Wednesday, September 28, 2011

New Banned Cards! Some thoughts on the current metagame.

The list of the new banned cards starting on October 1st is posted over at the very very awesome PreMem in SG site:

Since there's no need to post the exact same thing twice, I feel like I'll use this post to discuss the current metagame, what decks are strong, and what i feel ACTUALLY needs to be banned.
First, there are currently two formats of tournaments. There's mixed, which allows you to use every card except the (now) 7 banned cands. Then there's single format, which means that your deck can only consist of cards from a single set (or related sets, such as k-on!, and k-on!! both being part of the same set)

For mixed, the popular types of decks are:
Oreimo beatdown - This deck utilizes the 3 source Kirino to get a lot of characters out quickly without decreasing your hand size. Using the two 3/1 Kirino/Ayase conbis, one which allows you to bring the same 3 source kirino you used to pay back in your hand, and the other that allows you to look at the top 7 cards and pull out any event and add it to your hand, means you can almost always guarantee a full board. Then, utilizing the green 0/1 Oreimo event that allows you to get two of the same type of character from the top 7 as long as you already have 4 oreimo characters means that you will always have the cards you need. Add in some very strong 40/40 kirino combis, plus the 5/1 60/50 active Kirino, and you have a scary deck. The defense is quite strong as well with the 2/2 play anytime Kyosuke that prevents one of the opponent's characters from attacking. Combined with the 3/2 40/20
active kirino that untaps one of your characters whenever you play a character, and your opponent will have a hard time hitting you for points while being able to survive your offense.

Deck Death - There's all sorts of different decks that use deck death. With the recent bannage of rotenburo, deck death may be a little weaker, however, in the new bakemono set, the 0/1 "trash 3 cards from the opponent's deck" will be even stronger than rotenburo was, in my opinion. Generally, though, the deck revolves around using 0/1 Homura (when the opp plays a character, return it to your hand, and put a card from your hand on top of your deck), and then using Kyoken (comes into play if put on the point pile when hit for a point) so you have a really hard time getting points. Combined with the other Homura that says "only 4 characters can attack each turn", and using Ayase to slowly rid the opponent of 3 cards, it's very hard to beat, even with an army of strong characters. Obviously there's variations of deck death, but generally, they involve homura/kyoken.

Blue Beatdown - This generally involves getting cards quickly using Mio and Kashi Sakuseichuu (tap a mio and draw 2), and then playing out the blue 4/2 support dude from samurai girls and pulling out the 5/2 Dartanian. The 5/2 says that if she was pulled out from the dude's effect, that she gets a +10/+10 coin, and if he's in play (which he will be if he was used to play her out), then she gets +20/+0 constantly. Essentially, she's a 70/50 for a 4/2. The strong point about both of the cards is that they're blue (same color as Mio, 1/2 draw sawako, ayase, any many other strong cards) and 2 source. If they were all 1 source, then having extras would be too hard to play out.

Obviously there's other strong cards in the format too, such as 4/1 active Sayaka, which allows you to discard an event and put it back into play (ready to attack again) if it dies. However, these three types of decks are generally what is shown the most.

Of these, Oreimo beatdown is probably used the most. It's a very easy deck to use, and a very easy deck to play. With the 3 source, you don't have to put much thought into what you're going to discard for your characters, and with a constant flow of cards, it's hard to find yourself in a bad spot. A very popular deck indeed, however, I feel like the 3 source kirino really is the cause of all the problems. It's not just that she's 3 source, it's that there's so many good 3 source kirinos. Many have active, many give you cards back (essnetially letting you get a 30/20 or a 30/30 out in play for free), as well as being one of the few cards that lets you play out a 5 cost character for only 2 cards. Kirino's 5 source card is also crazy good. If you have a support character, it's a 60/50 active that makes one of the opponent's characters unable to block. With the speed of the oreimo deck, getting out 3 guys, and then playing the 5/1 on turn 2 and approaching with everything isn't a long shot.

Obviously, if Oreimo is this strong in mixed, it completely dominates in single format. Many decks require the hidamari card "Hanami" for speed, but oreimo's speed is unmatched, even without the help of hanami.

While I do have an Oreimo beatdown deck myself, I really feel as though too many people use Oreimo to the point that there's not as much variety in decks as there used to be. I'm not about banning cards just because they're good, but I do feel like they really made it far too easy for oreimo to get an advantage by being able to play out 3 cost characters not only for one card, but being able to get another card back for it. Something that would solve the oreimo problem would literally be to restrict the usage of the 3 source kirino. That would mean that while you would still get a card back for the 3/1 kirino/ayase combi, you would still have to use 2 cards to play it out. The 5/1 would be harder to get out (as it should be), and it wouldn't be able to get such an early lead way too quickly for any other deck to deal with.

It's not that I think all 3 source cards are unfair. Madoka's 3 source Kyoko SR allows you to get out a few 3 cost kyokos, but with the disadvantage that they're all 40/10 or 40/20. In other words, they die very easily. The 3 source Hanekawa for megane characters actually made the megane deck into a deck that was playable and winnable in an otherwise bucho-dominated format. It's not just the fact that Kirino's 3 source card gives 3 source, it's that combined with the 3 cost kirino characters (and the 5 cost), it's just far too strong and allows for brainless playing that nets far too big of an advantage for most other decks to keep up with.

Another deck that I feel is too strong is the deck death type. I understand that staying alive while fending off the opponent is difficult, but I feel like kyoken makes it far too easy. Not only does he not count as a point, but he also comes into play for free. So just by being on the top of the deck, he prevents 2 attacks, potentially. Thanks to the homura, even if the opponent just passes and doesn't attack, the second that a character is played on your side, homura goes back in the opponent's hand, they draw a card, and put kyoken on top. As a 30/10, he dies very easily. Not only that, but he can take out a decent attacker as well. Before Ayase and the new bakemono card, deck death relied on rotenburo and recycling their own deck, but with the inability to take more than a couple points off of the opponent thanks to kyoken and homura, I feel like theres very little risk in playing a deck death deck.
So the cards that I would like to see restricted in mixed and single format:

(Yellow 1/1 20/10 Kousaka Kirino - If used to play a "Kousaka Kirino" card, add 2 source - uniform/otaku)
The cards that I would like to see restricted in mixed:

(Green 3/1 30/10 Maniwa Kyoken - If put onto the point pile when hit for a point, you may put Kyoken directly into play instead. Maniwa troops/Ninja)

(Blue 0/1 Akemi Homura - When the opponent plays a character, return this to your hand, draw a card, and take one card from your hand and put it on thetop or bottom of your deck)

Please post your opinions in the comments! Do you agree? Disagree? What cards do you think should be banned, and why? Do you disagree with some of the current cards that are banned? Please post up!

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