The Speed Duel: Battle City Box arrived a little over two years ago in December of 2020. Packed with more than 200 cards, it was loaded with new Skills and smash-hit Secret Rares and came with 8 Decks that were ready to play, right out of the box. After a wait of a year and a half, we got the sequel, 2022’s Speed Duel GX: Duel Academy Box, the first Speed Duel release to introduce characters and cards from Yu‑Gi‑Oh! GX. And the concept would evolve again just a few months later, with Speed Duel GX: Midterm Paradox bringing even more fan-favorite characters to Speed Duels.
And now, almost one year after the release of the Duel Academy Box, it’s time for another mega-sized Speed Duel release! Speed Duel GX: Duelists of Shadows hit the streets on March 30th, ready to take Speed Duels to the next level with crazy new Skills, amazing Secret Rares, and lots of competitive cards revisited. Whether you love Speed Duel or you’re new to the format, Duelists of Shadows is packed with so much value that you won’t want to miss it.
Back to Class, Back to Basics
Okay, so if you need a quick crash course on what this even is, here’s what you’ll find in every box of Duelists of Shadows:
- 200 Common Cards: These are broken out across 8 ready-to-play Speed Duel Decks, plus a ton of extra cards to help you customize your strategies and support other characters
- 20 Skill Cards: These are all new, and if you wanted a bit more out of your Skills than the Duel Academy Box and Midterm Paradox gave you, well, buckle up, because these Skills are some of the strongest in the GX series. There’s 8 Skill Cards for the set’s pre-built Duel Decks, but you’ll also find another additional Skill for each of those 8 Duelists, plus 4 more Skill Cards for 4 more characters.
- 8 of 24 Secret Rare Variants: Every box comes with Secret Rare copies of Uria, Lord of Searing Flames, Hamon, Lord of Striking Thunder, and Raviel, Lord of Phantasms, but the remaining 5 Secrets are random.
And those Secret Rares? Super Polymerization, D.D. Crow, Allure of Darkness, Macro Cosmos, Elemental HERO Shining Flare Wingman, and even Cyber Dragon with Zane’s “dark side” alternate artwork, all appear as possible Secret Rares in Duelists of Shadows. This set’s loaded with cool secrets that you’re gonna love, whether you’re into Speed Dueling, Advanced Format, or Time Wizard formats.
Let’s start exploring the Duelists of Shadows, beginning with the biggest of the big bads.
Supreme King Jaden
Most of the characters in Duelists of Shadows are pulled from Season 1 of Yu‑Gi‑Oh! GX, straight out of the “Seven Stars” and “Rise of the Sacred Beasts” arcs. That said, some of the Duelists are from Season 3 too, including Supreme King Jaden.
If you spent some time with Duel Academy Box and Midterm Paradox, you’ve already seen two takes on Jaden Yuki and his Elemental HERO Deck, but this version’s totally different. Sure, Jaden’s got his basic Heroes again, so you’ll still get to play the classics but you won’t find any Elemental HERO Fusion Monsters in Jaden’s ready-to-play build.
The Supreme King’s Deck is all about Evil Heroes instead, starting with Main Deck monsters like Evil HERO Malicious Edge, Evil HERO Infernal Gainer, and Evil HERO Infernal Prodigy. He’s got some cool throwbacks too, like the Fusion substitute Versago the Destroyer and Dark Ruler Ha Des. To back them up you’ll find Spell Cards like Dark Fusion, Dark Calling, and yes, even Super Polymerization. Those cards can unleash five different Fusion Monsters: you can destroy a monster every turn with Evil HERO Lightning Golem, hammer home the hurt with Evil HERO Inferno Wing, make a massive Evil HERO Dark Gaia, wreck your opponent’s backrow with Evil HERO Wild Cyclone, or send all of your opponent’s monsters to their doom with Evil HERO Malicious Fiend (which can also appear as a Secret Rare!).
Supreme King Jaden’s main Skill Card is Ruthless Means: once per Duel during your Main Phase, when you control an Evil HERO, you can discard a card to make one of your opponent’s monsters lose ATK equal to its own DEF, or lose DEF equal to its ATK. It’s the perfect way to punish big monsters and surprise your opponent by stealing the win. And it’s especially good with Evil Hero Dark Gaia or Evil Hero Inferno Wing, since they both have effects that can make your opponent more vulnerable to damage.
If you’re playing the Supreme King’s Deck against other sealed Decks from Duelists of Shadows, Ruthless Means is the recommended Skill Card. But there’s another Skill for Supreme King Jaden! Dark Unity has three different effects: once per Duel you can lose 2000 LP, and change the type of one of your opponent’s Special Summoned monsters to Rock. Also once per Duel, you can discard a card and search Dark Fusion from your Deck. In addition, Dark Unity lets you use Super Polymerization to Fusion Summonmonsters that can only be Summoned with Dark Fusion. That means you can change your opponent’s biggest monster to a Rock type, activate Super Polymerization, and use that monster as Fusion Material to Summon Evil HERO Dark Gaia!
Whichever Skill you decide on, Supreme King Jaden’s really good at poking holes in your opponent’s defenses, so you can hurl massive damage right through them. Ruthless Means is a cool way to turn the tables when your opponent thinks they’re safe, and the sheer anime goodness of playing Super Polymerization the same way the Supreme King did is awesome! But in a set full of villains and scoundrels, Jaden’s alter ego is just the beginning…
If you need to brush up on your Duel Academy history, Kagemaru was the founder of the school and in the end, the biggest bad guy of Season 1 in Yu‑Gi‑Oh! GX. His grand plan was to make himself young again by sacrificing innocent Duel Monster spirits to the Sacred Beasts, which led him to build Duel Academy as a sort of gathering place for Dueling energy. He led the Shadow Riders in attacking the school to try and make that happen, and it all led to a final showdown against Jaden, where Kagemaru would Summon the three Sacred Beasts.
In Duelists of Shadows, Kagemaru’s Duel Deck comes equipped with all three Sacred Beast cards: Uria, Lord of Searing Flames, Hamon, Lord of Striking Thunder, and Raviel Lord of Phantasms. It also has other cards too, including Dark Summoning Beast, Cerulean Skyfire, Fallen Paradise, and Awakening of the Sacred Beasts. Kagemaru’s cards help you Summon your Sacred Beasts and reward you for controlling them on the field. It’s got a bunch of draw power too, stuff like Veil of Darkness and Backup Squad, to help you get to the cards you need. Oh, and it’s got Unending Nightmare too, a good card for your tournament arsenal.
Kagemaru’s Skill Cards are really what make his Deck shine. You know how you need 3 face-up Traps to Summon Uria, 3 Continuous Spells for Hamon, or 3 Fiends for Raviel? Well, Kagemaru’s main Skill, Unlocking the Power, lets you mix and match, making it way easier to Summon the Sacred Beasts! Go ahead: tribute off a Fiend and two Continuous Spells for Uria. Or a Trap Card and a pair of Fiends for Hamon. Whatever you want to use to pay for your Summons, Unlocking the Power makes it work, so you can unleash your Beasts and thrash your opponent.
His second Skill Card’s pretty great too: Victory of the Shadow Riders. When you start the Duel you’ll draw one less card and place the Skill face-down in your center Spell and Trap Zone. You’ll flip Victory at the start of your first turn, and when you do, you’ll search your Deck for Uria, Hamon, or Raviel. Then, you can discard a card once per turn to Special Summon a Fiend with 0 ATK and 0 DEF from your Graveyard. Kagemaru’s Deck comes equipped with Goblin King, Mad Reloader, or the choicest pick: Dark Summoning Beast. Bring it back with Victory and tribute it off for an instant Sacred Beast Summon!
A playable Sacred Beast Deck? Believe it: it really exists thanks to Duelists of Shadows. We’ve still got 6 more main Duelists to show you, plus all those extra characters and additional cards to discuss, so stay tuned for 4 more reviews of the new set!