Ryan Goes Rogue: Dark Magician
- Ryan Atlus
Throughout the years, Dark Magician has seen plenty of support cards. Some of them were amazing cards that changed how the deck was played. Seeing as we just got one of those in the form of Red-Eyes Dark Dragoon, it seems like a good time to look into building a Dark Magician deck.
Support of Varying Quality
Dark Magician is such a well-known character due to his appearances in the animated series, and the majority of his support cards were directly pulled from there as well. While cards such as Dark Magician Knight and Dark Sage are definitely iconic, they're not exactly good. So most modern Dark Magician decks will forego most of the old support, although you'll occasionally find cards like Dark Magician Girl or Dark Magic Attack thanks to their interaction with new support cards.
The first major wave of support cards that still sees play today comes from The Dark Illusion, a set well known for the introduction of the Metalfoes, SPYRAL, Trains, game-changing cards such as Pot of Desires, and currently forbidden cards such as Fairy Tail - Snow and Blackwing - Gofu the Vague Shadow.
The two most important Dark Magician cards from this set were Dark Magical Circle and Eternal Soul. Eternal Soul granted your Dark Magician protection as well as allowing you to bring out your ultimate wizard every turn. Dark Magical Circle kicked up the consistency of the deck a few notches and rewarded you every turn you brought out Dark Magician, which became easy to do on the opponent's turn thanks to Eternal Soul and Magician Navigation. Searching out your Dark Magician got incredibly easy thanks to Illusion Magic.
We also should not be forgetting the best Normal Summon the deck currently has. Magician's Rod lets you grab any of the new support cards whenever he's Normal Summoned, and it has a built-in effect that allows him to be recurred from the graveyard.
Awaken, Legendary Dragon
Some of the anime-based support released in Dragons of Legend in 2014 was further built upon in 2017, with Legendary Dragon Decks featuring an additional target for The Eye of Timaeus, namely Dark Magician the Dragon Knight. This card forms a deadly combination alongside Eternal Soul, and pulling it off can still steal you games today. Besides this card and low rarity reprints of plenty of previously high-rarity cards, the set also featured Apprentice Illusion Magician, available in Europe for the first time! She was an amazing new target for Magician Navigation, and boosted consistency further by letting you add a Dark Magician to your hand whenever she's summoned.
The most recent wave of support arrived in late 2019. Magicians' Souls pushed Spyral back to the top tier status, and also helped fixing some of the glaring issues the Dark Magician strategy still had. By sending a Spellcaster from your deck to your graveyard, you could either Special Summon a Dark Magician from your graveyard or Special Summon Souls itself. On the field Souls has an additional effect that lets you trade in dead spells and traps for extra draws. That's a lot of punch for a legacy support card, but sadly many Dark Magician enthusiasts had to pass on it due to the high price tag. Other notable support cards from the same set were Soul Servant, some extra draw power, and The Dark Magicians, a new Fusion boss monster that further capitalized on the gimmick of controling the top card of your deck.
Where Are We Today?
Just a short while ago we saw the long-awaited release of Red-Eyes Dark Dragoon, a boss monster to both the Red-Eyes and the Dark Magician strategies. The Tin of Lost Memories does feature some other support cards for these legendary monsters, but those might be more at home in a more pure build.
It is incredibly easy to bring out thanks to Predaplant Verte Anaconda and Red-Eyes Fusion. As long as you have Red-Eyes Fusion and the necessary materials in your deck, you can bring out this incredible new toy using any two monsters you control.
Exactly that flexibility is what we'll be using in this decklist. Getting to two monsters on the field should not be a big problem. Since your Normal Summon already provides one monster, you'd need only Special Summon one monster, usually in the form of Magicians' Souls or Apprentice Illusion Magician. From there on you go into Verte Anaconda, leveraging your Dragoon play as your fourth Summon. Typically, your Link Summon play for turn one would net you a Crowley, the First Propheseer or I:P Masquerena, but a Dragoon packs a bit more punch.
There are plenty of other ways to bring out the big guy. Magicalized Fusion is a Miracle Fusion for Spellcasters, which Dragoon is. Secrets of Dark Magic can be used for any Fusion Summon involving Dark Magician, so we're playing a couple of extra Dragons in the form of Fantastical Dragon Phantazmay and Imduk the World Chalice Dragon.
Naturally, we cannot run all the possible options in one deck. Keeper of Dragon Magic, freshly reprinted in Toon Chaos in anticipation of Dragoon, can allow you access to the card, with the downside being that you have to play the regular Polymerization.
I probably wouldn't recommend this deck to very new players because some key cards are very costly. For the price of a set of Magicians' Souls you're able to pick up some low-budget decks that probably do give you a higher win ratio, and get you on a rising learning curve. But if you're looking for some casual homebrew fun, you could omit the higher price range cards and improvise from there!
While Dragoon definitely improves on the Dark Magician strategy, it is sadly not enough to push the deck into the higher tiers of the game. The Dark Magician deck will probably never be highly relevant, but it should be able to take some games at local and regional events. If you're considering to take such a deck to an event, your expectation should be to have a great time putting a Yu-Gi-Oh! icon on the table.
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