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!



  2. why do you want to retire??

    1. Why? Because the environment over at my place is not that healthy anymore. VG used to be a fun game when we first brought the game in. Now, it has been a display of cheating skills to see who can cheat better to win big tourneys.

      I just don't understand. Why do those people want to cheat just to win? That's why I don't even bother joining tournaments now

  3. ooo...yeah.i agree with you.i myself cant understand why they like to cheat.
    you live in Damansara? what is the name of the shop where this cheater like to hang around? want to know so that i can stop myself from accidently going there :/

  4. Im gonna make this deck. Ima new Aqua Force user and this seems like a nice build. I will comment to tell you if the deck works out really well