With all the buzz from North Kai and the NJ Cash Event, I wanted to take some time today and talk about the power-level of Orange in the current meta, with particular emphasis on the cards that were added from Set 8, Celestial Tournament.
The Style At Large
So what, in general makes Orange such a solid Style to build around in the current meta?
First, Orange is likely the best Style for MPPV/leveling in the current meta. While one of the weaker Styles to build Unleashed around, Orange has some other amazing leveling tools for players to take advantage of:
- If you are trying to level via anger, one of the best engines you could use in the Style is Orange Retribution Mastery. At the very least, the Mastery provides 2 anger each combat at the cost of a single action, ignoring all other relevant text on the Mastery. On top of this, being able to start the game with a non-Constant Drill in play is nothing to sneeze at. Being able to start the game with Orange Crying Drill in play means you have access to 3 anger without spending a single card in your hand! Hope you didn’t want to stay on level 1 for very long!
- If you aren’t interested in leveling through anger, Orange Devouring Drill is an incredibly useful tool to hop levels. At the cost of playing two Drills (Devouring Drill + another), you are granted access to your next level, though you will have to Banish your Devouring Drill. And while you will have to actually play the second Drill and not place it into play in order to level, the nice part about using this leveling option is that you don’t have to play them in the same turn. On top of this, Orange has gotten a few key cards throughout the course of the game that allow you to search and play a Drill instead of just placing it into play, meaning that leveling during combat is still an option for this strategy!
Next, Orange has some of the best silver bullet cards currently in the game. With answers to Anger, Rejuvenation, and your opponent’s Board, there really isn’t anything Orange can’t deal with. And if there is something Orange has a problem answering (Events for example), a strategic MP choice (like Pikkon, for example) can sure that up for you as well!
Third, Orange is likely the most flexible Style in the game, making no strategy off-limits with the proper deck design. Want to play Energy or Physical Beatdown? Orange has plenty for both. Looking to level or build a Stasis deck? Orange has plenty for both. Want to win through mill? Orange has got your back. Dragon Ball Victory may be the only strategy that has a hard time fitting nicely into Orange, but with cards like Orange Launcher, hard-hitting Energy Attacks, and the right MP, I wouldn’t even rule this one out entirely!
So what does Orange have going against it? Well, the Style does typically like to play a large amount of Drills, meaning there is the risk of drawing dead cards during combat and leaving yourself open to your opponent’s onslaught. As mentioned above, Orange also has a hard time dealing with events, so any decks based heavily around this card type can potentially put a damper on Orange’s parade. Last, Orange has (in the recent past) had issues with keeping their opponent’s from leveling.
Did Orange Need Help?
As you can see, there are much more positives than negatives currently working in this Style’s favor. Just ask Tim Batow or Sundeep Kutumbaka (who won Worlds 2015 with Orange Adaptive A20 and Worlds 2016 with Orange Retribution Master Roshi respectively) just how powerful the Style can be!
Moving into the realm of Celestial Tournament, the big question is, did Orange really need that much help? I think it could be argued that there were certainly some pitfalls within the Style leading up to Set 8’s creation. However, were they worth patching up or did they provide the appropriate balance needed to keep any one particular Style from having too many answers?
I’ve discussed before (and will likely discuss many times here-after) the need for balance within the Styles in order to create constructive design space in the game. If every Style can answer every question, the game begins to feel too homogenized. We lose the excitement and flair that each Style presents to the game, and are left with very few personal choices. The Color Pie will always be something sacred to both admire and preserve in order to maintain balance between the Styles. Without weaknesses, you cannot highlight a Style’s strengths.
Speaking of strengths, let’s take a look at the cards from this new Set:
One of Orange’s weaknesses moving into Set 8 was the lack of control it had against its opponent’s anger. While answers existed in the way for Freestyle cards that could be added to your deck, Orange had very little itself in the way of lowering your opponent’s anger outside of critical damage. Watching your opponent rocket through levels while you hope to land a crit certainly doesn’t make for exciting counter-play.
No need to worry about that now, though! With the introduction of Orange Meditation, any opponent attempting to level through anger is a thing of the past! While the card does come at the “cost” of setting your anger to 0 as well, being able to potentially stop your opponent from leveling, then setting them back to 0 anger is so backbreaking that there is little reason not to play this card in your deck. And, because this card is an Instant effect, it doesn’t even cost you an action! ALSO (because this card clearly needed more upside), if you happen to be playing against an opponent that isn’t trying to gain anger, you can just discard it as an action for a Styled Energy Attack that deals 5 life cards of damage! That’s more damage then nearly every Red or Black Energy Attack in the game! As a secondary use from an Event! WHAT?!?!
Heading into Set 8, Orange had some of the best defensive cards in the game. Not only did they have impressive blocks like Orange Refocus or Orange Energy Catch, but they also had Drills which could stop a particular kind of attack each combat (assuming you haven’t been hit by that type of attack already). Orange even had an “omni-block” of sorts with Orange Dodge. While it prevented damage instead of blocking, allowing hit effects to still go off and doing nothing against unpreventable damage, it gave the style a way to shuffle one of their drills back into their deck (potentially resetting the drill through a search effect), as well as placed a drill from their deck into hand in order to trigger drill discard effects or set up for next turn.
So you know what they could really use? Orange Juke! Why not give the Style that has the best ways to recur their drills even more ways to recur their drills? Hell, why not put it into play for them instead if they happen to be low on drills to begin with!
Now you may be asking yourself, “But isn’t Black the only Style in the game that needs an omni-block still, prevention or otherwise?” To which I can only reply, “WHO CARES! ORANGE BABY!”
Orange Assistance Drill
Not every card given to Orange this set has been as straight-forward with its power. While still useful, Orange Assistance Drill has so far done little in the way of tournament play, yet still helps Orange deal with an issue it has had in the past. Ally decks in Orange (and really any Style outside of Blue) have always had a hard time keeping their Allies from being banished. This new drill always players to keep their Allies relatively safe from their opponent’s Banish effects by shuffling them back into their Life Deck, allowing them to be tutored or naturally drawn again. On top of this, the drill also adds a +1 Life Card damage bonus to any attacks performed by your Allies, something that can add up nicely when you take into account bonuses from Orange Aura Drill and Orange Adaptive Mastery.
While not a card that particularly helps Orange give control of combat to their Allies itself, the nature of the Style being Energy Heavy should make it rather easy for them to get their hits in when they can.
Orange Sweeping Blast
Possibly the card with the least to talk about, Orange Sweeping Blast is still no sleeper when it comes to power. Every Style at this point has gotten their fair amount of non-Style based hate. While Orange had the likes of Orange Thumbs Up Drill already, giving them an Energy Attack that potentially allows them to reset one of their drills as well as stop their opponent from playing non-Styled cards is rather impressive. At 5 Life Cards of damage, the attack is also fairly damaging and easily threatens critical damage with no outside help.
Nothing particularly fancy about this card, but still a solid silver bullet that I’m not particularly certain Orange needed. But hey… there you go.
Orange Bicycle Kick
Finally, this card may not seem like much at first, but with the proper build, this card may in fact be the finisher that Orange Physical Decks have needed! Orange Bicycle Kick at face value is your typical hard hitting physical attack, sitting at AT+5 Stages of damage. This card is also neatly packaged with two useful immediate effects. First, it lowers any player’s anger 2 levels (should you not be willing to level any time soon). Second, it allows you to Rejuvenate any number of your Drills in order to search your Life Deck for the same number of Constant Drills and place them into play. Oh, it also happens to be an Energy Combat card, though it performs a Physical attack, letting cards like Orange Uppercut or Orange Captivity Drill interact with it on top of Orange Joint Restraint Drill or Orange Disaster Drill!
Now, the second immediate effect should jump at you as the part of the card that is most interesting. You can get use out of effects like Orange Examination Drill or Orange Investigation Drill entering play. You can search for a defensive card with Orange Check-Up Drill entering play. You can nuke your opponent’s anger even more and buff your own damage with Orange Charging Drill. And you can trigger cards like Orange Crashing Drill and Orange Torching Drill (provided Torching stays in play through the whole effect). Even at worst case, you can trade in your single use Drills for Constant effects, perhaps swapping out your spent defensive drills for damage bonuses to go on the offense!
There is so much this attack can do for you outside of raw damage. This is likely the card I have had my eye on the longest since the introduction of Celestial Tournament, and it is the one I most look forward to building decks around in the near future.
He Didn’t Invite Me to His Birthday Party!
So there you have it. Orange in all its glory from Celestial Tournament. As you can see, each of its cards packs a punch, and all of them are rather diverse in the ways they can be used. Something that unfortunately cannot be said for all the Styles in this set!
In the end, did Orange really need the help? I personally don’t think so, especially after back-to-back Worlds wins. But, we can only hope that other Styles (Blue and Black, cough cough) get the same sort of treatment moving forward.
Until next time, FanZ Warriors!