Like in every game that gives the option to pay money to advance quicker, being F2P in Duel Links takes patience, determination, and time. This guide goes over topics that F2P players may find useful, such as how to spend your gems efficiently, and which decks to build.
Cost-Efficient Competitive Decks
F2P players should focus on building one of the following competitive decks. Each have varying playstyles and all have strong mechanics that are capable of reaching King of Games. Most importantly, their cores are each built from a single box, minimizing Gem usage.
Solid, more control-oriented deck built around an event reward, an R-rarity card, and a level-up reward. Aside from the usual backrow staples, Amazoness is almost entirely F2P. Those dedicated to Mai and her events will gain a valuable addition to their arsenal.
The spiritual successor to Sylvans, these little guys offer similar mechanics, such as swarming, revival, and frontline/backrow destruction. Also built out of a mini-box, Fur Hire is low-cost and easy to pilot, making Clash of Wings a quick stop for PvP competitiveness.
A rogue albeit lower tier deck throughout several metas. Aliens' core cards do not exceed 'R' rarity, a F2P player's dream. Not as easy to pilot as Fur Hires, but can still achieve strong results with careful play.
Another oddball deck that has proven its strength in spite of massive meta shifts. Hazys are defined by their untargetability and OTK ability, being unaffected by most countermeasures and winning games within 1-2 turns. The core monsters are either 'R' or 'N' rarity, and although optimized builds include higher rarity cards, consistent results can still be obtained by using Ranked Ticket and Card Trader cards.
Which Boxes to Pull From
These boxes have been chosen for their strong PvE and/or PvP cards. Not every PvP box is needed; some have backrow staples, while others contain archetypes for specific decks.
|The Ultimate Rising||X||-|
|Dawn of Destiny||X||X|
|Servants of Kings||-||X|
|Blades of Spirits||-||X|
|Visions of Ice||-||X|
|Clash of Wings||-||X|
How to Start Spending Gems
General Tip: Hoard Gems like a wintertime squirrel. If a deck catches your eye, buy the core in its entirety. The meta is always shifting, and strong decks today could be literally unplayable in a matter of weeks.
Pick a competitive deck from the above list.
Obtain their core cards from the designated box.
Begin obtaining backrow staples (start with mini-boxes):
Next is up to you!
- Build another deck.
- Dig through full boxes for less accessible staples.
- Hoard Gems until a new box / meta.
When to Reset a Box
Reset After Getting: after you pull all of these cards, resetting the box is usually a good idea, either because the remaining cards aren't worth it, or because the cards you pulled are important enough to warrant resetting the box for extra copies of them.
Stop When You Have: when you have these cards, it's usually okay to stop pulling from that box, as you'll have enough copies of the important cards to make the decks you need.
Reset After Getting
Stop When You Have
2-3x Masked HERO Anki*
3x Mask Change*
2-3x Paleozoic Canadia
*Masked Heroes require a significant Gem investment: a structure deck and multiple resets of a full-sized Box. Pulling these cards isn't a must.
What to Spend Gold On
The Card Trader provides some core cards that you need for building Hazys and other oddball decks. There are also a handful of general purpose PvE cards that you might find yourself needing. In order to buy these cards, you'll need stones, gold, and jewels. Fortunately, a generous amount of gold and SR jewels are handed out while going through the stages. UR jewels may be a little harder to come by, as you only get three from the Stage Missions. Participating in events (Tardy Syrus, etc.) is a surefire way to net more URs.
Here are the cards you should save your gold and stones for:
|The Earth - Hex-Sealed Fusion||3|
|Blue Dragon Summoner||2|
|Jar of Greed||3|
|Hazy Flame Sphynx||3|
|Mausoleum of the Emperor||3|
|Atlantean Attack Squad||3|
It's recommended that you go for the cards to build your farming decks first, such as Riryoku Field and Jar of Greed.
No matter how tempting it may be, you should avoid converting any cards unless you have three or more copies of it. You should also never convert limited-availability cards, such as Insect Queen (only one copy of this card is obtainable in-game - by leveling Weevil). If you keep farming and participating in events, you should eventually acquire enough SR and UR jewels to make the cards you want, with minimal conversions.
Farming is another important source of cards. Do note that many of these cards can be easily obtained via PvP Ranked Tickets (see below). For suggestions on farming decks, view our list of budget farming decks.
Ultimately, you'll want to farm these characters:
Leveling up characters is another good source of cards/skills. Best of all, it's absolutely free, albeit grindy. A good strategy is to get a group of friends to send each other two-three star Vagabond challenges. Another option is to auto-duel against weak SD decks like Insect Fortress or Naturia United with the 3x multiplier active.
The main cards you'll want to get this way are:
The introduction of ranked tickets has given players a huge incentive to jump onto the PvP ladder, with the grand prize for each season being the UR ticket awarded after 100 wins. Here are the cards you should be eyeing by rarity:
May have some niche PvE uses.
Part of the impenetrable Astral/Spirit Barrier farm deck.
|The Sanctuary in the Sky||
Staple for Counter Fairy decks.
Double Cyclone before it was cool. Used in Dimension Gate farm decks.
Budget Damage Step backrow, but requires you to have 2 monsters out.
For the longest time, Ol' ECon was your go-to backrow to splash in most any deck. Many tears were spent farming Kaiba for 3 copies, but times have changed. With the latest banlist, you'll be spending 2 tickets at most on ECon.
|Legacy of Yata-Garasu||
Another Jar of Greed for turbo PvE decks such as Elements United!
Very strong blanket negation at the cost of 3000 LP. Decks such as Life Cost 0 rejoice since their HP threshold is brought just low enough to use their Skill.
|Shield & Sword||
If you're lazy to farm Joey, just grab S&S here. Used in Labyrinth Builder farm decks.
Staple for any Dino-based deck. Its built-in ECon effect on summon makes Brachios a strong backbone monster.
|Amazoness Sage, Amazoness Tiger, Amazoness Willpower, Amazoness Archers||
Alternative tech options for Amazon decks, though Tiger and Archers are less widely used.
Essentially free tribute fodder. Working towards 3 copies will greatly bolster your Hazy deck.
|The Big Cattle Drive||
Decent draw power for decks such as Fur Hires, who aren't too hurt by a turn of backrow lockout.
For those who don't have Amazoness Queen yet, Paladin serves as an alternative beater to pad your monster reserves.