Grave=Zorga BRO2022 Top 8 Deck Profile
Three Attacks Are…Good?
We have a running joke at locals whenever a Zorga player is taking too long on an alchemagic turn, that no matter what orders they’re putting together, they’re ultimately just making three attacks around 30k again and again. But hey, sometimes we’re making three attacks around 40k, and one of them will even reach 63k or 73k!
Even though Grave=Zorga finally topped an official event, it still needs a fourth attack — or at the very least, something that makes the vanguard swing more threatening. Three attacks… Aren’t good.
But three attacks on your first or second turn, with one of them being 33k with a crit — and only commiting one card from hand to do it — is pretty good. Grave=Zorga can go ham in the early game while still maintaining a good hand size and guarding early attacks; my deck was able to consistently push the opponent to three or four damage before even riding to G3, and I was able to stay on zero or one damage before riding into Grave=Zorga. That’s how I was able to start 5-0, finish 6-2, and squeek into the top 8 for BRO2022 AO.
Every Grave=Zorga player loves their techs, and there are a couple I run that I haven’t seen very many other players run, if at all. I’ll go over each of these, but before reading on, know that none of what you do really matters if you don’t see at least one Roaming Prison Dragon by the time you’re on Grave=Zorga. I didn’t see a Roaming Prison Dragon in the first round of top cut versus Kairi until it was too late, and I lost because of it.
Grave=Zorga Top 8 Deck List
Dead Sea Spiritualist, Grave=Zorga
Black Tears Husk Dragon
Bioroid Youth, Rorowa
Roaming Prison Dragon x4
Prodpollen Rafilous x2
Rogue Headhunter x3
Planar Prevent Dragon x4
Clouded Miasma x3
Death-Inviting Black Magic x1
Gather Unto Me, Ye Wandering Souls x2
Tearful Malice x2
In Search of an Ideal Far Away x1
Wild Intelligence x1
Standard Crit x4
Effect Crit x4
Effect Draw x3
Standard Heal x2
Effect Heal (crit) x2
Stoi Overtrigger x1
Early Aggro and Plants
Most of the best decks in the meta right now aren’t playing much early game, instead opting to hold their pieces in hand, and Grave=Zorga can take advantage of that. There are a bunch of different early aggro combos that revolve around Roaming Prison Dragon, orders, and/or Prodpollen Rafilous.
The Best Early Aggro
You can do this as early as your first turn — it’s really good going second, because you’re able to get the extra card draws and attack two or three times with a crit right away:
- Open with at least one Roaming Prison Dragon (preferably two), Rogue Headhunter, and In Search of an Ideal Far Away.
- Get Roaming Prison Dragon into the drop by discarding it for ride deck cost. If you have two of them, you can discard both off of Rancor Chain’s skill instead.
- Call Rogue Headhunter to a back row RG on either the left or right column.
- Play In Search of an Ideal Far Away and choose Rogue Headhunter. This buffs Headhunter to 13k and then gives it an additional +5k for every attack that it sees, turning it into a 28k booster if it sees three attacks.
- Revive Roaming Prison Dragon(s) from drop since you played an order, and give a crit to the one Headhunter will be boosting.
- If you had two Roaming Prison Dragons, then you have three swings turn one: 15k, 8k vanguard, and a 33k RG with crit.
Next turn, you could follow-up by calling over a dragon or two with Shadowcloak or Prodpollen and play In Search of an Ideal Far Away again. In the late game, Ideal lets you push 63k.
Plant Token Aggro & Combos
Prodpollen Rafilous is useful as a backup aggro option if you don’t see any dragons early or don’t have the right order to play early, since it calls two 5k boosters to the board to help bring out 10k/15k guards. It also allows you to use Tearful Malice turn 2 and rush with dragons; just retire Prodpollen and a token for cost.
But, there’s one combo I like to use Prodpollen for that creates a board in a pinch without having to call it from hand. This is an alchemagic combo you can do with only one face-up damage. For this, we’re going to assume we have at least one dragon on board and something else we’re okay with retiring for Tearful Malice’s cost:
- Get Prodpollen into the drop zone, either by discarding it for the ride deck or for Grave=Zorga’s skill.
- Alchemagic Tearful Malice with Clouded Miasma. The timing of order effects don’t matter here, so bind whichever order makes sense depending on what else you have access to.
- Pay cost; retire two rearguards (including a dragon) and CB1.
- Order effects go off. You’re going to revive Prodpollen off Clouded Miasma, and Prodpollen’s skill will go on standby until the orders fully resolve, meaning that you’ll be able to CB1 after Tearful Malice’s part counter-charges regardless of whether its the first or second part of the alchemagic.
- After orders resolve, Roaming Prison Dragon goes on standby in the drop zone. Resolve Prodpollen first, CB1 for two plant tokens which will boost the RG (unless you already have a Rogue Headhunter there to boost a RG, then put a token behind VG).
- Roaming Prison Dragon(s) resolve and call to RG, one of them over the Prodpollen.
The tokens were pretty clutch for me the entire tournament. You can quickly make a board against control decks, conserve cards in hand, and turn 25k/35k columns into 30k/40k (normal/persona ride). Tokens also don’t go to prison, so they’re pretty good in the Purelight matchup. Although I got clapped by the overtrigger on stream in the only prison matchup I faced, so they didn’t come into play there!
Drive+1 and Wild Intelligence
I find that a lot of Grave=Zorga players will use Gather Unto Me (drive+1) and Wild Intelligence to generate some early aggression; however, I would disagree with using those orders in that way. The problem with drive+1 is having to discard an order for cost — doing this turn 2 makes it harder to use later in the game without discarding a trigger. The only time I’ll use drive+1 on turn 2 is if my hand is loaded with orders. Drive+1 is far more impactful on the G3 turn going first, where you can get three drive checks against a grade 2 and still have one or two Roaming Prison Dragons between 30k-38k.
Wild Intelligence has one specific use for me: it’s an “oh, shit” button if I’m not seeing any Roaming Prison Dragons. The problem is that it could mill triggers or the OT, and with three attacks we can’t afford to see triggers hit the drop zone.
Thankfully, I didn’t have to use Wild Intelligence at all until the first round of top 8 versus Kairi when I was bricking horribly… and I milled three crits. On turn 3 going first. And I used alchemagic with drive+1. And my opponent no-guarded.
Obviously I couldn’t have known I was going to crit sack them into oblivion, but I’m still burning my copy of Wild Intelligence because of this.
The bridge turn
Given how aggressive turns 3/4 and onward are for the best meta decks, my general playstyle with Grave=Zorga was to conserve cards in hand — ideally, I was only playing an order from hand and building my board up with Roaming Prison Dragon(s) from turn one. If I wanted a booster, I would discard it off Zorga’s skill and then revive it with Clouded Miasma, or I would generate tokens and replace them with boosters from drop on the following turn.
When my early aggro wasn’t enough — either because they checked deffensives, guarded, and then had a PG or two for turn 3/4 crit dragons — there was one order that saved me on a couple of occasions: Death-Inviting Black Magic (CB4 to draw 2 cards, but -1 CB for each card in bind).
You always want to be using Clouded Miasma as one part of alchemagic in order to hit big enough numbers with only three attacks, so this play really only works on a persona ride turn, but it bridges Grave=Zorga into the long game. Since alchemagic binds an order before cost is paid, this is a CB2 starting on turn 4 (assuming you didn’t brick on turn 3 and missed an alchemagic).
If I have one or fewer orders in hand and two Roaming Prison Dragons on the board, I’ll alchemagic Tearful Malice with Death-Inviting Black Magic to draw 3, and still hit anywhere between 35k – 43k on Roaming Prison Dragons. Here, having at least a token boosting lets a dragon beat over a single effect front guard (20k shield). Including persona ride and drive checks, that’s six cards added to hand that turn — while only losing one card from hand that didn’t have shield value anyway.
If I have a dragon or two in drop and don’t have to commit cards from hand to get any dragons from field to drop and two orders in hand, then I’ll alchemagic Drive+1 with Death-Inviting Black Magic to wind up with the same amount of cards added to hand, but with the added pressure of the additional drive check.
Depending on what orders you have in drop, you can make this the first part of the combo and use it again since it continues to get cheaper and cheapter as the game progresses.
I played against Mahar Nirana round 7, and my early aggro was negated by a defensive OT, and they healed on the 6th damage later. The only thing that let me keep up with the late-game aggression of the grade 4 was usnig this combo on consecutive persona ride turns. I was able to grind the game out and win with a 63k Roaming Prison Dragon (Clouded Miasma + In Search of an Ideal Far Away). A couple rounds earlier, I was able to survive a Gravidia 5-meteor play because I saw it coming and farmed a bunch of cards to hand; they tapped themselves out and I was able to win.
round report & closing thoughts
The matchup I was most nervous for was Gravidia, but ended up winning both times (one was due to a 6th damage heal and 6th damage OT… sorry Franz, I got murdered by the OT on stream later to make up for it!) but the other W against Gravidia felt good because I had milled out a Death-Inviting Black Magic on turn 2 with Shadowcloak, figuring it was my only chance to win, and I was right.
The other matchup I was nervous for was Baromagnes because of how it can pop off and how silly Brainwash Swirler is. I had great early aggro and pushed them to 4 before they rode into Baromagnes, and stayed on zero damage so I could tank all of those hits on the 15 soul turn.
Tearful Malice is the deck’s soul engine and just a really great way to recycle dragons and resources +draw a card, but it’s basically useless against Gravidia and Baromagnes, so you have to rely heavily on Clouded Miasma + Drive+1 or Clouded Miasma + Ideal. Overall, Drive+1 was really good all tournament because I didn’t blow my load with it on turn 2.
The crit guard heals were a meta call for Gravidia, Baromagnes, and Prison, but they didn’t really come up at all.
- W – some Lyrical deck.
- W – Orfist Regis. Highrolled the perfect aggro.
- W – Baromagnes. Pushed hard and stayed at low damage for the 15 soul turn.
- W – Gravidia. Saved by heal/OT.
- W – Gravidia. Had early aggro, bridge turn let me survive 5-meteor play.
- L – Thegrea. Had aggro I wanted, but opened too many orders so I couldn’t stay on low damage.
- W – Mahar Nirvana. Grinded the game out and won despite opponent hitting early defensive OT and 6th damage heal. This was my favorite match of the tournament. I can’t remember the name of my opponent, but it was really fun!
- L – Prison. Had early aggro and combos with Prodpollen and dragons, but my opponent hit three defensives and then murdered me with a turn 3 OT on stream.
- L – Kairi. We both bricked — I didn’t see a Roaming Prison Dragon until late, and they didn’t find a G4 Kairi until late, either. Their unbrick was faster and stronger than mine. Congrats to Art for taking first!
Future Changes to the Deck
Recency bias aside, I’m replacing Wild Intelligence with Sweetness is a Bad Dream once set 6 drops. You don’t get the call — which is fine because I was never playing it to build a board — and it still helps you find a Roaming Prison Dragon while also letting Grave=Zorga do a little Oracle Think Tank shenanigans by checking to see if there will be a crit on top of the deck, and if there isn’t you can mill the checked card. I preer it over the RR order, which soul-blasts to check top three and mill one, because it can actually have some use later in the game in diferent situations (Sweetness draws one, then checks top and either keep or mill for CB1). I’m also trying to fit in another copy of In Search of an Ideal Far Away.
But most importantly…
A fourth attack! Do it Bushiroad, DO IT! Let Zorga abuse Inlet Pulse Dragon too!
Special thanks to Donovantx8 (top 8 with Bastion in NA), KumaTank (Cardfight Meta’s editor), and Bob for letting me run Zorga into them an excessive amount of times every week at locals.
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