Ever since GHNA’s announcement, there’s been speculation that Voltron could possibly be a collab reskin. This is basically referring to the possibility that they could take existing JP-only collab cards and rename and re-art them to get around licensing issues and give NA cards we’ve long had to go without.
Whether this is realistic or not is not something I want to debate in this post. However, the thought had me asking myself a question: if I had the ability to pick and choose individual cards from JP-only collabs to form a single collab, which cards would I bring over?
Of course, I could just list all the cards I wanted, but I’m giving myself a set of restrictions in hopes of making this exercise a little more interesting:
- Rarities – I want to replicate the cards-per-rarity numbers of what are likely the two best collabs to hit NA so far: Bleach and Final Fantasy. Bleach has four 6-stars, five 5-stars and five 4-stars. Final Fantasy has seven 6-stars, 10 5-stars and 7 4-stars. Splitting the difference, I’ll aim to create a collab with six 6-stars, 7 5-stars and 6 4-stars.
- How do you negotiate collabs that top out at 5-stars instead of 6-stars? – For now, I’ll just count cards at their base rarity. This might warp the results at 5-star, but since this is just for fun I’m not going to worry about it.
- Elements – I’m going to aim to give each element at least one card each at 5- and 4-stars. 6-stars is a little different since the selection is relatively small, but I’ll try to keep an even distribution if possible (but I already know water and wood are horrible).
- Possible Collabs – Kinnikuman, Crows, Sunday All Stars, Attack on Titan, Duel Masters, Bikkuriman, Saint Seiya, Dragon Ball, Hunter x Hunter, Monster Hunter, and Final Fantasy Crystal Defenders.
- Collabs that NA has gotten in the past, but not their most recent updates will be excluded: Hello Kitty (will get it as part of the event rush?), Evangelion and Shinrabansho.
Well, it turns out I’m going to break my restriction right off the bat. Fire and dark have such strong offerings that I couldn’t bear leaving one off the list. If I really had to cut one card, though, it’d be the water or wood one.
Silver is where two of my most wanted cards are at. For those into button and endgame farming, it should come as no surprise as to which two those are.
|Pre-buff, Android 17 was one of the button assets NA missed most, but we could make do, mostly because he was single-target and had a long cooldown. After being buffed to an area nuke, there’s an unfillable void in NA’s farming game. At 250x, this is only matched by Grimmjow, but Android 17 isn’t dependent on your current health. Granted, the nuke is weak against water and has a hefty 20-turn cooldown, but for a silver it doesn’t get much better than this.|
|Berserker is my most wanted card on this entire list — including the golds — and was the main impetus for writing this post in the first place. While NA can still run a MHera Ganesha-Yamamoto team without him due to machine killer latents, Berserker lowers the bar to entry significantly, brning his own machine killer and reducing the need for multiple Yamato subs. Another consideration at fire was Wroggi who was a quick, inheritable poison, but with Jormungandr becoming inheritable that role has diminished.|
|Baggi’s relevance has long since faded with tanky leads leading the meta. With many of the best leader skills having built-in shields, it’s hard to imagine active shields regaining widespread relevancy. However, if you increase endgame damage requirements and cap the offensive output of built-in shield leaders (and likely any card with significant defensive multipliers), there’s a possibility of a resurgence. I wish there was a good utility option to put here instead. The closest is likely Kurapika who combines a four-turn delay with a 10% gravity, but I think Baggi’s raw power wins out despite having diminished usefulness in the meta.|
|I had to dig pretty deep for a wood card to put here and Brocken is probably the best of a poor selection. He’s really just a straight row generator which could have fringe Liu Bei applications for those that don’t have Urahara or Leeza. His only upside compared to those is the +1 combo count, but generating a row second from the bottom is pretty awkward if you’re going for a high combo board. The only other considerations were Shiryu and Armin, but their usefulness has diminished over time.|
|Akane is likely the most powerful collab silver without an ultimate and she even gives those a run for their money. Combining 2x skill boosts, 1x TPA and 1x 7-combo awakening with a heartbreaking active that also unlocks orbs is pretty insane at this rarity. Other considerations were utility cards — Kikyo (damage void), Krillin (delay + laser) and Soldier (light + defense void) — but I chose to go with the more practical card instead.|
|Perhaps the JP-only active NA endgame players miss the most. She serves double duty in dungeons like Arena, providing an answer to high-defense monsters like PreDRAs, but more importantly providing immunity against hard-hitting dark monsters like DQ Hera, Ilsix and Hera Dragon.|
Raditz is a surprisingly great silver, having what is a Zuoh board change with a 10k area laser. While Lumiel is still superior for teams that also require water orbs, like DAthena, this is still a great assist skill on teams like revo Haku.
I expected the 5-star rarity to be spicy since I could select bomb cards from collabs that top out there, but there was surprisingly little selection which can be attributed to the lack of recent updates. This was easily the most difficult rarity for me to chose cards for.
|Putting Vegito at 5-star is like cheating because he’d obviously be a 6-star if his collab was more recent. While his ATK multiplier is fairly low, it’s still more than good enough for a lead that is nigh invulnerable with good awakenings.|
|Bolmeteus is just a solid, all-around card. His value has dropped considerably with so many new DKali variants, Uruka in particular, and the recent orb unlocking mechanic. There’s still a chance he could be valuable if we ever get a Ragnarok Dragon uuevo. This is easily my most questionable pick and I strongly considered just adding another farming card in this slot, but I decided to rep Duel Masters at least once on this list instead.|
|Shigeno was a beneficiary of some YamaP buffs, giving him quality awakenings in addition to his already solid farming active. He can serve as competent base sub, but his active is particularly interesting for Yamamoto farming as it combines a single-target laser with a row generator. The other consideration for this fire farming slot was Rathalos who sees use on Ganesha-Yamamoto teams as a laser and multi-floor damage enhance, but I felt that Shigeno was slightly better outside farming applications.|
|There was a time when Trunks was one of the most wanted cards on NA (wew, Awoken Lakshmi sure was a long time ago). Now equipped with 2k+ ATK and triple prongs, he’ll be a key piece for any future water TPA teams. I strongly considered Gotenks for this water slot, but with the release of split BOdin he lost most of his usefulness as a bind immune skill boost stick for Meridionalis farming teams.|
|Thief is pretty much a bad Ganesha. His Indra-type damage shield is still valuable, though, and is slightly better for wood teams looking to optimize their inheritance stats. Sadly, this is about as good as it gets for wood. Gon is fine, but is mostly overshadowed by Liu Bei. Furukawa Osamu is also good, being a three-skill boost area laser with a dragon killer, but I felt that Thief was slightly better.|
|Hattori Heiji — or Harley Hartwell in the NA localization — is a Gemstone-style damage enhance, giving 30% damage per light row over two turns. He’s mainly here due to his uniqueness as he isn’t all that practical due to the lack of quality light row leads. Other considerations for the light slot were Time Mage, Lum, Aladdin, Head Rococo, and Saori, but none of them struck me as good enough to supplant this card.|
|Recently buffed to triple prongs, Killua is a good lead, assist skill and base sub. The only real competition here was Romanov who I think is slightly better overall, but with what is appearing at 6-star, I didn’t want to include a redundant farming lead.|
The 6-stars are actually a pretty big let down. Not because they aren’t good, but because there really wasn’t much selection and the good ones were pretty obvious. Sadly, wood’s woes continue into this rarity and I couldn’t justify replacing any of the current cards with something like Sinbad or Soldierman. Water is also in a pretty bad place.
|Kinnikuman might be losing some ground on the JP lists as of late, but he’s still one of the best endgame leads available to fire. I also considered Dogiragon, but with Yamamoto being so much better, I felt there was very little reason to include him.|
|Female Ranma isn’t the greatest card, but there isn’t very much selection in water. She’s still likely the best water TPA lead even if she can’t utilize the recently buffed Scheat. There’s additional value from the male form, being a very strong fire quad pronger.|
|A boring choice, but still one of the best pure combo leads in the game, the biggest downside being a type restriction that excludes Kanna.|
If for some reason NA doesn’t get DAthena, Sesshoumaru would be the next best thing.
Akuma Shogun is still the best dark farming lead. Sadly, there’s no straight enabler like Yamamoto has with Chad and Laila and Merdionalis has with Toshiro, but just making blobs with double orb changers and two-color boards should suffice for most situations.
|We need to increase the opportunities to roll a Fujin active as much as we can. Taneda also provides four random dark orbs, which can be both a blessing and a curse — as in it could possibly break your DAthena or similar activation — but generally makes him a better option for dark teams. It helps that he’s a fairly decent card outside of that, being a 49x lead with a 43.75% shield and a fine sub as well.|
This was a fairly amusing exercise. What surprised me the most was that after Android 17 and Berserker, there actually wasn’t all that much that I was dying to have. I think this is a reflection of NA getting most of the critical functionality and outside the IPs themselves, we shouldn’t feel all that bad about missing out on collabs.
In that sense, we are immensely lucky that we got Bleach. Had we not, Yamamoto, Aizen, Toshiro, Grimmjow, and Chad would’ve been auto includes in this list. Ichigo and Ulquiorra would also be strong considerations. I can’t imagine not having both Yamamoto and Meridionalis (because no Toshiro) available as farming leads.
Another interesting question is for collabs NA hasn’t received updates for. With the reveal of Uruka, both Rei Myr and Kaworu Kali stock has risen and they both easily make my 6-star list (probably replacing Ushio & Tora and Akuma Shogun). Asuka Yamato might also make my 5-star list by simple virtue of being a poor Yamato clone. Outside Eva, buffs to things like Shinrabansho or Hello Kitty aren’t all that appealing.
It’s also scary to see how bad the water and wood collab cards are; wood in particular. As I found myself questioning why this might be, it might actually be due to flavor considerations. While it’s easy to classify major manga characters in fire (hot-blooded), light (good) and dark (evil), wood is more of an enigma. I realize PAD doesn’t necessarily have the strict color identities of something like Magic: the Gathering — and their decisions probably have to do with color palette as much as anything else — but I think it’s just easier to slot in characters in the non-wood colors. Which I guess is fine as long as they keep churning out good wood cards in the standard REM, but it’d still be cool if the color got more focus more often.
Is there any collab card(s) you’d like to see hit NA? Let me know in the comments!