Ok, now we’re getting somewhere with this. Hello Pojo Readers, Crunch$G back here with my series of reviewing every set in Yu-Gi-Oh with a second batch of Structure Decks. These were the Structure Decks that came after the two exclusive Decks to the OCG and all typically saw a name change from here on out, and sometimes some card changes in the Structure Deck. This one won’t be as negative I feel because these Structure Decks have a bunch of good cards in them. They all feel playable out the box with more coherent themes, and we still get those sweet reprints. Lets get into it to see how much better these are, with less of a curve now.
Rise of the Dragon Lords
Release Date: October 24th, 2007
Cover Card: Felgrand Dragon
The first Structure Deck upon their return to the TCG is the Rise of the Dragon Lords Structure, based on Dragons of course. Mostly retrieving and reviving your Dragons from the graveyard. In total, there were 7 new cards in this Structure Deck: Felgrand Dragon, Darkblaze Dragon, Herald of Creation, Decoy Dragon, Trade-In, Foolish Burial, and Malevolent Catastrophe. Felgrand Dragon and Darkblaze Dragon are the weak links in this bunch, which is kind of an awkward spot for the Deck’s bosses to be in. Herald of Creation is a pretty neat card for retrieving your high-Level monsters. Decoy Dragon is cool in theory, but it’s weak in the sense that it’s a card begging your opponent to attack it so you can benefit. Trade-In is easily one of the best Draw Spells we ever saw in this game’s history, being a Destiny Draw for any Level 8. Foolish Burial is one of the best cards in the game, as it’s been limited for years due to the power. Malevolent Catastrophe feels odd to be a new card for what it does, mostly cause it was a reprint in the OCG from their Marik Structure in 2004, but it’s a good card to make a debut in here. The reprints are an interesting bunch. Your staples are Giant Trunade, Premature Burial, Terraforming, Lightning Vortex, Brain Control, Dust Tornado, Call of the Haunted, Magic Jammer, Sakuretsu Armor, and Draining Shield with none really getting needed reprints, but they’re good for this Structure Deck. Gilford the Lightning was fine considering its only previous release was a tin. Morphing Jar is a strong reprint to finally have outside a Tournament Pack or a giant set like Dark Beginning 2. Tyrant Dragon is a fine reprint for the time. Twin-Headed Behemoth is a decent card in the context of this Structure Deck. Horus the Black Flame Dragon LV6 is fine, though we could of used LV4 and LV8 maybe. Masked Dragon is an important 2-of in here since the Deck is focused on Dragons. The Creator and The Creator Incarnate are fine in this Deck and are fine reprints. Snipe Hunter is a good card to have for loading the graveyard to prepare your revivals. Soul Exchange is very needed with all the high-Level monsters you have. The Shallow Grave can be useful. A Wingbeat of Giant Dragon shouldn’t be that dead of a card with all your big Dragons. Finally, you got Mausoleum of the Emperor, which is a card that perfectly belongs in here. Overall, you can see a clear strategy of summoning big monsters, mostly Dragons. Not a lot of revival options really for your boss, probably doesn’t help if Monster Reborn was banned at the time. It’s playable, but you’d probably need 3 to make it not feel like a Deck of massive bricks. Some great cards like Trade-In and Foolish Burial do make this Deck much better, though.
Structure Deck Rating: 7.5/10
The Dark Emperor
Release Date: April 2nd, 2008
Cover Card: Caius the Shadow Monarch
Or as you might know it as: Caius and Friends. The next Structure Deck is The Dark Emperor, focused somewhat on banishing, but we really know this as the Structure Deck for the one card that steals the show, and this time it’s the main card at least. The Structure Deck gave us 5 new cards: Caius the Shadow Monarch, Dimensional Alchemist, Samsara Kaiser, D.D.R. – Different Dimension Reincarnation, and By Order of the Emperor. Caius is one of the best tribute monsters we’ve ever had in the game, I remember this card being played in several Decks for years. Dimensional Alchemist is a pretty cool card actually to play with your banished pile. Samsara Kaiser is a far worse Treeborn Frog. D.D.R. is actually a very good Equip Spell that has found uses over the years. By Order of the Emperor was the last new card, and it’s a fine card for its time. Now for the reprints. Golden Homunculus is a good reprint from a video game and it works in this Structure Deck if you’re doing a lot of banishing. Helios – The Primordial Sun, while a good reprint from a video game, is weak without the bigger Helios forms for better upgrades. D.D. Warrior is an amazing reprint from a Tournament Pack as an Ultra Rare. Kycoo the Ghost Destroyer is a solid reprint for anybody and it does what this Deck wants. Bazoo the Soul Eater works well in here, and you get 2 of it. Exiled Force is a decent staple monster to have at that time. D.D. Warrior Lady was still a solid card around here, especially in this Deck. D.D. Scout Plane keeps coming back for you if you are able to keep banishing it. Gren Maju Da Eiza has one of its few prints in here, and it works in this context. D.D. Survivor is a better Scout Plane for you, and he’s the one you get 2 of. Banisher of the Radiance is a good monster to have overall, especially here as a 2-of. D.D. Assailant is good to have reprinted from a video game and Champion Pack, and it’s an alternative to Warrior Lady. Your staple cards for Spells and Traps include Mystical Space Typhoon, Nobleman of Crossout, Enemy Controller, Lightning Vortex, Brain Control, Torrential Tribute, Bottomless Trap Hole, and Sakuretsu Armor with some other good cards that could be potential staples. Soul Release is a great card for graveyard interruption. Reinforcement of the Army is always good for Warriors. Dark Core is a pretty solid Spell. Dimensional Fissure and Macro Cosmos work especially well in here, but are great cards in general, especially getting 2 D-Fissure. Return from the Different Dimension becomes accessible outside the Exclusive Pack, and it’s an overall great card for anybody who is banishing a lot. Finally, Karma Cut is a pretty good interruption piece to have. Overall, there’s a bunch of great cards in here. The strategy is coherent and you got a great boss monster that many Decks used for a long time in Caius the Shadow Monarch. I’m sure Dimension Fusion could of been a good option to have in here, but this was around the time that was getting banned and Dark Armed Dragon was running around. Caius being a DARK monster is probably perfect timing after Phantom Darkness as well. Easily the best Structure Deck up to this point. Hard to believe it was this Deck that was retrained into the Monarch Structure Deck, kind of odd, but that’s more points for being the catalyst for another great Structure Deck in the future, but I’ll talk about that when I get to the Structure Deck Retrains.
Structure Deck Rating: 10/10
Release Date: October 21st, 2008
Cover Card: Red-Eyes Zombie Dragon
Another repeat theme, but we got some solid cards. Zombie World is the first official Structure Deck of the 5D’s era, though it would still be years before they put Synchros into actual Structure Decks. This is a Zombie-themed Structure Deck, hence the name, and gave us 6 new cards in total. Red-Eyes Zombie Dragon makes for an okay monster in old Zombie builds, though quickly outdated. Malevolent Mech – Goku En is another decent card like the other Malevolent Mechs, but this one can stay if you control more Zombies. Paladin of the Cursed Dragon is a decent Zombie to revive your opponent’s Zombies that you destroyed in battle. Zombie World has been a great card throughout the years against Tribute Summoning and turning all monsters into Zombies to mess with Types. Spell Shattering Arrow found its peak in Arc-V, and it was really only a new card in here because the OCG had it in their version as a reprint. Finally for new cards, Imperial Iron Wall makes for a decent floodgate against anything to do with banishing, and it can help you abuse certain cards. As for your staple reprints, you had cards like Cold Wave (which wasn’t printed outside a Champion Pack in 4 years, and this was around the time players found how good the card was), Terraforming, Pot of Avarice, Dust Tornado, and Bottomless Trap Hole. You had Gernia having its first reprint from being an Ultra Rare in a Champion Pack. You get 2 Pyramid Turtle, which is fitting for older Zombie Decks. Spirit Reaper was still a nice card in 2008, and it was an actual Zombie. Marionette Mite was a decent card against other Zombies, or if you had Zombie World. Zombie Master was a great reprint at the time to get 2 of. Magical Stone Excavation is a good card that was a big reprint from a Champion Pack as Ultra Rare. Card of Safe Return is a very fitting card in here. Book of Life and Call of the Mummy work well in here as you’re playing a Zombie Deck. Shrink is a solid reprint to not have as just a Special Edition promo from the previous year or an old prize card. Field Barrier can work nicely with your Zombie World. Soul Taker is a good reprint from a Gladiator’s Assault Secret Rare. Finally, Card Destruction is a solid card since Zombies like the graveyard. Zombies were meta around 2008 I remember, so having this Structure Deck helped a little in building the Deck with Zombie Master getting a reprint and having a new tool with Zombie World. Several Champion Pack Ultras in here, which is pretty good, with Magical Stone Excavation being the biggest reprint. You also had some solid cards in here like Imperial Iron Wall and Spell Shattering Arrow. Most the Zombies you got weren’t great, but you have stuff in here worthwhile for Zombies at the time.
Structure Deck Rating: 7.5/10
Release Date: March 31st, 2009
Cover Card: Endymion, the Master Magician
Now time to focus on Spell Counters before the Pendulum days. Spellcaster’s Command was the first Structure Deck of 2009 and tried to make the Spell Counter strategy more coherent with 6 new cards. Endymion, the Master Magician was an okay boss monster for the strategy. Disenchanter was never one of the great Spell Counter cards. Defender, the Magical Knight was a fine card for its time. Summoner Monk was an amazing card outside Spellcaster Decks. Magical Citadel of Endymion is a must for Spell Counter strategies. Finally, Spell Power Grasp is a solid Spell Counter generator for the time. For your staple reprints you have Breaker the Magical Warrior (was a near staple at the time if I remember correctly), Giant Trunade, Fissure, Terraforming, Enemy Controller, Book of Moon, and Magic Cylinder. Hannibal Necromancer was fine to get outside a Special Edition. Dark Red Enchanter in here makes up for being a Secret in Phantom Darkness. Apprentice Magician is a 2-of in here that’s good for any Spellcaster Deck, and it generates Spell Counters as well. Old Vindictive Magician makes for a good target for Apprentice Magician. Royal Magical Library is a strong Spell Counter card, even if it hasn’t been used in the most fair of strategies. Crystal Seer is a solid reprint in here outside being an Ultra in Tactical Evolution. Magicians Unite is good reprint of an old Ultra Rare in a Champion Pack. Magical Dimension is a good Spellcaster card in general. Magician’s Circle is a great reprint, and finally you got some more Spell Counter generation with Pitch Black Power Stone. It’s a decent Structure Deck with some strong cards for years like Magical Citadel for any future Spell Counter theme and Summoner Monk as a play enabler in many strategies. You got your Spellcaster good-stuff in here as well, which is nice. Overall another decent Structure Deck.
Structure Deck Rating: 8/10
Release Date: October 27th, 2009
Cover Card: Phoenix Gearfried
Time for some Geminis. Our next Structure Deck leads us to Warriors’ Strike, which of course is full of Warrior monsters. The main focus for these Warriors were being Geminis and also relying on Equips. We got a grand total of 6 new cards in this Deck. Phoenix Gearfried is probably one of the better big Geminis for its Warrior revival and targeting negation of Spells and Traps. Evocator Chevalier is pretty meh as a Gemini just sending an Equip to grave for popping a card, but it does synergize with a new card in here at least. Featherizer relies on battle destruction just to send a Gemini from Deck to grave and allow a draw. Gemini Solider is another okay Gemini that’s safe from destruction once per turn and summons Level 4 or lower Geminis from Deck when it battles. Supervise is a good Equip Spell to give Gemini monsters their effects and to revive Normal Monsters from grave when sent from field to grave. Finally, Hidden Armory was a good searcher for any Equip Spell in the game to finally have, noted it wasn’t a new card in the OCG’s version of this Deck and we just got it late. Your staple cards offer options like Mind Control (a big reprint from World Championship 2005 and a Champion Pack), Mystical Space Typhoon, Dark Bribe (which was needed here previously only being a Tag Force promo), and Sakuretsu Armor. Spell Striker was a good reprint from the World Championship game and a Champion Pack, and it’s also a solid card. Marauding Captain always works in Warrior Decks, though preferred in multiples instead of 1 in here. Exiled Force and D.D. Warrior Lady were still okay cards at this time. Card Trooper was a strong reprint from the second Jaden Duelist Pack. Gemini Summoner and Blazewing Butterfly do their job for Geminis, both also useful reprint at this time. D.D. Warrior is a good card for this Deck, but not as big a reprint compared to when it was in The Dark Emperor. Dark Valkyria is a solid Gemini monster. Burden of the Mighty was a good reprint at this time from World Championship 2008. Cards like Silent Doom, Swing of Memories, Soul Resurrection, and Birthright do their job reviving Normal Monsters like your Geminis. Reinforcement of the Army is important for any Deck with Warriors. Divine Sword – Phoenix Blade was fine to have in here. Double Summon helps give you the Gemini Summon you need for effects. Symbols of Duty works for swapping your Gemini you have yet to Gemini Summon for any monster in either graveyard. Kunai with Chain is an okay reprint that at least works with the theme of Equips. Finally you got Justi-Break to work with your Geminis before you Gemini Summon them. Overall, this is a cool Structure Deck. You could put three together and get something competent out of it. The reprints make this a very good Structure Deck overall, though, since most of the Gemini cards are fairly weak. You got good options like Supervise and Hidden Armory at least, but you needed stronger effects to make up for Geminis being Geminis. It’s a fine Structure Deck hurt by the fact that Geminis were a concept that could of always been better.
Structure Deck Rating: 7.5/10
Release Date: February 19th, 2010
Cover Card: Machina Fortress
The first case of a Structure Deck offering somewhat of a competitive strategy outside a single card. Machina Mayhem is our next Structure Deck and helps support Machines in a fairly big way with a whopping 11 new cards, with more than half of them being only because the TCG had to get the rest of the Machina archetype over here somehow alongside The Big Saturn. Machina Fortress was a great boss monster with an easy Special Summon effect from either the hand or grave that lets it use itself as cost as well as pop cards when destroy and destroy the opponent’s hand when targeted. Machina Gearframe was a good Union Monster that searched any Machina monster from Deck to hand on Normal Summon. Machina Peacekeeper was an okay card with its destruction on field searching any Union Monster. Scrap Recycler was a great card to dump any Machine from Deck to grave and return 2 Level 4 EARTH Machines to Deck for a draw. Commander Covington was a pretty meh card that made you send 3 specific monsters you control to grave to summon Machina Force. Machina Solider is okay since its Normal Summon while you having no other monsters let you summon a Machina from hand. Machina Sniper was outdated with it making the opponent only able to attack Machina Sniper, and it can’t cause a lock with 2. Machina Defender was a FLIP to search your Commander Covington to at least try to summon Machina Force. Machina Force is a poor payoff for Commander Covington’s effect since it makes you pay LP to attack and splits back into its other 3 Machina pieces at will. The Big Saturn was another card in here just to get it to the TCG and has a poor effect to make you pay LP and discard for it to gain 1000 ATK. Finally, Machina Armored Unit is a fine card to replace Machines destroyed with a Machine from Deck with the same Attribute and lower ATK. You only have 2 cards I’d consider staple at the time, with one being a great reprint in Dimensional Prison from a video game promo, and the other being Compulsory Evacuation Device that you can get from other Structure Decks. Cipher Soldier is in here as a fine option and a good reprint from World Championship 2004 and a Champion Pack. Cyber Dragon was a good Machine at this time still and it didn’t have the many other cards that did the same thing around then as well. Green, Red, and Yellow Gadget make sense in here to give you fodder for Machina Fortress. Cyber Valley was a fine reprint in here. Prohibition can be a great card at times to stop specific threats. Frontline Base helps you summon some of your Union monsters without using the Normal Summon. Machine Duplication is a good card, despite the low targets in the actual Structure Deck if you bought only one. Inferno Reckless Summon is a solid reprint for a solid card. Solidarity works in here with all the monsters being Machines. Time Machine is fine in here just to have a Crossroads of Chaos Secret not be the only way to get it at this time. Finally, you got a Ceasefire reprint just to have a solid burn card, despite the Deck having nothing to really do with burn unless you played The Big Saturn. Overall, this was a strong Structure Deck. You could actually see Machina Fortress and Gearframe actually being competitively viable, which I’m sure they were in 2010 and still pop up to this day. Scrap Recycler is also useful for many Decks based on Machines in the grave, with it recently seeing its real peak as a card. You got a great reprint in Dimensional Prison for anybody as well considering it was a great staple at this time. This is one of the strongest examples of how to design a good Structure Deck.
Structure Deck Rating: 10/10
Release Date: October 15th, 2010
Cover Card: Necrovalley (fairly faint behind Marik)
Well, this one is a nostalgia sell and I’m fine with that. Marik’s Structure Deck is one of the cooler ones giving us cards that remind us of the Battle City days with Marik in the show. We do have two new cards in here finally in the TCG. Mystical Beast of Serket is an okay card to banish anything it destroys in battle and gains 500 ATK for destroying monsters, though it’s tied to Temple of the Kings being on the field so it doesn’t destroy itself. Temple of the Kings was basically banned on release for letting you use Traps the turn they were set, needing an errata many years later to make it legal again. Your staple reprints give us cards like Mystical Space Typhoon, Book of Moon, Foolish Burial, and Mirror Force (a big reprint at this time since it was the first non-foil print of it). Gil Garth was cool to finally get outside Gladiator’s Assault at this point. Mystic Tomato is okay since it has a few targets in this Structure Deck. You got the Gravekeeper’s archetype with some of the good Gravekeeper’s monsters in the Structure Deck being Spy and Chief times 2, Commandant, and Descendant. Also Visionary for a boss and a way to get it outside Super Rare. Lava Golem is in here as well and makes for a solid reprint. Necrovalley is always a useful card to have, and you get 2 in here. Allure of Darkness is a great reprint in this Structure Deck. Finally, you got a solid reprint for Metal Reflect Slime. Overall, this Structure Deck is for the novelty more than anything, but it has some great reprints inside. Mirror Force’s first non-foil reprint being here is a big deal, and Allure of Darkness was short on prints at the time. It was cool to get Serket and Temple of the Kings, even if we couldn’t play with the latter until it got an errata. You got a lot of cards I didn’t mention here that are cool mostly because they throwback to Marik. It does the character justice, and I guess you could make a competent Deck with Gravekeeper’s helping you.
Structure Deck Rating: 8/10
Release Date: March 4th, 2011
Cover Card: Dragunity Arma Leyvaten
So they’ll give us a Dragunity Structure without giving us Synchros? Okay then. Dragunity Legion is our next Structure Deck, and it gives us some support for the Dragunity archetype, and decent support at that with 5 new cards. Dragunity Arma Leyvaten is fine to summon by banishing a Dragunity to then equip a Dragon from grave to it and summoning the equipped Dragon if the opponent’s effect sends this to grave. Dragunity Arma Mystletainn is probably the better card since it sends the Dragunity to grave to Special Summon it and also equips a Dragon-type Dragunity from grave to itself for Synchro plays. Dragunity Aklys is a good Tuner whose Normal Summon lets you summon a Dragunity from hand and equip this card to it and unequipping this card lets you destroy a card. Dragon Ravine is an amazing Field Spell to discard a card to search a Level 4 or lower Dragunity from Deck or send any Dragon from Deck to grave. Finally, Dragon Mastery is pretty meh since it just boosts your Dragunities by 500 and lets you equip a Dragon-type Dragunity from hand to a monster you control. Your staple reprints give Foolish Burial, Mirror Force, and Bottomless Trap Hole. You got Dragunity Dux and Legionnaire as two of the better Dragunities at the time, but we didn’t have Phalanx. Hunter Owl is a good video game promo reprint. Garuda the Wind Spirit is a good card as it’s easy to Special Summon in Dragunity. Flying Kamari #1 works if you’re only using the Structure Deck. Twin-Headed Behemoth is a fine card. Masked Dragon is another floater option if you’re only using the Structure Deck, and you get two of this one. Stamping Destruction works here since you got several Dragons to work with. Monster Reincarnation works here to get a Dragunity you want to equip to grave to retrieve a Dragunity you want to summon. Card Destruction also helps get the Dragunities you want in grave there. Relive Monster is a fine reprint with previously limited printings. Legacy of Yata-Garasu is an okay reprint. Finally, you got Icarus Attack to work with the Winged Beast section of your Deck. Overall, there is good Dragunity support in here with Mystletainn and Dragon Ravine standing out. Reprints are weak with a lot of the more poor Dragunities in here, some in between their Duel Terminal and Hidden Arsenal 4 releases. Mirror Force is cool for a second Structure Deck in a row I guess. If you put three of these together, or just used 1, you could have a competent Deck at least. Some of the best cards for Dragunities being in here alongside the best Field Spell for Dragons makes this one of the better Structure Decks, though.
Structure Deck Rating: 9/10
Release Date: June 10th, 2011
Cover Card: Master Hyperion
Since this is the last Structure Deck of the 5D’s era, this will be the last Structure Deck we look at here. It’s a strong way to go out, though, considering Agents actually won Worlds alongside the T.G. archetype. Overall, we got 5 new cards to support Agents and The Sanctuary in the Sky. Master Hyperion is an insanely good boss monster for the time by just summoning it at the cost of banishing a The Agent from the hand, field or graveyard while also being able to pop a card by banishing a Fairy from grave and doing that twice if you have The Sanctuary in the Sky. The Agent of Mystery – Earth is a good Level 2 Tuner that searches for any The Agent or it can get Master Hyperion if you have The Sanctuary in the Sky. The Agent of Miracles – Jupiter is fine for a Normal Summonable beater by banishing a The Agent from grave to boost a LIGHT Fairy from grave and having the potential to summon a banished LIGHT Fairy by discarding a Fairy while you had The Sanctuary in the Sky. Cards from the Sky is okay draw power to banish a LIGHT Fairy from hand to draw 2, even if it prevents you from Special Summoning or attacking the turn you use it. Finally, Divine Punishment is a great card with The Sanctuary in the Sky as it acts as a Solemn Judgment like card negating Spells, Traps, or Monster Effects. Your staple reprints include Terraforming, Smashing Ground, Torrential Tribute, and Solemn Judgment (which was a big reprint as it was the first non-foil printing of it outside a Champion Pack). The Agent of Creation – Venus is a great card to get Mystical Shine Balls on the field for Extra Deck plays, around the time Xyz Summoning became a thing as well. Speaking of which, you only get 1 Mystical Shine Ball in here. Splendid Venus is a fine Fairy boss and its first reprint from The Duelist Genesis as Secret Rare. Tethys, Goddess of Light is another good Fairy monster reprinted from Crimson Crisis as Secret Rare. Victoria reprinted from a Stardust Overdrive Secret Rare. Athena a good Fairy boss reprinted from Premium Pack 2. Marshmallon was still a solid card at this time. Hecatrice and Valhalla, Hall of the Fallen were good reprints in here for anything Fairy-based. Shining Angel works with just the Structure Deck. Soul of Purity and Light makes for an easy Special Summon. Nova Summoner serves as another Shining Angel. Honest is a good card for anything LIGHT-based and is a solid reprint. Hanewata is good against burn. You get two The Sanctuary in the Sky to work with your new cards. Celestial Transformation helps get monsters on the field for plays. Burial from a Different Dimension is a very strong reprint from Jaden’s second Duelist Pack and a Champion Pack. Solidarity works in here as well since you’re mostly using Fairies. Return from Different Dimension is a good card in here. Finally, Beckoning Light helps replace your hand with LIGHT monsters in your grave that you want. Overall, it is a great Structure Deck. It was a key component for winning Worlds in 2011, which of course counts for something. This was the peak of how far Structure Decks have come, to a point where they are now competitive enough to consistently win tournaments with most the cards they give us. Master Hyperion and Earth are the stars of this Structure Deck, which overall is one of the better ones in the game’s history.
Structure Deck Rating: 10/10
It took a bit, but we got to the Structure Decks that were actually playable and gave decent boss monsters. We had a few more to go in this era to get ones that could be competitive like Machina Mayhem and Lost Sanctuary. The Dark Emperor was good at least for giving us Caius as well alongside other good cards. This was a much better era for Structure Decks compared to the last one, but it gets better with many more Structure Decks after this being excellent archetype support and some also being very competitive. We’ve gotten to the goodies now, and less of a curve needed. Now here’s the Structure Deck rankings.
- The Dark Emperor, Machina Mayhem, and Lost Sanctuary (10/10)
- Dragunity Legion (9/10)
- Spellcaster’s Command and Marik (8/10)
- Rise of the Dragon Lords, Zombie World, and Warriors’ Strike (7.5/10)
Thanks for Reading,