December 19, 2012

Everyone knows both Shino'sDad and I love Water; it's our favorite element. I was lucky enough to have the honor of reviewing it in today's Comparative Strengths. Remember that Shino'sDad will go over Wind tomorrow and finish off this week with Fire on Saturday (Our most astute readers will see the change up). As for me, my last review will be Friday with Lightning. Be on the look out for them because we'll be taking the most of next week off.
Water has always been one of the strongest elements in the Naruto CCG. Since Set 1 it has dominated the format through powerful Jutsu, strong resource control, and, heavily until this format, the ability to play most, if not all, of their Ninjas from their Chakra area. Water was always my favorite to play, and I usually only played it, under the title of bestrapperalive.dec. These past few sets Water has watered down, excuse the bad humor, and has not seen play; this set might change that.

Set 27: Hero's Ascension brings seems to increase the playability of Water thanks to many powerful effects. The Mission lineup got a long overdue renovation with many powerful effects, however nothing needed was given. Water, as far as I am concerned, was at its best during the ages of No-Hand Water. A constant system of speed, Chakra generation, and counters were at its disposal, just for having two or less cards in hand. It's true this was a powerful deck, but I think Bandai has been wanting to revisit this theme.

Why would they do that?

Well they've printed a card or two that work in No-Hand Water over the past few sets. In addition, Water hasn't gotten any real draw or speed Missions for a while. Their best draw/speed Mission is Struggle, and that's only based on your opponent's moves. Lastly, Tylar did mention Water not having a real flow or theme, so they might revisit older themes; Chakra destruction was just revisited.

Enough about the old Water, we're here to talk about the new Water. This format Water seems to be gaining aspects of control. This is apparent in several Ninjas and Missions, some of which that will be discussed later on. This control Water, just like Chakra destruction Water, lacks Hand late in the game. Hopefully, something can fix that in the upcoming sets. For the most part, I foresee Water being paired up with another element; most likely Fire due to its excessive draw power

Now that we've discussed Water's place in the ecosystem known as the Naruto CCG meta, let's actually get into the cards that are found in Set 27: Hero's Ascension, namely the best five or six. Now, the reason why we went from best-to-worst order on the first article was due to Void having several cards in the Top 5 that bare extreme relation to one another. I couldn't discuss the power of the Client without discussing the Mission and the usefulness of the Mission without discussing the Jutsu. For Water, fortunately, I can. So, you're fifth best Water card in Set 27: Hero's Ascension is...

5. Utakata

Utakata has to be one of my, if not only,Water Ninja(s) of this set. He was also, along with Sora, one of the most unexpected Ninjas in the set. Utakata is one of the control cards I was talking about before; his effect is extremely strong on Turn 3 and rewards you for playing Mist Ninjas, a concept that was usually attributed to Leaf and Sand Ninjas. Utakata is also great in that he is not dead in the late game. If you've built your field of Mist Ninjas, which isn't too hard to do in Water if you make slight adjustments, you can move some higher turn Ninjas off of the board. But how exactly are you going to move these Ninjas off the board?

A quick run of the Card Search Engine and browse through the Post Rotation Legality List puts us at 8 different Mist Ninja you can play. There are a few that we can eliminate immediately from our deck. These would be Kurosuki Gang, Chojuro, and Ao. The former for obvious reasons of weakness, the latter two due to their Entrance Cost and the competition for those slots. Maybe new Kurosuki Ninjas will be made, and better versions of the Mist Bodyguards will be printed to increase the Utakata's range, but for now we're stuck with a few playable Mist Ninjas.

Zabuza and Haku have been the poster children for the Mist Village since the get-go; after twenty-seven sets, they are still relevant in the game. Although there are many other incarnations of Zabuza and Haku in format, one of each found in this set, the best two are definitely Zabuza [Blade of the Ogre] and Haku [-]. Their sole playability relies on one word on both cards: Ambush.

It's not the fact that they both have Ambush that makes them great; it's the fact that Haku has Ambush and Zabuza can put him in play for free because of it, Ambush just makes them even better. Not only is Haku a strong 2 Drop, with 2 Mental Power to boot, its very presence grants your Zabuza immunity from Jutsu. Not to mention Zabuza's effect allows you to bring out the Squad. This ability to bring out another Mist Ninja boosts Utakata's range from 0 Drops to 2 Drops. This alone makes him a pseudo-Asuma. Doesn't sound too good, right?

Well you have this lady. She sports great stats, three symbols, and a great effect in addition to her status as Kage of the Mist Village. There's not much more to say about her other than the fact that she's great overall. However, if you're interested in getting out Mist Ninja earlier so you could drop Utakata on 3 and benefit from it, then the next card is your last choice.

Mist Anbu is my favorite 0 Drop that never was. He's not the best 0 Drop, but he's not the worst either. Other than Sea Monster, Jirobo, and Hotaru, you don't really have any options. Sakon's no good since Make-Out Tactics is gone, Samidare's just Sakon but for real, and Unagi is cool with Striking Shadow Snake (I personally would play Unagi if I didn't play Mist Anbu). Mist Anbu is nice in combination with Utakata because you can have multiple of him out. If you really want to push Ninjas off of the board, you can even put Mist Anbu in play through its effect (though I don't recommend it unless you have Chakra destruction).

In theory, if you play the playable Mist Ninja, you can bounce a 6 Drop off of the board with Utakata. Let's not get into perfect scenarios though. Overall Utakata is a great card for Water. My only complaints are that it has Bubble, a useless Combat Attribute, and doesn't have Flashpoint, because I like broken cards.

4. Kimimaro

Another control card for Water, this time in the form of a Kimimaro. What's interesting, and good, about this card is that it not only controls the board, but Chakra as well. Consequently, if they don't have Chakra, they don't get Healthy Ninjas upon deployment. The problem is, he only hits late Ninjas. If his effect was given to, say, a 2 Drop, it would be much stronger, probably too strong. But if you're on Turn 6 and you don't wish too keep him on the board any longer, why not go State 2 (I bet at least 60% of you forgot about him)?

Other than that, he's a pretty straight forward Ninja. He's your average Kimimaro, nothing more. I don't have many complaints about him except that he could have had Burst just for fun  The only real problem is that he competes for the Turn 4 spot with Ninjas such as Sasuke and Aoi.

3. Alliance of Evil

This is probably one of the coolest Missions that kill Chakra. Not only is it available for every element, it can be a -1 from Hand to kill everyone's Chakra. The card is pretty straightforward to be honest. It will definately see sideboard play against many decks, however some elements may stick to their own tools. Earth has Clear Sky, which is one sided despite the -3, and Lightning has Exhaustion, which can have you even out.

2. Forceful Persuasion

This is one of those cards that everyone loves and I don't care for. Despite this, I understand its power and it deserves the second place spot it was given. The ability to call 0 and knock out all of your opponent's Jutsu is nothing to scoff at, not to mention you get to look at your opponent's Hand, an action that is very strong by itself. This actually stops the Revitalize deck in their tracks. Moving their 3 Spontaneous Tree Summoning to Chakra really hurts them.

If you know their Hand and are not worried about Jutsu you can have this card be a 2 for X and knock out their Ninjas. The card itself is powerful and deserves the Turn 5 Entrance Cost it has. This offers the aspect of Hand Control to Water, a mechanic Water had for a bit every now and then. This card's sheer power makes it a great way to end games, however Mission negation is still around...

1. Dark Aspirations

Remember this card?

Well it's that but you know what your opponent gets, it doesn't generate Chakra, and you can play three copies of it. You're gonna have like 3 cards in hand anyway, so why not?

Honorable Mention: A Show of Power

Honestly, I was like you guys. I thought this card was really good, too good, when I first saw it. And in theory, it is. However, when we sat down and played with it, it did nothing but -2 my Hand and build 2 Chakra. Why was this card not as good as it seemed? Mainly because it's all your opponent's choice. Water's had its fair share of these type of cards, and none of them saw play; putting 3 of these effects on one card didn't help it much. They give 1 Damage to a Ninja that injures well or they can heal it with Karin. They discard a card they don't need and then draw four the next turn with Warhawk. They discard 2 Chakra and get it back in a turn. My final words? Meh.

That's it for now. I'm not too sorry that the paragraphs got shorter and shorter as they went, mainly because I don't care for most of the cards in the top five or six. I only really like a few of them but feel inclined to play most of the rest due to how good they are. Check back tomorrow for Shino'sDad going at it with Wind.

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