Why Should You Playtest Early?

Hey everyone!

Today we have a special guest article presented by Matthew Coombs!

Matt was gracious enough to drop his wisdom on why he dedicates time to early playtesting in a meta and what he gets out of the experience.

With that, I’ll let Matt take over. I hope you all enjoy the bonus content!

“Why Do You Test So Early!?”

This question was raised by my boo, Ryan Zachary Lambdin, and instead of commenting on the thread in typical “Git Gud God” fashion, I have decided to turn it into content! Yay, content!

It’s preview season and speculation is running rampant! People are overreacting to every Orange card shown and losing their shit over each MP whenever they are previewed. Each MP’s potential impact on the existing meta game has us all in an uproar, due largely to the fact that the current meta has gone a bit stale.

This brings me to my first reason for testing sets so early:

Reason #1: It Makes the Game More Fun

At least for me, from a deck-building and game play perspective.

As a player and deck designer, I consistently get bored when a format feels solved. What I mean when I say “solved” is that it usually refers to knowing which MPs are top tier, which styles they pair best with, and what are the major archetypes that shape a given format. Once I feel that I have figured these things out, boredom sets in and I am in need of some inspiration in order to begin brewing new decks and playing games again.

Preview season allows me to do this by easily proxying up the cards shown and then jumping into “the lab” to start working on the synergies that lie within the current card pool.

Reason #2: Learning the New MPs Power Levels

The next reason why I begin my testing of a set so early, is that I can get a feel of the power level of the newly released MPs before the new meta develops.

A lot of times we can jump to quick conclusions without any data, and end up finding in practice that the hyped up MP is either too niche or too similar to another MP. If we look at previous testing of older sets, this data can be seen when it came to Master Roshi.

Roshi, upon reveal, was looked down on as the third or even fourth best MP in that set. People thought his abilities were too niche and wouldn’t do well in live game play. As soon as Roshi was previewed, I had multiple Roshi decks sleeved up and was grinding games against the other previewed MPs, as well as top decks from the previous format. The results were pretty astounding! After gaining all of that insight it was clear that Cell and Roshi were tied for first. Yamcha was a distant second or third.

Which leads me to the final reason I test so early:

Reason #3: Shaping the Format

The final reason I test this early is because I want to find the speed of the format and what strategies/archetypes will help shape the format.

If we look at Set 9, I currently feel that the format is going to speed up, mostly due to Chilled. Chilled is by far the most format-warping personality from Legends, and I truly hope that players take the time to get a feel for him and the way his decks want to play. Kami is a Swiss Army Knife in multiple styles. He provides a win condition through his stack and Named Cards, and can support any style looking to get into DBV. He so far is the control-based MP from this set.

Bardock falls more into the mid-range category, due to the fact that his decks will require more combat-centric cards in order to get to his upper levels, but will be able to use his Level 3 to slow a game down in order to win. Once on Level 3, he can win with whichever attack type you’d like to land in the late game in order to close the door on most decks, yet won’t have to rely on a heavy onslaught of attacks thanks to his ability to destroy 3 Styled cards from your opponent’s deck each combat.

Final Thoughts on Playtesting

These opinions will certainly shift throughout most of the early testing, and the release of the full set may change some of these opinions drastically, as most full spoilers do. But the information I have gained so far has been invaluable in finding the most competitive and consistent versions of the decks looking to enter the new meta.

Matt’s MP Predictions

Set 9 MP Stock Report: Bardock, Chilled, Kami
Legacy MP Stock Report: Broly, Future Gohan, “Brohan”, Pikkon, Goku, Trunks, A20

Who’s Ready to Test?

And that’s it from our resident “Git Gud God”.

Thanks once again to Matt for sharing his thoughts on why we should playtest. I know we are all very excited for Legends full set release, coming up in just three (agonizingly long) days!

Please don’t forget to vote in this week’s TC101 poll on which deck we will kick off the new Set 9 meta exploring!

Until next time, FanZ Warriors!

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Theory-crafting 101: Going Out with a Bang

 

Hey everyone!

Today’s TC101 is our final look at the Set 8 Celestial Tournament meta!

So what better way to send it off than with an aggressive Red Deck! Let’s take a look.

The List

MP Levels and Mastery:
1 – Goku, Super Saiyan God
2 – Goku, Kaio-ken Enhanced
3 – Goku, Energy Gatherer
4 – Goku, Selfless
M – Red Ruthless Mastery

Blocks (13):
3x Red Energy Shield
2x Red Blocking Hand
2x Red Duck
2x Red Capture
3x Red Stop
1x Time Is A Warrior’s Tool

Allies (1):
1x ChiChi – Armed and Dangerous

Setups (5):
3x Red Relaxation
2x Visiting The Past

Drills (6):
1x Red Examination Drill
1x Red Cover Drill
1x Red Dazing Drill
1x Red Maneuvering Drill
1x Red Forward Stance Drill
1x Red Intimidation Drill

Events (2):
2x Goku’s Search

Physical Attacks (33):
3x Red Double Strike
3x Red Face Break
3x Red Lifting Kick
3x Red Power Lift
3x Red Wallop
3x Red Furious Lunge
3x Red Heel Kick
3x Red Leap
3x Red Tandem Attack
2x Red Shattering Leap
2x Red Back Bash
2x Red Stomach Dive

What Are We Trying to Accomplish?

So this deck is trying to just pound your opponent into submission as fast as possible.

With the added card draw of SSG, and the ability to possibly destroy an attack worth triggering your Mastery for, this deck can have a surprising amount of actions per combat.

A nice thing with this list is the addition of Goku’s Search. One of SSG Goku’s biggest weaknesses has always been how fast he tanks brackets as he takes stage damage. With the new ability to gain 5 stages during combat, we are able to gain upwards of +4 stages of damage for each of our attacks if we find ourselves too low for our liking. On top of that, we also get the ability to gain a bit of board presence and rejuvenate 2 cards we’ll be looking for later.

Speaking of the rejuvenation of Goku’s Search, Red Leap becomes a much more interesting tool for this deck. Having the ability to potentially mill it with our MP power and then rejuv it with Goku’s Search, we are able to set up scenarios where each combat our attacks can deal at least +2 stages and +2 life cards, with the potential for more!

All-in-all the main focus of the deck is to just capitalize on being as aggressive as possible. You don’t need to be calling combat every turn with this deck, but each turn you don’t you are giving up a little bit of advantage you get for playing such little board or board control, so try and keep that in mind.

The Power Is Yours!

And with that, we say farewell to Set 8’s meta, and hello to the excitement that is Legends new meta!

Since we are jumping into a new meta, we’ll be resetting the poll and starting with 6 fresh new deck choices. And, as an added bonus, we will be adding an option for each new MP that has been revealed to this week’s poll!

So don’t forget to vote and let’s start of this new meta with something exciting!!

Until next time, FanZ Warriors!

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Set 9 Preview: Black Rares Matter

Hey everyone!

Today we have the joy of checking out yet another preview for Legends, which releases July 1st!

So without wasting any time, let’s get right into Black Trick Shot!

What Is This Card Good At?

Well right off jump we see that the card is certainly an interesting take on anger hate. While lowering your opponent’s anger 1 level right away is nice, this card puts a major damper on leveling (for either player) until the start of your next turn. Lowering your opponent’s anger 1 level every time they raise it is definitely something that I feel a lot of Black decks will be happy to receive.

And it’s not just until the end of combat, but until the start of your next turn! So this card can stop anger from Red Ascension Mastery at the end of combat; can stop anger from Saiyan Empowered Mastery if your opponent rejuvenates a Styled card during their Rejuvenation step; it can even stop anger from playing Dragon Balls like Earth Dragon Ball 3Namek Dragon Ball 3 or Namek Dragon Ball 5 during the planning step of your opponent’s next turn.

That is a lot of power behind a single card.

Black Conflict Mastery based decks will love adding this card to their roster as well. Thanks to the fact its damage can’t be prevented or modified, it guarantees critical damage should your opponent be unable to stop it. This Mastery has been having a rough time finding its place in the current meta. But now that there are a few extra ways to try and guarantee crits up its sleeve, I’m very interested to see where it might wind up on people’s radars.

And since the card makes sure a Crit is going to happen on hit with the Mastery, it virtually adds another “lower your opponent’s anger 1 level” to this card should your opponent be unable to block it, making it feel a bit sweeter.

What Is This Card Bad At?

The first big potential eye sore with this card is the fact that it forces you under the same blanketing effect you place your opponent under.

Black has been rather notorious lately for having issues with leveling. Most of Black’s 2-anger generating cards have seen less play over time. Now this certainly may not be the case moving forward, as the meta is looking to promote the use of cards like Black Combo, Black Dash, and Black Schematics again, so time will really tell just how much or how little this is a detriment to the card’s health.

Speaking of 2-anger generating cards, since this card only lowers the player’s anger 1 level, instead of the amount they gained, you are able to burst through this effect if the stars align correctly, or if you just so happen to have a card like Red Antidote on the right board state.

Likewise, if gaining 2 anger from a single effect pushes you up a level before the trigger to lower your anger, this floating effect does virtually nothing. And while it can stop you from gaining random anger here and there, if it can’t stop you from leveling, this card is going to be in serious trouble.

The argument for not having Endurance could certainly be made here, but I feel as though the card is strong enough on its own to not have to piggy-back off needing Endurance to make it playable.

Another awkward, though not necessarily bad thing, about this card is that it really doesn’t bring anything to the table to Black Perceptive Mastery based decks looking to increase their anger hate. While it gets the same immediate effect just like Conflict decks, it will be fighting for space in an already tight deck list looking for destroy effects.

The last minor downside to this card is that it is Banish After Use. Now Black is certainly not the style known to have a lot of anger hate, and this card could certainly be a powerhouse if it were reusable. But it is a bit of a let down seeing BAU on this card since Black has been steadily gaining recursion effects throughout the course of the game. And since they all add the cards back to your deck in one fashion or another, instead of adding it directly to your hand, I feel like this was a missed opportunity to give those kind of recursion effects a sweet target to reload over and over.

I Was Feeling Angry, But I Forget Why Now

And that’s it for this preview!

Thanks for checking out today’s article and don’t forget to vote in the TC101 poll from last Tuesday’s article. This will be the last TC101 sporting set 8 meta decks, so let your voice be heard before its all changed!

Until next time, FanZ Warriors!

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First Impressions: Father Knows Best

Hey everyone!

So once again we have been presented with a new MP and Named Cards, and while I wasn’t planning to do one of these for every MP that’s been revealed, it seems that people are interested in what I have to say, so I’ve decided I’ll be making a series out of these for Legends.

We’ve already reviewed Kami, so look forward to seeing my “First Impressions” on Chilled when he is revealed, as well as a combined article on all single level MPs that are revealed, and then finally a combined article on any single Named Cards that are revealed.

Phew. Alright with all that housekeeping out of the way, let’s take a more in-depth look at what our “low-level warrior-class turned Legendary Saiyan” has to offer us! As with the Kami article, today we will be taking a look at all of Bardock’s Levels individually, as well as his Named Cards, and then my first attempt at a Deck List which hopes to capitalize on the full package.

So let’s dive in!

Level 1

Bardock, True Saiyan is our first level. His power level starts off as many low-level Saiyan Villains do, sitting in B Bracket for nearly all of his level before dropping to A for his last stage. This on top of his standard 2 PUR is certainly nothing to write home about; so the meat of the card must be found inside his text box.

Bardock has a Constant power which allows you to raise your anger 1 level whenever a player searches your opponent’s Life Deck. Bardock also has a rather interesting Power to play along with this constant effect. When used, you destroy the top card of your Life Deck, then your opponent reveals their hand, and finally, you search their deck for any card and destroy it.

So right away we see that effects that search your opponent’s deck and gain advantage from knowledge of their cards are going to be key to piloting Bardock. As well, taking advantage of search effects by gaining anger off of them is a rather interesting bonus. At base level this means that once per combat you’ll be destroying a card from your deck (typically unknown and random since it is your top card) and a card from your opponent’s deck (of your choice thanks to the search) to reveal their hand and gain an anger. Certainly nothing to sneeze at, and when coupled with other search effects, “Name a card” effects, or cards that care about destroying cards from a player’s deck, this could definitely be the start of something nasty.

Level 2

Bardock, Vengeful is our next level in the stack. This time around Bardock sits in C Bracket for 8 stages before finally dipping back into B for his last 2 stages. He also has a pretty standard PUR of 3.

We are given a much more impressive Constant power this time around, part of which will remain with us for the rest of his stack! First, our opponent plays with their hand revealed. Next, whenever an effect destroys cards from our opponent’s Life Deck, we may raise our anger 1 level.

Finally, we have the Power to destroy the top card of our Life Deck to banish the bottom card of our opponent’s discard pile. We then may choose to discard a card, and if we do, our opponent must do the same.

Even disregarding the fact that we get the ability to benefit from destroying cards from our opponent’s deck, the fact that we now have perfect information on our opponent’s hand for the rest of the game is just incredible. Not only that, we also have some control over the flow of combat thanks to the ability to banish the bottom card of our opponent’s discard pile and make them discard a card from their hand. While they will get to choose the card themselves and it does come at the cost of having to destroy the top card of our deck and discarding a card from our own hand, the fact that they have to guess blindly at what is worth discarding while we have complete knowledge of both our and our opponent’s hand before choosing to discard is a Control Player’s dream scenario.

This level, and really this whole MP, will definitely become the stuff of Legend in the Set 9 meta.

Level 3

Bardock’s Level 3 is Bardock, Displaced. Bardock starts off with 2 stages of B, before spending the majority of this level in the C Bracket. His final stage caps off nicely in D Bracket; no small feat for someone of his low-level status. Bardock is also accompanied by a PUR of 4 on this level.

Like Level 2, Bardock has the constant power of forcing your opponent to play with their hand revealed. As well, Bardock as the ability to search your opponent’s Life Deck for up to 3 Styled cards and destroy them. Next you get to reveal the top 4 cards of your Life Deck and place them back in any order. And finally, your opponent must skip their next action this combat.

While not as wordy as his Level 2, Bardock’s Level 3 has an insane amount of power behind it. Removing options for your opponent to draw while setting up the top 4 cards of your deck exactly how you want them is absolutely crazy. And on top of all that, you also get to capitalize on the information that you just received about the top of your deck by making your opponent skip their next action. This can set up lots of positive situations, from knowing what you are going to draw with a draw effect, to knowing what you are going to destroy from your own destroy effect, to setting up Endurance, or even prepping for a “Name the top card” type of effect.

And again, you are also getting 3 free “damage” of your choice in at your opponent through all of this. Very, very powerful.

Level 4

Bardock’s final level is Bardock, Legend. Bardock’s power levels really kick it into overdrive on this level; having 3 stages of C, 3 stages of D, and 4 stages of E Bracket. Not to mention he also goes to a PUR of 5.

Again, Bardock has the constant power of revealing your opponent’s hand. This time however it is accompanied by the fact that your opponent must discard their hand at the end of each turn. Bardock also has the Power to gain 4 stages, destroy the top 3 cards of either player’s Life Deck, and place the first Styled Setup destroyed this way directly into play under your control.

Ever felt like you just couldn’t win while your opponent had a Black Smoothness Drill in play? Well not while Level 4 Bardock is around! Your opponent can have all the maximum hand size they want, cause at the end of the day, they are discarding it all! Again Bardock has the ability to sneak 3 “damage” in on your opponent while still gaining a few other impressive abilities.

The interesting thing about this Level’s power is that if you are able to set it up, say from your Black Absorption Drill you just so happen to have in play, you can get back a Styled Setup from your or your opponent’s discard pile, place it on top of its owner’s Life Deck, then activate Bardock’s Level 4 power and place it immediately into play under your control. Certainly an MP to consider when looking at a Setup heavy deck strategy.

Named Card #1

Bardock’s  first Named Card is Bardock’s Premonition. This event comes with one Endurance and has quite the unique effect. You reveal the top 4 cards of your Life Deck to your opponent. They then must make two piles of cards (in any combination). You get to choose one pile to place into your hand, while the other is placed on top of your Life Deck in any order. Finally, you destroy the top 2 cards of your Life Deck. This event is also Banish After Use.

So those of you familiar with Magic: the Gathering will probably recognize this card as a slightly altered Fact or Fiction. For those of you not aware, the main point of this card is that it at the very least replaces itself with the best card out of the top 4 of your deck while allowing you to thin your Deck to more relevant cards by destroying the top 2 after placing the remaining cards back in the order of your chosing.

At best this card will likely be 2 cards in hand and 2 cards destroyed, though typically a savvy opponent will place the best card in its own pile with the other 3 remaining in the second. Unless you are looking for raw actions over quality of card, you will usually take whichever pile has the card you are looking for.

Another thing to note about this card however, is that the cards are placed back on top and then destroyed instead of just being discarded like Magic’s FoF. What this means is that card effects that care about cards being destroyed from your deck will trigger off this card. Likewise, this card becomes incredibly spicy when you take cards like Black Double Team and the like into consideration. If you are able to connect the dots, you see that in the right deck this card is generating a lot more than 1-2 cards in your hand if done correctly!

Named Card #2

Bardock’s other Named Card is Bardock’s Spirit JavelinWhile this card is generating a lot of heated discussion on Retro at the moment, be aware that this card’s wording or an FAQ about what “exactly” it can do may come out before the final release of the set.

At Limit 2 per deck, this energy attack is certainly something to behold. Costing 2 stages and dealing 5 Life cards, this attack has the unique ability to search your opponent’s Life Deck for any non-Named attack, destroy it, and use the immediate effect of that attack, before Banishing itself after use.

Again, this card is currently going through a bit of a rule’s quagmire as to what it can and cannot interact with immediate effect wise, but even if we aren’t trying to do anything too fancy with it, having the ability to destroy a Blue Head Knock to set our opponent’s anger to 0, or destroy a Red Left Bolt to draw the bottom card of our Life Deck is a pretty neat addition to any Bardock build, with only room to grow upon the final ruling of the card!

Initial Deck Concept

MP Levels and Mastery:
1 – Bardock, True Saiyan
2 – Bardock, Vengeful
3 – Bardock, Displaced
4 – Bardock, Legend
M – Orange Adaptive Mastery

Blocks (13):
3x Orange Energy Catch
2x Orange Dismissal
3x Orange Refocus
2x Orange Defense
2x Orange Juke
1x Time is a Warrior’s Tool

Setups (2):
2x Visiting the Past

Drills (15):
3x Orange Devouring Drill
2x Orange Checkup Drill
1x Orange Energy Dan Drill
1x Orange Aura Drill
1x Orange Steady Drill
1x Orange Burning Aura Drill
1x Orange Hiding Drill
1x Orange Torching Drill
1x Orange Guardian Drill
1x Orange Possessiong Drill
1x Orange Captivity Drill
1x Lookout Drill

Events (7):
2x Orange Destruction
3x Bardock’s Premonition
2x Villainous Energy Sphere

Energy Attacks (20):
3x Orange Sweeping Blast
3x Orange Fierce Attack
3x Orange Combined Burst
3x Orange Precise Shot
3x Orange Power Point
3x Assisted Kamehameha
2x Bardock’s Spirit Javelin

Physical Attacks (3):
3x Orange Sword Chop

Deck Concept and Goals

While a lot of people have been talking about the insane value of Bardock in Black or the potential for a Saiyan Control deck, I wanted to take a slightly different approach to his stack.

This deck looks to take advantage of the fact that we can hedge our bets with our own self-mill effects thanks to Adaptive’s trigger at the end of combat to place a Drill from our discard pile into play as long as we dealt critical damage that combat. On top of that, Orange has some great destroying effects as well as a tiny bit of search thanks to Orange Precise Shot and Orange Energy Dan Drill to really get use out of our Level 1 and 2.

A great tool that we have for this deck is Orange Sword Chop. Being able to get Bardock’s Premonition in the early game to get aggressive or Orange Destruction to close out the game is definitely an exciting tool to have at our disposal.

Again, the deck is trying to fill itself with multi-purpose lines of play. While many of our attacks can end up hitting for a decent chunk of damage, thanks to the Mastery and Aura Drill, we also are trying to find ways to sneak “chip damage” in, to push our MP’s destruction effects to the late game early. Thanks to Orange Devouring Drill, we should hopefully be able to hop up our stack quick and start putting the pressure on as early as possible, while seeing everything our opponent has to offer in the process.

Depending on how the meta shapes up or how this deck performs, there are certainly some other cards to consider. Orange Bicycle Kick was initially in this build, but since I’m unsure just how many Drills you can really stack up in play at a time to try and push for a big Orange Torching Drill combo, I’ve decided to leave it out for now. If testing proves that Bardock milling us into our own drills really does pay off however, expect that card to make an appearance here. Likewise, because a lot of people will be excited to play Kami and Bardock right out of the gate, I’ve decided that playing a Lookout Drill feels appropriate. If the meta proves to be a lot of the same old thing (which I really doubt), then we might look to turn that into something spicier.

Aside from all this, the deck is your typical Orange Energy Beat down list.

This is for all the people that we’ve killed in your name!

And that wraps up our first look at Bardock!

Thanks again to those who reached out and said they’d like to hear my opinions on him and the other MPs. Like I said earlier, you can expect to see a few other articles in this series as more of the set is revealed.

Don’t forget to vote on our current TC101 poll from this past Tuesday’s article. Next week’s list will be the last we do of the set 8 meta, so if you’ve had any curious notions about any the 6 lists presented on the poll, now is your time to see one in all its glory.

Until next time, FanZ Warriors!

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Theory-crafting 101: All Eyes on Me

Hey everyone!

Welcome to this week’s addition of TC101!

Unfortunately, the “enter your own deck idea” didn’t do much better than our normal 6 Styled choices for the weekly poll, so we’re going to shelve that for now. It might make its return again at some point, but for now, we’re going to go back to our normal polling methods for the foreseeable future.

But we’re not here to talk about polls, we’re here to talk about the galactic emperor himself, Frieza!

The List

MP Levels and Mastery:
1 – Frieza, Resident of HFIL
2 – Frieza, Golden
3 – Frieza, Galatic Conquerer
4 – Frieza, Revived
M – Blue Resolute Mastery

Blocks (13):
3x Blue Deterrence
3x Blue Guard
2x Blue Narrow Escape
2x Blue Shifting Manuever
2x Frieza’s Arrogance
1x Time Is A Warrior’s Tool

Allies (2):
1x Captain Ginyu – Aggressive
1x King Cold – Caught Off Guard

Setups (2):
2x Visiting The Past

Events (4):
2x Villainous Energy Sphere
2x Overwhelming Power

Energy Attacks (10):
3x Blue Clash
2x Blue Blanketing Blasts
2x Blue Neck Beam
3x Frieza’s Supernova

Physical Attacks (29):
3x Blue Betrayal
3x Blue Head Knock
3x Blue Slash
3x Blue Head Kick
2x Blue Slide
2x Blue Decapitation
2x Blue Easy Knee
2x Blue Round Throw
2x Blue Vehicle Destruction
2x Blue Face Crunch
3x Frieza’s Captive Strike
2x Android Arm Breaker

What Are We Trying to Accomplish?

I’ve seen a lot of Frieza lists of late focusing on trying to be a DBV deck; and while Frieza certainly has the desire for immortality, I think this week we are going to try and focus on the more brutal aspect of his nature.

This list is trying to focus on being a mixed bag of damage to try and keep your opponent on his toes. While the majority of the list consists of Physical Attacks, being a blend of stage and life card damage may make your opponent concerned as to what they can really afford to take and what might be lurking in our hand waiting to strike.

The nice thing about being Frieza these days is the fact that you basically get to play starting on his Golden Level 2 with a slightly more streamlined list of cards, thanks to his new Level 1 removing his irrelevant Named Cards until later in the game, when they become much more detrimental for our opponent. And while we aren’t taking full advantage of having a Crit effect on command on Level 2 like the DB version of the deck, we will be happy to keep our opponent on edge knowing that their Allies, DBs and anger are never safe if we decide to focus on them.

With only 4 cards in the entire deck that need to be played outside of combat (and two of which we could get thanks to Frieza’s Arrogance during combat), we hope to keep the pressure on our opponent as much as possible, and take advantage of any edge we can get over them.

The Power Is Yours!

And that’s all for this week’s list.

With only 11 days left until Legends full release, only time will tell what decks may be waiting for us to explored for future TC101 lists.

But while we wait, we still have one more list to make before the meta gets turned on its head. So make sure to vote below on what you’d like to see for our last Set 8 meta list!

Until next time, FanZ Warriors!

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First Impressions: The Guardian of Earth

Legends is right around the corner! And with so many great previews coming down the pipeline over the last several days, I wanted to take a moment and take a deeper look at the first MP revealed from this upcoming set, Kami. With so much going on in these 6 cards (4 MP levels and his 2 Named Cards), there are no doubt countless different builds you can create with him. I will be taking my initial thoughts and presenting them here, as well as the first deck list I’ve come up with trying to take advantage of his unique abilities.

But before we can go into the list, we have to first look at what is going on with Earth’s faithful Guardian.

Level 1

Kami, Earth’s Guardian is Kami’s first level. Right away we are presented with a ton of information to let us know how we want to be building this deck. First, we are shown a constant effect that destroys the top card of your opponent’s deck each time an Earth Dragon Ball (yours or your opponent’s) enters play. Next, we see that Kami is sporting a free energy attack that deals 3 life cards of damage with the immediate effect to shuffle an Earth Dragon Ball in play back into its owner’s Life Deck to search your deck for a Styled Drill and play it (an important wording for cards like Orange Devouring Drill). Finally, should that attack hit, you are rewarded with the ability to raise your anger 1 level and rejuvenate the top card of your discard pile.

So right away we see that Earth Dragon Balls are essential for Kami to thrive; which really comes as no surprise considering he is the creator of Earth’s spherical wishing orbs. The next thing to notice about Kami is the fact that Drills are important to him, allowing you access to tutor Styled Drills, something that Styles like Blue or Black have been dying to get their hands on.

Level 2

Kami, Prepared is the next level in his stack. This level feels incredibly powerful. First, we are graced with the parenthetical text that protects our Drills from being discarded whenever we advance to or lower from this level. Next, we have another energy attack, though this time it costs 1 stage and deals 4 life cards of damage. This attack however has the amazing immediate effect to rejuvenate any card in your discard pile, and to capture an Earth Dragon Ball. Plus, should this attack hit, and you control 3 or more Earth Dragon Balls, you may search your Life Deck for a Styled Drill and place it into play.

Kami’s parenthetical text has finally given us a Level to use Blue Dominance with without fear of being lowered back down! That is certainly something worth exploring in the weeks to follow by itself.

I really, really like this level. Having access to capture your own Dragon Balls back as an immediate effect seems absolutely insane. This level has hints of Piccolo, Combat Stance, and we all know just how great that level is. While not as versatile as that level, Kami still has a lot of positives here, and I would not at all be surprised if you see a number of decks that look to camp at this level moving forward in the meta.

Level 3

Kami, Fighting Spirit is up next. First we are presented again with another parenthetical. This time it allows us to shuffle a Dragon Ball (Earth or Namek) back into its owner’s Life Deck when you advance to this level. It also allows you to search your Banished Zone for an Earth Dragon Ball and place it into play. (While this effect is not straight-forward on whether this occurs also when advancing to this level or whenever you reach this level, I have been told that this will be cleared up by The Dev Team before the official release of the set.) We return to having another constant effect, modifying our opponent’s attacks by -3 stages and our energy attacks by +3 life cards of damage as long as we control 3 or more Earth Dragon Balls. Finally, Kami has the POWER to raise your anger 1 level, then you may banish an Earth Dragon Ball you control. If you do, you may search your Banished Zone for a Dragon Ball or Styled Drill and rejuvenate it.

This level has a lot of power behind it. And it’s not just with the parenthetical or Constant effects, although these are obviously incredibly powerful. Having the ability to banish your own Dragon Ball to rejuvenate it means that your opponent won’t have the chance to steal it from you to gain its effect, and it allows you to gain access to that power again should you have any sort of shuffling effect to fall back on. Not to mention you could just leave the Dragon Ball in your Banished Zone to get your clutch Drills (like Black Absorption Drill, for example) back into your deck to find again later. Very cool level, I must say.

Level 4

Finally we have Kami, Overseer. First, we have yet another parenthetical effect. When we reach this level we are given the chance to either capture an Earth Dragon Ball in play or to place a Dragon Ball from your Banished Zone into play. Next, we return back to having an energy attack costing 1 stage, though this time around it deals an impressive 6 life cards of damage. Not to mention that it has the immediate effect that as long as 4 or more Earth Dragon Balls are in play (under anyone’s control) and/or in your Banished Zone, you may search your discard pile for a Styled Drill, play it, and this attack cannot be stopped!

What a way to end an impressive MP stack. Having a powerful attack that deals a healthy amount of damage and grants you the ability to make it unstoppable seems like Kami is pulling out all the stops here to make sure Earth is defended properly!

With 3 different levels with energy attacks, Kami comes off as a great option for any Survival or DBV builds. But what do his Named Cards have to offer us?

Named Card #1

Kami’s first Named Card is Kami’s Focused Beams. Here we have an energy attack costing 2 stages and dealing – initially – 2 life cards of damage. However, we see that it is accompanied by the immediate effect that doubles all damage modifiers (yours and your opponent’s) on this attack, and allows you to search your Life Deck for a Styled Drill and place it into play. Plus, if this attack hits, you may give your opponent control of a non-personality/non-mastery card you control (perhaps a Dragon Ball, for example) in play. If you do, you may choose any card in your discard pile and rejuvenate it. This attack is also Banish After Use.

A very interesting option for Kami. Right away thinking about playing him with Namekian Radiant Mastery and being on his level 3 means that this attack could be dealing upwards of 14 life cards of damage if you happen to have 3 Earth Dragon Balls you own in play and one of them happens to be EDB 1 (something that happens pretty consistently in Radiant, I might add).

On the otherhand, however, should you be playing against Awakening Goku or Orange Hiding Drill, it is very easy for this attack to have its damage changed to 0 or less if you find yourself having no modifiers of your own to pump up the damage. So it’s a bit of a double-edged sword.

Not to mention this card can set up interactions with Drills and Dragon Balls that may not end up in your opponent’s favor. People have already discussed the interaction of  giving your opponent one of your Dragon Balls and capturing it back thanks to this card, as well as using it to tutor up a detrimental Drill (such as Orange Welcoming Drill) and giving it to your opponent, forcing him to call combat every turn. Certainly this card has a lot going on, and it’ll be interesting to see just what people cook up thanks to its power.

Named Card #2

Speaking of double-edged swords, Kami’s other Named Card is Kami’s Guardian Drill. Right off the bat we see that this is a Drill with 2 Endurance and counts as a Styled card for everyone’s effects, meaning you can only have one of them in play under your control at a time. It sports the constant effect that forces each player to destroy the top X cards of their Life Deck at the beginning of each of their turns, where X is equal to the number of Earth Dragon Balls you own that are in play. This card also has the power to choose any card in your discard pile and rejuvenate it, or two cards instead if you control 3 or more Earth Dragon Balls.

This card is a real zinger. Talk about pushing the game from early to end game fast! This card can really crank out the amount of passive “damage” quick if you are able to get several of your Earth Dragon Balls into play. And with the fact that you have your own Dragon Balls and rejuvenation effects to soften the blow against yourself, this really feels like a great win condition for the Guardian of Earth.

So with all this in mind, what do I see myself doing with Kami off the bat?

Initial Deck Concept

MP Levels and Mastery:
1 – Kami, Earth’s Guardian
2 – Kami, Prepared
3 – Kami, Fighting Spirit
4 – Kami, Overseer
M – Black Conflict Mastery

Blocks (13):
3x Black Impediment
3x Black Delay
3x Black Protection
3x Black Swipe
1x Time is a Warrior’s Tool

Setups (6):
3x Black Power Up
2x Visiting the Past
1x Dragon Radar

Drills (6):
2x Black Smoothness Drill
1x Black Absorption Drill
1x Black Recollection Drill
2x Kami’s Guardian Drill

Dragon Balls (7):
1x Earth Dragon Ball 1
1x Earth Dragon Ball 2
1x Earth Dragon Ball 3
1x Earth Dragon Ball 4
1x Earth Dragon Ball 5
1x Earth Dragon Ball 6
1x Earth Dragon Ball 7

Events (4):
2x Black Restoration
2x Confrontation

Energy Attacks (9):
3x Black Annihilation
3x Kami’s Focused Beams
3x Optic Blast

Physical Attacks (15):
3x Black Double Team
3x Black Gut Crusher
3x Black Defensive Burst
3x Black Shoulder Charge
3x Sinister Choke

Deck Concept and Goals

This deck to me seems like it could be a real powerhouse if handled correctly. The main goal is to try and get Kami’s Guardian Drill and Black Recollection Drill into play and start putting the pressure on your opponent’s Life Deck outside of combat.

The nice thing about this list is that while we not only have our own Dragon Balls to soak up cards being destroyed, and Kami’s Rejuvenation powers to place cards back into our deck during combat, but we also get to use Black’s plethora of self-destroying cards to crank up the power behind each card we destroy at the start of our turn. Black Impediment and Black Shoulder Charge give us the ability to control our opponent’s anger passively outside of combat, not to mention the other crit effect options from Shoulder Charge should we need to get rid of a pesky Ally or get one of our Dragon Balls back from our opponent. Black Protection and Black Double Team give us the ability to get additional cards into our hand before drawing for turn. Black Annihilation gives us passive rejuvenation outside of combat, placing itself and the bottom of our discard at the bottom of our Life Deck. And finally, Black Gut Crusher gives us even more Styled Drill tutoring. While these cards were primarily used in Black Perceptive Mastery decks, thanks to its ability to mill ourselves during combat, with multiple chances to mill ourselves at the beginning of our turn, these cards may have found a brand new home with Kami.

And let’s not forget how insane Black Absorption Drill feels in this deck. With Kami’s Guardian Drill and Black Recollection Drill in play alongside Absorption Drill, we are able to really push the game in our favor without even calling combat. Since Guardian Drill triggers on our opponent’s turn, we can set up the top of our deck to have one of our “self-mill” cards we would like to destroy at the start of our turn, or place a defensive card on top to deter our opponent from calling on us. Then with Recollection Drill triggering on our own turn, we are able to stack the top of our deck with a card we’d actually like to draw, since it mills us first and then our opponent. So as long as you trigger your Guardian Drill before your Recollection Drill, you can set yourself up to draw a card of your choice that you want each time it is your turn!

Now, it is also certainly obvious that this can be a very self-harming deck should you choose to have several Dragon Balls in play with these Drills, so it is incredibly important to understand just how much pain you can handle while still trying to pressure your opponent. Like I said earlier, Kami gives us a large amount of rejuvenation potential thanks to his own MP effects and the Guardian Drill itself, but those alone might not save us from the onslaught our opponent could still unleash on us should they decide to call combat on us. So it’s best not to pull the trigger too hastily until you feel like you have a decent grip on what your opponent is capable of dishing out.

Perhaps my time as Guardian of Earth has come to an end

So that’s it for our first look at Kami and what he has to offer to the game moving forward. Like I said earlier, there is a lot he is capable of, and the deck list presented here is just one of many possibilities that lurk within the card pool to be explored.

With so much still to come, Legends is looking like it will shake up the meta more than we could have possibly anticipated! What do you hope to see in the coming weeks?

As a reminder, don’t forget to vote in our TC101 poll found in our Orange Retribution Broly list from this last Tuesday. With the ability to add your own choices this time around, anything is possible to show up next week!

Until next time, FanZ Warriors!

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Set 9 Preview: Say Hello to My Little Friend…

Hey everyone!

It’s that special time of year again where we get to talk about sweet new cards and speculate how they are going to impact the meta as we know it!

That’s right, Preview Season is upon us for the new upcoming set, Legends, and I have the joy to unveiling a new Ally that is sure to mix things up a bit!

So without further adieu, let’s take a look at Saibamen, Little Green Ghouls!

The Stats

So right away this card doesn’t seem like much of a mover or shaker at face value. This card certainly isn’t going to win any first impression contests sitting in A Bracket for nearly its entire Level before jumping to B on its final stage (something that our poor friend Yamcha just can’t seem to do on his Level 1, I might add).

But it’s seldom the power level of an Ally that matters, but the meat of the card itself. So what exactly do we have with this Ally?

Well, right off jump we see that being a Saiyan “Underdog” is going to really unlock the potential of this card, allowing you to play 3 of them in your deck and have them use their powers whenever it’s advantageous. Already a pretty solid start for any Nappa, Turles or Raditz player!

Saibamen’s power is also a pretty interesting one, sporting a Physical Attack that not only banishes the top card of your opponent’s discard as a secondary action, but also can deal out damage in the form of 2 Life cards or 2 stages.

“Well that doesn’t seem like a whole lot!” I hear some of you saying to yourselves. Ah, but isn’t it?

Let’s take a look at the personalities we are talking about again.

Saibamen in Nappa Builds

Nappa loves him some stage damage. Not only does he love him some stage damage, he also loves him some non-AT stage damage in Saiyan Clench builds!

Just think, with Vegeta Ally in play and a Saiyan Clench attached, your Saibamen is dishing out 8 stages of damage whenever you want it. If you happen to be sporting a Tree of Might as well, this jumps up to an impressive 12 stages! And you can have up to 3 of them in play at once! Mercy me, that’s a lot of damage!

Saibamen in Raditz Builds

Saibamen make for an interesting addition to Raditz. Since his level 1 already deals Life Cards of damage, we may see a build that tries to capitalize on the amount of Life Card poke available to Kakarot’s older brother.

In a Blue Resolute build, for example, we could find ourselves doing +2 Life Cards of damage rather easily with the Mastery and Blue Lifting Drill. Add 3 Saibamen to the list (a feat rather easy for Blue to pull off with all its Ally tutoring), and suddenly that is the potential for 4 Life cards a Saibamen on top of the 3 Life Cards from Raditz’s attack, without spending a single stage or card out of your hand! In fact, Raditz’s power gives you another card to use!

I’m smelling value already here!

Saibamen in Turles Builds

Turles is a little awkward with the Saibamen. Unless we put them in the same Saiyan Clench list like we did with Nappa, they feel a bit out of place in any Turles list that is trying to camp level one.

However, if we were to play them in a list that is looking to level, perhaps in an Adept list which plays Unleashed (or dare I say it, Turles’ Fruit!), suddenly we could be entering a whole new level of pain for our opponent!

With the ability to have Adept Mastery giving us +1 stage, and Joint Restraint granting +2 stages, AND Turles’ level 3 granting +3 stages to all of our attacks and not allowing for prevention of any kind, suddenly our little green men could be pushing upwards of 8 stages a piece with no prevention!

Now couple that with Disaster Drill and Dressing Rooms pumping your Styled Attacks, and suddenly your opponent is in a ton of trouble!

I’ve Always Considered Myself a bit of a Green Thumb

Hopefully this has given you some “food for thought” when it comes to our planted friends! I know that I personally can’t wait to see what I can pull off with these devious little men.

Only time will tell if there is more in store to help some of these strategies mentioned above. With so much more to look forward to in Legends, the sky is truly the limit!

Until next time, FanZ Warriors!

 

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