Ten Significant Events As Told By Insignificant Cards

In between episodes of powering up and superfluous transformations, there is a plot to Dragon Ball. While it may not be the most original or complex story ever told, it is still a good story none-the-less. Good enough to spawn three series (four if you count Kai), two of which have over a hundred episodes. Good enough to also spawn four different iterations of the series in card game form. Understandably, the story and mythos is going to take a back seat in the card game, but there are still some events so significant to the plot that there should be some reverence for the scenes that depict them. Here are ten cards that shit all over that.

10. Future Trunks is killed by Cell. 

One of the few places a Saiyan doesn't shoot lasers out of.

One of the few places a Saiyan doesn’t shoot lasers out of.

The death of one of the most popular characters in the series, captured here on a pretty lackluster Namekian card. Granted all that really resulted from Trunks’ death was Vegeta getting kinda pissed off about it on another terrible card. Trunks was already pretty irrelevant against Cell, so all his death really accomplished was wasting a wish. In fact reviving Trunks was almost downright disastrous as he immediately went back to his time period with the time machine where HE KNEW another Cell was lurking about and the only reason why the “original” Cell was even in the current timeline was because he had murdered yet another Trunks (the third in the series, if you’re counting) for his time machine. Anyway, here’s a mediocre attack to commemorate Trunks’ death.

9. Majin Buu breaks free from Babidi’s control.

Literal S & M stuff going on here.

Fifty shades of pink.

The only reason Majin Buu’s original rampage came to an end, was simply that the Kai’s killed Majin Bibidi while Buu was sealed. By removing Babidi from the equation, Buu eliminated a huge liability and would be nigh unstoppable. This marked the turning point that eventually allowed Kid Buu to emerge and resulted in no less than the destruction of the Earth and nearly all life upon it. Here it’s a crap rare that kinda works with the two Black Style Masteries that nobody uses.

8. Goku, King Kai, Bubbles and Gregory are killed. Bojack is set free.

Not sure if the title of this card refers to the monkey or the stuff coming out of their heads.

Not sure if the title of this card refers to the monkey or the stuff coming out of their heads.

The look of terror on their faces is because all three of them plus Goku is about to be murdered by Cell. There are other terrible cards featuring Cell’s Self-Destruct, but none of them so comically and drastically miss the point of what is going on in the scene as much as this card. Seriously, everyone in that card image is seconds away from death and an off-screen Goku is the only one of them who ever gets revived. This act also looses Bojack upon the Earth. All in all it’s not a terrible card per se, just incredibly limited in use due to being a restricted card legal only in the Tuff Enuff format.

7. Time Chamber Training

A very special episode of Dragon Ball Z.

A very special episode of Dragon Ball Z.

Nearly all the Z-Fighters go through this plot device room to suddenly get super powerful in 24 hours. It makes a huge difference in the Cell Saga and is somewhat useful during the Fusion Saga. In card form, it’s not even worth the effort. It does have one of those very rare “Until the end of the game…” effects, but being such a small boost and a non-combat card that works mostly with beatdown decks makes this card not even worth the paper it’s printed on.

6. Frieza’s defeat.

The lesson no one in Dragon Ball ever learned: Don't make your energy attacks bigger, make them sharper!

The lesson no one in Dragon Ball ever learned: Don’t make your energy attacks bigger, make them sharper!

I’ve touched on it before how Frieza is THE villain of Dragon Ball Z, yet is a fairly pointless character in the card game. Here is Frieza’s defeat during his battle with Goku, a result of Frieza’s own hubris and rage. Forget about the Trunks Saga BS where Frieza is actually killed by Trunks, the result of Goku and Frieza’s fight was so influential in the series that it’s even a plot point for the new Dargon Ball Z movie later this year. Here it is on a common card… A halfway decent attack if it were nearly anything but the Red Style. Rest in pieces, Frieza.

5. Kami and Piccolo fuse.

"Whose body are we going to use?" must be a necessary and disturbing discussion before this kind of fusion.

“Whose body are we going to use?” must be a necessary and disturbing discussion before this kind of fusion.

Kami has long been a guiding force in the world of Dragon Ball, so his fusion with Piccolo effectively resulted in the death of the character (it’s hard to call the resulting fusion anything but Piccolo since they pretty much act the same). This also marked the incredibly brief time where Piccolo was the most powerful character in Dragon Ball Z. Here’s the resulting card and oh my, surprise surprise: it’s a crap rare.  It’s hard to ever say that card drawing is bad, but on this card it’s pretty clunky, especially for the Namekian Style which is much better off with running Krillin’s Concentration to grab a Namekian Energy Focus or Namekian Strike than this random draw machine.

True story, one of the players at my local store LOVED this card back in the day and ran it in every Namekian deck he ever played because “It won me a game once”. Somehow he came in second at a regional with a Namekian deck running three copies of this card. Feel free to run it I guess, it might win you a game once.

4. Goku dies fighting Raditz.

Maybe Saiyans do shoot lasers out of their chests.

Maybe Saiyans do shoot lasers out of their chests.

This event was absolutely shocking when it was first published way back in 1989. Goku, who made it through all of Dragon Ball, is killed in the first few chapters of Dragon Ball Z. Granted that death had already been established as something one could get over given the right amount of balls, but killing off your protagonist so early in the series was still a big thing. It eventually allowed Goku to get stronger and introduced characters like King Kai and brought King Yemma over from Dr. Slump and into the world of Dragon Ball. In the game, this event is a Ku Klux Drill that refuses to work with other drills of a certain color and has an effect that is decidedly the opposite of the event that it depicts. A slightly better version of this drill eventually came out in Cell Games, but no one used that card either.

3. The Earth is destroyed.

The ability to destroy a planet is insignificant next to the power of the Force.

The ability to destroy a planet is insignificant next to the power of the Force.

You really did it! You maniacs! You blew it up! Ah, damn you! God damn you all to HFIL!

2. Time travel.

Back to the Future Trunks

Back to the Future Trunks

As Sayjin recently alluded to in his Virtual Card contributions, time travel is a huge event in the series from the Trunks Saga through the end of the Cell Saga. Without time travel, Goku would’ve died and the Z Warriors would’ve been wiped out by the Androids. Time travel brought us the perennial fan favorite Future Trunks and iconic villain Cell. In the TCG, you can kind of manipulate your draws with it. Honestly, I can see some combos with this card but none that make me really wish it were legal in a non-Tuff Enuff environment. Just another meh League and Tuff Enuff card, the non-time traveling Android 18 captured the whole “change the future” shtick better than this.

1. Gathering the seven Dragon Balls.

Practically every woman in the series is shown here losing their shit for balls.

Practically every woman in the series is shown here losing their shit for balls.

All three series of Dragon Ball have essentially been about gathering the Dragon Balls (already a win condition and their own cards), but very few actually address the whole point of it all: the wish! Sure there’s already a pretty decent card about wishing, but then there’s also this gem. This card is pretty much only useful in one kind of deck. Think about it, you set up for a Dragon Ball victory and then you give it all up and set yourself back at square one for a bit of selective regen. I’m not poopooing regen, but you’re giving up a lot for not much in return. Just playing Alternate Dende Ball 7 has almost the same effect. The wishes in the series were usually game changers (even the wish for panties), but this is mediocre at best. Imagine if this card were like a Fatherly Advice on steroids, netting you two cards for the cost of your Dragon Balls! That would be worthy of a wish! Instead, have fun getting huge with Lord Slug!

17 Comments to "Ten Significant Events As Told By Insignificant Cards"

  1. Edison Carasio says:

    I think Bubble’s Drill and Make a Wish are are being underrated in this article.

  2. Sayjin says:

    To be fair to Trunks, the one killed by Cell to steal a Time Machine wasn’t super powered. He was essentially the same as he was during “Trunks Saga”. The Androids had only been defeated because he found the blueprints (which is why he was going back in time; to give the Z Warriors the blueprints).

    Also, never really understood why King Kai hadn’t been revived. The manga implies he was revived by the wish, but the anime (and I think the manga) shows he wasn’t. This would imply he had been revived by Shenron before, as nothing else even comes close to making sense.

  3. Edison Carasio says:

    The picture on Time Chamber Training makes me feel like Trunks is tripping balls.

  4. Chipmunk says:

    I think this might be my favorite Joshman article so far, definitely his best work of this year. But why’d you have to pick on Bubble’s Drill? He finally gets a card and you gotta go pick on him. 😛


  5. vegeta15 says:

    A bunch of the cards in the article aren’t bad an have their uses.

    Namekian Fusion IMO is an under-rated card. Powering up to full and drawing are good. Choosing 2 cards and putting them at the bottom of your deck helps your mastery, whichever you are using.

    If it wasn’t RFGAU or drew from the discards instead or shuffled back 2 regardless it’d be better though.

    • Joshman says:

      I wouldn’t say every card in this article doesn’t “have their uses”, but I stand by the insignificant comment.

  6. Shaun Hindman says:

    Bubble’s Drill had to get erattad didn’t it? Card was amazing. The idea of a Tuff Enuff deck with Bardock and Bubble’s Drill would be nasty.

    • Edison Carasio says:

      I thought Bubble’s Drill was errata’d but I checked the CRD on this site and couldn’t find any record of it.

  7. Shaun Hindman says:

    If I remember correctly it was Bubbles and Gregory only.

  8. mcq26 says:

    yes it was errata’d to bubbles and gregory only because either bardock or majin buu’s new house made it a crazy caught off guard drill that could change every turn…then there was ashley’s dragonball deck that played it and with majin buu’s new house out whenever the opponent entered she could name whatever he was using against her ~ gohan’s kick, majin buu’s fury, trunks energy sphere, etc…speaking of which why gregory? only bubles got a personality…

    • Joshman says:

      Dragon Ball decks were a thing in Tuff Enuff?

    • Chipmunk says:

      For the haha’s! =)

      Yeah, I remember Bubbles Drill getting the “Bubbles and Gregory only.” because of an issue in Ruff Enuff. Can’t quite remember why beyond “It was too good.” But I do remember the hype it created. Everybody thought we were going to make Gregory. lol. We’re such bastards.

      Speaking of which, why hasn’t retro made a Gregory personality?


  9. mcq26 says:

    yeah it was after tuff enough cards were legal for expanded – she stil ran it bubbles after it was errata’d just for this card…sick seeing as how you had to discard and even if you hit a db it would just go to the bottom

  10. […] cards. Now there is already a card about Time Traveling that I have already complained about being a terrible card about a huge plot point. So I wanted to go back and make something a bit more flavorful as well as […]

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