December 4, 2012

The release of Set 27: Hero's Ascension is less than two weeks away and, as a result, the players are scrambling to order boxes and cases in time for Christmas. The card list is almost complete and today we have another card to add to it, but before we get into it let's take a stroll down memory lane. If you haven't gotten the gist of the preview yet, it's a Rock Lee.

 But let's show you some other versions of this Rock Lee.

In Set 13: Fateful Reunion we got this. This was the first Rock Lee in "Eight Gates Mode", however he lacked a different name like all other Rock Lee in Gates Mode. This one had a Hand Cost which immediately lowered his playability however Growth made it a little better. His stats were actually mediocre on Turn 1, resembling the stats of certain 0 Drops. His effect was actually pretty cool though; he could sacrifice himself to take out one of your opponent's Ninjas with an Entrance Cost of 1 or less. The only problem was there were better Ninjas in Lightning's repertoire at the time.

In Set 16: Broken Promise we got a Gates Lee in the form of a Squad. The Squad had limited use due to the strict limit of playable Byakugan, Neji, Rock Lee, and Taijutsu Jutsu cards in format at the time. If used it was mainly just a beatstick. Nonetheless, Gates Lee was in the picture.

A set later, Set 17: Will of Fire brought us a Gates Lee that saw lots of play. Many Lightning decks that were aggressive, not just NvS, utilized this Lee. His potential to be a 5/2 if you under-dropped made him a great 0 Drop. Swinging for 2 Battle Rewards on Turn 1 is nothing to scoff at. Not to mention he also had Growth to make him a 4/1 1/1, possible 6/3 1/1.

Now, in Set 27: Hero's Ascension, we have a Gates Lee that is a combination of the other two non-Squad Gates Lee's. Like the Set 13 Lee it is a Turn 1 with mediocre stats, however like the Set 17 Lee, he can easily become a 5 Combat just for the cost of 1 Lightning Chakra. Now, at first, this Lee looks like something only good in Limited Format. This may be true but he does have other uses. Remember that NvS is still a deck. Some may dislike the Damage trade-off. Let me remind you that we still have lots of heal cards such as Karin. Also, being a Turn 1 Lightning Ninja means the newly reprinted Messenger Ninja can hit him.

To be fair, I do have some grievances about the card. We never get a Rock Lee (Gates Mode) or something to that effect when we have perfectly good art for it. If this card was a Reinforcement with better stats on Turn 2 maybe, possibly a 5/2 3/0 or something, it would see more play. Another thing is the lack of keywords. He's the perfect Ninja to have Burst. So what if he could get really big on the turn he gets played? Also, I'm aware that Desperation is something that Lightning Ninjas do not have but it would have been very tasteful for him to have it. The Eight Inner Gates is a last resort, something you have to be desperate to utilize. Lightning's newly obtained keyword, Flashpoint, could have been cool with him if his effect was "When this Ninja is put in play, it gets +2/+0 during the turn." or something like that. 

Nonetheless this Lee is by no means bad. He's actually pretty decent, even above average considering Messenger Ninja is back. I mean, we still have Vanilla Lee and Drunk Lee so he won't see much play until after Rotation, when the game is a lot slower and a +2/+0 on Turn 1 might be very relevant. Like many other cards in Set 27: Hero's Ascension, this Lee sets the tone for the next Block Rotation. 

Please leave comments, questions, and concerns either below or in our thread on Bandai.

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