A walkthrough for everyone’s favorite ace monster.
Despite being a series icon, Yugi’s favorite monster and most loyal servant has been waiting quite some time to finally have a deck to call home. Thanks to the recent release of Legendary Duelists: Magical Hero however, that wait is over! In this guide, I’ll be breaking down new and old Dark Magician support to hopefully give you a good idea of how to play with the Ultimate Wizard and his lovely assistant.
I’ll be blunt though. If I haven’t mentioned an older support/boss card by the end of this article, it’s generally because there’s not much reward in using it. When you’ve been around for 20 years, you’re bound to have trouble staying relevant. The deck can still support most of your old favorites if you really want to, but manage your expectations. Also, to address the Dragun in the room, I’ll wait for his debut in the TCG before writing much about him. That said, you should be able to picture for yourself how well he fits in here by the end of this article. Without further ado, let’s get into it!
First, let’s recap our main combos that we’ll be building off of. Eternal Soul and Dark Magical Circle are the main core of the deck. You summon Dark Magician repeatedly, and banish cards as you do so. Magician’s Rod is our Normal Summon that fishes for any Spell/Trap that includes the name “Dark Magician” in its text, and it has a recursion effect you can use every time you activate the Soul-Circle combo, (or any Spell/Trap) by offering a Spellcaster you control in exchange. Apprentice Illusion Magician and Magician of Dark Illusion are give you extra copies of Dark Magician, while also offering some extra utility on the side. Similarly Illusion Magic exists so that you can search (2) Dark Magician through Magician’s Rod.
It may seem excessive but most cards in the deck can’t be played without a Dark Magician within reach, so don’t sleep on these. Likewise with Eternal Soul, you can only use 3 of it, and you have a 40 card deck to fill out, so running Magician Navigation lets you have an additional card to summon Dark Magician with just in case. It also has a handy negation effect, and if you can send it to the grave with Apprentice (etc) asap, it’ll be ready to negate a Spell/Trap in future turns. Many players will hone in on Eternal Soul‘s weakness (to destroy your monsters when it leaves the field), so a Navigation in the grave can help keep your board safe.
Alternatively, you can use The Eye of Timaeus to summon what could be called the theme’s “win condition”, Dark Magician the Dragon Knight. Since Knight protects Eternal Soul and Soul protects and revives Knight, the “Soul-Knight” combo can be near unbreakable, especially while triggering Dark Magical Circle. Even with the newest support taken into account, this is still your most ideal setup. Don’t forget it. Just beware of Dingirsu and Evenly Matched, which can bypass this setup entirely. Also be aware that The Eye of Timaeus cannot be searched for by Magician’s Rod (etc) because it does not refer to the monster Dark Magician or Dark Magician Girl specifically.
Another boss monster that could be called a “win condition” is Magician of Chaos. Magician of Chaos essentially brings his own Dark Magical Circle to the fight, while also being a Dark Magician on the field and in the grave. Once you Ritual Summon him, your Eternal Soul plays suddenly become a lot more threatening, cause you aren’t just bringing back a normal monster every time anymore. Unlike Circle, he exchanges the ability to banish for the ability to directly chain to any Spell/Trap effect and destroy a card. If your Circle is taken out or you just haven’t seen it yet, a Magician of Chaos can handle that role just fine between himself and Eternal Soul. However, if you have both Circle, Soul, and Chaos in play, you can remove 2 cards from your opponent’s board every turn. The downside is that Ritual Summoning, even with the new support, is overall less flexible than other summon methods, and can result in awkward opening hands. Magician of Chaos is also heavily reliant on Eternal Soul staying up, whereas Dragon Knight is just more reliable overall. Still, it’s possible to use both in your deck, and Magician of Chaos is incredibly strong regardless, so do consider taking him for a spin.
Finally, that brings us to the latest wave of support from Magical Hero, and I can’t express how happy I am that it’s here. I’m sure everyone is well acquainted with Magicians’ Souls by now, but its hard to overstate how useful it is to have a card that can summon Dark Magician, on your own turn, which you can now search for. The searchable cards we had to summon Dark Magician with, were Trap Cards, or cards like Magician’s Robe and Dark Magic Curtain, which slowed the speed of the deck by quite a bit. Now you can actually use Magicians’ Souls to play Dark Magician on your first turn, letting you banish a card with Dark Magical Circle, activate The Eye of Timaeus, or just play Yu-Gi-Oh! in general. Souls can also help fix your hand, dropping off duplicate or otherwise not immediately useful combo pieces for up to 2 new cards. Note that you do not have to summon the monster it sends to the graveyard, meaning you can even revive Dark Magician the Dragon Knight or Magician of Chaos with it if you need to.
It doesn’t stop there though. An arguably more important new support card is Soul Servant. In addition to being the first card to seek any Dark Magician-listing “card” in the theme (including monsters), its also the first to take cards from your graveyard and put them back onto your deck, so that your 1-of themed tech cards can still see more than one use per duel. More importantly though, you can use Soul Servant to guarantee that your Circle will be able to add a card to your hand, while also using Circle to stack a card for Soul Servant (etc) to draw for you. Combined with Magicians’ Souls, its never been easier to set up your Soul-Circle combo, while also enabling it like never before.
This is where our new fusion, The Dark Magicians, enters the picture, with a simple yet powerful way to interact with the theme’s “Destiny Draw” (stacking) mechanic. Triggering The Dark Magicians lets you draw, set, then play any Quick-Play Spell or Trap card from the top of your deck. That is, instead of having to wait a turn to play your Eternal Soul or Magician Navigation, you can activate them right away by stacking them with Dark Magical Circle or Soul Servant, and triggering The Dark Magicians. You can then flood the field for attacks during the Battle Phase or make Link, Xyz, and/or Timaeus plays that you just couldn’t do before without passing a turn to your opponent. This works for any Trap/Quick-Play Spell, meaning a drawn Super Polymerization or Solemn Judgment is fair game. Things will get even better when Master Rule 2020 kicks in, allowing you to control both Dark Magician the Dragon Knight and The Dark Magicians together at once without jumping through hoops. Your opponent will be trying to tear through your Soul-Circle combination during their turn, and so the speed and floating this card gives you can really help you stay in the game.
You can summon The Dark Magicians with our new hybrid Fusion-Ritual (Quick-Play) Spell, Secrets of Dark Magic, fusing a Dark Magician with any Spellcaster. Magician’s Rod can search it too, so it’s fairly easy to summon early game. While the Soul-Knight or the Soul-Chaos combos are on the extremes of defense and offense, The Dark Magicians strikes a nice middle ground while being the easiest of our bosses to summon. Do note however that Dark Magician the Dragon Knight and Magician of Chaos can be treated as a Dark Magician for this Fusion summon while they’re in play, to then be revived later with Eternal Soul, etc.
Finally, this brings us to Magician Combination, and the thing I appreciate most about this latest wave of support, and I hope you will as well. It all gets back to the core appeal of using Dark Magician with Dark Magician Girl to control an opponent’s plays. You aren’t really penalized if you don’t use Dark Magician Girl, but there’s sufficient reward if you do. Including Dark Magician Girl in your deck, means that The Dark Magicians can use its floating effect if it’s destroyed (by Eternal Soul, etc.). This also sets up Soul Servant to be able to draw an extra card each time you use its effect from the grave. It also lets you run Magician Combination, which lets Girl and Magician tag in and out, dodging and negating your opponent’s card effects (while triggering your Dark Magical Circle to banish cards). Note that our Fusion plays also let you use Dark Magician Girl in the place of Dark Magician as material too. These are all really fun ways to make Dark Magician Girl “work” in a Dark Magician deck.
I encourage you to try using her at least once for some nice nostalgia, especially now that Bond Between Teacher and Student exists, letting you more actively summon Dark Magician Girl for some unexpected burst damage and/or field clearing. One new trick you can do is stack Dark Burning Magic when your opponent targets Eternal Soul with removal. The chain resolves, destroying Eternal Soul, but you use The Dark Magicians to draw and set Dark Burning Magic. Eternal Soul destroys the fusion monster, triggering its ability to summon both Dark Magician and Dark Magician Girl at once, fulfilling Dark Burning Magic‘s requirements and allowing you to obliterate your opponent’s entire field whenever you wish! Next turn, you’ll also be able to draw 2 cards with Soul Servant‘s effect from the graveyard to continue your counter attack!
Here’s a sample decklist you can use to start with. I’ve added a few “flex and/or fun” options for you to consider, but feel free to adjust to your tastes (…or what you’re prepared to pay for).
3x Dark Magical Circle
3x Soul Servant
2x Secrets of Dark Magic
2x Dark Magic Veil
2x The Eye of Timaeus
1x Dark Magic Inheritance
1x Illusion Magic
1x Bond Between Teacher and Student
1x Dark Magic Attack
1x Dark Burning Magic
1x Upstart Goblin
0-1x Chaos Form
2 The Dark Magicians
1 Dark Magician the Dragon Knight
1 Dark Paladin
1 Dark Cavalry
1 Ebon Illusion Magician
1 Black Luster Soldier – Soldier of Chaos
1 Knightmare Unicorn
1 Knightmare Phoenix
1 Barricadeborg Blocker
1 Wee Witch’s Apprentice
1 Imduk, the World Chalice Dragon
1 Link Spider
Many of these 1-of cards might be difficult to use if you open with them, but they’re here if you want to live a little and enjoy life. They’re also convenient placeholders for more “normal and/or meta” tech choices, like whatever “hand trap(s)” you prefer. I do at least recommend a Dark Magic Attack in your back pocket since Eternal Soul can grab it at any time with its other effect (and note that searching it shuffles the deck if you don’t like what Circle stacked there). In defense of using a lot of these 1-of “flex/fun” options, the more cards Dark Magical Circle can hit, the better, generally speaking. Magicians’ Souls also helps replace cards you can’t play with cards you can, while also improving your ability to play Dark Magic Inheritance.
For more “normal” inclusions, we have Dark Magic Veil as a weaker substitute for Magicians’ Souls early on, that you can use it to revive The Dark Magicians (etc) in the mid-to-late game to get back into it. A reminder that The Dark Magicians doesn’t have name-based restrictions, so you can use the effect of a newly revived copy again in the same turn. Upstart Goblin is honestly a staple with all the stacking the deck does, but if you wanted to get some Millennium World-style fun in the mix, you could use The True Name and an Egyptian God Card of your choice (Sphere Mode, etc.) to really go ham with the stacking strategy. Alternatively, if you’re comfortable enough with the ratios in your main or extra deck, you can include Pot of Desires or Pot of Extravagance to further improve your draw power. Foolish Burial Goods is an interesting card to consider because it can send Soul Servant for a draw(s) or send Magician Navigation for its negation ability.
For more cards not listed here, and if you’re feeling extra adventurous, you can try increasing the amount of cards you can draw with Soul Servant by fitting in a Palladium Oracle Mahad. He summons himself when drawn, so you can stack him with Soul servant, draw him with The Dark Magicians, and play him immediately for more attacks in the Battle Phase. You could draw as many as 4 cards from your Soul Servant if you include Palladium Oracle Mana as well! Dark Magic Expanded is an interesting card I can’t help but mention. It’s arguably easier to use than The Eye of Timaeus, and has effect similar to Dark Magician the Dragon Knight, but you might sooner consider cards that help you get to Dragon Knight than this temporary (if more nuanced) protection effect. When in doubt though, you can always rely on traps like Solemn Judgment to keep you safe.
Lastly we have the Extra Deck. You will mostly being reaching in here for Dark Magician the Dragon Knight and The Dark Magicians, but you’ll also want to link summon here and there, especially if you need to get your Dark Magician back into the graveyard to keep up the pressure of your Soul-Circle combo. Link Spider is perfect for this, but Imduk the World Chalice Dragon can be handy as Fusion material for a Dragon Knight. Barricadeborg Blocker is also notable, since it can protect your Dark Magical Circle, or recover one that’s destroyed. You can also make use of powerful Link 4s if you’re able to swarm the field with Magician Navigation and Magician of Dark Illusion, but since most of the time you’ll be working in-theme with this deck, you can afford to work with whatever’s available to you. Rank 7 Xyz like Ebon Illusion Magician and Number 11: Big Eye are solid board-breakers in their own right.
Since Dark Magician has a wide variety of monsters he can fuse with, Super Polymerization can put in some serious work in dismantling your opponent’s field. The Dragon Knights take any Dragon, Dark Cavalry takes a Warrior, The Dark Magicians of course with a Spellcaster, and everyone’s favorite Starving Venom Fusion Dragon is an option too. The Eye of Timaeus can bring out more than just Dragon Knights! Dark Paladin remains a solid defense against decks that rely on spells, and you could opt for summoning it if you don’t have your Soul-Knight combo ready. First of the Dragons can be summoned by fusing 2 Dark Magician, and can be a useful wall when Eternal Soul is inactive. Meanwhile, Quintet Magician can turn the tides with Magicalized Fusion in your deck (or even with Super Poly against an unsuspecting Altergeist player). If all else fails, you can go for retrains of iconic monsters, like Black Luster Soldier – Soldier of Chaos, Day-Breaker, the Shining Magical Warrior, and Linkuriboh.
I hope you all enjoyed the article. The Dark Magician has a special place in many a Yu-Gi-Oh! players’ hearts, and I hope this piece does him justice. As you might be able to tell, the deck relies heavily on decent opening hands, which can be a challenge for a deck focused around a high level normal monster. That said, the new support is truly excellent, and for the first time since the game’s inception, it feels like a Dark Magician deck can actually hold its own in the modern era.
Thank you for reading! Feel free to follow and comment on our Twitter/Facebook pages about what you think about this Dark Magician guide, and tell us what your favorite Dark Magic Tricks are! Until next time, happy dueling!