Thunder Dragon (archetype)
"Thunder Dragon" (サンダー・ドラゴン Sandā Doragon) is an archetype of LIGHT and DARK Thunder monsters. The archetype originates from the monster "Thunder Dragon", which was introduced in the Vol.7 Booster Pack in 2000 and only had one related monster: "Twin-Headed Thunder Dragon". The "series" was massively expanded in 2018's Soul Fusion, giving "Thunder Dragon" a set of Main Deck and Extra Deck monsters and supporting Spell and Trap Cards.
The general design and effect of each "Thunder Dragon" monster is derived from the original "Thunder Dragon": all of them are depicted as electric dragons with a color scheme incorporating green, yellow, black and/or gray. "Thunder Dragon Titan" resembles a three-headed "Thunder Dragon", similar to the design of "Blue-Eyes Ultimate Dragon". "Thunder Dragondark" is a directly retrained counterpart of the original "Thunder Dragon", with the same Type, Level, original ATK and DEF, but the opposite Attribute; it also has a similar effect that can search a copy of itself.
The "Thunder Dragon" archetype revolves around using its supporting monsters' discard and banish effects to set up the field and Graveyard, in order to summon its powerful boss monsters. The Deck's boss monsters have effects revolving around banishing friendly cards in the GY, and applying effects after a Thunder monster activates its effect in the hand, tying themselves back to the effects of their supporting monsters.
The archetype has 5 (relatively low-Level) Main Deck monsters with Levels under 6, who serve as combo pieces to bring out the archetype's boss monsters. Almost all of them have two effects: an Ignition Effect activated by discarding them, and a Trigger Effect that can be activated when they are banished or sent from the field to the Graveyard. These effects provide search power and field setup, and also sets up the GY with monsters for the archetype's other effects.
|Thunder Dragon||Attribute||Discard Effect||Banish/Sent from field to GY Effect|
|Thunder Dragon||LIGHT||Search up to 2 "Thunder Dragon".||-|
|Dragondark||DARK||(Quick Effect) Search 1 "Thunder Dragondark".||Search 1 different "Thunder Dragon" card.|
|Dragonhawk||LIGHT||Special Summon 1 different "Thunder Dragon" monster from GY or banished.||Shuffle any number of cards from hand to Deck, then draw the same number of cards.|
|Dragonmatrix||LIGHT||(Quick Effect) 1 friendly Thunder monster gains 500 ATK.||Search 1 "Dragonmatrix".|
|Dragonroar||DARK||Add 1 different "Thunder Dragon" card from GY or banished to hand.||Special Summon 1 "Thunder Dragon" monster from Deck (in Defense), and return it to hand in the End Phase.|
|Except "Thunder Dragon", all the above effects are only 1 effect once per turn.|
Of these monsters, "Thunder Dragonmatrix" is the only one that is under Level 4, making it the only one that can be Normal Summoned without Tributes.
The archetype has two pairs of commonly-used boss monsters: the Main Deck Special Summon-only monsters, "Thunder Dragonduo" and "Thunder Dragonlord", and the Extra Deck Fusion Monsters, "Thunder Dragon Colossus" and "Thunder Dragon Titan". Their summoning conditions involve banishing friendly cards in the hand/GY for the Main Deck members, and either conventional Fusion Summoning or pseudo-Contact Fusion for the Fusion members.
|Main Deck Thunder Dragon||Attribute||Summoning Condition|
|Dragonduo||DARK||Banish 1 LIGHT and 1 DARK monster from your GY.|
|Dragonlord||LIGHT||Banish 1 Level 8 or lower Thunder monster from your hand or face-up field, during the turn a Thunder monster's effect was activated in the hand.|
|Fusion Thunder Dragon||Attribute||Fusion Summoning Materials||Alternative Summoning Condition|
|Colossus||DARK||"Thunder Dragon" + 1 Thunder monster||Tribute 1 Thunder Effect non-Fusion Monster, during the turn a Thunder monster's effect was activated in the hand.|
|Titan||LIGHT||3 "Thunder Dragon" monsters||Banish 1 Thunder monster from your hand and 1 Thunder Fusion Monster you control, except "Thunder Dragon Titan".|
The Main Deck "Thunder Dragon" boss monsters have on-field effects focusing on protection and resource cycling, while the Fusion "Thunder Dragon" boss monsters are the main board presence, providing offensive and floodgating effects. All of their effects involve banishing cards from the GY; this can be used to trigger the banish effects of the low-Level "Thunder Dragon" monsters, generating more resources.
- "Thunder Dragonduo" can search any Thunder monster after destroying a monster by battle, which can give access to otherwise hard-to-search monsters, such as "Thunder King Rai-Oh" and "Denko Sekka". In the opponent's End Phase, it can also put a banished card to the top or the bottom of the deck, to either draw into it or recycle it for later use.
- "Thunder Dragonlord" has a Quick Effect that grants a friendly Thunder monster immunity against card effect targeting for 1 turn. In the player's End Phase, it can send a "Thunder Dragon" card from Deck to GY.
- "Thunder Dragon Colossus" has a one-sided "Mistake" effect, and can protect itself from battle or effect destruction by banishing 1 Thunder monster from GY. Its floodgate effect shuts off many decks' pathways into consistent combos, and its destruction prevention effect makes it very hard to remove.
- "Thunder Dragon Titan" can destroy cards on the field when a Thunder monster activates its effect in the hand, a non-once-per-turn effect that can be used multiple times and in the opponent's turn. It can protect itself from effect destruction by banishing 2 cards in the GY.
"Thunder Dragon Fusion", the archetype's Fusion Spell, works with the archetype's discard and banish effects by Fusion Summoning through shuffling materials from the field, GY, or banished cards into the Deck. It can also banish itself from the GY (except on the turn it was sent there) to search out 1 Thunder monster, providing additional follow-up.
The Deck's main combo enabler is the banish/sent-to-GY search effect of "Thunder Dragondark", and secondarily that of "Thunder Dragonroar". "Dragondark" can search "Thunder Dragon Fusion" for Fusion Summons, "Thunder Dragonhawk" for its discard effect (which summons a monster and enables the "activate in hand" condition for the summon of "Colossus"), or the Main Deck boss monsters, while "Dragonroar" provides more swarming and puts more "Thunder Dragon" monsters into circulation. As they're both high-Level monsters, it is easier to trigger their search effects by banishing them, which can be done in a variety of ways. These include "Gold Sarcophagus", "Allure of Darkness", "Aloof Lupine", the Summoning conditions of "Thunder Dragonduo" and "Thunder Dragonlord", and the Summoning condition of "Thunder Dragon Titan", which can be established by using "Instant Fusion" or "Ready Fusion" to summon "Kaminari Attack".
As the archetype is composed of LIGHT and DARK monsters that benefit from being banished, it synergizes very well with the Chaos series. 1-banish Chaos monsters such as "White Dragon Wyverburster" and "Chaos Valkyria" combo well with "Batteryman Solar" (who sends a Thunder monster to GY on summon), as they can immediately banish a "Thunder Dragondark" or "Thunder Dragonroar" to trigger their searches. The Chaos searcher "Chaos Space" provides more GY setup and search power, and 2-banish Chaos cards like "Chaos Dragon Levianeer" and "The Chaos Creator" can provide more explosive combo plays if the player has the resources for them.
Despite the Deck's sheer versatility, it still has many great weaknesses. Since the deck is so reliant on banishing cards, a well timed "Imperial Iron Wall" or "Chaos Hunter" can completely shut the Deck down; because it is also reliant on Special Summoning constantly to achieve swarming and field control, cards like "Vanity's Ruler", "Vanity's Fiend", and "Fossil Dyna Pachycephalo" can severely slow down the strategy.
The inherent card effect protection of the "Thunder Dragon" Fusion monsters can also be bypassed by various cards: "Invoked Raidjin", "Kaiju" monsters, "Castel, the Skyblaster Musketeer", "Book of Moon", "Cyberse Quantum Dragon", etc. Curiously, effects that banish them can also be helpful, since the Fusions themselves cannot be Summoned once they are banished and do not trigger any effect upon being banished. One-turn options to stop the Deck also include "Dimensional Barrier" and "Artifact Lancea".
Finally, all three of the "Drain" Continuous Trap Cards can put a complete seal on these Decks. In addition to the on-field effect negation of "Skill Drain", "Soul Drain" will prevent the triggering of effects of "Thunder Dragon" that hit the Graveyard or are banished, and "Mind Drain" prevents "Thunder Dragons" from activating their effects in the hand.