So I just got home last night from Grand Prix Washington D.C., and I had a great time. I ended up going 6-3 missing out on making day two by one win, but for my first Grand prix I can't complain, especially since there were over 1900 players in the event. Now that the GP is over, Pat and I plan to start playtesting to prepare for both the Georgia and Pennsylvania Shonen jump events, and just like last set I plan to post up our notes on new cards and how they tested for us, as well as what decks we are playing with.
Despite the beating Bandai gave to water with the most recent rogue list, I'm still interested to try out some of the new cards such as The Second, Kigiri, and Nurari who all seem to be incredibly powerful. I think the decks we will most likely end up with are either Fire/X or Lightning/X builds though, because a guaranteed turn three Will of Fire or Group Lesson off of Naruto [Reliance] is game breaking in theory. With the lack of support given to them in teh core set, I'm pretty confident that both Wind and Earth probably wont make it into our gauntlet, except maybe the medical deck, however with Kabuto being put down to one and more powerful mission hate coming out, I don't think I want to play a deck thats fairly reliant on missions this format.
So we will keep you updated with our results from testing during the week, and I will probably put up a review on the top 5 cards of the set per rarity to replace the missing Element reviews, as most of you pobably don't care too much about the bad cards in each element. Until next time.
More extracts from my Bandai postings that I find useful:
A Swiss + cut event is designed to largely negate the effects of luck (due to the fact that it's possible to make top cut with 1-2 losses). In a deck with 11 0 drops and 3 Tobis (Tobi counts as reducing deck size by 1 - he actually should contribute more than that to probability but we're being conservative here), there is approximately a 18.1% chance of not drawing a 0 drop on a hand of 6, and a 24.6% chance of not drawing a 0 drop on a hand of 5. Assuming that the probability of winning with a hand of 4 is 0, that means there's only a 4.4% chance of drawing a hand that cannot win, no matter the skill level.
And let's assume that the deck is poorly constructed enough that 15.6% of the time, the hand will be unplayable or the cards drawn will do nothing. That means 20% of the time, a player will lose and be unable to control it at all.
6-2 with good breakers usually makes T8 at a 8 round event, 6-1-1 and 6-0-2 always will.
Even if you fail to win in 25% of your matches, you still make top cut.
Now take that earlier 20% - if a player is skilled enough, they'll be favored to win the rest of the 80% of the matches because they are better than their opponents.
But here's the kicker: bad luck doesn't just apply to yourself - bad luck also applies to your opponents. Therefore they also have that 20% chance of flat out losing a match due to a bad draw.
Applying the proper probabilities, here's the breakdown of a match between a good player and a bad player.
64%: Balanced game - good player wins (80% * 80%)
4%: Crappy draws on both ends - good player wins (20% * 20%)
16%: Bad player has a crappy draw - good player wins
16% Good player has a crappy draw - bad player wins
The good player should be expected to win 84% of the time, not just 80%.
Of course, the actual good player win percentage should be even higher. What separates a good deckbuilder from a bad deckbuilder is that the good deckbuilder reduces that 15.6 "unwinnable" percentage by tightening up the variance of the deck. What separates a great deckbuilder from a good deckbuilder is that the great deckbuilder will skew the draw distribution of the deck in order to create auto-win draws where the opponent can simply do nothing, no matter how they draw.
Is it possible for a bad player to be super lucky and make top cut, or a good player be super unlucky and miss top cut? Of course - it's possible, but improbable. Over time, all that shading of probability leads to a situation where good players should be able to top cut consistently due to the Swiss + cut format.
So I was browsing Bandai (big mistake, I know) and caught sight of a few baddies bashing on TCao's SJC T8 deck (an update on my Animal/NVS Hybrid).
How do people still not get it?
The deck pre-BP was already insane.
BP gave it SWoF, Jiraiya, and Rasengan. Game 1 is a joke against most decks. I don't think the deck lost a single Game 1 in testing.
So of course, people bring in the hate for Games 2 and 3.We (being myself and readers of this blog) already know that we shouldn't be fearing generalized hate. After all, if they don't draw the hate, they lose.
How come no one understands that simple concept?
Very few people play hate maindeck. The ones that do get beat by all the bad Fire decks that don't do anything. Or the Water decks that just point and laugh at the horrible cards that do nothing. And if they are playing scared, they're probably bad players anyways - a good player already has an edge in that matchup.
So we should be analyzing playing against an equally skilled player with sideboard hate.
Assumption: you have an auto-win game 1 most of the time when luck isn't involved.
You have to win 1 out of 2 games (50%) after that. They can bring in a max of 10 hate cards. Most likely they'll have 6 tops. With 6 hate cards, they have a 33% chance of not drawing one before turn 2, assuming they go first (40% for 5, 49% for 4, 59% for 3). Even with 10 hate cards, they still have a 14% chance of not drawing into a hate card by turn 2.
Using that 6 hate card number, this means that the opponent will draw into hate at a relevant time approximately 67% of the time. Assuming the Animal deck is good enough to win 1/3 of its games when the opponent hits his hate (I believe the real number is higher), you will win 33% (the time the opponent doesn't draw hate) + 22% (opponent draws hate and you still win - 67/3) = 55% of the time. Considering you only need to win 50% of your games if you win game 1, the odds are with you.
And that's if your opponent has 6 hate cards - less and the odds are with you even more.
So I'm finally out of classes, which (Hopefully) gives me more time to write for the blog. With regionals tomorrow and the GP next week, I will still be a bit busy, but without classes forcing me to get up early, and taking up half my day I should be able to devote some of my time to this blog.
First thing on the Agenda: The Georgia SJC. As most of you know, Pat and I have been planning on going to this for awhile. Unfortunately after taking with the group, I decided to sit this one out. Despite our initial plans of training or driving to GA, the rest of the group deemed that flying was the most cost effective plan for them, as they happen to have Air miles. As I don't happen to be so lucky, flying would not be a cost effective option for me, and I have no intention of going on this trip by myself.
It might be a good thing that I'm not going on this trip, because that would force me to look closely at the new set and see exactly how shafted wind got as a whole. Based on the themes I can easily see how poor the support for them was, in a BASE SET due to the lack of generic Negation, or decent theme support. Not to mention Winds super Tsunade is incredibly lack luster. As someone who enjoys playing, I have to say that I'm pretty disappointed in the designers, because the rest of the colors were supported fairly well, while wind was left alone in the dark for no real reason.
So yeah, I started an article and never finished it, and I know my excuses are no longer valid. I will do my best to both finish the article and get through the other two articles before the set drops next week, though I can't promise the wind review wont just be "Theme sux" written for each day of the week. Yes, I'm that bitter over this.
On a positive note, I really like Naruto Shippuden Live's Preview Sea monster. Not only does it provide a strong side board option against one of the supposed top tier decks for the upcoming format, but it will also hopefully achieve what Both Shino IW and Konohamaru IA tried to achieve, and failed at: Creating a slower format. Naruto seems to just speed up with each release, so much that many players are opting not to play ninjas above entrance cost five, unless they can be tricked into play. Sea monster makes it so attacking profitably is pretty hard until the game gets to be about three to four turns deep. I'm actually excited to see how this card will impact the meta, and if we will actually see a slower paced format!
Until next time guys,
67 players, currently end of round 5.
Jerry B (Match still unfinished)
Stephen Garrett has at least one loss, don't know about anyone else. Let me know if there's anyone you'd like me to check on.
I told you guys I would try to get my earth preview week review up during the week, so here it is (Well, mosty of it anyway):
Saturday April 24th: Saturday Preview
Earth Style: Earth Pike: What a cool way to transition from water week to earth week. I've been advocating cards like this for a long time, so I'm pretty happy that we finally got something along these lines. I saw a lot of love for this card on the boards, which I'm not surprised by, after all it's good card design and it has Kakuzu showing his pimp ring. Despite how much I clearly like this card, I personally don't think the card is strong enough to see any competitive play. With both Disguise jutsu and the new Water shark bomb both in format, doing what this card does to a better extent I don't see a reason to run a worse copy just because it can be both. Still, I'm glad the designers are finally taking the initiative and designing cards like this.
Sunday April 25th: Sunday Preview
Kiss of Death: we've had about 6 or so jutsus that do essentially the same thing as this card, none of which ever saw any real play, so you can't really expect much from this card playability wise. Maybe if Bandai had tacked on a draw one or something like that to make you go positive? I don't know, it just needs something in my eyes.
Monday April 26th: Asuma Theme
Asuma Sarutobi [For the Next Generation] + Asuma Sarutobi & Shikamaru Nara [Everlasting Relationship]: I'm going to talk about both cards, simply because it's impossible to talk about one without talking about the other as the two cards make each other good. For starters I saw a lot of hate on the Asuma card, which I didn't get. Why would you want him to be a super? Why would you want an incredibly linear effect? I'm happy with my Uncommon Revamped Kiba MBC. Yep, Thats exactly what Asuma is. Some of you are probably like "No, Kiba is a good zero drop any deck can play that tutors a ninja you can play for free." While you are technically correct that there is a difference between turn zero and turn four, and that Kiba's target hit's play for free, Asuma does everything better than Kiba on a better turn.
Asuma, as a stand alone ninja is aggressively stated for a turn 4 jonin in earth, giving an early six combat ninja to an element which curves predominantly support, where Kiba was always under stated regardless of the deck, unless your opponent started with a sakura. Asuma's search is also better than Kiba's because unlike Akamaru, you are probably playing Shikamaru because he is a good stand alone card that fits in your deck and has a relevant effect. Akamaru is fit into the deck specifically to obtain value out of your Kiba. Lastly, and most importantly Asuma & Shikamaru squad is far more game breaking then Kiba & Akamaru squad ever was.
A turn five 7/5 with Jonin rank, five mental power, two relevant combat attributes, and a powerful effect seems a lot better than a turn three 4/3 with a strong ability, in my book at least. One of the main reasons I like this guy is because it brings us back to the early stages of the game, where size is everything, and stall breaking effects are a legitimate win condition, as opposed to the blow out one turn win effects we've become used to over the past year. One last little thing I want to about is the wording on the Asuma card, which allows you to grab any card with "Shikamaru Nara" in it's name, allowing you to not only set up Shikatemaris for decision, but also allows you to grab the Shikamaru Asuma platoon, play it, and then squad into the big guy on turn five trigger the platoon's effect netting card advantage and allowing you to deploy on that turn as well. I'm not sure how viable that is, but in theory it's pretty awesome.
I personally think that every deck should, and probably will be packing at least one copy of the Asuma. There really isn't a strong enough reason not to, especially if you intended on play Shikamaru in your deck to begin with.
Present for the Promotion: I like that this card doesn't have a hand cost, that way any deck can use it, and that it always causes you to break even by using it. Despite how similar it is to Emina, I'm pretty confident it won't be nearly as playable as she once was. Still, this card makes a pretty good one of to allow you to pick up steam in the late game by returning all the Jutsus to your deck.
Tuesday April 27th: The First Hokage Theme
The First Hokage [Supremacy]: I really like this card a lot. Not only does he have a strong, game changing effect just for entering play, but he also has an effect that helps give your deck some resilience in the late game? Having solid stats and mastery just adds to my love for this card. While I don't exactly know what kind of deck he will go in (Aside from tree based decks, which I am not a fan of), I assure you that I will probably find something to play this guy in even if I have to splash for him alone. While he probably isn't going to go for as much as the Second, I can easily see this guy ending up being one of the more expensive supers in the set.
Farewell: We have cards that already do this, why make more? At least it's a common.
Earth Style: Stone Plate Coffin: So earth gets Hidden Mist Jutsu? Interesting, but I don't think that will really do much in a format with disguise jutsu, as well as other negation options that at least appear to be better than this card.
Wednesday April 28th: Yugito Ni Theme
Yugito Ni [Rage]: Nice artwork! Unfortunately the card itself is rather lack luster. That kind of effect isn't particularly game breaking, and in an aggressive format, you need a good reason to play Ninjas that come out so late. At least Yugito's effect makes sense flavor wise, plus she has Tailed beast mode in her characteristics! I would be pretty surprised if Yugito saw some real play, but I don't know, the format might develop in a way that her seven combat might be relevant.
Howl: Again, good artwork, lack luster effect. Even in a cooled down environment, two chakra to not really change the board position isn't great. I feel like this card could have had a tack on of something small and it probably could have seen a bit of play post rotation, but as it is I'm going to just say no.
The Last Message: I really don't know what to think of this card. The cost seems really steep, but at the same time there could probably be some kind of combo with it to make it good. For now I'm going to say no to competitive play, but it has potential.
As I need to finish writing my final paper before I go out tonight to the Ironman 2 premier, I'm going to have to finish up this review later. Please be sure to comment bellow to let me know what you guys agreed or disagreed with. Until next time
Now that I've actually had a chance to look over all of the previews for the past two weeks, I figured I would post up another review for you guys. I'm only going to go over the Water theme today, as I have a paper due tomorrow, but I should be able to do the Earth themes at some point during the week.
Saturday April 17th: Saturday Preview
Combination Jutsu: I really like this card a lot, simply because it's costed so well. two generic chakra to water prison a ninja is pretty good value, especially in an aggro based deck like NVS which shouldn't have an problem getting this card to always have the better of the two effects. My only complaint about the card is the other effect. Why is it -2/-2? Isn't negatives a fire based effect? Should have given the user a pump, or something that made sense. Still, I wouldn't be surprised if this card saw some play prior to rotation.
Sunday April 18th: Sunday Preview
Princess Koto: Another strong client effect. While she might not seem as amazing as Michiru, or Emina, she is capable of some pretty crazy things when put in a deck that plays predominantly female ninjas. Odds are, this chick will constantly force the opposition to use jutsu's first, which is exactly what you want in a deck using cards like Counter and Wind Scythe Jutsu. I kind of dislike that she doesn't have the wind symbol, but I can also understand why she was given the two symbols she currently has. Princess Koto is a card I would be aware of when getting ready for the SJC this season, because if you don't have a way to deal with her in your board, you might be fighting an uphill battle against Kunoichi or Medical decks during the day.
Monday April 19th: Kisame Theme
Kisame [Water Clone]: I'm actually really disappointed with this card. While the effect is exactly what you would expect the effect to be for water clone Kisame, there are several things missing from the card that just ruin it. First of all, where is the clone status? The card is a picture of Kisame using water clone, has the surname [Water Clone], and the effect of putting an exact copy of Kisame into play... So where is the damn clone status? The other thing that bothers me is his inability to get his effect off of Ambush. I think thats pretty grimy, simply because water's entire play style has developed around Ambush, and I don't really think that by getting his effect off of an Ambush, he would be OP.
As for the card it self, I'm not sure if I actually like it or not. I can see the blow out moments where making two ninjas in one turn wins you the game, but I also see his effect causing the player to make bad plays due to keeping it in hand instead of charging it, and charging another card like a jutsu or mission, just to get Kisame's effect. It probably wont see play until after rotation, but even then, I feel like his draw back is too big to be played over Guren.
Water Style: Water Shark Bomb Jutsu: Right off the back you can probably determine the playability of this card in water decks in the current format by looking at it's name. Competing with one of the most efficient negation cards in the game means that this card is most likely not going to make the cut any time soon. However, the designers opted to not only forgo a requirement on the card, but also make the cost generic allowing any deck to utilize this card. While in the current format, I'm not sure what deck will want to use this out side of a rush based deck, post rotation this card might actually see some play.
The Top Priority: All I can say is that giving your opponent the ability to pick for an effect means that you will seldom gain a lot of advantage off of said effect. Pressing was the same way, while both effects were really good, allowing your opponent to pick between the two effects just meant that you would never really get the effect you want. This card is pretty much the same in that, yes sending a ninja to chakra is good for a mission effect, but sending a turn zero ninja, or a ninja with ambush to chakra isn't particularly good. Even in Limited, I probably wouldn't take this card until very late in the pack.
Tuesday April 20th: The Second Hokage Theme
The Second Hokage [Supremacy]: This card was really well designed for the core set in my opinion. The Second's effect pretty much ties all of water together, and in a way represents water as a whole. For those of you wondering what I mean, the best example I could probably give comes from other card games like Duel masters, where each base set they had Ultras that catered specifically to their color's main themes, which is exactly what The Second does. Helps you generate a lot of chakra? Check. Helps you play a lot of powerful Jutsus? Check. Helps you Ambush Ninjas? Check. Helps you burn Chakra? If you have Threats in your Chakra area when you put him in play, check. The Second just does everything you want him to do in water, so there really isn't a reason to play cards like Kakuzu over this guy, as Kakuzu is more narrow and less game breaking then the Second.
I really like this card a lot, not only from a design standpoint, but from the stand point of someone who likes cards that reward the more skilled player. Second's effect can just as easily be a game winning play for a skilled player who played the game thinking ahead, as it can be a decent play by a less skilled player who didn't think past the current turn. By planning ahead, you can easily manipulate your chakra to insure you get the exact three cards that will win you the game, like two Water dragons, and a Threat of the Tailed beast. All in all I think the Second is just really good, an dI expect him to be one of the chase supers from the set.
Bounty: Bounty isn't a bad card, as it has synergy with all the ambush ninjas water has, but I have never been a fan of conditional draw power that either has a good effect or none at all. it might see some play, but I sincerely doubt it.
Black Strings: Healing jutsus never seem to see play simply because there are better tricks you could be playing instead, and I don't feel as though this card is any different. While Black Strings does happen to be costed well for it's effect, it still doesn't do enough to warrant it seeing play in a competitive environment.
Wednesday April 21st: Haku Theme
Tracking Ninja: I personally think this card is a step in the wrong direction for Bandai. Including a 4/1 turn zero Ninja with two mental power, relevant combat attribute, and ambush, in a set with a bunch of decent turn zero ninja with weaker stats doesn't make sense to me at all. It was stated that they were making good turn zero ninjas on all colors to reduce splashing, but then they make a ninja who is better than those other ninjas, and leagues better than vanilla sasuke ever was in water. So the reality is, they made a bunch of turn zero ninjas that no one will play because they also made tracking ninja who has better stats, and has synergy with certain decks.
Killer Shot: So it's a fire ball for two generic? It's definitely better that any deck can utilize it, but I still feel as though it isn't good enough. Maybe if they allowed you to bounce it back to hand if the user had some kind of characteristic or something, I don't know. I just feel like the card is too narrow and doesn't really help unless the opponents entire strategy is reliant on a client or permanent mission.
The Next Target: This card is so incredibly good. This one mission gives water the ability to deal with things they could never deal with before on an early enough turn to hit almost anything. This card would probably have gotten my vote as best common in the set if tracking ninja wasn't around.
Thursday April 22nd: Kabuto Theme
Kabuto [Recycling]: Not only is this guy good in your deck, he is also good for the environment! Bad puns aside, I think this might be my favorite card in the set. Most of you can probably recall that I was one of the biggest advocators of Sasori TBT, and even ended up playing him in this years past sannin event. Kabuto's effect is incredibly powerful, and completely puts Sasori TBT to shame. Not only do they have similar stats and characteristics to begin with, but Kabuto's effect is more cost efficient and the Ninja actually sticks. I would without a doubt be playing with this guy at Gencon this year, if DB didn't exist. Because DB has solidified him self as a staple three of in every water or water/X deck, there really isn't any good justification to not play him. Hopefully DB gets restricted or something so I can justify playing this guy, because if not, what a waste of such a good effect.
Earth Style Ultimate revival Jutsu: Soil Bodies: This card is waaaaaay to narrow to see play, even with it's alternate cost. I'm not a fan of cards that rely on your opponents cards to do anything, and thats exactly what this card does. Even for limited, this card has no real reason to be a rare.
Tragic Destiny: I'm not a fan of this card for the same reason stated in the above; I don't like cards that rely on the cards your opponent plays to do anything. In water, this card lets you ambush a ninja, which probably already has ambush and give it an effect which may or may not help. So you are pretty much playing a mission that says "Give target ninja the effect of a ninja your opponent controls". I guarantee you that card would never see play. Yes, you could pick up a ninja from discard pile, and Yes I like Kabuto which does just that, but it's completely different. Kabuto allows you to abuse cards like Temari WS, the new Second Hokage, and Shino IW by constantly getting them back, where this card is a one shot deal that cost more for a potential bonus.
The card has more of a use in Fire decks, as they don't have access to similar effects, and have far less cards with Ambush on them. Still, I feel like there are much stronger cards to be playing in the current pool, and even if there weren't I'm just not a fan of this type of an effect. I will say that I probably would play this in EDH though, because recursion in a format of one ofs is obviously much more powerful, not to mention your opponent is guaranteed to have a powerful ninja effect via their general, so more often then not this cards second effect will be relevant.
Friday April 23rd: Three Tails Theme
Three Tails [A Monster who Lives in the Abyss]: This guy is pretty scary. As long as he is on the table with a jonin, you really cant attack or block profitably. Couple that with his huge stats and you have a pretty big threat. ALone this guy probably wouldn't see too much play, but the next card is what really makes him playable in my opinion.
Yukimaru [Guide]: His first effect is almost negligible, as most of us just read him as "You can play your Three Tails really early" and I'm pretty sure thats what is going to make this guy see play. I haven't tested out this concept yet, but believe me I plan to do so once the set lands. I never saw the Three tail fillers, so I'm not sure exactly who this guy is or why he gives the three tails a lower entrance cost though, so if someone would like to fill me in that would be great.
Stolen Bodies: While it probably wont see much play in the current environment, this card is a strong candidate to replace threat post rotation. It may not be as game breaking, but it does work in a similar manner. I'm actually okay with this card replacing threat, as threat happened to be pretty stupid, especially in multiples.
As I said before, I will try to get the Earth themes review up later in the week, but no promises. Please comment bellow to let me know what you agreed/disagreed with, what cards you think will end up seeing play, or if any of these cards is being over rated/over looked. Until next time.