Saturday, June 30, 2012

News from Anime Expo 2012

BT07 - September 29th
EB02 - November 10th
BT04 - December 15th

Additionally, we know the general locations of the championship qualifiers. Check 'em out. BT07 won't get to make its impact until the last couple events, but BT03 and EB03 are out in full swing at all of them. See you guys at Chicago. xP

Friday, June 29, 2012

Dark Irregulars post BT07

Doreen the Thruster has got to be one of the most retarded things ever now. Just think of all the ways she can be pumped - Alluring Succubus, Succubus of Decadence, Succubus of Coquetry, Yellow Bolt, G3 Amon, Dark Lord of the Abyss, Greedy Hand, Hysterical Shirley, Dark Knight of Nightmareland... that being said, the deck is REALLY solid now, able to crank out 20K+ columns the entire game, starting on turn 2. The opponent will be hard pressed to guard any of your attacks, which is really nice considering the overall low card presence DI have had in general. And it makes those 8 crits all the more terrifying!

Bladewing, Reggie proves to be fun, but even with all the new soul charging support (ie. Emblem Master), he's still too difficult to prepare without minusing yourself into oblivion. Oh well.

Beelzebub is fairly playable now too, but how well it'll stack up compared to the usual Dark Lord and Amon setup is not clear to me at this point.

Their megablast units and Death Anchor are basically things of the past.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Picture it! White Hare in the Moon's Shadow, Pellinore

Moving on with reviews from Rampage of the Beast King, I'll be talking about one of the most interesting additions to the game yet: Pellinore. I'm not going to bother with images this time since they seem to uncontrollably screw up my formatting somehow. <_<

Auto (Vanguard) [LB4]: [Choose 2 of your <<Gold Paladin>> rear-guards, and place them at the bottom of your Deck in any order.] When this Unit Attacks, you may pay the Cost. If you do, choose up to 2 of your <<Gold Paladin>> Units, during this turn, they gain 5000 Power. 
Auto: [Choose 1 <<Gold Paladin>> in your hand, discard it] When this Unit appears in a Rearguard Circle from your Deck, if your opponent has a Grade 2 or higher Vanguard, you can pay the cost. If you do, place this Unit in your Vanguard Circle. 

Intimidating? Not so much. Quirky? Oh hell yes. Take a look at that second skill. In the event you're able to Superior Call him by way of Nimue, Vivianne, Spring Breeze Messenger, Lop Ear Shooter, or even the Vortimer family, you can immediately drop a card from your hand in order for him to occupy the Vanguard slot. Even better? You can follow up with another attack and a Twin Drive!! check. Not bad. In fact, this is the first way one can possibly superior ride from Grade 1 to Grade 3, skipping the Grade 2 in between. It manages to be balanced, though, on account it requires your opponent to be prepared for riding their own grade 3 already.

It's a bit of a pipe dream at this point, but one could theoretically build up some kind of unit stack on the bottom of the deck ala Tsukuyomi if you're able to spam skills akin to Pellinore's first enough. Speaking of that, it's a pretty impressive skill for having no CB cost. That means your rear-guards are free to use that damage as they wish before hopping off the field like a White Rabbit was meant to, then transferring a hefty 10K to your final attacking column. If we've learned anything from Majesty Lord Blaster, it's that giving up 10K worth of shields in order to gain 10K power is usually an even and worthwhile exchange.

I'm not about to get my hopes up on this one. Being what is almost certainly Kourin's brand of GP, it'll probably fall short just as her RP did in comparison to Aichi's, but you never know without testing! GP support is a lot more interchangeable in general.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Galaxy Stores Local Tournament - Week 8

Yar har har, hellooo mateys. o3o

One of the regulars was unable to play this week, so we almost ended up in a bind where we wouldn't have had a tournament. But people showed up at the last minute... we'd appreciate it if they actually woke up! That being said, I went in with Granblue this week.

Round 1 - Basskirk Granblue vs. Kiriel Angel Feather

Remember, kids, test the decks you play with ahead of time!

1. Max on the Pegasi, both of them.
2. Include Calamity Flame, at least in some number.
3. For the love of god, don't use Sunny Smile Angel as your first Vanguard!
4. Play Happy Bells... you might go minus, but you're able to make bigger pushes.

That being said, he walked the plank. o3o

Round 2 - Basskirk Granblue vs. Vermillion Narukami

Generic match, really. Saishin applied minor pressure to me, the Grade 3 Djinn sucked nuts, and I only ever got screwed out of a game by not getting a Grade 3 myself. He also walked the plank. o3o

Round 3 - Basskirk Granblue vs. Gancelot Royal Paladins

Hello, younger nephew. I'm used to this by now. The pressure was off since we'd both be going to the semifinals either way, but I decided that this had to be a learning experience for him. Not sure what he actually took away from our match, though. I topped Cocytus at 4 damage (though sadly, 3 face-down) to swing for game.

Semifinals - Basskirk Granblue vs. Vermillion Narukami

Grudge match! Again, I suffered from gradescrew, and in the final game I had to cope with riding a Skull Dragon. It came down to the wire - I had 3 total cards and my Vanguard to work with, and I was staring down what I figured to be around 40K worth of shields. My heals were all but gone, so... I pieced together a field of Captain Nightmist + Deadly Nightmare/Lone Basskirk/Lone Deadly Spirit to retaliate. Spirit went for an intercept, Basskirk went for the Vanguard. Drive check 1 - Stand Trigger! Stand to Deadly Spirit and power to Nightmist. Drive check 2 - Draw Trigger! Power to Nightmist. Deadly Spirit took out the other interceptor, and Nightmist swung in with just enough power to win the game. This is the second time something of this nature has happened between us, actually. xD

Finals - Basskirk Granblue vs. Gancelot Royal Paladin

Good on him for getting this far. All pressure was off. I don't know what it is about me, but he tends to screw up left and right when we play each other. A victory could have been feasible on his end by calling Grade 3s and dismissing old rear-guards, but he let his hand be clogged and his field be weak. Again? Only game I lost was on account of misgrading. And it was at grade 0 that time... lol.

I pulled Ezel, he got an SP Vortex Dragon. We traded for an Iseult, a Soul Saver, and a Battle Cupid to further deck completion for our group. All in all an amazing day - I've never gotten a prize that good!

Grade 0 (17)

1 Captain Nightkid
4 Doctor Rouge
4 Rough Seas Banshee
2 Knight Spirit
2 Hades Steersman
4 Hook-wielding Zombie

Grade 1 (15)

4 Samurai Spirit
4 Deadly Nightmare
4 Gust Jinn
3 Dancing Cutlass

Grade 2 (10)

4 Ruin Shade
3 Deadly Spirit
2 Stormride, Ghost Ship
1 Captain Nightmist (he puts in a lot of work in the English format!)

Grade 3 (8)

4 King of Demonic Seas, Basskirk
2 Ice Prison Necromancer, Cocytus
1 Dragon Undead, Skull Dragon
1 Necromancer of the Abyss, Negromarl

Monday, June 18, 2012

Come on, step it up!

One more point the naysayers can find themselves wrong on - organized play is happening.

Pressure to get Tsukuyomi in time... rising...

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Galaxy Stores Local Tournament - Week 7

I had a lot of fun today. Made a bunch of trades, got in some epic games, and really... I just keep absorbing new little bits and pieces of information that make me an even better player. We played swiss today!

Round 1 - Oracle Think Tank vs. Standard Gold Paladin

Lesson for everyone - just because you have limit break does not mean taking damage is okay. If you're at 4 going into turn 3 (or before it, even!), you're not likely going to win. This guy had to learn it the hard way. Aggro pushes and appropriate triggers had me dominating the match despite getting these godawful hands loaded with grade 3s.

Round 2 - Oracle Think Tank vs. Ergodiel Angel Feather

Never saw a grade 3 in the game 1. Sadly, Tom cannot do all the work on his own, especially without Gemini in support. Game 2 was more of the same. I did get the CEO a couple turns late, but it wasn't enough.

Round 3 - Oracle Think Tank vs. Narukami

I took the hint from my first two rounds and decided to pile shuffle for every match at this point. It worked out! Brilliant hands on my end, mediocre to bad ones on his. Especial Interceptors can suck on my Gemini.

Top 4 - Oracle Think Tank vs. Gancelot Royal Paladin

Ohey dere younger nephew. We were both looking for our rematch against the Angel Feather player, so I couldn't just let him go.

Game 1 was comfortable outplaying. Game 2 had to be the funniest thing ever. I opened with the first turn and had no Grade 2 in hand, so I rode Cocoa, and I confirmed my top card to be a Wiseman. I kept it there with every intention of guarding his one attack and getting it. But he decided to go for two! I tried to keep Wiseman in tact, but a Stand Trigger busted through my 10K shield and I ended up getting hit yet again. My turn... top deck Maiden of Libra! Ride, swing at the rear guard Pongal to kill it and draw a card, denying him of the superior ride he was banking on to win (he didn't get gradelocked or anything, but his plan did fall to pieces).

Finals - Oracle Think Tank vs. Ergodiel Angel Feather

All in all it was a close and intense match with little to no misplays on either end. Narrowly lost the first and last games, with game 2 being a total curbstomp battle in my favor thanks to a combo of Libra and Mocha (he barely managed to reach grade 3). You basically always have to let your rear guards go unless guarding for 5K keeps them on the board. That goes for either side.

Pulled Beaumains and Barbiel, traded the Barbiel for Pongal, and got a chuckle out of hist straight rare packs as well. I might be able to play Granblue next week. If not, I'm just gonna take the tourney with Oracles! Here's what I played:

Grade 0 (16)

4 Lozenge Magus
4 Psychic Bird
3 Oracle Guardian, Nike
3 Miracle Kid
2 Dream Eater

Grade 1 (15)

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

Grade 2 (12)

4 Oracle Guardian, Wiseman
2 Maiden of Libra
4 Battle Sister, Mocha
2 Silent Tom

Grade 3 (7)

4 CEO Amaterasu
3 Oracle Guardian Apollon

Gonna just go for the 8 crit after all; the best defense is a good offense.

Picture it! Chief Nurse Shamsiel

I really want to be asleep right now, but I just can't contain my excitement! Today's card is a new addition to <<Angel Feather>> from Rampage of the Beast King.

 AUTO 【V】: Limit Break 4 (This ability is active if you have four or more damage): [Choose 1 <<Angel Feather>> from your hand and put it into your damage zone] When this unit attacks a vanguard, you may pay the cost. If you do, choose 1 card from your damage zone, and add it to your hand.
AUTO 【V】: When a card is put into your damage zone, this unit gets POWER +2000 until end of turn.

At first, I didn't give this much thought - it's clearly a good card. Just how good, though, never really hit me until I gained some experience in having to ride The Phoenix, Calamity Flame. I'll have you know that despite being your "worst option", you're not going to die any time soon just because you rode it. Why? It's naturally resilient to harm, gaining power each time it's hit. Shamsiel not only shares that bulk, but she also possesses another sweet ability that really ties the deck's battle plan together.

Your best rear-guards used to be somewhat awkward and clunky; they demanded plays from these supporters every turn, lest they end up being decidedly average. You had at most 12 chances to pump your columns, only if the support came up, and only if your field setup allowed them to be played. No longer! Shamsiel, as long as you have 4 or more damage, will do the job for you every single turn, for no investment whatsoever! That being the case, the need for cards such as Love Machine Gun and Happy Bell is drastically lessened. Taking matters further, all 3 of your columns can now attack at full force, backed by 8 criticals. Delicious.

AUTO: [Choose an <<Angel Feather>> from your hand, and put it into your damage zone] When this unit is placed on Guardian Circle, if you have an <<Angel Feather>> vanguard, you may pay the cost. If you do, choose a card from your damage zone, and put it into your hand.

This little number just got a lot more effective. Who doesn't want defense on par with Booster 5's megabosses?

AUTO: When you Ride this Unit with another <<Angel Feather>>, you can call it to a Rearguard Circle.
CONT 【R】: If you have an <<Angel Feather>> Vanguard, this Unit gains: "ACT 【R】: [Counterblast 1, Place this Card in Soul, and Choose 1 <<Angel Feather>> in your Hand, and place it in your Damage Zone] Choose 1 card in your Damage Zone, and add it to your hand.

And how about this new starting Vanguard? Going -1 never felt so good!

AUTO: [Counterblast (1)] When this unit is placed onto a vanguard or rear-guard circle, if you have an <<Angel Feather>> vanguard, you may pay the cost. If you do, place the top card of your deck into your damage zone, then when this turn's end phase begins, choose one card in your damage zone. Return it to your deck, then shuffle your deck.

This card and its grade 1 equivalent are also options should they strike your fancy. As far as I'm concerned, though, the grade 1 slots are spoken for. Heck, most of the deck is!

Grade 0 (17)
1 New Starter
4 Sunny Smile Angel
4 Critical Hit Angel
4 Rocket Dash Unicorn
4 Bouquet Toss Messenger
Grade 1 (15)
4 Burst Shot, Bethnael
4 Thousand Ray Pegasus
4 Pure Keeper, Requiel
3 Battle Cupid, Nociel
Grade 2 (10)
4 Core Memory, Armaros
4 Million Ray Pegasus
2 Love Machine Gun, Nociel/Doctoroid Megaros
Grade 3 (8)
4 Chief Nurse, Shamsiel
2 Circular Saw, Kiriel
2 The Phoenix, Calamity Flame

Angel Feather, coming soon to a meta near you!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Yar Har Fiddle Dee Dee

Being a pirate is alright to be!

G0 (17)

1 Captain Nightkid
2 Doctor Rouge
2 Rick the Ghostie
4 Rough Seas Banshee
1 Knight Spirit
1 Ghoul Cannonball
2 Hades Steersman
4 Hook-Wielding Zombie

Yo dawg I herd you like triggers, so we put triggers in yo triggers so you can drive check while u drive check.

Seriously, though, this has to be the most trolltacular lineup I've ever seen. I love it. Just don't tell people your numbers...

G1 (15)

4 Samurai Spirit
4 Deadly Nightmare
4 Gust Jinn
3 Dancing Cutlass

Since this build is focused on never-ending field optimization, I'm choosing not to play Dandy Guy, Romario. The slight power advantage is rarely missed, as I'd rather not lock my field into anything specific.

The standard Cutlass -> Samurai/Nightmare play puts in work, as does Steersman -> Samurai/Nightmare. Maxing on both assures my field is always capable of shapeshifting into something situationally better. This allows maximum aggression from the outset at a low cost, even to the point of allowing plays such as calling triggers.

G2 (10)

4 Ruin Shade
4 Deadly Spirit
2 Stormride, Ghost Ship

Ruin Shade and Ghost Ship can stand up to the best of them, easily reaching 18K when the evil crossrides rear their ugly heads (Ruin is nice in front of Cutlass on any other day). Deadly Spirit is invaluable due to its recyclable 5K shield, and unlike Captain Nightmist, it doesn't need an 8K booster to reach significant numbers. If I were to consider any other grade 2 option, I'd probably be looking at Undead Pirate of the Frigid Night for its ability to swing 11K unboosted and 18K when backed by either Samurai or Nightmare, but this lineup seems quite adequate.

G3 (8)

4 King of Demonic Seas, Basskirk
2 Ice Prison Necromancer, Cocytus
1 Dragon Undead, Skull Dragon
1 Necromancer of the Abyss, Negromarl

Set 2 Granblue suffered due to a lack of suitable Units to take the Vanguard slot, but this has been rightly rectified with the addition of Cocytus. While most have chosen to simply bank on the new guy, I think Basskirk is still the centerpiece of the Granblue strategy. His ability to Soul Charge plays a pivotal role in setting up the rest of your most powerful skills, and his own offense is roughly on par with Cocytus anyway since, again, I lack Romario.

Skull Dragon still functions as the finisher it always was, and Negromarl's combo options have only gotten better with time. I couldn't see the deck without them.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Especial Intercept - Not So Special

Ye olde booster 2 mechanic. For those unaware, I refer to the cards who's skills read:

Auto: When this Unit intercepts, and you have a <<Clan Name>> Vanguard, during that battle, this Unit's Shield gains +5000. 

Soon after its introduction, the skill was thrown on units from most clans, almost to the point of becoming part of the core 'staples' Bushiroad distributes universally. It's reasonable enough in theory; you can save a card or two in your hand by way of this skill (or the threat of it). In a more practical setting, however, the units sporting the skill often fall short and are excluded from the majority of decks.

8,000 power is below average on a Grade 2 unit. Defensively, this is hit by the strongest Grade 1s, most Grade 2s, and all Grade 3s - without a boost. The Unit becomes an easy target. Offensively, this fails to hit the majority Grade 2 and higher Units without a boost. A commitment of an additional card from one's hand becomes necessary to simply hit something, and that's not always possible. In such cases, the Especial Interceptor merely sits on the field, doing half of what a Grade 2 Unit really ought to. This mathematical inferiority combined with the requirement of strictly being a rear-guard makes it unreasonable to play several copies of the card.

Of course, reduced numbers leads to reduced reliability. For as much as the Especial Interceptor may show up on time, it may also appear when your front row is already filled with bigger and better units - a situation where it can't fulfill its purpose. The easiest way to avoid this inconsistency? Bingo! Excluding the Especial Interceptor.

(Decks with selective calling power such as Royal Paladin, Gold Paladin, and Granblue are exempt from this problem and can easily justify their own Especial Interceptors, however.)

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Galaxy Stores Local Tournament - Week 6

When will people learn to carry their commons and rares... a fair few of those things are necessary for their respective decks, and they're going to be wanted. It made finding Wiseman a royal pain in the ass today. :/

Anyway, I went in with Oracles, minus 1 Wiseman (in its place, I played 1 Security Guardian).

Round 1 - vs. Granblue

I believe this was his first time in the tourney for various reasons, but he knew how the game worked just fine. Well enough for Granblue, though? I couldn't say so... game 1 had me staring down a really scary crit that put me at 4 damage turn 3, but being the clutch cards that they are, Nike and Psychic Bird fired back on my own turn 3, landing him at 5 damage and basically sealing the fate of the game from there on out.

Game 2... I don't remember much about. It wasn't too special. Missed out on a bunch of trigs, but it didn't seem to matter. With all the pushing I was able to do in the mid game, my path to victory was clear. People like blocking Apollon...

Round 2 - vs. Oracle Think Tank

This was an unexpected match-up, to say the least. I had no problems cruising right through him, however, as conservative play simply does not work in the mirror match. Relentless swings from Tom, Mocha, Wiseman, and so forth never allowed Milk to make any significant impact. Meanwhile, he didn't appear to have Toms himself. Tough luck. I even got stuck on grade 2 for an extra turn in the second game, but the immense momentum I was able to build to me through to the end.

Round 3 - vs. Nova Grappler

Yeah, this teammate again. This time, though? +2 Asura Kaiser. And boy did those asspain me something fierce. Got knocked out here. Needless to say, I'm gonna have to study this match-up some more. It really, REALLY sucks to not have a 7K booster.

He went on to win in the finals, claiming his first victory. This time we managed to net a Wyvern Guard, Guld. Not bad.

The excruciating wait for Booster 3 continues. Or at least Circle Magus. I could deal with that. =(

Really, though, it was a good day. My older nephew got the Conroe he needed, the younger got 2 Llews to effectively complete his deck for the time being, and I went two rounds further with Oracles than the last time I played them. No shame.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

All of my money!

Check it! Demonic Lord Invasion drops this August, with Rampage of the Beast King and Banquet of Divas confirmed for fall. I have a feeling this is gonna be a good year.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

I heard YGO events are a great place to find Vanguard

-1 Photon Strike Bounzer
-1 Number 32: Shark Drake
-1 Inzektor Exa-Stag

+1 CEO Amaterasu
+2 Silent Tom

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Galaxy Stores Local Tournament - Week 5

This one was rather eventful. We had shaky beginnings, knowing not if we would get our eight players, but everything managed to come together. Now if only some certain other people would show on a regular basis, we could get 16 easily...

Round 1 - Overlord Unflip vs. CoCoBros

Teammate in the first round. Joy. Unable to counterblast with CoCo in the second game and suffering from grade lock in the first game, he couldn't get anything going. It was rather depressing since he sacked his way to the top with that very deck last week.

Round 2 - Overlord Unflip vs. Aleph Kagero

Knowing what I was up against, I took the wisest course of action in the first game and only made one swing on the first turn. Sadly, my opponent opened Aleph, Bahr, and Tahr altogether and had no need to burn a Conroe search. I staved off as many hits as I could early on in preparation for what I thought was the inevitable Overlord CB -> Aleph Unflip -> Aleph CB... but he went for a double Overlord CB instead! It turned a hopeless situation into one with a faint glimmer. I did what any seasoned player would and declared no guard. Genjo answered my prayers! With that, the game was mine.

Game two, my opponent got grade locked. He was eventually able to drop Aleph and superior ride the Embodiment of Victory whilst I was locked at grade 2 myself, but it was too little too late. My beefy columns that were in place from the outset ran him over.

Round 3 - Overlord Unflip vs. Budget Nova Grappler

There was some grade lock in here too someplace, but I forget what difference it truly made. I game three, my teammate makes the foolish mistake of dropping a column of two Red Lightning in an effort to make more attacks given his week hand. While he did get some attacks through, he was left unable to guard anything, and I dealt a solid four hits on my second turn. Some back-and-forth heals happened, but I came out on top rather comfortably.

We pulled five straight rares for our insolence again, but this time we ended up getting some pretty beastly trades. The Nova deck is far less budget now, sporting a full set of Azure Dragon, and the OTT base is coming together nicely. Twin Blader, Gust Jinn... and my nephew went and pulled Alfred and Iseult in the span of three packs. What a boss. I might end up playing Oracles next week if things go well!