On July 21st, the Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG changed forever. With the introduction of Master Rule 4 and new restrictions on extra deck summons, a game obsessed with wombo combos found itself momentarily stymied. Two easily summonable Link Monsters, Decode Talker and Link Spider, were released along with the rule change, and anyone not playing Dinos and Dracos started scrambling for a way to get their decks back to spamming Extra Deck monsters again by searching for ways to summon these newfangled blue cards.
A savior was found, and his name is Blackwing – Gofu the Vague Shadow. Instant three monsters for Link material, without any cost and without using your Normal Summon. Just what we needed. He became a staple at 3 in many decks immediately as a 1-card Decode Talker, and since Decode Talker was the best we had available, that was good enough.
A month has passed, and Code of the Duelist has been released in the meantime, bringing a few notable Link Monsters to us. Duelists looking for ways to take advantage of the new mechanic can use these cards for some pretty awesome results.
Table of Contents
Our First Wave of Generic Link Monsters
Link Spider is a Link-1 that requires any Normal Monster as material, including tokens. While not much can be said about Link Spider, the little critter has a few notable uses. Spider is primarily used for laddering into larger Link Monsters. The most popular play is to turn the two tokens generated by Gofu’s effect into effect monsters, allowing you to meet Decode Talker’s “Effect Monsters – min. 2” summon requirement. As an EARTH monster, Spider also allows Gofu to summon Missus Radiant, who requires 2 EARTH materials. And for monsters like Ningirsu the World Chalice Warrior, who require Link Monsters as material, tokens can be converted into Spiders to meet that criteria. Its effect to summon a Normal Monster from hand might see use in some decks, but in general, Link Spider doesn’t stay on the field for more than a beat or two before being sent away as material.
Decode Talker is a Link-3 that requires at least two Effect Monsters as material. He is easily made with just one Gofu, no Normal Summon required. Decode Talker has two pretty good effects. The first negates targeting effects at the cost of tributing one of the monsters in Decode’s Linked Zones. This effect is not limited to protecting monsters, and some players might find it useful to negate cards like Twin Twisters that threaten their backrow presence. The second is an attack boost that can make Decode a pretty big boy. If all three of its zones are occupied, he sits at a whopping 3800 attack. If Decode has a drawback, it is that one of his markers points to the opponent’s field, meaning that as long as Decode is on the field, the opponent has access to at least two Extra Monster Zones. Still, at this point, the two markers that Decode provides his owner combined with his decent effects and ease of summoning mean that he will see plenty of play until better alternatives are released.
Bonus fun: when you tribute an opponent’s monster for a Kaiju, place the Kaiju in the zone on the opponent’s field that Decode points to (it’s your call where the Kaiju lands). This is a free 500 ATK boost, and you’d be surprised how many players forget to take advantage.
Missus Radiant is a Link-2 that requires two EARTH monsters as material. You might recognize her from the first turn of every game you’ve played against Zoodiac in the last three weeks. Zoo can spit this doggo out easy-peazy thanks to Zoodiac Chakanine, but she can be easily made in other decks with Gofu, as mentioned in the Link Spider section. She is also your best option if you are inclined to play another Link enabler like Scapegoat, which generates EARTH attribute tokens.
Not only do you get two Extra Monster Zones from Missus, but she provides a decent 500 ATK boost to all EARTH monsters on the field, which can add up to some impressive extra damage, given good field presence. When destroyed, she fetches an EARTH monster in the Graveyard to hand, which is a pretty decent floating effect. Until we see the release of her LIGHT and DARK counterparts, I think Missus Radiant will be very commonly played.
At this point, many of you are thinking, Okay, that’s it. Article over. These are the only relevant Links. Not so fast. I did mention that Code of the Duelist brought us multiple generic Link Monsters, some of which may not be on your radar. We will dig into those in a moment, but first, let’s look at another totally generic Link released as a lovely Ultra Rare promo in the 2017 Mega Tin.
Proxy Dragon is a Link-2 that is really important. He has the most generic and easily-fulfilled summoning requirement yet: any two monsters. This means that any deck can, in theory, use him. His arrows point Left and Right, though, so you’ll need him to be in a Main Monster Zone if you intend on taking advantage of the Extra Monster Zones he provides. In decks that aren’t fully committed to Link Summoning (so anything that isn’t World Chalice), this will usually mean that he will be summoned into the zone pointed at by a Link Spider. In other cases, such as the current ABC deck seeing frequent play in the OCG, Proxy Dragon’s Link markers don’t matter, as he is simply used to ladder into higher Link Monsters like Decode Talker since his status as a Link-2 allows him to count as two materials. In decks like D/D/D that want to run Gofu as a Link enabler but can’t afford the extra deck space for two Link Spiders, Proxy Dragon provides a shortcut to Decode Talker.
His effect is simple, but not bad by any means. Proxy Dragon provides continuous, blanket protection for cards on your field by destroying a monster it is linked to. Like Decode Talker, this means protection for your backrow from cards like Twin Twisters. Unlike Decode Talker, this also means protection from board wipes like Dark Hole and Interrupted Kaiju Slumber. The effect occurs at resolution and doesn’t start a chain, similar to the effects of Return of the Dragon Lords and Zefra Providence. While he would be better with a higher attack stat than his measly 1400, Proxy Dragon is a capable monster that opens up Link plays for a lot of decks that might not otherwise consider it thanks to his generic summoning condition.
Ib the World Chalice Priestess
Ib the World Chalice Priestess is a Link-2 with the same Link Markers as Proxy Dragon and a summoning requirement almost as generic. She requires 2 monsters with different Types and Attributes as materials. While some decks of uniform Types and Attributes like Zoodiac and ABC might have trouble fielding the required materials, some decks, like Invoked, handle it fairly easily. Like many of the monsters on this list, Ib is easily summoned with Gofu (that card is too good). Here is an example play from the deck I currently pilot, Kaiju Invoked:
- Special Summon Gofu. Special Summon tokens.
- Link Summon Link Spider in the EMZ using one of the tokens. Link Summon a second Link Spider using the other token in the zone the first Link Spider points to.
- Link Summon Ib using Gofu (Winged-Beast/DARK) and Link Spider #2 (Cyberse/EARTH) in the zone Link Spider #1 points to.
- Normal Summon Aleister the Invoker. Activate effect. Add Invocation from deck to hand.
- Link Summon a second Ib in one of the zones the first Ib points to, using Aleister (Spellcaster/DARK) and Link Spider (Cyberse/EARTH) as material.
From here, you can fuse into Invoked Magellanica for sheer size, Invoked Caliga for a floodgate effect sure to frustrate your opponent, or, if you have access to a LIGHT monster, Invoked Mechaba, the most powerful Invoked fusion. This is an impressive board due to Ib’s effect. When Ib is linked to another monster, she cannot be targeted or destroyed by card effects or battle. If two Ibs are co-linked, they cannot be removed by normal means and present a problem for the opponent. Non-targeting, non-destruction removal is still relatively rare in Yu-Gi-Oh! outside of Kaijus, so making this play virtually assures your survival, even if your other extra deck monster is dealt with. Plus, the two Ibs leave three EMZs for you to use for further extra deck summons. You can also take advantage of Ib’s second effect: if a monster linked to her would be destroyed by card effect, you can send her to the Graveyard at resolution instead. This means that you have extra protection for your key monsters summoned to a zone she points to. If your deck can make Ib, you should consider adding her to your extra deck.
Ningirsu the World Chalice Warrior
Ningirsu the World Chalice Warrior is the second of the generic Link Monsters from the World Chalice archetype. He is a Link-3 that requires 2+ Link Monsters as material for summon. Remember how I said that non-targeting, non-destruction removal was still pretty rare in Yu-Gi-Oh!? Well, this guy has it. Once per turn, you can use his effect to send a card from each side of the field to the Graveyard. Ningirsu also possesses a decent 2500 ATK and a draw effect should you have other World Chalice monsters on the board. (In a deck that isn’t World Chalice-based, you probably won’t. But hey: it’s possible if you play Ib. Maybe you’ll find a way to get 1 draw off.) He can be made easily off of one Gofu (I’m beginning to see a pattern here…) by summoning LInk Spider with one of the tokens, then using Gofu and the second token to make Proxy Dragon. Scapegoat can easily make him, too, using the same method. Think of Ningirsu as the Scrap Dragon of Link Monsters: a good, generic removal option. His downside is his awful Link Markers. If Ningirsu is summoned in your EMZ, he will have to be removed before you can summon another extra deck monster. Still, in decks running token generators for Link Summons, Ningirsu is a staple.
Topologic Bomber Dragon
Topologic Bomber Dragon is a Link-4 that requires 2+ effect monsters to summon. He has a big body and a powerful effect, albeit one that requires some planning to use without it backfiring. His markers point Up, Down, Down-Left and Down-Right. If any monster is Special Summoned into one of these zones, KABOOM! The Main Monster Zones on both sides of the field blow up. That’s where you have to be careful. As long as you are the one doing the Special Summoning, with cards like Scapegoat, Super Hippo Carnival, or Fairy Tail – Snow, you can set it off at a time when it will best disrupt your opponent, like a multi-use Torrential Tribute. If you have a board built, though, your opponent can turn Topologic Bomber Dragon’s effect against you, wiping your field at the cost of just one of their monsters. Then it’s as simple as avoiding that one zone Bomber points to on their side, and their play can go off without a hitch. His requirements are easy to achieve in decks using Scapegoat to generate tokens for Link fodder: turn two tokens into Missus Radiant, and the other two into Proxy Dragon or another Missus Radiant. The two monster fulfill Bomber’s summoning conditions. With the right set-up, this dragon can be a powerful disruptive tool, but it is not yet a Link staple.
Firewall Dragon is our final generic Link Monster, a Link-4 with the simple condition of 2+monsters. Although he is totally generic, not many decks can take advantage of his great effects. The first of Firewall’s effect is a bounce effect with some added elements. As a Quick Effect, you can target monsters on either player’s field and graveyard up to the number of monsters Firewall is co-linked with and return them to the hand. This is not only effective as on-field disruption, but it allows you to recycle monsters from your grave (like handtraps) and in rare instances might even be useful for disrupting your opponent’s grave. At this time, Firewall is the only Link Monster available that can disrupt your opponent’s offensive plays, and although decks like World Chalice that are dedicated to Link Summoning are able to scale his effect up to a three monster bounce, most other decks will only be able to muster a single co-link with Firewall–if they can even summon another Link after dedicating so many of their resources to summoning him. Although any deck can theoretically make him, there aren’t many that would choose to since they can’t use him to his full potential.
Although his bounce effect is difficult for most decks to set up, Firewall Dragon has a second effect that some might find useful. If a monster Firewall is linked to is sent from the field to the graveyard or is destroyed by battle, you can Special Summon any monster from your hand for free and it’s not once per turn at all holy ****. This effect is absolutely insane and very easy to set off. Link Summons trigger it. Synchro Summons trigger it. Even Tribute Summons trigger it. Crashing a monster into an opponent’s monster triggers it. In World Chalice, I’ve resolved it five times in one turn during tournament play. This “high score” is modest: people have found combos involving resolving this effect many more times than that in one turn, usually resulting in an FTK. Most decks looking to splash Links probably will only be able to resolve it once or twice, but retaining field presence while summoning bigger monsters is a huge advantage. If your deck has a way to abuse it, by all means, include a Firewall Dragon in your extra deck.
There you have it, Yu-Gi-Oh! duelists. If you’re the type of player who likes to experiment, there are plenty of ways to incorporate our current Link Monsters into your decks for some interesting plays. I think that we can all expect more and more powerful generic Link Monsters as the game continues to progress. In November, we can already look forward to the arrival of Tri-Gate Wizard (quick targeted banish, direct negation), Akashic Magician (bounce, milling, draw), and Borreload Dragon (targeting immunity, quick stat modification, non-targeting/non-destruction removal), all of which have generic summoning conditions. We can count on many more options being released as we move further into the Master Rule 4 era, and I am excited to see what this new summoning mechanic will bring.
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