Retrains are nothing new in Yugioh. We’ve seen a plethora of cards get modernized versions or different forms. Whether it was Armed Dragon LV7 becoming Dark Armed Dragon or Black Luster Soldier evolving into Black Luster Soldier – Super Soldier, Black Luster Soldier – Envoy of the Beginning, retrains are nothing new in 2020. Some of the most recent retrains were for some of Yugioh’s Legendary Dragons. Recently seen as Jump Promos and a YCS Prize Card, these retrains gave a new spin on their original counterparts of years past. With their recent reprints in Battles of Legend: Armageddon, I decided to compare these retrained dragons to the originals. Are they better? Are they worse? Let’s take a look and see.
Table of Contents
- Chaos Emperor Dragon vs Pendulum Retrain
- Dark Armed Dragon vs Xyz Retrain
- Judgment Dragon vs Synchro Retrain
- Red-Eyes Darkness Metal Dragon vs Link Retrain
- Trishula Synchro vs Fusion Retrain
- In Conclusion
Chaos Emperor Dragon vs Pendulum Retrain
We’ll start with comparing the retrain of the oldest card: Chaos Emperor Dragon – Envoy of the End. CED is a classic card that gave a massive field nuke at the cost of 1000 LP. It was a massive powerhouse back in 2004 due to its ease of summoning, making it one of the first Forbidden cards. In recent years, we’ve been able to play with CED once again in an errataed form. For the sake of comparison, we’ll look at both versions of CED vs the retrain.
Chaos Emperor, the Dragon of Armageddon is a more modern take on the classic in Pendulum form. It has a similar field clearing effect and a similar summoning condition, on top of some recovery. Let’s see how it compares to the original.
Chaos Emperor Dragon – Envoy of the End
- Ease of summoning (banish only 1 LIGHT and 1 DARK)
- Easy board wiping effect
- Low cost for effect
- Extra burn damage (more damage with pre-errata effect)
- Clears your field as well, including itself
- No effects the turn you use this effect (post-errata)
Chaos Emperor, the Dragon of Armageddon
- Low Pendulum Scale of 1
- Recovery of a banished Dragon at a small LP cost
- Can be summoned from hand or face-up from Extra Deck
- Same easy summoning condition (banish 1 LIGHT and 1 DARK)
- Board clearing effect always live
- Clears cards from the opponent’s board
- Doesn’t clear your Extra Monster Zone (meaning there’s a chance it can stay on board)
- Can do some decent burn
- Half your Life Points potentially a steep cost.
- Doesn’t guarantee to clear the opponent’s board while always clearing yours
- Goes to the bottom of Deck when it leaves the field as a monster, making it hard to summon again from Extra Deck
- You cannot Pendulum Summon it.
Retrain or Original?
In this case, it really does depend on the version you look at. If you compare pre-errata CED to the retrained version, it isn’t too close. The original Chaos Emperor Dragon will always be one of the best cards ever. The original field nuke effect was extremely devastating, and it always cleared the opponent’s board.
The new version can’t promise you’ll clear the opponent’s board unless you have more cards on field than them. If you look at the retrain vs the errata, again it isn’t close. The Pendulum retrain is far better now, mostly since it lets you use other effects that turn. The errata locking down your effects for the whole turn is the nail in the coffin for the original’s viability now.
Dark Armed Dragon vs Xyz Retrain
Next up we’ll look at the card that devastated the format upon its release in Phantom Darkness and compare it to its Xyz Retrain. Dark Armed Dragon warped the format upon release, and was limited for nearly a decade for its power. It is now at three and it has a retrain in Dark Armed, the Dragon on Annihilation that hasn’t warped the format the same, but we’ll see which is better in a modern eye.
Dark Armed Dragon
- Easy to summon, just need 3 DARK monsters in grave
- Non-OPT effect to destroy cards
- Banishes your DARKs to help summon more copies
- Needing exactly 3 DARKs can turn this into a brick
- Requires some graveyard manipulation to summon late game
- Targeting destruction can be iffy in a modern setting
Dark Armed, the Dragon of Annihilation
- Generic Rank 7 only needing 2 materials, with more being optional
- Can use 1 material in a specific situation
- Can banish any card to destroy an opponent’s card
- Banishing isn’t a cost, just detaching a material is
- No once per turn to destroy cards
- Don’t have to worry about drawing this exact card, just need to get to 2 Level 7s at least
- Other summoning condition very specific (need exactly 5 DARKs in grave and a Level 5+ DARK Dragon on field)
- Targets the card like the original
- Limited destruction based on number of materials on this card
- Cannot attack the turn the effect to pop is used
Retrain or Original?
When it comes to impact on the game, Dark Armed Dragon is most certainly the better card, but it hasn’t aged the best. In comparison, the new Xyz version of Dark Armed is much more generic to use, making it the better card in a modern sense. It doesn’t need an exact number of certain cards to summon at all, and its destruction effect is more generic. It’s the better card to use in 2020, but Dark Armed Dragon certainly left the biggest impact compared to the retrain.
Judgment Dragon vs Synchro Retrain
Fitting that Judgment Dragon got a Synchro retrain considering it was one of the last cards released before 5D’s. Judgment Dragon might not have had as big of an impact as DAD or CED, but it was great in Lightsworns, the archetype it was meant for. Judgment, the Dragon of Heaven is meant to help more Decks by being a more generic Judgment Dragon. However, this comes at a price. Let’s see how the Judgment Dragons compare.
- Easy to summon, only needing 4 monsters of an archetype in grave
- Field nuke effect that keeps itself on field
- Not once per turn to destroy cards
- End Phase mill can help more than just Lightsworn
- Easy to spam multiple copies on board
- Not needing an exact number of cards in grave makes it less bricky
- Archetype helps facilitate the summon
- Can be a brick early game when you don’t have 4 Lightsworns in grave
- Lightsworns in grave must have a different name
- Mill effect in an archetype full of milling risks deck out
- Specific cost off 1000 LP isn’t always possible depending on amount of LP you have
Judgment, the Dragon of Heaven
- Generic Synchro for various Decks
- Half your LP cost makes effect never dead
- Banishing top 4 of your Deck can help some Decks
- Synchro Materials must have the same Attribute
- Need 4 Tuners in grave to use field nuke effect
- Must have been Synchro Summoned to use field nuke effect
- Locks your summons for the rest of the turn into Dragons
- Banishing from top of Deck, while can be helpful, is only really good in niche circumstances
- Field nuke effect is a once per turn
Retrain or Original?
It feels extremely easy for me to say the original Judgment Dragon is far better than the retrain. Sure it’s archetype locked, but it doesn’t have as many hoops and hurdles to worry about compared to the new version. Needing 4 Tuners in grave can be a big ask, and needing it to be Synchro Summoned can be bothersome if you want to revive it. Same Attributes needed to Synchro Summon can also force you to go out of your way to summon it. Judgment Dragon’s effect to mill is also better than the banishing of the retrain. I just don’t think the retrain is worth it while the original is still decent in Lightsworn.
Red-Eyes Darkness Metal Dragon vs Link Retrain
Now we got a fun one, considering we got one of the strongest Dragon support cards ever being compared to its retrain version. Red-Eyes Darkness Metal Dragon is a very powerful support card for Dragons, even with the errata it recently received. Its effect is represented well in its Link counterpart: Darkness Metal, the Dragon of Dark Steel. Both have great effects to extend plays, so let’s see what does it better.
Red-Eyes Darkness Metal Dragon
- Easy to Special Summon by banishing any Dragon
- Can be Normal or Special Summoned via any means
- Revives any Dragon or summons any Dragon from hand
- Effects of monster summoned aren’t negated
- Doesn’t lock your plays for using this effect
- Extends plays or can help finish the game
- Own effect to Special Summon itself is a hard once per turn (post-errata)
- Effect to revive or summon a Dragon from hand is a hard once per turn (post-errata)
- Can’t use its own effect to summon another copy of itself
Darkness Metal, the Dragon of Dark Steel
- Great arrows on a Link-4
- Summoning conditions makes it useable in multiple Decks
- Can summon any monster that’s banished or in your graveyard
- Helps extend plays
- Summoning condition can be a little costly, especially needing monsters of the same Type and Attribute
- Summoned monster has effects negated
- Locks you out from Link Summoning
- Summoned monster goes to bottom of Deck when it leaves the field instead of the graveyard
Retrain or Original?
This one is pretty close. Red-Eyes Darkness Metal Dragon is better in Dragon Decks, pre or post errata, in my opinion, but the retrain does have a home there as well. The errata makes the original REDMD less useful, but it doesn’t fully prevent its use in Dragon decks. Darkness Metal negates the summoned monster’s effect, which can sting. It also prevents you from Link Summoning after, but you can just do your Link plays first. Both are solid in Dragon decks to extend plays, but the Link retrain could be useful outside Dragon decks too. In Dragon decks, REDMD is better, but it’s relatively close.
Trishula Synchro vs Fusion Retrain
The only Extra Deck monster to get a retrain, Trishula is interesting in its Synchro and Fusion form. Trishula, Dragon of the Ice Barrier was a powerful Level 9 Synchro that was Limited around the time it was released, and was banned for a few years. The only time the Synchro wasn’t on the F/L List was during Master Rule 4, where it was hard to spam 3 out. Trishula, the Dragon of Icy Imprisonment is easier to summon, but only gets its effect in specific Decks. Let’s see how these two compare.
Trishula, Dragon of the Ice Barrier
- Generic Level 9 Synchro
- Banishes 3 cards
- Cards banished are from different places
- You choose cards banished on field and in grave
- Helps clear the opponent’s hand
- No hard once per turn means you can use multiples (harder to do when Limited)
- Needs at least 2 non-Tuners
- You don’t get to see the opponent’s hand to choose the card
- Only gets effect on Synchro Summon, making it a vanilla rest of the time it’s on field
Trishula, the Dragon of Icy Imprisonment
- Just needs any 3 monsters with different names to summon
- Use of Polymerization to summon is optional
- Can clear out monsters on your field to be a Level 9 for Xyz plays
- Banishes cards from the opponent’s Extra Deck, letting you look to see what you want to banish
- Lets you choose a card in your Deck to banish
- Banishes top card of opponent’s Deck
- Need 3 Dragons with different names to use banishing effect
- Banishing effect isn’t from as useful places as original version
- Banish effect is hard once per turn, summoning more doesn’t help
- Have to banish from all 3 places, otherwise effect cannot be used
Retrain or Original?
I think the original version is much better than the retrain, but at least the retrain has had a niche. The original being a generic Level 9 Synchro is great, and it banishing key resources from the opponent’s hand, field, and grave is great. The Fusion hitting the opponent’s Extra Deck is great, but the top of opponent’s Deck can be random and banishing from your Deck doesn’t always help. The Fusion has helped players use True King of All Calamities, though, and it can get its effect off in Dragon Decks. It’s at least playable, unlike the Judgment Dragon Synchro, but the original Trishula is better overall.
I think Konami did a decent job with these retrains, even if they could’ve lived up to higher standards. I did think 2 of these retrains were better than the originals, with DAD and CED, even if CED was due to an errata. One of the retrains, Darkness Metal, being on par with its original was good as well. Trishula’s and Judgment Dragon’s retrains don’t compare to their originals, but at least Trishula’s retrain was usable. Judgment Dragon’s retrain feels like it isn’t worth the time, but the other 4 certainly are. These retrains are pretty good and do an okay job at living up to their originals, even if they can’t make the same impact as the original versions did on their releases.