Hey guys, as a treat for you all Squee (Eric Melone) will now be writing for "The Perfect Curve"! His first article "Kage Power Rankings" can be found below. Be sure to leave us feedback and let us know how he did! Stay tuned for more from Eric in the coming weeks as well as more updates from us. I PROMISE this week I'll get the contest articles up. - Tsu
With the previews winding down and everyone picking and analyzing their favorite cards I decided to take a look at the five most anticipated cards now that they have all been previewed; the five kages. Many people have already stated their opinions on these cards. Reluctant to do so immediately I decided to wait a couple of days before re-visiting the pros and cons of each of these powerful cards. Please keep in mind that I consider all of these cards extremely playable and the difference between them is not that big of a gap. Before I get to the rankings though there is one big advantage and one big disadvantage each of these ninjas share. So to avoid extreme redundancy I won’t be mentioning these attributes with every single kage but I do feel that it is worth discussing.
Disadvantage: Every Kage is non-valid. While I am sure I am not the first to mention it I see this as a huge disadvantage on a ninja when considering deck construction. After playing your Kage if your opponent has a way of injuring it effortlessly it then becomes a giant vanilla ninja assuming your build doesn’t have substantial healing. This is a huge risk when playing a ninja you want to become a game changer until the end of the game because of it’s effect. Especially with Hidan as a prominent card in the format this becomes an issue to be wary of.
Advantage: High powered jutsu. With all of these Kage’s Bandai has been kind enough to release game changing jutsu for each and every one of these ninjas. I won’t go into detail on the various set 25 jutsus because that would be a separate article within itself. So I will continue on to the power rankings.
Pros: Support- The first and most glaring positive for this ninja would have to be his support, instantly becoming an insane option for a back ninja on almost any team once he sees play. He has the highest support of all the kages.
Symbols- Fire and wind are extremely powerful elements to have in a build right now, especially as support elements because of their draw power and specific ninjas such as Hidan and of course the new version of Shizton released in set 25.
Effect- First off this is not a ninja that will be a drain on your chakra due to his low cost. An effect will give you an added bonus in every jutsu chain after he is put into play. He is that one jutsu so many of us fall short of in a crucial chain or maybe just insurance when you want to resolve your hydro pump. You can even leave him in your village if you have enough ninjas and make it even more difficult on your opponent to win a chain. And lastly the stand-by effect is easy to overlook but a very nice added bonus of the card. It may leave your opponent hesitant to start a chain if losing it may result the destruction of their team by you just paying 1. If your opponent is using 2 jutsu before you’ve even played your first this card is already pulling its own weight.
Cons: Combat- Obviously this ninja would not make an ideal head ninja due to its extremely low combat if you don’t have some combat on the field (unless you have temari wind pressure out) this ninja will not help you be aggressive.
Effect- The first downside to this ninja is that he forces you to stay on element during construction of your deck or risk not always being able to capitalize on his effect. For example; if you splash a naruto in his effect is unable to protect the naruto and may end up costing you. He also is unable to stop negation or jutsu that don’t target your ninjas which can be frustrating at times. The biggest disadvantage in my opinion is that he requires some sort of control of the board when dropped. He is not an instant game changer in every situation, more-so of a compliment to what you already have in your hand and on your field.
Pros: Effect- Gaara’s first effect is what makes him better than Onoki. The ability to cloak all of your other ninjas can be very useful against some builds. Also, Gaara is another ninja who is very cost effective. When using these effects almost every turn there is a huge difference between a cost of 1 and a cost of 2. The negation helps in the chain for the same reasons I stated with Onoki except from Gaara you may be able to deliver a counter punch with the chakra you gain back from his effect or just take back any ambush ninjas that may have made their way into your discard pile. Essentially Gaara pays for his own effect and more every time he resolves.
Cons: Stats- Gaara’s stats are not extremely versatile which wouldn’t be a huge issue for me if he excelled in support or combat which he does not. This may be an issue when trying to construct the strongest team for your deck.
Effect- Gaara also depends on a bit of board control when playing him but you can be slightly more aggressive with him because of his stats and that he can stop negation. Secondly, against no-hand water jutsu his effect doesn’t hold much power because the negated jutsu is not discarded or moved to the deck.
Other options- Gaara is the only Kage with an extremely solid second option. Andrew pointed this out to me and it made complete sense… which Gaara is the better option? I think the turn 5 that tutors for you is extremely powerful if you want to use Gaara it would be a tough choice.
3. Mei Terumi
Pros: Stats- Now you may not understand how I prefer her stat pool to Gaara’s stat pool but to me the fact that her stats are balanced makes her very versatile within a team’s composition. She can become a back ninja and make that high team power you’re looking for or double as a head ninja if you are lacking high combat.
Effect- After she is played your opponent will have 2 vanilla ninjas each turn if you choose to pay and be denied all put in play effects if used correctly. Late game mill is also very useful in tight games and may even give you an edge in a tie breaker scenario. The discard effect is going to be hard to resolve against a competent opponent unless you pair her with something like kakashi/sakura and turn 6 just start killing off their threats 1 by 1. Otherwise it is more of a scare tactic part of the effect that may lead to some battle rewards. All in all her effect is very versatile and can win you the game in various ways.
Cons: Effect- The cost isn’t ideal if you’re in a situation where you’re using it on your turn and your opponents turn it may turn out to be a problem chakra wise. While I believe her effect is very strong I do also see it as just as circumstantial. Her, Gaara, and Onoki are all similar in the fact that they don’t hit the board and instantly make an impact which is probably why I don’t prefer them as much as the other 2. It’s all about personal playstyle. She is a very strong control card and if you have a slight edge she kicks your opponent while they’re down but she won’t win you a showdown with her effect or a jutsu war. Imagine how good Mei would be if you could use her in the EOJ or mission phase. Just saying.
Pros: Stats- Absolute beat stick; his printed power will beat almost any ninja in the game 1v1 and make him the best head ninja in the game. But why would you team him up? Effect- I see him the same way as I see third… I’m going to attack, I beat any team in the game if my effect resolves. Oh you want to attack and for some reason I don’t want to block with this monster I’ll pay 2 and draw a card. His effect also initiates a chain which I doubt your opponent will let go through so you bait them into using the first jutsu and gain an immediate advantage in the chain. The only reason I prefer third is because your opponent can stop his effect as you trigger it, however the difference is so slim I changed my opinion while writing this.
Cons: Stats- Terrible back ninja… lol?
Effect- The only problem is as I mentioned earlier your opponent can stop it in it’s tracks. If not though… say goodbye to their team.
1. The Third Hokage
Pros: Stats- Same stats as mizukage so I prefer them for that same reason.
Elements- Because all of the kages have 3 elements this is really personal preference. The same reason as Onoki, because third has fire and lightning I see that as an advantage in the current format.
Effect- I really love everything about this effect once triggered. His impact is felt immediately swaying your opponent from blocking and can lead to a game altering pump or other snipe jutsu. If they do block before the exchange of jutsu even occurs their team receives -1 to -3 team power as well as being down 2 chakra. The added effect of winning a battle reward just dissuades chump blocking (just in case losing 2 chakra wasn’t dissuading enough). The reason this card can be considered stronger than Raikage is because you can team him up and be even more threatening. Solid card, love the design.
Cons: Effect- The only negative I see at first glance can also be a positive… your opponent can choose not to block. In which case you swing with just 1 team and win battle rewards anyway.