Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Today's Card Analysis: Rain Element Tear

The Japanese card of the day for February 17th is the first grade 1 Cray Elemental unit, Rain Element Tear. Designed as unflipping support extended to every clan, Tear comes attached to a higher power base than Battle Sister Lemonade variants, in exchange for becoming effective only at the later stages of a fight and being much more conditional.

AUTO (Rearguard circle): [Soulblast 2] When this unit appears in a rearguard circle, you may pay the cost. If you do, for each face-up 《Cray Elemental》 in your generation zone, choose 1 card in your damage zone and turn it face-up.
CONT: This card is from all clans and nations.

Being from all clans, Tear will not cause Lord text to kick in as she does have a same clan as all Lorded cards, but will cause the old 2011~2012 "If you have a non-«Same Clan» vanguard or rearguard, this unit gets Power -2000." text on Great Daiyusha, Phantom Blaster Overlord and other grade 3s to activate. This is because of Tear's skill "This card is from all clans," which means that while she is of the same clan as those units she also has 20+ other clans written onto her that cause this skill to meet its conditions. Note that while Tear's soulblast skill specifically requires Cray Elementals to be face-up in the generation zone--ruling out Ragnaclock Dragon for example--if Harmonics Messiah is face-up, despite her not having a clan, Harmonics' continuous skill of "This card is from all clans," will cause her to be a Cray Elemental unit and thus qualify for Tear's skill.

Evaluating Tear in the context of other unflipping options, she only truly becomes an improvement over Lemonade when there are two face-up Cray Elementals. This can be achieved easily with Snow Elemental Blizza, whose on-attack skill turns a card face-up in the generation zone as part of its cost to get +5000 power for every face-up card in the generation zone. However, Blizza also costs a counterblast 1, so with that accounted for the actual number of cards unflipped compared to before you used these skills is one.

This may not be a bad trade if Blizza's power boost forces additional guard from the opponent, but otherwise the most effective way to use Tear is still to go through two to three natural Cray Elemental Strides that don't cost counterblast. This restricts you to just Heat Element Magum and (by way of her skill) Harmonics Messiah.

Most decks with clan-specific G unit support will not be able to use Tear effectively. At present Phantom Blaster “Abyss” is one of the major suspects for taking advantage of Tear, because this gives the deck an unflipping option that breaks it away from the Dorint-Blaster Dark Revenger combo, Shadow Paladin has no Lemonade variant, and currently the clan has no non-Cray Elemental strides accessible to it, but this will not remain true for much longer. While using Tear can free up deck space for different grade 1 and 2 units and the lack of a Lemonade means that she has no competition for unflipping in that particular deck, she is competing with Black-winged Swordbreaker for soul. Furthermore, even though Tear may be a Shadow Paladin through her continuous skill, as a non-Revenger unit she cannot be retired for either Blaster “Abyss” or Raging Form Dragon's key moves.

Tear may not be perfectly suited for surpassing Lemonade, but she can stand in for such an option as a soulblast 2 to unflip 1. Striding Magum is perfect for pushing the midgame when you don't want to needlessly spend resources on big plays while the opponent is still at low damage, and Tear lets you use skills while at lower damage that you would otherwise miss out on because of their counterblast requirements. The card will probably not be a playset in every deck, but she can find a place as a 2 to 3-of for those that need her in place of other options.