Hello again, duelists! As you all know, we have a little less than a month to go before the set premiere for Dragonstrike Infernus! As fun as it has been to play with the card pool we have now, this new set is sure to spice things up and give us a great atmosphere for the first run of Duel Days and Kaijudo Master Challenges. I'm looking forward to it so much, I've actually decided to take today's article to give you all a look at my opinions of some of the preview cards we've gotten so far for the set! Of course, since we only know about one-fifth of the entire set right now, it's near impossible to tell how exactly they'll shake the meta up, but that won't stop me from speculating. Due to not wanting to write a novel, I'll be skimming over some of the cards we've seen, but they're all definitely noteworthy and I encourage you to check out all the previews for yourself on Kaijudo.com or the official Kaijudo facebook page if you haven't done so already!
In addition, the folks at Wizards of the Coast were nice enough to give me another exclusive preview card to give all you ARG readers the first look at! Without any further ado, here it is!
As you can see, it's another support card for Dragons! A rare from Dragonstrike Infernus, Dauntless Tusker gets huge when you have a Dragon in the battle zone as a result of its "Draconic Might" effect. A level three creature with the potential to have 6000 power and Double Breaker can make your battle zone very deadly, very quickly. This creature might not look too threatening by itself, but if you're able to drop a Dragon the turn after, your opponent will immediately regret not getting rid of it when they had the chance. A progression such as turn two Sprout, turn three Dauntless Tusker, and turn four Hyperspeed Dragon or Herald of Infernus comes to mind. Not only would you be ahead in mana in that situation, but you'll have a very imposing field with the potential for it to become even scarier. Though Tusker loses to commonly played removal such as Bone Blades, Tendril Grasp, and Heat Seekers (when you don't have a Dragon on board), I definitely see potential for it in Fire/Nature variants among others. It will be interesting to see how the more aggressive Dragon decks make use of this card. Now, I'm going to take some time to give you my thoughts on some of the other preview cards we've gotten in the last couple weeks!
As expected from a set named "Dragonstrike Infernus", the main focus is on the Dragons! I'm sure there will be a ton of great cards for other deck types in the set, but since they're trying to generate a lot of hype beforehand, Wizards of the Coast wasted no time in previewing a bunch of intense Dragons. Among these, we have Infernus the Awakened, Andromeda of the Citadel, and Kurragar of the Hordes - three of the five Super Rares in the set.
Obviously, Infernus the Awakened, being the set's namesake, is a powerhouse when it hits the battle zone. "Inferno Rockets" gives it value when it enters the battle zone, and even more value that turn if you have a Hyperspeed Dragon out, but "Infernus's Decree" is the really scary effect. Shutting down all the creatures with low power in your opponent's deck can be devastating, removing many of the answers control decks typically have to this card, such as Razorkinder and Milporo, Council of Logos. That being said, I don't think this card is over-powered, just really good when it sees play. A lot of people said Evo Fury Tatsurion would be over-powered, yet all the other Super Rares from Evo Fury have seen more play. Cards like Terror Pit can still deal with it, as well as Hydra Medusa if the Infernus player hasn't been able to banish all your Chimeras. I can definitely see Infernus getting a lot of play in Dragon decks, as well as possibly being splashed as a one-of in control decks with Fire, since both of its effects really embody what control aims to accomplish.
The other two Super Rares revealed so far are also very exciting. I've seen some people discredit Kurragar of the Hordes on various forums, but I really see a lot of potential in this card. It's Nature, so it screams "mana ramp!" to me, and getting to summon a Kurragar on turn six is very possible. It actually sort of goes hand-in-hand with Andromeda of the Citadel for me, since ever since I saw these two cards previewed I've had the idea of a Nature/Light Ramp deck with these two cards in my head. It could probably also include the newly previewed Lyra, the Blazing Sun, a card which I think has huge potential in competitive play. I'm personally excited to try it out, and with cards like Sprout, Reap and Sow, and Razorhide at our fingertips, as well as the Fire Birds that I'll get into in a second, it seems like it could potentially be the beginning of Ramp as a viable strategy.
Though substantially smaller than the other dragons I mentioned, Herald of Infernus has been receiving a lot of hype due to its effect, which can let you put high-level Armored Dragons from your hand into the battle zone for free. It's important to realize that this card could be slowed down by removal like Rusalka, Aqua Chaser and Tornado Flame, but in a deck built to get the maximum effectiveness out of its effect, it could make your field very dangerous very quickly. Other dragons we've received previews of so far are Kindrix the Psionic, an unblockable Dragon Evolution from the Water Civilization that allows you to draw cards for each shield you break in a turn, and Dreadclaw, Dark Herald, which is a Dragon from the Darkness Civilization that allows you to retrieve other Dragons from your discard pile. Both of these could serve a purpose in certain variants of Dragon decks, but I can't really say too much more about them without having seen the rest of the set and put them through testing.
The Dragons' Adorable Support Cards
Fire Birds! So far, we've seen Kenina, Lux, and Belua from Dragonstrike Infernus. They all have the effect, "Dragonsong", which allows you to tap one less mana to summon Dragons, so they are just the kind of thing Dragon decks look for in support cards. Kenina gives all your Dragons "Powerful Attack +2000" and Belua states that each of your Dragons can't be blocked by creatures that have less power than they have themselves. This effect could be game-winning, allowing your Bolt-Tail Dragons to become essentially fast-attacking un-blockable Double Breakers. However, the Fire Bird I'm really excited about so far is Lux.
Lux is the cheapest Fire Bird we've seen so far at level two, and as such, is the only one that can get out such important dragons as Herald of Infernus and Hyperspeed Dragon before turn five. In addition, it also solves the problem of your opponent having a card such as Tornado Flame to ruin your setup, as they can't touch either of those creatures while you have a Lux out, since Lux's "Andromeda's Galaxy" effect will kick in and let you sacrifice it to save your more important Dragons once they hit the battle zone. I can definitely see this being played in a variety of Dragon decks that focus around cards like Hyperspeed and Herald, as well as the Kurragar Ramp deck I talked about in the last section.
We've only seen a couple cards that don't fit within the general theme of Dragons so far, but one that I think deserves a mention is Burnclaw the Relentless. It was previewed on Pojo a while back and while I'm not sure how much play it's going to see, I think its effect, "Deadly Duo", is really cool. It allows you to search your deck for a Branca the Treacherous and put it into the battle zone for free. Though you're assembling a field that could be wiped out by Tendril Grasp (which assures me that Tendril Grasp will continue to see play), the swarming capabilities are perfect for a mono-Fire or Fire/Water Drakon-centric deck. For example, let's say you have seven mana in a Fire/Water Drakon deck. In one of the best case scenarios for Burnclaw, you could play a Jetflame Bodyguard for one mana, evolve it into Burnclaw for three mana, and put a Branca into play from your deck. Then, with three mana remaining, the Branca could easily be evolved into another Burnclaw, or perhaps a Laser-Arm Drakon, exponentially increasing the size of your field and allowing you to break multiple shields that turn.
Well, I think I at least mentioned most of the noteworthy cards we've seen so far. I hope you enjoyed my thoughts on them, as well as the preview (thanks again to WotC)! Be sure to check out the Kaijudo wiki page as well as the official Kaijudo facebook page to see all the pictures of these cards and leave a comment down below with your thoughts. Thanks for reading and I'll be back next week!