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Dark World Guide
When the "Dark World" archetype arrived, it took the game by storm. First introduced in Elemental Energy, they featured two monsters of tremendous power which could only be Special Summoned after being discarded by a card effect, backed by a few discarding Spell Cards and Monster effects, as well as a few weaker, not used monsters. The current metagame was one where "Don Zaloog" was prevalent - this changed, as discarding your opponent's "Dark Worlds" would not only trigger their first effect but also their second, which would get rid of at least two cards. However, they soon fell out of favorn: without "Don Zaloog" to trigger them and their loss of "Graceful Charity", which was even better than a "Pot of Greed" for them, they lacked consistent discarding ability. Enter Structure Deck 21: Gates of the Underworld: "Dark Worlds" have a new boss monsters: "Grapha, Dragon Lord of Dark World", as well as a Field Spell Card, "Gate of the Dark World", and a great searcher "Snoww, Unlight of Dark World". They now have massive amounts of destruction ability, the ability to both Xyz Summon some of the most powerful Xyz Monsters of the game, and the ability to get high powered monsters easily.
Caution: "Dark World" effects ONLY activate when discarded for effects. They do not activate if discarded for a Cost, nor do they activate when sent from your hand to your Graveyard.
Pros and Cons
Powerful Monsters: A "Dark World" deck can bring out powerful monsters at little to no cost.
Use of Viruses and Skill Drain: "Virus" cards are devastating and can win games on their own while "Skill Drain" is one of the best anti-meta cards after "Dimensional Fissure".
Ample Destruction: "Grapha" and "Dark World Lightning" allow "Dark World" decks to get rid of most cards.
Draw and Search Power: Not only do "Dark World" decks have access to a universal searcher, but they also have many draw cards.
Vulnerability to Negation: A "Gemini Imps" will badly hurt a "Dark World" deck as they often only have one or two discard methods at a time in their hand.
Dimensional Fissure: A "Dimensional Fissure" will totally shut down a "Dark World" deck.
Reliant on other Cards: Without other cards to discard them, "Dark World" decks can't do anything.
"Dark World" decks have a core mechanic - discard "Dark World" monsters by card effects in order to gain effects. Some are better than others - "Grapha" is obviously better than "Kahhki" or "Gren", and "Snoww" is better than "Beiige". Within these mechanics, there are numerous discard options. Old-school decks sometimes used "The Cheerful Coffin" because they have no other discard methods. More modern decks have been using "Dark World Dealings" or even "Dragged Down into the Grave".
In addition to that, modern "Dark World" decks focus on swarming with "Grapha": they can Normal Summon a "Dark World" monster then Special Summon "Grapha" from their Graveyard, returning that monster from their field to their hand. In doing so they get a massive beatstick and +1 in terms of advantage.
In the Metagame
Most of the top duelists as YCS Columbus were fully prepared for a devastating "Dark World" presence. While "Dark World" decks certainly were present en masse, none of them reached the top 32. Why? They were simple. The decks all relied on "Grapha" as a beatstick and did little more than summon him to gain field presence. They had no "Ceruli" for powerful combos with "Goldd" and "Sillva" or "Dark Smog", which is likely to be the most powerful card in their whole arsenal.
Because of this, "Dark World" decks are Tier 2 instead of Tier 1.
There are a few things that these decks could change:
- Dragged Down into the Grave was used by almost every deck over "Dark World Dealings" - why? Because it doesn't let your opponent discard their own "Dark World" monster. The problem with this is that your opponent gets to choose what you discard - they will always pick the best option for themselves. Sure, you get to discard their card, but without the free choice of what you're discarding you lose many options. If they used "Dark World Dealings" instead and sided "Dragged Down" against "Dark World" decks, this weakness would be eliminated.
- Dark Smog was not out during YCS Columbus but now that it is, every deck should use at least two, if not three. It's a chainable Trap Card. It gives Continuous discarding ability. It lets you Banish important cards. Here's an example: your opponent activates their "Glow-Up Bulb". You chain "Dark Smog", discarding a "Dark World" monster, Banishing "Bulb". Then you get the monster's effect. This can be done every single turn. You can stop so many cards with "Dark Smog" while losing no advantage.
- Ceruli, Guru of Dark World has seen a lot of flak. It's been criticized for giving no advantage. That's not important: "Ceruli" is able to give you the ability to gain advantage more easily. With a "Sillva" your opponent loses two cards from their hand. With a "Goldd" your opponent loses two cards from their field. With a "Grapha" you have a chance of getting a free monster from your opponent's hand. With "Snoww" you get a free monster from your opponent's Graveyard. With "Broww" you get to draw not one but two cards. Out of these, "Goldd", "Sillva", and "Snoww" are most likely the best. "Ceruli" makes the "Dark World" deck a bit less consistent, sure, but on the upside it gains a flexibility that it lacked at YCS Columbus.
- Beiige, Vanguard of Dark World: "Beiige" is used as an alternative to "Goldd" and "Sillva" - it's a Level 4 monster that can also be Special Summoned by its effect. It has no secondary effect, and is worth using in some decks, but with "Snoww" out, it's not longer as useful.
- Broww, Huntsman of Dark World: "Broww" is a staple in "Dark World" decks: when discarded, you get to draw a card. If its discarded by your opponent's card effect, you get to draw two cards instead.
- Brron, Mad King of Dark World: "Brron" allows you to discard a card from your hand when it inflicts damage to your opponent's Life Points, and it has 1800 ATK, but it's generally considered too slow in TCG play. Due to a lack of "Tour Guides" in the OCG, it's quite popular in Japan.
- Ceruli, Guru of Dark World: "Celuri" is very weak, and Special Summons itself to your opponent's side of the field when discarded. To make up for this, it then makes you discard another card, and since this was triggered by your opponent's card, you get to use the "Dark World's" second effect, which is always devastating. It's considered a tech card and hasn't seen much mainstream use.
- Goldd, Wu-Lord of Dark World: "Goldd" is one of the original boss "Dark World" monsters. 2300 ATK isn't anything to scoff at, and its secondary effect allows you to destroy two cards your opponent controls. Some decks forgo using the Level 5 monsters but it's very useful for Xyz Summons.
- Grapha, Dragon Lord of Dark World: "Grapha" is arguably the most important "Dark World" card there is - it's a 2700 ATK monster that destroys one card when discarded. Its secondary effect allows you to look at a random card in your opponent's hand and Special Summon it to your side of the field if it's a monster. This alone would make it good, but what makes it amazing is its third effect: you can return any "Dark World" monster you control to your hand in order to Special Summon "Grapha" from your Graveyard. There are numerous things you can do: you can just Normal Summon a "Dark World" monster and return it, or you can use "Tour Guide From the Underworld" to Special Summon "Broww", and then return it to your hand. Almost every "Dark World" deck should use three.
- Gren, Tactician of Dark World: "Gren" has low stats and when discarded, it destroys one Spell Card on the field. "Grapha" is better.
- Kahkki, Guerilla of Dark World: "Kahkki", like "Gren", has low stats and destroys a monster when discarded. It's a bit better than "Gren", but it's not really worth using, especially now that "Grapha" is out.
- Latinum, Exarch of Dark World: "Latinum" is a new Level 6 "Dark World" monster with 1500 ATK and 2400 DEF. When discarded by your effect, it Special Summons itself, and when discarded by your opponent's effect, one Fiend-Type monster you control gains 500 ATK. It's okay, but it has bad stats and doesn't really add much to the deck.
- Reign-Beaux, Overlord of Dark World: "Reign-Beaux" only triggers when discarded by your opponent's card effect; it is Special Summoned and gets rid of either all of your opponent's Monsters or Spells and Traps. It has 2500 ATK, which is a good score, but is only useful in certain unorthodox builds.
- Renge, Gatekeeper of Dark World: "Renge" is a Normal Monster - it has 100 ATK and 2100 DEF. It's not worth using in a "Dark World" deck.
- Scarr, Scout of Dark World: When "Scarr" is destroyed by battle, you can add a Level 4 or lower "Dark World" monster from your Deck to your hand. It's too slow and there are too few worthwhile targets for it to be useful.
- Sillva, Warlord of Dark World: "Sillva" is the counterpart of "Goldd": it has 2300 ATK and is Level 5. When discarded, it is Special Summoned, and when discarded by your opponent's card effect, you get to return two cards in their hand to their deck.
- Snoww, Unlight of Dark World: "Snoww" is one of the most important "Dark World" cards: not only does it have 1700 ATK, which is pretty good for a Level 4 monster, but it also lets you add any "Dark World" card from your Deck to your hand when it's discarded. In addition to that, if discarded by your opponent's effect, you can Special Summon one monster in your opponent's Graveyard.
- Zure, Knight of Dark World: "Zure" is also a Normal Monster, albeit one with decent ATK. It's not worth using.
- Dark World Dealings: "Dark World Dealings" is good for quite a few decks, but in a format with "Dark Worlds" it becomes quite deadly for its user as your opponent might have some "Dark Worlds" to discard. At the moment the consensus is that "Dragged Down" is more worthwhile.
- Dark World Grimoire: "Dark World Grimoire" is a Continuous Spell Card that allows you to activate "Dark World" effects after discarding during the End Phase. Since you probably won't end up with 7 cards in your hand during your End Phase it's not worth using.
- Dark World Lightning: "Dark World Lightning" is a two-step card: first, target a face-down card. If it's not chained, destroy it and discard a card from your hand. This is one of the more popular ways to trigger a "Dark World" effect.
- The Gates of Dark World: "The Gates" is the most important "Dark World" Spell Card. First, is can be searched by "Snoww". Next, it gives 300 ATK to every Fiend-Type monster, boosting "Snoww" to 2000, "Goldd" and "Sillva" to 2600 (more than "Stardust"), and "Grapha" to 3000. Lastly, once per turn, you can Banish a Fiend-Type monster in your Graveyard, discard a card, and draw a card. Every "Dark World" deck should use three.
- Gateway to Dark World: "Gateway" is a Quick-Play Spell Card that Special Summons one "Dark World" monster from your Graveyard at the cost of your other Summons that turn. It's not very good.
- Dark Scheme: "Dark Scheme" is discards two cards from both player's hands then lets them draw two cards, but can be negated if your opponent discards a card. The main problem is that if your opponent knows that you're using "Dark Worlds", they can just negate it. Even worse, if your opponent is using "Dark Worlds", they can take advantage of it to gain massive amounts of advantage. It could be useful in a side deck, but at the moment it's rather lackluster.
- The Forces of Darkness: "The Forces of Darkness" returns two "Dark World" monsters from your Graveyard to your hand. It's a +1 but a bit slow for "Dark Worlds".
- Black Luster Soldier - Envoy of the Beginning: Simply an amazing card, and worth using if you have three "Fabled Raven".
- Fabled Dianaira: "Fabled Dianaira" isn't very commonly used, but it gives you the effect of "Dark Deal": once per turn, you can change the effect of an opponent's Spell Card to "your opponent discards a card". This will trigger "Dark World's" second effects but since "Fabled Dianara" requires two tributes (or one, if the monster is "Fabled"), it hasn't seen much use.
- Fabled Raven: "Fabled Raven" is a useful card - you can discard any number of cards to give it 400 ATK and a Level per card. It starts at 1300 ATK and Level 2. Not only can it gain a lot of ATK, but you can use it in a Xyz Summon - if you discard three
cards, including "Goldd" or "Sillva", or in a Synchro Summon - discard one card, specifically "Goldd" or "Sillva".
- Malefic Cyber End Dragon: Necessary for Malefic-Dark World Exodia decks.
- Malefic Stardust Dragon: An optional tech in "Dark World" decks, as it protects "Gate of the Dark World" and you can destroy your opponent's backrow so that it can attack. Also necessary for Malefic-Dark World Exodia decks.
- Morphing Jar: "Morphing Jar" discards both player's hands and lets them draw 5 cards. It's both risky and slow against "Dark Worlds", but you can side it against other decks.
- Tour Guide From the Underworld: "Tour Guide" is a must-have for "Dark Worlds" - it Special Summons "Broww", which can be returned to your hand for "Grapha" and then discarded to gain hand advantage. At the moment, it's a TCG Exclusive.
- Adreus, Keeper of Armageddon: "Adreus" is a Rank 5 Xyz Monster. It has 2600 ATK and is a Fiend-Type monster (with "Gate" it has 2900 ATK) and you can remove a Xyz Material to destroy a face-up card on the field. It's useful for "Goldd" builds.
- Tiras, Keeper of Genesis: "Tiras" is also a Rank 5 Xyz Monster, although it's quite different from "Adreus". It also has 2600 ATK and cannot be destroyed by card effects. In addition to that, after battling, it lets you destroy one card your opponent controls. Lastly, during your End Phase, one Xyz Material is removed from it. It's more popular than "Adreus" at the moment.
- Advance Draw: Used in Malefic-Dark World Exodia decks.
- Card Destruction: "Card Destruction" lets both players discard their hand and draw that many cards. It's even more risky than "Dealings" against "Dark Worlds" but it's a good side deck card.
- Dragged Down into the Grave: "Dragged Down" is more popular than "Dealings" because an opponent using "Dark Worlds" won't necessarily get to discard one. "Dragged Down" lets both players look at their opponent's hand and discard a card in it, then draw a card.
- Trade-In: Does NOT trigger "Grapha" - it's used for Malefic-Dark World Exodia decks.
- Dark Deal: "Dark Deal" has always been an underdog in "Dark Worlds" - at the cost of 1000 Life Points, it changes the effect of a Spell card your opponent controls to randomly discarding a card in their hand, which, if they hit a "Dark World" monster, will trigger its secondary effect.
- Dark Smog: "Dark Smog" is an amazing card - it's a Continuous Trap Card that gives you a "D.D. Crow" effect that will trigger "Dark World" monsters. It's Spell Speed two so it negates "Monster Reborn" and "Book of Moon" while giving you no penalties. It should be mained at two or three in every "Dark World" deck.
- Deck Devastation Virus: "Deck Devastation Virus" is similar, albeit even more devastating - it gets rid of most monsters for most decks. In addition to that, you can tribute a "Goldd" or "Sillva" or a "Snoww" while you have "Gate" out.
- Depth Amulet: "Depth Amulet" is a Continuous Trap Card that lets you discard a card to negate an attack. This does trigger "Dark World" effects. It only lasts three turns, but is somewhat useful.
- Eradicator Epidemic Virus: "Eradicator Epidemic Virus" works very well with "Grapha" - after returning a "Dark World" monster to your hand to Special Summon "Grapha", you can tribute it and get rid of all of your opponent's Spell or Trap Cards for three turns.
- Mind Crush: "Mind Crush" is very nice in "Dark Worlds" - if you know what card is in their hand, you can name it, forcing them to discard it, but if you're wrong, you have to discard. The catch is that it's random, but nonetheless, it's useful.
- Skill Drain: "Skill Drain" is a Continuous Trap Card that negates the effect of all face-up monsters at the cost of 1000 Life Points. This is useful in a deck if you can't afford "Tour Guide" or "Raven".
Dark World with Fabled Raven/Tour Guide (TCG Only)
The most common TCG "Dark World" deck is a version that uses "Tour Guide" to either search for "Broww" or Xyz Summon "Leviair" to revive a Banished "Snoww" or "Broww".
Dark World with Bronn
A lot of OCG "Dark World" decks use "Brron, Mad King of the Dark World".
Skill Drain/Virus Dark World
A cheaper "Dark World" variants uses "Virus Cards" and "Skill Drain". Both of these allow the deck to defeat many meta decks, including standard "Dark World" decks (by stopping "Tour Guide" and "Raven").
Malefic Dark World Exodia
By adding "Malefics", you can make a potent draw engine.