The great thing about the Yugioh TCG is there’s never just one way to play, and the best Yugioh decks reflect this. Collecting, deck-building, and playing the Yugioh trading card game is a rich and diverse experience, with a lot of different paths to victory. Like any competitive trading card game, though, powerful archetypes rise to the top – and this guide tracks the best Yugioh decks you can play in September 2023.
This guide is designed to be one-part current and one-part historical. By this, we mean we’ve recommended some of the top Yugioh decks from the current meta, as well as others that may be out of fashion but are long-standing favourites. We’ve also 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).
And, of course, 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 list could transform.
If you’re looking for even more deck advice, here are the best Yugioh structure decks and Yugioh Master Duel meta decks around right now. We can even point you to the best Yugioh cards and the most expensive Yugioh cards money can buy. For now, though, it’s time to duel.
The best Yugioh decks 2023
Here are some of the most successful Yugioh decks in the current meta:
Having taken the 2023 competitive scene by storm, Kashtira is a recent rising star in the world of Yugioh archetypes. Its main focus is on summoning level seven Psychic monsters, and then banishing cards – either yours to trigger powerful combos or your opponent’s to clog the wheels of their deck’s machine. Blocking your opponent’s plays is a big part of this deck’s strategy.
Kashtira decks can be aggressive and immensely powerful. However, they’re also not too difficult to counter, and unlucky card draws can really strangle a game. We’ll be watching Kashtira closely to see how it fairs long-term.
Want a Yugioh deck based on a trap-filled mansion full of living furniture and killer maids? Labrynth is a new strategy centred around Trap cards, and the Dark Fiend monsters that love them.
All the key monsters in Labrynth decks have effects that trigger when one of your Trap cards removes an opponent’s monster from the field. You’ll want to set up the right combinations to defeat opponents’ threats and manage the game. This controlling Yugioh deck is fun and relatively straightforward to play.
The Tearlaments archetype largely focuses on Aqua monsters that all have one thing in common. They love a good mill. This deck spotlights cards that shuffle themselves back into the deck after being sent to the graveyard, summon plenty of Fusion monsters, and trigger additional effects upon being sent to the graveyard.
Tearlaments is a highly resilient and flexible archetype that has a lot of exciting and competitive variants. It’s proven difficult for other decks to challenge, and it’s been dominating YCS tournaments since 2022.
It’s worth noting that banlist updates in early 2023 have forbidden and limited some of the most important cards for the archetype, so the potency of this deck may decline with time. Still, if you like sad mermaid girls and satisfying combos, Tearlaments is worth a try.
The best Yugioh decks of all time
Here are some of the best Yugioh decks from the game’s history:
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 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 still see plenty of play, 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 structure 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 today. 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.