(Written by Geneva D. – gid617)
Here I will cover in detail the Ninjago Spinjitzu cards. In case you are new to the LEGO Ninjago spinner-game, you may want to check out Part One of my article, Playing Ninjago Spinjitzu – Part 1: Essentials, before you read this section. Now let’s talk about the Spinjitzu cards!
If you enjoy collecting the Ninjago cards, you may have noticed that most of the battle-cards have one of seven different types of symbols:
- BOOST - adds a certain amount of SP to your spinner.
- TRAP - as far as this one is concerned, the name says it all!
- BUILD – allows you to add pieces to your spinner.
- CONFUSE – essentially covers things that have to do with your or your opponent’s method of spinning (your opponent must stand on one leg, etc.).
- FORCE - typically you either do something physically (like blow) during the spin, but Force can also be used for a card that you would want to play both before and after a spin (like Boomerang – replay top card from discard pile ignoring SP, or Crown of Fire – add/remove a crown on any spinner).
- CONTROL - any card that changes the outcome of a spin after it is already done.
- CHALLENGE (or Scroll, since that’s what it looks like) – which gives you a chance to retrieve a lost weapon after all other cards that you and your opponent choose to play at the end of the spin (maximum one each) have been played.
NOTE: Before a spin, you may only play a Boost, Trap, Build, Confuse, or Force card; after a spin, you may only play a Boost, Force, or Control card (although there are some Force cards you would clearly not want to play after a spin; like Whirlwind – blow on spinners during spin). After a maximum of one card per player has been played after the spin, the loser may play a Challenge card (each player is allowed one card before spinning, one after, and after that, a Challenge card). Also, you may not want to proceed until you are familiar with the seven types of battle cards!
However not all Spinjitzu cards fit so nicely into these categories – especially since there is an overlap between Confuse and Force cards. For example; Stand Tough (place character on two studs until a player wins) has exactly the same effect as Fearless, but while Stand Tough is a Force card, Fearless is a Confuse card. One obvious mistake is with the card Shock Drop (win if your opponent drops their weapon – included with #9561 LEGO Ninjago Kai ZX). Clearly, this should be Control, and even the Ninjago Card Dictionary gives it a Control symbol. However, in reality, it is not a Control card but a Confuse card (which may be confusing)!
Most Crown-cards are Force cards (since Force and Boost are the only two categories which can be played at the beginning and end of the turn), but some are Confuse or Control. Deflection (give up your headgear to cancel, and then use your opponent’s card) as well as Falcon Eye (look at your opponent’s cards and discard one), both seem like they should be Force, but instead, they are Confuse!
It is interesting to note that – at least so far - there has been a Lightning, Ice, and Fire add/remove a crown on any spinner card, but no Earth. Which causes me to think that either Bytar or NRG Zane (both of whom would, in theory, have the 400 Earth SP required to play it) would come with a card of that type. Equally interestingly (at least to me), there have been no cards with 500 Lightning SP. Of course this was natural last year (when there was no character with more than 400 Lightning), but now that NRG Jay is available, it strikes me as being somewhat odd.
Whether a Spinjitzu card is good or not often depends on your situation. For example, if you are a notoriously bad spinner-shot, Master Archer would certainly not be a good card for you – although for your opponent it would be excellent.
Naturally, the same applies to other circumstances – my brothers, who are my normal opponents, have become so adept at evasive spinning that a Trap card is almost entirely useless against them! Not only that, but I have actually managed to win twice while my character been standing on only one leg! Plus, characters with short legs - like Lloyd Garmadon or Chokun - can’t stand on one leg or bend over backwards. Other cards, like Falcon Eye (look at your opponent’s cards and discard one), are really pretty worthless if your opponent has no good cards in their hand – you may even be doing them a favor!
However, there are some Spinjitzu cards that seem always useful. Backup Plan (reshuffle all your cards – I include Backup Plan itself with the “all cards”), Total Recall (give up your headgear to exchange all your weapons with those of your opponents), Use Surroundings (Crown-card; throw before each spin; if opponent’s spinner touches it, they lose), Boomerang/Bite Back/Recharge (replay top/bottom any lightning card from discard pile ignoring SP), Sensei’s Red Card/Counter Attack (cancel opponent’s card), Sensei’s Whistle/Sensei’s Teatime (this spin was a tie), and Double Trouble (give up your headgear to take an extra weapon if you win), are all excellent, among others.
If you have Backup Plan, you may want to use only your best cards, since you can reshuffle them again and again. However, if your opponent has a card which will allow them to discard or cancel your card, you will want to be very careful! Also, it’s a good idea to use approximately the same amount of cards your opponent is using, if they are only using their best cards. For example, if they are using their top five (which are bound to be great cards!) you probably won’t want to be stuck with twenty fairly good, but not quite as useful, cards!
Of all the Spinjitzu character-cards, the best are obviously Sensei Wu (both normal and DX) and Lord Garmadon. However, since they do not have any specific element, they cannot play many excellent cards. Among other things; they cannot play any add/remove a crown to any spinner cards, although the total number of cards they can play is much greater than any other character – judging from my experience. Also, none of the three are particularly awesome – at least in my opinion.
While both NRG Kai and NRG Jay have really cool character cards, their overall SP is very low (only 900). I usually play with Jay ZX, mainly because he can play Crown of Lightning and Sensei’s Whistle, plus many of the other excellent cards I have.
To summarize, I’d say that some of the best battle cards seem to be Lightning. Although Confuse cards are very common – almost all spinners have at least one – they are not so useful. What do you think? Do you have any tips about using the Ninjago battle-cards? Which one is your favorite? Feel free to share your thoughts and ideas below!
You may also want to head over to the LEGO Ninjago section for more tutorials, news, videos and discussions for Ninjago fans, or check out my previous posts below:
- Playing Ninjago Spinjitzu – Part 1: Essentials
- Fun with the LEGO NINJAGO Spinjitzu Cards
- LEGO NINJAGO Spinners – New Pictures!
- NINJAGO Season ONE DVD – Now for Pre-Order!
- Guide to the New LEGO NINJAGO Cards
- LEGO NINJAGO – September Spinners!