Home > Special > Building the Battle Pack – Part 2: The Extra Deck

Building the Battle Pack – Part 2: The Extra Deck

February 17th, 2012

Today we’re going to talk about the Extra Deck in sealed pack play. But first, here are some quick answers to questions we’ve received since the last article went up:

Q: Are cards from the battle pack legal in regular tournaments?
A: Yes, absolutely. They’re regular cards and you can use them in your regular Deck, too. That’s what’s so great about sealed pack play: you open packs, play, have a ton of fun in a unique setting, and then afterwards you walk away with your cards for regular use, just like you would have done if you’d just ripped open the packs in a frenzy of foil. Think of it as a way to get more value (fun!) from your packs.

Q: Can we buy battle packs, or are they only for special tournaments?
A: You can buy battle packs at the same places you buy all your other Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG cards, including your local gaming store and big retail stores. It’s a regular booster pack — just one with a lot more Epic packed in. (We also suggest you pick up a box and play sealed pack with your friends at home. It’s great practice for when you enter a sealed pack tournament.)

Q: Since all 220 cards are available as ‘shiny special’ cards, will some of them be Rare Shiny Specials?
A: All of the ‘shiny special’ versions will be shiny versions of common cards, not rares. So Gem-Knight Pearl, for example, will exist as a Rare Card (with glossy white lettering for the title), and as a shiny special Common Card. But not a shiny special rare. This is a manufacturing issue, which I won’t go into since it’s a long story (and not a very exciting one, either…).

Q: Is the battle pack made so drafting works well?
A: Ah, drafting. For those who don’t know, “drafting” is where you and your friends open packs, grab 1 card, and then pass the rest of the cards to your left, then that person grabs a card and passes the remaining cards again, etc. (It’s like picking teams for dodgeball.) To answer the question, drafting was always in our minds when we built this set, but was not at the forefront of our minds. We would often say things like “yeah, that would be an interesting draft choice,” but usually follow that with “but draft play isn’t our focus here.” Epic Dawn will work fine for draft, but it wasn’t designed specifically for draft. If Epic Dawn is an epic success, we might put more focus on draft play for future battle packs. Until then: One thing at a time.

Q: What’s the cutest card in the set?
A: It’s a tie! I’m gonna have to go with Fox Fire and Naturia Strawberry.

And with that out of way, let’s move on to the topic of the day.

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Fusions & Synchros

Fusion Monsters just don’t work that well in sealed pack play, since they often require specific Fusion Material Monsters. Many newer Fusion Monsters only require certain Attributes, instead of specifically-named monsters. But we still can’t guarantee specific Attributes in a randomized assortment of cards like you get from your battle packs. We could have included Fusion substitutes like Beastking of the Swamps and King of the Swamp, but they’d have to be printed in such abundance that they’d be everywhere. And then your games would look less like Yu-Gi-Oh! and more like SWAMPKINGWARS.

Synchro Monsters have similar problems. Even when their Synchro Material requirements are ‘generic’ (like “1 Tuner + 1 or more non-Tuners”, with no Types, Archetypes, or Attributes listed), there’s still the problem that you need a Tuner. You also need the sum of your Tuner plus your non-Tuner to exactly match your available Synchro Monster’s Level.

This last bit causes two unique problems in sealed pack play. First, your selection of Synchos in sealed pack play will usually be limited to around 4 or 5 monsters. When you play with a constructed Deck, it’s easy to have 1 Synchro of every Level, running the gamut from 4 to 8, or even higher. In sealed pack play, even if you get a Level 2 Tuner and a Level 4 non-Tuner, that’s not much help if the only Synchros in your Extra Deck are Levels 5, 7, and 8.

The lack of Tuners also causes a problem, since sealed pack play (by intentional design) lacks the massive, recurring Special Summon power that constructed Decks generally stock up on. So even if you have Tuners in your Deck, and even if you draw them, there’s no guarantee that they’ll survive long enough to perform a matching Synchro Summon. And even if they do, your Tuner’s gone and probably not coming back.

In order to get around this, we’d have to make Tuners so plentiful that everyone would get sick of them, or else stack the packs with Tuners that can revive themselves. At which point we’ve moved from SWAMPKINGWARS to TUNERWARS. (Which doesn’t sound that much more appealing.)

.

The Xyz Solution

Xyz Monsters, on the other hand, are perfect for sealed pack play. In fact, the discovery of Xyz Monsters was one of the things that finally made the Battle Pack possible.

This is because Xyz Monsters are so easy to Summon. All you need is matching Levels. This is easy to achieve since most monsters’ Levels fall onto a Bell Curve, with the bulk of them at Level 3 or 4, then smaller numbers at 2 and 5, fewer still at 1 and 6, and then the curve thins out after 6.

In order to perfectly pair Xyz Monsters with sealed pack play, all we had to do was match the Xyz Monster distribution to a similar Bell Curve. For the battle pack’s Xyz Monsters, we wanted a Rank 2/3/4/5 distribution, with most of the monsters at Rank 3 or Rank 4. A monster like Thunder End Dragon (Rank 8) would be hella fun in sealed pack play, but the logistics of getting it on the field would be almost impossible unless we stacked the packs with tons of Level 8 Normal Monsters – which would cause a ton of NEW problems….

.

Meet Your Xyz Monsters

In the end, we went with 8 Xyz Monsters. Here they are:

1. Number 39: Utopia: He’s the flagship Xyz Monster, so he had to go in. He’s got high Attack Points, and provides some defense for your monsters. Defense is good in sealed pack, especially when you don’t have the Mega-Special-Summoning tools you’re used to seeing in constructed play, and have to use your resources more carefully.

2. Gachi Gachi Gantetsu: Another defensive card, with relatively high DEF (2200 including his effect), and he’s tough to kill since you have to destroy him 3 times. He also gives an ATK boost to your other monsters, up to 400 points. If you can get him on the field, he can really swing a Duel around, AND he’s hard to get rid of. Gachi Gachi is the only Rank 2 Xyz Monster in the Set, since the number of Level 2 monsters in the set is much smaller than Levels 3 and 4.

3. Grenosaurus: Hey, it’s the third Dawn of the Xyz monster! Grenosaurus is a great Level 3 that can run over lots of monsters in the battle pack set, and chew up your opponent with some extra burn damage.

4. Number 17: Leviathan Dragon: Big Attack Points. Really, really big. Not much else to say, here.

5. Wind-Up Zenmaister: Starts at 2500 ATK. Zenmaister’s also in here to recycle your Flip Effects, which can be really important if you can pair him with a monster like Snowman Eater, Mask of Darkness, or DUCKER Mobile Cannon. You can even combo with Morphing Jar to draw 10 cards in one turn (Flip Summon Morphing Jar, play or Set all the cards you draw, then use Zenmaister to activate Morphing Jar a second time.)

6 & 7. Tiras, Keeper of Genesis & Adreus, Keeper of Armageddon: These are the highest-Rank Xyz Monsters in the Set, and were included for their high ATK and very straightforward destruction effects.

8. Gem-Knight Pearl: And then there’s Pearl! Pearl makes his debut (in the U.S. only) on May 25, in Duel Terminal 6b: Xyz Activate!! This makes him an oddball card in the battle pack, because he’ll be just 4 days old when he’s re-released in the battle pack. Pearl was originally scheduled to be reprinted (and become tournament legal) in Hidden Arsenal 6: Omega Xyz, on July 24.
Pearl is in here because the Xyz Monster selection needed something with a much higher ATK than what we had. With 2600 ATK (but no effects), Pearl is your Rank 4 Xyz of choice when you just need something to smash your opponent’s monsters. Zenmaister and Utopia come close to Pearl’s ATK, but Zenmaister’s drops if he burns his Xyz Materials to use his effect, and Utopia’s one weakness is that he becomes vulnerable to instant destruction if he ever runs out of Materials. The set just needed something more. Something stronger. So we drafted Pearl out of HA6 and moved him forward in time by 2 months. Everyone can get Gem-Knight Pearl in the battle pack on May 29 – and he’ll be tournament legal. He’ll also still be in Hidden Arsenal 6, as planned, if you’re looking for a Secret Rare version.

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Didn’t Make the Cut

You might be wondering about some of the Xyz Monsters that were NOT included. Let’s run down a quick list:

Leviair the Sea Dragon: Leviair’s ability is no use unless there are banishing effects in that particular game. Given its low ATK, Leviair is sub-par in sealed pack play.

Number 83: Galaxy Queen: This card’s effect would be a lot of fun in sealed pack play, but in order to make her feasible to Summon, we would have to pack the set with Level 1 monsters that would have little synergy with the set, other than this one card.

Wind-Up Zenmaines: Zenmaines’ abilities can be played around in constructed play, by banishing or bouncing it, or by destroying it multiple times in one turn. These are all harder to do in sealed pack play. In testing, Zenmaines was the “go-to-guy” for Rank 3 Xyz Summoning – the no-brainer that you Summoned every time. This is why we couldn’t put it in the set. (Similar to why Goyo Guardian is Forbidden in constructed play – he was the “go-to-guy” that always got Summoned when you did a Synchro Summon.)

Evolzars: The Evolzars require Dinosaur-Type Xyz Materials, so they’re not suitable for sealed pack play.

And most other Xyz Monsters are too new to reprint!

.

Bell Curve Distribution

So now we have a selection of 8 Xyz Monsters:
1 x Rank 2
2 x Rank 3
3 x Rank 4
2 x Rank 5

This is a nice Rank spread, and at first glance the Bell Curve matches the monster distribution in the set – 63% of these Xyz Monsters are Rank 3 or Rank 4, and 64% of the monsters in the set are Level 3 or 4.

The challenge, though, is with Tiras and Adreus. They make up 25% of the Xyz Monster pool, but there are only 8 Level 5 monsters in the set: Freed the Matchless General, Airknight Parshath, Vampire Lord, Guardian Sphinx, Zaborg the Thunder Monarch, The Tricky, Cyber Dragon, and Backup Warrior. That’s just 6% of the monster pool.

Even if you factor in everything that helps you match up Levels, like Noisy Gnat, Fabled Raven, Wind-Up Dog, Wind-Up Soldier, Wind-Up Warrior, and Gagaga Magician, your odds of pulling off a Rank 5 Xyz Monster aren’t nearly as high as your odds of doing a Rank 3 or Rank 4 Xyz Summon.

This put us in a bit of a pickle. We definitely wanted to include the Rank 5 Xyz Monsters in the set, but we also didn’t want to clog up everyone’s Extra Decks with monsters that weren’t always feasible to Summon.

Fortunately, since we have absolute control over the Dueling environment in sealed pack play, we were able to tweak the Bell Curve by adjusting the number of copies of each Xyz Monster that gets printed.

Result: you’re much more likely to pull the user-friendly Xyz Monsters than the other ones. Some examples:

You’re TWICE as likely to pull Grenosaurus as Gachi-Gachi Gantetsu. We made it this way since there are so many more Level 3’s than Level 2’s in the set.

You’re also more likely to pull Grenosaurus than Number 17: Leviathan Dragon, although the difference is much, much smaller. This is because Grenosaurus is universally useful in Duels, whereas Leviathan Dragon can get stuck if he has no Xyz Materials and the opponent has no Attack Position monsters. A big monster that can’t attack isn’t much fun. Even worse, it can turn into a brick wall that stalls out games. So we were much happier in our Duels once we had more Grenosauri running around.

You’re SIX times more likely to pull Gem-Knight Pearl than Tiras or Adreus. The pull rates on Tiras & Adreus are just that low. This is to reduce the Extra Deck clogging that they can cause. But in cases where you DO pull one, you’re definitely tempted to steer your play toward getting them out. And if you DO get one of them onto the field, it’s always something special that draws attention. And that’s the way it should be for the highest-Ranked Xyz Monsters in the set!

Here’s a rough scale of how likely you are to pull these Xyz Monsters from your packs:

HIGHLY LIKELY: Grenosaurus & Wind-Up Zenmaister
LIKELY: Number 39: Utopia, Number 17: Leviathan Dragon, Gem-Knight Pearl
LESS LIKELY: Gachi Gachi Gantetsu
UNLIKELY: Tiras, Keeper of Genesis & Adreus, Keeper of Armageddon

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That’s all for today. Remember that if you have questions, you can email us at us-ygorules@konami.com. Be sure and put Building the Battle Pack as your subject header!

Today we’re going to talk about the Extra Deck in sealed pack play. But first, here are some quick answers to questions we’ve received since the last article went up:

Q: Are cards from the battle pack legal in regular tournaments?

A: Yes, absolutely. They’re regular cards and you can use them in your regular Deck, too. That’s what’s so great about sealed pack play: you open packs, play, have a ton of fun in a unique setting, and then afterwards you walk away with your cards for regular use, just like you would have done if you’d just ripped open the packs in a frenzy of foil. Think of it as a way to get more value (fun!) from your packs.

Q: Can we buy battle packs, or are they only for special tournaments?

A: You can buy battle packs at the same places you buy all your other Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG cards, including your local gaming store and big retail stores. It’s a regular booster pack — just one with a lot more Epic packed in. (We also suggest you pick up a box and play sealed pack with your friends at home. It’s great practice for when you enter a sealed pack tournament.)

Q: Since all 220 cards are available as ‘shiny special’ cards, will some of them be Rare Shiny Specials?

A: All of the ‘shiny special’ versions will be shiny versions of common cards, not rares. So Gem-Knight Pearl, for example, will exist as a Rare Card (with glossy white lettering for the title), and as a shiny special Common Card. But not a shiny special rare. This is a manufacturing issue, which I won’t go into since it’s a long story (and not a very exciting one, either…).

Q: Is the battle pack made so drafting works well?

A: Ah, drafting. For those who don’t know, “drafting” is where you and your friends open packs, grab 1 card, and then pass the rest of the cards to your left, then that person grabs a card and passes the remaining cards again, etc. (It’s like picking teams for dodgeball.) To answer the question, drafting was always in our minds when we built this set, but was not at the forefront of our minds. We would often say things like “yeah, that would be an interesting draft choice,” but usually follow that with “but draft play isn’t our focus here.” Epic Dawn will work fine for draft, but it wasn’t designed specifically for draft. If Epic Dawn is an epic success, we might put more focus on draft play for future battle packs. Until then: One thing at a time.

And with that out of way, let’s move on to the topic of the day.

Fusions & Synchros

Fusion Monsters just don’t work that well in sealed pack play, since they often require specific Fusion Material Monsters. Many newer Fusion Monsters only require certain Attributes, instead of specifically-named monsters. But we still can’t guarantee specific Attributes in a randomized assortment of cards like you get from your battle packs. We could have included Fusion substitutes like Beastking of the Swamps and King of the Swamp, but they’d have to be printed in such abundance that they’d be everywhere. And then your games would look less like Yu-Gi-Oh! and more like SWAMPKINGWARS.

Synchro Monsters have similar problems. Even when their Synchro Material requirements are ‘generic’ (like “1 Tuner + 1 or more non-Tuners”, with no Types, Archetypes, or Attributes listed), there’s still the problem that you need a Tuner. You also need the sum of your Tuner plus your non-Tuner to exactly match your available Synchro Monster’s Level.

This last bit causes two unique problems in sealed pack play. First, your selection of Synchos in sealed pack play will usually be limited to around 4 or 5 monsters. When you play with a constructed Deck, it’s easy to have 1 Synchro of every Level, running the gamut from 4 to 8, or even higher. In sealed pack play, even if you get a Level 2 Tuner and a Level 4 non-Tuner, that’s not much help if the only Synchros in your Extra Deck are Levels 5, 7, and 8.

The lack of Tuners also causes a problem, since sealed pack play (by intentional design) lacks the massive, recurring Special Summon power that constructed Decks generally stock up on. So even if you have Tuners in your Deck, and even if you draw them, there’s no guarantee that they’ll survive long enough to perform a matching Synchro Summon. And even if they do, your Tuner’s gone and probably not coming back.

In order to get around this, we’d have to make Tuners so plentiful that everyone would get sick of them, or else stack the packs with Tuners that can revive themselves. At which point we’ve moved from SWAMPKINGWARS to TUNERWARS. (Which doesn’t sound that much more appealing.)

The Xyz Solution

Xyz Monsters, on the other hand, are perfect for sealed pack play. In fact, the discovery of Xyz Monsters was one of the things that finally made the Battle Pack possible.

This is because Xyz Monsters are so easy to Summon. All you need is matching Levels. This is easy to achieve since most monsters’ Levels fall onto a Bell Curve, with the bulk of them at Level 3 or 4, then smaller numbers at 2 and 5, fewer still at 1 and 6, and then the curve thins out after 6.

In order to perfectly pair Xyz Monsters with sealed pack play, all we had to do was match the Xyz Monster distribution to a similar Bell Curve. For the battle pack’s Xyz Monsters, we wanted a Rank 2/3/4/5 distribution, with most of the monsters at Rank 3 or Rank 4. A monster like Thunder End Dragon (Rank 8) would be hella fun in sealed pack play, but the logistics of getting it on the field would be almost impossible unless we stacked the packs with tons of Level 8 Normal Monsters – which would cause a ton of NEW problems….

Meet Your Xyz Monsters

In the end, we went with 8 Xyz Monsters. Here they are:

1. Number 39: Utopia: He’s the flagship Xyz Monster, so he had to go in. He’s got high Attack Points, and provides some defense for your monsters. Defense is good in sealed pack, especially when you don’t have the Mega-Special-Summoning tools you’re used to seeing in constructed play, and have to use your resources more carefully.

2. Gachi Gachi Gantetsu: Another defensive card, with relatively high DEF (2200 including his effect), and he’s tough to kill since you have to destroy him 3 times. He also gives an ATK boost to your other monsters, up to 400 points. If you can get him on the field, he can really swing a Duel around, AND he’s hard to get rid of. Gachi Gachi is the only Rank 2 Xyz Monster in the Set, since the number of Level 2 monsters in the set is much smaller than Levels 3 and 4.

3. Grenosaurus: Hey, it’s the third Dawn of the Xyz monster! Grenosaurus is a great Level 3 that can run over lots of monsters in the battle pack set, and chew up your opponent with some extra burn damage.

4. Number 17: Leviathan Dragon: Big Attack Points. Really, really big. Not much else to say, here.

5. Wind-Up Zenmaister: Starts at 2500 ATK. Zenmaister’s also in here to recycle your Flip Effects, which can be really important if you can pair him with a monster like Snowman Eater, Mask of Darkness, or DUCKER Mobile Cannon. You can even combo with Morphing Jar to draw 10 cards in one turn (Flip Summon Morphing Jar, play or Set all the cards you draw, then use Zenmaister to activate Morphing Jar a second time.)

6 & 7. Tiras, Keeper of Genesis & Adreus, Keeper of Armageddon: These are the highest-Rank Xyz Monsters in the Set, and were included for their high ATK and very straightforward destruction effects.

8. Gem-Knight Pearl: And then there’s Pearl! Pearl makes his debut (in the U.S. only) on May 25, in Duel Terminal 6b: Xyz Activate!! This makes him an oddball card in the battle pack, because he’ll be just 4 days old when he’s re-released in the battle pack. Pearl was originally scheduled to be reprinted (and become tournament legal) in Hidden Arsenal 6: Omega Xyz, on July 24.

Pearl is in here because the Xyz Monster selection needed something with a much higher ATK than what we had. With 2600 ATK (but no effects), Pearl is your Rank 4 Xyz of choice when you just need something to smash your opponent’s monsters. Zenmaister and Utopia come close to Pearl’s ATK, but Zenmaister’s drops if he burns his Xyz Materials to use his effect, and Utopia’s one weakness is that he becomes vulnerable to instant destruction if he ever runs out of Materials. The set just needed something more. Something stronger. So we drafted Pearl out of HA6 and moved him forward in time by 2 months. Everyone can get Gem-Knight Pearl in the battle pack on May 29 – and he’ll be tournament legal. He’ll also still be in Hidden Arsenal 6, as planned, if you’re looking for a Secret Rare version.

Didn’t Make the Cut

You might be wondering about some of the Xyz Monsters that were NOT included. Let’s run down a quick list:

Leviair the Sea Dragon: Leviair’s ability is no use unless there are banishing effects in that particular game. Given its low ATK, Leviair is sub-par in sealed pack play.

Number 83: Galaxy Queen: This card’s effect would be a lot of fun in sealed pack play, but in order to make her feasible to Summon, we would have to pack the set with Level 1 monsters that would have little synergy with the set, other than this one card.

Wind-Up Zenmaines: Zenmaines’ abilities can be played around in constructed play, by banishing or bouncing it, or by destroying it multiple times in one turn. These are all harder to do in sealed pack play. In testing, Zenmaines was the “go-to-guy” for Rank 3 Xyz Summoning – the no-brainer that you Summoned every time. This is why we couldn’t put it in the set. (Similar to why Goyo Guardian is Forbidden in constructed play – he was the “go-to-guy” that always got Summoned when you did a Synchro Summon.)

Evolzars: The Evolzars require Dinosaur-Type Xyz Materials, so they’re not suitable for sealed pack play.

And most other Xyz Monsters are too new to reprint!

Bell Curve Distribution

So now we have a selection of 8 Xyz Monsters:
1 x Rank 2
2 x Rank 3
3 x Rank 4
2 x Rank 5

This is a nice Rank spread, and at first glance the Bell Curve matches the monster distribution in the set – 63% of these Xyz Monsters are Rank 3 or Rank 4, and 64% of the monsters in the set are Level 3 or 4.

The challenge, though, is with Tiras and Adreus. They make up 25% of the Xyz Monster pool, but there are only 8 Level 5 monsters in the set: Freed the Matchless General, Airknight Parshath, Vampire Lord, Guardian Sphinx, Zaborg the Thunder Monarch, The Tricky, Cyber Dragon, and Backup Warrior. That’s just 6% of the monster pool.

Even if you factor in everything that helps you match up Levels, like Noisy Gnat, Fabled Raven, Wind-Up Dog, Wind-Up Soldier, Wind-Up Warrior, and Gagaga Magician, your odds of pulling off a Rank 5 Xyz Monster aren’t nearly as high as your odds of doing a Rank 3 or Rank 4 Xyz Summon.

This put us in a bit of a pickle. We definitely wanted to include the Rank 5 Xyz Monsters in the set, but we also didn’t want to clog up everyone’s Extra Decks with monsters that weren’t always feasible to Summon.

Fortunately, since we have absolute control over the Dueling environment in sealed pack play, we were able to tweak the Bell Curve by adjusting the number of copies of each Xyz Monster that gets printed.

Result: you’re much more likely to pull the user-friendly Xyz Monsters than the other ones. Some examples:

You’re TWICE as likely to pull Grenosaurus as Gachi-Gachi Gantetsu. We made it this way since there are so many more Level 3’s than Level 2’s in the set.

You’re also more likely to pull Grenosaurus than Number 17: Leviathan Dragon, although the difference is much, much smaller. This is because Grenosaurus is universally useful in Duels, whereas Leviathan Dragon can get stuck if he has no Xyz Materials and the opponent has no Attack Position monsters. A big monster that can’t attack isn’t much fun. Even worse, it can turn into a brick wall that stalls out games. So we were much happier in our Duels once we had more Grenosauri running around.

You’re SIX times more likely to pull Gem-Knight Pearl than Tiras or Adreus. The pull rates on Tiras & Adreus are just that low. This is to reduce the Extra Deck clogging that they can cause. But in cases where you DO pull one, you’re definitely tempted to steer your play toward getting them out. And if you DO get one of them onto the field, it’s always something special tha

Today we’re going to talk about the Extra Deck in sealed pack play. But first, here are some quick answers to questions we’ve received since the last article went up:

Q: Are cards from the battle pack legal in regular tournaments?
A: Yes, absolutely. They’re regular cards and you can use them in your regular Deck, too. That’s what’s so great about sealed pack play: you open packs, play, have a ton of fun in a unique setting, and then afterwards you walk away with your cards for regular use, just like you would have done if you’d just ripped open the packs in a frenzy of foil. Think of it as a way to get more value (fun!) from your packs.

Q: Can we buy battle packs, or are they only for special tournaments?
A: You can buy battle packs at the same places you buy all your other Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG cards, including your local gaming store and big retail stores. It’s a regular booster pack — just one with a lot more Epic packed in. (We also suggest you pick up a box and play sealed pack with your friends at home. It’s great practice for when you enter a sealed pack tournament.)

Q: Since all 220 cards are available as ‘shiny special’ cards, will some of them be Rare Shiny Specials?
A: All of the ‘shiny special’ versions will be shiny versions of common cards, not rares. So Gem-Knight Pearl, for example, will exist as a Rare Card (with glossy white lettering for the title), and as a shiny special Common Card. But not a shiny special rare. This is a manufacturing issue, which I won’t go into since it’s a long story (and not a very exciting one, either…).

Q: Is the battle pack made so drafting works well?
A: Ah, drafting. For those who don’t know, “drafting” is where you and your friends open packs, grab 1 card, and then pass the rest of the cards to your left, then that person grabs a card and passes the remaining cards again, etc. (It’s like picking teams for dodgeball.) To answer the question, drafting was always in our minds when we built this set, but was not at the forefront of our minds. We would often say things like “yeah, that would be an interesting draft choice,” but usually follow that with “but draft play isn’t our focus here.” Epic Dawn will work fine for draft, but it wasn’t designed specifically for draft. If Epic Dawn is an epic success, we might put more focus on draft play for future battle packs. Until then: One thing at a time.

And with that out of way, let’s move on to the topic of the day.

Fusions & Synchros

Fusion Monsters just don’t work that well in sealed pack play, since they often require specific Fusion Material Monsters. Many newer Fusion Monsters only require certain Attributes, instead of specifically-named monsters. But we still can’t guarantee specific Attributes in a randomized assortment of cards like you get from your battle packs. We could have included Fusion substitutes like Beastking of the Swamps and King of the Swamp, but they’d have to be printed in such abundance that they’d be everywhere. And then your games would look less like Yu-Gi-Oh! and more like SWAMPKINGWARS.

Synchro Monsters have similar problems. Even when their Synchro Material requirements are ‘generic’ (like “1 Tuner + 1 or more non-Tuners”, with no Types, Archetypes, or Attributes listed), there’s still the problem that you need a Tuner. You also need the sum of your Tuner plus your non-Tuner to exactly match your available Synchro Monster’s Level.

This last bit causes two unique problems in sealed pack play. First, your selection of Synchos in sealed pack play will usually be limited to around 4 or 5 monsters. When you play with a constructed Deck, it’s easy to have 1 Synchro of every Level, running the gamut from 4 to 8, or even higher. In sealed pack play, even if you get a Level 2 Tuner and a Level 4 non-Tuner, that’s not much help if the only Synchros in your Extra Deck are Levels 5, 7, and 8.

The lack of Tuners also causes a problem, since sealed pack play (by intentional design) lacks the massive, recurring Special Summon power that constructed Decks generally stock up on. So even if you have Tuners in your Deck, and even if you draw them, there’s no guarantee that they’ll survive long enough to perform a matching Synchro Summon. And even if they do, your Tuner’s gone and probably not coming back.

In order to get around this, we’d have to make Tuners so plentiful that everyone would get sick of them, or else stack the packs with Tuners that can revive themselves. At which point we’ve moved from SWAMPKINGWARS to TUNERWARS. (Which doesn’t sound that much more appealing.)

The Xyz Solution

Xyz Monsters, on the other hand, are perfect for sealed pack play. In fact, the discovery of Xyz Monsters was one of the things that finally made the Battle Pack possible.

This is because Xyz Monsters are so easy to Summon. All you need is matching Levels. This is easy to achieve since most monsters’ Levels fall onto a Bell Curve, with the bulk of them at Level 3 or 4, then smaller numbers at 2 and 5, fewer still at 1 and 6, and then the curve thins out after 6.

In order to perfectly pair Xyz Monsters with sealed pack play, all we had to do was match the Xyz Monster distribution to a similar Bell Curve. For the battle pack’s Xyz Monsters, we wanted a Rank 2/3/4/5 distribution, with most of the monsters at Rank 3 or Rank 4. A monster like Thunder End Dragon (Rank 8) would be hella fun in sealed pack play, but the logistics of getting it on the field would be almost impossible unless we stacked the packs with tons of Level 8 Normal Monsters – which would cause a ton of NEW problems….

Meet Your Xyz Monsters

In the end, we went with 8 Xyz Monsters. Here they are:

1. Number 39: Utopia: He’s the flagship Xyz Monster, so he had to go in. He’s got high Attack Points, and provides some defense for your monsters. Defense is good in sealed pack, especially when you don’t have the Mega-Special-Summoning tools you’re used to seeing in constructed play, and have to use your resources more carefully.

2. Gachi Gachi Gantetsu: Another defensive card, with relatively high DEF (2200 including his effect), and he’s tough to kill since you have to destroy him 3 times. He also gives an ATK boost to your other monsters, up to 400 points. If you can get him on the field, he can really swing a Duel around, AND he’s hard to get rid of. Gachi Gachi is the only Rank 2 Xyz Monster in the Set, since the number of Level 2 monsters in the set is much smaller than Levels 3 and 4.

3. Grenosaurus: Hey, it’s the third Dawn of the Xyz monster! Grenosaurus is a great Level 3 that can run over lots of monsters in the battle pack set, and chew up your opponent with some extra burn damage.

4. Number 17: Leviathan Dragon: Big Attack Points. Really, really big. Not much else to say, here.

5. Wind-Up Zenmaister: Starts at 2500 ATK. Zenmaister’s also in here to recycle your Flip Effects, which can be really important if you can pair him with a monster like Snowman Eater, Mask of Darkness, or DUCKER Mobile Cannon. You can even combo with Morphing Jar to draw 10 cards in one turn (Flip Summon Morphing Jar, play or Set all the cards you draw, then use Zenmaister to activate Morphing Jar a second time.)

6 & 7. Tiras, Keeper of Genesis & Adreus, Keeper of Armageddon: These are the highest-Rank Xyz Monsters in the Set, and were included for their high ATK and very straightforward destruction effects.

8. Gem-Knight Pearl: And then there’s Pearl! Pearl makes his debut (in the U.S. only) on May 25, in Duel Terminal 6b: Xyz Activate!! This makes him an oddball card in the battle pack, because he’ll be just 4 days old when he’s re-released in the battle pack. Pearl was originally scheduled to be reprinted (and become tournament legal) in Hidden Arsenal 6: Omega Xyz, on July 24.
Pearl is in here because the Xyz Monster selection needed something with a much higher ATK than what we had. With 2600 ATK (but no effects), Pearl is your Rank 4 Xyz of choice when you just need something to smash your opponent’s monsters. Zenmaister and Utopia come close to Pearl’s ATK, but Zenmaister’s drops if he burns his Xyz Materials to use his effect, and Utopia’s one weakness is that he becomes vulnerable to instant destruction if he ever runs out of Materials. The set just needed something more. Something stronger. So we drafted Pearl out of HA6 and moved him forward in time by 2 months. Everyone can get Gem-Knight Pearl in the battle pack on May 29 – and he’ll be tournament legal. He’ll also still be in Hidden Arsenal 6, as planned, if you’re looking for a Secret Rare version.

Didn’t Make the Cut

You might be wondering about some of the Xyz Monsters that were NOT included. Let’s run down a quick list:

Leviair the Sea Dragon: Leviair’s ability is no use unless there are banishing effects in that particular game. Given its low ATK, Leviair is sub-par in sealed pack play.

Number 83: Galaxy Queen: This card’s effect would be a lot of fun in sealed pack play, but in order to make her feasible to Summon, we would have to pack the set with Level 1 monsters that would have little synergy with the set, other than this one card.

Wind-Up Zenmaines: Zenmaines’ abilities can be played around in constructed play, by banishing or bouncing it, or by destroying it multiple times in one turn. These are all harder to do in sealed pack play. In testing, Zenmaines was the “go-to-guy” for Rank 3 Xyz Summoning – the no-brainer that you Summoned every time. This is why we couldn’t put it in the set. (Similar to why Goyo Guardian is Forbidden in constructed play – he was the “go-to-guy” that always got Summoned when you did a Synchro Summon.)

Evolzars: The Evolzars require Dinosaur-Type Xyz Materials, so they’re not suitable for sealed pack play.

And most other Xyz Monsters are too new to reprint!

Bell Curve Distribution

So now we have a selection of 8 Xyz Monsters:
1 x Rank 2
2 x Rank 3
3 x Rank 4
2 x Rank 5

This is a nice Rank spread, and at first glance the Bell Curve matches the monster distribution in the set – 63% of these Xyz Monsters are Rank 3 or Rank 4, and 64% of the monsters in the set are Level 3 or 4.

The challenge, though, is with Tiras and Adreus. They make up 25% of the Xyz Monster pool, but there are only 8 Level 5 monsters in the set: Freed the Matchless General, Airknight Parshath, Vampire Lord, Guardian Sphinx, Zaborg the Thunder Monarch, The Tricky, Cyber Dragon, and Backup Warrior. That’s just 6% of the monster pool.

Even if you factor in everything that helps you match up Levels, like Noisy Gnat, Fabled Raven, Wind-Up Dog, Wind-Up Soldier, Wind-Up Warrior, and Gagaga Magician, your odds of pulling off a Rank 5 Xyz Monster aren’t nearly as high as your odds of doing a Rank 3 or Rank 4 Xyz Summon.

This put us in a bit of a pickle. We definitely wanted to include the Rank 5 Xyz Monsters in the set, but we also didn’t want to clog up everyone’s Extra Decks with monsters that weren’t always feasible to Summon.

Fortunately, since we have absolute control over the Dueling environment in sealed pack play, we were able to tweak the Bell Curve by adjusting the number of copies of each Xyz Monster that gets printed.

Result: you’re much more likely to pull the user-friendly Xyz Monsters than the other ones. Some examples:

You’re TWICE as likely to pull Grenosaurus as Gachi-Gachi Gantetsu. We made it this way since there are so many more Level 3’s than Level 2’s in the set.

You’re also more likely to pull Grenosaurus than Number 17: Leviathan Dragon, although the difference is much, much smaller. This is because Grenosaurus is universally useful in Duels, whereas Leviathan Dragon can get stuck if he has no Xyz Materials and the opponent has no Attack Position monsters. A big monster that can’t attack isn’t much fun. Even worse, it can turn into a brick wall that stalls out games. So we were much happier in our Duels once we had more Grenosauri running around.

You’re SIX times more likely to pull Gem-Knight Pearl than Tiras or Adreus. The pull rates on Tiras & Adreus are just that low. This is to reduce the Extra Deck clogging that they can cause. But in cases where you DO pull one, you’re definitely tempted to steer your play toward getting them out. And if you DO get one of them onto the field, it’s always something special that draws attention. And that’s the way it should be for the highest-Ranked Xyz Monsters in the set!

Here’s a rough scale of how likely you are to pull these Xyz Monsters from your packs:

HIGHLY LIKELY: Grenosaurus & Wind-Up Zenmaister
LIKELY: Number 39: Utopia, Number 17: Leviathan Dragon, Gem-Knight Pearl
LESS LIKELY: Gachi Gachi Gantetsu
UNLIKELY: Tiras, Keeper of Genesis & Adreus, Keeper of Armageddon

That’s all for today. Remember that if you have questions, you can email us at us-ygorules@konami.com. Be sure and put Building the Battle Pack as your subject header!

t draws attention. And that’s the way it should be for the highest-Ranked Xyz Monsters in the set!

Here’s a rough scale of how likely you are to pull these Xyz Monsters from your packs:

HIGHLY LIKELY: Grenosaurus & Wind-Up Zenmaister

LIKELY: Number 39: Utopia, Number 17: Leviathan Dragon, Gem-Knight Pearl

LESS LIKELY: Gachi Gachi Gantetsu

UNLIKELY: Tiras, Keeper of Genesis & Adreus, Keeper of Armageddon

That’s all for today. Remember that if you have questions, you can email us at us-ygorules@konami.com. Be sure and put Building the Battle Pack as your subject header!

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