December 17, 2012

Welcome to the Comparative Strengths, the segment where we take a look at the six elements in the new set and discuss them and their effect on the game as whole. We'll also be including the top five cards of the element for the set and maybe some honorable mentions. This week we have the six elements all in a row for you. We both alternated in selecting one of the six elements so we won't necessarily be getting the same elements each set. Today we have for you Void, Tuesday will be Earth, Wednesday Water, Thursday Fire, Friday Lightning, and Saturday Wind.

Void, as always, got the least amount of cards this set, 12 to be exact. The reprint of old Void staples make up for this, but will not be included in this article. Now, Void is a deck that I've never liked. I always thought it was too "iffy". I felt if you had a bad early game, you were done for since most of your Ninjas have Sacrifice. This set changes that in many ways with the introduction of The Spiral of Pain and a Client version of Madara Uchiha .

Void actually seems very, very viable this set. After slight playtesting back in November (it was really just the Pain Starter Deck versus the Naruto Starter Deck), it seemed that the Void Deck could actually do a lot on its own. The deck still had the chance of opening badly, but the chance is reduced due to the incredible amount of draw the deck has and the aforementioned Spiral and Madara. Not only does the deck have great speed, it also has great force. Our number one pick is probably the best Void Jutsu in the game. Not to mention the great effects provided by the new Deva Path and all the other reprinted Paths.

In short, Void appears to be a playable, competitive deck this format. The majority of our top five Void picks will be three-of's in the deck for sure. It appears as if Set 27 ascended both the hero and the villain. Let's get right right into it.

1. Almighty Push

The "best Void Jutsu in the game" is another Almighty Push. This card is too ridiculous to be a Starter Deck Exclusive, it even surpasses its original incarnation. If you remember Rinnegan, this card is that with better effects, more of a cost but more Users; every single Pain Ninja in your Deck can use this card. The cost being X | X seems hefty, but not really. Basically, for every two Chakra you pay, on odd turns you can Stand-By a Ninja, or draw a card from the bottom of your Deck. If you have the new Deva Path in play, you get both effects; if the Deva Path is the User, you Stand-By a Ninja and/or draw a card from the bottom of your Deck for each Chakra you pay. This card is a win condition for the new Void Deck. Swinging with three teams of five with tons of Chakra, from all the draw of the deck, and negation such as Hand of Pain or Preta Path, will usually spell game.

2. The Speed Spiral of Pain

This is probably the best Void Mission in the game; do you see a trend? Spiral of Pain triggers each time your Turn Marker is moved, that can be up or down, with no limit to the number of cards you draw per turn. With all the cards that move your Turn Marker, especially in the Void Deck, in addition to manual movement of your Turn Marker due to game mechanics, you will usually draw at least three cards off of this Mission. As if that wasn't good enough, if you ever find yourself lacking a Ninja or Client to Sacrifice, you can just move the Mission to your Chakra area as a "Sacrifice".

Fortunately, to avoid abuse of non-Void Reinforcements in the Void Deck, they made it so it only works on Void Ninja, however if you can manage to change the Symbols of Ninjas in your Reinforcement Deck, then go crazy with it. Cool, techy move you can do with this card: You can send it to your Chakra area for its effect during your opponent's turn as well. Now, that's not really helpful but if you ever need an extra Chakra during your opponent's turn, it's there. Also, this is a little combo oriented and deck specific, but if your Earth deck ever wants to tech this card in the sideboard and play Puppet Curse, you can move the Mission to your Chakra during your opponent's turn and play Puppet Curse to play one of their Paths from their Deck ignoring the Sacrifice. Just a cool little thing you won't do but have the option to.

3. Madara Uchiha
The best Void Client in the game.

When this Client was initially previewed, it got acclaim for three reasons: The first was the fact that it was the first, new, Client we've seen in over ten sets. The second was that it was the first time a previously printed Ninja was printed as a Client. The third was that, in theory, it allowed you to deploy a Path ignoring Sacrifice every turn.

This theory was better on paper that it was in actual testing. Madara was just used to fuel The Sprial of Pain for an extra draw every turn. We never were able to pull off the effect of drawing a card if your Turn Marker was 1 (Yes there was an errata). Why? Because there was no optimal time to use it. If you use that effect, you're in one of two situations.

1. You are early in the game and do not wish to/cannot increase your Turn Marker.

2. You exhausted your Turn Marker with effects such as the new Deva Path or the reprinted Itachi.

The former means you are in a losing position and will most likely continue in your steady decline. The latter is an acceptable mean of using Madara's effect, however, if you've utilized Deva Path and Itachi's effects in that manner, you were most likely trying to make your Almighty Push go through. That would either win you the game or put you in a winning position. Basically, the Madara Client is not as good as people think it is. If it wasn't fueling Spiral, it was used as Sacrifice fodder. Nonetheless, it will probably see play.

4. OutKast
Nice homage to Andre 3000 and Big Boi.

This is definitely an interesting effect in the Naruto CCG; it screams Creature Swap from Yu-Gi-Oh! To be honest, we aren't really too sure how much play this card will see. It is a unique effect that can be utilized well if the opponent has a small amount of Ninjas to choose from. There are a few combos that can work with the card but they aren't very good. The first that comes to mind is Neji in a Burst/top card oriented deck. The card might just be a cool idea that didn't flesh out.

5. Kakuzu
The best Void Ninja in the game.

This obviously a rehash of this Kakuzu, except it has the ability to be played in four more elements. This is another Void card that could either be popular or not played at all. The obvious combo that comes to mind is him with Jonin's Intervention and a Flashpoint Ninja card in your Discard Pile. This would let him stay in play for the remainder of the game, unless there is a ruling against it by Bandai. He's very techy in that he lets you reuse your Ninja effects without actually having to play them. He can pick up the effects of Sasuke or Jugo and go into Susano'o or go State 2, respectively. Only time will tell.

Honorable Mention: The Lord's Convene
Bingo Book + Musings of a Hermit 

I personally like(d) both Bingo Book and Musings of a Hermit so I'm a fan of this card. I feel like it's a neat pseudo-tutor for every element. I don't really see it being played in many decks but it is a nice card to have. The ability to open without a 0 Drop but with this is a nice thought, even though you'll be going -2 on Turn 0. However, it does generate two early Chakra. Again, time will tell.

That's it for today, come back tomorrow for Shino'sDad reviewing Earth. This one might have been a little more brief than we wanted it to be, considering Void only had 12 cards and the whole deck was revitalized this Set. Set 27: Hero's Ascension is in stores now, go pick some up.

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