Breaking skills down to the basic level

David Darigan

Do you know that feeling, one that is a mix of excitement and fear, when you see the early reveals of new cards from Set X: Low Quality Phone Pictures & Over-Exaggerated Reactions in that monthly issue of Kero Kero Ace that comes around near the end of every month.

Well, quite a bit of it's unwarranted (and other bits aren't warranted enough!) because what people see with their naked eyes is a quite a bit of lengthy and often confusing skill text. A perfect example of this would be "Exculpate The Blaster". It had a lengthy and definitly powerful skill but it had so many restrictions placed on it, that it became incredibly inconsistent which in a really messed up way balanced it.

What this article aims to do is to teach players how to boil cards down to their basic cost and reward without looking at all that extra thematic flavor that is pushed on top of the skill. Before I continue it should be worth noting that card skills can all be broken down into a total three different stages those being,

Cost: Cost is defined as "the resources you have to give up to activate a skill". Taking for example "Blaster Blade" the cost would be two damage because once we flip those down to counterblast, we can't flip them down later for another. They are for all cost-related intents and purposes gone or used up.

Condition: Condition is defined as "the timing as when you can activate a skill". Again, with Blaster Blade, the condition is when Blaster Blade is played to the field while you have a Royal Paladin Vanguard. Limit Break is also a pretty popular condition which has the condition of only being active if the Player has X or more damage.

Reward: The reward you are granted for activing X Skill under Y conditions. In the case of Blaster Blade the reward is getting to retire a Unit.

So Blaster Blade is simplified as such: -2 Counterblast, On-Call, +1 Card. Another card with a similar formula would be "Maiden of Libra" who is simplified as : -2 Counterblast, On Hit, +1 Card.

Straight up it should be relatively easy to see that Blaster Blade is essentially the better card here over-all because it grants an instant bonus. Of course, it should be noted that Maiden of Libra despite having a harder condition to fulfill does have the capacity to fulfill it more than once. It's a brief and admittedly not the best example of comparison but hopefully it gets the point across.

There is actually one card that fell victim to hate for being lackluster and considered, by what seems to be the majority, as weak. That card was "Divine Seal Dragon, Dungaree" of Narukami that was released as a RRR (and SP) in Booster Set 8: Blue Storm Armada.

Dungaree on ride binded the top two cards of the player's deck. If there are no cards in the Bind Zone while Dungaree is the Vanguard he would lose -2000 power from his 11000 base making him 9000 and open to quite a serious amount of abuse from any other clan. In addition to these two skills Dungaree also had a Limit Break 4 that allowed him to pay one counterblast, while also sending one of the cards he binded to the bottom of his deck once per turn to retire a rearguard Unit in the Opponent's front row.

The criticisim of Dungaree's ability usually came in the act of comparison to Dragonic Kaiser Vermillion who can under Limit Break 4 pay three counterblast to attack all front row units which usually forced the two rearguard Units with so much ease that, outside of special circumstance, it may have just as well said to retire them.

This comparison is misguided and if we looked closer at what the cards are telling us happens, we will be presented with an additional (and much more straight forward) layer of information about their costs and resulting benefits.

We'll take a closer look at Dragonic Kaiser Vermillion first. Vermillion's Limit Break costs three counterblast to attack your Opponent's three front row Units and a +2000 power increase (which is, honestly, incredibly insiginificant). However this counts as Dragonic Kaiser Vermillion's attack for that turn, so really we're paying three counterblast to retire the two front row rearguards so if we were to simplify the skill it would be "Pay 3 Counterblast. +2 Cards".

Moving onto Divine Seal Dragon, Dungaree, his Limit Break costs a mere single counterblast to retire one front row rearguard and in addition to that, unlike Dragonic Kaiser Vermillion, he can still make an attack that turn. Granted there are other things to consider in this scenario, such as requiring the use of the binded cards from Dungaree's earlier on ride skill but it's an unnecessary concern since they should be always available unless you have already used the ability in which case you've already reaped the benefts of it. People are also quite concerned about the fact that it drops to a static 9000 power after it uses the skill for a second time and takes out the last card from the bind zone back to the deck. This concern, as many things with Dungaree, is misguided due to the nature of Narukami being heavy on the grinding game essentially being able to control the relative power of their Opponent's columns with ease through their number of skills that retire enemy units. Anyway, getting back to the point Dungaree is simplified "Pay 1 Counterblast. +1 Card".

Dragonc Kaiser Vermillion may only activate his skill once outside of "Demonic Dragon Mage, Garuda" hitting or a Heal Trigger opening a spot whereas Divine Seal Dragon, Dungaree may activate his ability twice so if we were to compare them we should do it in a total sum of what their effects can achieve for whats costs.

Dragonic Kaiser Vermillion: Pay 3 Counterblast. +2 Cards.

Divine Seal Dragon, Dungaree: Pay 2 Counterblast. +2 Cards.

Evidently Divine Seal Dragon, Dungaree actually do just as much as Dragonic Kaiser Vermillion but for much cheaper as well despite the complaints people had for his lack of use when released.

This article was intended to enlighten players to look at cards in a different, simple and straight forward light instead of viewing it as a bunch over rated (or under rated) lengthy and potentially overwhelmingly skill text. It is quite possibly one of the more important skills to have when deciding what to look for when choosing what goes into your deck.