State of the Game
And we're off ...
It's been a while since I made a blog post and for that I apologize. It's difficult to find both the time and motivation to sit down and do this but I promise to try to be more regular about it moving forward. The recent events in the Facebook group, and set 4 previews + Origins questions, has motivated me this time to write about some things. Rather than focus on any one topic I'm going to bounce around a bit but I'll make sure everything is labeled so you can read what you want to read rather than the entire blog if you're so inclined. Let's just jump in with a topic I get asked most often:
Set 4 thoughts
From the beginning of the preview season I've been excited for set 4. I think that the Tournament of Power meta is one of the most boring and uninspiring formats that I've ever played in any game. This could be magnified by my feelings on the set 2 and 3 metas which I felt were both great but ToP didn't add much to the game other than to really push the already established best decks to an entire new level. It magnified the power of Shugesh and further cemented SS3 Goku as the best leader in the game, both of which wasn't really needed. It did bring a new strategy to the table in the U7 decks but overall I haven't enjoyed the set. I think we can maybe look back on this set in a year and realize the impact that it had and be able to appreciate it but not right now.
As soon as set 4 previews started that all changed. The game is drastically changing and I think it's for the best. There's been a lot of ramblings about "game is dead" from the vocal minority in the Facebook group but I think that it's just a gross overreaction to change. Listen, I've played competitive card games for over 20 years now and have seen some really stupid things. Bandai hasn't always made the best decisions but they know what they're doing for now. They care about the community, probably a little too much, and want to make the best possible game that they can. This game isn't going anywhere any time soon and we can thank them for that. Everything is going to be okay. Just breathe.
The cards that immediately caught my attention were the GT Trunks and Gohan 1-drops. Both have the same effect - one red and one green respectively, and both alter the game dramatically. In the end I think that the red Trunks will have the largest impact on the game for reasons I'll discuss momentarily but the Gohan is something green desperately needed. I still think Green decks need a little more that's not focuses on Veggies to be competitive but this is a great start. The next two cards that will have a gigantic impact on the meta are of course Chronoa and Minus Kili Zone. These cards are essentially silver bullets taken to the next level and made simply to slow the yellow menace that is currently on the loose. While I don't think yellow decks are "dead" I think these cards combined with the new Deflect keyword will deter people from playing Ginyu/Mecha Frieza and instead push them to U7 Frieza style of yellow deck. Shugesh is a huge liability now and even Cold Bloodlust might no longer be an automatic 4-of. It will be weird to see Ginyu decks with 3 CBL and a 2/2 Shugesh/Dodoria split (until the Goku super combo) but I think that's going to be the norm moving forward. What replaces those cards is going to be the tough decision now though.
Moving to the SRs I think that this set has a really great crop of them. The Goku's Lineage Bardock is exceptional in not only the GL deck but also any deck that can cast him. Don't forget that the next BCC promo is a 2-drop Goku's Lineage Goten that you can Swap into play for free which will make Bardock soar in value. I don't know how good the GL deck will be but you might not even have to focus on that strategy to make these cards work well together. Aside from the Bardock I think that the Triple Flash Goku is going to be a staple card in the new meta as well as Baby, Anilaza, and maybe Jiren, Mira, and the Trunks. I think everything else is too slow or doesn't impact the game enough.
Moving forward to what I think is the most broken card in the set - The Legendary Flute.
The Legendary Flute
This card deserves it's own section. Let me start off by saying that no game in the history of CCGs has ever been able to balance this effect. Every game has an effect similar to this and it *always* gets broken in half to the point of banning or taking some drastic countermeasures to handle it. That being said, we know that every battle card in DBS has "haste" which means that they can attack the turn it comes into play. So what is Bandai's attempt to balance a bounce effect? They make it cost 0 *and* allow you to draw a card.
Needless to say as soon as I saw this card I immediately started brewing decks because suddenly nothing else mattered. If this is broken in every other game why should DBS be any different? Boy was I not wrong. For those of you who still haven't read the card completely (I'm not faulting you, it's not even out yet) this allows you to return a 3 or less to *any* players hand. I don't think people fully understand that you can (and should) return your own battle card to your hand. The number of effects that can be abused by this interaction are already aplenty and with more sets it gets more and more dangerous. The card is honestly probably already ban worthy but if not now it won't take long for it to reach that point in the game. I've been playing a lot on Octgn this week and let me give you some examples of my play. I've been playing SS3 Goku with the GT package.
Vs. Ginyu Veggies (2Shugesh/2Dodoria):
Him (on the play): Charge green, play Trunks find Teamwork Cabba
Me: Discard to SS3 effect - charge a red and a blue. Play Trunks, attack, effect, play Senzu Bean to stand both energy. Flute to bounce the Trunks, draw a card. Play Trunks, attack, effect, combo with Unyielding Trunks. Awaken, draw 2, attack. Play Saiyan Cabba, attack, pass. Stand energy.
Him: Charge yellow, awaken, play 2nd Trunks, hit something irrelevant, attack my Saiyan Cabba, attack my Trunks, pass with a yellow open.
Me: Charge red, play 3-drop GT Goku, attack with Leader, draw, Unyielding Trunks to stand a red. EX-Evolve Triple Flash Goku with deflect, Combination Attack Pan for free, Flute the Pan, draw a card, Play Pan, Goku 40k attack, attack, can't be negated, move to combos, out combo easily.
This isn't always going to happen and is a pretty ideal scenario. This was also my first game with the deck. I thought that it was pretty lucky so I kept playing it and the same stuff kept happening. Again. And again. While it wasn't always when I had 3 energy, it certainly could be. Usually you can just wait to kill them whenever you want. Triple Flash gets around Nimbus and anything else pretty easily and non-Yellow decks you can get them with Victorious Fist as well just as easily if not easier since it's 4 damage instead of 3. Flute enables you to pump your Goku's to whatever you need them to be as well as allow you to awaken turn 1 nearly every single game. I think there was 1 turn when I wasn't able to awaken on the first turn that I could attack. And obviously since you're SS3 you can defend extremely easily with Unbreakable Goku, etc.
Most blue leaders work really well with Flute. Hirudegarn aggro is another beast of a deck and has more cycling power than about any deck in the game with a really devastating awakened power. Future Trunks can also do a lot of the same things SS3 can but likely a lot worse. Vegeta is another deck that can awaken turn 1 or 2 with Flute and just generate incredible amounts of card advantage combined with a ton of critical damage. My games end on turn 2-3 more often than not with any of these decks and this is in the face of Nimbus, Roshi, etc, etc. This is also before sideboard when you can Flute cards like Haru Haru and just have giant LOL turns or can sideboard in Chronoa and/or MKZ against the yellow decks.
The next step is trying to figure out how to beat these decks. I'm sure that it's not impossible but I'm also sure that it's not easy. Making the best Flute deck is one way but that's also not really solving the problem. Playing Shun Shun is another good way to slow these decks down but that also costs 3 and I honestly believe that 3 drops are going to end up being too slow unless they're really game breaking like Cell. Green decks with Full-Power Energy is a great answer for Trunks/Cabba and that is also true for Android leaders and Speedy Surprise Attack. Is that enough? Could be but a second Cabba/Trunks is just as devastating in lieu of a Flute. At least it gives you a fighting chance.
I'll try and record my games later this week and post on YouTube to show gameplay with the Flute decks.
I get asked a ton of questions about cell chain decks and I really love talking shop about the deck. I wanted to post my thoughts in one place for my own sanity as much as everyone else's. Moving into set 4 Cell chain is getting a large boost. The deck will significantly change but it's going to be a lot more prevalent. That being said, I don't know if it's going to be fast enough. One thing is for sure, we'll have to main deck 4 Speedy Surprise Attack and probably even sideboard some number of Full Power Energy. We also need to play at least 1 MKZ main deck and sideboard the rest. I don't think we need Chronoa yet but it depends on how much the existence of the card scares away Shugesh.
As far as which leader is the best, I think Mira remains the best choice. I want to try the new Mira as well but both should be great. I love the fact that the new Mira both self awakens and puts 3 cards in the drop instead of 2 and also doesn't limit you to just being able to play green and yellow. Not that that was a big issue before but the leader opens up more of the card pool which is never a bad thing. The big difference is this Mira doesn't let you grab a card from the Warp when he awakens but instead lets you stand 2 energy. Honestly in a deck where you want to overrealm and cell chain I see that as being better anyway. Two energy is exactly enough for a Trunks Power Overseeing Time or enough to play a 1-cost overrealm and leave 1 open for a negate. This will be one of the first non-Flute decks I try and I'm ashamed to say that I haven't tried it yet.
I think Androids and Cell will be good as well but they're going to struggle a lot more against the blue aggro decks because they're just inherently slower decks. The issue moving forward will be "Am I dead on turn 3 after tapping out for Cell chain" and the answer is a resounding yes for Androids and Cell but Mira can still maybe hang in there. We'll see.
The KTM Pro Team
Thank you all for reaching out to me with questions about the team. Unfortunately I don't have a lot of answers right now as Danny is spearheading the recruitment but phase 2 is in progress and the team will be finalized soon. After that things will kick into high gear and we'll prep for Gencon and have some more big announcements regarding sponsorship's and a few other things that Dusty is working on behind the scenes. It's an exciting time for us, and the game, and we're thrilled and blessed to be one of the driving forces behind the game and the competitive landscape.
As far as our future event attendance goes - on July 21st we'll be split between ARG Worcester and the Toldeo, OH 1k, and then a few weeks later the full team will be at Gencon to kick off the new regional season/national qualifiers. The week after that we should all be in Washington, DC for that regional.
After that, just check a regional near you and at least someone from KTM should be in attendance based on geographical location.
In conclusion I hope to be able to do more of this moving forward which also includes gameplay videos and more discussion. Look for that soon as well as some more cool content creation ideas that Dusty and I are discussing. Until next time, thanks for reading!