Getting Attached: Good DBZ Mechanics or Trouble Brewing?

Now that we’ve seen some more of Panini America’s Heroes & Villains set, we pretty much know what we can expect when we start cracking packs next month. There’s some pretty game changing stuff in there, but one theme I’ve noticed across a few cards has simultaneously caught my eye and set off my spider sense. As seen in some of our preview cards, I am referring to the “new” DBZ mechanics of attaching cards. Some have been focusing on the individual cards like Wall Breaker, which is really damn good, but I’m more concerned about the DBZ mechanics themselves.

R135 Wall BreakerAttached cards are a kind of “work-around” to current DBZ mechanics. For example, the effects generally provided by attached cards are the same kind of effects that you would see on Drills and Allies. You could take the above power of Wall Breaker and put it on an ally for the exact same effect: “Your opponent cannot gain anger” and it wouldn’t even need the Critical Damage clause (though it is a bit more restrictive than just using a Critical Effect).

Mechanically, there is really only one reason for not putting these effects on Drills or Allies: Those cards have natural counters, typically present in every deck. These “attachers” are made to get around those counters so that they can stick around longer. While some have built in conditions to cause these cards to detach, there is only one direct counter to attached cards in Heroes & Villains called Focused Assault and it’s only for Heroes (originally it was a Black style card any alignment could use, which is why it features Vegeta and its card number falls between other Black style cards). For all intents and purposes, “attachers” are essentially their own card type (or at least should have been), designed to operate outside of current DBZ mechanics that would keep them in check. From a design standpoint, this is a dangerous thing.

R104 Focused Assault

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think the mechanics of attaching something to a character is all dangerous. I think Vegeta’s Anger is a good example of an “attacher” done right. It’s a card with limited use (Vegeta only), that provides a steady bonus for you that works within a theme of a specific style. It’s basically a booster shot so Vegeta can work more reliably with a theme within the Saiyan style. And I can kinda see some reasoning behind not making an “attacher” a Setup, Drill or Ally since there were four cards in the old game that did the exact same thing as Wall Breaker, but were unreliable since they were easily removable as Non-Combats if not their detach conditions (Goku’s Heart Disease, Severe Bruises, Terrible Wounds, and Awful Abrasions).

Unfortunately this whole deal with “attachers” that limit the opponent and put further burdens on them to remove the affliction is where I feel the DBZ mechanics are going wrong. Rather than making effects that allow certain archetypes to run smoother/more effectively, we are now dealing very broad blanket effects that slow or even shut down decks and even whole archetypes with limited effort on the part of the person using the “attacher”. When we have one, effortless and auto-hit card that is splashable in all decks that is able to shut down a whole mechanic while also not being able to be dealt with by conventional means, that’s where we start running into short-sighted game design that’s problematic.

Not long ago I wrote an article on how I felt Battlegrounds and Locations were a detriment to the old game, a classic case of new DBZ mechanics that ended up doing more harm then good by taking a function already fulfilled by other card types and putting them on a whole new card type that ended up just more difficult to deal with and altered deck designs in a negative way from Androids Saga on up. I feel that everything I said in that article can now be applied to “attachers” in Panini America’s Dragon Ball Z.

Grim Determination

This isn’t even the first time Score (Panini America) had issues with making too many cards essentially being “untargetable”  by re-purposing one card type. If Yu Yu Hakusho, Inuyasha and Bleach are any indication, we will likely soon start seeing more cards like Focused Assault that target “attachers” as they become more prevalent and problematic. Unfortunately, “attachers” with good design like Vegeta’s Anger and any future cards like it will be the victims of the backlash after the attaching mechanic was squandered to bring us a catch-all, effortless card like Wall Breaker.

What do you think? Let us know in the comments, on our Facebook group or send a response to, we might even publish it.

Later, BroZ!

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2 Comments to "Getting Attached: Good DBZ Mechanics or Trouble Brewing?"

  1. I think you are 80% correct ^_^
    I don’t mind attachers on attacks like Wall Breaker in general.
    They do have their own escape clause (Wall Breaker and Black Capture leave with Critical Damage).
    I do believe Wall Breaker is a bit too powerful because unlike Black Capture, there is no HIT: clause, which should be the other balance in place on cards like this.
    Regardless, too many of these types of effects can be bad.

  2. Syxx says:

    You predicted it very well. The issue with wall breaker is that it shuts down a whole win condition on top of not even being limited or requiring a hit effect. Red Decks which don’t have high damage rely on mechanics that revolve around anger to even be useful. If you dare to use a villian in a red deck your deck is basically shut down unless a miracle happens. [Getting off with a lucky score on critical damage which is rare for red or killing your opponent which is equally rare.] Heroes only… really? Vegeta a villian is using the card and it’s heroes only? Shouldn’t it be villians only? Panini wut? All the rest of the deck styles can use anger but don’t use it as their only/major win source and red which wasn’t a prevalent style at the time was the only one who could suffer this much from it. So why even make it like that? Instead there should’ve been more cards to banish allies or banish dragon balls as both Namekian Piccolo and Ginyu were prevalent in that set. So now panini is probably going to need a counter balance for all three in the next set.

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