How Powerful Is Fusion?
I’ve always been a fan of the fusion concept in the DBZ CCG, but it was never truly usable in any competitive deck. Most of the fusion personality cards have some really strong powers, and the balance was kept in check by making fusion a difficult mechanic to activate. You need two personalities in play at the same level (which means at least one ally), and you need a special fusion non-combat card in play. Once fused, there is a high probability that you will de-fuse before you can gain a true advantage. If using Potara Earrings, your opponent simply needs to discard the attached non-combat and your fusion personality (which is limit 1 per deck) is removed from the game forever. If using The Fusion Dance, you essentially have 4-5 turns with Gotenks before the timer runs out (when the fifth card is placed under the warrior sword, Gotenks is done).
With the amount of anti-ally and anti-noncombat tech in the DBZ card pool, it is very simple for a well-constructed deck to shut down your fusion attempts as you are trying to set them up (or before you even get a chance to start – Cell’s Presence and City in Turmoil, anyone?)
When you consider the anti-fusion cards released in the Fusion Saga (Paused Pose, Release, Majin Buu’s Stomach, etc), it is virtually impossible to construct a competitive deck that actually improves its ability to win by incorporating the fusion mechanic. A deck is much better off leaving out the necessary non-combats for fusion and replacing them with stronger cards that better assist in achieving the victory condition.
Fusion needs a boost before it can be considered a viable mechanic, and so Fusion Reborn was… born.
Several aspects make Fusion Reborn much more powerful than its Dance/Earring counterparts:
- Fusion Reborn is a Combat card, so it can be searched out of your deck easier than a non-combat (use Krillin’s Concentration, Piccolo and Heroes Gather, or Fatherly Advice instead of Hero’s Lucky Break, Energy Lob, or some type of Trunks Guardian Drill/Vegeta’s Outrage combo).
- Once fused, the Fusion Personality remains fused until a card effect de-fuses them (effectively until your opponent plays Majin Buu’s Stomach, assuming he’s used up a spot in his sensei deck for it)
- Fusion Reborn works with any fusion, so a Gotenks-fusion deck can run 3 copies of Fusion Reborn AND 3 copies of The Fusion Dance, increasing the speed of the fusion and making it less weak to Black Scout Maneuver/Saiyan Appraisal Manuever.
By combining Fusion Reborn with South Kai Sensei, a Fusion Personality can enter play without the weakness against anti-ally and anti-noncombat cards. Additionally, once the Fusion Personality is in play, it is very likely that it will remain in play for the rest of the game. But is this too powerful?
The first deck concept I considered was an Orange MBS OVA variant after reading tommy’s comment about Den-Goku and Concentration Drill. The five card shuffling rejuvination seemed like it would be very powerful in an Orange MBS deck. I also noticed Den-Goku’s high PUR of 5. Goku’s Hurdle Blast (4 copies with Goku as the MP) will increase the PUR to 11, and some simple drill setup using the MBS Mastery can bring multiple copies of Dende’s Healing Drill, Orange Discharge Drill, and Intense Observation Drill into play (if Den-Goku is in play, Dende is still considered to be in play), along with Alt. Dende 5. These cards can easily bring Den-Goku’s PUR towards 15-20, and utilizing Uub’s Energy Drill with a Krillin’s Power Tap or two means all your energy attacks can do +30-60 life cards of damage. Use Orange Five Finger Focus or Orange Scatter Shot to do upwards of 100 life cards of damage in a single combat.
After playtesting against some various beatdown and anger builds, I observed that this Den-Goku build wasn’t noticeably more powerful than any other Orange MBS build. Decks with the ability to shut down Orange can still shut down this build, and Fusion Reborn did not give Den-Goku an unfair edge.
The next concept I developed into a deck was a Red (CS) Goten Speed Physical Beatdown. By running only the essentials for fusion and the strongest combination of physical attacks, it became simple to pull Gotenks level 1 within the first two turns of almost every game. Gotenks’s double physical attack along with his high power stages allow for powerful physical beatdown potential. This build is weak to other speed decks (anger or ball variants) and Majin Buu’s high power levels somewhat reduces the effectiveness of Gotenks.
Since this deck is designed to run fast, the timer function of The Fusion Dance is not a factor in the deck’s operation. This allows the deck to pack 6 cards that will trigger a fusion. With a Life Deck around 70 cards, the fusion cards can be drawn quickly. Once they are in hand, South Kai can pull out Kid Trunks for a fusion in Goten’s first attack phase. Being able to run 3 copies of both Dance and Fusion Reborn is easily the greatest benefit Fusion Reborn provides to this deck.
After testing Fusion Reborn in these builds, it seems that the ability to maintain the fusion until a card effect ends the fusion (rather than the timer/removal of Dance/Earrings) is not an overpowered advantage. The (stronger) Gotenks fusions will probably not gain much be extending the fusion out past the 5-turn limit, and the Goku fusions – while strong – will not win games by themselves.
The other great benefit of Fusion Reborn is that it allows for 6 fusion cards to be run a deck (OK, only if you’re planning on fusing into Gotenks – Potara Earrings just isn’t worth it). With all the Combat/Non-Combat tutors, you effectively have 11 or more cards that can guarantee a fusion. If any part of Fusion Reborn is overpowered, it is that you are allowed to run 3 copies of it in your deck. If Fusion Reborn was restricted to 1 per deck it could still be retrieved with the handful of Combat tutors, but it will make drawing into a fast Gotenks fusion a little more difficult as well as giving your opponent an opportunity to slow you down. I think this would make the speed Gotenks fusion build less of an “auto-pilot” – still viable, but requiring playing skill to make it really strong.