• Richard Zapp

State of the Metagame: Part 2 of 2

In Tuesday’s article, I discussed my perspective of how the format has transitioned over the last six weeks, provided some insight into what types of decks I would play this weekend, and describe some of the theory that comes into how I view metagame evolution. With a new set on the horizon, I would like to explore changes to the upcoming format and what factors should be on your radar for those of you trying to qualify during the second half of the regional circuit. One Flutist Remains While the discussion on the decision-making behind limiting this card is one I certainly have an opinion of, it’s hard to dispute that Flute being limited to 1 will have an impact on the metagame. My prediction, however, is that it will be a relatively negligible one. Most top decks in the format can substitute Flute with another card that accomplishes the same or a similar role: Blue/Yellow rush decks can opt to max out on copies of Videl, Caring Mother, which is a card that can actually generate more advantage than Goten can while still allowing you to repeat and extend the plays that give “1,2 Swap” it’s title. Red/Blue Rush can migrate towards supporting copies of Dark Rejuvenator Towa. Being able

to untap Saiyan Cabba/Intensifying Power Trunks, swing with the 1 drop again at 25K with Double Strike or Critical, is generally more powerful then 1 drop/Flute/1 drop is anyway. It does become harder to support Scientist Fu in that situation, but the deck can still maintain much of it’s power despite a Flute limitation. While Blue Green and Red Blue SS3 primarily utilize TLF as a self-awakening assisting tool, those decks generally only run a couple copies of the card anyway. Cards like Awakening Talent Pan, Honest Moves Yamcha, and Indiscriminate Obliteration Sidra can fill those roles fine. Honestly, I think the best Red Blue SS3 deck in the format runs 0 copies of Flute and those more control-oriented decks won’t miss multiple copies of Flute anyway. More significantly, losing out on copies of The Legendary Flute as a removal card may end up being the most impactful part of the limitation on the format. Cards like Iron Hammer of Justice Android 16, which was previously an underwhelming card because of how much value is lost if it is returned to the hand via TLF, becomes a dominating counter card to the

Yellow Blue strategy. Outside of possibly running Dimensional Banisher Fu as a removal card, The Legendary Flute is by far the most synergetic card in the Blue Yellow rush decks that addresses Android 16. I think if Blue Yellow is going to have to transition to a more midrange strategy if it wants to succeed in the long hull, and I think A16 will end up being a lot of the reason why. Buffs for World Tournament While a defining characteristic of this set is that cards are synergetic in pairs of two that make committing relatively hard to the WT theme important. There are a couple splashable cards in the deck that give certain decks increased playability in the format. Unfortunately, most of those decks are already at the top of the tier list. Dark Duo Dabora Besides being a common that will adequately serve as a Foreseeing Hit substitute if you are on a budget, Red Blue SS3 may play 1-2 copies of this card to serve as additional copies of Foreseeing Hit to further play on the concept of “resolve Chain Attack Trunks+Zen-Oh, then play cards that are most powerful in a simplified game state. Dabora (tentatively) has the unique interaction of making cards disappear to the warp forever if CAZ resolves while it’s on the field. While most RB decks are limited in their number of answers to an Active Mode Dabora, this card may be pivotal in winning mirror matches. Feet Kamehameha With four legal Leader targets, Feet Kamehameha the opportunity to impact the metagame in some way. While I do not think the card is powerful enough to make Set 1 Super Saiyan

God Son Goku or Set 2 Father-Son Kamehameha Goku & Gohan more competitive, I think Explosive Power Son Goku gains a huge buff from this leader. While being able to resolve Hope of Universe 7 Son Goku for 3 random discards or more, the deck struggled with having a late game plan of a player couldn’t resolve Hope. Being able to play Feet Kamehameha to bring the player from 3-1 or extensively discard to survive a 35K Double Strike Critical swing (with the leader’s Bond 2 trigger) should be impactful enough the card will see play. Heroic Duo Videl While Videl probably won’t see as much play as her similar Forged of Will Master Roshi because of competition with Pride of Justice Toppo, Heroic Duo Videl does have some niche interactions that may make it worthwhile. While the new Announcer leader allows you to draw a card when you resolve her effect, she is also a valid target for The Legendary Flute. While this card would have seen more play without a TLF limit, that niche may increase the cards playability. In the current metagame, her partner Heroic Duo Son Gohan has the fringe application of KO’ing Saiyan Teamwork Cabba and Scrambling Assault Son Goten - two cards that have define metagames in the past. Other then the above examples, it doesn’t seem like too many cards will impact the metagame outside of WT decks. There are a few good Namekian cards that may buff their respective decks, and Begrudging Respect Piccolo may see some side deck use if your deck can’t support Forced Ejection Masked Saiyan. But will any cards shined when paired with WT leaders? Besides the few top tier decks that get buffs, I believe that the metagame will shift to

become more hand control-focused. Between the fastest deck in the format slowing down, and the current top contenders (RB SS3, BG SS3) being relatively slow decks, I think Android and Cell Chain variants will have some room to see play. While Foreseeing Hit (and soon Dark Duo Dabora) are two of the strongest hand control cards in the format, the impact of a Perfect Form Cell or a fully resolved Mira, Creator Absorbed should never be taken lightly. The deck also bolsters enough defense in the forms of Surprise Sneaky Attack and Full Power Energy to sometimes combat the fast BY and BR decks if it needs to; we will have to see how far players can push decks like Set 3 Mira, Cell leader, and the Android 17/18 archetypes. I would be surprised if we don't see at least a few of these leaders make a deep push at upcoming regional. If that transition does happen, the format may diversify to engage up to 5 or 6 different leaders at the highest tables. Even if most of them revolve around the same 2-3 strategies, I think any improvements to diversity is welcomed. Potential WT Threats Doublechop Nam If Nam did not have the Yellow/WT requirement, it might be the best Battle card in the

game. This card has the potential to be meta-defining. Invalidating combo-into play Battle Cards, potentially killing 3 Rested Battle cards in a turn, or being constant removal not unlike Kami’s Power Piccolo, Doublechop Nam is the closest thing to a tempo card in this game. While Jackie Chun and Nam appear to be somewhat redundant, I have found the leader ability to threaten cards like Awe-Inspiring Intimidator SSB Vegito to synergize well. I cannot wait to get a yellow WT leader that generates more advantage to invite me to play this card. Uub, Unknowing Power In a world where BY Hiru may continue to threaten the format, I think having a blue WT leader is fantastic. Mono-Blue Uub and BR Uub appeals to me greatly. Mono-blue Uub can utilize Zen-oh Button to resolve multiple Shocking Latent Ability, Raging Spirit Son Gohan, Unbreakable SS Goku, and Announcer, Play-By-Play Pro on a single turn. In particular, the play of Announcer PBP Pro, The Legendary Flute, another PBP Pro to draw 5 cards for 2 energy seems incredibly powerful. The deck seems very powerful as a defensive deck, we’ll just have to see what kind of win condition the deck can develop; it probably involves the following combo Test of Strength Uubku Bar the Secret Rare revealing something crazy, Test of Strength Goku+ Test of Strength Uub will probably be the most impactful WT double whammy we see. Being able to spend 3 Energy to wipe 2 Battle cards and generate a 20K DS and a 20K critical to the board is pretty efficient. The real strength from this combo comes in tandem with Jackie Chun and Shugesh, Unwavering Solidarity. Not only can you play 6 energy worth of cards for 0 cost, but Uub’s ability to bounce something 20K or less power ignores combo power in the same way Revenge Death Ball does. While decks revolving around Shugesh are frequently a thing of the past, I expect Jackie Chun decks to splash 1-2 copies on the grounds it will steal games on it’s own. Announcer, Referee Veteran I think this leader will turn out to be slightly above average. While Pan is a great paper on paper with underwhelming performance, I see a similar case for Announcer. Fact of the

matter is that you want the leader to stay unawakened until the last turn of the game; I’m not sure how easy that will be even when you consider you get draws off of Heroic Duo Videls and Announcer PBP Pro. The deck has some absurd draw though, and it would be ignorant to not test this deck before passing judgment. Passing Thoughts While there are a couple other cards that may be impactful, such as Awakening Talent Pan, I’m the World Champion + No Openings Son Goku (Hi Galactic Frieza!) and perhaps the Supreme Showdown Goku+Vegeta series, I’m not confident on the impact many of these cards will have on the current metagame. Hidden Power, East Supreme Kai may buff decks like The Masked Saiyan and Set 1 Vegeta leader, but do those decks need 8 copies of Furthering Destruction Champa? While some low tier decks get buffs (like Tainted Power Spopovich & Yamu + Majin Buu’s Sealed Ball) and the plethora of generically decent Namekian support, I think these cards will take some time to fully blossom. Will the age fine like wine or be relegated to the binder? That’s up to you to decide.