Ah! 2015! We've made it. It's got that new car smell to it: never been touched and ready to hit the road. It's the perfect storm to catch people off guard with a good rogue strategy aimed at taking down the best decks of the previous format: Qliphort, Shaddolls and Burning Abyss. But where do we begin?

Whenever a new format starts, I always go back to what's familiar to see what impact was made on the decks I know best. This year, as we've all noticed, the F&L list didn't really shakeup anything. No major components of any of the top decks were touched and various power cards were shuffled around on the list. The last time top decks were hit hard was when Konami separated the OCG and TCG lists, which gave us four formats a year, and placed upwards of 20 cards on the F&L list. Since then, however, the F&L lists have simply shuffled around power cards until ultimately Limiting a handful of cards that make the top decks so consistent. But by the time those decks are touched, new incredible themes have been released: so the changes seem irrelevant.

I haven't touched Frogs much since the NAWCQ in July, but that was because I couldn't quite figure out the Burning Abyss match-up. Dealing with Dante and the incredible amount of chainable traps was too rough: you needed to resolve a Trap Stun or you were going to lose. Couple that with El Shaddoll Winda being a pain in the butt, which forced me to run a slew of my own traps and the deck didn't work.

Fast forward a bit to The New Challengers, which gave us the incredibly powerful Denko Sekka, and created a shift to run less traps in Burning Abyss: and you can see that Des Frogs got a huge boost. Toss in the new F&L list, which gives us plenty of monster removal and you're in business.

Let's get to work.

Croaking Out A Victory
The last time I wrote about Frogs was back in August, when I thought that a more Monarch heavy version of the deck was the way to go. I actually took a version very similar to that to a Regional, finishing 6-3, which I was pretty pleased about. Right now, I think our best bet is to avoid a heavy Monarch presence and focus on the speed of Des Frogs.

The Des Frog deck has one true goal in mind: OTK your opponent by throwing everything at them. That goal is accomplished in a multitude of ways, and like any Frog deck it's centered around Swap Frog. Des Frogs, however, are the only variant that truly abuses Swap Frogs second ability which grants you an extra Normal Summon: and that's huge in this version.

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The reason it's a bigger deal than ever is because you want your first Normal Summon to be used on Denko Sekka to lock down Fire Lake of the Burning Abyss, Skill Drain, Vanity's Emptiness and El Shaddoll Fusion. Once that's accomplished, you're free to do anything you want! Special Summoning Swap Frog multiple times is the easiest way to load up your graveyard for a huge Number 61: Volcasaurus and Daigusto Phoenix play or to end the game with Inferno Reckless Summon.

Speaking of Inferno Reckless Summon: it's never been better. I say that because back when I topped Nationals, I was using Des Croaking to truly abuse Special Summoning your three copies of Des Frog when you Special Summon Ronintoadin from your graveyard. Now we have Raigeki, which makes this Quick-Play spell deadlier than ever.

Imagine you have Ronintoadin and one Frog in your graveyard with Denko Sekka, Raigeki and Inferno Reckless Summon in your hand. Your opponent controls Qliphort Carrier, equipped with Saqlifice and two set spells or traps. You can Normal Summon Denko Sekka to lock out all of your opponents' defenses. Follow that up with Ronintoadin and Inferno Reckless Summon to grab your Des Frogs. Your opponent will Special Summon the rest of their Qliphort Carriers.

Now there are two options: you can overlay two of your Des Frogs for Number 61: Volcasaurus and use its effect to destroy one of the Qliphort Carriers. Your opponent will take 1800 damage from that. Now, use Raigeki to wipe out your opponents' monsters. Special Summon Gaia Dragon, the Thunder Charger using Volcasaurus as its Xyz Material and attack with all of your monsters and you win [1800+1900+2600+1700=8000].

The second option is a little bit easier. Once your Des Frogs have been Summoned, you can use Raigeki to destroy all of the Qliphort Carriers. Next, Xyz Summon Shark Fortress and use its effect allowing it to make a second attack and you'll win that way too [2400+2400+1900+1700=8400]. There's also the very likely chance your opponent used a Qliphort Scout, dropping them to 7200 LP. If that's the case, you don't even need to go into your Extra Deck to win after Raigeki. Just attack. [1900+1900+1900+1700=7400].

These scenarios can easily be applied to Burning Abyss and Shaddolls as well, but the best part about those matchups is that your Rank 2 Xyz are actually really useful. Especially Ghostrick Socuteboss, because she can destroy every single Burning Abyss monster except Cir, Malebranche of the Burning Abyss and Virgil, Rockstar of the Burning Abyss.

Oh. And those decks typically end with monsters Special Summoned from the Extra Deck, which means your Inferno Reckless Summon is the definition of unfair.

Going Trapless
The biggest change moving forward is the elimination of traps from the Des Frog deck. Back in July, I was very confident sitting on Dupe Frog backed by a handful of trap cards: which is why I ran thirteen. The competitive scene at the time was full of very small monsters, so my Dupe could hold its own. Right now, due to an increase in backrow destruction, an increase in monsters over 2000 ATK and the power of Denko Sekka, the purple cards have to go. It's very common to see three Mystical Space Typhoons and two to three Night Beams in most Qliphort and Burning Abyss Main Decks. By removing all of your traps, you're already starting off with a huge advantage, because almost a quarter of your opponent's deck will be useless.

The other benefit of a decrease in traps is that you can run more combo cards. You also need to play Mystical Space Typhoon in your own Main Deck to help handle floodgates and annoying chainable traps, while managing Qliphort Scout. With all of the room in the Main Deck, it's beyond important to consider recovery cards as well as some extra blowout cards like Soul Charge.

Here's what we have right now:

DECKID=101597The Main Deck itself is pretty similar to the one I ran at the WCQ, but this deck is arguably a little quicker and has hands that simply say "I win." Before, you often had to wait a full turn to set a Trap Stun, before you could blow open the game with an Inferno Reckless Summon. Now there's Denko Sekka, and that's pretty much the mind set I used when building this deck. What cards are available that would work in a trapless Frog deck that are similar versions to choices I made back in July?

Denko Sekka is the new Trap Stun.

Fire Formation – Tenki is a bit similar to Damage Condenser in the goals they accomplish.

Snatch Steal and Enemy Controller have taken the role of Needle Ceiling in dealing with my opponents monsters.

Raigeki does what I often wanted Des Croaking to do, but requires no set-up at all.

The last few cards were tweaks I had to make to recover after a Fire Lake of the Burning Abyss or a big counter push in which Battle Fader was my saving grace. I've had a lot of fun revisiting my beloved Frogs over the past few weeks and glad I think they're in a place to at least be competitive again.

The new Rank 2 in Secrets of Eternity is incredible as well and could easily breathe some more life back into the deck. Having easy access to a Neo-Spacian Grand Mole that cannot be destroyed by battle is extremely relevant when trying to deal with Dante, Traveler of the Burning Abyss, El Shaddoll Winda and Stellarknight Xyz Monsters.

What rogue strategies are you revisiting to start off the new format? Have you had some major breakthroughs? Let me know below!

-Pasquale Crociata
Team Parallel Worlds Gaming