It's time to... D-D-D-D-Dragoon!
Red-Eyes Dark Dragoon.
The representation of the bonds forged between Yugi and Joey. It has been about one year since its catastrophic appearance in the OCG, and has now debuted in the TCG. Its oppressive powers has gotten itself into the OCG Banned List at long last.
Playing Normal Monsters in your deck just to Fusion Summon may seem preposterous before, but the sudden appearance of this cruel monster has caused players to reconsider that. Pure Dark Magician mains and Red-Eyes Duelists are accustomed to these feelings.
Today we will be evaluating one of Yugioh's most iconic, unwarranted and loathsome cards, the Red-Eyes Dark Dragoon.
Shame on you, Yugi and Joey.
Red-Eyes Dark Dragoon
That is his name, but why does it matter?
Dark Dragoon is a "Red-Eyes" Monster, so it gains access to most of the "Red-Eyes" support including Red-Eyes Fusion. Not only that, players have experimented with these techs just for Dark Dragoon:
The simplest example is Red-Eyes Fusion. You activate it straight from hand, fusing Dark Magician and Red-Eyes B. Dragon from your deck, summoning Dark Dragoon! You may sacrifice the ability to summon afterwards, but that's no problem as nothing beats the Yugioh equivalent of biased card design in a single monster.
Red-Eyes Spirit and Return of the Red-Eyes can revive your fallen Dark Dragoon. The only drawback is not being able to destroy and burn.
Red-Eyes Insight can retrieve Red-Eyes Fusion, which will send Red-Eyes Wyvern in the process. This engine was innovated in the OCG April 2020 list. If your opponent manages to overcome the torrents of effects and send Dark Dragoon to the GY, Wyvern will simply revive it for your opponent to deal with again!
Dark, Gloomy and Spellcasting
Yes, unfortunately for our scaly enthusiasts, Dark Dragoon happens to be a DARK Spellcaster. So with that in mind, what benefits does that include?
Let us recall several relevant cards with restrictions after using effects.
Being locked into summoning DARK Monsters is a huge hindrance. Several strong monsters like Crystron Halqifibrax and Apollousa, Bow of the Goddess cannot be summoned. However, Dark Dragoon (and his partner Predaplant Verte Anaconda) fits snugly within these restrictions, easily earning a spot among certain decks.
Spellcaster, not Dragon
Unexpectedly, being a Spellcaster has its benefits too! You can use Magicalized Fusion to produce more copies of Dragoon. You can activate Secret Village of the Spellcasters to stop Dark Ruler No More, Forbidden Droplet or an opposing Red-Eyes Fusion from being activated! Lastly, Black Fang Magician is also able to pull Dragoon back while halving an opposing monster's strength! Also it is worth noting that you can use Spellbook of Knowledge to send this away, possibly to lower your difficulty level against the opponent?
Dark Dragoon boasts an impressive stat line of 3000/2500, similar to Blue-Eyes White Dragon. But why does it matter? Would it make any difference if it had Dark Magician's attack stats?
Dinowrestler Pankratrops and Zoo King Alpha are common examples to combat established boards. Without a base attack of 3000, Dark Dragoon would easily fall prey to these common counters. It is also worth noting that Dragoon normally boosts itself to 4000 after negating a card, meeting the requirements for Salamangreat Violet Chimera.
Is it worth Summoning Dark Dragoon?
Different players have different preferences when it comes to summoning Dark Dragoon. Some feel that it is worth playing more undesirable cards (eg. multiple copies of Dark Magician/Red-Eyes B. Dragon) as summoning Dark Dragoon outweighs the cons of playing it. The Spell card Red-Eyes Fusion will force you to dilute your deck with more unwanted cards, but is it worth such a risk?
- This card cannot be targeted or destroyed by either players.
This card instantly invalidates the use of popular counters like Effect Veiler, Infinite Impermanence or Ghost Ogre. Instead, players will resort to non-targeting removal like Dark Ruler No More, Forbidden Droplet, Kaiju or Super Polymerization just to clear this single monster.
- Once per turn, when a card or effect is activated (Quick Effect): you can discard one card; negate the activation, and if you do, this card gains 1000ATK.
In short, this mouthful means that this card can negate almost ANYTHING. It acts like a Solemn Judgment and even destroys for a small cost of a discard. AND gains attack. How is this fair? This effect is one of the biggest reasons why this card is absolutely worth summoning despite the complications during deck building.
But if the negated card moved locations during activation, remember that Dark Dragoon is unable to destroy it, and thus does not get its attack boost.
- During your Main Phase, you can destroy 1 monster your opponent controls, and if you do, inflict damage to your opponent equal to its original ATK. You may use this effect up to the number of Normal Monsters used for this card's Fusion Summon.
As this effect requires you to use normal monsters as materials, Red-Eyes Fusion is the best method to summon Dark Dragoon. Being able to destroy up to 2 monsters (non-targeting) AND deal damage twice is extremely strong. A certain Kaiju Dragoon strategy involved summoning Dark Dragoon and Kaijus, where Dragoon would burn the opponent through Kaiju, and then deliver its whopping 3000ATK with another Kaiju for an easy 8000+ damage! This effect alone makes Dark Dragoon strong even while going second.
Summoning the Dragoon
Unfortunately, there are several ways to summon this card outside of his intended archetype.
The first and most obvious way is to simply activate Red-Eyes Fusion from your hand. There will be no loss, only the strongest monster on your side of your field afterwards, but you can no longer summon for the rest of the turn.
Predaplant Verte Anaconda can also activate REF straight from your deck, and it is extremely easy to summon too! The inclusion of Predaplant Verte Anaconda provides the question of the ideal ratio of REFs in the deck. But I feel you can observe how often you rely on Dark Dragoon for the ratio. Verte Anaconda may also activate Magicalized Fusion for a second appearance of Dark Dragoon! You can no longer Special Summon after using Verte Anaconda, so please remember that.
Lastly, combo decks may be able to summon Muddy Mudragon. This Synchro Monster is easy to summon along with any Dragon Monster, where you can Fusion Summon Dark Dragoon! But you do lose out on its "destroy and burn" effect.
My Thoughts and Conclusions
An extremely simple and generic method to summon, as well as a small investment of at least three cards in the main deck. Red-Eyes Dark Dragoon has proven itself fit in almost every deck during its reign in the OCG. There are other ways to use Dark Dragoon, but these are merely my observations on why this monster is so good. As the OCG is finally free of this nuisance, it is finally the TCG's turn to have their format warped. Embrace the power of friendship, and steal some games from your enemies!
If you would like to find out more about the applications of Red-Eyes Dark Dragoon, SenpaiShu (also known as ShunpingXu) has created a nifty video outlining the applications of this monster.