The great thing about trading card games is there’s never just one way to play. This makes the collecting, deck-building, and playing of games like the Yugioh trading card game more rich and diverse, but it also means there’s no one answer to that ultimate question – what are the best Yugioh decks? To try and tackle the big question, we’ve gathered some of the greatest Yugioh decks around.
Many of the archetypes chosen are staples of the game – and for good reason. Despite changes over the years, they’ve retained their place as some of the best Yu Gi Oh! decks ever conceived. We’ve summarised the strategy and theme of each to kickstart your deck-building journey – but the specific deck list that takes you to victory will be up to you (check out our guide to how to build a YuGiOh deck for more).
Be sure to keep a close eye on this guide. As new sets are released, the meta shifts, and the Yugioh banlist evolves, there are plenty of ways this guide could transform. If you’re a digital player, make sure to skim our guides on how to play Yugioh online and the current Yugioh Master Duel meta decks, too.
These are some of the top Yu Gi Oh decks:
Possibly one of the most popular Yugioh decks of all time, Burning Abyss is built around the Burning Abyss series of monster cards. Each of these has a powerful ability that activates when the card is sent to the Graveyard. Want to buff your monsters for a big attack, banish your opponent’s monsters, or simply dole out direct damage? There’ll be a Burning Abyss card for that – send to the Graveyard, rinse, and repeat.
There have been plenty of attempts to weaken Burning Abyss via the Yu Gi Oh! banlist over the years, but the deck remains pretty strong in today’s meta regardless. The only big player with any restrictions is Beatrice, Lady of the Eternal.
As the name implies, this deck focuses on the Shaddoll archetype, which is filled with dark puppet monsters. Shaddoll decks are all about getting powerful ‘El Shaddoll’ cards (like El Shaddoll Construct and El Shaddoll Winda) to activate their Fusion Summon ability.
To facilitate this, an effective Shaddoll deck is filled with monsters that can search for other cards, as well as control how many monsters your opponent has on the field to maintain field advantage. The El Shaddoll also provide different effects to deal with your enemy’s Special Summons. For example, Winda limits their Special Summons to one per turn, while Construct destroys a Special Summoned monster at the start of the Damage Step.
Based on different zodiac animals, the Zoodiac cards this deck relies on are useful for summoning and boosting the Xyz monsters in your deck. Beast-Warrior Xyz monsters with Zoodiac cards attached can receive strong Attack and Defence stats, protection from targeting effects, or the ability to remove other monsters from the field entirely.
While Zoodiac decks have still seen plenty of play in 2022, many of the cards that made it truly unstoppable were banned back in 2017. Zodiac Broadbull, Zodiac Drident, and Zodiac Barrage are all forbidden, and even Zodiac Raptier is limited in the current version of the deck.
For a long time, it was hard to think of Yugioh without thinking of the Blue-eyes White Dragon (thanks, Yu Gi Oh! anime). This should give you an idea of how big Dragon cards are in the game. Fittingly, there isn’t just one Dragon deck to dominate the game – there are several that make strong choices. There are even plenty of pre-made Structured decks focused on Dragons, so this archetype is perhaps one of the better choices for newer players.
One of the most popular choices for a Dragon deck was Dragon Rulers, but heavy bans make this a less viable option in today’s meta. For less restricted decks, we’d recommend the combo-heavy Dragon Link deck, a classic deck that still sees plenty of play. You could also try the recent Dragonmaid archetype, which focuses on Dragons that turn into cute maid ladies. Of course, there’s always old faithful – that Blue-Eyes Dragon deck is just waiting for you to play your old Blue-Eyes White Dragon friend.