Competitive Corner: Patrick Hoban’s True Draco Zoodiacs

Doug Zeeff

7/17/2017 11:00:00 AM

A couple weeks ago I wrote about Patrick Hoban's crazy True King Draco Zoodiac deck that he took to a Top 8 finish at ARGCS Atlanta. His list was wildly different than any others of the time, focusing heavily on True King Bahrastos, the Fathomer and Dragonic Diagram to set up huge fields with True King of All Calamities.

In his deck profile video, he said that he thought the best deck would be the one that could make the most of Dragonic Diagram. We've heard him say similar things before, most recently Soul Charge, which he abused in several decks until it was finally Limited. It even got him a Top 16 at the 2014 NAWCQ with Sylvans, and a Championship win at YCS Toronto shortly afterwards.

At the end of my last article, I said that “Hoban's list is powerful, unique, and knowing him I'm sure it has more tricks up its sleeve.” I didn't mean that in a negative way, I just figured Hoban would play whatever could use Dragonic Diagram the best at the North American WCQ. Sure enough, though he ended up cutting the True Kings entirely, he was playing a list that very few competitors figured out before the tournament started: True Draco Zoodiacs with a much, much heavier emphasis on the True Dracos than we've previously seen.

    True Draco Zoodiacs Patrick Hoban    
  Location:  WCQ - 2017-07-09 North America - 17th - 32nd Place
Main Deck
Side Deck
2 Dinomight Knight, the True Dracofighter
3 Ignis Heat, the True Dracowarrior
2 Master Peace, the True Dracoslaying King
1 Maxx "C"
2 Zoodiac Ramram
2 Zoodiac Ratpier
1 Zoodiac Thoroughblade
1 Zoodiac Whiptail
Monsters [14]
1 Book of Moon
2 Disciples of the True Dracophoenix
3 Dragonic Diagram
2 Fire Formation - Tenki
3 Pot of Desires
3 Terraforming
3 True Draco Heritage
3 Zoodiac Barrage
Spells [20]
3 Dimensional Barrier
1 True Draco Apocalypse
2 True King's Return
Traps [6]
Deck Total [40]
3 Ash Blossom & Joyous Spring
2 Cosmic Cyclone
1 Dinomight Knight, the True Dracofighter
2 Enemy Controller
2 Flying "C"
1 Ghost Ogre & Snow Rabbit
1 Imperial Order
3 Magic Deflector
Side Deck [15]


1 Abyss Dweller
1 Daigusto Emeral
1 Tornado Dragon
1 Zoodiac Boarbow
2 Zoodiac Broadbull
3 Zoodiac Chakanine
3 Zoodiac Drident
1 Zoodiac Hammerkong
2 Zoodiac Tigermortar
Extra Deck [15]

You might've played against a few True Draco Zoodiac strategies in the past. Conventionally, the theme runs two copies of Master Peace, the True Dracoslaying King, one True Draco Heritage, and one True King's Return. That was the smallest engine you could get away with, minimizing the chance of bricking by drawing multiples of those cards. You wanted to see Dragonic Diagram to trigger Zoodiac Ramram or Baobaboon, but you didn't want to open the game with any of the searchables.

Many players noticed that the deck became a lot more consistent when you cut all of the True Draco cards, so they opted for versions with more Zoodiacs. A lot of the time you weren't even summoning Master Peace on the turn you search it, you were merely using it to get to your Zoodiac Combos.

Hoban and a couple other successful duelists – including the eventual winner, Chester Hawk Henson – saw that there was a third option: playing so many True Draco cards that they weren't bricks anymore. That might sound crazy, but it made a lot of sense, especially considering how valuable the True Draco cards were against standard Zoodiac lists.

The MVP of Hoban's deck was Ignis Heat, the True Dracowarrior. Ignis Heat's effect is close to the more popular Dinomight Knight, the True Dracofighter, except it activates spells from the deck instead of traps. Hoban pointed out that it was the number one card he wanted to see going second because it outed so many of the common Zoodiac fields. If you could get to any True Draco spell or trap along with Ignis Heat, you could tribute that card for it, instantly popping a monster or a backrow depending on what you tribute. Then Ignis Heat could attack Zoodiac Drident, forcing your opponent to use their Drident effect to pop Ignis Heat. That would trigger its effect, activating a True Draco Heritage from your deck.

 Ignis Heat, the True Dracowarrior
Ignis Heat, the True Dracowarrior131138
Set Maximum Crisis
Number MACR-EN021
Level 5
Type Effect Monster
Monster Wyrm
Attribute FIRE 
A / D 2400 / 1000
Rarity Ultra Rare
Card Text

To Tribute Summon this card face-up, you can Tribute a Continuous Spell/Trap Card you control, instead of a monster. Once per turn, during either player's turn, when your opponent activates a card or effect while you control this Tribute Summoned monster: You can take 1 "True Draco" or "True King" Continuous Spell Card from your Deck, and either activate it or add it to your hand.

Store Condition Qty Avail Price  
Showtime Cards 1st Edition - Damaged 1 $0.25
DogmaGames 1st Edition - Near Mint 1 $0.25
notrodon 1st Edition - Near Mint 2 $0.25
dragonspentrading Unlimited - Near Mint 1 $0.41
Gooses Games 1st Edition - Lightly Played 1 $0.42
ChardarYuGiOh 1st Edition - Near Mint 1 $0.47
PhantasmGaming 1st Edition - Near Mint 4 $0.49
IDeal808 1st Edition - Near Mint 1 $0.49
CommanderGames 1st Edition - Near Mint 2 $0.50
Ruff Life Unlimited - Near Mint 1 $0.50

That set-up's important because you can go to Main Phase 2 and immediately activate True Draco Heritage for a fresh two draws: one for the card you tributed, and one for the Ignis Heat. At that point your opponent doesn't have a Drident effect anymore, and if you used True Draco Heritage or Disciples of the True Dracophoenix for Ignis Heat, you've still got your Normal Summon as well. Keep in mind too that if you used Disciples of the True Dracophoenix you've not only got your regular Normal Summon, but also your additional Summon from True Draco Heritage.

Master Peace might be harder to deal with, but Ignis Heat and Dinomight Knight both build card advantage faster. It's virtually impossible for the conventional Zoodiac deck to out either of those cards without triggering their effects, so Hoban would have had a much easier time grinding his opponent's out of their cards. In a post-event interview, he even said that he drew two to three cards with True Draco Heritage almost every game over the course of the tournament. In the mirror match he even got extra draws off his opponent's cards when they'd hit the graveyard, too.

Pretty nutty.

The True Draco cards are big threats, and Hoban clearly played off that creating this deck. He played an extremely heavy lineup of the monsters, spells, and traps, creating a variety of powerful hands whenever he drew any combination of them. He had an especially big leg up on any opponent playing the older, smaller True Draco engine, because his True Draco Heritage would get so much more value.

But, Some Cuts Had To Be Made
To make room for all of this, he had to cut a lot of cards. The most obvious card that's gone is Baobaboon. Not only was Baobaboon played for getting to M-X-Saber Invoker, it was also used for fixing hands where you had an awkward number of True Draco cards. However, when you build your deck to want to see those cards, there's no reason to play something geared towards putting them back. Baobaboon was also a brick in hands where you couldn't resolve Dragonic Diagram or Zoodiac Barrage, making consistency another reason for cutting it.

Another choice that came out of nowhere was forgoing all hand traps in the Main Deck except Maxx “C”. In his ARGCS Atlanta deck Hoban was using Ghost Ogre & Snow Rabbit, but he realized everyone always had an out to it now that Shuffle Reborn was being played along with My Body as a Shield.

He Side Decked three Ash Blossom & Joyous Spring as well as one copy of Ghost Ogre & Snow Rabbit. Hoban noted that he wasn't a fan of Ash Blossom in his True King variant, but at the NAWCQ he thought he might face the mirror match and he absolutely wanted to stop his opponent's True Draco Heritage from resolving.

 Ash Blossom & Joyous Spring
Ash Blossom & Joyous Spring131153
Set Maximum Crisis
Number MACR-EN036
Level 3
Type Tuner/Effect Monster
Monster Zombie
Attribute FIRE 
A / D 0 / 1800
Rarity Secret Rare
Card Text

During either player's turn, when a card or effect is activated that includes any of these effects: You can discard this card; negate that effect.
- Add a card from the Deck to the hand.
- Special Summon from the Deck.
- Send a card from the Deck to the Graveyard.
You can only use this effect of "Ash Blossom & Joyous Spring" once per turn.

Store Condition Qty Avail Price  
Titan Cards Unlimited - Damaged 1 $60.00
The Yugioh Outlet Unlimited - Near Mint 3 $74.76
DJ Gamerloft Unlimited - Near Mint 1 $75.00
Anonymous Bards Unlimited - Near Mint 1 $75.75
Bluefacegaming 1st Edition - Near Mint 3 $79.95
Gaming Goat Joliet 1st Edition - Lightly Played 3 $79.98
CoreTCG 1st Edition - Near Mint 1 $79.99
North Country Cards Unlimited - Near Mint 1 $80.00
Top Cut Chicago 1st Edition - Near Mint 1 $80.00
EvolutionGaming Inc 1st Edition - Near Mint 1 $80.00

Hoban didn't play any board wipes in the Main Deck, which isn't surprising considering how much he disliked them in the previous version. Ignis Heat makes going second a cakewalk, so the board wipes weren't as necessary.

Perhaps more interestingly, he cut one Fire Formation - Tenki for a third Pot of Desires as well. In Hoban's words, that was because he assumed he'd see all his cards regularly thanks to the insanity of True Draco Heritage, and Fire Formation - Tenki was a hard once per turn effect. There also just weren't as many Zoodiac monsters in his list in general, so I'd guess he wouldn't want his hands bogged down with dead copies.

At the recent ARGCS Knoxville this past weekend a good portion of the Top 16 was made up of True Draco Zoodiacs playing Ignis Heat, and the lists that were pure moved over to Kaiju monsters in the Main Deck. Considering that this version cares a lot less about Extra Deck monsters than standard lists, I'd expect to see a lot of this deck at the top tables once Link Summoning hits next week, especially if this deck isn't touched by the Forbidden & Limited List!

-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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