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Thanks to the 4000 LP format, the available cardpool and the smaller decks, things that would normally be fair in the original TCG can become broken in Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Links. The addition of character-specific skills has also led to this.

Note that Konami also has control over what cards are actually added to Duel Links with the only guarantee being the ace monster for each character, which is either obtained as a reward, a box, or at worse, locked behind a skill. Chances are if the card has been banned for a long time in the OCG/TCG list, like Pot of Greed for instance, it will not appear as an obtainable card but can be used by NPC duelists, certain character skills, Extra Card gem which can only be used against the NPC, or special events.

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     Skills 
Note that unlike cards that must follow their real life counterparts, Skills can be altered.
  • Bandit Keith's unaltered Switcheroo skill was devastating, as it let you return a card from your hand to the deck, shuffle, and draw a new one at no cost, potentially saving yourself from certain defeat or brick hands. It can be used twice per Duel, as well. What really made the skill overpowered was its interaction with Thunder Dragonnote , that allowed a player to essentially draw two cards with a single Thunder Dragon while thinning the deck, behaving similarly to the permanently banned Pot of Greed. It ultimately got addressed in May 2017, when Switcheroo was nerfed so that it was only usable after you suffered a 1000 LP drop each time for its two activations.
    • Switcheroo would later see major abuse in the "Invoked Neos" deck, which used the effect of Volcanic Shell to make Switcheroo even easier to use by selectively paying LP for its effect. This deck immediately became very powerful in the meta, prompting a second nerf to the skill on October 22 2020, increasing the LP deficit to 1500 and reducing its usage to once per duel instead of twice.
  • Another Bandit Keith-exclusive skill, Baggy Sleeves, was an originally balanced skill that became broken due to Power Creep. The skill allowed you to draw two cards during your draw phase if a Level 5 or higher monster you controlled was destroyed in battle on your opponent's preceding turn. While Awesome, but Impractical at first, this skill became a true monster in Thunder Dragon decks, where a majority of the archetype's monsters (and tech cards, like Artifact Vajra) are level 5 and above, allowing you to gain major advantage while still defending yourself. The May 21 2020 Update introduced a nerf that restricts the skill to on activation per Duel, and adjusts the condition to require the destruction of a Level 7 or higher monster.
  • Weevil/Insector Haga's skill Parasite Infestation would shuffle from 1 to 3 Parasite Paracides in your opponent's deck at the start of the duel. The 1000 LP burn in a 4000 LP format, and the draw block in such a fast format, coupled with cards such as Jade Insect Whistle and Gyaku Gire Panda that abuse the placement of the Parasites to deal damage to your opponent and control their draws made the July 2017 update address it by making it so only a max of 2 Parasites could be added to your opponent's deck. Two years later, in July 2019, the Skill gets addressed again after long time complaints that Stall Burn decks are still somewhat prevalent. The Skill now requires its user to run a deck that contains at least 4 different Insect-Type monsters, thus greatly reducing the amount of annoying stall monsters the deck can run.
  • The Paradox Brothers have a drop skill called Three-Star Demotion, which at the cost of 2000 life points once a turn, lowers the levels of all the monster cards in their hand by three stars, meaning you're able to normal summon level 5-7 monsters without any tributes. Putting powerful monsters on the field such as Barrel Dragon, Flame Ogre and Guardian Angel Joan for nothing would allow you to easily gain field, hand and LP advantage respectively. Dark Magician decks would use Champion's Vigilance, Dark Magician Girl and Sage's Stone to lock you out of the game and OTK thanks to support cards such as Dark Magic Attack and Thousand Knives, using Supremacy Berry to get over the drawback and use the skill multiple times without summoning Joan. It was eventually addressed in the July 2017 update by increasing the LP cost to 3000. It was still too good when combined with the various high-level monsters in the game, so the January 2018 update nerfed it again to only be usable once per Duel, and the LP cost was changed to make the skill only usable on Suijin, Kazejin, and Sanga of the Thunder unless you're under 1000 LP.
  • Mai Valentine/Kujaku's drop skill Harpie's Hunting Ground. The skill placed the aforementioned card on the field at the start of the duel. In a format so devoid of good facedown spell/trap removal, Hunting Ground provided the player with up to 3 free s/t removals. Add good normal beaters, chainable monster removal and you cover all the normal weaknesses of a deck while helping the Harpie's low attack score. It ended up shaping the metagame so much that the addition of cards such as Wild Tornado and Security Orb was seen as an attempt by Konami to deter the mindless sniping of facedown cards but it was not enough and, in the case of Security Orb, became an instant addition to the deck as it allowed it to easily snipe monsters. With the addition of cards such as Soul Resurrection and Knight of the Red Lotus the Harpie player was able to easily fill their entire field while sniping the entire opponent's backrow. It was finally addressed in the July 2017 update by making it so that the skill now starts with Harpie's Hunting Ground on top of the deck, taking away one draw.
    • Harpie's Hunting Ground was later un-nerfed after some time, but then in early 2021 Harpies got their own dedicated minibox and instantly shot right back up to being a top tier deck again. Although they were somewhat kept in check by other, more consistent top tier decks at the time, the constant power creep managed to keep them prominent until the turn 1 consistency skill nerfs hit, leaving Harpies as the sole Tier 1 deck, warping the metagame once again into one where backrow reliant decks were virtually useless. Combined with the Harpies' new support, they could very easily wipe the field clean and OTK. Thus, in January 2022, it received a significant nerf in the same vein as the other consistency skill nerfs. The field spell no longer appears on the first turn. Instead, the player can only activate the skill on the main phase of their first turn, which requires them to not only actually have the field spell itself, but also they must return one card from their hand back into the deck to play it from their deck. Also, if the player already has a field spell in their zone, it is sent to the graveyard.
  • Many Legendary Duelists are able to get a drop/level-up skill called Balance. It altered the starting 4-cards hand by making it reflect the type ratios of your deck buildnote . The increasing searching additions to the card pool in Duel Links made it so getting what you wanted in your starting hand was guaranteed. Need to have Polymerization on your starting hand? Add 2 Fusion Sage and 3 Polymerization to your deck. For a more threatening example: Need to get Champion's Vigilance or Red-Eyes Spirit on your starting hand? Just play those cards at the right ratios (usually 3 of each) and you're guaranteed to start at least with 1. The fact that running 1 card off the 5 card mark (so, running 4 or 6) didn't affect the starting hand just made it even more broken. It was nerfed in the November 6 2017 update to only affect three cards in your starting hand, with the forth being just as random as normal. And further in June 2018 by requiring the deck to have at least 6 monsters, 6 spells and 6 traps in order to trigger at all.
    • Balance eventually became a problem later on in the game's lifespan due to Power Creep, when it began to see significant usage in not only many top tier deck archetypes such as Noble Knights, but also several rogue/off-meta deck archetypes, suddenly making them potential sleeper threats. While this did end up promoting deck diversity in some form, it did so by overcentralizing the skill economy around itself, becoming the skill to run in order to make low and mid-tier deck archetypes consistent by granting them first-turn advantage. This resulted in the skill getting perhaps its biggest nerf yet in March 2021's updated banlist: the player can no longer perform special summons or activate effects on their first turn.
  • Tèa Gardner's skill Duel, Standby! was a skill used mostly to add consistency in OTK decks, allowing decks like Cyber Stein OTK, Silent Swordsman LV3 OTK and such, to have an overwhelming advantage over their opponents with the increased amount of resouces, allowing to end duels quickly, and even then, it was a practical skill overall, because it added an initial card to use in almost every deck that could take advantage of this. Therefore, the skill received a nerf in June 2018, so the player with the skill can't activate card effects at all on their initial turn, making the +1 advantage mostly pointless in most cases.
    • And then it received another nerf in December 2019, preventing you from Normal Summoning as well on your first turn, after people abused the Skill alongside the Normal Summonable Amano-Iwato, which would stay on the field thanks to the Skill negating its last effect that returns it to the hand at the end of the turn it is Normal Summoned. This combo locks the opponent from activating any Monster effect at all for the rest of the Duel, provided Amano is well-protected by its user. As this is deemed too unfair by Konami, the Skill gets nerfed again.
  • Beatdown, a skill from Seto Kaiba and Vellian Crowler, was a pretty balanced skill, used to increase the attack of your monsters by the number of monsters in your side of the field with Lv.5 or higher, but with the advent of Fur Hire into the foray (see below), the skill became more unbalanced, because it helped to increase their OTK consistency with the ATK boost after a Dyna was in the field, and by 600 with 2 Dynas or a Dyna and a Wiz, helping to overcome their mirror matches and getting over other powerful monsters with ease. The impact was such, that Konami nerfed the skill in August 24th, 2018, so that only Lv.5 and higher monsters receive the boost instead.
    • As if it wasn't enough, because of the rise of higher level monsters as well as quicker and more efficient ways of summoning them, the skill became further nerfed in October 28th, 2019 to become a once per duel skill.
  • Restart, a skill that was available to a good bunch of Legendary Duelists, allowed to optionally redraw your initial hand without consequences, increasing the consistency of decks overall by redrawing a bad hand. On January 24th, 2018, the skill was adjusted by adding the condition of revealing your starting hand before redrawing if you activate the skill, which wasn't a dealbreaker on the grand scheme of things and it was still one of the most used skills in the metagame, especially during the Sylvan format, which prompted a further nerf in June 2018, by dropping the reveal condition, but adding an inherent -1 advantage by skipping your initial first draw if you activate the skill at all.
    • Restart received another, far more severe nerf on the October 2020 Banlist in response to newer decks, like Witchcrafter and a resurgent Karakuri using the skill. The nerf now prevents the skill from being usable unless the player's deck has at least 7 EACH of Spells and Traps included, functionally making the skill a slightly worse version of Balance, and then in the March 2021's updated banlist it received the same nerf as Balance: the player can no longer perform special summons or activate effects on their first turn, although, they reverted the previous nerf as that restriction was no longer needed.
  • Cyber Style, is a Zane exclusive skill that is initially meant to ease the summoning of Cyber End Dragon in a game that lacks the original Cyber Dragon. However, the monsters provided by this skill have no restriction whatsoever placed on them, and players began to use them with many decks that likes having free monsters, usually as Tribute. And with many ways to reduce your own LP, it becomes easier to trigger this skill, the most common being Cosmic Cyclone, which has you pay 1000 LP to banish 1 Spell/Trap card. This allows players to break their opponent's field AND get a free tribute as bonus, which then extends into their deck's play that of course does not involve any "Cyber" monsters at all, despite the skill's name. This goes WAY against Konami's intended use of the skill, so as a result, in October 2018, the skill received a huge nerf that makes the monsters from this skill usable only for Fusion Summoning. However, this also prevents the use of cards that require Cyber Dragon as a tribute such as Photon Generator Unit. Granted, those players who would want to use that are so few and far in between; but the issue is still there.
    • In response to the resurgence of Cyber Dragon decks thanks to a new wave of good support in the Future Horizon Box, Cyber Style was nerfed again on July 17, 2020, requiring the user to have lost at least 2000 LP before using it and making it so the player can neither attack with nor Special Summon any non-Fusion Monsters while the summoned Proto-Cybers are on the field, preventing the Cyber Dragon player from simply attacking the opponent for game with the Summoned Proto-Cyber Dragons if the field was cleared.
    • Even with these nerfs, Cyber Dragons still continued to make appearances in the metas that followed, reaching their peak after hand consistency skills were nerfed in March of 2021. It eventually reached a point where they became one of the few decks that could stand up to the dominant deck at the June 2021 meta and beyond: Onomats. In order to promote deck diversity and stop Cyber Dragons' potential ability to end duels in the same turn they got their momentum started, Cyber Style was nerfed again in the October 2021 banlist: the Proto-Cyber Dragons have now become regular Cyber Dragons, summoned from your hand or deck instead of being given for free, their ATK becomes 0, and you can now only fusion summon Cyber End Dragon until the end of the opponent's next turn.
  • Transcendent Crystals is a skill exclusive to Jesse Andersen, and like the above-mentioned Cyber Style was abused in almost identical ways. The skill allowed a player to send 1 to 3 cards from their hand to the graveyard to add that number of Crystal Beast monsters to their backrow as spell cards. While Crystal Beasts themselves are far from viable, the skill was a huge boon to Crystron decks. Many Crystron cards have effects that activate or target cards in the graveyard, so being able to selectively send cards to the graveyard without having to run cards with discard costs provided unmatched utility. In addition, several Crystrons have effects that require the player to destroy a card on their side of the field, so the Crystal Beasts in the backrow also served as valuable fodder for the Crystron player to get their combos rolling. The May 21, 2020 update nerfed the skill by making it only usable from turn 3 onwards (later loosened to be usable from turn 1 if the player's deck contains 7 or more Crystal Beast monsters, allowing the intended use), preventing Crystrons from being able to instantly set up their graveyard on their first turn.
  • Sorcery Conduit is a skill that allows a player to draw a random Spellcaster-Type monster from their deck during their draw phase every time they lose 1000 LP, and doesn't require a certain number and/or differently named Spellcasters in the deck to use. Combined with Cosmic Cyclone, this skill was a major consistency tool for decks running the Invoked Engine, since the skill was guaranteed to add Aleister to your hand if he was the only Spellcaster in your deck, and he would in turn add Invocation to your hand to immediately summon the powerful Invoked fusions. The March 2020 update nerfed this skill by increasing the required LP deficit to 1500, nixing the ability to selectively trigger it with Cosmic Cyclone.
  • Life Cost 0 is a skill used in Cyber-Stein decks, which usually focus on getting a free Ojama King into the field in order to lock the opponent's field, then get another free monster to attack the opponent with (neither Cyber-Stein nor Ojama King are good in terms of offense), or to ensure you can get rid of any possible threats on your next turn. This skill makes Cyber-Stein so good that, along with the Cyber Style skill in October 2018, the skill gets a nerf that prevents it from being used more than once, meaning Cyber-Stein players now cannot summon anything else after Ojama King, preventing them from putting up a solid attacker or something that can handle incoming threats.
  • Three Lord Pillars is a skill exclusive to Sartorius that lets you start with a The Material Lord set on your side of the field. Why was it broken? Because it had a second effect that placed all copies of The Sky Lord and The Spiritual Lord at the bottom of your deck. It didn't take long for people to realize that this basically allowed you to play a 14 card deck by stacking the bottom. As a result, it took less than two days from the skill being unlockable until Konami announced that the sorting effect would be removed, notably being the fastest time record ever for a new Skill to receive a nerf.
  • Sealed Tombs is a skill exclusive to Ishizu that prevents players from summoning monsters or banishing cards from the Graveyards until your next turn, serving as an absolutely devastating lockdown ability against anything that relies on the Graveyard. Which, as the game goes on, are becoming more common by the day. It only works once per Duel, but effectively forcing an opponent to skip their turn means that once can be quite enough. The March 2020 update nerfed the skill by making it only usable if you have 1000 LP less than the opponent.
  • No Mortal Can Resist is another Ishizu-exclusive skill that immediately jumped in to take the place of the nerfed Sealed Tombs and quickly proved to be just as devastating, if not even more so than its predecessor. If your LP are 1000 or more lower than your opponent, activating the skill turns every monster in your opponent's Graveyard into a Skull Servant. This completely demolishes ANY strategy relying on Graveyard resources, was usable once per turn, and was easily turned online by a single Cosmic Cyclone. This skill immediately became a dominant force in the meta, so the May 21 2020 update nerfed it by making it usable once per Duel, and increasing the LP Deficit to 2000.
  • Compensation is a level up skill for Bakura and Yubel that was easily the skill of choice for a Darklord deck. The skill allows you to send the top card of your deck to the graveyard and gain 300 LP, and can be used every time you lose 1000 LP, and can be used an unlimited number of times per turn, as long as you lost 1000 LP right before you use it. The Darklord monsters can pay 1000 LP to reuse the effect of a Darklord Spell/Trap in the graveyard and shuffle it back into the deck, so Compensation not only softened the cost of repeatedly using these effects, but also had a good chance of immediately milling the card(s) you just copied back into the graveyard, keeping the Darklord player stocked with resources. The March 2020 update nerfed the skill by making it only usable once per turn and twice per duel, in tandem with the Semi-Limiting of Darklord Ixchel.
  • Master of Destiny, a skill exclusive to Sartorius, guarantees that your first 3 coin toss effects will always land on heads if you have 5 or more different coin toss cards in your deck. Flavor-wise, it's meant to work with his Arcana Force cards, but people quickly found out that it turns Desperado Barrel Dragon into Mirror Force/Lightning Vortex on a stick with a card draw effect, to boot, and that's before getting into other good coin cards like Cup of Ace. This deck quickly became one of the few viable options on the ladder, and Konami responded by nerfing the skill to require 7 different coin toss cards in your deck, hitting Desperado decks' consistency. And then it was nerfed again in March 2021's banlist when Desperado decks saw a resurgence in the higher tiers, mandating that the player's first Normal Draw is skipped.
  • Grit is a skill obtainable by many characters that works by allowing a player to survive lethal damage with 1 LP remaining, as long as they had 4000 or more LP at the start of that turn. The skill allowed decks with heavily offense-based strategies to survive an opponent's turn and then unleash their One-Turn-Kills on the next turn, without having to dedicate deck space to defensive backrow or handtraps. With a resurgence of OTK-based decks like Masked Heroes, Blackwings, and Lunalights the skill became a major safety net for these decks if they had to go first. The May 21 2020 Update adjusted the skill so that the player can only Special Summon one monster on the turn after Grit activates, preventing these decks from simply exploding on the opponent after using it. This was also the second nerf to the skill compared to its original version, in which Grit's activation was luck-dependent and it was possible for it to activate two turns in a row (though the activation chance was higher with more LP), which wasn't that notable in the slower early metagame, but became a major safety net around the time of faster decks like Sylvans.
  • Draw Sense: Spell/Trap is a skill obtainable by multiple duelists, that, like other Draw Sense Skills, allows you to draw a random spell or trap from your deck during your Draw Phase every time you lose 1000 LP. Block Dragon decks would use the skill to instantly search out That Grass Looks Greener, which was on Limited 1 at the time, simply by having it as the only non-monster card in the deck, similar to how Sorcery Conduit was used with Aleister. This allowed them to instantly mill Block Dragon, self-reviving Tuners like Jet Synchron, and disruptive cards like Tackle Crusader to set up major combos and steamroll the opponent. The July 21 2020 banlist buried this strategy by adjusting the skill to require 3 different spell/trap cards in the deck at minimum to activate.
  • Access Denied and Ojama Overflow are two powerful lockdown skills with rough activation conditions that make them Awesome, but Impractical. Ojama Overflow, exclusive to Chazz, can only be used when you have 500 LP or less, and summons as many Ojama Tokens as possible to your opponents field, potentially clogging all three of your opponent's zones if they had a clear board, giving you as much time as you need to setup a winning play unless the opponent had a way to get rid of them (which is rare). Access Denied, exclusive to Yugi Muto, can only be activated at 1000 or less LP, and prevents both players from summoning Effect Monsters or activating monster effects until the end of the Opponent's next turn. Both of these skills went from gimmicky to broken with the introduction of one card: Star Blast (See below in the Cards Section), which could allow a player to pay exactly as many LP as needed to activate these skills as early as the first turn and from there nearly guarantee a victory. Dark Magician decks in particular could benefit from Access Denied as the aforementioned monster is a Normal Monster, allowing it to be easily summoned even while the skill was in effect. In tandem with Star Blast being Limited to 1, both of these skills were heavily nerfed in the October 2020 banlist, which adjusted both to be usable from the player's 5th turn onwards, removing much of the utility from them.
  • Shadow Game, exclusive to Marik, was a powerful burn damage skill that could spell doom from the outset of the duel if your deck was not capable of dealing with it. At the end of each player's turn, the skill inflicts damage equal to the number of cards in that player's graveyard x 100. Since it is a Skill, card effects that nullify effect damage cannot stop it, and the skill was capable of reducing a player's LP to 0. Stall/Burn decks used this skill in conjunction with Lava Golems, Amazoness Swords Woman, and the myriad of defensive cards available to simply stonewall the opponent while the skill burns them to death. As the skill became even deadlier with the rising of Graveyard-centric and Synchro decks, Konami addressed it on the October 2020 Banlist via a substantial nerf: The skill's damage per turn maxes out at 400 regardless of the number of cards in the graveyard, and further the skill will not be applied if the turn player's LP are 1000 or less, preventing the skill from being able to kill an opponent all on its own and giving players with graveyard-centric decks a little more time to fight back.
  • Show of Nightmares is a skill exclusive to Arkana, that allows the player to add a random spell from their graveyard to their hand once per duel if their graveyard contains three or more different spells. This skill immediately became a staple for Witchcrafter decks, who rely on having spell cards in the hand for their monsters effects. Using cards like Charge of the Light Brigade and That Grass Looks Greener (both also addressed on the same banlist), the deck could mill large numbers of spells, and while the Witchcrafter spells could return to the hand via their own effects if the player controlled a Witchcrafter monster, the other spells would stay in the graveyard, allowing the skill to fetch powerful spells instantly (or reuse a just-used one, if you were lucky). The October 2020 Banlist addressed this skill by making the player shuffle a card from their hand back into the deck after using it, making it an overall wash in terms of card advantage instead of a positive.
  • Hand-consistency skills like Heavy Starter, My Monster Cards, Spell Specialist and Trap Layer have been used during the lifespan of the game in order to gain consistency in the initial hands. These skills have been becoming more and more problematic as more cards and archetypes get released which can exploit these skills. First, their percentages for successful rates of opening with certain cards were lowered in the March 2020 and May 2020 (in the case of Heavy Starter), but then, due to new cards and archetypes being released, it added the possibility of the skills becoming broken in the future, so alongside Balance and Restart, these skills received the same nerf in the March 2021 balance update: the player can no longer perform special summons or activate effects on their first turn.
  • Akiza Izinski's skill, What Grows in the Graveyard was a skill that adds Dark Verger to the Graveyard at the start of the duel. At first, this skill didn't see too much of a competitive success, and it was used in some strategies involving Plant tuners for Synchro toolboxing. Then Goyo Defender was released at two copies with the Level 35 5D's World update by leveling up Tetsu Trudge, opening some possibilities, but this was still seen as fringe, and then the "Voltage of the Metal" minibox was released, adding Wind-Up Carrier Zenmaity, which added an extra layer to this strategy, allowing to do some degenerate, albeit inconsistent strategies. However, prior to the release of the "Antinomic Theory'" box, on the March 2021 balance update, the skill was nerfed so it could only be activated after losing 1500 LP. This was for two reasons: One, to avoid possible unhealthy strategies with the Rikka archetype released in that box, and two, due to the card Black and White Wave, released in the same box as the Rikka archetype, because the skill allowed to summon a Xyz monster with Synchro materials for free, therefore giving a free +1 by using that card.
  • Titan Showdown is a Rex Raptor exclusive skill that causes a player who has at least twice as many LP as their opponent to take doubled battle damage. While mostly gimmicky outside of the infamous Masked HERO Anki glitch, the skill became a genuine problem when used with the Evil Eye archetype. The deck's central card, Evil Eye of Selene, can set itself on the field from the graveyard at a cost of 1000 LP, and when the effect either the equipped monster or any other Evil Eye spell or trap is activated, it drains another 500 LP from the controller to increase the ATK of the equipped monster by that much. This made it very easy to reduce one's LP to satisfy the skill requirements, and from there use Basilius and Catoblepas (easily Special Summoned with their own effects) to Xyz Summon Number 47: Nightmare Shark. As Nightmare Shark has 2000 ATK and an effect that can allow it to attack directly, landing a hit while Titan Showdown was active would ensure a One-Hit Kill. While not necessarily top tier, the combination was considered sacky enough that the April 2021 list put a term to it by altering the skill so that the double battle damage would not apply unless the player using the skill controls a Dinosaur-type monster.
  • Level Duplication, Level Augmentation, and Level Reduction are skills that allow you to select a monster you control, then reveal a monster in your hand to copy the revealed card's level, add it, or subtract it from the target monster's level, respectively. These skills were meant to ease Synchro Summoning, and were considered fair for years until the introduction of the F.A. archetype, which gain ATK and extra effects based on their levels. The biggest offender of the bunch, however, was F.A. Hang On Mach. It is unaffected by the effects of any monster with a Level/Rank lower than its own, and at level 7 or higher causes any card sent to your opponent's GY to be banished instead. Since the level changes from these skills never expired, using Level Augmentation on Hang On Mach with a high level monster in hand would result in a walking one-sided Macro Cosmos that was unaffected by almost any monster effect and had 3000+ ATK. This made Hang On Mach a popular choice in Darklord decks, creating an unholy build called "Carlords" that could still utilize the Star Seraph "Stick & Chair" combo for massive draw power to lead into the inevitable Level 14 (!) Hang On Mach. Because of this unintended interaction with Augmentation and as a preventative measure against potential further exploits with the level skills, the May 2021 list modified all three to only be usable at 3000 LP or less, and the changes to the monster levels would expire at the end of the turn. The nerf to Duplication and Reduction alongside Augmentation had the unfortunate side effect of hurting Thunder Dragons and Blackwings, which were beginning to see play again.
  • Onomatoplay is an incredibly powerful consistency skill based around Yuma's Onomat cards. The skill allows the player to send two cards from any of the constituent archetypes from their hand to the deck, and choose two more cards of those archetypes from the deck to replace them. This gave unmatched consistency to Onomat decks, making it almost impossible for them to brick. The May 2021 list cut the skill in half, making it only able to exchange one card at a time, but allowed it to be used twice per duel instead, reducing the capacity for instant OTKs/power plays while retaining its purpose as a consistency booster.
    • This "nerf", however, was not enough to deal a blow to Onomats. In fact, it had the opposite effect - it made Onomats more consistent and dominant than ever before, even pushing them up to Tier 0 for a time. Because of their extremely dominant presence in both competitive and ranked play, Onomatoplay was nerfed again in the October 2021 banlist, and Konami did not hold back. Not only does the skill only work once per duel, but it can now only be activated if your deck contains 12 or more Onomat monsters while your extra deck has at least 2 Utopia monstersnote , no non-Number or non-ZW Rank 5 or higher monstersnote , and it can now only be activated on Turn 3 and later.
  • One-Card Wonder is a skill for both versions of Kalin kessler that starts him with only one card in his hand, but in exchange he gets to draw two cards per turn. This was initially meant to have synergy with Infernities. Unfortunately, it ended up repurposed to promote a very annoying stall strategy which involved using hand traps and trap cards that negated damage or increased life points to grind duels to a halt. Once the opponent's deck has been milled enough and their resources exhausted, all the user had to do was activate Localized Tornado to shuffle all their cards they just used back into their deck, letting them use all their stall cards again and forcing an automatic victory via deck-out or surrender. Due to its prevalent appearance in KC Cup and KCGT, the skill was given an emergency nerf effective late June 2021: it will now only activate if the deck is comprised of Infernity cards.
  • HERO Flash!!, a skill for Jaden Yuki, ended up being used for a similar purpose as the One-Card Wonder stall strategy. Every 2 turns, each of the components of "HERO Flash!!" are added to the hand ("H - Heated Heart", "E - Emergency Call", "R - Righteous Justice", "O - Oversoul"), and finally the titular card. Due to the lax restrictions placed on it, it was possible to make a 30-card deck consisting of primarily Traps to lock the opponent out of playing the game and prevent damage from being dealt. Then, depending on the build, one could splice in either an Invoked Neos engine or opt for a pure stalling strategy. And once the conditions were fulfilled, if the player so desired, they could activate "HERO Flash!!" in order to attack directly for game. Due to the build's prominent usage in KCGT 2021, it was nerfed in the October 2021 banlist to try and cut down on the stall strategy's effectiveness: it will now only activate when the only monsters in the deck are HERO monsters.
  • Endless Trap Hell is a skill for Odion that allows him to take a randomly-selected Trap once he had at least 3 in the Graveyard, re-add it to his hand, then shuffle the rest into the deck. It is essentially the Trap Card equivalent to Arkana's Show of Nightmares skill. This, however, resulted in very powerful, very toxic stall strategies and could be abused with cards such as "Floodgate Trap Hole" and "Treacherous Trap Hole", the latter of which could be used, then potentially recycled back into the hand and re-used again for more disruption. Because its usage significantly slowed down the pace of duels, it was nerfed in the October 2021 banlist, in much the same way Show of Nightmares was nerfed. The player must now send one card from their hand back into their deck, and they will now only receive the randomly selected Trap Card while the rest remain in the Graveyard.
  • Demon's Resonance, a skill for Jack Atlas, is essentially Onomatoplay but for Resonators. It allows the player to reveal any Resonator monster in their hand, then return any one of their choosing in order to add a Level 4 or lower Fiend-type monster to the hand. Although the added monster cannot use its effects, this does not apply to cards such as Wandering King Wildwind and Doomcaliber Knight. The former could be used in conjunction with other Resonator monsters in order to turbo out powerful Synchro Monsters in rapid succession, and the latter could potentially stop the opponent from using their effects, lest they get negated by Doomcaliber tributing itself. It became apparent that the meta that came after the May 2021 banlist was heavily dependent on consistency-heavy decks after the initial hand consistency skills such as Balance were nerfed, so Konami ended up nerfing it in the October 2021 banlist. Monsters with the same name as the one added to the player's hand can no longer activate their effects if that monster with the same name is already in the hand, and the extra deck now requires "Red Dragon Archfiend" and "Red Nova Dragon" in order to activate. 9 months after Resonators had been power crept out of the meta, for the July 2022 skill update Konami decided to re-buff it in a different way, allowing it more extra deck freedom by adding 1 free copy of Red Rising Dragon to the player's extra deck whenever the skill is used.
  • The Dragon Knight's Path is a skill for Yami Yugi as well as both versions of Yugi Muto (DM and DSOD) designed to be used alongside Gaia-themed decks. It initially allowed players to return a card from their hand to their deck to play a "Galloping Gaia" Field Spell from their deck, but in accordance with the nerfs to consistency skills, the October 2021 banlist nerfed it so that you must now return a monster card in order to activate the skill, and until the end of the opponent's next turn after the skill's initial activation it is now only possible to Special Summon "Gaia" monsters, "Black Luster Soldier" monsters, or Level 5 Dragon-type monsters.
  • Set! Delta Accel! is Antinomy's starting skill. It adds T.G. Halberd Cannon, Blade Blaster, Power Gladiator, Wonder Magician, and Recipro Dragonfly to the Extra Deck at the start of the duel, and if 2 or more T.G. monsters are Synchro Summoned in the same turn, the player can place Recipro Dragonfly directly from the Extra Deck onto the field. Through the use of the skill, it is possible to make a Halberd Cannon on the first turn. Halberd Cannon is a 4000 ATK beatstick that can negate any summon from the opponent whenever it wants and destroy the monster that would have been summoned while also being a floater that immediately re-summons a T.G. synchro monster from the Graveyard, which usually ends up being Blade Blaster. Once it's on the field the opponent is effectively locked out of summoning anything lest they be left wide open for a potential OTK. Even worse, it's possible to run this skill with a very backrow-heavy T.G. build, splashing in Lightsworns and Trap Cards that activate from the Graveyard to enable a very potent and aggressive lockdown strategy similar to Odion's Endless Trap Hell. In accordance with the first-turn consistency meta nerf of the October 2021 banlist, the skill received a minor nerf in that now the player must return a T.G. monster from their hand to the deck in order to summon Recipro Dragonfly.
  • Contract Procrastination is a skill for Declan Akaba designed around bypassing the effects of the D/D/D archetype's "Dark Contract" cards, which require a Life Point cost during the Standby Phase. The skill allows the player to skip their own Standby Phase, negating the penalty. What made the skill good initially was that there was no limit to how much the player could do this, giving them total control over their own LP. Not only could it be used in conjunction with D/D/D Oracle King d'Arc, but the skill also rendered certain rogue decks that rely on their opponents' Standby Phase such as Metaphys and Fire Kings useless. Golden Castle of Stromberg became particularly gross because its huge maintenance cost doesn't need to be paid when you use this skill. Because of this, the skill was nerfed in January 2022 so that it could only be used once per duel.
  • Command of the Doom King is another skill for Declan that allows for easy Pendulum Summoning of D/D/D monsters. It grants the player using it access to Master Rule 3-era Pendulum Zones on the sides of their field rather than in the Spell and Trap Zone if they have a deck consisting of at least 3 D/D/D Pendulum Monsters and allows them to send a copy of D/D/D Doom King Armageddon from their hand to the top of the Extra Deck in order to freely place any monster of their choice from their Field and their Hand into the Pendulum Zones. Their effects are then negated until the end of the next Standby Phase. Most of the time, players would use this in conjunction with D/D Savant Kepler and D/D Savant Thomas, turning the deck into an extremely flexible, very potent Rank 8 Xyz toolbox. Notably, the skill prevents Kepler's negative effect of having its scale count lowered by 2 each turn, delaying it by 1 turn. Because of the growing power of D/D/D, including wishing to add future support, the skill received a nerf in the June 2022 banlist. The deck now requires 5 D/D/D Pendulum Monsters to be in the deck, and the Pendulum Scales' effects are instead negated until the end of your next turn, preventing abuse of Thomas and D/D Orthros.
  • Spell of Roses is a skill for Akiza Izinski based on the Rose Dragon cards themed around her ace, Black Rose Dragon, which had a structure deck released around the same time, letting the player discard a Rose Dragon, Witch of the Black Rose, or Rose Fairy to search a Rose Dragon and then put a Rose Fairy either on top or on the bottom of their deck, once per Duel. However, the initial version didn't make much of an impression due to the horrible restrictions placed on it (on top of a strict deckbuilding requirement, it also locked you into Black Rose Dragon or Ruddy Rose Dragon for the turn). Konami thus eventually buffed it, loosening the deckbuilding requirements and allowing you to summon any Synchro you wanted on top of making the skill twice per Duel... which promptly catapulted Rose Dragons into tier 0, only kept remotely in check by the equally broken HEROes, by making them into a Synchro toolbox deck with unparalleled consistency. What made them particularly gross was the addition of Trishula, Zero Dragon of the Ice Barrier into their arsenal, giving them ludicrous amounts of field-clearing that they could access practically on demand, on top of all their other toys like Odd-Eyes Meteorburst Dragon and Samurai Destroyer for Battle Phase lockdown and Yazi, Evil of the Yang Zing, a targeting-immune beater that also packed removal and allowed the teching of Yang Zings for its floating effect. The buff to Spell of Roses lasted a mere three months before it was partially rolled back in October 2022, making it once per Duel again.
  • Proving again that any deck can be salvaged with a busted enough skill, Meklord Refinement for Aporia and Primo pushed Meklords from low-tier all the way to the top (partially in conjunction with the release of Triskelion). The skill could be used twice per Duel by discarding a Meklord monster each time, its first use fetching a Meklord Spell/Trap from the deck and the second one either adding Meklord Astro the Eradicator to your hand or searching any Meklord card. What this translated to was effectively infinite consistency for a deck that had consistency as its biggest weakness, allowing Meklords to essentially have every card in the archetype on demand thanks to Meklord Assembly being searchable by its first use as well as a potentially explosive comeback-enabler if you chose to add Meklord Astro the Eradicator to your hand with the second, on top of the two uses easily setting up the Graveyard for a Triskelion or Eradicator. While not the most broken deck in its prime, Meklords still became enough of a problem that Konami opted to nerf the skill, making it usable only once per Duel with its effect dependent on the turn count (searches a Spell/Trap if used on turn 1 or 2, searches any card or adds Eradicator if used on turn 3 onward).

     Banned Cards 
Starting from the October 14 2020 banlist, some cards were banned, which means you can't use them in duels.
  • That Grass Looks Greener isn't exactly known for being balanced in the real-life game, and it's not much better in Duel Links. On the one hand, the limited deck sizes mean That Grass will only mill a maximum of 10 cards, compared to the real-life game's 20. On the other hand, skills exist in Duel Links, with skills like Balance and Spell Specialist allowing players with three copies of it to reliably draw the card on turn 1 and set up their Graveyard for the rest of the game. Shiranuis are a particularly notorious abuser of this strategy, allowing them to easily get monsters to banish for their effects and rapidly spam huge Synchro monsters. As such, TGLG was put on Limited 1. Despite this, future decks such as Witchcrafters and Block Dragon were able to abuse the card, along with a 30-card Shiranui Deck taking the top Global spot in the September KC Cup using the card. This was the final nail in the coffin for Grass, and it became one of the first two cards to be outright banned in Duel Links on the October 14 2020 banlist.
  • Cyber-Stein. Cyber-Stein, much like in the TCG/OCG, is distinguished by its ability to pull out otherwise difficult-to-Summon Fusions with powerful effects, and that becomes even more pronounced in the Speed Duel format. Combined with various LP gain cards and cycling cards like Magical Mallet to consistently get Cyber-Stein and use to to summon an Ojama King on turn 1, locking all three of your opponent's monster zones and preventing them from doing anything to defend themselves while you poke them to death (barring their spell and trap cards). It got Limited 1 during the May 21 2020 list, and later ended up joining That Grass Looks Greener as one of the first outright banned cards in Duel Links on the October 14 2020 Banlist.
  • Invoked Cocytus, the WATER Invoked Monster, can be a near insurmountable wall. It has 1800 ATK/2900 DEF, and its effect makes it immune to being targeted or destroyed by opposing card effects. This, combined with Aleister being able to boost its DEF to 3900 during the Battle Phase, makes Cocytus nearly impossible to get rid of outside of certain specialized cards like Herald of the Abyss. To add to it, Cocytus can attack (with its ATK stat) while in defense position, allowing it to poke at opponents with direct attacks after their defenses are wiped out by the other Invoked monsters. Being able to deal with Cocytus, either with high ATK or non-targeting effects, quickly became a minimum requirement for any deck's viability in competitive play and (to an extent) the Ranked Ladder, such that Konami finally ended up banning it on the December 15 2020 list, to promote deck diversity. In conjunction with the banning of Hey, Trunade!, Cocytus would later become the 2nd banned card to be eligible for the trade-in system, allowing players the option of trading their multiple copies for other cards of the same rarity.
  • Hey, Trunade!, the "little brother" of one of the most infamous Spell Cards in Yu-Gi-Oh! history, Giant Trunade. It returns all Set Spell and Trap Cards on the field to their owners' hands. While in the TCG and OCG it's not as big a deal as its big brother which remains banned to this day, in the Speed Duel format of Duel Links it becomes just as powerful as Giant Trunade, and has been one of the undisputed best staple Spell Cards in the entire game since its release in 2018. For 3 whole years, many archetypes ended up getting hit by banlist nerfs because of this card alone. If your deck didn't have an answer for it, seeing it generally meant one thing: you were getting OTK'd within the next few seconds. It quickly became one of the most hated cards in the game, yet because it's a constantly-advertised box SR, it was long-believed that its status translated to "immune to the banlist". It soon became apparent, however, that no amount of banlist nerfs Konami made would get people to stop abusing Trunade in decks that could OTK, such as Onomats (see the Limited Cards section for more information) and Resonators, so Konami finally decided to remove it from the equation altogether, banning it completely in the July 2021 list. And Konami did not stop there. Not only did it lose its advertised status on its box, it becoming banned prompted Konami to implement a trade-in system for banned cards where you could redeem 1 free card of the same rarity from the banned card's box. They even went as far as to make Trunade the first card in a selection box to be REPLACED! Its spot has now been taken by Powered Inzektron.

     Nerfed Cards 
Some cards have now been altered to better fit the format Duel Links has set up. This is typically cards that perform burn damage as many modern burn cards are balanced around the 8000 LP Master Duel formats. To denote any changes to an effect, the card will have a Duel Links logo on the corner to show that the card has been changed.
  • Lava Golem. The 4000 LP Format in general makes effect damage cards (like the above-mentioned Restructer Revolution) more dangerous, but Lava Golem was far and away the lynchpin of any dedicated Stall-Burn deck. It can be summoned to the opponent's field by tributing two of their monsters, bypassing any kind of protection or effect immunity by virtue of being a summon condition, and inflicts 1000 damage, a full quarter of their LP, on each of their standby phases. While Lava Golem itself had an impressive 3000 ATK, stall cards like Kiteroid and Sphere Kuriboh could easily keep it at bay. Supplemented by the Shadow Game skill, Lava Golem was more often than not a death sentence to decks that couldn't tribute it off or use it in a synchro, to the point some Synchro decks would include high level Synchros like Star Eater in the extra deck just in case they ran into a Lava Golem deck on the ladder. As effect damage decks became more problematic, Konami was forced to bend the rule regarding not modifying the cards directly, announcing that, effective September 29 2020, they would halve effect damage dealt by any cards released from that day forward, and that Lava Golem's effect would also be adjusted to inflict only 500 damage per turn, being the only previously released card to have the nerf retroactively applied to it.
  • Evil HERO Infernal Sniper. In addition to being unable to be destroyed by Spell Cards, her TCG incarnation deals 1000 damage to the opponent during each of her owner's Standby Phases as long as Infernal Sniper remains in Defense Position. Duel Links went and halved the effect damage to 500, giving her the same treatment as Lava Golem in her debut in mid-2021.

     Limited Cards 
Note that the banlist in Duel Links works differently from the banlist in the real-life card game. Instead of being Limited or Semi-Limited, cards are marked as Limited 1, Limited 2, or Limited 3, and you can only have a maximum of 1, 2, or 3 cards from the respective lists in your deck. For example if Raigeki and Dark Hole were both in limited 1, you can only use one or the other, not both. Likewise if, for example, Mystical Space Typhoon and Upstart Goblin were both in limited 2, you can only either play 2 copies of one card and 0 copy of the other, or play just 1 copy of each card. This forces some cards to be "soft banned" wherein cards will be locked out if you are attempting to use other cards from the same limited list.
  • Restructer Revolution. Conceived for a 8000 LP format, the card was hopelessly outclassed from its inception thanks to more damaging burn cards available to the playerbase. However, thanks to the 4000 LP format and the addition of a specific skill for Tea/Anzu called Duel, Standby! that allowed you and your opponent to start with an extra card on the starting hand, the card ended up being the focus of the first deck able to FTK (First Turn Kill) in Duel Links. Combine it with the card Cup of Ace, and you would either increase your opponent's hand making Restructer more lethal or you would draw into your other burn cards. Without any other factors in play, a copy of Restructer Revolution would make 1000 damage on turn 1. The card ended up being the first card to be limited for the August 3 banlist.
  • De-Synchro is a major FTK and pseudo-FTK enabler. De-Synchro, being a Normal Spell instead of Quick-Play like De-Fusion, was initially seen as useless... until it was combined with the Fortune Lady deck. With Past allowing the deck to Synchro and Calling allowing summoning from the deck, it is very easy to trigger the effect of Water to draw 2 cards upon being Special Summoned. De-Synchro would return any Synchro to the extra deck and Special Summon the materials from the graveyard, therefore using Past and Water for a Synchro would allow a double draw every time De-Synchro is used. Since neither Fortune Lady Water nor De-Synchro have hard Once-Per-Turn clauses, one could repeatedly draw cards in a loop by abusing these effects, drawing into damage dealing Spells and setting up very consistent FTKs. The May 21 2020 List Limited De-Synchro to 1 for these reasons.
  • Cyber Angels immediately took over the ladder as soon as they were released. Though they were Alexis's signature archetype in GX, they were actually released in the Arc-V era and buffed accordingly to account for Power Creep. The result was a hyper-consistent deck with searching and card recycling prowess far surpassing any other deck of the time, easily allowing them to get out and reuse Cyber Angel Dakini, a powerful Ritual Monster with a removal effect extremely hard to play around. In addition, their signature Ritual Spell, Machine Angel Ritual, also protected them from destruction, making them hard to remove by conventional methods. Konami instantly took note of this and Limited Machine Angel Ritual in the November 6 banlist, 1 month and a half after their release in the game, and even then the deck was still effective in the meta, so they received a second nerf in the February 2018 banlist, by Limiting 2 both Machine Angel Ritual and Cyber Angel Dakini, and even then it was meta during the Sylvan format by using alternatives like Gishki Chain, and using the Saffira engine with Hymn of Light for ritual protection, so the last nail in the coffin was Cyber Petit Angel becoming, and the skills Balance and Duel, Standby! being also nerfed after the June 26th, 2018 update, which completely made the deck irrelevant. The deck has since been slightly improved by Petit Angel being put on Limited 1 (which no longer forces players to choose between it, Dakini, and Ritual), and the March 2020 list deemed Petit Angel balanced enough to come off the list. Dakini was eventually freed in the July 2021 list as the power creep of the meta rendered it safe to be played at 3 again.
  • Champion's Vigilance is a Solemn Judgment's clone that has a fair restriction in the TCG; needing to control a mediocre high leveled normal beater is just small fry compared to the many other Judgment clones the game has. However, it has a whole different story on Duel Links; the format's lack of counterplay against counter traps, combined with the addition of many special summon tools (Kaibaman, the aforementioned Three-Star Demotion, Black Dragon's Chick) that allowed players the easy summon of high leveled 7 star monsters, made the card creep its way into many deck builds that loved being able to negate the opponent's power plays. With the right starting hand, CV players would outright prevent the opponent from playing the game, and it was even worse when used in combination with the unnerfed Balance skill and the Red-Eyes deck top-notch consistency. It was Limited in the November 6 banlist for promoting uninteractive and one-sided gameplay.
  • Red-Eyes took the meta by storm when their support card, Red-Eyes Insight was added to the game in May 2017. Thanks to Red-Eyes Spirit, RE decks were able to get a 2400 beater on field at the cost of only 1 card while also improving their consistency to levels never seen before in Duel Links. After enjoying many months in the spotlight as THE dominant tier 1 deck, (with only Cyber Angels invading their home turf in October 2017), Red-Eyes Spirit became the first semi-limited card in the game in the November 6 banlist.
  • With the release of the Broken Bamboo Sword series of Spells, the Woodland Sprite FTK decks became extremely prominent due to their consistency at winning in the very first turn. Not helping things were how common the components were, making it easy for anyone to put together the deck, which allowed you to use Cursed and Broken Bamboo Swords to inflict 1000 damage, then add a Golden Bamboo Sword to your hand with Cursed's effect. This deck was so broken that Konami had to address it just a few weeks after the cards came out, limiting Woodland Sprite in January 24th, 2018 and later announcing the limiting of Golden Bamboo Sword February 5th, 2018.
  • With the release of the minibox "Rampage of the Forest", we saw the debut of Sylvans into the game. At the beginning, the players took for granted that they weren't going to be so influential in the meta, but then it became one of the most meta-defining decks in the story of Duel Links. Their main anchor is Sylvan Komushroomo, which has the effect of excavating up to 5 cards from the deck and if a plant gets excavated, it's sent to the GY, which is a good thing, because most of the plants from this deck activates from being excavated or just being in the GY overall. For example: Sylvan Marshalleaf pops a monster from the field, the aforementioned Komushroomo can destroy 1 card from the backrow, Rose Lover can Special Summon a Plant monster from your hand and it becomes immune to traps for the rest of that turn, and World Carrotweight Champion was able to be Special Summoned from the GY by sending a Plant monster from your hand or field (often being an already used Komushroomo or a Rose Lover). The most insane part is, the deck was cheap to make, due to most of the components coming from that same booster, plus Rose Lover could be acquired from the Card Trader. The result? Most decks had to account for this threat in order to be effective, and after two months of being one of top decks in the metagame, Rose Lover and Sylvan Marshalleaf got semi-limited after the June 26th, 2018 update.
  • Enemy Controller has been a staple since the day of release, allowing to either change the position of a monster or steal a monster for the remainder of the turn by tributing a monster of your own. It was used in pretty much every single meta deck. For example, Amazoness could get free steals by tributing an Amazoness Baby Tiger, and it was often used to steal victories from your opponent. The aforementioned Sylvans also used this card as a tech in order to counter threats like Masked HERO and Cyber Angels. Such examples got Konami aware of this situation, therefore, the card got semi-limited after the June 26th, 2018 update, and since you can only include 2 of any semi-limited card in your deck, this effectively meant that decks with key cards on the semi-limited list were barred from this powerful, otherwise splashable tool. It's also the rare card that got more powerful over time, since meta decks had less room for the backrow cards and Sphere Kuriboh that once kept its control switching effect in check, and Power Creep meant there were more powerful monsters for it to steal and singlehandedly win the game.
  • After the June 26th, 2018 banlist, there was another advent of a largely dominating deck: Fur Hire. Like Sylvans, it is also a cheap deck to make, because most of the components came from a single minibox, "Clash of Wings". Also, like Cyber Angels, it is a deck released in Duel Links, mere months after their OCG / TCG debut in real life (Fur Hire is an archetype released in 2018!), meaning the effects are designed according to the major Power Creep in the real life game, something that hasn't happen yet in Duel Links. As a result, it didn't take too long until Fur Hire became the undisputed best deck after the Sylvan format.
    • Their main player was Beat, Bladesman Fur Hire, which can special summon another Fur Hire card from the hand. Also, if this card is on the field after a Fur Hire monster was special summoned, it allows to search for another Fur Hire monster in the deck, except itself.
    • The first effect was also shared by Donpa, Marksman Fur Hire, Recon, Scout Fur Hire and Seal, Strategist Fur Hire, which also has effects when a monster of the archetype was special summoned; Donpa allowing to destroy a face-up card, Recon allowing to destroy a set card (including set monsters), and Seal allowing to retrieve a Fur Hire from the GY that was either discarded, tributed or destroyed.
    • These monsters can special summon their main bosses: Dyna, Hero Fur Hire and Wiz, Sage Fur Hire. The former allowing to banish cards from your opponent's Graveyard up to the amount of Fur Hire cards with different names on the field, while the latter allowed to recover LP by the amount of other Fur Hire monsters on the field with different names x 500 (which in turn allows the use of cards like Cosmic Cyclone without too much of a cost), but their effects on the field were also insane. Dyna redirects all the attacks to other Fur Hire monsters towards him, and if there are two Dynas on the field, your opponent can't attack any face up Fur Hire monsters, including both Dynas, due to them protecting each other, while Wiz can negate spells and traps once per turn by discarding a Fur Hire monster from the hand.
    • Even if you were able to send one of these to the Graveyard, they could be retrieved with their personal revival card, Mayhem Fur Hire, which also allowed to trigger the effects of the lower level Fur Hire monsters, and being a Quick Spell card, it meant that it also could be activated during your opponent's turn after setting the card on the field.
    • The deck was so versatile and powerful, that it was considered a skill-less deck, and no other deck could hope to compete at the same level as them. Due to this, in order to attempt to stop their rampage, Konami limited Dyna and semi-limited Donpa following the banlist change applied on August 29th, 2018. Then, in October 2018, Konami nerfed the deck again by putting Wiz on semi-limited. As of the July 2021 list, all of the Fur Hires were freed due to power creep.
  • Amazoness was a largely dominating deck that quickly get important monsters on board with the effect of Amazoness Princess and Amazoness Onslaught, and is capable of banishing all of opponent's monsters using Amazoness Onslaught's other effect. As banished monsters are much harder to retrieve, this often means those monsters are dead for good for the rest of the Duel, often preventing the opponent from making further plays. The deck eventually received a nerf by having Amazoness Onslaught and Amazoness Baby Tiger be semi-limited in August 2018, but even that is not enough, and during October 2018, Konami goes further by limiting Amazoness Onslaught, and semi-limiting Amazoness Princess. All of these limits were eventually reversed due to Power Creep and the addition of more removal effects, making Amazoness more manageable.
  • Treacherous Trap Hole is a powerful SR-rarity Trap card from a box, that allows a free destruction of two monsters on the field. This effect often proves to be a massive game changer due to how much it kills opposing player's strategy, making it a must in many decks in the game. However, despite the players' outcry, Konami's usual reluctance to hit box SR and UR cards means this card would always dominates the game. That is, until Konami finally decided to semi-limited Treacherous Trap Hole in October 2018.
  • Masked HERO Anki decks are in the running for most hated deck archetype in the game. The deck uses a Destiny HERO backbone consisting of Drilldark, Decider, and Celestial to quickly swarm the field and draw cards while setting up a Mask Change into the 2800 ATK Anki, allowing them to shred the opponent's LP in record time. To top it off, Mask Change is a Quick-Play spell, meaning that you can use it during the Battle Phase or even in response to an opponent's Trap, and can be searched by Anki whenever he destroys a monster, letting you Mask Change into a second Anki and immediately attack again with it. To top it off, Anki can also ignore the opponent's monsters and attack directly at the cost of halving the battle damage dealt, which sounds balanced on paper, but players found ways around the downside. Activating Forbidden Chalice during the Damage Step allows the direct attack to go through, but removes the halved damage and adds 400 damage on top of that, often killing wounded opponents outright and leaving healthy ones weak enough to be finished by a second Mask Change. Even worse, Rex Raptor's Titan Showdown skill hadnote  an infamous glitch that causes a direct attacking Anki to deal full damage, letting him swing for 5600 damage regardless of field state. The June 26th 2018 and October 29th 2018 lists hit the deck's consistency tools by semi-limiting Destiny HERO - Celestial and limiting Vision HERO Vyon, but the deck is still a strong contender.
    • The deck rose to prominence once again with the introduction of Stratos in a Selection Box and Vision HERO Faris making the deck's strategy even more devastating and consistent, along with the Grit skill almost guaranteeing the HERO deck could survive long enough to unleash the OTK. The May 21, 2020 update placed Vyon on limited 2 (preventing access to the backrow-clearing Hey, Trunade!) as well as placing a summoning restriction onto Grit (detailed in the skills section) to specifically prevent an OTK follow-up.
  • Koa'ki Meiru saw little play in the Duel Links meta, as the Speed Duel format made their maintenance costs much steeper compared to the real-life game and gimped the deck's viability. That is, until they got Diamond Core of Koa'ki Meiru, which not only greatly increased the deck's consistency but also made them much, much easier to maintain. This turned them from a mediocre Glass Cannon deck into an extremely scary one, as all they need to do is keep their monsters around for one turn to beat the opponent into the ground in the next, and playing multiple copies of Koa'ki Meiru Maximus went from an all-or-nothing endeavor into a legitimate threat; if the opponent didn't have an answer, the Maximuses (Maximi?) can then destroy the opponent's field with their effects and then demolish the opponent's LP twice over. Even with just one copy, Maximus can take out one of the opponent's cards and three-quarters of their LP; considering that most Koa'ki Meirus have at least 1900 ATK, it wasn't hard to take care of the rest, and Diamond Core gave them a safety net to let them try again next turn. The March 2019 lists subsequently Limited 1 Koa'ki Meiru Maximus (only letting it back off the leash in September 2022) and set Iron Core of Koa'ki Meiru to Limited 2 to try to curb their dominance, and the July lists hit it again by swapping Iron Core for Diamond Core on the Limited 2 list (which was reversed in December as limiting Diamond Core killed the deck entirely).
  • Cosmic Cyclone is the backrow removal of choice in Duel Links, and was one of the inaugural members of the Limited 3 category to make players choose between it and other staples going forward. For a cost of 1000 LP, Cosmic Cyclone banishes a Spell/Trap on the field, ignoring annoying floating effects and preventing Graveyard effects from being used. The real kicker that makes this card stand out is the cost. You'd think that paying 1000 LP would be much more harmful in a 4000-LP format, but given the number of skills that require you to either lose LP or be below a certain threshold, Cosmic Cyclone more often than not became a skill enabler on top of popping backrow.
  • Darklords, like Fur Hire, had the problem of being adapted to the Power Creep of the real-life game rather than the Duel Links environment. The deck's ability to throw out massive beatsticks while also re-using powerful Spell and Trap effects repeatedly from the Graveyard, including revival, searching, and effect negation on either player's turn made it quite simply absurd to go up against. A Darklord first turn often goes as follows: discarding Ixchel and often Darklord Superbia to draw 2, reviving Superbia with Darklord Contact, and then reviving Ixchel with Superbia, giving you two monsters with 2500+ ATK on your first turn. Or just dropping the 2600 ATK Nasten by discarding two other cards, which often includes a Spell or Trap that Nasten can then activate from the Graveyard, giving you essentially no loss in card advantage. Darklord Contact (their revival card) had to be put to Limited 2 and The Sanctified Darklord (their negation card) to Limited 1 to rein them in, and even then, they were still oppressive enough that the March 2020 lists put Ixchel, their main consistency booster, to Limited 2 as well.
    • In early 2021, Darklords took center stage once again with the introduction of the Star Seraph cards. Adding Scepter and Sovereignty into the deck enabled what has been termed the "Stick and Chair Combo", using the effects of these two cards in tandem to draw two cards upon summoning the Sovreignties and Scepter, then pull out a 3-material Xyz monster to trigger the other effect of Scepter, destroying another card on the field (owned by you or your opponent) and getting a third draw on top of that. These additions more than made up for the loss of consistency from the limiting of Ixchel, allowing Star Seraph Darklord decks to immediately catapult to the top of the meta, with its only counter being the equally dominant but more popular Blue-Eyes. It seems Konami has finally had enough of Darklords being so consistently dominant, as the May 2021 list sent Sovereignty and The Sanctified Darklord to Limited 2. While the Stick & Chair combo was prominent in other rogue decks besides Darklords, the Limiting of Sanctified to 2 has effectively crippled the entire engine, killing Darklords for good.
  • Shiranui immediately became a favored deck in Duel Links, both for being budget-friendlynote  and for being incredibly consistent and powerful while maintaining high versatility, so much so that the main cards each require a separate examination.
    • The deck revolves around its main tuner Spectralsword, whose ability allows it to banish itself and another zombie to Special Summon a Zombie-Type Synchro of their combined levels from the Extra Deck. This effect bypasses the strict requirementsnote  of Archfiend Zombie-Skull and Revived King Ha Des, giving Shiranui easy access to destruction protection and anti-floater utility. Spectralsword was placed on the Limited 2 List in March 2020, preventing Shiranui decks from using other Limited 2 cards like Enemy Controller.
    • Shiranui Squire is the other half of the deck's core. Upon Normal Summon she can summon a Spectralsword or Shade from the deck, instantly setting up a Synchro Summon. And with the aforementioned graveyard effect of Spectralsword, doing this also sets up a follow-up Synchro on the following turn. Squire was placed on the Limited 3 List on May 21 2020, preventing Shiranui decks from accessing other powerful staples like Cosmic Cyclone and Gold Sarcophagus.
    • Shiranui Solitaire can tribute itself or another zombie to summon a Tuner with 0 DEF from the deck, setting up Spectralsword plays and also clearing out monsters hit by Floodgate Trap Hole. Additionally, when banished its effect allows a player to Special Summon a different banished Shiranui monster, allowing retrieval of spent Spectralswords and extending Synchro-climbing plays even further.
    • The archetype Synchro monsters all have utility on their own, but the truly monstrous Shiranui Sunsaga deserves special attention. It has a massive 3500 ATK, and upon summon recycles Zombie-Type Synchro monsters back into the extra deck and destroys an opposing card for each one. Furthermore, it has an effect to protect itself or any other Zombie monster from destruction by banishing Shiranui monsters from the graveyard, in turn triggering the banished monsters' effects. To put a cherry on top, the intimidating Level 10 Synchro requirement can easily be circumvented by using the Level Augmentation skill, allowing one to summon Sunsaga on the first turn off of a Squire-to-Spectralsword play.
    • The deck's first big splash was due to interactions with Burgeoning Whirlflame and That Grass Looks Greener, allowing mass-triggering of the Shiranui banish effects and instant graveyard setup, resulting in the Limiting of TGLG and Spectralsword. Even with that however, Shiranui's relatively small number of core cards allowed the deck to include whatever backrow and/or hand traps one desired, without affecting consistency. This versatility kept Shiranui a top contender in the meta, leading to Squire being placed on the Limited 3 List on May 21, 2020. The July 21 2020 List reversed the limits by placing Squire on Limited 2 and Spectralsword on Limited 3, recognizing Squire's 1-card Synchro setup to be the more dangerous of the two.
    • The December 15 2020 banlist saw Konami unload a full salvo against Shiranui, placing Sunsaga, Spiritmaster, and Solitaire on limited 2 along with Squire, shattering the deck's core to pieces and ensuring that major sacrifices to consistency and/or power would be taken no matter how the deck was built. It would take almost two years (in September 2022) for Konami to finally loosen the stranglehold on Shiranui by moving Spiritmaster to Limited 3 and unlimiting Spectralsword.
  • Dark Magicians have always been a popular deck on Duel Links, but they truly reached the height of their power with the release of Dark Magical Circle in Future Horizon, which, in addition to scrying your top 3 cards for a Dark Magician card, will banish one card on your opponent's field when a Dark Magician is summoned, once per turn. This effect changed Magician Navigation from a simple swarming card to a way to disrupt opposing plays by banishing their key cards and/or boss monsters right after they are played, in addition to being able to negate an opposing Spell/Trap on future turns by banishing itself, nixing almost any attempt at a comeback play. Combined with Magician's Rod searching out the key cards, a Dark Magician deck that could set up a Circle and Navigation on the first turn was usually guaranteed a victory regardless of the opponent. The May 11, 2020 lists slapped the deck on the wrist by putting Magician of Dark Illusion (a card the deck usually played only one of anyway) on Limited 2, and the deck's continued dominance led to their consistency card Rod being placed on Limited 2 instead in the July 21 List.
    • In order to promote deck diversity, Konami's December 15 2020 banlist heavily struck Dark Magician Decks, placing Dark Illusion on Limited 2 again while sending Rod and Magician Navigation to Limited 3. This move cuts the deck off from all banlist staples, as well as greatly hitting consistency/disruption by limiting the ability to use multiple Magician Navigation, which in conjunction with Circle was the deck's main power play.
  • Gold Sarcophagus banishes one card from your deck face-up and adds it to your hand in 2 turns. In a scenario mirroring the circumstances of the card's Limiting in the TCG, Gold Sarcophagus ended up being a major consistency booster for Thunder Dragon (and to a lesser extent Shiranui) decks, leading to it being placed on the Limited 3 List along with Thunder Dragondark and Shiranui Squire, the main play-enabling/consistency cards for both of these decks. The card was later placed on Limited 2 in the October 2020 banlist, becoming the first non-Free-To-Playnote  UR (one from a Structure Deck only purchasable with real money, at that) to be placed at less than 3.
  • Type Zero Magic Crusher became this thanks to the Witchcrafters recycling of Spell Cards. By discarding a Spell card, you can inflict 500 damage to your opponent an unlimited number of times per turn. It became Limited 1 on the July 21 Lists.
  • Neos Fusion is on the Limited 2 list for good reasons. Players would use this card to dump any LV 4 or lower Effect monster from the deck and summon Elemental HERO Brave Neos with a high ATK boosting effect, usually as high as 3000, then use Give and Take to bring Ra's Disicple (which forbids Special Summoning and cannot be tributed except to summon an Egyptian God) to screw their opponents or dump Lunalight Crimson Fox to change your opponent's monster's ATK to 0,which made it risky to summon a monster in ATK position. Worse, Neos Fusion can be easily searched by Keeper of Dragon Magic. Thus Lunalight Crimson Fox became Limited 2, and Give and Take became Limited 1.
    • The later meta dominance of Invoked Neos decks prompted Konami to put not just Invoked Neos, but Neos Fusion decks in general to bed by placing Keeper of Dragon Magic, the best fusion spell searcher in the game and a staple of any Neos Fusion build, to Limted 2 on the October 14 2020 banlist, effectively divorcing Neos Fusion decks from their key consistency card.
    • Due to the meta having mostly phased it out by that point, Konami decided to allow the engine to re-emerge in a less powerful but still functional state by moving both Neos Fusion and Keeper of Dragon Magic to Limited 3. This allows at least 2 Neos Fusion and 1 Keeper to be used in decks that are compatible with it. However, this comes at the cost of Elemental HERO Brave Neos becoming Limited 2 to avoid abuse with all the powerful cards on the Limited 2 list.
  • Cyber Dragons, initially just a fun deck, got a huge boost in competitive viability with the Future Horizon Box, which introduced some incredible support cards, which will be detailed below,
    • Cyber Dragon Core is basically a Magician's Rod for the deck, as upon Normal Summon it searches a Cyber Spell/Trap from the deck, providing great consistency. In addition, it can banish itself from the graveyard to summon any of the archetype's monsters from the deck if your field is empty.
    • Cyberload Fusion is a powerful fusion spell that can Fusion Summon a Cyber Dragon Fusion using monsters from the field or the banished pile. This allows easy recycling of Cyber Dragons and makes opposing effects that banish your monsters more of a help than a hindrance. In addition, Cyberload is a Quick-Play spell, meaning it can be used on the opposing turn to stop attacks/dodge targeting effects, or during your Battle Phase to get an extra attack. Because of the card's sheer versatility, and in order to cut down on Cyber Dragons' extreme power and consistency for several months following the March 2021 banlist, the card was limited to 2 in the October 2021 banlist.
    • Cybernetic Overflow is a beastly trap card for the archetype. You can banish (original)Cyber Dragons with differing levels from your hand, field, or graveyard to destroy an equal number of cards the opponent controls. This effect does not target, getting around targeting protection, and most of the Main Deck Cyber Dragons have effects that treat their name as that of the original while on the field and/or in the grave, easing the name condition. This combines well with the above-mentioned Cyberload Fusion, allowing Cyber Dragon decks to blow away the opponent's field and then use Cyberload to recycle the banished monsters into the deck while pulling out a big Fusion monster. In addition, if Overflow is destroyed by a card effect, you can search your deck for a Cyber Spell/Trap, including another Overflow. This card was sent to Limited 2 on the July 21, 2020 List, blocking access to cards like Concentrating Current and Enemy Controller.
    • Chimeratech Rampage Dragon is the archetype's newest fusion monster, and it brings a lot to the table. First, its material requirement is "2+ Cyber Dragon Monsters", whereas every other Cyber Dragon fusion requires at least one of the original Cyber Dragon. This makes it far easier to summon with Cyberload Fusion, since banished Cyber Dragons are not treated as the original by their effects. As for its actual effects, upon summon Rampage Dragon will destroy Spell/Traps on the field up to the number of materials used to summon it, meaning a minimum of two backrow pops using the minimum number of materials. The second effect is even more nutty, sending up to two LIGHT Machine monsters from the deck to the graveyard (helping set up either an Overflow or another fusion) to give Rampage Dragon one extra attack for each one sent. With a clear field (i.e. just cleared by a Cybernetic Overflow), this can mean three direct attacks in a row, allowing an instant win unless the opponent has handtraps like Kiteroid.
    • Cybernetic Fusion Support has been one of the core Spells of Cyber Dragon decks. Unfortunately, it became very powerful very fast in the meta that followed the March 2021 banlist by guaranteeing Cyber Dragon players a free Cyber Style skill activation as well as both field advantage and a free fusion summon, usually in conjunction with Fusion Gate and for the aforementioned Chimeratech Rampage Dragon, depending on the situation. Due to the consistency and powerful OTK potential of Cyber Dragons, it was Limited to 2 as of the May 2021 banlist. Then, in March 2021 the card was taken off the Limited list, as Cyber Style had long been nerfed by that point and a new skill, Cyber Style Evolution, had taken its place. This allows once again for the Fusion Gate combo to work without potentially resulting in instant death with the newer build of the deck.
  • Charge of the Light Brigade, in the wake of That Grass Looks Greener being Limited, instantly became a staple in any deck that could benefit from sending large numbers of cards to the graveyard, such as Thunder Dragon, Shiranui, and more recently Witchcrafters. In addition to the mill, using Lumina and Raiden as the Lightsworn search targets of choice could give any deck a free Level 7 Synchro engine, giving access to powerful options like Fortune Lady Every, Black Rose Dragon, Samurai Destroyer and many others. The card was initially placed on the limited 3 list in May 2020, but continued abuse in mill/graveyard-centric decks led to the card being placed on the Limited 2 list for the October 2020 banlist update, preventing these decks from accessing any other Limited 2 cards.
  • Star Blast, released as a possible reward from the August 2020 Tag Duel Tournament event, quickly became one of the most abusable cards in the game. The card can reduce the level of a monster on your field or in your hand by any number as long as you pay 500 LP per level reduced. This seems like a one shot deal... until one considers the existence of skills. Being able to selectively reduce LP by massive amounts with one card changed skills like Ojama Overflow and Access Denied from Awesome, but Impractical to near guaranteed victories usable on the first turn. Due to this, Star Blast was placed on Limited 1 on the October 14 2020 banlist.
  • Witchcrafters immediately became a force to be reckoned with upon release, the primary reason being their boss monster, Madame Verre. With a massive 2800 DEF and being very easily summoned by the effects of the smaller Witchcrafters, Verre is already formidable in terms of stats, but her true monstrosity is in her two very powerful effects that make her the core of the deck's offense and defense.
    • Verre's first effect can, by discarding a spell, negate the effects of all face-up monsters the opponent controls once per turn. This effect could stop any attempt a play dead in its tracks, and is a Quick Effect (making it usable on the opponent's turn, as well as a response to another effect activation). With most decks becoming more reliant on the abilities of their monsters than spell/trap cards, Verre is a silver bullet that can shoot almost any strategy dead.
    • Verre's second effect is just as crazy. Before Damage Calculation, when a spellcaster-type monster you control (including herself) battles, you can reveal any number of different spell cards in your hand to give that spellcaster 1000 ATK & DEF per card. With enough spells in hand it can can make any attempt to attack her suicidal, as well as allow for very powerful offensive pushes/OTK's.
    • With the Witchcrafter spells being able to add themselves from the graveyard to the hand after being discarded every turn (assuming their effects were not activated prior during the turn), Verre would nearly always have fuel for her effects. In addition, the Witchcrafter deck went very well with the Lightsworn engine, employing Charge of the Light Brigade to mill out spells to be added to the hand as well as set up the graveyard effects of the other monsters, whilst giving the deck access to Synchros to boot. All of this put together allowed Witchcrafters to outgrind almost any deck while being able to finish the game in one blow once they gathered enough resources. Witchcrafters proved oppressive enough that Konami actually put out an emergency banlist on them, putting Holiday to 3 on August 20 2020 to limit access to Charge of the Light Brigade. The October 2020 banlist went even further, placing Holiday and Charge on Limited 2, cutting off the deck from Limited 2 Staples like Enemy Controller or Machine Angel Ritualnote  that were popular choices for the deck, in tandem with nerfing Show of Nightmares, the archetype's favorite Skill.
  • Aleister the Invoker and his associated Invoked cards are some of the most infamous and longstanding Game-Breaker cards in Duel Links, primarily due it and the Invocation spell being Box UR's, which for many translated to "immune to the banlist". The enginenote  works by fusing Aleister with a monster of a specific attribute to create the Invoked Fusion Monsters. Decks making use of the Invoked Engine dominated the November 2019 KC Cup, and from there continued to be a strong contender in the meta well into 2020. The different parts of the engine, and the more visible decks that used it, will be examined below.
    • Aleister himself, when Normal Summoned or flipped, can add a copy of Invocation from the deck to the hand. In addition, when in the hand, Aleister can be discarded to increase the ATK/DEF of any Fusion Monster you control by 1000 for a turn during either player's turn, making the archetype fusions even more difficult to deal with.
    • Invocation can fuse monsters from the hand for any fusion, but if summoning an Invoked monster, you can banish materials from your field or either player's graveyard for the fusion. If the opponent has monsters of the correct attributes in the grave, Invocation can remove their graveyard resources while enabling the Invoked player to save resources. Furthermore, when Invocation is in the graveyard, it can shuffle itself back into the deck to add a banished Aleister back to the player's hand, which can be either discarded to boost a fusion or summoned on the next turn to search Invocation all over again, effectively setting up a recursion loop.
    • Invoked Cocytus: See Banned Cards.
    • Invoked Purgatrio, the FIRE Invoked Fusion, is an incredibly powerful attacker. It starts with an unimpressive 2300 ATK, but gains 200 ATK for every card the opponent controls, in addition to the potential to be boosted by Aleister's effect. Purgatrio's own effects are even more devastating, as it can attack every monster the opponent controls once, and inflicts piercing battle damage, meaning that if the opponent controls more than one monster Purgatrio can inflict high and potentially lethal damage by destroying each monster in turn.
    • The Invoked Elementsabers variant combined the Elementsabers, whose effects can change their attributes while in the graveyard with the Invoked cards to create devastating combos, while using skills like Sorcery Conduit and Destiny Draw to increase consistency even more.
      • Their Field Spell Palace of the Elemental Lords can search an Elementsaber from the deck at the cost of skipping the next turn's Battle Phase, enables Elementsabers to discard cards from the deck instead of the hand to activate their effects, and boosts the ATK/DEF of all monsters you control by 200 for each different attribute among the monsters in your graveyard.
      • Elementsaber Molehu can flip any monster on the field face down by discarding an Elementsaber, during either player's turn. Backed up with Palace, Molehu could singlehandedly stall out an opponent by flipping down vital monsters and sabotaging Synchro attempts, while dumping monsters from the deck to the graveyard to fuel the Invoked Fusion engine.
      • With the above cards and support from the Invoked engine, the deck had the resources to dismantle any opposition while still having room to run powerful tech cards. Attempts to curb the deck were made, via Limiting Cocytus and Semi-Limiting Magellanica, but the later release of Purgatrio more than compensated. As a result, the March 2020 lists put Palace of the Elemental Lords and Cosmic Cyclone on the Limited 3 list, forcing the deck to choose between maxing consistency with the Field Spell and being able to use the meta's premier anti-backrow/skill enabling card, in addition to a nerf to Sorcery Conduit. The May 21 2020 Lists hit the deck again by Limiting Malo to 1 as well, forcing a choice between it and Cocytus and reducing the consistency/speed of summoning Invoked Purgatrionote . Malo would later be sent back to 3 on the October 2020 banlist.
    • Invoked Neos decks, reemerging in the wake of banlist nerfs to the Elementsaber variant, were based on a new strategy that took advantage of the synergies between Aleister, Neos Fusion, Volcanic Shell, and the Switcheroo Skill. Volcanic Shell is FIRE-attribute, making it a potential material for Purgatrio, as well as Level 1, fitting the material requirement for Brave Neos. Furthermore, while it is in the graveyard, its effect allows you to pay 500 LP to add another copy of it from your deck to the hand, once per turn. The primary objective is to send Shell from the deck/hand to the graveyard with Neos Fusion or Keeper of Dragon Magic, then use the effect of Shell to pay 500 LP to add another copy from the deck to the hand. Assuming you didn't draw your third Shell on the next turn, one could then pay another 500 LP to add the third Shell, fulfilling the activation requirement for Switcheroo, and by choosing to send a Volcanic Shell back into the deck for the skill, the effect could be used all over again, turning Switcheroo into free draws. Further, Volcanic Shell's recursion abilities made it ideal fodder for powerful removal cards like Divine Wrath and Karma Cut that required a discard for the cost.
    • On account of his extremely longstanding competitive viability, Konami finally put Aleister on a leash by putting the card to Limited 3 in the October 2020 banlist. This inhibits Aleister from being used in Elementsabers (Due to their field spell also being on Limited 3), or any deck that wants to use Cosmic Cyclone. The December 15 2020 banlist went the full nine yards by banning Cocytus and placing Invocation on Limited 3 along with Aleister, severely limiting the consistency of any strategy using the Invoked Engine.
  • Blackwings have long been a powerful OTK deck in the Duel Links Meta, for many of the same reasons the deck was so powerful in the TCG/OCG. Using Simoon to pull out a Black Whirlwind and pull off a double search with the extra normal summon, it was trivially easy for the deck to pull off multiple synchros in one turn, then using Raikirito blast away the opponent's field before swinging for game, with very little most decks could do to stop it outside of hand traps like Kiteroid or Sphere Kuriboh that Raikiri could not destroy.
    • Additionally, the deck had access to a very powerful Counter Trap in Blackbird Close, which, by tributing a Blackwing, negates and destroys an opposing Effect Monster. In addition to that, Blackbird Close can be activated from the hand if the owner controls a Blackwing Synchro Monster, and it special summons a Black-Winged Dragon from the Extra Deck if the player owns one, effectively refunding its own cost. This one card became the primary blowout card for Blackwings if they had to go first, and being usable from the hand gave a hefty dose of Paranoia Fuel to the opponent if the Blackwing player had any cards in hand at the end of their turn.
    • Raikiri was placed on Limited 2 to curb the deck, but this simply prompted the deck to play 1 copy alongside one other Limited 2 card (usually Hey, Trunade! to remove backrow). A more consequential limit was adding Oroshi to limited 2 on the March 2020 banlist, which reduced the consistency of making Level 7 Assault Blackwing synchrosnote , but the deck remained very powerful. The October 2020 banlist finally placed Blackbird Close on the Limited 2 List as well, forcing Blackwing decks to drop at least 1 core card no matter which choice they make.

  • Crystrons are one of the most upfront expensive decks in Duel Links, requiring multiple SR and UR cards across multiple boxes just to gather the core cards, to say nothing of the off-theme Synchros and staple cards. However, if one was willing to make the investment, the result was a deck that few others could stand up to.
    • The three tuners from the archetype all have effects based on the "Accel Synchro" concept introduced in the 5Ds anime. At any point during the opponent's Main or Battle Phase, the tuners can Special Summon a non-Tuner from a specific locationnote  and from there immediately Synchro summon a Machine-Type monster. More often than not this was used to summon either Ametrix to switch Special Summoned monsters to Defense, or Powered Inzektron to stop Normal Summoned monsters and/or effect damage. Either way, the result was often the complete thwarting of any attempted offense from the opponent, while the Crystron player would be free to retaliate on the following turn.
    • The Deck's non-Tuners are also key pieces of the strategy. Sulfenir, the decks main UR, can summon itself from the hand or grave with a discard, and from there destroy itself (or another card on its owners field) to trigger its second effect, summoning any Crystron from the deck. The other four Crystron Main Deck Monsters could all summon a tuner from the deck by destroying one face-up card on the field (including themselves), in addition to having effects that activate by banishing themselves from the Graveyard to search the deck for more cards and/or regain hand advantage. Due to the tuners being able to fetch banished/graveyard non-Tuners for their Accel Synchro effects, this gave Crystron decks the ability to set up a Synchro combo no matter which monsters they draw on the opening hand.
    • Crystron Impact is a very important trap card for the deck. Firstly, it summons any banished Crystron monster, but it also reduced the DEF of any face-up monsters the opponent controls to 0. This effect makes any monsters affected by Crystron Ametrix easy prey, and due to being non-targetting, was one of the few card effects that could deal with Invoked Cocytus. Finally, Crystron Impact can be banished from the graveyard to negate a non-Continuous card effect targeting a Crystron monster.
    • The deck's ability to integrate off-theme support was also very powerful. Scrap Recycler can send any Machine from the deck to the graveyard, instantly fueling combos. Genex Undine could send any WATER attribute monster from the deck to the graveyardnote  to add a Genex Controller to the hand, providing access to another Tuner for plays. Being all WATER attribute, Crystrons were also able to make use of Sea Stealth Attack, in tandem with Mako Tsunami's Mythic Depths skill to begin the duel with Umi activated, to destroy any opposing monster that battles a Crystron Synchro, increasing the deck's defensive capability even further. Sea Stealth Attack also gave the deck access to Citadel Whale, which could protect any WATER monster from targeting effects and whose summoning condition of tributing two WATER monsters was highly synergistic with the Crystron monsters' effects.
    • Over the course of 2020, Crystron decks accumulated banlist hits in attempts to weaken the deck. Rion was placed on Limited 2 on the May 2020 List to prevent the deck from accessing other Limited 2 Staples. Crystron Impact followed it onto Limited 2 on the July 2020 list, thus limiting both of its methods to retrieve banished monsters, as well as its in-archetype defensive plays. The December 15 2020 list turned the dogs loose on the deck, placing Scrap Recycler, Citree, and Genex Controller on Limited. This meant a grand total of 5 Crystron cards on Limited 2, crippling many of its plays.
  • Ms. Judge and Head Judging were two of the most recent additions to Desperado decks and were widely hated for much the same reason. Ms. Judge can, once per turn, attempt to negate an opposing effect activation by getting Heads on two coin tosses, which could be guaranteed to work via the guaranteed Heads of Master of Destiny. Head Judging was even worse, allowing you to, once per turn, make a player toss a coin and call it if they activated a monster effect. If the call is right, Head Judging is sent to the graveyard, but if it is wrong, the effect is negated, and control of the monster in question is switched. While called coin tosses are not affected by Master of Destiny, being able to potentially negate an opponent's effects and steal their monsters was a major headache for many players, even more so because it was tied to a luck based effect, allowing some very sacky wins out of nowhere. The March 2021 list put both of these cards on Limited 2 along with Cup of Ace, making it even harder for Desperado decks to meet the requirements for Master of Destiny without adding in subpar cards.
  • Azure-Eyes Silver Dragon has been a staple in Blue-Eyes decks for a very long time, but after hand consistency skills were nerfed in March of 2021 Blue-Eyes quickly became one of the most common and hated archetypes on the ladder. Azure-Eyes is one of the deck's two Synchro boss monsters, the other being Blue-Eyes Spirit Dragon. When used in conjunction with each other, they provided extremely oppressive coverage that severely restricted counterplay to Blue-Eyes, giving the deck positive or even matchups with virtually every other top tier archetype, while destroying or outright crippling rogue archetypes which had already been hit by consistency nerfs beforehand. For context, Blue-Eyes Spirit Dragon not only acts as a wall with 3000 DEF, but it prevents both players from Special Summoning 2 or more monsters simultaneously and can negate effects that activate in the Graveyard once per turn. Its secondary effect allows it to tribute itself in order to instantly summon a Light-attribute Dragon monster from the Extra Deck, but it is destroyed during the End Phase after the effect's activation. This is where Azure-Eyes comes in. The instant Azure-Eyes hits the field via Special Summon, all Dragons on the user's side of the field instantly become immune to targeting and destruction effects until the end of the next turn after the effect was activated, negating Blue-Eyes Spirit Dragon's condition completely and bringing in another 3000 DEF wall that can also Special Summon a Normal Monster from the Graveyard during each of its user's Standby Phases. This means it can either bring back a Blue-Eyes White Dragon or worse, a Dragon Spirit of White which is always a Normal Monster when in the Hand or Graveyard and banishes an opponent's backrow every time it's Normal or Special Summoned. Because of this effectively slowing down the pace of the game and stacking the odds in Blue-Eyes' favor, Azure was limited to 1 in the May 2021 banlist. Eventually, Azure-Eyes was freed in the VRAINS World Launch banlist, as usage of Blue-Eyes decks had fallen off significantly during KCGT 2022 and the September 2022 KC Cup.
    • The Melody of Awakening Dragon, a card commonly seen in Blue-Eyes and Thunder Dragons, is pure consistent draw power. By discarding one card, you instantly get up to two free Dragon monsters of your choice with 3000 or more ATK and 2500 or less DEF. This is often used to instantly get a Blue-Eyes Alternative White Dragon onto the field (which could destroy an enemy monster for free and then be used as Synchro material), two Blue-Eyes White Dragons if you already had it in your hand, or 2 Chaos Dragon Levianeers. Not only that, it also works in conjunction with Ultimate Dragons, an early unlock skill for the Dark Side of Dimensions version of Seto Kaiba that adds Blue-Eyes Ultimate Dragon, Blue-Eyes Twin Burst Dragon, and Neo Blue-Eyes Ultimate Dragon to your extra deck and allows the player to reveal 2 BEWDs in their hand after the 3rd turn to add a Polymerization from outside of the deck. In the case of Thunder Dragons, this card is an instant game-changer, as Levianeer has an effect that can instantly destroy 2 cards on the field without targeting when both Light and Dark monsters are banished to bring it out. Not to mention, you can chain the effects of your banished Thunder Dragons in order to stop the opponent from negating Levianeer's effect. You can also choose to NOT activate Levianeer's effect, meaning it is then allowed to attack, usually for game. In conjunction with the nerf to Azure-Eyes, Melody was also limited to 1 in the May 2021 banlist, forcing Blue-Eyes to have to choose between protection and draw power. Tellingly, in Unlimited competitive formats, it's been shown that Melody alone is enough to push Blue-Eyes into borderline Tier 0 territory, proving to be more than a match for several extremely powerful and broken decks when they are at full power. Melody eventually had its limitations partially lifted, now Limited to 3 as of the VRAINS World Launch banlist. This allows the card to be used in Blue-Eyes decks, but also nerfs its usage in Thunder Dragons.
  • Gagaga Sister is one of the cornerstones of Onomat decks, allowing for strong power plays at any given opportunity. It adds an Onomat-related Spell or Trap upon being summoned, and can then be used in conjunction with other Onomat monsters that can usually be special summoned, such as Zubababancho Gagagacoat, Dododo Buster, and Dodododwarf Gogogoglove to pump out Xyz summons. It ended up Limited to 2 in the May 2021 banlist. Why? Because Onomats, like so many other decks that have also been hit beforehand with sudden limitations on key cards, were abusing Hey, Trunade! to open people up for OTKs. This, combined with the insane ability to create consistency with the deck's signature skill Onomatoplay, caused Sister to be limited and the skill to be nerfed (see the skill section above for more info). It was eventually taken off the limited list in December 2021, but only because Onomats were effectively dead in terms of competitive viability due to the Onomatoplay nerf.
    • Gagaga Head is another core Onomat card that allows for huge comeback potential as well as strong opening plays. Not only can it be Normal Summoned with a reduced Level (from 6 to 4) if the opponent controls a monster while the player does not, but when Normal Summoned it can instantly Special Summon 2 other Gagaga monsters from the Graveyard. You may not be able to perform Extra Deck summons other than Xyz Summons afterward but it doesn't matter considering Onomats are built around that summoning type, and the player gets to draw a card when an Xyz Summon is performed using Gagaga Head as the material. Already a strong card in its own right, it became extremely powerful when Inzektor Exa-Beetle, a common Insect-Type Rank 6 Xyz Monster with generic material requirements, was added into the game. Players quickly realized that Exa-Beetle could be used as material for the once Awesome, but Impractical Digital Bug Rhinosebus, instantly making Onomats Tier 0 in the process. In fact, builds with Rhinosebus became so prominent that a new build of the deck ended up created to counter it: Control Onomats, which eschews the traditional Utopic Onomatopoeia engine in favor or only having 3 staple monsters: 2 Gagaga Sisters, 3 Zubababancho Gagagacoats, and 3 Gagaga Heads in conjunction with staple spells and traps such as Fiendish Chain to stop opponents from attacking and using their effects. This particular build of the deck was featured prominently in KCGT 2021 Top 128, and proved so effective that Konami decided an emergency nerf was necessary, limiting Gagaga Head to 2.
  • Storm is a pretty simple card: destroy all your own Spells or Traps in order to get rid of as many on your opponent's side of the field. Formerly a niche card used in decks like Noble Knights and Dragunity, it became a problem when Cyber Dragons went back to top tier, as they could be combined with Cybernetic Overflow and a new unintentional tech card to the deck: Abyss-Scorn, a Trap used in Mermail decks which sends an opponent's monster to the Graveyard when it is destroyed, giving Cyber Dragons even more opportunities to OTK. Because of this devastating synergy, Storm was Limited to 1 in the May 2021 banlist.
  • Lunalights quickly became in high demand after the March 2021 banlist hit, as they were one of the few decks that could counter Blue-Eyes and stand up to other powerful decks at that time, while also boasting strong OTK potential themselves. Despite their lack of tournament results, they remained popular on the ladder, leading them to became very common alongside Blue-Eyes in their attempts to counter them, making them hated just as much as Blue-Eyes. Perhaps the biggest reason the deck became a problem is its synergy with Destiny Draw and the already-limited Battlin' Boxer Veil. As Destiny Draw activates when you lose 2000 life points, NOT when your life points are at 2000 or lower, it was possible for players to purposefully take a hit, use Veil's effect to summon it and regain the life points they just lost, then activate Destiny Draw to complete the necessary combo in order to get Sabre Dancer or Cat Dancer on the field to attack for game. In preparation for the imminent arrival of of Fire Formation - Tenki (a staple card in Beast-Warrior related decks), as well as in an attempt to cut down on the usage of Veil, Lunalight Yellow Marten and Lunalight Emerald Bird ended up Limited to 3.
  • Digital Bug Rhinosebus is a walking Spell Speed 2 Smashing Ground on a beatstick that deals piercing damage and can be Xyz Summoned through detaching Xyz materials from a Rank 5 or 6 Xyz Insect-type monster (such as Inzektor Exa-Beetle) and then using that monster as the material for the card. This single card, when used in conjunction with Onomats, instantly put them at Tier 0 and became pretty much the core focus of the meta that followed the Hey, Trunade! ban. If you didn't have a reliable counter to Rhinosebus, like a Forbidden Chalice or Book of Moon, you either already lost or were put at an extreme disavantage that was nigh-impossible to overcome. And to make matters worse, decks that could run the card could also run those same cards meant to counter it as protection, in addition to the likes of Forbidden Lance. Due to its prominent usage in KCGT Top 128, it received an emergency nerf, being limited to 2.
  • Elegant Egotist is one of the signature Spell Cards of Harpie decks, allowing the player to Special Summon any monster whose name is treated as "Harpie Lady" or "Harpie Lady Sisters" from their hand or deck if they control any monster with the aforementioned names. It ended up limited to 2 in the October 2021 banlist because Harpies were abusing Treacherous Trap Hole.
    • Swallow's Nest, another staple Harpie card, ended up in the same boat as Elegant Egotist in December 2021's banlist, being limited to 2 for multiple reasons. It's a Quick-Play Spell that effectively allows Harpies to dodge anything that isn't a Counter Trap, allowing them to effectively bait out backrow and then continue destroying even more backrow because of Harpie's Hunting Ground, while also allowing them to OTK. The previous nerf to Egotist also did not stop Harpies from abusing Treacherous Trap Hole, as they simply ran 1 Egotist and 1 TTH while still being able to have unparalleled control over any and all situations. This resulted in the deck being the most popular deck in the November 2021 KC Cup, and the rest was history.
  • Aloof Lupine is an extremely versatile monster used in decks that make heavy use of the banishing mechanic. Not only can it banish a card from the player's hand to banish another from their deck, but it's also a floater that when destroyed adds any card currently in the player's banished pile to their hand. This ended up making it an easy mainstay in Thunder Dragon decks, which rely heavily on floaters and utilizing banishment effects in order to gain massive card advantage. Despite their chances to brick, Thunder Dragons have proven to be one of the most versatile decks in the game, with the ability to negate, potentially wipe the field, thin their own deck immensely, and utilize hand traps to stall the game out and activate skills like Destiny Draw and Allured by Darkness for further consistency. In order to cut back on their power, as it became apparent they were the only consistent counter to the top deck at the time (Onomats), Aloof Lupine was limited to 2.
  • Floodgate Trap Hole has cemented its place as one of the most hated cards in Duel Links, and it's easy to see why. The instant a monster(s) is summoned, this card effectively locks them permanently into Defense position, rendering that monster card column useless unless the opponent can tribute the Floodgated monster(s) away. Notice how its effect mentions "monster(s)", as in plural. That means it can affect multiple monsters when they are summoned at the same time. In a game with only 3 monster card slots, this means that players can very easily be locked out of their ability to play the game off of a single card activation, especially if the deck they play doesn't have any Tribute Summonable monsters, forcing a surrender. The card was finally placed on Limited 3 in October 2021 to promote Pendulums, because it single-handedly counters Pendulum Summoning and can also be used in conjunction with Cosmic Cyclone, another counter to Pendulums.
  • Performapal Call is a staple Trap for Performapals that allows the user to negate a direct attack and then add up to 2 Performapal monsters to their hand whose total DEF is less than or equal to the ATK of the monster that attempted to attack. Initially, this card was a necessity for Performapals as they lacked support when they were released, but the launch of the Arc-V world introduced many of the more iconic and core cards from the archetype, with more support planned for the future. In order to prevent possible the abuse of this card, as it's essentially their version of Counter Gate (a popular stall card), it was limited to 1 in the October 2021 banlist.
  • Nekroz of Valkyrus is a staple Nekroz card that functions as both a hand trap and a draw engine. If you have any Nekroz cards in the Graveyard, you can banish one of them while discarding Valkyrus itself to negate an opponent's attack AND force an end to the opponent's Battle Phase. In addition, if it's summoned it can tribute up to 2 monsters from the hand or on the field to draw the number of cards tributed. Much like Performapal Call, Valkyrus ended up limited to 1 because of the Chaotic Soldiers box adding key support for Nekroz, such as the infamous Shurit, Strategist of the Nekroz, who has a history of being banned repeatedly in TCG/OCG.
  • Chaos Dragon Levianeer. Say hello to one of the most infamous and hated boss monsters in all of Duel Links, thanks to its copious use in Thunder Dragon decks. In conjunction with the deck's ability to constantly fill their Graveyard with monsters that allow it to be summoned, and the multiple skills that allow it to easily be accessed such as Destiny Draw and Allured By Darkness through stalling strategies, Levianeer has established a reputation for singlehandedly winning games by itself. The most common effect used in conjunction with it is when both Light and Dark element monsters are banished, allowing it to destroy up to 2 cards on the field without targeting. And if you think you can simply just activate something that can negate its destruction effect, you're wrong. If it banishes Thunder Dragons to summon itself, their effects trigger first, effectively chain blocking you and rendering you unable to prevent your field from getting wiped. Even after that, Levianeer can then be used as Xyz material along with Thunder Dragonduo to create something like a Hieratic Sun Dragon Overlord of Heliopolis for even more non-targeting destruction. In order to cut back on the card and the deck's sackiness as a whole, it was limited to 3 in the December 2021 banlist along with Thunder Dragondark, coincidentally also preventing the deck from playing Battlin' Boxer Veil.
  • Monster Reborn needs no introduction. One of the franchise's most well-recognized and beloved staple cards has finally come to Duel Links as part of the 5th Anniversary Campaign. Due to its immense power, being able to Special Summon any monster from either player's Graveyard (barring certain ones with stipulations) for free, it has already been Limited to 1 before its official release.
  • Tour Guide From the Underworld. One of the most powerful cards in the game's long history and the de facto mascot of Duel Links finally makes her debut as a playable card with a bang. Right off the bat, just like Monster Reborn before her, she was Limited to 1 upon release due to her incredibly powerful ability to instantly special summon another Level 3 or lower Fiend-type monster in order to go into an Extra Deck summon, usually a Rank 3 Xyz like D/D/D Stone King Darius, The Phantom Knights of Break Sword, or Dante, Traveler of the Burning Abyss. As you might expect, Tour Guide is an all-time staple in Burning Abyss in particular due to the whole archetype being composed of level 3 Fiends with effects that activate from the Graveyard (thus they couldn't care less about their effects on the field being negated).
  • Gandora the Dragon of Destruction, once a gimmicky signature monster for Yugi Muto that mostly went unused, ended up Limited to 1 after not only getting its own minibox which contained its retrained version: Gigarays Gandora, but also after both versions of Yugi (DM and DSOD) got a new skill called Determination to Fight. This skill alone ended up creating an extremely powerful, toxic deck based around Gandora that quickly shot its way up to Tier 1 and became very hated on the ladder. The deck makes use of the Gadget engine and various hand traps to stall the game out until all the necessary pieces are in place through using the skil. Then, Gigarays Gandora is summoned and banishes everything currently on the field and in both players' Graveyards, usually giving it enough ATK to OTK. Vanilla Gandora ended up Limited to 1 in order to cut down on abuse with cards such as The Melody of Awakening Dragon and Monster Reborn.
    • Megaroid City ended up getting Limited to 2 as a consequence of Gandora's immense power, as it was used in conjunction with Kiteroid in order to add it to the hand and enable Gandora's ability to stall the opponent.
  • Phantom Knights quickly proved themselves to be extremely powerful after being introduced, just as they were in TCG/OCG, instantly shooting up to Tier 1. Their synergy with various powerful Limited 2 and 3 cards such as Treacherous and Floodgate Trap Hole resulted in Ragged Gloves being Limited to 2 and Silent Boots being Limited to 3 (the latter of which would be reverted in September 2022).
  • Ritual Beasts have been a consistently strong rogue deck since their introduction. Due to their consistent appearance in several KC Cups throughout the 2021 and 2022 seasons, however, Konami finally decided it might be time to put their foot down in regards to their power level, especially due to their ability to stall matches and their synergy with Floodgate Trap Hole. Thus, Spiritual Beast Tamer Winda, one of the signature cards of the deck, was Limited to 3.
  • As a consequence of the sudden prominence of stall strategies in the April 2022 KC Cup, Konami decided to rein them in by placing two very common stall cards onto Limited 2 in order to prevent possible abuse: Rainbow Life and Hallowed Life Barrier.
  • D/D Savant Thomas quickly became a key staple in D/D/D decks upon its release, allowing them to turbo out Rank 8 Xyz monsters as well as add any D/D/D Pendulum Monster of their choice from the Extra Deck to the hand, allowing them to recycle resources. Due to the overwhelming presence of D/D/D decks in KCGT 2022 Preliminaries, it ended up Limited to 1.
    • D/D Savant Kepler also ended up getting hit, being Limited to 2 because of not only its extremely powerful ability to search for Dark Contract cards but also because of the deck's ability to abuse other powerful Limited 2 cards such as Enemy Controller and Treacherous Trap Hole.
    • Even with those limits, D/D/D still was deemed to be a problem due to their ability to spam huge monsters until the opponent ran out of answers, so July 2022 saw them being hit with another nerf, this time putting D/D Swirl Slime and Dark Contract with the Gate on Limited 3, forcing them to choose between swarming and consistency while locking them out of other staples.
  • Skill Prisoner was once a card that, despite its powerful effect of being able to protect any monster of the players' choosing from opposing monster effects both when activated and when banishing the card from the Graveyard a la Breakthrough Skill, was not widely used upon its initial release. That slowly started to change when Melodious received support, eventually culminating in its prominent usage in Burning Abyss. With the deck's ability to slow matches down to a snail's pace and force opponents to play around their strategy, this card quickly became a problem and as such was Limited to 3 to prevent abuse with other stall cards such as Floodgate Trap Hole.
  • Farfa, Malebranche of the Burning Abyss is one of the deck's staple monsters. When sent to the Graveyard by any means, it effectively acts as a free Malevolent Sin by banishing an opponent's monster until the End Phase. Unfortunately, the opponent's banished monsters would never return thanks to the deck's affinity with Sera and Aigami's skill "Mind of the Plana", which upon activation deletes the opponent's banished pile out of existence. This is usually done when their field is open, too, usually allowing Burning Abyss to attack for game. In addition to the aforementioned affinity with Limited 3 stall cards such as Floodgate and Skill Prisoner, Farfa was Limited to 3 in the June 2022 banlist. It was later joined on Limited 3 by Cir to further axe the deck's ability to stall games and cut into their consistency.
  • Spellbook of Knowledge, a key card for not only Spellbook/Prophecy decks, was long considered to be too powerful to be added into Duel Links. By sending one Spellbook other than itself or a face-up Spellcaster monster to the Graveyard, it acts as a free Pot of Greed, giving you two free cards. It eventually did make it in, but due to its immense power was Limited to 1 immediately upon release. It has proven to be a reliable staple in Dark Magician decks, bringing them back up to viable rogue tier.
  • Super Polymerization. Easily one of the most infamous Fusion spells in the history of the game. Simply discard a card, and you can now use ANY material on the field, including your opponent's monsters, for a Fusion Summon of your choosing. And on top of that, your opponent cannot activate anything in response to it. Already a powerful tech in the TCG/OCG, it was immediately Limited to 1 before its official release.
  • Reinforcement of the Army is one of the most common staples in any Warrior-related deck within TCG & OCG, so it should come as no surprise that it was Limited to 1 before its official release. The ability to instantly add a Level 4 or lower Warrior to the hand is an incredibly powerful consistency option for Warrior decks, which at the time of its release included things like War Rocks, Phantom Knights, HERO, and -tellarknights.
  • Compulsory Evacuation Device was Limited to 3 before its release due to being an extremely powerful disruption option in the format of Duel Links that sends 1 monster on either side of the field back to the owner's hand.
  • Scrap-Iron Scarecrow, a Trap that can negate the attack of one monster per turn and is then set face-down instead of being sent to the graveyard allowing for repeated use. And it was added to the regular Card Trader. Unsurprisingly, it was Limited to 1 before being released. Although its debut in the game has also become somewhat controversial due to it contradicting with Konami's claim in the April 2022 banlist that they were "working on trying to cut down on the number of stall strategies". The one saving grace of it being released at that time is that there are already many ways to counteract it, including various negation and backrow removal options. As it's a fairly free-to-play friendly card, however, in lower levels of play it can be quite powerful since good backrow removal is hard to come across.
  • Trishula, Dragon of the Ice Barrier should require no introduction nor elaboration on why it was immediately put on Limited 1 when it debuted at the end of August 2022. While its material requirements mean that Trishula takes a whole board of monsters to Synchro Summon in Duel Links, its effect to banish three opposing cards upon its Synchro Summon (up to one each from the opponent's hand, field, and Graveyard) without targeting was one of the most feared mass-removal effects in the real-life game and is equally devastating in Duel Links, especially given its ability to rip hand-traps right out of the opponent's fingers and disarm Graveyard effects like Bacon Saver and Kiteroid.
  • Elemental HERO Liquid Soldier quickly proved itself to be an extremely powerful staple in HERO decks when it was added to the game. It has two effects, and only one of them can be used per turn: it can either act as a free Monster Reborn for your HERO monsters (most commonly used with Elemental HERO Stratos for even more card advantage or popping backrow), or worse - a Graceful Charity for HERO decks whenever it's used as material to Fusion Summon a HERO monster. The latter ability, instantly allowing HERO players to go +1 off of summoning boss monsters (most notoriously Elemental HERO Sunrise, a brutal beater with both play extension and removal built in that was added in the same box as Liquid Soldier), made HERO decks borderline Tier 1, to the point where they ended up having a very dominant showing in KCGT 2022 and the September 2022 KC Cup. Because of this, Liquid Soldier was limited to 2 in the VRAINS World Launch Banlist, in the process severely crippling both the combined HERO and Elemental HERO builds of the deck, as they are now forced to choose between consistency and having more available plays since if they opt to run Liquid Soldier, they cannot run the Vision HERO or Neos Fusion packages.
  • Roxrose Dragon is a staple card in Rose Dragon decks, able to search for any card that mentions Black Rose Dragon on summon and also being able to add itself back to the hand if a "Rose Dragon" monster is destroyed. This card, in conjunction with Akiza's buffed Spell of Roses skill, gave Rose Dragon decks all the consistency they'll ever need and then some, especially since the primary target for its search is Basal Rose Shoot, their archetypal Monster Reborn, and in conjunction with the Synchro toolbox options in the Rose Dragons' arsenal, they had answers to essentially everything. It ended up Limited to 2 in the VRAINS World Launch banlist as it's a huge consistency booster for a borderline Tier 0 deck that won KCGT 2022 and continued to dominate in the September 2022 KC Cup.

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