How to Raise Your PUP – Part 1: Railgun

Yes, I know that Power-Up Pack isn’t the actual name for these things, but PUS is both less amusing and also kinda disgusting, so just roll with it.

For some (read: no) reason, we never really review trial decks or auxiliary product, and that’s probably going to continue for the same lack of reason. That’s okay though, because I haven’t written anything in like a year, and I wanted to talk about the PUPs anyway. It’s always nice to see what unique gimmicks Bushiroad will give to each set in order to make them play exactly the same I mean, to make them special snowflake sets with plenty of unique charm and power.

We’re starting with Railgun, because that is both the one I am most familiar with, and also my vote for the deck that got the most out of this set. I am aware that both Kill la Kill and Haruhi arguably got more from their PUPs, but that is because those sets sucked a lot more than pre-PUP Railgun did. So yeah, Railgun.

All card names are based on me squinting and using Chinese skills from 5 years ago. They are neither final nor particularly accurate. The pictures are teeny-tiny, so you will instead get amazing MS Paint renditions of each card, done by me late at night with a touchpad.

randall, if you want to sue me, know that i can only pay in vegemite and shreds of phil's dignity

randall, if you want to sue me, know that i can only pay in vegemite and shreds of phil’s dignity

Stolen shamelessly from Foreign. There is one noted error, in that the 1/0 Mikoto with an orange background gets power for each opponent’s backrow Character, something that I will mention again when I get to it.

this is the only one i did while sitting up, so it’s all downhill from here

Mikoto, “That’s All There Is To It.”
Level: 3 / Cost: 2
Colour: Red / Trigger: Soul
Power: 10000 / Soul: 2 / <ESP> <Frog>
[C] If ‘Summertime Fun, Kuroko’ is in your Clock Zone, this card gets -1 Level in Hand.
[A] [Discard an <ESP> or Traitless Character from Hand] When ‘Railgun’ is placed from your Hand to the Climax Border, you may pay cost. If you do, choose one Level 3 or lower Character in your Opponent’s Front Row, and put it into the Waiting Room. Then, reveal the top card of your Deck. If that card is an <ESP> or has no traits, choose one of your Opponent’s Level 2 or lower Back Row Characters, and put it into the Waiting Room.
[A] When damage taken by you is not cancelled, you may look at the top card of your Deck. You may put it into the Waiting Room. Otherwise, put it back on top of your Deck.

So, Railgun gets its first dedicated advance summon, and it’s a very, very strong one. It’s a 10k base that doesn’t get any native power, but that’s fine, given its upsides. I’m still not a huge fan of the clock-to-summon early summon condition, but at least it’s extremely easy here. More importantly, the card’s climax combo will have a stupendous effect on the board. We didn’t do a Kiznaiver set review, but basically, I’m not the biggest fan of the Katsuhira Level 3. It’s certainly a decent enough card if you have the combo alongside, and basically reads ‘pop your opponent’s brainstorm’ a good amount of the time. That’s fine and sometimes even game-winning, but it’s small-time compared to what this card does. Being able to nuke the opponent’s biggest thing (and basically all advance summons outside of iM@S) is an immediate effect, and will make nearby Triad Primus and Monogatari players very sad. Not only that, but if you flip a Character card from your topcheck, you also get to kill their best backrow card (again, looking at you, Triad Primus players), usually a brainstorm. This is an insane effect, and even though you are losing a bunch of cards, your opponent is losing just as many, if not more. This doesn’t even include the fact that you have a 10k crushing in for 2 soul after eliminating any nasty backrow supports – or, if you’re like me, it’ll be a 12k crushing in for 3 soul, but we’ll come to that soon.

The second on-field effect is going to be vastly less impressive than the KAPOW BOOM BANG nuke climax combo, but it is honestly no less powerful, especially in multiples. Smart opponents won’t slam down all their resources for you to nuke, which weakens this card’s effect a lot from the get-go. However, the defensive scry effect means that, even if you aren’t deriving value from the climax combo, you do have a potent game-winning effect on board, one which was oppressive in Monogatari. It’s definitely a lot weaker here, given it isn’t on a 12.5 hexproof body, but facing down one or two defensive scry cards at Level 2 is scary for almost any deck regardless.

Now, the climax itself is Railgun, which has three variants – Gate (RG2), 2 soul (RGS) and 2k1s (RG1). You might think that the gate is just the no-brainer choice, and you might be right. However, I think that it’s time to break out the 2k1s. This climax is bad at Level 1 if it is tied to your advantage-based combo. However, when it is on your Level 2 advance summon and it has the effect of emptying at least one of your opponent’s slots, it actually allocates soul to two of your Characters, neither of which has to be your already-2-soul beater. The climax combo itself would otherwise make you bleed cards (losing a global soul climax AND a Character from hand?), and this makes the cantrip effect mighty tasty. I think it’s actually correct to play 2k1s, and I’ll stand by that. The double soul trigger definitely sucks, but it’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make, and hey, you even get to play that mediocre 2.5k Mikoto from the second set.

Also, this card’s name is sweet, because the Sisters Arc is fantastic and this scene is fantastic. Read the manga.

Rating: Good


krooko 0

more like 0/10 amirite

Summertime Fun, Kuroko
Level: 0 / Cost: 0
Colour: Red / Trigger: None
Power: 1500 / Soul: 1 / <ESP> <Disciplinary Committee>
[A] When this card is played from Hand to Stage, reveal the top card of your Deck. If that card is an <ESP> Character or a Character with ‘Saten’ in the name, you may add it to your Hand. If you do, discard a card.
[A] [Return this Character to your Hand] When a Climax is placed from your Hand to the Climax Border, you may pay cost. If you do, choose one of your Characters, and that Character gains 2000 power until the end of the turn.

This card is obscenely powerful overall. The CIP check top effect is a well-known quantity: plenty powerful as a costless discard outlet, and plenty powerful as a minor handfixer. Now, what if you could do it multiple times with the same card? There isn’t a fantastic shell for the only other card sporting this ‘bounce to hand to pump power’ ability (Dal Segno’s Ame), but believe you me, Railgun will fit this card in just fine. Do you remember To Love-Ru? Of course you remember To Love-Ru. Remember its 1/1 support and the obnoxious 2k power it gave? Well, this is basically the same effect, and it’s attached to a handfixer. I don’t think you truly understand how powerful this card is, so let’s go through the ‘optimal’ scenario.

You play out two of your climax combo Mikoto and two of this skank. Your other slots can be whatever, they’re about to be filled. An Uiharu brainstorm, why not. After taking in the sight, you slam the stock-soul climax. Suddenly, SIX AUTO ABILITIES PRIME. First, you bounce one of this card. Power is allocated to one of your climax combo pieces, which is now a healthy 7.5k. Next, you use your first Mikoto climax effect. A 1/0 6.5k comes into your front stage. Then, you bounce skank #2. The 6.5k is now 8.5k. Wowee. Second Mikoto effect gets you a 1/0 backrow support. Allocate Uiharu buff wherever. Trigger the stock soul effect. Smash face, knowing you’ve gotten your value already.

That’s just the field. The unseen part is the fact you now have two handfixers in hand, ready to be clocked for your 3/2 advance summon. You went +2, your field is now sculpted pretty much perfectly, and you weren’t reliant on reversing anything at any point. And you’ll reverse their crap anyway. But wait, we’re not done. Did you think that’s all it did? Try using it as an effectively costless 4k buff with a 2k1s. Try bouncing it to buff your 3/2, then ditching the card itself for the combo cost. Try bouncing it to buff Misakuro, then ditching Kuroko for the Misakuro effect. I hate the fact that Kuroko is so good.

Rating: Good+


mikoto 6.5

i don’t know why i gave this one hands, i just did

Dauntless Girl, Mikoto
Level: 1 / Cost: 0
Colour: Red / Trigger: None
Power: 5500 / Soul: 1 / <ESP> <Frog>
[C] This Character gains +500 power for each of your Opponent’s Back Row Characters.[A] When this Character is Reversed in battle, you cannot use ENCORE for the turn (this includes ENCORE [(3)].

Pretty uninteresting 6.5k, but also the best costless fatty Railgun has as of now. It certainly beats vanilla powered characters and a 4k clock encore, and if testing is any indication, costed characters are neither needed nor desirable. You could probably still run the old 1/1 7.5k Kuroko, but why run Kuroko when you could run… well, literally anybody else?

It’s a body that carries the Kuroko buff, is 6.5k to make your counters and 1500 buffs less embarassing, and it has practically negligible downside (you have no real reason to play Heaven Canceller or anything with Encore, really). If your opponents aren’t fielding backrow, then chances are you can just counter over their cards with this anyway. She’s a little bit vulnerable to bombs, but it’s not as if you paid anything for her.

Rating: Playable


cxc

sick guitar solo

Summertime Fun, Mikoto
Level: 1 / Cost: 0
Colour: Red / Trigger: None
Power: 4500 / Soul: 1 / <ESP> <Frog>
[C] If you have 2 or more other <ESP> Characters, this Character gains +1000 power.[A] When ‘Reclaiming Those Peaceful Days’ is placed to the Climax Border, if you have 5 or less Stock and this Character is in the Front Row, you may choose a Cost 0 or lower <ESP> or Traitless Character from your Waiting Room, and place it onto any Border of the Stage.

If you hadn’t guessed, Reclaiming Those Peaceful Days is the stock-soul climax bundled with the Power-Up Pack. A relatively mediocre climax combo that still looks over at the Mikoto climax combo from Set 1 with unbridled smugness. The days where you had to pay for your plusses is long-gone, and even if this isn’t supremely selective, it is still a costless plus attached to a stock-soul, and you will like it, damn it.

As I mentioned above, the real power of this card is only visible when the 0/0 Kuroko is also on the field. That card serves as your effective plus to hand, and it gives you maybe half a card’s worth of advantage with that saucy 2k buff. In the meantime, you get to sculpt your field almost perfectly, taking whatever brainstorms, supports or beaters fell into your yard and slapping them wherever you want. I will admit that being unable to fill your hand with counters and advance summons is a bit of a problem, but you have a searching brainstorm and plenty of time to get those. All this card really does is alter your hand-sculpting priorities – instead of backup 1/0 attackers, you can focus on getting the cards you would normally search out with standard selective combos, and hold them in hand while you plus to field with this combo.

This is all bundled on an effective vanilla, and while it doesn’t compress your deck the first time through like Mikan, Hibiki and whatnot, it also doesn’t need a reverse, and it is just a solid card overall. It’s unfortunate that you can’t grab the old 1/1 +Level support, but pulling costed Characters for no cost whatsoever would probably be too broken. Pivotal in the new build, but hardly jaw-dropping.

Rating: Playable+


satan

this is a green 3/2 for the record

Saten, After School
Level: 3 / Cost: 2
Colour: Green / Trigger: Soul
Power: 9500 / Soul: 2 / <No Traits>
[A] [(2) Discard 2 cards from Hand, Rest one Standing <ESP> or Traitless Character] During the turn this card was played from Hand to Stage, when your Character in the Middle Border of the Front Row attacks, you may pay cost. If you do, Stand this.
[A] When this Character attacks, you may give one other <ESP> or Traitless Character +2000 power for the turn.

A welcome addition to the Railgun deck. You are now able to attack on multiple angles without a climax, kind of like Milky Holmes. Milky wasn’t exactly the best deck in the world at finishing its opponents, but to set yourself apart from that, you also have the added bonus of the old RG2 set Saten, which disables event counters (that is, antidamage). This card is mostly good because it continues to leave your climax room empty for that field-rending advance summon combo, though this card itself is perfectly serviceable and you will probably kill lots of people with her.

It’s important to figure out how you’re going to make your attacks with this card, especially given that Misakuro wants to attack as late as possible. There’s not a lot to consider when using this, to be honest. You just slam them hard, twice. And you probably aren’t vulnerable to antidamage while doing so. I wouldn’t play more than 2 of this, since it doesn’t offer any other bonuses, but it is certainly a worthwhile inclusion.

Rating: Playable+



uiharu

flavour note: while inserting these captions i actually scrolled past this picture without noticing and i had to come back up and look for it line by line

Uiharu, After School
Level: 0 / Cost: 0
Colour: Green / Trigger: None
Power: 1500 / Soul: 1 / <ESP> <Disciplinary Committee>
[A] When you play a Climax from Hand to the Climax Border, choose one of your Characters, and that Character gains +500 power and +1 Level for the turn.
[S] BRAINSTORM [(1) Rest this Character] Reveal the top 4 cards of your Deck. For each Climax revealed this way, search your deck for up to 1 <ESP> or Traitless Character, show it to your Opponent, then add it to Hand. Then, shuffle your Deck.

Longtime readers will know about my disdain for crutching on plussing brainstorms, but Uiharu is a very important piece of the puzzle regardless. She’s a standard search brainstorm, which is both better and worse than salvage. Here, I think it’s much better than a salvage brainstorm, since you have a capable 1/0 support that pulls from the bin if need be (no shortage of stock to do so with). She’s just a very decent card in the deck.

Being able to pay out stock early is a necessity in the current meta, and Uiharu is probably the only worthwhile and reliable way of doing so in the builds to come. She doesn’t require much investment, has a not-totally-terrible buffing effect, and gives you the cards you need. If you really want to push it, you can consider her a Takitsubo that doesn’t also clock you for one, which is basically how the deck functioned prior to this PUP. Being a pretty clear upgrade from Takitsubo is enough to make this a mandatory 4-of, especially given the general lack of good Green fixing. She’s also a very good target for your 1/0 combo, if you don’t need a 1/0 MisaKuro support (or if you somehow managed to not draw Uiharu naturally).

Note that the buffing effect (500 power and 1 Level) is really not that great lategame. All it does is open up your Level 3s to antichange counters, so you should just plant the 500 power (heh, plant) onto Uiharu herself and get your power elsewhere. It’s perfectly fine to use early on, and you might even upset some players who leave bombs sitting in the front row. It’s neither a turn-off nor a massive pull to the card.

Rating: Good



mikoto kuroko

i didnt give kuroko a mouth because i want her to suffocate and die

Taking a Breather, Mikoto & Kuroko
Level: 1 / Cost: 0
Colour: Red / Trigger: None
Power: 3500 / Soul: 1 / <ESP> <Disciplinary Committee>
[A] When another one of your Characters is Reversed, choose one of your other <ESP> Characters or Characters with ‘Saten’ in name, and give that Character +1500 power until end of turn.
[S] [(2) Rest this Character] Choose an <ESP> Character or Character with ‘Saten’ in name from your Waiting Room, and add it to your Hand.

If you have ever played with or against Shana, you will know the utter misery of having to slog through the old man support, Khamsin. The main draw of that card was that it prevented Shana from ever being completely fieldwiped (unless the opponent had bombs), and back then, it was very important to have that advantage against decks like Angel Beats and Zero no Tsukaima. Nowadays things are a little different, but there is still a lot for this card to offer.

Your advantage with this deck is definitely not just field-based. It is a very relevant and tangible advantage, but the fact that you have a free, non-reversing plussing combo and a plussing tap-self brainstorm makes the burden on your field almost non-existent. That being said, winning the field is a key part of the tempo war that is Weiss Schwarz’s midgame, and being able to ensure at least one row’s survival is excellent. It’s a lot like current Kantai – while you don’t necessarily need to win the field war (due to Prinz’s plussing combo), you will often do so regardless, and those games are the ones that you can really lock up. While this card is inferior to Khamsin (due to not providing any passive support), it is costless, it has an effect akin to the Akashi plus old Kantai players learned to love (and unlike Akashi, it can get a costless counter without feeling silly), and it almost always lets you keep one row alive in the midgame. I think that this is, like the Kuroko, an easy card to underestimate, but it is also one that will win you games without you realising it. An easy inclusion in the deck, even if it isn’t outright broken.

As an aside, it’s really neat how the Kuroko cards reference Saten names instead of just traitless, because that is very flavourful – being the badtaster bitch that she is, Kuroko has a vendetta against Touman, so it makes sense that she doesn’t interact with him.

Rating: Playable+



I’m still testing out builds, but watch this space for a serviceable testing decklist. You might want to play Dragon Strike, but events do lower the consistency of several cards in the list. I would stray away from them to begin with.

2x Erii Haruue
4x Uiharu, After School
4x Kuroko, Admiration for Onee-Sama
4x Summertime Fun, Kuroko
2x “Passion Orange” Mikoto
1x “Railgun” Mikoto

4x Summertime Fun, Mikoto
4x Dauntless Girl, Mikoto
1x Kuroko, Tokiwadai’s Lady
3x Taking a Breather, Mikoto & Kuroko
2x Mikoto, A Certain Day Off

1x “Passion Purple” Kuroko
1x “Meltdowner” Mugino

3x Mikoto & Kuroko, Under One Roof
3x Mikoto, “That’s All There Is To It.”
2x Saten, After School
1x Saten by the Water

4x Railgun
4x Reclaiming Those Peaceful Days

About lycheepunnet

the victim in an abusive relationship with cardboard
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