"Lightsworn", known as "Lightlord" (ライトロード Raitorōdo) in the OCG, is an archetype of LIGHT and DARK monsters introduced in Light of Destruction. The LIGHT monsters' primary effects involve self-milling, which sends cards from the top of your Deck to your Graveyard, either as a cost to activate their effect(s), or as part of the effect(s) itself. Contained in the "Twilightsworn" sub-series, the DARK monsters operate on a similar principle, but also banish "Lightsworn" monsters as the costs for their effects.
The "Lightsworns" are a group who seek to save those who pray for help, crossing time and space in order to help them. By consuming vast quantities of magical energy, they appear on the material plane and challenge those evildoers who threaten the era they appear in. Once their job is done and the evil has been stopped, they return to their home plane, disappearing without a trace.
Their founder, "Michael, the Arch-Lightsworn", is responsible for enlisting the souls of heroes worthy of joining the "Lightsworns". As they travel in order to fight evil, they also recruit the heroes of that time.
Decking out is a risk sometimes associated with the milling done in "Lightsworn" Decks. However, milling improves the speed of the Deck and many "Lightsworn" cards benefit from having many "Lightsworn" monsters in the Graveyard. A primary focus of this Deck is to quickly summon "Judgment Dragon", which may be Special Summoned while there are 4 or more different "Lightsworn" monsters in the Graveyard. "Judgment Dragon" can quickly clear the field and attack directly. This strategy is most useful when running a small Deck, and has the potential to turn the tables in your favor before your opponent can get too much of a foothold.
"Lightsworns" have been incorporated into many Deck types. Most notably, "Lightsworns" are combined with DARK monsters in a Deck type known as Twilight. Such a Deck uses a mixture of LIGHT and DARK monsters and tends to include Chaos cards, particularly since "Chaos Sorcerer" and "Black Luster Soldier - Envoy of the Beginning" were removed from the March 2011 and September 2011 Forbidden lists, respectively.
The Duelist Set: Version Lightlord Judgment marks the release of new "Lightsworn" Tuners and a Synchro Monster, giving them support for their Extra Decks. In the TCG, two of the Tuners and the Synchro Monster were released in the Realm of Light Structure Deck, whilst the third Tuner was released in Duelist Alliance. These additions to the "Lightsworn" archetype have made it a heavy Synchro Summoning based archetype, and is now capable of making powerful Synchro Monsters easily with cards such as "Lumina, Lightsworn Summoner" and "Soul Charge". "Raiden, Hand of the Lightsworn" helps the Deck Synchro Summon as well, by being able to quickly send "Wulf, Lightsworn Beast" to the Graveyard. Lastly, the Level 4 Tuner "Felis, Lightsworn Archer" can create easy Synchro possibilities by being Special Summoned when sent to the Graveyard by the effect of another "Lightsworn" monster (or any monster for that matter).
The DARK-Attribute "Twilightsworn" monsters were introduced in Code of the Duelist. They focus on banishing other "Lightsworn" monsters as part of their effects in order to help facilitate the Summon of "Punishment Dragon". Their mill effects can happen at any time, even outside of the End Phase, but only if another "Lightsworn" monster activates its effect.
In the Traditional Format, the "Dragon Rulers" and "Eclipse Wyvern" can be used to enhance a "Lightsworn" Deck. The "Dragon Rulers" can trigger the effect of "Eclipse Wyvern" by banishing it from the Graveyard to Special Summon themselves, adding a "Judgment Dragon" to the hand right away.
- "Lightray": With the release of the Lightray Monsters, the Lightsworns become even more dangerous as the requirements for summoning are LIGHT type monsters in the graveyard. "Lightray Grepher" is a good choice, as you can discard a level 5 monster to special summon him, giving you two monsters on the field from turn one. He can also be used with "Jain, Lightsworn Paladin", or "Ehren, Lightsworn Monk" to overlay into "Heroic Champion - Excalibur". Using his effect will send both xyz materials to the grave for a whopping 4000 attack power. "Lightray Daedalus" only requires 4 LIGHT monsters in the graveyard, and allows you to destroy a field spell and 2 other cards on the field, clearing the path for a strong 2600 beater. "Lightray Diabolos" requires 5 LIGHT monsters with different names in the graveyard, and allows you to banish 1 LIGHT monster from the graveyard, then target 1 set card your opponent controls; reveal that target, then place that target on either the top or bottom of the Deck, plus "Lightray Diabolos" has an attack of 2800. "Lightray Gearfried" requires 5 LIGHT monsters with different names in the graveyard, and allows you to banish 1 warrior monster from the graveyard to negate your opponent's spell or trap cards, plus "Lightray Gearfried" has an attack of 2800. If you can get 2 "Lightray Daedalus", "Lightray Diabolos", or "Lightray Gearfried" on the field, you can overlay into "Number 11: Big Eye", "Mecha Phantom Beast Dracossack", or even "Hieratic Sun Dragon Overlord of Heliopolis", all 3 who have great effects for stalling, destroying or taking control of your opponent's monsters.
- "Sephylon, the Ultimate Timelord": There should be at least 1 Sephylon in any Lightsworn deck. As a 4000 beater, he requires 10 monsters in the graveyard to summon, and his effect should you have another level 8 fairy monster can give you access to 2 4000 attackers on the field at the same time. 2 Sephylons can allow you to overlay into "Superdreadnought Rail Cannon Gustav Max" for an easy 2000 direct damage to your opponent's life points, as well as a solid 3000 attack.
- "Eclipse Wyvern": A monster whose effect works in conjunction with "Lightsworn" decks as it has its place in the graveyard. It allows ensured access to "Judgment Dragon" or "Dark Armed Dragon" in Twilight variants. Once banished from the graveyard, you can retrieve the selected card with "Chaos Sorcerer" due to him being at 2 after the January 2014 banlist and the infamous "Black Luster Soldier - Envoy of the Beginning", which was unbanned at an earlier time.
- "Tour Bus From the Underworld": Its effect allows players to return important cards from the graveyard to the deck. Tour Bus will often be milled through the effect of a Lightsworn monster, and provides Dark fodder for twilight-based decks. Using this card in combination with "Lumina, Lightsworn Summoner", "Monster Reincarnation", or "Beckoning Light" allows you do simply drop this card from your hand should it be drawn at bad times.
- "Breakthrough Skill": A very flexible Trap Card that is still useful when in the Graveyard, so if it was milled before you could use it up to twice by setting it, this will not be a problem. You can banish it during your turn to negate the effect of a monster that would, for example, negate or avoid the effect of "Judgment Dragon" and/or destroy it, such as "Ultimate Axon Kicker", "Infernity Guardian", "Evolzar Dolkka" or "Doomcaliber Knight".
- "Dawn Knight": This card can help send Wulf to the Graveyard quickly alongside the already beneficial Foolish Burial. Also, because this card has the ability to return a LIGHT monster to the top of the Deck when it is sent from the Deck to the graveyard, it can be used to recover Judgment Dragon or any other powerful Lightsworn and is there for your next draw (best used if a Lightsworn milled Dawn Knight during the End Phase).
With easily fulfilled Special Summoning conditions (having 4 or more "Lightsworn" monsters with different names in your Graveyard), high ATK, and a devastating effect (pay 1000 Life Points to Destroy all other cards on the field), "Judgment Dragon" is capable of dealing large amounts of damage, and could even create an OTK situation fairly quickly. Since it has no cost to summon itself, only a condition, you can still summon your other dragon(s) that turn.
"Lumina, Lightsworn Summoner" is a staple in a "Lightsworn" Deck, due to the ability to dump dead cards while summoning a "Lightsworn" monster from the Graveyard, giving you easy Field advantage. A common trick is to discard a "Wulf, Lightsworn Beast" and Special Summon the same discarded "Wulf" for an easy 2100 ATK beatstick. It is notable that one may Special Summon a "Lightsworn" monster discarded by Lumina with the same effect, but may not activate the effect if there is no "Lightsworn" present in the Graveyard upon activation. She makes it possible to quickly Synchro Summon Michael using a "Raiden, Hand of the Lightsworn" in the Graveyard.
Despite the fact that the player is quickly milling their Deck, 40 cards is plenty for it. If you add more cards it will only get slower and less consistent, and you won't draw your "Judgment Dragon" and other key cards when you need them. Because of the constant milling, however, they will be sent to the Graveyard frequently. In such cases, bring them back using "Beckoning Light".
In case your opponent uses cards like "Skill Drain" or "Light-Imprisoning Mirror", you might want to add "Royal Decree" to your Side Deck. Since a "Lightsworn" Deck most likely won't run any essential Trap Cards, you can side them in to get rid of the dangers coming along with negating effects.
The primary problems for a "Lightsworn" player come from cards capable of negating effects ("Skill Drain", "Light-Imprisoning Mirror" and "Brain Golem" above all), and cards that banishes other monsters from play, especially "Macro Cosmos" and "Dimensional Fissure", capable of turning the milling effect of the Lightsworn from a simple requirement to a severe disadvantage. As such, one will commonly find cards like "Royal Decree" and "Mystical Space Typhoon" in both the Main Deck and Side Deck of "Lightsworn" Decks.
Cards that add to the milling can be a threat to "Lightsworn" Decks, including "Iron Chain", "Needle Worm", "Voltic Bicorn", and "Ally of Justice"; however, these can be helpful since they can push the Deck into its win condition more quickly.
In particular, the "Ally of Justice" line is a serious threat to the Lightsworn deck as many of them have effects that target Light monsters in particular. "Ally of Justice Decisive Armor" is incredibly potent against Lightsworns and can be considered as the best option due to its versatility in many deck builds. "Ally of Justice Light Gazer" is also quite dangerous for Lightsworns to face as their constant milling will increase the former's attack to monstrous levels.
Since "Lightsworn" decks are heavily reliant on sending cards from the Deck to the Graveyard, "Dimension Fortress Weapon" can be used to completely halt all effects that send cards from the Deck to the Graveyard, thus severely slowing down "Lightsworn" decks.
Stalling may force a Deck Out, although the high number of destruction effects the "Lightsworns" offer, such as "Celestia, Lightsworn Angel", "Lyla, Lightsworn Sorceress", and "Ryko, Lightsworn Hunter", often make up for this. To avoid destruction, players can use chainable Stall cards like "Battle Fader", "Zero Gardna", "One Day of Peace", "Threatening Roar", "Waboku", or "Winged Kuriboh".
- "Jenis, Lightsworn Mender", "Wulf, Lightsworn Beast", and "Rinyan, Lightsworn Rogue" are the only Lightsworn monsters that do not Mill from the deck.
- All "Lightsworn" monsters have a square with one or more halo (usually appears behind their head) on their background.