Ultimate Combat! – Scott’s Analysis, Part III

Now, let’s talk about cards that suck.  Really, that’s always more fun, anyway.

Top 10 Cards to stay away from

#10 (Kevlar Vest)


Cons: this game is not about holding off you opponent it’s about kicking ass. Kevlar vest only works on holding someone off and if I did want to hold someone off (maybe I’ve made some type of control deck) for some point in a game I would use the other the armor and or armor type cards shown above

Pros: +3 defenses is good but to slow with a cost of 6 with -1 attack

ICL:  An interesting choice to start us off.  There are plenty of awful cards in the game that should never see play that wouldn’t make for interesting analysis, so it’s nice to start off with something controversial.  I’ve seen this played, I’ve also played it.  Putting aside Counter decks, is there any reason to play this?  Not really, at least not in constructed, whereas in limited, it should be a house.  There is a big, big cost difference between this and other defensive cards that could be played, like Healing Mantra.  Not that I’m a fan of Warrior’s Helmet or any of the other (cheaper) armor, either.  However, Counters, the advantages, exist in the game and this is just the sort of thing you want out of a permanent for such a deck.  It is rather blatant to the point where you can’t get a surprise knockout with a tactical Counter (something that maybe I should explore more).  It’s also a big annoyance to Combination decks, though Combination decks should really take you out before or about the time that this comes down.

#9 (Beijing blitz)


Cons: ok so this card seems like a great card at 1st, but it’s really not. You can get a good attack out of it but the other cards like it can do better. Unlike the combo cards as seen above BB can only be blocked by one tech which is what the card does, well what’s wrong with it #1 it cost too much <two power points would be good>. #2 speed X and strength X will make for a big attack as well and not kill two techs killing your defenses

Pros: It’s still an ok card but better cards are out their

ICL:  Why ever play with this?  It’s cool in what it does and has an amusing name.  As Scott says, maybe if it were half the cost it wouldn’t be so bad.  There are only certain circumstances when you need massive amounts of extra force, like trying to punch through a Counter deck that has tooled up.  But, it’s so rare that you can’t put someone out with the +2 from movement, the +2 from Speed/Strength (or +4 from both), or whatever that the effect rarely matters.  Then, how often would a deck ever have two good technique in play at the same time, anyway?  Decks just don’t run that way.  You either tend to have multiple cheap technique or one good technique.  If you have multiple good technique in play, it’s probably from multiple Favorite Techniques, and the game is basically over one way or the other, anyway.  Note that if advantages were less good in power to cost ratio and technique better, then cards like this might mean more.  While Ancient Fighting Arts of China tries to move the game away from advantage based beatdown to some degree, it only really succeeds with Drunken technique, and Drunken would stop Beijing Blitz, anyway.

#8 (white belt foot sweep)


Cons: a 3 under cost attack, yup it’s sucky

Pros: Unlike its Brown and black belt counter parts this foot sweep is only pretty much sucky not super awful. The fact that it’s only 3 under cost and a white belt and it’s a throw. In a well built throw deck this is not a bad card…But it’s not great

ICL:  Footsweeps are hilarious.  As a game designed by real world martial artists, I guess footsweeps are weak sauce in actual use.  One of the Coach cards from the expansion makes them less horrendous but not really any less laughable.

#7 (Intimidation)


Cons: yup [] pic and [] card… This card is really just pointless. If you are play some one whom has a lot of advantage cards in their deck, all this will do is delay them one turn for a cost of 3 if you are that close to losing this card will not save your day it will just delay your demise one turn. *Body Odor is a much better card and at a better cost.*(see above) and has a generic casting cost.

Pros: none I don’t like this card… but if it had been an Environment card it may have been a real game breaker

ICL:  Sounds better than it is.  Advantages are a beating in this game, typically turning a 2-4 point attack into a 12-20+ one.  But, it’s too hard to control, it has a funky cost, and it’s too narrow when compared to alternatives.  While there is a concept of stalling attacks in this game, it does kind of pale next to Body Odor.  Then, Drunken technique is way more annoying than this.

#6 (Black belt Uppercut & Throat Jab)

Cons: 3 under cost that’s all you have to say.

Pros: none

ICL:  Can’t remember if there is a Coach card for Throat Jab.  Anyway, while you would never see these, or lots of other technique, in constructed play, I wouldn’t cut them from a sealed deck.

#5 (Sumida’s Misdirection)


Cons: the idea is good but its cost is too high, if its cost was 2 or lower maybe even 0 it would be a good card. But with the cost of 5 and you have to discard one card per point of damage I don’t think so.

Pros: good if you have to use it can save your life from a really big attack but you would kill you hand at the same time.

ICL:  Yeah, the idea is interesting.  It’s really easy to deck people in this game even without a decking deck, so the costs are rather significant.  The total power cost should be no more than 3, otherwise might as well put way more powerful cards in your deck at the same cost level, or, at one less, play Suppress (opponent can only do a build phase on next turn) to get a free turn because free turns are in no way better than questionable damage prevention.

#4 (Leaping Ax kick)

Cons: 3 under cost its just bad and it’s a jumping attack un like the throws the jumping attacks have a lot of cards that attack the fact that you are jumping. Or cards that make you jumping and then adds more power to the attack but those cards don’t do anything for cards that are already a jumping attack.

Pros: none

ICL:  It’s funny that the best Jumping strategy involves technique that aren’t jumping.  This is bad, but it’s hard to get too excited.  More amusing is that I had an ax kick deck that ran no advantages and it was bizarrely functional – all ax kicks except maybe one are fairly awful, not that it ran this card either.

#3 (Banana Peel)

Cons: When are you really going to use this card? It’s a (filler card) that should have a better card in its slot that could be used more often. Look if you opponent doesn’t have any speed advantage cards in his deck this card does nothing.

Pro: don’t get me wrong this card could fuck up a big speed X card but it’s not likely to happen.   

ICL:  I don’t have a lot of UC! stories as the game wasn’t living for very long and there wasn’t much of a player base.  Nor did I play a lot of tournaments; well, I might have played a lot relative to other players but not relative to other CCGs.  I only won one tournament.  I went 7-0 and decked four of my opponents.  It was sealed deck, which unlike other CCGs meant just playing a starter.  Deck I faced that I feared most?  Had Speed X.  My Banana Peel never played so well … MVP!  MVP!  MVP!

Now, let’s get back to reality.  This is a perfect example of why hosers are stupid in CCGs.  Threats are superior to answers by the nature of threats causing you to win and answers not.  It’s a maxim of CCGs that answers should cost less than threats.  The Speed threats in the game are primarily of the 1 or 2 cost sort.  While someone may have Speed X, since it’s completely awesome, may just as well have Strength X or Combination X or even Counter X.  Hosers almost never work the way they were intended because of any one of – they don’t actually hose what was intended, what they are hosing isn’t common enough to run the hoser, they don’t cause the opponent to lose such that you would play them instead of cards that always help you win, they hose the wrong thing.  Even if they do something approaching what was intended, they just tend to make games less fun by making games too swingy when the correct answer in CCG management is to address what is so unbalancing in the game that deserves hosing. 

Then, this eats up a precious black belt slot that only a gold belt deck could ever justify.  Now, I can see someone running this in a gold belt deck as metagame tech, and I can see it as a sideboard card.  Except, I never played with sideboards, ever.

I’m happy that it made this list as it gave me an opening to tell that story.  It’s not nearly as bad as other cards and it’s vaguely amusing, but it is nearly pointless.

#2 (Gold belt Multiple Movement cards *not shown*)

Cons: 1st off Multiple Movement are a waste of a gold belt card in a any deck but a master’s deck and even then its still a sucky card. The white belt movement cards are ok because for 1 power point you can get +1 or maybe +2 if you’re lucky. But that’s what sucks about all movement cards… if you play movement cards and your opponent does not then they work good but if you opponent plays them too then they suck look at the card above if you move left and your opponent moves left, front, or back your move did nothing or it took away 1 attack point from your attack. Only if your opponent does not move or (if he has shit for brains) moves right which he wouldn’t do you get a + on attack. With Multiple Movement cards you use a gold belt slot for a card that cost 2 and may give you only 1

Pros: None unless you are playing someone with shit for brains

ICL:  Gold belt movement was a case of flawed design.  Movement, as a concept, is something that sets the game apart and grounds it a bit more in reality.  If a (pure) fencing CCG were ever invented (I wonder if anyone in Europe ever did one), it would likely be missing something without movement effects like UC!’s.  Anyway, getting back to the design mistake, multiple foundation are strictly better than basic foundation except in absurd situations, which makes sense in a CCG with deck construction restrictions based on rarity, i.e. you only ever play them in gold belt decks and you probably run as many as you can, which means buying more cards, which means selling more product.  But, gold belt movement isn’t strictly better, it’s in fact frequently worse because it costs twice as much.  One may not think that costing 2 vs. costing one is a big deal, but it’s major, important enough that I rarely play Speed/Strength 2.  I’ve played with gold belt movement a decent amount because there are some cards to help movement, not good cards but cards, and I like playing with harder to get cards even if they suck.  Yet, consider what you could be playing instead of cards that aren’t really any better than the common versions.

#1 Cards to stay away from (foot sweep black and brown belt)

Cons: Ok so these cards are both not even at cost for attack and are 3 under cost for defense making them 4 under cost making them the worst cards in the game.

Pros: The maker’s of the game knew how weak these cards are so in the 2nd set they fix it with a card caller Professor Uchida. Making them less [], with Uchida out they cost only 4 and become 5/2 for attack and defense…

ICL:  I think I built a footsweep deck.  Where the ax kick deck, and the spinning deck, and the other “let’s see if a coach can make these terrible cards less terrible” decks occasionally were amusing, I think the footsweep deck didn’t actually function at a level where one was actually playing the game.  Note that Shaolin technique are so dumbly costed and Coach Chung’s effect is so ludicrous, that I couldn’t even bring myself to build a deck around him … there are plenty of candidates for the worst cards in the game, just as there often are in every CCG, though Magic’s worst list is surprisingly consistent.


2 Responses to Ultimate Combat! – Scott’s Analysis, Part III

  1. scott DS says:

    I’d say out of my 3 lists i think you liked that one the best

  2. […] Ultimate Combat! – Scott’s Analysis, Part I Ultimate Combat! – Scott’s Analysis, Part II Ultimate Combat! – Scott’s Analysis, Part III […]

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