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