So in Duel Links, you are put through a tutorial much like any game. It gives you the run down and the basics of everything you gotta do to play the game.
But the tutorial doesn’t go as deep as it could and only explains the bare basics of the game’s mechanics. In this guide, I’m going to go into full detail on how to do all the major aspects of playing Duel Monsters.
The firs thing we’re going to start with is monsters.
So in the game, the way to win is the decrease your opponents life points to 0. You both start with 4000 and to lower their life points you have to attack them with monster cards you have in your deck.
To summon a monster you have to know it’s level first. Every monster has level ranging 1-12 and it’s judged by the number of stars it has on its card.
Each level monster has their own requirements for summoning them. It’s a simple mechanic that you get the hang of very quickly
1-4 star monsters can be played the moment you get them, but note you can only play one monster per turn so keep that in mind.
Playing a 1-4 star monster is considered a Normal summon but there is another way to play monsters as well. You can Set a card which means playing it face down horizontally.
Setting a card means it is hidden and in defense mode. We’ll talk about the different modes later on in the guide.
5-6 monsters require you to tribute a monster in order to summon it. And 7-12 require 2 monster tributes. Now I’m sure you’re asking, what is tributing?
Tribute Summons and Special Summons
Tribute summons is the act of sacrificing weaker monsters to playing more powerful ones. To tribute, you have to play a monster on your field.
Usually, the monster will be a 1-4 star but you can tribute any level monster that’s on the field. When you tribute you’ll send the monster on your field to the grave and replace it with your stronger monster.
So 5 and 6-star monsters require 1 tribute which means you only have to sacrifice one monster. While anything above 7 stars requires 2 monsters.
So you’ll have to take a few turns to summon some weak monsters before you can get your stronger ones out. But there are faster ways by using some specific cards.
Special Summoning is a method of summoning that involves the use of other monster cards, spell cards, or trap cards. We’ll go into further details of those later.
Basically when you Special Summon it allows you to play a monster under the conditions it has. Then you are still able to Normal summon or Tribute summon in the same turn.
The special summons is the only kind of summons you can do multiples of in one turn. So keep that in mind when building your deck.
Aside from normal, tribute, and special summoning, there are two other types of monster summons.
Ritual monsters are special monsters that can only be summoned by playing a ritual spell card specifically for them. Each ritual monster has their own ritual card so you’ll have to make sure you have both monsters.
To play the ritual monster you have to have both cards in your hand and also a couple of monsters. Playing the ritual spell card by itself isn’t enough.
You have to have monsters in your hand whose star level equal to the ritual monsters. So if your ritual monster has 7 stars you’ll nee monsters who equal 7 stars.
So a 3 star and a 4 star would be able to let you summon your ritual monster. Or if you have a 7 star in your hand you can simply use that one card instead of two.
Ritual monsters can be very powerful and that’s why they require a more difficult method to summon. Next, we’ll go over another difficult monster type to summon.
Fusion summons is a special case because they require 2 or more monsters and a magic card to pull off. Similar to Ritual summons but with a different method.
To fuse monsters you require the spell card Polymerization.
With polymerization, you can fuse monsters in your hand or on your field into one powerful monster. The fusion card lists what monsters are required to make it so you know which ones to have.
When you fuse the material monsters are sent to the graveyard and the fusion monster is summoned from the Extra Deck. There are tons of different fusions and some more powerful than others, some even have their own effects.
So building a deck with normal monsters, Effect monsters, Ritual monsters, and Fusion monsters is not a bad idea. Having a good variety is the best way to have a lot of strategies available.
Now on the topic of monster cards let’s go over the different types there are in the game. With monster cards, there are currently 4 different types of monster cards in the game.
Each monster type is different in their own way and has their own methods of being used. We’ve talked mostly about Normal, Ritual, and Fusion monsters so here we’re going to focus on Effect Monsters.
Effect Monsters are the most common type in the game and are very important to the overall gameplay. Effect monsters have effects written in their description box that applies special rules to the card itself.
As in the example, we’ll use the card above Cat’s Ear Tribe. Its effect reads: “The original ATK of your opponent’s monster that battles with this card during his/her turn become 200 points during the Damage Step.”
Now we’ll go over attacking and damage later but I’ll explain this effects purpose. What it means is that any monster that battles with Cat’s Ear Tribe have their ATK points lowered to 200 making both cards equal.
And in the game when two monsters attack with equal values they are both destroyed. So his effect is a good way to get rid of a powerful monster by forcing it to attack.
There are hundreds of different effects in the game that completely change the way the duel is going. Ritual and Fusion monsters can also sometimes have effects making them even more powerful.
So it’s always good to have a good number of effect monsters in your deck. Balance is key to this game and learning that will be the biggest goal.
Attacking and Defending
Now that we’re done with summoning and monsters lets get into the actual rules of game play. We’ll start with the most basic thing in the game and that is the act of attack and defense.
Each monster has two different point values on their cards ATK(Attack) points and DEF(Defense) points. This value ranges depending on what monster you’re using.
The point of the ATK value is to subtract it from your opponents life points. So you both start with 4000 life points and you have a monster with 500 ATK points.
When there are no monsters on your side or your opponent’s side of the field you can do what’s called a Direct Attack. A direct attack subtracts the full ATK value of your monster from your opponent’s life points.
So when you direct attack the 4000 subtracts the 500 and becomes 3500. Yugioh involves a lot of basic math that you’ll soon grow to love.(Who says gaming never taught you anything?)
Now let’s talk about the act of attacking a monster. If you or your opponent has a monster on your field when an attack happens it’s not a direct attack instead a battle happens.
The attacking monster and the target go up against each other and the monster with the highest ATK value wins. So say your monster has 1000 ATK and the monster you attacked had 500 ATK.
In the fight, you would win and your opponent’s monster would be destroyed. And when you destroy a monster your opponent takes what is called Battle Damage.
Much like direct damage, battle damage is taken when two monsters fight. The damage received is whatever the difference between the two monsters ATK points were.
So your 1000 ATK points monster destroyed the 500 ATK points monsters. So the battle damage is 1000 subtracting 500 equals 500.
So your opponent takes that in between 500 points as damage. This is how the majority of damage is done during a duel.
Now we’ve gone over how to attack now we’re going to talk about defending. The defense value is important because that’s what protects your life points from your opponent.
There are two separate modes you play your cards in. Attack mode, where you have your card lying vertical and Defense Mode where you set the card horizontal.
Attack mode is the only time you can have your monster enter the battle phase and attack. If they are in defense mode they are unable to make an attack.
Now having a monster in defense mode protects your life points the same way attack points deal damage. The higher defense value you have the better defense you’ll get.
So say your monster has 2000 DEF points and a monster with 2500 ATK points targets that monster. The attacking monster with the higher value will end up destroying your defense monster because its DEF points are lower.
But say a monster with 1000 ATK points attacks your 2000 DEF points monster. Neither monster is destroyed and your opponent takes the difference between your monsters DEF points and their monsters ATK points.
So, the attacking monster had 1000 ATK and your monster has 2000 DEF. So your opponent takes 1000 points of battle damage.
Attacking and defending is the most basic and most important part of this game. Knowing when to attack and defend can be the choice that either wins or loses the duel for you.
Spells and Traps
So we’ve covered summons, monsters, attacking and defending. Now we’ll get into those two other card types you have filling your deck. The green and pink cards, the ones that will be the reason you even win a duel, to begin with.
Spell and Trap cards are crucial support cards that every single deck needs to have. Filling a deck with nothing but monsters is fine and dandy but in the long run, it is going to get you absolutely nowhere.
Now the difference between spells and traps is simple at a first glance. Spells are green and Traps are pink, but the way they are played is what makes them different.
Spell cards can be played straight from your hand the moment you get them and their effects vary depending on the card. A good example is the Spell card Blue Medicine.
Blue Medicine increases your life points by 200. That’s it, you played the spell got the effect, and you continue with your turn. But there are different types of spell cards that determine how they’re played. You can tell what type it is by the symbol in the top right corner of the card.
There are normal spells(no symbol), Field Spells(Star symbol), Equip Spells(Cross Simple), Continuous Spells(Infinity symbol), and Quick-Play Spells(lightning bolt symbol).
Normal spells are the spells you can just play from your hand and get the effect but the other types have their own rules you have to go by. Field Spells are special cards that are placed in the field slot, Field Spells affect all monsters on the field depending on their type.
The Field Spell Mountain’s effect only works with Dragon, Winged-Beast and Thunder monsters. So to have Field Spells in your deck you need to know what monsters you have.
Equip Spells are cards built to make your monsters on the field stronger. A common equip is Black Pendant, gives your monster an extra 500 ATK points. But if the monster is destroyed you lose 500 Life points, so some spells can come with prices.
Continuous spells are played then stay up on the field until they are removed. The card Banner of Courage is a Continuous Spell and it’s effect boosts your monsters ATK by 200 points during the battle phase of each turn.
And finally, Quick-Play Spells are a little more complex because you can set them face down on the field and activate them on your opponents turn. The Reliable Guardian is a good example for this one, it increases 1 face-up defense monster’s DEF by 700 points.
So each spell type is important in their own way depending on the deck they’re in. And knowing how to use them is very important because it can get a little confusing at first.
But aside from Spells, we have the Trap cards. The ultimate defense against your opponents cards that can either make or break the game for you.
Trap cards are different from spells because unlike spells you cannot play them from your hand. In order to use a Trap, you have to first set it in your field then wait one turn before you can activate it.
And some traps only activate under specific situations like if you’re attacked or your opponent summons a monster. And like spell cards there are different trap card types as well.
Normal Trap(No symbol), Counter Trap(Arrow Symbol), and Continous Traps(Infinity Symbol). Normal Traps and Continous traps kind of have the same rules as spells.
For normal Traps, all you have to do is set the card wait one turn then activate it when the conditions allow you to. Continuous Traps let you set the card then once activated it stays face up on the field with its effect intact until removed.
Counter Traps are different and are mostly used to counter specific cards usually being a trap or spell card. Magic Jammer is the best example and it is what it sounds like.
Magic Jammer negates the activation of 1 spell card when it’s used and destroys it. But you have to discard 1 card to use it bringing back the whole price thing.
So knowing your spells and traps and understanding how they work is very important. You need to have spells and traps in your deck in order to support your monsters and make them stronger.
So I hope this guide was helpful to you new players out there and hopefully it wasn’t too overwhelming. This game is great fun once you get the hang of it and this guide is here to help you get the hang of it faster.