6/1/2012 10:25:00 AM
Hello TCGplayers! With Galactic Overlord
finally released and the results of YCS Philadelphia in the books, it’s time to take a look at the impact that Galactic Overlord
Judging from the results, not much has changed. Dino Rabbit continued to show its dominance, claiming a whopping five of the Top 8 slots. Yet Chaos Dragons were able to break through the sea of Rescue Rabbit
s and Inzektor Hornet
s, and emerge victorious, with Feng Chen claiming the first victory for the archetype on North American soil. Inzektors, Wind-Ups, Darkworld, and even a lone Final Countdown
and Chain Burn deck round out the list of top performing decks. So is Championship-level competition heading into Nationals going to be more of the same? Far from it.
Much to people’s chagrin, degenerate “gold-fishing” strategies such as Final Countdown
and Chain Burn gained a new friend in Cardcar D
, increasing consistency and drawing more cards with which to stall or burn. Yet the biggest boon from Galactic Overlord
was given to arguably the game’s favorite monster type, Dragons. With cards like Hieratic Dragon King of Atum
, Gaia Dragon, the Thunder Charger
, Trial and Tribulation
, and an entirely new Dragon archetype, Dragon duelists get many new toys to tinker with. Chaos Dragons has easily been the most talked-about Dragon deck, but this week I'd like to discuss a strategy that almost
got to the top cut. The archetype that brings back tributing in a brand new way, Hieratics!
Introduced in Galactic Overlord
, the Hieratics are a series of Light-attribute Dragon monsters which revolve around tributing to either special summon or destroy cards on the field. Most of the Hieratic effect monsters share a common ability, in that when they are tributed (either from the field or the hand), you're able to special summon a Normal Dragon-type monster from your hand, deck, or graveyard.
This extra summon allows the deck to go into powerful Rank 6 Xyz Monsters like Hieratic Dragon King of Atum
or Photon Strike Bounzer
, through the use of the normal monsters Wattaildragon
and Luster Dragon #2
. The Hieratic strategy is highly explosive, yet can succumb easily to disruption such as Compulsory Evacuation Device
, Effect Veiler
, or Bottomless Trap Hole
. They can also be forced to stop in their tracks due to a timely Maxx “C”.
Many duelists have used the Ninja cards introduced in Order of Chaos,
such as Ninja Grandmaster Hanzo
and Ninjitsu Art of Super-Transformation
, in order to add some consistency and a toolbox to Hieratics, but I feel that's a sub-optimal way to run the deck. Hieratics are combo-centric, much like Wind-Ups. While Super-Transformation plays are cute and the added toolbox is nice, they don't help accomplish the end goal of the deck. The build I'll be talking about today focuses on spamming Hieratic Dragon King of Atum
, while also keeping the deck as consistent as possible.
So first things first, let’s start with a decklist!
Monsters (The Things You Tribute!)
In order to get the pieces we need to set the combo in motion, we need to dig for the cards! Cardcar D
, a card that has almost exclusively seen play in Chain Burn and Final Countdown
, is perfect for the job. A Hieratic duelist is perfectly happy barely committing to the field, building just the right hand to kill the opponent. Cardcar D
does everything we want: it thins the deck; draws cards; and can bait out opposing Effect Veiler
s early on, in order make sure Su and Atum go off without a hitch. In this build, Cardcar D
is a must at three because of the consistency it provides.
Each of the Hieratic effect monsters are able to bring out a normal Dragon when tributed, but they also have extra uses that shouldn't be ignored. Hieratic Dragon of Tefnuit
serves as the Cyber Dragon of the deck, and he's how you'll start most of your combos. While Tefnuit can’t make great use of its 2100 ATK the turn it’s summoned, it frees up your normal summon and paves the way for Hieratic Dragon of Su
. You can also special Tefnuit and regularly tribute summon a Hieratic monster from your hand in order to set the chain in motion. This build runs a playset of Tefnuit in order to see it as often as possible.
Hieratic Dragon of Su
is arguably the best of the Hieratic effect monsters. Why is it the best? Su is able to special summon itself by tributing a Hieratic on the field, immediately triggering the effect to grab a normal Dragon. Su's also level 6, the perfect level for going into Atum (Su is going to be the most common way you Xyz Summon Atum). But what’s so critical is that by tributing a Hieratic monster from your hand, Su can destroy a set card on the field. With that ability, Su can clear pesky backrow cards while also serving as a lightning rod for your opponent’s Effect Veiler
s. Run three Su and never look back.
Tefnuit and Su are special summons, so they never eat up your normal summon for the turn. What do you do with it? Like mentioned previously, you can tribute summon a Level 6 or lower monster from your hand, or you can summon Heiratic Dragon of Eset. Eset is a Level 5 Hieratic which can be normal summoned at the expense of making its ATK 1000 instead of 1900. Eset’s effect gives you the ability to change the level of your face up Hieratics to match a normal dragon (either Wattaildragon
or Luster Dragon #2
), which is helpful when you want to Xyz summon Hieratic Dragon King of Atum
. Eset is usually the best use of your normal summon, and it sets the engine in motion if you're missing Tefnuit; again, definitely run three.
The last Hieratic monster in the main deck, Hieratic Dragon of Nebthet
, is only included as a single copy. This version of the deck is centered around Level 6 Xyz monsters rather than Level 5. Nebthet is able to special summon itself the same way Su can, but the true reason Nebthet is included here - despite its awkwardness - is its ability to let you tribute a Hieratic from your hand or field to destroy a monster your opponent controls, clearing the way for your OTK.
is a must-have this format, so we run the full three copies. While Veiler doesn’t help us get to our combo, it can buy crucial time and disrupt your opponent’s plays. Now that there's no more priority for ignition effects, you're able to put a stop to opposing Rescue Rabbit
and Cardcar D
plays. Veiler is just too good not to run, and it's viable against most decks that are popular for tournament play right now.
Rounding out the set of hand traps, we can run the lone copy of Gorz, the Emissary of Darkness along with two Tragoedia
. Gorz is great at stopping pushes and punishing players for overextending. Tragoedia
does double duty here; not only can it Block Attack
s, but the ability to copy levels can break Xyz plays wide open. Hieratic Duelists normally conserve the cards in their hand, so when Tragoedia
drops, it often brings along a 3000-3600 ATK body with it.
Consistency, consistency, consistency! This is the goal the spell package helps round out, with a full three copies of Pot of Duality
. Since Duality was introduced way back in 2010, slower strategies were given a great tool to fix their hands and lay the groundwork for upcoming turns. This is exactly what a combo deck needs, so Duality fits perfectly. A playset of Hieratic Seal of Convocation
is a must, because whenever an archetype is given its own tutor AND it’s not limited, use it!
A playset of Mystical Space Typhoon
along with Heavy Storm
form the basis of the deck’s spell and trap destruction. Staples in every top deck this format, they're essential at clearing problematic backrow cards like Fiendish Chain
and Safe Zone
, and crucial against debilitating side deck cards like Light-Imprisoning Mirror
and Messenger of Peace
used to be one of the cards that defined the Plant mirror matches of last format, and a well-timed one could win games. It's still just as powerful, but it's fallen out of favor even with the continued popularity - and now new accessibility - of Tour Guide From the Underworld
. What makes E-Con so good in Hieratics over other decks, is that it tributes, which triggers the ability of the Hieratic monsters to special a normal Dragon. Not only does it help you work towards the goal of your deck, you get your opponent’s monster in the process to either swing with, or use for a powerful Xyz summon. Enemy Controller
in the main deck also helps you perform like you’re pre-sided for Chaos Dragons, which can be a difficult matchup for Hieratics due to their big attackers. But just steal their Red-Eyes Darkness Metal Dragon
, shut off the Lightpulsar Dragon
soft-lock, and go for game! Enemy Controller
's amazing: definitely run three. It should also be noted that E-Con can help you get around Evolzar Dolkk: you can steal it and force it to negate its own effect to get rid of it, or use it as part of your push.
The spell lineup is rounded out by Monster Reborn
and Dark Hole
, along with Book of Moon
for a bit of protection, but consider this the “flex” spot where you can add in whatever tech you like. I’ve personally been testing Monster Gate
with much success, since hitting anything besides Effect Veiler
is really solid.
One lone Treacherous Trap Hole
brings the main deck to 40 cards. The advantage of running so few traps is that it makes your opponent’s Mystical Space Typhoon
s and Heavy Storm
dead cards in hand, or even better, on the field where they can lock themselves out of Gorz. Treacherous Trap Hole
serves as a great one-of which can clear your opponent’s fields in a pinch. This is another flex spot, so feel free to try your own personal tech picks here if you like.
| Hieratic Dragon King of Atum
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2400 / 2100
2 Level 6 Dragon-Type monsters // Once per turn: You can detach 1 Xyz Material from this card; Special Summon 1 Dragon-Type monster from your Deck, and make its ATK and DEF 0. This card cannot attack during the turn you activate this effect.
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Now that we’ve taken care of the main deck, it's time to look to the side!
has quickly become a staple in side decks since Chaos Dragon rose to Championship-level status. The reason for three in the side deck is that it's great not just against Chaos Dragons, but Dino Rabbit and the Hieratic mirror match as well. Dino Rabbit can be a very difficult match-up, since Laggia can shut down a critical Xyz Summon. But with Enemy Controller
to take care of Dolkka, why not just take their Laggia when they feel safe and push through their backrow? Electric Virus
enables so many OTKs and can often give you the Dragon monster you need to fuel your own Red-Eyes Darkness Metal Dragon
More hand traps are included in this side deck, with a pair of D.D. Crow
and Battle Fader
. D.D. Crow
is for those pesky Wind-Ups (to stop the Hunter loop) and Inzektor combos. Maxx “C” has also proven to be very successful in this spot as well, and does double duty against the mirror match. Battle Fader
is amazing against Chaos Dragons and the Hieratic mirror, as it buys you a turn so that you can push back even stronger. Swift Scarecrow
is the other hand trap to use in this spot, since it's immune to Solemn Warning
, and you won’t have a monster on the field to clog up your Hieratic Dragon of Tefnuit
exploded at YCS Philadelphia as the go-to card for Chaos Dragons, causing Lightpulsar Dragon
to miss the timing on its effect (Soul Taker does the same thing to Elemental Hero The Shining
, too). Much of the side deck is devoted to Chaos Dragons, but spot removal is always good in a pinch. Soul Taker
is a highly versatile card, because unlike Smashing Ground
, you get to pick the target: it's great if you’re staring down a Wind-Up Zenmaines
and another monster you just want off the field.
is included to protect your Dragons from common side deck cards like Bottomless Trap Hole
and Dimensional Prison
, and can protect your monsters from a timely Torrential Tribute
. Lance also has the versatility of lowering a monster’s ATK, allowing Hieratic you to get over things you wouldn't be able to otherwise.
Finishing off the side deck are three Trap Stun
and one Royal Decree
, but the Decree can be considered a flex spot, and you can use another Forbidden Lance
, Forbidden Chalice
, or other card of your choice if you wish. Trap Stun
is so good: it’s chainable, and doesn't remain on the field (so it can’t be stopped by Mystical Space Typhoon
like Decree can be). The biggest strength of Trap Stun
lies in the fact that it can freeze your opponent’s backrow, locking them out of a Gorz which would otherwise save their life.
Other notable side deck cards are Ojama Trio
and Macro Cosmos
. Trio can clog opposing fields and give your opponent a monster to let you Special Summon Tefnuit. Hieratics can play Macro really effectively, since you can still go off under its effect, while stopping opposing Effect Veiler
s. It's also an all-around good card against Inzektors and Chaos Dragons.
This version of the deck really just wants to sit around and sculpt the perfect hand through means like Pot of Duality
and Cardcar D
, waiting to explode while also disrupting your opponent. You usually want to wait until you have a starting monster (Tefnuit or Esest), and at least two extra Hieratics, normally one being Su, and an Eset to take up your normal summon if you haven’t already used it. This extra bit of security can help you fight through Effect Veiler
s in the case that your initial Hieratic Dragon of Atum gets negated.
Depending on your matchup, you either want to end with a Photon Strike Bounzer
or Number 25: Force Focus
on the field. Photon Strike Bounzer
is great against Inzektors, since they can't activate any of their abilities and are forced to try and use Giga-Mantis and Sword to get over your guys. Force Focus can really hinder Chaos Dragons, since it stops Chaos Sorcerer
, Red-Eyes Darkness Metal Dragon
, and even Black Luster Soldier - Envoy of the Beginning
(until it attacks, that is).
Also, when you feel you're ready to make a push and take your opponent out, make sure you can! Don’t be afraid to try and start a small combo in order to bait opposing Veilers and backrow cards; this is all so that your final push really is final. So many times, Hieratic Duelists come up short and succumb to a devastating Dark Hole
. Hieratics needs alot of cards in hand to function properly, so once you put them all on the field, you better make that kill: the deck doesn't have the same resiliency to removal like Chaos Dragons have thanks to Lightpulsar Dragon
- Inzektors are normally a good match-up, because not only do you not commit to the field and give them things to blow up with Hornet, Rank 6 Xyz Monsters really put in work against the bugs. Photon Strike Bounzer
can be incredibly difficult for Inzektor Duelists to run over, especially with its 2700 ATK.
- Dino Rabbit falls here as a generally bad matchup, since Laggia and Dolkka can really mess with your combos. But if they're unable to kill you quickly, you can often run opposing Rabbit Duelists out of defensive options and force them to topdeck. Every card you play against Rabbit counts: you need to grind away their cards at as low of an expense to yourself as possible. Chaos Dragons can prove to be difficult Game 1, as your backrow destruction is dead, and their monsters are just big enough that you can’t get over them. Yet cards like Enemy Controller
in the main help alleviate this problem, and once Electric Virus
es and Battle Fader
are brought in from the side, a generally weak matchup turns into a strong one.
- Wind-Ups and Dark World are the bane of Hieratics' existence. Wind-Ups, even though they're another combo deck, can go off a bit faster and deplete your hand, the vital resource for Hieratics. By the time you’re able to restore your hand to push back, you’re too far behind and are susceptible to an OTK. Dark World can also be a horrible matchup, since they attack the hand and disrupt your setup, while also having a recurring 2700-3000 ATK beater in Grapha, Dragon of Dark World. Yet against both decks (well all decks), if you feel you're able to make a substantial push and establish field presence, take it. These match-ups are somewhat alleviated by the side deck, but Effect Veiler
is still your best defense against Wind-Ups, while D.D. Crow
can help take care of Grapha.
I’ve only highlighted one build of Hieratics here, but there are many different avenues of attack that you could take. Tour Guide From the Underworld
works great in here, mostly due to just how powerful she is, as well as her synergy with Enemy Controller
. By adding Tour Guide and Sangan
(in place of Cardcar D
and Pot of Duality
), you can play power cards like Black Luster Soldier and Pot of Avarice
You might also try the Ninja route with Ninja Grandmaster Hanzo
and Ninjitsu Art of Super-Transformation
, to tutor for the Appropriate
Hieratic monster. This build, although a good bit slower and more vulnerable to Veiler, can really help get rid of problematic monsters and immediately get you to the monster you need most.
Both of these strategies up the Dark monster count, so you could even try to add Lightpulsar Dragon
as a boss monster that synergizes nicely with Red-Eyes. Doing so also provides some level of field wipe protection, similar to the strength of Chaos Dragons. Run what build you’re most comfortable with, as each has their own strengths and weaknesses.
Well that’s all I have this week on the Hieratic archetype. Hopefully I was able to successfully give this deck the attention it deserves! Feel free to try out your own tech, since the core build is really flexible. Don't underestimate these Dragons going into Nationals, or you'll be in for a rude awakening. Test hard and prepare well, readers!