Before I go any further I need to make a confession. I hate tier 0 formats (and this applies to every card games). I don’t like it when one deck is noticeable better and receives more representation than all other decks. I will admit that 1-deck formats can lead to very skill-based mirror matches, but at the cost of many players feeling locked out of the game (as the tier 0 deck is likely not budget). For that reason I have disdain for the upcoming Zoodiac (Zodiac Beast) archetype that is coming out in the US in February.
Zoodiac Briefly Explained
Bear witness to sadly the most powerful monster printed in years. If you don’t know at this point (which really makes me question what brought you here) Zoodiacs employ 1-card xyz monsters that gain effects based on their materials. Basically they use this guy to facilitate their combos by summoning more of itself from the deck, which you use to make more 1-card xzy monsters. I can’t explain it perfectly, but if look on Youtube the gameplay videos are there.
The Zoodiac Engine is splashable in virtually every deck and has dominated the ocg meta since its release a few months ago. You can see the effect of Zoodiac on this site here.
Basically this deck is overpowered and is poised to destroy our fragile tcg format (and get our beloved Speedroid Terrortop limited). It’s gotten so bad that some stores in Japan are banning the use of the deck in their tournaments (credit to this blog for that news). So bar another adjusted banlist hopefully killing this deck on release, how can we beat Zoodiacs here in the TCG? I’ll separate this into decks that can beat Zoodiac going first and decks that can beat Zoodiac going second. This is going to be a quick ramble of my thoughts and this list is by no means perfect. Also please assume that every deck I mention has opened optimally going first or second.
Let’s get started.
Decks that can beat Zoodiac going First
The turn 1 board of Darklaw, Bahamut Shark and Toadally Awesome can prevent Zoodiac from going off unless they have the specific out (generally a Kaiju+Raigeki). Without the graveyard both Zoodiac Tigress/Malmorat stop working, which greatly hinders their plays.
Now it’s true that this deck has been hounded by the banlist. Monarchs are now, more than ever before a pile of bricks. The thing is though, if you actually summon a Monarch with Domain up and they don’t have an out for it, they will lose. No xyz monsters means no plays. This has a similar effect on most other meta decks too. Btw I’m not saying you should play Domain, but I am saying is you could do alot worse.
If you have a turn 1 ABC Dragon Buster backed by a Solemn/Dimensional Barrier/Vanity’s you can beat Zoodiac easily.
Barrier Statue Stun/Darklord Nurse Burn
To be fair this deck could beat virtually any meta deck going first with the drawback that it’s arguably the worst deck in the game at going second. The tiny Barrier Statues can’t out an established board without a lucky mirror force activation. Darklord Nurse Burn suffers from the same problem. It can auto-win going first, but if you go second you will probably just lose (because they can pop/negate your Nurse and suddenly your deck doesn’t work).
If you get out your turn 1 board of D/D/D King Siegfried and Crystal Wing Synchro Dragon you can likely beat Zoodiac. Additional props if you have a relevant trap to back them up also.
Any deck that can run the Artifact Engine and manage to open Sanctum each game
If you can drop Artifact Scythe on Zoodiac before they have a board, they are effectively stunned. Scythe is a perfect way to prevent the deck from going off and pressure their life total. Of course not every deck can jam in the artifact engine nor consistently open it going first. However, if you can add artifacts they are great at countering Zoodiac if they don’t have an established board.
Decks that can beat Zoodiac going Second
Never underestimate the ability of Water to break literally board. With a good hand and a skilled player Mermail has one of the highest ceilings in the game.
Infernoids with Lawn mowing Next Door
The raw power of Infernoids to break boards is absurd (Ununcu by itself by cracks the Zoodiac board though it will also die to Drancia in the process). The addition of Lawn Mowing/The Grass is Tastier gives the deck what it lost when Reasoning was hit: The ability to put multiple Infernoids in the graveyard using 1 card. Infernoids with a full graveyard can break any board by simply forcing every negate/pop effect the opponent has.
Interrupted Kaiju Slumber is a solid out to the turn 1 Zoodiac board. For this reason Zoodiac Kaiju was (and still it) a popular variant of the deck. Yosenju Kaiju with its access to multiple boardwipe effects has some play against Zoodiac for that reason.
In fact now that I think about…
Any deck that can run Kaiju Slumber alongside Dark Hole and Raigeki
The one good thing about Zoodiac is that its boards generally do not float. If you wipe their board they are actually set back in terms of resources. Furthermore, unlike the OCG we have Raigeki which is a great way to destroy their board. Again I’m not saying any deck can run some boardwipes and have a chance against Zoodiac. What I am saying is that by running Kaijus and boardwipes you have a slightly better chance.
This is not a complete guide to beating Zoodiac. Unfortunately, if the OCG has taught us anything it’s that the best way to beat Zoodiac is to play another variant of Zoodiac (since Malmorat by itself enables most of the deck’s plays). This will be the dominant deck and despite the admitted “you’ll win if you do next approach of this post” the sheer volume of Zoodiac players will still choke out the people playing rogue. There is still hope though! Like Konami making Zoodiacs low rarity so everyone can play tier 0 without breaking the bank!
Or far more likely Malmorat will be a secret rare and cost $60, Drancia will be an Ultra Rare costing $20-30 and the rest of the deck being $1 rares or commons. Add to that Pot of Desires and Dimensional Barriers and you have one of the most expensive Yugioh decks since full power PePe. Well just in case the former happens I have an MX Saber Invoker ready…
Thanks for reading as usual.
Credit to the following sites and blogs:
- Yugioh Wikia
- Road of the King