Archetype Poll: Favorite Yu-Gi-Oh! Decks of all Time

Over 1,200 replies later… the results are out! I honestly didn’t expect to get more than a couple hundred replies at most, but you guys really enjoyed talking about the decks you like, huh? This article is a summary and analysis of the results from this r/yugioh Archetype Poll

Table of Contents

Archetype Poll Error Bars

Malicevorous Fork Archetype Poll
Sadly didn’t make the cut. We all love you really, little buddy.

In order to gather this list in an easy manner, I allowed people to type anything into the form, in order to make it easier on the submitter (as opposed to people choosing from a list of every single archetype in the game, which would also remove the possibility of voting on things like “Lair of Darkness”, which isn’t a verbal archetype).

This was, in hindsight, quite possibly a bad idea; It took a whole lot of time to compile the results, even with the use of a Python script to sort though it. In addition to this, I started to write this article when the poll had gathered 1200 replies; In the meantime, it’s gathered at least 1500.

Those 300 are not included in the below results (many of them were memes; I don’t believe that eight different people independently chose “Malicevorous” as their favorite archetype consecutively).

Archetype Poll Results: #160 to #100

These archetypes were not within the top 100, but still received some representation. Any archetypes in the poll with less than 5 votes have been removed.

5 votes (0.40% of entire Archetype Poll):

  • Aquaactress
  • Chaos
  • Code Talker
  • Constellar
  • Cyberdark
  • Elementsaber
  • Evil HERO
  • graydle
  • Kaiju
  • Kuriboh
  • Predaplant
  • Shinobird
  • Wind-up

6 votes (0.50% of entire Archetype Poll):

  • Archfiend
  • Batteryman
  • Black Luster Soldier
  • Exodia
  • Felgrand
  • Genex
  • Gouki
  • Magician Girl
  • Nordic
  • Performapal
  • Phantasm Spiral
  • Shark
  • Stardust
  • T.G.
  • X-Saber

7 votes (0.58% of entire Archetype Poll):

  • Geargia
  • Gimmick Puppet
  • Masked HERO
  • Super Quant
  • True King

8 votes (0.66% of entire Archetype Poll):

  • Agent
  • Aromage
  • Buster Blader
  • Cyber Angel
  • Galaxy-Eyes
  • Gishki
  • Gravekeeper
  • Lair of Darkness
  • Timelord

9 votes (0.75% of entire Archetype Poll):

  • U.A.
  • Dinomist
  • Flower Cardian
  • Harpie
  • Magnet Warrior
  • Morphtronic

10 votes (0.83% of entire Archetype Poll):

  • Paleozoic
  • Bujin
  • Dragon Ruler
  • Evilswarm
  • Hieratic
  • Prank-Kid
  • PSY-Frame
  • Speedroid
  • Volcanic
  • Watt

11 votes (0.91% of entire Archetype Poll):

  • F.A.
  • Fire Fist
  • Krawler
  • Magical Musketeer
  • Shiranui
  • Skull Servant
  • Sylvan
  • Vendread

12 votes (1% of entire Archetype Poll):

  • Abyss actor
  • Dark world
  • Inzektor
  • Red dragon archfiend
  • Spellbook
  • Superheavy samurai

13 votes (1.08% of entire Archetype Poll):

  • Danger!
  • Fire King
  • Fur Hire
  • Gem-Knight
  • gusto
  • Vampire

14 votes (1.16% of entire Archetype Poll):

  • Metaphys
  • Scrap
  • Train
  • Traptrix
  • World chalice

Comments on positions #160 to #100

Blaster, Dragon Ruler of Infernos Archetype Poll

In the not-so-top cut of the Archetype Poll, we see a number of Archetype Archive decks, decks which have only received a small number or one wave of support cards, and decks which were abandoned support-wise before having the possibility of becoming part of the TCG metagame.

There are also a fair few previously top-tier decks here, such as Dragon Ruler, Wind-Up, and Bujin. Since these decks have not been strong for a number of years, it is not at all surprising to see a decline in their popularity. In the future, if any of these decks receive support (or in the case of several of them, if they ever have their key cards come off of the banlist), I would expect many of these to regain much of their previous popularity, and to score higher on a future Archetype Poll.


Archetype Poll Results: #100 to #50

These archetypes are among the most popular of decks, but are not anywhere close to being as popular as the top 10 or even the top 50. Regardless, all of these decks are either historical or anime all-stars; You could easily expect any or all of these decks to make an appearance at a locals tournament, or to see them somewhere in the History of the Yugioh metagame.

15 votes (1.25% of entire Archetype Poll):

  • Crystron
  • Infernity
  • Qli
  • Zombie
  • Zoodiac

16 votes (1.33% of entire Archetype Poll):

  • Crusadia
  • Cyberse
  • Gladiator Beast
  • Subterror

17 votes (1.41% of entire Archetype Poll):

  • Destiny HERO
  • Dragunity
  • Tellarknight
  • Toon

18 votes (1.50% of entire Archetype Poll):

  • Ojama
  • Thunder Dragon

19 votes (1.58% of entire Archetype Poll):

  • Infernoid
  • Orcust
  • Ritual Beast

20 votes (1.66% of entire Archetype Poll):

  • Cubic
  • Frog
  • Lunalight

Comments on positions #100 to #50

Ojama King Archetype Poll

Almost all of these decks fall into the category of either “Used by an Anime Character” (notably Destiny HERO and Toon), or “Has been a top-tier deck at some point”. Because of this, these decks carry a large amount of sophistication to them. Subterror is seemingly the exception to this rule. Despite it not being in the Anime or part of any competitive TCG metagame (although it has shown its power in the OCG), it’s still a fun deck to play, being an extremely popular pick for Competitive Trinity Tournaments. Other Revelations in this section involve Thunder Dragons being quite far down on the list, despite them containing all of the hallmarks of a popular deck: Historical Relevance, Power, and being a Modern deck.

Archetype Poll Results: #50 to #10

These are closer to being the cream of the crop. There is a clear distinction between many of these decks and the decks from the 160-50 range. As we move further up the list, both the power level and fanboy level of these decks increases almost exponentially. 

Between 21 and 30 votes:

  • Deskbot (21 votes)
  • Zefra (21 votes)
  • Mekk-knight (22 votes)
  • Mermail (22 votes)
  • Red-Eyes (22 votes)
  • Salamangreat (22 votes)
  • Raidraptor (24 votes)
  • Elemental HERO (25 votes)
  • ABC (26 votes)
  • Darklord (27 votes)
  • Monarch (28 votes)

Between 31 and 40 votes:

  • Synchron (31 votes)
  • Yang Zing (31 votes)
  • Ghostrick (33 votes)
  • Metalfoes (33 votes)
  • Crystal beast (34 votes)
  • Noble Knight (34 votes)
  • Kozmo (35 votes)
  • Ancient Gear (36 votes)
  • Phantom Knight (36 votes)
  • Odd-Eyes (36 votes)
  • Altergeist (37 votes)
  • Dinosaur (37 votes)
  • Sky Striker (39 votes)
  • True Draco (39 votes)

Between 41 and 49 votes:

  • Frightfur/Fluffal (40 votes)
  • Pendulum Magician (40 votes)
  • Trickstar (40 votes)
  • Weather Painter (40 votes)
  • Shaddoll (41 votes)
  • Nekroz (43 votes)
  • Invoked (45 votes)

Comments on positions #50 to #11

Odd-Eyes Pendulum Dragon Archetype Poll

Red-Eyes, Elemental HERO, Synchron, Odd-Eyes, and Pendulum Magician are all protagonist decks. There are two other main character’s decks from the first season of Yugioh which are yet to make an appearance. However, you would not be correct to assume that those decks are not at all on the list. Red-Eyes in particular has quite a lot of potential. What is quite interesting to me is the fact that these decks are actually chronologically in order. The exception is Gagaga (Also named “Onomatopoeia”), which was a protagonistic deck from Yugioh ZeXal. This is perhaps as a result of the, ahem, slight lack of popularity of the Zexal anime, in addition to the irrelevance of the Gagaga cards in any metagame. Personally, I enjoyed much of ZeXal, though the Community Poll hath spoken. 

We also see a number of other high-tier decks here: Invoked, Kozmo, ABC, Nekroz, and Shaddoll which have all been exceedingly powerful when at peak performance. In fact, much of this section of the results would be a good starting point for anyone looking to start playing in the TCG. The cards and decks are clearly both strong and enjoyable to play, and there are many helpful souls out there who could be asked for advice on how to play these decks.

Archetype Poll Results: Top 10

Invoked didn’t quite make the cut for a top 10, especially since it fell off by a large margin. Instead, we see quite a menagerie of decks and surprises in the top 9 decks, as voted by r/yugioh:

#10: Six Samurai (49 votes, 4%)

Legendary Six Samurai - Shi En Archetype Poll

Sneaking like ninjas past Invoked to take the #10 spot, we see Six Samurai. The recent reveal of a Link Monster may have boosted this deck past the others. Nevertheless, I would not be surprised if this were not at all the case. Six Samurai is an extremely popular lore archetype, historically relevant deck, and perhaps most importantly, a deck which has received a lot of support through the ages. This seems to be the defining factor for the top 10 cut.

Six Samurai were first released in 2006, in Strike of Neos, making this deck is as old as any other. To my knowledge, the deck didn’t do too much on arrival (even with more support in Gladiator’s Assault), though this would change in 2010 when Storm of Ragnarok came out. This set contained the Legendary Six Samurai – Shi En, a Synchro monster which would change the face of the game. Shi En was one of the original “Big negation Boss Monsters”, and has only quite recently been removed from the Limited section of the Forbidden List. This set completely revamped how the deck was played.

Notably, it created a use for Gateway of the Six, released a year prior in Stardust Overdrive. Gateway has eternally been one of the most notorious combo cards of all time. You might know of it from its position on the Forbidden List: Limited in March 2011, then Forbidden in September 2013: The infamous “TCG/OCG Split” list. Only recently has the card returned to Limited, allowing modern Six Samurai players to carve their way back into existence and inevitable popularity. The deck has also received even further recent legacy support in the form of the Shadow Six Samurai from 2017.

#9: Lightsworn (50 votes, 4%)

Lightsworn Judgment Dragon Archetype Poll

Lightsworn, traditionally, is an all-time great. Initially released in Light of Destruction, this deck has been a slowly recurring top deck in the meta. On initial release, it was largely a Judgment Dragon-focused deck, though it soon saw a drop in popularity after being hit on numerous banlists. Regardless, the fact that it was once “The Best Deck” ups its popularity by quite a bit. When you add in Board-Nuking Dragons and memeworthy moments, the deck ties for #9 most beloved in the game. 

The deck would later receive support in the Realm of Light Structure Deck, making it a top-tier choice for a brief period of time. Largely, this was a Dragon Ruler variant which used Eclipse Wyvern to search for Judgment Dragon. A few years later, the deck would resurge with the extremely expensive Minerva, the Exalted Lightsworn prize card allowing the deck to become a sort of rank-4 mill variant, this time without the cover dragon. Despite the high price tag of Minerva, the rest of the cards had been reprinted enough that many players were able to pick up the deck on the cheap. A combination of historical relevance, power, and ease of collection makes the deck an extremely popular choice even to this day.

#8: Madolche (54 votes, 4%)

Madolche Queen Tiaramisu Archetype Poll

This one was largely a surprise to me. When Madolches first came out in Return of the Duelist, they didn’t see much relevance. However, the deck did see a stint in tier 1 during the extremely well-loved HAT format in mid-2014. Although this deck dropped off in the meta after Duelist Alliance, it has invariably cropped up in the meta from time to time since then. Perhaps most notably was Madolche’s appearance at the 2016 World championships were the deck managed to beat the two-time World champion Shunsuke Hiyama in the Swiss rounds. 

Though it has received some tops, what likely keeps players coming back is the playstyle and art. Cakes and Cuties? Count me in for some Combos! Madolche has also been renowned for having one of the most absurd effects on a boss monster ever printed. Madolche Tiaramisu was one of the few cards to have non-targeting non-destructive removal, making it an out to pretty much anything else around at the time of its release. 

#7: Blackwing (56 votes, 4%)

Blackwing - Gale the Whirlwind Archetype Poll

Crow Hogan. An anime character so powerful, that it’s rumored that his mere existence changed the story of Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s. Initially designed to be an antagonist, the fans enjoyed both him and his Blackwing monsters so much that the entire plot of 5D’s was supposedly altered to give him a more protagonistic role. Why was he so popular? At least a part of it is due to his Blackwing deck. 

From Crimson Crisis to Ancient Prophecy, Blackwing received a plethora of support cards which resulted in the deck being top-tier for quite some time. With some of the best tuners around (Blackwing – Gale the Whirlwind), a repeatable search card (Black Whirlwind), searchable Honest (Blackwing – Kalut the Moon Shadow) and numerous boss monsters (Pretty much every Synchro monster released up until then), the deck could swarm the field quickly and produce numerous threats. As a result, the deck was a historical and anime fan-favorite from the start. 

The deck took a lot of hits on the banlist, with some of the cards only being released quite recently. Blackwing – Gale the Whirlwind was the last to leave the list, in 2015. However, it was too little too late. Blackwings never really regained their previous metagame position, despite numerous support cards being released with the advent of Arc-V. It’s one of the largest archetypes in the game, with 64 cards, which possibly also adds to the appeal of the deck. The continued release of new Blackwing cards even as recently as 2018 make sure it has earned its spot as #7 all-time favorite archetype.

#6: Dark Magician (50 votes, 4%)

Dark Magician Archetype Poll

Woah! Dark Magician is on this list! What a surprise. As alluded to earlier – and as everyone expected, Dark Magician is indeed on the list. What is there to say about the ace monster of the first Yugioh protagonist? Notably, we can discuss how Dark Magician is actually quite low down on the list, and quite a few spots behind Blue-Eyes White Dragon.

What baffles me most about Yugioh’s R&D team is not that they print cards like Summon Sorceress and expect them to anywhere close to balanced. Rather, it’s that it took 12 years for any cards close to being meta relevant to be released for Dark Magician. The first real support after Dragons of Legend was in 2016, in both the Dark Side of Dimensions movie pack, and in The Dark Illusion. Here we saw the printings of cards like Dark Magical Circle, and (later), Eternal Soul. I really am not at all sure behind the decision to not make Dark Magician a meta deck, and this is quite possibly why the deck is only #6 on the list.

Perhaps if a Dark Magician deck could win the World Championship, just as Blue-Eyes has, the deck would become more popular. Until then, it’s the last deck on this list to not be meta relevant. 

#5: D/D/D (59 votes, 5%)

Dark Contract with the Gate D/D/D Archetype Poll

Different Dimension Demons: A sad tale of a deck which has, since its first announcement in the OCG, been a fan favorite. You get to play with big men, as well as every time of summoning mechanic possible, as well as a combination of those summoning mechanics. Despite that, the deck was only briefly relevant in the TCG: It took an extremely long time for the relevant cards to be imported, and Master Rule #4 killed off much of the deck’s previous combo capabilities.

Despite this, the deck is still extremely fun to build and play, and is possibly one of the most rewarding combo decks to learn. No matter how careful your risk hedging is, there will still be holes in your plan. Realizing them and making sure that they are promptly dealt with, is the duty of those who stand at the top. A lesser D/D/D player can very easily end on a much weaker board state: It’s an extremely skill-testing combo deck, even post-Master Rule #4.

D/D/D is the perfect example of what makes a deck popular. Crazy artwork, meta relevance, and appealing factors for casual and competitive players alike. It helps that it was also used by a major anime role (Akaba Reiji from Arc V).

#4: HERO (93 votes, 8%)

Elemental HERO Stratos Archetype Poll

Where have all the good decks gone? And where are all the Egyptian God Cards? Where’s the streetwise Hercules Beetle to fight the rising odds? Isn’t there a blue knight upon a purple steed? Late at night, I toss, and I turn –  And I dream of what we need. We need Elemental HERO Stratos!

Well, something like that. The term “HERO” actually means a multitude of decks, though the individual votes for specifically mentioned sub-archetypes was counted separately. For example, ” Elemental HERO” received 25 unique votes. If you counted all of those together and added them to generalized “HERO”, it’d actually be the #1 fan-favorite deck!

HERO has always been a fan-favorite and eternal metagame contender, despite rarely being the best deck at any one time. Regardless, die-hard HERO players have somehow managed to adapt the deck to almost every format. Here’s a quick historical run-down of these decks:

2007: Perfect Circle & Big City

Specifically, this is one of my favorite historical decks. It’s a Monarch (sort of) deck which plays Destiny HERO – Disk Commander (pre-erratum), which can be revived with Destiny HERO – Fear Monger. This sets up perfect tribute fodder and absurd draw power to tribute summon Raiza the Storm Monarch, which can set back the opponent for a turn. 3x Phoenix Wind Wind Blast were also played, in order to pseudo-Yata Garasu lock the opponent.

Skyscraper 2 – HERO City is played in Jeff Jones’ “Big City” deck, used to repeatably recur Elemental HERO Stratos. It’s an advantage-based control deck maining a lot of traps.

2008: Diamond Dude Turbo/Airblade Turbo

Airblade (2007) was one of those “Holy Shiranui, how is this legal!?” decks. Elemental HERO Stratos was a promotional card, meaning that it was very card to come across. The deck was only legal for a short amount of time, and was soon replaced by Destiny HERO – Diamond Dude Turbo. Both decks were OTK decks which used cards like Dimension Fusion to deal 8000+ damage in one turn.

2009: Little City

With a cute name playing off of the aforementioned Big City, Little City uses Elemental HERO Captain Gold to search Skyscraper, alongside Elemental HERO Neos Alius and Gemini Spark. The deck was very beatdown-focused, aiming to deal big damage with Beast King Barbaros and Honest. In truth, the deck was never that strong.

2012 (onwards): Bubble Beat

This style of deck existed for quite a while, as a sort of transition point for “Old HERO decks” into “New HERO decks”. With a heavy emphasis on Elemental HERO bubbleman, these decks would eventually turn into Xyz-Toolbox decks, or Stratos OTK decks. The OTK was quite simple: Use Elemental HERO Stratos to search Elemental HERO Bubbleman, make a Heroic Champion – Excalibur or Blade Armor Ninja, then Monster Reborn back the Stratos to do it again and attack for 8000-8800 damage. These decks would also play Miracle Fusion, which for a very long time was one of the best fusion spells in the game.

2012: Alive HEROes

A more OCG-exclusive OTK deck, which abused Elemental HERO Bubbleman’s special summoning ability to spam the board with Xyz monsters. The deck gets its name from The Warrior returning Alive, which was used to recur Bubbleman. It was quite powerful in the OCG, winning a Japanese Nationals. 

2013: HERO players outside of OCG cry a lot

With the OCG/TCG banlist split, Elemental HERO Stratos got hit in September 2013. For quite a while, HERO decks wouldn’t be anywhere close to relevant, especially with a later loss of Super Polymerization.

2015: Masked HERO & ANTIHERO

In 2015, Masked HERO Dark Law was released, which completely revived the deck. In addition to Elemental HERO Shadow Mist, the plan of “Xyz, Dark Law, Pass” was founded. The deck now had a replacement for Elemenal HERO Stratos, as well as some new boss monsters.

“Anti-HERO” was also tested out in this time, though never found much success. This was an Infernity-Hybrid deck, which synergised well with the best “HERO” cards: Bubbleman could free up your hand to use Infernity effects or to make rank 4 monsters, and Mask Change II could also discard cards and make Dark Law even if you didn’t have a Shadow Mist in play.

2016: Froggy HERO / Awesome HERO

This deck was, ahem, Toadally AwesomeIn reality it was a more nightmareish deck to play against: By using two Bubbleman (Or Tin Goldfish/Norden) to make Bahamut Shark and then a Toadally Awesome, as well as a first turn Masked HERO Dark Law and maybe even a Traptrix Rafflesia (in addition to some traps), the deck was quite strong and very unfun to play against. 

2018: Gumblar HERO

Stratos returns! Five years after its fatal banning, the card returned to the TCG (never being hit in the OCG), and is possibly a competitive TCG deck in the form of Topologic Gumblar Dragon HERO. It’s been a long journey through Dimension Fusion OTK, Xyz Toolbox, Masked HERO Fusion, but we’ve finally arrived at the Destiny which Aster Phoenix speaks of: Discarding 6 cards from your opponent’s hand in 1 turn. Well, At least Big HERO 6 is a rad Trinity deck.

#3: Blue-Eyes (97 votes, 8%)

Blue-Eyes White Dragon Archetype Poll

Did this one surprise anyone? Do I even need to write anything here? Even if Dark Magician had the same historical metagame relevance as the Blue-Eyes White Dragon, I suspect that there might be more dragon fanboys out there. Because of this, Blue-Eyes takes the #3 spot on this Archetype Poll.

In the metagame, Blue-Eyes had realistically seen almost no play up until the release of the Dark Side of Dimensions movie pack. Sure, there was The White Stone of Legend, which allowed for some Cards of Consonance / Trade-In shenanigans, but the deck really couldn’t accomplish much.

Only later did R&D realize that, maybe, the most popular monster of all time should actually have relevance in the metagame. Then they released Blue-Eyes Alternative White Dragon (alongside a number of other support cards), and the deck exploded. All other TCG decks were mysteriously hit before the 2016 World Championship, letting Hiyama Shunsuke and his Blue-Eyes White Dragons finally reach the top. 

With inevitable dragon and probable Blue-Eyes support on the horizon, I would expect the popularity of Blue-Eyes to not sink by much anytime soon, if ever.

#2: Cyber Dragon (105 votes, 8%)

Cyber Dragon Archetype Poll

It might just be because I don’t play too much TCG-Advanced format, but I did not expect Cyber Dragon to even be part of the top 9 in this Archetype Poll. Nevertheless, after thinking about it for a while, it’s not so surprising. Due to the recent mass of Cyber cards being released, the deck has gained a lot of momentum over the past year.

The deck is most likely where it is due to just how cool it is. Summoning huge Fusion Monsters, regardless with them having twice as much ATK due to Limiter Removal, is just plain awesome. It’s also extremely easy to pump out OTKs and large boards, with a lot of consistency due to cards like Cyber Dragon Herz (You even get to play the ever-broken Machine Duplication!) Besides, the deck is full of robot dragons which fuse to make bigger multi-headed robot dragons. Let that settle in for a second. Robot. Dragons. 

Cyber Dragon Pronunciation:

You may or may not know that the Cyber Dragon cards have German words in their names (In the lore, I guess that they were created by a German scientist or something?). Here’s a quick run-down on how to pronounce these names:

Cyber Dragon Zwei

(From “Zwei”, which is the German for “Two”):
Tz-why; (as in, “why” are German words so hard to pronounce?)
It’s number “two”, since Cyber Dragon is the first one. 

Cyber Dragon Drei

(From “Drei”, which is the German for “Three”):
Dry (As in, I need to “dry” my clothes) 

Cyber Dragon Vier

(From “Vier”, which is the German for “Four”):
Fear (As in, I “fear” getting OTK’d by Cyber Dragons) 

Cyber Dragon Nächster

(From “Nächster”, which is the German for “Next”):
Neigh-cch-Stir (As in: A horse goes “Neigh”, My cat hissed and made a “cch” sound, and to “Stir” a drink. The “cch” is like the ch in the Scottish “Loch”. German is a beautiful language.) 

Cyber Dragon Sieger

(From “Sieg”, which is the German for “Victory”):
sea-grr (As in, I went to the beach to “see” the “sea”, and “grr” as in “anger”.) 

Once again, Cyber Dragons were part of a main character’s deck in the Anime. it seems like that’s almost mandatory, for a deck to become popular, right? 

#1: Burning Abyss (110 votes, 9%)

Dante, Traveler of the Burning Abyss Archetype Poll

…Well, I guess not. Burning Abyss is the #1 fan-favorite deck from the Archetype Poll. Furthermore, it’s got quite a lead on most other decks, especially for a non-anime deck. If I had to guess as to why, I’d suggest that it’s due to the perpetual relevance of BA in the metagame. The deck can Xyz, Synchro, Link, Fusion, and (soon) Link Summon its own boss monsters, as well as adapt to any environment. Much like with HERO, there’s almost always a way to make this deck do something. Here’s a quick run-down of the history of BA in the metagame: 

2014: DUEA BA (Floodgate BA)

It’s 2014. DUEA is announced. Because of their dominance in the OCG, everyone expects Shaddoll to be the #1 deck. Although there is a weird TCG-Exclusive deck out as well, it doesn’t seem so great. Due to the last TCG-Exclusive deck (Noble Knight) being synonymous with garbage, not many people expect those Dante’s Inferno-themed goons to do anything. Their boss monster, Dante, Traveller of the Burning Abyss, is just a Card Trooper, right? On the market, you can buy him for less than $20. 

Jeff Jones, as usual (and I find this to be a recurring theme in the Yugioh metagame), proves everyone wrong. The deck is actually quite absurd, playing three Tour Guide from the Underworld and Raiza the Storm Monarch. It even played a number of discard traps, such as Phoenix Wing Wind Blast. On top of this, many BA builds threw in 3x Vanity’s Emptiness and 3x Skill Drain, because why not. Dante soon rose in price to over $100. 

2014: NECH BA (Fire Lake BA)

Virgil, Rockstar of the Burning Abyss, and Fire Lake of the Burning Abyss are released. Again, the deck is very trap-focused. This time, the idea is to resolve a Fire Lake in order to control the board or purely drown the opponent in Card Advantage. You might not think that Fire Lake is that good of a card from a modern standpoint, but it was exceptionally better when the deck played three of each of the advantage-gaining monsters: Scarm, Graff, and Cir. 

2015: Standard BA / Djinn BA

Burning Abyss was pretty standard throughout this time, often playing trap-heavy variants and other times playing almost none. Regardless, Burning Abyss fluctuated between Tier 1 and Tier 2 throughout this time period. You’d be right to think that Nekroz was often a better deck (it was), but that didn’t stop BA from topping various events.

With the newfound Djinn Locks, and the fact that Djinn Releaser of Rituals never got hit in the OCG, Burning Abyss players in Asia discovered a new variant of the deck: Djinn BA. This used the previously-terrible Malacoda, Netherlord of the Burning Abyss to lock the opponent out of Special Summons.

2016: PK Fire

You remember Jeff Jones? Well, he’s back, with a new Burning Abyss deck (again). This time, it’s a mixture of Speedroids, Phantom Knights, and BAs. This deck could loop Leviair the Sea Dragon, search up Phantom Knight’s Fog Blade, and remove anything with The Phantom Knights of Break Sword. The deck also played the newly released Beatrice, Lady of the Eternal, which was a huge buff for the deck. It allowed Burning Abyss players to easily summon the grape-flavored Dante, Pilgrim of the Burning Abyss.

2017/2018: Hydralander Burning Abyss

What happened in 2017? Well, Konami introduced Link Summoning. This made it much, much more difficult to make a turn 1 double Dante, especially when your link monsters will blow up any BAs you try to put on board. People thought that the deck would die, but then…

…as always, it just didn’t die. I guess that there really is no place to go when you’re already in Hell. Orbital Hydralander – The bane of Trinity Format players everywhere – Created a deck which is now pretty common to see. Using the Hydra as a 3000 ATK Zoodiac Drident which doesn’t target allows Burning Abyss to out most problem cards. The deck doesn’t even have any problem summoning it, since Fairy Tail – Snow can banish duplicates from your graveyard wile also interrupting the opponent’s plays. 

BA Pronunciation and Trivia

Malacoda, Netherlord of the Burning Abyss Archetype Poll

Before I end this article, here’s some Burning Abyss Trivia for you. Do you actually know how to pronounce all of the card names? Firstly, “Malebranche”. The cards originate from Italy, meaning that a “ch” sound is more like a “k”, as in “cool cats crunching crispy cold Koreans”. “Malebranche” is therefore pronounced as “Mah-Lee-bran-key“, and has nothing to do with branches. “Male” means “evil” or “bad”; “Branche” means “claws”. We see the word “Male” in “Malacoda” as well, which means “Evil Tail”. The rest of the Malebranche are supposed to be pronounced like this:

Alich, Malebranche of the Burning Abyss

(from Alichino):
Means “Joker”.

Barbar, Malebranche of the Burning Abyss

(from Barbariccia):
Means “Curly Beard”.
Supposedly attacks by farting on people.

Cagna, Malebranche of the Burning Abyss

(from Cagnazza):
Means “Bad/Nasty/Evil Dog”.

Calcab, Malebranche of the Burning Abyss

(from Calcabrina):
Means “Grace Stomper”.

Cir, Malebranche of the Burning Abyss

(from Ciriatto):
Cheer (as in, cheerleaders),
Means “Wild Boar”.

Draghig, Malebranche of the Burning Abyss

(from Draghignazzo):
Drag-Ig (with an outrageous Italian accent),
Means “Big, Bad Dragon”.

Farfa, Malebranche of the Burning Abyss

(from Farferillo):
Possibly means “Goblin”

Graff, Malebranche of the Burning Abyss

(from Graffiacane):
Means “Dog-Scratcher”

Libic, Malebranche of the Burning Abyss

(from Libicocco):
Lib-Ik (Lib as in “lift”, not as in “Lima Beans”)
Could be a portmanteau of “Libeccio” and “Scirocco” (the names of two winds).

Rubic, Malebranche of the Burning Abyss

(from Rubicante):
Rubik (As in, the guy that made the Rubik’s cube)
Means “Red-Face Evil”, named after a guy Dante didn’t like very much

Scarm, Malebranche of the Burning Abyss

(from Scarmiglione):
Means “Trouble Maker”

Phew, that’s enough from me – Until the next poll, may your decks receive the support cards they need, and don’t forget to Stay Groovy!



Creator of the Trinity Format; article writer and tabletop games enthusiast.

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