Japan’s popular trading card game Duel Masters has certainly come a long way: its next expansion set, DMR-22 World is Zero!! Blackout!! is already slated for a 25th September 2016 release, one month’s time from now. The dynamic competitive play environment has naturally seen many changes every now and then to the metagame, with several prominent deck types having a tendency to dominate both casual and tournament play scenes.
With the recent Revolution and Revolution Final blocks being introduced, the pace of gameplay has drastically sped up, with aggressive (“aggro“) beatdown decks taking the centrestage supported by new game mechanics that enable players to pull off wins even earlier on in the game. Two of such mechanics that facilitate this include “Revolution Change“, which permits a player to replace a creature in the battle zone which they used to attack with another, often stronger and costlier, creature in their hand with immediate effect, as well as “Invasion“, which allows a player to immediately evolve an evolution creature on top of one of their attacking creatures in the battle zone for no cost.
In turn, while more traditional control deck builds which have previously seen their days of glory in Duel Masters may have fallen out of relative favour, newer control approaches have emerged in their wake, and these often make full use of the Hyperspatial Zone with psychic creatures and draghearts taking the spotlight. This is because the hyperspatial spells required to put psychic creatures into play generate additional card advantage for a player by allowing an ability to be activated and a creature to be played at once with the use of only one spell. Draghearts are also, as of now, not particularly easy for players to remove from play.
These trends have definitely come to the attention of the game developers at Takara Tomy, the creator of the Duel Masters trading card game franchise, for a new set of banned and restricted cards have been announced that will take effect come 15th September 2016.
Two spells and a Dragheart have been added to the Hall of Fame, the list of cards which players are only permitted to run a single copy of in their decks, while a creature formerly in the Hall of Fame has been upgraded to the Premium Hall of Fame, the list of cards banned entirely from being used in decks. In addition, another creature formerly in the Hall of Fame has seen its restriction lifted entirely.
The first is no stranger to many: Faerie Gift (depicted left above), a 1-mana Nature spell which was first introduced in DM-14 Generate Gear, allows players to reduce the summoning cost of the next creature they play that turn by 3. While Faerie Gift has seen much creativity in its use in past decks for a wide variety of purposes, the sheer prevalence of cost reduction and evasion in the present metagame combined with the increased speed has allowed the card to facilitate unusually early kills which had little or no real counters.
The second spell restricted to 1 copy is from the Water civilization – the 4-mana spell Force Again (depicted right above) that lets players destroy one of their creatures and put that same creature back into the battle zone. This enables players to reuse the come-into-play effects of their creatures whilst simultaneously taking advantage of any put-into-graveyard triggered effects. Force Again has proved to be a key component of the popular Heaven’s Gate Loop decks as it enables the loop to occur, and has unwanted synergies with several cards to be released in the upcoming DMR-22 expansion set.
Boaroaxe, Evil Tomahawk / Boaropagos, Evil Emperor Ruins / Verokiboaros, Ga Ga Ga (depicted above), a three-part Nature Dragheart which formed the core of multiple metagame-dominant decks such as the deadly Imen Loop and the Mono Nature Sasoris deck types and enabled massive spamming of creatures by its user, has also been added to the list of restricted cards in the Hall of Fame. It follows closely in the footsteps of Takara Tomy‘s February 2016 restriction of Welcome Hell, Supreme Devil King Palace / Deathgoros, Supreme Devil Corrupt King, a Darkness Dragheart that forms the core of the Mono Darkness Draguner control deck.
The sheer versatility of Boaroaxe has many repercussions, and one of this could be seen with the concurrent decision to ban Geo Baribari Miranda (depicted above) entirely, placing it into the Premium Hall of Fame in what is effectively an upgrade from its former restriction. Geo Baribari Miranda has a come-into-play ability that puts an additional psychic creature into play, and this effect when combined with Boaroaxe‘s ability to play a large number of additional creatures would make it impossible for opponents to recover against such a move.
Takara Tomy‘s team of game developers have also kept a careful eye on the rise and fall of different decks to ensure that past restrictions or bans remain relevant for the metagame, and indeed they have decided to lift the restriction formerly applied to Mil Armor, Mecha King Vizier, a core card in Light, Water and Darkness hyperspatial control decks. These decks have seen a relative decline with the emergence of recent mechanics that have enthralled many players, making it less necessary for the 1-copy regulation to continue to be placed on this card.
It awaits to be seen what new changes will ensue after these changes take place, and after the next set has been released. Will new decks rise in popularity? Will we see some older decks return?