Casual Deck Strategy: Shrine Toolbox – Dragon’s Evolution!

Ever since the reveal of the Normal Spell, Dragon Shrine, I’ve always tried to make interesting deck variants combining it with Eclipse Wyvern in order to toolbox out whatever Level 7+ LIGHT or DARK Dragon I want at the low cost of using something to banish Wyvern. There are many ways to abuse this toolbox potential, from Hieratic builds to even Blue-Eyes builds; however, there is a new variant that has arisen due to a new assailant in our midst. Let’s break out this new weapon in style – join the dragons in flight!

Introduction:

Dragon_Eclipse

The Eclipse Wyvern toolbox is nothing new by any stretch of the imagination, nor is the concept of a deck centered around utilizing powerful LIGHT and DARK monsters to fuel the Special Summons of powerful dragons, such as the Lightpulsar and Darkflare Chaos Dragons, but it certainly has gained speed. A few formats ago, who could forget the power of a Future Fusion turning into insane amounts of advantage? Following its ban, the Chaos Dragon deck began its death spiral further and further down until it crashed under the weight of too many powerful new threats. Back then, it was common to see Ryko, Lightsworn Hunter and Lyla, Lightsworn Sorceress to clear the path for your rampage while filling your Graveyard with 3 cards from your deck. The deck definitely packed a punch with the wombo combo of Red-Eyes Darkness Metal Dragon and Lightpulsar Dragon looping each other, but this dragon deck was not to last for long as the September 2012 banlist came crashing down with the might of the banhammer. Waving goodbye to FuFu, 2 REDMDs, and 2 Chaos Sorcerer was very hard, but the deck is back with a vengeance.

Since this is more of an article on an engine rather than a specific deck, I will be showing off a series of sample decklists, tied to short strategy sections so that you can see for yourself how the toolbox works in various decks. I just found it more easier to explain the potential of such an engine with example decks in front of me. As always, all of my decklists may not be the best build, as they aim to serve as an example for your own deckbuilding. Let’s jump right into Variant One, Chaos Dragons Re-Awaken!

Variant One, Chaos Dragons Re-Awaken – Strategy:

Dragon_Pulsar

While the whole Shrine-Wyvern combo alone is all nice and good, one combo does not make a strong, unified deck theme. In this brand new format of advantage central with the Dragon Rulers, it’s the perfect time to take another look at the two Chaos Dragon babies, White Dragon Wyverburster and Black Dragon Collapserpent. These two dragons may be small, but their use has been speculated and tested in everything from Batteryman/Umbral Horror monster mash variants to new-age monarchs. It’s finally time for them to emerge as a leading powerhouse in the new Chaos Dragon deck.

Before we get to the deck, we just can’t forget covering the brand new Lightsworn that ties everything together (and no, it is not the one that carries an owl). Introducing Raiden, Lightsworn Assailant!

Dragon_Raiden
LIGHT/Warrior/Tuner
You can send the top 2 cards of your Deck to the Graveyard, then, if there is a “Lightsworn” monster among those cards, this card gains 200 ATK until your opponent’s End Phase. You can only use this effect of “Raiden, Lightsworn Assailant” once per turn. During each of your End Phases: Send the top 2 cards of your Deck to the Graveyard. You must control this face-up card to activate and to resolve this effect.

While he has been lauded as the on-theme Card Trooper for Lightsworn decks, he also acts as the sticky glue holding all of the various engines together. It is very true that he is by no means as potent at keeping advantage while milling as Ryko, but that is made up for by the simple fact that he is a Tuner! Summon Raiden, use his effect to mill 2, and if you mill a LIGHT or a DARK, which should be often, just summon the corresponding mini Chaos Dragon, synchro 8, then add the other Chaos Dragon to hand. And if one of those LIGHT or DARK’s you banished happened to be an Eclipse Wyvern… In any case, if you mill nothing of consequence, Raiden will mill another 2 cards during your End Phase!

Without further ado, let’s take a peak at a sample deck for this sort of variant: Chaos Dragon’s Re-Awaken!

Many Engines, One Goal:

Chaos Dragon decks have always had split attention spans, from their origin to now, simply because they had the LIGHT and DARK fodder argument to justify adding in just about any LIGHT or DARK engine, as long as it didn’t directly clash with the banishing of the Chaos Dragons. Nowadays, the same idea holds true. In the sample variant, I included a mini-Hieratic engine to go with the Normal Monster dumping of Dragon Shrine. The 3 Normal Monsters are definitely arbitrary; however, if you choose to run more, you will be running into dead draws more often. Run less, and you may run out before using all 3 Shrine. The 3 Hieratic Dragon of Tefnuit work as an effective Tribute engine when you’re already running Normal Dragons! Splashing in a trio of Caius, the Shadow Monarch was the next logical step because he works wonders in tandem with the mini Chaos Dragons and Tefnuit.

At this point, let’s take a moment to highlight how this new age style of Chaos Dragons improves upon the former overpowering deck. There is a total of 21 monsters that can be Normal Summoned or Set, but there’s really only Caius, Raiden, and Lyla that you would ever want to. (Unless you drew Eclipse and need to get it to the Graveyard, and you don’t have a Pulsar to ditch it with). Chaos Dragons were infamous back in the day for having a ton of options, but only having 1 Normal Summon per turn. Back then, Tour Guide from the Underworld, Ryko, Lyla, Card Trooper, sometimes even Dimensional Alchemist or Thunder King Rai-Oh were vying for your Normal Summon, something that limited deck options heavily. Because the core of this variant is based around Special Summoning with the rise of the mini Chaos Dragons, we have more room to work and throw in more tech options! Also, now the deck has access to a powerful rank 4 Tuner, opening Level 8 Synchros without losing any amount of consistency!

In terms of alternate tech options, you could always choose to run other Tribute monsters over Caius, like my favorite spirits such as Dark Dust Spirit, or even more anti-meta options such as Vanity’s Fiend or Jinzo. Do take note that Vanity’s and Tefnuit do not play well in the sandbox together. Also, you could always forgo the Hieratic Seal of Convocation for Mystical Space Typhoon to help your backrow maid, aka Lyla. I chose to leave out Chaos Sorcerer simply because I ran out of room; however, he can be a great topdeck at times of almost certain defeat! Effect Veiler remains a strong choice as ever, I just don’t like to run it all that much any more, as it is a -1 in itself, and this deck only generates significant advantage to offset that after it gets going. Last but not least, Tour Guide from the Underworld is an option if you wish to strain the Extra Deck even more. I could not justify a Leviair the Sea Dragon over anything else in the extra, especially because I am still trying to find room for another Queen Dragun Djinn. 

Speaking of the queen, let’s talk heavy hitters. Black Luster Soldier – Envoy of the Beginning is, as always, a great card to have when you got a LIGHT and a DARK ready at your disposal. Lightray Daedalus effectively acts as another Dark Armed Dragon, except he normally works to clear the backrow. You have Angel of Zera which can easily be summoned back simply by using him to fuel the summon of your next Chaos monster, mini dragon or otherwise. Lastly, Crimson Blader puts a massive dent in a Dragon Ruler strategy!

If you’re one of those people who gave up on the Chaos Dragons with the September 2012 banlist, I do not blame you. I will blame you now though if you don’t spend a minute or two considering picking the deck back up. It shares a common counter with the Rulers, Evilswarm, but if the January banlist knocks them out of competition, the stage just might as well be set for Chaos Dragons to fill the void in everyone’s hearts at the loss of our beloved Dragon Rulers. (Single tear from me for losing the good Attribute support).

 

Variant Two, Neo-Hieratic (Toolbox Hieratic) – Strategy:

Dragon_Asar

Hieratics have always been this sort of on-the-bubble of amazing deck in the TCG. In the OCG, it had its run of spamming Superdreadnought Rail Cannon Gustav Max, but sadly that massive Xyz was not released in the TCG until after the heavy hand of the banlist. The deck took another jab at the meta through Hieratic-Gishki variants that emptied the hand using Evigishki Gustkraken like no one’s business, but sadly, that was the next head on the chopping block. By no means did any of the above hits cripple the deck; don’t get me wrong. Each hit simply crippled the deck’s ability to completely remove the opponent from the game. Now, it is a different story. Hieratics exist due to the powerful 3 Hieratic OTK, and they generally don’t fare all that well in a format where multiple decks tech Swift Scarecrow.

Introducing the arrival of the newest Hieratic variant on the block, one that centers around the Continuous Trap card Hieratic Seal from the Ashes. Seal is a Foolish Burial for any Hieratic once per opponent’s turn, then it gets to send a banished Hieratic back to the Graveyard once for each of your turns. While this may not seem all that amazing, it opens up the Hieratic deck to actually using their themed Level 6 “Normal” monster: Hieratic Seal of the Dragon King. What makes this variant unique is that it uses the Eclipse-Shrine combo to send a Seal from the deck to the Graveyard, followed by Eclipse Wyvern. Eclipse gets to then banish the monster that you need at the time, from the list of Hieratic Dragon of Asar, Lightray Deadalus, or REDMD. Then, since you have your Normal Dragon and a LIGHT Dragon in your Graveyard, banish both with Asar to add that level 7+ Dragon right back to your hand. While Asar does not have the most amazing effect on its own, it packs a punch when clocking in at 2600 ATK AND it’s even a Level 7, which opens up the suite of Rank 7 Xyz’s have used to dominate the competitive scene.

Without further ado, let’s take a peak at a sample deck for this sort of variant: Neo-Hieratic!

Break the Seal, Unlock the Potential!

Since the Hieratic engine still runs all of the core pieces of the Rank 6 driven OTK build, there’s always the possibility that you can turn that 3 Level 6 Hieratic hand into an OTK field, just you also have the security of backing up that play with an Asar! The fact is, this is a common occurrence for a deck like this, just you have to have a Hieratic Seal of the Dragon King ready in your Graveyard. Don’t forget about the potential of the deck to also chug out Synchro Monsters! With the recent Galaxy Serpent, the deck can finally make a Scrap Dragon or Crimson Blader off of a Galaxy with a Tributed Hieratic’s effect. Last but definitely not least, the deck can use Debris Dragon extremely effectively. Since Seal of the Dragon King has 0 ATK and is a level 6, Debris Dragon becomes a one-card Trident Dragon or Drascension the Supreme Sky Dragon, whichever floats your boat at the time. Remember, Trident also gets the opportunity to trigger the last effect of your Hieratic Seal from the Ashes, unlocking OTK’s without losing advantage!

In terms of alternate options, Tempest, Dragon Ruler of Storms is a great place to start. I know he’s a D-Ruler and all, but he is a great Level 7 pairing with Asar, resulting in some easy Xyz’s. Also, you can choose to try out Hieratic Dragon of Sutekh, the themed Dark Armed Dragon for Hieratics. Labradorite Dragon can always replace the lone Hieratic Seal of the Sun Dragon Overlord; however, you definitely lose out on the instant fodder for Nebthet or Su straight from the Deck when needed. I consider Honest an unnecessary tech option in a Neo-Hieratic build, simply because you should not be losing any battles with a pack of powerful Egyptian dragons.

 

Variant Three, Dragon’s Roar Reloaded – Strategy:

Dragon_REDD

Yes, I am perfectly aware that this is more of a fun option than a competitive one. If you’ve ever looked back at the old structure decks and wondered how their boss monsters could be used in the modern game, this is a perfect deck to try out. Red-Eyes Darkness Dragon is a beast, specifically because he gains absurd amounts of attack! Also, who doesn’t want to throw a bone to the poor Red-Eyes series, especially following their neglect and Blue-Eyes White Dragon getting ALL of the attention!

The deck’s focus is using Shrine to send Red-Eyes and Eclipse to the Graveyard, tutor Darkness out of the deck, then have easy access to bringing out a Darkness Dragon. Red-Eyes Wyvern was not included in here simply due to personal preference. I never quite liked you being forced to give up on aggressive turn to bring out REDMD or relying upon it as a last resort!

The following deck is obviously less competitive than the other two, but it’s definitely a fun throwback if you are interested in making a really fun deck: Dragon’s Roar Reloaded!

Similar Throwback Options:

Not necessarily throwback anymore, but you could always go with a similar Blue-Eyes deck, using Eclipse to tutor out the big dragon you need at the time. All things considered, Dragon Shrine opens up a lot of possibilities in decks that require dragons in the Graveyard. While Dragon’s Ravine is certainly preferred in Dragon Rulers for its longevity and multiple usage, you could always try it out in there. Cyberdark variants have interesting synergy with the card as well, because there are a few compatible LIGHT and DARK Level 3 or lower Dragons, like Galaxy Serpent or Hunter Dragon. Here’s a quickly made example of a Cyberdark Throwback.

 

Conclusion:

Dragon_REDMD

So I hope some of the examples of ways to utilize this engine triggered a few ideas in your head. One of the cooler things I want to try is a Rainbow Dark Dragon deck, since you can search that with Eclipse and ditch an obscene amount of Dragons easily with Shrine. Remember, Shrine is only worth it in advantage if you can capitalize on what you send, as it is an inherent -1. Dragons are powerful, but its certainly true that it can take a lot to get them to their fullest potential!

 

In this article, I am quite aware that I swapped around the normal setup. I would love to hear comments below on whether or not you prefer this format, a format with a ‘History’ section such as my Archfiend article, or a format similar to my original articles, such as my Heroic Article. Also, I’d love to hear ideas on what you want to see from a future Casual Deck Strategy article! Thanks for reading as always, and I hope your creativity is sparked with some of these articles!

Quincymccoy

Hello everybody! I serve as Number VIII of the Organization; however, my main role on the site is writing regular Deck Strategy articles! I enjoy fleshing out archetypes to their fullest potential and helping people discover amazing new techs and decks to try out!

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