Wednesday, March 15, 2017

3 Most Forgotten Straight-Edges

Welcome back nerds and nerdettes, it's time for another opinion piece. Today I'll be discussing the forgotten Straight Edges of this format. I call them Straight Edges because they aren't quite Rulers, at least in the competitive sense. These are the Rulers that had promise or potential, but just didn't make a splash in the meta, or fell short in one or more areas. I'll only be addressing Lapis Cluster cards, since Alice was pretty hit and miss, and we're almost rid of those sets anyway.

Lunya, the Wolf Girl

Lunya, the Wolf GirlOne of the flagship cards of the cluster, Lunya is the starter deck Ruler for the red deck. The deck itself isn't bad, although it's one of the least competitive of the available decks, and I believe it's the only one that hasn't seen competitive play in some form or fashion. Mikage and Fiethsing were both top-tier Rulers (Fieth still is), Mercurius saw some rogue tops early in the CFC days, and the Fairy Tale core from Millium has seen one or two rogue tops in mono-light decks. Lunya, to my knowledge, is the only of these decks whose Ruler or core hasn't seen play at a major event. But why is that?

Lunya's design is based around aggro. On top of the standard Energize + Judgment that all Lapis Rulers have, her unique effect allows you to ping a resonator for 100 damage whenever one attack with one of your resonators. This is one of the only Ruler effects that encourages aggression, especially early aggression, and I personally like the way it plays off of red's theme in a unique way. It combo's with Demonflame very well, but there really aren't too many effects in the game that need things to be damaged. Unfortunately, the Ruler herself can't generate advantage without having attacking resonators, and resonator-reliant strategies always tend to die to meta/control decks.

Nyarlathotep, the True False LegendWhen you flip her is when she really loses her luster. 1200/800 aren't the worst stats, and exemplifies red's aggressive nature with an ATK-heavy stat distribution, and she has the flagship keyword of red, i.e. Swiftness. The downside to this is that she can die to double Artemis Bow, or Bow + Space-Time, which most 1000 DEF Rulers are just outside the range of. She also has the Limit keyword, so she won't remain on the field consistently. Her main effect is that she deals 800 damage to a resonator on-flip, and herein lies the problem. While she doesn't have to burn herself (and thus kill herself) if there isn't anything on the field, the ability is basically a worse Sylvia. The 'ole red dragon deals a whopping 1000 damage on enter, can hit J-Rulers with her burn, and recovers three stones whenever her damage kills something. Compare that to Lunya's meager 800 burn, with no extra benefits, and you see the mediocrity.

So how could we have remedied this? What would it take to push her into the light of the meta? Well, as far as her Ruler ability goes, I'm not sure we need too much improvement. She's a bit of a lackluster Mikage, and while you don't have to pay for her burn, it's much less flexible. Maybe if her burn was 200, or even 300 (although that's pushing it a bit), to be able to kill off most chump blockers and mana dorks. If red had more effects that synergized with having damaged cards, like Demonflame, then she'd be stronger. Her J-Ruler side needs a bit of an overhaul, though. The idea is to flip her, burn something, then swing in (letting her Limit counters drop), flip back to a Ruler, then flip again to burn something else. It's a cute strategy, but not a terribly viable one, especially for a whopping 4 judgment cost (well above curve for the rest of the Rulers in this cluster). If she had a more impactful flip, like Melgis 2.0, then she'd be a lot stronger. Or a much cheaper judgment and only Limit 1, to immediately flip back. As she stands now, though, she just doesn't pack enough of a punch to really make a dent in the meta. The absolute lack of Cthulhu support doesn't help either.

Umr at-Tawil, Master of 1000 Keys

Speaking of Cthulhus, here's another testament to their lack of coherent support (and love). Umr at-Tawil (or Yog-Sothoth, if you're into pronouncing words) was the darkness Ruler from Curse of the Frozen Casket. Poor Cthulhu's got very little support this cluster, and even less of that was coherent, but that's an article for another day. Yog suffers from an acute condition of what I call "being bad."

As a Ruler, he has literally nothing to offer. He judgments for BX, has energize for black, and... that's it. He doesn't have a unique Ruler ability, meaning you get no utility out of him during the early turns or after he dies post-flip. I suppose the X cost in his judgment is supposed to be what's "unique" about him, but... well, maybe his J-Ruler side makes up for it?

Umr at-Tawil, Master of 1000 KeysHe enters the field with X+1 Limit counters, so your total judgment cost equates to how many counters he gets. At the end of your turn you nuke all resonators on the field whose total cost is equal to the number of Limit counters on him, then you remove 1 counter. At the beginning of any turn, if you have no Limit counters on Yog, you lose 500 life and then flip back. He's a fairly decent field nuke, but the fact that he only hits one cost per turn makes him slow, and he has to wait until the end of the turn to get his nuke off. Attacking or blocking reduces his Limit count, so manipulating them gets a tad awkward. And since most decks don't run staggered costs, you won't really be getting much utility out of most of his counters.

So how would we make him playable? Easy: Give the man a Ruler skill. There's tons of potential here, since he's a generic kind of Ruler. An effect that puts Limit counters on him, and lets him invest in his judgment, would be cool. Or maybe a Cthulhu-related effect, to give that race some much needed love. Maybe put an "Encounter with Cthulhu"-type effect on his Ruler side. His J-Ruler side honestly doesn't need too much of a change. Maybe if he killed every resonator with cost equal to or less than the number of counters on him. I don't think a field nuke every turn, for both players, would be too terrible. Maybe if he had an effect that scaled off of the number of things he killed, like how the Vingolf 3 Lapis worked. Like Lunya, he just doesn't pack enough of a punch.

The Monkey King Born from Stone

The big man himself, Wukong. He had a lot going for him, and he's definitely one of the strongest J-Rulers in the game in terms of potential ATK and DEF. Being able to search for Flying Clouds is a strong Ruler ability, making for a good will sink in the early/mid game. A total judgment cost of 4 is steep, but in a deck that tends to run ramp, it's not too bad. He can make it substantially cheaper by having his two minions in play, but we'll talk about them later.

Great Sky Sage, Sun WukongAs a J-Ruler, Wukong hits like a truck. A minimum of 1800/1800 with Flying, and the ability to immediately field all of the clouds you searched, makes him a total Behemoth. Unfortunately, his only other ability just searches for his two minions and adds them to your hand. It's not terribly useful. There isn't too much to say about him either, since he's more or less a meathead. Wukong's power comes from hitting hard and hitting fast, rather than generating plusses or controlling your opponent.

So how do we improve him? The most obvious answer: Kill the minions. Wukong has a huge reliance on Sha Wujing and Zhu Bajie, which honestly isn't great card design. His usefulness, and power level, are directly reliant on how strong those two cards are. It's hard enough to get one solid card designed, but making one that relies on two other cards being well-designed is just asking for trouble. And wouldn't you know it, they're pretty bad. Sha Wujing (aka Orochimaru) gives Wukong +200/+200, Precision, and makes your opponent's chants cost 1 more will. He's seen some play in Lumia decks recently, as a countermeasure to counter spells, but that's really more a testament to player innovation than his card design. Zhu Bajie (aka Gannondorf) makes additions and regalia cost one more, and gives Wukong +200/+200 and Swiftness. This may see some play against the new Kaguya deck if she picks up steam, but other than that... meh. Both of these guys' jobs can be done way better with regalia, since they're very costly 3-will investments. It's not feasible to play both of them before Judgment, and have them survive. Searching them doesn't do much other than put 2 cards in your hand. If they were Inheritance cards, or 2-drops, or had actual advantage-generating abilities then they might have been good. Currently, though, the majority of Wukong's utility is focused around having them (with no actual way to play them for cheap), and unless he gets some other support cards, I don't expect him to see any play.

That's it so far. I wanted to include the newest Millium on here, but it's a little too early to complain about him, and I'm also just lazy and wanted to cut this at 3 Rulers. Jordan has hinted at another Ascension Campaign, so maybe some of these guys will get the Alisaris treatment. Fingers crossed, right?

Monday, March 6, 2017

My 9 Biggest Card Game Triggers

Now that we're out of spoiler season, it's time I sailed into the seas of "opinion pieces." This is where the real meat and discussion can start, folks! I still plan on doing a list of my top/favorite cards in RDE, deck builds, etc, but I haven't actually had a real article up yet that's just be dumping my thoughts about non-spoilers, so let's give this a go. These are the nine things that straight up trigger me in any card game, the nine things that I absolutely hate to see and deal with. My nine biggest card game pet peeves (in no particular order).

Overly competitive people

This one is kind of a given. As a disclaimer, I have no problem with people playing the meta, keeping up with it, etc. However, if you come to a locals every week and only ever play the Tier 1 decks, you're probably cancer. Bonus hate points if you show up every week with the 1st place deck from the most recent tournament, no matter what it was. Double bonus hate points if you don't actually know what any non-meta cards do.

I've gone too long with locals too meta-oriented. It sucks for casual players, new players, and generally anyone there to have fun. These people are the ones who you never actually see with a "fun" deck or talking about anything other than meta decks/combo's. The stint between when Grimm Cluster got preemptively rotated out and when Lapis Cluster dropped, my friends and I basically stopped playing in tournaments. Outside of us, locals was essentially nothing but R//R Stealth, with the stray R//R Necrolane here or there. I got asked why we didn't play anymore and I told the guy "We're gonna start back up in Lapis Cluster. The game right now is literally nothing but control, so I could either not play, or pay $7 a week to not be able to play." Random Douche-McGee #7 who was standing around butts in, out of nowhere, with "People are still going to play control after rotation" and then promptly went back to popping children's balloons and stealing candy from babies.

I take no issue with playing to win, or wanting to make your deck as good as possible, but people could at least pretend they're playing the game to actually have fun, rather than stroke their fragile, complex-ridden egos by winning in a cardboard game.

Having to play for both players

If I actually ranked these, there is no doubt this would be #1 on the list. I've played Yu-Gi-Oh, Cardfight Vanguard, and now Force of Will, and this is a problem that has always, and will always, trigger me out of my mind. I don't expect people to know every facet of the game, but common sense just seems to elude most TCG-ers. The only reason I got certified as a YGO judge was so people would have to shut up after I told them they were wrong. Here's just a handful of the hemorrhage-inducing "rulings" I've had to hear, in each game:

Them: "I activate Inzektor Dragonfly's effect to attach Inzekor Hornet."
Them: "Uhh, I get priority. Hornet gets equipped."

Them: "I can special summon monsters while I control Acid Golem as long as it has materials, because there's a comma after that clause, not a period."
Me: "That's definitely a period."
Them: "No, this is how they ruled it at YCS <who cares>"

Me: "I flip summon <random monster that summons something from my deck on-flip"
Them: "I chain Torrential Tribute."
Me: "Ok, so my monster dies. Now special summon <whatever I got out from deck>"
Them: "No that dies too."
Me: "How? Torrential already resolved before it entered the field."
Them: "That's how it works. That's why people summon something they don't care about when you chain torrential to a summon effect."

Cardfight Vanguard
Them: "When you check the top 5 cards of your deck with a Grade 3 searcher and you don't get anything, you have to show me. That way I'll know like if you get all triggers or see three Perfect Guards."
Me: "Literally nothing about that is right."

Force of Will
Guy 1: "I attack you with Viviane."
Guy 2: "Ok, I'll be left at 200 after that."
Guy 1: "Ok, I'll quickcast in Escort of the Fairy King so she gets pumped for that last 200."
Guy 2: "You can't do that. You can't quickcast after attack declaration."
Guy 1: "What?"
Guy 2: "It's just how quickcast works."

Force of Will
Them: "I use <some random automatic ability>"
Me: "I'll chase that with <random spell/ability>"
Person 3: "You can't do that. Automatic abilities don't use the chase."
Me: "Your mother should have used a condom."

And that isn't even close to all of it. I can't even begin to explain how much of a headache it is to not only do my part to play the game, think of all my plays, my opponent's possible responses, etc but also have to babysit them and check over every little thing they try to do or say. If I wanted to play for two people I would have just played solitaire against myself. Generally, the people you have to do this to aren't going to give you a satisfying game, so you won't even be having fun. Is it really too much to ask to just know how to read and play the game properly? This kind of borders "I hate people who cheat," which is also true, but I feel "people who conjure up random BS rulings/excuses/explanations" deserve their very own category.

The used car salesmen

These are the bane of anyone looking for a trade. To call on an example, back in my CFV days I was trying to put together a Chaos Breaker Dragon deck, and the card was around $30-40 for a copy, and a guy had just bought a box and pulled one. I went over to trade him, and he saw a few things in my book he needed for a deck he was building. "Ok" I said, "Chaos Breaker is going for about $35 average on ebay right now..."
"Actually he's $40. I could sell him for $40 if I put him up for sale."
"Ok, sure, whatever. This one card you want is $10, this one's $15, and this one's about $10 too."
"Actually that one is only $9 and that other one is only $13."

People who over-value their own stuff, and try to under-value your's as much as possible, aren't worth trading with. The penny-pinchers, who want to get card values down to the exact cent and will refuse to trade unless the values are equal, fall into this category too. And, the king of all these degenerates, is that one guy who won't trade anything unless he can profit off of the trade. One of my friends needed a relatively high-rarity card from a guy who had just pulled one. "I need X card for this deck I'm working on. Do you have any of those?"
"I do, actually." My friend said. "But it's like a $20 promo, and the card I want is only $10. But I've got tons of these so I don't really care. Sure, I'll do that trade."
"But I need 4 of those promos for my deck."

My friend slapped his book shut and walked out.

The poltergeists that haunt your game

The back-seat duelist. The lurker. This person goes by many names, but they all refer to one piece of scum. This is either someone who finished their round early or someone who just came to spectate and didn't even enter the tournament. They float around your game, commenting on every little thing that happened, picking up the top card of your deck to see what you're going to draw, touching everything on your field. Not only do these people dance dangerously close to the "no coaching" rule during tournaments with their snobbish remarks, they're just plain obnoxious. In general, they tend to get a little pompous and think they're just the bee's knees at the game, and usually they're completely wrong. These are the people who will walk over, berate you for not doing a play they consider "obvious," and not even think about the rest of the gamestate or potential counters.

"Lol idiot, why didn't you just use space-time on that Lancelot and kill it when it swung at you?"
"Because he searched out Magic Sweets last turn."
"Well how am I supposed to know he did that!? I just walked over."

The mishandler

There are plenty of reasons you wouldn't want people to touch your cards, and there are people that like to exemplify every possible instance of that, and then some. Some players are unnecessarily aggressive when handling your/their own cards, be they shuffling your deck with enough force to split atoms, or targeting your cards by gracefully shoving their finger through your sleeve, card, playmat, and the table underneath. Some players get that MLG hankering for Doritos and decide to open up a fresh pack just as you sit down and present your brand new, freshly sleeved, pearly white sleeves to them for cutting. Some (weak) people give in to basic bodily functions like sneezing, or scratching their butts, and move to handle your deck immediately after (obviously so they don't waste any of that precious time in the match).

I have a blacklist of people who aren't allowed to touch anything I own, ever. I, very verbally, express my disapproval if someone tries to do any of the above, and I highly encourage everyone else to do the same. If someone isn't going to respect your belongings, you shouldn't respect them.

The stank

You knew this was going to be up here, it's the apex of TCG player stereotypes, and unfortunately, it's universally true. A large chunk of people who turn up at card shops neglect basic hygiene, and I often wonder if some of them have ever seen a shower. Seriously, have some self-respect, or more importantly, respect the people around you and don't subject them to that miasma. Some people get the genius idea that wearing tank tops and letting those hairy pits air out will help mitigate the smell. Sadly, they are very mistaken. When the smell of cigarette smoke inevitably gets mixed into that brew, you're left with a concoction of biological warfare-proportions. These people are the reasons we get the bad reputation we do.

A field as cluttered as your MLP-merchandise-filled room

Contrary to popular belief, the playmats of card games actually do have zones on them. Some games, like YGO and CFV, are very strict in their fields and have very stringent zones. Some games, like MTG and FoW, are lenient and just have "field". There are also designated deck zones, graveyard zones, and whatever other zones your game of choice has, and they all have specific locations on the board. I understand people who swap the grave and deck zones (I do it too), keep their Ruler in the center of their mat, or things like that. It helps you unclutter your board, or is just a more natural feel. Some people are left-handed and reverse their field. All of these are understandable and excusable.

Something like "I keep my stones below my deck, above my graveyard!" or "I keep my Ruler above my deck" is not. Not only is that stupid, it causes needless clutter and confusion. The board is set up the way it is for efficiency and consistency: I can, at any give time, look up to see my opponent's field and know exactly where to look to find any given zone I want to look at. Putting your graveyard below your stones instead of your deck just makes me think you're trying some dumb cheating method.

In the same vain, some people just refuse to properly organize their field. I mean I get it, there's no limit to the number of things you can put on the board, and some decks like Fiethsing will have 5-6 regalia, their stones, and 10+ resonators on board. I can get really cluttered, but that's all the more reason to try to keep it in order. I've played against people who have stones separated into three different clumps, some of them are upside down, and their "tapped" cards are askew in some indescribable angle attempting to breach the 4th dimension. Their regalia are all over their field instead of consolidated into one area, and some of their are completely covering others. There's a tower of resonators trying to become Babel 2.0.

Horribly managed fields, on top of making me suspect you're trying to cheat, give me a huge headache. I'm trying to keep track of what's supposed to be where, what entered this turn, what's actually rested or what you forgot to untap because you skipped like 7 phases. This almost ties back into the "having to play for yourself and for your opponent" section, since you're having to pay too much attention and keep track of too much of what they're supposed to be taking care of.

Your sleeves are as broken as your marriage

Sleeves are very, very, very cheap. A pack of Ultra Pros costs like $3-4. There are far too many people who are using what appear to be their very first pack of sleeves they ever bought, and refuse to get new ones. These things have more splotches than clear space on the front, stick together at the atomic level, and transmit dirt and disease into anything they come into contact with. That's assuming they aren't torn to bits (artwork sleeves are the worst in this regard) and have split to the point that it's a scientific marvel how they're still intact.

These things just feel awful to touch. Shuffling them is akin to giving your thousand year old grandma a foot rub, and with how much the cards stick together, you question if your shuffling actually did anything, or if the opponent isn't accidentally drawing 2-3 cards a turn just from cards being stuck together. What's more, even touching them makes you feel disgusting and it feels like you're dirtying your own sleeves just by handling them after touching your opponent's janky garbage pile of a deck. Not to mention the toll it takes on them sliding their deck on your mat to let you cut it.

Tournaments are, generally, a $5 entry. The cards you're putting in your deck can easily hit $20 and $30 values. "I don't have the money for sleeves" is not a valid excuse, despite being the one I've heard most often. If Oscar the grouch here didn't crawl out of his trashcan one week to enter a tournament, he'd have enough to buy a pack of sleeves that will last 2 months (or 2 years, given how long these people use these sleeves).

The complainer

I don't have a witty title for this one because I was too eager to tear into it. This category encapsulates all kinds of degenerate players, from the "Man I only lost because he drew X" to the "Wow that <random rogue card> is so broken." I'm going to break this category down so I can have ample complaint time for all of its subsets.

The people who go "Oh man, I was going to draw X next turn. I would have totally won next turn!" Ok, but guess what? You lost this turn. My deck was just better and went off faster, or I was better and made more efficient plays. All I hear is "I could have won if I didn't lose!" which just makes you sound stupid. These are the people who are just looking for a scapegoat for their loss, instead of actually thinking about what they could have done better or differently, and that's what triggers me about this.

There are also the people who say "I only lost because they drew X card" or "They only won because I overextended." A common example, from my YGO days, was someone complaining because their opponent drew Dark Hole and nuked their 5-monster board. Does it suck? Absolutely. It's completely legitimate to hate the fact that your opponent luck-sacked into the one get-out-of-jail-free card they needed. But these players never stop to think "Why did I flood the board with monsters and overextend if I couldn't kill them or didn't have protection?" Using all of your advantage without insurance or a backup plan is honestly something you deserve to be punished for, but most people would more easily blame something like luck instead of owning up to their own misplays or bad decisions.

Finally, there are the people who complain about your rogue-tier cards being too powerful. Or mis-attributing a deck's strength to a particular card that beat them. Back in my CFV days, my friend played a Jewel Knight deck (For those of you unfamiliar with the game, it's basically Waifu Paladins that flood the field) and had Divine Knight of Flashing Flame, Samuel as a 1-of in his G-zone. In CFV, you lose when you hit 6 damage, and in a particular game, my friend's opponent had thrown most of his hand down and rushed my friend to 4 damage very early. Thanks to that, my friend was able to flood the field AND have enough resources to use Samuel's ability to deal a damage to the opponent, putting him from 3 to 4 damage without combat, and killed him that turn since his opponent had virtually no hand from rushing. The rest of the day, that opponent was complaining about "The only reason Jewel Knights are OP is because of that card", and other things in the same vain. In truth, that was probably the first time my friend had used that card in about a month.

Now, a certain amount of butthurt is to be expected in a situation like that, and I don't fault anyone for being a little upset to losing to a random card they weren't prepared for. But the players that truly get on my nerves will actually argue with you when you tell them that X card isn't broken. "How is that not stupid OP? It's just a free damage!" Even though no meta decks run it, the deck isn't competitively relevant, or there are easy counters to it. I'm not opposed to someone disagreeing with me about a card's relevancy, but I can't stand it when I explain that a card isn't all that good because every relevant deck runs an out to it or that it only works in certain situations, and someone retorts with some half-baked response along the lines of "but when it does go off it's broken" or "that's only if they see the counters to it." As a side note to this, there are some people who simply have no business actually discussing meta or competitive relevancy (either due to a huge bias for/against a certain card/deck, a lack of mechanical/meta knowledge, or any number of reasons) and those tend to be the most vocal in situations like this. Unsurprisingly, they're the ones that get on my nerves the most.

Welp, that's it folks. This was a pretty cathartic article for me, and I'm sure everyone out there has things they absolutely hate to see or deal with. Did I touch on any of those here? What are your biggest card game triggers?

Friday, March 3, 2017

RDE Complete Spoilers - Impressions

Hold on to your seats nerds and nerdettes, we've got a long one today. The entirety of the RDE set list was uploaded to the official FoW Database, and we're going to go through every single new card and judge it's worth like the gossipy, vain cretins that we are. I haven't done an article on the two most recent preview articles, but honestly, the Almerius one wasn't worth reviewing and we can cover the notable Alhama'at cards here (since I already posted about the actual Alhama'at leak a while ago). Let's dive right in, we've got a ton of ground to cover.


Guardian of Altean Law

Up first is Altean Judge Dredd. He limits your opponent to one attack per turn, and with a big 'ole 1000 booty, he'll usually be capable of blocking that attack without too much effort. This is a great side choice against aggro decks, or decks like Elves and Fairy Tales that like to go wide. Unfortunately, most of the meta-relevant bodies will either be flying (Gwiber, Chimeras) or will have enough power to kill him (Hook), so he won't last too long there. Against anything else, though, this dude makes the perfect bouncer to the club that is your life points.

Rachel, Nephilim Commander

Rachel is back, rocking a nice angel getup. She got revealed last night in the Alhama'at article, but she definitely deserves to be talked about here. She's got a nice body ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) as a 700/700 3-drop, especially with Flying. As an angel she's also searchable with Celestial Wing Seraph (and Arla, if you're into that). She shines best in a Light/Black hybrid deck since she has a darkness stone resonance that kills any 2-drop-or-less, with the added bonus of putting a mana counter on your J/Ruler if it has the mana keyword. She'll also grab a 1-drop demon from your graveyard when she enters, meaning she can make Celestial Wind Seraph a 3-for-1. Good stats, an on-enter ability, and a recurring kill ability? Marry me.

Shield of the Nephilim

Shield of the Nephilim kind of suffers from not having Quickcast. Being limited to your turn only, and being unable to react to destruction, means it usually will just get responded to with a kill spell. You can awaken it for black to have something become Creature of Chaos for the turn, essentially letting one of your resonators ram into something without dying and instantly killing whatever it fought. It can't kill J-rulers, so this card is little more than an awkward, roundabout form of removal. It has some neat combo's between any resanator + this + blood covered war axe, especially in a Vampire deck if you use them on the Rezzard resonator from Vingolf 3. It's gimmicky, but that's all it really needs to be, right?

Unleashed Dragonoid

Here we have the 2-drop version of Tiny Alabaster Drake. He lacks flying, but has significantly better defense so he can survive more things. You can revive him with Ryula, and restand him with Dragon Power. I don't think the Dragonoid deck will do too much competitively, but having experienced Force beatdown fairly often, this thing has me shaking already.

Zero's Wrath

The best thing about this card is the flavor text. Zero is literally erasing people that even come close to her, which makes me think (and hope) that we'll be seeing some Dark Zero again. The card itself isn't very good, being a whopping 4-cost and only destroying resonators after they've done their damage. It suffers from the same issues Glorius had, albeit being slightly more expensive but giving access to more removal.


Memory to Memoria

Here we have a semi-free modal card. Memory to Memoria is either a chant-speed Thunder, or a chant-speed 400 burn to a resonator that refunds it's cost. Free cards are nice, and I bet this'll be wonderful in limited, but that's really all I can say about it.

Milest, the First Flame

Oooooooooh boy, Milest (the best Six Sage) is back and he's actually useful this time. He needed to redeem himself from the flimsy, relatively useless form he took as an Inheritance card in LEL. Packing 0 ATK and a sizable 800 DEF, his base stats aren't all that great for his 3 will cost (a hard 3 will, mind you). Then you read his effect and immediately don't care. Swiftness on a red resonator isn't surprising, and let's him steal games at later points by being surprise damage. 100 ATK for each fire stone isn't all that impressive, coming in at a base 300 ATK and slowly getting stronger. However, hitting his resonance effectively doubles his ATK and gives him Pierce for the turn (easily one of the strongest, if not the strongest, keyword in the game). The turn after you play him he'll be an 800/800, then go to 1000 ATK the following turn, and only scales up. With Pricia, who can cycle stones, you can trigger this effect twice in one turn, then restand him with her God's Art. This is easily my favorite card in the set.


Reincarnation is a gimmicky, yet lethal, finisher card. For a cost of 3 you banish any number of resonators, check the top X cards of your deck (where X is the number of resonators you banished), then put any resonators from those top cards into your field and mill the rest. In a tribal deck, with Library of Alexandria out, this can be a massive game-ending push. It reminds me of BFA Melgis, but in chant form.

Rising Fire Strike

Yet another gimmicky finisher. Rising Fire Strike is essentially a -2 to play (you lose this card and 1 card in your hand) but can absolutely demolish the opponent. This most benefits a deck like Elves, which goes super wide and regularly has fields of 8+ resonators. Discard something like Oberon and your whole field is getting a 400 ATK boost. Be a pro player and run Remote Control Golem just for this, to give them all a 1000 ATK boost. This card is going to be the ultimate BM and I can't wait to make a deck for it.

Sprinting Flame Horse

Rapidash used extreme speed. It's super effective. I wanted this card last set, and I'm honestly surprised they gave it to us. This gives Faria Inheritance decks a very fun toy to play with, as well as being one of the only ways to give your J-Ruler Swiftness post-Alice Cluster rotating out. It's simple, it's effective, I like.

Vengeful Attoractian Wizard

600/600 for a 2-drop, pretty standard stats. The only ability is resonance with a fire magic stone, and it will deal 200 damage to your opponent. Honestly, there are plenty of better burn options if you're looking for a burn deck.


Apprentice Wererabbit

Apprentice Wererabbit is probably going to be boss-tier in limited. 100/300 for a 1-drop aren't the best stats, but whenever she resonates with a water stone, she becomes 400/600 with Flying. Play her turn 1, then start swinging in every turn after that. Water aggro really isn't a thing (yet?), but she does a good job of making me want it to be.

Charlotte's Water Dragon Technique

Apparently Charlotte got tired of turning things into bears and decided to go with the flow (Heh, water pun) of this set and start turning things into dragons. This is essentially the opposite of Bear Magic: Where bear weakened the opponent's resonator, this one strengthens yours. It can still be used to wipe abilities, and will still weaken anything that's already bigger than 800/800, but I can't imagine you'd run into too many of those that you wouldn't prefer to use Bear Magic on. This let's you turn your own weenies into Flying beater. Tokens are the first thing that come to mind, especially Fantasy tokens. With a Moojdart on the field, you can use this to turn any token into your very own Gwiber-on-demand, which sounds pretty dope.

Dragonoid Jailor

In general, ATK reduction effects tend to be pretty weak unless they're tacked onto something else. This guy, sadly, isn't. He'll probably shine in a limited format, though.

Kaguya's Decision

Here's yet another depiction of emo Kaguya still refusing to get over the sudden death of her beloved mother-figure. Her big "decision" is apparently just what she wants to wear, since this card opens her closet and lets you pick which Treasury Item to put into your field. It's a neat way to turbo into some of the more expensive ones, and can be relatively consistent given the number of "look at the top X cards of your deck" effects the Kaguya deck has gotten this set.


Divine Bird of Attoractia

More Inheritance! Aww yiss. Divine Bird of Attoractia isn't nearly as divine as the Divine Beast was, but he's ok. In hand he let's you pay a green for a drop-and-draw effect, so he can dodge stuff like Scorn. He's a reverse Tama, so he replaces himself when he dies rather than when he enters. You can throw him down as a chump blocker and get the same result as just using his Inheritance, so I bet he'll find a place in a few decks. He functions similarly to Upstart Goblin, for those of you well versed in Yugioh. Using a spare green will to cycle through your deck isn't bad at all.

Heavenly Ox

I don't see what's so heavenly about this guy. For the cost of attacking, he can transfer his stats to another J/resonator you control. Helpful for stacking power onto something with Pierce or Flying, or to keep it safe from death-by-power-reduction. You can use Pricia's Call to Action to give him Swiftness and immediately pump something if you really feel like it. In limited he'll definitely be able to steal games.


A slightly worse Moonbeam Butterfly that is slightly more flexible. You can pay 3 will to check the top two cards of your deck and play a 2-drop. It just scales up from there, whereas Moonbeam Butterfly will let you pay 3 to get any two-drop from your deck. Research has the advantage in that it can play anything, not just resonators and additions, but also forces you to play it. This means the card can be cancelled or negated, where Moonbeam Butterfly slips it right into your field.

Wind Clad Elf

Here we have something very simple. Wind Clad Elf is a two drop that makes a token on-enter. She's the elf version of Illusion Wizard, except she's cheaper. With all the indirect support tokens have gotten in this set, she definitely has a place in a Fiethsing deck.


Buer, Great President of Hell

"Great" is a strong word for this guy. A 200/200 one-turn buff for a hard -1 isn't a good tradeoff. He combo's with the 1-for-1 Red/Black Addition we got spoiled with the Gill Lapis support, and stuff like Monkey Trapped in Life will help keep you from losing too much advantage. I suspect he'll be pretty good in limited, being a spammable form of removal.

Demon Captain, Eligos

Looks like Rachel set a pattern. Eligos is a 4-cost, a little more expensive than Rachel, but can grab a Demon with 3 cost or less, so she has a bit more leeway with her targets. Unfortunately, there aren't many good Demons, but simple tribal support like this always gets better with Wanderer and future cards.

Fury of the Obsidian Dragon

An Ancient Magic that mass-destroys cards, scaling with the number of Dragons and Dragonoids you control. It can hit J-Rulers, which is a very nice perk.

The Insane Dark Hatter

Suicide Bombing is cool, I guess? This dude gives himself and another resonator -400 DEF, so he's going to die, and hopefully so will the other target. You can circumvent this by buffing him for the turn, and he seems to work well with the March Hare revealed in the Light/Dark preview article. This whole theme just reminds me of those weird Tea Party counter things back in Alice Cluster that were supposed to work with Valkyrie Alice.

Viola, Obsidian Dragon Princess

Another card from the Alhama'at preview. Viola is a little weak for her stats, but she has a will sink ability that let's her get pretty big on top of gaining flying. She's also an Inheritance card that gives Imperishable, and is free if you're playing Gill Alhama'at. A little buff to Faria decks once Alice Cluster rotates, a good will sink for finishing long games, and a good way to keep Alhama'at safe while you're trying to double-flip him. Plus I just adore her art.

Viola's Machinations

Remember how Memory to Memoria paid for itself? So does this card. It's a 1-cost discard that will put a mana counter on your J/ruler, provided it has the Mana keyword. It's Ancient Magic, so using a Mana counter to play it means it was free. Or using a regular stone to play it means you just did a little bit of ramping.


Dragon of Fire and Wind

Here we have a cute little Dragon! Aww, it's a 500/500 for three will. But wait, in a Red/Green deck, this thing will become a 1000/1000 with Flying and Swiftness every turn. That's actually pretty good! It doubles down on Pricia's Ruler resonances, so they might go to waste sometimes, but that's ok. 1000 ATK is just too good to pass up. Unfortunately there isn't a reliable way to trigger this on the opponent's turn, so it's significantly weaker and more vulnerable after you attack with it.

Earthfallen Giant

It's good for limited I guess?

End of Days

I'm not too sure what this card is trying to accomplish. Gill Lapis is all about needing your opponent's cards RFG'd, not your own. They enter the field rested, and get RFG'd at the end of the turn. It doesn't have quickcast, so you can't use it at the end of your opponent's turn to try to get a cheesy OTK off. It's good in Wanderer for Cthulhus I suppose, giving you a massive reserve of incarnate fodder. 


Pay 4 to kill one thing at chant speed? No thanks? It's an Ancient Magic, which helps I guess. This seems to really only be useful in limited, which it's probably pretty powerful in, but in constructed there's infinite better options.

Fallen Angel

Remember Scion of Ancient Lore? That really bad 3-drop Vampire from Alice Cluster that drained 400 life from the opponent? Here he is again, apparently. This card costs one more, has 100 more ATK and DEF, and has Flying. Limited Hero, Constructed Zero.

Fallen Saint

This guy has a neat little battle trick. He'll slightly weaken any blocker or attacker, giving him just enough reach to kill slightly stronger attackers or survive equal-power blockers. He can even clear the blocker if your opponent is dumb enough to block with a 200/200 card for whatever reason.

Fiery Fox of Reincarnation

This guy's useful for resonance shenanigans, and for helping Pricia hit the requirements for her God's Art.

Forest Spirit

A good will sink in a limited format. Just like the real Poison Ivy, though, there's not much else to her.

Mermaid of Lifegiving

This card's race kills it. It isn't a Spirit, so Almerius can't abuse it, and it isn't a Dragonoid, so Ryula can't abuse it.

Moon View Rabbit

Here's a neat bit of ramp for Kaguya. It counts as a Treasury Item, and you can play it for free by resting The First Moon, another Treasury Item. I doubt she needs the extra Treasury Item that badly, especially one prone to removal like this, but it's still a cool idea. If you have two or three in hand, it's a neat way to ramp the amount of Treasury Items you have out of nowhere.

Moonlit Treasury Tree

A more expensive Tama with a large booty. It's a Treasury Item for Kaguya, but and there are quite a few cards in her deck that can cheese in 3-cost Treasury Items, so this may actually have a place in the deck.

Nightmoon Blossom

Another resonator that's also a Treasury Item. This one has Barrier and a respectable DEF stat. Hard to remove, helps ramp Kaguya, it kind of does all it needs to while not actually doing anything at all.

Pricia's Leap

If Milest is my favorite card in this set, this one is a close second. Pricia's Leap let's you turn one J/resonator into Yamata Dragon for the turn, letting it stay recovered to block the next turn. This thing can end games out of nowhere, especially if you have a flier or a beefy J/resonator. Using it on Pricia will let her trigger her on-attack effect X many times, and if you use her stone effect, that will just refund the X cost entirely. How obnoxious is that!?

Rain of Light

I honestly think I'd rather just use Rachel's Smile. Rain of Light let's you get off multiple attacks/blocks with your own cards, which may clinch the game in a limited format, but it just doesn't seem too economic in constructed. I mean, in order to recover your own stuff they'll have to already have attacked or blocked, which means the opponent's cards should have already attacked or blocked too, so you're losing utility. It's a little more flexible than Rachel's Smile, but still an overall inefficient game ender.

Rapid Shot

This is a very interesting card. Say, for example, you have 5 Fire/Wind dual stones. You have 1000 damage you can distribute in packets of 200, to up to 5 different targets. It's a very flexible and economic field wipe. I like.

Secret Messenger of the Mikage

Another Lapis support card, packing the same effect as Valentina. That's good. It'll also deal damage that scales with the number of Vampires you control on-enter, making it a strong choice for both the Lapis deck and a Mikage deck. A+ design right here.

Sissei, Pricia's Barrier

Oh boy, this is just waiting to be broken. Treat all magic stones you control as all 5 basic stones, and turn every stone into Ruler's Memoria. I'm not too worried about this getting out of hand in the competitive scene, since a 2-drop Addition that doesn't give any immediate value likely won't see the light of day there. Letting your stones trigger every resonance ability, and letting you play stuff like Riza, Melder, and Lunar Lake in any deck sounds just gimmicky enough to work.

Spirit of Sacred Rains

More Spirit support. The Inheritance is nice I guess, although a bit counter intuitive since you want Spirits in the grave to abuse Almerius. She also doesn't yield any on-field value, which is one of the biggest weaknesses of the Inheritance cards from LEL. I wonder if a Faria Spirit deck would work?

The Alabaster Dragon Princess' Rescue

The Blue/Light pact spell. It's honestly only good if you have Pandora out, to roll 2 dice instead of the measly one. This has the potential to rip almost any resonator out of your deck, given a high enough roll, but the high cost and lack of quickcast really hurts it.

The Two Dragon Princesses

The Light/Dark pact spell. It keeps in theme with the other cards, giving you power and draining power from the opponent, but honestly it doesn't do it in a very useful way. Mikage decks are most likely to make use of it, for the free 5 +100/+100 counters. I wish we had seen the Fourth Daughter this set though.

Unending Hatred

The Red/Black pact spell. It lacks quickcast, but can nuke their field provided they have low-cost resonators, as well as giving you a selective hand destruction effect. It RFGs the card from hand, too, so you can potentially get 2 RFGs off this card in tandem with Lapis' Ruler effect.

Water-Wind Knight

This card might have been good if it didn't cost so much. As a 4-drop, though, it gives no actual advantage. It's stats will make it very strong in limited, though, on top of the ability to manipulate the deck.

Will o'the Wisp

I think they were going for a Cheshire Cat theme here. The stats are abyssmal for a 2-drop, but Barrier means it isn't going anywhere and it has a Tama on-enter effect. Blocking with her means you'll gain life from the attacker, and the opponent can't stop it without blanket effects. Almerius can re-use her, but I doubt she'll be very useful outside of limited.

Ancient Magic Stone

Alhama'at's Magic Stone. The name is simple and thematic, and it has the standard shock rock abilities. It's unique trait, though, turns it into Ruler's Memoria if you remove a mana counter from your J-Ruler. While it's a bit restricted, I still don't like seeing Ruler's Memoria back in the game, especially as support for what FoW wants to make the strongest Ruler in the set. I do respect that all the mana-counter-adding cards in this set limit themselves to Rulers with the Mana ability to avoid abuse.

And that's all! We're officially done with Return of the Dragon Emperor spoilers, and with Pre-releases happening this weekend and the set coming out the next, I'm pumped. This set, as a whole, seems a lot better designed than LEL was. Most of the cards (and Rulers) are a lot more flexible and less xenophobic in their strategies. There's also plenty more mono-colored cards, so limited play isn't going to suck as bad (seriously, the LEL sneak was awful) and there are more cards that can be thrown into older/future decks. I'm excited to see how the meta will change, since at least 3/5 of the Rulers here are insanely powerful and have cool strategies.