It’s been a pretty hot couple of months for UFS players, with the King of Fighters set having been released, and with Megaman and Darkstalkers hot on its’ heels. There are so many cards being released in such a short space of time that it can even be a little on the intimidating side, particularly for newer players, so we won’t be looking at those sets today but the soon to be released second King of Fighters XIII set; Ruler Of Time. Part 1 will cover the first Team, Team Elisabeth. Of course, all of the comments made about these cards are purely opinion-based and therefore should not be taken as gospel, though feel free to leave comments and thoughts! So without further delay, here we go! (All images are taken from http://ufsultra.com/)
Comprising of Shen Woo, Duo Lon and Elisabeth, Team Elisabeth is most likely the most talked about team in the set, due to the mechanic it sits behind that we haven’t seen for years; winning by deckout, more commonly known as ‘mill’. All 3 of these characters are designed to try to win this way rather than through damage, though they do it in different ways.
Shen, the uncommon character of the 3, is the most flexible character of the 3, as he can use his response ability to repeat an attack after removing a card from the game, either through his own enhance ability, or by other means. This means he doesn’t necessarily have to win by deckout, as having the right attack thrown at you twice can be lethal, so he might just throw a curveball at you from nowhere, using his effect in combination with either Genmuken (more on that in a bit) or any other attack that removes a card from the game if it hits to guarantee the first attack coming back round again. 7/10
Elisabeth, the ultra rare of the team, will undoubtedly be the most popular of the 3, at least initially, due to both her design (everyone loves the posh ones!) and the fact that she knows what she wants to do and she does it hard. Her First F ability to add a card to her hand from her discard pile sounds very strong, though it requires momentum which her symbols don’t have the easiest of times getting (except possibly Death), so she’ll need a lot of outside support. She does however punish characters who check for abilities a lot, like Vincent Grey or my own character (Joe Hill) quite adequetly with her response. I can see her not having much fun against reversal characters though, having to throw out attacks that that aren’t fast or strong to make the most of her abilities, only to get punched in the face with KAPLOW! or Paralyzing Touch for the trouble. 5/10
Duo, the rare character, seems to be very much a double-edged sword, as his first enhance ability seems to be the most efficient at milling the opponent, due to the ability actually removing cards from the game without any other setup, rather than discarding them to wait for a cycle or requiring specific attacks. However, because he only removes non-attacks with his ability (thank God!), he might accidently end up setting the opponent up for a kill turn by accident. His second enhance however is very strong, due to it having the magic word ‘this attack‘ rather than ‘your attack’. This means you can run the deck with very few low blocks without really worrying too much, giving him more defensive capabilities than the other two characters for a mill strategy. 6/10
If I were to pick any of the 3 characters here, it would be Shen, purely because he can be pushed in either direction, mill or damage, which means the opponent won’t necessarily know what to do against him, whereas the other two might make an initial impact, but will end up becoming very predictable very quickly. They may all take issue with faster characters like Eva, Mitsurugi or Mai, which leads me to believe that they probably won’t make the splash everyone is hoping for past the initial month or two.
Picking 5 attacks from Team Elisabeths’ repertoire, I’d say these ones were the ones to jump out at me. Genmuken seems to be the attack to play if you’re playing Shen. It means that if this is played as your second attack (which shouldn’t be difficult at 3 difficulty) you’re nigh guaranteed to be able to rebound the first attack you played, whatever it may be, to your hand using Shen’s R ability. There are other attacks you can use to make use of his R, but this is easily the most dependable. One of the better attacks to bounce with Genmuken would be Tenshou Bakushingeki. This attack may carry a 2 check, but it’s warranted by having Powerful: 3 written on it, which makes it pack quite the punch. It also allows you to pursue either the mill tactic or damage with Shen, continuing the illusion that you could be trying to do either, forcing a block so they remove more, or getting them not to block out of fear for their deck and getting slapped hard. I’ve not even mentioned the draw ability on the attack, the +0 mid block or the combo capabilities with Valiant Assault, which are really just extremely delicious icing on the very nice looking cake. Juon Shikon looks like the go-to attack for Duo, as it partially rectifies the problem he has by setting up the opponent by accident. It both discard the top card of their deck if it is an attack, and gets a speed boost for the trouble. It also combos from Genmuken and removes a card from both players hands to draw a card, benefitting set-up for the next turn and removing another card from your opponent, sounds like a winner for Duo to me. I hear a lot of people talking about Etincelles, but not with Elisabeth or even any of her team in mind (though it’s not a bad card for Shen to recur Genmuken with) but rather Ivy from Soul Calibur IV. It does fit the bill rather nicely for her, it’s 3 difficulty, less than 3 damage, speed boosts the next attack and grabs an attack to use said speed boost on (most likely Cross Madness), but I still don’t think it’s enough to make Ivy anything more than a gimmick, personally, though I’d love to be proven wrong, Ivy’s awesome! Finally, Etiole-Filante is very clearly designed for Elisabeth, and does make her that bit faster and gives her an element of control, though I think that second ability and the Reversal keyword make it much more potent in other characters, maybe Vespera got a new 3 check friend to compliment Paralyzing Touch?
Team Elisabeth only has 2 assets, Duo is missing one from his 9 cards, but neither of them are bad. Team Elisabeth makes the mill easier to perform, where Couronnes Des Fleurs gives a pretty nice benefit for doing so in drawing cards. Team Elisabeth can very aptly fuel Tenshou Bakushingeki while pushing the mill further (and sporting a high +2 block is always welcome) If I could only run one of the two, I’d pick Team Elisabeth first. I’d normally pick the card draw effect of Couronne des Fleurs and I love the recurable attack effect on it, but as assets go, it’s numbers are pretty awful, 3/4 with no block makes it very difficult to recommend, despite it’s lovely abilities, whereas Team Elisabeth covers something the characters are missing in momentum generation while pushing great numbers to boot. I’d like the crown a lot more if it shared any symbols with either Vincent Grey or Iori, but sadly, it doesn’t, and they have foundations to do the job of the card draw regardless.
Of the teams foundations, I don’t think any of them are massively impactful, though some of them do work very well with the characters they were intended for. Though saying that, if any of them were to be run with a multitude of different characters, I actually reckon it’d be The Traitor’s Son. It has relatively solid numbers, and that ability is stronger than it first appears. Making it so that only attacks are left on the top of the opponents deck means you can set up very nicely for an attack that would kill, and because the ability is a response rather than an enhance, you can time it perfectly with the right amount of skill. On the other hand Hizoku Prince looks like an incredible foundation due to its numbers, but the lack of block is disconcerting, and the ability is underwhelming, particularly with characters who can’t afford to use their health up in abilities, needing it to keep the game goiing for longer. Mourning the Lost is a delicious card with certain characters, and a damage boost for any symbol is welcome, but again, the 4 check and lack of block is off-putting. Last of Her Line is honestly the primary reason to run Elisabeth. The only, and I mean only issue with it is that your attack has to hit in order for it to go off. Being able to ready your characters is ALWAYS a worthwhile ability to have, and it doubles the speed of Elisabeths mill. Shen’s foundations are all a bit underwhelming. but Shanghai’s God of War at least has a great block on it for a foundation, as well as making sure an attack can’t be made redundant by damage reducing, and Fool Me Twice is probably one of the better defenses against Team Elizabeth, and 1 diffculty foundations are always nice, but I guess thats all I can really say for it.
So thats it for Team Elisabeth! In Part 2, we’ll be covering Team K’, so check back for that, but to finish up, here’s a list of other cards that might benefit Team Elisabeth and a list of characters that might benefit from them!
Older characters to revisit: Nina Williams, Vespera, Lily, Reese, Zhao Daiyu**, Amy, Ivy, Joe Hill, Shen**, Kilik, Lizardman
Older cards to look at while building a Team Elisabeth character: Bam, Splam, Forsaken Berserker, Paralyzng Touch, Head Ringer, Two Deadly Rings Technique, Deadly Embrace, Ritual Magic, Seal of Retribution, Reward, G Corps Leader, The Twilight Witch, Unknown Son, Proficient Sniper, Acrobatic, Tower of Remembrance – Degradation, Flexible Body, Holiday Cheer, Penance, Clandestine Research, Wonderworld Warriors, Wonderworld Comics, Preparing Herself