What is a Power Card?

Hello all.  I’m Cody Johnson or GreatFailsMontana on YouTube, and I wrote this article to explain some of the relevant intricacies of card design. Card Design that helps explain what kinds of things the ARG team was considering when designing their Forbidden/Limited lists.  And those same kinds of things aren’t really said out in a clear way, so there have been so many people that are confused about the Theory-Oh that goes behind the concept.  What I’m talking about is specifically, Power Card Design.  And I think in order to understand the ARG team and their banned lists, you really need to understand what a power card is, how it functions, and its impact as a within the last couple years.

Power Card Criteria:

1. Changes the pace of the game (whether fast or slow)

Future Fusion essentially speeds up the pace of the game immensely.  In Dragons, it’s as if 5 turns have passed and you have gotten exactly what you needed to dump in grave.

Warning’s function is to stop the momentum of the game and make your opponent pay for either overextending or prevent your opponent from getting over your setup. So in essence, keeping the pace of the game as slow as you want it.

2. Isn’t exclusively defined by its impact on the entire Metagame, but can be very defining for other formats.

Tour Guide from the Underworld makes so many different decks viable, Its versatile, explosive, consistent, and so, is considered a power card

Card Destruction doesn’t have a very large impact on the entire format, but it is a power card and is considered a one-card Win condition in Darkworld. In different formats, it would be apparent that this card ruins the entire idea of conservative playing and ruins deck diversity by making those extremely aggressive decks that use it, even more powerful.

3. Tends to be versatile

Works with many different cards and/or functions in many different ways

Veiler is a Tuner, Light, Hand Trap, Stops Effects, Level 1, etc.

Book of Moon can be aggressive, preventative, protective, etc.

Now that we quantified what power cards can look like here is a long list of just some of the many power cards in the game right now.

Generic Power Cards:

  • Black Luster Soldier-Envoy of the Beginning
  • Effect Veiler
  • Gorz the Emissary of Darkness
  • Tour Guide from the Underworld
  • Wind-Up Zenmaines
  • Book of Moon
  • Dark Hole
  • Forbidden Lance
  • Heavy Storm
  • Monster Reborn
  • Mind Control
  • Mystical Space Typhoon
  • Pot of Avarice
  • Solemn Warning
  • Torrential Tribute

Deck Specific Power Cards:

  • Chaos Sorcerer
  • Dark Armed Dragon
  • Gravekeeper’s Spy
  • Inzektor Dragonfly
  • Lightpulsar Dragon
  • Machina Fortress
  • Master Hyperion
  • Red-Eyes Darkness Metal Dragon
  • Rescue Rabbit
  • Wind-Up Shark
  • Shooting Quasar Dragon
  • Evolsaur Laggia
  • Leviair the Sea Dragon
  • Wind-Up Carrier Zenmaity
  • Card Destruction
  • Final Countdown
  • Future Fusion
  • Gateway of the Six Samurai
  • Gemini Spark
  • Limiter Removal
  • Miracle Fusion
  • Necrovalley
  • One Day of Peace
  • One for One
  • Rekindling
  • Skill Drain
  • Super Polymerization
  • Icarus Attack

Realize that there are so many more than just the 40 or so I listed and that these power cards increase and decrease in relevance depending on your perspective and the part of the format. So in order to fully explain some objective relevance of power cards, I've created a list of what different kinds of power cards there are. Now, not all power cards are limited to one category and so they can be in many or in all of these categories, which is why all of them have the possibility of getting hit.

  • Unbalanced Power Cards - Monster Reborn, Black Luster Soldier – Envoy of the Beginning, and Mind Control are all examples of mechanics that have some conditions but are relatively live most of the time.  They also have the benefit of having extremely powerful effects.
  • Necessary Power Cards - Some say that Heavy Storm is necessary because of hardcore overextension in the backrow and that all the other mass backrow removal is unfair.
  • Power Cards in Numbers - Examples of this are Black Whirlwind, Reborn Tengu, Destiny-Hero Malicious, Reckless Greed, Primal Seed, etc. Book of Moon specifically, hasn’t been considered a mainstream power card for a while, but this card has always been much better in multiples than on its own.  You simply just don’t see cards like this enough to consider them 'a one of" large impact power card.  In multiples, these cards can be devastating or just very, very good, but on their own they tend to be overbalanced.
  • Advantage Power Cards - Pot of Avarice is a blatant example of advantage-based power cards.  It’s not only giving you a simple plus one, but it also gives you the benefit of returning 5 cards to the main board.  That means that you can run variants like Dino Rabbit, Wind-Ups, and Junk Doppel that can just completely overextend and then benefit from this mechanic.  Limited Monster Cards are no longer limited (like Formula Synchron) and drawbacks of mechanics are no longer drawbacks (like Rescue Rabbit requiring two of the same name).
  • Power Cards that are theme based - Red Eyes Darkness Metal, Lightpulsar Dragon, Rescue Rabbit, Inzektor Dragonfly, One Day of Peace, Card Destruction, Gateway of the Six all give a lot of advantage to their respective decks and would be balanced in different circumstances, but within their respective decks they usually are extremely powerful.

The main issue that always comes up when talking about Power Cards is the issue that Power Cards don’t balance Power Cards. And that the ban list is supposed to do that.  With Konami constantly hitting the consistency cards with their ban lists you have an issue with how the game is functioning.   For example, instead of hitting cards like Judgment Dragon and Master Hyperion, they hit cards like Charge of the Light Brigade and Agent of Mystery-Earth.  Then bringing in more cards like Tragoedia, Dark Hole, Torrential Tribute are supposed to balance that out.  But the issue is that the game doesn’t function like that.  There are too many situations in which most games only allow for one person to draw their power cards, and the other person doesn’t draw theirs.   If you cannot guarantee that you draw those cards, you have games stolen by mechanics like BLS and Reborn.  You cannot simply “adapt” in circumstances like that.  Some of the issues with thinking of fighting power cards with power cards come from the other side, the side of protective power cards.  Solemn Warning in multiples for instance can be very serious in the start of the game.  If you don’t draw 4/40-44 cards, in those circumstances, then you essentially lose.  You can see where this is going I hope.  I constantly here people bickering on YouTube, throughout the forums, or even on the ARG articles about Royal Oppression coming back.  Royal Oppression in the game doesn’t make it so that the game is balanced.  If anything it just means that Six Sams, Karakuri, T.G. Stun, Malefic Drain, and other stun builds now have an their own easy win condition to meet.  All they really need is Oppression and some way to stop MST/Heavy Storm, Etc. and they basically win.  People are trying to say that 1/40 cards in the main deck is going to completely revert the game back.  But just look at the facts.  The times at which Oppression was used most was in extremely fast formats (Like Tele-DAD, Blackwing/Zombie, etc.) and in those formats it was mostly used as a protection of their setup.

Imagine if we had the luxury of hitting aggressive power cards (BLS, Reborn, Dragonfly, Rabbit, TGU, Card Destruction, Gateway, Future Fusion, etc.), and then being able to hinder the protective power cards that turn aggro like Warning, TT, Skill Drain, etc.  The entire format would lose most of the unfair wins/loses entirely because of the lack of aggressive/protective power cards.  We can lower the amount of staples and begin to allow the better deck builders/players to win more events.  I’m not saying to keep the format entirely slow, I’m just saying decrease the amount of Power Cards and variance in deck design will actually increase.  There are so many factors that play into games going to the better player’s hands and that means that a lesser experience player wouldn’t have to lose in that format.  Things like deck choice, card choice, and even to the extent of practicing your game can help you get wins against good players.  There is no reason to fear losing to the extent of supporting the amount of power cards that we have in today’s game.  I hope you all understand what my point was in this article.  If you can see how strongly cards can influence the game, you can see how much the game has catered to these strong cards compared to past formats. Hopefully Konami can diminish the unbalanced cards to cater to more skilled of playing.  If you liked this article, please check out my channel (http://www.youtube.com/user/GreatFailsMontana?feature=mhee) .  I post videos up 3-4 times per week and talk about these kinds of things all the time. Thanks to you all for reading this entire article and Stay Innovative!

Cody Johnson

Cody Johnson

Youtube account is GreatFailsMontana
Cody Johnson

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