N-163 The Third Hokage
This card was basically in all of the top decks at almost every higher level tournament that Bandai ran and is one of the key cards that has caused the dominance of fire cards in almost all of the top decks.
The main issues were the ability to remove a Ninja from play and not be removed from play until the end of the turn. We wanted to keep the card as close to it's existing effect as possible, try not to devalue the card too much since this is probably the most expensive card in the game in the secondary market, but balance it so it was not such a better card than other cards in the game.
We mainly used Joe Colon and Joshua Lu's Sannin decks to test against our other decks. We can't recreate the player but we could recreate their decks.
(Sidenote: we don't want to involve top players in game testing because we would ask them to quit higher level tournament play and we don't necessarily want them to quit higher level play. We also want Southern CA game testers so that we can see the game problems in person. Yuya and Gary do talk to 2 other out of state people for their opinions but that is it as far as I know. Right or wrong that is how it was done.)
In game testing we originally had it as "Valid: While in Injured Status, you can move 1 Ninja Battling against this Ninja to the bottom of its original owner's Deck. In that case, discard this Ninja." We felt that this met with the flavor of the anime a little bit more and balanced the card. It seemed to work all right until we started play testing against two upcoming Series 7 cards: Jiraiya (N-US046) and Tsunde (N-US049), which I will post in the Card Previews section of the website over the next few days. I believe Lightning and Wind decks will get better with Set 7. Lightning for it's pumps and Wind for some of it's Jutsu negation. Top players will have to show me if I'm right or wrong.
This caused us to rethink the "While in Injured Status" because new cards and the Inherit errata were going to weaken Fire and we didn't necessarily want to destroy Fire. So we ended up deciding to not have Fire wait that extra step to have access to APW ability. It seemed to test all right and Fire did not dominate.
If Fire continues to dominate their are other erratas that are on the watch list: Sasuke Uchiha (N-155). This would cause an additional weakening of Fire decks and as of now, we don't believe it necessary because other decks have been successful against it. Fire/Lightning is on the watch list because of the set 7 Reunion with the Former Teacher (M-209) but we want to see how players use it because it currently is not working that well in our game testing. It seems better to run mainly Lightning rather than mix the two elements. We have a wait and see attitude on it right now.
Please feel free to post responses in a different thread, as my ultimate goal is to have lots of playable decks at our tournaments and I'm willing to listen to "constructive" feedback.