Analyzing Rise of the Duel Masters: What to Expect

Hello, everybody!  My name is Christian Van Hoose, though those of you who are frequently on Kaijudo forums and EarthP0w3r's YouTube videos may know me as CVH.  I've recently been given the privilege of becoming part of the ARG article writing staff as its first Kaijudo writer.  Having played Duel Masters through its run in the United States and looking forward to years of good times with Kaijudo, I'm incredibly excited to be able to share some of my knowledge and thoughts about the game to all of you readers out there.

As you all are probably aware, the first set for Kaijudo releases this Friday, September 7th, in hobby stores and places such as Wal-Mart (as well as Alter Reality Games!).  It's 180 cards, having to include a good amount of reprints from the first two "pre"-releases, the Battle Decks and the Dojo Edition.  However, the set features over 100 brand new cards and is sure to make the game very interesting and create some unique possible decks.  For this article, I'll be analyzing what I think are some of the most interesting cards that will survive the test of time and help shape the metagame.

Stormspark Blast

Possibly the most highly-anticipated card of the base set, Stormspark Blast is an exact re-creation of Holy Awe from Duel Masters.  It's a level 6 Light Spell with Shield Blast that taps all enemy creatures.  Very simple, yet very game-breaking.  The reason a card like this is so refreshing to see is because up until now with just the Battle Decks and Dojo Edition, we haven't had any cards that affect so much of the field.  We've had to make do with cards that only tap one creature at a time, and spells that can only kill one creature at a time.

For as rage-inducing as this card can be when it turns out to be a player's last shield, it actually puts a lot of skill into the game.  Controls using Light, such as WDL and WDFL, will surely become more common because of its existence.  It's the kind of card that, when played well, can be extremely devastating, but it has to be played well.  It's just as easy to waste a Stormspark Blast as it is to clear an opponent's field with it or go for game with it.  It also serves as a constant threat to the player sitting across the table; if they let themselves drop to zero shields, they will have to keep your field completely clear because drawing a Stormspark would be game over for them no matter what they have.

All in all, it's a card that the game needed, and players everywhere are glad to see it make its appearance.  I'm sure it will be one of the most long-lasting cards from Rise, being used in triples in some aggro and control decks alike.

Razorkinder Puppet

This, to me, was one of the most exciting cards when I saw it spoiled.  It's a level 6 Darkness creature with 3000 power.  When it's played, you look at your opponent's hand and discard a card from it.

That's obviously an insane effect, but let's look at the basics of why it's good first.  It's a moderately high cost creature with lower power, but the discard effect turns it into a +1.  This is great by itself, being able to deplete your opponent's resources and keep a 3000 power body on the field.  That 3000 power is probably going to make a difference too, since it can attack over tons of commonly played 1000 and 2000 power creatures and dodge Meteosaur and Barrage.

The ability to select what card your opponent discards is what really makes this card stand out.  Until now, all of our discard has let the opponent choose what they want to get rid of.  This can be great when your opponent is down to one or two cards in hand and could be holding power cards, but Razorkinder Puppet is that good ALL of the time.  No longer can a player hold Gilaflame the Assaulter with two other cards in hand and be completely safe from discard.  Besides getting rid of Gilaflames, finishers, or scary cards in general, the ability to see the rest of your opponents hand  allows you to adequately prepare for what they have and make sure you have ways to deal with the other possible threats.  This can put the person using Razorkinder Puppet in a very favorable position, and I believe it will be a near-staple in control decks for a long while for that reason.

Hyperspeed Dragon (and all his friends)

Level 5, 5000 power Fire Creature.  Its effect states, "While you have another Armored Dragon in the battle zone, all your Armored Dragons have 'fast attack.'"

While I'll always be a control player at heart, I can appreciate the intensity of this card.  When played as the first Armored Dragon in your battle zone, it's nothing special but a rather large body, but every successive Armored Dragon you play is going to be able to attack the turn you play it - and there are a LOT of good Armored Dragons in the game already.  Since this card's power truly depends on what creatures you're able to use with it, let's take a look at some of the most solid Armored Dragons we have so far.

First up is Tatsurion the Unchained, a great card to use with Hyperspeed Dragon when the time is right.  At maximum effectiveness, you'll be able to destroy two creatures AND break two shields just with this one card when you have Hyperspeed out.  It can destroy a creature with 4000 power or less with its effect, attack over a tapped creature your opponent might have out, untap with its other effect, and then go in for the double break.  Even without Hyperspeed he's a good card, but he's definitely going to be a go-to Dragon for this type of deck.

Next is Moorna, Gatling Dragon, the level 7, 7000 power Armored Dragon that can attack untapped creatures.  At the right time, it can keep the opponent's field clear, and its 7000 power allows it to get over a number of good finishers, such as Tatsurion the Unchained, Trox, and Alcadeus.  I personally believe that in addition to being a great asset to an Armored Dragon-centric aggro, it will surely become one of my favorite finishers in any control deck using Fire.

Other great Dragons to use with Hyperspeed are Bolgash Dragon and Lord Skycrusher (who is apparently a Dojo Edition exclusive).  Bolgash can be used as a tech choice to clear blockers out of the way, so your swarm of finishers can put pressure on the shields, and Lord Skycrusher as a speed attacker can be insane for obvious reasons.  With a Hyperspeed out, simply playing Lord Skycrusher gives you two double breakers that can go straight for attacking that turn.

Skull Shatter

Well, that's enough on Dragons.  Now, let's talk about what could possibly be the most devastating card in the game in the control mirror!  Skull Shatter is a level 8 Darkness Spell that discards your opponent's entire hand.  It's another one of those cards that is deadly in its simplicity.  The cost of 8 is high, but easy to reach in a control deck, especially when playing against another control deck, which is where Skull Shatter shines the most.  Played at the right time, it can basically win a game, possibly becoming a +4 or higher.  It will be a main card to watch out for in control decks probably for as long as they're being played.  I for one am incredibly glad we have Razorkinder Puppet to discard the opponent's copy of this card!

Crystal Memory/Gigahorn Charger

I put these two cards together because they both serve as the first actual search (being able to look through the whole deck and take a card from it) we have in the game, which is refreshing to see and celebrated by a lot of players.  Crystal Memory will see more play in control decks, but I expect to see Gigahorn Charger make its presence known in aggro decks, especially ones using the Armored Dragon lineup we discussed earlier.  A level 5 Nature Creature with 3000 power, it lets you search your deck for a creature with 5000 or more power, reveal it, and add it to your hand.  There are a ton of targets for that in an aggro deck, including Bolt-Tail, any Tatsurion, Moorna, Hyperspeed Dragon, Lord Skycrusher, and even the Nature finishers.

Crystal Memory is a level 4 Water Spell with Shield Blast that allows you to search your deck for any card and add it to your hand.  With how slow the game is right now, this card is great for control decks, allowing you to set up for huge plays, getting the power spells/finishers you need late game with its effect.  Your opponent also doesn't see the card, meaning they'll hopefully have no idea what they have to play around until it's too late.  This card is so versatile that it will probably be included in some aggro decks to ensure the turn 5 Hyperspeed/Skycrusher's Elite, and maybe in decks revolving around Rally the Reserves, which we'll discuss now!

Rally the Reserves

The last big card I'll write about in this article is one that basically creates a whole new deck purely by its existence.  Rally the Reserves is a level 5 Light Spell that allows all your creatures with "blocker" and "skirmisher" abilities to attack as if they didn't have those abilities for the turn.  This allows a field of easy to play blockers, usually rather large and purely defensive, to become offensive in the blink of an eye and break shields.  I expect many variants of decks based around this card to be tested, ranging from mono Light to Light/Water and others.  Using this card with water's draw and search capabilities, combined with Keeper of Dawn to recycle copies of it could prove to be a very potent strategy, and one that some might not be prepared for.  It remains to be seen how much this strategy will be affected by aggro decks with a bunch of blocker hate such as Bolgash, Crimson Wyvern, and maxed Comet Missiles.  However, it's definitely an interesting card that can be game-winning.

Well, that about wraps it up for my first article.  Hope you all enjoyed, though it was only a rather shallow dive into the card pool that is the base set.  There are tons more interesting cards that are too hard to assess before playing them, as well as numerous ways to use the ones I mentioned in the article.  I definitely can't wait to get my hands on the set and do some testing, but leave a comment below on what cards you think will have the most impact or simply what you're looking forward to the most!

In the meantime, I'd like to thank ARG for putting up my article and supporting the Kaijudo community as a whole.  I have no doubt this game will make it big, the base set is only the beginning.  Make sure you check out EarthP0w3r on YouTube and subscribe, all of us from Team P.E.A.C.H. and in the Virginia area will be doing our best to continue to put out great content.  See you all next time!