Design Diary — Flatten

If you’re looking for how Flatten works, check this article.

How it all started

In Digimon World, you could inflict an LCD status effect on an enemy Digimon called “Flat”. It reduced their 3D model to a DOT sprite like in the v-pets and caused them to use a weak attack. It seems pretty appropriate to include for any 3D Digimon game that wants to include DOT sprites as with set Bit Depth. At the time, I already had this mechanic planned but no theming. So reducing the opponent’s dimensions one by one until they pop out of existence made a lot of sense. Originally, the balance was centered around having to obtain 4 instances of flatten. This didn’t test well. It took far too long to 4-hit-KO even when it can pierce evolutions. The next step was to tweak that number until it felt right in many many games. There was one point where I was torn between requiring 3 flattens and a regular damage hit versus 4 flattens and I ended up just including both due to how supports could be used to add more flats. The 3 flats with damage requirement was slightly too powerful while 4 as a fixed amount was way too slow without a constant supply of support-based flatten.

The case of 3+Damage was easy to fix: simply turn off the ability to KO from the damage unless that player attacked first. Being able to guarantee a 3+Damage flat on second attack meant the opponent was doomed and you could effectively play a support or two and guarantee a win without interacting much. That’s the kind of thing I hate most in games unless the opponent was already at an advantage to start with. They shouldn’t still guarantee that KO if I have the advantage! But of course, that weakened flatten in so many cases where you happened to start the rhythm of adding flats such that you get second attack on that damage turn. In the end, the perfect solution was to allow both situations. If you ended up giving 3 flattens and have the second attack, now is the time to try and get that final flatten by adding in a support.

Small note: Because I know someone will ask, the flatten happens after damage is dealt. So if you have the cross ability at the start of this post, you would deal the damage first then flatten after. Meaning you can’t go from the opponent having 2 flats and simply hit them with your cross for a win!

Oops…

For some reason, at the last minute I made a huge mistake and changed the number of flats required to 3 or 2+damage as was the final rule. I had been very worried about the balance of such a mechanic for some time and flip-flopped many times during development. But I think it could also be because a playtester came across a fast-evolving deck they absolutely couldn’t beat with the requirements and always lacked enough flats to get any KOs before its actual damage would’ve caused the KOs. They tracked what would’ve happened if they supported with Power boosting and used deadly attacks instead of their special but weak flatten attacks. This was a bad move on my part because it was close to release and made flat a bit too fast for some matchups. This is a very hard mechanic to balance since HP is a variable factor that makes some Digimon harder to KO than others. Flatten is the great equalizer. If your opponent is a huge tank, flatten is great. If they’re a tiny flea, flatten sucks compared to damage. The thing is, your card actually has both. Meaning you can always use whichever is most advantageous! But this person was maybe approaching it in the wrong way. I was later able to test the same matchup (and many similar ones) by simply pivoting to damage when necessary. I found two things wrong with the original test report: you can’t always just pivot to your deadly attack and that means flatten attacks had low risk with high reward (so the “if I used damage” tracking wasn’t accurate); and you can sometimes pivot to deadly attacks which meant getting more KOs (which means they should’ve just done it). It does suck to lose your flat progress during the game by switching to damage. But a KO is a KO. You take it if you can.

How do we stop this crazy train?

After the last minute change, I did at least add a rule where you could remove flats from your Digimon by evolving at a higher cost. This worked well in some late testing and may have been the only mitigating factor that stopped the launch from being awful. But two radical wrong moves do not perfectly cancel out to a right move. I just got lucky this time. The big problem was it broke the DP tuning in every deck it faced. Most players just evolved by DP at the time and largely ignored Evolution cards (my fault—the evolve phase was complicated and those cards were sometimes underpowered). But I do consider this an overall net positive for me as a designer because I was able to quickly find the stress points in the game where it breaks down. This was never meant to be a game so heavily reliant on perfect DP tuning. It’s just one mechanic in a field of so many. I saw why it was breaking down and that gave me insight into how evo-boxes were overused and how the DP cost reduction bonus was also over-used. Once players had to add that reduced 10 DP cost back in, decks essentially evolved at the speed they were meant to without evo-bonuses. This made games a lot closer and reduced snowballing significantly…except versus flatten decks. So now, my goal is to make cards and erratas that do something other than pure DP cost bonuses and make flatten a bit slower as was originally intended. This game isn’t intended to be super fast, flashy, and have tons of effects flying around everywhere!

Digimon Battle Evolution is a game where the most common number of powerful effects you get per turn is 1. There are ways to extend it such as with evo-bonuses, Evolve phase card play, and Any phase card play, but the absolute most common and intended experience is one major effect per turn. In TCGs with alternate win conditions, you usually suffer a failure if any of the following happen: The opponent plays a bunch of cards that tilt the game’s favor away from you; you brick combining your cards for the alt-win due to chance; or it was designed poorly. This makes alternate win conditions in most games either overpowered (when those factors are eliminated) or unreliable.

For this reason and many others, I tend to shy away from creating game wins that weren’t originally intended. Games tend to systemically fail if you don’t go with the flow. But in DBE, Flatten doesn’t actually provide an alternative win, just a new method to the existing win condition. It’s like if HP didn’t reset on evolution. If that were the case, you’d need some complicated process to take the difference between your old printed HP and new printed HP and add that to your current HP. This could obviously be very annoying to figure out in-game. Plus it could cause very swingy games as players get hammered. That might lead to lots of decks being played that primarily stall. Stalling is not fun. Just as alt-win conditions are often not fun to have played at you, too much stalling also means you don’t get to play. For every “take that!” mechanic in these sorts of games, there has to be some negotiating factor on behalf of the designer to make sure the game stays fun for both players. Flatten is a mechanic that can pierce through a stall deck because screw those things.

Tedious tracking

So it feels good now (as it did up to about a month before release) but the way you actually track flats in-game…ugh. You used to pull a blind card from the top of your deck and that was your flat token. Neither player could look at it. Why did I do this? Because I was desperately trying to avoid adding auxiliary tracking tokens into the game. I like when a game is simple to carry around and repurposes its cards for many uses. DBE already does this with Digimon cards: They have stats for battle, evo-bonuses for small effects, supports for big effects, and +P to help evolution. I try to put as much of the games work on the card itself so players can get to the good stuff. But flat wasn’t built into the game at first, so I didn’t have an intuitive way to track it. That irrational hatred of little coins or tokens to track flatten became an annoyance to decks that recycle, recode, or otherwise mess with the top of their deck. And it essentially made flatten incompatible with corrupt as a mechanic and half the card “Lucky Banquet”. Plus, you’d go to take a card from your deck with some search effect and figure out a key component to win was stuck face-down as a flat token.

Due to the subtle decision trees players follow in the game to mulligan, it actually meant that flatten would hit Aces, Firewalls, Partners, and other power cards much more often than if by pure chance. You typically won’t mulligan your hand if those power cards are present and typically will if in a bind and they’re not present. This means your very decision structure sort-of filters the good stuff to the top faster. All a flatten player has to do is hit with flatten during the midgame. This was already a concept used in decks that trash cards but at least that mechanic was designed to achieve that card denial. And it was soft-denial in that there are effects to take stuff out of the trash. In the end, I had to admit I was wrong and just require players to bring flat tokens to each game. It’s not a big deal anyway since flatten is not an effect you throw into any old deck (again, similar to trashing).

NEW MARKER!

LCD-screen effect applied to a Tyrannomon sprite.

Click here to also download a printable TIF at 300 DPI, ~1 inch.

The end of the beginning

Now the only hard parts left are how much to support the damn mechanic! When you introduce a new mechanic into a game, it’s best to try and populate it heavily but also not overwhelm one set of cards with it, or else everything will feel lopsided. Usually, the solution is a big-ish set release with about 20% of your cards being peppered with it uniformly. Since Bit Depth was a big Marine release, it was the obvious primary choice to kickstart the population of the effect—incidentally, BIT has 70 cards with 14 originally printed with flatten, exactly 20%. Nature was originally my second choice since it too was very prominent but I backtracked this immediately during the first round of card tests due to interference with Nature’s normal mechanics—that “master plan” they do with all of the tactical conditions. I ruled Dragon out because smashing things is their deal, not flattening and a good half of the BIT Dragons were also Nature. Jungle was a terrible fit since you’d get so powerful from fast evolutions that you would prefer defense rather than a slower offensive mechanic. It later became the counter to flatten itself once DP-healing was added—making Jungle even worse since it would be its own mirror match counter. Or maybe that’s better. I don’t really know. Enigma is oversaturated with mechanics (especially in BIT which added Static) and should never be allowed to KO that easily with its deliberately weak Level Cs. In the end, Nightmare was the better secondary fit due to its heavy focus on disruption effects and game flow control.

But then more problems. Always more problems. I was designing something that literally flattened the game’s flow after all. A game primarily designed to have variable flow as a primary mechanic, to reverse snowballing and allow players themselves to evolve during the fight! Like if DBE wasn’t free, all that weaving and changing would be the selling point. So the new problem is that I have my 20% (spread among Cross abilities and Support effects) but now every card with a flatten effect is only good in a flatten deck. When I designed “Shatter”, it had the same problem which I fixed by giving it the power reduction effect with the attachment-breaking. Flatten is already too complicated for heaping such extra garbage onto the pile and too bespoke to leave as it is. The solution was actually pretty easy. When you playtest a rough mechanic, always leave multiple alternative rules open to yourself and see which ones you use the most often. Before, I did that with the number of flats required to KO in order to find the right balance. Doing it again, I could just change the Supports into “OR” with some other useful effect! Costing that properly was pretty easy too. It’s just the same as any other OR.

Cross specials had to be changed in a slightly more complicated way. The first thing was removing Flat from ALL non-Marine cross attacks except a couple which I will explain. Since flatten isn’t very good on its own, it needs a huge body to support it in the form of Level U or M—and Level M prefers to guard its precious 2 KO points rather than spend all day trying to get a KO in the slowest way possible. Personally, I also didn’t like how it removed the tense and interesting interactions with trying to decide between a deadly but risky Circle attack and a boring but reliable Triangle attack. You take all the guesswork out with that super-hard to punish but weak special Cross. This can be fine at lower levels, but M? That’s the end of the line. Literally, in Japanese “Kyuukyoku” or upper limit; zenith; ultimate. There’s nowhere left to look forward to, so it’s time to get down to business and really lay on the hurt. Flatten is primarily balanced for the Level C portion of the game and secondarily for fighting against Level U+ or between two unevenly matched Level Us. Since Marine was so populous, it could stay on their attacks as long as their HP was very high (which it is), since that wouldn’t detract too much if they were simply placed into a non-flatten Marine deck. That one card could still KO through Flatten just fine due to its heavy endurance.

As for the other oddball cases where something isn’t Marine but has the Flatten…remember how its the great equalizer? Well if you’re Level R, it’s similar to getting x3 VS. This means most Level Rs with x3 VS in either Marine or Nightmare could be substituted for a type-based Flatten. There’s tradeoffs. If you wouldn’t stay on the Level R and stick out that full KO, you pretty much lose all your progress without any support. But you do have the opportunity to stick it out with some protection due to how the damage persists after evolution. So x3 VS is preferred against a slower deck since the damage sticks after you evolve. But Flatten is preferred against the faster decks (funny enough) since you have a chance to keep the Flat point or scare the opponent into removing it at a cost. This makes Tapirmon potentially very bad in a deck without protection but potentially good too if you can pull off a bluff that you’re really going for Flatten KOs. Of course, x3 VS is in a similar boat to Flatten already, given that both are conditional on some opposing type or having extra support to finish the job. Because of this, it can be costed similarly but with great caution. The other example was Minotaurmon but it’s special. Firstly, Minotaurmon exists in 3 types so future flatten support scales very well with it. Secondly, it’s an unconditional Flat, so it’s an all-in-one solution. There’s never a dead case for the Flat that wouldn’t be universal to all flats.

So what’s the solution going forward? I initially wanted to sprinkle Flat support into every future set but that’s proving harder than I anticipated. Most sets just don’t have such lopsided release support for one type and are large enough. It doesn’t fit well into auxiliary sets because they’re small. Except for Nightmare or Marine. Nightmare still needs more but more Marine just compounds the problem of lopsided flatten. There are very few large-ish sets planned and those don’t have lopsided types, so I’d have to sprinkle the Flatten in uniformly, hoping to make future support. That makes those cards feel bad in the meantime. It may be that Marine and Nightmare get future Flatten attack abilities but everyone else gets Supports with “OR” clauses. Whatever the case may be, I’m looking forward to solving this puzzle as with so many others during my time designing Digimon Battle Evolution.

The final thing I should say is I hope people have fun with flatten. I saw several players enjoying it even with the rough release. Hopefully that experience is smoother now and can be expanded in the future.

Promo Release—Hudiemon & Chaosdukemon and new symbols

New promo cards!

Before the next errata list drops and an upcoming set is released, I’d like to give everyone a couple of cards to play around with that I think are pretty interesting.

There are also 2 new symbols created to make player’s lives a lot easier. In the past, there has been confusion about which evo-boxes give effects permanently (like Power changes) and which are one-and-done. With all new cards (and any that happen to be errata’d in the future), evo-boxes with permanent effects will have the Permanent symbol, denoted by a stylized lemniscate . These are only found in evo-boxes for bonuses, so other permanent effects won’t have the symbol.

The second symbol is to denote an opponent, marked by this target-looking thing . Originally, the “opponent” symbol was only needed for evo-boxes to both save space and clear up confusion about whether an effect is you, your opponent, or both players, but will now also be used in all effect boxes on any new cards. The word is just used so often that unlike permanent effects, I see no reason to make it specialized. This should save a lot of room, clear up a lot of confusion, and increase reading comprehension.

Both symbols’ meaning have also been added to the rules page.

New effect: GRUDGE.

Sounds menacing right? Grudge is the middle answer to threatening a particular attack between “to zero” and “counter”. It works the following way:

/ / Grudge: An attack ability or effect (granted similarly to Counter), which makes you attack second, double your Power against the specified attack, and revive with your Power as HP if you’re KO’d by that attack.

In technical terms, here’s how you play it during the Battle Phase when attack abilities resolve:

  1. Get a stack of 2nd Attack. This is like removing a stack of 1st Attack, including if it’s your turn. It doesn’t make you guaranteed to attack last like Counter.
  2. If used the attack specified on Grudge, double own Power.
  3. If KO’d when an opponent used the Grudged attack, revive with HP equal to your Grudge attack’s Power. Do not revive if that Power is 0. Note, you would not still get to attack after revival since that timing has passed. Revival happens after attacks.

It’s like a real grudge. You predict what attack your opponent will use, get a power boost, and insure yourself against KO. The opponent still receives a KO point as with any revival. In fact, the revive part follows all revival rules including a Level M no longer counting as 2KOs after that revival. Because the 2nd Attack of Grudge is not permanent as with Counter, you can still use the “1st Attack” ability to sort of cancel-out that effect and go by turn order. When you play Grudge, try to imagine your Digimon taking it to the face and having the poise to come back with something fierce, even if it’s from the grave. That should give a clear image of what’s intended. This can severely curb someone’s attempt to KO with a specific attack, such as a Circle which can 2-hit-KO your Digimon when it has Circle Grudge. Like a “to zero” or “counter” effect, this introduces an element of risk and prediction. This can also be an interesting way to punish 1st Attack, since that’s normally used to ensure a KO.

Have fun everyone!

 

Card change: Millenniumon DATA

Card Change—Millenniumon DATA is ridiculous!

It’s time this one had a wee bit of an update. Millenniumon’s DATA card has been heavily contentious since its release (and before its release frankly). There’s an obvious bug that needed plugged with this little blighter for quite a while. Thanks to user Darkness for motivating me to finally solve the problem :)

The bug: Mulligan your hand until you get this on turn one. Fetch your ACE, Partner, Firewall or any 2 cards that will allow you to set up. Your mulliganed trash goes back into the deck. Your only sacrifice was evolving to Mega, which may not even be necessary if you grabbed Download and any Level U.

The fix: Firstly, let’s put a stop to mulligan breakage. Mulligans are intended to be risk-reward, at least for a while until you can get some other cards to replenish the deck (provided this is your style). A clause was inserted that you (Do not use if you mulligan this turn). Following that, we double down on restrictions by forcing a player to pick 1 from the trash and 1 from the deck. The whole idea behind shuffling the trash back in before picking was to allow seamless picking from either zone. In this case, we’ll restrict access to the cards you want so that you have to wait till mid/late game if you want to get two nice cards for the price of a data-break.

The future: Going forward, will this fix the inherent problem? It’s difficult to say. Searching effects are always very powerful in any strategy game. It’s appropriately costed as long as a perfect early play isn’t possible with that cost (no late-cost is ever enough to equal a perfect early opening in any game). One possible existing exploit is to use repeated mulligan to get this card again, then wait one round to activate it and do something similar to what you would before the fix. Maybe not exactly the same, since you won’t have access to 2 from the deck and therefore how much you mulligan actually matters (notably, if this card is later in your deck, you’re punished less in this case). However, it can’t be denied that this will hamstring powerful opens such as Download+Ultimate, Partner, ACE, and so on. More to the point: this will give an opponent a turn to respond. One of the picks is now visible from the trash and therefore can be anticipated. Plus, they can now aggressively mulligan for their blocking/counter play. Only time can tell if this will be enough to curb the madness of Millenniumon.

If you have anything to add, don’t hesitate to reach out and leave a comment!

For those of you who use Tabletop Simulator: the module will not immediately be updated, so please use this post as reference material until then.

Auxiliary Set A Release

The first of the small, approximately 10-card supplementary sets is here: Auxiliary Set A (or XA for short). This symbolizes a switch to a smaller set format so that I can actually release these as a solo creator more rapidly without having to make massive, difficult-to-playtest, sets every year or so. The intent is also to theme them around some central idea. This set’s theme: Dracomon! You’re getting reprints of Dracomon, Coredramon (bringing the total to 3), Groundramon, Wingdramon, and Examon. There are also 2 new DATA, a new Evolution, and 2 new Megas that were sorely needed. The gallery has been updated with these cards too.

You may notice the new Attachment icon in XA-008. Pay attention to that because it will be how attachments are handled going forward! Anything after that icon in the #fa498b;">magenta text is the ability given once it’s in an attachment slot. It may also be used going forward for other purposes such as “Trash 1 [attachment]”. Cards with that icon in their text will be considered “attachment” cards, much like how Ace and Firewall keywords are used to identify those types of cards. For now, there are no plans to retroactively change every card that attaches in the game but I’m trying this out as the new patter going forward. The rules have been updated to include the new icon’s definition. It may take some time for me to update the site’s icon font so it can be displayed.

Digi-Deck: Jade Library

 

Most decks try to pick a specific focus and exploit it to its maximum, maybe tossing in some cards that shore up weaknesses. In the Jade Library, you will instead find a catalogue of toys for almost any situation right at your fingertips. By relying on the extreme speed and respectable draw in Jungle, this deck can load the trash with useful Digimon supports and load the active zone with a powerful ultimate in no time. This is a toolbox of the brute force variety and is incredibly dauntless—most of the deck’s effects revolve around preventing the opponent from affecting it.

For high skill players, this deck is packed with ways to take advantage of specific situations and force edge cases when brute force isn’t enough. Cherrymon, Knowledge Crest, and Super Evolve are built-in toolboxes. Much of the rest of the deck is dedicated to drawing cards, power gain, racking DP, or exploiting evo-bonuses multiple times. Bladekuwagamon, Vegiemon, Moxie, and Knowledge Crest are all valid attachments; so more experienced players should take note of when they might have to free up a future attachment slot to pivot their strategy.

Types

Primary type: (30)
Rare types: (2) | Lesser types: (1)
Entirely weak to Jungle x3 VS, with extremely rare other weaknesses.

Suggested pre-setup side choices:

Prioritize removing these particular cards in the pre-setup. Adjust to your matchup.

  • Behemoth
  • Silver ball
  • Mega Disk
  • Metal Parts
  • Vending Machine
  • Disrupt Ray

This pre-setup removal will prioritize saving blow-out cards for later game. A more offensively focused pre-setup might remove 3 Cherrymon’s Mist and keep Behemoth, Metal Parts, and Disrupt Ray instead. This could allow for some early KOs in critical matchups.

 

See visual list for specific card versions whenever ambiguous.

Jade Library

Level R: 11

4 Mushroomon – Great support which heals and racks DP. Used for many of the champion evo-bonuses.

4 Lalamon – Uniquely powerful support which may double high-damage attacks or Drain attacks for more defense. Has +30P and activates several crucial evo-bonuses.

2 Palmon – Primarily used for a few evo-bonuses and as a backup +30P rack. Occasionally useful support when an opponent manages to get ahead.

1 Dokunemon Partner – This is our partner. The innate support can be used excellently with all the Drain in this deck as well as the Mega’s 1st Attack, plus it draws a card.

 

Level C: 12

3 Sunflowmon – Primary beater at this level. This deck mostly caters to diversity over consistency, so it’s important to note that this is used at 3 copies. The DP discounts are incredible, especially combined with Plug-In A. It has incredible HP, nearly on par with Whamon. Its support has type-fixing and gives 1st Attack. Finally, Sunflowmon gives +30P rack, which is necessary.

2 Bladekuwagamon – The attachment is incredibly useful for stopping recursion decks (like this one). This also sports Jamming and +30P.

1 J-Mojyamon – One of a long line of evo-bonuses that draw cards. In this case, both players will draw 2, so beware of this potential downside. On the field, it has the capability to attach from hand which will make attachments much faster and able to skip taking up a Support phase. Its own support is incredibly useful since it allows recycle and doubles Cross, which is often Drain.

1 Vegiemon – Primarily in the deck for its attachment since the body isn’t amazing nor is the Shatter. This is a great combo with all of the first waves of Digimon support effects before you attach a Knowledge Crest and begin re-using them.

1 Igamon – The evo-box recurs any Digimon in the discard pile allowing for premature re-use. In addition, it sports some of the deck’s rare 1st Attack. Generally, this deck’s HP will be higher due to the heavy amount of healing, so the support should give Jamming and rack DP very often. This effectively increases the deck’s void count by one.

1 Togemon – Since the extra Drain on cross is rare, it’s suggested not to evolve to Togemon. Use the +30P and the support to gain a powerful Drain on any attack. This deck can afford the DP loss easily.

1 Dokugumon – A very useful body for the active zone with high HP, power, a devastating Cross when used correctly and can be cheap with the evo-bonus. As a support, it’s a slightly weaker Lucky Mushroom which helps with adding even more heal to the deck.

1 Kabuterimon – Very good body but is primarily used for the Any Phase snipe ability to get a surprise KO. This is also usable with Knowledge Crest since the timing will apply to Support as well, therefore it’s possible to deal 100 damage from the hand, recur it using some other method (such as Igamon evo-bonus), deal another 100, then support with it from Knowledge Crest for a total of 300 damage before the battle phase. The potential of Kabuterimon in a deck with a lot of re-use is pretty heavy.

 

Level U: 7

3 Cherrymon – Generally used for its support to grab a Champion or Ultimate from the deck which is necessary for the moment. It has a rather weak body but packs some type-hate and Jamming, which should free up your supports to do things other than void.

2 Blossomon – Support has good protection and some power gain, which can be especially useful for all of the Drain in the deck. Its own body is respectable but with an incredibly high 290 Drain. Coupled with much of the power boosting effects in this deck, that Drain should be able to negate ultimate-level deadly attacks almost every turn. Its evo-bonus is a high enough amount of draw that a Plug-In A or Moxie is worth the effort here.

2 Atlaskabuterimon – Primarily used for the void, cheap evolution cost, and name for Herc’s evo-bonus. Can be a good ultimate in a pinch. Atlas’ void is one of the most powerful Digimon sourced voids in the game, acting like a Firewall that merely makes your attack weaker for a turn.

 

Evolution: 5

2 Plug-In A – Since this deck often uses evo-bonuses but not always, and each bonus tends to be draw-related, it makes sense to include a way to activate all of them or even double-activate some. This is especially useful with Blossomon, Igamon or J-Mojyamon. The added bonus of discarding an opponent’s DP when combined with the speed of this deck makes the opponent trip hard and can stick them on Champion for several turns while you ascend to Mega quickly.

2 Masquerade – Try to save this for Herculeskabuterimon’s draw 4 if possible by changing a non-Atlas to Atlas. If you’re dry on DP and have Atlas in hand, change their name to Ookuwamon and DNA to Hercules. The trash 2 effect is a minor bonus this deck doesn’t use much.

1 Super Evolve ACE Pick any ultimate from the deck for the current situation. Often used to get Blossomon in general. Atlaskabuterimon is worthwhile when you don’t have a Masquerade for Blossomon so it can activate Hercules’ evo-box and draw 4. Cherrymon can be a useful option to jam each turn or when facing against Nightmare or Nature opponents.

 

Option: 11

3 Cherrymon’s Mist FIREWALL – Solid firewall that’s never bad. This gives the deck the maximum void-for-value and can protect from pesky cross abilities. Stay aware that it can be used for the end-turn of the game to guarantee a sure-KO.

1 Knowledge Crest – Used to re-support with all your existing Digimon that (hopefully) have already been used to their maximum potential, as well as catching the few that were used to rack DP.

1 Moxie – This attachment should be placed early and often to make the most out of its evo-box granting powers. Especially devastating when combined with Plug-In A.

1 Mega Disk – Try to wait until either a Vending Machine is in hand or the active has the Mega, so that Mega Disk has no cost. At that point, it can be re-used multiple times if properly set up.

1 Silver Ball – Nearly staple leveler of playing fields.

1 Behemoth – Behemoth is incredibly defensive when combining Shatter with Drain and the bonus power. Multiple Digimon in this deck can negate a whole attack from an ultimate-level base attack. With 1st Attack, it may be tough to get a KO due to the weaker bodies (until Mega) but still worth keeping as sleeper hit due to much of the power boosting effects that can be played in the turns before this. Especially useful with shatter for removing opposing Magic Word so your Digimon supports stop being voided.

1 Metal Parts – This is a devastating card. In a deck like this where the hand size is rarely below 4 before its played, Metal Parts should be giving quad or even quint damage in most cases. When combined with a lot of the healing, you should be free to play this on the opponent’s turn and draw 1. It’s possible to have 1200+ Drain with this card, allowing a one-shot of most Digimon and recovering so much health that it becomes daunting to attempt to KO. Given that this deck draws incessantly, recovering that loss would be trivial.

1 Disrupt Ray – Very useful (if correctly predicted) for forcing the use of Cross to ensure the safety of your own Digimon, especially if combined with Drain or Jamming. This could effectively read “lose a turn” for opponents in some situations. At Mega level, it turns into a guard against opponents using Cross to stop Herc’s huge Circle or guarantees his 1st Attack final KO.

1 Vending Machine – This should be a given due to the mechanics of this deck. Vending Machine will recycle cards that hit the trash too early such as Knowledge Crest plus re-use killer cards like Mega Disk, Behemoth, Metal Parts, Firewalls, Super Evolve, and Digimon with key supports you don’t want to delete with the Crest. Try to avoid removing Moxie since it can come back on its own. Vending Machine has the double use of making your deck larger than the opponents for when Herc hits the active zone and needs his passive to be live.

Destiny Zone

Partner: Dokunemon

Herculeskabuterimon – This is an earth-shatteringly powerful Mega Digimon. Herc has incredibly high power, ridiculous HP, a staggering draw 4 evo-bonus, and a passive that makes him a dauntless god much like his namesake. Normally, the 70 cost would be a problem but in this deck, that should be trivial with the extra racks, evolution cards, and +30P abounding. Once your deck is larger, try using Mega Disk since it will trash 0. At the point you reach Herc, have a plan to pump the 1st Attack if the math works out such that it could KO on your opponent’s turn. This will net you a bonus or potentially win the game. Since your hand, supports, and deck become sacred, Herc can power through late game like a blowtorch through butter.

Morishellmon – Almost always the primary partner evolution due to the Drain and draw.

Dokugumon – Very useful partner evolution for the superior body (in all regards) and debilitating Cross attack that gets Corrupt 1 and Trash 1.

Matrix Evolve Proxy – Since this is a proxy, you will always get the DP -20 discount, even when evolving to Mega. This essentially allows for picking any Digimon to evolve to from the top 7 in a deck with a plethora of singleton champions and several ultimate choices. If none are appealing, there’s a 90% chance that you can simply rack +30 P with it, stack with the -20DP discount, and therefore have 50DP covered to evolve from hand. As a bonus, Matrix sends the partner back to the deck for later use.

Possible Changes

No deck is perfect or unbeatable. Most probably have room for improvement even when not considering the meta. This will be no different. Here’s a list of stuff that just may not work as well as I think it does, that I can see coming:

Disrupt Ray – Mostly a meta-call. It can be useful in some matchups and fall flat in others, not to mention how it takes a lot of skill to use effectively. Suggested replacements: Incubator for attachment toolboxing, Plug-In Backup for more recycle, Burst Growth to exploit early draw, Mega Disk for a second chance with Herc’s trash cost reduction.

Bladekuwagamon – The static and attachment can fall flat in some matchups. Generally, it’s useful to stop the bulk of recursion decks out there but if you’re not sold, I suggest: Woodmon for a balanced support and type-hate, or Flymon for those that rely more heavily on Cross.

Dokugumon (Destiny Zone) – It seems like the best partner evolution until you’re actually playing and Morishellmon always looks more tantalizing. If you find Dokugumon lackluster, try Yanmamon. It’s a huge hit on power but you can disrupt far more effectively by changing some opponent’s type to anything and then Jam them until you get to ultimate.

Palmon – In case you don’t value covering every single base on Sunflowmon as much as having a support that’s more live, try: Tentomon (DB-015) which has voiding, Fanbeemon which has good protection, or Alraumon if you want to stick with Drain but more consistently.

 

Destiny Zone

 

Key Points

Jade Library is heavily reliant on churning through the deck both to evolve quickly and set up the trash for future play. Keep the following in mind while playing:

  • Breakneck evo-speed. This deck has some of the fastest evolution without level-skip in the game, allowing you to make maximum use of HP to stall and get to Mega while dishing damage along the way.
  • Above-average endurance. Despite the low base-HP on many Digimon (except Mega), this deck contains a lot of Drain and Recovery. It’s possible the endurance is even higher, especially if prioritized when using search effects.
  • Wellspring of draw. Most evo-bonuses have draw and the deck quickly gets into situations where it can draw 2-4 extra per turn.
  • High level of void. The deck natively contains 6 cards that void but can search and re-use them ludicrously.
  • Great consistency. The re-use of Digimon supports plus recycling combined with the singleton nature of many of its cards allows the deck to wear many hats, often times at-will.
  • Below average power. Like with most Jungle decks, until Level M, the deck suffers tremendously on attack power. This can be mitigated with much of the power-increasing support but the base damage is low enough and priority is typically on defense enough that it tends not to be effective until Ultimate or Mega.
  • Attachment hell. Unlike many decks with attachments, this one can be hell at times. If attachments are drawn in the wrong order (such as Knowledge Crest early or Vegiemon late), it can bring the efficacy of the whole deck down. Try to mitigate this with recycle when they hit the trash.
  • Vulnerable to Static. While not a terribly common effect, the deck does rely on trash placement enough that static can be a bummer to face.

 

This particular deck tested very well versus just about any matchup despite some of its weaknesses. The primary reason was due to its undaunted nature: you can void almost any problem support and prevent the brunt of devastating attacks while quickly trucking on to Mega level. In all of the time I’ve played this deck, Herculeskabuterimon has rarely been KO’d and even so, I tended to only need 1 more KO myself in a deck with a ton of defense and speed, so I could often grind the game down until I was at an advantage again. This is a tough deck to actually stop, even against something specifically packing DP-removal, anti-LevelU/M cards to the brim, and copious static—all of which should be its bane. That said, it has a hard time making the hits up to mega count since they tend to be pretty weak. Decks with low endurance tend to survive and make it to Ultimate or Mega themselves, meaning Herc often has to contend with an opponent’s strongest Digimon. This tends to suit Jade Library just fine as it’s equipped with an incredible body at Mega and some nasty supports for dealing with opposing Megas, which therefore tend to be 2 easy KOs.

Watch out for the following Megas, which can actually rival Herc directly:

  • Boltmon: Jungle x3 VS = 1500 Triangle, huge HP
  • Moonmillenniumon: Huge HP and can stop all Herc’s best attacks, can’t be void, can search an Ace
  • Zeedmillenniumon: Huge HP, can’t be void, search any 2 cards to deal with you
  • Omegamon: Attachment and power superiority, nearly strictly better version of Herc’s passive
  • Examon: High power, can charge up DP then DNA for an activate so powerful it one-shots
  • Millenniumon, Diablomon, Hi-Andromon: Each can Crash after a minor heal for a one-shot. Otherwise superior power and very high HP.

Despite the number of contenders at Mega, most of the rest have to work very hard and it’s peerless against Ultimates. If speed, a toolbox, consistency, high draw power, and a very powerful Mega sound appealing to you, give Jade Library a try.

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Digi-Deck: Magna Dux

 

Do you really like having a near-unlimited use of powerful trash cost cards like Mega Chip? Do you like to stack flat power gain with multipliers? Does the idea of tying all these benefits together appeal to you? Then you just might be ready for Magna Dux. This is a deck primarily centered around “early and often” with regards to everything. Get big effects early, get them often, don’t stop getting them. It relies on its Ace Reload and its Mega Dukemon to recover any costs paid. Lastly, it stacks attachments with the copious toolboxing to make each active more than meets the eye.

For high skill players, this deck has multiple layers of consideration: what to toolbox when, how aggressively to mulligan for a type-hate champion, or keeping track of deck size are all important. Mostly, it’s a deck for those who prefer to hit one button (Cross) and keep hitting it for most of the game.

Types

Primary type: (25)
Lesser types: (2) | Lesser types: (3)
Rare types: (1) | (1)
Mostly weak to Wind x3 VS, but several additional weaknesses occasionally.

Suggested pre-setup side choices:

Prioritize removing these particular cards in the pre-setup. Adjust to your matchup.

  • Mega Chip
  • Silver ball
  • Mega Disk
  • Dark Wings
  • Reload
  • Cherrymon’s Mist

This pre-setup removal will prioritize getting as much early-game as possible and minimizing late game. In some cases, early Mist could be better than protecting your Cross with Letterbox, so make adjustments where needed.

 

See visual list for specific card versions whenever ambiguous.

Magna Dux

Level R: 11

4 Patamon – Primarily fills the +30P quota while giving an extra set of type-hate cards. In this case, as a hate it’s better than Attack Chip and Behemoth combined. However, it will always be useful for recouping deck losses.

2 Penguinmon – Another Rookie primarily used for the +30P, but also doubles as a +20P that gives an evo-bonus. If you rack anything in this deck and play Penguinmon, you should be able to make any non-Ruler evolution. The extra evo-bonuses aren’t incredibly necessary, so save them for Angemon, sometimes Piddomon, and the rare Veedramon.

4 Lucemon – This is the primary Rookie body of the deck. The +20P will rarely be good enough to do more than assist a Reckless Push or unfinished Splice Chip setup. However, the type-hate cross is sometimes a safe bet to fall back on, it has an evo-bonus to both Angemon and Piddomon, and the Support ability is like having 4 more Firewalls! This is one of the more powerful digimon-based voids in the game since it isn’t conditional (works like a Firewall) but beware of the draw 1 to the opponent. If played perfectly, it should void something scary and put the opponent from 2 to 3 cards, which gives them zero advantage on their own next turn.

1 Kudamon Partner – This is our partner. Its innate attachment effect is part of the main purpose of Dukemon (to have two attachments) and works well with the deck.

 

Level C: 10

4 Angemon – Good HP body, mildly respectable power all-around, and a terrifying Drain attack. When evolving from the majority of the deck’s Rookies, Nightmare and Marine suddenly take a nosedive and eat triple damage plus your Drain! This is devastating if used correctly. The Support is useful to extend your field of type-hate beyond whatever the current active may be able to target.

4 Piddomon – Good HP, useful power levels, and one of the odder type-hates in the deck. That having been said, it combos wonderfully as the active with Angemon as support since that covers 5 types for triple power and 4 types with MagnaAngemon support. Its support may boost power like much of the deck—comboing with the power tripling effects, or it may give Crash which is very effective given that this deck has above-average HP.

1 Kokatorimon – This card provides valuable engine-fuel by itself. As long as you don’t lose the active, it should start adding quality to the deck almost immediately. Unlike most decks with Kokatoimon, this does not entirely rely on him but instead allows the deck to extend its number of useful attachments by one (for Dukemon) and sets up early re-use of key cards for later.

1 Veedramon (PR) – This champion’s immense body for both HP and circle power make it a useful singleton card and it doesn’t disrupt Magnamon. The Crash has the added benefit of taking advantage of the deck’s sizable HP. Its support is often a life saver in any conditions.

 

Level U: 6

4 MagnaAngemon – This is the primary evolution target and the most effective way to jump to Dukemon. Given its average stats, the best way to make use of MagnaAngemon is by adding an attachment (such as Love Crest), gaining the evo-bonus which is nearly guaranteed, and supporting such that his cross is incredibly powerful. This can easily one-shot 98% of the game’s champions and has a faster damage clock than any ultimate without pulling tricks. Given that you should have 3 common type coverages for the type-hate, the only remaining thing to do would be to support with another MagnaAngemon for 6 types, or Patamon for 4. Therefore it is crucial that all copies of MagnaAngemon are recycled back into the deck either with Reload, Patamon, or Kokatorimon.

2 Magnamon – Often times MagnaAngemon isn’t strong enough to carry you to Dukemon. For these cases, Magnamon sports a significantly higher HP and Power body, albeit at a significantly increased cost. Given that you will get a free attachment due to the Ruler type restriction the deck was built around, its key that if you want to evolve to Magnamon, try playing cards that trash as a cost first such as Reckless Push, Dark Wings, Mega Chip/Disk, or the other Magnamon support. These are also great targets for Kokatorimon recycling due to the Firewall-like void support. Generally if playing against most decks, MagnaAngemon will have a strictly more powerful (and harder to stop) attack power. In those cases where he’s not your best bet, make sure to try and play your draw effects and get Magnamon.

 

Evolution: 5

2 Splice Chip – Unlike a Digivice or similar, Splice Chip can be used to reduce the cost of a Level M’s DP. Therefore, it is recommended to abuse Splice Chip by using the trash costs in the deck to set up at least 3 chips in the trash so that Dukemon (or Magnamon) become 0 DP cost. In some cases, you may be evolving from Magnamon to Dukemon, in which case you get the bonus recycle any “Chip” effect.

2 Reckless Push – Given how reliant this deck is on reacting to the current match-up, Reckless Push is deemed a better progressive evolution than Digivice or Super Tag due to its ability to not only set up the chip combos and Magnamon’s attach evo-bonus, but also to dig for the right card for evolution.

1 Burst Growth – Incredibly useful at recovering losses due to some of the more expensive evolution in this deck.

 

Option: 14

2 Attack Chip – Very basic and useful card. Combo with x3 VS on Cross attacks as well as used in the trash as a “Chip” for Splice Chip.

1 Mega Chip – The trash cost in this deck might as well be unlimited due to Dukemon’s ACTIVATE and Reload. This becomes an absolutely bananas Power boost with the dual-purpose of setting up Splice Chip and making numbers large enough with x3 VS that it might kill MoonMillenniummon in one hit under the right circumstances.

1 Mega Disk – Same as Mega Chip for purpose and near-unlimited use, but instead used as a way to keep a key active such as Angemon or MagnaAngemon in case it would die.

1 Silver Ball – Nearly staple leveler of playing fields.

1 Behemoth – With the x3 VS in this deck, 1st Attack and +100 Power can be just plain nasty. With Shatter, most of the Circle attacks are high enough that this can completely nullify an opposing attack.

1 Puppet Switch – While the type-change effect isn’t too useful, the +10P combines nicely with the +30P racks in the deck and the recycle + draw allows the immediate reuse of Reload for an infinity engine. Play Reload, choose Puppet Switch and any other card, play Puppet Switch on the next support. Reload as much as necessary.

1 Love Crest – Semi-useful evo-bonus effect in some cases, especially if one is missed such as Dukemon. The attack swap ability is incredibly useful in this deck since it makes triangle very powerful when Cross isn’t as devastating.

1 Letterbox – Given how reliant the deck can be on Cross at times, it’s useful to have it unaffected by Jamming. In many cases, this turns your type-hate attacks into attacks that also threaten to Flatten. With that constant threat, letterbox brings a new dimension (no pun intended) to the deck’s ability to add pressure to each attack. Often it will cause your Cross attacks to be able to kill either by flat or HP damage, so the opponent can’t always simply invalidate only one of those.

1 Dark Wings – See Mega Disk, but with higher potential and lower upfront cost and with a lower minimum.

1 Cherrymon’s Mist FIREWALL – Used specifically for the end-turn of the game to guarantee a sure-KO. Otherwise, it can be selectively recycled by Kokatorimon for later or recycled with Reload.

2 Magic Word FIREWALL – Given the high impact of attachments in this deck, Magic Word is incredibly useful. In fact, it’s almost unfair since most of your attacks during a given game should be Cross, making Magic Word a voiding machine. Be careful since you can’t activate evo-bonuses (even if a card effect would) while it’s attached and that can prevent Angemon/MagnaAngemon from being as useful. This can also outright diminish Dukemon’s purpose in the late game.

1 Reload ACE Given the number of reckless trash costs in the deck, Reload seems like the natural choice. The recycle all feature works much like Dukemon and being able to take any 2 cards after (plus extra) in a deck with multiple single-copy cards means you have a lot of choices for exactly what is most devastating. Here you can see the particulars of why there’s so much type-hate in the deck: choose any type-hate necessary to win or simply pick a Cherrymon’s Mist if it can win the game! With Reload not deleting itself after use, it can then be recycled back into the deck and used over and over, making this a counter to trash-centric decks.

Destiny Zone

Partner: Kudamon

Dukemon – The eventual goal. Usually, you’ll work toward Dukemon slowly even if your pace could be increased. This is because the deck has a lot of HP, healing, and staying power even if it’s often very fast at evolving. That ethos will allow you to carefully pick your evolution chain and eventually land on Dukemon from MagnaAngemon, which is the ideal choice. If not, try to Splice Chip from Magnamon (for free) and attach Love Crest to make up for it. He’s absolutely massive in both HP and power all-around, especially his record-shattering 400 1st Attack, which can be pumped very high by supports in this deck. Dukemon’s ACTIVATE is very reminiscent of the Reload ACE: You’ll recycle everything, resetting all the trashing that was done to you, then take any 1 attachment. In addition, you get to set up the next 10 cards of the game. By the time Dukemon is necessary, x3 VS may not be a viable solution anymore especially against a skilled opponent. This is where careful choice of which attachment and how to set up the next 10 cards of the game is important. Be incredibly careful! Dukemon has both an “Any Phase” and a crucial evo-bonus, both of which are shut off by yours and your opponent’s Magic Word. Be absolutely ready to remove yours and Shatter the opponent’s (with Behemoth) if necessary to make the most of this Mega.

Akatorimon – Usually a way to grab Kokatorimon when absolutely necessary. Not generally recommended unless it’s absolutely vital. Searching for other champions may also be more important than Kotatorimon but I would argue rarely is their Support going to work well enough that Piddomon wouldn’t have been the better partner evolve choice.

Piddomon – Good body, nice corrupt, has type-hate, choose this.

Giga Cannon Proxy – Given the nearly-unlimited trashing in this deck, Giga Cannon is nearly a copy of the ACE Ground. This is especially useful in a deck where HP is above average like this.

Possible Changes

No deck is perfect or unbeatable. Most probably have room for improvement even when not considering the meta. This will be no different. Here’s a list of stuff that just may not work as well as I think it does, that I can see coming:

Akatorimon (Destiny Zone) – Useful for fetching some support champions but may not be as effective as Reppamon in many matchups.

Puppet Switch – Some won’t want to focus on cheesing Reload as hard and for those people, I suggest Stardom over Puppet Switch.

Attack Chip – While this is incredibly useful and versatile, I know that many people won’t appreciate such a unitasker. Even in cases where people do, they might otherwise favor Dominate Chip given the evo-speed and HP of the deck. A “Chip” in these slots are necessary, so be sure it’s something like Dominate, “D”, or Devil.

Letterbox – I wouldn’t blame anyone for being skeptical of using Letterbox in a non-flat deck. It really does work but if you can’t make it sing for you or just don’t like spreading out that far, try Potty Boat to punish partners, Lucky Mushroom since your attacks will likely always be different, or Data Copy in case an opponent tends to have some sort of supremacy over you. For Data Copy, your evo-bonuses will protect you from the type change and you get to keep your Cross abilities.

 

Destiny Zone

 

Key Points

This deck is incredibly vitality-based and capable of paying trash costs almost indefinitely. Given that this feeds back into its own “Chip”-based strategy, it’s similar to many trash recursion decks. Let’s take a look at some of its strengths and weaknesses, and keep these in mind while playing:

  • Above-average evo speed. Reckless Push and Splice Chip have a habit of making DP costs free with added benefits, plus 6 copies of +30P cards.
  • Above-average endurance. Hits the mark for HP and keeps going. Combined with its heals, this deck tends to sit at 1000 HP+ for champions and can be 2000 HP+ for ultimates. With proper recursion of Mega Disk, it keeps going.
  • High-to-Bullshit Power. When the typing is right (which is usually), this deck’s power is outright bullshit. Flat power bonuses stack immensely with multipliers which this is abusing heavily. When that fails, it falls back on the completely celestial power ratings of Ruler types.
  • Infinity engine. Reload, Dukemon, and other recycles in this deck tend to make it an infinity gauntlet of useful cards being played over and over. It’s nigh-impossible to beat this with a trash strategy except with numerous well-placed voids. Can mulligan incredibly aggressively, especially to cheese a Reload into the hand.
  • Never fails. All of the conditional effects in the deck tend to have “if not…” triggers that give you some other effect anyway. This makes cards capable of multiple roles that shift throughout the game as your standing shifts.
  • Champions can be sticky. Since all the champions cost 40 DP and get no discounts, it’s incredibly difficult to start off on champion immediately without some form of evolution card assistance. This is where Penguinmons, Reckless Push, and Splice Chip combine with the racks to make evolution possible.
  • Vulnerable if Reload gets buried in the trash or deleted. Be wary of trash decks nevertheless since Reload is incredibly necessary to the deck. Once that passes, Dukemon, Puppet Switch and Kokatorimon are the only hope to recover it.
  • Magic Word is a soft counter. As said, Dukemon has a hard time with Magic Word on the field. You can remove your own easily enough but you’ll likely have to bait out the opponent’s with a powerful Option.
  • Self-type change can disable the deck. Opponents who use Data Morph, Scummon’s Curse, D-Link in a multi-color deck, or Puppet Switch may prove tough due to their ability to use type changes to evade the brunt of your damage.
  • Often lacks draw power. Despite the singular Veedramon, alternate Patamon supports and misc draw scattered around, the deck does lack a significant source of draw and relies heavily on Reload.

 

Despite the apparent complexity of Magna Dux is a brutal simplicity—hit hard, hit fast, hit often. Keep hitting, don’t stop. While its copious use of Cross is predictable, it’s often not very punishable. In fact most of this deck’s play style is incredibly predictable but difficult to actually punish. Therefore it’s tough for an opponent to create an edge case to exploit against Magna Dux. With so many layers of redundancy and an ethos of “do what works”, this deck tends to be a dauntless KO-gobbling machine. While not particularly heady or flashy, it does contain some near-infinite combos that can give inspiration to new deck types. If you’re a fan of big, meaty plays that are consistent for days, try Magna Dux.

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Digimon COTD: Valdurmon

Valdurmon—For when Phoenixmon isn’t intense enough.

What’s good about it: Every Digimon has a ability but very few have a ability. Valdurmon not only has both but also an implicit ability! Evolving in the typical way using its evo-bonus gives a heavy Draw 3, which is an immense advantage while a Mega is live. Valdurmon can even continue to draw using its cross ability, so your hand never dies. This Digimon is incredibly defensive with its 1840 HP and Shatter ability combination. In addition, its ACTIVATE is nearly as powerful as the ACE Ground, with an additional Recycle any 5, which can be the end-game gambit for filtering your deck into using your best cards ad-nauseum. The ridiculous Phoenixmon DATA card is valid in this deck. Valdurmon also has a generic Level U DNA, making it pretty consistent even for decks that will have trouble racking 60 DP—which Wind rarely has trouble making. Lastly, Valdurmon’s cross is about as strong as most Level M/U triangle power, which is unique.

What’s bad about it: As ACTIVATE abilities go, this one is pretty limited. Being forced to use can delay a safe window for it several turns depending on the opponent. Since its DNA includes a Mega, the Phoenixmon DATA card must be in-hand to skip the 60 DP requirement. Despite being a Ruler, its numbers are overall a bit lower than many 60-cost Megas due to the staggering number of attack abilities and their utility. Despite this, Valdurmon has no recourse (such as Counter or To-Zero) against a stronger Digimon with more powerful attacks.

Tips: If you want to use Valdurmon without being roped into Garudamon, Piximon, or DNA try using Penguinmon, Love Crest and Moxie to get extra evo-bonuses (Plug-In A isn’t valid for Level M). You could also double the bonus and draw 6 cards! Having a Ruler type means the ability to use Dominion to freely add/remove Types during your turn. Make the best use of this by including Digimon with extra types so as to be able to play Pink D3. Using Phoenixmon DATA for the Data Break can be an effective way to keep your ultimates live and in the game when losing horribly and the prospect of evolving to Valdurmon seems unlikely. The data’s Any Phase also compliments Valdurmon’s two draw effects by making sure your hand size stays consistent throughout the game. Recovery Supports or Evolutions (around +300 or more) are useful the turn Valdurmon enters the field if 1840 isn’t enough Power, which should then be enough to kill most Level U/M in the game. Love Crest is incredibly devastating with Valdurmon and it may even be recommended to use Incubator to search the turn it enters play. Since the ACTIVATE says “make own Power same as own HP“, it won’t matter if becomes the weakest. What might actually matter is if becomes incredibly strong with Shatter (250)! In addition, Love Crest immediately grants an evo-bonus so you can Draw 3 again. One last tip: Valdurmon’s ACTIVATE has one of the most powerful recycles available, in that you get to choose any 5 to put back into the deck. Wind tends to be able to make use of decks that run 1 copy of multiple powerful or situational Option cards, draw/self-trash a ton of the deck, and then put the best cards back in for re-use later. This can effectively make their late game a kill machine. Valdurmon’s recycle is like a turbo charged version of an entire Wind deck archetype.

Digimon COTD: Research

Research—what does the scouter say?

What’s good about it: Knowledge of hidden information is a rare thing in Digimon Battle Evolution. Having not only hidden knowledge but also the ability to change your choices based on it is even rarer. The draw effect is just icing on the cake. Since Research can be a proxy, it has added searchability for Partner-centric cards like Partner Finder. Research can help you remain flexible in case of an opponent with specific-attack hate, in case of your own attack-hate being applicable/not-applicable that turn, or other corner cases such as the resolution of Support effects and Activate effects that may change attacks at the last minute. In addition, when you choose a with Jamming, you are allowed to reveal the attack before Supports resolve, void the opponent’s support and Cross-ability, then use Research to change your attack to something like for a devastating combo.

What’s bad about it: Like most options, Research is Support-timing only and is mostly a corner-case or utility card that isn’t always going to be applicable. In some ways, it’s also a crutch as a player who’s excellent at attack prediction will rarely need Research outside of special cases. In most cases, confirming what attack you suspect was chosen is far weaker than playing a card to actually capitalize on it, which is where its “utility-ness” can be a drawback. Lastly, there’s a heavy downside in that you may only see your opponent’s choice when your level is lower, which immediately rules out several situations and deck structures.

Tips: Research is a card that helps you when you don’t know what to do; If you’re not very good at prediction, it can fill that gap in your skill. The card is strongest when your Digimon has counter (anything), to-zero (anything) or jamming—possibly flatten (specific attack) in some decks. There are times in the game where your opponent can use all their attacks equally effectively. In these instances, Research tends to shine. If your level is equal or higher, Research is most useful on your own turn, as you may be able to benefit from the attack change regardless, especially if their support gives away the choice. This tends to be an excellent choice in a deck that heavily abuses Cross abilities but also low-level decks. Sometimes one of the most effective strategies is playing 3 plus a proxy with several Rookies that have different counter-attack abilities.

Digimon COTD: Silver Ball

Silver Ball—more like cannon ball

What’s good about it:  Doubles your power and sets the opponent’s to 0, allowing an easy come-from-behind when you lose the evolution race. Since your own Digimon can be any level when used, it can also act as a “get ahead” gambit that preserves your own health while taking a significant chunk out of the opponent. The “If not” case can be really helpful as well, though not as strong as cards dedicated to discarding. Discard 1 can disrupt your opponents ability to evolve, rack DP, Support on the next turn, or even dump them into the dreaded 0-card hand.

What’s bad about it: Silver Ball tends to be least effective when your opponent is stalling or losing, which makes it less effective if there’s a significant gap in deck or player strength. Until such time, it’s a mere discard 1 which can be difficult to time properly or prioritize when you should presumably have more impactful effects. Having multiples of this card is therefore not very recommended.

Tips: Since, most every deck tries to evolve to Ultimate and Mega Digimon—which are big and hit hard, Silver Ball tends to be devastating when played at the right time. Put one of this card in your deck and most of the time it acts like having a second ACE. It should almost always start in the side pile, so as not to clog the opening hand. Key moments to play this card are when the opponent is Level R or C but has 1 card in hand or when they’re U or M and doubling the power would decrease the number of hits-to-KO. Alternatively, when they’re at Level U or M and their attack would KO. When you calculate potential damage for both players, it can sometimes be better to wait for your opponent to reach Mega. If you can tell the current Ultimate won’t deal a knockout blow and the Silver Ball is close enough to KOing their Mega (they haven’t played yet), try saving it for that instance and net two KOs! Silver ball is both a sword and shield against the strongest Digimon in the game; as such, it is a tool from which every deck can benefit.

Digimon COTD: Cyclomon & Monochromon

Cyclomon and Monochromon—A Double feature of evo-bonus madness! These two dynamos of Evolution are quite similar in may regards, leading to today’s unique COTD.

What’s good about them: The evo-bonuses of these two Digimon combine deck searching—one of the strongest effects in the game, with Evolution cards—one of the most powerful cards when used correctly. Both effects tend to be limited but very powerful, which is mirrored by the the Monochromon Cyclomon duo themselves. They add significant speed and consistency with regard to activating evolution effects. Monochromon in particular has a very nice balance in having a strong attack set, aggressive Support, and sturdy health. Cyclomon likewise is even more sturdy, nearly as good of an attack set, though more niche Support use. The Cyclomon support can still be great for attack fixing and the peek beforehand allows using punishing Cross effects. to Zero is a solid Cross ability that both share and with enough of it in a deck, Cyclomon’s support becomes truly horrifying. Not only for fast evolutions like Digivice or Super Tag, this evo-bonus helps toolbox utility evolutions like Burst Growth, Meatvolution, or Plug-In A. On top of that, it can search the ACE evolutions Download and Super Evolve, in addition to the Firewall evolve Immortalize!

What’s bad about them: Independently, Monochromon’s support is situational to when using Circle and Cyclomon to when potentially wanting to use Cross but only when you’re unsure. Additionally Cyclomon’s Support is limited to Dragon while Monochromon tends to work well in both Dragon and Nature decks. Playing both in the same deck for their evo-bonuses is quite difficult, though this is more of a denial of a super bonus than a strict downside. The evo-bonus is very central to these cards so they lack luster in decks that aren’t tailor-made for their evolution tree, which limits effective deck building. Some evolutions like Warp Digivolve or Data Hijack are a bit less effective simply due to the nature of their levels.

Tips: Don’t try to run Monochromon and Cyclomon together unless you have a really good plan. The deck will tend to be unfocused and Rookies will be inconsistent. Losing consistency to gain an effect that improves consistency is pretty counterintuitive. It’s heavily suggested to use a partner that can evolve to one of these, since you’ll get the Evolution search for free and the partner itself can be searched. One of the downsides of Hyper Digivolve is that it’s generally central to a strategy yet limited to 2 copies and that is considerably remedied by this search effect. Don’t forget to re-consider all the evolutions you normally avoid due to limited utility now that they can be searched, in addition to considering obvious choices like Download, Super Evolve, and Immortalize. If you have a single copy of many types of utility evolutions (Incubator, Sniper Disk, Plug-In Backup), you should always have the right tool for the right job, if potentially one evolve-phase late. D-Link in particular takes on new life when used with Monochromon or Cyclomon since it implies all of your Ultimates can be of a different type and it won’t matter (plus they’re cheaper). D-Link would therefore open up many new creative combinations.

Digimon COTD: Dark Evolve

Dark Evolve—The most tooled version of three other Evolutions.

What’s good about it: Dark Evolve works like 3 previously printed evolution cards at the same time: Warp Digivolve, Digivice, and Mutate depending on your current level when played. As a Warp Digivolve replacement, it can take you from R to U (with no DP cost). It’s a Digivice when progressing C to U without DP. Lastly, as a Mutate from U to U and allows abnormal. Since the three aforementioned Evolutions are not always a valid option by themselves, it’s incredibly useful having one in the deck that is always live. Dark Evolve can be used even when you’re abnormal for even more versatility. Since it ignores DP, you get to keep any that was racked. Not for nothing but since it attaches and provides a downside, opposing “Shatter” abilities will backfire, causing opponents to be less likely to use them and also get the damage reduction effect.

What’s bad about it: Plan to replace or detach Dark Evolve. If you don’t, the passive conditions are totally devastating. Without a way to remove this attachment, your shiny new Ultimate is defenseless to Counter, Flatten and To-Zero effects as well as every single prediction-based Support. Having someone support with Net Worm and kill your entire hand would be game changing, Ultimate or not. Since it also removes the ability to use “Any Phase” effects, Dark Evolve can significantly limit deck building. It would be difficult to include the ACEs Digi-Diamond and Miracle Ruby, DATA cards (if using the Any Phase primarily), half of Partner Finder and Data Morph (many more), both Super Hit and Moxie will have to be played as Support to attach, and could be voided. While it has one of the use cases from three different evolutions, it doesn’t have every use case. You can’t Mutate C to C or Digivice R to C. This is significant only for the fact that Ultimates tend to be at a lower quantity in the deck and thus less likely than Champions to be in a given hand. Lastly, having to trash 5 when you get KO’d or even when you net a win is pretty steep. That’s a forced full-hand mulligan which essentially means you can’t take a mulligan during a game that Dark Evolve has to stay attached until your Ultimate dies. This is yet another significant restriction but is still a kind of soft-restriction, since you could barrel in head first if you want.

Tips: If you play something like Lesson Plan or Nanimon which requires/allows you to discard an attachment as part of its effect, you won’t have to run as many attachments in the main deck to clear a Dark Evolve quickly. In this way, you can technically use those cards (or Support attachments) to trick the opponent into using Circle hate while choosing another attack (don’t get voided!) and Dark Evolve would be removed by the time your attack resolves. Attachment-heavy strategies, like Flatten which uses Letterbox, can make Dark Evolve a tempting Evolution. Be careful of having cards like DarkLizamon, Super Hit, or level Ms that add attachment slots. Since you’re not allowed to remove attachments at-will, these will put you in more danger of having to keep the Dark Evolve. Notice the pattern with deck building and Dark Evolve: don’t bother building an entire deck to cater to it, but many decks can run it without much risk. This goes double for decks that can’t easily search the Dark Evolve since its trash 5 penalty makes it too risky to aggressively find with mulligans. A copy or two in a Monochromon/Cyclomon-heavy deck can be wonderful in theory, due to the evo-box search but consider that a Digivice is strictly better to find in that instance. Cards that change both players’ or your opponent’s attacks like Coliseum and Disrupt Ray help temporarily cover the stopping effects and tend to be good enough to run coincidentally with Dark Evolve instead of as a halfway solution to it. In short, build the deck smart with quick ways to remove the attachment but don’t dedicate a huge chunk of the deck to this card since it’s limited to 2 copies and therefore could weaken the deck overall.

Battle for Sularia Review

Plasma rocket wings. The most redundant and awesome flight method.

Overview

This is a card game obviously inspired by Magic the Gathering but with other mechanical leaning toward traditional RTS videogames such as Command & Conquer or Star Craft. You build one type of resource to generate another resource to ultimately cash out by playing combatants. Combatants are therefore actors that can attack the enemy base and potentially destroy sites, while also blocking attacks to prevent site damage. Players take turns attacking sites and trying to deal 25 damage to their opponent.

Components

I can’t quite tell what card stock this is due to not having ripped one yet. If I had to guess, it may be 280gsm and grey core. The card is almost transparent when a light is shone under it but they tried to make up for the cheap stock with a heavy gloss finish. For the price, I think a higher quality card stock should’ve been an absolute in the eyes of the designers. The print quality is overall good, if a bit dark in some areas. However, the game comes play-complete (max playsets of each card, plus some extras) which is a huge plus. Many times, you open one of these expandable card games (usually from Fantasy Flight) and do not get a whole play set of each card, causing you to buy more sets thus increasing the price point beyond what you expected. Read more

Transformers TCG Product Review

Hasbro released the Transformers TCG designed by Wizards of the Coast today. I had some interest in this game after checking out the rules and seeing that it would be a pretty intense showdown experience. Naturally I did what any normal adult woman would do and pre-ordered two booster boxes. They’ve arrived and now I have a product review for you all. A foreward: I used to be a TCG player for nearly all my life. As someone who dislikes predatory business models, TCGs have been off my radar for quite some time. The Transformers TCG will be ultimately no different. There are rares, uncommons, and commons. There’s tons of wasteful garbage you throw away after unwrapping them. You’ll pull too many copies of the same common for just yourself. The steep price of the product is ultimately for pretty cardboard. Given that I do not appreciate the TCG model, I will not be giving a review of its full distribution nor as a game. This review will be accepting all of these things as granted, therefore you will not find this to be an anti-TCG rant. This will purely be an opinion article reflecting how I feel about what I opened. In that way, I am biased more toward games that offer as much of a complete playset as possible in a box.

This review is based on the opening of two booster boxes and therefore pull rates will reflect this. Read more

Fallout Board Game Review

Suit up your Power Armor and get ready for radscorpion combat. Because that’s what Fallout has become.

This game is a nightmare. I’ve kind of spoiled my entire review at the start so let’s step back a moment and talk about the good in the game—what little actually exists.

Components

Quality is standard here for Fantasy Flight: you have good linen quality cards, you have good linen quality chits, and everything is thick and very nice overall. The miniatures are great (though the lack of female representation is pretty stupid in an adventure game. It’s 1 out of 5.). The player boards are very inventive and they’re fun to play with. They do their job better than a game without such dynamic play boards. Read more