Friday, November 21, 2014

Death Ruler

Shadow Dive is a pretty kickass ability to have.

I'm not joking. The rush potential with it is ridiculous. You're more or less guaranteed to get damage in, and if you're opponent even calls a monster to the center that's helping you kill them faster. Of course, the current meta favors the triple formation but let's not forget that calling a monster to the center is, by normal field standards, the better option; it's equivalent to getting an extra attack off in most cases (weapons stay around, however, so the advantage is still with the weapons). Death monsters have generally piss-poor stats all-around, but that doesn't even matter since you're going to be direct attacking 80% of the time. Basically, Shadow Dive is only viable in a super-rush strategy.

And honestly, Death is nothing but super-rush. And it's tons of fun.

Death Ruler, Curse
Unfortunately, their Size 3 is nowhere near as good as the Black Dragon counterpart. Death Ruler, Curse honestly doesn't even deserve the Death Ruler name. 3 gauge for what? 3 crit Shadow Dive? 6K crappy defense? Move? Why would you even want a Size 3 with Move that can't even attack twice or Soulguard? Curse is pretty depressing to look at. So many ways to counter Curse it's not even funny. And Size 3 doesn't really help the Death Ruler strategy. Curse simply has no place in the archetype.

Judgement Day
Jajimento desu wa
What is the Death Ruler strategy, you ask? Say hello to the best card in the Death archetype. It's Judgement time! Judgement Day, for 1 gauge, gives all your Death characters +1 crit. Now, crit is more or less equal to 1 gauge, so the -1.5 of Judgement Day washes when you give 3 Death monsters +1 crit. But Judgement Day is useful even without a full field. Thanks to Shadow Dive, crit becomes less of a sacky investment and pays off better. Also, ironically, since Death is actually a semi-common attribute this splashes over to some Black Dragon/Spectral Strike users as well, notably Deathgaze Dragon. Not that there's any synergy really, but it's there.

Judgement Day basically allows you to go for game turn 1 and is instrumental in the few OTKs that Death can do.

Death Ruler, Gallows
Don't get so hung up on
the details
Death Ruler, Gallows is the counterpart of Deathgaze Dragon for this archetype. I'm not going to mince words: it's not good. It suffers from basically all the same issues Deathgaze has with being too expensive of a Size 1 to call. But there are some noticeable distinctions between Gallows and Deathgaze that I'll go over. Deathgaze balances poorly between getting +2 from attacking a monster and +0.5 from direct attacking, but Gallows fares better - it's always going to get a +1.5 from direct attacking because with Death, you rarely attack a monster. And thanks to Shadow Dive, you have a pretty decent chance of getting Gallow's attack in...unless he gets hit by a counter destruction spell, which is awfully common. So he's still a bit of a risky investment. Luckily, thanks to Judgement Day and the fact that 2-crit Size 1 Shadow Dive monsters are rare, you end up using Gallows a lot. So while he's still not very good, he's a staple in Death-based decks. I won't deny the life gain isn't useful. It's just not that guaranteed and not worth a floating gauge.

Death Gaze, Burial
I can't count
Instead, the star of Death Rulers is hands-down Burial. Burial gets all the benefits of 2 crit Shadow Dive for free. He's the very definition of a damage-seeking missile with the sole purpose of gunning down your opponent turn after turn. Put on the side, and your opponent is forced to expend resources on a 1000 defense monster. Put in the center, and his paper stats can protect you for a turn (and bait with Devil Stigma). Left alive, he just keeps confirming damage. Whenever you attack with this card, you're guaranteed either 2 damage or a card from their hand. Every time, no matter what. And you didn't pay anything for him. It's pretty awesome. 2 crit Shadow Dive in general is pretty awesome.

Death Ruler, Soulbreaker
I will swallow your soul
As for other Death Rulers to run, I personally like Death Ruler, Soulbreaker. Soulbreaker functions as a Double Attacker against Soulguard enemies and boasts a decent 6000 power for clearing. It's nice to have this option, especially since Soulguard is a very abusable ability and often messes up DDW. For Size 1's, Death Ruler, Alea is very interesting. It functions similar to Ironchain Dragon except it's a continuous free effect for the monster opposing it. It's a nice option to have, especially to get rid of some particularly annoying Double Attacking tanks in your opponent's center. Yes, Death Rulers do well when your opponent has a center but that's no reason to let their Double Attacking center monster live. Unless it's Sieger, in which case you're better off not letting it evolve.

Death seemed to be the weaker archetype upon release, but a flurry of new cards in BT05 actually puts Death way way beyond the pack in terms of power. Even beyond Purgatory Knights. I don't know if Bushiroad is conscious of the fact that they made Death one of the most ridiculous decks available.

Death Ruler, Thirteen
It's Friday! Friday!
Death Ruler, Thirteen. This card is really stupid, but not at first glance. His call cost is 2 gauge which pays for his Double Attack, making his on-play deal 1 direct damage a bonus. Most people look at his flaws (3000 defense) and dismiss him as easily countered by stuff like Pillar of Fire. But Thirteen's most powerful ability is actually his potential 5-damage burst when your opponent has 13 cards in their drop. Now, you may be looking at me funny right now, but trust me on this: that ability is freaking powerful. Let me explain.

In Buddyfight, you normally draw, then charge and draw. This takes 2 cards from your deck and puts it into play, either in your hand or in the gauge. On any given turn, you're likely to cast a spell and use about 1 gauge a turn, which means that on average you're increasing your drop zone by 2 every turn. This can obviously change, but it is very dependant on what you have in your hand and how you manage your gauge. On a given turn, you're also likely to have the monsters you call killed, and that can vary but averages on 2 monsters. So we're looking at 4 cards into drop over the course of a player-opponent turn cycle.

Great Evil Dragon, Samael Apocalypse
Also Death, but largely useless
Thirteen threatens this cycle by introducing a catch when your opponent hits 13 cards in drop. Nobody wants to be on the receiving end of that 5-damage nuke, but how do you go about avoiding it? You have to progress to 14 cards in a single turn to guarantee safety. It gets worse, because Death has destruction and other effects that could possibly bring an opponent from 10-12 cards to 13 cards in drop. Which means that you're looking at possibly going from as few as 9 cards in drop to 14 cards in a single turn. That's really, really hard for some decks to do, and requires a lot of specific cards to be able to pay out that much gauge or mill that much stuff. But this is early game, and you don't have that kind of luxury.

What this means for the opponent of the Death player is a lot of super taxing early game micromanagement that clamps down on the opening of any normal deck. Danger World players who have never bothered to look at their drop zone ever before are are now obsessed with making sure they play the right cards at the right time to make sure the number of cards in the drop zone increases at the right speed. How ridiculous is that? Thirteen's threat of a game-changing nuke completely swings the early game in your favor.

Even without this ability, he still guarantees 1 damage and hits for 13000 power, allowing him to contest Demongodol and Goldritter.

Death Ruler, Gruen
He's gru-ening
Oh, Bushiroad. Death Ruler, Gruen is such a perfect card. A 3-crit attacker that turns into a Sudden DEATH! is probably the best that anybody could've wished for. But somehow, Gruen manages to one-up even that. His counter Act ability actually says "Destroy" this monster, which means that it procs a lot of the different effects that Death can use.

He's so good, but even he has competition for Size 2 space. Unbelievably, BSR gave us another amazing Size 2 in Mastermind, who helps you replenish your field when you're down. You call the monster from your drop zone, so it's important to be able to fill up that drop zone early. Both Gruen and Mastermind are +0.5 with their respective abilities, so its up to the player to decide which one he wants. Though 3-crit is unilaterally better.

Death Ruler, Averia
I feel icky!!
But my favorite card so far has to be Averia. Averia is Leper Gnome in the dragon flesh. When it dies, you can deal 1 direct damage to your opponent. Normally this would be just simply okay but with all your drop zone recovery you can get Averia back again and again to continuously pinging your opponent. Thanks to Averia, you're allowed to forgo weapons because it acts like a "weapon" in that it deals 1 extra damage by being in your center slot, since your opponent has to deal with it to deal with you. Though 1000 power isn't going to clear anything anytime soon and no Shadow Dive means that its 2-crit might go to waste occasionally. But at worst it's a Trans-flame, you know.

Nightmare Revive is superior to Black Revenger in almost every way - you take damage (activates Guillotine Cutter), doesn't intrude on gauge, and can salvage any Death Rulers you want.

Death Counter is good on paper but the problem is that your important Death monsters (Burial, Gallows) have pitiful power and defense so Counterattack is virtually useless.

Redupsion Blood is a pretty bad card - it requires a specific timing to trigger and you lose out on 1 life in the overall trade. But there's actually applications of this card in decks that use Death Astray, and this card also makes Death Ruler, Thirteen a lot more likely to land that game-winning nuke.

Black Agenda
Working to death
Based Bushiroad please. What in hell's blazes is this card supposed to be? A free Set card that can revive Death Rulers for 1 gauge whenever your Death Ruler is destroyed. It's equivalent to Return to the Underworld except you have to pay call cost on top of the activation 1-gauge and you can only have 1 in play. But that's all you need, because you can chain combos with this card to make life really difficult for your opponent. While the monster you call comes in at rest (so you can't get an extra attack), you can call monsters to different positions on the stage. Get a little creative, and you can come up with damage traps for your opponent. There's a lot more to be said on this topic, so check out my updated <Memento Mori> Death Ruler's decklist for more details.

Death Rulers get a Move card, which is totally unnecessary (should've gone to Black Dragons). But they also get a Size 0 which allows Judgement Day to be useful on more types of field formations.

Death Ruler, Manifile
You're playing into my
Death Ruler, Manifile has its uses, but it's a really situational card. The only way you can actually profit is if you move something that can't Move, and then you just ignore it. But then your opponent could just kill it using Size limit mechanics so there's actually no real point. Mainfile doesn't even have Shadow Dive itself so it probably will get a wasted attack that turn. There is another usage, and that's to prevent stuff like Dragon Shields from protecting an important unit on their side. This also works as a counter against Pillar of Fire and other negates/counters in other Worlds.

But oh dang, this could get fun. Death Ruler, Galkheight has a strange ability that forces your opponent to pay a gauge for every negate they pull. Or rather, if it worked like that it'd be broken. What actually happens is that your opponent has to pay for negates they use while they still have gauge. If they don't have gauge, this card doesn't actually do anything. If the effect was the former, this card would be a 4-of, but since its the latter, you have to consider that there are other really important Size 1's in the Death archetype.

Death Ruler, Gallows "SD"
Hang in there
"You may only call this card if you have DEATH in your drop zone." Yes, my drop zone consistently has Death in it. Because you know, things die to get there. Anyways, Gallows SD is pretty nice, being a cheaper version of regular Gallows except Size 0 and free and slightly less powerful.

Shadow Dive will forever be sad until we figure out a way to deal with Items with defense values. But until then, I guess having a card that salvages any Shadow Diver one-for-one is pretty nice.

Kill a bloke, get free life. Well this card is good.

And then they started giving the weapons Shadow Dive...wait they did this before. Oh but the weapon didn't also give you a free draw on-hit, that's right. Bloody Fate is pretty good. It's much better than DEATH Wave Rod, Sterben, which is just Bushiroad's cheap excuse to make Shadow Dive slightly less bad but somehow more bad. Why would you want to discard cards to do nothing? I mean I guess if your opponent wanted his center clear then that kinda sucks for him/her but you also have one less card in your hand and your weapon is rested for you too.

Hell Gate Walter!
Rules? Screw the rules, I have money
But more importantly. Gallows Gestus is great, gives all other Death on the field more power (important to get over Ride/Transform) and crit and he's free! Free! He joins a host of other Gate Guider monsters, the new name-archetype for Death Rulers, which all have Shadow Dive but more importantly are all free! Free! All that gauge you would've wasted can now go to more usage of Black Agenda and equipping Raiga and this cool new Impact. Hell Gate Walter! gets you 2 Death monsters from the drop zone and another Attack phase, meaning you can call something like Gestus + Blixt for ridiculous damages. In fact, if your opponent can't guard it, Hell Gate Walter! can be anything from 3 gauge for 4 damage to 5 gauge for 7 damage. Neat.

Somebody kill me. And also put this thing out of its misery.

- updated to H-BT04, CP01, H-EB04, H-TD02, PP01 -

All images were used obtained from the official Bushiroad website and used here solely for reference purposes. Future Card Buddyfight!, logos, and respective content belong to Bushiroad. Large images belong to the Buddyfight! Wikia.


  1. I just realised something. Death Ruler. Gruen's ability. It can be activated anytime at all. You can call him to the center, attack with his 3 criticals, destroy him to kill a Size 1 or less monster, and then attack with an item.