Balance and Restart in Duel Links

Skills in Duel Links

Skills are one of the few things that unique to the Duel Links version of Yu-Gi-Oh! as opposed to missing from it. Many powerful skills allow for deck types that could not exist otherwise, like Luck on Your Side allowing for consistent coin flip decks. However, at the moment the meta revolves around two generic consistency skills. Balance and Restart in Duel Links can work with nearly every deck and make already threatening decks consistent and deadly. So let’s break down what makes these skills good, and when you should pick one over the other.

What is Balance?

Balance is a skill that reads, “Your starting hand will reflect the card balance of your deck.” This description isn’t particularly clear on what Balance actually does, though. It used to be such that each card in your deck would be represented by 1/4th of your deck, such that running 5 monsters, 5 spells, and 10 traps would always start you with 1 monster, 1 spell, and 2 traps. This was too strong, allowing many powerful strategies to abuse perfect consistency with cards like Swift Gaia the Fierce Knight. Thus, Balance was nerfed and we had to figure it out over again.

Luckily, the fine folk at Duel Links Meta did just that! Now, it’s slightly more complex, but not guaranteed, and you need to run at least 7 of a card type to guarantee opening at least 1. The more of a card type you run the more likely you are to see multiples, but there are certain break points. You can see more information in the graph below. This skill is still incredibly powerful, being the most played skill in the February 2018 KC Cup according to the KC Report.

Min/Max monsters you can open with in a 20-card deck with N monsters
Thanks again to Duel Links Meta for figuring this out! Assuming a 20 Balance card deck, this shows the minimum and maximum number of monster you can open with with N monsters in your deck. Even though 6 monsters and 9 monsters both have the same range of opening 1 to 2 monsters, the deck with 9 monsters is more likely to open 2 than the deck with 6. This also holds true for spells and traps.

What about Restart?

Restart is a skill that reads, “Can be used only once after starting hands are dealt. Reveal and redraw your starting hand.” Unlike Balance, this is obvious and straightforward: you can mulligan once. It also had to be nerfed, as it used to not show your hand and there was no time limit. And, like Balance, it is still incredibly powerful post-nerf as well. It was the fourth most-used skill in the February 2018 KC Cup according to the KC Report, and gives you a nearly unconditional extra shot at opening a playable hand, which is always strong.

Choosing Between Balance and Restart

So, you’ve chosen to play a deck that doesn’t need any other skill and don’t know what to do. Balance and Restart both help by boosting consistency, but how do you chose which one? Well, we went over the differences, now we’ll talk about how they affect you.

First and foremost, Restart shows your opponent what you are playing, and Balance does not. This may seem like a small point that often won’t notice, but at higher levels it has a huge impact. If you go first playing Restart Sylvans and use the Restart shuffle, set one monster and one spell/trap and pass, they now know that the monster could be Komushroomo, Rose Lover, or maybe Magical Merchant. Importantly, now they know they don’t need to fear that the set monster could be Geargiattacker, a Gladiator Beast, or anything else unexpected. Your opponent will have a better idea of what to play around and what to expect, which hurts your chances.

On the other hand, Balance restricts your tech choices lest you break the numbers. If you want to tech Sphere Kuriboh, it has a drawback. Now, if your deck has fewer than 11 monsters, there are potential brick hands where the only monster you draw is Sphere Kuriboh. Other tech options become worse as well, and Cyber Angels cannot tech Hey, Trunade! without either running more than 11 spells or risking hands where they draw it as their only spell.

Additionally, Restart is better at finding specific cards than Balance is. If you run a That Grass Looks Greener deck, even if Balance can guarantee a spell in hand it may not be your Grass. Restart allows you to shuffle back Enemy Controllers to try and find your Grass for your power plays.

In Conclusion

Balance and Restart both are incredibly powerful and useful, and fit with nearly every deck. When it comes down to it, you can just experiment with both and see which one works best for you. However, I hope this discussion has given you some things to consider when deciding between the two, as each has clear strengths and weaknesses. If you take these factors into account when deciding, you can get more mileage out of the right choice and improve your winrate. Thank you for reading, and I hope you found this interesting and informative.

Boddity77

YGOPRODeck writer, Duel Links player, and Trinity aficionado! February 2018 Trinity Cup Champion, and consistently top 1000 in the world in the KC Cups in Duel Links, with a high point of 137th place in the November 2017 KC Cup.
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Boddity77

YGOPRODeck writer, Duel Links player, and Trinity aficionado! February 2018 Trinity Cup Champion, and consistently top 1000 in the world in the KC Cups in Duel Links, with a high point of 137th place in the November 2017 KC Cup.


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