This article has been a long time coming and I want to apologize for it taking over a month to come out. I hit a wall when it came to Japan when writing for this article becuase there were simply so many cards that could be written about. So many standard and limited cards in Japan end up very similar to each other to where it didn't make sense to make them different entires. At the same time, the very orignal list had 7 entires that were split between 2 cards. That was simply way to much becuase this series intends to only cover 10ish cards at a time to not make it overwhelming. Then just this last week a balance update came down and affected several cards which required some reworking of this article. However, finally I got everything in order and went ahead and have finished the special and elite article also. That will come next week and after that there is only 1 more covering the two ally nations. There will be no more delays and in 2 weeks this series will be finished I promise.
34th Infantry Regiment - Previously this was the best card within Japan but the nerf in the most recent balance patch has knocked it down from that throne. It is to early to tell how much the nerf has done to it's viability but it should still see play in most Japanese aggro decks. A 1 kredit 2/2 that moves and attacks for free is still quite powerful. The remove the top card of your deck is not a real downside and doesn't do much to affect the power level of the deck.
Rising Sun - The British card Convoy HX 175 is 3 kredits in order to draw 2 cards and that sees play in many different decks. Rising Sun can essentially be a 1 kredit version of Convoy which is quite powerful. Saving 2 kredits for a card is incredibly powerful and becuase it's such cheap draw Rising Sun has fueled various aggressive Japanese decks since the beta. It is such a natural fit into Japan aggro due to how many cheap units they play and how many of those have Blitz. Having such cheap draw allows Japanese aggro to keep playing cards much longer than they really should be able to. However, Rising Sun is essentially limited to main Japanese decks as with ally slots it can be a dead draw since you are limited in how many japanese units you can run.
Akita Regiment/Mito Regiment - These 2 units represent a sort of midgame/burn for Japanese Aggro decks. Both of them are often quite expensive to play and use compared to other Japanese units in aggro decks but both destruction effects make that ok. Akita is the easier to use and it's destruction effect can either hit the enemy HQ as burn damage or it could hit an enemy unit which is sometimes quite important since it can be a minor form of removal. Hitting an artillery or bomber and killing it with the Akita in the early game can decide games but the randomness can cause issues. The Mito Regiement on the other hand is always going to hit the enemy HQ and there is a only a single card that can truly prevent that from happening. It forms a top end threat of aggro decks where it helps get those last few points of daamge needed to finish the enemy HQ. The main downside is it being 3 kredits with 1 operation cost which is very expensive for Japan aggro to effectively use.
Naval Operation - Board clears are currently few and far between and even those that do exist are often either very expensive (see carpet bombing) or have very small effects against decks with larger units (see Tora! Tora! Tora!). Naval Operation falls into the camp of being a smaller board clear but has something to offset the low damage which is it's ability to pin. A mass pin card is something very powerful since it can stall the game out for an entire turn with the enemy often not able to do much to offset it. Naval is an amazing stalling tool for slower deck in general due to this combination of mass pin and cheap aoe that makes it useful against any deck that is playing ground units (which is a very large amount).
Type 97 Chi-Ha/Type 93 - The other cards combined into one entry on this list becuase these both offer extreemely similar effects. For the most part these will be boosting your entire board and require the enemy to kill them as the damage can really add up if they are left around. The Type 93 being 1 kredit make it incredibly flexible since you can play it and still have the kredits to use other units. The tradeoff to that is that the unit itself is very weak and dies to a light breeze while not being able to do much damage. The Type 97 Chi-Ha can be seen as the opposite to that. It offers a more resliant and threatening body as a 3/3 which is also a better card you just play out without needing to get immediate use out of the buff. However it being 3 kredits means it can be quite expensive to use in conjunction with infantry. Both cards are quite useful in decks that often have several cheap units on the board such as aggro decks or in a deck like Soviet tokens which has a constant stream of cheap units coming out.
A6M2 Zero - This icnoic fighter ends up as a solid overall 5 drop. It has a deployment effect that can impact the board that is combined with a decent body. 4/4 is not the best on turn 5 since that is when units start reaching 5+ health on a consistent basis but that's where the deployment effect can find use. Outside of finishing off units with 1 health the deployment effect also can lower units to the point where they can't attack the zero due to ambush. It being a fighter with ambush also means it can stonewall smaller bombers. The Zero combines different effects that on their own are average into a single card that is a solid card in various Japanese decks.
Osaka Regiment/Type 3 Chi-nu - These two units are extremely similar as 5 cost guards both with 4 attack but the differences completely change what these units are strong against. The Osaka Regiment is the simpler of the two units since it's just a big buard but there is a lot of usefulness in that. 7 health is simply a lot and makes it very resistant to damage based orders and against units. It will often take 2 seperate attacks/orders in able to break through the Osaka and with 4 attack it often leaves any would be attackers low on health. The Type 3 Chi-nu trades some health away in order to have ambush and also be a tank. The ambush makes this unit much more annoying for enemies to break through if they lack larger units and it being a tank gives it the ability to go on the offensive when needed. Essentially the Osaka Regiment is strong against midrange/value decks to it's high health being hard for those decks to punch through. While the Type 3 Chi-nu is better against aggro and control becuase aggro often doesn't have large enough units to attack through the ambush meaning they have to spend several units and against control the Chi-nu being a tank means it can apply much mroe pressure than the slow moving Osaka Regiment. Both units are very good and it's more so a choice based on what you are seeing when you play.
15th Cavalry Regiment - This is probably one of the more iconic cards in aggro decks for people that have been playing for sometime. 1 kredit to have a 2/1 blitz in the frontline is exactly what aggro is looking to do. The 15th applies a lot of pressure very quickly due to it's free operation cost letting it attack every turn without you needing to actually spend kredits to do so. There is also the possiblity of buffing this unit which can be extremely powerful for how quickly it can all happen such as with supply shipment from the US which can turn let the 15th cavalry be a 4/4 and attack on turn 2. This just all combines to make the 15th a cornerstone cardin any Japanese aggro deck.
Air Superiority - This is a very strong pay off in various air decks as 1 kredit to deal 3 damage is very strong removal. Compared to From the People which is a 3 kredit order fomr the Soviet Union that deals 3 damage you can save 2 kredits with Air super as long as it's activated. It's actually extremely comparable to Rising Sun which was talked about above. This being a removal order makes it quite strong as a tempo play because it can kill an a suprisingly large amount of stuff through out the game for so cheap. It's so efficient that if you have a decent amount of air units then this is worth running no matter if the deck is aggro, midrange, or control.
Amphibous Assault - This can be seen as the medium removal order of Japan comparable to the likes of The Hammer from the Soviets or Death From Above from the USA. Being able to outright destroy any unit with 3 or less attack can be quite useful in a variety of decks. For aggrressive strategies this can kill off many early game guards which preserves your units to keeping attacking the HQ. In midrange or control decks it can help to kill off early game units that could otherwise prove to be a problem such as a cheap bomber/artillery unit, various smokscreen units, or some high health unit like the 980 Volksgrenadier. It's overall a solid removal piece that can remain useful agianst a large majority of decks.
28cm Coastal Howitzer - The last card that will be covered today is a quite large artillery piece. 4 attack is able to destroy a large amount of units around 3 kredits which means the coastal is able to dominate the battlefield if left alive for a few turns. Even against units it doesn’t outright kill, it often leaves them with 1 or 2 health where other units or orders can finish them off. The 2 drawbacks to offset its incredible stats is a massive operation cost at 3 kredits and also the fact it cannot hit the enemy HQ. This means the coastal howitzer is best suited a a control tool in slower decks who don’t care about it not being able to hit the HQ and often have the time to be able to operate it and essentially use it like removal.
Next week will cover the specials and elites of Japan and after that will be the two ally nations! The end is nigh.