UPDATED FOR FEBRUARY 2023
Yu-Gi-Oh’s competitive scene is as diverse as ever, with a wide variety of archetypes and strategies achieving victories in tournaments.
Regardless of if you have $100 or $1000 to spend, there is a deck out there that can allow you to challenge anyone in your area.
Dozens of budget decks exist but they’re only viable in casual duels against friends. Instead, this list will focus on the 10 best decks you can build in Yu-Gi-Oh right now!
Note: prices are for the deck/archetypes cores and doesn’t include prices for cards such as hand-traps, which can be expensive.
If you’re looking for competitive budget staples, I have created the best list of Yu-Gi-Oh staples on the internet.
10) Dragon Link
Arguably the most fun deck to use on this entire list, yet one of the most expensive.
Dragon Link decks utilise the fast summoning and recycling of Rokkets & Dragonmaids to summon powerful extra deck monsters.
The linked deck list is based around Borrelend Dragon which isn’t actually released in the TCG yet, but you can run that same deck without it. Simply add Borrelend when it is released.
One of the best aspects of Dragon Link is its versatility. You can edit it to include more twilight cards or more Dragonmaids, etc. You could even implement a Blue-Eyes strategy as they are soon to receive some incredible new support.
9) Virtual World
One of the craziest archetypes for summoning monsters, Virtual World cards love to spam the field with Psychic-type effect monsters.
A strong extra deck is required to make full use of such resources. Plenty of Virtual World XYZ/Synchro monsters exist but a few good staples will also be needed.
Alongside these big extra deck monsters are hand-traps for disruption, you really can’t let your opponent build up a board as that is what Virtual World cards struggle to face against.
Still the best budget deck in the game even years after release, dinos are a remarkably fun and powerful deck to use.
While players have gotten used to dinos over time and are well aware of their drawbacks, the sheer amount of versatility offered when it comes to summoning the big dinos have forced them to stay in the competitive scene.
Ultimate Conductor Tyranno (pictured) is the main card and should be summoned as soon as possible, there it can shut down strategies before they happen.
7) Invoked Shaddoll
Super frustrating to play against, Invoked Shaddoll are a weird hybrid of archetypes that can both control and overpower opponents, although they don’t excel in either department.
Use the flip and fusion Shadoll monsters to disrupt and deal damage while the Invoked fusions clean up and provide further support.
Each duel has a variety of strategies thanks to the myriad of fusion monsters available. At such a cheap price, you can build it easily as most of the cards come in the best structure deck in Yu-Gi-Oh.
6) Sky Striker
My personal best deck, see my decklist here 🙂
Sky Strikers are all about disruption and control. You can’t really summon a bunch of monsters in one turn as the Sky Striker specific spells require no monsters in the main monster zones for their activation requirements.
Still, though, Sky Strikers have so much flexibility and tons of capabilities to deal with almost any threat. Constantly spamming Link 2 monsters to search and recover spells, as well as attack directly to whittle down HP.
Include an I:P Masquerena and one of the best Link boss monsters if you do get an opportunity to finish the duel off with a big attack.
With all that being said, Sky Strikers auto-lose against floodgates like Imperial Order so watch out for opponents who might side them in.
5) Dogmatika Invoked
Quite a difficult deck to use due to a high skill-cap and emphasis on powerful support cards like Triple Tactics Talent.
The Invoked part of the deck is an engine to summon powerful fusion monsters that can negate or run over your opponent’s cards.
Meanwhile, the Dogmatikka portion summons effect monsters with high ATK stats, as well as provides more support for disrupting and clearing your opponent’s field.
Drytrons are the first competitive ritual-based archetype since Nekroz and that says a lot for the current competitive scene.
Most Drytron monsters are level 1 with a whopping 2000 ATK, although they can’t be normal summoned or set.
Instead, you team up with fairy cards and other powerful ritual archetypes (like Cyber Angels) for a versatile and efficient deck.
Be warned, it’s extremely difficult to use, arguably the toughest competitive deck out there to get to grips with.
Bird-Up is a term used to describe a mixture of Lyriluscs and Tri-Brigades, two very powerful winged-beast archetypes. Alongside Harpie’s Feather Storm, the WIND archetype has received a ton of support in the last year or two.
Lyriluscs have tons of XYZ monsters to choose from, as well as plenty of effects to summon the winged-beasts to the field. Reinforced by Tri-Brigades and generic winged-beast support, it’s a cheap and powerful deck to enter tournaments with.
Up there with the most unique and frustrating decks in Yu-Gi-Oh history, you literally have just Eldlich the Golden Lord alongside 30-37 trap cards.
Just keep summoning Eldlich using its own effect to constantly harass and berate your opponent’s life points. With some floodgates and annoying traps, they won’t be able to do anything in return.
The strength of this deck is determined by the potency of your trap collection. I’ve posted many articles regarding the best traps, floodgates, draw cards, etc. So if you have Eldlich but no cards to back him up, then take a look around the site. 🙂
1) Swordsoul Tenyi
As of February 2023, Swordsoul Tenyi is the best competitive deck in Yu-Gi-Oh.
Consistent search and summon power that goes into some of the best Synchro monsters in the entire game, backed up by powerful hand-traps and other disruption cards is too good to beat.
They have an answer for everything, regardless of the type of deck your opponent is using. However, a good degree of skill is required to run this deck, as you need to time your disruptions perfectly.
Overall, Swordsoul Tenyi is versatile and powerful enough to tackle any other deck currently in the Yu-Gi-Oh competitive scene.
Wednesday 23rd of March 2022
Actually there's a guy at my locals who always wins and he's using a 60 card phantom knight / combo deck. He wins a lot because he can extend through any amount of negation / hand traps and just keep combo-ing.
Sword soul yenyi is great but it can't play through interruptions as well as phantom knights / combo extender decks can.
Mike Ox Long
Monday 14th of November 2022
@Paul Vennard, branded despia does the same and you can use their big stuff to make yours so if you were looking for something to counter most of these branded despia works like a charm if its built right of course
Thursday 24th of March 2022
What kind of decks does he face against? PK are certainly good but not as competitive as any of those on this list
Tuesday 18th of December 2018
The latest deck link for Danger Dark Warrior redirect to a website with Burning Abyss deck and not the Danger Dark Warrior itself.
Wednesday 5th of September 2018
WTF... i leave Yugioh back in 2011, this looks like a whole different game