Cygames recently announced the next Shadowverse card set – Chronogenesis. It will have 138 new cards, which is significantly more than normal, because in addition to each existing class getting 12 cards each, the new class that's being introduced, Portalcraft, will be getting a whopping 42 cards, in order to help kickstart its collection. A new class? Yep, and that’s just one of the massive changes coming with Chronogenesis.
Chronogenesis' release on December 28 will also see formats introduced to Shadowverse: Rotation, in which the last five sets plus the small number of Basic cards for each class will be allowed, and Unlimited, in which any cards can be played.
These are huge changes, and I’m going to deep dive on Portalcraft, the introduction of formats and the new set in three separate upcoming features, so stay tuned. (You can also read my analysis of the “Shadowverse Next” announcement here if you want more info in the interim.) Today, though, IGN has three new cards – all Bloodcraft - to reveal for you guys, and they’re not only cool, but showcase one of Chronogenesis’ new mechanics, and have some interesting potential synergies with one another. Take a look:
Recovering play points is one of the themes of Chronogenesis (check out the Portalcraft legendary Deus Ex Machina here), and here we have three Bloodcraft cards that can all do just that if the player is in Vengeance (i.e. has ten defence or less). This ability makes them intriguingly multi-faceted, because it’s not just about what the card can do, but the combos they potentially enable.
Diabolus Psema is the ultimate example of this, because it’s an expensive card but doesn’t impact the board when played. This is not a bomb card like Bahamut, for instance. It won’t swing the game back when you’re behind on its own. Instead, it really requires you to make good use of the recovered play points. As mentioned above, Psema is not about its standalone power, it’s about its combo potential.Recovering play points makes these cards intriguingly multi-faceted, because it's not just about what the card can do, but the combos they potentially enable.
And those combos can be pretty broad, as there’s an awful lot bundled into this card. It puts two spells into your hand immediately, either one of which can be played using recovered play points. It also can’t be damaged by spells, so Demonic Storm won’t damage it. Nor would Reach of the Archdemon, or Blood Drinker’s Brand if you wanted to turn it into a Drain follower.
Of course, none of these examples are likely to swing the game for you on the spot. By the time you can play Psema, it’s unlikely a three damage board clear is going to do very much. But maybe – in the case of Demonic Storm and Demonic Strike in particular – those cards may be more about giving you the extra reach to simply end the game. Late game cards, after all, generally need to tie into a win condition to be played.
I ask Lead Game Designer Naoyuki Miyashita whether that is the case. “If you’re facing against a deck that wins the match by having a full board of followers, then those two cards may not be super helpful,” he admits. “However, when you think about the Control Bloodcraft decks, it’s very important to think about how you can finish the match against other Control decks. Those two spells can both deal damage to the opponent’s leader, which could come in quite handy in some cases. It really depends on what kind of match-up you have, and depending on that, there are different ways to use those cards.”
Miyashita-san, then, very much sees the additional reach as an important part of the card’s design. It also ties into the team’s general approach for Bloodcraft in Chronogenesis. “One thing we wanted to achieve in this expansion for Bloodcraft is [related to] the Control archetypes,” he tells me. “We have cards in Bloodcraft that restore play points when in Vengeance, and we have those play point restoring abilities in a few cards that will play a key role. Up until now in Control Bloodcraft decks, in order to activate some of the key cards your defence had to be low. You had to be in Vengeance. Due to that, it was hard for you to win the matches, if you were using Control Bloodcraft. So we put the play point restoring abilities in there to let people go into Vengeance, restore play points and play multiple cards, do multiple things. That’s something we want people to focus on.”
Psema has a lot of combo potential in other words, but it still needs to pass the litmus test of whether it can compete with the other late game cards Bloodcraft runs. After all, even in a top heavy archetype like Control Blood, you can only include so many high cost cards. I ask Miyashita-san how he thinks Diabolus Psema compares to some of Control Bloodcraft’s other typical late game cards. Temptress Vampire, after all, gives you reach AND heals you, Maelstrom Serpent gives you an instantly intimidating board if you’re in Vengeance, Spawn of the Abyss is pretty powerful, and then there are neutrals like Bahamut.
“You mentioned Temptress Vampire,” he replies. “That will be out of Rotation with Chronogenesis, and Bahamut will be out of Rotation soon after, so this particular card was definitely designed thinking about the future – after the 8th, 9th card sets.” This makes sense, given the Rotation format allows the team to recalibrate the overall power level of cards, and comes on the heels of a general change in direction for card design that started with the development of Starforged Legends. (Announced in this post.)
Rotation is really going to shake things up, so it’s hard to evaluate any card very effectively right now. For instance, the obvious - and powerful - combo of Psema + 4PP Revelation won’t be available, as Revelation is part of the Standard set. Diabolic Drain will also be out. One combo that will be in Rotation, however, would require ten PP and Vengeance. You could play Psema then use your pool of seven PP to take out a big threat with Emeralda, Demonic Officer, who would also have Storm, which could be used to clean up a small follower or get some face damage in.
There’s also, of course, the combos with the other cards we’re revealing today. “One combination of cards that we consider to be pretty powerful,” Miyashita-san explains, “is actually with Reach of the Archdemon – that’s another six cost card. It deals three damage to all followers on board, but Diabolus Psema is immune, so won’t be affected. Plus, Reach of the Archdemon also recovers three play points. So then you can do something else in addition to that, so it can be pretty powerful.”
If you’re in trouble, for instance, you could use those re-recovered PP to throw down a cheap ward (Grimnir?), or you could cast Blood Drinker’s Brand to deal additional damage. In combination with Reach of the Archdemon, after all, you can kill a seven health follower. That’s a lot of pieces to assemble, but hey, we’re talking about possible worlds here! Blood Drinker’s Brand then also re-re-recovers two PP. The chaining potential here is pretty enticing.
Even just playing Psema and casting Blood Drinker’s Brand on it to bounce back out of Vengeance (particularly if you’ve saved an evo point so can do it on the same turn) could be strong. “As you say, this will be a very powerful combo,” Miyashita-san confirms.
I also like Blood Drinker’s Brand because of its flexibility. It offers excellent value as single target removal in the early game, but then can transition into having another – admittedly less likely – application later on.
They’re my initial thoughts about these cards, and as someone who has played a lot of Control Blood since Shadowverse first launched, I’m looking forward to seeing how they work out. As mentioned at the top, stay tuned for a whole lot more insight on the new set, the new class and the new formats on IGN very soon.
Cam Shea is senior editor in IGN's Sydney office and tries to spend as much time as possible in Japan. He's on Twitter.