Thursday, May 7, 2015

Today's Card Analysis: Genesis Dragon Amnesty Messiah & Alter Ego Messiah

The Japanese cards of the day are the G unit Genesis Dragon Amnesty Messiah from G-BT03: Sovereign Star Dragon and her corresponding grade 3 Alter Ego Messiah from G-TD05: Fateful Star Messiah. Amnesty is the second Generation Rare from G-BT03, and the Messiah faction's new finishing move. The Amnesty stride functions like an inverted Tempest Bolt Dragon that gains power from unlocking rearguards, refunding the costs of her rearguards that lock themselves while also granting her opponents field presence in exchange for giving her power.

AUTO (Vanguard circle): [Counterblast 1] When this unit attacks a vanguard, you may pay the cost. If you do, choose any number of locked cards, unlock them, during that battle this unit gets +3000 power for each unlocked unit, and if the number of cards unlocked is 3 or more, during that battle this unit gets Critical +1.

Although this may seem lacking compared to something like the Abhorrent One that comes with innate guard restriction, the real value of Amnesty is in the combos she can pull of with skills that activate when cards unlock. Typically you can turn Amnesty into an unboosted 34000 power 2 critical line, and the purpose of this is to force guard from the opponent's hand and bait perfect defense cards if possible. The second critical gives the opponent no choice but to guard the attack when they're in the 4~5 damage range, even if it's only for one trigger to pass, and that can strategically ruin their hand to guarantee you the game. But when used in conjunction with the new Messiah support's bevy of on-unlock skills, you can strategically lock your own rearguards and then unlock them to draw benefits from that.

There are three primary units to use this with right now. The promotional card Dark Metal Chameleon is a good choice because his generation break unflips a damage when he's unlocked, refunding the cost of Amnesty. Moreover, Dark Metal has Resist and so can't be chosen by the opponent's card effects to be prematurely locked or retired, so there's very little to prevent Dark Metal from going off. Since you get to choose as many units as you like to be unlocked, having multiple Chameleons in play can also refund the cost of Amnesty's supporting units.

The Messiah subclan's first vanguard Neon Messiah is another good choice; when unlocked, by putting Neon Messiah into the soul you can search your deck for a grade 3 Messiah unit, enabling your stride for next turn. While you lose out on the boost of Neon for that turn, the net power Amnesty derives from unlocking at least two units will exceed that of Neon's boost, and the additional soul can be used for soulblast skills.

Heavy Material Dragon doesn't have an on-unlock skill, but actually locks one of your rearguards for his cost. He has the Nemain-like generation break of paying counterblast 1 discard 1 and locking a rearguard to draw two cards; by unlocking the rearguard with Amnesty, this is a net exchange of +1 while still getting your full offensive for the turn. You can also combo Heavy to Dark Metal Chameleon above, locking Chameleon for Heavy's cost and then unlocking Chameleon with Amnesty to unflip the damage that Heavy Material flipped. However, running Heavy also necessitates using base 8000 boosters to get your full offensive out for the turn.
The question remains of how you're going to get multiple rearguards locked in the first place, as just drawing Heavy Material Dragon isn't going to be reliable. By using Amnesty in tandem with the Fateful Star grade 3 Alter Ego Messiah, you can both increase the power of your center lane and ensure that you have rearguards to unlock. Alter Ego's on-stride skill locks both one of yours and one of the opponent's rearguards, creating a strategic gameplay where you can either choose to unlock only your own rearguards and activate their on-unlock skills, or you can choose to also unlock the opponent's to raise Amnesty's power further and try to go for broke on the offensive with a second critical. During the early to midgame it will be wiser not to do so, as a particular reward waits for you if you keep the opponent's rearguards locked...

AUTO (Vanguard circle): Generation break 2: [Soulblast 1] When a locked card unlocks, you may pay the cost. If you do, draw a card.
AUTO (Vanguard circle): [Counterblast 1, choose one of your rearguards and lock it] During your turn when your G unit strides, you may pay the cost. If you do, choose one of your opponent's rearguards and lock it, and choose one of your vanguards, during this turn it gets Power +5000.

Alter Ego's ultimate skill is a partial generation break revival of Chaos Breaker Dragon's limit break, one of Link Joker's most fearsome metagame giants. And unlike Chaos Breaker, Alter Ego's skill is not constrained to the end phase; if your opponent tries to use Lock Break Campaign units or Mithril Ezel to unlock their rearguards, you can soulblast to draw off of those unlocks. If the opponent unlocks five rearguards, you can draw five cards so long as you have the soul to fuel it. Since Alter Ego doesn't include the retire portion of Chaos Breaker's skill, your opponent will still return to the level of card advantage they were at prior to the lock, but thanks to the modifications made to the end phase last April, Alter Ego Messiah can now draw off of his own rearguards unlocking because skills with a timing of "when a card is unlocked" are put into standby with the same timing as "when put to G zone." The primary function of Alter Ego is to perform a burst draw during the opponent's end phase so that you can replenish your hand immediately before your turn starts and open up options, but after a point in the game you can also keep up continuous card advantage at the end of your own turn to turtle through the opponent's. The primary issue is keeping up the soul count, as a key difference between Chaos Breaker and Alter Ego is that Chaos Breaker had multiple turns of Infinite Zero Dragon and Palladium to sustain the necessary soul count. If Neon Messiah's skill will go off, Alter Ego will only be able to activate three times before you need to ride to rebuild the soul--which brings into question if running multiple Neon Messiahs is viable or not. With over twenty cards from Fateful Star Messiah and Sovereign Star Dragon yet to be revealed, the future remains open as to what kind of additional soul support the Messiahs will have, if any.