Rerouting: Demise Dark Magician

Loukas Peterson

2/2/2017 11:00:00 AM

Don't get me wrong - I love Dark Magician, but I complain about Dark Magician decks frequently and angrily enough you'd think I hate the theme.

Magician Navigation and Dark Magic Circle are insanely good cards, but in a deck that lives and dies on your access to Dark Magician, you have plenty of opportunities to get enraged with powerful cards… that can't be activated when you draw them. It's sad when your best hands are so easily thwarted by a lone Mystical Space Typhoon!

That said, Dark Magician's a fan favorite beyond my personal list of preferred strategies. Even if all the Dark Magician cards had effects like “Cut off one limb of your choice” or “Encourage Doug ‘Who Wants To Watch Me Test Hands?' Zeeff to play Volcanics,” we'd have swarms of duelists trying to harness their inner magic user. Back when we only had Thousand Knives and Dark Magician Knight, dedicated players like me were still trying to make the deck work.

Today's contributor writes…

Big fan of Dark Magician here! I think we're all Dark Magicians at heart - I was first in line to grab cards like Dark Magic Circle, Eternal Soul, and Magician Navigation, but I'm having a lot of trouble making the deck competitive. Either I draw too many useless cards or I can't get Dark Magician out of my deck to get things started. Nothing seems to be working, and it amazes me how some people can draw well enough over the course of eight or more rounds in a single tournament and do well!

I don't know if my Dark Magician list is typical, but feel free to do anything you want to it. You could take out all forty cards and put in a new forty, and I wouldn't bat an eye. Just as long as I'm not constantly drawing into multiple copies of Dark Magician OR, even worse, no Dark Magicians.

-Carson S. ~ Sacramento, California

Trust me, Carson - I understand your pain firsthand. Imagine you're playing Pot of Desires and banish multiple copies of Dark Magician with the spell - now you have THREE ways to be disappointed.

Long gone are the days where you just drew too many Dark Magicians or not enough!

    Dark Magicians Ver 1.0 Carson S.    
Main Deck
Side Deck
3 Dark Magician
1 Kycoo the Ghost Destroyer
3 Magician of Dark Illusion
3 Magician's Rod
Monsters [10]
1 Allure of Darkness
1 Dark Magic Attack
1 Dark Magic Curtain
2 Dark Magic Inheritance
2 Dark Magic Veil
3 Dark Magical Circle
2 Illusion Magic
3 Pot of Duality
1 Upstart Goblin
Spells [16]
3 Eternal Soul
3 Magician Navigation
3 Quaking Mirror Force
3 Solemn Strike
1 Solemn Warning
1 Threatening Roar
Traps [14]
Deck Total [40]


1 ABC-Dragon Buster
1 D/D/D Cursed King Siegfried
1 Dante, Traveler of the Burning Abyss
2 Ebon High Magician
1 Ebon Illusion Magician
1 Gaia Dragon, the Thunder Charger
1 Masked HERO Dark Law
1 Mecha Phantom Beast Dracossack
1 Number 11: Big Eye
1 Number 7: Lucky Straight
1 Number 74: Master of Blades
2 Red-Eyes Flare Metal Dragon
1 Toadally Awesome
Extra Deck [15]

Dark Magic Veil, Dark Magic Curtain, and Dark Magic Inheritance are all deviations from the norm – though for reference, I generally avoid saying that any deck without widespread competitive success has a “standard” deck list.

At the very least, we can all agree that you need to play as many copies of Dark Magician as possible. There's no good reason not to, especially when I'm advocating adding more copies of Allure of Darkness. (Spoilers!)

Would You Rather Draw 0 Or 3 Dark Magicians? Yes.
That's the biggest problem with Dark Magician decks. I like to compare Dark Magician to Blue-Eyes White Dragon; both are fan-favorite themes that have been around since dinosaurs roamed the Earth and rainbows were in black and white. Blue-Eyes' largely hinged on a frontal assault, backed by the insurance policy of Blue-Eyes White Spirit Dragon. Dark Magician's support, as Magicians are normally known for, relies more countering the opponent and removing threats with spell cards.

With a bevvy of powerful monster effects, it's no surprise that the monster-heavy Blue-Eyes theme has a vastly better competitive record. Having monsters that can both attack and offer powerful abilities will always be better than relying on spells and traps to compensate for underpowered beatsticks. Magician Navigation's the most polarizing card of the bunch – when you pair it with Dark Magical Circle, the two-pronged is easily overwhelming. Problem is, you need a Dark Magician in your hand to get things going.

And while Eternal Soul helps, you have to wait around for your opponent's turn to spring your trap cards. That kind of pacing leaves you in the awkward position of digging through your deck with cards like Pot of Duality as a necessity, in turn cutting off your access to proactive Special Summons. Magical Dimension conflicts with Dark Magic Circle, and Dark Magic Veil is yet another dead card on Turn 1. Magician of Dark Illusion is an amazing way to punish your opponent, but it makes you cry when all you have is Magician Navigation.

All this is to say, I'm completely changing the deck's composition to eliminate conflicts within the theme.

 Card of Demise
Card of Demise116962
Set Millennium Pack
Number MIL1-EN014
Type Spell Card
Attribute SPELL 
Rarity Ultra Rare
Card Text

Draw until you have 3 cards in your hand, also for the rest of this turn after this card resolves, your opponent takes no damage. During the End Phase, send your entire hand to the Graveyard. You can only activate 1 'Card of Demise' per turn. You cannot Special Summon during the turn you activate this card.

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Instead of partially committing to not special summoning on your turn, you might as well go all-in and add Card of Demise – or at least, that was my starting point for this deck fix. I know that's controversial, but until you show me a consistent Dark Magician deck otherwise, this is the route I'm taking. Card of Demise drastically boosts your chance to see Magician's Rod and Dark Magical Circle. As great as the revival cards are, the deck's nothing without Circle.

And with Card of Demise in, Magician Navigation is out. I know, it sounds stupid, but in such desperate times we have to cut luxuries that only work if you open well every game.

But At What Cost?!?
Sadly, Dark Magic Circle's banishing effect is only once per turn - so even if you have ways to summon multiple Dark Magicians in a turn, dealing with one threat per turn won't cut it. As annoying as Solemn Strike and Solemn Warning are, I'm reshaping the deck to consistently have access to a Solemn counter trap and a Dark Magical Circle effect once per turn. As crazy as you can make the deck, focusing on Xyz plays, Night's End Sorcerer, and other wombo-combos, I think those versions of the strategy simply brick way too often. Sure, call today's approach linear, but thosecards are nothing to scoff at when you can consistently start with them!

One card I completely forgot about until recently is Card Advance, though I have no desire to show you the Genex deck that brought it back into my life. I wouldn't be too surprised if you've never heard of it yourself, since it's virtually never been used in competitive play. While it doesn't garner any immediate plusses of card economy, it sets up other draw spells magnificently. Looking at the top five cards of your deck means that Allure of Darkness, Card of Demise, Pot of Duality, and Upstart Goblin get way better. Specifically, you increase the chances of seeing something useful off Dark Magical Circle, but it has another effect beyond that.

Card Advance is effectively a Double Summon… but only for Tribute monsters. I considered several options as jokes – stuff like D.D.M. - Different Dimension Master, Dark Magician Girl, and Dark Red Enchanter – but two cards beat out those Spellcasters when I committed to Card Advance: Angmarl the Fiendish Monarch and Majesty's Fiend.

Neither conflict with Pot of Duality nor Card of Demise, and both offer some benefit of either consistency or negation. As much as I liked Angmarl the Fiendish Monarch to search out extra spells, I realized that pretty much every spell I play is limited to once per turn or straight-up Limited to one per deck.

 Majesty's Fiend
Majesty's Fiend82692
Set Primal Origin
Number PRIO-EN034
Level 6
Type Effect Monster
Monster Fiend
Attribute LIGHT 
A / D 2400 / 1000
Rarity Secret Rare
Card Text

Cannot be Special Summoned. Monster effects cannot be activated.

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On the other hand, Majesty's Fiend is a surprisingly solid counter to the big strategies right now. Until we see Zoodiacs mandate Main Deck use of cards like Dark Hole and Raigeki once again, a first turn Majesty's Fiend could either clinch the game or buy you enough time to turn things around if needed. Dark Magician's a Normal monster, so there's hardly any conflict with Majesty's Fiend when you bring it back with Eternal Soul. Normal Summon Magician's Rod, search Dark Magical Circle, play Card Advance and follow up by activating the Circle. Even if you don't have Majesty's Fiend at the time you still break even.

You have other options if Majesty's Fiend doesn't suit you. Caius the Shadow Monarch, Angmarl the Fiendish Monarch, Breaker the Dark Magical Warrior, and Snapesnatch are all viable with Allure of Darkness. Don't get too hung up on which monster you choose; it's a residual bonus from Card Advance, which is chiefly here to fuel Dark Magical Circle.

I know Illusion Magic is great when you're playing Magician Navigation, but with Magician's Rod being tribute for a monster and conflicting directly with Card of Demise, I didn't find it necessary. If you eally want to add more crazy support – and please feel free to do so – I toyed with the idea of Spellbook of Wisdom, The Grand Spellbook Tower, and Spellbook of Secrets. Wisdom can counter opposing threats and protects your monsters against your own Eternal Soul, while The Grand Spellbook Tower is just another card to play to the field so you can draw more with Demise.

The odds of seeing Dark Magical Circle, Magician's Rod, and a Solemn trap on your first turn are pretty good, but it's always nice to have extra insurance in the form of defense. Dimensional Barrier's a disgustingly good card – there's no other way to put it. While Solemn Strike cuts off a single threat, Barrier can shut down an entire turn completely. If played correctly, the card's text effectively translates to “Is it my turn again, yet?”

Even if your opponent's partially set-up with their monsters on board, Dimensional Barrier is at least as useful as a Breakthrough Skill; and at best, it's better by leaps and bounds.

More Like Magician Of Dark… Suck
Despite my wonderfully constructed insult, I must concede that Magician of Dark Illusion is wonderful. It comes out on your turn at the cheap cost of activating a spell or trap, it helps revive Dark Magician from your graveyard, and it triggers Dark Magical Circle. That said, it conflicts with Card of Demise and I cut it mostly for that lone reason. While it can make a random OTK out of almost nothing, it just doesn't facilitate our main goal with today's build. I opened with multiple copies of Magician of Dark Illusion and a Magician Navigation too many times to count, only to lose quickly since I had no cards I could technically use.

The edits here weren't made to devalue the insanely powerful Magician Navigation or Illusion Magic; I'm simply throwing everything out that doesn't promote consistency… or at least almost everything. Mystical Space Typhoon's an excellent Quick-Play Spell that thins your hands for more Card of Demise draws, while adding another prong to your Magician's Defense. If you can simplify the game by making trades of card economy and taking cards out of the game, reviving Dark Magician with Eternal Soul and banishing cards one at a time with Dark Magical Circle can build so much momentum that your opponent just can't recover.

I've toyed around with about sixteen thousand Spellbook, Dark Magician, and Spellcaster decks since I started playing Yu-Gi-Oh, so I challenge you to experiment with different options yourself if Demise Dark Magician isn't right for your tastes. Just don't try my SPYRAL Dark Magician deck - it was a tragic time in my life. Below are the changes for today!

-1 Kycoo the Ghost Destroyer
-3 Magician of Dark Illusion
-2 Illusion Magic
-1 Dark Magic Inheritance
-2 Dark Magic Veil
-1 Dark Magic Curtain
-1 Dark Magic Attack
-3 Magician Navigation
-1 Quaking Mirror Force
-1 Threatening Roar

+2 Majesty's Fiend
+2 Allure of Darkness
+2 Card Advance
+3 Card of Demise
+1 Foolish Burial
+2 Mystical Space Typhoon
+1 Raigeki
+2 Dimensional Barrier
+1 Escape from the Dark Dimension

-1 Ebon High Magician
+1 Ebon Illusion Magician

Dark Magician Extra Decks are pretty inconsequential. I'd say there's a couple of vital cards and a handful of useful ones, but most of it's up to personal choice.

I like to cover as many niche scenarios and I'm a fan of diversity, so I don't have much to change… especially since the Extra Deck was built with the idea of having Ghost Reaper and Winter Cherries in the Side Deck.

    Dark Magicians Ver 2.0 Loukas Peterson    
Main Deck
Side Deck
3 Dark Magician
3 Magician's Rod
2 Majesty's Fiend
Monsters [8]
3 Allure of Darkness
2 Card Advance
3 Card of Demise
1 Dark Magic Inheritance
3 Dark Magical Circle
1 Foolish Burial
2 Mystical Space Typhoon
3 Pot of Duality
1 Raigeki
1 Upstart Goblin
Spells [20]
2 Dimensional Barrier
1 Escape from the Dark Dimension
3 Eternal Soul
2 Quaking Mirror Force
3 Solemn Strike
1 Solemn Warning
Traps [12]
Deck Total [40]


1 ABC-Dragon Buster
1 D/D/D Cursed King Siegfried
1 Dante, Traveler of the Burning Abyss
1 Ebon High Magician
2 Ebon Illusion Magician
1 Gaia Dragon, the Thunder Charger
1 Masked HERO Dark Law
1 Mecha Phantom Beast Dracossack
1 Number 11: Big Eye
1 Number 7: Lucky Straight
1 Number 74: Master of Blades
2 Red-Eyes Flare Metal Dragon
1 Toadally Awesome
Extra Deck [15]

I originally had something involving Elemental Hero Prisma and Empowerment to facilitate Bujintei Tsukiyomi. The goal there was to speed through your deck and use Dark Paladin for negation power, but that fell by the wayside as I strived to maximize the deck's core strengths… and not the crazy bits.

By all means, I challenge you to create the best Dark Paladin deck you can think of, but just know that when you test hands and brick with inconsistent cards, I'll be shaking my head and muttering “Tsk, tsk.”

Just remember, beat your opponents before they beat you.

-Loukas Peterson

Loukas Peterson lives in Madison, Wisconsin where he enjoys freezing in the cold only slightly less than his job as a software engineer. When he's not playing cards, you can find him on his kayak reading a book and playing the ukulele or at his painting desk, probably on his 30th cup of coffee for the day. Hailed on the only one capable of cooking Minute Rice is 57 seconds, Loukas is always looking for another creative outlet to wow “them honies.”

Do you love winning with unconventional strategies? Do you love creating mash-ups? Does your deck need an injection of crazy? Send the following to to have your deck featured in the “Re-Routing” deck fix column!

-Your Main and Extra Deck list. (No Side Deck needed, but please send a written deck list, not a screencap; screencapped deck lists will be filed and then burned in the furnace accordingly… and your deck should be TCG legal).

-Your name and city.

-Remember, please use full card names! Abbrevs and mis-sipllngs make Loukas' life sad. Try your darndest to get the TCG name on there.

-A paragraph or two describing your deck: what it does, why you're playing it, and its strengths and weaknesses. “Winning” is not a strategy per se, and neither is “beating your opponents before they beat you.”

-Your favorite card from the build and why – make me fall in love with the deck! The cooler your strategy the more I'll want to fix it, and if you throw in funny jokes, that'll surely get my attention too; be warned, unfunny jokes will push your deck to the back of the stack. Don't be afraid to get creative! New stuff takes priority, because I'm not bored of it yet! –LJP

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