The TCG Meta Snapshot is a project by some of the writers at YGOPRODeck that aims to encapsulate the state of the meta for a given 1-2 week period. The TCG Meta Snapshot also aims to rank decks in a somewhat looser tier system than the one used on Pojo. The tiers that we will use are as follows:
Tier 1: Highly Competitive Meta Decks. 10% or more of tops, as ranked by Pojo. This will roughly correspond to Pojo’s Tier 1, with some overlap into Pojo’s Tier 2.
Tier 2: Semi-Competitive Meta Decks. Less than 10% of tops, as ranked by Pojo. Corresponds to the rest of Pojo’s Tier 2, Pojo’s Tier 3, and Rogue.
Tier 3: Semi-Competitive non-Meta/Rogue decks. 1-2 tops. Specifically includes decks that top small events or get lower rankings at medium events. Can also include decks that can potentially top but have not yet in a given format.
Tier 4: Casually Competitive non-Meta decks. Decks that can compete at the locals level, but cannot top an event.
Table of Contents
Paleozoic uses the advantageous typing and generally good effects of the Paleozoic trap monsters alongside a secondary engine (usually Frogs) to repeatedly summon Toadally Awesome. This is also backed up by several powerful traps, such as Imperial Order and Solemn Strike. Paleozoic has been playable since the release of Toadally Awesome. Its multitude of answers make the deck very forgiving, though the decision of when to deploy traps and how to use Toadally Awesome‘s powerful effect negation mean the deck has an incredibly high skill cap, allowing well-researched players a chance to shine.
Although Paleozoic had seen a significant drop-off in meta representation after the release of SPYRAL, the deck has slowly been making a comeback. The prominence of going second SPYRAL in the meta has allowed for Paleozoic decks to start shining again as their main weakness is and always has been going second. The deck occupies a spot in mid to low Tier 2 currently.
We’ll be looking at two different topping lists for Paleozoic from the Seattle Regionals that happened earlier in the month, one running Card of Demise and the other not.
The first list is Vanderson Langjahr’s Top 8 Paleozoic Frog deck with the Spellbook engine from the December Seattle Regional. The build that Langjahr went with for the event definitely focused on consistency and disruption first and foremost. Some notable ratios include running 2 copies of Pot of Desires, likely to cut down the chance of drawing another copy of Pot of Desires off of itself. This works in the deck considering there is other card advantage generating draw power in the form of the Spellbook engine.
This engine has seen usage in Paleozoic decks intermittently since the September banlist, but lost some popularity due to its vulnerability to hand traps, particularly Droll & Lock Bird which the deck normally avoids. The engine works well as it can either generate draw power or serve as discard fodder for Swap Frog if need be.
The other major difference between Langjahr’s list and some previous Paleozoic lists is the main deck inclusion of 3 Evenly Matched. Although Evenly Matched has proven very popular in the current format, it is particularly powerful for a multitude of reasons in Paleozoic. Most importantly, it helps significantly with the decks problem of not going second well. Unlike more traditional board wipes, Evenly Matched will remove the opponent’s entire board and allow any floating, clearing many potential threats such as Time Pendulumgraph, SPYRAL Sleeper and Twin Twisters. Secondly, Evenly Matched’s normal drawback of making you skip the Battle Phase is largely irrelevant in Paleozoic. This is due to the deck’s already slow pace of play and general lack of emphasis on OTKs.
The next list is Fernando Munoz’s Top 16 Paleozoic Frog with Card of Demise from the same event. Munoz elected to run Card of Demise over the Spellbook engine for draw power. Munoz’s list went further with interesting draw power choices, opting not to run Pot of Desires at all. The trade-off in consistency given by this was offset by Munoz’s high number of main decked floodgates. These include 3 copies each of Mistake and Anti-Spell Fragrance in the main deck as well as Imperial Order.
The final interesting choice Munoz made in his main deck was the inclusion of Soul Charge. This is an interesting choice considering the very low monster count of Paleozoic Frog decks as well as it conflicting with Card of Demise. However, it can still be set and used on a later turn as a powerful recovery play even if drawn along with Card of Demise.
The most notable choice in Munoz’s side deck was the inclusion of 3 Imperial Iron Wall. This card is clearly the deck’s counter to Evenly Matched, but serves the additional purpose of preventing Paleozoic monsters sent from the field to the Graveyard from being banished. The only major issue with Imperial Iron Wall is its conflict with Ronintoadin, however the Frogs can be sided out in this situation in favor of Imperial Iron Wall.
The main drawback seen in Munoz’s choice to run Card of Demise is his inability to comfortably run too many hand traps. While this was fine in older formats, it serves to further magnify the deck’s weaknesses going second. However, the higher chance of going first even when losing the dice roll in the current meta makes the Demise build more usable and can help better explain Munoz’s results.
The most popular tech choice for Paleozoic in the current format is definitely the Spellbook engine. This engine commonly consists of 2 copies each of Spellbook Magician of Prophecy, Spellbook of Secrets, and Spellbook of Knowledge. This engine can fit in both the Demise and non-Demise variants as it is entirely Normal Summon reliant.
Another tech choice that is worth considering for the deck is the use of Breakthrough Skill or Lost Wind in the main or side deck. Both of these cards provide Normal Traps with easy activation conditions that can provide further value from the Graveyard.
The last tech choice to consider, for either the main or side deck, is Unending Nightmare. This card has been gaining popularity due to its potency against most major meta decks (Pendulum Magicians most of all). Especially with the release of Heavymetalfoes Electrumite in Extreme Force, versatile tech choices that can harm Pendulum Magicians will become increasingly important going forward.
Paleozoic’s SPYRAL matchup is very dependent on whether or not the opponent is running the go 2nd version of the deck or not. Against this variant, the focus should be on getting out Toadally Awesome above all else. If this can be achieved then you will have sufficient counter-play to Evenly Matched as you can either negate it or leave just Toadally Awesome on the field if they managed to already bait out the negation beforehand.
In general, the popularity of SPYRAL makes hand traps necessary in either the main or side deck. A Kaiju engine is also worthwhile to help get past SPYRAL Sleeper when going second as he will otherwise prevent you from setting up your backrow.
Finally, Mistake can be very potent versus SPYRAL in order to counter the searching that the deck relies on, especially if used early on to prevent a field spell search.
The Pendulum Magician matchup can be difficult for Paleozoic for a few reasons. First and foremost, Time Pendulumgraph will often be a death sentence. The card combines multiple card destruction while providing protection against targeting from Traps, nullifying both Paleozoic Canadia and Paleozoic Dinomischus.
Because of how difficult the matchup can be, it is a good idea to run a lot of specific hate against Pendulum Magicians between the main and side deck. Floodgates are the most effective answer to Pendulum Magicians, with the most effective being Anti-Spell Fragrance, Imperial Order, and Mistake. Cosmic Cyclone an also prove to be very useful against the deck, removing the opponent’s scales without letting them float.
The last major card to protect against the Pendulum Magician matchup is Dimensional Barrier. This can help to shut off the deck’s Pendulum Summoning capabilities for a full turn.
This matchup can be relatively difficult going second, but is largely not in Trickstar’s favor if you manage to go first. Although not the better variant for the meta overall, the Demise variant of Paleozoic is generally stronger against Trickstars for a few reasons. First off, the penchant for setting your entire hand as soon as possible can help to effectively prevent the opponent from controlling your hand with Trickstar Reincarnation. In addition, Card of Demise gives a very good recovery play in the situation where the opponent banishes your entire hand with Trickstar Reincarnation and Droll & Lock Bird.
The main counters to Trickstar primarily include hand traps, Spell/Trap removal, and Imperial Iron Wall to stop both Evenly Matched and Trickstar Reincarnation.