- A Brief History
- The Drajeweled Rideline
- Enter the Lair
- Supporting Grade 3s
- Drajeweled Support
- Sample Decklist
- Analyzing Strengths and Weaknesses
- Concluding Thoughts
Hey guys, Josh aka Godsman here. So with the release of Set 7 for EN, I thought it would be a good idea to discuss one of the most prominent decks supported in the deck: Drajeweled.
So this may come as a surprise as, for those of you who follow my other articles or Youtube channel, you’ll know I’m a Paladin/Keter man. And that’s certainly true, but in recent times I’ve been branching out to other nations for the Standard format and Drajeweled is a stand out favorite. Why is that you might ask? Well let’s talk about it!
But before that, a couple ground rules. As is tradition for these introduction/analysis articles, I’ll be taking a holistic approach to discussing the deck rather than just how strong it is right now or what have you. History, deck building, and future speculation will all be included. Also, note that the deck has only recently been released in the west, so discussions relating to tournament results will reference Drajeweled’s performance in the JP meta up until this point. That about covers it, so let’s dive right in!
A Brief History
Beginning with the history and lore behind the deck, we actually don’t have much to talk about as, to reiterate, this deck is pretty new. But let’s go over what we know so far.
First off, despite much of the deck releasing in DBT07, Drajeweled as an archetype actually made its debut in Trial Deck 02: Michiru Hazama. As the name would imply, this deck was used in the Will+Dress anime by the titular character, Michiru Hazama. In the continuity of the show, Michiru is the former champion of the U-20 tournament and is a record-breaking cardfighter despite his young age. Revered by many, Michiru was the fan favorite to win the deluxe tournament and stands as one of the most formidable fighters around.
As for the lore, we similarly don’t have much to discuss although a little is revealed. Here’s what we know: “The head of the Rainbow Demonic Dragons. Though it has the power to overpower the Demon Lords of the Dark States if it gets serious, it is only interested in kneading the Fate Power embodied in the form of miasma, storing it up as ‘magic stones’, and idly sleeping in its lair. However this is only under the condition that ‘its treasure is under no threat’. If the magic stones that shine rainbow-coloured would ever be stolen, the world would come to know Drajeweled’s terrible wrath.”
So between his lore and the player who uses him, Drajeweled is depicted as an incredibly fearsome deck and creature. And despite the recent release, the deck has already gained a notable following with many players considering it their favorite Dark States deck, or even their favorite overall! And with a new season of Will+Dress on the way, we can definitely expect more to the budding legacy of Drajeweled!
The Drajeweled Rideline
So as is Standard (pun intended) with Standard decks, we have a rideline dedicated to the Drajeweled strategy.
Beginning with the Starter here, Jewelias Dracokid, we have the typical effect to draw a card if you went second. Funnily enough, the rideline does not require this starter so you could run a different first vanguard if you want to throw off the opponent. However, to keep in line with the theme of the deck, this is your starter.
Moving on to the Grade 1, we have Jewel Core Dragon. This is a relatively simple unit, being able to call itself out as a 13k attacker or booster once rode over before returning to the soul. It provides a bit of early game that is much appreciated in the deck. However, the fact that it moves back into your soul means you lose your new unit. What’s the deal with that?
Well that’s where the grade 2 comes in. Demonic Stone Dragon, Jewelneel has the effect to not only soul charge when its attack hits a vanguard, but soul charge again and draw a card once rode over. Now we get into the meat of it, and also see the first instance of the deck’s main gimmick, that being building the soul with different grades. Jewelneel provides fantastic payoff in the form of extra soul as well as an extra draw to compensate for the loss of Jewel Core.
The brilliant thing about this is that Jewel Core’s skill to move back into soul now makes sense as it grants you the 3 grades you need to get Jewelneel’s draw effect. Overall, this rideline is definitely solid and provides the deck the necessary tools to begin the assault.
Enter the Lair
Alright time to chat about the star of the show, Drajeweled himself. And plot twist: there’s two of them, one from the trial deck and subsequently Set 7. Going into their effects more, we start with the main effect which, for the price of soul blasting 4 cards with different grades, allows you to reduce the opponent’s power to 1 and even gain a critical to boot. Now you may look at this effect and think “Holy crap that’s strong!”, and you would be right dear reader, this is a scary skill. It’s a skill reminiscent of Dust’s skill from G era for you Premium players out there. It’s also the skill shared by both Drajeweled units and the main payoff of the deck.
As for where they differ, Demonic Jewel Dragon possesses the ability to Counter-blast in order to seoul charge two cards and draw should they be different grades. On the other hand, Jewel-embracing Dragon gains 5k on rear guard and can be regarded as his other incarnation when rode upon.
Right away you may think that Demonic Jewel Dragon Drajeweled would be the better unit, and once again you’d be right: This is the main vanguard of the deck. So what’s the point of the other guy? In a nutshell, it’s all about his first skill. Since he counts as the other Drajeweled when rode upon, you get to trigger persona ride despite these being different units. That in turn allows you to run 4 copies of your other Drajeweled in the main deck, resulting in an extra persona ride target. Note however that this skill only applies when rode over, so riding the Trail deck Drajeweled over the main Drajeweled will not trigger persona ride.
Now although having the potential to run an extra persona ride in the deck is a cool benefit, it’s most often not one taken advantage of in Drajeweled decks and most players prefer only running the main Drajeweled. This is because the skill to soul charge two is a powerful skill that helps ramp the deck and provide a potentially critical card for the game, so having that skill on hand right away is important and makes running the Trial deck Drajeweled a valid choice but a bit slow in the current meta game. Oh and quick spoiler, but there are a couple other means of securing additional persona rides we’ll discuss later which further detract from the appeal of this card but nevertheless it is an option.
As for Drajewled’s main ability, there’s a bit of detail to discuss. For one thing, this is a skill that activates when attacking the vanguard. The timing is important as depending on yoursetup you may not swing with the vanguard first. This is potentially important as if the opponent damage checks a trigger prior to Drajeweled’s attack, they’ll also lose the trigger’s power. This even gives a way to break through defensive Over triggers! On the flipside, if they damage check a trigger after Drajeweled uses its skill, they’ll keep the added power boost so watch out for that.
Speaking of power boosts, what if the opponent’s vanguard has an ability which grants it a continuous power boost? Thankfully it rules in our favor as Drajewel’s skill will reduce them to one regardless. For instance, let’s say the opponent’s vanguard gains an extra 2k and is at 15k power. Drajeweled’s skill would then reduce it by -14999, bringing it to one. Funnily enough, if their vanguard loses their continuous boost (perhaps they no longer meet the condition) while Drajeweled’s skill is still in effect, then their power will become -1999 which is hilarious. And yes, this negative number applies against their guards, which is also hilarious.
That pretty much covers the finer points of the skill and how it interacts with things. It’s a devastating skill that ravages the opponent and makes guarding your attacks so taxing it won’t be long before they can no longer hold back the onslaught. And there are still more benefits and ways to enable this skill as we’ll go into in the next few sections.
Supporting Grade 3s
Okay next up are the other Grade 3s in the deck. Right away we have our usual suspect in the form of Rystal Galer. Now although he isn’t mandatory, this card is definitely useful and multipurpose as it possesses the ability to filter hand, build soul, and pick off the opponent’s units all at once (and for free no less). I recommend running a full playset.
Miroslava is another solid choice for the deck and adds consistency to the deck. The highlight of this card is it can recycle your persona ride leading to strong follow ups, but has the versatility to call pieces instead. Be careful though as counterblast is a bit heavy and this is taking a grade out of your soul so be sure to have a backup already in there. Regardless, it’s a great secondary option after Rystal Galer and I’d recommend playing a copy or two.
Gratias Gradale is an order card set to release in DBT08 and, similarly to Miloslava, grants the deck another way to see persona rides. In this case, it’s a costless and immediate means to persona ride. However, it’s not perfect as the card doesn’t give you a soul as a normal persona ride would and it’s not a unit so you can attack or guard with it in desperate situations. Having said all that, I still recommend playing the 1 one copy you can as persona ride is powerful and its benefits certainly outweigh the drawbacks.
As for the rest of the deck, there’s quite a bit of options at our disposal. Every one of these cards are worthy of consideration and can work well, but there are a couple MVPs of the deck that I wish to highlight first.
Let me start with what I consider to be the best card of the deck: Rockargour. What makes this card an absolute staple in the deck is quite simple really; it’s your only source of multiattack in the deck. Yup, this guy allows you to perform up to five attacks in a turn. On top of that, his ability to gain 10k power for the turn makes him a particularly formidable beater and elevates the offense for Drajeweled significantly. The only downsides are that his effects only work if the opponent is at Grade 3 and his restand costs a counterblast apiece, but this doesn’t change the fact that Rockargour is a cornerstone of the deck and should be ran at 4 copies no questions asked.
Moving on from the chad Rockargour, we have the rest of the deck which typically contains a combination of these units listed above. The reason why there are so many displayed is that they fulfill similar functions, that being soul building, draw power, and consistency. In other words, apart from Drajeweled himself and Rockargour which make up the bulk of your offense, the rest of the deck is an engine dedicated to resource gathering and setup.
Despite their similarities, what ironically matters more is where these cards differ as that will allow you the player to decide which among them are most worthy of running for your vision of the deck. The devil is in the details and the small differences in effect make a big difference overall. Although I will share my current list down below, ultimately the burden of choice falls to you, the reader. With that in mind, I would suggest paying mind to the respective costs and conditions each card possesses as well as any potential synergy they may have with other cards in the deck. Also keep in mind that your Grade ratios shouldn’t be too disbalanced as it will make fulfilling Drajeweled’s skill that much harder to fulfill turn after turn should you not find that missing Grade.
On a final note before moving onto the decklist, triggers are a potentially interesting topic with multiple avenues to explore. Drajeweled as a deck is rather open in how it can utilize triggers; draw triggers are great for gathering pieces and supplementing advantage while Front triggers synergize with your attack patterns since Drajeweled should be attacking before the rear guards (excluding Rockargour). Of course, you can’t go wrong with critical triggers to push for lethal nor will we reject running 4 heal triggers.
Needless to say, it’s wide open. And in all honesty, there isn’t exactly an “optimal” way to build the trigger lineup for the deck. It comes down to the vision and how you desire to win. Maxing out on 8 critical triggers is great for punishing the opponent and adding pressure on their guards. Draws are more favorable if you wish to win the attrition game and want a 10k shield to defend against small but bothersome attacks. On the flipside, Fronts maximize the power of your field and beat the opponent into submission through raw numbers. Effect fronts also sport a solid 20k shield which can definitely alleviate pressure from attacks with annoying numbers.
They’re both about equal in my mind and just come down to whether you want to strengthen your defense or offense. Heck, considering how useful each trigger is, running a rainbow lineup is another very viable route. Now some would consider it suboptimal as your drive checks are less predictable, but the kicker is that this works both ways; Your opponent can just as easily be thrown off by what you drive check making unpredictability both a liability and an asset. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s definitely worthy of consideration may or may not be what I opted for, as you’ll see in a second.
Above is the list I currently run for the Set 7 format. And although Set 8 will give us access to Gratias Gradale, which will replace a copy of Miroslava, nothing else will change for set 8 so this list should remain relevant for a good while.
Delving more into the list, I opted for a version of Drajeweled that prioritized balance and stability above raw pushing power which is expressed in several ways. First off, the inclusion of two Miroslava (soon to be 1 + Gratias Gradale) was included not only as a means to maintain persona ride targets for strong follow-up, but also to give the deck more Grade 3s. After all, a critical point about Drajeweled’s rideline is that it only ensures you Grades 0-2, so if you want to activate Drajeweled’s skill as soon as possible, you’ll need to get a Grade 3 hence the extra Grade 3s. Rystal Galer speaks for himself, his utility and ease of use makes him a worthy inclusion.
As for grade 2s, I only run 8 of them as your rideline already provides a Grade 2 which can be recycled back into soul with multiple effects so 8 is certainly enough. As for my choices, 4 Rockargour speaks for itself, the card is absolutely essential for Drajeweled’s offense. As for Ultrasound Sirie, her inclusion mainly came down to her ability to build soul and gaining advantage felt more accessible versus the alternatives. Looking at the top 3 cards and then drawing is a range that exceeds blind soul charging and even other cards like Power Gem and Zeilmort so there’s less chance for painful results. It’s another counterblast in the deck but so were the aforementioned cards so this feels a bit more worthy despite only triggering when placed.
Looking at the Grade 1s, we see 4 copies of Falcate Performer, and this is for good reason. See, although Rockargour gets my vote for MVP of the deck, if I were able to list a second candidate, it’d be Falcate. This card grants the deck such a fantastic means of maintaining its gimmick every turn. It’s virtually free, activates every turn by simply boosting, can be live as soon as turn 1, and can even put back multiple cards if you have multiple copies boosting. This card is an ideal booster for the vanguard as his timing allows you to put in a missing card prior to drajeweled’s effect or return a card to soul after Drajeweled’s effect. Oh and remember how Grade 3s in soul aren’t ensured with the rideline? Well given that it’s live on the first turn, you could discard a Grade 3 card from hand for the rideline, then put that card into soul with Falcate. Boom! Problem solved. It’s just an amazing card that I sincerely believe to be one of the best for the strategy, so definitely run it.
Another very solid pick is Brainwash Swirler which I run at 3 copies. This guy is a notorious generic staple that finds its way into many Dark states decks, and for good reason. He gives you a free soul charge on top of gaining 5k for said soul charge. What makes him particularly good for Drajeweled is the vanguard himself. Recall Drajeweled’s skill which soul charges 2 cards then potentially draws. This combos well for any Brainwash Swirlers that happen to be on the field as they’ll gain an extra 10k power apiece just like that. So between the free soul and potentially large numbers, Brainwash helps the deck strike the perfect balance of aggression and resource management.
The last Grade 1 of note is One Who Calls Upon Raging Thunder, Furgres. This guy is mostly a flex spot but his ability allows him to swap a soul with something from the drop, helping to reestablish the proper Grade setup in your soul. His ability to gain 2k power is also potentially meaningful, especially when boosting a unit like Drajeweled or Rystal Galer. Unfortunately, it’s only a one-time use unlike Falcate so this is more of an emergency use type of card in case you need a Grade in soul and you aren’t able to do it otherwise. Thankfully, it’s virtually costless so the card doesn’t impede your plays, making it a pretty seamless transition into the deck overall.
Moving on to the rest of the deck, the PGs don’t really require explanation, elementaria sanctitude included, this is 100% the norm for decks. As for the trigger lineup, as previously stated, the Rainbow route favors variety in potential benefits and the potential to throw the opponent for a loop. Now what I will mention is that I chose 4 draws and 3 fronts because I was more defensively minded. In fact, my inclusion of the fronts were mainly due to the hefty 20k shield they provide rather than the trigger effect itself, that’s just a nice bonus. The effect critical usually doesn’t come up but you never know when a Grade 0 of all things will end up being the missing Grade so it’s definitely a skill worth remembering if nothing else.
Finally, I opted to simply run 4 regular heal triggers as I value being able to rely on their 15k shield versus effect heals which are rather situational and work best as meta calls. Right now, I would say that Brilliant Floral Uania may be a potentially worthy effect heal as some of the hard hitting decks of the current format such as Gravidia and Eva have units which gain extra criticals on their units via their own effects. Funnily enough, this may also be potentially useful in the mirror match for guarding Drajeweled himself. Nevertheless, I opted for reliability in regular heals since that falls in line with the list’s stability-minded approach.
In the end, these choices aren’t set in stone and could be swapped out by your preference, so definitely use this list as a template to get creative with your own version!
Analyzing Strengths and Weaknesses
Having talked about the history, card, and potential deck builds for Drajeweled, it’s time to assess the strengths and shortcomings of this strategy!
Beginning with the positives, Drajeweled has an indisputably solid skill in its ability to reduce the opponent’s power to 1 and bring critical pressure right off the bat to the opponent. This makes your offense that much stronger by sheer power difference and makes even simple attacks difficult to guard. The vanguard’s swing in particular is scary due to the critical, so oftentimes the opponent will be inclined to perfect guard it or face the scary scenario of a guard break. This all culminates to a dramatic exhaustion of the opponent’s defensive resources. Heck, the Drajeweled offense is so potent that you may even be able to kill the opponent rather quickly if things go in your favor. Regardless, it’s a skill with little counterplay apart from a pesky Stoicheia card named Urjula which prevents their vanguard from being chosen by effects. However, excluding that one very niche card, Drajeweled’s effect isn’t something the opponent can prevent nor can they do much to work around it.
Another highlight of the deck is its focus on resourcing and draw power. Many of your cards provide this benefit in some form or another; heck, it’s such a strong point of the deck that the vanguard himself can soul charge two and draw each turn, so there’s little to complain about there. There’s a great degree of stability and stay power to the deck and, surprisingly, there isn’t that big of a risk of deckout compared to most decks despite this being a Dark States deck which are known for being on the deckout amber alert. Jokes aside, these are where the deck shines, but what about its more unfortunate aspects.
The deck is also pretty strong going second. Some of your effects such as Rockargour’s skills and Drajeweled’s extra critical come online when the opponent is at Grade 3 so you can clap back pretty hard. That said, this can also be seen as a bit of a weakness since going first locks you into a 3 attack turn and the lack of the extra crit makes drajeweled’s attack less deadly should it connect. So it can’t go full force right off the bat if it goes first but the deck doesn’t feel slow when going second. To sum it up, the deck may be better going second which is debatably good or bad, it’s more of an in between rather than a definitive upside/downside but definitely worthy of note regardless.
When looking at where Drajeweled struggles, right away I need to bring up the issue of Counter-blasts in the deck. I previously stated that resources were great in the deck, and when it comes to draw power and soul, this certainly holds true. But Counter-blasts are a completely different story. The deck has loads of cards that require CB. To list a few, we have: Drajeweled himself, Rockargour (Potentially 2 CB a turn), Ultrasound Sirie, and Miroslava, etc. These are all really good effects you want to see in most games, especially the former two skills. Let’s also keep in mind that I only listed the ones for my list; other cards like Zeilmort, Matelvaara, and Power Gem all ask for Counter-blast as well. So with all this Counter-blast, you’d expect there to be a handy dandy Counter-charge on hand right…right?
Well as you can see from both the card recommendations and my own list, that ain’t the case friend. Technically, Dark States does have access to a relatively generic Counter-charge in Selfish Engraver, however the requirement to be at 10 soul to activate that skill is a bit too high for what one should expect from Drajeweled in most games considering the deck doesn’t seek to ramp soul so much as it acts to maintain certain cards in soul, meaning that 10 soul is unnecessary other than for this effect. So yeah we’re pretty much out of luck when it comes to Counter-charge options and acts as a really limiter to how hard the deck can push on any given turn since CB management is always a concern. Here’s hoping a CC for the deck is on the way.
Another issue for the deck is that it’s a bit piece reliant. Its multiattack is entirely based on one card that isn’t searchable, Falcate is usually a big part to your soul setup, and other pieces are important for netting more resources. Without them, you’ll starve out and also lack field presence to boot. Rockargour in particular is such a high priority card for the deck that oftentimes the opponent will be inclined to retire it, even if that means attacking it instead of your vanguard. Indeed, this card is a crucial element whose appearance in your games is purely up to chance, but even seeing one is enough to have a solid turn so it’s not too terrible.
The other pieces of the deck, while necessary, aren’t mutually exclusive in their roles the way Rockargour is. Cards like Falcate are of course most preferable for its reliable access to grades from drop, but cards like Brainwash and Sirie can also fetch you stuff from the deck potentially and Furgres is a mini Falcate to boot. Additionally, Miroslava can retrieve pieces from soul for you should you need it so there is a very slight element of searchability for pieces albeit for a dreaded Counter-blast. Overall, it’s not an issue that will leave you completely helpless in most games but it can be felt, and matchups against field control decks can be particularly painful if you don’t have backup units so watch out.
Welp we’ve gone through just about everything I wanted to discuss with the deck. If you want to see a more in depth discussion on the list or see Drajeweled in action, then check out my channel where I’ve uploaded a deck profile and fight for the big man (shameless plug I know). My thoughts on Drajeweled are overall very positive, the deck is very fun and has a lot going for it right off the bat. Having said that, I must say that it’s not a top tier contender, it’s more of a rogue level deck compared to the top dogs which will be primarily Youthberk followed by Eva, Gravidia and the like. Although, I must also say that this deck definitely has the potential to grow further with future support.
Said support could and definitely should include a way to CC for the deck as that’s a sore spot. Furthermore, the deck relying on one single rearguard for multiattack is a bit dubious so although it’s unlikely, granting Drajeweled another restander may be just what the doctor ordered. Guard restrict is another potential addition though personally this seems rather dangerous and could push the deck’s already scary offense past what it should be.
Perhaps the most interesting prospect is a Grade 4 Drajeweled. Now the basis for this is that it would follow the trend of Starter deck vanguards getting Grade 4s but this could very well be something Bushiroad doesn’t want to repeat. However, hypothetically, what would that entail?
It’s a bit involved. See, the main skill would have to stay mostly the same in order to synergize with Rockargour and other cards. That said, it’s possible to add a segment similar to Valeos (again a nod to Premium/G-era) which prevents their power from exceeding its reduced value. In other words, they’re staying at 1 that turn no matter what. This would be a solid upgrade as it really forces the opponent into a corner and cannot rely on trigger checks to get them out of it.
Another debate is how it should utilize its Grade 3 counterpart. Most Grade 4s require their grade 3 version to be present in the soul or used as a cost for their skill. In the case of Drajeweled it may force you to Soul-blast a Drajeweled when doing the main skill along with 3 other cards of different grades which would be a fair restriction. The deck can recycle it with Falcate and whatnot too so it wouldn’t be too problematic in theory.
Other considerations are what else it would do to add to the strategy. Grade 3 Drajeweled builds resources every turn, but perhaps this version grants power gain based on a condition to your units to further enhance the finishing power of the deck? Again it’s all speculation but the potential is interesting.
One final note on the matter is how the inclusion of a Grade 4 would affect the deck itself. Right away, it would seem beneficial given that you now have a 5th grade to work with for the VG cost. However, it means that your emphasis on persona ride is probably lost and the very nature of a Grade 4 may be a tad slow depending on how the tempo of a game goes. There are potential benefits and downsides but either way, if we got such a Grade 4, it would probably serve to maximize the devastating offense that Drajeweled can bring to the table.
Exiting the theory zone, the deck in its current incarnation is well conceived and possesses both current strength and strong future potential. Although its time in the competitive spotlight is not yet at hand, the day will certainly come where Drajeweled is a hot contender. With a large pool of potential options and a powerful win condition to unify them, Drajeweled has a lot to offer any potential players, and I wholeheartedly recommend any reader to read this far to give it a try.
Nevertheless, all should fear the multichromatic dragon or fall victim to its dark fury!