Exploring the Format: Lightsworn Ruler

Given what happened at all of the competitive events this weekend, it really looks like Lightsworn Ruler’s a deck to consider at upcoming WCQ’s. But why is the deck so good? To be frank, it really just doesn’t care about what’s going on around it. Lightsworn Ruler’s really just turned into a two-part game plan: you want to mill as much as you can, and then win in the following turn or two. It accomplishes those two goals so well in fact, that I’ve seen it out-card even the best grind decks in the format without even needing to OTK.

The big question that raises is, how does Lightsworn Ruler do all of that? Understanding how and why a strategy is good at doing specific things is important; it lets you shift cards around more effectively in your build without needing to playtest a ton of games and waste time in doing so. So let’s start breaking down what Lightsworn Ruler does and how it does it so well.

First Things First
The first stage of the Lightsworn game is – unsurprisingly – all about milling. The faster you can yard cards from your deck, the sooner you can make all of your strongest plays. However, Normal Summoning a Lightsworn just to mill three cards in the End Phase isn’t really going to accomplish much. The most powerful mill enablers are [ccProd]Kuribandit[/ccProd], [ccProd]Charge of the Light Brigade[/ccProd], [ccProd]Solar Recharge[/ccProd], and [ccProd]Needlebug Nest[/ccProd]. [ccProd]Kuribandit[/ccProd] guarantees that you’ll get five cards deep into your deck while providing you with a form of card selection, helping you find a powerful spell or trap. [ccProd]Charge of the Light Brigade[/ccProd] and [ccProd]Solar Recharge[/ccProd] are probably the best mill cards you have because you can use them immediately, so suddenly even your turn one plays become wide open if you get a little lucky. [ccProd]Needlebug Nest[/ccProd] is also a big miller that doesn’t take up your Normal Summon, and is ultimately probably better than [ccProd]Kuribandit[/ccProd] for that very reason.

If all of that wasn’t enough though, the Realm of Light Structure Deck also gave us Raiden, Hand of the Lightsworn for even more help. Raiden mills a whopping four cards per turn on its own, and gives Lightsworn the much-needed viable Tuner they were looking for. While Raiden’s a decent card in the early stages of the game, it gets even better once Lightsworn Ruler enters the second phase of its game plan. Once you’ve built up a decent graveyard the strategy looks to clear away whatever protection your opponent might have before reaching its end game. [ccProd]Lyla, Lightsworn Sorceress[/ccProd] was one of the first cards Lightsworn players used for that, and it’s still fairly strong, but spending a turn to get rid of one backrow card probably isn’t the way to go. Raiden opens up big Synchro plays for [ccProd]Arcanite Magician[/ccProd], [ccProd]Black Rose Dragon[/ccProd], or even the other new card from Realm of Light – Michael, the Arch-Lightsworn (which is actually going to be the best way to clear your opponent’s defenses).

When you have Raiden in your graveyard, [ccProd]Lumina, Lightsworn Summoner[/ccProd] gives you an easy Level 7 Synchro, so that’s usually a good way to go about it. That said, [ccProd]Soul Charge[/ccProd] can be even better because there’s really no way a single [ccProd]Soul Charge[/ccProd] won’t be able to deal with everything your opponent has going on. Soul Charging back Lumina and Lyla or Raiden will begin the onslaught for you via Lyla’s effect, [ccProd]Ghostrick Alucard[/ccProd], [ccProd]Diamond Dire Wolf[/ccProd], or whatever Synchro you decide to bring out with Raiden. You’re really just trying to whittle down your opponent’s cards before you try for your endgame.

And if there’s ever been a better endgame than the Lightsworn Ruler’s endgame, I don’t really know what it is. Filling your graveyard with Dragon Rulers and [ccProd]Eclipse Wyverns[/ccProd], banishing [ccProd]Judgment Dragons[/ccProd] or [ccProd]Lightray Diabolos[/ccProd] so that they’re basically all free, is just way too awesome. If your second stage of development didn’t manage to get all the way through your opponent’s protection, a couple of Dragon Rulers certainly will. Once that’s happened [ccProd]Judgment Dragon[/ccProd] can come down and clear the rest of the board while threatening game damage. You can even just do that in reverse too, and drop [ccProd]Judgment Dragon[/ccProd] before unleashing your Dragon Rulers if there’s still too much to fight through. Granted, that implies that you drew [ccProd]Judgment Dragon[/ccProd] naturally rather than getting it off of Eclipse Wyvern’s effect, but that happens often enough for it to be noteworthy.

So with all of that under our belts, let’s get into what a deck list would look like!

Lightsworn Ruler – 40 Cards
Monsters: 27
1 [ccProd]Blaster, Dragon Ruler of Infernos[/ccProd]
3 [ccProd]Eclipse Wyvern[/ccProd]
1 [ccProd]Ehren, Lightsworn Monk[/ccProd]
1 [ccProd]Garoth, Lightsworn Warrior[/ccProd]
3 [ccProd]Judgment Dragon[/ccProd]
3 [ccProd]Kuribandit[/ccProd]
1 [ccProd]Lightray Diabolos[/ccProd]
3 [ccProd]Lumina, Lightsworn Summoner[/ccProd]
3 [ccProd]Lyla, Lightsworn Sorceress[/ccProd]
3 [ccProd]Raiden, Hand of the Lightsworn[/ccProd]
2 [ccProd]Rainbow Kuriboh[/ccProd]
1 [ccProd]Redox, Dragon Ruler of Boulders[/ccProd]
1 [ccProd]Tempest, Dragon Ruler of Storms[/ccProd]
1 [ccProd]Wulf, Lightsworn Beast[/ccProd]

Spells: 8
1 [ccProd]Charge of the Light Brigade[/ccProd]
1 [ccProd]Foolish Burial[/ccProd]
3 [ccProd]Solar Recharge[/ccProd]
3 [ccProd]Soul Charge[/ccProd]

Traps: 5
2 [ccProd]Phoenix Wing Wind Blast[/ccProd]
3 [ccProd]Needlebug Nest[/ccProd]

Extra Deck: 15
1[ccProd] Arcanite Magician[/ccProd]
1 [ccProd]Black Rose Dragon[/ccProd]
1 [ccProd]Michael, the Arch-Lightsworn[/ccProd]
1 [ccProd]Scrap Dragon[/ccProd]
1 [ccProd]Star Eater[/ccProd]
1 [ccProd]Diamond Dire Wolf[/ccProd]
1 [ccProd]Ghostrick Alucard[/ccProd]
1 [ccProd]Lavalval Chain[/ccProd]
1 [ccProd]Leviair the Sea Dragon[/ccProd]
2 [ccProd]Mecha Phantom Beast Dracossack[/ccProd]
1 [ccProd]Number 11: Big Eye[/ccProd]
1 [ccProd]Number 80: Rhapsody in Berserk[/ccProd]
1 [ccProd]Number 101: Silent Honor ARK[/ccProd]
1 [ccProd]Starliege Paladynamo[/ccProd]

There’s still a bit of variation in Lightsworn Ruler deck lists, usually involving which Lightsworns are played and in what numbers, along with what defensive cards you choose. You always want to have enough monsters in your graveyard to Summon [ccProd]Judgment Dragon[/ccProd] once you reach the endgame, simple as that. Sometimes you actually need to drop [ccProd]Judgment Dragon[/ccProd] early, because it’s your only way to reclaim the board and win. I really do think that maxing out all of the best Lightsworns is necessary, so every time I make a list myself I start with three copies each of Lumina, Lyla, and Raiden. You want to get to them as quickly, consistently, and early as possible, because at the very worst they’re your best millers with great added benefits.

[ccProd]Garoth, Lightsworn Warrior[/ccProd] is another Lightsworn that was powerful in past builds, but took a hit when [ccProd]Charge of the Light Brigade[/ccProd] was Limited. That said, Garoth’s back in full force now thanks to [ccProd]Soul Charge[/ccProd]; you’ll realistically have turns where you mill six cards off of Garoth alone and that’s good enough right there, even if you don’t draw any extra cards with its effect. [ccProd]Ehren, Lightsworn Monk[/ccProd] has also gotten a little better because of [ccProd]Fire Hand[/ccProd] and [ccProd]Ice Hand[/ccProd], so it’s nice to have another name that can give you that sort of advantage. [ccProd]Wulf, Lightsworn Beast[/ccProd] is arguably the worst Lightsworn in a lot of situations, but I think the possible combos with Raiden along with its unique name make it worthwhile.

As far as protection goes, I don’t think that issue’s anywhere near as clear or clean cut. [ccProd]Phoenix Wing Wind Blast[/ccProd] has the edge in my mind, because it can answer continuous protection that can pose big problems, but it might be better to play something like [ccProd]Breakthrough Skill[/ccProd] or even giving up trap cards completely for [ccProd]Royal Decree[/ccProd]. The choice between [ccProd]Necro Gardna[/ccProd] and Rainbow [ccProd]Kuriboh[/ccProd] is an interesting one, but I’ll continue to be playing Rainbow [ccProd]Kuriboh[/ccProd]: as soon as one [ccProd]Necro Gardna[/ccProd] hits the bin your opponent always interprets you as not playing Rainbow [ccProd]Kuriboh[/ccProd], and now all of the sudden they’re free to just grind through [ccProd]Necro Gardna[/ccProd] to make specific attacks. However, baiting your opponent to use [ccProd]Crimson Blader[/ccProd] and then hitting it with Rainbow [ccProd]Kuriboh[/ccProd] seems like one of the best trades you can make. Beyond that, there’s the obvious point that drawing Rainbow [ccProd]Kuriboh[/ccProd] isn’t nearly as bad as drawing [ccProd]Necro Gardna[/ccProd], and that it can also count as a Light monster for the Summon of [ccProd]Lightray Diabolos[/ccProd].

Lightsworn Ruler’s a huge threat, and it boasts fairly good match-ups across the board. No deck in the current format can rival its raw power level, so it’s most definitely a strong choice for your next event, especially your WCQ. What do you think about Lightsworn Rulers? Do you think there’s ultimately a correct mix of Lightsworn monsters, or a correct set of protective cards to play? I want to know any opinions you have down below!


  1. Ethan Dunning says:

    in my opinion they should put lumina at 1 and jd at 2 they can also limit raiden

  2. Steve Kinate says:

    Raiden is not the problem. Lumina has a cost, so it’s not like a free monster. Judgment Dragon at 3? There you go….

  3. Jalen Alcazar says:

    i find the new shyncro a little too op cause its just something else lightsworns can use and don’t even get me started with the dragon rulers

  4. Max Randolph says:

    The point of the banlist is too hinder the overall cinsistency of decks, not kill them. While they might have been able to survive in the past with those cards hit that way, in today’s game they wouldn’t stand a chance

  5. Max Randolph says:

    i’m honestly not a big fan of wulf. i’ve been playing two dragon shrine in the main deck so i can easily send an eclipse to banish judgment and not risk milling it. worst comes to worst, it can send a dragon ruler to the grave or fodder for a ruler summon with a dead eclipse

  6. Michael White says:

    Hopefully the deck does not become a problem

  7. I think that someday Lightsworns will be overtaken by some card that negates milling, and I also think they are unbalanced because JD isn’t a Lightsworn.

  8. What a great article, thank you for your service.

  9. Alqoun Shaba says:

    Lightsorns have always been a lucksacky deck, the rulers and the new support have given it that extra power it needed to become a consistent deck.

  10. Brooks Sraver says:

    With the new cards here, its easier to get a wyvern to grave and banish it with the rulers. My favorite way of doing this is using Kuribandit. I really enjoy the deck itself and am quite excited about the structure deck that came out. Hopefully I can incorporate some other cards that Konami adds. A good way to send cards to the grave without using effects is to use needlebug nest.

  11. looks good i will build one soon

  12. This is the build of Degenerate Ruler LS I’m working with:

    3 Lumina
    3 Raiden
    1 Garoth
    2 Lyla
    1 Jain
    1 Ehren
    1 Ryko
    3 Eclipse
    2 Diabolos
    3 JD
    1 Blaster
    1 Tidal
    1 Tempest
    1 Redox
    2 Card Trooper
    2 Rainbow Kuriboh

    1 Charge
    3 Recharge
    2 Soul Charge
    1 Dark Hole

    3 Decree
    2 B-Skill

    -Ryko and Minerva are interchangeable based on personal preference.
    -I don’t like Wulf in this variant of the deck (when you have to worry about brick hands, another potential dead card is not that appealing).
    -Kuribandit, while an amazing card, is too slow for this version of the deck. Yes, you want to mill, but you don’t want to have to wait until your next turn to make plays. Some might like Mathematician better because it is more specific in what it sends, and soaks more damage.
    -The number of LS and Dragons should be about equal (the deck is operating off of two engines which compliment each other).
    -3 Soul Charge is a tad too excessive. 2 is enough.
    -While Needlebug Nest is trending, it’s not an optimal card choice (at least in my opinion).
    -One of the biggest obstacles for Lightsworn in general is working around an opponent’s backfield. Right now, we have cards like Traptrix Trap Hole Nightmare, Bottomless, Torrential, Warning, and Black Horn of Heaven (just to name a few) to worry about. In a build a little less flexible than the other two primary builds (Pure and Chaos), being able to shut down threats at minimal cost is a must.

  13. How about putting salt aside and addressing the actual problem by finally banning D-Rulers? JD back to two for those with the torches & pitchforks. There, everyone is happy.

  14. Christopher Ryan says:

    really liking some of these new cards, am really try get back in to the game by my birthday on the 19th

  15. Jimmie Baker says:

    Looking at a few deck lists for lightsworns, checking out the game after a while away

  16. Robert Javis says:

    I feel like LS are going to stay around where they are, maybe rise to Low Tier 2 High Tier 3, only because right now they’re getting a ton of hype b/c they got some new cards, but they still can get easily out-classesd. That being said, I’m very interested in seeing what they can do.

  17. Christian Carlson says:

    hmm very intersting lightsworn very [email protected][email protected]!

  18. Robert Tabayoyon says:

    I have been playing 3 gardna and 1 rainbowkuribow. I agree with what Harold Pier said about bandit. Sometimes it’s really slow, I hate drawing it in the mid and late game when I have already got out of the early game. It’s such a pain sometimes it truly is. I tried running bandit at 0, it’s safe, very safe, but bandit does get you 5 cards into the grave and can connect solar recharge etc. Right now idk what is the right amount of bandits to play. It’s so powerful in this deck, but sometimes it can bite you in the ass.

  19. Andres Martinez says:

    Do I leave a comment here to enter the giveaway?

  20. Gabriel Garcia says:

    I might actually build a Lightsworn deck now. They seem strong and interesting.

  21. Rowland Ernstsen says:

    Lightsworn Rulers are awesome. I personally prefer to go balls to the wall speed with no Necro Gardna, Kuribandit, or trap cards besides Needlebug Nests, but it’s all personal preference. I’ve been going double/triple Judge along with 2 Rulers/Diabolos on turn 2 every game.

  22. Rowland Ernstsen says:

    A duelist after my own heart

  23. Rowland Ernstsen says:

    They’re pretty amazing. Eclipse Wyvern alongside Rulers lets you get Judges suuuper fast and consistently. And even against stun decks you can just wear out their back row with Lylas, Celestias, Rulers, Black Rose, Michael, and Constellar Omega until they have nothing to stop the triple Judge for game,

  24. I’m running similar build with 3 x malicious and 2 x plaguespreader – amazing how fast you can get two beelze out and then JD to bomb field and leaving your beelze intact – pure aggressive build

  25. Dũng Nguyễn Việt says:

    LS Rulers is gonna blows this format :O

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