Remember when you'd Normal Summon Elemental HERO Prisma, send Dark Magician from your deck to your graveyard, activate Thousand Knives, and attack for 1700 damage?

You might laugh now, but man, those were the days!

Dark Magician and the decks based around it have come a long way over the years, and I mean an extremely, almost unbelievably long way. product-hover id="228256" arrives next week, and Dark Magician is one of the set's chase Ghost Rares. He's one of the pack-front cover monsters too, along with Blue-Eyes Alternative White Dragon and Black Luster Soldier - Soldier of Chaos, modern updates of some of the game's most popular monsters.

Needless to say, it's all been a heavy hit of nostalgia: I was pumped to see Dark Magician get that royal treatment. He deserves the spotlight, as well as all those amazing cards that back him up. Today we're going to put them to work in a new build.

So Easy, It's Like Magic

One of the biggest strengths of the Dark Magician deck is that you can search pretty much everything in it, either to your hand, or directly to your field via Special Summon. That wasn't always the case, but these days there aren't many exceptions. The two effects of Soul Servant basically function as an upgraded version of Reinforcement of the Army, getting you the card you need and sometimes drawing extra cards in the process.

All in all, there are so many options that it can be difficult to figure out what to run. It's rare that a theme has so many cards that are this useful. Dark Magician decks have the capacity to break boards and put tons of big monsters on the field really easily, but it's usually better to focus on disrupting your opponent than overwhelming them with sheer force. It's not like Quintet Magician is easy to summon, y'all.

Trust me, I wanted to play almost every Dark Magician card that exists when I started working on this deck, but some of the cards here turn from "neat" in fringe situations, to "oh my gosh I am so stupid why am I stupid enough to play this card" if you draw them when you don't control Dark Magician on the field. Trust me, I've been there. In the end that was the dividing line that helped me decide which cards to leave on the cutting room floor.

One card that I'll heavily defend is Dark Magic Attack. Yes, drawing it naturally is about as fun as walking face-first into a beehive, but whether you're competitive or casual, a searchable card that lets you deal with backrow-heavy decks is nothing to scoff at. Soul Servant and Eternal Soul both get you Dark Magic Attack for free, and I've lost more games because I couldn't get to it, than I have from drawing it prematurely.

Check out which cards made the cut.

Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG Deck - The Best Dark Magician Deck by Loukas Peterson

'The Best Dark Magician Deck' - constructed deck list and prices for the Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card Game from TCGplayer Infinite!

Created By: Loukas Peterson

Event:

Rank:

Advanced

Market Price: $924.13

Cards

Solemn Strike

Market Price: $4.42

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/212679_200w.jpg

When a monster(s) would be Special Summoned, OR a monster effect is activated: Pay 1500 LP; negate the Summon or activation, and if you do, destroy that card.

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Called by the Grave

Market Price: $1.97

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/166373_200w.jpg

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.

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Dark Magic Attack

Market Price: $0.20

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/77819_200w.jpg

You can only activate this card while there is a face-up Dark Magician on your side of the field. Destroy all Spell and Trap Cards on your opponent''s side of the field.

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Dark Magician Girl

Market Price: $0.32

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/206967_200w.jpg

Gains 300 ATK for every "Dark Magician" or "Magician of Black Chaos" in the GY.


This promotional card is printed in Japanese.

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Red-Eyes Black Dragon

Market Price: $1.13

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/228099_200w.jpg

A ferocious dragon with a deadly attack.

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Accesscode Talker

Market Price: $101.35

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/213365_200w.jpg

2+ Effect Monsters

Your opponent cannot activate cards or effects in response to this card's effect activations. If this card is Link Summoned: You can target 1 Link Monster that was used as material for its Link Summon; this card gains ATK equal to that monster's Link Rating x 1000. You can banish 1 Link Monster from your field or GY; destroy 1 card your opponent controls, also for the rest of this turn, you cannot banish monsters with that same Attribute to activate this effect of "Accesscode Talker".

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Magicians' Souls

Market Price: $99.58

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/206970_200w.jpg

You can send up to 2 Spells/Traps from your hand and/or field to the GY; draw that many cards. If this card is in your hand: You can send 1 Level 6 or higher Spellcaster monster from your Deck to the GY, then activate 1 of these effects;

• Special Summon this card.
• Send this card to the GY, then, you can Special Summon 1 "Dark Magician" or 1 "Dark Magician Girl" from your GY.
You can only use each effect of "Magicians' Souls" once per turn.

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Dark Magician

Market Price: $0.34

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/77787_200w.jpg

This promotional card is printed in Japanese.

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Linkuriboh

Market Price: $2.50

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/227561_200w.jpg

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.

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Magicalized Fusion

Market Price: $1.33

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/191043_200w.jpg

Fusion Summon 1 Spellcaster Fusion Monster from your Extra Deck, by banishing materials from your field or GY. You can only activate 1 "Magicalized Fusion" per turn.

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Red-Eyes Fusion

Market Price: $3.52

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/144954_200w.jpg

Fusion Summon 1 Fusion Monster that lists a "Red-Eyes" monster as Material from your Extra Deck, using monsters from your hand, Deck, or field as Fusion Materials, and if you do, its name becomes "Red-Eyes B. Dragon". You cannot Normal or Special Summon other monsters the turn you activate this card. You can only activate 1 "Red-Eyes Fusion" per turn.

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Eternal Soul

Market Price: $1.20

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/186942_200w.jpg

Every "Dark Magician" in your Monster Zone is unaffected by your opponent's card effects. If this face-up card leaves the field: Destroy all monsters you control. You can only use the following effect of "Eternal Soul" once per turn. You can activate 1 of these effects;

• Special Summon 1 "Dark Magician" from your hand or GY.
• Add 1 "Dark Magic Attack" or "Thousand Knives" from your Deck to your hand.

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Magicians' Combination

Market Price: $3.43

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/206975_200w.jpg

Once per turn, when a card or effect is activated (except during the Damage Step): You can Tribute 1 "Dark Magician" or 1 "Dark Magician Girl"; Special Summon 1 "Dark Magician" or 1 "Dark Magician Girl" from your hand or GY, with a different name from the Tributed monster, and if you do, negate that activated effect. If this face-up card is sent from the Spell & Trap Zone to the GY: You can destroy 1 card on the field.

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Dark Magical Circle

Market Price: $0.63

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/206980_200w.jpg

When this card is activated: Look at the top 3 cards of your Deck, then you can reveal 1 "Dark Magician" or 1 Spell/Trap that specifically lists the card "Dark Magician" in its text, among them, and add it to your hand, also place the remaining cards on top of your Deck in any order. If "Dark Magician" is Normal or Special Summoned to your field (except during the Damage Step): You can target 1 card your opponent controls; banish it. You can only use each effect of "Dark Magical Circle" once per turn.

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Magician's Rod

Market Price: $0.57

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/206979_200w.jpg

When this card is Normal Summoned: You can add 1 Spell/Trap from your Deck to your hand, that specifically lists the card "Dark Magician" in its text. During your opponent's turn, if you activate a Spell/Trap Card or effect while this card is in your GY (except during the Damage Step): You can Tribute 1 Spellcaster monster; add this card to your hand. You can only use each effect of "Magician's Rod" once per turn.

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Apprentice Illusion Magician

Market Price: $9.48

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/206977_200w.jpg

You can Special Summon this card (from your hand) by discarding 1 card. If this card is Normal or Special Summoned: You can add 1 "Dark Magician" from your Deck to your hand. During damage calculation, if your other DARK Spellcaster monster battles an opponent's monster (Quick Effect): You can send this card from your hand or face-up from your field to the GY; that monster you control gains 2000 ATK/DEF during that damage calculation only.

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Secrets of Dark Magic

Market Price: $0.68

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/206973_200w.jpg

Activate 1 of the following effects.

? Fusion Summon 1 Fusion Monster from your Extra Deck, using monsters from your hand or field, including "Dark Magician" or "Dark Magician Girl", as Fusion Material.
? Ritual Summon 1 Ritual Monster from your hand, by Tributing monsters from your hand or field, including "Dark Magician" or "Dark Magician Girl", whose total Levels equal or exceed the Level of the Ritual Monster.

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Ash Blossom & Joyous Spring

Market Price: $20.26

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/184763_200w.jpg

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.

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Predaplant Verte Anaconda

Market Price: $43.69

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/210229_200w.jpg

2 Effect Monsters

You can target 1 face-up monster on the field; it becomes DARK until the end of this turn. You can pay 2000 LP and send 1 "Fusion" or "Polymerization" Normal or Quick-Play Spell from your Deck to the GY; this effect becomes that Spell's effect when that card is activated, also, you cannot Special Summon monsters for the rest of this turn. You can only use each effect of "Predaplant Verte Anaconda" once per turn.

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Solemn Judgment

Market Price: $3.02

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/59171_200w.jpg

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.

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Norito the Moral Leader

Market Price: $0.27

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/115859_200w.jpg

2 Level 6 Spellcaster-Type monsters

Once per turn, during either player's turn, when your opponent activates a Spell/Trap Card: You can detach 1 Xyz Material from this card; negate the activation, and if you do, destroy it.

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Magician Navigation

Market Price: $0.70

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/206982_200w.jpg

Special Summon 1 "Dark Magician" from your hand, then Special Summon 1 Level 7 or lower DARK Spellcaster monster from your Deck. If you control "Dark Magician", except the turn this card was sent to the GY: You can banish this card from your GY, then target 1 face-up Spell/Trap your opponent controls; negate its effects until the end of this turn.

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Link Spider

Market Price: $2.62

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/170227_200w.jpg

1 Normal Monster

Once per turn: You can Special Summon 1 Level 4 or lower Normal Monster from your hand to your zone this card points to.

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The Dark Magicians

Market Price: $66.23

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/206969_200w.jpg

"Dark Magician" or "Dark Magician Girl" + 1 Spellcaster monster

Once per turn, if a Spell/Trap Card or effect is activated (except during the Damage Step): You can draw 1 card, then if it was a Spell/Trap, you can Set it, and if it was a Trap or Quick-Play Spell, you can activate it this turn. If this card is destroyed: You can Special Summon both 1 "Dark Magician" and 1 "Dark Magician Girl" from your hand, Deck, and/or GY.

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Imduk the World Chalice Dragon

Market Price: $0.23

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/174881_200w.jpg

1 Normal Monster, except a Token

During your Main Phase, you can Normal Summon 1 "World Chalice" monster in addition to your Normal Summon/Set. (You can only gain this effect once per turn.) At the start of the Damage Step, if this card battles an opponent's monster this card points to: You can destroy that opponent's monster. If this card is sent from the field to the GY: You can Special Summon 1 "World Chalice" monster from your hand.

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Soul Servant

Market Price: $24.10

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/206971_200w.jpg

Place 1 card on top of the Deck from your hand, Deck, or GY, that is "Dark Magician" or specifically lists "Dark Magician" or "Dark Magician Girl" in its text, except "Soul Servant". During your Main Phase: You can banish this card from your GY; draw cards equal to the number of "Palladium" monsters, "Dark Magician", and/or "Dark Magician Girl", with different names, on the field and in the GYs. You can only use this effect of "Soul Servant" once per turn.

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Selene, Queen of the Master Magicians

Market Price: $12.29

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/210222_200w.jpg

2+ monsters, including a Spellcaster monster

If this card is Link Summoned: Place Spell Counters on this card, equal to the number of Spells on the field and in the GYs. While an "Endymion" card(s) is on the field, your opponent's monsters cannot target this card for attacks. Once per turn, during the Main Phase (Quick Effect): You can remove 3 Spell Counters from your field; Special Summon 1 Spellcaster monster from your hand or GY in Defense Position, to your zone this card points to.

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Red-Eyes Flare Metal Dragon

Market Price: $1.80

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/123607_200w.jpg

2 Level 7 monsters

Cannot be destroyed by card effects while it has Xyz Material. While this card has Xyz Material, each time your opponent activates a card or effect, inflict 500 damage to your opponent immediately after it resolves. Once per turn, during either player's turn: You can detach 1 Xyz Material from this card, then target 1 "Red-Eyes" Normal Monster in your Graveyard; Special Summon it.

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Red-Eyes Dark Dragoon

Market Price: $78.60

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/220554_200w.jpg

"Dark Magician" + "Red-Eyes Black Dragon" or 1 Dragon Effect Monster

Cannot be destroyed by card effects. Neither player can target this card with card effects. During your Main Phase: You can destroy 1 monster your opponent controls, and if you do, inflict damage to your opponent equal to that monster's original ATK. You can use this effect a number of times per turn up to the number of Normal Monsters used as Fusion Material for this card. Once per turn, when a card or effect is activated (Quick Effect): You can discard 1 card; negate the activation, and if you do, destroy that card, and if you do that, this card gains 1000 ATK.

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Knightmare Unicorn

Market Price: $0.99

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/228687_200w.jpg

2+ monsters with different names

If this card is Link Summoned: You can discard 1 card, then target 1 card on the field; return it to the Deck, 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 Unicorn" once per turn. While any co-linked "Knightmare" monsters are on the field, for your normal draw in your Draw Phase, draw 1 card for each different card name among those co-linked "Knightmare" monsters, instead of drawing just 1 card.

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Relinquished Anima

Market Price: $13.91

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/210261_200w.jpg

1 Level 1 monster, except a Token

You can target 1 face-up monster this card points to; equip that face-up monster to this card (max. 1). You can only use this effect of "Relinquished Anima" once per turn. This card gains ATK equal to that equipped monster's.

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Ebon Illusion Magician

Market Price: $13.83

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/119256_200w.jpg

2 Level 7 monsters

You can also Xyz Summon this card by using a Rank 6 Spellcaster-Type Xyz Monster you control as the Xyz Material. (Xyz Materials attached to that monster also become Xyz Materials on this card.) Once per turn: You can detach 1 Xyz Material from this card; Special Summon 1 Spellcaster-Type Normal Monster from your hand or Deck. When a Spellcaster-Type Normal Monster declares an attack: You can target 1 card your opponent controls; banish it. You can only use this effect of "Ebon Illusion Magician" once per turn.

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Knightmare Phoenix

Market Price: $0.50

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/228688_200w.jpg

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.

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It's important to understand where this type of deck stands in the spectrum of Yu-Gi-Oh deck building: Dark Magician isn't really a combo deck. Yeah, there are cards that offer combo-type play sequences, but for the deck's entire history, the strategy's revolved around placing Dark Magician or a Dark Magician proxy on the field and going from there. That's different from how most modern combo decks work; you'll do better with it if you adjust your mindset.

In ye olden days, succeeding with this strategy meant activating something like Thousand Knives. But today it's more about combining Dark Magical Circle and Eternal Soul for multiple Dark Magician summons, popping cards each turn in a relentless flurry of destruction.

Like I said, we've come a long way.

Ignoring Red-Eyes Dark Dragoon for a second, you'll want to establish control of the board with Dark Magician as fast as possible, which usually means sending Dark Magician to the graveyard and reviving it with Eternal Soul.

Magicians' Souls is one of the best ways to do that early on: you'll Special Summon it from your hand by sending Dark Magician from your deck to the graveyard, then use Magicians' Souls other effect to trade away spells and traps for more draws, hunting for Dark Magical Circle or Eternal Soul.

That's also why Magician's Rod is so important to the deck. You're dead in the water if you can't start bringing back Dark Magician to banish cards on the field with Dark Magical Circle, so it's best to have another way to search the spells and traps you need. The deck's a slow burn, but it snowballs out of control really quickly, and seeing the right mix of cards in the early game is the key to unlocking the deck's success.

The biggest problem is that once your opponent gets familiar, the strategy can become pretty predictable. By no means is Dark Magical Circle bad, but it's not exactly a surprise when it banishes yet another card, turn after turn.

Ultimately that's why I like Magicians' Combination: it adds some variety to the deck and opens up some other options. The goal is to get Dark Magician on the field as quickly as possible, and Magicians' Combination is the extra spice that your opponent won't see coming. I've had to re-read the card a dozen times to really get it, but the gist is that it's basically a counter to anything.

And hey, if you're going to play Dark Magician Girl to capitalize on Soul Servant, you might as well go big, right? Magicians' Combination an added layer of protection for your field, and barring the luckiest hand, your opponent won't be able to play through your myriad of responses.

Worst case scenario, you should be able to survive with Solemn Judgment, Solemn Strike, and Ash Blossom & Joyous Spring. Hey, we can't have Dark Magician flavored cards for everything, right?

The Question Of Dragoon

I don't think it's a secret that Red-Eyes Dark Dragoon is one of the scariest cards to deal with right now, and Dark Magician decks can take full advantage of it… if you have the cards to do so.

It might be a controversial choice, but this deck is one of the best places for Red-Eyes Dark Dragoon to shine. Most strategies that want to run it bank on Predaplant Verte Anaconda ability to mimic Red-Eyes Fusion, sticking you with three cards in your deck that you don't want to actually play: a Dark Magician, a Red-Eyes Fusion, and a Red-Eyes Black Dragon.

Dark Magician baked into the cake on this one, and that means hard drawing Red-Eyes Fusion isn't a bad thing. You'll just activate it, putting a Dark Magician into the graveyard where you want it anyway for plays later on. The only "bad" card is Red-Eyes Black Dragon, and avoiding one card is easier than avoiding three. The math doesn't lie on this one: it's a match made in heaven.

I considered running Keeper of Dragon Magic over Red-Eyes Black Dragon to ensure your dead draw had some use, but I found it weakened the deck overall . If I wanted another Normal Summon that fed into something cool, I'd be better off with Spellbook Magician of Prophecy, World Chalice Guardragon, or even The Black Stone of Legend; they open up interesting possibilities for deck thinning, recursion, Red-Eyes Dark Dragoon fodder, and Xyz plays.

But yeah, those ideas really take us off the beaten path. Let's just stick to Red-Eyes Black Dragon for now.

To see Red-Eyes Dark Dragoon faster, fielding multiple monsters for Predaplant Verte Anaconda or accelerating through your deck to draw Red-Eyes Fusion should be a priority. There are tons of ways to put two monsters on the field, but in keeping things as close to pure Dark Magicians as possibly, Magicians' Souls and Apprentice Illusion Magician seemed the best.

To reiterate: you want to summon Dark Magician as early as possible. You don't want it enough to play Illusion Magic, but you want Dark Magician on the field, in your hand, or in your graveyard before Turn 1 even starts. Magicians' Souls and Apprentice Illusion Magician do that, so in a vacuum they're objectively good cards here. The fact that you can summon them for free to make Predaplant Verte Anaconda is what clinches their spots in this deck. Between that, and the option hard draw Red-Eyes Fusion, Red-Eyes Dark Dragoon really consistent it here, and it helps lock in your snowballing control over the duel once it's in place.

A Spellbinding Finale?

Because this deck largely functions as a control strategy, you don't have a lot of flashy ways to end the game. Whether your swinging on an open field, or you're just shotgunning damage because time's about to be called for the round, sometimes throwing all your cards on the table is a necessary evil and you just have to hope it works out.

And no, stop asking me to play Quintet Magician, you'll never actually summon it.

Since Magicians' Souls alone takes this deck well out of budget territory, I figured we might as well go big. Having Accesscode Talker in your back pocket is great way to finish the game if you've reached down far enough, and it helps you build off the Link potential of things like Apprentice Illusion Magician and Magicians' Souls. After all, you need to follow up Predaplant Verte Anaconda somehow, right?

Selene, Queen of the Master Magicians fits is your segue into Accesscode Talker but since Accesscode Talker isn't always what you need, Selene's a double threat that can revive any ol' Spellcaster you see fit.

Red-Eyes Dark Dragoon, anyone?

And I know I keep circling back to Apprentice Illusion Magician, but she once again comes in clutch thanks to her secondary effect. A boost of 2000 ATK and DEF can be huge, and lets Dark Magician punch over almost anything, even an opposing buffed up Red-Eyes Dark Dragoon.

I can't wait to see the Dark Magician (Ghost Rare) in real life. I want it almost as much as I want to see a Magicians' Souls reprint! But if you have the cards, definitely give this deck a try - it's a blast!

Just remember: beat your opponents before they beat you.

-Loukas Peterson