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Building On Budget:
Big Splashes in a Little Pond
Face it- the majority of Duel Master players don’t have unlimited cash flow. Maybe you’re a kid who just barely squeaks by on tournament fees with your allowance. Maybe you’re an adult and have to deal with bills or a family to consider so you can only allocated so much cash to entertainment. Either way, the majority of players likely fit into one of these categories or something pretty similar. That brings me to the point of this article.
One of the undeniably greatest things about Duel Masters is that you don’t have to break the bank simply to build a single deck that is truly tournament worthy. Back when I played competitive Magic: The Gathering, I remember carrying around Type 2 decks worth an excess of $500 – and I had to if I wanted to win with any real consistancy. Yugi-Oh isn’t any better, especially with their lack of limited tournament formats making many decks worth more than their weight in gold. In Duel Masters many of the best cards happen to run under a dollar a piece.
In this article I would like to begin exploring these cards. There are many in Duel Masters and so I believe we need to break this down by civilizations. Today we will start with everyone’s favorite control civilization – water.
Commoners: The Backbone of Society
While ultra hot rares maybe the heart of a collectible card game, commons are the body to transport that heart around. Strong commons are not so uncommon to Duel Masters and can typically run you between 10 to 25 cents each (and often free if you have a friendly trade network where you play). Out of the 24 Water commons currently available to non-Japanese players nearly half of them show up regularly in tournament deck builds. Out of those cards about half of those are truly impressive enough to note. I present to you what can easily be argued as some of the best cards in the game in no particular order.
Aqua Hulcus: A reasonably priced body the great ability of effectively replacing itself by allowing you the drawing of a card. A solid contender in any deck running Water.
Aqua Jolter: Three mana for a 2000 body is not normally the best deal in the world. What makes this card so fantastic is the chance that you will get that 2000 body for free. “Money for nothin’ and your chicks for free!” – Dire Straits
Corile: Arguably the best Water creature in the game. Corile dominates one game after another as she sets back your opponent by both a fielded creature and a card draw (or two in the case of Evos!). If Corile was a Super Rare I believe she would be the most highly valued card in the game. As it is, I have to think twice about parting with any extras of this common.
Emeral: Emeral is pretty close to being broken – closer than nearly any other card in the game. Consider this – for the cost of two mana you get to replace a shield in play with a card from your hand. That’s perfectly reasonable for a two mana spell. Emeral isn’t a spell, though. We are given a 1000 power creature on the field with our ability. No doubt about it Emeral is definitely under priced.
Spiral Gate: While not the best of shield triggers in the game, Spiral Gate has gone a long way to proving itself and holding it’s own. Not to be easily over looked, Spiral Gate will continue to be one of the best cards in the game for some time to come. To top it off we get should be getting new art in Stompatrons.
Angler Cluster: There are some pretty decent blockers amongst Water, however most of them just don’t stack up to Light civilization’s blockers. Angler Cluster is the exception to this. In fact, Angler Cluster makes Light jealous of the amazing amount of power behind this little blocker for such a cheap cost.
While it maybe a little more difficult to put together a play set of uncommons, even the poorest of us can normally swing it through a little bit of trading and begging. If you’re to good for begging, about 75 cents, at the most, should be able to let you pick up even the best of the uncommons. However, if you must beg, the uncommons I will mention here are the ones which will likely require the greatest amount of begging out of you. Great and powerful Water uncommons are not quite a prevailant as commons netting us only about 4 of the 16 currently available. Still, with these cards we can’t complain.
Crystal Lancer: I can’t wait for this card in foil! As I understand it already exist in Japan and I hope they grace us with a non-Japanese version soon. In the meantime this powerhouse is available to pretty much anybody. Few evo’s can match up to it’s strength/cost ratio. In fact, I rated it as number three in my article “Top 5 Evo’s in the January 2005 Metagame” (check it out under top 10’s).
Brain Serum: If this card wasn’t a shield trigger then we could quickly dismiss it. The fact is, it is a shield trigger. Unfortunately, our non-Japanese version only nets us a single card, but card advantage goes a long way in any collectible card game.
Miricle Quest: To be honest I have yet to see this card used to full power. Despite that I hold a strong belief that this is one of the best cards in the game. Give it some time and we’ll see if I’m right. Better yet, start experimenting with it yourself.
Illusionary Merfolk: The uncommon that decks are built around. A powerful body attached to three brand spanking new cards in hand. Many players have already proved why this card is truly worth it’s place in one of the most deadly decks currently being played.
Not So Rare Rarities…
Because of the rarity structure in Duel Masters, regular rares don’t run as expensive as in many other games. Three dollars will easily net you the best of the best and even rares that demand this price are few and far between. In fact, the rares I mention here can pretty easily be had for a single dollar. I’m not going to go into any real detail about them - instead I’d like you to just check out this list. If there are any cards on here you did not previously consider contenders, then perhaps you should look over them a little more carefully.
That’s it for this edition of “Building on a Budget.” Hope you enjoyed it. Feel free to write me any feedback.
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