[Article] Eat or Be Eaten: A Tachikaze Retrospective (Part 1)
Hey there, everypeoples! My name is MystikX, and today I’ll be your guide on a journey to a time long lost where dinosaurs were king. Consider me John Hammond, and this retrospective a trip through Jurassic Park!
Tachikaze has been a rather unfocused clan ever since its inception. It started out as one of the ten clans to make it into the first ever Booster Set, and sporadically received support ever since. It even ends up being sporadically used in the anime, usually reserved for secondary or one-shot characters like Jurassic Army, Team Lao, and even someone who jobs to Kanzaki in his debut episode. But we’re not here for a history lesson on the anime. We’re here to talk about how this clan went from being a decent budget deck to arguably one of the more recent heavy hitters in days past.
It all started with the first ever Booster Set, Descent of the King of Knights, being one of the six clans to receive 4 cards, one of each Grade. The Grade 0 for the clan was Ironclad Dragon, Shieldon, a standard 6000 Power Normal Unit. This was an okay start, and it gets better with the Grade 1 introduced, Sonic Noa, who was the standard 8000 Power Normal Unit. This ensured that all future Tachikaze decks would at the very least have a strong Boost unit to rely on for strong columns. Our Grade 2 for the set was Assault Dragon, Blightops, a 9000 Power unit that allowed you to replace it rather easily when it was retired. For a simple Counterblast, you’d be able to add the aforementioned Shieldon to your hand from your deck, giving you either a decent Booster or a strong Guardian with his 10000 Shield. All of this is good and all, but the Grade 3 is where these first few cards for the clan really shined. Tyrant, Deathrex is one of the more iconic units in the clan, and there’s a big reason for that. Out of every single card released in the pack, Deathrex was able to attack with the highest possible Power before factoring any Triggers, and it’s all thanks to his ability that gives him a free 5000 Power when he attacks as your Vanguard. Boosted by any of the 8000 Power units available at the time, that gave us 23000 Power total. That’s more than Alfred, Amaterasu, and Asura Kaiser. Dragonic Overlord was able to surpass it, but that’s after a hefty Counterblast 3. Deathrex was arguably free, and proudly wore his hipster glasses when generic Limit Breaks gave the same effect. Granted, Deathrex required you to retire one of your Rearguards if his attack hit, but that plays perfectly well into Tachikaze’s playstyle: Eat or be eaten.
Continuing on to Booster Set 2, Onslaught of Dragon Souls, Tachikaze would receive another 4 cards while clans like Spike Brothers and Granblue received enough to make a full deck. Tachikaze was perfectly fine waiting when you consider these 4 cards added more to the “Eat or be eaten” mentality the clan was going for. Dragon Egg was the Grade 0 introduced, and the true First Vanguard for the clan. Upon its retire, you could pay a Counterblast to add it straight back to your hand, giving you a strong Guardian for the future. The Grade 1, Winged Dragon, Skyptero, had this exact same effect. Standard cards, sure, but the remaining cards were a bit more flashy. The Grade 2 was Cannon Fire Dragon, Cannon Gear, a strong 11000 Power unit. The only other Grade 2 with this much power was Nova Grappler’s Brutal Jack, and he had Restraint, a skill that prevented him from attacking unless you paid a Counterblast. Cannon Gear has no restrictions, only that you “eat” a Rearguard when you play him. Have no Rearguards to “eat”? Free 11000 Vanguard! He also got a free 2000 Power when Boosted by a Tachikaze, making Sonic Noa let him reach the magic 21000 Power that was key at the time, and still is arguably. The Grade 3 was Chaos Dragon, Dinochaos, one of many Superior Ride units available at the time, and honestly, the easiest to achieve. All you need is a Grade 2 Vanguard and to “eat” 2 Tachikaze Rearguards. Everything else at the time was pretty expensive. Monster Frank needed a Counterblast 3, Spirit Exceed needed 2 specific units to retire, Yaksha required you to retire an opponent’s unit for a rather weak Grade 3, Aleph and Blazing Core Dragon both needed 2 specific units to add to your Soul, etc.
So to reiterate real quick, two sets in, with eight cards to show for it, we already had a couple units with no effects, but high Power, a couple units that could add themselves back to the hand, a unit that deck thins, a powerful Grade 2 option that could be splashed into any deck, a unit that was effectively 15000 Power, and one of the easiest Superior Rides in the game. That’s not a bad start for a clan that’s all Common and Rare for the time.
That would change, though, when Booster Set 3, Demonic Lord Invasion, when the clan would get fleshed out with 12 more cards. The clan received it’s first, and only (at the time), RRR card in Ravenous Dragon, Gigarex. He’s…not that good, even with the “Rex” archetype recently being fleshed out (more on that later). His only effect was getting a 1000 Power increase whenever a Tachikaze Rearguard was retired. Sounds good, right? After all, Kagero was a powerful force back then, and retiring Rearguards was kinda their thing, so your Vanguard would get Power and make guarding easier. But Gigarex has three words in his text that basically made him worthless: “During your turn”. At the very least, BT03’s RRR foiling made it pretty to look at in your binder…only to make you realize that it could have been an Alice or Amon or Tsukuyomi you could have pulled. This skill was shared with a couple other units, Savage Warrior and Savage Destroyer, who were weak to begin with (6000 and 8000 Power respectively), but they at least showed that there were at least SOME Human race units in the clan.
It gets better from there, though. Tachikaze’s only RR in the set was the obligatory Perfect Guard, Archbird. From there, we had Raging Dragon, Blastsaurus, a rather weak Grade 3 with 9000 Power, but it was at least able to Call another copy from the deck when it was retired, at the cost of a card from your hand. A Grade 1 in the set, Raging Dragon, Sparksaurus, has the same effect, but was equally weak with a meager 5000 Power. Ravenous Dragon, Megarex was the standard 10000 Power Grade 2 unit most clans had at the time, and finished the trifecta of “Vanilla Units”. Aside from that, Vacuum Mammoth was the last unit we got, being the standard “Soulcharge on hit” units. This was an oddity, since the Soul was a resource that Tachikaze didn’t exactly use. At least, not yet, anyway. We also got a rainbow of Triggers, but it’s worth noting the Critical Trigger, Black Cannon Tiger, was the only one with an effect, allowing you to Soulcharge if the attack it Boosted was successful, then shuffling it back into the deck. Reusable Critical Triggers is nice and all, but again, the Soul was a resource that wasn’t used.
Tachikaze would then fall off the face of Cray as it took them a long while to receive new support in bulk. Until then, they received a few new cards in the forms of Promos and other releases, namely Comic Style Vol. 1, which gave us Savage King, a new Grade 3 with 9000 Power, but it had the ability to power itself up by 3000 multiple times each turn. Doing so came at a cost of “eating” a Tachikaze Rearguard and, surprisingly, a Soulblast, meaning Vacuum Mammoth and Black Cannon Tiger found some reason to use their effects. As for Promos, we got Cannon Fire Dragon, Sledge Ankylo, a new Draw Trigger that was literally a Margal clone (shove it into the Soul for +3000 Power), and Assault Dragon, Circular Spino, a Grade 2 that could power itself up by 4000 Power when it attacked by “eating” a Tachikaze Rearguard.
Tachikaze didn’t have the strongest of starts, but it wasn’t a weak start either. Still, it was at least a full year until Tachikaze got the spotlight again, in the middle of the Limit Break era. But that’s for another day, when we go over Part 2 and see just what Bushiroad had in store for these cyborg dinosaurs.