Welcome back to Part III of our North Kai Underdog breakdown series! Today we will be looking at our last Style for discussion – Black.
For many players of the past PanZ Regional Seasons, it may come as a surprise to see Black as the least likely Style to find yourself playing or playing against these days. While Black was one of the largest Styles to make an impact on the tournament meta since Set 1, it has slowly slipped behind in power and relevance with each passing set.
With Black Devious Mastery being on the Frozen List, many players have started to turn away from this Juggernaut of control in search of more “appealing” Styles. Today we are going to take a look at what makes this Style a solid choice for multiple decks as well as the power in its remaining two legal Masteries: Black Perceptive and Black Conflict.
North Kai Breakdown
As a refresher, there was a total of 39 players at this year’s North Kai event. Out of all the players present, Black had the weakest showing with only two players present. With that in mind, however, both of Black’s Masteries did make an appearance at the event!
NJ Event Update
Well this section will be short, but not-so-sweet, for this Style coming out of the NJ Event which was held last week at The Comic Book Store. Out of the 13 players for the event, a total of ZERO Black decks entered.
So, there’s that…
But Black has so much more going on for it as a Style then what these meager numbers have to show. While the meta may seem hard for this Style to capitalize on, any truly determined Control player can prove that Black still has all the answers, if you know what to expect!
So let’s take a look at what’s going on with this Style:
Black’s Over-All Strengths
One of this Style’s best tools is the ability to answer problem cards before they become a problem. With the ability to discard cards from your opponent’s hand, turn off cards from being played, shuffle cards back into your opponent’s deck, or simply Banish them entirely, Black is the most disruptive of Styles. Now granted, this power comes at a rather high cost. The best way to tap into this Style’s disruption is by having prior knowledge of the decks around you. Outside of the Perceptive Mastery, many of this Style’s tricks must be deployed before those problem cards can be played. Having advanced knowledge of the meta around you makes you a virtual shark in the tournament waters. However, should you be caught off-guard by the deck you are facing, much of this power can be lost.
Outside of Red, Black has some of the best 2-anger cards in the game, making any deck looking to hit particular levels or MPPV that much more enticing to play with this Style. What makes these anger cards even more interesting for the Style are the effects attached to these powerful leveling tools. Effects that range from turning off cards in your opponent’s hand, to playing their own Allies or Drills against them, to swapping attached cards in play! On top of this, and the amount of single-anger cards present in the Style, both Masteries also have the ability to gain you anger, making the prospect of hitting higher levels that much more achievable.
Discard Pile Removal
A player’s discard pile can sometimes act as a secondary hand. With many effects in the game that allow players to return cards to their hand or Life Deck, often times the safest place for a card is in its owner’s discard pile. Not with Black however. This Style has the most discard banishing effects in the game, making every zone a liability for the well-being of your cards! On top of this, Black has many cards which care about the number or type of cards in its opponent’s Banish Zone, making each discarded card that’s been banished into a double-edged sword.
While this could arguably be a negative for the Style as well, if certain MPs like Pikkon arise in the meta, one of Black’s best assets are their Events. Ranging from mill, to select card removal, to banish zone recursion, to Rejuvenation, if it’s a card effect in the game, it’s very possible that you may one day see it as an Event in Black. And while all decks include answers to attacks, the amount of answers present in any given deck for Events will always be staggeringly low, making them much more appealing for the Style than many of their generic attacks.
Minor Themes in Black
– non-Damage Mill as a Primary Win Condition
– Powerful Setups/Drills
– Physical Beatdown
– Stage Gaining effects
Black Perceptive Mastery
When Perceptive Mastery first hit the scene, many looked at it as a cute alternative to Black’s much more powerful Mastery choice. With Black Devious out of the picture, Perceptive has slowly been able to wind its way from obscurity to one of the more powerful choices within the Style. With the inclusion of Black Absorption Drill thanks to Set 8, it is very likely that Black will once again climb the rungs to top Control color in the game, gaining access to self-card recursion, as well as the ability to always hit what you want with Black’s multiple “Name the top card” effects or even just the Mastery itself. Not to mention the amount of Board Control given to the Style – Something it drastically needed!
With Orange being the highest played Style at the moment, the ability to destroy your opponent’s Drills has never felt so viable!
What MPs are good with this Mastery?
MPs that care about Styled attacks or milling cards (whether their own or their opponent’s) will fit right at home here. Turning each of your Styled attacks into Board Removal also makes this Mastery a great choice for Beatdown decks and poking strategies alike! The Stage Gain cards in the Style, coupled with the Mastery, make sure that your MP always has what it needs to keep the pressure on (or to derail your opponent’s stage onslaught)! No matter what you are trying to accomplish, there is a place for it here with this Mastery.
These MPs are likely:
– Dr. Wheelo: Increasing the mill clock can be devastating for your opponent.
– Tenshinhan: Survival and MPPV intertwine nicely for this deck in Black.
– Gohan (Awakening): Like Red Ruthless, every attack is Styled!
– Piccolo (Premiere): If you are looking for a grindy control deck, start here!
– Pikkon: The amount of Rejuv available makes this an interesting strategy.
Black Conflict Mastery
This Mastery is oddly versatile, leaving players to use it as they see fit. Much like Blue Resolute Mastery, this option can lead you towards a number of different builds, making it slightly more open to expression than Black Perceptive Mastery. Having a lower crit threshold also means DB Victory has a slightly better chance with this version of the Style; always something to look at!
Also, unlike Black Perceptive, this Mastery gives you a discard outlet, making any Styled cards with discard triggers viable to play again. Welcome back Black Command and Black Corruption! We missed you!
What MPs are good with this Mastery?
Because this Mastery is so broad in its appeal, nearly any concept can thrive with this Mastery. With cards like Black Constant Barrage being printed, any deck with the capacity to crit multiple times in a single combat could shut a game out fast! I’ll be interested to see what people come up with for this Mastery in the events to follow. I know I’m personally excited to see what I can do with it, now that Black gained a few more tools.
These MPs are likely:
– Frieza (CT): If you haven’t tried this list out yet, you really need to.
– Yamcha: Any Energy Beatdown deck should feel at home with this Mastery.
– A20: I haven’t seen this deck played yet, but I have a feeling he fits nicely here.
– A17 (CT): Another great Aggro-Control fit with this Mastery.
– Krillin: Destructo Disks can crit again! Welcome back, buddy!
The Sh*t’s Chess, It Ain’t Checkers
And that concludes our look at the Underdogs of North Kai 2017! I hope these articles helped pull the spotlight away from the “Top 3 Styles” currently seeing play and shone some light on what else is lurking out in the darkness surrounding them.
Each Style deserves praise within this game, and I feel that any one of them could be the next big tournament winner! All it takes is a level head and some elbow grease to really get in there and see what makes each Style tick!
As stated before, if there is enough interest, I may do the same sort of breakdown for the other Styles in the game (though I think it’s a little easier to see why they are so powerful).
Let me know in the poll below if you would like to see this series capped off with the other 3 Styles.
Until next time, FanZ Warriors!