Welcome back, Kaijudo duelists! Today, I'm going to go back to talking about the metagame as it stands currently, and bring to light an important point that has been becoming more apparent to me over the past few weeks: the importance of power. The raw power of creatures is always important when considering how much bang you're getting for the amount of mana you have to use, as well as deciding what to attack, but I feel that now more than ever, a lot of games can be decided over a 1000 power difference.
The 6000-7000 Gap
Obviously any difference in power between creatures is important, but I've been of the mindset for a while that a creature having 7000 power opposed to 6000 right now makes a huge difference. This comes from how popular aggressive, midrange decks have been since Evo-Fury's release. This is especially true in my local meta, where almost all the top decks have either focused around Bronze-Arm Sabertooth and Bolt-Tail or Hydra Medusa, with the odd Cobalt deck drifting in sometimes. Bolt-Tail Dragon is a huge force in the game right now, being quite possibly the best finisher, and it really sets the bar high as far as power is concerned.
The basic idea is that when you play against any specific deck, you have to analyze that the largest creature they run is, and what the largest creature you run is. If theirs is bigger than yours and they can get it out with relative ease, it might be good to have alternative answers in hand. For example, I can kill a Tatsurion with a Cobalt, the Storm Knight, but if they have Bolt-Tail and attack my Cobalt on the next turn, how much trouble am I going to be in if I don't have the Terror Pit? Probably quite a lot. Plays like that, where a large creature is summoned right at the time when it can deal with one of the biggest threats in your opponent's deck, can really make the game work in your favor.
Decks using Bolt-Tail often use a Beast Kin lineup featuring Bronze-Arm Sabertooth to provide mid-game pressure and help ramp up to eight mana before turn eight. This gives the deck a total of up to six creatures with a whopping 7000 power. This makes it difficult for creatures like Tatsurion the Unchained to succeed, because while it has an incredible couple of effects, it can easily be dealt with by those types of decks on a purely creature-to-creature basis. There are spells in control decks that can deal with Sabertooth and Bolt-Tail, but I feel like they're still forced to run one or two Bolt-Tails of their own just to deal with the massive power that the mid-range deck can put on the board consistently.
Even More Power
One of the best ways to deal with creatures with a lot of power is simple... just play something with even more power! Unfortunately, Sabertooth and Bolt-Tail see play not only because they're strong, but because they're incredibly easy to summon, and most creatures with 8000 or more power just require too much setup against such efficient decks. There is, however, one good answer in the form of Flamespike Tatsurion, which currently wins in battle against all other creatures released. As an added bonus, it's almost as easy to summon as Sabertooth is, and can come down in the battle zone just in time to save you from a Sabertooth or Bolt-Tail quickly wiping out your shields.
Of course, the Flamespike answer is only really relevant if you're also running Nature. There are some other specific answers to Bolt-Tail and Sabertooth for other decks, though. Water/Darkness/Light control with a small Enforcer lineup might be the best way to play control at the moment because of its answers to power. It has Cobalt to regenerate shields and to attack over commonly-played cards like Hydra Medusa and Emperor Neuron, as well as Halon, Paragon of Light which has an impressive 8000 power for only being level five. A lot of W/D/L control decks I've seen have passed this card by, but in EarthP0w3R's build (which he recently went undefeated with at our local tournament), he ran one and told me afterward how many times he wished he had two of them. Admittedly, there are more Saber-Bolt decks in my local area than there might be at others, but it really is a great answer to those cards and can help the deck easily flip the switch to aggression.
Removal such as Hydra Medusa and Terror Pit that doesn't require a creature to be of a certain level is probably the most consistent way to deal with threats. This is why Blurple (Water/Darknses) is so popular; it can consisntently drop Hydra Medusas better than any other deck currently. It has no problem playing Bone Blades on a Bronze-Arm Sabertooth, because even with the mana acceleration, the Blurple deck will still be able to play Hydra Medusa by the time his or her opponent can summon Bolt-Tail.
Terror Pit is, of course, one of the best Spells in the game, but against the type of decks I'm talking about, it falls a little short in the hand, as any mana acceleration will give the opponent a couple turns with Bolt-Tail before Terror Pit can come down. Pit is still one of the best Shield Blasts, but because of its high level, I think Hydra Medusa really benefits control decks to balance them out right now. If the control deck is something like four civilizations that just doesn't have room for Medusa, I recommend a Nature section to provide some of your own mana acceleration, so your Pits can be ready for Bolt-Tail, as well as high-powered finishers of your own for added consistency.
Cards that bounce creatures to the hand or to the top of your opponent's deck, such as Rusalka, Aqua Chaser or Milporo, Council of Logos also count as unconditional removal since they have no level or power requirements. However, because the creatures in question such as Sabertooth and Bolt-Tail can attack the turn they're summoned, these types of bounce cards only serve to delay the inevitable, unless there's a great follow-up. Milporo's problem specifically comes in its high level; though its effect is much more devastating than Rusalka's, especially against an Evolution, it often comes too late to have been of immediate use against Sabertooth. They both still have their places, such as Milporo in late-game control decks, and Rusalka in almost everything as a great counter to early field presence, but for the power creatures running the meta currently, there are better answers.
Power is important right now, and the spefic power of 7000 has proven to be game-defining. Of cousre, as new cards are introduced and new strategies are tried, I expect it to change. For example, Dragonstrike Infernus features several creatuers with much more power coupled with great effects, just out of the spoilers we've been given so far. In addition, there will be new ways to summon them for less mana through the use of all the support. It will definitely be interseting to see how people can make the most out of the cards we'll be given and which decks will emerge as the most efficient, as well as which decks will emerge as the greatest answers to those decks. As always, leave a comment below with your thoughts, and I'll see you next week!