Tearlaments Is the Best Deck in the Game, and It’s Breaking Ranked Play

card artwork for yugioh cards kelbek the ancient vanguard, tearlaments kitkallos with a banned symbol, and agido the ancient sentinel

Yu-Gi-Oh!‘s Tearlaments are some of the strongest cards ever introduced to the game, and they’re even more powerful with Ishizu cards. Though the TCG and OCG limited the archetype’s power, Ishizu Tearlaments continues to dominate Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel‘s Ranked Duels ladder, as the deck is nearly at full power in the game despite most of the cards being limited upon release. The high power level of the Ishizu Tearlaments deck pushed Master Duel into a player-coined “Tear 0” format, effectively discouraging deck diversity in Ranked Duels.


Master Duel‘s Tear 0 format initially received generally positive reviews upon release, with players citing skillful interaction between fellow Ishizu Tear decks. However, player reception to Yu-Gi-Oh!‘s Tear 0 format quickly soured as Ishizu Tearlaments decks currently run rampant on Master Duel, and with the game recently receiving “mixed” user reviews on Steam, it’s clear players are desperate for changes.

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Ishizu Tearlaments Is the Best Deck in Yu-Gi-Oh! By Far

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The Ishizu Tearlaments playstyle revolves around sending cards from the deck or hand to the Graveyard (GY) to trigger their powerful Fusion effects. Tearlaments all gain effects when sent to the GY, and Ishizu cards can either mill cards from the deck or shuffle cards from the GY back into the deck, essentially providing a consistent recursive resource engine.

Despite Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel limiting Ishizu and Tearlament upon release, the deck is still super-consistent and overwhelmingly powerful. Even powerful staple cards like Called By the Grave and Crossout Designator are ineffective against it, as they lock both players from using the effects of cards that share names. Additionally, since the Ishizu “shufflers” must banish themselves for cost, they can avoid being banished by D.D. Crow and Called By the Grave.

Master Duel‘s Tear 0 format gave rise to popular rogue strategies like HERO and Floowandereeze, as the two decks contain hard counters to the Tearlaments strategy, utilizing cards like Masked HERO – Dark Law and Dimensional Fissure to banish any cards sent to the opponent’s GY. Even Spright decks have taken to including a Melffy engine to go into Herald of the Arc Light during their opponent’s turn, as the card is not only a strong omni-negate, but also forces all cards sent from the hand or deck to be banished instead of being sent to the GY. However, this strategy usually only works if Spright decks go first, which is not guaranteed in Master Duel‘s best-of-one matchmaking system.

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Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel Needs a New Banlist ASAP

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Yu-Gi-Oh! Tearlaments Kitkallos card and official artwork

In a move that proved effective against Ishizu Tearlaments, the Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG banned Tearlaments Kitkallos and limited all Main Deck Tearlament and Ishizu Monsters to one copy each per deck. The TCG and OCG’s release of the Bystial Monsters also contributed to the Ishizu Tearlaments deck falling out of favor with the player base, as the cards provide players with more ways to banish Tearlaments cards from the GY. Currently, the Ishizu Tearlaments cards are semi-limited in Master Duel, allowing players to use up to two copies of each card. Even still, the deck remains far too strong, as even the card That Grass Looks Greener, which allows players to mill up to 20 cards from their deck, is also still legal.

Right now, the Ishizu Tearlaments deck is ruining Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel, but players expect a new banlist in-line with the TCG to drop soon with the highly anticipated release of the Bystial and Kashtira cards. If steps are taken to handle the Ishizu Tearlaments strategy, the community expects Melffy Spright and Naturia Runick decks to take over the meta along with the Kashtira archetype.

Branded Despia, Superheavy Samurai, and True Draco decks also recently saw a resurgence in popularity in the TCG following the release of new archetype support from the Cyberstorm Access and Darkwing Blast sets, and players anticipate their inclusion in Master Duel will have a similar effect. The Tear 0 format has been ongoing for over a month now, and duelists are hoping for sweeping changes. Players agree that Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel is too unbalanced as long as Ishizu and Tearlaments remain legal, so hopefully a new banlist will drop soon.


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