Sunday, March 27, 2011

Deck Essay #11: Rainbow Dark Dragon Turbo

When the contents of each new Booster Set are released to the public, and also due to the fact that the Original Card Game (OCG) obtains new cards before the Trading Card Game (TCG), there is always undoubtedly some degree of anticipation surrounding a brand new deck idea. Such an occurrence is only natural. However, some of such decks, I am decidedly saddened to say, never pan out into anything successful even though they may have a high degree of potential; some time merely needs to be taken in order to perfect them. Prior to the release of the Booster Set Phantom Darkness, many players were discussing a plethora of possible uses for one particular card therein, but there was one deck, a fast, One-Turn-Knockout-based strategy, which garnered the most attention. With the Traditional Format offering us the opportunity of additional speed, power and consistency atop that already present, I will use this essay to revisit a deck which, while it fell short of achieving greatness in the Advanced Format, arguably has what it takes to become a top contender in the modern Traditional Format: I am talking about Rainbow Dark Dragon Turbo.

The deck known as Rainbow Dark Dragon Turbo is centred around the following win condition: through the use of a selection of drawing and milling Spell Cards to fill one’s Graveyard with many DARK Attribute Monsters, one then proceeds to Normal Summon Phantom Chaos and use its effect to mimic that of Demise, King of Armageddon; once the field has been cleared of all cards, one then Removes from Play seven different DARK Attribute Monsters from the Graveyard in order to Special Summon the eponymous card, Rainbow Dark Dragon; finally, one then Removes from Play the remainder of one’s DARK Attribute Monsters, increasing the ATK of Rainbow Dark Dragon to above eight-thousand, and subsequently declares an attack for game. All of this is carried out in a single turn, the very first on which one is able to attack, instantly claiming victory in a single swoop. The deck is, admittedly, rather low on utility; however, it makes up for this shortcoming with an incredibly fast movement through the deck to find the win condition with remarkable consistency.

The Monsters: 20

3 Rainbow Dark Dragon
3 Sky Scourge – Norleras
3 Demise, King of Armageddon
2 Destiny Hero – Plasma
2 Destiny Hero – Dogma
1 Destiny Hero – Disk Commander
1 Phantom of Chaos
1 Grinder Golem
1 The Dark Creator
1 Dark Magician of Chaos
1 Chaos Emperor Dragon – Envoy of the End
1 Berserk Dragon

I must concede, before I go any further, that the above list of Monster Cards does indeed seem to have been chosen at complete random – but I must ask you to bear with me! all will be revealed in due course, for one must first realise that every Monster, save only three (exclude Rainbow Dark Dragon itself, that is), are Level Eight and cannot be Normal Summoned. These two facets are of immense importance, for the aforementioned movement through the deck would not be possible otherwise.

To begin with, all three allotted copies of Rainbow Dark Dragon have been included in order to achieve the maximum consistency possible; running fewer would, while possibly opening up room to include more versatile cards (and, of course, the same could be said for any of the Monsters I have included at multiple copies), this simply does not represent something the deck should aim for. Instead, the deck is constructed much like a First-Turn-Knockout, more so in fact than a Battle-oriented strategy, in that a single goal, and a single goal only, is the desired result. Ergo, Rainbow Dark Dragon, and many other Monsters, have been included at an unintuitive two or even three copies. Of course, though, it is far from being impossible to Special Summon more than one copy of Rainbow Dark Dragon during a game: in fact, doing so would constitute an alternate win condition, for if one is able to Summon two copies against an open field the two attacks would be sufficient to end the game. Also note that extra copies of Rainbow Dark Dragon may be discarded for draw cards, which can then be counted towards the necessary number of DARK Attribute Monsters.

As a minimum number, the deck must load at the very least sixteen DARK Attribute Monster Cards into the Graveyard: that is, one copy of Demise, King of Armageddon, which will be used for the effect of Phantom of Chaos; seven more, each with different names, to allow the Special Summon of Rainbow Dark Dragon; and finally another eight to increase the ATK of Rainbow Dark Dragon to eight-thousand exactly (also note that the Phantom of Chaos on the field counts towards this eight). The former of the three is the most easily achievable, for three copies of Demise, King of Armageddon have been included to create the most consistency possible in sending the one necessary copy to the Graveyard swiftly. However, rather more difficult are the latter two requirements: to achieve the first, the spread of different names has been diversified as much as possible, amounting to a total of twelve disparate DARK Monsters; and to achieve the second, an entire half of the deck, twenty cards, has been devoted to DARK Attribute Monsters, a fact which also means being able, on the occasion, to put even more DARKs in the Graveyard than necessary.

I will now discuss each individual choice. Sky Scourge – Norleras, which is included at a full three copies, has been included not only as a name but also as a way to possibly retrieve an unwinnable game. Should the deck happen to stall (which is, I must admit – for I would not dare to hide this fact – a distinct possibility given the inclusion of many otherwise useless cards), one can use Phantom of Chaos to mimic this card’s effect and destroy every card on the field and in both players’ hands; doing so cuts the opponent off from having a full set of options on their subsequent turn, giving oneself the opportunity to mount a comeback. The single allowed copy of Chaos Emperor Dragon – Envoy of the End has also been included for exactly this reason.

From there, five Destiny Heroes have been included: two copies of each Destiny Hero – Plasma and Destiny Hero – Dogma, and the single allowed copy of Destiny Hero – Disk Commander. The addition of these cards facilitates the use of Destiny Draw in the Spell Card line-up for added draw acceleration, while the former two Monsters still retain the ability to be discarded or milled by any of the other Spell Cards. They can also, of course, be copied by Phantom of Chaos if one should need to do so, adding a somewhat small layer of synergistic versatility to the deck. Destiny Hero – Disk Commander, one of the only three Monsters that can be Normal Summoned (again, I will discuss this in more detail later), is included for its ability to act as even more draw power and, yet again, a name for Rainbow Dark Dragon.

The last two Monsters to be included that can be Normal Summoned are Dark Magician of Chaos and Phantom of Chaos. Dark Magician of Chaos is, to be completely honest, an obvious pick here: it is a DARK Attribute Monster (and a differently named DARK Attribute Monster, no less), a Level Eight, and easily Special Summoned from either the deck or the Graveyard in order to trigger its effect. This last point is especially important to note, for in a combo-based deck such as this the retrieval of an already used or lost combo Spell Card that Dark Magician of Chaos offers can continue an otherwise stalled momentum, allowing one to claim victory where that may not have been possible previously. Next, Phantom of Chaos, the other specific Monster Card necessary for the combo, has been included at only the needed single copy in order to avoid any conflict with the resolution of the milling Spells. More copies could indeed be included, but I found such to be ultimately superfluous.

The remainder of the Monster Card line-up is made up of single picks, in keeping with the need to increase the number of different names present. The Dark Creator, Berserk Dragon and Grinder Golem are ones typically played in these slots, and I have not deviated away from this tradition, although there are indeed alternatives one could choose instead if one should wish to do so.

The Spells: 20

3 Trade-in
3 Hand Destruction
3 Recurring Nightmare
2 Magical Stone Excavation
1 Pot of Greed
1 Graceful Charity
1 Card Destruction
1 Destiny Draw
1 Painful Choice
1 Monster Reborn
1 Premature Burial
1 Reasoning
1 Monster Gate

This is whither the seemingly random list of Monster Cards makes sense. A full three copies of Trade-in are now revealed as the reason the vast majority of the Monsters needed to be of the Level Eight status; discarding one of such Monsters allows the drawing of another two cards, not only placing DARKs into the Graveyard but also powering the deck towards the win condition. The single allowed copy of Destiny Draw has also been included, complementing the Destiny Heroes present in the Monster line-up; although I will admit that multiple Destiny Draw cards would indeed be better (and perhaps one should wait until such is allowable in a future format), the fact that this card is currently Limited by no means discounts it from being useful to the strategy, and furthermore by no means does it discount the strategy in its entirety. The deck is still easily both fast enough and consistent enough to be competitive.

To complement this suite of draw cards, the obvious additions of Pot of Greed, Graceful Charity and Painful Choice have been made. While the two former options will aid in drawing deeper into the deck towards the win condition, the two latter will also grant the ability to place from two up to four DARK Attribute Monsters into the Graveyard. Hand Destruction, which I have included at its maximum allowed three copies, also allows the discarding of two DARK Monsters to the Graveyard in exchange for two draws, adding even more draw acceleration. Finally, Card Destruction achieves a similar purpose, although it has the distinct advantage of being able to discard an entire hand of DARK Attribute Monsters, not only placing many DARKs into the Graveyard at once but also refreshing a dead hand and drawing yet more cards at the same time.

In conjunction with these draw effects, Monster Gate and Reasoning are included as standout ways to possibly send a multitude of DARK Attribute Monsters to the Graveyard in one hit: because the vast majority of the Monsters cannot be Normal Summoned (seventeen cards out of a total of twenty), both of these Spell Cards simply do not recognise them as being Monsters, and so they will skip past them and keep picking up more cards; thence, since so few Monsters that can be Normal Summoned have been included (only three cards out of the twenty), there is a high probability that a large percentage of DARK Attribute Monsters will be sent to the Graveyard straight away. Of course, there is the possibility that one may draw into all three of the recordable Monsters; this is, unfortunately, an occupational hazard of the strategy, although I must stress now that such an occurrence is highly improbable.

From there, Monster Reborn and Premature Burial have been included for their abilities to Special Summon both Destiny Hero – Disk Commander and Dark Magician of Chaos back from the Graveyard, either of which will reward the pilot with extra draws or retrieval of a needed Spell Card.

Finally, I have included the two allowed copies of Magical Stone Excavation, a card not typically seen in this archetype. However, with Destiny Draw Limited I was in need of more options that could draw more cards while also discarding DARK Attribute Monsters to the Graveyard; this card seemed perfect, for it would allow the discarding of two DARKs in order to then retrieve a drawing Spell Card back from the Graveyard. Rigorous testing showed that I in was correct in this conclusion. Magical Stone Excavation also has the distinct advantage of being able to simply discard DARK Attribute Monsters without actually doing anything in return should one not needed to do so, such as in the case, for example, that one has drawn the entire deck but is still without the necessary number of Monsters in the Graveyard. In such a scenario, one can simply discard two DARKs to retrieve the other copy of Magical Stone Excavation, and then loop retrieving the second copy until one has sufficient infrastructure.

Note for me please, the absence of any and all Traditional Format staple Spell Cards: Harpie’s Feather Duster, Heavy Storm, Raigeki, Dark Hole, Change of Heart and Snatch Steal have all been omitted, for the effect of Demise, King of Armageddon achieves the purpose of every single one of these cards, rendering them useless. However, of course, chainable defensive cards, such as Book of Moon and Ring of Destruction, will disrupt one’s combo by removing Phantom of Chaos from the field before its effect can be activated (whether technically or literally), so one should Side-Deck Spell and Trap removal in the case of opponents playing such cards. Furthermore, I have not included any Trap Cards in the Main-Deck, for these will interfere with the movement through the deck; again, though, one should most likely Side-Deck several of these, such as Imperial Order, in the case one plays first (and cannot attack until the turn after) in order to prevent the opponent from mounting a comeback.

To my mind, there is something undeniably beautiful about a deck that is designed for the sole purpose of achieving a single goal. Such decks, while they tend to lack versatility and the ability to respond to unpredictable opponent plays, display a nigh unfaltering consistency and efficiency, most often rendering any plays the opponent may have been planning on making completely moot. While it is very, very rare that such a deck would be oriented around battle instead of a First-Turn-Knockout (battle-based decks, while essentially centred on a single goal, still most often demonstrate many adaptable win conditions within the single deck), I have nevertheless presented in this essay a deck which is just that. Moreover, I have presented a deck which is, much to the surprise of many people I am sure, alive and well within the Traditional Format, even if it is only a handicapped fancy in the Advanced Format. As we well know, the Traditional Format affords us access to cards no longer available in Advanced, and it making the most of such new options that brings about these impressive results. Indeed, this format is not worth playing otherwise.

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