The TCG Meta Snapshot is a project by some of the writers at YGOPRODeck that aims to encapsulate the state of the meta for a given 1-2 week period.
The TCG Meta Snapshot also aims to rank decks in a somewhat looser tier system. The tiers that we will use are as follows:
Tier 1: Highly Competitive Meta Decks. 10% or more of tops, as ranked by Pojo. This will roughly correspond to Pojo’s Tier 1, with some overlap from Pojo’s Tier 2.
Tier 2: Semi-Competitive Meta Decks. Less than 10% of tops, as ranked by Pojo. Corresponds to the rest of Pojo’s Tier 2, Pojo’s Tier 3, and Rogue.
Tier 3: Semi-Competitive non-Meta/Rogue decks. 1-2 tops. Specifically includes decks that only top small events or get lower rankings at medium events. It can also include decks that can potentially beat but have not yet in a given format.
Tier 4: Casually Competitive non-Meta decks. Decks that can compete at the local level, but cannot top an event.
Dragon Link is up there as one of the most enduring decks in recent times, joining the ranks of Salamangreat and Sky Striker on how long it can remain relevant as the years go on. While it's not 100% the same deck as it was from previous stints, most of the core cards are intact, supplemented by new powerful faces such as Shooting Riser Dragon and Borrelend Dragon respectively!
For those who are unfamiliar, D-Link is a versatile combo deck that makes use of powerful tools the Dragon-type has gotten over the years in both the Main and the Extra Deck! The Rokket engine is one of its flagship weapons, supplemented by a high amount of generics and power spells. Borrelend's release in GFTP2 breathed new life into the deck and even spawned multiple variants. Today, we'll be going over the Pure, Adventurer, and Adventurer + P.U.N.K versions.
Similar to last month's ventures, June remained a pretty busy season for competitive play. A lot of Nationals, regionals and State Championships were held all over the TCG regions! Swordsoul and Despia still reign as Tier 1, with their absurd amount of results and play rate to back them up.
However, a ton of other decks have been putting up impressive showings as well. Dragon Link is chief among them. While it's definitely not as popular as some of the other Tier 2 contenders such as Therion P.U.N.K, Floowandereeze, Heatsoul Salamangreat, Eldlich, or Magikey Drytron, Dragon Link is still a force to be reckoned with and has solidly earned its spot, placing well in multiple events. Dragon Link's ability to run a bevy of hand traps, engine resilience, and near unparalleled endboard quality make it stand out against its competition.
Pure Dragon Link
Harrison got 1st Place at the Perth State Championships with none other than Pure Dragon Link! It's been a hot minute since we've seen this version due to the hype of the explosive engines available. Still, pure is a decent budget choice that can perform well at high levels of play.
One of the main game plans is to prioritize Rokket Tracer access all while generating bodies and free plusses. Thanks to Borrelend, you now have a powerful end goal. Pisty and Triple Burst also do a good job of making sure you don't waste that many resources to get to this behemoth. More often than not, getting to the Link-5 also means ending on Borreload Savage Dragon or a Hot Red Dragon Archfiend Abyss! This is because of its negation effect that also doubles up as a free revive. Just make sure to not accidentally negate the wrong thing, as it's a permanent one.
Since opponents are likely to bombard you with hand traps, it helps to have a fallback option. Safer setups that involve Hieratic Seal of the Heavenly Spheres, + either I:P Masquerena or Borreload Savage are fine to end on should you fall a little short on reaching Borrelend and is often doable after eating 2 or so interrupts.
Chaos Ruler is an alluring option that's recommended to make in nearly every game. The card either gets you an extra LIGHT/DARK combo piece or a hand trap more often than not and acts as 2 free bodies. Worst case scenario it eats an interrupt and you can still Synchro/Link away and revive it later! There's a reason why Ruler has become the face of the deck, alongside Borrelend.
Despite not running powerful tuner enablers such as the Halq package for Rose Dragons, Pure has a deceptive amount of gas to it. Noctovision Dragon is a crazy extender that refills your hand and helps you SEGOC effects with either Dragunity Knight - Romulus or Striker Dragon. Both Field spells are important to grab for the deck, so giving them extra security is a nice touch. Boot Sector Launch is often used to summon the Tracer you added off Abso from Ravine. Chaos Space needs no introduction, allowing the deck to perform some ridiculous plays all without conducting its Normal Summon. Quick Launch rounds out the Spell lineup as a free Rokket extender without any important locks to worry about.
Starliege Seyfert is an incredible NS for the deck, notably for being a LIGHT and bridging your plays together. As a refresher, here are the two common plays you can do with it. Send itself from field to GY in order to add Black Dragon Wyverburster, or send Absorouter Dragon to get Nocto. Both plays are equally valid and difficult to answer for the opponent outside of Droll & Lock Bird. It helps that the former play pairs well with PSY-Framegear Gamma to boot. Last but not the least, looping Chaos Dragon Levianeer is an underlooked aspect of Seyfert's arsenal. Levi is a great weapon to have going first or second. It even partners with Chaos Ruler for some action with The Zombie Vampire.
Another crucial advantage that Pure has is its ability to run the Dragonmaid package! Chamber gives you a sizeable grind game and a unique edge with Dragonmaid Tidying, even doubling as an out to Mystic Mine! Thanks to pure having better odds and more ways to see Tracer, you can opt to dump Chamber with Dragon Ravine and revive it later with Guardragon Pisty. Pretty good stuff!
All in all, Pure is a great starting point for competitive play. The Extra Deck options are diverse and the deck is incredibly rewarding. It can still put up a fight against the rest of the metagame, but it's not as popular as the next two versions we'll be talking about.
Adventurer Dragon Link
Manuel Vargas got 2nd Place at the Central America National Championships with Adventurer Dragon Link! This variant focuses on explosive combos making use of Crystron Halqifibrax, all while being insulated from interaction thanks to the Adventurer package or Baronne De Fleur. Due to space constraints, nearly all versions of Adv D-Link have to go beyond 40, often reaching deck counts of 50 or 60. Despite that, it's a tricky contender to go up against and can be very hard to interrupt.
The Adventurer package adds a lot of power and safety to the deck all for the low low price of giving up starters such as Starliege Seyfert. You can also get away with normal summoning Tracer, Recharger, or Synchron most of the time. There are a couple of times where you can even NS a Hand Trap just so you can enable Halq.
One of the main lines that the deck goes for involves multiple Synchro Summons + ending on Borrelend, all while maintaining a negate on the field while climbing with Halqifibrax. This can be done with Wandering Gryphon Rider paired with the Adventurer Token. Romulus + Tracer/Synchron into Halq seems strange at first, but it's absolutely well worth it.
Once you get to Red Rose Dragon off Halq, you can make Baronne and not only keep a negate, but also get the free summon off Red Rose. Roxrose Dragon is brought out from the deck which adds Basal Rose Shoot, giving you even more extension. You may notice that you have a Level 3 Tuner and a Level 4 monster lying around. This is where Shooting Riser Dragon comes into the picture.
Riser sends Fairy Tail - Snow directly from your Deck to the GY! This makes your board even harder to deal with and owers Riser's level to where it can be used for Guardragon Pisty! While Vargas wasn't on either Snow or Riser, I highly recommend that you play it, as the difference it makes is complete night and day. After that, proceed to your regular Borrelend plays as usual and go from there. Due to your abundance of free bodies like Magicians' Souls (who can also pitch Fateful and Dracoback for a free draw 2) and whatnot, it's pretty easy to make I:P Masquerena here! In tough spots, you can even link stuff off for Triple Burst!
While IP does compete for a spot with HRDAA, she synergizes a lot better with Snow in particular. You can use the cute Spellcaster that shouldn't have been unbanned to flip an opponent's threat down. After that, you can use IP and link both of them into Knightmare Unicorn, shuffling one of their cards back. And would you look at that, Snow is in the GY and can be used yet again. This is a horrifying prospect for most decks to deal with.
Lastly, your Chaos Ruler mills get an additional kick with both Souls and Enchantress of the Water Temple in your Deck, often making for an advantage snowball that's near impossible for your opponents to deal with. Don't sleep on this variant.
Adventurer P.U.N.K Dragon Link
Firat Karatas got Top 8 at the Switzerland National Championships with Adventurer P.U.N.K Dragon Link! If you thought Adventurer D-Link was hitting the gas pedal, this version goes above and beyond!
The premise for how the secondary engine helps the deck is simple. Like most decks using the P.U.N.K right now, it is for its ability to get to Chaos Ruler + Halq off thanks to Ze Amin! Since we are using Adventurer cards, it's much better to see Emergency Teleport over the actual Ze, which is why the ratios are like that. Worst case scenario, E-Tele can still summon Gamma and go into Baronne with Chaos Ruler or enable Halq. You will want a card to pitch off Foxy Tune, but that's a small price to pay.
I've compiled some of his notes for our article. Feel free to check out his deck profile here!
Firat mentions that if Enchantress is milled with Ruler, you can proceed to summon Red Rose and perform the Double Synchro combo (Baronne + Riser). If your mills weren't too great, you can at least pick yourself up a hand trap and then summon any Dragon Tuner with Halq. This guarantees you Striker Dragon and Romulus access, meaning you can climb into Borrelend and Savage without any worries. One of the crazy things about this is you get so much value for committing very few cards in your hand, essentially only Emergency Teleport + a discard. It gets better depending on the other cards in your hand, of course. Quick Launch, Chaos Space, Baby White/Black, or Rite/Enchantress can go the distance here.
To sum it up, you exchange 6 slots in regular Adventurer D-Link to fit in the second strongest engine available right now. You have a lot of gas in the tank and outside of turn-ending floodgates, you're fairly comfortable even if you lose die rolls with this deck. Just try to be mindful of cards like Nibiru and Droll, as they can seriously hurt.
Matchups & Tech Choices
Dragon Link (all variants) is a uniquely positioned deck in the current format. It's not the best deck by a long shot, but it doesn't have to be. D-Link actually has a fairly decent matchup against nearly everything. Dragons have a lot of space for high-impact HT such as PSY-Framegear Gamma and power cards like Droplet or Talent to even the score. None of the other decks are necessarily a bye, but none of them are all too difficult to handle. On the other hand, Borrelend is infamous for being near unbeatable for some of the popular decks right now.
For tech cards, there are actually quite a few to talk about. Let's briefly go over some of the interesting choices that players have been trying out.
Both Koa'ki Meiru Drago and Amorphage Sloth have been seeing some regional-level success! They act as dedicated targets for Heavenly Spheres. A conservative board with Spheres leading the charge in games 2 and 3 is fairly formidable. Especially because it's extremely difficult to stop the floating effect from going off.
Triple Burst Dragon has been dormant for years but has made a successful comeback due to Borrelend entering the picture. The fact that it's so easy to make while also enabling Pisty is incredibly impactful for the deck. Don't leave home without it! Special mention has to go to Fairy Tail - Snow, Shooting Riser Dragon, and The Zombie Vampire too.
Black Metal Dragon is a tech on its own, as not every Adv D-Link list plays it. BMD even fits in Pure lists and is a very solid card overall. REDMD is a great extender that helps you bring back important dragons for your plays, even post-errata. The package will only continue to get stronger, once we get the eventual TCG release of Red-Eyes Black Meteor Dragon! Meteor makes it so BMD + a discard is Borrelend, Baronne, and Savage.
That ends our June TCG Meta Snapshot all about Dragon Link! I hope this resource helped you figure out lines for the deck, or some key plays that you might've been missing out on. While its play rate is a bit on the lower side, D-Link is a reliable option that will serve you through thick and thin. Keep calm and take care of your Tracers, folks! Until next time, Renren out!