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Darth Covah/Deck Guides: Lightsworn Guide

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Author's note: I'm trying to decide on the optimal configuration for the regular Lightsworn Deck, as well as the Twilight Deck, now that Lumina, Gardna, Honest, Charge and Allure were smashed by the Banhammer. Stay tuned, I'll be updating soon. --Darth Covah (Talk | DeckZone | Binder) 10:52, March 29, 2010 (UTC)

Lightsworns Deck

(v.1.8)

Intro

- Lightsworns were first released in the set Light of Destruction (LODT). Ironically, they weren't perceived as much then, since their unorthodox tactic of milling themselves out was deemed "too risky". Nontheless, here we are, Lightsworns being one of the most successful Archetypes in the game. What is it that makes Lightsworns so potent? Are they really that potent, or are they more bark than bite? But more importantly, what makes a good Lightsworns deck?

The Deck

- A Lightsworns Deck is a fast-paced, LIGHT monster Swarm deck with elements of Control and Toolboxing. What that means is that Lightsworn Decks fill the field quickly with monsters, all while maintaining the advantage field- and/or hand-wise, and being able to get out of dangerous situations due to various monster effects. Sounds very good and simple in theory, but it really isn't.

- To elaborate on the above, we have to explain the nature of Lightsworn Decks a little bit more.

The deck relies on many Mill effects to send cards from the deck to the Graveyard. Albeit that sounds as suicidal as giving away Life Points, it actually allows you to win. The fact is that most of the cards in a Lightsworn Deck are monsters that have an effect when they are either milled or while they are in the Graveyard, such as Wulf, Lightsworn Beast or Necro Gardna. So, more cards in the Graveyard equals more power for Lightsworn Decks. Also, the fact that nearly half the deck is sent to the Graveyard per duel means that the player has a very good chance of going through all of the cards in his deck, increasing his chances of getting the cards he wants either in the hand or in the Graveyard. For Lightsworns, the Graveyard is more of a second hand, since they run a multitude of recursion cards, that is, cards that return other cards (mainly monsters) from the Graveyard to the hand. So, a Lightsworn player essentially can see his entire deck in his Graveyard and be happy about it. But it's not all milk and honey. Because the Lightsworns have a darker side, none other than the whims of Lady Luck herself. No other deck is influenced by chance more. Mill Spells and Traps instead of monsters, and draw Monsters instead of Spells and Traps, and you're pretty much doomed. Does that mean that Lightsworns are too risky to be played? No. Does that mean that they are a special kind of deck, that requires skill to build and run? Yes. And this is what the guide will cover. But first, let's review.

- There are 5 core features to a deck. Those are: Speed, Power, Consistency, Risk, Efficiency

- And here is how a Lightsworn Deck would rank, mathematically speaking:

Speed: 5/5
Power: 5/5
Consistency: 2.5/5
Risk: 4.5/5
Efficiency: 80%

- Lightsworns have speed, since milling is more of a second kind of draw to them. Their power is immense, backed by cards many consider ban-worthy. Consistency is not-so-great, in fact it's below average, for the simple fact that it's a very risky deck to run. All in all, its general efficiency is approximately 80%. But does that mean you shouldn't run it, because it's not good enough? No, it's actually one of the best decks. But it takes a lot of skill to master, so as to overcome the high risk factor. But enough with general stuff - what to add in the deck is the burning question here.

The Cards

- Cards are the brawn of the deck, and the duelist is the brains. But you gotta have brawn, and you gotta have it where you need it. So where do you need it? In general, there are 5 things you need most of all in a deck:

Cards that add draw power (e.g. Solar Recharge)
Recursion cards (e.g. Monster Reincarnation)
Powerhorse cards (e.g. Judgment Dragon)
Protection cards (e.g. Necro Gardna)
Removal cards (e.g. Ryko, Lightsworn Hunter)

- And you gotta have all of them, otherwise it'd be like trying to start a car with the power of your will alone. But twist the key too much, and it'll break. So we also need to make sure to put enough brawn where we need it, but take care not to overdo it.

- So we move on to the card pool.

  • Monster Cards
Lumina, Lightsworn Summoner. Lightsworn's version of Zombie Master. She allows you to discard a card to Special Summon a level 4 or lower Lightsworn monster from your Graveyard. That's good in more ways than one. First of all, she allows you to get rid of cards that have an effect in the Graveyard, that you just drew. In doing so, you activate her effect for free, since the discarded card is actually more useful in the Graveyard! Not only that, but you also get a Special Summon from the Grave. Last, like many other Lightsworn monsters, during the End Phase, you have to send the top 3 cards of your deck to the Graveyard - which is a good thing. All in all, a must in any deck of this kind - its low stats overcompensated by its powerful effect.
Garoth, Lightsworn Warrior. A monsterized slot machine. Garoth can either win you a Match, or lose it. It forces you to, whenever you mill cards by the effect of another Lightsworn monster, mill 2 more, and for each Lightsworn monster milled that way, you draw a card. Sounds good, but is more of a double-edged sword. It can be tremendously helpful, increasing draw power and generating huge hand, field and grave advantage, or it can lose you the Duel by deck out, when you mill 2 out of your last 3 cards, and you mill 2 Lightsworn monsters. Ambiguous card, but basic nontheless, and with good stats to boot.
Lyla, Lightsworn Sorceress. Removal is the name of the game here, and it is done pretty well. Fairly good stats, the universal milling effect and the ability to blow away your opponent's backrow cards gives Lyla a special place in the deck. Sole drawback of using her is that she has to remain in DEF position for some time after activating her effect.
Ehren, Lightsworn Monk. Until now a TCG exclusive, and a mighty good one. Instead of destroying that nasty Pyramid Turtle in battle, if it is in DEF mode, you can simply return it to the owner's deck with this card's effect. Also, average stats and the universal 3-card-mill effect gives it a top spot in the Lightsworns Toolbox. However, it is unnecessary, given that the DEF mode requirement limits its potential.
Jain, Lightsworn Paladin. Who said commons are bad cards? Jain proves that. With 1800 ATK and an ATK-increasing effect, it can get up to 2100 ATK, stomping whatever is in the way. Also, you mill 2 cards in the End Phase, always a good thing. There are much better monsters to run though.
Wulf, Lightsworn Beast. This beastly monster will surprise your opponent by returning from the grave as soon as it is sent there from the deck. A nasty surprise, and it adds a special twist to all the mill effects of the other Lightsworn monsters - what if you net a Wulf? You'll get a free monster! Unfortunately, it is totally dead in the hand, and so can cause dead draws.
Ryko, Lightsworn Hunter. A FLIP effect monster. This canine devil will be a challenge for any attacker, destroyng a card and milling 3 at the same time. Its awfully low stats and lack of speed though limit its usefulness.
Celestia, Lightsworn Angel. Might as well have been "Lightsworn Monarch". Mill 4 as a cost, then destroy up to 2 of your opponent's cards, so long as the Tribute for its Tribute Summon was a Lightsworn monster. Tremendous removal power, and a cost that is more of a gift, this is a complete powerhorse in the Lightsworns arsenal.
Gragonith, Lightsworn Dragon. The Lightsworn's first dragon is seemingly docile, but can stack up ATK points faster than the deck mills itself, and can pop out of no-where, since Wulf can be milled at any time, then tributed for this critter. It needs some time though to raise its ATK, and even though its Piercing effect and 3-card-mill are very tempting, it does not reach the standards Celestia does.
Jenis, Lightsworn Mender. At last, a useless Lightsworn. It may have 2100 DEF and only 4 stars, but defensive monsters have no place in a fast paced swarm deck such as Lightsworns, and its effect is poor at best.
Aurkus, Lightsworn Druid. The most ambiguous Lightsworn monster ever, more of a double-edged sword than the spawn of Garoth and Time Magician. Although your monsters will be safe from all targeted effects, non targeted effects still work, and even your effects that target your monsters will not work!. There are situations though in which this card can be useful, like against Gladiator Beast Decks, which use lots of targeted effects, but in general this card is better suited for the Side Deck.
Shire, Lightsworn Spirit. Ah, one of the notorious new Lightsworns! Well, sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but it's not a card you'd like to play. Its effect allows it to gain 300 ATK for each "Lightsworn" monster with a different name in the Graveyard. Sounds familiar? It should, if you hover over the link. Essentially, it is a non-tribute version of Gragonith, whitout the Piercing effect and with abysmal initial stats. Then, there is the "mill X cards" effect, but even that is not that good. Milling 2 cards on a monster that needs Lightsworns in the grave to be useful is really too few. All in all, not a very useful card. Honest and Gragonith are far better at making beatsticks.
Rinyan, Lightsworn Rogue. The second of the new Lightsworns. Wait, I thought Rogue was someone with daggers, and poison, and stuff. Not a kitten! Anyway, to the point. While you would think that after the horrible Shire a decent monster would be released, you would be wrong. Rinyan goes to the "Jenis" category, under "unplayable cards". Sure, you get to return a Lightsworn monster to the deck, then draw 1 card. But this is a FLIP effect (thus slow, while Lightsworns are fast), and undoes all the hard work you did milling your deck. It might sound good, but there is a reason it is unplayable. You need your deck in the grave, since it is your ticket to victory with Lightsworns (you'd know that if you'd read the section called "The Deck"). So, if you're gonna add that, might as well add some Dimension Fortress Weapons, and a playset of Pot of Avarice. Seriously unplayable card.
Judgment Dragon. The infamous and fabled Judgment Dragon, at whose sight opponents scoop. Easily the most powerful card of the Lightsworns arsenal. For the cost of 1000 Life Points, you can destroy all other cards on the field. That essentially allows you to leave an opponent wide open, then do anything you want with them. Its summoning condition is also quite simple - you need to have 4 different Lightsworn monsters in your grave. Not a big deal, considering that on a good turn, a Lightsworn Deck mills an average of 6 cards. Last, during the End Phase, you have to mill 4 cards. Truly a card to save the day, huge stats and an effect unlike any other, its Semi-Limitation says it all.
Honest. If your opponent hasn't scooped when you drop Judgment Dragon, they're very likely to scoop when they see an Honest. Hotly debated card, with an effect that can crush an opponent's offensive in seconds. Any time during the Damage Step of a battle in which a LIGHT monster you control battles, before Damage Calculation, by discarding this card to the Graveyard, your monster gains as much ATK as your opponent's monster's current ATK! Essentially, you win the battle and your opponent takes damage equal to your monster's ATK! And if that weren't enough, if you get an Honest on your field, to attack, or after reviving him, you can, during your Main Phase 1 or 2, return him to your Hand, where he's most lethal. The cornerstone of LIGHT monsters' defenses, Honest is a must in any Lightsworn Deck.
Necro Gardna. A DARK monster? What's that doing here? If Lightsworns are, well, the LIGHT, then Necro Gardna is their other half, the DARK. So, for the deck to be complete, you need both. Necro Gardna's effect allows you to negate an opponent's monster's attack by removing Gardna from the Graveyard. Sounds familiar? It should, since Lightsworns fill that all the time - they mill cards. So getting a Gardna is easy, and offers quick, flexible defense, perfect for any situation.
Plaguespreader Zombie. Another DARK monster - but again, an essential one. Lightsworns have no Tuner monsters, and for a deck that feeds the Graveyard constantly, Plaguespreader is the ideal tuner. Its effect allows you to return a card from your hand to the top of the deck to Special Summon itself from the grave, but when it is removed from the field, it is sent to the removed zone. Might sound strange, but this offers a double benefit. You don't know what you'll mill in your End Phase, but you do know the cards in your hand, and that Wulf annoys you. So you just put it back on the deck, bring Plagespreader back, Synchro Summon, then in the End Phase, you also get a free Wulf! Also, if you are in danger of decking out, simply return a card from your hand to the deck to Special Summon Plaguespreader, then use as many Lightsworn monsters as possible as Synchro Material. Thus, you will reduce the amount of cards milled while increasing the size of your deck. Useful in a pinch or to finish off the opponent, Plaguespreader's Limited status says it all.
Phantom of Chaos. DARK again? This time, it is a strange one too. But it is so useful that it's wrong. Milled a Judgment Dragon but can't get it back? By using this card's effect, simply remove him to gain his effect! Pay 1000, and boom goes the field, leaving you free to go ballistic. It is also helpful if the opponent has locked you down with a Light-Imprisoning Mirror - remove a Lyla, then use Phantom's new effect to blow that Mirror away. However, this card can cause a lot of problems if it is drawn at a bad time, since it can be even more of a dead draw than Wulf, so be careful if you choose to run it.
Gorz the Emissary of Darkness. Another DARK monster, this one being one of the very best as well. Most of you will already be familiar with his effects. Whenever you take damage while you control no cards, you can Special Summon him from the hand, and according to the kind of damage taken (battle, effect), apply an additional effect. His stats are awesome, packing 2700 ATK and 2500 DEF, making him a perfect beatstick or wall, whatever suits the situation best. His best use is preventing OTKs, since he can stop them dead and allow you to make a comeback. Really good stats, awesome effects but has two big disadvantages: he's nearly useless in the late game, except if you managed to keep your LP high, and he's a dead card if you run Continuous Spell or Trap cards. Watch out if you're gonna use him - he's Limited.
Shiny Black "C". Wait, an EARTH monster? Well, yeah, but there is a good point. By removing it from play while it is the Graveyard when your opponent Synchro Summons a Synchro Monster, you can destroy that Synchro Monster! Perfect for getting rid of annoying Synchro Monsters such as Arcanite Magician or Ally of Justice - Catastor. And even if your opponent tries to protect his monster with a card such as My Body as a Shield or Stardust Dragon, you can simply use more than one of these critters in a Chain, since you respond to the same event. But like all monsters useful in the grave, it is an awful dead draw at times. Use with care.
  • Spell Cards
Solar Recharge. The Lightsworns' main draw engine, it comes with a nice twist. Discard a Lightsworn monster to activate, then draw two and mill two. That is three times better than just drawing, since you can get rid of a card useless in the hand but useful in the grave, draw new cards, and mill the deck, a Lightsworns favorite. All in all, a hightly efficient card with no obvious drawbacks.
Monster Reincarnation. Since you have no control over which cards will be milled from your deck, it is important to be able to have access to the Graveyard whenever needed. This card does just that, and a bit more. Discard a card like Necro Gardna to get back your milled Judgment Dragon, and you'll get an instant advantage! Yet another useful card, but since it decreases hand advantage when played, it should be used with caution.
Charge of the Light Brigade. Lightsworn's version of Reinforcement of the Army, it comes, like Solar Recharge, with a pleasant twist. Not only can you add a level 4 or lower Lightsworn from your deck to your hand, you have to mill 3 before doing so. Essentially, if you mill a low level Lightsworn monster in those 3 cards, you can then add a Lumina to your hand and use her effect to swarm the field instantly! Yet another card with absolutely no drawbacks, when used properly.
Gold Sarcophagus. Although more of a Staple nowadays, this card simply shines in this deck. Afraid you are going to mill key cards? Use Sarcophagus to make sure you'll get the card you need in two turns' time. Only disadvantage of this card is the necessary two turn wait. However, its effect makes up for the wait. Literally a Gold Sarcophagus. Keep in mind though that it's Semi-Limited.
Lightsworn Sabre. Not all Lightsworn cards can be useful. This equip card's effect is to equip it to a "Lightsworn" monster when milled, and it gives it 800 ATK. Or you can use it as a normal equip spell. But its ATK-increasing effect is redundant in a deck that can run Honest so effectively, and 800 ATK is still a poor boost for monsters that need ATK desperately, like Lumina. A not-so-good card.
Foolish Burial. Although Lightsworn monsters' mill effects are good, knowing what you mill is better. Foolish does just that. Need a quick Tribute Fodder for a Celestia? Just use Foolish on a Wulf - it will be Special Summoned, and you'll be able to use it as a Tribute immediately! Want to Synchro Summon? Use Foolish on Plaguespreader, and there it is! Need the fourth Lightsworn monster to Special Summon Judgment Dragon? Need a quick attack blocker? Need to get a monster from your grave to use Monster Reincarnation on? Foolish Burial does all that. For no cost! No wonder it's Semi-Limited.
Spirit Burner. A Spirit card in a Lightsworns deck?? No, I have not gone mad. It is common knowledge that many of the duels lost by a Lightsworn player are lost because they deck out. Although you do want to draw more cards, if you have just a handful left in the deck, you may not want to. And this card lets you do so. So long as you have at least 1 card left in the deck, you can add this to your hand from the Graveyard instead of drawing a card from your deck, during the Draw Phase. Also, it has tactical use as well. If the monster it is equipped to is returned to the hand (i.e. by Brionac, Dragon of the Ice Barrier's effect or by Compulsory Evacuation Device), your opponent takes damage, and, if you equip it to a monster, you can, once per turn, switch it to defense mode. That allows you to attack over big monsters by switching them to defense, and even exploiting Ehren's effect, by sending powerful monsters back in the owner's decks! A good card, overall, although it can be a dead draw if your opponent has Field Advantage.
  • Trap Cards
Beckoning Light. What could beat having a hand of any LIGHT monsters you'd like? What could beat a hand of Judgment Dragons backed by Honest and with the support of Lumina? Not much, that I can say for sure. But there is no card to do that, is there? Oh yes there is. Beckoning Light is the name, and it is a supercharged Monster Reincarnation. Simply discard your hand, then choose an amount of LIGHT monsters from your grave equal to the amount of cards you discarded and add them to your hand. Essentially, you can have the hand you want! Get rid of dead cards, and get all the useful ones! Since Lightsworns fill their grave quickly, you'll have no problem getting the cards you need. Also, the discard is an effect, which means that even if the opponent negates Beckoning, you don't lose your hand. Only drawback this card has is that it is a Trap Card, so it needs to be Set. But even though that is the case, it is just too good to be ignored because of such a small detail.
Light Spiral. Strangely enough, Lightsworn-specific Trap cards are not-so-good. This one, for example, removes from play the top card of your opponent's deck every time a card is milled by a Lightsworn monster. Although that might seem good at first, it is a card for a totally other kind of deck. First of all, removed from play cards are now more accessible than ever. Second, this is a Trap card, which means it needs to be Set. Third, it cannot be chained to a Spell/Trap removal effect, since it is Continuous. All in all, a totally redundant card.
Lightsworn Barrier. Yet another example of not-too-good Lightsworn Trap cards. This time you can use this card's effect to negate the attack of an opponent's monster when attacking a face-up Lightsworn monster by milling 2 cards. Although better than the previous continuous trap, this is still as redundant. Necro Gardna fills the role of passive defense, and Honest takes up active defense. So why add such an inflexible defensive trap, which is by nature slow, to such an aggressive, fast deck? Again, an example of redundancy.
Vanquishing Light. The list of sub-par Lightsworn traps seemingly never ends. To an archetype as aggressive and fast as Lightsworns, slow and non-chainable Trap cards are as useful as a splitting headache. This Counter Trap allows you to negate the Summon of a monster and destroy it, by tributing a Lightsworn monster. Unfortunately, there is a kind of summon that cannot be negated, that is Special Summon effects that start a chain. These cannot be negated, and strangely, are very common in decks. So, a high cost Trap card with a loophole for the opponent to exploit. Make your own conclusions.
Glorious Illusion. Albeit this is the last Lightsworn Trap, it is not the worst. It is actually pretty useful. It allows you to Special Summon a Lightsworn monster from the grave in ATK position, but you'll have to mill 2 more cards each End Phase. A pretty good card, allows for added recursion, which is essential in Lightsworns, and feeds the grave even more. But, there is a problem. Continuous Trap cards are slow. Lightsworns are fast. See the point? Although this is a good card, it's not as fast as it should be.
Needlebug Nest. While Lightsworn monsters may mill the deck quickly, adding many monsters such as Necro Gardna or Shiny Black "C" may slow the milling down. Adding and using this handy Trap gets rid of that. By sending 5 more cards to the grave, you have more chances of getting a free Wulf, Gardna, Plaguespreader, Shiny "C" or the last Lightsworn for Judgment. By being a trap, you can use it during your opponent's turn, surprising them by getting a free summon or attack negation out of no-where. However, milling something good is not guaranteed, and it is also possible that you are in danger of decking out or that you will have milled everything useful by the time you draw this. It can be useful at times, but there are some much more enticing alternatives.
Treacherous Trap Hole. A not very popular ScR, Treacherous Trap Hole has potential in a Lightsworns build. Albeit it is a Trap Card, and it has a very strict activation condition, it is chainable, has no cost, and grants you an instant +1 in Field Advantage. However, to be able to fully exploit this card, you should run it along with as few other Traps as possible, ideally none. Really good card, but essentially limited by its own condition. Run this if you don't like Beckoning Light for some reason, or are trying a build centered on removal.
(All staple cards are Limited')
Heavy Storm. Boom go the backrows. Easy Spell and Trap removal, fast and clean. No drawbacks. No wonder it's Limited.
Brain Control. Allows you to gain control of an opponent's monster for 800 Life Points. Fair trade, since the stolen monster can attack, be tributed, change positions and/or be used as Synchro Material. A good card, but keep in mind that 800 Life Points are 1/10th of your total.
Mirror Force. Offensive defense. The opponent attacks, and his monsters buy the farm. Then you swarm the field and win. Easy. Be careful though, since it cannot be chained to cards such as Mystical Space Typhoon or Heavy Storm, since the timing is incorrect.
Call of the Haunted. Pure recursion, no costs. It suffers from the same problem as Glorious Illusion though - it is not fast enough. Still, a good card.
Torrential Tribute. If your opponent manages to out-swarm you, this will stop him dead in his tracks. It is not chainable though, and if used incorrectly, can cost you the Duel.
  • Support Cards
Threatening Roar. This Trap does not allow the opponent to attack for the turn. Chainable and without a cost, it is pure defense. A prime choice.
Waboku. A Trap card that negates Battle Damage you take and destruction of your monsters by battle. While it is totally useless against Gladiator Beasts, it shines against Blackwings and other Lightsworns, since it is the perfect counter to Blackwing - Kalut the Moon Shadow and Honest. If you see your opponent attacking you with a weaker monster, or you are worried about one of these critters being in your opponent's hand, simply activate Waboku in the Battle Step and watch the opponent go pale.
Bottomless Trap Hole. Summon denial. If your opponent summons anything with 1500 ATK or more, this takes care of it. However, monsters with less than that amount are unaffected. Keep in mind this is a Semi-Limited card.
Royal Decree. Maybe you don't like Traps that much. Your opponent's, that is. Use this and they go bye-bye very easily.
My Body as a Shield. For a cost of 1500 Life Points, you can save your monsters from being destroyed by an effect. Very good defensive card, much faster and more flexible than the Counter Trap analogues (Solemn Judgment etc).
Trap Dustshoot. See your opponents hand and send back in their deck a monster they have you don't like, so long as they are holding 4 or more cards. A good hand control card, but awfully dead if your opponent spends his cards quickly. A Limited card.
Mind Crush. Mind games are always fun. After your opponent adds a card to their hand that you have seen due to the rules, activate this and force them to discard it. If your opponent makes plays that will invariably lead to them using a certain card, activate this and force them to forsake their plans. Even if you miss, and call it wrong, you can see your opponent's hand by, essentially, discarding a random card. A fair trade. Remember, it is Semi-Limited.
Trap Stun. Traps are no fun if you fall into them. This card can be used to prevent that. Chain it to an opponent's Trap and all Traps are unusable for the turn. Good and flexible, and without a cost, it is a very good defensive card.
Cold Wave. By activating this card in the start of Main Phase 1, no Spells or Traps can be set or activated until your next turn. Excellent for stopping nasty traps like Bottomless Trap Hole from taking out your Judgment Dragon, but can also effectively shut you down if you need to play Spells or Traps, or if your opponent chains his face-downs. An ambiguous card, and also Limited.
Giant Trunade. Heavy Storm's little brother. Instead of destroying all Spells and Traps, this simply returns them to the owners' hands. Really good to clear the field in a pinch, or when you need to drop a big monster. Also good for getting rid of a nasty Light-Imprisoning Mirror or Royal Oppression. Keep in mind it's Limited.
  • Replacement Cards

- Okay, so maybe you're not obscenely rich, and you don't screw the rules because you have money. What if you don't? This list will give you some cheaper alternatives to some of the high-priced cards of this deck. They won't be as effective, but they'll still work.

Shield Warrior - replaces Necro Gardna. Okay so Necro Gardna may not be as expensive or hard-to-get as before, but Shield Warrior is easier to get anyways. His effect allows you to save a monster you control from being destroyed in battle by removing him from the grave before Damage Calculation. You'll still take any Battle Damage, but your monster will be safe. This card is inferior to Necro Gardna in 3 aspects: It does not negate the attack, it does not nullify the damage, and it is useless against Gladiator Beasts. Still, it is a fine substitute, able to get you out of a difficult situation. $ saved: ~1$ each.
Reinforcement of the Army - replaces Charge of the Light Brigade. This used to be a big one, then Charge was released as a Super Rare! Reinforcement may not mill, unlike Charge, and it does not give you any level 4 and lower Lightsworn, but Jain, Garoth, Ehren and Necro Gardna are all Warrior-Type, so they are all valid targets. Although not as good as Charge, Reinforcement is as good a replacement as any. Unfortunately, it is still Limited. $ saved: ~4$ each.
Destiny Hero - Dasher - replaces Foolish Burial. Destiny Hero? Yes. It is because of the effect he has in the grave - you can Special Summon a monster you drew. Ever wished you could just get rid of that Wulf you drew? With Dasher, not only you can get rid of it, but you also Special Summon it, and use it for Tribute/Synchro fodder! Although not as good as Foolish, it plays its role well. $ saved: ~7$ each.
Herald of Creation - replaces Beckoning Light or Monster Reincarnation. All those cards, in their common form, have about the same price, Beckoning being slightly more expensive. But although Reincarnation can easily be found, Beckoning is kind or hard-to-find, since it is a pretty old card. If you can't get one though, Herald will solve some of your recursion problems. He is a good LIGHT beatstick, with an amazing effect - discard one card to get a level 7 or higher monster from your grave to your hand. And the only monster to fit the bill here is Judgment Dragon. Not bad at all. $ saved: ~1$ each.

The Selection

- No, nothing to do with The Selection. Here we choose what to put in the deck, and why. We also explain how to make a balanced deck.

- Lightsworn decks are delicate. They, as you know, mill many cards. The purpose is that the more monsters in the grave, the better. But how do we increase the chances of milling monsters? Simple - we include more than usual. But how do we make room for them? Here, there is a crossroads.

1) Some prefer to run very few Trap cards, an average amount of Spells, and many Monsters.
2) Others prefer to raise their deck above 40 cards.

- What would you do? If it's option 1, good, that's the best one. If it's option 2, remember this: decks should always have a size as close to 40 as possible, ideally 40 for any deck. Lightsworns can tolerate up to 5 additional cards, since they mill themselves, bringing the total to 45. More than that is not well balanced.

- So, we know that the deck should be 40 cards, and we'll make it so. But what should be the Monster:Spell:Trap ratio? This ratio is key to the balance of the deck - get it right and the consistency of the deck will skyrocket. Get it wrong, however, and it will plummet.

We know we need more Monsters than usual, but how many is usual? Well, usual ratios are 20:10:10, 20:15:5, 20:5:15 and slight variations of these (±2 cards). For Lightsworns, however, we need more monsters. About 25% more is usually sufficient, so we'll need about 25 monsters. Spells are key cards in the deck, so they must be at an average amount, about 10. Then, the last 5 cards are Trap cards. The golden ratio for Lightsworns, then, is:

25(±2):10(±2):5(±2)

Then, we must choose the cards to add. The Card Pool has been described extensively above. These are the cards we'll have to choose from. But what should we look for in the cards we choose? First, we must pick cards that will be the deck's main engine, that will define its nature. In this case, we are making a Lightsworns deck, so we should look for core Lightsworn cards, such as Lumina, Lightsworn Summoner and Charge of the Light Brigade, that, generally, mill.

After this step, we should be at about 20-25 cards. Then, we add cards that increase the deck's consistency, like recursion cards (Beckoning Light), removal cards (Heavy Storm), cards to add draw power (Solar Recharge) and protection cards (Necro Gardna). After that is done, we should be at 35-40 cards.

The last bit is checking the deck over, making sure it is well balanced, meaning that it keeps to the ratio as close as possible, and that it doesn't lack too much of one trait (draw power, recursion, removal, protection). If that is done, and the deck still has space, you can add Staples, or some other cards you'd like to include that'd match the deck.

This is what the deck should look like:

September '09 Lightsworn Template: 40 cards
Appendix:
Mill: the card sends cards from the deck to the Graveyard. Basic in Lightsworns.
Draw power: the card gives you the ability to draw more cards/add cards to your hand from the deck.
Recursion: the card returns cards from the Graveyard to the hand/field.
Removal: the card destroys opponent's cards/deprives the opponent of his cards.
Powerhorse: the card has a devastating effect, usually enough to win games.
Attacker: this card has an especially high ATK.
Grave effect: this card has an effect while in the Graveyard/when sent to the Graveyard from somewhere.
Defense: this card allows you to negate opponent's attacks/make opponent's attacks backfire.

- This is all you'll need to make a good Lightsworns deck.

Twilight Deck

(v.1.4)

Intro

- When Lightsworns started appearing in tournaments, many players were amazed at how a deck that mills itself could be so efficient. Then, it dawned on many that since Lightsworns are, well, LIGHT, by adding a few select DARK monsters, as well as Chaos Monsters, a new, more powerful decktype could be created. Thus was born the Twilight Deck.

The Deck

- Twilight Decks are unique in the sense that they use an unorthodox mill engine, fueled by Lightsworn monsters, to get LIGHT and DARK monsters in the grave, so as to summon powerful monsters such as Chaos Sorcerer and Dark Armed Dragon. How is that done, you'll ask. Well, Chaos Monsters (such as Chaos Sorcerer) can only be Special Summoned, and only by removing 1 LIGHT and 1 DARK monster from the Graveyard. See the pattern? Lightsworns mill other Lightsworns and DARK monsters, which are removed to Summon Chaos Sorcerer. Then, Dark Armed Dragon needs exactly 3 DARK monsters in the grave to be Special Summoned - and although Lightsworns mill cards indiscriminately, it is easy to maintain control over the Graveyard, and specifically over the number of DARK monsters in it. As such, it is fairly simple to get Dark Armed Dragon on the field.

- The deck has also another advantage - by having both Lightsworns and DARK monsters, it can use both the Solar Recharge/Charge of the Light Brigade/Garoth, Lightsworn Warrior draw engine, and the Allure of Darkness draw engine, even the Destiny Draw engine, at times. Albeit not all Twilight decks make use of that capability, it is there. Last, the addition of powerful DARK monsters adds even more punch to an already powerful deck, giving more solutions to challenges that may arise in the duel.

- However, the addition of DARK monsters not compatible with the Lightsworn engine slows it considerably, and makes it much more inconsistent, since dead draws are a frequent sight. There is also the problem of space, since adding DARK monsters to an already cramped build of Lightsworns means removing some key cards. That drastically reduces the deck's overall mill engine, since there will be less cards that mill, and less recursion cards.

- To sum it all up, here's the rating for Twilight Decks:

Speed: 4.5/5
Power: 5/5
Consistency: 2/5
Risk: 5/5
Efficiency: 65%

As you can see, the overall efficiency of the Twilight Deck is actually lower than the Lightsworns' own. Then why bother and build a deck less effective than the one it is based on? Simple, really. Lightsworn Decks are a known threat in tournaments, and players are prepared against them, usually featuring a multitude of anti-LIGHT cards in their Side Decks. But Twilight has a surprise: it has DARK monsters too - some better than the LIGHT monsters of the deck. That's the specialty of the deck - catching the opponent off-guard. The deck is prepared to lose its big LIGHT hitters. That's why it ovedoes it, adding more unnesessary power in the shape of powerful DARK monsters that'll punish the opponent for thinking they are safe because of Light-Imprisoning Mirror. And that matters a lot in a duel.

The Cards

- Following the same priniples as the Lightsworn Deck above, Twilight Decks try to make room for some more cards, which are as follows.

  • Monster Cards
Chaos Sorcerer. The iconic card of this decktype. Requires the removal of a LIGHT and DARK monster to be Special Summoned. Afterwards, being a Semi-Nomi monster, he is easy to revive. His effect allows you to remove a face-up monster from play, but if you do that, you can't attack with the Sorcerer that turn, and vice versa. So, the Sorcerer has one of the most powerful removal effects ever, can easily be summoned, and has very good stats. A no-brainer for this deck. This card was also Semi-Limited in the recent (Sept. '09) lists, so it can now be added twice, for twice the punch.
Dark Armed Dragon. Affectionately referred to as DAD, this card is a real threat. Although it is hard to summon, since you must have exactly 3 DARK monsters in your Graveyard to Special Summon DAD, and he is a Nomi monster, his effect more than makes up for it. By removing from play 1 DARK monster in your grave, you can destroy 1 card on the field. Practically, he allows you to wipe the field, then smack your opponent for a whooping 2800 damage, DAD's ATK points. But does his summoning condition ruin his effectiveness? No. In fact, the deck can regulate the amount of DARK monsters so effectively, that the only real question is when you get DAD from the deck. Yet another signature card of the deck, this one is Limited, with good reason.
Blackwing - Gale the Whirlwind. One of the most useful DARK monsters ever. Not only is it DARK, unaffected by Bottomless Trap Hole and a LV3 Tuner monster, it has one of the best effects around. It can cut an opposing monster's ATK in half, permanently. This allows Gale itself to attack over anything with less than 2600 ATK! And it can also open the way for more powerful monsters to attack. Pretty powerful, and nearly never a dead draw, a must in this type of deck. Careful though, since it is Limited.
Destiny Hero - Malicious. Famous for being the cornerstone of the Tele-DAD deck, this card is still as good Semi-Limited. By removing it while is is in the Graveyard, you can Special Summon another one from the deck, to act as Tribute or Synchro fodder. A very good effect, useful in many situations. Also, being a Destiny Hero, this allows access to the Destiny Draw engine. However, the likelihood of drawing both Malicious, or milling both, is very high in this deck, limiting Malicious' effectiveness. Use only if you are prepared for seriously unplayable hands.
Caius the Shadow Monarch. Yet another DARK monster, this one requiring a Tribute. In a deck though that can get a free Special Summoned monster easily, this card can be used to great effect, as its removal effect is one of the best around, and the 1000 damage effect can even act as a late-game game-ender. Awesome once he has hit the field, but terrible in the hand if you have no monsters out. Careful with this one.
Destiny Hero - Dasher. Although this one was mentioned above, this time it has a greater role than just a substitute. Here, he can also grant access to the Destiny Draw and Allure engines, and gives the deck additional swarming power. Like Caius, he is good on the field, but unlike him he is also good in the hand and the grave, since you can ditch him for D-Draw or Allure, or use his effect while he is in the grave. A good card for this kind of deck, and a must if you want to use D-Draw.
Destiny Hero - Doom Lord. Yet another Destiny Hero. He shares the advantages of all previous D-Heroes so far as draw engines are concerned, but his effect is another thing. He can, once per turn, remove from play an opponent's monster for 2 turns, at the cost of not being able to attack with any monsters that turn. A very useful solution to an annoying monster which stands in the way of a future OTK. His awful stats though are nothing to brag about, and not being able to attack the turn you use his effect slows you down considerably.
Destiny Hero - Diamond Dude. More D-Heroes. This one allows you to flip the top card of your deck. If it is a Normal Spell card, you send it to the Graveyard, and you can use its effect during your next turn, without paying that card's cost! Otherwise, the card is sent to the bottom of the deck. A decent monster, with a good effect and average stats. The lack of many Normal Spells can limit his usefulness, so only include him in a deck running 12 or more Normal Spell cards.
Destiny Hero - Plasma. The last of the useful D-Heroes. Since Twilight can swarm pretty well, you can easily have 3 monsters on the field at some point. Then, you can tribute them to Special Summon this monster. Its effect allows it to negate the effects of all your opponent's monsters! As if that wasn't enough, he allows you to, once per turn, select an opponent's face up monster and equip it to him, to gain half that monster's ATK points. Awesome if you can drop him, and easy to use him to pay for Allure or D-Draw if you can't, this is a good monster to use, and an unexpected surprise for many opposing players.
Armageddon Knight. Foolish Burial for a DARK monster comes in a 1400 ATK DARK Warrior package. Handy most of the time, allowing you to access Necro Gardna, Plaguespreader and Malicious with ease. Beware, though, since his stats are not the best, and its effect is only useful when there is a monster to mill.
Dark Grepher. A secondary form of Armageddon Knight, and a much better one. Not only can this fella be Special Summoned from the hand by discarding a LV5 or higher DARK monster, he also allows you to discard a DARK monster to send a DARK monster from the deck to the Grave. Excellent for regulating the amount of DARK monsters in the Grave, and instant DAD if you have the right cards, this is a powerful monster, with good stats to boot. His effects' high hand cost limit his usefulness to using his effects once, essentially, though. All in all, good to use, but with caution.
The Dark Creator. A DARK counterpart monster, this one can only be Special Summoned while you have no monsters on your Field and there are 5 or more DARK monsters in your Grave. Then, once per turn, by removing a DARK monster in the Grave from play, you can Special Summon a DARK monster from the graveyard. Good recursion effect and impressive stats, but very demanding summoning conditions. Better used in a Twilight deck with more than the usual amount of DARK monsters, or not at all.
Darklord Zerato. Another DARK counterpart monster. If there are 4 or more DARK monsters with different names in your Graveyard, you can Tribute Summon this monster by Tributing 1 DARK monster. Then, you can send 1 DARK monster from your hand to the Graveyard to destroy all monsters your opponent controls, but f you activate this effect, this card is destroyed during the End Phase of this turn. Very powerful, but notoriously hard to Summon, this is a card that, like The Dark Creator, is best used if you include many DARK monsters in the deck, or not at all.
Summoner Monk. A DARK Spellcaster monster, Limited for a reason. By discarding a Spell Card, you can Special Summon any LV4 monster from your deck. That means any. Armageddon, Grepher, Diamond Dude, Lyla, Garoth...the list goes on. Not only that, the only limitation is that the Special Summoned monster cannot attack during the turn it was summoned in, not much considering you get any monster you like! You can even get Honest, then bounce him by his effect! But, you'll say, Monk's ATK is very low, so he'll die quickly if Normal Summoned. Guess again - when Normal or Flip Summoned, Summoner Monk will switch to DEF via his effect. Of course, that means you can't use his effect with Priority, but then again he cannot be Bottomless Trap Holed, so there are few things to worry about. Not everyone uses him though, since Spell Cards are always useful, and you don't always have one to discard anyway. However, he is a very good card to have, since he adds to the toolbox nature of the deck.
Sangan. The universal searcher is also a DARK monster. When he is sent to the Graveyard from the field, you can add a monster with 1500 or less ATK from the deck to your hand. This includes many of the best monsters of the deck, such as Lumina or Summoner Monk. However, since he needs to be sent to the Graveyard from the field to be useful, he is kinda slow, and takes up a Normal Summon better spent on something else. Also, there is the possibility of milling him, and it is a good one. Limited a long time ago, adding one is up to you.
Tragoedia. Gorz's little sister. This monster will also be Special Summoned from the hand, but this time when you take battle damage. Notice something? You don't have to have an empty field! Also, this card packs some awesome effects that make it really versatile. For one, it has ? ATK and DEF, but gains 600 of each for every card in your hand, making it a beast if you have 4 cards or more. Also, it can modify its level and make it the same as the level of a monster in the Graveyard, making Synchro Summons a piece of cake. Last, but not least, it allows you to discard a monster to gain control of an opponent's monster with the same level, permanently. So you can turn a dead Wulf or Dark Creator into a perfectly useful Gladiator Beast Laquari or Stardust Dragon. How about that? Unfortunately, most of its effects heavily rely on having hand advantage, so if you don't, Tragoedia will not be as rewarding a card. Nevertheless, a good card to have in the deck.
  • Spell Cards
Allure of Darkness. One of the main reasons Twilight decks exist is because they can run this card. You draw 2 cards, then remove a DARK monster in your hand from play. If you don't have one to remove, you discard your hand. Naturally, you activate this card either when you are sure you'll have a DARK monster to remove, or when you have nothing to lose anyway. A powerful card, as demonstrated by the fact that it is Semi-Limited.
Destiny Draw. The reason that otherwise overlooked D-Heroes can be included in Twilight. By discarding a D-Hero, you draw 2 cards. Also, don't forget that Malicious and Dasher are useful while in the Grave, and D-Draw can send them there, at an advantage. Last, it allows you to get rid of otherwise useless D-Heroes like a Plasma you can't Summon, and get 2 new cards for doing so. Last, it became Unlimited once more when the September '09 lists became official, so it can be included 3 times now.
Reinforcement of the Army. Since you run more Warrior-Types than usual, RoTA is now a viable choice, and not just as a Charge substitute. Giving you the ability to search for any LV4 or lower Warrior monster, this opens up Grepher, Armageddon, Ehren, Diamond Dude, Doom Lord and many more. Really good card, with no drawbacks whatsoever. Limited with good reason.
Burial from a Different Dimension. RFG zone manipulation. Under attack? Activate this card to send Necro Gardnas to the Grave, then use them to negate more attacks! Re-use Plaguespreader Zombie, or reload the grave for Dark Armed. Great card to have in such situations, but it's not that useful if you don't have any useful cards removed from play.

FlamvellSworns Deck

ZombieSworns Deck

LightSaber Deck

PsychoSworns Deck

Other minor variants

(...to be continued...) --Darth Covah (Talk | DeckZone | Binder) 20:35, December 16, 2009 (UTC)

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