The cost of a competitive deck in Yu-Gi-Oh! can vary wildly. There's no easyway to put it, but sometimes you'll need to sell at least an arm andpossibly a leg or two to fund the best deck if you want it to haveall the right pieces. But at other times you can just slaptogether three Structure and take on the whole competitive field.

Era to era, the actual cost of playing Yu-Gi-Oh! is all over the place.

And even if you can pin down what a deck costs today, the price of oneparticular strategy can wax and wane as cards are reprinted or even justfall out of vogue. Remember when Dragonic Diagram cost nearly a hundreddollars? On the secondary market today that card isliterally a dollar, and that means the True Dracostrategy is cheap. And I mean really cheap. It's not as drastic asMagician of Dark Illusion doing the reverse and jumping from six cents tosix dollars, but I digress.

With the reprint of Card of Demise in the best reprint set of alltime, aptly named Duel Power, there's one expensive card left inthe typical True Draco build, and even that one's barely expensive at anot-so-whopping five dollars for the latest printing. The strategy's toppedseveral premier events in recent weeks, and you can bet that all thoseinexpensive cards and the fact that True Draco players don't need an ExtraDeck needed have helped it see more play. Sure, the strategy's legitimatelystrong, but a much larger pool of players also have access to it and that'sdefinitely made a visible impact.

So today I'm mixing things up in Competitive Corner: we're going to look atthree similar builds that all made Top 8 finishes in recent Regionals, andthat all take the True Draco card pool in slightly different directions.After all, there's an unchangeable core to the True Draco strategy, butthere are lots of different permutations based off metagame calls andindividual player choices that all add up to suggest several viable ways tobuild the deck.

Let's check out the most basic build, Tomas Ferreyros's deck from theRegional Qualifier in Peru.


This barebones build highlights the meat of the strategy while somehowmaking a budget deck even more budget. A few cards like Card of Demise,True King's Return, and There Can Only Be One hover just under five bucks,but the only card worth any real money is Ignis Heat, the TrueDracowarrior. The price hurdle is similar to Paleozoic Frogs - now thatCard of Demise is so affordable you just buy three copies of a slightlyexpensive version and you're good to go.

If you're not familiar with True Draco decks be happy you've never beenslapped around by one. Even with Master Peace, the True Dracoslaying Kingcurrently on the Forbidden List, the deck's a lethal threat that canquickly have opponents crying for the sweet release of death.

I'm joking, but in reality, that's not far from the truth. True Draco winsbecause it has responses for whatever your opponent does. But surprise!They often won't be doing anything but losing.

The three True Draco monsters played today are just different sides of thesame coin… or I guess different sides of a hypothetical three-sided die.You can tribute Continuous Spells and Traps to Tribute Summon your monstersand doing that searches more cards in turn. The cards you tribute aren'tjust lame duck blanks either; they pop your opponent's cards left andright, giving you the opportunity to break combos and shatter dug-infields.

I'm simplifying the overview a bit, and that's because I don't want to bogyou down with each individual card because the effects are all largely thesame. The True Draco traps give you an extra Normal Summon and double asfodder for tributes, and they destroy cards whenthey leave the field. The True Draco Continuous Spell cards have moretangible effects that add to your own card economy while likewise providingtribute fodder. Oh, and they pop spells and traps too.

So what does Ferreyros's deck do well? He's basically just doubling down onseeing the best cards at the core of the theme as soon as possible. Pot ofDesires, Terraforming, Dragonic Diagram, Card of Demise, Pot of Duality…all those cards work in tandem to set up waves of tribute summons so youcan establish monsters for yourself and pick apart your opponent's set-upsin the process. The rest of the cards act as floodgates to shut youropponent down, locking them out of the game early or keeping them frommaking a comeback once you have control over the game.


Tomas Ferreyros from Peru provided a basic look at the strategy, but JacobPieffle from Fargo North Dakota provided more nuance with card choices thatdeviated from the pure True Draco lineup. You'll also notice a few morecostly cards that Peiffle played as tech choices; they may or may not benecessary depending on your metagame and your opponents.

Instead of maxing out on the True Draco monsters, Pieffle opted for a widerspread of more varied threats. The Winged Dragon of Ra - Sphere Modedisables your opponent when they've established a big board, basicallycircumventing the lengthy process of flooding the field with True Dracomonsters and picking cards off one by one. On the other hand InspectorBoarder works better when you're going first, often shutting down youropponent completely with no chance of an escape plan.

Pieffle's deck also includes the slightly pricy Summon Limit, placing moreemphasis on the type of indirect monster hate that the Ferreyros' deck listcouldn't provide. While there's certainly lots of merit to focusing solelyon a steady stream of True Draco monsters, there's something to be saidabout cutting your opponent's monsters out of the equation entirely.

And while the deck lists aren't that drastically different onpaper, the philosophies behind them really are. Between all the deckthinning that True Dracos provide along with generic support spells likePot of Duality, having five more monsters in the Main Deck is actually areally big difference. The True Draco Continuous Spell and Trap cards doprovide more Normal Summons, but the emphasis on preventative measuresinstead - as most notably seen in Summon Limit - means a differenttrajectory and different prioritiers when Pieffle is making in-gamedecisions.


Meanwhile Jesus Zarate from Mexico City built a list that mirrors Pieffle'sfrom Fargo, but there are even more tech choices hidden in the deck list.Considering all the thinning this strategy's capable of I think it might bethe best of the bunch!

Strike of the Monarchs and Lose One Turn? Talk about surprising youropponent! I can almost guarantee everyone had to read Strike acouple of times, but it's a truly lethal card at the right moments: italmost always stops that last effect your opponent needs to start theircombos and get going.

In the end, we've seen tons of different builds of True Dracos over thelast few months but these are the newest ones which I chose to highlight.Whether you want a budget build or to lock down summons with a pricierversion of the strategy, there aren't many bad approaches you could wind upfalling into. True Dracos are a powerful choice right now not just becausethey're a solid deck, but because they're underplayed, competitors areunderprepared for the matchup, and predicting what any given True Dracodeck's going to do can be incredibly difficult.

Just remember: beat your opponents before they beat you.

-Loukas Peterson

Loukas Peterson lives in Nashville, Tennessee, hoping one day to run in5th Congressional District on the platform of "Fabled Link Monsters forEveryone." You can find him onTwitteror building a bonfire in his backyard to attract the local wildlife foran audience with his ukulele. Hailed as the only person capable ofcooking Minute Rice in 56 seconds, Loukas is always looking atexpanding his backyard to house every dog in the world without a home.Well, and those with homes already.