A Bolt From the Blue

Welcome back! It’s time for us to take another look the Evangelion Card Game, powered by the Chrono Clash system. Today is my final deep dive article into the colors, or factions, of the game. Each article examines at a single color – what it has to offer and speculates on tactics that could be employed against it.

As a reminder, my analysis is based off a complete list of the cards in this game that I made. The card list (and my analysis) can be found here. In this document, you’ll notice that I put battlers into one of four categories: EVAs, Pilots, Angels, and Other. Two of these categories are huge monsters – biomechanical EVAs or unknowable Angels, and the other two are humans – Pilots and Other. Pilots, for those new to the game, can come into play in two ways – as an independent battler, or as an “attachment” for an EVA. While piloting an EVA, the pilot adds its strength and special abilities to the EVA.

Ok, with all that out of the way, let’s turn our attention to Blue. My previous articles on Red, Green, and Purple are also available if you want to catch up.

 

Blue

Color Identity:

Blue is the ultimate defensive color. It seeks to delay and constrain the enemy at every turn. And it has a plethora of tools at its disposal to do so. For example, let’s look at how Blue can impact your opponent’s turn:

  1. Constrain Destruction Abilities: Blue’s Protector battlers have to be targeted by abilities first, which could save more valuable battlers from destruction or force your opponent to target their own battlers with mandatory abilities.
  2. Constrain Attacks: Blue’s Taunt and Sentinel battlers limit what can be attacked.
  3. Waste Attacks: Most of Blue’s Sentinels are small enough that they require 1 attack to destroy. This forces your opponent to waste attacks on low-investment battlers. Plus these small Sentinels often convey a benefit when they are destroyed.
  4. Unexpectedly Shortens Turn: Blue has many abilities that gain Time, and a number of these are likely to trigger on your opponent’s turn. Some can be seen and planned around, but others (specifically Guardian Abilities) cannot.

All of this can prove to be extremely vexing for an opponent who might be forced to enter a maze of requirements to accomplish their goals. And while all of this is going on, Blue slowly improves its position and board state through small incremental gains:

  1. Card draw: Although every color has some limited ability to draw normal and Extra cards, Blue excels at both. Blue also battlers who return to your hand defeated in battle. All of this means that Blue will have more options available each turn.
  2. Gain Time: In addition to causing your opponent’s turn to unexpectedly end,  Blue can make your turns longer, giving you more leeway to pull off combos on your turn.
  3. When Destroyed Abilities: Blue battlers have many good abilities that trigger when they are destroyed. Blue has the second most of these effects with 6 (Purple leads with 8). These battlers are particularly good sacrificial targets, which can help Blue play Extra cards or gain Time.

Finally, Blue features the cheapest Extra cards in the game. They are insanely cheap, averaging at just 3.67 cost (Red is the next cheapest at 4.67, followed by Green at 6.17, and Purple at 6.67). Combined with its excellent Extra card drawing abilities, Blue can draw and play an Extra card before the other colors have drawn their first. To make the situation better, Blue has 2 Extra cards that draw you Extra cards, and a third that returns to your hand when defeated in battle. All of this helps keep your hand well stocked with Extra cards.

Ultimately, Blue seeks to delay the game long enough for its incremental bonuses to add up to victory.

 

Primary Mechanics:

Protector Rei
Protection and Rei fit like hand in glove.

Protector (4): One of Blue’s defining abilities, Protector prevents your other battlers from being the target of enemy effects. Unlike Taunt and Sentinel, Protector battlers don’t have to be tapped for the ability to function. There are few mechanics as game changing as this. It forces your opponent to think in a totally different way. Have a destruction ability? You’ll have to target a Protector. Want to reduce STR, return a battler to hand, or give them “Can’t Attack”? You’ll have to target a Protector. It takes most color’s ace in the hole and redirects it. Interestingly, Blue has a mix of small and large battlers with Protection. The small ones serve an obvious purpose – to shelter your more valuable battlers from harmful abilities by absorbing them. The large ones serve their own interesting purpose: most of the destruction effects in the game target low STR or cost battlers. Neither of which is likely to be able to effect your large Protector battler, meaning that your opponent either can’t play that card, or will be forced to target their own battlers (since all abilities other than Guardian Abilities are mandatory). Blue also has this ability on a Pilot, meaning that you can use it alone as a small battler, or combine it with an EVA for a large battler depending on the situation. The ability is admittedly situational (it won’t prevent your battlers from being punched or save your Guardians), but it forces your opponent to rethink their strategy, which is surprisingly valuable.

Withdraw EVA
It never. Stops. Running.

Withdraw (2+1 Extra): This ability is a very powerful one. Whenever a battler with Withdraw is defeated in battle, it returns to its owner’s hand. Unlike other protective abilities like Recovery, Withdraw works on both offense and defense. The downside, of course, is that you have to actually play the battler again, whereas Recovery simply prevents the battler from being destroyed. However, the fact that these battlers can only truly be defeated through destruction abilities or STR penalties is very powerful. As a result, the developers were very cautious about giving this to many battlers. It natively appears on only two battlers: a 6 STR battler, and a 3 STR Extra battler. Where things potentially a little nuts is Evangelion Proto Type-00 which grants all of your other battlers Withdraw when it attacks. The question is what do you do with Withdraw? Attack Guardians without regard for their strength? Attack battlers with equal STR (killing both, but yours returns to hand)? I honestly haven’t found a good way to break this yet, but it helps keep your hand full of options, which is extremely valuable in this game.

Seele
Sacrifice a 5 STR battler for +5 Time, a card, and an Extra card? Sign me the hell up!

Gaining Time (6 + 1 Extra): In a game where time is literally money, gaining Time is great. Although Blue shares this ability with Green, it contains more of these abilities and has cards that provide more time (+5 in Blue vs +3 in Green). Blue largely focuses on recouping Time that you had previously invested in battlers. This is seen in battlers who provide Time when destroyed (2) and by events that require a sacrifice in order to gain Time (1 + 1 Extra). These are fantastic abilities that effectively allow you to “bank” Time, giving you the possibility of big turns (if you gain on your turn), or cutting your opponent off in the middle of their turn (if you gain on their turn). The remaining abilities focus on only one of these two possibilities: Evangelion Proto Type-00 taps for +1 Time (making your turns longer), and two cards have Guardian Abilities give you +2 time (cutting short your opponent’s turn).

 

Offensive Capabilities:

Guardian Attack Asuka
The eye patch inspires anger in others.

Guardian Attack +X (7 + 2 Extra): This is the most basic offensive capability, usually allowing a single attack to count as two or more. Blue is in an interesting place here. It is tied with Green for having the second most battlers with this ability – Purple leads with 8 + 4 Extra and Red tails with 3 + 4 Extra. The difference being that Green has fewer normal battlers with the ability and more Extra cards. Intriguingly, Blue is the only color that lacks a Guardian Attack bonus greater than +1. Green has 2 Extra, and Purple and Red both have 1 + 1 Extra. While that might sound bad, I’m not sure how impactful that difference truly is. Especially since Blue has a battler who gives another battler Guardian Attack +1 when summoned. If I am understanding the rules correctly, this could simply bump one of your battlers from +1 to +2 for the turn. Plus (as will be discussed below), Blue has ways of repeating Summon Abilities, so you might be able to reuse the ability. So yes, Blue might be missing out on the really impressive Guardian Attack bonuses, but it has a large assortment of +1 bonus battlers and the ability to spike it to +2 if needed.

Gaining STR
Defends at STR 5, attacks at STR 10.

Gain STR on Attack (4): One of the most interesting things about Blue is that many of their battlers attack with a higher STR than they defend with. Admittedly, Blue isn’t the only color to feature this ability (Red and Green both have 2 battlers who work similarly), but no other color relies on the ability quite like Blue does. Blue has relatively few battlers with STR 7 or higher (what I consider the true giants in the game). Including it’s Extra cards, Blue only has 3. Compare this to Green and Purple who have 6 cards each. Even Red, the swarm color manages to have 4, But this ability changes the calculation somewhat. When attacking, Blue can muster some truly impressive STR: 11 (normally 8), 10 (normally 5), and 7 (normally 6). Blue also has a Pilot who adds 1 STR and +2 when attacking. For a mere 1 time, you can pretty significantly boost any EVA’s STR.

 

Defensive Capabilities:

Sentinel Rei
Negate an enemy attack and draw an Extra card? Hells ya!

Sentinel (3 + 1 Extra): Blue is one of only two colors with this potent defensive ability (the other being Green). As a reminder, tapped Sentinels (who aren’t questing) prevent your opponent from attacking your Guardians. The difference between these colors is the philosophy of Sentinel defense. Green pumps a lot of resources into large Sentinels who will (hopefully) stop your opponent in their tracks. On average, Green’s Sentinels cost 6 Time, and have 5.75 STR. One of them is a Pilot who can grant the ability to any EVA. Blue’s Sentinels have a much different purpose. They aren’t walls, they’re speed bumps who form part of Blue’s plan to delay the enemy. On average, Blue’s sentinels are cheap (2.67 Time) and only have enough STR (2.33) to hold up to a single attack. What makes these Sentinels special is that they all give you something extra – either before they die (one taps for +1 Time), or when they die (an Extra card or +2 Time). All of this perfectly fits Blue’s theme of slowing the enemy by using up attacks or denying them Time. The only exception to this is Blue’s Extra Sentinel – at 5 cost and 7 STR, it doesn’t fit this mold. However, this battler can’t attack, and instead features a tap ability that triggers a Summon Ability of any battler.

Blue Taunt
This Angel is a beast!

Taunt (4): Taunt is a useful secondary defensive ability, as it prevents your non-taunt battlers from being attacked. As a result, it can pair really nicely with Sentinel. I’m not sure how often Blue will want to protect their Sentinels, but there might be situations where you want to hold on to one. In my opinion, the real strength of this ability in Blue is that it is yet another constraint on what your opponent can do. Blue has Sentinel (limits attacks), Taunt (limits attacks), and Protector (limits abilities). These abilities really make your opponent play differently than they usually would. Blue can make removing a troublesome battler a 2 or 3 step process even for decks packing a lot of destruction.

 

Support Capabilities:

Blue card draw
Rare repeatable card draw… assuming you can keep it alive.

Drawing Normal Card (8 + 2 Extra): Blue has access to the very best card draw in the game, which, interestingly enough for a tactical card game, is a fairly rare ability in Evangelion. Most card games that I’ve played have draw effects that end up increasing your hand size. In this game, the vast majority of card draw are just replacement effects. Meaning that a card lets you draw one card, keeping your hand size the same. By my count, there are only 3 cards in the game that result in a larger hand size and 2 of them are in Blue.

Many of Blue’s card draw abilities are Guardian Abilities, which includes 2 Guardians that return to your hand (an ability present in every color) and 3 that just draw you a card. Blue also has a battler who draws you a card when summoned (an ability that Blue might be able to trigger several times), another who gives you a card when it is destroyed, and an Extra battler who draws you a card every time it attacks (although with STR 5, I think the card isn’t likely to get many attacks in). Finally, Blue has 2 events (one of which is an Extra card) that draw you a normal card and an Extra card. The normal event draws you a second Extra card, while the Extra event also gives you +5 Time. Over all, these abilities are powerful and versatile.

Blue Draw Extra
I hear you liked Extra cards.

Drawing Extra cards (4 + 2 Extra): Every color needs a mechanism to draw Extra cards. It doesn’t matter how fierce-some your Extra battlers are if you never draw them. Blue has the easiest time doing this. It is tied with Green for having the most abilities that draw Extra cards, but unlike Green, Blue’s abilities aren’t reliant on quest completion or triggering Guardian Abilities. Blue has 3 battlers (including 1 Extra battler) who draw you an Extra card when they die, and 3 events (including 1 Extra event) that draw Extra cards (one of which draws you 2!). None of these abilities are ones that your opponent can meaningfully play around, and the events all provide an additional nice benefit – tapping a battler so you can attack it, drawing a second Extra card, or (for the Extra event) gaining +5 Time.

Summon Asuka
Blue gets to activate anybody’s Summon Abilities.

Trigger On-Summon Abilities (1 + 1 Extra): Blue shares this ability with Purple. It allows you to use a Summon Ability a second time. As mentioned in the Purple article, these abilities tend to be powerful since they can usually only be used once. Purple has more cards that accomplish this than Blue, but Blue’s are more flexible. First, they allow you to activate the Summon Ability of ANY battler, not just your own. This greatly enhances the ability’s usefulness because you don’t necessarily need to pack your own deck with good Summon Abilities. Second, all of Blue’s abilities are repeatable (one as an Attack, the other as a Tap ability). This carries obvious advantages, the downside is that each ability costs 1 Time, and the battler has to sit around for a whole turn before you get to use the ability. It’s a good thing that Blue can use its opponent’s Summon Abilities because it doesn’t have many on its own (2 + 1 Extra). The normal cards let you draw a card or gain Guardian Attack +1 (both moderately useful). The Extra card taps a battler, leaving it vulnerable to attack (potentially useful…). If you wanted to maximize this ability, you should look to pair Blue with a color with lots of useful Summon Abilities. Purple and Red could both be good choices here.

Guardian Abilities: 10 of Blue’s 18 normal cards have a Guardian Ability. This is typical for all colors except Red. We’ve actually already talked about a lot of the Guardian Abilities above, namely gaining Time (3), drawing cards (3), and returning the Guardian to your hand (2). The final 2 are defensive in nature, and are descent. The first gives a battler “Can’t Attack” which can either prevent an attack, or stop a battler with a Guardian Attack bonus in its tracks. It’s one of the most useful defensive Guardian Abilities, and each color except Purple gets 1. The other Guardian Ability is to tap a battler, which will hopefully stop an attack, but it can’t stop an attack in progress. The advantage is that it can prevent a battler from using a tap ability or questing (although I usually do those before I attack). Finally, gaining Time as a Guardian Ability is special in that it has the potential to end your opponent’s turn, even if they are in the middle of an attack. This leaves you with very little time of your own to work with, but it can prove a useful defense if your opponent isn’t careful.

 

Weaknesses:

Delaying and constraining your opponent doesn’t win you the game. At best it slows them down long enough for your incremental benefits such as card draw and gained Time to give you the win. The are two obvious weaknesses to this strategy. First, some decks push too hard to be effectively held back by Blue’s headwind, resulting in a loss before your incremental benefits move you into a winning position. Second, Blue moves slowly enough that it cannot itself afford to be delayed, meaning that a defensive deck might prove to be too large an obstacle for Blue to overcome.

 

Good Colors to Pair with Blue:

Honestly, Blue has a LOT to offer other the other colors. What deck wouldn’t be better with the addition of some quality card draw, easy access to Extra cards, and some Time sprinkled in? The real question here is what do other colors have to offer Blue? Well, Red and Purple both have offense in spades, and both contribute potent conditional destruction effects.  A Blue/Red deck could be an efficient swarm-style deck as both colors have a lot of smaller battlers and Blue has the card draw necessary to ensure that you can play a steady stream of them. Purple has two strong synergies with Blue: it’s ability to re-trigger Summon Abilities (which is showcased in the Asuka starter deck), and it’s myriad abilities that trigger upon death which could turn into a very interesting sacrifice deck (which is showcased by this youtube deck list).

Green shares the ability to gain Time including battlers who give it to you when they are destroyed (which forms the core of this youtube deck list). Furthermore, both colors are defensive in nature, meaning that it’s the color combination of choice for decks that prioritize defense over offense. The victory condition for such a deck would likely be the high powered Green Extra cards. Finally, a Blue/Green deck might be a good choice for questing mostly because of how card intensive questing is.

 

How to Fight Blue:

Effectively fighting Blue requires a different mindset than usual. The first and most obvious change is the targets you chose to attack and target with abilities. Blue wants you to waste your attacks and abilities, so you have to be as efficient with them as possible. You likely won’t be able to totally navigate the maze that Blue puts up for you, so the question is what do you need most? The priority for most decks will be to take down Blue’s Sentinels. So, for example, you might consider playing a pilot alone (rather than attaching it to an EVA) so that your EVA can take down a Taunt battler, exposing the Sentinel which you take down with your pilot.

Finally, you have to be very careful with your Time. You want to control when your turn ends, meaning that you need to pay attention to where Blue can gain Time on your turn. This will take the form of battlers who give you time when destroyed (which you should note and carefully time your attacks against them), and Guardian Abilities. These can’t be seen, but they can be played around. For example, you should try to always attack Guardians with 2 or more time left. Unless you get very unlucky and hit multiple Guardians that gain Time, this will ensure that you get to finish your attacks.

It’s always a game of chess with the Romulans. I mean with Blue. Improving your skill at assessing the board state and a knowledge of what tricks Blue can pull will both improve your chances against them.

 


Hopefully this gives you some food for thought when looking at Blue. As usual, post below if you’ve had success with Blue. Finally, this is my last color analysis article. Would you like more articles on Evangelion? Let me know below.

Until next time, you won’t die. Rei will protect you.

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