Leveling The Playing Field — Dragon Rulers

 

rostyThis week I'd like to take a break from featuring the three new blowout decks (Shaddoll, Satellarknight, Burning Abyss). Instead, I'm going to talk about an older deck that I think still has some potential in this format: Dragon Rulers.Dragon Rulers were first introduced in Lord Of The Tachyon Galaxy and have dominated ever since. Patric Hoban piloted them to a first place finish at the NAWCQ 2013, and they went on to win the 2013 World Championship thanks to Shin-en Huang! After the Dragon Rulers were limited to 1 most people gave up on them and they saw minimal to no play in the competitive scene until Admassu Williams and Alyxander Lisgathe decided to pilot them at ARGCS Las Vegas. Both Admassu and Alyx would finish Swiss undefeated before intentionally tying at Vegas. (Admassu piloted the deck all the way to second place!) Later, Tahmid Zaman made the top 8 of NAWCQ 2014, and Admassu Williams piloted the deck to the top 32 of the ARGCS 20k Championship. But once Duelist Alliance came out almost everybody chose to drop the deck for another deck. I think the deck is still very viable.

Unbreakable turn 1 fields

 

One of the scariest things in Yugioh is staring down multiple big monsters on the first turn. Dragons can summon out some of the best extra deck cards in Yugioh such as Divine Dragon Knight Felgrand, Scrap Dragon, Stardust Dragon, Mecha Phantom Beastcraft Dracossack, and others. Not only can this deck drop big monsters, but many of these monsters have built-in protection, or, even better in this format, effect negation. Being able to stop your opponent's plays during their turn without having to rely on trap cards is very powerful.
This deck can consistently summon these monsters on its first turn.

Some of the best trap cards in the game

 

        
Another point in this deck's advantage is that it can utilize some of the best trap cards in Yu-Gi-Oh such as Skill Drain and Phoenix Wing Wind Blast. Skill Drain makes sure that your Dragon Rulers don't go back to your hand during the End Phase, which means you don't need to keep burning resources to summon them each turn. Additionally, Skill Drain makes playing the game incredibly hard for the top three decks this format. Burning Abyss players will not be able to get much value out their Tour Guide or most of their rank 3s (barring perhaps Acid Golem). Satellarknights, similarly, have their entire engine shut down under Skill Drain. The most the can do is use Call of the Haunted and Soul Charge to spam the field with multiple rank 4s, which are not terribly threatening with their effects negated. Shaddolls can still take advantage of their secondary effects, which means that if they can find the opportunity to dump a Shaddoll Dragon to the graveyard, they can pop Skill Drain. For the most part, however, their turn 1 plays are shut down as well, as Mathematician and Armageddon Knight do little to nothing under Skill Drain.
Shaddolls are a tricky matchup, however, because Dragons usually need to summon Extra Deck monsters to keep field presence if Skill Drain isn't available. Dragons are also one of the few decks that can construct a field of Extra Deck monsters that even Shaddolls have trouble dealing with – namely, Felgrand and Stardust Dragon. Winda is too weak to run either over, and Construct's effect to destroy Special Summoned monsters is mandatory, which means that Stardust Dragon is a perfect counter to it.

Phoenix Wing Wind Blast acts as another Compulsory Evacuation Device to get rid of pesky irritating cards such as El Shaddoll Construct, El Shaddoll Winda, Satellarknight Delteros, etc. Phoenix Wing Wind Blast also solves the very irritating card that is Vanity's Emptiness as you can spin it back to the deck, establish a very solid field of your own and now theyre stuck drawing Vanity's Emptiness which may aswell be them skipping a draw phase if they cant deal with your field since odds are they'll get overwhelmed on your next turn or flip Vanity's Emptiness at a mediocre time and have it destroyed that same turn if they have a monster on the field or you have a Mecha Phantom Beastcraft Dracossack, Scrap Dragon, etc.  assuming you established a field anyway.

Deals with established boards

    

This may not matter as much in this format, but when decks like Geargia for example summoned multiple Gear Gigants, or when Sylvans summoned double Felgrand, this deck was one of the few capable of breaking apart those boards. Such decks may fly under the radar and reappear when you least expect them, and having a leg-up on rogue decks is always an advantage.

Can side almost everything
        
Another really great thing about Dragon Rulers is that they can side virtually every relevant floodgate card this format. Between Light-Imprisoning Mirror for Satellarknights, Shadow-Imprisoning Mirror for Burning Abyss and Shaddolls, Stygian Dirge, Rivalry of the Warlords
,Vanity's Emptiness, etc. this deck can cover its bases against all comers making it a solid choice for games two and three!

You can also back up most of your floodgates such as Shadow- Imprisoning Mirror with a Stardust Spark Dragon or Stardust Dragon to make it a very uphill battle for your opponent. Same goes for Light-Imprisoning Mirror with Stardust Dragon.

 

Cons

Dragon Rulers do suffer from a few downsides, however. One major downside is the new draw rule, which hurt this deck more than most others. Opening mix and match combo pieces, such as draw cards without their appropriate targets Ex. opening Trade-in with Flamvell Guard or opening Blue Eyes White Dragon with Cards of Consonance is an even bigger problem than before, which means the deck needs to take a new direction.
You won't always open up with Skill Drain or a big Synchro/XYZ play. In order to mitigate brick hands and help deal with the large number of trap cards that the top three decks currently run, you could consider maining Fire Hand and Ice Hand. Ice Hand also helps solve the problem of Vanity's Emptiness, which is a major blockade for this deck.

 

     
Vanity's Emptiness is currently run at three in most decks. Game one this card can be very scary to play against as most Dragon Ruler builds don't main cards to deal with it. If your opponent somehow manages to deal with your board usually you would just summon your Dragon Rulers back and overwhelm your opponent but Vanity's Emptiness prevents you from doing that and makes it an uphill battle for you. To fix this problem I would recommend maining at least 2 copies of Malevolent Catastrophe as most people do not expect this card game one, and it can single-handedly win games. Most of the games you lose with Dragon Rulers are the games where you were not able to push through your opponent's backrow before your life points reached 0. Malevolent Catastrophe helps you deal with this problem quickly and easily.

Another problem this deck has to deal with is that some decks have started to main a whopping three copies of Dimensional Prisons that is one of the scary cards that this deck has to deal with especially since you only have one of each Dragon Ruler it means you need to be a lot more careful with what you attack with. Ice hand also helps to destroy Dimensional Prison just be careful not to attack with it into an opponents monster if you're reading a Dimensional Prison as being set. If you have Stardust Dragon+ Skill Drain set up it is probably better not to attack with Stardust if you're reading Dimensional Prison set (If you would like more information on making reads refer to my article I wrote a couple of weeks ago Making Accurate Reads). Malevolent Catastrophe also helps solve the problem of dealing with multiple Dimensional Prisons. Do you guys think Dragon Rulers can still compete this format?

 

That's all for this week's article! If you'd like to see me write about a certain topic feel free to message me on Facebook. The Circuit Series stops by Indiana, Indianapolis next on September 20-21.

And as always Play Hard or Go Home!

 

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