Dragon Rulers are quite possibly the most dominant deck in the history of the game, rivaling Tele-DAD in terms of number of top cut spots in any given tournament. While we can certainly agree that some form of Dragon Rulers is the best deck, there is a debate between which form of Dragon Rulers is the best. Ever since I premiered the Dragunity Ruler deck at YCS Toronto, it has taken off and usually takes the second most spots in top cut. Today I’d like to take some time to argue for why I continue to play the deck and why I think the deck is better than the standard version, despite numbers suggesting that it might only be the second best deck.
Debunking a Misconception
I’ve had this debate on which deck is better with several players and one of the most common answers for why Dragons is better is because Dragunity is too weak to [ccProd]Maxx “C”[/ccProd]. I’d like to go ahead and say that not only do I find Maxx “C” not to leave Dragunity weak, but I find Maxx “C” to be weak against Dragunity.
Let’s start out by looking at this from a comparative standpoint. Maxx “C” hurts Dragon Rulers in essentially the same way it hurts Dragunitys. Maxx “C” is only relevant when you can be [ccProd]Crimson Blader[/ccProd]ed after it was used so if you Maxx Redox or Blaster in either deck, it will have no effect. If you summon Tidal or Tempest in Dragons or Tempest in Dragunity, you can be Maxx “C”ed and then put under Crimson Blader. In this scenario, both decks run the same number of traps to defend against Crimson Blader. Where Maxx “C” would hurt the most would be against[ccProd]Debris Dragon[/ccProd] in Dragons and Dux in Dragunity. In both of these scenarios, players have the option of allowing one extra draw to prevent from being Crimson Bladered. It appears that both of these decks are very similarly situated when it comes to this.
Now people seem to be under the assumption that Maxx “C” is good against regular Dragons as well, and while I don’t find this to be the case, I find it even worse against Dragunitys. Through Mystletainn plays, Dragunitys are able to set up a threatening field quickly. Under normal conditions, this would amplify Dragunity’s weakness to Maxx “C,” but because it is searchable this is not the case. If we do get Maxx “C”ed, it is unlikely that we have the 1 copy in our hand which would amplify how much “C” hurts. If we do not get Maxx “C”ed, we may still have access to it through the 1 copy, Gold Sarcophagus, or 3 Tempest which means that it’s a 1 of when we don’t want it and a 5 of when we do want it. If we are in one of the scenarios where we do want it and put up a field of M7 and Stardust backed with at least 1 trap, Maxx “C” becomes a huge liability for the opponent. It is very possible that they did not have Maxx “C” in their opening 5 cards and then drew into it as either their 6th card, or as a draw off of Cards of Consonance or Dragon’s Ravine. In both of these scenarios, Maxx “C” has a negative effect as they only have 5 other cards to deal with the threatening board. This is why I find regular traps to be more effective against Dragunity than hand traps.
Combo Deck v. Non-Combo Deck
The first reason I want to give as to why Dragunity is better than Dragons deals with how each deck fundamentally plays. Dragunitys are a combo deck and Dragons are not. Dragunitys attempt to do the same thing every game and are very consistent with it as every combo piece is searchable, ran in multiples, and there are lots of draw cards played. This type of consistent and repetitive behavior is exactly what you want when you enter a major tournament. There are no surprises as every hand plays out pretty much the same way.
Now this is really going to depend on how you look at it because if you’re doing the same thing every game, you’re not going to have that much room to do different things. Dragons are much more versatile than Dragunitys and have a lot more options available to them. Now on the surface, options would appear to be a really good thing to have and this is going to be difficult to argue because it’s very counterintuitive. I actually think it’s better to do the same consistently powerful plays every time than to have a wider range of less powerful plays. If your same play that you are making every time yields a good result, why do you need all of those extra options? What cost do these extra options have? I’d argue that it’s possible for those extra options to weigh you down and negatively affect you. The worst hands in both decks are the all monster hands. Sure, your Debris Dragons may give you a wide range of options, but it results in you playing more monsters overall. That means that you’re going to see all monster hands and heavy monster hands in your 23 monster deck than I will in my 15 monster deck. Another example is Tidal. You may have a 4th Dragon available to you when your deck gets going, but the number of times you straight draw 4 Dragons together is going to happen a lot more than in Dragons than it would in Dragunity. Heavy Dragon hands, even with matching elements, are some of the weakest hands the deck can produce. I find it more effective to have less options, but a more consistent deck overall.
Too Many Normal Summons
Dragons play more normal summonable monsters than Dragunitys do. Dragons typically play 1 Flamvell Guard, 2 [ccProd]Dragunity Corsesca[/ccProd], 2 Debris Dragon, and 0-2 [ccProd]Card Trooper[/ccProd]. That’s anywhere between 5-7 monsters that you have to normal summon. Dragunity only plays the 3 Dux. Any time you have 2 normal summonables in your hand together, you’re at a -1 for the turn as it’s not contributing anything. That’s going to happen more if you’re playing 5-7 than if you only play 3. Sure, sometimes these are mitigated by Dragon effects such as Blaster discarding Guard or Redox discarding Trooper, but these effects are very fair and underwhelming. I’d typically rather forgo Tempest search or Blaster pop and just have another card in its place that would further my actual strategy.
I feel like I have to mention this. While I’d almost certainly play Upstart if I played regular Dragons, it seems to be the norm to not do so. Because of this, I’m going to draw more consistently with my 37 card deck than you will with your 40 card deck. I’m going to see Sword more, Return more, Ravine more, I’m going to get to my side deck cards faster and see all of my other power cards more often than you will by playing a lower minimum.
Sees more Cards
While we’re on the topic of getting to your power cards faster, Dragunity does that better than Dragons in other ways. While playing the lower minimum, it plays the same draw cards as regular Dragons, but it also plays 3 [ccProd]Reckless Greed[/ccProd]s which means I’ll see more of my power cards than you will.
Ravine does More
In Dragunity, [ccProd]Dragon Ravine[/ccProd] does more than it does in Dragons. It allows me to have a level 8 synchro without using any of my Dragon effects, while still able to do everything it does for regular Dragons.
How Synchros are Made
This is another fundamental difference between the two decks. Synchros in Dragons are often made by using a Dragon to remove another Dragon, search a tuner, and then make a synchro. If I do this to make a level 8 synchro, I’ve used 2 elements for the turn, potentially cut myself off from the one searching the tuner, and only put back 1 new Dragon in the grave. In Dragunity, if I make a level 8 with a Dux I don’t use any Dragon effects, I don’t cut myself off, and not only do I put an additional Dragon in the grave, I put a Dux in the grave for Tempest. Synchroing in Dragunitys fuels Dragon plays a lot more than it does in Dragons.
Dragons don’t have a very optimal turn 1 play as summoning Dragons requires establishing a graveyard. You may be able to make a level 8 by removing 2 Dragons for another Dragon, but really that’s not optimal and is weak by comparison to what Dragunity can consistently do on its first turn. Opening a tuner in Dragons is very weak as you want to search them with cards you got for free, but when you draw them, they become real cards. Debris Dragon is likely dead early game and drawing it increases your dependency on Ravine. If they MST Ravine when you’ve already drawn Debris Dragon, you’ve only got 4 other cards to work with (assuming you discarded a Dragon). Also Card Trooper forces you to have a defensive card or get Crimson Bladered.
The Possibility of an Autowin
Dragunity is capable of fairly consistently putting out M7, Stardust, defense, or Stardust Dracossack, Atum, defense. Both of these will win you the game almost every time you do it. Additionally you have the possibility of opening double Reckless Greed. It’s also very difficult to lose any game that happens. Dragons only autowin games come in the form of [ccProd]Return from the Different Dimension[/ccProd] and[ccProd]Sixth Sense[/ccProd], both of which Dragunitys also have access to.
Dragunity Knight - Gae Dearg
The final point I want to make is how important [ccProd]Dragunity Knight – Gae Dearg[/ccProd] is. Every time I open a Dux play, but not a wombo combo, with a defensive card, I opt to go Gae Dearg over a level 8 synchro. This gives me a guaranteed Dux follow up play for next turn. This is huge because even if I have Ravine when I end, they’re likely to have their own Ravine and mine might not make it to the next turn. This means that having a guaranteed follow-up play is awesome. Since I only do it when I have defense, that usually means that it stays on the field for the turn. This is even better as it allows me to add another Dux for the following turn and threatens a wombo combo for this turn as he’s a level 6. That means I can just go Dux into Vajrayana into Atum or M7.
Gae Dearg is also the only extra deck card that can search defense since he lets me search D.D. Crow. That’s a huge benefit that Dragon’s can’t enjoy.
Why Dragons Would Be Better
I will now give a few things that Dragons do better than Dragunitys. The first is that their Sixth Sense is more powerful. Milling is a lot better in that deck than it is in Dragunity since they play all 4 Dragons.
The next is that it might have a better Rogue matchup. Since it’s got access to [ccProd]Black Rose Dragon[/ccProd] any time it wants, it destroys Rogue decks. I don’t think this is a huge point, as Dragunity can play under Iron Wall better than Dragons can. Additionally, Rogue decks are not as good as Dragons. No time in the history of the game does the best deck of the format have a theoretical good matchup against whatever the top rogue deck is, but the Dragon deck of the format always wins out because it’s a better deck. The same is true here and I’m pretty sure both decks will consistently beat any rogue decks.[ccProd]Vanity’s Emptiness[/ccProd] is slightly better in Dragons than Dragunity post Stardust Spark Dragon. If Dragunity gets Maxx “C”ed, Spark is out of the question even if you have Emptiness. If Dragons get Maxx “C”ed, you’re 1 special summon away from a soft lock.
The final point that I will concede to Dragons is that their mirror match is better. I’d want all those extra options in a mirror match. Because Dragunity is very linear, the mirror sucks and will be pretty 50:50. This is why tech cards to beat the mirror are especially relevant.
The decision between playing Dragons and Dragunity essentially comes down to consistency v. versatility. Whenever I enter a major tournament, I’d want my deck as consistent as possible which makes Dragunity’s ability to do the same thing every game a huge draw to the deck.
Be sure to check out the Circuit Series in Worcester, MA on November 16-17. Thank you all for reading this and until next time, play hard or go home!