Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Set 21 Akatsuki Theme & Set 21 Preview #1: Well Isn't That Cute...
For a good 10 or so sets now, most of us have wanted an Akatsuki deck where we could cram all the members in and it wasn't until the introduction of Void in Set 19 that this idea became possible. Bandai has succeeded in creating what may not be the most competitive deck type ever, but certain one of the most fun as players can finally get there hands on a full-fledged Akatsuki deck without the awkward and clunky 5 colored late game only variants of yesteryear.

Here's the low down on the cards in case you missed them.

Zetsu is actually a really awesome zero drop. He has good stats for a turn zero, and his effect is actually more powerful than you think. Looking at your opponent's hand in tandem with the Note Taking rule allows you to know your opponent's early to midgame strategy. You'll know if there's a critical mission to stop or a surprise Jutsu or Might Guy you might run into. The best part? It's guaranteed to go off twice, meaning late game you can chump this guy and know right away whether you can sweep in for the kill.

The only downside? He's named Zetsu, meaning he has some really stiff competition with set 18's amazing sideboard card of the same name.

I was wondering when they were going to use the Tobi artwork from our website. He's actually pretty solid and depending on the cards with "World" in the name that are to be released in later sets, he could end up being a staple. As it stands though, his only option in format is "Taking Over the World", which actually isn't terrible as a 1 of or 2 of if you run this card and are playing the right deck. Tutoring up a free BR or a free Injure isn't that bad if your deck can for sure satisfy the requirements on turn 3 every game. If that's the best "World" card he ever gets though, the card will simply be wasted potential.

As it stands, he's not really going to see much play though as Many of Mystery from Set 16 is a for sure staple. Until that rotates, no card with the name Tobi will see play (outside of the obvious Uchiha Madara).

I also find it funny that Tobi comes in the Starter deck that doesn't have any cards with "World" in the name. Unless Andy fixed the lists recently?

Deidara is interesting to me. I don't really know how this guy is going to pan out, but if I had to take my first guess, not so good. First off, his requirements are somewhat strict to pull off and your opponent has the option to negate the damage by ramping your turn marker by 1, which they will almost always do. So he essentially is going to ramp the turn marker by 1 for 2 generic if all your Ninja are void. That can be good or bad though late game as it might put the opponent in a position where they have to choose between taking a damage or dealing with Preta Path or Deva Path's effects. To top it off, no way to play C4 also hurts him.

I like his stats though and I hope I'm just wrong on this card cause I think he has nifty design (like all the cards for Set 21 so far).

A little birdie told me that Sasori's effect was originally every turn before it got changed. That would make the card simply absurd. As he stands now though, Sasori isn't all that bad, with some solid Sakura-esque stats on turn 3. Good stats and characteristics also help him out. In the right deck he essentially will fetch you a whole new hand and given that the extra effect on other Void cards is to draw cards off the bottom of the deck, with proper management, you can swap into/draw into some really impressive hands.

while I love the flavor of Kakuzu, I think this card is the least likely of all the cards to see play in the actual void deck and the second least likely to see play at all. His stats and characteristics are good but I'm not a fan of any of his effects. In a Lightning deck, I'm gonna want to play Kakashi as my 5 drop. In a Wind deck, Sasori is my man. So that relegates him to using the last effect which is essentially a "I can trade well" or "Well I'm not totally screwed" tool. I suppose it might be useful to just pay the 1 every turn for an invincible turn 5 Ninja but in the past that hasn't worked out too well (Hidan). I just think there's better options and this guy will strictly be for Limited play.


So ... he's a turn 4 Zabuza Demon of the Cloud Village, a card seeing no play right now, only instead of killing 1 to 3 Ninjas when his effect get a -1/-1 coin. Right. Gotcha. That's so worth it.

I get that he has good synergy with Uchiha Madara, but Chibi Hidan is better for that. Speaking of Chibi Hidan, the best card to use Set 21's Hidan with is the same Chibi Hidan...which you obviously can't do. So much fail...easily the worst of the Akatsuki in this theme.

Itachi Uchiha
...but you quickly forget about how terrible Hidan is once you see this guy. Itachi may be one of the best 6 drops ever printed. Great stats, all the relevant characteristics on a card you could want, and an essentially free effect. Considering no Jutsu played costs more than 3 (except maybe Hydro Pump which may get through on a technicality), At worst you're dropping your turn marker to 4 when you use this guy...which means you're most likely still going to drop the same card you would have anyway on the following turn (Chiriku anyone?). The longer the game goes on, the more ammo Itachi has and for a free effect, negating the first Jutsu your opponent plays for free is VERY powerful.

Fun combos: You lower your turn maker to an odd turn off of Itachi to trigger Preta Path.

Gaara/Temari + Obito Uchiha + This Guy = Jutsu? Nah bro!

As expected, Kisame is the perfect partner for Itachi. His ability is also fantastic not only for fueling the effects in the deck, but depleting opponent's resources. He's all around a very solid card with solid stats...his only drawback is that he's only playable in a deck with a sizable amount of void cards.

Pain (Deva Path)
...or as I like to call him "One Winged Angel" (bad joke!). This Deva Path is very much an improvement over the original one in Set 19. His first effect essentially locks your opponent on turn 5 if you went first and they have to block him for fear of losing the game. However the true beauty of the card is should you drop him on 6 and win a victory every turn, you will always have an even turn marker for the rest of the game, meaning his second effect is always active. His second effect can actually seal away whole games as you're able to go on the offense with your big Jutsu like C4 or Hydro Pump and your opponent simply cannot retaliate to it.

I think he's actually a very strong 6 drop, who may actually be hidden tech later on at some point. I just don't know if he'll be good enough, especially when you compare him alongside Itachi who can essentially do the same thing but far easier and without the Sacrifice.

Well this card was a bit of a disappointment to me when I read it. For once I thought we'd actually get a great Konan but alas she's only just "okay" in the Akatsuki deck. Her best play obviously is to drop in play Deva Path and then drop Kakuzu or Kisame but that's really where the awesomeness stops. Sacrifice is a requirement to put in play certain Ninja, not just deploy them. So sacrificing for Deva Path and then deciding to put in play Asura Path or what have you will also require a Sacrifice. Now this could be awesome considering it triggers Konan again, but the already small field presence the Pain deck has would just get even smaller. And considering she doesn't have too many chances to trigger, I just don't see her as being that good.

Her effect is essentially resigned to dropping into play a Giant Chameleon whenever you put in play something like Preta Path or Animal Path. Might allow you to get some field presence/rush going or fuel other sacrifices later...but I'm gonna pass on this one.

Edit: Just reread Konan cause someone said I had the effect wrong. Yeah...that makes her even worse. Nothing to see here. Move along to the preview.

Okay I assume most of you just whizzed right through most of that and stopped right around here just so you can see our first Set 21 preview, which goes along with Fire Week.

I give you...


...Yes this adorable kitty is actually a much needed early game drop for Fire, perfectly complimenting the rush style gameplay of Anbu and Dogs. As the game progresses and your field gets larger, Denka goes from pint sized to something much bigger along the lines of his feline friend Giant Tiger. And for those non-rush oriented decks, he actually has a really useful other ability. Should Denka actually stick around to see the late game and you need options, simply sacrifice him and your deploy to pick up a guy from your discard pile and slam him onto the table (don't forget to pay the hand cost)!

For a turn 0 common, I don't think Fire could have asked for much better. He's all around incredibly solid and is sure to make a lot of you Fire players purrrrrfectly happy.

Check back tomorrow night when Andrew will have our 2nd Set 21 preview.


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Monday, March 28, 2011
MN Kage Wrap Up & Set 21 Previews Confirmed
Congratulations to Thomas Veazie for winning the MN Kage! I guess with his win, something might happen to Wind (although I feel it probably doesn't need anything done to it).

Also confirmed are Set 21 previews in the next few weeks, so stay tuned!

Seriously, we kind of don't have much to write about until April falls upon us. Slow time on our end. No events here on the East Coast, where the writing staff is so we don't have much hands on time with stuff as we'd like.

To tide us over until then, we'll probably doing some reviews of cards previewed for Set 21. Complete Akatsuki Preview wrap up later today/tomorrow.


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Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Naruto Set 20 Tier List
I spent the last weekend meeting up with Andrew & Nick to celebrate Andrew's 21st birthday. Karaoke, shopping, drinking, and much gaming (read: MVC3) was done. Overall it was a pretty good time. We even found enough time to squeeze in the Naruto CCG (both draft and constructed) and Resident Evil DBG into our weekend.

I feel pretty confident putting this out there, using and inferring from the deck lists used at recent Kages/Chunins. Perhaps at a later time I'll post more of my reasoning, but now it's back to work.

Agree or disagree with my tier list? Let me know in the comments below.

(Note: Obviously this is based off of lots of test decks within my team/local test group. Maybe someone can be the next Eric and release a new "Dreams" deck that flips everything on it's head or I missed something that flips the meta on it's head, but with what we know, this is how *I* feel it stands)

Element Tier List
1st: Water (Simply faster and stronger than everyone else. Earth is like a 7-3 against this at best)

2nd: Wind (Hydro Pump, Gaara/Temari, Baki/Hiruko/Sasori/4th Kazekage)

3rd: Earth (Gets eaten alive by faster decks. Hinata is NOT that good of a 3 drop. Still same generic crap it has been for the last 2 or 3 formats.)

4th: Lightning (Because of it's strong synergy with Water. True Allies isn't as consistent and loses to some newer set 20 strategies pretty easy. Sage Mode sees no chance of hitting the board against anything but Earth. Radiant Energy.dec is a lot better than people are thinking)

5th: Fire (Fire/Wind has worse synergy than Water/Lightning. It has spectacular late game Ninja but no Jutsu to speak of and the mission setup can only be run 1 way to be semi-competitive. It's incredibly one dimensional and really needs to piggy back of Wind.)

6th: Void (Small fields and despite the card effects being broken on paper, in actuality they're just okay)

That's just to list the elemental power rankings. Every element surprisingly has a combination that can be played at Tier 1 play, so I guess you could say Set 20 is fairly balanced but there's definitely a slight edge to Water and Wind. The only one sided matchup I feel is really just Water vs. Earth right now. (Earth being third as it has a slight advantage or is equal in every other matchup)


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Thursday, March 17, 2011
We're Coming Back Next Week
No seriously. I promise.

Andrew and I have been really busy so it's hard to find time to type up articles. So basically...we cheated. I was able to go out and get us a copy of Speech to Text articles. What's that mean for you? We can just sit in front of the PC at the end of the night and rant...and it'll just get posted up here. Saves us an hour or so per entry and you'll start to see more content here.

Again, I apologize for the lack of content. There hasn't been any tournaments lately besides Kages that are halfway across the country from us, Andrew has had midterms, and I'm working on 5 accounts at the same time at work. Cut us some slack.


Monday, March 7, 2011
Some People on Bandai Need to Read This
I came across this thread on my lunch break today. It's actually a pretty important concept. And I realize that yes, this article is written about Street Fighter, but honestly, it can be applied to anything.

You Get Better At The Game By Playing The Game

The moral of the story?

Play the game.

Don't log onto Bandai anytime you THINK something is broken and complain about it. Instead, you should spend your hard earned time to try to counter the same cards and tactics you're losing to. Find what works, discard the rest. People on the boards spend more time complaining and speculating than actually playing the game.

If you don't play the game, you won't get better at the game.

Theory crafting only gets you so far. Actually sitting down, sleeving up the cards in said "theory" and trying it out against other players will yield results.

Basically, get up off your @$$ and do something about it. Hydro Pump isn't broken. You're just too lazy and give up far too easy to find a way to deal with it. Sit down. Shut up. Shuffle up. Play. And if after weeks of hardcore testing, having exhausted every element and card combination, you still can't beat said broken card, then it's time to open up negotiations with Bandai.

Until then, stop crying.

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Wednesday, March 2, 2011
Dropping Gs: The GGuide

(Since some random Bandai tryhard locked the thread there)

It has come to my attention that the vast majority of the Naruto population is unable to responsibly use the letter G. It is key to understand the power of this letter - chronic overuse will dramatically increase your tryhard quotient, whereas underuse will degenerate you into a total dumpster like Andrew Kardis. There is a target level in-between, both of proper amount of G dropping as well as the level of G drop to apply to the situation. Therefore, I have chosen to create this guide in order to rectify this situation. Please pay proper attention - this is most likely the most important thing you will ever read.

The Classic: GG
Variants: gg, GG?, gg?, ggwp, GGWP
The most basic form of G dropping, and one that should fit your everyday needs. Approved for liberal use. Question marks/WPs are recommended when emphasis on sarcasm/irony is necessary, or a condescending tone is desired.

The Thomas Cao: GFG
Variants: gfg
First introduced to the Naruto community by the legendary Sannin and Kraft Mayonnaise Platinum-level Customer Thomas Cao, GFG adds that little bit of extra "oomph" that the standard GG lacks. The edginess of the GFG means that more controlled usage of it relative to the classic GG is necessary, but it is still appropriate for common usage in everyday speech.

Variants: ggggggggggggggggggggggggg
We now reach the first out of our two high-powered ways to drop Gs. This is the more standard variant, but recent usage trends are troubling in just how standard it has become. Scrubs like Amir Anoobshi, Gary Lawson, and Thomas Veazie take every opportunity to G Spam, reducing the overall power of the G. This is entirely unacceptable - G Spam should only be used where a GG or GFG will not suffice - situations far and few between. Don't be a scrub - save G Spam for when you really need it.

The G String:













(baby baby)
This is the holiest of the holy. The G String should only be used in situations of virtual impossibility, such as Amir winning a Kage or Ari finishing above second in an event with more than 1 player. The more impossible the event is, the more Gs that should be included in the G String. Spacing can be used to enhance the volume of the Gs involved. Additionally, people with knowledge of the most legendary song of all time are authorized to use the baby variant - however, using this variant without requisite knowledge increases one's tryhard level to maximum. Use with caution.

You have now been educated. Please drop Gs responsibly.


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A small thank you to our readers

I know the site has been pretty dead as of late, and rather then pull out my long list of excuses I'm just going to point out that we wouldn't be the same TPC crew you know and love if we were even remotely organized and punctual. Pat and I are going to do our best to put out articles sometime during the week, so sit tight and be sure to check back over the next few days for said articles, unless we both forget and end up posting nothing. Regardless, I wanted to make a small post thanking all of you for all the support over this past year.

Some of you might be wondering where that came from, well, the truth is that Nick was approached by one of our readers at Katsukon, who only had nice things to say about both our site and our staff. I think that this event is what finally put this whole thing in perspective for me. Even when I was doing the official NarutoCCG podcast some time ago, it never seemed to register to me that more than just our group of friends were tuning in to hear the things we had to say. It's actually pretty overwhelming to think that there are a number of people out there who use what Josh, Pat, Nick or I write to help them for some an opinion on a card or decktype, which could ultimately go on to help them win a Kage or even just place higher then they would have otherwise.

So, before I bore you to death with paragraphs full of touchy-feelyness, I'll just end this post by thanking you guys for your continued support!

-Andrew Photobucket

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