I can’t find any official information on their names but let’s take a look at Zoodiacs. They’re dominating in the OCG and do quite some crazy combos. I briefly skimmed them when they were first translated, saw that you can Xyz Summon the Xyz with just one material, saw that Rat was broken and promptly ignored them because I don’t play OCG and I don’t want to put money into the pockets of those that make money from people hyping up stuff that will come out in like four months for us. Let’s get into the new meta post RATE.
There are 12 Zoodiac cards, how fitting. Five effect monsters, four xyz, two spells and one trap. They’re all Level or Rank 4 EARTH Beast-Warriors and have similar effects. The effect monsters grant Beast-Warrior Xyz Monsters an additional effect while they have another effect. Let’s check them out.
Marmorat is the only Zoodiac that has 0 ATK and 0 DEF, but there’s a good reason for that. The effect he? She? It grants allows the Xyz Monster it’s attached to to detach an Xyz Material and Special Summon 1 Marmorat from your hand or Deck. This is what leads to all the degenerate combos and Zoodiacs would be knocked down several pegs if Marmorat was semi-limited. The other effect is a trigger effect that triggers when you Normal Summon the rat, allowing you to dump any Zoodiac card from your Deck to the Graveyard. This effect typically dumps the Trap Card or you just don’t bother activating it.
Viper is the second best Zoodiac and is the one you want as Xyz Material when you’re not comboing off. The effect it grants is to banish an opponent’s monster it battles after damage calculation. This effect starts a chain and works even if your Xyz Monster is destroyed by battle. The other effect is a quick effect that allows you to attach Viper from your hand or field to a Beast-Warrior Xyz Monster as Xyz Material. We haven’t gotten to the Xyz Monsters yet, but attaching Viper to any of them gives them an additional 1200 ATK. You can activate this from your hand during your opponent’s turn, meaning attacking a Zoodiac Xyz Monster is never safe because Viper could bite you and your monster will be banished, even if the Xyz dies. You can also attack with Viper, then attach it to an Xyz Monster and attack with that monster so that Viper ‘attacks twice’.
Of the three playable Zoodiacs, this is the worst but still better than Rabbina or Ram. Thoroughblade having 1600 ATK is relevant because it gives that ATK to your Xyz monsters and allows them to inflict piercing battle damage. Its other effect is a trigger effect that activates if Thoroughblade is Normal or Special Summoned and lets you discard a Zoodiac card and draw another card. Discarding is not part of the cost and you won’t discard if the effect is negated. Thoroughblade isn’t played when Zoodiacs are splashed as an engine but you’re basically forced to play some number if you want to play pure Zoodiacs.
Having 800 ATK isn’t respectable. Rabbina as material isn’t going to do much and the effect she grants isn’t very helpful, either. When your opponent activates a Spell Card or effect that targets your Xyz Monster with Rabbina as material, you can detach 1 Xyz Material and negate the activation. This can only negate Spell Card activations and Spell Effect activations, not Trap or Monster effect activations even though it just says effect. Her other effect triggers when she’s destroyed and targets a Zoodiac in your Graveyard and adds it to your hand. Rabbina is straight trash but that’s okay because Marmorat and Viper are super good.
Ram is basically the same card as Rabbina but with less ATK, negates Trap Cards and Special Summons something when it’s destroyed. Note that neither actually have to go to the Graveyard when they’re destroyed, which is cool. Ram is also buns.
There are four Xyz Monsters, all Rank 4, all EARTH, all Beast-Warriors with ? ATK and ? DEF and share two common effects and have a third, individual effect.
1) You can Xyz Summon each Zoodiac Xyz by using 1 Zoodiac with a different name as Xyz Material, and any Xyz Materials attached to that monster become attached to this one.
2) This card gains ATK and DEF equal to the total ATK and DEF of all the Zoodiac monsters attached as Xyz Materials.
The first effect is stupid because you can summon any Zoodiac, then just put any Xyz on top without needing multiple materials, just like Gaia Charger and Beatrice go on top of any Rank 5/6 and Dante. You can only summon each Zoodiac Xyz once this way, but you can Xyz Summon them normally as many times as you can. Remember that Marmorat summons more rats from the Deck? That’s where things get degenerate. I’ll explain later. The second effect only counts Viper, Thoroughblade, Ram and Rabbina with the maximum attack by their own effects being 12,000 but that would require 12 Xyz Materials. I hope that was done on purpose to fit with the 12 Zodiacs theme. Having twelve materials means twelve-thousand attack is really cool.
You can Xyz Summon Broadbull normally with any two Level 4 monsters.
Detach a material, search for one Beast-Warrior that can be Normal Summoned/Set. That’s stupid good and the list of monsters you can search is actually pretty crazy. All of the Zoodiacs, Coach King Bearman, Coach Soldier Wolfbark, all of the Fire Fists, Gladiator Beast Laquari and Darius, Beast King Barbaros, Manticore of Darkness, all of the Lunalights, some X-Sabers, Constellar Kaus, a few Bujins, the Fire Kings, Yosenjus, Reborn Tengu and some other garbage cards.
You can Xyz Summon Tigress normally with any three Level 4 monsters.
Her special effect detaches a material, then targets an Xyz Monster you control and a Zoodiac monster in your Graveyard, then attaches that Zoodiac to the Xyz Monster as material. If you wanted to fairly use her, you summon her using three Level 4s, then detach a material and target something like Viper and attach Viper to either herself, or Fire Fist Tiger King.
You can Xyz Summon Drancia normally with any four Level 4 monsters.
I can’t even tell what animal Drancia is supposed to be. I know it’s the dragon but it looks nothing like a dragon. Drancia has a quick effect that detaches a material to destroy any target face-up card. Drancia is the reason Zoodiacs are actually good. Sure, they can make Hope Harbinger or Coach King Giantrainer but Drancia is the real muscle, even if it’s only like 1200 ATK. You’re going to have a Viper to attach to it to ensure anything that battles it won’t survive and Drancia just clears problems. Be glad we don’t also have Exciton and Shock Master for Zoodiacs to play with.
You can Xyz Summon Boarbow normally with any five Level 4 monsters.
Other than having the typical Zoodiac Xyz Monster effects, Boarbow is actually just the worst but you still need it because it has a different name from Tigress, Drancia and Broadbull. Boarbow actually has two effects, the first allows it to attack directly and the second triggers when it inflicts battle damage to your opponent while it has 12 or more Xyz Materials. It sends their whole hand and field to the Graveyard, then changes to Defense Position. That’s never going to happen, nor is the attacking directly going to matter. That MIGHT come up but it’s super unlikely.
If their Field Spell Card is actually called Zodiac Sign, it’s not a Zoodiac card, which means it doesn’t work with Thoroughblade or Marmorat. What does it do? Gives 300 ATK and DEF, okay, not 500 like good Field Spells like Necrovalley but acceptable if the effect is good. Your opponent can’t attack Beast-Warrior monsters for attacks except the one with the highest ATK, uhm, all right then. And once per turn if a Zoodiac would be destroyed, you can destroy another monster in your hand or field instead. Not awful but not broken, which is what Zoodiacs are trying to do. I’d skip this if you’re trying to compete. If the old Field Spell rule was still in effect I’d say to put one in your Side Deck but that isn’t the case.
Elemental Triangle of the Zoodiac
Triangle destroys any face-up card you control and Special Summons any Zoodiac monster from your Deck. Sure, you can only use that effect once per turn even if you have multiple Triangles but Triangle’s only cost is targeting, which means it CAN destroy itself and still resolve because once it destroys whatever it targeted, the effect is resolving. Also if it’s destroyed by a card effect and sent to the Graveyard you can attach it to a Zoodiac Xyz as material, which is cool. Triangle is just one of 12 ways to kick start your combos. Triangle is really good and the best Zoodiac Spell/Trap Card that we’ve got.
Seasonal Direction to the Zoodiac
This is your Pot of Avarice but only if it’s in your Graveyard and it’s much worse. The actual effect just attaches a Zoodiac monster from your deck to a Zoodiac Xyz. Then, you can banish it from your Graveyard to shuffle 5 Zoodiacs with different names into the Deck and draw a card. We don’t have Pot of Avarice but this is legitimately decent because you can either dump it directly with rat, discard with Thoroughblade or attach Viper/Thoroughblade to something as material. If you don’t see this during a game, oh well. It probably didn’t matter.
We’ve read all the cards so now it’s time to look at the main combo that starts with literally just Marmorat face-up on the field and you don’t need anything else.
1) Summon Marmorat.
2) Put Boarbow on top of rat.
3) Special Summon another rat from your Deck.
4) Put Tigress on top of Boarbow.
5) Detach Boarbow from Tigress and attach the rat in your Graveyard.
6) Special Summon the third rat from your Deck.
7) Put Broadbull on top of Tigress and search any Beast-Warrior you want.
8) Put Drancia on top of Broadbull.
This combo leaves you with a 0/0 Drancia with one Xyz Material, two Marmorats and a Beast-Warrior that you searched, plus the other four or five cards you had in hand already. There are 12 ways to start your combo if you’re running a typical Zoodiac build with 3 Marmorat, 3 Triangle, 3 Tenki and 3 Terrortops. Opening directly with Marmorat or Tenki means you have to Normal Summon the rat and that limits your plays afterwards but both Triangle and Terrortop don’t use your Normal Summon, meaning you can use that later in the turn. If you haven’t caught on, Terrortop gets Taketomborg and makes M-X-Saber Invoker to summon your rat from the Deck to start the combos. You can of course increase your chances to open with a rat if you play stuff like Upstart Goblin but you can’t run Desires because banishing any copies of rat basically means you can’t play anymore.
The easiest play after you have Drancia and two rats is to overlay both rats for Traptrix Rafflesia, Daigusto Emeral, BFF Tiger King or Bujintei Kagutsuchi. There are other options but those are going to be the most common by far.
If your opponent played Maxx “C” during your combo and you have two Manticore of Darkness, you win. Search a Manticore of Darkness with the Broadbull during your combo and legitimately make another with your two rats and search a second Manticore, then tribute Broadbull for Manticore and destroy it with Drancia, then loop Manticores ad nauseam until you win. I wouldn’t include Manticores in my list but it’s certainly a thing you can do.
You can overlay both rats for Tiger King and set either Tenki or Tensu from your deck and search for whatever Beast-Warrior you want or Tensu and get an extra Normal Summon, should you need it. Lunalight Blue Cat (and Crimson Fox) are Level 4 DARK Beast-Warriors if you want to make something like Evilswarm Nightmare or you can use other Zoodiacs to make any other Rank 4 next to Tiger King and Drancia.
If you open with Terrortop/Triange and Mother Grizzly/Tenki/Tensu, you can end on Tiger King, Drancia, Bahamut Shark and Toadally Awesome. Search a Grizzly with Broadbull, make Tiger King with rats and set Tenki if you have Tensu already, if not, set Tensu and summon both Grizzlies. Alternatively you can search Mother Grizzly off of Broadbull, Normal Summon it and make Tiger King with Grizzly and a rat, set Tenki, search Lunalight Black Sheep, which searches Polymerization and negate your Invoker with Tiger King detaching Grizzly. Activate Polymerization fusing Invoker and Broadbull into Norden, Special Summon Grizzly, make Bahamut and Toadally Awesome and put Drancia on top of your other Marmorat that’s sitting there. The latter requires less set up but asks you to run Polymerization, Lunalight Black Sheep and Mother Grizzly. The first only asks two Mother Grizzly in your deck. I wouldn’t advise either because the opportunity cost of even just one Bahamut Shark and two Toadally Awesome is a lot.
Use your Broadbull Search on Coach Captain Bearman and Normal Summon it, turn your rats into Level 8 and either overlay both rats for Hope Harbinger or all three Level 8s for Coach King Giantrainer and draw three cards.
We’ve seen the combos and know what they can do but how about the other cards that go in the deck? Each section is going to be fairly brief and we’re going to end with a deck list for you.
Speedroid Terrortop and Taketomborg are literally only in the deck to make M-X-Saber Invoker and summon Marmorat from the Deck. You can also run a Totem Bird and/or Break Sword if you want a little more utility. Three top and one tomborg are staple.
Maxx “C” is a staple two-of once they come out because you’re going to play a lot of mirrors. Effect Veiler doesn’t do very much but it will stop your opponent in the Zoodiac mirror dead in their tracks if you Veiler the Boarbow. They’re forced to make Broadbull, search Viper, make Drancia and pass. They still end on Drancia, so it’s subpar.
Ghost Ogre & Snow Rabbit actually stops your opponent for the most part by destroying their Boarbow. Sure, they can still go Broadbull into Drancia here but Ghost Ogre can also hit Union Hangars, Metalfoes and destroy the Drancia. Ghost Reaper can all but win the mirror match for you if you banish their Drancias.
Jar of Avarice and Exodius are both bad cards. Jar is ‘fine’ but is just slow and doesn’t draw two cards like Pot of Avarice. Exodius is even worse than Jar because it draws exactly zero cards and is a body that will just sit on the field and do nothing. Play one Jar if you must, play zero Exodius.
Instant Fusion and Norden let you just make an extra Rank 4 or recover should your field be demolished. Triple Tenki is standard and I like one Tensu as well.
Book of Moon and Eclipse are both super good as they shut monsters off and your opponent can’t Xyz Summon anything with face-down monsters. Take that you one-material Xyz Monsters, hah!
Twin Twisters and Raigeki are pretty standard and unexciting.
I’ve been using the full playsets of both Dimensional Barrier and Solemn Strike, they’ve been great back-up for Drancia in addition to the one Warning and one Emptiness.
Rhapsody in Berserk, Rafflesia, Emeral, Abyss Dweller, Castel, Diamond Dire Wolf, Fire Fist Tiger King, Kagutsuchi, Ouroboros, Utopia+Lightning and Gagaga Samurai are all serviceable Rank 4s. Add what you see fit. Giantrainer and Hope Harbinger are the only playable Rank 8s that you want to summon. Here’s a sample list.
I believe the best decks after RATE, in order, are going to be Metalfoes, Zoodiac, ABC and then everything else. The deck is really strong, you need to be prepared to face it.
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