Vampiric Hunger ~ Preview ~ Sated By Blood

Greetings, creatures of the night! Have you thrown out your crosses and holy water? Good. You’ll have no need for them here. For tonight, you have been invited to a feast in my castle. Come now, don’t be shy, you look so tense. Sit, enjoy the food, pay me no mind. For tonight, you shall be my main course, hahaha! Okay yeah I’m done. Welcome back rulers. We’ve teased and talked about the return of Vampires for a long time now, and it’s finally here! Dracula might still be sealed away, but the ancient vampiric family, the Mikage has risen again! Can the morning sun vanquish the horrible night? Let’s find out!

First up, of course, is the patriarch of the Mikage clan, and the J/ruler of the deck, Mikage Seijuro. His ruler side has a Judgment total cost of three, not too heavy not too light. He’s got Energize, of course, as every ruler does in this cluster. His only unique ability is his final one. An activate ability that costs one darkness will. It can deal 100 damage to a resonator and then puts a blood counter on himself (even if he can’t successfully deal damage!). On it’s own that seems handy, but not exactly a super ability. Obviously the 100 damage is great when coupled with things like Demonflame, and on its own it makes picking off pesky token resonators or cards like Puss in Boots pretty easy. However, I’m sure you’re curious about those blood counters, they’ve got to be for something, right? Once you’ve got three will to pay for Ally of the Black Moon’s Judgment cost, you can find out! Wow, just look at Mikage Seijuro’s J-ruler side. That’s what you call a Vampire. Victim in one hand, elegant sword in the other. Seijuro has 900 ATK and DEF, putting him in the middle of the spectrum of J-rulers when considering power only. The master of House Mikage has more than just raw power in his corner though. He’s packing natural Imperishable and Flying, making him both hard to stop and hard to kill (as you’d expect from a vampire.) It is on this side of the card that we can finally use those blood counters we’ve been accumulating.  By removing a blood counter from Seijuro you can choose one of several options. You can sap a J/resonator of 100 ATK and DEF until end of turn, pump up Seijuro by 200 ATK until end of turn, gain 200 life, or put a +100/+100 counter on a Vampire resonator. None of these effects are particularly strong on their own unless you’ve acquired at least a few blood counters. However Seijuro makes for a great midrange/support type of card. Picking off small threats and then turning into a fairly strong Flying J-ruler that can attack with near impunity who can also employ a myriad of useful affects. But the power of blood counters doesn’t stop at just Seijuro, rulers. For we have yet to meet his daughters. And they are just as hungry as he is.

The only daughter in the starter deck is Shara, but she’s a doozy. She enters the field with 500 ATK and DEF for total cost one. Yes, 500 ATK and DEF. That is some craziness right there. Unfortunately she’ll be unable to attack unless she’s got a +100/+100 counter on it (She can still block just fine, though!). She’s famished, you see. And what’s a way to put a +100/+100 counter on this card? Why, her dear old dad and his blood counters, of course! But if that’s too much of a hassle for whatever reason, paying a total cost of three will let you use Shara’s activate ability. This ability deals 200 damage to a resonator and let’s you put a +100/+100 counter onto Shara, or two if you’ve got Seijuro as your ruler. While this ability isn’t too bad, having to use it to get Shara available as an attacker isn’t ideal. For the same cost we could have used Ally of the Black Moon’s Judgment and put a +100/+100 counter onto Shara, and that would have gotten us a 900 ATK J-ruler with Flying. However this ability is certainly nice to have as an option. Power Absorption is another way to get some +100/+100 counters on Shara. For two darkness will this card will deal 600 damage to a J/resonator, plus an additional 100 for each Vampire resonator you’ve got. Then you put a +100/+100 counter on EACH vampire you control. Yeah, each one. That’s some crazy good value right there. Especially considering this card has Quickcast. So not only can you kill most total cost two resonators (eat your heart out, Lancelot) but you can power up ALL of your Vampires and clear Shara’s attack condition. We’ll see more how much +100/+100 counters are a necessity for Lapis Cluster Vampires in the future, and it only serves to drive home even more, how valuable this card is. Sure glad starter decks have four copies of every card, eh?

I’m sure it’s just…fruit punch.
Blood of the Mikage is sort of the opposite of a Vampire feeding. Instead another J/resonator is infused with Vampiric blood. The spell will grant a J/resoantor with an extra 800 ATK and DEF as well as Precision. However that poor creature will die from the infusion at the end of your turn. Somewhat ironically, this card makes for a good combination with Seijuro. Once he’s on his J-ruler side, he loses his ability to gain blood counters. So play this spell on him, attack to deal 1700 damage to your opponent and then end your turn. Since Seijuro has Imperishable, he’ll return to his Ruler side with his Judgment still available to him, and you’ll be able to start gathering blood counters again. This card also makes for an explosive combination with cards like Pricia, Beast Queen in Hiding (or even Pursuant of Exploding Flame).

Seems Seijuro’s brought more than just his vampire brethren with him. A myriad of dark Fairy Tale resonators have been summoned as well. Heaven Bound Pheasant is a 400/300 with Flying. A little weak for it’s cost, though Flying helps compensate. What really helps is that when the ferocious fowl is put into a graveyard from your field, it will force your opponent to draw a card. What? Did someone say Soulhunt? Just me? Oh okay. Faithful Hellhound works on a complimentary level to the Heaven Bound Pheasant. When it enters the field, it will force both players to banish a resonator. Be careful though, as if the hellhound is the only resonator on your field, it will banish itself!

Momotaro is a 600/600 for total cost two that can gain 300 more ATK and DEF as long as you control four or more resonators (including Momotaro). This works well with resonator token generating decks or other decks that can reliably play larger amounts of resonators. 600/600 ensures that Momotaro is still a viable play on the second turn, but his ability helps maintain his value in the mid-game and beyond. The Monkey Trapped in Life is an interesting card. When it is put into a graveyard from your field, it will immediately return to its owner’s hand, but you will lose 100 life. This card is going to prove invaluable to decks with spells and effects that require banishing a resonator frequently. While there maybe not be a ton of those types of effects in New Frontiers, the upcoming Wanderer format opens the door to all sorts of possibilities. Most notably the Grimm Cluster Cthulhu ability, Incarnation.

Joining the vampires and dark Fairy Tales this set, we’ve also got a brand new type of resonator, Oni! The Oni are brutal creatures who value strength above all else, and it certainly shows. The Drunken Oni has an incredible 1300 ATK and DEF, which is high even for his cost. When he enters the field, you’ll be able to search for his estate, the Castle of Oni, and add it to your hand. This card’s real strength is it’s cost. A total cost of five means that it can be played with Shion’s ability. Castle of Oni is an addition that will increase the ATK and DEF of all Darkness J/resoantors you control by 200. That on it’s own doesn’t really warrant the hefty total cost of three. However the addition also comes with an incredibly useful salvage ability. By resting it and banishing it, you’ll be able to take back a card in your graveyard. With a Ruler like Rezzard, the Undead Lord, who puts card from your deck into your graveyard, this opens the possibility of turning your graveyard into a valuable resource for cards.

For our last card today, we have Oni Strike. This powerful Quickcast spell will let you destroy a resonator. Additionally, if you control an Oni, the spell will deal 500 damage to your opponent. If you’ve got an Oni on the field this card is some pretty good value for it’s cost, essentially being a fusion of Stoning to Death and Thunder/Lightning Strike. While it doesn’t bring anything new to the table effect wise, check out that Darkness Magic Stone. Looks like wearing it would cause the wearer to hear the voice of some kind of demon. Definitely one of the most interesting magic stone arts we’ve produced thus far.
That’s all for today, but preview articles will be published every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 3PM JST for the next several weeks, so be sure to check back frequently!
Look for the Lapis Cluster Starter Decks, in stores September 9th!

Starter Deck