Join the Three Kingdoms as we discuss how the Ancient Warriors are supported by other themes!
Debuting in Ignition Assault, the Ancient Warriors archetype is a set of WATER and WIND Beast-Warrior monsters that were designed to be a fully functional archetype without needing the Extra Deck. Unlike many other themes designed with the same goal in mind – this archetype carries no restrictions, thus you can still use your Extra Deck as much as you like, just you shouldn’t need to every duel. Each of the Ancient Warriors features two or three different effects, giving them a bit of versatility, but they all synergize well with continuous Spells and Traps. Spoiler Alert: Fire Formations exist. In case you’ve never seen this archetype or what it can do, let me give you a quick rundown of the heavy hitters.
Ancient Warriors – Masterful Sun Mou is first up on the list, because he is your main starter in most situations. His first effect prevents him from being selected as an attack target while you control another Ancient Warriors monster. His second lets you send any card from your hand or field to the GY to tutor any other Ancient Warriors monster. His third and final effect can trigger whenever another Ancient Warriors monster uses its effect, letting Sun Mou bounce an opponent’s monster back to hand. Sun Mou’s partner in crime is the other starter, Ancient Warriors – Virtuous Liu Xuan. Liu shares the same first effect as Sun Mou, but his second effect lets you send any card from hand or field to the GY to Special Summon any other Ancient Warriors monster from your deck. The catch with this effect is that your opponent must control more monsters than you. Lastly, whenever an attack is declared with another Ancient Warrior’s monster, you can draw a card.
Together, these two Level 4s serve as the core monster retrieval in the deck. Tutoring the theme’s support suite is Ancient Warriors – Graceful Zhou Gong. His first effect lets you send a face-up Continuous Spell or Trap to the GY and tutor an Ancient Warriors Spell or Trap card from your deck. Similar to Sun Mou, his second effect lets you negate the effects of an opponent’s monster whenever another Ancient Warriors monster activates its effect. Joining Zhou Gong is the recovery option, Ancient Warriors – Eccentric Lu Jing. The first effect lets you send a face-up Continuous Spell or Trap to recover an Ancient Warriors Spell or Trap from the GY. Following the pattern, his second effect lets you target and destroy an opponent’s Spell or Trap whenever another Ancient Warriors monster activates its effect.
This brings us to our final two monsters, each Level 7 and WIND. Ancient Warriors – Loyal Guan Yun first can be Special Summoned from the hand by controlling no monsters. Secondly, your opponent can’t target other Ancient Warriors you control whenever he is on the field. His last effect follows Liu Xuan requiring you to control less monsters than your opponent to target and destroy an opponent’s monster. This leaves our biggest warrior, Ancient Warriors – Valiant Zhang De, which boasts 3 effects as well. First, he can be Summoned while you control 2 or more Ancient Warriors monsters, and second he continuously gains 300 ATK per monster your opponent controls during your turn. Lastly, if your opponent has more monsters than you, you can activate his effect to give him an additional attack during the battle phase of the turn.
So in summary, your monsters work together sometimes, trigger each other sometimes, and require your opponent to have more monsters than you sometimes. Supporting all three of these archetype characteristics is the support suite, so let’s cover the two most important cards. Ancient Warriors Saga – Three Visits lets you add another Ancient Warriors monster to hand whenever you summon an Ancient Warriors monster, then its second effect triggers when sent from the S/T zone to the GY to let you Special Summon an Ancient Warriors monster from your hand. You definitely should notice the inherent synergy this has with all of your Level 4 monsters! The single trap card for the archetype is Ancient Warriors Saga – Defense of Changban. At the start of your opponent’s BP, you can send the face-up Trap to the GY to prevent your opponent from attacking Ancient Warriors during that turn. Separately, when your opponent declares an attack, you can banish Changban from your GY to Special Summon an Ancient Warriors monster straight from your deck. Both are essential to getting your army properly deployed to dismantle your opponent’s boards.
All together, this archetype plays with an aggressive stance and playstyle. Get your Ancient Warriors to the battlefield, then begin triggering effects to wear down your opponent’s defenses before going in for the kill. They also have a ton of natural support in the form of the Fire Formations, with Fire Formation – Tenki searching your essential monsters and Fire Formation – Tensu giving you an extra Normal Summon. Not only do these guarantee access to having 2 Ancient Warriors to satisfy Zhang De’s requirement, but they also enable the activation of the final effects of the Ancient Warriors that trigger when another Ancient Warriors monster activates its effect! But there’s another archetype that provides this strategy with the firepower it needs to accomplish its OTK mission – time to bring in the True Dracos.
The True Draco Emerge
For those of you who hate the control aspects of this archetype, have no fear because we’re using them purely for disruption and OTK power today! That’s right, True Dracos can be played in multiple different playstyles, who could have guessed? For those of you struggling to see the connection between these two themes, let’s start by covering the basics. The True Draco subtheme consists of Level 5 and 6 monsters that can be tribute Summoned using Continuous Spells or Traps. They’re supported by one of the best field spells ever printed, Dragonic Diagram, which lets you destroy any card in your hand or field to add a True King or True Draco card from deck to hand. By keeping your Diagram on the field, you have a steady flow of continuous backrow each with essential effects.
True Draco Heritage is first, a continuous spell that lets you draw cards equal to the True Draco card types sent from your field to the GY during the turn. Similarly, Disciples of the True Dracophoenix lets you return 3 True Draco or True King cards from your GY to the deck to draw a card. Both of these continuous spells share two additional effects – first, when either is sent from the field to the GY, you can destroy a Spell or Trap on the field. Then secondly, you can use either’s effect to immediately Tribute Summon a True Draco or True King monster. Note that this additional Normal Summon doesn’t conflict with Tensu either, meaning you can Normal Summon up to 4 times in a single turn!
On the Trap end of things, there is also a Continuous Trap to highlight from the True Draco suite. True Draco Apocalypse first has an effect to destroy any other True Draco or True King card you control to halve the ATK/DEF of your opponent’s monsters. Then in a similar fashion to the two other support cards, it destroys a monster on the field whenever it is sent from the field to the GY. Finally, you can use its third effect to immediately Tribute Summon a True Draco or True King monster during your opponent’s Main Phase. All together, these three cards ensure that your opponents resources will begin to be whittled away in addition to recovering your own through extra draw power! At the end of the day, the True Draco cards really serve as just a support engine, so let’s start talking about how today’s two themes intersect!
Wyrms Supporting the Three Kingdoms theme? This almost seems intentional…
There’s a couple of key cross-over that makes this hybrid of archetypes turn into an effective strategy, primarily because each of the cadres of support serve as enablers for the other. For example, True Draco provides a ton of sheer card advantage by just constantly drawing, tutoring, and recycling their cards, but definitely can run into some issues converting that pure advantage into a usable way to gain tempo in a duel. This is why the theme was primarily run as a control variant – if you have other cards that prevent the opponent from playing, you can just run a slimmed down True Draco advantage engine to make sure you can stay in the duel. In this case however, the Ancient Warriors theme definitely uses that advantage to generate pressure and tempo for its own endgame.
Since all of the Level 4 Ancient Warriors revolve around either sending cards from field to the GY or sending Continuous Spells or Traps, this is the first synergy to highlight. Summon Sun Mou, send a set Heritage to search, and you also get extra card advantage by destroying an opponent’s backrow. Summon Liu Xuan, send a set Apocalypse to summon an Ancient Warriors monster from the deck, then destroy one of their monsters to even the playing field. So in short: All of these 1-for-1 trades in card advantage that Ancient Warriors thrives on is automatically converted to extra card advantage when sending your True Draco cards. This gives the True Draco strategy an aggressive component to work with their advantage, giving you a leg up on an unsuspecting opponent thinking you just have a couple of traps to slow them down.
Speaking of the aggro playstyle, this is also where the Ancient Warriors can shine. With so many ways to get 2 Level 4 monsters on the field, Ancient Warriors can safely run the Number 39: Utopia Double OTK option by teching in a sole copy of Double or Nothing!. Very few duelists expect a True Draco player to go for that OTK, but remember you also have the second effect of True Draco Apocalypse to lower the ATK of your opponents monsters and get them into OTK range. Since Ancient Warriors naturally synergize with continuous Spells and Traps, you can also continue the aggressive rampage by tributing them away to summon your True Draco monsters. This even works with Three Visits, as if you tribute that you still get to summon an Ancient Warriors monster from the hand!
The last piece of synergy is the draw power that True Draco bring to the table. Many aggressive, main-deck focused strategies tend to deplete their hand resources very quickly when going for an OTK or strong-arm pressure play. A good example of this is Fur Hire – their entire playstyle is to spam their monsters and hope it is enough to overwhelm the opponent. In contrast, this type of aggro strategy gives you free draws from Heritage and Disciples, letting you turn the tide of the duel and out-grind the opponent. This is quite out of the ordinary for most aggro strategies – very few actually play the grind game well. But the endless recycling of True Draco definitely enables that option when your duel starts trending later.
Let’s Talk Techs:
You probably noticed there are a couple of interesting choices in my build, so spare me a moment to explain some of them. The first ‘weird’ card that you may be reacting to is the inclusion of another Field Spell – Black Garden. This card has amazing synergy with Liu Xuan, as it gives you a much better chance of being able to resolve its first effect. Secondly, Garden has a couple of GY targets to recover from the GY in a pinch. Whether it is Ignis Heat or Zhou Gong, you can bring an unexpected boost of extra oomph with your Ancient Warriors punches. Third, this gives your deck a free Utopia Double OTK target! Just use Sun Mou or Liu Xuan to get rid of your garden before going for any Xyz Summons! Lastly, this is just another Terraforming target so Terraforming isn’t immediately dead if you have already drawn into Dragonic Diagram. Worst comes to worst, it’s just extra deck thinning.
In terms of overall composition, you’ll notice that I went with 2 copies of each of the important True Draco options. By running 6, you give yourself about a 58% chance of opening one of them, which rises even higher when you add in Diagram and Terraforming (~70%). This also gives you endless recycling with Disciples, but more importantly, it justifies the inclusion of 1 Dinomist Knight and 2 Ignis Heat. You definitely won’t run out of free advantage to pull out of the deck with either of them! The last composition component to highlight is the Extra Deck. You’ll probably notice that I chose a ton of different Utility options for the Extra deck, simply because you should just use it as a toolbox in Ancient Warriors. This isn’t necessarily your win condition (but it could be), so you can maximize the space with a bunch of monsters that may be helpful in only certain situations. Something like Link Spider to get rid of a Rose Token or Lost World Token can be great.
Alternative Tech Options:
- Board Breaking Capability
- Gameciel, the Sea Turtle Kaiju – Ancient Warriors is inherently a going-second, OTK archetype. By running Kaijus, this can eliminate threats, in addition to being able to bounce it back to hand with Sun Mou’s final effect.
- Instant Fusion – Running copies of Instant with Thousand-Eyes Restrict can help you force out some early negates before you start any of your combos. As you should be aware, we have the Extra Deck space for it… which brings us to the next option.
- Super Polymerization – This is a great strategy for Poly to break boards with. Since you have so much extra deck space, you can run so many options to cover the gambit of decks you might face!
- Extra True Draco Support
- True King’s Return – An additional Trap to go alongside Apocalypse, but I personally don’t think we would run enough True Draco monsters to justify its inclusion.
- Majesty Maiden, the True Dracocaster – And here’s the more monster option. With Majesty, you can justify using Return as that incentivizes and enables extra Tribute Summons during the opponent’s turn consistently.
- The Monarchs Stormforth – Not using the Extra Deck? No problem. This card can be used in tandem with the 8 Tribute-Summonable monsters in your deck, especially since you have so many extra Normal Summons at your disposal.
Looking into the Future
The Ancient Warriors theme is far from complete in the TCG side of the game. With an additional 4 monsters and 1 Continuous Spell set to appear in the next core set, Eternity Code, the Ancient Warriors strategy has a bright future. They gain numerous ways to activate Ancient Warriors effects during the opponent’s turn, plus they get negation, recovery, and another floating Continuous Spell. They also introduce the FIRE kingdom into the theme, giving the Ancient Warriors yet another attribute to exploit! Be sure to check out this upcoming support in our prior news article on Eternity Code reveals HERE. I’m not going to further discuss this new support in this article, as I wanted to specifically tune it to the TCG capabilities of the Ancient Warriors as is, but I may revisit this theme in the future to discuss it then!
Conclusion and Wrap-Up:
Welcome to the Three Kingdoms and thanks for reading until the very end. As a quick recap, the Ancient Warriors archetype pairs extremely well with True Draco support, giving each a new facet to work with. Whether it is the aggro component added to True Draco or the disruption and card advantage added to the Ancient Warriors, these themes meet in the middle for an explosive OTK deck that takes no prisoners. While the Ancient Warriors archetype is far from complete, there is definitely ways to use their cards as it stands now, so get out there and duel! So see you next time when we dig into a reader-requested theme to find some life in an old archetype long thought to be dead and buried!
Reminder, I also take suggestions for future CDS articles! I really want to see some input from you! If you wish to see a CDS article about the archetype, theme, or strategy you love, feel free to private message me on the YGOrg Discord server, the YGOrganization Forums, or just post a comment in response to this article on our Facebook page with your ideas to keep under consideration! On most YGO-related communities my username is Quincymccoy, so feel free to reach out. As of now, I have a couple of outstanding requests that I am looking at: Ballpark Insect/Battlewasp, Gravekeeper, Cyberse, and Speedroid.