3/8/2011 9:43:00 AM
...Because it had to happen sometime, right?
I promised myself I wouldn't write about Dragunities every six weeks. Just last month I was talking about a pre-SDDL build, so I really thought I'd focus somewhere else for a while. At some point you get tired of reading the same old stuff, right?! That's what I thought
, but apparently you guys had other ideas. All week, my facebook inbox has been flooded with Dragunity deck lists and requests for advice, ranging from casual and OCG players all the way to YCS Day 2 alums. There are a lot
of people out there who are excited about Dragunities now that the last pieces of the deck have been released in Structure Deck: Dragunity Legion
, and most Duelists are still pretty new to the theme. I'm in a bit of a unique position, having owned and fervently experimented with OCG builds since the Dragunities debuted in Japan over a year and a half ago. And as the PM's and e-mails have stacked up, I've finally gotten to the point where I'm just going to do a better job of helping people out by writing a complete article.
So let's talk about what Dragunities bring to the table. Alot of Duelists get the gist of the Deck, but few seem to really have the finer points. The deck's honestly not that tough, but you need a bit of experience to fully appreciate the details.
So What Do The Dragunities Do?
Like Nordics and Scraps, the Dragunity deck seeks to make fast, efficient Synchro Summons. By “fast,” we mean that this deck can make strong Synchro Summons very early; and by “efficient,” we mean it can do it without losing much (if any) card presence. Nordics have Tanngnjostr of the Nordic Beasts
, and Scraps have Scrap Chimera
: each is their answer to Debris Dragon
, and at this point, both cards are (in my opinion) superior to Debris. Dragunities have Dux: paired with Dragunity Phalanx
and Dragunity Knight – Vajrayana, Dux is a 1-card gateway to any un-themed Level 6 or Level 8 Synchro Monster you want, and a few on-theme Level 6's that can't be found anywhere else. The deck has very little access to Level 7's and thus Black Rose Dragon
, but it's great at dropping Brionac and Stardust.
And Stardust Dragon
is really a big deal here. Straight-up, beyond the general “speed and card economy” line that I think everybody knows by now, this deck is all about dropping Stardust on turn 1. To do that, you'll need either Dragunity Dux
in hand plus Dragunity Phalanx
in the yard, or a hand of Phalanx and the new Dragunity Arma Mystletainn. With the search power of Dragon Ravine, you can accomplish a first turn Stardust with shocking consistency, and you want to max out on Ravine and Terraforming
to make sure that happens. A first turn Stardust Dragon
means that you can protect Ravine and any monster removal you have: that removal protects Stardust in turn, should your opponent have an out to it. From there you grab another Dux with Ravine next turn and throw down another Level 8 Synchro Summon, while Stardust protects that extension from defensive traps. The strategy snowballs really quickly, as Ravine keeps searching cards and Pot of Avarice
gets you more draws. Remember: there is no Goyo Guardian sitting on the sidelines
, telling you not to make overly-aggressive Stardust plays anymore. The worst that can happen is that your opponent destroys Stardust, and believe me: nine times out of then, they're working alot harder to make that happen than you did to set it up. Meanwhile, DragunityLegionnaire
and Icarus Attack
keep your opponent off balance and stop him from developing big answers to your set-up.
That's what this deck is about
: a strong opening that blossoms into a commanding early game. You want to do everything you can to ensure that the deck starts every Duel on the right foot, and understanding that goal is paramount to your success. There are some big, flashy cards and combos in this theme that don't fit your early game plans; and while they can be alot of fun, they just aren't the strongest choice for real competition. With those guidelines and talking points in mind, here's my build:
Inevitable Dragunities – 40 Cards
2 Dragunity Arma Mistletainn
3 Dragunity Dux
3 Dragunity Legionnaire
3 Dragunity Phalanx
2 Dragunity Aklys
1 Dragunity Brandistock
2 Effect Veiler
3 Dragon Ravine
3 Cards of Consonance
2 Pot of Avarice
1 Book of Moon
1 Dark Hole
1 Giant Trunade
1 Monster Reborn
1 Mystical Space Typhoon
2 Solemn Warning
2 Bottomless Trap Hole
2 Icarus Attack
1 Solemn Judgment
1 Mirror Force
It's easy to get carried away with Dragunities, but Ojama Week was last week – this Deck is built to minimize risk; maximize our chances of repeatedly making our best plays; and avoid unnecessary complications. We're going to discuss this deck with the assumption that you're already familiar with the basic plays, like Dux>Phalanx>Vajrayana>Phalanx>Level 8, and Legionnaire + Aklys. If you aren't familiar with the strategy, check out my previous writings both here
and on the official Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG website
for a crash course or two, then check back. The Deck list presented above may raise some Question
s for you, so let's talk about the big, not-so-obvious moves, and then talk about the options I haven't
included and why.
Straight up, the biggest eyebrow-raiser for most people is the use of Mystletainn. Dragunity Arma Leyvaten is a bigger, flashier card, that very obviously combos with Dragon Ravine since it can be Special Summoned from the Graveyard. At Level 8 and 2600 ATK, plus an interesting effect, it's a tempting card. The problem is that Level 8 is already your magic number. In order to bring Leyvaten out you'll usually have to do one of two things:
-Send it to your Graveyard and remove an equipped Dux or Legionnaire from the game to Special Summon Leyvaten. The only way this isn't a relative minus is if you draw Leyvaten and discard it for Ravine's effect – an uncommon occurrence, since you usually just want to run a single Leyvaten because
it's yardable with Ravine. If you run multiple copies of Leyvaten, you risk dead draws.
-Normal Summon Dragunity Aklys, then use its effect to Special Summon Leyvaten and attach Aklys to it. This only happens if you draw Leyvaten (which is again, unlikely), and when you do it, you're forced to attach Aklys instead of getting a different Dragon from your Graveyard. This isn't exactly a minus in terms of card presence, though it might as well be: Aklys is pretty useless both as an equip spell, and as an inevitable Special Summon when Leyvaten bites the dust. Note that this method of Summoning is worthless if you're going for the Light and Darkness Dragon
And oh, that combo. Tempting, isn't it? “Yes, step right up, sir!, and YOU could be the owner of an indestructible 2600 ATK beatstick! Take it down; smack it around; POUND AFTER POUND!, your Leyvaten WILL come back from the Graveyard time and again!”
...And all it'll cost you is every other card you control when LaDD blows your field. The list of outs to a LaDD / Leyvaten combo is slim, but sadly it includes Brionac. And if your field is bare of answers thanks to LaDD's histrionic tantrums, you're extremely vulnerable to Brionac's effect: they'll bounce LaDD; they'll bounce Leyvaten; and then they'll press on you for game. So much for your invincible Level 8, huh?
So Leyvaten is frequently a minus; often trumped by a card everybody runs; and usually requires you to play cards you wouldn't run otherwise (like LaDD and a third Aklys). That might all be acceptable in a different deck. The real problem is that we have better moves
. In fact, we even have better Level 8's. Think to yourself: would you like to Normal Summon a Dux for a Level 8 Synchro Summon without losing card presence, or would you rather run slightly inferior cards to bust out Leyvaten? Of course you pick Dux. If you're going to risk a potential minus, would you rather do it for a Level 8 Synchro Summon with Mystletainn, or would you choose Leyvaten instead? Again, you're going to pick Mystletainn. Mystletainn gives you more options for less risk, and unlike Leyvaten, it helps you set up those early game situations you want to create. Leyvaten doesn't do that: he's not a team player, and he kind of just does his own thing. And that “thing”, all too often, is “losing to Brionac”.
Though Mystletainn is very similar to Dux, it actually fills some important gaps while providing precious redundancy. For instance, consider these opening hands:
1 - Dragunity Dux
, Dragunity Phalanx
, Dragon Ravine, [3 other cards]
2 - Dragunity Dux
, Dragon Ravine, Cards of Consonance
[3 other cards]
3 - Dragunity Phalanx
, Dragon Ravine, [4 other cards]
All three of these openings will allow for a first-turn Stardust Dragon
. With no card loss, to boot! But remove Dragon Ravine, and even the hands where you open with both Dux and Phalanx, have no live Synchro Summon plays on Turn 1. You wind up having to Set Phalanx so you can try for Dux next turn; that leaves you open to Bottomless, Warning, and anything else that could stop you. You're playing a turn behind, making your first Synchro on Turn 2 instead of Turn 1. That might not seem like a big deal, but it means your opponent has way more answers. It also means eating an early -1 if Phalanx is destroyed, with no guarantee that you'll recover and get a Synchro out of it.
Now consider hands 1 and 3 above with no Ravine, but with
1 - Dragunity Dux
, Dragunity Phalanx
, Dragunity Arma Mystletainn, [3 other cards]
3 – Dragunity Phalanx
, Dragunity Arma Mystletainn [4 other cards – even Dux]
Without Mystletainn, these hands would normally fall short of a Turn 1 Synchro Summon. You'd have to take that risky minus play of Setting Phalanx and hoping for the best. But with Mystletainn in the mix, you can Normal Summon Phalanx; yard it to Special Summon Mystletainn; and then bring back Phalanx for a Level 8 Synchro. You still take a -1 as you consolidate Phalanx and Mystletainn into a single Synchro, but you're guaranteed
your Level 8 Synchro Summon: you make that Synchro on Turn 1 instead of Turn 2. And that's a big deal.
Mystletainn becomes much more than a simple -1 into a Synchro, too: just pair it with Legionnaire or Dux and you get some awesome moves. Consider the standard Dux play with a Phalanx in yard, but add an in-hand Mystletainn:
-Summon Dux. Special Summon Phalanx. Now, instead of Tuning
Phalanx to Dux immediately, yard it for Mystletainn. Use Mystletainn to Special Summon Phalanx and you're back on track: Tune Phalanx to Dux; make Vajrayana; Special Summon Phalanx; Tune it to Vajrayana, and make your Level 8. Now you've taken your standard Level 8 Synchro Play, but you've also added an additional 2100 ATK Special Summon to the field – without taking any card loss. You can even unleash multiple Mystletainns in a single turn with this trick, pressing much harder than your opponent will typically expect.
It's a great combo with Legionnare, too. Normally, when you Summon Legionnaire and use its effect to grab and then sack off a Dragunity, you'll destroy a monster for a quick +1 (or a +2 if you used Aklys). The problem is that you now have a 1200 ATK Legionnaire begging to get whacked next turn. If you have Icarus Attack
, and your opponent gives you two targets to blow away, you're golden: you'll leverage Legionnaire and Icarus into as many as four
card destructions, which is a Duel-crushing combo. But with Icarus Attack
now Semi-Limited, that just doesn't happen all the time. And if you're up against a monster like a Gladiator Beast, or even Blackwing - Shura the Blue Flame
, having that weak Legionnaire out front is asking for trouble.
So it's Mystletainn to the rescue. Take that +1 or +2 the Legionnaire got you, and you can make an acceptable -1 sending Legionnaire to the Graveyard for Mystletainn. Even if you didn't have Aklys and only scored the basic +1 with Legionnaire's effect, you'll break even in card presence as you transition into Mystletainn and then a Level 8 Synchro. And what do we call free Synchro Summons in this deck? We call them Dux. God forbid you scored the +2 with Legionnaire and Aklys; used Aklys to take out the opponent's back row; and then went for Mystletainn. In that case, you score a plus even if your opponent has a Bottomless – and if they have a second monster for your Level 8 to run over, you make a +2 play that leaves you with your Level 8 Synchro Summon. Brutal stuff.
And that's why we play Mystletainn, instead of Leyvaten.
Moving Right Along
When you get dug-in with Stardust and Ravine, the only thing that can really stop you is Brionac. And while you've got Stardust to protect Ravine from Gyzarus and Hyunlei, GB's and Sabers still have ways of pressing those cards through you at times. Cut them short: just play Veiler. It works really well with Pot of Avarice
, it shores up your early game, and it's amazing against what appear to be the top decks right now.
And yeah – Avarice. I'm not sure why so many people shy away from it. Between Ravine and your Synchro Summon sequences (a single Dux / Phalanx play loads up to four monsters in your yard), you have no problem getting to five monsters and beyond: it's pretty rare that you'll have to shuffle back the low-level Dragunity Tuners that you'd rather keep in your graveyard. Meanwhile, it returns Dux and Vajrayana to their respective Decks, ensuring that you can do your best moves over and over. It's an easy plus that also reinforces your central strategy, and since we've built this deck pretty conservatively in terms of potentially dead cards, we can afford to play two copies.
Instead of maining a second Mystical Space Typhoon
, we're going a bit heavier on the monster removal . That's because this deck thrives on that high-defense early game with Stardust plus a defensive trap card. The older Dragunity Decks relied purely on simplification: they wanted to make 1-for-1 trades over and over, so that when they busted out a Dux and thus a free Level 8 Synchro, it would stick around as long as possible. That isn't as important now: the deck can make bigger, more surprising pushes, and its higher level of consistency and access to Level 8's means it can be played with more of a control style in mind. But still: simplification doesn't hurt. If your opponent can't keep monsters on the field, or minuses once or twice when they try to Synchro Sumon, then victory is academic. This deck is all about closing off options for your opponent, and nothing does that better than keeping their monsters off the table. With that said, you will
want to side that second Mystical Space Typhoon
, especially for when you go second. And you may want to reconsider it for your main if Gravekeepers still see heavy play in your area.
And That's Really It
This deck is focused, and despite the knowledge of branching play options it requires, it's not really that complicated. It takes some experience, especially when your draws stall you out or you have to make the call between continuing to develop your offense, or making a Legionnaire play. But once you get a decent handle on it, there aren't alot of beguiling situations where you won't know what to do.
So if you're looking for my advice on Dragunities, it's pretty much all here: Leyvaten's overrated, Mystletainn's underrated, and your chief goal is a blazing turn 1 and early game. Dragon Ravine is tremendous and you want to do everything you can to get to it, and you want to minimize risk as much as possible. Don't over-complicate things: your most basic plays are by far your strongest, so focus on those and build from there. Dragunities could very well become a tournament-level deck, but it's up to you to temper their potential into a realistic, streamlined force.
Do that, and the sky's the limit.