Thursday, 25 June 2015

V-Reviews: G-LD-01 "The Dark" Ren Suzugamori

I've finally played enough game to review this beast so let's get to it! Or rather to rephrase, is this set really as good as it seems?

Well aside from the deck itself this set includes a few extras, a promo card, a deck box, and a fighter's counter. I didn't keep my Fighter's Counter as I simply don't use them but I'm fairly confident I know what I'm talking about when it comes to plastics since aside from playing cards I'm also a toy collector and have also built my fair share of Gunpla. The Deck box while not to same quality as the Japanese Legend Deck's deck box, it is still of decent quality and doesn't feel like it's it's at any risk of breaking or splitting due to something silly like being dropped that said I haven't actually done drop testing and quite frankly don't wish to in case I end up eating my words.

The remaining extra item is the Promo as mentioned in brief above.

Dark Knight, Grim Recruiter
Stride (Released when both players' vanguards are grade 3 or greater!)-Stride Step-[Choose one or more cards with the sum of their grades being 3 or greater from your hand, and discard them] Stride this card on your (VC) from face down.
[AUTO](VC):When this unit's attack hits a vanguard, search your deck for up to one grade 1 or less card, call it to (RC), and shuffle your deck.

A simple on hit pressure unit but that's frankly all this unit needs to be, G Shadow Paladin seems to be focused around it's Grade 1's and superior calling them. As such, Grim Recruiter is the Grade 1 calling equivalent of Royal Paladin's Gablade; between these two it may be debated which give the better quality plus but Grade 1 calling in shadows chains better than Grade 2 calling in Royal Paladin so with those factors taken into account Grim Recruiter does become the better stride with the two compared but both maintain their respective valuable positions in their own clans.

As for the main deck which is what the set is all about, I don't really care for the foiled versions to be honest. Sure it's easy bling but the foil itself just looks kinda dull in person. It's a problem I also had with the foils of the Gear Chronicle  and Royal Paladin G-Trial Decks. Consequently I play with just flat versions of the cards except for where I have to use a foil, those instances being Fullbau Brave and Grim Recruiter, otherwise the deck, art wise is really nice. But ten again I've always liked Shadow Paladin art Be it the classics, the Revengers, Witches, or now, even the Legend deck, and then there's the upcoming Sovereign series, which brings even more of that art that I love so much, Especially with Aurageyser, but that may because of whom the artist is and how I've just decided I want to get any cards drawn by them.

More importantly than looks though, is how this deck plays. Well pure Legend deck can't really do much until you're in Generation Break and until then it's just vanilla and meh. That in mind, this deck as it comes can be easily wiped out by anything with a good grade 1 or grade 2 rush, or that can generally can just get away with not rising to Grade 3. This isn't anything unexpected of Generation Break restricted decks though really is it.

Everything in this deck begins from your starter, Fullbau Brave, pretty standard deal for a Trial Deck starter CB-1 into soul, do something, in this case Fullbau becomes Shadow Paladin's Gunner Gear Dragokid but restricted to searching for Blaster units, which in turn makes him a later, but better Wingal Brave so long as you're on Generation Break 1, and that's going to be a consistent issue here. 

Assuming we're in Generation Break then the deck has enough units in it to be able to recover a field if wiped out but can really only pull a full recovery so long as you have Dark Heart Trumpeter in hand or the deck. Dark Night Maiden helps to by superior calling into Trumpeter to then chain something else in but the fact is you are reliant on having one of these two units in your hand to be able to start your recovery. Sure you have Dark Great Mage, Badhadh Caar but being an on-hit means the opponent can just deflect him to but and end to you recovery efforts. Losing one or two units progressively won't shut you down, but 2 full board wipes might leave you in an awkward situation. At the same time though since this set was so accessible even to new players, in theory- stock shortages may have changed that, means that aside from dealing with board wipes you also have to deal with mirror matches but also there's Link Joker.

The Legend Deck focuses on the Diablo Units, these are Blaster Dark "Diablo" as your Grade 3 and Heartbreaker and Dark Dragon, Phantom Blaster "Diablo" as your stride unit. In combination these two units provide the Legend Deck with some serious firepower but also due to how they function, if you aren't striding you aren't winning, This also means that once you've used your strides, if the opponent is still standing, you better be ready for things to start heading down hill, the Diablo units when bought together are the only control the deck has on an opposing field and so long as they have 3 or more units on their field at the start of your turn there's a chance Diablo isn't hitting and if nither of your two Diablo stride swings hits all you have left is recovery from the opponent's own control.

In a mirror match this also means keeping at least 3 units on your field at the end of your own turn which the Legend deck provides the perfect tools for as mentioned above, and Pitch Black Sage, Charon also helps towards this, when killing you own kin for a Grade 3 or greater Blaster unit, Charon counts as two units instead of one this is of use in several ways as any future strides we get that stride atop a Blaster, he will help tremendously in keeping the number of retires down which is what you want in order to create, hold, and maintain an advantage.

Aside from board management though we have power and defense.

Obvious one aside being the Perfect Guard which in this case is Little Skill Witch, Nemain which may not be so perfect after all, she can only guard the Vangaurd in exchange for gaining a skill; if a copy of her is in the drop zone, draw a card and then discard 1, this may offer a chance to fix your hand but it can also prove a problem in other situations, and this skill is not optional. I'd think I'd rather have had a vanilla perfect guard instead should there be the need to defend Rear Guards from Commander Laurel, Dragonic Overlord, The End or any applicable others. Although the art is cute, which isn't something I thought I'd ever say about Nemain whom usually looks murderous more so than anything the other defensive card, and potentially often overlooked,  Unorthodox Sheild, Mac Lir a unit who used to be a perfect guard but down graded to powerful intercept instead, being a special intercept comes with drawbacks of being an 8k base, but in this deck specifically, that can be partnered with a 9000 power booster.

Talking about Power it's time to bring up the Revenger Brothers, Claudas and Dorint are back, having left the Revengers with their loyalty sworn exclusive to Blaster Dark. The two brothers have retrained to support Blaster units by providing extra hitting power, and when fighting in unison with Arduous Battle Knight, Claudus boosting Bloodstained Battle Knight, Dorint not only to the power up further to hit for 22000, when they do hit they countercharge 1 damage so that you may use it for more skills, even though interestingly the Legend Deck itself I haven't found to be heavy on the counterblast. Individaully I'd say Cluadus is his own little secert weapon by allowing an 8k front line, such as say Mac Lir (as pictured above), to hit for 17000, making 2 stages against most opponents. But bring the two brothers together and being the unflip engine they are, they will certainly be a staple in the finished deck, the Legend Deck is only the start of a new era of Shadows.

If I was to grade this in the manner of treating this as two Trial Decks combined, it falls short of the mark set by Link Joker and Aqua Force's Trial Decks to be honest, as raw sets with minimal modification I think Aqua Force G-TD-04 is the one I fear the most. Does that mean you need to mix this and Revengers to have a good deck? No. The deck as it comes is perfectly playable, albeit not as simple and easy to play optimally as it may first appear, but played correctly and with just a few additions this deck is capable of destruction. It's strongest points are also it's vulnerabilities, and there's units that as the deck is are conflicting with one another and this is mainly an issue with the Grade 2 line up, none of them are bad, the the issue of all wanting to be on the front row while there's only two spaces means someone has got to go, and that someone is going to be Mac Lir as his limitations make him the weakest link. Of course the issue is then what to replace him with.
Dark Great Mage, Badhadh Caar will also face removal probably in favor of Claret Sword when available.

Final ranking: 8/10

Oh and just before I go, triggers. Happy the set came with 8 Crit, and do not under estimate Howl Owl, it may just prove to be a saving grace.