So tonight was our release event at my local shop for Set 23. We always have our events on Thursday because we have to compete for room with Magic (Friday) and Yu-gi-oh (Saturday) otherwise. We were all excited to open up our pool of six boosters and see what cards that had not been previwed prior to that time did. One forty card deck and three rounds of Swiss later, I walked off with a pile of prize packs for my 1st place win. That, of course, is hardly important. Rather, I just wanted to touch on a few cards that I found were extremely versitile in the Limited environment, and also how a few of those cards could possibly make for breakout success in Constructed.
First, I'll lay out my deck list at least so you can see what I was working with:
Ninjas (26) (4 Wind, 3 Fire, 4 Earth, 4 Lightning, 7 Water, 2 Void, 2 Fire/Lightning)
x2 Sakura (Childhood)
x1 Sasuke (Childhood)
x1 Kisuke Maboroshi
x1 Choji Akimichi
x2 Ink Leech
x1 Hinata Hyuga
x1 Ink Snake
x1 Pain (Animal Path)
x2 Rock Lee
x1 Tenten (yay...)
x1 Gaara of the Desert
x1 Kisame Hoshigaki
x1 Kabuto Yakushi
x1 Pain (Asura Path)
Missions (6) (2 Fire, 2 Wind, 2 Void)
x2 Heated Argument
x1 A Masters Death
x1 Six Paths of Pain
Jutsu (8) (2 Wind, 1 Lightning, 1 Fire, 3 Water, 1 Fire/Lightning)
x2 Wind Blade
x1 Lightning Beast Running
x1 Lighting Style: Shadow Clone
x1 Chakra Liquid
x2 Sticky Webbing
x1 Fire Style: Biscuit Firing Jutsu
Solid Cards of the catagories:
Sakura (Childhood)- More often than not, I was able to pick up an extra card off of this Ninja, who usually came down as a Turn 1 rather than the Turn 0 that it actually is. Her ability to dig through your deck might get her into some Wind decks as a functional 1 drop, as her stats and the added effect from growth make her a solid Ninja.
Kisuke Maboroshi- Nothing but value out of this card. I was able to ram into opposing turn 0 drops with 3 Combat without fear, knowing I could just chump with him and get him back as a ghost. I was able to effectively eliminate enemy Kisuke's with Biscuit Firing Jutsu though. I can definately see this guy being played in Fire as well as in Lightning, offering a valuable turn for setting up. If you happen to have the new Karin from this set around as well, he's pretty much an infinite chump blocker, save for well aimed Biscuits being fired at him.
Shiho- A conservative player will use this card to effectively have the top card of their deck as an extra card in hand, as they will block carefully to conserve important cards on the top of the deck or use it to shave away extra chaff. An aggresive player will use this card to dig for key Jutsu in order to push for rewards. I was able to use her in both situations in many games. Nothing was better than drawing into a jutsu I could use and shipping a high drop Ninja I didn't need back to the top of my deck.
Ink Leech- Yeah, good in Limited, Good in Constructed, just good over all. Three chakra in a format where playing missions is hard enough as it is puts you way ahead of the curve against your opponent, and in Constructed, where you will be gaining even more chakra from mission plays every turn, as well as the reintroduction of Paper Bomb into the format as a reprint (Paper Bomb early game is just as bad as Infinite Embrace was).
Tsukado- This guy was a champ, as being valid, he just ran head long into battle every turn. He as well as a few other cards really shined when I was able to drop Six Paths of Pain, forcing both my opponent and I to battle with Teams of only 1 Ninja.
Hidan- He just won games where I needed that one extra reward to win, which happened more often than I thought it would.
Kisame Hoshigaki- This guy is brutal every time he hits the board. As I mentioned with Ink Leech, in a format where every chakra matters, and with him effectively cutting off any chance for your opponent to reliably retaliate after his effect resolves, he allowed me to push aggressively for rewards when I otherwise might have feared jutsu retaliation.
Pain (Asura Path)- Not really solid perse, but big stats and the ability for me to actually get his effect online with the help of Kisame and Animal Path, he just solidified already strong leads, rather than really help me win. Honorable Mention for me being able to actually use his effect though a few times (and shut down a pesky Kakashi (Boyhood) before he even got to set off his coins).
Six Paths of Pain- Tempo card of the year. When your opponent is supporting their Head Ninja of a decent team with 0/2's and then this hits the board, they sort of just fold under the aggressive press of an opposing field of all Combat heavy Ninjas. With a curve of Kisuke, Tsukao, and Turn 2 Rock Lee one game, followed by this Mission, it added up to a quick GGGGGGG.
Almost all of the annoying as hell Permanent Attach Missions- Hiding and Brooding Mood crippled teams, Heated Argument made guys huge and into one man wrecking squads, Information Extraction made any Ninja into a complete liability with the fact that losing them meant losing 2 cards from hand.
Wind Blade- I had lots of Wind and lots of Water, and my opponent's Head Ninjas were lots of injured and lots of 0/0 for some sweet OVs. I still hate the picture though.
Fire Style: Biscuit Firing Jutsu- For 1 chakra, I just made profit off your bad block, or I just turned a draw into an edge for myself. This was just an overall popular card tonight.
Lightning Style Shadow Clone Jutsu- I could actually see this being played in Constructed, simply for the sheer factor that getting this played on you when you think you have the advantage can be really depressing, especially when someone uses their Kakashi's effect to try and obliterate your lone Kisame.
So anyways, I hope everyone enjoys their Release Events for Set 23: Invasion. Be sure to check back to the site every so often for more ramblings from Pat and I, as we're the only ones who ever post anymore.
-Shino'sDad (Nick Botchis)
With the soon to be released Set 23: Invasion just around the corner, in combination with the newly updated Rogue List for Premiere Tournaments, many players have been looking forward to what new toys Lightning will be receiving to play with. With the restriction of both Kushina Uzumaki [Eternal Bond] as well as Tsuchigumo Style: Forbidden Jutsu Release - Big Bang being limited to 1 copy per deck, along with the outright ban of Anbu [Hidden Threat] and Anbu [Rising Threat], the early game has been slowed down quite considerably. Where a player could easily have as much as 10 chakra on Turn 1, without having to sacrifice nearly any of their hand or board presence, priming you for a rain of Infinite Embrace on your opponent's field and a very abrupt scoop from your opponent, that is no longer the case. What Lightning needs now is more aggressive early game tools in order to fill that void (not Void, mind you).
Cue the new Rasengan, which can be played by the usual any Jiraiya or Fourth Hokage, but has the added benefit of being able to be played by any Naruto Uzumaki + Clone Status or Konohamaru + Clone Status. A quick check of the card database reveals that save for Naruto Uzumaki (Taijutsu), all Naruto have Clone Status in format, from the smallest Turn 0, to the Turn 5 Tailed Beast Mode, and all Konohamaru have Clone Status as well, most importantly Konohamaru Ninja Squad, who is a near staple in many decks (all decks?).
You also have the new Rock Lee [Honor Bound]. While he is a bit tech in his use, he sports both Growth and Surge, allowing him to become a 5 or 6 combat on his own, if needed, which ties in well to his effect. He cannot be Blocked by a Team of 2 or more Ninjas. Although, he cannot be added to a Team with other Ninjas either. So that means that if your opponent wishes to stop him, they will need to send a Ninja one on one against him, leaving their field spread out. I can see this as one of the reasons that Anbu were banned, as dropping a Lee with two Anbu is a very harsh beating.
Ink Leech is an attempt to give back that early chakra gain, but at the cost of lower stats, and the inability to Growth over for even more chakra without the cost of a deploy. Despite this, it seems to be a rather popular card and just might see use anyways. Without the possibility of your opponent gathering a Team Power of 5 or higher any longer, the Leech and come down on Turn 0 and block, retaining it's 1 combat and support even when injured. Though, this would only really be advantageous if you were going first, as dropping an Ink Leech on the Draw will leave you severely lacking in Team power come your opponent's Turn 1.
There are still plenty of other Lightning cards that have not yet been previewed yet though, so this list of useful Lightning tools may increase before the Set is released on November 18th.
So by this point, you might be wondering what the point of all this up to now has been. The answer is today's preview, which is a card I feel might see some play, if only because if offers Lightning an aggressive start to the game.
First, I will tell you all that it is a Mission Card. Second, it plays on Turn 1. Early missions are always nice, but only if they do something useful, right? Well what do we seem to all want out of missions lately? Draw and Tutoring, it seems is what we all look for when assembling our mission line up. If there is an added effect to it, then all the better, right? Well then this card fits that bill perfectly.
So right away, you will notice that this card is similar in practice to Pat's preview card, but with the advantage of you being able to pick your chosen combatant. with the added benefit of being able to draw 2 cards if things go your way, which it should or else you wouldn't be playing the mission in the first place, right?
This card is Amazing if you are going first, as you will, unless playing understatted Ninjas, have a higher Team Power than your opponent, who should have a maximum Team power of 4, while you could have as much as a 7. Injuring their first Combat Ninja can be a huge advantage that you will be able to seize, plus you get 2 new cards as well!
While preparing to write this article, I took the time to search out any cards that are still legal that would give us some solid interaction with this card. Obviously, cards that aid in attaining a Victory such as The Fourth Hokage [Supremacy] come to mind, but so do cards that get effects Because we scored a Victory of some kind. Of all current Block Format Ninjas, the following activate an effect when it's Team with any kind of Victory:
Kakashi Hatake & Yamato
Pain (Deva Path)
Zabuza Momochi (Younger Days)
Uhei (accent over the U)
Rock Lee & Might Guy
Kakuzu (Soul Form)
With a quick pruning of some cards that just don't work well with Lightning's theme or are extremely off element, we have a new list that looks like this:
Itachi Uchiha (Set 21)
Pain (Deva Path) (Set 19)
Zabuza Momochi (Set 22)
Rock Lee & Might Guy (Set 19)
Also of note, is a reprinted Orochimaru that activates on an Outstanding Victory:
Orochimaru (Set 19 Starter Deck)
What about Jutsu cards?
Lightning Blade Single Slash (TP 1&2)
Eight Inner Gates (Set 19)
Deformable Body (TP 3)
Partial Expansion Jutsu (Set 22)
Severe Leaf Hurricane (Set 22)
Again, some quick pruning leaves us with:
Deformable Body (TP 3)
Severe Leaf Hurricane (Set 22)
Obviously, the idea of tooling our deck exclusively around a single mission card is a bad idea. But if the deck itself works well and we do not force the deck into a singular path (We need to be able to win the game without the mission, if it never comes up, afterall), then there is no reason not to try and compliment it with a few cards.
Seeing as the best cards for these situations are Lightning and Water, that would be the best place for this mission, if possible.
Obviously, a very nice, albeit very late combo comes in the form of the Rock Lee & Might Guy platoon, whom, as the target of the Mission, will continue to have to be opposed every new Combat Phase that it spawns. Pair them up with someone like Orochimaru [Eager Desire], and not only will your opponent's field be nothing, but so will their Turn Marker.
Five Minute Deck List Featuring Preview Card, Go!
Betting on a Victory
x3 Rock Lee [Vanilla]
x3 Jirobo (State 1)
x3 Hotaru Katsuragi
x2 Gaara (Childhood)
x2 Karin [Absorption]
x2 Kidomaru (State 1)
x2 Konohamaru Ninja Squad
x2 Iruka Umino [Strategic Placement]
x1 Anko Mitarashi [Test Proctor]
x2 Naruto Uzumaki [Emerging Beast]
x2 Killer Bee [Da Eighth]
x1 Zabuza Momochi [Demon of the Mist]
x2 The Fourth Hokage [Supremacy]
x1 Orochimaru [Eager Desire]
x2 Might Guy & Rock Lee
x3 Monster Research
x3 Anko's Memory
x2 Make-Out Tactics
x3 Chidori (Set 19)
x2 Rasengan (Set 23)
x2 Deformable Body
x1 Tsuchigumo Style: Forbidden Jutsu Release - Big Bang
x1 Infinite Embrace
x3 Rock Lee & Gaara
x2 Kidomaru (State 2)
x2 Naruto Uzumaki (Nine Tails Cloak)
x2 Naruto Uzumaki (Tailed Beast Mode)
x2 Naruto Uzumaki (Four Tails)
x2 Naruto Uzumaki & The Fourth Hokage
x2 Jirobo (State 2) (We can only assume he will be good?)