Invited Author: Zach Meader
Country: North America
Greetings everyone. My name is Zach Meader from Cedar Rapids, IA. I would consider the One Piece TCG to be my main TCG that I compete seriously in. The card game is great fun, and being able to meet players at tournaments and have sound conversations with them always brings great memories. I do have experience with other TCG’s but nothing at the competitive level until this TCG. I picked up the game seriously at the start of OP-02. I recently won the Carta Magic TC, hosted on June 17th in NA.
Edward Newgate Leader
If you play the TCG you are likely well aware of this leader, which was released with the launch of OP-02. Players immediately began playing Newgate in NA with a very explosive start Newgate was everywhere to be seen. For good reason, this leader is very strong. Coupled with the leader being red, it had every tool at its disposal to succeed. However, if you notice Newgate had never won a big tournament in NA such as a TC or Regional event until my win.
Why is that?
Lack of consistency alongside the fact, players discovered different ways to play against the leader, two other leaders stood out as decks that could deal with Newgate on even footing or better.. Zoro, and Law, the latter of which I believe to be the best leader in this game. But you may say, but Newgate had so many tops. Which is very true! Early on Newgate dominated the tops but that is simply a numbers game, if most people play Newgate then a lot of Newgates will top. However at the end of OP-02’s life within NA the top spread was more evenly dispersed with Law, Zoro, Newgate, and Kid also showing up.
Lastly, heading into OP-03 I believe Newgate is only getting stronger. Even with Moby Dick getting banned. Reason being, Newgate gets more consistent with access to powerful cards like Izou and the new 5 drop Marco. Expect to see Newgate for a while with dedicated players topping and winning tournaments.
I am going to keep this section short, since we are headed into the start of OP-03 and Moby Dick being banned there is no reason to go too in depth with this section.
I chose to run the Whitebeard Pirates package as my heavy hitters, being top heavy with Ace and Newgate as my game closers. Having these two on the field with Moby was always a guaranteed win. In games where I didn’t have time to play Newgate or Ace, the key was pressuring early with bodies like Kingdew and Atmos. Or playing very defensive with a wall of Marco blockers. Once you get 2 or 3 Marco's down that is usually enough to shut out your opponent. Also when closing for games Marco was fantastic coupled with Moby.
For counters, I decide to run the Strawhat package as they have Nami as a searcher to pull 2k’s or events. Straightforward and to the point with counters nothing insane there. Heading into OP-03 Newgate completely drops the Strawhat package and runs strictly with Whitebeard pirates, which I love as a thematic element. I will be playing Newgate and Ace into OP-03
For this section I will cover what leaders I went up against.
Smoker can be a tough opponent depending on their draws and if they can get the 4 drop and 10 drop Kuzan to stick it is a tough game to win. But on average you can close games out quicker than they can develop. Ace is key to this matchup.
Kid also can be a tough matchup depending on how defensive they are able to get. In this match, always and I mean always have Ace on hand to deal with their big bodies like Yamato and 8 drop Kid. Also you NEED to play around Punk Gibson if you have a Marco blocker up. Best way todo this is honestly just having 2 blockers out if you can. Or not over committing on swings and swinging at equal value so they have to either pitch 1 or 2ks or use a big counter on an equal swing leaving their big bodies exposed for later swings.
Kinemon is a leader I have never struggled with. This leader does not have the toolset to deal with Newgate and his big bodies like Atmos and Kingdew. Just be careful of Punk Gibson.
Zoro this matchup is typically one I also don’t struggle with often, depending on how they pressure you. If they are throwing out rush zoro after rush zoro each turn it can be challenging. But if they play small bodies I typically am able to deal with them easily. Gordon can be a troublesome card.. Other than that I would say swing 7k at Zoro at every opportunity you can.
Law is the matchup that feels hardest, sometimes unbeatable honestly. Law with the proper draws is a tier 0 deck and pressure insanely well while also being the most defensive leader in the game. This matchup is better suited for leaders like Luffy or Smoker. The best way to play this is to always kill their search engines like Nami, Bonnie, Dadan. Once they bounce them back with the Law leader and character they have the resources to win. In this matchup you need Ace and Newgate for a chance of winning. Newgate especially if you are able to play as many as you can back to back making it hard for them to swing into you. Then popping small blockers like Chopper and Beige while dealing with the Law blocker.
Conclusion and Acknowledgments
Newgate remains a powerhouse in this game, and moving into OP-03 I do not see this changing in any regard. As mentioned previously I believe Newgate only gets stronger. Expect to see him at locals, and any other tournaments of course. With the introduction of Ace into OP-03 we might see less Law players as the meta smooths out. As Ace is a hard matchup for Law players. But back to Newgate. If you are a Newgate main as I am, fear not the leader shall continue to succeed and perform very well.
Good luck and thanks for reading!