Constructing a Deck based around "Ninja" monsters is no simple feat, as they don't fight by conventional means; the Spell, Trap and Monster cards of the Ninja archetype revolve around underhanded, control-based strategies rather than all-out attacking or swarming.
For offensive examples, "Strike Ninja" can temporarily remove itself from the Field (dodging a card effect). "Sasuke" can bypass walls such as "Marshmallon" and higher DEF Monsters. Other "Ninja" tend to work behind the scenes, such as "Upstart"'s trading Traps for summoning, and "Hanzo"'s "Ninjitsu Art" (or "Ninja" monster) toolboxing effect.
Overall, "Ninja" Decks can be made in a variety of ways, but since Ninja-specific support is few and far in between, most of their abilities are far from game-breaking, making them more of an uncommon rogue Deck to use. However, they can excel against Stall Decks that revolve around a particular, titular card (Which "Ninja" are adept at destroying). The transformation traps in their arsenal give "Ninja" splashability with "Mist Valley", "Chaos", "Dragon" and "Monarch" Decks, among others.
To effectively play the Archetype, "Ninja" duelists must consider a large variety of monsters. For example, WIND and/or Winged-Beast-oriented Decks aid "Lady Ninja Yae", while DARK monsters will keep up the stealth of "Strike Ninja". Others still, such as "Goe Goe" and "Ebisu", work better together than alone. Ideally, one should attempt to use monsters that fill several niches in one Deck; for example, "Dark Simorgh" is DARK, WIND and Winged-Beast, giving support to not only the above Ninja and "Hanzo", but is an ideal target for "Ninjitsu Art of Transformation". Continuing on this idea, "Roc from the Valley of Haze" can return to the Deck once he is discarded by "Yae" to become her transformation target within the same turn.
The age-old "Armed Ninja" and "Crimson Ninja" will be difficult to use in a Deck, as their effects are sub-par, and their low level makes them a less-than-ideal target for the transformation Traps; they instead are more useful when paired with such cards as "Ninjitsu Art of Duplication" and "Senior Silver Ninja", both of which enable the weak "Ninja" to swarm the Field, ready to Flip.
"White Dragon Ninja" is the strongest monster in this archetype and is meant to be paired with "Super-Transformation" by means of her own effect that protects the controlling player's back-row. Some monsters, such as "Tyrant Dragon" and "Galaxy-Eyes Photon Dragon", also have means to bypass the debilitating effects of Super-Transformation.
If one is using a lot of "Ninjitsu Art" cards in their Deck, they may need to consider including means to remove them once they have outlived their use; "Armor Ninjitsu Art of Alchemy" was made for this purpose, but "Magic Planter" and "Uria, Lord of Searing Flames" can also profit off of a "Ninjitsu Art"-heavy Deck. Although slow, "Karakuri Ninja mdl 339 "Sazank"" is another useful tool for dispatching an enemy monster that might have bypassed one's Traps and other Monsters. Lastly, if you run a Warrior-only "Ninja" Deck, you can use "The Immortal Bushi" to Tribute Set "Senior Silver Ninja" and start the swarming.
"Armor Ninja"A great amount of the superior Ninja monsters and support were released in Order of Chaos. With it came the "Armor Ninja" sub-archetype. Their purposes and potential combos are below:
- "Air Armor Ninja", "Earth Armor Ninja", and "Flame Armor Ninja" are meant to be used in conjunction with each other based on which Xyz monster the player plans to Summon, but with "Earth Armor Ninja" at the heart of the combo:
- Blade Armor Ninja:
- Summon "Earth Armor Ninja" first, then use "Air Armor Ninja" to lower the Level "Earth Armor Ninja" by 1, bringing him down to 4.
- Number 12: Crimson Shadow Armor Ninja:
- Summon "Earth Armor Ninja" first, then use "Flame Armor Ninja" to increase the level of itself or another Level 4 "Ninja" monster by 1 for the Xyz summon.
- Summon "Earth Armor Ninja", then Tribute him to Set "Senior Silver Ninja". Either use "Book of Taiyou" or wait until he is flipped face-up. IF you used "Book of Taiyou", Special Summon "Earth Armor Ninja" and "Air Armor Ninja" and decrease the Level of "Senior Silver Ninja" by 1, bringing it down to 5 during your next turn or use card effects to flip them face-up.
- Blade Armor Ninja:
- "Goe Goe the Gallant Ninja" and "Ninja" in general get support in the form of "Masked Ninja Ebisu", who can send set Spell/Trap cards back to your opponent's hand for an safer and cleaner strike. "Goe Goe" can then attack directly via the effect of "Ebisu" (Twice directly if you use the effect of "Blade Armor Ninja" or multiple "Goe Goe"), and possibly discard cards from their hand, including ones sent back with "Ebisu".
- "Upstart Golden Ninja" can trade your useless "Ninjitsu Art" or other Trap for a lesser "Ninja"; you could set "White Ninja" or "Sazank" for their Flip Effects, or Special Summon "Hanzo" face-up to thus profiteer off of his effect. Lastly, if the "Ninja" you summoned face-up is level 4, you can even overlay with "Upstart" for "Blade Armor Ninja"
- Other than a boost to its swarming abilities, the "Ninja" archetype gains a huge boost in support. "Aqua Armor Ninja" can stop a direct attack, "Armor Ninjitsu Art of Freezing" acts as a one-time "Negate Attack" (in terms of effect) that also prevents your opponent's monster from changing battle positions, and "Armor Ninjitsu Art of Rust Mist" can halve the ATK of any monster Special Summoned to the field, possibly stopping a swarm. Best of all, "Ninjitsu Art of Super-Transformation" can be used to take out one of your opponent's more troublesome monsters, and replace it with a stronger and more splashable monster of your own. However, these Traps rely on the presence of at least one face-up "Ninja" on the Field; one must keep this in mind if they are planning to use a larger number of outsiders such as "Cyber Dragon" (Over "Earth Armor") and "Necro Gardna" (Over "Aqua Armor")
- "Goe Goe the Gallant Ninja", "Masked Ninja Ebisu", "Lady Ninja Yae", and "Ninja Grandmaster Sasuke" are characters based on Konami's popular video game series Ganbare Goemon (Legend of the Mystical Ninja). Incidentally, all the "Sasuke Samurai" monsters are from this series, as well.
- In the anime, "Ninjas" were used by Jean-Claude Magnum. However, Magnum used only anime-only cards, and his "Ninjas" operated quite differently from the actual cards. His "Ninjas" had poor ATK, but many had effects allowing them to swarm the field.
- Also in the anime, ninjas were used by Kaze, but he used "Armored Ninjas". These focus on swarming the field and summoning quickly their trump cards: "Blade Armor Ninja" and "Number 12: Crimson Shadow Armor Ninja".
- "Blind Spot Strike", "Spy Attack" and "Debunk" suggests that "Ninjas" have some sort of rivalry with the "Shien".