Deck of the day: Ryan Pasnik’s Top 8 Paleos

I’m sure that nobody is excited about Predaplants, Invoked or Frightfurs because I haven’t heard anything except people complaining about how broken Rat is. Ryan Pasnik, a personal friend of mine, went 8-1 against Zoodiac at the YCS this past weekend with Paleos and the only loss to Zoodiac was in Top 8 in time. Let’s take a look at one effective way to beat Zoo.


3 Swap Frog
3 Dupe Frog
2 Ronintoadin
2 Maxx “C”


2 Pot of Desires
2 Card of Demise

TRAPS: 28 (I know, disgusting)

3 Solemn Strike
3 Dimensional Barrier
3 Reckless Greed
2 Waboku
2 Quaking Mirror Force
1 Lost Wind
1 Compulsory Evacuation Device
1 Torrential Tribute
3 Paleozoic Olenoides (MST)
3 Paleozoic Dinomischus (Karma Cut)
3 Paleozoic Canadia (Book of Moon)
1 Paleozoic Marrella (Foolish for traps)
1 Paleozoic Pikaia (Destiny Draw)
1 Paleozoic Leanchoilia (Burial from a D.D.)


3 Toadally Awesome
3 Paleozoic Opabinia
2 Paleozoic Anomalocaris
1 Cat Shark
1 Daigusto Phoenix
1 Sky Cavalry Centaurea
1 Number 44: Crumble Logos the Prophet of Demolition
1 Number F0: Utopic Future
1 Downerd Magician
1 Zoodiac Drident?…


2 Barrier Statue of the Torrent
1 Raigeki
2 Dark Hole
1 Paleozoic Marrella
1 Forbidden Apocrypha
1 Breakthrough Skill
2 Different Dimension Ground
2 Anti-Spell Fragrance
3 Imperial Iron Wall

Ryan’s deck is a small Frog engine, about as few Paleozoics as he can get away with, a small amount of card draw and some real traps. The Frogs consist of only Swap, Dupe and Ronin. Swap dumps your other frogs. Dupe is just another Frog for Ronin and Ronin keeps coming back to use as Xyz Material over and over. The two Maxx “C” are basically required and most people aren’t doing the Manticore loop in Zoo, so you’re typically safe going for it.

I thought a lot about starting with traps, going to the Extra Deck after monsters. We’re sticking to the typical formula. Two Pot of Desires and two Card of Demise. I asked the reasoning for the two-two split in a 44 card deck. Ryan said it just felt right to play two of each. Also, he cut his deck down to 42 before the tournament. While I can’t give a reason to why two is better than three I can confirm that there’s a very comforting feeling in playing just two copies of a card. It’s not a one-of and you’re not saying you want to see it as often as possible. Two copies just feels so good in a 40-card deck when you can have three maximum. I’ve played a lot of other card games and they all allow you to have four of any given card. One copy is even less than a one-of in Yugioh. Two copies feels like you’re not giving the card the respect it deserves. Three copies say that you want this card but you’re not sure you always want it. Playing four indicates that you always want to see it. Two-ofs in Yugioh just feel right a lot of the time and it’s hard to put my finger on exactly why.

Next up in typical Monster->Spell->Trap order is the trap section. Since they’re sometimes monsters, we’re starting the Traps with the Paleozoics. Olenoides is the one that’s like MST, three-of and is largely the only Spell/Trap disruption we have. Dinomischus is the one that’s like Karma Cut but can hit any face-up card, including Spells and Traps but works quite a bit differently. First, it doesn’t banish additional copies but you discard when it resolves. Discarding upon resolution also means any Spell Speed 2 discard effects can cause it to fizzle but that just doesn’t come up often. The last three-of Paleozoic is Canadia, which flips opponent’s monsters face-down and is probably the most important Paleo in the deck. Book of Moon might the most powerful neg one in the game. Canadia can’t flip your things face-down to push through irrelevant cards like Swift Scarecrow or Lightning Vortex but you’re paid back with it being a trap to trigger other Paleos and Canadia itself can come back to make Xyz with. The last three Paleozoics are just to have a few more Paleos. One is your Foolish Burial, another returns something to your Graveyard to use with Ronin or return another Paleo and the last one you search with Opabinia to put Paleos in your yard and dig for whatever you need. You need to stop your opponent from doing things, so drawing cards is not what you want to be doing. Yes, drawing cards is great but you’d rather start with cards that stop your opponent from doing things, especially when you’re on the draw.

Triple Strike and triple Barrier are staples in any kind of trap deck. They’re like when it was 2012 and you included two Bottomless Trap Hole, two Warning and a Judgment before considering the rest of your options. Both Compulsory Evacuation Device and Torrential Tribute are limited, which stinks. Lost Wind is exactly a one-of and it’s noteworthy that it negates Drident for more than a single turn. The effect negation isn’t until end of turn, it’s forever. And unless something has changed, the Zoodiac Xyz’s ATK is frozen at whatever half its current attack is. Attaching and detaching materials won’t change the Zoodiac’s ATK. Double Waboku and Quaking Mirror Force ensure your Toads live through combats that they typically wouldn’t be able to fight.

The side deck is mainly bullets and Ryan said he’d take out Forbidden Apocrypha and something else for some amount of Cosmic Cyclones and/or Twin Twisters. I don’t see a lot of people playing Royal Decree but it’s one of those cards I feel that you should almost always side if your deck isn’t heavy on traps. Moving forward Ryan said he’d also drop the Pikaia for the third Waboku and that it really is just that good.

The Zoodiac Drident in the Extra Deck used to be Stardust Dragon but since Starlight Road was cut last minute, Stardust had to go. When I asked about it, this was his response.

Cut the Drident for the Xyz Herald, Gachi, Dark Mist or additional copy of something you already have. Don’t forget that you have access to Downerd or F0. Downerd pierces and F0 can steal something to attack with. You won’t always want to give up your Xyz for F0 and you can’t make Downerd before you attack but definitely don’t forget about them. Both have won countless games for me because they’re better than a 1000 ATK dude.

Crumble Logos is an ignition effect. That means you can’t do it in response to anything and your opponent can respond to the summon before you can activate it.

Centaurea can return big beefy dudes to your opponent’s hand to force damage through with other dudes.

Daigusto Phoenix has 3000 ATK, not 1500. If you opt to re-add Starlight Road, Phoenix rises to 4000 ATK some of the time. Similarly, Cat Shark usually represents at least 2700 extra points of damage. Cat Shark plus Phoenix is 6500 damage. If your opponent played a Strike earlier, they’re dead.

Both Paleo Xyz are unaffected by Drident and ABC-Dragon Buster. In one test game I had just an Anomalocaris when my opponent summoned Triverr and it didn’t do anything.

Paleos are surprisingly fun to play and the deck surprised me how good it is. I think the deck is worse than Zoo but it’s pretty good at beating Zoo.

RD 1 – Zoo
RD 2 – 60 Card Paleo (loss)
RD 3 – Zoo
RD 4 – 60 Card Paleo (loss)
RD 5 – Invoked
RD 6 – Zoo
RD 7 – Invoked
RD 8 – Invoked Zoo
RD 9 – Zoo
RD 10 – Zoo
RD 11 – Zoo
Top 32 – Zoo
Top 16 – Opponent got DQ’d. Ryan doesn’t know what happened.
Top 8 – Zoo (loss in time)

Above are the rounds Ryan played. His only losses were to the 60-card Paleo lists and that’s probably because they were able to play all the fat Ryan trimmed. Oh, he also took a loss to Zoo in the Top 8 in time but if that didn’t happen, I’d be talking about a Top 4 deck today.

Thanks for reading. Should I take the time to write something on Invoked or just do a post about fusing machines? Pick up your holo Dupe Frogs and let me know in the comments or on…



3 thoughts on “Deck of the day: Ryan Pasnik’s Top 8 Paleos”

  1. Not sure what you mean by fusing machines, so Invoked first, but then sure, my interest at least is piqued. Ancient Frogs bugs me, especially when I’m just trying to goof off and play with my favorite Ritual, the Dokurorider. I don’t need you using Treatoad’s negation to shut down a 1900-ATK No-Effect Ritual who has nothing going for him besides being Level 6 and the only Zombie Ritual in the entire game, but you do it anyways, douche. At least it’s good to know there’s stuff that can beat Zoodiacs.

    1. Fusing machines are Ancient Gears and probably some mention of Cyber Dragons because they’re a better deck if abusing powerbond is the goal.

      1. Oh, then yes, AGs all the way, plus I’ve always wondered how Cyber Dragons played if you couldn’t afford Infinity. Would you be including the cards from the new Structure Deck for AGs as well?

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