At this point in my career it may be pretty clear that I love Frogs. I've written on the strategy several times in the past and it never gets old for me. When you really think about it, how could it get old? The thing that makes Frogs so relevant years after their release is the sheer versatility and potential of the theme, and while the uses for Frogs might change, that underlying strength never fades.

There have been lots of popular Frog decks over the years. First up, everyone knows the infamous Substitoad deck that won Worlds in 2010. Of course, that deck has spent the last five years completely dead as a result. More popular than that, Frog Monarchs – or Frognarchs as they've been lovingly dubbed – have always been on the lips of everyone discussing potential competitive strategies. The immediate appeal of Frognarchs always lies in the fact that the deck makes the most of its plays outside of the realm of the norm: you play hand traps instead of real traps; you rely mostly on Tribute Summons; and you don't ever have to commit much to the field to establish your presence on the board. It's been a winning combination and a high-potential rogue strategy for years.

More recently, the Frognarch mindset has been applied to Sea Lancer-based decks with great success. In fact, the strategy's first major showing at the top tables was the 2012 Irish Nationals. To put that achievement into perspective, the summer of 2012 featured some of the fastest gameplay ever seen with Dino Rabbit, Wind-Ups, and Chaos Dragons all performing at full strength. What made Lancer Frogs so radical at the time was its resiliency. A fully-loaded Sea Lancer had to be destroyed six times before it left the field! Plus, it recycled your Frogs; that gave you a much stronger late game than any of the other decks could've hoped for at the time.

Frogs Are Doing It For Themselves
One defining feature of Frog strategies up to this point is the fact that the actual Frog monsters themselves are only enablers. They're the gears that keep the bigger mechanisms moving, but rarely will the Frogs themselves actually win you the duel. Recently, the Des Frog OTK has become fashionable and it's the exception to the aforementioned claim. This deck focuses on abusing Ronintoadin with Inferno Reckless Summon to Special Summon three Des Frogs to the field. By themselves, the three Des Frogs place 5700 ATK points of damage on the board and it really isn't all that complicated to get the remaining 2300. In fact, another Level 2 Frog gives you access to Daigusto Phoenix. There you go – game.

Today's strategy takes the forward-thinking approach of Frognarchs and Lancer Frogs and combines it with the DIY mentality of the Des Frog OTK. The key to this strategy is a little piece of tech that doubles the number of Xyz you can make with the Frogs. Literally, you go from exclusively making Rank 2's to Rank 4's as well. A frog deck with access to what's arguably the strongest toolbox in the game is a fearsomely tantalizing thought. Can you guess what the card may be? I'll give you a hint: it's not Lemuria, the Forgotten City.

Stumped? Well, you've got until the end of this sentence to figure it out because I'm about to show you the deck list and it's coming quickly and I'm trying to give you extra time to figure it out by writing this ridiculous run-on sentence and I just can't justify making it any longer sorry here you go...

DECKID=101269Freakin' Tannhauser Gate, man! Did you guess correctly? If not that's totally okay. The card's flying far below the radar it might as well be six feet under. Tannhauser Gate was released nearly two years ago in Abyss Rising and literally nothing has happened with it since then. To be completely honest, I forgot it existed until a friend pointed it out to me recently. Apparently the hype machine made a possible prediction of the card showing up in Burning Abyss decks? As far as I know that hasn't happened yet, but really, it's not a terrible idea.

So what does Tannhauser Gate do anyway? Well, you target two monsters with the same type and 1000 ATK or less and each monster's Level becomes the combined total of both monster's levels. It's a crazy cool card that gives an added level of flexibility to decks that may just be a little too regimented. It also gives you the added benefit of surprise. Your opponent would never expect you to have access to 103: Ragnazero in a Frog deck and that kind of from-left-field play could win you the game.

With Our Powers Combined!
When I said that this deck takes the best of most conventional Frog decks and throws it into the soup, that really wasn't just hyperbole on my part. Sure, I meant that you were grafting concepts from those decks onto this one but really the best way to do that is by just using the actual cards themselves! The best decks have several different ways to win – that's one of the few inalienable truths of the game. If your win condition fails, can you still win? This deck absolutely can. In fact, you're often claiming victory with a combination of everything available to you.

Tannhauser Gate is a big part of your victory plan. Having easy access to a myriad of Rank 4's is a big help to any strategy, and the impact here is immense. Imagine sitting on fully-loaded Sea Lancer and then all of a sudden, you've got a Diamond Dire Wolf on board! Because of Sea Lancer's Beast-Warrior type, it's a viable target for Diamond Dire's effect. You can pop cards on your opponent's side of the field without any substantial loss to your own infrastructure. Really, if the monster detached from Sea Lancer was a Dupe Frog, you just plussed really hard.


And believe me, Sea Lancer is a big part of this strategy. Because you're using your Frogs to Xyz Summon Rank 2's and Rank 4's, make Tribute fodder, and keep your Creature Swaps and Enemy Controllers live you're going to need some method of recursion for those little amphibians and there really isn't any better way of doing that than Sea Lancer. 2300 ATK may not seem very substantial but more often than not, you'll be backing that up with the 400 ATK boost from Gachi Gachi Gantetsu. A 2700 ATK beater that avoids destruction for a long time is all of a sudden way more threatening than a 2300 ATK monster that does the same thing. That's the difference between getting over Dante, Traveller of the Burning Abyss and not.

2700 ATK is a recurring number with this deck actually, thanks to Frog-mainstay Gorz the Emissary of Darkness bringing along its new friend... Gorz the Emissary of Darkness. Seriously, having double Gorz now is almost a game changer. You kind of traipse about fearing nothing – even death itself. You know that it won't stop you now... or that you can at least cheat it twice! That's pretty good odds for cheating death, all things considered.

If you can't beat your opponent's monsters down then your safe bet is Raiza the Storm Monarch. Just spin their monster away to the top of the deck. The strategic value of controlling your opponent's next draw is really the big reason why Raiza was carried over from the Frognarch deck as opposed to Caius the Shadow Monarch. Non-destruction removal tricks are always valuable.

Alright, Buck! Where's The Bang!?
This one sits pretty at about $70. Frogs have always been – and will most likely continue to be – relatively cheap. It's one of their strongest features. That $70 price point leaves you with a lot of room to expand the budget. Obviously, you're missing Number 101: Silent Honor ARK, Castel the Skyblaster Musketeer, and Evilswarm Exciton Knight amongst others. Hell, with all of the Level 7's floating around it wouldn't be unwarranted to throw in a Mecha Phantom Beast Dracossack at your discretion! There's a lot of room for expansion in the Extra Deck but if you don't quite have those funds, rest assured, I tested exclusively with this build and you can win the majority of your matches without the flash cards.

So take this deck for a swim! See how Tannhauser Gate works out for you! I deeply enjoyed shocking my opponent with cards they didn't expect to see, it's a wonderful thing, really. Maybe you already play this deck yourself or you know of other great uses for Tannhauser Gate? I'd love to hear about it in the comments section below!

-Zach Buckley