Thursday, May 31, 2012

Do or Die

At times, it can be difficult to tell just what an opponent is holding in reserve to handle attacks (or launch their own in the future), especially if their deck draws a lot of cards outside the drive check. A lack of information heightens the all powerful element of surprise, and that can cause hesitation in regards to where and when one should make a big push. However, there will come a breaking point in most games where a player's own hand cannot realistically hold out further. At this point, I find it's best to go down swinging. Make that one last push as potent as possible, regardless of what might be lost, since the game is most likely lost anyway. And who knows? It might even score the win!

I've come up just short in many a game by not committing enough to one last swing when I knew full well that I wasn't going to survive another turn. In reflection, I'd rather not make the mistake again.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Stand Up! YouTube!

Check it out - Bushiroad now has a YouTube channel! They've been uploading the English dub over the past few days, and while they're not quite caught up to television broadcast in Singapore, it looks like it won't be long until you can watch Vanguard on a weekly basis. Awesome video quality, too.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Picture it! Spectral Duke Dragon

For having been one to spam card reviews on the Yu-Gi-Oh! front, I've done surprisingly little of that when it comes to Cardfight!! Vanguard. Funny how that works. Today I'd like to touch on a card that has been met with mixed reception: Spectral Duke Dragon.

AUTO [V]: Limit Break (4) (This ability is active if you have four or more damage): [Counter Blast (2) & Retire 3 of your <<Gold Paladin>> rear-guards] When this unit attacks the Vanguard, at the start of that battle's Close Step, you may pay the cost. If you do, Stand this unit, and until end of the turn, this unit loses "Twin Drive!!".
CONT [V]: If you have a card named "Knight of Black Dragon, Vortimer" in your soul, this unit gets Power +1000. 

The spiritual successor to Phantom Blaster Dragon, Duke ends a ride chain and possesses a skill that requires sacrificing your rear-guards. What makes it different? Well, a lot of things! Spectral Duke Dragon's Limit Break takes place during the battle phase, after its own attack. Since you're free to attack in any order you choose, your rear-guards are able to push for damage or whittle down the opponent's hand before they get blown away. That's more economical than Phantom Blaster Dragon, even in the ideal situation where Nemain is used as cannon fodder. To make the comparison even more lopsided, standing Spectral Duke Dragon is the equivalent of gaining at least 10,000 power anyway. There's no critical bonus, but it doesn't matter - the opponent is forced to guard another attack, and you're getting another drive check (card advantage!) that could produce even more power. Best of all? Spectral Duke Dragon doesn't even need to hit in order to stand again. The threat is always there, making him a king of the pressure game. You can throw any and all triggers his way with no risk, too, since the effects are going to remain for his second attack even if your first doesn't manage to go through.

But enough about the card itself; judging in a vacuum is bad. Let's take a look at the deck around it, starting with the bottom of the ride chain.

AUTO: When you ride "Jet Black Vanguard, Vortimer" on this unit, look at up to seven cards from the top of your deck, search for one "Knight of Black Dragon, Vortimer" or one "Spectral Duke Dragon", show it to your opponent, and add it to your hand. Return the remaining cards to the top of your deck, then shuffle your deck. 
AUTO: When you ride a <<Gold Paladin>> other than "Jet Black Vanguard, Vortimer" on this unit, you may call this unit to a rear-guard circle. 

Black Dragon Whelp, Vortimer is among the second generation ride chains, in line with Riviere and the upcoming Lox. Riding the matching Grade 1 on it results in a gain of one card a little more than half the time, made even sweeter by the fact that you can choose whichever one you need when the option of both comes up. If you miss the Grade 1, the fight becomes more difficult, but all hope is not lost - you get to keep the Whelp to use as a booster and ultimately a sacrifice whenever Duke manages to arrive.

CONT [V]: If you have a "Black Dragon Whelp, Vortimer" in your soul, this unit gets Power +1000. 
AUTO: [Retire 1 of your <<Gold Paladin>> rear-guards] When you ride "Knight of Black Dragon, Vortimer" on this unit and you have "Black Dragon Whelp, Vortimer" in your soul, you may pay the cost. If you do, look at up to 2 cards from the top of your deck, choose up to 2 <<Gold Paladin>> units from among them, call them onto separate empty rear-guard circles, and place the rest of the cards on the bottom of your deck in any order.

Jet Black Vanguard, Vortimer stands at a sturdy 8,000 power in the Vanguard circle, and an average 7,000 in the rear-guard. It's nothing to complain about when playing the numbers game. Unlike other decks, though, you'll want to be making at least 1 other call during the turn you ride this card, in preparation for the following turn. It doesn't matter what the card is; so long as it survives, your 1 card turns into 2. There is a slight risk in that you might get hit multiple times with no way to defend yourself when going second, but it's for the greater good.

CONT [V]: If you have a "Jet Black Vanguard, Vortimer" in your soul, this unit gets Power +1000.
AUTO: [Retire one of your <<Gold Paladin>> rear-guards] When you ride "Spectral Duke Dragon" on this unit and you have "Jet Black Vanguard, Vortimer" in your soul, you may pay the cost. If you do, look at up to 2 cards from the top of your deck, choose up to 2 <<Gold Paladin>> units from among them, call them onto separate empty rear-guard circles, and place the rest of the cards at the bottom of your deck in any order. 

Second verse same as the first; Knight of Black Dragon, Vortimer clocks in at a great 10,000 power as a Vanguard, and an acceptable 9,000 power in the rear-guard. Since your Grade 1 Vortimer just turned 1 rear-guard into 2, you're making anywhere from 2-3 attacks this turn without committing much from your hand. Scary. Anything you don't want to keep becomes a sacrifice when you ride Spectral Duke Dragon, or functions as an interceptor. And you know what? The free cards don't even stop here!

AUTO [V/R]: [Counterblast (1)] When this unit's attack hits the vanguard, if this unit is boosted by a <<Gold Paladin>> unit, you may pay the cost, and if you do, look at the top card of your deck, search for up to one <<Gold Paladin>> from among them, call it to an open rearguard circle, and put the rest on the bottom of your deck.

Viviane may be a tad awkward in the Ezel and Garmore-centric Gold Paladin decks that can't do much with randomly called trigger units, but she's right at home in Spectral Duke Dragon's army.

AUTO: [Counterblast (1)] When this unit is placed onto a rear-guard circle from your deck and you have a <<Gold Paladin>> vanguard, you may pay the cost. If you do, look at the top card of your deck, search for up to one <<Gold Paladin>> unit, and call it onto an empty rear-guard circle, then return the rest of the cards to the bottom of your deck.

Flash Edge Valkyrie, along with her partner Blade Feather Valkyrie also have no problem churning out dudes with which to attack and fuel Spectral Duke Dragon plays. The duo is fairly luck-based, though, so don't feel obligated to play them if you don't want to.

AUTO [V] [Limit Break (4)] (This ability is active if you have four or more damage): When this unit attacks a vanguard, this unit gets POWER +5000 until end of that battle. 
AUTO: [Counterblast (2)] When this unit is placed on the vanguard circle, you may pay the cost. If you do, search your deck for up to one grade 2 or less <<Gold Paladin>>, call it to rear-guard circle, and shuffle your deck.

And lastly, the backup plan for when things go wrong. Garmore grants stability in even the worst-case scenario of missing your Grade 1 Vortimer, as he can fetch any unit you need to mount an attack (or defense), guaranteed. Offensively, Garmore is about the same as Duke, so you're not completely out of the game while you're waiting for it. He's not a bad end game ride, either, if you somehow managed to run out of counterblasts. Great Silver Wolf, Garmore is to Spectral Duke Dragon as CEO Amaterasu is to the Full Moon Goddess, Tsukuyomi. The two shouldn't be apart.


Consistency, synergy, explosiveness... all the elements of a winning deck are present, and in time it'll easily be matching or outperforming Riviere and Tsukuyomi in tournament performance, both of which are tier 2 decks as it is. The future is looking good for Spectral Duke Dragon. I definitely wouldn't mind playing it on the side.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Survey Says...

It's pretty legit for not even being done. I can only imagine what the rest of BT07 will do for CoCo.

Grade 0 (17)

1 Little Witch, LuLu
4 Lozenge Magus
4 Psychic Bird
4 Battle Sister, Ginger
4 Victory Maker

Grade 1 (14)

4 Oracle Guardian, Gemini
4 Circle Magus
4 Battle Sister, Chocolat
2 Battle Sister, Cocoa

Grade 2 (12)

4 Oracle Guardian, Wiseman
4 Promise Daughter
2 Battle Sister, Mocha
2 Silent Tom

Grade 3 (7)

3 Scarlet Witch, CoCo
3 Goddess of Flower Divination, Sakuya
1 Meteobreak Wizard

Kinda worried about the English release schedule when it comes to this build, though. Where is TD03? Where is EB01? Where will Circle Magus end up? It's a nightmare, but when everything makes its way over, we've got a decently affordable and terrifying deck on our hands.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Screw the wait, I wanna try it now!

Grade 0 (17)

1 Little Witch, LuLu
4 Lozenge Magus
4 Psychic Bird
4 Battle Sister, Ginger
4 Victory Maker

Grade 1 (14)

4 Oracle Guardian, Gemini
4 Battle Sister, Chocolat
4 Battle Sister, Cocoa
2 Dark Cat

Circle Magus is an easy inclusion and will probably end up in here after tests and tweaks. I've pondered Maple as well.

Grade 2 (12)

3 Oracle Guardian, Wiseman
3 Promise Daughter
3 Battle Sister, Mocha
3 Silent Tom

They're all pretty necessary, so I decided to give them all fair numbers for this test run. xP

Grade 3 (7)

3 Scarlet Witch, CoCo
3 Goddess of Flower Divination, Sakuya
1 Meteobreak Wizard

The Wizard is pretty nice to use any leftover CB, which there tends to be. Lest Emerald Witch LaLa ends up being some kickawesome soul blast unit (to free up multiple CoCo plays), I could see him staying. I must say that the Sakuya follow-up to the CoCo play is bloody amazing, and the reverse isn't even bad. This is definitely going places.

Galaxy Stores Local Tournament - Week 4

Round 1 - Overlord Unflip vs. Gold Paladin

Getting stuck at grade 0 makes eGale a sad panda. However! Any opening with a grade 1 proves to be workable, leading to much face smashing in the other two games.

Round 2 - Overlord Unflip vs. Nova Grappler

Getting stuck at grade 0 (again) makes eGale a sad panda. I fail to commit an additional 5K to my final push and come up short in game three for the loss. No matter, though, since this was a teammate of mine. He went on to the finals alongside another teammate of mine, who was playing CoCoBros.

For our insolence, we pulled five rares. OH WELL. We made a killing on trades using the foils from our recent boxes, so it was a good day regardless. And you know what else makes this a good day? Toonami. Go watch it, because I can't.

Friday, May 25, 2012

The Soulless Ginger

Scarlet Witch CoCo. A neglected, unloved RRR from Booster 2. I was already liking the potential for her in EB03 Spike Brothers, but then Booster 7 news started to crop up...

Little Witch Lulu
Grade 0/Oracle Think Tank/5000 Power/10000 Shield
Auto (Soul): When a Grade 3 or higher <<Oracle Think Tank>> Appears in the Vanguard Circle, you may call this card to a Rearguard Circle.
Auto [Choose 2 <<Oracle Think Tank>> in your Soul and send them to the Drop Zone] When this Unit appears in a Rearguard Circle from the Soul, if you have a <<Oracle Think Tank>> Vanguard, you may pay the cost. If you do, draw 1 card.

Ride CoCo, call LuLu, SB2, draw 1, and now that you have no soul, CB2, draw 2. GLORIOUS.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Ultimate Test Dummy

4 Heal Triggers
12 Critical Triggers
44 other grade 0s, including as many 6K vanillas as possible

If you can't consistently beat it, there could be something wrong with your deck!

Chocolate? Chocolaaate!!!

The Oracle Think Tank really should have a bakery division if they don't already... anyway, another deck I could see myself playing until Booster 3 comes along.

Grade 0 (16)

4 Lozenge Magus [Heal]
4 Psychic Bird [Critical]
4 Oracle Guardian, Nike [Critical]
4 Miracle Kid [Draw]

(Possible Mix-Ups include 7-5 on crit and draw trigs, the inclusion of a couple stands, etc.)

Grade 1 (15)

4 Oracle Guardian, Gemini
4 Battle Sister, Chocolat
4 Battle Sister, Cocoa
3 Luck Bird

Cocoa is perhaps the only factor keeping me away from the deck right now. I just don't feel like buying her when her price tag is still destined to become half of what it is at the moment.

Grade 2 (12)

4 Oracle Guardian, Wiseman
4 Battle Sister, Mocha
4 Silent Tom

The best beaters money can buy. :v

Grade 3 (7)

4 CEO Amaterasu
3 Oracle Guardian, Apollon

Stack or cycle, either way you're set.

General approach involves eating most Vanguard attacks, blocking most rear guard attacks, and sacking/cycling heals and draws like a boss. With any luck, a turn 3 critical will put the game in your clutches thanks to Tom.

Winning Image
Silent Tom - CEO Amaterasu - Silent Tom
Oracle Guardian, Gemini - Oracle Guardian, Gemini - Oracle Guardian, Gemini

4 CEO Amaterasu - Less than $80
4 Silent Tom - Less than $50
4 Battle Sister, Chocolat - Less than $50
4 Battle Sister, Cocoa - Less than $50
Everything else (Mochas included) - Irrelevant

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Take it Like a Man

Are you at 5 damage? Are you incapable of defending against every attack that comes your way?

Declare, "No Guard." It's as simple as that! Well, most of the time. If it's a special case of one of the attacks being stupid huge and the only reason you can't guard, just let that one go. Conserving cards is always a good play, even when you're losing and need that heal.

Mr. Invincible and his Dragon Pals

Otherwise known as Invincible Kagero, Overlord Unflip, etc. It's budget, it's fun, and it's surprisingly deep for a BT01-BT02 deck. Not to mention it's quite the lesson for those who think mixing clans is a bad thing! This is the version I'm playing right now - English format of course.

Grade 0 (17)

1 Lizard Soldier Conroe
4 Lizard Soldier Gan-lu [Stand]
4 Lizard Runner Nafd [Stand]
4 Embodiment of Spear, Tahr [Critical]
4 Dragon Monk, Gojo [Heal]

Grade 1 (14)

4 Embodiment of Armor, Bahr
4 Dragon Monk, Gojo
4 Iron Tail Dragon
2 Flame of Hope, Aermo

Grade 2 (12)

4 King of Sword
4 Hungry Dumpty
4 High-Speed, Brakki

Grade 3 (7)

4 Mr. Invincible
3 Dragonic Overlord

The Kagero base isn't anything revolutionary, but the presence of 12 7K+ Grade 1s allows multiple attacks to be launched as early as possible with dreadful consistency, which is just what Stand Triggers like to see. The risk of riding a 6K unit and getting hammered on the opponent's first battle phase by everything under the sun is few and far between as well. Gojo and Aermo play their standard filtering role, obtaining combo pieces, dropping unnecessary duplicates, and all around making sure your shields are up to snuff by keeping excess Grade 3s out of the hand.

But what about Iron Tail Dragon? Without Blazing Flare Dragon in tow, I don't need it, right? Wrong! Conroe aside, this is the only card on the low-end of the deck that makes use of counterblasts, and it does so very well. Swinging at all manner of 8K and 9K units alone is valuable enough, but it can even become a viable Stand target itself at 10K. It can reach all sorts of other magic numbers behind big beaters like Nehalem and Overlord over the course of the game too. Above all else, when I can't make bigger plays, this little guy is making sure that my damage is always doing work and always available to unflip.

The Grade 2 lineup continues the hostility with another twelve big units, each with their own defined purposes. The difference between Nehalem and King is minute, but using King does allow for Hungry Dumpty to activate on turn two so the call doesn't feel wasted. Such a play is usually followed up with a use of Iron Tail so Mr. Invincible has something to unflip going into turn three.

Hungry Dumpty's early game applications are basically limited to that, but the things he lets me get away with later on are well worth it. Say Dragonic Overlord's skill is used while I only have 3 damage, and I really want to use it again on the following turn. Without Hungry Dumpty, I would need to take 2 damage and unflip 1. Doing so places me in the danger zone where I have to guard everything. It's not a good place for any deck to be, much less one with no perfect defense! With Hungry Dumpty, I'm unflipping 2 instead, so I get to stop at 4 damage - that's a lot safer.

The inclusion of High-Speed, Brakki stems from two things: the otherwise lack of Soul usage, and the incompatibility that other great Grade 2s have with the deck. It works out, though! Anyone at 5 damage can tell you that two columns with 21K+ power isn't funny. Brakki can force 'no guard' declarations early in the game too, leading to the 5 damage situation sooner rather than later. May as well if I feel he's going to be attacked anyway, right?

Grade 3 needs no explanation. There is no better rear guard than Dragonic Overlord in the current format, and no better Vanguard than Mr. Invincible in the scope of this deck. Hell breaks loose when the two come together. It's not even a safe bet to defend against Overlord when eight Stands lurk in the deck. Whether they do or not, though, I'm making great progress by eliminating opposing resources.

-TL;DR Winning Image-
Dragonic Overlord - Mr. Invincible - High-Speed, Brakki
Iron Tail Dragon - Flame of Hope, Aermo - Iron Tail Dragon

1 Dragonic Overlord Trial Deck - $13
1 Dragonic Overlord COMMON - $3
1 Lizard Soldier, Conroe - $4
4 Mr. Invincible - $4
4 King of Sword - $5
4 Hungry Dumpty - Less than $1
4 High-Speed, Brakki - Less than $1
4 Iron Tail Dragon - Less than $1
4 Lizard Runner Nafd - Less than $1

4 Embodiment of Spear, Tahr - $10 (replaceable with Demonic Dragon Mage, Rakshasa)
3 Dragonic Overlord RRR - ~$20 or 3 Dragonic Overlord SP - ~$60

Monday, May 21, 2012

Descent of the King of Birds

Cardfight!! Vanguard

A new game, a new adventure. Right on time, too, what with the way Yu-Gi-Oh! is being treated lately. But forget about the ranting possibilities! This is an introduction. I go by Elliot Gale - a name not too different from my own. I've been on the coattails of this hit Trading Card Game by Bushiroad since its initial English release in December of 2011, and let me tell you it has been one amazing experience to see it migrate and expand, all the while being right in the middle of the action. That includes here in Naperville, Illinois!

I currently play a competitive Kagero hybrid (that can be built on as little as 30 dollars), but my favorite clan is Oracle Think Tank, specifically the Tsukuyomi deck. Sadly, we have to wait a little while longer for its English debut. Just as well since it's taken me months to get a handle on that behemoth, I suppose. xP

Card reviews, deck analyses, game play articles, tournament reports, and more await! Follow me if you will; I aim to inform, as well as please.