I can only imagine what deck went through your mind when you read the title of this article. For most, I'd imagine Dark Worlds was the first evil that popped into your head. For a while, Dark World decks were actually a threat in the format because if they went first in Game 1, it was a constant uphill battle with the recursive Grapha, Dragon Ruler of Dark World and the Virus traps purging your deck while Dragged Down into the Grave took out your hand. But Dark Worlds lost most often to themselves, and the average duelist never has to see them in real competition.

Maybe you thought of Inzektors, a deck that's so unfair because it punishes you for having cards. Maybe Six Spamurai (sorry, Beau!) plagued your thoughts and you turned away from my articles forever; if you've suffered through me with Grandsoil Samurai, then you're a gem.

But have no fear, I'm not talking about any of these aggressive decks that have haunted your dreams for years. Today I'm bringing back the original Anti-Meta deck. If you can remember and shudder your way back a few years, then you'll remember the most infamous and notorious "summon boss monster set five" deck of all time.

DECKID=100683That's right, children. I'm talking about Dino Rabbit, the deck I've made fun of almost as much as I've poked fun at Doug "Loukas stop making up dumb nicknames for me" Zeeff.

While Dino Rabbit comprised 50-75% of nearly every major premier event for months, it took a while for the deck to actually win a big one. Nevertheless, Dino Rabbit was considered the best deck long before it was actively winning, and it's a prime example of how Anti-Meta can become Meta. Consider the HAT (Hand, Artifact and Traptrix) deck of today. It was crammed full of good cards to counter existing metagames and it's now in fact become the deck to beat.

You either die a hero or live long enough to see yourself become the villain, right?

Laggia Set Five, GG?
If you think the mirror matches between HAT decks right now are as fun as watching paint dry, they're at least less stressful than Dino Rabbit mirror matches. Back in the day when Dino Rabbit was a fresh deck, we still had three copies of Rescue Rabbit, the watered down version of Rescue Cat that still managed to be worthy of a Limited status. Though you had to clog your deck with mediocre Normal Monsters, the chance to get a quick and dirty Evolzar Laggia or Evolzar Dolkka on Turn 1 was no laughing matter.

In the mirror, whomever resolved a Rescue Rabbit first traditionally won. That wasn't always the case, but you'd hold your breath for the die roll and keep it held through your opponent's first turn to see if the game was effectively over before it had begun. To make matters worse, Tour Guide From the Underworld was also playable at three and with a quick Xyz into Leviair the Sea Dragon, your opponent could reuse Rescue Rabbit's ability while you were often left struggling just to find yours in the first place.

Fast forward to today where I'm sitting in Batman pajamas and licking the icing off Oreo cookies, and Dino Rabbit's completely different. Though Tour Guide From the Underworld is finally back to three, Rescue Rabbit remains Limited to one. That cripples the deck a lot more than you think, and the first thing I noticed when updating this deck from an earlier build of mine is that Tour Guide fell flat every time I used it. Without the consistency of a reliable Turn 1 Rescue Rabbit, plus Gold Sarcophagus's now-Limited status, Tour Guide did virtually nothing to help my cause. The chance that I've already resolved a Rescue Rabbit while still having searchable monsters in my deck with a Tour Guide in hand was so insignificant that I just tossed Tour Guide out completely.

But with Rescue Rabbit still a vital element helping you leapfrog your opponent in the early, mid or late game, you have to keep your Normal Dinosaur friends around to make those feisty Xyz. The Level 4 Sabersaurus and Two-Headed King Rex stack together to make two of the earliest and the best Xyz of all time. Evolzar Laggia's literally a Solemn Judgment on legs while Evolzar Dolkka gets to stop two effects from any monsters anywhere, whether it be a Fire Hand, Effect Veiler or Brotherhood of the Fire Fist - Bear. Actually, Evolzar Dolkka's the single reason that Inzektors didn't win any big events for such a long time.

King Rex Over Kabazauls? Water You Thinking?
Traditionally you'd see Dino Rabbit duelists pair Kabazauls with Sabersaurus, because those two Dinosaurs have the highest ATK of any Level 4 Normal Dinosaurs in the game; a strangely specific niche that was hugely important in 2012. However, I decided to trade that 100 ATK advantage of Kabazauls for Two-Headed King Rex, because King Rex is an Earth Dinosaur. I can already hear the groans from some of you. That's right; more Earth monsters can only mean one thing.

I'm bringing back Grandsoil the Elemental Lord!

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I don't need to discuss the Dinosaur and Evolzar aspects of this deck anymore, so I'll shift to my favorite of the Elemental Lords: Grandsoil! No, I'm not squeezing this behemoth into Samurais or Psychics today, but I'm putting a giant body into Dino Rabbit that was never there before. The Dino Rabbit Extra Deck typically caps off at 2400 ATK, so Grandsoil leapfrogs lots of big monsters that Evolzar Laggia simply couldn't deal with. As you know, Grandsoil also revives a monster when you Special Summon it, so you can Xyz even more or just attack for a ton of damage.

It's pretty simplistic with Grandsoil. You have to use a ton of Earth monsters to reliably drop this guy, but you also have to control your graveyard and manipulate the number of Earth monsters to keep yourself from going over. As you can see, dumping Earth monsters in the graveyard is quite simple here: your Dinosaurs are Earth monsters, and Maxx "C" is arguably one of the better hand traps right now. Rescue Rabbit and Grandsoil are Earths as well, but I won't count them in the Earth quota because they probably won't be in the graveyard when you're trying to make your Summon.

What I do want to look into is the miniature Traptrix family played here. Though I omitted the two lesser Traptrix monsters, Traptrix Myrmeleo and Traptrix Dionaea are just too good right now to ignore. It's not a perfect science, but Yu-Gi-Oh! boils down to maximizing your output while minimizing your input. Myrmeleo either fetches a Trap Hole card from your deck or blows up a backrow card depending on how you Summon it, and then it stays around to make attacks or serve as an Xyz Material. Dionaea is a one-card investment Rank 4 while also giving you quick and easy access to Myrmeleo's destruction ability.

The fact that both Dionaea and Myrmeleo are Earth sealed their places in this strategy, but it was the gains you can make from simple Normal Summons that first drew me to those cards. I wanted to steer clear of Jurrac Guiba at this point in the format, and my Normal Dinosaurs just weren't cutting it for the big plays I wanted to make each turn. And since I cut Tour Guide From the Underworld as well, I was in dire need of monsters that could pack a punch on their own. We already know that the Traptrix monsters work miraculously well in stun-type decks, and Dino Rabbits one of the best stun decks of all time.

If you've ever piloted Dino Rabbit, then you'd know what I'm talking about when I say some turns are beyond uneventful. A hand of spells, traps and a lone Sabersaurus? Gee, guess it's time to set five and summon your Dinosaur. But the Traptrix cards are proactive monsters that change the pace of the game, and that helps keep this deck aggressive and consistent.

Traps? Traps?!? TRAPS?!?!
Yeah, if you haven't noticed, I'm the kind of duelist that likes using wombo-combos instead of hiding behind traps like a frightened rabbit. That said, I'm going against my standard operating procedure here. This deck's littered with traps – in fact, a third of the deck is trap cards! What goes better with Evolzar Laggia than a million traps to back up your Dragon? Not much, I'll tell you that.

But remember, this is far from a pure Stun deck. Thanks to Grandsoil the Elemental Lord and the Level 4 Gigantes, you can push for a lot of damage in the mid and late game – much more than a normal Dino Rabbit deck would be capable of. I have a weird affinity for Gigantes, partially because I was using it back in the day, and partially because it's a soft manipulation of Earths in your graveyard for Grandsoil. Soul Charge and Traptrix Dionaea are Earth as well, temporarily manipulating the graveyard for Grandsoil's big push.

As you can see, I put a little bit of everything into the trap lineup. Cards like Bottomless Trap Hole and Solemn Warning need no explanation, but I decided to use Fiendish Chain over Breakthrough Skill because I think the added effect of stopping attacks makes Fiendish Chain better for my Dino Rabbit conglomeration. It's fine and dandy to stop monster effects with both Breakthrough and Chain, but which one stops your opponent from running over a Sabersaurus? Riddle me that, reader.

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As Rob Boyajian pointed out in one of his recent articles, Soul Charge is a spark that ignites the Traptrix kindling. Not only can that combo destroy set spells and traps while netting you Bottomless Trap Hole and Traptrix Trap Hole Nightmare, it unleashes a slew of Xyz Summons as well. It's like the ultimate 2-for-1, boosting your field presence and card economy while shattering your opponent's set-ups.

And then you have old standards in Dino Rabbit that never seem to fade away. Dimensional Prison got you down? Forbidden Lance. Mirror Force wrecking your plans? Forbidden Lance. Torrential Tribute? Okay, you better have multiple Lances for that occasion. Even after all this time, Lance is still a great mainstay for the beloved Dino Rabbit strategy.

Just remember, beat your opponents before they beat you.

-Loukas Peterson