A Power Creep is a phenomenon that happens in games that constantly update their content, such as in Trading Card Games like Duel Masters.
It is generally seen when the game gradually unbalances as new content is added as newer cards become stronger and stronger and begin to outshine older cards. (e.g. Quattro Fang, Super Gang Leader being a strictly better version of Fighter Dual Fang.)
In order for a card to be considered a Power Creep, power and cost are not the only determining factors as power is only used to battle other creatures and determining if the creature will be removed by Power-Based Removal. The effects of the creature must also be taken into account. For example, a Vanilla or Quasi-Vanilla creature with an overly high cost-to power ratio (e.g. Gonta, the Warrior Savage) is not considered power creep, but a creature such as Perfect Galaxy, Spirit of Immortality is, due to it when compared to Hanusa, Radiance Elemental, a Quasi-Vanilla creature from DM-01, has the same cost but 500 less power, with the additional 500 power which is the reason for Hanusa's 7 cost being used on a Shield Force ability that makes it nearly invincible, which makes Perfect Galaxy, Spirit of Immortality much more threatening than Hanusa, Radiance Elemental despite having the same mana cost.
In Duel Masters, while the metagame used to be dominated by creatures with no more than 6000 power, power creep has made creatures over the power of 6000 a common sight currently. It also caused the metagame of Episode 2 and Episode 3 to be filled with high-speed mana ramp decks and decks based on spamming gigantic finisher creatures for no cost.
However, each set has things that go up in power while other things are brought down in power. This creates the illusion that the power is always going up because the focus is where they are pushing the power. This technique helps to create the illusion of the power increasing when, in fact, it attempts to actually stay pretty even. R&D actively endeavors to keep the power level of the game consistent. This is also accomplished with the Hall of Fame.
Examples of Power Creeps
- Most psychic creatures themselves tend to be Power Creeps themselves due to the fact that the base cost of the Psychic creature has no effect to how many mana the Psychic Creature needs to be put into the battle zone; only the cost of the hyperspatial spell that puts it into the battle zone matters. For example, a Dias Zeta, the Temporal Suppressor has 7000 power, but when put into the battle zone via Hyperspatial Emperor Hole it only costs 5 instead of the printed 8, making it a 5 to 7000 creature without drawbacks while a regular creature like this usually has a highly debilitating drawback.
- GENJI Double Cross, Blastdragon is often seen as a symbol for a power creep, as when compared to the similar but inferior Metalwing Skyterror it costs 1 less but 1000 more power and also has Speed Attacker and the same Blocker-based removal ability, while a creature that has the same abilities as GENJI in the Beginner's Block should have 1000 less power and costs 1 more than Metalwing Skyterror. It also outclasses Twin-Cannon Skyterror for the same reason as well. This applies to its successor, GENJI Triple Cross, Passion Dragon as well, where it outclassed Scarlet Skyterror completely and Crimson Mega Dragoon for 2000+ power, Speed Attacker, Double Breaker and not being a multicolored card.
- Metalchaos Dragon is a creature with the ability to attack twice per turn with a Cross Gear attached onto it that has 7 to 6000 power. However, in DM-28 another creature known as Bolbalzak "Sword Flash" Dragon appeared which can do the same thing without a cross gear attached and also has 1000 more power.
- While extremely high powered, Billion-Degree Dragon is not considered a power creep since it still follows the cost-to-power ratios of creatures in the Beginner's Block. (Where a high power equals high cost.)
- God Apex Saga, Sengoku Saga, Psychic Shock, Episode 1, Episode 2, Dragon Saga, Revolution and Revolution Final are all major power creep sets with many cards that can change the metagame on their own.
- Power creep escalates in Dragon Saga and Revolution, as in Dragon Saga almost every set has at least 1 metagame changing power-card, while in Revolution high-power evolution creatures can be sent a few turns right from the start, while useful shield trigger spells have creature versions which are much more powerful than their spell counterparts.
- This is further made worse in Revolution Final as the introduction of Revolution Change allows one shots such as Dogiragon Buster, Blue Leader come as soon as in turn 4, while others such as Miradante Twelve, Time Pope destroy entire defenses and strategies all by themselves in a similar period of time. Eventually this has resulted in most benefactors of the rush based power creep restricted and the banning of the impossibly difficult to counter Giovanni Squall decktype which is made to counter such rushes.
- In order to counter the for no cost rushes, several highly powerful anti for no cost rush cards are introduced in DMRP-01, such as Onikamas, Strange Flow and.Senno, Brainwash.
- In an episode of Duel Masters Versus Revolution, Zakira saw Basara's rushing tactics using Redzone, Roaring Invasion and said: "When I was asleep, even weak human beings got all sorts of extreme powers", further reflecting the extreme power creep that took place after the Psychic Shock where Zakira was last seen.