Tuesday, April 27, 2010

TSHD Sneak Preview Part 2: Oiled Pidgeons

Other than being "the Infernity set", The Shining Darkness is also popular for containing several support Cards for the Blackwing theme that began last year in Crimson Crisis. In this part, we'll be looking at the first batch of Blackwing Cards, from the first set they appeared on, which contains some of the most important monsters for the theme.

The first one in line is Blackwing - Sirocco the Dawn:

If your opponent controls a monster and you control  no monsters, you can Normal Summon or Set  this card without Tributing. Once per turn, you can select 1 face-up "Blackwing" monster you control. It gains ATK equal to the total ATK of all face-up "Blackwing" monsters  on the field except itself. Monsters other than the selected monster cannot attack the turn you activate this effect.

Sirocco's first line is a Summoning Condition, and the rest of the text is an Ignition Effect. The Summoning Condition is similar to Cyber Dragon's Inherent Special Summon, only that it's a Normal Summon or Set instead. Being a Normal Summon, there isn't much else to say, other than you can combine Cards like Ultimate Offering with this Summoning Condition to Summon a 2000 ATK monster during the opponent's Battle Phase.

The Ignition Effect is where the cake is at, and surprisingly, it's not a lie. This effect targets a Blackwing monster. After it resolves, you add up the ATK of every other Blackwing monster (even the opponent's) and increase the targeted Blackwing's ATK by that amount. After this effect resolves, no other monsters you control can declare an attack this turn. Note that if the effect's activation is negated, you can declare an attack as usual, but if only the effect is negated (Forbidden Chalice, Shadow-Imprisoning Mirror), no ATK will be gained and the other monsters still can't declare an attack. Since this effect needs to stop certain monsters from attacking, you cannot activate it during Main Phase 2. Another important ruling is that if you activate two Siroccos, and target two different monsters, no monster you control can attack during this turn, as each effect stops the other target from attacking. You can, however, target one monster with two different Siroccos and have it gain a huge ATK bonus.

A fun fact about this effect is that neither its English text nor its Japanese text explain how long it lasts. One would think that it lasts forever, creating huge beatsticks of 4000 ATK or more. However, this effect has been ruled to last until the End Phase, which makes enough sense when compared to similar effects. One still wonders why it wasn't included.

It is also important to note that once Sirocco has resolved properly, giving the ATK boost to the Blackwing monster, using a Card to negate Sirocco's effect will have no effect on the ATK boost. So if I target a Bora, and have it gain 2000 ATK, if Skill Drain is activated later, Bora will remain at 3700 ATK.

Speaking of Blackwing - Bora the Spear, it's the next Card in this review:

If you control a "Blackwing" monster other than "Blackwing - Bora the Spear", you can Special Summon this card from your hand. During battle between this attacking card and a Defense Position monster  whose DEF is lower than the ATK  of this card, inflict the difference as Battle Damage to your opponent.

If you have been reading some of the posts in this blog, then Bora shouldn't be very hard to interpretate. It has a Summoning Condition, which is an Inherent Special Summon, and it also has a trample effect, which is a Continuous Effect. Despite its simplicity, there was a very common question when it was first released: In order to Special Summon Bora, you must control at least one Blackwing monster that isn't named Bora. This means that if you control Sirocco and Bora, you CAN Special Summon a second Bora from your Hand. If you already control 1 Bora, it doesn't matter, as long as you have some other Blackwings on the Field. Of course, they must be face-up.

Moving on, we have Blackwing - Gale the Whirlwind:

If you control a "Blackwing" monster other than "Blackwing - Gale the Whirlwind", you can Special Summon this card from your hand. Once per turn, you can halve the ATK and DEF of 1 face-up monster your opponent controls.

At first sight, Gale doesn't look much more complicated than Bora. It has the same Inherent Special Summon, only that under its own name. The second sentence is an Ignition Effect that targets 1 face-up monster, whose ATK/DEF is halved permanently while it remains face-up on the Field. The complications start on explaining how this "halving" works:

-Any regular monster with no additional ATK/DEF modifiers is not an issue. For example, if you target Jinzo, its ATK will be 1200.

-All existing ATK/DEF modifiers are taken into account into the halving. However, once Gale's effect resolves, this ATK/DEF modifiers are no longer important, and even if they stop being applied (due to negation/destruction/etc.), the ATK/DEF remains the same. For example, if I equip Axe of Despair to Jinzo, its ATK, which is currently 3400 will be halved to 1700. If Axe of Despair is destroyed or negated, Jinzo will still remain at 1700 ATK. This also tells us that Gale is cumulative (the values are halved again, and end up in a quarter of what they used to be. Using our first example, Jinzo would go to 600 ATK. Using our second example, Jinzo would go to 850 ATK, ignoring once again the presence or absence of Axe or Despair). "Freezing" a monster's effects is probably the most interesting part about Gale's effect, as it disrupts monsters like Tragoedia (won't vary even if Cards in Hand increase or decrease) or Fortune Ladies (won't vary even if their Level varies).

-New ATK/DEF modifiers can add and substract from the new value set by Gale. So if I take Jinzo and halve its ATK/DEF (now 1200), I can activate Axe of Despair and it will have 2200 ATK.

Of course, there are some very specific interactions that will become confusing. An interesting exception would be that Light and Darkness, Light End, and Dark End Dragon all reduce their stats as separate decreases, so they can still decrease their starts while resolving their effects, instead of merely "freezing" (for example, if Dark End Dragon has activated once (2100/1600), and you use Gale (1050/800), Dark End can activate its effect again (550/300) instead of "freezing" at 1050/800.). I think monsters like these (Arcana Force EX - The Dark Ruler, for example) are the only ones that work like this. Another exception would be the almighty Wicked Avatar, who would simply restore its ATK/DEF to normal.

There are also some funky interactions between Gale and other similar ATK/DEF modifiers, but I'll leave that for a scary article.

The Spell and Trap support for Blackwings in this set isn't too surprising, but it's worth looking at anyway. The only Spell Card is Raptor Wing Strike:

Return 1 face-up  "Blackwing" monster you control to the Deck. Add 1 "Blackwing" monster  from your Deck to your hand.

This Normal Spell Card returns a Blackwing Monster to the Deck as a cost. You then add one Blackwing monster from the Deck. Note that there is no restriction to which monster you can add to the Deck. Raptor Wing Strike doesn't target anything, by the way. Surprisingly, one can return a Blackwing Synchro Monster to the Extra Deck and still fulfill this Card's cost, which is somewhat contradictory with some rulings we might see later. Oh well Q_Q

The only Trap Card is Ebon Arrow:

Select 1 face-up  monster you control. Until the End Phase, it loses 500 ATK and during battle between that attacking monster  and a Defense Position monster  whose DEF is lower than the selected monster's ATK, inflict the difference as Battle Damage to your opponent. When the selected monster destroys  a monster by battle and sends it to the Graveyard  this turn, inflict damage to your opponent equal to the destroyed monster's  original DEF.

It's not exactly Blackwing support, but hey, it sorta fits the context. Ebon Arrow targets one of your monsters. You can activate this Trap Card at any time, including the Damage Step, but not during Damage Calculation or onwards. The targeted monster loses some ATK, but gains a trample effect (which, as always, doesn't use the chain). When it destroys a monster in battle, it starts a chain at the End of the Damage Step to inflict effect damage equal to the monster's Original DEF. Multiple copies of Ebon Arrow are cumulative, however, trampling is never cumulative. Your monster would lose 1000 ATK, and inflict the effect damage twice.

Finally, we have a very powerful Synchro Monster: Blackwing - Armor Master:

1 "Blackwing" Tuner + 1 or more non-Tuner monsters
This card cannot be destroyed by battle, and you take no Battle Damage from battles involving this card. If this card attacks a monster, you can place 1 Wedge Counter on that monster at the end of the Damage Step (max. 1). You can remove all Wedge Counters from your opponent's monsters to reduce the ATK and DEF of each monster that had a Wedge Counter to 0, until the End Phase.

Armor Master has four effects, so let's break them down:

This card cannot be destroyed by battle
Pretty straightforward. A Continuous Effect that will also be applied if Armor Master is attacked while face-down.

you take no Battle Damage from battles involving this card.
This complements the first effect, effectively making any attacks towards Armor Master quite pointless. Also a Continuous Effect.

If this card attacks a monster, you can place 1 Wedge Counter on that monster at the end of the Damage Step (max. 1).
This is a Trigger Effect. The attacked monster must be face-up at the End of the Damage Step in order to place a Wedge Counter, so it must survive battle. The Wedge Counters are not related to Armor Master in any way, so if Armor Master has its effects negated, or is no longer face-up, they still remain on the affected monster. This effect does not target.
You can remove all Wedge Counters from your opponent's monsters to reduce the ATK and DEF of each monster that had a Wedge Counter to 0, until the End Phase.
The final punishment for trying to battle with Armor Master. Despite what is shown at the anime,  the actual Card performs this effect as an Ignition Effect, so you can only activate it during your Main Phases (NOT during the  Battle Phase). This effect doesn't target, and it removes all Wedge Counters on the opponent's monsters as a cost. Like we just saw, the Wedge Counters are not related to Armor Master. This means that if the Armor Master that placed the Counters is no longer face-up, a second Armor Master can activate its Ignition Effect and still reduce the ATK/DEF of the opponent's monsters.
And that's it for today. Stay tuned for part 3, which will have even moar Blackwings. If you have any questions, feel free to drop me an e-mail at ness00[at]gmail[dot]com.

No comments:

Post a Comment