A reader takes a look at the new Persona 5 collectible card game, and gives advice on what to do if you’re interested in giving it a try.
After numerous delays the Persona 5 Weiss Schwarz collectable card game has finally been released. I have kept my eye on this since it was first announced early last year. As a huge fan of the role-playing video game series, and its parent franchise Shin Megami Tensei, combined with my more recent love for card games I decided to purchase the Persona 5 trial deck.
The trial deck consists of a pre-constructed deck of 50 cards, a rules sheet, the playbook which explains more detailed rulings, the deck manual which teaches the basic strategy of the deck, and a paper playmat. All of these cards are trial deck exclusives, so can’t be pulled from additional booster packs.
Before we go into a bit more depth about Persona 5 I will give you give you a brief rundown of my personal card game history. I am currently playing and collecting the Final Fantasy Trading Card Game and casually play A Game of Thrones: The Card Game Second Edition. Around 15 years ago at school I had a small bundle of Magic: The Gathering and Pokémon cards, but it was nothing more serious than schoolyard play.
Finally, moving away from the physical cards, I love playing Gwent: The Witcher Card Game on my PlayStation 4 which is a digital collectible card game developed by CD Projekt RED. As I’m sure you all know the game is derived from the card game of the same name featured in The Witcher novels and The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt video game.
Having some background knowledge in other card game titles certainly helps when coming to a completely new card game series, as I was doing in this case. Weiss Schwarz is a long-running Japanese card game which features sets from popular anime and video game series. Persona 5 is the latest set and notable previous participating tiles include Disgaea, Persona 3 and 4, Attack On Titan, and Sword Art Online. Although there are many titles the rules are the same and apply across the board. At present there are about 10,000 different cards available!
To list of all the rules here would be far to longwinded but in a nutshell the aim is to deal 28 points of direct damage to your opponent. For a more comprehensive overview I would watch the official How To Play video on YouTube which gives an in-depth tutorial.
Decks consist of three different card types:
Character cards – These form the base of the game and serve as the means of damaging your opponent. These cards have power values, actions and/or abilities.
Event cards – Instant play cards which have effects like card retrieval and healing received damage points.
Climax cards – These act as a means to boost your direct damage, card power damage output, resource gain, and also serves as a damage canceler during attacks. Because of the usefulness of climax cards, a deck must contain exactly eight.
One of the core aspects of the character cards is their cost-to-play level. Both players start on level 0 and after receiving seven damage you ‘level up’ and can play higher costed cards, but the first player to reach level 4 is the loser. I like this mechanic as it gives you a chance to fight back when you are on the back foot.
All cards in the game belong to one of four colours: red, blue, yellow, or green. The Persona 5 deck consists of yellow and red. The most common approach are dual colour decks that have synergy and complement each other’s strengths and weaknesses. Yellow has an emphasis on speed, buffing, and card removal. Green are fundamentally strong and have counter cards. Red cards can burn (dealing damage without attacking) and retrieve cards from the waiting room (aka discard pile), while blue are strong on defence and can draw additional cards.
What I especially love is the card game encompasses all the aspects from the video game, the whole Phantom Thief cast and their respective personas are incorporated. Other examples include the confidant’s characters which mainly act as support, mementos, and the Phantom Thieves’ infamous calling cards.
However, the finest aspect of this set is definitely the card artwork and the foil versions in particular look even more spectacular. The card game certainly has a wealth of excellent art design to draw from the video game, as it is one of the most stylish and atheistically pleasing I have ever seen. Here is my favourite card which was pulled from a booster pack.
Not all of the cards look like this and some in comparison look quite bland, to be fair these are the common rarity cards not the rarer versions. The only other slight criticism is some cards seem to be rather text heavy and the font is quite small.
So if you are a fellow newcomer to Weiss Schwarz I would recommend you start with a trial deck from a series you like, then steadily add with extra booster packs. Boosters contain eight random cards with a guaranteed rare or higher card in every one. Or if you are feeling bold then you can pick up a booster box which contains 20 booster packs. Moreover, as in most card games there are promotional cards and nicer playmats to accumulate. The next step would be to check your local card game retailer to see if they organise casual and official tournaments to compete in.
By reader Thomas Pozzetti/eyetunes (PSN ID)
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