Subtitled “Just an opinion though” so no one gets their panties in a twist.
A week or two ago, I was asked about what I think English Weiss Schwarz needs the most compared to the Japanese format. It was just a random question from a friend at locals, but it got me thinking for a while. We’ve talked before about what sets or cards we still wish would get translated and I think they were really just expecting me to name some strong JP sets that haven’t yet been translated or released in English – but personally, that’s not what I think would make EN significantly different in terms of the game. What I miss the most in English Weiss Schwarz are sets meant for fun; troll sets that could probably never be competitive but are just as endearing to play because of their unique mechanics. Why is it that JP gets those, but EN doesn’t?
Including the Milky Holmes demo deck and the upcoming Accel World release, EN still only has 22 different Neo-Standard sets to choose from as of March 2017 while JP has over 70. Heck, that’s some bad diversity for us EN players already – not to mention that the majority of sets Bushiroad releases in EN are already competitively focused to begin with. Naturally, JP also has a lot of competitive sets, but it also has a bunch of one-of sets that seem like experiments or trial runs for different game mechanics, and those never saw the light of being translated (partly because the popularity of different source materials and the projected profit also play a part in this).
I’ll go ahead and reference my old post about some of the Weirdest Cards: all it takes is one scroll down the list and you can see just how many of those picks are from exclusively JP sets. Sure, some things like Wooser and Shiyoko cards aren’t meant to be played at official events at all, and they do take a rather far-fetched approach to spicing up the gameplay. But you don’t need to wander that far off the chart to get diversity – take CANAAN per say, a set that follows its source material wonderfully by using the color mechanic in an innovative way of letting you manipulate and benefit from the colors of your opponent’s characters. It’s an awesome idea that could still be expanded and built upon, but it never was, at least in EN. Another interesting and more recent example would be the newly introduced Standby trigger, a JP-only promo card from BanG Dream. It’s hard to say what the future of it will be though, especially whether or not it will start appearing in other sets or be translated to EN at all.
The closest thing EN has to a fun and unique set is probably Haruhi with her 1/3 event and Dress Up Nagato‘s field shuffle effect. I have to say, I was actually really surprised when Haruhi got translated after years of sitting still in JP: it’s not a competitive set at all, its effects are overpriced and under-performing compared to the cards that see regular play in meta decks and even the new Power-Up set made different builds more viable instead of making the already existing ones significantly more powerful. And still, I can tell you from personal experience that Haruhi is extremely fun to play even when you’re not winning.
All in all, it’s not just the competitive aspect which makes a game interesting. Casually fun decks play their part as well, and I really wish we’d have more of those going around. Don’t get me wrong, tournaments are super important for any card game, but they shouldn’t be the only compelling and interesting thing the gameplay has to offer.