It's no secret that I'm a huge fan of Volcanics. I've been trying new ideas to make the theme viable for years, and many of them brought me success.

But I've sort of been having a dry spell. The current competitive landscape is relentless: every deck is making huge boards, breaking down fields, and Special Summoning like crazy. Volcanics are actually really good at blowing up the table, activating Blaze Accelerator Reload and pitching Volcanic Scattershot to draw a card and destroy all your opponent's monsters; 1500 burn damage just adds insult to injury.

But Volcanics struggle to deal lethal damage, a problem I've tried to solve a lot of different ways over the years. Volcanic Rocket gets you to that first Blaze Accelerator Reload and can poke for 1900 ATK directly, but outside of that and the 1500 damage from Scattershots you're not dealing many hits. Even Royal Firestorm Guards resetting the Volcanic Scattershots in your graveyard isn't enough to win the game. Regular Volcanic duels usually end up with two negative scenarios: you can't kill your opponent fast enough so they build up their board again, or you struggle to find the right cards early on and you never gain any momentum.

I've actually written on this exact subject a while back, so I'd suggest checking out that article if you want some more background on the consistency issues with Volcanics. Volcanics have a lot going for them because of Blaze Accelerator Reload and Volcanic Scattershot, so I haven't given up on the theme yet. Blaze Accelerator Reload can power through your deck extremely fast as long as you draw a Volcanic to pitch every turn. Volcanic Shell's the best option, because you can replace every discarded one with another copy.

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You're probably familiar with the popular Paleozoic Frog deck by now, but here's a quick crash course: the Paleozoics are all traps that have an effect that activates in the graveyard. Whenever a trap card's activated, you can Special Summon one of them from the graveyard as a 1200 ATK/0 DEF Level 2 Aqua. They're banished when they leave the field, but you can easily make an Xyz Monster with them instead to avoid that.

Plenty of Paleozoics have great trap effects, too. Paleozoic Dinomischus is effectively a Karma Cut, but the discarding isn't a cost. Paleozoic Olenoides destroys spells and traps, and Paleozoic Canadia flips monsters face-down. These are all pretty standard three-ofs, but today's build is also maxing out on Paleozoic Marrella, which sends a trap from your deck to the graveyard. Paleozoic Pikaia lets you draw two cards after discarding a Paleozoic, getting you closer to your combo pieces and power plays.

What's cool about these cards is that a lot of them have direct interactions with Volcanics. Paleozoic Dinomischus is great for discarding Volcanic Shell and Blaze Accelerator Reload. The latter is quite impactful, because you can banish Blaze Accelerator Reload from your grave to send a Volcanic from your deck to the graveyard, usually Volcanic Scattershot.

Paleozoic Marrella's fantastic for that, too, because you can send Blaze Accelerator Reload to the graveyard from your deck. If you need to wipe the board you can then pitch a Scattershot, but if you already have a Blaze Accelerator Reload on the field you can send Shell to kick start your draws.

But even Paleozoic Pikaia, a hotly debated card in standard Frog Paleozoics, is much better here with Volcanics. A ton of competitive duelists have dropped copies of Pikaia because it conflicts with your "Set five, pass" strategy. But Blaze Accelerator Reload's continuously digging for cards, making Pikaia a lot more viable.

Outside of the combos with Blaze Accelerator Reload, the Paleozoics help Volcanics by increasing your overall damage output. You constantly have one, two, or three 1200 ATK monsters, which really adds up after a turn or two. Not only that, but it opens up your deck to some of the best Xyz Monsters in the game right now: Toadally Awesome and Paleozoic Opabinia. Toadally Awesome prevents your opponent from making plays and steals their cards. Paleozoic Opabinia grabs whichever Paleozoic you need at that time and also lets you play traps from your hand.

The two strategies blend together wonderfully, and today I wanted to show you the build that I've been working on for the past couple weeks.

DECKID=107019The biggest thing you might notice is that this is the first deck in a while where I'm not running Pot of Desires. I try and fit it into almost every deck I play because it's just so powerful, but there's a lot that could go wrong with it here. Banishing any copy of Volcanic Scattershot cuts you off from activating its destruction effect, and banishing a Volcanic Shell screws up your deck thinning.

I thought about running Paleozoic Leanchoilia to circumvent the pitfall of Desires, but it's inconsistent at best. Returning a banished Scattershot to the graveyard does help because it means you have access to all three, but you'll need to shuffle it back into the deck to use it. That creates a specific situation where Leanchoilia's great: if you Pot of Desires and only banish a single Scattershot, and if you have Royal Firestorm Guards to put it back when you send it to the grave.

At the end of the day that just didn't happen enough, but it might be worth playing one just to recycle Blaze Accelerator Reload.

Some Frogs
The small, five card Frog engine might seem misplaced here, but it solves the problem of Toadally Awesome not doing enough. Awesome bringing out Dupe Frog during your opponent's Standby Phase is incredible. It means that they have to attack over the Dupe Frog before Toadally Awesome, and it also means you can use Dupe Frog as the cost for Toadally Awesome's negation.

But Swap Frog also is good just by itself. There's a lot of turns where you're starting with one Paleozoic on the field and one in grave, and then you can just Normal Summon Swap Frog, send Ronintoadin, and then make Paleozoic Opabinia. From there, you can detach Swap Frog to search a trap and activate it immediately, which triggers the Paleozoic in grave to Special Summon itself. Then you can banish Swap Frog for Ronintoadin and make Toadally Awesome, bringing out Dupe Frog on your opponent's turn.

I think that this hybrid strategy solves some of the problems of both Volcanics and Paleozoics. Volcanics aren't great at making threatening fields, and Paleozoics don't have solid board wipes. You're losing some consistency since you can't play Pot of Desires, but for duelists on a stricter budget that might not be a downside.

If you have Toadally Awesomes lying around but can't afford Pot of Desires, then this is a great choice. Even Dimensional Barrier, the second most expensive card in the deck, can be cut if for more Paleozoics if you want. I think as a casual deck, Volcanic Paleozoics absolutely have the potential to beat opponents playing a variety of strategies!

-Doug Zeeff


Doug Zeeff hails from Michigan and is currently an English major in college. When he's not found emailing Konami about why there's not a single walrus card in all of Yu-Gi-Oh! you can find him regularly posting unorthodox, unfiltered semi-Yu-Gi-Oh! related content on his Youtube channel, Dzeeff. In his spare time he enjoys eating cheese, Overwatch, and, of course, playing Yu-Gi-Oh.
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