View Full Version : Water - The Weakest Symbol? (Article)

06-09-2011, 12:39 PM
This is my first article and i’m a numbers guy, not a word guy, so bare with me.
Construction criticism is desired, but if you are going to try and just bash on my grammar or water then i will kill you in your sleep. And now, onto the article...

Air, All, Chaos, Death, Earth, Evil, Fire, Good, Life, Order, Void, Water...even alphabetically it’s last. Still, is Water as bad as everyone makes it out to be? The world is made up of over 70% water and the human body is over 75% water, so it can’t all be bad right? Water has a reputation in the current meta is being one of the weakest symbols. In this article I hope to start a discussion on water and show some of the strengths of this underdog symbol. I think part of its bad rap is due to its current small card pool. Water has one of the smallest current card pools , only larger than Good and Order (~135), roughly the same as Air/All/Earth/Evil (~145), and significantly smaller than Chaos, Death, Void (~165), and the size of Fire and Life (180+) dwarfs just about all the other symbols. Now...onto the discussion.

Let’s start with one of Scott’s favorite card types, blue cards. Known to the layman as “actions”. Water has a full multipurpose actions, as well as a few that are much more situational. Not going to touch on them all here but I will mention what i think is Water’s strongest action, as well as a few support actions that find their way into certain decks or sideboards.

Acrobatic 2/5 Air/Life/Water +1L
I think at this point everyone knows what acrobatic does, and these days it does much more than just stopping spinning demons from the Mishima Family. It works wonders at stopping multiple canine strikes from Miska and Eva (although you still take partial damage) and can turn one of King’s crazy damage throws or one of Kaden’s insane damage attacks into an extremely fast poke. It can even late game turn one of your slow high damage attacks into a quick unblockable poke for lethal. Also sports a rare low block. <3 <3 <3

Amaryllis Spin helps push all your attacks through. Your deck needs some draw power and survivability to really make this one work. Not one of my favorites, but in the right situation it can work wonders.
Amy’s Sidestep has “no minimum” damage reduction. Paired together with Not Human or other damage reduction this can save you against a stack of “If this attack deals damage” effects. Again not one of my favorites but it has it’s uses.
Tieh Lei, Iron Thunder is one of the best answers to a 7HS discard character IMO. Basically if you discard it twice, they are almost dead. It also sports that coveted high block. It has an E for +1speed and +2damage which is rarely played, but I have seen it win games.

And now onto the less popular “Green Cards”.
Ostreinsburg Castle Throne Room 2/4 Good/Order/Water +2L
One of the current chase assets. Making all attacks harder to block, with the ability to turn it off, AND no minimum damage reduction?! And again that sexy low block. Works great when throwing consecutive attacks and multiples. Not an auto-include, but another one of the water support cards that helps push damage through.

Must of the other assets are very deck specific and situational. Albion can be great in order decks to throw out reversal pommel smashes, but with the amount of reversals readily available to water it doesn’t see a ton of play in water decks. It does have the free re-usable speed pump, but comes at the cost of a 4 check. Id run Throne Room for the psuedo +2 speed over Albion any day...unless of course you are abusing the E Commit. And of course in Lu Chen Robes is amazing.

Before we get onto the good stuff, or as Scott would call them “Orange Cards”, lets take a peek at Water’s “Wall-of-Grey”, the foundation base.

For spam water has 1 0-diff foundation in Alluring Temptress. An almost unusable +4L block and a “re-usable” damage pump. IMO not an auto-include but in a 7HS deck built to spam, it usually finds it’s way in.
In the sense of spam where water really shines is in it’s 1-diffs. Juggle either reduces your opponents staging area or gives you momentum, and has that situation re-usable damage pump. Sheep’s Clothing supplies card advantage and let’s you draw at the begining of your opponents turn. Into the Sunset has an E Commit that is situational at best, but a Desperation E Commit that is amazing. Commit any foundation in your opponents staging area. Your turn, their turn, it doesn’t matter. Into the Sunset provided a great “offensive defense” that Water was lacking before Red Horizon. And now the 1-diff Water MVP, Know When to Talk. KWtT sports that oh-so-sexy low block, and creates progressively difficulty problems for your opponent as well as works to disrupt their combos. I have seen very few water decks (if any) that don’t have “KWtT x4” in their decklist.

Water also has some very useful “wall” 3-diffs. Reward and Strange Fashion help water deal with large damage attacks. Puppet Master stops problem Form foundations such as Financial Troubles, Body of Souls, etc. To The Ends of the Earth helps give water more disruption, especially when paired with things like KWtT.

And that leaves the 2-diffs. I’m Not a Doll helps female’s reccure things like Acrobatic. Damnation, although unique, is crucial at stopping abilities printed on foundations. If you can’t commit it with Into the Sunset, just negate it with Damnation. Sweet Nothings acts like a worse version of Flexible Body, having no block and allowing the opponent to profit by drawing or gaining vitality. Where it shines over Flexible Body is in it’s combo stopping ability since it discards the card from the card pool. Together Again does some of what Water does best, packs defense and offense on the same card. It has a re-usable speed pump AND it makes your opponents attacks easier to block. Get down a few of these and a Throne Room and more often than not your opponent will shrug. Cute Prankster helps water recurer it’s reversals, and water does have a lot of great reversals. Its a 2/4 with no block but many water decks can fit 2 or 3 of them in without problem. Not Human provides some damage reduction, albeit it with a minimum. That’s ok though, pair it up with Throne Room or Amy’s Sidestep when in fear of “Deals Damage” effects.

And now what you have all been waiting for, Water’s attack lineup. This is where I think Water really shines. Let’s start the discussion off with a bang.
Playful Slice 4/2 3M5 Weapon, Combo(Weapon,Action) +2L, Reduces all your attacks diff by 2
Amazing card is amazing. Sure, it’s a 2-check, but it is a decent damage 2-check that makes all your attacks easier to pass. It also helps fulfill many of Water’s combo requirements. If you are running a water deck and it is not reversal based, there is almost no reason to not be running 4 of these bad boys.
Double Tap is 5 damage with a multiple, built in momentum gen, a block, and sports a 3 check. It has the restriction of having to have played one other attack, but in water decks that is rarely a problem. Its a nice finisher card, especially when you have it prefaced by a string of attacks.
Lunging Brush Fire is a decent utility attack that can serve as momentum gen as well as keep your card pool clear. If nothing else it generally baits a block.
Reload is another great attack. It comes in at 4H2 but if it hits it puts a foundation in your opponents card pool. This creates progressive difficulty as well as gets your re-usable damage pump from Juggle into effect. Your opponent will have to think, do they want to waste a block, or take the measly 2 damage...
Soaring Dance gets an honorable mention with it’s built in momentum gen.

As far as reversal are concerned...
Bullet Barrage is great. It skips the enhance phase, disrupts combos, and one way or another will hurt the progressive difficulty of your opponent. Chi Disruptor is also amazing as it comes in at 5 damage (although slow unless pumped) and can be used both to block and to reversal. Batting cleanup is Cleansing Flame. If not blocked it allows you to continue to assault your opponent on their turn. Oh, did i mention you can grab it back with cute prankster? Sexy. Leaping Snap Kick is another great utility reversal that can mess up combo and progressive difficulty of your opponent. And its CHEAP. Gotta love the 3 diff reversals. Speaking of cheap reversals, Shifting Technology. It’s 3 difficulty and you don’t even have to block. Plus it stops that combo or multiple attack that your opponent has coming up. Card has more utility than a swiss army knife.
Speaking of cheap, you know what isn’t cheap? Water’s AoP, Rising Typhoon. But it’s ok because it can hit for up to 15 damage unpumped AS A REVERSAL!!!. Block an attack with Playful Slice, block another attack with Soul Thresher, now you are playing Typhoon at 4 diff and have the cards to multiple it out.
Honorable mention goes to Triple Botta in Tempo for it’s disruption it can cause. Although IMO a water deck can better fill it’s attack slots.

And the big boys, Waterfall, Rowdy Bunch(es of dead bodies) and Hell’s Salvation.
Waterfall combo is really easy to hit on water as water has access to quite a few weapons actually. If you have enough speed pump on the board it is fairly easy to make Waterfull unblockable for lethal. It is one of the most common finishers on Water.
Rowdy Bunch is 5 damage with a multiple 2. If you blocked and reversaled with Rising Typhoon last turn, you play Rowdy Bunch this turn for the win.
Hell’s Salvation is one of the underrated stars of Water IMO. It has a crappy 2 check, a 2-card combo requirement, but it’s combo ability is so sexy. And if you can’t combo you just start out with it to bait a block, as otherwise it provides 5 damage and grants your next attack stun 2. This is the single card that inspired my Xianghua madness deck, which in turn inspired this whole article.

I will post up a discussion of characters in Water soon.

I was going to post a decklist or at least a few attack lineups for Water but in order to keep the tunnel vision to a minimum and the creativity to the maximum I decided not too.

I encourage questions/comments posted here, PMed to me, or you can reach me via email salvador (dot) mazzurco (at) gmail (dot) com

Thanks for reading.

Tl;dr version: Water is actually pretty good.

06-09-2011, 12:40 PM
Formatting probably needs work, ill try to adjust this after work.

06-09-2011, 12:54 PM
who said it was the worst?

i think the worst is all

06-09-2011, 01:02 PM
haha yeah maybe u can separate each mention of a card in bold and a new paragraph. It still was a pretty good read and I agree. Water is very underrated but definitely has its things :)

who said it was the worst?

i think the worst is all

Well I would have to disagree in here :P All has proven to be a very strong symbol thanks to Reese and Paul.

06-09-2011, 01:05 PM
Weakest symbol right now is Earth. Water has some tricks and can play some pretty solid defense, Earth doesn't really have anything going for it at the moment.

06-09-2011, 01:14 PM
I thought order was weakest (as a monosymbol), its got a nice variety of tricks but lacks an easy kill card. (I think?) I'll look more later. I just think order's tricks are best used at the moment to compliment other decks to a shutdown damage deck.

06-09-2011, 02:27 PM
Nice article. One thing I'd have to disagree with though.... Albion is a natural +1 speed, no cost what so ever... Combine with throne room and you have a technical +3. If you want to know how devastating Albion can be in pushing some speed pump to OMFG heights, just ask Judas225. As he said to Lisa after the match, that Albion pumped her last kill shot up by 1 more speed than he was able to block.... Even so, speed pump is nothing to laugh at. That's 1 more foundation they need to commit in order to block.

06-09-2011, 02:53 PM
Nice article. One thing I'd have to disagree with though.... Albion is a natural +1 speed, no cost what so ever... Combine with throne room and you have a technical +3. If you want to know how devastating Albion can be in pushing some speed pump to OMFG heights, just ask Judas225. As he said to Lisa after the match, that Albion pumped her last kill shot up by 1 more speed than he was able to block.... Even so, speed pump is nothing to laugh at. That's 1 more foundation they need to commit in order to block.

Side by side, Together Again is far superior to Albion, IMO.

Yeah, you have to check a 4, but its a 5 check, reusable, not unique, can use in a pinch to pass checks, makes blocking easier, etc.

Show me a (water) deck running Albion, and i'll show you one with 4 copies of Together Again ;)

Also certain characters make better use of it than others. Amy for example as she has a lot of speed pump.

In this meta, as a 6HSer, you can't run too many assets or you risk not being able to keep up.

Hope thats clear

06-09-2011, 04:13 PM
I think the argument of weakest symbol is kinda a mute point. Order, Earth, Water are all underplayed to the point it's hard to differentiate between them at a tournament level. At the last PTC, where there any decks in these symbols? I know they didn't make top 8 if they did as it was Chaos, Good, Life all up in there.

I do feel that Earth is the least supported of the "bottom-tier" symbols. No character in Quest for souls except a couple of lizardman cards and only one character in Red Horizon. I feel it needs the most support in the upcoming sets, while (on paper anyway) Order and Water are just 1-2 cards away from being complete.

Also, I want to tag in Blazing Storm as a fantastic attack in Water. Sure, it has a 2 check, but it's stats are super solid (4 High for 6) and that Water E is really strong. One of my favorite attacks in standard.

Edit: As for the article itself, I think its a great start for the discussion. I think the section on characters will shed some light as to why the symbol is low, and maybe add a section on discussing what is blocking the symbol and what it needs to be competitive

06-09-2011, 04:21 PM
I just want to clarify too. Saying Water was the weakest symbol was a sort of joke on my part that i guess did not carry through my writing lol.

I do not think water is weak. I personally love water. i have my water xia built, i'll put it together in OCGTN and i'd love to get some games in with people...

06-09-2011, 05:02 PM
Good write up; if you ask me the reason water has the hardest time as a symbol is because it has the least access to answers for the keyword that continues to dominate the standard environment - stun... Someone should have banned Zi Mei's Wheel Kick a long time ago :)

- dut

06-09-2011, 05:16 PM
No mention of Blazing storm?

06-10-2011, 08:37 AM
Blazing Storm is really good, but not quite as versatile as the other attacks and i was going to mention it when discussing Lily. In decks built around it, it is an amazing card. But in something like Lu Chen it is terrible. Nehtali does find it pretty sexy as well.

Anyways cards i didn't touch on i plan to touch on when i discuss characters...maybe this weekend time permitting, otherwise on monday i will post up a writeup on some (read: not all) the water characters.

If anyone has any requests on characters to touch let me know. Definitely covering Lily, Nehtali, Xia.

Wild Party Hat
06-10-2011, 10:44 AM
A very nice article that I enjoyed reading. Also, I am curious about your thoughts on water Morathi. Do you think it is his weakest symbol? I tried it and was unsatisfied.

06-10-2011, 10:45 AM
A very nice article that I enjoyed reading. Also, I am curious about your thoughts on water Morathi. Do you think it is his weakest symbol? I tried it and was unsatisfied.

Definitely NOT his weakest. Talk to The Hurricane (AJ).

06-10-2011, 11:45 AM
Loved the article man. Very good read. Few comments tho.
1. What about the best spam foundation in the game, CareFree. No Love? lol
2. Bullet barrage is an awful reversal. It doesnt stop combos at all, in fact it does the exact opposite. Ur opponent adds ANY card to their card pool.

06-10-2011, 11:55 AM
@WPH: Water morathi is a BEAST. I need to talk to AJ but i wanted to talk with him before i got into water morathi, is that is sort of his creation.

@Birch: Derp derp i screwed up on bullet barrage. I have been running Reload lately and got their effects jumbled in my head lol.

Carefree is good, but what is there to discuss, its a 1/5 with a +1M. If you need blocks you run it, if you need spam you run it.

I used to put it in almost every air/water deck i built but lately i have had a hard time fitting it, or only run like 2

06-11-2011, 03:05 AM
main reason i see Water as bottom 3(and not the bottom) symbol is for the following, look at it prior to RH dropping... there was maybe 1-2 Water decks that could remotely compete(Amy & X) and in reality they got killed fairly quickly if they didn't draw into their tricks quickly, now we have more support from Nehtali & Lily and yet it's still eh at best, the sad thing is what Water does, it's other symbols have access to at times, reversals? Good and Life have it also; card draw, that's Order's territory; small amts of destruction/disruption? Life and Death got that; now is Water viable? Yes, is it practical... for now probably not, but when the next set hits... i got an odd feeling Water is gonna jump from bottom 3 to at worst middle of the pack.

Also, good to see someone else writing articles besides me.