Sunday, December 21, 2014

A Light in the Dark Zone?

It's not uncommon in cards games for the designers to introduce new mechanics to keep the game fresh, and most of the time they'll also debut an entirely new deck with dedicated, streamlined support to showcase just how far that mechanic can go. After all, it wouldn't do to have people just ignore their new hotness. Suffice to say Stride does not have this problem, but when it comes to Gear Chronicle - the premier Stride clan - I can't help but think Bushiroad dun goofed, because it's easily the weakest of what G-BT01 has to offer. But why?

For starters, Gear Chronicle's debut toolkit contains little more than the same bare bones support the old big four also received. This puts them at a natural disadvantage because they lack a 200-some card pool to fall back on for patchwork.

More than that, though, is Gear Chronicle's weak mechanical identity. Returning rear-guards to the deck has little bearing on decks with direct recruiting ability, as they just gain the ability to call those cards again if they should so choose. It also comes up short against the heavy draw of clans like OTT and Bermuda Triangle for the same reason retire does - replacing the lost cards is just too easy. The addition of guard restriction is cute, but it never really has held a candle to Vanguard standing, and all the cards capable so far just have it backwards.

Ragnaclock Dragon, Gear Chronicle's big finisher, prevents the use of Grade 0s from hand against its own attack. Nice if you catch your opponent without a perfect guard what with the bonus critical, but any opponent attempting to guard a G Unit's attack with Grade 0s would probably be losing the game in short order anyway. Fate Wheel has it worse, requiring you to not Stride at all and being significantly smaller. The mate to their sole Legion thus far can gain the Tom ability for soul blast 2, again coming up short because you can realistically use it a maximum of two times, and that's only if you shut yourself out of any and all other soul blast skills the deck has to offer, such as a field nuke from Chronos Command or a draw by way of Gigi. Chrono Jet Dragon instead offers a free Glory Maelstrom ability at GB2, but again, it's only demanding a two card guard and has you missing out on the much bigger potential a Stride turn can offer. It's hard to break even on Chronos Command, let alone plus, and the likes of Lost Age and Mystery Flare are largely irrelevant. Gear Chronicle also lacks a forerunner with the ability to significantly impact the game - your choice is the potential to 1-1 trade early or the guarantee to 1-1 trade later, after it no longer matters.

tl;dr What is synergy?

However, main character status grants Gear Chronicle the opportunity at continual growth and expansion, and aesthetically speaking, they're quite charming, so it's not like their presence in spoilers will wear on one's patience. Bring on G-BT02 and beyond! Many great things have come from humble beginnings, and I'm curious as to where they'll go. At least, I expect Gear Chronicle to pass up Dark Irregulars promptly. xP

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