Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Links has been around for a couple of years now and has proven to be one of the most fun Yu-Gi-Oh video games ever made. This comes from how it adds a unique twist on the card game while still feeling familiar enough for fans to pick up and play.
Something especially fun about the game is being able to play as tons of characters from across the original Yu-Gi-Oh, Yu-Gi-Oh GX and Yu-Gi-Oh 5Ds. Players get exclusive cards, skills and gems from leveling up characters. But which duelists should players invest in, and which should they skip?
10 Skip: Yubel
The newest Duel Links character on this list, Yubel is one of the most unique villains in the entire Yu-Gi-Oh franchise with a playstyle like no other. Unfortunately Jaden's spirit partner also seems to be one of the worst characters you can level up in the game already.
While the Duel Spirit does have a couple of skills that are useful, their card rewards are absolutely pitiful. You get 3, count them, 3 copies of Memory Crusher, a pitiful monster with an effect that will never impact the duel ever. Consider that Yubel's LV40 reward is a union monster from 2003 that nobody has ever used. That's what we're working with.
9 Level Up: Bandit Keith
The Dueling Intercontinental champion from the U.S.A, Bandit Keith was a big part of Duelist Kingdom but fell off the map afterwards. Thankfully his legacy lives on in Duel Links as one of the best characters in the game.
No this isn't because of his great card rewards (unless you really want that 1600 ATK Overdrive beatdown). No, this is because Keith has two of the best skills in the game that useful in almost any playstyle: Restart and Switcheroo. The first allows you to get an entirely new opening hand if you open with garbage and the other allows you to swap out a card from your hand to draw another from the deck.
8 Skip: Tristan Taylor
Probably the only intentionally bad character on the list, Tristan Taylor has been a long-running joke in Duel Links for his ridiculousness. The novelty of having him in the game is fun, but that doesn't mean he's worth using.
WIth horrendous level up rewards and joke skills like "Super Strength!" (everyone loves a Yu-Gi-Oh Abridged reference), it's clear that if you're playing as Tristan, you're doing it for the lolz and not for reaching King Of Games level in PVP.
7 Level Up: Yami Yugi
The face of the franchise and one of two starting characters you can select, Yami Yugi remains one of the best choices to play as in the game and especially for new players.
Not only are his skills better than Seto Kaiba (the other starting choice), but if you play with Yami Yugi long enough you may be lucky enough to get the amazing Destiny Draw skill. The skill lets you draw any card in your deck once per duel once your life points hit 2000 or less. You can truly feel like a protagonist now!
6 Skip: Aster Phoenix
While the Destiny Heroes are a good archetype in the TCG, their owner in Duel Links is unfortunately not that great of a choice to level up.
A rival of Jaden Yuki, Aster Phoenix's best card easily comes at LV40 with his Destiny Draw card that allows you to discard a Destiny Hero monster to draw 2 cards. Aside from that, his card rewards are average at best and most of skills are ones you can get from better characters.
5 Level Up: Arkana
While this magical Rare Hunter was originally a decent character to use, the new Dark Magician support added to Duel Links has ensured that Arkana is now one of the best characters to level up and use in the game.
Not only does he have good skills like Master Of Magicians, Restart and A Trick Up The Sleeve, but his level up rewards include essential Dark Magician-related cards like Magician's Rod and Dark Magic Curtain. Level up Arkana and dump gems into the "Dark Dimension" booster pack and you'll have a great deck in no time.
4 Skip: Bastion Misawa
For someone as smart as Bastion Misawa, he does have a tendency to um, not be that great in Duel Links. Bastion's focus on trying to have an answer for everything is his greatest downfall as his level up rewards and skills are all over the place.
With rewards ranging from Attribute-based cards like Homunculus The Alchemic Being to Chemicritters to his signature Water Dragon cards, Bastion has trouble narrowing down just what the heck he wants to be. This goes for his lame skills which all focus on playing field spells that only give you an average attack boost. Yawn.
3 Level Up: Mai Valentine
Mai Valentine's win/loss record on the show is spotty at best, she is one of the duelists that newer players should prioritize leveling up for a couple of great cards that you get from her.
The first one of these is Windstorm of Etaqua which is a trap that allows you to swap the battle positions of all face-up monsters on the field, basically allowing you to stall your opponent or put some of their low attack monsters into attack mode. While her the other card in question is great, Amazoness Queen is her LV45 reward which means it will take a long time to get her. But, Harpie-support skills like Harpies' Hunting Ground are great character-exclusive ones that you can get from playing PVP or dueling Legendary Duelists with this femme fatale.
2 Skip: Espa Roba
Despite nobody clamoring to see him added to Duel Links, Joey's least memorable opponent from Battle City named Espa Roba is a character in Duel Links with cards and skills based on the Jinzo line of cards.
While Jinzo himself is a good card on his own, he's not the kind of the monster you'd want to build a deck around making many of Roba's reward cards seem meh. Even worse, Espa's skills are nothing to write home about with weak ones that destroy traps while you have a Jinzo out and another that simply adds more Jinzos to your deck. Skip this fake psychic will ya?
1 Level Up: Dr. Crowler
Everyone's favorite cranky professor at Duel Academy, Dr.Crowler has one of the easier to understand powerful decks in Yu-Gi-Oh with his Ancient Gear cards. What do they do? They lock out your opponents from using spells and traps during the battle phase and hit the opponent extremely hard with big damage.
Luckily, Crowler's level up cards and skills help with this strategy. While the Ancient Gear cards you get from his level ups are decent at best, skills like "Middle Age Mechs" and "Beatdown" help him greatly overpower anything in his path.