This is a series of posts I wrote because a) I was very bored, and b) because I feel that people have a hard time picking out what in WS is good, even if they come from a background of competitive cardgaming. That’s simply because WS has somewhat different priorities and mechanics to other cardgames. Hopefully, this will help newer players evaluate WS cards better.
There are three general facets that dictate success in WS, and cards excelling in some or all of these facets tend to be excellent. I assume a basic knowledge of the game mechanics.
The mere definition of card advantages warrants a blogpost of its own, but I’m lazy and don’t want to explain it. I do have to write a little bit about it, because it is an integral part of TCG theory. It is a practical element of cardgaming that has proven itself time and time again in all aspects of competitive TCG gaming, ranging from deckbuilding and decision-making to card design and development.
A basic definition of card advantage is an oxymoron.
There is no simple genera way to explain it, but you can think of it as ‘The raw difference between you and your opponent in terms of functional cards’. The term ‘functional cards’ is very important, because a card’s value fluctuates throughout a game. We discuss card advantage in terms of numerical terms, either in relation to your opponent’s cards, or in relation to what you paid in order to get the card advantage. For example, a card that is played from my hand to eliminate two of my opponent’s cards would give me a +1, because I went -1 and my opponent went -2. A card played from my hand to gain me two new cards would give me +1, because I went -1, and then +2. If you are still unclear about it, here is a primer for MtG’s version. However, before you start writing blogposts about your newfound best buddy concept, you should know that card cheap jerseys advantage in WS is very different to card advantage in MtG and most other cardgames.
If you’ve read the article linked above, you would have seen some examples of card advantage win conditions. However, card advantage is not a clear-cut win condition in WS. I’m going to address a few of the ways you can get ahead with card advantage in MtG, and why they are less relevant (if not totally irrelevant) to WS.
- You can blow an opponent out of the water by nuking several opponent cards with your single boardwipe. However, boardwipes are not prevalent in WS, simply because playable versions do not really exist. There are, of course, exceptions.
- You can get so many cards that you have answers to everything they can possibly throw at you. In WS, however, questions and answers are simply not clear cut, and there is minimal interaction between players. A lot of cards reward your opponent for elementary solitaire skills. Sometimes there is simply nothing you can do.
- You can play cards that totally negate the viability and function of theirs, devaluing them and derailing their gameplan. This isn’t quite as easy in WS. Player damage in WS is almost unblockable, and thus character cards have inherently high base value. Even if you greatly lower their cards’ value or totally disable one of its functions, those cards are still formidable beaters that can end your schemes with a simple swing.
- You can deplete their whole hand in a Mindfulness, variety of ways, giving them nothing to play, and therefore nothing to win with. In WS, however, without the aid of Lady Luck (or Jesus himself), this is not a reliable way to win. Assuming a competent opponent, you will very, very rarely deplete an opponent of their cards.
Even if you kill off their lategame mainstays, you cannot stop them from fielding three lv0s, playing a climax, and swinging at you for potentially lethal damage. 0/0 supports attack for just as much player damage as 2/1s with 12k power. A suitable goal in WS is simply to make sure you don’t run out of hand. As long as you do that, chances are that you will have threats for the lategame, even if they are not suitably large for that level. The ideal goal is to get so many cards in hand that you no longer have to utilise the Clock mechanic. If you can do this, you will slowly pull ahead on the damage race, which is the ultimate win condition of Weiss Schwarz.
Now, a break, because walls of text suck.
Any card which gives you card advantage with easy-to-fulfill conditions is generally quite strong. Any card which does this is a way that cannot be easily interacted with is doubly strong. Any card that does this in a stock-efficient way is exceedingly strong. I would value versatility – ie. being able to choose your cards – quite highly, but at the same time, every card can be converted into a +1 by clocking, or used to garner value as discard fodder, and as such this is less important.
There are various types of advantage that warrant address.
Hand advantage is exactly what it says on the tin. It involves keeping the same number of cards in your hand (or gaining more cards in hand), despite using cards and gaining effects/functional characters.
The most obvious advantage engine is the Clock mechanic. You trade one damage and one card in hand for two cards from the top of your deck. This is good in that you get a raw +1 and a way to get rid of unwanted cards, but bad because… well, you take damage. Taking damage can be a good thing at times, but there are plain and obvious reasons why you might not want to take too much damage. It is notable that clocking is one of the only ways most series have to get Climax cards and Event cards into your hand.
Tsundere? is an event from Bakemonogatari, but has been reprinted in many, many series. It trades the one card in your wholesale mlb jerseys hand for two from your bin, creating a +1 for hand advantage. Not only that, but you get any two cards you want from your bin, giving you the versatility of choice. This may impinge on other elements of the game, but for now, think of it as the purest form of traditional card advantage.
This Marika, from the Nisekoi set, is a very solid character for a midgame or endgame field. It boasts the additional ability of salvaging a card for you, meaning that you not only have a card on the field, but gain another card back to hand. This is what we call a cantrip – a card that not only has function on the field, but ‘replaces itself’ in your hand. Cards like this are valuable in any cardgame. As an aside, part cheap nba jerseys of Nisekoi’s ridiculous advantage engine is the fact it has so many low-cost cantrips.
Laharl & Mao is an extremely powerful lv1 card that has what amounts to a costless cantrip built onto it. If you manage to play it down and cheap mlb jerseys defeat an opponent with it, you get to pull a card back from the discard, free of charge. This was a key piece in Disgaea’s domination of the 2013 WGPs, and as such it was promptly hit with a series restriction. Any costless lv1 that refills your hand at little to no cost is generally regarded as quite strong.
One of the commonest forms of advantage is the Bond mechanic. The example shown is from Nanoha A’s, and is notable for having no stock cost involved at all. Fate, upon being played, will salvage the Nanoha card shown for the cost of 1 damage. Another instance of the cantrip concept introduced above, except it can only retrieve one specific card. As previously mentioned, this is hardly a drawback, given that every card has value as either clock fodder, discard fodder, encore fodder, etc. As a reward for reading this far, I’ll give you a little evaluative shortcut. Bond cards are very, very good. Bond is, in my opinion, the strongest mechanic in the game, bar none.
This simply refers to having a card on the field that will not need to be replaced on the following turn. WS is a game about attacking your opponent as much and as optimally as possible, so a card that can stay on the field and swing for multiple turns is usually quite valuable.
This Kuroko is what we call a ‘runner’. It gains you card advantage by (usually) avoiding death by battle, meaning you have to play one less card on the next turn to keep up an offence. Runners tend to be in high-demand, and are often run as 3-of or 4-of cards in decks that have access to them. Railgun has an exceptional lv0 game, and this Kuroko is one of the reasons why.
This Chihaya changer becomes a very sizeable threat that will likely not leave the field for quite some time, and will also likely beat over many of your opponent’s cards. It was the heart of the Rewrite meta deck, which performed so well that it was hit with a restriction. This card gains card advantage by being a one-time investment that simply will not go away, barring relatively rare circumstances. Disclaimer: Chihaya’s ridiculous prevalence was due to how it was a relatively cheap investment for what you got in return, had incredibly strong support, and was very, very easy to set up. Not every lv1 > 2 oversize change warrants playing, even if they will stay on the field for a long time.
Elizabeth, from Persona 4 Ultimate, is what the community refers to as a ‘Clock Encore’. This term is actually used in contrast to another Encore mechanic, but for explanation purposes, it can be regarded on its own as a standout ability. When this character is defeated in battle or removed through other methods, you can take 1 damage to return it to the field. This means it doesn’t need to be replaced, saving you one card. It’s an excellent card for other reasons as well, but all we need to look at here is how it saves you hand cards at the cost of life. This is extremely powerful, but it cheap jerseys is not to be overestimated. For the MtG players out there – life is not nearly as expendable in WS as it is in MtG. You can stabilise in MtG. You cannot always stabilise in WS. Now, another disclaimer – Clock Encore will generally result in you falling behind in damage by some degree, especially if your Clock Encore character isn’t of particularly high power. Decks that run Clock Encore characters usually have supplementary advantage engines, or incredible lategame plays that negate the fact you’ve taken more damage than your opponent. These are cards you have to use wisely.
Putting both together – Hand Advantage and Field Advantage
Some of the best cards in the game combine these forms of advantage to some degree.
Apples Kyoko and vanilla Sayaka form another example of the Bond mechanic. This is a relatively well-known combo, and is staple in every competitive Madoka deck, generally as a 4-of for both. Unlike the example linked above, the Kyoko actively supports the Sayaka with a sizeable power boost. This creates a relatively high-power character for minimal cost, giving an acceptably large field that will not be run over too easily. And, if it does get run over, you can usually play another Kyoko to retrieve Sayaka right back into your hand.
This Umi card is Merkmale one of the stronger ones in the Love Live series. Its activated ability can often give you extra cards at no cost to your hand, though you can only realistically do this once per turn. In addition to having a very powerful Brainstorm effect, it also provides a power boost to the remainder of your field, allowing for some very large characters – especially if you have two of them on board. If all goes well, you will neither have to replace characters, nor utilise the Clock mechanic. I wouldn’t bank on this optimal scenario in every game, but Umi is nonetheless a very powerful card in a relatively strong series.
That’s a brief overview of advantage in WS, why advantage is good, and some relevant examples of good advantage engines. I considered adding a sneaky tier list here because the experienced players need to get something from this article, but maybe next time.