Climbing the Lookout – Improvements & Desires If I Were The Dev Team

So recently there have been a number of posts in the Retro Group asking what people would change about the game, erratas, reprints and the like. Normally I would ignore this sort of thing, but as a number of people seem to be interested in changes, I thought I would take it upon myself to discuss some of the things that I would love to see changed about the game, were I The Dev Team.

Now I want to start off by saying that this in no way means I am unsatisfied with the game as it stands. Nor am I displeased with the current Dev Team. Quite on the contrary, in fact. I continue to produce the articles on this blog for everyone because of my love for the game and because I wish to promote the hard work that the Dev Team puts in for continuing their efforts well past the end of the official game.

This is just a wishlist of sorts. And, like most wistlists, these are a few changes I would make because I personally think they have the potential to improve the game I already love.

Change I: Standard Rotation

I know this seems to be a very taboo subject for the game, as DBZ has always been a non-rotating game (unless you count GT, but we’ll ignore that for now), so I wanted to go ahead and address this change first. I  feel that rotation is nothing but healthy for a game to develop and grow as the years go by. Magic is a great example for how long a game can last if given the proper room to breathe and develop naturally over time, instead of being forced to ignore certain new ideas for fear of imbalance or unwanted results. Now since DBZ is a different beast than Magic, I think you would have to approach rotation differently in this game.

One of the things that could be done for the game, is establishing a “Core Set.” While the name may share similarities to the old Core Sets of Magic now lost to time, this Core Set would share a similar but different philosophy. With this Core Set, a list can be established of iconic cards that would never rotate out of Standard and would stand as a sort of guide for what each style’s focus and direction should look like within the game. This way, certain staples of each Style would remain permanently in Standard.

I also believe that MPs and Named Cards could be added to this “Core Set” in order to maintain the ability for players to build decks around their favorite characters that may otherwise never see the light of day again in printing due to character death or lack of relevance as the story progresses forward. If MPs and Named cards were not a part of this “Core Set” then Standard would likely need to have a Set created once a year which showcases EXCLUSIVELY Legacy characters, so that those in the past that have left Standard, or those that were never printed, could see their place in the sun among other MPs.

What you may notice lacking from this list is the mentioning of Masteries. I honestly believe that Mastery rotation is healthy for the longevity of the game, and should be highly considered with or without a Standard-like variant. With particular cards and Masteries rotating, the game is able to explore new avenues of design without fearing backlash from unwanted combos or interactions. Without this, the game is doomed to feel stagnant and will likely cause players to turn elsewhere when the meta becomes too clogged by the same recurring deck strategies.

Another bonus for Standard rotation would be the reintroduction of reprints. Because cards outside of the “Core Set” would eventually leave Standard, this gives the game a perfect opportunity to reintroduce Gold-Lettered Reprints, as a way to incorporate older ScoreZ reprints as well as PanZ returns to Standard. As with most games that use reprints, this opens up the window to give players an excited feeling to see some of their favorite cards return to tournament play once again, and would likely help players want to explore different decks, helping to reshape the meta with each set.

Change II: A Clearer Understanding of The Color Pie

I think we can all agree that letting all Styles have the same access to all abilities in the game makes each Style feel bland and boring outside of MP and Mastery choice. Each Style needs to have a distinct list of things they: Can Always Do, Can Sometimes Do, Can Rarely Do, and Can Never Do. By creating such a list, this helps guide what effects we can expect to see within each Style and helps focus design by creating restrictions.

Magic uses their “Color Pie” to help establish these rules.

While a simplified version, this example helps establish what the ideas and philosophies of each Color in the game are. Likewise, it establishes the idea of “Allied” and “Enemy” Colors thanks to the shared ideas by colors directly next to the initial color and conflicting ideas by those on the opposite end. While this tool is great for Magic, and it helps to figure out how colors and multi-colored cards work within the structure of the game, this wouldn’t have quite the same effect for DBZ, as there are no multi-colored options in the game.

However, this idea could help cement certain areas for the game by better presenting Styles with similar philosophies and abilities near each other in the wheel. For example, let’s say we decide that Blue is the color for universal board control. Blue is allowed to destroy, Banish, return to hand, or shuffle into deck any Setups, Drills or Allies without a cost. We could then establish which Styles have Secondary rights (or “Can Sometimes” as stated above) based on how close they are to Blue in this wheel. Each color to the left and right of Blue would be given Secondary Rights to board control, yet may have certain types missing or have a cost associated with using the ability. And because this game has 6 Styles to think about rather than the 5 colors in Magic, we can continue by making the two Styles next to those have Limited Rights (or “Can Rarely”) to board control. These Limited Styles may only be able to interact with one of the card types rather than all three. Finally leaving the color directly across from Blue having no rights (or “Can Never”) to board control. And this can be used for nearly every aspect of the game!

Now, of course a lot of forethought has already been put into what Styles can and can’t do already in the game. But by having a fixed Color Pie, it allows development of the game to flow smoothly, never worrying about what certain abilities could do to impact a Style, because you have specific guidelines restricting particular abilities in the first place. This also opens up what Freestyle Cards are allowed to do within the game, because they function similarly to multi-colored cards in Magic. Giving each Style access to these cards may help in particular areas, though may likely have a higher cost associated to the effect in order to gain access to it. Withering Fire, for example, gives each Style the ability to Banish an opponent’s drill, but comes at the cost of being a Villain and being attached to an Energy Attack (and thus requiring Stages to perform in the first place). Because of this, it establishes a limitation to the decks allowed to use the card and may have limited usage depending on the amount of stages you may have at any particular time throughout the game.

On top of all of this we’ve discussed, within a rotating-Standard format, whenever development wants to shake things up and change the roles within the Styles, they are free to do so without fear of jeopardizing the balance of tournament play, because they can simply wait for the next rotation before adding those changes to Standard! And while this may eventually cause a homogeneous feel to whatever Eternal format is formed, it would take a large amount of time to get to that state, and considerable thought can still be put into whether shifting a Style dramatically could potentially hurt the Eternal format before those cards are even printed in the first place. With the use of a Frozen List exclusively for the Eternal Format, you can also remove any cards that give any unwanted power creep towards a particular Style.

Change III: Frozen List Updating

Whether with or without a Standard, I believe that one of the best things the game can do is remain tapped into the tournament scene and listen to any unhealthy feelings the players may have in order to try and course-correct whenever possible. One of the tools to help with this course-correcting is the Frozen List.

If a Standard was created, the likelihood of the Frozen List needing to be updated more regularly would likely not be an issues, as problem cards would cycle in and out of tournament play and particular additions could be planned according to rotation in order to lessen the likelihood for unwanted interactions. Though the need for the list would likely still arise from time to time as I’m sure interactions would occur that were unplanned or unnoticed during creation and development (as is the case with many games).

Without a Standard, the Frozen List could act as a “Standard” of sorts, being updated each set in order to change up the meta before it is able to become unhealthy, without forcing cards to rotate outside of these undesired interactions or MP/Mastery combinations. With the list being changed every set, the meta would never really get a chance to feel stale, and like a “standard reprint”, cards returning from the Frozen List would reignite players’ passions to want to build around particular cards or strategies again.

Unfortunately, I feel as thought the Frozen List is more like a Band-Aid, being used to patch up problems that arise, instead of a Preventative Health Measure, like a Standard rotation designed to prevent unwanted interactions from happening in the first place.

Change IV: Card Erratas

The last in my list of changes would be for particular card erratas. While there are likely numerous cards I would like to see changed in order to help the game, here are a few that I can think of that could help the over-all health of the game, and possibly remove cards from the current Frozen List.

Namekian Hybrid Defense: “Stops a Physical or Energy attack. Choose X cards in your discard pile not named ‘Namekian Hybrid Defense’ and Rejuvenate them. X = your current MP Level.”

Black Devious Mastery: “Your Styled attacks deal +1 Life Card and +1 Stage of damage. POWER: Discard a card from your hand to banish the bottom 2 cards of your opponent’s discard pile. If the card you discarded was Styled and your opponent has used an effect to draw a card this combat, your opponent discards a card.”

Red Enraged Mastery: “Whenever you use a critical damage effect from a Styled card, raise your anger 1 level. Whenever you advance a personality level, if your opponent has used an effect to draw a card this turn, draw a card then discard a card from your hand. Whenever you lower a personality level, you may draw a card.”

Unleashed: “(You cannot win by MPPV if you use this card. Limit 1 per deck. Banish after use.)”

Blue Terror: ” (Limit 1 per deck. Banish after use.) Energy attack costing 2 stages. You may have this attack deal no damage. If you do, this attack gains ‘HIT: Search your Life Deck for a non-Dragon Ball Card and place it into your hand.’ DAMAGE: 3 Life Cards. ”

Personal Wants I: Lesser Characters as MP Stacks

Now, as far as particular cards I would want to see printed, my personal first desire would be to focus on some of the more background and secondary characters as MPs. Videl is by far one of my favorite characters in the franchise, and while she does have a small impact on the story during the World Games arc, many people can easily write her off as not being a character of note and move on with their lives. Not me though!

For those of you who may be aware, I’ve posted several MP stacks both on Retro and the Fan Card Proxy Group displaying some of my thoughts on where certain characters could fit within the game itself. Videl, Goten and Kid Trunks were some of the first few characters I posted to these groups. In truth, I have made many different attempts at MPs and Styled cards throughout the course of PanZ. I have always found that exploring card creation yourself gives you a much better idea for what is considered balanced within a game and can help you appreciate the design and function of printed cards much more. As well as helping you to appreciate the hard work and careful thought process that goes into creating a set and the fine balance of preserving the game while still trying to reinvent it at the same time.

As far as MPs I would personally love to see printed, my shortlist would likely be:
– Videl
– Goten
– Kid Trunks (Not as a Trunks Stack)
– Yajirobe
– Majin Dabura
– Bulma
– Tapion

Personal Wants II: ScoreZ Reprints or Spiritual Reprints

The last thing on my list today are a few cards I would love to see get either the “Gold-Letter” treatment or have spiritual reprints for the game. There is a large number of cards that I feel could be easily incorporated into FanZ, though many would likely need to have their power shifted slightly to better balance them for this version of the game. Here are a few personal favorites of mine that I wouldn’t mind seeing again for FanZ!

– Black Pivot Kick
– Black Jawbreaker
– Red Sniping Shot
– Red Whiplash
– Blue Knockdown
– A Hero’s Heart Is Strong
– Saiyan Head Crush

King For A Day

Well that’s all she wrote for this one! I look forward to hearing your thoughts about the ideas presented here, and would love to hear some of your wants and desires for the game moving forward. What would you do if you were a part of The Dev Team?

Please remember to check out the poll at the bottom of this week’s “Theory-crafting 101” to cast your vote for next week’s deck list. It helps a lot to see what people are interested in, and helps me figure out whether people like the idea of helping choose the next list or not, as low participation in voting may cause a shift in the idea of this article later down the line.

Until next time, FanZ Warriors!



About DArtagnanMF

Your Friendly Neighborhood Kreitzman
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