A Guide to Playing Nekroz

Hey everybody! A good friend of mine has been out of the game for a while, but decided to come back for the 25k next weekend in Philadelphia. Since he hasn't played in a while, he asked me to make him a guide on playing Nekroz to help him jump back into the game. I figured a lot of the information in the guide could help out other players as well, so I decided to post it as my article this week. It's geared toward playing Nekroz in the ARG format (so without Trishula), but most of it still applies to the Konami format as well. I usually make guides like this for most decks I play, but this is the first one I've ever posted so let me know if you guys like this one and I might post more guides in the future!

nekroz of brionacOrder of Operations

  • It’s better to use Brionac to get Unicore than it is to not use Brionac. 
    • If you kept Brionac in hand and drew Brionac, it would be a bad draw. If you drew Unicore, it’d be a good draw. If you discard Brionac for Unicore, drawing Brionac or drawing Unicore would be good.
    • Shurit is important, but if you keep Brionac in hand and then use Shurit on your next turn, you can either search a second Brionac (which you can’t use) or Clausolas (generally unnecessary). If you add Unicore to your hand instead of keeping Brionac, the Brionac you search off of Shurit will be able to use its effect and you can still get value out of the Unicore you searched the previous turn. 
  • It’s almost always better to put Clausolas in grave when given the option of Manju into the spell or Manju into Clausolas into the spell. 
    • This gives you a good monster to banish later for a ritual spell. 
    • The exception to this is if you have a good hand involving Shurit. You might have Manju, Shurit, Brionac, Valkyrus. Here you should search the spell directly, because searching Clausolas first and using it to get a spell will leave you with being able to get a Clausolas (having already used one Clausolas that turn) or a second Brionac (only being able to use one this turn) when you search for Shurit. By searching the spell directly, you can tribute Shurit, get Clausolas, get a different spell, and use Brionac, getting full value out of all of your cards. 
  • When you have both Manju and Senju, summon Senju. 
    • Unless you have a better play by searching a spell directly off of Manju directly and skipping Clausolas. 
    • You’re going to search a monster off either one. If you summon Senju, you give yourself the chance to search a monster or Spell the following turn by holding Manju. If you hold Senju, you have to search a monster the following turn. 
  • Brionac into Shurit is subpar. 
    • Two targets off of Shurit
      • Clausolas - Once you have a single spell, additional Clausolas are typically unnecessary. 
      • Brionac - When you get Brionac off of Shurit, you will have already used Brionac that turn and won’t be able to do so again. 
  • Shurit, Valkyrus, spell can be used to summon Valkyrus, get Brionac, have Brionac get Great Sorcerer, and then tribute Great Sorcerer for a +1. 
  • Banish Great Sorcerer from your grave to stop an attack with Valkyrus and use its effect to send Exa from the deck to the grave. Then on your turn banish the Exa to search a ritual spell and use Exa to special summon back Great Sorcerer (or Shurit). 
  • When searching a spell to use with Shurit to summon a monster from your hand, search any spell you play 3 of. You likely won’t need the third copy before you need the first two of the other one. 
  • Use Diamond Dire Wolf to destroy a back row as well as clear your only monster, allowing you to search for ritual spells. 
  • Summon Exciton Knight and discard Brionac or Clausolas for cost, giving you one fewer card, and allowing you to Exciton where you would have otherwise been even. 
  • Unicore is the most important monster to return off of Diagusto Emeral.
    • Unicore can grab back spells and monsters and is necessary to make Emeral in the future. 
  • Given the option of putting Brionac in grave first turn or not, putting Brionac in grave is generally better. 
    • You take one good draw out of your deck (Brionac), but give yourself three other good draws (Unicores). 
    • Don’t put Brionac in grave given the option or not when you already have one in grave and its past the first turn. You are just taking away a Shurit target. Sometimes its unavoidable. 
  • What you banish for spells is important. 
    • Almost always banish duplicate monsters first. 
    • Keep in mind you only have 1 Gungnir and 1 Decisive Armor. If you banish it, it’s gone forever. 
    • Banishing two Valkryus in the mirror is dangerous. You can easily be forced to discard the third and then they can Rhapsody it. It’s almost impossible to win the mirror with all Valkyrus banished. 
    • Never banish both Brionac. 
    • Try and keep Unicore in the grave when you’re able to so that you can recycle them with Emeral. 
  • 1st Clausolas > 1st Brionac > 2nd Clausolas > 1st Unicore > 1st Valkryus > 2nd Unicore > 2nd Valkryus > 3rd Unicore > Decisive Armor > 2nd Brionac > 3rd Valkyrus/Gungnir
    • Here’s a rule of thumb for which Nekroz ritual monsters to banish for spells. It begins with the 1st Clausolas being the one you’d most want to banish and goes through the 3rd Valkyrus / Gungnir being the least preferred to banish. 
    • Banishing the third Unicore is irrelevant. He must be used to make Emeral in order to recycle him. If he’s already in the grave and you are banishing for a spell, you have no monsters and can’t realistically make Emeral anymore to recycle more Unicores. Thus you can banish Unicore as soon as this occurs. 
  • Plenty of different 4 card OTKs. 
  • Example Hand: Ju + Cycle + Unicore + Ritual Monster (IE Gungnir/Valkyrus)

manjuManju —> Brionac —> Shurit

Cycle —> Shurit —> Brionac (field) —> Clausolas (hand)

Clausolas —> Kaleidoscope 

Kaleidoscope —> Unicore

Herald —> Mirror

Mirror —> Any Ritual Monster

Manju (1400) + Brionac (2300) + Unicore (2300) + Gungnir/Valkyrus (2500+) + Cowboy (800) = 9300+

Playing Around Cards

  • Mind Crush
    • Search Kaleidoscope to telegraph that you have Unicore. If they have Mind Crush they will likely call Unicore. Don’t have Unicore, but instead tribute Shurit and make them discard. 
    • Set Shurit before using Cycle if you don’t intend to normal summon again in order to make their Mind Crush dead.
    • Set Cycle before setting Shurit. If they know what they’re doing and you set a monster they’ll call Cycle when you set a monster. 
  • Puppet Plant
    • Summon Decisive Armor 
      • He’s a Dragon
    • Summon Diagusto Emeral
      • He’s a rock. 
      • Dealing with him is awkward. If they Gungnir, they use the spell, the gungnir, and what they discard to get rid of an Emeral that has already replaced itself. Leaving Brionac, Unicore, or Clausolas is never very ideal in the mirror. 
  • Droll & Lock Bird
    • If they summon Tellarknight Ptolemaeus, set cards possible before searching your deck. 
      • They’ll use it to summon Durendal and chain Droll so that you won’t be able to redraw a hand. 
  • Artifact Lancea
    • When you activate Mirror, don’t make it so you have to tribute important things if you can’t banish because of Lancea. 
      • Don’t have to tribute Manju and Senju to summon Valkyrus when they chain Lancea to your Mirror when you were thinking you could banish Shurit from grave.
    • When activating Mirror, have Shurit in hand. 
      • If you can’t banish anymore, you can tribute Shurit and they’ll have played Lancea for nothing. 

Matchup Shortcuts


  • Go second
  • Rhapsody to banish spells is strong whenever possible. Especially when you can tribute Rhapsody for Valkyrus. 
    • The exception to this is when they have more than two spells in the grave. 
    • The mirror always goes until one player runs out of all their spells or all their rituals. 
  • The first player to run out of Unicores loses. 
    • Unicorn lets you make Emeral and continue somewhat indefinitely. 
    • Keep in mind how many Unicores they have used. They won’t be able to make Emeral once all of them are gone and they will quickly run out of resources. 
  • Diagusto Emeral is key in the mirror. 
    • This is because all Nekroz mirrors are a battle of resources. 
  • Dweller is strong in the mirror. 
    • They cannot use Spells, Herald, or Shurit if you have activated Dweller. 
  • It’s important to play around Mind Crush and Puppet Plant games 2 and 3 in the mirror. 
  • It’s sometimes useful to think of card advantage in terms of number of turns rather than actual cards. Having 10 cards in hand may mean you can do three things for the next three turns, but those additional cards won’t allow them do a fourth thing on any given turn. 
    • Most important concept to master to win the mirror. 
    • It’s possible to get to a point where Maxx “C” and Shared Ride draws are close to irrelevant. 
    • Nekroz only have 3 spells per turn. No matter how many cards they have in their hand, they can’t activate a fourth spell. 
    • Because of Senju, Manju, Brionac, and so on, they already can likely access every card in their deck. Each of these cards has “a once per turn” clause. Having additional ways to get to these cards doesn’t mean they can activate a second one in the same turn. 
    • This is usually only possible late game. 
    • Similarly, if they’ve only got 1 spell and 1 Unicore left, ten cards in hand only equals two plays the rest of the game. 
  • Leaving Valkyrus on board with any kind of defensive card is key in this matchup. 
    • Valkyrus is a threat that isn’t from the extra deck so they will have to expend lots of resources to get over it through a defensive card. 
    • This changes game 2 and 3 due to Puppet Plant. If you leave Valkyrus on the field game 2 and 3 you’ll get OTKed by Puppet Plant. 
  • Summoning Gungnir outside of attacking for game sucks. 
    • It costs a lot of resources. You have to use a spell, the Gungnir itself, and whatever you discard to deal with one card of your opponent’s. 
    • You can deal with one thing they do and they’ll just do something else. Since their deck is the same thing as their hand they can just always search whatever they need to deal with a problem so stopping one thing doesn’t actually matter very much. 
  • Summoning two big monsters (like Valkyrus and Decisive Armor) is very difficult to deal with in the mirror. 
    • They can only Gungnir one of them. 
    • This changes game 2 and 3 because of Puppet Plant. 
  • Rhapsody can be useful to banish
    • Second Brionac - Difficult to play with both Brionac gone.
    • Gungnir - Never can kill you through Valkyrus. 
    • Shurit - With one it’s not easy to get it back. 
    • Exa - When they have nothing banished that they can summon. 
    • Third Valkyrus - It’s very difficult to win the mirror if you get all your Valkyrus banished. If they ever put the third one in the graveyard, make Rhapsody a priority. 
    • Ritual spells - Once all 6 or 7 and 3 Unicore are gone, they’re gone. 
      • Preparation of Rights can possibly get 1. 
  • You must Valkyrus any damage (even a Manju or Senju only) if your opponent has 5-6 cards in hand and plenty of spells left. 
    • You can get OTKed through Valkyrus after taking a single Manju/Senju attack for 1400 if they have a Ju in hand and several non-specific combo cards.
  • You can take damage and hold Valkyrus the later the game goes (fewer cards in hand, fewer ritual spells in deck). 
    • They won’t be able to kill you through it if they only have three cards in hand. 
  • Use Valkyrus to stop Unicore to block the most damage when they are trying to attack you through Valkyrus with Gungnir. 
    • Unicore makes Cowboy with a Ju, essentially making him 3100 attack and better to stop than Valkyrus’ attack which would be 2900. If they use Gungnir to destroy Unicore, they can’t make Cowboy anymore since they don’t have another level 4 monster. 
    • Stopping Decisive Armor is more than stopping a Unicore that can make Cowboy (3300 vs 3100)

Burning Abyss

  • Go second
  • You can Rhapsody the one Cir and make it very difficult for them to win. 
  • Successfully summoning Dweller makes it nearly impossible for them to maintain advantage at any point. 
  • Attack Graff and force them to use the effect. 
    • Cir is at 1 so forcing them to use it means they either take the 1 Cir out of their deck or they start their turn with Scarm instead of Graff on the field (one that doesn’t special summon as opposed to one that does). 
  • Unicore and Clausolas are great for stalling in this matchup. 
    • They aren’t able to get over the 2500 defense of Dante, but they can make it so they can’t do anything either. 


  • Go first
  • Summoning Gungnir is very strong in this matchup. 
    • You can pop Scout.
    • You can pop Lose 1 Turn on their turn. 


  • Go first
  • Unicore beats this deck. 
  • Set your spell cards game 2. 
    • Anti-Spell Fragrance is a common choice. Even if it’s not face up, you can preemptively play around them drawing this by simply setting your spells. 
  • Summoning 101 into set cards is strong as they often play Mirror Force. 
    • Losing Senju and Unicore isn’t as relevant as losing 1/6th or 1/7th of the plays you can make the entire game. 


  • Go second
  • Summon Decisive Armor to attack over Shekhinaga and banish their set Falco main phase two. 
  • Summon Unicore with Decisive Armor in hand. 
    • They can’t activate Construct to ever gain advantage. 
    • Having Valkyrus in hand in addition to Decisive Armor is usually game. They summon Construct and can’t use the effect and try to attack Unicore. You use Valkyrus and they chain El Shaddoll. They can’t use the second Construct’s effect and then they attack and you Decisive Armor. They lose so much advantage that you essentially win the game at that point. 
  • Clausal shines in this matchup. 

Yang Zings

  • Summon Exciton Knight. Activate any card such as Brionac and chain Exciton Knight to make the Yang Zings miss timing. 


  • Go first. 
  • Unicore and Clausolas are key to winning this matchup. 

Side Decking

  • Avoid siding out engine cards. 
  • Side out defensive cards for defensive cards that are more appropriate in a particular matchup or cards that deal with what they are siding. 
    • IE: Siding out Book of Moon and siding in Mystical Space Typhoon against Satellarknight. 
  • You shouldn’t side cards to beat non-Nekroz strategies. Instead side cards to make sure you can play. 
    • I wouldn’t care about siding Flying “C” to floodgate Burning Abyss. Nekroz are a better engine than they are. Thus as long as I can play, I’ll win out. I would rather side something like MST to make sure I don’t lose to Mistake. 
  • If siding in additional normal summons, side out a comparable amount. 
    • If siding two Denko Sekka in, side out 1-2 Senju to avoid clogging. 
    • Always keep in all Senju going first. 
  • Third Valkyrus is unnecessary in most matchups except the mirror. 
  • Gungnir is subpar against Burning Abyss. 
    • 2500 is a bad number thanks to Dante's defense. 

That wraps up my guide for Nekroz in the ARG format. I hope to see you all next weekend at the 25k in Philadelphia! Until next time, play hard or go home!

Patrick Hoban

Patrick Hoban

Patrick Hoban

Latest posts by Patrick Hoban (see all)