I’ve been playing Yu-Gi-Oh! a lot recently, mostly out of nostalgia and curiosity towards how the game’s evolved in the 8 years that I haven’t played it. While I have to admit that the game is stupidly broken at this point, it still holds the same appeal to me as it did back then: that is, being able to summon a lot of things to wreck your opponent’s shit.
Tying back to that nostalgia, I’ve decided to revisit the classic Yu-Gi-Oh cards and see if any of them can still be used today. I’ve experimented with Blue-Eyes and Dark Magician decks before, so obviously, a Red-Eyes deck would be next in line. Coincidentally, the recent card releases have brought a lot of new cards to the Red-Eyes archetype, expanding it from a small series of cards to a full-fledged playable deck. After a lot of experimentation, I’ve reached a deck build that I’m pretty satisfied with. This post will be about that build.
Note: This deck recipe was designed for use in YGOPro using the TCG format. This deck is usable for the April 2015 banlist.
3x Red-Eyes B. Dragon
1x Summoned Skull
1x Red-Eyes Darkness Metal Dragon
2x Red-Eyes Black Flare Dragon
1x Red-Eyes Archfiend of Lightning
2x Red-Eyes Wyvern
2x Red-Eyes Tracer Dragon
3x Protector of the Shrine
1x King of the Swamp
2x Black Metal Dragon
3x The Black Stone of Legend
1x Five-Headed Dragon
2x Black Skull Archfiend Dragon
1x First of the Dragons
1x Meteor B. Dragon
1x Beast-Eyes Pendulum Dragon
2x Red-Eyes Flare Metal Dragon
1x Number 11: Big Eye
1x Mecha Phantom Beast Dracossack
1x Number 74: Master of Blades
1x Dark Rebellion Xyz Dragon
1x Queen Dragun Djinn
1x Number 101: Silent Honor ARK
1x Castel, the Skyblaster Musketeer
1x Evilswarm Exciton Knight
1x Slacker Magician
1x Foolish Burial
2x Inferno Fire Blast
1x Dragon’s Mirror
2x Wrongful Arrest
1x Burial from a Different Dimension
1x Bottomless Trap Hole
1x Torrential Tribute
1x Compulsory Evacuation Device
1x Vanity’s Emptiness
2x Light-Imprisoning Mirror
General Play Style:
If you play competitive Pokémon, there’s a type of team called hyper offense, which plays by combining hard-hitters with passive damage and keeping momentum/offensive pressure by switching around. Red-Eyes plays similarly: it’s a deck with a lot of hard-hitting monsters that are also capable of dealing effect/burn damage to pressure the opponent, while keeping field advantage by swarming the field with Special Summons. It has access to powerful Extra Deck monsters while also being not completely reliant on them. While Red-Eyes can’t directly disrupt enemy plays, its own plays are difficult to dismantle once it gets going.
Most of this deck’s plays revolve around the Graveyard, and Dragon Shrine and Dragon Ravine are important cards for setting it up. A possible first turn play would be sending Red-Eyes B. Dragon or Red-Eyes Black Flare Dragon to the Graveyard, followed by sending Red-Eyes Wyvern, then ending your turn without performing a Normal Summon or Set to Special Summon a 2400 ATK beatstick. Cards of the Red allows you to dump a dead Red-Eyes Normal Monster in your hand in exchange for 2 cards and letting you send another Level 7 Red-Eyes from your Deck. One for One allows you to dump a monster from your hand in exchange for Special Summoning The Black Stone of Legend and Tributing it for a Red-Eyes monster.
Much of this deck’s offensive potential comes from its Fusion Monsters, which is why there are three types of Spell Cards that allow Fusion Summons. Red-Eyes Fusion is difficult to play, but its effect allows you to bring out a Fusion Monster with more than 3000 ATK and turns its name into Red-Eyes B. Dragon, allowing cards like Black Metal Dragon and Inferno Fire Blast to target the Special Summoned monster. Most of the time you will be fusing into Black Skull Archfiend Dragon, which is this deck’s main beatstick: it can guarantee you up to 5000 damage in one turn as long as you have a Red-Eyes Normal Monster in your Graveyard. Polymerization and Dragon’s Mirror are backup cards which let you play into Meteor B. Dragon, First of the Dragons, or Five-Headed Dragon. First of the Dragons is especially useful in stalling because of its anti-Effect Monster effect.
At first glance, Kinka-Byo is a weird card to include in a mostly Dragon-type deck, but its effect allows for neat combos with Black Metal Dragon and The Black Stone of Legend. When Special Summoning Black Metal Dragon with Kinka-Byo’s effect, you can Tribute both to Fusion Summon Beast-Eyes Pendulum Dragon, giving you a 3000 ATK beatstick and letting you search for any Red-Eyes card from the Deck. You can do the same with The Black Stone of Legend, or you can simply use its effect to Special Summon a Red-Eyes monster from your Deck.
Several of this deck’s cards are designed to flood the field with Special Summons. Red-Eyes Darkness Metal Dragon is a staple card in any Dragon-themed deck, and is conveniently supported by the deck’s archetype cards. Red-Eyes Tracer Dragon and Protector of the Shrine are both cards that react to your Dragons on the field getting destroyed while also recycling them. Sometimes, you’ll be able to summon both in one go, letting you play Rank 4 summons. Return of Red-Eyes allows you to Special Summon Red-Eyes monsters from the Graveyard even when it gets destroyed.
The ease of getting Level 7 monsters into the field with this deck makes it trivial to Xyz Summon powerful Rank 7 monsters like Dracossack or Big Eye. Red-Eyes Flare Metal Dragon is the deck’s other boss monster, which puts pressure on the opponent whenever they activate any effect. The 500 LP damage racks up quickly, which can either finish off an opponent or take you closer to victory. It can also Special Summon a Red-Eyes Normal Monster from the Graveyard, allowing you to open up even more plays.
Evilswarm Exciton Knight and Bottomless Trap Hole are good against Pendulum decks, though Solemn Warning can also kill Pendulum plays. Wrongful Arrest shuts down decks which are really good at searching, including Nekroz, Qliphorts, and Odd-Eyes decks, though beware since it also shuts down your own searches. Since this deck doesn’t use any Light monsters, Light-Imprisoning Mirror is very useful against Tellarknights and other Light-based decks. Inferno Fire Blast can be put in against Qlis when Skill Drain or Lose 1 Turn are active to prevent your Special Summoned Red-Eyes monsters from being dead weight.
Burning Abyss – I haven’t actually tested this deck against BA. Being a deck that plays a lot of Special Summons in one turn, Red-Eyes Flare Metal Dragon would probably be a great answer to this deck: the 500 damage per Summon will rack up pretty quickly and is immune to Fire Lake, but Virgil can shut it down. First of the Dragons can beat Virgil and is unaffected by Malacoda’s attack reductions, but is vulnerable to Fire Lake. Otherwise I don’t see this deck playing any differently than it already does.
Clownblade – Be aggressive. Red-Eyes Flare Metal Dragon puts a lot of pressure on this deck: once it’s out, your opponent will have to pay 1500 LP whenever they bring out Tricklown or Instant Fusion, not to mention using the effects of their various Xyz plays. Beware, however, of Performage support that blocks effect damage. First of the Dragons is also quite useful in shutting down Xyz plays, including Cyber Dragon Infinity.
Nekroz – This is somewhat more difficult to deal with than the other decks. Definitely beware of the Djinn lock, because this will kill all of your plays unless you can Tribute Summon a Red-Eyes monster or destroy your opponent’s monsters with Raigeki. Nekroz of Sophia, though rare, can also shut down your Extra Deck plays for a turn. On the other hand, the only monster that they have that can deal with your most powerful Extra Deck monsters in battle is Decisive Armor (even then, they can’t deal with an Archfiend Dragon equipped with Black Metal Dragon), and they usually don’t run Trap Cards, so once you have your boss monsters out, Nekroz is easier to deal with.
Odd-Eyes/Magician Pendulum – Again, play aggressively. If you’re playing a match, side in as many anti-Pendulum cards (Bottomless Trap Hole, Wrongful Arrest, Vanity’s Emptiness) as you can. It’s basically a race for both players to Special Summon as many cards as possible and overwhelm the opponent.
Qliphorts – Similar to Odd-Eyes/Magician Pendulum, though I think this is a slightly easier matchup. Skill Drain and Lose 1 Turn are a non-issue for your Normal/Gemini Monsters, and your most powerful Extra Deck monsters can easily run over Apoqliphort Towers. Inferno Fire Blast is useful if you have a Fusion Monster summoned with Red-Eyes Fusion to prevent them from being useless when Skill Drain or L1T are in play.
Tellarknights – These play similarly to Clownblade, though the matchup might be more difficult because of Delteros and Constellar Diamond. Try to summon Flare Metal Dragon or First of the Dragons quickly to restrict their plays. Light-Imprisoning Mirror can be sided in to kill all of their plays until it’s destroyed.
While Lord of the Red is useful (theoretically), Red-Eyes Transmigration is not: it’s a Ritual Spell Card that’s limited to Ritual Summoning one monster. Dark Dragon Ritual’s secondary effect can be useful since you can use it send Red-Eyes Wyvern to the Graveyard, but I haven’t tried it and I have my doubts: Red-Eyes doesn’t have a card that can send Dark Dragon Ritual to the Graveyard unlike Burning Abyss does. So they are out of consideration for now.
– This deck is broken!
It’s certainly a good deck, but it’s not impossible to shut down. There are a lot of cards that can get rid of monsters without destroying, and those are the best ways to deal with Red-Eyes Flare Metal Dragon. First of the Dragons is easily dealt with by Spells and Traps. Red-Eyes Fusion’s summon restriction is easily exploitable: if their Fusion Summoned monster is the only card they have on the field, they’ll be a sitting duck if you can get rid of it (which is fairly trivial considering it doesn’t have any self-protection). Shutting down the Graveyard with Soul Drain, Necrovalley, or even Masked HERO Dark Law/Macro Cosmos/Dimensional Fissure will also shut down a lot of this deck’s plays. Shadow-Imprisoning Mirror will also slow down this deck, though it won’t be shut down completely because of Red-Eyes Wyvern. Finally, it’s also somewhat prone to getting bad hands, considering its reliance on high-level monsters and Graveyard-dumping.
– Where is [Card X]?
I’m actually pretty satisfied with my current set-up, but if you have any suggestions or cards that can be added, feel free to comment.
Joey Wheeler would be proud: the underdog card of the original series has returned, bringing with it a lot of powerful tools to take on the new meta. The new Red-Eyes support has given this archetype new life, and is now a very usable deck. If you like playing offensively and seeing damage rack up quickly, try this archetype out.