Saturday, January 24, 2015

Today's Card Analysis: Holy Tree Dragon Jingle Flower Dragon

The Japanese card of the day for this weekend is Neo Nectar's triple rare stride unit from G-BT02, Jingle Flower Dragon. Intended as an endgame unit to be used on your your fifth turn and later, Jingle Flower endows the entire field with massive power boosts in the same vein as his 2012 predecessor Sephirot. However, Jingle Flower's boosts vastly exceed those granted by Sephirot, as a trade-off to being available only twice per game and inside of a very limited window.

ACT (Vanguard circle): Once per turn: [Choose a face down card named “Holy Tree Dragon, Jingle Flower Dragon” in your generation zone, turn it face up] If the number of face up cards in your generation zone is two or more, choose one of your units, during this turn it gains "CONT (Vanguard/Rearguard circle): During your turn, all of your units get Power +2000 for each unit you have with the same name as this unit."

Jingle Flower's skill is moderately complex. It targets a single unit on the field, but actually increases the power of all of your units in play. In order to optimize Jingle's skill, you need to choose the unit which you have the greatest number of cards with the same name as it in play, and because some Neo Nectar units can take on the name of another card, this may not be the unit that you actually have the most actual copies of. As an example, the promotional card Maiden of Flower Screen can use her once-per-turn generation break skill to gain the name of another card on the field, by returning a nontrigger unit from the drop zone to the deck.

This makes it possible to have five instances of the same name in play rather than the standard limit of four, causing all of your units to get five instances of +2000, a net of +10000 power. The optimal setup for this uses two Flower Screens and three identical grade 1s that the Flower Screens will take the name of, preferably Sour Sourer (スッパ・スッパー Suppa Suppaa) a base 7000 grade 1 that gets +1000 power for every other Sour Sourer in play. All three Sour Sourers will have +4000 power from their own skill, and with every unit getting +10000 power from Jingle Flower Dragon's persona generation skill this will create rearguard power lanes of 40000 and a vanguard lane of 55000 power. With this in mind as the standard to which your Jingle Flower strategies need to get as close as possible to, a more likely situation is to be able to get out two copies of a unit and use Spring Waiting Maiden Oz to bring the third in, but without access to the Flower Screen promo these three units will result in "just" a +6000 power boost to every card through Jingle Flower's skill.

Even the small numbers for Jingle Flower are more than reasonable. With standard 16000 power rearguard lanes and just two instances of the same unit in play, your formation will have 24-37-24000 power, and with three that jumps up to 28-41-28000 power. Because each unit gets the power bonus individually, having a booster in play greatly increases their effectiveness, and wanting to have three or more instances as a specific number means that Jingle Flower works best with replicating grade 1 units. The new Neo Nectar fosters a method of play akin to vegetative cloning, deriving strength out of numbers from repeatedly cloning individual plants to cultivate a field from a single seed. Like Vict Plasma and other persona generation units, Jingle Flower can only be used so many times per game. He effectively succeeds Arboros as the finishing move of the clan, but because of the limitations on how many times his skill can be activated, there is no reassurance of being able to simply have the power boosts for the rest of the game. That kind of play instead goes to the Maiden of Ranunculus, Aasha. Hence, Jingle Flower is best reserved for very late in the fight when the opponent is already at the four and five damage mark.