Sunday, December 21, 2014

Today's Card Analysis: Dragonic Kaiser Crimson

The Japanese card of the day for the weekend is Dragonic Kaiser Crimson. Introduced as a double rare card in G-BT02: Flying Flowers, Crimson is a revival legion for Narukami's iconic 2012 boss card Dragonic Kaiser Vermillion. In the past two years since his debut in BT06: Breaker of Limits Vermillion has aged poorly, with the Brawler subclan's legion boss card Big Bang Knuckle Buster not only covering Vermillion's bases in attacking the frontrow, but also being able to go after backrow units at the same time for a lower overall cost. Crimson updates the aged dragon by giving him a role that Big Bang can't fill.

Prior to legioning, Crimson has a main phase soulblast 1 that gives him +2000 power if there's a unit in the center column. This requires Crimson to have a booster, but can be repeated to quickly fill the drop zone for legion. But in contrast to the ease of setting up his legion 22000, Crimson is the first legion vanguard which is also a limit break, seemingly contradicting the ethos of legion mechanics as a whole. The means to circumvent this is Eradicator Egg Helm Dracokid from VGE-BT16: Legion of Dragons & Blades ver. E. As long as he's in a rearguard circle, Egg Helm's skill allows all of your own limit break 4 abilities to activate regardless of what damage you're at, which makes Crimson a much more competitive option. (Because Egg Helm applies specifically to limit break 4, limit break 5 abilities like that of “THE BLOOD” are not applicable.)

Once the conditions for limit break have been met, either by damage or through Egg Helm, Crimson's limit break draws on Narukami's long-forgotten Exorcist Mage mechanic and allows you to remove Dragonic Kaiser Vermillion's cost. This is a once per turn action and only applies to the next time you use Vermillion's limit break, so you can't repeat Vermillion's skill endlessly to gain infinite instances of +2000 power. Egg Helm Dracokid also removes Vermillion's limit break 4 condition, so with both the damage and counterblast 3 conditions negated you are able to use Vermillion regardless of whether or not you actually had the counterblast to pay for it before.

What Crimson's revival legion brings to the table is a constant presence. In committing any rearguards to the frontrow, your opponent now commits to losing them. Each attack on a unit has to be guarded separately, and it's impossible to intercept Vermillion's limit break, so effectively any shield put to the field is permanently lost. Crimson is most effective when the opponent doesn't respect these facts, and is most under threat when they choose to play a two-column game that partially negates his threat by only having one rearguard lane. But this can also be used your advantage, since it makes the opponent predictable and limits the number of attacks you have to deal with per turn.

Narukami is a defensively weak clan which has few draw options and has trouble getting back a lead if it falls behind, so Crimson creates multiple scenarios which play towards its strengths. In curtailing the opponent's defensive power and cornering them inside of the constraints of having only a few columns, Crimson decreases the total hand size necessary to successfully defend each turn. In leaving counterblast open for rearguards to take advantage of while simultaneously making certain that you don't need to dedicate any additional resources to frontrow control, Crimson opens up room in the deck for Dragonic Deathscythe to hit the back row. Perhaps the most frustrating aspect of this card is how little support mainline Narukami has received compared to the Eradicator and Brawler subclass; as the Vermillion deck exists now it is not so different from how it looked in the time of “THE BLOOD” or even when Vermillion was being paired with Breakthrough Dragon. While that deck still contains many of the current defining cards for professional play like Rising Phoenix, Deathscythe, Garuda and Dusty Plasma Dragon, Crimson's playability will depend heavily on what other Narukami support comes out of the woodwork in G-BT02.