Things are going to get weird, friends. Every deck starts with an idea be it however small, and today's strategy is no exception. There are just some cards that tend to leap right into your personal field of vision. You see them and you make a mental note and it just sticks with you for a long, long time. You all know what I'm talking about, right?

For me, Insect Imitation is one of those cards. It's just too cool. I mean sure, it took almost ten years for any useful insects to be released (the Inzektors), and yeah, Level 2 monsters have only pulled themselves together in the last few years, but seriously: Insect Imitation was cool from the get-go. It just needed time.

And this strange little spell card has begotten a strange Little Deck that serves as testament to its overall, well… strangeness. Raccoons and Inzektors have utterly nothing in common other than the fact that Raccoons are all Level 2, Inzektors are Insects, and Insect Imitation likes both. At least that's what it looks like on the surface, I know. However, what you've really got going on here is a pair of incredibly self-sufficient engines working together with the common goal of your victory. I mean, I can't stress enough that you're practically playing two decks in one, which is just insanely awesome and when you think about it, pretty uncommon in this game. Sure, we mix and match archetypes all the time, but we do it because they work together synergistically to become one single entity. Two different things make beautiful offspring.

It's the Beyonce effect.

But this deck's entirely different. Sure, there's Insect Imitation that kind of links them together – and in big ways too, don't get me wrong – but the connection stops there. Instead, the Raccoons and Inzektors are just best friends that prefer to work together; like a sort of Starsky and Hutch team-up. What makes it possible for these two strategies to work side by side is the fact that they're both loaded with cards that have incredible utility all on their own. As audacious as that claim may seem, in all of my testing with this deck I've yet to draw an unplayable hand. Everything runs together so smoothly that you can often play the two strategies independent of, or in conjunction with, each other – it all depends on what your opening hand looks like, really. Here's the deck:

DECKID=100550So let's start with a quick walkthrough of what each strategy does independently, and where they each fall short so that you can better understand why this strategy is such an awesome match. Inzektors are the older of the two themes and very well-known– in fact, I know some people who are still nursing some pretty big wounds they received from Inzektors in formats now long past. Inzektor Dragonfly's the main culprit in most of these horrific beatings. It isn't often that your Normal Summon directly translates into a +2 for you, but Dragonfly with a little help from Inzektor Hornet does just that. Back in the summer of 2012 – a relatively crazy time for this game – you could do that play sequence three times in a single duel; it's easy to see how Inzektors played such a huge role in shaping metagames all across the nation.

After the World Championship that year, Inzektors got knocked down a few pegs when both Inzektor Dragonfly and Inzektor Hornet went straight to Limited status. For a long time after that, few players really knew how to handle the strategy. It went from being one of the most linear decks the game had ever seen, to something that was far more complicated and skill-driven. It didn't make a resurgence until Billy Brake managed to Top 8 YCS Indianapolis later that year with a modified Inzektor strategy that embraced the deck's shortcomings. After that, Inzektors were bulked together with decks like Dark World; fringe strategies that had competitive potential but little to no mainstream appeal.

The deck's been lodged in that position ever since, due to what most regard as consistency issues they believe to be inherent to the strategy. I personally think that whenever we see Inzektors fail, the real issue is a combination of poor deck construction and poor metagame calls. Plus, it's just harder to play now than it was in 2012. It's still rewarding and still quite fearsome – just not broken. A lot of people have trouble distinguishing that. However, this is where the Raccoons come in!

They're Just Cute!
While many of the Beasts we're using in this strategy have been around for years, it wasn't until Konami dropped Shadow Specters and released Baby Raccoon Tantan and Baby Raccoon Ponpoko that an actual strategy started to take shape. The deck was thrust into the spotlight when Obedience Schooled was released in Legacy of the Valiant. This card is another obnoxious free +2. If you control no monsters, Obedience Schooled Special Summons three Level 2 or lower Beast-types with different names from your deck. Their effects are negated, they'll be destroyed in the End Phase, and you can only Special Summon Beasts for the remainder of your turn.

And while all of that seems like some pretty heavy stipulations, they're really not a problem. You've got two great directions that you can go with this card: first, Special Summon two of your Level 2 Earth Beasts plus Key Mouse to Synchro Summon Naturia Beast with a lot of back row – or if you have a Level 2 Beast in your hand, go into a pair of Number 64: Ronin Raccoon Sandayu.

#####CARDID=10726#####

Sandayu's easily one of the best Rank 2's in the game. While you control another Beast Sandayu can't be destroyed by battle or card effects, and once per turn you can detach an Xyz Material to Special Summon a Kagemusha Raccoon Token that mimics the ATK of the strongest monster on the field. Sandayu's a massive problem solver on a ton of levels and can shift the tide of the game very quickly in your favor. In fact, it's really easy to set up some frustrating OTK's with it.

Bringin' It All Together!
The biggest problem facing both Inzektors and Raccoons is longevity; they're both sort of One-Push Pollys. It happens, and there's not much you can really do about it. If you can't recycle your Inzektors then you can't really have a late game, and if your opponent can weather your first Obedience Schooled push then it's not impossible from them to make a comeback, because the law of diminishing returns kicks in pretty quickly. That's the beauty of this deck: each strategy only needs to do 50% of the work, and when you start to exhaust the resources of one side of the deck, the other theme can tag in and finish it out. Or you can just have a brutal double team that sucks the fun out of this game for your opponent for the next six months because they lost to Inzektors and a strategy that has 'baby' literally in its name.

You also have Soul Charge – which is a big game changer. Inzektor decks often run Call Of The Haunted to bring back key monsters like Inzektor Dragonfly, but Call's a turn slower than you'd ideally like and it's highly susceptible to chainable removal tricks, which are everywhere right now. Soul Charge bridges that gap. It lets you OTK your opponent with incredible speed, sure, but it also helps you craft big fields using Insect Imitation. Obedience Schooled and Baby Raccoon Ponpoko stop you from Special Summoning non-Beasts when you use their effects and it does hamper your insect aspirations a bit.

But Soul Charge doesn't care. It just wants your lifeblood as penance for your actions, and you're more than welcome to give it.

Alright, Buck. Where's The Bang!?
This one hits the mark at $100. Most of the cards are a couple of bucks and a couple of bucks add up really quickly but it's okay. You're buying two decks for the price of one! You can always split the cards and make two separate decks with other cards in your collection and have just as much fun. This one's got the longevity you've all been craving!

Any weird pairings in your catalogue? I'd love to hear about it in the comments section below!

-Zach Buckley

Team Nofatchx