The [A-to-Z] archetype has most definitely seen an interesting turn to say the least, with the initial play style focusing on Union monsters that rely on [Fusion Summoning without Polymerization] to bring out their boss monsters to suddenly incorporating Chazz Princeton/Jun Manjome’s comically iconic [Ojama] line-up to quickly push out the Fusion monsters by going through a few hoops and hurdles to meet the requirements using cards from the more recent [Legendary Duelists: Ancient Millennium] expansion. It’s managed to keep itself relevant in our current game state, if not become a deck to beat in a competitive setting, due to the deck’s simplicity and versatility, the aforementioned “Ojama” cards included. Despite the popularity nowadays, it has not always been the case, as the original line-up of “VWXYZ” was critically panned by the player base for having poor synergy and underwhelming Fusion monsters – it wasn’t until 2016 when Konami reintroduced the Union monsters in the repurposed [Structure Deck: Seto Kaiba] box with tools that took the “Yu-Gi-Oh!” community by storm, with the deck winning tournaments and taking positions left and right. Technically speaking, the archetype can be broken down into two halves, the original “VWXYZs” from the anime series and the more recent “ABCs,” with the latter introducing support cards to help both halves work together to form their ultimate Fusion Monster – [A-to-Z-Dragon Buster Cannon]. Definitely a bit of a task, but it’ll definitely be of great use to those interested in building and understanding the essentials of the deck, myself included.
While it would be of some benefit to go into detail about the original line-up of the “VWXYZ,” the cards themselves don’t lend themselves to the deck’s relevancy in our current format and has been generally forgotten by the player base for their lack of any real utility. At best, they work as a fun, casual variant for those interested in “showing off” their skill with the deck or for those who want to push out ridiculous monsters for laughs. For all intents and purposes, this article will focus more on the support released in the 2016 Structure Deck, including the "A-to-Z-Dragon Buster Cannon" – maybe in a future article, I’ll touch upon the other half, maybe go into those dark territories no duelists wish to tread.
Our monster line-up for “ABCs” happen to share a lot of similarities, so for the sake of keeping things as brief and concise as possible, all three components will share this particular segment; [A-Assault Core], [B-Buster Drake], and [C-Crush Wyvern] are all Level 4 LIGHT Machine-Type Union monsters that read:
Level 4 LIGHT Machine-Type Union Effect Monster
"Once per turn, you can either: Target 1 LIGHT Machine monster you control; equip this card to that target, OR: Unequip this card and Special Summon it. A monster equipped with this card is unaffected by your opponent's monster effects (except its own, also if the equipped monster would be destroyed by battle or card effect, destroy this card instead. If this card is sent from the field to the GY: You can add 1 other Union monster from your GY to your hand."
Level 4 LIGHT Machine-Type Union Effect Monster
"Once per turn, you can either: Target 1 LIGHT Machine monster you control; equip this card to that target, OR: Unequip this card and Special Summon it. A monster equipped with this card is unaffected by your opponent's Spell effects, also if the equipped monster would be destroyed by battle or card effect, destroy this card instead. If this card is sent from the field to the GY: You can add 1 Union monster from your Deck to your hand."
Level 4 LIGHT Machine-Type Union Effect Monster
"Once per turn, you can either: Target 1 LIGHT Machine monster you control; equip this card to that target, OR: Unequip this card and Special Summon it. A monster equipped with this card is unaffected by your opponent's Trap effects, also if the equipped monster would be destroyed by battle or card effect, destroy this card instead. If this card is sent from the field to the GY: Special Summon 1 Union monster from your hand."
As with any Union monsters in the game’s long history of cards, they all share an effect that allows them to equip themselves onto another monster and/or Special Summon themselves from the equipped monster, but unlike most from the past, they also provide a layer of protection that greatly benefits the archetype, with “A-Assault Core” = monster effects, “B-Buster Drake” = Spells, and “C-Crush Wyvern” = Traps. (Something easily denoted from the color of each of the monsters – orange, green, and purple respectively) One of their best strengths is that they have the ability to advance your plays by either adding a Union monster from the GY/Deck to the hand or Special Summoning a Union Monster from the hand, which comes in handy in our current format that focuses on Link Summoning in order to maximize board advantage. This comes especially handy when summoning their boss monster, who I’ll cover later in further detail, as it makes use of the components in the GY as material needed for its Fusion Summon. Maxing out the ratios on all of them is desirable, but many have found that running a 2 “A”/3 “B”/2 “C” ratio is acceptable to make space for more outside support like [Gold Gadget] and [Silver Gadget]; in the end, it’s more so player preference.
To compliment the deck’s play style, their Field Spell [Union Hangar] provides a quick means of procuring you the pieces to forward your combos and net you the victory:
Field Spell Card
"When this card is activated: You can add 1 LIGHT Machine-Type Union monster from your Deck to your hand. Once per turn, if a LIGHT Machine-Type Union monster(s) is Normal or Special Summoned to your field (except during the Damage Step): You can target 1 of those monsters; equip 1 appropriate LIGHT Machine-Type Union monster, with a different name, from your Deck to that monster, but the Union monster you equipped cannot be Special Summoned this turn. You can only activate 1 "Union Hangar" per turn."
Simply put, this card pushes you forward with no repercussions, no draw backs – it also synergizes well with the older “VWXYZ” monsters outside of [X-Head Cannon] and [V-Tiger Jet], since they are the only Normal monsters in the archetype. The fact that it allows you to attach a monster from the Deck on top of allowing you a free search is incredibly noteworthy, and is something envied by many archetypes old and new. It’s only limit is that it’s locked in a “once per turn” clause, but that is the least of your concerns when it can allow for an impressive first turn board with little effort at all. Run 3 copies, no question.
[Union Scramble] is an interesting card, considering the game’s current attitude towards Trap Cards and the effect having a bit of a prerequisite before activating and resolving, but it provides enough of an advantage to turn the tides if in a pinch, or push your combos even further:
Normal Trap Card
"Target up to 3 of your banished LIGHT Machine-Type Normal Monsters and/or LIGHT Machine-Type Union monsters; Special Summon them. During either player's turn, except the turn this card was sent to the GY: You can banish this card from your GY, then target 1 of your banished LIGHT Machine-Type Normal Monsters or LIGHT Machine-Type Union monsters; return it to the hand. You can only activate 1 "Union Scramble" per turn."
In the current Link Format, being able to Special Summon as much as you can is greatly appreciated and it helps that each component of the “ABC” line up provide an advantage in either hand economy or further field presence. However, being a Normal Trap card makes it incredibly slow to start, and the GY effect having that stipulation in that it can only activate “during either player’s turn except the turn it was sent” makes it unreliable to lean on. Despite the draw backs, the card is still a viable choice in any “ABC” build, and it has definitely seen more life as a Side Deck option. Debatable on ratios, but 2 copies seem to be a good compromise.
With the components “A-Assault Core,” “B-Buster Drake,” and “C-Crush Wyvern” combined, [ABC-Dragon Buster] takes the stage, and with it comes a power strong enough to compete with some of the game’s most vicious competitors to date:
Level 8 LIGHT Machine-Type Fusion Effect Monster
"A-Assault Core" + "B-Buster Drake" + "C-Crush Wyvern"
Must first be Special Summoned (from your Extra Deck) by banishing the above cards you control and/or from your GY. (You do not use "Polymerization".) Once per turn (Quick Effect): You can discard 1 card, then target 1 card on the field; banish it. During your opponent's turn (Quick Effect): You can Tribute this card, then target 3 of your banished LIGHT Machine Union monsters with different names; Special Summon them.
Unlike its predecessors before it, “ABC-Dragon Buster” can banish the materials needed for its Fusion Summon from the GY, which is not only a vast improvement, but also one that’s incredibly easy to meet as getting them all to the GY is not a difficult task. Even better, it can dodge effects that would target it by Tributing itself and Special Summoning any 3 LIGHT Machine-Type Union monsters with different names (the older branch included) as well as a removal-by-banishment effect for the cost of discarding one card – this can play into Fusion Summoning another copy from the Extra Deck if you decide to discard one of the three components for “ABC-Dragon Buster” to resolve its effect. Even with an effect that targets in our current format, the card is incredible and it definitely makes it plain to see why the deck has done so well since its inclusion in the game. Definitely 3 copies, as it ties in very well with “Union Hangar’s” searching and board progression.
And now we come to the (technical) final boss of the set, the “crème-de-la-crème” of “A-to-Z” – the namesake of the entire archetype, “A-to-Z-Dragon Buster Cannon.” Definitely a beast not to trifle with and a true threat on the board, but not one without its own set of problems:
A-to-Z-Dragon Buster Cannon
Level 10 LIGHT Machine-Type Fusion Effect Monster
"ABC-Dragon Buster" + "XYZ-Dragon Cannon"
Must be Special Summoned (from your Extra Deck) by banishing cards you control with the above original names, and cannot be Special Summoned by other ways. (You do no use "Polymerization".) Once per turn, when your opponent activates a Spell/Trap Card, or monster effect (Quick Effect): You can discard 1 card; negate the activation and if you do, destroy that card. During either player's turn: You can banish this card, then target 1 each of your banished "ABC-Dragon Buster" and "XYZ-Dragon Cannon"; Special Summon them.
Basically: it stops anything and everything with a simple discard and it floats into the monsters banished for its Fusion Summon. The obvious problem being the Fusion Materials required for its Fusion Summon – in order to summon out the grand boss, you would need to incorporate the original “XYZ” line of monsters in order to Fusion Summon “XYZ-Dragon Cannon,” who requires its own Fusion Materials to be present on the field in order to banish. In a build that works with the more recent “Ojama” support, it’s surprisingly less of a headache to summon, but it finds little life outside of a more casual game space – if you choose to build a deck around “A-to-Z-Dragon Buster Cannon,” I would only recommend 1 copy, but if you don’t, avoid playing it.
It’s actually hard to believe that this is only a fraction of the entire archetype, and even harder to come to terms about the recent “Ojama” and [Armed Dragon] support Konami decided to release to “help” push this deck over the edge. If you’re looking for something serious and more competitive, the “ABC” line should be more than enough, but a recent “Ojama ABC-Dragon Buster” deck making it into Top 8 at a Regional tournament in Spain seems to have made the small fries actually viable. That’s the true beauty of the deck, and definitely a reason as to why I’ve been so interested in picking them up.