With Draft Box 4 came the introduction of, for the time, the best battle card the game had ever seen. Great Ape Bardock, Raider’s Warcry offered a two energy, 20k double striker, that tapped something, drew a card, and was played during the combo step which at the time would take yellow from not only the best color in the game, but instead the most oppressive as time would continue on. Yellow Broly leader would be errata’d, but then shortly after the release of Series 8, Surgeku would be released and the game would never be the same… until the introduction of Series 10.
Unisons and Scaling
With the release of Rise of the Unison Warrior came a new normal – being on the play, with a Unison was the best thing you could be doing. A Unison basically has Deflect and Barrier, and once on the field provides additional actions per turn, virtual/actual card advantage, a threat that requires multiple efforts to be dispatched, and they enable free interaction. This amount of value for your energy is unlike anything we have ever seen in the Dragon Ball Super Card Game, and with this new shift in scaling at the two energy slot Raider’s Warcry went from being good all of the time, to being good in very specific spots: turn 2 on the play and turn 2 on the draw if your opponent doesn’t have access to removal. Even then you’re going to point your Warcry attacks at the opposing player’s Unison, which allows the game to continue on longer and cause it to be out-scaled anyway. Lastly, Unisons have also made the combo step more difficult to prey upon as your opponent can remove your ability to combo entirely by pointing their attacks at your Unison. You of course have the option forgo the use of Unisons, but see the point above where I talk about how much a Unison is worth compared to a Battle Card.
The Increase of Power and Losing Tempo
Alongside the introduction of Unisons making the application of Raider’s Warcry much more narrow, the card in general has become much worse on defense due to how powerful battle cards are becoming earlier in the game. If your leader is unawakened and facing down a 20k attack, you’re having to combo Raider’s plus an additional card to defend the attack. Yes, Raider’s will replace itself but as you’re aware, the minus 1 over time always takes a toll as the game continues to scale; let us not forget the introduction of an entire archetype built around free 30k’s heading into Series 11.
Along with that increase of power causing Raider’s to be worse, the game is becoming much more tempo based. Not doing something powerful on your turn for a chance to leave up two energy for Raider’s Warcry is such a feel bad in this new world. Just think about how energy intensive and powerful these new archetypes have ended up being, and now think about ever leaving up more than 1 energy on your turns… it feels so bad. 1 energy has become so powerful due to the introduction of floodgates and tapping out with a Unison while holding up a free counter: play is just so much better than leaving two open or actually committing to spend that two energy on an ape.
The Power of Negates and the Need for Floodgates
Above we referenced the increase of power when it comes to Battle Cards, this simple fact has led to a higher reliance on negates as opposed to the combo step to stave off attacks. In fact, if a player combos multiple cards as opposed to negating the attack it is actually a sign of weakness that the opposing player will then prey upon. With the increase of negates, combined with the impact of Unisons, the overall number of combo steps is drastically reduced; this makes Raider’s Warcry a huge liability.
With the importance of negates skyrocketing, and the new, powerful engines producing an abundance of huge attacks, floodgates become a necessary evil. A floodgate for 3 or less energy is just so much better than trying to leverage a Raider’s Warcry to potentially stop an attack or two; it just isn’t good enough in the world we live in now. Why just stop a small number of attacks when you can stop an entire turn? There is honestly no reason to try and leverage your two energy in a fashion where you’re only taking small steps when you need to be taking leaps.
The Original Raider’s Warcry
Not the same card by any means, but Goten was once the best Battle Card in the game; so much so that he was added to the ban list during the time of “Storm”. With the recent unbanning of Goten a lot of players have already began to start brewing new decks featuring Successor of Hope, Adoptive Father Son Gohan, Goten, etc. I even joined in by testing Goten with Galactic Frieza leader from series 1 so that my Goten would have built-in protection. The data from the games played produced the result I had expected: the deck and the cards you’re forced to play get out-scaled so ridiculously fast by any deck playing new cards. I know that playing with Galactic Frieza isn’t exciting, but even if you port over the cards into yellow Gotenks you’ll run into the same scaling problem.
There is hope in some brews I have been seeing with Reboot Gohan leader that try to mimic “Storm”, but ultimately those decks will fade away due to the information we have gone over here today. Shout-outs to the folks in our discord for some neat lists. Be sure to check out the contact page so you can join if you haven’t already.
It is so important now more than ever to pay attention to the details of your testing. Games have the ability to scale so fast that every energy and card used on a given turn needs to be given additional thought. Deciding what to charge, what play to commit to, how much defense is needed, and what your opponent can do require more attention now than they have in the past due to the power level increases. In series 10 games on average would be decided by turn 4.5/5, in series 11 it is looking closer to 3.5/4 which is quite a difference if you really begin to think about it. To clarify a bit, I am speaking of the turn in which a game starts becoming overwhelming tilted to one side, not necessarily when the game is actually over. Take sometime over the next few weeks and try to spend more time on these more micro types of decisions, I am certain it will do a ton of good in your overall development heading into the release of Vermilion Bloodlines. Happy testing ❤