A question after the ban list. Is it possible that the Dragon Ruler deck is still a player in the new meta?
It’s becoming increasingly clear that the answer to this question is no. Whether or not they’ll be of the highest teir, that’s probably more valid a question. You’d think with so much taken away from them that they’d simply crumble due to their lack of support, when in actuality they have loads of different tools for their use waiting in the wings that simply wasn’t good enough to make it into the competitive builds of what will soon be last format.
So what effective tools do they still have left? If you’ve been meandering around the Yu-Gi-Oh! information web at all recently you’ve been seeing 2 things really keeping this deck intact: Blue-Eyes and Mythic Dragon engines. Both saw a degree of play in Dragon Ruler decks of that past. The benefit that each brings specifically to Dragon Rulers in their maimed state is that they provide a large amount of what I’ll now call “Dragon food”, as apposed to “Chaos food” which fuels Chaos monsters. Now lacking monsters to consistently banish, due to the limiting of each Dragon Ruler, the deck really needs some resources in order to continually use the effects to summon a Dragon Ruler monster from either the hand or the graveyard and it seems the simplest way to do that is to load the graveyard with Dragon-type monsters.
The Blue-Eyes engine is pretty simple, mostly seeing play in Exodia decks. It involves using Blue-Eyes White Dragon and White Stone of Legend (in threes) with the cards Trade-In and Cards of Consonance respectively. This in combination with a couple other Dragon-type Tuner monsters and Level 8 monsters and we have a pretty solid draw engine as well as a graveyard fueling system for Dragon Rulers.
The extra Level 8’s and Tuners are pretty obvious once you’ve decided you want them. Dragon Rulers already naturally desire some level 1 Tuners, which have been seen before, like Flamvell Guard, Dragunity Corsesca and even technically Debris Dragon, but it really hurts to discard a Debris Dragon. There’s even some weird potential Tuners like Labradorite Dragon who can be discarded by Consonance too. The Level 8’s consist of cards like Mythic Water Dragon, Light and Darkness Dragon and Judgment Dragon to name a few. Mythic Water Dragon seems the most obvious since it already works nicely with the deck. Mythic Water Dragon also naturally partners up with Mythic Tree Dragon.
Then, we have the pseudo Dragon Ravine, a card that saw loads of play in the OCG, but oddly almost one in the TCG: Dragon Shrine. Dragon Shrine is a Foolish Burial for Dragon-types that can send two Dragons if the first one is normal type. This gives us a great incentive to run multiple copies of Flamvell Guard since it already has great importance to the deck.
That brings us to a pretty simple engine that can be built upon. This isn’t a hard and fast rule, but if I where to build the deck this would be my backbone I’d start with if I where to be running a Blue-Eyes engine:
- 1 Blaster, Dragon Ruler of Infernos
- 1 Tidal, Dragon Ruler of Waterfalls
- 1 Tempest, Dragon Ruler of Storms
- 1 Redox, Dragon Ruler of Boulders
- 3 Blue-Eyes White Dragon
- 3 White Stone of Legend
- 1 Debris Dragon
- 1 Kidmodo Dragon/Trigon (for Debris)
- 2 Flamvell Guard
- 2 Mythic Water Dragon
- 2 Mythic Wood Dragon
- 3 Trade-In
- 3 Cards of Consonance
- 3 Dragon Shrine
That comes out to 26 cards, leaving players a lot of leeway in the rest of the deck’s build. The draw engine can be a little cloggy, so certain amounts of each draw card may end up getting taken out in the end. For all I know it could end up 1 Trade-In 1 Consonance and 1 Blue-Eyes 1 White Stone, for now though I’ll keep it with this for testing. The question then becomes, what will the be the best cards to run in the other half of the deck? For the rest of the article I’ll discuss some of my ideas I’ve had.
The first thing I thought when dealing with 1 copy of each Dragon Ruler in my Lightsworn deck was that I really wanted a way to get them back from being banished. Banishing them to search is still extremely helpful, since it’s still technically a plus 1 search if you banish from the graveyard, so I still want to banish them. But now, if you banish a Dragon Ruler it’s gone. There’s no searching another copy of itself or waiting to draw the next copy when you search Debris Dragon instead of Tempest. That drew me to 1 of 2 cards: D.D.R. – Different Dimension Reincarnation or Dragoncarnation. D.D.R. can special summon any banished monster by discarding a card. Dragoncarnation adds any banished Dragon-type monsters to your hand at no cost, but it’s a Trap card so it’s slow.
Dragoncarnation is undeniably easier to use. It doesn’t require discarding, which may not be as much of a boon for the deck as it used to now that advantage isn’t simply flowing in and you’re less likely to have a Dragon Ruler in hand. It specifically recurs Dragon Rulers that are banished where they’re otherwise un-usable, but it can also be used as a way to toolbox specific combo cards. For example, with only one Debris Dragon, it’s a one and done deal, but you can easily banish it with a Dragon Ruler and then add it back with Dragoncarnation to make a Rank 7 play. You can also add back specified discards for either Card of Consonance and Trade-In, to make their use more consistent. It also lets you re-combo with the Mythic Dragons in case you only have one of the duo in hand, but D.D.R. can do that too.
D.D.R. on the other hand provides a more imminent threat to the opponent as compared to Dragoncarnation. D.D.R. doesn’t work with things you want in your hand, but it does allow for more combo oriented plays. It makes some pretty obvious Rank 7 XYZ plays; banish a Dragon Ruler for a Dragon Ruler, search, then D.D.R. that banished Dragon Ruler back and make a Dracossack or what have you. There’s also the extremely threatening Blue-Eyes White Dragon, who’ll allow for more prominent use of Rank 8’s or general threat with 3000 ATK. (If you’re really weird you could run Hieratic Seal, the big shine ball one, and revive it continually with Debris Dragon if that tickles your fancy) The Blue-Eyes can also be used to summon Azure-Eyes Silver Dragon with either White Stone of Flamvell Guard, and that things a behemoth. You can even banish Azure once it dies and bring it back D.D.R. as well. No matter how he’s special summoned, he gets his protection effect too, so that would make reviving him with D.D.R. a good way to OTK.
Their are of course many other options in terms of Dragon Food other than just Blue-Eyes and Mythic Dragons. I thought of two different engines of sorts that also could utilize Dragon Rulers or that the Dragon Rulers could utilize based off my experience.
First is Chaos Dragons. This ones pretty obvious because of my efforts with Lightsworn Chaos Dragon Rulers, which combines Dragon Rulers and Chaos Dragons specifically. When thinking of Chaos Dragons, most people immediately start thinking about Lightpulsar Dragon because he’s the deck’s cornerstone, but with the fusion with Dragon Rulers, the new ace becomes Darkflare Dragon. Darkflare Dragon could be easily compared to the now banned Dragon Ravine. Discard a card to send a Dragon to the graveyard. So what’s not to love about that in a Dragon Ruler deck? He can also banish cards from your graveyard or even your opponent’s, which I found an extremely valuable asset against many decks, an example being Fire Kings in which you can simply destroy Garunix and banish it in the graveyard while also setting up your own plays. Banishing from your own graveyard also serves as a tool for searching with Dragon Rulers like I mentioned in my previous article.
The only downside of Darkflare (and friends) is the requirement of LIGHT and DARK monsters. (You could tribute summon him, but that’s slow. There is value in that though because it allows you to more easily side in Electric Virus versus Evilswarms and other Dragon/Machine-type wielding decks) The Blue-Eyes engine provides a lot of LIGHT monsters, which in most cases takes care of that bill entirely. There’s also a lot of XYZ monsters like practically all the Rank 8 XYZ and even Eclipse Wyvern if you’re running REDMD or Light and Darkness Dragon who provide some Chaos food as well. That means we lack DARK monsters. There is of course Darkflare Dragon itself, so once you’ve summoned the first one, you gain access to the rest as long as you don’t banish the first to summon a Dragon Ruler.
There’s not a huge amount of DARK monsters though, but my favorite idea I had was running 1 copy Tri-Horned Dragon or Labradorite Dragon or possibly both if it’s that good. The idea is both of those monsters can be used with one of Trade-In or Cards of Consonance and also they’re Normal Monsters. This is important because it makes it so Dragon Shrine can provide a LIGHT and DARK in the graveyard if necessary. Example: Dragon Shrine sends Tri-Horned, then it sends White Stone of Legend. Add Blue-Eyes to hand with White Stone. You now have a LIGHT and DARK in the graveyard and a Dragon to discard for Darkflare Dragon. Tri-Horned and Labradorite also have some other neat bonuses. First, Tri-Horned can be revived by Lightpulsar Dragon, as well as can Labradorite Dragon. Tri-Horned can also be searched with Eclipse Wyvern, so on the extreme off chance you have a Trade-In and you also want a DARK in the graveyard you can do some obscure Eclipse Wyvern play. (note that Eclipse Wyvern can also search Blue-Eyes White Dragon) Labradorite can also be revived by Debris Dragon, what this brings to the table… who knows? But, I always keep my mind open to options.
The next bit of Dragon Food is Heraldic Beasts. Heraldic Beasts only contain 1 Dragon-type which is Heraldic Beast Aberconway, but it brings a lot to the table by itself. You’ve probably heard my ravings of a mad man before about Aberconway, so this may just be a rehash of what’s been said before, but I’ll say it yet again. Aberconway is first a Dragon-type making it Dragon Food, then it’s a WIND attribute meaning it can be searched off a Tempest banish preferably via Gold Sarcophagus. Aberconway is the king of providing discard fodder as well as a solid Level 4 monster base when you’re in a pinch. I mentioned before that discarding may not be as awesome as it used to be to facilitate D.D.R., but with Aberconway it becomes worth it. With Aberconways alone D.D.R. becomes a massive combo card that allows Rank 4 XYZ, most likely for this deck is Queen Dragun Djinn. Aberconway provides discards for Darkflare Dragon. Aberconway provides discards for Tempest’s in hand effect, which is particularly good with the vast amount of Dragon-types being run in the new Dragon Ruler decks. I would dare say with Aberconway you could even run Phoenix Wing Wind Blast as well. The immediate advantage gained through Aberconways returning to the graveyard also brings up the use of Burial from a Different Dimension.
It’s possible to go even further to maximize the advantage of Aberconway by adding in more Heraldic Beast cards such as Leo, Unicorn and Advanced Heraldry Art. I’ll save you the fine details and just say it’ll provide a constant stream of cards to your hand as well as access to multiple Rank 4 XYZ, which is particularly attractive when thinking about the Evilswarm match-up. Genom-Heritage kind of wrecks Ophion.
Spells and Traps:
I don’t find all too many Spells and Traps to have great synergy with Dragon Rulers. One in particular did cross my mind as a powerful asset that could prove devastating: A Wingbeat of Giant Dragon. For those unaware here’s its effect:
Return 1 Level 5 or higher Dragon-Type monster you control to the hand, and if you do, destroy all Spell and Trap Cards on the field.
It’s like a Heavy Storm, but only for high level Dragon decks. Lucky for us Dragon Rulers have Level 5 and higher Dragons in spades! A very simple way to meet this cards requirements is to summon a Dragon Ruler, a no-brainer. Considering we’re running a Dragon Ruler deck in this example it seems reasonable to me that at all times you’d strive to be able to summon a Dragon Ruler, meaning you always have access to this cards activation requirements.
There’s a couple other more interesting ways to meet this criteria that are beneficial, but more risky. The best, or at least, least advantage losing way to activate this card is using Mythic Water Dragon. If you control any EARTH Dragon-type monster you can special summon Mythic Water Dragon. So if you have an EARTH Dragon, you special summon Mythic Water Dragon, then play Wingbeat heavy storming the field and returning Mythic Water Dragon to hand where you can just special summon it again. You can also make powerful OTKs by bouncing Red-Eyes Darkness Metal back to your hand. This has been shown in decks like Hieratics, where they summon a REDMD in the middle of their combo, use his effect, then play Wingbeat to clear the opponent’s board, and then summon REDMD from hand again and use his effect twice that turn. This is huge because it allows you to put massive damage on the board and also manipulate the levels of your on field monsters to be specific levels. This means easier Rank 7 or 8 XYZ.
There’s plenty of other cards that fit with Dragon Rulers quite nicely. We’ve seen before Plant engines combined with the deck, Mecha Phantom Beasts and even some random Level 7’s.
Plants are interesting. They don’t provide Dragon Fodder, but they do provide elemental fodder for specific Dragons, ex. Lonefire for Blaster, Spore for Tempest etc. This allows more frequent Dragon Ruler hand effects, so plants would be ideal with Dragoncarnation. Plants also provide some interesting Dragon Synchros as well as some nice Debris setups.
Plants where never really a bad deck after the ban list hit them, but now with two Lonefire Blossom they’re certainly worth testing at the very least. If you’re new to Yu-Gi-Oh! or maybe older formats, Plants dominated a format a while back using the “plant engine” as it was dubbed that now looks like this:
- 2 Lonefire Blossom
- 1 Dandylion
- 1 or 2 Spore (kind of a preference thing)
- 1 Debris Dragon
- 1 Foolish Burial
- 1 One for One
This engine is easily added to with cards like Call of the Haunted, to make Call plus Lonefire plays. (Call plus Lonefire yields a Shooting Star Dragon and 1 draw, which is good) Their’s also the newer Crane Crane, which makes some pretty nice Dandylion plays to summon Leviair the Sea Dragon or Meliae of the Trees. That opens up the use of Tytannial, Princess of Camellias, who’s always a great card to have access to. Tytannial can also be discarded with Trade-In as an added bonus, if you opt to run it.
As for Dragons, this provides a little bit of Dragon Fodder in the form of Dragon-type Synchros and lots of elements to fuel Dragon Ruler summons with Synchro laddering. Plants do unfortunately take up a lot of Extra Deck space, so it limits what you can put in their for your Dragon Ruler plays. It also make Debris Dragon a heck of a lot better, so potentially recurring Debris with Dragoncarnation is a good idea with the Plant engine.
Another group of cards that useful for Dragon Rulers is card that become level 7. This aids in the summoning of Rank 7 XYZ so that you can have some better first turn plays and removal options later in the game. There’s probably 4 cards off the top of my head in this category that are that great.
First is Mecha Phantom Beast Tetherwolf and all the Level 4 Mecha Phantom Beasts. Tetherwolf summons a Mecha Phantom Beast Token upon its normal summon that’s Level 3. Tetherwolf and all the Mecha Phantom Beasts gain levels equal to the levels of all the Mecha Phantom Beast tokens on the field, meaning that with 1 Token, Tetherwolf is Level 7. So it’s practically a Level 7 monster, but it makes summoning Dracossack a lot better since it summons a Token pre-Dracossack. It is also an extremely vulnerable card since it gets destroyed by Maxx “C” and Effect Veiler.
In that same vein though, it’s possible to add in a lot of other Mecha Phantom Beast monsters and make an engine to summon Level 7’s with Dragon Rulers to make Dracossacks. The two quickest Mecha Phantom Beasts to become Level 7 are Tetherwolf and Blackfalcon. They both summon a token by themselves pretty easily and become 7. There’s also Blue Impala who can Synchro with Mecha Phantom Beasts in hand for a Machine-type Synchro. It’s a Level 3 Tuner, so it can Synchro with any Level 4 Mecha Phantom Beast for a Karakuri Burei or Mecha Phantom Beast Concoruda. Then, if you have a Tempest, you can banish those two Mecha Phantom Beasts used for the Synchro to summon it and make a Rank 7.
If you’ve read my previous article, you can add in some Karakuri Watchdog Saizan to multiply the combo exponentially using Bureis. This provides summoning food for Redox and Tempest only, but who can complain about having two Dracossacks?
Some other more basic level 7 becoming monsters include Fog King, Fusilier Dragon the Dual Mode Beast and Gagaga Magician.
Fog King is a WATER Level 7 you can summon with none, one or two tributes and it gains different attack depending on how many. With none it’s zero attack but still a Level 7 for XYZ summons. It’s not as vulnerable as Tetherwolf, but it can only provide one thing being Level 7 material. It is WATER, so you can banish it to summon Tidal or summon a Tidal along side it to make a Mermail Abyssgaios.
Fusilier Dragon is kind of the more optimal version of Fog King, but he is DARK and a Machine meaning he provides no food or interesting XYZ options. Fusilier though does have 2800 ATK which can be halved if you summon him with no tributes, and 1400 ATK at least can do damage or survive. Fusilier also works very well with Skill Drain, which boosts his ATK back up to 2800. Whether or not Skill Drain still works with Dragon Rulers is yet to be seen though, but that certainly is an interesting idea to be tested. Fusilier lastly provides Virus fodder, meaning he can be used to activate Eradicator Epidemic Virus or Deck Devastation Virus. You can set Fusilier Dragon with no tributes and his ATK will not be halved and you can tribute him face-down to activate a Virus card. This gives you some nice Side Deck options. Another benefit of both Fusilier and Fog King is that they can facilitate the card Sacred Sword of Seven Stars, which unless you run a lot more Sevens then the Dragon Rulers is not worth it.
Last is Gagaga Magician. He’s pretty clear, becoming Level 7 with his effect. His advantage is he can also become Level 8, and since Rank 8 XYZ play a more intrical role in the new Dragon Ruler builds, this could potentially be helpful, but that’s just me theorizing.
QOTW? Question of the Week:
Do you usually ask for or get Yu-Gi-Oh! cards on Christmas? I never ask for them, but my mom always seems to get me some anyways.
Written by: Kyle
First off merry Christmas too you Justen and Matt.. As far as the QOTW, i got some from the gf last year but in general no… I think the lighttswarn ruler thing is very viable, it destroys the new blue-eyes deck (witch i find underwhelming overall) but my build is different than yours.