You Might Need Bigger Hands – Dragon Ruler Exodia

Combo decks are by far my favorite; when a combo deck’s based off an already existing strategy that I like, I might as well be a six year old on Christmas morning. Dragon Ruler’s been one of my favorite decks I’ve played thus far –  when I know that I can do super cool stuff outside of the boundaries of what a typical deck would normally be capable of, I can fight games on a completely different axis. Or looking at the other half of the equation, I can play a really cool combo deck that can function as a normal Dragon Ruler deck with a lot of draw cards, playing the one of the best decks with a whole new angle.

Let’s take a look at one of the best combo decks that’s ever existed: Frog FTK. The Frog strategy was not only one of the most consistent combo decks ever been conceived, but could also play a normal game without having to combo off, as well. Between Substitoad and Fishborg Blaster you could hurl Synchros into play and devastate your opponent when they sided in cards like Hanewata or Mystical Space Typhoon to beat your combo. There were even games won strictly with the annoyance of other Frogs; Dupe Frog locked out your opponent while Flip Flop Frog bounced away their monsters, and Unifrog broke their backrow and made direct attacks. You could decide what was the best angle of attack for a given game, and then capitalize on it, and that’s what I enjoy about this particular Dragon Ruler strategy.

A normal Dragon Ruler deck usually has two modes of play: grinding out a game with Mecha Phantom Beast Dracossacks and various Dragon Ruler effects, or flat out OTKing the opponent. That duality is similar to Frog FTK, which had the ability to play a grind game or push for OTK’s, in addition to the kill combo with Mass Driver. With the Dragon Ruler deck we can add something similar to Mass Driver that synergizes with the Dragon Ruler strategy – we can add the Exodia pieces, and by doing so we should create something cool.

The reason that I chose Exodia over other alternative win conditions is simply because of Super Rejuvenation. We’ve seen Dragon Draw Exodia decks before that hinged on this card, and it’s a good choice, because the fact that you draw with Super Rejuvenation in your End Phase (where you can’t do much else) makes it so you can’t play any other win condition and get the same level of efficiency – if the win condition isn’t automatic, your opponent would have more time to beat you.  There’s lots of ways you could go with the Dragon Ruler Exodia strategy, and this is the direction I chose to take:

Dragon Ruler Exodia – 40 Cards
Monsters: 25
3 Cyber Valley
3 Blaster, Dragon Ruler of Infernos
2 Burner, Dragon Ruler of Sparks
3 Tempest, Dragon Ruler of Storms
2 Lightning, Dragon ruler of Drafts
3 Tidal, Dragon Ruler of Waterfalls
2 Stream, Dragon Ruler of Droplets
1 Dragunity Corsesca
1 Flamvell Guard
1 Exodia, the Forbidden One
1 Left Arm of the Forbidden One
1 Right Arm of the Forbidden One
1 Left Leg of the Forbidden One
1 Right Leg of the Forbidden One

Spells: 15
2 Cards of Consonance
1 Dragon Ravine
1 Magical Stone Excavation
1 One Day of Peace
1 One for One
3 Sacred Sword of Seven Stars
3 Super Rejuvenation
3 Upstart Goblin

Extra Deck: 15
1 Gaia Dragon, the Thunder Charger
3 Mecha Phantom Beast Dracossack
3 Number 11: Big Eye
1 Colossal Fighter
1 Crimson Blader
1 Red Dragon Archfiend
1 Scrap Dragon
1 Thought Ruler Archfiend
1 Black Rose Dragon
1 Karakuri Shogun MDL 00 “Burei”
1 Armory Arm

Side Deck: 15
3 Maxx “C”
3 Swift Scarecrow
3 Mystical Space Typhoon
3 Eradicator Epidemic Virus
3 DNA Surgery

The biggest decision I had to make was whether I wanted to include all eight Dragon Rulers, and I’m still not sure if what I did is the absolute best call possible. I wanted to focus on making the strategy as fast as possible, capitalizing on how cards like Cyber Valley and Sacred Sword of Seven Stars work with the Dragon Rulers. Both of those cards not only let you draw twice, but each triggers the Dragon Rulers’ search effects to get you more card advantage and hopefully allow you to keep making plays. The Dragon Tuners not only give you a way to fight a normal battle with Crimson Blader and other useful Synchros, but they also fuel Cards of Consonance. While it might be cool to include a third Cards of Consonance, the problem is that the other cards are too important.  We just don’t have room. You want to see Sacred Sword in every opening hand, so that goes a lot higher on the list, to the point where only playing zero copies of Gold Sarcophagus is warranted. By only playing six Dragon Rulers, Gold Sarcophagus becomes less important because you’ll get to all your different attributes of Dragons more easily.

Dragon Ravine allows you to not only get a specific Dragon Ruler when you need it by giving you a Foolish Burial type effect, it but also lets you get that Dragon Ruler without activating the search effect of another copy. That’s important because you want to maximize what you can do with your Dragons each turn without wasting their effects.  Not only that, but searching Dragunity Corsesca is also a huge bonus. Being able to find Corsesca whenever you need to means that not only does Cards of Consonance get a lot better, but that you can also Synchro more often.

One For One’s perfect in this deck because of Cyber Valley. It functions alot like a Sacred Sword here, and because you can only play one Sacred Sword per turn, Normal Summoning Cyber Valley and fetching another off of One For One gets you much deeper into your deck than would normally be possible. The last card that I think makes this deck insane is Magical Stone Excavation: discarding Dragon Rulers is good already because it increases your count for Super Rejuvenation, but being able to get back a Rejuvenation so that you’re doubling your draws without actually burning a second copy probably means you win.

The Other Side
The lack of EARTH Dragon Rulers means that there’s more pressure on you to win your mirror matches by making one huge combo or sneaking in a shot with Crimson Blader. That gets easier in Games 2 and 3 assuming you have Maxx “C” in your Side Deck, letting you stop your opponent cold if they wanted to go off. Overall, losing a Dragon Ruler leads to consistency issues with the other half of the deck because you want as much access to Dragons as possible… but there’s also a problem with playing so many Dragon Rulers in a deck like this. Running a Dragon Ruler deck with just a few draw cards and the Exodia pieces means you’re just playing an inferior Dragon Ruler deck. Committing to specialization is important.  However, by focusing on comboing off you’ll have a good primary win condition, plus a more conventional game plan as a backup.

Swift Scarecrow also might be worth Main Decking, because it buys you extra turns; that means more time to build combos, but whether or not having a card to get you more time or a card that gets you deeper into your deck is a tricky issue. Without Reactan or Redox, Swift Scarecrow loses utility and has no purpose at all but buying you time.  It’s useless on your turn, and that’s not what I want. I’m trying to make the combo side of things as consistent as possible, while keeping that backup plan intact; I want to be proactive yet flexible.

I’ve been having a lot of fun with this deck, and I’ll probably be playing around with it for a while, so I suggest you guys pick it up as well if drawing your whole deck is something you’re into!

-Robert Boyajian

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