I know, I haven't posted anything in almost two weeks. For those of you who check back multiple times a day because you love us so much, I'm sorry I didn't put up anything sooner. You may have heard that I've been focusing on magic lately due to an upcoming M:TG Grand prix, which is true, but that isn't the soul reason I haven't been posting. The reality is that the past few weeks have been really hard for me.
Sometimes working on a team can be frustrating, because just like in everything else, people have different opinions. For instance, thus far in my group testing, none of us have found anything that all four of us actually would consider playing. That wouldn't be a big deal, but we tend to tear each others ideas apart in the process leaving bitter feelings for one another. Another thing you will find is that people don't always share the same values, or they may value something lower/higher than you would. As it stands, one of our team mates is taking the event so incredibly seriously that he constantly badgers the others about "Not being dedicated enough".
After arguing about decks, and how much I care about magic for an entire day, you can imagine how much I want to come home and write up about naruto previews I haven't even had a chance look at. On top of all of this I have other things going on in my life, such as trying to pass a class where the average grade is failing, friends who don't seem to have the time to talk or hang out because they would rather do other shit, lack of monnies in the bank, and more! I actually have been spending most of my days playing Pokemon on campus long after my classes are done with my phone turned off, just because I know that if I don't I might end up blowing up on someone.
I probably shouldn't even be posting this up, because it will inevitably attract trolling, but I just needed to get this out. I'll do my best to get up some kind of review this weekend, but no promises.
So I guess Pat's been wondering where I am... maybe (hopefully?) you guys have as well. It's actually been a long time since I've actually thought about Naruto - the article I posted a week or so back was one that I had been saving for a while and just never got around to putting up somewhere. In any case, I've just been working at both my jobs, playing some Heroes of Newerth, going through the motions at school, preparing for graduation... graduation? Shit, I'm graduating already... how did that happen?
I've been playing Naruto for four years now!
And to think that four years ago, I thought this game would be merely a side game to Magic, just like my dalliances with VS and Yu-Gi-Oh!...
But I mean... really? Four years? A Bandai game lived this long? And is still going strong?
Did you know that four years ago, my only exposure to anime had been the original 4Kids or whatever Americanized-version it was of Pokemon on TV?
Speaking of anime, just for fun I re-watched the whole Chunin exam arc over the past few nights. Four years ago, Naruto actually had a storyline and characters with both strengths and weaknesses...
Four years ago, the Naruto card game was much more interesting.
I think, after all these years playing the game, the deck I'm still the most fond of is the deck I won the '08 AX Kage with: Hybrid NVS. It was a deck with all the theories I've tried to impart on you guys... it maximized its best cards (essentially 6 copies of Gaara [Tragic Name]), it had explosiveness (Idate, SCJ, and NVS), and it used time value to the utmost advantage (built on speed, no useless late game ninjas - after all, what use were 5 and 6 drops against Gaara IP?).
Additionally, it was the deck I was most comfortable with and a deck I really enjoyed playing.
That's all very solid reasoning, for sure... but I think the biggest reason why I played the deck was because I really liked Unexpected Attack.
Going back to that Chunin Exam Arc, right up there with Lee vs. Gaara and anything involving Shikamaru, is Naruto vs. Neji in my list of favorite fights. There's just something inspiring about an underdog winning by finding an opening where no one else sees one.
And even better - it was Lightning, my favorite element and long-derided as the worst element. So when I was scrambling to create a deck, there was one other thing that weighed heavily on my mind - my legacy.
Ari was known as the king of water. Bruce was known as the master of tempo. I didn't really have an identity... at best I was the guy with an unhealthy obsession with Sakura's Decision, or a rogue deckbuilder with a fascination with decks with cute synergies and combos.
But if I could win with this crazy idea I had - if I could become Hokage in a field of Sand Tombs and Trigrams while I used a card that gave +2/+2 for 2 chakra...
When I become Hokage, I'll change the Hyuga for you!
Even if I never did anything else in the game, that would be enough. To win with my strategy, with my pet "bad" cards, against an opponent that many claimed to be unbeatable... well like I said, there's just something inspiring about an underdog winning by finding an opening where no one else sees one.
I talk a lot about playing to win, but there's one thing I cannot stress enough as I reminisce about the past. If you're not having fun playing, step away from the game. When it's more a chore than entertainment, it's not worth it to try and force that spark to reignite.
When you're dealing with games, even if you know it's not the "right" decision... always make sure whatever you're doing is putting a smile on your face.
Until we meet again.
A long time ago, in the days of curves only Ari could love, I wrote a blurb on Bandai about the importance of playing a frontloaded curve. My argument, though clumsy and not articulated clearly, was that it was important to maximize the value gained from each turn by making a drop. Missing a drop, I wrote, was akin to giving the opponent a free turn – a highly inefficient way to try to achieve victory.
This article is going to build on the basic theory advanced by the concept of a curve – or more specifically, the higher end of the curve. Too often, when people explain their decks, I see them categorize ninjas as “solid X drop,” where X is the particular turn cost of that card. That is particularly shoddy reasoning that leads to inefficient deck construction, and we all know inefficiency leads to game losses.
To illustrate what I mean, let’s take a look at some cards – a vanilla Sasuke and a 4th Kazekage. Which card creates more value?
Well, taken at face value, of course the 4th Kazekage is more powerful. It’s bigger, it has a stronger effect, it has a higher rank… and it only requires one wind card as a cost, right?
What must be remembered in this situation is that cards have more than one cost – turn cost is perhaps even more relevant than hand cost. When you play a card like the 4th Kazekage, you aren’t just investing a ninja onto the board and a hand cost for it. You’ve already invested 6 turns into waiting to get it operational.
Barring any outside influence, your Kazekage will start accumulating value for you on turn 6. However, vanilla Sasuke can start accumulating value for you on turn 0. Intrinsically, the Kazekage has more value – but that assumes both start accumulating value at the same time. Of course, you’re going to see diminishing returns from your Sasuke each turn – but those returns come at a cost of just 1 turn and no hand cost, versus 6 turns and 1 hand cost. Thus your overall percentage return from that Sasuke could turn out much higher.
Furthermore, if you draw a Kazekage in your opening hand and the game ends on turn 5, essentially you received negative return on your investment. Not only did you not play your Kazekage, it also served as a pseudo-mulligan since you couldn’t play it. Basically you held the Kazekage for 5 turns in order for it to cost you a card.
This is why I never liked Gaara IP and the deck built around him. In the 40 card format, the deck often played 3 Gaara IP, 6 of his jutsus, 3 One Morning, a few other 4-5 drops, and some variant of Tsunade. In the 50 card format, it often went up to 9-10 jutsus as well as late game missions like Fellow and Loneliness. That means for the entirety of the deck’s existence, often 40% of the deck was composed of cards that required 4 turns of investment before they could come online – and even when they came online, they often required other cards to be useful.
So on paper, the deck looked super efficient, with Gaara IP not requiring a hand cost and all the aggressively-costed jutsus present in the deck. But in execution of a more detailed analysis, we find that 2 out of every 5 cards drawn don’t have any use until turn 4, and some won’t have any use without other cards. Thus the true cost of Gaara IP and his buddies was a lot more than just a 4 drop.
Does this mean we shouldn’t be playing 5 or 6 drops since they represent such variable return for such a huge time investment? Of course not – what this article is trying to explain is that for late game cards, you should only be playing cards that can win the game by themselves (or have Ambush, as Ambush gets around the problem of holding late drops in your hand). For example, cards like Itachi GiG, NVS, Jiraiya IOTHT, Yamato CBF, etc. – these are the types of game-winners that provide adequate return for the turn investment placed in them. Cards that provide the return of a lower drop but at the cost of a high drop should never be considered.
Going back to the beginning of the article, another concept I argued for back in those days was the concept of threat diversity – the idea that people should play ninjas with many different names in order to avoid missing drops (due to having a ninja with the same name in play). This was far more relevant in the 40 card format, but lessons can still be learned from it today. What’s important to understand about card costing is that each card also has an opportunity cost – putting card X into your deck means that hundreds of other cards won’t be put in instead. If card X has a comparable power level to those other cards, it might be worthwhile to diversify that drop. However, if card X is so good that the opportunity cost of playing it is minimal, you would want to maximize the copies of that card in your deck.
Turn cost is highly relevant when evaluating cards.
Don’t play a high drop if you can get the same value out of a lower drop.
Keep in mind the turn cost of jutsus. When will all those Trigrams and Mangekyos actually come online?
Don’t play too high a concentration of late game cards, unless you like drawing 6 card hands that are actually 4 card hands.
Your late drops should be game winners.
Threat diversity is important, but maximizing your best cards is more important.
Due to the overwhelming amount of comments for Pat's new "The good, the Bad, and the Ugly" segment, where Pat uses two other cards to mask the fact that he wants to complain about one specific card, I decided to put up a weekly review of the previews posted on the main site. Hopefully you guys are still somewhat interested in my card evaluations now that I no longer have previews of my own to give out on a podcast that you can skim through. Anyway, let's get this started with.
Monday April 12th: Sora Theme
Sora [Broken Seal]: So before I get into anything too deep on this one, I want to point out that I never watched the Sora fillers, and I only really know that apparently he has the over flow of the 9 tails chakra in him, or something like that? Anyway, I like Sora. Not because I think he is good or anything, the reality is that he probably wont ever touch competitive play. The reason I like Sora is because he was designed to be another Naruto for a casual Tailed beast mode deck. He fills the roll of "Radiant Energy User" on turns three or four if you are desperate, or if you need someone else to use the jutsu for whatever reason. He also gives cards like Destructive swing a chance at seeing play. On a minor note, Sora is also Stated very well for limited play, so you might want to pick him sooner rather than later in a draft.
Beast Wave: Palm Hurricane: I feel this card is a step in the right direction for design. Most of you probably didn't notice this, but the card, while being primarily Lightning (cost and requirement wise) the effect is a Wind effect. I wouldn't mind seeing a cycle of Jutsu cards that are dual colored that allow an element a chance to use an effect that it normally wouldn't be able to use. My only complaint is that it probably should have costed Wind l Wind instead, so that Lightning would have to pay more for an off color effect, though I understand it was costed the way it was to be more playable in it's theme. In terms of power level, I feel like this card is far under what we have now, but might be much closer post rotation.
Hate: I really don't like this card. I do like the concept of giving lightning the ability to negate missions at a cost, where fire has that ability for free, however this card is just to situational with the current pool of cards. There are very few good effects that provide growth coins, and even growthing itself is generally un-advantageous. For a card like this to actually see play, one of two things would probably need to happen: 1) Bandai gave more solid effects that provide growth coins to lightning, or 2) Bandai made a broken mission card that completely destroys the foundation of the game and as such every deck needs a way to try and play around it.
Approaching Shadow of Death: I also like this card alot because of how it interacts with Hidan (Cursed mode). Granted Disaster is a far better card, I still plan on trying this card out, as the Hidan deck probably wont be able to compete until post rotation, where we are left disasterless. I'm also happy Bandai is sticking with lightning being the primary effect damage element.
Tuesday April 13th: Sai Theme
Sai [Study]: The only card in the theme that has anything to do with Sai! His effect is very strong, but due to how fast paced the current format is, I doubt he will see much play until post rotation, where I will probably end up playing him in everything. I really like this Sai a lot, and I think it's a prime example of a card that could easily be reprinted in future core sets, only without the terrible artwork.
Just like that Hero: Freaking awesome. This is a card that combo decks have been waiting for for a long time. Granted, it is turn four in a fast paced format, but I still wouldn't bet against this card seeing play in some deck during the next year, wether it be NVS, or some other crazy concoction. This is exactly what a super rare should be in my opinion: a card that is Fun, unique, and something people want to build around.
Scattered Thousand Birds Jutsu: Generic Negation for lightning that follows lightnings established Niche of sending cards to the bottom of deck. I have no problems with this card, in that it happens to be well costed for it's effect and it has a wide range of users. The unfortunate thing is that there are several cards in the current card pool that fulfill this cards role in lightning decks better, so this card might not see play right now.
Wednesday April 14th: Clone theme
Distraction: So basically this is a substitute for the Efficient training deck? I like that they are giving it some support, but I don't think this card makes the deck any better. Still, it would be pretty cool to play Naruto [Reliance] on turn three, search this card, then on five turn naruto into tailed beast mode in injured status and blow up a guy. due to this card not having a hand cost, it can be done in any deck too. This card might be worth looking into, but it's most likely too situational to see competitive play.
Rasengan: My initial thought was "Name is Rasengan, so it probably wont see play due to the Broken promises variant being amazing." However, I've grown to appreciate this cards value in the side board. Being able to kill a Ninja, and then Blow up a Michiru, or Miroku is incredible value. This card is exactly what we have been asking Bandai to give us, and I for one am happy with it. If the Hidan deck takes off, you lightning players might want to pack these guys in against it, cause without Ritual it becomes exceedingly hard for that deck to win.
Thursday April 15th: Taijutsu Theme
Agira [For the Revenge]: I think this card is awful. Not only is it awkwardly stated for a Taijutsu Ninja, but it's effect is random and over costed. This is a bad example of support for a theme because it isn't supporting the theme do what it's good at, it's just random and bad. It also doesn't help that they didn't give this guy a rank, or any mental power.
Gensho [For the Revenge]: This card is much better, in that it actually follows the theme slightly better by pumping itself, however I don't think the card is strong enough to see play for several reasons. The first thing I have against this card is it's timing. By using it's effect before they block, your opponent instantly knows if blocking you is a good or bad plan. Had they made his effect during the exchange of Jutsu, it would require more decision making, and therefore more skill to know when to block him, and when blocking might not be the best plan. My other complaint about the card is the lack of growth. I normally consider growth a worthless mechanic, but in this case I feel it's pretty relevant due to the turn zero version of this character being so good.
Rokaku [For the Revenge]: This guy might be the best card in the theme, which is unfortunate because his effect has nothing to do with the Taijutsu theme. A Disguise jutsu on a stick for lightning might be good next format, due to the decreased power level, and even now it could be pretty relevant when going up against cards like Chidori and Rasengan from Broken Promises. I think Bandai could have made this guy better for the theme, and stronger in general by changing the cost to removing two Taijutsu ninja from your discard pile from the game. This way, his effect would only be usable in the theme, and it would be legitimate because he would protect your Ninja's after they use pumps to get bigger than the opposing teams.
Jako [Support]: Card is bad. Seriously, Whoever made this card is retarded. Theme support doesn't mean "Give them a bad card that becomes on curve if used in the theme" because if that were the case, why not just play something on curve to begin with? He should have had the two support, and either gotten an additional support, or given a combat to the head if he was in a team with a Taijutsu ninja, giving incentive to actually run this card. The irony behind this card's surname has my head hurting.
Yagura [Probationer]: This one has growth, but not the turn four, wut? Despite that, I really like this card because not only does it fit the theme it also adds to the list of cards that benefit from the new rules regarding note taking a major events. Being able to look at a card in your opponents hand every turn is a pretty good ability for a zero drop, especially since he can use it from the side lines. I except this guy to definitely see play if not this format, then the next for sure. I also think this card would make a great platinum promo.
Friday April 16th: Lee Theme
Rock Lee [Motto]: Definitely fits in Taijutsu themed decks well, it's just unfortunate that they aren't good, otherwise this guy might be a house. Curving only Taijutsu ninjas with this guy could be such a savage set up, now if only Bandai could give us the resources to make this possible in a competitive environment. Looks like this Lee is getting my vote for "Cool card that isn't going to see any ply whatsoever" of the set. A shame, really.
Rock Lee [Eight Inner Gates]: Sooooooo good in aggressive decks. In Animals and NVS particularly this guy will pretty much always be a 5/2 after turn one, allowing him to nab more battle rewards, and beat down on even the toughest genin in the format. Love this guy, and I really like the unique card design and use of Lightnings "Turn marker maters" sub theme.
Raigo! Thousand Hand Strike!: At first glance the card appears to be limited fodder, but at second glance you realize that it might even be worse. It pumps worse then just about every other pump in the set, and it's effect doesn't seem to be too relevant in limited play (so far from what we've seen). In constructed there are much better options as far as stopping mental power battles go.
Sudden Entry: I saw that a lot of people really seemed to like this card on the boards, which confused me. In the current format, there is so much splashing that I cant ever see this effect going off reliably. Even post rotation cards like Baki AB, Tobi MoM, and Yakumo will still be around, and you aren't going to opt not to run better cards to try and get this card to go off, when at best you only have around a sixty percent chance of it going off anyway.
So that concludes the first edition of my weekly card reviews. I'm going to aim to do these every weekend, but those of you who know me well know that I have a habit pushing things off. I hope you guys enjoyed the review, and please feel free to comment and let me know if you agree or disagree with anything I stated. Until next time.
Some of you have been complaining that I don't put up enough "Articles" and that my posts are generally thoughts or opinions on new developments in the game, as opposed to tips and tricks for tournament play. As such I decided to start doing an occasional segment on things I've learned from playing in high level events. I'm not as good of a writer as my two blogmates, but I hope that those of you who wanted more from me enjoy this.
"Always be aware of the game state"- Every writer in every article for every game
The above quote is probably something most of you have heard a number of times, and it's an important thing to remember, because nothing hurts more than to lose the match because you didn't pay attention to, or forgot about what's going on in the game. I know it sounds ridiculous, and you might be asking yourself "How could someone forget what's going on in the game they are playing?" Well, I assure you that not only does it happen, but it happens often.
To give you guys an example of what I'm talking about, lets look back to the Mist Kage '09, where my team mate and I introduced Fellow and Loneliness, a card most people called trash, to the competitive circuit. Many games that day would end in me playing Gaara IP, F&L, and then using Sand tombs and Double sand blades to reduce their board to teams of two or less so that they would pretty much die to F&L. At the same time, more games were won because those same players would spend the following game(s) playing around a potential F&L blow out, instead of paying attention to how aggressively I was playing.
The reality was that after almost every game I played them, I sided out the F&Ls and put more aggressive cards in their place. I won games off of the fact that my opponent was so busy thinking about what he might get wrecked by, that he didn't notice the way he was organizing his teams allowed me to win. I'm not saying it was wrong of them to be aware of a potential threat in my deck, but losing because they made poor choices in organizing their teams is entirely on them.
I've also witnessed games where cards like Unexpected Attack, Shuriken, or an ambushed in Kisame FM win the game for someone, simply because the other player didn't check their opponents discard pile when they milled for a card effect, or what they used as a hand cost for a mission. I find this crazy, because unlike my previous example of my opponents making poor choices due to his lack of attention to how aggressively I was playing, this is just simply not looking at what cards your opponent is using. I don't think there is any legitimate excuse for that.
This is the part of the article where I'm supposed to tell you some secret trick to not falling into these situations, but really there is no trick. Just pay attention to the field, the cards in your opponent's chakra area, and discard pile. As a player participating in a high level event, you should be utilizing any information available to you, including the face up cards in every zone. There's just no reason not to.
I hope you guys enjoyed the article, and if you have any more suggestions for me and the other writers, please don't hesitate to post them in the comments bellow. Until next time guys!
This card is going to be the best card in the game or completely unusable. There are so many combos with it... Reunion + itself, NVS, Reaper Death Seal, or just get it and your best cards so you can keep on doing it over and over again.
Haven't done a blurb in awhile. I'm currently sitting in school trying to type up an essay for my short stories class, but I figured I would take a break and post up some of my feelings toward some of the things going on in the narutoverse.
Now that Kakuzu (Courtesy of Naruto Shippuden live) and Hidan have been posted up there is a lot of talk on how they will fair in competitive play, and exactly how much they will be going for. I don't actually like Kakuzu, due to how slow he is, how conditional his burn is, and the minor benefit from using his effect on turn 7, though I'm sure he will end up seeing some play, or at worst end up like Obito did in BP.
Hidan I feel has a better chance of seeing play, simply because of his good stats and ability to force an action out of your opponent. Playing around with his curse mode leads me to believe that while it might not be the best deck in the format, it does go off and you do win when it happens, but it's still turn 7 and fragile. I still plan to keep tweaking with cursed mode, but I don't expect it to hit the top tables until post rotation.
Speaking about the current format, how about that Naruto/Hinata squad? There's alot of debate as to if it needs to be banned or not, and while most of you know my opinion, I though I would highlight the opposing arguments, simply to further prove how right I am. Here's a few of the responses as to why Naruto Hinata isn't broken and shouldn't be dealt with:
Yeah, it isn't like NVS where we can side in like six cards and turn off their deck. It's one card, and by siding in card specifically to stop it, you are playing linear answers to one card, so that you can get steam rolled by their deck's actual threats. Not to mention the only answers to it are Shimon, Miroku, and Crying in Vain, one of which is rogued, and another is a turn too late, and the last is only available to water and pretty much just stops one card from happening.
ooooo scary naruto/hinata stops u from deploying for 1 freakin turn if u cant hold off for 1 turn well i guess ur deck needs fixed.
It's a freaking curve based game. Missing drops ALWAYS put's you behind the clock, and this one is done manually, while accelerating into a turn 2 4/3 7/3 ninja with 2 mental power.
Simply create a card that can remove a card in your reinforcement deck of your choosing actually I think there is a counter mission that allows you to draw 2 cards and remove a squad that is put in play from the game and plenty of cards that flat out stop squads from being summoned (shimon). Stop crying that you lose to 1 card and learn from it instead...easy.
Silver bullets are bad, and in every instance of their creation in this game they have either not worked (Control of the Nine-Tailed), or been ridiculous and ruined an aspect of the game (USF Ninjas, Miroku). There is a counter mission that blows up squads, but because it's a counter mission, you can't use it on Naruto/Hinata as it comes in on your opponents turn. Lastly, the only thing I've learned from Naruto/Hinata is that Bandai is even more ignorant when it comes to the impact of missing drops in a curve based game.
So for those of you who are on the fence and haven't really decided where you stand on the issue, all you need to do is look at the different arguments being presented, and it should become obvious to you. Just for the record though, I'm sure all of us would be happy with just an errata on Naruto/Hinata, though that's more retarded and less effective, but as it stands bandai has dug them selves into a hole with this card, and if we want the upcoming SJC season to not completely suck something needs to be done about Naruto/Hinata.
Last thing I wanted to talk about is that I will be transfering schools in the fall and It's quite a trip for me. I'll be going to UB (University at Buffalo) which happens to be 7 hours away from my home town. I haven't had a local store to play at in a long time, so if any one happens to know a store that isn't far I would gladly check it out. I actually don't know anyone going to the school or in the area, so I'm really going to be out on my own, which I think is for the best. I'm looking forward to moving, and hopefully I won't be too busy eating Buffalo wings to update this blog ;)
Until next time,
I know that there are several of you out there who are upset at Hidan (Cursed mode) being just a Hidan with slightly better stats, but a I've said on the boards, Hidan in cursed mode wasn't any more powerful in the show. In order to become a real threat, he needed to complete his ritual, and it's the same in the card game!
First we gotta draw a circle!
Ritual Circle might not be the best jutsu, but it does grab you the Mission card needed to complete Hidan's "Ritual". I Personally would Just play the new Naruto Starter deck card, as he can not only grab the Ritual mission card, but several other key Lightning missions, making him less linear than the jutsu. Never the less, Ritual circle will still probably make it into the local fun deck versions to keep the flavor of the Hidan deck.
Yes, you read it right. Every Injured Ninja. Disaster of the 9 tailed fox wipes the board save for Hidan, Sasuke CH triggers a massive wipe, or at least auto kills 1 ninja, heck even New pervy ninjutsu wipes a team! I personally really like these cards and I can't wait to try out the Hidan deck for next format. I want to thank Tylar again for letting us Preview these cards, and for bringing us a cool combo deck that doesn't just lose to a poor board position. I hope you guys liked the previews, and be sure to comment bellow!
So most of you saw our preview of Hidan (Cursed Mode) yesterday and were pretty bummed out. "He's a slightly better regular Hidan" some of you said, "How do you put him in play?" many of you asked. All your questions as to how he comes into play, and exactly what you do with him, will be answered with theses last two preview cards:
First up, HOW to get Hidan into play:
Sick, right? This not only allows you to turn your basic Hidan into a stage 1 Hidan (Cursed Mode) but it also lets you do it the turn he comes into play, so you don't have to wait a turn!
Now, the last piece of the combo:
And you guys wondered why he was fire. His milling effect helps put fire energy in your discard pile for Typhlosion to pick up and attach to Hidan, only without the draw back because Hidan can't die regardless of how many damage counters are put on him!
As you can see the Hidan deck is a clear front runner for the next season of States and Regionals. Thanks Tylar for not only making such a great combo deck, but also letting us here at The Perfect Curve Preview it!
... Just kidding. I hate april fools day, but even I couldn't pass this up. The real previews will be posted in an hour, so check back at 12.