Building on a Budget: Skull Servant


Skull Servant is one of the oldest card designs in the game. It even made appearances in the original manga under its Japanese name, Wight. Some 25 years later, let's see how powerful the army of the King has become—while staying under triple digits in value for a low-budget strategy!

king of the skull servants
Easter Egg

A Ghost Story

Skull Servant's flavor text says that it can mean trouble in large numbers, but we didn't actually see it causing trouble until the King of the Skull Servants was released in The Lost Millennium, which coincidentally was the first set of the GX era. The King has a simple effect: gaining 1,000 ATK points for every other Skull Servant in the graveyard (which includes other copies of itself seeing as the card's name becomes just that in the graveyard) and whenever it is destroyed by battle, you can banish another Skull Servant to bring it back out, yet slightly weaker.

skull servant king of the skull servants
Turning the graveyard into a raveyard

If you're a Speed Duel player that's all the Skull Servant cards you need to know about, but the King's story continues in the 5D's timeline (or just before that, but stick with my narrative) with the release of The Lady in Wight. This card also becomes a Skull Servant in the graveyard, and while it is on the field it protects your skulls from spells, traps, and battle.

Near the end of the 5D's era, only a few sets before the ZeXal era we see the release of Wightmare, which is where the ball really gets rolling. Due to it also being a Skull Servant in the graveyard, that's a total of twelve monsters that share this feature. Its other effects aren't too shabby either. By discarding it from your hand you can put a banished Skull Servant or another copy of Wightmare back in the graveyard, or revive a fallen King or Lady.

the lady in wight wightmare
With support like this, nothing could get under the king's skin

Duelist Alliance, the start of the Arc-V era, is where Skull Servants meet one of their strongest allies yet: the King's son, Wightprince! Of course, this card's name counts as Skull Servant in the graveyard. And whenever it is sent there, you can send the vanilla Skull Servant and a Lady from your deck to follow it. If you use Foolish Burial to send Wightprince, that's three members of the King's family lined up in the graveyard! Additionally, you can banish the Prince along with two other Skull Servants to special summon a King from your deck.

Before the start of the Vrains story arc, Prince became a big brother to Wightprincess. When she is summoned, she sends her brother to the graveyard like any good sister does. She can send herself from the hand or the graveyard to make all monsters lose ATK and DEF equal to their own level/rank x 300 for a turn.

wightprince wightprincess
These siblings are working themselves down to the bone to make their dad proud

All that OTK'ing with a group of eighteen allies makes a king tired and hungry, so of course he'd go on a bit of a holiday to barbecue. The newest Skull Servant is Wightbaking, and it's cooking up something real good! First, you can discard it to protect any level three or lower zombie from battle or card effects. When it hits the graveyard, you can add two of the archetype's cards to your hand and then discard one of them. The attentive reader notices that the latter does in fact trigger Wightprince!

Also makes amazing spare ribs—bone appétit!

Great, but 21 Skulls Doesn't Make a Deck

That's true, but maxing out on all of our skulls is a very cost-efficient way of filling up our 40-card main deck. I don't think there's any member of the family that you'd want to completely omit. Maybe you'd run a few of them only in duplicates, but I definitely think all of them suit the strategy well enough to warrant full playsets. Speaking of budget, the total cost of picking up these 21 cards is, according to the Shopping Wizard, only €2! (Excluding shipping, sadly.)

Since this is a zombie deck, we are legally required to play a full set of Uni-Zombie. It's not only amazing for sending cards to the graveyard from the deck, but also for ditching potentially dead (or undead) cards from our hand. The fact that it's a tuner monster gives us access to synchro monsters and Crystron Halqifibrax as well. The rest of the monster lineup is going to capitalize on that line of play too. We're playing doubles of Mezuki and Plaguespreader Zombie. Plaguespreader is particularly interesting, since Wightprince requires you to send both Skull Servant and Lady in Wight from your deck to the graveyard, so if you draw your last copy of one of these, you can put it right back on the top of your deck.

uni-zombie mezuki plaguespreader zombie
No zombie duelist would want to be found dead without these cards

Rounding out the monsters, we're playing single copies of the limited Danger monsters: Nessie, Jackalope, and Tsuchinoko. These will provide you with some extra fodder for your synchro and link plays, as well as getting dead cards from your hand into the graveyard.

Speaking of dead cards in your hand, we're going pretty crazy with an underrated spell card, namely a full playset of Performapal Popperup. This is basically a one-sided Card Destruction with a backlash that could burn you if you're not careful. But exchanging three cards that reach their highest potential while in the graveyard is too good to pass up on. Besides, taking 4,000 damage isn't too bad when your opponent takes 8,000 damage two minutes later.

Performapal Popperup
Graceful Charity? Yes, please!

The spells that fill up the deck are pretty much to be expected: Foolish Burial and One for One, two copies of Allure of Darkness, and the sneaky Burial from a Different Dimension. The latter can easily surprise your opponent, pushing your King's ATK points up by a mighty 3,000! Not only that, but being able to use banished resources like Mezuki or Plaguespreader a second time can really get you back into the game.

That's our main deck. Since almost everything comes in common, the cost for the cards is still well under €20.

The Extra Deck

Most of the cards here should be self-explanatory. I'm including the zombie-specific link 2 monsters Avendread Savior and Vampire Sucker. Savior can send even more zombies from your deck to the graveyard, and Sucker will reward you for reviving zombies. Because of Uni-Zombie, we can even fit in a few synchro monsters. Level 8 should be relatively easy to access, thanks to its level modulation effect. Chaos Ruler, the Chaotic Magical Dragon has been seeing a lot of play in Chaos Dragon decks and will surely do fine in our monster mash deck.

avendread savior chaos ruler, the chaotic magical dragon
Let's mill some more, shall we?

A final inclusion that I want to mention briefly is Topologic Zeroboros. Thanks to Linkuriboh it might come up that you'll be able to trigger it on the opponent's turn, promptly ending it. On your turn you'll be able to attack into an empty board with both Zeroboros and a massive King!

Ready to Serve

This deck is different from the one in my previous budget article, since Skull Servant as a theme does not have expensive cards anyway, as opposed to the Dark Magician strategy. The main advantage here is that this makes the deck a nice pickup for when you do already have cards like Forbidden Droplet that you would normally include, but I think the list will do fine without them. After all, the final value of the cards in this list came to about €82. If you own a lot of meta-relevant cards, you might even have to spend way less to purchase the deck.

shopping wizard results

Due to the deck's heavy emphasis on going second and simply attacking for 8,000 damage with a single hit, you'll find it hard to play through the oppressive negation effects that are currently dominating the format. As I mentioned at the beginning of the article, Skull Servants is more of a casual strategy that you can bring to locals or just play among friends. I'm sure you will have a great time—I can feel it in my bones!

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not necessarily Cardmarket.


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DylanPayne(24.03.2021 22:19)

Skull Servant support is the fan service we need :D

ByRob(24.03.2021 19:38)

Thanks Skull Servant for being at our service despite all these years

Ephrem(24.03.2021 19:14)

The deck is pretty cheap, so its fine to get a fun deck for barely any money. Buying the meta staples will provide a great service, since you have to buy most of them anyway to play certain decks in the current meta.

LampiShu(24.03.2021 18:06)

While the deck is super out of date nowadays the fact that they are still getting service is pretty incredible imo. Really helps that Konami likes to give support to older archetypes, especially from the DM era of YGO

hugs1(24.03.2021 18:04)

King of the skull servants is cool until it gets hit by impermenance, then he isn't of much service anymore

Raidraptor-Nest(24.03.2021 18:00)

Servant being one of the most basic cards in the first ever set and still getting llove and support in 2021 really does them a great service.

Wolfyes(23.03.2021 23:37)

Wow it looks like skull servant has done so much service so far XD

Razzudk(23.03.2021 23:34)

Skull servant Still in service after all this years!

ygo-hitsuji(23.03.2021 08:56)

It's cool that Konami releases legacy support - or fan service as we could call it - for Skull Servant, but they really could go deeper and make some archetype-restricted OP cards to really give the deck a boost tbh.

raffy2010(21.03.2021 19:26)

This is just cheap fan service, new cards are good but enough to have a decent deck :'(

NBUlquiorra(18.03.2021 09:37)

I am a really big fan of the skull servants! The moment King of the skull servants was released back in The Lost Millennium I instantly build a deck with these cards. Of course it was terrible, but I always loved the fact that the weak LOB Skull Servant could be used in a cool way! And over the years there was more fan service for lovers of that archetype and my love for every piece of support was huge! And now? Blazing Vortex.. Brings us a card that helps the deck and makes it consistent! Its not meta, but a control based Skull Servant deck could surprise the meta players, hehe.

georgeStr(17.03.2021 18:03)

The deck in of course not high tier deck, i wouldnt try playing it because i dont like this theme and generally i hate skulls xD but the skull servant package can go well with zombies and the service that the new card gives to the deck, which is Wightbaking, is totally valuable for the strategy of the deck.

cenaites(17.03.2021 14:38)

If other older archtypes, specially ones that were never competitive, would get new support, that would be a great service from the konami side, even as a way to catch old school players attention

ToonManiac(17.03.2021 12:35)

Skull servant, at your service

rinona73(17.03.2021 12:34)

Not a fan of this deck personally, but I really like when konami supports older archetypes as it does a great service to older and newer players of said archetype alike.

Bulligi(17.03.2021 11:52)

The supports are not a great service to the deck but as cards themselves they are really strong

Alex1415(17.03.2021 11:51)

The supports are really a great service for the deck

Ludwing-(17.03.2021 11:49)

Skull servant has always been an interesting strategy, the supports have done a great service for the deck.

L0kki(17.03.2021 11:39)

Skull servant has done a great service to the game in all these years!

Ciaipollus(17.03.2021 11:10)(Edited: 17.03.2021 11:10)

I think that the archetype has always done a huge service to the game, the fact it's 25 years old constantly keeps you going back to the old anime and the early days of the game. I think it's very nice that people are still playing and trying to make work decks that are this old, shows real love to the game

opto4(17.03.2021 02:38)

I personally don't love the deck, but I have to say that Wightbaking really does a great service to the strategy!

Giacomo17(16.03.2021 19:35)

Skull servant is the best normal level 1 monster.

RyanAtlus(16.03.2021 20:18)

Giacomo17 Stay tuned for Building on a Budget: Mokey Mokey.

Magister96(16.03.2021 11:48)

Loved the tech, always wondered how to make The servants working nicely, but i'm not that good at deck building.
I don't usually read articles here but i must say i'm starting to get intrested in this service.

LadyKaylee(16.03.2021 09:50)

Skull servants are so well-designed in their "serious" spooky iterations, but it's cute that they also made them into a family who happens to have random accidents while traveling, as seen in Quarantine and There Can Be Only One. I appreciate how they turned a bit of flavour text into an archetype, that's the kind of fan service I'm here for.

Sgreff(16.03.2021 03:42)

Skull servants really do seem to be a fan favourite, it's nice to see konami doing a little fan service when it comes to the players faves

kevindiniho(15.03.2021 17:52)

Skull Servant was one of my first decks to start playing yugioh. I like the service Konami is providing for this deck.

AkingApe97(15.03.2021 16:16)

I was thinking of building this budget deck. I love the idea of the little servants and their sacrifice and service to power up their king. Also, love the Holiday barbecue.

Atalantyo(15.03.2021 14:59)

Pretty nice deck, I love this fan service! I wish they made more support for some of the older cards.

TomyD92(15.03.2021 13:12)

Old Cards getting always service with newer Cards, like these Skull Servants. The Normal-Type "Skull Servant" is Useless but with the additional Cards it become super effective

ORS19(14.03.2021 11:30)(Edited: 14.03.2021 11:31)

I see this Zombie Skull Servant decks running more often in the switch game rather than in my locals... But I just love how they work.

Konami should think about some competitive reinfocements for it... Just for fan service lmao

Kenik(14.03.2021 10:53)

One of the easyed service they got

vitttto17(14.03.2021 00:55)

I love skull decks , one of best service in the game

Rofinder(13.03.2021 19:53)(Edited: 13.03.2021 19:54)

For a beginner this could be a good deck, extra is somewhat expensive for an early player but most of the cards are kinda staples so it's not a bad investment. Excluding the danger cards main it's like 10-15€ and could sneak some wins.
It's worth being at service of the skulls for a while and start building slowly the extra if you can't afford it.
Scarlight Red Dragon Archfiend, Black Rose Dragon, Crusadia Avramax, etc. There are always some alternatives for beginners!
Thank you for the article, will look to pick the skulls for some casual games.

ShiroBestLoli(13.03.2021 16:53)

Sometimes i wonder if someone at konami really enjoys skull servant. They keep trying to make the archrtype viable but as of right now the service the did isnt that great

staffilocoq(13.03.2021 16:49)

I own a Skull Servant, but even if I don't play exactly this deck list, I really enjoy that someone give his fanservice to push it on first line!

AndreaManieri(13.03.2021 16:04)

I've always wanted to build this deck. Crazy Zombies go brrr is so fun to play. I hope to find a good seller using the service of the Shopping Wizard ;)

KinkyEmoKano(13.03.2021 15:27)

I like that Konami gives support to older decks. But I'm really tired of Blue-Eyes and Dark Magician support. I know, it's service for the fans but still... Some decks are left behind.

Card-Nick(13.03.2021 15:15)

Damn, that is definitely an interesting theme to look forward to receive some more supportive service in the near future by Konami. Always adding cards to, until now, such a little theme is something fascinating to see. Heads up for the future.

Bonkers91(13.03.2021 14:03)

Its pretty nice by Konami to support a theme like this.
Next card must be Skull Service anything which powers up the level so we can have this in a upcomming meta

Kagetane67(13.03.2021 13:42)

I guess to make this deck make a good service it missing Temple of skull, skull knight, skull kraken or burning skull head :/

RyanAtlus(13.03.2021 14:44)

Kagetane67; I did almost discuss Zombie Warrior and Flame Ghost, the original Skull Servant boss monsters!

N8MARE(10.03.2021 23:42)

A schoolfriend of mine had an Skull Servent Deck (and was doing service to the skulls himself xD) back in School when their where only the OG Servent, King and Lady and it was a pretty fun deck back then, when big beat sticks that could protect themselfs where pretty good. We got back into Yugioh over the past ~1-2 Years and he had no real deckidea, so i think it is my duty to link him this article :D

Throrma(10.03.2021 12:25)

All comments: 'service' 'service'
Actually I already bought the half of these last month, so I'm almost ready to build it.
Anyway nice article, thanks for the ideas

Giga9986(09.03.2021 18:24)

Fan service in skull servant's shape is always welcome in my opinion, hope konami keeps printing more support for it :)

xHerzchenx(09.03.2021 17:33)

I always wanted to build a viable Skull Servant deck. This article is of great service for me. Thank you :)

Shadowstar11(09.03.2021 17:11)

The Skull Servant Deck did always make a good service in having fun with a deck :-)

Crashme(09.03.2021 14:10)

Great article I really enjoy this service of yours to keep us posted and amused.

Flicnlic(09.03.2021 14:00)

After reading the article I searched my old card and also found some servant cards. Looks like I have to build the deck now :P Hope the deck makes a good service at my locals.

FastCardSupply(09.03.2021 13:48)(Edited: 15.03.2021 16:19)

Wightbaking gives this deck such a boost, we gotta thank konami for incorporating great fan service to older decks in recent sets!

Sandertje167(09.03.2021 12:47)(Edited: 09.03.2021 12:48)

Love the artikel! Skulls is my favorite deck:)

A good play is:
Unexpected dai, special skull servant, normal summon another level 1 and overlay for: kikinagashi fucho(this is great for going first).

Going second you can attack a def position monster with fucho take the damage and overlay for zeus and just wipe the field.

There’s also a play with uni-zombie to go for accesscode talker and pop 3 cards(but it cant attack that turn)

swkcard(09.03.2021 12:41)

Nice post , now I want to buy a Skull servant deck after my service

PlasmaMika(09.03.2021 12:36)

Skull Servant always has been a cool deck ! Never played it for real but I did in some yugioh games.
This article is very cool, there's no need to service it :)

Healy(09.03.2021 12:35)

It would be a disservice to not play skull servants in 2021

gsus6(09.03.2021 09:41)

I've always owned Skull Servant and King of the Skull Servant, but I was away from the game since 2011 and didn't realize they had new support until I pulled Whightmare from DUOV last year. This article made me want to try this deck to surprise my friends!
It's time to put myself at the service of the Skull Servants ^-^

Pepenator09(09.03.2021 07:47)

Cool article, but i think there is a small mistake.
Wightprince allows you to send skullservants from your hand to the grave too.
But still awesome article

Taricovic(09.03.2021 00:40)

Always wanted to rebuild my zombie deck I used in highschool. Let my service to the king of the skull servants begin :)