Tips to Beat Tri-Brigade Zoodiac With the release of Lightning Overdrive and the speculative banlist changes, many players have picked up Tri-Brigade Zoodiac as their main competitive

With the release of Lightning Overdrive and the speculative banlist changes, many players have picked up Tri-Brigade Zoodiac as their main competitive deck. As a control-focused deck that can with OTK capabilities, the deck is a huge annoyance to those who are not 100% familiar with their mechanics. For those who struggle to beat them, this may be the guide for you. In this article, "Tri-Beast" will refer to Beast, Beast-Warrior, and Winged-Beast monsters.

This article was written before the July banlist announcement. While the Zoodiac engine will change without Drident, most aspects of this deck will remain true. 

What are Tri-Brigades?

Tri-Brigades are infamous for their ability to cheat out Link monsters. Every Tri-Brigade main deck monster is capable of this ability. However, they need resources in the GY to banish in order to special their link monster. This is usually fulfilled by most of the Tri-Brigades' secondary effect.

Tri-Brigade Fraktall and Tri-Brigade Kitt act as an archetype Foolish Burial, except that they cannot send another copy of themselves. Typically, they will send Tri-Brigade Nervall, who searches for any other Tri-Brigade. The most standard opening play is to activate Fraktall to send Kitt, and Kitt sends Nervall for a search. The final Tri-Brigade monster is Tri-Brigade Kerass, who acts as an extender by discarding any Tri-Beast monster.

Finally, their infamous Trap card Tri-Brigade Revolt revives any number of Tri-Beast monsters (banished or in GY) and performs a Link summon for a Tri-Brigade Link monster. Revolt is responsible for triggering multiple effects while allowing more resources to be banished next turn. This trap is searchable by Tri-Brigade Bearbrumm the Rampant Rampager and is a staple backrow of every Tri-Brigade board. Almost every time Revolt will summon a Tri-Brigade Shuraig, the Ominous Omen to banish any card on the field and accrue resources. Shuraig banishes any card when summoned, or when any Tri-Beast monster is special summoned to its field. This makes it more difficult to bait out the disruption while trying to remove it in the same turn. Shuraig can then search if it hits the GY, providing easy follow-up.

The strength of the deck not only comes from the ability to cheat out Link monsters, but their small and incredibly resourceful archetype creates space for additional cards like handtraps and trap cards. 

How do Zoodiacs Fit in Tri-Brigade?

The Zoodiac engine is tiny but impactful as an engine. The engine typically consists of 1 Zoodiac Ratpier, Zoodiac Ramram, Zoodiac Barrage, and Zoodiac Whiptail. Some lists include Zoodiac Thoroughblade in case they open multiple Zoodiac monsters. Although the engine is only 4 cards in the main deck, it is easily accessible due to draw cards, Shuraig, and Fire Formation - Tenki

The Zoodiac engine acts as instant removal in the form of Zoodiac Drident and/or Divine Arsenal AA-ZEUS - Sky Thunder. They also act as resources for the Tri-Brigade effects. Normal summoning Ratpier alone contributes 2-3 monsters on the board for more plays. The three roles of the engine are removal, extension, and additional resources.

What Are Tri-Brigade's Weaknesses?

The deck is strong and resourceful, but its linear playstyle makes it easier to play against. Preventing free resources can force Tri-Brigades to simply pass with only their nonarchetypal cards to disrupt the opponent. However, this method produces a coin-flip outcome. Negating Fraktall or Nervall can end their turn, but an extension with Kerass can play through it. It is similar to negating Aleister the Invoker and praying the opponent didn't open Invocation. Thankfully, there are other methods to disrupt the deck.

Know the Standard Extra Deck!

It is imperative to know the deck to beat the deck. Knowing what you are dealing with allows you to consider your next plays and even predict your opponent's plays. Here is the standard Tri-Brigade Zoodiac Extra Deck:

Tri-Zoo Extra Deck

Memorizing the Link Rating on each Tri-Beast Link is important. Every link except Apollousa, Almiraj, and Accesscode can be cheated out by a Tri-Brigade monster. With general Extra Deck knowledge, you can expect certain monsters just by checking the GY. Preparing for notable disruptions such as Shuraig and Double Dragon Lords is very important.

When and Where to Use Handtraps

Preventing the main deck Tri-Brigades from cheesing out Link monsters is one of the most effective ways to slow the deck. The most common way is through Artifact Lancea. Banishing is the main source of their plusses, whether it be through the Tri-Brigade monsters or through Pot of Desires. In the case of Artifact Lancea, it is most wise to hold the Lancea until a Tri-Brigade monster is summoned with the correct amount of resources in the GY. First, this plays around the ever-so-popular Psy-Framegear Gamma that is in these decks. Second, keeping track of resources allows you to decide if the Lancea is worth the activation or not. For example, the Tri-Brigade player may start the play with Kerass effect sending a Tri-Beast to Special Summon. There's no need to Lancea just yet when there is only 1 monster in GY. 

Infinite Impermanence and Effect Veiler are returning and do very well against this deck. Simply chain it to the activating Tri-Brigade on field and resources will be banished for nothing! Preference of these handtraps depends on the deck. A deck like Drytron may prefer Veiler because it is a level 1 for Drytron Mu Beta Fafnir while some decks may like Impermanence to play around Triple Tactics Talent. However, assume any set spell/trap to at least be Revolt, and prepare for potential follow-up on your turn.

Handtraps to Halt Resources

Piling advantage and resources are the deck's greatest strength, so naturally Droll & Lock Bird is effective against the deck. It can punish Tenki and Desires. However, it is most weak when used after Nervall, since that is the only search they truly appreciate. Droll is punishable by Psy-Framegear Gamma, but it is still worth activating. Gamma and Driver typically stay on the field only to get banished because of the Tri-Brigade restriction.

Ash Blossom & Joyous Springs is weaker but still effective. If lucky, it can completely stop a turn by negating Fraktall or Nervall. At the very least, it negates Desires. However, do not expect a single Ash Blossom to completely stop a turn 1. 

While D.D. Crow is very weak against the deck due to Revolt, Ghost Belle & Haunted Mansion crushes Revolt and cuts off a large amount of follow-up. However, many Tri-Brigade boards have an Apollousa, so she must be dealt with first if you wish to use Belle. While impactful on their most powerful card, it's not really worth the slot. 

Other Notable Cards that Exploit Tri-Brigade

One often overlooked aspect of the deck is that there is zero built-in protection in the deck (Almiraj hardly counts). The only negate is Apollousa and sometimes Solemn Judgment. Therefore, strong spell effects are efficient in killing the Tri-Zoo deck. Mystic Mine has resurged in slowing the game down until the Tri-Brigade player can draw into Twin Twisters. Lightning Storm is a fantastic card in clearing heavy backrow variants of the deck or can immediately deal with Apollousa and other monsters.

Do note that the meta is constantly adapting and shifting. Because of players exploiting the flaws of the deck, Imperial Order and Anti-Spell Fragrance are counterplayed to regain the advantage. Favorite side cards to beat the meta are subject to change.

Extra Tips

This cannot be stressed enough and should honestly be the focus of the topic. Monsters summoned by Tri-Brigade effects are not proper Link summons, and thus cannot be revived off of Tri-Brigade Revolt. Keep track of the opponent's banished link monsters or in the grave. Catching a misplay may just win you the duel!

Do Not Ignore Rugal

Tri-Brigade Rugal the Silver Sheller may not seem to do much besides revive a monster and occasionally drop ATK, but that revive allows it to turn into an Accesscode Talker next turn if ignored. Normal summon the Tri-Brigade, activate its effect to summon Shuraig, then link Rugal and the normal summon for a 5300 ATK Accesscode resulting in 8300 damage with multiple removals. This is the bread and butter OTK that most control decks wished they had. 

As an additional note, attack Rugal last if possible to prevent the ATK drop. This is very easy to play around because Rugal's revive can only activate during the opponent's Main Phase.

Droll & Lock Bird

This part is often overlooked, but if a Tri-Brigade player Drolls you, remember that it affects both players that turn. This cuts off any Nervall or Shuraig search from Revolt. Breaking their board through Droll will most times put you on the high ground.


Here are some of the many useful tips in defeating one of the best decks of the current format. Of course, the deck is meta for a reason; most times you will need more than just side cards to beat the deck. Matchups, management of cards, and luck all play a part in beating any deck.

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