Thursday, September 20, 2012

Deck Dissection: The Destroyer

Hi guys. I felt bored in the office, so I decided to give you another deck to try out once BT-08 is out this Saturday. BT-08 gives us a plethora of new Dimension Police supports, since they got their major update back in BT-04, when the Enigmans debuted. One of them, without any further explanations needed, is of course, Great Daiyusha. With a combination of both a Limit Break skill and a Crossride skill, DP might be the new meta this upcoming season.

However, there's another thing that caught my eye besides Great Daiyusha, and I think this deck really has potential. The thing that I'm talking about is the Zeal series. Compared to a no-brainer deck like Dimension Robos, Zeal needs a bit more setup and flair to use, because it require a very good sense of timing on when you are able to launch a devastating assault. And as usual, here's my take on the deck:

Grade 0
Larva Beast, Zeal x1 (FV)
Guide Dolphin x4 (Stand)
Cosmo Fang x4 (Stand)
Army Penguin x4 (Draw)
Justice Rose x4 (Heal)

Grade 1
Eye of Destruction, Zeal x4
Diamond Ace x4
Glory Maker x2
Karenloid Daisy x4

Grade 2
Devourer of Planets, Zeal x4
Twin Order x4
Operator Girl, Mika x3

Grade 3
Galaxy Super Beast, Zeal x4
Miracle Beauty x4

This is a very unique deck compared to other types out there. Usually Vanguard is all about increasing your own power to hit harder, and Dimension Police, barring the Dimension Robo series, is usually lacking in power. So to make up for this, they decided to give a Ride Chain that reduces your the power of your opponent's Vanguard instead, making your units easier to land a hit on them. And explanations of the deck below:

Grade 0

Larva Beast, Zeal is the starter for this deck. Similar to all other 4k Ride Chain starters, Zeal allows you to search for the G2 or G3 Zeal from the top 7 cards of your deck when you ride the G1 Zeal on top of it. Otherwise, you'll get a free unit on the field.

As for the trigger lineup, I chose to play more Stands because I wanted to exploit the advantage given by Zeal's power reduction skill. Compared to Criticals, Stands in this deck is way more effective because you can still pile on the pressure with multiple attacks that require at least 10-15k worth of shields just to prevent from taking damage.

Grade 1
Being part of the chain, Eye of Destruction, Zeal is a must at 4x. Not only because of that, but because Zeal also has a triggered skill when the G2 is ridden on top of the G1, which I'll explain later. The rest of the G1 lineup is quite standard, as DP doesn't have much choices unless you're going for Enigmans and Dimension Robos.

4 Diamond Ace is for the defense, Karenloid Daisy is also at maximum to further exploit Zeal's power reduction by making 18k power lines, which becomes from good to deadly when Zeal's skills are online. Glory Maker is also a classic addition, which allows you to have 2 different types of Limit Breakers in the deck.

Grade 2

Your show (or your opponent's nightmare) starts when you ride Devourer of Planets, Zeal. Upon riding, if you have the G1 Zeal in Soul, you can give a power penalty of -3k to your opponent's Vanguard for the turn. Let's assume you start 2nd, and your opponent's VG is a 9k (quite common nowadays). At this instant, it becomes a 6k weakling where you can force 15k shields just by creating 16k lines, which you can make easily. And also, G2 Zeal sets up for the G3 as well.

With the arrival of Operator Girl, Mika, Dimension Police finally has gotten a bit better in terms of card advantage. Mika is a Maiden of Libra clone, which allows you to draw a card upon landing a hit. And since you don't really use your Counterblasts before G3 and hitting LB, you can abuse her together with Zeal's power shrink by providing multiple threats for your opponent.

Grade 3
Finally the main 'MonStar' of the deck arrives. Enter Galaxy Super Beast, Zeal. This Zeal, upon riding, triggers the G2 Zeal's skill. When you ride Super Beast Zeal, and if you have Destruction Zeal in your Soul, Devourer Zeal's skill allows you to shrink your opponent's Vanguard by 3k again.

Not only that, Super Beast Zeal also has a very devastating Limit Break, where you can shrink your opponent's Vanguard by 1k per DP rear guard you have on field, which equals to a maximum penalty of 5k for the turn. And when you Ride Super Beast after you hit Limit Break, you can shrink their VG by up to 8k thanks to both Zeals' skills. Let's have a look at the maths:

13k VG -- 10k (-3k from Devourer Zeal) / 8k (Full field Super Beast LB) -- 5k (Double Zeal LB combo) Pain.
12k VG -- 9k (-3k from Devourer Zeal) / 7k (Full field Super Beast LB) -- 4k (Double Zeal LB combo) More pain.
11k VG -- 8k (-3k from Devourer Zeal) / 6k (Full field Super Beast LB) -- 3k (Double Zeal LB combo) Dying.
10k and below VG = Dead.

See the power of Zeal? Of course not all situations are as ideal as that, but still Zeal can cause a pain in the arse' for your opponent regardless whether you manage to do the combo or not.

The other half of the G3s is none other than Miracle Beauty. Why her? Because she fits perfectly in the role of 'rape' in this deck. I'm sure that you guys remember Beauty's skill, where she can stand the unit behind her when she stands. In this deck, she's basically a powerhouse shouting 'please throw all your hand cards' whenever she attacks with Zeal's LB on.

Hitting for 5 fully powered attacks when your opponent's VG is a weakling is fun for you, and not fun for your opponent. Since I can do it, why don't I do it?

So there you go, my harrassing-happy Zeal deck. I seriously wanted to try it out and see how good it is in action. That's all for today, and hopefully you guys can have fun with this deck once it comes out.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Deck Dissection: Maelstrom Force

Hi guys, Homura is finally back from his long absence. Apologies before anything because I'm really busy with work, and also the lack of article ideas caused me to delay my posts for so long. But nevertheless, I'm back, and hopefully I can keep up with my productions. Today, I'll be talking about one of the newly emerged clans with a lot of hype throughout the preview period - Aqua Force.

Aqua Force currently has a Trial Deck available, and will receive further support when BT-08 is released this coming weekend. The playstyle of Aqua Force is very distinct and tricky, as it require a certain number of attacks to be done in order to unleash the units' full potential. With the expansion's support, a few different archetypes are viable for AQ players, but the one that I'll be looking at involves Blue Storm Dragon, Maelstrom as the core of the deck. Without further delay, here's the decklist that I have in mind.

Grade 0
Officer Cadet, Erikk x1 (FV)
Seagull Soldier of Enemy Searching x3 (Stand)
Dolphin Soldier of High Speed Raids x3 (Stand)
Sea Otter Soldier of Pyroxene Communication x3 (Draw)
Battleship Intelligence x3 (Critical)
Medical Officer of Rainbow Elixirs x4 (Heal)

Grade 1
Tear Knight, Theo x4
Emerald Shield, Paschalis x4
Battle Siren, Dorothea x3
Torpedorush Dragon x3

Grade 2
Storm Rider, Bashir x4
Tear Knight, Lazarus x4
Coral Assault x3

Grade 3
Blue Storm Dragon, Maelstrom x3
Marine General of Spiral Waves, Benedict x2
Storm Rider, Diamantes x2
Navalgazer Dragon x1

You may see the deck's composition is quite weird there, with 4 different types of G3s especially. I'll explain further in detail below why I build the deck like this.

Grade 0

Officer Cadet, Erikk is the starter for the deck. Erikk is a clone of all the G3 searcher starters out there so further explanation of his skill in not required. The reason why he was in there is for you to fish out your G3s, especially your 'Enablers' (I'll explain what are Enablers later).

The Trigger lineup is geared more towards Stands to maximize AQ units' skills. The 3x Draws is to provide you with more hand advantage, and the 3x Criticals is for the Surprise Factor, especially when your opponent says No Guard during their 4th damage, if you just kept on triggering Stands.

Grade 1

4x Theo is standard, as well as 4 null guards. Dorothea is our main VG booster, with the capability to boost up to 26k during Limit Break attacks, forcing your opponent to use up their nulls or dump a lot of hand cards to guard your VG's attack.

Torpedorush Dragon works similar to Dorothea, but with the added benefit of working as a Rear Guard booster as well. The only drawback for Torpedorush is that it only can boost up to a maximum of 9k once you unlock its requirement. But, combining it with a 'Enabled' Coral Assault or Rear Guard Maelstrom, you can still make 20k lines.

Grade 2
The G2s from Aqua Force are the most versatile among all of their units. They each have a different Enabler skill that requires different enable conditions, which give AQ players a lot of choices in terms of deck building.

Storm Rider, Bashir is a must play at 4x because he's an Enabler. An Enabler is a unit that helps you to unlock your other units' potentials by providing extra attack counts. When your first attacker is Bashir, he turns into a 10k beater, and after the attack, you may switch places with the unit behind him, thus enabling you to launch another attack, and push the attack count to 2 just with 1 column.

Coral Assault is your 3rd attacker during your Battle Phase. When he's enabled, he hits for 11k for the turn. And if you hit any Stand Triggers during your VG's Drive Check, he hits harder for a whopping 16k unboosted.

Tear Knight, Lazarus is the 10k vanilla, and he's in the deck to provide a bit more stability in power, and to maintain your attack momentum.

Grade 3
Now here's the main dish of your deck, and where the show starts. The G3 package holds 2 different types of Enablers, and of course a main and sub VGs.

Storm Rider, Diamantes is the same as Bashir, but with an increase of 1k in base power, allowing your to hit 11k Vanguards while enabling your other units. This addition is to ensure that you have enablers in case you don't hit any Bashirs.

Marine General of Spiral Waves, Benedict is another different type of Enabler. Although it doesn't swap positions like the Storm Riders, but he's very good being a harasser. Benedict is a 10k G3, with the skill of being able to stand again once per turn, at the cost of -5k power for the turn. So the best way to use Benedict is to first hit anything within reach unboosted, and then hit again with the backrow's boost, effectively eliminating Rear Guards, hand cards or deal damage, and of course pushing up the attack count by 2, all at the same time.

Maelstrom is the main Vanguard for the deck. Boasting 11k base power, and a very devastating LB, Maelstrom can be considered as one of the most powerful units in the game, despite the condition to enable its LB.

Once you hit LB, and when Maelstrom is the 4th attacker, it gets a +5k power boost, making it a 16k unboosted (26k when boosted by Dorothea). And if Maelstrom's attack hits, the additional AUTO skill granted by the LB activates. By paying a mere CB of 1, you can choose and retire 1 of your opponent's Rear Guard, and draw a card. Packing raw power, retiring power, and hand advantage all in one body is definitely something to be looked out for.

Because AQ is famous for wave pattern attacks, and due to Malestrom's 4th attack requirement, we need something that can be enabled at the 3rd attack other than Coral Assault, and that's why I added in a singleton Navalgazer Dragon. During the 3rd attack, Navalgazer can hit up to 23 when boosted by Dorothea (it gets +3k when he's attacking in the 3rd or onward battle).

Navalgazer also has a Limit Break with the same enabling requirement like its AUTO power boost. After you paid CB2 for the cost, it gets +3k power, and the AUTO skill to stand two AQ units when its attack hits the Vanguard. Hitting for 26k and topping up with the skill to enable up to 2 more attacks is no joke as well.

There's another Enabler which I can't find slots for them at the moment: The Tactician Duo, which enables your Limit Break as early as Turn 3. Maybe after testing this prototype I'll try to find slots for them.

And here you go, my take on a Maelstrom based Aqua Force deck. Sad to say I'm on the verge of quitting this once enjoyable card game, if not I would've make this deck and try it out myself. But rest assured, even if I don't play the game anymore, I'll still be providing my insights for Vanguard, and the blog will never die.

That's all for now, see you soon!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

After the Storm: Cardfight!! Vanguard EN Post-WCQ Analysis

Hey guys, Homura is back after quite a few days of absence due to work and health problems. WCQs for Europe and Canada have already kicked off last week, and we can see from the statistics that Gold Paladins are dominating the metagame. Actually, I would say that this scenario was actually a carbon copy of the previous Japanese WCQs and Championship Finals. During that time, Royal Paladins was so famous and widely used that they almost have Top 8 appearances in every single tournament, and also one-two finishes during the Finals.

But why we don't see other clans topping? What was the reason of their absence? In my opinion, the reason why the traditional clans don't have any high place finishes was due to the fact that they lack a very crucial thing - Limit Break. Well, isn't Kagero and Royal Paladins got their LB unit already? How come they still can't top? Which brings me to my second point - Support.

As we can see, Gold Paladins got tons of support during the first 3 months of their debut in English, together with 2 possible deck types which was equally strong (not to forget featuring Limit Breakers also). What about Kagero and Royal Paladins? Compared with Gold Paladins, these two supposed-to-be the main clans of the game kind of fell short in terms of support given to them.

Let's look at Kagero. At the moment, the only deck that was actually viable for Kagero players was the Goku-Blade build. I know that Lawkeeper exists, but comapring both of them, I would say Goku-Blade fares better against the majority. And moving onward to Royal Paladin. RP is worse, with only one possible competitive deck ready at their disposal - Barome-Saviour. Truthfully speaking, Pendragon was a flop, it never seen play in JP tourneys, and I doubt it'll be seeing major play in EN tourneys.

So all and all, I think that GP will still be the deck to beat in this WCQ season. One weakness of the EN environment was that the sets were not parallel, meaning that they will not have what we JP players already had. If you all did your research, you should be able to see that regardless how strong GP was, Kagero and RP still dominates the metagame, as we have access to Majesty Lord Blaster and Dragonic Overlord The End.

This article was not written to show off the privileges that we JP players have, but to show you what defines a metagame as a whole. As what we can see from the statistics, sheer numbers can actually define a metagame. Imagine if 80% of the people were using Kagero and we'll be able to see Kagero topping everything. It's just as simple as that.