Initially announced in July 2021 and launched in early 2022, a true digital Yu-Gi-Oh! trading card game eventually made its way to mobile gamers after a brief delay. Nonetheless Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel is here to blow away all the bizarre mechanics of previous Yu-Gi-Oh! games brought in, securely clutching a spot as one of the best games on Android.
If you’re new to the franchise, Yu-Gi-Oh! is a collectible card game that locks players into 1-v-1 combat, enlisting peculiar magical and mythical monsters (or beings) to take down your opponent’s life points (LP). Spell cards, trap cards, monster effects, and your quick-wittedness can turn the tides of the duel at any moment – constantly testing your skills at any given turn. But of course, taming this card gaming beast is no easy feat on your trusty Android gaming phone, which is why we’ve put together a guide covering how to get started on your first competitive deck, the best way to spend your Gems, and all the essential tools Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel has to offer.
Getting started on Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel
You jump straight into a tutorial and eventually learn the basic mechanics and controls for how Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel plays on Android. And as a well-deserved reward for completing the tutorial, you get to choose your starter deck:
You’ll eventually get your hands on all three starter decks, so it doesn’t matter which deck you pick initially.
At this point you’re almost in. After selecting a name, you’re ready to download the full version of the game!
If you previously played Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel on another device or platform, you can bypass these early steps and re-login into the app by using the data transfer feature. All you have to do is create or link a Konami ID and then log in with your credentials.
For more information on how to play Yu-Gi-Oh!, check out the official trading card game rulebook. Note: Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel has its own forbidden/limited card list.
Playing through solo mode
We advise you to wait to jump into ranked matches, even if you’re already a seasoned Yu-Gi-Oh! player. You’ll want to earn all beneficial rewards in solo mode.
How solo mode works
The solo mode is the central hub for your single-player experience: split into gates, each incorporating a general theme. The first gate, Duel Strategy, is comparatively a tutorial extension to introduce more gameplay fundamentals: synchronization, link monsters, pendulum summoning, etc. and for new players, completing this gate helps you catch up to the modern-day game mechanics in Yu-Gi-Oh!, which is what we recommend as one of the first stops before heading to ranked.
Once you unlock and play through more gates, you obtain completion bonuses such as Gems, structure decks for an archetype, cards, and elemental orbs.
Use your Gems effectively in Master Duel
Thankfully, Gems are the only in-game currency to keep track of while playing. Fortunately, the game’s quite generous, giving out a handful of Gems at the very start, but it slows down significantly the more you play — you may want to dial back on an early spending spree, or you could face trouble later!
How to get Gems
Anything purchasable in the shop uses Gems: card packs, cosmetics, structure decks, and more. To get anywhere in this game, you’ll be looking into using your Gems primarily on card packs. We’ve outlined all the primary beginner sources for obtaining Gems below.
- Claim your Limited-Time Missions and Unlimited Missions. Don’t forget to log in daily, this is one of the easiest missions to complete!
- Play through solo mode. You’ll earn Gems for clearing gates.
- Earn points on your duel pass (normal and gold). Refreshes seasonally.
- Spending real money.
You can only hold 10,000 Gems at a time, any excess gets sent to your gift box.
Starting your first deck
Creating your first deck is an extremely crucial step if you want to be successful at Yu-Gi-Oh! at a competitive level. You’ll eventually run out of single-player content the more you play. So the only option left is to get ready for PvP (player versus player).
With over 10,000 cards in the game, it’s foolish to blindly open up packs without having some idea what kind of deck you’re trying to build. This next section focuses on which staple cards you’ll want to go for, what to buy from the shop first, details on using the crafting card system, and how to unlock secret packs.
Staple cards are cards that are important for deck building, and they can be generalized cards that fit into most decks. Fortunately, two staple cards, Monster Reborn and Raigeki can be easily obtained through Duel Strategy via solo mode. You can find the rest within the shop.
Upon arriving at the shop, your first few purchases should be on three sets: Solemn Judgment, Lightning Storm, and Ash Blossom & Joyous Spring. Later, you’ll earn more staple cards either through limited-time events, updated content, or by getting lucky with your packs.
How to purchase a bundle deal
Visiting the shop is how you acquire staple cards, so here’s how to procure them.
- Tap on Shop > Special > Bundle Deal. Buy all three packs for a total of 30 Master Packs to guarantee all three ultra-rare (UR) cards.
Once you acquire these cards, they are good enough to be placed in any deck you create.
Using the card crafting system
You can distinguish cards by their assigned rarity: normal (N), rare (R), super-rare (SR), and ultra-rare (UR). The rule of thumb dictates higher rarities have lower chances of appearing in your card pack pulls. But you must dip your feet into the card crafting system to get the cards you want — which is essential for unlocking secret packs.
How to craft cards
You’ll have to craft SRs/URs to access these secret packs. Newly discovered secret packs are only available for 24 hours, so prepare to take advantage before the window closes. Below we walk you through how to craft cards so you can start uncovering secret packs.
- Tap on Deck. Tap on any existing deck to access your Deck Menu.
- Tap Edit Deck. The left side is your deck’s card list, and on the right is a search tool to find any card. Cards you don’t possess are grayed out.
- Type the name of the card in the search box.
- Tap on that card > Generate > Generate (again). You now have that card!
You can generate and dismantle any card to spend or earn card points (CP) for that rarity. Foil cards (shiny/glossy) are worth more CP. New players should only focus on dismantling extra cards, which we cover in the steps below.
- Tap on the triple line to access the submenu.
- Tap on Dismantle All Extra Cards > Dismantle.
Secret packs are target-specific packs that focus on an archetype. These packs are imperative to deck-building since the last four cards are guaranteed to be part of that pack. So expect to spend most of your hard-earned Gems on these secret packs.
How to unlock and find secret packs
You will want to familiarize yourself with how to unlock and find secret packs, so here’s a brief outline for how to get started.
- Craft or pull any SR/UR card that matches the corresponding card pack.
- Head over to Shop > Pack > Secret Pack.
- Tap on the secret pack you want to pull from and select 10 Packs (1000 Gems).
Constructing your first deck
Now that you know how to get cards, you’re ready to construct your deck.
Tips for constructing your first deck
- Find an archetype that resonates with you from solo mode. You can use a structure deck you already have and find stronger cards that work for that deck type.
- If you’re unsure about your preferred archetype, jot down a few themes, then check and see what matches your play style. Use the public deck list to find constructed decks and copy ones you like.
- Check deck strength online. These decks have likely been used in tournaments already.
- Budget your Gem spending for secret packs. Always do 10 pulls to secure a guarantee on an SR/UR.
- Add your staple cards to your deck, and find filler (general use) cards to add to your deck as potential substitutes – keep your CP for essential cards. Don’t forget to save your deck edits!
- Practice using your deck in solo mode – it might take some time to get used to a new deck and pinpoint changes you may want to consider.
Mastering the craft of Yu-Gi-Oh!
Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel is still considered one of the best card games on Android for a good reason. It doesn’t punish you for spending resources early but requires careful planning. Thankfully once you’ve reached the limit for earning free Gems, the Duel Pass becomes your newest best friend — which, if you play enough, it will even pay for itself. So now, if the full-fledged digital trading card is up your alley, check out Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel app through the Play Store widget below.