Thursday, November 20, 2014

News: Blaster Joker Debuts at Fourth Kansai VGCS, Phantom Blaster “Abyss” Secures Top 2

November 16th, Kyoto, Japan. Almost a year ago Nouvelle Vague and Cecilia Musketeers were making headlines having topped at the first Kansai Vanguard CS; now in its fourth iteration, the championship series returned to its roots at hobby shop Yellow Submarine. Located on the fourth floor of a vertical stripmall comprising other small businesses like a pork ramen shop and nail salon, Yellow Submarine has been a permanent fixture in the area since 2009.

While the shop may be the same, the tournament results could not be more different. There were no Kagerou tops at the fourth Kansai CS. Instead Shadow Paladin's “Abyss” deck has continued its train of restanding dominance, piloted by Minorun and Mirutae in first and second. Minorun had previously served as the Forward for runner-up team "Over There, Here and There" at the eighth Battle City CS last March, and placed second at the Hokusetsu CS last August with Cat Butler Raizers. Meanwhile Mirutae placed fourth that same August with a pure Thing Saver deck at the Kin no Shacchi CS, and first place at Hokusetsu with “Abyss.”
Deck breakdown (80 participants in total)
25 Shadow Paladin
19 Kagerou
9 Royal Paladin
6 Link Joker
4 Gold Paladin
3 Genesis
2 Nova Grappler
12 Other
The preliminaries at the fourth Kansai CS consisted of four rounds of Swiss draw, followed by a cut to top 16 with tournament brackets implemented. Both the preliminaries and finals had a 40 minute time limit and followed a best of 3 games format. Starting at noon and closing at 7:40 PM Japanese time, first place was rewarded with a voucher guaranteeing them six boxes of the most recent booster set, while second, third and fourth place received vouchers for four, three and one boxes of the same. The vouchers become valid on December 5th 2014, on the release date of VG-G-BT01: Generation Stride.

While first and second were both Phantom Blaster “Abyss” decks as typical of recent tournaments, the most striking development by far was Shokushu in fourth with a Star-vader deck--the first such Link Joker top since Glendios dissolved at the end of the last Japanese national tournament. Shokushu had previously finished second with Thing Saver at the Kin no Shacchi CS, above where Mirutae had in that same month. At Kansai he placed using Dark Zodiac from BT17 as his primary grade 3, with the trial deck card Garnet Star and MBT01 boss Blaster Joker as supporting units.

Garnet Star was chosen as the alternative grade 3 due to the constraints legion mechanics place on deck space; Garnet and Joker share their legion mate Photon, and Joker can be searched from the deck using the grade 2 Dilaton, allowing Garnet to effectively stand in for the other unit because of Joker's exorbitant counterblast cost. Garnet's on-legion skill actually sets up the conditions for Dilaton to activate by locking two of the opponent's rearguards, and with all of these factors in mind Joker has an immense amount of synergy paired with Garnet. While Joker can be a powerfully disruptive play by retiring the opponent's legion mate, and with its field lock can actually prevent “Abyss” from being able to set up early on while powering up Lanthanum by up to +15000 power, the card is also dead weight once either counterblast or soul are exhausted and is a poor early game ride.

To avoid that early game Shokushu designed the deck with Garnet and Dark Zodiac as his primaries. As with Garnet, Zodiac's persona blast locks a frontrow and backrow rearguard, while its on-legion counterblast prevents the opponent's cards from unlocking during the end phase of their next turn, resurrecting the powers of “Ω” Glendios without being reliant on a pool of “Яeverse” units to maintain those locks. During the peak of Thing Saver-“Abyss'” reign Zodiac was unpopular due to a combination of its lock skills being ineffective against a vanguard capable of attacking three times in one turn, Glendios having Rubidium to completely nullify Thing Saver's strategy by redirecting his attack to a rearguard, and the general strength of Perdition Dragons versus the Link Joker matchup. With Blaster Joker available as a dramatic turnaround card capable of shutting down the Kagerou matchup and slowing down a game in a single turn, Thing Saver's restanding abilities curtailed by the September 29th restricted list, and Phantom Blaster “Abyss” as the primary threat of the format, the conditions are right for the Star-vaders to become prominent once again.

Minorun and Mirutae's Revenger decks are notably identical, and share a very similar structure with those that topped at the fourth Sapporo VGCS and second Brave Cup. Overall the present format appears to have stabilized in the Revengers' favor. They accounted for approximately 31% of the entries at Kansai, between the Brave Cup's 23% and Sapporo's 33%--enough to hold a majority over competing decks, and almost enough to constitute a perfect third of tournament results. Kagerou is the most significant opposition, with Dragonic Overlord the Great as the current contender. Thing Saver Dragon continues to haunt the background of these tournament results, but with Seeker support mostly cut off in upcoming booster sets, it's doubtful that the deck will ever fully recover from the Neon Messiah-on format shifts.

The VGCS tournaments are a series of unofficial tournaments organized by fans and cardshops. Unlike Bushiroad's larger official tournaments, most VGCS events are done using a best-of-three, Swiss tournament model. Turnout is typically 70-80 persons, but some events see 100 or more participants, all of whom compete using pseudonyms and internet handles rather than their real names as in official events. The VGCS model of fan-organized play has begun to gain popularity internationally, with the bi-monthly BeNeLux tournaments serving as their European equivalent, and there are now similar grassroots organizations emerging in the United States like the ARG Circuit series tournaments and the ongoing King of Cardfight competition in the American midwest.

First place: Minorun/みのるん
Grade 0
x1 Judgebau Revenger (FV)
x4 Healing Revenger HT
x4 Freezing Revenger DT
x4 Grim Revenger CT
x4 Revenger, Air Raid Dragon CT
Grade 1
x4 Dark Revenger, Mac Lir
x4 Barrier Troop Revenger, Dorint
x2 Transient Revenger, Masquerade
x3 Witch of Nostrum, Arianrhod
x1 Black-winged Sword Breaker
Grade 2
x4 Blaster Dark Revenger
x4 Blaster Dark Revenger “Abyss”
x4 Fighting Spirit Revenger, Macart
Grade 3
x4 Revenger, Phantom Blaster “Abyss”
x3 Illusionary Revenger, Mordred Phantom

Second Place: Mirutae/みるたえ
Grade 0
x1 Judgebau Revenger (FV)
x4 Healing Revenger HT
x4 Freezing Revenger DT
x4 Grim Revenger CT
x4 Revenger, Air Raid Dragon CT
Grade 1
x4 Dark Revenger, Mac Lir
x4 Barrier Troop Revenger, Dorint
x2 Transient Revenger, Masquerade
x3 Witch of Nostrum, Arianrhod
x1 Black-winged Sword Breaker
Grade 2
x4 Blaster Dark Revenger
x4 Blaster Dark Revenger “Abyss”
x4 Fighting Spirit Revenger, Macart
Grade 3
x4 Revenger, Phantom Blaster “Abyss”
x3 Illusionary Revenger, Mordred Phantom

Third place: Seven/セブン
Grade 0
x1 Advance Party Seeker, File (FV)
x4 Seeker, Loving Healer HT
x4 Margal DT
x2 Seeker, Platina Raider DT
x2 Certain Kill Seeker, Modron CT
x4 Seeker, Herald Breath Dragon CT
Grade 1
x4 Guardian Law Seeker, Shiron
x2 Good Faith Seeker, Cynric
x2 Sacred Wielding Seeker, Octavius
x1 Fail Seeker, Hasbasado
x4 Lake Maiden, Lien
x1 Glynngal Seeker
Grade 2
x4 Blaster Blade Seeker
x3 Full Bloom Seeker, Cerdic
x4 Crossbow Seeker, Gildas
Grade 3
x4 Seeker, Thing Saver Dragon
x4 Light Origin Seeker, Alfred XIV

Fourth place: Shokushu/しょくしゅ
Grade 0
x1 Black Ring Chain, Pleiades (FV)
x1 Recollection Star-vader, Tellurium HT
x3 Star-vader, Pixie Petal HT
x3 Star-vader, Nebula Captor DT
x3 Star-vader, Jailer Tail DT
x1 Star-vader, Meteoliger CT
x4 Star-vader, Apollo Nail Dragon CT
x1 Star-vader, Spark Doll CT
Grade 1
x4 Barrier Star-vader, Promethium
x4 Star-vader, Bolt Line
x2 Demonic Claw Star-vader, Lanthan
x3 Routing Deleter, Ganowek
Grade 2
x4 Star-vader, Astro Reaper
x4 Companion Star-vader, Photon
x3 Star-vader, Colony Maker
x1 Silence Star-vader, Dilaton
Grade 3
x4 Star-vader, Dark Zodiac
x2 Star-vader, Blaster Joker
x2 Star-vader, Garnet Star Dragon

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

News: Nouvelle Tops Jetpack Invitational, NH Cardfight Circuit to Begin in December

Invitational top 4. Original image posted by William Steele.
November 15th, Rochester NH. Local card shop Jetpack Comics held an invitational tournament set out to commemorate the Cardfight!! Vanguard trading card game's two year anniversary at the store. Having sent out its call for signups in late October, the main event attracted 43 cardfighters in total. A team tournament was also held, in which five three-person teams took part.

The invitational tournament was the debut of the shop's fight tables, a series of standing glass-topped tables with official Bushiroad playmats set inside of their displays. The tables were custom made for the event, and debuted during the top 4 playoffs.

First place at the invitational was taken by Christian Nguyen with a Nouvelle Vague-Dragonic Overlord “The Яe-birth” deck, while second place went to Jesse Newman with pure “The Яe-birth,” third to Matthew Lilley with Nouvelle and fourth to Mandon Healy-Rindfleisch with a Galaxy Blau series deck. Earlier this year Lilley had placed second at the WCS2014 New York regional qualifier, also playing Nouvelle. Decklists are provided below.
Deck breakdown (43 participants in total)
13% Kagerou
11% Pale Moon
7% Shadow Paladin
7% Aqua Force
7% Oracle Think Tank
7% Gold Paladin
7% Nova Grappler
7% Genesis
7% Narukami
4% Dimension Police
4% Link Joker
4% Megacolony
4% Royal-Shadow mix
2% Dark Irregulars
2% Bermuda Triangle
2% Murakumo
Similar to Japanese play post-BT15 but counter to existing trends in the English-language format, Kagerou dominated the invitational with the support from Nouvelle and “The Яe-birth.” Pale Moon is a specific innovation of English-language play that was not observed in Japan; the popularity of Venus Luquier is owed to the general lack of enthusiasm with which Omega Glendios has been approached by international cardfighters, as without a specific counter to it running around in the format Venus is free to build 40000+ power Upright Lion lanes that effectively restand through Eva's breakride skill and abuse of Silver Thorn Assistant Zelma.

Organizer Nick Steele also preemptively announced the New Hampshire Cardfight Circuit, a quarterly tournament series held at the end of every NH tournament season, and hosted by officially sanctioned stores in New Hampshire. The first NH Circuit is set to begin in December, with further details forthcoming from its organizers.

Jetpack Comics Invitational Tournament
First place: Christian Nguyen
Grade 0
x1 Red Pulse Dracokid (FV)
x4 Dragon Dancer, Therese HT
x2 Gattling Claw Dragon DT
x2 Seal Dragon, Artpique DT
x4 Demonic Dragon Mage, Apalala CT
x4 Embodiment of Spear, Tahr CT
Grade 1
x4 Wyvern Guard, Barri
x2 Calamity Tower Wyvern
x3 Eternal Bringer Griffin
x2 Nouvelle Roman Dragon
x2 Dragon Monk, Gojo
Grade 2
x2 Burning Horn Dragon
x2 Dragon Knight, Nehalem
x2 Dragon Dancer, Arabella
x4 Dragonic Burnout
Grade 3
x4 Dragonic Overlord (BT15/004)
x4 Dragonic Overlord “The Яe-birth”
Grade 4
x2 Transcendence Dragon, Dragonic Nouvelle Vague

Second place: Jesse Newman
Grade 0
x1 Red Pulse Dracokid (FV)
x4 Dragon Dancer, Barbara HT
x3 Gattling Claw Dragon DT
x2 Seal Dragon, Artpique DT
x3 Demonic Dragon Mage, Apalala CT
x4 Lizard Soldier, Goraha CT
Grade 1
x4 Wyvern Guard, Barri
x4 Eternal Bringer Griffin
x2 Calamity Tower Wyvern
x3 Dragon Monk, Gojo
Grade 2
x2 Dragon Dancer, Arabella
x2 Bellicosity Dragon
x4 Burning Horn Dragon
x4 Dragonic Burnout
Grade 3
x4 Dragonic Overlord (BT15/004)
x4 Dragonic Overlord “The Яe-birth”

Monday, November 10, 2014

News: Phantom Blaster “Abyss” Tops in Fourth Sapporo VGCS

Hokkaido citizens' activity center, Sapporo city. Over November 2nd the fourth Sapporo city VGCS took place, attracting seventy participants in total. Won by Igachuu, a new face in professional play, the tournament results followed up on recent trends established at the second Chiba Brave Cup. The tournament was primarily made up of Shadow Paladin cardfighters building their decks around the Revenger subclan, many of them having transitioned to it after abandoning Thing Saver Dragon following the implementation of the most recent restricted list.
Deck breakdown (70 participants in total)
23 Revenger
17 Perdition
8 Seeker
7 Liberator
4 Regalia
2 Link Joker (1 Blaster Joker 1 Deleter)
2 Dimensional Robo
1 Brawler
1 Spike Brothers
1 Granblue
1 Musketeer
1 Ancient Dragon
1 Raizer
1 Nubatama
Entry fee at Sapporo was 1000 yen (approx. $10 US) per person with payout to the top 4 cardfighters, with first place winning a the newest model of Nintendo 3DS XL, second place four copies of whichever Beginning Set of their choice, third place two copies of the same, and fourth place two boxes of VG-MBT01: Neon Messiah. As per current rules for mainstream play, G-units and their accompanying stride mechanics could not be used. Tournament format was five rounds of Swiss draw, followed by a four round cut to top 16, with 50 minutes per round and best of three (in Japan recognized as the first to two wins) ruleset in place. The tournament used clan fight rules to prevent mixing of multiple clans in each deck, and lasted just over ten hours from the beginning of the first round at 10:45 AM to the closing ceremony at 8:30 PM. The top 4 decklists are provided below.

While the preceding Brave Cup saw a narrow Liberator victory from the tournament's few Gold Paladin cardfighters, Sapporo city saw more traditional results from the dominant player base. Revenger fighters far outdid their Perdition counterparts, becoming the most prevalent group represented. “Abyss,” which was just feature as the English card of the day this morning, has filled the gaps left by Thing Saver in pro competition, is primarily characterized by its high power restand that tends to exceed the swings of even Minerva and Nouvelle of past tournament seasons. While counterblast heavy, “Abyss” has access to an unflipping engine from the base Blaster Dark Revenger and his supporting grade 1 Dorint. By eschewing Dark Revenger's retire skill entirely and exploiting Dorint purely for his unflip, the break ride central to “Abyss'” high power restand becomes counterblast-free. Later in the fight damage expended for the restand skill can be partially recouped by calling these cards from hand to sustain additional restands in the long term.

As at the Brave Cup, Blaster Joker continues to be absent in spite of it being feared as a major competitor in the current competitive format. An explanation may be drawn from its lack of truly aggressive means of winning games. Unlike the majority of deck options in the format, Joker does not have any kind of aggression approaching the level of a restand or guard manipulation, and its expensive skills can generally only maintain locks for two to three consecutive turns before petering out.

The VGCS tournaments are a series of unofficial tournaments organized by fans and cardshops. Unlike Bushiroad's larger official tournaments, most VGCS events are done using a best-of-three, Swiss tournament model. Turnout is typically 70-80 persons, but some events see 100 or more participants, all of whom compete using pseudonyms and internet handles rather than their real names as in official events. The VGCS model of fan-organized play has begun to gain popularity internationally, with the bi-monthly BeNeLux tournaments serving as their European equivalent, and there are now similar grassroots organizations emerging in the United States like the ARG Circuit series tournaments and the ongoing King of Cardfight competition in the American midwest.

Fourth Sapporo City VGCS
First place: Igachuu/イガチュウ
Grade 0
x1 Judgebau Revenger (FV)
x4 Healing Revenger HT
x4 Freezing Revenger DT
x4 Grim Revenger CT
x4 Revenger, Air Raid Dragon CT
Grade 1
x3 Dark Revenger, Mac Lir
x1 Hatred Prison Revenger, Quesal
x3 Barrier Troop Revenger, Dorint
x1 Transient Revenger, Masquerade
x3 Witch of Nostrum, Arianrhod 
x2 Black-winged Sword Breaker
Grade 2
x4 Blaster Dark Revenger
x4 Blaster Dark Revenger “Abyss”
x4 Battle Spirit Revenger, Mackart
Grade 3
x4 Revenger, Phantom Blaster “Abyss”
x4 Illusionary Revenger, Mordred Phantom

Second place: Keshigomu/けしごむ
Grade 0
x1 Red Pulse Dracokid (FV)
x4 Perdition Dancer, Agafia HT
x4 Gattling Claw Dragon DT
x2 Seal Dragon, Artpique DT
x4 Perdition Dragon Knight, Tuvar CT
x2 Perdition Dragon, Buster Rain Dragon CT
Grade 1
 x4 Peridtion Dragon, Rampart Dragon
x4 Dragon Monk, Gojo
x3 Perdition Battler, Mareikou
x3 Seal Dragon Spirit, Malkibel
Grade 2
x4 Perdition Dragon, Dragonic Neoflame
x4 Perdition Dragon, Menace Laser Dragon
x3 PerditionDragon Knight, Tarayev
x2 Dragonic Burnout
Grade 3
x4 Perdition Imperial Dragon, Dragonic Overlord the Great
x2 Dragonic Overlord “The Яe-birth”

Third place: Lelouch
Grade 0
x1 Judgebau Revenger (FV)
x4 Healing Revenger HT
x4 Freezing Revenger DT
x4 Grim Revenger CT
x4 Revenger, Air Raid Dragon CT
Grade 1
x4 Dark Revenger, Mac Lir
x4 Barrier Troop Revenger, Dorint
x4 Transient Revenger, Masquerade
x2 Black-winged Sword Breaker
Grade 2
x4 Blaster Dark Revenger
x4 Blaster Dark Revenger “Abyss”
x3 Battle Spirit Revenger, Mackart
Grade 3
x4 Revenger, Phantom Blaster “Abyss”
x4 Illusionary Revenger, Mordred Phantom

Note that there is an error in ☆Shinamon's Japanese decklist; it only lists 49 cards. Based on a photo of ☆Shinamon's decklist, this missing card is a second Sword Breaker.

Fourth place: ☆Shinamon/☆しなもん/
Grade 0
x1 Judgebau Revenger
x4 Healing Revenger HT
x4 Freezing Revenger DT
x4 Grim Revenger CT
x4 Revenger, Air Raid Dragon CT
Grade 1
x4 Dark Revenger, Mac Lir
x4 Barrier Troop Revenger, Dorint
x4 Transient Revenger, Masquerade
x2 Black-winged Sword Breaker
Grade 2
x4 Blaster Dark Revenger
x4 Blaster Dark Revenger “Abyss”
x3 Battle Spirit Revenger, Mackart
Grade 3
x4 Revenger, Phantom Blaster “Abyss”
x4 Illusionary Revenger, Mordred Phantom

Thursday, November 6, 2014

News: Ragnaclock Dragon Debuts in Monthly Bushiroad Magazine, Battle Sister and Raizer Subclans Boosted by G-BT01

This morning issue 15 of Monthly Bushiroad magazine was leaked by vendors in Japan, two days ahead of its street date. The issue was packaged with the promotional card Amon's Mastermind Astaroth, and revealed cards from the upcoming set G-BT01: Stride Generation, which will debut in Japan on December 5th. The new Oracle Think Tank units focus on adding one card from the top two of the deck to hand and sending the other to the bottom, while the Gear Chronicle units focus on sending the opponent's rearguards to the bottom of their deck and alternatively blocking either grade 1 or grade 0 guardians.

The marquee card of the issue is the Interdimensional Dragon, Ragnaclock Dragon. Designed by veteran artist Amemiya Keita, Ragnaclock is a G-unit like Harmonics Messiah before it, that cannot be placed in the deck and instead has to be stridden from the generation zone. Amemiya had previously illustrated Werwolf Sieger, Dark Lord of Abyss, and Knight of Purgatory Skull Face.

Ragnaclock's counterblast 1 activates when it attacks a vanguard; by turning a copy of itself in the generation zone face-up, it prevents the opponent from calling grade 0 cards to the guardian circle from their hand, and if his cardfighter has two or more units face-up in their generation zone Ragnaclock gains an additional critical.

Accounting for the power gain from the grade 3 it strides over, Ragnaclock's final in-battle stats will be approximately ~31000+ with 2 critical, lifting inspiration from both Dragonic Nouvelle Vague in limiting the opponent's guard options to units with 5000 shield, and from the mixed critical and guard control legions of the previous format.

Similar to a persona blast in design, Ragnaclock's generation skill is fundamentally limited to activate only twice per game, but G-BT01's introduction of the Gear Chronicle stand trigger Waku Waku Worker will change this.
Waku Waku's generation break 1 lets it turn a unit in the generation zone face-down after it boosts in exchange for sending it back to the deck at the end of that battle. GB1 skills will activate even if the G-unit on the vanguard circle is the only face-up generation unit, which allows Waku Waku to begin doing its job immediately, ensuring that Ragnaclock's persona generation is limited only by the number of times Waku Waku can be brought out. Since the onset of legion format in BT16, skilled stand triggers have been a favorable alternative to draws, and Gear Chronicle's Luck Bird clone Steam Scalar Gigi will make this more viable.

As a whole Gear Chronicle is more clearly coming into its identity as a Dark Zone clan in the set, with multiple soulblast options in the vein of Spike Brothers. While G-BT01's set contents are not fully known, there is by comparison a dearth of soulcharging options, currently limited to riding over the clan's legion pair Ruin Disposal Dragon and his mate Steam Knight Puzzle Iri. Following up on Gear Chronicle's other primary mechanic, Ruin Disposal is able to send an opponent's grade 2 or lesser rearguard to the bottom of their deck when it legions. Meanwhile Iri operates under similar conditions as Ragnaclock. In the rearguard Iri can soulblast 2 when it attacks to prevent the opponent from guarding it with grade 0 cards, acting as a Silent Tom with higher base power.

While Iri is likely here to stay as a primary grade 2 option for the clan, Gear Chronicle fighters will find themselves hard pressed to fit Ruin Disposal in. The clan's existing grade 3 from G-TD01, Chrono Jet Dragon, automatically blocks both perfect defense cards and quintet walls when it attacks a vanguard while at generation break 2, and with Ragnaclock's self-flipping cost accelerating Chrono Jet is going to be very easy. Furthermore, G-BT01 is introducing a complementary grade 3, Fate Wheel Dragon. Fate Wheel's on-ride counterblast 1 soulblast 1 dismisses any of the opponent's rearguards forward in time to the bottom of their deck, while his generation break CB1 blocks grade 0 cards in the same style as Ragnaclock. Paired with Chrono Jet's combination of on-stride rearguard removal and guard control, Gear Chronicle's grade 3 and 4 lineup has multiple ways to aggressively control the two most important defensive resources in the game while utilizing their soul as a primary resource where other clans would have to pay higher counterblast costs instead.

G-BT01 is also capitalizing on Chronicle's field control options, with the grade 1 Gear Wolf's generation break 1 giving it +3000 power every time a unit is sent to the bottom of the deck by a Gear Chronicle's skill. This allows for Nebula Lord-style rearguard columns, attached to cards like Iri that block grade 0s, forcing the opponent to stare down a potential ~22000 power rearguard lane that requires either a perfect defense card to block while the vanguard is demanding the same.

Key to Chronicle's striding strategy is the grade 1 Steam Breath Dragon, who when discarded to pay the cost for stride increases his own grade by +2. This effectively turns Steam Breath into additional grade 3s, allowing him to be easily cycled out for Ragnaclock or Mystery Flare, the clan's trial deck stride.

Finally, Gear Chronicle's grade 2 lineup is rounded out by its own twist on the Berserk Dragon formula, Relic Master Dragon. For counterblast 2, Relic Master dismisses an opponent's grade 2 or lesser rearguard to the bottom of their deck, which by following up from Fate Wheel or Chrono Jet can pump Gear Wolf into a 13000-power booster. While costly relative to the other Chronicle cards and making for a tight damage zone in a clan with no unflipping options, Relic Master belongs to the same family of grade 2 control units as Gwynn the Ripper, that have defined and sometimes broken other clans in the line of professional competition.





This issue also confirmed additional support for Oracle Think Tank's emergent Susanoo and Battle Sister subclans. For Susanoo, the Steam Breath Dragon clone Battle Deity Ame no Murakumo's on-call skill searches for grade 3 Susanoo units. The grade 3 clause prevents it from searching Susanoo's grade 2 incarnation, preventing it from aiding Ohirume legion decks.

Meanwhile Battle Sister Mille-Feuille's on-ride skill is a modern implementation of Monaka, Parfait and Cookie's basic +1s, drawing a card for counterblast 1 soulblast 1. Her generation break 1 is to counterblast 2 and add one card to hand from the top 2 cards of the deck, then send the remaining card to the bottom, a generation break variant on Heaven Conquering Battle Deity Susanoo's on-stride skill.

Oracle Think Tank will also be getting its first stride unit, Auspicious Beast That Soars Through Heaven, Kirin. Kirin's on-hit skill has the same effect as Mille-Feuille and Susanoo, but is costless in exchange for being an on-hit. With the strong power boost of a stride unit that can be activated early game and triple drive backing it, the on-hit is much easier to get through compared to limit break or innate grade 3 skills.

Accompanying the Nova Grapplers' upcoming Mecha Battlers in Stride Generation is mixed support for the Raizer and Beast Deity subclans. While the Beast Deities have already been announced to receive a limit break enabler in Frog Master, the Raizers are now benefiting from a new advantage-focused grade 1. Katana Raizer's continuous rearguard skill gives an on-hit CB2 draw skill to both itself and all Raizers in the same column as itself, giving the mostly counterblast-free subclan better draw consistency and pressure attacks.


Nova's clanwide boss card Muscle Shriek has an on-ride with the same cost as Mille-Feuille above, to retire an opponent's rearguard with same level of power as one of Shriek's grade 1 or lesser units. This makes Shriek the first Nova Grappler with true field control, able to take out the opponent's boosting units; its generation break 1 stands two rearguards for counterblast 1 and gives them +2000 power each, ensuring one to two more attacks that always strike for more than the preceding blows.

Royal Paladin's stride unit, Sacred Dragon Saint Blow Dragon, is a revitalization of the old King of Knights strategy. By turning a copy of itself in the generation zone face-up during the main phase, Saint Blow receives 3000 power for every rearguard in play, and if there are two or greater rearguards along with two or more face-up cards in the generation zone, Saint Blow gains an additional critical. Saint Blow is intended to be complemented by the trial deck card Knight of Blue Heavens Altomile, who follows the traditional Soul Saver/Sanctuary of Light formula.

On-stride Altomile's counterblast 1 allows two cards to be called from hand, and then for two units to gain +5000 power. While not required for the rest of the skill to complete, the hand calling is done to cope with the specific timing of the stride step, which takes place after the ride step but before the main phase.
In the current format it's feasible not to have two rearguards to give power to after striding, so by accounting for this factor Altomile overcomes Soul Saver Dragon's old weakness. Furthermore, Altomile's generation break 2 strengthens the rearguard lines by +5000 power, providing an endgame after copies of Saint Blow are exhausted. Combining the two creates a high-power center lane in the style of classic Alfred, alongside strong rearguards. Typical numbers post-stride would look like ~21000 power for both rearguards, and 41~48000 2 critical for the vanguard.

The issue was closed with the debut of a new original unit, the winner of 2014's contest submission. Like Avectro Zeus before it, "Regalia of Yin and Yang Nega Keiopojishisu" (陰陽の神器 ネガ・ケイオポジシス) is designed by one of Monthly Bushiroad's child readers as part of a submission contest, and will be made into a promo card for an upcoming issue.

Friday, October 24, 2014

News: Dengeki Online Publishes Early Cardfight!! Vanguard G Screencaps

This evening Dengeki Online uploaded 21 screencaps from the first episode of Cardfight!! Vanguard G, "Shindou Chrono," which will air on TV Tokyo twenty-two hours from now. As the first proper sequel series in the franchise, G will follow three new protagonists introduced at Bushiroad's preceding press conference. According to Dengeki, the first episode is numbered 01 rather than 197, fitting its role as the introduction of the new series.

#01 "Shindou Chrono"
One day on his way to school, Shindou Chrono found a mysterious deck planted by someone in his shoe locker, alongside a map leading somewhere. After school, Chrono went to the place written on the map. That place was a card shop called "Card Capital, Location 2."

Set three years after Cardfight!! Vanguard, Chrono is a beginner in the game who receives a "Gear Chronicle" deck. Because of this clan that no one seems to know, Chrono's fate becomes entangled with that of Kijou Shion and Anjou Tokoha. The Card Capital 2 that Shindou visits bears some resemblance to Card Kingdom, the Japanese chain of card shops that Card Capital was originally based on.

Among the initial images are a cardfight between the now-10th grader Katsuragi Kamui and Tokoha's older brother, Anjou Mamoru. The fight takes visual cues from both the first season of Cardfight!! Vanguard and its sister anime Future Card Buddyfight, with cards levitating in front of the cardfighters while they imagine themselves on the planet Cray.


The artwork for the new series is notably of higher quality than its immediate predecessor Legion Mate, which was strongly criticized for its static animation and the perceived lack of effort put into cardfights. These initial screencaps of G compare favorably to the better-received first season and Link Joker arc.

Like past seasons, Cardfight!! Vanguard G will be simulcast with English subtitles through Crunchyroll, although for the time being it is listed under the fold of Legion Mate as its 197th episode. Viewers are asked to support this official release of the anime by registering a Premium account with Crunchyroll, which will also allow immediate access to the new episodes an hour after they debut, in high definition.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

News: Second Brave Cup Decklists Published, “Abyss”-Mordred Dominates Top 8

Nine hours ago the decklists from Chiba city's second Brave Cup were published, giving names to the decks that topped in the Cup over the 18th. Cup champion Azel is one of the first prominent Liberator cardfighters to emerge in the Neon Messiah-on format, and his victory is also the effective debut of the Bluish Flame Liberators in professional play. Alongside this, the Revenger subclan has come to renewed importance, with five members out of the tournament's top 8 playing Phantom Blaster “Abyss” paired with Mordred Phantom.

Up to this point “Abyss” was primarily paired with Raging Form Dragon as its alternative grade 3, as at the second Hokusetsu CS, third Kansai team tournament, and fifth Tachikawa VGCS. However, the Shadow Paladin use of “Abyss” with Raging Form paled in comparison to its Royal Paladin counterpart Thing Saver, who prior to recent rule reforms was also able to take advantage of “Abyss” as its supporting grade 3. Within the power vacuum created by Thing Saver-“Abyss'” collapse, these Mordred-based have emerged due to a combination of needing to succeed where Raging Form fell short, and as a result of greater discernment on the part of professional Shadow Paladin cardfighters.

This model for “Abyss”-Mordred had already coexisted alongside Raging Form from the beginning of their rivalry at the Hokusetsu championship. The argument for pairing “Abyss” with a break ride versus Form is that he will attack for greater power on his initial attack and every swing thereafter, and that the counterblast costs in “Abyss'” Legion deck are sizable enough that supporting him with Mordred's limit break does not significantly change the damage “Abyss'” restand is being played at. Even after counterblast is exhausted in this build, “Abyss” has a base attack of 22000 to fall back on. And with two Phantom grade 3 options, the subclan's primary first vanguard Judgebau is always available by grade 3. Even accounting for Revenger-specific retire, Judgebau into double Sword Breakers' draw skill is always worth investing because of how overwhelming it is in terms of advantage gain.

Furthermore, running two copies of Dragruler Phantom in addition to Mordred has been common practice for Shadow Paladin cardfighters. The methodology is that each individual point of damage carries greater weight in Legion format than it did in the limit break format, which makes crossbreakriding Dragruler a vital play that can push the opponent to 4 damage and then face down “Abyss” on the next turn as an alternative to jumping straight to “Abyss.” Dragruler also has combo potential with Rakia, a popular grade 1 choice for Japanese Revenger decks; by calling two grade 0s and then retiring them for Dragruler's limit break, Rakia becomes a 13000-power booster to make most rearguard lanes attack for 21000+ power.

Perhaps the most unusual adaptation of the Cup was the emphasis on running both incarnations of Blaster Dark Revenger. The grade 2's “Abyss” incarnation has generally made the circa BT12 pair of Dark Revenger and his custom unflipper Dorint obsolete, consolidating both of their skills into a single counterblast, but every top 4 Shadow Paladin cardfighter at the Brave Cup ran at least two copies of the old Dark Revenger and Dorint. The adaptation is made possible by Mordred's deck searching, and serves both as an alternative to rearguard plays of Revenger “Abyss” and as an unflipping engine to offset the counterblast 1 for Mordred's break ride skill.

Illust. Hagiya Kaoru.
Meanwhile tournament champion Azel's deck is a Bluish Flames build focusing on Prominence Glare from MBT01: Neon Messiah, with the trial deck boss card Percival as his secondary grade 3. Azel's deck is one of the most visible tops to run stand triggers, reflecting one of the latent developments of the Legion format. Some cardfighters are now prioritizing stands over draws due to a combination of the increased importance of the rearguard lanes, less emphasis on hand size where many prominent decks can maintain it innately, and the strong skills being given to stand triggers to compensate for their perceived shortcomings in comparison to the other three trigger types.

In the Liberators' case, Catchgal's skill allows for his cardfighter to superior call a Liberator from the top three cards of the deck when he's called from the deck. This creates a +1 in card advantage where successful, while also synergizing with Prominence Glare's retire skill--for counterblast 1 Glare can retire a Liberator to superior call one from the deck's top four, trading out Catchgal for a more useful rearguard like Josephus or Bruno while also building up towards Legion and eventually cycling that trigger back in.

Illust. Hagiya Kaoru.
As a whole Azel's deck focuses on passively building up card advantage through on-call skills, using the top 3 and 4 skills of Percival and Prominence Glare to add cards to the hand off of superior calling Josephus and Destiny Aglovale, and calling further from Lawful Trumpeter and Oaths Aglovale's top 3 skills. This makes it possible to play a field almost entirely from the deck, conserving the hand to put down replacements after dealing with retire skills from Perdition, Revenger and Brawler decks.

Prominence Glare serves as the new Liberators' major push. By discarding one of the deck's eight Bluish Flame cards after calling a rearguard from the deck, Glare gains an additional critical and prevents the opponent from calling grade 1 and greater cards to the guardian circle from their hand when it attacks; this simultaneously blocks perfect defense cards, Quintet Walls, and special defense units like Glendios' Rubidium or the Liberator's own Guinevere. With a center lane in the range of 27000 power, Glare demands 25000 shield for two-to-pass from most vanguards, generally taking out between three and five cards per turn to wear the opponent down while his fighter passively builds advantage off of superior calls.


The Bluish Flame Liberators from TD16: Divine Judgment of the Bluish Flames will be debuting in English alongside the “Abyss” Shadow Paladins from EB11: Requiem at Dusk on November 21st, while those Liberators from TD17 and MBT01 will reach the format on December 16th in VGE-BT16: Legion of Dragons & Blades ver.E.

The VGCS tournaments are a series of unofficial tournaments organized by fans and cardshops. Unlike Bushiroad's larger official tournaments, most VGCS events are done using a best-of-three, Swiss tournament model. Turnout is typically 70-80 persons, but some events see 100 or more participants, all of whom compete using pseudonyms and internet handles rather than their real names as in official events. The VGCS model of fan-organized play has begun to gain popularity internationally, with the bi-monthly BeNeLux tournaments serving as their European equivalent, and there are now similar grassroots organizations emerging in the United States like the ARG Circuit series tournaments and the ongoing King of Cardfight competition in the American midwest.

Second Chiba Brave Cup
First place:
Azel/アゼル
Grade 0
x1 Fire Passion Liberator, Guido (FV)
x4 Liberator of the Holy Tree, Elkia HT
x4 Liberator of Good Luck, Epona CT
x4 Steel Edge Liberator, Alvira CT
x4 Catchgal Liberator ST
Grade 1
x4 Shine Formation Liberator, Eldol
x4 Fast Chase Liberator, Josephus
x4 May Rain Liberator, Bruno
x2 Little Liberator, Marron
Grade 2
x4 Liberator of Destiny, Aglovale
x4 Liberator of Oaths, Aglovale
x3 Liberator, Lawful Trumpeter
Grade 3
x4 Bluish Flames Liberator, Prominence Glare
x4 Bluish Flames Liberator, Percival

Second place: Getsu-ei/月影
Grade 0
x1 Judgebau Revenger (FV)
x4 Healing Revenger HT
x2 Freezing Revenger DT
x4 Grim Revenger CT
x4 Revenger, Air Raid Dragon CT
x2 Grim Reaper CT
Grade 1
x4 Dark Revenger, Mac Lir
x2 Overcoming Revenger, Rakia
x1 Transient Revenger, Masquerade
x4 Barrier Troop Revenger, Dorint
x2 Black-winged Sword Breaker
Grade 2
x4 Blaster Dark Revenger “Abyss”
x2 Battle Spirit Revenger, Mackart
x4 Blaster Dark Revenger
x2 Nullity Revenger, Masquerade
Grade 3
x4 Revenger, Phantom Blaster “Abyss”
x2 Illusionary Revenger, Mordred Phantom
x2 Revenger, Dragruler Phantom

Third place: Healer/ヒーラー
Grade 0
x1 Judgebau Revenger (FV)
x4 Healing Revenger HT
x3 Freezing Revenger DT
x1 Lizard Witch, Aife DT
x4 Grim Revenger CT
x4 Revenger, Air Raid Dragon CT
Grade 1
x4 Dark Revenger, Mac Lir
x1  Self-control Revenger, Rakia
x2 Transient Revenger, Masquerade
x1 Sharp Point Revenger, Shadow Lancer
x4 Barrier Troop Revenger, Dorint
x1 Black-winged Sword Breaker
Grade 2
x4 Blaster Dark Revenger “Abyss”
x2 Overcoming Revenger, Rukea
x4 Blaster Dark Revenger
x2 Wily Revenger, Mana
Grade 3
x4 Revenger, Phantom Blaster “Abyss”
x2 Illusionary Revenger, Mordred Phantom
x2 Revenger, Dragruler Phantom

Fourth place: Lallshare
Grade 0
x1 Judgebau Revenger
x1 Frontline Revenger, Claudas
x4 Healing Revenger HT
x4 Freezing Revenger DT
x4 Grim Revenger CT
x4 Revenger, Air Raid Dragon CT
Grade 1
x4 Dark Revenger, Mac Lir
x2 Overcoming Revenger, Rakia
x3 Transient Revenger, Masquerade
x2 Revenger, Dark Bond Trumpeter
x2 Barrier Troop Revenger, Dorint
Grade 2
x4 Blaster Dark Revenger “Abyss”
x3 Overcoming Revenger, Rukea
x2 Blaster Dark Revenger
x2 Battle Spirit Revenger, Mackart
Grade 3
x4 Revenger, Phantom Blaster “Abyss”
x3 Illusionary Revenger, Mordred Phantom
x1 Revenger, Dragruler Phantom

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Announcement: Jetpack Comics to Host Cardfight Invitational in November

Over November 15th, Jetpack Comics in New Hampshire will be hosting a large tournament celebrating Cardfight!! Vanguard's two year anniversary at the card shop. Taking place from 12:00 to 3:00 PM, the singles division tournament will guarantee $100 in store credit and a free playmat to the tournament's first place winner, with additional store credit to the top 8 being based on attendance. At minimum second and third place will each receive a playmat and five packs, while fourth place will receive a playmat and three packs, and fifth through eighth will win a playmat alone.

Entry fee to the tournament will be $10, and participants can RSVP through the event's Facebook page. Additionally, side events will begin at 1:00 PM and continue until 10:30 PM, with the prerelease event for extra booster sets VGE-EB10: Requiem at Dusk and VGE-EB11: Waltz of the Goddess taking place from 1:00 to 4:00 PM. From 3:00 to 10:30 PM there will be a workshop introducing the Cardfight!! Vanguard trading card game to new players, and giving out free starter decks to every new cardfighter that completes three free fights. The workshop will be teaching general game strategy, deckbuilding and the ins and outs of the metagame.

Furthermore, a triples team tournament will take place from 3:30 to 6:30 PM, requiring a $10 entry fee per team and guaranteeing $40 in store credit to first place, along with a playmat for each teammate. As with the singles tournament, prizes distributed will increase based on attendance.

Jetpack Comics is located in Rochester, New Hampshire, at 37 North Main St., ZIP code 03867.