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Critique and Analysis:
Every once in a while it’s nice to crank out a good ol’ “Top X” listed. However, as readers who are familiar with me know I enjoy a little bit of substance to my list. I like you to not only know why, but to also have a specific set of criteria that determines which cards really have the goods – even if they do not happen to be one of my favorites.
Our little “simple” game has really started to grow up. As any collectible card game evolves card advantage inevitably becomes an issue – Duel Masters has not proved different. Today we are going to attempt to deduce what are the best cards to gain advantage through drawing. Currently we have a nice handful of cards that allow you to draw (nearly two dozen!) though not all these cards have been created equal. Some of these cards just happen to be better than others - it’s always good to know which ones are which.
In an effort to determine which of these cards are the best available I’ve used the following criteria…
How many cards is the draw mechanism likely to draw?
Some cards are simply likely to draw you more cards than others. For example, Mist Rias nearly always draws more cards than Mongrel Man – the trigger of playing a creature is easier than the killing of one.
Is the draw mechanism a creature?
This is a very important feature. Remember – when looking at card advantage every card in play and in your hand counts as each of these cards is available to you. When you play a spell you are loosing one card (-1) and drawing x cards. When you are playing a creature you are loosing zero cards! So, say you have a creature and a spell and each of them draw one card. For the spell you are loosing a card and gaining a card (1-1+1=0) which means you come out just even. With a creature you are drawing and simply redistributing the resources you already possess (1-0+1=2!).
What is the casting cost of the draw mechanism?
Cheaper is always better. Only a moron buys those Levis at the mall for $50 when he can get them some place less spectacular for $25! ‘nuff said.
Is the draw mechanism a shield trigger?
For this grouping of card this happens to not be the most important feature as it will often be triggered as the game is ending. However, against rush, this ability can come in handy hopefully allowing you to draw into an answer to those weenie attackers.
Does the draw mechanism trigger when coming into play or does it possess a more critical trigger?
Face it – it can be very difficult to keep a creature in play long enough to use an ability. The best chance for your draw mechanism to function is if the ability triggers as soon as it comes into play. Sure, these abilities normally only function once, but once is better than not at all.
At the end of each overview I have mentioned the rating each card achieved based upon these criterion. You will notice that not even the best of cards are perfect. Perfect would entail a card being broken and the DCI would be forced to restrict or ban that card in the future. Don’t judge these cards to harshly on their ratings 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 surpasses that number, as you will see.
Now that we’ve reviewed the criteria let’s get into the cards…
Number 5: Brain Serum
At one time Brain Serum was one of the most popular forms of drawing. Since the release of several sets Brain Serum has been falling to the wayside. Energy Stream with it’s 3 casting cost seems to have finished it off. However, despite popular opinion, based upon my criteria Brain Serum actually rates higher than Energy Stream!
I’m actually not as surprised as many other people maybe about this card being more highly rated than Energy Stream. True, Energy Stream cost one less, however with Energy Stream you are always forced to pay three mana and one card for the advantage of…not two cards, but one card (remember, you lost a card to play the spell). While Brain Serum does the same for one more man, there is the chance of it happening for free as a shield trigger! When you shield trigger this spell you are basically loosing one shield, but gaining two cards into your hand instead of the normally one.
Number 4: Magris, Vizer of Magnetism
Magris, Vizer of Magnetism wraps up everything you need in card advantage for Duel Masters nice and neatly. Pay your mana, play the card, don’t loose a card and replace that card with a new one in hand. Very nice synergy that could only be improved upon perhaps by making it cost one less even if they lowered the power of the creature…
Number 3: Aqua Hulcus
Three casting cost…2000 power…draw a card…
Doesn’t that sound like some card I just asked for? Oh yeah – it’s the improved upon Magris, Vizer of Magnetism. Essentially, both these cards rock, however Aqua Hulcus is just little bit better thanks to it’s slightly lower casting cost. If I had to choose to run Magris, Vizer of Magnetism or Aqua Hulcus I would go with Aqua Hulcus everytime – however perhaps an even better idea would be to run them both together! Imagine turn three and four now as you play a creature each turn and you hand size increases rather than decreasing!
Number 2: Mist Rias
Mist Rias is rapidly showing potential for abuse. While the advantage you gain from this creature is not triggered until you put another creature in play, if Mist Rias is allowed to sit for a single turn the game can completely turn around as creature after creature is cast. If your metagame has yet to abuse this card you may want to be on the look out for it. Think about it – you are giving every single creature in your deck the potential of being an Aqua Hulcus!
Also, look out as this is the engine that truly makes Hydrocutter run – shoot to kill upon sight!
Number 1: Illusionary Merfolk
As this card first started gaining popularity some people began begging the DCI to ban this card. Frankly, I can see why people fear this cards so much. A 4000 power creature with three brand spanking new cards in hand quickly turns the game clearly in the Illusionary Merfolk player’s favor. True, this creature does possess what appears to be a severe draw back in requiring you to already have a Cyber Lord in play. However, Cyber Lords have some of the most powerful ‘comes into play’ effects in the game. With the likes of Corile, Emeral and friends the chances of you not being able to cast Illusionary Merfolk by turn five or six are slim!
While these cards are highly rated, a few other cards still made the 60% or better grade. In fact, we could have had a three way tie for 6th! These include…
Energy Stream, Mongrel Man, and Miracle Quest
Hope you enjoyed today’s article. Next week we will likely take a “Charge into the Thunder” and pick apart the newest expansion in what is becoming my usual set overview. Please feel to contact me with any comments or questions!
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