Written by KTM SP Team member, David Fujimura
I want to start off by saying this is an amazing card game with infinite potential. When I first started playing, I was skeptical, but quickly started seeing all the great qualities of games past all mixed in one. This made me really want to push the boundaries of this this game and explore the options of alternate formats. At the time it was too early to try things like block formats or have the card pool to try something a little more interesting so, I focused a lot on drafting and sealed. Luckily, to my surprise, after set 2 they released Draft box sets, which were amazing. Not only did it create a structured draft format for the game, it was actually AMAZING!! But this article isn't about that and current present time we have a much larger card pool. Now with this large card pool it was time to hit the lab and work on something spicy. For some this format may seem familiar, but for those who haven't played MTG, this might be new. As much as I like pushing myself to my competitive limit, I wanted something a little more casual. I also wanted to make sure that I could use some of my favorite cards that might not exactly be competitively viable, but also potentially create a demand for those cards. Without rambling too much lets get into what this format is and the rules for it:
Format: DBS Canon
- 1 leader
- 70 card deck
- Highlander, can only play 1 copy of each card
- no rarity restrictions
- super combo 4 copy per deck still applies
- If a super combo has a leader specific restriction, you may still play it as long as the color is the same (ie: you can play 1 Hoi in any blue leader deck)
Game set up procedure:
- starting hand size is 8 cards instead of 6
- starting life is 12 life instead of 8
- may play against more than one opponent (ie multiplayer)
Edited Leader/card rules:
- leaders awaken at 6 life instead of 4, unless they would awaken at 6, in that case they now awaken at 9.
- super combos that would activates their autos if the leader is at 5 life, now are usable at 8 life.
Lets get this out of the way, YES this is a take on the Commander/Highlander format. Now that that's out of the way, lets talk a little bit about some of the rules/restrictions.
Deck size: I felt 70 was a good number. When comparing things to the Commander format in magic 50-70 felt similar enough to their 60-100. 60 felt too small a change and 80 was too many, so 70 it was.
Restricting cards to one copy does a few things. First it forces players to approach deckbuilding with more than just the strongest synergy and strongest power level in mind. Individual cards that where pegged as "OP" or "Broken", like Shugesh, are suddenly less reliable and less powerful when you are only allowed 1 in a deck. Same goes for strong engines like the veggie package. They all of a sudden seem less attractive when you only have 1 of each. Leaving the super combo 4 copy restriction intact was important to maintain a fair level of playing, otherwise certain leaders/colors would be able to play more than others. To also keep the fairness of super combos in deck at a balance, removing the leader restriction on some super combos was needed to allow certain leaders to play with the maximum 4 unique super combos. For example yellow leaders would only have Dodoria, Shugesh, and Supreme Kai of Time, but if you get rid of the leader restriction, they can play a 4th in Universe 11 super combo.
Life was adjusted to 12 for a couple reasons. With the spirit of fun in mind, 12 life was needed to make games last long enough, for some of the higher cost cards to viably come out. Not only was 12 important to help prevent the games from being too quick, it gave players more cards to protect themselves with being a multiplayer format. With 2-3 or even more opponents, you need a lot more cards to stay alive. The starting hand side of 8 also helps with this.
Having played this format with some friends from locals, I can vouch that this format is not only refreshing, but extremely fun as well. This gave us something to do before and after tournaments that wasn't just testing against our normal decks that we've been playing against week in and week out. It has also given us the chance to play some of our favorite leaders and cards. Galactic Frieza has always been my pet leader and getting to play him and drop a Golden Frieza, Resurrected Terror against a board full of tapped battle cards is something I would never be able to do during a tournament. I implore everyone to give this format a shot and dust off those set 1-2 cards that have long been forgotten. If people catch on to this format, I hope that it has a similar effect to the secondary market, like Commander did for MTG, where non competitive cards could retain value and actually have more use than to collect dust in our binders and see some play. In closing I want to continue and do some follow up articles covering all the colors and showcase some amazing cards for the format and key strategies. I hope you enjoy this format as much as I have been, and hope you can join us for the next installment of Hitting the lab with Scientist "Fu"jimura!!