Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Today's Card Analysis: Bellicosity Dragon

The Japanese card of the day for April 25th, 2018, is Bellicosity Dragon. A Single Rare from V-Booster Set 01: UNITE! TEAM Q4 and one of Kai Toshiki's recurring grade 2s from the manga, veteran cardfighters will recall Bellicosity being rather infamous for his on-hit countercharge skill. Historically that version of Bellicosity contributed to the dominance of many past Kagerо̄ decks like Dragonic Overlord the End and Dragonic Nouvelle Vague.
AUTO [Vanguard/Rearguard Circles]: When your opponent's rearguard is retired during your turn, this unit gets Power +5000 until end of turn.
In the comics Bellicosity's skill was never shown directly, and this incarnation of Bellicosity is quite different form the original. Rather than a countercharge ability, he's a modern take on Chain-attack Sutherland from Booster Set 2: Onslaught of Dragon Souls. These kinds of power units have often been looked down upon over the years, as they require other cards to consistently enable them and have to be powered up again each turn. The decks that have most been able to make use of them were subclans with access to cheap forms of retire like the Eradicators or Perdition Dragons. So how can Bellicosity fit in with the new Kagerо̄'s overall image?
To get our priorities straight, Kagerо̄ has had six grade 2s revealed thus far: Dragon Knight Nehalem, Berserk Dragon, Dragon Armored Knight, Prowling Dragon Striken, Spillover Dragon, Bellicosity Dragon, and the 10k vanilla Embodiment of Shield Rahm. Of these, Nehalem and Berserk Dragon have absolute priority over all other grade 2s--these are the cheapest retires you get at grade 2 in the deck, with Berserk even having a situational draw. These are either the first 4-ofs to be considered in deckbuilding right now, or they're the first 3-ofs if you're going to run four kinds of grade 2. Bellicosity is competing against...
  • Striken - For the Dragonic Overlord critical combo
  • Dragon Armored Knight - For attacking
  • Spillover Dragon - As another cheap retire option
In terms of units that enable his skill, Bellicosity already has the aforementioned grade 2s as well as Burj and Bahr to set him off. And like Vortex Dragon, Bellicosity's power gain can also come from units being retired as a result of battle phase attacks, so you can trigger his skill by restanding with Overlord off a rearguard hit. It's conceivable that nearly everything except Bellicosity in the deck can activate his ability--we shouldn't have any trouble managing a 2-card combo consistently.

The issue is that for just a 5k increase, Dragon Armored Knight is functionally free. Bellicosity can become more powerful for a single turn off of multiple retires, but requires more investment from multiple counterblast/soulblast costs compared to simply making sure the opponent has one less rearguard than you. Meanwhile Striken rewards holding back for a turn by multiplying the damage Overlord is capable of dealing with its restand, and Spillover brings some desirable redundancy in another retire option.

Bellicosity Dragon doesn't bring any immediate reward to the Kagerо̄ deck; his function is to exacerbate a situation in which you already have the lead by draining more shield from the opponent as a reward for setting up your combos.

Vortex is arguable in the deck because there isn't a go-to second grade 3 for Kagerо̄ just yet, though that's subject to change when Dragonic Waterfall finally rears its head. But both Vortex and Bellicosity face an issue that a 5k power boost isn't what it used to be, in part because of Trigger Units now carrying 15~20k shield inherently and the basic unit of power both for Triggers and Gift Markers being 10k.

What all this means is that there isn't room for Bellicosity in a conventional grade 2 lineup with three types of grade 2 maxed out to 4. The way you make room for this beater is by taking away space from everything else:
Grade 2
x3 Dragon Knight, Nehalem
x3 Berserk Dragon 
x3 Spillover Dragon
x3 Bellicosity Dragon 
This involves a hit to the consistency of the other three units, as on average you'll only see one copy of a unit you run three of in any given game. We can afford that hit because 9 of the grade 2s serve functionally the same purpose, with that lone Bellicosity Dragon we draw taking their field control skills and turning them aggressive. It's going to take some proving to establish whether or not this really brings something better to the table over running 4 Armored Knight, Striken, or Spillover, but it's worth experimenting with and seeing what results you can bring out.

Bellicosity Dragon is designed by manga author Itou Akira and illustrated by Maekawa Yuuichi, who also illustrated the original Bellicosity Dragon in EB01: Comic Style Vol. 1.

The previous Japanese card of the day was Giro.

V-Booster Set 01: UNITE! TEAM Q4 will launch in Japan May 25th, 2018, and in English June 22nd, 2018. It will be accompanied by sleeves based on Dragonic Overlord and Blaster Blade. V-Trial Deck 01: Sendou Aichi and V-TD02: Kai Toshiki will launch in Japanese May 11th, 2018, and in English June 8th, 2018. They will be accompanied by a new sleeve based on the "Imaginary Gift" design.

The first Extra Booster set of Standard, V-EB01: The Destructive Roar will launch in Japan June 29th, 2018, and August 3rd for the English-speaking world. The accompanying new anime series, codenamed "Origin," will begin airing May 5th, 2018, on TV Tokyo and affiliated stations. It will be simulcast with English subtitles on YouTube and Crunchyroll.