Friday, January 16, 2015

Bubble Sort

I'm edgier than I thought.

Oracle Think Tank
Aqua Force
Shadow Paladin
Link Joker
Bermuda Triangle
Royal Paladin
Angel Feather
Gold Paladin
Pale Moon
Gear Chronicle
Great Nature
Neo Nectar
Dimension Police
Dark Irregulars
Spike Brothers
Nova Grappler

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Moon Magic Revisted

It may be an understatement to say it's been awhile since I posted anything excessively in depth. I mean, it's been years, right? So it's only appropriate that I start anew by bringing ye olde Tsukuyomi theory up to speed.

For starters, a sample deck list.

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

4 Goddess of the Crescent Moon, Tsukuyomi
4 Mediator, Amenosagiri
4 Divine Sword, Amenomurakumo
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 Heavenly Battle Deity, Susanoo

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

There's more room for customization than you might think - the only truly mandatory cards are Ichibyoshi and the Crescent and Half Moons. Well... as far as the main deck is concerned, anyway. The G Zone isn't quite so flexible. You need those Quilin and Takemikazuchi, and a power attacking generic is appreciated during end game scenarios.

However, no matter what you choose to serve you in the remaining 41 slots, your goal should be the same. Arrange the cards you see from the ride chain skills in such a way that you can hit triple triggers later, preferably multiple times. Moreover, it helps to remember what types those triggers were, and it's a basic requirement that you count perfectly so as to fire off that stack in proper fashion. With this knowledge, it becomes rather easy to close games no matter the situation, as even if the opponent is paying close enough attention to your deck progress, they won't necessarily be able to do anything about what's to come.

Unlike older incarnations of the Tsukuyomi deck, it's no longer imperative that you ride through the Moons smoothly; doing so is merely a bonus. This is because your G Zone now houses multiple additional ways to expand your hand and stack, so you are both able to last longer and dig further while setting up more. As a result, you'll almost always want to ride whatever you happen to have (with rare exceptions when going first) so as to keep up with your opponent and Stride your way into an increasingly better situation. It's worth noting that a Full Moon penalized with a power drop is far less likely to lose you a game now, because your G Units still inherit the printed power of 11000 and are able to use their skills unhindered. Do try to clear out 12K beaters in this situation, though. They'll still hurt pretty badly on the defensive.

Another rather profound benefit to the new Stride-centric model is that you don't need to extend a booster for the Vanguard most of the time. This is great for many reasons, especially for the sample build. Because half of the already limited number of solid boosters (7!) have a tendency to become Stride fodder first, you'd much rather save the remainder for your rear-guard lanes. Meanwhile, that empty back circle leaves a convenient space to drop nice techs like Lemonade or Milk when the time comes. There's also a certain value in swinging with a lone Quilin; opponents are far more inclined to guard when it's only clocking in at 26K, and in doing so, they leave themselves with that much less to survive oncoming rounds.

As the Oracle Think Tank pool has grown significantly over the years, I'd rather not touch on every single card as it relates to this deck (although most don't, truthfully), but to remain in the same vein as my older articles, I'll gladly touch on the ones I feel are best and otherwise high profile candidates.

Grade 3

Grade 3 Susanoo: Balanced almost to a fault, I find myself appreciating but not regularly requiring the headlining boss of G-BT01 to be in my Vanguard Circle. This is because Kuroikazuchi generates the same card for the same cost, and generally speaking, I'm making a conscious effort to slow my progress through the deck to ensure I don't go doing something silly like overshooting the stack by one or firing off a nice band of triggers too early. However, therein lie his greatest strengths; he's a deadly pressure unit in slower games. His GB2 is especially threatening if your opponent has been guarding those Quilins. He closes damage gaps generated by excessive healing. He offers the means to jump through the deck by two, something no other single card does. On the other hand, he doesn't provide a means to fire back against an early game rush when going first like the Full Moon can. He's shut off entirely by rogue decks that stay on Grade 2 or less. There's nothing objectively better to use than him, though, so I've made the effort to finesse each of his benefits to the greatest extent I can.

Grade 3 Tsukuyomi: Far from a requirement, but I appreciate it above other options for two main reasons. The first is that it offers a play prior to Stride territory, so long as you ride the chain all the way up and use a Psychic Bird. The second and perhaps more important reason is that a superior ride into the Full Moon means one additional Grade 3 is free to become stride fodder or even enter play as a rear-guard. With no traditional beaters amongst the top end of my current build, the only way to make an 18K lane to tackle a rogue crossride is with these. Other situations may still call for a column of 11K + 5K. It's not a freedom to be understated.

Battle Sister, Mille Feuille: A more straightforward and easy-to-use Full Moon that trades the ability to be searched for a permanent 11K body. Not much to say. Good is good. Not reusable until you can Stride, though.

Grade 2

Diviner, Kuroikazuchi: A direct upgrade to Libra in both cost and effectiveness. There's no reason not to use him, really, unless you're really good at piloting Stellar Magus or something.

Promise Daughter: The simplest means of making your final push. An opponent at five damage is forced to feed you an extra card at the cost of one of yours, one that you likely won't be missing, especially if it means the opponent is losing on the spot.

Silent Tom: The old monster is back, though his lust for an 8K boost still persists. Thankfully, you can play upwards of 8 now, if you're willing to restructure the deck a bit. But that's my problem with him - I'd rather play other, more flexible Grade 1s.

Diviner, Shinatsuhiko: A card to keep in mind as crossrides drop in and out of viability. Not so relevant as I type, but you know how things go... and he's definitely the easiest 12K beater to maintain anyway.

Grade 1

Divine Sword, Amenomurakumo: Securing Susanoo at the expense of shuffling the deck will rarely be worthwhile. No, the main application of this card is serving as additional Stride food when it's not busy boosting. And you'd be surprised at just how often that can be when toting a twelve crit lineup and GB-locked draws out the nuts. Moving on...

8K Vanillas: Aside from being a requirement for Tom, they do have a couple benefits innate to themselves. They're nice rides when the Crescent Moon falls through, and they make 17K lanes with just about anything on turn two, perfect for beating 7K Grade 1 rides over the head in the event you went first.

Mediator, Amenosagiri: I find that a good 99% of the time, the inability to protect a rear-guard with the new era Perfect Guards is irrelevant, especially for OTT. The other 1% of the time I'm getting donked by Bluish Flames because GOD DAMN IT I NEED THOSE INTERCEPTS. I'm... surprisingly okay with a DOTE in Legion going off, though. At any rate, the unflip is positively wonderful, more than enough to offset a rare grieving. Each CB is another card, after all. And you can obtain and use all your PGs rather easily in this deck, for a total of three. Sweet deal.

Dark Cat: For the more aggressive types. Just one tends to be enough to flood the field with a complete formation on turn two, as has been the case in ages past. I dropped it, though, because I was finding it gave Kagero the ability to survive long enough to deck me out. Consistently. And that's not nice!

Weather Girl, Milk: 36K in the center is no joke. It's easy to maintain the power bump now, too.

Battle Sister, Lemonade: As resource deflation occurred, this little number's value increased, and now she's outshining Luck Bird for the most part. As she should - she's got a one or two turn delay for which to compensate.

Tankman Mode Morning Star: For Amaterasu variants. Don't consider otherwise.

Battle Sister, Lollipop: For Battle Sister variants. Both Parfait and Monaka are powerful options with her in tow. I... suppose you could try her with a Magus variant too, but I wouldn't bother personally. Lack of space and homogeneity and all that.

Grade 0



...okay, okay, Heals are still god tier, and you still want four. They expand your shenanigans in many ways, including the game stealing no guard on a massive lane that would have otherwise won were you not an evil asshole who stacked it.

But speaking from experience, Draws do absolutely nothing here. Every drive check that features one is better off being a crit to advance the game state, and every damage check that features one is just another step closer to deck out territory. The drop in overall shield value you eat for running them is rather harsh.

Stands don't make such a good fit either. They call for a lot of beaters at 11K and higher, and even if you were to pack as many as you feasibly could, there wouldn't really be enough in the deck to justify them. Maybe Battle Sisters could do it at a stretch, but you definitely want to stay away from Nono. She doesn't even stall deck decay like Lozenge can in vital moments.

Aaand since OTT doesn't have any nice tech G0s to look at, I think we're done!

Now sally forth with your new found (or refined) image of victory!

Feel free to ask me any questions you may have regarding specific plays, match-ups, etc. The line is always open. By which I mean the comment section. And Pojo. And every so often Skype.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Hype train reconvenes

One busy day and you suddenly don't feel like keeping up with the blog at all. Das not nice, life.

The World Grand Prix finals in both WS and VG featured the most ludicrously over the top games  I've ever seen on screen, and in addition to that, GTD03 and GTD04 were being sold, so we finally got to see some of the critical elements of the up and coming G decks that we've been missing. Namely, Amber clones!

Over at Neo Nectar, no one is surprised - this lovely lady requires CB1 when her boosted attack targets the vanguard at GB1 in order to duplicate one of the other units you have in play. You're pretty much only ever going to clone boosters with her, unfortunately.

But Aqua Force's Magnum Assault breaks new ground. With the same GB1 CB1 and boost against VG requirements, and an added once per turn clause, he gets to stand with a bonus 2000 power. This means he's inherently making two meaningful attacks, and much like Tidal Assault, he can activate on any attack count, making him a very real threat, especially in a more critical-oriented deck such as Tetra Drive. Oh, but he has to use his ability the first time the condition is met, or he gets locked out of it. So if you intend to cheese with other standing abilities, be sure you send him into a rear-guard first to get the most of his shenanigans.

Also, the latest episode of Vanguard G featured a glimpse of the assumed RRR G Unit for Aqua Force. Costs aside, it appears to stand your front row rear-guards if it attacks fourth, really driving home the "death by a thousand pokes" strategy. Whether it does anything else (like buff up those units) has yet to be seen, but it's no doubt a powerful asset to the Aqua Force arsenal.

A certain High Tide guy is being kept under wraps, though. Kind of annoying.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

I-I'm over here

On one hand, the spoilers popped up when expected. On the other, they were kind of the polar opposite of what I was expecting. Rather than dumping all of GBT02's foils on us, we got a bunch of (supposed) rares and commons instead. And it's a mixed bag of interesting for sure.

No Aqua Force deck will hurt for additional attacks again thanks to the new GB1 battle sirens. One is able to attack from the back row and gets bumped from 6K to 9K when she does, making her extremely flexible. The other totes Resist while turning anything she boosts into Tidal Assault for CB1 SB1. The trial deck stand trigger also swaps itself with any of your other RGs after it performs an attack, then shuffles itself back into the deck. The ultimate whiff!

Neo Nectar appears to be going the Dark Irregulars route, pumping all your clones to absurd levels of power immediately after you field them. Kind of a yawn fest, but I guess it's distinction enough from the paladins. Musketeers have been gifted a second critical trigger that also unflips 2 when called through a Musketeer effect. Crazy.

Great Nature has it pretty good with a second legion that generates even more advantage than the foxes as well as a cool phoenix of sorts for a G Unit. It gives +4K to two rear-guards when it attacks and retires them at the end phase.

Narukami claims a new identity - "Your stuff is gone forever!"

When your G Unit strides, Dragonic Vanquisher lets you CB1 to retire a unit in the front row and then bind it face-down. Their on-hit G Unit retires one of the opponent's choice, then has you bind two cards in their drop zone face-down. Granblue beware! Link Joker must by mad that their manga gimmick was stolen, though.

Gear Chronicle and Royal Paladin evidently don't exist.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

The calm before the Storm actually quite a mother load in and of itself.

Today's Card on the Japanese Cardfight Vanguard website has made a couple of incredible reveals in advance of Monthly Bushiroad's arrival tomorrow night.

The first is Blue Storm Marine General, Despina. While criticals are generally accepted as suboptimal triggers in Maelstrom decks, I think the majority are going to make room for her, especially since G Units adopt the name of the Vanguards they Stride. It just makes sense since your primary means to generate advantage - Marios and Tidal Bore - both need to hit. Additionally, in the off event you're sitting at 5 damage, Glory Maelstrom locks out guarding entirely, making for one hell of a wicked finisher.

The other is Blue Storm Soldier, Rascal Sweeper, and there's not much to say about it other than, "run 4, period." It is the one card above all else that needs to be in a Maelstrom deck's Grade 2 lineup. And really, similar cards are jealous as all hell. He does more than both Miranda and Regulation Aglovale while being a common to boot.

Dat intuition doe

So I guess one last draft before the full reveal is in order.

1 Blue Storm Cadet, Marios
4 Blue Storm Kitchen Sailor
4 Blue Storm Marine General, Despina
4 Blue Storm Fleet Angler Soldier
4 other stand triggers

4 Blue Storm Marine General, Hermes
3 Blue Storm Battle Princess, Electra
1 Blue Storm Guardian Dragon, Ice Fall Dragon
3 Mercenary Brave Shooter
3 Whirlwind Brave Shooter

4 Blue Storm Soldier, Rascal Sweeper
3 Blue Storm Marine General, Gregorios
4 Couple Dagger Sailor

3 Blue Storm Dragon, Maelstrom
4 Blue Storm Karma Dragon, Maelstrom "Яeverse"
1 Blue Storm Supreme Dragon, Glory Maelstrom

Saturday, January 3, 2015

That which does not stick

Slow news week. Time to reminisce.

Vanguard features many clans, arguably more than it needs given numerous aesthetic and mechanical overlaps, but all the same I try to find enjoyment in each and every one of them. This desire stems from wanting to get the most out of the game I've played for so long. That said, it doesn't work out. Some decks fail to appeal for very long, and others not at all. This post will attempt to go in depth in regards to each offender.

Angel Feather

I feel this clan lost its way at some point in its life, turning away from the "damage zone as a toolbox" aspect in favor of the "drop a useless card here, get fucking huge" mindset. It's pretty obvious why this came to be - a pool of roughly 4 cards just can't hope to contend with entire decks, souls, or drop zones. I won't even deny that it's an improvement. But dammit, the charm is gone. Why couldn't there be some kind of compromise? More cards like Fever Therapy Nurse with a wider variety of effects would rekindle my interest in a heartbeat. Heck, a reasonably conditioned healing effect would be nice too.


I touched on this in a previous post. Since the clan is focused so heavily on the Vanguard, it lacks a certain feeling of solidarity. "All for one" without the "one for all". And it's intentional! I doubt the clan will ever receive something as basic as a Luck Bird clone, the one thing above all else that would revolutionize the clan.


Not to be shallow, but it just sucks, and it's ugly to boot. Shadow cloning has always been overcosted for the results it tends to generate, and running out of copies due to taking damage or otherwise is incredibly crippling. The Grade 3 they got in FC2014 was interesting, a step in the right direction, but nowhere near enough.


Simply put, I'm not twelve anymore. Awesome art isn't enough to compensate for a lack of intriguing game play - or at least hard advantage! They'll forever be in the shadow of a certain group of paladins.

Dark Irregulars

Effectively the inverse of Genesis, the rear-guards here do enough to please (barely), but the center lane is an utterly worthless resource sink. The prospect of locking yourself out of half your deck all the time for menial power and critical boosts is excessively silly. More ACT or CONT skills from the soul could alleviate this, but whether or not Bushiroad will cave and realize this doesn't necessarily infringe on Pale Moon is anyone's guess.

Pale Moon

Better base power for your generics, please. Seriously. That's it. I actually kind of like the clan.

Spike Brothers

SPORTS. I don't appreciate them in the real world, and I certainly don't appreciate them in my card games. The extent of their raw, overwhelming power often turns games into solitaire, and they're also incredibly linear. Were Vanguard's disruption levels a little higher, the clan could be far more interesting. Alas, the sense of choosing a play and executing it in anticipation of what the opponent is going to do just isn't there.

Dimension Police

Going all in on a single, unstable play gets old quickly. Commander Laurel's presence doesn't help.

Nova Grappler

I mostly think it's a lack of aptitude on my end. I struggle to identify the proper level of commitment for any given hand, compounded several times over by the nature of various match-ups. It's not like Oracle Think Tank or Granblue, which by virtue can get away with just about anything because individual cards don't mean much. Additionally, I feel Aqua Force has fewer chance elements when it comes to the whole "death by a thousand pokes" thing, so I just don't feel I have a reason to bother. More so since Nova loses outright on the aesthetic front. :P

Great Nature

Needs more birds.

Okay, my best guess is that my indifference stems from the late game hamstringing that the break ride block brought and legion block didn't quite remedy. I like their combo-centric nature and think many of their cards are cute/cool/majestic/etc. I wish them the best in G-BT02 even if I don't touch them again.

Bermuda Triangle

Truth be told, there's nothing wrong with the clan as far as I'm concerned. It's active at all stages of the game, it plays to my strengths as a cardfighter, and it's not bad to look at. No, what troubles me is how it's treated, by both Bushiroad and the consumers.

Since Bermuda only sees support once a year, they're often screwed out of a card or two (or worse - an entire mechanic) that go on to become staples of the block. Furthermore, it has too many themes for its own good, very few of which are ever actually completed to a satisfactory degree. I mean shoot, where the fuck are Alk, Coral, and Pacifica these days? Nevermind poor old Riviere and Prism. It's pretty much a direct result of cranking the pandering up to eleven without regard to anything else.

The group towards which this pandering is aimed is loaded with the worst kind of people, too, ranging from incredibly creepy to intolerable asshole. You can't hope to start a legitimate discussion on how to build or play something without an interjection or two (or twelve...) that are outright wrong or otherwise unappreciated. After all, one's own taste is quite clearly always superior and everyone else is plebeian scum for believing otherwise. any rate, I digress. Just call me a hipster.

Cray Elemental


Monday night can't come quickly enough.

Thursday, January 1, 2015


Pause for a moment to consider what Granblue, if given the bare minimum, will be capable of with G era support.

On-stride CB1 revive one Grade 3

Regardless of where the GB2 ends up going, this is strong. Real strong. Lack of being repeatable is what made Pinot Noir unimpressive to most, and that's alleviated here.

Stride enabling/On-stride fetching Grade 1

You secure the ideal ride whilst simultaneously loading the drop zone for it next turn. That ability to discard any card is quite absurd.

On-hit revive one G Unit

Stronger than Royal Paladin's Gablade by far.

GB1 on-boost revive one Grade 2

The thought is so scary that I feel it'll end up having a retire 1 cost tacked on.

Beyond these, expect bonkers things like GB1 Chappie stand trigger and an unflip engine of the gods. The persona flip G Unit, though... that I can't imagine. At all.