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Monday, January 20, 2014

Analyzing Hieratic Dragon Rulers from ARGCS Nashville

Whether it be over representation or the fact that the deck is that good.  Hieratic Rulers made a good showing at the event.  My only regret was that the pilots of the deck had just recently picked up Hieratics in general and had no background with the former versions of the deck.  In this article, I'm going to analyze my favorite list from the event, Chris Leblanc's Hieratic Ruler decklist.

Chris Leblanc – Hieratic Rulers (source: ARGCS Nashville)

Main Deck:
2 Cardcar D
3 Hieratic Dragon of Su
3 Hieratic Dragon of Tefnuit
3 Hieratic Dragon of Eset
1 Labradorite Dragon
1 Flamvell Guard
1 Blaster, Dragon Ruler of Infernos
1 Tidal, Dragon Ruler of Waterfalls
1 Tempest, Dragon Ruler of Storms
1 Redox, Dragon Ruler of Boulders

3 Hieratic Seal of Convocation
3 Dragon Shrine
3 Upstart Goblin
1 Book of Moon

3 Hieratic Seal from the Ashes
3 Reckless Greed
3 Skill Drain
1 Solemn Warning
1 Torrential Tribute
2 Trap Stun

Side Deck:
2 Maxx “C”
2 Effect Veiler
3 Mystical Space Typhoon
2 A Wingbeat of Giant Dragon
2 Divine Wrath
1 Dark Hole
1 Swift Scarecrow
2 Fossil Dyna Pachycephalo

Extra Deck:
2 Mecha Phantom Beast Dracossack
1 Number 11: Big Eye
1 Constellar Ptolemy M7
2 Hieratic Dragon King of Atum
1 Star Eater
1 Scrap Dragon
1 Colossal Fighter

1 Stardust Dragon
1 Crimson Blader
1 Black Rose Dragon
2 Gaia Dragon the Thunder Charger
1 Stardust Spark Dragon

The list is very straight forward and to the point.  Starting with notable monsters, we have Cardcar D at 2 copies.  Considered a staple in the Pure Hieratic variant, the little racecar that could digs for your combos at the cost of your Normal summon, battle phase, and prevents special summoning for the turn, while finally ending your turn.  In Leblanc's build, he is able to set defensive traps or even Trap Stun to prepare for a huge follow up turn.  Many people chose to forgo Cardcar because they felt that the loss of momentum for the turn was too detrimental for the decks strategy.  However, as you can see, his defensive suite allowed him to sacrifice field presence and advancing his strategy for the long term goal of setting up a huge controlling field.  Initially, the lack of Nebthet bothered me greatly, but as I looked closely at the build, I began to see that it wasn't necessary to the deck's goals:  Use the Hieratics as an engine to tutor the Rulers, then provide endless fuel for their summons.  Use the Hieratics to harass the opponent and disrupt the backrow, then once the duel is simplified, pour on intense pressure with 2000+ recurring attackers.  Knowing the goal of the deck can also explain the lack of a second level six Normal dragon monster.  Initially, I was concerned about the ability to play around Effect Veiler with just being able to summon one Atum in one turn, but as it was explained to me by none other than Patrick Hoban, "Effect Veiler is essentially a Neg 1 and now the opponent has 1 less card to deal with a floating 2400 atk monster and 1 or more protection cards."  Finally, the lone Flamvell Guard allows you make level 8 Synchros with your Rulers tutored from the deck via Atum.

In the Spell line up, we can see a full 3 copies of Dragon Shrine and a set of Upstart Goblin.  I'm not the biggest fan of Dragon Shrine in this deck because you will almost always be summoning your Vanilla Dragons from the effects of the Hieratic monsters and at that time, Shrine simply becomes a once per turn Foolish Burial.  The only reasoning I can come up with for running 3 is that opening Cardcar plus Shrine means that you can eliminate the possibility of drawing a normal monster and draw real cards instead.  Also, I think Leblanc was thinking that gaining access to all of the Rulers as quick as possible was more important that the "Neg 1" that Shrine actually is.  Upstart Goblin too my knowledge is frowned upon in the Pure Version because the majority of the OTK combos put exactly 8000 damage on board anything above that means that deck has to begin grinding, something that the Pure Version does not do well at all.  In the Ruler version, you have the ability to OTK:

Summon Eset/Tefnuit, tribute to special summon Su, get level 6 Normal dragon, tribute the Su to special summon the second Su and get the level 1 tuner Flamvell Guard.  Next Overlay Su and the Normal level 6 for Atum, detach Su to summon Blaster.  Synchro Blaster and Guard for any level 8 Synchro with at least 2600 attack, then Special Summon Blaster from the grave by banishing Su and Eset/Tefnuit from the grave.  Overlay Atum with Gaia, The Thunder Charger and now your field is the Classic Pure Versions 2600 + 2600 + 2800 = 8000.

However, the goal of the deck is not to OTK, it just has that ability.  To those who insist that you must OTK to win, just remember that it doesn't matter if you opponent has 11,000 life points or 8000 life points, if they are locked out of plays and/or can't break your field you win anyway.

Hieratic Seal of Ashes has recieved a lot of debate and discussion, so I won't waste time here rehashing what has already been said about the card.  The only thing you should really remember about the card is that multiple copies of the card active on the field means that you have endless fodder for the summoning of your Rulers.  I would have preferred to see Fiendish Chain over the Skill Drains in this build, simply because Leblanc chose not to run Mystical Space Typhoon in the main and having Skill Drain face up on the field would make it difficult to get around certain cards without access to monster effects.  The 2 copies of Trap Stun are probably a direct remedy to that in addition to turning off all of his opponents Traps.  I don't really see Trap Stun as suitable replacement for Mystical Space Typhoon simply because you won't always have access to Su, Scrap Dragon, or Draccossack.  Solemn Warning is a fantastic choice here because it allows him to protect an Atum and Stardust field from Monster based threats.  Torrential on the other hand seems counter productive here in that you will almost always have field presence and there will only be 2 occasions where I'll want Torrential Tribute while I have field presence: 1)  My opponent summons Crimson Blader to run over one of my weaker monsters and I don't have a possible counter on the following turn.  2)  I have a Dracossack with tokens or floating Dragon Rulers.  Finally in the traps we come to Reckless Greed.  Although the card is at its very best in multiples, sometimes just digging for a few more cards to combo off is enough to seal the game.  Combined with Cardcar, Upstart, and walling up with Dragon Rulers, Reckless Greed when played correctly should never be detrimental as you were going to be drawing those same cards anyway.

The extra deck is more or less self explanatory.  The Hieratic line up is rather limited, so it makes since that there are only a few Rank 6s.  I would have liked to have seen a Gauntlet Launcher as a Blader resistent Rank 6 in case his opponent played Maxx "C" mid combo and he needed to clear his opponents monsters.  The only cards I could possibly see dropping from the Extra are Spark Dragon or the second Gaia, the Thunder Charger.  I get that Spark + Atum is a great turn 1 play ensuring that you get 2 activations out of Atum if you lack proper defense so the only other option would be Gaia since it will be a rare occasion that he makes 2 Atum in the course of a duel and be in the position of  overlaying Gaia on top of them to push for damage.

The Side Deck was tailor made for the event.  Veiler, Maxx "C", Swift Scarecrow, Fossil Dyna were to counter the Mirror or OTK capable decks like Mermail.  Veiler, Dark Hole, and Divine Wrath were direct counters for Prophecy.  Typhoon and Wing Beat were just simply Spell and Trap hate.  There is no doubt in my mind that Leblanc is probably kicking himself for not siding Overworked, Black Horn of Heaven, and Fencing Fire Ferret as counters to Geargia and Fire Fist.  I sure he felt that the main decked Skill Drains should have gotten him there but both decks max out on Typhoon.  Fire Fist often max out on Forbidden Lance and many ran Fire Formation - Gyokkou.  Geargias run Trap Stun and can spit out 2800 Attack monsters as easily as Rulers while being able to support a healthier backrow to protect said 2800 attack monster.

Going forward, I think that all variants of Hieratics will be a force to reckon with even in the face of Number 101 and Exciton Knight.  Innovation will rear its head and hard counters to serious threats will be included in the main deck, side deck tech will be more in line with the meta, and the deck will see more success.  I hope you all enjoyed reading my analysis of Chris Leblanc's deck.  Congrats to him for a job well done and a big thank you to ARG for providing a forum for duelist to display their skills.  If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below.

1 comment:

  1. Running this deck... Super fun as bloody heck.


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