Home > 2017 North American WCQ > North America WCQ – Day 1: What Side Are You On?

North America WCQ – Day 1: What Side Are You On?

July 8th, 2017

The big question going into this year’s North America World Championship Qualifier is whether or not True Draco or Zoodiac is the side you want to be on. After the European World Championship Qualifier, pure Zoodiac strategies were strongly regarded as the top choice. The Top 8 was completed dominated by Zoodiac, without a True Draco, True King, or even Wind Witch in sight. While we have seen Zoodiac put up impressive numbers since its release, we haven’t seen anything like what happened in Europe. As the format progresses, we can expect some amount of natural churn to happen, creating counters to the most popular strategies, and that is exactly what is happening today in Chicago.

The reason that pure Zoodiac is so strong is because the amount of advantage a single Zoodiac Monster can create is devastating. Any Zoodiac Normal Summon will get you a search from Zoodiac Broadbull at the very least, setting up your combo for the following turn if you didn’t open with Zoodiac Ratpier or Zoodiac Barrage. After Zoodiac Broadbull, you can stack Zoodiac Drident on top of that giving you the ability to disrupt your opponent. There are a ton of other Zoodiac Xyz Monsters you can summon between to crank things up even further, but typically those two are what have the largest impact. From there, you have 4 other cards left in your hand to disrupt your opponent with, and between Solemn Strike, Dimensional Barrier, and other interaction like Ghost Ogre & Snow Rabbit or Ash Blossom & Joyous Spring, things can get tough.

And this is all assuming you didn’t start with Zoodiac Ratpier, Zoodiac Barrage, or even Fire Formation – Tenki to find the Zoodiac Ratpier. If you open with any of those 8 cards, you can get all of the benefits from those Zoodiac Xyz Monsters in addition to a Rank 4 Xyz. Whether you want to Xyz Summon Daigusto Emeral or Tornado Dragon is the big decision, but regardless you get very far ahead from only using a single card, still leaving you with those additional 4 to hopefully disrupt your opponent. If you happen to have a way to get another Level 4 Monster on the Field, you can also Xyz Summon a second Rank 4 so you don’t even need to make the decision between Daigusto Emeral or Tornado Dragon. The fact that Zoodiac can recycle their resources also allows them to play a strong grind game. Between Daigusto Emeral, Zoodiac Combo, Zoodiac Chakanine, and even Zoodiac Tigermortar, it’s hard to run out of stuff to do.

Because of this, Zoodiac crushed the competition in Utrecht; however, the best performing Zoodiac lists were built to beat other Zoodiac strategies, meaning that they had glaring weaknesses against other top strategies. While Duelists are Main Decking cards targeting Zoodiac like Flying “C”, Enemy Controller, and Dimensional Barrier, many other Decks are well positioned against those cards. Thus, True Draco became the easy, next best option. Because of how the True Draco Monsters can just tribute away the True Draco/King Spells/Traps for easy advantage, going second with the True Draco Deck is not as bad as going second with Zoodiac. The biggest problem is that if your pure Zoodiac Deck goes second against an opposing pure Zoodiac Deck while you are both geared to beat the mirror, whoever went first is much more likely to win because they are already set up. Ignis Heat, the True Dracowarrior and Dinomight Knight, the True Dracofighter in combination with True Draco Heritage or True King’s Return can easily decimate your opponent’s field, and if they try to make any actions, you can use additional resources thanks to your True Dracos.

The pure True Draco Deck really only wants to play around 8 Monsters and because of that, cards to help dig for those monsters like Pot of Duality, Pot of Desires, and Card of Demise are especially important. After making a few Tribute Summons and using up their cards to deal with their opponent’s Field, True Draco uses those powerful spells to gas back up to make sure they can seal the deal. Between those cards and Dragonic Diagram, True Draco can play a grind game similar to Zoodiac, but performs better going second and does not lose out to hate that pure Zoodiac does.

To delve even deeper into this difficult decision, you can utilize both the True Draco and Zoodiac strategy in the same Deck. However, you are still left with the decision of which side you want to dedicate more space to. For example, we saw Aaron Furman take down YCS Pittsburgh with a True Draco Zoodiac Deck that was heavy on Zoodiac but light on True Draco. As for this weekend, the same Duelist switched it up to heavy on True Draco and light on Zoodiac. If you think that you get a bigger payoff for the Zoodiac engine, it would make sense to go heavier on the Zoodiac side, but for a tournament like this WCQ, countering the field with a heavy True Draco list could be the way to go while still benefiting from the Zoodiacs.

While there has been many True Draco, Zoodiac, and hybrids of those strategies in the field, many other Decks have made a solid showing. Sometimes playing a more rogue strategy can give you a substantial advantage because your opponent may not be familiar with what your Deck is trying to do. Thanks to Pendulum Evolution and Battles of Legend –Light’s Revenge–, Performapal Magicians have seen quite a bit of success. Purple Poison Magician alone gives the strategy a great way to deal with Anti-Spell Fragrance which is the strongest card against Pendulum Decks. Beyond Pendulums, resurgence in Lightsworn Zombie variants has come due to Minerva, the Exalted Lightsworn being accessible in Battles of Legend –Light’s Revenge–. Even old favorites like Wind Witch Invoked and even Paleozoic Frogs are here in large numbers because they can gear their lists to fight the popular strategies.

Going into a large tournament like a WCQ, trying to pick the right strategy is very important. You can expect every Duelist you play against to be top notch because they had to qualify, and because of that you can make better reads on what you think they will be playing. If you can choose the right strategy and build your Deck correctly to counter the field, your road to the Top Cut becomes much easier.