19 January 2017

V Reviews: Occultic;Nine - An occult trainwreck

All right, I've got a bunch of reviews lined up, so let's do this! Let's start of this series of reviews with the biggest turds I've seen this year! Occultic;Nine

V Reviews: Occultic;Nine

Occultic;Nine was announced for the 2016 fall season, and had a title and short info box that kind of picked my interest. Though I should've seen the red flag as well.

Yeah, A-1 Pictures studio and the term "Light Novel" is NOT a good combination (cough*SAO*cough). Though in A1-Picture's defense: since they usuallywork with freelance animators, the end result really depends what director, writer and animators they have at their disposal.

So if there's a challenge, I'm here to pick it up. Let's open the details on this anime and see what meat is available...

The director (Kyohei Ishiguro) has directed Your Lie in April (which IS a great anime), but also the turd called Lance N'Masques (oh, dear).
The screenwriter (Noburo Takagi) is the man responsible for the screenplays for both Durarara and Baccano and did work on other supernatural shows like Shigoku Shoujo and Koi Kaze. Overal Takagi has done great work up until now, including in the same genre.
The overal editor (Akinori Mishima) has done so many things, it's also hard to pinpoint him as good or bad.

And then there is the light novels this anime is based upon. They're not awful, but not too amazing either. The novels score around 7-8/10 regularly.

So what went wrong?

Okay, I went a little digging here. The novel apparently got put "on hold" after two volumes due to "printing issues" (which is a very Japanese way of saying: "It didn't sell"). Though this might also be to refocus the effort of the writer (Chiyomaru Shikura) to finish the script for the anime AND the visual novel (slated for release this year).

I guess he's hoping the game will be a big enough success that the visual novel can go on sale again? (sorry, I can't help but laughing after reading that sentence)

Not only that. People who have read the novels say that the entire first novel got adapted... into ONE single episode... which makes sense if you watched that clusterf**k that is the first episode.

So let me ask you this. A half-baked script that needs to be pushed into 12 episodes which at best functions as a promo for the upcoming visual novel that isn't even finished either? How can that work? That's asking for Murphy to pass by and apply his law.

And who knows what happened behind the scenes while creating this train-wreck. There are rumors enough that Your Lie in April was Lightning in a bottle and that Lance 'n Masques is the regular approach to how the director (Ishiguro) actually works (which I can't confirm nor deny, since I haven't watched THAT train-wreck).

But that's enough speculation. Let's get over the biggest missteps one by one.

The infamous first episode

Occultic;Nine quickly became infamous for having one of the worst first episodes in anime of recent memory.

If I hadn't looked it up I would've thought this was the director's first shot at directing an anime, because it was so horrendous. The episode direction was horrible, the aesthetic choices weird, the character introduction a mess, the pacing dreadful, the music editing sometimes real baffling and so on and so on.

If it wasn't for the murder mystery that seemed somewhat interesting, I think most of us would've just dropped it like it's hot. This was an episode that could be seen as "so bad it's good."

But since I recently finished Shirobako and thus the general process of making an anime, I kind of wanted to follow this trainwreck to see how hard it would continue crashing. I wanted to see if this was going to be a "boing boing paradise", if you know what I mean.

So did it? No, not really. The anime team obviously picked up all the bile that was spilled after the first episode and enforced changes on the series.

Though I kind of wished they didn't fix it. Why? Because an anime that's so-bad-it's-good is interesting to watch for years on end. But a trainwreck that gets repaired along the way removes much of what made it such an interesting spectacle in the first place.

So while story and editing sure got less awful over time, some things did NOT change.

Awful Pacing & Storytelling: Infodumps at 110% speed, preferably at a bar

One of the bad things that remained a constant throughout this mess was the general pacing and especially the character interaction. The main characters ramble on and on. And that would be fine if it was a fast-paced comedy (like Gintama). But this is a supernatural mystery, NOT a comedy (at least, not intentionally). And a lot of the rambling happens in exposition dumps at a bar. If you know anything about decent screenwriting, Infodumps in restaurants or bars are not done, or should be avoided as much as possible.

Infodumps are already bad by itself, though they're not always unavoidable. But doing them in bars or restaurants is cliche and generally bores the audience. Not to mention, the audio of several infodumps was sped up to 105-110% (just enough to have no audible voice changing), while the sound editors cut away the breathing moments.

No, that is not a joke. In some episodes you can actually hear the moments where the audio got cut (which actually was more interesting to listen to than the actual dialogue spoken).

The worst part about this... infodumping/rambling at 110% speed is the main "character trait" of several of the main characters, including the intended protagonist (Yuuta Gamon).

If you think that is bad, you are absolutely right. Literally more than half of all dialogue spoken can either be cut without consequence or kept to inner monologues. And doing that would result in way more interesting main characters than the ones we ended up getting.

Distracting character design: Boob physics Engine

But don't worry if you haven't noticed this pacing annoyance after a few episodes. You were probably too distracted by Narusawa Ryouka's boobs.


Oh my. It DID went boing...

One of the frequent complaints (or compliments, depending on who you ask) from people watching this anime is Ryouka's boobs. Ryouka is a hyperactive ditz who keeps hopping around (LITERALLY), which causes her boobs to be in constant bouncing movement. This in such a way you have to look at her, while wondering what the hell you're even looking at.

You could call this fanservice... but there's nothing to be served; the bouncing boobs only function as a distraction for the mess this show really is.

Bad character introduction: Let's fix this one at least

I've watched the entire series (you WILL require alcohol to finish it) and I still have no clue how most of the 9 "occultic" characters are named. We got a name clip, similar to the introduction of the Baccano and Durarara characters. But something apparently got lost in translation.
I'm sure it was the intention of the writer to have the name clip with all nine names appear in the opening credits (which was a thing in Baccano and Durarara). But it ended up being splashed in the first episode instead, way before most of these characters even got a decent character introduction.

Yeah, I know I can read the novel, or look up the names on myanimelist or so. But seriously: if that's the only way to figure out who everybody is, you're doing something wrong!

Anyway: Character introduction is something I can do instead of the anime, so here we go:

Yuuta Gamon: Main character. A self-proclaimed NEET and a blogger of the occult who sucks at his own character description. No, really. A NEET who goes to school is contradictory to the definition of the word. And while he blogs about occult stuff, he doesn't like occult stuff at all.
Yuuta gets involved with the murder of a professor early on and only starts sinking more into misery (and mystery) the further this story goes.
Ryouka Narusawa: Hyperactive bouncy girl with her own personal boob physics engine. Nuff said.
Miyuu Aikawa: The cute girl. Does Tarot card reading and is good at it... but doesn't really use it outside of her introduction episode (due to plot convenience).
Sarai Hashigami: Son of the murdered professor. Is supposed to be smart and edgy. But in reality he sucks at his own character description and just keeps rambling instead.
Aria Kurenaino: Self-proclaimed hex girl (or witch) who sucks at her job and has a sickening backstory.
Takes up a lot of screen time in the first half, but has NO FUNCTION WHATSOEVER. This is a character that could be cut (together with her "demon") and there would be NO difference.
Shun Moritsuka: Deus-ex detective. He somehow knows everything without any explanation whatsoever, doesn't do anything relevant, has the worst case ramble-itis and is annoying without end.
Seriously, f**k this guy.
Touko Sumikaze: Reporter on the occult. Doesn't get enough screentime in the first half, is totally useless in the second half (sigh)
Ririka Nishizono: The yaoi doujin artist who can predict the future. Never explained why, has virtually no real role in the series and hardly gets screen time. And the way she's handled in the last episode is indicative of her presence on the series as a whole. She just disappears.

Other characters include the devil of the Hex girl (useless character that could be cut from the story), the creepy albino kid (obvious villain alert) , the stand-in detective with psychic powers (who, even with her limited screen time ironically is the most useful person on the show), the weird bartender (interesting concept, horrible execution) and the evil corporation (I... I just don't... sigh...)

All in all, there are almost NO characters to attach to, and the supporting "occult" characters that are somewhat likable get so little screen time, you keep wishing for certain other ones to just die (oh, wait...).

Is there anything that saves this heap of drek?

The murder mystery and the "256 incident" by themselves were actually quite interesting. It starts out with the murder of a professor in the occult (and the father of Sarai Hashigami). But the murder ends up having a deeper meaning when a yaoi doujin is found at the scene of crime that predicts events that are happening. Not too long after this murder, a mysterious event occurs where 256 people end up in a (sort of) suicide pact, drowning themselves in the park river of the city.


Yeah, he be dead boi

Our main cast tries to figure out what happened here while trying to find a friend who went missing shortly before this "mass suicide" occurred. And in this process they slowly start discovering shocking truths, since not everything is as they assume it is.

And if that sounds like an interesting premise of a story... that's because IT IS! Even if more than half of the characters involved are poorly written and executed; even if the animation is B-level quality and even if the direction often makes you wonder what the director was smoking while making his decisions... The mystery in this series kept making me come back (that and the fascination to watch a train-wreck in motion). Too bad even that part got ruined with the last episode.

The ending

Nope. Nope... The amount of stupid in the last episode is way too high to even comment on it.

I knew I was going to need alcohol to get through the finale ("probably a better time if you're drunk", like Jeremy Jahns would say it), but it clearly was NOT enough.


Look, mom! I can fly!
Why? Because f**k the story, that's why.

In all seriousness... with a clearly unfinished source story (since the game still isn't finished) and dozens of loose plot threads, you can't finish a series in one single episode (at least not in a good way). But the director and screen writer clearly tried (and failed). It's ironic, really. The reasons the first episode was a disaster were all the technical aspects, which have been fixed by the last episode. But the one reason to keep watching it after the first episode (the story) got absolutely ruined by the end.

Which means that this is one of the few rare anime that has a horrible beginning, a horrible end, but a somewhat enjoyable middle part...

Final conclusion

Don't touch this anime with a 50-foot pole. Unless you want lessons on how NOT to adapt a novel into an anime.

You may find the mystery interesting to keep following it (like I did). But since there is no satisfying conclusion to it, you should not bother.

My score: 3/10: A supernatural mystery covered in many layers of awfulness

Well, this is the worst I've seen in the past year. From here on, it can only get better.

Until next time,

V out.

16 January 2017

V's Thoughts on Crunchyroll's Anime Awards

Well, 2016 has come to an end. And with Yu-Gi-Oh being more boring than ever before (a game lasting longer than 3 turns is considered a "long" game), I wanted to go back to reviewing anime that I've seen in the past year. And while there have been some great series lately, there are also a few turds.

But before reviewing any of the series I've seen, first off I wanted to talk a little about the Crunchyroll Anime Awards.

While I can applaud Crunchyroll for doing an "awards" show of sorts for anime, it's clearly still a work in progress. I realize that an awards show will always disappoint a lot of people. But the results of the voting already show a few of the big flaws this first edition has.

We put way too much money into advertising this anime, so it MUST be nominated as much as possible: Kabaneri

One of the bigger "flops" of the past year was Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress.

Okay, okay, I admit... Flop IS a big word for it. Disappointing is a more accurate word. Its animation and art style is overall very amazing and the first few episodes were amazing spectacles. But halfway through the main character we were rooting for (Mumei) becomes a damsel in distress and a generic textbook villain is pasted into the series to add a form of suspense. The end result left most people somewhere in the middle. Some kept defending it, while a lot of others simply hated what happened to it.

But Crunchyroll has put a lot of money into the promotion of this anime over the past year, so it obviously had to be nominated in every category it could somewhat fit in... even if it doesn't make any sense.


Dude... Seriously? Is this a joke?

Obvious result of this is a lot of raised eyebrows among anime fans, and obviously: 0 actual rewards being reaped. But on Crunchyroll's behalf, it got people talking about it once more and maybe a few views which returns some lost revenue for them.

The latest hype train wins everything: Yuri on Ice

First off, I have nothing against Yuri on Ice. I am not the target audience for it, so I'm not going to watch or review it. But unless you've been living under a rock the past months, you must've at least heard of the hype train surrounding Yuri on Ice (further abbreviated as YOI, not to be mistaken with yaoi).

YOI is an anime about guys doing competitive figure skating. And if that premise sounds gay, that's because it is... and there's nothing wrong with that. But somewhere halfway, all shipping girls finally saw their ship set sail with "the kiss" and the hype went apenuts.

If these awards were done half a year ago, most nominations would've gone to Re:Zero, since that was thé hype anime at that moment. But fall season was mostly YOI's hype train, so that's the anime with the most nominations.

Though, let's admit: no all of its nominations were that deserving.


"Yeah, the ice skating animation is so amazing to watch!"

But the reality of things is that, no matter the category it was nominated for, YOI wins the award. Best Couple, most heartwarming scene, best kiss, best OP and ED, Best iced Yuri, Best cucumber party, best anything... If Yuri on Ice was nominated, it would win the award. That's the obvious result of having a big audience vote in your categories. The anime with the biggest hype wins automatically, whether the anime deserves the hype or not.

No industry awards?

Somebody who has some experience with quality award shows immediately realizes something is off about these awards. The categories are too general.

For example: You could have a big range of music awards, but the only things awarded here are opening and ending theme. Really? Where is the award for composer? For the entire Soundtrack? For most effective song used?

Another one: Where are awards for best director? Best composer? Best character design? Where are the typical industry awards?

Heck, even some general categories are missing. Yes, there is a best boy/girl category, and best hero/villain category. But where's the best voice actor/actress? Best main character/supporting character?

And really, Crunchyroll. You are the one platform that could award people who do some really underappreciated work. You could have the award for best English dub / voice actors. Voice actors in Japan are celebrities, but in the rest of the world it's a job with little appreciation.

Obvious result: The salt is real

It's no surprise that the anime community was throwing up heaps of salt over the eventual results. Most of them threw in their five cents on who should've won instead; whether serious or for the lolz (like Gigguk's awards).

I wanted to throw in my salt and my awards too at first, until I saw the Under the Scope awards the past weekend. Most anime reviewers had some choices that were questionable, but his choices... I have to admit: I was impressed. He added multiple categories and had sufficient arguments for all of his choices. My initial reaction after I've seen his video, was clapping slowly with a satisfied face.

Watch it via this link. Seriously.

So Crunchyroll, if you want some advice on a next edition of your Awards ceremony, watch UTS's anime awards and learn some lessons from it.

Also, another tip: seven judges only? Really? While I can see certain judges were chosen (like the Boondocks director and GlassReflection), many other valid voices remain unheard.

So in short: Great initiative, but many lessons that need to be learned for the next edition.

Now, onto the reviews...

Until then, V out.

22 April 2016

Card of Demise - The return of the classic Anti-Meta deck

In my previous post, I talked about Card of Demise. Let me go into a little more detail about why this card is better than you might think!

The card effect

Draw until you have 3 cards in your hand, also for the rest of this turn after this card resolves, your opponent takes no damage. During the End Phase of this turn, send your entire hand to the Graveyard. You can only activate 1 "Card of Demise" per turn. You cannot Special Summon during the turn you activate this card.










Plus-2 card with huge drawback? Or with no drawback at all?

When I first read this card, I ignored it pretty quickly. While "draw until you have three cards" seems interesting enough, the drawbacks are very high. So I thought there would be no meta deck ever that would ever use this card.

But that's where the magic word rang. Meta.

In the OCG, this card was used nearly instantly and caused a few players to top events... with anti-meta decks.

This anti-meta deck is an update of the classic anti-meta deck, with cards like Rai-Oh, Banisher of Radiance, etc. A handful of monsters that are to be normal summoned and a sheitload of spells and traps.

With a deck like that, the deck pilot doesn't care about "discard your hand" drawbacks. They normal summon a banisher of Radiance or Rai-Oh, set their hand face-down, activate cards of demise, set some more cards until the field is full and end the turn with discarding 0 or maybe 1 card (if your deck doesn't like you and lets you draw into another monster). In a deck as dangerous as anti-meta, having a +2 card (in the best case) is not just good, it's frigging amazing.

Decklist?

The obvious question you have is: Where's the deck list? So here it is. Though remember, this is OCG. So a few cards have different limits there than over here in TCG.

MONSTER CARDS (11):

  • 3 Banisher of the Radiance
  • 3 Fossil Dyna Pachycephalo
  • 3 Thunder King Rai-Oh
  • 2 Kycoo the Ghost Destroyer

SPELL CARDS (10):

  • 3 Card of Demise
  • 3 Pot of Duality
  • 1 Harpie’s Feather Duster
  • 3 Moon Mirror Shield

TRAP CARDS (19):

  • 2 Compulsory Evacuation Device
  • 1 Torrential Tribute
  • 1 Dimensional Prison
  • 1 Starlight Road
  • 3 Bottomless Trap Hole
  • 1 Ring of Destruction
  • 2 Rocket Hand
  • 1 Vanity’s Emptiness
  • 2 Macro Cosmos
  • 1 Solemn Warning
  • 1 Solemn Judgment
  • 3 Solemn Strike

SIDE-DECK (15):

  • 1 Dark Hole
  • 2 Forbidden Lance
  • 2 Mystical Space Typhoon
  • 3 Book of Moon
  • 1 Compulsory Evacuation Device
  • 2 Chain Disappearance
  • 3 Imperial Iron Wall
  • 1 Macro Cosmos

Side-note: No extra deck was listed (and probably not used). If any card was used, I think it's limited to Stardust Dragon. though on the other end, if you play no extra deck it's a great mind-game to troll your opponent into thinking you play Monarchs (lol).

Other "weird" or "unusual" choices

It's been a while since an anti-meta deck has topped, so a few card choices are made that you're probably not that familiar with. Let me list them.

Rocket Hand (OCG exlcusive):
Target 1 face-up Attack Position monster you control with 800 or more ATK; equip this card to it. It gains 800 ATK. During either player's turn (except during the Damage Step): You can send this Equip Card to the Graveyard, then target 1 face-up card on the field; destroy it, then the monster that was equipped with this card cannot change its battle position, also its ATK becomes 0. You can only use 1 "Rocket Hand" effect per turn, and only once that turn.

Moon Mirror Shield:
If the equipped monster battles an opponent’s monster, during damage calculation: The equipped monster’s ATK and DEF become equal to the ATK or DEF (whichever is higher) of the opponent’s battling monster +100, during damage calculation only. If this face-up card is sent from the field to the Graveyard: Pay 500 LP; place this card on either the top or bottom of your Deck.

Basically these two cards do the same: Protect the few monsters you have and make sure they can overcome any challenge thrown at them.

Other uses for Card of Demise

Well, this deck choice of anti-meta shows that this card is best used in decks that don't special summon a lot and/or run a limited amount of monsters.

For exmaple, if Resuce Rabbit would ever be released from its limit, Dino Rabbit could make a return, using this card. Gravekeepers and regular HERO decks are decks that run limited amount of monsters and might be able to use it as well. Though similarly to Pot of Duality, the limit on special summons can become a drawback in these decks.

Luckily enough, decks like Chain Burn won't be able to use this card, because decks like that tend to focus on hand traps to save their lives. And one of the big drawbacks of Card of Demise is discarding your entire hand at the end of the turn.

But there are probably other obscure decks that suddenly might become good or better because of this card. I'm curious to see what top players wil use this card and make it work in random decks. Jeff Jones might be interested...

Until next time, V out.

20 April 2016

The Millennium Pack - Booster of Demise

If the Millennium Pack flew under your radar in the past week, there's a good explanation for that. the millennium change was more than a decade ago. That's long past tense there. Same as with the pack's content. It's already past tense.

Lack of good new cards

Let's start with the positive aspect here. There's a few new cards in this pack. Some are either retrained versions of anime classics (e.g. a new Curse of Dragon), or random cards from the anime that for some reason turn into actual cards.

Yeah, who knew that Holding Arms, Holding Legs or Left Arm Offering would actually make it to an actual card before the rest of the Kuriboh family?

And there's some cards that are actual moments from the anime, like Symbol of Friendship (from the first episode) and The True Name (of the Pharaoh).

Want to know which cards are good? Well, there's only one. Cards of Demise. But this card is so interesting, I'm going to focus a single post on that, later this week.

The "whoops" moment

Past weekend, there was one other card from this set that made Yugioh headlines. And not because it's powerful, but rather because of a screw-up at Konami when translating its text. I'm talking about "Symbol of Friendship".

The card should read:
To activate this card, you must draw it for your normal draw in your Draw Phase while your opponent controls 3 or more monsters and you control no cards, reveal it, and keep it revealed until the Main Phase 1. During your Main Phase 1 that same turn: You can activate this card from your hand; reveal 1 card from your Deck, and add it to your hand.

But it actually reads:
... while your opponent controls 3 or more monsters and you control no monsters, reveal it, and keep it revealed ...

Small error in terms of words, but a world of difference in activation possibilities. Just imagine Gorz the Emissary of Darkness with those two words being switched around.
This just made Symbol of Friendship's usability rise from 0% to like 1%.

Yeah, in case you didn't notice it in my sarcasm, the card still sucks no matter the card text screw up. Yes, I know YOU can make a deck that can make this card work. But that doesn't mean it's going to be a good deck.

Konami finishes the missing alternate art issue... or not?

One of the big promo tag lines of this set was that it had a bunch of the previously unreleased alternate art cards. And yes, that is true (good!). But could somebody at least call Konami and say they even f**ked that one up?

This was the moment to release all OCG alternate art cards we hadn't seen yet. But instead of that, we got a so-so job.

YES, we got a lot of unreleased alternate arts (including Broken Finger Flame Swordsman). Thank you for that.


"Not broken. I can just stretch
my fingers in superhuman ways!"

We also got a lot of "alternate art cards" that we've seen already in previous boosters, like Toon World or friggin' Viser Des. It was already weird enough for Viser Des to have an alternate art, but people certainly weren't waiting for a reprint of that card.

But the biggest issue is the cards which were still "missing" a few alternate arts, but Konami just goes: "Was it this one?" and utterly fails in the process.

I can understand mistaking 1 of the alternate arts. But I've checked. You picked the wrong artwork on FIVE cards. FIVE! How do you f**k that up?

Let me list the errors: Kuriboh, Summoned Skull, Red-Eyes B. Dragon, XYZ Dragon Cannon and Gilford the Lighting. Seriously, Gilford the Lighting? Gilford has TWO artworks. We had one, just pick the other! How difficult is that?


Due to these five screw-ups, these alternate arts are still left unreleased.

And worst of all [personal opinion]... Where's the Gemini Elf alt? Gemini Elf's art was like thé only alt I was really waiting for! And I'm sure I'm not alone on this one. And don't talk about the censorship, because the censored card has already been used in video games! You just had to print it!


"We're still outside of YOUR grasp, boy." *wink*

Low ratio of new vs old cards

And lastly in my rant: What's with the low number of actual new cards? Why didn't Konami take the opportunity to add cards from the Millennium Box Gold Edition (Summoned Lord Exodia, Exodd Flame & Ties of the Brethren), or the cards from the Duelist Road packs (like Ring of Peace, Dark Burning Attack, etc). Or in worst case, add in some old Vanilla monsters not yet seen in the TCG (e.g. Horn Imp WAS a card Yugi used in the anime and still needs a TCG release).

Honestly, I wouldn't have made such a big noise about it, if it wasn't for so many weird/bad reprint choices in this set. Nearly half (if not more) of the cards are reprints of cards that were in other sets already. And I don't think anyone was waiting for another reprint of Scapegoat, or a reprint of Dark Master Zork...

Conclusion

This whole pack is one big heap of disappointment. We got a few new cards, we got some new alternate art cards. But it could've been a lot better!

And it shows. The secondary market only rates TWO cards with a value over €5. Winged Dragon of Ra Phoenix Mode (around €5-7) and Cards of Demise (currently between €12-15). It's been a while since a booster scored this low on the secondary market value.

So, skip buying this booster. If you care about the two previously mentioned cards, just buy them as single cards. There's no way buying a box of the Millennium pack would ever make you a happy customer.

Speaking about disappointments... next booster set is Shining Victories. Yeah, let's just hope the TCG exclusive cards are good, because this set needs a "motivation boost" of sorts. Drifting Ghost and the Blue Eyes monsters alone won't save it.

Until next time, V out.

8 April 2016

TCG Forbidden & Limited List is out

So I was busy preparing a post about the new OCG set when suddenly...

http://www.yugioh-card.com/en/limited/

TCG Forbidden & Limited List is out today and goes in effect from Monday already. Saying that's fast is quite an understatement.

The April 11, 2016 Forbidden & limited list

Listed are only the changes

Forbidden

  • Performage Damage JugglerAlready hit on the adjusted list
  • Performage PlushfireAlready hit on the adjusted list
  • Tellarknight Ptolemaeus- Already hit on the adjusted list
  • Chicken GamePreviously Unlimited
  • Wavering EyesPreviously Unlimited

Limited

  • Luster Pendulum, the DracoslayerAlready hit on the adjusted list
  • Performapal MonkeyboardAlready hit on the adjusted list
  • Performapal Skullcrobat JokerAlready hit on the adjusted list
  • Wisdom-Eye MagicianPreviously Unlimited
  • Elder Entity NordenPreviously Unlimited
  • Thousand-Eyes RestrictPreviously Forbidden
  • Ignister Prominence, The Blasting DracoslayerPreviously Unlimited
  • Draco Face-OffPreviously Unlimited
  • Reasoning Previously Unlimited
  • Upstart GoblinPreviously Unlimited

Semi-Limited

  • Debris DragonPreviously Limited
  • Allure of DarknessPreviously Limited
  • Emergency TeleportPreviously Unlimited

Unlimited

  • Dark Magician of ChaosPreviously Forbidden
  • Tragoedia Previously Semi-Limited
  • Advanced Ritual ArtPreviously Semi-Limited
  • Crush Card VirusPreviously Limited

First impressions

Well, they confirmed EVERY change on the adjusted list without thinking about it if the hits were right or not.

Next to that, I see cards I kind of predicted (Ignister, Draco Face-off, Reasoning and arguably Wavering Eyes (thought it was going to be limited, but I'm just as happy with it being forbidden tbh).

Also surprised that Konami decided to take (minor) hits towards Kozmo, while officially still supporting them with new cards. This by Semi-limiting E-Teleport (hardly a hit in my eyes) and Reasoning (seen them abuse this). But for some reason I doubt they'll feel very salty about it. Might be that there's going to be another batch of support for them in the next set.

And... did Konami read my article about Monarch/Magical Explosion FTK? Because they made Chicken game forbidden instead of Life Equalizer. And as I said in that post, Monarch FTK deck is dead without Chicken Game.

Other than that, glad with the hits on Norden and Upstart Goblin; glad with the release of Thousand Eyes Restrict and DMoC. But I find it sad that Wisdom-Eye had to go as well. I admit, it's an OP searcher. But as the owner of an Odd-Eyes Magician deck I find it sad that a deck that hasn't topped (much) is being hit INSTEAD OF B.A. or MONARCHS?

 

That's it for now. Kind of figuring out what to do with my Odd-Eyes Magician deck now.

V out.

31 March 2016

My thoughts on the OCG Forbidden and limited list

Wow, i'm late with this one. Yeah, it's been a busy few weeks at work, so I got a bit of delay on this post. #priorities

In the March edition of V-Jump, the newest Forbidden and Limited list (aka, the banlist) for the OCG (not the TCG!) has been published. This one will go into effect from April 1st (no joke).

The Changes

Listed are only the changes compared to previous OCG list:

Forbidden:

  • Performapal Monkeyboard
  • Lavalval Chain
  • Life Equalizer

Newly Limited:

  • Sangan
  • Thousand-Eyes Restrict
  • Dante, Traveler of the Burning Abyss
  • Scarm, Malebranche of the Burning Abyss
  • Performapal Skullcrobat Joker
  • Ignister Prominence, the Blasting Dracoslayer
  • Performapal Pendulum Sorcerer
  • Draco Face-Off
  • Wavering Eyes
  • Luster Pendulum, the Dracoslayer
  • Mask Change Second
  • Tour Guide from the Underworld
  • Emergency Teleport
  • Domain of the True Monarchs
  • Pantheism of the Monarchs
  • Pendulum Call
  • Reasoning
  • Monster Gate

Newly Semi-Limited:

Super Rejuvenation

Unlimited:

  • Glow-Up Bulb
  • Kuribandit
  • Destiny Hero – Malicious
  • Mermail Abyssteus
  • Mind Control
  • Book of Moon
  • Gold Sarcophagus
  • Allure of Darkness
  • Dragon Shrine
  • Crush Card Virus

Analysis

A quick run-through of the list sees a slaughtering pattern in the top decks of ritual B.A., Monarchs and DracoPals.

The OCG hits PePe as well as the TCG did last month. Although in this case, the focus is on the DracoPals variant instead of the Performage variant. Now if only people would stop calling DracoPals PePe, that would seriously stop a lot of confusion (where's the "Pe" in Dracoslayers? For real!)

Draco Face-Off is limited (card is broken), just like Luster Pendulum and Ignister (wow). Monkeyboard is forbidden (wow), together with the limit of Skullcrobat Joker and Sorcerer. And finally to take its head of completely, Wavering Eyes has been limited. That's one top-deck completely eliminated.

Also, surprisingly, OCG Konami paid attention to the new Magical Explosion FTK by making Life Equalizer forbidden!

But most surprising is the pre-emptive hit of the OCG towards Kozmo! Both Reasoning and Emergency teleport have become limited before even one Kozmo card hits the OCG. Wow, that's harsh.

On another note: What is with the returned cards? I'm sure many people are pleased with the return of three Books of Moon, as well as the Dragon Shrines and Malicious. But why three Allure of Darkness? Why three Mind Control? And Thousand-eyes restrict legal again? I'm not sure if I like those changes.

And while we're talking about returns...

Sangan is back from prison!


"Free at last!"

Yes, Sangan's been released from prison in the OCG, after his "Mistaken Arrest" and "Mistaken accusation"(lol). The only thing needed was a "few tweaks" in his card text. So here's the updated text (changes are in bold).

The effect of “Sangan” can only be used once per turn. When this card is sent from the field to the Graveyard: Add 1 monster with 1500 or less ATK from your Deck to your hand. If you add a monster to your hand with this effect, you cannot activate the effects of monsters with the same name during that turn.

So it's no longer useful to keep reviving Sangan during the same turn, due to the once-per-turn effect.

Sangan's story will now need a continuation now. So I expect an "Early parole" card to be released somewhere in the future, with artwork of Sangan being freed with a few "parole rules" in place (lol).

Where's the TCG list?

Ever since the OCG and TCG banlist split apart, it's harder to predict what OCG changes will be adopted intp the TCG F&L list. But the ones I think will be adapted into TCG are:

  • Life Equalizer Forbidden
  • Monkeyboard Forbidden (instead of limited)
  • Draco Face-Off & Ignister Limited
  • Wavering Eyes Limited
  • Emergency Teleport Limited
  • Reasoning & Monster Gate Limited
  • Dante limited

So as to the question: "Why hasn't Konami posted the new list yet?", the previously listed cards have a few pointers, right?
A lot of these cards have been reprinted in the latest Gold Series (and in the OTS pack). Konami can't really hit the cards they're trying to sell right now, right?

This is why I expect the TCG list to not be revealed until (at least) half of April, to be in effect from May 1st (just before the new booster is released).

Effect on current meta in OCG?

YGOrganization has posted a few OCG tournament results from places that have adapted the new list already. the results aren't really surprising. With all top decks gone, pepole are now just throwing working engines together to try and see what "sticks" around. The speedroid engine, Phantom Knight engine, Quantum engine, Magician engine etc. So that's why there's suddenly weird decks like Speedroid Abyss Monarchs or Artifact Abyss Madolche (lol).

Other older decks are also profiting from this massive top-tier slaughter. Suddenly decks like Satellar, Evilswarm and even an updated version of the classic anti-meta deck are topping again.

Afterword

Anyway, the road is now open again for Konami to give the OCG a new expansion with brand new power cards and archetypes. And it's needed, because the Shiranui, Dinomist and Amorphage archetypes haven't really done anything (yet).

Until next time, V out.

3 March 2016

Starter Deck 2016: Bears, Flying Squirrels and tons of Hippo's (but no Pendulum Sorcerer)

I shortly mentioned the Starter Deck in a previous post and didn't give it much afterthought because I thought that everybody knew what Starter Decks were about. But when talking to people on a regional last weekend (obviously talking about the Gold Series reprints), the Yuuya starter deck was brought up (which is already weird) and everybody was talking about how Pendulum Sorcerer will "definitely" be in there.

I was baffled and tried to explain reality, but they were so hung-over on "how Konami is killing the second-hand market" and how "everything is getting a reprint" that they're forgetting one thing: What is the purpose of a Starter Deck?

Starter Decks: A first step for new players to enter the game

Have you ever really analyzed the content of a Starter Deck? It always contains cards aimed at NEW players. People who have no idea as to what to play yet. People who probably haven't done anything but playing the Yugioh videogames and watching the animes.

The cards in a starter deck are hardly ever overpowered. They're no "absolute must-haves". But they're a starting point until you have a sight about what Yu-Gi-Oh is about in real life and you have an idea about what to play exactly.

After obtaining a Starter Deck, a new player is almost always pushed into the direction of Structure Decks; these are the next step. A structure deck provides a single deck strategy and also has cards that are useful in Yu-Gi-Oh in general.

Each structure deck provides building blocks which lay upon that first block of a starter deck. After that, you're ready to decide a deck; either one built from one of the structure decks (3 copies of the Monarch structure deck and you have a working deck, for example), or buying boosters/tins or buying single cards and deck cores from other players.

But everything starts with a Starter deck (in Konami's eyes). Though reality has it that most people skip the starter deck all together. Because most people realize that only a little amount of cards are actually useful.

A Starter Deck is not a Structure Deck

The fact that there's a difference between Starter and Structure decks apparently confuses a lot of people. I've seen lots of people that seem to mix up the two or don't know the difference between the two. And it doesn't helped that they're packed in a very similar matter. I've seen many people become disappointed when they see the Starter deck, thinking that it's just another Structure deck that sucks.

What a starter deck does not have compared to structure decks is reprints of powerful or formerly OCG promo cards. Thus the chance you'll run into cards like Battle Fader, Tragoedia, Night beam or Breakthrough Skill in these is very low. Let alone a Pendulum Sorcerer (Not happening! Keep dreaming!).

The reality is that the average "good" cards in a Starter Deck are usually limited to MST, Dark Hole, Book of Moon and a few basic traps like Mirror Force or Torrential Tribute. Yes, cards like Raigeki or Bottomless Trap hole are usually considered too good for a Starter deck! That's saying something, isn't it?

Only if the Starter Deck is a good character-related starter deck, there's a few good character-specific cards that are useful (like the Synchron cards in the Yusei starter decks). But not every starter deck even has those.

So, is THIS starter deck a GOOD Starter deck?

YES! Yes, it is. I've been looking at the new cards created and by god, there are a few REALLY interesting new cards in here! Of all the new cards revealed so far (10), the following are interesting.

Performapal King Bear (Scale 7, Lv 6)

Pendulum Effect: During the End Phase, if this card was activated this turn: You can destroy this card, and if you do, add to your hand, 1 Level 7 or higher monster among the face-up Pendulum Monsters in your Extra Deck and the monsters in your Graveyard.
Monster Effect: This Attack Position card cannot be destroyed by Spell/Trap effects. This card gains 100 ATK for each "Performapal" card you control during your Battle Phase only.

So basically it's a different version of Odd-Eyes Pendulum Dragon. but in this case, instead of searching for a limited amount of Pendulum monsters from your deck, this time you're re-adding Lv 7 or higher monsters from the extra deck or your grave (read: detached Xyz materials) back to your hand.

Also, read that card text carfully. The way it's worded now, the monster you recycle from the graveyard... doesn't have to be a Pendulum monster. This way, you might as well be recycling cards like High Priestess, Kozmo Dark Destroyer or a frigging Mega Monarch.

Performapal Carpet Momonga: Scale 7 (lv 3)

Pendulum Effect: Unless you have a card in your other Pendulum Zone, destroy this card. Halve all battle damage you take.
Monster Effect: FLIP: You can target 1 Set card on the field; destroy it.
If this card is Special Summoned: You can change this card to face-down Defense Position.

Ignore its Pendulum effect, because the times it'll be used that way are slim (though not non-existent). What IS interesting however, is the monster effect!

Carpet Momonga is a Beast that destroyes SET cards when flipped face-up (both backrow and monsters, thus), but it also allows itself to be set face-down when special summoned! And it being a Pendulum monster means it could basically be special summoned every turn. Use this card in combination with cards like Quaking Mirror Force, Book of Moon, Swords of Consealing Light or even Ghostrick Monsters in general and you can cause lots of destruction. That's hilarious and an absolute must-have for troll decks!

Super Hippo Carnival (quick-play spell card)

Special Summon 1 "Performapal Hip Hippo" from your hand, Deck, or Graveyard, then you can Special Summon as many "Hippo Tokens" (Beast-Type/EARTH/Level 1/ATK 0/DEF 0) as possible. These Tokens cannot be Tributed. You cannot Special Summon monsters from the Extra Deck while a "Hippo Token" is in a Monster Zone. For the rest of this turn after this card resolves, if you Special Summoned a "Hippo Token" by this effect, your opponent cannot target monsters for attacks, except "Hippo Tokens".

Again, read that carefully. The tokens are optional, but you will always get Hip Hippo.

Performapal Hip Hippo suddenly turned from a "meh" card to a card you can summon from anywhere, anytime you want (safe the banished zone) and use for Xyz or Synchro shenanigans. And with Hippo being a Lv 3 Earth Beast, you have easier access to LOTS of monsters (most prominently Naturia Beast and Barkion)

Also, since it's another rendition of Scapegoat, you can still use it and the tokens during your opponent's turn to prevent you from being OTK'd.

When?

This Starter deck is set for release on March 19th in the OCG. So I guess we'll see the full contents around that time. But I think the "most exciting" cards from this starter deck have already been revealed.

The TCG will get this at the end of May (26/27th). Still quite a few months away, but enough time to see if anyone actually will use any of these new cards.

Until next time, V out.