In more recent events, it seems as if the Hieratic/ Dragon Ruler deck has fallen out of favor by many of the top players in this game. Seemingly overshadowed by the Mythic Dragon Ruler variant, or left behind for other decks completely, could this be a mistake? With the recent ban list, Hieratic Rulers were one of the least affected decks with the loss of a single copy of Hieratic Seal of Convocation. Now with YCS Las Vegas completed, a deck that has brought me to my 3rd top (my others being the 75th and 100th YCS) and a deck that brought success to the eventual YCS Las Vegas champion, Denny Yu, Hieratic Rulers simply cannot be ignored.
Before I even discuss the card choices of the specific deck I played here in Las Vegas, let's examine what makes this deck so powerful. One of the biggest draws for me was this deck's explosiveness. At almost any point, a blank field can be filled with a plethora of monsters that can handle any situation. What's more amazing is the ability to make these strong plays with as little as two cards and access to any dragon ruler! With more cards in hand, the direction you can go with your turn open up even further and lead to many one-turn kills. There are enough combos this deck can create to write a separate article about so I won't delve too much on that for now. However, shout out to Omar Daoudi (902 on DN) for first showing me a neat combo to put 14,000 damage on a single turn from no cards on my side of the field.
This ability for the deck to explode and lead to an OTK a good percentage of the time allows for many 'free' wins. At any major event with many rounds of swiss, these free wins can be the deciding factor in whether you make the top cut or not. While other players attempt to grind out wins with slower decks, you experience less risk for ruin by ending games sooner. Going into time and completing end of match procedure is something you avoid more often with this deck. I would be super filthy rich if I had a dime for every time I heard someone say, "I would have beat that guy easily but I lost because of time". Don't be that guy.
Although winning in one turn is ideal, there will still be games where you simply cannot go all out due to missing combo pieces but even more so due to an opponent's established field. Multiple backrow cards and monsters that can deter your plans are a problem for any deck. Fortunately, this deck can deal with many problematic scenarios. At YCS Las Vegas, I won only two dice rolls out of 11 rounds of swiss. I guess I can say I probably shouldn't gamble with dice at the craps tables neither!
Needless to say, I was starting second in most of my matches and staring across fields of [ccProd]Geargiarmor[/ccProd]s with multiple back rows set, [ccProd]Bujin Yamato[/ccProd]s with a [ccProd]Bujingi Hare[/ccProd] in grave and [ccProd]Bujingi Crane[/ccProd] in hand, and other situations. If you could ask many of my opponents at this past YCS, they would tell you how they lost game 1 easily to simple cards like [ccProd]A Wingbeat of Giant Dragon[/ccProd] and [ccProd]Black Rose Dragon[/ccProd], all without using my normal summon or dragon rulers. Against a first turn Yamato, simply making [ccProd]Gauntlet Launcher[/ccProd] from your extra deck allows you to bypass a Bujingi Hare or [ccProd]Bujingi Turtle[/ccProd] by activating Gauntlet Launcher's effect twice if need be.
So how does this deck fare against other matchups? Really good! In eleven rounds of swiss, I played and beat all of 3 Geargia Decks, 2 Mermail Decks, 1 Fire Fist, 1 Fire Kings, 1 Rank-up deck and 1 mirror match. My two losses were to two players who also topped this YCS, playing Chain Beat and Mythic Rulers, both going into game 3 with them opening slightly better hands than me (it happens). Against mermails, multiple dragon rulers coupled with access to combos even when both sides are simplified led to my wins. [ccProd]Crimson Blader[/ccProd] was also vital and easily accessible with this deck. Against all other decks, the consensus was that my opponent would fear A Wingbeat of Giant Dragon and waste a [ccProd]Black Horn of Heaven[/ccProd] on my special summoned Tefnuit in an effort to play around Wingbeat. An even one-for-one trade against a deck running dragon rulers and wasting a Black Horn of Heaven all make the match favorable to me.
Without further ado, here is what I ran at YCS Las Vegas:[ccDeck="Main Deck"]
3 Hieratic Dragon of Eset
3 Hieratic Dragon of Su
3 Hieratic Dragon of Tefnuit
1 Blaster, Dragon Ruler of Infernos
1 Tempest, Dragon Ruler of Storms
1 Tidal, Dragon Ruler of Waterfalls
1 Redox, Dragon Ruler of Boulders
2 Flamvell Guard
2 Labradite Dragon
1 Debris Dragon
1 Influence Dragon
3 Upstart Goblin
3 Cards of Consonance
3 Dragon Shrine
2 Hieratic Seal of Convocation
1 Book of Moon
1 Gold Sarcophagus
1 Forbidden Lance
1 A Wingbeat of Giant Dragon
1 Bottomless Trap Hole
1 Solemn Warning
1 Torrential Tribute
1 Compulsory Evacuation Device
2 Skill Drain[/ccDeck] [ccDeck="Side Deck"]
3 Maxx "C"
3 Mystical Space Typhoon
2 Fencing Fire Ferret
1 Skill Drain
1 Black Horn of Heaven
1 D.D. Crow
1 Vanity's Emptiness
1 Enemy Controller[/ccDeck] [ccDeck="Extra Deck"]
1 Stardust Dragon
1 Colossal Fighter
1 Crimson Blader
1 Scrap Dragon
1 Black Rose Dragon
1 Leo, The Keeper of the Sacred Tree
1 Star Eater
2 Mecha Phantom Beast Dracossack
2 Hieratic Dragon King of Atum
1 Number 11: Big Eye
1 Gaia Charger, The Thunder Charger
1 Gauntlet Launcher
1 Constellar Ptolemy M7[/ccDeck]
If you have been checking out deck lists for the recent YCS, you will notice Denny and I ran similar builds and not by coincidence. His regional topping deck list was what lead me to leave the [ccProd]Hieratic Seal From the Ashes[/ccProd]/[ccProd]Magic Planter[/ccProd] version of Hieratics. Triple Cards of Consonance allowed the deck to flow smoothly, draw deeper into the deck, and fuel the grave. With six monsters that could be used for its cost, Cards of Consonance was faster and more reliable than Magic Planter. With enough speed for me, I decided to remove reckless greed and opted to play forbidden lance, compulsory evacuation device, and a third copy of dragon shrine. As I will be posting a video on my youtube (youtube.com/DDSpade) discussing all the card choices in greater detail soon, I will simply touch on my tech choices on here for now.
Reckless Greed was a card I found myself siding out all too often in testing. In games 2 and 3, more side decked cards to stop my plays were put in by my opponent and consequently I sided in three Mystical Space Typhoons to deal with them. Altering the deck sacrifices consistency as drawing into an MST is one less card to contribute to your combos. When I did test reckless greed in games 2 or 3, many times I would just draw my side deck cards off of its effect and was left two turns without draws or the combo pieces in my hand. Other times, I would draw into my Hieratics, but then my deck became a one-trick pony, hoping to OTK or lose to two lost draw phases. With cards like [ccProd]Debunk[/ccProd], Maxx "C", and [ccProd]Light-Imprisoning Mirror[/ccProd], pushing for game in one turn was not always possible. Instead, a slower game where I whittled my opponent of resources using dragon rulers became my strategy.
Forbidden Lance was a card I was very happy to play. Multiple tier 1 decks use this card to push through the opposition's backrow. When an opponent sets a bluff spell card along with a Bottomless Trap Hole, using [ccProd]Mystical Space Typhoon[/ccProd] blindly would lead to a 50% chance of winning or losing whereas lance ensured your Tefnuit does not get [ccProd]Bottomless Trap Hole[/ccProd]d and is now ready to be tributed for more hieratic shenanigans. Forbidden lance's attack modifying effect also came into play multiple times at the YCS as was getting my Atum's effect while skill drain was already present on the field.
Compulsory Evacuation Device rounds out my tech choices. This card single-handedly removed problem cards such as [ccProd]Thunder King Rai-Oh[/ccProd], various XYZ monsters, or Yamato backed with [ccProd]Kaiser Colosseum[/ccProd]. It was an out to Stardust as well as Leo, the Keeper of the Sacred Tree. Compulsory allowed for Black Rose Dragon to nuke a field under skill drain or in response to an opponent's fiendish chain. It also just simply removed a monster to allow a push for game.
Hieratics are a powerful option to consider for future events including ARG Richmond this weekend! You might consider piloting this deck. But even if you don't, it would be wise to understand the options this deck has in order to beat it. With the release of the Dragons of Legend booster pack, with new cards such as Soul Charge, Hieratic Rulers can add even more explosiveness and options to an already fast deck. I look forward to seeing the potential this deck can have moving forward and how it will affect the meta. Let me know if you think this deck can still compete now that pretty much every deck has gained a boost in power. For further questions or comments, find me on Facebook or add me on DN (DDSpade). Click the picture below for all the info on ARGCS Richmond this weekend!