Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Duel Dragons

Duel Dragons are so poorly supported I sometimes wonder if Bushiroad even realizes they've created an archetype alongside Armorknights for Danger World. Or even realizes what kinds of cards they've created for this archetype in the first place. The amount of just relative bullcrap that Duel Dragons received since their inception has made them the subject of relentless jeers and pitying eyes. Truly, it seems that Bushiroad can actually ignore dragons pretty well.

But despite the disparity in support and obviously lackluster cards available, Duel Dragons manages to form a terrifying beatdown rogue deck. With Danger World's amazing stat levels, Duel Dragons thrive on the same higher quality that Armorknights tap into. Additionally, Duel Dragons utilizes the drop in Dragon Knight fashion to gain even more bonuses. Add to this the only Move in Danger World and some absolutely terrifying Size 3 monsters and we have probably one of the most surprising archetypes in Buddyfight.

Fighting Dragon, Demongodol
If Duel Dragons had an avatar, it would be Fighting Dragon, Demongodol. Unfortunately, he sucks. While is call cost is a wash for his Soulguard, his stats are significantly cut for the Counterattack ability to the point where he can't even effectively Counterattack that well. Hope was given in the form of Battle Spirit Infusion, which can bring him to 9000/2/7000 but even this is really pitiful. There are better Size 2's to be looking to.

Beast Aura is a unique ability given to many Duel Dragons. When you call a Duel Dragon with Beast Aura to the right or left, you can pay 1 gauge to gain life. While this may initially seem like a terrible trade, the fact of the matter is that Duel Dragons uses almost no gauge whatsoever. A typical Duel Dragon deck will rack up gauge without any real way to spend it, so Beast Aura is a nice way to convert resources. The fact that it is completely optional is also very welcome. Out of all the Beast Aura monsters, Saberclaw Dragon, Valken is the most useful with 5000/2/1000 stats.

Duel Law
Natural selection
When Duel Dragons first debuted, many people believed their playstyle would wholly revolve around the spell Duel Law. This set spell forces your opponent to pay 2 gauge in order to link attack a Duel Dragon. This is a really great spell, but unfortunately simply does not have the monsters to support it. Besides gigantic Size 3's, most Duel Dragon monsters have either very low defense or awkward/high costs in order to get them onto the field. Duel Law itself can be circumvented using removal spells and abilities.

Stubborn and short-sighted people will cling onto spells like these, assuming that this must be the correct winning image for the archetype. I digress. I'm not going to tunnel vision into something that clearly does not synergize well with other good cards in the set. Duel Law is definitely worth running, but it's not worth chaining yourself to the spell. Flexibility and versatility, alongside consistency, is what wins; not some fancy thematic combo.

Axe Dragon, Dorcas
A dork just cuz
What do I mean by constraining yourself to Duel Law? I mean by running stuff like Axe Dragon, Dorcas and Raging Dragon, Zargus. What's wrong with Dorcas? 2 gauge for +1000/1 is definitely not worth it, especially when 7000 defense is still relatively easy to deal with and as a Size 2 is easy to bounce/kill. You do have a lot of gauge, but not enough gauge to just randomly waste. What's wrong with Zargus? Until you get enough Duel Dragons in the drop, Zargus is complete waste in your hand. Duel Dragons are an exceptionally vanilla archetype, which means that getting cards into the drop is actually a lot more difficult than it seems. At the end of the day, Zargus is definitely better than Dorcas, but the 4 drop restriction means that Zargus cannot afford be run at max copies. The same goes for Violent Dragon, Boralios. 4-crit is nice but shieldbait, and 4000 defense doesn't help you much anyways.

Bluechase Dragon, Garg. Love them Size 0's, can't get enough of them. He's worse than Eagle but oh well. Also Clash Dragon, Gaelcorga is a fantastic free 3-crit Size 1.

Emperor Dragon, Gael Khan is almost completely explained in my card quality article. Should you run him? Of course. But he's not the best Grade 3 you have available.

Twin Horn Dragon, Ark Giraffa is an amazing card, but unfortunately he falls prey to the terrible curse of 6000 defense. 6000 defense is just perfect for Pillar of Fire to absolutely destroy Ark Giraffa the very turn it is called and attacks. Nevertheless, 2 gauge for Double Attack on a Size 2 behemoth is a fair trade indeed. Just be wary of any counter spell that can annihilate him before he can actually give you his gauge cost's worth.

Nightflight Dragon, Rahal
All my puns are bat
You would think a world based heavily on weapons would have a lot of Move options. Nope! Nightflight Dragon, Rahal is the only Mover Danger World currently has available. This is pretty sad, but it gives Rahal a premium position even in Armorknight decks. His stats are decent and his call cost is free, so he's a great monster to splash anywhere to gain Move advantage, especially in conjunction with the newest anti-center cards like Ricdeau and MAJI.

Promos are actually quite helpful for Duel Dragons. The first promo is Lightning Strike Dragon Garjion. He's a 7K wall when called to the center or a Beast Aura pay 1 heal 1 when called to the side, a nice option to have in any deck. The second promo is Twinblade Dragon, Double Zase. This guy is a complete monster. 1 gauge for Penetrate on a 5000/2/6000 body is nothing to laugh at - in fact, it's safe to say that Double Zase is more or less staple for all Duel Dragon decks, being one of the few Penetrate Duel Dragon monsters. The last promo worth looking at is Violent Dragon, Magnagran. He has 4-crit and Penetrate, but 2 gauge and drop-restriction is just too much, and he's most likely going to be blocked in some way or fashion. He'd be a pretty neat surprise tech, though.

Raging Dragon, Zagaris
Extra Booster 2 is salvation for Duel Dragons. Riding the storm is Raging Dragon, Zagaris. What a Size 3. See that call cost? You don't? That's right, Zagaris is 9000/3/8000 for free. Free. Well, as free as a drop-zone restricted monster can be. For the restriction, he gets a free +1 because he technically should only have 2 crit and 7000 power. And then when he's called, say goodbye to all opposing monsters with less than 2000 defense. This is a 100% anti-meta ability, because almost all heavy advantage threats, from Tetsuya to Shiden to Dragoarcher, have less than 2000 defense. Zagaris is everything you'd want from a Size 3 for a undersupported rogue archetype. And he works well with Duel Law.

Fighting Dragon Emperor, Demongodol Ark
Super Saiyan
But there are other interesting monsters fighting for that limelight as well. Fighting Dragon Emperor, Demongodol Ark opens up so many possibilities with all that stockpiled gauge. You can call Demongodol Ark over ANY Duel Dragon on the field, meaning that all the soul are belong to Demongodol Ark. He has a passive taunt ability that directs all opposing attacks towards him. Additionally, if that attack is from a weapon, you can ditch a card to destroy the weapon and stop the attack. Add on Soulguard and Counterattack and you have a really interesting 3 gauge investment. He's obviously meant to be used in conjunction with base Demongodol to get a 3-soul behemoth, but his versatility means that one or two in any deck is well-justified.

If you're curious about his math, you -1.5 and convert a card on field to soul (1 for 1) to gain a monster that most likely can Counterattack once (+1), protect you from 2 direct attacks, and stop all weapon attacks in a +1 transaction.

Overlord Dragon, Valfares Blood
Worst Dragonic Overlord
Eww. What is this. I had my hopes up, and then we get Overlord Dragon, Valfares Blood who is absolutely useless. Soulguard is paid by 2 gauge, so what the hell is with the restrictions? I can't call this to center? They can't link attack this? Why? Duel Law was made for a reason, you know. This is the perfect example of how to field block yourself. Look at him. No Penetrate or Double Attack. Once he's called to the side, he's not going to be doing any favors for you. I honestly don't think I've seen such a terribly designed card. Bushiroad obviously felt the need to once again give Duel Dragons meaningless crap for no apparent reason.

Dense Forest Dragon, Radical technically has a random extra 1000 defense. He also gets a well-costed Soulguard that protects a nice 3-crit body. The main use of Radical is that he is a very good substitute for Demongodol as a target for Demongodol Ark. You may be losing out on 1 soul, but that extra soul is not worth minusing another monster on the field in addition to dealing with just a really bad Size 2 that is useless without its evolution.

Raging Dragon, Zald
Much rage
I know I said earlier that the drop-restriction monsters were bad, but there's no way in hell I would say no to Raging Dragon, Zald. I mean, just look at him. 6000/3/4000? Size 1? Holy crap, that's a free +1 no questions asked (as opposed to +0.5) on the most important and flexible size in the game. That beautiful 3 crit. That beautiful 6K attack. This card alone gives me hope that Bushiroad will one day give Duel Dragons the true support it needs to burst out of neglect and fight against the meta decks as the one true rogue build.

Spike Dragon, Spike Vine is pretty cool with 6K defense and 2 crit. Usually those are mutually exclusive but Spike Vine gets the best of both worlds.

Free Penetrate is really good. Really. Good. It's better than Medusa in some ways even.

Demongodol-based decks got a huge bonus with Skeleton Armored Dragon, Medrogirus. The transaction is a -0.5 but the quality of your trade goes waaay up. Any extra soul you can get into Demongodol Ark is value upon value, which makes we wonder why nobody plays him with Ultimate Buddy.

Super Combidragon, Brainbaltes
Super Combidragon, Brainbaltes is an interesting case. It's a really well-statted card, with 2 gauge paying for both 3-crit Penetrate and Counterattack and Move and the soul is a wash. The soul is the difficult part to get, since its two unique cards - but both of them are Size 1s, and one is a Mover that you want, so it's not the worst. Brainbaltes is especially great with an important 7000 defense that works well with Duel Law and Counterattack on top is just brutal. I've always wanted Duel Law to work, and with Zagaris and Brainbaltes its looking to be pretty doable.

The ability that really makes Brainbaltes special is Move. Getting to use weapons with the Size 3 tank is great.

Sibling Dragon, Foonbaltes is a 6000/2 attacker and Sibling Dragon, Kibaltes is the craziest statted Mover ever seen. 

Give me muh life.

Unyielding Spirit. We got an Armor Reuse clone. It's over.

Battle Dragon Bursting Charge!
Coming through!
But even better! A card that grabs any Duel Dragon from your deck as well! Battle Dragon Bursting Charge is an Impact, sure, so the Final Phase confinement kinda hurts. But think about it like this: you can call Foonbaltes and Kibaltes, attack with them both, and then use Impact during Final Phase to set up Brainbaltes and get more advantage during that attack phase, including the ability to use your weapon! In fact, you can just use this Impact as a way to call a monster to your center after you've attacked with your weapon so you can sit on something tanky for the next turn.

I'm starting to like this.

Eighth Omni Deity Lord, Grangadez
Me big smash things
Well, it happened. Bushiroad printed a card for Demongodol that was so good that it made even old Demongodol ridiculous. This card +1's just from play and makes Ark 9000/2/6000 in stats. Suddenly relevant.

Bushiroad looked at Duel Dragons with grace once again. Instead of giving the Eighth Omni Lord position to the more popular Armorknights, Duel Dragons get a chance in the spotlight with Grangadez. This guy is supposed to be huge and he is. A call cost of 4 gauge alongside Lifelink 3 sounds like a lot until you realize he gets 3 soul from the top of your deck just like that. Yeah. He's not going anywhere soon. With Move and Double Attack on a 10000/2/5000 body is pretty good. He's the tank that you've always wanted that also synergizes with the weapon-based Danger World. Too bad Duel Law remains unsupported, but we can't get everything.

Ritual of Deity Lord Descend
Literally Ritual spell card
It actually gets better because you don't even need to draw Grangadez. The new spell Ritual of Deity Lord Descend allows you to pay 2 gauge and discard a card to summon any Size 3 Duel Dragon from the deck. In Grangadez's case, 2 gauge -1 card is roughly equivalent to 4 gauge so you don't lose anything in terms of resources. But you do get extra copies of Grangadez. Since Grangadez's soul-getting ability isn't part of the call cost, you still get the soul regardless of how Grangadez was called.

The Ritual spell also works wonders with the old Gael Khan, actively reducing his call cost. Unfortunately, the other Size 3's aren't worth calling through this method.

The rest of Duel Dragon support surprisingly doesn't synergize with Grangadez, likely because Rouga Aragami is piloting Grangadez and he definitely does not have a Duel Dragon deck. Grangadez's card design was definitely made to be splashable into an Armorknight base, which is probably the better choice when building around Grangadez. Specifically, you have access to Demon Arms Door, ArMoreD Gate! and better Size 0 monsters. You can also get access to both perks of Armorknight Dragon, "Earthshaker" who becomes seriously broken in mixed decks.

The inverse of Grangadez is Devilgadez, and he's bringing in a world of hurt with some new abilities. Slightly better defense but no Move and two less soul, Devilgadez brings a really powerful damage effect that traditionally has been out of Danger World hands. Being able to amp each of his Double Attacks with direct damage ping makes Devilgadez a powerful offensive choice.

Helping out with the Duel Dragons is Speardos, a monster with a Pokemon name (it sounds like one!). Speardos can be shoved into the soul of Duel Dragons and give them Penetrate, making the powerful bosses of Gragadez, Devilgadez, and even Demongodol Ark more offensive utility.

- updated to H-BT04, CP01, H-EB04, H-TD02, H-PP01 -

All images used obtained from the official Bushiroad website and used here solely for reference purposes. Future Card Buddyfight!, logos, and respective content belong to Bushiroad. Large images belong to the Buddyfight! Wikia.


  1. Way overdue update for Duel Dragons. Am I wrong to say that both of Danger World's races will shake up the meta in the coming months leading up to the World Championships?

  2. weird thing is that the armorknights impact actually works well for Duel Dragons, fills up the drop and gives additional soul to either Godol or BrainBaltes... also the promo card godol-look-alike aint so bad either

  3. oh and dragon bursting impact to summon Gael-Khan in center for super troll mode after a full field attack

  4. Anyone notice the exploit one can get with Bursting Charge and Giga Demon Slay? Depending on what you call it will go around 3-7 gauge depending on the quality you want but it gives you 2 full attack phases, not just for your weapon but for your searched up monster too! It's unlikely you can use it early on but it could make for an amazing finisher/ tableturner.