Kaijudo Dojo Edition: Bull Rush Review (Part 2 of 2)
We’re back with the other half of Kaijudo Dojo Edition’s Bull Rush deck, putting it through its paces to see how it comes together. By way of oppositin, it’s something of a mirror match today as Sam has selected Tatsurion’s deck from the first precon set to act as oppistion. In the battle of the Nature/Fire decks, is it new and improved to carry the day, or will the old school be teaching all of the day’s lessons? Stick around for the end- we have an update to the Kaijudo booster giveaway!
On the play, Sam opens with a mana source and passes, while I come right back with a one by playing a Pyro Trooper into my mana zone. Next turn she opens her account with an Essence Elf, while I cast Sprout to ramp and flip over a Rumbling Terrasaur for more mana. “Why didn’t you just put Sprout into your mana zone?” asks Sam. I don’t have an answer.
Now turn 3, Sam plays a second Essence Elf, so that each Elf buffs the other and every creature she plays would be +2000. She attacks a shield with the first Elf, giving me a Forest Hornet but no shield blast effect. I play a Razorhide and pass. Next turn, Sam summons a Pyro Trooper, then attacks in first with one Elf, then the other. I’m now down to two shields, though I do add an Ambush Scorpion and Bronze-Arm Tribe to my hand. Back to me, I Tornado Flame the Pyro Trooper straightaway, then attack one of Sam’s Elves with my Razorhide. This lets me take another card from the top of my library (a Bronze-Arm Tribe) and play it into my mana zone.
Sam plays a replacement Pyro Trooper on turn 5, but decides that where the Elf is concerned discretion is the better part of valor and passes. Over to me, I summon an Ambush Scorpion and Forest Hornet, giving my Razorhide the Hornet’s enters-the-battlefield bonus. I then turn it sideways to pop Sam’s first shield. The Razorhide’s useful combat trigger also nets me a mana from the top of my library, and the deck has been ramping steadily. Back to Sam, she plays a Raging Goliant, though she has no other Beast-kin in play. She then attacks the Razorhide with her Pyro Trooper to kill it.
Passing her turn, I then open with a Bronze-Arm Tribe for even more ramp, play a second one, then a Blaze Belcher for a late-game creature surge. I send in my Ambush Scorpion to pop a shield, and this time Sam reveals a shield blast in the form of a Rock Bite, letting her pick off my Forest Hornet. I was relying on the Hornet to pry back a shield this turn, which would set me up for lethal on the next. Time for Plan B.
Now turn 7, Sam brings out her big bad- Tatsurion. She sends him in on the attack to kill off my Ambush Scorpion, then smashes a shield with her Pyro Trooper to give me an Om Nom Nom to hand. Then comes the Goliant for another shield, but this time I luck into a shield blast Return to the Soil, letting me send Sam’s last Essence Elf into her mana zone. Back to me, I topdeck a Draglide the Swiftest, whose fast attack means I’ve got a shot at winning the game this turn. Sam has three shields, I have three creatures in play and the Draglide would be the clincher. Of course, all Sam needs is a timely shield blast effect, and then she can return the favour on her turn and take the game. One at a time I attack, and one at a time Sam looks at her card, shakes her head, and puts it into her hand. As the third shield goes into her hand without a blast, I have her beat and pip a lucky winner!
Sam and I trade opening mana drops, while this time I land the game’s first creature in a second-turn Drakon Weaponsmith. Sam’s right behind, however, with a Gatling Skyterror and the race is on. I play a mana source and pass.
Now turn 4, Sam then adds a Pyro Trooper before attacking in for her first shield, giving me a Little Hissy to hand. I dump it straight into the mana zone, then use it to help fund a Karate Carrot before counterattacking with my Drakon to kill her Skyterror. Back to Sam, she then ramps with a Bronze-Arm Tribe and passes, while I play one of my own alongside a Blaze Belcher.
Sam next adds an Essence Elf on turn 6, then attacks in with her Pyro Trooper. She crushes a shield, but I reveal a shield blast effect with a Root Trap, picking off her Essence Elf. Back to me, I play a second Blaze Belcher and Simian Trooper Grash, then use my Karate Carrot to kill her Pyro Trooper. I then pop two shields with my Belcher and Tribe before ending my turn, drawing us level at three shields apiece. Next turn Sam Rock Bites the Carrot, which goes into my mana zone thanks to its unsliceable ability. She then adds a Little Hissy before killing my Bronze-Arm Tribe with her Bronze-Arm Tribe. For my part, I replace my loss with a Rumbling Terrasaur, then send the troops in after her shields. Pop! to Simian Trooper Grash, pop! to the Blaze Belcher, and pop! to the other Blaze Belcher, and just like that Sam is defenseless.
Drawing nothing to save her on turn 8, Sam scoops.
Sam gets out ahead in this one, with a second-turn Ambush Scorpion which nips in for a shield on turn 3 before I finally land some ability to retaliate with a Gatling Skyterror. A turn-4 Pyro Trooper puts Sam ahead in the creature count, and she comes in again with the Scorpion to slam a second shield. This gives me a Forest Hornet to hand, and back to me I bring out a Karate Carrot before killing off Sam’s offending Scorpion with the Skyterror.
Now turn 5, Sam simply replaces it with another Ambush Scorpion and passes, while I ramp with a Bronze-Arm Tribe. Next I send in my Skyterror to claim my first shield before passing turn. Sam then Rock Bites the Carrot (putting it into my mana zone), attacks my Skyterror with her Pyro Trooper, then snags a third shield with her Scorpion. Crucially, this reveals a shield blasted Sprout, giving me more mana which I desperately need. As a result, I’m able to slam down a Bolt-Tail Dragon, which charges in to crush a pair of shields. Sam only gets the benefit of a single shield blast, and it’s a Sprout.
In trouble now, Sam Rock Bites my Bronze-Arm Tribe on turn 7 to put me down a creature, then summons an Essence Elf and Pyro Trooper. She then attacks with the Scorpion, letting me shield blast a Return to the Soil to dispatch her Elf. It’s not enough, however, as my Dragon pries back her last two shields, and a freshly-summoned Draglide the Swiftest comes in for the telling blow.
Thoughts & Analysis
Typically in a write-up, we now like to keep decks as close to the reviewed one as possible. In the beginning of the site, we toyed with the concept of using any deck from any set to act as the opposition. After some reconsideration, however, we scaled that back to any deck within the block and eventually, limiting it only to decks within the same set. This typically works for most released, but can make things a bit awkward for one-offs. We saw this most notably with the Magic releases of the Premium Deck Series. Delivered once a year for three years , they were intended to be an all-foil premium deck, but ones that had no connection with the others of the series. Was it fair to Graveborn, for instance, to be measured against Fire and Lightning? Why not Slivers instead?
In the end, we opted for simplicity to keep things at least within the same product line wherever possible. This still made for awkwardness in looking for an opponent for Bull Rush, since Kaijudo is a new reboot of Duel Masters and there aren’t a lot of decks to choose from. In the end, for simplicity’s sake, we opted to let Sam choose from either deck from the previous release, Battle Decks: Tatsurion vs Razorkinder. She chose Tatsurion, meaning we were having a mirror match of Red/Grene decks.
That made for an interesting challenge, since both decks were largely similar and neither of them had any cards that allowed them to block. It would be an all-offense matchup, with attacking- not defending- being the order of the day. How would Bull Rush measure up? Was it sufficiently distinctive from its Red/Green predecessor?
In the end, it wasn’t always readily apparent which deck had the better lines of play, though the inclusion of a Quillspike certainly gave Bull Rush the all-important edge on ramping. We’re quickly finding that ramping is huge in Kaijudo. Naturally you want more resources than your opponent, but ramping has an added effect here- in essence, it gives you a free card! Since you don’t have to expend one from hand to get your mana, over time that translates into even stronger card advantage than we’re used to in Magic. This was one of the little ways we’re discovering differentiation between both games. Other things we’re beginning to notice are the need for brakes on early aggro, such as a drawback on a one-mana 1000, something you’d never see in Magic where a one-mana 1/1 is bad enough on its own not to play.
In addition, unlike Magic weenies can be deadly relevant later in the game. As we saw above, I was able to win some games outright because of a late surge in weenie creatures. Magic measures your life in points, and the larger the creature the more you lose. Creature size in Kaijudo is only relevant against other creatures. When it comes to shields, a 1000 is just as deadly as a 9000, which gives a very different weight to the game’s creatures when compared to our more familiar game.
Of course, none of this is particularly relevant to how Bull Rush itself performed. In that light, it’s just as well to compare it to how Tatsurion’s deck held up under playtesting. In our original review, we noted the following:
Hits: Packed full of aggressive options, the deck can bring a ton of pressure to bear almost right out of the gate
Misses: Lack of blockers means you’re only way of winning is to outaggro your opponent, meaning if they have enough removal you can seriously fall behind; Green removal ramps your opponent, which is perhaps too much of an advantage for too little payoff versus Red removal
How did Gavin Verhey’s Bull Rush line up? For one thing, it certainly felt like some of the earlier deck’s weaker points were firmed up. I had little problem getting the mana I needed for even my more expensive creatures, thanks to options like Karate Carrot and the Razorhides. This is a marked improvement over the original, as allocations of standard-issue cards like Sprout and Bronze-Arm Tribe were kept the same between the decks.
One notable difference was that the removal package was diminished from the first deck to the next, from eight cards to six (for context, remember these are 40-card decks with a maximum of three copies of any particular card). That said, it didn’t seem to make a great deal of difference. This blockerless archetype cares so much about attacking at the expense of everything else, that it never felt like removal had been diminished. Often I preferred casting another creature card rather than removal, since I could orchestrate game-ending swarms of cheap creatures (call it the Overrun effect).
In short, Bull Rush felt like it shored up any lingering weaknesses from the original iteration, lost nothing from its cuts, and felt tighter overall. A definite upgrade over the original.
Hits: Better aggression options than the first Fire/Nature deck; improved ramping suite including the all-star Razorhide; diminished burn suite makes way for additional creature options
Misses: Less removal does decrease the likelihood of having access to it when you need it
OVERALL SCORE: 4.30/5.00
Please note: our original Bull Rush giveaway was for a pair of Dojo Edition boosters as well as one from Rise of the Duel Masters. Since that time, we’ve found in our possession two more Rise of the Duel Masters boosters, which we’ll be adding to the jackpot for one lucky reader! To enter, just leave a comment on either or both of the Bull Rush review articles, and we’ll pick one commenter at random to win- it’s that simple! A winner will be selected on Sunday, 11 November. Good luck, everyone, and please let us know if you enjoy our Kaijudo coverage!