The Unbanning of Dragonball Z

There is a school of thought in card games, one that only a few have ever managed to stick to.  It is a simple concept but a very very difficult practice.  “Never ban cards.”  Simple, but as you can imagine, insanely difficult.  When Magic the Gathering suffers from periodic bans, with its lengthy playtesting, it can be very difficult for any other game to aspire to these lofty goals.  It does however offer unique rewards, since players hate having cards that they can’t play.

DBZ is notable in that the very first world tournament event had a banned card.  Dream Machine Battle.  This card has never once seen the light of high level competitive play, and for obvious reasons.  What I’m going to do in this article is provide one man’s opinion on each of the banned cards, and how through errata, we can ensure that none of our precious cardboard remains unused.

Chiaotzu’s Psychic Halt

This card was insane back in the day.  Even when it was limited it created blowout games that would completely change who was ahead in the match.  It was also regarded as the least fun thing to have happen to you in a turn.  The game, however, has evolved.  I present two different versions of CPH that I feel would allow the card to see play again, without disrupting the environment.

Version 1.        “ [Combat card] Chiaotzu Only, your opponent must pass during his “attacker attacks” phase for the remainder of the combat.  Limit 1 per deck.  Remove from the game after use.”

This is the most limited version of the card that would see play, borrowing heavily from the OCG design, this card would potentially allow one of the weakest characters in the game to actually see some play, while not being completely degenerate,  basically a Dazed on steroids, this version is sphere-able, allowing opponents the opportunity to prevent it’s effects.

Version 2.  “Players may not perform an attack during their “attacker attacks” phase for the remainder of the combat.  Limit 1 Per deck.  Remove from the game after use”

This is the version of the card that I feel is the most natural.  No longer forcing it to be character specific opens up a lot of decks to utilize it.  This version is also the reverse of Majin Buu’s Fury.  People love to see patterns, and creating a card that mirrors a different card makes it very easy to remember what it does, even without the CRD.

Cosmic Backlash

This card creates the least fun losses in DBZ.  Nothing ruins a game quicker than your opponent throwing a backlash when they’re about to lose and hitting.  DBZ is a game of epic combats, and nothing feels epic about the so called “Blind Backlash”.  What can be done to prevent this?  Well there was a lot of discussion about what to do about the card that would prevent opponents from tossing it up as a hail mary, and there was always one idea that resonated with me.

“Physical attack.  Your opponent may search his deck for any card and add it to his hand.  If successful and you did not declare a tokui-waza, you win the game, if stopped, you lose the game”

Backlash always felt like a card that should have a lot of setup going into it.  Allowing your opponent access to his entire deck prevents any sort of hail marys from winning unwinnable games.  The ‘You lose’ clause also ensures that once you attempt to kick a Cell Jr. in half, you’re pot committed.  So you’d better be darned sure that you’ve removed any blocks from your opponent’s deck.

Dragon’s Glare

This is a non-combat card that helps set up Dragon’s Victory or works as a +3 anger gain for anger decks.  Dragon’s Victory is a card that is extremely limited in scope, very seldom has a DV deck made top 8 of anything, and even when piloted by the best players in the game, it sees very little success.  Anger is a deck that is always borderline, it always seems like it should be quite powerful, but can always suffer from being hit with the right counter card at the right time.  I present a change that will possibly help DV, while ensuring Anger doesn’t get an over the top push to make it unstoppable.

“You cannot win by most powerful personality victory.  All players anger is set to 3.  Limit 1 Per deck, remove from the game after use.”

Dragon’s Glare is a card that even as is, if unbanned and left restricted, would see very little play, this version ensures that what little play it sees, is for a deck that could definitely use the boost.

Dream Machine Battle

The card that never was.  Extremely overpowered in every single situation, and as is, should never see play.  With the beauty of errata however, we can take a card that should never be played, and make it, well, sort of played!

“Remove your Life Deck from the game.  Shuffle your discard pile back into your deck.  Discard your hand.  Limit 1 per deck.  Remove from the game after use.”

While the wording likely needs work, as currently I believe you would lose the game before you shuffled your discard pile back into your deck, the card remains solid.  It still has the spirit of the original in allowing you to “restart the game”.  Yet remains limited enough in scope to not completely invalidate your opponents efforts.  Your endurance would be gone.  Whatever cards you haven’t used would be gone.  Any cards your opponent has removed would be gone, as well as any cards you use that remove themselves.  The card is sphere-able, and highly vulnerable to discard hate.  Which makes it good, but very limited in scope.

Feeding Frenzy

This card is league only, why is it banned in non-league events?  I understand that in Expanded we were allowed to use both Tuff Enough and league cards in our decks, but that’s because Expanded was broken.  Remove this card from the current banned list and nothing happens.  Making this the easiest unbanning so far!

The Talking Ends Here

A common version of the Ultra Rare Where There’s Life There’s Hope.  Originally allowed as a 3 of, this card was obnoxious.  Then it was banned and promptly forgotten about.  This article however is all about digging up the past, and with a few tweaks this card can see play again.

“You may not include this card in your Life Deck if you include Where There’s Life There’s Hope in your Life Deck.  Use when your opponent wins by any means.  The victory is postponed until the start of his next turn.  Check for Victory conditions at that time.  Limit 1 per deck.  Remove from the game after use”

No longer will you have to print a proxy of WTLTH,  simply run one of your 10,000 copies of The Talking Ends Here.  With tournaments where anyone with a printer can play WTLTH, there’s no reason to have them waste ink when a functional copy of the same card already exists.

This Too Shall Pass

Startled is already a card.  You can run 3 of it.  It still sees very limited use. This card is a non-combat so it is prevented from being sphere’d.  However with a bit of rewording, it could definitely see use again.

“Use when needed.  Stop the effect of a Non-Combat/Non-Drill card your opponent is using.  Remove that card from the game.  Limit 1 Per deck.  Remove from the game after use.”

A one per deck version of Startled that RFG’s the card used.  Nothing too fancy here, just a simple errata to bring this card in the same comparable power level as other cards that already exist.

Supreme West Kai (Levels 1, 2, and 3)

The Personality everyone loves to hate.  Her unique rule made no sense at all, she saw maybe 3 minutes of screen time, and she saw more tournament play then any side character has a right to.  Her banning was the most recent one, and applied after only much debate.  I find it very hard to argue with the games designers, but if i didn’t this article would be kind of pointless.  So lets talk about SWK.

First, I’m just going to outright remove her special rule from the CRD, it doesn’t need to exist.  This eliminates the major problem with the personality.  Since playing against SWK never felt like playing DBZ, it should be removed, since we are, after all, playing DBZ.

Second her personality power is good.  Very, Very good.  While it doesn’t deserve banning, it does need some tweaking.  Especially her level 1.  Shuffling back 5 is way too good.  So to borrow a phrase from online games, lets nerf it.

“When entering combat shuffle the bottom 3 cards of your discard pile into your life deck.”

This power is still good.  It is comparable to Majin Buu’s defensive personality set, and will definitely see play.  It isn’t over powered, but just right, and in my opinion, the errata that she needs to be allowed back into the tournament scene.

For that matter, her level 2 and 3 powers can very likely remain as they are.  Sure her level 3 personality is very good, but there are plenty of other level 3s that are equally as insane, and the difficulty with reaching the level should be rewarded.

So that’s it.  The Unbanning of Dragonball Z, as a game DBZ has always used the errata to bring cards into the proper level to make them balanced.  Banning cards doesn’t just feel out of place when your errata page is already 20+ pages long, it seems almost lazy.  These of course are just one man’s opinions.  What I hope these articles provide is a discussion, about how we can make sure that every card in the game behaves as it was intended to, and every card sees play, even if in a very limited scope.

12 Comments to "The Unbanning of Dragonball Z"

  1. Birdman says:

    I almost ended a friendship over a well timed Dream Machine Battle. This Too Shall Pass is also a card that was table flip inducing to say the least. The “You may use this at any time” part is the one that gets you haha. How did that obscure mechanic for SWK even come into being? Alcohol in large quantities had to be involved….

  2. Joshman says:

    I nearly quit the game over This Too Shall Pass, since games more or less just became a matter of who got more of those out first.

  3. Didier says:

    Love the Dream Machine Battle and Cosmic Backlash changes. Do want!

  4. Midgard says:

    The DMB card would still lead to some problems, especially early game. Say your opponent has a good combat and rocks you, so you have a large discard where they are hardly touched. You play DMB and they have virtually nothing. Seems like it could easily be played as a You Win card imo.

    • Dylan P says:

      The one suggested here only affects your own deck, so while you might be back into decent shape, your opponent wouldn’t suddenly be in frown town.

  5. Midgard says:

    I worded my last comment poorly… What I was trying to say was, DMB seems like it could be a You Win card, consider the following situation: Turn one, your opponent declares combat and you draw DMB, and 2 non-combats. especially if they are a saiyan deck, they deal say 15 life cards. You play DMB, and they have at most a 3 card deck where you have 15 and they draw out.
    Dream Machine Battle is going to need to have quite a bit of consideration to make it work.

  6. Dave says:

    I think The Talking Ends Here should defiantly be unbanned. The games dead now after all, and I run it as a proxy for WTLTH in all my decks that use is.

    The only change I would make is instead of all that “cannot use this if you have WTLTH in your deck” stuff, simply make one Villian’s only and the other hero’s only. Then Hercule gets two 😉

  7. Chipmunk says:

    I is so confused. I thought SWK was just banned from one event – the Retro DBZ event at GenCon last year. Why does everybody think she’s still officially banned? It’s not like everybody thinks the DPR is officially removed from DBZ, or any of the other rules changes (although I really like the changes for the Allies rules. Makes the matchup more sane).

    Did I miss the memo?

    Checkin’ His Inbox

  8. Players want one unifying entity to hand down bans and rule changes. Like it or not, the retrodbz event at gencon is likely the largest dbz tourney in the country (world?). This means that any decisions made for that event will effect almost every player. We can ignore the rules changes and ban list if we like, but at the end of the day, if we want to play in the big leagues, we follow these rules or we don’t play. 🙂

  9. Birdman says:

    I would have to agree with Robert as stated above. One “universal” guide to rulings, bans, erratas etc. is what is really needed. I have no issue with the rules being passed down through retrodbz as well considering most of the minds on this site are very logical and have a deep history with the game. The direction of this site is such a great sign for what is to come to resurrect the game and the last thing I (and many players) want is several opinions and variations on the proper way to play.

  10. cabbageman says:

    Not bad not bad. Here is my own suggestion of errata’s:

    Dream Machine Battle (All players reset their anger to 0. All players shuffle in their non-combats, allies and dragon-balls in play into their life decks. All players shuffle in their discard and removed from the game cards into their life decks. Remove from the game after use. Neither player may use this card again for the remainder of the game. Limit 1 per deck.) – I really love the idea of this card having the ability to restart the entire game from scratch. Seems amazingly useful in a db deck where your opponent has used huh?.

    This Too Shall Pass (Stops the effect of any non-combat/non-drill, combat, physical or energy combat card card that does not stop an attack and remove that card from the game. You may use this at any time. Remove from the game after use. Limit 1 per deck.) – Like you said, there’s already sphere and startled. I’d like to see another card that stops the effects of an attack, kind of like pure defense.

    Dragon’s Glare (All players’ anger is set to 3. Remove from the game after use. Limit 1 per deck.) – I love your idea too but like you said, MPPV seems like it

    Chiaotzu’s Psychic Halt (Your opponent may only defend for the remainder of Combat. You may not play or use non-combat cards for the remainder of combat. Remove from the game after use. Limit 1 per deck.) – I must say though, I like the idea of keeping the card power as it but making it chiaotzu only.

    Cosmic Backlash – love your idea. Do it!!

    Totally agree with taking away the SWK defense rule. I don’t mind her other powers though.

    Lastly, I take it there’s no chance ever for black weakness drill? How about this errata?

    Black Weakness Drill (At the beginning of each Discard Step, your Main Personality may pay 1 power stage to make your opponent discard all cards from his hand. If this drill is discarded for any reason it is removed from the game instead and cannot be brought back into play for any reason. Limit 1 per deck).

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