Now that Christmas is officially over, and previews are going up on the main site, I thought I would put up a little piece giving my thoughts on the cards.
Jiraiya (Sage Mode): I really like this guy alot. While his "Sacrifice" is rather costly, I believe that his stats and effects more than make up for it. From a design aspect, his first effect is awesome in that it makes players look back and re-evaluate almost every jutsu card ever in made, just to see how awesome it is with Jiraiya. In my book, that should be chalked up as a huge success for the design team. It makes cards like Paper bomb, seem much better, since instead of only having early game applications it can be used late game to kill 2 Ninja.
I really appreciate the fact that he ISN'T protected from everything. The protection from jutsus is warranted due to his turnmarker, and cost to hit the board, but that still gives players a chance to use either Ninja effects or Mission effects to stay in the game against this giant. All in all I give this guy 9/10, because even though he might never hit the top tables due to how taxing his "Sacrifice" appears to be (Time will tell), I feel like Jiraiya (Sage Mode) completely lives up to the character shown in the series.
Shima & Fukasaku: I'm a little dissapointed in these guys. Shima, while a decent card doesn't really reflect Shima as a character, or contribute to the archetype its trying to fit into. As a card I like her, and will probably fit her into my cube, but I don't think she is a card I would really want to be running main deck in a format where she will more often then not have no actual effect.
Fukasaku's effect I like, because it supports combination very well, however I dislike that it requires shima in his team. Both Shima and Fukusaku in teh same team are already capable of triggering the combination effect on every Toad based Combination Jutsu card to begin with, and as for Non-Toad Combination Jutsus such as Searing Migraine, Piggy Back, and Leaf Whirlwind... Why would you try to hit two specific ninja in a team to use a Jutsu that doesn't even require a specific ninja for its combination. I like the concept behind Fukaksaku, but I feel the execution was just short of delivering us a playable card.
The Jutsus: I don't like any of these. Most people who seem to like these cards are justifying the cards usefullness by how good they are with Jiraiya (Sage Mode). There are two problems with that school of thought. First, Jiraiya (Sage mode) is a turn 7 Ninja, who you can't even assume will be played in most games, due to his harsh (But Fair) requirements. Second, every jutsu is ridiculous with Jiraiya (Sage Mode), so why not play one that's atleast somewhat good on it's own? Aside from that, I really dislike that Bandai brought Expert from Dragon Ball to Naruto, as it clearly undermines Combination in every way.
Sage Art: Bath of Boiling Oil: I really like this card. While I can't really say if it will see play or not, it's a cool card and very well designed. Hopefully we will see more cards like this in the near future.
Super Box Lunch: Errr.. I mean Jiraiya's Hermit dance. I'm glad they printed some new recursion for lightning, though I think turn 5 is a bit high for it's cost. Very cool synergy with all the Toads who have multiple colors as well as the Jiraiya who is considered to have every symbol. It's unfortunate that Lightning has so many strong missions right now, as I think that will probably keep this card from being used, but hopefully post rotation this card might see some play.
Gamaken: This card get's the award for most flavorful card ever printed. Both effects perfectly fit Gamaken, making him a really cool card. However, because of this I don't think he has what's needed to be played in a competative environment where Dogs isn't the best deck. His stats are that of a 4 drop, and neither of his effects are particularly usefull in most situations... It's unfortunate because he is perfect in one aspect, but greatly flawed in another.
The Bad Jutsu with Gamaken: It's a worse Toad Mouth Trap... I really wish Bandai would stop using that effect on Jutsus, because players always seem to get confused with how it works, and they never see play anyway. I would much prefer a "Burning Ash" type of effect in that effects place from now on.
I'll try to put up more reviews later in the week, as more cards are revealed. Until Next time!