How to Interpret Traits, Status Effects and Powers in MetaZoo

Happy New Year my fellow casters! 2021 was an exciting first year for MetaZoo (hype train went choo-choo!) but with in-person tournaments starting up and Head Caster Mike Waddell teasing $50k to $100k cash prizes, I think 2022 is going to be even better, especially for us, the players. And so, today I’ll be continuing down the rabbit hole of competitive gameplay strategy – more specifically, explaining how to interpret some of the most commonly misread traits and status effects you’ll encounter in the Arena.


Header - Flight and Spirit

SnallygasterThe Spookster

Let’s start with the two most frequently misinterpreted traits in the game: Flight and Spirit. The MetaZoo Rulebook states, “Beasties with [Flight] can only be targeted for a declared attack by other beasties with flight”, and beasties with the Spirit trait “can’t be targeted by declared attacks”, period. Many players who I’ve chatted with have mistakenly used Flight as if they were playing Magic and they have a creature with flying and… sorry friend, that’s not how it works. Please, do not be the guy who attacks the opposing caster with all their flying beasties thinking that they can’t be blocked except by other beasties with flight, only to find out that you’re wrong and you watch as those flying beasties get torn wing-from-limb by an Elder Matlox.

In MetaZoo, beasties with Flight can be blocked by any beastiethey just can’t be targeted by attacks except by other beasties with Flight. This is the same concept that will play out with the Spirit trait, which is why I’m grouping these two together. Spirit beasties cannot be targeted by a declared attack, but they too can be blocked by any beastie. It’s an easy mistake to make – many of us have the rules of Magic etched into our very bones – and the words “flight” and “flying” are so similar that it comes down to reading carefully and keeping the rulebook close until our bones are etched anew… or something.


Header - Burn


I could rant for hours about the various traits and what they do and don’t do, but I’m really trying to focus on effects in the game that are easy to misunderstand, so let’s talk about some status effects, starting with Burn. When Burn is inflicted, a six-sided dice is rolled to see how many burn counters will be placed upon the target (unless it states otherwise). While a Caster is burned, they lose 20LP each time they declare an attack with a beastie; while a beastie is burned, it loses 20LP each time an attack is declared with that beastie.

I don’t think I need to tell you, but this damage adds up quicker than you’d think. However, the idea of a “burn” deck in MetaZoo is much different (and slower) than a “burn” deck in Magic. While they both sling around low-cost direct damage like pros, it’s the MetaZoo spellbook which will continue to smolder and discourage your opponent from declaring attacks with that 20LP loss. Now, the fine print: Casters and beasties will incur the 20LP loss only when they declare attacks. Blocking/declaring defenders is not declaring attacks. You and your opponents will not lose LP when you use powers or defend and that is very important to know before you pilot (or play against) a burn spellbook.


Header - Frozen and Sleep


Let’s cool down a little bit and talk about Frozen. When a beastie is Frozen, it will be fatigued and will not awaken for X turns, where X is the number of Frozen counters inflicted upon it. Frozen counters are removed at the start of each turn. If a Frozen beastie is dealt any damage, all counters are removed and it awakens immediately. Think of it like the ice surrounding that beastie breaks and it can move freely again.

It’s important to know that status effects are inflicted before damage is dealt, which is why the rulebook says, “if damage is dealt to a Frozen beastie outside of the combat in which it was inflicted with frozen, remove the Frozen indicator.” It says all that so you can’t pull a fast one and say “well, technically your beastie deals damage after it froze my beastie so my beastie isn’t frozen anymore.” Yes, the wording in MetaZoo could use some work, but the structure is sound. Also, important to note, Frozen beasties will counterattack the turn they’re frozen. So you’ll get that damage through before they solidify your beastie into a block of ice. I’m trying to make it visual, people. I hope it’s helping.

Similar to Frozen is Sleep. When a beastie is inflicted with Sleep, flip a coin, and if it’s heads, place the Sleep indicator on that beastie. Sleeping beasties will not awaken until they are either targeted with a declared attack or dealt damage. Spells like Morpheus and Catnap allow you to skip the coin flip and place the sleep indicator directly on the beastie, no fussing about. If a sleeping beastie is targeted by a declared attack, it will awaken and defend itself. Alternatively, if a sleeping beastie is dealt damage without having an attack declared upon it (think of spells like Fireball, Lightning Bolt, etc.) that damage will be double damage and the beastie will awaken afterwards, if it’s still alive. Honestly, I usually just let that beastie stay asleep the rest of the game. Don’t wake the sleeping Quetz – let that lil’ baby sleep until you win the game.


Header - Paralyze


There’s one more effect I’d like to discuss here and it’s the one that’s winning all those games for the Lightning Aura type – Paralyze. The rulebook states that a paralyzed beastie, “is considered to have no Effect text, all of their Attacks’ damages become 0 and lose all effects, and they cannot attack or defend.”

This one, unlike Frozen, will have an immediate effect that may change the outcome of the combat in which it’s inflicted. Like I stated earlier, status effects are inflicted before damage is dealt, so if your Quetz is attacking my Gumberoo, Paralyze would take hold before my little Gumby boy can defend himself (as long as you win the coin flip) and Gumberoo would be unable to counterattack. Gumberoo would also lose Tribal Boost along with anything else in the little box below the picture.

Yes, paralyze essentially erases the box with all the effects and attacks. The attacks are technically still there, but the damage on them is zero (even after modifiers like Powerup Red) and the effects are literally just gone. Traits, however, remain throughout paralysis. This is crucial to understand. Flight, Spirit, Stone Skin, Fear – these are all traits and they will not be removed when the beastie is paralyzed. If it weren’t for the coin flip, Paralyze would be completely overpowered in my opinion. I mean, it’s close enough as is. Luckily it only lasts until the end of the next turn.

That’s all folks! There are several more status effects and traits to go over but these are certainly the ones I get questioned about almost daily. Know your traits, know your effects and keep your rulebooks close. They are free to download on the metazoogames.com website, and if you still have questions come find me on Instagram @Metabroz – I’m happy to help! Until next time, thanks for reading!

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