Friday, June 28, 2013

Nova Grappler Extra Study Material: Beast Deities

Photo by rawritzrichii, not to be reposted elsewhere without the original photographer's express permission.
Mythic tradition and legends are an important part of human culture. Although mechanical in nature, the Nova Grapplers are frequently designed to fuse those mechanical elements with legend to create artificial gods of the ring. While it has received nowhere near the same amount of attention, the Beast Deity subgroup is one of the most cohesive decks in pro play, on par with the interclan Blaster series for how much synergy the individual cards have with one another. Drawing its origins from BT06: Breaker of Limits, the Beast Deity cards have seen repeated revision with the progression of the game, reaching a crescendo with the coming of BT09: Clash of the Knights and Dragons and finding another leg of support in BT10: Triumphant Return of the King of Knights.

The first vanguard introduced for them in BT06 is Beast Deity, White Tiger. To recap our introductory model's treatment of him, Tiger is an important milestone in Nova Grappler play as a base 5000 power FVG that can be moved out from the soul when ridden over, providing an extra card and booster that can form basic 15-18000 lines. The other use of White Tiger, exclusive to the Beast Deity cards, is to counterblast 1 and move him back into the soul when an attack that he boosted hits a vanguard, and then stand a Beast Deity rearguard. This costs you the card advantage that Tiger gained, but it can potentially be offset by the extra defense that this draws out from the opponent, and is further intended to combo with two other cards in the Deity series, Scarlet Bird and Black Tortoise.

Together these three cards make up three fourths of the four gods, mythical rulers of the constellations. Bird and Tortoise, representing Suzaku and Genbu respectively, are base 6000 and 8000 grade 1 and 2 units that when their attack hits the vanguard can look through the top five cards of the deck for a copy of the grade 3 Beast Deity, Azure Dragon. This provides quick, counterblast-free grade security while also grabbing you card advantage and playing into Azure's own skill later on. Since all of the Beast Deities so far share the same hit condition, you can combo this early on when the opponent is not able to defend as easily, using White Tiger to stand a Beast Deity whose attack just hit to try and make use of their skill again. Grabbing that Azure Dragon from the deck can offset the advantage lost by Tiger going into the soul, and like Tsukuyomi you can also gradually form a stack of triggers at the bottom of the deck while using the Nova's cycling trigger Battleraizer to reshuffle the deck if that stack turns out badly. While the Full Moon's stacking capabilities in normal play are capped at fifteen and sixteen cards, the Beast Deities' shared ability to do this when attacks hit instead of at the beginning of the main phase leaves the potential for twenty cards with a likely cap of twenty five to be stacked instead.

Azure Dragon is the Nova Grappler analogue to the fourth god Seiryuu, dragon of the east. His 11000 base is the same strong defense that Asura Kaiser boasted, and over that when his attack hits the vanguard he can activated his persona blast, to stand two rearguards. This is where the previous Deities come in outside of just providing grade security, as a persona blast that can be searched right from grade 1 on is much more playable than it would be otherwise. Being able to guarantee that two rearguards will stand without relying on Death Army units is important, and the presence of all these on-hit skills gives the Beast Deities a very strong early to midgame. If the opponent feels pressured to block the attacks to prevent those skills from going off, then they're usually being forced into a misplay by overthinking the situation, which weakens their defense and opens them up to taking more damage and being unable to protect their rearguard lines later on. The main issue with this is that the Beast Deity deck by itself has no concrete endgame. Once the opponent is at four damage, there's very little that you can do to decide the match on subsequent turns beyond protecting your existing lead.

Entire BT09 and Azure Dragon's crossride; Ultra Beast Deity, Illuminal Dragon. Representing Ouryuu, the golden dragon of the center, Illuminal occupies a very tall throne within the Nova Grapplers as their first crossride, getting a constant +2000 power bonus for having Azure in the soul for a 13000 power defense overall. This forms a 21000 power offensive line with Tough Boy, and while the Nova Grapplers lack the soul manipulation to finalize their crossride if they miss their initial Azure ride, Illuminal's offensive power makes up for this. At limit break 4, when Illuminal attacks he can counterblast 3 to stand two Beast Deities rearguards, with no on-hit attached. This is the endgame that Azure was looking for. Being able to forcibly stand an entire column after driving the opponent to five damage with that same column beforehand is devastating, and the skill can even be repeated by sampling cards from the Nova Grappler's original unflipping engine like Claydoll Mechanic.

Of course, the Beast Deity restriction means that you need stronger rearguards to be able to actually use that limit break with. Clash of the Knights and Dragons brings us Golden Anglet and Yamatano Drake, grade 2 and 3 variations on the same core skill of gaining +3000 power when they stand in the battle phase, over respective 9000 and 10000 power bases. With Illuminal Dragon these cards are guaranteed to hit even opposing crossrides for relevant numbers, and versus other decks by lining the new Deities up with Tough Boy you can ensure that the lines will go for 20-21000 power so that their second attack will always be tougher than their first.

BT09 also brings us Blank Marsh, a functional grade 1 variation on White Tiger with 7000 power. While Yamatano was the Beast Deity incarnation of the eightheaded serpent Yamata no Orochi, and Anglet was a representation of the "dragon horse" Ryuuma, Marsh is analogous to a Hakutaku ("White Marsh"), a legendary beast whose image was used to ward off disease. When an attack that Marsh boosted hits a vanguard, he can counterblast 1 and move to the soul to stand a rearguard. White Tiger and Marsh can both do the same jobs, standing Anglet and bumping him up to 12000 power to ready him for an independent attack or using this with one of the older Deities to perform another Azure search. Damage triggers are generally the biggest hazard to these skills, so it is important to read the situation and be aware of when it isn't the right time to use the Deities' stand skills. Fortunately, the timing of them is such that you don't have to actually choose to activate them or not until after your opponent has completed all of their damage checks.

Scheduled for an October release, BT10: Triumphant Return of the King of Knights introduces a series of Beast Deities derived from the two zodiacs and a new first vanguard in Beast Deity, Riot Horn. Representing Taurus and the Ox, Riot Horn is like White Tiger before him a base 5000 first vanguard that moves out from the soul when ridden over with a unit of the same clan. Horn's autoskill is designed so that when a Beast Deity in the same column as Horn stands, he can also stand, allowing for a full-power attack using Blank Marsh, and multiplying Illuminal's impact on the game by allowing for two columns to attack, one unboosted and one with Horn to assist it.

Sagittarius and the Horse are represented by Hilarity Destroyer, a base 7000 grade 1 that can discard a card to draw one when his attack hits. While Destroyer won't see a heavy amount of play later on in a match, he can be good for the early game if you want to replace Scarlet Bird in your Beast Deity deck, as he forms an anticrossride 18000 line with any of the Grapplers' many 11000 power units, makes for a good grade 1 ride and can help improve your deck's consistency.

At grade 2, Hatred Chaos is affiliated with both Leo and the Tiger. With a 9000 power base, Chaos gets +3000 power when he attacks from the rearguard if there is a Beast Deity vanguard, although unlike with Golden Anglet this power bonus only lasts through the battle that he attacks in. Because of that, Chaos' power increases cannot be stacked. Instead, he and Anglet act as complementary rearguards that can be used in place of one another. Hatred Chaos' imagery is a little looser than past Deities, as while his face and nose are based on a lion, and he has stripes taken from the Tiger zodiac, his appearance is also derived from the thunder god Raijin and the ring of drums that Raijin uses to summon storms.

Finally, Ethics Buster. This Beast Deity is unique, based on the unused thirteenth sign of the Cat from the Chinese zodiac. Like Azure Dragon and Illuminal Dragon, Ethics Buster has an 11000 power base, but he differs from them in that he is a break ride, harbinger of a highly explosive endgame but being limited in what he can do by himself. Ethics gets +2000 power in the vanguard cricle when he is boosted by a Nova Grappler, creating a 20-21000 line. But when you ride a Nova Grappler over him while at limit break, Ethics Buster gives your vanguard +10000 power and an autoskill that stands all of your front row Nova Grapplers when that vanguard attacks. Using Illuminal Dragon with this skill, you can unfailingly stand all of your rearguard columns while having a center line in the range of 21-31000 power, taking around six cards to block all of the attacks without any triggers coming through. This makes both decks that use Azure with Illuminal and Ethics Buster viable, as well as just Illuminal-Ethics decks, and while Ethics Buster is a Beast Deity, his break ride skill is compatible with all Nova Grapplers, effectively updating Illuminal Dragon, Stern Blaukluger and Asura Kaiser all at once.

The Beast Deities are an extremely diverse subgroup with a heavy amount of support, and there is a lot of freedom of choice between how you want to build your deck, whether you choose to go for a four deities or zodiac deities model, or some combination therein. Next time that we revisit the Nova Grapplers I will be discussing the new Death Army series cards from EB04: Infinite Phantom Legion and the ultimate lifeform, Cosmo Lord.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Oracle Think Tank Extra Study Material: Goddess of the Sun, Amaterasu

Photo by rawritzrichii, not to be reposted elsewhere without the original photographer's express permission.
Since BT03, Amaterasu has lacked a concrete deck of her own. The spotlight has fallen on the Full Moon and Witch decks, with CEO as a supporting unit for the former and one that is run less and less commonly with each passing day. While there was never anything objectively wrong with Amaterasu as a boss card, it is nevertheless true that as an independent build she has been undersupported and lacking in a separate identity. BT09: Clash of the Knights and Dragons remedies this by taking Amaterasu to her maximum potential as the supreme face of Oracle Think Tank.

The first vanguard for the Amaterasu deck is not universally agreed upon. Befitting of the definitive deck of Oracle Think Tank's leader, the deck has high synergy with almost every other card in the clan. Little Witch, LuLu from the soulless build can be used and is certainly an efficient choice as one of the only FVGs in the game that can give a +2 the moment her skills are triggered, and as CEO Amaterasu's megablast is even less likely to go off in this build than in her original one, this is a good use of the soul. Lozenge Magus can still be used as the first vanguard if you desire the extra deck space, but BT09 has generally outmoded her by introducing Supple Bamboo Princess, Kaguya. Based on the character of the same name from The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter, Kaguya is a base 4000 Forerunner that can be returned to the soul to give an OraThin +3000 power, fulfilling the same basic function as Lozenge while opening the field to call another unit and keeping another card in the soul, turning Kaguya into fuel for a megablast, Luck Bird's soulblast or to promote play with six soul units.

With regards to those, because of CEO Amaterasu being a soulcharge-based unit, she has natural synergy with Tsukuyomi's six soul cards, and so it would also be a wise choice to use Godhawk Ichibyoshi from the Full Moon deck as the FVG. This imports the potential for a card gain each turn, the ability to control the deck through the formation of a trigger stack, and to use Half Moon's soulcharge to get CEO Amaterasu into the soul faster, while also giving Amaterasu access to Tagitsuhime as a 12000 power attacker. On that front, Amaterasu can also use her tsundere brother Battle Deity Susanoo, who has the exact same stats as Tagitsuhime, but his +3000 power comes from having a vanguard with "Amaterasu" in its card name, where Tagitsuhime operates off of just having six soul. A deck that uses Ichibyoshi and the Crescent through Half Moon cards is likely to run at least one copy of the Full Moon for a complete Goddess deck, and because of the ease with which six soul can be set up, Tagitsuhime may be the wiser choice over Susanoo.

Amaterasu's personal supporting grade 1 is Battle Maiden, Sayorihime, a base 7000 unit that gets +3000 when she attacks if the vanguard has "Amaterasu" in its card name. Since there is no grade 1 equivalent to Tagitsuhime, Sayorihime is a good supporting piece for the build, but lacks the midgame presence of Kay and other decks with these types of units. The grade 1 space is more likely to be reserved for Oracle Think Tank's old mainstays like Dark Cat, Weather Girl Milk and Gemini, but you may find room among your tech cards for her.

The upgrade that CEO Amaterasu has been waiting for is the Goddess of the Sun, Amaterasu, the solar counterpart to Tsukuyomi. With her full power unleashed, this incarnation of Amaterasu gets +2000 power for having CEO in the soul, over an 11000 base to create a very consistent crossride defense. Since Oracle Think Tank has a deep access to the deck and sees more cards per game than other clans, and can also modify the cards in the soul using Hare of Inaba and the Moon series soulcharges, this 13000 power is stable enough that it should come out in every game. With Milk's boost this comes out to a 23000 power total, accomplishing the offense of CoCo with a defense surpassing that of Tsukuyomi and Imperial Daughter.

Furthermore, at limit break 4 the Goddess of the Sun can counterblast 2 when her attack hits the vanguard to choose any any Oracle Think Tank in the deck and add it to her hand. This skill has an immediate problem, in that for it to go off you generally need to be at higher damage than the opponent, as they are not likely to no-guard it unless they are at three damage or less and the number of cards under their control have been lowered significantly enough for defending to be impractical, and as a general trend the fighter who hits limit break first is more likely to lose. Even so, the skill is not unplayable. Oracle Think Tank is one of the best clans at playing defense because of its card drawing skills, and with a crossride defense Goddess Amaterasu is even better than past iterations of the clan. As a result, the Sun can afford to accept hitting limit break first in order to get the skill off.

The real question associated with this skill is what to use it for. At the moment that Goddess of the Sun's attack hits the vanguard and you have paid the cost, you can do anything, but that freedom is paralyzing. More cynical cardfighters have pointed out that the skill would most commonly be used to search for a copy of Battle Sister Chocolat to have access to a perfect defense card, but your choice should be adjusted to account for the situation. There are cards in Vanguard that can prevent you from defending with grade 1s; against those decks you would want to search for other units with high shield, typically grade 0s. There are also situations where a perfect defense would be excessive due to already having one or more in hand, and in that scenario searching a card like Battle Sister Vanilla would be better. Since you can search for anything in the deck, you're also free to run more tech cards, giving you direct access to those techs through the Goddess' limit break while not needing to clog up deck space with extra copies of a card that you're realistically only going to use once.

If you choose to use the Godhawk and Tsukuyomi line for its soul support, then probably the perfect card to match this limit break is Goddess of the Full Moon, Tsukuyomi. In this version of Amaterasu, after the initial grade 1-2 Tsukuyomi rides you would go directly to the Goddess, getting CEO into the soul through other means, and then using the limit break within the next few turns to fetch Tsukuyomi directly and ride her after that, reinforcing your hand with her counterblast. Because of how it cuts down on the amount of cards in the deck through repeated draw, superior ride, search and soulcharge skills, the deck's endgame is begun by switching back into the original Amaterasu. As there are typically only ten to thirteen cards left by the time this deck hits its endgame, CEO Amaterasu's future prediction will work within a terrifying margin to bring out the last triggers remaining. This kind of unprecedented control over the deck is only made possible by the synergistic fusion of the Sun and Moon, and it highlights all of Oracle Think Tank's best qualities.

Other than using the limit break to search directly, it can also be used purely to force the opponent into bad decisions. If the opponent's choices are between letting Maiden of Libra hit and letting Goddess Amaterasu hit, they will choose Libra every time, and with your vanguard line at 21-23000, that will be at least a three card difference that you have carved out by drawing one with Libra and taking two away with their defense. The card isn't easy to use, but it does reward smart play.

Goddess Amaterasu is one of the more difficult of the Oracle Think Tank decks to compose because there are multiple good ways to build her with no perfect answer. She complements almost everything, and because of that there are almost too many things that she can become. To strategize for her at high level play requires complete mastery of Oracle Think Tank and a deep understanding of the card pool. Next time that I revisit OraThin, it will be to discuss the Battle Sister deck reinforced by VGE-EB05: Celestial Valkyries, focusing towards more offensive play combined with draw draw power.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

News: Kira Kira Cards to Host Free Tournament at AX2013, Clash of the Knights and Dragons Box as Prize

An employee of the card shop Kira Kira Cards, based out of Monterey Park, California, has informed us that the store will be hosting a double elimination Cardfight!! Vanguard TCG tournament at Anime Expo 2013 in Los Angeles. AX2013 will be taking place from July 4th-7th.

The tournament will have no entry fee, will allow for up to 64 cardfighters to participate, and one box of the soon to be released VGE-BT09: Clash of the Knights and Dragons booster set will be given to the fighter that takes first place, with a second box being split among second through eighth place. Playmats may also be given out as additional prizes.

Registration will take place throughout the first day of AX at the shop's booth, #1432 in the exhibition hall, with the actual tournament taking place on the second day at the Table Top Gaming Room. On-site registration may also be done from 10:00-10:30 AM of the second day.

Monday, June 24, 2013

News: July KeroKero Ace Released, Amon to See SP Reprint, Nebula Lord Dragon

This month's issue of KeroKero Ace magazine went out overnight, unveiling many of the new units that will be coming out of VG-BT12: Binding Force of the Black Rings in two weeks. The issue's focus is towards the new Link Joker units of BT12, as well as the new Silver Thorn subgroup that will be supporting Luquier's Reverse crossride.

While many fighters have been concerned over Demon World Marquis Amon receiving a crossride in his new Demon God Marquis Amon Reverse form, despite the original Amon currently being out of print along with BT03 in Japan, and not being listed among the set's two reprints, Bushiroad has faced these concerns by revealing that they will be reprinting Amon as an Special Parallel-exclusive card in BT12.

Star-vader, Nebula Lord Dragon
Grade 3/Link Joker - Cyber Dragon/11000 Power
Continuous [V] LB4: During your turn, for each of your opponent's unit that has been Locked, all of your <<Link Joker>> frontrow units gain [Power] +3000.
Activate [V]: [Counterblast (2)] Choose one of your opponent's backrow unit, and Lock it.
Continuous [V/R]: Lord








Heartless Blade, Heartless
Auto [V]: [Counterblast (2)] When this unit hits the Vanguard, you may pay the cost. If you do, select one of your opponent's Rearguard unit, and Lock it.
Auto [V]: When this unit attacks the Vanguard, during that battle, this unit gains +3000.
Grade/Clan - Race/Power/Shield










Strafing Star-vader, Ruthenium
Grade 1/Link Joker/6000 Power/5000 Shield
Auto [R]: [Soulblast (1)]When this unit boosts a "Star-vader, Nebula Lord Dragon", you may pay the cost. If you do, the boosted unit gains +5000 during that battle.
















Unknown Name
Grade 2/Link Joker - Cyber Fairy/8000 Power/5000 Shield
Auto [R]: When this unit's attack hits a vanguard, and you have a <<Link Joker>> vanguard, if your opponent has a Locked rearguard, choose one of your opponent's rearguards and Lock it.













Evil Claw Star-vader, Niob
Grade 2/Link Joker - Cyberoid/9000 Power/5000 Shield
Auto [R]: When one of your opponent's rearguards is locked by one of your card effects, and you have a <<Link Joker>> vanguard, during this turn this unit gets [Power] +2000.

Note: "niob" is German for niobium.

Demon Claw Star-vader, Lanthan
Grade 1/Link Joker - Cyberoid/7000 Power/5000 Shield
Auto [R]: When one of your opponent's rearguards is locked by one of your card effects, and you have a <<Link Joker>> vanguard, during this turn this unit gets [Power] +2000.

Note: "lanthan" is German for lanthanum.


White Knight, Fenrir
Grade 0/Link Joker - Cyberbeast/4000 Power/10000 Shield
Auto: Forerunner
Auto [R]: [Place this unit into your soul] When this unit boosts a Link Joker with LB4, during this battle, if its attack hits the vanguard, you can pay the cost. if you do, draw 1 card.









Eradicator, Blade Hung Dracokid
Grade 0/Narukami - Thunder Dragon/5000 Power/10000 Shield
Auto: Forerunner
Auto [R]: [Place this unit into your soul] When your opponent's rear-guard is retired by one of your card effects, you may pay the cost. If you do, choose one of your vanguards with "Vowing" in its name, and that unit gets [Power] +3000/[Critical] +1 until end of turn.
Homing Eradicator, Rochishin
Grade 2/Narukami - Dragonman/8000 Power/5000 Shield
Auto [R]: When an opponent's rear guard is sent to drop zone, if you have a "Eradicator" Vanguard, this unit gains [Power] +5000 until the end of the turn.
Suppressing Eradicator, Dokkasei
Grade 1/Narukami - Dragonman/7000 Power/5000 Shield
Auto [Rest this unit]: When this card is placed on [R] and you have a "Eradicator" Vanguard, you may pay the cost. If paid, select up to two of your opponent's rear guards, they cannot Intercept until the end of this turn.















Silver Thorn Beast Tamer, Ana
Grade 1/Pale Moon - Elf/Power 7000/10000 Shield
Auto [Counterblast (1)]: When this unit boosts a <<Pale Moon>> and the attack hits the Vanguard, you may pay the cost. If paid, select 1 of your "Silver Thorn" units in your Soul, and call it to R. During the end of that turn, put the called unit back into Soul.











Silver Thorn Beast Tamer, Maricica
Grade 2/Pale Moon - Elf/9000 Power/5000 Shield
Auto [V/R]: [Counter Blast (1)] When this unit's attack hits a vanguard, if you have a <<Pale Moon>> vanguard, you can pay the cost. If you do, you can call up to 1 "Silver Thorn" unit from your soul to a rearguard circle. During the end phase of this turn, place that unit into the soul.















Silver Thorn Assistant, Ionela
Grade 0/Pale Moon - Warbeast/Power 5000/Shield 10000
Auto: Forerunner
Auto [R]: During a battle in which this unit boosts a vanguard with "Silver Thorn" in its name, and the attack hits a vanguard, you may look at the top 2 cards of your deck, select up to 1 "Silver Thorn" unit from those cards, and put it into the soul. Put the remaining cards to the bottom of the deck.
Silver Thorn Assistant, Irina
Grade 1/Pale Moon - Warbeast/Power 7000/10000 Shield
Auto: When this unit is placed on V or R, you may look at the top 2 cards of your deck, select up to 1 "Silver Thorn" unit from those cards, and put it into Soul. Put the remaining cards to the bottom of the deck.


Saturday, June 22, 2013

News: Gauntlet Buster and Sweep Command Dragon Storm Fukuoka

This morning Doctor O tweeted the results of the Fukuoka branch of Fighters Road 2013, Japan's ongoing national championship. The Junior class champion took first place using a Narukami deck, with second place going to a Kagerou cardfighter.  The Open class tournament had both its first and second place spots taken by Narukami fighters, one using a now-standard Gauntlet Buster Dragon and Descendant deck, with the other using a different Eradicator build that combined Spark Horn and Sweep Command Dragon, using cards from the eleventh booster set, BT11: Seal Dragon Unleashed. Spark Horn has drawn some attention as a variation on the Eradicator formula, as when his attack hits a vanguard he can use an especial counterblast to retire an opponent's rearguard--without needing to be at limit break. This gives a Narukami fighter a stronger midgame, pressuring the opponent to drop cards for defense earlier in a fight, weakening their overall presence when the time comes for Sweep Command to hit the field, simultaneously retiring the opponent's rearguards and drawing new cards through his limit break and a combo with the Eradicators' many retire skills.

The Eradicators' continued dominance throughout this tournament season has drawn criticism, as the Narukami clan as a whole has continued to receive support from every core booster set since BT08, with multiple cards coming out as definitively competitive decks of their own, and this trend will not be broken until VG-BT13: Catastrophic Outbreak. With Descendant having come out as a competitive deck surpassing Dragonic Overlord The End in threat, the restricted list having done little to stop his reign, currently accounting for five of the eight Open class decks currently being used to contend for the national title and 32% of all 2013 tournament decks, an extremely powerful crossbreak Reverse unit coming for the clan in VG-BT12: Binding Force of the Black Rings, and the build only becoming stronger as a counter to the new Lock mechanic, many are calling for the plug to be pulled on the clan altogether. For some however, Spike Brothers having broken the Eradicator's stranglehold on the format at Hiroshima has inspired new hope.

The remaining three tournaments will take place in Tokyo, Sapporo and Nagoya with the Tokyo tournament being next in line on the 7th of July. This will be the first time that Okayama, Hakata and Osaka will not be participating.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

News: FR2013 Hiroshima Regional Decklists, Dudley Emperor & Tsukuyomi Make Waves, Salome's Pro Debut

The decklists for Fighter's Road 2013 Hiroshima went out this morning, finally giving a look into the Spike Brothers deck that drew so much attention over the weekend. The deck is a modern spin on the classic Dudley Emperor build, using just two copies of Juggernaut Maximum that effectively act as tech cards searched directly with Emperor's limit break, and filling out the remaining grade 3 space with Bad End Dragger, the Spike Brothers' break ride that can give +10000 power to every attacking Brother when its skill is triggered, then shuffle them back in the deck to open the field up for superior calls. By using Dragger in concert with Emperor's superior call limit break, pro fighter and contender for the national title Okudaira Ryousuke is able to make two rearguard attacks in the range of 21-26000 power followed by two more of around 31000, all with a 31000 power vanguard line shaking up field's center. In a format currently dominated by 11000-power Lords this maneuver can require as much as 115000 shield to block, but leaves its fighter dangerously exposed if it is not timed correctly, and as it can only be triggered within a limited window late in a match, the slower setup is not for everyone. Okudaira's deck is noticeably more conservative than typical Dragger decks, as Bad End Dragger is the only card from BT10 than he uses, rejecting the Dudley subgroup that VG-BT10 built up.

Meanwhile the runner-up Yoshida Yuuta has demonstrated that the Eradicator decklist pioneered by Uemura Shouhei has continued to endure through Dragonic Descendant's restriction, although the general trend that Yoshida has followed has been towards the Vowing Sword Dragon break ride rather than BT11's Sweep Command, who has existed on the edges of Eradicator play ever since his set's release. Since Nanakado Yuusuke's revision that added Chou-ou and Shuki from BT11, the deck has gone virtually unchanged between different fighters, with only personal preferences over first vanguard and which cards get priority differentiating the lists.

An interesting point regarding the finalist decklists is that Bushiroad's continual efforts to bury the Full Moon deck seem to be in vain. Yet another cardfighter has taken a creative spin on the Tsukuyomi build, hybridizing Oracle Think Tank and Genesis cards into a single deck that combines Tsukuyomi's soul-based draw power and grade security with Genesis' long term offensive and mass soulcharging. Although Japan's current restricted list prevents Full Moon from being run in copies exceeding two, Yasue Takamasa was not dissuaded by the restrictions and attempted his own revival of the fan-favorite Moon deck.

The Open division team tournament has brought with it our first look at a professional Jewel Knight deck, with Kadobayashi Masaki's Salome build eschewing many Royal Paladin staples like Blaster Blade and Palamedes in favor of a pure subgroup focus on developing extra critical. An interesting innovation of the deck is its use of multiple copies of the first vanguard Tiffany, superior calling the two extra copies with Salome's and Sybill's counterblasts to pump up the power of the rearguard lines multiple times late in the match.

Open Class Regional Tournament
Regional Champion: Okudaira Ryousuke/奥平諒介
Grade 0
x1 Mecha Trainer (FVG)
x4 Cheer Girl, Tiara HT
x4 Cheerful Lynx DT
x4 Sonic Breaker CT
x4 Silence Joker CT
Grade 1
x3 Cheer Girl, Marylin
x4 Wonder Boy
x4 Reckless Express
x2 Medical Manager
Grade 2
x4 Highspeed Brakki
x4 Treasured, Black Panther
x4 Panzer Gale
Grade 3
x3 Demonic Lord, Dudley Emperor
x3 Bad End Dragger
x2 Juggernaut Maximum

Runner up: Yoshida Yuuta/吉田雄太
Grade 0
x1 Spark Kid Dragoon (FVG)
x4 Eradicator, Dragon Mage DT
x4 Demonic Dragon Eradicator, Seiobo HT
x4 Eradicator, Yellow Gem Carbuncle CT
x4 Eradicator of the Divine Spear, Pollux CT
Grade 1
x3 Rising Phoenix
x4 Eradicator, Wyvern Guard Guld
x2 Eradicator, Demolition Dragon
x2 Eradicator of the Ceremonial Bonfire, Castor
x3 Iron Blood Eradicator, Shuki
Grade 2
x4 Eradicator, Spark Rain Dragon
x3 Dragonic Deathscythe
x4 Fiendish Sword Eradicator, Chou-Ou
Grade 3
x2 Eradicator, Dragonic Descendant
x4 Eradicator, Gauntlet Buster Dragon
x2 Eradicator, Vowing Sword Dragon

Doctor O's Pick: Yasue Takamasa/安永卓正
Grade 0
x1 Godhawk, Ichibyoshi (FVG)
x4 Psychic Bird CT
x4 Battle Sister, Ginger CT
x4 Battle Sister, Chai HT
x4 Battle Maiden, Kukurihime CT
Grade 1
x4 Goddess of the Crescent Moon, Tsukuyomi
x4 Battle Maiden, Tatsutahime
x4 Goddess of Protection, Kushinada
x2 Dark Cat
Grade 2
x4 Goddess of the Half Moon, Tsukuyomi
x4 Battle Maiden, Saohime
x2 Twilight Hunter, Artemis
x2 Witch of Birds, Chamomile
Grade 3
x2 Goddess of the Full Moon, Tsukuyomi
x4 Battle Deity of the Moonlit Night, Artemis
x1 Witch of Wolves, Saffron

Junior Class Regional Tournament
Regional Champion: Matsushita Shunji/松下隼士
Grade 0
x1 Lizard Soldier, Conroe (FVG)
x4 Seal Dragon, Artpitch DT
x4 Seal Dragon, Biera CT
x4 Seal Dragon, Shading HT
x4 Blue Ray Dracokid CT
Grade 1
x1 Wyvern Guard, Barri
x4 Embodiment of Armor, Bahr
x3 Seal Dragon, Rinocross
x4 Dragon Monk, Gojo
x2 Flame of Hope, Aermo
Grade 2
x3 Seal Dragon, Hunger Hell Dragon
x4 Burning Horn Dragon
x4 Berserk Dragon
Grade 3
x4 Dragonic Overlord The End
x4 Dauntless Drive Dragon

Runner-up: Tokioka Yuuto/時岡悠翔
Grade 0
x1 Spring Breeze Messenger (FVG)
x4 Liberator of Hope, Epona CT
x4 Strike Liberator CT
x4 Weapons Liberator, Gwydion DT
x4 Elixir Liberator HT
Grade 1
x2 Liberator of the Future, Llew
x4 Curved Blade Liberator, Josephus
x4 Little Liberator, Marron
x4 Halo Liberator, Mark
Grade 2
x4 Liberator of the Flute, Escrad
x1 Blaster Blade Liberator
x2 Liberator of Silence, Gallatin
x4 Liberator of Royalty, Phallon
Grade 3
x4 Liberator of the Round Table, Alfred
x2 Solitary Liberator, Gancelot
x2 Steel Spear Liberator, Bleoberis

Doctor O's Pick: Tsumura Kouji/津村康史
Grade 0
x1 Beast Deity, White Tiger (FVG)
x4 Battle Raizer ST
x4 Round Girl, Clara HT
x3 The Gong DT
x2 Three Minutes DT
x3 Red Lightning CT
Grade 1
x4 Twin Blader
x4 Beast Deity, Blank Marsh
x2 Death Army Guy
x2 Clay-doll Mechanic
x3 The Screamin' and Dancin' Announcer, Shout
Grade 2
x2 Magician Girl, Kirara
x4 Beast Deity, Golden Angel
x3 Beast Deity, Hatred Chaos
x1 Death Army Lady
Grade 3
x2 Ultra Beast Deity, Illuminal Dragon
x4 Beast Deity, Azure Dragon
x1 Beast Deity, Ethics Buster
x1 Asura Kaiser

Vanguard Fight High School 2013 Summer, Open Class Hiroshima Regional Tournament Championship Team
Kadobayashi Masaki/門林将生
Grade 0
x3 Dreaming Jewel Knight, Tiffany (FVG)
x4 Blazing Jewel Knight, Rachelle CT
x4 Enthusiastic Jewel Knight, Polly HT
x4 Dedicated Jewel Knight, Tabitha DT
x4 Bringer of Good Luck, Epona CT
Grade 1
x4 Jewel Knight, Prizme
x4 Stinging Jewel Knight, Sherrie
x4 Flashing Jewel Knight, Iseult
x2 Regret Jewel Knight, Ulrien
Grade 2
x4 Fellowship Jewel Knight, Tracie
x4 Dogmatize Jewel Knight, Sybill
x2 Pathetique Jewel Knight, Owain
Grade 3
x4 Leading Jewel Knight, Salome
x3 Pure Heart Jewel Knight, Ashley

Fujioka Tatsuya/藤岡龍也
Grade 0
x1 Little Witch, LuLu (FVG)
x4 Oracle Guardian, Nike CT
x4 Psychic Bird CT
x4 Battle Sister, Ginger CT
x4 Battle Sister, Chai HT
Grade 1
x3 Battle Sister, Chocolat
x2 Battle Sister, Cocoa
x4 Oracle Guardian, Gemini
x4 Dark Cat
x2 Luck Bird
Grade 2
x4 Battle Sister, Tart
x1 Maiden of Libra
x2 Battle Sister, Mocha
x4 Silent Tom
Grade 3
x4 Scarlet Witch, CoCo
x3 Goddess of Flower Divination, Sakuya

Maenaka Toshiki/前中俊樹
Grade 0
x1 Spark Kid Dragoon (FVG)
x4 Eradicator, Dragon Mage DT
x4 Demonic Dragon Eradicator, Seiobo HT
x4 Eradicator, Yellow Gem Carbuncle CT
x4 Eradicator of the Divine Spear, Pollux CT
Grade 1
x3 Eradicator, Wyvern Guard Guld
x4 Eradicator, Demolition Dragon
x3 Iron Blood Eradicator, Shuki
x3 Eradicator of the Ceremonial Bonfire, Castor 
Grade 2
x3 Eradicator, Spark Rain Dragon
x3 Conquering Eradicator, Zuitan
x4 Fiendish Sword Eradicator, Chou-Ou
x2 Dragon Dancer, Julia
Grade 3
x2 Eradicator, Dragonic Descendant
x4 Eradicator, Gauntlet Buster Dragon
x2 Eradicator, Electric Shaper Dragon

Vanguard Fight High School 2013 Summer, Student-only Class Hiroshima Regional Tournament Championship Team
Ichimaru Shoutarou/一丸翔太朗
Grade 0
x1 Spark Kid Dragoon (FVG)
x4 Eradicator, Dragon Mage DT
x4 Demonic Dragon Eradicator, Seiobo HT
x4 Eradicator, Yellow Gem Carbuncle CT
x4 Eradicator of the Divine Spear, Pollux CT
Grade 1
x3 Eradicator of the True Flames, Kougaiji
x4 Eradicator, Wyvern Guard Guld
x3 Eradicator, Demolition Dragon
x3 Iron Blood Eradicator, Shuki
Grade 2
x4 Eradicator, Spark Rain Dragon
x4 Conquering Eradicator, Zuitan
x4 Fiendish Sword Eradicator, Chou-Ou
Grade 3
x2 Eradicator, Dragonic Descendant
x3 Eradicator, Gauntlet Buster Dragon
x3 Eradicator, Sweep Command Dragon

Okabe Mizuki/岡部瑞生
Grade 0
x1 Lizard Soldier, Conroe (FVG)
x4 Seal Dragon Shading HT
x4 Seal Dragon, Artpitch DT
x4 Seal Dragon, Biera CT
x4 Blue Ray Dracokid CT
Grade 1
x4 Embodiment of Armor, Bahr
x4 Seal Dragon, Rinocross
x4 Seal Dragon, Kersey
x1 Flame of Promise, Aermo
Grade 2
x4 Bellicosity Dragon
x4 Burning Horn Dragon
x4 Seal Dragon, Corduroy
Grade 3
x4 Dragonic Overlord The End
x4 Dragonic Overlord

Toda Yuki/戸田優輝
Grade 0
x1 Spring Breeze Messenger (FVG)
x4 Liberator of Hope, Epona CT
x4 Strike Liberator CT
x4 Weapons Liberator, Gwydion DT
x4 Elixir Liberator HT
Grade 1
x2 Liberator of the Future, Llew
x4 Curved Blade Liberator, Josephus
x2 Little Liberator, Marron
x4 Halo Liberator, Mark
x2 Liberator, Flare Mane Stallion
Grade 2
x2 Liberator of the Flute, Escrad
x2 Blaster Blade Liberator
x4 Liberator of Silence, Gallatin
x2 Liberator of Royalty, Phallon
x2 Zoigal Liberator
Grade 3
x4 Liberator of the Round Table, Alfred
x2 Solitary Liberator, Gancelot
x1 Wild Dancing Liberator, Mailshion

Sunday, June 16, 2013

News: Spike Brothers Tops Hiroshima's Open Division Regional

Although high hopes have been pinned on the clan ever since Bad End Dragger's unveiling in VG-BT10: Triumphant Return of the King of Knights, in general the Spike Brothers clan's tournament results have not been above the bar set by the 2013 format shift. This trend was overturned earlier today, when Doctor O reported the Hiroshima regional results for the ongoing Japanese national championship, where a determined Spike Brothers cardfighter placed first in the tournament brackets, breaking the Eradicator-Liberator deadlock that has persisted since the onset of the current tournament season. Second place went to a Gauntlet Buster deck, while the Junior class tournament has seen Kagerou remain a consistent favorite, with Dauntless Drive Dragon breaking into first place. The tournament decklists should be out later this week.

The remaining four tournaments will take place in Fukuoka, Tokyo, Sapporo and Nagoya with the Fukuoka tournament being next in line on the 22nd. This will be the first time that Fukuoka prefecture has been included in the national tournament, and also the first time that Okayama, Hakata and Osaka will not be participating.

Friday, June 14, 2013

News: Nubatama to be Completed in BT13: Catastrophic Outbreak, New Rarity Introduced

The impossible has been made possible this morning as Bushiroad Inc. has revealed which clans will be receiving support in the upcoming booster set, VG-BT13: Catastrophic Outbreak. Two years, three months and two days to the date, the Nubatama ninja clan will be receiving its first new support cards since VG-BT01: Descent of the King of Knights. Bushiroad of Japan stated through their official Twitter channels in 2011 that they had dropped Nubatama entirely, due to balance issues. The clan's theme of forcing the opponent to discard cards was seen as potentially destabilizing in a game where the ability to defend from the hand is the most important point in countering the opponent's turn, and to avoid that destabilization Bushiroad chose to reinvision the clan as Murakumo in EB01: Comic Style Vol. 1, converting the at-the-time new Nubatama cards Left Arrestor, Right Arrestor, Archer FUSHIMI, Twin Swordsman MUSASHI and Dueling Dragon ZANBAKU that Itou Akira had created for the clan into Murakumo units. After BT05: Awakening of Twin Blades had completed the process by branching Murakumo out into a fully playable deck of its own where Nubatama remained unsupported, all hope seemed lost for the fan-favorite clan and its signature cardfighter Ninja Master M. Earlier this year however, CEO Kidani Takaaki mentioned in a Q&A session that Nubatama would be completed within 2013, and BT13 appears to be making good on that promise.

BT13 will be providing support for the Link Joker, Dimension Police, Nova Grappler, Nubatama, Aqua Force, Angel Feather, Great Nature and Granblue clans. As a climax set, BT13 represents a dramatic high point in the storyline, and prominently features Kai Toshiki with a new Link Joker cover card. The set will also have one Oracle Think Tank card, a print of CEO Amaterasu as drawn by the artist behind the Mini-Van manga and Flash anime, Quily. This Amaterasu will introduce a new rarity, Secret Rare, and is being issued to celebrate the release of the Mini-Van DVDs. Quily has previously done renditions of Midnight Bunny and Alluring Succubus as promo cards.

Catastrophic Outbreak will also bring new Reverse units to the clans it's supporting, distributing the powerful Lock mechanic both as a way to pay costs for game-ending skills, and as an offensive tool to be used against the opponent. The set will contain 102 cards, 8 RRR/12 RR/22 R/60 C with 12 Special Parallel prints of those. Each box will come with 1 of 6 Link Joker promo cards.

其れは尽きる事の無い禍い―
"It's a catastrophe with no end in sight..."

Press Release: Bushiroad Announces Next Generation Licenses – “Future Card Buddyfight” & “Five Qross”

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Bushiroad Announces Next Generation Licenses – “Future Card Buddyfight” & “Five Qross”







Tokyo, Japan (June 13, 2013) – Bushiroad announced 2 next generation licenses, “ Future Card Buddyfight” and “Five Qross” at the International Tokyo Toy Show 2013 in Tokyo, on June 13, 2013.
“Future Card Buddyfight” is a new generation trading card game meant for children between the ages of 9 and 11 years old. Comic serialization begins from Winter 2013 in Shogakukan’s “CoroCoro Comic,” and the airing of the “Future Card Buddyfight” TV Animation in Japan starts in early 2014.
In an unprecedented move, the company has announced that “Future Card Buddyfight” will feature simultaneous worldwide releases of both the Japanese and English editions of the card game in January 2014.
Bushiroad will release further information about “Future Card Buddyfight” in Autumn 2013.
More announcements on this exciting new license will be made at http://fc-buddyfight.com/.
The other license in development, “Five Qross,” is scheduled for release in Autumn 2013 in Japan. “Five Qross” will utilize a hybrid system where players purchase physical packs and play online.
*Logo not final and is subject to change.
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Bushiroad Group Publishing Inc. consists of 5 sub-entities: Bushiroad Inc., Bushiroad South East Asia Pte Ltd, Bushiroad USA Inc., Bushiroad Media, and New Japan Pro-Wrestling Co., Ltd.
Bushiroad South East Asia Pte Ltd was established in Singapore on November 12, 2011 in order to expand the overseas market for Bushiroad card games such as Cardfight!! Vanguard, Weiβ Schwarz, Chaos TCG and Victory Spark.
Bushiroad USA Inc. was established in Los Angeles, California on May 18, 2012, to better cater to the growing demand and interest in Cardfight!! Vanguard from both players and retailers in the USA.


Thursday, June 13, 2013

News: Thirteenth Booster Set "Catastrophic Outbreak" Announced

Doctor O has released photos of Bushiroad's Japanese release schedule leading through September 2013, and with it unveiled VG-BT13: Catastrophic Outbreak (絶禍繚乱 "Profusion of Absolute Evil," "Profusion of Absolute Misfortune" et al.) a booster set currently known to reinforce the Dimension Police, introducing new Dimensional Robo units while also bringing the new "Lock" mechanic from TD11 and BT12 to clans that have yet to receive it. BT13 is being touted as a "climax set," inviting comparison to BT05 and BT09 from previous seasons; however, it is currently believed based on previous panel comments from Bushiroad CEO Kidani Takaaki that the third season of Cardfight!! Vanguard, Link Joker, will be airing for over a year, so the use of the term "climax" for BT13 may be looser here.

While the specific remaining clans of the set are not yet revealed, Link Joker has already been implied by the expansion of the Lock mechanic and set colors, and it is known that BT13 will be released on September 9th, 2013.

Monday, June 10, 2013

News: Link Joker Units and "Lock" Unveiled


呪縛[ロック]されたカードは、裏向きになり何もでない。持ち主のターンの終わりに表に戻る
"A "Locked" Card is turned face-down and cannot do anything. It is turned back face-up at the end of its owner's turn."
The official Japanese portal has updated with information on the long-awaited Link Joker clan, and the Lock mechanic that they will be introducing in TD11: Star-Vader Invasion and BT12: Binding Force of the Black Rings. This new mechanic extends both to Link Joker units and “Я” or Reverse series units, those corrupted by the clan. According to Doctor O's twitter, locked cards are rendered completely unusable, are no longer treated as rearguards, and so cannot be retired or have new units called over them. Furthermore, the clan of a Locked unit is negated in the process. Locked units effectively no longer exist but still prevent their rearguard circle from being used, creating a disruptive strategy that destroys rearguard-centric decks--and in a format that has in many ways been defined by the mass distribution of Masquerade and Kay clones, most decks of the current format will feel the effects of that. As the Lock lasts throughout the turn of the card's owner, “Я” units that use Lock to pay costs like Vowing Saber Dragon “Я” have an advantage over opponents inflicted with Lock by card skills, as they will regain the use of their rearguards at the end of the turn that they paid the cost in, while the opponent will have to sit through both the Lock user's turn and their next one until they get back control of their cards. The new Link Joker units unveiled are listed below, with translations provided by NeoArkadia.

Star-Vader, Dusttail Unicorn
Grade 0/Link Joker - Cyber Beast/5000 Power/10000 Shield
Auto: Forerunner
Activate (R): [Counter Blast 1 Card, Place this card in the Soul] If you have a "Link Joker" Vanguard and your opponent has a Locked Card, you can choose 1 of your opponent's Rearguards, Lock it.




Star-Vader, Darkband Dragon
Grade 3/Link Joker - Cyber Dragon/10000 Power/No Shield
Activate (V) Limit Break 4: [Counter Blast 1 Card with "Starvader" in its name] Choose 1 of your opponent's Back Row Rearguards, Lock it.
Auto (V): When this Unit attacks, if you have more Rearguards than your opponent, this Unit gains 3000 Power during this turn.





Star-Vader, Infinite Zero Dragon
Grade 3/Link Joker - Cyber Dragon/11000 Power/No Shield
Auto Limit Break 4: When a <<Link Joker>> rides this Unit, your opponent chooses 1 Rearguard in their Back Row and Front Row, and Locks them, then you choose 1 of your Vanguards, this Unit gains 10000 Power during this turn.
Auto (V): When this Unit attacks the Vanguard, it gains 2000 Power during this Battle.
Continuous (V/R): Lord
Star-Vader, Mobius Breath Dragon
Grade 2/Link Joker - Cyber Dragon/9000 Power/5000 Shield
Auto (V): When this Unit's Attack hits the Vanguard, choose 1 of your opponent's Rearguards, and Lock it.







Note that units returning from Lock are not entering a rearguard circle but are instead being flipped back over, so on-call skills like that of Gigantech Charger will not activate. Units which gain power from having other units on the field like Liberator of the Round Table Alfred and The Dark Dictator will not be able to derive any power from Locked units, as those units do not exist until they are turned back up.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Press Release: Cardfight!! Vanguard Summer/Winter 2013 Releases

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Cardfight!! Vanguard Summer/Winter 2013 Releases
Los Angeles, CA (June 7, 2013) – Bushiroad reveals their English edition Cardfight!! Vanguard releases in the latter half of 2013 with 6 new expansions.
“Extra Booster Pack Vol. 4: Infinite Phantom Legion” and “Extra Booster Pack Vol. 5: Celestial Valkyries” are paired together for release on September 6, 2013. A special combined Sneak Preview Kit will be available to commemorate the release.
“Trial Deck Vol. 8: Liberator of the Sanctuary” and “Trial Deck Vol. 9: Eradicator of the Empire” will be available from October 4, 2013. These new decks provide crucial new units, mechanics and deck-building options for fan favorite clans, Gold Paladin and Narukami.
The “Booster Pack Vol. 10: Triumphant Return of the King of Knights” introduces new Royal Paladin units and a new clan, Genesis, on October 25, 2013. This expansion promises to shake up the meta-game with powerful new mechanics for new players and veterans alike.
“Booster Pack Vol. 11: Seal Dragons Unleashed” brings the Kagero clan back into the scene with new deck-building options on December 13, 2013.
Bushiroad will continue to provide Sneak Preview Kits for Booster Pack and Extra Booster Pack releases with new and exciting promotional items for the international market.
All new expansions are legal for use 1 week after the respective release dates in the upcoming Cardfight!! Vanguard World Championship 2013.
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Cardfight!! Vanguard is a popular trading card game developed by Bushiroad Group Publishing Inc. It is currently available in three languages: Japanese, English and Korean.
In July 2012, the first ever English edition Cardfight!! Vanguard World Championship was announced. Between September and October, national qualifiers were held worldwide across different multiple regions and countries such as Australia, Germany, Japan, Singapore, USA, Mexico and more.
The finalists of each region were invited to the Cardfight!! Vanguard World Championship Grand Final held at Tokyo Dome Hotel on December 9, 2012. The winner of the final was crowned the first ever Cardfight!! Vanguard World Champion.

Friday, June 7, 2013

News: FR2013 Kanazawa Decklists, Aqua Force and Majesty Lord Blaster Sweep Through Team Tournaments

The Fighter's Road 2013 Kanazawa decklists are out, revealing names of the newest emerging pro fighters of this year's national championship. Despite their restriction earlier this year, Eradicators have consistently maintained a steady grip on the Open division as the favorite pro deck of choice, with the Liberator subgroup as their constant rival. While they aren't shining as prominently, Angel Feather's Celestials made it into Kanazawa's best 8, pointing to a more even playing field than the top two results would suggest. The Open division may be business as usual for the Eradicator-Liberator deadlock, but the Junior class tournament is the center of attention for the crossride-centric Dragonic Overlord The End build that has reappeared here after a six month hiatus, this time taking advantage of Corduroy's cheaper cost and a pool of Seal Dragon triggers to make retiring easier on a build that wants to reserve its damage zone for The End's persona blast. The deck is being piloted by Niida Kazuki, a veteran of the 2012 Fighter's Road tournaments who previously used The End. Since that time it's clear that Niida's play style has cultivated in a different direction entirely, turning away form the Burning Horn Dragon that he once ran at four in favor of Corduroy, Berserk Dragon and Bellicosity Dragon's utility skills.

In an interesting twist of history, Eboshida Daito has reappeared in the best 8 for Kanazawa's Juniors division; while Eboshida has never been an especially prominent name among pros, at the game's beginning in late 2011 he was the runner up for the Nagoya Junior regional tournament using a Nova Grappler-Royal Paladin hybrid deck, and was also the runner up in the Kanazawa Junior regional for Fighter's Road 2012. Since 2012 he appears to have settled into Gold Paladin as his clan of choice, this time using a Liberator deck instead of Ezel support. Unfortunately, Eboshida did not place high enough to continue contending for this year's national title.

In VFHS news, teams sporting both Dragonic Descendant and Majesty Lord Blaster are gaining ground as a popular combination. With a modernized, break ride-focused Dragonic Overlord The End filling the third space, Hirayama Ken, Ishida Koudai and Watanabe Shouhei are together making for a dangerous combination of all-star builds, in spite of their neophyte status to the world of pros. The direction of the team is ambitious, but it remains to be see if their combination pays off or if the next wave of strategy pushes back the tide.

The Student-only division has taken a different course, with a tech-heavy Maelstrom deck emerging under the command of up-and-coming fighter Torimi Akitaka. Torimi is of interest due to Aqua Force's overall weaker presence in professional play, as the clan is generally agreed upon as strong but difficult to use compared to contemporaries with a less steep learning curve. As the format up until January was heavily defined by defensive play and base 13000 vanguards that Aqua Force units could generally not target with Diamantes or Basil, and the emphasis on aggressive play has only developed within February-on, Aqua Force fighters have been generally slower to come out of the woodwork.

Open Class Regional Tournament
Regional Champion: Shinohara Shigeki/篠原成貴
Grade 0
x1 Ambush Dragon Eradicator, Linchu (FVG)
x3 Eradicator, Dragon Mage DT
x1 Malevolent Djinn CT
x4 Demonic Dragon Eradicator, Seiobo HT
x4 Eradicator, Yellow Gem Carbuncle CT
x4 Eradicator of the Divine Spear, Pollux CT
Grade 1
x3 Rising Phoenix
x4 Eradicator, Wyvern Guard Guld
x4 Eradicator, Demolition Dragon
x3 Iron Blood Eradicator, Shuki
Grade 2
x4 Eradicator, Spark Rain Dragon
x3 Dragonic Deathscythe
x4 Fiendish Sword Eradicator, Chou-Ou
Grade 3
x2 Eradicator, Dragonic Descendant
x4 Eradicator, Gauntlet Buster Dragon
x2 Eradicator, Sweep Command Dragon

Runner-up: Nakanishi Yuusuke/中西雄亮
Grade 0
x1 Spring Breeze Messenger (FVG)
x4 Liberator of Hope, Epona CT
x4 Strike Liberator CT
x4 Weapons Liberator, Gwydion DT
x4 Elixir Liberator HT
Grade 1
x2 Liberator, Flare Mane Stallion
x4 Curved Blade Liberator, Josephus
x4 Little Liberator, Marron
x4 Halo Liberator, Mark
Grade 2
x3 Blaster Blade Liberator
x4 Liberator of Silence, Gallatin
x4 Liberator of Royalty, Phallon
Grade 3
x4 Liberator of the Round Table, Alfred
x4 Solitary Liberator, Gancelot

Doctor O's Pick: Yoshida Shouji/吉田祥二
Grade 0
x1 First Aid Celestial, Penuel (FVG)
x4 Healing Celestial, Ramiel HT
x4 Celestial, Landing Pegasus DT
x4 Punishment Celestial, Shemhazai CT
x2 Critical Hit Angel CT
x2 Rocket Dash Unicorn CT
Grade 1
x4 Marking Celestial, Arabaki
x4 Underlay Celestial, Hesediel
x1 Order Celestial, Yeqon
x4 Adamantine Celestial, Aniel
Grade 2
x4 Candle Celestial, Sariel
x4 Wildshot Celestial, Raquel
x4 Love Machine Gun, Nociel
Grade 3
x4 Prophecy Celestial, Ramiel
x4 Solidify Celestial, Zerachiel

Junior Class Regional Tournament 
Regional Champion: Niida Kazuki/新井田和輝
Grade 0
x1 Lizard Soldier, Conroe (FVG)
x3 Gattling Claw Dragon DT
x1 Embodiment of Spear, Tahr CT
x3 Seal Dragon, Artpitch DT
x4 Seal Dragon, Biera CT
x4 Seal Dragon, Shading HT
x1 Blue-Ray Dracokid CT
Grade 1
x2 Embodiment of Armor, Bahr
x4 Seal Dragon, Kersey
x4 Seal Dragon, Rinocross
x3 Dragon Monk, Gojo
x1 Flame of Hope, Aermo
Grade 2
x4 Seal Dragon, Hunger Hell Dragon
x4 Seal Dragon, Corduroy
x2 Berserk Dragon
x2 Bellicosity Dragon
Grade 3
x4 Dragonic Overlord The End
x3 Dragonic Overlord

Runner-up: Takamoto Yutaka/高本豊将
Grade 0
x1 Dreaming Sage, Korron (FVG)
x2 Flame of Victory CT
x4 Silent Punisher CT
x3 Dantengal CT
x2 Loonbau ST
x3 Speeder Hound DT
x4 Elixir Sommelier HT
Grade 1
x2 Little Battler, Tron
x2 Blessing Owl
x2 Evil Slaying Swordsman, Haugan
x3 Advance of the Black Chains, Kahedin
x3 Knight of Elegant Skills, Gareth
x2 Disciple of Pain
Grade 2
x2 Master of Pain
x3 Sacred Guardian Beast, Nemean Lion
x1 Mage of Calamity, Tripp
x3 Knight of Passion, Bagdemagus
x3 Knight of Superior Skills, Beaumains
Grade 3
x1 Blazing Lion, Platina Ezel
x2 Incandescent Lion, Blond Ezel
x1 Solitary Liberator, Gancelot
x2 Battlefield Storm, Sagramore
x1 Holy Mage, Manawydan

Doctor O's Pick: Eboshida Daito/烏帽子田大翔
Grade 0
x1 Little Battler, Cron (FVG)
x4 Liberator of Hope, Epona CT
x4 Strike Liberator CT
x4 Weapons Liberator, Gwydion DT
x4 Elixir Liberator HT
Grade 1
x2 Silver Fang Witch
x4 Curved Blade Liberator, Josephus
x3 Little Liberator, Marron
x3 Halo Liberator, Mark
x1 Halo Shield, Mark
Grade 2
x4 Liberator of the Flute, Escrad
x1 Knight of Superior Skills, Beaumains
x4 Liberator of Silence, Gallatin
x3 Liberator of Royalty, Phallon
Grade 3
x4 Liberator of the Round Table, Alfred
x2 Solitary Liberator, Gancelot
x2 Steel Spear Liberator, Bleoberis

Vanguard Fight High School 2013 Summer, Open Class Kanazawa Regional Tournament Championship Team
Hirayama Ken/平山謙
Grade 0
x1 Ambush Dragon Eradicator, Linchu (FVG)
x3 Eradicator, Dragon Mage DT
x1 Malevolent Djinn CT
x4 Demonic Dragon Eradicator, Seiobo HT
x4 Eradicator, Yellow Gem Carbuncle CT
x4 Eradicator of the Divine Spear, Castor CT
Grade 1
x2 Rising Phoenix
x4 Eradicator, Wyvern Guard Guld
x4 Eradicator, Demolition Dragon
x4 Eradicator of the Ceremonial Bonfire, Castor
Grade 2
x4 Eradicator, Spark Rain Dragon
x3 Dragonic Deathscythe
x4 Fiendish Sword Eradicator, Chou-Ou
Grade 3
x2 Eradicator, Dragonic Descendant
x4 Eradicator, Gauntlet Buster Dragon
x2 Eradicator, Vowing Sword Dragon

Ishida Koudai/石田航大
Grade 0
x1 Lizard Soldier, Conroe (FVG)
x2 Dragon Dancer, Monica DT
x4 Embodiment of Spear, Tahr CT
x1 Seal Dragon, Artpitch DT
x4 Seal Dragon, Biera CT
x4 Seal Dragon, Shading HT
x1 Red Gem Carbuncle DT
Grade 1
x4 Embodiment of Armor, Bahr
x1 Seal Dragon, Kersey
x4 Seal Dragon, Rinocross
x4 Dragon Monk, Gojo
x1 Flame of Hope, Aermo
Grade 2
x2 Seal Dragon, Hunger Hell Dragon
x4 Dragon Knight, Nehalem
x3 Berserk Dragon
x2 Cross Shot, Garp
Grade 3
x4 Dragonic Overlord The End
x4 Dauntless Drive Dragon

Watanabe Shouhei/渡辺翔平
Grade 0
x1 Wingal Brave (FVG)
x4 Enthusiastic Jewel Knight, Polly HT
x3 Margal DT
x1 Alabaster Owl CT
x4 Bringer of Good Luck, Epona CT
x4 Blazing Jewel Knight, Rachelle CT
Grade 1
x2 Toypugal
x2 Lake Maiden, Lien
x4 Little Sage, Marron
x4 Flashing Jewel Knight, Iseult
x3 Knight of Friendship, Kay
Grade 2
x3 Star Call Trumpeter
x3 Blaster Blade Spirit
x3 Blaster Blade
x4 Blaster Dark
Grade 3
x2 Swordsman of the Explosive Flames, Palamedes
x2 Majesty Lord Blaster
x1 King of Knights, Alfred

Vanguard Fight High School 2013 Summer, Student-only Class Kanazawa Regional Tournament Championship Team 
Grade 0
x1 Little Witch, LuLu (FVG)
x4 Oracle Guardian, Nike CT
x4 Psychic Bird CT
x4 Battle Sister, Ginger CT
x4 Lozenge Magus HT
Grade 1
x1 Battle Sister, Omelet
x4 Battle Sister, Chocolat
x2 Battle Sister, Cream
x2 Battle Sister, Cocoa
x2 Emerald Witch, LaLa
x4 Oracle Guardian, Gemini
Grade 2
x3 Battle Sister, Tart
x3 Battle Sister, Mocha
x4 Silent Tom
Grade 3
x4 Battle Sister, Cookie
x4 Scarlet Witch, CoCo

Ueki Shun'ya/上木駿矢
Grade 0
x1 Spark Kid Dragoon (FVG)
x4 Demonic Dragon Nymph, Seiobo HT
x3 Mischievous Girl, Kyon-She DT
x4 Yellow Gem Carbuncle CT
x4 Malevolent Djinn CT
x1 Spark Edge Dracokid DT
Grade 1
x2 Eradicator of the Ceremonial Bonfire, Castor
x4 Wyvern Guard, Barri
x2 Photon Bomber Wyvern
x1 Eradicator of the True Flames, Kougaiji
x1 Rising Phoenix
x1 Dragon Monk, Ginkaku
x4 Red River Dragoon
Grade 2
x4 Thunder Storm Dragoon
x4 Dusty Plasma Dragon
x2 Demonic Dragon Berserker, Garuda
x1 Dragon Dancer, Veronica
Grade 3
x3 Dragonic Kaiser Vermillion "THE BLOOD"
x4 Dragonic Kaiser Vermillion

Torimi Akitaka/鳥見皓宇
Grade 0
x1 Officer Cadet, Erikk (FVG)
x2 Mass Production Sailor ST
x2 Enemy Seeking Seagull Soldier ST
x3 Dolphin Soldier of High Speeds, Raids ST
x3 Pyroxene Communications Sea Otter Soldier DT
x2 Supersonic Sailor CT
x4 Medical Officer of the Rainbow Elixir HT
Grade 1
x2 Tear Knight, Theo
x4 Emerald Shield, Paschalis
x2 Battle Siren, Dorothea
x2 Flash Signal Light Penguin Soldier
x3 Shortstop Brave Shooter
Grade 2
x4 Tear Knight, Lazarus
x2 Storm Rider, Basil
x3 Twin Strike Brave Shooter
x2 Veteran Strategic Commander
Grade 3
x4 Blue Storm Dragon, Maelstrom
x1 Blue Storm Supreme Dragon, Glory Maelstrom
x1 Last Card, Revonn
x3 Storm Rider, Diamantes

Thursday, June 6, 2013

News: Death Army and Battle Sister Cards to Storm North America in September, TD08 & 09, BT10 for October Release


This morning Bushiroad took the world by surprise with the official announcement of western release dates for two extra boosters, two trial decks and two booster sets, laying out their schedule of releases for up through December 2013. VGE-EB04: Infinite Phantom Legion will reprint many Nova Grappler units from BT01-BT06, including the clan's perfect defense card Twin Blader, and an alternate artwork of EB01's Perfect Raizer from the same artists that designed and illustrated the original, Itou Akira and ToMo. EB04 will also introduce new Death Army series cards, including a remake of BT03's Ultimate Lifeform Cosmo Lord, Infinite Death Army Invader Cosmo Lord. EB04 is slated for a September 6th release.


VGE-EB05: Celestial Valkyries will give the same treatment to Oracle Think Tank, reprinting key units from BT01-BT05, with one of those being an alternate artwork of the clan's boss card CEO Amaterasu, illustrated by Hitowa, the same artist behind Water General of Wave-like Spirals Benedict, and Goddess of Good Luck Fortuna. Celestial Valkyries will also bring new Battle Sister units to OraThin's card pool, fleshing them out into a powerful subgroup. EB05 is slated for a September 6th release.

VGE-TD08: Liberator of the Sanctuary will be the second Gold Paladin trial deck to be released, restarting the clan from the ground up through the Liberator subgroup of cards, which focus on the use of the new Blaster Blade Liberator as the axis of one's deck and applying key power increases to the whole field through the new break ride mechanic. After their initially disappointing run from TD05 through BT09, these new Gold Paladins breath new life into the clan by reimagining old cards like Gancelot and Gallatin. TD08 is slated for an October 4th release.

VGE-TD09: Eradicator of the Empire will introduce the Eradicator subgroup for Narukami, allowing selective control of the opponent's front row through break ride. While TD08's support is generally designed to encourage the use of new Liberator units, and TD09 provides similar support, TD09 is also geared toward more generic support for non-Eradicator decks through its Vowing Sword Dragon key card. TD09 is slated for an October 4th release.

VGE-BT10: Triumphant Return of the King of Knights will reinforce the Liberators to allow for an additional focus on the center line in addition to the rearguards, through its key card Liberator of the Round Table Alfred. It will also revive the Royal Paladins as the critical-focused Jewel Knight subgroup designed to emulate the strengths of the previous Blaster cards, and bring in the new, soulblast-focused Genesis clan used by Tokura Misaki during the third season of Cardfight!! Vanguard. Unlike Oracle Think Tank, Genesis is built around rapidly filling up and then discharging the soul for simultaneous draw power and power boosts, giving both short-term power and long-term longevity so long as their fighter can pay the extraordinary costs. BT10 is slated for an October 25th release.
VGE-BT11: Seal Dragons Unleashed will bring the new Seal Dragon series to the fore, while bringing the Dragonic Overlord The End deck its own break ride in Dauntless Drive Dragon, allowing up to six and eight drive checks in a single turn. Just as BT10 is the third season's reimagining of BT01, BT11 is its equivalent to BT02, focusing on breaking the seals imprisoning powerful dragons. The Seal Dragon series will reinforce Kagerou by using Seal Dragon Blockade from BT02: Onslaught of Dragon Souls as its focal card, both reprinting the unit and introducing the Blockade Inferno crossride. Although crossrides are generally regarded as a thing of the past due to their low payout relative to the setup required in the extremely aggressive BT10-on format, Blockade Inferno has been given special attention from professional cardfighters for the devastating power of his limit break and the overall synergy between him, his sealed form and his supporting Seal Dragon rearguards. BT11 is slated for a December 13th release, making it the last English release of 2013, coming out just three days after the international anniversary of VGE-BT01: Descent of the King of Knights.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

News: Kaden Kawakami's National Championship Decklist Leaked

Reigning national champion Kaden Kawakami's decklist has gotten out to the public before Bushiroad USA could publish it on the official portal, breaking the otherwise-tight media blackout that has dominated the Challenge Cup since its opening rounds. In a video interview Kawakami has lain out his entire deck card by card, putting to rest a number of rumors surrounding its makeup. Although some controversy has arisen over Kawakami having possibly emulated a build that he had seen in his local tournaments, the national champion later clarified through Facebook that he had co-developed it with a friend, a situation similar to Smith and Bastianelli's teamwork on the previous championship's Spectral Duke Dragon deck.
Grade 0
x1 Lizard Soldier, Conroe (FVG)
x4 Dragon Monk, Genjo HT
x4 Flame Seed Salamander ST
x2 Lizard Soldier, Gan-Lu ST
x4 Gatling Claw Dragon DT
x2 Dragon Dancer, Monica DT
Grade 1
x3 Wyvern Guard, Barri
x4 Embodiment of Armor, Bahr
x3 Dragon Monk, Gojo

x2 Demonic Dragon Mage, Kimanra
x1 Heatnail Salamander
x1 Flame of Hope, Aermo
Grade 2
x4 Burning Horn Dragon
x3 Cross Shot, Garp
x1 Dragon Knight, Nehalem
x2 Bellicosity Dragon

x2 Wyvern Strike, Tejas
Grade 3
x4 Dragonic Overlord The End

x3 Dragonic Overlord
Probably the most noted feature of the deck is its six stand triggers, previously rumored to be as high as seven or eight, and the absence of critical triggers. While one of Dragonic Overlord The End's strongest features is his ability to multiply the effects of a critical trigger by standing after checking one, Kawakami recognized The End's strategic value as a vanguard whose attack would never be allowed to hit, and instead reinforced his rearguard attacks with stand triggers, taking advantage of Burning Horn Dragon's power-gain skill in the process while also using Flame Seed Salamander's skill to reduce the total number of cards in play, recycling his stands for better rearguard offenses while making it increasingly more difficult for the opponent to defend against The End as the game went on.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

News: FR2013 Kanazawa Results, Dragonic Overlord and Ezel Return to the Fore

Even though the world of North American Cardfight is currently caught up in the crowning of Kaden Kawakami, the world outside is still turning. While Kawakami was receiving his trophy, the next branch of Fighter's Road 2013 was taking place, and Doctor O has the scoop.

In the Juniors' division, Dragonic Overlord The End is picking up steam after its mild success in Kyoto's best 8. First place was taken by a The End cardfighter, although currently it is reported to not use the Dauntless Drive support that has drawn so much professional attention. Second place went to a Gold Paladin cardfighter using an Ezel build, suspected to specifically focus on the Platina Ezel crossride and his ultimate break. The Open division remains consistently dominated by the Eradicators even in their restricted incarnation, with Gauntlet Buster Dragon taking the top spot, and a Gold Paladin Liberator build placing second.  The disparity between the results of Junior class and Open class tournaments through this current season has been noted, as previous tournaments under the Junior and Senior models were relatively uniform when it came to which decks dominated the competition. While on the surface, the Eradicator and Liberator decks appear to be the defining builds of the format, this disparity between divisions may be a sign of a lack of consensus. Neither build has been as prolific as The End or Soul Saver Dragon from 2012 and 2011.

Based on Bushiroad's previous schedule, tournament decklists should go out within the next few days. The remaining five tournaments will take place in Hiroshima, Fukuoka, Tokyo, Sapporo and Nagoya with the Hiroshima tournament being next in line on the 16th. This will be the first time that Fukuoka prefecture has been included in the national tournament, and also the first time that Okayama, Hakata and Osaka will not be participating.