Dark Magician Starter [Trinity Format | March '23]
As we continue to wait for Chronicle Sorceress to make her grand entrance here in the TCG to join our card pool, we'll just have to get by on some fundamentals for the Dark Magician strategy. Until then, I hope you're prepared to search an incredible amount, take advantage of the summon limit, and control the battlefield with pressure that makes control decks jealous of the hand advantage you can amass (although they've probably got us beat here when it comes to Traps and such-...) anyway here's the rundown of the new Dark Magician line-up!
- Snowball: You rack up advantage pretty quickly once you get going with this strategy. Between all of the layers of protection and nuance regarding the disruption lines on top of all of the means of searching from over a decade's worth of support? It's honestly difficult not to win after taking the lead.
- Comeback Potential: Just having Illusion, Rod, Controlling the Dark Magician, or even just having Soul Servant in the GY during mid-to-late game will keep you in the game regardless of how things are going. Just don't play too zealously into something like a Trickstar Candina!
- Rewarding Ceiling: While a lot of the early lines are pretty straightforward, most of the complexities with the archetype as a whole come from the usage of cards in tandem with one another. As opposed to early TCG builds where you kind of just drew cards and hoped it was enough to combo or amass a handtrap/backrow advantage, in Trinity, you'll be much more rewarded for your mastery of the cards at your disposal and how to best navigate the board you're dealt with or expecting. At times the pressure can be nigh suffocating from this deck.
- Possible to Brick: Unlike its TCG counterpart, due to the nature of the format, DM can't exactly take advantage of so much deck-thinning and draw power and while some cards like the Spellbook engine would help with the cycling process a bit, they will always be setting you a turn behind and adding more additional cards to cycle through in the long run. A brick doesn't necessarily equate to your searchers and passing, it's more of the unplayable circumstances of drawing... all of the Dark Magicians and having no way of summoning them. Hence why we've got some backrow to fall back on and ways to cheat him out in the event of a crisis.
- Bond Between Teacher and Student: This particular list makes great use of Dark Magician Girl and cards concerning her (without playing the Magician Girl archetype of course) and as amazing as the cards surrounding her are, she herself is terrible to use. You'll be wanting to bin her whenever possible or simply control her when under gamestates like Magician's Combination. There's even a cheeky setup concerning Brain Controll (or Big Eye) and using her as Xyz material to go into Dhampir Sheridan. All of those applications aside, she (and her Signature Spell) aren't that great and don't feel that great to have until necessary for certain combos.
- Stat-Checked: If faced with too many monsters that are 3000 ATK/DEF or above you might run into a brick wall sometimes. You can tech in the Honests to get around this a bit better, but you'll need to hard draw those. Mahad can clear all things that are DARK and Apprentice can help the respective targets clear certain thresholds but most of the time those will be one use situations. Fortunately you can use Soul Servant to stack them from the GY to the top of deck for one final use.
With introductions over, let's get into the setups you'll want to seek seek more.
Thanks to all of the years of support this archetype has received it has gained a number of searchers and retroactive searchers to help boost its consistency and lines of play to be very reliable which is a massive boon when it comes to limited formats like this one. Generally, any starter will net you the same gamestate no matter what goes down; however, there are some combinations of 2 or more cards that do require a bit more setup.
- Manju & Senju: Opening one of these cards enables you to grab Illusion of Chaos (or Sauravis if you already have it) then search Magicians' Souls. Using Souls you'll want to setup your GY with either Mana to protect your plays going down the line or DM/DMG to establish them early and get them in rotation for the later stages of the game. Then you'll pivot into either Dharc or Lyna. With Dharc you can grab Magikuriboh and use it during that same battle phase (or main phase later) to summon a Dark M agician immediately, Witch of the Black Forest if you have particularly greedy setup lines to go for in future turns with fusion plays or revival, or simply Magician's Rod who is the best starter in the deck when combined with other cards in the strategy and it's not even close! As for Lyna, Witchcrafter Golem Aruru will be our primary find; however, Diviner of the Herald isn't particularly bad either. The reason why is below.
- Diviner of the Herald: Using its effect to send, we'll pitch Arc Light from our Extra Deck to make it a Level 6 tuner, then we'll use Arc Light to grab Illusion of Chaos from the deck. Using Illusion, we'll pick up Magicians' Souls and send the appropriate targets like within the Manju & Senju lines to the GY to summon it directly from the hand. Then we'll Synchro Summon itno Fortune Lady Every. This card being a Level 7 who revives itself and answers the board during the SP is very handy for Rank 7 lines and getting rid of pesky monsters. It's worth noting that her banish effect to bring herself back does come up in this deck so don't use it willy-nilly. Banishing Souls is fine, but everything else in this list definitely is not. Use it within moderation as her effect can be used even on turns where she wasn't sent to the GY since it checks during each of their End Phase's. If you happen to need Rod and have a usable S/T at your disposal, you can summon her back, then use that S/T to tribute her and add back the Magician's Rod at EP to start your turn with your primary searcher. Very handy indeed.
- Magician's Rod: This card probably has the highest ceiling regarding its uses since now, with Illusion of Chaos, it can search the entire archetype and its support including adding Dark Magician to the hand when necessary. You may also want to (if on the second turn or later) Link it off into Clara & Rushka so that during the opponent's turn, when you activate an S/T, you can tribute the link to add Rod back to hand. One line I like to particularly setup involves using it as fusion material for The Dark Magicians by grabbing Secrets of Dark Magic, that way in the event that the Fusion would be destroyed and I have a S/T I can use, I'd usually tribute away the Dark Magician girl to recycle Rod for next turn. You can also go for some pretty devastating Bond Between Teacher and Student setups when going second (or later in the game) to nuke your opponent's S/Ts or Monsters. It was this particular line of play that actually winded up getting Dark Burning Magic banned here. Oops.
The majority of the time you'll want to stick to opening with one of these cards but if you happen to find yourself opening things like just DM or ways to him, it's still fine to cycle your respective S/Ts and support him as necessary. He's still the star of the deck and it's important to make sure you keep up your advantage until you can snowball the game out of controll.
This is where most games can end for you since the deck can swarm pretty decently after being setup or be rather controlling between Aruru and Mana being a devastating duo.
- Bystial Baldrake: This card challenges most strategies with just its D.D. Crow effect; however, also being able to bin Dark Magicians, Rods, or resolved Manju/Senjus comes in handy for its tribute cost while still representing a lot of pressure. Additionally, it's a Dragon for a potential Fusion play into Dragon Knights and finally, it is a Level 6 that can be used to make Sheridan or Wollow to completely turn the game on its head proactively rather than reactively. If you can only banish out of your GY, then Servant, Mahad, and the Ritual Package should be fine banishes without any notable lasting consequences. You lose 1 draw for banishing out Palladiums but that's a sacrifice you have to make sometimes.
- Eternal Soul: Don't flip this card too early without insurance, it immediately puts a target on itself and players usually try to remove it when its face-up every time. That said, it can revive DMs for free and search out your one-sided Heavy Storm whenever you want. Use it to secure a lead or establish one. The safest setup to use it under midgame is definitely when controlling The Dark Magicians fusion monster, since if Eternal Soul leaves, the fusion would be destroyed but still float into the master and student, ultimately not setting you too far behind.
- Soul Servant: This card's GY effect is rather potent and is virtually unrivaled when it comes to Unlimited power cards in Trinity Format. You'll usually be resolving it to draw two; however, with this build it's possible to draw up to four cards naturally from this effect- and we play TWO copies. The most important things to note about the stacking (and not searching) effect is that you can use it during the EP of your opponent's turn to rig your next draw and the fact that this card can stack cards from your GY to the top of the deck which is very, very potent in a limited format. Don't forget this as it might save you when piloting the deck!
Should the game not end at this point and you find yourself in a complex, mind-boggling gamestate then you're probably going to want one of the following closers.
LATEGAME & CLOSERS
- Dark Magician the Dragon Knight & Eternal Soul: This combination is really rough to deal with, especially since S/T removal is very limited in Trinity, so if this is established you have virtually won. DMtDK is treated as DM so it can be revived by Eternal Soul and is constantly under its protection, additionally, Eternal Soul is protected by DMtDK's continuous effect, making this a really rough situation to navigate for the opponent in most cases. Additionally, since DMtDK is treated as DM, it works with the field spell Magician's Salvation and Magician's Combination so even something like a DMG can represent DMtDK coming back over and over while protecting said cards in the process. This card is a monster and needs to be respected when properly established.
- Magician's Combination: Probably the most underrated support card this deck has at its disposal. You tag out your DM/DMG to their counterpart and negate any card or effect (just not the activation so no Damage Step shenanigans). Once the opponent has had enough and decides to blow up Combination, it even has a revenge effect to clear a card on their side of the field. You can also force this effect yourself with Timaeus the United Dragon and Magicians' Souls turning those plays into removal.
- Signature Move: Though these cards are often considered bad and I even think so most of the time myself, I cannot understate how potent their effects are when they resolve. In all of my history playtesting this deck in any iteration, the games in which the Signature Attacks of the duo have resolved have always resulted in my win. Whether that be the easily accessed Dark Magic Attack or the trickier to pull off Dark Burning Attack (though you can access it easier with Bond), the signature moves can really just blow away opponents regardless of their deck type and cut the game shorter than what they might have been expecting.
Since the lines from the archetype itself are rather consistent, the deck can be easy to get started with, but might take a bit to get used to and master; however, it's usability allows a great deal of customizability to cater to most tech choices like Dragonmaids or the legal Bystials to establish DMtDK easier or SPYRAL to do Master Plan setups with Magicians' Souls. Regardless, here's a handful of ideas just to throw your way should you aim to adjust this baseline into something more focused elsewhere:
The Eye of Timaeus, Chaos Creator, Kashtira Monsters & Birth, Magician of Dark Illusion, the remaining Bystials, Protecting Spirit Loagaeth, Noctovision Dragon, Mana Dragon Zimitron, Magician of Chaos, & Chaos Form, Chicken Game, Destined Rivals, and Blazing Cartesia, the Virtuous
As always, if you've made it this far, thanks for checking this write-up out and combing over my iteration of the Dark Magician Starter. Once Chronicle Sorceress arrives you can rest assured that I'll be updating things with fresh lines and even more explosive combos since she increases the deck's consistency by a considerable margin. Until then, we'll just have to keep up a steady pace and recite the incantations of the ulimate wizard in terms of attack and defense.
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