The Path of Least Resistance, feat. Inuyasha (Rinne Set Review)

This article will double as a strategy article and a set review for Kyoukai no Rinne Inuyasha, though I’ll probably publish it as the latter before the former is complete. I feel that it’s a great candidate for the topic at hand, so I’m going to cover each card briefly. If Inuyasha never interested you and you want to skip to the actual strategy article, then that’ll be an option. Eventually.

Having the effect transcripts is really ugly, so here’s a link to the HotC text file. There are hyperlinks too, but that makes less sense to me the more I think about it. Huh.

“Calm Lunch” Sakura Kagome01

This profile is one of the better cards in Rinne Inuyasha, and while it isn’t nearly as good as the equivalent from Cinderella Girls (mostly due to the trait restriction and lack of good incidental power boosts), it is a perfectly serviceable attacker that will quite likely be a 7k on offence before any boosters are applied. If it reverses its opponent (not a guarantee by any stretch of the imagination), you get one of the strongest climax combo effects in the game (pre-refresh, anyway), whereby you push yourself that much closer to refresh. I know people complain about the smaller range of targets as compared to a search-on-reverse, and while I absolutely acknowledge this difference, you put good cards in your deck, so if the choices you have aren’t good, then some terrible fate must have befallen you.

Comboing with a Bag climax is neither here nor there. While it isn’t nearly as good as other climax triggers, it’s not really a problem either, as you get global soul when you play it, and it isn’t another annoying soul trigger in the lategame. What is a problem, however, is the card’s frustrating requirement of Green and <Black Cat Contract> cards on field. Inuyasha isn’t exactly a huge booster, and unlike shrugworthy idol sets, it has more traits than just <Music> to worry about. This limits your Level 1 and Level 0 supports to being mostly Green and/or <Black Cat Contract>, which is pretty restrictive when you look at some of the great Red options you have. I mean, you even have a Red Level 0 promo that has the Axel/Holy Goddess effect of [S] [Tap two Red or <Shinigami> Characters] Give a Character +2000 power. The fact that it is Red means your backrow needs to be absurdly specific to get this +2k boost, which would’ve helped the combo immensely.

20Even with those faults, it is without a doubt the best Level 1 in the set in terms of power level, and should be a prominent 4-of in every non-gimmick deck, regardless of your colour composition otherwise.

Rating: Good- Meta

“Spiritual Vision Experience” Sakura Kagome

This card is really neat. It’s a pretty easy advance summon that 02forces you to run basically only Green cards (it specifies <Black Cat Contract> but that’s barely relevant at all), though that’s not necessarily an issue when you consider the payoff. An easily summoned heal that has some control over what you trigger is pretty strong in both subtle and non-subtle ways, and I wouldn’t be too surprised if this ended up being the outright best advance summon in Inuyasha. Me personally, I think that Red has some pretty good cards to just slap on the field (specifically the brainstorm) and that playing this is fine, but not necessarily mandatory.

You might argue that being just 10k isn’t very good, but there’s a Level 2 support that really changes that, so you shouldn’t worry too much about it. Rather, you should be looking at everything else, given that power is not the concern. If you stay at Level 2 for more than a turn and get a second copy of this down, you won’t need to worry much about triggering climaxes, and you’ll probably get a free cancel at the bottom of your deck. I personally wouldn’t bottomdeck any non-climaxes in anything but the most outlandish situations. If the ability topchecked both on attack and when attacked, this would easily be the advance summon of choice, but that isn’t the case, so the competition is still open.

Rating: Playable+

“Guide to 03Cycle of Resurrection” Rinne Inuyasha &
Hoop of Judgment Diamond Tessaiga

The probable best card in the set, and the second draw to playing Green. Inuyasha, unlike the cards we’ve just seen, sports both the Green colour and the <Shinigami> trait, which makes him work with both the Green Sakura Kagome and Red Ageha Kikyou cards. This alone makes him worth considering, but his abilities are pretty damn good. The draw-1 gain-2k profile finisher is pretty good and reduces the need for specific power supports when it comes to reversing, and the fact it combos with a bar makes it relatively consistent as far as endgame climax combos go. The combo itself is both interesting and powerful. If your opponent lets their card get reversed, there is a chance that they take an extra clock damage, especially since the vast majority of cards nowadays are played in quantities of 3-4. That being said, it is still only a chance, but a chance is much better than no chance.


The second great thing about this card is that it has a partner event to go with it. This event is essentially a 1-cost cantrip that makes the dream of triple Inuyasha far easier to accomplish. Why would you want three of this in the frontrow, and why would you want an event that only searches for it? Well, not only does this set have a dearth of free salvages, searches and Azusa effects, but the event itself gives Inuyasha some really trippy abilities. Never mind the bit about power; nullifying all Auto effect damage in battle completely stops on-reverse burns, front attacks with clash/burn triggers, and it completely ignores things like GFB’s Pumpkin Ghost, since Inuyasha will be in battle when all these effects go off. This isn’t far off from being straight up Shiroe antidamage, which is a pretty damn strong effect.

Keep in mind that opponents can still just clock kick you 21(your Inuyashas are only 10k on defence if unboosted, though they probably won’t be), and they can also side attack in order to get on-attack burns (see: Sinon). The card isn’t without faults, and it only really shows its worth at Level 3, but it’s certainly a powerful card, and makes a Green top end very appealing.

Rating: Good Meta

“Calm Lunch” Rinne Inuyasha04

This card is subtly strong in all the right ways. Like every stock and clock bomb in existence, it denies on-reverse and sent-from-stage effects quite handily, and has an additional randumb ability to boot. If you’ve never had the pleasure of using this effect, random plusses are nothing but upside, and when it’s on a bomb, as per Momo, it’s even better. While you miss out on come-in-play effects (some of which are extremely good), around half of the cards you can hit in this set have no such effects, and prefer to sit in the backrow indefinitely anyway. An excellent card that would be playable even without the second line of text, and since it has that, it’s one well worth playing at a 3-4 count.

Rating: Playable+

Sakura Kagome in Her Youth05

Solid brainstorm that you should strongly consider as a main advantage engine. I’m not actually a huge fan of this card myself, simply because I think the Red brainstorm is that much better – it ironically helps out the 1/0 Sakura Kagome just by being on field, while this kind of does nothing except be a brainstorm. That’s fine, but I’m just pointing out that there is a comparably strong brainstorm that does something additional. This card’s main brainstorm-related benefit over the Ageha Kikyou is that she only has to tap herself, which might allow you to do this multiple times in a turn. That being said, double brainstorm is a pretty sub-optimal setup for your Level 1 game, so I value this a lot less than I do for brainstorms in sets where it’s fantastic to have the brainstorm on the field regardless, like you see in Guilty Crown and CLANNAD.

That being said, there is a lot of merit to this card specifically. As with all search brainstorms, removing cards from your deck is indirect compression and potential removal of soul triggers. More than that though, this card is Green. This makes it count towards your 1/0 Sakura’s Kagome’s power bonus, as well as the 3/2 Kagome’s advance summon requirement. It’s also bondable, though a 0/0 bonding to another 0/0 is kind of shrugworthy, even though it’s your ticket to 1/0 7ks. I’m not overly enthralled by 1/0 7ks when it also takes away my ability to reliably salvage 2/1 sac counters. Still, I can’t fault this card, nor can I really fault anyone for running it. It’s just solid.

Yes, I know there is another line of text on this, but as far as I’m concerned, it’s more or less flavour text. This set can easily choose not to use stock in the first place, so you’re removing a valuable brainstorm in exchange for a rather minor and conditional compression benefit. I would do it if I had another brainstorm in hand, but otherwise I don’t think it’s that great. You wouldn’t put this out front just to gamble on the chance it goes to stock, and you wouldn’t raise your Level 0 count to improve this card’s chances of hitting, even taking the previous card into account.

Rating: Good-

“Stream of Thousand Winds” Rinne Inuyasha06

This card is really good in a lot of little ways, and it synergises extremely well with your Level 1 climax combo. Not only is it Green (and therefore adds to the Green count), but it salvages the climax you need, greatly increasing the consistency of the combo (especially since your other climax is likely a bar). This also lets you hold climaxes in hand a little more fearlessly at Level 0, though I still wouldn’t go overboard. Additionally, this is a great target for the 1/0’s +2k buff, especially if there is a kinda-big thing on the opponent’s side you absolutely need to kill – this will reach a solid 10k if you pull off a reverse with the climax combo card and have this attack last. A solid support beater, and definitely needed in any Green Rinne deck.

Rating: Playable+

Sakura Kagome in Swimsuits07

The +2k is fantastic for both the Level 3 Sakura Kagome and Level 3 Rinne Inuyasha, providing field presence for the former and ignoring all but the biggest of power counters for the clock kick. Monogreen decks will likely be slapping this down, followed directly by the Level 3 Sakura Kagome, which seems like a perfectly strong signature play.

I am a big fan of topchecking effects in main phase, since that’s one less card you need to worry about triggering a climax with. It’s much, much stronger if you can also reliably brainstorm right afterwards, as you can in Zero no Tsukaima decks, but that’s not really the case here, given you need to tap multiple characters. It helps that the green brainstorm only taps itself, but even then, Rinne is not a set with a heap of free advantage unless your opponent gives it to you, so you’ll probably want to use the combination of effects sparingly. Still, even without that bonus, it’s a strong effect you’ll be glad to have available to you. All in all, a serviceable card, but nothing to sing and dance about.

Rating: Playable

“Young Man of an Exorcist Family” Tsubasa Miroku08

Perfectly reasonable finisher with in-built power gain and no need for a climax. It’s another so-called payoff for sticking to mono-Green. However, I think this card is trash. Firstly, even though you’re presumably sticking to mono-Green already, there are no <Book> trait characters with particularly compelling reasons to be in the mono-Green deck. Aside from this one specifically, you have a Level 2 (effectively vanilla) counter and an average 1/0, plus some 0/0 oversize beaters. The dream is obviously to ditch this same Miroku and put it straight onto the field, but your Level 3 game is stacked already and you always want some insurance. The worst part about this is that every field slot taken up by this guy is a slot not occupied by your antiburn Inuyasha, which is the whole point of this deck to begin with. All in all, I’m really not convinced this is a playable card at all, and even budget decks (Rinne is a budget deck already) will have better options.

Rating: Bad

“Work of Shinigami” Rinne Inuyasha09

As average as this card looks, it’s very clearly the best costless support for your 1/0 climax combo, and as such needs to be regarded quite highly. Its colour is overwhelmingly important, and the effect is perfectly fine. Just like how the Minami decks early in CG’s history ran the Anastasia global support, this card will be a staple in early Rinne lists, and so long as no good Green promo supports come out, it probably won’t be replaced.

The second ability is pretty nice. It’s a discard outlet for excess bars, it gets you your 2/1 event when it hits the clock, and it occasionally lets your cards kill Level bombs that were sitting on the field. This effect isn’t to be valued particularly highly, especially because the climax ditch effect clashes with the 1/0 Inuyasha’s need to ditch a climax, but it certainly isn’t causing any harm. Unless you’re using it at Level 3 and opening yourself to antichange counters, of course. Don’t do that.

Rating: Playable

Tsubasa Jumonji Miroku, the Monk10

This is a perfectly reasonable conclusion to the deck, so long as you are running specifically mono-Green. Being a 7k on [S] use is nice, but you need to be entirely mono-Green, be maintaining a full field AND be holding a 1/0 counter for this to have any significant advantage over the next card. You’re probably also running the 1/1 Sakura support with this card, so you get free startup bonuses every turn you keep him alive. However, it’s just a 1/0 beater, and a pretty conditional one at that. As mentioned above, the <Book> trait has no relevance because the associated Level 3 is a bad card.

Rating: Playable-

“Opening! After-School Requiem Comedy” Rinne Inuyasha11

This is one of Bushiroad’s newfound methods of power creep – slap two barely-relevant restrictions on something, and suddenly you get to be a whole 1k above vanilla. The death with 1> stock condition should never come up if you keep this card in mind – even if you are playing costed things, if this is in Hand already, you can just play this first. It can be problematic if you have 2 stock and need to Brainstorm for a beater, but at the same time, you have other beaters to get if the need arises. Preventing your other Characters from side attacking can sometimes be an issue when your Characters aren’t supremely large, but for the most part, you’re clearly Front Attacking with your 1/0 climax combo pieces, and this card itself is probably big enough to brawl comfortably if you field multiples.

tl;dr it’s big and has almost no drawbacks

Rating: Playable

“Strong Assistance” Sakura Kagome12

This is a criminally underappreciated profile, and I honestly think that Kancolle 1’s biggest crime was pushing the Tenryuu/Tatsuta combo into the shadows. A support that helps you out with bonus stock is great, but when that stock is confirmed as clean, it also starts taking bad draws out of your pool and helps you compress through refresh (especially since your 1/0 climax combo mills). I’m down for that, even if the 1 stock is literally only because the card provides a global buff. Hell, I’m happy paying for the global buff, it’s what makes this card a really good backrow in a set that wants to reverse its opponents. Having two of this profile in the backrow is my dream scenario, but that’s probably unrealistic.

Rating: Playable+

Sakura’s Kagome’s Friends” Rika13

I don’t know exactly what to think of this card, but my instinct tells me it’s pretty bad. I’ll get the +500 ability out of the way first – it’s fine. Since your climax combo snowballs, buffing just one Character is sufficient in most cases, but it’s still a lot worse than just having an assist. Anyway, the bond effect. If you were wondering, it bonds to the green Brainstorm, which is honestly pretty weird. It’s effectively a costed bond to a costed card, because the reason you play a brainstorm is to, well, brainstorm. I like bonds a lot, but the bonded cards need to either have a fixed presence on the field or be great in multiples. Additionally, it preferably forces your opponent to kill it, just so it can come back. I think that the brainstorm does none of these things, and that you only ever need one on-field. The best way to ensure that is to play more of the brainstorm itself.

The card’s hidden effect is that it makes one of your 1/0s into a 1/0 7k. I’m all for 1/0 7ks, but if the condition is forcing a thoroughly mediocre backrow that does little to nothing for your climax combo? Ugh. If a card needs a specific backrow, it needs to be as good as the SGS Red advance summon, or I’m not impressed. I’m taking a stand and calling this a deckbuilding mistake, and I almost invariably love bonds.

Rating: Bad

Sakura Kagome in Maid Uniform14

Drop searchers are fine. I don’t think you need this, though. Between the brainstormer(s), climax combo, 2/1 Hoop event and promo drop salvager, you can reliably get what you need, so this card is a one-of filler piece at most. It is the only guaranteed way to get your 1/0 climax combo piece from the deck, which I suppose is worth mentioning. Still pretty mediocre.

Rating: Playable

“Cleanse Completed” Tsubasa Miroku15

If you’re in the market for a 0/0 oversize and are playing mono-Green, this is fine. The difference between 4k and 3.5k is big enough that I’d rather play this. That being said, the best T1 play is clearly the clock bomb.

Rating: Playable-

Sakura’s Kagome’s Friends” Miho16

This is the 7k I was talking about. Since I gave the bonder a bad rating, I guess I have to give this one a bad rating too. Forcing such a specific and mediocre backrow is just… no.

Rating: Bad

“Bible Corner Crash” Tsubasa Miroku17

Even if you’re running mono-Green, I’m sure that the 2/1 sac counter is the better card to play. I would rather run 3 of the sac counter than run a single one of this, even taking into account accessibility. It’s just much lower in terms of impact. However, I am me, and you are you, so I’ll let the people actually playing Rinne Inuyasha make that decision. Keep this card in mind, as I’ll be talking about it when we get to the actual article.

Rating: Playable-

Rinne Inuyasha in Maid Uniform

T18his card does almost nothing and even a heavy-Green deck just doesn’t want this. Unless your meta is full of decks that throw fat things on every lane from Level 1 onwards (Soundless Voice and friends), I see no reason to play this. If you’re playing any Red Shinigami cards whatsoever, they do not buff this, which is another little issue to add on.  It is cute that you can have this be pumped by the 2/1 Sakura Kagome support if you add a level on with the Rinne Inuyasha 0/0 support, but at that point you’ve probably used up far too much stock for it to be worth it.

Rating: Niche

“Wealthy Heiress” Ageha Kikyou

This is half the reason to give any colour but Green the time of day. 22Salvage brainstorms are, as I have probably said a bunch, arguably the best sort of brainstorm. Level 1 is prime time for brainstorm usage. Not only do you have a decent idea of how your hand will adapt to Level 1 and 2, but this is the point where you start tri-fielding, meaning you will start having a lot more stock to use, and you’ll want to keep replenishing your field. At this point, salvage brainstorms are about equal in value to search ones, but the scales tip very quickly. Salvage brainstorms let you reuse the good cards that were played previously, and in a deck with an in-built costless mill effect, you’ll find the Waiting Room to be a much better resource than the Deck at points where you want to brainstorm pre-refresh.

It needs to be noted that this card fetches the majority of your deck, since all Rinne Inuyasha cards are Shinigami trait.. The only relevant cards this will fail to find are your 1/0 climax combo piece and your 1/1 and 2/1 supports, if you choose to run those (if you run this then I doubt you run the 3/2 advance summon Sakura Kagome). Moreover, this card fetches a few of things that the Green Sakura Kagome brainstorm couldn’t, chief among them being a sac counter. That’s a pretty big draw, given sac counters are a primary method of lategame interaction against quite a few relevant decks (though there are plenty of decks that just burn your face regardless). Still, failing to have the counter against something like Nisekoi, Milky Holmes or opposing Rinne Inuyasha? That’s a recipe for disaster, my friend. Being able to salvage back this specific card is great.

Now that we’ve established this is a pretty good card, we have to talk about why it isn’t an auto-include. Firstly, the cost. Tapping two Characters is somewhat prohibitive, clashing with the 1/1 Sakura Kagome support and only allowing one brainstorm per turn. This can be troublesome if the goal was to brainstorm multiple times, but as we mentioned while talking about the Green brainstorm, that’s not necessarily the best idea if the brainstorm itself doesn’t do much for your field.

Secondly, she’s Red. This makes it a little awkward with the Level 1 combo, in that you need literally your whole field outside of this card to be Green or Shippou. That being said, it’s not exactly hard to full field Green cards, and this brainstorm actually does pump your 1/0 climax combo Character, which is (ironically) not something the Green brainstorm can boost. We’ve already discussed that pumping a single Character is fine when the climax combo snowballs like this one.

I think this card is worth testing, at the very least. It’s very easy to just play mono-Green and disregard Red, but the value of salvageable sac counters is not to be understated.

Rating: Good

“Shinigami” Ageha Kikyou23

This card looks to be comparable to the Green advance summon at face value, but I think that it’s only a superficial similarity. Both are 10k advance summoned heals, but the advance summon condition and auxillary effect on the Sakura Kagome are just much better overall. 2 or less climaxes is not difficult and is what you’re aiming for with the Green Level 3 anyway, but the loss of trigger manipulation is pretty significant, especially because all you get is a piddly power boost. If you’re after Red at all, I think you’ll ultimately want to splash the above brainstorm and probably crash it in at some point, because while this is a perfectly fine card, it’s flat and uninspired compared to the Green advance summon. If it had a cantrip on play then everything would be different, but alas, I don’t think this is actually a great Level 2 play as compared to the Sakura Kagome.

Rating: Playable

Ageha Kikyou in Yukata24

The topcheck, add and discard archetype is pretty good on the whole – handfixing, a discard outlet, and at worst, it lets you see your top card if it’s off-trait or a climax/event. In this case, you can quite easily set your deck up to have almost everything succeed the topcheck effect, since all Rinne Inuyasha cards count, but at the same time, nothing but a topcheck handfix is kind of shrugworthy. The best ones are always pushed with an additional effect (the SGS and GFB ones) or are just excellent cards period (the Nisekoi and Index ones). You have to look at the other abilities when the effect is medium. This one has a mill 2 effect, which is kind of nice. I don’t really care for the bonus upon milling a climax (it’s practically irrelevant) – it’s more the fact that you’re speeding through your deck. Hell, you can almost consider this to be a CIP mill 3, but with a handfix bonus. I really like the combination of mill 2 and topcheck in theory, since the cards you won’t be able to add to your hand are climaxes and Events. This means that the Events go back into deck and might be drawn later (which this deck wants), and it means that you don’t trigger the climaxes. However, that’s not always a great thing when your climaxes are plusses. It’s even less enticing when you consider that early triggered bars are great in this deck. I do really like mill 2 as a bonus on playable cards though, and when it’s nothing but upside, count me in.

That being said, the card needs to work with your overall strategy. As I mentioned before, you can set the deck up to work with this card, but is it worth it? You miss out on any non-Rinne Green cards, and this comes in as a consideration when choosing a Level 3 lineup as well. It also doesn’t benefit the 1/0 Rinne climax swapper when it comes to buffing power, which will probably come up. Frustratingly, it does not allow you to add the 1/0 Sakura Kagome to hand, which can hurt. I want to like this card, but it’s hard for me to push for its inclusion as more than a tech.

Rating: Playable

“Devil’s Seduction” Masato Naraku25

4k beater with mill 2 is fine by me, but the colour and traits don’t do it much good. It does effectively nothing in the Green deck except be a 4k 0/0, and I don’t think this is the sort of card you want to splash out for if you’re going Red at all. You usually want to be fielding a Rinne Inuyasha bomb regardless.

Rating: Niche

Ageha Kikyou in Santa Outfit

26The Eli/Kotomine profile of beater is perfectly fine, but preferably comes with decent global supports and/or good costless counters to keep it alive. This set does actually have multiple global supports for Red and/or <Shinigami> characters, but those card don’t really have other text, which is a bit of a stretch to justify. There isn’t a particularly good counter either, or any pushed way to get this card to your hand, as you see with the Guilty Crown comeback Gai and the CLANNAD power-up pack 1/0 7k.

Even if you ignore those issues with optimisation, there is a far more pressing problem at hand. Your best Level 1 card is certainly the Kagome climax combo, and that requires a full Green/<Black Cat Contract> field. This card requires a full Red/<Shinigami> field. While it is certainly possible to build a Red-focused deck to support this card, why would you bother when the overall power level is significantly lower? Even more problematic is the existence of a 6.5k in Green, which weakens the case for this card’s inclusion (and deck-warping) even further. I’m not sold at all, and this card should be relegated to the Red/Blue Shinigami deck, if it goes anywhere at all.

Rating: Niche

“Rinne’s Grandmother” Tamako Kaede

Staple sacrifice counter that you should play in every Rinne deck. 27This includes the mono-Green decks where you have no outs to getting this outside of clocking, drawing and holding it. You’ll probably play like 3 of those in those decks, and… probably like 3 of these in the Red/Green decks too. And the Red/Blue decks. This card is too good not to run. You block a lot of relevant decks – Milky Holmes, KanColle, and every clock kick deck, including Rinne itself. You can also use it for its intended purpose and kill off a pesky advance summon, but who does that, right? Great card, play several.

Rating: Good

“Shirushigami” Kain Sesshoumaru

41This is actually an extremely competent 28finisher archetype. Not only is it completely non-reliant on power, but it digs for its own climax very reliably in the right deck, and a lot of the time it’ll be pinging for 2, which is a fantastic number that BSR has intentionally not printed, since it’s just such a good mix of reliable and impactful lategame. Additionally, you’ll almost never be unable to use this card’s ability, given that it combos with a Red stock soul, which will probably be useful to someone somewhere. Of course, this card doesn’t fit into the deck that has the most powerful unique cards in the set, so I can’t in good conscience give this a high grade. That being said, it is certainly the best Level 3 finisher for the Shinigami deck, though that might not even be what you end up wanting. An extremely solid card that is easily worth consideration in the decks that support it.

Rating: Niche+

“Black Cat By Contract” Rokumon Shippou29

I feel this is almost entirely outclassed by the promo of the same character. 2-cost plusses are usually fine as one-ofs, but I’ve never been a real fan. It does go into the mono-Green deck without a hitch, but when the card is this mediocre, it takes a lot more than that to keep it afloat as a consideration.

Rating: Playable-

“Creditor” Kain Sesshoumaru30

The other costless Red Level 1 under consideration. Being a pretty free 7k is nice, but being 5k on defence is not. The disparity of quality between this and Green’s oversize options is pretty staggering, and is a significant point in favour of a Green Level 1 in general. Hell, a Blue Level 1 might actually be better, simply because it’s at least somewhat unique (don’t say Alchemists). This profile is certainly serviceable, but you can almost always do better.

Rating: Niche

“Heart Throbbing” Ageha Kikyou

This is the climax combo they decided to throw Red, and while it 31certainly has some nice text on it to go with that decent base power, there’s a pretty staggering problem. I’m obviously talking about the 1 cost. Putting stock into a card that isn’t even going to be much bigger than most large costless cards is risky, especially when the card’s value will only come from reversing something. Even worse is the fact that losing the card to anything costless will put you at a deficit, and basically mandates that you hold a counter. Against even somewhat-large Level 1 games, playing something like this out on multiple lanes is overextending, plain and simple.

40The effect is fine, the climax is pretty great to trigger, and you’ll usually not be short of targets to salvage, but even with all that in mind, the card is mediocre. This profile has historically been somewhat subpar, and has almost never seen play unless the card had an additional way to gain a lot of power and possibly a way to make up for the stock spent, like in Charlotte. Even taking that into account, the card profile is rarely ever good on its own merits, and that doesn’t change here. Another strike against a Red Level 1, if this is the only passable climax combo (it is).

Rating: Niche

“Shinigami in Love” Ageha Kikyou32

This card’s direct competitor is the 2/1 Sakura Kagome support, which I’m sure is intentional design. If you evaluate the cards’ benefits to your Green endgame hero, there’s not actually a big difference. A 2.5k boost in front is not a lot more than the 2k boost Sakura Kagome gives, and that support also comes with a neat secondary ability. The global boost is arguably meaningful, given you want to tri-field Inuyasha, but at the same time, it’s not accomplishing a lot. Keeping your Level 3 clock kicks big and alive only leads to one thing – the chance of repeating your clock kick. However, your cards being big and alive obviously means that the opponent’s cards and probably all dead, depriving you of clock kick targets anyway. With that in mind, the extra power really loses a lot of its draw, not to mention how big Rinne Inuyasha gets, even without supports.

The card’s secondary use is to pump your early plays and keep them alive. In this instance, it is entirely outclassed by the Sakura Kagome, since that provides a bigger boost to whichever early play you use, including Ageha Kikyou herself. The long and short of it is that this card has no use, outside of being a vanilla level support in the Red/Blue Shinigami deck.

Rating: Niche

“Shinigami” Tamako Kaede

Global support that couples well with the +500 per other Ageha 33Kikyou. You get to do a really, really terrible impression of Guilty Crown or Love Live. I understand that this card’s effect persists into the lategame, but at that point it becomes significantly less useful – power overscaling gets more and more pronounced later on when it comes to cards where power matters, and the cards that don’t care about power obviously don’t care about this card. This isn’t even necessarily staple in the <Shinigami> build for reasons that will soon become apparent, but it’s hardly a bad card. Just an uninteresting one.

Rating: Niche

Kain’s Sesshoumaru’s Mother

34Surprise, it’s another global support. This one lacks the <Shinigami> trait itself, but it’s still Red, so for practically all intents and purposes, it is actually <Shinigami> trait anyway. The thing that this brings to the table is a stock bonus when you play a specific character name, which is pretty shrugworthy. I like cheating on stock costs, but this particular application is absurdly niche. Interchangeable with the previous global support in Red-centric decks, but clearly better in Blue-focused ones.

Rating: Niche

“Transforming Mirror Scythe” Kain Sesshoumaru

This card’s colour identity is wrong, but I don’t think the Weiss 35Schwarz colour pie has mattered since 2013 or so. It’s extremely mediocre, and 1-cost plusses are a lot worse when you don’t get to choose what you plus into. You could consider playing this to cheat on damage and get to Level 1, but if you’re playing a combined Green/Red deck, this card doesn’t even count towards your Sakura Kagome’s combo, which lessens the impact of getting to Level 1 first. In the other decks, it’s probably fine for that purpose, as both the Red-centric and Blue-centric Level 1 games want to slam a climax.

Rating: Niche

Those Who Couldn’t Pass On36


just no

Rating: no

“Monster of the Club Building” Rokumon Shippou

For all non-desperate sakes and purposes, this is the better version 37of the promo Rinne counter, which is going for a frighteningly high amount on yuyu-tei (the best promo is the climax ditch, by the by). Not only is it gotten by literally everything that the Rinne counter is gotten by, but it fixes for another colour, should you choose to splash it. Of course, it is slightly more difficult to play as a beater, but if you need to play this as a beater, something went wrong somewhere. Perfectly fine in this deck, since you do want to keep your 6.5ks alive.

Rating: Playable

“Scaringly Narrow-Minded Demon” Masato Naraku38

This is a decent card, actually. The ability is what we’re here for, and the rest of the card can be blank (for the moment, at least). It’s arguably a real reason to go into red, since killing brainstorms and some supports can be backbreaking, with unseen effects on the game that range from inconvenient to game-changing. I feel like I’ve said this already, but let’s do it again anyway. Cards that pop brainstorms aren’t necessarily good against decks. They’re good against certain people. There are times when it is correct to brainstorm, and times when it is probably completely incorrect. Then you have the inbetween bits, where it’s statistically unlikely you’ll hit on the brainstorm, but doing so puts you into a great position, etc etc. There are lots of scenarios like that, and there is a certain type of player who will roll the dice by brainstorming immediately, going for the best case scenario. This is the sort of player that a card like this excels against, because sometimes they will not have a brainstorm, and they will not know what to do.

The issue regarding this card, as opposed to something like Kanji or Kaiki, is that it’s a Level 2 character. Never mind the cost of playing it, the problem is that your opponent has probably had a long time to brainstorm a lot, and probably got a heap of value already. Being unplayable through Level 1 hurt this card a lot, and I can’t really give it a good grade just because it’ll sometimes strand an overzealous opponent. More often than not, they’ll just play a new brainstorm down, or will have garnered enough advantage to press on without a care. It’s still a serviceable card, but I wouldn’t be jumping ship from Green just to play it. Unlike Naraku himself, this card has subpar power and probably won’t last more than a turn on deck, so it doesn’t get bonus points for that either.

Rating: Niche

Wheel of Cycle of Resurrection39

Refreshing your deck is an extremely powerful effect. Refreshing your opponent’s deck can be similarly strong, though it’s harder to gauge. Because of that, you need to keep an eye on any card that does both. It’s not all sunshine and rainbows, though. This event can lead to some truly ridiculous blowouts, but the vast, vast majority of the time, it’s going to do little-to-nothing, and probably didn’t even give you back your 1-card investment. Let’s not forget that this is an unsearchable, unsalvageable event that wants to be drawn, but also doesn’t want to be played in large quantities. The fact that the probable meta build for this series is mono-Green also has an obvious effect on this card’s playability (or lack thereof). Don’t be fooled by dreams of forcing your opponent to refresh with 4. Your opponent needs an incredible streak of bad luck, you need to have drawn this card, AND you need to have the climax play to punish your opponent – and then your opponent has to not sack climaxes in the top 10 or so cards. Long story short, the dream will not happen often, and for every time you live the dream, you’ll have 30-odd games where you have to grit your teeth and tell yourself there’s always next time. Not a good card at all.

Rating: Bad

“Damashigami Company” Sabato Kouga

42This is an extremely interesting card in terms of effects, and needs to be evaluated in context. Putting the heal aside (which would have been better as a cantrip effect), messing with deck compression is a very real effect, and it is an effect that compounds in multiples. If you have three of this on the field with the climax, you have suddenly made your deck much, much more compressed for this refresh, and you may even have made your opponent’s compression a lot worse. Just like the above event, the ceiling on this card is pretty amazing. Now that we’ve established that, let’s look at the downsides.

First, this card needs you to have a lot of Blue. You need at least 6 Blue cards in your deck, which may be depleted of half its cards. This is a strain on deckbuilding, which always needs to be taken into consideration. Next, if your deck is kind of small, it’s quite possible to overcompress with this card, resulting in a double- or even triple-climax trigger. You need to be at a sweet spot in deck compression to really insulate yourself reliably. Yes, I know you can choose not to take cards, but the two-card discard is mandatory, and unless your hand is literally empty, you are losing out on tangible value. Lastly, your opponent needs to be in a specific state of compression as well. They need to have preferably lost more climaxes in the last turn or two than probability would suggest, but they still need a reasonable chance to cancel. After all, if they weren’t going to cancel anyway, this card’s effect diminishes severely. And, of course, if they were extremely compressed, adding 6 cards probably won’t do much to a deck whose compression ratio was already exceptional. The opponent needs to be in a pretty average position for this combo to work its magic on them, which is probable, but never guaranteed.

All in all? I think this card is an extremely worthy build-49around, and that it will push you into good situations far more often than not. You need to remember that this combo has the potential to benefit you greatly AND mess up your opponent. Only one player needs to be affected significantly for this combo to have done something good, and the other player being affected to your advantage is just a bonus.

Also, this art is hella lazy. Ugh.

Rating: Niche+

Beautiful Secretary Sango43

This card is really neat in context, but that context is rather narrow. The Blue-centric deck likes you to play a lot of the same Character, and every combo and gimmick is based around that. This card is no exception, as the power buff will range from uninteresting to fantastic value, depending on what your frontrow is. It’s specifically great at Level 2, where it is effectively a global 500 support tacked onto a brainstorm. As we have learnt from Inori and Umi, this is a very, very strong effect. However, the effect isn’t really as good as it may seem. Your main Level 1 play will be cost 0 bombs. While this is neat (and potentially very powerful), bombs don’t exactly care much about being big, and this is especially obvious when the bombs themselves are 2.5k base. The only other 1/0 in the Blue-centric deck kills itself when its climax combo is played, so that’s straight out as well (it was also only 5k anyway). You could certainly play this in the Red/Blue Shinigami deck, as this card does a pretty good global 500 support for your 1/0 Eli clones, but there’s exactly zero reason to do so when there are two literal 500 globals for that deck already. It also wouldn’t fit into the Green deck for obvious reasons. So, what else does this card have to offer? It does have a pretty solid brainstorm effect, right?

Speaking of the brainstorm effect, you might look at it and wonder why they would print something so good. Have you ever wondered how good a brainstorm would be if it counted the number of Level 0s it flipped? Well, you can keep wondering, because this card isn’t quite at that level. While you will almost always get your plus, you’re capped at one card only, and this brainstorm taps two. This is more like an Elly/Amagi effect than a brainstorm, really. If it only tapped itself, this card might be the base for an absurd army deck, but as it stands, it’s simply an above-average support for a gimmicky deck. I wouldn’t sleep on it though, as it seems better than any individual Red-centric card.

Rating: Niche+

“Vicious Shinigami” Damashigami44

The card this climax combo grabs is a 1/0 bottomdeck bomb, which you can play any number of (that is to say, you can use this combo twice to get a true plus). It’s a serviceable climax combo, but as with all multi-row bomb strategies, you will get hit back extra hard. Yeah, you might deplete their field, and they might even have depended on it, but now your rows are empty and they get to throw Level 0s at you, knowing you won’t have a real way to take advantage of the fodder. I appreciate what this deck is trying to do, and I have a feeling I’m actually undervaluing the bottomdeck bombs, but even so, it’s a risky strategy in a game where you already take plenty of risks. You don’t need to take more.

50More to the point, the poor chap only exists to kill himself and let the women take the lead. Congratulations, feminism. You’ve won this battle.

Rating: Niche

“Complex Issues” Beautiful Secretary Sango

45This level assist beats out the Ageha Kikyou one if you’re running a Red/Blue combined deck, and I daresay this one’s effect is just a lot better than the poor red lvX’s effect. Just giving someone 1k is already pretty impressive, but randomly doubling up on that gives this card a lot of oomph. If you take a look at the next card down, you’ll  see that this oomph can really stonewall a lot of decks in terms of power, and that counts for something. Still, this card will never be more than just niche.

Rating: Niche

Sabato Rokudo Kouga46

Arguable payoff for the Blue deck. You’re just walling up, plain and simple. Three of this makes you 13k before any supports, and you get 1k from the level support, or 500 from the brainstorm. You probably kill everything, and you don’t get killed by anything short of over-pumped advance summons. What’s more, you can run the 0/0 Red support to supplant your stock usage, effectively turning some of these into 2/0 characters.

Of course, these cards have weaknesses. Firstly, you need three of them, or else they’re not that imposing and every advance summon will beat over it (and you don’t even get to counter). Next, it is an extremely easy target for any oversized clock kick, as you get pre-emptively Kaiki’d on all three lanes. Heaven forbid you come up against a trilaned Akagi. Lastly, these are just 1 soul beaters. Big as they are, they don’t help you win a damage race unless your opponent literally trirams every turn, and even then, if they slam climaxes and keep up in hand, you’re going to be stuck with 1-soul 13ks as they progress to their endgame and finish you off neatly. I think this is a definite 4-of in the Blue deck, but I also think it should only come down against decks that can’t easily deal with 13ks, and also doesn’t get free advantage from just slamming climaxes.

Rating: Niche

“Plushie Squad” Damashigami

Shin-chan did the depression bunny thing first, and it was much funnier there. Ahem.

I think they’re trying to make the army deck somewhat serviceable, as these cards reach a neat 6.5k on both turns with the triple frontrow and double brainstorm backrow. Of course, literally every deck jams Level 0 bombs, which means you aren’t going to wall forever. But wait, you do get to swing back for extra soul, and you certainly have ways to replace your hand, so why am I complaining? You’re winning the damage race, right? Well, sure, but I’m only talking about Level 0 here. 6.5k really isn’t that big, and you can expect to be reversed at Level 1 by every top deck that cares about reversing things. Even if it’s 6.5k, Level 0s tend to be free farm for on-reverse combos, especially if you haven’t hit Level 1 yourself. Also, this card loses literally all worth on field after a given point, while other decks get to run draw-drops, Azusa effects and tech options. There’s a reason why we don’t care much for vanilla beaters.

Still, this card is an absolute necessity in the Blue deck, and I would even run an above-average count of Level 0s to accommodate the brainstorm’s needs. It’s not actually a good card by itself.

Rating: Niche

“Female Member” Damashigami48

This is a frustration of a card to play against if you try to wall at all. Most decks that wall do so with costless cards, and unless you are one of the lucky few decks that has costed ‘costless’ cards at Level 1, you will get rolled over by this. This bomb heavily punishes people who are unprepared, uninformed, and who overcommit. While this deck is fine with getting its cards bombed (as mentioned above), most other decks aren’t. They don’t boast the extremely likely brainstorm hits of this deck, nor do they really have contingency plans if they go -3 to a series of bombs, outside of clock more, brainstorm, and pray. Of course, there are quite a number of decks that just cantrip without end, and thus welcome a Level 1 rush like this, so you have to be prepared to take lots of damage vs those decks. This might actually be the best army deck in the game, simply because its brainstorm hits so frequently, and because it answers one of the most common types of Level 1 game today with impunity.

Rating: Niche+

The actual article starts here, and I might migrate this somewhere else.

The Art of Techs

In this new age of WS design, there is one underrated skill that really stands out to me. To be fair, it’s just a subset of card evaluation, but it’s rather specific to WS. That skill is balancing consistency. What I’m referring to is a bit of a strange concept when it comes to your typical TCG, but Bushiroad is currently in the business of building your WS decks for you. Just look at the past few boosters – Yellow in Osomatsu-san, Gem.dec in Ilya, Triad Primus in Cinderella Girls, the two mono-colour decks in Schoolgirl Strikers, and the very distinct archetypes shaping up in Gochuwhatever – the list goes on and on. From this, an interesting question arises. When is it right to play off-concept techs?

If you hadn’t noticed, it’s pretty simple to build a deck right now. Choose your plussing global soul combo, choose your strong endgame, choose your utility/advantage Level 0s. If you couldn’t choose all three of the above, your deck is probably bad. It’s sad, but it’s true. You may also have noticed that Bushiroad is printing stronger and stronger cards. There are cards with strong baseline abilities, but they are weakened somewhat because there are lots of drawbacks to these cards. Marika needs multiple <Key> traits on-field, Shinobu needs 6 Experience to be anything but a vanilla, Trancing Pulse Nao only activates if it hits the two climaxes you were probably running anywa-

wait a minute

Huh? Those aren’t drawbacks at all. In fact, those so-called drawbacks are completely irrelevant if you’ve built your deck with any semblance of consistency. And that is the heart of the issue. Consistency is now synonymous with card power level.

See, a long time ago, cards were played without taking consistency into account, because they were just that strong. Rin & Archer was staple in old Fate/Rider decks, despite being the only Red you played in an otherwise Green/Blue build. The Kuroko runner was played with no way to search it in old Index decks, simply because Index’s Level 0 lineup was a tragedy otherwise. Possibly the most applicable example is the splashed gate. You often had no Red, other than the gates themselves and maybe a bomb or three, but you still did it, since the trigger is just that powerful. That’s just not the case anymore, since every deck will be built to have a specific set of finishers. Every deck will have a brainstorm for its traits. Every deck will have a Level 1 combo that gets everything in the BSR-designed skeleton. I said it in literally the last paragraph, but it’s so important that I’m going to repeat it. Consistency is now synonymous with card power level. Consistency is power, so to speak. A brainstorm that fetches everything in your deck is better than one that has limited targets. A counter that gives bonus power to every fatty on field is better than one than cannot buff one of your auxillary 1/0s. Consistency is power.

Even so, consistency and power level are still extremely important and extremely distinct stats you look at when constructing your deck, though it might be for different reasons than what the 2012 players looked at them for. They are still the most important things to consider when deckbuilding.

Is the added power a card brings worth the consistency drop? Remember this question, because it is the starting point. This is the question I ask myself every time I put any card into a deck. This doesn’t just apply to the whole always-searchable, always-trait-relevant schtick, though we’ll start with that first. I’m going to make some generalisations, and there will be plenty of exceptions to these generalisations, but just bare with me.

Off-Trait, Off-Colour Techs

First, we’ll take the Rinne Inuyasha set above. The deck really, really wants you to run Green cards, as your best Level 1 combo, best advance summon, and arguably best brainstorm all care about Green cards more than anything else. However, you have a Red sac counter in the set (I’m going to ignore the fact that sac counters are actually getting less good nowadays). In every set with a sac counter, it is a nigh-dispensible part of the deck. Can you run it? Can you run an unsearchable, unsalvageable sac counter and just hope to draw into it? My immediate answer is a firm yes. Not only is the deck one that will probably brainstorm frequently and gets its climax combo off every time (thereby likely  getting lots of raw advantage), but part of your Level 1 game is field-based, meaning you will sometimes not need to clock. You can very viably hold a counter from late Level 0 onwards, if you ask me, and if you play 3 of them, you will almost always draw one. You will get to use the sac counter in basically every game, if that’s what you want.

The issue with this is that you cannot ever recur the sac counter. Have you ever watched your opponent use their sac counter on your clock kick, then salvage it back the very next turn? You don’t even need to see them use it, just knowing they have the ability to use it has a huge effect. To that tune, the set actually has a Red brainstormer that fulfills this exact function. That brainstorm even gets the vast majority of your deck, with a couple of notable exceptions. We’ll get to those exceptions later.

So, why don’t we run the brainstorm and the sac counter, then? Well, I already answered that in a very roundabout way. The Level 1 combo needs at least 4 total Green cards on field. You need to full field if you intend to keep the brainstorm on field, and when this is to enable a low-power on-reverse climax combo, this starts to be an issue. You could argue that this is a fault of the climax combo card rather than the brainstorm, but it is an issue regardless. Even if you ignore that, The advance summon requires 4 Green cards before it is an advance summon at all. If you have a Red brainstorm on the field, you can’t advance summon the Level 2, which is an issue when one of the main benefits to it is being able to recur the sac counter in the lategame. Yeah, you can run in the brainstorm and just hope to draw into either the brainstorm or another sac counter later (and this is probably a more reliable method than I’m giving it credit for), but it’s still hard to call this anything but a hoop to jump through, especially when you consider how easy it is for a set like Madoka, Nisekoi or Symphogear to recur their counters.

We now need to talk about the weaknesses of the brainstorm itself. I’ve talked at length about the Level 1 combo at the 3/2 advance summon, which would make them pretty pivotal characters in the deck, right? The problem here is that your red brainstorm specifically cannot grab the Level 1 combo or the 3/2 advance summon. This is a pretty important thing to note, as it means you’re pressured to hold these cards in addition to your other brainstorms, or 2/1 sac counters, or whatever, and your field isn’t THAT resilient. It gets even worse when you consider that the set does have a brainstorm which actually can get these key cards, in addition to literally everything else EXCEPT the sac counter.

I think it’s extremely reasonable to forgo the Red brainstorm and just play 3 of the sac counter. The brainstorm specifically does not add enough power for me to consider adding it. In fact, I think it detracts from the overall power level. The reasoning is simple – outside of the 3/2 combo, the strongest thing that Rinne can do is slam multiples of its 1/0 combo, and the Green brainstorm aids in that while the Red one does not. I don’t think the utility of occasionally getting back a sac counter the turn before you slam your advance summon is worth it when you can pretty easily clock your way to it and hold the card – your Level 1 climax combo will hopefully refill your hand in a way that you can justify this, and even though there’s some pressure to hold some other cards, it’s not too bad if you can keep even one row alive. Plus, you can always brainstorm for more cards. This is a worst-case scenario and not one I put much emphasis on when evaluating things.


About lycheepunnet

the victim in an abusive relationship with cardboard
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