Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Today's Card Analysis: Dark Pride Dragon

The Japanese card of the day is a single rare from G-BT04: Soul Strike Against the Supreme, a support card specifically designed for Claret Sword Dragon. Claret's loyal followers created by the abuse of Aurageyser's powers, Dark Pride and Dark Quartz are made up of magic that can continually reanimate to give their lives to Claret Sword again and again. When sacrificed to the Supremacy Dragon, Dark Pride can be used both as a tool to countercharge damage, and as a means to conserve card advantage that would otherwise be lost.

Dark Pride Dragon
AUTO: Generation Break 1: When this unit is sent from a rearguard circle to the drop zone by one of your unit's effects, if you have a grade 3 or greater vanguard with "Claret Sword Dragon" in its card name, search your deck for up to one "Dark Quartz Dragon," call it to a rearguard circle, and shuffle that deck. If you called that unit, countercharge 1.

Dark Pride's generation break superior calls his lower-graded servant, Dark Quartz, allowing you to mitigate the loss in card advantage from paying retire skills, while simultaneously thinning the deck of nontrigger units, bringing much-needed unflipping to Claret Sword's gameplay, and meeting the conditions for Dark Quartz's skill to resolve. An important element of Dark Pride is that even if you choose not to superior call Dark Quartz, because of how this skill is worded Dark Pride will still automatically shuffle the deck. This is important versus Gear Chronicle decks, which attempt to stack your rearguards on the bottom of your deck, and in a build that lacks legion every shuffle counts.

Dark Quartz Dragon
AUTO: Generation Break 1: When this unit is placed on a rearguard circle, if you have a grade 3 or greater vanguard with "Claret Sword Dragon" in its card name, choose one of your vanguards, during this turn, this unit and that unit both get Power +3000.

Dark Quartz's power boost is cumulatively greater than what one gains from Night Sky Eagle in the Claret Sword deck, but only becomes truly relevant when two or more Quartz are played in the same turn, or when Claret Sword has a booster with a base power of 7000 or greater to form a lane breaking the 21000 power threshold. Being able to superior call on-retire in a Tachikaze-like fashion turns Claret Sword's generation break 2 into a net -1 for +10000 power/+1 critical that countercharges damage, and gives another option outside of David for turning Aurageyser Dragon into a net +1.

Because Claret Sword's name carries over to the unit that strides over him, these new Abyss Dragons will still function with either Aurageyser or Phantom Blaster “Diablo.” When played with Aurageyser Damned, Dark Pride effectively neutralizes both the counterblast and retire cost of the card, while ensuring that with a base 7000 booster Damned will reach at least 36000 power. However, while Pride is a necessary countercharge option for the Claret Sword deck, there are problems with trying to run Quartz; Night Sky Eagle is key to forming a 23000-power lane with Knight of Solemnity Balberith, which becomes a 26000-power lane when Howl Owl is added on top of that. Dark Quartz can only reach 22000 power with Balberith, putting him short of reaching another stage of power with Owl. Unlike Eagle, Quartz requires an attacker with a base power of 11000 or greater to breaking a 21000 power. Quartz cannot form such a lane with itself without a power boost from either Claret Sword or Howl Owl, making it more difficult to make the strong rearguard lanes that the Claret Sword deck excels at. Grade 1 space is already tight, with Swordbreaker, Karma Collector, Branwen, Night Sky Eagle, Decipherer of Prohibited Books, and Blitz Knight Bolfri all contending for the space that Dark Quartz would occupy.

Finding room for Pride means finding room for Quartz, and doing that requires sacrificing some of the deck's key cards from Sovereign Star Dragon. The Claret Sword deck seriously wants for grade 1s that it can play in the early game, prior to striding. It is sad that there are still cardfighters running Gururubau--who doesn't synergize in the slightest with Swordbreaker or Decipherer, two cards that are able to combo together very efficiently when given a proper countercharging engine to make up for Decipherer's cost. If Quartz's skill resolved on-attack or as an activated effect, he would be phenomenal for Shadow Paladin. As it is now, choosing to run Dark Quartz may mean rounding out grade 1 space, not running playsets and instead running 3-ofs to create room for the deck's diverse grade 1 lineup.

Soul Strike Against the Supreme will launch in Japan on August 28th 2015, and internationally on October 2nd of the same year. Be sure to read the Abyss Dragons' card lore at Arkadiaworks.

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