The Question – Light and Darkness in Dragon Ruler?

In every Dragon Ruler deck there seems to be about five slots that can be tweaked and played with, so naturally everyone’s trying to figure out what the best choices are for those last few slots. We’ve seen Light and Darkness Dragon dominate certain formats in the past while completely underperform in others. Naturally, in a deck based around Dragons that can search and manipulate cards as well as Dragon Rulers, it makes sense to consider LADD, and I honestly believe that everyone’s probably thought about playing it at this point. We see this gargantuan Dragon as exactly what it can be: a win condition. But at the same time we need to consider whether it’s necessary or even that viable in the first place.

Light and Darkness Dragon can be viewed as situational to a certain degree; certain cards will do nothing to it, while others can blow it out of the water, and it’s only by weighing both sides of the equation that can let us reach a decision. In a format where alotof cards are useless against LADD it makes sense to play it, whereas the opposite is true in any format filled with cards that easily address it. That’s going to be the biggest issue with a card like this, because it works so differently against specific threats.

The Goods
Eclipse Wyvern is one of the main reasons you’d want to play Light and Darkness Dragon. Wyvern gets you to LADD without losing cards. So if you draw the Wyvern and ditch it for a small Dragon Ruler in the process of going off, and then banish the Wyvern to summon a big Dragon Ruler, you’re basically turning Wyvern into a big Dragon Ruler. Tempest, Dragon Ruler of Storms and Tidal, Dragon Ruler of Waterfalls give you easy access Eclipse Wyvern whenever you’d like. When cards like Dragon Ravine are thrown into the mix, things get even easier. Dragon Ravine lets you discard a big Dragon Ruler to trigger Eclipse Wyvern’s effect, letting you drop a big Dragon Ruler from your hand to get LADD with Wyvern plus another Dragon off of the big Dragon Ruler you just discarded. That should let you put two monsters into play to summon LADD, while keeping your card presence up.

Summoning Light and Darkness Dragon is also something we should touch on, since I believe a lot of people may be doing something that’s unnecessary and could put them in a very bad position. I often see duelists Summon a Mecha Phantom Beast Dracossack, then use its effect for two Mecha Phantom Beast Tokens. They then Tribute the Tokens to Summon LADD, ignoring that they could have just Tributed the Dragons they had out before making Dracossack. Why is it better to leave Dracossack out of the equation? The main reason is that if you rely on Tributing Dracossack’s Tokens, you’re vulnerable to Effect Veiler. That card would normally do next to nothing against LADD, but when you go through Dracossack your opponent can just Veiler it and then win the game with Crimson Blader next turn. Devastating. The second factor making the simple Tribute-the-Dragons play better is that it’ll make Super Rejuvenation two cards bigger if you happen to have it.

Light and Darkness Dragon is going to be very good in a format where few Spell Speed 2 cards are played, since they’re some of the few cards that can actually get around LADD’s negation. Thus far, Dragon Ruler decks are divided into two parts: the ones playing a very proactive strategy trying to do as much as possible, and the others playing a little more reactively with cards like Breakthrough Skill. If you can stick a LADD first turn in the mirror match, it could be a very quick and easy game if your opponent doesn’t have some trick to get it off the field. LADD will actually be a pretty quick decider in general; some decks just can’t beat it when you play it first turn, or your opponent might have drawn poorly enough to have no answers. The newer Prophecy decks that don’t play High Priestess of Prophecy have a really tough time beating LADD because they don’t have the strategy’s best answer to it.

I also really like Light and Darkness Dragon in Dragon Ruler decks that play Forbidden Chalice. The combo of decking out your opponent with a Colossal Fighter by Chalicing an opposing Dracossack while under Maxx “C” is probably going to be a bit less effective once people realize how to play around it more – Special Summoning Dracossack in defense, for example – but that doesn’t mean Chalice isn’t a good card. It can give you game winning damage, win you a battle you weren’t supposed to win, or negate a problem card that you can’t deal with otherwise.

However, with Light and Darkness Dragon in the mix Chalice becomes the ultimate reset button. Chalice can make LADD go up to 3200 ATK, and then at the end of the turn it goes back down to 2800 regardless of what ATK it had when you Chaliced it. That means Chalice can get even more cards out of your opponent by buying you more negations. Beyond that, if your Turn 1 LADD goes unanswered you can actually just win the following turn by activating an effect, chaining Chalice to LADD’s ability to negate it, and proceeding with your plays. That gives you a 3200 ATK beatstick and unlocks all of your moves. If you somehow don’t win that turn, LADD changes back into an effect negater the following turn.

The Not-So-Goods
 If Light and Darkness Dragon was as straightforward as that, there’s no way you wouldn’t just want to slam it into every Dragon Ruler deck possible. The biggest problem I have with LADD is that Summoning it blind is hugely risky a great portion of the time, because there are several scenarios that just ruin you. Remember how I said that Forbidden Chalice is very good to use with LADD? Well it’s also a very good card to use against it. You basically do the same trick I mentioned, but use Number 11: Big Eye to steal LADD after you negate its effect. That move totally turns the tables, punishing you for trying to take a bit shortcut and probably losing you the game.

Evilswarm’s another deck that a blind Light and Darkness Dragon could lose you everything against. Evilswarm Castor into any other Evilswarm to make an Evilswarm Ophion will beat your LADD; all your opponent has to do is simply activate Ophion’s effect to tick LADD down to 2300 ATK and then run it over. In a matchup that you could’ve normally won by playing the Dracossack grind game, you lose because you invested cards into a LADD that cost you a ton of cards without putting you in a better position. The same thing can be said against a Prophecy deck playing High Priestess of Prophecy; your opponent can keep trying to Special Summon High Priestess with her effect and force LADD to run out of negations. From there you lose to the impending onslaught of Spellbooks and Prophecy monsters.

Light and Darkness Dragon’s worth varies wildly in different situations, but if there’s one thing I can definitely say about it, it’s this: most games that you win with LADD are generally winnable without it. This holds true to the games you lose with LADD as well; you might’ve just thrown a game by putting it onto the field rather than making a normal Dragon Ruler play. However, just because the card isn’t going to be the absolute best all of the time doesn’t mean it won’t flat out win you some games when you can drop it Turn 1. It seems like it all depends on how the format shapes up. In a format with a bunch of proactive Dragon Ruler decks and No-Priestess Prophecy? LADD it up. In a format with Evilswarm, standard Prophecy, and reactive Dragon Ruler strategies? LADD will probably lose you more games than it’ll win. What do you guys think about Light and Darkness Dragon in the current format? Make sure to tell us in the Comments!

-Robert Boyajian

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