Battle Pack 2: Changes for the Better

Doug Zeeff

7/8/2013 11:40:00 AM

It's been over a week since Battle Pack 2: War of the Giants hit shelves everywhere. This set's way different than normal boosters because it's designed specifically for sealed play. If you don't know what sealed play is you can check out any of Konami's articles outlining the format: the very basics can be found here, in an article put out around the first Battle Pack's release. But to speak generally, sealed play is an alternate way to play where instead of building your deck out of cards pulled from your entire collection, you buy a few packs and play only with the cards you open.

Of course there's a ton of different ways to do that, but the closed card pool is the one constant: you don't rely on your collection to determine what you build. At least in Battle Pack sets, there aren't any premade decks or archetypes and you have to work with whatever you pull. This is relatively new to the Yu-Gi-Oh! scene and it's been a welcome addition to the same-old same-old of competitive Constructed play that dominated tournament offerings for over a decade. Today I'd like to go over a few things about Battle Pack 2, like how it differs from the first Battle Pack set and some particular cards to watch out for. Let's jump right in!

Totally Freaking Different
When they released Battle Pack: Epic Dawn Konami had to play it safe. After ten years of not releasing any sealed-specific products, Epic Dawn had a lot riding on its shoulders. Many people saw it as nothing more than a quick way to pick up Tour Guide From the Underworld at a time when she was well over $100. While Epic Dawn was a nice change of pace from normal dueling it was still a pretty familiar play experience. You still had Xyz Summons, spot removal like Mystical Space Typhoon, and even some Forbidden cards like Raigeki. Sure, it was different from the comb-heavy Constructed Advanced format, but the mechanics at work stayed pretty parallel to your regular duels.

Let me be the first to tell you that this is not the case with War of the Giants. It honestly feels like you time traveled back to 2005. There are no Extra Deck monsters and everything revolves around battle tricks and Tribute Summons. It's really weird to say the least.

 Breakthrough Skill
Breakthrough Skill67673
Set Cosmo Blazer
Number CBLZ-EN078
Type Trap Card
Attribute TRAP 
Rarity Ultra Rare
Card Text

Target 1 face-up Effect Monster your opponent controls; negate the effects of that opponent's face-up monster, until the end of this turn. During your turn, except the turn this card was sent to the Graveyard: You can banish this card from your Graveyard to target 1 face-up Effect Monster your opponent controls; negate that target's effects until the end of this turn.

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I should also mention that there's practically no easy removal. There's no Mystical Space Typhoon, Dark Hole, Heavy Storm, Harpies' Feather Duster, or anything else that gives you free destruction. Almost every monster you take out will be eliminated through battle, and that's really different from what we're used to. You'll also see huge back rows in almost every game. With nothing to take out your spells and traps, there'll often be three or four face-downs on either side of the field. At first this can be extremely intimidating, but it's something you'll get used to. Many of you are fairly new to the game and weren't necessarily playing before the Xyz or Synchro Summon mechanics were introduced, and adjusting to this kind of playstyle might take a few rounds. Luckily for you I have some basic tips!

Basic Care And Feeding For Your Giants
I've played my fair share of sealed games with a variety of card pools, and I've tried a majority of the cards in War of the Giants at one time or another. A big mistake I made was using stuff like Threatening Roar, Waboku, and other cards that prevent attacks with no other benefit. All of your duels are usually going to be longer grind games, so making smart exchanges of card economy exchanges is key. Cards that prevent attacks are straight -1's and just aren't very useful in the long run. Saving you monsters is certainly important, but I'd suggest doing it through winning battles instead of dedicated defense. Anything that can be activated in response to an attack - stuff like Ego Boost, Forbidden Lance, Forbidden Chalice, and Rush Recklessly - is going to be way better in the long run.

You'll also find that you'll do better if you don't play as conservatively as you normally might. In general, Summoning a bunch of monsters isn't punished because there's no Dark Hole, Torrential Tribute, or anything else that's going to wipe your field. This is kind of different from regular play where you're rewarded for holding onto cards for as long as possible. That said, don't put all of your eggs in one basket. Attaching three Equip Spells to one monster only to see it destroyed is rough and drastically hurts your chances of winning. I actually try to steer away from Equip Spells anyway, because they're so vulnerable and so likely to hurt your card economy.

With all of this said, allow me to bring up some of the better cards in the set!

White Night Dragon
It wouldn't be an overstatement to label White Night Dragon as one of the best cards in the entire set. White Night has two distinct effects that are incredibly difficult to overcome. First, it stops anything that targets it. That's super special awesome because there's a ton of stuff that targets in War of the Giants. It'll shut down a decent portion of your opponent's spells and traps and force them to increase their own monster's ATK to take it down.

Oh yeah, and White Night protects your little monsters, too, which is even better. Making sure stuff like Dark Valkyria survives a turn, and protecting aggressive cards that can be vulnerable to follow-up attacks like Goblin Attack Force is crucial. White Night is a real powerhouse, and it's difficult to remove from the field once it's Summoned.

Bazoo the Soul Eater
Bazoo is one of those cards that can be good half of the time, and not so hot the other half of time; its usefulness depends entirely on your draws. If you don't pull anything along the lines of Call Of The Haunted or Monster Reborn, then Bazoo's amazing once your graveyard's established. Basically, there's no reason not to banish monsters from your graveyard if you can't revive them anyway. A 2500 ATK Level 4 is nothing to scuff at and it really comes in handy in the mid to late game.

Reptilianne Rage
I'm not a giant fan of equip spells, but Reptilianne Rage is an exception. The initial 800 ATK boost is great, but Rage really shines when it's destroyed. Downgrading something by 800 ATK is insane, and it really helps you get over otherwise huge monsters. I'm not sure if I'd include it in every deck, but a majority of the time I find myself playing it.

Reverse Trap
I actually laughed out loud when I opened a Reverse Trap in this set, wondering why the R&D team would include such a useless card. But after playing a couple games I quickly realized just how many battles are decided by ATK modifiers. If you've played sealed with War of the Giants then you probably know what I'm talking about. If you haven't yet, then I'd estimate that more than half of the battles are won by at least one ATK modifier. Reverse Trap's power level is one of the most surprising things in the set, and it's been an auto-in every time I've opened it.

Memory of an Adversary
Several months ago Beau wrote about Memory of an Adversary in one of his Specifically Speaking articles. Memory's only seen a little bit of play in competitive tournaments, but it's incredible in sealed. Basically it's an out to every monster. Period. I can't stress enough how good this trap is.

The important part about Memory is that it doesn't target, meaning it even gets around White Night Dragon and Obelisk the Tormentor provided you can afford the damage. Duels last much longer in sealed and you'll usually live long enough to steal your opponent's monster. Speaking in terms of card economy, Memory is an immediate 1-for-1 when you trade your spell to remove your opponent's monster; it becomes a +1 once you gain control of that monster; and it can be a +2 if your opponent's monster was equipped with something. Memory's just really, really good, and I'd advise running it, especially if you manage to open a Draining Shield, too.

Photon Wyvern
I mentioned earlier that there's not a lot of spot removal in Battle Pack 2, and that plays a large role in how your matches will go down. Photon Wyvern can wipe entire boards clean with its effect. That's not the easiest thing to pull off, but when you do the rewards are plentiful. In a format with no Heavy Storm your opponents won't think twice about setting multiple backrow cards with no protection. You can also bring the Wyvern out for only a -1 with Photon Sanctuary - something to keep in mind if you find both of them in your packs.

Beast King Barbaros
Rounding out my small list of cards to look out for is Beast King Barbaros. Hands down, this is my personal favorite card in the entire set. It's a flexible, high-utility monster that's good in lots of different situations. At the very least it's a 1900 ATK beater. It's also a basic 3000 ATK double tribute monster, which isn't bad at all.

With that in mind, Barbaros is best used for blowing up the whole field, which you can accomplish by Tributing three monsters for its Summon. I've demolished five or more cards on multiple occasions using that effect, and it always feels great. There's no Skill Drain in this set, but Barbaros is still damn amazing. Try it out, and I promise you won't regret it!

The North American World Championship Qualifier
This coming weekend is the biggest event of the year for many of us. It's going to be a blast, and feel free to say hello to me if we happen to cross paths. I and some of the other writers will be in competition wearing our TCGPlayer shirts for the event. I always love talking with readers, and I look forward to meeting some of you! Come next Monday I'll have an article up on the deck I ran at the WCQ, so make sure to check that out. I wish everyone the best of luck for the weekend.

-Doug Zeeff

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