Competitive Corner: Patrick Hoban’s True King Draco Zoodiacs

Doug Zeeff

6/26/2017 11:00:00 AM

It was really easy to overlook the recent ARGCS in Atlanta, Georgia. Everybody in the Top 16 was playing Zoodiacs, either with or without Dragonic Diagram. Historically speaking, ARGCS events have always been less diverse in deck choices, because the player base is a lot more concentrated than a regular YCS or Regional Qualifier.

The tech card trends in Zoodiacs are interesting to some players, but plenty of people just skimmed the deck lists before clicking away, claiming the ARGCS was “another boring event with no originality.” I think they missed one of the coolest variants of Zoodiacs that we've seen in a while, Patrick Hoban's True King Draco Zoodiacs.

    True King Draco Zoodiacs Patrick Hoban    
  Location:  ARGCS - 2017-06-18 - Atlanta Georgia - 5th - 8th Place
Main Deck
Side Deck
3 Baobaboon
1 Blackwing - Zephyros the Elite
3 Ghost Ogre & Snow Rabbit
1 Master Peace, the True Dracoslaying King
1 Maxx "C"
3 True King Bahrastos, the Fathomer
2 True King Lithosagym, the Disaster
2 Zoodiac Ramram
2 Zoodiac Ratpier
1 Zoodiac Thoroughblade
1 Zoodiac Whiptail
Monsters [20]
2 Dark Hole
3 Dragonic Diagram
3 Fire Formation - Tenki
2 Pot of Desires
1 Raigeki
3 Terraforming
1 True Draco Heritage
1 Upstart Goblin
3 Zoodiac Barrage
Spells [19]
1 True King's Return
Traps [1]
Deck Total [40]
1 Abyss Dweller
3 Dimensional Barrier
3 Ghost Reaper & Winter Cherries
2 My Body as a Shield
1 Oracle of Zefra
3 Set Rotation
1 Tornado Dragon
1 Zoodiac Tigermortar
Side Deck [15]


2 Daigusto Emeral
1 M-X-Saber Invoker
1 Number 52: Diamond Crab King
1 Raidraptor - Force Strix
1 True King of All Calamities
1 Zoodiac Boarbow
2 Zoodiac Broadbull
2 Zoodiac Chakanine
2 Zoodiac Drident
1 Zoodiac Hammerkong
1 Zoodiac Tigermortar
Extra Deck [15]

This deck is very much aligned with the Patrick Hoban style. Some casual players have complained that he's only been successful because he plays the best deck, but I feel that's a huge oversimplification. Hoban's innovated a ton of great strategies into something even better, and he's done it over and over again. Main Decking Vanity's Emptiness won him the 2013 North American World Championship Qualifier, he played a wildly different Shaddoll list featuring Lightsworns to win YCS Toronto in 2015, and he popularized Armageddon Knight in Nekroz with triple Reinforcement of the Army.

The other thing that Hoban is frequently known for doing is eliminating many of the Normal Summons in a theme. That explains why he's stayed away from Normal Summon reliant decks like Satellarknights, Geargia, Duelist Alliance Burning Abyss, and, right now, Pure Zoodiacs.

Despite being the most popular deck in competition, Pure Zoodiacs do have a major restriction in the number of plays they can do in one turn. With any given hand, you only have your Zoodiac Barrage Special Summon and then a Zoodiac Normal Summon. Without Speedroid Terrortop or Baobaboon you actually have no other chances to get your plays going. If both of those attempts are stopped, the plan is then to set some traps to buy you a turn, where you can then get another shot at your two summons.

The plus side is that Pure Zoodiacs are really consistent. Outside of Zoodiac Combo there aren't any crippling cards to draw, which makes it ideal for a longer tournament when you want to be making the same plays in every game.

But if you look at Hoban's deck it has plenty more options; even more than the standard True Draco Zoodiac deck, and Baobaboon's just the beginning. Obviously it's awesome to destroy it with Dragonic Diagram or Zoodiac Barrage to get you to M-X-Saber Invoker, but it also fixes your hand with up to three draws. That sort of hand manipulation makes a big difference, and also lets you play some potentially brick cards…

True Kings And True Dracos
You're probably familiar with True Draco Zoodiacs. The deck usually plays two to three Zoodiac Whiptails, two Zoodiac Ramram, two Zoodiac Ratpier, and one or two Zoodiac Thoroughblade. Then there's two Master Peace, the True Dracoslaying King, a True Draco Heritage and a True King's Return.

That's all pretty standard, with three Dragonic Diagram to boot. And while Hoban played most of those True Draco cards – cutting back to just one Master Peace – he cut a lot of the Zoodiacs, leaving him with just six in his Main Deck. Many players swear by triple Zoodiac Whiptail, and when Hoban was asked about it he replied that it's basically just Axe of Despair. That might sound like a bad explanation for a linchpin of Pure Zoodiacs, but he added that the pure version probably needs the ATK increase to deal with bigger monsters.

So what did he play instead of all those Zoodiac monsters? True Kings. Specifically speaking, he ran two True King Lithosagym, the Disaster and three True King Bahrastos, the Fathomer. That's virtually unheard of, but it makes a lot of sense when you break it down.

First of all, playing True Kings gives you a lot more to do with Dragonic Diagram. You can pop Bahrastos to get whatever you need, triggering its destruction effect to search Lithosagym from your deck. On its own, Lithosagym's a 2500 ATK or 2800 ATK beater that gets you to Bahrastos if it's destroyed by a card effect. But if you have two Diagrams, you can actually grab Bahrastos and Lithosagym, destroying the Bahrastos and a Zoodiac to summon the Lithosagym from hand and one from your deck. That's not only a lot of ATK, it's also the right setup for True King of All Calamities, an Xyz Monster that completely breaks the mirror match.

 True King Bahrastos, the Fathomer
True King Bahrastos, the Fathomer124719
Set Invasion: Vengeance
Number INOV-EN021
Level 9
Type Effect Monster
Monster Wyrm
Attribute WATER 
A / D 1800 / 3000
Rarity Ultra Rare
Card Text

If this card is in your hand: You can destroy 2 other monsters in your hand and/or face-up on your field, including a WATER monster, and if you do, Special Summon this card, and if you do that, you can banish up to 2 Spell/Trap Cards from your opponent's field and/or Graveyard, if both the destroyed monsters were WATER. If this card is destroyed by card effect: You can Special Summon 1 non-WATER Wyrm-Type monster from your Deck in Defense Position. You can only use each effect of "True King Bahrastos, the Fathomer" once per turn.

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Hoban also called attention to how insane True King's Return was for him throughout the weekend. You can use it to repeatedly revive Lithosagym or Bahrastos to apply pressure, but the play that Hoban pointed out that comes entirely out of left field, was bringing back True King of All Calamities during your opponent's End Phase, only to give it a material with Zoodiac Tigermortar during your next turn.

A lot of people probably don't know you can use Tigermortar to give non-Zoodiac Xyz Monsters extra Xyz Materials, but you certainly can. That comes up occasionally when you want to give your Daigusto Emeral another material, but giving True King of All Calamities a third negation is pretty silly.

Other Trends
While the True Kings were obviously the focus of the deck, there are some other choices Hoban made that could suggest trends for the North American World Championship Qualifier. The first is that he didn't play Ash Blossom & Joyous Spring in his Main or Side Deck. If you've been paying attention to some of the Zoodiac deck profiles over the past couple weeks you might have noticed: many players are saying that Ash Blossom just doesn't do enough, and they spent a ton of games siding it out.

Simply put, Zoodiacs aren't as scary without Elder Entity Norden. Sure, they're obviously the best deck, but they're not “draw 5 cards in one turn off of one card” levels of terrifying. That's important, because it means you don't always have to have a hand trap to stop their plays if you can just break your opponent's board on your turn. Furthermore, Ash Blossom's really, really ineffective against Zoodiac Barrage and Dragonic Diagram, because you still have to deal with them before your opponent's next turn. It's only really good against Fire Formation - Tenki, and that might not be important enough to worry about.

This was exactly what Hoban knew his deck could do, and it seemed to work out for him.

The second trend that I noticed at ARGCS Atlanta was that Pot of Desires is way on the rise. Outside of Zoodiac Ratpier, there aren't a lot of cards that you care about banishing. Without the Lunalight Black Sheep combo, it's difficult to draw more than one card per turn unless you can make Daigusto Emeral. What Pot of Desires loses in longevity it makes up for in sheer impact on the match, often getting a player to the one card they need to make sure their combo goes off, or potentially the Ghost Ogre & Snow Rabbit to stop their opponent.

What I think could be interesting is that Pot of Desires is extremely weak to Ash Blossom, so smart players could predict the increase in Pot of Desires appearing in tournaments and respond accordingly. That could be huge going into the WCQ, and I'll be waiting to see what the Top 64 deck lists from that event look like. Hoban's list is powerful, unique, and knowing him I'm sure it has more tricks up its sleeve.

What do you think about this crazy hybrid strategy and its future this summer?

-Doug Zeeff

Doug Zeeff hails from Michigan and is currently an English major in college. When he's not found emailing Konami about why there's not a single walrus card in all of Yu-Gi-Oh! you can find him regularly posting unorthodox, unfiltered Yu-Gi-Oh! content on his Youtube channel, Dzeeff. In his spare time he enjoys eating cheese, Overwatch, and, of course, playing Yu-Gi-Oh.
Click here to follow him and his adventures on Facebook!

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