In Part I, I comment on his top ten technique list. In Part II, we get into the more interesting stuff – all cards.
Best cards UC! 1st Set
Pros: The best card in the game, great at any point in the game really great in your 1st hand one generic power point that gives you 3 power points of anything you want. Helps to get big cards out quick a must have in every deck!!!
ICL: Yeah, easily the best card in the game. For Magic players, it’s like a Dark Ritual that costs one generic mana, because it wasn’t like Dark Ritual was broken or anything. Should also be mentioned that it fixes power types. I’m extremely happy to use one to have a first turn of: foundation, gi patch, Mantra, gi patch.
Pros: the best card in your 1st hand a great setup of any kind, helps to get bigger cards out quick and its cost is 0 always a plus
Cons: It’s restricted to one per deck, and it dies in 5 turns
ICL: I don’t even know where to look for my top ten list. I think it’s on a piece of paper somewhere. I should make some token effort, but the day is passing. I do recall that my #2 for both sets was Psychic Delay even though I don’t actually play it that often as so many heinous things can happen to you from a psychic action card … and Mantra of Power is a psychic action card. I don’t recall what my #2 was for just the initial set. Anyway, I don’t really have an argument against Elixir of the Gods. It’s funny how it was one of the first two gold belt cards I opened, I didn’t think much of it for a long time, then realized just how explosive openings can be when on a first turn you can: foundation, gi patch, Elixir, Mantra, Yamashita’s Belt, Bear’s Jaw, gi patch, … opponent concedes to your overwhelming power advantage.
Pros: A great card at the start of the game, good in the middle of the game & great at the end of the game those 5 hit point can save your game. Helps to get bigger cards out quick
Cons: None other then it’s restricted
ICL: Some of the cards in the game have an extra story to them. This is one, though I’m not the best person to give the backstory on it. This card was super in demand when the game was new. I tend to view Elixir as more important if I can only play one because of rarity limitations. In the best tournament I ever played in, the only game I won involved my being purely defensive with my aggro deck due to too slow a start, blowing my Bear’s Jaw to survive my opponent’s last attack, and then hitting him for 26 with my first attack of the game.
Pros: It lets you play any attack from any place in the game (deck, discard, hand) for the cost of 5. If you set your deck up for it you can play big attack cards quick. You can even play cards out of suit that you do not have the right foundations for. Oh and theirs what the card was made to do, it lets you keep an attack out in play after it is used.
Think focus+ instant replay+ Relentless all in one card but better.
Cons: It’s the only card to become restricted after the game was made but it’s less of a restriction. For it’s based off of your deck’s belt color (white 1 per deck brown 2 per deck black 3 per deck). The 3 counters that are placed on the attack before it can be used again is a bit much
ICL: Really broken card for reasons I talk about in here. Even more broken in limited play where the smart player will stall the game until repeatedly using one’s best technique proves decisive. The main cost I see is that it’s often too slow for an aggro deck. For a white belt deck, it’s costly as it requires an additional fat technique, but, then, white belt decks against non-white belt decks should be going aggro.
Pros: It’s all in the wording; psychic read does pretty much the same thing as its brown belt counter part Morale boost. At 1st they seem about the same they both cost 3 power points to put out and they both add +2 to all your attacks which makes them an awesome combo with the cards combination (0,1,2, and X). Then you see that psychic read also adds +2 on defenses as well, is that it… No there’s more and it’s all in the wording. #1 psychic read works on weapons #2 psychic read also stays in play until you make an attack or until your oppent has an effective attack on you so it also doubles as armor, and cheap costing armor at that. You don’t see armor that cheap until the second set. #3 it doesn’t count as armor.
Cons: No in game cons just that it’s a rare card to get your hands on!!!
ICL: Hey, I disagree. The cost is annoying. Sure, it can stick around on defense, maybe, before giving a +2 on attacks. But, as soon as one attack deals any damage, which is 90%+ of the attacks that people care about, it’s gone. +2 is not minor, but it’s not major either. It’s stackable (as is Morale Boost). So, yes, there are defensive decks that can try to load these up with other defenses and create a wall of invulnerability, but the cost makes it hard to get enough out in play fast enough to not take any damage. To me, it’s just a niche card for a Knowledge/Experience decking deck or counter deck. Combination decks can beat far faster and with far less power headaches with just technique, movement, and Speed/Strength.
Pros: think of this as a copy of any and every card in your deck for the cost of 3
Cons: None other then it’s restricted
ICL: Awkward power cost for a lot of my decks. It does make building the Adrenaline monster attack easier, assuming you have six power and a Mantra or seven power available. I do probably way underplay it. I think Scott correctly evaluated it higher than I did. On another note, a surprise is not having Instant Recall on this list. Tutoring up a card is generally a more broken mechanic in CCGs, but getting back any card is utterly broken as well.
Pros: A talisman that adds any foundation that is not restricted and it adds two at that!!!
Cons: it cost four so it’s bad in the 1st hand and is really only good in the middle of the game. By the end of the game you should have all the foundation you need.
ICL: I definitely want it in the opening hand as it hopefully comes down no later than turn two with a Mantra. Pretty much required for any deck I play except certain white belt decks and hyperaggro decks. Will play multiples as well, even though only one can be in play on one’s board at a time, just because power generation is so crucial.
Pros: It lets you play a big attack again or for the 1st time from the discard pile. For only 4
Cons: bad card to have in your 1st hand you also have to get an attack to the discard before you can play this card.
ICL: For the cons mentioned, I see this being a niche card. Could just have played another big technique instead. More importantly, it doesn’t help decks that don’t play big technique, which are common, it’s outclassed by Favorite Technique, and it’s outclassed by Favorite Technique.
Pros: Dragons fire looks like the same type of card as its Experience costing speed boosting talisman counter part Amulet of Kwai Chang. And, it is, but its ability to fit into a theme deck with its Dragons fire / Amulet of Kwai Chang combo with one-time use counterpart Adrenaline makes for a quick game winning combo.
Cons: none other then it’s pointless unless you have strength advantage cards in your deck
ICL: See above about doing 26 damage with my first attack of the game for how I used these three cards together. How many Strength cards to play? I’m not much of a fan of the brown belt Speed/Strength cards as they are just expensive enough to produce curve issues or to have enough power left on an opponent’s turn to throw out some defense. Multiplication is broken, but I think there are more broken things in the game. Is this more broken than multiplying power generation? Actually, my real issue is that Dragon’s Fire and Amulet of Kwai Chang both tend to be “win more” cards rather than “I win” cards (like Adrenaline); awesome cards, but decisive enough?
Pros: The best in delay…at a cost of 2 you can open up a can of whoop ass and you don’t have to fear being left open for attack Or you can let your self get attacked to allow for a set up on your next turn
ICL: In a game where a single turn of attacks if often decisive, I don’t rate this. It’s a bit too much of a random annoyance.
Third on my list, I think, was Instant Recall, but somewhere in the top 5 was Mental Domination. No game effect is nearly as broken as playing your opponent’s turn for obvious reasons. Cost a crazy amount? Sure. But, that’s not why I’d downgrade it if I were going to redo a list, methinks. I never noticed that it caused games to end when played, which is what you would expect. That’s certainly a good thing for game balance, but that someone can survive through a turn of this game where your opponent does whatever desired is fascinating. I’ve even hit someone with two, with Instant Recall, and still lost.
Speaking of extremely expensive action cards that hate Psychic Delay, Shake Up is just a beating, possibly as bad a one as Mental Dom. My ubercontrol deck these days is Shake Up based.
Healing Mantra is a control deck’s superobnoxious friend, also insanely annoying in limited play. But, I can’t make a big argument for it in the top 10.
I can make an argument for Speed I and Strength I. These are ubiquitous and I probably underplay them. The ultimate support on offense and defense, probably more important on defense as defending is harder.
Collectively, gi patches are essential. Everyone will play the ones in their foundation type, but will they play multiples like I often do? Ones they don’t have the foundation type for, like I might do? For Magic players, they are close to being Moxes … common Moxes.
Interestingly, there are multiple cards that either do say or essentially say “take an extra turn” and they don’t seem that out of line, even at half the cost of Mental Dom. I wonder why that is.
No time today, but in Part III, we look at the other side of the coin, cards that suck.