Thursday, January 27, 2011
TPC Set 20 Preview #2

Well, this is my first preview since Tylar implemented his "preview quality standards" for Set 20. I must say, I have to agree with them. Zero's review of that Deidara was quite unfair to all the potential that card had and was far from comprehensive. With that in mind, let's analyze this lovely preview.

First of all, this card has requirements of an entrance cost of 4 or more. That means you must use a ninja with entrance cost of 4 or more to cast it. Not three! Not two! Four! (Five also works) That means Aoba Yamashiro can't use it, but Arashi Fuma can. This is an important thing to remember if you are running this card in vanilla Lightning.

Secondly, this card targets one ninja on the battlefield. This means that this can only target ninjas on the battlefield. That Sasuke State 2 in your opponent's reinforcement deck? Untargetable. That Zetsu peeking at you from the battle rewards? Untargetable. This is an important thing to remember if your IQ is equal to or lower than Amir Abboushi's.

Next, let's analyze this card's effect. This card gives one damage to the target. This means that it gives exactly one damage to the target. So if their ninja is healthy, it will injure it. If their ninja is injured, it will kill it. This is an important thing to remember if you don't know the rules of the game.

An additional interesting note about this effect is that it has an expert effect! Simply put, this means that if used by the ninja listed in the expert clause (Kidomaru State 2), this card will deal 1 additional damage! This means that it now deals exactly two damage to the target. So if their ninja is healthy, it will kill it. If their ninja is injured, it will kill it. Now even if you are confused about how the game works, just remember to use Fierce Rip with Kidomaru State 2 and the outcome will be the same no matter what. Convenient, huh?

Now originally I thought there was only one ninja that could become an expert of this card (the upcoming State 2 Kidomaru in Set 20). This created an interesting dilemma, as that State 2 Kidomaru requires the sacrifice of a State 1 Kidomaru. Unfortunately, there are currently exactly zero State 1 Kidomarus legal for Block-format play. Don't let this become an obstacle in your quest to become an expert of Fierce Rip however! I recommend the use of a Sharpie to "level up" those pesky State 0 Kidomarus to enable sacrifice. Elite-caliber tournament player protip: if your opponent doesn't catch an illegal game state/your blatant cheating, the game state stands as is. This is important to remember if you are attending a tournament that Alex Bykov or Andy Do is judging.

But professional-level tournament strategy aside, there actually is another Kidomaru that you can use to expertly play this card! N-460 Kidomaru can actually gain the State 2 status simply by being deployed through the use of ambush! Of course, N-460 Kidomaru has the annoying side effect of having that miserable entrance cost of 3, so it can't actually use the jutsu. But with handy cards like N-939 Advisor of the Sand as well as the many cards that turn your ninjas into "Sand" or "Leaf" ninjas, N-460 Kidomaru will be able to fully utilize the capabilities of Fierce Rip. This is important to remember if your primary source of cards is the dumpster behind your local card shop.

Remember, the real American hero GI Joe once said, "Now you know, and knowing is half the battle." Well, pardon me if I plagiarize, but now you know, and knowing is half the battle. Now you too are an "Expert" of Spider Bow: Fierce Rip! I just hope you have an entrance cost of four or more, ha ha ha.

Until next time,
<3 Josh

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Throwing Down the Gauntlet: The Race to 9 Alternate Arts
After today's preview and alternate art card was shown, Jason McGlenn (FinalValkyrie) has challenged me a contest. A contest that I'm sure I'm going to be able to win. . . so I'm reaching out to the community for help.

The Challenge: Race to 9 Alternate Arts

The Participants: Tsu vs. FV

Winning Conditions:
-Final Valkyrie is the first person to get 9 Hinata Hyuga (Awakened) Alt Art Cards


-Tsu Kiyo Me is the first person to get to 9 Sakura Haruno [The Dance of Sakura] Alt Art Cards


-Both Parties Give Up

Jason has stated that he's pretty much not going with the 3rd one and has basically called me out saying I won't be able to finish the challenge before him.

I'm willing to offer the following to you guys to help me beat Jason
-Play Mats
-Super Rares
-Andrew Kardis Favors
-Featured Segments/Spots on The Perfect Curve (to what degree will be discussed later. Nothing too outlandish)
-"Tsu Kiyo Me Is Your Servant" Day (1 day during GenCon, I will do whatever you ask. . . WITHIN REASON!)

Please please please help me win this competition! ;_;

It's going to take almost everything I have to win it, but I want to win so badly!


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Wednesday, January 26, 2011
The Perfect Curve Gencon Events

It's that time of year again, where we here at TPC promise to run some kind of a side event for Naruto at Gencon. Last year Pat was put in charge, and was supposed to run a whole bunch of events, but ended up doing nothing. This year I'm going to try and set something up, but I want to know what you guys would be interested in attending, so I made a list of potential events to choose from, but if you guys feel you have a great idea that isn't represented here then feel free to let us know. Send us an Email stating which one of the folowing events (And rules sets) you would prefer to play in at Gencon (Or if you have a better idea, email us that instead):

3V3 Team Event:

Basic idea is that you and your teamates each play against another team (so 3 1v1 best of 3 matches) and the team with the most match wins (so winning 2 or more matches of the 3) wins and advances to the next round. Possible rule sets:

Format: Sealed / Block / Unlimited / Multi Format

Construct: United /Seperate

Additional rules: Specific cards banned, alternate win conditions, etc

Style: Single elimination / Double elimination / Swiss / swiss with top cut

Gun slinging event:

In a nut shell, you wait on a line to play against 3 or 4 well known players, and win cool prizes. Please dont pick this.

Booster Draft:

An actual booster draft (NOT SEALED DECK) organized with pods of up to 8 players. Possible rule sets to spice up the event:

Sets: Random for each player / The best sets (Probably EA, Fangs, TP1, etc)/ The worst sets (Probably DL, QFP, AW, etc)

Additional rules: I can't think of any atm

Some kind of Team event:

I was thinking of doing some kind of "Team" based event, where each team would register X of their players, and only one player from a team would play in a round, and that player would play until he loses a match. When that player loses he is eliminated and one of his teamates is put into the folowing round in his place. The last player remaing's team wins. Really awkward sounding but possibly loads of fun. Rule sets and stuff will be posted as I think of it.

... So yeah, to let us know what you are interested email us at (I hope this is our email) and Pat will go through them in the next few weeks and the most popular one will be what we end up doing... Unless it's gunslinging. Until next time!

-Andrew Photobucket

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Tylar goes big

RIP Mr. Giggles, my favorite alt account.

Discuss how mad Tylar is in the comments section.



Tuesday, January 25, 2011
The Perfect Curve Set 20 Preview #3 - "Karin's Anger"
It's Water week on Bandai, so to go with the themes shown on Bandai, we have a discard preview for you.

Like last set, we got a broken Karin Ninja and a broken Suigetsu Mission. This time around we get a broken Suigetsu Ninja and a . . . well a not so broken Karin Mission.

It's my guess that Bandai's general theme is for the next few sets is to have a "X's Y" theme. First was "Suigetsu's Joy", now I give you "Karin's Anger!"

As a clarification for those of you who are having trouble understanding exactly what it does:

Target 1 of your Ninjas. Then select your Hand and discard X cards from it OR select your Chakra and discard X cards from it. Then place X+1 Ninja blade tokens on the card. The target gets +X/+X for the duration of the mission.

For example, you discard 4 chakra and target your in play Karin. Your Karin gets +4/+4 for the next 5 turns.

It's a cute card and it is far from bad, but I personally think it won't see any real play unless there's a card that requires tons of cards to be discarded quickly. A pump effect in Water is really awkward, and after following Suigetsu's Joy, it's just not up to snuff for the same theme. The real weakness of the card comes from the fact that it's simply a permanent mission. You pay 8 chakra to get a huge Ninja, and your opponent just blows it up with Friendship from Sorrow or one of the other million forms of permanent destruction and mission negation.

Of course I could be wrong and someone could break the card, but its not likely.

Until then, I'm just going to ponder what the Jugo card is going to be for Set 21, and the Sasuke one that will inevitably come in Set 22 to finish the collection.

post signature

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Saturday, January 22, 2011
GA Kage Updates
This post will be updated throughout the tournament.

Number of Players:

Current Round: Top 8

Player Records:

Tsu Kiyo Me: 3-2-1 (lol punting mad hard yo)
Squee: 4-2
VSA: 2-2-2 (scoop to help advance friend)
Shino's Dad: 3-1-2 (current 9th seed)
Dark Lord Zorc: 2-1-3 (played Tsu round 2)
Jose: 2-4
Sherlock: 4-0-2
Ashneal 4-1-1
Eddie: 4-2
Shenanigans: 4-1-1
The One And Only 4-1-1 (Kicked out Tsu and Shinos Dad)
Grits N Gravy: 5-1)
GTO Ivan: 3-3 (played Shenanigans round 2)


Top 8

Grits n Gravy vs Ashneal
Thomas Terry vs Sam Tuell
Sherlock vs Shenanigans
James OLeary vs Prince


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Wednesday, January 19, 2011
The JDragon Core Set

As I mentioned in my previous article, one of the design issues currently plaguing this game is that of overpowered themes. This is largely a flaw of the individual designer process that Bandai uses - while it might lend more unity to the theme, it also drastically limits the influence of the consensus power level on the individual design.

One way to counteract this lack of a unified power scheme is demonstrated by Magic: the Gathering in its core sets. These sets are comprised mostly of reprints and a few new cards. The unifying theme behind these cards are that they are all fairly general, non-theme-specific cards that could fit into many decks of their color. This allows Wizards of the Coast to "set the tone" of design for the sets while that core set is in the format - the general power level of the format has been defined, designers should not delve too far beyond the bounds of it.

A similar solution could possibly be greatly beneficial to Naruto - like Magic, Naruto is based around a color/element pie. However, unlike Magic, Naruto's is all over the place (for example, Water gets everything...). The creation of a core set would force the designers to actually determine what each element excels at and implement that in their card selection. Then, ideally, the boundaries created by this process would restrict the design of the standard sets so one designers could not irresponsibly destroy the game with an overpowered theme.

Additionally, a core set would allow for the continued presence of utility, "soft engine"-type cards that make the game more fun to play. Cards that enable a diversity of decks or encourage diverse methods of play can only benefit the game, and should be kept in Block format for as long as possible.

To attempt to give more concrete detail of what I'm trying to get across, I'll list some of the cards that I feel warrant inclusion in a core set, and my reasoning for those cards.

(Note that I feel that each non-obscure ninja deserves at least one card in a core set - however, some of the best examples of these ninjas have effects that don't really fit their element. Thus, I have taken the liberty to "element-shift" these ninjas into a different element - a creative possibility that I hope Bandai will explore someday.)

Earth: "He wished for power, but not the strength to wield it."

Asuma Sarutobi [For the Next Generation]
Choji Akimichi [Infuriation]
Choza Akimichi [As a Father]
Deidara [Plastic Arts]
Hinata Hyuga [Ointment]
Hizashi Hyuga [Why He Chose Death]
Ibiki Morino [First Proctor]
Ino Yamanaka [Easy-Going]
Inoichi Yamanaka [As a Father]
Neji Hyuga [Sealing the Anilities] (hopefully spelled right this time)
Shikaku Nara [As a Father]
Shikamaru Nara [Formation] (Eternal Rivalry)
The First Hokage [Supremacy]
Yamato [Creating a Forest From Underground]
Zetsu [Mysterious Existence]

Disguise Jutsu (Coils)
Earth Style: Headhunter Jutsu (PTH)
Earth Style: Rending Piercing Fang
Knockout Blow (element-shifted)
(I'm having a lot of problem with Earth jutsus - they're either broken or completely trash for the most part - probably need to design some new cards to go here)

Cursed Fate (ER)
Earth Style: Rampart of Flowing Soil
First Chunin Exam
Hinata in Captivity
Intellectual Strategy (mental power battles one)
Kunoichi Battle
Shogi Match
Tears of Determination (element-shifted)

Earth is about controlling the flow of the game - things like coins on the field, battle rewards, ability to be sent out to battle or in battle, effect text - these are all under Earth's realm. Additionally, Earth is adept at mental power battles and has the ability to protect a lot of ninjas at once. Earth's weakness is that its removal is relatively weak, and has no pure card advantage/filtration.

Fire: "He wished for power, but not the patience to wait for it."

Akamaru [Partner] (PTH)
Danzo [Hard-Liner]
Fugaku Uchiha [Representative of the Clan]
Genma Shiranui [Encounter Battle]
Haimaru Brothers [Triplets]
Hayate Gekko [Detecting a Plan]
Itachi Uchiha [Despair at the Clan]
Kakashi Hatake [Early Settlement]
Kiba Inuzaka [Man Beast Clone]
Nawaki [12th Birthday]
Ninja Dog Squad (All Gathered) [Howl]
Obito Uchiha [Hidden Strength]
Roshi [Lava Style Ninjutsu]
Sasuke Uchiha [Complete Opening of the Eyes]
The Third Hokage [Addressing Past Wrongs]
Tobi [Man of Mystery] (or whichever one the draw one is)

Chidori (RnR)
Fear by Genjutsu
Fire Style: Dragon Flame Jutsu (LoL)
Fire Style: Fireball Jutsu (1F, deal 1 damage, next Fireball is free one)
Fire Style: Fireball Jutsu (kill a mission or client)
Lightning Blade (+7/+0 or negate a jutsu)
Mangekyo Sharingan (RFG and -2/-2 coin)
Reaper Death Seal (mill jutsu)
Sharingan Eye (PTH)
Suicidal Action
Tunneling Fang

Disaster of the Nine Tailed Fox Spirit (element-shifted)
End of the Mortal Combat
Jonins' Intervention
Lone Avenger
Mission of Capturing the Missing Pet Tora (PTH)
Reconfirmation of the Mission
Shadow in the Moonlight
Stay Out of This!
The Symbol of the Proud Clan
Tsunade's Guess

Fire is the element of destruction - it excels at dealing damage, jutsu and mission negation, and burning cards in the opponent's deck. Its weakness is relatively weak early game options, and no way to efficiently draw cards.

Lightning: "He wished for power, but not the discipline to control it."

Anko Mitarashi [Chase]
Aoba Yamashiro (vanilla)
Arashi Fuma (vanilla)
Idate Morino [Swift Runner]
Iruka Umino [Reward]
Jiraiya (Childhood) [Shown Signs of the Legends] (element shifted - Lightning only)
Messenger Ninja [Delivery]
Might Guy [Passion]
Naruto Uzumaki [Legacy of the Fourth Hokage]
Naruto Uzumaki [Pervy Sage's Training]
Naruto Uzumaki (Tailed Beast Mode) - the 5 drop one
Rock Lee [Eight Inner Gates] (CotS)
Rock Lee [Eight Inner Gates] (new one)
Sai [Singled Out]
Shion (Awakened) [Seal]
Tenten [Summoning Weapons] (element-shifted)
The Fourth Hokage [Lightning Speed]
The Fourth Hokage (Younger Days) [Savior]

Leaf Hurricane (reanimation one)
Kunai (PTH)
Multi-Shadow Clone Jutsu (PTH)
Naruto 2K Uzumaki Barrage
Paper Bomb (Coils)
Rasengan (AW 2L - ping a ninja, if it dies: ping another)
Shadow Clone Jutsu (ER - errata'd: for each 2 cards discarded, the user gets +1/+1 - might still be too strong)
Shuriken (AW)
Unexpected Attack

Being a Fool
Box Lunch
Broken Seal (Coils)
Dedication Ceremony
Here Comes Second Test Proctor Anko Mitarashi!
Just Like That Hero (element-shifted to Lightning only)
My Rule
Naruto vs Sasuke
Reaper Death Seal (element-shifted to Lightning only)
Retiring Character
Reunion with the Former Teacher
Tide of the Deadly Combat (element-shifted)
The One Who Lives Within

Lightning is the element of recklessness and resourcefulness. It's capable of generating many resources, but at large costs. It also tends to expend lots of resources at once (such as with big X chakra spells). Lightning is the most aggressive of the elements, and features high-risk, high-reward plays. Cards specific to the element include pump spells, card draw that emphasizes on burning through resources, "swarming" ninjas, getting stronger when injured, and recursion. Lightning's weaknesses are its weak late game and backfiring of its cards.

Water: "He wished for power, but not the wisdom to make use of it."

Dosu Kinuta [Sonic Impact]
Haku [Creed]
Haku [Face Behind the Mask]
Kabuto Yakushi [Loyal Right-Hand Man]
Kabuto Yakushi [Prominent Medical Skill]
Kidomaru [Elite of the Sound]
Jirobo [Elite of the Sound]
Sakon [Elite of the Sound]
Tayuya [Elite of the Sound]
Kisame Hoshigaki [Cold Blooded]
Orochimaru [Forbidden Jutsu]
Orochimaru (Childhood) [Shown Signs of the Legends] (element shifted - Water only)
Princess Dusk [Wandering Ghost]
Raiga Kurosaki [Funeral of the Living]
Ranmaru [Life as Sensory Organs]
Sasuke Uchiha [Finishing Blow]
Three Tails [A Monster That Lives in the Abyss]
Yoroi Akado [Chakra Absorption]
The Second Hokage [The Hokage Level]
Zabuza Momochi [Bottomless Power]

8 Trigram Divination Seal Spell Formula (element shifted, errata'd cost WW1, only ninja battling against user)
Fast Capture
Four Flames Formation (RnR)
Hidden Mist Jutsu (PTH)
Twin Snake Sacrifice Jutsu
Summoning Jutsu: Reanimation (RnR)
Water Prison Jutsu (PTH)
Water Style: Five Hungry Sharks
Water Style: Giant Vortex Jutsu (PTH - errata'd cost to WWWW)

Assassination of the Kazekage
Bashfulness (element shifted)
Bingo Book
Flash Back
Gato Transport
Ghost Panic
Huge Difference in Ability
Ninja Info Card
The End of the Demon
Threat of the Tailed Beast (errata'd - 2 instead of 3)
Tragic Destiny (errata'd - Water only)
(a new card - some tutor for a 5 or 6 drop)

Water is the element of overwhelming power. Water's high drop ninjas are the strongest in the game, and it has the ability to both find them and protect them. It also has unique chakra control capabilities. Additionally, Water specializes in non-permanent removal - its removal bounces to either the hand or the deck, and its negation treats jutsus the same way. Water's weakness is that its card filtration only allows it to find ninjas, and its early game is the weakest in the game.

Wind: "He wished for power, but not enough."

Baki [Cleaning Up]
Black Ant [Lifeless Warrior]
Chiyo [Retired Master]
Crow [Lifeless Warrior]
Ebisu [Repeated Defeat]
Gaara of the Desert [Conversation]
Gaara of the Desert [Reliance]
Gen Aburame [As a Father]
Kankuro [An Audacious Grin]
Katsuyu [Healer]
Kurenai Yuhi [Wits and Beauty]
Moegi [Rookie of the Leaf]
Sakura Haruno [A Double Personality]
Sakura Haruno [Reliance]
Sasori [Legendary Puppet Creator] (errata'd to have ambush)
Shino Aburame [Insect Warriors]
Shizune [Medical Kunoichi]
Shukaku (the new one)
Temari [Wind Charmer]
Temari [Gale Warning]
The Fifth Hokage [Establishment of Medicine]
Tsunade (Childhood) [Shown Signs of the Legends] (element-shifted - Wind only)

Cliff-Climbing Training
Carrier Kite
Concealed Weapon
Sand Cocoon (the new one)
Sealing Jutsu: Breaking the Lion's Roar
Secret Red Move: Performance of a Hundred Puppets
Wind Blade (errata - discard a ninja battling against the user)
Wind Scythe Jutsu (CotS)
Wind Style: Great Breakthrough
Unguarded Moment

Barrier Preparation
Pass Permit
Puppet Fight: 10 vs 100!
Rules for Medical Ninja (element shifted - Wind only)
Sakura's Decision

Wind is the element of serenity. Its card advantage/filtration is clean and doesn't come with the messy conditions and drawbacks of other elements. Its jutsus focus on wiping the board clean without any contingencies. As an element, Wind's strong points are its card advantage, ability to heal, and strong teams. Its weaknesses are that it has a lower overall power level (to counteract its drawing power) and while it is good at many things, is not exceptional at any. While this might lend itself to a role as solely a supporting element, its best jutsus are all extremely heavy on the Wind requirements - encouraging a Wind-heavy deck.

Multi-Element (incomplete right now):

Naruto Uzumaki and Gaara of the Desert
Naruto Uzumaki and Shikamaru Nara [Reasonable Choice]
Sasuke Uchiha and Orochimaru [3 Years Later]

Make-Out Tactics
Narrow Escape
Selecting the Strongest
The 9th Match

Sasuke Uchiha and Orochimaru [Ambition and Desire]
Shikamaru Nara and Choji Akimichi [Leaf's Uncowed Elite]
Shino Aburame and Kiba Inuzaka [Reunion]

Sandayu Asama

This core set still needs some work (more Earth cards for example, and balance testing) but I think it gets across the general idea of what I'm trying to convey. Elements should define the themes - not the other way around.


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Tuesday, January 18, 2011
Tales of the Gallant Previews

So, if you haven't noticed Pojo previewed Shikamaru (Suit) today, which was one of our preview cards for set 20 Tales of the Gallant Sage. My understanding is that we were both given the same cards to preview, and despite the fact that we already started previewing them, and that we wrote up entire articles about each individual card, and its interaction with the others, pojo will be previewing the rest of the cards, and we are getting other cards, which I can only assume will be randomly pulled from the extra cards that werent distributed to the different sites.

Needless to say, I'm pretty bummed out. Hopefully Andy will hook us up with something good to make up for the situation, cause we really could use the boost. Be sure to come back and see what previews we end up with, amd check out for the rest of the suit theme. Until next time.

-Andrew Photobucket

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Monday, January 10, 2011
The Perfect Curve Preview Week Begins! A Gentle Rainbow!
Hello folks and welcome to the first of The Perfect Curve's previews for Naruto Shippuden CCG Set 20: The Tales of the Gallant Sage.

We are lucky enough to bring you a full theme this week, in the form of a group of Ninjas that not only all work very well together, but supplement some other Ninjas that have already been printed in prior sets.

The first of which is everyone's favorite avenger, Sasuke Uchiha. But this time, he is dressed for success.

So the first thing you will notice is most likely the art. The Ninjas in our previews this week come from the Shippuden Anime ending #5, Gentle Rainbow. While we can't be 100% sure how it will actually look on a printed card, I have a feeling that foils of these Ninjas are going to be really nice.

Sasuke Uchiha (Suit) is your standard Turn 4 Sasuke, though he only sports a Fire Symbol in this incarnation, as opposed to a Water or both Fire and Water. This is fine due to the deck type he is designed to work in. And with a quick look at the characteristic line, we can see that the deck of choice is Leaf Academy.

As for the effect itself, he allows you to place a growth coin on any of your in play Leaf Academy Ninjas by discarding any Leaf Academy Ninja in your hand. While the effect isn't downright outstanding on it's own, it supplements the decktype in that it is a constant stream of Growth coins for your Ninjas. What appears to be a downside though, it that his effect is considered Growthing the Ninja, so you cannot use it on a Ninja that already has a Growth coin, and you cannot further Growth a Ninja with this effect if it already has a Growth coin on it. On the other hand, the fact that this effect is considered Growth works very well with the next Ninja in this preview.

From a Limited perspective, he is a solid Turn 4 Ninja with big Combat and the potential to Growth, and being a common, you may be able to pick up a couple of them. Combined with the fact that there are other Leaf Academy Ninjas this set, his effect will let you get that important Team Power up to the level where your opponent will not want to block or have to start taking heavy damage on his side of the field.

Next up is one of my favorite cards in the theme, a transfer student who has befriended those of the Leaf Academy.

Gaara of the Desert (Suit) is your standard Turn 2 Gaara, with the addition of Leaf Academy as well as Growth, a mechanic we never see on Sand Ninja. That is though, of course, because he is also technically a Leaf Ninja this time around, as shown by his second effect.

His first effect is what makes him interesting though. Similar to Advisor of the Sand, who draws you a card whenever you Surge, Gaara (Suit) draws you a card whenever you Growth a Ninja. This includes himself of course, and it also includes Sasuke (Suit)'s effect, meaning that Gaara and Sasuke become a filter engine for the deck with the bonus of getting a Growth coin as well.

As with Sasuke (Suit), Gaara (Suit) is not a card that outright screams "Play Me", but is meant to operate within the decktype that it was designed for. Combined with the rest of the theme, Leaf Academy gets a solid boost in this set. Although it won't be going out to win any large events, it still has a structure to it other than "Rush to 10 coins as fast a possible."

Be sure to check back often for new previews for the Leaf Academy theme as well as the staff's random musing on all things Naruto as well as other random banter.

Afterthought: Maybe since we got these Ninjas, we will get some Bacchikoi! afterall...


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Saturday, January 8, 2011
The Definitive Act
Edit: As a clarification when I say "Bandai" I am referring to the people on the Bandai forums, not the actual company and it's designers.

Fun Fact: The name "The Definitive Act" comes from the last album by Tsunami Bomb upon knowing their end. It was also my hope that people would pick some of their favorites over the past year and we could come up with a "Definitive" list of "Must Reads" for newer players who wanted to get brought up to speed on certain history lessons and topics.

But who really cares. Let's get to the topic at hand: the article writing staff essentially got shit canned.

While it pains me that I no longer will get to write on the main site, "The Perfect Curve" is a fine alternative to it. Mostly because I can say whatever I want here without any real fear, as evidenced by the above statement. It's a place where I can basically be "uncensored." When writing for Bandai, you have to realize that there are certain things you can and cannot say. For example, I tried to stray away from writing articles like the last few Gary (VSA) has written because usually it winds up with someone from Bandai asking me questions as to why I did something like that.

I decided to use this space to basically be as brutally honest as I can and answer some of the people in the thread "The Definitive Act" over at Bandai.

@Soviet: Please don't use my space to try to further promote your site. We get it. You're looking for writers. You've used every space on Bandai to point this out. There's just one problem with your idea: There aren't many qualified writers. At least if that's what you're to believe from reading the thread.

@Canti: I thank you for your kind words on the thread. People don't seem to realize how stupidly difficult and time consuming this project is.

Here's the scenario: I want you to build a deck of Naruto Cards to take to a local. Your job is to try to win said local with that deck. If you don't place within the top 50% at the end of every local, you are banned from ever going to a Naruto CCG tournament again. In addition, you can never use any of the same cards in a deck twice. You cannot ever build any of the decks that someone at the tournament is using either otherwise you automatically get DQ'd. If you win a tournament, you will receive no compensation for the next 4 tournaments.

That's the Bandai writing staff in a nutshell. I'm not saying I hated it, because I loved it, but you have to realize just how difficult it is to come up with a fresh topic every week and also make sure it has never been done before. And if your article is slated for tomorrow and someone covered your topic the day before, guess what? You have 12 hours to write something new. Imagine how it feels to be in the Friday slot. If at any point someone Monday - Thursday overlaps with your article, you have to rewrite it. Think you can do it? Every week for a year? And suppose even if you could do it, could you appease the masses? Think about how many other article writers have come and gone over the last year. . . the system is set up to fail you unless you can handle it. And even then, it's so easy to step on someone's toes and screw them over, which has happened many many times.

@Bunnyslayer: Glad you'll still be reading this. I know we don't always agree eye to eye and you think I'm too nice, but my goal has always been to elevate the player base as well as the design team. If that means I have to cater towards casuals and point out the positives of cards you think will never see the light of day, so be it. If you simply shut out all but the competitive, no new players will join the game. Ripping out a designer's still beating heart rather than showing them what was good and bad with the card only leads to infuriate them and have them squander future cards simply because they had no feedback from a "positive source." There's only so many times you can attack a designer before they just go rogue and not care about anyone's input. Trust me when I say the designers know who is "naughty" and who is "nice" when it comes to judging their card design. The "naughty" group? Yeah. Those are the guys they're not listening to anymore.

@Card-Trader: There's a reason article writers don't talk about decks that much, and you only saw that kind of content rarely. Early on the entire site destroyed any and all articles that were based around deck lists or deck archetypes (for something other than furthering the design). The website basically alienated that style of writing and killed it. That's why you never saw more of that style of article. I am also impressed that you and your local try not to copy each other. Originality is key and helps create a diverse meta (assuming the cards allow for it i.e. 1 Element is clearly superior to all others).

@Itachi Uchiha 62093: Thank you for your kind words.

@Jin: Thank you for being a constant supporter of our work.

@Juggernautonroids: That's the way the cookie crumbles sometimes :/

@Amaroq: If you like it, demand that they bring it back. If enough people want it back, it'll happen. This is one battle though I'm not going to lead but I'd be willing to support.

@mwozer: Eat a dick. Seriously. Where are your credentials? It's much easier to be the one criticizing than the one being criticized. Guess what? Those players you want writing the articles: They don't care. Had a player like Joe Colon wanted to write for Bandai, he would have volunteered. There are only a handful of players in the game that are qualified to write for Bandai based on your criteria. One of those players, Bruce Jivens (Kage Winner, numerous tops), you guys voted him out. There was more than enough talent on the Writing Staff, trust me. The people who write the articles may not be the ones with all the credits but backing most of them up are Sannin, Kage, and Jonin Winners/Tops. Just cause Gary's name is on an article, don't assume that he hasn't talked to people like Eric (Squee), Andrew (Zero), or even Thomas (Pyrot). . . people with legitimate experience, tournament wins, and tops. Some of you who read this crap only take it at face value. You don't know how much time is spent sometimes verifying crap, calling up play groups and networks. It's baffling that you're so narrow sighted. To say that some of the articles where by players who didn't "grasp" the game might be true at some times but I personally take offense to that. Spreading "lamentable" ideas? Don't make me laugh. Actually read over a lot of the old articles: A few of them are actually implemented into the game now.

Those very same people you want writing the articles, do you even see them on Bandai? No. You know why? Cause they can't be bothered since no one will listen to them anyway. Come on. Name 1 GenCon winner who actually posts on Bandai frequently for something other than just "Trololololing" or telling you why you're wrong? If anything, the writers that were on Bandai write now are literally iron willed to have to deal with this crap.

@Elite: I learned to play the game from you. Attempting to perfect it with Andrew. :P

@Fuzzy-Lumpkins: Help you build your deck? We already went over this. . . people just chew you up and spit you out for these kinds of articles. Don't believe me? Read MJM's articles from that of yesteryear. Why do you think he's not on the staff anymore? Why do you think Bruce isn't on either? Cause suggesting cards that going into a deck or helping players fix decks alienates certain players, they neg you in refs, and then you're that much closer to getting thrown off the team. I know how they do things in "Magic" is different but in Naruto, a game that takes far less skill, hiding tech is very important at high level play sometimes. No high level player is going to spell it out for you. In fact, see Josh Lu's "Chidori Sabotage" from back in the Freedori meta or Joe Colon's "Shika [Flex)" power play in New York. If anything, a top player is going to tell you what NOT to do under the guise of what you should do so it makes it easier for them to win. The prizing in this game is very low in general so to make up for it, why not keep everything you know under lock in key to make it easier to win for yourself? I personally like elevating the player base, as does Andrew. I can't speak for him, but I love the thrill of a challenge. By elevating everyone else, it makes winning harder for me and I get the joy out of playing more and more difficult opponent's so that I can get better and better. It's the satisfaction of self improvement. If I were solely motivated on winning, why the fuck would I help you? It makes it harder for me to win and means my prizing is less and less. That's how the game used to be back in Sets 1~7 or so.

I think we've since evolved past that and some of us are trying to make this a more competitive and sophisticated game so that we can get the attention of high caliber players from other games, in an attempt to push it further, with better design, prizing, tournaments, and competition.

@Float Like a Bee: It's uncharacteristic of me to be so harsh, but Josh is allowed to say what ever he wants. He didn't go to a community college, he went to a pretty good university. And last I check he's got a good job that's got him set for years to come. He's done more for this game than almost anyone at this point save Andrew. And he has a ridiculous list of achievements to boot. He's earned the right to do whatever he damn well pleases since he's the reason so many of us are here in the first place. He helped raise the early generation and PlayTCG generation of the game. He is the model competitive player and is exactly what I was talking about before: someone who doesn't want to write on Bandai. He barely writes here but when he does you'll see it's one of the most insightful pieces ever written about the game or it's to prove how horribly wrong someone is.

@Yodaz: The content of the articles were useless? Care to make suggestions, as many of us writers have tried to ask for time and time again? People love to complain about what articles do lack but the second we ask what you'd like to see, everyone clams up? I don't even think some of you knew what you wanted to see. Yes some of Gary's last few articles have been awful bitch-fests, but what else is he going to post up there? The entirety of the boards is just a bitch fest over Water or Chikamatsu. . . he has nothing to drum off of. We can't repeat articles. We can't write about the state of the meta cause its just a snooze-fest. Design articles have been beaten to death. Pretty much every other idea is dead. . . or is a rehash of an old idea that people used to like (Read: Interviews).

You liked Zero's SJC article a lot. That article has also been done by several writers, but only after big events. Outside of NJ's Kage a few weeks back, there hasn't been anything big to write about. Where do you pull the material for an article like that week after week? News Flash: You can't. Our schedule is so cramped, you have to throw something out every week. . . if there's nothing going on in the game, you're often times left to do the "VSA Rant."

"Imo, articles should be about how to be a better player, how to build a better deck, or a "inside trick" to the meta that people may not see or know about (which goes under both headings). I can probably count on my fingers the amount of articles which did any of those."

All of my articles try to teach you to be a better player. There's only so many times though I can talk about playing to your outs, psyching out your opponents, or sideboard tech. The game isn't as deep as you're thinking. . . it literally is just out playing your opponent and having the best deck to help you do that. I can't teach you that in words. You need to sit down at a table, shuffle a deck, and play a game with a group of people using all sorts of variations and combinations of decks, aka PRACTICE A LOT. As for how to build a better deck, that comes through practice, too. You build the deck. If something doesn't help you win, you cut it. If something helps you win, you up the number. Deck building is literally just playing with a pile and swapping in and out cards repeatedly until you come up with a consistently working combination. Sideboarding is literally just the 10 cards that help you win matchups you can't consistently win on, an extension of deck building. And as I already said, the game is shallow...good players aren't going to give out their tricks to win the metagame. Naruto is on the complexity level of Street Fighter II. It's good enough to be competitive, but it's not nearly as complex as a game like Virtua Fighter (Magic the Gathering) or BlazBlue (L5R or whatever have you technical CCG). . . as such you need those tricks to win for yourself. If you have no interest in winning, then by all means, share your tech.

I just said in a paragraph all there is to say on such a subject. You want articles like that every week? Enjoy your snooze fest.

Oh and for the record, Zero doesn't want to write for Bandai. You know why? Putting up with this cycle. He already argues with a ton of people on Bandai and at the company already, why perpetuate the cycle and have to fight more people? See what I mean? If you want to write, you better be ready to fight. If you're already fighting or not into fighting, why bother? There's been tons of incentives for Zero to write for Bandai in the past. He's turned them all down. So sorry to see your dreams of him writing there crushed.

Re: @Fuzzy-Lumpkins: Zero doesn't know because he plays Magic. That's moronic. That's like saying "Clint Eastwood knows Comedy because he's an Actor." No. Zero knows what he's talking about because he simply has more experience playing CCGs than most of the people on the boards. It has nothing to do with what games he has or is currently playing. I could play Magic too... for like 3 weeks. By your statement that must mean I'm right. Andrew has close to 10 years experience with this stuff, where as the average Naruto player probably has maybe 1 to 3 years. He's been there. He's done that. He's seen that. That's why his opinions are usually right... he's seen the trends and knows what became of them and as such he can make the correct assessment so things don't happen again. Just from time to time, certain people don't want to listen to him for whatever reason, be it pride or what have you.

Which leads me to my final point:

@Tylar: Let me start by saying that you are my friend, but I'll be the first one to say that the writing system was flawed. Horribly flawed. And that's why I think we saw such low productivity. I know we've discussed this before and I never tried to push the issue for several reasons including not having a better solution, not wishing to anger you or place more stress upon you, and honestly me being a terrible leader in the past. The entire process, from the beginning, was flawed.

-5 Writers, each posts an article every weekday, for 5 articles a week, 20 a month, etc. The flaw comes in the fact that with this many writers and at this tempo, we've exhausted all topics on the current state of the game. This lead towards looking to the future by talking about previews and design space mechanics. Once we had exhausted that, the only thing left to do was back track into past experiences. After that, all that's left is to turn to others (interviews). The pace was far too great.

-The incentive. 1 Box a month, with more rewards based on your performance over the month, with the person receiving the most "Yes" votes getting the best prize. In addition, if your "Yes" votes fell below a certain percentage, you were ejected from the team. Considering voting wasn't initially "public", alt accounts simply allowed for easy manipulation of who was the winner and who wasn't. It allowed for who was allowed to stay and who left. I've always tried my best to monitor this and make sure everything was fair because the system is easily exploitable, which several newer members took note of as they joined, which would only further degrade the system after the already low quality of writing due to idea "exhausted" staff members.

Had the articles needed to be twice a month, the quality would have been much higher. Once a month? Even higher than that. Had a ridiculous ranking system not had us all at each others throats from day 1, that would have helped too. Finally, a vast majority of the readers not knowing what they want out of the writing (the game and/or Bandai too for that matter) and not realizing the rough position writers were actually in just lead to the whole things downfall.

I'm not saying Tylar is the reason for the death of the system (if anything, his only crime is not being to find a better system after acknowledging the current one was so damn flawed. He was at least smart enough to pull the plug). Nor am I saying the players are the reason for the death of the system. Nor am I saying it was the quality of the writing. When you combine every little piece together, bit by bit, it's very apparent to see why the thing fell apart. Compare my earlier pieces to my more recent ones. The quality is almost night and day, as I've become exhausted from the stress of work, the Bandai posters, having to rush out the articles every 2 or 3 days after barely having bounced back from the last one. . . you cannot do it. Even Matthew Low would be hard pressed to write 4 quality articles every month for a publication by Scrye.

Poor planning.

Poor writing.

Cutthroat environment.

Exhausted ideas.

A less than understanding readerbase.

That's how you kill what should have been a triumphant brainchild to elevate the game's masses.

Alas, there's always fanmade blogs.

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Friday, January 7, 2011
Giving credit where credit is due.

Now, before you ask "Hey, didn't you say you were going to put up a 2010 card review?" I did say that. As my fellow writers can attest to, I have about 6 half written articles locked away in the post logs of this site, to one day be finished. Unfortunately, that article is among them. don't worry though, because if you are reading this, that means I managed to atleast finish one of my articles for the month!

Never the less, i wanted to talk about something most people seem to be looking past; Gamaken and Father & Mother's common ability. Most people seem to be overlooking that these cards can block multiple teams, which might be due to the presence of better cards being previewed, or more powerful effects on the same card in Father & Mother's case. Regardless of the reason, I think that the inclusion of this ability is something people should take notice of, because it might actually come to make a big difference in future game play.

How many games have you lost due to your opponent throwing 3 dork ninjas at you, when you were only capable of blocking 1 or 2 at the most, despite your overwhelming team power, or the existence of powerful jutsus in your hand? One of the biggest flaws in the game is that you really can't afford to miss drops, because you put yourself in a position where you can't make big teams otherwise you run the risk of losing to low power dorks being thrown at you until you die. Adding this kind of effect to the game changes this, and in a way reward long term strategies and making trades more carefully.

Now, I'm not saying "Gamaken is gonna be staple1!!!" because he wont be (Baring a freak animal invasion, of course) but I think that Bandai has alot of space to work with this mechanic in the future. I personally would love to see a new Akamaru or Kiba that boost each other, and have an additional effect of being able to block mutiple teams when together. How great would it be if Bandai even expanded on being able to block multiple teams by creating effects that trigger off of double blocking? Or even creating cards that implement double blocking in reverse? Here are a few examples of what I mean:

Double Headed Wolf
Leaf Male Animal Ninja Dog Rienforcement
[Double your Wolf, Double your Fun]
Sacrifice: Kiba + Akamaru
Valid: When this Ninja is Blocked, discard the top 5 cards of your opponents deck for each team blocking it.
Valid: This Ninja can be blocked by up to two of your opponents teams.
10/2 8/2

Choji Akimichi
Leaf Chunin Male Secret Pills
[Way Bigger!!!!!!1122]
Valid: This Ninja's Team can block up to 2 teams.
Valid: While this Ninja is blocking more than one team, if this ninja is in the same team as another Ninja with
"Nara", "Yamanaka", or "Akimichi" In the the name, this Ninja adds it's combat twice to the team power.
6/1 3/0

As you can see, there is alot that bandai can do with this type of effect, so hopefully the designers utilize the design space, instead of forgetting about it's existence entirely. This effect doesn't even have to be (and shouldn't be) printed on every ninja, but it's existence on a few solid cards in the format might add more depth to combat. Until next time.

-Andrew Photobucket

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Wednesday, January 5, 2011
The Perfect Curve "New Years Cube" Finals - Dark Master Zorc vs. Zero
Enjoy more general silliness from my house!

Tsu (Fire/Earth)
Squee (Lightning)
Zero (Fire/Wind)
Zorc (Fire/Wind)
Shino's Dad (Water))
Zounder (Water/Earth)

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6


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Monday, January 3, 2011
Ever wonder what the TPC crew does when we aren't narutoing it up?

I took a few videos during our stay at Pats house, thought I would upload them for the lulz.

Andrew, Nick, and Anthony go to Best Buy (feat. Pat) Part1 and Part 2

Nick and Andrew make a comedy

Currently working an end of year card review, so sit tight!

-Andrew Photobucket

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Saturday, January 1, 2011
The Perfect Curve Exclusive Preview - "Monster Research" (Eric Melone's GenCon 2010 Card)
Happy New Year everybody!

Keeping with tradition of previous New Years, the preview card for the first day of the new year is the winner of GenCon (aka The Sannin).

Eric, being our good friend, has given us permission to preview his card. Although this is the rough draft of the card image, this is the FINAL effect that will appear on the card when it arrives in Set 20 later in February.


We'll have the real picture later as well as interview with Eric on how he made the card.

Monster Research

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