Greetings fellow casters! Well it’s 2022 and more and more of you are arriving with beasties, spellbooks and questions… it’s wonderful, honestly. Today, we’ll be taking a look at the state of the game in competitive MetaZoo; who’s on top and why… and of course, tips for killing them – the uh, beasties, not your friends. I won’t be doing deck lists here because that would turn this into a much longer article but I will be breaking down each of the strategies, key cards and combos that you’re going to see with each of the Top 3 best Spellbooks that are putting the “meta” in “MetaZoo.”
There are two beasties that comprise the heart of the Lightning Aura. They’re fast, deadly and they’re named Quetzalcoatlus (or “Quetz”, for short) and Dingbelle (or as some people refer to it, “oh my god, what is happening?”). Both of these pages can win you the game under the right circumstances and both of them enjoy combo-ing with Lightning in a Bottle, a potion that allows you to awaken a beastie you control on your turn for zero aura cost (all potions have an aura cost of zero, by the way).
Quetz has the Fleet trait, meaning it enters the Arena awakened and ready to attack, and also inflicts Paralyze (a debilitating status effect) along with a hefty 80 damage attack if the Lightning Storm terra is active. Quetz is one of the best beasties in the game and you’re permitted four per spellbook, so it tends to reappear several times over the course of a game.
Dingbelle, on the other hand, allows you to have eight per spellbook and contracts with an aura cost of X Lightning Aura. For each Lightning Aura you pay for the X cost, your Dingbelle will be 10X LP and its attacks deal 10X damage (so two Lightning Aura paid will get you a 20 LP and 20-damage Dingbelle), but it doesn’t end there; Dingbelle creates X Lightning Token Beasties (with 20 LP and a 10 dmg attack) every time it uses Wrench Attack. This is what we call “OP.” Not even gonna sugar coat it – Dingbelle is OP. If you have a Dingbelle where X=3 and you attack for 30 (creating three token beasties), you can Lightning in a Bottle your Dingbelle and attack again for 30 and create three more beastie tokens. Last game I played ended in 24 Dingbelle tokens on my side of the Arena. It’s nuts.
So how do you deal with this monster? You have to sweep the leg; destroy the aurafacts. Lightning relies upon Aura-generating artifacts more than any other Aura type, so if you match up against a Lightning deck, be ready with Absorb Aura and stop their Dingbelle’s attacks with Smokey Spirits. Both of these are cards I’ve already suggested should be in every sidedeck and they will majorly hinder the progress of any Dingbelle/Quetz based spellbook, giving you the chance you need to turn the tables.
Water Aura is very resilient, good at making a comeback and feeds it’s Caster with extra Bookmarks and Beasties who come with a variety of powerful traits and abilities along the way. Chessie, for instance, allows you to bookmark a card when it enters the Arena and gets +10 damage on its attacks for every Water Page in the Arena. That includes Aura pages as well, so a Chessie swinging for 100 damage is not uncommon. Also, like Quetz, Chessie is allowed four copies per spellbook, meaning you often have more than one in the Arena at a time.
The Nightfall release brought with it another key beastie in the Wallowa Lake Crustacean (the most durable water beastie in the game) along with some incredibly powerful Spells such as Dampen (a counterspell), Flood the Earth (the only wipe that can kill the Grim Reaper) and River of Time (which allows you to take a second turn in a row, potentially for only one Aura cost).
A good Water Spellbook is hard to beat, so what do you need to know? With the power level of its spells and beasties, Water is like Bowser in Mario Kart; slow at first but it will most likely outpace you eventually. You need to take the reigns early, get a lead before they can hit all their power cards, and always always count your opponents Aura. You do not want them to Dampen your Righteous Reckoning or use Reflection on your Death Beam, so be aware of what they have in hand and in the Arena so you don’t make a mistake.
Water doesn’t have a lot of removal so it also helps to have Beasties that can’t be targeted with attacks. Spirit beasties, Invisible beasties, unblockable beasties all do well against Water. Just stay sharp – it only takes one mistake to lose a good game, but move quick and eliminate early threats and you have the best chance of success.
Gumberoos, Hoop Snakes, Roperites and Bigfoot are the key players and they all come with handy combat-based abilities and effects that do (or prevent) damage. Fearsome Critters are your classic tribal deck meaning that (almost) all the beasties give each other +10 LP and +10 damage on their attacks, which tallies up very quickly. It’s not uncommon to sweep the game in a few turns because you had a handful of beasties and a couple Aura and things just went well.
The critters take care of business, but you’ll notice I haven’t mentioned a single Spell. I could say Growth, and I will, because it’s a staple of the Forest aura type, but you’re only permitted one per Spellbook, so I wouldn’t consider it essential for the win. That, in a way, is the weakness. Fearsome critters need beasties in the arena. More than one beastie, they require three to five to start to really establish a threat and until they have those numbers, these beasties are easy to kill. Very easy.
As horrifying as a Gumberoo may seem in combat, hit it with a burn effect or direct damage flame spell and and explodes rather beautifully (dealing it’s controller 50 damage). Paralyze a Fearsome Critter and it will lost its Tribal Boost, reducing their LP and damage back to normal and putting them within reach. Much like Water, the Fearsome Critters have to get ahead before they really appear to be Fearsome… so blow them up promptly, while they’re still manageable.
That brings us to a close on this Top 3. I hope these tips and tricks help you in your Spellbook designs and sidedeck swaps. It’s all about knowing your opponent… or, more accurately, knowing your opponent’s Spellbook. Hit me up with any questions and come find me on Instagram @metabroz – I’m always happy to help!