EX-02 introduces a brand new engine in D-Reaper, which may appear a bit overwhelming in the beginning. We take a deeper look at this engine with hopes of demystifying the strength of a D-Reaper deck!
EX-02 celebrates the 20th anniversary of Digimon Tamers, which is the 3rd instalment of the anime series released in 2001. D-Reaper is the main antagonist, an anti-virus program and is not officially recognised as being a Digimon.
D-Reaper utilizes a variety of extensions, or forms known as ADRs (Agents of D-Reaper) to perform it's bidding. There are 9 ADRs in total, each having its unique codename and purpose. This is similarly realised in the modern Digimon Card Game.
This analysis will be based on what we know so far, since at this time of writing, only 5/9 of the ADRs, in addition to its Digitama and the main Reaper, were revealed.
[EX2-007] Mother D-Reaper is, despite its huge 15000 DP, a Digitama. It is unable to attack, and cannot be affected by your opponent's effects therefore cannot be suspended, returned or deleted conventionally. The only probable way to remove this Digimon would be to attack it while unsuspended, which is no easy feat due to its massive DP.
Meanwhile, [EX2-055] Reaper can be played for free by trashing 7 Searchers from Mother, and will be able to attack multiple times on the turn it is played.
So the engine is actually quite straightforward: grow Mother D-Reaper by putting a ADR-02=Searcher from play or hand to the bottom of its digivolution cards once every turn, and play a Reaper once Mother has 7 digivolution cards.
At a minimum, Reaper would be able to attack 4 times for having 7 Searchers in trash, but it should not be difficult to setup another Searcher in your trash for 5 hits, which is pretty much an endgame play. However, how long do we need to setup Mother's 7 digivolution cards for that to happen?
With sheer importance of [EX2-046] ARD-02=Searcher should be clear by now, and fortunately he does not have a 4-card limit in your deck.
Searcher also has a very low play cost of 1 when you do not have another Searcher in play, which should be an easy condition given that Mother will be there to absorb a Searcher each turn. In addition, there should be no worry about a depleting hand size thanks to Searcher's [On Play] effect.
However, fact remains that it would take at least 7 turns to setup your Mother D-Reaper, and a 7-turn timer may be too long in this meta. So how can D-Reaper slow down the game?
ARD-01=Juri, The Accelerator
[EX2-049] ARD-01=Juri will accelerate Mother's timer. My suspending this Digimon, the player can put a Searcher (revealed from top-5 cards of deck) to Mother's digivolution cards. This is a Digimon that your opponent will want to remove immediately, and should be a very simple feat given that she has only 5000 DP and will likely be suspended during your opponent's turn.
Other ARDs: Building Tempo
Other revealed ARDs will mainly serve to build tempo, slowing down the game to setup Mother.
[EX2-053] ARD-08 Optimizer is a big play once Mother has 5 or more digivolution cards, which allows searching and playing another 10-cost of less D-Reaper from deck. If this card manages to search for another Optimizer, the process repeats itself. However, due to it's massive 10 play cost, we do not (yet) see him essential.
[EX2-054] ARD-09=Gatekeeper has a [Recovery] and a global [SecurityAttack-1] effect on top of him being played for free from security, which should be a very effective device to slow the game.
Meanwhile, [EX2-047] ARD-03=Pendulum Feet has a simple [On Play] effect that searches and replenishes the player's hand, and should see itself played at 4 copies per deck.
Synergy With Other Cards
At the moment, there is no doubt that D-Reaper is a late game deck, and with all late-game decks it becomes imperative to slow the game usually by means of recovery.
Security control comes into mind, and yellow cards become natural in this deck. [BT6-089] TK and Kari would work well in this deck, having favourable conditions where your security would likely be lower than your opponent's since a D-Reaper deck would likely not attack until Mother is properly setup.
Other recovery cards such as [BT6-100] Reinforce Memory Boost should also work well in this deck, and with recovery comes security effects such as [BT6-101] Wyvern's Breath and [BT4-105] Tactical Retreat which would work very well with ARD-09=Gatekeeper.
With enough yellow tamer, it is also possible to play the yellow Hybrid Digimon route with this deck. [BT7-038] Jetsilphymon remains an efficient recovery card as ever, while the LV4 hybrids should give this deck a final hit potential.
Within EX-02 itself, another strong recovery Digimon can be found in [EX2-018] MarineAngemon. Against a D-Reaper deck, it is possible for the opponent to hard-cast Digimons for a swarm aggro win, since the D-Reaper engine (so far) may not be able to react to a large given memory (apart from ARD-01=Juri) in the early game. However, some deck optimisation may be needed to ensure MarineAngemon's recovery condition can be resolved (having opponent's Digimon without digivolution cards).
If this route is taken, then cards like [BT7-086] Himi Tomoki , [BT5-088] Sora and Joe, and [EX1-068] Ice Wall may come in handy. It might also be possible digivolve MarineAngemon into [BT8-112] Imperialdramon Paladin Mode for a board wipe!
The awesome File Island Residents has uploaded a proxy gameplay for D-Reaper, so do give it a watch to have an early feel of how this deck would play!