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 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 Divine Lance (2-3x)
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 monsterss 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). 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.
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.
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.
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), but the primary reason you would be running this is its second effect to send an equipped Dragunity card to double its attack. On its own it hits 3800 ATK, but with Dragunity Divine Lance you can hit 5000 ATK, which allows you to get over monsters you otherwise wouldn’t be able to. Worth running as a one-of as opposed to the third Barcha.
Dragunity Arma Mystletainn
Mystletainn is a 2-card combo with Dragunity Couse to make Dragunity Knight - Ascalon. It also serves as an extender because it’s a free 2100 ATK body that can be summoned by tributing Couse, re-equipping Couse to be summoned again. However, since it’s a Dragon, and not a Winged Beast, you can only use it to make Ascalon.
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.
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 only decent if you have a reliable way of getting Dragunities in your GY before committing to the board, like with Cards of Consonance.
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 bevy of Skills with 1000 LP requirements, like Switcheroo.
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.
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).
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
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.
Kiteroid lets you pass with impunity, letting you survive 2 direct attacks which, when combined with your LP Total and whatever monsters you have set practically guarantees you’ll get to your next turn.
Grit is a common Skill for OTK-based strategies, as it lets you have a weak Turn 1 play (of which Dragunity has several). Even the weakest play of set Dragunity Couse pass is enough when combined with Grit to survive until Turn 3.
When combined with Cosmic Cyclone, Switcheroo gives you a chance at unbricking your hand if it comes to it. By no means a necessary Skill, but considering Dragunity aren’t heavily reliant on their Skill anymore you have options.
No Mortal Can Resist
While Dragunity’s grind game isn’t particularly strong, running an anti-meta Skill like NMCR can be valuable for disrupting your opponent’s strategy, when combined with Cosmic Cyclone. For Dragunity in particular NMCR is good at clearing your opponent’s GY of pesky Kiteroid and Bacon Saver
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 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.
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 amazing and generally come down to whether or not you can play your deck uninterrupted.
Universally, going first with Dragunity is relatively uninteresting as it involves either summoning Dragunity Knight - Ascalon and passing or setting Dragunity Couse or Dragunity Phalanx and passing, setting whatever backrow you have availiable to you.
This matchup is incredibly rough for Dragunity without intervention from the Side Deck, as being able to Summon Crystron Ametrix or Powered Inzektron on your turn without the need of backrow is brutal. Cards like System Down would be necessary to not just whiff your OTK turns.
Similarly, Elementsabers are able to disrupt your plays even if their backrow is cleared. Elementsaber Molehu in particular is a backbreaker. Additionally, Invoked Cocytus cannot be targeted by Ascalon, further hindering your OTK-ability.
Dark Magician is an OK matchup, provided you have the means of forcing Magician Navigation. Once the backrow is exposed, you should have the means to clear their board and OTK with ease. This matchup gets more and more difficult as the turns go on and they build Navigation negates in grave. Not to mention Dark Paladin is incredibly strong against Dragunity if you aren’t already set up.
Outside of backrow, Shiranui’s inherent way of dealing with Dragunity is through Shiranui Samurai / Burgeoning Whirlflame with a Shiranui Spiritmaster in Grave. Ironically, simply normal summoning Spiritmaster is one of ths stronger disruptive plays vs Dragunity, as your primary means of OTK’ing is by banishing their field, which triggers Spiritmasters effect to pop (If they target Ascalon though, you can resummon Barcha and continue your push).
None of the Blue-Eyes effects inherently impede your ability to OTK (Maiden with Eyes of Blue and Blue-Eyes Spirit Dragon can put extra bodies on the board but that’s generally not much of an issue), so they’re mostly reliant on their backrow and cards like Sphere Kuriboh to stop your OTK.
The Blackwing matchup going second is almost entirely reliant on whether or not they open Blackbird Close. If they don’t it should be fairly easy. It should be noted that Blackwings is one of the few decks that can reliably OTK through Grit through their spamming of the board.
Going second against Cyber Dragon basically boils down to whether or not you can get rid of Cybernetic Overflow before committing to the board. It should be noted that Cyber Dragon is one of the few decks that can reliably OTK through Grit by means of Chimeratech Rampage Dragon
Darklords, along with Elementsabers, are able to disrupt your board on your turn even if their backrow is cleared by copying The Sanctified Darklord. Stopping Senatus effectively ends your turn, which is brutal.
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.
The best card Thunder Dragons have for the Dragunity matchup is PSY-Framelord Zeta (and by extension Amaterasu), which can stop your OTK on your turn by banishing Ascalon. They also generally run Sphere Kuriboh which also has the ability to hinder your OTK-ability. Outside of those cards you’re more or less free to banish their entire field plus whatever monsters summoned off Thunder Dragonroar
Outside of Dragon Ravine, there isn’t much on the horizon for Dragunity Decks (and I think we have a lot more to worry about if that comes to DL). This is probably the best state that they’ve ever been in, and they’re still a super vulnerable OTK deck. But are they fun? Hell yeah!