Resource Retrospective - Chaos
by Javelin Chimera
Welcome to the Resource Retrospective! In this series, I’d like to take a look at each of the resource symbols used in the Universal Fighting System and analyze some of the design philosophies and patterns that have manifested throughout the years. Along with this, we’ll take a look at a handful of powerful or popular cards that have represented these philosophies as well.
Just a bit of a disclaimer: the following is largely the opinion of the writer. By nature, UFS has a diverse system with a wide array of effects and strategies. With 99% of cards having at least 3 different resource symbols, you’ll see many of these themes spread across multiple symbols. What we’re going to take a look at are some of the more prevalent effects for each, both from the past and in today’s Standard format. So whether you’re a new player just starting their UFS journey, or a long-time veteran enjoying a trip through memory lane, thank you for joining me!
Today, we are going to be taking a look at Chaos-
Disorder - Instinct
First, let’s take a look at some of the cards that are very specifically designed for this resource symbol to get some initial inklings into what Chaos might be all about:
Instinctual Disorder (Legality: Legacy) - For our first effect here, we get a simple commit to add a card from hand to the top of our deck. The basic usage for this being to ensure your next control check is a specific number, but there is other utility that this could be used for as well. The second ability nets a player an extra momentum from the top of their deck after gaining one. Potentially useful with another copy of the top ability to stuff a specific card in your momentum.
Seal of Bedlam (Legality: Legacy) - This is largely a symmetrical ability that allows you boost everyone’s momentum or deprive everyone of a face-down card. There is some potential niche synergy here with cards that hit momentum face-up. Still, once again we are messing with momentum on Chaos.
Chimeric Abyss (Legality: Jasco Eternal) - This Attack of Power is expensive to play, but provides a lot of potential kill power. Powerful gives us an outlet for all of our momentum, but the real fun is in the free enhance. An unblocked hit from this attack means you’re looking at 5+ cards from the top of your deck for an attack, which means you are probably going to find one. That attack then gets played for free. Chaining multiple copies of this attack off of their own enhances is a good time. This gives us a powerful, if somewhat random, effect.
Chaos has a few fairly well-developed themes throughout the history of UFS, and its symbol specific cards do a decent job of showing them off. Chaos is most definitely your main momentum symbol in UFS, though it shares many of its momentum cards with the Air symbol. Though its Foundation of Power only really somewhat touches upon the theme, being able to positively affect your own control checks shows up often. And to a lesser extent but very flavorful for Chaos, we see some abilities that play with randomness for some potentially powerful effects. So let’s break down these themes and take a look at some classic examples.
All the Momentum
If you want to generate a ton of momentum for doing practically nothing, you will be hard pressed to find a better symbol. With all that super meter, you’ll have plenty of fuel for multiples, powerfuls, EXs, or any other shenanigans that might call for momentum as a cost. If you want to get extra fancy, you can even use a number of characters that can commit pieces of your momentum for effects just like other cards in your staging area.
Power Up (Legality: Legacy) - The OG momentum generating action card. They don’t get much more straightforward. Play it as a form, get 2 momentum. What you do with it from there is up to you.
Whereabouts Unknown (Legality: Banned) - Okay, look. Nowadays, there is a fairly set design philosophy when it comes to balancing foundations. Cards with a difficulty of 1 and a good block modifier are typically going to have less powerful abilities. When this card was made, you could make a solid case for claiming that card stats were determined by rolling dice, and this one happened to have been made on someone’s lucky day. If this card’s ability were printed on a foundation today, I would have a hard time deciding stats that would make the full card balanced. Let’s just say, this one is banned for a reason.
Flash Lightning (Legality: Jasco Eternal) - Great block, easy to play, solid poke. This attack presents your opponent with a tough choice. Do they take the hit and let your other attacks be easier to play for the turn, or do they block it and give you an instant momentum? Bonus points for also being a reversal.
Reactive Style (Legality: Standard) - This foundation serves a couple of solid purposes in today’s standard. Momentum can be dangerous, one way or another, so having control of not only your own momentum but your opponent’s as well is great utility. Personally I wish it wasn’t a control 4, but any higher might be a little too much.
Outside of just committing foundations to pass your checks each turn, there’s the option to just make the control check itself better through abilities. Some effects will boost your checks preemptively, while some of the more handy ones will let you see the check first and then make a decision to pump as needed. Historically speaking, even just getting a +1 to all of your checks for your turn can mean closing out a game.
Rookie's Fortune (Legality: Legacy) - Expecting to see a bad check on your next card, or just needing to make one considerably more beefy than your usual 5 check? Pop this foundation and effectively get a net +2 on your next check. Helpful for making that strong burst to end a game.
Soul of Ling-Sheng Su (Legality: Legacy) - Bonus points for having pretty great stats, this foundation lets you flip your control check first and then gives you the bonus check you need to pass it. It is limited to attacks, but to be fair those are usually going to be the highest difficulties you are checking against anyway. This one is effectively the better-statted younger brother of Beginner's Luck/Green (Legality: Legacy).
The Golden Ticket (Legality: Jasco Eternal) - Providing a solid lockdown effect, this asset also let’s you get +1 to ALL of your checks for the turn, assuming the next thing you play is an attack, much like the old favorite Float like a butterfly... (Legality: Legacy). Not really a tough hoop to jump through for a decent bonus.
Not quite the “holds up spork, teh penguin of doom” levels of randomness, there are some effects occasionally present in Chaos that aren’t quite as controllable but can still provide solid, if not powerful, results. While many of these examples tend to be on character cards, we do still have some examples of the zaniness you can accomplish if you set your mind to it.
Material Advantage (Legality: Legacy) - One of the original great foundations, the level of actual randomness in this foundation is largely based on how your deck generates momentum. Personally, I’d go with gaining momentum the old-fashioned way or through abilities where you get to choose what’s going in, just so you can guarantee max value with each Material Advantage use.
Tira's Contract (Legality: Legacy) - A fairly strong defensive foundation for its stats, this one can still potentially be only randomly useful even when controlling what’s hitting your momentum. That being said, if you know the only thing that’s in your momentum is a mid block, then your basically looking at a free block. Sounds good to me.
There you have it, a short overview of some of the common themes you’ll see with the Chaos symbol in the Universal Fighting System. As a bonus, here are some notable characters that also fall into these themes:
Yun-Seong* (Legality: Legacy)
Blanka**** (Legality: Legacy)
Morathi* (Legality: Jasco Eternal)
Felicia* (Legality: Standard)
Blanka* (Legality: Standard)
Let us know what your favorite flavorful Chaos cards are, and join us next time when we dig up some destruction with the next UFS resource symbol: Death. Thank you for reading!