Monday, August 27, 2012

Calm Before the Storm: Incoming Thunder!

Hey there guys. Homura is back for another installment of 'Calm Before the Storm', where I'll talk about the upcoming cards from the new expansions and give you guys an idea on how can we play around with these cards. Today I'll be talking about one of the clans that is quite anticipated by most players - Narukami.

A lot of players were very happy when they see Narukami was listed in the featured clans for BT-08. Because Narukami was absent from BT-07 despite being a clans used by a main character in the anime. This time, Narukami brings us a totally different style of play, as well as some utility cards previously available in other clans, and now finally owned by Narukami as well. As a Narukami player myself, I was quite excited when they started revealing the cards as well. However, after I saw the previews, my anticipation instantly dropped from bad to worse. I wouldn't say the new Narukami cards suck, but it really doesn't impact the clan too much, and truthfully speaking the initial cards given to them are way better than the new ones. Why do I say so? Let's have a look at the new previews:

Demon Sealing Divine Dragon, Dangari

The new Limit Breaker for Narukami, and the 2nd 11k unit for Narukami as well. From the first looks, we might feel happy that Narukami can finally field eight copies of 11k units, however, I think that Dangari is actually a liability in the deck. Let's have a look at Dangari's skills:

[ACT](V)(LB4): [CB1, select a card bound by this unit's skill to the bottom of your deck] Retire one of your opponent's RG. This skill can only be used once per turn.
[CONT](V/R): When your Bind Zone does not have cards bound by this unit's skill, this unit gets -2000 POW. 
[AUTO]When this unit comes into play in (V), bind the top 2 cards of your deck. 

Yes, Narukami gets another unit that is able to retire an opposing unit. But look carefully, this unit has a lot of drawbacks. Firstly, you have two bullets (cards bound by this unit's skill) to be used, but in truth, you can actually use one. Because after you used both the bullets, Dangari instantly turns into a 9k weakling thanks to its CONT skill. And remember Dangari's LB is an ACT skill, so you have to endure a torrent of attacks by your opponent before you can do anything.

Also, tying into its CONT skill, Dangari can't be played as a RG because you won't have cards bound by it when it is played as an RG, hence the power penalty kicks in. Oh, you might think that you can just reride a new Dangari on top of the previous one, then you can get another two bullets to be used. But, you're going to make the unused bullets useless sitting in the Bind Zone. What happens if the bound cards are Triggers? You should know the answer.

Thirdly, Dangari can only retire front row units, and only once per turn. Yes you might be able to retire a crucial Interceptor that might block your attack, but isn't Dragonic Kaiser Vermilion does a better job than Dangari? And Vermilion doesn't get power penalties unless you mix clans.

In short, my personal opinion is Dangari is only a tech card in Narukami decks. I would prefer Vermilion or even Rumblegun Dragon as my main Vanguard compared to him, as the latter two can consistently pressurize your opponent without much drawbacks.

Sealed Knight of the Thunderfang Demon Lance

The 3rd 10k Grade 2 for Narukami. Like Dangari, this unit also has some drawbacks tied to his bonuses. Let's see what are they:

[CONT](V/R): This unit has RESTRAINT.
[ACT](V/R): [CB1] If you have a <Narukami> Vanguard, this unit loses RESTRAINT for the turn.
[AUTO](V/R): When this unit attacks and if you have a <Narukami> Vanguard, this unit gets +2000 POW for that battle.

Good, a 12k attacker that can make us possible to form 20k lines even in G2. But is it really that good? This unit has RESTRAINT, and the cost to release his Restraint is to pay CB1. In a clan that already consuming heavy dosages of Counterblasts, do you think you'll have extra to pay for his restraint release cost? For me, I don't think so. You have Demonic Dragon Berserker, Garuda to reopen your flipped damage, but how often will your opponent to let Garuda's attack hit?

Sealed Knight of the Thunderflash Demon Blade

The second 8k Grade 1 for Narukami, and a very terrible one. And again, his skills:

[CONT](R): This unit gets -4000 POW.
 [AUTO](V/R): When this unit attacks and if you have a <Narukami> Vanguard, this unit gets +2000 POW for that battle.

Awful, totally awful. Having eight 8k boosters is good, but having one that has a permanent -4k power booster is bad. Unless he's in the V circle, don't even think about calling this card as a booster or even an attacker. The CONT skill totally cancels off the AUTO's advantage. He will never make the cut in my decks.

Sealing Priest, Koukou

The new starter available for Narukami, and again, another really subpar one. Skills please:

[AUTO]: When you ride a <Narukami> on top of this card, you may call this card to (R).
[ACT](R): [SB1]: Choose one of your <Narukami> unit's CONT skill. For that turn, it loses the skill.
Hmm... A unit that can rectify the problems of the aforementioned 3 cards. But do you really want a 3k unit on field? You can at most, make a 15k line out of it, and 15k doesn't really that threatening nowadays. Also, although Koukou's skill can cancel off the power penalties and restraints of the new units, but do you have that many Soul topay for the cost? Assuming you Ride until G3 with Koukou as your Starter, you'll only have 2 Soul to pay for the skill twice, and remember, Narukami don't have a good Soulcharge mechanic unless you're playing Riot General, Gyras.

The conclusion about these first four cards is they hardly can go to any deck other than a deck that can consistently abuse Koukou's SB skill, which the only one I can think of is Gyras. Other Narukami builds like Vermilion or Rumblegun won't have slots to accommodate these cards as those build were already CB heavy. Still I won't give up on them that easily, just that I need to squeeze my brain more to think of some funny combo to mash these fellas up XD

New cards aside, Narukami now also gets a pair of clones, which I think is something they really needed most: Limit Break acceleration. Guys, meet the brothers Dragon Monk, Kinkaku and Dragon Monk, Ginkaku.

When I say LB acceleration, you guys should know what am I trying to say here. Yes, these two units are the most anticipated 'Master of Pain' clones. Kinkaku is a 8k G2, while Ginkaku is a 6k G1 that shares the same skill: CB1, put the top card of our deck into the Damage Zone, and shuffle one card from your Damage Zone back into your deck at the end of your turn.

Finally, Vermilion builds can threaten your opponent faster and you now have a way to shuffle back Triggers in your Damage Zone back to your deck. While Ginkaku has doubts because of him being only a 6k booster, but Kinkaku is definitely going into my deck despite him being a 8k unit only.

The last preview of this article is another new G3 for Narukami - Celestial Maiden of Dark Arts, Carri. Carri is something like the Djinn series from the TD, but with a slightly different taste. Unlike the Djinns, Carri can attack Rear Guards, but in order for her to gain the power bonus, you must have more RG than your opponent when Carri attacks.

The power bonus that Carri receives is +3k when in VG, or +1k when is RG, so it means that she can make 23k and 19k lines maximum with boosts from Red River Dragoon and Photon Bomber Wyvern while in VG. Not a bad card I would say, just that you need to play with Stand Triggers to maximize her potential.

So here's my review of the new Narukami cards. Sorry to say that I'm not that fond of them for the moment (maybe I just haven't found a way to make them useful yet). At the meantime, I'll just stick to my Rumblegun and Vermilion build. My personal opinions aside, what do you guys think about these new units? Let me know your comments and do share out your thoughts if you think you have a way to make these cards really viable in the current environment. Until then, I shall excuse myself for now.


Friday, August 24, 2012

Calm Before the Storm: Lookout! (Pt.2)

Hello guys, Homura here with the 2nd part of 'Lookout!', which covers the few clans that you'll see running rampant in most tournaments, and how to lookout against them. As promised in my earlier article, I'll be covering Narukami, Great Nature and Gold Paladins today.

As I said earlier, the decks that you'll definitely see the most are Royal Paladins, Oracle Think Tanks, and Kageros. However, with the ascension of Limit Breakers, more clans are joining in the fray, especially Gold Paladins and Narukami, the second clans of the main characters. Without further ado, let's have a look in these clans and see how can we lookout! while playing against them.

Gold Paladins
Gold Paladins, up to the WCQ period, has 2 different builds that we can play - Blonde Ezel, and Spectral Duke Dragon. Each of these builds are distinct in playstyle, but still sticks to the root of the Paladin clans, which is swarming the board and gaining massive board advantage.

First up, I'll be talking about the Blonde Ezel build. Blonde Ezel is a 10k-power Limit Breaker that allows you to Superior Call the unit from the top of your deck and gaining a power boost equal to the original power of the Superior Called unit. Ezel works almost the same as King of Knights, Alfred of the Royal Paladin clan, albeit in a different way. Ezel's skill nonetheless gives you a free unit and a free power boost, but the point here is the unit called is random.

What do I mean by random? Yes, you might call out a precious Trigger unit. The reason why Royal Paladins are far more superior than their Gold counterpart is because they have targeted calling, meaning that they can call whatever they want and whatever they need to fit the situation in hand. The only unit in GP that can do that is Great Silver Wolf, Garmore. Without BT-07 to boost up Garmore's efficiency, the best that he can do is just to maybe call out Nemea Lion or Beaumains to maintain your attack force. But nonetheless, GP is still very strong thanks to them still having Superior Calling skills and power boosts as a bonus.

The other build viable for GP will be the Spectral Duke Dragon build. This build also plays heavily on Superior Calling, but mostly is to fuel SDD's Limit Break. SDD has a very devastating Limit Break, which allows is to 'cheat away' Null Guards. So you really have to think properly before deciding on how to defend SDD's attack.

SDD comes in a Chain Ride package, where every successful chain will allow you to spawn two more units from your top deck at the cost of retiring one on the field. Skill-wise, SDD is better than Ezel because it allows you to setup your field earlier, and allow even more Superior Call chains as long as you hit the units that activates their skills once they are called from the deck. The only downside of SDD is it is highly dependent on the chain to unleash its full potential, so decks like Kagero and Narukami will be tough against them, especially if they're able to stop your chain early game.

With the release of BT-07, GP players might think of a way to tech in the White Hare division cards, as they provide a plethora of skills that activate when you call them from deck, perfect for SDD builds. Also, they can also tech in Pelinore as a finisher, with his fairly low-costed Limit Break. So be prepared to face a lot of GPs during the WCQs.


On the other hand, Kai's 2nd clan doesn't share much success compared to the Gold Paladins. So far, they only have one viable deck that is tournament-worthy, which is Dragonic Kaiser Vermilion. Narukami plays very differently from Kagero, as they don't have much retiring power. But in return, they gained ways to disrupt your opponent's defenses by preventing them from Intercepting through the Desert Gunners, and Vermilion's Limit Break.

Also, another one of Narukami's advantages will be their capability to churn out high power attacks at ease, even without the aid of Limit Break. The lineup of Breakthrough Dragon, Djinn of the Lightning Flash boosted by Red River Dragoons are already very fearsome in this environment full of 10ks. Topping it up with the existence of Photon Bomber Wyvern, Narukami defines the next level of raw power and the continuous pounding of the Vanguard.

The only weakness of Narukami besides only having one type of viable deck will be the setup of their field. As long as you can keep those Red River Dragoons at bay, you're quite safe from those 20k attacks, somehow. Even so, be prepared to see a lot of Narukamis in WCQ though.

Great Nature 
The newcomer from BT-07, Great Nature is a force not to be taken lightly. Despite being a new clan, GN already displayed their strong presence by having multiple deck types which can pose a serious threat to all clans out there, if played properly.

First up will be School Hunter, Leopald. Leopald focuses on the recurrence of units while providing ample support for 'brainjacking' (those that read my GN article should know this term by now). Comboing with Monoculars and Binoculars Tigers, you can continuously brainjack your units to make them into monsters, while recurring them when they're about to be retired via Leopald's LB. The only downside for Leopald's build is that Leopald is only a 10k Vanguard, rendering it extremely vulnerable for 20k lines (which can be done easily).

Next in line will be a deck with the Lox Ride Chain as the main Vanguard. Also utilizing the brainjacking specialty of GN, Lox gives a additional advantage by giving units the skill to replace themselves when they are retired via a free card draw, of course the condition is to have the chain ride successfully done. In addition, Lox comes with a Persona Blast, being able to give a unit +4k power and +1 Critical. Not forgetting to mention that Lox is also a 11k unit when you have the G2 Lox in your Soul. The most crucial weakness of this build, like other chain rides is the chain itself. You screw the chain, you screw yourself.

Another point to take note when playing against GN decks is be cautious on brainjacking units. When one comes down, kill it. Without brainjacking, GN is less dangerous.

And here you go, the 2nd part of the "Lookout!" series. Chances I might do the 3rd part of this series, just let me know which clan you think will be 'spammed' in WCQs and I'll try to do a writeup about them. Until then, bye guys!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Calm Before the Storm: Army Dragon 101

Yo peeps! How are you? Homura here again with another preview article for the upcoming expansion, BT-08 'Blue Storm Armada'. The previews are getting really fast now as the release period is approaching us with only a month remaining. As a Dragon Empire specialist, I'm very delighted when they previewed the newest reinforcement of Dragon Empire's Land Assault Division, Tachikaze - The Army Dragon Ride Chain. Today, this article will be devoted to do an analysis of the ride chain and how I think about it.

Army Dragon, Raptor Soldier

It all starts here. Raptor Soldier is basically a clone of the recent Chain Ride starters, For example Vortimer, Riviere, and Ergodiel. This card is a 4k power unit, and has 2 skills at its disposal. The first one, which will only work if the chain is successful, allows you to search the top cards of your deck for a "Army Dragon, Raptor Captain", or a "Army Dragon, Raptor Colonel" into your hand, when you ride "Army Dragon, Raptor Sergeant" on this unit.

This skill ensures a guaranteed advance to further complete your chain by adding in the missing part of your chain. The other skill is a very common skill found in other starters, which is the skill to Superior Call itself into a Rear Guard circle if something else other than Raptor Sergeant is ridden on it.

Army Dragon, Raptor Sergeant

The G1 of the chain. Raptor Soldier's skill will activate once you ride this unit on it, and Raptor Sergeant's passive skill will give a +1k power boost to this originally 7k unit, making it on par as a G1 vanilla when in Vanguard.

The second skill of Raptor Sergeant also only activates when the chain is maintained. When you ride an "Army Dragon, Raptor Captain" on top of this unit, you may search your deck for a Raptor Sergeant and Superior Call it into a RG circle. This skill turns the -1 of your hand size from riding into a +1 of your field presence (adding a valuable booster on your field). 

Army Dragon, Raptor Captain

This is the G2 of the chain. By riding this unit, as stated earlier, will activate Raptor Sergeant's duplication skill. Also, by having Raptor Sergeant in your Soul, Raptor Captain will gain an additional 1k power boost, making it from 9k into 10k.

Raptor Captain also shares Raptor Sergeant's second skill, whereby you can duplicate itself the moment you ride an "Army Dragon, Raptor Colonel" on top of it. Basically, the only difference between Raptor Captain and Raptor Sergeant is that you're now gaining the +1 in the form of a 9k attacker and Interceptor. Not a bad card I would say.

Army Dragon, Raptor Colonel

He's the pinnacle of the Ride Chain, and the art is freaking awesome (A Velociraptor mounted with giant cannons on the back and blasting everything into bits and pieces? YES!). Raptor Colonel is a 10k unit, with the skill to become a 11k when your Soul has Raptor Captain in it. 11k is always a good number, as it helps out a lot during defense.

However, the spotlight of this card is actually Raptor Colonel's Limit Break. Once you hit the fourth damage, you may activate his LB, which will definitely forces a lot of hand cards from your opponent to guard Colonel's attack. By paying the cost of CB1, and retiring 2 of your Tachikaze Rear Guards, Raptor Colonel gains a power boost equal to the total power of the 2 units retired.

Notice any similarities? Yes, Raptor Colonel's skill is a variant of Blonde Ezel's LB. The only difference is Ezel creates board presence, but can't be used when you have more than 4 RGs. On the other hand, Raptor Colonel's LB gains more power than Ezel, while freeing up another column to reorganize your attacks. Which one is better? It's really up to personal preference for that. But however, you must remember one crucial advantage that Tachikaze has.

Tachikaze has a few units that can be bounced back into the hand when they go to the Drop Zone from the field by paying CB1. So, when you use Raptor Colonel's LB, you can just simply choose those units, and retrieve them back easily. By doing that, you have just opened a lot of options to reform your attack formation as well as getting pluses to your hand size.

Alright, here's my analysis of the new Army Dragon Ride Chain for Tachikaze. I'm still neutral about it so far, as the Ride chain won't work if you missed any of the Grades. But I'll still test it out, hoping that the results will change my mind about this series. Until then, see you again next time!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Calm Before the Storm: Lookout! (Pt.1)

Hello everybody, this is Homura here, bringing you an analysis for the upcoming World Championship Qualifiers. In this article, we'll be discussing the decks that will most probably being fielded by most players, and how would they fare in the current environment.

As we all know, the WCQ for Vanguard English is starting in September 2012, which means in another 2 weeks, we'll start fighting hard for a spot in the Regionals. However, by participating in such a big tournament, we all should know about the environment more or less, what decks are going to be played, and how to play around those decks. Hence, in today's article, I'll mostly discuss about the metagame decks at the moment, and provide a bit of insight on how they work, so you guys can have a bit of knowledge on these deck so that you can fight better against them.

Let's start with Kagero. At the moment, Kagero bears the title of having one of the most dangerous deck in the current environment - Goku-Blade. That aside, other Kagero deck types including Dragonic Lawkeeper and Blazing Flare Dragon are also contenders of the metagame deck spots alongside Goku. But in my opinion, most Kagero players will either play Goku or Lawkeeper as they gives the most stability among all the other Kagero decks out there.

Firstly, Goku-Blade provides Kagero players with a big dosage of what they're supposed to do - Retiring Units. Goku makes all your G3s into 'Bomb Triggers', enabling you to retire a G1 or lower Rear Guard whenever a G3 shows up during your Drive Check. Your opponent can't actually stop you from triggering a G3, so the only thing that they can do is either helplessly watch their precious boosters got retired, or stop playing anymore boosters to preserve hand size.

Either way, this is very advantageous for you as the less boosted attacks they launch, the easier for you to guard. What about the extra G3s you have triggered? No problem, you can either use them as attackers, feed them to your Barris, or either ditch them away with Aermo or Dragon Monk Gojo to replace them with something that has a shield value. All and all, Goku-Blade is one of the decks to beat.

Secondly, Dragonic Lawkeeper might be another choice if you decide not to bring Goku for some reason. Lawkeeper is actually a more straightforward beatdown deck, utilizing Lawkeeper's Limit Break to control your opponent's Rear Guards' numbers in order for you to create 20k++ power lines together with Dual Axe Archdragon. Retiring here has to be used sparingly as Lawkeeper hungers for CB a lot whenever you want to use the LB. Without Bellycosity Dragon available to help you keep the CB open, timing becomes a very important factor here. Make sure each time you perform a LB, it better make an impact towards your opponent.

Royal Paladin
The sad part about the current RP arsenal is there's only 1 possible deck to bring into the tournament scene. But the good news is that particular deck is also the best deck available for them as well! The deck that I'm mentioning about is none other than Barome-Saviour.

Barome-Saviour is also another beatdown deck that requires you to slightly swarm the field a bit more to unlock all your unit's full potential. Barome-Saviour can easily make all three columns into 20k++ ones to constantly force your opponent to discard a lot of cards just to guard your attacks. With Baromedes running around like nobody's business, your Vanguard should be slightly safer as most people will aim to get rid of your Baromedes first.

To put some more icing on the cake, RP has unparalleled tutoring abilities compares with other clans. Basically, what you need, they can just search for it. With Pongal, King of Knights, Alfred, as well as High-Dog Breeder, Akane at your disposal, you can definitely search for any missing part of your perfect setup.

Oracle Think Tank
OTT has dropped in favor in the JP environment thanks to it lacking any sort of Limit Breaker or Persona Blaster, but has recently topped a few tourneys thanks to the arrival of supports for Coco builds. However, in the EN metagame, Tsukuyomi has just made her debut, and the deck is bound to have a lot of appearances in the tournament scene.

With the legal 'stacking' of triggers via Tsukuyomi's ride chain skills, you can basically determine the flow of the game during mid-late game if your memory is good. Besides, the drawing power of Tsukuyomi-Amaterasu decks are also very strong, enabling the player to have ample defense during their opponent's turn. The only downside of this deck is their lack of resilience against early-mid game rush decks like Spike Brothers or Nova Grapplers.

The other choice that we'll most likely see in WCQ will be the Coco build. With BT-07 accessible for EN players, OTT players will have alternatives on whether they want to play the Soul build or the Soulless build. Compared to the former, Coco is more geared towards beatdown, with quite a lot of support cards that can do the most potential while you're Soulless. Depending on your preference, actually both decks are also quite viable for tournament play. For me, I would prefer Tsukuyomi-Amaterasu thanks to Tsukuyomi's 11k power and the Trigger anticipating elements of both the G3s.

Okay, so far we've covered 3 clans which I personally think will appear quite frequent in tournaments. In the next installement, I'll be covering Gold Paladins, Great Nature and Narukami. Until then, see you later!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Defining the Metagame: Neo Nectar

Good day and welcome to another edition of Defining the Metagame. BT-08 is sure to bring us a lot of love for the older clans. Most returning clans are getting a decent number of support, and of course their new aces - Limit Breakers. And since I'm at it, let's talk about a clan that is returning in BT-08 - Neo Nectar

Neo Nectar debuted in BT-05 where Persona Blasters were introduced. After the release of the said booster, NN instantly became a very popular sub-clan for existing players, or main decks for newer players. The playstyle of NN wasn't that hard to learn, as they focuses more on beatdown and a slight bit of swarming.

Of course, with the availability of Persona Blasters, most NN decks will stick to the same build, where they'll main Maiden of Trailing Rose, and supported by Forerunner Battle Maiden, Laurel as a secondary beatdown element. Of course there're other decks like the Embodiment of Nature, Behemoth-centered and the Gene line, but Trailing Rose still gives the most important element of the deck - stability. Without further explanation, let's have a look at the clan at it's entirety, and some featured cards of NN.

Maiden of Trailing Rose
The Persona Blaster of the clan, and the first choice Vanguard as well. Trailing Rose sports a decent 11k base power, which is very good for defense and offence as well, being able to create magic numbers of 17k and 18k easily.

Of course, like other 11k Vanguards, she gets a penalty if she's played alongside different clans, making her into a 9k unit. That aside, her Persona Blast is the best she can offer. Upon a successful hit on the Vanguard, by paying CB1 and Persona Blasting, you can search the top 5 cards from your deck and Superior Call 2 Neo Nectar units to the field. Besides creating presence, her Persona Blast also acts like a pseudo Stand Trigger, whereby you can attack with one column, then with Trailing Rose. If you successfully activated her Persona Blast, you can just replace the units that have just attacked with fresh ones, and launch another full-powered attack.

Forerunner Battle Maiden, Laurel
The second choice of the G3s available for NN. Basically Laurel is a clone of Dragonic Executioner and friends, where she gets a +2k power boost when attacking the Vanguard. She gives NN slightly a bit more power, being able to hit 20k when boosted by Carolla Dragon (vanilla 8k), or 21k or more (after the cost is paid) when boosted by Caramel Popcorn (Iron Tail Dragon clone).

The only thing to be vary about is just that Laurel is 10k, and never ever Ride here unless you have no choice, as Trailing Rose must be your main Vanguard.

Hey Yo Pineapple

Hey Yo Pineapple is definitely the main G2 beater for NN. While only being 8k in terms of base power, Hey Yo can whack for an additional 3k just by having a total of 4 NN units on your field, including your Vanguard. Having another similar unit that got errata-ed in Bermuda Triangle proves further how string is Hey Yo in a NN deck. Definitely an easy 3-4 off in the deck.

The Gene Series

This is a set of units that benefits each other as a set. Shield Seed Squire is the ideal starter for all NN decks. Having a base power of 5k, Shield Seed is good as a booster itself, however his true potential shines when he's on the offensive. Upon landing a successful hit on the Vanguard, you can send Shield Seed to the top of your deck, and Superior Call a Blade Seed Squire from your deck to a Rear Guard circle in rest position. By doing that, you not only conserve hand cards, but gaining a better unit in the process.

Blade Seed Squire is the G1 of the Gene series. Like I said previously, Blade Seed can be brought out through Shield Seed Squire's skill. Similarly, Blade Seed also has this skill, whereby you can perform the same requirements of Shield Seed to superior call a specific unit into your Rear Guard. The target of Blade Seed is Knight of Young Leaves, Gene. This time, you are replacing a booster unit to spawn out a G2. Skill aside, Blade Seed is a 7k unit, which is decent enough to pair with any NN unit to hit 16k or more.

The next evolution of this chain is Knight of Young Leaves, Gene. This Gene can be brought out through Blade Seed Squire's skill, thus maintaining your board presence with possibly a better unit that you need. Gene has 9k power, which is very decent, and as a Grade 2, Gene also can Intercept. Plus, being in the same line in the series, Gene can also evolve. By fulfilling the same conditions again, you may Superior Call the final form of this line, which is this:

Yes, meet Knight of Harvest, Gene. This Gene is the pinnacle of the evolution chain, and is a 10k Grade 3. While 10k is not very impressive, this Gene also has a very impressive skill to back him up. Unlike the previous forms which can 'evolve' into the more advanced form, Knight of Harvests, Gene can 'devolve' into  his G2 form. When Gene successfully hits the Vanguard as a Rear Guard, you can send him back to the deck, and Superior Call up to 2 Knight of Young Leaves, Gene to your field in Rest position. Not only this Gene is able to improvise the liability of all G3s (can't do anything in Rear Guard), he also can set up a better field position for you, providing Interceptors when you need it, or just plain giving you 2 9k attackers.

The Triggers
As for the trigger lineup of NN, I would say it's okay. As of now, NN has a 4-4-4-4 trigger lineup. In my opinion, the Stands are there to actually compliment with both Trailing Rose and Gene, where you can stand back the newer units that you've spawned out by Gene, or maintain pressure of your attacks in case Trailing Rose didn't got her Persona Blast running.

All in all, I think NN is still a tough nut to crack, and has been showing good results in tournaments despite Limit Breakers stealing the spotlights. Well, I hope that the new support given to NN will be on par with those that are existing now, as NN really has the chance to pose as a challenge for the meta clans out there. So until then, hope you guys liked my analysis of Neo Nectar, and see you again soon!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Calm Before the Storm: Tear Dragons 101

Hey there, Homura here with another post about the upcoming new clan, Aqua Force. I just bought 4 Trial Decks last week and started playing with a modified version of it. The results were quite satisfying, and I would say that Aqua Force definitely gives you a new taste in playing Vanguard. However, the only downside is this deck doesn't have a proper starter, and most importantly, null guards. Hence, it's very tough for me to play against the other decks out there (I lost more that I won).

But anyway, BT-08 will be giving the proper support for Aqua Force, and the rest all comes to your playstyle and card selection. Today's article will be focusing more on the 3 main units of Aqua Force, the Tear Dragons. The trio consists of Navalgazer Dragon, Hydro Hurricane Dragon, and also the recently spoiled Blue Storm Dragon, Maelstrom.

Each of these Tear Dragons has a distinctive playstyle that requires you to choose carefully the cards that're going to be paired up with them. And without further ado, let's have a look at all 3 cards and some brief analysis on how they work and who should they be paired with.

Navalgazer Dragon
This card is available as an x1 for each Trial Deck you bought. Navalgazer is a 10k G3 with a pair of very interesting skills. Firstly, he has an innate power boost of +3k as long as Navalgazer is the 3rd or onward unit to attack. So, assuming that you're boosted by Tear Knight, Theo (the 8k vanilla), you'll hit 21k, or 23k when boosted by Battle Siren, Dorothea.

His second skill comes in the form of an LB. By paying a cost of CB2, Navalgazer gets a +3k boost in power, and gains an additional skill to enable you to stand 2 Aqua Force Rear Guards upon a successful hit on the Vanguard. For a TD card, Navalgazer is exceptionally strong skill-wise. If your deck in centered around the 3rd battle or onward, Navalgazer is definitely your best finisher. Comboing Navalgazer with cards that gains extra bonuses for later attacks, such as Coral Assault, and Marine General of the High Tides, Xenophon will unleash a torrent of high power attacks as you keep on slamming into the red zone.

Hydro Hurricane Dragon
The second member in the Tear Dragon trio is Hydro Hurricane Dragon. Similar to Navalgazer, HHD is also a 10k that has an innate power boost of +3k when attacking the Vanguard. So HHD also can hit 21k normally with Theo, or 23k with Dorothea once you fulfill the requirements.

HHD is also a Limit Breaker, which packs a very dangerous LB skill together with him. The LB skill is a startup ability which costs CB2. After paying the cost, HHD gains an additional +3k power, as well as an additional skill which allows him to retire all your opponent's Rear Guards upon a successful hit on the Vanguard. The only downside (also similar to Navalgazer Dragon) is you're giving away prior information to your opponent, which might probably already prepared a null guard for your attack.

An additional requirement to get the LB going on is HHD's attack must be the fourth one or onward. So how are we going to do that? The answer is the usage of the Storm Riders, Bashir and Diamantes to setup the fourth attack for HHD. The Storm Riders share the same skill, which gives them +2k power, and allows them to switch places with a Rear Guard in the same column after they attack the Vanguard in the first attack. With a constant pummeling during your Battle Phase, you can ensure that you'll be wasting a lot of your opponent's hand cards, or diminishing their board presence as you set up for HDD's finisher.

Blue Storm Dragon, Maelstrom
This is the cover card of BT-08, and the third member of the Tear Dragon trio. In my opinion, Maelstrom is the most dangerous out of the three, as he sports very decent stats and also deadly skills. Maelstrom is like the newer 11k G3s, with a drawback in the form of a -2k power penalty if you're playing a cross-clan deck.

However, the spotlight for Maelstrom is for his Limit Break, where similar to HHD, an extra skill will be unlocked when Maelstrom is the fourth unit to attack. The first bonus is a +5k to his power, making Malestrom a 16k monster unboosted. And the LB also generate a new AUTO skill, whereby upon a successful hit on the Vanguard, you may pay the cost of CB1. If you paid the cost, you can draw a card, and retire one of your opponent's Rear Guard.

With this kind of skill that only require a mere CB1 (I know the 'must hit Vanguard' part is hard), Maelstrom is hands-down the best among the 3. Like HHD, the Storm Riders are the best partners with Maelstrom as they can setup the fourth attack. Definitely a 3 to 4 off in every deck.

Here you go, a brief introduction and analysis of the trio of Tear Dragons for Aqua Force. Which one and how many of each to use goes ultimately to your personal preference, though I suggest no matter which one you have decided to main, Navalgazer Dragon will definitely be the best sub-Vanguard for your deck, as the LB conditions for Navalgazer is easier to achieve.

Alright, I'll leave you guys now to think about this problem (I myself have to think also LOL!). Until next time, May the wind guide you to your paths.

Deck Dissection: Blazing Flare Dragon

Hey guys, this is your friendly neighborhood Cardfighter Homura here again. Today's post is applicable for both the English and Japanese environment of Vanguard. Although this article may be kinda 'old' for JP players, but for EN players, I would say that this is a buff for one of their competitive decks out there.

BT-03 is coming in just a few days time, besides bringing us 3 playable clans, it also boosts the playability of the older, existing clans, like Royal Paladins and Kagero.Today's Deck Dissection will be talking about one of my favorite decks during the BT-03 era: Blazing Flare Dragon

During the release of BT-03 in JP, Kagero decks were very varied, but one of those that stood up was BFD. With its ability to mass retire your opponent's field, as well as the speed of Superior Ride, BFD was the deck of choice for most Kagero players.

However, in the EN metagame, thanks to the earlier release of EB-03, Kagero players for the EN environment prefer Dragonic Lawkeeper more than any other Kagero deck. So today, I hope to bring in more players to play BFD by sharing this deckbuild of mine.

Grade 0
Lizard Solider Conroe x1 (FV)
Embodiment of Spear, Tahr x2 (Critical)
Demonic Dragon Mage, Raksha x4 (Critical)
Gatling Claw Dragon x4 (Draw)
Dragon Dancer Monica x2 (Draw)
Dragon Monk Genjo x4 (Heal)

Grade 1
Iron Tail Dragon x4
Embodiment of Armor, Bahr x4
Wyvern Guard Barri x3
Demonic Dragon Mage, Kinnala x4

Grade 2
Blazing Core Dragon x4
Berserk Dragon x3
Flame Edge Dragon x3

Grade 3
Blazing Flare Dragon x3
Dragonic Overlord x3
Dragonic Executioner x2

This deck focuses more on Superior Riding BFD to hit Twin Drive as soon as possible. But if the Superior Ride failed, you still have Flame Edge Dragon to pump up your Soul count.

Grade 0
Without any doubts, we're using the best starter in the game, Conroe. With the ability to tutor any G1 or lower Kagero from your deck, you can instantly tutor any missing Superior Riding material the moment you ride Blazing Core Dragon and you have 2 damage available (1 for tutoring, 1 for Superior Riding).

The trigger setup here is 6-6-4. Raksha can be a good booster, but I don't recommend using it unless you're really desperate. Gatling Claw Dragon is at maximum for the Superior Riding, and serving as a G0 killer that fuels up the Soul as well.

Grade 1

Same as Gatling Claw, Iron Tail Dragon is at maximum, and being a 7k with the skill to pump 1k / CB paid, it's quite a decent booster. Bahr at 4 and Barri at 3 is quite standard. Kinnala is the G1 killer that sends herself into the Soul to fuel up BFD.

Grade 2

Without any question, Blazing Core is at maximum because the entire Superior Ride chain won't work without him. and being a 9k, it can even hit most Rear Guards and forces a 10k shield with a booster with at least 6k power. Berserk is also an auto include, as you need cards with retire effects to activate BFD's power boost.

The new member here is Flame Edge Dragon. Flame Edge is Kagero's Blue Dust, where upon a successful hit, you may SC1. It is a good unit as it can fuel up BFD, and at worst it will bait out shields in order to stop you from feeding Souls for BFD.

Grade 3
Like all units with Superior Riding skills, I'll include 3x of them in the deck. This is to prevent the situation where you have 1 in the Damage Zone, and another 1 in your hand, preventing you from Superior Riding if you only play 2 copies. With constant retiring on your turn, BFD will hit 21k when boosted by Bahr. SO as long as you can control the pace of your retiring, your Vanguard column will always be a powerhouse attacker. Bear in mind that BFD's power boost also works in the RG circle, so you can threaten multiple 20k+ attacks in a turn.

Our secondary Vanguard will be Dragonic Overlord. It goes without saying that Dragonic Overlord is the best RG we can have for Kagero, so when you can't field multiple BFDs, you can still threaten them with Overlord's Counterblast, plus the 11k is good for defensive purposes.

Dragonic Executioner is our main RG beater. With it, you can even hit 20k when boosted by Bahr even if you can;t retire someone during your turn (just make sure that the attack is aimed at the Vanguard).

Here you go, my take on this long forgotten deck. I would say that compared to the JP version, BFD is still viable in the EN environment due to its consistency in terms of raw power, and also field control. The cost of this deck is actually not that expensive, unless you're starting anew (since you need the Barris). Well, I'll let you all decide whether you want to give this deck a chance or not. Have fun testing it out, until then!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Deck Dissection: Kyuukyoku Jigen Gattai! GUREEETTO DAIYUUUSHAAA!!!

Hey guys! Homura is finally back for a while after so many days of hiatus (really busy with work)! After seeing the new cards previewed these days, I'm really fired up to build all those decks, especially the new Dimension Police deck. The only sad thing is I've sold my DP deck and now it's really troublesome to find back all those Diamond Aces (regret....)

Anyway, let's have a look at the new 'Dimension Robo' deck that brought up a lot of hype for BT-08. Just when we thought Cross Riders will never come back, Bushiroad decides to troll us with another Cross Rider, and with a sweet Limit Break topped with it! Guys, meet Ultimate Dimensional Robo, Great Daiyusha!

When Daiyusha first came out in BT-03, and when DP became a playable clan in the set after that, Daiyusha only gets very little screen time, the reason being Enigman Storm was much better that it for it's 11k power. Then, when BT-05 adds in Miracle Beauty, Daiyusha was totally sent into the scrapyard. However, thanks to the anime, Bushiroad decides to give Daiyusha a second chance by upgrading it, and bringing its comrades together. Without further ado, here's a proposed deck for the new Dimensional Robo series:

Grade 0
Dimensional Robo, Goyusha x1 (FV)
Dimensional Robo, Daibattles x4 (Critical)
Justice Cobalt x4 (Critical)
Army Penguin x4 (Draw)
Justice Rose x4 (Heal)

Grade 1
Dimensional Robo, Daimariner x4
Dimensional Robo, Dailander x4
Karenloid Daisy x3
Diamond Ace x4

Grade 2
Dimensional Robo, Daidragon x4
Super Dimensional Robo, Dailady x4
Twin Order x2

Grade 3
Super Dimensional Robo, Daiyusha x4
Ultimate Dimension Robo, Great Daiyusha x4

Quite an easy deck to build, just play maximum copies of all the Dimensional Robo units (besides Goyusha), and add in utility stuffs like the 8k and 10k vanillas and you're done with the deck. This deck is the epitome of Vanguard-based decks, whereby your Vanguard is everything. And onto the breakdown of cards:

Grade 0

Goyusha is the starter we're using. Besides having a Superior Call skill like other starters, Goyusha also has a Superior Ride skill specially geared for Dimensional Robos. By sending 4 Dimensional Robo Rear Guards to Soul (this can include Goyusha himself), and if your Vanguard is a G2 or higher Dimensional Robo, you can search your deck for a G3 Dimensional Robo and Ride it on top of your current Vanguard. Because both Daiyushas are Dimensional Robos, you can just search for the missing part to ensure a perfect Cross Ride.

BT-08 also brings us Daibattles, a Dimensional Robo Critical Trigger with a very interesting skill. When Daibattles is in the Soul, you may send it to the Drop Zone to give your DP Vanguard +3k power. Having no way to Soul Charge this robot in normally, it must be used as part of Goyusha's Superior Ride to use it at its fullest potential. The rest of the triggers will be 4 more Criticals, 4 Draws and 4 Heals.

Grade 1

There's two other Dimensional Robos in G1, namely Daimariner and Dailander. Daimariner shares the same skill as Daibattles, so no further explanation is needed I guess.

 Do you guys remember Cosmobeak? The unit that allows you to pump one of your DP units by 4k after paying CB2? Dailander is a variation of it. The only things that distinguish these two units were their Grades, power value, and the restriction of their skill. Unlike Cosmobeak, Dailander can only pump a Dimensional Robo by 4k. To turn this disadvantage around, the cost for this skill is reduced to CB1 instead of CB2.

Null Guards are standard, and Karenloid Daisy is there to hit 23k when you obtain Limit Break.

Grade 2

DP is a clan that is famous for having very weak Rear Guard lines. But now, the introduction of another new unit will turn the tables around. Daidragon is a G2 Dimensional Robo which is a clone of Burning Horn Dragon and Knight of the Void, Masquerade. When you have a Dimensional Robo Vanguard, Daidragon slams in for 12k, which is enough to solo almost all units in the game barring Cross Riders.

Super Dimensional Robo Dailady is another unit that can pump your allies' power. Upon a successful hit to your opponent's Vanguard, you can pump one of your unit's power by 3k, and being a 9k unit herself, it is slightly easier for her to hit when there's a unit boosting her. On top of that, she's also counted as  a Dimensional Robo.

Grade 3

Enter the stars of the deck, the Daiyushas. Without any questions these two giant robots must be played in maximum copies to ensure you'll have what you need. With the aid of Dailander, even Daiyusha's skill can be used while waiting for Great Daiyusha to show up.

The moment Great Daiyusha shows up, you'll be hitting for real hard, and your opponent will either dump a lot of hand cards to guard, use up precious null guards, or just say no guard. With a total power of 15k unboosted, and 2 Critical on your turn once you fulfilled its conditions, Great Daiyusha is really gonna kick some arse' out there.

There you go, a simple yet powerful Dimensional Robo deck for all those Mecha lovers out there. A tip to play this deck is don't simply Blast out your Daibattles and Daimariners from your Soul, unless it was really necessary. By doing this without thinking, you might accidentally cut down your Dimensional Robo count in Soul, thus unable to hit the Limit Break.

That's all for now I guess, I'm not sure when will I be posting anything new again, but hope that you guys will still enjoy my articles!