How to Be Competitive in MetaZoo

Hello again my friends, it is I, Moldy, back from my latest crusade to slay my brother in MetaZoo and I have to say, with the release of Nightfall, MetaZoo has seriously stepped up it’s game. I mean that somewhat literally; the gameplay has been elevated. I’m really impressed. The fact that just a couple weeks ago, I was feverishly building decks trying to compete with the ferocity of those pesky Gumberoos, and now I really couldn’t care less about those little golf course gophers is a sign that things have changed for the better on being competitive in MetaZoo.


But let’s get down to business. My idea in writing this article was to help inform players of what I like to refer to as the metatheory of MetaZoo. The ins and outs of how to competitively play this new TCG feels a bit like our old friend Magic at first, but the more you play, the more you realize that MetaZoo has really stepped up to the plate and is full of nuances and effects that are entirely it’s own. Today, I’d like to break down turn phases and give you a basic overview of what you need to be competitive and pilot your spellbook efficiently. As we all know, in competitive TCG gaming, efficiency is everything.

  1. The start of turn (occurs before bookmarking a page)
  2. Bookmark and awakening your pages
  3. Action phase (contracting and combat)
  4. End of Tturn

Listed above are the four phases of the turn in MetaZoo. They may seem simple, but as with all things in MetaZoo you have to pay close attention, every single one of these phases matters greatly in competitive gameplay. Without further ado, let’s get tricky, shall we?



You’ll notice a number of effects in MetaZoo that use the wording “at the start of turn”, and these really mean what they say. Technically, anything that happens at the start of the turn occurs before you’ve bookmarked and awoken your fatigued pages and sometimes that really matters.


Let’s say you have a Paralyze in your hand which states “this page can be contracted at anytime” and you want to cast it before your opponent awakens their aura, eliminating their chance to counter with a Dampen. That’s absolutely legal and might just be the turnaround you need. Paralyzing a beastie removes all effects and attacks and leaves it completely vulnerable. With no attacks, a beastie cannot counter attack in combat. It’s completely open.

While we’re on the topic, you can also cast Paralyze after an opponent declares an attack, disabling their beastie and then declare a defender. Combat will proceed, their beastie will have no attacks (because paralyze) and your beastie will be free to “defend” and strike the attacker. Exciting stuff, I can almost hear your gears turning, but with it comes a warning; once you have declared a defender, you have handed over priority and won’t be permitted to cast an anytime spell. This is due to the fact that combat is considered a “game mechanic” and once an attacker and defender is declared, the game mechanics are activated, combat proceeds and there’s no halting it for “anytime” spells. All actions must be taken before you declare your defender. Don’t you forget it. 

Am I blowing your mind yet? No? Okay, I’ll continue. If a number of effects stack up at the start or end of your turn, you get to choose in what order they resolve. Let’s say you have a beastie who is poisoned, and down to it’s last 10 LP. Poison will cause this beastie to lose 10 LP at the end of this turn, however, this beastie also happens to have the Regen trait that allows it to recover 10 LP at the end of each turn. According to the rules of MetaZoo, you, the controller of the beastie chooses the order, so you could decide to have the Regen trait resolve before the poison counter, allowing your beastie to live. It’s little nuances like this that make all the difference in establishing Arena control. And in MetaZoo, at least for now, it’s all about Arena control.

Unlike Magic, a game in which it’s very possible to build a winning library with little or no creatures at all, MetaZoo relies heavily upon the actions and effects of its beasties to earn the win and this means that Combat is everything. Tricksy moves like Paralyzing on the start of your opponents turn or after they’ve declared an attack is what competitive MetaZoo is all about, so pay attention.


It’s important to know that combat happens one attack at a time, one beastie at a time, and all damage is permanent. Beasties do not recover LP unless they have a trait or an effect that allows it. This means that a trait such as first strike, which would allow your defending beastie to employ their attack and deal damage before the attacker, is incredibly powerful. I’ll just say it Quetzalcoatlus is a BEAST. Also, a trait like Blood Sucker which allows a beastie to recover it’s life by dealing damage is incredibly advantageous, especially to defenders. Think about it – I attack you with my beastie, it deals damage to your defender, if your defender survives the hit, they counterattack and because they’re a Blood Sucker, they recover LP and erase the damage your beastie just inflicted.

I know it may appear lighthearted at first glance, but MetaZoo is a game with depth, nuance and room to expand. Understanding the phases of the turn and the difference between action phases and turn mechanics is key. Once you pass priority onto a mechanic like Bookmarking or Combat, there’s no takesy-backsies and no more actions can be declared. I highly recommend looking at your Nightfall rule book closely. It be a small volume but it’s packed with good info. If you don’t have one, try downloading the v2.0 rule book available at metazoogames.com. I hope this helps you gain more of a grasp on the games nuances and tricks, nothing feels better than smiting your opponents with a move they didn’t see coming, am I right?

Until next time, keep those brews bubbling

Moldy 🧪✨

P.S. If you’d like to chat about MetaZoo spellbooks or card mechanics, come find me on Instagram @metabroz. I answer questions daily!

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