Today's post will be concerning incarnate dragons. The deck has been receiving alot of hype in the TCG, as many players are considering the legitimacy of the deck (legit deck is legit ppl), and are comparing the cards prowess in the new meta.
Indeed, the power creep has rose so immensely, that im actually thankful im playing TCG format. Even in TCG, im unfazed when my opponent makes a big play like Abyssgaios, or some other stuff, because nothing can compare to what dragons can do.
So i will be talking about the Dragons in general, on why they are so good, and how you can counter/beat them.
One of my friends referred to this deck as tier 0 in his blog (Incarnate Dragon Domination, YGO Zeroth Theory, LGQ), which got me thinking, how true it was. The deck has next to no bad hands, virtually any hand can make a Dragosack/Big eye, and have following resources for the next turn, dish out boss monsters like its nothing, insane deck thinning capabilities, and a solid win condition.
Why the deck is so good:
1) Light and Darkness Dragon
The deck has easy access to one of the games's boss monsters from the Perfect Circle era. LADD's dominance lies in its negations, whereby it causes opponents to waste resources to clear it. Once done, the following turn, the deck will play a bait game to slowly dish out cards efficiently to play around and clear your opponents' backrow/setup and win the game with sheer size.
The main player problem is that they do not know how to get rid of LADD. There are several ways like chaining another card to its effect to clear it (its not perfect herald). Ways to clear it efficiently include something like 1) activate spellbook magician of prophecy effect -> 2) LADD negates CL2,--> CL3 you chain spellbook of fate to banish it, and resolve your mage's effect. This is one way to do it without wasting any resources.
2) Its searching powers
The deck resembles TeleDAD because they are the only Tier 0s in the game. Tele DAD had so many drawing/searching cards that it was impossible to start with a dead hand. A standard field resembled Stratos, Stardust Dragon, a backrow (Crush Card Virus) etc. This deck has synergy between its cards where each large dragon can search any other copy of itself, or its younger version, along with other tech cards like debris dragon, exploder dragon. 3 copies of Gold sarcophagus also make the deck extra good.
3) Has access to the best power cards in the game such as REDMD, Big Eye, Dragosack, Return.
To couple with the fact that it has massive deck thinning abilities, this mean the deck has alot of chance to draw into its staples (storm reborn veiler) via Super Rejuvenation. Big Eye and Dragosack used to be balanced card designs compared to alot of other stuff, but dragons manage to make them broken. Just because of this deck, Return becomes ban-able because there are so many ways to abuse it. You can swarm and xyz, or you can use it to prevent an otk and plus off it at the end of the turn.
4) Even the best play from other decks is nothing compared to the average play of Dragons (quote: Johann Loke)
Take for example FF 3 axis, when you summon spirit into chicken, and search/swap cards, then synchro-ing for Horse prince and bring out another monster. Thats an instant + 2 (actually 3 because you get an extra s/t from chickens swapping ability since a used FF s/t is a floater) . Dragons simple play into Dragossack is so much bigger and better than the best FF play.
5) The deck can mimic situations with several banned cards. Aside from big eye (snatch steal), the deck's killer card is Super rejuvenation. Reju, at different situaions = Pot of Greed, Graceful Charity, Painful Choice/Future Fusion)
If you just discard 2 cards and have no follow up broke plays, Reju is still a Pot.
If you make a big play of discarding at least 4 dragons, you will find that it netts you 4 cards.
If you get super asdfghjkl lucky, and draw another reju from your first reju, which isnt hard, considering its only a and activate effect in end phase, you will likely win because you draw 4-8 cards and discard the dragons (painful choice + graceful charity all in one), immediately reducing your deck count by half in the first turn. You will then access reborn, storm, veiler, and make your setup invincible. If you discarded eclipse wyvern- scoop please.
6) The deck can side in and out cards effectively to counter different matchups,
There's not much to explain here.
There are many ways to beat dragons, be it consistent or inconsistent.
1) I would have to say, the best way to beat dragons is to use dragons.
Then again the mirror match would be highly resilient to the dice roll. The first person to make LADD will likely win. If neither of those situations arise, it will be quite skill based, like choosing which monsters to defend the field with, or conserving your Big eyes because the 1st player to run out of Big eyes usually lose, or just control with Abysgaios. Sometimes if you resolve a super rejuvenation while your opponent has at least 3 dragons of the same element in hand (eg: 1 blaster 2 burner), then its downright game.
2) Crimson Blader.
I saw a funny situation on DN once, when my teammate was playing a mirror with TCG player, of quite good reputation). My teammate won the game through Crimson Blader (dragon + flamvel guard), and the other guy was all salty attributing his loss to my friend running a " random card which nobody ran". Its still a joke to me today though, because Crimson Blader outrights kill the deck. However 2 things to note are :
a) Redox has 3000 def
b) If Blader destroys a dragosack token, its effect is not activated.
3) Side cards such as :
a) Soul drain
b) mental drain
are cute cards but don't really pose much threat to the deck. Like everybody knows, meta will always beat anti meta, and relying on a strategy which you need to draw out is always inferior. Most of the time, your deck is not even fast enough to kill dragons in 2 turns and just using Goldsarc into Storm takes care of the situation.
None of the other decks are as effective against dragons, and all could be played around against. Hero beat in theory may sound decent (traps + super poly) but its downright bad. Verz also sounds good at first but its game 1 is die roll dependant, if you make dragosack, verz dies or you can summon exploder dragon, or summon level 4, reborn something make diawolf/cowboy/maestroke. And its almost guaranteed a loss if you sidedeck. Macro Rabbit also sounds good but a Gold sarc into storm takes care of everything. Lagia is too small vs any dragon, and if you go into game 2/3 you will lose so badly.
However this is yugioh, so everydeck still has a chance to win in some ways. Dragons arent invincible but they are OP.
There are several approaches to the mirror match really. My personal approach would be to put in hand traps and keeping my Super reju. There are others too like siding in disgusting cards, and maintaining the decks consistency while taking out super reju.
In a nutshell, conserve your big eyes, do not overextend and keep track of the used dragons effects
One very important thing to take note of is that you should keep a notebook to record effects of which dragons your opponent have used already. Don't become a victim of cheating, because its easy to cheat, if you have no background knowledge of the effects. Use any method you like from jotting down on paper, tokens, or using other different colour coded cards. Make sure you've double checked with your tourney organizer to make sure your method is valid !
So, this is just a very brief run-through of the deck. There are many more things, which you will personally discover when testing with or against it. There are also alot of other strategies, or valid side cards vs dragons, which we will discuss next time after ACQ ;)
Thats all for today. If i have time, i will do a Prophecy post following up as a continuation for the MAS ACQ preparation series.
If Incarnate continues its domination, i could see Konami doing what it did to the OCG when windups were dominating, which is switch the formats by giving birth to new archetypes to either slow the deck down, or outpace it with different win conditions, (eg: Verz vs windups)