Any Deck Can Beat Any Deck

When it comes to Yu-Gi-Oh!, there are so many different decks a player can choose from.

And luckily because there are many different decks, a player can find one that fits their style, and they can make their deck however they want. That’s one of the beauties of this game.

But when it comes to playing the game, this is where you may come to a fork in the road.

If you ask a player if your deck can do well against other decks, you may receive different responses depending on the player you’re asking.

If you were to ask a casual player, they may say, “your deck can win, as long as you believe in the Heart of the Cards!”

But if you ask this question to a “competitive” player, they may say, “Your deck sucks. If you want to do well, you need to play these decks.”

Now the latter doesn’t seem all that comforting, and is probably what many players do not like about this game.

However, I would argue that both the former and the latter statements are correct, but at the same time incorrect.

From my perspective, any deck can beat any deck. Of course, though, there are some important elements that play a factor in this.

Some of them are things in our control. The others are not, but by learning about them, we can come to a better understanding on how they work.

Before we start, let me be clear here. This is not advice, but my opinion and view on the subject. Feel free to use this piece of information however you like.

1. Building a Good Deck For the Right Environment

Old SD vs New SD

Now when I’m saying any deck can beat any deck, I’m not saying your Yugi or Kaiba starter deck from 2002 can beat the best deck in today’s world. What I meant is: your deck can beat any deck, if you build it right.

When it comes to looking at a casual player’s deck, I would agree with the more competitive players, most of the time, when they say it is a bad deck.

If you’re going to be playing in tournaments, whether it is a YCS or locals, you need to build a good deck that has: a clear goal, a consistent way of achieving that goal, and uses cards that can compliment each other.

Meaning, you cannot not mix a Blue-Eyes deck with a Dark Magician deck and expect it to work out somehow. They have no synergy together.

You need to have an idea on what you want your deck to do.

Obviously, you want to try and win, but how exactly do you want to win?

Do you want to summon a bunch of big beaters and just run over your opponent?

Or, one big monster that’s near impossible to get rid of?

Or, do you want to play the slow and steady game and stun out your opponent?

One example is, say, summoning out Blue-Eyes Chaos MAX Dragon and using its double piercing damage effect to win the duel.

Once you have a clear goal on what it is you want to achieve with your deck, you then need to find the right cards that can help achieve that goal.

And be honest with yourself when you know a card is bad. No matter what you do or say, it isn’t going to make that card become a good card.

If you have a bad card you like, then either put it in storage, frame it or turn it into a piece of jewelry because it’s not gonna be winning you any duels.

However, just building a good deck is only a start. The next thing you need to do is build your deck for the right environment.

Let’s be clear here, there’s no such thing as a perfect deck.

No matter how hard we try, we cannot be prepared for every little situation the moment it happens.

That is like trying to prepare for a fight that doesn’t exist.

Instead, all we can do is adapt to the environment we’re in and make any changes where they are needed, like how the seasons change.

Now what do I mean when I refer to the “environment”? I’m referring to where you’re going to be playing Yu-Gi-Oh!

If you’re going to a local card store, sometimes the people there will be playing the best decks that currently exist.

Others might be playing other decks that are either lower tier decks, or decks they just like in general.

If you’re focusing on just that environment, then if you can build your deck to anticipate and prepare for some of the decks you know you’ll be facing there, you’ll have yourself a really good deck.

We’ve seen this happen before. One example is YCS Niagara from 2022.

In the event, the deck that was performing the best was Tearlaments, which is a deck that can easily recycle back its monsters and get a Fusion Monster out of it.

This deck was capable of outperforming just about any other deck that existed.

However, the player that won this event, Raymon Dai, was playing a deck called Exosister. A deck that wasn’t considered to be one of the best decks.

This deck had a gimmick that required your opponent to move a card out of the GY (Graveyard), which was not considered good since it involved relying on your opponent, and why would your opponent want to do something that benefited you?

But it was the right deck for this event since the best deck, Tearlaments, relied on moving cards out of their GY so much that they couldn’t just choose not to do it.

It also helped that not many players at the time understood how the Exosister deck worked, or how to deal with it. (You can read more about this in this article from TCGPlayer Infinite)

After this event, did this make Exosister the new best deck? No. Not by a long shot. Tearlaments was still the best deck.

But you can see that a low tier deck is capable of beating out some of the best decks.

You just need to pick the right deck for the present moment, build it right, and make sure you build it for the right environment.

Had this player brought Exosister to a local tournament, there’s no guarantee that he would’ve easily won it since he built the deck with the goal of beating out Tearlaments specifically, which was perfect for YCS Niagara.

Not for a tournament where players would be playing who knows what.

2. Player’s Knowledge and Skill

Veteran vs Average

Something that players tend to forget about when playing against top tier decks is the player that’s piloting it.

We have to remember it’s not just the deck we’re facing, but the player behind the deck.

The reason this is important is because the person playing the deck is human. Which means they are prone to making mistakes.

Try as we might, we can’t always avoid making mistakes, and these mistakes can cost us games sometimes.

And that’s the part we can use to our advantage.

When players are getting ready to deal with other decks, they’re usually focused on preparing for decks that are considered to be the best.

Which means they aren’t focusing on a lower tier deck like ours.

This gives us the element of surprise since they won’t always know what our cards do, or what cards we will be playing in our deck.

Sure they can make some accurate guesses on what cards we might be playing, but that’s all they will be, just guesses.

Best part of all, they aren’t always going to know how to deal with our deck.

I once played against a player at my locals who was playing one of the new top tier decks, which was without a doubt better than the deck I was playing, and clearly he has practiced a lot with it.

Once the dust settled though, I came out as the victor.

After the duel, we talked about the games we played, and while I talked about how some of my plays got the best of him, he explained it was mostly because he didn’t know how to deal with my deck.

He had practiced to face the other top tier decks, but not my deck.

Me, though, I had anticipated facing a deck like his, learned how to deal with it, and figured out which of my cards worked against his and which didn’t.

Granted, if we keep facing the same deck over and over again, we will come to learn how it works and adjust our deck to deal with it.

But in those first few moments, we will have the element of surprise.

YGO Champion

Another thing to consider about the player is their skill level.

Figuring out how their skills in the game when compared to others helps us determine how they will play the game.

If their skill level is low, then they won’t always know what’s the correct play to make.

If their skill level is high though, we may have to anticipate the best plays they could make and prepare for them.

The point is: if a player’s skill level is low, and they’re playing one of the top tier decks, then there’s a chance they won’t make the most optimal play, and/or won’t know what cards to side into.

If their skill level is high though, we may have to use certain cards that keep them from getting the upper hand on us. Like floodgates. (Say what you want, but if they get us the win, it’s worth it.)

3. Luck of the Draw

As I’m sure you’re aware, luck plays a factor in this game. Most notably when we have to draw a card from our deck.

That’s why players work so hard on making their deck consistent, so that when they draw their opening hand, they have a chance to make a play.

However, if there’s one thing that is guaranteed to happen at some point, it’s drawing into a bad hand.

No matter how hard we work on our decks, we will have to draw a bad hand at some point.

But that also means that our opponent will have to draw into a bad hand as well at some point.

If they do, and we open a good hand, then that gives us a chance to win.

Something players tend to forget, or neglect, is the probability of drawing into a bad hand.

Sure, good players will make sure that the probability is more favored towards the cards they want to see than the cards they don’t want to see, but that doesn’t mean the least favorable outcome won’t happen.

If the probability isn’t zero, then there’s always a chance for it to happen.

And sometimes, the least desirable hand a player could ask for can happen more than once. Even shortly after the last one.

I once played in the finals of a local tournament where my opponent opened with three copies of a card he did not want to see multiples of.

I quickly took that game, and as we were preparing for the next game, my opponent made sure to keep those three cards separate from each other so he didn’t draw them all again.

Once the next game started, he drew all three copies of the same card again.

I’m not saying this always happens – I haven’t experienced a moment like that in years – but I have experienced moments where my opponent doesn’t open with the most optimal hand and vice versa.

Try to look at this like flipping a coin. If you flipped a coin 50 out of 100 times and they all come up heads, does that mean all the rest will be tails?

Obviously not. No matter the results, the next coin toss will still be 50/50.

There’s no guarantee that the rest will be heads as well, but that doesn’t mean it won’t happen either.

Again, as long as the probability is not zero, there’s always the chance for it to happen.

While the luck of the draw may not sound like the best way to win, a win is still a win, so take what you can get.

4. Focus On the Present, Not the Future

Be Present

One thing I think people are too heavily focused on is the future.

When they look at a deck and what it can do, they are focusing on how it will perform against some of the best decks in upcoming events, and that’s understandable why.

Players are always looking for the next best thing.

However, we’re not talking about tournaments. We’re talking about how it’s going to perform right now in the duel it’s in.

If you are just looking to play whatever deck it is you like, then don’t focus so much on what might happen against certain decks.

Do have plans for them, but don’t worry about what’s going to happen.

You are not looking to play against the same deck multiple times throughout the day.

You are simply playing against what’s sitting across from you at the very moment.

Focusing on the future does you no good since you have no control over it.

All you control is how you play in the present moment.

Stop focusing on the things you can’t control and focus on what you can control. From there, just enjoy the present moment.


Overall, any deck is capable of beating any deck.

You have to make sure that you know what your deck’s goal is, have a clear and consistent way to get to that goal, and use cards that compliment each other.

Make sure you build it not only for how the game is played in the present moment, but also for the right environment you’ll be using it in.

Know what it is you will be facing and build accordingly for them.

If you’re playing a deck that’s not well known, then your opponent may not know how to deal with it, which gives you the element of surprise, for the time being.

Also, try to learn and determine a player’s skill level.

There’s always a good chance they don’t fully understand certain things or know the right play to perform, which you can use to your advantage. (One of my favorite advantages against players of lower skill level is knowing and understanding the advance rules of the game to catch them off guard.)

And remember: luck does play a factor in this game.

While we do our best to make sure we’re always seeing the right cards we want, consistently, it’s never guaranteed that it’s going to happen.

If we get the chance to open a good hand and our opponent doesn’t, or if their draw for turn was poor, then we take that opportunity that has presented itself.

Lastly, just focus on the present moment and enjoy it.

We cannot control what’s going to happen in the future, so why bother focusing on it? Focus on the here and now and you will go on well.

Again, all of this is not advice, but my opinion and view on the subject. Take whatever I say here with a grain of salt.

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