WHAT YOU NEED:
You must have a deck created that contains a minimum of 40 cards.
You may create a "side deck" 15 cards for your duel to increase the power of your current deck.
After the first Duel you can replace a card in your main deck with one in your side deck.
You MAY play a duel without a side deck if that is your choice.
A: The Field Card Zone - Field Magic cards are played here. Only 1 Field Magic Card can be in play at any one time. (To Learn More About Field Magic Cards and other cards, refer to the Game Cards and Card Anatomy Section.
B: Monster Card Zone - Monster Cards can be played (face-up) or Set (face-down) to the 5 spaces of the Monster Card Zone following the rules in the Main Phase (refer to the "Chains" and Game Phases section.)
IMPORTANT! The Monster Card Zone has a 5-Card LIMIT. Once all 5 spaces in the Monster Card Zone are occupied, no further Monster Cards can be played or set until there is an open Monster Card space in the Monster Card Zone.
C: Fusion Deck Zone - If you are playing with Fusion Monster Cards, put your Fusion Deck face-down in this space.
D: Graveyard/Discard Pile - When cards are destroyed, they are discarded face-up to this space. The contents of the Graveyard are public knowledge, and your opponent can look through it at any time. Be sure to get your opponent's permission before going through their own graveyard.
E: Magic & Trap Card Zone - Magic and Trap Cards can be played (face-up) or Set (face-down) to the 5 spaces of the Magic and Trap Card Zone following the rules in the main phase (refer to the "Chains" and Game Phases section).
IMPORTANT! The Magic & Trap Card Zone has a 5-card limit. Once all 5 spaces in the magic and trap card zone are occupied, no further magic (except Field Magic Cards) OR Trap Cards can be played or set until there is an open Magic & Trap Card space in the Magic & Trap Card Zone. This 5-Card Limit includes any or your own Equip Magic Cards used to equip your opponent's Monster Card.
F: Main Deck Zone - Place your Deck face-down in this space. Your Side Deck is not placed on the Gaming Area (if your game includes a side deck).
Game Play can be anywhere from high-paced or slow-moving depending on the players in the game. The following rules are the precise rulings on the ways the game is played, minus the exact phases in the game. And remember, before the game starts, friendly gaming beings. Start every match with a friendly hand-shake.
Bother players should shuffle their decks and then hand them to their opponents to be shuffled again (a more basic term for this would be called "cutting the deck"). The decks are then returned to their respective owners and placed face-down in the main deck zone (assuming each player is using a game mat).
If you are using Fusion Monster Cards, place the card(s) face-down in the Fusion Deck Zone. A Fusion Deck is a card or group of cards consisting of just Fusion Monsters created by combining or "Fusing" two or more monsters together during a Duel (refer to card types). NOTE: Fusion cards are NOT counted in the normal 40-card minimum.
Show your opponent that your side deck contains exactly 15 cards (face-down). When your side deck cards are exchanged with those in your deck (when needed), count the cards of your side deck with your opponent once again to confirm that the deck still contains the same amount of cards.
To determine who goes first, flip a coin. The called result goes first (if someone called "Heads" and the result was "Heads", that player may choose to go first). For the remainder of the match, the loser automatically goes first.
When starting the duel, each player draws 5 cards from the top of their shuffled decks. Once both players have 5 cards in their hand, the Duel beings following the normal phases in the rules (refer to the Phases section).
Rules: A deck must contain at least 40 cards. Keep in mind that decks with too many cards means you will have a smaller chance of drawing the cards you need, so it's best to limit your cards to around 40 - 45
You can have up to 3 duplicates of the same card in your deck. Cards included in your Side Deck count towards this 3 duplicate limit. Also, be aware of Restricted and Limited Cards.
Keep the Monster Card to Magic/Trap Card ratio at 1 : 1
The building blocks of your deck are the monster cards. No matter how many powerful Magic or Trap Cards you have, no monsters on the field means you've got nothing to defend your Life Points. A general rule of thumb is that roughly half your deck should be made up of monsters. Therefore, if you've got a deck of 40 cards, around 20 should be Monster Cards.
Keep the number of High Level Monsters to a Minimum
In order to perform a Tribute Summon (required for a Level 5 or higher monster), you will have to offer monsters as a Tribute. If your deck is filled with high-level monsters, summoning them to the field will be very costly. Instead, include lots of Level 4 or lower monsters in your deck and keep the number of high-level monsters to a minimum.
Make Good Use of your Effect Monsters
Effect monsters with Magic or Trap effects play an important strategic role in your Duels. You can create a powerful Deck if you take full advantage of these effects.
Include Cards that Increase Opportunities to Draw
In a duel, the basic rule is that you can only draw 1 card during the draw phase. Therefore, it is strategically to your advantage to be able to draw more cards than your opponent.
Creating a Side Deck
In between Duels, you are allowed to use a Side Deck of 15 cards to adjust the contents of your deck. Prepare your side deck with cards that help address the weaknesses in your deck or have the power to neutralize specific cards.
Restricted and Limited Cards:
According to the Official Rules, certain cards have specific quantity restrictions that limit the number that can be included in a deck. These limited cards are announced at Official Tournaments and should be take into account when customizing your deck.