- If there was even an ounce of doubt, for even one second, to whether the Dragon Ruler deck would retain it's position atop the Meta after losing several key cards to the Forbidden List, including all of the Discard Dragons being Forbidden, that doubt was quickly erased. The Dragon Ruler deck, just like all great decks throughout the history of the game, was powerful enough to endure. This is what great decks do; they are generally strong enough as a strategy that they will remain powerful, if not remain the best, even after their prime would seem to have passed them by. Through innovation, and adaption, the deck took on a few different changes, and we went through a few different variations, but at this point it is safe to say the deck has settled into what it has become quite nicely. From the standard Dragon Ruler fare, to the Blue-Eyes variant, and of course the Dragunity Ruler version of the deck, the deck not only offers you the strongest choice in the Meta, but the ability to mold the archetype to fit your predilections.* MONSTERS
- Each Dragon has it's own quality it adds to the deck overall, so we will just touch base on these quickly since we should have a grasp on what these guys do at this point:
- RUN 3 Blaster is one of the two best plays to stop on when/if your opponent Maxx "C"s you too early. It is the Dragon's utility removal as well. You can point-for-point with Crimson Blader to get that annoyance out of the way.
- RUN 3 Redox is probably the best Dragon to stop on if your opponent Maxx "C"s you; but it is probably a good practice, when attempting to make a play, to start with Redox in the first place so you are less vulnerable in case of the Maxx "C", or other response.
- RUN 3 Tempest let's you add a Dragon from your deck to your hand by discarding it and another Wind. This is often used just to build resources, and get your colors online.
- RUN 3 Tidal is generally viewed as the worst Dragon since the Discard Dragons were thrown on the Forbidden List since it has 0 natural cards to work in coordination with.* SUPPORT MONSTERS
- Here are your selections which most, if not all, Dragon Ruler decks run at least a lone copy of each. Debris should be ran at two, but Flamvell Guard and Corsesca are generally ran at one, with Corsesca seeing play as a two-of for certain players. These guys are searchable by the Dragon Ruler of it's Attribute which makes them must-haves in your Dragon Ruler deck. Especially when considering that the fact these can be tutored makes Cards of Consonance almost always live. The deck loves to Draw as much as it digs.
- Card Trooper is a preference card at this point. You can run Trooper to help resource build in the early game, and the card it nets you after the fact is nice as well. Card Trooper also serves as a Debris Dragon target.
- Red-Eyes Darkness Metal Dragon is only getting a mention this time around since the card does still see some play; it just so happens to be only in the Dragunity Ruler variant.
- Trigon is the reason that Card Trooper sees less play currently. Trigon is a Debris Dragon target that can be searched via Blaster's effect, and it can be used as fodder for Special Summoning any of the Dragon Rulers. It's a key piece to a big combo, which when you hear players talk about it, they rarely ever get it off in a tourny. It's kind of a buzz card for the deck, but it does deliver a bit more than most hype cards.
- Fog King is a preference card that adds value to the often dismayed Tidal, Dragon Ruler of Waterfalls. Not only can it be used to Special Summon Tidal, but it is a Level 7 as well which can facilitate the Rank 7 play. Also note that Fog King can be used as a simple Synchro play in combination with your Level 1 Tuner Monsters.
- Swift Scarecrow has become somewhat of a Main Deck staple at this point. It can be used to activate the effect of Redox, or be Banished to Special Summon Redox, on top of the fact that it prevents you from getting OTK'd. Just be wary, and don't allow yourself to feel completely safe with Scarecrow in hand since the average duelist is becoming much more savvy and have learned how to "evade" a Scarecrow and still OTK you.
LESS POPULAR VARIANTS
- The Plant variation of the deck has just about been phased out of the Meta conscience mind set at this point, but there will still be players with interest in these cards, and their synergy, with the Dragon Rulers. Dandylion is the one Plant that still sees play, and has seen play in a Premier Event recently, that players can lean on a bit more since Debris Dragon has become much more relevant to the archetype overall. And we all know the synergy between Dandy and Debris.
- The Blue-Eyes version of the deck seemed to have a small life span at the Premier level, but again, it will still garnish some attention. Piloted by Billy Brake, the deck proved to have value versus the Meta, but most players have just grown to lean on the much more consistent, and dependable, Dragon Ruler builds.* DRAGUNITY RULER
- The Dragunity Ruler version of the deck was brought to light early in the format and was deemed a more control based Dragon variant. The Dragunity Ruler deck runs a playset of all of the Dragon Rulers except for Tidal, Dragon Ruler of Waterfalls (Unless of course you are Rocco Tamburlini who Top 32'd YCS London with Dragunity Rulers that Main Decked 3 copies of Tidal). It doesn't matter what version of the Dragon Ruler deck you are playing, Dragon Ravine is a staple at three. The Dragunity Ruler variant just gets more value out of the Field Spell since the deck isn't just limited to the resource building that Dragon Ravine allows. The ability to set-up your colors, as well as, search for Dux, or Phalanx, to make Dragunity plays is just a stellar aspect of the deck. The Dragunity Ruler version of the deck has more advance, technical plays than the standard Dragon Ruler deck so just make sure you study and are aware of the combos, and runs, the deck can make and how to let your decision making get the most out of your in-game scenarios.
- Zephyros and Garuda act as continuation plays for the Dragunity Ruler deck. These are by no means must-haves in the deck, but these two cards have appeared in Premier Event topping decks.
- These first 4 Spells have become the new wheel house of the current Dragon Ruler variants. Regardless of which version you are running, all of these cards will probably show up in your build since they all help to create a pace that other decks generally can compete with if allowed to play unhindered.
- RUN 3 Dragon Ravine has become super important to the Dragon Ruler deck. It's ability to resource build and send the Dragon deck into a coast is just ridiculous. The mirror match can become a Field Spell war where which every player can get to it fastest puts them self into a very good position. While Dragon Ravine is a stellar card for all the variations of the Dragon Ruler deck, it is most important to the Dragunity Ruler deck.
- RUN 1-2 Terraforming acts as an additional copy(s) of Dragon Ravine which helps to ensure you see the cards as quickly as possible.
- RUN 3 Sacred Sword of Seven Stars is just a tremendous card for the Dragon decks. At face value the card is a +1: Activate by banishing a Dragon → Draw 2 cards → Search for the corresponding color; but the fact that it accelerates the deck by three cards is just too good. Needless to say, opening this card helps. Although I haven't seen this play in quite some time, Sacred Sword can be a decent follow-up to an opponent's Maxx "C" in the early game. They go one-for-one on the Maxx "C" and then you get value out of the summon without having to give them any advantage.
- RUN 1-2 (3) Cards of Consonance has found it's way into the Dragon decks since you are generally going to be running at least 4 Dragon Type Tuner Monsters with 1000 or less ATK: Debris Dragon x2, Flamvell Guard x1, and Dragunity Corsesca x1. This changes a bit for the Dragunity Ruler variant due to the deck having Dragunity Phalanx to count on, by the idea is still the same.
- D.D.R. - Different Dimension Reincarnation was a much more prevalent/relevant card at the start of this format since players were still developing the idea of the current variation(s) of the deck. The card has generic value in the deck since you can virtually discard without it being an actual cost due to the Dragons you can pitch, and you will always have lots of targets Banished. The card has fallen off the radar here lately, but it can still be seen splashed into certain players deck just because there is still synergy.
- Gold Sarcophagus isn't as much of a main stay as it was last format when it was at three, but it still offers the deck what it did before. Its just that players don't necessarily feel that is all that important since it is at one and better cards have been found in Ravine and Consonance.
- Upstart Goblin is most synonymous with the Dragunity Ruler version of the deck since it helps to get to key cards, such as Dragon Ravine, much faster. It's a player preference call.
- One of the the strengths of the current Dragon Ruler variants is the fact that they have to begun to run more Traps; and not just more Traps, but more real Traps such as Compulsory Evacuation Device, Mirror Force, Solemn Warning, etc, So, just keep that in mind when building your version since the deck is thriving behind it's near cost-free plays protected by play stoppers.
- There really is no need for an explanation here; these cards are just stupid, and if you can resolve either, or both, before your opponent, watch your opponent flip the table in disgust.
- A fun debate right now is which of these two cards is better? Is it better to Spin the card back to the top of your Opponent's deck since evading Stardust Dragon is nice, or is it better to "permanently" get rid of the problem with Raigeki Break? It comes down to preference really, but I have started to notice these cards being ran in combination for certain players who aim to have the best of both worlds.
- Castle of Dragon Souls is a very interesting tech choice. The fact that it doesn't need to stay on the field to have it's target keep the 700 ATK boost is quite nice, which makes the situations where your opponent blind MSTs it that much better. Also, when activating it you get to Banish a Dragon which allows you to search for a color you may be in need of, or just to have an extra Dragon in general. Castle is also a nice way to push your opponent's Crimson Blader play out of the way in the Damage Step which will set them back a bit. Since plays like Stardust Dragon are weak to the Blader play, this just helps to solidify your position. And after all of that, when Castle is sent, while face-up, to the Graveyard, you get to Special Summon a Banished Dragon. What more could you ask for?
- Reckless Greed sees play almost specifically in the Dragunity Ruler version of the Dragon deck, and it is to facilitate the speed, and advantage, factor.
- Vanity's Emptiness has seen increasingly less Main Deck play since the start of the format, but it is still a valuable asset. If you are not Main Decking a copy, or two, make sure you consider it for your Extra Deck.
- Non Aggression Area is an interesting tech that showed up in Michel Gruner's YCS London Dragon Ruler deck. It was his replacement, or tech choice, for the spot that most would be using for Vanity's Emptiness.
* THE SYNCHRO MONSTERS
- Not only can Crimson Blader be used to secure the game for the Dragon Ruler decks, but it can also be the one card that shuts them out of the game. It's a definite one-of, but some duelists play it as a two-of since it's mirror match value is high.
- Stardust Dragon has seen much more play recently and more specifically for the Draguntiy Ruler deck. Since the Dragon Ruler decks have begun to run more Traps which can protect Stardust, who will in turn protect your field/presence, the play only makes more sense.
- Angel of Zera is a nice tech card that is seeing increased amounts of play currently since it can really shine in the Dragon Ruler mirror match, or the Propechy match-up.
- Since Debris Dragon is as much of a staple as a staple can be now, the Dragon Ruler deck can put this Dragon to use quite easily.
- The other, most common, Level 8's players are turning to for support in the Extra Deck. Scrap Dragon is the one that stands out as the most required of these, although Colossal Fighter is a standard for the Dragon Ruler Extra Deck as well since it can move Blasters and Crimson Bladers out of the way and continue on afterward. Colossal Fighter, Thought Ruler Archfiend and Red Dragon Archfiend are all Eradicator Epidemic Virus/Deck Devastation Virus targets if you are running those cards.
- The Level 6 Synchro play is almost a Dragunity Ruler only play, but both Orient Dragon, and HTS Psyhemuth have seen sporadic play in the Dragon Ruler deck since Debris can team up with Maxx "C" to make the play relevant. HTS Psyhemuth has become a stopping point for the Dragunity Ruler deck when they get Maxx "C"d by their opponent since HTS will prevent them from being Crimson Blader'd out of the game.
- Ancient Fairy Dragon his a big play facilitator that has added value due to it's Field Spell effect.
- Black Rose Dragon has much more importance in the current Meta than it has had for quite some time. Trap Stun has started to see lots of play since a Black Rose Dragon play secured by a preemptive Trap Stun can be enough to outright win.
- These two are Dragunity Ruler only Level 6 Synchro plays. They facilitate the deck's inherent movements and set-ups, while also being a form of resource building as well.
FUTURE SYNCHRO OPTIONS
Light / Dragon / Synchro / Effect / Level 8
- Stardust Spark Dragon
ATK / 2500 DEF / 2000
1 Tuner + 1 or more non-Tuner monsters
Once per turn, during either player's turn (except during the Damage Step): You can target 1 face-up card you control; once during this turn, it cannot be destroyed by battle or by card effects.
Dark / Dragon / Synchro / Effect / Level 8
- Jeweled Red Dragon Archfiend
ATK / 3000 DEF / 2000
1 Tuner + 1 or more non-Tuner monsters
Once per turn, during your Main Phase 1: You can destroy all other face-up Attack Position monsters on the field. Other monsters cannot attack during the turn you activate this effect.
* THE XYZ MONSTERS
- The Xyz aspect of the Dragon Ruler deck has faded; and by quite a lot actually. While the deck still has very little trouble making the Rank 7 play, the play just has less value in the game than it did last format. Now that's not to say to take the Rank 7 play likely, or to over look it, but the fact that the Rank 7 play only takes up about 3-5 spots on average in the Dragon Ruler Extra Deck supports this. Correctly playing Big Eye is still of great importance; especially since most decks are only running one copy.
- While Master of Blades stock has fallen hard with the hype machine, the card still has a small amount of quality to add. Especially for a Dragon Ruler player whose budget is a bit more restrictive.
- Hieratic Dragon King of Atum is a Dragunity only Monster, as well as Constellar Ptolemy M7. Atum is a key piece to the big combo, and Constellar Ptolemy M7 is an alternate stopping point.
* SIDE DECKING FOR DRAGON RULER
- D.D. Crow is an option for the Dragunity Ruler match-up, but since we always want as much value and flexibility from your Side Deck cards, you can also use this in rogue match-ups and match-ups like Infernity.
- Electric Virus can be used in the mirror match, as well, as the Evilswarm match-up.
- Neo-Spacian Grand Mole has been getting some buzz recently from premier events as an option that could outclass Xyz Encore for the Evilswarm match-up.
- Snipe Hunter is a nice option since you can better than average value out of the card since you will be discarding from your hand to your other-hand (your graveyard). The fact that Stardust cannot negate this is a real point of quality for the card as well, making it a solid choice for the Dragunity Ruler match-up.
- These three cards stand out as the best options for the Evilswarm match-up. They all have there individual qualities, so decide for yourself which one makes most sense for you.
- Some players have started to Main Deck copies of Mystical Space Typhoon, usually at two. If you are not Main Decking copies of MST, you should have three in the Side.
- Dust Tornado, Royal Decree and Trap Stun are all choices that have seen play recently, each with it's own quality, to strengthen the decks Game2-3. Trap Stun, however, has seen some Main Deck play, so there is that to consider as well.
- I'm a big fan, as a lot of people are, of Debunk right now. I like it as a three-of, but it is most commonly seen as a two-of. This card can be applied to so many match-ups, including the mirror, which gives the card great flexibility and value.
- Divine Wrath has started to see play for the Constellar, Evilswarm, and most directly, Prophecy match-up.
- DNA Surgery is another option that you can use in the Prophecy match-up.
- Skill Drain allows the Dragon deck an alternate play style, or approach to the game in Games 2-3. You can turn from a semi-combo oriented resource machine into a Dragon beat down deck that attempts to push the weakened opponent out through force.
* PLAYING AGAINST DRAGON RULER
- Kycoo the Ghost Destoyer can be brought in from the Side Deck from a numerous amount of decks, generally rogue'ish style decks such as Blackwings, but if you are a Prophecy player you can Main Deck copies of this guy to slow down the the usage of the resource building your opponent has done.
- Maxx "C" has generic value in the Dragon Ruler match-up, but Effect Veiler and/or Maxx "C" are infinitely better in the Dragunity Ruler match-up since these two cards make your opponent play a much greater cost when they are using that variant of the deck.
- Any deck, or strategy, that can put any of these four cards to use have a great shot at stopping what the deck does best. But just be aware that you will have to protect them and/or push hard which gives your opponent less time to find an out. Jowgen was much more effective last format, but it does still see play in the Prophecy deck; just generally from the Side Deck when it does.
- Evilswarm players: Make Ophion and protect it. Simple enough.
- Number 66: Master Key Beetle offers players a way to lock the Dragon players out of the game, it just requires a bit more than the Evilswarm Ophion play. But, Key Beetle and an Imperial Iron Wall/Vanity's Emptiness can literally shut a Dragon player out of the game.
- These five Continuous Traps (Gozen Match, Imperial Iron Wall, Vanity's Emptiness, Mind Drain, Soul Drain) all intend to stun/counter the Dragon Ruler variants and can be used by a numerous amount of different decks. Some are better than others for certain decks, but I'd say that Imperial Iron Wall probably has the most current value in the Meta.
- Cloak and Dagger is a bit of a gimmick card/tech, but it's one that I enjoy and so I thought I'd mention it. Very few decks will tell you what they are summoning before they do. There are twelve Dragon Ruler Dragons all of which will give you the window to chain Cloak and Dagger in response. Dragunity Ruler will attempt to Special Summon Phalanx via Dux, or it's own effect, and Cloak and Dagger can be chained. If you do test this card know that there are also other decks that you can use this against. Dark World: When they Special Summon Grapha from the Graveyard. Mermail: Abyssteus and Abyssmegalo for instance as well as their copies of Tidal. Prophecy: When they reveal High Priestess, etc. etc.
- Mystical Refpanel was the buzz of the countering Dragons talk for a while. Just note that your opponent is likely to side out their copies of Cards of Consonance which will make Mystical Refpanel less valuable in the match-up, and more often than not hurt the chances of the card being live when you have it.
* DOUBLE DRACOSSACK
Requirements: Trigon (In-Graveyard) + Debris Dragon (In-Hand) + Dragon Ravine (On-Field)
Note: You may not want to activate Dragon Ravine(³) here unless you need to set up your last Dragon Ruler Summon.
- Normal Summon Debris Dragon targeting Trigon → Special Summon Trigon.
- Send Debris Dragon and Trigon to the Graveyard → Synchro Summon Ancient Fairy Dragon(¹).
- Activate Ancient Fairy Dragon(¹)'s effect to destroy a Field Spell Card → Destroy Dragon Ravine(¹) → Gain 1000 LPs → Add a copy of Dragon Ravine(²) from your Deck to your Hand.
- Activate Dragon Ravine(²).
- Discard one card (Depending on the Game State, it may be necessary/preferable to send an Attribute/Dragon) to activate the effect of Dragon Ravine to send 1 Dragon-Type Monster from your Deck to the Graveyard → Send Tempest, Dragon Ruler of Storms.
- Banish Debris Dragon and Tempest, Dragon Ruler of Storms → Special Summon 1 Dragon Ruler(¹) from your Hand or Graveyard.
- Resolve the effect of Tempest, Dragon Ruler of Storms → Add a copy of Dragunity Corsesca from your Deck to your Hand.
- Activate Ancient Fairy Dragon(¹)'s effect to Special Summon 1 Level 4 or lower Monster from your hand → Special Summon Dragunity Corsesca.
- Overlay Ancient Fairy Dragon(¹) and the Dragon Ruler(¹) → Xyz Summon Mecha Phantom Beast Dracossack(¹).
- Activate Mecha Phantom Beast Dracossack(¹)'s effect to Special Summon 2 LV 3 Tokens by detaching 1 Xyz Material (Ancient Fairy Dragon(¹).
- Send Dragunity Corsesca to the Graveyard and remove the 2 Tokens from the field → Synchro Summon Ancient Fairy Dragon(²).
- Activate Ancient Fairy Dragon(²)'s effect to destroy a Field Spell Card → Destroy Dragon Ravine(²) → Gain 1000 LPs → Add a copy of Dragon Ravine(³) from your Deck to your Hand.
- Banish 2 Attribute(s)/Dragon(s) → Special Summon 1 Dragon Ruler(²) from your Hand or Graveyard.
- Overlay Ancient Fairy Dragon(²) and the Dragon Ruler(²) → Xyz Summon Mecha Phantom Beast Dracossack(²).
- Activate Mecha Phantom Beast Dracossack(²)'s effect to Special Summon 2 LV 3 Tokens by detaching 1 Xyz Material.