The most recent addition to the teaching staff at Great Nature University has been Bigbelly. He is a famous professor whose lessons take up so much space that he runs out of room on his boards and has to start writing on his own stomach. With the introduction of G Character Booster 2: WE ARE!!! TRINITY DRAGON, we now have two Bigbelly cards to work with. In today’s lesson, I would like to look at the pros and cons of both and look at what they bring to the table for a potential Bigbelly deck.
We will start with the original – Famous Professor, Bigbelly (or FPB):
[AUTO](VC) Generation Break 2 (Active if you have two or more face up G units in total on your (VC) or G zone):When this unit attacks a vanguard, choose one of your rear-guards, until end of turn, it gets [Power]+4000, and at the end of that turn, draw a card, and retire that unit.
[AUTO](VC):[Counter Blast (1)] During your turn, when your G unit Stride, you may pay the cost. If you do, choose up to two of your rear-guards, until end of turn, they get [Power]+4000 and “[AUTO](RC):When a unit’s attack in the same column as this unit hits a vanguard, if the attacking unit’s [Power] is 20000 or greater, draw a card.”.
This card’s on-Stride skill provides multiple benefits, but comes with a handful of drawbacks. First, let’s take a look at the benefits. FPB allows you to buff multiple units, giving you the choice to distribute the power around the field or put both buffs on a single column for one more concentrated attack. The units buffed with FPB also gain a draw skill that is not limited to once per turn, which can put enormous pressure on the opponent to guard or else risk you drawing into valuable resources, especially with restanding abilities from cards such as Crayon Tiger or Contradictory Instructor, Tusk Master.
However, as stated before, this card does come with not-insignificant drawbacks. The first and most glaring drawback is the fact that FPB does not have the same on-Stride calling ability that was given to units such as Altmile and Gaiaemperor. This means that if your opponent is playing a deck that has any way to disrupt your field, FPB’s effectiveness is greatly weakened. Even just having your front row attacked can limit FPB’s usefulness. In addition, Bigbelly’s power buffs do not have the side effect of retiring the units it targets. On the surface, this may seem like a good thing, but because many of GN’s commonly used cards rely on being retired or having another unit retire, this can sometimes be a hindrance. As you have rear guards and G Units that can retire through their own skills, this limitation does not often become an issue, but it is still worrisome enough to note. Another problem with FPB’s on-Stride ability is the red text that you see above. FPB is cumbersome in the way its effect resolves, namely in how you get the full benefit of it. First and foremost, you need to have units on the field that you want to target. As stated above, this can sometimes be a cumbersome hurdle to begin with. Beyond that, the units you targeted then have to see an attack hit the Vanguard in their column. This method of effect activation is exactly why Megacolony had so much of a problem in their early life. When too much of the activation and resolution of your abilities hinges on the opponent letting them go off, you have a recipe for disappointment, if not disaster. Last and possibly least, we have FPB’s GB2 skill. While this won’t become a hindrance too often as you will want to Stride every turn, there will be turns when that is not an option. Under those circumstances, you will be relying on your Vanguard to put in what work it can and FPB puts in a pathetic amount there. Your Vanguard column will be swinging for a nearly insignificant amount and will not be giving much power to speak of to your rear guards. In an era where great defensive GB2 skills like Darkface, Gavrail, and Girguit exist, having one that does almost nothing is unfortunate at best.
Next up, let’s move on to the new Bigbelly – Teacher’s Cane of Affection, Bigbelly (TCAB)
[CONT](VC) Generation Break 2:All of your units that are successful get [Power]+4000. If you do not have any rear-guards, all of the cards in your hand get “[CONT](Hand):While you are paying the cost for Stride, this card gets grade +1.”.
[AUTO](VC):[Counter Blast (1)] During your turn, when your G unit Stride, you may pay the cost. If you do, choose up to one card with the success ability from your hand, and call it to (RC). Choose one of your rear-guards, and you may have it get [Power]+4000 until end of turn. If you do that, at the end of that turn, draw a card, and retire that unit.
The first fun thing to note about TCAB is that he has Success while not actually having an ability that activates when he becomes successful. Having Success serves a dual purpose in comboing with his own other abilities. Once successful at GB2, he adds an additional 4000 power to himself. Having Success also means that extra copies can be called from your hand for his on-Stride skill. While we’re talking about this card’s good points, that on-Stride skill is absolutely something to address. TCAB’s ability is fairly straightforward, but very good. He has the same clause as Altmile, which allows him to call a card from hand on-Stride before activating any other abilities. Once you choose whether or not to call a card, you can then choose a rear guard to give 4000 power and a retire and draw effect. This makes it much easier to enable any other abilities that require a rear guard to be at a specific power threshold. Additionally, the red part of TCAB’s GB2 skill seen above is incredibly beneficial. Initially, it seems as though having to retire your whole field to get a +1 Grade bonus is unwieldy. However, thanks to some older cards such as Head of the Bastion, Ardillo and some new cards we’re getting alongside TCAB in G-CHB02, the clear field requirement is looking to be pretty simple to achieve. Now, not only can you Stride with Grade 3s and Stride fodder, thanks to TCAB you can also Stride with Grade 2s as well as Thunder Elemental, Gororo.
A detriment to note about TCAB is that he does only call and boost a single card, though fortunately they do not absolutely need to be the same one. A single boost seems like a bit of a downgrade from the previous version, though I suspect that this came as a trade off for the increased versatility. Also, like FPB, TCAB’s power boost part of his GB2 seems fairly useless. You want to Stride every turn, so the power boost will hopefully never be going off on your own turn and it will likely be extremely difficult if not impossible to get a rear guard to successful levels on the opponent’s turn.
All in all, it does seem like Bushiroad’s R&D department took the players’ complaints about FPB and designed TCAB around them. The absolute biggest issue with FPB was his inability to function against heavy control and (excluding Link Joker), TCAB can easily play around control by utilizing his on-Stride call. TCAB still has a seemingly useless power buff as part of his GB2, but also comes equipped with another part of the skill that is very beneficial. I love seeing things like this come from Bushiroad. They took a decent card that had some glaring flaws and turned it into a more than playable one whose slight flaws are very much palatable. Make way, meta. Bigbelly is about to come crashing through!