Dragunity is a weird archetype in the broad scope of Yu-Gi-Oh’s history. They revolve around equipping Dragon-type Tuner monsters to their other monsters in order make Synchro plays. While their notorious Field Spell Dragon Ravine has plagued the TCG with its amazing ability to dump Dragons from your Deck to the GY (also it searches Dragunity cards or whatever but don’t worry about that). Outside of that one busted card, however, the archetype itself, despite having over 30 cards to its name (most of which are in Duel Links btw), hasn’t made much of a splash outside being an engine for other decks.
That brings us to Duel Links, where the archetype debuted in Blackstorm Rising, which was basically a set-up box for both Blackwings and Dragunity. In this box we got the shamblings of a gimmicky OTK deck with Dragunity Knight - Vajrayana, Dragunity Phalanx, Dragunity Dux, Dragunity Militum, Dragunity Aklys, Dragunity Divine Lance, and pseudo-support in Cards of Consonance. The deck had problems of only wanting to go second and only with some way to clear the opposing backrow to avoid ubiquitous cards like Floodgate Trap Hole and Paleozoic Canadia (a running theme throughout the lifespan of this deck).
The deck stayed that way with basically no support (yes Dragunity Darkspear your presence is acknowledged now go back to your corner) until the release of Dragunity Overdrive, giving the deck Dragunity Knight - Ascalon and the means to make it with Dragunity Senatus and Dragunity Arma Leyvaten. This structure deck was ok for Dragunity, as now you had a decent turn one play in Ascalon and a HUGE consistency booster in Senatus. However, the deck still had the same problems of not being able to play through backrow, with the new problem of not being able to OTK reliably with Ascalon’s awkward 3300 ATK.
Then comes Judgement Force, offering only a single card to support the deck in Dragunity Couse, but what an amazing card it was. Couse offers the deck so much, boosting the OTK-ability of the deck drastically. The deck still faces the problem of being unable to play through backrow, but I feel like Couse is what the deck needed to bring this deck to the competency of more traditional OTK decks.
Dragunity Senatus (3x)
Senatus is your starter, as its effect is a one-card Dragunity Knight - Ascalon (or any other Dragunity Synchro for that matter). Senatus, when combined with a Dragunity Couse (and by extension Dragunity Phalanx) discard is what allows you to OTK. Note that he is super vulnerable to disruption, as it is an Ignition Effect that discards as cost, but its the strongest opener you have access to. Senatus also has a destruction prevention effect, which is cute when paired with cards like Dragunity Legion, but it’s ultimately not what the card is used for.
Dragunity Couse (3x)
Couse is one of the strongest cards in the deck, which is weird considering it basically does nothing on its own. Couse is functionally similar to Dragunity Phalanx, as it shares the effect to special summon itself from the Spell/Trap zone. However, it boasts 2 distinct and important differences: the ability to be trated as a Level 4 for the Synchro Summon of a Dragunity Monster and a higher ATK Stat. These distinctions let you go into Dragunity Knight - Ascalon through Dragunity Knight - Barcha, which when combined with Couse’s 1000 ATK is what allows you to OTK much more reliably. He also adds redundancy for things like the Cards of Consonance engine, acting as another target that actually wants to be in the GY.
Dragunity Dux (1-2x)
Dux is primarily used for follow-up plays, as it requires a Dragunity in your GY. It also serves as another Level 4 Equip target for Dragunity Divine Lance letting you fetch Dragunity Couse and go into Dragunity Knight - Barcha. Dux is the main card you want to see in the later turns, once you’re already set up with Couse in the Graveyard, but has more value in the Cards of Consonance build, which lets you set up your GY on the first turn.
Dragunity Knight - Ascalon (2-3x)
Ascalon is your primary boss monster, similar to Berserkion the Electromagna Warrior allowing you to banish your opponent’s monsters as long as you have fuel in your GY. It also has a floating effect on destruction, letting you summon Dragunity Knight - Barcha or Dragunity Knight - Vajrayana for follow up plays, or Dragunity Knight - Gae Bulg for more safety. If you’re going first, Ascalon in DEF is your best Turn 1 play for ensuring you get to Turn 3 and OTK.
Dragunity Knight - Barcha (2-3x)
A monster that used to be practically impossible to summon is now your primary stepping stone to Dragunity Knight - Ascalon and a key component to your OTK engine. You make Barcha with Dragunity Senatus / Dragunity Dux and Dragunity Couse. On Synchro Summon (note Ascalon’s floating effect counts as a Synchro Summon) you can equip as many Dragon-type Dragunity monsters as possible. If you equip 2 of either Couse or Dragunity Phalanx, you’re able to summon Ascalon with an ATK Position Couse, allowing you to banish your opponent’s monsters and push 4300 Damage. It can also potentially protect your Life Points post-Ascalon Destruction with its up to 2900 ATK.
Dragunity Knight - Gae Bulg (0-1x)
This monster is primarily summoned off of Dragunity Knight - Ascalon‘s effect. It’s effectively a 3800 beatstick as long as you have Dragunity Senatus in GY, which provides you with an added layer of protection if Ascalon is destroyed on your opponent’s turn. However, this protection is in lieu of the follow-up plays Dragunity Knight - Barcha (and by extension Dragunity Knight - Vajrayana) provide. If you’re up against a lot of big beaters, Gae Bulg just might be able to save you from lethal.
Dragunity Knight - Vajrayana (0-1x)
This card has gotten much less useful since the deck has shifted away from Dragunity Aklys. It can equip Dragunity Couse on summon, letting you go into Dragunity Knight - Ascalon (however, Dragunity Knight - Barcha performs this role better). In the Cards of Consonance build, you would run Vajrayana as a contingency that can be summoned with Dragunity Senatus + Dragunity Phalanx (If you happen to have drawn / discarded all of your Couse). Its secondary ability to boost its ATK to 3800 (or 5000 with Divine Lance) is situationally useful but more-or-less irrelevant.
Dragunity Arma Mystletainn
Mystletainn is a 2-card combo with Dragunity Couse to make Dragunity Knight - Ascalon. Mystletainn’s primary use is as an extender, allowing you to play through monster effect negation like Fiendish Chain and Witchcrafter Madame Verre, while also increasing your Damage output in your normal Dragunity Combo by being a free 2100 ATK body that re-equips from the GY. It doesn’t do much on its own and requires a face-up Dragunity to Special Summon itself (which makes it weak to Floodgate Trap Hole), but is generally included as a 2-3 of in the Standard build (The Cards of Consonance build would generally opt for Dux, but can run Mystletainn as a tech card)
You run Phalanx for one reason and one reason alone: redundancy. You can discard Phalanx with Dragunity Senatus to equip Dragunity Couse, go into Dragunity Knight - Barcha. From there you equip both Phalanx and Couse, use Phalanx and Barcha for Dragunity Knight - Ascalon and have the 1000 ATK Couse left on board for the OTK. It also acts as a second target for a Cards of Consonance engine, if so desired. You would only run Phalanx if you opt for Cards of Consonance, as it only combos with Senatus in the Standard build.
Dragunity Divine Lance
Lance is another card that doesn’t do anything on its own, but serves multiple functions as both an extender and a redundancy component for your OTKs. Firstly, it lets you equip Dragunity monsters from your deck to the monster it’s equipped to, which is less useful for Senatus (which can already do that), but more useful for cards like Dragunity Dux which require GY setup to make their Synchro plays. It also gives your monster an ATK boost equal to its Level x100 (allowing Dragunity Knight - Ascalon to hit 4300 ATK) and an immunity to Trap effects (which is especially useful against battle traps like Mirror Wall, and Drowning Mirror Force, and playing around Counter Traps like Blackbird Close with Senatus). It should be noted that your monster is still vulnerable to Traps before Lance resolves, so chaining Paleozoic Canadia to Lance’s activation will flip your monster down and make Lance fizzle. The recent Forbidden/Limited list hit Divine Lance to 2, basically forcing the choice between this and Hey, Trunade!. The choice of Divine Lance or Trunade depends on the meta, where Divine Lance is stronger against Monster Effect Negation and Counter Traps, but is almost completely useless in heavy backrow metas.
There are just too many Dragunity cards that have either been rendered obsolete by the introduction of Dragunity Couse, (Like Dragunity Arma Leyvaten, Dragunity Aklys and Dragunity Militum) or were never good enough to be included in the first place. I’ll be listing them here for posterity but I don’t think theyre worth going through in-depth.
As a deck that has no real built-in way to play through backrow (a well-timed Paleozoic Canadia can almost always end your turn). So being able to remove your opponent’s backrow before committing to board is incredibly important to an effective Dragunity strategy.
The most common form of backrow removal, Cosmic Cyclone has the benefit of being a quickplay spell allowing you to disrupt your opponents’ plays on their turn (important for going first against decks like Dark Magician). The LP cost can also be seen as a benefit if you decide to use the few skills Skills with 1000 LP requirements, like Draw Sense: Low-Level.
Hey, Trunade! is semi-limited for a reason. Being able to completely wipe your opponent’s backrow is incredibly powerful for a deck that can reliably clear the opponent’s monsters and OTK. Incredibly powerful if you run the Cards of Consonance engine, as it lets you dig deeper into your deck before comitting to board. Unfortunately with the semi-limit to Dragunity Divine Lance, whether or not you run Trunade depends on the meta.
While not backrow removal per se it does trade with your opponent’s backrow by protecting your monsters from cards like Paleozoic Canadia, allowing you to continue your plays. When used pre-emptively, it also allows you to partially play around Counter Traps like Blackbird Close.
One of the strongest Spell Speed 1 Backrow removal options, as your opponent cannot activate the Targeted card in response. It should be noted that if they can Chain something else to Night Beam, they can then activate the targeted card as Chain Link 3 or higher (as it’s responding to their CL2 card and not Night Beam).
As an OTK-based strategy, cards that help you when you’re forced to go first are also important. These cards let you survive their first turn, allowing you to OTK on the following turn.
With Dragunity Divine Lance being semi-limited, Sphere Kuriboh is essentially your only form of hand-trap protection. Sphere Kuriboh can protect you from lethal while also protecting your monsters from being attacked over, which is notable since your opponent generally doesn’t have more than one monster capable of attacking over Dragunity Knight - Ascalon. It’s weaker in variants that want to proc Destiny Draw, as most people play around the Skill by attacking with their weaker monsters first.
Gouki Octostretch is primarily used in Destiny Draw variants of Dragunity, allowing you to survive lethal damage while still pushing you over that 2000 LP threshold. It, like Sphere Kuriboh is situational in its use cases, as it’s weaker against decks that have multiple attackers with over 2000 ATK, like Cyber Dragon (With Rampage Dragon) and Shiranui (With Sunsaga + another Synchro)
Arcana Force XIV - Temperance
Functionally identical to Kuriboh in usage, able to blank out damage to 0 when discarded, but offering no protection for your monsters. Included for posterity, generally worse than both Sphere Kuriboh and Gouki Octostretch, but as a Level 6 Monster it’s the only option available to decks with Draw Sense: Low-Level in terms of protection.
Forbidden Dress is primarily used to protect your Dragunity Knight - Ascalon going first from cards like Assault Blackwing - Raikiri the Rain Shower, Blackwing - Gale the Whirlwind, and other Ascalon. Going second, it can also be used to protect your monsters from cards like Cybernetic Overflow and Dark Magical Circle (remember to Chain to Magician Navigation and not the Circle itself). This card’s strength is heavily meta depedent, as it’s either completely useless or incredibly strong.
With Switcheroo’s nerf making it almost always worse than Destiny Draw, playing Destiny Draw with protection handtraps like Sphere Kuriboh or Gouki Octostretch (in combination with Cosmic Cyclone) allows Dragunity players to play a more passive Turn 1 using Destiny Draw to search for power cards like Hey, Trunade! or Dragunity Senatus. With Dragunity being able to dismantle almost any board given the right combination of cards, Destiny Draw is by and large at the forefront in terms of Skills at the moment. It must be noted that I would not play this Skill without 2-3 protection handtraps, as they are almost required to reliably trigger the LP Requirement.
Popular in Japan, Equipment Exchange is reminiscent with to the old Switcheroo, turning your Cosmic Cyclones into a potential way to fix your hand by returning up to 2 cards to the bottom of the deck to Draw 2. However, with Dragunity Divine Lance limited (and Hey, Trunade! generally being too important for this meta), players have been forced to run less optimal cards like Axe of Fools (essentially a clunkier version of Forbidden Chalice) to accomodate this Skill. If, at any point, Divine Lance comes off the banlist, Equipment Exchange is definitely a Skill to lookout for.
Draw Sense: Low Level
Given Switcheroo‘s nerf, players have been drastically searching for some kind of consistency from 1 activation of Cosmic Cyclone. For some, this comes in the form of Draw Sense: Low-Level. The main problem with this Skill is both your Tuners and Non-tuners are Low-Level monsters, which means even if you change out your Sphere Kuribohs for Arcana Force XIV - Temperance, it’s only a minor constency boost, only guaranteeing that you can draw a Dragunity card but nothing specific.
Basic OTK Combo
Your Bread and Butter Combo going second only needs Dragunity Senatus and either Dragunity Couse or Dragunity Phalanx, and ends with 4300 Damage and Dragunity Knight - Ascalon banising your opponents’ monsters. Note that some variation of this combo can also be done with Dragunity Dux, Dragunity Arma Mystletainn, or Dragunity Divine Lance depending on prior setup, but this is the most basic form of the combo.
- Normal Summon Dragunity Senatus, and use its effect to discard Dragunity Couse (or Dragunity Phalanx) to equip another Couse from your deck to Senatus.
- Use Couse’s effect to Special Summon it from your Spell / Trap Zone.
- Synchro Summon Dragunity Knight - Barcha, using Couse and Senatus as material.
- Use Barcha’s effect to equip your two Tuners from the Graveyard.
- Use the effects of your Couse and/or Phalanx to Special Summon them from your Spell / Trap Zone in ATK position.
- Synchro Summon Dragunity Knight - Ascalon by using Couse and Barcha as material. (If you have Phalanx out, you must use Phalanx instead of Couse)
- You now have 1000 ATK Couse, 3300 ATK Ascalon, and three Dragunity monsters in your GY to use as fuel for banishing.
How to Play Through Counter Traps
Courtesy of Nightfox15
Incredibly useful against Blackwings going first, this is how to summon Dragunity Knight - Ascalon and banish your opponent’s board even if they have a Counter Trap like Blackbird Close or Divine Wrath. This combo requires both Dragunity Senatus (with discard) and Dragunity Divine Lance.
- Normal Summon Dragunity Senatus
- Equip Senatus with Dragunity Divine Lance making Senatus Immune to Trap Effects.
- Use Divine Lance’s effect to Equip Dragunity Couse from Deck. Summon Couse onto the field.
- Use Senatus’ effect (this cannot be negated by Counter Traps) to equip another Couse from Deck. Summon Couse onto the Field.
- Synchro Summon Dragunity Knight - Barcha with Senatus and Couse but do not activate Barcha’s effect
- Synchro Summon Dragunity Knight - Ascalon by using Couse and Barcha as material.
- Now, if they have a Counter Trap that will destroy Ascalon, you can float into another Barcha and re-summon another Ascalon.
Level Augmentation Variation
- Normal Summon Dragunity Senatus
- Use Forbidden Lance on Senatus, protecting it from Spell/Trap Effects.
- Use Level Augmentation, increasing Senatus’ Level by either 2 or 4 (depending on your discard).
- Use Senatus’ effect (this cannot be negated by Counter Traps) to equip Dragunity Couse from Deck. Summon Couse onto the Field.
- Summon Dragunity Knight - Ascalon with your level 6 / 8 Senatus and Couse.
- Now, if they have a Counter Trap that will destroy Ascalon, you can float into another Barcha and re-summon another Ascalon.
Note: As I’m not a diehard Tournament player, most of my matchup experience is theoretical and/or based on personal experience.
In general, as a glass cannon OTK deck your matchups aren’t overly varied and primarily come down to whether or not you can play your deck uninterrupted.
Universally, going First with Dragunity is relatively uninteresting as it usually involves either summoning Dragunity Knight - Ascalon and passing or leaving up protection handtraps and passing, setting whatever backrow you have availiable to you. There’s some variations to your opening play depending on your hand, but it’s rarely matchup dependent.
It’s incredibly difficult to OTK Crystrons with Dragunity given their ability to summon Crystron Ametrix or Powered Inzektron which makes this matchup particularly frustrating, as both Crystron Quariongandrax and Brionac, Dragon of the Ice Barrier can easily deal with Ascalon. You would generally need both backrow removal and something like Forbidden Chalice to deal with a standard Crystron opening of Crystron Citree and Crystron Impact.
Dark Magician is an OK matchup, provided you have the means of forcing Magician Navigation, or disrupting the Dark Magical Circle Banish. If you can get an Ascalon to stick, you should have the means to clear their board and OTK, provided they don’t summon Kycoo the Ghost Destroyer. This matchup gets more and more difficult as the turns go on and they build Navigation negates in grave. Not to mention Dark Paladin and Dark Cavalry is incredibly strong against Dragunity if you aren’t already set up.
Outside of backrow, Shiranui in its current state doesn’t really threaten Dragunity. Obviously if you can’t clear backrow and they’re able to make it to later turns they’ll have the ability to OTK with either Shiranui Sunsaga or Shiranui Shogunsaga, but that’s true for most matchups. Something that should be noted is Shiranui Samuraisaga when banished will reduce your monster’s ATK by 500, potentially hampering your OTK-ability. As with any Backrow Deck, Hey, Trunade! is incredibly useful in this matchup.
Blue-Eyes is another Backrow deck, your success primarily involves whether or not they can disrupt your plays with their backrow. If they summon Blue-Eyes Spirit Dragon Turn one, they can protect themselves from being OTK’d by summoning Azure-Eyes Silver Dragon, which protects itself from being banished by Ascalon. As with any Backrow Deck, Hey, Trunade! is incredibly useful in this matchup.
The Blackwing matchup going second is almost entirely reliant on whether or not they open Necrovalley. If they open with Necrovalley your plays will be limited unless you have a way to clear it. Both Cosmic Cyclone and Spiritualism are useful tools to clear out Necrovalley, but aside from that it’s a pretty straightforward matchup, generally with the player going second having the advantage.
Going second against Cyber Dragon basically boils down to whether or not you can get rid of Cybernetic Overflow before committing to the board. They can also use Cyberload Fusion to summon Chimeratech Rampage Dragon to destroy your Tuners before you can Summon them. As with any Backrow Deck, Hey, Trunade! is incredibly useful in this matchup.
Unless they have a Karakuri Cash Shed set-up, Karakuri are incredibly vulnerable to Hey, Trunade!. They also have a generally difficult time getting over Ascalon going first. If you do manage to Banish the monsters they will have a difficult time recovering if they aren’t just flat-out dead. One of Dragunity’s stronger matchups.
The Witchcrafter matchup is reliant on whether or not you can extend through a Witchcrafter Madame Verre negate. Cards like Dragunity Divine Lance and Dragunity Arma Mystletainn will help you do that. Kiwi Magician Girl is particularly annoying in this matchup but other than that it’s pretty straightforward. Forbidden Chalice is a fairly good card for the matchup.
I would say Lunalight is an unfavourable matchup mainly because of Lunalight Sabre Dancer, who if summoned on the first turn is immune to Ascalon’s Banishing effect. You would be forced to use either Dragunity Divine Lance, Dragunity Knight - Vajrayana, or Dragunity Knight - Gae Bulg to clear the first one. The second Sabre Dancer, however, is almost impossible to clear outside of Vajrayana equipped with Lance. It should be noted that even if you can clear their board, OTKing them through Grit requires a Lance.
Not really a difficult matchup, as they usually don’t run too much disruption. You generally should be able to break their board without too much trouble, however Cosmic Cyclone and Destiny HERO - Plasma are annoying if they can get ’em set-up.
Not really a difficult matchup, but it depends on how well they open. If they can establish a Fusion with either Ritual Beast Ambush or Ritual Beast Return they can protect themselves from OTK and potentially OTK back. The matchup gets worse the more backrow-heavy they get, however, depending on how much removal you have.
Outside of the much more modern TCG support that is a bit too powerful for Duel Links, there isn’t much on the horizon for Dragunity. This is probably the best state that they’ve ever been in, and while they’re still an incredibly linear OTK deck, I feel theyre consistent, powerful, and above all else fun to play.