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