Siding For: Zoodiacs Post-Links

Kelly Locke

8/17/2017 11:00:00 AM

In the aftermath of the Link rule change there were a handful of decks that were floated as the new ‘decks to beat' of the post-Link format. OCG players had already proven that Zoodiacs, True Dracos, ABCs, and True King Dinosaurs were still competitive under the new rules, and the World Championship gave us similar results despite its unique Forbidden & Limited List. Invoked Windwitch also made a Top 4 showing there.

Zoodiacs were largely absent from the World Championship for a few reasons. The World Championship F&L List was devastating for the deck: Zoodiac Drident, Zoodiac Broadbull, and Zoodiac Barrage were Forbidden, and Zoodiac Ratpier was Limited. It's hard to justify playing a theme when the majority of its best cards are completely unplayable. Missus Radiant wasn't legal either, and it's a crucial piece of the post-Link Zoodiacs strategy.

Of course, for those of us in the TCG Zoodiacs still have all of their best cards. Drident, Broadbull, and Barrage are untouched here. Zoodiac Ratpier's only Semi-Limited, and Missus Radiant's legal for play. But that doesn't mean the deck is still as playable as it once was. The Link rules did hurt the strategy's field-swarming potential, thought Zoodiacs are more capable of playing around the mechanic than other strategies.

So this week I want to discuss two new Side Deck cards that have become incredibly powerful against the former #1 deck to beat.

New Siding Opportunities With Missus Radiant
Zoodiacs have changed their strategy to fit Missus Radiant into their combos. With Radiant on the field your opponent will have two zones to Summon Extra Deck monsters to. They can have three Xyz Monsters on the table at once with a little help from Zoodiac Chakanine, and that's awfully similar to what pre-Link Zoodiacs were doing. Performing a Link Summon burns extra cards that could be going toward Xyz Summons, but Zoodiacs don't have to struggle quite as hard as other themes.

Unfortunately for Zoodiac players it's Missus Radiant itself that's exposing them to cards they wouldn't be vulnerable to otherwise. One of those cards is Overworked – a classic pick against Fire Fist strategies from 2014. Overworked hasn't seen a lot of play since then, but it makes sense to see it back against a deck that's also playing Fire Formation - Tenki. All of your opponent's Beast-Warriors, including each of their Zoodiac monsters, can be destroyed by Overworked while Fire Formation – Tenki's on the field.

Set Astral Pack 5
Number AP05-EN012
Type Normal Trap Card
Monster Trap
Attribute TRAP 
Rarity Super Rare
Card Text

Destroy each monster whose ATK is higher than its original ATK.

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Overworked is best when your opponent's playing multiple ATK-boosting card effects, and that's exactly why it saw so much play against Fire Fists. Those decks were loaded with Fire Formation cards, so Overworked was almost always live. Zoodiacs are a bit different in that regard, which explains why Overworked has been a hit or miss Side Deck pick against them until recently. Zoodiacs only played one Fire Formation, so Overworked was rarely live against their non-Xyz monsters.

In fact, Overworked was rarely live against Zoodiac Xyz as well. The Zoodiac Xyz only gained ATK if the attached Zoodiacs had any ATK of their own, which they often didn't. That led to awkward situations where you might have had Overworked set while staring down a field of 0 ATK monsters. There were better options available at the time, like Dimensional Barrier and Forbidden Apocrypha, that weren't nearly as conditional in the Zoodiac match-up.

Any past issues with Overworked and its consistency vanished when Missus Radiant entered the mix. Its effect gives all Earth monsters, including itself, 500 ATK and DEF. That's every Zoodiac in the Main Deck and Extra Deck. So good news: Overworked is now live whenever your opponent Summons Missus Radiant.

Better news: there's never been a better time to play mass monster removal.

Links encourage field development, building up a Link network, and keeping those monsters around to maintain Extra Deck Summoning zones. The more cards you commit to the field the more impact your mass removal has. Overworked wipes away all of your opponent's field-building efforts – even their Missus Radiant can be destroyed. A well-timed Overworked can cripple your opponent's plans for the turn and take out every monster they have.

Overworked On Legs
You can also take advantage of Missus Radiant's ATK boost with Number 103: Ragnazero. All of your opponent's boosted monsters are valid targets for Ragnazero's effect, including Missus Radiant itself. Destroying Radiant after your opponent has invested cards into their Link Summon puts you way ahead in card advantage while denying your opponent two new zones to Summon to. Resolving Ragnazero twice is a game-winning move most of the time.

Unfortunately Number 103: Ragnazero's draw effect makes it a target for Ash Blossom & Joyous Spring. It's not the most reliable defensive card, but offensively Ragnazero's still a strong Rank 4 pick. Baiting out an Ash Blossom or trading with a Zoodiac Drident's a plus in card economy. What matters is whether or not you can turn that temporary card advantage into a real on-field advantage.

 Number 103: Ragnazero
Number 103: Ragnazero99923
Set Astral Pack 7
Number AP07-EN009
Level 4
Type Xyz/Effect Monster
Monster Fairy
Attribute WATER 
A / D 2400 / 1200
Rarity Super Rare
Card Text

2 Level 4 monsters
Once per turn, during either player's turn: You can detach 1 Xyz Material from this card, then target 1 face-up Attack Position monster your opponent controls, whose current ATK is different from its original ATK; destroy it, and if you do, draw 1 card.

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Keep in mind that Ragnazero probably won't be destroying any Zoodiacs. It can only hit attack position monsters, and most Zoodiac players will keep their 0 ATK Zoodiacs safely in defense mode. Fortunately Link Monsters can't be switched to defense. They're always vulnerable to Ragnazero if their ATK's being increased or decreased.

Decode Talker dodges Ragnazero with its targeting-negation effect, but more ATK-changing Links are on the way. Missus Radiant is just the first in a series of Attribute-based Link-2 Monsters.

Counter Siding Against Overworked And Number 103: Ragnazero
Both Overworked and Number 103: Ragnazero destroy cards, and Zoodiacs have masterfully dealt with destruction effects so far this year. My Body as a Shield remains an outstanding choice for the deck as an answer to all mass destruction effects. It's not just Overworked that threatens developed boards. There's also Dark Hole and Raigeki to worry about.

On top of that there's plenty of targeted removal that needs to be addressed, like Ragnazero. Some of those cards can't be negated by My Body as a Shield, including True King's Return and True Draco Apocalypse.

Beyond My Body as a Shield there are a few other standouts that have already seen play. Starlight Road negates Overworked, Piantissimo protects at least one monster, and Forbidden Lance can also save a monster. Starlight Road offers the biggest reward for resolving it, but you'll need to have an available zone to Summon Stardust Dragon. The Huge Revolution is Over is more consistent even if it's not as exciting.

The mirror match, or match-ups against other Earth strategies, is very interesting with Missus Radiant and Overworked. Zoodiac players themselves can side Overworked to clear the field while they control a Missus Radiant. It's usually better to wait for your opponent to Summon their own Radiant, but your Radiant is still helpful for keeping Overworked live. Giving up a Link Monster may be a small price to pay for destroying your opponent's field.

Links put Zoodiacs at a disadvantage against a handful of strategies that play exceptionally well under the new rules. True Dracos is one of them, and so far my impression has been that players are quickly moving away from Zoodiacs and fully transitioning to True Dracos. It's not terribly surprising that players would gravitate towards non-Extra Deck themes while our pool of Link Monsters remains so astonishingly small. The trend does have implications for Zoodiacs though, as well as players who are searching for high-utility Side Deck cards.

 Master Peace, the True Dracoslaying King
Master Peace, the True Dracoslaying King131141
Set Maximum Crisis
Number MACR-EN024
Level 8
Type Effect Monster
Monster Wyrm
Attribute LIGHT 
A / D 2950 / 2950
Rarity Secret Rare
Card Text

To Tribute Summon this card face-up, you can Tribute Continuous Spell/Trap Card(s) you control, as well as monsters. Unaffected by the effects of cards with the same card type (Monster, Spell, and/or Trap) as the original card type of the cards Tributed for its Tribute Summon. Once per turn, during either player's turn, if you control this Tribute Summoned monster: You can banish 1 Continuous Spell/Trap Card from your Graveyard, then target 1 other card on the field; destroy it.

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Overworked is a viable option against True Dracos. With Dragonic Diagram on the field all True Dracos become vulnerable to Overworked's destruction effect. They're also similarly exposed to Number 103: Ragnazero. Unfortunately neither card is ideal for the match-up. At best you'll take out one of the smaller True Draco monsters, but their effects will immediately search out a new card to replace them. Destroying Master Peace, the True Dracoslaying King with Overworked is a far-fetched dream. Both trap-immune and spell-immune Master Peaces will dodge its effect.

For now it's acceptable to play Overworked as your one and only side against Zoodiacs. It's a budget alternative to Dimensional Barrier with the ability to hit main Deck and Link monsters. It's also competing with Forbidden Apocrypha, and I think Overworked has it beat.

Overworked is among the best Side Deck cards for the match-up as long as Zoodiac players are forced to rely on Missus Radiant. That won't last forever, but it doesn't have to. Zoodiacs are overwhelmingly likely to take major losses on the next F&L List, long before any new Link-2s with downward pointing arrows are released.

Until next time then


Kelly​​​ ​​​Locke​​​ ​​​is​​​ ​​​a​​​ ​​​West​​​ ​​​Michigan​​​ ​​​gamer and writer.​​​ ​​​​​​ ​​​In​​​ ​​​addition​​​ ​​​to​​​ ​​​writing​​​ ​​​on TCGplayer,​​​ ​​​Kelly​​​ ​​​writes​​​ a ​​​​​​personal​​​ ​​​blog​​​​​​ ​​​covering​​​ ​​​Yugioh,​​​ ​​​Destiny,​​​ ​​​and​​​ ​​​other​​​ ​​​hobbies.​​​ ​​​You​​​ ​​​can follow​​​ ​​​him​​​ ​​​on​​​ ​​​​​​Twitter​​​​​​ ​​​and​​​ ​​​check​​​ ​​​out​​​ ​​​his​​​ ​​​​​​Youtube​​​ ​​​channel​​​.​​​ ​​​​​​ ​​​He​​​ ​​​also studied marketing at Western Michigan University.

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