three: Play Spellbook of the Master – search for one of the following in descending order of priority; Fate, Organization, Magician, Eternity.
Step Four: Play Spellbook of Organization – place, preferably, Silent Magician on top of your deck, ready for summoning next turn. If not, place a Spellbook on top to restart this cycle in your next tun.
Step Five: Set Spellbook of Fate. If Silent Magician is in your hand already, summon her.
The ideal ending hand will contain a card ready to begin this cycle again (a Prophecy Magician, Secrets or Eternity) whilst your field will have a loaded Spellbook of Fate set facedown and – if you’re lucky – a Silent Magician to protect your Fate from opposing Cyclones or other popular removal.
Silent Spellbooks is my favourite deck to play. It matches my control oriented playstyle whilst containing enough resources to overpower any deck in the meta. However, it’s by no means without its weaknesses; the deck relies heavily on getting your Silent Magician onto the field as quickly as possible. If you don’t draw her in your opening hand and aren’t able to move her to the top of your deck with an early Organization, you’ll be spending the majority of your resources just to stay in the duel. DNA surgery can stop you from using Fate or Summoning Silent Magician until you’re able to summon Breaker to destroy it whilst the popular Control decks which focus on choking you out of duels by removing your monsters from play whilst setting numerous powerful back row can force you to use up all three of your Fates very early into the duel. Definitely still capable of reaching King of Games, but not the easiest way of getting there.