Yu-Gi-Oh! Deck Debut: INFO Thunder Dragon

Carter Kachmarik
June 26, 2024


The format surrounding Thunder Dragon, Orcust, Sky Striker, and Salamangreat (usually known as TOSS) is often considered the inception of modern card design, and formative for how players approach deckbuilding and pace-of-play today.  This was a format dominated by midrange decks, each with their own upsides and unique play patterns, leaning further into control, aggro, or even stun.  One deck that’s been primed to see a potential resurgence in 2024 is the first name on that list: Thunder Dragon.

With the unbanning of Thunder Dragon Colossus earlier this year, and the printing of powerful new tools for this strategy in the upcoming Infinite Forbidden, releasing on July 19th, I want to explore a highroll variant of the strategy not uncommon to its earlier days, when specific sets of cards allowed one to punish opponents unlucky enough to see two unsearchable power pieces at the same time.  Presenting: INFO Thunder Dragon.

As a bit of background, Thunder Dragon is an archetype born from a Vrains-era spinoff to the Duel Monsters staple, Thunder Dragon, releasing a suite of Maindeck monsters with effects in the hand, and when either banished or sent to the GY from the field, forcing players to choose one or the other each turn.  Furthermore, these came along with two potent Fusion Monsters, one of which, Thunder Dragon Colossus, was banned for years.

The reason Thunder Dragon catches my eye is that Colossus, in combination with a brand-new card in INFO (being Interdimensional Matter Translocator) can essentially stonewall Snake-Eye in full, on top of being a relatively competent midrange strategy with plenty of ways to swarm the board.  Translocator is an odd duck of a card, allowing you to banish and return a monster you control, protect itself, and critically, “flicker” a negated monster on the opponent’s turn.  That last effect means that, even if Colossus gets hit with a card like Infinite Impermanence, you’re able to get its anti-search effect back on without issue.

The other major innovation from INFO is Shiivertake, a card not dissimilar to Batteryman Solar, in that it provides an avenue to generate Thunder-type bodies through normal play.  While Shiiver doesn’t send a Thunder from deck to the GY, it does Summon itself readily, and produce a Token for Link or Fusion plays.  This is the kind of card that’s just plainly good, and while not an exciting card (given it does not make any other individual piece of the Thunder Dragon strategy better on its own), we can get off of cards like the Danger!s and Bystials to focus solely on Thunder monsters.

One oddity of the deck is the prevalence of Fusion Spells acting more like extenders than enablers — historically, the deck was keen to play Instant Fusion as a means to access Kaminari Attack, and make Titan, but now we’re also playing a full set of Fusion Armament to absolutely ruin our opponent’s day, if drawn in concert with Translocator.  Armament is generally just there to get back a spare Thunder Dragon from the GY, but in ideal hands it’s able to reveal Naturia Exterio, and Summon either Naturia Beast or Barkion, being Spell and Trap negators respectively.

Normally, Armament turns off such potent effects, but if we target and “flicker” them with Translocator, they’re un-negated, giving our endboard a power ceiling that’s quite impressive.  One must recall as well — if a card like Barkion got negated, we could just as easily “flicker” it again with Translocator, and turn it back on.  Targeted negation is just not an issue for this strategy if Translocator is online.

The problem comes in the form of finding Translocator, which the deck can’t really do well.  Continuous Spells aren’t readily searchable, and we cannot afford to play Pot of Prosperity given the draw is core to the deck’s identity.  Even more, Translocator is very bad in multiples, meaning the full 3 are inadvisable; this leads you to a point where you desperately want one specific card, but exactly one, and without a viable tutoring chain.

Playing this deck with Interdimensional Matter Translocator on your side of the field makes it feel like a modern deck, but unfortunately you’re one Imperm away from losing otherwise.  Accounting for that, and pushing your luck when you know your hand contains insurance or a ceiling raiser are vital to properly piloting this strategy!

The world this deck exists in is one where I aim fully to showcase that INFO is going to be perhaps the most impactful set in recent memory; nearly everything in it has some teeth, between White Woods, new Madolche, Millennium as a side engine to things like Kashtira, and more.  Rarely have I looked at a setlist and found my eyes widening at cards all throughout spoiler season — next week I’ll be doing a whirlwind tour of some strategies I’ve already covered, and how INFO impacts their builds.

Back to Thunder Dragon though, there’s a great debate to be had in terms of how deep one goes on their names, as the H1OPT restriction on each core Maindeck monster means multiples tend to languish in ones’ hand.  Here, I’ve opted for the post-Colossus ban ratios, and amended to taste, given the Mistake-on-Legs has returned to the fold.

This list sees Thunder Dragon itself as a far bigger component of the gameplan than he normally is; not only is it a paired combo with Shiivertake, letting you activate, discard, Special Summon Shiiver, activate again, and get a Token, but it’s the back-up name for Fusion Armament when the combo with Translocation isn’t live.  We saw a bit of this when duelists were using Twin-Headed Thunder Dragon to line up into Titan, after Colossus was banned, but now it’s as insurance to keep the floor of the deck as high as this strategy can manage.

In terms of Sidedeck choices, Forbidden Droplet is very well positioned right now for decks that can afford to spend advantage in hand or on board to crack opposing opens, and Skill Drain can be surprisingly manageable, given you’re able to loop out advantage via Translocator and the Thunder Dragons’ banish effects.

As mentioned above, I’ll be doing a recap of strategies I’ve talked about before, and how INFO impacts them, given the set is quite solid for a lot of archetypes previously touched upon!  If you have any other suggestions, or brews you’d like to see, please do let me know!

With that, I eagerly await TCG import & exclusive spoilers for Infinite Forbidden!  Thunder Dragon is tried and true, so I felt it’d be a good way to ease into this new format.  Let me know what other versions of TOSS decks you’re toying with in the comments below!