((Been a while since I last made an article like this. This is something I should have brought on much earlier, but...here it is, finally.
Thank you for taking time to read this article. I will see you all again soon.))
During the second half of Triple D, there was a huge upset in terms of the yearly gimmick suddenly changing entirely, something that is pretty much unheard of in the realm of card games. What happened, you may ask? Well, the focus and main selling point of Triple D was the introduction of Impact Monsters. Souped-up monsters that could be played like impacts, not only acting as a better balancing and finishing factor than the regular impacts in the past, but also providing the game with a new breath of fresh air and allowing deck builders and hardcore players alike to adopt a new card type to their deck and create entirely new strategies around (More than what your usual card does).
A new card type that hardly had 6 months to settle into the game, until the show decided to show us the TRUE focus of this year, and thus shift away from Impact Monsters entirely: Indestructible items, all baring the name "Dragon Force", belonging to the three variations of Dragon World in its entirety.
Hello ladies and gentlemen, Buddyfighters of all ages and worlds. I am RaijinSenshi, also known as CobaltClaw, and today I am going to talk to you about the blessings from Balle Soleil, and different ways to use the many varrying forms bestowed upon this game.
The Fragments of the Sun DeityDragon World having the most prominent example by giving their Dragon Force a support card that worked around their only solid counter at the time. However, while these items are powerful, they are by no means an "Easy Mode" switch that instantly shifts the fight into your favor.
To fully utilize the power beyond these cards, your deck needs to not only be able to bring out these items, but also support their use and work together with them. Which kinda goes without saying, doesn't it?
To make things even simplier/limited, each of the Dragon Force cards require you to use the titular Buddy Monsters of the three main dragon users during Triple D, making it so the items can't just be thrown into any deck that exists. You are required to use Abygale, Bal Dragon, and Jackknife in other words. And going in even further than that; Each Dragon Force, while they have rather generic abilities that can be used with most decks focusing on these three dragons, you want to fully optimize and make use of these abilities to get more value out of them.
Let's start by introducing all the eleven different fragments of the sun deity in their entirety.
- The first form of the Dragon Force of Anger remains one of my favorites out of all the different Dragon Force cards currently in the game. It has a really simple ability which lets it [Stand] each time it links with any other Sun Dragon. An ability that basically gives your field an additional 5000+power and 2+Critical on each attack. On top of having the godly aura of self-defense, making it impossible to remove, it can even attack during your Final Phase, letting you use it with Impact Monsters too. All around just a very usable card, with the powers of Fist of the North Star embodying it.
- The burning red aura of the Dragon Force takes on a darker shade of crimson as it continues to take it's victims' blood and absorb it as fuel, giving it newfound powers of destruction. "Straight Punch" also activates from linking with Sun Dragons, but its ability is far more straight forward; It incinerates the opposing monsters and then uses their chared remains to deal damage to the opponent. Limited use, but a playstyle we can acknowledge.
- Sacrificing the immunity abilities to be able to equip a Dragon Force without having to lower your life? Seems like a good deal, if the item can pull it's weight. Burning does that moderately well, by letting your monsters attack again after the item link attacks. The use is more limited and you are weak to removal, but even this card is with it's uses. but chances are you are rather going for any of the other forms.
- After deepening the bond with Bal Dragon, even allowing you to use his Balle Soleil form to release the item, the Dragon Force evolves into the Style of Impact. This form is surprisingly destructive, despite how little it actually does. It has the ability to [Stand] itself when you go into Final Phase and then boost its critical by +1, making it effectively have a Double Attack for 7 damage total. It is also a very flexible item in terms of where to use it, because it can be called upon by using either a Bal Dragon OR Balle Soleil, making it a really good item to run in a lot of decks, even if it doesn't do much.
- The last form of this Dragon Force is called Style of Partner, and it has the same ability as Sun Fist, Bal Knuckle, except souped up and with the Dragon Force immunities. It's not really that good an ability unless you happen to go up against someone using cards and abilities that hinder you from using your item attacks. But thise abilities are limited and few. Style of Partner saddly falls short of doing anything special or useful.
- The first form of the Dragon Force of Sadness and all its subsequent forms have a stigma among most players as being "the weakest" out of all the Dragon Forces. This is factually incorrect. This Dragon Force just doesn't instantly push your win condition like the ones from Dragon World and Star Dragon World. But what this item does is actually applying an obscene amount of pressure on the board, a wallbreaker that cant be removed, with the ability of Penetrate, that also slowly chips away at the opponent while increasing your own survivability and sets up for your bigger abilities. And the ability can activate multiple times if the opponent decides to block. If given the chance, this card will destroy you if you are not careful.
- Sacrificing the immunity abilities to be able to equip a Dragon Force without having to lower your life? And the Dragon Force in question is able to destroy any Size 2 or lower monster, for free, as long as you destroy the opponent's deck? Now that sounds really good. Especially considering that you have a couple of defensive spells that do that for you, effectively making one of your defensive spells count as two. Abygale is key to the use of this one.
- After deepening the bond with Abygale, the Dragon Force evolves into the Style of Retaliation. This form does exactly what the name suggests: It's a comeback option, letting you retaliate against your opponent, while destroy both a monster and their deck. Giving the option of revival to any deck is a practice one shall be very careful with, because it can lead to some really annoying fights. Anyone who fought against Burn Nova Raging Spirits during Hundred can tell you that. An explosive mix of defense and offense makes Style of Retaliation into a really good card.
- The first form of the Dragon Force of Joy is just what you would expect from a Star Dragon World ace card: Insanely powerful at face-value, and annoying to fight against in practice. The Dragon Force gains the ability to Quadruple Attack with a 6000 power base, making it an effective field clearer, and with the critical boosting abilities the world has, it can make it into a pure win condition just by itself. And even without crit-boosting, it can chip away a ton of health from the opponent spread over four-seperate attacks. The deadliest ice card in the game, clearly. No debating.
- Sacrificng the immunity abilities to be able to equip a Dragon Force without having to lower your life? While giving you a pointless ability that is honestly better performed by at least ten other cards in the same world? boosting the soul of a Neodragon when it destroys something or deals damage? This is not useless, but it's impact is far too small to even consider running. Sure, you might create a monster wall easier, but that is easily stopped by using a single defensive spell if anything.
- After deepening the bond with Jackknife, the Dragon Force evolves into the Style of Justice. A card that doesn't really boost your own abilties, but rather completely neuter the opponent's abilities instead. And this giant blade of ice doesn't even have a life condition, letting you effectively sit on this one item from the first turn, making the entire fight pretty one-sided in a lot of situations. A Dragon Force that completely freezes your opponent in place, only letting them stick to the most vanilla of vanilla strategies. It's honestly evil.
Optimizing Your Tools of Destruction
As you might be able to see, each of the Dragon Forces have their own distinct style of play and strategies, and like I mentioned earlier in the article, you can't just slap them into decks and expect to do well. Hence why you need to look at your available options and determine just what is best for YOUR Dragon Force.
Do note, this is not me saying you should run all of these cards all the time and that you can't run anything else. One of the key aspects of card games is to tinker and have fun creating your own unique decks. This will just serve as a few key pointers to get you on the right track.
Dragon Force (Dragon World)
The Dragon Force of Anger is all about Link Attacks and to trigger abilities by doing so, putting emphasis on the bond between Buddies and the whole friendship package. To make full use of this item, Dragon World recieved a ton of Sun Dragon support, mainly monsters that have abilities that triggers when you Link Attack, using them and a second Sun Dragon.
Since all your monsters attack with 5000+power and 2+critical due to the Dragon Force Link Attack, it makes for an ideal Blitz Attack decktype, where you aim to use as many attacks as possible to rid your opponent of monsters and/or life. Cards like Flare Device Dragon, who gains the ability to Double Attack, or Swordsman of the Sun, Bal Dragon, who destroys an opposing monster, just by linking with them, are some of the more ideal choices for Blitz purposes. And then we have Champion the Sungreat, who can give a Sun Dragon 1+critical each time it links with another Sun Dragon, allowing you to continue boosting up the Dragon Force so it can hit even harder than before, by stacking a ton of crits on it.
We also have Shake Hands Dragon that triggers when one of your cards [Stand] due to an ability, meaning you can gain more advantage and resources when using the Dragon Force. We also have the new Mera Exhaust Dragon, who can combine with the Dragon Force to continue chaning attacks by calling out new Sun Dragons to attack with. Then we of course have Bal Dragon, "Bal Saucer Over Rush!", Which I would say only really works when you use it with the Dragon Force. It's a niche card, but people do have fun with the "Pizza Discos" deck, as I call it.
When we move onto "Straight Punch", the uses for the item gets more limited. However, the same base strategies apply. There are some key cards to consider so you can maximize "Straight Punch" as well, however. Cards like Burning Rapier Dragon "SD" so you can deal with the soul of an opposing monsters, possibly ensuring the destruction of said monster, is a card you can run. Or just to deal with Danger World and their item-soul stack. And if you truly want to ensure the destruction of your opponent's field, you can use Dragon Force Cancel, to nullify all the abilities, like Soulguard and immunity effects, allowing the attack to destroy them with ease.
And then, after the opponent has lost all their monsters, you can slam down Zellhorus, "Eradicate Flame" to get rid of their items and spells as well, and dish out even more burn damage. And for those who really likes to mess around with deck building, then can add additional Set spells to their decks, like Gate of Pardon, -Forgiven- and One-to-one, who will be destroyed and then deal even more damage. There is a lot one can do to maximize the potential of the field nuke "Straight Punch" offers.
Burning Dragon Force is a fun one, having the ability to [Stand] monsters that otherwise do not have an option to do so, and abusing their abilities even further, can lead to some incredibly fun tactics that your opponent may not see coming. Swordsman of the Sun, Bal Dragon is again a viable option here, letting it potentially Link Attack twice. Infact, most Bal Dragon forms in later days apply here, but my personal favorite has to be Dark Sun Dragon, Black Bal Dragon, who can either mill the opponent and give you gauge, or focus down the opposing center position monster. You can even restand Sun Deity, Balle Soleil, to get a third attack with its 4-crit powerhouse.
When we get to "Style of Impact", there really isn't much to say, as this Dragon Force is basically just a beatdown item meant to attack the opponent and dealing heavy amounts of damage. However, it has the extra boot of being easy to use in Size 3 Sun Dragon decklists, giving that deck the option to run the Dragon Force much easier as well.
Can't really say much about "Style of Partner", as the regular Dragon Force just out-class it, most of the time, except during the few times when you can't Link Attack.
As for the general support that Dragon World has available to use with the Dragon Force items, all the linking Sun Dragon apply here, we also have a lot of spells, like Bal Exciting which you can use to [Stand] your item once more to get a new attack in, the aforementioned Dragon Force Cancel, the gimmicky but fun Victory Slash! for the people wanting a lot of fun or trolling ideas, or even Dragonic Climax, in conjunction with what is practically the best Impact Monster that Dragon World has access to; Bal Dragon, "Bal Weapon Combination!", which just makes everyone of the Dragon Force cards just that much more deadly. If you run Dragon Force items, or just play Sun Dragon in general, you WANT to run "Bal Weapon Combination", most of the time, just because of how good it is.
Dragon Force (Darkness Dragon World)
The Dragon Force of Sorrow is all about the milling strategy, also known as deck destruction. But each of the forms abuse this mechanic in different ways. Going into this, know that the Darkness Dragon World strategies will look a bit passive and low on the power scale to begin with, but trust me, it is anything but.
To truly pull out the full power of the Dragon Force, the opponent is actually required to cast a shield and nullify the attack. So we want to make sure that the opponent does that. While not fully optimal, having a field of Black Panoply, Abygale will basically limit the opponent to blocking the Dragon Force if they dont want to take damage. More of the strategy lies within how much you can make the opponent destroy their deck before you put in the final attack, but I am not going to go into full detail about how to build a good Black Dragon deck here.
Boosting your own life with cards like Noble Sacrifice, Black Life, Nord and Black Corruption, Eixist is also something to consider and should be encouraged, and continuing to put those cards, and other powerful threats, back on the field using Gate of Darkness Dragon, making the opponent just have a hard time knocking your life counter down while also keeping their up. Also, Pursuer, Abygale is a monster you should run at all times, boosting not just your own damage output, but increasing the amount of damage you dish out as well.
Twilight Dragon Force is in the same area of fun as Burning, but Twilight might be even more usable in that regard. This Dragon Force is very defensive in nature, so you aim to use it's abilities during the opponent's turn most of the time, which is made possible by using self-sacrifice cards like Scapegoat and Devil Stigma, combined with abilities that trigger upon destruction, like Black Panoply, Abygale and Black Blast, Death Napalm. Or to make things even simplier, we have Black Cloth Blade, which is nearly tailored to use with Twilight.
Also, make sure to use Dead Carrier in this deck, as Twilight can't protect itself.
Lastly we have "Style of Retaliation", which doesn't really synnergize with a lot of cards by itself. it's main use is rather to keep you alive and help focus on a hyper-aggresive milling strategy. I can't really tell you how to use this card effectively, as it does what it needs to do. However, I can continue here by giving a few pointers to cards to be ran in most Dragon Force focused decks for Darkness Dragon World, and one of those cards is Abygale, "Unlimited Death Drain!", with it's high mill-count of 10 cards, and even ability to restore your life points, makes it pretty viable in many if not all variations of Dragon Force of Sorrow. Another card is Sun in the Darkness, which is easy to maintain in Dragon Force centric decks, and allows you to dig through your deck easier.
Death Carrier should again be mentioned here, as I feel that card has flexibility enough to be relevant even if for just it's drop zone retrieval ability. And a card I personally don't think you can afford to leave out is Jet Black Grim Reaper, Gaito. This card is pretty much the strongest card in the entirety of Darkness Dragon World, and it allows you to do so many. Heck, if used properly, it can even make Abygale, "Last Death Violence!" be a decent-ish choice. Though, I do not encourage running that Impact Monster for anything but fun builds. It is too costly.
Dragon Force (Star Dragon World)
The Dragon Force of Joy is basically meant to support your Neodragon monsters, but in turn, it has also become a destructive tool of mass destruction able to hold it's own in more than one spesific matchup. These items is all about making the most out of each attack phase, not that different from the Dragon Force of Anger.
Starting out with Quadruple Attack is insane enough as it is, but the Dragon Force also sports enough power to act as an efficient wallbreaker and field-clearer, and the thing balancing it out is the fact it only has that low critical. Except that it is still four attacks. Quantity is everything in this game (most of the time), and we make the most out of this card by not only having the ability to search it with Dragoner's Beat, but we can also boost it's stats using this card, giving it 2000+power and 1+critical, pushing the damage even higher, and Dragonarms, Logisticker fares the same way, boosting the crit by an additional +1.
And it doesn't stop there, because of the new card; Super Star Dragon, Gear Drake, which has a passive ability of boosting the crit of items by +1 as well! Star Guardian, Jackknife "SD" helps out here, a lot. And just to rub more salt in the wounds, if the opponent just lets one of those attacks hit, you can cast Swingby Smash to [Stand] the Dragon Force without using its own ability. Yeah, you can easily push anywhere between 4 and 32 damage with this item if you can combo it.
Snow Dragon Force is not worth our time, as it is trying to do what our monsters and spells should already be doing anyway. "Style of Justice" however is another case entirely. Nullifying abilities during the Attack Phase means that you can make short process of any and all Soulguard wall that comes in your way, and with spells like Liberate Shoot, taking care of opposing monsters is not really an issue. "Style of Justice" does most of the job itself, as long as you can keep a Neodragon on the board, and in the future....this is going to be easy to maintain....
Closing wordsTriple D had it's ups and downs, and while the Dragon Forces brought with them a lot of hate and distaste, they are still some very interesting and fun cards to use, and just the mere existance of them will keep their decks alive and relevant for a long time.
They are not unbeatable, they struggle against other decks, like Star, but they are no pushovers if you use them correctly. And I hope people keep experimenting and testing out new strategies with the Dragon Force cards and their respective decks into the future.
But can we please stop making Neodragons so incredibly powerful?
I do not think there is one solid counter to that deck right now...