Mostly used by edgy villains, archetypes with the DARK attribute tend to be powerful and destructive. As well as their gameplay, thematically they’re attractive to a lot of players, due to their awesome and epic artworks.
Konami recognises such popularity, giving them far more archetypes and generic support than other attributes, such as FIRE. Finding a decent DARK archetype is difficult though, with so much choice available, it’s easy to get overwhelmed.
I’ll go through the 10 best DARK archetypes in Yugioh, discussing current power as well as what they could look like in the future. Hopefully you’ll be able to find a set of cards you like that can last for years 🙂
On their own, the Invoked series is pretty bad with a lack of coherency compared to newer archetypes. However, as an engine you can splash into other archetypes, Invoked are amazing. Mekk Knights, Sky Strikers, Cyber Dragons and even Blue-Eyes are having their power-level boosted by the existence of this archetype.
The combo is to summon Aleister (pictured), add Invocation & fuse for one of the many Invoked fusion monsters. Then use Invocation’s effect in the GY to return Aleister to your hand, returning Invocation back to the deck.
As you can tell, this not only gives you some powerful fusion monsters, it helps to retain hand advantage while also having the capabilities of banishing monsters from your opponent’s graveyard!
9. Skull Servant
If you’re a fan of skele bois, Skull Servants are for you. Upon the release of King of the Skull Servants (pictured) back in 2005, it was seen as an archetype too small to actually use. Since then, Konami has released quite a few new monsters, so much so that a full deck is actually viable casually.
Bricking is a huge problem but otherwise, having a 5000+ ATK monster that can’t be targeted, returns upon being destroyed by battle and is easy to summon is crazy!
One of the most recognisable faces in the game, Exodia is unparalleled in terms of destruction, when you complete all 5 pieces anyway. I firmly believe every Yugioh player should own an Exodia deck. Stall/draw versions tend to be most popular but no kind of Exodia deck will ever be meta so you might as well make it as fun for you and your opponent as possible.
Some stall/floodgate cards should be added but lead by example and include some fairly attacking boss monsters like Relinquished too!
Since the release of the Zombie Madness structure deck, Vampires have been the go-to Zombie archetype in Yugioh. Of course, Shiranui are more viable competitively but for fun/casual duels, Vampires are by far the best.
Building vampires in 2018 is extremely cheap, as they were featured in the recent Dark Saviors set. This archetype still focuses on taking control of opponent’s monsters, as well as a multitude of other effects. Vampires can swarm the field incredibly fast, opening the door to tons of extra deck summoning, especially with the help of Vampire Sucker.
Gravekeeper’s are well known by the Yugioh community by now, having been around for years. Konami is happy to give them new support every now and again, with the latest coming in Soul Fusion (October 19th).
If you’ve never faced them before, Gravekeeper’s cards like to stop you from using your graveyard, while also beating you down with big bosses. Ridding the field of their main card Necrovalley is so important, protecting it should be your objective if you’re playing as them.
Due to player popularity, some Gravekeeper’s cards can be very expensive, it’ll cost well over $100 to make a deck from scratch!
Ghostricks are an amazing fun deck that can be used competitively if you splash in some meta staples. Full of monsters lower than level 4, Ghostricks rely on powerful control/grind effects to seek out victory. Ghostrick Mansion and Ghostrick Museum describe their playstyle quite well.
Even then, this archetype has burn & mill capabilities. They say variety is the spice of life, Ghostricks embrace this, making them strong against almost all deck types. If you want even more spiciness, you can go for the Ghostrick Angel of Mischief route, which has its own win condition!
4. Lair of Darkness
Changing all of you ropponent’s monsters to the DARK attribute then tributing them for your own effects, or to ruin their day with virus cards. There’s so many ways you can build Lair of Darkness, it’s completely up to you. Wreck your opponent with viruses, swarm the field with bosses or just stall, the choice is yours.
You can get most of the cards needed in the aptly named Lair of Darkness structure deck.
I absolutely adore the D/D archetype, I highly recommend it to any player. Widely regarded as the most difficult deck to play in the entire game, D/Ds have plenty of Fusion, Synchro, XYZ and Pendulum monsters to choose from. Pre-Link, it was possible to summon a huge board of monsters whereas now, you only summon a handful of bosses.
With the release of LANphorhynchus and Wee Witch’s Apprentice, the D/D archetype has more Link options available to continue their combos. Still fairly viable as a rogue tournament deck, D/Ds are extremely cheap and it’s well worth picking up as many as you can, before they get broken support in the future!
2. Dark Magician
Along with Exodia (Blue-Eyes too), Dark Magician is widely recognised as Yugi’s ace card. Due to this, players everywhere will flock to new Magician support. This is exactly what happened in recent years, building a Dark Magician deck is no longer 99% nostalgia and 1% competence.
Just please don’t include Fang of Critias. I see it in almost every decklist and while it can lead to decent combos, honestly they don’t really need it. Going straight for Ebon Illusion Magician with Dark Magical Circle on board is good enough!
1. Burning Abyss
Of all archetypes on this list, only Burning Abyss are actually viable. Specifically the Sekka’s Light/Orbital Hydralander version, you need to dump cards quickly while using toolboxes to further control the duel.
Gallis the Star Beast helps to mill a card, inflict some nice burn damage and put a level 3 monster on board. Rescue Cat seeks to summon Naturia Beast first turn (or Ally of Justice Catastor which I like).
While it does lack hard hitting power, the grind game behind Burning Abyss is insane. Your opponent simply doesn’t have enough cards to deal with all the graveyard effects!