Deckbuilding Step 2: Staple Cards
As discussed previously, a balanced
deck will have 9 free spaces to place any cards its fighter likes.
Those nine free spaces however, will be in part be taken up by staple
cards. These are cards which you can't have a deck without,
because they're too good. I'm not talking about Dragonic Overlord, Soul
Saver Dragon, Majesty Lord Blaster or whatever the latest, most powerful
grade 3 is--I'm talking about truly timeless cards that will be
reprinted ten and twenty years from now. These cards are for the most
part shared between clans, and you can't get around them no matter what
your playstyle is.
The first and most immediate, is the heal trigger. You can only have up to four of these in a deck, and they will
save your life where it counts. If you're looking to enter into serious
competition, then four of your sixteen triggers will be heal triggers
no matter what. For Royal Paladin this is Yggdrasil Maiden, Elaine; for
Kagerou it's Dragon Monk, Genjo; for Nova Grappler it's Round Girl,
Clara. Find your clan's heal trigger, and add four of it to your deck.
The second is what the Japanese call 完全防禦 "kanzen bougyo" or perfect defense.
This is a grade 1 with a shield score of 0 which, when called to the
guard circle, allows you to drop a card of the same clan as it and your
vanguard to completely nullify one attack. The critical importance of
the perfect defense is that it will stop skills from activating, and
make any triggers your opponent drive checks useless to their vanguard.
For example, Phantom Blaster Dragon's skill requires it to counterblast 2
and sacrifice 3 of its Shadow Paladin rearguards to activate. Since
killing rearguards is the same as destroying your hand, because you have
to call other units to replace them, this is quite the expensive skill.
Dropping a perfect defense in front of PBD will mean that your opponent
has just paid four cards(the cost of riding, and the cost of PBD's
skill) for nothing where you paid two to stop it.
there are a number of "megablast"-type cards which soulblast 8 and
counterblast 5 to activate their skills. Dropping a perfect defense on
them means that they just expended all of their soul and damage for no
should be at least 2 perfect defense cards in your deck, and 1 more for
every draw trigger you add in, maxing out at 4. Unlike the heal
triggers, this comes out of your 9-card allowance, because you don't
want to ride a perfect defense card.
of these two definitive groups, what does and does not constitute a
staple is a matter open for debate. However, though their skill
conditions vary greatly from clan to clan, grade 2 and 1 units which
together form a 20000-power column tend to crop up as staples, and
following the fourth booster set so do grade 3 and 1 units. 20000 is a
very important number for individual attackers in Vanguard, because when
the target of the attack is a grade 3, it takes about 2-3 cards to
guard. Coming from two or more units, this is automatically more cards
than the opponent will gain through twin drive and their draw phase,
ruining their hand.