First Impressions: The Devil of Orange Star High

Hey Everyone!

So I know I mentioned that I would be putting out my First Impressions of the new masteries next on Retro, but since I’ve been invited onto the Brewcast to discuss them, I figured I would hold off writing about them until we have our big discussion and I’m able to get some different perspectives on their power.

However, for those that are curious as to what I think of them off the jump, here is my ranking for them after their reveal: Saiyan Oppressive, Black Mischievous, Red Amplified, Blue Resourceful, Orange Combative, Namekian Enlightened.

But now onto what I really have been looking forward to discuss for quite some time, Videl! For those of you who may not know, I have been working on a Videl stack for fun since way back between sets 2 & 3 of PanZ. I have thought about her role in this arc for probably too long and to finally see her officially spoiled has given me plenty of mixed emotions. I personally am sad to see her lose the “Villains matter” role she once had in the game, as I feel that really became a core mechanic for her, and if given the right support it could have remained her guiding force.

But regardless, I’m very excited by what we have seen for her so let’s get right to it!

Level One

Videl – Student is our first level of discussion. As with Krillin, the only trait found on Videl is Earthling, so I won’t bother to repeat it for each level. Likewise, she never leaves A Bracket, so again I’ll be leaving that out of each level going forward as well.

Videl sports the standard 2 PUR on this level and comes with some interesting abilities. First, her Constant Power has her gain an anger every time you perform an attack with AT. Next she has a Physical Attack dealing AT stages that on HIT either gains you 5 stages or destroys the top card of your opponent’s Life Deck.

So right away we see that AT is going to matter for her deck construction. That may seem a bit odd for a personality that never leaves A Bracket, but it will all become clear as we see her upcoming levels. So since she is AT based in the lowest bracket, it’s pretty safe to say that you won’t be doing much damage early with her. It’s good to note though that her built-in attack will always grant her an anger thanks to being AT based, and since her Constant power raises your anger 1 level on top of any other anger that it may already gain you, you likely won’t be on her level 1 for long. Cards like Red Double Strike or Black Hug Maneuver are going to put in some major work leveling this little lady in a hurry!

One last thing to point out with Videl that will remain as a mechanic throughout her levels is the ability to make choices. This level for instance lets you choose between gaining stages or destroying the top card of your opponent’s Life Deck. Flexibility is going to be a major key to Videl’s success and it is definitely worth keeping in mind when assessing her raw strength.

Level Two

Videl’s next level is: Videl – Heroic. She’s graduated to a 3 PUR and a new set of impressive abilities.

Her Constant power has now changed to locking your AT damage to 3 for all AT-based attacks you perform. Her Power is also another huge ability involving choices. First, you can choose to discard a card to draw a card. Then, you can either choose to lower your opponent’s anger 2 levels or to increase the card destruction off the top of your opponent’s Life Deck by 1 for the remainder of combat.

Now something that is interesting to point out with this power is that it doesn’t specify your effects that destroy cards off the top of their Life Deck. So if they happen to be playing Bardock or SSG Goku for example, they will end up increasing the cards destroyed by their own built-in effects on themselves. I personally really like this design choice as it makes your opponent second guess just how badly they want to mill themselves just to get an advantage. That being said, having the choice to filter your hand on top of either increasing this threat or simply lowering their anger 2 levels is an amazing tool to have at your disposal.

Also, the fact that your AT damage becomes a fixed number is something that is really going to help sky-rocket her into being a beatdown threat out of nowhere. Fixed damage has always been an interesting subject. Often players will gravitate towards higher bracket MPs if they wish to play beatdown in order to go for the biggest numbers possible. And while you may get knocked down to lower brackets, the trade off of high damage early has always seemed to win out for those types of strategies. However, with Videl locking her damage in regardless of power level, she can easily stand toe-to-toe with the likes of Broly or Android 13 and give them a legitimate run for their money when it comes to heavy-hitting attacks. And unlike those beefier opponents, she can take a beating and still put the hurt in.

Level Three

Videl – Battle Ready is next on the list. Again we see that her PUR has gone up by 1, to the standard 4 PUR on level 3. Likewise her constant power has also gone up by 1, making her AT attacks dish out 4 damage instead of 3 this time around.

This level brings us back to having a physical attack as her second power. Like her level 1, this attack deals AT damage, however it comes front-loaded with a devastating secondary effect. You are able to choose between placing a Setup and Drill on top of their owner’s Life Deck or to use a critical damage effect and have this attack considered to deal critical damage if it hits.

So 2 pieces of board control or 2 crit effects. If that doesn’t immediately catch your attention, I’m really not sure what else could! This level definitely brings the pain the hardest so far and can be a real thorn in the side of any strategy. This will very likely be the level you wish to stick to the most depending on how the meta shakes out, so be prepared to see this on the other side of the table and plan accordingly.

Level Four

Videl’s final level is Videl – Battle Hardened. As this is her level 4, she has the standard 5 PUR of most level 4s in the game.

This time around though, Videl gives us not one choice to consider but two! First, her constant effect lets you choose for each attack whether you would like it to have an AT of 5 or for it to gain “HIT: Destroy the top 2 cards of your opponent’s Life Deck.” Next, she has a physical attack dealing AT+5 damage with the secondary effect of either gaining 10 stages or rejuvenating 3 cards!

Oh boy is this a final level! This level really lets you tune in to the best way of sealing your opponent’s fate. The fact that you can push some real raw damage down their throat if they are caught off-guard or force them to decide to waste blocks on little damage with the chance of mill is a thing of beauty honestly. And the fact that you can keep yourself from being beaten down by either going back to full stages or rejuvenating 3 is just fantastic.

This level is going to be the stuff of nightmares for a lot of decks. I’m very willing to call that right now.

A quick shout out to Cheyne Runnells who pointed out to me that this level 4 constant not only effects your AT attacks, but all attacks you perform. Meaning that you can have any non-AT attack gain the “Hit: Destroy 2” effect, like energy attacks for example. Thanks for pointing that out! It just goes to show how impressive this level really is.

Named Card #1

Now as we all know, very few MPs are worth their weight if they aren’t accompanied by interesting or useful Named cards. Not to worry however, as Videl has some spice to throw in here as well!

Her first Named card is Videl’s Justice Kick. As a physical attack for AT+3 stages and 1 Endurance, this already should seem like a noteworthy card for her arsenal. But don’t worry, it gets so much better! First, the secondary effect of allowing you two choose both options from your Named or personality effects is just bonkers! On top of this however is the HIT effect of either raising your anger 1 level or shuffling this attack back into your Life Deck. Or both, since the secondary effect takes place for this attack as well!

This card is amazing. It clearly will end up being the backbone that supports Videl’s strategy. The really subtle power of this card however is the fact that you can choose to do both options, but are not required to. So if you find yourself on her Level 3 and are the only player with a Setup or Drill in play and you have used this attack there is no need to worry. You won’t be forced to put your own board state on top of your Life Deck unless you want to, as the choice of having both options available is completely up to you.

So good; so very good.

Named Card #2

Videl’s second Named card is Videl’s Determination. So the first thing to realize about this card is that it is a physical combat card, and not an event. So try to keep in mind that there is no fear of this effect being sphere’d as we go over it.

This card is played as an instant effect once you have used a successful physical attack,  and like all Videl cards, comes with a choice. You may choose to have your opponent skip their next action this combat or you may banish the top 7 cards of their discard pile. Regardless which you choose, you’ll also draw a card. This card is also Banish after use and has 3 Endurance.

So. For those that played the old ScoreZ, you might remember a card called Combo. Essentially, this card is Combo with the upside of 3 Endurance, not being forced to attack or pass as your next action, and banishing 7 cards if you happen to have Justice Kick’d before using it.

Now my first impression of this card was that I wasn’t sure just how useful this would be in Videl’s arsenal. However, having remembered that Defiant Challenge is indeed a card, and the fact that this card is good in hand or in your Life Deck, I think I’m pretty sold on it.

What Styles/Masteries Are Good For Her?


So with all that said and done, what Styles are going to help support her, and what Masteries within those styles?

Well I know a lot of the community has immediately flocked to Red Ruthless as being her mastery of choice. And they likely are not wrong. For me, the big factor is figuring out what version of her stack you want to build around. Either the more controlling, chip damage version that is supported by her early levels or the hard hitting, resilient potential that her later stack provides. Knowing this is going to be a key to playing her well. Likewise, having tools to switch one way or the other can help completely blindside your opponent once they think they have figured your gameplan out.

Since we are still missing a major portion of this new set, it’s hard to say for certain what is best for her at the moment. But while we wait for the full set to drop, here are a few of my recommendations to think about when brewing up early Videl lists.

  • Black Mischievous Mastery
  • Black Perceptive Mastery
  • Blue Resourceful Mastery
  • Orange Retribution Mastery
  • Orange Adept Mastery
  • Red Ruthless Mastery

School’s Out

Thanks for checking out my first thoughts with Videl. I know I personally will be experimenting with many different deck strategies involving her in the near future. So if you are interested in seeing any of those, keep your eye on the blog.

And again, stay tuned to Retro if you are interested in hearing my thoughts on the new Masteries with the Brewcast crew coming up soon. I’ll have a more detailed “First Impression” article up some time after the cast if  you want to hear more of my personal thoughts on them.

Until next time, FanZ Warriors!

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Revelation Preview: Stranger Things

Hey everyone!

So if you’re like me, than you no doubt have already spent far too many hours glued to your TV or computer watching the new Stranger Things season on Netflix. If you haven’t, you should really do yourself a favor and check it out.

However, today isn’t just about Stranger Things. Today is also Halloween! And so I thought what better way to celebrate than with a preview! Now although orange and black are the traditional colors for the holiday, I was only able to get a single preview for today’s article. And since today is about devils and their cohorts I thought what better way than to ring it in with… a preview with Videl and Gohan in the art!

That’s right, Mr. Satan’s darling baby girl and her boy toy front and center! What? Were you expecting some other sort of devil? Don’t be ridiculous!

So without further adieu, let’s check out today’s preview.

Welcome to the Upside-Down

So, much like the Netflix show, this Setup is certainly a strange beast to behold. So let’s take a minute to assess the situation and make heads or tails of this card.

First off, the parenthetical text is rather interesting. If your opponent draws a card during combat, you are able to banish this Setup from your hand to draw a card. This means it should rarely be a dead draw during combat thanks to discard outlets or your opponent’s own greed for cards. And, with the extra tidbit that the new Black Mastery allows your opponent to draw a card (courtesy of some intel from a certain alcohol-positive podcast), we should be able to turn this into something else rather easily.

Next, the actual power of the Setup is fairly interesting. We get to Rejuvenate the top card of our discard pile, then banish a card of our choice from our opponent’s  discard pile and finally banish the top card of our opponent’s Life Deck. Very interesting choices to have all on a single card, if one were to ask me.

Lastly, we have the fact that this card comes equipped with 1 Endurance, making it useful even when it’s floating around in our deck.

What Does it all Mean?

So given the info we have, what can we make of this card? Well, frankly, I’m not 100% sure. The abilities it has are fairly useful, being able to get a clutch card back into your Life Deck while banish two cards from your opponent (one randomly off the top and one of your choice). But is this really a tool Black needed?

Black has always been the king of the discard hate, and has been sniping cards out of our opponent’s Life Deck since the Premiere Set. So what gives? Well unfortunately, only time will be able to tell us as more cards are revealed from the set. If I had to make a guess, I would assume that Black is either focusing more on random Life Deck banishing this time around, or it might be dipping its toe into a Rejuvenation matters archetype.

With only a few weeks before the official release, all I can say is keep your eyes peeled for the power behind this card. Because if it doesn’t show itself, all we really have here is a neat tempo swing at best. But my hunch is that there will be more to this card than meets the eye.

The Devil’s in the Details

Thanks for checking out tonight’s preview!

I hope you all have a great Halloween, and I look forward to the rest of preview season! Like tonight, this set seems to be stockpiled with goodies, and all it takes is a little patience before we get to dive in and tear it to pieces until we make ourselves sick!

Until next time, FanZ Warriors!

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First Impressions – Krill Dawg in tha House!

Image result for krillin with hair

Well we are officially underway with Spoilers from The Dev Team for the newest set, Revelation, and boy-oh-boy do we have a dozy of an MP stack to go over today. That being the world’s Stronger Human – Krillin!

As with all our first impressions here on FZWG, we are going to go over each level step by step as well as any named cards (in this case the A18 ally), and then try and put together a first draft list that could really showcase the MPs power level.

So sit tight, as it’s going to be a long article. Let’s get rolling!

Level One

Krillin’s new Level One is: Krillin – Settled Down. Much like Premiere Krillin, this level is rocking a PUR of 3; which is fairly standard for our energy-based MPs. Unlike Premiere Krillin however, is that fact that this time around we see a fairly impressive Power Rating, capping off with 4 levels of D Bracket at the top end! And, as no surprise, we see that he is rocking the Earthling Trait as his only trait. This will be the only trait that Krillin has throughout his stack, so I won’t bother to mention it moving forward.

Starting with this level, and continuing on for the rest of the stack, Krillin has the Constant Power of gaining 2 stages whenever a Setup enters play under your control. So right off the jump we are told that Setups matter, and they matter a lot for this stack.

Finally, this level is rocking an Energy attack that costs 2 stages and deals 4 life cards of damage. As a secondary effect from the attack, you may search your Life Deck for a Styled Setup and place it into play at the end of combat. Finally, if it hits, you may also raise or lower a player’s anger 1 level.

This level is pretty spicy! I’m not sure if it has been officially ruled or not, but from the sound of the power, this secondary effect would work a lot like Orange Searching Maneuver. If it does, being able to search your Life Deck for a Styled Setup that you want for next turn and making it safe by removing it from your deck could make particular combo or control decks much more viable. Need that Blue Training to go off next turn? Need that Black Power Up as an extra safety net? Need that Red Relaxation to get aggressive next turn? Krillin’s got you covered!

Oh and let’s not forget you also get 2 stages for it entering play, meaning that the search and the attack were completely free of charge!

Level Two

Krillin – In Training is our next level to discuss. With a PUR of 4 and his top 6 stages being 4 stages of D Bracket and 2 stages of E Bracket, we can tell right away that Krillin is not messing around on this level.

Like last level, we have the Constant Power that gains us 2 stages whenever a Setup enters play under our control. However, this time around we see that Krillin has gone more into a defensive position. First, he has an Instant Power which lets us search our Life Deck for a Styled Setup or Styled Drill at the end of combat and place it into play. And second, he has a Defensive Power which prevents all damage from a single attack, lets us play a Setup or Drill from our hand into play, and gives us a critical damage effect if we decided to do so.

Man, and I thought last level was nuts. But this one is on a whole… ‘nother level. Yeah, I couldn’t help myself. But seriously, this level is crazy good! With so much defensive strength, and the ability to set your board up something fierce, this level could make a bunch of control decks launch into top tier. Oh, and with two built in ways to put Setups into play you shouldn’t have to fear being stage locked any time soon.

Level Three

Next we have: Krillin – Z-Warrior. This level 3 has a PUR of 5 and a staggering 4 stages of E Bracket to boast just how much of a powerhouse Krillin has become.

Again, Krillin has his Constant Power that gains 2 stages whenever a Setup enters play under your control. But this time it also allows you to raise or lower a player’s anger 1 level whenever a Setup or Drill enters play under your control during combat!

With this level Krillin goes back on the offensive with an Energy attack costing 2 stages and dealing 5 life cards of damage. This attack also has the secondary effect to search your Life Deck for a Styled Setup or Drill and place it into play. And on top of all of that, should it hit, you also get to Rejuvenate 3 and banish 3 cards from your opponent’s discard pile.

All things considered, this level feels the tamest of the bunch. It feels very similar to his Level One with a small damage buff, the ability to get a Drill as well, and the nice anger manipulation if a Setup or Drill enters play under your control during combat (which, spoiler alert, will likely happen thanks to the secondary effect of the attack). Now if you happen to hit with this attack, oh man are you getting some insane value! Rejuving 3 is definitely no joke, and being able to cherry-pick 3 annoying cards out of your opponent’s discard and banish them could go a long way against certain decks.

Level Four

Finally we reach his new Level Four: Krillin – Victorious. This level comes with a PUR of 6 and again is topped off with 4 stages of E Bracket. Whatever Krillin’s been up to these past 7 years, he is certainly unafraid of physical decks. This level is also where Krillin takes off the kid’s gloves and lets you know he means business!

As with his other levels, his stage gaining Constant Power is here. This is coupled this time with the ability to Rejuvenate 1 and banish the top card of your opponent’s Life Deck if a Setup or Drill enters play under your control during combat.

Like last level, Krillin has an Energy attack costing 2 stages that deals 5 life cards of damage. This time however it can be used twice per combat and has the insane ability on hit to search your Life Deck, discard pile or Banished Zone for a Setup or Drill (non-styled included!) and place it into play.

Boy howdy, this level is just nasty. As it currently stands (not knowing any further changes or updates), you can do some insane things with this level. How about for starters getting the ability to use Dragon Radar 3 times in one combat if your opponent should draw no energy blocks! Or how about searching for both copies of Visiting the Past to use over and over? Even on a more tame level, being able to search for cards like Heroic Assistance to gain a total of 4 stages (two from Krillin’s constant and two from HA) with each hit to keep refilling your deck with three cards at a time (one from Krillin’s constant power, one from HA and one from shuffling HA back in) and slowly chip away your opponent’s Life Deck with each banish trigger is just an insane amount of value!

I really cannot wait to see what people are capable of pulling off with this insane level!

Android 18

Now I think we can all safely say that Krillin’s last flame, Maron – Popular, was a bit of a dud. Fear not however, as in our 7 years since the final confrontation with Cell, Krillin has found a new leading lady to show just what support really means. And boy does she show it in spades.

I’m of course talking about Android 18 – Wife, the new Hero-Aligned Ally coming out in the set. Krillin has always been an old-fashioned sort of guy, and because of this A18 won’t be able to leave your deck so long as you both shall live. That is to say, as long as your MP is Krillin, even if she would leave play, you can just go right ahead and shuffle her into your Life Deck instead of putting her in your discard or banished zone. Truly an eternal bond.

Not to forget her other family bonds however, A18 also allows you to use her Power whenever you want as long as your MP is Krillin or A17. Now isn’t strange that she would have A17 listed on her even though she’s a Hero Ally? Well anyone currently watching Dragon Ball Super should know that since the events of the Cell Saga, A17 has turned over a new leaf and is fighting alongside the rest of our Z Warriors. I certainly appreciate the nod to a Hero-Aligned A17 in the future, and look forward to seeing what the Ranger can do on the side of justice, though it might not be for quite some time.

So what does she actually do? Well, she has a Defensive Power that stops any physical or energy attack. You can also choose any card in your discard pile and Rejuvenate it, but if you do, you’ll have to shuffle A18 back into your Life Deck as well.

So given that Krillin has the ability to pull Setups out of your deck on command on each of his levels (level 4 restricting it to a hit, but potentially two times in one turn), it’s pretty safe to say that A18 not only can stop an attack for you, but set you up to grab the exact Setup you want once she shuffles it and herself back into your deck.

Future Thoughts on Deck Design

Now normally this would be the section where I would piece together a theory-crafted list showing the strengths of the MP and what he can do. But with the Meta about to get potentially blown wide open with new Masteries, a new CRD/Frozen List, and potentially big changes (if Blue Terror‘s update is any indication), it would be pretty silly to build a deck based on only a fraction of information.

So instead, I thought I’d compile a list of Setups and Drills I think are of note for each Style currently in the game to look at while building for this new beast of an MP.

With Visting the Past as an auto-inclusion in most decks, what do we really have to offer here?

Heroic Assistance: If for no other reason than the insane value on Level Four.
Dragon Radar: My gut tells me that this version of Krillin is destined for DBV.
Elimination: No one remembers this card, but it could be a sleeper hit for Level Four.

Black has had its fair share of powerful Setups and Drills, with the likes of Black Smoothness Drill, Black Power Up and Black Searching Technique as examples. So what are some other useful tools that Black has to offer?

Black Absorption Drill: Dial it up on level 2 and put your opponent in a world of hurt.
Black Confinement: Much easier to do all 3 now if you’re playing Conflict Mastery!
Black Learning Drill: It might be time to tech this card (especially for the mirror!)
Black Erasing Drill: Another great one-of that you can tutor with Level 2.

Aside from cards like Blue Positioning Drill and Blue Blockade, what can we find for Krillin here?

Blue Training: It might be time to see what this card can really do.
Blue Ki Build Up: Krillin can basically use this for free!
Blue Trick: I did say I felt this was a DBV deck, right?
Blue Dominance: Oops, I guess I’m level 2 now.

Orange has always been more of a Drill-heavy style. So what Setup toys does it have for Krillin? (Disclosure: As of right now, this might be the weakest for Krillin given the current card pool of Styled Setups.)

Orange Encouragement: There’s not a lot that needs to be said here. It’s good.
Orange Energy Gathering: That quick “pick me up” when you need it.
Orange Celebration: Some extra deck thinning that turns your level one into level two!

Red has had a number of great Setups throughout its run. Cards like Red Relaxation, Red Blaze or Red Flourish should be easy includes. What else does it hold for us?

Red Bribe: DBV; mark my words, it’s happening with this MP stack.
Red Panic: Another way to turn level one into level two.
Red Burning Rage: Another powerful tool to shut off Endurance and make crits easier.

“Oh, I’ll survive. Then, it’s bacon time.”

And that’s our first look at Krillin. I really cannot express the amount of insane decks that are likely to sprout up from this great MP stack. It’s been a long time since Krillin has been at the top of the pack. Welcome home!

As always, please stay tuned as more First Impressions will be sprouting up as more MPs, Masteries and the like are revealed. This set is already getting off to a great start and I’m personally pumped to see what else is in store for us all!

Until next time, FanZ Warriors!

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Revelation Preview: Going for the Gold!

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Hey everyone!

It’s that special time of the year again. That time of excitement and uncertainty. Of high expectations and fear of short comings. Of anticipation and eventual cathartic release.

No, I’m not talking about some school dance with that girl you hope to get further than awkward hand holding with. I’m talking about FanZ Spoiler Season!!!

That’s right! Today I thought I’d kick off the spoiler season for this blog the only way I know how: with a taste of victory!

Diamonds are Forever, But Gold is for Champs

For those of you who might not know, I run an event in the Dragonball Z Octgn League Facebook group called the World Martial Arts Tournament. Like the tournament in DBZ, the event is set up into brackets, with single versions of characters facing off to see who the current reigning champion will be.

It’s the only event guaranteed not to produce mirror-matches for its participants and is a great way for players to experience different MPs and test out new decks that they’ve always wanted to try but couldn’t in a more heavily competitive environment.

We are currently winding down our second FanZ version of the event, and so I thought what better card to preview than the WMAT Champion Belt itself!

Now while Wayne “Dakid” Bettis is our current reigning champion in the FanZ WMAT, and currently working on becoming the first two-time back to back gold winner; I think we all know someone who has already beaten him to the punch. Though much like Dakid, he is totted as “the people’s champ”, and truthfully we can’t help but cheer him on as he notches victory after victory into his belt.

That person is, of course, Mr. Satan!

The Only Belt Fit for a Champion

With consecutive wins at the 24th and 25th World Martial Arts Tournament, Hercule has done what no other Z Warrior has been able to do. Not only has he won the gold twice, but he has done so in back to back tournaments: quite an impossible feat worthy of praise and adoration, if one were to ask this admiring fan.

So it’s safe to say that because of this heroic effort no one else is truly worthy of wearing the gold but our hero (and savior of the planet, I might add), Hercule. It should come as no surprise then that he’d be sporting the gold-plated accessory as his new Named card for Revelation.

Now before we get into my thoughts on the card itself, I do want to preface by saying I was very much hoping that the belt would be available to every MP in the game. My hope was that I would be able to make custom versions of the belt to give away to our WMAT format champions with an image of the MP they had used to claim victory. In a perfect world this would have panned out. But even with that out of the question, it shouldn’t detract from the card itself that we are about to see.

So let’s take a look:

There’s a lot to take in about this card.

First, let’s address the elephant in the room by saying that 99 Endurance seems… a bit excessive. Clearly while no one can defeat the champ, this might be just a tad bit overboard. But perhaps it will finally help push Hercule to that pinnacle of champion we have all secretly been hoping for since his introduction in Awakening.

Next, we finally have an attachment worthy of tutoring for the champ. While playing it as a Setup and activating it is still a completely reasonable thing to do, having access to Unleashed for this incredible card might make it rather appealing for certain builds of the champ.

Another impressive point about this card is the fact that your opponent cannot banish or destroy this card once it has hit the field. So whether we are waiting to activate it at the best possible moment, or it’s already attached to us, they haven’t earned the right to touch the gold, meaning it’s here to stay for as long as we want it to be.

Of course, the effect of the card’s activation is also something to note. Similar to Hercule’s Grand Entrance, this card allows us to search for an Ally, play them and use their power for the remainder of combat, regardless of the champ’s current power stage. This could very well be another great tool at the Champ’s disposal should he find himself an Ally based deck to explore.

Finally, we have the incredible ability (as an action during combat) to discard a card from our hand in order to search our Life Deck for a Named card and place it into our hand. This has me very excited at the different implications this could mean for our champ.

First, while on his early levels, we are now able to search our deck for Hercule’s Dynamite Kick not once, but twice in the same combat! I personally have been toying with a Hercule stagelock deck for some time now, and while its current version has been running Black Devious Mastery for the hand control, I may have found the perfect reason to step out of the Stone Age and into one of the more interesting Masteries the style has to offer. Being able to do 8 unstoppable stages guaranteed each combat is something that I very much look forward to testing in my immediate future. Not to mention, we now have a way to search our deck for Dynamite Kick while we are on our higher levels; something we just couldn’t do before!

Second however (and possibly more intriguing), is what this could potentially mean for our champ in the upcoming set. Why give him an ability he already has access to…? Unless he won’t have access to it! While I have no real proof to back this up, it does seem awfully suspicious that he’s been given this to add to his arsenal. Especially at the last real opportune time to update him as an MP before he begins to fade into the background in order to let these lesser heroes take center stage. Highly suspicious if one were to ask me.

The Champ is Here!

And that’s our preview for today!

I hope you guys are as excited for this set as I am! With so many new things to look forward to (new Masteries, new MPs, traits matter cards, etc), this set is primed to change the way we play the game for quite some time.

I know I personally can’t wait to see just what it all has in store for us! So stay tuned as preview season unwinds. I’ll be throwing up my first impressions articles for the different MPs and Masteries, along with any other thoughts (or potential previews) that arise throughout the season.

Until next time, FanZ Warriors!

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Color By Numbers, Pt 1: The Importance of a Color Wheel

Image result for bob ross color quotes

Hey everyone!

So back in March I wrote up an article talking about different aspects of the game that I thought could use improving. One of those aspects was a better defined Color Wheel to help balance the different Styles of the game more concretely. At the time, many readers seemed interested to know what I had to say about the Color Wheel, and what that could mean. I knew that topic would be a pretty daunting task to cover, so I decided to put it off for a while to gather my thoughts on the matter.

Well, since I’ve been rather absent of late on the blog, I thought now would be the perfect time to sit down and try to put into words my thoughts for what the Color Wheel could mean for this game (and really any game). There’s a lot to consider with something as important as this, as it establishes the baseline for each Style in the game, so it would be far too much to talk about in a single article.

Today’s article is going to discuss the concept of the Color Wheel in general, why it matters, and what it can help with during set design.

What is The Color Wheel?

To start, we should go over what this concept really means at its core.

The idea of the Color Wheel is a notion borrowed from Magic the Gathering’s “Color Pie”. In Magic, the Color Pie was established to represent each of the 5 colors in the game and how those colors interact with each other. Each different color is based on unique principles. Each color is placed in a particular spot on the Color Pie so that they are surrounded on each side by their “allied colors” or those which share similar beliefs, and across from their “enemy colors” or those which contradict their beliefs.

For example, the color White in Magic represents ideas like Law and Justice. Its allies are Blue (the color of Order and Logic) and Green (the color of Community and Harmony). White’s enemy colors are Black (the color of Selfishness and Greed) and Red (the color of Chaos and Emotion). Because these basic guidelines exist in the game, we have a clear idea on what to expect from each color in the game, and we are given a logical path to follow when it comes to our potential deck design. With Magic, a great starting point is to focus on Allied colors when building your first few decks, as these pairings tend to be more powerful than playing a single color, they give you options for playing multi-colored cards in your deck, and they likely have a similar path to victory with each other.

So from this system, we can learn how to create balance within any game that uses some sort of category to separate our different options. While DBZ does not allow for playing multiple colors in the same deck like Magic does, what an established Color Wheel can do for the game is inform its players on what to expect when looking at a Style, and to understand its strengths and weaknesses.

Why Does Having a Color Wheel Matter?

One of the biggest hurdles when creating a game is trying to present your players with a variety of options that are both unique and interesting. How do you create this uniqueness? With an established set of restrictions.

DBZ has a great thing going for it. The game is based around MPs and Masteries. Each Mastery represents one of the 6 Styles in the game, and presents its own unique spin on what that Style can do. Each player can only have one Mastery per deck, and because of this, must only use that Style of cards to construct their deck.

Immediately we see a divide for the game, and one of the major choices a player must decide on whenever they wish to build a deck. “What Style should I choose?” Because this is such a big decision, we have to make each choice an interesting one for the player. If each Style functions the same, than its no longer a matter of individual expression, but just the min-maxing of effect-to-cost in order to achieve victory.

Which game sounds more appealing to you? The one that allows you to freely express yourself to show what you are capable of achieving through creative thought, careful planning and quick decision-making; or the one where players have identical tools and the outcome is based solely on luck of the draw? Personally, I know which one I’d choose!

Because of this, it’s no surprise that each Style in the game focuses on different aspects. Some care more about Drills, while others care about anger, or Rejuvenation, or Allies. By giving players the ability to identify with the Style that best speaks to their interest, we give each player the opportunity to craft their own unique experience with the game.

How Does the Color Wheel Work?

The next article will cover this section in greater detail, but for now, the basics for how the Color Wheel works is that it divides each different aspect or effect in the game and tries to decide the best place to use them.

Back in my original article from March, I presented the idea of the 4 categories for effects: “Always Can”, “Sometime Can”, “Rarely Can” and “Never Can”. For each Style, we look at an ability or effect and decided which of these categories to place it in. Obviously, you might feel biased to place each effect into the “Always Can” category for your favorite style! But because a game is at its strongest when tough decision must be made, we want to keep each Style feeling distinct.

This is where the Color Wheel comes into use. By placing each Style onto the Wheel in a particular order, we can see where these effects can be best used, and how they can effect the Styles next to them.

Let’s use the example of Destroying Drills. Here we have an effect that could very well be useful for each Style to have access to. However, if we give it freely to each Style, all we really have done is told our players “Don’t play drills!” So what do we do? Well we use the Color Wheel!

Let’s say, for the sake of this example, that the Color Wheel is set up in the following way:

We can see here that there are clear guidelines to what Styles share similar ideas with the others around them, which ones share weaker similarities, and which Styles sits on the opposite end of the Wheel, completely opposing the Style across from it.

For our “Destroying Drills” example, let’s place the ability primarily in Saiyan (the bright Green wedge). Our logic here is that Saiyan is about fast-paced action; little planning with all its focus based on the battle itself. Since this means that Saiyan likely won’t have many Drills of its own in play, it makes sense that it would be opposed to giving its opponent the ability to capitalize on them.

So assuming this, we can safely say that Saiyan is firmly in the “Always Can” category for destroying drills. So then, using our 4 different categories, and the ideas that we’ve learn so far, we can further assume that since Namekian and Red are touching the Saiyan wedge they will fall into the “Sometimes Can” category. It might not be their major concern, like it is with Saiyan, but they have a good idea that keeping things off the board means less options for their opponent. Moving on, we see that Blue and Black are next to those, which would place them in the “Rarely Can” category for our example. Since these Styles often rely on Drills themselves, they can see the benefits of keeping them around, so they will keep their eyes open for particularly power drills to remover, but will think less about removing their opponent’s drills and more on the parts of the game that really concern them. Finally, since Orange is across from Saiyan for our example, they would fall into the “Never Can” category. Again, this makes sense, Orange is the style that focuses on Drills completely. It understands that drills are a vital part of the game, but also knows that its drills are far superior to any other styles. Because of this, its likely that Orange would care less about what its opponent’s drills are capable of, and more about keeping its drills safe and in play for as long as possible.

The Wheel of Fate is Turning…

So that brings us to the end of this part of the series.

Hopefully this has established a good baseline for why having something like the Color Wheel is important and what it can do for the game. The next article in the series will dive deeper into the actual construction of the Color Wheel, what placement can do to a Style’s identity, and what can be done to help strengthen each Style’s “Never Can” issues.

Until next time, FanZ Warriors!

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FanZ – It Takes A Village to Raise a CCG

Image result for baby gohan

Boy has it been a while since I’ve sat down to write one of these. I’d say that there were legitimate reasons behind it, but truthfully it’s that I just haven’t felt the same about the game as of late. Now don’t take that as a negative, because it isn’t all bad. However, I just felt lately that I had run out of things of importance to discuss with the community; and so rather than just churn out subpar content for the sake of it, I decided it was time for a bit of a break.

I know there have been two events for the game since the last time I wrote something up, Gencon’s Grand Kai Event and Gatlinburg’s 1K, and while I know there should be something written up about them here in the blog — if for no other reason than to keep the trend of discussing all events for the game in one central location —  I just didn’t feel the same excitement to write about them as I had with others in the recent past.

That should not however take away anything from those who played in or won these events. So congratulations to Tim Batow (Saiyan Dynamic Raditz) at Grand Kai and Logan Mills Southerland (Saiyan Rampaging Drawku) at Gatlinburg. You guys deserve your just praise for a job well done!

“So then why come back now?” you may be asking yourself. Well, in truth, a discussion started awhile ago in Retro that I wanted to add my two cents to, however it degenerated into something very negative and so I decided it would be best to just ignore it for the time being. However, someone recently commented about it again, and so I wanted to present my thoughts somewhere where I could fully get across how I feel, without potentially stirring up any unhealthy disputes before presenting my full thoughts.

And so here we are.

What Is In Store For FanZ?

I don’t believe the DBZ community will ever truly go anywhere unless they are forced to or the majority somehow lose interest.

The biggest downfall for the game at this point in time will be the lack of events or content to keep the hype going. I personally think that where the game is now could be solved in a number of keys ways that I will be addressing one at a time below. Yet these individual topics are really all woven together at their core.

Even if none of these ideas I present here are taken for anything more than some guy voicing his opinion, I still think they are valid issues and are worth presenting to the community, in hopes to spark some sort of positive growth.

Time Passes…

The first big thing I’d like to discuss is the frequency of sets. As a living, breathing CCG, a large amount of time is dedicated to the following things: Set Development, Internal Playtesting, Revision, Printing, and Distribution.

However, now that FanZ has evolved beyond the need for physical printings (outside of the luxury of getting cards made for vanity reasons), a large portion of this necessary time has gone the way of the dodo.

So then what can we do to get rid of this wasted time typically eaten up for archaic reasons? Well, for one, we can begin to develop more sets. Likely this would mean that sets would become smaller in nature, to best use this time without jumping further and further into the story at a rapid pace. But I for one think this is a boon for the game, and not a hindrance.

Smaller Sets More Often

We know that Set 10 will involve the time period between the “Seven Years of Peace” all the way to the battle between Gohan and Dabura. Because of this amount of content to cover with the set, and because of what the Dev Team is trying to accomplish by creating their biggest FanZ set to date, the time between set releases will likely be from July 1st (the release date of Legends) to sometime in October or November (the potential release of the upcoming set).

While three and a half months is standard procedure for your average factory-printed card game with thousands (if not millions) of fans patiently waiting for new content, that is a huge chunk of time for a “not-so-living” card game. These full-blooded games have the living tournament scene to distract players while they wait. And while FanZ does have several events locked and loaded for each OP Season, the fact that the game is no longer being played at the local level means that each passing day adds the temptation for its players to wonder off into greener pastures.

Now I fully believe that the die-hard Z fans will never go anywhere, even if they have to wait 3+ months for new content. But lets take a look at what could have been instead if we change to the practice of Smaller Sets More Often:

  • Set 10 – “The Next Generation”
    • Time Frame: “The Seven Years of Peace” to the beginning of the WMAT Arc.
    • Release Date: Mid to Late Sept
    • Set Contents: 6 New Masteries, 8 New MPs (Gohan/Great Saiyaman, Videl, Goten, Kid Trunks, Hercule, Krillin, A18 [Hero] & Piccolo)
    • Set Notes: While this set introduces only Heroes, it allows for more Villains later.
  • Set 11 – “The World Martial Arts Tournament”
    • Time Frame: The World Martial Arts Tournament Arc to the end of the Babidi Arc.
    • Release Date: Late Nov to Early Dec
    • Set Contents: 6 New MPs (Supreme Kai, Vegeta [Villain], Majin Spopovich, Babidi, Majin Pui Pui & Majin Dabura)
    • Set Notes: We’ll hold off on Goku until we can get SSJ2 and SSJ3 as the same stack.
  • Set 12 – “Cosmic Backlash”
    • Time Frame: Bojack Unbound, Broly: Second Coming, Past Filler
    • Release Date: Late Feb
    • Set Contents: 6 New MPs (Bojack, Broly, Trunks, Zarbon, Dodoria & Recoome)
    • Set Notes: Since only 2 movies fall around this arc, we can make some Legacy MPs.
  • Set 13 – “Evil Awakened” 
    • Time Frame: The beginning of the Buu Arc to the beginning of the Fusion Arc
    • Release Date: Mid May
    • Set Contents: 6 New Masteries, 8 New MPs (Majin Buu, Goku, Gohan, Goten, Kid Trunks, Hercule, Babidi & Vegeta [Hero])
    • Set Notes: We can replace Hero Vegeta here (and place him in Kid Buu) if we want.

As you can see, by trimming off just a single month from the normal formula, we are able to make 4 sets in the time it would normally take to release 2 (eating somewhat into the downtime between the third).

Now I’m sure people are going to think “But that won’t give them enough time to playtest everything?!” and you know what, that’s true. But we find ourselves in a very interesting situation with the game as it stands currently.

Let the Community Act As Playtesters

Because cards can be easily changed and updated on The Dead Zone without requiring massive reprints, and because information can be exchanged freely among the Retro community, reaching anyone remotely interested in participating in the game competitively or casually, any balancing issues that arise from cards or game play can be openly discussed between the community and the designers more so than ever before.

By opening up the “floodgates” for community playtesting, we all get to help in some small way revitalize the game with each new set. If we all feel connected to the project, the likelihood of it dwindling becomes a much smaller percentage.

Likewise, it pulls a huge burden off of the Development Team. If they are allowed to freely discuss and design cards, while the community playtests and decides what is potentially problematic for the upcoming OP Season, the Dev Team is given more liberty to try and construct the best sets possible without having to devote several months to closed door testing amongst themselves.

Obviously I feel like some testing would still be done by the Dev Team, as a card can’t really be considered “finished” until they have explored its possibilities with the rest of the card pool. But it allows them to focus more on the idea of a card rather than the “laser focus” involved with balancing each right away.

But Will The Community Catch Everything?

As we’ve all seen in the past (and no doubt in the future as well), no one in this community is afraid to vocalize their distaste for something. The Dev Team could rule it such that a set is not fully tournament legal until a month after its release. Just before this legality and before any major OP Season begins, the Dev Team could hold a “Group Meeting” of sorts, where the community can (hopefully in a reasonable fashion) discuss their concerns and problems that may arise with the Dev Team in an open forum setting, and the Dev Team can take this information and update anything it sees fit before the new Season officially begins.

With this as an active tool, and the OP Season scheduled around set release dates, we could have the chance to discuss decks that need quality of life improvements for future releases, and likewise, could voice our opinions on what has become unbearable in the meta and potentially help freeze problems before they affect another OP Event or Season at large.

While I’m aware that open discussion is somewhat available now under the old way of things, being fully upfront with the community can only help the game remain as positive an experience as possible. Any cards that are released with issues can be fixed (buffed or nerfed) during these Group Meeting sessions, and as a collective we can help to develop the healthiest form of the game possible.

But That’s Just One Guy’s Opinion

For those of you that stuck it out to the end, I thank you for taking the time to fully comprehend the concepts I think the game has at its disposal at this point in time. I’m sure you won’t agree with everything presented here, but I hope you realize that they are things as they could be, and not in any way concrete facts on what they should be.

The more we discuss how things could be handled, the better the experience can be for everyone involved. As always, this is not an attempt to steal power away from The Dev Team, but to present them with a tool that can only help development as the game continues to march on.

Once again, thank you all for checking out today’s article. You are the reason this game continues to exist. Without each and every one of you, none of it would be possible. So thank you for supporting a game and a community we can all be proud to be a part of.

Until next time, FanZ Warriors!

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Theory-crafting 101: A Little Help from My Friends

Hey everyone!

Today is my birthday! So to celebrate (and because it’s that time of the week again), let’s take a look at our next TC101 list together!

I just wanted to say thanks to everyone that has been a part of the blog and FanZ community so far. It has been a great experience getting to be a bigger part of the community once again and I look forward to seeing where FanZ takes us in the future. And it’s all thanks to people like you reading and contributing to the community’s efforts and supporting the game we all love!

Alright, with that mushy stuff out of the way, let’s check back in with our good friend King Kai and see what we can do to try and make him see some more (or any, really) event participation!

The List

MP Levels and Mastery:
1 – King Kai, Mentor
2 – King Kai, Joyful
3 – King Kai, On the Move
4 – King Kai, North Kai
M – Orange Retribution Mastery

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

Allies (6):
1x Gregory – Speedy
1x Tenshinhan – Returned
1x Chaozu – Resurrected
1x Yamcha – Action Ready
1x Icarus – Supportive
1x Puar – Cheerful

Setups (4):
2x King Kai’s Tactics
2x Visiting the Past

Drills (8):
2x Orange Assistance Drill
1x Orange Aura Drill
1x Orange Check Up Drill
1x Orange Captivity Drill
1x Orange Crying Drill
1x Orange Steady Drill
1x Orange Burning Aura Drill

Events (2):
2x King Kai’s Joy Ride

Energy Attacks (27):
3x Orange Left Burst
3x Orange Eruption
3x Orange Rage
3x Orange Fierce Attack
2x Orange Electricity
2x Orange Power Point
2x Orange Precise Shot
3x Overpowering Attack
2x Pesky Barrage
2x Allied Blitz
2x Blinding Energy Move

What Are We Trying to Accomplish

Alright so this list is trying to do a few things, but luckily they all weave together nicely!

First, we are trying to be an MPPV list. Second, we are trying to be an Ally list. And Lastly, we can be an Allied Blitz/Energy Beatdown Survival list. Now those all might sound like very different things, but luckily for us King Kai is designed to do it all!

Normally, leveling in an Ally list (with the exception of Ginyu) will turn off our ability to use our allies. However, King Kai’s levels are designed to give some, if not multiple of our Allies the ability to make action regardless of his power level, so we aren’t strictly cut off from using them. Next, because we are an Energy based deck, our stages will naturally be low enough where one good hit from our opponent will put our allies up and running again – especially because King Kai sits in A & B brackets. Finally, thanks to the majority of anger sitting on Orange’s Energy Combat cards, and with the help of Orange Captivity Drill plus our Mastery, we should be able to jump levels rather quickly!

Now there is a pretty hefty amount of Planning Step cards in this list, so you will have to use your best judgment on how to get around that fact, but as long as you don’t get caught in bad situations, it shouldn’t be a crippling aspect of the deck.

The Power is Yours!

That’s it for this week!

Don’t forget to vote in the poll below for next week’s article! We had a tie at the last minute for 3rd Runner up, so 3 lists will be returning for this week’s poll instead of the normal 2!

Until next time, FanZ Warriors!

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Prepping for the Final Kais: What to Expect?

Image result for dbz supreme kai and grand kai

Hey everyone!

Today I wanted to post my thoughts on what to expect when preparing for the last two major Kai events for this OP Season.

There has been a lot of talk over the last week or so about what decks are the recurring top tier, and a lot of speculation on what may have a fighting chance to dethrone them. So I want to devote today into going over that, and to possibly help guide you towards the decks to play, or at the very least, to watch out for over the next few weeks.

The Events

But first, what are the last two events for this season, and what are the style prizes for winning?

Well those would be:

Supreme Kai – Saturday, July 29th at Paradox Comics-N-Cards in Fargo, ND

Card Creation: Saiyan Style

Grand Kai – Saturday, August 19th at Gencon 2017 in Indianapolis, IN

Car Creation: Namekian Style

What Decks Should You Expect?

So at this point in the season, I feel like there have been a few front runners in terms of the latest “Top Tier” strategies. The two biggest being:

  • Namekian Restored Gohan – Winner of 3 out of the 4 previous Kai events
  • Saiyan Empowered Broly – Winner of East Kai

That being the case, I believe there are a few others lurking on the sidelines that have the potential to jump out and make a name for themselves again before the end of the season. These are likely:

  • Red Ascension (aka Ferrari) Trunks
  • Blue Resolute Goku
  • Orange Retribution A13

These three decks have been known to put up numbers in the past, and I believe that they are all positioned fairly well in the current state of the meta. Whether they will prove themselves to be Kai Winner status remains to be seen, but I would bet my hard-earned Zeni that they have a fighting chance to steal the throne away from our top two performing decks of this season.

Rogue Decks to Consider

With these staple decks defined, what are some of the potential lists to worry about playing against if you are playing one of these top decks, or potentially bringing yourself to catch the current meta off guard?

Well firstly, as talked about over on our sister podcast, the KMDcast, MPPV decks feel like they have the potential to completely blindside a large majority of the meta, should they come unprepared. MPPV decks have had a rocky place in the meta ever since Wall Breaker hit the scene way back in Heroes & Villains, but an explosive version of that style of deck, especially one with the capability to dictate the flow of combat, could really dominate in the current field.

Likewise, MPPV decks with the ability to switch gears into powerful survival strategies could help hedge their bets against decks primed with crit effects and de-leveling tools.

Some of these possibilities are:

  • Awakening Vegeta – in: Red Ascension, Orange Retribution or Saiyan Rampaging.
  • Black Perceptive Tenshinhan
  • Orange Retribution Gohan
  • Red Enraged Piccolo

With the Legacy Bonus Ruling in effect, some interesting control options also present themselves for the meta to explore leading up to these events. Black Devious builds capable of controlling their opponent or dishing out large amounts of damage along with minor disruption could showcase that the style is truly back in flourish.

These options are likely:

  • Black Devious Krillin
  • Black Devious Raditz
  • Black Devious Tenshinhan
  • Black Devious Mercenary Tao

Lastly, the real name of the game this OP season seems to be critical effects and board control. Being able to stop your opponent from amassing a large board state – whether they be Setups, Drills, Allies, Dragon Balls or a combination of any/all of them – is going to be the key to victory. There are a number of decks capable of disrupting this sort of strategy, but rather than name specifics for this final section, I’d like to just present a list of cards to consider when fearing these board heavy strategies.

The tech of choice, in no particular order:

The list can go on and on, but the big point is that the card pool contains a large portion of tools capable of holding back the perfect storm that seems to be these top tier lists. If you are savvy enough to know when to play these cards in order to get the best advantage possible out of them, then I feel you will be setting yourself up to do well against these Juggernauts of the format.

The Time for Training is Nearly Over

With Supreme Kai ready to take off tomorrow afternoon, and Grand Kai right around the corner, the time available to prep is dwindling by the minute. Will you be ready to take on the challenges that lay before you?

Thanks for checking out today’s article! As always, please make sure to check back to this week’s TC101 article and vote on which deck you’d like to see explored next week!

Good luck to those that will be playing in Supreme Kai tomorrow. I look forward to hearing about the (hopefully) diverse meta choices that present themselves. If South Kai is any indication, each style has the chance to push on through to the top!

Until next time, FanZ Warriors!

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Theory-crafting 101: Maximum Over-Saiyan

Hey everyone!

Today’s article is a deck that has had the potential to exist for quite some time now, yet I haven’t seen a ton of people exploring the possibilities. With only a single card in this list coming from the FanZ card pool, I wonder if this might have been a sleeping giant that never got its moment in the sun…

Well, let’s take a look and you be the judge!

The List

MP Levels and Mastery:
1 – Vegeta, Experienced
2 – Vegeta, Imposing
3 – Vegeta, Energized
4 – Vegeta, Pinnacle of Power
M – Saiyan Rampaging Mastery

Blocks (13):
3x Saiyan Outrage
3x Saiyan Arm Catch
2x Saiyan Escape
2x Saiyan Energy Deflection
1x Saiyan Obstruction
1x Saiyan Crouch
1x Time is a Warrior’s Tool

Setups (7):
3x Saiyan Enraged
2x Saiyan Peace
2x Visiting the Past

Events (2):
2x Heroic Energy Sphere

Energy Attacks (26):
3x Saiyan Denial
3x Saiyan Burst
3x Saiyan Energy Outburst
3x Saiyan Tantrum
3x Saiyan Rapid Fire
3x Vegeta’s Final Flash
3x Vegeta’s Galick Gun
3x Quick Blast
2x Crushing Beam

Physical Attacks (12):
3x Saiyan Face Strike
3x Saiyan Dive
3x Saiyan Body Blow
3x Sinister Choke

What Are We Trying to Accomplish?

So this deck really relies heavily on Saiyan Denial to shine. While the deck still puts up an impressive amount of damage without it, the fact that Denial turns cards like Saiyan Dive into a 12 Life Card Damage attack on Level 2 for 0 stages is pretty insane. However, while we are on Level 1, the most damage our Mastery can put out is 1 stage and 2 life without Denial or 3 life with Denial, because of Vegeta’s Level 1 parenthetical text.

Because of this, we’re trying to stay away from a lot of the gimmicky “This card’s Endurance counts as higher” cards for this list or cards that have an extremely high Endurance but a generally weak effect in order to help keep the deck threatening while on Level 1 or when Denial is not attached.

Not only is this list a heavy hitter, but it also can keep MPPV as a relevant strategy thanks to cards like Saiyan EnragedVegeta’s Final Flash and Saiyan Face Strike pumping out 2+ anger when we need it the most. These cards can also act as potential combat enders if we use them to jump to Level 3 or 4.

All-in-all, I think this deck has a great potential as a Double Threat strategy and look forward to seeing how it handles itself in the wilds.

The Power is Yours!

Thanks for checking out the article for today!

As always, please make sure to vote on the deck you’d like to see covered in next week’s TC101. Every vote counts as the top 2 runners up will return in the following week’s poll to keep the dream alive. So let your voice be heard!

Until next time, FanZ Warriors!

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South Kai Tournament Rundown: Crane School is in Session

Image result for dbz crane school

While South Kai slowly fades into fond memories for those that were involved and we gear up for the last two events in the OP season this year, I wanted to take a quick look at the journey that Tao faced down in Slidell, LA last weekend.

Unlike other Tournament reports, since I didn’t make it passed Swiss, I’m going to try and keep my match reports short and sweet. Also because some of the specifics are starting to give way even in my own memory at this point some 6 days later :p

I want to give a quick shout out to Showcase Comics & Collectibles. They ran a very smooth event, and I really enjoyed myself at their shop. If you are in the area, I would definitely check them out.

Alright, so without further adieu, let’s jump into what went down for DBZ’s #1 hired gun – Black Devious Mercenary Tao.

Round One

So turns out there was a bit of an error in entries. Instead of the event being 28 people, we find out that it is only 27, as someone was entered in twice , but with a small misspelling in their name. This leaves me with the Round One bye.

I go talk with Joey DiCarlo, and he mentions that he has a deck with him, but that he wasn’t intending to enter as the Dev Team try not to play in sanctioned events since they have more testing and higher knowledge of what decks are likely to do well. I inform Joey that I didn’t drive 8 1/2 hours to try and get a free win. I came to play the game that we all know and love, regardless of the outcome. We take a quick poll of the room, and the verdict is pretty clear – We Want Joey In!

So needless to say, Joey and I end up being paired together. And also needless to say, my good nature is the death of me, as Joey’s Black Perceptive Tien puts the hurt on pretty badly and pretty quickly.

Our match has a very interesting pace. The self-mill from Tien starts to catch up to him as he misses every opportunity short of a Black Gut Crusher with no legal target remaining. Joey hits two big combats that really turn the tide in his favor however. Both involving Black Swirl naming Mercenary Tao’s Puzzles, both of which end up rotting in my hand as the only combat-ender/block for those particular combats. At the end of the match, Tien stands tall as the better of the two Crane Masters.

My Record: 0-1.

Round Two

Round Two I’m paired against Chris Clotfelter sporting his Namekian Knowledge Piccolo, so I know right away this game is going to be a grindy one.

He jumps to level 3 fairly quickly in the game, but I eventually start to find my anti-anger cards and am able to stop his chances of MPPV-ing for a while. However I start to realize the same issue I had against Joey Round One; the random mill is starting to kill me. With no real way to rejuv cards outside of having my attacks blocked, the damage from Knowledge is starting to pile up. And since Namekian’s best rejuv effects are on their blocks, I’m trying desperately not to attack unless I absolutely need to.

Eventually he does make his way to Level 4, but at that point I’m nearly dead. He winds up getting DBV and Survival on me in the same action, an overkill if ever there was one haha.

My Record: 0-2.

At this point I’m starting to second guess what I was going to play for the rest of the event. I came in expecting MPPV, stage lock and physical beats, but have so far played against two energy heavy mill plans, something my deck has a glaring weakness too! Things are not looking great.

Round Three

My opponent this round is Stoney Hogan, playing Saiyan Rampaging Gohan. The sight of this picks my spirits up a bit. This is likely a physical beats deck and likely an MPPV deck. Time to see just how prepared I am for this.

Turns out, very. Unfortunately, our match is fairly one-sided as I clamp down on his anger hard and begin to end combat left and right, with MT’s Super Dodon Wave already in place to papercut my way to a very slow, painful victory.

My Record: 1-2.

After the match, Stoney and I play another game where he tests out the deck he had considered playing instead – Saiyan Dynamic Drawku. That game goes much better in his favor, and while not the official game, it goes to show that sometimes you should trust your instinct on what the better deck choice is.

Round Four

Unfortunately, my Round Four opponent’s name escapes me, although he was a very fun opponent to play against. He was sporting a Red Ruthless Drawku build, and again the gears start spinning in my head.

While not an MPPV list, combat is vitally important to this deck. I’m able to get him to  burn an early Visiting the Past into a Puzzles as my first action, completely killing his momentum and shifting the game in my favor. From that point on, his discard pile, hand and deck became incredibly difficult to protect from Tao’s pokes and prods. Any real push for momentum is met with one of the 8 ways for me to end combat or from tricks like Black Strength Display or Black Memories shredding his hand apart, stopping him dead in his tracks. He is left as another victim to the papercuts.

My Record: 2-2.

Round Five

The final Round finds me paired against Daniel Behee, a player I have tested with numerous times on OCTGN (though not with this particular build). He is running Orange Retribution Frieza with the Premiere Level One. Is that anger you plan on gaining… I think we can see where this is going.

The control is real this game with a first combat, first action Wall Breaker from my side of the table. From that point forward its a tug of war game to keep Wall Breaker and Dodon Wave off thanks to his tech card of Afterimage Technique.

Luckily, since Tao is able to shuffle a card from hand into his deck to draw, neither one of those cards is left on top to be taken as damage and they find their way to my hand over and over again until I’m finally able to Black Searching Technique the Afterimage out of his deck (along with his Sagacious Strikes eventually), basically sealing off his chances at getting to Level 2 until it is far too late.

The cuts run deep in this match as well.

Final Record: 3-2.

Final Thoughts

As I mentioned in my previous write-up: Mill, DBV and Energy Beats are a surprisingly hard match for Black Tao to handle, at least with the build I was playing. I commented on a few changes I think I would have made on some straggler cards in the list, and I think turning those into tech slots for those harder match-ups might have made it more plausible to walk into Top 8 with my Rogue Brewer head held high.

That being the case, I was happy with the results I put up, taking home the Best in Black Playmat, and look forward to taking yet another unknown MP to a winning record at the next event I attend, though that likely won’t be until next season, as Fargo is a bit far away and Gencon is sold out at this point.

I hope you enjoyed this quick write up. If you haven’t already checked out my previous article about the deck itself, its strategies and the changes I think should be made, I highly recommend checking it out. Tao is an MP I have a deep love for in the game, and nothing would make me happier than to see him played more regularly in the competitive meta.

As always, please don’t forget to go check out this week’s TC101 article and vote on the poll for which deck you’d like to see published next! The only votes that don’t count are the ones never cast in the first place!

Until next time, FanZ Warriors!

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