Tuesday, October 23, 2012

One-By-One: Promos Galore!

Hey there. Homura here for another simple and short post. Since the release of BT-08, more different archetypes have already emerged and has been widely played up to now. While waiting for the new releases, there's nothing much to write about deck analysis to be honest. So, I would like to start a new column, which does not focus too much on decks, but rather on individual cards and how would they be able to include themselves in decks of their respective clans.

As a kickstarter for this column, I shall review cards from the newest Promo Pack, which is Cardfight Pack Vol. 7. This promo pack is given to participants of any shop/official tournaments throughout the period of October-December as an entry gift. Before I continue, Let's have a look at the list of cards included in this promo pack:

1) Medical Gunner, Hermieres (Angel Feather)
2) Assault Dragon, Circular Spino (Tachikaze)
3) Demonic Dragon Berserker, Vasuki (Narukami)
4) Electrostar Combination, Cosmo Great (Dimension Police)
5) Battle Siren, Nepheri (Aqua Force)
6) Stamp Otter (Great Nature)

And now, I shall explain slightly more in detail on how these cards work and how can you play them in your decks.

Medical Gunner, Hermieres
This card is a clone of Deathseeker Thanatos of the Grandblue clan, but with AF's twist in it. Instead of retiring herself, you may CB1, and send herself to the Damage Zone and Superior Call another AF unit other than 'Medical Gunner, Hermieres' into a RG circle.

This gives another 'swapper' for a clan that already has plenty of it. Hermieres acts like a pseudo Stand Trigger, allowing you to bring in a new unit to attack, as long as you manage to trigger the skill. Hermieres works exceptionally well with cards like Calamity Flame, Thousand/Million Ray Pegasus, and Chief Nurse, Shamsiel. Because you need to send her into the Damage Zone, you get to trigger the aforementioned units' power boosting skills, giving you slightly more punching power when you attack. And by comboing with Shamsiel, you get to reuse her over and over again.

Hermieres also goes well with cards that can return her back to your hand or field, like the Nociel series as well as Circular Saw, Kiriel. The only drawback of Hermieres is that she can only call face-up units, so you have to be careful in which card you use to pay for your CB skills so that Hermieres can always call out what you want. However, given that most AF decks already has a predetermined set of units to be used in the deck, it seems like Hermieres will have a hard time to fight for a place in any AF decks.

Final Verdict: Decent skill, awesome art, but hard time fighting for slots

Assault Dragon, Circular Spino
A new unit for Tachikaze, this unit allows you to retire one of your Tachikaze RG to give this unit a +4000 power boost when it attacks. While 8k base power does not look impressive, being able to hit the magic number against Majesty Lord Blaster instantly made Spino slightly better, especially when Tachikaze has plenty of units that can confer advantage to you when retired.

One classic example will be Dragon Egg and Winged Dragon, Skyptera. You can always target this unit with Spino, and pay a mere CB1 to take back those two units back to your hand. In that way, not only you gained a 12k attacker, but you increased your hand size, putting you in a better situation when you're on the defense. A newer example will be the new Pteras, Beamptera and Slashptera. These two units, when retired during your turn's Battle Phase, you can give a Tachikaze unit a +3000 power boost. Either you can give a unit which haven't attack more power, or you can target Spino itself in case you still need more punch.

Circular Spino is a very versatile unit, being able to fit in all Tachikaze builds. The only concern is whether you can find space for it or not. Frankly speaking, I tried it in my Raptor Colonel build, but ended up removing it because my power output has been reduced due to the omission of Sonic Noa (8k vanilla) to fit in Skyptera in order to provide 'unlimited' fodder for Spino to eat. I don't know about you guys, maybe you guys can find a better way to incorporate it in your decks.

Verdict: 'Fluffy' skill, has synergy with the clan overall, but slightly reduces the overall power output

Demonic Dragon Berserker, Vasuki
Enter the angry snakeman. This is my favorite PR in this promo pack (one of the reasons being me as a Narukami player). Vasuki is a very interesting unit that can become a powerhouse, and somewhat quite 'abusable' in certain Narukami deck builds.

First things first, Vasuki's skill allow him to gain a +10000 power boost, whenever a Narukami G3 enters the Vanguard circle. Which means, whenever you ride a G3, his power is doubled for the turn. Finally, a card that can make triggered G3s in your hand into useful stuff. There's actually a few ways to abuse this card.

Firstly, Vasuki can be incorporated in a Dungaree-main Narukami deck. Dungaree requires you to keep on reriding him in order to get ammo for his skill, as well as to this your deck. So every instance of 'reloading' is a +10k for Vasuki. Hence, with 2 Vasukis and your Dungaree boosted by Photon Bomber Wyvern (the Narukami 10k booster), you basically can have 3 20k+ attack lines to threaten your opponent.

The best deck to abuse Vasuki is none other than the TD star, Thunder Break Dragon. With a CIP retiring skill, TBD can be said as the perfect unit to synergize with Vasuki. As long as you can pay for the CB, each ride of TBD equals a +1 field advantage, and +10000 in Vasuki's power. Add in Stand Triggers into the mix, and your opponent will have to face 20k monstrosities not one, not two, but possibly 4 times in a turn. Change your Stands to Criticals, and slash even more hand cards away from your opponent. Definitely a good card to run.

Verdict: Decent skill, highly abusable, and versatile, just make sure he can survive the turn he came out.

Electrostar Combination, Cosmo Great
Another combination mecha from Dimension Police, this time a combination of all the 'Cosmo' machines. This unit actually share the same skill with one of his 'parts', which is none other than Cosmobeak. Bascially, Cosmo Great allows you to pay CB2 to give one of your DP units +4000 power until the end of the turn, similar to Cosmobeak.

From a glance, Cosmo Great seems like a good card to put into a Enigman deck. Yes, you're right. However, not ALL Enigman decks can fit this big guy in. Enigman Storm utilizes the Miracle Beauty/Commander Laurel combo, whereby Miracle Beauty already occupied your secondary G3 slot. Enigman Rain based decks only need a +2k in order to unlock Rain's skill, hence paying CB2 doesn't sound like a wise choice. Daiyusha is out of the question, Dailander already kick him out of the picture.

Although the older Enigmans does not work well with him, BT-08 also introduces a new Enigman - Enigman Cyclone. Enigman Cyclone has a skill which can only be unlocked when his power is 14000 or above during his attack step. In this situation, Cosmo Great looks like his best friend here. Not only being able to confer the bonus to Cyclone, but you also can have a good RG beater (DP is famous for the lack of high power RGs in Enigman builds).

Verdict: Good unit in Enigman Cyclone decks together with Cosmobeak, but quite lackluster apart from that

Battle Siren, Nepheri
The first PR give to Aqua Force. But truthfully speaking, she doesn't give much surprise despite having a nice art. Her skill allows her to confer a +3000 power boost to a G3 Aqua Force unit upon entering play. A not-so-decent power increase in a not-so-decent body (usually we tend to avoid 6k units unless they have really good skills). One word, her skill is too restrictive, as she can only target G3s.

Aqua Force is renowned for its playstyle that involves heavy usage of the Storm Riders, Basil and Diamantes. So you need to constantly churn out attackers, rather than boosters in order to unlock your VG's skills. So I can't really see any situation where Nepheri will make herself useful. Although there are actually a few 6k units in Aqua Force, a few stand out more when compared with Nepheri. The most obvious comaprisons are Battle Siren, Dorothea and Torpedo Rush Dragon. Both units are able to confer better bonuses without much restrictions.

So I'm sorry to say that Nepheri does not worth a slot in a deck due to her not-so-decent skill. Even the Starlight Unicorn clone, Accelerated Commando outshines her. Hopefully someone can find better usage for her, and whoever it is, do let me know how you managed to convince yourself to include her in your deck.

Verdict: Nice art, nothing impressive other than that.

Stamp Otter
Finally, the last card to review. Sea Otter is actually released earlier via the promo campaign of the TD-07 release. And those who got it, especially Great Nature players, will really rejoice. This card is totally a life-saver for GN players against Kagero/Narukami, and also an abusable card for brainjacking.

First things first, Stamp Otter boasts a 'good enough' 6k power, and as a booster, 6k does not sound like a  good number but Stamp Otter rectifies it with a fairly decent skill. The arrival of Stamp Otter can be said as totally replaces Hammsukes in GN decks. Stamp Otter works well in any deck that is heavy in brainjacking. You can just simply pump Stamp Otter, and through its own skill, Stamp Otter can't be retired by card effects, hence it stays after you end your turn. Basically, Stamp Otter makes good friends with the Tiger brothers, Leo-Pald, and Armed Instructor Bison.

Not only that, Stamp Otter is also a nightmare for any decks that plays retiring (Kagero/Narukami instantly comes in to the picture). Any attempt to get rid of Stamp Otter, it just shrugs it off, like a boss. What comes next? MORE brainjack!!!! All in all, Stamp Otter is a reliable card for all GN players.

Verdict: Abusable, immortal to retiring, primary brainjack target. A really good card overall for GN.

Here you go, a kickstarter reviews for my single card discussion columns. Hope you guys will enjoy it, and I would gladly take any requests for single card (or deck) reviews as long as I have time to write them. Unitl next time, bye!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Deck Dissection: Raizer, GO!

Hey guys, Homura is back with yet another old favorite to dissect and analyze. The new Extra Booster specially catered for Nova Grappler players, Infinite Phantom Legion will be released in another month's time. While most of us is waiting eagerly for the new cards in the set, namely the Death Army series, but at the same time, we shouldn't be neglecting what have the rest of the set offered us.

With useful reprints, especially the almighty null guard Twin Blader, basically you can build almost any variant of a NG deck just by buying the EB, barring the Blau series and Asura Kaiser-main builds. Definitely a worthy set to spam (yes, spam is the correct word). So, since the full spoiler isn't out yet, so I've decided to come up with a dissection of an old favorite of mine, the Raizer deck. And here's how my list looks like:

Grade 0
Battleraizer x4 (Stand) (FV)
Turboraizer x4 (Stand)
The Gong x4 (Draw)
Wall Boy x4 (Heal)

Grade 1
Raizer Custom x4
Tough Boy x4
Twin Blader x3
Screamin' and Dancin' Annoucner, Shout x3

Grade 2
High-Powered Raizer Custom x4
Magician Girl, Kirara x3
King of Sword x3
Genocide Jack x2

Grade 3
Perfect Raizer x4
Mr. Invincible x4

Basically as the namesake, this deck focuses on the setting up of a gigantic Perfect Raizer and proceed to bash face. This deck is similar to the Engiman Storm version of the Dimension Police clan, by putting more pressure to your opponent through the Vanguard, and continuous harassment from the Rear Guards.

Grade 0

Either one of the 2 G0 Raizers can be made as a starter Vanguard. I don't know what the new Raizer from EB05, Minimum Raizer can do, but for now I'll make do with these first. The trigger lineup focuses more on stand, as your Perfect Raizer will have an additional Critical once you have fully powered him up.

With Stands at your disposal, your attack pattern will always be R-R-V or R-V-R, so that you can threaten your opponent with Perfect Raizer's huge power and extra critical, or risk being attacked again if you hit your Stand Triggers.

Grade 1

Without any further consideration, 4x of Raizer Custom is an auto-include in the deck. If you managed to ride him 2nd turn using Battleraizer as a starter, you can immediately attack for 12k unboosted or 18k boosted with Battleraizer (Battleraizer must be behind him of course). This amount is already enough to force a 10k guard against most G1 vanguards.

Shout is our hand filter option here. you need to ensure that you have all the key cards needed to maximize Perfect Raizer's potential, and Shout is here to help you do that. Heck if there's an Aermo clone, I'll use that also! The rest is pretty much self explanatory.

Grade 2

Again, High-Powered Raizer Custom is the no-brainer include in the deck. Sharing the same skill with Raizer Custom, High-Powered can hit for 16k unboosted and 22k boosted (again if Battleraizer is behind him), more than enough to force guards or to harass your opponent.

King of Sword is standard, Kirara is to help you rack up your hand as anything with card drawing skills are quite rare in NG. As this deck doesn't use any CB at all for your main cards, that's why Kirara and Genocide Jack is inside. Jack can provide you with a little more firepower, and not forgetting to mention hitting 16 with a Stand Trigger sounds good also.

Grade 3

Enter the main card, Perfect Raizer at 4x, yet again. Perfect Raizer boasts 4 skills in one body, and very impressive stats. He's a 11k beater, and can pump himself +3k for each Raizer in your Soul. So how do you get your Raizers in? One is you ride all the way, or you swarm your field with Raizers prior riding Perfect Raizer. When there's no other Raizer on the field, Perfect gets -2k to his power, but this can be easily mitigated just by putting a Raizer down.

The main skill of Perfect Raizer is his +1 Critical skill. When you have 4 or more Raizers in your Soul, on your turn, Perfect Raizer gets an additional Critical. Add in the Raizer power bonunses and you have a devastating war machine slamming into the red zone. A pressure card, and definitely a game ender.

Mr. Invincible is our secondary Vanguard. His Soulcharge is mainly used to charge in Raizers into your Soul, and to provide unlimited fuel for Genocide Jack's Restraint, as well as Kirara's CB. Also, Invincible sports a pretty useful Megablast, which can be very game ending as well. Attacking for 5 times with maximum power is not something to laugh at, plus the Megablast can be activated by Rear Guard Mr. Invincibles. The only thing you need to wary about is his 10k power.

And there you go, my take on one of my favorite NG deck. Truthfully speaking I really like NG's overall design (Mechas), but sad to say I've focused too much in Dragon Empire, hence my inability to continue my Nova decks (I used to have a Gold Rutile deck before). Well, this aside, hopefully everybody can try this out and if you can make is better, please do share with me!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Deck Dissection: Raptor Series, Deploy!

Hey guys, Homura here with an apology before anything else for not updating my blog for so long... Work has been taking away most of my time, as well as preparations for the just ended Weiss Schwarz WGP 2012. But anyway, I'm finally back with more stuff installed for you guys.

Recently, Tachikaze caught my eye again when BT-08 introduces more support for them. I'm always a fan of power-based and straightforward decks. Sometimes the more simpler the deck is, the better you can pilot them. And once the booster was on sale, I quickly got myself playsets of all the new Tachikaze cards for a very good deal.

The new cards really offers a very unique playstyle, albeit staying within the core of Tachikaze: Retiring your own units to generate bigger advantage. One of the more interesting ones was of course Tachikaze's first ever chain ride, the Raptor Series. Below is the deck that I'm currently playing, and having a lot of fun with.

Grade 0
Military Dragon, Raptor Soldier x1 (FV)
Dragon Bird, Fire Pteryx x2 (Critical)
Black Cannon Tiger x4 (Critical)
Ironclad Dragon, Steelsaurus x4 (Heal)
Cannon Fire Dragon, Sledge Ankylo x4 (Draw)
Herbivore Dragon, Brutesaurus x2 (Draw)

Grade 1
Military Dragon, Raptor Sergeant x4
Sonic Noa x4
Archbird x3
Winged Dragon, Beam Ptera x4

Grade 2
Military Dragon, Raptor Captain x4
Ravenous Dragon, Megarex x3
Winged Dragon, Slashptera x4

Grade 3
Military Dragon, Raptor Colonel x4
Savage Warchief x3

This deck features Tachikaze's first ever 11k Vanguard, and also further defines the clan's 'Survival of the Fittest' philosophy. From the looks of it, the decks looks like a very simple beatdown deck. However, the potential of the deck lies in the beatdown capability itself. This clan boasts the highest power output out of any other clan out there without any complicated set-ups (Dark Lord of Abyss for example). Let's see how this deck came into life.

Grade 0

Raptor Soldier is the starter for this deck. Like the newer 4k starters, Raptor Soldier allows you to search your top 7 cards of your deck for Raptor Captain or Raptor Colonel when Raptor Sergeant was ridden on top of it. Otherwise, you'll get a free unit through its Superior Call skill.

As for the triggers, I chose to go with 6-6-4 as you'll definitely need the draws to bolster your hand size due to you needing to 'eat' your own units to unlock your Vanguard's skill. Among the triggers, Black Cannon Tiger serves as a recyclable Critical, whereas Sledge Ankylo is a Margal clone which allows you to push for the magic number required.

Grade 1

The next chain of the series is Raptor Sergeant. Sergeant is a 7k unit, which will become an 8k when you have Soldier in your Soul while he's the Vanguard. Also, by being part of the chain ride, Sergeant also has a skill which will be triggered when Captain is ridden on top of it.

The next main star here is Winged Dragon, Beamptera. Beamptera is also a 7k unit that has a very interesting ability. When this unit is retired during the Battle Phase (yes, during the BATTLE PHASE), you get to choose a Tachikaze unit and give it a +3000 power boost for the turn. This card can form a very devastating, and usually game ending combo which I'll be describing later.

As for the rest, 4x Sonic Noa is standard, and 3 Archbirds in the deck is because I'm still yet to find my 4th one, lol.

Grade 2

Raptor Captain is the second stage of the chain. Similar to Sergeant, Captain gains an innate +1000 when Sergeant is in the Soul and while Captain is in the Vanguard circle. Another skill of Captain is where the chain ride's advantage lies. When Captain in ridden over Sergeant, and you have Soldier in your Soul, you may search your deck for a Raptor Sergeant and Superior Call it into a RG circle. By continuing the chain, you get to net a free unit, a very big advantage as it provides you with a decent 7k booster, and free fodder for your skills.

Winged Dragon, Slashptera is the G2 counterpart of Beamptera. Usually, these two are called in pairs to fully utilize the advantage of this deck. Together, they also form a 16k attack line, which is able to force a 10k shield to any Vanguard in the game barring 13k units. As like Beamptera, you'll need to run 4 in this deck. Ravenous Dragon, Megarex is pretty self-explanatory here.

Grade 3

Finally, the pinnacle of the ride chain, Raptor Colonel. Again similar to the previous Grades, Colonel can become a 11k Vanguard as long as Raptor Captain is in your Soul. Also, when Colonel is ridden over Captain, you can Superior Call another Captain from your deck, netting you yet again another free unit, as long as the chain is not broken.

Colonel also has a very devastating, game-ending Limit Break. When attacking, you may pay the cost of CB 1 and retiring 2 of your Tachikaze units, and Colonel will get a power bonus equal to the retired units' base POW (Something like Blonde Ezel, but you have to kill 2 to gain the bonus). By activating this skill, Colonel can become a superpowered monstrosity, forcing at least 25k worth of shield unless your opponent has a null guard in hand.

The other G3 that I opted to use is Savage Warchief. Some might say that Ravenous Dragon, Gigarex is better is this deck thanks to the bonus it gets from units that are retired. However, without any retiring going on during your mid-game, Gigarex will just be a 10k vanilla. Compared to it, Savage Warchief is also quite a 'vanilla' unit while alone, but at least he can hit 20k when boosted by Sonic Noa, unlike Gigarex, which only can hit the same amount when there is at least 2 instances of retiring going on.

And now, the combo of the deck. Remember the skills of the two new Winged Dragons? Yes. When you decided to launch a strong attack, your field should always have both Beamptera and Slashptera in 1 line. Attack with them first, forcing some guard out or damage, then activate Colonel's LB targeting both the Winged Dragons. Colonel should be able to break the 35k mark when you do so, and most likely your opponent's hand will get slashed to almost nothing is left.

Then, both the Winged Dragons' skills activate, allowing you to add a total of 6000 power to one (or two) Tachikaze units. Add all the bonuses to the 3rd attacker, and you're able to hit for at least 23-26k (excluding any Drive Check bonuses) for your 3rd attack. By then, your opponent should've depleted their hand or have sustained critical damage. Rinse and repeat during your next turn if its necessary.

Here you go, the current Raptor Series Tachikaze deck I having fun with right now. This deck is awesomely cheap to build, and its power is something that you should not underestimate easily. It might not be a top tier deck now, but who knows? At least I know that I'm trying to make it tourney-worthy. Until then, have fun unleashing your prehistoric rage on those that oppose the might of the Dino Dragons!