Friday, December 19, 2014

News: Bushiroad Publishes Revival Legion Decklists

To accompany a recent push for its grade 3 revival campaign, Bushiroad of Japan has published five deck recipes composed by its development staff. Each recipe corresponds to one of the five revival legions originally distributed in issues of Monthly Bushiroad magazine, which legion to one of each clan's iconic boss cards from 2012 and earlier. Decklists are translated below, with deck analysis provided by Cardfight Pro. The revival legions and their mates addressed here are going to be reprinted at Japan's Comiket 87, distributed between December 28th and 30th. Each card will be reprinted with its legion mark and a triple rare foiling, but older cards which do not have the legion mark will still be usable.

Those seeking advice from these decklists should take note that many of the development team's card choices would be considered suboptimal by professional cardfighters. Where more preferred options are available, these are noted in the analyses.
"Publishing the development team's deck recipes!
By referring to these deck recipes, see various ways to put [your] deck together!
Published here are the deck recipes recommended in accordance with the development team's planned themes and concepts!
*Cards with the same name and effect are posted as one."
Goddess of the Treasured Mirror, Ohirume
The development team's Ohirume deck relies on using the grade 1s Circle Magus and Battle Sister Cocoa as supporting pivots; when ridden or called Circle lets you look at the top card of the deck and leave it there, while Cocoa lets you choose whether that card will go on the top or bottom of the deck. Because this version of the deck uses Stellar Magus, even if the top card isn't a trigger unit you'll still win out with Circle regardless of what the top card is, because you can then use Stellar's on-attack counterblast 1 to declare the top card of the deck and add it to your hand. Cocoa is less preferable because of her 6000 power base, hence why she's run at fewer copies than Circle, but can still be viable because of the grade 1 and 2 units Sayorihime and Susanoo. Both of these units get +3000 power when attacking if you have an Amaterasu vanguard, and because Ohirume also has CEO Amaterasu's name while in legion, their skills will still activate. So with Cocoa these cards will make between 16000 and 18000 power lanes, effective for dealing with either standard 11000 power bases or with base 13000 crossrides.

The most unorthodox choice in the lineup is Obligate Robin, a base 8000 power grade 2 whose on-call counterblast 2 allows you to put a card from your deck's top 2 cards into your hand, and put the remaining card on the bottom of the deck. Because Ohirume and Ame no Sagiri both provide the deck with unflipping options there is more room for counterblast-heavy skills, but a draw skill from a base 8000 unit is problematic because without Oracle Guardian Gemini there's no way for Robin to form a 16000 power lane. This means that the card advantage Robin gives is offset by the opponent only needing 5000 shield to block him.

A more recommendable grade 2 choice would be Kuroikazuchi, a generation break 1 unit from G-BT01: Generation Stride. Kuroikazuchi's skill allows you to counterblast 1 and draw a card when his attack hits a vanguard while he's boosted, which like with Robin gives a +1 in card advantage but exists on a 9000 power base. Another option would be Oracle Agent Royce, whose on-hit counterblast 1 can search the top 5 cards of the deck for a grade 3 and add it to hand, which helps avoid being trapped on CEO Amaterasu in the fights where you don't have a copy of Ohirume immediately.

Grade 0
x1 Battle Sister, Eclaire (FV)
x4 Diviner, Sukunahikona HT
x4 Psychic Bird CT
x4 Oracle Guardian, Nike CT
x4 Assault Dive Eagle CT
Grade 1
x4 Mediator, Ame no Sagiri
x3 Battle Maiden, Sayorihime
x4 Circle Magus
x3 Battle Sister, Cocoa
Grade 2
x3 Obligate Robin
x4 Battle Deity, Susanoo
x4 Stellar Magus
Grade 3
x4 Goddess of the Treasured Mirror, Ohirume
x4 CEO Amaterasu

Rising Star, Trois
The Trois deck is more straightforward. By riding each piece of the Riviere line in succession, you can draw a card; Mermaid Idol over Cadet Riviere and Super Idol over Mermaid Idol. Because the original line for Riviere was designed with the idea of riding Top Idol over Super Idol, riding the "wrong" grade 3 in this case is not as bad, since you can draw another card off of it that will hopefully help you dig deep enough in the deck to get a Trois for next turn. It's still better to open on Trois over Super Idol, because Trois' skill will allow you to search your deck for a copy of Top Idol Riviere which will make her persona blast active. In today's more defensive format, being able to grant a Soul Saver Dragon-like effect early on is invaluable, as it forces the opponent to higher damage versus Trois' 21000+ legion line, or otherwise expend unnecessary cards to guard that will leave them exposed later. Ultimately the goal of the deck is to use Trois' counterblast 3 discard 3 to restand the vanguard after attacking and go for an aggressive push while the opponent is at high damage, ideally winning that turn so that the net -1 in card advantage does not factor in.

Trois' weakness is her heavy counterblast cost, as Riviere has a counterblast 2 attached while Trois has a counterblast 3, enough that together they consume the entire damage zone. The grade 1 Duo Clear Parasol Kura is intended to deal with this, since her soulblast effectively trades 2 soul to unflip 2 damage. Since the deck has no 11000-power grade 2 attackers, Trois' only place is behind the vanguard, which has the tradeoff of limiting you offensively and giving the opponent more opportunities to guard for no-pass early in the fight. Two or more turns of restanding can make up for these initial concessions.

However, there are serious flaws with the staff's lineup. This version of Trois is primarily made up of vanilla 8000 and 10000-power units, to the point that the only grade 2 with a skill in the deck is Riviere herself. Just running three or more copies of Pearl Sisters Perla would open up new rearguard options, since you could use her on-hit skill to return cards like Apprentice Idol Karen or Dream Team Dios to your hand, activating their on-return skills. Dios in particular would be desirable for the deck because she can soulcharge 1 and unflip a damage, which helps keep counterblast open for Trois' counterblast 3. This in turn would make the endgame less dependent on Kura. Mermaid Idol Flute would also be a good choice for the deck, as it lacks 11000-power attackers and Riviere does not have subclan support.

Grade 0
x1 Bermuda Triangle Cadet, Riviere (FV)
x4 PR♥ISM-Miracle, Timor HT
x4 Comical Rainie CT
x4 Gunslinger Star, Florida CT
x4 PR♥ISM-Miracle, Canary CT
Grade 1
x4 Mermaid Idol, Ellie
x4 Mermaid Idol, Riviere
x4 Mermaid Idol, Sedna
x2 Duo Clear Parasol, Kura
Grade 2
x4 Super Idol, Riviere
x4 Top Idol, Aqua
x3 PR♥ISM-Smile, Ligurian
Grade 3
x4 Rising Star, Trois
x4 Top Idol, Riviere

King of Knights' Vanguard, Ezzell
In contrast to Trois, Ezzell has more options than can be neatly fitted into one deck. As with Ohirume above, the grade 3 searcher Libergal is the preferred first vanguard for this deck, because it avoids being stuck on the wrong grade 3. The trigger lineup is also conductive Ezzell's skill; since he comes with a soulblast 2 cost attached but also calls one unit of every grade, Margal is the ideal grade 0 target. By sending her into the soul you can both power up a rearguard column to hit key numbers and prepare to use Ezzell a second time later on. For similar reasons, Silent Sage Sharon could effectively replace Margal if you intended to pursue stand triggers for better mixed aggression rather than defensively-minded draws.

Since Ezzell's skill has no counterblast cost, Royal Paladin fighters are free to use their damage zone to support the many rearguard options available. Agreement Seeker Menprius' on-hit counterblast 1 searches out the top 5 for a grade 3 like Royce above, and synergizes with Ezzell's need to discard a copy of either himself or Alfred to activate his skill. Blaster Blade and Blaster Blade Spirit allow free control over the front row, with Spirit's triggering when he's called out of the deck by Ezzell's persona blast. Isbuzzard and Cherin both activate when they're called while the vanguard is in legion, with Isbuzzard gaining +4000 power and Cherin doing the same but also giving power to another unit. So by calling an Isbuzzard and then a Cherin, you can turn what would have been a 16000 power lane into a 28000 power lane for a single counterblast. These skills also work when superior called from the deck, so using them with Ezzell can help to create huge aggressive rearguard lines for a very low cost. When coupled with the Royal Paladin grade 4 Shrouded Divine Knight Gablade, you can use Gablade's on-hit to superior call Cherin, dramatically increasing the power of your remaining attacks.

Knight of Steel Wing is an extremely strange choice of grade 1 for this deck. Steel Wing gains +5000 power when he is attacked, becoming an 11000 power base for that battle, which is primarily only useful during the one turn that Wing is on the vanguard circle. Because there are no Alfred-specific subclan attackers, Steel Wing cannot form an 18000 power lane without Margal's support. By contrast, the deck could benefit more from Toypugal, Royal Paladin's clanwide 9000-power booster. Since Ezzell legions to a grade 3 unit, merely being in legion satisfies Toypugal's condition of having two or more grade 3s in play. Not only does this guarantee anti-crossride numbers with the deck's plethora of 9000 power grade 2s, but by running Toypugal with the generation break grade 2 Knight of Vicissitude Brede, you can form 21000 power lanes for non-crossride matchups. Brede's generation break 1 gives him +3000 power when he attacks, turning him into a 12000-power attacker, which when lined up with Toypual will extract 15000 shield from the opponent. Although not as dramatic as Isbuzzard and Cherin above, Toypugal with Brede have the advantage of stability and constant presence throughout the fight.

Grade 0
x1 Libergal (FV)
x4 Healing Pegasus HT
x4 Margal DT
x4 Burning Mane Lion CT
x4 Knight of Flash CT
Grade 1
x4 Holy Knight Guardian
x4 Little Sage, Marron
x3 Flail Seeker, Isbuzzard
x3 Knight of Steel Wing
Grade 2
x3 Blaster Blade Spirit
x3 Agreement Seeker, Menprius
x3 Brave Stride Seeker, Cherin
x2 Blaster Blade
Grade 3
x4 King of Knights' Vanguard, Ezzell
x4 King of Knights, Alfred

True Ultimate Dimensional Robo, Great Daikaiser
The development team's version of the True Great Daikaiser deck draws on the Dimensional Robo subclan's unique ability to retire cards in the guardian circle. By running 12 grade 3s instead of the normal 8, this deck maximizes its opportunities to check additional grade 3s at the risk of being gradelocked. The staff's choice of first vanguard is vexing. Daimagnum can put himself into the soul to give the vanguard +4000 power, but without cards like the original Daiyusha or Goeagle who rely on their power being increased prior to the attack step, there is little use for Magnum over Goyusha. Goyusha's superior ride sequence allows his cardfighter to put any four Dimensional Robo units into the soul to ride any Dimensional Robo grade 3 from the deck, allowing for risky but powerful plays like superior break riding True Great Daikaiser over Daikaiser on the same turn that the original Daikaiser was ridden.

The lack of a limit break enabler to make break ride and Great Daiyusha's skills accessible can be crippling in a format that relies almost exclusively on legion and generation break skills, but there is one concession available for True Great Daikaiser cardfighters to get around this restriction. As with Ohirume above, when True Great Daikaiser is in legion to Great Daiyusha, he has Daiyusha's name attached to him. This makes an in-legion Daikaiser eligible for Dimensional Robo Gocannon's skill; by putting the Gocannon and another Dimensional Robo into the soul, Daiyusha can be given an additional critical. While this won't initially increase the legion's damage output, it does in turn appease the conditions for both of Great Daikaiser's skills. As long as there are three or more Dimensional Robos in the soul, Great Daikaiser will get critical +1, and if Great Daiyusha's critical is 2 or greater, then when Great Daikaiser drive checks a grade 3, he can counterblast 1 and retire an opponent's guardian in addition to negating any effects of "cannot be hit" derived from a perfect defense card. While not as strong as it once was in a format that makes use of quintet walls, this still gives Great Daikaiser lethal gameplay that can activate early on and inflict damage to the opponent much faster than they're prepared for. Once of the consequences of this is that break ride Daikaiser can easily become a vanilla Dimensional Robo unit, as no wary opponent will allow his skill to go off. Triggering the break ride and True Great Daikaiser's skills in one turn can be a game-winning condition, as the resulting center lane would have the ability to retire two perfect defense cards and negate their effects, while attacking boosted for 41000 power and 3 critical.

There is one benefit to using standard Daikaiser in the deck, a Kaiser Grader tech. Grader is a 7000 power rearguard that allows you to superior ride Great Daikaiser if you have the grade 2 Kaizard on the vanguard circle, by discarding a grade 3 Dimensional Robo and putting Grader into the soul. This both sets up the soul-based conditions of the Ultimate Dimensional Robos and sets off Kaizard's skill to give Daikaiser +4000 power. Kaiser Grader's costs versus his output (-1 card from hand -1 rearguard +1 superior ride +1 additional drive check) work out to a net change of 0, which means that there's no reason to not use the skill when you are able to, and the additional power Daikaiser gains along with his twin drive versus Kaizard's helps push the opponent's damage zone to the point where True Ultimate Dimensional Robo's legion skills will matter.

Grade 0
x1 Dimensional Robo, Daimagnum (FV)
x4 Dimensional Robo, Gorescue HT
x4 Dimensional Robo, Daicrane DT
x4 Dimensional Robo, Daibattles CT
x4 Justice Cobalt CT
Grade 1
x4 Dimensional Robo, Daishield
x4 Dimensional Robo, Gocannon
x4 Dimensional Robo, Daitiger
x1 Dimensional Robo, Kaiser Grader
Grade 2
x4 Dimensional Robo, Daidragon
x4 Dimensional Robo, Kaizard
Grade 3
x4 True Ultimate Dimensional Robo, Great Daikaiser
x4 Ultimate Dimensional Robo, Great Daiyusha
x4 Super Dimensional Robo, Daikaiser

Amon's Mastermind, Astaroth
Finally, Amon's Mastermind Astaroth is one of the revival legion decks that have given cardfighters the most trouble in building correctly. The deck plays with a series of passive conditions based around soul manipulation, the most famous of which is Amon's constant +1000 power for each card in the soul. Since this a vanguard circle skill, Astaroth will benefit from this power boost while in legion to Amon, and in addition to that Astaroth gets +1 critical for every ten cards in the soul, creating a potential constant 31000 power 3 critical line. In contrast to Great Daikaiser above, the methodology behind this is that the opponent cannot guard the vanguard forever, whereas Daikaiser often only has to activate once and gamble on checking a grade 3 to win. The appeal to this is that it is safer, costs less card advantage, requires less setup and is active faster than Daikaiser, since there are no limit break restrictions on the mate, and the soul can be ready as early as turn 3. Furthermore, thanks to Doreen the Thruster and Psychic of Dust Izaya, Astaroth has access to strong rearguard lanes that can reach upwards of 28000 power every turn.

Astaroth's soulcharge 2 activates whenever an opponent's rearguard is retired, which lends itself both to using Amon's counterblast to put a rearguard into the soul and retire an opponent's, and to Gwynn the Ripper. As the resident Berserk Dragon clone, Gwynn has been the game-making feature for Dark Irregulars since his release years back in BT03: Demonic Lord Invasion. Unlike Amon's -1 for -1, the additional counterblast for Gwynn affords a real change in card advantage, rather than preserving the existing state of the game in miniature.

It's easy to be critical of the team using Fate Collector as this deck's first vanguard. Not only would Devil in Shadow deal with getting Astaroth into play better, but between Fate Collector and Greedy Hand, Greedy is much more desirable. For counterblast 1, Greedy can go into the soul and search the deck for a grade 1 to soulcharge, ideally Dimension Creeper. Dimension Creeper's skill can then soulblast it to soulcharge 2, giving you a total of three added soul and four instances of soulcharging to give Doreen and Izaya +12000 power each. Yellow Bolt is also a frequently challenged grade 1 choice, because soulcharging is already very easy for Dark Irregulars and he's competing with Bloody Calf, who can trigger Astaroth's soulcharge 2. Calf's counterblast 2 retires an opponent's grade 1 or lesser rearguard on-call, both taking from the opponent's field and giving more soul than Bolt would.

Grade 0
x1 Amon's Follower, Fate Collector (FV)
x4 Amon's Follower, Hell's Trick HT
x4 Hysteric Shirley DT
x4 Dark Knight of Nightmareland CT
x4 Amon's Follower, Cruel Hand CT
Grade 1
x4 Amon's Follower, Vlad Specula
x4 Dimension Creeper
x4 Doreen the Thruster
x2 Yellow Bolt
Grade 2
x4 Flirtatious Succubus
x3 Gwynn the Ripper
x4 Psychic of Dust, Iazaya
Grade 3
x4 Amon's Mastermind, Astaroth
x4 Demon World Marquis, Amon

Monday, December 15, 2014

Today's Card Analysis: Magical Gambler

Today's Japanese card of the day is a promo card for Cardfight Pack Vol. 16, Magical Gambler. Gambler's generation break 1 activates when he stands due to a card effect; for counterblast 1 he can send the top card of the deck to the drop zone and then gain power equal to that card's original power, allowing him to attack a second time with what will normally be at least a +4000 power boost and potentially up to a +11000 boost. While this can be helpful, what sets Magical Gambler apart is when his skill is stacked alongside those of the cards introduced in G-BT01: Generation Stride.

When stood using the skills of the grade 4 unit Vict Ten or the stride support card Mecha Battler Victor, Gambler will already have a +5000 power boost placed on him, and with his generation break will hit a minimum of 18000 power. This is just enough to make a crossride like Big Bang Knuckle Buster drop 10000 shield, but if Gambler's skill sends a unit with at least 9000 power to the drop zone he'll attack for 23000 power, making his second attack dramatically more powerful than his first.

Magical Gambler's skill also helps set up for legion skills, building on the tangible advantage that's been created for going second. With effective stride units like Vict Ten and Vict Plasma available there's no incentive to drop more cards than necessary to guard, or arbitrarily force oneself into legion by other means, since a large portion of Nova Grappler's midgame is now spent on grade 4s. Magical Gambler naturally builds towards legion, stacking on top of the cards discarded to pay the cost for stride. While Nova Grappler's only viable legion units at this time are Mega Flare and Drill Wing, neither of these cards require Raizer rearguards in order to function. So Gambler can serve a variety of mixed offensive and setup roles depending on the type of deck he's used in, and by playing with the minimum numbers of 13~18000 in mind can be counted on for reliable offense.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

News: Neo Nectar Stride Previewed at Kanazawa, Doctor O Reveals Flower Maiden of Ranunculus Aasha

Eleven hours ago Doctor O revealed the cover card for G-TD03: Flower Maiden of Purity over Twitter, Flower Maiden of Ranunculus Aasha. Previously revealed to audiences at the Fighter's Climax 2014 Kanazawa regional qualifier, Aasha is the new face of Neo Nectar in the ongoing anime series Cardfight!! Vanguard G and a key card for supporting character Anjou Tokoha. Her on-stride skill, activated by striding a grade 4 unit over her from the generation zone, costs a single counterblast and searches the deck for a copy of any rearguard on the field to call, then gives the called unit +2000 power for that turn.

Since this skill activates during the stride step, between the ride phase and the main phase, the rearguards that will act as targets for Aasha's skill have to be called on the turn before in order for the skill to be used. Aasha's timing is sensitive, similar to the Vortimer evolution line from two years ago. The reward for setting up her skill is significant; Aasha's generation break 2 gives every unit on the field a skill that it gets +5000 power if there is another unit in play with the same name, so that with three Aashas in play and three of the same 7000-power booster, every column will have 28000 power. With Aasha's on-stride skill and the new first vanguard Oz's generation break 1, searching out copies of boosting units is easy, but the problem comes in when trying to search for cards whose grade is greater than 2. In many situations, Neo Nectar fighters will have to concede to only having two matching grade 2 rearguards with 26~28000 power, while the center lane will vary between 18000 and 23000 power.

Being limited to having just four copies of each unit and the necessity of having multiple copies in play makes Aasha especially susceptible to the column-retiring skills of Perdition Dragon units, along with Kagerou's primary stride Route Flare Dragon. Not even having the new Resist skill will protect those columns, because Route Flare does not target the units with Resist specifically.

According to those that attended the event, the grade 4 for Flower Maiden of  Purity is similar to Gablade and Vict Ten from past sets, a G unit with an on-hit skill. Neo Nectar's unnamed stride can superior call a copy of any rearguard on the field from the deck when its attack hits a vanguard.

Doctor O also revealed a new stand trigger for the clan, Maiden of Daybreak. This card's generation break 1 allows you to return her to the deck when she's called to the rearguard, then choose a unit and give two units with the same name as it to get +5000 power each. Because of how this text is worded, Daybreak can make one of her two chosen units to receive power be the same unit as was chosen to designate the name of units targeted. (She does not specify two units different from the one initially selected.)

Daybreak's -1 in card advantage is offset by forcing the opponent to expend additional shield on each attack, and gives a trigger recycling option outside of using legion support. Stands synergize strongly with the massive power boosts from Aasha and Daybreak, especially with Neo Nectar receiving more options for building card advantage over time that help the deck become independent of reliance on draw triggers.

Aasha's existence was hinted at in a recent promotional campaign, where copies of Maiden of Cultivation Padmini autographed by Tokoha's voice actor Nitta Emi were distributed as promo cards. Padmini is a Steam Breath Dragon variant, getting +2 grade when discarded to pay for the cost of stride so that she can effectively act as a grade 3 unit, and when called to the rearguard Padmini allows her fighter to discard a grade 3 to search the deck for a grade 3 with Ranunculus in its card name.

Padmini will see her formal release in Flower Maiden of Purity, and like her predecessors Steam Breath and Cecilus in G-BT01, may also see a reprint in the accompanying booster set G-BT02: Flying Flowers.

Revealed Card Translations
Maiden of Daybreak
Auto Generation Break 1 (This ability is active if you have one or more face up G units on your vanguard circle and/or generation zone): [Put this uint on the top of your deck] When this unit is called to a rearguard circle, you may pay the cost. If you do, choose one of your units, and if chosen then choose up to two units with the same name as that unit, during this turn they get Power +5000, and shuffle your deck.

Flower Maiden of Ranunculus, Aasha
Continuous (Vanguard circle) Generation Break 2 (This ability is active if you have two or more face up G units on your vanguard circle and/or generation zone): All of your units gain "Continuous (Vanguard/Rearguard): During your turn, if you have a unit with the same name as this card in your vanguard or rearguard circles, this card gets Power +5000."
Auto (Vanguard): [Counterblast 1] During your turn, when your G unit strides, you may pay the cost. If you do, choose one of your rearguards, search your deck for a card with the same name as that unit, call it to a rearguard circle, and shuffle that deck. During this turn, the unit called by this effect gets Power +2000.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

News: ARG Atlanta Championship Top 8 Videos Released

Over December 11th Alter Reality Games released the videos of their Atlanta Circuit's top 8, including the grand finals matches between Atlanta champion Nam Vo and runner-up Matthew An. Vo won the tournament playing Cosmic Regalia CEO Yggdrasil, and his decklist was previously published through Cardfight Pro. Matthew An had previously made top 8 at ARG's Chicago Circuit, as well as won Bushiroad's Tennessee regional qualifier playing a Bermuda Triangle Duo deck. The ARG Atlanta tournament is to be followed up by another ARG Circuit series event on January 4th in Orlando, Florida.

Having access to Judgebau and Macart for superior call options later in the fight, in the opening turns of top 8 Matthew An was able to safely play his rearguards at will, taking the lead through aggressive attacks and maintaining this throughout his games. By the time Boyce rode Yggdrasil, An already had a seven card lead over his opponent, and by retiring Pray Angel early preemptively prevented her soulcharging skill. His aggression also pressured Boyce into trying to retaliate while not having the card advantage options nor handsize to do so. The first fight was cut short by a double grade 3 drive check on Boyce's part and a double critical trigger on An's end, but ultimately the remaining game played out on the same terms of superior aggression and card advantage.

(Note that early on, An made use of an errata on Judgebau that allows his skill to activate when the attack he boosts hits a rearguard. A misprint in the English run of BT15: Infinite Rebirth led many fighters to believe that the skill would only activate on a vanguard hit.)

In top 4 An played an “Abyss” mirror match versus Tony Wong. Both fighters were dealing with poor early setups, unable to call many rearguards until they reached grade 3. By retiring Wong's Judgebau with Blaster Dark Revenger “Abyss'” skill, then going after his rearguards with Mordred, An was able to make up for both of his own Sword Breakers being removed from the deck early by decreasing his opponent's card advantage and preventing Wong's Judgebau-Sword Breakers from activating in retaliation. Even so, neither fighter's position was particularly stable until An was able to set up Masquerade and Macart columns on the next turn to force more defense out of his opponent than Wong was putting out per turn.

Wong negated the -1 of “Abyss'” legion skill on the next turn by superior calling with Wily Revenger Mana on the next turn and retiring her call target for “Abyss,” but did not check any triggers on either of his twin drive checks. With An having started Wong's turn at 2 damage, this severely curtailed the impact of “Abyss'” second attack, and left An able to make a decisive next turn by break riding “Abyss” over Mordred, creating both a 21000 power Macart line whose on-legion skill negated “Abyss'” -1 in a more efficient manner than Mana, and a restanding 32000 power Phantom Blaster “Abyss.” This left An with a seven card advantage over Wong at the end of that turn, so that the remaining game played out defined by this gap until Wong was eventually pushed to six damage. An won the round 2-0 due to gaining a severe advantage from Wong being gradelocked at 0 for two turns, which left An with more time to set up his strategy and get in early damage.

Matthew An started out strong in grand finals, winning game 1 handily, punishing Vo for filling his field early by retiring his first vanguard with Dark Revenger “Abyss” and then proceeding to focus wholly on the rearguards for that turn, setting Vo so far back he would be unable to recover without any available draw skills. By the end of An's turn on Modred these combination of rearguard-centric plays and draw triggers left him at -1 to -6, a five card difference that Vo struggled to make up in game 1. An had the freedom to expend the same number of cards per turn as Vo without falling behind, because of Vo continuously trying to block his Judgebau boosted vanguard. This also allowed An to gamble on a double trigger check later on, since he had little to lose by applying the first trigger to the vanguard even if the second check did not bring out anything. By going into his double Sword Breakers this way, An effectively sealed game 1 for himself.

Nam Vo's turnaround came in game 2 and 3; in game 2 An redrew five cards and still ended up gradelocked as Dark Shield Mac Lir, causing Vo to win the game before he could ever reach grade 3. In the third game an early critical trigger from Vo on turn 1 set him ahead significantly. An would have been better off to guard all of Vo's attacks while he was on grade 2, but choosing not to left him at 3 damage before Vo had hit grade 3. Going second allowed Vo to be the first to legion, using two Freyjas and Pray Angel to soulcharge 9, setting up his soulblast 6 legion skill. With CEO Yggdrasil's final power at 33000 power 2 critical and blocking all grade 1 and higher cards from being guarded with, there was no feasible way for Matthew An to guard the attack, and a critical trigger put him from 3 to 6 damage, making Nam Vo the ARG Circuit champion.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Today's Card Analysis: Blue Storm Marine General Michael & Blue Storm Marine General Milos

Today's Japanese cards of the day are the legion pair Blue Storm Marine Generals Michael and Milos, a new Aqua Force boss from G-BT02: Flying Flowers. A successor in gameplay to Genovious of BT11, Michael is designed with the position-swapping mechanics of the Storm Rider and Marine General series in mind, appropriating their skills as the main strategy of his deckbuild rather than as a pure supporting element.

Michael's standard skill gives him +5000 power when he attacks during the fourth battle of the turn, and his legion skill allows him to persona blast a copy of either unit in the vanguard circle after having attacked a vanguard while in legion. If Michael's attack was the fourth attack or greater of that turn, you can then rearrange your entire field as you please and stand two of your Aqua Force rearguards. As with Tempest Boarder and Spyros before him, Michael's field rearrangement skill itself does not change the stand or rest positions of the rearguards, hence why he stands two afterwards. You can combine this with Marine General Starless of BT17, and their grade 2 subclan attacker Gregorios. If the vanguard is in legion then during the first battle of the turn Starless becomes a 12000-power attacker and then switches positions with the unit behind him, allowing you to move Gregorios up front for a second 12000 power attack, followed by a remaining 16000-power column. After Michael initiates the fourth battle and attacks for 25~32000 power, his persona blast will allow you to switch the 16000-power column's booster with Starless, then stand both Gregorios and his newly acquired booster for a fifth attack.

On the turn afterwards you can then mix up strategies, attacking with Starless in the other column, then the grade 2 or 3 unit that is now in the same column as him, then Gregorios, and with Michael's persona blast switch the field's position around again to set up the 16000-power column again and stand it. If the grade 2 component of that column is Marine General Ianis, whose on-hit allows you to draw a card in the third or greater battle of the turn, then you have effectively two chances to draw on the first turn of this strategy, and one on the second, followed by two more on the third. This puts an incentive on the opponent to not guard Starless and Gregorios but instead focus on blocking Ianis, who when boosted will have a higher base power. However, this requires running each card in fewer copies in order to fit in so many different grade 2s, as Michael inherently calls for four copies of his legion mate to be run in the deck.

Since Michael can choose either himself or Milos for his persona blast target, he has an expanded pool of cards valid for his skill, up to six copies. Milos' Benedict-like skill supports the fourth attack condition, as once per turn if the vanguard is in legion then a rearguard Milos can stand itself after attacking in exchange for losing 5000 power for that turn. Having a rearguard Milos out changes the Michael pattern; instead of two 16000-power rearguard attacks and two 12000-power rearguard attacks, what you get out of this setup is three 16000-power rearguard attacks whose total shield value is still equal to the previous formation.

By attacking with a boosted Milos first, then standing Milos and attacking with him a second time at just 4000 power, then attacking with a Gregorios and booster column followed by the vanguard, Michael's fourth battle persona blast will be able to activate and stand both Gregorios and his booster, with the tradeoff behind that Milos' 4000 power second swing cannot hit. What you can do with this instead is preemptively protect Milos from any future attacks by switching his position with that of his booster, and if that unit is the grade 1 subclan attacker Hermes, then he can still attack an interceptor if there are any left over.

While this strategy is not as violently aggressive as getting out four attacks per turn that can draw shield from the opponent, it is much more fullproof versus crossride defense than the alternatives. In the previously described strategy, only three of the five attacks actually have the potential to hit a 13000-power vanguard, while in this Milos-centric one since none of the attacks that can already hit are lost versus crossridden vanguards, four of the five total attacks will always be able to connect versus every possible deck type. Since Milos' skill is once per turn and not specific to the first battle of that turn, you still have the option to use Milos with Starless and Gregorios. By attacking with Starless, followed by Gregorios from behind him, then Milos and his booster, then standing Milos with -5000 power and not attacking with him, instead attacking with the vanguard, you can use Michael's persona blast to stand both Gregorios and Milos' booster to get in two additional 11~12000 power attacks, making for a total of six attacks in the turn, four of them requiring 5000 shield to block, one of them requiring 10000 shield to block, and one of them being the in-legion vanguard. This is a net 30000 shield from just the rearguards; one of the beautiful simplicities of Aqua Force is that every one of these formations demands 30000 shield with its rearguard setups, but how that shield is distributed varies between each formation. Versus a base 11000 power vanguard Milos with Starless is the preferable one because it requires five instances of defense on the rearguards compared to three, and if the opponent only has 10000-power shield units available in hand then they are forced to misuse half of it every time they guard, putting down more shield than is necessary to stop the attack and wasting their resources in the process. However, when faced with a 13000 power vanguard it's better to set up three 16000 power attacks because of the aforementioned property of coming up short on the offensive with units that can't hit the vanguard but are required to attack it anyway in order to activate their skills.

Milos' other skill is what truly distinguishes him as something other than just Michael's legion mate. He is the first unit with Resist, a keyword which prevents him from being chosen for card effects while he's on the vanguard, rearguard or guardian circles. Resist answers Aqua Force's problem with retire and lock skills shutting down their entire strategy, as it means that Milos cannot be locked or retired except by skills that do not specifically target him and instead retire or lock the entire field. Since it is by the opponent's card effect, you can still choose him to receive things like the power bump from Mallika, but if you're on the receiving end of a Narukami retire skill that forces you to choose your own rearguards to be retired, because the card skill still belongs to the opponent Milos cannot be chosen as a target. Resist does prevent Milos from being retired by Blaster Joker's Absolute Break skill while the vanguard is in legion, but if he's in the rearguard he will still be subject to Absolute Lock's effect of blanket locking all rearguards.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Press Release: Neon Messiah to Air in Singapore, Bushiroad Reveals Plans for First Half of 2015

Bushiroad's international branches have released a statement announcing the company's 2015 international release schedule for Cardfight!! Vanguard, which will bring the English-language trading card game within two months of synchronization with its Japanese counterpart. In addition to the previously-confirmed BT17 ver.E and G trial decks, the press release contains a timeframe for the release of G-BT01: Generation Stride on March 13, simultaneous releases of G-EB01 and TD04 on April 17, G-BT02 on May 22, G-TD05 and 06 on June 5, and Fighter's Collection 2015 on June 19.

Further, the press releases brings to light the first mentions of international release for the movie Cardfight!! Vanguard Neon Messiah, in early 2015 for Singapore. One of the crown jewels of the franchise, Neon Messiah has been the subject of strong international fan demand, and while no North American or European releases for the film have yet been announced, one may be possible depending on the film's success. Whether the Singapore debut will be dubbed or subtitled with its original Japanese audio has not been stated. The starring Japanese seiyuu Yonaga Tsubasa and Miyano Mamoru have become well-known names in the west not just for their roles as Sendou Aichi and Ibuki Kouji, but also for prominent roles in other series like Yonaga's Hazuki Nagisa (Free!) and Miyano's Yagami Light (Death Note.) In Japan Miyano's role as Ibuki proved to be a major selling point for entry-level fans, whereas in the west Ocean Group's cast of dub actors for the series are comparative unknowns with few major roles attached to them.

A first look at the English release of G-BT01: Generation Stride was tweeted by the manager of card shop Ogre, who had previously leaked information about an upcoming alternate game format, G Regulation format.

The following is a press release distributed by Bushiroad USA and may not reflect the views or opinions of Cardfight Pro or its editors.


Bushiroad Reveals Plans for First Half of 2015

Singapore (December 10, 2014) – Bushiroad made a major announcement on December 5 at Anime Festival Asia 2014 in Singapore on their upcoming plans for trading card games Cardfight!! Vanguard, Weiss Schwarz and Future Card Buddyfight.

New releases for the English edition of Cardfight!! Vanguard, Weiss Schwarz and Future Card Buddyfight were revealed, as well as information about upcoming TV animations and Bushiroad Spring Fest.
Cardfight!! Vanguard

2015 signals the end of Cardfight!! Vanguard and the release of the English edition of Cardfight!! Vanguard G. The latest expansion of Bushiroad’s most popular trading card game, Cardfight!! Vanguard G, features new cards, abilities and a new clan, Gear Chronicle. The new boosters introduce new abilities such as Stride, Generation Break and G-Assist into the game.

Apart from Cardfight!! Vanguard trading card game related news, Bushiroad shared that the latest season of the Cardfight!! Vanguard TV animation, Cardfight!! Vanguard G, will be airing on Singapore’s OKTO channel from January 4, 2015. It will be aired every Sunday at 10:30am.

Bushiroad also announced that the Cardfight!! Vanguard movie, ‘Neon Messiah’, will be screening in Singapore in early 2015. Movie goers will receive limited exclusive movie promotional items, such as deck cases, postcards and bags.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

News: Nam Vo Wins Atlanta Championship with CEO Yggdrasil

ARG Atlanta champion Nam Vo, holding his playmat and prize money. Original photo uploaded by Alter Reality Games.
December 7th, Georgia International Convention Center, Georgia. The second stage of ARG's Cardfight!! Vanguard Circuit series tournaments finished over the weekend with Genesis cardfighter Nam Vo in first place. 41 cardfighters participated in the event, making this the first largeCardfight!! Vanguard tournament with cash payout. Nam Vo received $200 for placing first in the tournament, while runner-up Matthew An was awarded $100. The tournament finals were streamed like to ARG's Twitch channel, and recordings of the top 8 will be uploaded to their YouTube later. Atlanta will be followed by another Circuit series tournament in Orlando Florida on January 4th, the first major tournament of the new year. Vo and An's decklists are provided below, courtesy of Robbie Kohl.

ARG Atlanta's top 8 consisted of five Shadow Paladin and three CEO Yggdrasil cardfighters, with three of the Shadow Paladin fighters playing Phantom Blaster “Abyss” and two of them playing the clan's Witch deck. North American cardfighters have generally gravitated towards decks out of EB11: Requiem at Dusk and EB12: Waltz of the Goddess since the November 21st releases, preferring these options to the less complete trial deck options that went out on the same day. The format is expected to diversify with the release of VGE-BT16: Legion of Dragons and Blades ver. E on December 16th, but for the time being a back and forth tug-of-war between Yggdrasil and “Abyss” has dominated professional competition, as seen in both Atlanta and Chicago.

Nam Vo's Yggdrasil deck was not without surprises; while the majority of Regalia cardfighters have adamantly stuck to draw and critical triggers, Vo ran two copies of the stand trigger Mirror Regalia Achlis. One of the consequences of the Regalia Angel series' semirandom soulcharging is that there is always the potential to soulcharge trigger units. This puts an incentive on the Genesis fighter to soulblast those trigger units so that they can be recycled later through legion, rather than soulblasting grade 1 and 2 cards with on-blast skills.

Because Achlis can give a Regalia vanguard +5000 power when soulblasted, he answers this scenario by ensuring that Yggdrasil fighters do not miss out on a potential skill by soulcharging a trigger unit. Stand triggers in general have proven more popular with the onset of the legion format, as the vanguard's naturally high center lane and the increased importance of each damage point has made them a more viable--and unexpected--choice when considering trigger lineups. Most opponents do not factor in stand triggers when guarding, due to their lack of play in past formats.

The ARG Circuit series is publicly endorsed by Cardfight Pro as a professional tournament system. Those who place in the tournament will be recognized by Cardfight Pro as professional cardfighters of the same caliber as those that qualify in the world championships and VGCS tournaments.

First place: Nam Vo
Grade 0
x1 Regalia of Prayers, Pray Angel (FV)
x4 Regalia of Compassion, Eir HT
x2 Mirror Regalia, Achlis ST
x3 Regalia of Foredoom, Lot Angel DT
x3 Regalia of Far-sight, Clear Angel CT
x4 Battle Maiden, Kukurihime CT
Grade 1
x2 Cold Blast Regalia, Svalinn
x2 Witch of Strawberries, Framboise
x4 Exorcism Regalia, Shiny Angel
x1 Goddess of Union, Yuno
x3 Purification Regalia, Pure Angel
x2 Ordain Owl
Grade 2
x2 Twilight Regalia, Hesperis
x2 Regalia of Fertility, Freyja
x4 Regalia of Fate, Norn
x3 Midday Regalia, Hemera
x1 Goddess of Trees, Jupiter
Grade 3
x3 Midnight Regalia, Nyx
x4 Cosmic Regalia, CEO Yggdrasil

Second place: Matthew An
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 Black-winged Sword Breaker
x4 Transient Revenger, Masquerade
Grade 2
x4 Blaster Dark Revenger “Abyss”
x4 Blaster Dark Revenger
x3 Fighting Spirit Revenger, Macart
Grade 3
x4 Revenger, Phantom Blaster “Abyss”
x4 Illusionary Revenger, Mordred Phantom