Another strategy article written by Complexity Card Gaming!
Hello YGOrganization readers!
After my YCS Bochum tournament report, this is going to be my second article for you, and this time it is going to be a little bit more strategic. With the official release of Raging Tempest only a few days ago for the TCG, I thought it would be a great idea to share some of my thoughts on the upcoming format with you. I have been playing around with the new stuff quite a bit on the Complexity Card Gaming streams the last couple of weeks, so I do have an idea of what to expect for the upcoming YCS in Seattle and Prague.
You probably already know what is going to be the format changing archetype coming out in Raging Tempest: Zoodiacs. I won’t go over all the combos of the archetype since most of you probably know the drill already, but to simplify it a little bit: Just opening a single Zoodiac Molmorat (or Ratpier which is its new TCG name) means that you can end with a field of Zoodiac Drancia, Daigusto Emeral, a searched Beast-Warrior and a card drawn with Emeral while recyclingmost of what you used to make that field. Even though that is not the most ‘broken’ field you can imagine in nowadays Yu-Gi-Oh, the simple fact that it all comes from a single card makes it incredibly powerful and also super consistent since there are so many ways to get to the Rat (Tenki, Terrortop into Invoker, Zoodiac Barrage). There are lots of decks that can utilize the archetype very well and we are gonna have a look at the most relevant ones later on.
Another important archetype coming out in RATE are the Windwitches. The whole engine only consists of 3 cards in the main deck and the main thing they do is making a 1 card Crystal Wing that can not be destro yed by card effects whenever you open Ice Bell. Simply special summon Ice Bell, use her effect to special summon Glass Bell from your deck, use Glass Bell to search Snow Bell and special summon her since you now have two Wind monsters on the field in Ice Bell and Glass Bell. Now you simply tune Glass Bell and Ice Bell into the archetypes own level 7 Synchro and make a Crystal Wing with that and Snow Bell. Since Crystal Wing usually does not win games on it’s own, Windwitches are usually combined with other stuff, mainly Invoked (Eidolon). Invoked Wind Witches were a very successful deck in the OCG for a while, even beating out on Zoodiac beast variants in some big events!
Which brings us to the next archetype, coming out shortly after RATE in Fusion Enforcers by the end of February. You guessed it, its the Invoked (Eidolon). Invoked is an archetype based on summon strong Fusions using their new fusion spell Eidolon Summoning Magic. Every single fusion requires you to use a monster of a certain attribute together with Aleister the Invoker (Aleister the Eidolon summoner), who just so happens to search out the Invocation (Eidolon Summoning Magic) whenever he is normal summoned. Oh, and you can also banish the fusion materials from either players graveyard instead which makes the whole thing pretty efficient. Invocation also has a great graveyard effect which is a little bit like Metalfoes Fusion: You can return it from the graveyard to your deck and add back a banished Aleister to your hand. Aleister is of course really easy to banish since you banish him when you fuse. And if that was not enough, they also have a field spell that searches Aleister on activation. The fusion monsters itself are also pretty good, Merkabah being a Ultimate Providence on legs and Raideen being able to put any monster face-down as a quick effect. Overall a pretty strong archetype that will definitely find its way into a couple of top tier decks.
So, this sums up the big three upcoming archetypes briefly, most of your probably knew what they did already since they have been so dominant in the OCG, but I thought for those that did not know yet I should summarize them a little. Now, since we have not talked about actual decks yet, lets get into that and see what is viable for next format.
Pure Zoodiac/Kaiju Zoodiac
The pure version of Zoodiacs paired up with Kaijus was a really popular choice in the OCG and for good reason. Kaijus deal with a lot of problem cards next format: Drancia, indestructible Crystal Wings, Merkabah/Raideen and so on. You all know the deal with Kaijus by now. But there is a special twist to Kaiju Zoodiac that makes them synergize a lot. And that is the Slumber Rat OTK. All you need to OTK with the deck is a combination of two cards. You simply Slumber their board away, put a Kaiju with 3000+ on your side, do the normal Zoodiac combo but instead of Emeral you summon Gagaga Samurai. Drancia pops the Kaiju you gave them and leaves them with no monsters. Samurai does 3800, your Kaiju does 3000+ and Drancia does 1200 after you detach Viper from hand which you searched mid-combo. Overall really easy to do and since Rat is so accessible you can normally do it whenever you draw Slumber. But of course, that is not the only play the deck has, otherwise it would way to one-dimensional and easy to counter. But it creates a certain dynamic where people have to play backrow and hand traps next format just so they don’t instantly lose to Slumber Rat. Pure version is also the Zoodiac version that utilizes the engine to its maximum potential since it runs the highest number of Zoodiac monsters which results in the deck not running out of targets for Barrage and Bull, which can definitely be an issue in other variants.
It is also notable that the deck has a lot of room for techs since the Zoodiacs and Kaijus do not take up that much space, making the deck very adjustable to the other decks running around in the format. Overall definitely a top contender next format.
Another very common choice in the OCG was to pair up Zoodiacs with the Invoked. Since Zoodiacs revolve a lot around their Rat combos, which can usually only be done once per turn and can not be performed under Dimensional Barrier (Barrier is going to be huge next format by the way), giving them additional ways to summon big stuff seems like a good idea, especially when it is fusion summoning. There are also some combos that are unique to the deck, for example opening Photon Thrasher + Aleister, which results in Drident + Merkabah with a couple of Beast-Warrior searches. The deck has a lot of cool combos and can set up incredible boards, which, while obviously an advantage also leads to one of the decks biggest disadvantages in my opinion, which is its susceptibility to board wipes. Slumber, Dark Hole and Raigeki are going to be really good next format and Zoodiac Invoked can only really deal with that when they open Merkabah with another Spell in hand, otherwise they get blown out pretty badly. And since the deck does not have as much room to play traps and backrow, they are not as likely to have protection behind their board. They obviously still run the staples like Maxx “C” and Dimensional Barrier, but they have to invest more into their field than just the usual Rat, so it leaves them with less backup once their board gets dealt with. However, it is still going to be a strong choice since it can play better under Barrier and Merkabah is still able to negate board wipes a decent amount of the time. On a side note, this deck will not be out for YCS Seattle yet since that is held before Fusion Enforcers comes out, but it will be released before YCS Prague.
Windwitch Artifact Invoked
This is a deck that took many people by surprise when it took first and second place at the Asia Championships late last year, while everyone expected Zoodiac variants to dominate the tournament. Its just simple combination of three very straight forward archetypes that synergize well together. Windwitches create a Crystal Wing that can not be outed by Slumber, Dark Hole or Raigeki and the Invoked capitalize on the Attributes of Windwitches and Artifacts as soon as they hit the graveyard since it makes them able to summon their best fusions, Merkabah and Raideen. The deck I very straight forward though and is kind of an anti meta deck almost, with the main focus of summoning big beaters that negate whatever the opponent tries to do, combined with powerful traps like Sanctum into Scythe or Dimensional Barrier. Since Zoodiac builds can be very focused on their one Rat play, they can have a really hard time dealing with a deck that can spit out multiple disruptions easily. This makes the deck a good counter to Zoodiac in theory, however I have never been a fan of trying to counter a deck that is the best deck whenever it can pull off its strategy. I think Windwitch Artifact Invoked is a little boring to play and lacks a few options to really be the best deck, but it can create very strong soft locks early on in the game so it will see some play for sure and should be prepared for.
These three are the main new decks that are going to hit the scene after the new sets, but there are also some old, familiar faces that will make use of the Zoodiac engine, so lets get into those.
Infernoids have been floating around the Tier 2/3 area for quite some time now, since their mechanics are pretty good but they just so happened to be a little to inconsistent and hard to set up. Well, Raging Tempest helps the deck out a huge amount and will make them a top contender in the upcoming formats. It is not only Zoodiacs that make the deck better, it is also a trap card coming out in Raging Tempest, Void Madness. For the cost of sending a “Void” Spell/Trap from your hand or field to the graveyard, you can summon up to 3 Infernoid monsters from your deck with a combined level of 8. The cost is easy to fulfill since you are going to use Void Vanishment to search Madness most of the time and then you just summon 2 Dekatrons and a Sjette from your deck, triggering both Dekatrons to send Onuncus or Devyatys depending on the situation and out of just one madness you get 5 Infernoids into play and 2 negations for either Spell/Traps or Monster effects. Another card that gives Infernoids a huge push is ‘That Grass Looks Greener’, which lets you mill cards until your deck is the same size as you opponents, resulting in a 60 card Infernoid variant. Opening That Grass Looks Greener in that is obviously super insane and should usually win you the game. I am not sure whether the 40 or the 60 card version will be the best, but both of them are viable for sure. On top of all the boosts that Infernoids get from Madness and Grass Looks Greener, they also synergize very well with Zoodiacs. The only normal summon in Infernoids is Dekatron, so you can spend your summon on Rat very often. Additionally the standard Zoodiac combo can also end with Bujintei Kagutsuchi instead of Emeral, which can be huge in setting up your graveyard with Infernoids while still opening Drancia with a single card. And as a bonus, Infernoids do not care about Dimensional Barrier at all, which would normally be a good counter to Zoodiacs, however this version can still play under Barrier often enough that it makes the card not even that great against it.
To talk about all of the Zoodiac variants that might be viable next format in detail would definitely go beyond the scope of this article, so I am just going to mention some promising ones that I have been testing or seeing lately. Zoodiac Metalfoes are one of them, being able to perform Pendulum and Fusion plays when your Zoodiac plays get hit by Barrier is nice and there are searchable high- and low-scale Beast-Warriors so Rat helps completing scales, also Kirin is obviously still huge next format.
PaleoZoodiacs are also something I have tried out and liked quite a bit. The Zoodiac archetype synergizes well with Traps in general since when your whole combo works with just 1 card you can afford or rather even like to draw a couple of traps with it. Also traps are very good at countering Zoodiacs since they are so focused on their Rat play. A simple Canadia or Dinomischus can end their entire turn. Also, this deck is not as vulnerable to Barrier or Maxx since it can set a bunch and slow the game down until you can go off when they don’t have Barrier or Maxx C anymore. As you can see, being able to play under Maxx “C” and Dimensional Barrier is an important aspect of a good deck next format in my opinion since those cards can be expected to be in pretty much every deck.
Last but not least, I want to give honorable mentions to DDDs and ABC. Both of these decks will not be using the Zoodiac engine since they can not afford to use their normal summon up on Rat and generally don’t synergize well with it. I do not expect those decks to be top contenders but they will still exist at basically full force, so I thought it would be worth mentioning. It is a little sad for DDDs, since we just got them very recently and I like the deck a lot because of its combo oriented nature, but from my experience with and against the deck it is to easily disrupted by a single Drancia pop and out-grinded by the sheer consistency of Zoodiacs.
On another interesting side note, Pot of Desires will pretty much vanish from deck lists next format, since every Zoodiac variant except for 60 card Infernoid will most definitely not play it. Reason being of course that the standard Zoodiac combo requires you to still have all of your Rats and even banishing one would completely ruin your combo. Infernoids might still use the card since they are not that focused on the Zoodiac plays since it has other win conditions in Madness and Grass Looks Greener, also it is a bit less likely to banish Rat in 60 cards.
I know I only scratched the surface of all the different version of Zoodiac decks and what they can all do in detail since they are all so different from each other even though they all share the same engine. But this article should give you a good idea of what is to come and my first opinion on some of stuff. I myself am not quite sure whether I like the format or not, but it is promising at the very least. It is going to be interesting for sure and finding the best deck for YCS Prague seems like a hard puzzle to solve, which I always like to see in a new format.
And this sums up my article for this time, thanks everyone for reading and I hope you could take something away from it!
Joshua Schmidt, Complexity Card Gaming