Weiß Weiss Schwarz Review Part 3 – Collecting, Card Aesthetics, and Rarity System

Nearly a month later… We close this three-part review of Weiss Schwarz with a look at card aesthetics, collecting aspects, and the rarity system.

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“Sigh… I’ll take the better-looking and more expensive one. Hey, aren’t you that Swindle guy who sold me that lousy Weiss Schwarz trial deck?”

Check out the previous posts:
Part 1 – Play Experience and Observations
Part 2 – Trial Decks

My first purchase involved Fate/Stay Night cards which mostly used visual novel screenshots, character art, and backgrounds. Nearly the entire card is art and that focus on art is something I appreciate compared to a lot of the anime card games from America.

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Set 1-5 > 6-8 > 9-10
Seriously, what was wrong with the original template? Why does the art keep getting smaller?

Something I’m mixed on is the “unofficial” art. They aren’t around much today, but there was quite a bit in the original Fate/Stay Night, Fate/Hollow Ataraxia, and other earlier sets. Why they did this I do not understand. While some cards are okay

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Others I don’t care for like these…

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I mean no disrespect to the artists and this is purely subjective. If you happen to like the ones I don’t and dislike the ones I do, that’s fine. I’m just wondering why they hired artists to draw for a visual novel franchise with tons of material. What’s the point of using the original game screenshot, then hiring someone to draw almost the same thing?

If these artists are famous, I’m unaware as I may not recognize their style immediately. The original Tsukuyomi cards minus the bird in Cardfight!! Vanguard were drawn by Hiroyuki Takei, the creator of Shaman King. I also found out that this

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was drawn by Kobayashi Jin, the creator of School Rumble.

It’s unfortunate that I can’t easily look these names up as they’re credited in Japanese, something only Pokemon cards care to rectify. Feel free to school me on who has drawn for this game. It would’ve been a cool selling point if famous artists drew for the game but they aren’t advertising that fact, so why spend the money on new art?

Must be worth it if you use the source material for the non-foil and the artist art on the foil.

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I mentioned last post that Bushiroad sneaks in “alternate” versions of cards with zoomed in art on the non-foil/inferior version. I hate this with a passion. I mean look at this.

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They know what they’re doing when they print the crappy zoomed in version. It’s not even laziness because it takes more effort to do that than just release the right version across the board. Even if the regular and foil versions were the same amount of zoom, isn’t foil special enough? NO! Foils are zoomed out to be more superior than the zoomed in version for commoners.

I have no problem with alternate art variants, but either do actual alternate art or don’t do it at all. More of this please.

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I’m also fine with foil on already properly zoomed art.

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I hate cop outs like these.

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They could simply pick different pictures, but instead they’ll go through the trouble of editing cards to be inferior on purpose and stick it with a superior version in the same set.

Moving on to foils and rarity. This is one of the greediest games when it comes to foils. One thing I don’t think has changed for the most part is that you get one foil per box of twenty packs. That’s soooo bad. Granted, some series get Extra Packs which are small sets of 36 cards. Every card can come in foil of which there are two per pack. This is cool, but as you can imagine not every franchise gets Extra Packs.

You might be thinking “Oh There D Hood, stop complaining about shiny cards. You don’t NEED them to play.” That is correct. One thing I will give them is that unlike some games where foil is the only version of that card, foils here are simply variants of cards already in the set. You do not have to have them. You can just play the version for commoners.

I know I’m not owed foils, but I do have to wonder why this is the only game I’ve played where foils are so scarce. Seriously, in twenty packs? Cardfight Vanguard!! which is also made by Bushiroad has several foils per box of thirty packs. Sure, that’s geared towards kids, but what are Schwarz players but bigger kids with a little more money?

At the top of the food chain are SPs.

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Today, they’re generally fake autographs. They have an artist or voice actor sign/draw/write a message as a template and it’s stamped on a foil card. They sometimes have texture and/or alternate art, but they’re generally just zoomed out art. I’m guilty of wasting so much money on these fake autographs. They look fantastic, but extremely hard to pull. I don’t know the rate, but I’ve only ever pulled ONE out of packs. The rest were bought/traded.

It’s sad because I remember the Inuyasha, Fullmetal Alchemist, and Bleach card games having real autographs and it was really special opening one. Since they’re hand-signed, I at least understand their rarity/scarcity.

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I don’t know the over and under about doing real autographs here, but from a business standpoint fake autographs are the cheaper/lazier option and people eat them up anyway. They can be mass produced to no end yet they’re rare as HFIL. I can say the same for high rarity cards in any game, but it’s true.

The other types of foils have no consistency when it comes to art. It might be alternate art. It might not be. It might zoom out. It might just be the regular version with foil. They do whatever they feel like. At least with the fake autographs, I concede that the art may need shifting so the “autograph” doesn’t cover anything.

Up next are the RRRs or “Triple Rares”.

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(I’m not a fan of these flashy and distracting patterns, but they show up in photos better.)

They’re textured foils with different patterns/feel every set or even different patterns within the same set. Some patterns get reused. RRRs are more likely to have actual alternate art.

SRs are flat foils.

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Even for the lowest rarity foil, they’re really nice and rainbowy. They can have alternate art, but are less likely to. These are the most common foil so at one foil per box you generally don’t want to see this as your foil because most are worth a few dollars at best which brings me to my next point.

Since these are variants of existing cards, please please please pick playable cards to do these with. My first try at Fate/Zero packs gave me this…

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Nobody wants this. I will take this card to my grave.

If only they would foil RRs so there’s more copies out there, iconic art/scenes that deserve foiling, or just playable cards instead of obvious garbage. And I know Bushiroad knows which cards are garbage… It’s part of why buying a box for this game is never a good idea. Short of pulling a SP or a key RRR/SR, you WILL lose money. Same can be said for any other card game, but here especially. It wouldn’t kill them to make some changes to get people buying more. I’m trying to help you company that’s out to make money. More foils per box won’t bankrupt you. If you’re satisfied with sales now, you’d do even better. Adding value to sealed product MAKES you money.

Next are RRs or “Double Rares”. They used to be non-foil. There’s usually eight per standard set and you get four per box, most likely one of each color unless it’s a set where a color is less represented. This is where building a deck becomes expensive if you need four of a certain RR. If you’re competitive and don’t care about foils, this is where your money’s going. While foils are optional, RRs may not be and serve the purpose foil-only cards in other games do. So nobody wins.

Next is Rs or “Rares” also formerly non-foil. Simply a one-per-pack that can be replaced by a RR or foil.

Some might argue that my foil argument is old hat and Bushiroad has listened to our woes. Rs and RRs now they look like THIS!

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Yeah, that’s what I was looking for. Ripping off Vanguard’s lame rare “foiling” which ripped off Yu-Gi-Oh!’s Duel Terminal cards… On the Schwarz cards, it’s not even very noticeable compared to the cards they ripped off. And as you’ll see below, they can’t even keep the patterns right between languages.

Seriously, that’s the best you could do? It’s just another cop out. I’d rather Rs and RRs stayed non-foil. Certain patterns can be aesthetically distracting or aren’t symmetrical/consistent. Nobody asked for this and they know that. I can understand rares being non-foil, but RRs being some of the most powerful cards should be foils just like Vanguard.

Let’s address some unfortunate aesthetics on the English cards.

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English effects are too long-winded compared to Japanese. The text boxes are twice as big and contain the card’s Japanese name covering more art. Sigh… For all the praise I gave the huge card art, this is a problem. I think for most English cards, if you took out the Japanese name, the text box would be a fair size. I get that it’s there for Japanese players, but I don’t see English names on Japanese cards because we don’t matter.

The last thing I’ll bring up is promos. They’re almost never foil (Of course, right?) and rarely playable though that’s getting more arguable. This is a good thing. Exclusive promos with unique/good effects have killed many games. So while this game has its fair share of exclusive promos, they’re pretty much all bad. While some are rare and have value, you won’t be screwed by not having them to play with.

I hope I demonstrated what a pain it is to collect in this game and really, any of Bushiroad’s non-kiddy games. They make aesthetically inferior versions of cards on purpose to make you chase the superior on purpose version. There is no consistency to this. Some foils are alternate art. Some are zoomed out more. Some are just foil. Adding “foil” to RRs and Rs by not actually using foil. Foils are a part of almost any card game and they’re so scarce here. Plus, they’re not always good cards when they could/should be. Buying sealed product is a joke.

I really like these cards. There’s a bigger focus on art in this game more than any other. My unprofessional pictures don’t do certain foils justice, especially the RRR Rin which might be my favorite card. Their painfully stupid choices simply bug me, but things won’t change since people keep buying.

That does it for Weiß Schwarz unless something gets me writing on it again. If anybody has a request for a card game, movie, toy, etc., let me know. Otherwise, free choice for the next post.

Follow me on Twitter @there_d_hood for random musings and updates.
Or check out my Tumblr http://there-d-hood.tumblr.com/ for random pictures and updates.

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