Weiß – Weiss Schwarz – Anime based Card Game – Sword Art Online Trial Deck Review

SAO - Trial Deck - Content - AnimeMage.Com

Weiß/Weiss Schwarz – Anime based Card Game
Sword Art Online Trial Deck Review

Weiß Schwarz was originally a Japanese Anime based collectible card game which has now slowly started being released in English in UK and USA.
The game was created by Bushiroad.

The different sets seem to be separated into Weiß-side and Schwarz-side. Weiß and Schwarz are German for white and black, respectively, as a general rule, series under Weiß side usually have better card effects when compared to those series under Schwarz. However, with the newer series entering the respective sides, there isn’t much difference between the two according to my research :P (Wiki)

I played Magic The Gathering for years, eventually I sold some of my cards and past some onto my brother, over the last few years I kept coming across this game but unfortunately not being able to read Japanese I didn’t have the opportunity to play it.

Finally Weiß Schwarz is now in English :D
With the release of 3 trial decks and booster packs to help build them up (make them different).

The 3 currently available in English, with more to come are:

1) Sword Art Online
2) Fate Zero
3) Puella Magi Madoka Magica

 

Aim of this post

This article is mainly about what’s in the Trial (Starter) Deck, Boosters and a few links to resources around the net I’ve found to help you get more information on how to play, where to play, where to buy etc So hopefully the first section will help people who want to find out more about the card game and the bottom section will help people who stumble across this page looking for something else. 
If there is something else I’ve missed or some other resource that maybe useful to people please comment at the bottom and I’ll make amendments etc when I can :)

 

What is in the box?

I made sure to pick up the Sword Art Online Starter deck… Image Below:

SAO - Trial Deck - Content - AnimeMage.Com

The “Trial Deck” (Starter Deck) is everything you need to get playing straight away, and nicely packaged as you can see :)
It comes with an explanation of the Trial Deck and the different types of cards as well as some ideas of how to change/expand the deck (Image below) and when flipped over this is also the play-mat so that you know the card positions and to help you get started.

SAO - Trial Deck - Content - AnimeMage.ComAs you can see by all the car placings it could easily get confusing at first without this play-mat.
The game is similar in some ways to Magic The Gathering but also seems more complex in other ways, some people have likened it to Vanguard but having never played it I can’t confirm this (though they are both made by the same company so it is likely to be correct).

SAO - Trial Deck - Content - AnimeMage.Com

You also get a lovely big rule sheet which explains the basics to play and all the different information available on the different types of cards as well as what all the spaces on the play-mat are for.
SAO - Trial Deck - Content - AnimeMage.Com

When you flip the sheet above over, there is a detailed break down of the play steps and a further in-depth breakdown of the Attack Phase, don’t like this all worry you. I first read this and thought “Wow there is a lot to take in” but after finding and watching a few tutorials (though they did slightly contradict each other one side attacks) I picked up enough of the game to be able to play a few rounds. (I will link the YouTube video’s below).
SAO - Trial Deck - Content - AnimeMage.Com

And then there is a small (The picture makes it look big) rule book with more indepth step by step in case its needed to clear up anything while playing.SAO - Trial Deck - Content - AnimeMage.Com

Finally the main bit, the cards. The full 50 card deck gives you a pre-made deck with some pretty nice cards to get you started. Its mostly based around Yellow Asuna and Blue Kirito with some other Blue and Yellow cards for support. Unfortunately it doesn’t have two of my favourite characters from the series Silica and Lizbeth who are both Red. Which means I’ll need to make some amendments in the near future ;)
SAO - Trial Deck - Content - AnimeMage.Com

 

My First Booster

Well you know what its like, I figured I’d grab one with the deck, as you can see on the package there are a total of 100 different cards and 8 per booster.

SAO - Booster - Content - AnimeMage.com

In my booster this is the 8 cards I got :) No Lisbeth but I got 2 Silica and a nice Yui Climax card.

SAO - Booster - Content - AnimeMage.com

Here is a closer look at a level 0 Silica with 0 cost to play (Cost on left top) and no trigger (trigger on right top)
The card is 1000 power (low) with one soul (the little symbol at the bottom under the title) which means it can deal 1 damage.
It has an Auto ability called Bond which is to find a card called “Familiar, Pina” at one cost. Currently don’t have that one unfortunately.
SAO - Booster - Content - AnimeMage.com

And already there are people on trade sites swapping singles and people on Ebay selling singles some at reasonable prices unfortunately some at very over inflated prices due to the lack of cards currently up for sale (supply and demand I think its called).

I managed to pick up a few Lizbeth’s to start me off :)

SAO - Ebay - Catch - AnimeMage.com

There is also a possibility of getting a signed foil rare card with ever Trial Deck which I’ve seen go up on Ebay for very high figures, personally I wouldn’t buy them but some collectors maybe interested. Last one I say was £75 which was Asuna card signed by the voice actress of Asuna.

 Overall

Overall I like the series,
The cards themselfs look to be designed well and use as much space as possible to display the artwork which is nice.

The style of play is good and though all the rules at first glance seem quite complex after a few games you get into the swing of things.

So far I’ve not found any contradicting rules and the different decks available seem well balanced and play well against each other.

My only worry at the moment is that it’s new to the language so will it take on/pick up only time will tell and my main bit of advice would be not to pick up a deck if you havn’t watched the anime or intend to watch it int he future as there are a few spoilers in the cards.

Having played a fair few card games in the past and played Magic for years, If I had to give this card game a score I’d say 8/10.

 

Resources

First of all, you’ll going to want to learn how to play the game I found these two YouTube video’s that explain it quite well.

Shorter explains rules but doesn’t show game play (15:11) How to play Weiss Schwarz!!!
Longer explains the rules and shows the start of a basic game (26:13) Weiss Schwarz Tutorial

Weiss Schwarz official English site from here you can find the rule sheet imaged above, other products decks as they are released, Card lists, support etc…  The good thing on this site is is also lists all the shops selling them and which ones are also doing tournaments and events and I found out my local card place is doing an event next Tuesday which I’ll be attending :D Official site

*Added 15/08 thanks to Yumeka*
If you did want to play some of the Japanese decks (I personally like Dog Days so I am tempted) there is a site called Heart of the Cards which translates the cards so you know what’s what :)
You just need to remember that most tournements will be japanese vs japnese cards or english vs english so you wont be able to mix them unless your playing with friends for fun.

Trade Cards Online.com is a site where you can search out different types of cards so you for example, if you wanted a red avatar with backup ability it would list all the cards that match that description. The site is for all types of cards and as you can guess by the name you can use the site to find people who want the spare cards you have and offer trades with their spares. I’ve done this in the past with Magic the Gathering and as long as you can come to some agreement its usually pretty smooth. TradeCardsOnline.com

Buying UK, I’d suggets your local card shop if they stock it (check the official Weiss Schwarz link above) but if not Amazon do stock them.

Buying USA, same as above, but if not Amazon do stock them.

Like I’ve said above, if you find any other resources that are useful comment below and I’ll add them to the list above :)
Hope you enjoy playing…

I will hopefully have Fate Zero Deck soon!!
I’ll probably add a similar article without the rule stuff.

Hope you enjoy playing :D

****Start Update 02/08/13

I’ve played a fair few games of this game now and also taught (and got hooked) a few further friends (victims).
The game its self seems well balanced, while playing your tactics change, though I find that I take more damage, heck deal myself self damage at the start with my mind set on end game, yet draw the line as to when to start minimising damage is sometimes hazy..

Games last around 30 minutes tops, Deck often re-shuffled once, sometimes twice and the game flows very nicely as long as both party’s know the rules and their deck.

There are some nice mechanises but so far nothing seems over powered which makes a change from some of the other games I’ve played.

At present I’m trading cards using the link mentioned above building up a new deck (instead of using the trial decks) based around Sword Art Online Red, I did want to base it around Lizbeth but after some investigating most of the cards ability’s focus around  Silica and her pet dragon Pina with the Lizbeth card’s mainly being assists.

I’ll possibly place my Excel document up here when I finnish it but basically I went through every red card possible to get, linked it to any cards it links to and built my deck around which cards linked to which. So far I have 20 out of the 50 cards needed but with most of the ones I need now being commons or uncommons I’ll have them soon enough :)

Finally, the main reason for this update (before I got distracted) was to mention that there is a program available online (not official to Weiss Schwarz) where you can play piratically any card game.

Its called LackeyCCG and with the Weiss Schwarz plug in (all the Japanese cards translated) you can build any deck you like and test it out online against other uses. However you need to know the rules to be able to use this as the card game its self lets you do anything (it is built to allow people to play any card game on it).

I played my first game on it recently (basically to test out a deck idea, which is what I intend to use it for) but the game lasted an hour and 10 minutes mainly because of my lack of knowledge of how to use Lacky, so look into that first. Luckily for me the person I was playing with didn’t seem to mind that it was my first time using it and explained which buttons did what was we went along and by the end of the match the game was playing quite fast.

The following posts on PoJo.Biz have all the information on how to play, where to download etc so check it out :D

End Update ****

2 Responses to Weiß – Weiss Schwarz – Anime based Card Game – Sword Art Online Trial Deck Review

  1. Yumeka says:

    Nice review of the SAO English trial deck. I picked up the trial deck at this past Anime Expo and was one of the lucky ones to get the Asuna card signed by her seiyuu, Haruka Tomatsu ;D

    But I’ve actually been into Weiss Schwarz for about a year now when the very first English sets were introduced at Anime Expo 2012. But you don’t even need to know Japanese to play with any of the cards because an awesome site called HeartoftheCards.com has English translation inserts for every WS card that you can just put into your card sleeves. Thanks to that, I’ve been using a deck for my favorite series, Haruhi (which will probably never get an English release since it’s an old set). So I would definitely say add Heart of the Cards to your list of resources XD But I’ll have to check out that Trade Cards Online site, and I didn’t even think to look at the official list of tournaments/events. There’s more in CA than I thought – I’ll have to try them!

    There’s actually a little shop I’ve been going to in LA called Desu Nation that sells WS cards and even holds tournaments every weekend. I’ve played the game many times with my boyfriend and with people at Anime Expo – it’s a great game and I hope to play more and more ^_^

    • MouseUK says:

      Thanks for your kind words Yumeka,

      Glad you found a few of the links useful, I did come across HeartoftheCards.com today while continuing to read into it so I’ll edit the post to add that link in there.

      I don’t even know how I came past them, I’d seen the Japanese version mentioned a few times but at the time didn’t know of HeartoftheCards unfortunately so didn’t really look into it, like usual England was slow on catching on but hopefully with the introduction of English decks there will be a little more interest.

      Now I know about HeartoftheCards I’m really tempted to grab the Dog Days deck :D

      Most of my friends who used to play similar games have ever given up or I’ve lost touch with but managed to get a few friends interested in playing a few games so hopefully get a game night or something going, like yourself the local card shop has started running a few tournaments (missed last weeks unfortunately) and has arranged a games night on Tuesdays. So I know where I am this Tuesday :)

      I’ve enjoyed playing the few games I’ve played so far, looking forward to playing more but also wishing there was an online version lol I did think about trying to play over webcam but not sure how that would work :D

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