Remember Knightmare Mermaid? Or Master Peace, the True Dracoslaying King? They're both still on the Forbidden List. But now with the release of Red-Eyes Dark Dragoon in the 2020 Tin of Lost Memories next week, a new extinction-level threat is coming to the game. And with it comes insanity.

Be prepared: every deck will be summoning Red-Eyes Dark Dragoon. Literally everything. Eldlich, Adamancipator, Salamangreats, Burning Abyss, heck even Prank-Kids can play it, and they will. Why? Because it's easy and legal (for now).

I'm sure you're all wondering, what does Red-Eyes Dark Dragoon do? How can you play it? And how do you beat it when it's on the other side of the table? It's really important to understand the answers to those questions, so today I'm going to tell you.

Red-Eyes Dark Dragoon will be printed as an Ultra Rare in the new tins, the bulk of which is reprints from 2019. An OCG import that's run roughshod over Asian tournaments, it's accompanied by three World Premiere cards as well, cards making their global debut here in the TCG: those are Successor Soul, Destined Rivals and Strength in Unity. All three cards pale in comparison to Red-Eyes Dark Dragoon, but they're all pretty good support cards for the Dark Magician and Blue-Eyes themes.

Successor Soul can search out Dark Magician to help you trigger Dark Magical Circle's removal effect, while negating the ability of an opposing monster. Destined Rivals is a one-turn Skill Drain, but it only works while you control a Dark Magician or Blue-Eyes White Dragon. Strength in Unity's a recycling card, as well as possible removal when you've resolved a Ritual or Fusion Summon that included one of the big two. It's not the best out of the three, since it just seems like Circle's effect with extra steps.

What Does Dragoon Do?

Now back to focusing on Red-Eyes Dark Dragoon!

Red-Eyes Dark Dragoon is a Level 8 Dark Spellcaster Fusion with the same stat line of the mighty Blue-Eyes White Dragon – that's 3000 ATK and 2500 DEF. The Fusion Materials required are the original Dark Magician and a Red-Eyes Black Dragon, OR any Dragon effect monster. It's got a bunch of effects.

Firstly, Red-Eyes Dark Dragoon can't be targeted or destroyed by card effects.

Next, in your Main Phase you can destroy a monster your opponent controls and inflict damage to your opponent equal to the original ATK of whatever you destroyed. And that's not once per turn: you can use the destruction once for each Normal Monster used for Red-Eyes Dark Dragoon Fusion Summon.

Finally its most important effect is that it can negate and destroy any one card if you pitch another from your hand. Then Red-Eyes Dark Dragoon gains 1000 ATK if it destroys the card it negated.

Red-Eyes Dark Dragoon might not say "unaffected by card effects," but being untargetable and indestructible is basically the same thing when you also have a blanket negation ability. The Ring of Destruction type effect is just icing on the cake; Red-Eyes Dark Dragoon is a one-card army.  

How Will It Do In Competition

Red-Eyes Dark Dragoon released in the OCG in December of 2019, and since then, it's been played in EVERYTHING thanks to its partner in crime Predaplant Verte Anaconda. It's still legal over in the OCG, but for some reason the powers that be chose to limit it alongside Red-Eyes Fusion instead of just forbidding Predaplant Verte Anaconda outright. I guess limiting it keeps you from summoning multiples in one game, which could be fair.

Predaplant Verte Anaconda's a generic Link monster and as you probably know, it can copy any Fusion Spell's effect for the cost of 2000 Life Points, sending that spell to the graveyard. The only restriction is that once it resolves, you can't Special Summon anymore. It hasn't seen much play in the TCG since its release, occasionally appearing in Shaddolls, Thunders, Cyber Dragons and Fluffals. But soon it'll be everywhere. People will use its effect to dump and copy Red-Eyes Fusion, sending Dark Magician and Red-Eyes Black Dragon to the graveyard to Fusion Summon Red-Eyes Dark Dragoon.

You'll always have to stop it.

Red-Eyes Dark Dragoon will be played in every combo deck. The combo player will bait out Nibiru, the Primal Being with Crystron Halqifibrax and Linkross. Once Nibiru, the Primal Being hits they'll Special Summon an effect monster and turn the Nibiru Token into a Link Spider. From there they'll make an Predaplant Verte Anaconda to copy Red-Eyes Fusion, and after that, the Red-Eyes Dark Dragoon will take care of the opposing Nibiru, the Primal Being and deal 3000 damage.

Red-Eyes Dark Dragoon will be a bonus card on every current end board. The same combos we see now that end on fields of Borreload Savage Dragon, Herald of the Arc Light, Apollousa, Bow of the Goddess and even Union Carrier to equip Dragon Buster Destruction Sword, those plays will be the same. But now with any two extra cards, combo players can summon Predaplant Verte Anaconda to establish another extra negate. Some will even set it up with an I:P Masquerena so the Predaplant Verte Anaconda will be useful, Linking it away on the opponent's turn for Apollousa, Bow of the Goddess or even Knightmares.

So on one hand, Red-Eyes Dark Dragoon will be abused in many competitive decks. But it's also technically a Dark Magician card and a Red-Eyes support card. In Dark Magicians, the Predaplant Verte Anaconda play sets you up with the Dark Magician in the graveyard so you can revive it with Eternal Soul and trigger Dark Magical Circle's effect to banish a card on field. That has a lot of merit.

On the other side of the coin, I don't think Red-Eyes will be viable as a standalone strategy, especially with the recent errata to Red-Eyes Darkness Metal Dragon. If you can play Black Metal Dragon in your deck then that can help you search for a Red-Eyes Fusion, sure, but you probably won't play it in the same turn because of its restrictions. It's worth noting though, that unlike the OCG everything will be at three in the TCG, so you can keep Red-Eyes Fusion in hand as a follow-up to summon another Red-Eyes Dark Dragoon the next turn!

You can even summon Red-Eyes Dark Dragoon with Cyber-Stein, which means suddenly it's searchable witth Road Warrior. You can make Road Warrior with either the original Road Synchron, Quickdraw Synchron or Junk Anchor as well as two non-tuners. And you can bring out Junk Anchor with the ever-so-popular Cryston Halqifibrax. So if Predaplant Verte Anaconda's ever negated or if you want to summon multiple Red-Eyes Dark Dragoon, you could try and implement a combo to summon Road Warrior. You could even turn Cyber-Stein into a Psychic type with Reproducus and equip it with Telekinetic Charging Cell.

Or, you can use the classic Polymerization to Fusion Summon it. With the help of cards like King of the Swamp, Frightfur Patchwork, and maybe even Curse of Dragonfire, it definitely looks like you could Fusion Summon a couple Red-Eyes Dark Dragoon and then eventually Link Summon Predaplant Verte Anaconda for the third. That sounds like something fun to do before Red-Eyes Dark Dragoon gets limited in the TCG.

Weaknesses, And How You Can Adapt

Alright, so how do you beat Red-Eyes Dark Dragoon? Well, since it's untargetable and indestructible a lot of cards aren't in the picture. But just the other day I realized that Forbidden Droplet doesn't target. And if you pitched a monster card for it, then Forbidden Droplet will definitely negate Red-Eyes Dark Dragoon effect and leave it open to attack.

A lot of players in the OCG have popularized Kaijus as an answer. They'll probably become a staple in everyone's Main or Side Deck since they're really the easiest way to beat Red-Eyes Dark Dragoon. They're affordable, too. I know I'll be main decking at least one Dogoran, the Mad Flame Kaiju in my Dinosaur deck.

Since Red-Eyes Dark Dragoon a Dark Fusion Monster, we may see Super-Polymerization become popular again. Fusing away multiple opposing Red-Eyes Dark Dragoon into a Starving Venom Fusion Dragon or Predaplant Dragostapelia is a great answer.

You're going to have to play stuff like Kaijus, Forbidden Droplet and most importantly Dark Ruler No More. Not just to beat Red-Eyes Dark Dragoon, but also whatever board your opponent's made in combination with the Predaplant Verte Anaconda combo. Again, Red-Eyes Dark Dragoon often won't hit the field alone; the fact that it often adds to existing end boards is one of the factors that makes it so good.

Red-Eyes Dark Dragoon will be another powerful addition into the already chaotic world of Yu-Gi-Oh today. Not only do we have to deal with Numeron cards that summon out Number S0: Utopic ZEXAL, Mystic Mine decks, Rock decks that abuse Block Dragon and Eldlich traps that out resource you, now every combo deck or really even any midrange control deck can just drop Red-Eyes Dark Dragoon with ease. All you need is two monsters.

Sound familiar? That was the entirety of the Orcust format when Knightmare Mermaid was legal.

All we can hope for at this point is a new Forbidden & Limited list to help calm down the format. With no sanctioned events to justify it, it may still be a ways off. We can only hope that Red-Eyes Dark Dragoon is easy to pull from the new tins, so we can all destroy each other and be salty about the dice-roll.