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A short and long term solution to the "Empty world" problem in Genshin Impact
The following post intends to suggest a short term and long term solution to the late game lack of exploration/continued play stimuli and maybe even the Resin shudders issue.Also, I would highly recommend reading:
- The post by u/Iracy7 on the situation of resin: The situation
- The post by u/Vartio on a compilation of solutions taking financial viability into account: Possible solutions
I've just received an official (Mihoyo staff) notice that Reddit threads outside of the megathread are being removed to ease the moderators work. It was recommended that I move this to a google doc, so thats what I'm going to do.
Link to the doc: Journey System
Official forums post: here
I don't know where I could continue to take feedback on the idea so I'm taking suggestions.
The problems for the peopleThere are currently several problems the community has found with the game so far but I will list the ones I'm aware of and trying to think of a way to solve with the help of the community.
- Resin: There are many complaints about the system, plenty of them involve the limit on meaningfull playtime being relegated to 10-50min
- Progression: People don't want to wait a month worth of time to grind their characters to their maximum achievable level. This also ties into resin in a way since exp and mora can be obtained through resin.
- Boredom: After around AR30 most chests have been found and enemy camps become scarce and unrewarding, there are no more oculi nor seelies to find and if you've finished the storyline available (~AR35) then the world feels completely empty in comparison to the initial GI experience.
TLDR: People want to play more of the game. There is no proper continuous gameplay loop (something you can keep doing indefinetely). And just asking people to roam around Teyvat trying to find mobs that have a low chance of dropping a 1* artifact does not caracterize a proper gameplay loop.
Mihoyo is a company and profit IS importantAs pointed by u/Vartio the solutions must take the business side into account. I currently work as a Unreal/Unity dev and while 100mil is plenty of burst cash, its not something that will last forever while paying their 500-1k employees. Considering the minimum employee count and only 2000$ a month for each (very low for a lot of tech positions) this results in ~67 months of sustained development, since the game took around 3 years and 8 months to develop (44 months total) then this means they should have around 23 months of sustained development time from that money to further develop the game, and they must achieve profit to appease the higher ups.
It would be great to know the actual analytics of the game but I will proceed with this post considering the biggest draw for cash in this game are the character banners and not the use of genesis crystals -> primogens -> daily resin refills. I believe thats the case since the Resin is a daily refill of a resource that is not really aesthetically appealing and also require you to put effort and time (time is really key here) into converting such resource into what you are actually looking for (Artifacts/Exp/Boss drops/books) and that is after the genesis conversion to primogems. Meanwhile the banners have a conversion from genesis crystals to primogens(very fast) and then you are only 1 prompt away from a beautifully animated pull with usefull weapons for refinement/weapon exp and maybe a new/usefull/interesting character with gorgeous design and phenomenal voice acting that will either immediately strengthen your party if its a duplicate or make you extremely excited to try them out.
And thats where we hit a big issue. People can't try out new characters if they can't level them up. that is awfull for the money perspective. It takes away the point of the massive investment on the quality of these characters. I for once find Klee to be absolutely adorable and the basic attack that proc elements, effectively mine, destroy both geo and other fatui shields (not affected by the melee DMG reduction) make her a very attractive option as a party member. However, I can't afford to bring her up to speed with my current party, and having her get one shotted in the overworld makes me not even want to have her out in the field even for just exploration.
Other posts that tackle this situation: 1(Reddit), 2(Reddit), 3 (Forbes)
In short, Primogems are the most important resource for using the gacha system and I imagine thats where most of the money comes from, while character exp, artifacts and mora are the most important resources for advancing the game and making the overworld exploration worth it. Not having the advancing/leveling resources serves as a detriment to the desire of getting new characters. Thats less money. The rates are low enough that most F2Players are not gonna buy genesis crystals, but the value of the Blessing of the Welkin Moon (BWM) is probably enough to get the F2Players if they spend enough time in the game (I know I would purchase it every month as long as I'm playing).
I also believe rewarding extended play with more primogems (enough for a daily wish on top of the commission rewards) could maybe play enough into the banner urgency factor. F2Players that are close to their pity pull would maybe get the genesis crystals missing to hit the pity. In the current state buying genesis crystals require too much cash for too little reward for people with only 300$ of disposable income but 5h/day of disposable time, but the offer will be far more attractive if the exposure to the gacha system is more frequent. I know of at least 11 other players that will not touch the system untill another banner rolls in since they know they are not even close to having enough resources to hit the 5* pity counter in time. Reaching that edge of missing only 10 pulls while having only 5 hours left to purchase in the limited character banner is what I think will break the first purchase barrier for many. But that can only happen if they experience the gacha system more frequently.
TLDR: There is no point in getting new characters and spending money in the gacha system if players can't level that character up. You will not help many players break the first purchase barrier if they can't engage in the gacha system with enough frequency. Getting more people into spending is better for sustainability and extended development and there is much content still on the roadmap.
AcknowledgementsThe way to solve these problems must encompass the desires of both the people and the company.
While many complain about the Resin System, plenty of the problems caused by it are due to the lack of availability of the resources obtained by spending resin.The biggest culprits when it comes to those resources are talent books and boss drops for ascension of the main party and character experience for newly acquired characters + mora for pretty much everything.
When it comes to the time for maxing out a character the biggest culprit is character exp (11 days of optimal farming). Plus the ascension materials that can be farmed within 3 days of extended playtime, which I believe its fair.
When it comes to gearing up a character the biggest culprit is artifacts taking a whopping 16 days to get enough to fully level some 4*s.
Now if you remove those times (occupied by artifacts and character exp), its possible to max out a lvl 70 character in around a week with optimal farming due to the mora constraints. And while that may sound too much for some, it seems fine for me, its a month to get a entirelly new party up to speed for doing Abyss/Exploration, that seems pretty reasonable.
TLDR: Lack of mora,char exp and artifacts are the main source of player dissatisfaction when it comes to resources, lack of guided activities is a major problem as well, both get in the way of players and the company's profit.
My proposalsI know some people will not like this, but my solution for the current situation does not involve a rework/removal of the resin system. But instead alternate means of obtaining the most restrictive resources in terms of time investment (artifacts, Mora and Character exp) through what I believe is GIs strongest point, exploration.
The solution would come in 2 parts, one for the short term since the amount of rage against the current situation is massive. It will not solve the issue completely but should be a great measure in terms of return in player satisfaction per effort to implement. And another for the long term meant to solve the problem from the game while increasing sustained engagement and offering more spending options for players.
Short termPreviously collected Common and Exquisite chests respawn
- Suggested rate: 80-100¹ a day with 3/4 being exquisite
- They should be guarded by monsters/puzzles whenever possible to extend engagement time
If there is not enough chest locations for all daily respawns to happen, they will spawn untill all available locations are filled with extra spawns simply not happening
- Players would each have a chest pool that would fill at the rate above (capped at 700), as players reach a new instanced sub-region/sub-scene (when monsters/puzzles/chests are loaded) this pool would be used to populate the place, when the player leaves the region unnopened chests enlist themselves back into the pool. This happens until the pool is depleted. (credits to u/JumpingJackFlashMike for pointing out chests would still be hard to come across, I believe this fixes that issue)
- They should NOT award AR exp²
- They should keep awarding 1-2 primogens each³
- This should fill the world with content to explore every week so people that only log in on weekends can enjoy the exploration to its full extent while grinders have enough places to farm for resources each day.
- You've collected this before so its not a new experience (lore explanation), Throttiling AR is important and not having it entirelly tied to quests,teleports,statues was a mistake in my opinion. As it is, players can reach max rank before there is quest content appropriate for that rank that will hamper the desire to complete new content if things are not scaled properly and make balancing more difficult. That being said the game currently does not have a proper gameplay loop so players need the AR gain as the drive for engagement. This is a band-aid measure that I believe is already costing more than its helping since the abyss is balanced for maxed out characters so people want to achieve maxed characters even if there is no proper storyline progression to support that climb in power level and AR. The max AR for the current state of the game should be 35-40 and the endgame content should expand as the actual game content does so things are kept balanced and engaging.
- As previously stated, in the current state, engagement with the gacha system is far too low due to lack of free sources of wishes/primogems, I actually believe it should be 2(common) and 5(exquisite) primogems but I don't wanna push too much and get this measure overlooked entirelly. With 700 chests to open during the weekend giving an average of 1.75 primogens each, thats around 1200 primogems, thats almost enough for a weekly 10 pull and if you did all comissions everyday then its enough for a 10 pull. That should be the minimal engagement with the system to make it at least somewhat attractive. with the 2-5 primogems per common-exquisite chest its around 2800 per week or 3220 if you've done your daily comissions thats 2 weekly pulls for highly dedicated players which I believe to be close to the ideal rate of engagement since it amounts to 80 pulls a month, close enough to the pity amount to maybe drive some Genesis Crystal sales. The optimal would be enough to get 70-80 pulls per limited character event banner duration consistently but since this is only the short term measure and the long term one will also involve primogem rewards, it might be worth it to consider using the 1-2 primogem rewards even if the situation seems dire for now, since the long term system is something that will greatly help with the gameplay loop problem.
The first phase should just have the system respawn previously opened chests that are unguarded. Since there will be no puzzle/monsters to keep track of/respawn synched with the chest it should be quicker to implement.
The second phase should tackle the easiest of the two options monster protected chest respawn or puzzle locked chest respawn.
The third one should be directed at making proper UI/tutorials/resources for explaining the respawning chest mechanic. I.E. Paimon - "Don't be afraid to collect every single chest, they come back after some time, since monsters always have new adventurer loot to store. I don't wanna think about where they got that loot from though..."
The fourth one should prepare the respawning chest system for the Journey system, described in the Long term section of this post
All of these should be permeated with surveys to check if high AR players are noticing the respawns (if the spawn rate is significant), if they are engaged (if the measure was effective), if the rewards are balanced and if that has alleviated the resin issue after all exquisite chests can drop talent books.
TLDR: Previously collected chests should respawn togheter with their puzzles/enemy guards. They should spawn at a rate that will fill the world with treasure in about a week.
Long termWhat I'm going to describe is a system that will take a good chunk of time to implement but would go a long way to provide longevity for the game.
Introducing the Journey System (bounty was already taken):
- Players can engage with the system by either talking to an NPC, a board or an option in Paimon menu (whichever is best for Mihoyo) I'd suggest having an NPC to introduce the system/spend journey rewards and a board for starting/choosing journeys, they should be geographicaly close to each other.
- A journey is a guided exploration experience comprised of 8-20 encounters. They are divided by length in Short(8), Regular(14) and Epic(20) encounter journeys. And titled based on the last encounter: "Defeat the shielded mitachurl in Dadaupa Gorge"(Short), "Retrieve Lisa's book from the Abyss mages" (Regular), "Investigate the rising temperature near Luhua Pool"(Epic, ends with fighting Pyroregisvine).
- An encounter consists of any previously cleared monster camp/puzzle/boss/elite boss/domain and anything else Mihoyo manages to add to the open world that could be repeatable, have their chest rewards customized and trigger a step of progress on the Journey System.
- At any time there will be 3 journeys, one of each length, available on the board until the player picks one. Then the player will have that journey tracked similar to a quest and be unable to chose another journey until the current one is completed or abandoned.
- Journeys are proceduraly generated, there will be a list of viable last encounters internally on the server for each Journey type, a random viable one would be selected to be displayed on the board for each of the journeys and display the encounter description. When a journey is selected, the board generates a journey of that type with the selected last encounter by:
- Choosing a viable location for the last encounter
- Doing a Physics.OverlapCircle around the selected area to find nearby viable encounter locations until there are enough for the journey type
- populating each encounter with the appropriate mobs given the difficulty curve and region (Lyiue/Monstadt) and the chests
- After that a prompt to navigate to the first encounter will appear and completing all encounters unlocks the final one. That or you have to beat each encounter in order to unlock the next (might cause visible mob spawning, but I wouldn't mind).
- Difficulty wise journeys should be as hard as their length, with Short ones being easily cleared, regular ones taking some effort and Epic ones taking a properly built team with decent gear.
- Rewards can be given during and/or at the end of each journey.
- There are 2 structures for the rewards that can be implemented. A new currency type (lets call it Jpoints for now) that is awarded for each journey encounter with a higher amount being awarded at the end. The other being chests placed on each encounter and at the end of the journey.
- Having minor rewards along the way with massive rewards by the end depending on the length of the journey.
- The reward type distribution for the encounters and end of journey should be based on the length of the journey (amount of total encounters)
|Encounter count||Chests type||Journey points|
- As for difficulty:
|Journey length||Monter type at the start of the journey||Monter types by the end of the journey||Suggested last monster|
|Short||Basic Hilichurls(-10)||Whopperflowers(-5)||Whopperflower(0) or Shielded Mitachurl(-2)|
|Regular||Shield Hilichurls(0) with Samachurls (-5)||Abyss Mages (-5) or Geovishap Hatchlings(-5)||3x Abyss Mages (0) or 2x Cicin mages (0)|
|Epic||Geo shield Hilichurls (-5) with elemental Archer Hilichurls(-5) / Treasure hoarders(0)||Rock shieldwall Mitachurls(0) or Ruin guards(0) with plenty of lesser mobs||2x Ruin Hunters (+5) or 3x Fatui Agents/Skirmishers(+5)|
- As for rewards:
Why not just journey points then? Well chests are VERY satisfying to open, while just seeing the Jpoints number go up after clearing an encounter would feel just... good, but not enough to maybe keep doing this every day.
Would those chests award AR exp? No, as stated in the short term solution, providing a way to endlessly grind AR while the game does not have all of its story content in place is really detrimental IMO.
Would those chest reward primogems? Maybe. I think primogems should be rewarded mostly at the end of each journey, something like 60/100/240 total sounds like great number for me. I hope Epic journeys to take around 40-80minutes and 3 primogems a minute for a tough challenge sounds fair. Maybe Mihoyo disagrees, but like I said before, keeping players from touching the gacha system for too long will hurt the bottom line, there has to be just enough exposure to hook them.
- Other expected questions:
What are the expected rewards to be gained daily? Assuming you always do the same journey type:
|Journey type||Expected Jpoints / journey||Expected clear time (minutes)||Expected Jpoints / hour||Expected chests / hour|
|Short||160||10-30||480||12C + 18E|
|Regular||340||30-50||510||6C + 14E + 5P|
|Epic||740||40-80||740||4C + 9E + 6P + 3L|
Suggestions for each include:
- Nomad's Offerings
|Item type||Jpoints cost (per unit)||Available stock|
|Cycling 4* character of a set pool (the pool contains 8 characters that can appear in this slot that are expected for F2P users)||20000||1|
|Cycling prototype weapon material||5000||1|
|Random 3*/4* Claymore||1000/10000||1|
|Random 3*/4* Sword||1000/10000||1|
|Random 3*/4* Spear||1000/10000||1|
|Random 3*/4* Catalyst||1000/10000||1|
|Random 3*/4* Bow||1000/10000||1|
|Random Skin (when added)||8000||1|
|Random furniture (when/if added)||3000||1|
- Limited Goods
|Item||Jpoints cost (per unit)||Available stock|
- Journey Exchange Post
|Item||Jpoints cost (per unit)|
|(locked by AR20) Random 3* artifact||30|
|(locked by AR30) Random 4* artifact||120|
|(locked by AR40) Random 5* artifact||500|
How would all this be monetized?
Since the entire system draws power from time investment which is pretty common to be the most demanded currency from F2Players, I'd suggest making a high value monthly deal:
The Journeyman's pocket guide/Blessing can be purchased for 5-15$ and grants you 3-5x Jpoints gain for an entire month, thats a pretty sweet deal, and greatly accelerates character leveling.
Supply packs of Jpoints / Genesis crystal conversion to Jpoints ("who said the Journey NPC can't be bribed?"), suggested rate 1 genesis crystal -> 10 Jpoints
Nomads favor can be purchased for 10-20$ and grants you the current nomad offered character, skin and furniture + the current 4* weapon in a neat package.
- Having this work on co-op might be difficult but would be a phenomenal way to promote co-op mode if the rewards (Jpoints + chest drops) could be shared.
- It might be worth time gating the refresh of each journey type by having its cooldown after acceptance match the time expected for completion listed in this post (20/40/60 minutes). We don't want people rushing like absolute madmans through the journeys trying to min/max the hell out of their party. As some wise guy at Wizards of the coast or GGG (I think) once said: "Players will optimize the fun out of your game if you let them".
- If there is a need to do this implementation in phases as well thats alright but I think it would be a more impactfull update it it came up fully working. It could be announced 3 months before being ready with a beta test in order to start building hype. Ithink players would love to at least know something like this is coming.
Possible/common questions**Why is this post so disorganized/made use of feature x or y?**This is my first Reddit post, letting me know what is wrong will help me improve the post.
Why did you make such a long post as your first one?
After joining the Genshin Impact discord server it came to my attention that the posts deemed more relevant were posted on Reddit and were very detailed in their description. Since I already had a decently fleshed out idea of what I thought would improve the game I decided to create the Reddit account.
Why are you defending the resin system?
Because I think its but a shadow of a far more concerning issue, which is the lack of a repeatable and rewarding gameplay loop that benefits players that are engaged and deeply in love with the game's experience, or at least what was experienced in their first 2-3 weeks of play.
You wouldn't say this if you were AR4x+!
Maybe, enlighten me as to why please. I'm currently at AR37, 0 quests left to do, can't find a chest for the life of me, missing 2 documented seelies, all timed challenges done, all oculi collected. As of right now I don't see why I wouldn't understand the problem yet.
Hey OP do you take constructive criticism?
Heck yeah! Specially if you think of ways to increase the chances of this getting seen/approved by Mihoyo
Would you allow Mihoyo to just take your idea and run?
It would be my pleasure, no credit needed. After all my idea is derived from systems I've experienced in other games that tackled the issue of lack of repeatable content.
What do you expect from posting this?
The dream is to get Mihoyo to implement a similar or outright clone this system. The hope is getting the playerbase to help me refine this and shape it to be a plausible solution. I've only made premium style games before (pay once get everything) so having the help and opinions of gacha veterans would really help with shaping this post.
Anything you would have liked to do in this post but couldn't?
Polls, I think people can do polls on reddit but I might be wrong. I would really like to know the percentage of people that would buy the Blessing of the Welking Moon monthly should the game get an update with the contents of this post and the amount of players that would be willing to buy any of the monetization options offered here. Personally I feel like Genshin Impact would deserve a monthly 10-20$ depending on how well they could maintain the joy I felt in the first 2 weeks.If anyone knows how to do polls let me know, thanks.
Summary: Genshin Impact suffers from a severe lack of stimuli for continued exploration in the available late-game. Another issue is the cap of obtainable character experience and Mora required to level new characters. The first issue will push both whales and F2Players away over time (not long) and the second one severely damages the desire to engage in the gacha system since getting a new character is meaningless if you can't engage the current content with it. It is important for the game to have sustained development funds to keep the content flowing and the devs paid, so solving these issues is a must. Having chests respawn would alleviate the first issue since chest include the most restrictive rewards in the late-game. That should keep the F2Players engaged for at least one more month post 1.1, after that starting development on a system similar or equal to the Journey System should keep the F2Players engaged for a period long enough to start breaking their first purchase barrier. Until such system is developed its recommended that events be far more abundant when it comes to their rewards in primogems, since players need a minimal level of exposure to the gacha system and need to see minimal results coming from it to even consider a purchase. So 10x wishes should be an occurrence every player has at least 4x a month consistently on the analytics, if this is not being achieved then one of the greatest drives of a gacha game (the actual gacha) can be considered unsuccessful in capitalizing on the potential it has given the game reached such high engagement on PC and PS4.
TLDR: The game needs more chests and/or ways to get resources, this will be good for whales, F2Players and the bottom line of the company.(Edit) u/Tigger3584's TLDR version:
IssuesThank you for reading and have a nice day!
When you get to lategame, there's nothing left to explore, so the game gets stale. The limit on Mora and EXP is an issue for F2P and whales as well- what's the point of pulling new characters if you can't level them?
Rework chests- remove AR EXP from rewards and replace with a few prismogems. Also increasing chest respawn rates & adding mobs. Also introduce some sort of new system to take combat quests, with the ability to earn more better rewards for longer ones. The new system uses some sort of point system- that allows players to exchange for 4* characters, weapons, materals, etc. on a rotating schedule.
Removing AR EXP from chests slows down AR progression and gives MiHoYo more time between expansions. Extra prismogems incentivizes players to keep grinding for the gacha. The new combat quest system allows resources to not be bottlenecked and for MiHoYo to create a monthly pass for it.
Competitive Budget Deck Masterpost (October 2020)
This post will give recommendations for decks that can generally do well while generally remaining in the $50 to $150 price range.
- Estimated pricing includes a sample completed main deck and some or all of an extra deck, but no side.
- Pricing is based mainly on singles and you can easily save a lot of money by buying cores for most of these lists all at once.
- Decks were chosen usually based on having some degree of success in recent TCG formats. Thus, many of the frequently recommended budget decks like Deskbots and Graydle Kaiju will not be on here.
- As we have had virtually no IRL events in the last few months, these deck choices and rankings are heavily based on online tournaments such as Konami's Remote Duel Invitationals, LCS, and other assorted online events.
- Remember that these events are pretty small and high in variance. Don't immediately condemn a deck as being sub-par because it hasn't shown up in online events - there are around 20 decks on this post and not all of them are going to be able to compete with Dragon Link and Dogmatika.
- Performance on DuelingBook's ranked ladder also slightly factors in to the placement of these decks, with data taken from Ygoscope.
- Many decklists will include some middle-range power cards that might drive the price point up, such as Ash Blossom and Borrelsword Dragon. These can be cut for players on an extreme budget. For instance, a set of Ash is $30 currently, but Ash is included in many of these lists as a generic staple that players might already own.
- Conversely, decklists are oftentimes easily upgraded by adding power cards such as Forbidden Droplet and Triple Tactics Talent.
Do feel free to leave suggestions for budget players, whether it's a budget tech choice for one of the decks on this list or whether it's a different deck that you think can compete in the coming months.
[Last updated: 18 October, 2020]
Previous version: June 2020 Post
TODO: Update placements for Zoodiac, Monarch, and Prank lists because the NA market is a dumpster fire, add Virtual World
S TierThe best bang for your buck. Decks in this category have the capacity to top premier events, though they're almost always supplemented with expensive power cards.
Imgur | DuelingBook
- Dragon Link is a Link-centric combo deck that has dominated competitive play since the September banlist. Though it's optimally played with Crystron Halqifibrax and Linkross, the deck is still very strong without these power cards, and is deadly even on a budget.
- The provided budget version of this deck actually has a ton of extra deck flexibility due to not needing to play Synchro/Link cards related to the Halq/Kross package, meaning that you can play Knightmares, anti-Dogmatika cards, etc.
- This deck has seen a great deal of variation online, playing a variety of different engines and tech cards. A few of these include Vylon Cube + Smoke Grenade, the Rose Dragons, several different Dragonmaid cards, and even an FTK variant involving Earthbound Immortal Aslla piscu. However, few of these are viable for budget players, especially if you do not own a copy of Halqifibrax.
- Optimally, this deck plays Dragunity Divine Lance + Dragunity Phalanx, as part of a combo involving Linkross to help establish a negate very early on and make this deck much more resilient. While we can cut this package since we don't play Halq/Kross, it also means that the budget version of this deck is more fragile by comparison.
- As the strongest deck in the meta, Dragon Link is also the deck that everyone prepares for, so you should expect opposing decks to play tech cards designed specifically to beat this deck. Additionally, this deck is extremely likely to be hit on the next banlist, though there's no way to know for sure.
Imgur | DuelingBook
- Dinosaurs are an aggressive deck with consistent access to Evolzar Laggia/Dolkka and Ultimate Conductor Tyranno, a formidable boss monster with incredible OTK power and disruption.
- Dinos are one of the only decks that can claim a major win at an official Konami event during the pandemic (with Dragon Link being another), as TeamSamuraiX1 won the first NA Remote Duel Invitational with the deck. It's also seen consistently strong performance in online events for the past several months, able to compete with extremely strong combo decks such as Adamancipator last format and Dragon Link.
- Sam, like many other players this format, ran Pot of Extravagance, and played strong going-second cards like Dark Ruler No More and Mystic Mine. As the Extrav version doesn't rely much on the extra deck, it's capable of going second into decks that establish the Buster lock, such as Dragon Link. Ultimate Conductor Tyranno then makes it extremely easy to clear the opposing board.
- Mystic Mine is particularly deadly in this deck as you can use it to force disrupts before killing them with Conductor. In the event Mine sticks to the board, you can then make an extremely powerful push with Oviraptor on a later turn and sometimes kill them outright with Conductor. Or just deck them out if they don't have a way to get rid of Mine.
- The deck can also be played as a Synchro combo deck, making use of Crystron Halqifibrax + Linkross like many other combo decks this format. These cards aren't played in the sample list due to the high price of Fibrax, as well as other cards required in synchro Dino combos such as Jurrac Aeolo and Garden Rose Maiden.
- The combo variant was piloted to notable success by Jack Verma at LCS 3, where he finished top 8 playing a Fibrax-centered list running cards like Cockadoodledoo.
- Budget Dino must deal with the lack of Animadorned Archosaur, as well as the lack of essential combo cards like Halqifibrax and power cards played in other versions like Pot of Extravagance and Forbidden Droplet.
- The provided list plays the Simorgh combo, bringing out the WIND barrier statue on turn 1 to steal games. Though a full extra deck is provided, very few cards are actually needed, as the deck typically plays Extravagance anyway.
A TierStrong decks, but limited either by a lack of access to powerful staples or by the natural ceiling of the deck. You could still top a regional with one of these decks on a good day.
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- Subterrors are a control deck with a focus on flipping monsters face-down and generating constant advantage with Subterror Guru.
- Numeron cards aim to make Number S0: Utopic ZEXAL going first or simply OTK going second. S0 is an extremely powerful card that can prevent the opponent from playing the game entirely if it resolves.
- Subterror tends to want to resolve Subterror Guru as often as possible, and you can still do so after Numeron Calling restricts your ability to summon. You can simply set Guru and then flip it face-up with The Hidden City, so both parts of the deck can work in tandem.
- Red-Eyes Fusion + Red-Eyes Dark Dragoon are frequently played in other Subterror decks for the same reason (however, Dragoon is not budget-friendly).
- Though Numeron cards were hyped up before their release, they have seen little success in competitive play. S0 is a card that's better in theory than it is in practice, and Numeron variants have in general shown that they're not nearly as scary as some of the other decks out there. Subterror's notable event top this format, a top 16 finish at LCS 6, did not involve any Numeron cards and used Dragoon instead.
- Pure Guru control without Numeron cards or Dragoon is also a viable option. Subterror can be extremely oppressive if it's allowed to establish its resource loop, particularly when backed up with There Can Be Only One. An example budget list is provided in the previous budget post, linked at the top of this post.
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- Link-based midrange deck with a lot of recursion and a special in-archetype technique, where 1 Link Monster is used as the entire Link material to summon another copy of that monster, granting bonus effects
- The deck is somewhat halfway between control and combo, establishing respectable boards turn 1 with a fairly compact engine, allowing many handtraps to be played. Their real strength comes in turn 3 and beyond, where their arsenal of free summons from the GY, coupled with their stellar resource recycling, easily overwhelm the opponent.
- The majority of the deck is dirt cheap and is mostly able to be built with commons from SOFU+SAST supplementing 3 copies of Structure Deck: Soulburner.
- Accesscode Talker is a huge part of this deck's success online, able to steal games easily with the help of Update Jammer. Accesscode is not at all affordable on a budget, so the sample list plays Zeroboros instead. Owning one copy of Accesscode is an enormous improvement to this deck's strength.
- Salamangreat has found little competitive success in bigger online tournaments this format, but still regularly performs well in smaller events, remote duel locals, and the like. It's also a fairly safe choice, as it's somewhat unlikely we see further Salamangreat hits on the next banlist.
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- Combo Ritual deck that searches basically everything in its deck, accruing a ridiculous amount of advantage
- Famously piloted to a 2nd place finish at LCS 5 by Lundrity, making it father than all of the Adamancipator players (the other deck from last format that abused Block Dragon). You can watch his deck profile here. Though the Block Dragon ban was a huge blow to this deck, it's still quite strong without it and can turn to Magician of Black Chaos MAX along with Megalith Bethor as its primary forms of disruption. None of the Megalith cards are expensive whatsoever, making this deck ludicrously cheap for how powerful it is.
- The competitive version of this deck generally plays Fibrax combos, with 1 copy of Adamancipator Researcher teched into the main deck to get tuner access off of Gallant Granite. This opens up additional options, allowing you to go into cards like Hot Red Dragon King Calamity, but requires HalqKross and Researcher - which combined, cost more than the entire provided decklist.
- High skill floor and weakness to Droll & Lock Bird could be a deterrent for some players.
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- Formerly an incredibly dominant deck, current Zoodiac has established a small niche for itself in the current meta despite having only 1 Drident. Part of this is due to Infinitrack Fortress Megaclops, which can be easily brought out through several one- and two-card combos. Megaclops can be immensely troublesome for many decks to out, and is extremely effective at closing games.
- Plays a compact engine combined with around 20 slots dedicated to handtraps, traps, and draw power. Makes extremely effective use of the recently unlimited Pot of Avarice, as you can simply stack Xyz monsters, link them off for Gravity Controller, and easily fulfill the activation requirement for Avarice. Recent variants sometimes incorporate the Dogmatika cards as well, though the price of cards like Nadir Servant makes this option impossible on a budget.
- The deck hasn't seen a ton of success in this format, but neither have most other decks. One reason it's high up on the post is in anticipation of Negalogia AA-Zeus, an extremely powerful card in Phantom Rage that has propelled this deck to tier 1 status in the OCG. Note that OCG has a generally slower metagame than us, and that OCG Zoo also has Utopic Future Dragon.
- Zoo's price has gone up lately due to hype around the deck, notably with Chakanine being around $15 each in NA right now. Some people are speculating a Chakanine reprint in Maximum Gold, which would make this deck a lot cheaper. At the moment, the sample list only plays 2 Chak for budget reasons - ideally, you'd run 3.
B TierLike the above category, but generally weaker, less consistent, and/or impacted harder by a lack of access to a certain card(s).
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- Control + backrow deck with incredible recursion and the ability to come back from almost no resources
- Altergeist has seen sparse success ever since FLOD, and are a respectable budget contender. They've have had a fairly modest showing online, notably getting top 32 at the third online Luxury Championship Series.
- Budget players are most hurt by a lack of Pot of Extravagance, Infinite Impermanence, Evenly Matched, and Linkross. The first three of these cards have reprints, but none are quite cheap enough yet to be easily accessible on a budget.
- Be on the lookout for whenever Altergeist Pookuery gets imported to the TCG, as the ability to make Hexstia on turn 1 and then trigger its search effect with Linkross is insane for the deck's consistency.
- The extra deck is extremely flexible (as Altergeist are typically played with Extravagance, anyway) and several options are simply tech cards, such as Elder Entity N'tss.
- Main deck trap choices are also extremely flexible. Torrential is quite powerful against Dragon Link, but this could easily be swapped out for many other cards depending on your budget, available card pool, and locals demographics.
- Some players have opted to include Dogmatika cards in this deck, which is viable even on a modest budget. It's possible to simply play Dogmatika Punishment as a powerful trap capable of utilizing your extra deck, and even a single copy of Ecclesia (around $20 each right now) goes a long way for improving the power of this package.
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- Spell-heavy control deck that usually maintains only one monster on the field at a time, in the extra monster zone.
- Striker isn't affected too badly by many of the commonly played handtraps like Nibiru and go-second tech cards like Dark Ruler No More. It no longer accrues infinite resources through resolving Engage multiple times, but instead is easily able to kill you with an Accesscode Talker push after whittling down your LP and resources for a turn or two. The standard combo involves laddering from Halqifibrax -> Selene -> Accesscode and then dismantling your opponent's board before swinging for game.
- You may have noticed a problem: if you're on a budget, you can't use Accesscode. This is a pretty big blow to the deck's overall strength. The provided sample list uses the Utopia Double package instead to steal games, a combo that some players are still using in their Sky Striker decks. For example, Zoé Weber played Double in the second EU Remote Duel Invitational, just a few days before this post was written.
- Focusing on going second and resolving Mystic Mine as much as possible is also still a viable way to play this deck (and is more affordable with the Mine reprint), but you may struggle against decks that play Smoke Grenade of the Thief, like Infernoble and sometimes Dragon Link.
- Yet another way to play this deck involves (surprise) Red-Eyes Dark Dragoon and multiple copies of Red-Eyes Fusion. Instead of using cards like Widow Anchor and Afterburners to muscle through disruption and stick a Mystic Mine on the field, you use them to get to your Dragoon and either win the game immediately or put yourself in a position where your opponent can't play through the Dragoon disrupt.
- Roze is the most expensive card in this list, and 2 is generally considered standard. If your budget is tight, you can definitely cut her down to 1.
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- Control deck with an extremely power Link 1 monster, Traptrix Sera, that pumps out constant advantage.
- Commonly played as an Extravagance deck, but also makes solid use of its Extra Deck. In particular, Parallel eXceed is really nice for this deck, letting it end on multiple Rank 4s turn 1.
- The sample list takes an interesting approach and incorporates a very small Dogmatika engine. Though the full Dogma engine is very expensive (with Nadir Servant clocking in at around $70 per copy right now), Dogmatika Punishment itself is very cheap, and is one of the best generic traps in the game right now. The addition of just 1 copy of Ecclesia (around $20) provides a substantial power boost to this mini-engine, as dumping one copy of Titaniklad with Punishment and grabbing an Ecclesia for next turn is extremely powerful.
- If you can't get Ecclesia, you could simply play just Punishment as a generic trap, but this would still require 1-2 copies of N'tss (around $5-6 each). Another option is to play pure Traptrix, incorporating more power traps/handtraps, and quite frequently the Utopia Double package as well.
- Like every other backrow deck on this post, you have a great deal of flexibility regarding which trap cards you play. This applies particularly to the Trap Hole options, as cards like Bottomless and Time-Space Trap Hole are also both viable. In the sample list, Floodgate is played at 3 due to being extremely powerful, and Traptrix Trap Hole Nightmare was thrown in as it can negate cards like Verte Anaconda.
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- Versatile control-based Graveyard toolbox deck that has been swinging in and out of meta relevance since its release way back in 2014.
- Was one of the biggest beneficiaries of the September banlist, with Graff and Cir coming back to 2, Tour Guide coming to 3, and Rusty Bardiche being unbanned.
- Generally played as a combo deck from 2018-2019, incorporating a multitude of options. This was considered the "standard" version of BA until Dinh-Kha Bui won a 130-player online German tournament in April with a much slower trap-heavy list.
- The strategy is quite simple - set up Beatrice on turn 1 with backrow set, try to search a Tour Guide for turn 3, and push to win the game. The discard traps have good synergy with Farfa and Scarm in hand, and Fiend Griefing is powerful GY disruption that also dumps any BA, Rhino Warrior, Back Jack, or even Token Collector to stop Linkross combo decks.
- The trap lineup can be customized to deal with different decks; cards like Torrential Tribute are strong vs. Dragons, while Ice Dragon's Prison is extremely powerful in several different matchups (but might be a little pricey for some).
- This deck was frequently mixed with Phantom Knight cards back in 2016 (often called PK Fire), and the unbanning of Rusty Bardiche opens that up as a viable option once again. However, this variant is not shown due to cards like Fog Blade and Bardiche itself being a few bucks. PK Fire is also not substantially stronger compared to the regular trap variant.
- Yet another possibility is a Synchro wombo combo deck involving (drumroll)... Halqifibrax, Linkross, and Dragoon. This is not covered here for obvious reasons.
- The Mega-Tin reprint of I:P Masquerena is really nice, as a standard opening results in Masquerena + Beatrice off of Tour Guide alone. Players on a tight budget might not be able to pursue this option, as Masquerena and Knightmare Unicorn are both hovering at $10-13.
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- Combo deck with several one and two card OTKs that can rip apart established boards. Plus, everything is based on dessert puns.
- Madolche got some fantastic support in recent years that dramatically boosted the power of this deck. Petingcessoeur in SAST and Salon/Promenade in ETCO are all amazingly good support cards.
- Saw varied levels of success in online tournaments over the last two formats, with some occasional breakout performances like Ryan Yu winning the Luxury BLM charity event with this list (pre-ETCO), as well as Dinh-Kha Bui getting top 4 at an HTS tournament with Madolche, winning a Madolche mirror in top 8 to get there.
- Has a weird niche as a viable going second deck that can break the Buster lock with the help of Puddingcess. Typically, you will also require a powerful going-second card like Dark Ruler No More.
- Reprints of key Madolche cards such as Anjelly in BLAR and Magileine in DUOV have made this deck reasonably affordable again after many of its cards spiked earlier this year. There are still some strange aftereffects, such as Hootcake still being around $12 in NA. The deck is very commonly played with Extravagance, which is not included on this budget list, but even Extrav has also gotten substantially cheaper.
- The sample list runs Dimension Shifter, which is devastating against Dragon Link, Infernoble, Dinosaur, and Eldlich. While it makes your own combos awkward, you might consider the trade-off to be worth it. Shifter is, of course, easily substituted for another, more conventional handtrap.
C TierDecks in this category have the capability to be just as good as the ones above at times, but often tend to suffer from multiple problems including consistency and power.
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- Aggressive Warrior-based combo deck that takes advantage of the Gouki monsters all searching other Gouki cards upon leaving the field. With the unbanning of Rusty Bardiche and the release of some solid generic Warrior support in ROTD, Gouki has seen a small resurgence online.
- The general goal is to resolve Isolde and then summon Apollousa to protect you from handtraps, before using Gouki Rematch to then go into the Codebreakers. Codebreaker Virus Swordsman, Virus Berserker, and Zero Day can effectively vomit out 6 Link rating worth of monsters off of just the two Goukis revived with Rematch. Competitive versions of this deck usually play Verte Anaconda + Dragoon, Linkross, and sometimes even a small Synchro package to go into the Infernoble synchros. A great resource for current Gouki combos is this combo video from SirEmanon - note that it utilizes Dragoon.
- Most of the warrior stuff is surprisingly cheap, but the reason Gouki is on this post instead of Infernoble is due to a heavy reliance on Halq + Linkross in competitive Infernoble strategies. The provided list plays a few Infernoble cards, but more as generic warrior extenders - Durendal is great for searching Fire Flint Lady as well as Oliver, which help to put extra bodies on board.
- Budget players may find that a lack of Verte + Dragoon leads to the end boards being quite underwhelming, and less resilient in the face of disruption. A weakness to Droll & Lock Bird also doesn't help.
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- Floaty destruction-based archetype that generates advantage when its cards are destroyed, enabling its gimmick of using your opponent's monsters to Link Summon.
- Can be built to go first or to go second, although the sample list prefers to go first since you probably want cards like Dark Ruler No More, Lightning Storm, and Evenly Matched for going second.
- Mega-Tin reprints of Abomination's Prison as well as their Link 2 have helped make this deck a great deal more affordable. I:P Masquerena being more affordable is also a nice boost, though it's by no means essential in this deck.
- Fairly modest online performance, doing alright at smaller events and more recently finishing top 8 at the second YuGiJoe online series as well as occasional Luxury events.
- This deck's best weapon is its opponents being unprepared for it. Playing improperly into Dark Spirits or Unchained floats can very quickly be fatal. It also matches up decently into some Dogmatika variants, which rely on destruction-based removal from Dogmatika Punishment and Elder Entity N'tss.
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- Pirate archetype with ridiculous recursion and a unique tag-out and equip mechanic based on Attributes being used in the game
- The pirates become equips for one of (currently) three Patrollships, extra deck monsters that can all discard Plunder Patroll cards in hand to fuel powerful effects. The ships become stronger when manned (equipped with) a Plunder card, with bonuses such as ignition effects becoming quick effects, or being able to replace the discarded card with a new one from the deck.
- In terms of performance, Plunder has been doing decently at smaller tournaments (particularly PPG weeklies) but has failed to replicate those results in larger online tournaments such as LCS.
- Toadally Awesome + Bahamut Shark is another option for players who are able to afford Toad, which is currently sitting at around $20 on TCGPlayer. This has been mixed in some builds with cards like Tenyi Spirit - Shthana.
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- Pendulum deck centered around Level 4 Spellcaster monsters that recently got a new breath of life with Double Iris Magician being unbanned.
- Magicians are featured here instead of Endymion as they're newer and haven't been on this post for a while. Both of them have similar online results (which is to say, practically none) and Endymion has a greater weakness to Droll. For an example Endymion list, consider something like this.
- The example list is a Magician-heavy list featuring Tuning Magician, abusing it in conjunction with cards like Selene and Halqifibrax to spam monsters to the board before your Pendulum Summon. Though I'm not sure who created this build, Trif Gaming has been a big proponent of it online, utilizing Linkross as well as several Synchros designed to draw cards.
- A more budget-friendly version of this list cuts Fibrax and Tuning Magician entirely, and adds in other solid Pend cards like Endymions. The list shown runs a few moderately expensive cards like Fibrax, Apollousa, and a playset of the new Odd-Eyes Revolution Dragon, but Pend easily accommodates a smaller budget. Plenty of budget Pendulum resources exist online, so those versions aren't covered here.
- Tornado Dragon is utilized to great effect in this deck, oftentimes popping Double Iris on your own turn 1 and then popping Artifact Scythe on turn 2 to lock your opponent out of the extra deck. Incorporating the Dagda + Scythe engine gives this deck some much-needed resilience against board breakers like Dark Ruler No More, a classic weakness of build-a-board Pendulum.
- Plenty of other viable options exist for Pend, including incorporating Guardragons, a Phantom Knight engine, playing Dracoslayer cards, adding a heavier focus on Odd-Eyes, etc.
- Pretty much every Pend variant suffers against Droll right now, including Magician, Endymion, and others. There's not really a way to play around this due to the nature of Pendulum as a deck, so just don't worry about it :)
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- Classic Fusion-based archetype from 2014, debuting in Duelist Alliance. Somewhat of a midrange combo deck that can slow the game down with El Shaddoll Winda or be very aggressive with El Shaddoll Construct
- Winda is a troublesome floodgate that many decks struggle to out, especially combo decks. Shaddoll cards are currently played in several Dogmatika variants due to the sheer power of Winda and the utility of Shaddoll Schism, released in ROTD.
- In the OCG, Dogmatika Shaddoll without any other engines is one of the top meta contenders, commonly playing even cards like Gale Dogra to use Apkallone and get to Schism as soon as possible.
- Since the Dogmatika package is extremely expensive, the included decklist is more of a pure Shaddoll list. Schism is still an absolutely fantastic power boost for this deck, regardless of what version. Also possible is the inclusion of just a few copies of Dogmatika Punishment and maybe 1 Ecclesia (around $20), around with some utility extra deck cards.
- The deck's biggest problem has always been its inability to consistently resolve a fusion spell on turn 1. Pure Shaddoll are somewhat prone to bricking on all monsters or all spell/traps, and not being able to afford the Dogma cards is also a blow to consistency.
- Another hybrid build that existed before Dogmatika cards debuted was Invoked Shaddoll, which is still a powerful variant currently (though Dogma cards are always splashed in as well). Meltdown protects Schism, making it an extremely powerful combo that can out cards like Dragoon. However, Invocation is still $20 each, despite its multiple reprints.
Up-And-ComingDecks here will usually be decks that recently started seeing success (usually online) or upcoming decks that might become viable budget decks, oftentimes due to new support or even new reprints. Some might also be decks that could potentially be on the main body of the post, but need a little more time to prove themselves. These decks are also going to be covered in less detail.
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- Control deck that abuses the interaction between Buster Dragon and the Buster Blader fusion monster to set up a very annoying lock similar to what Bagooska does. Prologue sending Memories and then Memories's GY effect will accomplish this lock if you have any Dragon in the GY, meaning that Buster Whelp sets it up by itself.
- Has seen a surprising amount of online success, particularly in high-rated DB. Part of this is due to the prevalence of Dragon Link, which the BB Fusion is strong against on its own.
- Buster Blader cards are typically played as an engine, almost always mixed with a heavy Red-Eyes Dark Dragoon package and frequently also mixed with Dogmatika or Eldlich cards. None of these options are budget-friendly, so the price is simply listed as "variable". The sample list takes the deck in a playable direction, using a small Rokket engine to supplement the Buster Blader cards and to help get Dragons in GY for Memories. However, generally, I would not recommend trying to play this deck without Dragoon.
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- Floaty combo/control deck with 4 maindeck Prank-Kids that all float into any other Prank-Kid when used for a Link or Fusion summon
- Phantom Rage comes with Prank-Kids Meow-Meow, a Link 1 Prank-Kid monster that makes this deck incredibly consistent and turns any single Prank monster into full combo. This deck has been popping up a bit in the OCG, so it's worth keeping an eye on.
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- Aggressive Fusion combo deck capable of making ridiculous boards going first and easily OTKing going second. Previously known as just an OTK deck, its ROTD support have made its going-first options quite terrifying, and this deck has picked up some steam online
- Frightfur Whale being level 9 enables easy access to Calamities, which can singlehandedly win games. This deck's other possible win conditions include Apollousa / Toad / Dagda+Scythe / Dingirsu+Winda / Punching you for 12000 damage
- Almost every Fluffal card besides Kraken is dirt cheap. Only the generic main/extra deck cards really cost anything substantial.
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- Classic Tribute-based deck that was one of the best decks in early/mid 2016, and recently was brought back to full power after Pantheism came back to 3.
- Monarch has some new toys to play with as well, including Seleglare the Luminous Lunar Dragon, Magicians' Souls, and the entire pool of Link monsters.
- Notably pulled off a 2nd place finish at the EU Remote Duel Invitational last weekend, piloted by Lithium2300. You can watch his deck profile here.
- Though Extra Deck Monarch is very strong, the Domain build is absolutely dirt cheap and doesn't require an extra deck. Monarchs in general have been performing quite poorly on DuelingBook and in online tournaments, but you're still able to easily steal games with cards like Domain and Vanity's Fiend, and the deck is perfectly fine for smaller events (as we saw from Lithium's performance).
- Orcust, Mermail Atlantean, Magical Musketeers, PaleoFrog, Crusadia Guardragon, ABC, D/D, Generaider - Decks that are fairly decent but have been left off of the post to make room for other decks that have seen more recent success or have fewer budget resources online.
- Dragonmaid, Infernoid, Cyber Dragon, Invoked variants, HERO etc - Decks that are pretty good but are sorta in limbo due to some expensive individual cards, such as Kitchen Dragonmaid, Verte Anaconda/Cyber Dragon Nachster, Invocation, etc.
- Cubics, Phantasm, Chain Burn, Evilswarm, Yosenju, Dinomist, and much, much more - Unfortunately, there is not enough room to cover every single decent, super-cheap deck.
I hope to keep this post updated for the foreseeable future. Feel free to leave any comments or suggestions. Sorry this one took a little longer than usual to publish, I've been busy IRL and the format also needed some time to settle.