Posted by : Abdalaziz al-shammari Feb 19, 2011

Gravekeepers have risen to the top of tournament competition over the past 3 months, wielding strong defensive monsters and 2 of the toughest disruption cards in the history of Dueling.  Necrovalley stops some of the game’s most popular strategies dead in their tracks, while Royal Tribute can rob you of all your monsters as early as your first turn!  The Gravekeeper Duelist has a big advantage: they can design their Deck to avoid playing effects that Necrovalley would stop, and even if they lose all of their monsters to Royal Tribute as they make you discard all of yours, they can recover with Gravekeeper’s Stele, getting theirmonsters back.  Read on to find out how you can adapt your playstyle, and which cards you can Side Deck, to give you an edge against 1 of the fiercest Decks in competition today.
Scrap Chimera, Debris Dragon, and XX-Saber Faultroll are just some of the commonly-played monsters that Necrovalley shuts down.  All 3 are central to their theme’s success, and all of them allow for easy Synchro Summoning by Special Summoning monsters from the Graveyard.  Necrovalley won’t allow that, so it’s a big blow to Decks like Debris Plants, Scraps, and X-Sabers.  It can even lock down Blackwings by stopping Blackwing – Blizzard the Far North and Blackwing – Vayu the Emblem of Honor.  Monster Reborn is useless whileNecrovalley is on the field, and it also stops cards being removed from the Graveyard to pay costs, so Decks that use Dark Armed Dragon and Chaos Sorcerer have big problems.
Part of the Gravekeeper Deck’s recent success is due to the popularity of Trap Stun andSeven Tools of the Bandit.  With those cards being played instead of Mystical Space Typhoon, a lot of Duelists just didn’t have the cards needed to destroy Necrovalley.  That’s an easy problem to fix: if Gravekeepers are giving you trouble, and you find your Tools and Stuns are underperforming, just take them out for Typhoons.  Alternatively, you can always replace Necrovalley with your own Field Spell – cards like Saber Vault or Zombie World can be a huge surprise.  Remember though, that if you play cards that do nothing but destroy single Spells and Traps, you could find yourself outplayed by Gravekeeper’s Stele.  The Stele will let your opponent reuse Gravekeeper’s Commandant and get another Necrovalley.  Your best-case scenario will see you destroying multiple cards along with Necrovalley, so if your Deck has stuff like Gladiator Beast Gyzarus or XX-Saber Hyunlei, try to make the most of them.
Often, simply playing aggressively is a great way to get around Royal Tribute.  After all, if your opponent draws Royal Tribute when you’ve already Summoned all or most of your monsters, it’s not very useful.  Monsters like Cyber DragonXX-Saber Boggart Knight, and Blackwing – Bora the Spear have Special Summon effects that can let you play out more monsters really easily, so they’re pretty good against Gravekeepers.  They also tend to draw out the Gravekeeper Duelist’s most important defensive cards, leaving you free to follow up with bigger tricks.
Breaker the Magical Warrior is a gem, too. You can slip a couple copies of Breaker into a variety of Decks, and though it won’t help you play out extra monsters, it can destroyNecrovalley and then immediately attack over any 1500 ATK Gravekeeper.  Those are the two tricks to beating Royal Tribute: playing to make sure you use your monsters before your opponent can discard them, and depriving your opponent of Necrovalley so that Tribute can never be activated.

Some Decks have cards that, if played well, can have a natural advantage over pieces of theGravekeeper Strategy.  For instance, XX-Saber Darksoul and Dandylion both have effects that trigger when they’re attacked by an aggressive Gravekeeper player, or destroyed byGravekeeper’s Descendant’s effect.  Gladiator Beast War Chariot can negate Descendant’s effect altogether, costing the Gravekeeper Duelist both his Descendant and the monster he Tributed, or negating Gravekeeper’s Spy’s ability.  Icarus Attack can destroy Necrovalleyand the defensive cards that let Gravekeepers dominate, and you can Chain it to Descendant’s effect, Tributing a Blackwing that was targeted for destruction.
Once the first Duel is over, there are 4 cards that are great countermeasures to bring in from your Side Deck.  Effect Veiler will negate the effects of Gravekeeper’s Descendant andGravekeeper’s Spy, slowing down the Gravekeeper strategy.  Cyber Dragon will let you play aggressively, and as noted, will often out-speed Royal Tribute.  Its 2100 ATK is also high enough to attack over any Gravekeeper monster’s un-boosted DEF, and will still destroy most Gravekeepers in battle even when Necrovalley is active.  Mystical Space Typhoon will destroy Necrovalley to ward off Royal Tribute and boosted attackers – but remember, aGravekeeper’s Stele that lets your opponent reuse Commandant could set you back. Nobleman of Crossout is extremely effective, ending the “Is it a Spy, or is it a Recruiter?” guessing game when the Gravekeeper Duelist has a Set monster: it removes either monster from the game, without triggering their effects (and all other Spies if you happen to hit one!).
All 4 of these cards are effective against other Decks, too, so you may already be playing them.  The Gravekeeper Deck is extremely powerful, but the more you Duel against it, the better you’ll become at predicting the Gravekeeper Duelist’s moves.  Duel accordingly, and they can be defeated.

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