Friday, March 18, 2016

My Little Sister Can't be This Terrible

Disclaimer: Kirino a shit

After the reveal of Verano on Tuesday's weekly stream, I had a feeling we'd be seeing the headlining Oracle Think Tank card from Fighter's Collection 2016 in short order - you know, for the sake of lining up with the fight featured in the coming episode of Vanguard G. Lo and behold, I was right on the money. She's here!

導きの天神 ワカヒルメ / Heavenly Deity of Guidance, Wakahirume
[Stride]-Stride Step-[Choose one or more cards with the sum of their grades being 3 or greater from your hand, and discard them] Stride this card on your (VC) from face down.
[AUTO](VC) Generation Break 2 Oracle (This ability is active when you have five or more cards in your hand):[Counter Blast (1) & Soul Blast (1) & Choose a face down card named "Heavenly Deity of Guidance, Wakahirume" from your G zone, and turn it face up] When this unit attacks a vanguard, you may pay the cost. If you do, draw a card, choose a card from your hand, and put it on the top of your deck.

For all my familiarity with how Bushiroad designs Oracle Think Tank cards, they continually manage to find new ways to catch me off guard and make me question my own sanity. Even within the context of this set alone, this card is very strange because every other GR thus far has featured generic G-blast costs and incremental gains for each copy of them you've used. Wakahirume isn't having any of that. About the only thing she shares in common with the set theme is being a generic card toting its clan's keyword (or supporting said keyword where it's exclusive to rear-guards).

What Wakahirume does is profoundly simple. At no loss or gain to your overall card count, you're able to place any one card from your hand on top of your deck when she attacks a Vanguard. Token interactions with a handful of Magus cards (which Globe better compliments in the first place) aside, this serves a single purpose - to re-activate the trigger of any card you're currently holding.

My knee-jerk reaction was very similar to most of yours.

Taking a step back, I recalled my first impressions for Kamususanoo and Deity Tsukuyomi. Both were equally as poor, yet both cards in time proved to be integral parts of my deck. With that being the case? I couldn't just stew in regret and anger. I figured Wakahirume had to have some at least some merit. So one by one, I began to break down her applications (mostly as they apply to Tsukuyomi).

Ensuring a critical trigger makes Wakahirume comparable to the likes of Saint Blow or Lunatech. If an opponent is sitting at 3 or more damage, they need to block her or risk the very likely scenario of shooting up to 6 damage straight away. If they're at 4 or more damage, not only do they need to block Wakahirume, but also the rear-guard that received the trigger instead. In this respect she's actually a little better than either of the aforementioned cards.

Ensuring a heal trigger turns Wakahirume into a ghetto Raphael, allowing you to further conserve your hand and drag out the game leading into the win conditions you planted in the deck earlier.

Ensuring a draw trigger is the only way Wakahirume generates a raw plus, but considering their nonexistent impact on the opponent, it's not worth doing unless you have no other choice (though I'd question why the draws are in your Oracle Think Tank deck to begin with). Takemikazuchi covers the proactive self-advantage niche far more effectively and without any ties to the Oracle keyword.

Ensuring a stand trigger is effective in sealing games against opponents who feel better holing up at 5 damage, and in other instances allows you another go at pushing home the effects of cards like Shrewd Concierge. It was difficult to justify the use of stand triggers prior to the introduction of Wakahirume because it diluted your concentration of criticals. You needed as many of those as you could get to compensate for blind draws and soul charges regularly stealing them from you, else you'd end up in situations where you literally could not win the game due to lacking enough power and attack frequency to overcome opposing heals in the late game. Furthermore, any nominal stand count you may have tried using tended to end up pointless for the same reason - you'd just blind draw or soul charge them all the time and never net their effects. With Wakahirume on the table this is no longer true. You can easily activate any kind of trigger any time you want even if there aren't any left in your deck. I appreciate that a lot. It's a wonder to consistency.

Since your opponent does not necessarily know which type of trigger you're throwing on top, they could end up playing in such a way that makes them more vulnerable to one type or another, and you can adapt accordingly.

Wakahirume also has a heavy impact on how one can arrange stacks of cards they see with the Tsukuyomi line. You always want to set up triple triggers, but it's often not possible to do so because there are only so many revealed at a time. This led to, say, situations where you'd place two crits at the tail end of five cards in the hopes of being able to pair them up with a third at the beginning of the next five cards, and even that didn't always come to fruition. With Wakahirume in tow, you don't need to fear placing a mere pair of triggers together - she'll turn it into a triple for you, and you can always safely place them at the topmost point in the stack. This is nice, as I can recall a number of games I've lost because I had to wait out another two or three cards than I was actually capable of sifting through at the time.

Being a vanguard-contained method to pull just one card out of the deck as opposed to two, four, or five also plays a significant role in keeping the flow of the game on track.

On the whole, it definitely seems like Wakahirume covers enough niche situations to warrant play alongside the other niche G Units in one of the game's more niche decks. Whether I'd settle for two or displace Kamususanoo entirely and gun for four copies is something I've yet to determine. Only testing will tell.

...what, the costs and conditions? They actually don't concern me too much. On average, Tsukuyomi is a very resource-light deck, only ever tempting fate in the outlying games where G3 Susanoo has to take center stage. I've often contemplated the removal of Ame-no-Sagiri in favor of a traditional perfect guard, in fact. But I digress, the Oracle keyword is the largest factor in how playing four Wakahirume could backfire. It's a very naturally occurring condition for rear-guards to meet, but it's kind of tricky for a Vanguard to do so in a more intense game where you've had to guard a lot. Does that make her more of a "win harder" card as opposed to something legitimately helpful? Ehhh... maybe it would if we weren't talking OTT. Even when you're in a good spot you aren't necessarily in total control. Asserting dominance is hard.

I'll admit I do have a hard time picturing the Magus, Battle Sister and Witch decks ever wanting to stride Wakahirume as opposed to their own themed options that scale really well to the situation themselves, but what do I care? I don't play those enough anyway. :^)


I give this adorable little shit a "not worthless" out of  "why so stingy, bushi?" and hope the best for OTT's RR in FC2016.

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