The Masteries are Dead: Long Live the Masteries!
Dragon Ball Z’s seventh set, Awakening, is looking to do a lot more than any set has so far in the game to date. Not only is it our 3rd set to include Starter Decks, which bring us 6 new Main Personality stacks and 6 new Masteries to build around, but it has introduced the game to the new concept of the Frozen List. What is the Frozen list, you may be asking? It is a new temporary “soft banlist” of sorts intended to keep the meta of the game alive and thriving.
How does the Frozen List help with this? By freezing all 6 of the Set 1 Masteries from official tournament play, players are forced to explore new means of playing the game without the comfort of falling back on “staple decks” that never rotate.
With a game that has no official rotating “Standard”, it is very easy to fall into the pit trap of creating the “best decks” that gain very little as each new set is introduced, yet can still dominate the tournament scene due to its already established strength and consistency. While that sounds well and good in theory, it punishes those looking to explore the newer and less established strategies present in the game. Making it so these “staple decks” are forced to adapt with the rest of the meta allows players to keep an even playing field as players start to dig into the new tools of each set and tinker with the vast possibilities each Style and New Mastery has to offer to the game.
Fear not, however, as this Frozen List is only a temporary set back to these dominant decks. Cards on the list will periodically “thaw” and other cards will “freeze” keeping the flow of the game as balanced as possible, while making players learn to bend with each change and sculpt their decks to fit the current legality of tournament structure.
A Whole New World…
So what should you expect moving forward in this new meta, and what does that mean for your favorite decks in the game right now? Well, here are my predictions for the next couple weeks as players explore the format trying to find the next “big deck” of the game:
Decks to expect for the new meta:
- Rainbow Goku – Initial testing has shown that Goku in many of the colors (with either Evolution or Awakening Masteries) has been very powerful and extremely aggressive.
- “Freestyle” Vegeta – The freestyle structure of Vegeta allows him to be used in a number of colors (Red Ruthless and Orange Retribution for example).
- Rainbow Trunks – In particular, Red Ascension and Saiyan Rampaging Trunks builds. This deck will be an MPPV Nightmare, so be prepared to deal with them!
- Rainbow Gohan – Much like the other personalities presented in this set, Gohan finds himself fitting nicely into several styles, as well as Ally, Beatdown and MPPV strategies!
Decks you might not expect:
- Blue Tag Team Ginyu – Over the last several sets, Ginyu has received several interesting cards that fit well into his normal ally build (Allied Blitz of note from Awakening), so don’t be surprised of you find yourself sitting across from a Ginyu in the near future.
- Blue Resolute Tao – Mercenary Tao is a very deceptive build. Running tons of defensive tricks while slowly chipping away his opponent. Keep your eyes peeled for him in the wilds.
- Namekian Radiant Lord Slug – This one might seem out of left field, but with all the new Dragon Ball tech, don’t be surprised if you find yourself against this Super Namekian in the new meta!
- Saiyan Dynamic Turles – Many people may find this one a bit peculiar, but if you find yourself facing down Turles’ lvl 2 power while he has a Saiyan Clench attached, you’ll quickly understand how much of a powerhouse he can be!
With all this in motion, the new tournament scene is looking to be a wide-open field of possibilties; and I for one welcome this new change eagerly!