Upon release, Drytron instantly jumped on the podium of meta-dominating decks. Having access to non-once per turn cards such as Cyber Angel Benten and a consistency failsafe in the form of Union Carrier made it difficult to stop. At least up until the hits came. A couple of banlists and support cards later, the deck finds itself in a much less powerful position. Let’s examine the deck, what it does, and the overall sentiment about it around the community.
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Short Stint in the Spotlight
Drytron was one of the top two decks in the “VFD Era.” Union Carrier allowed you to continue plays after 2 or more hand traps. What’s more is that Benten was at 3, and there was a pretty sizable chance that an Orange Light search would have happened early in the turn. This puts opponents in very awkward spots in terms of where they would use their hand traps. Nibiru, for instance, could not be held for too long.
The competition that Drytron had? Virtual World, for the most part. Being insanely consistent and resilient does NOT matter if you can’t activate a single monster effect. And that’s exactly what True King of All Calamities gave Virtual World access to. It made it nearly impossible to win going second against the deck. That’s the only reason players didn’t hail Drytron as the sole “best deck” of the format.
Everything changed when the fire nation- I mean when the forbidden and limited list dropped. People argued that Drytron was safe – seeing as it’s only been a singular format where it has dominated. Their confidence quickly diminished as Union Carrier got banned and Benten got limited. This severely decreased the consistency, resiliency, and overall power of the deck. What was once a mainstay in the meta, immediately got decimated into irrelevancy.
Drytron rightfully took a break from seeing competitive play after the hits. That being said, they got their much-awaited power boost shortly after. Drytron Mu-Beta Fafnir and Diviner of the Heralds came out in Lightning Overdrive. Both these cards offered kind of the same thing that Carrier and Benten did – resiliency and consistency. Mu-Beta is a Rank-1 XYZ monster that allows you to dump any Drytron card from deck to the grave (yes, the ritual spell included). On the other hand, Diviner, which replaces Manju, can dump a Fairy monster from the deck or the extra deck to the grave (and increase her own level in the process).
Being able to have more lines of play made Drytron viable again. More monsters to interrupt means the deck is harder to stop. And what would not stopping Drytron entail?
Why Does Drytron Get So Much Hate?
Herald of Ultimateness. What a card. A non-once-per-turn negate that could stop spell, trap, or monster effect activations. Oh, and did I mention how it could negate special summon(s) too? So yes, even AA-Zeus doesn’t stand a chance against this beefy fairy.
The main reason Drytron gets salt out of opposing players is how oppressive the endboard can be. With full combo, you end on Ultimateness, I:P Masquerena and Beatrice. All that, with a minimum of 4 fairy ammo searched. “But what if you get Kaiju’d or, you know, Forbidden Droplet-ed?” That’s where the “fairy ammo” will come in. I will reiterate that it’s a minimum of four fairies. Two of those will be Orange Light, and 2 will probably be Diviner (maybe a Lancea, depending on the matchup). What this means is even if you Kaiju the Ultimateness, you would still have to deal with 2 PSY-Framegear Gamma-esque monster negates. In addition to that, if it wasn’t Droplet / Dark Ruler No More, you would also have to deal with an I:P Masquerena.
The deck is amazingly recursive as well. You can literally cycle through your entire engine every single turn if you have 1 monster to tribute from your hand/graveyard. So if you somehow break their board, you better make sure you take advantage of it.
In a field littered with disruptions in the form of shuffling back, banishing, and destroying – Drytron stands tall with the classic “I will negate everything you have” kind of board. This is what irks people most about Drytron.
How is Drytron Balanced?
The way to stop Drytron is to not let them get to their endboard.
Drytron has indeed found new ways to be potent in its combos with the two new support cards. But those two are sadly still not Union Carrier. Carrier was that backup plan that you could always trigger if things go south.
Infinite Impermanence and Effect Veiler have a profound impact on Drytron’s current strategy. Both of these hand traps greatly contributes to stopping their plays, especially if used on either Diviner (to prevent the dump and search plus the level modulation) or Mu-Beta (to prevent the dumping of another Drytron name AND the usage of its XYZ materials as tribute fodder for ritual summons).
The usual Ash Blossom on Alpha still works! Probably even better now than it used to since opening Benten is significantly more difficult now. Ghost Belle, Nibiru, and Skull Meister still put in work against this deck, too. A myriad of common hand traps can greatly help in stopping Drytron right on its tracks.
If all that was said above wasn’t enough, let’s look at the two most disgustingly destructive cards against Drytron: Cycle Reader and Droll & Lock Bird. Droll completely stops Drytron’s turns (albeit with the right hands you could get to at least Draconids). Cycle Reader can produce the same results when used correctly.
Drytron is an extremely powerful deck that, when left unchecked in a match, will just breeze through opponents. It builds an extremely oppressive board that can outright negate every single card in your hand, but with a backup plan in the form of Orange Lights if the Ultimateness gets outed. Not having all their eggs in one basket has been the trademark of most top decks for a few formats now. Virtual World with VFD+Chuche, Tri-Brigade with Drident/Apollousa-Revolt, the list goes on.
It may be extremely difficult to play through an uninterrupted Drytron endboard, and that is understandably irritating for some. But I would argue that I’d prefer to play this version of Drytron than the old one, because it does give us a better chance of stopping them! It’s just another case of having to adapt how you play the game. Whether that be in the form of using chain-ending cards like Solemn Strike or playing enough hand traps to stop the deck. The choice is ultimately yours. At the end of the day, Drytron as a deck only helps Yu-Gi-Oh! remain diverse and gives us more to think about!