Friday, June 29, 2012

Deck Dissection: Bladewing Amon

Hey there guys. As promised, today I shall be posting a decklist for the new post BT-07 Dark Irregulars. Seriously, when I try to come up with a decklist, I'm really pushing my brain because I'm really spoiled with choices here. Thinking of partnering which unit with which is really hard. In the end, I decided to go with a Bladewing Reggie-based deck, with Hell Marquis, Amon as his partner unit.

The reason why I chose Bladewing Reggie is because of his unique skills. Playing Dark Lord of the Abyss is just like playing the Amon-based decks like the old times, so Reggie definitely gives me something new to look at. Plus, I like Criticals, hah! The only problem with Reggie is he needs 15 soul as soon as possible to make him good, so my choices of cards here will be very crucial. Anyway, here's an untested prototype for you guys to look at, and maybe you guys can try it out once it's released.

Grade 0
Greedy Hand x1 (FV)
Hysteric Shirley x4 (Draw)
Mad Hatter of the Nightmareland x2 (Draw)
Dark Knight of the Nightmareland x4 (Critical)
Blitz Ritter x2 (Critical)
Cursed Doctor x4 (Heal)

Grade 1
Alluring Succubus x4
Jet Black Poet, Amon x4
March Rabbit of the Nightmareland x3
Demon Bike of the Demonic Hour x4

Grade 2
Emblem Master x3
Free Traveler x2
Werewolf Sieger x3
Dark Soul Conductor x3

Grade 3
Hell Marquis, Amon x3
Bladewing Reggie x4

From the first looks of the deck, it might look like some mashed up build of DI. Pardon me for that, but when I thought about this build, it's really hard for me to decide what cards to be included and how many copies of each. But well, I did mention that this is a prototype, so it's up to you whether you want to follow my build or your own. Once I can acquire the cards myself, I'll be testing and modifying the deck also. Now let's have a look at the choices:

Grade 0

Greedy Hand is our starter Vanguard here. People might ask why I don;t use Vermillion Gatekeeper instead because I can SC an extra card if I ride Alluring Succubus on top of it. Yes, it's true. But the reason why I wanted to use Greedy Hand is because of his free call skill, as well as his targeted SC. Though I might have 1 less Soul when using him, but mitigating the risk of accidentally SC-ing a trigger is worth that 1 Soul. Besides, the targeted SC is justified from the inclusion of Demon Bike of the Demonic Hour.

Dark Irregulars seriously need these more than Stands

And since this deck is designed to deal damage fast and hard, the introduction of the 2nd Critical Trigger for DI is utmostly welcomed. Furthermore, Dark Knight of the Nightmareland has the skill of Margal, which allows you to hit magic numbers for the final push. The final set-up will be 6 Critical,  6 Draw and 4 Heal to provide you with both improvements is offense and defense.

Grade 1

Alluring Succubus instead of her sister because we need the speed

I was thinking of using Succubus of Courtship because it can continuously SC if my attack hits the Vanguard, and can act as a pressuring unit to force your opponent to guard. But considering the requirements of Reggie, I opted to use Alluring Succubus instead because she allows you to SC immediately. Demon Bike is your Vanguard's personal booster. The more of it in your Soul, the better it gets. However, even if you only managed to SC two of them in your Soul, the remaining two can boost for a whopping 10k each!

Absurdly high power counts with a very affordable cost

To better deal with 13k Vanguard, I've opted to use a full set of Jet Black Poet, Amon. This is because Amon's requirement for his power boost is so easy, and having a 9k booster/attacker at all times is always welcomed. Together with Demon Bike of the Demonic Hour, this lineup ensures that you will not have 'power shortage'.

Grade 2
This is where you Soulcharging will mostly come from. Emblem Master serves the same function as Succubus of Courtship, whereby you force your opponent to make choices, whether he wants to let you have more Soul, or spend cards in his hand to guard. Either way is an advantage on your side. Free Traveler provides you with a CIP targeted Soulcharge to help set up Demon Bike faster, as well as getting rid of extra G3 which will not help if you trigger them during Drive Check.

More Soul! More!

Werewolf Sieger is in because he has 10k power, which is able to punch through the majority of cards out there. Although Aspiring Demon, Amon is also good for his 11k power on your turn, but when you're in the defensive, he's only 8k, and 8k is not a good number. Since its release in BT-05, Dark Soul Conductor has become a staple card in almost all DI variants. Being able to SC2 when used as a Guardian is definitely an advantage for a Soul-hungry clan like DI.

Grade 3

Here's the main star, Bladewing Reggie. Despite needing 15 or more Soul to trigger his +2 Critical, he himself can perform a targeted Soulcharge of 3 the moment he hits in. Together with all the other Soul acceleration cards in the deck, hitting 15 can be as fast as your turn 4 or 5. When boosted by Demon Bike, he can hit magic numbers ranging from 16-22k, depending on how many of the Bikes you have charged into Soul. One thing I need to mention though is his defense. One word - BAD. Being a 10k invites yourself to a lot of 20k raping during defense, so have to be careful when picking your Rear Guards' attack targets: sometimes you might have to whack your opponent's Rear Guards as well.

Hell Marquis, Amon is your inital G3 before preparations for Reggie is ready. Since he has built in power increment, meaning that you can pressurize your opponent while building up Soul for Reggie, as well, as providing some board control (plus Soul feeding) with his Counterblast skill. Again the same as Reggie, play smart because you're 10k, not 11k, 12k or 13k.

So here you go, a prototype of the Bladewing Reggie deck. Truthfully without testing, I wonder how far this deck can go. But the offensive capabilities of the deck is already there, from the looks of the cards in the deck. Try it out when you guys can and let me know how is it performing, whether they are anything needed to improve the deck, or even what should be take out. Here's a quote for DI players out there: "Hit hard on your turn, pray hard on your opponent's turn"

That's all guys!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Defining the Metagame: Dark Irregulars

Hello from Homura, and today it is a good day to feel evil, mwahahahahaha!!!!

Ahem, pardon me for that. Alright, as the title says it, I'll be discussing about the forever Soul-hungry clan of Vanguard, Dark Irregulars. DI hasn't been getting much love since its debut in BT-03, with only a few cards from BT-05 available for them (nobody even use those cards, maybe except the Draw Trigger or Devil Child).

In BT-07, DI gets a massive boost, with Limit Breaker now available for them, and certain units that brings their thirst for power to the next level. I would say with the additional cards from BT-07, DI can have more variety when it comes to deckbuilding, compared to the last time where only Hell Marquis, Amon and Stil Vampir are the main choices to build decks. Not forget to mention the forever hated 8 Stand Triggers build. So before I delve into more details, let's have a recap of Dark Irregulars in their entirety.

Dark Irregulars, when they first came out, is designed to have 'quantity of Soul' in mind, where they will unlock a lot of skills which require you to have a certain number of Soul. Also, because of that, the majority of their units are also geared for that purpose, which is to fill up your Soul. They also have 2 different Megablast units, which emphasizes more in the 'number of Soul matters' theme. After almost a year, they're finally back with an even bigger appetite for Souls. Let's have a look at what the new DI have installed for us (Warning: Long Post Ahead!!!)

The Dark Lord of Abyss

This is the first Limit Breaker of Dark Irregulars. Boasting a printed 11k power (the drawback is negligible if you're playing a pure clan), he is the successor of Hell Marquis Amon. The only difference about him and Amon is Amon consistently gets the +1k per Soul when you're at the offensive, whereas Dark Lord only get it as a LB skill. Comparing this with Amon, Dark Lord tends to gain the upper hand because he has 11k power when you're defending. No doubt that Amon can hit super high numbers like 30k++, but his awful stats makes him a easy target for 20k line rape.

Usually, when you're hitting for more that 20k, your opponent will usually say 'No Guard' or just null guard it. When boosted by Devil Child (6k unit that becomes a 10k booster when you have 6 or more soul), Dark Lord will achieve the same desired effect with his 21k attack. Whether you want to be more aggro with Amon, or have a bit of breathing space when defending with Dark Lord, it's really up to your preferences.

Bladewing Reggie

Now this is something interesting. Bladewing Reggie is a 10k G3 with a pair of very interesting skills. The first skill is when you have 15 or more Dark Irregulars in your Soul, Reggie gains +2 Critical permanently. This brings him to the rank of the highest damage unit in the game on its own (without any outside support), with a grand total of 3 Critical when you attack. This is another 'No Guard' or Null Guard attack to your opponent.

Reggie's second skill is when he CIP as the Vanguard, you can target one of your Dark Irregular unit, then search your deck for up to 3 of the same card and Soulcharge them. This skill presents 3 different situations to you, where each of them is some sort of advantage for your side. Firstly, you can thin your deck by removing up to three non-trigger cards, which is very good to increase your chances to hit a trigger. Secondly, it speeds up the clock for hitting 15 soul by three turns. And finally, this skill powers up a cycle of cards known as the 'Demonic Hour' units, which I'll be mentioning next. The only concern on using this skill is the potential danger to deckout even faster, so use with care. Reggie embodies the extreme of the offence of DI, so power-hungry players can give him a shot.

The 'Demonic Hour' Cycle

Actually 'Demonic Hour' is my own translation because the Kanji of the names written on the cards actually means 'the time where demons roam', hence I called them the 'Demonic Hour' cycle. This cycle consists of a G1, G2 and a G3 that shares the same skill:

CONT [V / R]: During your turn, for each (Card Name) in your Soul, this unit gets +2000 power.
If you see, they combo perfectly with Reggie, because Reggie can perform a targeted Soulcharge. You might not use the Devil Tank of the Demonic Hour (G3) or the Underworld Carriage of the Demonic Hour (G2) because they are just vanillas that can hit hard. Let's save some slots for better cards here shall we? But the case is different when it comes to the G1, Demon Bike of the Demonic Hour. It's a 6k unit, but when you have at least 2 of them in Soul, the bike instantly transforms into a 10k monstrosity. Things are even better when you have 3, where you can boost for 12k every turn. Just beware of Kagero (everybody hates Kagero).

Besides those stated above, BT-07 also gives us a few very good Soulchargers, which is better than the inital ones given to us. Some of the notable ones are stated below.

Free Traveler

For a mere cost of CB1, you can perform a targeted SC on a G2 or below DI unit when he comes into play. Best used with the 'Demonic Hour' cycle. Though his downside is his 8k power (not a good number).

Emblem Master

He is the upgraded version of Blue Dust. As a trade off for losing a Personal Booster (Nightmare Baby), Emblem Master can SC3 instead of SC1 when his attack hits the Vanguard, just by paying CB1. Generally a good unit that is compatible with all DI cards out there.

Yellow Bolt

This is the SC version of Dragon Monk Gojo and friends. By resting this unit, you can SC1. Though not good in the later stages of the game, where you're trading off a booster for an extra Soul, he's quite good when you're going first. Personally I would not play more than 2 of him in any deck (or maybe exclude him at all).

Succubus of Courtship

IMO, this is a better version of Alluring Succubus. Alluring Succubus' SC skill is when she CIP, which means if you miss it, you can't do it anymore. This new Succubus improves this ability by changing the SC timing into 'when a attack boosted by her hits the Vanguard', while retaining the same stats as Alluring Succubus. Definitely an auto include for me.

Greedy Hand

The new starter for DI. Greedy Hand has a Superior Call skill, which gives you a +1 upon riding to G1. And he also can perform a G2 or lower targeted SC by paying CB1 and sending him to Soul. I think from now onward he'll definitely replace Vermilion Gatekeeper because of his targeted SC. Even if you don't use the skill, he's still a free booster for you.

Trigger Units

I'm definitely excited when the new Triggers for DI are revealed. In BT-07, DI gets a new cycle of Triggers (one of each type). Seeing that DI now has 12 Stand Triggers doesn't make me happy, but with DI having access to 8 Criticals and 8 Draws is definitely making me very happy! As we all know, DI have a big problem when it comes to hand card management, because you're throwing a lot of cards to maintain your offense, leaving you with nothing much to guard with. This is remedied by having more Draw Triggers available. 

Another thing is DI can make power lines so easily, they should have more Criticals because most of the time, your opponent won't guard a super high power attack. With another Critical Trigger available for them, DI finally can achieve a setup of 6 Criticals and 6 Draws, speeding up the clock to hit 6 damage and having more cards to defend.

Usually I'll post up a decklist during the end of this column, but I seriously don't want to make this post any longer. If time allows me to do so, you'll be able to see a decklist for DI tomorrow (still thinking whether I should post the Dark Lord build or the Reggie build).

Anyway, with the new cards coming in soon, DI can be a tourney-worthy deck if you build it properly. Why? Because from what I can see, Dark Zone decks are spoiled with choices, so choosing the correct card can be a little bit tricky. Compared with the other clans in BT-07, I would say DI is the closest behind Great Nature in the ranking chart of the booster's clans (Great Nature is just too versatile and their synergy is just that good). If compared to the other established clans out there? DI definitely stand a chance, except when facing 13k Vanguards where they might have a slight problem when defending (I wouldn't say attacking because DI's offense is just that good). 

So, it's time to start brainstorming! Until next time, I'm also off for my own brainstorming session, wheeee~~!!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Parallel Vision: The Post-BT-03 VGE Metagame

Hi guys, Homura here with a brand new column upon a request from one of my viewers. He asked me how is the English Vanguard environment now and whether I can post up an article or two about VGE because somehow my articles focuses more on the Japanese side of the game. Well, I would say 'Why not', since I'll be able to cater those that play English CFVG only, and also providing me with more things to write. Anyway, let's get back to topic before I strayed too far away...

VGE started almost a year after the Japanese's release, and from what we can see, the competitiveness level of VGE is way below of its Japanese counterpart, among the obvious ones are cards from BT-05 which totally changed the entire metagame. However, they have been compensated with the availability of Limit Breakers at the same time with the Japanese release, as well as extra cards in their expansions in the form of Japanese promo cards in Common or Rare rarity. Also, with the release of BT-03 in this coming period, the VGE metagame will take shape of the pre BT-05 metagame of Japan. Without further ado, let's see how will the metagame be formed once BT-03 for VGE hits in. Let's start with analyzing the state of the Clans when the new cards are available for them.

Royal Paladin
RP gets the most out of the release of BT-03, as they will be getting a lot of new cards from that set. Firstly, they gain another useful Ride Chain, which is the Galahad series. Galahad rides in a same way like Tsukuyomi, where you get to check the top 5 cards to find the corresponding higher grade unit and Superior Ride it, thus saving your hand cards.

Galahad also gains some form of support such as Borugal, a 6k G1 that can boost for 9k if you have 6 or more Soul, matching Galahad's theme where he also needs 6 Soul to unlock his skill.

But the most notable boost that RP gains is 2 cards that is known to be the best cards ever printed for RP pre BT-05 - Toypoogal, and Swordsman of Exploding Flames, Baromedes.


Toypoogal is a G1 that can boost for 9k once you met the requirements of having 2 or more Royal Paladin G3, which is not hard to fulfill during mid-late game. The same goes to Baromedes, which can singlehandedly slam into any unit of the game once you hit his requirement, which is the same as Toypoogal. Together, they can hit for a whopping 22k damage!

In short, RP will be the deck to beat once BT-03 for VGE is released.

Kagero doesn't get much boost in BT-03, where they only get 4 new cards (and maybe another 2, if the news is confirmed). The cards given to Kagero are mainly support cards for the Blazing Flare Dragon builds. Some notable ones will be Flame Edge Dragon, Kagero's equivalent of Blue Dust. With Flame Edge available to Kagero players now, BFD will be able to use its skill more than once thanks to the Soulcharging ability of Flame Edge.

Dual Axe Archdragon is a 10k G3 that can add 3k power when attacking if your opponent has less that 2 Rear Guards. He is meant to combo with any retire-based Kagero, but only given that you can consistently control your opponent's unit count.

Even though Kagero does not get much boost this set, they still can play their meta-defining deck, Goku-Blade a.k.a. Paladin Killer.

Goku-Blade is a very effective deck that can consistently control your opponent's board presence while you keep on piling up the pressure. This deck specially aims your opponent's boosters, having the logic that if your opponent does not have a booster, you won't have difficulties in guarding when only 5k shields are needed for every attack. I'll be discussing this deck in a future article. Oh, and Kagero also get another Critical Trigger too!

Together with RP, Kagero is the clan to look out for, when people knows how devastating is Goku-Blade.

Oracle Think Tank
Finally, OTT reaches its pinnacle with the advent of the goddess of the Moon. BT-03 emphasizes more on the 'Soul' theme of OTT, allowing you to do more stuff when you have Soul. the Tsukuyomi ride chain provides you with hand advantage as well as Soul, and the support cards released, such as Oracle Guardian Red-Eye further augments the theme of the deck. Tsukuyomi also marks the first ever 11k base power Vanguard for OTT (just make sure your ride is successful), and Tsukuyomi brings even more draw power to a clan that already emphasizing in drawing cards.

There nothing much special besides Tsukuyomi, and OTT now can have a more aggressive playing style now thanks to 11k units. Finally, the Big 3 for VGE is now completed.

Nova Grappler

Bt-03 brings you the Death Army couple. They share the same skill, which is the ability to stand if you hit a Grade 3 Nova Grappler during your Drive Check. They pair well especially with Asura Kaiser, since now you're able to retain NG's specialty of having multiple attacks without the need of Stand Triggers.

As usual, NG is now the underdog clan in an environment where RP, Kagero and OTT is shining brightly. But give them some time, they're just getting warmed-up.

Tachikaze, Pale Moon, Dark Irregulars
These are the three new clans joining into the fight in BT-03, each with their distinct playstyle.

Tachikaze is the 'cannibal', where they need to sacrifice their units in order to pay for their powerful skills. With null guards available for Tachikaze now, they finally can be played properly. Their signature deck will the the Deathrex-Gigarex combo, where you can hit insane power counts when you time your 'cannibalism' properly.

Pale Moon is the circus of the Dark Zone, their playstyle emphasizes in the 'quality' of their Soul, where if you have certain cards in your Soul, some of your units gets a power up. Their specialty skills emphasizes more in this aspect, because they have units that can tag with their partners inside the Soul, hence you need good cards in your Soul to keep the combo going.

Dark Irregulars is a Soul-hungry clan, and they look more at the 'quantity' of the soul. DI plays like a no-brainer, where they are at their best when they attack. The more Soul you have, the more powerful you are. Some example of units that reflects this is the Amon series, and having more Megablast units then other clans.

Jet Black Poet, Amon while boosting Aspiring Demon, Amon can hit for a whopping 20k when you have 6 or more Soul, while the G3, Hell Marquis, Amon gets +1k for each card in your Soul. He also has a skill to send one of your units to Soul to force your opponent to retire one Rear Guard, maintaining board advantage while pumping more power. The unit to look out for is Stil Vampir, a G3 with a deadly Megablast which allows you to ride any cards on your opponent's field as the Vanguard for that turn. This can lead to a very devastating Final Turn as you can ride a low-power unit as the Vanguard and start slamming them.

I guess from the Clan analysis above you can see how will the English metagame be formed once BT-03 hit the shelves. As usual, the Big 3 (RP, Kagero, OTT) will be dominating the format for the time being, while Nova Grapplers and Dark Irregulars comes close. Pale Moon and Tachikaze will have a slight disadvantage because the learning curve for PM is a bit high for beginners, while Tachikaze can't do much besides hitting hard (they are other clans that can hit harder). The only big problem is you have the Limit Breakers running around.

That's all for today's long article I guess. In the future articles related to VGE, I'll be doing the usual stuffs like analyzing decklists and each clan's playability corresponding to their environment. So if you guys out there have any requests for anything related to the English environment, feel free to ask and I'll try my best to give you my insights, hopefully can provide you with some ideas of your own at the same time. Till then, this is Homura signing out.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Deck Dissection: Vermilion Rumble

Hello there. Homura here again with another deck to be dissected today. Today we'll be looking at Narukami (again...). Everybody thought that Narukami will remain as a tier 2 deck until the release of BT-08 three months later, where the set will give them additional cards to bolster their playability. However, things might change for now because we finally have a new archetype for Narukami, which will slightly bring up their power level once Promo Pack No.7 is released soon.

Guys, say hi to the big guy holding the big gun - Rumblegun Dragon


Rumblegun Dragon is a 10k-power Grade 3 from Narukami. It is one of the PRs that can be obtained in the newest PR pack. So what about him that makes me so hyped up? Take a look at its skill:

"[V]: When you Drive Check a Grade 3 <<Narukami>>, you may retire one of your opponent's Grade 1 or lower Rear Guard."
Does this effect sound familiar to you? Yes, Rumblegun is Narukami's Dragon Monk Goku. During the days where Kagero Goku-Blade decks were winning almost all the tournaments in Japan, we can see how devastating it is when you're retiring your opponent's boosters non-stop. Does this strategy work when it is applied to Narukami? Yes it might defer from Narukami's core strategy, which is focused attacks on the Vanguard; but with better board control, it definitely provides a new style of playing for a such straightforward deck. Personally, I really liked this card because I'm the pioneer of Goku-Blade back here in my local community, and I wish that Goku-Blade can shine again with the new elements provided by Narukami cards. Without further ado, let's have a look at a sample decklist which will serve as my prototype:

Grade 0
Spark Kid Dragoon x1 (FV)
Malvolent Djinn x4 (Critical)
Yellow Gem Carbuncle x4 (Critical)
Old Dragon Mage x4 (Draw)
Demonic Dragon Nymph, Seioubo x4 (Heal)

Grade 1
Red River Dragoon x4
Wyvern Guard, Guld x4
Photon Bomber Wyvern x3
Lightning of Hope, Helena x3

Grade 2
Thunderstorm Dragoon x4
Dragonic Deathscythe x3
Demonic Dragon Berserker, Carla x2
Hex Cannon Wyvern x2

Grade 3
Rumblegun Dragon x4
Dragonic Kaiser Vermilion x4

From the looks of it, this deck doesn't differ much from Kaiser-based Narukami decks, except for the inclusion and exclusion of certain units. Now, let's have a look at my reasoning for this build shall we?

Grade 0
As usual Spark Kid Dragoon is the preferred starter for this deck. Without a useful starter like Lizard Soldier Conroe available for Narukami, they are on the lower end when it comes to utility, and Lizard Soldier Saishin just doesn't make the cut for me. Spark Kid serves as one of the most important cards for this deck as he allows you to possibly fish out a Grade 3 from the top 5 cards of your deck. Without Conroe to search out your card cyclers fast enough, you need to make sure that Rumblegun Dragon is in your hand as early as possible. As for the trigger setup, it'll still remain the same unless there are new Draw Triggers available for Narukami.

Grade 1
With so many 6k cards for your G1 lineup, Red River Dragoon's role as the main supporter becomes more important. 8k is a number too hard to be wasted, so do not simply send him out unless you're sure that your opponent has no way to get rid of him from your field. With so many G3s we're playing in the deck, Wyvern Guard, Guld is maxed out so that you won't need to discard useful shields as the cost. As usual, Photon Bomber Wyvern is our main Vanguard booster here. As long as your opponent has 3 or more damage, 20k lines with Rumblegun and 21k lines with Kaiser can be easily obtained.

Finally back in after such a long absence...

Another star of the deck is Helena. her function in the deck is to help you to cycle out extra G3s after you Drive Checked them with Rumblegun. Additionally, she can also be used alongside Spark Kid to fish out Runblegun faster. Because Photon Bomber Wyvern is already occupying the slot below the Vanguard, hence you need to pair Helena with a high-power Rear Guard to make sure the attack hits.

Grade 2
Without further explanation needed, Thunderstorm Dragoon is at maximum for its 10k power. Dragonic Deathscythe is at 3 compared to my usual 2-off because your deck seldom uses Counterblasts when you have Rumblegun doing his job for you, and Deathscythe is also a good board controller. The rest of my lineup is both Carla and Hex Cannon Wyvern at 2 each. Carla is there to give your opponent some pressure for its unflipping ability, and Hex Cannon is there for some extra punch. I'll be testing these two out before I decide whether should I increase the count of Hex Cannon and reducing Carla.

Grade 3
Similar to Goku-Blade, to use this deck in it's full potential, you need a decent amount of G3s in your deck. Without further saying Rumblegun Dragon is at maximum because this deck is build around it (duh!). You only need to ride one, and then the rest will either become your RG attackers, get cycled away for better cards, or as a cost for Guld. During the old days, I manage to freak my opponent out from putting down boosters because whenever Goku triggers a G3, he just wasted a card and I broke his magic power line. Hopefully I can do the same with Rumblegun. And because Rumblegun is a 10k, be really careful when you're in the defensive side.

Kaiser Vermilion functions like Dragonic Overlord, which is becoming the alternative Vanguard if you cannot Ride into Rumblegun. Even without Rumblegun, Kaiser still poses as a big threat with its 11k power and Limit Break skill. Though he's a vanilla in RG, but I still choose him over the other G3s because of his defensive capabilities.

Still a staple, regardless of being a vanilla as a Rear Guard

As a conclusion, by playing this deck you're now sacrificing Narukami's specialty of hitting with high power for more board control. Hence, your pace of playing will be slightly slower because you now lack the power to punch through as quick as lightning. But in return, this deck gives you more chances to break your opponent's magic numbers and generating better board advantage. It's really up to you to choose your build, but frankly speaking Narukami should have something else besides whacking-the-Vanguard-only tactics. I'm in love with Goku-Blade last time, and I think I will too for Vermilion Rumble. Well, only test results can determine whether this deck is competent enough against other decks out there.

And here you go, a different take on Narukami. If you liked Goku-Blade last time, I can definitely guarantee that you'll like this build. But I should tell you first, this deck, although similar, is not on par with the original Goku-Blade because we're lacking a few more types of cards, among them are a Kinnala-esque G1 (for more board control), a Gojo clone (for better cycling and 7k power), and a useful Rear Guard like Overlord.

I know it might be asking too much for this, but in Goku-Blade, they are the core cards in the decks. Just hope that for now Vermilion Rumble can work out as I expected, and will get better when BT-08 comes out. That's all for now, Have fun testing out this deck, and let me know how was it so I can update the build into a better one (time to hunt for my Rumbleguns).

Thursday, June 21, 2012

After the Storm: Deck Tiers pt. 2

Continuing from the previous article, today i'll be giving all of you a list of the Tier 2 decks in the current meta. So what is Tier 2? Compared to Tier 1 decks, Tier 2 decks lacks a bit of stability and consistency, and their winning rates in tournaments are also not that high compared to the Tier 1 decks out there. However, they are still considered as competitive decks and are the top contenders for Tier 1 slots in the future.

Below are my personal ratings of the top Tier 2 decks out there. Please have a look and see whether my analysis is similar to your or not. Enjoy!

Oracle Think Tank - Tsukuyomi / Amaterasu

Since the debut of Shadow Paladins, OTT is no longer a member of the 'Big 3'. Comparing all the builds available for them, only the Tsukuyomi / Amaterasu build is tourney-worthy. And frankly speaking, due to the lack of support for OTT after BT-03, they have become very predictable, and most players already know how to handle them. Yes, having a hand of more than 10 cards seems good, but with 20k and 21k power lines being so easy to make nowadays, after your opponent ends their turn, you might have only less than 5 hand cards left.


Not to say they are totally unplayable now, just that they are really lacking something, for example maybe a Limit Break, or Persona Blast (I won't say a Cross Rider, because that will make OTT broken). We still can see OTT winning tourneys, but not as often anymore. BT-07 is around the corner, bringing with them new support for Scarlet Witch Coco decks, so we shall see how it turns out. Is it the rise of the 'Soulless' era, or does OTT still need to fill their 'Soul'.
Rating: 4.0 / 5

Nova Grapplers - Dragon Kaiser

With the introduction of Beast God Azure Dragon, NG finally have access to tow sets of 11k power cards. This deck basically works the same like Asura Kaiser builds in the past, but with the added flavor of Persona Blast from Azure Dragon. With Azure Dragon included in the deck, they finally have the option to 'switch' into different builds while still using the same deck. Once you have depleted your pseudo Stand Triggers (via Asura Kaiser's skill), you can instantly switch to Azure Dragon, and continue to pressurize your opponent by threatening them with Azure Dragon's Persona Blast.

The core of the deck still retains, just that you'll have a better chance in late game compared to the past. If I am able to name a new deck as a Tier 1 deck, the closest for me should be Nova Grapplers. What they really need now is some form of card draw, others are quite decent already.
Rating: 4.2 / 5

Gold Paladins - Spectral Duke Dragon

Ah, another newcomer from EB-03. It seems like a lot of players out there are very eager to try out the new SDD build. I don't blame them because SDD looks pretty strong, as well as cool. Being able to Superior Call units during the Ride Phase, and Superior Call more units if you hit certain units from the previous call is not a joke. Their swarming rate is better than Blonde Ezel builds I would say, and it comes with cheaper costs as well. Also, being able to 'cheat' null guards is what makes SDD even scarier.

However, this only really looks good on paper. Despite having a good ride chain, and a strong LB, SDD is nowhere close to being a Tier 1 deck when Blonde Ezel and Garmore is still running around. Why? Because this deck lacks something really important - Power. SDD can only be a maximum of 11k at all times, and the best it can go with a boost, say Little Fighter, Tron, is only 21k (and that's if you have more Rear Guards than your opponent). Compared to Ezel and Garmore, which can hit absurdly high numbers, SDD really looks stupid in front of them.

Also, the moment you use SDD's Limit Break, you're actually putting yourself under a very big disadvantage, which is the lack of Rear Guards. A smart opponent will know how to play around with the LB, whereby they will focus all your attacks to SDD, leaving you with a dilemma of whether you want to spend your hand cards to guard (which leads to lesser units to call), or take damage to preserve board advantage (which leads to a faster defeat). So before you say SDD is strong, think twice.
Rating: 4.2 / 5

Narukami - Dragonic Kaiser Vermilion

Another newcomer that supposed to replace Kagero. But despite being so hyped, they are somewhat not performing at the moment. The good thing of playing Narukami is you can hit high power counts (which means this clan focuses in hitting the Vanguard hard and fast), but that's all they can do. Compared to Kagero, they don't have enough retiring power, and they don't have enough useful Rear Guards as support. Ultimately, their Grade 3 choices are so limited that if you don't play Kaiser Vermilion, it's very hard for your deck to be on even grounds with other decks.

Even with the help of Kaiser, you can only do that much. I'm not expecting people to be able to use Kaiser's LB more than 2 times in a game, and he being the only 11k power cards available, you're jeopardizing you defenses if you don't ride him. Thunder Break Dragon is our Trial Deck exclusive G3 Limit Breaker. But frankly speaking, it's CIP skill really is sub-par. If it says 'CB2: Retire one of your opponent's Rear Guards', it'll definitely be an auto-include. The other cards are also being 'so-so' with Breakthrough Dragon being the only possible staple in the deck besides Kaiser. Well, the good news is in three months time, Narukami will get their new reinforcements, so to all Narukami players out there (including myself), please be patient for the time being. We might be suffering now, but we'll definitely come back with a bigger and harder punch later!
Rating 4.0 / 5

Spike Brothers - Dudley Emperor / Juggernaut Maximum

With EB-03 bringing Spike's first Limit Breaker, the fearsome Demonic Lord, Dudley Emperor, Spike seems to have found their ideal finisher. Not long after their release, we can already see Spike decks featuring Dudley Emperor topping a few tournaments (which is something we seldom see besides the Dark Zone Tournament way back then). With DE included in the deck, the once-staple card, General Seyfried is no longer needed, because you can Superior Call whatever you want instead of hoping to trigger a G3 from your Twin Drive And being able to drop Dudley Dan off the deck, means that Dudley Emperor can hit 20 and 21k power lines easier now, compared to the maximum of 17k when boosting Seyfried.


Besides having access to Limit Break, EB-03 also gives them their G1 'tagging' unit - Reckless Express. The reason why is he that good is because he can work as both a decent booster and attacker. When you need the final push, sent him in front and SB for 12k, otherwise, being able to boost for 7k is not bad also. 'Tagging' units are good when paired with Dudley Emperor, because you're now able to reform your board position better. You can always make space for units that're better for the current situation when you 'tag' them away.

Though now you are giving away a little bit of speed compared to last time, but in return, you hit way more harder than before. Trust me, once you've mastered the playstyle of Spikes, you'll definitely be able to pose as a threat to most decks out there, because creating power lines is also what Spike Brothers do best.
Rating: 4.3 / 5 (being slightly higher than Nova Grapplers is they pack more punch!)

Here you go, my Top 5 Tier 2 decks in the current metagame. Of course they are still a few more that I wanted to mention, but there's no time at the moment. But I'll be doing a continuation if you guys want it. In the next article, I'll be mentioning the Tier 3 decks for the current metagame. Until then, this is Homura signing out!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

After the Storm: Deck Tiers pt. 1

Hello there and welcome to another installment of 'After the Storm'. Vanguard has been together with us for a year and a half, and throughout the period it has undergone a lot of transformations. From the Trial Decks fight during the early days, until the 13k Vanguards of today, the game has seriously brought to us a lot of challenges when it comes to deckbuilding.

So you might wonder, where do the decks stand in the current metagame? That's why today's post will be a short analysis of the various decks available to us and I'll be diving them into tiers and adding in a short explanation as well. I'll be dividing the decks into 3 different tiers, and I'll try to cover all possible deck builds if I can.

Without further ado, this is my summary of where the clans stand now (bear in mind, this is a personal opinion, so it might clash with others' ideas). I'll break this article into a few parts, so that you guys out there wouldn't need to scroll for so long and get bored when reading. The first part is the current Tier 1 decks.

Tier 1

Kagero - Dragonic Overlord The End

Ah, the almighty DOTE. It's not surprising at all for it to make it into tier 1 because the deck is just that stable. Like my previous post about the deck, it packs board advantage, hand advantage, card cycling, high power count, all in one deck. Most of all, DOTE is one of the frequent tourney winners since it's release way back during BT-05. Even after Limit Break is introduced, DOTE still stays strong despite not having any sort of LB skill. The only thing that I'm not happy with? DOTE is too mainstream, basically wherever I play, I'm bound to see a few DOTE running around.
Rating: 4.8/5

Royal Paladin - Majesty Lord Blaster

The 2nd member of the Big 3. Same as DOTE, MLB wins tournaments non-stop like flowing water. Although it doesn't have as much goodies as DOTE, but they can pressure your opponent with the constant 12k, 2 Critical MLB boosted by one of the best boosters for RP, Toypoogal. Their tutoring abilities also are unparalleled, being able to tutor various different cards to form magic numbers at ease. MLB is also another deck that won't falter when facing Limit Breakers.
Rating: 4.8/5

Shadow Paladin - Phantom Blaster Overlord

The final member of the Big 3. This deck is what we call a power whore. In terms of power count, PBO won't lose to DOTE. Smashing a 23k, 2 Critical PBO in your face is not a joke. Furthermore, SP, like RP, has access to a Painter, which lets you Soul-in the missing PBD to ensure that PBO will always be 13k at all times. The only flaw the deck has compared with the other 2 members of the Big 3 is SP does not have much tricks, so its kin of predictable. But still, a good deck.
Rating: 4.5/5

Gold Paladin - Blond Ezel / Garmore


The new kid in town. This clan is meant to be the successor of Royal Paladins, so people will have expectations on how this deck will perform. Without letting anyone to be disappointed, GP instantly become a popular deck, and started to top quite a few tourneys in Japan. They function almost the same like RP, but with slightly less precision when tutoring, because they Superior Call randomly from the top deck instead of letting you search your deck for something you want. But what they lost is tutoring, they compensated it with insane power counts and cheaper Superior Call costs. Most GP units has a skill to increase their power, so forming magic numbers are the easiest for them compared to the other clans out there. Due to GP getting superb basic cards for their debut, they have instantly joined the ranks of tier 1 decks.
Rating: 4.5/5

Well, here you go, the decks that I personally think that is at Tier 1 for now. I might be wrong, but I would like to hear what you guys think about these 4 decks. Will anybody be able to join them as a tier 1 deck, or maybe replace them? Only time can tell.

Well, that's all for the moment. I'll get a new post done for Tier 2 decks soon.