The first of many articles, I’m here to tell you the best of what Crimson Kingdom has to offer for Duel Links players.
Before we get started, you may be wondering why my opinion is relevant. I got 17th place in North America during the 2017 WCQ in Duel Links (out of 3000+ players in that region), which was apparently good enough to qualify me as a reserve candidate for Worlds, so let’s go with that.
Throughout this article, I’ll be noting the merits of about 60% of the cards in this pack, assuming one has access to all the cards in Duel Links. It’d be too difficult to assume various readers don’t have access to certain cards, and somehow try to account for that in this article, so… sorry about that. Some combos here will probably have been noted already in various Duel Links communities – but that’s my fault for only starting on this article a week after the pack was released.
It’d be best if you read this article on a computer, while viewing the Crimson Kingdom card list in Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Links on mobile. (This is also because I have no idea how this article looks in mobile.)
“Knight of the Red Lotus” (UR) is undoubtedly the MVP in this pack. It may not seem intimidating at 2100 ATK, but its effect to revive Level 4 or lower Normal Monsters is its selling point. Even changing its battle position isn’t enough to get over its 1800 DEF. Benefits:
- If you Tribute Summon it, you generally get your Tribute back with its effect.
- You are able to Special Summon Level 4 or lower Gemini monsters with its effect, since they’re treated as Normal Monsters in the Graveyard. Remember that access to “Blazewing Butterfly” (a Card Trader card) allows you to replace it with *any* Gemini monster in your Graveyard.
- The monsters it brings back guarantees that your copies of “Order to Charge” (an The Ultimate Rising SR) and “White Elephant’s Gift” (a Neo-Impact R) will be ready for activation.
- Pairs well with “Blue Flame Swordsman” (a Level-Up reward from Joey), which is a decent monster on its own with 1800 ATK.
- Most importantly, however, is how well this card pairs with “Symbols of Duty” (a Chaotic Compliance UR). If this monster dies, you just activate Symbols (sending a Normal Monster you control to the GY) to revive this card, then use this card’s effect to revive the monster you used for Symbol’s cost! This also applies the other way around – this card’s effect can fuel the cost to activate Symbols. A final note: Symbols can also steal monsters from the opponent’s Graveyard, if you so wish.
“Vampire Lord” (UR) is a potentially useful card in the future, if more monster-destroying card effects are released and end up replacing cards like “Mirror Wall“. 2000 ATK seems weak in this era of ATK-modifiers, but it will overpower the commonplace Lv4 or lower monsters once monster-destruction becomes favored.
“Gozuki” (UR) is a powerful card for Zombie-Type Decks, but there’s not much it can really do for them, since none of the typical Zombie-Type support currently exists in Duel Links. Its current best use is in “Red-Eyes” Decks, where it can dump “Red-Eyes Zombie Dragon” (a SR in this pack) to the Graveyard for revival with “Red-Eyes Spirit” (a ‘Super Joey’ Duel reward). Otherwise, it’s only suitable for gimmicks, like with “Give and Take” (in this pack) or filling the Graveyard for “Woodland Archer” (a Card Trader card) or “Knight of the Red Lotus”. On an ending note, this card has potential for combos with “Escape from the Dark Dimension” (a Valkyrie’s Rage UR).
“Brohunder” (UR) with its family of “Sishunder” (R), “Pahunder”, and “Mothunder” (all in this pack), are an interesting bunch, but have nothing much to offer at this time. To make use of them effectively, you’d have to run them in multiples and somehow ensure the opponent can’t block your attacks with a strong monster. Other than its ‘hunder’ family, “Brohunder” can search for “Susa Soldier” (a Valkyrie’s Rage SR) or “Rai-Jin” (in Neo-Impact).
“Reinforced Human Psychic Borg” (UR) is a decent card for Psychic-Type Decks, but generally only in the mid/late-game, when there are Psychic-Types in the GY to fuel its effect. It is important to note that its ATK gain is permanent, but it only has 800 DEF if changed to Defense Position. By banishing monsters with it, “Genetic Woman” (R) and “Psychic Path” become usable (both in Chaotic Compliance), as well as “Brain Hazard” (a R in this set). But, there’s still not much going for Psychic-Types at the moment. At best, “Doctor Cranium” (a Chaotic Compliance R) should be used to help set up for its effect. Bakura’s Skill ‘Compensation’ may also help — [Whenever the user loses 1000 or more LP, they can send the top card of their Deck to the GY (during their Main Phase) to gain 300 LP.]
“Red-Eyes Wyvern” (UR) is a useful card for “Red-Eyes B. Dragon” Decks. Immediately usable as a 1800 ATK beatstick, it makes the addition of “Champion’s Vigilance” (a SR Seto Kaiba Duel reward) to these Decks much more reliable, since you have more revival options for Red-Eyes.
“Blazing Inpachi” (UR) is just powercreep for the ATK of Level 4 monsters with no drawbacks (1850 sets the record now).
“Buster Blader, the Dragon Destroyer Swordsman” (UR) provides a generic anti-Dragon tech option to Fusion Decks, since its “Buster Blader” Fusion Material can be substituted with something like “Versago the Destroyer“, “Mystical Sheep #1“, or “Goddess with the Third Eye” (all of which are Level-Up Rewards from Duelists you use). But of course, you also need a Dragon-Type monster to use as Fusion Material, something that Red-Eyes Decks should have no trouble with.
“Dark Paladin” (UR) is a very promising card. You could very easily make a Deck solely committed to Summoning this card turn 1, and zip through the Ranks in Rated PvP, since Spells are the most powerful cards in this meta… which this card conveniently negates! Relinquished relies on “Black Illusion Ritual”, Harpie (and Venus) Decks rely on “Order to Charge“, and Three-Star Demotion (aka 3SD) Decks rely on “Supremacy Berry“. The commonly-teched “Enemy Controller” is of course no match for this card. But, this card does have its weaknesses: high-ATK monsters, Trap Cards, and monster effects. In this current meta, however, only the first two are relatively common problems.
- “Mirror Wall” is a relatively common Trap Card that can easily counter this card… so plan accordingly?
- “Wild Tornado” used by Harpie Decks and ‘Handless’ Decks will always be a threat.
- “Eliminating the League” is a possible Trap Card in ‘Handless’ Decks and 3SD Decks.
- “Rising Energy” is a Trap Card you’ll often see in Decks that use “Diskblade Rider”.
- “Barrel Dragon” in 3SD Decks can possibly one-shot this card.
- ‘Clown’/’Statue’ Decks are pretty much an automatic loss, unless they have a very poor hand.
- All of the above are the most likely problems in this meta. The choice is yours! All you need is 1 “Dark Paladin” from this pack… though 3 copies of “Buster Blader” and “Emblem of Dragon Destroyer” each (both R) are probably a good idea for this ‘rush’ strategy.
“Soul Resurrection” (UR) is an excellent card all-around.
- Easy revival for “Red-Eyes”, “Blue-Eyes”, and “Dark Magician” Decks.
- Can be used in Normal Monster variants of “Harpie” Decks, which has the neat trick of triggering “Harpie’s Hunting Ground” again, if Special Summoning the original “Harpie Lady”.
- Useful revival option for Gemini monster Decks.
“Buster Blader, the Destruction Swordsman” (SR) is a card that likely needs an entire Deck dedicated to it. Current options of Summoning it from the hand are “Tribute Doll” (a Card Trader card) and “The Trojan Horse” (a Flame of the Tyrant R), in addition to the Three-Star Demotion and Roll ‘n’ Boost Skills. However, it doesn’t really have any means of protection, except for maybe “Overwhelm” (in Age of Discovery). Its support cards that come in the form of “Robot Buster Destruction Sword” and “Wizard Buster Destruction Sword” (both in this pack) don’t really have much to offer either, currently.
“Endymion, the Master Magician” (SR) is a very cool card. But I can’t really recommend relying on its Special Summon effect too much, with the current cards available. That, and you need to wait to have a “Magical Citadel of Endymion” and somehow accumulate 6 Spell Counters on it.
Instead, this card probably best shines in a Deck that relies on the Three-Star Demotion or Roll ‘n’ Boost Skill, due to its last effect (once per turn, discard a card to destroy a card on the field).
“Red-Eyes Zombie Dragon” (SR) is not a particularly useful card by itself at the moment, since there’s a lack of decent Zombie-Type support. The only ways of enabling its effect are currently “DNA Surgery” (a Level-Up reward from Weevil), “Give and Take” (in this pack), or “Mystic Box” (a SR Yami Yugi Duel reward).
Its current main purpose, however, is to serve as another form of a “Red-Eyes” monster for the costs/effects of “Red-Eyes Spirit” (a SR ‘Super Joey’ Duel reward), “Red-Eyes Wyvern” (a UR in this pack), and “Cards of the Red Stone” (a R in this pack).
“Goka, the Pyre of Malice” (SR) is quite an interesting card with its various possibilities.
- Since you can easily Special Summon it by controlling a FIRE monster, and then destroying it, this actually makes “Poki Draco” (in Flame of the Tyrant) quite useful! With this, the drawback of that monster’s low ATK no longer exists.
- The Tokens it produces can potentially be used for Tribute Summons, or for its last effect instead.
- Its effect is good for ‘fueling’ the effect of “Kickfire” (in Flame of the Tyrant).
“Freed the Matchless General” (SR) is a great cards for dedicating a Warrior-Type Deck to. With him, you can feel prepared for any new situation, including (but not limited to) these monsters you can search with him: “Amazoness Sage“, “Amazoness Trainee“, “Dust Knight“, “Gearfried the Iron Knight“, “The Hunter with 7 Weapons“, “Card Breaker“, “Karate Man“, and “Dream Clown“. With all these Warrior-Types of course, you’ll want “The A. Forces” (a R in this pack) to go with him. Keep an eye out for future Warrior-Type monsters he can retrieve.
“Dark General Freed” (SR) is similar to regular Freed, except he can only search Level 4 (exactly) DARK monsters. However, he extends protection against targeting Spell Cards to all DARK monsters you control, not just himself, which is a respectable effect.
“Speed Bird” (SR): There’s not much that can be currently said for it. It is currently only useful for providing Tributes for a future Tribute Summon, so you may want to include a single copy of this card in Decks that make extensive use of Level 2 monsters, such as Beast-Type Decks reliant on “Obedience Schooled” (a Land of the Titans SR), or Decks based on “The Agent of Creation – Venus” (a Valkyrie’s Rage SR).
In the future, this card will gain more utility with Level 2 monsters that activate their effects *when/if* they leave the field, such as “Gokipon” (a Card Trader card) or “Nimble Musasabi” (a Land of the Titans R).
“Feast of the Wild LV5” (SR) is a Deck strategy all on its own, since it deals exclusively with Level 5 Warrior-Types.
- “Wonder Balloons” (a The Ultimate Rising SR) can be used to make efficient use of any Level 5s in the hand, before reviving them.
- “The Legendary Fisherman” (a UR Mako Duel reward) can be dumped from the Deck by the effect of “Skreech” (a Chaotic Compliance SR).
- “Freed the Matchless General” (in this pack) can be dumped from the Deck by the effect of “Dust Knight” (a Land of the Titans SR).
- Since this card revives up to 2 Warrior-Types, it is best paired with “The A. Forces” for an ATK boost.
- Since the revived monsters can’t attack the turn they are Summoned, an interesting move would be to Tribute both for “Maju Garzett” (a Chaotic Compliance R), which gains the total ATK of the Tributed monsters. However it is quite vulnerable if changed to Defense Position, with 0 DEF.
“Magical Citadel of Endymion” (SR) is a promising start for Spell Counter Decks. But currently, it’s only useful as a Spell Counter repository for cards such as “Legendary Flame Lord” (a Card Trader card), “Blast Magician”, “Armor Exe“, and “Miracle Restoring” (these last 3 cards being in this pack). Even then, it is largely useless if you don’t have it at the beginning of the Duel, since you’ll be using up your Spell Cards. Its best current function seems to be in a Deck dedicated to “Blast Magician”, explained later in this article.
“Divine Sword – Phoenix Blade” (SR) obviously belongs in Warrior-Type Decks. Its best purpose lies in its banishing cost however – it enables the activation of “Escape from the Dark Dimensione” (a Valkyrie’s Rage UR). In the future, “Exchange of Night and Day” (in this pack) will be more powerful in enabling this card’s banishing cost, because “Familiar Knight” (a SR Seto Kaiba reward) is currently the only low-Level DARK Warrior-Type monster in Duel Links.
“The Warrior Returning Alive” (SR) is very simple and self-explanatory. Generally best used for reusing “one-shot” cards such as “Dust Knight” (a Land of the Titans SR) and “Card Breaker” (a Chaotic Compliance R), though you can also use it to retrieve strong Warrior-Types.
“Inspiration” (SR) is also another simple case – powercreep from “Reinforcements” (a The Ultimate Rising SR), with a temporary 700 ATK boost instead.
“Bonfire Colossus” (R) is a mildly interesting card, due to how you can use it and “Goka, the Pyre of Malice” in a Deck centered on the effect of “Kickfire” (found in Neo-Impact). Of additional note: Chain “Two-Pronged Attack” (a Card Trader card) to this card’s effect, so that the destruction doesn’t go to waste.
“Vampire Genesis” (R) is reliant on future Zombie-Type support to be useful.
“Ancient Crimson Ape” (R) is supposed to fit in ‘Baboon’ Decks (using the 2 UR cards in Land of the Titans). It forms a little combo with “Playful Possom” (a Land of the Titans R), so that you can gain 1000 LP every time you use that monster’s effect. Probably requires “Obedience Schooled” (a Land of the Titans SR) for it to feasibly be Tribute Summoned.
“Buster Blader” (R): see the above section for “Dark Paladin” for most tips. Can also be revived with “Miracle Restoring” – see below section for tips.
“Psychic Emperor” (R): more useful in the mid/late-game, when there are more Psychic-Type monsters in the Graveyard. But has a respectable 2400 ATK in any case. “Brain Research Lab” (a Chaotic Compliance UR) is useful for immediately Summoning this card, due to its extra Normal Summon effect.
“Tenmataitei” (R) is a very interesting card in Duel Links. I can’t think of anything feasible right now, but an example would be this card paired with something like “Guardian Statue” (a Card Trader card): when that monster’s effect activates, your opponent would be unable to Chain something like “Enemy Controller“, “Dimension Gate“, “or “Interdimensional Matter Transporter” to it.
Maybe it’s best used in Decks that use the Three-Star Demotion Skill? Has a respectable 2400 ATK, and can be revived by “Feast of the Wild LV5” (in this pack).
“Disenchanter” (R) has potential for combos. With regards to ‘bouncing’ Spell Cards, “Big Bang Shot” (a Wonders of the Sky SR) and “Different Dimension Gate” (a Wonders of the Sky R) are promising. You’ll probably need something like “Pitch-Black Power Stone” or “Magical Citadel of Endymion” to gather Spell Counters with, though. Reminder: This card can be Special Summoned from the Deck with “Magician’s Circle” (a Neo-Impact SR).
“Magical Marionette” (R) is one of the more tempting cards related to Spell Counters. However, unless you manage to quickly stack counters on it and use them quickly, it can be vulnerable to being stolen with “Enemy Controller” (which will add a Spell Counter to it) and having its effect used against you – destroying either itself or another monster you control. Can be Special Summoned from the Deck via “Magician’s Circle” (a Neo-Impact SR).
“Knight Day Grepher” (R) is a cool card that you could potentially center a Deck around. With stuff like “Herculean Power” (a Chaotic Compliance R), and both “Knight of the Red Lotus” and “Soul Resurrection” in this pack helping it gain its effect, that effect would be very useful in re-using copies of “Shooting Star Bow – Ceal” (a Neo-Impact SR) that you’ve used to weaken your opponent’s monsters, as well as copies of “Mask of the Accursed” (a The Ultimate Rising SR) or “Supervise” (a Card Trader card).
It can be tempting to compare this to “Vylon Ohm” (a The Ultimate Rising R), but Grepher has the potential to use its effect multiple times, and has more options for revival… with a hefty 1700 ATK / 1600 DEF as well.
“Sishunder” (R): See the above section for “Brohunder”.
“Silver Sentinel” (R): a tempting alternative to “Security Orb” (a Land of the Titans R), but one that currently falls short in my opinion. Its only use is by Setting it as a Spell Card – as a monster, it is not going to survive very long with 1500 ATK and 1300 DEF. Since its destruction effect only activates during the End Phase, that leaves you very vulnerable to heavy damage, whereas “Security Orb” immediately eliminates the threat.
If “Swarm of Locusts” (a Card Trader card) ever becomes popular, or any monster with an effect that destroys Spells/Traps, that will be when this card has its opportunity to be useful.
“Lightray Grepher” (R) is an interesting card that has a very powerful combo with “Spiritual Light Art – Hijiri” (a R in this pack). With the current cards available in Duel Links, your opponent will probably Set at least 2 cards in their S/T Zones, if they have no reason to think you’re using “Sergeant Electro” or “Storm“, meaning that Hijiri will likely resolve its effect successfully.
Be warned: if this combo becomes popular, then Duelists will start keeping a Trap Card in their hands once they see “Lightray Grepher” being played.
Fun fact: Hijiri can potentially Special Summon your opponent’s banished monsters.
“Maiden of Macabre” (R) is just a decent beatstick in general, which could belong in the same Deck as “Amazoness Trainee” (a Level-Up reward from Mai). Other than that, it is a decent source of Spell Counters that can be used for various cards – best of which is probably “Magical Citadel of Endmyion” (in this same pack), which will gain its counters when Maiden dies.
“Pitch-Black Power Stone” (a R in this pack) is a possible supporting option for this card, but you’ll have to wait until your next turn to use it.
“Mormolith” (R): an interesting card whose effect is probably best used by Tributing itself, since it is unlikely to survive attacks with its 1000 ATK. You may consider the possibility of making a Deck that centers on protecting this card and using high-ATK EARTH monsters for its effect… it might work, but you’d have to be using “Mirror Wall” (a Neo-Impact UR) and similar ATK-modifiers for the card costs to be justified. Overall, that sort of strategy would be best centered around “Guardian Statue” (a Card Trader card), since Statue doesn’t need to Tribute monsters for its effect.
Keep an eye on this card, since it’ll be very effective in a meta that has plenty of monsters with less than 1100 DEF.
“Blast Magician” (R) is a very cool card that can easily have an entire Deck dedicated to it. The concept would be using ATK-modifying Spell Cards to strengthen this card and/or weaken the opponent’s monsters, for this card’s effect to take advantage of. Some examples: “Riryoku” (a Card Trader card), “Shooting Star Bow – Ceal” (a Neo-Impact SR), “Half Shut” (a Neo-Impact UR), “Shield & Sword” (a SR Joey Wheeler Duel reward), and “Wonder Wand” (a Card Trader card).
“Dekoichi the Battlechanted Locomotive” (R): Yet another ‘draw 1 card’ monster, but the strongest one so far in terms of ATK/DEF for Lv 4 and lower monsters. You can’t rely too much on controlling copies of “Bokoichi the Freightening Car” when it’s flipped face-up though, so you’re likely only going to draw 1 card. However, it is a DARK monster, and “Skelengel” (a The Ultimate Rising R) is a similar ‘draw 1 card’ monster that’s LIGHT. So these monsters might be useful in the future when it comes to “Chaos” Decks. For an example of “Chaos”, look at Mokuba’s “Darkflare Dragon“.
“Fear from the Dark” (R): Just a simple Zombie-Type ‘beatstick’. Its effect will rarely be activated, unless facing Deckout strategies (like “Warm Worm“) or having a “Mefist the Infernal General” attack you for damage.
“Wattsychic Fighter” (R) is quite an interesting card, potentially forcing your opponent to draw a card they don’t need, or just ruining their Graveyard set-up (e.g. Blue-Eyes, Red-Eyes, Zombie Decks). Currently, it is one of the only 2 Psychic-Type monsters in Duel Links that can be searched by “Overdrive Teleporter” (a Card Trader card). It can also be searched by “Doctor Cranium” (a Chaotic Compliance R).
“Silent Insect” (R)… I honestly have no idea how this card will be useful. Maybe as a possible tech option when Continuous Spells/Traps are quite dominant, for Decks that use “Gokipon” (a Card Trader card)? It is a very weak monster, and likely won’t survive more than a turn or 2. Other than that, it may have use in future ‘farming’ Decks for Legendary Duelists.
“Sasuke Samurai #2” (R): A cool ‘finisher’ card for ensuring your opponent can’t escape defeat during your turn. However, it takes up a Normal Summon and your opponent can still Chain things like “A Feint Plan“, “Curse of Anubis“, and “Mirror Wall” to this monster’s effect. “Sphere Kuriboh” can also pop up to ruin your day.
“Great Angus” (R): a strong FIRE monster, it means the UR “Dunames Dark Witch” is no longer desperately needed.
“Cards of the Red Stone” (R): See the above section for “Red-Eyes Zombie Dragon”.
“Attack the Moon!” (R): Works well with “Guardian Statue” (a Card Trader card), although defense may be a higher priority for that monster. A decent card in “Magnet Warrior” Decks, especially with the 1800 DEF “Gamma The Magnet Warrior” and 1700 DEF “Alpha The Magnet Warrior” (both Yugi Muto Duel rewards).
“Emblem of Dragon Destroyer” (R): See the above section for “Dark Paladin”. Also see the below section for “Miracle Restoring”.
“Ultimate Providence” (R): A nice card that can fit in most Decks, it improves the viability of Decks that use “Dark Voltanis” (a Bakura Duel reward) and “Van’Dalgyon the Dark Dragon Lord” (a Level-Up reward for Yami Yugi).
“Spiritual Light Art – Hijiri” (R): See the above section for “Lightray Grepher”.
“Brain Hazard” (R): See the above section for “Reinforced Human Psychic Borg”.
“Chivalry” (R): Useful for warding off “Sphere Kuriboh“. Has great potential for being a commonly-teched card, when Decks reliant on “destroyed by battle” effects / Flip effects become more popular.
“Ritual Sealing” (R): A very obvious anti-“Relinquished” card, since “Anti-Fusion Device” wasn’t released alongside it.
“Pitch-Black Power Stone” (R): A possible option for Decks reliant on Spell Counters, but you have to wait until your next turn before you can actually start moving its Spell Counters. Keep in mind: Is it worth it to use this card and wait 1 whole turn for a Spell Counter, instead of using a Spell Card that instantly grants a Spell Counter?
However, this card is quite good for supporting cards that don’t generate Spell Counters when Spell Cards are activated. A specific example is “Maiden of Macabre” – see the above section for more details on it.
At this point, I’ll just be skimming through the N (Common) cards that I think deserve a comment.
“Delta Tri”: a bad card. Whenever it destroys a opponent’s monster by battle, its effect must be activated. That means if there’s no appropriate Union monster in the Graveyard, you’ll be forced to shuffle back one of the LIGHT Machine-Type monsters you control… which can include this card.
“Flamvell Dragnov”: An interesting card whose second effect can make use of “Poki Draco” (in Flame of the Tyrant) for Deck-thinning. I’m not sure where this will be useful, but it’s something. It can also serve as a lesser substitute for “Poki Draco”, regarding Summoning “Goka, the Pyre of Malice” (a SR in this pack), since you can banish the Tokens that Goka produces for Dragnov’s second effect.
“Woodborg Inpachi”: While it may seem useless with “Neo Aqua Madoor” and “Labyrinth Wall” existing in-game, it is a possible target for “Machine Duplication” (a Bandit Keith Level-Up reward)? The more you know☆.
“Kabazauls”: a must-have for Rex Raptor Decks, since it’s a low-Level Dinosaur-Type with 1700 ATK (as opposed to 1600 ATK).
“Gift Exchange”: useful for farming Decks, in order to give AI opponents a “Jam Breeding Machine“, which they’ll typically activate immediately.
“Give and Take”: Potentially increase the Level of a FIRE monster for “High Tide on Fire Island” (in Neo-Impact)? Not much else other than providing bait for your monsters to destroy by battle, such as “Victory Viper XX03” (a Card Trader card) or “Red-Eyes Zombie Dragon” (a SR in this pack).
“Miracle Restoring”: If you chose to use this card, you’d likely be using “Emblem of Dragon Destroyer” (a R in this pack) alongside “Magical Citadel of Endymion” (a SR in this pack) in the same Deck… and/or “Pitch-Black Power Stone” (a R in this pack). But the most likely way of getting a “Dark Magician” or “Buster Blader” into the Graveyard is by Fusion Summoning… so see the above section for “Dark Paladin”.