Sunday, 20 July 2014

Legion: Preliminary thoughts

Mikeru follows up on Megan’s introduction of Legion with common opinions about how future games will pan out with Legion at work.

On first glance, Legion appears to be Bushiroad’s power creep in the works as with each new mechanic introduced at the start of a new season of the anime, though it also raises several considerations on their impact on gameplay.

Apart from being stronger in terms of raw power, Legioned vanguards fasten the pace of the game and makes it more mid-game-centric as Legion abilities, while comparable in utility and power to the Limit Break 4 skills you and I are comfortable with till now, can be activated as long as both players are already at G3, the point in time considered to be the start of mid-game. By then, it is likely that around 3-4 cards are already in the drop zone from guarding against attacks received during the first few turns and the first Legion can be performed. Gone is the need to wait till you have reached 4 damage, and even then, proper pacing of which attacks to guard against and which to receive had to be practiced to prevent crippling late-game guarding power at the expense of over-zealously and eagerly rushing to take 4 damage and start using your Limit Breaks.

Games will also be slightly more-fast paced since the Vanguard column’s power has increased but the base power of Legion Vanguards still remains unchanged at the usual 10000 or 11000, hence each attack received by a Legioned vanguard equates to more Shield being discarded in the guarding when compared to a non-Legion one.

Each instance of Legion also essentially recycles 4 cards back to the deck, with triggers being good choices for the return trip. Subsequent Legions increase the remaining guard value of the deck and increase the ratio of trigger to-non-trigger units, hence increasing the chances of pulling triggers. This is akin to the compression technique practiced by the much-luck-reliant Weiss Schwarz players, whereby they try to maximize the amount of climax cards (the damage-cancelling cards that are the closest equivalent of Vanguard’s Heal Triggers) in their Waiting Room (drop zone) before their deck is refreshed upon deck to increase the odds of striking a Climax when they run through their deck a second time.

However, Legion also has its drawbacks as the mate sought has to come from the deck. One  stuck in the damage zone, drop zone, soul (by accidental soulcharge on effect) or hand does not make an appropriate candidate, and it can be quite easy to have a card wind up in those places by chance. This makes the number of Legions you can perform per game up to the dice, and the importance of such chances increases if you are aiming for the one-turn-on-Legion effects. I forsee that this might turn problematic for Legions from the Genesis, Dark Irregulars and Pale Moon which soulcharge excessively, or Granblue recognized for milling cards to the drop zone and using it as a source for rearguard respawns and other effects. 

In addition, there will soon be a G1 7000 unit for each clan that enables a vanguard’s Limit Break 4 skill to be used before reaching 4 damage called as a rearguard. This restores some functionality to the older Limit Breakers, allowing them to start using their skills once they are ridden or gain the sharp power increments of breakrides in early game, hence keeping them up to pace with the Legions. Despite so, I still feel that the Limit Break vanguards will still be intrinsically inferior to Legion as the columns they hit for hover around the 18000-21000 power thresholds. Personal boosters and other power-increment effects can still allow them to hit for higher power values but require resource payment and field setup of the specific personal booster, hence they cannot be considered as constant or liberally-usable as the Legions’ power values.

Whether you buy the Legion concept or retain your reservations about the new mechanic, it will be here to stay for the next few sets, so be prepared to adjust your decks and strategy to keep abreast of its influence on the game and the meta as a whole.

Happy cardfighting!


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