Saturday, July 24, 2010
Fangs of the Snake Preview #8: Quincy Archer Hates You

Your jutsus, that is.


Not sure exactly what sort of impact this card will have - if you're not playing a jutsu based deck, it protects you for a few turns to try to force the game into an unwinnable position for your opponent... but wouldn't it be better to just play cards that actually do something? I mean, even if there's some sort of pump jutsu deck, this card comes out too late to actually do much for your early game against that type of deck.

Of course, if there's some way to recycle this card... Naruto/Jiraiya squad anybody?


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Thursday, July 22, 2010
Zero Blurb: Getting ready for SJC Pennsylvania!... Sort of.

As most of you know SJC Pennsylvania is this weekend, and Pat and I are doing what we can to set up the best coverage possible at the event (Given that we can't do a live stream without wifi). We hope to get top eight interviews, as well as commentary from some of the players on the current format as well as the upcoming one. SJC Pennsylvania is the first event with the tournament pack legal and is looking to have a pretty big turn out, so be sure to follow us for updates on the event, because you don't want to miss out on any new decks or tech cards before Gencon.

Anyway, I'm currently at Pat's place working on decks and stuff while he is at work. We have Shino's Dad and several of the Connecticut players driving down tonight for the event, so I'm getting ready a bunch of decks for testing, because while we are pretty sure on what we are running, we still need to test out different match ups so we can come up with a balanced and effective sideboard, as well as gain some match up experience so we don't just lose to being ignorant to what our opponent's deck is capable of. For those of you who are also putting together a "Gauntlet" of decks to test against, I would suggest you put together the following:

  1. Respective Dreams Mono Earth (Probably the strongest deck in the format, and certainly one of the most popular)
  2. Aggressive Lightning builds such as Taijutsu or NVS(Lots of card draw to get around hand discard and quick powerful plays)
  3. Generic Monofire with/without Boyhood (Honestly, these are just bound to show up at any event, regardless of the format)
  4. Mono Water or Fire/Water abusing Demon of Cloud Village (While I don't think it's on the same level as the other decks in the format, I do believe there will be many players looking to resurrect the Demon in PA)
  5. Some kind of Mono Wind or Wind/X A New Squad deck (Mass card draw + Powerful Ninja effects)
  6. The anti-meta super hate deck (Iruka [Origin of the Leaf headband, Miroku, Shino [Silence], Ino [Easy going] etc.)
If your deck can't beat most of these lists in testing, I would suggest scrapping it, because even though you do have a sideboard that might increase your match up percentage, your opponent will most likely use his sideboard as well.

Anyway, before I leave you guys and return to sorting cards and stuff I figured I would just put up some pictures I took, as well as a random preview from Fang's of the Snake that none of us feel like writing an article on. Until next time!

This is what real preparation for an event looks like.

Pat's compensation for being the best writer on Bandai.

I went out and bought this for when the Connecticut crew get here, cause Mac & cheese is the greatest playtesting food ever.

so... Bad...

Why yes, yes that is a preview card in that last one! And yes, yes it is inferior to every other version of that card. ~Tsu

-Andrew Photobucket

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Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Fang's of the Snake preview #7- Shadow clo... err, Summoning jutsu!

I think it's safe to say that back in Curse of Sand when the very first Summoning Jutsu for toads was introduced, everyone who followed the series had a fangasm and spent an entire week playing a deck with the jutsu and that awful Naruto, just to try and trick into play a pretty much unplayable five drop. Needless to say, every single one of us soon came to realize (much to our dismay) how terrible that deck actually was. Despite how heart broken we were, many of us looked to the future with hope, that one day a summoning Jutsu that didn't completely suck would come out, and we would get to win games off the of back of over sized, ninja themed, Battle Toads.

And then our our prayers were answered... Or not. "Wait, what the hell? You need to have the freaking toad in your hand for this to do anything, and it doesn't even stick? It's like a terrible Chidori."... Was pretty much the thought going through all of our minds when we read the text of the card we thought was going to help us build a deck with the newly printed version of the Boss Toad. We felt cheated and lied to, and sure we eventually got to play Toads using the Gamakichi platoon, but it wasn't the same thing, because we weren't actually summoning anything, and it sure as hell didn't make up for the two mediocre summoning jutsus we got afterward either.

Well friends, today is the day when we can finally dust off the old Narutoccg check list and check off "Summoned a Toad, and I didn't hate myself for it afterward", which is located bellow "Got to play with the correct Zabuza Momochi [Demon of the Mist village] that Bandai promised to print". Here is today's preview:

I know, it's amazing. After Tylar sent me this card I instantaneously began referring to it as Shadow Clone Jutsu, because in my mind thats what it was. "Costs two lightning? Check. Can be used early to surprise wreck a team? Check. It must be SCJ" was pretty much my entire thought process. The beauty of this card is that while it can't be used by everyone, it's benefits are higher than Shadow Clone jutsu could ever be, by getting to stick a toad in the late game.

There are some pretty sick things you can do with this card, aside from summoning Gamabunta on turn two and wrecking their team. Grabbing our favorite sword wielding snake smasher in response to an opponent's Jutsu is pretty much like using a removal jutsu, which is incredibly sick. Another tricky play you can do if you happen to draw into two copies of the card is as follows:

1) Naruto uses summoning jutsu to Fetch Gamabunta (Optional Victory Dance)

2) Gamabunta's effect to charge 2+ cards and draw 2+ cards.

3) Gamabunta plays other summoning jutsu to get Giant Ninja Toad, Mastery the Jutsu.

4) Bounce a dude with Giant Ninja toad, wreck the team.

5) End of turn Bunta bounces to your hand, but Giant Ninja Toad sticks because Bunta summoned him. Next turn you can summon another Gamabunta with Giant ninja toad via the Mastery'd copy of summoning Jutsu.

Credit goes to Tylar for that sick play, which isn't all that hard to pull off thanks to Bunta's draw and charge effect. This Summoning jutsu is incredibly powerful as well as flavorful, and I can't wait to actually get to try it out! I hope you liked our preview, and check back later in the week for more of our previews from Fangs of the Snake! Until next time.

-Andrew Photobucket

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Thursday, July 15, 2010
Fangs of the Snake Preview #6: Not Quite a Super Soaker

So today's card's name appears to have come straight from the Bandai Battle Spirits Flavor Text Translation Department HQ.

Honestly... "Water Pistol?" Really? Well, I guess Gamatatsu is pretty pathetic...

Luckily, the card itself is better than the name and I see this as inheriting Paper Bomb's spot in an aggressive Lightning deck with Toads (not the combo Gamabunta one, although it certainly could fit in there as well). There certainly is some sick blowout potential with the card - opponent looks to chump block with a team slightly smaller than your own, you Pistol their 2/3 Hinata out of their team, and all of a sudden it's a pseudo-OV (assuming you've got the combination ninja).

Of course, that's the optimal situation - this card has plenty of other uses. Obviously, it can be used to push for BRs (as well as killing an injured chump blocker, significantly reducing the value the opponent thought they would be getting out of it). It can be used as a pseudo-Wind Scythe for negation purposes (that could possibly be more devastating depending on how the battling teams are arranged).

However, all this depends on if more good early game (T3 and less) ninja toads are printed. The 4/0 0 drop and 0/2 1 drop are perfectly legit to play. The reprinted 0/0 one is highly suspect in anything but a Gamabunta deck (although I am a fan of dropping Giant Ninja Toads into play on turn 2). With only 2 outs for actually playing this card, it's not particularly viable as it can't be reliably played in the early game. If Bandai were to print 2 or more early game ninja toads, this card could be a staple of the post-rotation metagame.


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Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Fangs of the Snake Preview #5 - BBBB, BBBB, d.BABX
Welcome to another awesome preview card from Set 18 "Fangs of the Snake." As usual, the previews come courtesy of Tylar (Hungry_Ninja). Today we have a real doozy of a preview for you guys.

As you remember in the "Reboot" series of articles I showed you all a fictional Sexy Jutsu Naruto that would pump all "Females." Pretty cool right? Well what if we applied the same concept to a different characteristic? Say, Ninja Toads?

Well then you definitely wouldn't arrive at today's preview card because it has nothing to do with that.

Yes originally I read the card wrong and thought it did something else! But I was wrong! Regardless, this Naruto is I guess. . . kind of interesting. It has Clone Status on turn 0, which is always a plus for the early game Rasengan.

But its real power shines in the flavor text, for you see he's not holding a Rasengan... it's actually a TOADSENGAN!



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Monday, July 12, 2010
Fangs of the Snake Preview #4 - Gama Gama Gama Gama Gama Chameleon

Before I reveal todays preview card I wanted to remind you all of a card that came out almost four years ago; Sasuke [Flowering Ability] from Curse of the Sand. While this guy never saw a ton of mainstream play, most likely due to his awkward stats for his entrance cost, toppled by the fact that Sasuke [Analysis of Competence] was a staple in every deck during his release, he did however make it into a few decks over the years as a one or a two of due to his unorthodox ability to grab relevant characteristics on the fly. The power to grab a Shikamaru's "Mental power: 4" in or against Mental Power decks was pretty huge, along with grabbing "Jonin" while chump block and using a Water style: Giant Vortex Jutsu, baiting out a response from your opponent, while your big team is safe on the sidelines.

I guess the point I'm trying to make is that even though Sasuke [Flowering ability] never defined a format, he still had a purpose, despite how useless his effect may have seemed to most people. Today's preview card is very similar to Sasuke, in that his ability by itself doesn't really do much, but in conjunction with other cards can be awesome. Here is today's preview card from Fangs of the Snake:
Gamatatsu's ability to change elements on the fly might seem a bit underwhelming in comparison to Sasuke's ability to steal Mental Power, Ranks, or Mastery, however Gamatatsu's effect allows him to work very well in the post rotation environment, where many of the Jutsus have additional bonuses if the user shares a Symbol with the Jutsu, such as Expansion Jutsu: Super Slap!, or the new Fire Style: Fire Ball Jutsu. On top of this, Gamatatsu works really well with the brand new Mechanic revealed today "Combinatation". While he works incredibly well with Wind Style: Toad Flame Bombs, as he can actually play it on turn one, he also works well when he isn't the user, because then he can shift into one of the combination requirements to help you blow out your opponent early. Gamatatsu has a lot of potential, and I hope you guys will give him a chance. Until next time!

-Andrew Photobucket

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Friday, July 9, 2010
Fangs of the Snake Preview #3 - SEISHUN FURU PAWAA~!
Going right along with our Rock Lee theme from the other day we have MAITO GAI!

The first things you'll notice about Gai is he has retained his new "upgraded" stats of 6/0, 6/0. What you may or may not have noticed though is that he now has the SURGE ability as well as the Fire element, both welcome additions for a Ninja dealing with Pumps and an aggressive gameplay style. And on top of all of that he has a pretty awesome effect to boot. The problem? There's no real competitive way to get it to trigger all the time, thus making it almost a dead thing. At most, you'll get 5 surges off of Might Guy (2 other ones and 3 Afros). . . sadly if only he had the same effect text as Rock Lee tacked on.

However, I still remain confident that this Gai could see play if there's some mission support for him or other Ninja support for Taijutsu. I mean, having Sakura [Reliance] already makes him a 7, so you're halfway there.

Thank you once again Tylar for the preview.

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Wednesday, July 7, 2010
Set 18 - Fangs of the Snake - Preview #2

It's no secret that turn zero is probably one of the most influential turns in the game. The ninja you choose to start with can easily depict whether you spend the first few turns taking battle rewards, digging for combo pieces, generating card advantage, or defending your village. From the very first set until now the game's turn zero has undergone many transformations, and before I give you guys todays preview, I want to go through some of these stages with you guys, so that you can appreciate the new card.

Set's 1-3: Sasuke [Analysis of Competence], Naruto [Nine tailed Chakra], and Choji, Shikamaru, and Ino [Formation!] all saw a strong amount of play in the first three sets. While majority of the Ninja used were about over powering your opponents ninja, cards like Kiba [Ninja art of Beast Mimicry] and Konohamaru [Hokage's Grandson] were used despite having weaker stats, to gain knowledge of your opponents options and to ramp into bigger cards earlier, respectively.

Set's 4-10: In this period of time it was less about power and more about effects. Shikamaru [IQ over 200] and Naruto [Control of Power] were widely considered two of the best turn zero Ninja's, and Choji [Formation] helped define an entire format. With the addition of Naruto [Legacy from the fourth Hokage], Sakura [A Double Personality], Kiba [Man beast Clone], and Nawaki [12th Birthday] the game also introduced some stable turn zero options which provided card advantage, to give players more options on their upcoming turns.

The present block (11-17): The current group of turn zero ninja that see play depend greatly on the deck. Control and combo oriented decks are looking to play cards like Kiba [Keen Nose] and Sakura [A Double Personality], while aggressive decks are looking to play cards like Sasuke [Vanilla] and Rock lee [Eight Inner Gates]. A water deck would most likely play Tracking ninja [Vanilla], and Anko [Pupil of Orochimaru] because they fit with the themes of the deck, while Wind based decks would look to play cards that have synergy with Substitute like Shino [Insect Warriors] and Kiba [Man beast Clone]. Back before the games overhaul in set 11 the game there wasn't nearly this much variety in the turn zero ninja slot, which goes to show how much this game has evolved in the past 4+ years. This brings me to todays preview:

You're welcome Andrew. ~Tsu

While not as good as Sasuke or Tracking Ninja Stat wise, this guy brings some to the table that neither have; Animal and Ninja toad characteristics. By being able to fit into deck types which Bandai has been looking to expand, Gama is sure to see play in the near future in said archetypes, if not in just generic aggressive decks. I look forward to see what other Toad based effects set 18 brings us, and I hope you guys will give Gama a chance with the release of Fangs of the Snake. Until next time!

-Andrew Photobucket

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Set 18 - Fangs of the Snake - FIRST PREVIEW
Hello all!

Thanks to Hungry Ninja/Tylar, I'm very pleased to be able to bring you the first preview of the newest set for the Naruto CCG, Fangs of the Snake. The set is supposed to be designed to promote synergy for mono-colored decks as well as those with specific themes, and our preview card does just that.

For all you Taijutsu lovers, I give you Rock Lee!

Finally after months of asking, there's a Ninja that ties the SURGE mechanic into the effect, and it's my favorite character no less! Ha ha! Now I know a lot of people are probably thinking Eight Inner Gates might be better than this guy, in a Taijutsu deck this guy might be a little better for two reasons:

1. You can always count on when you'll get the 5/2 stats off of Rock, not just by fulfilling a condition

2. His effect allows him to be 5/2 on your opponent's turn which makes them incredibly reluctant to attack into you with something like Tracking Ninja turn 0.

While he's not the best card ever made, for a common, he's reasonably powerful. I think his playability depends largely on what other Taijutsu Ninja are in this set, any potentially new Jutsu (*crosses fingers for a GOOD Hidden Lotus*), and of course the effect of the upcoming Rock Lee & Gaara of the Desert squad. All in all, incredibly solid and I don't think many people will find too many problems with this now becomes a question of will everything around him fall into place to give him the chance to shine or will his training have been in vain, Guy-sensei?

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Tuesday, July 6, 2010
Potential EDH Ban List - Suggestions Welcome-
Here is the proposed EDH Ban List for the GenCon 2010 Side Tournament. If you feel something is missing, suggest it now before we submit it off to Bandai for approval and prize support.

General Ban List
Tsunade & Katsuyu
Izumo Kamizuki & Kotetsu Hagane
Shizune & TonTon
The Fourth Hokage & Gamabunta

Regular Ban List
Sasuke Uchiha & Orochimaru [Ambition and Desire]
The First Hokage (PR-018)


The Fastest Ones
Chunin Exam Rule


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Friday, July 2, 2010
Testing for PA Shonen Jump Has Started
So, we started play testing for the PA Shonen Jump and we're hoping to meet many of you there.

But in all honesty, I'm not really all that into it right now. Why?

Well I'll be blunt and I'll let Andrew explain some of the finer points in a later post but in all honesty, I think this is shaping up to be the worst format in the game's history. I'm serious. As broken as some things have been in the past (APW, Ino, Gaara TN, Inherits) I can't really remember a time when the game was this well... unfun.

And it's all really thanks to a few cards that were released in Tournament Pack 1.

Okay well the main source of my anguish comes from the new Yamato. Have you guys actually played with it or played against it yet? Seriously, have you? Seriously...have you? No, seriously. . .HAVE YOU?

It's not fun to play with. It's not fun to play against.

The game is just not fun with that card in the format, along with a few other cards.

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Thursday, July 1, 2010
Zero Blurbs: Bad Decisions

So a lot has happened since we last posted here on the blog and many of you might be wondering why we haven't talked about the new Rogue list or the inclusion of banned cards on the list. The reason for this is because all the points are pretty much out there. Pat, Josh, Myself, and many other individuals have talked about the positive impact banning cards can have. Everyone here on the perfect curve supports the ban list, and for those of you who don't or are worried that it might create a slippery slope of bannings, all I can say is that you should just give it time and see.

What I really want to talk about today is bad decisions. What do I mean? The decision I'm referring to is the inclusion of a reprint in the new tournament pack, which happens to be a potentially format warping card.

Bad Decision #1- Reprinting Zabuza [Demon of Cloud Village]

Why was this a bad decision exactly? Because Zabuza is the perfect wrench to **** up the gears of the block rotation system. Prior to the news of Zabuza being reprinted it was very obvious that Bandai was doing their best to cool down the game through rotation. Most of the fan favorite ninja would return as reprints, while over-efficient Jutsu cards such as 8 trigram, Giant Vortex, and Four Pillar Prison would leave the format, forcing players to use the slightly powered down jutsus Bandai has been printing. By reprinting Zabuza, every damage Jutsu in the format becomes removal, every victory becomes like a mini OV, and every OV is a scoop and go to game two.

Im not saying Zabuza is for sure going to ruin the format, because historically water is the weakest element when it comes to performance in major events (most likely due to it's linear play style), I'm just saying that Zabuza has the potential to completely ruin what otherwise appeared to be a cooled down format for next season. I don't really understand the logic behind reprinting him, and I now have to wonder if any thought really did go into the reprint choices, or if it was all just picking card names at random. I have a few other issues with the Tournament pack, but I'll share those another day. Until next time!

-Andrew Photobucket

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