Dragunity are about to rearm—again—with a new OCG Structure Deck coming this fall. While there's no TCG release date yet we can safely assume a similar product will arrive about three months later towards the end of the year. Structure Deck R: Dragunity Drive is yet another revamped Structure from nearly a decade ago, and it features a handful of new cards that take the Dragunity theme in a totally different direction from its 2011 origins: Dragunity Glow, Dragunity Arma Gram and Dragunity Knight - Areadbhair.
Opinions on the newest cards are split, and I'll admit that my first impressions were poor. The newest Dragunity cards don't address some of the deck's longstanding weaknesses. However, they do support the playstyle that Dragunities are already successful at. That playstyle heavily involves Guardragons, and I think there's a very good chance that by this winter we'll be talking about Dragunities and Guardragons in the same way we discussed Rokkets and Guardragons last year.
If you've been paying attention to the OCG you'll have noticed that Red-Eyes Darkness Metal Dragon returned from the Forbidden & Limited List with new text. Its errata puts a hard cap on the number of times you can activate its effect, and it stops you from Summoning it from your hand with its ability more than once per turn. It's a significantly less abusable card when you can only Special Summon one Dragon with it per turn, and it's no surprise that Dragon Link decks are trending down in the OCG as a result. That change is likely coming to the TCG very soon in Legendary Duelists: Season 1 next month.
Is there a card that can take Red-Eyes Darkness Metal Dragon's place in the Guardragon loop? We're looking for a card you can Special Summon with both Guardragon Elpy and Guardragon Pisty, and it needs to fetch another Dragon on summon to help build field presence. Luckily that exact card already exists: Dragunity Arma Leyvaten. Dragunity Arma Leyvaten isn't quite as flexible as Red-Eyes Darkness Metal Dragon, but you can Summon it as many times per turn as you like with its own effect or with the effect of another card. It's also searchable, and the new Dragunity Glow spell enables some hilarious combos that let you play Dragunity Arma Leyvaten as if it was Red-Eyes Darkness Metal Dragon.
Let's quickly cover the basic Dragunity Guardragon combo:
With both Guardragons in play you can Summon Dragunity Arma Leyvaten from the deck and begin rapidly building field presence. By Summoning Saryuja Skull Dread you can Summon another Winged Beast monster from your hand to pair with your Tuners, and there's a huge number of potential outcomes depending on the number of extenders at your disposal. You'll typically end with Borreload Savage Dragon, Crystal Wing Synchro Dragon and Hieratic Seal of the Heavenly Spheres, but alternatively you can also Summon Rank 8s thanks to Dragunity Arma Leyvaten and the core Dragunity Synchro engine.
There are some definite risks to that approach. First, the Dragunity engine's extremely fragile. Any interruption can halt your plays. Dragunity Arma Mystletainn can help you recover some of your momentum, but it's not perfect. Second, it's not always easy to find your big Dragunity monsters. Dragon Ravine can only search Level 4 and lower Dragunity monsters, so finding Dragunity Arma Mystletainn or Dragunity Arma Leyvaten can be difficult without Guardragon Elpy. Luckily the new support in the upcoming Structure Deck is a huge help in both areas.
Dragunity Glow searches Level 5 and higher Dragunity monsters—Dragunities that can't be searched by Dragon Ravine—and creates combos that didn't exist before. Specifically, Glow searches Dragunity Arma Mystletainn, Dragunity Arma Leyvaten and the upcoming Dragunity Arma Gram, along with two other high-Level Winged Beast Dragunity monsters.
We're mostly concerned with the Dragons thanks to their built-in Special Summon effects, and Dragunity Arma Mystletainn's especially important because it fuels so many of the deck's best combos. With Dragunity Arma Mystletainn and a Dragunity Senatus you can summon Red-Eyes Darkness Metal Dragon or Dragunity Arma Leyvaten straight from the deck by Summoning Hieratic Dragon King of Atum. For reference, here's what that combo looks like:
Again, you have any number of options after you build up your field presence. The ability to search Dragunity Arma Mystletainn makes this combo more consistent, and you'll have a more reliable follow-up play if your Dragunity Senatus effect is interrupted. But there's a lot more you can do with Dragunity Glow. Its graveyard effects lets you summon a monster that's equipped to a Dragunity you control, and that could be any monster. There are any number of monsters you could Summon with Glow's effect: Dragunity Arma Leyvaten can equip any Dragon monster, and the new Dragunity Arma Gram can equip anything. Dragunity Knight - Luin can even equip Dragunity Arma Leyvaten from the graveyard, and by activating Glow you can Summon Dragunity Arma Leyvaten to equip a Dragunity Phalanx or Dragunity Couse for yet another Summon.
While Dragunity Glow creates more consistency for combos that already exist, and extends a few more of them, Dragunity Arma Gram is a totally new extender that helps Dragunities compete even when you're playing second. Gram's wild: its negation effect on-summon helps it beat negation bodies and Quick Effects by forcing out their negations immediately. Gram has a huge 2900 ATK and the ability to drop the ATK of opposing monsters, so its third effect is a real concern for your opponent. If Gram destroys a monster it also equips that monster to itself. From there you can activate Dragunity Glow in the graveyard to Summon the equipped monster to your field, potentially adding another negation body to your field.
Dragunity Gram's a solid extender for the strategy, although it's definitely a one-of for most builds. Dragunity does fill the graveyard really quickly, but it's not quite fast enough to make Gram playable in every Turn 1 hand. You can always load Gram to the graveyard with Dragon Ravine or Dragon Shrine, and because it's searchable through Dragunity Glow there's little reason to run more than one copy unless you're specifically angling for Rank 10 Summons.
Lastly, Dragunity Knight - Areadbhair is another Level 10 Dragunity Synchro that joins Dragunity Knight - Ascalon at the peak of the Dragunity Synchro chain. Areadbhair offers monster effect negation that banishes the negated monster, another effect that banishes monsters destroyed by battle with Areadbhair, and its final effect is a Harpie's Feather Duster that triggers when it's destroyed. At first glance Dragunity Knight - Areadbhair isn't very useful - Dragunities already have access to Crystal Wing Synchro Dragon through Dragunity Knight - Vajrayana. Fortunately, Areadbhair actually does bring something to the table: you can Summon it with Dragunity Arma Leyvaten or Dragunity Arma Mystletainn, something you couldn't do with Crystal Wing Synchro Dragon.
All three of the new cards in the upcoming OCG Structure Deck ultimately lead to more consistent Dragunity combos and bigger, more powerful end fields. Dragunity Knight - Areadbhair plays a vital role in solidifying end boards without needing you to chase down Crystal Wing Synchro Dragon, and Dragunity Glow can find all the relevant combo pieces that were previously just out of reach. Interestingly, you can even Summon Areadbhair before Nibiru, the Primal Being's live if you Normal Summon your Tuner and Special Summon Dragunity Arma Mystletainn, immediately after. It's much harder to follow up, but with enough extenders it's definitely possible to continue making plays.
Structure Deck R: Dragunity Drive might still have a few secrets left in store for us, and with any luck it'll include a new Winged Beast extender. There are a lot of ways to make the core Dragunity strategy relevant again, and a retrain of Dragon Ravine's always been at the top of the list. Dragunity Glow could be the closest we're getting to that, but a Winged Beast that can Special Summon itself from the hand would be incredible. There's a reason why Garuda the Wind Spirit is so widely played in Dragunity lists.
We'll see what Konami has in store for Dragunity later this fall.
Until next time then.