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Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Casual Dueling: Blue-Eyes Felgrand

A while back, I talked about the new Blue-Eyes support and some alternative ways to play the deck. With Yu-Gi-Oh: VRAINS and the Link Summoning mechanic right around the corner, I feel as though decks that don't focus on summoning from the Extra Deck as heavily are going to see a boost in popularity, which made revisiting Blue-Eyes an appealing prospect. .

Unfortunately, playing Blue-Eyes nowadays is far from budget-friendly. While I'm sure any duelist worth their salt has innumerable copies of Kaiba's ace monster lying around (and sets like Legendary Decks II have made acquiring the bulk of the deck a lot easier), once you factor in cards like Alternative White Dragon, Twin Burst, and Sage with Eyes of Blue, you're looking at putting a fairly sizable chunk of change down on trading cards. Still, after getting lucky with some Darkside of Dimensions movie pack pulls (which netted me a copy of Alternative and a playset of Neo Blue-Eyes Ultimate Dragon), I decided to try and build the closest thing to a "budget" Blue-Eyes deck I could. The result, surprisingly, has proven to be quite effective.

Roar! I'm coming for your bank account. 

Monsters x 18

Blue-Eyes White Dragon x3
Red-Eyes Darkness Metal Dragon
Blue-Eyes Alternative White Dragon
Divine Dragon Lord Felgrand x2
Dragon Spirit of White
Arkbrave Dragon
Dragon Knight of Creation
Paladin of Felgrand x2
White Stone of Ancients x3
White Stone of Legend
Master with Eyes of Blue
Maiden with Eyes of Blue

Spells x 18

One for One
Galaxy Cyclone x2
Return of the Dragon Lords x3
Reinforcement of the Army
Trade-In x3
Cards of Consonance
Dragon Shrine
The Melody of Awakening Dragon
Dragon's Mirror
Dragon Ravine x2

Traps x 2

Breakthrough Skill x2
Spiritual Swords of Revealing Light
Call of the Haunted

Extra Deck x 15

Neo Blue-Eyes Ultimate Dragon x2
Blue-Eyes Ultimate Dragon
Blue-Eyes Twin Burst Dragon
Azure-Eyes Silver Dragon
Blue-Eyes Spirit Dragon x2
Michael, the Arch-Lightsworn
Black Rose Moonlight Dragon
Ancient Fairy Dragon
Number 95: Galaxy-Eyes Dark Matter Dragon
Galaxy-Eyes Full Armor Photon Dragon
Galaxy-Eyes Cipher Dragon
Number 38: Hope Harbinger Dragon Titanic Galaxy
Divine Dragon Knight Felgrand

Click to Enlarge

As you can see, this deck uses the Rise of the True Dragons Structure Deck as a basis, along with some cards from Legendary Decks II and the Darkside of Dimensions pack. By using Dragon Ravine, Dragon Shrine, and the effects of Paladin of Felgrand and Dragon Knight of Creation, you'll be able to fill up your Graveyard with big Dragons in order to bring them back to the field with Return of the Dragon Lords or other revival effects.

Paladin of Felgrand is able to equip itself with a Dragon-type from the deck, while Dragon Knight of Creation is a walking Foolish Burial whenever it destroys a monster in battle and sends it to the Graveyard (an important, and unfortunate, limitation I ran into when facing off against Pendulum decks). Both cards have their fair share of utility, although their average attack power (1700 and 1800, respectively) doesn't do them any favors. Dragon Knight of Creation is clearly meant to work in conjunction with another card from the Structure Deck, Ruins of the Great Divine Dragon, which we're not running because, frankly, it requires too much setup and is fairly situational. An 1800 ATK body isn't as good as it once was, although DKoC is a Dragon-Type, which means it can be banished to summon Darkness Metal Dragon. Paladin fares a bit better in the utility department, as it can tech out Divine Dragon Lord Felgrand or Arkbrave Dragon from the deck, and become immune to monster effects as long as it is equipped (which can lead to some amusing scenarios against Zoodiac players).

The goal is to get DDL Felgrand into the Graveyard, and then Special Summon it using the effect of Arkbrave Dragon (the ideal target for Paladin) or other revival cards. Once Summoned, DDL Felgrand is able to banish a monster from the field or Graveyard and gain attack equal to the banished monster's Level or Rank x100, which is an incredibly powerful effect. This, combined with the sheer power of Blue-Eyes, can make for some fantastic damage output that don't rely too heavily on mass Extra Deck summoning (although you can easily make Blue-Eyes Spirit Dragon to tech out another Light attribute Synchro, or go into a Rank 8 Xyz play). All this is pretty standard fare for Dragon decks, however, so I suppose it's time to go into some of my card choices and what exactly makes them "budget friendly."

My goal with constructing this deck was clear from the outset: don't include Sage with Eyes of Blue, under any circumstances. Sage is an incredible card, which is also why it cost upwards of $40 per copy when I started this project. Purchasing a playset of 3 Sages is simply too much investment for a budget deck, so instead, I've returned to the tried-and-true Maiden with Eyes of Blue, as well as one copy of Master. Maiden is usually best combined with cards that take full advantage of its targeting effect, but running too many of those can create consistency issues and that's something this deck already can't afford: fortunately, it can be Summoned off of One for One, and Master actually puts in work as a way to recycle Tuners from the Graveyard and as a way to target Maiden to Summon two Blue-Eyes White Dragons from the deck. The other Tuners, 3 White Stone of Ancients and one White Stone of Legend, are just my preferred ratios for those cards: one WSoL can be useful for getting a Blue-Eyes to your hand off of Dragon Shrine or Cards of Consonance, and WSoA is just a great way to get a Blue-Eyes straight from the Deck (and maybe pop a Spell or Trap with Dragon Spirit of White).

I'm also running two copies of Galaxy Cyclone, because... yeah, Twin Twisters is $15 per copy and I really didn't want to spend that much, either. The same goes for my other money-saving method, running Breakthrough Skill for effect negation instead of the much more powerful Solemn Strike. There is some method to my madness, however: I deliberately chose cards that would have some sort of secondary effect that can be used from the Graveyard. This is both in keeping with the theme of the deck, and makes these cards into potential discard fodder if necessary. Galaxy Cyclone, Breakthough Skill, and Spiritual Swords of Revealing Light (another Trap I'm trying out from the movie pack, which has proven to be surprisingly useful) all fulfill this criteria. A more competitive build would probably require more powerful fare... well, a more competitive build wouldn't be playing with the Felgrand cards to begin with, but I should stress that while these tech choices were made mainly for financial reasons, they are good cards in their own right and have performed their intended function adequately during playtesting.

The Extra Deck is where most of your money goes in just about every Yu-Gi-Oh! deck, and this remains the case here. The only big money card here is Blue-Eyes Twin Burst Dragon, which costs about $22. The rest are fairly easy to come by, either from pulls or recently released sets, although they are still a cut above the Main Deck in terms of price. Still, I've had a lot of fun putting this deck together, and I think it's a solid effort. If you have any suggestions or other "budget friendly" Yu-Gi-Oh! ideas you'd like to share, hit me up on Twitter
or on this space. Until next time!

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