January 26, 2013

Alright everyone, Mull to Four should be back into the swing of things, and not only because of preview season revving up again, but also to dole out plenty of other information on the game as well as deck articles and game commentaries.

Although, as you can probably tell from the title of this entry, today we are going to be talking about the newest set being released in March, Set 28 Ultimate Ninja Storm 3. Coinciding with the release of the new video game of the same name, it seems Bandai has gone into full cross promotion mode, as every card in the set will feature images from the game itself as well as including nearly every Ninja that is in the game as well.  Find out more after the jump...

If you've been keeping track of the previews via Facebook, you'll notice that they've begun previewing the revived Seven Swordsmen of the Mist, as well as their signature Jutsu. These previews give us a lot of information about the set as a whole that I will go into further later on in this article. What I'm most excited to talk about though is the fact that we here at Mull to Four were fortunate enough to once again receive exclusive previews for this upcoming set. In Set 27, Hero's Ascension, we were given a few Lightning cards to review that weren't outstanding, but interesting none the less. This time around, we have SEVEN exclusive previews for everyone that we will slowly be releasing along with a completing review article over the next several weeks. I don't want to give away too much about them, but a few of them are very interesting discussion topics for one reason or another, as well as a special surprise at the very end.

Another thing that we'll be doing as previews on Facebook are released is reviewing them in detail here on Mull to Four. We'll only be doing this with Facebook previews from Bandai though, any exclusive previews from other sites will be left entirely to them, as we have no intention of stifling their viewer flow, just as we'd ask the same of anyone else for our previews.

With that in mind, I'm going to dive right into the first few previews posted by Bandai over the last couple days, starting with the big reveal of what we're going to be looking forward to in the new set from a Mission that spells it out and a Ninja that demonstrates it.

Mist's Greatest Swordsmen and Haku

Mist's Greatest Swordsmen is a card that is brimming with information about the new set. A Permanent Void Mission that lets us ignore Sacrifice on [IMPURE RESURRECTION  Ninjas tells us that all of the revived Ninjas in the set are going to have the effect name [IMPURE RESURRECTION  as well as have Sacrifice of some kind. The 2nd effect at first leads us to believe that it just offers us an outlet of card filtering for the deck, with the added bonus of Desperation letting us utilize the effect twice per turn later in the game. Once we take a look at Haku though, we realize that the 2nd effect of Mist's Greatest Swordsmen is there to let us set up our effects of the [IMPURE RESURRECTION] Ninjas. By RFGing (Removing from the game) a Haku in either player's Discard Pile when Haku is put in play, we get an additional Ninja deploy that turn. This is a nod back to Haku [SUPERHUMAN SPEED] from Quest for Power, who let you flip a coin when he was put in play, and if the coin was heads, you were able to deploy an extra Ninja during the turn. The new Haku portrays him as he was when he was revived by Kabuto's Impure World Resurrection Jutsu, thus he has the effect name, requires a sacrifice of 1 Ninja, and is just Void.

Mist's Greatest Swordsmen will be an automatic 3 of for any deck that plans to run a high number of [IMPURE RESURRECTION] Ninjas, with extra support in the form of Spiral of Pain, which can alleviate the Sacrifice cost of any Void Ninja, as well as Madara Uchiha, who can remove Sacrifice in exchange for lowering your Turn Marker by 1. Haku is overstated for a Turn 2 Ninja, which fits from having to Sacrifice a Ninja in order to get him in play (unless you cheat around it with the prior mentioned cards), and if you happen to have an extra Haku in your Discard Pile, or better yet, if you opponent does, you get an extra Deploy too. The problem with this deck that I see is that if you plan to run any [IMPURE RESURRECTION  Ninjas in the deck, you are going to almost Have to run 3 of them, in order to give you any real shot at getting the bonus effects from them that all require an extra Ninja of the same name in either Discard Pile. It also means that mirror matches for the deck will be all sorts of strategic fun, having to be mindful of what is in your Discard Pile due to your opponent possibly being able to make use of your own resources.

Jinin Akebino and Helmsplitter's Rush

Jinin reveals some interesting information. All of the Seven Swordsmen it seems will both curve in Turn Marker, retain Mist, and also have Jonin. Curving is going to be important if you plan on having any sort of a functional Deck that uses them all, which is where The Four Sound Ninja decks failed for the longest time back when they were all always Turn 3. Mist is obvious, but means that we have more support for Utakata [Snapwave], a Mull to Four Ninja favorite. Jonin is hardly important when it comes to Block Format, but those who are interested in Unlimited now have very early users for very powerful Jutsu. Jinin himself is a 5/0 on Turn 1, which is pretty good. Even Tsukado is only a 4, though Tsukado is also Valid and gets bigger every time he Attacks, so this is a terrible comparison anyways. His effect isn't based on any prior card really, but rather, in exchange for a copy of Jinin from either Discard Pile, smashes a Ninja's Power by -4/-4, with the bonus of giving 1 Damage to that Ninja if it has “Weapon”. This just makes the mirror matches all the more heart breaking, as Jinin vs Jinin is going to result in whoever pulls the trigger Last. Although, he is Valid, so it would just be a bad day for Both Jinin, resulting in a Draw and a trip to the Discard Pile.

Helmsplitter's Rush, showcasing Jinin's signature weapon, the dual combo of an axe and a hammer designed to deliver a one-two punch, is a Jutsu usable by any “Weapon” Ninja, so this means that Weapon decks as a whole are getting a boost that they've been waiting for since Sage's Legacy when the three Cloud Ninja were printed (Samui in particular, for being able to double up the Jutsu, though we'll need something that doesn't target, since she'd just double up on the same target). The Jutsu itself is a Water Prison Jutsu for any 2 Chakra that also locks the target's Power, so that they can't just increase it again with an effect after the Jutsu resolves. Of course, it isn't usable on a “Taijutsu” Ninja, even though the artwork depicts Jinin giving Might Guy an ass kicking. If the Jutsu is used by Jinin though, it turns into a Howl, as even though you just made the target 0/0, they're becoming Stand-by anyways.

Jinpachi Munashi and Spatter's Rush

Jinpachi continues the curve of the Seven Swordsmen of the Mist by coming in as a Turn 2 Ninja. Once again, as standard now, his effect requires another copy of himself in either Discard Pile, and is Valid, to avoid pesky interruption in the form of being injured. Jinpachi's effect is a hearkening back to Paper Bomb from Coils of the Snake, which is actually in format now due to a reprint in the Set 23 Invasion Lightning start deck. You target a Ninja with his effect, planting that Paper Bomb on them, and when the Showdown rolls around, if that Ninja didn't use a Jutsu at all during the turn, the bomb explodes and they take 1 Damage. He shares a Turn Marker with Haku, who might edge this guy out for that seat in any Impure Ninja deck, as getting an extra deploy is really useful, though forcing a Jutsu early game or in the event of them not having a Jutsu, giving a Damage, is also pretty good as well.

Jinpachi's signature weapon, Shibuki, is in the unfortunate position of sharing the same name as one Shibuku, the cowardly Takikage, and also being a giant toilet paper roll of exploding tags. A ridiculous weapon in presentation, but the Jutsu based on it, Spatter's Rush, is quite the opposite. 2 of any Chakra, usable by any “Weapon” Ninja, results in injuring 1 opposing Ninja as well as pumping the user by +3/+0. Early game, this card may as well read “Effect: The user wins an Outstanding Victory during this turn.”, as injuring a Ninja and getting +3/+0 will usually be more than a shift of 5 Team Power. If Jinin is the user, then it becomes even more explosive, giving Damage based on the number of unresolved Jutsu on the chain. That is just a cherry on top of a sundae that is already really good without, to the point where if that sundae never had a cherry on it, no one would care. Between this Jutsu and Helmsplitter's Rush, Spatter's Rush definitely gets the Jutsu slot. Locking a Ninja at 0/0 is nice, but it usually isn't going to be enough for an Outstanding Victory, plus Spatter's Rush can hit pesky Taijutsu Ninja.

Be sure to check back daily for more updates as we get deeper into preview season for Naruto CCG Set 28, Ultimate Ninja Storm 3. A series of articles on effect types and other rulings is in the works, and we should have some interesting testing videos for decks that might appear in the upcoming Jonin Events starting in March. Be sure to check out our Youtube Channel and Facebook page as well.

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