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The demon of the cloud village
This deck is known across the land as Balrog’s Rebuttal. This deck has changed the face of the metagame across the country and has forced players to change their decks to be ready to face this strategy.
When I first got to Gencon, the first thing I did was head to the Naruto room and see if I knew anyone. The first person I ran into was Dave Moll, a player who I had met at Origins in Columbus and had become friends with. Dave was a very solid player, and I was hoping to test out some of my new ideas against him. In truth, I thought I was very ready for mental battles, and I could look into Ibiki’s scared face and laugh! As we took out our decks, and started to chat, Dave assured me that he wasn’t really running a mental deck, and I completely didn’t believe him. As the game progressed he played First Cunin, and longingly wished I had already side decked – I thought Ninja Info Card would completely give me the advantage. I was wrong.
I managed to make it though the feature event without playing Dave, but I knew he was playing well. We both ended Day One with one loss, but I had heard from everyone that his loss was complete luck, even from the man that had given him that loss. After the tournament, when I came back to my cozy corner of the Could Village, a couple of the very good players in my area had decided to net deck Dave’s deck. And now that I have seen it across the table from me over and over, I can see why.
For starters, it’s cheap. It only runs two super rares, and in truth, for the economic player, those could easily be replaced with a rare with only a marginal impact. Second, it wins games. Period. What I first mistook for a completely mental strategy turned out to be a mission based control deck. When Dave first told me that he was only running 5 jutsus, I thought he was joking, but it works. The mental battles let you control the tempo and the battles, giving you precious time to draw into cards that can completely change the game. Lets take a look at all the different kind of control logic that is set up by the ninjas, then we’ll move to the jutsus and missions.
You’ll notice at first that there are 25 ninjas. This is important in this deck because not only does he need to ensure that he has ninjas to play to keep his village full, but also provides cards to discard for missions once you already have a copy of that ninja on the field. You’ll see formation, kinda. Here, Chubby Choji was chosen because it is more versatile than his Formation brother. While Formation with Chubby is a mere 8, as opposed to 9, Chubby and Temari are a deadly 5 that can only an AOC Sasuke and Temari can handle. A team power of 8 by turn 2, is still really hard to beat.
3 N-071 Shikamaru Nara
His other one drops include Sakura, who is truthfully one of
the best cards in the set. Not only will it provide a 3
support as early as turn 1, but her three mental power is
second only to Shika. Kabuto adds a moderate mental power
and give access to a water ninja, which will be important
3 N-069 Sakura Haruno
Ibiki is stall card number one, plus he allows you to get battle rewards or waste chump blockers. He has a moderate combat and can usually grab two rewards if he’s not blocked. Tonbo just helps fill out the curve. The ruling on Ibiki has changed since Gencon. At Gencon, if Ibiki was in the battle, it was mental no matter what happened to him. Now, he has to be healthy and on the field at the beginning of the showdown step to initiate the mental battle. This does affect the strength of this deck.
3 N-052 Ibiki Morino
Finally, we see all of the 4 drop jonin. They are here to provide beef, and to give access to jonin level jutsus. The 4 drops fit this deck well because they don’t require a hand costs, as this deck runs to many missions, it can’t afford to waste cards on jonins. This also gives quick acess back to jonins after great breakthrough.
2 N-038 Kurenai Yuhi
The jutsus are simple, wind scythe is for negation, to stop any kind of game ending jutsu, and great breakthrough resets the board, either if your in trouble, or if you’re only a couple of battle rewards away from winning it’ll open up the field so you can reap some easy ones. You should only play great breakthrough on your opponents turn.
Ah, the missions. The gold of this deck. First Chunin Exam is a stall card, and a card that lets you beat up on your opponent. Most fire-water or aggro builds only have one or two mental power at the most on a team. A team with Shika and Sakura would mean an overwhelming defeat. It’ll hold off your opponent for a few turns. Sakura’s Decision is the only guaranteed plus one in the game if you use it with Sakura. This card will help you draw into your other cards. If you don’t have the money for this card, you could always play Inner Sakura or One morning – both provide excellent draw power.
Cheating prevention and Pass permit are free rewards. Dave runs 4 out of the 5 elements, and normally he has access to a team that can grab two rewards that you won’t be able to block. Additionally, Cheating prevention can be deadly. If playing a player with little or not mental, you can get as much as six rewards by splitting up Sakura, Shika and the rest of your one mental powers. Either of these cards can be game ending.
This deck is truly a novel build. There might have been other mental, or even mental hybid decks at Gencon, but Dave’s play and specific deck building choices put his star a bit above the rest. If you’re looking for more info about the Deck or want to hear Dave talk about his deck, you can hit the Bandai Forums: http://www.bandaicg.com/naruto/showthread.php?t=7799&highlight=rebuttal
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