As I mentioned last time, my group and I have gone officially chuffing mental for Cryptozoic’s latest Cerberus Engine deckbuilding game based on the ever-popular Street Fighter franchise; it’s been a massive hit as we’re all fans of the franchise, and we’ve probably had about twenty games so far, definitely enough for us to have strong opinions of the various cards.
It’s a strength of the Street Fighter DBG that there’s no “bad” cards as such (apart from Agents of Shadaloo, they suck so hard). Sagat and Fei Long’s Ultra, Rekkashingeki (bless you!) are probably the weakest cards that I can think of; they have some uses, but they just pale in comparison next to stuff like Flying Barcelona, Gill, Sakura, and Hyakuretsukyaku (bless you!).
I’ve gone through and picked out my ten favourite cards in the set; these are the ones I always try and snap up when they appear in the Line Up.
Juri doesn’t look like much at first, but I honestly think she might be my favourite Villain. Firstly, she’s 2 cost for 2 Power, which instantly makes her better than a Kick. Secondly, her Attack isn’t flashy, but it certainly helps whittle down an opponent’s hand. There are few things more infuriating than being on the receiving end of multiple early-game Juris. Even late game, she’s good for probing an opponent’s defences and determining if they’re a sitting duck.
Like Juri, Urien is quite a humble card. 3 cost for 2 Power puts him on par with a Kick, but it’s the fact that he can be pitched as a Defence that sells it. There’s four in the deck, and if I didn’t end up with at least one, things probably went badly. There’s far more attacking in Street Fighter than other Cryptozoic DBGs, and it makes cheap Defences like Urien an important purchase at any point of the game.
And of the subject of Defences… Rolling Thunder is one of those cards that much stronger when played in reaction to an Attack; drawing two cards or getting back an Ultra is excellent. I picked up both of these in a game the other evening, and I was virtually untouchable while managing to keep my hand fully stocked. Great card, and in my opinion the best Defence in the game, not taking Ultra/Counter Attacks into consideration.
Of course, Hugo doesn’t give a crap about Defences! Hugo followed by an Ultra is a common combo that shows up at my table, though he’s still great even if you don’t follow him with an Ultra. Oh, and he gives 2 Power as well, just to rub it in. Great card, allows for some truly disgusting plays.
Although apparently unable to wear trousers, Cammy is a solid card at any stage of the game. Early on, she’s 2-for-2, like Juri. Mid- to late-game, she lets you grab those ever-important Locations and put them straight into play. I can’t help but feel disappointed when I play Cammy and don’t buy a Location the same turn…
Every card with Honda is really good; Honda as a Character has an amazing Counter Attack and a fun Ultra that doesn’t need to be built around, Hundred-Hand Slap is a cheap card-draw card, and Hot Blooded Sumo can go from a so-so 2 Power to a “oh crap, I’m suddenly about to have a good turn” 4 Power without much difficulty. Pair him up with Hundred-Hand Slap, Sakura, and Dash Straight for best results.
This is very close to being my favourite card in the whole set. I love the fact that it’s a pseudo-Defence, and you can play on top of a normal Defence. The thing is, you can reveal it when you get attacked once, and that can end up completely changing things until your turn comes round again; will opponents continue to attack you, knowing that their next turn is going to get worse and worse the more they hit you? This is a priority card when I play; even if I get something that’s clearly a better choice, I’ll be sad that I had to pass this up.
Aside from sounding like a horrific venereal disease, Red Cyclone is superb, and the cause of much rage. I love the mechanic in Street Fighter of putting cards under your character as a kind of private Line Up, and RC helps you build that up. The best way we’ve found of using him is to lock away the multipliers like Rolento’s Baton and Jungle Warrior, cards which are important at the end of the game, but are not great during it. That said, locking away big flashy cards like Hadoken or Tireless Wanderer for the purpose of griefing opponents is absolutely encouraged. Needless to say, if you get RC you’ll want to try and get Rose. If you get multiples of these and USA, you can basically ignore the Line Up and play a solitaire game.
Smarter than the average Dhalsim. Beautifully simple rules text, ridiculous possibilities. Maybe it’s the MtG player in me, but I love copying effects, and this is no different. Unfortunately we haven’t had any groundbreaking plays with this yet (I’m personally waiting for the Mystic Yogi into Mystic Yogi chain reaction), but it’s only a matter of time until someone Mystic Yogi’s into Seth, or Tanden Engine, or…
This guy. This FUCKING guy. ARRRRRGH. HE’S JUST SO GOOD. Yes, the cards have to be the same type. Yes, we’ve had turns where SoJ has come down and the best thing the player’s been able to do is get back some Punches. But for every time that’s happened, there’s been ten other times where this card has created some disgusting plays. The cost 7 limit is a joke, it may as well say “any card”; the only things he can’t get back are Seth, Psycho Crusher, and Tireless Wanderer… three cards in the entire deck! I can’t help but feel that he’s basically very overpowered for what he does; if it was cost 6 or 5 instead, he’d still be amazing, but as is… sheesh. Pro tip; if this card shows up in the Line Up, buy it, or at the very least try and lock it away with Red Cyclone! My favourite card in the set, but for probably all the wrong reasons.
I’m hoping that Cryptozoic do some add-ons for Street Fighter; I’d love to see cards for characters like Dee Jay and C Viper, and obviously lots more special moves! We need a Yoga Fire, a Spinning Bird Kick, a goddamn Shoryuken! Some more stages would be great as well; I’d like to see some alternatives to Hong Kong, India, Japan, and Brazil. Not that I’m complaining, I love the game, and can’t wait until I play it again!