How to Nerf Dragon Link

Everybody knows it. Dragon Link is the best deck of the current format. On the last Forbidden & Limited List the deck lost none of its cards, although the power level of the strategy is through the roof. This leaves the question, when does it stop? And how? Let's look at options for cards to ban/limit!


Ever since Guardragon Elpy was released Dragon Link has been relevant, whether it was combined with the chaotic Thunder Dragons or a more pure style focusing on Rokkets. Even now the deck keeps evoling. We've seen Dragonmaids with Chamber Dragonmaid and Dragonmaid Tidying, a more Rokket-focused build with Silverrokket Dragon and Unchained Abomination, and most recently, a Phantom-Knight list that ends on two Phantom Knights' Fog Blade through The Phantom Knights of Rusty Bardiche.

These three different ways of playing are already proof enough that this deck is versatile. In between there are many hybrid builds that run smaller engines to make the whole more consistent and powerful. There are multiple key cards the deck uses to end on a powerful board with negates and interrupts. I'll first talk about some of the cards in the main deck that I think are significantly better than the rest.

The Phantom Knights of Rusty Bardiche chamber dragonmaid unchained abomination
Is this Dragon Link?


White Dragon Wyverburster and Black Dragon Collapserpent are featured in every list. Combined with Chaos Space they are some of the best extenders Dragon Link could hope for. Chaos Space alone is already a very powerful card; just search an extender to get more resources after using its grave effect. The baby chaos dragons are easily abusable by being level four dragons and searching the other when sent to the graveyard from the field. It's very easy for Dragon Link to play with only one Chaos Space and a discard because of the babies. It's worth it to note that they can also searched by Omni Dragon Brotaur and Starliege Seyfert.

Boot Sector Launch and Quick Launch are the easiest tools to get Rokkets onto the field. We all know one Rokket Tracer equals a Borreload Savage Dragon and it's essential to get at least one Tracer somewhere in the combo. Quick Launch can just fetch it from deck. It can also get any other Rokket, which might be relevant in specific builds. If you have a normal hand plus a copy of Quick Launch, the Quick Launch essentially equals a Borreload Savage Dragon with two negates. Boot Sector Launch helps with extending but also with the grind game, summoning any Rokket added by either Omni Dragon Brotaur or Absorouter Dragon. When going second you can use it to summon Rokkets back from the graveyard after using them to link-climb (up to the number of the opponent's monsters of course).

The last card I specifically wanted to talk about is World Legacy Guardragon. This card lets you Monster Reborn a level four or lower dragon in your graveyard, or add it to your hand. Conveniently the material of an Elpy. In addition to that it lets you move a dragon link monster to a different zone once per turn. Again, convenient with Elpy. It of course is a Guardragon card so it makes sense. But a monster reborn that is at three helps extending and actually lessens the extenders you need by using its second effect.

Dragon Links end board isn't too impressive at first sight. A Hieratic Seal of the Heavenly Spheres, Borreload Savage Dragon, and a set back row (dependent of the variant). It was proved over the past couple of months that this setup was more than enough though. Hieratic Seal bouncing any face-up card was a lot to deal with for a lot of decks. Bouncing a Zoodiac XYZ or a chaos dragon really helped to stop your opponent's turn. Next to that, Seal summons a dragon from the deck. You can use that dragon together with a set Dragonmaid Tidying as an additional interrupt. Now you have a dragon in hand that you basically searched and probably a Chamber Dragonmaid in the graveyard that you can summon back next turn. It doesn't really matter what your opponent does on their turn. Your field is strong enough to disrupt them and you will survive with additional followup for the next turn.

dragonmaid tidying Hieratic Seal of the Heavenly Spheres borreload savage dragon
The gange we're dealing with

So we have a resilient, consistent deck that can play through multiple hand traps, has multiple extenders, an end field that most decks just scoop to, and an insane one-turn-kill potential. The fact that Elpy is still unlimited is really amazing to me. I don't think it really matters what happens on the next Forbidden & Limited List. It will be near impossible to kill this deck. I think there will forever be a way to play this deck. Whether it's pure Rokkets or something entirely different, I'm sure we'll see some dragons rising from the ashes.

The Options

What will happen to this deck is still unknown. The deck has survived for such a long time it would be weird that it might finally be gone. It took some time, but everyone agrees it's time for things to change. I will be discussing various cards in the deck whether they are ban worthy or not. My goal is to still have the deck work and be playable but not be as oppressive.

Guardragon Elpy is on the top of everyone's list and it's the one card that makes the most sense. Summoning any dragon from deck is insane already, but then having the option to summon something that searches extenders is where you have to draw the line. Making a zone where two monsters point to isn't hard, so it's really time for Elpy to go. Only banning Elpy really isn't enough though. It will definitely lower the ceiling of the deck, but it will just evolve and people will find a more consistent build without Elpy targets.

This is where it becomes a little more difficult. One of the first things to look at is the chaos babies and Chaos Space. Chaos Space was intended as support for chaos decks. Think about Lightsworns for example. People quickly adapted to the card though. When you have broken options, it makes sense to utilize them fully. Black Dragon Collapserpent and White Dragon Wyverburster are two very strong cards. They have been popping on and off the radar in Yu-Gi-Oh! for quite a while. They were utilized in Chaos Shaddoll early in 2016 and were limited after Thunder Dragons abused them. Even though they were limited, Konami still released Chaos Space, which seems like it's literally too perfect for them to be true. Is the answer here banning Chaos Space or the dragons? Chaos Space is perfect for the decks it's intended for. It also works wonders for decks like Drytron where it can add Vendread Battlelord from your deck to your hand. The applications are limitless. The card is really good. Like, really really good. Ban worthy? That's really dependent on what it searches. I personally think it might be time to say goodbye to the baby chaos dragons.

vendread battlelord Drytron Zeta Aldhibah
A new route

Another thing to look at is the many extenders of the deck. Boot Sector Launch is an amazing card, but Rokkets rely on it too much. Banning Striker Dragon will definitely hurt, but we're not into the business of killing the deck. A very important card that I don't think people talk about enough is Quick Launch. A nonrestrictive, not once-per-turn quickplay spell that just lets you summon a Rokket from your deck is insane. It can summon a variety of monsters. Level one, two, three, four, and seven. It can be a tuner too. A similar card is Armed Dragon Flash. But the difference between Quick Launch and Armed Dragon Flash is that the Armed Dragon spell has both a level and a once-per-turn restriction. Quick Launch has a pass and can just do whatever it wants. It wasn't only played in Dragon Link though. There were loads of other decks abusing the card to make a quick Savage Dragon or just extend. 3 Axis Burning Abyss used it to summon Autorokket Dragon and do a Guardragon combo. Eldlich used it too to turbo out Chaos Ruler, the Chaotic Magical Dragon and get advantage through its excavates. It's too generic for its own good. Other decks would kill for something even close to it. I really expect the card to go to one on the next list.

Another card I'm really not sure about is Hieratic Seal of the Heavenly Spheres. This card isn't only for disruption, it also offers protection from a card like Nibiru, the Primal Being. The card is oppressive and on its own almost an instant win in some matchups. A deck relying on normal summon might just scoop at the mere sight of a Seal. Even without Elpy, Dragon Link will play enough other viable targets for the Hieratic Seal like Black Metal Dragon or maybe a return of Amorphage Goliath. The combination with Dragonmaid Tidying is also noteworthy. Maybe this is something the ban list team will look at too. A limit might be possible to counter the anti-Nibiru strategy. If they want to handle things a little harder than the card might get banned. It won't be the first time we're seeing a fresh reprint to get hit relatively quickly.

amorphage goliath Red-Eyes Darkness Metal Dragon
Old friends


Dragon Link is a very interesting deck. I don't think I have ever witnessed a deck evolve so much over multiple formats. Even in this single format alone I've seen at least four different versions of the deck. It really proves a deck is never solved and can always evolve more and more. With the Extravaganzas coming up it will be interesting to see what Dragon Link does on a competitive level. It's used to high representation but a very low conversion rate. The deck is far from unbeatable. It plays into multiple hand traps like Nibiru, the Primal Being, Droll & Lock Bird, and Ash Blossom & Joyous Spring. But even when you open those cards, there is still a large chance your opponent ends on at least a Hieratic Seal, maybe even more.

We can say for sure though that something needs to happen. This deck has been around for an incredibly long time, and whether you like it or not, it's too good. Generic strong cards, a high number of extenders, and scary consistency. What do you think will happen to Dragon Link?

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not necessarily Cardmarket.


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BakaBaizuo(22.04.2021 13:34)

Haven't seen it used much online in dragon link decks, but I also want to mention with the new banlist they've got an amazing floodgate when using DMZ Dragon to equip the now unbanned Dragon Buster Destruction Sword

ShadowRealmYGO(21.04.2021 11:35)

Banning Elpy and limiting Quick Launch can be a solid start.

AkingApe97(21.04.2021 14:35)


Deniz42(21.04.2021 23:37)

Stratosf8 bullshit it Would destroy d Link

ShadowRealmYGO(22.04.2021 10:20)

Deniz42 I think that even DLink players understand how insane their plays can be, and of these get enabled by these cards. The DLink isn't going anywhere even with these cards banned, all it'll have to do is to adapt its strategy.

Kreatordark(26.04.2021 08:53)

Stratosf8 yes, i agree iam an D. Link Player and i found an Variante without Elpy and I got an apollousa for 3, hieraticseal, Savage for 2, harbenger, Chaos ruler (pilgerdragon XD). But the deck will never dies haha and ban chamber for example will kill the Dragonmaids who doesn’t see plays but quick launch on 1 safe !!!

tatsym(21.04.2021 01:59)

BandanaP96 For this article I specifically looked at only Dlink. There are much more changes needed indeed

Dragonfreak28(21.04.2021 01:49)

I believe only cards that are plainly unfair should be banned. Well, after the ban of Union Carrier/ Dragon Buster, there isn't anything really unfair the deck does. It's just the cards that work together so well, and tbh that is how it should be. However, special summoning from the deck is something that should be considered and is considered unfair. This is the reason cards like Miragestallio or Harp Horror are banned. Keeping this in mind, it would be proper to ban Elpy, and to limit Quick Launch, as that is not searchable. And then, I would hit the consistency as well, to curb the power level a little bit. That would mean, (semi)-limiting Chaos Space and maybe other Starter Cards like the Black Metal Dragon (I don't even know if people still play that guy). However, the consistency thing does not really apply during Corona times. Since last April, Konami has only really hit the cards that were just plainly unfair, but did not really touch the consistency of decks. With more and more events coming up, they might change that, but for now it should just be the unfair stuff that should be dealt with. Keep in mind, that Dragon Link is much better to play against than an Extra Link board or some floodgate monsters. It is neither unfair nor unbeatable, therefore, it should not be killed off before people had a chance to play with it in real life again.

Kreatordark(26.04.2021 09:01)(Edited: 26.04.2021 09:02)

Dragonfreak28 i agree i am an D Linkk player but a short cut we need haha (btw I have an good meta potential version without Elpy to) if ya need write pm or everyone who wanna know

BandanaP96(21.04.2021 01:15)

I think elpy ban , quick launch and striker dragon to 1 are good hits for the deck and for the sake of the format , but if you hit dragon link you cant leave invoked untouched or am I missing something ? „normalsummon aleister“ are still the most frightning words to hear in a duel to me and the engine is just too consistent and also in the meta game for years now , either bring out many more unfair meta strategies or hit the current ones so other decks can compete properly too is my opinion to this

Kreatordark(26.04.2021 08:57)

BandanaP96 i agree wanna See meltdown on 1 or an errater like the effect from firewall was changed to haha and we shall not fortget nadir servant haha

ILoveMadolche(21.04.2021 01:12)

I used to play this deck, but I quit for more simple decks like Eldlich when I realized I was just playing solitaire every duel instead of Yugioh. Is there anyone who thinks this deck is Yugioh and not just a coinflip on whether your opponent drew their out or not?

tatsym(21.04.2021 01:49)

ILoveMadolche isnt that just yugioh overall?

ILoveMadolche(22.04.2021 10:00)

Tatsym Not exactly in my experience, but I play more casually now so that might be the truth competitive-wise, since winning is everything