Thursday, 24 November 2011

Fusion Deck 1: Amon Flare

Fusion Deck 1: Amon Flare

Taking these 2 boss cards to form a mix deck makes an interestingly new collaboration that is undeniably worth talking about. Coincidentally so, both cards actually work very well together, and we will see why. Firstly the deck list:

17 Grade 0
1 Vermillion Gatekeeper
4 Doctor
4 Ritter
4 Raksha
4 Gatling Claw Dragon

14 Grade 1
4 Alluring Sucubus
2 March Hare of Nightmare
4 Doreen The Thruster
4 Demon Maddona Joka

11 Grade2
4 Blue Dust
4 Knowledge Drunkard
3 Relentless Sutherland

8 Grade 3
4 Blazing Flare Dragon, BFD
4 Amon

Basic Play Style:
This is outright a combo deck, it uses the dark irregulars, DI main core, mixed with a little kagero, the multi stackers that gains +3000 power from retiring any opponent's rearguard. The key card is Amon, he is the only one you would most likely want as your grade 3 vanguard, he is a very powerful vanguard, that is undeniable, but this itself is also this deck's main weakness. The plan is simple, soul charge as much as you can till you can ride a grade 3, ride Amon asap, call BFD's, doreens and jokas. And use Amon's counterblast 1 ability to power up your entire army and hammer away at your opponent.

In Depth Deck Analysis:
Amon, the lead of this deck:

Continuous【V】: For each 《Dark Irregulars》
in your soul, this unit gets +1000 power during
your turn.
Activate【V】: [Counterblast (1), Choose
one of your 《Dark Irregulars》 rear-guards,
and move it to soul] Your opponent chooses
one of their own rear-guards, and retires it.

The main focus of this deck is Amon's 2nd ability "Counterblast (1), Choose one of your 《Dark Irregulars》 rear-guards, and move it to soul] Your opponent chooses one of their own rear-guards, and retires it."

Why? let's take a look at the following formation:

Ideally you want a set up like this, Amon vanguard, 2 BFD upfront, 2 doreens or jokas back row (preferably doreen), Next place 1 DI unit on the empty space, activate Amon's ability, soulcharge that DI unit and opponent retires 1 unit, now what do you notice, BFD, Doreen, Joka all +3000! Now repeat it again and they all get +3000 again, lastly call an alluring sucubus to the empty space and soulcharge 1, doreen +3000 once more. From this, lets say Amon had only 4 cards in the soul (you should have more from earlier soulcharging), these 3 soul charges makes him 7 soul, making him 17,000 (assuming all 7 cards are DI which is really not that difficult sincfe you should have a bigger soul.) His column boost by joka is 17,000+12,000 (because the opponent retired 2 units) = 39,000. The left BFD column is 16,000+15,000 = 31,000 and the right column assumed boosted by succubus is 16,000+7,000=23,000. Now isn't that very high power! plus this deck runs 8 crit triggers, Amon is really gonna be punching hard. And you did all that by only counterblasting twice. If you take 4 damage, you can repeat this again next turn. Wow, how much guards the opponent needs to stop that! And don't forget each time you carry out this combo the opponent loses 2 units from the board, that is some card disadvantage to him/her.

Yes, Amon is the champ here, but Amon is also this deck's main weakness. Why? Well what if you don't get him? That's really it for you pal. And as with all combo decks in any tcg, without the right cards in your hand, that's just uncomfortable. Thus, as with all combo decks in any game, this deck is very volatile, get the right hand or draw the right cards, you are boss. Else you are in trouble. Therefore, this is a high risk high return deck.

The trigger package:
We all know that DI's trigger suite is really quite screwed at the time of writing, with 8 stand triggers and no draws. And since DI soulcharges a lot, its handsize is really its weakness. But mixing with Kagero gives you access to Kagero's draw triggers, I added in Kagero's crit triggers too making this an 8 crit deck. Why? Because Amon is so huge, why would you prefer to stand a rearguard, don't you wanna crit!? I chose Raksha because like Joka, it is a multistack booster itself too.

Pros of the Deck:
1. When combo correctly, it is unstoppably powerful.
2. Access to a better trigger suite that overcomes DI's conventional weaknesses in lacking draws and crits.

Weakness of Deck:
1. Risky, relies very heavily on Amon.

Overall Play Experience:
This is a fun deck to play with especially when you successfully combo. In terms of competitiveness, I think you will like it if you are player who find yourself often blessed by lady luck. Enjoy.

Royal Paladin (RP) Deck 2: Fangs of Fire

Royal Paladin (RP) Deck 2: Fangs of Fire
Work in progress. Stay tune.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Shadow Paladin (SP) Deck 1: Phantom Blaster Dragon

At the time of writing, BT04 was just released and SP is a very new clan. SP was very much hyped out, being the main antagonist’s deck (Ren), more than two thirds of the cards in BT04 belonged to SP so that players could quickly assemble together a relatively balanced SP deck upon released, and cards like PBD RRR were selling at 2400 JPY and Nemain at 1500JPY in Japan. But whether this hype is justifiable, that remains to be observed. Some people love SP for anti-hero impulse ( and their preference for the dark side), some for the artwork, there is also a significant portion of players who stand against it arguing that it is overhyped.

I personally find it true that it is rather hyped out, especially with single cards being so expensive. The SP deck I am about to talk about is rather commonly used by SP players at the time of writing (with a few minor differences), not mainly because we all agree that this is the best way to go, but because SP was a new clan and we were all restricted by the variety of SP cards we had access to. I personally do not own this deck, I constructed it for a friend of mine who was happy that his anti-hero likings could finally be satisfied upon SP’s release.

If you were to asked me “should I make an SP deck” at the time of writing, my answer was if you managed to pull a number of PBD and Nemain from opening BT04, then by all means please go ahead if you like the SP concept, else you should sell them all away at good prices while the hype is on. If you intend to buy singles to form an SP deck, I would suggest against that, because SP is still in its infancy stage (but already gaining a lot of spotlight), you can’t pick up cards at a bargain and speculate on future possible breakthroughs, they already cost so much, you mind as well wait for more cards to be released so you have a bigger plate of choices to form your preferred SP deck (at least wait until BT05). Without further ado, here is the SP decklist.


Basic Deck Playstyle:
Mainly Aggro with a bit of combo. The star of the deck is PBD, and this deck is really all about PBD even until the extend he may standalone to fight. Bascially, ride it up with Fullbau -> Javelin -> Blaster Dark -> PBD, then attempt to use his ability for as many turns as possible. Feed him with other units, use Skull Witch Nemain, Dark Mage, Badhbh Cath, and draw triggers (I do suggest playing 8 draws, but at the time of writing SP was just released in BT04 with only a standard trigger package of 4 of each) to dig out more units to feed PBD.

In Depth Deck Analysis
Not much to say here, SP is a very new clan at the time of writing, things are rather undeveloped, so the gameplan is really very straightforward.

The Stars: PBD? Hmm I’d say Nemain and Darkmage

PBD, The boss of SP decks, the star. This is obvious. You will want him at your vanguard on your 3rd turn, you would want to feed units to him and use counterblast ability for as many turns as possible (ideally you would prefer to use it when the opponent has a small handsize). But he is only a 3 of because you would only want him as a vanguard, he is fetchable by javelin, and he is no difference from rugos as a rearguard. But man, feeding 3 units and counterblast 2 is really costly, without Lancer perhaps at most you could use it twice, but hey opponents know this, so guess what, they just keep negators in their hands waiting for you to use PBD’s abilities (so around 2 negators ready to stop you), ok now that is all gone, and oh you have no more other SP units, sheesh what a gamble. Which is why Nemain (man oh man what a sex bomb) and Darkmage are IMO the real stars of the deck, they give you more units to feed PBD, they help to at least still have a few more “friends” on the field instead of a lonely PBD. I would go so far (as a number of players would too) to say that if you are not playing Nemain and Darkmage then please don't play PBD. Now opponents know you need units to feed PBS, if you place them upfront, they will likely be attacked, ideally you wanna combo them out this turn and feed them straight away to PBD, but sometimes you may even have to shift grade 3 and 2 rearguards in the backrow to prevent them from getting hit, so you can use them to feed PBD the next turn, but this is really a situation you should try not to get into.

Rugos vs Donnerschlag vs Fatalia
As with why I preferred Nehalem to Lava arm, the argument stands when comparing Rugos to Donnerschlag. As for Fatalia, he is a 10k intercept. Noticed that I also put 3 negators in this deck, all this hints of my shift of gears to being slightly more defensive for this deck. Defend what? PBD man and your life points! Since he is the star of this deck when in play.

Pros of the deck:
1. Able to make a good handsize. Although you would ideally want to feed the units to PBD, but when necessary you have the option to use them as shields.

Cons of the deck:
1. Too much concentration risk, you are often betting it all on PBD.
2. Room for variety by developers.
3. No other mechanic (other than PBD's ability) that really helps to deplete the opponent’s handsize so as to pave the way for PBD's finishing blow.

Overall Play Experience:
Fun, the bets on whether PBD’s ability successfully go through is the fun part. Expensive, oh yes indeed. Competitive? Hmm I would say it is a rather balanced clan at the moment. Stay tune for future developments of this clan, at the rate things are going and how much attention SP is getting, I am sure you can find your way with this clan in the coming future.

Monday, 21 November 2011

Kagero Deck 1: 12 Crit Amber

Kagero Deck 1: 12 Crit Amber

Basic Decklist:
17 Grade 0
1 Amber Dragon Dawn (Starter Vanguard)
4 Dragon Monk, Genjo (Heal Trigger)
4 Demonic Dragon Monk, Raksha (Critical Trigger)
4 Blue-Ray Dracokid (Critical Trigger)
4 Embodiment of Spear, Tahr (Critical Trigger)

14 Grade 1

12 Grade 2
4 Amber Dragon Dusk
4 Berserk Dragon or 4 Dragon Knight, Nehalem or 4 Lava Arm Dragon or 2 Nehalem + 2 Lava Arm
4 Belicosity Dragon (To be released in Comic Booster 1 on 3rd December 2011)

7 Grade 3

Basic Deck Playstyle:
Aggro control. Very aggressive form of control carried out with rapid attacks. Use Amber cards to fetch and ride to ascend the grades. Heatnail Salamanders to retire opponent’s backrow support or threaten to do so and thereby wasting the opponent’s guards. Recur for counterblasting by unflipping damage zone using Belicosity Dragon. Wincon is the rapid bombardment of Eclipse’s counterblast ability turn after turn, coupled with a 12 crit trigger suite, and continuous dual axe bombardment.

In Depth Deck Analysis:
The Amber Cards:
The typical cards of BT04, similar to the shadow paladin and the new “gundam” nova. The ability of using Daylight to fetch out Dusk and/or Eclipse, makes this a rather reliable mechanic to ascend the grades. The key card is Daylight, you really want at least one, preferably 2 in your starting hand.
Amber Dragon Eclipse: The boss card this deck, the wincon. This is what this deck is all about, riding him as the grade 3 vanguard on your third turn and using his counterblast ability turn after turn to aim to attack the opponent’s vanguard and destroy 2 of the opponent’s rearguards.
Eclipse’s ability is powerful but not without a downside. Eclipse’s ability, as we all know is a nice reasonably cheap 2 cblast cost for the chance to retire any 2 rearguards. It is obvious that its weakness is the upfront information you give away, by cblasting for 2 outright is telling your opponent that you will be using Eclipse’s ability, it is obvious to the opponent that he/she must logically guard, unlike overlord without power bonus, it is not difficult to guard out eclipse and waste his activated ability, even with power boost, all it takes is a negator and a discard. All in all, you can expect to at least use this twice in one game, the release of Belicosity Dragon will change this, making Eclipse a really powerful beast. Why is Eclipse a 3 of and not a 4 of, simply because you only want him as your vanguard, besides he is fetchable by daylight, that being said even if he is in your starting hand if you have 2 daylights, it is good to ride one and play the other to discard Eclipse to fetch another Eclipse, this thins out your deck (you wouldn’t wanna be drawing too many grade 3’s later in the game when what you really need are triggers and guards). As a rearguard, he is no different from Nehalem, why pay so much for a frontal rearguard while you could just use a common card.

Amber’s true pillars of power: Heatnail Salamander and Belicosity Dragon

IMO, in short, the Amber series cannot be fully optimized (still playable but not optimized) without Heat Nail Salamanders and the upcoming Bellicosity Dragon. From my experience, two things that matter a lot in TCG are recursion and card advantage. Heat Nails provide card advantage by creating card disadvantage for the opponent, Belli provides recursion.  Heat Nails act as a constant threat to remove the opponent’s grade 1 (especially back row support), thereby indirectly forcing the opponent to guard against it every turn until it resolves or it is retired, this also means that Heat Nails serve to deplete the opponent’s handsize to peel away the defense and open the way for eclipse to land his ability. Bellicosity gives good recursion, 2 cost cblast from Eclipse is not that much, if they can be unflipped and recycled, it is undeniably threatening. Combining the two well with Amber would possibly even mean that your opponent may have to guard every single attack if you are lucky to get your formation perfectly right (Support both left and right frontal rearguards with Heat Nail, and using any available grade 1 to support Eclipse), or risk losing almost all their support, and it is all recurring, Heat Nails return to deck, Beli unflips for more cards to feed Eclipse. Therefore, my view is that the amber series pillars of power IMO truly rests on Heat Nail and Beli, and they are necessary to optimize Eclipse’s effectiveness.

Dual Axe Archdragon:

IMO the Palomides of Kagero, this dragon’s requirement is stricter than Palomide’s though, but still good for such a retirement focused deck. When your opponent has 2 or less rearguards, Dual Axe hits for 13k, boosted 8k with Bahr , is a 21k column, meaning the opponent needs at least a 10k+5k guard to stop the attack (or boost with daylight for 20k), very sweet in wasting the opponent’s hand. In addition, as opponents feel threatened by your heatnails, they may choose not to play grade 1 supports but only play grade 3 or any heavy hitter frontal rearguards, while keeping his grade 1 as shields or to swarm at the right time, in the opponent’s attempt to fully cover both left and right fronts, that exactly makes 2 rearguards, this means that the opponent is now voluntarily giving you the bonus of Dual Axe, so just smack him/her with this badass dragon.

Garnet Flash Dragons:
These dudes are weaker, but they give power bonus to Eclipse, making Eclipse’s ability harder to guard against. When using Garnet change the attack sequence to attacking with them first to boost Eclipse, then swing with Eclipse for the “all in” attack.


Kinnala is undoubtedly one of Kagero's most terrorizing grade 1 units, it acts like a removal spell which you can place out on the field and use it as a 6k boost, and thereafter use its blasting ability on any of your main phases. Although it lowers your deck overall power, but its ability justifies it. You can play it instead of Bahr to gain more board control. Note that it is only possible for this deck because of Belicosity Dragon, so that you can unflip the damage zone for Eclipse, without Beli, Kinnala doesn't fit well into this deck.

Lava Arm Dragon vs Nehalem vs Berserk Dragon:
Lava Arm, a 12k beater for your frontal rearguard if you have the required vanguard, but heavily penalized if not so. Thus I play Nehalems just in case I don’t get to ride the required vanguard. If you wanna play safe then use all 4 Nehalems, if you wanna bet it, go 4 Lava Arms, if you want to keep your options open then play 2 of each.
Berserk Dragon, some say the best grade 2 Kagero unit ever, when it comes into play you may counterblast 2 to retire one grade 2 or lower opponent's rearguard. Like Kinnala, a very terrorizing unit which you would prefer to use to gain more board control. And also like Kinnala in this deck, Berserk is only optimally possible because of Belicosity Dragon. However, its 2 counterblast cost is rather high, but still it is a 9k grade 2 beater which is not bad and it gives you more options. Nonetheless since its cost is so high, you should not use its ability as loosely as kinnala's, use Berserk's ability only when you really need to or if you have enough Beli and are confident you can unflip to recover the cost.

The best defense for this deck is to mount a powerful offense
You hardly have much defensive options for this deck, without draw triggers and card drawing units you often lack the handsize to defend. But you obtain your defensive objectives by the following offensive means:
1. Blasting away opponent rearguards or threatening to do so. Combining heat nails and kinnalas creates so much threats to grade 1 back row support that puts significant psychological fear on your opponent, making them think twice if they want to play out their grade 1s. If they don't, you have indirectly controlled the board because your opponent cannot maximize his/her attack power without boosting and as a result you will need lesser shields to guard against his/her attacks. In addition to that, you can punish them with Dual Axe backed by preferably a 7k boost to waste the opponent's 15k shields. If they choose to play their grade 1s, kinnala and berserk helps you to forcefully blast them away while Eclipse's ability and heatnail eats away the opponent's handsize, you therefore indirectly gain control over the opponent's handsize.
2. Diverting Aggro. Belicosity and Dual Axe as frontal rearguards gives you very good bonuses, your opponents will know that and turn to target them. As their attention is diverted to attacking these rearguards, they forego attacking your vanguard.

Why only 2 Barri’s
As this is a 12 crit deck, you don’t have any draw triggers or card drawing units, so you don’t have many cards to pitch to Barri. So use it only at times of really perceived emergency only.

Why 12 Crits
At the time of writing, only RP and Kagero has a 12 crit trigger package, this already hints of how the game developers are inclined on building these clans. What's more we all know how critical triggers are game winners, it gives such a exuberating upside surprise, and since Kagero has a 12 crit suite, why not exploit on it and be exposed to all that upside surprise as much as possible.

Attack Sequence:
For a crit focus deck, you like to attack with your vanguard column first, if the opponent does not guard, and you get crit triggers you give the crit to the vanguard while the 5k power bonus to the frontal rearguards. If the opponent guards, and you get crit triggers, you may give the bonuses to the frontal rearguards if opponent's handsize is small and you have not taken too much damage, or if the opponent has taken 4 or more damage and has a huge handsize and you too have taken 5 damage you have to take the gamble "all in" the trigger(s) bonus to the vanguard. If you support your left and right fronts with heatnails, out of the fear of them going through and retiring backrow grade 1 rearguards, and since the vanguard’s attacks have a good chance of striking a crit, your opponent becomes threatened into guard against almost every attack you make.

Pros of the Deck:
1. Not the highest power kagero deck, but 12 crits makes it one of the most damaging.
2. With 12 crits and heatnails, you really seek to minimize your opponent’s handsize, else the opponent gives you board control by either losing grade 1’s or not playing them out at all which is in turn punishable by Dual Axe.

Cons of Deck:
1. Without daylight, you fall into a situation of probable “grade screw” (not having the right cards and right grades in hand to ideally ascend the grades), this downside is amplified if you are using Lava Arm.
2. Without draw triggers and card drawing units you often lack the handsize to defend. 

Overall Play Experience:
Competitive, I believe so. Fun, not the most fun, especially for your opponents, especially in mirror matches (I kinda like it though, it is a good learning experience) but it is often less cheery playing against kagero as versus other clans. It is said that kagero unlike some other clans does not merely play its own game, it messes with its opponents’ game, but hey all TCG’s have control decks, this is good variety and appeals to control style players, afterall not everyone likes to combo stuff or aggro rush. This also makes kagero relatively much more interactive in its play (thus making vanguard games more interactive) as opposed to clans that players merely thoughtlessly rush out their own game.

Royal Paladin (RP) Deck 1: 12 Crit Galahad SSD

Hi, this is the first deck construction and analysis I am making. So here we go.

Basic Decklist:

17 Grade 0
1 Dorangal (Starter Vanguard)
4 Yggdrasil Maiden, Elaine Heal Trigger
4 Transporter of Good Luck, Epona Critical Trigger
4 Alabaster Owl Critical Trigger
4 Future Knight, Llew Critical Trigger

13 Grade 1
4 Knight of Exploration, Galahad
4 Pongal
3 Marron (or 3 Toypugal or 3 Lake Maiden Lien)
2 Flash Shield Isolde (Up to 3 if you put in 1 lesser SSD)

11 Grade2
4 Knight of Trials, Galahad
4 Knight of Silence, Gallatin (or 4 Flame Swordsman, Baromdes)
3 Blaster Blades (or 3 Hi-Dog Breeder Akane, if so play 3 Toypugal instead of marron because Akane is able to pull Toypugal)

9 Grade 3
4 Knight of Godspeed, Galahad
3 Soul Saver Dragon (SSD) (why 3? because you wanna prevent losing this win condition if they drop into the damage zone, I have seen 2 went in before, thank goodness I have 3 in the deck then. If you are not playing 3 of it, you'd better fetch it using pongal asap)
2 Swordsman of Exploding Flames, Palomides
Basic Deck Play style:
Very straightforward. Full aggro, very aggressive. Using the Galahad cards to ascend the grades, swarm the field (especially the back row to set the support boosters), drop SSD and use Holy dragon's roar, HDR (SSD's soulblast 5 ability) asap (and I really mean asap) on all the back row units, and fill the front row with heavy beaters (ie. Palomides and Gallantin / Baromedes) and declare “Final Turn”.

In depth Deck Analysis:
The Galahad cards:

The Galahad cards at the time of writing have faced immense shifts in player’s sentiments. IMO it is also one of the most misunderstood set in Vanguard so far. When Bargal was banned, Galahad was believed to be the only main way of play for RP, it went to the extend of being very much overbought by players or some RP players quitted RP and changed to play other clans. However, players played Galahad mainly not because they wanted to, it was because they had no other choice, other then relying on a smooth grade distribution to rise in grades, Galahad was the only set that provided the check top 5 card ability on draw step, and the chance to ride without paying a card from the hand, this increase in probability of riding up gave it a better appeal than playing stardust trumpeters with a smooth grade distribution alone. But soon, players began to see the seemingly great downside of playing Galahad:
 1. Galahad’s counterblast ability looks appealing, it resembles Gancelot, but 6 souls is not an easy task that is conveniently and effortlessly accomplished.
2. The bigger problem was “what if you don’t get to ride a Galahad at any point in time in the game, missed riding anyone of the grades, and Galahad grade 3 is no difference from an average grade 2, 9k beater. Ouch.
Upon realizing all these, then Galahad started going into a decline, RP players started playing only up to Grade 2 Galahads and replacing the Grade 3’s with 3-4 Palomides (he is a reliable consistent 13k beater afterall), or when BT04 was out, the Galmall series started to get a hyped popularity and a significant proportion of RP players jumped onto the Galmall bangwagon, it became the new RP style of play, Kourin’s Blizzard Formation.
However, here is how my opinion on Galahad differs from many people, and why I think they misunderstood Galahad’s true purpose. Yes, Galahad is heavily penalized if not rode in accordingly, yes his crit ability cannot be carried out without 6 souls and even if it could, a negator simply stops it cold. But I see these abilities of Galahad as “bonuses” that you should not rely on as the reason to play him, IMO his main purpose is easily building 5 souls. 5 souls for what? For SSD! Therefore, Galahad is a means and not an end, SSD is the real goal. And with Galahad you can conveniently play a 12 crit trigger suite, without needing Margal to soulcharge, while Pongal is enough for soulcharging 1 and pulling SSD. The following are the various scenarios:
Best Scenario: Dorangal – Galahad 1 – Galahad 2 and Pongal counterblast Soulcharge – Galahad 3 and soulcharge 2, Use Galahad’s counterblast ability to waste opponent’s hand – Now with 7 souls, SSD Holy Dragon’s Roar(HDR) for the finishing.
Scenario 2: Missing Galahad 1
Dorangal-Missed Galahad 1, ride something else-Galahad 2-Galahad 3 soulcharge 2 – SSD (now has 6 souls), still able to use SSD’s HDR.
Scenario 3: Missing a Galahad 2
Dorangal- Galahad 1 – Missed Galahad 2, ride another grade 2 unit-Galahad 3
Now you only have 3 souls, but hey just soul charge 1 pongal, and next turn ride an SSD on Galahad and you have 5 souls, HDR time.
Scenario 3: Miss a Galahad 3
Dorangal – Galahad 1 – Galahad 2-Missed Galahad 3, ride another grade 3
Now you only have 3 souls, but hey just soul charge 1 pongal, and next turn ride an SSD on the grade 3 and you have 5 souls, HDR time.
So you see from the above scenarios, it is very convenient to use the Galahad set to build 5 souls for SSD, even without Margal. So you ask, hey why not any other starter like stardust trumpeter, the answer Galahad gives you the additional advantage of checking top 5 to ride without paying a card from your hand.
Therefore, I still say that up till the time of writing, Galahad is still one of the best (very few) viable set to play both “12 crit” and “SSD” together. For other styles, you can play 12 crit but you may not find playing SSD as convenient due to 5 soul requirement, you still probably would play Margal (a draw trigger) or Lohengrin.
So it doesn't really matter if Galahad 3 is a 9k beater (boosted by marron for a column total of 16k, an 11k opponent unit stills needs a 10k guard to stop it), neither does it matter if you can't use Galahad 3's counterblast ability, spare Galahad 3's in the hand can also be pitched to Isolde, what really matters is that you can ride up to grade 3 and build 5 souls asap for SSD. But if Galahad's downside still really bothers you, then you can play Lake Maiden Lien, but she is only a 7k boost instead of a 8k marron or possibly 9k toypugal, so you have to accept a lower deck attack power, and you have to accept the possibility that you may use her effect to draw into a trigger which you would rather have that being drive checked. Therefore, do not use Lien's ability loosely, use it only when you really need to (ie. you know you can't finish off your opponent this turn, and your hand is filled with grade 3's, and you really need shields to survive the opponent's next turn, then it is perhaps a good time to use Lien's ability to try to dig for a shield or two)

Soul Saver Dragon
The main wincon (win condition of this deck), this is a very fast aggressive deck, you would want to rush out HDR asap. In the past, with bargal, you could constantly superior ride blaster blade on turn 2 to build 5 souls, and on turn 3 drop SSD down for HDR, but now with the banning of bargal, a turn 3 HDR is unlikely, this build uses Galahad to help you build 5 or more souls, so that you can drop SSD on turn 4 for HDR. Therefore the aim of this deck is to rush out HDR on turn 4 and attempt to finish off the opponent. Since this is the main wincon, I put in 3 of this in my deck, reason is as stated above, just in case 1 or 2 SSD goes into the damage zone. If you put only 2 SSD's in your deck and if it doesn't appear in your starting hand, the longer you let it stay in the library the higher the chances of letting it drop into the damage zone, so if you have pongal, you should use his ability asap to fetch SSD into your hand.

Why only 2 Flashshields?
Because of the trigger base of this deck, this is a 12 crit deck, without draw triggers and card drawing units, you hardly find enough cards to pitch to Isolde. This is an all out aggressive deck, you want to finish off your opponent fast, so the focus is not really on defense. That being said, be very careful with the use of isolde as a guardian, use her only, I repeat, only in a perceived emergency as a guardian.

Why I prefer Marrons instead of Toypugal:
Toypugal is based 6k power (weak), but with the condition of having 2 grade 3’s met it is a 9k boosts (sweet), Marron is a steady 8k boost, so you can see compared to Marron, Toypugal has a downside of 2k, but only an upside of 1k (same reason why I played Gallatin over Baromdes) . And what’s more important Marron is a common card, much cheaper than Toypugal ;), but still you can play Toypugal if you want. But I now prefer Lake Maiden instead, it's always good to have options.

Palomides, the big badass beater:

Ok, it’s obvious, Palomides is a real badass frontal rearguard, its condition of having 2 grade 3’s or more on the field is so easily met (a grade 3 vanguard will do), and gives it 13k, boost with at least 7k, takes palomides’ column to 20k power, this means an opponent 10k unit will need at least one 10k guard + one 5k guard to stop this attack. Awesome to waste the opponent’s hand. You may take away 1 SSD from the deck and replace it with 1 more Palomides to raise your deck's attack power. And to be honest, I like this dude's card design, really badass artwork.

Akane vs Blaster Blades:
Why do I play blaster blades, well this is just personal preference, I like answering my opponent’s heavy beater rearguards (ie. Palomides, Dragonic Executioners, DMD), by blasting them, they cannot guard against that. But if you play Akane, I suggest you use Toypugals instead of Marrons, since Akane’s cblast ability can pull out Toypugal for you, and it is better to play a more hi beast oriented deck with Akane.

Why play 12 crits:
Critical triggers, one of the most influencing elements in this game. But what is the reason for that? what makes people prefer it to other triggers other than heal triggers. IMO, 3 reasons:
1. It can seal the game, critical strikes when checked and passes through cause solid damage cast in the stone, your opponent cannot upon seeing you getting a crit trigger decides to call a guardian against it. For what he/she has gambled to guard against your vanguard's attack, he/she has to accept the result of the bet.
2. And because of the 1st reason, because it is so painful to the opponent, it creates a fear and therefore it raises the cost of uncertainty to your opponent, if your opponent does not guard your vanguard, he/she is exposing him/herself to the possibility of a lot of damage, if he/she guards and decides to let 1 trigger pass, there is risky as well for the likelihood of getting one trigger is reasonably good, if he/she decides to guard and you need 2 triggers for the attack to pass or he/she decides to absolute guard by throwing more guardians or using negators,  that is very card disadvantageous to the opponent.
3. Handsize trimming. Yes, from the above reasons, crit triggers are very much capable of depleting the opponent handsize, if he/she decides to strongly guard your vanguard's attack, you can give the crit to another attacker, and when that unit's column attack, if he/she decides to guard, his/her handsize is further reduced, if he/she does not guard, then he/she has to take the crit. And handsize is important in any tcg, without handsize your opponent really can't do much on the next turn.

And when playing against a 12 crit deck, if one does his/her math correctly, he/she should know that if he/she has taken 3 damage or more, then he can no longer not guard against a vanguard attack. Why because crits can seal the deal as stated above, 1 crit trigger and that is likely game set of one who has taken 4 damage, 2 crit trigger likely takes out a player who took 3 damage. What does this mean? Handsize trimming again, this means that the opponent who plays again you(you play a 12 crit deck) has to profusely guard against your vanguard's attack after he/she has taken 3 or more damage.

At the time of writing, only RP and Kagero has a 12 crit trigger package, this already hints of how the game developers are inclined on building these clans. What's more we all know how critical triggers are game winners, it gives such a exuberating upside surprise, and since RP has a 12 crit suite, why not exploit on it and be exposed to all that upside surprise as much as possible.

Thus far, as far as I know, this is one of best viable 12 crit decks that works with SSD, so capitalize on this privilege.

Attack Sequence:
For a crit focus deck, you like to attack with your vanguard column first, if the opponent does not guard, and you get crit triggers you give the crit to the vanguard while the 5k power bonus to the frontal rearguards. If the opponent guards, and you get crit triggers, you may give the bonuses to the frontal rearguards if opponent's handsize is small and you have not taken too much damage, or if the opponent has taken 4 or more damage and has a huge handsize and you too have taken 5 damage you have to take the gamble "all in" the trigger(s) bonus to the vanguard.

Pros of Deck
1. The deck’s overall attack power is relatively low, but once it hits, the damage inflicted is possibly very high, so you have a lot of upside surprise because this is a 12 crit deck.
2. You have easy access to SSD’s HDR. He is afterall the consensus agreed boss card of RP, and his power to finish games is undeniable (although not absolute) you would want to play him.

Cons of Deck

1. Without draw triggers and card drawing units, your handsize is comparatively small, and have a lesser number of guardians as a result.
2. Your backrow support is the most crucial element in the strategy, as they can’t be hit by normal attacks, and they set the stage for SSD’s HDR. So watch out for Kagero’s blasting (the next deck I will be posting)

Overall Play Experience:
This is a fun deck to play, rushing out units and dropping and SSD HDR and declaring "Final Turn" is kinda funny. The fun part is also drive checking for crit triggers as you slowly show the trigger and both you and your opponent get a laugh, even if your opponent guards it. In terms of competitiveness, this is viable, but not exactly the most competitive RP build, but then again at the time of writing IMO RP is still heavily wounded from bargal's banning and has moved into a stale state (with many players still thinking hard how to fix their RP decks accordingly or some leaving RP for other clans) until new cards are released, so look to future expansions for RP's wounds to be healed from the banning of bargal.

Introduction to Blog

Hi this blog is about Cardfight Vanguard, a new TCG game from Bushiroad released in 2011. This blog contains the analysis of the decks I play. I mainly play Kagero and Royal Paladins now (so no promise I will post on all clans), so most lists and analysis are on them. I hope I can post on other clans if I can, or have other clan players help me to share their builds.

For your info, I link the cards listed to Cardfight Vanguard Wiki. As for card pricing I suggest you check out Bigweb for their prices in JPY and convert at your domestic currency conversion rate. Do note that Bigweb serves only as a guideline, it is afterall based on the player demand in Japan, and thus it doesn't necessary reflect your country's player demand for cards.

Without further ado, let's go on to the decks.