If I had to really think about, I've never had more fun playing a deck in real life than I did in the early days of Dino Rabbit. That deck was a perfect storm for me and the set it was released in, Photon Shockwave, was just my pack. You know what I'm talking about: some sets you just pull incredibly well, over and over for whatever reason. Back in the early days I pulled three Secret Rare Rescue Rabbits when they were $100 each and two Wind-Up Zenmaines when they were $65 a pop – not to mention two each of Evolzar Laggia and Evolzar Dolkka when they were double digits as well.

Being a broke dude who was never willing to shell out big bucks for cards, that was an incredible blessing: I could play an incredibly powerful deck without really paying for it. Now this was before Dino Rabbit became "The Deck That Was Reprinted" or Macro Rabbit if you will – and it was still very desirable to play. I mean, shoot, if you could avoid playing it like everyone else during the Macro days, you did.

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Old Man Duelist stories aside, I really do miss Dino Rabbit. There's just something about it that totally captivated me. It's an experience I've been sorely missing, but the wonderful thing is that it can be had again! Evols were released in the shadow of Rescue Rabbit and despite the notion that they're just the red-headed step child in comparison, they provide a near identical experience. The important thing is that the Evol strategy gives you access to the game winning Evolzar Dolkka and Evolzar Laggia. Card negation's powerful and monster effect negation doubly so, considering the shape of competition right now.

Evols have had about as shoddy of a competitive history as you can get. Last year the deck topped a YCS and then just outright disappeared. Recently however, the strategy stole a Top 8 finish at the Lindenhurst, IL Regional Qualifier in mid-May on the back of a brand new card from Primal Origin: Evo-Singularity. Traditionally, the biggest problem with Evols is their weak late game. If you could keep the deck from winning early and cut off access to Evolsaur Vulcano, the game was pretty much yours. Unless you specifically built your deck to overcompensate for that shortcoming, then you just had to deal with this massive Achille's Heel. Evo-Singularity changes everything. A Normal Trap that Special Summons an Evoltile and Evolsaur from your graveyard and immediately overlays them into an Evolzar Xyz of your choice, it unleashes your best monsters regardless of Rank or Xyz Materials.

So immediately you can 1-for-1 into a game-changing monster or even +1 if your opponent stumbles into Evo-Singularity with Mystical Space Typhoon. With a better, on-theme Xyz Reborn at your disposal the window of opportunity's widened greatly for these dinosaurs. John Leveille recognized that fact almost immediately and piloted the deck to a Top 8 finish at the Lindenhurst Regional. Essentially, what I've got to show you guys today is the build that John took to the top tables, albeit with an Extra Deck that would cost you substantially less. It's budget and it's competitive – is there really anything that we love more in these parts?

DECKID=100484The gist of Evols is essentially that lizards become dinosaurs become dragons. This strategy is the closest thing we've got to Yu-Gi-Mon and it really rocks. I mean, the entire concept's all about evolution – the archetype's name is the root morpheme of the very word itself. Eventually, your little Reptile-types are going to end up as game-ending Xyz Dragons and your entire deck is devoted to reaching that end goal – which it does very well.

In The Beginning, Ra Created (Kanye) Westlo…
Believe it or not, the most important monsters in your entire Main Deck are the two sets of Evoltiles. Your larger Evolsaur monsters are essentially big useless Vanillas without them. Evoltile Najasho will Special Summon an Evolsaur from your deck whenever it's Tributed. Because of that ability, Najasho's the most ambitious of the pair: whenever it's coupled with some of the spells in the Main Deck the results can be fantastic, but we'll get to that a bit further down the line. Evoltile Westlo on the other hand, is a strong, independent lizard that doesn't need no darn spell card to help it out – no, sir! While Najasho enables some really flashy plays and combos, Westlo compliments it with perfect simplicity. Whenever this 1900 DEF wall is flipped face-up, it'll Special Summon any Evolsaur monster from your Deck.

When the game starts you want to try and get to one of these Reptiles as soon as you can; they're key to a successful early game. Which one you run to first depends on the shape of the rest of your hand and the strategy you're facing. Evoltile Westlo's obviously the safest bet; you don't need anything else to make it live, just an open monster slot on the field. With that being said, if your opponent's playing an incredibly explosive strategy like Mermails or Mythic Rulers, then you have to take into account that their early game could set up a field fast enough to make Westlo underwhelming at best.

For situations like that, when you have to defend your territory almost immediately, Evoltile Najasho's the preferred pick. If you can resolve a Najasho then the result is almost always a Rank 4 Xyz Summon. Everyone remembers the horrific days of "Evolzar Laggia, set four, end turn" and with Najasho, an opening like that is not only still possible, but a very probable reality. How so? Well…

The Back Row Is The Root Of All Evol
The Evol theme has some of the best and coolest support cards I've ever seen. The monsters do the grunt work, sure, but the backrow defense really makes the plays. Behind every great monster is a devious spell or trap.

To get the ball rolling, Evols have the hallmark feature that seems to be shared by every great strategy has: a good search spell. Evo-Diversity lets you search out either an Evolsaur or an Evoltile monster from your deck, adding it to your hand. Considering the fact that there will be situations where you'll want one over the other, designing the card in this fashion was good work on Konami's part. Instead of making a search spell for each monster – taking up valuable real estate in your deck – they gave you an effective spell for both with the only stipulation being that you activate one per turn. Kudos, Konami.

The second powerhouse spell is Evo-Force. It's kind of the Evo-quivalent of a Rank-Up-Magic Spell: it exchanges one monster for an even stronger monster, and the great part is that the monster's treated as if it was Special Summoned by the effect of an Evoltile monster. This spell is the Yin to Evoltile Najasho's Yang. If you have this pair in your hand then you have an insta-Evolzar at your disposal. But which Evolsaurs do you Special Summon with its ability? At the start of the game, you'll likely Special Summon either Evolsaur Cerato or Evolsaur Diplo in an attempt to grab some easy card advantage.

Both monsters gain abilities when they're Special Summoned by the effect of an Evoltile monster. Diplo will pop a backrow card when Summoned this way, giving you an immediate out to any threat you could currently be dealing with. Evolsaur Cerato doesn't create immediate results, but instead gives you longevity over several turns should you choose to keep it onboard. When it's Special Summoned by the effect of an Evoltile monster, Cerato's attack jumps from 1900 ATK to 2100 ATK and whenever it destroys an opponent's monster by battle it'll add an Evoltile monster from your deck to your hand. Sort of a prehistoric pay it forward, if you will. Cerato can give you access to a stream of cards if you have the means by which to protect it.

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The late game is when the Najasho and Evo-Force combo really reaches its full strength. By that stage of the game, you'll probably have a substantial graveyard at your disposal and at that point you're going to put it to good use. When you Special Summon Evolsaur Vulcano to the field using an Evoltile, you can use Vulcano's effect to Special Summon another Evolsaur from your graveyard. It's an instant Evolzar Laggia or Evolzar Dolkka.

Alright, Buck. Where's The Bang!?
This strategy clocks in at about $90. None of your main decked Evols clock in above $5, so you've got some wiggle room in the Extra Deck. Considering the Evolzars were reprinted as tin cards, you probably already have a number of copies anyway.

Evols are incredibly underrated right now. Our game's in a weird transition period with Primal Origin still being so fresh. Even with the popularity of Traptrix Hand Artifacts and week by week innovations across the globe thanks to National Championships, it's too early to see the shape of things to come. It's the right time for weird stuff to win, and this deck's not only weird, but good! Have you been playing with your evolutionary sciences? I'd love to hear about it! Share your insights and opinions in the comments down below.

-Zach Buckley

Team Nofatchx