What The Fix?! Baby Raccoons!

Jason Grabher-Meyer

11/15/2013
 Comments

You get three guesses what the number one deck arriving in droves in my inbox has been over the past two weeks.

Shadow Specters inspired a ton of readers to contribute their all-new strategies to What The Fix?! I've had a great time plowing through reams of e-mails from readers just like you, and while each and every deck's appreciated, I have to admit – I'm a little surprised at the overall trends! Some decks I expected. Other decks took me off guard. And the sheer popularity of certain strategies was both shocking, and reaffirming of my general faith in duelling humanity.

So, what was the most popular deck amongst you readers? Was it… Noble Knights? Nope. That'd be your first guess gone. From there, there are plenty of good second guesses, right? Ghostricks? No sir. Vampires? Swing and a miss. Mythic something? Nuh-uh. Meliae Synchro? Not even.

The number of Baby Raccoon decks overshadowed everything else, by a vast margin. In fact it narrowly eclipsed the number of all other SHSP submissions put together.

High
Mid
Low
 Number 64: Ronin Raccoon Sandayu
$2.42
$0.86
$0.65
Number 64: Ronin Raccoon Sandayu
Set Shadow Specters
Number SHSP-EN051
Level 2
Type Xyz Monster
Monster Beast/Effect
Attribute EARTH 
A / D 1000 / 1000
Rarity Rare
Card Text

2 Level 2 Beast-Type monsters Once per turn: You can detach 1 Xyz Material from this card; Special Summon 1 "Kagemusha Raccoon Token" (Beast-Type/EARTH/Level 1/ATK ?/DEF 0). (When Summoned, its ATK becomes equal to the current ATK of the monster on the field that has the highest ATK. Your choice, if tied.) While you control another Beast-Type monster, this card cannot be destroyed by battle or card effects.


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Now! To be fair, there are lots of ways to play Raccoons and I'm counting two distinct decks as one for the purpose of this arbitrary - but still pretty amazing - total. I'm grouping all Baby Raccoon decks together, even though about half of them were Ojama variants and half were more conventional Beast decks. But regardless, I think it's stunning that so many people are so interested in Baby Raccoon Tantan, Baby Raccoon Ponpoko, and their (sort of) boss monster, Number 64: Ronin Raccoon Sandayu. When I was writing the Giant Set Review articles I was pretty sure I was the only person who cared about those cards.

I've already written on Raccoon Ojamas elsewhere, but I'm intrigued by the straight Beast variants and all the possibilities they can draw upon. There are some core ideas there that I'd consider to be fundamental, but on their own they don't flesh out an entire deck. Beyond them there's a large subset of other options, which spin out of the central play patterns. The results in a best case scenario probably won't be topping a YCS any time soon, but there are some strong moves and some very consistent threats, in addition to a bag of tricks your opponent definitely won't see coming. Reader Juliet O'Hara had the following to say about her build...


Hey Jason!

So the Baby Raccoon cards just came out in Shadow Specters, and I feel like they're incredibly overlooked. Their boss card, Number 64: Ronin Raccoon Sandayu, functions much like a mini-Dracossack that can summon INCREDIBLY huge monsters. Baby Raccoon Ponpoko can summon a myriad of different Level 2 Beasts aside from Baby Raccoon Tantan, such as Ryko, Lightsworn Hunter, and Nimble Momonga. I've also been using Wind-Up Kitten, whose return-to-hand effect can wipe big monsters off the field.

I've also been using Masked Chameleon to great success, because Ponpoko has 0 DE. Because both Chameleon and Ponpoko are Earth, this makes for an easy Naturia Barkion. Bringing back a Level 2 Beast also gives you more Sandayu plays, and Chameleon can even Synchro with the Raccoon token to make Naturia Beast (which is a Beast to protect your Sandayu!). With so many Earth monsters, I decided to throw in Redox, Dragon Ruler of Boulders. But that's not all! Green Baboon, Defender of the Forest, and Yellow Baboon, Archer of the Forest have great synergy with the Baby Raccoon cards, and can make Rank 7 plays with Redox.

Last but not least, I've been using Closed Forest to great success. This card prevents annoying field spells like Dragon Ravine from being played, as well as boosting all of your Beast-types (If I'm correct, Sandayu's tokens get a Closed Forest boost on top of copying a boosted Beast-type's stats). Almost every time I've gotten Closed Forest, I've won the duel.

-Juliet O'Hara ~ Salt Lake City, Utah


Juliet's tapped into some of what I'd consider to be fundamentals of the dedicated Raccoon strategy - the synergies with Ryko, Lightsworn Hunter and Wind-Up Kitten. Those cards are great removal options, and since they're searchable and make for Rank 2 Xyz Summons I consider them to be non-negotiable. To that core she's added two big factors that are more variable: a Level 7 suite consisting of Green Baboon, Yellow Baboon, and Redox, plus Level 6 Synchro tricks thanks to Masked Chameleon. The ability to make Naturia Beast and Naturia Barkion largely as 1-for-1's here is huge, and while few Raccoon duelists use Masked Chameleon, I think it's an awesome idea.

Here's what Juliet's build looks like:

    Baby Raccoons Juliet O'Hara    
 
Main Deck
Side Deck
3 Baby Raccoon Ponpoko
3 Baby Raccoon Tantan
3 Green Baboon, Defender of the Forest
3 Masked Chameleon
3 Nimble Momonga
3 Redox, Dragon Ruler of Boulders
2 Ryko, Lightsworn Hunter
2 Wind-Up Kitten
2 Yellow Baboon, Archer of the Forest
Monsters [24]
1 Book of Moon
2 Closed Forest
1 Dark Hole
3 Pot of Duality
3 Sacred Sword of Seven Stars
Spells [10]
1 Bottomless Trap Hole
1 Compulsory Evacuation Device
2 Fiendish Chain
1 Return from the Different Dimension
1 Solemn Warning
1 Torrential Tribute
Traps [7]
Deck Total [41]

EXTRA DECK

1 Ally of Justice Catastor
1 Gachi Gachi Gantetsu
1 Herald of Pure Light
1 HTS Psyhemuth
1 Mecha Phantom Beast Dracossack
1 Naturia Barkion
1 Naturia Beast
1 Number 11: Big Eye
3 Number 64: Ronin Raccoon Sandayu
1 Number 74: Master of Blades
1 Number 96: Dark Mist
1 Scrap Dragon
1 Star Eater
Extra Deck [15]
Notes:


This build looks solid, but I've got a few concerns. First, there's no reason for this deck to be any bigger than 40 cards. We need to trim that down. But more than that, I think one of the most important key fundamentals of any Raccoon deck is actually missing here, and that's costing Juliet a lot of aggression and stability. The Level 7 cards aren't always easy to play, since Green Baboon, Defender of the Forest and Yellow Baboon, Archer of the Forest can each only be Summoned under special conditions. The payoff for taking those risks can be tremendous, but a more consistent core strategy's needed to to fill in the gaps when those cards just don't work. Luckily there's one card we can add here that'll take care of all that, and make this deck even more dangerous.

That key card's going to make this strategy more explosive, and offer more rewards for protecting your field, too. As a result I'll add some more traps to support the new direction we'll be taking this strategy. You'll see what I mean shortly, but for now...

Let's Get To It!
First up, Nimble Momonga's gone. I love this card, but we have so many Level 2 recruiters and pseudo-recruiters in this build that we just can't run them all. The Baby Raccoons give you access to a wealth of other cards and have important graveyard presence, so they all stay. I'll be dropping one copy each of Ryko, Lightsworn Hunter and Wind-Up Kitten too, since they're searchable and drawing them on their own won't always be desirable. We need some elbow room and we need to get the deck down to 40 cards total, so dropping triple Nimble Momonga and one each of the removal monsters is the best way to do that.

I'm also going to drop one Green Baboon, Defender of the Forest. Yes, it's one of my favorite cards of all time. But unfortunately it's also slow, awkward in many matchups, and predictable when it's being played from your graveyard. Green Baboon can be really valuable as part of a Rank 7, but it no longer has the sheer size to be a boss-level beatstick, nor are there enough straight monster destruction effects running around for it to be reliable when played at three.

Finally I'll drop one Pot of Duality to make room. Consistency's important here, but interfering with your own Baby Raccoon Ponpoko or Masked Chameleon plays is harsh, and we're going to be adding more cards that act in similar ways.

Speaking Of!
The number one addition here is Junk Synchron. I think it's a near-staple for anything running Raccoons, and it's going to work in conjunction with Masked Chameleon here to give you Level 5 and Level 6 Synchro plays on a perpetual basis. I love Masked Chameleon, and I'm not going to drop any copies. But realistically, it only works with Baby Raccoon Ponpoko. Junk Synchron works with everything you have at Level 2, and even creates some incredible high-damage scenarios that can turn into OTK's with the right opportunities.

The big one is as simple as Summoning Number 64: Ronin Raccoon Sandayu; Special Summoning a Kagemusha Raccoon Token with at least 1000 ATK (thanks to Sandayu's original ATK); and then keeping both monsters alive until next turn. If you can do that, then you can Normal Summon Junk Synchron, bring back a Level 2, and make Junk Warrior with 3300 ATK (2300 ATK + 1000 ATK for the Kagemusha Token). From there you'll Summon a second Raccoon Token, which will mimic Junk Warrior's 3300 ATK and give you a total of 8300 damage across your four monsters. It's shockingly easy to put together, and even if your opponent has some form of disruption it's a pretty affordable play in terms of card economy. You just need to be able to defend your Sandayu and your Raccoon Token in the first place.

In fact, a lot of this deck comes down to defending all your monsters for just one crucial turn. Doing so can buy you the time you need to Normal Summon Baby Raccoon Ponpoko, set a Wind-Up Kitten or Ryko, Lightsworn Hunter, and then use its effect next turn for a +1 before going into a Rank 2. A full-turn attack stop can also shut your opponent down when they make a desperate bid to hit over a monster like Naturia Beast or Naturia Barkion. And frankly, with the sheer power level of many decks right now, those kinds of defenses have already proven their worth in some of the top events this format.

Shutting down your opponent's big push so you can fight back and outplay them is always, always good.

Toward that end I want to add two copies of Waboku to this deck, as both a defensive wall and an aggressive enabler for countless important plays. I'll use the last card available in our forty card slots for a single Trap Stun, too; it lets you assure your kill when you have big plays like the Junk Warrior OTK ready to go, and it can also shut down power-traps like Return from the Different Dimension and Sixth Sense. It's even just a great 2-for-1 when you're chaining it to Raigeki Break or Phoenix Wing Wind Blast.

With Junk Synchron now in the Main Deck, and more opportunities to cultivate more Level 2 Synchro Materials to expand Level 5 Junk Synchron and Level 6 Masked Chameleon plays, we need to add a few cards to the Extra Deck. I'm going to drop the third Number 64: Ronin Raccoon Sandayu; the costly Number 96: Dark Mist, which I largely see as an inferior Sandayu anyways; Star Eater; and Number 74: Master of Blades. In their place you'll have Junk Warrior for OTK's and big damage pushes; Armades, Keeper of Boundaries for alternative Junk Synchron plays; Black Rose Dragon for field wipes off any surviving Level 2 plus a Junk Synchron; and Stardust Spark Dragon, providing more protection for Sandayu, Closed Forest, and anything else you need to stick around. Word of caution, you might find the Spark Dragon's better off as a second Junk Warrior. Up to you.

The final list of changes are as follows:

-3 Nimble Momonga
-1 Ryko, Lightsworn Hunter
-1 Wind-Up Kitten
-1 Green Baboon, Defender of the Forest
-1 Pot of Duality

+3 Junk Synchron
+2 Waboku
+1 Trap Stun

-1 Number 64: Ronin Raccoon Sandayu
-1 Number 96: Dark Mist
-1 Star Eater
-1 Number 74: Master of Blades
+1 Junk Warrior
+1 Armades, Keeper of Boundaries
+1 Black Rose Dragon
+1 Stardust Spark Dragon

That's not a ton of changes! I liked what Juliet was doing, especially with Masked Chameleon - very few contributors were using it in their Raccoon decks, and it was one of the reasons I chose to highlight this build above the rest. However, the addition of Junk Synchron does offer me an irresistible chance to rename the strategy...

    RACCOON JUNKIES! Jason Grabher-Meyer    
 
Main Deck
Side Deck
3 Baby Raccoon Ponpoko
3 Baby Raccoon Tantan
2 Green Baboon, Defender of the Forest
3 Junk Synchron
3 Masked Chameleon
3 Redox, Dragon Ruler of Boulders
1 Ryko, Lightsworn Hunter
1 Wind-Up Kitten
2 Yellow Baboon, Archer of the Forest
Monsters [21]
1 Book of Moon
2 Closed Forest
1 Dark Hole
2 Pot of Duality
3 Sacred Sword of Seven Stars
Spells [9]
1 Bottomless Trap Hole
1 Compulsory Evacuation Device
2 Fiendish Chain
1 Return from the Different Dimension
1 Solemn Warning
1 Torrential Tribute
1 Trap Stun
2 Waboku
Traps [10]
Deck Total [40]

EXTRA DECK

1 Ally of Justice Catastor
1 Armades, Keeper of Boundaries
1 Black Rose Dragon
1 Gachi Gachi Gantetsu
1 Herald of Pure Light
1 HTS Psyhemuth
1 Junk Warrior
1 Mecha Phantom Beast Dracossack
1 Naturia Barkion
1 Naturia Beast
1 Number 11: Big Eye
2 Number 64: Ronin Raccoon Sandayu
1 Scrap Dragon
1 Stardust Spark Dragon
Extra Deck [15]
Notes:


There's a lot of smart stuff going on here. Baby Raccoon Ponpoko's just an incredible card in this build, searching monster removal, fuelling your graveyard for Level 7 Special Summons, and working with both Junk Synchron and Masked Chamelon. All while making your Rank 2 plays, and helping Junk Warrior get super-big, super fast! I love the sheer range and depth that Juliet gets out of that one, very innocuous card.

The emphasis on Fiendish Chain helps repel monster effects, while also keeping attackers from breaking your two-turn Sandayu set-ups. Sacred Sword of Seven Stars helps compensate for some of the early game utility issues that can plague Green Baboon, Defender of the Forest and Yellow Baboon, Archer of the Forest, and Waboku just makes such viciously unfair things happen to your opponent's face and groin.

This deck's a blast to play. Most people don't look at the Baby Raccoons and see dominant OTK plays, nor the control effects they unleash with simple Special Summons. This is one of those strategies that's just outrageously fun to win with, because it's swingy, unpredictable, and totally absurd. Aside from Sacred Sword and a couple cards in the Extra Deck it's pretty affordable, too, so if you think it looks like fun don't hesitate to give it a shot.

And Baby Raccoons aren't the only deck to put Masked Chameleon to work! Join us again next Friday to see it in a completely different strategy, with equally surprising results. Things are about to get tricky...

-Jason Grabher-Meyer

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Want a deck fix from yours truly, and see your strategy featured in a "What The Fix?" here on TCGPlayer? Just send the following to fixmydeckjason (at) gmail (dot) com to be considered:

-Your Main and Extra Deck list. (No Side Deck needed, but please send a written deck list, not a screencap.) Remember, your deck should be TCG legal!

-Your name and city.

-Remember - please use full card names! Abbreviations and mis-spellings make Jason's life sad.

-A paragraph or two describing your deck: what it does, why you're playing it, and its strengths and weaknesses.

And don't forget, the cooler your deck is the more I'll want to fix it, so don't be afraid to get creative! New stuff takes priority, because I'm not bored of it yet! -JDG


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