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Dragon (Japanese: ドラゴン Doragon) is a powerful Type to contend with, often focusing on brute ATK strength and powerful Fusion and Synchro Monsters. Dragons tend to be the strongest or key monster in numerous Deck types that would otherwise have nothing to do with dragons. Ever since the Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card franchise began, Dragon monsters have been known for having attack points greater than any other type of monster in the game (also being the one of the most popular monster-types). Dragons and Dragon support cards also tend to have effects that Special Summon other Dragon-Type monsters, such as "King Dragun", "Red-Eyes Darkness Metal Dragon", "Lord of D." in combination with "The Flute of Summoning Dragon", "Decoy Dragon", etc. By having both "Lady of D." and "Lord of D." on the field, will make Dragon-type monsters nearly invincible as they cannot be attacked or targeted by spells, traps and card effects. There are Dragon-Type Monsters for every single Attribute (except for DIVINE, though two of the three Divine-Beast cards are referred to as dragons, namely The Winged Dragon of Ra, and Slifer the Sky Dragon); mainly LIGHT, DARK, WIND and FIRE. It's rare to find a WATER attribute dragon.
The most powerful Normal Monster is a Dragon, the "Blue-Eyes White Dragon". Some of the most powerful Fusion, Synchro and Xyz Monsters in the game are Dragons. Legendary examples include: "Five-Headed Dragon", "Dragon Master Knight", "Blue-Eyes Ultimate Dragon", "Stardust Dragon", "Black Rose Dragon", "Trishula, Dragon of the Ice Barrier", "Dragon Knight Draco-Equiste, "Shooting Star Dragon", "Red Nova Dragon", "Life Stream Dragon", "Shooting Quasar Dragon", "Beelze of the Diabolic Dragons", "Void Ogre Dragon", "Hot Red Dragon Archfiend", "Stardust Spark Dragon", "Galaxy-Eyes Photon Dragon", "Number 46: Dragluon", "Number 62: Galaxy-Eyes Prime Photon Dragon", "Number 107: Galaxy-Eyes Tachyon Dragon", and "Odd-Eyes Pendulum Dragon".
Dragons also have their own five Structure Decks: Structure Deck 1: Dragon's Roar, Structure Deck: Rise of the Dragon Lords, Structure Deck: Dragunity Legion, Structure Deck: Dragons Collide, and Structure Deck: The Blue-Eyed Dragon's Thundering Descent.
To date, there are no Flip Effect Dragon-Type monsters.
The Dragon-Type is certainly one of the contenders for "most Type-Specific support cards". Most Dragon-Type monsters have the word "Dragon" in its card name. The word "Dragon" also exists in many non-Dragon Monster Card names, typically denoting a creature of exceptional power. Examples include "Cyber Dragon", "Power Tool Dragon", "Brionac, Dragon of the Ice Barrier" and "Number 32: Shark Drake".
A recent trend with multi-Type archetypes is having the trump card of the archetype be a Dragon-Type unlike some of the other monsters in the archetype, such as:
- "Crystal Beast": "Rainbow Dragon"
- "Ice Barrier": "Trishula, Dragon of the Ice Barrier"
- "Infernity": "Infernity Doom Dragon"
- "Iron Chain": "Iron Chain Dragon"
- "Koa'ki Meiru": "Koa'ki Meiru Maximus"
- "Lightsworn": "Judgment Dragon"
- "Scrap": "Scrap Dragon"
- "Utopia : Number 99: Hope Dragon
In the first four Yu-Gi-Oh anime and manga series, the main character's rivals all use Dragon-based Decks. Seto Kaiba uses a Blue-Eyes Deck, Chazz Princeton uses an "Armed Dragon" Deck in most seasons (or "Light and Darkness Dragon" Deck in the manga), Jack Atlas's Turbo Deck is based on summoning his "Red Dragon Archfiend" while his Ground Deck plays numerous dragon cards like "Strong Wind Dragon", "Vice Dragon", and "Exploder Dragonwing" in addition to "Red Dragon Archfiend". In addition, Kite Tenjo uses "Galaxy-Eyes Photon Dragon", "Neo Galaxy-Eyes Photon Dragon", "Photon Wyvern", "Photon Lizard", "Twin Photon Lizard", and "Number 62: Galaxy-Eyes Prime Photon Dragon".
Dragon Focused Decks
"LV" Dragon Decks
Some dragon Decks are based on the "LV" Dragons, "Armed Dragon" and "Horus the Black Flame Dragon". These Decks usually focus on leveling up their monsters quickly. To protect the high level monsters from Trap Cards, "Royal Decree", "Jinzo", "Trap Stun" or "King Dragun" are used. "Horus the Black Flame Dragon" has added protection from Spell Cards and is well known for the infamous "Horus Decree" lockdown. Horus and Armed Dragon cards can even be combined to make a Deck that not only locks down Spell and Trap Cards, but also controls the opponents monsters that may get in your way.
Dragon Fusion Decks
These types of Decks often focus on getting Fusion Monsters like "Five-Headed Dragon", "King Dragun", "Blue-Eyes Ultimate Dragon", and sometimes even "Dragon Master Knight" or Blue-Eyes Shining Dragon to the field. Usually "Dragon's Mirror" or "Future Fusion" is used to accomplish these tasks. If you want to summon "King Dragun" quickly, "The Dark - Hex-Sealed Fusion", along with other substitute Fusion-Material monsters, can be of great help.
Revival Dragon/Dragon Lords Deck
One of the Dragon-Type Structure Decks is Rise of the Dragon Lords. This Deck focuses on summoning powerful dragons to the field from the graveyard and activating their effects. "Felgrand Dragon", "Tyrant Dragon" and "Darkblaze Dragon" are good examples of this. This Deck also includes "Mausoleum of the Emperor" to get tribute monsters out quickly. "Draining Shield" and "Rainbow Life" can be used to recover Life Points used for "Mausoleum of the Emperor" and "Trade-In" can be used to put powerful dragons into the graveyard to revive while drawing two cards in the process. "Decoy Dragon" works exceptionally well with this Deck, being able to make a powerful combo with "Foolish Burial". "Card of Safe Return" is another great addition to this Deck (Although it is forbidden in both OCG and TCG advanced), since it lets you draw a card each time you summon a dragon like this. A good way to Special Summon Dragons from the grave is to use "Red-Eyes Darkness Metal Dragon" since it gives you a free Special Summon of any dragon in your hand or graveyard, no matter how high of a level it is. You can also use "Van'Dalgyon the Dark Dragon Lord" with "Divine Wrath" to Special Summon Dragons in the Graveyard. The best way to make this Deck truly effective is to buy multiple structure Decks and combine the more important cards into one Deck. This structure Deck can also be bought to get key cards for any kind of Dragon Deck.
Dragon Beatdown Deck
This type of Deck is pretty old fashioned, but it has more variations than any of the other three Decks. The Deck revolves around playing abnormally powerful Dragon-Type monsters and brutally beating down the opponent's life points. High level monsters can be anything mentioned in the other Decks, but smaller monsters may include "Luster Dragon", "Cave Dragon", "Spear Dragon", and "Blizzard Dragon". "Alexandrite Dragon" is a Level 4 Monster with 2000 ATK power, but with 100 DEF. "Vanguard of the Dragon" is a relatively good card because it's basically a 2000 ATK point beatstick if you discard a Dragon to the Graveyard (which can even be done multiple times when first summoned if you have the Dragons in hand). Even though "Gray Wing" is relatively weak in ATK points, it can deal up to 2600 damage to the opponent if there are no monsters in its way. Monsters like "Troop Dragon", "Masked Dragon", "Twin-Headed Behemoth", and "Totem Dragon" can be used to Tribute Summon the more powerful monsters. Cards like "Dread Dragon" help you to get certain Dragon-Type monsters you would like from your Deck to your hand. Another way of playing high level Dragons without tributing, is to use "Red-Eyes Darkness Metal Dragon" which Special Summons virtually any kind of Dragon monster you want to dish out against the opponent. Mid-Level monsters often used in this build may include "Kaiser Glider" and "Chthonian Emperor Dragon" to rid the field of stubborn monsters and attack for huge damage. To protect your monsters from spell and trap effects, cards like "Stamping Destruction" and "A Wingbeat of Giant Dragon" (Which you can also combo with "Montage Dragon" for monsters to "Discard") can help make sure that nasty traps and spells like "Shrink" and "Dimensional Prison" won't get in your way. Monsters like "Handcuffs Dragon" and Traps like "Dragon's Rage" can help drop the opponents life even quicker, especially when combined with monsters that have high attack points and, in some cases, attack more than once, such as "Tyrant Dragon".
Dragon Lockdown Deck
- See: Dragon Lockdown
Graveyard Dragon Power Deck
Disaster Dragon Deck
- See: Disaster Dragon
Hopeless Dragon Deck
- See: Hopeless Dragon
- See: Chaos Dragon
Malefic Dragon Deck
- See: Malefic
Hieratic Dragon Deck
- See: Hieratic
Dragonsworn/DSN Reset Deck
This Deck is Based on a Lightsworn and dragon combination that relies on 3 different dragons; "Judgment Dragon", "Red-Eyes Darkness Metal Dragon", and "Genesis Dragon". Its purpose is to use "Judgment Dragon" to clear the field and then to swarm it and attack with a lot of power. You will also need "Red-Eyes Wyvern" because you're going to be milling your cards. Because of this you only need a few traps: "Mirror Force", "Threatening Roar", "Dimensional Prison", and "Beckoning Light". The strategy is to mill to get your Dragons and Lightsworns into your graveyard. There is little chance of a Deck out if you have "Genesis Dragon" because of its effect. (Don't run this Deck without it as it would be pointless to do so). The deck's strength is completely based on your ability to empty your Deck into your Graveyard and then to recycle your dragons using the effect of "Genesis Dragon" and "Red-Eyes Darkness Metal Dragon".
This variant can also integrate "Sky Scourge Norleras" and "Phantom of Chaos" - this is based on a Japanese build known as "DSN Reset" (Dragonsworn Norleras Reset). This build revolves around using Lightsworns to mill your "Red-Eyes Wyvern", "Red-Eyes Darkness Metal Dragon", "Sky Scourge Norleras" and your chosen beatdown dragon ("Gragonith, Lightsworn Dragon" is recommended due to the amount of its ATK it will have since you'll be milling other Lightsworns alongside the Dragons. Also, it can be Special Summoned, and it takes only 1 Tribute to be Tribute Summoned). When you pull of the "Sky Scourge Norleras" and "Phantom of Chaos" combo, your opponent will find themselves with no field and no hand to compete with, while you are removing your "Red-Eyes Wyverns" to gain field and hand advantage.
However, there are major weaknesses with Dragon Decks, and all have one in common: Summoning the Dragons. Since "Horus the Black Flame Dragon LV8" cannot be Special Summoned except with its own effect, cards like "Level Up!" and "Level Modulation" are usually used to override this problem, but "Counter Trap Cards" like "Solemn Judgment" or "Dark Bribe" can impede your progress. Plus, "Horus the Black Flame Dragon LV6" only has 2300 ATK points, leaving it vulnerable to monsters like "Goyo Guardian" or any of the Monarchs. In Dragon Fusion Decks, it's very important to be able to keep "King Dragun" on the field to be able to summon the bigger dragons, but its 2400 ATK is low enough for any Monarch to destroy in battle. A good way to counter this kind of move is to use traps like "Waboku" or "Threatening Roar" to prevent the opponent from attacking or dealing battle damage. If your opponent knows you have a Dragon Fusion Deck, he or she may try to use "Chthonian Polymer" to gain control of any Dragon you Fusion Summon, which is deadly when playing "Five-Headed Dragon", since only LIGHT and DIVINE monsters can beat it in battle. If "King Dragun" ends up getting destroyed, Level 5 or higher dragons you draw later may become dead draws and slow the Deck down to a crawl. A good counter measure for this would be to use "Trade-In" on level 8 monsters you draw but cannot play, or using "Red-Eyes Darkness Metal Dragon" to Special Summon those Dragons. Card effects that do not target like "Judgment Dragon" or "Mirror Force" cannot be negated with "King Dragun" and would therefore require a "Prime Material Dragon", "Light and Darkness Dragon" or "Stardust Dragon" to stop them. If you do manage to play some good Dragons, the opponent might play "Grave of the Super Ancient Organism", and that will wreck almost any kind of Dragon-based Deck, since most Dragon Decks rely on Special Summon and usually at level 6 or higher. "Shadow-Imprisoning Mirror" is used against a Hopeless Dragon Deck to negate the effects of the majority of DARK monsters, but it is not a major problem if you use your monsters correctly (Activate the effect of either "Dark Armed Dragon" or "Dark Creator" to remove "Red-Eyes Darkness Metal Dragon" from play, and Special Summon it using "D.D.R. - Different Dimension Reincarnation". This is allowed because the former two remove a card as their cost, and therefore cannot be negated by SIM). Finally, cards like "Royal Oppression", "Vanity's Ruler", "Vanity's Fiend", "Jowgen the Spiritualist", "Fossil Dyna Pachycephalo", and "Thunder King Rai-Oh" can also prevent any of these Dragons from being summoned at all and will need to be removed from the field in order to summon your cards (Though these cards can also a major trouble for other Meta Decks). In the case of a Hopeless Dragon Deck, a major drawback to this would be the number of high-level monsters, and therefore, drawing mostly unsummonable monsters with no means of discarding them could spell defeat. Also, the card "Koa'ki Meiru Drago" combined with a "Imperial Iron Wall" can single handedly shut down a Hopeless Dragon Deck should the player not have any Spell & Trap destruction. Another weakness of Dragon Decks are Decks that far superior in terms of speed and flexibility, such as Gladiator Beasts, Lightsworns, and Blackwings. "Psi-Blocker" and "Prohibition" can also be dangerous since their effects renders major cards such as "Red-Eyes Darkness Metal Dragon" unplayable.
Another major weakness is that quite a few cards have been specially made for destroying or weakening dragons, otherwise known as Anti-Dragon cards. Not only does "Buster Blader" get stronger as dragon after dragon gets summoned and destroyed, but it is also the perfect candidate for "Sword of Dragon's Soul". If "Buster Blader" was equipped with that plus "Mist Body", it could take out virtually any dragon you throw at it, even the mighty "Five-Headed Dragon" who normally can't be destroyed in battle by anything not of the LIGHT Attribute. Also, a fairly new card called "Victoria" can Special Summon your opponent's dragons to your side of the field for you to use. Plus there's "Dark Paladin", which can be used for/or against dragons and negate key Spell Cards like "Dragon's Mirror" and "Trade-In". "Dragon Manipulator" and "Dragon Seeker" can be tricky to deal with, but can be easily overcome with "King Dragun". "Dragon Capture Jar" can wreak severe havoc on any and all of your Dragons since "King Dragun", "Stardust Dragon", and "Prime Material Dragon" cannot stop it. But a great card against Dragon Types is "Cursed Bill". It can easily deal strong damage to your opponents Life Points if placed in a combo with "Offerings to the Doomed or "Tribute to the Doomed".
Solutions to Anti-Dragon cards
There are ways of getting around Anti-Dragon cards. One quick and easy method of accomplishing this is to use "Exploder Dragon". Since it kills anything that destroys it in battle, it can overpower cards like "Buster Blader" and even "Dark Paladin", while at the same time taking no battle damage. You may also use the "Armed Dragon" cards to destroy "Dragon Seeker" since it has relatively weak ATK points, and "Armed Dragon LV10" can just wipe out all your opponents face-up monsters no matter how many ATK points they possess. "Montage Dragon" can also be used to potentially become more powerful than "Dark Paladin" or "Buster Blader" by discarding high level monsters like "Blue-Eyes White Dragon" or "Tyrant Dragon". "Dragon Piper" can be used to rid the field of any "Dragon Capture Jar" cards on the field that are preventing you from attacking. If the opponent tries to play "Victoria" and gains control of some of your dragons, a good spell to counter this kind of move is "Owner's Seal" With this, you can gain control of your dragons again and use them to get rid of "Victoria" (this is assuming that there only one "Victoria" your opponent controls, because two or three of it cause an Attack lockdown). Finally, the Spell Card "Dragon's Mirror" can be double effective by removing any Dragons in your graveyard to Fusion Summon "Five-Headed Dragon" plus power down "Buster Blader" and "Dark Paladin" in the process (this is assuming that there are no cards to discard for "Dark Paladin's" effect).