As soon as the first Paleozoic card was leaked I was pretty hyped about it because of its TCG history. Not only is it my favourite deck and I played it at multiple major events, this deck was arguably the best deck for 3 consecutive formats, it won 2 YCS back-to-back and got 2nd and 3rd at another one. It is still good today shown by another YCS top in February. However, one of the key parts to its success was one of the most powerful cards ever created, an XYZ Monster called “Loading... ” (Konami loves puns) which we obviously don't have so the question is whether or not this deck will become as good in Duel Links.

All Paleozoic monsters are designed similarly with a first effect that is different for everyone and another effect that allows them to be special summoned from the graveyard as soon as either player activates a trap. Keep in mind that you can only activate one Paleo per trap activation so even if you have 3 in the graveyard and you activate a trap you will only be able to special summon one of them. When they are on the field they get the extra effect that they are unaffected by monster effects. This alone makes them very powerful because that means Alien Counters do nothing and Loading... can’t remove them, Loading... can’t bounce them, Loading... can’t change them to defense, Loading... can’t destroy them, Loading... can’t destroy them, Loading... can’t destroy them and so on. You see that their main way to get rid of them is through attacking. However, their stat line is rather weak with just 1200 ATK and 0 DEF (1400/200 with Loading... on the field). When they leave the field after they were summoned this way, they will be banished. Because we don’t have XYZ monsters to give this deck a win condition and make use of the Paleos we need to find another way to win.

Core Paleozoic Cards

Paleozoic Canadia
Paleozoic Pikaia
Paleozoic Leanchoilia
Paleozoic Marrella
Paleozoic Eldonia
  • Loading... - By far the best Paleozoic. TCG players will compare this card to Loading... , for Duel Links Players its more of a Loading... . Its effect says that you can flip an opponent’s monster into face-down defense position. This is a very generic effect that allows you to deal with strong cards like Alien Telepath, Loading... , Snipe Hunter, Abyss Soldier, Golden Flying Fish, Loading... , Dinos, Loading... , Loading... or any other annoying monster you want to prevent from activating its effect/attacking. As you see this card is extremely versatile and if this deck itself won’t find its place on the Tier List, this card sure will. It can also be used in SSA decks not only for the interruptive effect but also because it’s a free water monster to special summon that can then be tributed for Loading... .

  • Loading... - Another good Paleozoic for the deck. It’s a Destiny Draw which means you need to discard a Paleozoic and then draw 2 cards. Discarding is NOT a cost meaning you can’t special the Paleozoic from the graveyard you discard. It still fuels your graveyard and helps you get faster through your deck to your important cards.

  • Loading... - This card sounds quite bad as it only allows you to return a banished card to the graveyard but it has its uses in the Paleo Whale deck because of one of the most common counter picks, Loading... . They will banish your Umi which you then return back to the graveyard and as soon as you activate Loading... you can activate that Umi in your graveyard through SSA’s effect. This might be worth side decking in the normal Whale decks because it fulfills the same role there as well as being potential fodder for Whale. It can also return a banished Paleo to the graveyard so it can be summoned again.

  • Loading... - Marrella sends any trap from your deck to the graveyard giving you fuel but it’s less good because getting a Paleo on the field is not that important in Duel Links. Because of this the card is not that great. However, it’s worth having it in mind in case we get traps with good graveyard effects, so far, we only have Loading... which is not that good in general but might be worth running in some versions.

  • Loading... - By far the worst Paleozoic and likely not worth running. It’s like Reinforcements , it boosts any monster on the field by 500 ATK. This is just not enough to justify playing this card except you want another name meaning another discard fodder for Pikaia.

Support Cards

That Grass looks Greener
Needlebug Nest
Memory Loss
Curse of Anubis
Wall of Disruption
Skill Successor
Order to Charge
Order to Smash
  • Loading... - The deck was used with this card in the TCG and it’s probably one of the best ways to play this deck in Duel Links as well. Not only fuels the card your graveyard with Paleos that can then be chained to your traps, it also sends Citadel Whale to the graveyard, one of the win conditions discussed later. It’s a great card for the deck.

  • Loading... - Same reason as Grass except this card is actually a trap so a Paleo already in the graveyard can be chained to it. Also sends Paleos and Whale to the graveyard, key to that version.

  • Loading... - A card released in the last set that most people will probably not remember. When an attack position monster activates its effect, this card negates it and changes the monster to defense position. Similar to Canadia it also deals with threats like Alien Telepath, Golden Flying Fish, Snipe Hunter, Abyss Soldier and in addition and most importantly Loading... , one of the most annoying cards to deal with as it can easily destroy one of your backrow and send Rose Lover to the graveyard which then summons a monster unaffected by traps. This card is better than counter traps in this deck because these are spell speed 3 which means you can’t chain your Paleos to them.

  • Loading... - Definitely a staple. Since it only changes effect monsters to defense position and all your Paleos are normal monsters this card can clear a board single handedly because all their monsters defense becomes 0 so every Paleo can run over them.

  • Loading... - These cards are very good because of the additional effect that all Paleozoics have. As already mentioned, when they are unaffected by monster effects the only way to deal with them is basically attacking. This makes Loading... a great card as it works like a Loading... you can chain a Paleo and easily get rid of their field. It’s especially good in the Whale Build as you pressure them to attack because if they leave a monster on the field you’re one step closer to getting Whale out.

  • Loading... - As already mentioned, this is so far the best Non-Paleozoic trap card to send with Marrella.

  • Loading... / Loading... - Because all of your Paleos are normal monsters on the field these cards are usable in this deck but likely not worth running in a build not dedicated to use them because the win conditions I think are most viable require or profit from monsters on the field so the Order-Cards are counterproductive to what your deck is trying to do.

Searching for a Win Condition

This is the most important part. Every Paleo is just a small monster only being supported by your backrow. That isn’t terrible but there are better and more consistent/powerful alternatives to just hoping that strategy works out. One of the key parts to this decks power is its ability to grind. With every trap activation, you drag down their resources while getting another monster on the field. The question is how we make use of these monsters.

  • Loading... :
    I already mentioned this card multiple times. It will be one of the best ways to play this deck as it synergizes with all the cards sending cards from your deck to the graveyard. It can then be summoned by tributing your Paleos that you got out easily by just activating a Trap. SSA still is one of the best cards in the game and it’s good that this deck can use it so efficiently. The Paleos in the graveyard also make sure you always have another monster to banish for SSA because as soon as you activate it you just special summon one of them (A banished Paleo will NOT return to the field, this is a very important ruling, however, you will probably still often use the effect to prevent an OTK). Again, Leanchoilia is a great counter to an opponent’s Cosmic Cyclone.

  • Loading... :
    Another card from the new box. Similar to Citadel Whale the idea is to make use of your Paleos by tributing them with the added benefit that this card actually also tribute set traps so it requires less set-up. However, it has the disadvantage of being less powerful against some decks that don’t rely so much in backrow like Sylvan or CA. But still, against a lot of the current best decks a Harpies Feather Duster effect, completely wiping out their entire backrow on summon can be enough to win a game especially if that monster also has a great stat line of 2800 ATK.

Optimal Skills

  • Mythic Depths - Obviously, you need Mythic Depths as a Skill in the Whale version to get value out of SSA.

  • Restart - This will probably be the best skill in the Witch Raider version because you can choose your starting hand depending on the Match-Up and it helps if you draw to many monsters/traps you don’t want to see, like Pikaia without another Paleo.

Sample Decks