Spotlight: Denglong, First of the Yang Zing

Kelly Locke

12/27/2016 11:00:00 AM

Yang Zings were pretty overlooked when they debuted in Duelist Alliance. That's not the case these days, but take a moment to consider where the theme came from. It was hard for anything to stand out in Duelist Alliance against Shaddolls, Satellarknights, and Burning Abyss. Those decks were all far more competitive than Yang Zings; even Ultra Athletes were better. After a rocky start, Yang Zings continued to underperform all the way to the 2015 World Championship Qualifier.

Zefra variants almost brought Yang Zings up to a championship level. Although Zefraniu, Secret of the Yang Zing remains a must-play, Zefras never made it much further than a couple of Regional tops. But Metalfoes were a different story. Yang Zing Metalfoes were almost immediately viable once The Dark Illusion released.

 Denglong, First of the Yang Zing
Denglong, First of the Yang Zing124746
Set Invasion: Vengeance
Number INOV-EN048
Level 5
Type Synchro/Tuner/Effect Monster
Monster Wyrm
Attribute LIGHT 
A / D 0 / 2800
Rarity Ultra Rare
Card Text

1 Tuner + 1 or more non-Tuner monsters
If this card is Special Summoned: You can add 1 "Yang Zing" card from your Deck to your hand. Once per turn: You can send 1 Wyrm-Type monster from your Deck to the Graveyard; this card's Level becomes the sent monster's. If this face-up card leaves the field: You can Special Summon 1 "Yang Zing" monster from your Deck. You can only Special Summon "Denglong, First of the Yang Zing(s)" once per turn.

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Each Metalfoes monster could trigger a Yang Zing's destruction effect and Special Summon Jiaotu, Darkness of the Yang Zing. The extra consistency was a serious boost, and let the strategy be far more proactive.

Enter: Denglong, First of the Yang Zing. With Invasion: Vengeance the Yang Zings gained an outstanding Synchro and a powerful Counter Trap. Both cards are worth talking about, but this week I want to spotlight Denglong specifically. It's an extraordinarily strong card that's not only playable in dedicated Yang Zings, but also in Synchro-heavy decks and other Wyrm strategies.

Denglong, ‘Should Have Been' First Of The Yang Zing
In my opinion Denglong, First of the Yang Zing would have fit perfectly into the 2014 era to keep Yang Zings competitive against Shaddolls, Satellarknights, Qliphorts, and Burning Abyss. I suppose it's a perfect example of ‘better late than never'. Yang Zings are playable now entirely thanks to Denglong, and that's great for all long-time fans of the theme – myself included.

Denglong has three awesome effects that make it the centerpiece of modern Yang Zing strategies. First, you can search for any Yang Zing card when Denglong's Special Summoned. You can grab a monster to set up for plays later, or a Pendulum like Zefraniu, Secret of the Yang Zing or Zefraxi, Treasure of the Yang Zing to complete a Pendulum Scale. Of course, your typical searches are Yang Zing Path, Yang Zing Creation, and Nine Pillars of Yang Zing. The ability to search Yang Zing spells and traps is part of what made Zefraniu so appealing when it was first revealed. This theme has seriously powerful support cards, so searching them greatly improves the strength of the strategy as a whole.

You can use Denglong's second effect to change its Level by sending a Wyrm from the deck to the graveyard, and there's a shocking range of possibilities with that effect alone. A flexible Level helps set up many variations of Synchro, Xyz, and even Ritual Summons. Since Denglong's a Tuner you can also use it to Summon Ultimaya Tzolkin, and in that case you might not even need to change its Level if you're already running Level 5 non-Tuners. Sending a Wyrm to the graveyard as the cost for that effect isn't a waste either; the list of Wyrms that want to be in the graveyard isn't terribly long, but one of them's extremely important: Chiwen, Light of the Yang Zing.

 Nine Pillars of Yang Zing
Nine Pillars of Yang Zing124794
Set Invasion: Vengeance
Number INOV-EN077
Type Counter Trap Card
Attribute TRAP 
Rarity Rare
Card Text

When a Spell/Trap Card, or monster effect, is activated, and you control a "Yang Zing" card: Negate the activation, and if you do, shuffle that card into the Deck, then destroy 1 other "Yang Zing" card you control.

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Like other Yang Zing monsters, Denlong carries a replacement effect that Summons a Yang Zing from your deck when it leaves the field. As far as replacement effects go that's about as good as it gets. Unlike other Yang Zings Denglong can't miss timing, it doesn't need to be destroyed, and it doesn't limit your choice of monster. That addresses my long-time complaint: that Yang Zings are designed to replace themselves, but for whatever reason don't do so when they're used for a Synchro Summon. Okay, that might be a little overpowered.

Finally, consider that Denglong, First of the Yang Zing is generic. It's fair game for Speedroid Terrortop and Speedroid Red-Eyed Dice, Elder Entity Norden and a Level 1 Tuner, or even a classic option like Junk Synchron. You can play Denglong anywhere as a Level 5 Synchro Tuner, or fit it into a deck as part of a Yang Zing engine.

Denglong In Yang Zings
Synchro Summoning Denglong, First of the Yang Zing is often the first step towards a bigger play in Yang Zing Metalfoes. There are plenty of times when you'll be one card short of activating Jiaotu, Darkness of the Yang Zing's effect, but you can correct your hand if you have a Metalfoes monster and a way to make Denglong. Opening with Speedroid Terrortop, a Metalfoes monster, and one Yang Zing card lets you perform the following combo:

- Summon Terrortop and search Speedroid Red-Eyed Dice

- Summon Dice and use its effect to make Terrortop Level 4, then Synchro Summon Denglong and search a Yang Zing card

- Activate a Metalfoes Pendulum effect to destroy Denglong, then use Denglong to Summon Jiatou

You can also Summon Denglong with Instant Fusion, Elder Entity Norden, and a Level 1 Tuner. Either way you'll net another Yang Zing card and set up a Jiaotu play provided you already had at least one Yang Zing to start with.

Alternatively, Denglong acts as a great opening play by itself. Summoning Denglong and searching Nine Pillars of Yang Zing lets you negate a spell, trap, or monster without losing field presence. As a bonus, you can use Denglong and Pillars to immediately make a Synchro Summon on your opponent's turn. After Summoning Denglong and searching Pillars, use its effect to send Chiwen, Light of the Yang Zing to the graveyard. When you destroy Denglong later with Pillars you can chain Chiwen's effect, Summoning it next to whatever monster Denglong Summons.

All Main Deck, non-Tuner Yang Zing monsters have an effect that lets you Synchro Summon during your opponent's turn. After Summoning Chiwen and another monster you have plenty of Extra Deck options available to further disrupt your opponent. For example: you could Summon Bi'an, Earth of the Yang Zing to Synchro Summon Herald of the Arc Light immediately after negating a card with Pillars.

 Herald of the Arc Light
Herald of the Arc Light94571
Set The New Challengers
Number NECH-EN052
Level 4
Type Synchro/Effect Monster
Monster Fairy
Attribute LIGHT 
A / D 600 / 1000
Rarity Super Rare
Card Text

1 Tuner + 1 or more non-Tuner monsters Any monster sent from the hand or Main Deck to the Graveyard is banished instead. During either player's turn, when a Spell Card, Trap Card or monster effect is activated: You can Tribute this card; negate the activation, and if you do, destroy that card. If this card is sent to the Graveyard: You can add 1 Ritual Monster or 1 Ritual Spell Card from your Deck to your hand.

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Herald isn't just another negation – it also carries a banish effect that can seriously disrupt discard-heavy strategies. Using Bi'an makes it immune to destruction by battle, and if your opponent tries to destroy it you'll have the option of negating that card.

Thanks to Denglong, Speedroid Terrortop translates to two negations and a battle-immune blanket banishing effect. It's easy to see why Denglong and Pillars are welcome additions to the theme, and why Yang Zing players might be nervously eyeing a future Forbidden & Limited List. The possible outcomes to this play increase exponentially if you also had Yang Zing Creation set. There's nothing quite like Summoning both Denglong, then Baxia, Brightness of the Yang Zing on your opponent's turn.

Denglong Everywhere Else
You could run Denglong purely as a Level 5 Synchro Tuner, or even as a way to easily play Ultimaya Tzolkin in a Synchro deck. To get the most use from it you'll want to play Yang Zings, but you don't necessarily have to play a full line-up. Check out Torben Wahl's Top 32 Zombie Synchro Hand Loop deck from YCS Bochum. He ran a single copy of Denglong in his build alongside two Jiatou and one Chiwen. His deck was designed to empty his opponent's hand as early as Turn 1, and Denglong helped him do so by comboing with Beast of the Pharaoh to double up on PSY-Framelord Omega. Here's how that could play out:

- Synchro Summon Denglong when you have the chance to make a Level 5 Synchro with Beast of the Pharaoh.

- Special Summon Beast of the Pharaoh from the graveyard with its own effect

- Send Chiwen for later use with Instant Fusion

- Synchro Summon PSY-Framelord Omega with Denglong

- Summon Beast of the Pharaoh again and Summon Jiaotu with Denglong

- Make another Level 5 Synchro, Summon Beast again, and continue making plays

Outside of Synchro strategies I'm enjoying Denglong in post-Maximum Crisis True Kings. The Speedroid engine's enough to make Denglong accessible, and its Level-changing effect doubles as a way to get specific True Kings into the graveyard, and a means to Summon Ultimaya Tzolkin. Tossing a few Yang Zings into the build offers a more reliable stream of monsters to destroy with the True Kings. This deck is a long ways off as far as the TCG's concerned, but it's a great example of Denglong's potential staying power. I'm sure we'll see other Wyrm and Synchro themes in the future that can use it.

Denglong's balanced by its final line: you can only Special Summon it once per turn. You can use its replacement effect twice if you had another copy held over from a previous turn, but you can't trigger its search effect multiple times. Since Yang Zings can Synchro Summon on your opponent's turn you have at least one way to play around that effect. Call Of The Haunted and Oasis of Dragon Souls plays nicely with Denglong, especially when chained to removal.

I'm a huge fan of this card. Don't sleep on it just because it's a Yang Zing; it has huge potential outside of its theme.

Until next time then


Kelly​​ ​​Locke​​ ​​is​​ ​​a​​ ​​West​​ ​​Michigan​​ ​​gamer,​​ ​​writer,​​ ​​and​​ ​​college​​ ​​student.​​ ​​​​ ​​In​​ ​​addition​​ ​​to​​ ​​writing​​ ​​on TCGplayer,​​ ​​Kelly​​ ​​writes a​​ ​​​​personal​​ ​​blog​​​​ ​​covering​​ ​​Yugioh,​​ ​​Destiny,​​ ​​and​​ ​​other​​ ​​hobbies.​​ ​​You​​ ​​can follow​​ ​​him​​ ​​on​​ ​​​​Twitter​​​​ ​​and​​ ​​check​​ ​​out​​ ​​his​​ ​​​​Youtube​​ ​​channel​​.​​ ​​​​ ​​He​​ ​​is​​ ​​currently​​ ​​studying​​ ​​marketing​​ ​​at Western​​ ​​Michigan​​ ​​University,​​ ​​and​​ ​​hopes​​ ​​to​​ ​​graduate​​ ​​before​​ ​​​​Dragon​​ ​​Ravine​​​​ ​​is​​ ​​Unlimited.

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