After losing countless matches to my friend’s Deskbot deck thanks to his ability to reach 15,000 ATK by turn 5, the idea of building an anti-Deskbot deck has been tempting me recently.
However, I’ve never built a counter- or anti- deck before, let alone one for an archetype this strong. Because of this, my first step needed to be figuring out the components of a Deskbot deck, in order to find what type of cards and effects may be useful against their traits.
For a more in-depth guide to each individual card in the archetype, and their effects, check out this Reddit post.
Deskbots are a small archetype, featuring just 9 monsters, 1 Synchro monster, and 1 field spell. The main monsters are Deskbots 001 through 009, which are all Earth-attribute and Machine-type. 005 through 008 are Pendulum Effect monsters, while the rest are Effect monsters. Also, each monster’s level matches its name – 001 is level 1, while 009 is level 9.
All core Deskbots start with 500 ATK and DEF, and rely on their effects to buff each other both passively from having multiple Deskbots on the field and actively while in the battle phase. The Synchro monster, Deskbot Jet, can to tactically replace Deskbots on the field with ones in the Deck, or aggressively used to destroy opponent’s cards by sacrificing a Deskbot.
Based on this information, possible useful cards are:
- cards which weaken/ negate Earth attribute
- cards which weaken/ negate Machine type
- cards which limit which levels can attack or be summoned.
- cards which specifically affect monsters with 500 ATK/ DEF (both “500 or less” and “500 or more”).
- cards which limit how many monsters the Deskbot player can control
Deskbot Card Effects
Every card in the archetype can cause problems for opponents, by either strengthening the Deskbots, preventing attacks, or preventing negation. Also, as 005 and 007 are Pendulum scale 10 while 006 and 008 are Pendulum scale 1, a Deskbot player has three chances to set up a situation where they can always summon every Deskbot.
Despite this, the two biggest problems are Deskbots 003 and 009. Deskbot 003 can target any controlled Deskbot and give it 500 ATK and DEF for each controlled Deskbot. If there are five cards on the field, 003 can buff a 500 ATK monster to 2500 ATK . If all three 003’s are out, and all targeted the same card, it would have a minimum of 6500 ATK. Also, this effect can be used for the entire of either player’s turn, every turn.
Yet Deskbot 009 is even harder to deal with. During the player’s Main Phase 1, 009 can gain the combined ATK of all other controlled Deskbots, which lasts until the end of the opponent’s turn. If that effect is applied, only Deskbot 009 can attack. However, if it does attack, the opponent’s cards and effects cannot be activated until the end of the damage step. 009 can also avoid destruction, as the player can choose to destroy another Deskbot instead. With a full board of cards out, Deskbot 009 can reach OTK levels with no effort required, and can block almost any potential response, making the opponent unlikely to prevent an OTK.
Because of this, an anti-deskbot deck would need to be focused on prevention rather than negation. If a Deskbot player lands a direct attack, it’s probably game over, so the aim is to stop them setting up in the first place. So, more card options are:
- cards which destroy or negate cards based on their name
- cards which allow the player to gain life points, ATK, or a monster from taking damage.
- cards which can copy the stats or effects of other monsters.
Deskbot Spells and Traps
There are no Deskbot-specific traps, so the most likely traps for a Deskbot player are traps which negate attacks, for the rare occasions where the opponent could attack a Deskbot and win. Deskbot Base, the field spell, grants a further 500 ATK/DEF to each Deskbot. It also has a field-clearing effect: if the Deskbot player has one of each main Deskbot between their field and graveyard, they can banish all 9 to shuffle the opponent’s field, graveyard and hand into their deck. A common support spell is Machine Duplication, which can be activated on summoning any Deskbot and Special Summons up to two more of that Deskbot.
Spell and trap negation is not a major part of an anti-deskbot deck. Instead, spells which reduce incoming damage or protect cards on the field would be more useful.
Here is a list of the cards I’ve found which contribute to each potential anti-deskbot strategy. I’m limiting my list to cards available on the Xbox game Yu-Gi-Oh!: Legacy of the Duellist, as that’s where I test decks I build.
To weaken/ negate Earth attribute:
The only option I could find in-game was the field spell card Acidic Downpour, which reduces the attack of all Earth monsters by 500. Given the numbers most Deskbots have, this is unlikely to be useful.
To weaken/ negate Machine type:
Acid Rain (Spell)- Destroys all face-up Machine types on the field.
To limit which levels can attack or be summoned:
Level Limit Area B (Spell)- Changes all Level 4 or higher monsters to Defense Positions
Gravity Bind (Trap) – Level 4 or above monsters cannot attack.
To affect monsters with 500 ATK/ DEF:
House of Adhesive Tape (Trap)- If the DEF of a summoned monster is 500 or less, the monster is destroyed.
Etagaboon (Trap)- If the ATK of a summoned monster is 500 or less, the monster is destroyed.
To limit how many monsters the Deskbot player can control:
Kaiser Colosseum (Field Spell)- Your opponent can only control as many monsters as you do. However, existing cards are unaffected, so KC would have to either be played very early in the game or used after a field-wiping spell such as Rageki or Lightning Vortex.
To prevent the Deskbot player from summoning:
Non-Aggression Area (Trap)- prevents an opponent from normal and special summoning on their next turn.
And The Band Played On (Continuous Trap)- Neither player can special summon monsters with the same level or rank as those they control.
Power Filter (Continuous Spell)- Neither player can Special Summon monsters with 1000 or less ATK. This card would dramatically slow down the game, limiting the Deskbot player to only their one normal summon per turn.
Summon Limit (Continuous Trap)- Neither player can summon more than twice in a turn.
Heat Wave (Spell)- Neither player can normal or special summon an Effect monster until your next draw phase.
To destroy or negate cards based on their name:
Prohibition (Continuous Spell)- The player declares a card name, and all cards with that name cannot be used. This would be best used against Deskbot 005 as it would limit how easily a Deskbot player can complete their Pendulum scale. As 005 can destroy one of your Spells/Traps on summoning, avoiding this effect also helps you keep your momentum.
To allow the player to gain life points, ATK, or a monster from taking damage:
Damage Condenser (Trap)-when the player takes battle damage, they can special summon a monster from their Deck with ATK less than or equal to that battle damage, at the cost of discarding a card. Given the high ATK value of Deskbots, this can allow the player to get out very strong monsters for use in future plays.
Flip Effects which remove cards or prevent attacks:
Old Vindictive Magician– removes a monster of your choice when flipped.
Adhesive Explosive– attaches to the attacking monster and destroys it on the next standby phase.
To negate opponents effects on summoning:
Tiras, Keeper of Genesis (XYZ)- This card cannot be destroyed by card effects and can destroy a card if it attacked or was attacked. So, if it was able to be protected for a turn, it could remove a Deskbot.
To negate battle damage/ unable to be destroyed by battle:
Rocket Warrior (only applies during your battle phase, so would only have one chance at being used).
Five-Headed Dragon (Fusion)- Cannot be destroyed by battle with various attributes including Earth. Also, 5000 attack is helpful. (However, getting 5 monsters on the field is unlikely as Deskbots will usually destroy monsters on the turn they are put down).
To take control of Deskbots:
Brain Jacker – Attaches to an opponent’s monster on being attacked, and then gives you control of that monster, in return for giving your opponent 500LP during each standby phase.
To prevent Deskbots from attacking:
Messenger of Peace (Spell)- Monsters with 1500 or more ATK cannot attack. This card costs 100LP per turn to maintain.
This list shows there are a few cards which shut down various aspects of Deskbot play. However, there’s little synergy between these cards, as most of them are designed to be part of different decks. This strategy may also risk shutting down the deck player just as much as the Deskbot player and creating a stalemate. While these cards can prevent Deskbots attacking, there is nothing in place to actually attack, nor to keep monsters on the field for more than one turn.
Based on this, trying to merely negate and react to Deskbots doesn’t look like the best option. So my next step is developing a deck strong enough to actually attack Deskbots.