I have to admit, Paleozoic's one of my favorite strategies; it's just oneof the all-time greats that I default to a lot. I wouldn't place the theme into my upper echelon ofgo-to decks – it's no Fabled – but a strong base of traps that pick awaythreats, revive themselves as monsters from the graveyard, and ultimatelymake Toadally Awesome work really well as both a competitive core and asplashed add-in to other themes.

In case you haven't been playing Yu-Gi-Oh! for a few years, you may besurprised to see Frogs back at the top tables, but after reading ToadallyAwesome is it really that surprising? It's not the easiest card to make,but if Ice Barrier monsters can summon it then so can you.

…And to answer your question, yes, I did once try to make an Ice BarrierFrog deck focusing on Toadally Awesome. Was it a great strategy? No. Did itmake Toadally Awesome more often than conventional Paleozoic Decks?

Also no.

BetweenDark World Paleozoics, atrap monster deck, and evenChain Beat, the Paleozoic theme's ripe for that spicy tech you're craving, but howwill it really do in competition? Paleozoics were dominant in late 2016 andearly 2017, but it wasn't until very recently that they started to creep upagain in Regional Top Cuts,and now YCS Top 4's. You may not love the strategy, but it's nice to see a variety of decksmaking Top Cut finishes!

Check out Edmundo Morales's Top 8 finish at the latest Regional Qualifierin San Antonio Texas, beating the wide field of Sky Striker and Gouki decksthat seem to run rampant at every competitive event these days. Heck,you'll no doubt found a million Gouki players at your local scenegiven their YCS win this weekend, especially since the core cards are all so easy to find.

DECKID=109217If you're not familiar with the Paleozoic theme, it's a pretty simpleconcept to grasp. When a trap card is activated - specifically a trapcard, not a trap effect - you can Special Summona Paleozoic from your graveyard. The summons don't stack, and at one trapcard activation per Paleozoic you'll need to run a hefty trap lineup tomake everything work consistently, but all those extra monsters add up to afree Toadally Awesome after just a few small plays.

Since the reusable Swap Frog and the recursive Ronintoadin are also validXyz Materials for Toadally Awesome, it's obvious to see how they pair sowell with the Paleozoic traps. But their synergy reaches far beyond theirshared status as Level 2 Aqua monsters. It actually extends right to thecore of their central mechanics.

Unlike Gouki Headbatt or Kozmo Dark Destroyer, the kind of recursionPaleozoic Frogs rely on isn't generated by free monsters from the deck;instead you're doubling down on your at-hand cards and looking to throwthem back at your opponent as soon as they die. They're even different fromrevival cards like Mezuki, because that effect leverages a specific Typeonly found in certain strategies. Morales and his deck represent apersistent and unending wave of small monsters that can be played in manydifferent ways.

To get everything to work he had to load up on Frog and Paleozoic cards,and he achieved that goal without shoehorning in any excess monsters ortraps. Omitting niche combos found in other Paleozoic Frog decks – stufflike the Spellbook Magician of Prophecy and Spellbook of Knowledge engine –Morales' was able to focus on his goal of starting a stream of cards thatalmost never stops. Everything had to advance his ultimate goal.

After all, how do Paleozoic Frogs get over big monsters whilemaintaining board presence? Well, Topologic Bomber Dragon and BorreloadDragon answer that to a sense, but don't overlook the simple combo ofMistar Boy and Toadally Awesome. Toad negates anything thrown at you whileMistar Boy pumps your attack, because if you haven't noticed, ToadallyAwesome barely has any attack points.

"This is pretty much what you're going to go into," Morales explained ofhis Mistar Boy and Toadally Awesome union. "It's an auto-win."

So while it may seem awkward at first, some of your plays will start bymaking a Toadally Awesome for the sole purpose of using it as fuel forMistar Boy just to make another Toadally Awesome in the end. Because thePaleozoics hit your graveyard again if they're used for an Xyz, you aren'treally wasting many cards over the long term and sometimes you need to getback a Swap Frog for unconventional plays.

And while that may not be the first or best combo because of the minorcosts of card economy, it's necessary in some extreme cases to eitherreturn a Swap Frog to your hand or keep Paleozoics in your graveyard.Master Rule Change 4 mandates Link Monsters as the ruling class, and Frogsaren't immune to that. So by keeping the Frog lineup neat Morales gavehimself the option of the crass but sometimes needed play, while alsotrimming the fat from things that weren't Swap Frog

Thirty-Nine Good Cards Later
One thing that might come as a surprise is the low spell count and Morales'choice to play Card of Demise over Pot of Desires. When you're trying tocut as many cards as possible, once-per-turn draw spells might get cloggy.Ultimately, Card of Demise has the power to let you see three new cardswhile Pot of Desires only nets you two. When Gozen Match and Rivalry ofWarlords are your win conditions you need to get to them as fast aspossible, and filtering to see more cards actually becomes more importantthan raw card advantage.

As for Reckless Greed, while not a spell, Morales boasts to say "[RecklessGreed] is better than Pot of Desires… it triggers my Paleos, and I don'thave to banish any of my Ronintoadins." And you have to admit, he has apoint. Reckless won't be a dead draw like Pot of Desires when you get itfrom activating a Pot of Desires, it gives you the same number of cards,and the kicker is its synergy with Paleozoic Dinomischus. You may have todiscard your hand in the End Phase with Card of Demise, but you get cardsback right away with 1, 2, or even 3 copies of Reckless Greed.

The Scapegoat, on the other hand? It seems out of place because it is, andMorales agrees with you. "I never activated this," he remarked ofScapegoat. "Don't play this card. It's bad."

You can't always make the correct decisions on your first try when you'replaying off meta. But while Morales regretted Scapegoat, his Side Deckwasn't as lackluster or even unconventional.

Waking the Dragon's seen lots of play lately, and the other Side Deck pickswere apt counters that didn't conflict with the deck's core. Since hedidn't have monsters clogging up his Normal Summon, Morales was free toplay Inspector Boarder knowing he could easily summon it when he needed to.

#####CARDID= 22629 #####

At worst, traps like Evenly Matched, Trickstar Reincarnation, and MagicDeflector offered more plays while hitting very specific match-ups veryhard. Dark Bribe was Morales' final rebuttal to Reboot' rel="https://yugioh.tcgplayer.com/db/WP-CH.asp?CN=Red Reboot">Red Reboot, Wiretap, andeven Sky Striker Mobilize - Engage!, coming together in a bit of a strangeway to cover virtually everything he was going to play.

Sadly, nothing could stop Morales from playing his own Scapegoat excepthimself.

Trapped In A Glass Case Of Defenses
As I said earlier, the trap cards are really the deck's biggest threats,and Morales' strategy was two-fold. He wanted to either cut his opponentsoff from playing anything with Rivalry of Warlords, Mistake, and GozenMatch, or overwhelm them with more cards in a low resource situation.

Ultimately if you use Paleozoic Dinomischus or Paleozoic Olenoides to shootdown your opponent's cards, the game devolves into your trap cards andRonintoadin in your graveyard versus a whole lot of nothing. With eightfloodgates – Rivalry of Warlords, Mistake, and Gozen Match – it was verylikely Morales could see a preventative trap, or at least had the resourcesto pick apart his opponent's field until it was bare.

And since the Paleozoics all revive off trap activations, he had the optionof playing niche cards that he might need in situations that called fortoolboxing. While Paleozoic Dinomischus is arguably the best of thePaleozoic bunch, it conflicts with Card of Demise's discarding effect, soMorales resorted to lesser used Paleozoics for those rare times when heneeded them.

After all, if his game plan was to block his opponent from playing cards orpick them off one by one, why not go to those niche traps? PaleozoicLeanchoilia comes in handy to return banished cards, and Paleozoic Canadiahas its day in the sun as well. Concentrating so fully on traps with aslittle fluff as possible let him build other opportunities to win duels.

If Morales played more monsters or a weaker trap lineup, he might be forcedto play a different set of Paleozoics without the luxury of more flexiblesingletons. But by starting strong with a fundamental base, it's aninvestment towards other cards.

I've lauded Ronintoadin and the Paleozoic traps as an unstoppable wave ofcards, but there's other things Morales added in just to get the leg up onhis competition. While they aren't as strong in every matchup, Lost Windand Heavy Storm Duster primarily act as a way to accrue a stronger cardeconomy than your opponent.

Lost Wind negates two monster's effects, and Heavy Storm Duster blows uptwo cards. Suddenly your opponent may not have cards left, and hey, look,you've got a Toadally Awesome on board. "You can ditch [Lost Wind] with[Paleozoic Dinomischus] and just bring it back," Morales went on toexplain, trying to take advantage of every situation he found himself in.

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There are plenty of niche cards Morales played one or two copies of, evengoing as far to play Link Spider, Knightmare Cerberus, and Ningirsu theWorld Chalice Warrior to circumvent Gozen Match. But Waking the Dragon'scertainly one of my favorites. With such a heavy trap lineup, it's nosurprise your opponent may bring in cards just to knock your traps out."That was the whole concept of the deck. Have floodgates, make youropponent Twin Twisters you, and hopefully they'll hit the Waking theDragons… which they did."

It's hilarious but important to note that in the end, the final strategy ofthe deck's ultimately a big double down on the strategy of "if Gozen Matchdoesn't work, throw more stuff at the wall than your opponent and see whatsticks." You can't really put that on a bumper sticker, but it's abrilliant idea. To keep their heads above the water, Morales' opponentswere forced to proactively destroy his wall of traps, but it was often anauto-win if they hit Waking and unleashed Raidraptor - Ultimate Falcon.

What's even more hilarious is his own counter to Raidraptor - UltimateFalcon. Cat Shark, the little known Rank 2 that was once so key to previousbuilds of Frogs, turns Toadally Awesome into a totally awesome out againstthe nearly unbeatable Rank 10! Having your own undefeatable strategy withan Achilles' heel built in that only you can leverage just adds insult toinjury if the roles are ever reversed.

Just remember: beat your opponents before they beat you.

-Loukas Peterson


Loukas Peterson lives in Nashville, Tennessee where it's warmer thanwarm, whatever that means. When he's not submitting ideas for Fabledsupport and a Fabled Link monster, you can find making "attempts" at"art" and playing his ukulele terribly, or on Wednesday nights, hangingout with the local mice. Hailed as the only person capable of cookingMinute Rice in 56 seconds, Loukas is always looking at expanding hisapartment to house every dog in the world.


Do you love winning with unconventional strategies? Do you lovecreating mash-ups? Does your deck need an injection of crazy? Send thefollowing torerouting.tcgplayer@gmail.comto have your deck featured in the "Re-Routing" deck fix column!

-Your Main and Extra Deck list. (No Side Deck needed, but please send awritten deck list, not a screencap; screencapped deck lists will befiled and then burned in the furnace accordingly… and your deck shouldbe TCG legal).

-Your name and city.

-Remember, please use full card names! Abbrevs and mis-sipllngs makeLoukas' life sad. Try your darndest to get the TCG name on there.

-A paragraph or two describing your deck: what it does, why you'replaying it, and its strengths and weaknesses. "Winning" is not astrategy per se, and neither is "beating your opponents before theybeat you."

-Your favorite card from the build and why – make me fall in love withthe deck! The cooler your strategy the more I'll want to fix it, and ifyou throw in funny jokes, that'll surely get my attention too; bewarned, unfunny jokes will push your deck to the back of the stack.Don't be afraid to get creative! New stuff takes priority, because I'mnot bored of it yet! –LJP