Zoodiac Ratpier ran rampant at YCS Seattle, with a whopping 90 copies making it into the Top 32. That statistic alone really showcases the strength of the Zoodiac engine and how easy it is to include in your strategy; only two Duelists made the Top Cut without it.
It seems ridiculous to think that Zoodiacs aren’t worth using, but choosing which variant of the strategy to play is the bigger question. There was only one other card that came close to impacting deck building as much as Zoodiacs did, and it’s That Grass Looks Greener.
If you expect everyone to be running streamlined low count Zoodiac variants, a deck that takes advantage of That Grass Looks Greener is a pretty good place to be. Sixty-card decks never looked better since a single Greener can win the game all on its own. Milling 20 cards is just unfair, and when your strategy can use them as a flexible resource things get crazy fast. We saw a few different strategies build around That Grass Looks Greener in the Top 32 at Seattle, with a couple duelists bumping up their deck size just to counter that powerful spell.
But out of all the 60-card strategies, Infernoids stand far above the rest.
CoreTCG’s own Billy Brake made it to the Top 8 of YCS Seattle with a 60 Card Zoodiac Infernoid build taking advantage of all the best cards in the format. If you’re trying to go bigger than your opponent, nothing has a higher power ceiling than 60 Card Zoodiac Infernoids. In addition to Zoodiac Ratpier and That Grass Looks Greener, the deck also gets two other huge cards that make it so powerful: Fairy Tail – Snow and Void Vanishment.
The ability to disrupt your opponent’s graveyard at will is pretty strong too, especially against Zoodiac Ratpier. In addition, because you end your Zoodiac combo with Bujintei Kagutsuchi to mill five cards rather than Daigusto Emeral, you can play around Interrupted Kaiju Slumber by having Zoodiac Drident pop itself and Bujintei Kagutsuchi protect itself, so the Slumber doesn’t destroy anything. Doing so keeps the rest of Slumber from resolving: your opponent won’t make any Special Summons.
Fairy Tail – Snow’s one of the strongest monsters in the game right now, but its downside has always been the deep cost of its effect. Seven cards isn’t a ton, but most decks can’t pay that cost enough times to really abuse Snow the way a strategy with That Grass Looks Greener can. You basically just don’t run out of activations, and when Snow’s effect is paired with Infernoids you can continue throwing it back into the grave. Suddenly you not only have the resources to recur Fairy Tail – Snow again and again, but you also have an enabler that lets you do it repeatedly in a single turn.
But what really pushes Fairy Tail – Snow over the top isn’t just its use as disruption; it’s the fact that it can fill so many different roles. It’s an answer to monsters with powerful control effects, a body to defend with, a material for Extra Deck Summons, and a damage source. It’s the ultimate multi-tool that can solve just about any problem you have, assuming you can pay the price.
Along with Void Imagination and Void Feast, Void Vanishment’s the real reason to play Infernoids. Vanishment’s by far the best Infernoid card in the deck, either setting up your Turn 1 or helping you answer a huge board on Turn 2. Void Imagination is Shaddoll Fusion on another level, and in a strategy full of Dragon Rulers you can imagine why that effect would be so powerful.
Void Feast is a crazy combination of Geargiagear and Painful Choice, which sounds like an over exaggeration… but really isn’t. You’ll use it to Special Summon Infernoid Sjette along with two copies of Infernoid Decatron, which will send an Infernoid Onuncu and Infernoid Devyaty to the graveyard. Both of your Decatrons can then negate just about whatever your opponent throws at you, and you already have enough resources to get another Infernoid into play even if they break your field.
The best part is that Void Feast complements an opening Zoodiac Ratpier combo so well, since the Zoodiac combo only takes up two Monster Zones if you didn’t use Speedroid Terrortop. On your opponent’s turn you’ll have double Decatron, Sjette, Kagutsuchi and Zoodiac Drident with an in-hand Zoodiac Whiptail. You just need Zoodiac Ratpier, Void Vanishment, and a card to discard to make that play, so you can easily accomplish that and layer the Infernoid protection on top of the standard Ratpier combo.
Another interesting thing that Brake noted about Void Feast, is that you don’t actually have to pop it off as soon as your opponent’s turn begins. You can sit on Void Vanishment and Void Feast until your opponent either baits it out, or starts to set up something you can’t disrupt otherwise. If your Void Vanishment can stick for even a turn, you can ditch another card to get Void Imagination and accomplish even more.
Zoodiac Drident’s almost always on the field, so sitting on Void Vanishment a little and baiting your opponent’s Drident is a very strong tactic. You just send the Void Vanishment with Void Feast, and trade the worst card in your hand – likely an Infernoid that can revive itself – for your opponent’s Drident activation.
Let’s take a look at Brake’s list before we discuss some of the specifics.
Billy Brake’s 60 Card Zoodiac Infernoids – 60 Cards
YCS Seattle, February 12th, 2017
3 Infernoid Decatron
3 Infernoid Patrulea
3 Infernoid Harmadik
2 Infernoid Onuncu
2 Infernoid Devyaty
2 Infernoid Seitsemas
1 Infernoid Attondel
1 Infernoid Sjette
1 Infernoid Antra
3 Fairy Tail – Snow
1 Dogoran, the Mad Flame Kaiju
1 Gameciel, the Sea Turtle Kaiju
1 Gadarla, the Mystery Dust Kaiju
1 Kumongous, the Sticky String Kaiju
3 Speedroid Terrortop
1 Speedroid Taketomborg
3 Zoodiac Ratpier
2 Zoodiac Whiptail
2 Maxx “C”
3 That Grass Looks Greener
3 Zoodiac Barrage
3 Void Vanishment
2 Void Imagination
2 Interrupted Kaiju Slumber
2 Twin Twisters
1 Fire Formation – Tenki
1 Left Arm Offering
1 One for One
Extra Deck: 15
2 Zoodiac Drident
2 Zoodiac Broadbull
2 Zoodiac Tigermortar
1 Zoodiac Boarbow
1 Bujintei Kagutsuchi
1 Daigusto Emeral
1 Gagaga Samurai
1 M-X-Saber Invoker
1 Totem Bird
1 Infernoid Tierra
2 PSY-Framelord Omega
Side Deck: 15
3 Dimensional Barrier
3 Solemn Strike
1 Solemn Warning
2 Breakthrough Skill
1 Book of Moon
1 Twin Twisters
1 Burial from a Different Dimension
2 Ghost Ogre & Snow Rabbit
There’s a lot of interesting stuff here, and the first thing I want to discuss is Brake’s Zoodiac engine.
I think that three Zoodiac Ratpier, two Zoodiac Whiptail, three Zoodiac Barrage, and one Zoodiac Combo is probably as slim as you can go without sacrificing the grind game that Zoodiac is so capable of. Ratpier and Barrage have to be maxed, and Combo lets you really take advantage of the signature Zoodiac play by running the key cards back to your deck so you can repeat the sequence.
Two copies of Zoodiac Whiptail lets you combo off once, while still searching a second Whiptail the following turn if your opponent breaks your field and you have to start again. It also works out perfectly if you draw one Whiptail, since you can Zoodiac Broadbull for Zoodiac Ratpier and still have a second Whiptail to search the following turn when you perform your full combo.
Zoodiac Thoroughblade and Zoodiac Ramram are great for a few different reasons, but neither is entirely necessary when you can rely on other ways to end the game. It’s pretty interesting that Brake chose to play a single copy of Fire Formation – Tenki, but even that is just a consistency booster rather than a necessary piece of the Zoodiac puzzle.
A single Left Arm Offering’s also an interesting choice. Most 60 Card variants that rely heavily on That Grass Looks Greener want to max out on Left Arm Offering so they can always see their best card. But Zoodiac Infernoid’s so powerful, and skimping on Left Arm Offering indicates that Brake decided his deck was so good that it was acceptable to not see Greener in some percentage of his games. The fact that it can’t combo with Void Feast makes it substantially weaker. I can definitely imagine that there’s a card better than a single Left Arm Offering, but the consistency it adds could be worthwhile if you expect a field that can give you maximum value for That Grass Looks Greener.
Brake’s spiciest tech is Spiritual Swords of Revealing Light, which has topnotch effects on the front and back half of the card. The first effect is great at protecting your monsters with low stats, which is convenient when all of your monsters can disrupt your opponent. Zoodiac Drident and Infernoid Decatron can’t really standup on their own in battle, but if you can shut off your opponent’s attacks with Spiritual Swords then you can guarantee disruption through your opponent’s whole turn. The back half is great too, because it gives you another resource off That Grass Looks Greener when you mill it, and it helps you survive the abundant OTK combos of pure Zoodiacs. You can also combo it with PSY-Framelord Omega, continually returning it to the graveyard so your opponent can never kill you unless they take out Omega first.
Brake’s Side Deck is the final aspect of his build that I think is going to be big moving forward. It’s very popular in the OCG to either Main Deck a full Kaiju engine or a bunch of traps, and then siding whichever of those two techniques you didn’t choose to main. Brake Main Decked the Kaiju for an advantage going second in the first duel, but he could side into the traps when he went first to take full advantage of the opportunity to capture tempo. I think we’ll continue seeing that trend for a while, and the Main Deck popularity of each technique will be dependent on the expected metagame in a given tournament. The fact that removal and trap cards are so good right now means that every strategy should be taking advantage of them, even proactive combo decks.
I think Zoodiac Infernoids will continue to perform well, but it’s unclear whether the 60 Card variant will remain the most popular. It’s definitely the second most powerful Zoodiac strategy pre-Fusion Enforcers, but the Invoked theme is likely to beat out Metalfoes, so it may be strong enough to bully out Infernoids as well.