I spent most of last year jumping from deck to deck, searching for something that I'd enjoy playing as much as Dragunity. I tried my hand at Harpies, Sylvans, and Qliphorts, but none of them held my attention for more than a couple months. Its been a frustrating year, so you can imagine my excitement when I heard that Dragunity was receiving new support. I imagined a new Synchro, a new Dragunity weapon, or maybe something with a search effect to replace Ravine.
My initial reaction to Dragunity Divine Lance was something like: "Oh, that's not going to work."
After I took a second, third, and fifteenth look at Divine Lance I was still asking myself: is there a way to make this work? Can this new Equip Spell make Dragunity viable again? The purpose of this article is to discuss those findings, but there's no point in avoiding the obvious: Divine Lance is a weak card that does little to help a hurting theme. It's certainly not the worst of the legacy support in SECE – that title goes to Zenmaiday – but it's nowhere near the level of Blaze Accelerator Reload or Koa'ki Meiru Overload. Before I end up spending the next five minutes of your time ranting about how much I dislike this card, let's take a look at Divine Lance from the top down and analyze its effect.A Gift From The Nekroz
Lance's selling point is actually its third effect: once per turn you can equip a Dragon-Type Dragunity Tuner from your deck to the monster equipped with Divine Lance. Note the terminology used here – the Level requirement attached to the effects of Dragunity Dux, Legionnaire, Vajrayana, and Primus Pilus has been replaced with a Tuner requirement. This doesn't change the available targets because there are no Dragunity Tuners above Level 3. If another monster's released in the future this line might make a difference, but I wouldn't hold my breath.
Dragunity Phalanx is the most obvious search for Lance's effect. It effectively turns any Level 4 Dragunity into a Level 6 or 8 Synchro, even without a Phalanx in the graveyard. This is the type of play Konami probably had in mind with this card, and it does increase the deck's consistency by a small degree. There are more opportunities to turn dead hands into successful Synchro Summons, but generally you'll end up taking a -1 in the process.
Let's break down the usefulness of the other Dragunity Tuners:
Before Dragunity hit the TCG there were some OCG rulings that, for a brief time, allowed Aklys to activate when the monster it was equipped to went to the graveyard for any reason. Keeping that ruling would have made Aklys a lot better, but it's a solid card on its own. However, using Divine Lance to equip it to a monster other than Legionnaire, Vajrayana, Trident, or Militum is generally a waste of time. There's no way to trigger its destruction effect if it's attached to a copy of Dux outside of something like Release Restraint Wave...or your own copy of Mystical Space Typhoon.
Dragunity Brandistock allows the equipped monster to attack twice, and while that's sometimes useful on its own it's even better when combined with Dragunity Corsesca. Corsesca saw a lot of play in Dragon Rulers, but in Dragunity it's mainly used to search monsters from the deck. It's one of the theme's few search effects, and unfortunately it relies on a number of things to go right for it to resolve. Divine Lance makes it possible to get both effects on a single monster, effectively netting a +4 by destroying two cards and searching two cards from the deck. It's a powerful play, but one that's still unlikely to happen.
There's not much to say about Dragunity Javelin or Dragunity Partisan. Javelin can be recycled for use with some card effects like Scrap Dragon or Release Restraint Wave, but offers no help to the equipped monster. Partisan carries an effect that's identical to Aklys, yet both monsters cause Dragunity Primus Pilus – their best target – to miss its timing. Partisan turns the equipped monster into a Tuner, but again, that's not particularly useful. It can create Level 6 or 8 Tuners under the right conditions, which is interesting from a novelty standpoint.
Dragunity Darkspear's a lot more interesting with Divine Lance in the mix, mostly thanks to its ability to Special Summon a Winged-Beast from the graveyard. Special Summoning Dux isn't an entirely worthless play now that you can equip it with Lance and make a Synchro with it. Lastly, Dragunity Pilum allows the equipped monster to attack directly, and also shares the Aklys and Partisan Special Summon effect. Halving Battle Damage is a steep price to pay, but it can win you games in a pinch. Still, it's probably not worth playing.
The other effects of Divine Lance are rarely useful. Most of the time you'll end up equipping it to a monster, equipping Dragunity Phalanx from the deck, and then immediately Synchro Summoning with Phalanx and the equipped monster. The ATK boost and trap immunity offered by Lance can be useful under rare situations, but it won't save your Dux from Bottomless Trap Hole, Skill Drain, Torrential Tribute, Breakthrough Skill, Fiendish Chain, or any number of other traps that can respond to its Summon.Wielding The Lance – Which Monsters Benefit The Most?
Next up is Dragunity Legionnaire. Like Dux, Legionnaire doesn't need any help grabbing a Tuner from the graveyard. Unlike Dux, you probably won't want to Synchro Summon with it too often. Armades, Keeper of Boundaries is a solid Level 5 that's excellent in certain match-ups, but the main reason why Legionnaire is played is for its destruction effect. Unfortunately monster removal isn't worth much this format and it's utterly useless against Qliphort. Divine Lance can strap three Dragunity cards to Legionnaire and give it three times the destructive power, and with Aklys equipped you can destroy a few non-monsters as well. That's up to five cards destroyed with a two-card investment. It's another great play that Divine Lance facilitates, and it's just as difficult to pull off as the Corsesca Brandistock combo.
Dragunity Militum can't equip Dragunity Tuners to itself, and instead Special Summons Dragunity monsters from your Spell and Trap Zones. With Divine Lance we can finally put this monster to use by equipping it with Phalanx from the deck. But why stop there? Militum isn't limited to Phalanx: it can Summon any Dragunity Tuner. Brandistock offers Level 5 Synchro options, and both Pilum and Darkspear can make Level 7 Synchros. Dragunity Knight - Trident becomes accessible, as well as the upcoming Clear Wing Synchro Dragon in Crossover Souls. Oh, and you can also grab Power Tool Dragon, which in turn could search out another Divine Lance (even if you can't use its key effect that turn). Militum has a lot of potential, but it's just not consistent enough with only three – largely unsearchable – copies of Divine Lance in the deck.
Next up is Dragunity Knight - Vajrayana. This Level 6 Synchro's usually a stepping stone to Level 8 Synchros or Rank 6 Xyz when Summoned via Dragunity Dux. It's also capable of dealing game-ending damage to unsuspecting players. Its last effect lets you send a card that's equipped to it to the graveyard to double its ATK until the End Phase. I've won many duels by sending an equipped copy of Aklys to the grave, destroying a card on the field, and then attacking for 3800 damage. With Divine Lance you can pull off the same trick, and then if you didn't win that turn, make a Level 8 Synchro during your Main Phase 2. On the other hand you could play Divine Lance first, equip a Dragunity Brandistock to Vajrayana, and then use its ATK-doubling effect. With Divine Lance equipped, Vajrayana will double its 2500 ATK and hit 5000. With two attacks and immunity to traps, this play will almost always end the duel against an open field.
Lastly, there's Dragunity Arma Leyvaten. I want to point this card out not because it's searchable with Divine Lance, but because of its interaction with it. You can Special Summon Leyvaten from your hand or graveyard by banishing a monster that's equipped with a Dragunity card. That means you can banish a monster equipped with Divine Lance. Picture this play: you Normal Summon Dragunity Dux and equip Phalanx from the graveyard to it. You then activate Dragunity Divine Lance and equip another Phalanx to Dux. After Summoning both Phalanxes, you can banish Dux to Summon Leyvaten from your graveyard, equipping yet another copy of Phalanx. When that card hits the field, you'll end up with a +2 to your card economy. More importantly, you can Synchro Summon Trident Dragion, blow up your remaining Tuners, and attack three times with a 3000 ATK monster. Talk about a flashy way to win.Nothing Changes, On New Year's Day
Even with these new options there's a glaring lack of consistency and fragility in this strategy. The entire deck falls apart when hit by a single Mystical Space Typhoon, or a Shaddoll Dragon launched off Sinister Shadow Games, and don't get me started on Phoenix Wing Wind Blast or D.D. Crow. The deck doesn't just need Dragon Ravine back at three – it needs an entirely new mechanic to compete. I had hopes that we'd see Ravine return to the TCG this format, but that obviously didn't happen. I would have loved to see the OCG change its text, or Unlimit it now that Dragon Rulers were mostly defunct, but the rise in play of Dark Matter strategies all but assures that Dragon Ravine will end up Forbidden in the OCG soon enough.
Dragunity Divine Lance offers new ways to play old cards and creates new OTK opportunities. It doesn't replace Dragon Ravine in any way, and ultimately fails to improve the theme's overall strategy. Dragunity wouldn't be worth playing even if Ravine was at three, but I'd at least like the option to do so. I suppose I'll have to keep waiting to get my chance.
Until next time then