How to Raise Your PUP – Part 2: Kill la Kill

Alright, let’s get the dirty fence-sitting opinion out in the open. I think Kill la Kill is fine. No, it’s not as good as Gurren Lagann. No, it didn’t save anime. No, Satsuki is not best girl, and neither is Mako. Kill la Kill is fine. That’s all. And it finally got a Power-Up Pack.

Don’t tell me you didn’t see it coming. They used exactly no scenes from the climax of the series despite it having finished airing (merchandise production happens months in advance anyway). The same thing is going to happen with Re:Zero, except it’ll be another full booster or extra pack to siphon away your money.

With that out of the way, it’s time to talk about the second-best set coming out of the PUPs. I’m sorry Haruhi, you just have all these little issues that make deckbuilding for you an absolute chore, and no amount of anti-climax 3/2s will save you. Now, I can’t claim to know Kill la Kill anywhere near as well as I know Railgun, or even as well as I know Haruhi, but let’s give it a shot anyway. It’s a little irresponsible of me to post this without testing, but I literally haven’t got the resources to test (my locals hasn’t even got the PUPs in yet, and I don’t have easy access to a printer), and I think any amount of discussion about this would be appreciated.

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Again, taken from Foreign. We’ve got some real good cards here, and some real decent roleplayers. This is the only PUP of the three to get a full 8 cards, with no space taken up by newly-introduced climaxes. Without further ado, time to kek la shrek.


Family & Bond, Mako & Ryukoryuko mako
Level: 0 / Cost: 0
Colour: Yellow / Trigger: None
Power: 1000 / Soul: 1 / <Family> <Clothing>
[A] At the beginning of your Climax Phase, choose one of your Characters. That Character gains +500 power until end of turn.
[A] [(1) Rest  two of your Standing Characters] When a marker is placed underneath one of your Characters, you may pay cost. If you do, look at up to 4 cards from the top of your Deck, choose one <Family> or <Clothing> Character you find there, and add it to your Hand. Put the remaining cards into the Waiting Room.

If you aren’t acquainted with this effect, it first came in the form of the largely-ignored Nemesis, then became truly meta-worthy with Milky Holmes. Now it’s on a bunch of cards, and every single version of it has featured in some sort of meta deck (aside from Kantai’s, but that’s an extenuating circumstance). It’s roughly equivalent to brainstorming with a guaranteed hit, and as much as I loathe crutching on brainstorms for advantage, that all changes completely when it goes from a 1-cost maybe-plus to a 1-cost guaranteed plus. Your selection is small, but that’s fine when it’s repeatable, pain-free and easy to activate almost every single turn.

This card is what will save Kill la Kill. It’s not completely obvious how easy it will be to get markers in this set, but trust me – it is. As soon as you get one, you get to proc this effect and all your other ones will likely be live after you mill the requisite cards. Just as relevantly, one of your marker targets (the Senketsu event) comes in a mill 4 flavour, which I think is still worth playing. If you combine all of this, Kill la Kill actually becomes a pretty quick mill deck, moving through to first refresh at quite a clip.

The support effect is a little small for me to really talk at length about it, but it might be alright if you play two of these down for a 1k buff. It’s also completely free every turn, which is a definite plus as compared to the on-climax-play ones we’ve seen recently, and means you can treat extra copies as 500 power buffs on bodies lategame, if you really have to. It does make your 6ks into 6.5k attackers, which is probably relevant somewhere. Having no effect on defence is a bit unfortunate, given the next card, but I guess we’ll live.

Rating: Good+


“Berserk”, Ryukoberserk ryuko
Level: 1 / Cost: 1
Colour: Red / Trigger: None
Power: 7500 / Soul: 1 /  <Clothing> <Weapon>
[C] This Character cannot Side Attack.
[A] When this Character is Reversed in Battle, place it on the bottom of your Deck.
[A] When this Character is placed to Stage from Hand or by the effect of ‘Ryuko, First Encounter with Senketsu‘, you may reveal the top card of your Deck. If that card is a Level 0 or lower Character, you may place that card to Stock. Otherwise, put it back.

I don’t know if I even have to write anything about this. Just compare it to this monstrosity and be grateful. Real talk though, this makes the antiheal an actual card at Level 0 and even onwards from then, and that’s a little exciting. The metagame is plagued by decks running anywhere from 4 to 10 heals (looking at you, Japanese MG players), and any deck running antiheal is a welcome one in my books. While it’s still no Hibiki, you get a very formidable card that still synergises well with the old Mako support, and doesn’t completely bone you if it gets unceremoniously killed. You can even consider the additional cost on the antiheal as an added way to make sure you get your value from the card – you can discard any Berserk Ryukos you draw at Level 0 post-mulligan, and therefore play it as an actual advance summon of sorts.

Every other effect on this card may as well be flavour text. All that KLK players wanted was a change target that wasn’t a complete liability in the midgame. While the old one was immune to bombs, the potential downside of losing it to some randomly huge thing pretty much lost you the midgame right there and then. “But wait!”, you proclaim. “Ryuko never dies, you just counter with a 3.5k, and she can’t be bombed!” See, the problem was never on defence – it was always on offence. Having a huge thing and having to fearfully side with it is a losing proposition. This is even more problematic in the current metagame, where every second set is toting a huge costless game with 2k counters aplenty. You can’t front attack Triad Primus with an 8k. Therefore, even though losing side attacks hurts, this is a definite upgrade from what was previously just a poorly-placed card. Adding a potential stock boost onto an already serviceable card is great, since hitting it will give you extra resources for any Senketsu counters you might be toting, and it means you’re occasionally playing 1/0 7.5ks. That’s pretty alright.

I expect most KLK fields will have at least one of this sitting pretty for quite some time, maybe even from Level 0 onwards. It’s a little unassuming, but I think it’s pretty good.

Rating: Playable+


Scissor Sword: Decapitation Mode, Ryukomako cxc
Level: 1 / Cost: 0
Colour: Red / Trigger: None
Power: 2000 / Soul: 1 /  <Clothing> <Weapon>
[A] When this card is placed from Hand to Stage, you may choose up to one ‘Life Fiber Synchronisation, Senketsu’ or up to one ‘Senketsu, Ryuko’s Outfit‘, and put it under this card as a Marker.
[C] If this Character has a marker underneath it, it gains +4000 power.
[A] When this Character reverses its Battle Opponent, if ‘Fated Battle‘ is in the Climax Border, you may choose up to one Character in your Waiting Room and return it to your Hand.

I’m actually not too hot on this card. As far as I’m concerned, it’s mostly just a 1/0 6k that triggers your 0/0 1-cost plus engine. I’m of the firm belief that GFB-style plussing combos just aren’t good anymore, and haven’t been good for almost a year. The rise of Triad Primus kind of highlights that too, and every solid deck in the game aside from Puyo and Little Busters will be able to put on a good fight against fairly small on-reverse climax combo cards. You’ll probably be 7.5 or 8k on at least one row thanks to the next card, but it’s just not reliable. You lose to leftover runners, you lose to even remotely big walls, you even lose to antisalvage sometimes. And worst of all – if you don’t pick up a marker, you’re not even worth looking at. Unlikely, but something to think about, especially if you plan on fielding multiples.

Being 6k and sometimes farming leftover Level 0s is still good, though. While this card is definitely not great in this current environment, it’s good enough to see play. This card should be treated as a way to recoup the stock soul you wanted to play anyway.

Rating: Playable


Life Fiber Synchronisation, Senketsusenketsu
Level: 0 / Cost: 0
Colour: Red / Trigger: None
Power: 500 / Soul: 1 /  <Clothing> <Blood>
[C] All of your other <Family> and <Clothing> trait Characters gain +500 power.
[A] When this card is placed from Hand to Stage, you may look at the top card of your Deck. If you do, you may place it underneath this card as a Marker. Otherwise, put it back.
[S] [Put a Marker from underneath this Character into the Waiting Room] Choose one of your <Family> or <Clothing> Characters. That Character gains +1000 power until end of turn.

I like this card a lot. It’s nowhere near broken, but it is quite well-suited to the new build of KLK. It triggers your marker engine, it’s part of the above Ryuko’s marker engine itself, it’s passive power for both of the aforementioned Level 1s, and it gives 1k boosts to help the climax combo go off. The boost isn’t repeatable, which is a real shame in this age of Z3, but it does more than enough to warrant inclusion. Much less useful at Level 3, but it’s pretty good at all points up until then.

I think it’s kind of annoying that you want it both on field and in the Waiting Room, and I totally think they could have put a topcheck filter effect on this without it becoming overly powerful, but alas, beggars can’t be choosers.

Rating: Playable


Senketsu Kisaragi, Ryukosuper saiyan
Level: 3 / Cost: 2
Colour: Red / Trigger: Soul
Power: 9500 / Soul: 2 /  <Clothing> <Weapon>
[C] If the number of Climaxes in your Waiting Room is 2 or fewer, this card gains -1 Level in Hand.
[A] When this card is placed from Hand to Stage, you may look at up to 3 cards from the top of your Deck. If you do, choose up to 1 and add it to your Hand, and put the rest in the Waiting Room.
[A] When Graduation from Sailor Uniform is played to the Climax Border and this is in the Front Row, you may choose up to one Character in your Waiting Room and add it to your Hand, then this Character gains +3000 power for the turn.

Powerful advance summon with a decent enough climax combo. It provides functional field presence in a deck that previously struggled to do anything significant at Level 1 or 2. This definitely replaces the old Satsuki advance summon, regardless of how much you like your SPs and RRR 2k1s, and suggesting otherwise is just wishful thinking.

Taking into account the fact KLK will now be a strong antiheal finishing deck, this card is simultaneously everything KLK ever wanted, and also not entirely what it wants right now. See, now that you have a very functional 0/0 plussing engine, this card’s repeated plusses are appreciated but hardly necessary. You can definitely choose to use the mill 4 less and take this card into account, but that card is so strong and sets the deck up so well that I think it’s wrong not to abuse it.

If it was instead a draw 2 ditch 2 stock 1, it would be significantly better, helping set up the multi-Mako turns. It certainly helps you punish opponents who have had unfortunate climax luck, given that you both get a 2 soul beater and dig for a climax, and it lets you dig towards your other cards too, like more Makos or more marker cards to trigger your mill 4 with. It’s nice that any cards you don’t take go into the discard, setting up more markers and the card’s climax combo. All in all, these are little advantages on a perfectly serviceable card, but it honestly could have been quite a bit better.

Rating: Playable+


For the Sake of Saving Humanity, Satsukisatsuki support
Level: 2 / Cost: 1
Colour: Blue / Trigger: Soul
Power: 5500 / Soul: 1 /  <Clothing> <Weapon>
[C] ASSIST All Level 3 or higher Character in front of this gain +2000 power.
[A] When this card is placed from Hand to Stage, you may choose up to one copy of ‘Junketsu’ in your Waiting Room and place it under this as a Marker.
[A] [Put a Marker from underneath this Character into the Waiting Room] When ‘Ryuko, Resolved To Wear It To Finish the Fight!‘ is placed from Hand to Stage, you may pay cost. If you do, you may look at the top card of your Deck and place it underneath that ‘Ryuko, Resolved To Wear It To Finish the Fight!‘ as a Marker. Otherwise, put it back.

When the Ryuko was first spoiled, I remember people clamouring about how powerful it was as a repeatable burn that never died, or how cheating it out with the level support was broken, or how it was an incredible compression sink, and all sorts of fantasies that amounted to precisely nothing. Ryuko, Resolved To Wear It To Finish the Fight is, aside from a bloody mouthful to say, an extremely unimpressive card. Not only was it a hell of a stock sink to begin with, but it gave you no benefits on play aside from almost irrelevant compression, continued to neg you if you wanted to keep it live, and it just wasn’t big enough to do anything without further stock investment. If you played it via the level support, you lost something like 16 cards from the whole transaction.

This card makes it significantly less of a joke. Not only is it a very significant support effect, but giving it an additional marker means that it is immediately going to be burning for 2, which is, in my opinion, the best amount to burn for lategame. It provides incidental support to the aforementioned 3/2, which definitely needs the power on defence, and allows it to, in conjunction with the climax combo, kill basically anything that isn’t backup-supported Trancing Pulse Rin. All in all, it’s not an enormously important card, but it augments some other cards significantly, to the point where I think playing it is correct.

Rating: Playable


Unwavering Will, Satsukisatsuki 2
Level: 2 / Cost: 1
Colour: Blue / Trigger: Soul
Power: 6500 / Soul: 1 /  <Clothing> <Weapon>
[A] When this Character attacks, if its Battle Opponent is Level 3 or higher, this Character gains +6000 power for the turn.
[A] At the beginning of your Opponent’s Attack Phase, if ‘Fated Battle‘ is in your Waiting Room, this Character gains +3500 power for the turn.

I don’t have a lot to say about this card. It’s a very efficient card against Level 3s, allows you to sandbag your advance summon on another lane that turn (where it will probably kill something), and is formidable on defence against pretty much anything (most of the time, anyway). Being 10k on defence is a very refreshing bonus to have on this sort of card, since it turns it into an extremely fat 1-cost play. I also want to stress how nice it is to swing for 2 in the mid-late game, which this card does very well when you slam a climax.

I *do* think it’s part of why Blue is strong enough to splash, but it’s not the major part (that honour goes to the 1/0 event). Play maybe 1? It’s not absurd or anything.

Rating: Playable


Kamui Junketsu, Satsukisatsuki 0
Level: 0 / Cost: 0
Colour: Blue / Trigger: None
Power: 2000 / Soul: 1 /  <Clothing> <Weapon>
[C] If you have 2 or fewer Stock, this Character gains +1500 power.
[A] [(1) Discard a card from Hand to Waiting Room] When this card is placed from Hand to Stage, you may pay cost. If you do, search your deck for up to one <Clothing> Character and add it to your Hand. Then, shuffle your Deck.

Strict improvement from the old drop searcher Satsuki. Your Level 0 is super stacked (there are runners that might not even make the cut, jeez), so it’s nice to have a card that has multiple roles. It functions as an effective turn 1 play as well as having some amount of utility in the lategame, both as actual zone manipulation and as colour-fixing. Costed drop searchers are somewhat of an antiquated effect, but it’s still perfectly fine.

Rating: Playable


I don’t think Kill la Kill is going to break anything, or save anything, or really be anything super special awesome. It’s perfectly serviceable now, though I think you’ll be wanting a lot to go right before you can really feel comfortable in a game. A lot of players might be uncomfortable with the idea of being unable to heal, but as someone who has played plenty of Rewrite, Little Busters and Kantai, antiheal is a tremendous asset and you should endeavour to capitalise on it.

The deck falls squarely in the B+ tier for me. It is serviceable, but I don’t think it is particularly devastating, like Railgun will likely be.

This is the theorycraft list I would test with, and I hope you have fun refining this set. I certainly won’t be, so do it on my behalf.

About lycheepunnet

the victim in an abusive relationship with cardboard
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