Yu-Gi-Oh Duel Links: How The Shift To PC Delivers Strategy In Perfect Bursts

By Josh Brown 19 Dec 2017 0

Yu-Gi-Oh. You've probably heard of it. Whether you were cheering on the Dark Magician Girl during the recent Twitch anime marathon or playing at a local tournament, it's pretty easy to get into the card game itself. A true representation of complex strategy baked into a CCG, December wasn't the only time the series has come to PC, but it's certainly the biggest with Yu-Gi-Oh Duel Links already making a massive splash on mobile platforms before making the jump to PC.


Yu-Gi-Oh Duel Links squashes available card zones down to 6, chops maximum deck sizes to 30 (with 20 being recommended) and removes "Main Phase 2" that's typically used to lay the foundation of your next turn after an attack. What remains, however, isn't a card game that's a shell of its former self, but one that feels fast and addictive while maintaining its complicated core appeal to strategists who get a rush from turning a bad situation against their foes or just love to crush them in as little time as possible. But where do you start with what's essentially a freemium game months after its initial release? Duel Links has plenty of ways to have you battle the rest in no time.

Getting Started


Firing up Yu-Gi-Oh Duel Links for the first time is all you'll have to do to learn the ropes when it comes to the game itself. We won't get into teaching you the rules in here, but listen to the tutorials closely and you shouldn't have much trouble getting to grips with the idea; especially if you've played Hearthstone or Magic: The Gathering.

All you need is a decent understanding of each 'phase' of a duel and fairly basic math and reading skills to piece it all together. Read each card carefully, identify a common theme between them and build your deck around a matching strategy. My personal favorite at the minute revolves around summoning and destroying my own monsters to make my "Backfire" trap cards deal devastating damage; but others much opt for a more straight-forward 'brute force' approach or a deck that aims to pull of rapid and frequent monster fusions to summon powerful cards to surprise their opponent.

Earning Cards


As with any CCG, Yu-Gi-Oh: Duel Links begs you to amass a growing collection of cards; and more are being added all the time. As a freemium title, buying your way to the top is, technically, possible, but no amount of money spent can guarantee a player the best cards or ever hope to teach them a winning strategy – without knowing how to use them, all a pile of money will get you is heaps of seemingly useless virtual pictures and convoluted words.

I'm no pro by any stretch of the imagination, but I'm a good example of how to enjoy messing around in this game without spending a penny. Gems used to buy new 3-card packs may be difficult to attain for the wholly devoted, but Konami have littered the base game with numerous ways to amass a steady supply of this otherwise paid-for currency; from simply levelling with in-game objectives, participating in frequent events, or even introducing yourself to new strategies by solving pre-determined puzzles. There's no player-to-player trading available here to quickly grab the cards you want, but unneeded duplicates can be converted into type-specific currency and exchanged for regularly rotating options through the Card Trader; so keeping an eye on the game can certainly speed things along when it comes to building the deck of your dreams.

Characters award specific cards and additional gems as they level up, too, and with more characters being added on a semi-regular basis, there's always a number of ways to gather up the gems needed to try your luck without opening up your wallet. Log-in bonuses and various celebrations usually award the most in quick bursts, but on/off play certainly doesn't feel like a massive disadvantage thanks to all the different paths Konami have laid out for people to play catch-up.

Use All Available Resources

Konami gave Hideo Kojima the shaft when it came to their focus on single-player video games. We all know that. Adamant that the once great publisher would commit to recurring payment machines like mobile and pachinko, Yu-Gi-Oh Duel Links feels like a title that manage to avoid most of that corporate scare. A clear example of their shift to micro-transactions for sure, they haven't just sent this one out without a care in the world to farm the fans for all they're worth. Both their dedicated Twitter and Facebook feeds frequently publicise niche streamers, respond to questions, highlight cool strategies and help players discover more.

And it's a mutual feeling. Fans across forums and places like the game's own subreddit are a heaven to new and frequent players, with mini-guides, tips, and discussions popping up on a regular basis. Even in-game resources like the Street Replay feature and Deck Board encourage players to mix things up, try something new or tweak their current playstyle for even better results. Just a quick bit of googling can lead to fantastic inspiration, but resources both in and out of the game can offer the bigger picture. Much like any Esport or competitive format, digging up and watching a replay or stream highlights on places like Twitch and YouTube can offer insight and invaluable ideas for your next build.

There's a strong Beginner's Guide pinned to Reddit that still advocates using low-power plants with cartoon eyes as a potent, easy to learn starting point for people to aim for, too. It just goes to show how versatile this card game can be when cutesy plants can crush powerful dragons if you put your mind to it.

Don't Be Afraid To Try Something New


Throwing a stamina system into just about any F2P mobile game is typically seen as either a way to have hardcore players pay out to carry on at their usual pace, or as a way to moderate playtimes and keep 99% of the playerbase on equal footing. Some can be far harsher with these allowances, but Yu-Gi-Oh Duel Links is quite soft. Farming objectives and opponents for a chance at better prizes certainly is a route you can take, but the only limit imposed through a timer is how many weak NPCs spawn on the world map.

The timer is relatively short and you'll rarely see it hit 0 thanks to how easy it is to level up your 'Stage' and automatically regenerate the full amount, so burning through these less taxing battles are a great way to test out deck strategies that are still in their infancy.

Building a deck isn't as straight-forward as picking out 20-30 cards and heading into ranked PvP battles. Struggling to cut down a deck to its recommended size is a problem even the best run into when zeroing in on a new strategy. Carving out a rough idea of a new deck and testing it out in NPC duels of various levels can, and will, help you test for consistency in card pulls, memorize card effects, and piece together any potential strategies and combos you might have otherwise missed by simply laying your cards out flat rather than putting them into practice.

Figure out a strategy you want to run with, farm the gems needed to grab those cards from their packs and test out your game against countless NPC opponents before moving onto the real deal. It's that easy. Play for 5 minutes or 5 hours and you'll have flexed and flaunted your brain one way or another. Every card description you read lends itself to another viable strategy, and there's no end in sight.



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