Greeting everyone (yeah, I know I say it everytime)! It seems like a lot of you enjoyed my last article about Blackwings, so this time I decided to go with something that is higher on my tier list – Nekroz. Now I’m not a fan of this archetype, neither do I own the deck in real life (don’t really want to spend hundreds of bucks on it), but I’ve been playing quite a lot with it online and I’d like to share my experience with you guys.
- General info
- Deck Skeleton
- Extra / Side deck:
- Cards worth mentioning / you might want to consider
- Djinn Lock
- Deck Variants
Nekroz is without a doubt one of the strongest decks of this format (maybe even the strongest, it’s still too early to say). Its insane power comes from archetype’s searching ability, which is also its main weakness, once blocked. I believe that in order to understand how to play vs a certain deck, you have to learn to play with it first in order to exploit all its weaknesses. It takes some though, when I first tried it I was like: “Oooooooooooook, so, what to do now?” literally every turn. So, in order to make this process easier for you, I’m going to show you the deck skeleton so that you know which cards should be played in any Nekroz deck. Afterward I’ll try to explain why a particular card is good / bad and how it should be used. In the end I’ve inserted 2 deck recipes of my Nekroz deck I’ve been using so that you can try them and tell me what you think.
Of course if you are new to Nekroz, here is a little something that will help you learn their ritual monsters effects (taken from Yugiwki):
|“Nekroz”||Level||Self-discard effect||On-field effect|
|Clausolas||3||Adds 1 “Nekroz” Spell/Trap card from the Deck to the hand.||During either player’s turn, targets 1 monster Special Summoned from the Extra Deck, negates its effects and makes it ATK 0, until the end of that turn.|
|Unicore||4||Targets 1 “Nekroz” card in the Graveyard and adds it to the hand.||Continuously negates the effect of monsters Special Summoned from the Extra Deck.|
|Catastor||5||Targets 1 “Nekroz” monster in the Graveyard and Special Summons it.||If an opponent’s monster Special Summoned from the Extra Deck battles a “Nekroz” monster, it is destroyed at the start of the Damage Step.|
|Brionac||6||Adds 1 “Nekroz” monster from the Deck to the hand, except another copy of itself.||Targets up to 2 monsters Special Summoned from the Extra Deck and sends them to the Deck.|
|Gungnir||7||Targets 1 “Nekroz” monster on the its controller’s side of the field and prevents it from being destroyed during that turn.||Once a turn and during either player’s turn, by the cost of a “Nekroz” card on the hand, targets and destroys any card on the field.|
|Valkyrus||8||Banishes 1 “Nekroz” card from the Graveyard, negates an attack and ends the Battle Phase.||Allows its controller to tribute up to 2 monsters from the field and/or hand in order to draw 1 card for each monster tributed.|
|Trishula||9||Negates the activation of an effect that targets 1 ally “Nekroz” monster.||Upon its Ritual Summon, banishes 1 card from the opponent’s side of the field, hand (randomly) and Graveyard (without targeting them).|
|Decisive Armor||10||Targets 1 ally “Nekroz” monster and increases its ATK and DEF by 1000 until the end of that turn.||Targets, destroys and banishes 1 opposing Set card.|
|Sophia||11||By discarding itself along with a “Nekroz” Ritual Spell Card, prevents the opponent from Special Summoning from the Extra Deck during the Main Phase 1 this effect was activated.||Upon its Ritual Summon, banishes all other cards on the field and from both players’ Graveyard.|
Shurit, Strategist of the Nekroz: instantly became my favourite Nekroz card, I love this little guy. He can be sacrificed as an entire tribute for your rituals, adds a
Brionac / Clausolas any Nekroz card to your hand afterwards and he can be easily recycled with Unicore. Sadly he got limited in July 2015 so we can’t run more than one copy. Can be searched with ROTA / Brionac.
Manju of the Ten Thousand Hands x3: well that’s obvious – searches through half of your deck.
Senju of the Thousand Hands x3: because Clausolas can search for any ritual spell card, Senju becomes a copy of Manju..
Nekroz of Brionac x2: I’ve just checked how much this card is currently worth on Ebay – 65$ minimum! This card is undoubtedly good, but isn’t 65$ for a card that can be played only in one deck is a bit too much? Well, ok, we are not here to discuss its worth, but rather its usefulness. Brionac is your best searcher of the deck, it can search for any Nekroz monster which means that you can get any ritual monster, any ritual spell card by using Clausolas first, or just get Shurit in order to tribute him and for another copy of Brionac / Clausolas. I’d say that almost everytime you will summon Brionac from the graveyard using Cycle after dumping him there for its on-hand effect.
Nekroz of Clausolas x2: searches for any ritual spell card and is used in the djinn lock. Some people say that 2 copies of it are too much, 1 is enough, it’s recyclable, etc. I say no, 2 copies are just fine. In many matches you will search for your Clausolas on your first turn (maybe because you want to go for the djinn lock, maybe because you need a ritual spell and you have Senju / Brionac, there can be several reasons) so how can having another copy of it possibly hurt you? It can be searched by ROTA, Brionac, Shurit, PoR, and you can be easily summoned alongside Valk or Trysh using Kaleidoscope. Its on field quick effect is also pretty decent.
Nekroz of Trishula: your big boss, a “copy” of Trishula, Dragon of the Ice Barrier that, in a way, is easier to summon. I know that it’s pretty obvious to pro players out there, but I still feel the need to mention that for newbies: you can’t activate Trishula’s effect if your opponent doesn’t has a card in his hand / on his field / in his graveyard. Trishula is your strongest ritual monster but because he is somewhat harder to summon than the rest, there is no need to run several copies of him. If he gets destroyed just recycle him with Unicore or keep summoning him with Cycle. 1 is a must, but 2 is just as good.
Nekroz of Valkyrus: honestly, when I first saw this card, I thought “huh, it’s not bad”. Well guess what, its freakin’ awesome! Where to start… It is a level 8 ritual monster, which means you can summon it by tributing two lvl 4 monsters or by using a Kaleidoscope with Unicore or Clausolas. So it is easier to summon than Trish. What else… Oh, it has 2900 ATK, which makes him your second strongest ritual after Decisive Armor, its on-hand effect protects you from your opponent’s attacks for a turn. It could be enough, but he also has on-field effect which is great if you run an Armageddon engine and happen to draw your Dragon or Farfa. Or you could tribute your Shurit, get a +1 and search for a Brionac / Claus. Overall a great card that should be run at 3.
Nekroz of Unicore x3: your main first turn monster which can be really easily summoned using Kaleidoscope + Herald of the Arc Light for a little extra-deck lockdown. It’s up to you what to add using Herald’s effect: Clausolas / Cycle if you have another lvl 4 on the field and want to go for the djinn lock, Gungnir if you want to protect your rituals or anything else – it really depends on your hand and who are you facing. He also lets you pick any Nekroz card from your grave, which is awesome in late, considering how many different possibilities that leads to.
Nekroz Cycle x2 / Nekroz Kaleidoscope x2 / Nekroz Mirror x2: your ritual spells, lets look at each of those separately.
Kaleidoscope lets you ritual summon using monsters from your extra deck is a tribute. It’s the only Nekroz ritual spell that lets you summon more than one ritual monster per use. For example you can activate this card, send Quasar Dragon to the graveyard which is a lvl 12 and summon any combination of rituals whose lvls added together equal 12 (Trishula and Clausolas, Valkyrus and Unicore, Double Brionac). Because you can’t use lvl 9/8/7 monsters to summon Trishula/Valkyrus/Gungnir respectively there is no need in adding them to your extra. So make sure to have a lvl 12/11/10/6 + 2 Herald of the Arc Light in your extra deck for kaleidoscope and any rank 4 xyz (Lavalval Chain is essential, everything else is up to you). This is a screenshot of my extra deck:
Nekroz Mirror lets you summon your ritual monsters by either discarding tributes from your hand or banishing them from your grave. You can also banish Shurit as an entire tribute and summon whatever you have in your hand.
Cycle in my opinion is the strongest ritual spell because it lets you summon your ritual monsters not only from your hand, but from your graveyard as well, which is wicked, especially in late game. Having Shurit and this card in your hand means that you can summon any ritual monster that was played before and search for a Brionac / Clausolas.
That said, each of those cards share in common an ability of searching for any ritual spell cards (even a copy of itself) by banishing itself and a Nekroz monster as long as you don’t control any monster. I wrote x2 for every card which in my opinion is a minimum, although I’ve done some testing running Cycle at three and it was pretty decent.
Reinforcement of the Army: lets you pick your Shurit or Clausolas which means that you can either add any ritual spell card or a tribute for a ritual summon. It becomes more versatile with Armageddon engine letting you choose whether to remove a spell / trap using Shaddoll Dragon, banish a monster for a turn with Farfa, Malebranche of the Burning Abyss, drop djinn, or just go for Shurit / Clausolas. I run 3 ROTA with Arma and 2 without it.
Preparation of Rites: recently limited (fairly) because of its insane utility. Late game this card lets you do so many things, for example, you can do Brionac into Shurit, pick Nekroz Cycle and summon any ritual monster from your grave. Don’t have Brionac / Shurit in your deck? No problem, search for Unicore and get Shurit from the grave, or any other ritual monster, than add a Mirror or a Cycle, depending on the situation and ta da – you got you Trishula, Valk, Gungnir.
As I’ve mentioned before, as long as you’ve added a lvl 12/11/10/6, 2 Heralds and a Lavalval Chain – feel free to add any of your favourite rank 4 xyz monsters.
Herald of the Arc Light: you are going to use this card a lot with kaleidoscope and Unicore. No need to run more than 2 copies of Herald, Kaleidoscope isn’t really worth recycling, unless you have a possibility of summoning several rituals with it, but in that case, you won’t need Herald anyway. So x2.
Those are cards, that personally I decided to run in my side deck and here are the explanations:
Consecrated Light: in my Blackwing deck breakdown I’ve mentioned this card quite a lot of times. There are some dark decks out there (BA, Shaddols, Blackwings, etc) that can be slowed down with this card, so personally I like to have it in my side.
Effect Veiler: staple.
Shadow-Imprisoning Mirror: vs Burning Abyss, Shaddolls, rogue Blackwings.
Ojama Trio: good vs BA and can work vs tellarknights – check Blackwing article for furthe explanations.
Mind Crush: vs decks that rely on searching (meaning vs every top deck, lol)
Denko Sekka / Royal Decree: choose one or the other based on your personal preferences. I’ve seen more players going for Denko, because it’s quicker and it’s a lvl 4 so you can xyz with it if necessary. If you decide to run him over Royal, consider including a Treacherous Trap Hole. Denko’s flaw is that it doesn’t block permanent cards that were activated before it’s been summoned, so you’d probably want to add some MST’s alongside it to deal with early “Mistakes” or “Vanity’s”. Decree can be a more suitable in your deck when you are running some kind of mini-engine (Armageddon, Mathematician, Hands) and feel like there are already enough monsters in your deck.
Lavalval Chain: another card worth mentioning. It is your main way of dumping Djinn into the grave for your lock. If this card happens to survive a turn you can use its second effect to place a Senju on top of your deck (or go straight for Brionac / Claus if you don’t want to waste your normal summon).
Nekroz of Gungnir: you know, I tried to come up with a term to define this card with a single word and I think that the word “solid” suits it very well. Gungnir is a very solid card, it has good stats, a great on hand effect which can protect your Trishula / Valk from getting destroyed, it can deal with floodgates using it destruction effect by discarding a Nekroz card from your hand – all that makes it a very good card. Still you will rarely summon it because of its “uncomfortable” lvl so you will not run more than one copy of it.
The djinn lock is a combo that prevents your opponent from special summoning as long as the ritual monster that was summoned using Djinn Releaser of Rituals remains face up on the field. I’m going to teach you the easiest and probably the best way of implementing it. There also some videos on YouTube that show how to do it, so if you don’t wanna read or just want to check some more combos press here, that’s quite a good video on Nekroz combos.
For the lock you need to have following cards in your hand:
– Senju / Manju (or any other lvl 4 monster if you have both Kaleidoscope and Unicore in your hand).
– Kaleidoscope / Unicore
Any combination of the above is fine. It doesn’t matter if you used Brionac or Claus to add card’s that you’ve been missing to your hand. So, summon Senju / Manju, activate its effect, search for either Kaleido or Unicore, depends on which one you are missing. Use Kaleido, summon Unicore using Herald as a tribute from your extra deck. Activate Herald’s effect, if Claus is not in the graveyard – add it and discard it for Nekroz Cycle to your hand (otherwise just get Cycle). Overlay your lvl 4 monsters for a Lavalval Chain (once again, you could did it in the past), detach 1, dump Djinn to the graveyard. Activate Cycle, remove Djinn as tribute, summon Claus from your graveyard ( preferably in defence position :b ). If after that you still have a way of adding a Nekroz monster from your deck – do so, add a Nekroz of Gungnir for some protection. Now some people argue about whether it’s worth using Djinn lock during your first turn – I’d say it’s the best moment for doing it, because your opponent will usually have fewer possibilities of breaking it compared to the late game.
This section contains different deck variants and will be updated monthly
– my Denko deck:
Lately this build worked out better for me that the other, mostly thanks to Denko – when you have this guy in your hand and a possibility to summon Trishula its a gg. Even if your opponent has something like Solemn Warning to stop your Denko from being summoned – who cares, he wasted his crucial trap card and is ready for Trishula now. Sadly this dude can’t be searched, so I run 3 copies to draw him as often as possible. You can see that I also main 3 MSTs, because sometimes you’ll need to deal with traps that were activated before Denko could have been summoned.
Nekroz of Decisive Armor: has best stats compared to any other Nekroz ritual monster and good effects, but somewhat hard to summon because of its level considering that Shurit is now at 1. I’m trying this card out atm, so it’s still in question whether I will run it.
Nekroz of Catastor: you will hardly ever summon him, his main purpose is to bring back our MPV, Shurit, from the grave since the little dude got limited. But, just in case, I’ve added a lvl 5 synchro instead of the banned Lavalval Chain for a possible Kaleidoscope. Keep in mind that you can’t bring back Nekroz ritual monsters with it’s effect ( it would’ve been 2 op xD ).
Dance Princess of the Nekroz: similar to Nekroz of Catastor, she helps us bring back our banned Nekroz monsters. Decent card, you will most likely use it to get back Shurit / Brionac / Clausolas.
Treacherous Trap Hole is my only trap card, very good, and an additional Nekroz Cycle for one more ritual summon.
Sadly I don’t have much time to test other builds, but if you have one to share, just pm me and I’ll gladly add it here.
Mistake: the best possible counter to Nekroz. That card hurts Nekroz more than any other deck (well except for Exodia, lol). There isn’t much you can do when half of your deck is useless because of one card.
Shared Ride: soft counter which you may play if you don’t want to hurt yourself as well.
Vanity’s Emptiness / Skill Drain: probably the best floodgates vs current meta that got limited in the latest ban list. I like Emptiness slightly more because it doesn’t has any cost and you can chain it to ritual spell cards wasting your opponent resources. But you know, Skill Drain stops every monster in the deck from activating its effect (hello Senju / Manju) so it has to be sided as well.
Dimensional Fissure / Macro Cosmos / Masked Hero Dark Law: like all most popular archetypes, Nekroz’ rely hardly on their graveyard. Dark Law is insane vs this deck, not only it will remove every card that goes there, but will mess with your opponent hand as well. Sadly, you can’t use him as a regular side card so that leaves us with Cosmos and Fissure. While first removes every card that goes to the graveyard, thus preventing ritual spell cards from activating their effect in the graveyard, Fissure is more secure, because it can’t be blocked by Royal Decree. I usually side in both of them anyway if I happen to play vs Nekroz.
Imperial Iron Wall: blocks Valkyrus on-hand effect, Trishula, and spells from activating in the grave.
Thunder King Rai-Oh: we’ve kinda forgotten how good this card is. It’s a 1900 ATK lvl 4 monster that prevents players from adding card to their hand except by drawing them and can stop one special summon by sacrificing itself. No wonder it’s still limited.
As always guys, I know that there are things in this article you are going to disagree with – I’m listening to every constructive feedback (check “Change log” in the previous article) in order to improve myself as a player and as a writer. All the best!