Last weekwe saw a Guardragon hybrid use its effect to Summon Number 38: HopeHarbinger Dragon Titanic Galaxy – a serious feat now that GuardragonAgarpain's Forbidden – andPendulum playersare already teching it into their builds to reach Rank 8 Xyz.
I won't blame you for assuming that Galactic Spiral Dragon has alreadypeaked, but I'd argue that we're just seeing the beginnings of itscompetitive potential. It's not nearly as flexible as other extenders, soit won't see the widespread play that Destrudo, the Lost Dragon's Frissonhas, but I think it can easily earn its keep in dedicated Dragon themes andas a tech choice outside of Guardragons and Pendulums.
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Galactic Spiral Dragon is first and foremost a recurring extender in anydeck that can reliably Summon Light or Dark Dragons. Its from-hand orgraveyard Special Summon effect is really reliable in themes like Rokketsor Hieratics, but it's equally playable in decks that can Link SummonGuardragons, Striker Dragon, and Hieratic Seal of the Heavenly Spheres. Ifyou can reach into your Extra Deck for a Light or Dark Dragon you'realready halfway to Summoning Galactic Spiral Dragon.
That said, the conditions attached to its first effect are a far cry fromDestrudo, and it's hard to imagine players passing up Destrudo for GalacticSpiral Dragon purely for the latter's utility as an extender. That said,Spiral Dragon does have a few advantages over Destrudo in terms of when itcan be Summoned. You don't need to control a Level 6 or lower monster toSummon Spiral Dragon, so it's actually viable in decks that are playinghigh-Level monsters exclusively.
Luckily we're not trying to cram Galactic Spiral Dragon into everything tomake more Link Summons, so the fact that Destrudo is a better card in mostsituations is largely irrelevant. In fact, Destrudo's a fantastic additionto any deck that's trying to Summon Galactic Spiral Dragon regularly. Bothcards have synergy with effects that load the graveyard with Dragons,namely Dragon Shrine and Dragon Ravine.
Speaking of the graveyard, Galactic Spiral Dragon has another interestingdistinction that sets it apart from Destrudo: it's much more likely to endup back in the graveyard after you Special Summon it. If you use it for anXyz Summon it won't be banished when it's detatched, which means you canSpecial Summon it again next turn from your graveyard if you still meet theconditions. That's actually not all that difficult to accomplish, anddepending on the deck you're playing it in Galactic Spiral Dragon can endup being a regular addition to your field.
Galactic Spiral Dragon's ignition effect is insanely useful for making Rank8 Xyz Summons. 2013's Mythic Dragons - Mythic Tree Dragon and Mythic WaterDragon - worked together to make Rank 8 Xyz whenever the two were together,or when they were paired up with specific Dragon Rulers. Galactic SpiralDragon requires close to the same level of set-up for its Special Summonability, but its ignition effect can turn any monster into a Level 8 forthe duration of the turn. Its Level-changing ability even has implicationsbeyond Rank 8 Xyz, although I'm not sure how often you'll want to combo itwith something like Advance Draw.
You don't have to activate Galactic Spiral Dragon immediately after youSpecial Summon it, so you can continue to fill up your field with monstersbefore changing their Level. Rank 8s that require more than two materialshave never been easier, and of course you can use Galactic Spiral Dragon tomake multiple Rank 8s in a single turn.
It's worth asking whether Xyz Summoning Rank 8s is better than simplymaking more Link monsters with extenders that are much less conditional,but I don't think you have to spend too much time looking at the Rank 8toolbox to realize there are incredible monsters just waiting to see playagain.
Rank 8 Options
At the top of the Rank 8 pyramid lies Hope Harbinger Titanic Galaxy. It'sno surprise that it's become the go-to Rank 8 for so many decks: spellnegation's fantastic against all of the game's top decks, and its abilityto protect Apollousa, Bow of the Goddess makes it a vital component of Turn1 boards.
Guardragons typically want to end their first turn on Apollousa, HopeHarbinger, and Borrel Savage Dragon to close off their opponent's abilityto mount a comeback. Pushing through all of those negation bodies is hardenough, but Titanic Galaxy's ability to redirect attacks makes any kind ofoffensive Battle Phase assault nearly impossible. Apollousa's balancedaround the ATK reduction it receives every time it negates a card, and yetthat vulnerability is totally mitigated when it's paired with TitanicGalaxy.
There are plenty of other negation effects, and blowout OTK monsters, inthe Rank 8 toolbox. Divine Dragon Knight Felgrand was once a top defensivepick, but it's outclassed by Number 22: Zombiestein. Galactic SpiralDragon's conveniently Dark, so as long as you control another Dark monsterwith a Level you can easily fulfill Zombiestein's requirements.
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Number 68: Sanaphond the Sky Prison is another fantastic choice againstOrcusts and other graveyard-dependent strategies. Galaxy-Eyes Cipher Dragonis one of the better offensive options, but you can also choose to doubledown on your Rank 8 strategy by playing Number 97: Draglubion, Number 107:Galaxy-Eyes Tachyon Dragon, and Number C107: Neo Galaxy-Eyes TachyonDragon.
It's hard to justify playing more than one Rank 8 when a diverse pool ofLink Monsters is so much more useful during any given duel. I'd love tosuggest cards like Alsei, the Sylvan High Protector or Number 15: GimmickPuppet Giant Grinder, but every additional Xyz in your Extra Deck is oneless Link Monster, or one less Super Polymerization target. If you'replaying Destrudo – and you probably are if you're playing Galactic SpiralDragon – you'll probably have at least one Synchro in your Extra Deck.Extra Deck space has increasingly become a problem over the last decade,and it's been a long time since combo strategies could afford to play avariety of Xyz Monsters.
Finding A Home
Virtually every deck that plays Guardragon Elpy and Guardragon Pisty cantech a single copy of Galactic Spiral Dragon. Both cards happen to be DarkDragons anyways, and their effects can either Special Summon Spiral Dragonfrom the deck directly, or supply another Light or Dark Dragon to online acopy of Spiral Dragon in the hand or graveyard. You can probably SummonSpiral Dragon any time you can Summon Red-Eyes Darkness Metal Dragon, andof course it's also a target for Return of the Dragon Lords and variousother recovery spells.
Playing Galactic Spiral Dragon in a deck that's loaded with Main Deck Lightand Dark Dragons is definitely ideal, but there aren't a lot of competitiveoptions right now. Blue-Eyes, Hieratics, and Rokkets come to mindimmediately, but none of them are topping even Regional-level events at themoment. Don't get me wrong: Galactic Spiral Dragon's still an amazingaddition to those strategies regardless of their relative competitiveness.Blue-Eyes players can transform even more monsters into Rank 8 fodder, andGalactic Spiral Dragon can regularly contribute to Rank 8s each turn.Hieratics can more readily reach their themed Rank 8 monster, and Rokketshave much more flexibility in their Extra Deck by simply adding a GalacticSpiral Dragon to their Main Deck line-up.
Ultimately you don't need to settle for a dedicated Light or Dark Dragontheme to abuse Galactic Spiral Dragon. Omni Dragon Brotaur, Destrudo,Supreme Dragon Darkwurm, and Rokket Tracer are phenomenal tech choices thatneed very little support outside of a consistently available way to loadDragons into the graveyard. Dragon Shrine and Dragon Ravine can fit intomany different strategies, and while Guardragons and Pendulums arecurrently the best of the bunch there's no telling when that might change.
It's exciting to see a common that so effectively builds on the latestbatch of Dragon support, and the decks it helps beyond the typicalGuardragon strategies are so deserving of the extra Summoning power. KeepGalactic Spiral Dragon in mind as we head into 2020: I'd be shocked if itdidn't continue to see play at some level even Elpy and Pisty are Forbiddennext year.
Until next time then
Kelly Locke is a West Michigangamer and writer. You can follow him onTwitter for more updates and check outhis Youtube channel. He also studiedmarketing at Western Michigan University.