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Neopets TCG: Return of Dr. Sloth

by slickninja


SPACE STATION - This article is written with the assumption that you know the basics of playing the Neopets Trading Card Game. If you haven't already, check out my previous TCG articles so you can better understand the game.

Today, we will look at what the Return of Dr. Sloth expansion has to offer you and your deck.

This expansion introduces some exciting new twists, whether it be discarding Neopets in play, discarding cards from your opponent's hand, or even discarding points from your opponent's bank! But first, let's take a look at a new ability given to these four experienced Neopets: Buzz Bully, Cybunny Scout, Mutant Grundo, Kougra Scientist. Their ability allows you to tap them to give +4 to strength, agility, magic,and intelligence (respectively) when a contest starts in that arena. If you win the contest, they get to untap. It really depends on the situation if this ability helps you out in contests or not. Giving +4 to any stat is great, but at the possible cost of losing a contest and leaving one of your Neopets tapped? There's always a chance your opponent will roll a 6, so these abilities are good, but there are better out there to use.

But what can you do to increase your odds if you do decide to use these Experienced Neopets? This is where Battle Stations or Maintenance Tunnels comes into play.

Battle Stations is a Something Has Happened card in which you tap an Air Neopet. Then you get to untap all of your Neopets, including the Neopet you just tapped to play the card. So you can start contests in the arenas where you have those Experienced Neopets with the ability described above so you make sure you don't waste their turn. Next, you can play Battle Stations and have those Neopets untap. Then you can tap them to give +4 in your last arena to start your last contest with a boost. Also, if you have any untapped Neopets left, remember you can't start another contest if you've already started one in that arena, because there's a one contest per arena per turn rule (though this doesn't include contests against villains). Instead, you can tap them to do something else, like attach Equipment or do other actions that require tapping a Neopet.

Another card that may be helpful is a location card called Maintenance Tunnels. Players don't roll dice in contests here unless there is a tie. This will eliminate the possibility of your opponent rolling a 6. This is where the +4 boost from your Experienced Neopet can help out. Just make sure your opponent doesn't play a better item than you!

Maintenance Tunnels is also great to play in arenas where you are just flat out stronger than your opponent. Your opponent will have no chance to win at all with no die roll. Another option is putting Maintenance Tunnels in an arena where you put a Villain to block off your opponent. As we all know, Villains' stats are very high and most times, the Villain's rival depends on getting lucky with the roll of a die. Most likely, the rivals' stat is below that of the Villain so they have no chance of a lucky die roll if you have Maintenance Tunnels out.

If you thought that was a cool ability, there are new cards which allow you to replace or discard Neopets.

- Reactor Core: You need a fire Neopet to play this location card. At the end of each contest here, if either player won by rolling a 6, discard all Neopets and Heroes here. This creates more randomness in the game, and depending on your strategy, this could be helpful for you.

- Self-destruct Sequence: To play this tap, one of your fire Neopets. Choose an arena. At the beginning of your next turn, discard all Neopets, Heroes, and Locations in this arena. This could be helpful if you were somehow able to move your opponent's Neopets into an arena where you had no Neopets. If you played Slorg Trails, they would not be able to tap to move out of the arena, so all their Neopets would get discarded. You could also play this if your opponent overpowers you in an arena or if he is unopposed in an arena. Playing self-destruct sequence may scare your opponent out of that arena so it will buy you some time to make your Neopets stronger.

- Sleep Ray: If you win this contest on your turn by rolling a 6, choose a rival and discard it. This is probably one of my favourite equipments. This gives you +4 in strength and +2 in magic. Whether you or your opponent has an advantage in an arena, you have roughly a 1 in 6 chance of winning a contest on your turn and discarding a rival. Discarding a rival gives you a huge advantage because your opponent has to waste part of his turn bringing in a Neopet tapped. That means this Neopet doesn't get to start a contest this turn. Also, your opponent has to get lucky in drawing the correct Neopet and putting it back in to the correct arena. Just be careful of an item called Blue Sticky Hand. This item allows your opponent to take control of one of your Equipment for one turn, so he may be the one trying to put you to sleep!

- Detransmogrifier: This is an item in which if you win this contest, you can replace one of your opponent's Experienced Neopets with the top card of their Neopet stack. This is similar to Sleep Ray as an item card. The advantage of this over Sleep Ray is that you just have to win. You don't have to win by a 6. The disadvantage of this compared to Sleep Ray is that its effect can only be used against an Experienced Neopet. As we know, once you use items, they usually go in your discard pile, but Sleep Ray, as an Equipment, stays on its Neopet forever until an effect from another card says otherwise.

- Gormball: At the end of the contest here, each player chooses and discards one of his Neopets or Heroes in the contest for each 1 he rolled. This is another item from this expansion which has an effect of discarding, but personally, I wouldn't use this card just because it could hurt me just as much as it could hurt my opponent.

Just when you thought things couldn't get any more interesting, this expansion also introduces new cards which allow you to discard cards from you opponent's bank! Bank destruction cards can be the most fun to play whether you win or lose the game.

- Retribution: Roll a die for each card in your bank. If the number rolled is less than the card's points, discard that card. Then your opponent does the same. This might be the most evil card in the whole game. If you have this card in your deck, you can either keep banking low cards, so this card won't likely affect you, or you can just wait until your opponent has a lot of points in his bank while you keep drawing cards. This is the one card that gives advantage to low banking cards over high banking ones.

- Ring of Sloth: When you bank this card with a Fire Neopet or Hero, choose a card in your opponent's bank and discard it. Not only can you bank this card to discard a card that is worth a lot in your opponent's bank, but you can also choose to discard a card that helps your opponent with a special effect. For example, there are many plushies that give stat boosts to Neopets while in the bank. If you find that cumbersome in your contests, you might as well choose to discard the plushie to diminish the chances of your opponent winning a contest. The only drawback to Ring of Sloth is that it is 0 bank points.

So it seems like to use most of the bank destruction cards, you need a Fire Neopet. Well if you don't want to use Fire, there are a couple of Air type cards which will also allow you to have some fun with disrupting cards in your opponent's bank.

- Attack of the Oranges: When you bank this card with an Air Neopet or Hero, choose a card worth 4 or more points in your opponent's bank and return it to their hand.

- Sloth Surprise: At the end of the contest, the loser chooses a card in his bank and returns it to his hand.

Obviously, these Air cards aren't as bank destructive as Fire cards, but at least this gives you another option if you can't seem to fit any Fire Neopets in your deck.

I mentioned about earlier about being able to discard cards from your opponent's hand. If there was an analogy for Retribution to bank destruction, this card would be it for discarding cards.

- Intimidate: This card is an somewhat an extension of the cards Jhudora's Evil Eye and Pant Devil Attacks from the base set. This card allows you to tap a Dark Neopet to look at your opponent's hand. Then you choose a card and discard it. Then you get to look through their deck for that card and discard any more cards he has with that name. Not only is this card great for being able to discard up to 3 cards from your opponent, but you get to look at their hand and their whole deck. So you can be prepared for any surprises your opponent throws at you.

There is one last type of mechanics that this Return of Dr. Sloth expansion brings to us. If you thought Petpet decks were already strong enough, think again. They are now stronger with more options with items called Petpetpets. These cards give you certain effects if you have a Petpet in the contest.

- Cooty: If you win this contest and have a Petpet in it, bank this card instead of discarding it. This is only a bank 2, but every little bit helps. This bank 2 will be added with the addition of either banking another card or drawing another card. This card is definitely recommended for any Petpet deck.

- Mootix: So you thought this little fella was only good for looking cute and giving you an avatar huh? Well this little critter is also helpful when playing the TCG because if you win this contest and have a Petpet in it, you get to move each of its rivals to an arena of your choice. That means most likely, you'll be moving your rival to an arena in which they are weaker in. Your opponent will also most likely have to waste part of his next turn moving back in to the correct arena. This card is great in stalling your opponent while you bank cards to victory!

- Vernax: The last Petpetpet is probably not as helpful as the previous two, but it is still very effective. If you win this contest and have a Petpet in it, you may untap the Neopet that has the Petpet. This card can save you part of your turn by attaching another Petpet or do any other actions that require a tap.

That's pretty much it for all the new things in this expansion. If you have any suggestions or requests, feel free to Neomail me. My next article will take us from the cool waters of the beach to the hot lava of the volcanoes in the next expansion, Mystery Island.

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