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Bringing Some Structure to Speed Duel GX: Duelists of Shadows

April 11th, 2023

Yesterday we introduced you to the Speed Duel GX: Duelists of Shadows box, and we talked about the Decks and Skill Cards for two of the main characters: alter ego Supreme King Jaden and former Duel Academy chairman Kagemaru. Eight characters have pre-built Decks in Duelists of Shadows, and 5 of them are Shadow Riders. The remaining 2 Shadow Riders are also getting Skill Cards, with many of their cards appearing in the extra additional cards included in Duelists of Shadows.

Today we’re looking at two of the Shadow Riders with full Decks: Nightshroud and Camula. Old school Duel fans may remember that this duo played Decks that echoed a pair of real-world releases in the Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG: Nightshroud’s Dragon Deck featured cards from Structure Deck: Dragon’s Roar, while Camula’s Vampire Deck played picks from Structure Deck: Zombie Madness. That’s right: these two devious Duelists piloted Decks that looked a lot like the first two Structure Decks in Yu-Gi-Oh! history, dating all the way back to 2005!

Fast forward to today and the Duelists of Shadows box comes with two pre-built Decks that modernize those old Structure Decks, with new cards and new Skills that make them fiercer than ever. Those Structure Decks never really made an impact in competitive Dueling, but the Speed Duel updates are a big step up. Here’s why.

Shadow Rider Nightshroud

Nightshroud’s Deck features the original boss monster from Dragon’s Roar, Red-Eyes Darkness Dragon (which you might find as a Secret Rare here in Duelists of Shadows). You can’t Normal Summon it: you have to Special Summon it by Tributing the original Red-Eyes Black Dragon. What do you get in return? Well, at Level 9 it’s got a few more Level stars than Joey’s iconic monster, but at 2400 ATK and 2000 DEF, its base stats are the same. It gains 300 ATK for each Dragon in your Graveyard. On its own, Red-Eyes Darkness Dragon was never really a game-changer. Don’t worry though, because in Duelists of Shadows it gains an ability that allows it to rule the duel!

For now, let’s talk about the rest of Nightshroud’s Deck. Since this strategy focuses on Red-Eyes Darkness Dragon it’s got a Red-Eyes Black Dragon for you to Tribute. It’s also got cards like Black Dragon’s Chick, Troop Dragon, and Totem Dragon to help you Summon it. But the real backbone of this strategy is just straight beatdown: monsters like Luster Dragon, Red-Eyes Wyvern and Spear Dragon offer raw Attack Points that can beat some of the most popular monsters in Speed Duels. And Wyvern and Spear Dragon also have effects that help you keep the pressure on your opponent.

The Spell and Trap lineup helps support that aggression: Stamping Destruction and Cosmic Cyclone clear your opponent’s Spells and Traps so you can make your attacks, Dragon’s Gunfire and Dragon’s Rage let you play through monsters, and you’ve even got Swing of Memories and Red-Eyes Spirit to keep your field strong. It’s a straightforward strategy backed by big numbers and some excellent Skill Cards.

Forged Steel is Nightshroud’s main Skill Card, and it’s recommended if you’re playing his Deck out of the box. Once per Duel during your Main Phase, it lets you change the name of any Red-Eyes monster or a Normal Dragon Monster you control, to “Red-Eyes Black Dragon.” That means you can use basically anything to Summon Red-Eyes Darkness Dragon. Then, for the rest of the Duel, each Red-Eyes Darkness Dragon you control gets a familiar effect: once per turn, you can Special Summon a Dragon from your Graveyard. Yes, Forged Steel basically turns Red-Eyes Darkness Dragon into Red-Eyes Darkness Metal Dragon, with a chance to have way higher Attack Points!

If you want to build your own Nightshroud Deck but you want a simpler strategy, the Dragon Force Skill might be for you: once per turn in your Main Phase, it lets you banish a Normal Dragon Monster from your Graveyard to make a Normal Dragon you control gain 200 ATK x the Level of the monster banished.  Then if it attacks a Defense Position monster that turn, you deal piercing battle damage to your opponent. If you love Spear Dragon you’ll love this thing, since it basically turns all of your best attackers into bigger Spear Dragons with more Attack Points.

Even just a simple monster like Luster Dragon jumps to 2700 ATK when you banish another Level 4, but banishing Red-Eyes Black Dragon gets it to 3300 ATK, and Blue-Eyes White Dragon could boost it to a whopping 3500 ATK. And the best part? You can do it every turn.

Shadow Rider Camula

Just like Nightshroud, Shadow Rider Camula’s sealed Deck revolves around a Structure Deck boss monster: in her case, Vampire Genesis. You have to control and banish the classic Zombie monster Vampire Lord to Special Summon Vampire Genesis from your hand. Search Vampire Genesis with Vampire Sorcerer or Vampire Familiar, then get to Vampire Lord with cards like Vampire Awakening. You can even load it to your Graveyard with Foolish Burial or Vampire’s Desire, then bring it back with Book of Life. Other Zombie-Type monsters such as Goblin Zombie and Zombina keep your field strong, combined with Special Summons from your monster effects and cards like Call of the Mummy.

The Vampire cards really shine in Speed Dueling, because you can make better use of some of their unique abilities. Vampire Lady, Vampire Lord, and even Goblin Zombie all have effects that send cards from your opponent’s Deck to their Graveyard. That doesn’t matter much in the regular Advanced Format, where Main Decks start at 40 cards. But in Speed Duel, where Decks hug the 20-card minimum, a few successful attacks can rob your opponent of some of their best options! You can literally just suck your opponent’s Deck dry and leave them with bad draws for the rest of the Duel.

Camula’s main Skill is Vampiric Aristocracy, and like Nightshroud’s Forged Steel it’s all about supporting her boss monster. Once per Duel in your Main Phase, you can change the name of any Zombie-type Vampire you control to “Vampire Lord” so you can banish it and Special Summon Vampire Genesis (which you can find as a Secret Rare). Then, whenever your Vampire Genesis deals battle damage to your opponent, you can take a card from their Graveyard and Set it to your field. It’s like a giant, hate-fueled monsterwith 3000 ATK, just taking all your opponent’s stuff until they lose.

Camula’s second Skill is called Delicious Morsel, and it fits really well with those Deck-disrupting effects: in the End Phase, if a Zombie Vampire monster you control dealt battle damage to your opponent that turn, you gain Life Points equal to half the total damage dealt, by any of your battling monsters that turn. The extra LP gives you a lot of freedom to play aggressively with attackers like Vampire Lady and Goblin Zombie, and makes it easier to pay Life Points for Vampire Familiar, Vampire Retainer, and Vampire’s Curse.

These two Speed Duel Decks are awesome updates for strategies originally released as Structure Decks. They also bring back some big fan-favorite monsters, from Red-Eyes Wyvern to Vampire Lord, and they’ve got some handy reprints for competitive Speed Duelists.

Join us tomorrow when we’ll look at two more Shadow Rider characters that get fully featured in Duelists of Shadows: Shadow Rider Tania with her Amazoness Deck, and Shadow Rider Titan with Archfiends!