Thursday, April 19, 2012

Calm Before The Storm: Choose Your Avatar Pt.3

Hey guys, Homura here. It has been a tiring day due to a site visit at Bangi since 10 a.m., and I just reached back to the office like 5 minutes ago. Since it's almost the end of my office hours, I might as well post something today (well, since I promised that I'll be writing something today).

Welcome to my 3rd installment of 'Choose Your Avatar'. Today, I'll be talking about the final member of the 'Big Three' - Shadow Paladins. This article is also a request from my friend that plays Shadow Paladins. Not wasting anymore time, here goes!

Shadow Paladins

Shadow Paladins (SP) made it's debut in BT-04 half a year back. In the anime series, this clan was used by the main anatagonist, Suzugamori Ren. Being a clan that plays an important part in the series, somehow please expect it to be a decent clan in terms of playability. And after a short period SP debuted, it quickly occupies Top 4 slots of various big and small tourneys, to the extent of replacing Oracle Think Tank as the newest member of the 'Big Three'

In game, SP embodies the aspect of 'Sacrifice', as their key cards usually require sacrifices to use their abilities. As the counterpart for Royal Paladins, SP does have cards that are the 'darker' versions of their RP cards, whether in art, or in abilities. Like RP, SP has the ability to swarm the field to provide 'sacrificial lambs' for their Vanguard's ability, just that their swarming rate is slower and lesser than RP due to the lack of tutors for the clan.

However, in return they gain an ability which RP does not have - Card Draw. Besides using Draw Triggers, SP has the help of Skull Witch Nevan, a card which allows the player to CB1, drop a card and draw 2. She proves to be a very important card because she can help a SP player to filter off redundant cards in their hands, as well as drawing out more fuel to 'feed' their Vanguard.

Skull Witch Nevan: Card Draw? Check. Hand Filter? Check. Hot Chick? CHECK!

So far, there's only one competitive build for SP since its release, which is using their ace card of that time, Phantom Blaster Dragon. With the introduction of the Chain-Ride system of BT-04, the PBD ride-chain proves to be a very stable ride-chain thanks to the tutoring abilities of cards in that chain.

Fullbau: It all starts here. Ride Javelin and search for Blaster Dark

Blaster Javelin: Gain extra power on top of Fullbau, and serves as a tutor/filter for PBD.

Blaster Dark: Gains extra power on top of Javelin, and chops someone upon entering play as Vanguard.

Phantom Blaster Dragon: The pinnacle of the ride-chain. A 11k monster on top of Blaster Dark, and can self-pump by 10k and gain extra critical by 'eating' 3 of its own allies.

A deck basing on PBD will instantly let the player know that he/she needs to have 'fuel' to feed PBD, or a way to regain board presence after activating PBD's skill. That's when the good supporters of SP come in to fill in these roles. Dark Maiden Maaha, is a 8k G2 that can Superior Call a G1 or lower unit behind her column. She is good to find a decent booster, like Dark Sage Charon (a 8k vanilla) to create a 16k line, or any utility card depending on the situation.

Another card that serves a similar purpose is Dark Mage Badhabh Cath. When called, he allows you to reveal the top card of your deck. If it's a SP card, you may Superior Call it out. There, instant board advantage. If you manage to reveal a second Badhabh Cath, you can keep on chaining the effect until you stop revealing a Badhabh Cath. But bear in mind that the unit must be called out, so you'll be risking calling out triggers where they can serve better inside the deck.

You think that Phantom Blaster Dragon is already a game-ender? Think again! With the release of BT-05, SP gains even more support to make it from terrifying, become horrifying. Enter their newest ace unit, Phantom Blaster Overlord.

Looks more violent when he wears more armor and holding two lances instead of one...

This monstrosity, when ridden on top of Phantom Blaster Dragon, becomes a 13k beatstick, and it still retains the ability of PBD, just that the cost has been changed from 'CB2, eat 3 units' to 'CB3, Persona Blast'. This helps you to conserve field presence as well as retaining the pressure to your opponent.

Last time, Demon World Castle Donnerschlag serves as a secondary attacker with its ability to become 12k if your vanguard is PBD. But now, when you ride PBO, Donnerschlag instantly becomes a 5k weakling. That is when the Knight of the Void, Masquerade steps in to rectify the problem.

This card becomes a 12k attacker when your Vanguard has 'Blaster' in its name. Yes, which means it'll retain the power bonus no matter your Vanguard is PBD or PBO. Plus, it's still a 9k when it's not your turn.

The bottom line is, SP is already making a big impact since its debut, and BT-05 just improves it a lot. I can't wait to see when 'Limit Break' cards are available for SP, where I highly think that SP will once more define the metagame of VG.

Pros: Strong / Consistent / Stable, Less cards to search for, Beginner-friendly
Cons: Expensive to build ( a lot of RRs and RRRs), Only PBD/PBO build is worth trying
Rating: 4.5/5

Well, that's it for this installment of 'Choose Your Avatar'. Be sure to tune in to my other columns (more are coming in soon) too, and don't forget to request for a 'Choose your Avatar' of other clans if you decide to pick it up and need more information! Until then, this is Homura, signing out.

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