Poor Dragunities. Hyped from the beginning but largely failing to deliver out of the gates, this underappreciated deck had a cult following up until September 1st when breakthrough tournament successes finally brought it into the mainstream. Seriously, a group of devoted players used this strategy for years on end.

Just ask our own Kelly Locke, who played Dragunities for well over two years straight!

But when Dragunities became mainstream, all that success eventually screwed them over. Dragon Ravine's now Forbidden, destroying what was regarded as the single best reason to play the strategy. Today though, I'm here to show you that while Dragunities aren't as powerful as they may have been in days past, they're still definitely a threat on the local level.

A Far-Fetched Strategy
Dragunity Dux is the name of the game for Dragunities. With a Dux in hand and a Dragunity Phalanx in your graveyard you're free to make a wide variety of Level 6 or Level 8 Synchros. The most basic combo is simply using Dux to revive Phalanx, Synchro Summoning Dragunity Knight – Vajrayana, and bringing back Phalanx to make a Level 8 Synchro Monster. It's fast, efficient, and repeatable. Sadly, you can't search out the combo pieces with Dragon Ravine anymore, leaving Dragunity Knight – Gae Dearg the only real way to add Dux to your hand. To make sure your plays still go off without Dux we're going to have to look elsewhere for support and search power.

Dragunity Arma Mystletainn is part of that 'elsewhere.' An on-field Dragunity Phalanx and an in-hand Mystletainn is essentially a Level 8 Synchro. Actually, Mystletainn has a number of distinct advantages over Dux, all of which I'll explain as we continue. The most obvious one is that you can search it off of Tempest, Dragon Ruler of Storms. That turns any Gold Sarcophagus into a Mystletainn, giving you an extra boost to consistency.

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Instant Fusion is really awesome for Dragunities too. Mavelus is your go-to Wind Level 4 Fusion Monster, turning your Instant Fusions and Dragunity Phalanx into a Level 6 or Level 8 Synchro. I prefer Instant Fusion slightly more over Garuda the Wind Spirit. Both of them do essentially the same thing, but Garuda requires previous setup. An opening hand of just Phalanx and Garuda makes it impossible to go into Synchros, while Instant Fusion would actually get you to your plays. I suppose that Garuda's marginally better in that you can banish a Tempest for it to search Mystelainn and combo off, but in testing I found that one scenario wasn't worth sacrificing strength in the early game.

I keep talking about the combos this deck can churn out, but I haven't gone into detail about them yet. Basically you can do a near infinite number of things given the correct setup, and mastering all the different paths you can create is crucial. Let me show you the most simple combo of the bunch:

-Start with a hand of Dragunity Dux and Dragunity Arm Mystelainn, with Dragunity Phalanx in graveyard.

-Summon Dux, bring back Phalanx, and go into Dragunity Knight – Vajrayana.

-Special Summon the Phalanx equipped to Vajrayana, then send it to the graveyard for Mystelainn.

-Bring back Phalanx again, and overlay your two Level 6's for Hieratic Dragon King of Atum.

-Detach for Atum's effect, summoning Red-Eyes Darkness Metal Dragon.

- Revive whatever you detached, and Synchro Summon a Level 8.

In short, you just turned two cards into three big monsters, two of which are threatening to make more Special Summons if your opponent doesn't take care of them. Considering how often plays like this happen, a decent percentage of your games will just be auto-wins. Throw an Instant Fusion into the mix and you can end with Red-Eyes Darkness Metal Dragon at full ATK, Dragunity Knight – Gae Dearg, and a Level 8 Synchro. That's well over 8000 attack points.

The chief obstacle for this deck is obvious: without Dragon Ravine, Dragunities suffer some big hits to consistency. I wanted to not only maximize the punch of my good hands, but keep my subpar hands from costing me games. After a lot of testing I came up with what I believe to be a solid mix of consistency, strength, and overall resiliency to destruction. Here's what I put together:

DECKID=99769First things first: I've opted to play the central combo pieces in multiples to make sure that those plays happen as soon and as often as possible. Triple Dragunity Dux, Dragunity Arma Mystletainn, and Dragunity Phalanx gives you plenty of ways to hit the ground running on Turn 1. As for getting Phalanx in the graveyard you've got Foolish Burial, Dragon Shrine, Cards of Consonance, and Tempest, Dragon Ruler of Storms. The later can actually search out Mystelainn, setting up two-thirds of the core play sequence.

Two copies of Upstart Goblin backed by three Reckless Greeds ensure that you'll do a ridiculous amount of deck thinning. I wanted to find room for a third Upstart, but in the end I just opted to play more actual cards.

Dragunity Please, With A Side Of Dragon Ruler
Yes, there are four Dragon Rulers in this build. No, it's not a Dragon Ruler deck. I've argued with people in the Comments section before when I've played twice as many on-theme monsters than Dragon Rulers, and I wouldn't be surprised if someone still comments saying this isn't a Dragunity deck because of four particular cards. But don't be fooled: the only useful Dragon Ruler here is Tempest. Tempest is amazing. You can discard Phalanxes to search Mystelainn with Tempest's effect, or you can banish it with Gold Sarcophagus. The other Dragon Rulers are here for the sole purpose of banishing Tempest, I swear.

Dragon Shrine is one of the best cards you can open with. Kicking things off with Shrine and any Dragon Ruler allows you to dump Flamvell Guard and Tempest to put a monster on board and search out Phalanx or Mystletainn. Some of your best Turn 1's consist of multiple Dragon Shrines, setting up your graveyard with ample fodder for Dragon Rulers and Dragunities alike. If you find yourself with a spare Dragon Ruler you're always free to just yard a Flamvell Guard and Phalanx, which is still marginally better than just milling Phalanx with Foolish Burial.

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Burial from a Different Dimension is also stellar in the mid and late game. It brings one and a half Dragon Rulers online just for a -1. Making a push early on only to watch your opponent dismantle it is rough, but Burial lets you mount a comeback and make a potential Rank 7. Mecha Phantom Beast Dracossack and Number 11: Big Eye aren't hitting tables nearly as much this format as they were last format, but your deck can kick them out with relative ease. Dracossack has its own niche role, too, since it can put two Level 3's on board ready to be made into a Level 8 Synchro with Dragunity Phalanx.

Ridiculous Traps
This build is only packing seven trap cards, three of which are Reckless Greeds. The remaining four are some of the best cards in this deck, though, and it's important to understand how each one interacts with the strategy. Solemn Warning's the only one that doesn't really need explanation. It's a Counter Trap that essentially just gives the finger to anything your opponent tries to do. The increasingly popular Forbidden Lance can't touch it, and neither can a chained Trap Stun. The only real outs to Warning are Seven Tools of the Bandit and Dark Bribe, neither of which is very popular right now.

Fiendish Chain serves a lot of purposes. On the surface it negates effects, which is cool, but it's the attack stopping part that really secures its place in this deck. Whenever Atum brings out a Dragon from your deck it plummets down to 0 ATK and DEF. You want to get the most value out of Red-Eyes Darkness Metal Dragon, and every turn that it survives is a free +1. A lot of strategies struggle to put multiple monsters on the field this format, and preventing just one single attack is sometimes enough to lock in a win. Fiendish Chain's also helpful when you're siding Full House, a powerful trap card that's quickly becoming a pseudo Heavy Storm in the right matchups.

Dragoncarnation – a card designed for Dragon Rulers but that never got the spotlight it deserved – is one of my favorite cards in this deck. I wanted to play more of them, but just didn't have the space. The single copy recycles banished Dragons straight to your hand. Whether you're using it to grab back a Tempest, a Mystletainn, or a Phalanx you're always gaining some ground on your opponent. It's best used in response when they try to destroy it with something like Mystical Space Typhoon, netting you a quick +1. I essentially view it as another piece to any of your combos, granting you a little bit of extra mileage.

My last tech pick is brand new from Legacy of the Valiant: Skill Prisoner. This deck has problems with Effect Veiler, and Skill Prisoner takes care of not one but two Veiler negations. It also prevents the likes of Brotherhood of the Fire Fist – Bear or Atlantean Marksman from taking out your cards. It's such a good choice this format and I'm surprised more people aren't playing it. It's an easy-in for this strategy.

Taking Flight
Dragunities were one of the first themes to use monsters as equips. Inzektors are the more popular version of that idea, but they're not nearly as interesting as Dragunities. The ability to explode on a moment's notice and create unbreakable fields is so cool. I'd advise you to practice as much as possible if you really want to become an awesome Dragunity player. There are so many intertwining moves and it really takes some serious thought to get them down just right.

At the end of the day you're still looking at a deck that's suffered some major hits. Luckily, there are still some advantages to running a Dragunity deck; they have some extremely high caliber cards in their arsenal. Do you think Dragunities still have potential or am I just too optimistic? Let me know in the Comments section!

-Doug Zeeff

Article Aftermath #34