Hey everyone! Today I thought we’d look at something a bit more abstract in the game: archetypes and deck strategies that could use some extra support. I’m sure we’ve all seen cards throughout the game that seemed a bit out of place; or cards that seem interesting, but just didn’t have a real deck to call home. These are the types of cards and strategies we are going to focus on today. A glimpse at where the game may go, and what that means for the health of the meta (spoilers – more deck strategies typically equals a healthier and more rewarding state of the game).
The Dev Team has already shown us in Celestial Tournament that they are interested in exploring some of these concepts, adding cards like Red Speedy Drill and Saiyan Tactics to the game in order to help promote certain deck strategies. Today’s post is a nod to some other areas that could be interesting to focus on, should they choose to do so.
For those of you that may not want to walk in the realm of the hypothetical or for anyone that hasn’t checked it out yet, please make sure to vote in the poll from Tuesday’s “Theory-crafting 101” post. For everyone else, let’s dive into the deep end!
Archetype #1: Saiyan Self-Mill
In the Saiyan Style, there are a few cards that exist which care about destroying your own Life Deck for particular benefits. Cards like Saiyan Flying Tackle and Saiyan Face Stomp from Premiere Set allow you to destroy cards from the top of your Life Deck in order to deal extra damage, while Movie Collection gave us the card Saiyan Leaping Burst which gave us an additional effect for destroying cards from our Life Deck (whether from our own ability or that of an opponent’s).
Now while these few cards may not seem like much to most players, with Flying Tackle only seeing slight play in the early stages of the game, I think that this is an interesting design space for Saiyan. Since many cards in the style care about Rejuvenation, a deck designed to destroy its own Life Deck for bonuses throughout the game seems like a natural fit. Likewise, giving the style more effects to destroy its own deck will make certain strategies like Saiyan Menace more consistent, giving it almost a pseudo-tutoring effect by giving itself more cards to Rejuvenate, and the likelihood to find Menace in your discard pile much easier.
Premiere Set tried to give us the Gohan MP stack as a means to set up a discard pile early in the game, but lacked the punch necessary to make him a legitimate deck. I think a Mastery or MP focused around a similar concept, and less focused on Anger, could make for some interesting design space within the style. Otherwise, cards similar in spirit to the three mentioned above, coupled with the already existing Rejuvenation aspect of the Style could again make for interesting game states; promoting “high-risk maneuvers” to capitalize on situations that catch your opponent off-guard. This sort of “All-or-nothing” style would fit a number of characters and fold nicely into the design of Saiyan already.
Archetype #2: Various Sword Decks
I’m sure I’m not the only player out there who eagerly sleeved up Trunks each and every set to see if there was finally the right amount of support for a “Sword” deck. And while I think Set 7 certainly helped with the new Trunks stack we got, I still felt like it was typically out-classed by the majority of top tier decks at the time.
I think one misconception for the “Sword” style of deck is that it has to be focused around Trunks as an MP. Now while Trunks is certainly the character we see wielding a sword the most, the one interesting thing is, we are heading to an area that contains many other swordsmen. Characters such as Mystic Gohan, Majin Dabura, Janemba and Tapion jump to mind immediately; but there are also a handful of Legacy characters that could be brought back to fill the roll as well (I’m looking at you, Bean Daddy)!
Aside from MPs to help boost the strategy, there needs to be a higher concentration of “Sword” cards in order to really reap the benefits of cards like Orange Hoping Drill and Red Sword Slicing Drill. Something as simple as a “Sword Named” card that on Hit (or maybe as an immediate effect if you’re feeling particularly spicy) that makes your Styled Physical attacks gain “Sword” in the name for the remainder of the turn could help these strategies tremendously. This sort of ability has even existing in the game before in the way of Red Sword Cleave back in Kid Buu Saga. I would really love to see this strategy fleshed out in an interesting and impactful way moving forward.
Archetype #3: Attachments Matter
There certainly are a lot of cards in the game that have the phrase “Attach to” on them. And while many of them are great on their own, I think it would make for a very interesting strategy to care about the adding and subtracting of attached cards in play. Whether this be a series of cards that care when they are attached and detached, or whether it be an MP or Mastery that cares, I think this would help make some of these attach cards much more playable.
There are a number of cards that attach that have seen virtually no play; cards like: Flip Toss, Ensnared, Blue Surround and Orange Aggression just to name a few. I think pairing these cards with a strategy that wants attachments to enter and leave play could severely up the playability of these cards, and are naturally supported by cards that do see play already, like Wall Breaker, Android Arm Breaker, etc.
Whether this idea is given to a more control-oriented color, or allowed to breathe and explore what each color has to offer, I think it is something to keep an eye on as the game develops and we start to feel the pressure of moving towards making the game Wider in scope vs Taller in scope.
Archetype #4: Giving your opponent Anger/levels
The idea of forcing your opponent to gain anger and MP levels has been in the game for quite some time. Even back in the ScoreZ days, this design was used predominantly to keep control decks from “camping” on a particular level and building up an unanswerable board state. And while we have seen this used to some degree in PanZ & FanZ, I think exploring this concept more could make for very interesting design space.
Now while the notion of forcing your opponent to gain anger may have you thinking about cards such as Blue Entertaining Drill (a card which allows you to turn this resource into stage pressure), the focus of this idea is slightly different. What I’m talking about here is perhaps a strategy that wants your opponent to have high levels of anger to punish them, in the vein of Black Taunt for example. Perhaps even cards that gain additional effects if you have made your opponent gain levels this combat. We have seen a small amount of cards in the game that care if your MP is a higher level than your opponent’s; I would love to see the inclusion of cards that care if both MPs are the same level, or better yet, if both MPs are their Max Level, creating a real tension to capitalize on this bonus ASAP or lose to your opponent via MPPV.
Again, we are moving into an area of the story where MPs could fit this bill perfectly. Characters like Majin Vegeta, Gotenks, Super Buu or even Kid Buu feel like they would be perfect to showcase the “arrogant style” these sorts of cards would create, and I for one would love to see them in action.
Archetype #5: Namekian Drill Decks
Namekian sits at possibly the strangest place in the game. It has some of the best strategies for Survivability, MPPV and DB Victory, yet inherently has the fewest MPs available to play the style, making it feel all the more same-song whenever you see it across the table. Something that could possibly fix this is to focus on a few ideas that are already presented in the style, but not yet fully developed. One of those being, Drills!
A Namekian Drill deck would be a rather odd beast indeed. Drills do not often play well with leveling strategies, something that Namekian does very well. We have seen very few (if any) competitive Namekian lists that wish to camp on any given level for a large portion of the game. Promoting this sort of strategy would make players have to decide whether they want to give up one of Namekian’s best victory conditions for a more control-oriented style of play.
I think, given the tools that have slowly worked their way into the Style over the last several sets, that Namekian only needs a few cards to really plant this idea as a real core strategy. Again, an MP or Mastery less focused on leveling means this sort of deck design becomes more appealing. Though, due to cards like Namekian Crossed Guard and Namekian Reinforced Drill already existing in the game, you wouldn’t necessarily need to give up on Leveling for this strategy to work!
Only The Shadow Knows…
What can we expect to see for FanZ as the game moves forward? Only a select few know for certain. But given the large amount of areas still to explore in the game, these first five being just a small drop in the bucket, I think we will all be pleasantly surprised on where the journey takes us. With so much in the game already to explore, it’s only a matter of time until some of these doors are cracked open, revealing the grander landscape of decks to choose from as competitive staples.
Until next time, FanZ Warriors!