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Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duels Beginners Guide

Yu-gi-oh! Master Duels Beginners Guide

After several successful entries in the digital card game genre, Konami finally brings to the table Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duels, a game that outshines many others with its slick mechanics and well-maintained PvP. For many years, most of the games that Konami produced in this genre seemed to lack in several areas and were criticized for having a fair amount of bugs. Master Duels, on the other hand, has the best production values of any card game we’ve seen so far.

Based on Kazuki Takashi’s acclaimed manga and anime series of the same name, Master Duels fully embodies the spirit of its iconic legacy and does justice to fans all around the world. It is without a doubt a top-tier digital card game that is both mechanically sound and visually impressive.

The title sports a relatively steep learning curve. As you gradually get hold of it, you’ll be more driven than ever to perfect your deck and master the game. You don’t really have to worry though, we’re here to help you get hold of the basics.

In this Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duels Beginners Guide, we give a detailed overview of the game, its rules, and strategies to go through the game’s solo mode. Moreover, we’ll also be talking about the in-game shop and how to get started on your first deck.

Basic Gameplay and Rules

Your primary objective while playing Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duels is to gradually reduce your opponent’s Life Points (LP) to zero. You can do this via strategic use of the cards which are in your hand. Hand cards are drawn by the players from their respective decks.


Each player will take turns in a bout to drain the opponent of their precious LP. There are three phases in a single turn that will allow you to make your moves. In addition to these, there are two other phases that happen automatically:

  • Draw Phase: This is the first phase in a turn, players can draw a card from their deck to the hand.
  • Standby Phase: The other opponent does their turn.

After these two phases, the main phase, battle phase, and subsequent main phase 2 will activate. In these phases, you can play your cards and place them on the field. You can use monsters or Traps - more on these later on.

Your first ever Draw Phase as a new player in Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel.
Your first ever Draw Phase as a new player in Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel.

The Battle phase is where you actively engage your monsters to attack the opponent’s cards. You can even decide not to attack in the Battle phase, which will put you on standby for a short time.

What are Monsters?

If you’re a veteran Yu-Gi-Oh! Player, you probably already know about monsters. For beginners, Monsters are your primary attack cards that can damage your enemies. You can place the monster cards you want to use in battle in a facedown-down position.

Your first ever monster in Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel.
Your first ever monster in Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel.

A monster can also be summoned through various means, but you can summon or set up a monster only once in a single turn, so you’ll have to choose wisely. As you keep progressing in Yu-Gi-Oh! you’ll encounter a variety of different monsters along the way. There are some extremely powerful monster cards that you might want to have in your deck. Be sure to focus on building up your arsenal of monsters!

What are Spells/Traps?

Monster cards are rarely used alone in the field, they are always accompanied by spell or trap cards. The prime purpose of these cards is to provide certain bonuses to the player. Each spell/trap card would have its own specifications and bonuses.

Your first ever spell card in Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel.
Your first ever spell card in Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel.

In addition, Traps also apply several effects against your opponent that will damage them and hinder their progress overall. Traps can even be activated during your opponent’s turn.

Spells/Traps are essential and contribute significantly to the overall gameplay. They allow you to damage enemies, shore up your defenses, and much more. You’ll need to invest heavily in these if you want to develop as a good Master Duels player.

Staple Cards

In addition to spell/traps and monster cards, there is also a third type of card, known as staples. They generally have a defined purpose and prove to be useful for almost any type of deck. It’s good to have some of these in your inventory as you might need the extra buffs provided by them at some point.

Now that we’ve gone over the basics of the game, we’ll to dig in a bit deeper and explain the path that you might want to take while starting out in Master Duels.

Solo Mode

Even if you’re the most accomplished of Yu-Gi-Oh! players, you probably want to start out in the game’s Solo mode instead of jumping straight into PvP. This is due to the fact that solo mode offers a lot of rewards and bonuses that will turn out to be extremely useful later on.

The single-player mode in the game is well-developed. The mode is divided into several gates, which are like campaigns with several chapters. Each gate will have a specific theme associated with it. We’d like to focus that in addition to the game’s built-in tutorial, it is highly recommended that you complete the first ‘Duel Strategy’ gate as it explains a lot of the important gameplay fundamentals in detail.

You’ll learn a lot about the mechanics of the game, as well as how to successfully win a proper duel. Keep on completing subsequent gates and you’ll be awarded a variety of rewards including special cards, structure decks, and even Gems.

What are Gems?

Gems are the game’s primary in-game currency which you’ll need for most expenses. Fortunately, the game does give you a relatively generous amount of gems at the start but you’ll have to strictly keep track of them. The reason for this is that the number of gems given out by the game consistently decreases as you progress.

The first ever gems you will receive in Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel.
The first ever gems you will receive in Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel.

You could encounter a lot of difficulties if you don’t spend strategically throughout the game, especially at the start. You’re going to need gems for everything from cosmetics to highly important card packs.

How can you get Gems?

There are a number of ways through which you’ll be able to claim gems. As we’ve mentioned before, progressing in solo mode will reward you with Gems. You can claim them after you’ve successfully cleared a gate.

Moreover, the game offers certain ‘missions’; objectives with some handy rewards. These can either be there for a limited time or always present. Some of these are easy day-to-day tasks like logging into your account, so do not miss these at any cost. You’ll also be able to earn gems through your Duel Pass, which will be explained in detail ahead.

Additionally, you can always go for spending some real money and purchase some gems if you feel short on them.

How to use the in-game Shop?

The shop has a number of interesting items that are essential to progress in the game. So, it’s very important that you have a strong knowledge of what’s available and what to buy. The main items that the shop has to offer are card packs, accessories, and structure desks in addition to some special duel passes.

Card Packs

Card packs offer randomly drawn cards that you can add to your deck. These include:

  • Regular Packs: These allow you to either go for limited-time packs for some spotlighted cards, or you can also choose Master Packs, which don’t have any time limit associated with them.
  • Secret Packs: These are specific packs that focus on a singular archetype. They appear for a very limited time after obtaining what is known as a Key-Card. These are quite essential to gameplay as they act as the main source of new cards for your deck, at times.
  • Bonus Packs: You’ll need tickets you’ve got while playing the game in order to access these. They can offer a variety of bonus cards.


As is implied by the name, accessories do not affect gameplay in any way but rather modify the appearance of the duel screen, sometimes even adding in additional aesthetics. They can make the duel a bit more customized, that’s all.

You can purchase things like mates, icons, card protectors, etc. depending on your needs. But honestly, a lot of beginners might not be able to spend a lot of their Gems here, as they’ll be needing them for other important aspects such as deck-building.

Structure Decks

Structure Decks are pre-defined decks geared towards an archetype. You can purchase them and start dueling right away. Overall, they can provide great utility for beginners and veterans alike and are a good approach to deck-building.

Choosing between card packs in Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel.
The first ever choice between card packs that you will face in Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel.

Duel Pass

Divided into two sub-types - Gold and Normal - a Duel Pass lets you collect gems and various rewards after your PvP duels. A number of bonuses can be claimed right after you’ve purchased a pass. A Duel Pass Gold is more valuable and will offer better rewards compared to a normal Duel Pass.

As a beginner, you’ll only have to pay for the Gold Duel pass as you get a free Duel pass when you start the game. This is arguably the most significant source of gems after what the game initially gifts you with.

How to build your first Deck?

As you keep progressing through solo mode, you’ll notice that the content is limited. Eventually, you will want to jump into online PvP and enjoy the game to the fullest. As we’ve pointed out, the shop offers a lot of card packs in addition to various other options for deck-building.

To use the shop with the best value for your money, you need to have an idea of what you want to buy. In this regard, we’ll detail some important aspects of deck-building that you should be aware of.

Bundle Deals

Bundle deals generally contain some good special offers that can help you acquire cards at a great value. These are present for a limited time, so you’ll have to keep a check on the specials section in the shop. You can get some master packs along with some good staple cards that you’ll be able to incorporate into your deck.

Card Crafting System

As one of the primary methods to pull new cards, you should definitely invest some time into learning the card crafting system. If you want a specific card or are looking to open a secret pack, this is the way to go.

The card crafting interface in Yu Gi Oh! Master Duel.
The card crafting interface in Yu Gi Oh! Master Duel.

You can craft normal, rare, super-rare(SR), or Ultra-rare(UR) cards using the crafting system. Generally, SR/UR cards are specified as key cards that you can use to access secret packs. You’ll also be able to dismantle any existing cards to earn Card Points (CP) for the same rarity. Likewise, generating a specific card will require you to spend CP.

How can you craft a card?

You can craft a card you want by editing any existing deck you might have. Just go to the Deck menu and choose the Edit Deck option from there. Look for a card that you don’t currently possess but want to own.

After you’ve selected the generate option, the card will be in your possession. It is highly recommended to dismantle any extra cards that you might own, as you’ll be needing the CP to craft more useful cards in the future.

Build the right Deck for you

From the start of the game, you’ll be given an option to select one of three decks. At this point, the choice really doesn’t matter. However as you progress through the solo mode, you will get a taste of the archetype that best resonates with you. You can then choose a structure deck based on that archetype later on and see what cards you can use.

You can experiment with several different archetypes using the public deck list which contains fully-constructed decks, which you can copy with some time and effort. Strategize your whole plan around getting access to more and more secret packs, as they will serve as an important source for pulling out good cards.

You also need to add some solid staple cards to your deck along with useful monster cards. Always keep your CP in check and dismantle any extra cards cluttering your deck.

The last and probably the most important piece of advice: keep on practicing in solo mode. Whether you’re using a single deck or experimenting with different ones, you will always need some time to get a hold of it before jumping with it into PvP. The best way to do this is solo mode practice, it’ll enable you to see the differences between different decks and choose what works best for you.


Getting a hang of Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duels as a beginner will take some time. You must use your resources wisely and spend on cards that are essential to your gameplay. As you progress and create multiple decks, you’ll also be experimenting with different playstyles, which will add to your overall experience.

Master Duels regularly hosts a variety of events that can offer multiple bonuses and rewards, so don’t miss out on them. We cannot stress enough the importance of a Duel Pass. Whether you choose to remain with the free version or decide to go Gold, is your choice. The fact remains that Duel Pass will be your primary source of Gems if you’re not looking to invest real money into the game.

With a proper investment of time and strategic planning, you’ll see yourself progressing through the game with relative ease. We hope our guide helps in finding the best path for your Master Duels journey, Good luck!

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Arsal Sher

Arsal Sher // Articles: 25

Just an average videogame enthusiast who loves to share his passion with the world. The only grass I've touched in the past year has been the virtual kind.
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