And that's great. Right there, that's five heavy-hitting cards that are having a big influence on tournament competition. But the great thing about Dragons of Legend is that the set's much deeper than that. The ratio of cool cards to boring cards in DRLG is kind of ridiculous. Pound for pound, this might be the most playable set we've seen in years. More than that, there's a lot of really awesome card design going on; it looks like the R&D folks charged with the task of turning TV show scripts into playable cards really stretched to tackle some of the strangest stuff, a lot of which was pulled from the earliest days of the show.
You know, that period where characters attacked the moon, fused spell cards with monsters, and nothing actually made any damn sense.
This discussion's coming a little later than I'd hoped, but there's still so much to talk about. People are only beginning to explore the big cards that are already making tournament Top 8's, and there are tons of choice picks that haven't seen tournament breakthroughs yet. Meanwhile DRLG's packed with hidden gems that few people are paying attention to, some of which may only become relevant if certain trends manifest in the near future, and on top of all that there are unique cards for casual decks that nobody's had time to perfect yet.
I'm really jazzed about Dragons of Legend, and I'm pumped to discuss the set in depth over the next three days. Let's kick it off with the first card that was revealed from the set, and one of my personal favorites.
With 2600 ATK and an effect that can preempt attacks, monster effects, and Xyz and Synchro Summons, Dark Magician Girl the Dragon Knight is pretty awesome. Since her destruction effect works on either player's turn it can be really difficult for any deck that doesn't generate a stream of free monsters to get through her, and even then, you can still keep a strategy like Dragon Rulers, Hieratic Rulers, or Infernities from making the aggressive consolidations they'll often need to make. The right plays from those swarming decks can lay Dragon Knight low, but it's going to take some luck and planning to make that happen. For a deck that deals in limited Special Summons, like Fire Fists, Bujins, or Geargia Dragon Knight's often a tremendous problem. She'll even defend herself from cards like Number 101: Silent Honor ARK by chaining to its effect.
Every time you resolve Dark Magician Girl the Dragon Knight's ability, it gets tougher for your opponent to stay on the board and fend off your attacks. With that in mind, paying for her effect easily and repeatedly is hugely important: anything that gathers free cards to your hand, like Ojamas, Thunder Dragon, Cardcar D, or Thunder Sea Horse is well-equipped to power her ability. On the less gimmicky side of things, Dragon Rulers are awesome with Dark Magician Girl the Dragon Knight, because every Dragon you discard to pop a monster becomes Dragon Ruler fodder later on. In addition, having Dragons in your graveyard powers the first of two ways to Special Summon Dragon Knight in the first place: Dragon's Mirror.
By banishing a Dragon and Dark Magician Girl from your field or graveyard with Dragon's Mirror, you can unleash Dragon Knight as a 1-for-1. Heck, you can even plus off that play with a Dragon Ruler search effect if you banish the right stuff. Any strategy that plays enough Dragons to fuel the Mirror can splash a couple cards and wind up dropping this thing to the field. Sound far-fetched? Consider the fact that anything playing Level 4's can run Kachi Kochi Dragon or Number 82: Heartlandraco to call forth a Dragon as needed.
Once you get one Dragon Knight going she's a Dragon-type herself, so each one becomes Fusion Material for the next. While Summoning Dark Magician Girl can be difficult, you can discard the copies you draw for cards like Phoenix Wing Wind Blast or Raigeki Break, or send her right to the graveyard with Elemental Hero Prisma. I've been tinkering with this card in a number of strategies, and yes – one of them is Gladiator Beasts.
In the end, the chance to play Elemental Hero Prisma and simply mimic Dark Magician Girl's name may make the second method of unleashing Dragon Knight even easier. That of course being…
Want to play Dark Magician Girl the Dragon Knight in a deck that doesn't run Dragons for Dragon Mirror? The Eye of Timaeus makes it possible, sending Dark Magician Girl from the field to the yard to Summon the Dragon Knight as a -1. You have to control Dark Magician Girl to do that, but again, that's easily remedied with Elemental Hero Prisma mimicking her name.
In the end I decided that The Eye was the easiest way to run Dragon Knight in Gladiator Beasts, where she can act as a sort of monster-hating version of Gladiator Beast Heraklinos. When you draw Prisma and don't have The Eye to go with it, you could just play Prisma for standard Gladiator Beast Gyzarus plays. When you do have the combo, you yard Dark Magician Girl and lock down your opponent's monsters, protecting Dragon Knight with your heavy trap lineup. I'm looking forward to spending some time with the concept.
As much as card economy plays in the favor of Dragon's Mirror, The Eye of Timaeus is much better than it looks. In addition to Dragon Knight it also gives you access to three more Fusion Monsters, two of which actually matter and one of which is sadly Dark Flare Knight.
If there's an easier way to Summon Dark Paladin I'm not aware of it. With Dark Magician or a Prisma on the field, The Eye of Timaeus lets you bust out a 2900 ATK beater that grows by 500 attack points for each Dragon on the field or in either player's graveyard – that's pretty awesome in any Dragon Ruler matchup. You can also pitch cards to block the activation of spells on a 1-for- basis. Dark Paladin's over a decade old, but suddenly it's actually borderline relevant thanks to this card.
The Eye of Timaeus can also Special Summon…
…Amulet Dragon! Its effects aren't as powerful as Dark Paladin or Dark Magician Girl the Dragon Knight, but Amulet Dragon can hit the field with higher raw ATK and it's good at bridging the gap between plays if you run a dedicated build and draw into multiple copies of The Eye of Timaeus and Dragon's Mirror. When Amulet Dragon's destroyed it revives a Spellcaster, which you can Eye into another Fusion. It's a Dragon itself when it hits the yard, too, speeding along more Dragon's Mirror plays.
Note that the Dragon's Special Summon upon destruction effect is an "If… you can" ability, so you'll never miss the chance to activate it. There's also no requirement for Amulet Dragon to actually hit the graveyard, so cards like Dimensional Fissure and Macro Cosmos won't stop it as long as you've got a valid Spellcaster at the ready.
It's not a tremendously powerful card and it's likely useful only in a heavily focused Dark Paladin / Dragon Knight deck, but it's an interesting option there and well worth exploring.
Spellbooks really hate it, too.
The Eye of Timaeus has an extra line of text that reads, 'This card is also always treated as "Legendary Dragon Timaeus"'. That's relevant solely for this card, Legend of Heart. Costing 2000 Life Points and a Warrior-type Tribute to activate, Legend of Heart comes at a steep cost. Once activated it banishes as many as three differently-named "Legendary Dragon" spells from your hand or graveyard, and lets you Special Summon that many differently-named "Legendary Knights" from your hand, deck, or graveyard. The specifics there are pretty friendly, since the "or graveyard" clause means you can run just one of each Legendary Knight and still play Legend of Heart more than once.
The problem? Right now there only is one Legendary Dragon spell – The Eye of Timaeus – and one Legendary Knight to Special Summon. So right now if you want to play Legend of Heart, you need to get to The Eye of Timaeus or send it directly to your graveyard, then pay 2000 Life Points and Tribute a Warrior to Special Summon the one Knight. That's a hefty Life Point cost in the era of Soul Charge; a -1 due to the Tribute; and a lot of potentially dead cards to put up with. You might draw The Eye of Timaeus with no way to use it. You might draw Legend of Heart with no Eye of Timaeus or no Warrior. And you might draw your Legendary Knight period, when you'd rather Summon it from your deck.
So who is that Legendary Knight anyways?
Legendary Knight Timaeus packs 2800 ATK, and while you have to take a -1 to Summon it, it can banish a face-up spell or trap when it hits play to even that out. Right now, decks like Mermails, Bujins, Geargia, and other popular tournament strategies run very few face-up spell and trap cards, so that effect's not very good. If your opponent brings in floodgate cards to slow your strategy, locking you down with stuff like Imperial Iron Wall, they will control a face-up… but you won't be able to bring Timaeus out anyways.
The good news is that Timaeus is almost impossible to attack, because when your opponent even tries to run it over, you get to set a spell from your graveyard. It's a free Magician of Faith any time your opponent even tries to swing over you; a +1 that effectively makes whatever 1-for-1 you flip to protect Timaeus into a free card. That's pretty cool, though it's not really enough to make Legendary Knight Timaeus anywhere near viable for real competition.
To me, the coolest thing about Legend of Heart and Legendary Knight Timaeus is that this theme is clearly not finished yet. We might wind up seeing the remaining two Knights and their matching spell cards in a future core booster set, but I think this bit of card design, plus the incredibly positive reaction to Dragons of Legend, suggests we may see another TV adaptation set some time down the road. It'll be really cool if we get more of the Legendary Knight and Legendary Dragon cards a year from now, and suddenly a Legend of Heart deck becomes more viable.
All of the cards we've discussed so far have largely revolved around placing Spellcasters, Dragons, and The Eye of Timaeus into the graveyard, which makes for a nice segue into one of the biggest, most successful cards in the set – Kuribandit.
Kuribandit does two things for you. First, it gets you five cards closer to whatever spell or trap you want to see most. If your strategy's built around a particular card Kuribandit gets you to it faster. If you're digging for an out, a Limited power card, or something that just spikes your win percentage, Kuribandit gets you to that as well. And if you're making combos or putting together simple card pairings – say, Trade-In with a Level 8 or Cards of Consonance with a matching Dragon Tuner – it makes your deck faster and more consistent by advancing you toward the spell component of that combo. That's what Kuribandit does for you with the card it adds to your hand.
On the flip side, Kuribandit also buries the toher four cards in your graveyard, setting you up with cards that many strategies can use as valuable resources. Mythic Rulers have been the biggest example thus far in competitive play, powering out Dragon Rulers by loading up on banish fodder. But you could set up Mezuki, Plaguespreader Zombie, and Vampire Sorcerer in Zombies; Lights and Darks in Chaos variants; or Lightsworn monsters, Eclipse Wyvern, and Kuriboh' rel="https://yugioh.tcgplayer.com/db/WP-CH.asp?CN=Rainbow Kuriboh">Rainbow Kuriboh in the soon-to-be-revamped Lightsworn deck. The list goes on and on. Fill up on Bujingi with Bujins; matched monsters for Evilswarm Kerykeion or Constellar Sombre; or recursion fodder for something like Batteryman AAA, Heroic Champion – Double Lance, Gishki Beast, or Coach Soldier Wolfbark.
Anything running Soul Charge can benefit from Kuribandit even more, putting monsters in your graveyard while getting you to Soul Charge in the first place. Breakthrough Skill and Skill Prisoner are both valuable in competitive metagames, and Kuribandit can shunt them to the graveyard for free while you focus on doing other things.
Moving forward, I'm eager to play Kuribandit in a number of revamped and up-and-coming strategies that aren't even a factor yet in tournaments. It has great synergy with Koa'ki Meiru Crusader's effect, and can get you to Iron Core of Koa'ki Meiru. The new Diamond Core of Koa'ki Meiru makes Koa'ki's worth another look and Kuribandit helps capitalize on it. Sylvans love Kuribandit, because it gets them to Soul Charge, Sylvan Charity, and Miracle Fertilizer while excavating the monsters it kicks to the yard. It actually triggers your Sylvan effects.
Oh, and remember: that End Phase timing for the effect isn't a problem, it's actually a feature. It means you can dodge Effect Veiler.
Yes, Kuribandit's one of the best cards in the set. Yes, it's already seen tournament success. But I truly feel we're only just beginning to plumb the depths of what this card can do. Mmf. It's a good day to be alive.
…and a bad day to be dead! Because Berserker Soul can beat you to death, and then just keeps hitting you anyways, exactly like the TV show.
This is easily one of the coolest cards in the set, interpreting a classic scene from the original Yu-Gi-Oh! series and extrapolating it not only into a stupidly unique effect that we've never seen before, but actually a really cool support card for a fan favorite strategy – Monster Mash. Berserker Soul's only worth playing if two conditions are true: first, you have to be running enough monsters with 1500 ATK or less to activate it reliably. Second, you have to be running so many monsters and so few non-monsters that you can feel confident that you'll flip monster after monster from the top of your deck. As a third point, it helps if you happen to swarm with enough attackers to press damage through to your opponent in the first place.
There are really only two decks that can do that: a very specialized Mermail build with next to no monster cards, or a Monster Mash variant. For those of you unfamiliar with the play concept, Monster Mash decks can take lots of different shapes and forms, but the general intent is to create a strategic advantage by running very few monsters and just a handful of spells and traps: often as few as three. By running a monster-heavy deck you abuse stuff like Magical Merchant to fill your graveyard, Witch of the Black Rose to draw free cards, and Gallis the Star Beast for free Special Summoning and burn damage. All of that graveyard-filling power lets you take advantage of cards like Blackwing – Vayu the Emblem of Honor, The Dark Creator, Archlord Kristya, and countless others. Where you take the basic framework is up to you.
That level of freedom and choice has always been one of the greatest things about Monster Mash, but Berserker Soul's cool because no matter what variant you run, there's a very good chance Berserker Soul will fit your strategy. With the burn damage from Gallis the Star Beast plus its own direct attack, it's very easy to rack up 1600 damage at a minimum. When you activate Berserker Soul you can dish out up to 4000 more damage, bringing your opponent into striking distance of a win with anything like Dark Armed Dragon, a Dragon Ruler, an Elemental Lord, or The Dark Creator. If the only spells you're playing are three copies of Berserker Soul, then running aground on another copy can just set you up to try again next turn. (Just remember, you'll need a discard – easily handled with a Dragon Ruler effect.)
Monster Mash with Berserker Soul is on my Giant List Of Decks I Really Need To Find Time To Work On, which seems to grow longer every few hours now that Dragons of Legend is legal. It's one of my favorite playstyles of all time, and I love that we finally have a real support card for it.
As cool as I believe Berserker Soul to be, Relay Soul is not very cool, and seems to exist almost entirely to cost you games. I keep saying to myself that there must be something awesome to do with this card, but if there is something out there I certainly haven't figured it out yet.
Your thoughts? What's the most busted thing you can do with Relay Soul? Let me know down in the Comments – I'm legitimately curious and invested. Think on that until tomorrow, because we'll be back with Part 2 of our Dragons of Legend Set Review!