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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