Well, another World Championship is behind us, and it's safe to say that Frogs have gone full circle. They went from ultimate underdog to world champ in half a format. And who is to thank for this great froggy success? Why none other than Ronintoadin, the Rocky Balboa of frogs.
Also, congrats to Galileo de Obaldia for winning the World Championship. Galileo, que bueno que el campeon del mundo es latino, te felicito!
Frogs had a humble start many years back when it was just Des Frog and his crew. Back then, there wasn't much to do to make a frog deck. However, Treeborn Frog was the star there, being used with Monarchs almost instantly.
Frogs would go on to wait for support until they got a boost from LOTD with cards like Substitoad, Wetlands, Unifrog, and Froggy Forcefield. By then, frogs were starting to make headway as a "Wetlands Deck" by pairing up with other monsters that were compatible with the field, but it was still not enough to make a dent, so to speak.
Then came Crimson Crisis, the booster that gave us Flip Flop Frog and Dupe Frog (along with Submarine Frog as a TCG exclusive, but I digress) and by then frogs had something going for them. They were finally a consistent Wetlands Deck that could create a lock and access Des Croaking via Dupe Frog if necessary. By then, frogs showed up in tournaments from time to time, but not making much of an impact.
During this time, everyone used Substitoad to fuel the deck and swarm, since the most common thing to do was tribute the Scapegoat Tokens and Substitoad itself to bring out enough frogs to potentially go for game. That, or use Substitoad to mill the deck to feed cards like Pot of Avarice or simply as an engine. Either way, Substitoad was giving Wetlands and Frog decks a reason to be. Frog decks became really good decks to take to small tournaments or to annoy friends.
However, that was soon to change. Frogs got some more support in the form of Swap Frog, allowing them to not only pull a froggy switcheroo, but also mill without having to depend on Substitoad. However, that didn't seem to give them the edge they needed...
And so came their champion...Froggy Balboa! Ronintoadin
Ronintoadin quickly changed the way people looked at and played Frogs all together. One card alone gave the deck so many possibilities. By combing Ronin with the Substitoad engine, it allowed for constant revival, which led to the discovery of it's synergy with Mass Driver. Frog FTK was born. This became the deadliest of all frog decks. Basically you mill your entire deck (mostly made up of frogs) and then revive Ronin and tribute it with Mass Driver as many times as you have to in order to pick up the win. It's an incredibly fast deck that can end a game faster than a Super Mario Bros speed run.
However, Ronin was also welcome in other decks like Frognarchs/Froggy Monarchs. By having enough frogs to supply a consistent tribute fodder, Ronin could easily become the tribute for any Monarch, LADD, Vanity's Fiend (told ya this card was good), Dark Dusk Spirit (old high school favorite), and many other tribute monsters. Ronin is also seen in other decks as tribute fodder as well, such as Fish (in some variants).
Due to Ronintoadin's potential with decks like Frog FTK and Frog Monarchs, frogs quickly hopped their way into the meta at last. They weren't the dominant species, but they were still making an impact and became a significant threat.
Today, uncertainty lies in the way of these strong amphibians, as nobody knows what the banlist may bring. Will they successfully be able to hop across the street back into their pond? Or will one of these frogs meet the same fate as Frogger during your first time playing?
Only time will tell...