In this article
- The Paleozoics
- Other Cards/Techs/Replacements for Things You Don’t Have
- General Strategy/Tips
- Deck-Specific Strategies
- Should I play Paleozoics?
I got KoG with Paleozoics! This is perhaps the fastest I’ve gotten KoG, in 37(!) wins! Much faster than when it took me over 150. Wetlands is now finally in the Ranked PvP tickets, making Paleozoics more accessible than ever if you want to try it out!
Paleozoics are a control deck. They take some time to set up, relying on Paleozoic Pikaia or Paleozoic Marrella to fill up your graveyard with Paleozoics that you later summon to the field, boosted by Wetlands and [sometimes] Amulet of Ambition . This deck rewards careful hand/graveyard management, as well as creatively using your resources to out grind your opponent. It has a bit of a learning curve, but it’s a unique and fun playstyle that can feel very rewarding.
This guide was lovingly converted by Maggi64
What to discard: Paleozoic Marrella, Paleozoic Pikaia (if you’re not able to set up a double Paleozoic Pikaia play), Paleozoic Hallucigenia. Resolving Paleozoic Pikaia is one of this deck’s best ways to generate card advantage, so if I open with 2 Paleozoic Pikaia and a third Paleozoic Hallucigenia, I prefer to set both Paleozoic Pikaia and hope for a double draw, especially since I run 10 Paleozoics. Opening with only 1 Paleozoic Pikaia and 1 Paleozoic Canadia is a little awkward. If you have no other protection, it might be worth setting both to ward off an OTK or at least protect yourself against a large board development. Similarly, if you open 2 Paleozoic Pikaia and a Paleozoic Canadia - you could set 1 of each to protect yourself. If you only have Paleozoic Canadia in hand, you can wait until your Draw Phase to activate Paleozoic Pikaia, to see if you draw better discard fodder like Paleozoic Marrella. However, your opponent might then chain something to disrupt your Paleozoic summon. If you run Vision HERO Witch Raider, you’ll also need to summon your Paleozoics during the previous turn to maintain Vision HERO Witch Raider’s backrow destruction effect.
In general, you don’t want to run more than 4, maybe 5 non-Traps. Any more than that will clog and cause awkward hands.
Drowning can’t protect your Paleozoics directly, so it can be useful to pair it with Wall of Disruption and/or Widespread Ruin. It can be good to limit the Paleozoics you summon to bait your opponent into a Drowning Mirror Force play. Wall of Disruption: Another powerful Trap. The attack reduction can be a win condition in and of itself, especially against Amazoness. Deciding whether to summon a monster off of Wall of Disruption can be tricky, because if you do, it will trigger a Replay. Sometimes it helps to guarantee the damage; other times, having the extra Paleozoic can help protect you from E-Con (counter)plays or prepare for attacking next turn.
Vision HERO Witch RaiderVision HERO Witch Raider is also very resource intensive. That’s bad for Paleozoics because they usually rely on (1) a Paleozoic monster on board, (2) Wetlands(/Amulet), and (3) Protective Traps. Vision HERO Witch Raider forces you to give up either your Paleozoic monsters and/or your protective traps, leaving you with dead Spells that don’t work with Vision HERO Witch Raider. If you end up walking into an Enemy Controller or worse, Treacherous Trap Hole, you’re pretty much done. Also, getting foiled by cards that would otherwise be dead against Paleozoics like Forbidden Chalice, Ultimate Providence/Divine Wrath, and Floodgate Trap Hole is not fun. (Note: If you sense an Ultimate Providence and just want to summon a beatstick, don’t activate Vision HERO Witch Raider’s effect.) Vision HERO Witch Raider’s special summon lock also makes it hard to recover, or even push for game, because you’re barred from special summoning non-Hero monsters for the rest of the turn. To get around this, summon your Paleozoics during your opponent’s End Phase if you’re anticipating a Vision HERO Witch Raider play next turn. Be careful about running multiple copies, since it can clog. The Reinforcements skill can be used to summon Vision HERO Witch Raider on demand.
Chain Reaction’s burn damage adds up, and is often this deck’s win condition. It also disrupt Card of the Soul attempts and Grit, or defeat Vampire players who foolishly spend too much life points.
ATK Booster: Level 2 lets your Wetlands-boosted Palezoics beat over Dragon Spirit of White, defense position Blue-Eyes / Cosmo Brain, and high level Vampires under Vampire Kingdom. Parasite Infestation disrupts your opponent’s draws, inflicts a hefty amount of burn damage, and disrupts any deck that relies on types like Spellbooks, Bujins, and especially Noble Knights. If you run Lava Golem, Parasite gives you tribute fodder for it. However, if luck isn’t on your side, then you may never see your Parasites go off. Access Denied + Gandora the Dragon of Destruction is lot of fun. It plays very differently from regular Paleozoics though. Mark of the Dragon - Head can be used for a Junk Paleo variant. Grit can be used if you really want to avoid OTKs.
Paleozoics can win a lot of their matches by surprise. Opponents will try to pop Paleozoics with monster effects. They’ll attack into monsters equipped with Amulet and kill themselves. They’ll try to play disruptive Traps that just let you summon more Paleozoics (this deck usually laughs at Treacherous Trap Hole and opposing Canadia). Many people don’t know how to play against the deck, and that will help you win.
Even when your opponent knows this, they can still end up with several dead cards, including Effect Negation (Forbidden Chalice / Divine Wrath / Ultimate Providence), Effect monster destruction, and Floodgate Trap Hole.
Paleozoics can only be summoned directly in response to a Trap card. If your opponent responds to your Trap with a Monster’s Quick Effect or a Quick-Play Spell, they’ll deny you the ability to summon a Paleozoic (most notably against Masked Heroes). Smart opponents will also play their Traps during your End Phase or in response to your Traps to deny you additional opportunities to summon Paleozoics. To get around this, you can play your Traps during their End Phase, after they’ve set Spell/Traps so they can’t use them. Be careful when facing opposing Canadias (or other Paleozoic players), as each player can activate their own Paleozoic summon to deny their opponent from using theirs.
Graveyard management is super important, as you always want to have at least one Paleozoic in your graveyard. For example, if you have exactly one Paleozoic in your graveyard, try to play your Paleozoic Traps first so that you trade it for your Paleozoic in the graveyard, and use that new Paleozoic as fodder for your non-Paleozoic Traps.
Conservative play can also be useful. I often poke with one Paleozoic to bait out protection, and then chain something like Paleozoic Marrella to summon another Paleozoic when the coast is clear. Unless you have a good reason to, don’t summon your Paleozoics all at once. Taking a few hits and saving your Traps (especially Drowning Mirror Force) for when your opponent has spent their resources can be very effective.
Exception: generally you want to play Paleozoic Pikaia as soon as possible so that you can play the new cards you drew.
Toggle On is super important to activate your Traps at the right time. With Toggle On, you can fill your graveyard before playing a Battle Trap, summon a Paleozoic before playing Wall of Disruption (so you avoid triggering a Replay), fill your graveyard with a Paleozoic so you can summon one in response to Hey Trunade, or flip a Destiny Hero Celestia or Amazoness Princess face-down at the start of the Battle Phase before they can activate their effects.
Fun tip: For whatever reason, I’ve anecdotally noticed that players tend to target the middle set spell/trap card for destruction, perhaps out of laziness, or maybe because people might set their most important card first (and then decide on other cards to set later). I usually try to place a chainable Trap in that slot for that reason, like Pikaia/Paleozoic Marrella.
This deck is vulnerable to Hey, Trunade!, as well as Spell cards like Enemy Controller or Vampire Kingdom.
Battle Traps will win you the day here, with Wall of Disruption and Drowning Mirror Force nicely countering the Vampire swarm and providing you with an opening to inflict massive battle damage. However, smart players will turtle up with Vampire Grace / Vampire Kingdom, slowly whittling away at your battle reactive Traps every turn. Paleozoic Canadia works great to stop Vampire Grace; however you’ll need Wetlands to beat over Grace’s 1200 defense (and their other monsters, for that matter). If your opponent isn’t careful and pays too many life points, you can steal the game with Chain Reaction. Vampires have started to run Hey Trunade now, which is very annoying. If you’re facing Ishizu (Sealed Tombs Vampires), you might want to play Pikaia/Paleozoic Marrella during your opponent’s Draw Phase so that you can summon a Paleozoic in response to a potential Trunade.
Balance Heroes don’t seem to be running Hey Trunade, making this deck a lot easier to face. Drowning Mirror Force / Widespread Ruin are solid counters to Mask Change. Because of Celestial, you might want to wait to play Wetlands. You can also set Toggle to On and flip it face-down with Paleozoic Canadia at the start of the Battle Phase to prevent it from destroying your Spells.
Lava Golem is less useful in this matchup, because a Decider in the graveyard will negate the damage and return to its owner’s hand (once). The 1650 Evilswarm O'lantern, however, can beat over the 1600 Attack Destiny Heroes.
Dragon Spirit of White is the main threat. Try to bait out Dragon Spirit of White’s effect with chainable cards, like Paleozoic Pikaia, Paleozoic Marrella, Paleozoic Canadia, or Jar of Greed. A reckless opponent will easily fall prey to Wall of Disruption and Drowning Mirror Force.
A timely Paleozoic Canadia can stymie Cosmo Brain. Silver’s Cry can allow your opponent to push for game or recover their field at a moment’s notice, so try to check for pauses to prepare for that.
This match-up feels a lot easier now, perhaps due to Drowning Mirror Force. They key to beating Spellbooks is to outgrind them. Fate can only be used once per turn, so it’s helpful to get multiple Paleozoics or other monsters on board (such as via Paleozoic Marrella) to overcome this. Setting multiple Traps also helps, because they can’t use Fate on all of them. Mind Scan has been more popular, so try to get your opponent’s life points down to below 3000 so they can’t snipe your best cards with Fate. Drowning Mirror Force / Widespread Ruin are great for getting rid of your opponent’s only Spellcaster and preventing them from using Fate during your own turn. Paleozoic Canadia can also deny your opponent a face-up Spellcaster, although it works better against Fool and Silent Magician as opposed to Spellbook Magician of Prophecy. Lava Golem is also nice to get Spellcasters off the field and make it safer to use Amulet. Silent Magician (and its Level 8 counterpart) are troublesome, but can be dealt with via Paleozoic Canadia, Drowning Mirror Force, Widespread Ruin, or Evilswarm O'lantern.
If your opponent happens to run the uncommon Blizzard Princess, it will ruin you unless you proactively use your Traps.
It’s quite easy for Paleozoics to outgrind Gladiator Beasts. All of your Traps work wonderfully in this matchup, especially Drowning Mirror Force. If you don’t draw Wetlands, be careful about leaving your Paleozoics in Attack position unprotected, lest your opponent attack into them to trigger their Gladiator Beast effects.
Yubel / Fire King
A really annoying matchup, and a good reason to still use Evilswarm O'lantern. Evilswarm O'lantern can blow up Yubel’s Terror incarnate or Ultimate Nightmare forms, allowing you to pave the way for life point attacks. The earlier you can inflict Battle Damage, the better; sometimes Chain Reaction is necessary to whittle away the remainder of their lifepoints.
It’s important to pay attention to when Phoenix comes back and not set your entire hand so that your backrow isn’t needlessly destroyed. Paleozoic Canadia helps to stymie Phoenix so you can try to run over it next turn (provided Yubel - Terror Incarnate isn’t blowing it up).
Drowning Mirror Force works very well in this matchup. Shuffling Yaksha and Terror Incarnate into the deck prevents them from activating their effects.
Believe it or not, I’ve still seen a couple of these on the ladder (but not Fur Hire). This matchup can be won with either life point damage, playing the grind game, or both. Life point damage can be achieved through a combination of Wall of Disruption, Chain Reaction, and Lava Golem (Note that Holy Guard Amazoness is more resilient to Wall of Disruption.)
Canadia serves multiple purposes, including preventing Princess from activating its effect (set Toggle On for the start of the Battle Phase), or flipping a dangerous Swordwoman face-down.
For the grind game, play your Paleozoic Traps during your opponent’s End Phase, so that you can summon them when your opponent activates Onslaught (or Willpower). If you can spare the lifepoints, I try to take a hit and wait for my opponent to special summon an Amazoness with Onslaught before activating mass removal cards like Drowning Mirror Force or Wall of Disruption.
Lava Golem is great in this matchup - it outs Queen, removes Amazoness monsters from the board (weakening Onslaught), makes your Amulet(s) live, and can be a win condition in its own right.
Canadia is an excellent counter to Ties. However, if your opponent does set up Ties, it can be quite hard to recover and not get blown out by Geargiattacker, so try to prioritize getting rid of it. If you think they have Pulse Mines (via checking pauses), it can be helpful to bait it out before going all in. Paleozoic Canadia can flip Geargia monsters face-down to reduce the number of cards they can destroy. Lava Golem is also great for getting their Geargiattacker off the board (and if you get rid of all of their Machines, they can’t even use Pulse Mines).
The Cyber Style nerf means this deck is much less popular. Which is good, because Slugger is your worst enemy - it ignores most of your battle Traps outside of Paleozoic Canadia, so smart players will just poke you with Slugger until you lose.
However, your other battle Traps like Wall of Disruption and Drowning Mirror Force work wonders against their other monsters. Penalty Box is also difficult to get around, and especially thwarts Amulet, so running backrow removal to get rid of that and Stadium can be helpful. Flipping Paleozoic Canadia on Midfielder slows down the deck a lot.
One of the best ways to beat UA’s is to be faster than them, especially if they don’t draw Stadium early on. This is even easier now that triggering Cyber Style is no longer an issue.
Tenkabito Shien / Wildheart
If you happen to run into this deck, it actually gives Paleozoics a lot of trouble. Since Traps are useless, you’ll need to rely on Wetlands and/or Amulet (if you run it) or your Monsters to get over them. Use Pikaia/Paleozoic Marrella/Jar of Greed to thin out your deck quickly and draw into Wetlands. You can however, use your Traps to summon Paleozoic monsters, either as shields or beat sticks.
Cipher Soldier / Amazoness Swordswoman Burn
If you’re not careful, you can easily get blown out by this deck. Widespread Ruin and Drowning Mirror Force work great against an Amazoness Swordswoman that’s attacking you.
Spikeshield with Chain is difficult to play around. If you have enough life points after attacking into a defense position Swordswoman / Cipher Soldier (you should after Wetlands), then you can use Paleozoic Canadia to remove the equip card.
Try not to summon more than 1 Paleozoic at a time, to ward off Lava Golem. Summoning your own Lava Golem also works wonders, while also making your battle Traps live.
Battle Traps work very nicely here, provided they’re not blown up by Atlantean Marksman. Your ideal scenario is if Marksman hits a chainable Trap. Flipping a Paleozoic Canadia on an opposing Mermail Abyssmegalo is a great way to stymie their turn, especially when they try to equip it. This deck has few ways of getting around Sea Stealth Attack. Aegis, Lava Golem, and Chain Reaction burn damage are some ways.
Chaining a Paleozoic Canadia to an Equip Spell or Glory of the Noble Knights brutally saps their momentum. Be careful about Drystan's effect, as it will prevent you from targeting <1800 ATK monsters with Paleozoic Canadia.
Drystan’s other effects don’t affect Paleozoic monsters, but he can destroy your Wetlands. It's important to monitor your opponent's backrow carefully, such as if they can use Glory to equip a card during your turn (and trigger Drystan), and take advantage of when your opponent's backrow is clogged and they can't play more equips.
Tributing two Noble Knights for Lava Golem is brutal, as it prevents them from recycling their Equips, and also gets around the protection of Noble Arms of Destiny. A timely Arfeudutyr can ruin your day, especially if they use something like Medraut to activate it multiple times.
Paleozoics are not a Tier 1 deck. However, now that the meta has slowed down and is less OTK heavy, Paleozoics are a lot more viable. I actually think optimal Paleozoics have a solid matchup against the top decks.
However, optimal Paleozoics is also expensive (i.e. 3 Paleozoic Canadia and 3 Drowning Mirror Force), more so than other decks like Vampire, Masked Heroes, or Blue Eyes. All of those will also have an easier time in Ranked.
If you want a non-meta deck that can compete with meta decks, then Paleozoic is a good choice.
Do you like OTK decks? If so, then don’t go with Paleozoics, because they take time to set up.
Do you like playing control decks where you have to manage your resources carefully and grind out your opponent’s resources? Do you like being rewarded for using your options in creative ways to circumvent your opponent’s plays? If so, then Paleozoic is the deck for you. This is not a straightforward deck - it has a learning curve and requires you to keep track of your hand / graveyard resources as well as what’s left in your deck.
My advice is to try to the deck out on a budget (using 1-2 Canadia) and see if you like it before investing further (Canadia is a worthwhile card to invest in anyway). You’ll have some consistency issues, but I was able to get by for a while with 1-2 Paleozoic Canadia. For what it’s worth, most people have a lot of fun playing Paleozoics, so if you end up liking the deck, you can go all in.
They have great archetypal support that hasn’t been released yet, like Olenoides (destroys a Spell/Trap card) and Dinomischus (banishes a face-up card), as well as archetypal Xyz monsters and Toadally Awesome, but we won’t be seeing those anytime soon. 2 for 1 discard Traps like Raigeki Break, Karma Cut, or Phoenix Wing Wind Blast would also be helpful, as you can use them to discard and summon Paleozoics out of your hand.
Feel free to ignore this if you only care about Ranked. I’m gonna keep this section short because I haven’t played in a lot of tournaments lately (still). Most people aren’t siding specifically for Paleozoics. However, you do have to worry about cards like Cosmic Cyclone, Hey, Trunade!, Jinzo, and Noble Arms - Arfedeutyr. Also deck space in Paleozoics is pretty tight. As mentioned earlier, this deck consists of (A) Paleozoics, (B) disruptive Traps, and (C) attack boosting spells. Sidedeck cards can throw off your ratio and result in bricky hands. Unfortunately, there seem to be few sidedeck cards that synergize well with the deck (i.e. other Traps), so I welcome suggestions! Generally, you want to side in Monsters and other Traps if you can - Monsters work better on their own, and Traps can at least summon your Paleozoics.
Other Sidedeck Cards
Wind-Up Juggler - all purpose monster that punishes your opponent for getting rid of it. Can be used to out Jinzo and other big monsters. Evilswarm O'lantern also works.
Lava Golem - for its utility, as an alternate win condition, and/or for outing Jinzo.
What to side out
Try to side out whatever non-Paleozoic cards are less useful in the matchup (ex. Amulet, Aegis, Lava Golem). You generally don’t want to side out Paleozoics, but if you need to, you might be able to get away with siding out Paleozoic Hallucigenia, or even maaaaaaybe a single Paleozoic Marrella.
Thanks for reaching the end of this guide, and hope it’s helpful if you want to try out Paleozoics too