Breakers of Shadow brought us an entire strategy built around Buster Blader with a very simple goal: stop your opponent from playing the game. The deck's star monster – Buster Blader, the Dragon Destroyer Swordsman – is designed to crush Dragons by switching them to Defense Position and preventing them from activating their effects.
Swordsman's partner in crime, Buster Dragon, forms the other half of the lockdown by changing the Type of your opponent's monsters to Dragon. You can toss in Dragon Buster Destruction Sword as the cherry on top of your floodgate dessert, ultimately shutting your opponent out of their Extra Deck, preventing their on-field monsters from activating, and mitigating their Battle Phase by shifting their monsters to Defense Position.
The Destruction Sword lockdown was a dream in 2016 when Breakers of Shadow first debuted the Destruction Sword theme. Summoning both a Synchro and a Fusion monster might not be a challenge for a theme like D/D, but Destruction Swords aren't exactly stacked with extenders or search effects that activate off Special Summons.
Or, at least, Destruction Swords used to be missing those things. The lockdown strategy got a huge boost in 2017 when Prologue of the Destruction Swordsman debuted in Maximum Crisis. Suddenly Synchro Summoning Buster Dragon was extraordinarily easy. Foolish Burial Goods was also released that same year and it put Destruction Sword Memories – the theme's graveyard-activated Fusion trap – within striking distance.
Sadly, the Master Rule 4 update devastated the Destruction Sword strategy. Players needed to field another Extra Deck monster before they Summoned both Buster Dragon and Swordsman. The deck languished until it was partially revived by some Guardragon variants, but today's builds are arguably the best the deck has ever been. The theme's new Link Monster, Protector Whelp of the Destruction Swordsman, is a significant boost for the deck's consistency and a welcome addition in Duel Overload. Summoning Protector Whelp after resolving Buster Whelp of the Destruction Swordsman puts both of the deck's key traps in play and loads the graveyard with every relevant combo card.
I'd confidently put Destruction Sword into the "casual strategy" bucket, but that doesn't mean it's inconsistent or underpowered. The reality is that the Destruction Sword deck has exactly one game plan, and if that doesn't work you're most likely going to lose. Luckily the deck has a few built-in advantages that keep it competitive, and that makes it a surprisingly capable pick at the Local level.
What Does A Destruction Sword Deck Look Like?
The actual Main Deck Destruction Sword line-up doesn't take up an overwhelming amount of space, so there's plenty of room to branch out and build hybrids. It's one of the reasons why Guardragon Destruction Sword variants were fairly competitive, and these days you'll see a lot of Crusadia and Tenyi builds out on the internet.
This deck we'll be focusing on makes heavy use of the Rokket engine, but all of these hybrids are simply adding more extenders to the core build. You're still probably going to win with your Buster Blader Fusion Monster, or lose because you couldn't Summon it in time.
This version of the deck takes advantage of a couple of great extenders to speed toward the eventual end game: Summoning both Buster Dragon and Buster Blader, the Dragon Destroyer Swordsman with Dragon Buster Destruction Sword equipped. You'll see quite a few differences if you compare this to builds created prior to the April Forbidden & Limited List, including Jet Synchron over Glow-Up Bulb and only one copy of Instant Fusion. Rokkets play an interesting role here as extenders, but they also double as a means of getting to Borreload Savage Dragon slightly faster.
Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG Deck - Kelly's Destruction Swords by Kelly Locke
'Kelly's Destruction Swords' - constructed deck list and prices for the Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card Game from TCGplayer Infinite!
Created By: Kelly Locke
Market Price: $243.47
Market Price: $2.89
1 Level 1 monster
When an opponent's monster declares an attack: You can Tribute this card; change that opponent's monster's ATK to 0, until the end of this turn. If this card is in your GY (Quick Effect): You can Tribute 1 Level 1 monster; Special Summon this card. You can only use this effect of "Linkuriboh" once per turn.
Market Price: $1.04
"Relinquished" + "Thousand-Eyes Idol"
Other monsters on the field cannot change their battle positions or attack. Once per turn: You can target 1 monster your opponent controls; equip that target to this card (max. 1). This card's ATK/DEF become equal to that equipped monster's. If this card would be destroyed by battle, destroy that equipped monster instead.
Apollousa, Bow of the Goddess
Market Price: $15.74
2+ monsters with different names, except Tokens
You can only control 1 "Apollousa, Bow of the Goddess". The original ATK of this card becomes 800 x the number of Link Materials used for its Link Summon. Once per Chain, when your opponent activates a monster effect (Quick Effect): You can make this card lose exactly 800 ATK, and if you do, negate the activation.
Market Price: $43.13
2 monsters, including a Tuner
If this card is Link Summoned: You can Special Summon 1 Level 3 or lower Tuner from your hand or Deck in Defense Position, but it cannot activate its effects this turn. During your opponent's Main Phase or Battle Phase (Quick Effect): You can banish this card you control; Special Summon 1 Tuner Synchro Monster from your Extra Deck. (This is treated as a Synchro Summon.) You can only use each effect of "Crystron Halqifibrax" once per turn.
One for One
Market Price: $1.67
Send 1 monster from your hand to the GY; Special Summon 1 Level 1 monster from your hand or Deck.
Market Price: $5.26
Pay half of your Life Points. Negate the activation of a Spell Card / Trap Card / Normal Summon / Flip Summon / Special Summon and destroy the Spell Card, Trap Card, or Summoned monster.
Market Price: $0.41
2+ monsters with different names
If this card is Link Summoned: You can discard 1 card, then target 1 Spell/Trap your opponent controls; destroy it, then, if this card was co-linked when this effect was activated, you can draw 1 card. You can only use this effect of "Knightmare Phoenix" once per turn. Co-linked monsters you control cannot be destroyed by battle.
Market Price: $0.22
The ATK of this card increases by 500 points for every Dragon-Type monster on your opponent's side of the field and Graveyard.
Market Price: $0.73
Send 1 monster from your Deck to the Graveyard.
Market Price: $1.15
Pay 1000 Life Points. Special Summon 1 Level 5 or lower Fusion Monster from your Fusion Deck. (This Special Summon is treated as a Fusion Summon). The Fusion Monster Special Summoned by this effect cannot attack, and is destroyed during the End Phase. Only 1 Instant Fusion can be activated per turn.
Buster Blader, the Dragon Destroyer Swordsman
Market Price: $0.97
1 "Buster Blader" + 1 Dragon-Type monster
Must be Fusion Summoned and cannot be Special Summoned by other ways. This card cannot attack directly. This card gains 1000 ATK/DEF for each Dragon monster your opponent controls or is in their GY. Change all Dragon monsters your opponent controls to Defense Position, also Dragon monsters in your opponent's possession cannot activate their effects. If this card attacks a Defense Position monster, inflict piercing battle damage to your opponent.
Borreload Savage Dragon
Market Price: $25.36
1 Tuner + 1+ non-Tuner monsters
If this card is Synchro Summoned: You can equip 1 Link Monster from your GY to this card, and if you do, place Borrel Counters on this card equal to that Link Monster's Link Rating. This card gains ATK equal to half the ATK of the monster equipped to it by its effect. When your opponent activates a card or effect (Quick Effect): You can remove 1 Borrel Counter from this card; negate the activation. You can only use this effect of "Borreload Savage Dragon" once per turn.
Ash Blossom & Joyous Spring
Market Price: $20.07
When a card or effect is activated that includes any of these effects (Quick Effect): You can discard this card; negate that effect.
• Add a card from the Deck to the hand.
• Special Summon from the Deck.
• Send a card from the Deck to the GY.
You can only use this effect of "Ash Blossom & Joyous Spring" once per turn.
Market Price: $3.93
You can only control 1 "Jester Confit". You can Special Summon this card (from your hand) in Attack Position. If Summoned this way, during your opponent's next End Phase: Target 1 face-up monster your opponent controls; return both that target and this face-up card to the hand.
Buster Whelp of the Destruction Swordsman
Market Price: $1.86
When this card is Normal Summoned: You can add 1 "Destruction Sword" card from your Deck to your hand, except "Buster Whelp of the Destruction Swordsman". You can only use 1 of the following effects of "Buster Whelp of the Destruction Swordsman" per turn, and only once that turn.
- You can Tribute this card; Special Summon 1 "Buster Blader" from your hand or Graveyard.
- If this card is in your Graveyard and you control "Buster Blader": You can discard 1 "Destruction Sword" card; Special Summon this card.
Market Price: $2.22
Special Summon 1 "Rokket" monster from your Deck, but it cannot attack, also destroy it during the End Phase.
Market Price: $0.45
When a Link Monster's effect is activated that targets this face-up card on the field (Quick Effect): You can destroy this card, then look at your opponent's Extra Deck and banish 1 card from it. During the End Phase, if this card is in the GY because it was destroyed on the field by battle or card effect and sent there this turn: You can Special Summon 1 "Rokket" monster from your Deck, except "Silverrokket Dragon". You can only use each effect of "Silverrokket Dragon" once per turn.
Market Price: $0.27
If this card is sent to the GY as Synchro Material: You can add 1 "Junk" monster from your Deck to your hand. If this card is in your GY: You can send 1 card from your hand to the GY; Special Summon this card, but banish it when it leaves the field. You can only use 1 "Jet Synchron" effect per turn, and only once that turn.
Market Price: $0.25
When this card is Normal Summoned: You can target 1 Level 5 or higher DARK Dragon monster in your GY; Special Summon it in Defense Position, negate its effects, destroy it during the End Phase, also you cannot Special Summon monsters from the Extra Deck for the rest of this turn, except DARK monsters.
Prologue of the Destruction Swordsman
Market Price: $0.74
Send 1 "Destruction Sword" card and 1 "Buster Blader" monster from your Deck to the Graveyard, except "Prologue of the Destruction Swordsman"; Special Summon 1 "Buster Dragon" from your Extra Deck or Graveyard, but destroy it during the End Phase of the next turn. You can banish this card from your Graveyard; this turn, "Destruction Sword" cards you control cannot be destroyed by battle or card effects. You can only activate 1 "Prologue of the Destruction Swordsman" per turn.
Market Price: $10.58
Target 1 face-up monster your opponent controls; negate its effects (until the end of this turn), then, if this card was Set before activation and is on the field at resolution, for the rest of this turn all other Spell/Trap effects in this column are negated. If you control no cards, you can activate this card from your hand.
Market Price: $0.23
(Quick Effect): You can target 1 face-up card you control; destroy it, and if you do, Special Summon 1 "Rokket" monster from your Deck, except "Rokket Tracer", also you cannot Special Summon monsters from the Extra Deck for the rest of this turn, except DARK monsters. You can only use this effect of "Rokket Tracer" once per turn.
Destruction Sword Memories
Market Price: $2.28
Discard 1 "Destruction Sword" card; Special Summon 1 "Buster Blader" monster from your Deck. You can banish this card from your Graveyard; Fusion Summon 1 "Buster Blader, the Dragon Destroyer Swordsman" from your Extra Deck, by banishing Fusion Materials listed on it from your Graveyard.
Where Arf Thou?
Market Price: $0.48
If you control a face-up Level 1 monster: Add 1 Level 1 monster from your Deck to your hand. During the End Phase of this turn, take 2000 damage if you did not Normal Summon the added monster, or a card with the same name, after activating this card.
Market Price: $0.50
This promotional card is printed in Japanese.
Called by the Grave
Market Price: $2.31
Target 1 monster in your opponent's GY; banish it, and if you do, monsters with the same original name as that banished monster have their effects negated until the end of the next turn.
Hot Red Dragon Archfiend Abyss
Market Price: $0.16
1 Tuner + 1 non-Tuner DARK Dragon Synchro Monster
(Quick Effect): You can target 1 face-up card your opponent controls; negate its effects until the end of this turn. When this card inflicts battle damage to your opponent: You can target 1 Tuner in your GY; Special Summon it in Defense Position. You can only use each effect of "Hot Red Dragon Archfiend Abyss" once per turn.
Dragon Buster Destruction Sword
Market Price: $0.38
You can target 1 "Buster Blader" you control; equip this monster from your hand or your side of the field to that target. While this card is equipped to a monster, your opponent cannot Special Summon monsters from the Extra Deck. While this card is equipped to a monster: You can Special Summon this equipped card. You can only use this effect of "Dragon Buster Destruction Sword" once per turn.
Market Price: $0.82
1 Tuner + 1 or more non-Tuner monsters
All monsters your opponent controls become Dragon-Type. Once per turn, if you do not control a "Buster Blader" monster: You can target 1 "Buster Blader" in your Graveyard; Special Summon it. Once per turn, during your opponent's turn: You can target 1 "Buster Blader" monster you control; equip it with 1 "Destruction Sword" monster from your Graveyard (this is a Quick Effect).
Market Price: $11.86
3+ Effect Monsters
Cannot be destroyed by battle. Once per turn (Quick Effect): You can target 1 Attack Position monster; change it to Defense Position, also, this card can make a second attack during each Battle Phase this turn. Your opponent cannot activate cards or effects in response to this effect's activation. Once per turn, when this card declares an attack on a face-up monster: You can activate this effect; until the end of this turn, this card gains ATK equal to half that monster's current ATK, and if it does, that monster's current ATK is halved.
Protector Whelp of the Destruction Swordsman
Market Price: $0.33
If this card is Link Summoned: You can send 1 "Destruction Sword" card from your Deck to the GY, then, you can Special Summon 1 "Buster Blader" monster from your hand. At the end of your Battle Phase, if your opponent controls no monsters: You can target 1 "Buster Blader" monster you control that did not declare an attack this turn; inflict damage to your opponent equal to that monster's ATK. You can only use each effect of "Protector Whelp of the Destruction Swordsman" once per turn.
Buster Blader, the Destruction Swordmaster
Market Price: $0.27
This card's name becomes "Buster Blader" while it is on the field or in the GY. If a monster(s) your opponent controls is destroyed by battle or card effect and sent to the GY: You can target 1 of those destroyed monsters; equip it to this card. Once per turn: You can send 1 Monster Card you control that is equipped to this card to the GY; destroy all monsters your opponent controls with the same Type as that monster sent to the GY.
Market Price: $0.49
Banish 1 Normal Trap from your Deck, except "Trap Trick", and Set 1 card with the same name directly from your Deck, also it can be activated this turn. You can only activate 1 Trap Card for the rest of this turn after this card resolves. You can only activate 1 "Trap Trick" per turn.
Market Price: $0.64
1 Normal Summoned monster with 1000 or less ATK
(Quick Effect): You can Tribute this card, then target 1 monster you control; it cannot be destroyed by your opponent's card effects this turn. When a Normal Summoned monster you control is destroyed by battle, while this card is in your GY: You can Special Summon this card. You can only use this effect of "Salamangreat Almiraj" once per turn.
The Destruction Sword engine's the heart and soul of the deck, so you'll want to play as many cards as possible to set the stage for your lockdown.
The quickest way to ensure all of your pieces are in place is to resolve both Whelps: Buster Whelp of the Destruction Swordsman and Protector Whelp of the Destruction Swordsman. Where Arf Thou?, Foolish Burial, and One For One expedite Summoning Buster Whelp, but you'll need to lean on its second effect to recycle it from the graveyard. Buster Whelp's search effect only activates when it's Normal Summoned, so ideally you'll want to either draw it naturally or load it into the graveyard as quickly as possible.
The deck's trap line-up is largely built around abusing Trap Trick. You have plenty of options for which Normal Traps you'll run, but naturally Prologue of the Destruction Swordsman is your top priority if Buster Whelp's search effect is negated. Keep in mind that Prologue can actually send Destruction Sword Memories to the graveyard, so running multiple copies is redundant unless you plan on Fusion Summoning more than once per duel. I like the idea of having at least one interruption available for use with Trap Trick, and Infinite Impermanence fills that role nicely. Solemn Judgment rounds out the trap line-up as an insurance policy against spells and traps that might make short work of your set-up.
Let's break down the rest of the strategy step-by-step to get a better idea of where your priorities are at every level.
Prologue of the Destruction Swordsman is the must-have card for this strategy. Everything in this deck hinges around resolving Prologue as quickly as possible, and there are only two ways to get to it.
Trap Trick and Buster Whelp effectively raise the number of Prologues in your deck to nine, and it's overwhelmingly likely that you'll start the duel with at least one of them. Buster Whelp itself is searchable and recyclable, and Called by the Grave should help push through most hand traps.
One hand trap you won't have to worry about is Nibiru, the Primal Being. You're typically not Summoning Buster Dragon or Buster Blader, the Dragon Destroyer Swordsman during your first turn anyways.
Where Arf Thou? is incredibly helpful for finding Buster Whelp on your first turn. Jet Synchron, Rokket Synchron, and Jester Confit are alternative targets for Where Arf Thou? that can be Special Summoned with their own effects or with Quick Launch and One for One. Special Summoning a Level 1 frees up your Normal Summon for Buster Whelp, and at the same time builds field presence for Link Summons. The Link Material requirements for Protector Whelp are surprisingly generic, so you can pair pretty much any two monsters to complete the lockdown.
Setting up the lockdown is as easy as resolving both Buster Whelp and Protector Whelp, but you'll want to put a little more work in to keep your set-up as safe as possible. Crystron Halqifibrax is a fantastic stepping stone to help build field presence, and luckily Buster Whelp is a Tuner itself.
You can pair Buster Whelp with another monster to Summon Halqifibrax, then Special Summon Jet Synchron from the deck. Jet Synchron can then be exchanged for Linkuriboh, Special Summoned back to the field, and both Jet Synchron and Linkuriboh can be sent to the graveyard for Protector Whelp. What's the point of all this Link Summoning, you ask? Because you can put Halqifibrax and Protector Whelp together to Summon Apollousa, Bow of the Goddess.
If you don't have Apollousa you can aim for Borreload Savage Dragon instead by Summoning Buster Blader or Buster Blader, the Destruction Swordmaster from your hand with Protector Whelp's effect, then Summoning another Level 1 Tuner like Rokket Synchron or Jet Synchron. You could skip Halqifibrax entirely, but you'll want to make sure you've put a Linkuriboh in the graveyard first. That route's less consistent than Apollousa because you'll need a free Level 1 Tuner and a Buster Blader monster in your hand. But it does have the advantage of covering spell and trap negation, which is something the typical set-up is powerless against.
The Destruction Sword Lockdown
The final end board here should consist of Buster Dragon; Buster Blader, the Dragon Destroyer Swordsman with Dragon Buster Destruction Sword equipped; and ideally one more negation body like Apollousa or Borreload Savage Dragon. Your opponent's monsters on the field will be changed to Dragons, forced into Defense Position, and all Dragons in your opponent's possession won't be able to activate their effects.
Dragon Buster's effect will stop your opponent Summoning from their Extra Deck, and Prologue of the Destruction Swordsman can trigger from the graveyard to keep your Destruction Sword cards from being destroyed for a turn. It's nowhere near full coverage against all of your opponent's actions, but it's still restrictive enough to force your opponent to make suboptimal plays or simply concede right out of the gate.
So what do you do once you've established your board? When play passes back you'll be on a timer with Buster Dragon – it'll self-destruct at the end of your turn. Why not upgrade it to a new Synchro Monster since you're going to lose it anyways? Why not upgrade it to one of the best Synchros in the game?
Hot Red Dragon Archfiend Abyss is Level 9 and requires just a Tuner and a non-Tuner Dragon Synchro, and luckily Buster Dragon fits that description. It's perfect: you have the non-Tuner Synchro, and you're already playing plenty of Level 1 Tuners. Abyss is an incredible monster, and it's a great way to keep the pressure on your opponent as you aim to close out the duel as quickly as possible.
The Destruction Sword field's generally a 2-card combo if you open with Buster Whelp of the Destruction Swordsman and a Special Summoned extender:
-Normal Summon Buster Whelp and activate its effect to search Prologue of the Destruction Swordsman. Set Prologue sometime before the end of your turn
-Activate Quick Launch, or Special Summon Jester Confit to Link Summon Crystron Halqifibrax with Buster Whelp
-Activate Halqifibrax to Summon Jet Synchron from the deck. Link Summon Linkuriboh with Jet Synchron, then discard a card to Summon Jet Synchron from the graveyard with its ability
-Link Summon Protector Whelp of the Destruction Swordsman with Jet Synchron and Linkuriboh, and activate its effect to send Destruction Sword Memories from the deck to the graveyard
-Link Summon Apollousa, Bow of the Goddess with Halqifibrax and Protector Whelp
-Activate Prologue on your opponent's turn by sending Dragon Buster Destruction Sword and one of your Buster Blader monsters from the deck to the graveyard. Summon Buster Dragon in Defense Position
-Activate Destruction Sword Memories from the graveyard to Fusion Summon Buster Blader, the Dragon Destroyer Swordsman
-Finally, activate Buster Dragon by targeting Swordsman and equip Dragon Buster to it from the graveyard
You can handily bludgeon your way through interruption by using the Crystron Halqifibrax combo as bait. You don't actually need Apollusa to lock down your opponent's monsters, but you do need to resolve your traps. Therefore, you'll need to resolve the monsters thatget you to your traps. Baiting out more negation effects before Summoning Protector Whelp is really important, and Halqifibrax is all too tempting of a target for some players.
Crushing Dragon Decks, And Avoiding Falling Rocks
The Destruction Sword strategy's perfectly viable against all kinds of themes thanks to Buster Dragon, but it's especially effective against decks that are loaded with Dragons.
Buster Blader, the Dragon Destroyer Swordsman locks down Dragon effects everywhere in your opponent's possession, so even Dragons in their hand and graveyard aren't safe. For obvious reasons this deck has a fantastic match-up against Dragon themes, and in a different format you'd prioritize Summoning Swordsman multiple times in a duel. To do that you'd play more copies of Buster Blader monsters in your Main Deck, and at least one more copy of Destruction Sword Memories. I'm hesitant to go that route at the moment, but if Dragon Link made a comeback I'd certainly consider it.
The fact that this deck's almost immune to Nibiru, the Primal Being is a big deal. Called by the Grave has a lot more weight to it when your opponent's other big hand trap might only eat one monster. Nibiru itself can be Link Material for Protector Whelp of the Destruction Swordsman, so even an optimally-timed Nibiru is hardly devastating as long as you successfully search your traps. Blowing through two hand traps in a turn leaves your opponent with just four cards to overcome your final set-up, and that's a serious challenge even for the best decks in the game right now. Luckily your opponent can't hold Nibiru either: they either burn it to prevent Apollousa from hitting the field, or don't activate it at all.
Playing second is a struggle, especially against big boards full of interruption. Backrow's particularly difficult, and you'll want to lean on Trap Trick to find sided cards like Heavy Storm Duster to start chipping away at your opponent's defenses. This is not the deck you want to be playing in a grind game, so decisive blowout cards like Evenly Matched are a tremendous help in leveling the playing field against Altergeists and Salamangreats.
Fun fact: your opponent can't Link Summon Salamangreat Balelynx if Buster Dragon is on the field. You'll find fun interactions like that in a surprising number of match-ups, where changing the type of your opponent's monsters can disrupt their ability to activate card effects or Special Summon monsters from the Extra Deck.
Destruction Swords aren't winning any awards for "Most Varied Gameplay" anytime soon, but the deck is much more focused and streamlined thanks to Protector Whelp of the Destruction Swordsman. Duel Overload has changed the competitive outlook of so many decks thanks to Crystron Halqifibrax, but the handful that benefit from both Halqifibrax and their new themed Link Monsters are in a particularly exciting place. This deck is one more solid card away from being frighteningly consistent, and I don't think it'll lose too much power even if Halqifibrax is Forbidden someday.
On that note, this deck's rather affordable if you're willing to play Borreload Savage Dragon over Apollousa, and Lost Wind over Infinite Impermanence. There's still plenty of space to explore here – don't forget that the engine itself is small enough to fit just about anywhere. I believe more hybrids are possible and just waiting to be discovered.
Until next time then