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?)