When Resist isn’t quite enough to piss over field control, you just have to make cards that target them specifically, didn’t you?

So I haven’t actually written a damn thing during November. An oversight on my part, so allow me to properly apologise by bitching about something trivial, as though that weren’t bloody obvious by the tone of almost everything I type in this bloody column.

Cards such as the Ezel line (and eventually Alfred-related support) that specifically piss over Link Joker’s mechanic of Locking never made any fucking sense to me. I found it to be extremely poor in design on Bushiroad’s part, largely because they were cards specifcally for that situation and no other. Otherwise they were just idiotic comeback mechanics when the player was losing.

Fast-forward to 2017, and now in Japan, there are several cards out that can now fight Link Joker. Resist being the primary one. I have never liked Resist as a mechanic. I probably would have been fine with it conceptually as it added a bit of nuance to those who now have to pick and choose targets to retire/lock/whatever the fuck, but not when they’re slapped onto what are now staple cards for the deck like fucking tramp-stamps. Thavas is among the worst offenders, having new Thavas give Resist, a Grade 1 and 2 each with Resist, and now something like Neo Nectar is now shoehorning in on the racket with the upcoming Zoo Extra Booster.

Resist annoys me because it is entirely free. That wouldn’t be bad, except we have now reached a stage in the game where the longer a game goes on, the more certain clans like Neo Nectar, Royal Paladin, etc can sack back a crappy field to swing a game back, whereas those who run stuff like Kagero (like yours truly) are now relegated to just simple retirements that are inconvenient at worst unless the whole thing gets wiped, which Kagero can rarely do efficiently anymore, with the odd aggro card like Zeigenburg, and that’s generally not enough soft advantage against somebody competent. That’s especially annoying when the only thing that would make the clan stand out and be worth using, like the G Guardians that can actively punish attacking, choose the attacker or the booster, which Resist ALSO screws over. I’m still not prepared to write off retire as a mechanic: compared to Lock, I would prefer to simply rid myself of a problem permanently as opposed to hold it off for a turn…at least until Chaos pissed over that concept by having both, the fucking troll.

But enough of that. What inspired this article are the new cards that specifically counter Link Joker, maybe providing some other benefit in some other situation, in some other matchup. As in, the unlockers. As I said, stuff that specifically unlocks like Ezel’s support are right out for me. In a vaccum it isn’t fair on the other player who now gets wrecked without their own mechanic to fall back on. I suppose it makes sense at first, except what people forget is that some decks are more equal than others. There are only two Link Joker decks that matter anymore. And they are strong enough to actually justify the new support to fight them. Not Ezel or Alfred on principle, but all after them.

I guess though, as the game evolves, as these sort of games do, the new cards designed to fight Link Joker make a bit more sense. No longer is the deck just have to be content with one resource like Counterblast or Soulblast for one Lock. No longer does staving off attacks have to be the only thing Link Joker does with Lock, in the case of Messiahs. So now we have skills that affect cards on a circle, not a ‘rear-guard’ or ‘vanguard’ on a circle, like Perfect Performance Ange, the new G Guardian for Aqua Force, Dragonic Overlord the Destiny…

Star-vader, Chaos Breaker Crisis
Star-vader, Chaos Breaker Crisis

What’s more, the roundabout way to Lock, in the case of Chaos Star-vaders especially, has gotten more diverse. Now, a player can call OVER units with Resist in the locked state, or just fill a board with useless crap so the Resist cards have nowhere to go. So I guess in that respect such cards to fight back against them make sense, otherwise the deck would pretty have to be content with only the Vanguard attacking, turn after turn.

So basically, fuck Chaos. Just about the only flaw is the lack of a re-standing Vanguard.

It makes sense lore-wise, I suppose too. Centuries have passed since the invasion, and Link Joker is now an established clan. The other clans lacking a way to fight it in everyday life seems a bit odd, from a plot point of view. But the established universe, as I said last issue, isn’t something I would give a shit about in comparison to the game itself, so what about it?

I’m going to talk about it from the point of view of Messiahs and other decks that don’t actually blow up what gets unlocked…mostly (hi Excelics). Cards that do the unlocking or remove the locked card do so at the expense of one resource most of the time, or have a timing that makes it inconvenient for the user as well. The Blue Wave G Guardian and the Destiny cost 1 soul. Ange is GB2 restricted and costs 2 Counterblast. So each lock is basically making the opponent drain resources to keep playing normally. Now that we have Alter Ego Neo and other lockers that are basically free like Arrester Messiah, what we’re looking at is the opponent blowing resources for what is essentially free.

From the point of view of Chaos decks, they already have quite a few essentially free lock-cards, in Photon, Strange Dragon, and the Counterblast free Glue-ball. So basically what I’m saying is that any Link Joker players complaining about cards that unlock don’t have much to complain about. Gripe about something less healthy. Like Resist, which fucks up basically everything.

I’m taking requests for articles if there’s something about Vanguard you need to gripe about. Email ideas at saikyocardfighter@outlook.com. Or drop a message on my Twitter account!

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