The Dragon Balancing Act: Level Limit – Area B

Welcome back dueling world! Unless you have been living under the rock for the past few months, you must be aware of the sudden popularity surge of the Chaos Dragon archtype. After bursting onto the scene with two spots in the Top 32 at YCS Dallas, the deck has seen a staggering amount of play in the events that followed. The wave of success continued after Dallas with a multitude of spots in the Top 32 of YCS Chicago, and of the course culminated with an all Chaos Dragons final in Philadelphia a few weeks ago. With the North American Championship Qualifier (which I will now refer to as Nationals) only a few weeks away, it should be of no surprise that Chaos Dragons are positioning themselves as the top pick of many players hoping to ride the back of Red-Eyes Darkness Metal Dragon to Tokyo, Japan.

But exactly how dominant is this deck?

As much as I hate to say it, this deck is most certainly a dominant force in the current metagame. Quite possibly the second most popular deck out there – Dino-Rabbit, inherently has a difficult time against a deck which can so easily overwhelm it with powerful monsters. And as much as I originally assumed, Inzektors are not quite as favored as I think they wish they were against Chaos Dragons. Barring rogue decks like Final Countdown and Chain Burn, which admittedly have favorable matchups against Chaos Dragons, it would seem folly to argue against Chaos Dragons being the superior deck of the bunch.

So if we sit here and admit that Chaos Dragons are such a dominant force, then it is our job to find a way to beat them. Regardless of if you plan on using Inzektors, Dino-Rabbit or Chaos Dragons at Nationals, beating Chaos Dragons should be your first priority.

There have been a lot of powerful choices already out there for ways in which players have tried to combat Dragons. Cards such as Soul Taker has seen monumental increases in play for a reason. At YCS Chicago Billy Brake sported a side deck containing three copies of Messenger of Peace. A versatile card, which allowed his Inzektor deck to combat both Dino-Rabbit and Dragons. In the weeks leading up to that event I had been talking to members of Alter Reality Games about a similar card that would accomplish the same type of strategy against Dragons.

That card is Level Limit – Area B.

All face-up Level 4 or higher monsters on the field are in Defense Position while this card is active.

Level Limit – Area B isn’t quite as underground of a tech as previous cards mentioned on here, but I don’t think the card has been given an adequate amount of “air time.” Both Messenger of Peace and Level Limit – Area B feed off on the idea that Dragons can be kept at bay if their strongest monsters are unable to wreck havoc on the board. Messenger and Level Limit will stop every Chaos monster from entering the field and being able to attack, but will also include Lyla, Lightsworn Sorceress and Eclipse Wyvern.

The main difference between Level Limit and Messenger of Peace are the interactions they have with your own deck. Billy was adamant about using Messenger of Peace in his Inzektor deck because the card was also applicable against Dino-Rabbit. But I want to make an argument about why Level Limit should be an almost guaranteed inclusion in the side deck of Dino-Rabbit and Inzektors.

In Dino-Rabbit the only level four or higher monsters you have are the 3 copies of Sabersaurus, Kabazauls, Jurrac Guiba and technically Rescue Rabbit. But those are not the monsters you plan to be doing the heavy lifting with when you play Chaos Dragons. As a Dino-Rabbit player your outlet to victory is going to be focused on your powerful XYZ monsters. The beautiful thing about Level Limit – Area B is that XYZ monsters do not have a level, meaning Evolzar Laggia and Dolkka will remain unharmed by the effect of Level Limit while they are face-up on the field!

Now obviously, Chaos Dragons will be able to exploit the same trick and utilize their own XYZ monsters. Of course they have their three copies of Tour Guide from the Underworld and the toolbox of Rank 3 XYZs, along with the ability to make Rank 6’s through Chaos monsters. But if your Dino-Rabbit deck is built with an adequate amount of removal (like Dimensional Prison, Bottomless Trap Hole and Solemn Warning) you should have more than enough protection at your disposal because you have played the game without being under pressure from Lightpulsar Dragon and his cast of powerful Dragons.

So suddenly we have created this game state where the Dino-Rabbit player is able to progress their board state by safely placing XYZ monsters that are unaffected by Level Limit, while the Chaos Dragon player has to adapt to the game state you created. Another perk of establishing a Level Limit lock is how often you will be able to protect normal summoned Dinosaur monsters. If you were to set Kabazauls the only way the opponent is getting it off the board is through the effect of something like Dark Hole, or if they are able to XYZ summon. If they cannot do so, and you have additional Dinosaur monsters in your hand you can simply build up an arsenal of monsters the Chaos Dragon player is going to have a tremendous time dealing with.

One of the hidden beauties of Level Limit – Area B that Messenger of Peace does not have is how it affects one of Chaos Dragons most important spell and trap card removal pieces – Lyla! With Messenger of Peace out a Chaos Dragon player would be able to pinpoint an opportunity to simply summon Lyla and continue again with their aggression. Level Limit would immediately turn Lyla to defense mode, before she was able to activate her effect. Therefore the only realistic outs in the Chaos Dragon deck for Level Limit are going to be the three copies of Ryko, Lightsworn Hunter, Inzektor Exa-Beetle, Heavy Storm and Mystical Space Typhoon. As a Dino-Rabbit player, the primary focus of your deck is to lock your opponent out of their most important card effects. All you need to do is succeed with that game plan and suddenly Chaos Dragons are trying to claw their way back into the game, while you simply tell them – no.

Level Limit – Area B is not only a powerful side deck tool for Dino-Rabbit, I would argue for a few slots in the side deck of Inzektors as well. After the change to priority I was fairly certain I was going to play Inzektors at YCS Chicago. That was when the idea of siding Level Limit – Area B came up amongst myself and the other ARG writers. As I said previously, that idea spawned into Messenger of Peace and Billy ended up being the only person to stick with Inzektors anyway. The interesting thing about Level Limit – Area B and the matchup between Inzektors and Chaos Dragons is the way the in which both players side deck.

One of the first cards Chaos Dragons should be siding out of their deck is Ryko, Lightsworn Hunter. Setting monsters like Ryko against Inzektors sounds like a suicide attempt and is going to cause you to lose a lot of games. And if that is the case think for a moment about the amount of outs Chaos Dragons has to Level Limit Area – B against the Inzektor matchup. Take that list from before and remove three copies of Ryko. That’s right, they are left with anywhere from one to four spell cards and a single XYZ. If you are able to stick a Level Limit against Chaos Dragon you will simply be able to position yourself for an OTK push that Inzektors are so famous for having. One thing you need to know is that if you do have Level Limit – Area B out when you equip Centipede or Dragonfly they will shift to defense mode because they change to level six. But most of the time you end up XYZing anyway, so it usually isn’t a problem. But just incase you were trying to build an OTK turn that require you to attack with a Centipede at the end!

Level Limit – Area B is not only a powerful trick against Chaos Dragons. Hero Beat decks are going to have a tremendous time dealing with the card as well. Not a single monster in their main deck can attack under Level Limit. And Hero Beat is a deck that is usually going to be hard pressed in sticking an XYZ on the board since they would need a monster a remain unharmed while in defense mode for an entire turn. The only viable way for a Hero Beat player to get Level Limit off the board is through their three copies of Gemini Spark and some number of Mystical Space Typhoon/Heavy Storm. The main difference between this deck and something like Chaos Dragons is that even if the opponent gets Level Limit off the field, you are not usually in danger of being OTKed. Chaos Dragons are a much more aggressive deck which does threaten an OTK push if they can get Level Limit off the field, but against Hero Beat you are relatively safe from that.

The final application for Level Limit is against the general rogue matchups. Decks like Six Samurai are going to have a difficult time dealing with this card. I use to side a single copy in X-Sabers back when Reborn Tengu was first released and Six Samurai were a much more popular deck type.

Overall I think players hoping to oust Chaos Dragons from Nationals at the end of the month, need to start scouring their commons for a few copies of Level Limit – Area B. The card was bumped up to two on the latest Forbidden and Limited List and it is our job to combat Chaos Dragons with the card pool we have! I am 99.99999% sure I am not playing Chaos Dragons at Nationals. Let’s take those beasts down.

Joe Giorlando

Latest posts by Joe Giorlando (see all)