Keyword Spotlight – Change, Recollection, Shift & Run!

Welcome to the 9th CX’s spotlight on keywords! This miniseries is geared toward newer players to go in-depth on the many keyword abilities in Weiss Schwarz.

For this article, we’ll be going over more keywords that haven’t been visited in past articles, including Change!

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Change

Change is an ability that allows the player to pay a cost to select a character card (usually) from his or her waiting room and place it on the stage.  Almost always, a Change will involve sending a character to the waiting room, and the character card it ‘changes’ into will replace its slot on the stage. Change is a triggered ability, which means that only one instance of it will be able to be used at a time; you can’t “overpay” a Change cost to get two characters, for example.

Sometimes, there are costs from hand and/or stock to pay for this effect. Change effects can be paid for even if the card the effect refers to is not in the appropriate area at the time. If the card that the Change effect refers to is in the appropriate area at the time of the ability’s resolution however, it will still “find” the card.

To provide further examples, let’s say that a Change effect on Character A asks for 1 stock at the beginning of turn, as well as sending it to the waiting room. It is supposed to Change into Character B, but there is no copy of Character B in the waiting room. However, the top card of stock is a copy of Character B. If the cost was to be paid (1 stock, put Character A into the waiting room), the effect would ‘find’ Character B and put it onto the slot where Character A just was. This is also functionally the same as if Character A asked the player to discard a card, and discarded a copy of Character B.

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If DBZ was a set, it would take 3 turns to Charge Change any character.

What’s good about Change?

Change is an ability that typically allows access to cards a level sooner than they are allowed to be played. For example, one might use a Change ability that a level 2 character has, which then places a level 3 character onto the stage.  This means that the character that one gets from the effect is more likely to survive for a turn if the opponent is at the same level.

What can be challenging about Change?

Change typically has very specific windows of time where the effect can be used. For example,  you might see that a Change will trigger at the start of the draw phase or the start of the CX phase. If you’ve already drawn your card for the turn or played a CX from hand, you’ve missed your chance(s)! On top of this is the cost, which is usually stock, but sometimes can include cards in hand. Same-turn Change effects usually cost more to make up for their speed; 2 stock + card from hand, versus 1 stock, for example.


 

Recollection

Recollection is a static ability that gives a card effects if there are cards and/or certain cards in a player’s memory.

That’s it?

Yes.

What’s so good about it then?

The strength of Recollection is not fully in whatever ability is given to a character as a result of character A or character B or even event C being in memory. The effects of the cards themselves are generally modest (+1000 power, or maybe an additional ability). However, the mechanic is doubly rewarding because it encourages a player to have more cards removed from their deck from the game permanently. More cards in memory means a higher likelihood of canceling damage after a refresh. A deck with 8 CXs and 26 cards is going to be much more likely to survive multiple turns than a deck with 8 CXs and 39 cards. Recollection provides an extra incentive to deal with one of the very difficult-to-control mechanics in the game: damage.

What could be the downside?

There is effectively no downside to using a card with Recollection (unless of course one builds a deck without the cards that it references, or just no cards that send themselves to memory at all). There is a risk involved in using the card, but it’s the same kind of risk assumed when one uses a CX combo; that one may not draw one card or the other. At first glance, the incentive to use cards with Recollection is not overwhelming. However, that is most likely for the sake of balance. If the cards with Recollection were very good even without the appropriate card in memory, they would be broken, i.e. way too good.


 

Shift

Shift X is an ability that applies to cards in clock. It triggers at the beginning of the main phase if you are level X or higher,  and you may select that card and a card in your hand of the same color and swap them. Like any exchange, if either part of the exchange cannot be performed, it cannot and will not take place at all. That is, you can’t use Shift to Heal for free or put an extra card in your hand into your clock.

What’s good about Shift?

Regardless of the quality of cards that this ability is found on, Shift allows for a greater deal of flexibility when deciding what to put into clock during the clock phase. If multiple cards with Shift exist in the clock at the beginning of the main phase, they will each trigger separately.

One of the more hidden strengths is also in that it can keep a player on track in terms of having access to characters every turn. For example, let’s say player A is at level 0, but has no level 0 characters in her hand. Player B might be very happy at first, but if player A has a character with Shift 0 in her clock, she suddenly has a character to play! If player A has two level 0 characters in her clock that have Shift 0, she could, if she wanted to, swap both cards with two cards of the matching color in her hand. (One at a time of course)

Why does that matter?

It’s very hard to lose a game outright in the opening turns. However, it is very possible to have a hellish game begin from the beginning especially if one misses playing anything at level 0. Arguably, the same goes for future levels, but with diminishing impact as the game gets closer to level 3. By using characters with Shift, a player gets some potential relief from a very poor draw. The very nature of the ability asking for a card of the same color will reward decks with fewer colors more than those with more.

What can be challenging about Shift?

Shift rewards a deck for being more consistent with colors. Using cards with Shift in a 3-color deck is not going to maximize the potential value that the ability brings, and can detract from the total strength of a deck. Using cards with Shift in a single-color deck gives the cards with Shift the most room to bring value to the game, and will also help that deck draw consistently. However, to balance this, cards with the ability tend to be slightly less favorable stat-wise; Shift costs a character anywhere from 500 to 2000 power, but tend to have other abilities to make up the deficit.


 

RUN!

“Run” is an unofficial keyword that allows a character to move to an empty slot on the stage as the opponent enters his or her attack phase. Sometimes, there is a cost (stock or cards from hand) attached to the ability.

Why would we use characters that have this ability?

Characters that “run” are typically found at level 0. There are several incentives to using characters with this ability.

It is very difficult to get rid of a character that moves to an open front row slot. Unless the opponent commits a full board at an early level, that character will be attacking and generating stock every turn (doing buckets of damage is purely coincidental).

Sometimes, a “runner” will have the ability to go to the back row, which can further complicate things for the opponent trying to get rid of them.

Doesn’t that mean the opponent will be attacking directly a lot?

Probably.

Isn’t that a bad thing?

It depends. Being rushed to level 1 is a bit of a gambit. If the deck you are running is particularly stock-intensive, being stranded with only 1 stock at level 1 can be pretty awkward. However, it does mean that you give the opponent the opportunity to force his or her hand. A player who sees the mechanic for the first time, might be tempted to approach it like Whack-a-Mole with eight hammers.

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If a player does do this, they will probably not use a CX to minimize the risk of pushing you to level 1, and in fact could decline to attack.

But, if that happens, he or she leaves a bunch of characters open that haven’t paid for themselves in damage and stock. If the character he or she plays are particularly powerful or are level reversers, leaving them back might be okay, but if they are vanilla or 3000-3500 power characters, they run the risk of being cleared for free.

So what is really good about “runners” then?

If they are the only level 0 you draw, you can still get more than one attack out of them, and usually will. It takes fewer “runners” to make up a solid early game than ‘immobile” level 0 characters. In addition, “runners” are one of the few cards that test the opponent’s skill. To be fair, they also test the user’s skill, but not as much, because they tend to prompt the opponent to action.

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