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Follow the dark path or use the light
Yu Gi Oh! 5D's Decade Duels Pack Shot

Yu Gi Oh! 5D's Decade Duels



by Robvalue

Complete guide at:

||                 Beginner's guide to Yu-Gi-Oh! on Xbox Live                ||
||             Magic: The Gathering - Duels of the Planeswalkers             ||

Written by: robvalue (
Last updated: 2011-04-06 19:31:57

                               Table of Contents                               
- Introduction
- Contents
- 1.1 General comparison to Magic and Duels of the Planeswalkers
- 1.2 Before you start
- 1.3 Terminology
- 1.4 Rules differences to Magic
-  2.1 Viewing cards and saving and loading your decks
- 2.2 Using the trunk and changing your deck
- 2.3 Searching your card collection
- 3.1 Making a deck from the DLC cards
- 3.2 Starting the single player mode and general strategies
- 3.3 Improving your deck
- 4.1 Playing an online game against your friends
- 4.2 Playing online against others
- 4.3 Developing your decks


This guide is aimed at players new to the game of Yu-Gi-Oh! (which I will
shorten to YGO throughout the guide) who want to get started on the
downloadable game on Xbox Live, Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's Decade Duels. It is specifically
aimed at players who are familiar with Magic (Magic: the Gathering), to help
learn how this game, its rules and its terminology differs. This guide will
work just as well for those who haven't played Magic either, just ignore all
references to Magic. When I refer to Magic terminology or a Magic card, I will
use [these brackets] to avoid confusion. Note that things can look or sound
similar in YGO to Magic but can work in quite different ways. To indicate this,
I will put two exclamation marks after the [Magic reference]!!, to show that
you should take care to not read them as being the same, and to note the

This guide will help you learn the basics of YGO, to learn how this particular
game works, and to start winning new cards and building decks. 

For those of you who haven't bought the YGO game yet, it has an excellent demo
you can download. This gives you access to the tutorials, deck editor and
single player mode, the only things missing are the final tournament you enter
if you win the preliminary duels and the ability to save any cards you win or
decklists. It has more than enough content to see if you will like this game.

I had to put this guide under the heading of a Magic game on playhaven since it
wouldn't let me publish under a YGO title. If you have any questions or
feedback, or any corrections however small, please feel free to contact me on
robvalue (at)

>> WARNING: Be warned: this game is tough on beginners. To get enough cards to
build a decent deck you will need to put in a lot of time playing single player
mode (against AI, the Xbox's artifical intelligence). This itself will prove
tough especially if you are new to YGO, but my guide will help you get through
it. It is well worth the investment of time, and playing against the AI is a
lot of fun and helps you learn and understand the game. If you play online
right away, you are likely to get crushed by players with much improved decks
unless you are playing against a friend who has also just started. Once you
have more cards and a better understanding, the online mode will provide
unlimited enjoyment! Jump to section 4.1 if you want to know how to play
against your friend who has also just started.


Each section will be quite long, so use the headers on the right (on playhaven)
or the search function to jump between sections. To use the search, press
Ctrl+F and then type in the number of the section to go to (eg 2.4). Then press
find/next twice and it should jump to the correct section. Read the
descriptions below for each section to decide what you want to read first, you
may not wish to read this guide in the order presented.

Section 1: Before you get started

This is some information about how YGO works and how it compares to Magic. It
contains a lot of reading for those keen to get a grip on the rules before
diving in to playing the game. If you prefer to try first and learn later, you
can skip straight to section 2 and come back to this one when you are ready.
Refer back to the terminology list in this section if you find a term you don't
understand. If you do skip this section I still recommend reading the basic
rulebook first which can be found here:

1.1 General comparison to Magic and Duels of the Planeswalkers
1.2 Before you start
1.3 Terminology
1.4 Rules differences to Magic

Section 2: Deck editor

This covers how to use the deck editor to look at your cards, change which ones
you want to use and save your decklists. I recommend looking through this and
getting to grips with it, and it gives you a chance to examine all the cards
you start with to get a feel for them. Also if you buy the downloadable
boosters (DLC), you can look at the extra cards you get. If instead you want to
get right into the action and start playing some games, skip this section for

2.1 Viewing cards and saving and loading your decks
2.2 Using the trunk and changing your deck
2.3 Searching your card collection

Section 3: Beginning to play against the AI

This is where you'll set up your first deck (if you have DLC) and learn how to
go about playing the single player mode and winning some cards. Also some
general strategy to prepare you for online play.

3.1 Making a deck from the DLC cards
3.2 Starting the single player mode and general strategies
3.3 Improving your deck

Section 4: Making custom decks and playing online

Once you have many more cards and a good understanding of this game, this
section will help you develop your deck building. If you're ready to face
random players online, you should have a lot of cards unlocked already and a
decent deck built that you can rely on. If you just want to play against a
friend who has also started, this section will show you how to jump into doing
that right away.

4.1 Playing an online game against your friend
4.2 Playing online against others
4.3 Developing your decks

         1.1 General comparison to Magic and Duels of the Planeswalkers        

The overall aim and structure of YGO is quite similar to Magic. You use
monsters [creatures] backed up by other cards to try and reduce the opponent's
life points [life total] to zero. You can also win, just like in Magic, by
running the opponent out of cards, and they lose when they attempt to draw from
an empty deck [library]. You can sometimes win in other ways, like in Magic,
using special cards and satisfying their conditions.

The biggest difference you will notice is that YGO uses nothing like [land]
cards. Most cards you can use "for free". Sometimes there will be additional
costs, such as discarding cards, paying life or tributing [sacrificing]
monsters. You can generally only get out one monster each turn, although you
can use other methods to get more out. Because there is no [land], this avoids
the problems of [mana screw/flood] which have always haunted Magic. Every card
you draw is playable, and as long as you don't include too many cards with
difficult extra costs you very rarely get stuck. There is no [mulligan] in YGO,
but this isn't a problem as virtually any starting hand works out fine.

The other big difference you will notice is the "extra deck" which is an
independent deck of up to 15 cards which you create, in which you put powerful
monsters that can be put into play when you meet the right conditions. The deck
has no particular order and you can look through it at any time and does not
intefere with the running of the main deck.

YGO is a much faster paced game. Each card feels like a superpowered version of
those in Magic. It's quite possible to win in just a few turns with swift and
deadly monsters, and its just as likely all your monsters will be wiped out at
the drop of a hat. Games can be over extremely quickly, but between well
matched opponents they will generally last a reasonable number of turns and
sometimes turn into long slog-fests. Monsters are generally huge in comparison
to your life total, and you can roughly say that they all have [haste],
[trample], [provoke] and [vigilance], on top of being mostly free to play.

YGO is simpler in that there are only three types of cards- monsters, spells
and traps. There are no [colours] as such limiting your deck construction.
Virtually any card can be put into any deck. This is both liberating due to
increased possibilities, and sometimes predictable due to the same cards coming
up time and again. But even the best cards don't always fit well in every deck,
so a lot of thought must be given to deck construction.

Combat is very different. In Magic you choose your attackers, and then it's up
to the opponent to decide which [creatures] [block] which. In YGO, you attack
with each monster individually, in any order. With each attack you choose a
particular monster the opponent has, and those two battle, sort of giving all
monsters [provoke]. You can only attack the opponent directly if they have no
monsters at all (or with special abilities). This means you cannot "overload"
an opponent with lots of monster. If they have a monster that none of your
monsters can defeat in battle, and that you can't kill some other way,
basically you cannot break through. In this way it becomes almost a competition
for who can get the biggest monster. There are bountiful ways to kill monsters
however, so don't expect the "champ" to last very long. The defending player
doesn't get to choose to [block] anything, their activity is limited to
activating spells, traps and abilities to disrupt the attack. In Magic you can
[cast] a weenie like a [1/1 Prodigal Pyromancer] and you're not obliged to
block anything that attacks you so you can expect it to survive unless the
opponent uses a spell or ability on it. But in YGO, a small monster can be
attacked directly, so for it to live you need ways to defend it such as traps
and spells.

You can damage the opponent with each attack. Unless the monster you attack has
been put into defence position [tapped]!! then if your monster has higher
attack [power]!! than theirs, not only is their monster destroyed but you deal
them damage equal to the difference. In this way all creatures sort of have
[trample]. Except for the first turn of the first player, monsters can also
attack as soon as they hit the field, sort of giving them all [haste]. I told
you this was crazy!

Monsters don't have [flying] or [forestwalk] or anything like that, they tend
to be either standard monsters with no [evasion abilities] or else they can
attack directly [unblockable]. The vast majority are in the first category.

In Magic you will be used to being able to [cast] [instants] in the opponent's
turn. In YGO, you generally can't use cards directly from your hand if it's not
your turn, you have to first set them (place them face-down) on the field ready
to be used later. In this way the field becomes an extension of your hand.

This game features 1000 unique cards, and by use of the deck editor you can
combine these in any way you want to make your deck. Your main deck is only
limited by the rules of YGO in that it must have between 40-60 cards, and no
more than 3 of any particular card. This gives you a world of possibilities for
exploring deck building. At the same time, it can be overwhelming for new
players who have no idea how to build a good deck. This game is very hard on
beginners, and that is the biggest reason for this guide. For a new player, you
need to get to grips with the rules of YGO, try to beat the very capable AI
opponents, and try to figure out how to put decent decks together with your new
cards. I feel the game could have done with a pre-constructed game mode as well
so that you only play against other people with standard decks. However, this
guide will attempt to ease that process and get you to a point where you have
many cards available and more of an idea what to do with them. If you want to
see a list of all the 1000 cards, it has been compiled here:

YGO has a number of limited [restricted] cards, for which you are only allowed
to include 1 or 2 copies (depending on the card) instead of the normal limit of
3 (which is different to the standard 4 in Magic). A lot of these, particularly
the ones you can only have 1 copy of, feel like [legacy] Magic cards as they
are so insanely powerful. They are simply much better versions of normal cards,
and can swing the momentum of the game in a huge way. If you're used to playing
[standard] format in Magic, or DoTP, you'll be surprised to see how ridiculous
these cards are compared to the general card pool. However everyone gets to use
them, you even get many of them in your initial starting deck! You are likely
to see these cards a lot, in almost any deck.

For those of you who have played Duels of the Planeswalkers (DoTP) this game
works quite differently. From a quality point of view, this is a clearly
superior product. It has no miscoded cards as far as I am aware, no serious
issues, and has never crashed on me. I have often found what I thought was an
error in how the cards work, but later found out that they do indeed conform to
the official YGO rules, which can often be surpising and counter-intuitive when
reading the card texts. The game works extremely tightly and supports the
complete rules, but you will come to see that you learn how YGO works by just
seeing how the cards interact and that you can't always predict them exactly by
reading the cards. There is no extensive and definitive rules documents as for
Magic, only basic rulebooks, and the rest has come from official rulings. You
just have to accept that particular cards or mechanics work a certain way,
whether you think that makes sense or not by how the cards are worded. After
you accept this, it stops being a problem from the point of view of this game
and you will quickly remember these things. One big difference to Magic is that
you are not allowed to use a card that will have no effect, even if they don't
require the choice of targets. For example, you are allowed to cast [Wrath of
God] in Magic to kill all creatures, even if there no creatures to kill. In
YGO, a card that kills all monsters cannot be used if there are no monsters on
the field [battlefield/in play].

When you begin the game you are given a deck of 40 unique cards, 1 of each.
This is your beginning deck, and it is about half reasonable/good cards and
half dodgy/bad/ill-fitting cards. You have two options- you can either just go
for it with this deck and see how you do, or if you are prepared to spend a
little more, for 800 MS points you can download some "booster packs" via
marketplace. There are 10 of them for 80 MS points each, and they have 25
unique cards in them. They are generally good cards, and will give you a boost
while starting out. Please note that these are not exclusive cards, you can get
them while playing the game, you are basically paying extra for a shortcut to
some good cards to save time. You can only buy each pack once, so you'll only
have 1 of each card, but they will still help a lot. If you decide to buy
these, I will discuss a better starting deck you can use later in the guide
using these cards. I've tested the deck and it's proved very effective.

The other, and only, way of unlocking cards is to play against the AI. There
are lots of opponents, and each of them have pretty good decks and know what
they are doing. When you win, you unlock extra cards. The amount you get
depends on your score, which I will talk about later. Even if you lose, you
still get one card. Unlike DoTP, you have no idea what cards you are going to
unlock. Each card you get is a seemingly random card from the 1000 available
(although some cards are much rarer than others!) Initially this means you are
going to be getting lots and lots of different new cards. Note that to include
duplicates in your deck, you must unlock duplicates, so you will need to win a
card 3 times to have full access to it in your deck. This method of unlocking
cards is a bit of a double edged sword. On the one hand, it's very exciting.
It's almost like opening new boosters when you win, especially as you'll have
pretty much no idea what cards to expect. On the other hand, there is no
structure to it and you often get cards that require a lot of other cards to
work well with and don't do much on their own. Also there is no way to try and
get specific cards that you want, and the game will still give you cards you
already have. So if you happen to win a card you have 3 copies of already, you
effectively don't get anything for that draw. This isn't a problem for a long
time, not until you start to get 900+ cards. By that point you start to see an
awful lot of duplicates and the amount of actual new cards you get is very
slow. By the time you near 1000 it's virtually a snail's pace. You don't need
all 1000 cards by any stretch, but be warned that the quest to get them all
took me about 7 weeks of constant play. I had almost all the cards I actually
wanted, including multiple copies, a long time before that however and was just
playing for the challenge of it.

The AI is far superior to that in DoTP. It makes mistakes much less rarely, and
you will really need to grind out each victory. Even now, with access to
whatever cards I want and a lot of experience, the AI sometimes pulls a win out
of the hat against me. But when you win it's really satisfying and you feel you
have earned your cards. It's a far cry from endlessly whipping the idiotic AI
on DoTP. Even though it took me so long to unlock all the cards, I enjoyed
every minute of it and never get bored playing against the AI. I'm always
trying out new deck ideas, and playtesting them against the AI gives you a good
idea as to the strength of what you've made, if it's not up to par you will
know about it.

On DoTP you are allowed to concede the game at any point and it counts as a win
for the opponent. In this game, you can only concede on your turn, and only on
turn 10 or later. If you just leave an online game by quitting, the game ends
and a win is not awarded. This is a terrible oversight and I'm sad to say a lot
of people do this. All you can do for now is give a bad player review, it's an
issue that has been wildly complained about. Another difference is that in DoTP
there is a "simplified targeting" option that stops you accidentally killing
your own stuff. There is nothing like that in this game, but as long as you are
careful and think things through there's nothing to worry about. For example,
an ability may give you the option to destroy a card on the field. If your
opponent has no cards on the field, you should select no. If you choose yes,
the game will hold you to it and you have to pick one of your own cards to

This game uses (almost) the complete rules from the YGO card game. It offers
you the chance to act every time there is a card or ability you can use. This
can sometimes be frustrating because with cards that can be used almost at any
point, you will get continual prompts of whether to act after virtually
anything that happens. This can be overcome however by holding down B, this
will skip all options prompts while it's held down. This compromise allows the
game to flow quickly when you don't want to act, but allowing you all the
correct timings you would get in the card game. DoTP uses a timer system
(unlike real Magic) in which you can decide to respond to things. By default
there is no timer in this game, although in custom online duels you can choose
to add one. There is no "jumping in" in this game, you have to wait until your
chance to act under the full rules, unlike DoTP.

When you play against the AI to begin with, it can be hard to keep up with
what's going on. Since they all have well constructed decks filled with
multi-card combinations, often their cards will be whizzing round the screen
doing all sorts of things before the dust settles. And if you don't have
anything available to respond with, it doesn't wait for you to see what's
happening, it just keeps going to the next step of what it wants to do. You can
again get around this, by holding down the A button if you want to stop the
action. It will then give you the chance to check the state of play before
allowing it to continue. However, don't worry too much about trying to
understand everything the AI is doing, in time you will come to understand it.
To start with just accept that this is going to happen, and deal with whatever
situation there is after they've stopped using their cards. If you play against
the AI a lot (which you will need to do to unlock more cards) you will face
each one many times (there are just over 20 AI opponents) and once you've
beaten them you can view their deck in your editor and grow to understand it.

Visually, it is not nearly as good as DoTP. The graphics are functional, and
certainly do their job, but cannot match the overall look of DoTP. There is
strangely no way to zoom in on a card like in DoTP to look at it full-screen.
Overall I'd say the art on the YGO cards is not as good as Magic cards, and
many people may find some of the themes childish. I think this may have lead to
a lot of people writing the game off as a "silly kids game", I can assure you
it's certainly not that.

As for multiplayer, there is no such thing as a free-for-all in YGO. The only
multiplayer option is "tag battle". This is a rather fun way to play, kind of
similar to [two headed giant]. Instead of playing simultaneously, you take
turns much like you would in ping-pong! Turns alternate between the four
players, and when it's your turn your deck and hand tag in and your partner's
tag out. You can use anything on the field as if it was yours, and you share a
graveyard. It's a lot of fun and requires some careful modifications to decks
usually since you may end up trying to search your partner's deck for a card
rather than your own.

                              1.2 Before you start                             

Here is a link to the beginner's rule book:

I recommend reading that through before starting with the game. It's quite
friendly and will give you most of the basics you need to know. Don't worry
about remembering every detail right away, it will make sense once you start
playing and you can refer back to it. For the moment, just gloss over the
"fusion summons" and "ritual summons". They are highly specialised, high risk
high reward, and you can get on just fine without them. You can come back to
them later when you have many more cards (say 700+) and a greater understanding
of the game. They require a lot of specific card combinations to work well.
However, it is worth understanding "synchro summons" as they are far more
accessible for any deck, and less risky.

Also the game has its own tutorial which goes through the basics in a bit more
detail, and giving you the chance to play out some examples. To access it, from
the Main Menu select Single Player. After choosing an icon for yourself (it
makes no difference which) and once you've skipped the announcer saying some
stuff, it will say "Proceed with tutorial?", just press A to select yes. Again
don't worry if it doesn't all sink in first time, I had never played YGO before
and learnt the game just from this tutorial, but I needed to play some games
first and then go back and read the tutorial again a few times before it all
sunk in. Hopefully this guide will ease that process a little too.

Also there are more help files within the game. From the Main Menu select Help
& Options, then How to Play. It has a detailed database of information to view.

                                1.3 Terminology                                

This a list of all the terminology you will come across while playing. Don't
expect to learn or understand all of this initially, but rather use it as a
brief introduction and a reference point to come back to as you progress
through the guide and while playing the game. When there is Magic terminology
that is similar or related, I will compare it to that. I suggest you either
gloss over or skip this at first, and maybe open a second window to keep
reading the guide while referring to this glossary as needed. If you don't
understand a term used in the explanation of what you are looking at, look up
that word elsewhere in the list to help explain. If I have missed anything out
or anything is unclear, please feel free to contact me.

ABILITY - [Ability] Any kind of text written on a card that is on the field is
an ability (besides flavour text on normal monsters). It tells you what the
card can do and how it reacts to situations. Some abilities function from your
hand such as being able to be special summoned when you take damage.

ACTIVATE - [Cast/play/activate/trigger] Using a spell, a trap or a monster's

ACTIVE PLAYER - [Active player] The player whose turn it is. Turns alternate,
and a game of rock/paper/scissors is played to determine who goes first. The
active player gets to act first in each phase, just like Magic.

ATTACK - [Power]!! This is the number you use in combat while the monster is in
attack position. In combat between two monsters in attack position, the one
with the lower attack is destroyed and the difference dealt in damage to its
controller. This means you can take damage even when you are the attacker! This
will usually only happen if the opponent uses something to boost their monster,
since you would rarely knowingly attack a monster with a higher attack rating
(although there are sometimes reasons to do so). If they both have the same
attack rating, they are both destroyed.

ATTACK POSITION - [Untapped]!! When a monster is vertical (upright) on the
field. This is the default when a monster is normal summoned. It must be in
attack position to be able to attack, but attacking does not cause monsters to
[tap]. In essence they all have [vigilance]. Virtually always the monster will
be face up while in attack position. A face up monster can be switched between
attack/defence position once a turn as long as it wasn't set or summoned that
turn and hasn't attacked.

ATTRIBUTE - [Colour]!! Each Monster has one of 6 attributes, shown by a
coloured icon to the right of their defence rating. These are more of a
defining nature than the restrictive [colours] in Magic, since you can put any
attribute monster in any deck with no problems. The main point of these is that
some cards will only work in conjunction with monsters with a certain
attribute, such as searching your deck for a water creature. They are as

>   * LIGHT - Golden
>   * EARTH - Black
>   * WIND - Green
>   * WATER - Blue
>   * FIRE - Red
>   * DARK - Purple

CARD - [Card] These are what make up your main deck and your extra deck. They
come in three kinds: monster, spell and trap. A token on the field can still be
targetted by things that refer to cards.

CHAIN - [Stack] 2 or more cards or abilities waiting to resolve. The first one
is called chain link 1, the second chain link 2, etc. Players get a chance to
add to the chain before anything resolves. Once no player wants to (or can) add
to the chain, it resolves all in one go, from highest link to lowest link (last
in, first out). Note that you cannot add to the chain once it has started
resolving like you can in Magic. Summoning a monster is not an activation so it
doesn't start a chain, but any traps or spells that are used in response begin
a chain. The number of the chain link can sometimes have significance for
certain cards.

CHAIN LINK - See chain.

CONTINUOUS SPELL - [Enchantment] See spell.

COST - [Cost] Some cards or abilities require a cost to activate. This is
something you do as you are activating the card, and cannot be responded to. It
may include tributing a monster, discarding a card, paying life or many other
things. You do not get back any paid costs if the effect ends up being negated.
It's not always clear from the wording what is a cost and what's part of the
spell resolving, but for each card you will soon see. Anything that happens
before you are allowed to respond (if able) is a cost.

CONTINUOUS EFFECT - [Continuous effect] Abilities on cards in play often have
abilities that don't need activating and don't look out for particular events
(triggers). Such abilities produce a continuous effect, which always applies.
For example, a continuous spell which says "All light creatures gain 500
attack" produces a continuous effect.

CONTINUOUS TRAP - [Enchantment] See trap.

CONTROLLER - [Controller] The controller of a card is the player whose side of
the field the card is on. This is usually the owner of the card, but it is
possible to "steal" other players' cards and bring them under your control. You
make all decisions about cards under your control.

COUNTER TRAP - [Interrupt] See trap.

DAMAGE - [Damage]!! Monsters and effects of cards can deal damage to players.
This damage is deducted from that player's life points. Damage dealt by
monsters through combat is called combat damage. Monsters damage each other
during combat, but this damage doesn't carry until the end of the turn like in
Magic. They must be killed outright in a single battle. Cards and effects don't
damage monsters like in Magic.

DARK - See attribute.

DEFENCE - [Toughness]!! This is the number you use in combat while the monster
is in defence position. When being attacked, a monster in defence position is
destroyed if the attacking creature has higher attack than this creature's
defence. If the attack is lower, then the attacker's controller takes damage
equal to the difference. If the attack equals the defence, nothing happens.
Having 0 defence does not cause a monster to go to the graveyard!

DEFENCE POSITION - [Tapped]!! When a monster is horizontal (sideways) on the
field. If you set a monster, it goes face-down in defence position. If it gets
attacked, it is turned face up but remains in defence position. Monsters in
this position cannot attack, but also don't cause you to take damage when they
are destroyed by combat. To destroy one you must attack it with a monster with
attack higher than the defence position monster's defence. A face down monster
can be flip summoned in your turn, turning it face up and into attack position,
as long as it wasn't set that turn. A face up monster can be switched between
attack/defence position once a turn as long as it wasn't set or summoned that
turn and hasn't attacked.

DESTROY - [Destroy] Card's effects often cause another card to be destroyed,
and this results in it being sent to the graveyard. Monsters that get killed in
combat are "destroyed by battle" which is a special type of being destroyed
that some cards refer to. Some cards are immune to being destroyed in some or
all ways. If a card doesn't mention that it "destroys" a card, then it isn't
destroying it. For example, tributing a monster is not destroying it.

DIRECTLY (Attack opponent's life points) - [Unblockable] Every creature can do
this if the opponent has no creatures, but some creature have the ability to
this all the time. The monster just deals its combat damage to the opponent.

DRAW PHASE - [Draw step] See turn structure.

DUEL - A one off game of YGO. You win by reducing your opponents' life points
to zero or forcing them to draw from an empty deck.

EARTH- See attribute.

EFFECT - [Effect] The result of an ability of a card is called an effect, it's
what actually happens when it resolves. See also continuous effect.

END PHASE - [End step] See turn structure.

EQUIP SPELL - [Enchant creature/Aura] See spell.

EXTRA DECK - An additional deck of 0-15 cards, consisting of fusion and synchro
monsters. You don't draw from this and can look through it at any time. You
need particular conditions to access monsters from this deck.

FACE-DOWN - [Face-down] A card which is on the field but with its picture
facing downwards so no one can see what it is. The player who controls the card
is allowed to look at it whenever they want (this game just shows you what your
face-down cards are when you move the cursor over them). Face-down creatures
are almost always in defence position.
FACE-UP - A card which is on the field and laid normally so all players can see
what it is. Monsters can be in attack or defence position while face-up.

FIELD - [Battlefield/In play] This is where you put your monsters, and place
traps and spells face down ready to be used later. Instead of a general
unlimited area like in Magic, the main field is split into a grid of 10 spaces.
The 5 of these closest to you are for spells and traps, and the next row of 5
are for monsters. If you have filled all the relevant zones, you can't use any
more cards of that type until a space has been made. There is also a "field
card zone" for each player where special spells can be placed.

FIELD SPELL - [Enchant world] See spell.

FIRE - See attribute.

FLAVOUR TEXT - [Flavour text] Any text written in the box of a normal monster
(light orange border) is flavour text. It has no effect on play and is just for

FLIP - A monster's ability that reads, "Flip: (effect)" means that whenever
this card is flipped face-up, the effect will happen. This includes flip
summons, but also when it's flipped up by being attacked.

FLIP SUMMON - [Morph] Turning a face-down monster into face-up attack position.
This can only be done in your main phases and not in response to anything or if
the monster was set that turn. This doesn't count towards your limit of one
normal summon/set per turn.

FORBIDDEN - [Banned] A card you are not allowed to put in any deck at all.
There are currently no cards of this sort in the game, but the terminology
still appears.

FUSION MONSTER - See monster.

FUSION SUMMON - Summoning a fusion monster, counts as a special summon. See

GRAVEYARD- [Graveyard] Spells and traps go here once they have been activated,
unless they are continuous. Monsters go here when destroyed from the field, as
does any card you discard from your hand.

HAND - [Hand] The cards you would be physically holding. You both draw 5 cards
initially from your deck, and draw 1 more each turn (including the first turn).
Some cards can be used straight from your hand, some have to be put onto the
field first.

IGNITION EFFECT - [Activated ability] An ability of a card on the field that
you can chose to use when you want to. It has to be in your main phase and not
in response to anything, unless it says it can be used in either player's turn
in which case it counts as spell speed 2 and can be used in any phase of either
player's turn.

IN RESPONSE - [In response] Activating a spell, trap or ability when one or
more are waiting to resolve. In this way, a chain [stack] is built up. It must
follow the rules of spell speed.

LEVEL - A rough indicator of the strength of a monster and whether or not it
needs tributes to be normal summoned or set. Level 5-6 require 1 monster
tribute to normal summon or set, level 7+ require 2. Also important for using a
monster for synchro or ritual summons.

LIFE POINTS - [Life total] You start with 8000 and when you are reduced to zero
you lose. In multiplayer you can alter how much you have in a custom match. In
a tag duel you still have 8000 by default for your team.

LIGHT - See attribute.

LIMITED - [Restricted] A limited card has a little 1 or 2 in a red circle on
its card, either in the general deck editor or if you view a card's details.
This means you can only have 1 or 2 of that card in your deck respectively, and
not the usual 3.

MAIN DECK - [Library] Often just referred to as your deck. You build it with
any cards you like, as long as you have 40-60 cards total and don't have more
than 3 of any particular cards (some cards are further restricted). You shuffle
it initially and use it to draw from throughout the game.

MAIN PHASE 1 - [Main phase] See turn structure.

MAIN PHASE 2 - [Main phase] See turn structure.

MATCH - A best of 3 duels. Before beginning each duel after the first, players
can exchange cards from their main and extra decks with cards in their side

MONSTER - [Creature] These are what do your fighting, for killing your
opponent's monsters and damaging your opponent. You can usually only put one of
these onto the field each turn, and can do so face up (normal summon) or face
down (set). They have an attack and defence rating which are used in combat.
They also have a level which indicates their cost to use. They come in various

>   * NORMAL MONSTER - Light orange border. A monster with no abilities. 
>   *  EFFECT MONSTER - [Creature with abilities] Dark orange border. A monster
with one or more abilities. There are various categories for these abilities.
The three monster kinds below can also be effect monsters, but instead have the
colour border listed for each one.

>   *  RITUAL MONSTER - Blue border. These can only be used in combination with
certain spells which allow you to ritual summon, usually requiring you to send
monsters to the graveyard of total level equal to or greater than the ritual

>   *  SYNCHRO MONSTER - White border. These are put in your extra deck and not
your main deck. To use one you need to send to the graveyard a tuner monster
(they say "tuner" after the monster type) along with one or more non-tuner
monsters from the field. The total level of the creatures sent to the graveyard
must exactly equal the level of the synchro monster. Synchro (and fusion)
monsters can end up in your graveyard and can sometimes be summoned from there,
but never go into your hand or main deck but are instead returned to the extra

>   *  FUSION MONSTER - Purple border. These are put in your extra deck and not
your main deck. To use one you need to use particular spell cards (such as
Polymerization) plus the correct monsters listed on the card to send to the
graveyard from the field as fusion material.

MONSTER TYPE - [Creature type] Written under the monster's name, this tells you
what sort of monster it is, such as warrior. Some cards only work with certain
types of monsters. Monsters only have one monster type, so a warrior-beast is
its own monster type, it is not considered a beast or a warrior.

NAME - [Name] The title of a card. If something mentions a card's name such as
excluding an ability from targeting it, it refers to all cards with that name,
including itself if appropriate. Sometimes a special card kind is part of the
name such as lightsworn, gladiator beast or blackwing, which is referred to by
other cards, such as searching your deck for a lightsworn monster.

NEGATE - [Counter] Some cards, usually of the trap/counter type, can stop the
effect of a card or ability altogether. This is called negating it, and it is
as if it never happened. The effects of a card on the field can also be
negated, making its continuous abilities not work, and any that activate are
negated so don't do anything.

NORMAL SPELL - [Sorcery] See spell.

NORMAL SUMMON - [Cast] Putting a monster from your hand onto the field in
face-up attack position. You can only do this if you haven't already normal
summoned or set a monster this turn, and only in your main phases. A monster of
level 1-4 can be normal summoned for free. Level 5-6 requires that you tribute
[sacrifice] a monster you already have on the field. Level 7+ requires 2

NORMAL TRAP - See trap.

ORIGINAL (attack/defence) - These are usually the numbers on the monster card,
before any modifications of other cards and effects. The original
attack/defence is only altered by effects which specifically refer to them.

OWNER - [Owner] The owner of a card is the player whose deck the card was in at
the start of the duel. All cards are returned to their owner after each duel
(not an issue on this digital version!)

PAY LIFE - [Pay life] This is part of a cost of a card or ability, and it
cannot be affected by cards that talk about damage as it is not the same thing.

PRIORITY - [Priority] The player whose turn it is to act is said to have
priority. During each phase and in response to each action, the active player
gets priority first, then when they either pass or have finished adding to the
chain, the other player gets priority.

QUICK-PLAY SPELL - [Instant] See spell.

REMOVED FROM PLAY - [Exiled/Removed from the game] Instead of going to the
graveyard, something might cause a card to be removed from play. These form a
separate pile to the graveyard. They generally are out of the game for good,
but certain cards are able to retrieve them.

RESOLVE - When using a card or ability, if nothing is used in response to it
then it resolves and has its effect. If a chain is built up, each part resolves
once nothing more is added to it.

RITUAL MONSTER - See monster.

RITUAL SUMMON - Summoning a ritual monster, counts as a special summon. See

SET - [Cast a face down morph creature] Putting a card from your hand onto the
field face down. You can only do this during your main phase. If it is a
monster, it will be in defence position. You can only set a monster if you
haven't already normal summoned or set a monster this turn, and only in your
main phases. Setting a level 1-4 monster is free, 5-6 requires one tribute and
7+ requires two tributes. You can set as many spells and traps as you like each

SPECIAL SUMMON - [Put onto the battlefield/into play] Putting a monster onto
the field face-up, usually in your choice of attack or defence position. This
doesn't count towards your limit of one normal summon/set a turn, and you can
special summon as many times as you like if you have the resources and the
monster zones available. Synchro summons, fusion summons and ritual summons for
the respective monster types are also considered to be special summons.

SPELL - Green border. These can be one-shot or continuous, and have an
immediate impact on the game. You need at least one spell/trap zone available
even to use a one-shot spell. You can use them straight from your hand if it is
your turn (unlike Magic where you can cast [instants] from your hand in your
opponent's turn), or else set them in a spell/trap zone to be used later. All
but quick-play spells can only be activated in your main phase and not in
response to anything. There are various sorts, which are listed under the card

>   * NORMAL SPELL - [Sorcery] Just listed as "spell" on the card. One shot
effect, then goes to the graveyard. Spell speed 1.
>   * SPELL/CONTINUOUS - [Enchantment] Stays on the field. Spell speed 1.
>   * SPELL/EQUIP - [Enchant creature/Aura] Stays on the field, and must target
a monster. If that monster leaves the field, or becomes an invalid target, this
card goes to the graveyard.
>   * SPELL/RITUAL - One shot effect, then goes to the graveyard. Used to
summon a ritual monster from your hand. Spell speed 1.
>   * SPELL/FIELD - [Enchant world] Stays on the field in your field zone. If
either player already has a field card in their field zone, that card is sent
to their graveyard. Spell speed 1.

>   * SPELL/QUICK-PLAY - [Instant] One shot effect, then goes to the graveyard.
If it is set, it cannot be activated in the same turn. Can be used in any phase
of either player's turn. Spell speed 2.

SPELL SPEED - This tells you when you are allowed to play a card. Although it
is called spell speed, monsters and traps have this too. Spell speed 1 means
you can only use the card in a main phase of your turn, and not in response to
anything else. Monsters are spell speed 1 by default. Monsters abilities are
also spell speed 1, unless they state they can be used in any player's turn or
the opponent's turn, in which case they are speed 2. A card with spell speed 2
[instant] can be used in any phase, and in response to anything that has spell
speed 1 or 2. Spell speed 3 [interrupt] can be used in any phase and in
response to anything, these are only for trap/counter cards. So you can only
respond to things with spell speed 2 or 3, and once something with spell speed
3 enters the chain you can only respond with spell speed 3.

STANDBY PHASE - [Upkeep] See turn structure.

SYNCHRO MONSTER - See monster.

SYNCHRO SUMMON - Summoning a synchro monster, counts as a special summon. See

TAG (match/duel) - [2 Headed Giant]!! A variant for two teams of two players.
Each team has a combined life total of 8000, and turns alternate between all 4
players. It starts with the leader of the first team, then the leader of the
second team, then the other player of the first team, then the other player of
the second team, then back to the start. Each time a player has a turn, their
team mate's main and extra decks are replaced with their own. All other zones
are shared, including the graveyard and control of cards on the field. Normal
win conditions apply.

TARGET - [Target] Cards or abilities that require you to pick specific card(s)
when they are activated are choosing "targets". Unlike Magic, the word target
does not appear explicitly in these cases. Anything that has a general effect,
or does something to "all monsters" etc. is not targeting. Also a card that
requires a decision over which card gets affected is not targeting, for example
Smashing Ground destroys a monster the opponent controls with the highest
defence. It's not until it resolves that this check is made. Some cards have
abilities that stops them from being targeted by some or all things.

TOKEN - [Token] A monster token is a monster put onto the field by the effect
of a card. It is treated exactly like a monster card, except when it leaves the
field it just disappears instead of going to a graveyard, hand or anywhere
else. It doesn't enter other zones at all so doesn't trigger anything in this
way. Cards which target "a card" are still allowed to target tokens.

TRAP - Purple border. These are similar to spells, but the most important
difference is that they cannot be activated from your hand, nor can they be
used the turn they are set. They usually look out for a specific event which
allows them to be activated. If none are required, they can be activated at any
time (depending on their spell speed). If a trap wants to target something in a
chain, it can only target the highest current chain link (the most recent thing
added) unlike in Magic. There are various kinds, which are listed under the
card name:

>   * NORMAL TRAP - [Instant] Just listed as "trap" on the card. One shot
effect, then goes to the graveyard. Spell speed 2.
>   * CONTINUOUS TRAP - [Enchantment] Stays on the field. Spell speed 2.
>   * COUNTER TRAP - [Interrupt] One shot effect, then goes to the graveyard.
Usually completely negates the effect of another ability or card. Spell speed

TRIBUTE - [Sacrifice] Sending a card (usually a monster) directly to the
graveyard. This is often part of a cost for something, so you can't respond to
the tribute, only to what the tribute is paying for. Note that monsters
described as "sent to the graveyard" are not considered tributed, nor are
monsters use for a synchro, fusion or ritual summon.

TRIGGERED EFFECT - [Triggered effect] An ability that looks out for a
particular event to happen produces a triggered effect whenever that event
occurs, such as a monster entering the field. The effect begins a chain, and
both players are allowed to respond before it resolves.

TUNER - A special kind of effect monster that is required for a synchro summon.
See monster.

TURN - [Turn] Going through the 6 phases of the turn structure. The turns are
numbered, starting with turn 1, and increasing by 1 every time a new turn
starts (so the second player's first turn will be turn 2 of the game).

TURN STRUCTURE - There are 6 phases to each turn which progress in order. You
can use quick-play spells from your hand, and traps and quick play spells on
the field that have not been set this turn in any phase.

>   * DRAW PHASE - [Draw step] The active player draws a card, even on the
first turn of the game (unlike Magic).
>   * STANDBY PHASE - [Upkeep] Cards may cause effects to happen in this phase
or require costs to stay on the field.
>   * MAIN PHASE 1 - [Main phase] This is the only phase where you can normal
summon monsters, set cards, use most monster abilities, and activate spells
that are not quick play [instants]. 
>   * BATTLE PHASE - You can choose to attack with each of your attack position
monsters, one at a time. Each attacker can select a monster the opponent
controls to battle with, or it may attack directly if they control no monsters.
See attack position and defence position.

>   * MAIN PHASE 2 - [Main phase] Identical to main phase 1, another chance to
do everything you can do in that phase.
>   * END PHASE - [End step] Cards may cause effects to happen here such as
being destroyed at end of turn. Last chance to use quick play spells and traps.

WATER - See attribute.

WIND - See attribute.

                         1.4 Rules differences to Magic                        

If you are familiar with the rules of Magic, there are some things that will
surprise you about how this game works. If a particular card is confusing you
or you just want to understand better why it works the way it does, there is an
excellent resource for official rulings:

Sometimes I have found the rulings are unsatisfactory based on what the cards
actually say, but you just have to accept that is how they are "meant to work"
even if the language isn't always consistent.

Here are some basic concepts that work differently in YGO:

>   * You attack with each monster that you want to individually, and one at a
time. You attack a specific monster the opponent controls if they have one,
they don't get to chose who [blocks]. If they have no monsters you can attack
them directly. Both players can take damage during combat, even between
monsters with no abilities. 

>   * When a card is resolving, it is actually on the field rather than still
on the [stack] as in Magic. This means that you can respond to a card by
targetting it directly. In Magic you cannot use [Disenchant] on an
[enchantment] while it is resolving, you must wait for it to come into play. In
YGO you can destroy a card before it's finished resolving, and this will stop
some cards abilities from every happening. Note that destroying a trap or spell
that isn't going to remain on the field after it's resolved is pointless as its
effect will still happen regardless. You can't use traps that target a monster
until it's been successfully summoned however since summoning doesn't use a
chain. So the active player can use a monster's ability that they just summoned
before you can destroy it with a trap, since they get to act first like in
>   * Because of the above, abilities that trigger on going to the graveyard
from the field are activated even when the card is negated
[countered/counterspelled]. This is because they are considered to have entered
the field, and then leave it due to being negated.
>   * You cannot use a one-shot card or ability that will "do nothing". Of
course to activate something with a target you need a target, but even things
that need no target cannot be used if they won't have any effect on play. You
cannot try to "destroy all monsters" if there are no monsters. You also cannot
activate a card that searches your deck for a certain type of card if there are
none left of that sort in your deck. 

>   * The game "looks ahead" more than in Magic, and bases results on what
would happen rather than what will initially happen before it's changed. For
example, a YGO card has a cost to activate of putting the top 3 cards from your
deck into your graveyard. There is another card on the field that states any
card that would go to the graveyard is removed from play instead. You are now
not allowed to activate your card, because instead of putting those 3 cards
into the graveyard they "would" be removed from play instead after looking
ahead. So the game sees it as you would not be paying the cost as stated. In
Magic, you would be able to pay the cost, and the replacement effect of cards
being [exiled] instead would be applied to your cost, which then results in the
cards being exiled and you have considered to have paid the cost.

>   * When a monster goes to the graveyard, any effects that trigger from this
are activated by the owner of the card, not the controller. For example, in
Magic if you have a [creature] that says "[When this creature is put into the
graveyard from the battlefield, gain 1 life]" and I steal that creature
somehow, when it's put into the graveyard it's me who gains the life. In YGO,
it would have been you, the owner of the card who gained the life.
>   * Rather than removing a card's abilities, in YGO it negates its effects.
This is pretty much the same thing, the main difference being you still pick
targets for any effects that happen, they just get negated upon resolution.
This could make a difference for cards such as Spirit Reaper which gets
destroyed just by being targeted.

>   * When a monster has its effects negated while on the field but has an
ability that triggers on going to the graveyard from the field, it still
triggers since it's activated while in the graveyard. In Magic you wouldn't get
to do this.

>   * When a monster attacks in YGO, only one chain is allowed, and once it
resolves the chance is gone to use traps that are used on an attacking monster.
For example, Dimensional Prison can be activated when a monster attacks you or
your monster. Your opponent activates a trap/counter on your prison, which is
spell speed 3, and you have nothing of spell speed 3 to respond with. So the
chain resolves, your prison is countered. You can't now use another prison, as
the window of opportunity is considered gone. In Magic you would get as many
chances as you wanted to use [Condemn] which targets an attacking [creature],
even if the first one got [countered].
>   * As mentioned above, there are these windows of opportunities for using
traps, like the state of play has "triggered" it. There is such a window after
virtually everything that happens, including setting a card. Even if no traps
can be activated for the specific event, you are allowed to use abilities of
cards on the field of spell speed 1, but nothing else of spell speed 1. In this
way, abilities of cards on the field are kind of like spell speed
one-and-a-half, as they get opportunities that other things at spell speed 1
don't get.
>   * Unlike Magic, monster cards in the graveyard have some "memory". Cards
that say they can "only be special summoned by..." remember if they have been
successfully special summoned in this way without being countered, while in the
graveyard. You are then allowed to special summon them in another way from
there, such as with Monster Reborn. The card loses this memory once it leaves
the graveyard however. Cards which say they "cannot be special summoned except
by..." do not follow this rule and can never be special summoned in another way
even if previously special summoned summoned. You can easily find out what can
and can't currently be special summoned from your graveyard. Move the cursor
over your graveyard and select Card List. Any monsters with a "crossed out
plug" icon above them cannot be special summoned. 

>   * You cannot return a monster to your hand that is about to be destroyed.
For example, Penguin Soldier has the ability that when he is flipped up to
return 2 monsters to their owners' hands. If he is attacked, he is flipped up
during damage being dealt, and is considered "about to be destroyed". He is
still on the field when you pick which 2 monsters to return, but he cannot
select himself in this circumstance. In Magic you would be able to target any
[creature] still on the [battlefield] when you have priority.
>   * Effects that trigger on another card entering the field often require
that card to be still on the field when the effect resolves. For example, Black
Whirlwind lets you add another blackwing card to your hand from your deck every
time you summon a blackwing card. The effect triggers when you summon your
card, but if your opponent then destroys your blackwing in response, this
happens first. Then when the Black Whirlwind effect resolves it sees your
blackwing is no longer on the field and it doesn't do anything. In Magic,
triggers like this exist independently and you would have got the card
>   * Monsters only have one monster type in YGO. A warrior-beast monster is
its own monster type, and is not counted as a warrior or a beast like it would
be in Magic.
>   * Monsters don't retain damage until the end of each turn like in Magic.
The only way they are damaged is through combat with other monsters, and if the
damage from a battle doesn't destroy them then the damage is removed ready for
subsequent battles that turn (remember creatures attack individually so the
same creature could be attacked multiple times in a turn).
>   * You cannot add to the chain [stack] once it has started resolving. Some
abilities may not get the chance to work if they trigger during a chain.

               2.1 Viewing cards and saving and loading your decks             

From the main menu, select Deck Edit. What you see may initially be confusing,
but once you've got a feel or it, it's a very versatile and helpful system.
Generally the A button selects and advances, and B will undo and back up
through menus.

Your orange cursor starts at the top left, where it says Trunk and Deck. Move
the left stick up or down to select which one you want, and press A. The Trunk
is your entire collection of cards, and your Deck is the current list you are
working on. If you've not bought any DLC or won any extra cards, your trunk
will be the same 40 cards you have in your deck. You'll soon get more once you
start playing!

Let's take a look at what's in your deck. Move down and select Deck, and a menu
will be brought up. Here's an explanation:

>   * Select Card- To look through your deck, move around or remove cards.
>   * Sort- Brings up a submenu of ways your deck can be ordered to your
liking. I normally find By Card Frame is most useful and sufficient.
>   * Return Deck to Previous State- Undo any changes you have made to your
deck since you loaded it or entered the deck editor.
>   * Empty Deck- If you want to start building from scratch, this will remove
all your cards. It won't remove any saved decks you have though, so don't worry
about that. You'll probably not use this feature until you have lots and lots
of cards.
>   * Edit Deck Name- Give a customised name to the deck you have currently
selected. At the start you'll just have your initial deck, but you can give it
a name here. Once you experiment and move cards around, before saving a
particular configuration go here and change its name if you want to record it
>   * Edit Recipe- This title is a bit misleading, it really means save and
load recipes (decklists). It will be blank when you first select it, with a
total of 15 slots available for saving decklists. After naming your first deck,
select one of the blank spots and then Register Recipe (save decklist). If you
update a decklist and want to save the changes, just do this again, select the
same spot and Register Recipe. It will ask if you want to re-register, select
yes and it will overwrite. You can also use Delete Recipe to clear space for
decklists you no longer want, and Load Recipe to select which deck you want to
look at or alter. You can also press RB to view the AI decklists. These are
unlocked as you beat them, so they will initially be blank, but check in later
and have a look. Unfortunately it doesn't mean you can use their decklist! You
can only use the cards you have unlocked. Ones you don't have will be greyed
out. You can however select one and then Load Recipe and it will put into your
deck viewer whatever cards you have from that list, leaving the rest for you to
make up with other cards.

Let's have a look at the cards in your deck, so pick Deck, Select Card. You
will now be able to browse through all the cards, and as you highlight them a
box will appear on the left for you to read (don't even think about trying to
read the tiny text written on the small cards unless you're playing at a

For a monster card (light or dark orange border), you will see a star symbol,
multiplied by a number, to the bottom left of its picture. This is the level of
the creature. If it's 1-4, it's a "free" creature, higher levels need tributes
(refer to terminology). Under this is an axe with a number beside it, this is
the attack rating. Then next to that is a shield with a number, this is the
defence rating. To the right of that is the attribute icon. To its right, there
is the monster type icon. There's no need to learn these icons as the monster
type is always written on every card. Below the attack number is the name of
the monster card in yellow. Below that is its monster type, followed by what
type(s) of monster it is (eg. Monster/effect). If no type is listed, it is a
normal monster (light orange border). Lastly, the text box underneath lists the
abilities of the monster. Use the right stick to scroll down if there is a lot
of text. Monsters with no abilities have "flavour text" just like in Magic,
telling some anecdote about the monster usually. You can ignore all such text,
it has no bearing on play.

Next check out some of your spells and traps, with green and pink borders
respectively. These are generally simpler, with less to read. The name of the
card appears again in yellow under the picture. Under that it tells you whether
it's a spell or trap, followed by whether it is a special kind (eg.
Spell/Quick-Play). If no special kind is listed, it's a normal spell/trap.
Under that is the text box, again use the right stick to scroll down if needed.
There is never flavour text on these cards. Take a few minutes to browse
through all your cards and get a feel for them, and try to understand what they
all do, referring to the terminology section if needed.

Some cards have a special card kind in their title, such as lightsworn,
gladiator beast or blackwing. These can be on any of the 3 card types, and the
only way to tell if it's that kind of not is to look at the name, it's not
listed anywhere else on the card. Some cards only work with particular kinds of
cards, such as those listed above.

At the top-right of the screen, it says "Type of cards owned". This is the
number of unique cards you have. You start with 40, plus any you decide to buy
from DLC. If you buy all 10 packs it should go up to 290. This will increase
every time you get a card you have no copies of already. It is still important
to get more of the cards you already have, since you are allowed up to 3 of
most cards in your deck, and you need to unlock every copy you intend to use.
You'll notice some of your cards have a little number in a red circle at the
top left in their little card icon on the main screen. This means the card is
limited to that many copies per deck, either 1 or 2. You can bet this is
because it's a very powerful card if used correctly. In those cases there's no
point unlocking more than that amount, but you probably will anyway since you
have no control over what you get. There are a total of 1000 unique cards in
the game, and it will take a lot of play even to get up to about 700. That is
the point at which I suggest you start building properly themed decks.

Under the cards owned section you will see the name of your deck and then to
its right 7 numbers on different backgrounds. This is a breakdown of your deck
by card type and corresponds to the cards' borders. In order they are:

>   * Light orange: Normal monsters
>   * Dark orange: Effect monsters
>   * Blue: Ritual Monsters
>   * Purple: Fusion Monsters
>   * White: Synchro Monsters
>   * Green: Spells
>   * Pink: Traps

To begin with, you can safely ignore both fusion and ritual monsters. They are
highly specialised and require a lot of specific cards working together, and
often in a themed deck. Leave these until you have lots and lots of cards and a
good grasp on the game.

Unless you have bought the DLC, you can ignore synchro monsters as well,
although as you unlock cards you may find opportunity to use these. They are
simpler to include in any deck and to use, and are less risky than the above.

You will notice the starter deck has 20 monsters (8 normal and 12 effect) and
20 spells/traps combined. This is a good balance to have in most decks, to keep
roughly half the deck for monsters and half for spells/traps.

At the top of the screen you will see three tabs: Main, Extra and Side. These
correspond to your 3 different decks. Main is your usual one that you draw
cards from, and is limited to 40-60 cards. Extra has your synchro and fusion
monsters (if any) which do not go in your normal deck and are summoned directly
from the extra deck. It can have 0-15 cards. Your side deck is where you put
any cards you may wish to switch in during a match (best of 3 duels) in order
to suit your deck to your opponent after the first duel. This can have any type
of card in it, and any you sideboard in get swapped with a card in your main or
extra deck, depending on which they can go in. It can be 0-15 cards.

You switch between which tab to view using LB and RB. These controls can be
used wherever you are during deck edit, even with menus open. Initially both
your extra and side deck will be empty. If you have bought the DLC then you can
put some cards in each (see the next part of this section), otherwise you can
only leave these blank until you get more cards.

If you want to see more details about a card, highlight it and press Y. You
will get a full screen display with more information. It has all the statistics
and terminology I explained above, but laid out slightly differently. 

By moving the left stick to the right, you can select Card Genre and Card
Pack's List. Card Genre gives you descriptions of what kind of effects that
card can produce. You can search out cards using these genres, as I will
describe later. Again refer to terminology if you want to understand more about
something. The Card Pack's List will always be blank at the moment. This is for
if you mark a card in order to remember it using a particular colour of label.
I will explain this later. If it's been marked, it will appear here. Remember
you can always use the B button to "back up" in the deck editor.

>> WARNING: Once you have saved a deck using Register Recipe, it is not
actually saved onto your hard drive until you leave the deck editor. Once you
have made all saves you wish to do, keep pressing B until you get the prompt to
Exit Deck Editor, and select Yes. You'll then see a "saving" message. If you
just turn off your console while in deck editor without doing this, any saves
you have made will be lost. Also, it will not let you leave the Deck Edit
screen until you have made a legal deck (40-60 main deck, and no more than 15
in extra and side). Red numbers on the tabs at the top inidicate an illegal

                   2.2 Using the trunk and changing your deck                  

Either select Deck Editor from the main menu, or if you are already in it keep
pressing B until all the menus have closed and the cursor moves to the top
left. Use the left stick to move the orange cursor to Trunk and press A. You
will get a menu saying Select Card, Search and Reset Search.

To look through your entire collection, use Select Card. You will then be
allowed to browse every card you have. This time they extend to the left and
right off the screen, so use the left stick to move between them. The numbers
at the bottom say firstly how many of that card you have in your trunk, and
secondly how many of that card you own altogether. To begin with all cards in
your deck will say 0/1, since you have 1 copy but it's in the deck rather than
the trunk. If you get DLC, every other card will say 1/1. Strangely you can
only buy each DLC pack once. As you get more copies of cards, the second number
will increase to 2 and then 3. After 3, any more you unlock are discarded by
the game since they are useless. Sadly there is no option to trade with other
players! If you had first selected Empty Deck in the deck editor then come to
the trunk, all copies will be in the trunk so both numbers will always be the
same, 1/1, 2/2 or 3/3. When you then move one of them to one of your decks
(main, extra or side) the first number goes down accordingly. This only applies
to each decklist individually, if you have 3 of a card you can put a full 3
copies in every different decklist you want, when you work on another decklist
all copies will be available for it.

Again you can press Y to view a card in more detail. If you want to move a card
you have here to one of your decks, first make sure you have the correct deck
type selected at the top of the screen. Use LB and RB to change between Main,
Extra and Side. Then press A on a card, and it will ask you how many copies to
move. If you have none left in the trunk of that card you cannot move it. Cards
you cannot move are greyed out. They are also greyed out if they can't be moved
because you have the wrong deck selected at the top. You can't put
synchro/fusion monsters in the main deck, and you can't put anything but those
in the extra deck. Just use LB/RB to get the right one.

You can always throw into your deck loads of cards that you are considering for
it, there is no harm in doing so, even if this brings your deck total over 60
cards temporarily. You can cut it down again later.

Once you've put in all the cards you wish to, keep pressing B to get back to
the Deck viewer, and use Select Card again. You can then remove any cards you
don't want from it, from any of your 3 decks, by pressing A over it. It gives
you the option to send it to or from the side deck, or to the trunk. If you
definitely don't want it, send it back to the trunk. For now you can use the
sideboard as a sort of "overflow" for interesting cards that you may want to
put back in. Don't worry about creating a proper sideboard at this stage,
although you can if you see cards that may be handy in certain matchups. The
initial AI battles are 1 duel only so you won't get to use it anyhow, unless
you are fixing your deck against them (see the single player section). Remember
to register the decklist again if you want to save your changes, and exit the
deck editor to make it permanent.

If you make a mistake while moving cards, hold down RT and press X to undo.

                       2.3 Searching your card collection                      

Once you get a sizeable amount of cards, you will lose track of them and will
want to be able to find specific ones by their abilities or statistics. This is
where the search functions come in. From your trunk menu, select Search. You
have 3 options- Filter, Sort and Text Search.

Filter is the most useful one to find particular card(s) by their
characteristics or if you can't remember a card's name. By selecting it, you
are given a huge menu of possible ways to filter. The simplest one is the top
one, card frame. Select that one, and you'll be given a choice of the 7 colour
borders of cards. Select each type of card you want to look at. You can select
one or more (this is the case in all filters) then select Start Search. To the
left of the screen it will tell you how many cards were found in your search,
and you can then browse the cards it found. The other filters work the same way
and should be self-explanatory if you've read everything in this guide so far,
except for Label Color which I will come to. The bottom one, Search Key, is the
most in-detail. It gives multiple submenus, and you need to choose which (if
any) you want to pick from each one, then press right on the left stick to move
to the next. Once you get to the sixth one, you can select Start Search. These
all relate to what you have read in Card Genre when pressing Y over a card and
help you find cards of certain types. The most useful one I found in this list
is the first one on the first submenu, New Card. Every time you return to the
deck editor after winning some cards, do a filter, select New Card, then just
keep moving right and select Start Search. You will then get to browse all your
new unique cards to see if you want to consider them for your deck(s).

Once you have done a filter, and have finished viewing the results and moving
cards, you have 3 options:

>   * Do another filter. This will further narrow down the results of the
previous filter and won't look at cards already excluded by the first filter.
>   * Use Sort to put your results in the order you want.
>   * Use Reset Search on the main Trunk menu to put all of your cards back
into view and start afresh.

The Sort option I tend to use less often, but can sometimes be helpful. This is
a lot simpler than filter with just 10 pre-set ways to order the cards. By
default the cards are sorted by card frame. Little icons below the deck
breakdown tell you about the sort you have used.

Text Search is helpful if you remember all or part of the name of a card and
want to find it quickly. Just type in what you remember, then select Start
Search. It will filter the cards according to matching text in the names. This
is also great for finding all cards that mention "lightsworn" for example.

There are some additional controls when viewing your cards in the trunk. Hold
down RT, and then:

>   * Left/right on the left stick will cycle through pages of cards to move
through them more quickly.
>   * Up/down on the left stick will cycle between different groups of cards
depending on how they are sorted, for example each starting letter if
>   * B will reverse the order of the sort.
>   * X/Y will undo/redo the movement of cards from the trunk to the decks.
Useful if you accidentally send a card over and don't want to go right back to
the deck viewer.
>   * A will change the "label" of the selected card.

The label is what will appear in the initially blank Card Pack's List when
viewing a card with Y. By default each card has no label. By pressing A (while
holding RT) will give it a pink label. Further presses will cycle between 4
other colours, then finally back to no label. The way you use the labels is up
to you. You can use them to bookmark interesting cards you find in your
collection and are worried you won't remember the name of later. You can use
different colours for different meanings, different decklists, or just one
colour for all of them, it's entirely up to you. When you have some cards
labelled in this way, you can use the Label Color option in the Filter menu to
pick out ones with a particular colour label.

>> INFO: Remember to use Reset Search in the trunk menu before trying a brand
new filter/sort. If the card you're looking for isn't coming up, it's probably
because you forgot to do this. Any filters and sorts you do are also reset when
you leave the deck editor, and again you must go back to the main menu to save
all your labels along with your saved decklists.

                      3.1 Making a deck from the DLC cards                     

If you've bought the 10 DLC packs, you can do the following to make a much
stronger starting deck.

Enter the deck editor, use the Deck menu and Select Card, and then remove the
following cards (press A and then send to trunk):

>   * Alien Dog
>   * Black Stego
>   * D.D. Trainer
>   * Des Koala
>   * Drillroid
>   * Dunames Dark Witch
>   * Elemental Hero Clayman
>   * Elemental Hero Neos
>   * Elemental Hero Sparkman
>   * Elemental Hero Prisma
>   * Elemental Hero Wildheart
>   * Mask of Darkness
>   * Mechanicalchaser
>   * Neo-Spacian Air Hummingbird
>   * Submarineroid
>   * Swarm of Scarabs
>   * Jar of Greed
>   * Justi-Break
>   * Magic Cylinder
>   * Magic Jammer
>   * Negate Attack
>   * Foolish Burial
>   * Magical Mallet
>   * Nightmare's Steel Cage
>   * Rush Recklessly
>   * Scapegoat
>   * Skyscraper

Then go to the trunk, find the following cards (see above section for hints on
searching faster) and add them to your main deck:

>   * Blackwing - Gale the Whirlwind
>   * Breaker the Magical Warrior
>   * Caius the Shadow Monarch
>   * Charge of the Light Brigade

>   * Compulsory Evacuation Device

>   * Cyber Dragon

>   * D.D. Warrior Lady
>   * Dimensional Prison

>   * Ehren, Lightsworn Monk
>   * Exiled Force
>   * Fissure

>   * Gold Sarcophagus
>   * Gorz the Emissary of Darkness

>   * Jain, Lightsworn Paladin
>   * Lightning Vortex
>   * Lyla, Lightsworn Sorceress
>   * Mirror Force

>   * Mobius the Frost Monarch
>   * Mystical Space Typhoon

>   * Neo-Spacian Grand Mole
>   * Psychic Commander
>   * Reinforcement of the Army

>   * Ryko, Lightsworn Hunter

>   * Sangan
>   * Solemn Judgement

>   * Spirit Reaper
>   * Torrential Tribute

Then press RB to move the tab to your extra deck, and add the following cards
(which are all synchro monsters, so filter using that):

>   * Black Rose Dragon
>   * Blackwing Armed Wing
>   * Blackwing Armor Master
>   * Colossal Fighter
>   * Goyo Guardian
>   * Magical Android

You should now have a main deck of 40 cards still, and an extra deck of 6
cards. Below is a strategy guide for each card you are using. You can refer
back to it as you play to see if you are making the most out of your cards. I
have put (K) after the cards I suggest you should keep in your deck on a long
term basis, at least until you have lots of cards and a solid understanding of
the game. I put (K+) to suggest that you should consider adding more copies of
the card as well when you unlock them. As some are limited to 1 copy, there's
no point me suggesting you add more of those ones!


Archfiend Soldier & Mad Dog of Darkness 

These are your standard high ATTACK grunts. 1900 is about as good as it gets
for a “free” creature without some drawback. By free I mean level 4 and
below, higher levels require one or more tributes [sacrifices] to normal summon
[cast] or set. There is only one higher with no drawback which is Gene-Warped
Warwolf at 2000. You generally want to normal summon these, so that they can
attack immediately and make use of their high attack, or else be harder to kill
(they are likely to be killed if set where they then use their defence rating).
You'd probably only set these if you need a roadblock for an opponent's big
monster or are worried about one appearing and finishing you off, since set
creatures normally stop the damage from a monster attacking them. 


This guy is one of the very best “free” monsters to attack with, since it
goes up to 2300 during the damage step if it attacks a monster. This easily
beats out almost any other free monster, and even some higher level ones. The
drawback is that in attack position he goes down to 1300 when he gets attacked
back, so he's very likely to be killed. You can hold him back until you want to
attack to wipe out a particular creature, or else set him (his defence of 1800
isn't bad and then his drawback doesn't apply), or plan to defend him with
traps such as Bottomless Trap Hole or Dimensional Prison. You'll usually want
to attack with this monster first so that it gets its bonus and can deal more
damage, or have a good chance of killing a set monster. 

Cyber Dragon (K)

If you go second, this is an awesome card to have in your starting hand. You
expect that your opponent will have at least one monster on the field by your
turn, and you will have none, so you can use its ability to special summon [put
into play] for free. This also doesn't count as your normal summon for the turn
(you only get 1 of these) so you can also summon another monster. You can then
attack with both, and this dragon will probably kill whatever the opponent has
unless they got out something huge. If you're going first it's up to you, you
can deliberately not summon (or set) any monsters, just lay some traps if you
have them, and pass to your opponent. This way round is not as good since they
get to attack with whatever they summon (if you go first you can't attack on
your first turn but going second you can) but still may be worth it as you
“catch up” the race and gain a free 2100 attack monster in the process.
This may be worth the damage you take, but is risky. The risk is less if you
have some traps which could take out anything really nasty that appears.
Otherwise, when you both have monsters, this becomes less useful but can still
be normal summoned by tributing one creature, which is handy if you've used
Brain Control to steal one of your opponent's monsters and you tribute that
one. Otherwise you can keep it back in case all your monsters get wiped out
(maybe encouraging this situation by not laying too many other monsters in the
mean time.) 

Neo-Spacian Grand Mole (K)

This is an amazingly handy and flexible monster. By acting as a repeatable
[unsummon], you can sometimes lock out the game once you are ahead on monsters
by keep returning whatever the opponent puts out to their hand to stop them
building up any more defence. If you're getting smashed by a big monster, this
can often help if its one that required tributes, since the opponent will have
to tribute again to get it back onto the field. It's even better against
synchro or fusion monsters (white/purple border respectively) since they can't
be put into the opponent's hand and go back to the extra deck, effectively
killing them. You almost never want to set this guy, even if you're on the
defensive. His ability doesn't work if he is set and he just gets killed. He
still stops you taking damage from an attacker when he's in attack position
since he [unsummons] the attacker before any damage gets dealt. If you go
first, you can just normal summon him and leave him there. The best the
opponent can do is summon something to attack it, they both bounce back, and
you have the initiative of the first play again on your turn. He has a low
attack rating, but if you can lay a second monster to kill their attack
position monster, he can get a little damage in for you and at no risk, since
as I explained he's not vulnerable in attack position. 

Psychic Commander 

He's an oddball addition here, and is something you'd probably look to replace,
but it's a reasonable filler to start with, better than the other crud you
begin with. Obviously he's better in a Psychic monster deck, but he still
“sort of” has 1900 attack since he can shrink the opponent's creature down
with his ability, with a tiny life payment. Obviously unblocked he can only
deal 1400. But he's a tuner and so gives you access to the synchro monsters in
the extra deck as well (except the Blackwing ones). Synchros don't count as
your “normal summon” so you can fire them up as you see fit without slowing
you down. See the later descriptions for more detail. 

D.D. Warrior Lady (K)

An amazing monster which can be fetched by Sangan or Reinforcement of the Army.
She can effectively “beat anything”, even monsters that can't be destroyed,
by removing them from play (along with herself). This works against almost
anything, including set monsters. Make sure you don't use her ability when
prompted if she is battling a smaller monster that won't kill her anyway! She
can safely be set as almost nothing will kill her and not be taken down as

Sangan (K)

He's a very versatile guy which can fit into almost any deck that has enough
monsters he can fetch. Usually you set him and wait for the opponent to attack
and kill him, then search for whatever you need. If they don't kill him, next
turn you can tribute him for the summon of a Monarch etc or use him for a
synchro summon, and you still get to search your library since he doesn't have
to die by combat for it to work. If things are going well and your life points
are rosy you can throw him out as another (small) damage dealer, for your
opponent to deal with and then give you the chance to search if they kill. 

Spirit Reaper (K)

Another very useful creature for most all-round decks, this guy is a real pain
to deal with. If you set him, he can single handedly hold off any number of
monsters the opponent has (unless they have a special ability like Drillroid to
destroy him directly or trample over a set creature). If you expect to kill all
your opponent's monsters this turn, then change him to attack position (or
normal summon him) and use him to attack once they are all dead. The random
discard is much more important than the small damage he does, and is usually
worth the retaliation damage you may take. For the opponent to do this they
have to normal summon, then giving you the option of putting the Reaper back in
defence position, or dealing with their monster with one of your own or a
trap/spell to then repeat the discarding. He can be great to set up as a
tribute as well if you need on as he's hard to get rid of. 

Blackwing - Gale the Whirlwind (K)

This is obviously more at home in a blackwing deck, but he's mighty fine to be
going on with. As soon as you summon him (you'll rarely want to set him) you
can use his ability to mess up one of your opponent's monsters by halving its
attack and defence, usually allowing it to be killed by this monster or another
one you have. He is also a tuner, and he can fetch the powerful Blackwing
syncho monsters if the situation is right for them. 

Breaker the Magical Warrior (K)

An excellent stand-alone monster, he reflects the almost top notch 1900 attack
while he has his spell counter, with the option of destroying a spell/trap as
you see fit while retaining a reasonable 1600 attack. It's a matter of judgment
when you use his ability, if you're going for a big attack it may be worth
wiping out a set spell/trap that is worrying you, but in some situations you
want to keep him buffed up for lots of damage and save the ability for a
continuous card that will cause you problems (Messenger of Peace etc). 

Exiled Force 

A decent monster but not quite top quality, he's more of a kill spell in
monster form. You usually want to summon him then the use the ability right
away to kill something, unless you're desperate to do a bit of extra damage. If
you just summon him, unless you can defend him with spells or traps he is
likely to get rolled over and the potent ability will be lost. 

Ehren, Lightsworn Monk (K)

An excellent utility monster, obviously at its best when the opponent is
turtling up with set monsters. I particularly like him (her?) because he
doesn't kill the monster, so it doesn't set off any “goes to graveyard”
effects. Putting it back in their library is usually better, they can't then
reanimate it either. Usually you won't want to cast this until your opponent
has set a monster, unless you really want the extra attacker or can defend it
with traps, since it's not hard to kill. Don't worry about the [self mill]
effect of this and the other Lightsworn creatures, they are worth the
effectiveness they bring and very rarely will run you out of cards. You can
always tribute one for a normal/synchro summon if it's threatening to run you

Giant Rat

There are several cards like this in the game, that special summon a monster
with certain restrictions when they are destroyed by battle. They are very
useful in the right decks. If you're going first this is a great card to set,
as you want the opponent to attack and kill it, which is quite likely to
happen. You then get to choose which monster you need, and this can fetch
Neo-Spacian Grand Mole, Psychic Commander, or Exiled Force. Use similar
strategies as with Sangan. Remember his condition isn't quite as good, if he's
destroyed another way than by battle you don't get to use the ability. But if
the opponent uses a spell or trap just to kill this, you're probably not going
to mind! Also if you use him for a tribute or synchro summon you don't get to
use his ability, but don't let that stop you if it's important to do such a

Jain, Lightsworn Paladin 

Somewhat similar to the Steamroid, but it retains its respectable 1800 attack
when attacked back while in attack position, so it's more likely to stick
around. A boost to 2100 when it attacks a creature makes it able to roll over
most small creatures. 

Lyla, Lightsworn Sorceress 

A flexible card with a reasonable 1700 attack for damage dealing, and the
ability to deal with a trap/spell when you see fit. She is pretty certain to
die as soon as you do this as she can't be put back in attack position for
another turn and has tiny defence, so don't always be in a hurry to use the
ability when you can get some decent damage in for a few turns. If there's
something really troublesome out then of course go ahead and use the ability
right away, or if a lone face-down card is worrying you for your all out
attack. A nice way to use this card is to summon it, attack, and then on your
next turn use her ability and then use her for a tribute or synchro summon so
the opponent gets no chance to beat her up. 

Ryko, Lightsworn Hunter (K+)

An amazing card which helps you deal with almost anything the opponent can put
out. Unless you desperately need his 200 attack to finish off the opponent this
turn, you always want to set this. When it gets attacked, this sets off his
flip effect and you can destroy whatever you like. This can be the monster that
attacked it, but if it's one you can kill next turn by attacking with something
from your hand, you may want to target something else like a face-down
spell/trap. If he survives until your next turn, you can flip summon him for
his effect and then tribute him like with Lyla. He can effectively stop two
attackers at once, since when attacked by the first you can use his ability to
kill the second before it gets the chance to attack.

Mobius the Frost Monarch (K+)

All the monarchs follow the same pattern, they are level 5 so require a tribute
of a monster for a normal summon (you'd rarely ever set them), are 2400 attack,
and have a special ability that only happens if you tribute summon them like
this (as opposed to using Monster Reborn etc). This is in my opinion the best
one, I have 3 in my all round deck. Usually you'll wait until there are least 2
spells/traps you can target, either face up ones that are annoying you or face
down ones that could be a problem. Unless he is then countered by Solemn
Judgement or similar, you are guaranteed at the very least equal card advantage
(if one of the traps you destroy happens to be a Bottomless Trap Hole which
gets used in response). Otherwise you end up miles ahead, 2 of their cards for
1 of yours plus a huge monster. Often his appearance marks your final attack,
where you clear out all possible problem face-down traps/spells so that you can
safely finish off your opponent, aided by the Monarch's smashing power. You can
still summon him to kill just 1 trap/spell in a pinch, or indeed none, if you
just need him for his power. 

Caius the Shadow Monarch 

This one can also target monsters, making it more flexible although less
certain of card advantage. If you target a monster you are usually guaranteed
at least equal card advantage, more if the Monarch survives. Use him either to
press your advantage and finish off your opponent, or to take out a key card
that is helping your opponent too much or holding you back. He can also be used
as a kind of "direct damage” thanks to his ability if the card removed is of
dark attribute; if the opponent has 1000 or less life, you don't even need them
to have a dark creature, you can target itself (as he is dark) and that counts
to do the damage, winning the game. 

Gorz the Emissary of Darkness 

This is kind of similar to the Cyber Dragon, but with more extreme conditions.
You'll almost always get him into play using his “getting hurt” ability;
it's rarely worth the “all eggs in one basket” tribute of 2 creatures to
normal summon him, although this may occasionally help. You can use Monster
Reborn if he ends up in your graveyard though. If you go first and have him in
your hand, you can just pass the turn, leaving nothing in play, and hope the
opponent summons a monster and attacks you. If that happens, then right away
you have the chance to summon his huge 2700 attack body plus a token matching
the damage took. Going second you can do the same thing, but you risk a lot
more damage in the mean time. I sometimes play a kind of waiting game where I
don't put too much out, and things I reasonably expect to get killed, or
traps/spells that will quickly get used up. That way the opponent suspects less
from your inactivity, thinking they have you in trouble when your last card is
gone, and then attacks you “for free” only to see you drop this guy. Later
in the game, he's more of a come-back card if you get totally wiped out; again
you can engineer this somewhat by holding cards back.


Brain Control (K)

This is a very strong card that fits into most decks. It does one or more of
three things. It removes the monster you target as a blocker for the turn,
allows you to attack with it and/or use its abilities, and lets you use it as a
tribute for one of your summons (even after you've attacked with it if you
want). Save it for a huge monster when you can, either to get the damage and
deal the finishing blow, or to steal it, attack with and then tribute to summon
a Monarch or for a synchro. This kind of play is devastating and often game
winning. The 800 life you have to pay is peanuts for what it does. 

Heavy Storm (K)

One of the most powerful cards in the game, and a must-have in any deck. Just
the fact that this card exists makes you have to play carefully, not laying too
many traps and spells at once in case they all get wiped out. Save this for
when you can get a big advantage by wiping out at least 2 of your opponents
card, unless you really need to clear out just one for a final attack. Even
when you have spells/traps out yourself too, you can still get an advantage if
the opponent has a lot more than you down. Say they have 4 and you have 1, then
you'll get an advantage of 4 cards for 2 by using Heavy Storm. 

Giant Trunade (K)

A slightly less powerful version of Heavy Storm, it clears the way for the
turn, and allows you to set all your traps again first, but allows the opponent
the chance to use their cards again. This is best saved for a crucial situation
where you intend a big attack, or when removing a particular card from play is
of great importance, even for 1 turn. It can be used to your advantage in
combination with your own other spells/traps such as Swords of Revealing light,
you can extend its 3 turn timer by returning it (along with everything else) to
owners' hands, and play it again resetting the timer. This is a strong card to
keep in for most decks.

Monster Reborn (K)

Another staple, must-have for every deck. Its stupidly powerful and flexible.
As well as just getting back something that has been killed, either yours or
your opponent's monster, you can exploit it by discarding a monster to
something else (say to pay for Lightning Vortex) and then instantly getting it
into play, getting round its summoning restrictions (this works for most, but
not all, monsters; check their summoning restrictions). Save it for a big
creature which in addition to your normal summon for the turn gives you a huge
momentum advantage. If things are going well and you're pounding your opponent,
it can sometimes be worth bringing back a smaller creature just to help deal
the final damage. Keep an eye on what your opponent has in their graveyard to
work out the best time to use this. 

Smashing Ground (K)

An almost-staple, certainly considerable for any deck. It kills the face up
monster with the highest defence your opponent has, which is normally the one
you'd like to kill anyhow. Like all kill spells/traps save it for something
worth killing, and not something you can just smash up with your own creatures.
Take out a massive creature when you can, but depending on the situation it can
be worth killing something smaller with an annoying ability (such as Spirit
Reaper) in order to get the kill or to force through more damage. Note that
this spell doesn't target so gets around Monsters that can't be targeted by

Swords of Revealing Light (K)

Almost-staple again, obscenely powerful. It gives you a huge amount of
breathing room, knowing that you can't be attacked for 3 whole turns, putting
your opponent completely on the defensive unless they can get rid of this card.
Plus it flips up set creatures helping you avoid any nasty surprises, although
this triggers their flip effects. When things are going well, 3 turns can be
easily enough to win the game. You can sometimes cast this on your very first
turn if you have a promising hand and the protection it will offer your
creatures from combat is worth the early play. Otherwise keep it for if/when
your opponent starts to get the upper hand or drops a stinker you can't deal
with yet, and put him in deep freeze for ages. I eventually remove this card
from aggressive style decks just because I intend to kill most of their
creatures anyhow, but it should probably stay in your deck a long time until
almost complete even in that situation. In any mildly defensive deck its a

Mystical Space Typhoon (K)

This is staple unless you feel your deck becomes very capable of dealing with
traps/spells in other ways and you need the space, which will take a long time
and often you should keep this anyhow. This is the ultimate pinpoint removal
for spells/traps. You can use it right away in your turn if you need to,
otherwise you can set it (note you then can't use it for the rest of your turn,
that's the rule for quick-play spells) so it's ready for your opponent's turn
or your subsequent turns. Of course save it for something worth killing, or for
clearing the way for a massive attack. While set it can be great if it draws a
spell or ability from the opponent to destroy it, and you just use it in
response to kill something else, gaining card advantage. 

Reinforcement of the Army 

Very useful in any deck where it can fetch a reasonable amount of warrior
creatures. Here you can get D.D. Warrior Lady or the Lightsworn Paladin or
Monk. Although that's only 3, they cover a multitude of possible situations. It
can sometimes be worth holding onto this if you have other creatures to summon
in the meantime, to see how the game evolves and which creature is going to be
most useful to fetch. Obviously there is the risk that you can't fetch some
because they've ended in your graveyard or you've drawn them, but it's usually
worth this risk and you should almost always be able to fetch something. 


A not-quite-as-good version of Smashing Ground, but worth including just
because its a kill spell until you get something better to replace it. If your
opponent only has 1 monster, then it just gets killed, and that's the best use
for this (unless you are picking on a spirit reaper etc). Use your monsters to
attack and kill their little creature(s) leaving them just their big one, then
use this to take it out. Again doesn't target. 

Lightning Vortex (K)

An amazing kill spell that can be used in almost any deck. The loss of 1 of
your cards is usually worth the momentum swing from the destruction. Of course
save it for killing multiple creatures, and ones worth killing, when you can,
but sometimes you have to use it to just get rid of one big creature and its
worth doing do just to stop you getting more of your monsters beaten up in
battle, or you not being able to attack. Also this spell doesn't target. It's
amazingly not limited, so you can jam more in if you find them. 

Gold Sarcophagus 

Useful in most decks, the delay is worth the [Demonic Tutor] like power to find
whatever you need. You can either fire it off immediately on your first turn to
search for something amazing like Mirror Force, or save it to see how the game
pans out before deciding what to get. The drawbacks are that your opponent
knows what's coming, and they can occasionally mess with the card by shuffling
it into your library again before you draw it, although not many cards do this.
As your deck evolves you may consider taking this out unless it is fairly combo
orientated, just to speed it up and reduce predictability. 

Charge of the Light Brigade 

Since I've included the 4 best stand-alone Lightsworn creatures, you have a
great selection to choose from. Same strategy as with Reinforcement of the
Army. Of course you should eventually take this out if you decide to lose the
Lightsworn guys. But they are hard to beat so that may be a while.


Bottomeless Trap Hole (K+)

Simple, effective killing, and stops the monster from getting to attack. It
will still activate any coming-into-play abilities because of the timing: you
activate it after its been successfully summoned, rather than negating it ever
being summoned (such as with Solemn Judgment). Also the opponent can fire off
its activated ability before you use this. Regardless, this is an excellent
defensive measure, and will probably stay in your deck a long time. I
personally eventually prefer multiple Dimensional Prisons, since BTH has the
drawbacks of not dealing with smaller, annoying monsters (Spirit Reaper, Grand
Mole etc) and is no good against a monster already in play. But this will serve
you well for a long time, crushing the momentum of the opponent by denying
their creature and saving you from its attack. Use sparingly, judge whether the
creature is enough of a threat to worry about. The more other killing methods
you have in hand/play, the more liberal you can be. 

Dust Tornado 

An adequate way to deal with spells/traps until you unlock better ways. You
can't use it right away (since that's how traps work, you have to set them and
then they can only be activated from your opponent's turn onwards) so it's not
quite as good as the Typhoon. It has its own ability though to “replace”
itself with another card, this can be handy if you are worried about laying too
many in case of a Heavy Storm. When you activate this you can replace it with
one you've been holding back, and if it's a trap it will be ready to activate
in the next turn (be it yours or theirs). 

Sakuretsu Armor (K+)

A brilliant single kill trap, usually bettered only in my opinion by
Dimensional Prison. It can be used on something the turn it is summoned, and if
that's a big monster, chances are it will be attacking you anyhow so you get
the chance to use this. It's only not so great against annoying ability
creatures that may not attack, but you have lots of other ways to deal with
them. This will be a keeper for a long time. This and Dimensional Prison do
target the creature (it's often hard to work this out from the wordings)
whereas the similar Widespread Ruin doesn't. A selection of any of those cards
is always a good include. 

Torrential Tribute (K)

Ouch, a big bomb with a simple activation requirement. If your opponent goes
first, you may choose to set this, not lay a monster of your own, and hope they
then summon a second monster in their turn (it's quite likely) so you can set
this off and get 2 for 1 with a clear board ready for your turn. Later in the
game it will help you out if you are losing, and you can even trigger it by
summoning your own monster if your opponent refuses to summon another. Like
Heavy Storm, it's often worth killing your own stuff if you take out more of
your opponent's with it. 

Mirror Force (K)

Stupidly overpowered, probably the best kill trap around, and should be in
every deck. Such a simple activation requirement, and unless your opponent has
kept back any creatures in defence position, he will lose everything. Try to
save to kill at least 2 creatures, although sometimes you just have to bite the
bullet and wipe out that 1 huge creature, especially if it means saving your
own creature which about to get stomped; you effectively get card advantage
that way since you were about to lose a card. 

Solemn Judgement (K+)

A brilliant trap for almost any deck, it's the most versatile counter-trap. It
negates almost anything, with a few exceptions like an ability leading to a
special summon (such as Gorz the Emissary of Darkness). Use very sparingly and
carefully, as the loss of life is significant. The lower your life total, the
less this is a problem. Don't use it on anything you can deal with in some
other way with what you have in your hand or in play, and not on anything short
of threatening to kill you or stopping you winning in short order. They work
even better in multiples since the life loss becomes less significant the more
you use. They can be seen as your “get out of jail free card” to avoid one
huge bomb your opponent may drop. With multiples in board you can sometimes
just lock out the game by stopping several key cards that stop you winning. It
also provides insurance against a Heavy Storm if you lay 2 or more traps/spells
at once. 

Compulsory Evacuation Device 

A handy card to have, although you may replace it later on. It's best used on a
synchro/fusion monster since that returns it to the deck, effectively killing
it. Otherwise, like with the Grand Mole, return something that used resources
up to summon, or else just something crucial to the situation like an annoying
blocker that is holding back your final assault. Remember you can also use this
on your own creature to save it from destruction or being killed in battle, and
then you also get to reuse its come into play abilities, or charged up ones
such as Breaker the Magical Warrior. This card is especially useful if the
opponent has one of your monsters on the field, for example if they used
Monster Reborn to summon a monster from your graveyard. Since you are the
owner, it will go back to your hand not theirs!

Dimensional Prison (K+)

As discussed with Sakuretsu Armor, this is almost the same. I prefer it because
removing the monster from play means it can't be reanimated as easily since
it's not in the graveyard, and this also doesn't actually destroy things so it
gets around creatures that can't be destroyed or can be saved in some way (such
as Leo's Power Tool Dragon). Otherwise, the same strategy applies.

**Extra Deck**

The extra deck is completely different to Magic and takes a little time to get
used to. It's not part of your main deck at all, and no matter what you put in
it, it doesn't affect or slow down your main deck. You can in fact fill it with
15 random cards just to make out you might summon something from it, where in
fact your deck has no way to. The best use is to put as many into it that you
can summon, or may possibly want to, then fill it up with any other
synchro/fusion cards you may have. There's only 6 available in the initial card
pool + DLC (in fact they are all from the DLC) so that's all you can put in,
but you can add any more as you pick them up. Your extra deck is not ordered as
such, you can summon things from anywhere in it at any time you have the
resources to do so. I suggest forgetting about fusion summons (just use them to
fill up the spaces towards 15) and concentrate on synchro summons (white
border). They are much easier to use, in any deck, and just require you have
tuner monster(s) in your main deck. In addition to your normal summon, you can
synchro summon one of the following guys, which you should all put in your
extra deck, by selecting the deck when it has a circle over it, and choosing
Special Summon. You'll need a tuner in play (in this deck Psychic Commander or
Gale the Whirlwind) and 1 or more non-tuners, with total level exactly equal to
the monster you want to synchro summon. You send them all to the graveyard to
get the new monster straight from your extra deck. 

Black Rose Dragon (K+)

A brilliant card to have in any extra deck, mainly for its ability to kill
everything. When it's summoned, you'll get the option to “use its ability”.
If you select yes, it destroys everything in play, including itself. This is an
awesome way to get back in the game if your opponent has more cards in play
than you, and hard to stop without a specific counter-trap. You just need one
of your tuners (level 3) plus any level 4 monster. You don't have to use this
ability if you just want to keep him, and for now you don't have any other
options for level 7 (except the Armor Master) but as you pick up better
synchros like Dark Strike Fighter at level 7 you'd summon those instead if you
just want a big creature. Always keep this card in though, it's wipe-out effect
is awesome. Save it as long as possible to take out everything you can for
massive card advantage. 

Blackwing Armor Master 

This one is specific to your blackwing tuner (Gale the Whirlwind) so you'll
need that tuner, plus any level 4 monster. As you'll see, even though this is a
very specific card to have, requiring exactly one specific tuner from your
deck, it doesn't slow you down to include it in your extra deck, at least until
you have something you'd rather put in its place. This is a rather brilliant
creature to have the option to get, being big at 2500 attack and can't be
killed in combat. It also has the complicated looking “wedge counter”
ability. To explain what that does better: if you attack a bigger monster (say
one with 3000 attack), you won't kill it since this monster is smaller, but you
get the option to put a wedge counter on it (just select “yes” when
prompted to use his ability). Then next turn you select the Armor Master,
activate his ability, and that monster (and any others with wedge counters) get
reduced to 0 attack for that turn allowing you to smash them. So not only can
he not be killed in combat, he can eventually beat almost anything too. Plus
you never take damage from combat involving him so you can safely attack
anything, or leave him in attack position without worrying. 

Blackwing Armed Wing 

The little brother of the above, he again requires Gale (in a complete
blackwing deck any blackwing tuner would do) plus a level 3 monster to make his
level 6 up. 2300 attack is reasonable but not great for level 6, but he comes
into his own if the opponent is turtling up with set creatures. He boosts up to
2800 when attacking them, plus he “tramples” over them as if they were not
set, so he is a great surpise weapon. 

Colossal Fighter 

You'll probably rarely summon this, but he's there just in case he's needed or
until you have something better to take his spot. He's not bad, you'll require
a tuner plus probably a level 5 (or a level 2 and level 3), and he grows strong
the more warriors that are in graveyards. Work out how big he would be to see
if its worth it, occasionally it is although his abilities aren't as great as
they seem. He comes back to life from being killed in combat, but will more
regularly just get killed by a spell or trap. 

Magical Android (K+)

A handy card to have at level 5 (tuner plus level 2, which will probably be
Ryko), reasonable attack and the life gain is useful if you are in a clogged up
situation or facing direct damage. 

Goyo Guardian (K)

Ouch, overpowered city. The most lethal and efficient synchro monster, and
that's why he's limited to 1 only. He should make it into any extra deck that
can support him. 2800 attack is massive for level 6 (one of your tuners + a
level 3) and his ability to reanimate stuff he kills is game winning. If your
opponent can't deal with him, they are usually toast. They have to keep normal
summoning things to attack and kill the monster you stole; then you just attack
that new monster and steal it etc. Unless they find a kill-spell they are in
big trouble. Wonderful when backed up by counters such as Solemn Judgement, and
you can get him back to life with Monster Reborn.

           3.2 Starting the single player mode and general strategies          

On the main menu, select Single Player. Choose your avatar (makes no different
which) and after some announcements which aren't particularly interesting,
you'll be offered the tutorial. Choose "yes" if you want to learn some more
about the rules before starting or "no" if you want to get on with some duels,
after some more announcements.

The single player mode is in two sections. It starts with a league table of 4
players (including you) in which you all play each other, in just a single duel
format. If you come out on top after your 3 games, you advance to the main
tournament. This is a knockout format of 8 players, and you play a best of 3
match against each opponent. If you win the first match you're through to the
semi-finals, win this and you're in the final.

There are a variety of AI opponents for you to play. For strategies against
individual opponents, there is a great guide already written here:

The AI are split into two groups, ones you meet in the league table and ones
you meet in the main tournament. The second group are generally harder,
although not always. Most of the AI decks are well constructed, and although
they don't play them perfectly (and don't seem to understand how to properly
use some of their own cards) they offer a good challenge and are rewarding to

Before you start your duel, you'll be shown the recipe (decklist) screen to
choose your deck. If you've just started with your 40 cards you'll only have
one choice; if you've followed my advice you should have a seperate decklist
saved to choose. You can choose a different deck for every AI opponent you play
as you progress.

Then comes a minigame of rock/paper/scissors, an entirely pointless way to
decide who goes first. Against the AI there is no point even trying to fool
them as they will just pick randomly, I always just pick the middle icon.
Whoever wins this gets to choose whether to go first or second. In my
experience, it's always better to go first. If you go first, you get to set
your traps first, use spells and summon monsters without inteference from the
opponent. Your traps are then ready to be activated in their turn, whereas ones
they lay won't be when it's their turn. The advantage of going second is that
monsters cannot attack on the very first turn of the game, so if you're going
second you get to attack right away. On balance it's usually more important to
get your traps down first as they often dictate the flow of the game. If the AI
wins the minigame, they sometimes chose to go first and sometimes second. If
the minigame is a draw (you both pick the same icon) then you pick again. In a
best of 3 match, in each duel after the first, whoever lost the previous game
gets to chose who goes first.

Both players will be dealt their 5 cards, and whoever goes first gets to draw a
card right away (unlike Magic). At the bottom of the screen is your hand. Your
deck [library] is to the right of the screen, with the number on it telling you
how many cards are left. Above that is a space for your graveyard, and above
that your "removed from play" [exiled] zone. To the left of your screen is your
extra deck, if you have one. Again the number shows how many cards are in it.
Above that is your field card zone for field spells. The grid in at the bottom
is your area of the field, the top 5 spaces for monsters and the bottom 5 for
traps/spells. The opponent has all of these as well at the top of the screen,
all in reverse so that their first grid row is for their monsters etc. When
it's your turn to do something, you can freely look through your graveyard,
removed from play cards and extra deck by selecting them and choosing Show Card
List. Between your grid and the opponent's is the turn structure, the phase you
are in is highlighted in yellow. Refer to terminology for more information.

Once it's your turn, move the cursor around in your hand to see what you have.
You will notice icons appear above your highlighted card. They tell you what
you can do with your card. This applies to cards on the field as well once you
have some. The icons are as follows:

>   * White whirlwind (monsters only) - You can normal summon this card from
your hand.
>   * Blue button (monsters only) - You can special summon this card from your
>   * Red square - You can set this card from your hand, or change its attack
position if its a monster on the field.
>   * Orange card/explosion - You can activate this card from your hand or
activate its ability if its on the field.

You can have multiple icons above the same card when you highlight it, showing
you all the different options. If one of the icons is missing from the above
list, that option isn't available for whatever reason. Remembers you can't
activate spells, traps or abilities if they will have no effect. You always use
A to select, and B to back up/cancel.

If you're going first, it doesn't make much difference what order you do things
on your first turn since the opponent is very unlikely to be able to do
anything to interfere having no cards on the field. You get one chance each
turn to normal summon/set a monster, and on the first turn it won't be able to
attack. This means you are setting up for defence against the opponent's next
turn, in which they will be able to attack with everything they can summon
right away. You want to either normal summon a monster with a high attack so
that it is difficult to kill, or set a monster with a high defence or an
ability which triggers on flipping or being destroyed. If you're using the DLC
deck I recommend, see the individual card strategies to give you an idea what
to do with each card. 

You can also activate or set as many spells and traps as you want from your
hand. Traps have to be set before they can be activated, so these are a good
thing to set right away. You can cast any spells if they are helpful, or set
any quick-play spells so you can use them in your opponent's turn. Otherwise I
think it's best to keep spells in your hand, since apart from bluffing that
they are things you can use, there's no point them being on the field since
they can get destroyed before you can use them. The non quick-play spells can't
be used in your opponent's turn or in response to anything, so keep them in
your hand. (This changes later in the game if the opponent is using discard
against you, sometimes you are better to set cards than get them discarded from
your hand.)

Another thing to keep in mind while doing this is whether you are
over-committing. Because every deck in the game uses the card Heavy Storm, you
have to be careful. This spell (which is in your deck too!) destroys all spell
and trap cards on the field. So if you put 3 or 4 down and your opponent
destroys them all with a Heavy Storm on their turn, you will be down several
cards on the deal and it will be hard to come back. If you have a way of
negating a Heavy Storm such as Solemn Judgement, you may feel safer in setting
more cards. My rule of thumb is I don't put down more than 2 traps/spells at a
time unless I have a particular reason or a way of defending them. (You may
think this is overly paranoid as it's just one card I'm considering, but with
it being in every deck and the decks being as small as 40 cards, the chance of
the opponent getting it is considerable. There are other cards as well that can
destroy multiple spells/traps at once but they are not so easy to use. It's not
usually worth the risk unless you really, really feel you need to set a lot of
cards at once.)

Once you're happy with your defences, press B to bring up the turn structure
menu. You will see the 6 phases in order, and the ones you can go to lit in
blue. On the first turn since you can't attack you can't go to your battle
phase, and as such there is no need for your second main phase, so all you can
do is select End Phase. This will pass the turn to the opponent. If you
accidentally bring up the turn structure menu at any point, press B again to go
back without changing phases.

If you're going second, things are rather different. You will expect that your
opponent will have at least one monster, either face up or face down, and
probably at least one set spell/trap. You won't know what the face down cards
are, other than by what zone they are in (only monsters go in the monster zone
and spells/traps in the spell/trap zones). Any traps they have laid will be
able to be activated, so they can potentially negate things you do, destroy
your cards, or otherwise interfere. You have to weigh up the best course of
action by how many cards your opponent has on the field, and how many of them
you can see (face-up).

From this point on it becomes more important to do things in the right order.
If you're going to remove some of the set traps/spells your opponent has, do
this first. Otherwise, if you put cards on the field you are giving them
potential targets to use their spells/traps on before they get destroyed. If
you're not going to or not able to, the next thing to do is to cast any spells
that you think are needed before combat, and summon/set a monster. Don't set
any traps before combat as you will be again presenting extra targets during
combat, and you can't activate them this turn anyway. 

Which monster you use depends on the situation. If the opponent has a face-up
monster, you'll want to if possible normal summon a monster with higher attack
so you can attack it, kill it and keep your monster. If they have a set
monster, then you have to decide if it's prudent to attack it. Again normal
summoning a monster with high attack is good, or else a monster that has
abilities against set creatures such as Ehren, Lightsworn Monk. Attacking
against an unknown set monster is always a bit of a risk, but in my experience
it's best to get on with it and just attack if you have a monster with a decent
chance of killing it, unless you have other reasons to hold back. If you don't
have a monster you want to attack with, you can either set your own monster or
normal summon and skip the battle phase. If this is the case, the order you do
things isn't so important except for trying to bait the opponent into using a
trap etc.

If you normal summon and wish to attack, press B to bring up the turn structure
menu and then move the cursor to the right to select battle phase (BP). Select
your monster, then select attack, then the monster you want to attack. See
attack/defence in the terminology section and the basic rulebook I linked to
earlier for more details about how the outcome of battles are decided. If your
opponent didn't set/summon any monsters, you can just attack them directly
which is always good.

If you somehow summoned more than one monster (say you special summoned Cyber
Dragon as well) then you can also attack with your second monster, if you wish.
If you killed their monster with your first one, then you can attack directly
with the second. If you attacked an unknown set monster first but didn't kill
it, it will now be in face-up defence position and you can see whether or not
it's a good idea to attack it with the second monster. For this reason, it's
usually better to attack the set monster with your more powerful monster first,
to give you more chance of killing it first time and then getting free damage
through from your second monster.

Once you're done with battle, move the turn to main phase 2 (MP2). This is the
point where you should set any traps or quick-play spells you want to, and
activate any other spells you would like. Again you have to be careful about
over-committing too many spells/traps in case of a Heavy Storm. It's a bit
different this time, as the opponent probably has at least 1 on the field
themselves. If this is the case, you can afford to put more down, since if they
Heavy Storm they will be destroying their own cards too. Say they have 2
spells/traps set, you can probably safely set 3 yourself, then even if they
Heavy Storm it's a 3 card for 3 trade. Once you're finished, end the turn with
the turn structure menu.

Every turn after this plays out in much the same way as if you're going second,
as described above. There will probably be more and more cards on the field,
and you have to adjust your strategy accordingly. Always be careful of
over-committing, even with monsters, since there are many cards which can wipe
out all your monsters at once (Torrential Tribute, Mirror Force, Lightning
Vortex etc.) Again if you have something like Solemn Judgement as backup you
can afford to commit more. If you're worried about summoning an extra monster
before your attack and running into a trap which will kill them all, you can
play it safe by first attacking with what you have, and then after battle
setting/summoning another monster. Setting works particularly well as the
popular Lightning Vortex doesn't kill your face-down monsters so that one would
survive. Keep an eye on the opponent's life total to decide how important it is
to get more monsters out, and if you already have enough to finish the job it
may be worth keeping more back in your hand instead of risking losing them all.

At this point I should mention some useful extra controls which the game
doesn't tell you for some reason. If you've set a spell/trap you can use in
response to anything, such as Mystical Space Typhoon, you will notice the game
pauses continually to ask you if you want to do anything. This can quickly
become annoying when you know you don't want to. To avoid getting these
prompts, hold down the B button. The game will treat it as if you've said no
each time, until you release the button. Other choices you have to make will
still come up though even if you're holding down B, so you won't miss important
things. Be careful about holding down B too long though, as you may miss the
chance to respond when you actually want to. It's second nature to me now to
hold down B after I have finished my turn (or the opponent finishes theirs) and
holding it down until the turn progresses to main phase 1, and then letting go.
This skips past the draw and standby phases, where you normally don't want to
do anything anyhow.

Another problem is that the AI decks often have lots of combinations they use
with their cards, and you'll see cards flying everywhere and you won't
understand what they are doing. If you have nothing to respond with, the game
won't stop either, it will continue until it has finished and you'll just get
to see the end result. If at some point you want them to stop so you can see
what they are doing to understand better, hold down the A button. The game will
then pause at a suitable point, and give you the chance to view the field, even
if you can't actually use anything to respond. Don't worry too much about
trying to understand what the AI is up to, in time you will come to know their
decks and strategies, just worry about the end result when they have finished
and act according to that. Once you beat them you are able to view their
decklists in the deck editor screen, and that will help you understand a
particularly baffling opponent.

If you have a tuner monster on the field, you may be able to synchro summon a
monster. If this is the case, there will be a glowing circle over your extra
deck. Select it, and choose Special Summon. The available synchro monsters will
be presented in a list. Choose the one you want (or use B to change your mind)
and then it will ask you to choose your synchro material. Select one tuner
monster, and then any number of other monsters so that the total level of all
the monsters you pick equals the level of the synchro monster you are
summoning. By this stage you will always be able to pick a legal combination,
since the game won't offer you a synchro summon that you can't do. Remember
this doesn't count towards your one normal summon/set each turn, and you can
use a monster you just summoned for synchro material, whether a tuner or not.
The importance of the level of creatures becomes more apparent when synchro
summoning, for example if you only have creatures of even level (2,4,6...) it's
not possible to synchro summon a monster of odd level. The DLC deck I suggest
has enough mix of levels to be able to summon all the synchro monsters you
start with given the right combinations.

When responding to things happening in the game, you will come to see that you
can respond both to the attempt to summon a monster, and to the monster
entering the field after being successfully summoned. The first window of
opportunity is only for counter/traps, which stop the monster from using it's
entering the field triggered abilities and from using its ignition [activated]
abilities. The second window is for regular traps, and spells etc. such as
Bottomless Trap Hole and Torrential Tribute, these do not stop entering the
battlefield triggered abilities. The player who summoned the monster gets
priority first after the monster is successfully summoned so they also get to
use the monster's ignition abilities before the opponent can respond and
destroy the monster. The game will always pause for you to be able to respond
if you have any cards in hand or on the field that you are permitted to use,
unless you are holding down B.

Some cards can be activated from the graveyard, such as Plaguespreader Zombie.
If there is one there that can be activated, the orange card/explosion icon
will appear when you move the cursor over the graveyard. Press A on the
graveyard to bring up the menu to use abilities.

The two most important factors are card advantage and timing advantage (tempo).
Your life total is actually quite a low third after these. As long as you're
still alive you can win, but if you get behind on cards and timing, you will
rarely ever win. It's often worth taking some damage if it means keeping card
parity, or indeed gaining advantage, rather than worrying about every little
bit of damage you take. Of course you need to keep yourself alive and use this
advice within reason, but you can afford to take quite a battering and make a
comeback if you can get control of the game. Try and always make 1 for 1 trades
or better, that way you are always at least equal on cards. Don't waste a card
on killing a menial monster that you can quite easily kill next turn with one
of your own, instead take the damage. 

As for timing, since you can only summon one monster a turn normally,
destroying several of your opponent's monsters at once puts them way behind.
Even destroying them all at once including your own, like with Torrential
Tribute after the opponent normal summons, can turn the tempo of the game since
you then get to normal summon in your turn and attack for free. The guide I
refer to at the top of this section also has some excellent advice and examples
to do with these issues.

It will take a lot of time and experience for you to fully understand the
strategies of the game, it is very deep and you will find it a rich experience.
Don't expect to win right away, losing can be just as instructive. If anyone
wants any more specific advice on strategy, feel free to message me.

Once your duel is over, whether you win or lose, you get a results screen and
then you get given some cards. It only records on the hard drive that you have
the cards after you advance from the results screen and you get the "saving"
message. Even if you lose, you get at least 1 card, so do continue and get the
card. If you win, you get more, up to a possible 10, based on your score. You
get points for loads of different things, and most of them you don't get many
for, but there are a few things you can aim for to get a higher score and
therefore more cards. Keep them in mind, but don't take them too far; just
winning is the most important thing. Here are some:

>   * Win without taking any damage
>   * Win with only combat damage (not using any spells/abilities that deal

>   * Win by reducing the opponent to exactly zero life (some calculations may
reveal a way that you can use your monsters to deal just the right amount of
damage without going over)
>   * Use all 5 monster zones at once (you only have to achieve this at some
point in the duel, they don't have to stay there until you win)
>   * Not use any spells
>   * Not use any traps
>   * Win in the first few turns
>   * Win with 1000 or less life (if you're certain to win you can deliberately
hurt yourself to get in this range, say by attacking with a monster against a
bigger monster, before dealing the finishing blow)
>   * Win with 100 or less life (same as above but much more tricky to pull
off, look for opportunities)

There are quite a lot of others, and you can view them in your results screen
to see what you've earned, but the above ones are the easiest and most
rewarding to focus on if you get the opportunity.

Once you've played all 3 of the AI opponents in the preliminaries, you only
progress if you come out on top. This means either winning all 3, or winning 2
out of 3 and getting good scores in your wins (and hoping no AI wins all 3). If
you do, you're onto the main tournament. This is much the same, except each
game is a best of 3 match and it is knock-out so if you lose, you're out. You
are allowed to swap cards with your side deck between duels, so if you have any
ones stored there that could help against certain deck types you can include
them. If you get all the way to the final you'll face either Jack Atlas or
Yusei Fudo. The former is much harder, the latter is not actually very hard at

Winning lots of cards means playing through the single player mode lots and
lots and lots of times. Hopefully, like me, you will enjoy every minute of it
anyhow. I would say don't bother trying to make any sort of themed deck until
you have minimum 500 cards, and you'll probably need more like 700 to have
enough of what you'll need. Otherwise you'll often find you just don't have
enough of each theme to go together and it's easier to stick with a crush deck
until you have.

There are some things you can do to "help" yourself in the single player mode,
whether or not they are ethical is up to you, but the game certainly doesn't
seem to mind:

>   * If you are losing a duel/match, you can just pause the game with the
start button and quit. If you then go back to single player mode, you'll be
offered the chance to continue, and if you do you'll face the same opponent
again for a rematch. 

>   * After playing any AI opponent, you can quit to the main menu (progress to
the announcer screen first, then press start). You can then go into the deck
editor, check out your new cards, and improve your deck. After quitting back to
the main menu after this, you can continue the single player mode with your
stronger deck. Doing this after every single opponent is probably overkill.
>   * You can fix your deck against individual AI opponents. If you're about to
play one that gives you trouble, quit before the game starts (or during) and
then go edit your deck with cards that are effective against them, before
resuming the single player mode as above.

                            3.3 Improving your deck                            

The beginning 40 card deck is rather weak overall, it is a mix of themes of
which none have enough cards to do much. The 40 card deck I suggest from the
DLC is much stronger, and I've been reliably informed it's a "crush" type of
deck, meaning it's just all the most powerful cards available without worrying
too much about themes or combos. Because of this, it's an easy deck to improve
and play around with since no cards are crucial and you aren't limited to a
certain monster type etc.

As you unlock new cards, you can view them in the deck editor screen as I
describe earlier in the guide. You can experiment by using them to replace
cards already in the deck. While modifying your deck, I recommend keeping to
these principles:

>   * Don't go over 40 cards. It's tempting to "chuck in" new good cards, but
the fact is that you are not helping yourself by doing so. All you're doing is
diluting the deck, and crucially you are reducing the chance you will draw your
extra powerful limited cards which are game breakers. Of course this is up to
you, it depends on how you want to play the game. But if you want to make the
best deck you can, 40 is the way to go, so each time you put another card in
your main deck, decide on your weakest card and take that out.

>   * Keep the deck about half monsters, half spells/traps. So with 40 cards,
you want around 20 monsters. You'll find you need a healthy mix of both in
every duel. 

>   * Don't have too many monsters that are high level (above level 4). Since
you can't summon them for free, if you draw too many and can't find the
monsters to tribute, you can get stuck and not be able to summon anything. A
handful of level 5-6 monsters is fine.
>   * Don't bother using level 7+ monsters unless you are planning a reliable
way to get them into play by an alternate route. Since they require two
tributes, that is not only a huge tempo loss (since you probably took two other
turns summoning those monsters) but a huge risk if the monster gets killed,
giving the opponent a 3 for 1 advantage. For now, I'd steer clear of them
altogether. My DLC deck does have one monster in this level range, but it has
its own way of getting onto the field (Gorz).
>   * Focus mainly on spells/traps that destroy or negate the opponent's cards.
You'll notice most of the ones I suggest do just this. Stay away from equipment
spells and cards that have a narrow focus. 
>   * Don't bother with any normal monsters with less than 1900 attack. They
become more important when you start making themed decks and particular names
and monster types count, but in a crush deck they are useless. The only
exception to this would be for ones with really high defence like 2100, but in
this kind of deck I'd probably rather have a 1900 attack monster that can do
some damage.

>   * Monsters with "flip" effects are very useful, since they still trigger if
they get attacked and killed. Those that require a flip summon are less useful,
as you have to stop them getting attacked and flipped over during the
opponent's turn after you set them.

>   * Increase your extra deck to a full 15 cards as soon as you have enough
synchro/fusion monsters. Even if it's not possible to summon them, it's better
to have the opponent think you have more options than you do, and the extra
cards cannot affect you negatively in any way. Obviously use as many of the 15
slots for cards which work well with your deck, which will mostly be synchro
monsters. You may unexpectedly gain a tuner monster in a duel through using
Monster Reborn on your opponent's graveyard, and be able to summon a synchro
monster you usually couldn't. Of course, this bluff factor of a full 15 card
deck is only relevant when taking it online since the AI pays little or no
attention to such things.
>   * Look out for multiples of the good cards already in your deck when you
win cards. Note they won't register as "new" under a search filter, but the
duplicates allow you to put more of that card into your deck (up to the usual
limit of 3).

For your crush deck, below are some other cards to look out for which you may
consider including. They are all-round good cards like the ones I already
recommended. I've put them in alphabetical order for ease of reference.

>   * Armory Arm 

>   * Beast King Barbaros 

>   * Beserk Gorilla 

>   * Burden of the Mighty 

>   * D.D. Assailant 

>   * Dark Bribe 

>   * Dark Strike Fighter 

>   * Dark Valkyria 

>   * Gaia Knight, the Force of Earth 

>   * Gene-Warped Warwolf 

>   * Plaguebearer Zombie 

>   * Prime Material Dragon 

>   * Raigeki Break 

>   * Red Dragon Archfiend 

>   * Royal Oppression 

>   * Scrap-Iron Scarecrow 

>   * Seven Tools of the Bandit 

>   * Stardust Dragon 

>   * Thought Ruler Archfiend 

>   * Tuningware 

>   * Widespread Ruin

                4.1 Playing an online game against your friends                

If you have some friends who have just started the game, you can play against
each other with the starting decks (or ones you've made from a few unlocked or
DLC cards) and have a level playing field. It's a good way to learn the game as
well. Refer to the previous section for general strategy that will help also.

From the main menu select Multiplayer, then Player Match, then Create Match.
You can then set various options for the duel. If you want to play tag mode,
you will need 3 friends. Set the Private Slots to 1, or 3 for tag, then create
the game. You will then get your lobby screen. Press X to bring up your friends
list, and start inviting friends to the game. In a tag game you can use LB and
RB to alter the order of the players; the top two players form a team against
the bottom two.

Note that you don't unlock any cards by playing this way, you have to get them
against the AI. You can however get some achievements.

                       4.2 Playing online against others                       

To be ready to face an unknown opponent, I strongly suggest you play against
the AI for a good deal of time first. This will help you both understand the
game better, unlock some good cards, and be able to use your deck quickly and
not make the game drag as you read every one of your cards in detail.

Once you feel you are ready, you can either make your own game or try to join
one that is there already. You can choose between player match or ranked.
Player is generally more casual, ranked supposedly has some ranking system but
with people "rage quitting" a lot of results don't get recorded so the ranks
don't mean much. It doesn't make a lot of difference which you pick, but I'd
stay with player to begin with.

You can then create your game as described previously, or look for a game.
Choose custom match, then you can put in your criteria that you want to play
against and choose your deck. Then you can continue, and the xbox will try and
find you a game. Sometimes there are people to play, sometimes not. And
sometimes even when there are, a search comes up empty for no apparent reason,
so try again even if you fail.

If you're going to play best of 3 matches, it's helpful to develop a side deck.
Put in there cards which wouldn't normally be in your main deck, but which
would especially help against certain deck types.

In tag games, you have to consider carefully your deck construction.
Combinations that work well in one against one don't always pan out in tag. For
example, if your Giant Rat is destroyed by battle while your partner has
control of the game, it will attempt to search his deck rather than yours. This
may result in not being able to find any monsters at all. Of course you can get
round this problem by playing with a friend so that your decks are similarly

Don't get mad if you lose, instead try to figure out why you lost, and learn
from the opponent about which cards are good and how to use them. And if you
want to quit, please use the concede option, which can only be done on turn 10
onwards and when it's your turn (press A over your library). Otherwise, let
your opponent kill you rather than quitting. It's good manners since as I
pointed out they don't get credit for the win for achievements if you quit.

                           4.3 Developing your decks                           

As you get more and more cards, you'll want to start experimenting and building
your own decks. My advice to start with is to look at the AI decks, choose one
you like the look of (and that you have a lot of the cards) and load it up.
Fill in the gaps as best you can, and then try it out against the AI. See how
it works, why it works, and how it could be improved. Play quite a lot of games
before you change anything, since the point of some cards aren't obvious and
the AI may not have used them correctly against you. Once you have a feel for
how it works, start altering it to remove what you consider to be weak or out
of theme, and build it from there.

Another way is to use the text search function. Say you want to make a
blackwing deck, just type in blackwing in the text search. Every card that
mentions blackwing will come up, so you can look how many you have and which
are good enough to include. Then build the deck up from there.

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