The most recent banlist announcement is supposedly a doozy. Haruhi and Railgun have had the shackles loosened, but I somewhat doubt either of those decks is going to suddenly stand up and win absolutely everything. The important bit is that KC has been hit once more. Interestingly enough, they’ve received a complete list overhaul instead of a tightened restriction. Inazuma, their powerful earlygame engine, and Musashi, the finisher whose archetype now spans many great series, have both come off the list, and have been replaced by the key components of the meta KC deck’s ‘antifun’ element, as it has been termed. Apparently healing and getting easy plusses is ‘fun’, but those people have obviously never had to fight against the compression decks of olde.
I digress. The question that surfaces with this banlist is: ‘Is this list the end of antifun?’ Short answer? No. Long answer? That’s a very loaded question that needs examination celebrex for pain. And LB still exists, so yeah.
The year of Kantai Collection was a turning point in WS. Bushiroad pushed the whole no-heal/no-gate thing pretty hard, as you might have concluded after seeing Little Busters’ Refrain EP and the ridiculous finishing power in Nisekoi, and after noting that none of the last three KC restrictions hit the omnipresent Hatsukaze or Hibiki engines. However, they’ve seemed to have done a 180 and decided that the KC denial element is just not good for the game. While I wholeheartedly agree that KC has been stifling the game, I don’t think the antiheal and antisalvage element is the defining reason. However, I still think that putting these cards on the list is a step in the right direction. Why do I apparently contradict myself? Read on and find out.
Right now, the metagame’s top deck (read: KC) restricts the field with its very existence, killing a significant proportion of traditional heal and salvage based decks simply by threatening a bad matchup. ‘Antifun’ is the apparent norm, and any traditional deck without a really good edge on KC is a bit confused as to why it’s there. This has completely and utterly warped the perception of many players in a very bad way. I’m included in that, to some degree. In my opinion, calling KC ‘antifun’ to begin with completely misrepresents the deck’s real strengths. The name puts people under the impression that KC is good simply because it denies things and kind of wins on that alone. Following on from that, they think that splitting up the antifun array is going to kill the deck. That’s completely wrong. KC does not have Winter Orb. KC does not have Royal Oppression. KC does not have Seismatoad EX. It does not have cards that completely prevent the opponent from doing what they want, because this is WS and those cards don’t really exist. Instead, it has a very strong set of characters that replace themselves, a formidable line of finishers, and a really strong antidamage counter. The antifun bit is simply what pushes this from being a strong deck to a top tier deck, solidifying the power of their finishers and denying other previously-top-tier sets some of their gameplan.
The bannings for KC have been largely targeted at some of the more over-the-top elements of its game, without denying the central antifun gameplan. The stalwart Hibiki engine marched on, and was an auto-include at 4 and 4. The fact that these bannings were largely ineffectual has created the illusion that it is the antifun elements responsible for KC’s continued domination of the scene. Again, this is not really the case, especially when the whole goddamn meta was KC for awhile. KC is obnoxiously consistent, gets undeserved plusses, and has strong finishers and gimmicks. The set was designed to play without heals or salvages from the get-go. Denial is strong in any game, and KC’s version is definitely a strong element of its game. More importantly, however, KC doesn’t care if you have all the cards in the world. It has the ability to throw attacks at the opposition and gain plusses and virtual plusses where normal decks would break even or lose out. Shimakaze, Hatsukaze and Inazuma are good at this, but are not ridiculous. Hibiki, however, is absolutely stupid, and you would play it even if it had no Recollection effect – denying heals is just the cherry on top. Once its Shimakazes have gone off a couple times, KC mostly does not care for what you have on the field. It could have no antifun elements at all, and it would still be quite a strong deck.
Bushiroad have finally recognised that Hibiki is part of the problem. KC now has to choose between its stupid advantage/antiheal engine, its autoinclude global support/salvage killer, and one of its more relevant finishers. This choice moves the metagame forward in a desirable way, and I even hope to see a complete banning of Verniy at some point in the future. Banning Verniy and Junyou and leaving the rest of KC unmolested is completely fine, in my opinion (maybe restrict Akatsuki somehow).
Hatsukaze definitely has a role if the local metagame starts swarming with full salvage decks again. I’m not sure Akagi is worth it, even if she’s the main way you draw into your Compasses lategame. In my opinion, Hibiki is definitely the play, and she will continue to be the one until Verniy is straight up banned.
KC ‘Antifun’ is not dead. I don’t like the term, and neither should you, but the YG KC deck will continue to do exactly what it has been doing, except you’ll be able to play gates against it now. Too bad that KC doesn’t really care about that.
The Haruhi unbanning breathes some new life into the set, and you can expect to see Trouble Girls soon. Omekashi Nagato is still quite strong, but is not as good as the ability to play both salvage triggers and Trouble Girl (especially with Hatsukaze as a less prominent inclusion). The times have changed and it won’t be as ridiculous as it once was, but I could see it doing some damage off the hype alone.
The Railgun unbanning is completely ineffectual, because a) Railgun hasn’t been making much of a splash anywhere, b) the green Level 1 game is simply better by far. The only relevant Railgun restriction is Misakuro to 2.