Duelling Nexus: Yu-Gi-Oh’s Duel Monsters Online
Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters is one of the most popular trading card games of all time. My recent article on counterfeit cards made me revisit the game online after ten years of not duelling.
Online play (for any card game) is great because it cuts down on the possibility of cheating, counterfeit cards and having to travel if you’re disabled, busy or reclusive. It also allows for a lot more freedom and chances for spontaneous duels!
There are plenty of different options available if you want to play the game: Three of the most popular ones are The Dawn of a New Era (TDOANE), YGOPRO2 and Duelling Nexus.
I chose Duelling Nexus because it was the only option available for browser-play and I was in a hurry at the time. I was on my way to the game shop. Just to balance it out with my regular card play, I went and bought a new Bicycle deck. (While looking at it, I conceived a new game and reality show called Battle Bridge, where we combine paintball guns, cosplay, bridge, tarot cards and dragons … do you think this will catch on? Anyway, I digress.)
FYI, I’m also currently re-watching Yu-Gi-Oh! to turn this into a week of total immersion – or, well, obsession!
After a few minutes on Duelling Nexus, I was glued to it and enjoying constructing a new deck and trying out different cards. Here’s it’s best features:
- A comprehensive searchable listing of different cards through the deck-builder.
- The ability to import ready-existing .ydk-format card decks.
- The simple, quick AI bot for quick duels to test your deck or learn the duelling platform.
- The fact that it’s playable in your browser: No downloads, no effort, only duels.
- A tag team duelling option, or the ability to be matched up with a random player for a duel.
- There’s the ability to talk to your opponent via a side-chat window during the game.
- Shuffling sounds feel appropriate and make for a nice touch.
- Feel like being a fly on the wall instead? There’s a spectator mode for watching games-in-progress.
- Decks are compatible over several platforms, so I can just export my deck when trying out something else in future.
I would’ve liked to see more support for the occasional Duelling Nexus tournament – and the ability to earn ‘Star Chips’ or some form of experience points to your profile when you duel. I’d also like to see the ability to duel a specific player instead of a random one: What if I’ve got a score to settle with (username) after the last duel?
I’m hoping that some of these features are introduced in future updates, though if not, this still makes for one of the better duelling platforms out there. It’s graphically simple, but not so simple that it gets in the game’s way.
The other popular option recommended for online playing is YGOPro Percy.
After a recommendation from local Yu-Gi-Oh! groups, I had to try it. There are other versions on YGOPro – including The Dawn of the New Era, but it appears that TDOANE doesn’t have the same level of support that YGOPro Percy does, for whatever reason.
It runs straight after extraction, and it’s great if you want a more visual version of the game. Also there are a few features that YGOPRO offers that Duelling Nexus doesn’t. Just make sure that you’ve downloaded the latest version of it.
- YGOPRO comes with a few decks that are built in, or you can import decks and put together your own.
- It’s much more visual than Duelling Nexus; this isn’t good or bad for either, it just depends what kind of feel you’re in the mood for today.
- AI Mode, offered by both Duelling Nexus and YGOPro allows for practice duels. YGOPRO allows you to set the AI’s settings to finer points, like how much life points the AI has at the start.
- You can load and upload game “replays” – a feature that Duelling Nexus doesn’t have.
There’s one more thing: YGOPRO offers a ‘Puzzle Mode’. There, you’re thrown into pre-set matches and situations, with the objective on how to get yourself out of it. This feels like a great added element – something you’d see at a real duelling school, and it really, really forces you to think.
Just the puzzle feature makes it worth downloading. Also the AI Duelling and Puzzle features work offline, too.
Duelling communities are everywhere – if you’re looking to connect with players all over the world, it’s a great idea to join a few of them. Even if you think you live in the middle of nowhere, you might be surprised to find that there’s at least one or two Yu-Gi-Oh! communities in your area.
Here are some great communities for connecting with players, downloading decks or finding the latest TCG News.
- Official Yu-Gi-Oh Website
- Download Decks from YGOPRODECK (for YGOPRO or Duelling Nexus)
- Strategy Guides for Yu-Gi-Oh!
- Duelling Nexus
- YUGIOH PRO PERCY
The Deck … Or Not?
The Heart of the Cards is a concept within the story universe that dictates that the soul of the cards is far more powerful than any deck you might construct – but when someone summons a particularly powerful monster to the field, faith in the heart of the cards over a powerful deck might wane as you find your way back to the deck-builder.
I’ve done plenty of experimental duels just to see how far you can go with a weaker deck. I’ve even constructed decks that are deliberately terrible – and then taken them out to the field for a test run.
Of course, sometimes this went better than others.
More powerful monsters can have an advantage, but the right trap cards combined with one or two high-level monsters can still give you an advantage in the game, and it can be enough to win if you use it right.
While I’m not about to give away my entire game’s strategy here, there are a few useful things you might want to know about the game that I noticed to be true during playing:
- Don’t stack up on higher-level monsters: higher-level monsters usually require a tribute summon – e.g. special cards, or cards sacrificed from the field to summon them to play; if you overload on high-level monsters, you’ll end up with a hand that’s impossible to play while your opponent racks up monsters on the field to attack. Find your deck’s balance!
- Think: Duel Monsters is as much a war-game as Chess, Checkers, Reversi or Risk – consider your moves, consider your opponent and think. Opponents almost always balance their deck to one facet or another: spells, traps, powerful monsters; many will also show preference for one or two types of monsters, and fill up on those – e.g. dragons.
- Learn to Analyse: when you’re playing online, nobody has a poker face – but everyone has a pattern. Learn to ascertain your opponent’s strategy down to a perfect T in just a few moves. What do you think the rest of their deck looks like? What do they play more of vs less of? Do they have an overall in-game pattern, or certain favorite cards? Almost everyone does.
- Don’t replicate a character’s play: if you’re playing with a deck based around a specific character, it can be tempting to reproduce their plays, too – don’t, because the player on the other end saw the same episode, and unless you have an ace up your sleeve (or a damn good card face-down), you’re going to lose.
- Uppers or downers? Some players are uppers, and some are downers – this refers to the fact that some players are more likely to play some cards face-up (whether monsters, spells or traps), and others prefer face down. Figuring out which your next opponent is can help!
- Vary your deck: Build up several good decks, instead of just one – vary these, and learn the strengths and weaknesses of each individual deck. Some days might be a Vampire Deck day, other days you might feel like a traditional Yugi Deck is better for your mood. Varying your deck like this prevents your opponent from getting to know your deck too well, especially if you become a website regular.
Have fun checking out these sites for yourself!