Of BanG Dream! and the Boundaries of Design Space
Weiss Schwarz players all around the world share the concern that there may indeed be a time when Bushiroad will run out of ideas to further expand the game’s most extensive card pool. But that day is certainly not here yet! Let us all welcome BanG Dream! Vol.2 based on the second season of the BanG Dream! anime to the English edition!
The New Kid— err… Girls on the Block
With the Choice Trigger being the talk of the town, it would be easy to overlook the addition of BanG Dream!’s sixth band, (seventh for the purists counting Glitter Green) RAISE A SUILEN to Weiss Schwarz. But the designers have actually made them fairly interesting by clearly defining their mechanical identity as the “accelerate matters” band with effects that are reminiscent of the Accel World signature gimmicks.
The options for those interested in building RAISE A SUILEN decks are obviously still quite limited, compared to the other, “older” formations, but cards like "Supreme Music" Lock or Pareo, Smiling Face are powerful enough they might be worth building around. Then again, this is BanG Dream! A new release will be here before you know it.
Speaking of mechanical identities, this release’s underlying theme seems to be about reinforcing those with abundant support for each band’s distinctive feature:
- "Smile Music" Kokoro Tsurumaki is both a terrific finisher and a great way to solidify HelloHappyWorld’s position as the “triggers matter” band with its ability to manipulate the top of the deck. It also rewards skilled players who can keep track of what cards ended up in the stock. Choice is indeed the perfect trigger for the combo, thanks to the added versatility.
- Afterglow has always been the Alarm band, which is a very distinctive trait to have as this mechanic is getting less and less representation in modern releases. Hopefully "Our Music" Himari Uehara and Tomoe Udagawa, Sufficient Enthusiasm will be enough of a payoff to spawn a deck that goes all-in on the Alarm
- There needs to be a very good reason to be playing 4 colors in the same deck, and that is why Pastel Palettes’ color-based payoffs are historically pushed. "Overlapping Music" Hina Hikawa is the newest addition to a long tradition of “high risk-high reward” cards that offer strictly enhanced versions of powerful, popular effects to those brave enough to jump through some serious deck-building hoops. Is it worth it? Hard to say. Is it fun? Hell yeah.
- It isn’t clear when exactly did events become so important to Poppin’ Party, but when an innocuous common like Kasumi Toyama, Between Practices makes you go look up every event in the set, you begin to realise that it is in fact a big deal. There have been playable events (sometimes crazy good) in the Poppin’ Party colors in every BanG Dream! release, and many of the best Poppin’ Party characters either care about events or use them for their effects. "Bond of Music" Tae Hanazono explicitly mentions events in its textbox and it’s not a coincidence. As per the effect itself, having your opponent decide what card you get is not ideal, but it’s still a plus and trigger control is always welcome.
- Roselia’s mechanical identity must be about having ridiculously good stand-alone cards, which would explain how "Unwavering Music" Yukina Minato made it to print, paired with the dullest possible climax combos, such as the terribly uninspired "Unwavering Music" Saya Hikawa. In all seriousness, Roselia can boast some of the most powerful cards ever made, which means it must be very difficult to create new and exciting effects without breaking the game.
BanG Dream! Vol.2 releases on 3 July 2020.