Dragon Ruler vs. Spellbooks – The Big Matchup Analysed

As we move closer towards this year’s main event, there’s one thing we all know: [ltgy] has changed everything. Providing new ways to overwhelm your opponent with big monsters, gain utility cards and completely shut down your opponent. As a result from this, two Decks have risen up in this format: Dragon Rulers and Spellbooks. This weekend will see these two going head-to-head on many occasions, let’s take a closer look at the matchup.

Spellbooks vs Dragon Rulers will be the juggernaut battle of the weekend. With such differing strategies Duelists from all over have been creating their unique takes on these two archetypes in the run up to this event. Whether you’re a Dragon Duelist, a Spellbook specialist or a rogue-deck rebel, let’s see if we can get inside the mindset of this clash of the titans.

First of all let’s take a look at what the Decks aim to do individually. Dragon Rulers have a clear-cut thesis: achieve a position where you can put an overwhelming number of monsters on the field to the extent the opponent cannot deal with them. This comes with the unrelenting support of [sack] and [11] – both of which are very straight forward to [xyz] with the plethora of ways to [ss] multiple level seven monsters.
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What’s more – when you’ve used the ‘baby’ Dragons to bring out a level seven equivalent; or discarded Dragons for any number of effects, a [rejuv] will completely refresh your hand, providing a huge number of options for the next turn. With the Dragons’ ability to revive themselves from the graveyard it becomes difficult to stop the impending onslaught once they have all four attributes available. With the removal ability of [blaster] and Dracossack it seems 8000 LP can dwindle away in a flurry of [ss]s and attacks.

On the other side of the jigsaw, you have the utility-building Spellbook Deck. [sb jud]’s addition to the game has catapulted the Spell recycling Deck from a contender to one of the strongest options for this year’s European Championship. It’s a strategy that may not seem like it has much to offer on the first turn, but has so many options by the second turn it can deal with anything you can throw it’s way.

Judgment brings with it a couple of options. If a Spellbook player can make a play that involves playing three Spell cards (for example [sb secrets], followed by [sb master] and [sb tower] or [sb hall]) they have the option of, in the [ep], searching out [jowgen] and collecting three Spellbook Spells to their hand. Alternatively, they could search the three Spells, [ss] [justice] then using it’s effect for a fourth Spell and a [hpop].
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This results in not just locking down the plays of the opponent but also gaining cards such as [sb fate] or another Secrets, opening up a pandora’s box of plays for the following turn. With Fate preventing most strong counteracting plays by being able to banish any card at will, a strong set-up is difficult to interrupt and will eventually whittle your LP away.

Of course there are variations on both of these Decks, but what I’m really interested in looking at is the interactions between the two. What’s the best way to get around a first turn Dracossack? How do these Decks choose the best cards to bring in for game two and three? Are there options available to get over a Jowgen? We should be able to look at all of these questions.

If you watch a match between these Deck-types, you’ll find it’s interesting to see the change in playstyle as soon as each Duelist knows what the other is playing. Spellbooks may choose to sacrifice a [justice] play, to make an attempt at getting four Spells resolved after Judgment and [ss]ing a [kycoo] in the [ep]. Being unable to banish cards from either graveyard can be a huge thorn in the side of Dragons, and some Spellbook players have pre-empted this by dropping [hpop] from the Main Deck completely and using three copies of Kycoo.

A Dragon player will suddenly become far more conservative as their plan no longer revolves around slamming a [sack] on the field as hard as possible. [sb fate] is such an easy way to remove it from the equation that it’s not worth using up all your cards just to be foiled so quickly. Instead the plan becomes finishing off Spellbooks as quickly as possible before they can set up their ideal field, often aiming to deal huge amounts of damage in a single turn.

In the first game, Spellbooks will usually be the favourite Deck as a combination of Main Decked cards help to automatically shut down the flow of Dragons. This brings us on to the really interesting situation: What happens after both players have side-decked?
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Dragon Duelists now have a difficult choice to make. Of course, it would seem the easiest way to rid Spellbooks of all of their cards is to play [eev] declaring Spells. Wondering where the Dark monster with over 2500 ATK is? You’re right if you think there’s nothing in the Main Deck fitting this criteria, but take another look at the Extra Deck. [11] provides the perfect sacrifice for a play that should put you far ahead in the game. However, it is unfeasible to rely on a single out, so what else can be played without upsetting the flow of the Deck? Some Duelists have come up with a convenient solution to the biggest problem: “How do I [ss] when staring down a Kycoo, Jowgen and Spellbook of Fate?”

This answer may lie in the form of Book of Eclipse. By flipping all monsters on the field face-down, the effects of Jowgen and Kycoo no longer apply, leaving you free to [ss] away. Furthermore, not being able to meet the requirement on Fate that needs a face-up Spellcaster means they lose the ability to banish your follow-up play. With the renewed ability to put your Dragons on the field and [xyz] to your heart’s content, controlling the field should be easy enough.
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So what can the Spellbook player do to prevent such a massacre from occurring? Different lists have been floating around, with the most recent WCQ: National Championship in Greece showing the preferred method being to stop the Dragon Deck from being able to [xyz] in the first place. Cards like [rivalry] and [mind drain] aim to stop the Deck from getting going. Backed up by the aforementioned lock-down cards you can tighten the grip around the Dragon player and stop them from being able to make their power plays.

There’s going to be a high level of skill required in order to prosper this weekend. Making that crucial decision on what cards to bring in against the right opponent, and more importantly being able to hold your nerve when it matters most.

Let’s not forget, of course – Duelists piloting other Decks are going to be well prepared for both of these matchups. [ophion] and [con ple] are sure to make strong showings throughout the tournament, and it’d be difficult to forget about Mermails, given the recent boost of [tidal].

It’s sure to be a great weekend here in Frankfurt. We’ll continue to bring you as much content as humanly possible – so keep your eyes peeled for deck profiles, metagame breakdowns, feature matches – no doubt documenting this matchup in detail – and further tech content!

[h2]Stay tuned to see all the action from the [ec13]![/h2]

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