Today we welcome guest writer Kenny Phuong Nguyen to the TAK Games blog. Kenny will report to us regularly from Sydney on the state of the game in New South Wales.
As a 90s kid, I grew up with Dragon Ball Z. At 8.00am every weekday morning, I’d either record the magnificence of Dragon Ball Z on my video player or be late for school watching it (both viable options). It introduced me to teenager-oriented anime and it captured my imagination, as I’m sure it did many, and I’ve always fondly remembered it. Now that I’ve probably made everyone feel a bit older, I’m here today to write about my experiences with the revamped, remastered Dragon Ball Z trading card game by Panini.
My mate Michael and I had been looking forward to the sealed tournament held at Good Games Burwood from the moment it was announced. Neither of us had played the original card game by Score, so we were going in with fresh eyes. We have, however, played many a card game, so don’t think this is a newbie perspective.
When we arrived, we secured two boxes of boosters and got cracking, attempting to familiarise ourselves (well, I was at least) with the cards and the general flow of the game. As one can imagine, this bore no fruit, as without actually playing the game, one cannot actually understand how good particular cards are (I had actually played a few games on octgn beforehand; my tag is blinkkite, add me if you use it, I’m up for games pretty much whenever I’m online).
After going through the crackfest, the tournament finally began with 11 players (it may have been 12, but I swear there was a bye). Hoping to crack Frieza (the only personality from the Starters I am missing), I ended up opening Vegeta with Saiyan Mastery. I had read online that Saiyan Mastery is considered fairly weak in Sealed, yet couldn’t work out for the life of me why that was.
Until I actually read the Mastery properly.
My 3 booster packs yielded me with a Confrontation (Hooray for Heroes only. To be fair, I was pretty happy about opening it regardless), Red Observation [Woots sarcastically], and finally…
Namekian Knowledge Mastery
This was gonna be a long day.
Aside from the lack of awesome flashy rares, villainous allies, Dragon Balls and other general cool gear, I ended up with what I thought was a pretty solid deck. Plenty of awesome blocks (I ended up playing around 18 blocks), a reasonably sizable amount of anger raising attacks (in addition to around 11 Saiyan attacks, which was pretty good), topped off with a solid amount of endurance around. Suddenly I didn’t feel so bad.
I was pretty confident entering round one.
Round 1 vs Josh
Josh is a good friend of mine, and he had played the original Score game for most of its life, so I was even more ready to lose. Josh had offered me a game 5 minutes before the round started, and I had refused. Coincidentally, we ended up paired up in round one. Josh was playing Black Krillin, and with the awesome power of his printed attack combined with the insanity that is Black Mastery, I expected that Vegeta would promptly be lying dead in a gutter somewhere whilst the little bald man danced circles around my broken, battered body.
I got off to a good start, with a bunch of anger gains from both Vegeta and my mastery (I drew so many Saiyan cards). Feeling pretty happy upon hitting level 2 on my second turn, I was incredibly dismayed when Josh, smirking, dropped a Namekian Dragon Ball 2 onto the table, sending Vegeta back to his angry level one state. In the meantime, Krillin was hammering away at me with both his critical damage discard ability lowering my anger and keeping me in check, as well as eating at my life deck. A big turn came for me not long after. I had just hit level two again, and Josh had drawn a dud hand full of nothing. Leading off with Vegeta Level 2’s ability, I got Krillin to 0 stages and pumped up all of my attacks for the turn. A follow up Saiyan Energy Toss, Saiyan Multi-Blast, Saiyan Face Stomp (which levelled me), Namekian Side Kick and another Face Stomp obliterated most of Josh’s life deck, and soon a very crippled Krillin succumbed to the onslaught from the angry Saiyan prince.
Something about Vegeta belting Krillin in anger just sat so well with me. The double face stomp imagery was also incredibly satisfying.
Round 2 vs Joel
Joel had just beaten up Michael in the first round with Namekian Piccolo. Promising vengeance for my fallen comrade, and feeling pretty invigorated from face stomping Krillin into the dust, I entered Round 2 ready to rip the green man to shreds.
I left the game a broken man.
Throughout the course of the game, not only did Piccolo manage to outpace my anger gains (He hit level 4 before I hit level 3), he managed to have the block every time I tried to make a play. As I sat there trying to get Vegeta mad and unleash all the rage in a big turn, Piccolo was busy bashing his skull in, all the while rejuvenating what little damage I had managed to get through. The end game was a little closer than I had imagined, but to say I ever felt like I was winning that game would be a lie.
Vengeance would have to wait for another time.
Round 3 vs Michael
Kenny: “Hey Michael, I’m writing an article based on the Saturday tournament.”
Michael: “Oh cool, where are you up to?”
K: “Just finished round 1”
M: “Make sure when you write about my defeat, you be kind haha”
Michael was fielding Red Gohan, and tried some early aggression, destroying his own life deck just to get a piece of the Saiyan prince. Whilst Gohan put up a valiant effort, the Saiyan prince was having none of it, and turn after turn pummelled the kid into the ground and on the fourth turn, Vegeta, with a hand full of anger gaining cards, was at level 3.
Gohan really needs to learn to dodge.
I did learn an important thing about DBZ from this game though; power level REALLY matters. Keeping someone in check at the lowest of their power stages hampers their play in a huge way. Michael’s poor draws resulted in him mostly passing during our combats; energy attacks aren’t so good when you don’t have the power to use them, and physical attacks can hurt a lot more than energy ones when you run out of power and don’t draw blocks.
Round 4 vs Shane
Black Krillin yet again. The earlier stomping of Josh’s Krillin gave me hope here, leading me to believe that once again an angry Saiyan prince would be stomping a bald man into the ground.
How wrong I was.
Lacking the energy blocks necessary to hold back Krillin, and with my endurance cards always coming up on the final card, I was constantly critically damaged and found myself angerless and stuck on level 1 for ages. By the time I reached the awesome level 2, I was far behind, and despite making some progress in getting back into the game, the power of Black Mastery and the now level 2 Krillin took its toll, and Vegeta never found the opportunity to for a crazy all in wombo combo of anger attacks, and soon it was he laying on the ground, face being stomped upon by the bald man and his gracious commander Sean.
Despite winning only 50% of my games, I had an excellent day. Whether it was simply hanging and chatting with people, or smashing face (or getting my face smashed in), the first sealed event for Panini’s DBZ Card Game at Good Games Burwood was a roaring success. Not a frown was seen in the room, and most everyone present had an excellent time. I walked home with some new gear and a bunch of cards in hand, and proceeded to build decks and have another bazillion games with Michael at my house.
As I sit here writing this report, I am also currently flicking through Michael and I’s collection of cards and working out which rares we are missing, and thinking of tracking them down, whilst also wondering whether to build a Saiyan Vegeta or Blue Frieza deck, whilst trying to theorise on the benefits of playing Black with many of the personalities in the game.
I’m about to get on OCTGN and play some games with my Namekian Gohan deck, which so far has had a 0-5 record(I swear guys, I know what I’m doing). If all of that is not enough to convince you of how awesome this game is, go watch some Dragon Ball Z and play some more of this game.
Then you’ll probably end up where I am now.