TCG Meta Snapshot: True Draco Oct. 2017

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 than the one used on Pojo. 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 into 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 top small events or get lower rankings at medium events. Can also include decks that can potentially top but have not yet in a given format.

Tier 4: Casually Competitive non-Meta decks. Decks that can compete at the locals level, but cannot top an event.

Archetype Explanation

True Draco are a Stun/Control oriented deck that focuses on using a variety of different Continuous Spell and Trap cards to generate advantage and summon out powerful Tribute monsters. Their main win condition is Master Peace, the True Dracoslaying King. This monster is very difficult for many decks to get past and can use its effect to disrupt an opponent’s plays.

Master Peace, the True Dracoslaying King

Tier Ranking

True Draco are currently in Tier 1 along with Pendulum Magicians, although this is likely to change with the release of SPYRAL Double Helix in Circuit Break on October 20th. Although True Draco can still put up a fight against SPYRAL going first, the deck will have a very difficult time going second due to the targeting immunity of the deck nullifying most of the destruction effects that the archetype uses. This will likely result in True Draco being pushed into Tier 2.


We will be looking at three major decklists for True Draco. The first two of these will be Demise True Draco builds and the third will be an Invoked True Draco build. This spread is to reflect the general distribution of the builds in the meta, with the Demise variant of True Draco showing itself time and again as the most successful variant of True Draco.

The first list we’re going to look at is Carlo Carillo’s Top 8 list from YCS Guadalajara. Carillo’s decklist is relatively unique compared to many of the Demise True Draco lists that we’ve seen in this format, largely due to its omission of the Spellbook engine. While undoubtedly a powerful draw engine, Carillo seems to have omitted in favor of main decking Cosmic Cyclone and using Waterfall of Dragon Souls. While Waterfall of Dragon Souls has seen scattered use in the Demise builds of True Draco since Zoodiac format, it has been decidedly less common in the September 2017 Forbidden List format. The engine does have the advantage of making use of excess Master Peace or Majesty Maiden that can easily become dead otherwise in the current iteration of the deck now that there are far less Tribute Monsters in the Main Deck.

Another very relevant meta call that Carillo used was main decking three Anti-Spell Fragrance. This is clearly a counter to Pendulum Magicians, the top deck in the meta going into YCS Guadalajara. While this definitely served Carillo well at the event, the tech will likely fall to the wayside as we transition away from Pendulum Magicians and towards SPYRAL who are much less affected by Anti-Spell Fragrance.

The last notable feature of Carillo’s decklist is his inclusion of Breakthrough Skill in the side deck. Due to the prevalence of Normal Summonable search monsters in the format such as Performapal Skullcrobat Joker and Spellbook Magician of Prophecy, Breakthrough Skill can be very useful when going first. Furthermore, it can effectively counter an opponent’s ability to search with Ignis Heat or Majesty Maiden on your turn in the mirror match.

This next list is Matt Manno’s Top 16 list from ARG Atlantic City. Manno chose to run the Spellbook engine, bringing his deck much closer in line with the general trend for True Draco decks in the current format. However, Manno did choose some interesting ratios on his draw cards. Most notably, he only chose to run a single Spellbook of Knowledge and a single Pot of Desires. The single Spellbook of Knowledge is meant to reduce the chance of the Spellbook Engine becoming dead in the deck when the single Spellbook of Magician of Prophecy is used up as the deck runs no other Spellcasters.

The single Pot of Desires has a similar advantage of preventing the situation of drawing Pot of Desires with Pot of Desires. This guarantees that, when resolved, Pot of Desires will generate an overall +1 in card advantage. While many decks need Pot of Desires to generate draw power and card advantage, the large number of other draw cards makes True Draco far less reliant on Pot of Desires.

The other major tech choice in Manno’s main deck is the inclusion of The Monarchs Stormforth. This card offers powerful non-targeting removal that can even be used on the opponent’s turn with the effect of the True Draco Trap Cards to Tribute Summon on the opponent’s turn. It can also help to mitigate the deck’s problem generating monster tribute fodder with the reduced monster pool the deck has in the current format. The Monarchs Stormforth also has good potential going forward against SPYRAL as non-targeting/non-destruction will become much more valuable.

The last main deck tech choice Manno ran was two copies of Chaos Trap Hole. In the pre-Circuit Break meta, this was a very good call as all of the current most popular decks except Paleozoic focus on using LIGHT or DARK monsters.

This last list we’re looking at is Steven Gregory’s Top 4 Invoked True Draco list from the Garden City Michigan Regional. This list contains a lot of interesting choices that are not normally seen in Invoked variants of True Draco. The most glaring of these is the inclusion of Card of Demise. Often, Invoked True Draco decks will not include Card of Demise so as not to conflict with the ability to Fusion Summon. However, Gregory’s list chooses to include the card anyways, likely due to the need for the deck to generate as much card advantage as possible for it to be able to compete with Pendulum Magicians.

The next interesting inclusion is that of Mariamne the True Dracophoenix. While Mariamne has seen some use in True Draco decks since the September Forbidden List, its inclusion in an Invoked variant of the deck is especially interesting. This is mainly due to the need for more WIND targets to use as a material for the summoning of Invoked Raidjin while not clogging with too many copies of Majesty Maiden.

The deck’s final interesting tech card is a single copy of Set Rotation. This functions as a good consistency boost that plays off of the deck’s use of multiple different field spells.


Tech Section

Due to half of the deck’s monster lineup from the previous format being eliminated by the Forbidden List, True Draco decks see a variety of different tech choices run in almost every successful build. The most common of these in the current format are ones we’ve already discussed when going over the decklists, namely The Monarchs Stormforth, Mariamne the True Dracophoenix, and Anti-Spell Fragrance in the main deck. Out of these, The Monarchs Stormforth has the highest potential going forward against SPYRAL.

Another trend that might start to rise in prevalence as SPYRAL enters the meta is the forgoing of Card of Demise in the main deck in favor of hand traps. While SPYRAL can often generate enough advantage tofight through a hand trap, True Draco will struggle heavily against SPYRAL going second if they are able to create a board uninterrupted. Hand Traps that True Draco are likely to gravitate towards will be Maxx “C”, Ash Blossom & Joyous Spring, and Droll & Lock Bird. Ghost Reaper & Winter Cherries will also likely see some use due to True Draco’s large amount of free Extra Deck space.

The Monarchs Stormforth




Anti-Spell Fragrance

Magicians are one of the more difficult matchups for True Draco in the current meta. This is largely due to the floating effects of the various Magician monsters somewhat nullifying the power of the deck’s removal options. Time Pendulumgraph can also prove to be very powerful against True Draco, especially with the lowered number of True Draco Trap cards making it more difficult to summon a Trap immune Master Peace.

The main counters to the deck are Anti-Spell Fragrance, Imperial Order, and Cosmic Cyclone. At larger events this format, many True Draco players have opted to main deck as many of these cards as possible. Zaphion the Timelord can also work to counter Pendulum Magicians by being able to safely neutralize the opponent’s scales and their Time Pendulumgraph while also serving as tribute fodder for True Draco monsters in Main Phase 2. Even going into the new format many of these cards will likely remain viable side deck options.


True Draco

The mirror match is relatively similar to how it has been since the deck’s release. The focus should be on outpacing the opponent in the resource game and establishing pressure with Master Peace that is preferably immune to Monsters and Traps. To counter the opponent’s Master Peace, the best options are usually Spells such as The Monarchs Stormforth, Dark Hole, and Raigeki as the opponent will likely tend towards a Monster/Trap immune Master Peace. Cosmic Cyclone and Zaphion the Timelord also can work very well in this matchup to remove the opponent’s Continuous Spells and Traps.

Cosmic Cyclone



Paleozoic is a relatively easy matchup for True Draco due to the nature of Majesty Maiden and Ignis Heat. Because their effects can chain to an opponent’s card activation, you can very effectively block the opponent from flooding the board with Paleozoic monsters. Paleozoics will also generate advantage much slower than True Draco does.

Overall, the Paleozoic matchup does not usually merit specific side deck cards and can be handled with Cosmic Cyclone and other Spell/Trap removal already found in the Side Deck.


ABC can prove to be a relatively difficult matchup for True Draco, but only if they are able to get off the ground. ABC Dragon Buster can very effectively shut out True Draco’s ability to create a board as its banish effect avoids the floating of the True Draco Spells and Traps. ABC also has enough ATK to beat Master Peace in battle if there is no Dragonic Diagram on the field. Because of the danger that ABC poses, it is usually worthwhile to run specific cards in the side deck to counter ABC such as System Down. Ghost Reaper and Winter Cherries can also be very potent against ABC and will be a much more popular side deck choice going into the SPYRAL format.


Ash Blossom & Joyous Spring

Trickstar is a very dicey matchup for True Draco. Going first, Trickstar shouldn’t be too difficult of a matchup. Especially with the Demise variant of the deck, the low hand size you will likely be maintaining will neutralize the effectiveness of Trickstar Reincarnation. Going second can be difficult, however, as Trickstar Reincarnation can potentially banish important 1-of cards such as Ignis Heat or True King’s Return which will heavily damage True Draco’s ability to play in the long term.

Side Deck options that are recommended to counter Trickstar are mostly hand traps such as Ash Blossom and Maxx “C” when going second. Cards such as Skill Drain can be very effective when going first due to its ability to neutralize the burn damage coming from the opponent’s monsters.

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A self-styled scholar with a minor in history. I played the game from its beginnings until 2008 and started again in summer of 2015. Since then I have been devouring as much Yu-Gi-Oh! history and theory as I can and hope to share that knowledge with all of you!

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