"Gravekeeper's" Decks usually revolve around "Necrovalley" and gains power from it, while avoiding its drawbacks. This Deck tends to prevent the opponent from affecting cards placed in the Graveyard, as well as keeping field control with its ability to swarm.
This archetype is the first to receive archetype-specific support, with members and support for the archetype debuting in Pharaonic Guardian.
The Gravekeeper's Chief and Assailant were present in the anime. The former Duels against Jaden Yuki, giving the Duelist a hard time, but eventually Jaden manages to beat him. After the defeat, he gave Jaden one half of the Shadow Charm pendant, telling him that another person (Atticus Rhodes) has the other half.
The archetype debuted in Pharaonic Guardian, a set that also introduced a ton of Zombie cards into the game, some of which were based on Mummies. This was thematically intentional. Being tomb keepers, their job is to stop Zombies from arising from their graves and causing havoc, and their Field Spell Card “Necrovalley” is designed to specifically counter Zombie cards, as it shuts off any access to the graveyard (ironically enough, with the new errata, “Necrovalley” can actually counter the field spell “Zombie World”).
The "new" "Gravekeeper's" monsters that were released in later sets bear a strong resemblance to members of the Ishtar family, likely because they were Tomb Guardians. Neither Marik nor Ishizu use this archetype in the anime, but both have showcased new and old "Gravekeeper's" monsters in scripted duels.
The key card to the "Gravekeeper's" Deck is "Necrovalley", a Field Spell Card that increases the ATK and DEF of "Gravekeeper's" monsters by 500. "Necrovalley" also stops effects from affecting cards in the Graveyard, like "Monster Reborn" and "Call of the Haunted", and prevents either player from banishing from their Graveyards with cards like "Soul Release". However, "Necrovalley" does not prevent effects that activate in the Graveyard, so cards like "Mystic Tomato" and "Pyramid Turtle" still activate.
Because of the effects of "Necrovalley", this Deck tends to be somewhat anti-meta, countering "Zombie", and to a certain extent, "Psychic" monsters, "Inzektor", and "Chaos Dragon". It is therefore an ideal anti-meta Deck. Because most of the "Gravekeeper's" monsters are DARK they can also use "Allure of Darkness", and other DARK Attribute support cards.
Although "Necrovalley" stops most Graveyard related effects, "Gravekeeper's" have their own support that are unaffected by "Necrovalley", namely "Rite of Spirit" and "Gravekeeper's Stele". "Gravekeeper's Chief" enables your graveyard to be unaffected by "Necrovalley". This enables the use of the effect of "Dark Armed Dragon". Your opponent is also allowed to target your graveyard however, so this could become a disadvantage.
With the Starstrike Blast set release came one of the most important members of the archetype with "Gravekeeper's Recruiter". This monster acts like a "Gravekeeper's" exclusive "Witch of the Black Forest", allowing the player to add a "Gravekeeper's" monster with 1500 or less DEF from the Deck to the hand. The multiple combinations possible with this creature to generate advantage and thin the Deck adds much needed consistency to the "Gravekeeper's" archetype.
With the release of Legacy of the Valiant, the "Gravekeeper's" lockdown becomes even more fearsome. "Gravekeeper's Shaman" can protect "Necrovalley" and at the same time prevent effects that activate in the Graveyard, completely locking down the Graveyard. "Gravekeeper's Nobleman" can call out any "Gravekeeper's" in face-down defence position; it can help bring out "Gravekeeper's Spy" or "Gravekeeper's Guard" and use their Flip Effects, allowing "Spy's" effect to be used to Special Summon high-level Gravekeeper monsters without tribute. "Gravekeeper's Ambusher" can recycle "Necrovalley". "Gravekeeper's Oracle" can destroy any annoying Flip Effect Monster and is a great beatstick with an ATK ranging from 2400 to over 3000. Finally, the "Gravekeeper's" field control is complete with "Gravekeeper's Heretic" who is not affected by any card effects as long as "Necrovalley" is on the field, even "Necrovalley" itself.
The use of "Necrovalley" in this archetype prevents the opponent from using the Graveyard as a resource. Therefore, a very large number of opposing strategies will be at a severe disadvantage while this card is on the field (Zombie, "Infernity", "X-Saber", Dragon, "Blackwing", "Inzektor", etc.). It is also very effective against strategies that rely on banishing cards from the Graveyard to activate their effects.
They also have excellent search capabilities, as exemplified by "Gravekeeper's Spy" "Gravekeeper's Nobleman" and "Gravekeeper's Recruiter". "Recruiter" is especially useful in this respect, creating fantastic combinations with "Gravekeeper's Descendant".
After the latest supports, the Gravekeeper's lockdown strategy became even more fearsome and complete. With "Necrovalley Temple" is now possible not only to recover "Necrovalley" directly from the GY, but also to weaken the opponent's monsters attack and defense by 500 points. "Necrovalley Throne" is now the most valuable searching tool, allowing to search for any "Gravekeeper" monster or to normal summon an additional "Gravekeeper" monster. Also, new monsters like "Gravekeeper's Spiritualist" and "Gravekeeper's Headman" not only give more consistency and recovery power to the deck, but also allow to fusion summon "Gravekeeper's Supernaturalist" that act both as a beatstick and as a "Necrovalley" protector, while also shielding himself and adding extra searching power. Finally, "Hidden Temples of Necrovalley" is objectively the most dangerous card of the deck, preventing the opponent from special summoning any monster except for "Gravekeeper's" monsters.
Their intense reliance on "Necrovalley" and their own effects makes them very vulnerable to opponents who enjoy using Spell and Trap destroying effects and monster card negating effects, so cards to protect "Necrovalley" (such as "Malefic Stardust Dragon"), and traps that can help the player maintain a field and hand advantage over a stronger opponent despite losing access to Monster Card effects amid other things are highly recommended.
"Consecrated Light" is another weakness of this Deck because it is almost entirely made up of DARK monsters. The only good thing is that it still allows you to Set DARK monsters. Luckily, it is only found in the Side Deck of most Decks and cards like "Cyber Dragon" and "Fissure" can be sided to eliminate it. Also, "Gravekeeper's Commandant" can destroy it by battle and you can flip "Gravekeeper's Descendant" and activate its effect.
"Shadow-Imprisoning Mirror" can also be very troublesome for "Gravekeeper's" Decks as it stops the effects of all "Gravekeeper's" monsters other than "Gravekeeper's Commandant" from being used. "Last Day of Witch" and other anti-Spellcaster cards can also cause problems for "Gravekeeper's" since all of them are Spellcasters.
Your opponent may use "Mind Control" on your face-down "Spy" or "Guard" and then Flip Summon them on their side of the field, which is especially deadly in the mirror match as "Spy" will provide field advantage for your opponent. "Guard" could also decrease your field presence and leave you open for an attack.
"Gravekeeper's" Decks most destructive weapon, "Royal Tribute", can put you at a severe disadvantage when Dueling a "Dark World" Deck, as these gain powerful effects from being discarded by an opponent's effect. This can be partly solved by siding them out for Anti-Meta cards, such as "The End of Anubis", "Dimensional Fissure", "D.D. Crow", or "Secret Village of the Spellcasters".
- "Tsukuyomi" can recycle the effects of "Spy" and "Guard"; this is particularly useful with ones activated during your opponents turn. Additionally, it can flip the opponent's monsters face-down so they are unable to use effects, or to make it easily destroyed by battle.
- "Gagagashield" can make any "Gravekeeper" invulnerable to attacks and card effects twice per turn. This card combos well with "Gravekeeper's Descendant" to strengthen the "Spy-Descendant-Recruiter" combo, making this card a +1.
- "Inari Fire" is useful if you want an Xyz Material that can be freely Special Summoned from the hand. He also has a nice effect that allows him to Special Summon himself from the Graveyard if destroyed by an effect.
- "The End of Anubis" is useful in this deck as it works like "Necrovalley" with the added bonus of negating effects in the graveyard.