Rose Dragon rises to Tier 1 this week thanks to a combination of factors, including the recent update and the new Selection BOX. After D/D/D and Burning Abyss took hits to their consistency from the F&L List, many players scrambled to find out how good both of these decks are in relation to the rest of the meta. At the same time, Spell of Roses was buffed. These two factors allowed the meta to continue shaping up over the past couple weeks as players eventually landed on an accepted Rose Dragon skeleton, which has placed it among the best decks of the format. If players weren't convinced of the deck’s power by this point, surely they must have been once the new Selection BOX was announced. Loading... has finally been released and is an extremely powerful Synchro Monster for a deck that specializes in summoning Level 7 Synchros. What was previously a very-unfavored matchup for Rose Dragon in Burning Abyss, now becomes much more tolerable thanks to a card that cannot be outed by anything in the Burning Abyss engine due to its stats and protection from being targeted by effects. With improved matchups across the meta and new options to choose from, Rose Dragon is sure to be the deck to beat. Prepare your Loading... s!
So, what happened???
How did a deck that was barely rogue a few weeks ago become the best deck? Turns out that the skill buff for Spell of Roses did a lot for Rose Dragon - loosely reminiscent of the old Onomatoplay , the skill is now twice per duel which makes the deck able to thrive much better in the longer duels. Loading... is the best monster to open with, but the skill lets you turn Loading... and Loading... into Rox Rose in addition to setting up the graveyard. Furthermore, the skill no longer locks you into summoning Rose Dragon Synchros that turn, and now just locks you into Synchros. This allows the deck to more easily make use of the rest of the Level 7 Synchro toolbox, which is certainly relevant because Duel Links has quite the handful of strong level 7 Synchros - like Loading... , Loading... (to stop hand-traps) and the newly released Loading... .
Rox Rose Dragon can use it's effect to search Loading... or Blue Rose Dragon upon being Special Summoned too (not just on Normal Summon). This allows the deck to get the ball rolling with singular-card combos, due to how you can keep reviving Rox Rose Dragon with the Basal Rose Shoots and White Rose Dragons that you grab from deck. On top of all that, since the deck can play with a simple 1-Card combo, the deck has a decent amount of tech room, allowing for the use of cards like Loading... , Loading... , Loading... or perhaps even Loading... . Because of all this, the updated skill has been a massive boost for Rose Dragon, resulting in what is now the current best in Duel Links.
To everyone’s expectations, Rose Dragons have reached Tier 1 status. Who knew that a consistent 1-card Synchro that can threaten a board wipe almost every turn, with space to run the best techs in the game would be a sole Tier 1? So, what can be done to alleviate the matchup against best deck? The Selection BOX has released one floodgate with Loading... . While it does not hit the card sent with Spell of Roses , it is still a very strong floodgate that most decks, especially Rose Dragon will have to watch out for. Loading... , Loading... and Loading... are some of the best Anti-Rose cards, while other cards such as Loading... , and Loading... , are being used as potential sides. Intercept has the pro of being able to be used reactively, due to it being a Quick-Play Spell. It’s biggest use is shuffling an already established board of Synchros to pave the way for an OTK, but it does not stop a Black Rose Dragon board wipe. Soundproofed is a strong floodgate, but against a deck like Rose Dragon, with good grind game thanks to their techs and revival, this does naught but buy a singular turn. Stygian Dirge does hit decks other than Rose Dragons, and is especially effective if you go first. It is however slow in that it’s a Trap, and susceptible to Loading... / Loading... . Despite that, Dirge is still a strong side card due to the fact that it is a Floodgate that forces you to just ‘draw the out’.
Burning Abyss stands in an odd position at the moment, where there aren't many high-impact tech cards for the deck that are strong in matchups across the board. For example, while Loading... is a massive blowout card against HEROs, it doesn't seem to be very good against Rose Dragon since that matchup revolves a lot around Loading... . There are a lot of low-impact tech cards that can assist Burning Abyss in every matchup like Loading... , but since the deck can no longer use Loading... there is a shortage in flexible blow-out options. Nonetheless, Burning Abyss still has plenty of strong cards at it's disposal and it is one of the best in the game and grinding and rebuilding a board. Tier 2 seems appropriate for this deck, though impending demotion is a possibility, especially given how Burning Abyss does not benefit from the Selection BOX release. Loading... , Loading... and Loading... are all very scary cards for Burning Abyss to deal with.
In regards to current and possible deck building trends for Burning Abyss, I think that The Tie That Binds might be a Skill that's been experimented with. Mind of the Plana is less useful with the deck only playing 1 Loading... (2 Loading... is better because you can loop Farfa), and The Tie That Binds helps the deck deal with multiple Loading... and Loading... . Whereas Plana would only deal with 1 Samurai Destroyer (wheareas a second copy is trending upwards), and Mind of the Plana can never hit Yazi because Farfa cannot target it. I also think that Loading... is quite nice at the moment, as a card to be sent with Loading... . It has all-around usefulness, most notablely agaist Rose Dragon where it can be used as general disruption - where sending Farfa would accomplish less. Using Tackle Crusader is also good against Samurai Destroyer because it only has 1400 Defense. Tackle Crusader's Spell/Trap removal effect can also be used against Loading... and Loading... . Tackle Crusader is also great in the mirror match (though the Burning Abyss mirror match is less of a common occurrence now). The downside to Tackle Crusader is that drawing it is terrible, though that can be somewhat accounted for by playing a few Spell/Traps that discard. Loading... and Loading... are also trending upwards. With now only 2 Cir and 1 Farfa in the deck, Good & Evil lets you pull those cards from the deck faster. It also lets you get Loading... in the graveyard faster to establish a Loading... play with Loading... .
Overall though, Burning Abyss sits in a increasingly uncomfortable position in side deck tournaments. Loading... hurts a lot, and people are already playing Loading... for Rose Dragon. One way Burning Abyss could adapt for this is with backrow removal cards like Loading... , but upcoming tournament results will show if that will be enough. While Burning Abyss would not be at risk of demotion in best-of-1 (ladder) format, there is a plethora of strong Side Deck cards that put the deck at risk. Overcoming enough of these Side Deck cards will not be easy.
Burning Abyss is definitely one of the better decks, with the introduction of Loading... , this deck now has an incredibly tough time going second into the Rose Dragon setup. Given you go first, being able to set up Beatrice can put you in an advantageous situation. Due to D/D/D seeing less play, some builds have been opting to lower the count of Loading... , replacing some of those spots with Loading... , since the threat of the D/D/D OTK is less consistent. However, with Yazi in the mix, some lists are maining outs including Loading... , maxing out on Wightprincess again, Loading... , or replacing/siding an Extra Deck slot with an out, in the forms of Loading... , or Loading... . Neither are optimal due to the already tight Extra Deck space, but Yazi becomes a huge problem if you don’t draw an out. Combined with the fact that Loading... is now in the game, Burning Abyss should be wary of post-Sides, though the same cards they used to deal with Loading... can deal with D-Fissure. Backrow has been seeing some more play, particularly Loading... , Loading... , Loading... , and even Loading... , all of which have different utilization. Needle Ceiling has the ability to bypass targeting protection, while also being able to clear a HERO board, or hit a big Pendulum Summon. Bottomless is a strong card that banishes the card, but can only respond on summon. Void Trap Hole is able to negate the summon, and Karma Cut can banish a Loading... , subsequently banishing any other Roxroses in the grave.
D/D/D Quite comfortably sits at Tier 2, one reason for this being Loading... . Pendulum decks naturally don't do great against Rose Dragon, because one single successful summon of Loading... clears both your defense and your follow-up. Sanaphond, however, is quite strong against Rose Dragon and allows D/D/D to stand its ground against the current best deck. Loading... banishing Loading... is also quite effective. The deck isn't Tier 1 due to its consistency being decreased. The limitations placed on Loading... , Loading... and Loading... leave the deck with not a lot of cards to start your plays up with. In contrast, Rose Dragon only has to draw any Rose Dragon monster (Rox, Blue or White).