Yu-Gi-Oh: Dueling and Deck Types

Seto Kaiba’s Deck can be among the most destructive examples of a deck built for attacking duelists

Hey guys, Chief Siddharth here. As part of my Yu-Gi-Oh series today I will be talking about deck types and dueling styles. I can guarantee that after reading this post you should be able to decide what kind of deck you want to build, or how to improve an existing one. You will also know if you want to change your style to another.

NOTE: If you haven’t read my first post and you are a rookie, you will understand almost nothing.


Methods of dueling can greatly vary. Duelists have preferences over what cards to use, how to beat their opponents, how to approach a duel, which combos they want to use and much more. This results in distinctive dueling styles and is what makes Yugioh special. Some people have trouble deciding, and some have it in their natural dueling instinct. But nonetheless, it is important to be able to realize your opponent’s dueling style. Here is the list.

Seto Kaiba provides an excellent blueprint for attacking duelists

Attack/Attacking Dueling

Duelists: Seto Kaiba, Jack Atlas

Advantages: Can crush weaker opponents, devastate an opponent beyond recovery to give one an upper hand in a duel at a relatively early stage. Puts immense pressure on opponent, destroys key combinations to win duel.

Disadvantages: If the initial outburst, or main attempt at disarming one’s opponent fails, especially against well-drilled strategy decks, the attacking duelist may lose. Well placed traps and spells unanticipated can disarm strategy decks. As the duel wears on, an attacking deck usually loses chances of victory.

Formula: ( Moves completed in a duel is inversely proportional to chances of victory of an attacking duelist). M=1/V where M is moves, V is chances of victory! (for those who like physics and math). 

Attacking decks are typically decks which attack your opponent into submission. Using high attack point monsters, as well as destructive spell cards is a feature of this deck. The idea is to ‘crush’ your opponent as soon as possible. If strategical tweaking and dueling isn’t your thing, try attacking decks.

Quote: As Seto Kaiba puts it :

Draw your last pathetic card so I can end this, Yugi!

In the anime, the trend is that the rival of the main protagonist is always an attacking duelist. Seto Kaiba and Jack Atlas are good examples of attacking duelists. Common cards used in such duelists’ decks include crush card virus, and an egyptian god card or monsters with extremely high attack points.

Always use cards that can deal damage in your deck to ensure you have the advantage at all times.

Yugi Moto is the among the top strategy duelists, as seen here

Strategy/ Strategical Dueling

Advantages: Can counter most deck types and duelist styles, is a safe approach,  can result in extraordinary victories. Strategy duelists can hold off powerful sieges by the opponent or survive strong strangling combos.

Disadvantages: Do not always have a strength in them, require a good level of skill to pull off. Difficult to master.

Strategy decks are among the top, popular decks in Yu-Gi-Oh. The special part of a strategy deck is that it can adapt to multiple play styles and can save a duelist’s blushes from multiple situations.

An orthodox strategy deck tends to give a duelist many options. Ritual summons such as Black Luster Soldier, and Paladin of White Dragon are some monsters which can deal heavy blows. Kuriboh can help prevent damage. Pot of Greed, Reckless Greed and Card Destruction also help give variety to a duelist’s hand. Try to ensure you have cards for all situations, however far fetched it may be.

The main protagonists in all seasons always use strategy decks which tend to change over the course of the story. Typically a strategy deck contains multiple combinations which can change a duel in s short time span. Big piece, medium piece and small piece golem is one of my favourites. Other cards such as scrap iron scarecrow and spell shield type 8 are also useful, and generally a strategy deck should have such combos with spell cards which can offer serious protection.

I am sorry about the small screen, but here is a classic victory from a strategy deck. The duel is set after Yugi and Kaiba have summoned and lost their Egyptian God Cards, Slifer the Sky Dragon and Obelisk the Tormentor respectively. They resort to their more trusted cards such as Blue Eyes White Dragon and Red Eyes Black Dragon. Here is the remainder of the duel. Notice how the strategy deck stops the assaults and counters.

NOTE: the beginning is a summary of the previous episode. Please watch the duel, and ask me for links to the entire duel, which is among the best ever contested in the anime.


Maximillion Pegasus in season 1 was nearly unbeatable with his ‘strangle’ dueling style

Strangle/ Strangling

Duelists: The final, or most powerful antagonist in every season of the first generation uses a strangle deck. Maximillion Pegasus in season 1, Marik Ishtar for seasons 2-3, and Dartz in season 4 use extremely powerful strangling styles. 

Strangling dueling style is a style which is designed to control a duel from start to end. This can be achieved through various means.

The first is to use powerful field cards, such as the Golden Castle of Stromberg or the Seal of Orichalchos. These can help you control the duel as they affect the whole field.

The next is to have monsters with severely overpowered abilities. Lava Golem and Relinquished are good examples of such monsters.Also try to have a flow of cards or life-points away from your opponent. Crush Card Virus can remove any chances of a comeback, as well as quick damage cards such as Ookazi.

Overall, the idea is to severely cripple your opponent by limiting options and destroying any chance of revival. When executed properly its nearly impossible to break free from the ‘stranglehold’ created by such a style.

Advantages: Relatively simple to use, requires minimal tactical tinkering and as long as the correct cards are present, can wash out an opponent regardless of style.

Disadvantages: Extremely rare, hard to obtain cards are needed to use such an imperial deck.

Watch how Marik ceaselessly torments Joey with his style.

If you find these tactics too mainstream, there is just one more style of dueling which deserves to be on this post.

Counter/Counter Attacking/Counter Dueling

Counter Dueling is a relatively unknown style of dueling. This style is bent on knowing your opponent’s style, cards and tendencies in a duel. Favourite cards, usual combos, typical back-to-the-wall moves, everything is required to duel this way. Usually, the duelist studies the deck style of his opponent and counters it rather than the duelist himself.

Yugioh wikia is useful to obtain weaknesses for dueling styles.

While rare, it is possible to find a duelist in the anime who uses such a deck. He eventually beats Yugi himself.

You can find it online. The episodes are called ‘The Fate of the Pharoah’

Still haven’t decided?


It will reveal deck styles you may use, and also what kind of duelist you are. Not always accurate, but give honest answers so that it is.

Cheers everyone, my next post will be on another series, but if you have any Yu-Gi-Oh requests give me a comment!



  1. Jordan Fly 23 Spiderman Men · December 29, 2014

    Thanks , I have recently been looking for info about this
    topic for a long time and yours is the greatest I’ve came upon till now.
    However, what concerning the bottom line? Are you positive about the source?


    • Siddharth · December 29, 2014

      It is a decent source but it can’t be guaranteed to give you the right post. You can ask me if you have any question though.
      In the end, building a deck is dependent on what style satisfies you.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. SB RUCKUS MID LR Mens · January 1, 2015

    Hello There. I found your blog the use of msn. This is a really neatly written article.
    I’ll be sure to bookmark it and return to read extra of your
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