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Deck Construction: Monster Ratios

January 26th, 2010

It’s safe to say that monsters win games in the Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG. Having many powerful monsters in your Deck is a good thing, but how many is too many? Sometimes, you might have too many monsters in your Deck, or lots of monsters that are hard to Summon, and getting the right balance of Monster Cards in your Deck is one of the first things that many players learn to do.

The important thing you need to know about Monster Cards is that you can only Normal Summon or Set 1 monster per turn. That means, if you’ve got a hand with a lot of monsters in it, you won’t be able to play many cards this turn. When building your Deck, you need to keep this in mind, and try to balance out the number of monsters you want in your hand to the number of Spells and Traps you want. Most Duelists play about 20 monsters or so in their Decks, which means you should have a monster to Summon right away on your first turn, and almost always have one ready when you need another. This also means that your Deck has about 20 Spell or Trap Cards, and you can play as many of them as you want per turn to protect your monsters.

Stronger monsters can be harder to Summon.

Stronger monsters can be harder to Summon.

Another thing to watch out for when you’ve selected what monsters you want to add to your Deck is how many of them require Tributes to be Normal Summoned. Lots of high-Level monsters are very strong, but are harder to use because you need to Tribute monsters you already control to Summon them. If your Deck is full of monsters like this, you won’t be able to Summon many of them, since you won’t have smaller monsters in your Deck to use as Tributes. A good idea would be to play more low-Level monsters than high Level ones. That way, if one of them survives long enough, you can use it to Tribute Summon a bigger monster later on.

Use Special Summons to set up your Tribute Summons.

Use Special Summons to set up your Tribute Summons.

The kinds of monsters you use in your Deck is also important. If you’re planning on using a Deck like Monarchs, which has about 6-7 monsters that need to be Tribute Summoned, you’ll want to have a lower Level monster on your side of the field all the time. Some monsters like “Mystic Tomato” and “Gravekeeper’s Spy” can Special Summon other monsters from the Deck with their effects, which will make it easier for you to Summon your Monarchs when it’s your turn again. They also cut down the number of cards left in your Deck, which means you’ve got a greater chance of drawing key cards like your Monarchs, or other powerful cards like “Heavy Storm,” when it’s your turn again. If you’ve got your “Mystic Tomatoes” on the field, you won’t draw them, and you might draw something better, instead! This is called “deck thinning.” It means you’re taking cards that are just there to be Summoned (like the “Mystic Tomatoes”) and Summoning them from the Deck, so that you never have to draw them.

If you’re using a Deck based around Summoning lots of Synchro Monsters, you’ll also need to find the right balance between Tuners and non-Tuners in your Deck. If you’ve got too many Tuners, you might not be able to Synchro Summon since you don’t have any non-Tuners to go with them. The same applies if you only control non-Tuners and want to Synchro Summon.

Some Spell and Trap Cards are like drawing a monster.

Some Spell and Trap Cards are like drawing a monster.

Depending on the type of Deck you’re using, there are some Spell and Trap cards out there that can get monsters from your Deck to your Hand or field a lot quicker. If you’re using a Deck with a lot of Warrior-Type monsters, you should consider using “Reinforcement of the Army,” which lets you add a Level 4 or lower Warrior to your hand.  If you’re playing a Lightsworn Deck, then you can use “Charge of the Light Brigade,” which does the same thing, but for Lightsworn monsters instead.

Building a powerful Deck takes a lot of practice, and requires everything to balance up well. Getting the monster ratios right is only the start, but it’s one of the most important things to look out for.

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