Monday, November 5, 2012

Deck Dissection: Amber Dragons

As promised, I'm back for another article as somehow I managed to find some free time to write one as per request from my friend. Today's article is compatible with both versions of Vanguard, although the Japanese side of this deck is close to forgotten already. As stated in the title, today I'll be looking into the Amber Dragon series of Kagero from the upcoming BT-04 release of the English version of Vanguard.

BT-04 brings in a new ride system for 5 clans, which I called it the 'Progressive Ride' system. How does this work? Basically, the Grade 0 of the chain allows you to search for the corresponding Grade 2 from your deck when the corresponding Grade 1 is ridden on top of it, thus generating a +/- 0 advantage from riding a card from your hand, as well as ensuring a confirmed ride to G2. Then, the G1, when called as a Rear Guard, allows you to discard a Grade 3 from your hand and search for the corresponding Grade 3 fo the chain, again ensuring you won't miss the chain as well as filtering redundant G3s from your deck.

The Amber Dragon series is one of the chains using the Progressive Ride system, and frankly speaking, it's a quite decent system, because even though you missed the G1, as long as you have the G2, your G3 will still be at its maximum potential. Without further ado, let's have a look at a sample decklist for the Amber Dragon series:

Grade 0
Amber Dragon, Dawn x1
Embodiment of Spear, Tahr x4 (Critical)
Blu-Ray Dracokid x1 (Critical)
Flame Seed Salamander x3 (Stand)
Gatling Claw Dragon x4 (Draw)
Dragon Monk, Genjo x4 (Heal)

Grade 1
Amber Dragon, Daylight x4
Wyvern Guard, Barri x4
Heat Nail Salamander x3
Dragon Monk, Gojo x3

Grade 2
Amber Dragon, Dusk x3
Dragon Knight, Nehalem x4
Berserk Dragon x3
Lava Arm Dragon x2

Grade 3
Amber Dragon, Eclipse x4
Dragonic Overlord x3

From the looks of the deck, you might see some very noticeable omissions in the deck. You might wonder why, but I'll explain the reasons behind these selections in a bit. Also, there's one thing that you must bear in mind when playing Amber Dragons. Unlike any other Kagero builds, this deck doesn't rely a lot on retiring your opponent's units, but its played more like a traditional beatdown deck, with the threat of mass retiring to give tough choices to your opponents.

Grade 0

Amber Dragon, Dawn is the obvious choice for our starter. As I explained earlier, Dawn's progressive ride allows you to search for Amber Dragon, Dusk from your deck when Amber Dragon, Daylight is ridden on top of it. Easily understandable, right? Just remember that Dawn doesn't have the free call skill, so if something other than Daylight is ridden on top, Dawn is just a vanilla.

As for the trigger choices, I opted to use a combination of 5-3-4-4 for this deck, whereby the 3 is for the new Stand Trigger, Flame Seed Salamander. Although it's a trigger, Flame Seed doesn't become a dead card even if you drew it. With its AUTO skill, as long as the attack it boosts hit the VG, you may retire a G0 RG and shuffle Flame Seed back into your deck if you do choose to retire. By doing this, you can pile on the pressure early game to your opponent by giving him a tough choice on whether he want to waste a hand card early game to guard your attack, or risk letting their Starters get retired (Mecha Trainer, Conroe, Kryph and those with skills instantly become a sweet target)

As for the others, It's pretty much like the standard Kagero trigger selection with an additional chance to stand your units to provide a few more attacks.

Grade 1

Continuing the progressive ride is Amber Dragon, Daylight. Daylight is a 6k unit which will become 8k in the VG circle if your have Dawn in your Soul. When Daylight is placed at a RG circle, you may discard a G3 in order to search for Amber Dragon, Eclipse from your deck and add it into your hand. By doing this you have just ensured a perfect progressive ride and eliminating extra G3 without shields from your deck. Even if you already have Eclipse in your hand, you can also discard it to look for another one just because you can thin down your deck.

The reason I chose Dragon Monk, Gojo above Bahr is this deck, in order to perform at maximum potential, you must ensure that your progressive ride is complete. Hence, Gojo allows you to filter your hand in order to help you search for the missing pieces of the ride chain. And being a 7k, he's a decent booster as well.

Similar to Heat Nail Salamander over Kinnala, Heat Nail is better in this deck because it helps you to save up your precious Counterblasts for Eclipse. Although Kinnala is a direct killer card, but you have to lose a unit to do it, basically a 1-for-1. When you take a deeper look at Heat Nail, you might see that although Heat Nail doesn't outright retire, but you have a choice whether to retire or not upon hitting the VG with an attack boosted by it.

If the field doesn't require you to do anything, you can just leave Heat Nail there and continue having a 6k boost every turn. Otherwise, you still can wreck magic number units with it should you have a chance to do so. Heat Nail is a very good pressure card like Flame Seed Salamander because it gives your opponent s headaches. Imagine having 3 lines of Heat Nail boosted attacks to the VG, your opponent will really have to think twice on to let which one to go through.

Grade 2

Amber Dragon, Dusk is the G2 of the progressive ride chain. When Dusk is in the VG circle and you have Daylight in your Soul, Dusk becomes an equivalent of a 10 vanilla, with the skill to give itself +2000 power when it attacks, making it a 12k / 11k (if you don't have Daylight in your Soul) attacker.

Nehalem and Berserks are quite standard in Kagero decks, so I won't make any further explanations on their inclusion. The focus of the G2 here is Lava Arm Dragon, the Amber Dragons' custom beater. with a base power of 10k, Lava Arm by itself is already a good unit. Topping up with Dusk's power boost when attacking, it just becomes better. However, the thing that you need to keep in mind is if your Vanguard is not either Dusk or Eclipse, Lava Arm instant shrinks by 5k, making it a 5k weakling, hence why there's only 2 in the deck.

Grade 3
There's only two types of G3s being used here, and the selection varies from player to player, but one of them will be fixed: Amber Dragon, Eclipse. Eclipse is the pinnacle of the progressive ride for the Ambers. When you have Dusk in your Soul, Eclipse becomes a 11k unit, good number for both offense and defense.

The main thing here is Eclipse's ACT skill. By paying a CB of 2, Eclipse gains the ability to retire 2 of your opponent's RG upon landing a hit to the Vanguard. For such a good ability, it does come together with a drawback. The drawback is the skill is an ACT skill, which means you'll be telling your opponent "Hey, you better guard this attack if not I'm gonna burn two of your units!".

But hey, looking into the bright side, basically you're paying CB2 to bait out a null guard, and if you success in doing so, your other attacks will have a higher chance to hit. Otherwise, your opponent will throw hand cards to guard, or just let you take 2 fellas down. Quite a profit skill I would say, and remember, this deck is  not like traditional Kagero decks, don't be so obsessed in retiring your opponent's units. Constant pressuring is good enough to keep your opponent busy thinking.

Dragonic Overlord will be your 2nd beater in Grade 3. Considered one of the best units ever printed for Kagero, you now can have three 11k lines and if you managed to save up 5 CB, triggering Eclipse and Overlord's skill together will definitely put your opponent in a really bad position (either null Eclipse's attack, and let Overlord swing three times; or stop Overlord and let Eclipse take two down).

See the logic of the deck? I believe I don't need to explain much already. The only catch of this deck is the timing of Heat Nail, Eclipse and Overlord's skills, the rest is just basically auto-pilot. Have fun trying out this deck once BT-04 is out!


  1. Thanks, Homura.
    For doing my request :P .
    This is indeed an interesting build , I shall try it once BT-04 is out .

  2. hi, i want to know, if by chances that EB01 got released, will you replaced any card with Bellicosity Dragon? if yes, which and how many? thanks