Set Information

The Animal Kingdom Pirates Are Here to Take the Don!! To You

The key theme of any Trading Card Game is resource management and the main difference between card games are the resources available. One Piece Card Game is a new creation from Bandai, the company that gave us the Dragon Ball Super and Digimon Card Games, and it was designed with a unique mana system. There are two different decks, one main deck, and one DON!! deck. At the beginning of each turn, the turn player gets to place two DON!! cards to their respective Cost Area and use them as a resource by tapping them. The twist in this new mechanic is that the DON!! cards can be equipped to characters to unlock their abilities. Between tapping and equipping, DON!! cards need to be accurately managed to unleash the true potential of a deck. Starter Deck Animal Kingdom Pirates, one of the four starter decks created by Bandai to introduce the game, is tied to this concept, and exploit it further.

Each Animal Kingdom Pirates starter deck contains a ready to play out of the box deck with 51 cards (one Leader Card, two Super Rares, and 14 Commons), ten DON!! cards and one Playsheet. Animal Kingdom Pirates launched on 2 December 2022 and has an MSRP of 13.90 €.

DON!! as Cannon Fodder

Animal Kingdom Pirates is the Purple Starter Deck of One Piece, a color with a close relationship with the Cost Area. This deck introduced the concept of DON!!-X, in which the player returns X number of DON!! cards from their side of the field (equipped or not) and returns them to their DON!! deck. Losing mana is always a rough cost, so the effects need to be stronger than usual. Kaido, one of the antagonists of the series, is the Leader of Animal Kingdom Pirates and his effect is a ticking time bomb: by returning seven DON!! cards from his field, he trashes the top card of his opponent’s life. Being able to deal damage directly to the opponent is a big deal in One Piece and Dragon Ball Super hence the big cost.

Since gathering seven DON!! cards could be too slow against aggressive strategies, Animal Kingdom Pirates has other cards with solid yet cheaper effects. Sasaki can draw one card while entering the field by returning one DON!! card. Ulti can cheat one [Page One] character from the hand to the field by paying DON!! -1. The existence of Black Maria and Queen, two blockers, can further delay the opposite strategies furthermore.

A Smooth Sea Never Made a Skilled Pirate

Even with cheaper options, what Kaido needs is a way of "ramping" and this Starter Deck gives some solid options. Onigashima is a Stage card that once per turn can add one extra DON!! card to the Cost Area in addition to the normal two. The second honorable mention is Brachio Bomber, an Event card with removal and ramp imbued in it. Lead Performer "Disaster" gives much-needed draw power while also ramping one DON!! card.

Resource management is not an easy task and Animal Kingdom Pirates isn’t the first choice for a player looking for a calm ride. However, mastering tough Starter Decks is the best way to improve and overcome any challenge. Kaido and his crew are ready to welcome anyone that is hard-headed enough.