With the Sneak Preview of the set fast approaching it’s about time I get started on my thoughts for the upcoming set. I will be organising it into themes, such as Ninja, Inzektors, Photons etc to try and give the previews a bit more coherence to them.
For the first part of the preview I’ll be looking at Ninjas.
This is a theme that has existed in name for a long time, with Armed Ninja appearing all the way back in LOB. It wasn’t until Invasion of Chaos when we saw Fuhma Shuriken though, that “Ninja” itself became a theme. Unfortunately since then there’s been no real coherent theme to them, with Ninja appearing on other cards like the Karakuri, such as Sazank. About the closest we’ve got is the Goemon themed cards, like Goe Goe the Gallant Ninja and Lady Ninja Yae, but that’s hardly something to base a deck around. In Photon Shockwave we saw the beginnings of a revival with Senior Silver Ninja, who can generate huge advantage when combined with some of the earlier Ninjas and their flip effects. In Order of Chaos a new Armour Ninja theme is introduced as well as a host of new support cards, that finally make Ninjas into a playable theme.
The core of the new cards are the Armour Ninjas, which consist of 4 effect monsters (1 for each element) and 2 Xyzs monsters. I’ll start by looking at the 4 effect monsters, unfortunately none of them are particularly impressive.
Flame Armour Ninja : Level 4 1700/1000 Fire Warrior
When this card is Summoned: You can target 1 face-up “Ninja” monster you control; increase its Level by 1.
Flame’s effect might be useful for making the Xyz monster Number 12: Crimson Shadow Armour Ninja, since it requires two level 5s, but I don’t see it being much use beyond that.
Air Armour Ninja : Level 4 1400/1400 Wind Warrior
When this card is Summoned: You can target 1 face-up “Ninja” monster you control; decrease its Level by 1.
As for Air the only time I see it being used is in combination with Earth to summon Blade Armour Ninja. Beyond that I don’t see decreasing level to be of any help.
Aqua Armour Ninja : Level 4 800/1600 Water Warrior
When an opponent’s monster declares a direct attack, if you have another “Ninja” monster in your Graveyard: You can banish this card in your Graveyard; negate that attack.
Of the four Aqua seems to most useful, since it replicates Necro Gardna in a more limited sense. Whilst being nowhere near as good as Necro Gardna (due to not being a quick effect), I can see it being useful sometimes in a Ninja deck.
Earth Armour Ninja : Level 5 1600/1200 Earth Warrior
If your opponent controls a monster(s), and you control no monsters, you can Special Summon this card (from your hand).
The purpose of Earth seems to be in aiding the summon of either of the Xyz monsters, since it makes it easy to get 2 warriors on the field in a single turn. However its stats are so weak it won’t be staying around for long if you can’t make use of it immediately. Other potential uses could be for the Ninjitsu cards, some of which we’ll get to later, since that extra level could sometimes make a difference.
Next onto the two Xyz monsters.
Blade Armour Ninja :Rank 4 2200/1000 Wind Warrior
2 Level 4 Warriors
Once per turn: You can detach 1 Xyz material from this card to target 1 face-up “Ninja” monster you control; this turn, that monster can attack twice during each Battle Phase.
Number 12: Crimson Shadow Armour Ninja : Rank 5 2400/1700 Earth Warrior
2 Level 5 monsters
Once per turn: You can detach 1 Xyz Material from this card; this turn, face-up “Ninja” monsters on the field cannot be destroyed by battle or by card effects. This effect can be activated during your opponent’s turn.
Of these two cards you are much more likely to summon Blade, since the deck will be filled with level 4 Warriors. Blade can cause a lot of damage by allowing a Ninja monster to attack twice. Even if you have no other Ninjas this effect can be used on itself to potentially cause up to 4400 damage, which can be quite a devastating blow.
Crimson Shadow on the other hand is meant to protect all your weaker Ninja cards from being destroyed in addition to itself. This can make it quite a pain for two turns. However it will probably prove too difficult to summon under most circumstances and will likely only be able to protect itself initially.
Of the two I see Blade getting much more use, with Crimson Shadow probably only being used by decks determined to get him out.
In addition to the Armour Ninjas there are several new cards that are general Ninja cards, which I feel are much better than the Armour Ninjas. All 4 are effect monsters, and expect at least 3 of them to turn up in Ninja decks at the end of January.
Ninja Grandmaster Hanzo : Level 4 1800/1000 Dark Warrior
When this card is Normal Summoned: You can add 1 “Ninjitsu Art” card from your Deck to your hand. When this card is Flip or Special Summoned: You can add 1 “Ninja” monster from your Deck to your hand, except “Ninja Grandmaster Hanzo”.
First up we have the Grandmaster Hanzo, who will be key to all Ninja decks. Summoning him is an instant +1, and we all know how useful those can be.
His first effect nets you a Ninjitsu art card, most of which are trap cards. The details of most of them will be covered later, since they’re also new to this set, but there are two old arts, that of Decoy and Transformation. The former prevents a Ninja being destroyed by battle, which won’t be worth the card most of the time. The latter sacrifices a Ninja for a Beast, Winged-Beast or Insect type monster. Unfortunately it is now outclassed by the Super Transformation art, but it could still be used for fun Dark Simorgh builds.
His 2nd effect gets you any Ninja monster except himself, which avoids the issue a certain E-Hero had. This means you can pick and choose a Ninja to suit the current situation.
Being a dark means you can fit Dark Armed Dragon into your Ninja deck, should you wish, and along with some of the light monsters coming up allows you to play Black Luster Soldier: Envoy of the Beginning.
Finally with 1800 attack he can stand up to most low level threats you see nowadays, except for Rai-Oh and Sabersaurus.
Masked Ninja Ebisu : Level 4 1200/1800 Wind Warrior
Once per turn, if you control a face-up “Ninja” monster, except “Masked Ninja Ebisu”: Return Spell/Trap Cards your opponent controls to the hand equal to the number of face-up “Ninja” monsters you control. This turn, “Goe Goe the Gallant Ninja” can attack your opponent directly.
This guy is mainly designed to support the Goemon cast, and will probably not find much use in standard Ninja decks. His effect can refill the opponents hand with magic/trap cards and allow Goe Goe to strip them of two cards in their hand. Unfortunately you’ll usually struggle to return more than 2 cards and get in a hit with Goe Goe. You could combine it with the Golden Ninja coming up to clear out an opponent back row, but its honestly better to just stick with Hanzo.
Upstart Golden Ninja : Level 4 500/1800 Light Warrior
Once per turn: You can send 1 Trap Card from your hand to the Graveyard; Special Summon 1 Level 4 or lower “Ninja” monster from your Deck in face-up Defense Position or face-down Defense Position.
This card can give the Ninja deck with great speed, especially when combined with Hanzo. Since most of the Ninjitsu arts are Trap cards you should have little trouble getting a trap card in your hand to use his effect. If you have multiple traps cards you could even use them to summon multiple copies of Golden Ninja before finishing things off with Hanzo. Your spent Golden Ninjas can then be turned into Blade to cause some real damage. His defense means he can potentially stay on the field long enough to use his effect multiple times. This along with Hanzo will be essential to all Ninja decks.
White Dragon Ninja : Level 7 2700/1200 Light Dragon
Cannot be Special Summoned, except with a “Ninjitsu Art” card’s effect. Spell/Trap Cards you control cannot be destroyed by card effects.
Here we have a TCG exclusive card designed to work alongside one of the new Ninjitsu art cards. Once you summon him your spell and trap cards cannot be destroyed, which will be vital for a deck that is so invested in continuous trap cards. When combined with Safe Zone this card can be incredibly difficult to get rid of, since both cards will protect one another. His high attack score means that he will pose a threat to most cards and can trade off with monsters such as Hyperion and Grapha. Expect to be seeing quite a lot of this card when it’s released.
Finally we come to the new Ninjitsu Arts cards. There are 4 continuous Trap cards and 1 Spell card. These cards will see varying amount of play, but there are two which you can guarantee to see in just about every Ninja deck.
Armoured Ninjitsu Art: Gold Conversion
If you control 1 face-up “Ninjitsu Art” card(s): Destroy all face-up “Ninjitsu Art” card(s) you control, then draw 2 cards.
This card will do practically the same thing for the Ninja deck as Magical Planter would (let you draw cards), however it’s searchable by Hanzo. Since it is more restrictive in what it can be used on we’ll have to wait and see which of the two cards will become the standard for Ninja decks.
Armour Ninjitsu Art of Freezing
When an opponent’s monster declares an attack, if you control a face-up “Ninja” monster: Negate that attack, and end the Battle Phase. While this card is face-up on the field, monster(s) your opponent controls cannot change their battle positions.
This card will prove useful for protecting your Ninja cards, since it can protect them for a single battle phase. In addition with the opponent unable to change the battle position of their cards if you follow up with a powerful monster you can pick them off whilst inflicting battle damage. This seems useful, but I’m not sure how many copies if any people will choose to use.
Armour Ninjitsu Art of Rust Mist
When a monster is Special Summoned to your opponent’s side of the field, if you control a face-up “Ninja” monster: Halve the ATK of that Special Summoned monster.
With plenty of decks focused around special summoning monsters this can put a real dent in your opponent’s plays. With this card in play your opponent may hold off on special summoning some of their cards, saving them for later. This card allows most of the new Ninjas, even some of the Armoured ones, to take down just about any monster your opponent may special summon. I expect the main use of this card will be to slow down the plays of the opponent.
Ninjitsu Art of Super-Transformation
Target 1 face-up “Ninja” monster you control and 1 face-up monster your opponent controls; send them to the Graveyard, then Special Summon 1 Dragon, Dinosaur, or Sea Serpent-Type monster with an equal or lower Level than the sent monsters’ combined Levels from your Deck to your side of the field. If this card leaves the field, banish that monster.
Here we have the big new Ninjitsu Art. The card is an inbuilt +1 by trading one card from both players for a card from your deck. There are potential issues with Xyz monster though. I believe that the card cannot be used on them, since they don’t have a level, but we should probably wait on official word.
This card opens up 3 different possible version of the deck, Dragon Ninjas, Dino Ninjas or Sea Serpent Ninjas.
For Dragon Ninjas there are plenty of Dragon cards out there, but the one at the forefront will be White Dragon Ninja, since it is also a Ninja, and directly helps the deck. There are also cards like Tyrant Dragon which can hit fairly hard and hasn’t seen any use for years. There are plenty of Dragon cards out there, so you’ll be spoilt for choice.
For Dino Ninjas the current favourite seems to be Jurrac Guaiba, which will help open up access to the Evolzar Xyz monsters. You could also surprise your opponent by throwing a 3000 attack Asura Priest at them in the form of Ultimate Tyranno.
Sea Serpent Ninjas will have access to cards like Codarus and Daedalus to add to the destruction of your opponents cards. However ALO and Forgotten Temple of the Deep don’t really fit with the Ninja theme, so there might be some consistency issues with this idea.
I expect we’ll see this in most Ninja decks.
Ninjitsu Art of Duplication
Tribute 1 “Ninja” monster; Special Summon any number of “Ninja” monsters, from your Deck, in face-up Attack Position or face-down Defense Position with combined Levels less than or equal to the Level of the Tributed monster. When this card leaves the field: Destroy those monsters.
Here we have the 2nd TCG exclusive, which alongside Super-Transformation I would expect to find in just about every Ninja deck, since it can be used both offensively and defensively.
If you’re on the offense you can use it to deal that extra bit of damage to finish your opponent off. It can also be used to dodge cards like Dimensional Prison, by allowing you to at the very least trade a Ninja for the same card and continue attacking.
If on the defense you can trade a Ninja in trouble for one better suited to the situation, for example something with higher attack power, or Sazank if you cannot defeat your opponents monsters in battle.
As a general use it can be used to build up advantage. You can use it to fetch Hanzo and grab another Ninja for example. If you give up a high level card, such as White Dragon Ninja, you can exchange it for both Sazank and Hanzo, giving you extra cards and the ability to send an opponents face up monster to the graveyard. It also allows you to make use of older ‘flip’ Ninjas such as Crimson Ninja should you choose to.
Like all decks Ninjas will develop over time, so some of what I’ve said might not bear out in reality, but hopefully this has given people some ideas on the deck if they’d previously passed it over. Next time I’ll be hoping to look at the Inzektor cards, which are the big hyped new deck type from the set.