While I have an insatiable desire to punish myself by playing Fableds and Ghostricks at Regional and YCS events, occasionally I mix it up and play "slightly" "better" rogue decks. A few weeks ago my friend Jeremy was gracious enough to trade me an entire Dark Magician deck even though he was jazzed to play it himself, and everyone's favorite HBIC Cordero Vexacus Spencer helped me get Pot of Desires and Solemn Strike, something that was absolutely necessary for Dark Magicians to excel.

Fast forward to last weekend, and I drove up to my friend Chris' house to playtest Dark Magicians, thinking that they had a shot to finish X-1 or X-2 at a Regional. After banishing at least one Dark Magician every time I played Pot of Desires, I was ready to burn every last copy of Pot in the tri-state area.

Extremely annoyed at any rogue deck I could imagine, I randomly threw together some version of a Paleozoic deck. My only experience with Paleozoics so far had been this, which hinged on quickly making a Paleozoic Opabinia with Gagaga cards abusing Paleozoic Pikaia for an inadvertent take on what would later become a strategy.

Even when I played a version without Gagaga cards… well, just take a look:

DECKID= 107099Yeah, as you can see, I ran a decent number of tech choices.

In stark contrast to my Paleogagaga deck, this iteration rarely uses Paleozoic Pikaia. In fact, I think I switched out the Pikaia for my side-decked Paleozoic Leanchoilia most games and would remove it completely if I played the strategy again. The only really Loukas-flavored thing in the Main Deck was Debris Dragon, because my friend Chris told me that Coral Dragon was a Dragon, not a Wyrm, and could thus be made with Debris Dragon.

Just remember, kids - Brionac, Dragon of the Ice Barrier is not a Dragon, and the grown-up version of Tatsunoko, a Wyrm, turns out to be a Dragon.

Life Hack: Fall Asleep Mid-Sentence Talking About Your Deck
After making the switch to Paleozoic Frogs the night before, I got some bad news when the sun rose. I found out my friend actually needed his Toadally Awesome for his deck, and I almost rage-quitted and played Plaguespreader Zombie and Quillbolt Hedgehog just for fun since I thought playing one Toadally Awesome would spell doom for my day.

But after all, I already had Masked HERO Acid, PSY-Framelord Omega, Xyz Reborn, and Card of Demise in the deck, so why not go for broke with as much random stuff as possible? My friends Mitchell, Derrick, Chris, and I drove down to Milwaukee, all trying to come up with ridiculous ideas for our decks, finishing every sentence with "and then I'll give him the razzle dazzle." It was almost as fun as the time Doug "Confirmation Bias" Zeeff and I had a cherry tomato fiasco en route to a Regional, but this time we had a car tailing us the entire time, changing lanes as we did.

Round 1 - Vs. Metalfoes
Ok, so, I'd been totally bashing Metalfoes in my head because in theory, they don't have a lot of ways to counter your plays and thus don't have any reactionary or defensive cards.

Turns out, they don't need them!

But since their set cards are typically not threats like Solemn Strike, Twin Twisters, and the like, my opponent opened with a Metalfoes Goldriver in his Pendulum scale, and I wasn't sweating yet. Turns out, my opponent liked PSY-Framelord Omega as much as I do, and by the end of his turn he had two PSY-Framelord Omegas on field, a Fullmetalfoes Fusion set, and a Metalfoes Mithrillium on board. He decided to use both Omegas to effectively make me discard a card, and because he did that, he didn't have the right number of monsters left for Fullmetalfoes Fusion, and that let me set up my field.

I played Pot of Desires and banished BOTH Ronintoadins and two copies of Dupe Frog, but I did open Swap Frog and Paleozoic Leanchoilia to give me an "ok" Turn 2. Hoping my opponent wouldn't draw a Metalfoes monster, I immediately bounced his Mithrillium with Compulsory Evacuation Device, and his focus on Omega wound up losing him the game over the next few turns.

#####CARDID= 20206 #####

In Game 2, he focused way too much on PSY-Framelord Omega once again, and this time my Pot of Desires banished two Dupe Frogs, two Swap Frogs, a Ronintoadin, and I drew into another Pot of Desires. Grumbling, I trudged on, playing a lengthy game where we traded blows and he gained massive card advantage with PSY-Framelord Omega. Metalfoes Mithrillium is an insanely busted card, and the fact that I have only chainable traps was the reason it didn't cripple me completely, letting me emerge victorious.

Record: 1-0

Round 2 - Vs. Metalfoes (Chris Pierczynski)
Losing another die roll, my opponent went first and expertly abused his Metalfoes from the get-go to thin his deck and prepare for his next turn. Playing Pot of Desires for a third time, I banished both Ronintoadins, two Dupe Frog, a Swap Frog, and didn't start with Paleozoic Leanchoilia or Swap Frog.

Internally, I was screaming.

Externally, I think I was screaming as well. Thanks to El Metalfoes Fus-… I mean Fullmetalfoes Fusion… I lost on his second turn. Metalfoes Mithrilium's second effect is arguably just as good as its first. By that time, I was getting really annoyed at both Pot of Desires and all the Metalfoes cards.

In Game 2, my opponent started with a Metalfoes monster and Summoner's Art, and I immediately knew I'd see a Cyber Dragon Infinity. Even though I had Maxx "C" to draw three cards, I didn't see any spells, leaving me to set a Dupe Frog and five traps. The brightside to my traps were that one was Solemn Warning and one was Solemn Strike. On the downside, my opponent used a set Twin Twister in his end phase to pop my Paleozoic Marella and Solemn Strike, so I ended up losing on the next turn.

I felt a bit deflated, having lost 2-0 in minutes without playing any cards.

Record: 1-1

Round 3 - Vs. Darklords
After complaining to Doug that Pot of Desires was the world's worst card and my whole existence as a duelist was cursed, I sat down against a very friendly player, telling me he was playing Darklords. Knowing that they're good enough for Steve Silverman to make Top 32 at YCS Anaheim, I was somewhat nervous since I knew what roughly zero of the cards did.

My opponent won the dice roll, I rolled my eyes in anguish, he elected to go first, and he started with Speedroid Terrortop for a free Speedroid Taketomborg. I held up my finger saying wait, noticing something off, and below is our exchange - it truly doesn't do justice watching it in person.

"Hold on - don't shuffle your hand. I think you have too many cards in your hand."

"Huh? No I don't." (Proceeds to shuffle hand and starts making a Totem Bird)

"Wait a second - it is one too many cards. Including Taketomborg, you should have a grand total of six cards. Five from your opening hand, and as one of those five, Terrortop should give you a sixth, which is Taketomborg. You have seven."

"No, I don't."

"I mean… you do."

"Stop trying to rule shark me."

"You have one extra card. If you didn't shuffle your hand, you could have just put the leftmost card back and we would have called it good." (I raised my hand for a judge)

"My extra card is Taketomborg."

"Let's count your cards." (He laid his cards out as I count aloud.) "See? Seven - you have one extra."

"No, my 'extra' is Taketomborg."

"Excluding Taketomborg," I physically moved it off the board. "Without it, you have six cards. You should have five. See? One, two, three, four, five, six." I counted his Terrortop and five cards in hand. "One extra."

"My extra card is Taketomborg."

"No, look," at this point I was getting upset. "You have six AND Taketomborg so you have one more card."

"Right, my extra card is Taketomborg. Stop trying to cheat."

Finally a judge came over, and after counting his cards three more times, he realized that both the judge and I were proficient in first grade math.

#####CARDID= 18977 #####

Game 2 was surprisingly pretty simple, given that I was nervous about facing down a deck I'd never played against before. Darklords seem really neat, but as I was picking them off one by one and had a well-timed Waboku, it was over before it began. I think my opponent was on tilt though, making comments about me cheating ad nauseum.

Thanks to Xyz Reborn, I punished him early with a Number F0: Utopia Future, getting back an extra Opabinia search on my next turn. Matches like that make Yu-Gi-Oh! not so much fun.

Record: 2-1

Round 4 - Vs. Paleozoic Frogs
If you look up the term "suffering" in the dictionary, you'll see a small image of me frowning and holding up one Toadally Awesome while sitting across a table from someone holding three copies. If you then proceed to look up "torture," you'll just see a Paleozoic mirror match.

The Paleozoic mirror is odd because the self-revival effects always go off of your opponent's traps. Gotta love mandatory effects like that, making both of us always feel like we're losing out. We actually went into time in Game 1 because half of the duel was spent painfully looking at the board, with the other half was split between sitting on a Ronintoadin, activating Solemn Strike, and crying.

Almost every time one of us made a Toadally Awesome, the other had a Solemn Strike or Solemn Warning - and those were actually the only Life Points lost the entire game. He was at 1500, while I was at 3000. It's a very painful mirror match, but it reminded me of the Spellbook mirror, something I was always comfortable with. I was very proud of my Coral Dragon in this game; it did exactly what I needed it to do.

Record: 3-1

Round 5 - Vs. ABC-Dragon Buster
Kicking off Round 5 by losing the dice roll meant I was batting 0-5. I actually ended up finishing 1-7 in dice rolls for the day. I don't mind going second much, especially playing Paleozoics when I'm playing Card of Demise and only have one Toadally Awesome anyways, since it means more cards for me.

My opponent started without an ABC Buster Dragon, but I knew that all he'd need to draw the next turn was any Level 4 Light Machine to make it happen. He did flip an Anti-Spell Fragrance in his draw phase and did use Solemn Warning on my Swap Frog, but I had a Waboku and Paleozoic Olenoides to stay alive and pop his Union Hangar. I drew into a Maxx "C," but hey - that was good enough to make a Paleozoic Opabinia, so I Normal Summoned it and went from there.

In Game 2 I was reminded of why ABC decks are fearsome. You'd think that the deck would be satisfied with just a Bujintei Tsukuyomi and ABC-Dragon Buster, but noooo - my opponent had to make Traptrix Rafflesia, Bujintei Tsukuyomi, Abyss Dweller, and ABC Buster Dragon with a set Vanity's Emptiness and Solemn Warning. Funny thing is that I somehow almost won that game. Well, maybe not almost, but he did use all fifteen cards from his Extra Deck, including three copies of Diamond Dire Wolf.

#####CARDID= 11655 #####

Game 3 was the first game where I went first all day – in Round 2, I'd elected to go second hoping to get more cards to deal with his threats, but Cyber Dragon Infinity punished me for my optimism in Game 2. Anyway, my opponent didn't open Twin Twisters, and with five cards in my backrow it wasn't hard to pick apart his plays. ABC decks obviously have the powerhouse of a "free" ABC-Dragon Buster from the graveyard, but Paleozoics thrive on low resource situations. Between all the recursion and draw power, I quickly turned our equivalent card economy into a dominating position.

Record: 4-1

Round 6 - Vs. D/D/D
Aside from Darklords, I only really came up against popular decks over the course of the Regional. And it's not like Darklords are an extremely rogue deck since they technically have a YCS Top 32 on record. Normally I play at least one entirely random deck per Regional, so I was getting geared up for that, but Round 6 was no different than the others.

I was actually expecting to play more D/D/D match-ups since the Structure Deck was just released, but I only ended up seeing this one. As long as D/D/D doesn't go first and open with D/D/D Cursed King Siegfried, Crystal Wing Synchro Dragon, and Vanity's Emptiness or Solemn trap, I feel Paleozoics should win. In Game 1, my opponent could only make a Siegfried and set a Solemn Strike, and since I was picking off his cards one by one and he was hemorrhaging his Extra Deck in the first two turns, it was an easy victory.

I was lucky enough to open with Maxx "C" in Game 2, stopping his plays dead in the water. I don't know all the D/D/D combos by heart, but he seemed to have a pretty good opening hand. He elected not to give me tons of draws, ending with only D/D/D Oracle King d'Arc and two Dark Contract cards. Oh, and he had a stupid Solemn Strike face-down which hit my Swap Frog when I Normal Summoned it.

Fortunately, I had another Swap Frog and Ronintoadin in hand, and while I could sit on a Toadally Awesome for a while, I couldn't really get over some of big Fusions. He had the Strikes for my Cat Shark while I had the backrow to scare him off of attacking. But I never let him resolve another Dark Contract with the Gate, I stole two copies of Allure of Darkness with Toadally Awesome, and eventually I broke through his monsters once I drew into more Paleozoics.

Record: 5-1

Round 7 - Vs. Metalfoes
At this point, I was really hungry and was getting light-headed. The hungry side of my brain was saying "Ravioli ravioli give me the formuoli to win this round and go eat," and the delirious side of my brain was uncontrollably laughing thinking of this ridiculous video. When I told my opponent I hadn't Top 8'd a Regional in 2017 to lighten the mood, he made some not-so-nice-comments, to which I responded "Well, I guess I'll have to give you the razzle-dazzle."

More not-so-nice comments later, and I actually let him go first in the die roll.

As Doug likes to point out, mind games are a very important factor in Yu-Gi-Oh! - they can influence the outcome of a tournament just as much as luck, skill, and deck-building can. I did my best and feigned facial responses to some of his plays, which definitely had an impact, occasionally changing the decisions he was about to make when he looked up at me.

Forced to make some awkward choices and prematurely negate a trap with Cyber Dragon Infinity, I was free to use Quaking Mirror Force for four monsters but he eventually hit for some damage with Fullmetalfoes Fusion. Late game, Xyz Reborn helped me keep Toadally Awesome on the field by giving me an Opabinia as negation fodder, and Coral Dragon combined with Paleozoic Olenoides killed the rest of his scales.

#####CARDID= 20191 #####

In Game 2, I was back at it again with the mind games. When he used a Kaiju to get rid of my Toadally Awesome, I recycled it and said "It sucks only having one." He was shocked, and asked if I was being serious, and I said "Pfft - why would I only play one? Only a total noob would play one copy." His entire demeanor changed, thinking that I actually had multiple copies and "wasted" Toadally Awesome's recycle effect on itself when I could have gotten back a Swap Frog, commenting on how I played bad cards like Debris Dragon and would "waste" Toad's recycle ability on itself.

He played even more aggressively with all that in mind, and of course, walked right into a few traps – both literally and figuratively. Mind games are fun, and Coral Dragon was the MVP of that match. I had the opportunity to make PSY-Frame Omega, but simply attacked for game instead with Coral Dragon.

Record: 6-1

Round 8 - Vs. Awesome Heroes
I think I found my least favorite deck to play against. It's extremely frustrating to navigate around Toadally Awesome and Masked HERO Dark Law the entire game, but thankfully I drew into some useful Paleozoic cards and a few copies of Waboku early on as my opponent burned through his resources. Even though his Masked HERO Dark Law was being really mean and kept banishing cards I drew off of Card of Demise, he eventually ran out of Masked HERO Dark Law, giving me a narrow victory. I had way too many cards banished.

In Game 2, he opened Dark Law and Toadally Awesome by way of Bahamut Shark. Little Did I know that my opponent played three Toadally Awesomes and three copies of Bahamut Shark just to make me suffer. He drew into Denko Sekka a couple turns down the road, but thankfully I narrowly dodged it with a yarded Breakthrough Skill.

Sadly, he ended up using Soul Charge to make the third Bahamut Shark and accidentally revealed he had a Solemn Strike in hand, setting it. Knowing that I could end the match right then, I had to bait two Toadally Awesome effects, giving him a Waboku and Paleozoic Dinomischus facedown next to his Solemn Strike with one card in hand.

A lot of people were watching at that point, and from an outside look in, it looked like I was making a mess of things on my side of the field. I was pretty proud of teching Mask Change II after my friend Colin gave them to me, and during my opponent's End Phase I brought out Masked HERO Acid to wipe all three of his backrows. He extended his hand without any Toads on field and a giant Masked HERO Acid in his face.

Final Record: 7-1

I'm not an expert on how tiebreakers are calculated, but I was surprised to see that I barely squeezed into the Top 8 at 7th Place. My only match loss of the day, comprising two of my three game losses, was to the undefeated player who wound up 8-0. I suppose that several people I played either did poorly or dropped from the tournament, so I felt a little robbed in not getting a deck box to go along with my mat.

Changes? We Don't Need No Stinking Changes!
I honestly don't have a lot of changes I would make to make the deck better - only sillier. Sure, Xyz Reborn and Debris Dragon were easy options to swap with Side Deck cards, but Coral Dragon was a surprisingly strong candidate for MVP that either dealt with face-up threats or baited Solemn Strike. I didn't miss anything from the Extra Deck except maybe a second Downerd Magician and the obvious copes if Toadally Awesome, but one thing I wanted to try was a single copy of either Shapesister or Space Dragster.

Shapesister is a free Xyz when you have a Paleozoic in the graveyard, and Space Dragster sets you up for Goyo Defender, which in turn makes a Leviair the Sea Dragon, which in turn summons back a banished Frog. Cool? Maybe? Given the fact that I didn't need to play a second Cat Shark or Sky Cavalry Centaurea, PSY-Framelord Omega, or Daigusto Phoenix, I think I may have the Extra Deck space for something fun! I mean, at one point I was considering going full Ninja with the deck, playing Ninja Grandmaster Hanzo and Upstart Golden Ninja. I opted for Card of Demise instead... which I think was the right choice.

The MVP of the day was definitely Paleozoic Opabinia - without it, I don't know how well the Paleozoic Frog hybrid could function. Sure, Toadally Awesome can win games on its own, but cycling through two or three Opabinias to set up Number F0: Utopic Future and Toadally Awesome tackles the problem of big monsters. There were several instances where I blew through my opponent's spell and trap threats with multiple copies of Paleozoic Olenoides just so Utopic Future could steal a monster for two free direct attacks, uninhibited by wary spells or traps. And since I couldn't find any copies of System Down, you can save your questions on why I excluded it from the Side Deck.

Sadly, I probably won't get to play in any Regionals or YCS tournaments for a while, but it's fun to show up to a competitive event every once in awhile, right? I'll be back for some Rerouting, Under the Radar, and other fun columns in the meantime!

Just remember, beat your opponents before they beat you!

-Loukas Peterson

Loukas "#spellberks4lyfe" Peterson lives in Madison, Wisconsin where he's earned the honor of Employee of the Century at his basket-weaving job. When he's not getting lost walking to the grocery store, his days are spent shaking his fist in the direction of Konami's North American headquarters demanding Fabled support or an archetype based around rainbow flags. In his spare time, Loukas dresses up as various road signs around his neighborhood, intentionally spelling things wrong to confuse drivers.

Do you love winning with unconventional strategies? Do you love creating mash-ups? Does your deck need an injection of crazy? Send the following to rerouting.tcgplayer@gmail.com to have your deck featured in the "Re-Routing" deck fix column!

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

-Your name and city.

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

-A paragraph or two describing your deck: what it does, why you're playing it, and its strengths and weaknesses. "Winning" is not a strategy per se, and neither is "beating your opponents before they beat you."

-Your favorite card from the build and why – make me fall in love with the deck! The cooler your strategy the more I'll want to fix it, and if you throw in funny jokes, that'll surely get my attention too; be warned, 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'm not bored of it yet! –LJP