5…4…3…2…1…

Welcome to Raw is Wheelo!

Hey everyone! Sorry for the lack of updates as of late. Unfortunately I was rather sick during the week and was unable to provide any of updates I was hoping to bring you. So to make up for it, and since it is Monday now, I decided why not give everyone a look into the deck I’ve been testing over the last few days, and give you a little WWE nostalgia to boot. Seriously, look at this list and tell me it doesn’t bring the image of the ayatollah of rock and rolla directly into your mind. I dare you!

The List

MP Levels and Mastery:
1 – Dr. Wheelo, Big Brain
2 – Dr. Wheelo, Scheming
3 – Dr. Wheelo, Confined
4 – Dr. Wheelo, Robotic
M – Orange Retribution Master

Blocks (13):
3x Orange Refocus
2x Orange Defense
2x Orange Energy Catch
2x Orange Dismissal
3x Orange Juke
1x Time is a Warrior’s Tool

Setups (5):
3x Dr. Wheelo’s Revival
2x Visiting the Past

Drills (16):
2x Orange Check-Up Drill
2x Orange Distracting Drill
2x Orange Crashing Drill
2x Orange Torching Drill
1x Orange Crying Drill
1x Orange Joint Restraint Drill
1x Orange Steady Drill
1x Orange Burning Aura Drill
1x Orange Hiding Drill
1x Orange Possession Drill
1x Orange Thumbs Up Drill
1x Orange Disaster Drill

Events (3):
3x Villainous Energy Sphere

Energy Attacks (8):
3x Orange Power Point
3x Orange Precise Shot
2x Orange Combined Burst

Physical Attacks (15):
3x Orange Collision
3x Orange Bicycle Kick
3x Orange Charged Kick
3x Orange Enraged Bash
3x Orange Knee Strike

What Are We Trying to Accomplish?

So at its core, this deck is your standard Orange Retribution deck. We’re leveling, we’re moving drills all over the place, we’ve got value pouring out of our ears, and we’re making our opponent sad that they weren’t also playing Orange after seeing the ridiculous things we are doing.

But! We are also a Wheelo Deck. So mill is also a big foundation of our strategy. Bicycle Kick loops with Torching, Crashing and Check-Up feel so good in this list. Plus our level 3 and 4 increase our mill, making the clock tick down much faster than your opponent may be ready for.

We also get the ability to tell our opponent when it is and is not okay to play events thanks to Dr. Wheelo’s Revival. This on top of 3x VES means that cards like Unleashed should hopefully be a pretty useless card for our opponent to try and capitalize on.

And finally, we’re a physical beat-down deck. That’s right! This brains got hands!! Seriously, with several of our drills increasing our stage damage on top of Distracting Drill and a mess of +5 attacks, he puts the hurt on quick!

Things to Consider When Playing this Deck

Like many Orange Retribution lists, sequencing is everything. A mistimed level change could interrupt Bicycle Kick chains, reset your damage modifiers and be a terrible time in general. The main goal is not to go into combat without a game plan. Luckily, Orange is one of the safest styles to cruise around with thanks to Check Up and the plethora of ways to get it in and out of play, so you have some room for error.

Another thing to think about is while a lot of our attacks can dish out damage once we are up and running, we don’t do a ton in the early game, nor when our board is empty. Thanks to Retribution Mastery however, we are able to jump from level 1 to 2 in literally 2 actions if our opponent has no interaction for our anger. Big Brain’s ability to set our anger to 3 with our first action in the game is a god-send for this deck. Once we are on Level 2 we are ready to rock with +2 life cards for each attack and a mill for our opponent’s trouble each time we block. Again, this deck cranks up the clock fast!

If you have been looking for a fun list to play in Orange, and don’t want to play a mainstream MP, Wheelo’s got you covered!

FanZ Will Never, Ever Be the Same Again!

And there you have it! The Y2W problem has presented itself. Do you think you’re man enough to handle it?

Hopefully all the roadblocks are finally out of the way and I’ll be able to deliver on some of the content I have been planning on. A few people reached out with the idea of some guest writers during my illness. If anyone is interested in doing some guest writing, please feel free to reach out to me on Facebook and I’d be happy to discuss the idea. This isn’t a guarantee that you’ll be on the blog, but if you’ve got an article idea I haven’t touched on yet, I just might be willing to give the reins over for a few minutes.

Until next time, FanZaHolics!

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East Kai Personal Event Breakdown (Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Meta)

Hey everyone! Remember Me???

Having taken a quick break between East Kai and now to visit some friends where I used to live in Charlottesville, VA, I have finally returned to my PC and am able to update the blog once again! So let’s get right into it:

East Kai was a good day to be Saiyan Broly. It was not, however, a good day to be Resolute Broly.

For those of you curious how my personal experience for the event was, here is a quick run down of the event for me. I’ll warn you ahead of time though, it’s a real tear-jerker.

Before beginning my breakdown I want to make a quick shout-out to Matt Coombs, Thomas Engel and Josh Thomas. Without their help, I would not have made it to New Jersey or had a place to stay during the event. You guys are truly great and I’m glad to have you all as close friends!

As well, I want to thank The Comic Book Store for being a great venue for the event! They really knew how to put on an event, giving out a bunch of door prizes and being genuinely friendly and positive people for everyone involved. If you are in the Glassboro, NJ area, do yourself a solid and go check them out!

With that heartfelt sentiment out of the way, let’s head into East Kai!

Before the Event

After walking around and meeting several people from Retro in person, I decide to look around and see what the event is looking like. To my surprise, I see very little Goku and Orange, and a surprising amount of Saiyan and Gohan.

I came into the event thinking about running a Blue Resolute Frieza Ball list that Matt Coombs and I had brewed up during our testing from the week prior, but with so much Namekian and Saiyan I start to have my doubts, as there will be a large amount of crits and crit effects flying around throughout the day.

After thinking about my options (I had brought 4 decks with me: Blue Resolute Frieza, Blue Resolute Broly, Orange Retribution Vegeta and Black Conflict Pikkon), I decide on playing the Blue Resolute Broly list I had with me. It was the deck I had the best testing with and the most games under my belt leading up to the event. Not to mention the match up seems pretty favorable against the Gohan lists floating around the room.

Round One vs Wayne Bettis (Blue Resolute Broly)

First and foremost, I have to say, if you haven’t had the chance to play against Wayne or pick his brain about the meta, you are truly missing out. He is a genuine treat to talk with and one of the best people I’ve had the privilege of meeting through the game.

Case in point, we have both decided on our own that Blue Resolute Broly is a solid choice for the event. Already a check in my book for good judgment calls. However, this is certainly not a match I am excited to play, as it really comes down to a coin flip. Whoever gets the first combat in their favor is likely going over.

In true fashion, Wayne gets the early upper-hand, landing a sphere on my Unleashed attempt first combat and landing an early I’ll Dig Your Grave! to push some solid damage through. The match turns into a slug-fest for the next few turns, and while we have a true “DBZ!” moment of playing a sphere on his sphere to protect my Time is a Warrior’s Tool, in the end the game goes to Wayne, though I do pride myself on bridging the gap to under a dozen cards before all is said and done.

My Record: 0-1

After our match, we play another game with two of his decks: Black Conflict Vegeta vs Namekian Radiant Lord Slug. Both decks were incredibly tuned, and we discussed the merit of running them in the event itself, but ultimately he felt more comfortable with the Broly choice. Unfortunately for us, it wouldn’t really pan out in either of our favors, as Wayne ends the day on 3-3. Perhaps Vegeta would have been the better choice?

I suppose we’ll never really know.

Round Two vs Kevin Curtis (Namekian Knowledge Cell)

Kevin is sporting the Awakening Cell levels for his stack, which right away lets me know that this is going to be a grindy game from turn one. And I find out quickly that I’m not wrong.

Kevin jumps to level 2 rather early and I slowly start to get milled out of the game. While Kevin is running the full 7 Namek Dragon Balls, Broly’s power isn’t able to banish one until late in the game, doing me no real favors.

Cell gets to do wacky Ally Cell things, and the over-all mill power of the deck is just too much for me. The game ends up in Kevin’s favor.

My Record: 0-2

One of the big concerns I’m noticing about my matches so far is the fact that I’m having a much harder time leveling than I originally expected. Both rounds so far I have been stuck on Level 1, making my games pretty one-sided in my opponents’ favors. Somehow these issues did not present themselves during testing, and I’m beginning to wonder if I should have included some more anger into my list to make up for having my copies of Unleashed or I’ll Dig Your Grave! milled into my discard.

Round Three vs Ryan O’ Malley (Red Ascension A19)

I find myself sitting next to Wayne and his opponent this round, Alex Sabott. All 3 of us have our eyes light up when we see my opponent is rocking a Red Ascension A19 deck. Wayne makes the comment “How am I expected to pay attention to my match when all I want to know is what is going on in this deck?” and I could not agree more!

A19 has always been an idea I’ve wanted to mess with in the back of my mind, and honestly, with the meta being so Energy-heavy, he seems like a really great choice for the event. Unfortunately for Ryan, I find out after our match that he has decided not to run any of A19’s Named cards in favor of some other choices. While I’m all for playing to your strengths, I think that A19’s Energy Absorption could have been the sleeper tech card that could have taken the event by storm! Being able to turn off immediate effects from energy attacks such as Saiyan Tracking Blast (no attaching for you!) or Namekian Maximum Will (I’ll keep my anger, thanks) might have been incredible plays. Not to mention the interaction with Red Downward Burst to return your Energy Absorptions to reuse them! Man, just thinking about this makes me wish I would have tested this before the event!

While Ryan is able to jump to Level 2 fairly quickly, I am able to land a Blue Knee to knock him back down and from that point forward I have a pretty hard lock on our match. By the end of the match I am on Level 3, and after a huge I’ll Dig Your Grave! turn, the game ends in my favor.

My Record: 1-2

Round Four vs Pedro Gonzalez (Saiyan Empowered Gohan)

This is the round the dream died, and it by no means has anything to do with Pedro. He was a wonderful opponent to play against, and I think his approach to Saiyan Gohan (playing Awakening 1-3, and Future Gohan 4) was something truly innovative for the current meta. My play ability this round, however, is virtually non-existent. It is very possible that you could have walked over to our table and thought “Oh, someone brought their friend that has never played the game before. That’s pretty cool.” You would have never guessed I had any understanding for how triggers work in this game had you seen the sad display put on by myself at this point in the event.

Some highlights from our match include:
– We missed Rejuvenating Pedro’s Saiyan Crouch until near the end of the first combat.
– I forget to trigger my Broly Level 1 power when Pedro levels to 2, having him gain 5 free stages.
– I Unleashed after a Saiyan Severing Punch, allowing me to tutor an attach card but nothing else. (When I really need to level and delevel him)
– I forget to trigger the Blue Rebuke I tutor with my poorly timed Unleashed, and have it banished by Gohan’s Level 3 power.

Clearly today was not meant to be my day for Dragon Ball Z. I end up dropping this round and deciding that Lunch and some self-reflection is much needed at this point in the day.

Final Record: 1-3 😦

Thoughts After the Event

Luckily, my poor showing in the event did not discourage me from thinking about the event as a whole afterwards. After talking with a few other players, mostly Wayne, Alex, and the group mentioned in the beginning of my article, we come to the conclusion that MPs like A19 and A20 might have actually been a great choice on the day. With so few people prepared for Energy-based decks and having little Energy-based defenses themselves, both these Androids may have snuck past most people’s radars had they had a bigger presence.

Likewise, I feel like the Black Conflict Vegeta list Wayne brought with him or a modified version of my Black Conflict Pikkon list might have done some serious damage. While Wayne’s list was much more proactive, dishing out tons of damage and dictating the flow of combat, the slower more Rejuv-heavy Pikkon list I was sporting might have been able to put up a much better fight against a large amount of the field I faced throughout the day.

As a whole, I’m very pleased to see that Josh Duquette pulled out the win with his Saiyan Empowered Broly, and look forward to seeing the Black Styled Card he ends up putting together with The Dev Team.

That’s All She Wrote

And that’s it for my personal breakdown of the East Kai event! With that out of the way, be prepared for a barrage of other content to come out over the next several days, including several TC101 lists and a more in-depth breakdown of the East Kai meta.

It’s good to be back!

Until next time, FanZ Warriors!

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Community and Developer Relations: Rome Wasn’t Built In A Day

Hey everyone!

So for those of you potentially unaware, today sparked a great discussion on the development of FanZ and the connection between The Dev Team and The FanZ Community at large who still support this game that we all love.

In the spirit of community, I’ve decided that today’s article is going to be dedicated to the thoughts presented in Frank DeLuca’s post on the subject by several members of the community. This post will be my views on the matter when dealing with the delicate balance of who should have say in the direction that the game follows and how much player input should or shouldn’t be taken into consideration when developing sets, errata and the general health of the current meta.

With that, let’s dive into the subject at hand!

“I have every faith in it… as I have faith in relations between people.”

As always when discussing these sorts of topics, I want to state first and foremost that this is not an attack on the current Dev Team by any means, but rather a healthy discussion on the longevity of the game and what can be taken into consideration when moving forward.

I think The Dev Team puts in a great amount of effort to try and support this game, and I am personally thankful that they are doing everything they can with no benefit to their hard work other than the thanks we give them (which you really should) and the knowledge that they are continuing to support a great community. Without the efforts of this team, we would barely be a community to begin with at this point and would have nothing of real relevance to discuss in the first place.

So thank you for your hard work!

The remainder of this article is presented with the hope that communication between the rest of us and The Dev Team can grow stronger, and issues presented within the current game can be assessed and dealt with in an appropriate manner.

“I’m Spartacus! I’m Spartacus! I’m Spartacus!”

One of the biggest factors when dealing with player input within the game, is the fear that everyone wants to play the role of designer at some level. This is always a potential factor, but truthfully, this is not something to feel ashamed of as a player. These sorts of feelings show that you care deeply about the game you wish to design for, and show that you have (at least to some extent) an understanding for the game as a whole.

The issue clearly lies with how much knowledge you actually possess about the game and its intentions, as well as the ability to assess when a card you have designed may have negative impacts on both the game and the meta. Clearly a healthy game is constantly changing and being pulled towards different strategies, allowing different play-styles to sit atop the “best deck” throne for some amount of time. Without this rotation of power, certain styles of decks will never do well and will be looked down on by players or completely ignored entirely. This is not something that should be allowed in a healthy game environment. What benefit is there to designing these specific styles of decks, if they will never be able to be at the top of the meta?

David Meckler and Jason Toro, while sitting on opposite sides of the Retro discussion today, both make very interesting points regarding player input for the game.

David pointed out that players given the opportunity to design or influence design will likely have a bias towards their particular play-style or MP/Style choices. And this is very likely the case for many inexperienced designers. The thought of being able to help their particular “pet deck” to reach the same competitive point as others will always be appealing to any player.

As Jason points out however, having player input on what is disrupting the game or hindering certain options from being competitive is also very important to the life-expectancy of the game. If certain unhealthy aspects are allowed to thrive within a meta for too long, they will often turn people away or lead them to feel as though the choices they have made in the game are inferior and will remain inferior. This is not something to present to a potential player, as they will be left feeling off-put and likely turn away from that sort of design towards a game that feels as though the choices they make have the potential of doing well, if their deck is designed properly and piloted well.

Given the meta that seems to be developing as of right now in FanZ, even the best deck designers and pilots are slowly “turning to the dark side” when it comes to giving up on their own play-styles and deck choices in order to survive within a meta that contains decks which feel overpowered, highly consistent, and which leave little room for your opponent to interact with or derail your strategy at all.

These sorts of decks are the big culprit in deterring players from finding answers or feeling as though there are no answers, and so are forced to play with the degenerate decks rather than ones which speaks to them more as a player.

This is where community driven discussion is needed the most.

“No one man can carry this burden, I tell you. It is far too heavy.”

To leave a game to be balanced by a small handful of people is a very daunting task. These people need to be connected to the pulse of the game, and constantly be aware of potential threats to the safety and well-being of the planned meta environment. Unfortunately, it is nearly impossible for a small number of people to have this sort of intel at the ready whenever needed, simply because there is just not enough time in the day to gather all that sort of information alone.

This is where the community can step in. Being open to hearing the qualms of the populous can lead to incredible insight as to what may be harming the intent of the current play space of the game. Typically, the meta of the game is kept in mind when designing sets. Often you will find cards and strategies within new sets that can off-balance the current meta and take power away from the top decks and re-distribute it to the lesser ones. However, sometimes sets introduce cards or strategies that, while in the vacuum of testing  can seem reasonable, have led the meta down a dark path not intended by that set’s design.

You will often times hear designers of games stating that particular combinations of cards were not on their radar during testing. This is not a bad thing, as there is only so much time that can be dedicated to testing before a set must be released, and not all of these hiccups will be found before they become the new meta of the game. But, a powerful tool at any games disposal is the ability to errata and ban (or “Freeze” in our situation) cards which did not interact as intended with the general card pool.

The best way for finding these cards that need updating or removal are the outcries of the player base. If you find people gravitating towards the discussion of certain cards or deck choices currently dominating a meta, then it is likely time to pull out the fine comb and magnifying glass and sift through these discussions to find what really is the problem at hand.

Sometimes it can be the lack of desire by players to find the answer within the meta themselves. If this is the case, having an open discussion with players on viable answers already present in the card pool is a good way to get people to reassess how they are building their decks and may help them determine the best way to try and solve the issue of the meta themselves. Likely creating a deck profile article that shows the players some possible answers can do wonders for this type of problem.

Other times, however, it is not the lack of trying on the players’ part, but rather a certain linchpin that is holding a deck’s engine together. In these cases, you really need to consider changing or removing this catalyst in favor of more open and thought-provoking game play. And in this sense, without the communication from the players themselves, this may have gone unnoticed by design entirely.

“Are you not Entertained? Is this not why you are here?”

We have to understand that the primary goal with design and development for the game should always be to create an enjoyable experience for everyone that plays the game. The issue with this lies in the fact that what is considered enjoyable will always be up for debate.

I myself, enjoy a more controlling space when it comes to the decks I like to play. A more slow-paced and drawn out game tends to find itself in my favor, as I am able to stunt my opponent’s progression while slowly capitalizing on my own. Other players may enjoy an exploitable loop or a burst of raw power within a select turn rather than a long and drawn out game. Trying to press their advantage as early and often as they can to try and overwhelm their opponent before they really have their feet about them.

Which of those opinions is more correct?

The obvious answer, is that neither is more correct than the other. But, the problem extends from the fact that if these two extremes are not correctly defined, they each can lead to uninteresting game states for the opponent. And while I’m certainly not saying that it is your responsibility as a player to make sure your opponent is having as much fun as you are at any particular moment in a game, what is important is the fact that that unhappy player needs to be able to remedy the situation at some cost (low or high), in order to try and tip the balance back in their favor.

A lot of the issues that I have seen within the community rest on certain cards or deck design choices that leave your opponent with very little room to interact efficiently and are left feeling completely out of options very early in the game. This feeling of helplessness should never befall any player. They should always feel as though they can turn the momentum back around, through cunning game play or finding that one answer they need to fix the current situation.

Cards (both MPs or otherwise) should not be designed in such a way as to promote the helpless feeling of your opponent. Any card that leaves your opponent feeling drowned by the advantage you have created, should be under the constant surveillance of players and developers alike, and should be the topic of discussion when it comes to finding balances that need to occur within the game to promote that positive feeling again.

Cards such as Orange Meditation and the “Drawku” Awakening Goku MP Stack are such cards that should be held in consideration in matters such as these.  These cards have very polarizing effects on the game.

One of Orange’s biggest downsides was the lack of anger control within the Style. Suddenly a single card is created that not only helps with one of the Style’s biggest weak points, but also has an upside should you be playing against an opponent that is not anger focused. This can feel very unfair to many players, as other Styles do not receive such benefits for their meta-game choices, and really shouldn’t, as this sort of design leaves every Style feeling very similar and without character. No longer are you interested in figuring out how to do well with a Style despite it’s short-comings, or because of how its flavor speaks to you, but instead you are likely left to feel herded towards whichever Style has the strictly more powerful and consistent card pool.

As stated in other articles and discussions, Styles like Black, Red and Blue have been pushed in many different directions over the space of the game, while Styles like Orange and Namekian have had a rather consistent and interactive card design space. Because of this factor, if every Style is given the same tools, people will always flock towards the latter choices rather than the former, as they will be rewarded by cards that have strictly better interaction with themselves.

Moving to the topic of “Drawku”, the biggest concern with his design is that he actively goes against everything we have been told about this game up to this point.

Hand advantage and action economy are the big driving factors for decks that do well in the meta. As the game has progressed in design, the choice to limit hand advantage has slowly gone the way of the dodo it seems. In the beginning, cards that created hand advantage were very limited and had a cost associated to some degree. Cards like Black Smoothness Drill create hand advantage, but are able to be interacted with by your opponent and come with the cost that leveling  your MP will remove this advantage. Another example of this are cards like Blue Terror or Red Heel Kick. These cards generate more hand advantage, but come at a cost. Blue Terror requires stages and is susceptible to cards which deny searching your deck, like Master Roshi – Scouted. Similarly, Red Heel Kick requires the cost of anger to return a card from your discard to your hand, and so is completely dependent on having that anger to use.

Goku is the exact opposite of this sort of design space. The faster you level with Goku, the more hand advantage you are able to capitalize on. There is no cost, as each level guarantees some amount of card advantage just for playing him. And while options exist in the meta (A17 and Future Gohan for example), they just aren’t enough to derail the engine presented by him as a character.

The other major issue of Goku, is that his damage modifier negates nearly every card able to restrict him as a character. If you are playing against Master Roshi – Scouted , Wall Breaker or Android Arm Breaker, criting your opponent removes their hold on the game and you are free once again to do whatever degenerate thing you were trying to accomplish. Likewise, in a Dragon Ball based Goku build, having bonus damage on your MP while having access to negative modifiers on your opponent’s attacks at certain levels means that you will very rarely lose your DBs while your opponent will rarely be able to stop you from gaining them back.

I understand the design concept, but the fact that Goku does basically everything an MP should do to succeed at the game, with no cost other than having to play Goku over any other MP choice is just unacceptable! He simply does too much, has no real downside, and leaves your opponent scavenging for answers while you are left to reap the benefits over time.

“I… live!”

I hope this article has helped to grow the discussion in a positive light. As with all things in life, some people may agree with my thoughts here, and others may not. Ultimately, it is the balance of these two forces that keep the community in a vibrant and healthy state. The well-being of the game cannot be handled from one side or the other, but must rest somewhere in the middle ground; having player input processed and acknowledged, but not taken without a grain of salt.

At the end of the day, we all want to see the game in the healthiest state it can be, and with genuine communication lines between players and developers, I think that is something that is well within the capacity of us all; as long as we understand that not everything we see as an issue for the game truly is one. Like anyone trying to self-diagnose their symptoms, often times we can be lead to the worst possible result, rather than completely understanding the slight variations between one issue and the next, due to lack of knowledge and experience in the field.

We have to put our faith in those that devote their time to preventing things from getting out of hand. The best way to fix our ailments will always be to be upfront with them to those able to remedy it. Any hidden concerns will never be addressed and will be doomed to fester in our minds until we look upon the thing we once admired with disgust instead of elation.

That’s it for today, everyone! I hope this sheds some light on how things may develop for the game in the future.

Until next time, FanZ Warriors!

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SSJ Brewcast – Episode 5: Black Decks Matter, featuring…Me!

Hey everyone!

Due to preparation for East Kai coming up May 27th, I’ve been a bit more pre-occupied than normal with testing and digging through boxes trying to track down playsets of cards.

So instead of our normal Thursday exploration into what could be or what might be for the game, I present you with episode #5 of the SSJ Brewcast, hosted by Didier Greenleaf & the Dennis Brothers, Kelly and Kevin. With special guest…. yours truly!

In this episode, we explore all the aspects of Black: what makes it tick, where does it sit in the meta, what made it so good in the past and what makes it so weak now. And what we think can happen for Black in the future.

I’ll warn you now, it’s definitely NSFW language wise, but we hit a lot of great ideas throughout our journey.

I wanted to thank the guys for having me on. It was great to discuss the game that we all love. We hit some pretty serious high points, and yeah a few gutter low points, but that made it all the more enjoyable.

So if you haven’t checked it out yet, do yourself a favor and give the podcast a listen! The link can be found below. I promise you’ll enjoy yourself as much as we did.

And if you liked hearing my beautiful voice instead of reading my equally beautiful words, let the guys know that you want me back to discuss more of the game in the future. It might not do much, but it’ll make me feel as though I’ve done a job well done for you all 🙂

Until next time, FanZ Warriors!

SSJ Brewcast – Episode #5 link:
http://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-hvgsn-6af8ff

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Theory-crafting 101: Tiny Fists of Fury!

Hey everyone!

Today’s TC101 is again a list I wasn’t particularly expecting to do well on the poll, but I’m actually kind of glad it did! After playing a few games with the deck, it actually feels like a pretty fun take on your typical Red Deck, but we’ll get into that shortly.

Today’s list is on everyone’s favorite reigning World Champion – Mr. Satan! I mean Hercule,  I guess. It’s Mr. Satan!

The List

MP Levels and Mastery:
1 – Hercule, Champion
2 – Hercule, Posing
3 – Hercule, Guarded
4 – Hercule, In Action
M – Red Ascension Mastery

Blocks (13):
3x Red Blocking Hand
3x Red Resourceful Block
3x Red Energy Defensive Stance
3x Red Brace
1x Time is a Warrior’s Tool

Setups (8):
3x Red Destiny
3x Red Relaxation
2x Visiting the Past

Events (5):
3x Red Blazing Aura
1x Red Observation
1x Red Antidote

Physical Attacks (34):
3x Red Driving Knee
3x Red Pound
3x Red Chop
3x Red Double Strike
3x Red Mule Kick
3x Red Tandem Attack
3x Red Sword Stab
2x Red Heel Kick
2x Red Burning Stance
2x Red Furious Lunge
1x Red Lightning Slash
3x Devastating Blow
2x Heroic Dashing Punch
1x Hercule’s Dynamite Kick

What Are We Trying to Accomplish?

The first few things that may pop into your mind about this list could very well be:
1) “Why only 1 Dynamite Kick?”
2) “Where’s Jimmy Firecracker?!?”
3) “That seems like a lot of defensive cards, don’t you think?”

So let’s try and break these down, to better understand what is going here with this build.

1) While Hercule’s Dynamite Kick is certainly an interesting card in its own right, the perfectly honest truth is, we don’t really need to see it all that often in this deck. We can tutor it out in our early levels to try and set up some stage gain to trigger the few cards in our list that care about that; but other than those cases, it really doesn’t do much outside of being kind of an awkward card. And seeing as this is an MPPV list (as most Hercule decks really should be IMHO), we really don’t want to see it once we hit level 4, as it will set our plan backwards far too much. Though it is still a nice tool to have should we find ourselves in an anger war against our opponent.

2) Jimmy just isn’t really needed in this build. We don’t want to devote space in our deck to non-styled cards that don’t do something significant for us right away, and since Red has 0 ways of recurring Allies naturally, we’re just going to go ahead and leave him on the sidelines for this one and let the champ do his thing in the ring solo-style.

3) With the exception of Resourceful Block, each one of our defensive cards gains us anger. Even our Setup and Event that reduce damage gain us anger. In fact, when it comes down to it, there are only 6 cards in our entire deck that can’t gain us anger (unless we are on level 3, in which case Dynamite Kick can too!). Speaking of Blazing Aura and Destiny, you know what really makes your anger safe? Being on Level 2 with one of these active. Or better yet, being on Level 3 where their modifiers are doubled and our opponent can’t crit our anger! Talk about value.

One thing to note about this deck, is that it is really a glass cannon. You do one thing and one thing well, and that’s blitz up levels and keep yourself safe. But combat isn’t all fun and games in this deck. Don’t go blindly calling without a game plan, as you will have no way to get out of combat if things get hairy. Don’t be afraid to build a board state before jumping in. The closer you get to Level 3 in a single combat, the better your chances are at winning. So really take the opportunity to sculpt your hand and find the perfect critical mass of anger. Should your opponent call on you, you have a pretty resilient package of cards to stop them from doing anything you don’t really care for. Gaining stages should be no problem early, and taking damage should be even less worrisome once you hit Level 3, as they won’t be able to crit your anger away (on top of the blanketed defense we talked about above).

Another cool thing to consider about this list, is you can out of nowhere convert into a heavy damage dealer on Level 3. With all of your attacks dealing +2 damage (+1 from your level, then having it doubled) naturally, plus whatever modifiers may already be on your attacks (Furious lunge turns into an impressive AT+10 attack on this Level!), you might just flat out inflict enough pain to make your opponent worried to call against you until you are able to jump to Level 4. Level 4 can be your trickiest obstacle with this list though, as you open yourself back up to any hate your opponent may have waiting for you. So be careful.

All in all, this is actually a pretty fun and lighthearted MPPV deck with an MP that most people will look at and think “Ok this one should be easy.” And honestly, that false sense of security is exactly what you are hoping for here!

The Power Is Yours!

Alright everyone, thanks again for checking out this week’s TC101 article. As always, please make sure to vote in the poll below, as you just might see your choice featured in next week’s article!

Until next time, FanZ Warriors!

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Player Requested Style Discussion Part III: The State of Orange

Hey everyone!

Hope everyone had an enjoyable Mother’s Day! I know I personally got to spend the day enjoying the Magic Pro Tour Top 8 since my family lives in a different state. However you spent your day, hopefully you let those special ladies in your life know that you appreciate them!

Alright, so today’s article is the final portion of our Player Requested Style Discussion! We’ll have made it through all 6 styles by the end of this; What A Feat!

Today’s article is on the best competitive Style currently in the meta – Orange! With some of the best tools in the game for nearly every kind of effect, there’s really a lot going on in this Style. Likely too much to really dive into in a single article. But we’ll give it a try!

So without further ado….

It’s Broken!! 

Alright well thanks for checking in this week! We hope you enjoyed…

Oh, you wanted an actual look at Orange? But why? Don’t you want to feel better playing some of the more interesting Styles? We looked at so many other ones already…

No? Alright Fine!

Let’s take a serious look at what makes this Style tick, what its different Masteries can do, and what MPs work well with them.

Although you should really take a look at some of the others….just saying.

Orange’s Over-All Strengths

Drills Matter
When you think of Orange, there is a really, really, REALLY high chance that the first thing you are going to think about with the Style is just how many incredibly good and diverse drills it has. With the most drills in the game for a particular Style, Orange has got what you need, no matter what the effect might be. And, with a number of powerful ways to place your drills into play during combat, playing a higher drill number is still relatively safe!

Anger/MPPV/Leveling
There was once a period where Orange had a fairly difficult time leveling through anger. While it was given a few ways to level otherwise (Orange Devouring Drill immediately comes to mind), anger was more of a slow burn for the style. These days however, Orange is nearly the fastest style in the game when it comes to leveling. An argument could be made that Red, Saiyan or Namekian could be slightly better, but with the raw consistency in the Style these days (Retribution Mastery, Orange Eruption, Orange Fierce Attack, etc), it’s really hard to deny that Orange can just do it better.

Energy Beatdown
Orange has always been a Style that focuses heavily on Energy Attacks. With some of – if not the most- hard-hitting Energies in the game, your opponent could find their Life Deck dwindling quickly if they are not prepared for your barrage of bolts. On top of dealing large amounts of damage, their energy attacks also feature a decent variety of powerful effects to keep your MP pressuring your opponent as best they can.

Physical Beatdown
Energy Attacks not your thing? Well don’t worry! Over the past few sets, Orange has also had a large push for their Physical Beatdown strategy as well. With two different damage modifying drills for Physical Attacks, on top of the Adept Mastery and a few other notable cards to consider (Orange Dressing Room for example), your opponent could find themselves Stage Locked with a single attack if they aren’t careful!

Minor Themes in Orange
– High Endurance
– Powerful Events
– Stage Gain
– Rejuvenation
– Crits (DBV potential?)

This Style really can do it all…and with very little difficulty in truth.

Orange Adaptive Mastery

The first Mastery for this Style, from Premium Set, is Orange Adaptive Mastery. With a built-in +1 Life Card of damage for all your Energy Attacks, the ability to keep your Drills in play whenever you change levels (up or down!), and the ability to grab a Drill from your discard should you have crit your opponent in combat, this Mastery feels like it does a ton!

What MPs are good with this Mastery?
Adaptive is a solid choice for any MP that is looking to change levels often throughout the game while still trying to maintain a board state. While the +1 LC for energy attacks is a great bonus as well, don’t feel like you have to be shoehorned into playing them just to play this Mastery. Any deck that is just trying to build a large board state will be able to take advantage of this Mastery, even if they end up being Physical based or more passive.

These MPs are likely:
– Yamcha: A great energy based MP that can stay safe against most physical onslaughts!
– Android 20: A more methodical, controlling build looking to punish your opponent.
– Krillin: Being able to crit with Destructo Disk on command from turn 1 is a good thing.
– Goku (any stack): No matter what combination of levels, Goku’s Search fits here great!
– Vegeta (Awakening): Able to turn the LC Damage up a notch with all the buffs in style!

Orange Adept Mastery

The second mastery presented to us by Evolution was Orange Adept Mastery. This mastery sort of turns Adaptive on its head. Giving all of your attacks (energy or physical) +1 Stage of damage, as well as a hit effect for one of your successful Styled Attacks that lets you search for a Constant Drill and place it into play, as long as you control two or less drills at the time. While this Mastery choice doesn’t allow you to keep all of your drills when you level, it does let you pick a drill in your discard pile to Rejuvenate, allowing you to search for it later with a successful styled attack!

What MPs are good with this Mastery?
MPs looking to do Stage Damage are typically found within this Mastery. While it is true that Adept is more of the Black Sheep of the three choices, there are still a number of decks that can abuse the physical damage buffs.

These MPs are likely:
– Broly: Unleashed Orange Dressing Room Broly can be a huge beating fast!
– Turles: Like Broly, but less dependent on leveling to dish out the unpreventable damage.
– Gohan (Awakening): With all attacks being Styled, drills should be no problem to get!
– Android 17 (Celestial): Being able to punish your opponent in a number of ways here.
– Android 13: Has a physical attack on every level, making stage lock fairly easy here.

Orange Retribution Mastery

The final Mastery given to us by Awakening is likely the best Mastery in the game. I’m not sure if that is even debatable at this point! Orange Retribution Mastery really does it all, and in style. Starting the game with a non-Constant Drill means you are already primed to go against any sort of threat. Like Adept Mastery, you won’t be able to keep your drills when you level, but you are given the choice to shuffle them all into your Life Deck instead of discarding them, which is pretty nuts! On top of all this, you are also given the power to raise your anger up to 2 levels, make your next Styled attack this combat cost 0 stages, and (if for some reason that wasn’t enough already) if you have leveled this turn you can search your deck for any Styled drill and place it into play.

Utter insanity and value wrapped up neatly into a single card and haunting many players nightmares since its introduction.

What MPs are good with this Mastery?
Honestly, every MP in the game is good with this Mastery. Even if you don’t want to level, being able to start the game with a free drill and make one of your attacks free during combat might just be good enough on their own. Though really every MP wants to get to some higher level at some point, even if it’s just to level 2. If you aren’t sure what Mastery could go well with a particular MP you want to play, just try it here. You’ll love it. I nearly guarantee it.

These MPs are likely:
– Trunks (any stack): Trunks has seen a lot of popularity recently and loves to level!
– Gohan (Awakening): Can nearly level from 1 to 4 in a single combat if the tides are right.
– Master Roshi: Hope you enjoy winning by MPPV, cause it’s going to happen here!
– Pikkon: Can dish out a ton of damage in his upper levels and has great Rejuv.
– Anyone: Seriously, just put them in this deck and watch it do well. You’re welcome!

A Look to the Future

With East Kai just two weeks away, which Style do you see yourself playing at the event? With so much we’ve discussed over the last few months with our Style discussions, there is a lot to think about!

I know I am personally excited to see how East Kai turns out in comparison to North Kai. With a higher density of competitive players still playing FanZ on the East Coast, it’s looking to be the bigger of the Kai events for the year!

Only time will tell, but I look forward to doing my East Kai Breakdown once the dust has settled!

That’s All Folks!

Thanks for checking out the article for today! Hopefully you now have a better understanding for the 6 styles and what makes them tick. I can’t wait to see what happens with the styles as we move into the future. While Set 9, Legends, is looking to be a typical Movie Style set (like 3 & 6), hopefully Set 10 will introduce us to even more Masteries and archetypes to explore moving into the Buu Saga and onward!

If that’s the case, I’ll make sure to do a breakdown for the State of the new Masteries if/when they are released, to keep everyone up to date! But that’s quite some time away. For now let’s look forward to some sweet, sweet Bardock on Chilled violence in our near future!

Until next time, FanZ Warriors!

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Random Thoughts – Ascend to the Mystical Realm

Hey everyone!

Today I thought we’d step back into the realm of limitless possibilities and take a look at an idea I mentioned in the State of Namekian article this past Sunday.

In the article, I talk about the extremely limited nature of Namekian’s MP choices and my thoughts on a possible solution to this problem – the creation of a new Style!

Like Saiyan and Namekian, this new Style would be limited by which MPs could be combined with this Style. However, unlike our current Limited Styles, these MPs would host a large array of differing effects, hopefully making each build of this Style uniquely tailored to the MP being used.

This article is going to be an attempt to flesh out this idea further to see what the world could be like with a 7th Style in the game. One that still has limitations to its MPs, but that accommodates a wide variety of strategies and effects to compliment the drastically different MPs associated to the Style.

For those uninterested in walking into the realm of pure speculation and fan creation, we say farewell to you today, but please don’t forget to check out this Sunday’s article on the State of Orange.

For everyone else, it’s time to get in touch with our mystical sides!

Our Theoretical Style: The Mystical Style

When it comes to a Limited Style for the game, very few options jump to mind. Androids and Majin have always been ideas that have bounced around the internet for years now. And while the Majins haven’t introduced themselves to the game yet, the Androids have unfortunately come and gone, making that option unrealistic.

The looming issue with both of these ideas is that they will eventually fall into the same problem that Namekian has fallen into, story-wise. The characters associated with these potential styles will eventually fade into the background as the story progresses, leaving the options for new MPs stagnant or outright impossible outside of Legacy MP choices.

So I thought to myself, “well what opens up the doors like Majins, yet doesn’t share their limitations?” and then it hit me – Make it a Style based around Magic and Spirituality! In doing so, we now have several MPs currently in the game that can fit nicely into this new style right away, and have a huge potential for other MPs as the game progresses, even beyond Z and into GT or Super (depending on where FanZ intends to continue the story).

What Characters Can Use This Style?

The current options for this style already in the game may surprise you. When coming up with the list of characters that could fall within this category, I tried to include any character that have shown mastery over anything spiritual, supernatural, or magical in nature. Likewise, characters that have been enhanced in a supernatural way have been added to this list, as their knowledge of the mystical arts could be increased because of these enhancements (and also to try and give some love to lesser played MPs).

The MPs currently in the game that could use this Mastery:
Garlic Jr – Magical and Immortal.
Gohan – Has his potential unlocked several times through Magic.
Goku – Is able to use God Ki.
Lord Slug – Has eternal youth.
King Kai – Is a Kai and creator of several magical techniques.
Master Roshi – Has near Immortality and knowledge of mystical arts.
Piccolo – Spiritually focused, as well as reconnected with Kami.
Tenshinhan – Spiritually focused and has knowledge of mystical arts.
Turles – Utilizes a magical fruit to gain advantages during battle.
Vegeta – Is able to use God Ki.

Potential Legacy MPs that could use this Mastery:
– Baba – A magical being.
– Chaotzu – Similar to Tenshinhan
– Guru – Spiritual leader of Namek with Magical powers.
– Kami – Spiritual guardian of Earth with Magical powers.
– King Yemma
– King of the Ogres and Judge of the Dead in the other world.
– Korin
– Spiritual and Magical being.
– Mr. Popo – Faithful attendant to Earth’s Guardian.

Potential MPs that could be used with this Mastery in the future:
– Babidi
– Evil wizard.
– Beerus
– Universe 7’s God of Destruction
– Champa
– Universe 6’s God of Destruction
– Dabura
– The King of the Demon Realm and ally to Babidi
– Dende
– The new Guardian of Earth.
– Elder Kai
– Deity and advisor to Supreme Kai
– Janemba
– The living embodiment of evil in humanoid form
– Kabito
– Ally to Supreme Kai
– Majin Buu
– Pure being of Magic
– Tapion
– User of Magical arts to combat the monster Hirudegarn
– Supreme Kai
– Top Spiritual Being of Universe 7
– Supreme West Kai
– Fallen Colleague of Supreme Kai
– Uub
– the heroic reincarnation of Evil Buu
– Vados
– Angelic Attendant to Champa
– Whis
– Angelic Attendant to Beerus
– Zamasu/Goku Black – Warped Kai from Universe 10

– Any other Kais, Characters with God Ki, Gods of Destruction or Angelic Attendant from Dragon Ball Super.

Phew!

As you can see, there are a ton of options present for this new Style. We haven’t even dipped our toes into GT (though, to be fair, I know much less about that storyline) should that be the continuation instead of Super!

The nice thing about this Style and the characters that could use it, is there is a nice blend of heroes and villains, as well as characters who have very different techniques and outlooks on the world around them, making each MP feel as though they are walking a completely different path to victory within the style!

What Would This Style Be About?

The important part of introducing a new style into the game, especially so late into its design, is that it can tread lightly into the territory of other Styles, but shouldn’t blatantly step on its toes. Since most of the Styles in the game already have their core concepts fairly locked in at this point, we have to make sure that what we are presenting is both interesting and unique in its approach to the game.

So let’s take a look at a few different possibilities that could be combined for a completely new style for the game, without feeling to closely connected to the other Styles already established.

Ideas borrowed from other Styles:
Dragon Balls Matter: As these are mystical items, it only makes sense for this style.
Events Matter: Like Namekian and Black, this style will promote powerful Events.
Setups Matter: While Blue and Orange have several cards that deal with these, this style                                  will have a much higher appreciation for these one-time use effects.
Leveling/MPPV: Since many of the characters involved with this style have used                                                 techniques to unlock their potenial, leveling (by any means) should be                                       available.
Decent Endurance: Having the ability to sustain ourselves in battle even through                                                 devastating assaults.

New Ideas for this Style:
– 
Hybrid Attack Based: We haven’t really seen a Style that promotes physical and energy                                               attacks equally within the same deck before now!
Attachments Matter: Using attachments rather than drills to display our techniques we                                               have to increase our MPs battle prowess.
Attachment Hate: Our understanding for enhancing ourselves helps us determine and                                           dismantle our opponent’s enhancements on themselves or hindrances                                       on ourselves.
Modifier Negation: Being able to understand the outside interference on our and our                                             opponent’s attacks during battle to level the playing field.

This Style’s Weaknesses:
No Board Control: You read that correctly; this style will have no way to actively remove                                  your opponent’s board from play, though you can interact with it.
No Stage Gain: Should our opponent be playing a Stage lock style of deck, our only real                                    outs to this would be leveling or ending combat.
Little to No Rejuv: There likely will be some small amount of Rejuv, as we are a magical                                  based Style, similar to Namekian, but we are not as good as they are at it.

Style Templating

Here’s a small glimpse at what the Style could look like, in card form:

What Lies Out Beyond The Reach of Man…

Thanks for checking out our discussion for today. I think that, if nothing else, this has been a great exercise to prove that newer options still exist within the realm of the game that can help fix some of the issues within the color pie, without completely throwing out what Styles already have set up.

If you guys would like me to dive deeper into this topic with a Part II that goes into actual card design and mechanics within the Style, please let me know in the poll below.

Don’t forget to vote in this week’s TC101 poll as well. You just might see the deck you want as our next article!

Until next time, FanZ Warriors!

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