Analysis: Top 5 Evolutions in the
January 2005 Metagame
From the game tables to the message boards Duel Masters players can argue passionately about what cards are the best and why. Many of us will have a handful of favorites and be able to argue why those cards are better than any other cards out there – morning, noon and night. It’s not until we place each of those cards up against each other in an equal test can we truly come of a conclusion. So, which cards are the best? What cards deserve to be wielded by the ultimate of Duel Masters players.
In this article I have attempt to find out just that. At this time I am limiting my scope to the five best evolution creature cards. In this vain I have constructed four level of criteria on which each card is to be judged. Under each criterion the card is given a rating between 1 and 10. To ensure that I am not biased I have also attempted to explain why I have granted the scores I have to these cards.
The first criteria I have chosen is casting cost. Especially upon evolution creatures this is important. One of the main purposes of playing evolutions is to be able to gain more power than we really deserve at an earlier period of the game. If this number is to high, the card is not worth it.
Next we have power. Many have rightly argued that power is not the end all be all of Duel Masters and that, in fact, power sometimes doesn’t matter at all. However, in the case of evolution creatures we are often looking for a “beatstick.” True, there are a few utility evolutions, such as Crystal Paladin, but such creatures are rare amongst evolution kind. Besides, even if the creature is being used as a utility creature, the power is a good indicator of how vulnerable the creature will be to enemy attack and enemy spells (such as Volcanic Arrows) and thus remains important.
Abilities is the next criteria. This is an area in which I have to be very careful to try and not to be biased. Some abilities obviously outweigh others and I have attempt to make clear arguments for each of my decisions. Whether you agree with me or not remains to be seen, but hopefully you will at least be able to see where I am coming from in my overall analysis.
Lastly is the important criteria of evobait. Basically, no matter how good the creature is, it really doesn’t matter if the creatures it can evolve from are to difficult to get and keep on the board. For example, Chaos Worm is an awesome card. For only five mana you get a 5000 power creature which has the Terror Pit ability to kill any one your opponents creatures. However, Chaos Worm has a big problem. As far creatures from which it can evolve there are not very many options. To top it off, the creatures there are have a pretty hefty casting cost. This would give Chaos Worm a very low score for the evobait criteria.
At the end of each analysis you will see how the numbers add up. In addition I have applied a rating to each of these cards. You will notice that not even the best of evolutions is perfect. Perfect would entail a card being broken and the DCI would likely be forced to restrict or ban that card in the future. Don’t judge these cards to harshly on their ratings, however. In higher academia 60% is considered passing. So you might consider any card with a 60% or higher to be at least worthy of going into a deck. Each of these cards far surpass that number, as you will see.
I hope that you will enjoy my analysis. Feel free to write me any feedback at my e-mail address of firstname.lastname@example.org or private message me on pojo.com at Jmatthew. I would be happy to hear from you and if you enjoy this article or find it valuable I actually need to hear from you to know if I should continue to make such an attempt in the future.
Number 5: Alcadeias, Lord of Spirits
A popular card which many Duel Masters players have enjoyed. I have often seen Alcadeias, Lord of Spirits wielded with brutal force and grace simultaneously. While he may not be the quickest of evolution creatures, he is surely card which any pure light deck is able to find just the right place for – or at least they have the hefty asking price on the internet to afford. Worth his weight in gold to your wallet and your deck, Alcadeias, Lord of Spirits truly deserves the number five spot!
Casting Cost: Six is not the best number you can have for an evolution creature. At this point we are reaching rather expensive heights. To top it off, Light is not really known for mana acceleration. Fortunately, Light obtained a touch of conditional mana acceleration in the most recent set. This may end of being a partially redeeming quality but, only time will tell. (6 out of 10)
Power: Until Survivors, not card in the game possessed a higher fixed number. At 12500, Alcadeias, Lord of Spirits is a veritable power house that can muscle his way through nearly any situation. In addition he is, of course, not vulnerable to any of red’s removal – but that goes with out saying. (10 out of 10)
Abilities: Aw…Double Breaker. What a lovely ability for any creature to possess. Of course, that’s not all Alcadeis, Lord of Spirits comes equipped with. In fact, Alcadeis has likely THE most powerful ability in the game. “Players can’t cast spells other than light spells.” Now, that’s an ability you can’t argue with! You can’t Terror Pit him, Teleport him, Death Smoke him, Natural Snare him, Death Smoke him, Spiral Gate him and plenty more! While this will not outright shut down a good non-Light deck, it will with out a doubt give it such a limp that it will not easily recover from! (10 out of 10)
Evobait: This is not an area which Alcadeias, Lord of Spirits excels. While he does possess eight Angel Commands to evolve from, the average casting cost of those Angel Commands is a daunting 7.25!!! That’s higher than Alcadeias’ already sky-reaching casting cost! Put together, you are looking at tying up about 13.25 mana between him and his evobait. Not good. (A very difficult to wield 4 out of 10)
Total Score: 30 out of a possible 40!
Number 4: Barkwhip, The Smasher
Barkwhip, the Smasher is rarity amongst evolution creatures. Quick and forceful to hit the board, he allows even the poorest of pocket book Duel Masters player to take on the richest. I was very proud of the makers of Duel Masters when I saw this great card in an uncommon slot. He’s a veritable god on a peasant’s budget!
Casting Cost: The best casting cost of an evolution in the game! Speed is one of this guy’s middle names! (10 out of a possible 10)
Power: Barkwhip, the Smasher is a little on the weak side as far as evolution creatures go. While he doesn’t have to worry about the likes of Tornado Flame, I’ve seen more than a fair share of Barkwhips fall prey to Volcanic Arrows. Other evolutions may come out a few turns after him, but they manage to quickly grind him into the dust. (a lowly 5 out of a possible 10)
Abilities: A great many of the evolution creatures are blessed with the Double Breaker ability, though Barkwhip, the Smasher falls short here. However, his one ability to grant all Beast Folk +2000 when he is tapped is a potent one. Hapless players are quick to forget that little Torcon is now able to take down their La Ura Giga and even manage to survive for another day. Swarms of Beast Folk can quickly overwhelm an opponent with the help of Barkwhip, the Smasher. (a moderate 6 out of a possible 10)
Evobait: Barkwhip, the Smasher currently has ten Beast Folk it can evolve from. That’s a lot of beast folk, however they mean nothing if they are not worthy of him. Fortunately, we find two good things about his beast folk. A) Nearly all of them cost under 3 mana and B) at least half of those are pretty good cards. With so many beast folk to choose from you will not be able to put them all in a good 40 card deck any how. This leaves only the best of the best to be force to use. I can tell you from plenty of experience, thanks to Barkwhip, the Smasher’s compliment of evobait, he is very easy to play consistently – unlike many evolution creatures who you will only see come out every few games you might play. (10 out of 10)
Total Score: 31 out of a possible 40!
Number 3: Crystal Lancer
Crystal Lancer has found it’s place in nearly any deck with water since Duel Masters began to be played. More often than not, an extremely stagnant game will turn on a dime as a player drops a might Crystal Lancer as is able to plow through two shields a turn with timely ease. A fantastic card and more than worthy of it’s number three spot.
Casting Cost: For evolution creatures, the magic number of six is a dangerous number to go beyond. You simply begin to reach to high at the sevens and eights and risk you evobait likely being destroyed before you can even get to it. Besides, evolution creatures are typically about breaking the rules and allowing you to have more power than you should on the board at an earlier time than you should. Crystal Lancer squeaks just under the breaking point. (6 out of 10)
Power: Crystal Lancer is a respectably strong creature. At 8000 he is invulnerably to all of red’s creature removal, including Volcanic Arrows, which is very important for the two card investment of an evolution creature. Unfortunately, he is not quite as strong as he will sometimes needs to be. At 8000 he is vulnerable to a number of your opponents lesser costing creatures defenses such as Gran Gure, Space Gaurdian, Explosive Fighter Ucarn, and Fighter Duel Fang. Each of these creatures are able to his the board right around the same time as Crystal Lancer and two of those three can not only kill him, but also are also to survive the battle with him. I’ve often seen people forced to use their Crystal Lancer in a defensive capacity, merely to take out their opponents Fighter Duel Fang. An expensive cost for such a good creature. (8 out of 10)
Abilities: Crystal Lancer starts with Double Breaker – a very respectable ability. What is unique about Crystal Lancer amongst his evolution friends is that his Double Breaker ability is combined with another ability to make him a truly perilous minion – “This creature can’t be blocked.” There’s no way around it. Your only defense when it first hits the table becomes your shield triggers…and there’s no garuntee they will save you. (9 out of 10)
Evobait: Crystal Lancer has an interesting assortment of evobait. In fact, within this Top 5 list, Crystal Lancer happens to have the greatest number of possible creatures to use as Evobait at a whooping eleven! The Liquid People play out a little different then most races, though. Other races typically possess around same casting cost through and through. Liquid People, rather, begin at a mere one costing cost and wind up demanding as much as eight mana in a total of two cases! Fortunately, there are still enough cheap costing Liquid people that you can select a very respectable lot. In addition, the Liquid People happen to compliment Crystal Lancer very well as many of them are blockers while other provide interesting effects such as drawing cards. (9 out of 10)
Total Score: 32 out of a possible 40!
Number 2: Armored Blaster Valdios
This is one of the most powerful of the truly affordable (casting cost wise) evolution creatures. Armored Blaster Valdios has blasted it’s way to more than one victory on the table of games store across the world and will likely continue to in the foreseeable future. A vicious human who will continue to show why we are sure a powerful race and earn us a card in the number two spot!
Casting Cost: Armored Blaster Valdios possesses a respectable, nearly average casting cost for evolution creatures. At four his cost is nothing to necessarily marvel about, rather it appears to be right on the money. Just low enough to make him powerful/Just high enough to keep him from being broken. (8 out of 10)
Power: The magic number for power used to be 5000. Then came Volcanic Arrows. Now if you want your evolution to be safe it needs possess at least a 7000! While Armored Blaster Valdios is still safe and sound from the like of Flame Tornado, he’s still a bit vulnerable than I would like him to be. To top it off, while many creatures with a 6000 power seem to have a means of raising that power higher, Armored Blaster Valdios lacks that. (A slightly disappointing 6 out of 10)
Abilities: Well, we start out with a healthy dose of Double Breaker – that alone can nearly put a smile on your face. Is that enough? No way, not for out beloved evolutions! Armored Blaster Valdios is also polite enough to grant a +1000 boost to each of your other humans in the battle zone! One of the key parts to this is that he states YOUR humans, which when faced in a mirror match can make all the difference. To boot, your humans get that extra power to force their weak little way through light, darkness and water blockers! (9 out of 10)
Evobait: Armored Blaster Valdios has the pleasure of seven humans to use a evobait. A few of the really low costed one, such as Mini Titan Gett are rather controversial. Others are just reaching way to expensive to bother evolving from, such as Muramasa, Duke of Blades. Despite that, most of his human allies are considerate enough to stay cheap and easy to play – though many may consider them a little to ‘vanilla.’ (8 out of 10)
Total Score: 33 out of a possible 40!
Number One: Fighter Duel Fang
A powerhouse amongst cards, Fighter Duel Fang continues to prove his worth and encourage the continued survival of the Beast Folk race on a daily basis. At tournaments through out the world people constantly underestimate this powerhouse and are forever seeking them after facing his terrible might. Don’t overlook this card’s great worth as he is not the number one evolution just because he brushes his teeth twice a day!
Casting Cost: At a cost of six, Fighter Duel Fang is pushing the envelope and just nearly to expensive. The catch is, that’s only part of the story. Since Fighter Duel Fang is privileged enough to be in the Nature civilization you have an advantage that until recently, no other civilization possessed. MANA ACCELERATION! With mana acceleration in consideration, we suddenly find that Fighter Duel Fang actually cost us a little cheaper. With the casting of a Bronze-Arm Tribe or the death of a Mighty Shouter, Fighter Duel Fang is suddenly busting out by the 5th turn at latest! (7 out of 10)
Power: Fighter Duel Fang is a respectably strong creature. At 8000 he is invulnerably to all of red’s creature removal, including Volcanic Arrows, which is very important for the two card investment of an evolution creature. Unfortunatly, he is not quite as strong as he will sometimes need to be. At 8000 he is vulnerable to a number of your opponents lesser costing creatures defenses such as Gran Gure, Space Gaurdian, Explosive Fighter Ucarn, and Crystal Lancer. Each of these creatures are able to his the board right around the same time as Fighter Duel Fang and two of those three can not only kill him, but also are also to survive the battle with him. (8 out of 10)
Abilities: Double Breaker is ALWAYS fantastic on a card. Few things are more demoralizing to your opponent than two shields being broken at once (especially if neither ends up being a shield trigger!). There absolutely no real draw back to this ability. The second ability is to drop two mana into play soon as he hits the board. I’ve heard all the arguments stating the apparent disadvantages of this function. Some say that that loosing the cards from you tiny 30 card (after initial draw and shields) deck is just too much of hit to take. Others say that to often they are force to put into the mana zone cards they ended up needing. I tell you, though. The mana advantage over rules all of that. With eight mana on the board by turn five, you are able to recover more quickly than your opponent to nearly any devastation. Facing a “Bounce”-style Water deck, for example. The Blue player can bounce your creatures to your hand all day but, with the power of mana and evolution creatures, you will always be able to keep up! (10 out of 10)
Evobait: Fighter Duel Fang currently has ten beast folk it can evolve from. That’s a lot of beast folk, however they mean nothing if they are not worthy of him. Fortunately, we find two good things about his beast folk. A) Nearly all of them cost under 3 mana and B) at least half of those are pretty good cards. With so many beast folk to choose from you will not be able to put them all in a good 40 card deck any how. This leaves only the best of the best to be force to use. I can tell you from plenty of experience, thanks to Fighter Duel Fangs compliment of evobait, he is very easy to play consistently – unlike many evolution creatures who you will only see come out every few games you might play. (10 out of 10)
Total Score: 35 out of a possible 40!