As we move into this block’s final set and the convention season, I wanted to take the time to tell everyone a little bit about the design direction of Series 25, because, bar none, this set is the best ever created in the history of the Naruto CCG. With limitless combinations of decks, mono-element will be a phrase of the past, and deckbuilding virtuosos will have their brains strained trying to find the perfect combination of cards. Make no mistake: Set 25 is the Naruto CCG equivalent of an 18th birthday, a celebration of maturity.Many great games begin with keywords to associate and reflect throughout the game itself. Uncharted 3 had the single word “fear” in mind, which was reflected in the bugs, crushing traps, and more, keeping your heart at a quick beat from beginning to end. With Series 25, the keywords “reliable”, “flexible”, and “limitless” were the aim of the set. We were moving into territory previously touched on by the game, but never fully explored, leaving many players wanting, and others not even seeing the possibilities.
What can I say about the art? Nothing short of amazing, we had more requested art with Set 25 than any other set, meaning that you will be receiving more never before seen art than ever before. In terms of laying out the artwork, the set laid itself out. I only had to watch the Kage Summit series of episodes twice before the entire set was done. With all of the bodyguards, kages, and bevy of brand new Jutsu, paired with the plans of card cycles, the artwork fell into place rapidly, even though the set was being laid out nearly 1 year in advance.
Just as a quick list, here are just a few characters that lent themselves to this set: Akatsuchi, Kurutsuchi, Onoki, Four Tails, Mabui, Ink Bat, Chojuro, Ao, Mei, Scorpion (not MK, people!), and many more that I am not mentioning at this time.
Bearing in mind the keywords from above, the set needed to have a stable structure set out before even a single card was made. The overarching goal was to push for the efficacy of tri-element decks, pushing the sets 120 cards to their maximum potential, giving players more bang for their buck, while at the same time, creating a set that was worth more open rather than sealed. We also needed a layout of the elements as balanced as possible, and a plan moving forward with these. As another goal, we also wanted a set that celebrated how far the game has come, bringing back past favorites in new, innovative ways, creating a master set that would “rule them all” as it were.
We created 5 tri element setups, with 1 symbol being the core element of the card, along with design nicknames for each one. They are:
“Dust” – Earth, Wind, Fire (jokingly referred to as EWF after the band)
“Storm” – Lightning, Water, Wind
“Acid” – Water, Earth, Fire
“Sandstorm” – Wind, Earth, Lightning
“Volcano” – Fire, Lightning, Water
Along with these, there was also varying nicknames for a few of the double element combinations, including Blaze (Fire, Lightning), Boil (Water, Fire), and more. Obviously the tri-element naming above is not perfectly synonymous with the show, but it gave us a naming convention to use while testing to save more time and keep the flavor alive throughout the entire set.
With the base laid out, we decided to start from the top and work our way down. This meant designing a new level of power for 6 drops in order to give the kages a power level that will make your opponent groan and the gamestate quake at the sheer force they bring to the table.