Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Goodbye, 2014

You were a bit of a dick, robbing me of my old computer and ability to play card games illegally for several months and all.

You were also a bit of a dick for the disaster that was the Chicago WCQ for Vanguard (and the mediocrity that was the Buddyfight WCQ).

That and the homelessness thing.

But I suppose I deserved it to an extent.

Here's to a better 2015. :v

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

DOTE tread on me

The news is in, and Kagero accidentally the whole thing. By which I mean Overlord the Cross took all the top spots in the biggest official Japanese tournament of the year, slaughtering everything else to the surprise of no one. But what is it that makes the deck such a force?

For starters, the top end is absurdly powerful. Simply by performing Legion, you have to means to do any one of at least two of three things: stand upon hitting, retire two upon missing, or sitting on the Grade 3 you just grabbed as a means to feed Stride plays on the coming turn. And all of these feed into one of the strongest Overlord support cards - Dragonic Burnout, which is as close to free as retire gets. The fear factor is strong, and the control factor is utterly devastating.

But of course, things don't stop there. The rest of the deck is also a well oiled machine. You have all sorts of options at Grade 2 besides Burnout, including Berserk, Twilight Arrow, Neoflame, and ye olde Burning Horn. Grade 1 features the absurdly powerful unflipping perfect guard, Calamity Tower, Gojo, and Lava Flow - and those are just the usual suspects. Nothing's stopping you from using Grom or Violence Horn, for example. Red Pulse and Fargo are both strong forerunners, and of course Gatling Claw is an eternal thorn in the side for every deck depending on their own.

So what you get after all is said and done is the best of both self-advantage and opponent-dismantling, and you can shift gears depending on what the opponent is doing in order to assure a good outcome for yourself even if one of these factors is being shut down somehow. Not many other decks do that, nor can many other decks put up with that. At least, that's what the results would suggest.

Naturally, I don't believe it's quite as dominant or even as problematic as the masses might. The state of the G format insofar is roughly that of where the game was BT05-BT09; there's a clear favorite, but plenty of other things see regular tops and can play against the favorite on relatively even ground, namely Royal Paladin, Shadow Paladin, and Oracle Think Tank variants. There's no doubt in my mind that Neo Nectar will perform perfectly well too, although the remainder of G-BT02 is still up in the air as far as viability goes. Aqua Force, Narukami, and Great Nature have historically lagged behind for a lot of reasons, and while Nova Grapplers aren't quite so prominent at the moment, they're still somewhat of a tall order to match.

Monday, December 29, 2014

This is a shocking development ~degozaru

I actually forgot about Nubatama for awhile, including the fact that they got an additional LB4 boss by way of Fighters Collection 2014, a PR Legion Pair, and most importantly, a PR Critical Trigger to help round out their options. They've all been rather gargantuan improvements on an individual basis. Together, though? They're something else.

1 Stealth Beast, Kuroko
4 Heal
8 Crit
4 Stand

4 Sakurafubuki
3 Fuuki
3 Dreadmaster
4 Mijingakure

4 Tamahagane
4 Kokujyo
4 Daranicongo

4 Mantoracongo
3 other G3s
(I used 2 Kabukicongo and a Voidmaster since I was a bit iffy on the discard cost of Yozakuracongo and didn't figure the break ride would synergize too well)

8 generic G Units

Daranicongo causes something of a chain reaction; the deck is less reliant on Kuroko's survival and as a result is far more stable in achieving its goals. Bonus points for being a solid standalone beater.

Mantoracongo ups the ante by delivering an extremely deadly finisher that doesn't require putting yourself in a position that will kill you.

And of course more crits means you get to the end game scenario faster and finish more reliably, which was a huge problem for prior builds.

Striding is kind of neither here nor there unless the opponent is playing risky enough to turn off all your skills, though.

G era support would perhaps be a bit much for the game to handle. @_@

Sunday, December 28, 2014


Stepping away from the Saver of things and Jewel Knight zerg rush for a moment...

1 Wingal Brave
4 Heal
8-12 Crit
0-4 Margal

4 Marron
4 new 8K who's name escapes me
4 Holy Knight Guardian
2 Kay/other filler

4 Blaster Blade
4 Blaster Dark
4 Starlight Violinist

4 Majesty Lord Blaster
2 Solitary Knight, Gancelot
1 Soul Saver Dragon

4 Vague Sacred Knight, Gablade
4 Saint Blow Dragon

Let's just sit down and look at this.

It's a defensive deck that aims to tank through the game by way of high defense at all grades while simultaneously catapulting the opponent into the late game, where they become Saint Blow fodder (or stride fodder in general, I mean, Atmos is probably better than Gablade in this build). Wingal, if not occupied with Blaster fetch duty, grabs a G3 to pitch for the big guns on turn 4 and beyond. It's a good deal IMO.

I've been considering a slight scaling back on Blade and Dark to include a couple of Blade Spirits as an expansion Violinist's flexibility and better ride options. There are some worthwhile G1 options to look at as well, such as Shotputter or Ladinas or even Pongal, who makes Soul Saver and Stride plays that much easier.

Even if not comparable on a competitive scale, it should at least make a nice budget option heading forward.

Marine General, Tidal Bore Dragon and Flower Princess of Spring Color, Arborea

Because my words must be thrown in my face no less than twelve hours down the line, the G Units featured in G Trial Decks 3 and 4 saw their official reveal in a commercial that aired during last night's episode.

On the Neo Nectar side of things, there are no surprises. A straightforward on-hit cloning of one of the units you already have in play is going to put in work, even if you should select something of the boosting nature (due to the +2K buff). Actually, odds are that's what you're gonna do above all else since front row dies hard and fast.

But Aqua Force is another story. This guy is odd. For starters, he reduces the generally required battle count by one, meaning he's online even with the most paltry of fields. You then generate hard advantage out of the hit! I suppose that makes sense since this is intended to be the "setup" boss, the first Stride play, but the concept is incredibly foreign for the clan all the same. To make things even more interesting, it lets you call a card from hand, which can lead into a fourth attack if you weren't capable of it before. What does that mean? Ding ding ding, Savas is online and retiring. The two compliment each other, generating a Maelstrom-like effect. And given that the deck is probably going to run 12 stands, opponents will likely catch on and let Tidal Bore Dragon hit just about every time to keep their own losses to a minimum. Nice! (Now just think of all the sweet sweet pluses he can make alongside Marios :x)

It won't belong until we know everything in G-TD03/04.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Wave Battle! Ride On!

Did I mention I like Aqua Force? Because I'm quite fond of Aqua Force. Various causes have always kept the clan from being top dog - lacking support quality, control mechanics, etc. - but the G era is looking to change that, and I have to say I'm excited.

At the forefront of it all is Couple Dagger Sailor, who throws out everything that was wrong with the Storm Riders and Legion support. For a mere CB1, you have a generic 11K beater that can enable more attacks and doesn't care about the name or status of your Vanguard. It's what the clan has wanted ever since the Break Ride block began.

Whirlwind Brave Shooter sports some rather fitting flavor text. It's also another first for Aqua Force, as they've always lacked G1s that can force shield without regard to the opponent's formation. The potential unflip is pretty negligible, though.

Diamantes wishes he had the utility that Max brings to the table.

And the recently unveiled Savas hits a lot of good notes. Your first through third battles typically knock out the front row, and the fourth will now force your opponent to off one of their own boosters. Should you be without Stride fodder, he's a very solid pressure unit in his own right with bonus crit and Grade 0 prevention.

We're really at the tip of the iceberg, too. We've yet to see any G Units, Forerunner, skill Stand trigger, or the anticipated Amber clone, all of which are liable to be significant forward pushes in much the same way.

The Maelstrom deck is about to return from the dead. I can feel it. Legion not so much, if Michael and Milos are any indication.

Friday, December 26, 2014


Genesis as a clan bothers me in many ways. It displaced OTT. It's entrenched in Limit Break. It's Vanguard centric to a greater extent than Dimension Police, and it's generally less rewarding at that. It's loaded with incomplete themes. It's difficult to predict additions to as well, because the only rule is "Soul Blast". But time and time again I find myself trying to work with what the clan has and looking forward to what it will one day receive. Maybe it's the aesthetic, maybe it's the name... or perhaps more likely is that it appeals to my fondness of a deck with many moving parts, even if none of the parts actually do so without the okay from the big cheese.

We have Waltz of the Goddess to thank for the highly adaptable Regalia engine, which focuses on reloading soul selectively from the drop zone rather than randomly from the deck and does so free of charge, offset by the need for minor setup. The PR card Hesperis is even free of any naming restrictions, allowing any Vanguard that soul blasts prior to attacking to be an on-hit death machine.

Several months ago I used this knowledge to build a nifty little number, and with any luck it'll see a G era update soon.

1 Vivid Rabbit
4 Regalia Heals
4 Regalia Crits
4 Battle Maiden, Kukurihime
4 Regalia Draws

4 Witch of Frogs, Melissa
4 Regalia Shiny Angel
3 Goddess of Self-sacrifice, Kushinada
1 Regalia Svalinn
1 Existence Angel

4 Witch of Ravens, Chamomile
4 Regalia Hesperis
4 Regalia of Midday, Hemera

4 Eternal Goddess, Iwanagahime
4 Regalia of Midnight, Nyx

8 Generic G Units

In essence, it's the fastest any Genesis deck can be, starting to threaten the opponent from the moment a Grade 3 is ridden rather than having to wait for Limit Break or Legion conditions. You stand to gain quite a lot of advantage yourself, too.

The deck comes up short due to lack of actual push, though. I've been contemplating new builds with Minerva, but... no satisfactory products yet.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Locking around the Christmas Tree

Tis the season to show old Ebenezer Scrooge how things are done.

1 Star-vader, Robin Knight
4 Star-vader Heals
12 Star-vader Crits

4 Neon
4 Volt Line
4 Promethium
2 Ganoweck

4 Radon
4 Photon
2 Colony Maker
1 Sword Viper

4 Venom Dancer
4 Garnet Star Dragon

8 G Units

If nothing else, this has proven entertaining and I have quite a lot of faith in where it's going to go post G update. Link Joker is going to have to play aggressively in order to keep up with the rest of the game, and this is pretty much the premier means of doing so. Go full ham and lock as many as possible while still leaving enough CB open to stand your entire field, wailing on the opponent until they've lost too much to recover.

Garnet is likely to be replaced by the inevitable on-Stride Infinite Zero Dragon clone. The rest, I'm not so sure - an on-attack Lock GB1 unit could probably be of service, but it's never going to usurp Photon's position in the deck. Here's hoping we can get a forerunner than can act reasonably quickly too. :/

Atom Router was a cool idea for tech, but it just wasn't working out the way I'd hoped, so I've added the Deletor Luck Bird clone in order to speed things up a tad. And no, it's not going to screw especial CBs or "suck" just because Colony can't call it.

More to come later maybe. It's not like there's much for me to do on a Christmas day. lol


On the English side of the news today, the Legion Mate dub isn't happening and Cardfight Vanguard G debuts on January 4th. It's kind of funny considering that the Legion Campaign notice advertised the Legion Mate arc as upcoming. Oh well, nothing of value is being lost considering the conclusion just puts us back where we are right now anyway. Minus Link Joker having been accepted by Cray anyhow.

G Trial Decks 1-3 release February 27th. G-BT01 lands March 13th.

It's a bit silly that I'm just noticing this now, but the G era logos have gotten the Buddyfight treatment, completely redesigned with all English text. I had gotten kind of fond of the hybrid thing, though. Too bad. =(

At any rate, our "lag" relative to the Japanese format will be roughly three months, much more reasonable than it has been in years past. It may even be shrinking some more, depending.

...of course, I don't play any of the TD clans, so I can't exactly roll in value yet. Ackwa Farce when?

Tuesday, December 23, 2014


Obligatory follow-up post on the deck list I posted the other day. Hell, obligatory post in general since my Vanguard history is so heavily entrenched in Tsukuyomi that it's impressive Bushiroad ever managed to create other decks that appealed to me.

The moment Oracle Think Tank was confirmed for a proper booster set again, I was rather elated, because I knew whatever toys appeared would be many times better than the ones I'd been locked to for a couple years. What I didn't know was that they would cater directly to the fortunetelling style of play, simultaneously blazing through the deck at such a pace that the bottom of the deck can feasibly be reached not just often, but almost every game.

1 Godhawk, Ichibyoshi
1 Sphere Magus
3 Lozenge Magus
4 Psychic Bird
4 Assault Dive Eagle
4 Oracle Guardian, Nike

4 Goddess of the Crescent Moon, Tsukuyomi
4 Divine Sword, Amenomurakumo
4 Mediator, Amenosagiri
1 Battle Sister, Lemonade

4 Goddess of the Half Moon, Tsukuyomi
4 Diviner, Kuroikazuchi
4 Promise Daughter

4 Goddess of the Full Moon, Tsukuyomi
4 Supreme Sky Battle Deity, Susanoo

4 Sword Deity of Divine Sound, Takemikazuchi
2 Soaring Auspicious Beast, Quilin
2 Snow Element, Blizza

Susanoo now leads the charge as our ace Grade 3, offering a nice bonus card and extra digging for every Stride that's made. After a second G-Unit has been turned face-up, he can even threaten an opponent with an innate critical buff, which is more useful than it really deserves to be. What can I say? Heals are a bitch.

Most of her drawbacks have vanished, so the Full Moon is free to see play again. The rare 9K defense is no major issue when archetype decks and their 12K attackers are drying up en masse, and CB2 for +1, while overcosted, is still a boon in the event your opponent is exercising anti-Stride tactics or you at a bunch of damage when going first. You'll primarily be ignoring what she does in favor of your G Units, appreciating the ride chain procs as a means to retain cards (read: discard fodder).

Kuroikazuchi is the best Grade 2 the clan has received in years, offering a near unconditional CB1 for +1, the timing of which can be toggled slightly to your liking.

Promise Daughter remains the primary means of reaching further heights on the power front.

It goes without saying that the new perfect guard variant is incredible. Lemonade is far better than she used to be as well, because 2 CB is worth twice as much as when she was printed.

Amenomurakumo serves a great many purposes, the first of which is acting as an additional 4 Grade 3s for the cost of Stride. You want to do it on every turn, so it's imperative to have the fuel. Additionally, he's the most cost effective way of shuffling the deck in a pinch. It just couldn't be done before without losing a card. Amusingly enough, shoving a Full Moon back into the deck while sending the other three to a random location rather than the bottom of the deck increases your odds of seeing one on the Half Moon check, so you can end up milking a lot out of this move. He's a solid 7K boost otherwise.

I do find, however, that Dark Cat and draw triggers made it easier to have Stride fuel even without Amenomurakumo in the deck, so I suspect I may retain the flavorful 12 Bird trigger lineup if nothing else. Kinda liked having spare change when dealing with modern Nova Grapplers, honestly. Though I'll admit I've yet to deck out with this setup.

BRB, nagging Bushiroad for a bird Heal.

Oh, and the G Units OTT got are absolutely perfect. I do appreciate having unlimited power to finish the opponent off at the end of the game, though, so I employ a couple Cray Elementals to have just that.

G Assist need not apply most of the time since the deck already has it built in, so to speak. I'll use it on turn one if necessary, however, then smile when Godhawk turns the process into a break even. :x

The deck as a whole is slightly slow on the uptake as per usual, but I find the wait is actually worthwhile now. I mean, taunting an opponent with an average hand of 8 is pretty sweet, as is hamming it up with 26K+ unboosted behemoths in your center lane.

End of rambling.

I suspect a major upswing in this style of deck in the near future, so practice well!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Meaningless fantasies of what the future brings

So while the hype surrounding Roar of the Galaxy is real and all well and good minus the implication that Commander Laurel is going to become more and more cancerous, it got me wondering about what's going to happen with the remainder of the clans during the G era.

We have an established pattern wherein generic cards take up most of the space in any given set, where previously established archetypes are thrown a couple bones here and there to reshape how they perform. Mileage naturally varies in terms of where those old decks end up in the format. However, it means we can make reasonable predictions in regards to what's coming over the course of the next year.

Narukami is in a tough spot, because front row hate has gotten progressively weaker as the life of the game drags on. However, Descendant offers a nice fall back option, and any +crit G-Units would suit a build around him just fine. As of yet I have a hard time imagining what their GB1 support is going to be like, because Kagero really kind of got the best of it already. I can't say my expectations are too high after the less than stellar Dragonic Kaiser Crimson.

Both Shadow Paladin and Gold Paladin have nothing to worry about; they'll almost certainly be top contenders out of the gates.

Link Joker doesn't need much of an upgrade to be relevant and non-game breaking, as the Legion era proved. I am wary they could go a little too far, though. If, for example, we have an Infinite Zero Dragon-like G-Unit, Chaos Breaker Dragon could make a big comeback and bend the game over backwards again. More so if the clan is handed some soul charge support.

Aqua Force is looking to get greater reward for their multi-attack gimmick in addition to the ability to land hits more easily. This is good, but of course we have to wait and see how they ultimately stack up. The presence of a trial deck is typically a good sign, though.

Bermuda Triangle will likely have a field day, as the standard Stride Enabling Grade 1 (Steam Breath Dragon, etc.) has that much more flexibility when augmented by the bounce mechanic. Field scaling and control hate will be at an all time high. I just hope their finishing power isn't too amazing if they're going to stack up to be anything like OTT advantage-wise.

Great Nature is getting cheaper costs and higher rewards, probably no issues there aside from low popularity.

Aaand that covers everything that's been confirmed so far, but I'm kinda hyped for Granblue's expansion as well. Freelance discards to set up the drop zone and go to town sound sweet. And since they never had an archetype in the first place, it's not like they're losing out on any of their current toys to use the new support.

Here's hoping for announcements on the likes of Angel Feather, Nubatama, Dark Irregulars, and so forth soon.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

A Light in the Dark Zone?

It's not uncommon in cards games for the designers to introduce new mechanics to keep the game fresh, and most of the time they'll also debut an entirely new deck with dedicated, streamlined support to showcase just how far that mechanic can go. After all, it wouldn't do to have people just ignore their new hotness. Suffice to say Stride does not have this problem, but when it comes to Gear Chronicle - the premier Stride clan - I can't help but think Bushiroad dun goofed, because it's easily the weakest of what G-BT01 has to offer. But why?

For starters, Gear Chronicle's debut toolkit contains little more than the same bare bones support the old big four also received. This puts them at a natural disadvantage because they lack a 200-some card pool to fall back on for patchwork.

More than that, though, is Gear Chronicle's weak mechanical identity. Returning rear-guards to the deck has little bearing on decks with direct recruiting ability, as they just gain the ability to call those cards again if they should so choose. It also comes up short against the heavy draw of clans like OTT and Bermuda Triangle for the same reason retire does - replacing the lost cards is just too easy. The addition of guard restriction is cute, but it never really has held a candle to Vanguard standing, and all the cards capable so far just have it backwards.

Ragnaclock Dragon, Gear Chronicle's big finisher, prevents the use of Grade 0s from hand against its own attack. Nice if you catch your opponent without a perfect guard what with the bonus critical, but any opponent attempting to guard a G Unit's attack with Grade 0s would probably be losing the game in short order anyway. Fate Wheel has it worse, requiring you to not Stride at all and being significantly smaller. The mate to their sole Legion thus far can gain the Tom ability for soul blast 2, again coming up short because you can realistically use it a maximum of two times, and that's only if you shut yourself out of any and all other soul blast skills the deck has to offer, such as a field nuke from Chronos Command or a draw by way of Gigi. Chrono Jet Dragon instead offers a free Glory Maelstrom ability at GB2, but again, it's only demanding a two card guard and has you missing out on the much bigger potential a Stride turn can offer. It's hard to break even on Chronos Command, let alone plus, and the likes of Lost Age and Mystery Flare are largely irrelevant. Gear Chronicle also lacks a forerunner with the ability to significantly impact the game - your choice is the potential to 1-1 trade early or the guarantee to 1-1 trade later, after it no longer matters.

tl;dr What is synergy?

However, main character status grants Gear Chronicle the opportunity at continual growth and expansion, and aesthetically speaking, they're quite charming, so it's not like their presence in spoilers will wear on one's patience. Bring on G-BT02 and beyond! Many great things have come from humble beginnings, and I'm curious as to where they'll go. At least, I expect Gear Chronicle to pass up Dark Irregulars promptly. xP

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Praise be Messiah

Subtitled: Holy Crap, I Live!

It's been a couple of years, I know, but between Vanguard entering a samey funk for a block or two and not having a computer for the past... seven or so months, I never had much to say, nor was I able even when I did. The 3DS web browser can hardly be called one.

Lo and behold, another new era is upon us, so my timing couldn't be better - let's talk Stride.

Many were apprehensive about the concept of an "Extra Deck" entering Vanguard. I can't blame them; the Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG ultimately boiled down to "your main deck doesn't matter anymore, abuse this generic toolbox" on more than one occasion. What's worse is that it exponentially bloated the price of entry and maintenance for the game as a whole, because you simply couldn't ignore the behemoths within. Those of us who were willing to wait out the news and see what it entailed for Vanguard were pleasantly surprised, however. The cap of 8 on the Generation Zone is very reserved, especially when you consider that the most powerful G-Units turn copies of themselves face-up and that you can end up removing 2 or even 4 of these cards from the game via the long awaited G-Assist mechanic. You're very unlikely to ever be able to use more than 3 different cards at any point in the future. Indeed, a stark contrast to 15. Half of these cards aren't even foils, either. Bushiroad was generous to offer many stellar common and rare options. That goes for G era main decks, too - most of them only feature one foil boss. The end result is the price of entry and maintenance being nearly identical to what it was before, if not more accessible due to the new handling of Trial Decks.

As for the impact Stride has on game play? Advantage-wise, it's typically fair - trading one (or more) card for an extra drive check and stage of power when compared to Legion, with further stipulation that you have to do this each turn and don't get to recycle triggers and other valuable cards. The real threat comes from support cards in the form of Generation Break 1 and on-Stride skills, which all seem to clock in at values of 1 counterblast being equivalent to 1 card. GB2 seems to be in a class of its own, and thus far it's restricted to G3 Vanguards only, so I can't say much in that regard (I do appreciate the bonus crit on Susanoo at times, though). All of the above are ultimately more repeatable and accessible during a game than your average on-Legion skill, however, as if to make up for the constant investment, not to mention the myriad of on-hits you're now liable to be using. I don't consider the removal of archetype tags and ease of blending with older deck and mechanical styles to be power creep, so I've no complaints with this new direction, especially since I really liked the Legion block for its return to early and mid game options.

Of course, I'm crazy biased on the grounds that Oracle Think Tank's grand return came in G-BT01, so feel free to call me out on any blatant bullshit.

While you're thinking on it, have a deck.

It's coming along pretty well for one night of testing.

1 Godhawk, Ichibyoshi
1 Sphere Magus
3 Lozenge Magus
4 Psychic Bird
4 Assault Dive Eagle
4 Victory Maker

4 Goddess of the Crescent Moon, Tsukuyomi
4 Dark Cat
4 Mediator, Amenosagiri
1 Weather Girl, Milk

4 Goddess of the Half Moon, Tsukuyomi
4 Diviner, Kuroikazuchi
4 Promise Daughter

4 Goddess of the Full Moon, Tsukuyomi
4 Supreme Sky Battle Deity, Susanoo

4 Sword Deity of Divine Sound, Takemikazuchi
2 Soaring Auspicious Beast, Qilin
2 Snow Element, Blizza