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In the wake of the April 1st banlist, along with the release of Master Rule 5, many were excited for the revival of their old Fusion, Synchro, and Xyz centered decks. Despite preemptive hits like Toadally Awesome, we received a blessing from times past. The lynchpin of one of the most iconic Xyz archetypes of all time is back: Zoodiac Drident.
However, our old friend Drident has found herself in a much different Yugioh than before. Zoodiac Ratpier is at 1 and Zoodiac Broadbull‘s banned. Can this Raigeki Break on legs carry the rest of its archetype?
The New Face of Zoodiac
The days of flooding the field with Rank 4s and comboing off are long gone for Zoodiacs. Now, even if they remain as splash-able as ever before, their main use is trading your NS for an interruption with Drident. Though not as powerful as other splashable Normal Summons (Aleister The Invoker), Zoodiacs boast an increased resistance to handtraps. Aleister is susceptible to Ash Blossom, D.D. Crow, Effect Veiler, and a myriad other of handtraps which would possibly bar your access to an Invoked Mechaba. Meanwhile, Zoodiac Drident is summonable without even activating a Monster Effect.
However, what truly makes them more than just “Drident pass” is a huge link 3 from an entirely different archetype: Infinitrack Fortress Megaclops. Three Xyz monsters might seem like a daunting requirement at first, but Zoodiacs can field them quite consistently.
Megaclops boasts a tower-like effect, being unaffected by non-Xyz monsters. Even if it may seem overrated in these days of Lightning Storm, that’s not going to be a card you’ll be seeing every game. Megaclops’ biggest strength is that the majority of decks would attempt to just attack over highly protected monsters like this with Borrelsword Dragon or Mekk-Knight Crusadia Avramax. As Megaclops’ protection extends to battle, those two aren’t going to quite do it.
What truly sets it apart from any towers is the amazing effect its packing though. It can revive a Xyz monster and attach any card your opponent controls to it as material. A +2 swing in card advantage is nothing to sneer at. Megaclops and Drident go hand in hand as amazing spot removal, giving the deck unique options to control the gamestate.
Main Deck Monsters
No deck’s made only of Extra Monsters though. Let’s take a look over the (relatively less impressive) Main deck components of Zoodiacs now.
Ramram’s on destruction effect is vital for the Megaclops combo and has some great interaction with Zoodiac Barrage too. His effect as a Xyz material may seem highly situational but it’ll allow the monster it’s attached to dodge Infinite Impermanence.
Zoodiac Whiptail doubles as an archetypal Honest of sorts while also providing removal options on top. Even if battle focused removal may seem outdated in 2020, one of the easiest ways to force a Drident’s activation is to try attacking over it.
Zoodiac Ratpier‘s secondary effect might be useless while she’s limit, but she still allows for a 1 card Megaclops. Often the best target to nab with Tenki if you didn’t open any other Zoodiacs.
The other members are mostly very niche options, granted you could get away with running them as 1-ofs as the whole archetype is searchable by Fire Formation – Tenki. Zoodiac Bunnyblast for example, could be used as a way to recover your Zoodiac Barrage.
Bringing Out Megaclops
The requirements are any Zoodiac on the field and a Zoodiac Ramram in the Graveyard. This can be achieved by either Thoroughblade (provided you have a Ramram in hand) or Ratpier. You overlay your Zoodiac into Zoodiac Chakanine, who revives the Ramram. Then Chakanine is used to go into Drident, who detaches Chakanine and pops your own Ram. Ramram’s effect will then triggers and bring back Chakanine, afterwards you Xyz Zoodiac Tigermortar with your Drident. After this, Tigermortar attaches a material to your Chakanine. As Chakanine’s a soft once per turn, you can use her again to revive another Zoodiac. You end up with 3 Xyz monsters out, allowing for a Megaclops summon or any other kind of link play.
It might not seem all that impressive on the surface, as at least Drident’s an interaction. However, it’s important to consider how many decks simply can’t out the thing. The low investment it takes means you could have it out with many other interruptions in your field or hand.
There are also two new additions which greatly increase this deck’s ceiling: Pot of Avarice being unlimited and the release of Parallel Exceed. Even if that previously banned card sees almost no play due to how unreliable it is to set up turn 1, Zoodiacs are one of the best decks when it comes to fulfilling it. The Megaclops play just by itself will do it, but you also have the ability to just link off a Zoo Xyz with a ton of materials into a Gravity Controller.
This link 1 is decent removal of course, but it’s best feature is an easy way to trigger Parallel Exceed. Then you can choose to go into either Number 41: Bagooska The Terribly Tired Tapir or Abyss Dweller to stun your opponent.
With this ends the most notable things the archetype is capable of doing in the current metagame. We did not talk about many main deck cards, so one might wonder if this is could even be ran as a standalone deck. While someone looking to just splash the archetype into something else would just run 3 Tenki and a couple of handpicked Zoodiacs, a pure build would look more like what’s shown below.
In a desolate, scary meta with crazy strong combo decks, what better way to bring them down to your level than 18 handtraps? You only really want one Zoodiac in your hand most of the time anyways, and such firepower is required in a meta where many decide to main Dark Ruler No More.
Overall, modern Zoodiacs can really make for an extraordinarily fun deck to play, boasting tons of interaction and a high degree of customization. The deck can even be said to have seen some success as a rogue contender. At the Crush Card Cup 2020, jmanthedragonguy piloted his way to Top 16 with it. You can check out his list below.
As a splashable engine, it certainly has its upsides, but as of now it’s just way too overshadowed by Invoked due to better synergies and lower extra deck space commitment. Though that could change if Konami ever decides to hit Aleister or Magical Meltdown sometime in the future.
As a standalone deck its power may seem low, but depending on how formats shape up, it could very well secure its spot in the metagame. Recall how you how in the previous format, bringing out Gouki The Giant Ogre was a legitimate win condition against SPYRAL. The situation could very well repeat itself with Megaclops, and Zoodiacs would then earn their spotlight.