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Top 10 Cards You Should Be Playing in "Yu-Gi-Oh: Master Duel"

Jeremy enjoys dueling in between working as a chemical analyst and campus building manager.

Master Duel logo

Master Duel logo

"Yu-Gi-Oh: Master Duel" Ban List

Yu-Gi-Oh: Master Duel offers a free-to-play dueling experience across numerous platforms, including mobile phone, Playstation, Xbox, and Switch. It's pretty much the cheapest way to duel, requiring no physical cards or game purchase, and while in-game special currency can be bought with real money, you'd be surprised how quickly free players unlock cards.

If you're wondering whether Master Duel utilizes the American TCG or Asian OCG banlist, the answer is neither—as a unique format with slightly different card pools than paper play, the game maintains its own unique banlist. Keeping in mind that some of today's cards are banned in the TCG/OCG but not the game, here are the top ten cards you should use in Yu-Gi-Oh: Master Duel!

Imperial Order

Imperial Order

10. Imperial Order

Status: Limited (one copy per deck)

In the TCG, Imperial Order keeps shuffling around the ban list, currently being forbidden, but you can have a single copy online, and it's brutal if you play first. Activate it to negate all spells—heck, chain it to one to go ahead and knock one out right off the bat.

Sure, this also affects you, but you'll have presumably already used your spells. You also have to pay 700 life at your standby to keep it active, but that's a paltry fee next to the often game-winning net Order constructs.

Nibiru, the Primal Being

Nibiru, the Primal Being

9. Nibiru, The Primal Being

Status: Unlimited

When you reach the higher gold and platinum ranks in competitive dueling, you'll see amazing combos with themes like Tri-Brigade and Dryton, who can easily summon 5+ monsters in one turn.

Use this to your advantage with Nibiru, who can tribute all opposing monsters during a main phase where your opponent has normal/special summoned at least five monsters that turn. Your opponent gets a token with ATK equal to their lost monsters' total ATK, but it falls prey to any removal, and you get to summon Nibiru, with 3000 ATK no less, to your own field.

Ash Blossom & Joyous Spring

Ash Blossom & Joyous Spring

8. Ash Blossom & Joyous Spring

Status: Unlimited

The dreaded hand trap herself, Ash Blossom can be used as a level three tuner, but you're much more likely to use her discard effect, which negates an opponent's effect that would add a card from deck to hand, summon from deck, or send a card from deck to graveyard.

Use this against cards like Pot of Desires, where your opponent still spends the activation cost, but loses the effect, for a brutal disrupt that puts you ahead in advantage.

Reasoning

Reasoning

7. Reasoning

Status: Unlimited

Reasoning works better in Master Duel than paper tournaments because, at least as of this writing, the online ranked system only hosts best-of-1 matches, so your opponent can't sideboard to beat your deck.

This lets you surprise them with Reasoning, which has them declare a level between 1-12, you mill cards until you find a monster that can be normal summoned, then special summon it if your opponent guessed the wrong level, or if they guessed right, you send it to the grave.

Thing is, even if they get lucky and deny the summon, you're still stockpiling your graveyard with tons of cards, great for GY themes with varying levels like Shaddoll and Tri-Brigade.

Harpie's Feather Duster

Harpie's Feather Duster

6. Harpie's Feather Duster

Status: Limited

After many years on the paper play ban list, Feather Duster was finally made legal with one copy, and Master Duel currently follows suit. It simply destroys all opposing spells/traps.

Admittedly, most decks these days focus on boss monsters more than backrow shenanigans, but this is still a powerhouse, especially when playing second.

Raigeki

Raigeki

5. Raigeki

Status: Limited

The monster equivalent of Feather Duster, Raigeki simply nukes all opposing monsters. Sure, a few threats have abilities that prevent them from being destroyed by effect, but keep in mind that one of the most popular (in paper play), Red-Eyes Dark Dragoon, is banned in Master Duel, making Raigeki a welcome sight in the vast majority of your matches.

Pot of Desires

Pot of Desires

4. Pot of Desires

Status: Unlimited

Banish ten cards face-down to activate Desires, and if it resolves, you draw twice. The activation cost is unfortunate, but two cards for one can really save the day; just watch out for Ash Blossom and other negations.

Desires was chopped down to one copy in the TCG, but it's not at all limited in Master Duel, so go wild.

Pot of Extravagance

Pot of Extravagance

3. Pot of Extravagance

Status: Limited

At the start of your main phase 1, Extravagance lets you banish either three or six random face-downs from your extra deck to draw one card per three cards you banished. You also can't draw more cards that turn (but you can add them).

So yea, losing pieces of your extra deck, especially random ones, occasionally hits hard, but again, two draws in one is almost always worth the price, especially for decks that don't overly rely on it. If you're worried about losing a key card, try running two or three copies to increase your chances of keeping at least one.

Lightning Storm

Lightning Storm

2. Lightning Storm

Status: Unlimited

Lightning Storm is harder to activate than Feather Duster or Raigeki, as you must control no face-ups. However, it basically lets you pick between their effects, either nuking all opposing spells/traps or all attack-position threats.

Admittedly, first-turn players have picked up on this and are more likely to summon in defense, but link monsters are always stuck in attack and thus vulnerable, and the versatility between two nukes makes this an easy pick. You also don't have to spend dozens of dollars for it like you would in real life.

Maxx "C"

Maxx "C"

1. Maxx "C"

Status: Unlimited

Wow. This card, long banned in the TCG, is somehow currently sitting at a full three copies. We'll see if that changes in updates, but for now, exploit it while you can; discard Maxx on any turn to draw a card whenever your opponent special summons that turn.

Alongside Nibiru, this works great when playing second against combo decks, forcing opponents to pick between giving you insane advantage or ending a turn with an open field; either way, you come out ahead.

Underrated Cards in Master Duel

Many players forget to use the search tool to find exactly the cards they need—you don't need to unlock them in packs as long as you have the resources to spend. Several pendulum-based cards are less restricted than in the TCG, like Supreme King Starving Venom, Heavymetalfoes Electrumite, and Servant of Endymion.

If you're just starting, try the structure decks in the shop (you can earn resources from the tutorials to nab them) as a starting point, and login daily to collect gems for more packs. But for now, share your thoughts on the game and I'll see you at our next YGO countdown!

© 2022 Jeremy Gill