Wednesday, December 31, 2014

News: ARG Unveils Orlando Circuit Facebook Page, Thing Saver-“Abyss” to be Legal

In advance of the upcoming tournament next week on Sunday January 4th, Alter Reality Games has set up a Facebook page for the Orlando Circuit. The tournament will take place at the Ramada Gateway Hotel (7470 Irlo Bronson Memorial Hwy 192, Kissimmee, FL 34747) and will have a total payout of $500 to the top 8 cardfighters. First place will receive $200 in prize credit as well as a playmat exclusive to the tournament champion, while second place will get $100, third and fourth $50, fifth through eighth $25, and all places from second to eighth will receive a top 8 playmat. If the tournament attracts more than 40 participants, the prizes will be paid out in cash. The top 8 will be broadcast live to ARG's Twitch channel, so even those not attending the tournament can tune in to see the final games played out. Cardfight Pro editor Touya will be attending the event to do on-site coverage and interviews.

Registration will begin at 10:00 AM and the tournament will begin an hour later. Preregistration is not possible. Participants are advised to print out one of these deck sheets to write out their decklists on. The tournament will require a $20 entry fee, and participants will receive five booster packs with their entry. Tournament format will be Swiss, meaning that players with similar records will be paired together each round where possible, and unlike Bushiroad's official tournaments, ARG Orlando will be best-of-three games. The time limit on each round is 40 minutes. Any questions can be answered by sending an e-mail to events@alterealitygames.com. 

Note that ARG has ruled that clan mixing will be legal at Orlando, so cardfighters will be able to use Thing Saver-“Abyss” and other mixed decks. The announcement is concerning to some, as most cards from BT16-on do not require a vanguard of a specific clan nor do they target only cards within their clan, and the Lord keytext is no longer being printed on grade 3 cards. This means that units like Frozen Ogle, Silver Blaze and Brawler Yojin can be played in any deck so long as that deck uses legion vanguards and no boss cards from BT15 or earlier.

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.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

News: Sakuma Kazuki Takes National Crown with Dragonic Overlord “The X”

Early this morning the Japanese winter national championships were broadcast live over NicoNico Douga, featuring the best-of-one final match between Tokyo and Kanazawa regional champions Sakuma Kazuki and Ishida Koudai. Ishida had previously turned pro at Fighter's Climax 2013 Kanazawa with his teammates, back when he played Dauntless Drive Dragon with the End, while Sakuma had done so in the top 8 of Fighter's Road 2014 Tokyo under the alias Sakumagazuki. More than thirteen thousand viewers tuned into the broadcast, watching a tense game between two experienced Kagerou cardfighters playing Dragonic Overlord “The X.” After a nearly half-hour game, Sakuma Kazuki was crowned the next Japanese national champion. The broadcast was recorded and the video of it is presented below, with analysis.

In contrast to the victory of Thing Saver-“Abyss” at the preceding summer tournament, the success of “The X” at the national level was in doubt prior to the finals. The new Overlord deck has only been playable for the past three of eight regional qualifiers, but within days of its availability saw instant adoption by professional cardfighters. Prior to this the Fighter's Climax 2014 tournament series was dominated by Shadow Paladin fighters maining Phantom Blaster “Abyss” decks. They were closely tied with Royal Paladin and Kagerou cardfighters playing Thing Saver and Perdition Dragons. The lack of Shadow Paladin in the FC2014 finals was enough of a surprise that master of ceremonies Doctor O had to correct himself when discussing the clan breakdown of the finals. According to Doctor O, the top cut consisted of three Royal Paladin and four Kagerou cardfighters.

(Ishida is on the left, Sakuma on the right.) Ishida opened the game on Dragon Monk Gojo, using his card changing skill to drop and draw a card that would help set up his legion later on. An early heal on Sakuma's end allowed him to accelerate in the same fashion, which when taken with Calamity Tower Wyvern's soulblast 2 and his discard for stride on the next turn, helped set up his legion without any extraneous measures. Going second thus gave Sakuma an advantage in the fight, as it allowed him to stride first and pressure Ishida to defend early with the grade 4 Mahmoud's on-hit skill. If Divine Dragon Knight Mahmoud hit, he could swing the game by retiring Ishida's rearguard Overlord or Red Pulse Dracokid.

Current theory in international play holds that on-hit strides are not worth defending because of their immense power--31000 power in this case--combined with triple drive giving more opportunities to bring the attack through even if guarded for two-to-pass. Japanese pros instead prefer to take a defensive stance against on-hits where feasible to prevent the opponent's game from accelerating, made possible through the recycling property of legion units returning used perfect defenses to the deck for later. It's telling that Ishida followed by mirroring Sakuma's play on the next turn, and that Sakuma responded in kind with a Protect Orb Dragon of his own. Sakuma in general hit more triggers throughout the fight; Ishida's triple drive that turn turned up nothing, while once his rearguard Overlord hit, Sakuma healed out of damage for the second time in the game.

With the fighters standing at a single card's difference in advantage on the turn of Sakuma's legion, -3 to -2, “The X's” on-legion skill and the End's on-hit preserved the current situation in grandeur by searching out a copy of the End and immediately persona blasting it after attacking a rearguard, setting Ishida back by -1 and Sakuma forward by a net +2, in total -4 to 0 (reading across the field from left to right.) While in other situations it would be possible for Ishida to pull Sakuma down by persona blasting “The X,” because Sakuma had only a single rearguard and was at just 2 damage at the time this was not an option. Sakuma would have had to enable the play by both calling rearguards and guarding “The X,” and would not knowingly walk into the trap. His three card lead after Ishida added a copy of the End to hand allowed Sakuma to guard early, and because of Sakuma's conservative play style Ishida was not in a position to punish that. He could equalize the card advantage by drawing out defense, but could never surpass Sakuma in how many cards he controlled, causing the game to spiral out of control in Sakuma's favor.

To Doctor O's surprise, Sakuma transitioned into Dragonic Overlord the Great partway through the game. This is normally regarded as a defensive play. As seen previously in the video of the Sakura VGCS finals, staying on the Great for too long leads to being overwhelmed by “The X” in mirror matches because of how the Great encourages an unflipping-centric play style that focuses too much on the rearguards and too little on attacking the opponent's center column. Sakuma instead used the Great for defensive snowballing, playing damage control to stay close to 3 damage throughout the game while restanding his vanguard every turn of the fight after riding the Great. In total Sakuma restood six times in the match, twice with the End and four times with the Great, versus Ishida's one.

Ishida attempted to retaliate by reriding “The X,” using Calamity Tower to recoup the loss in advantage and set up a Dragonic Burnout. After searching out a copy of “The X” for his on-legion this set the two fighters at -4 to -4, giving Ishida a small window to turn the game around within. Seemingly he achieved this when Sakuma dropped three cards to protect his Burning Horn Dragon. However, at this time the damage was at 4 to 2, and Ishida being at double the damage of Sakuma gave the latter the opportunity to ignore his opponent's last attack and continue with his own offensive. Sakuma was beginning his second turn on the Great at -4 to -7 and equalized damage, but that equalized damage was achieved through Ishida catching up rather than overtaking him completely. On that turn he was able to vastly swing the game in his favor by maximizing his trigger checks with the Great, retiring one rearguard by attacking it, taking out 20000 shield with his vanguard attack, a perfect defense and its cost with a trigger-empowered rearguard, and one last 5000 shield guard with a remaining Burning Horn. Setting Ishida at -10 to Sakuma's -5 left Ishida going into his turn with just four cards in hand after his draw.

Ishida attempted to destabilize the game again with smaller plays, but small moves like his use of Neoflame around the 17:45 mark failed to make a significant enough dent in his opponent's field. Towards the tail end of the fight Sakuma  deliberated over whether or not to stride Route Flare Dragon; doing so would allow him to retire a column and still get an additional drive check from its triple drive, but by using Dragonic Burnout with the Great instead he was able to achieve the same effect by retiring one for Burnout and one with the Great's attack, while getting a fourth check instead of just three. Route Flare with Burnout would have achieved a greater impact in terms of field advantage loss, but an additional dive check was more valuable to Sakuma over an additional retire.

Ishida responded by making the stride that Sakuma decided against, but by this time the game was too far in his opponent's favor. Sakuma began and ended his game on “The X,” setting it up by defending with Protect Orb while he had a Protect Orb on the previous turn so that he could unflip a damage, and then taking one more so that he'd have counterblast open for the End.

Several things can be extrapolated from their fight; the importance of conservative play, having independent vanguard skills and maintaining damage control. Retire skills like those of “The X” are only live when one's rearguards are exposed, so avoiding rush-based strategies entirely and keeping grade 1 and 2 units in hand until absolutely necessary can be rewarding in the G-onwards format versus field control decks. And one point that international players studying the fight should be aware of is that neither cardfighter made use of “The X's” persona blast during the game. In every situation in which it was available, it was optimal to ride over that copy of it on the next turn and return additional triggers or utility cards to the deck, using Calamity Tower to soulblast the Overlords in the soul and then use them to pay for Dragonic Burnout's cost. The threat of “The X” vastly exceeds its performance in practice.

In terms of damage control, the cheaper overall costs of the Great gave Sakuma an incentive to stay on it for the majority of the game after creating a lead for himself with “The X.” Based on Sakuma's decision to not stride around the 19 to 20 minute mark, it can be argued that the value of one more drive check exceeds that of retiring a rearguard. This is an important generalization not just towards decision making when playing Kagerou, but also to deciding on deck choices as a whole. It means that any boss card that pays the same cost to drive check the same number of cards as a different boss card retires from the opponent's field is a better unit to build around than its retire-based counterpart. The bias created by additional trigger checks is significant enough to make this a viable argument. (In Sakuma's case, he actually paid a higher short-term cost to restand the Great by discarding two cards and counterblasting 1 than he would have had to pay for Route Flare's stride cost, although in the long term Route Flare can only be used twice per game.)

The live broadcast enjoyed a 79.9% positive reception and over two thousand comments posted during its airing period. This is only the second time that any portion of the national tournament has been shown in Japan, as while some of the junior national games from 2012 were aired back-to-back with the first world championship finals, for the most part Bushiroad has maintained a policy of secrecy regarding the inner workings of their competitions. The shift towards showing the tournament finals could be seen as a step towards transparency.

Monday, December 22, 2014

News: G-EB01: "Roar of the Universe" Announced, Zeal, Enigman, Dimensional Robo and Metalborg Support Incoming

Six hours ago one of Bushiroad of Japan's associated card shops, Card Kingdom, tweeted early promotional materials for the first extra booster of Cardfight!! Vanguard G, G-EB01: Roar of the Universe (宇宙の咆哮 Sora no Houkou, 宇宙 is normally read as Uchuu "Outer space" but here has the pronunciation for "Sky" Sora forced on it.) According to these first blurbs, the extra booster set will be composed entirely of Dimension Police units from the clan's various subclans, including Dimensional Robo, Zeal, Enigman, Metalborg and new units. Roar of the Universe will introduce stride cards specifically for Dimension Police that all of these decks will be able to make use of. The set will be released on March 13 2015, and will use the now-standard extra booster size of 35 cards, with 3 triple rare, 5 double rare, 8 rare, 19 commons per box and 4 special parallel reprints of cards from the set.

With so many clans to support, G-EB01 is setting up to introduce an eclectic mix of strategies both old and new much like Champions of the Cosmos last year. The revitalization of the Zeal deck has been on fans' wishlist since Dimensional Robos took hold over most of the clan's support, while the Enigmen have remained a long-forgotten piece of Dimension Police history that most cardfighters haven't touched since 2012. With limit break enabler support probable, the usable card pool for the D-Police is likely to be expanded out of its current limitations. And given the recent shift in tone of revival legions towards 2012's limit breaks grade 3s, Zeal himself may find a place in the set as the target of a second revival legion for Dimension Police. While the set blurbs make no mention of crossrides, every booster containing the Dimensional Robo subclan has introduced one since BT08: Blue Storm Armada.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Today's Card Analysis: Dragonic Kaiser Crimson

The Japanese card of the day for the weekend is Dragonic Kaiser Crimson. Introduced as a double rare card in G-BT02: Flying Flowers, Crimson is a revival legion for Narukami's iconic 2012 boss card Dragonic Kaiser Vermillion. In the past two years since his debut in BT06: Breaker of Limits Vermillion has aged poorly, with the Brawler subclan's legion boss card Big Bang Knuckle Buster not only covering Vermillion's bases in attacking the frontrow, but also being able to go after backrow units at the same time for a lower overall cost. Crimson updates the aged dragon by giving him a role that Big Bang can't fill.

Prior to legioning, Crimson has a main phase soulblast 1 that gives him +2000 power if there's a unit in the center column. This requires Crimson to have a booster, but can be repeated to quickly fill the drop zone for legion. But in contrast to the ease of setting up his legion 22000, Crimson is the first legion vanguard which is also a limit break, seemingly contradicting the ethos of legion mechanics as a whole. The means to circumvent this is Eradicator Egg Helm Dracokid from VGE-BT16: Legion of Dragons & Blades ver. E. As long as he's in a rearguard circle, Egg Helm's skill allows all of your own limit break 4 abilities to activate regardless of what damage you're at, which makes Crimson a much more competitive option. (Because Egg Helm applies specifically to limit break 4, limit break 5 abilities like that of “THE BLOOD” are not applicable.)

Once the conditions for limit break have been met, either by damage or through Egg Helm, Crimson's limit break draws on Narukami's long-forgotten Exorcist Mage mechanic and allows you to remove Dragonic Kaiser Vermillion's cost. This is a once per turn action and only applies to the next time you use Vermillion's limit break, so you can't repeat Vermillion's skill endlessly to gain infinite instances of +2000 power. Egg Helm Dracokid also removes Vermillion's limit break 4 condition, so with both the damage and counterblast 3 conditions negated you are able to use Vermillion regardless of whether or not you actually had the counterblast to pay for it before.

What Crimson's revival legion brings to the table is a constant presence. In committing any rearguards to the frontrow, your opponent now commits to losing them. Each attack on a unit has to be guarded separately, and it's impossible to intercept Vermillion's limit break, so effectively any shield put to the field is permanently lost. Crimson is most effective when the opponent doesn't respect these facts, and is most under threat when they choose to play a two-column game that partially negates his threat by only having one rearguard lane. But this can also be used your advantage, since it makes the opponent predictable and limits the number of attacks you have to deal with per turn.

Narukami is a defensively weak clan which has few draw options and has trouble getting back a lead if it falls behind, so Crimson creates multiple scenarios which play towards its strengths. In curtailing the opponent's defensive power and cornering them inside of the constraints of having only a few columns, Crimson decreases the total hand size necessary to successfully defend each turn. In leaving counterblast open for rearguards to take advantage of while simultaneously making certain that you don't need to dedicate any additional resources to frontrow control, Crimson opens up room in the deck for Dragonic Deathscythe to hit the back row. Perhaps the most frustrating aspect of this card is how little support mainline Narukami has received compared to the Eradicator and Brawler subclass; as the Vermillion deck exists now it is not so different from how it looked in the time of “THE BLOOD” or even when Vermillion was being paired with Breakthrough Dragon. While that deck still contains many of the current defining cards for professional play like Rising Phoenix, Deathscythe, Garuda and Dusty Plasma Dragon, Crimson's playability will depend heavily on what other Narukami support comes out of the woodwork in G-BT02.

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.
開発陣考案のデッキレシピを掲載!
開発陣が考案する「テーマ」や「コンセプト」に沿ったイチオシデッキレシピを掲載!
デッキレシピを参考に、色んなデッキを組んでみよう!
※同名・同能力のカードは一つにまとめて掲載しています。
"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 unit 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.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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

Monday, December 8, 2014

News: Sakura VGCS Won with Dragonic Overlord “The X,” Phantom Blaster “Abyss” Tops FC2014 Nagoya

December 7th, Tsuchiura city, Ibaraki prefecture. The second Vanguard Championship to take place since the Japanese release of G-BT01: Generation Stride has come to a close with Dragonic Overlord “The X” in first. The Sakura VGCS champion, alias "GmfWingal" (ごまふがる Gomafugaru, from Gomafu "speckled black") is a former Chaos Breaker and Raging Form cardfighter who had been active since December 2013, had not topped in prior Fighter's Climax or VGCS tournaments. Blackgal was a native to card shop Sakura, and his decklist along with a video of the finals is presented below.

The top 4 at Sakura were “The X” in both first and second place, a Seeker cardfighter in third and a Revenger fighter in fourth. Bushiroad's Fighter's Climax 2014 Nagoya stage was taking place close to the Sakura CS' start date. Tweets shortly after the event indicate that the top 4 at Nagoya was Mordred-“Abyss” in first place, Raging Form-“Abyss” in second, Alfred XIV-Thing Saver in third, and “The X” in fourth.

Sakura's majority was split almost evenly between Royal Paladin and Kagerou cardfighters, with 13 playing Royal Paldain and 12 playing Kagerou. This was also the first time that the relative presence of Shadow Paladin fighters in a VGCS had decreased since the implementation of the most recent restricted list, with only 5 fighters (11%) playing “Abyss.”
Deck breakdown (44 participants in total)
13 Royal Paladin
1 Oracle Think Tank
5 Shadow Paladin
1 Gold Paladin
12 Kagerou
5 Nova Grappler
1 Dimensional Robo
1 Link Joker
1 Megacolony
1 Bermuda △
3 Gear Chronicle
This success of “The X” at Sakura and Nagoya has come in wake of his success at FC2014 Fukuoka, just days after the release of Generation Stride. Kagerou has been a consistent favorite for professional cardfighters throughout the game's history, due to their long-lived support across multiple formats, and just prior to the set's release “The X” was the most expensive triple rare out of the set.

The primary anomaly at Sakura is the lack of visible Nova Grappler, as the fist clan to receive a restanding stride unit, Vict Plasma. Plasma's restanding ~26000 power center lane has some advantages over the contemporary “Abyss” deck, being able to swing for higher initial numbers without the setup from Mordred Phantom and being able to do so with multiple rearguard attacks as well, in exchange for being a twice per game skill.

The tournament finals between GmfWingal and Mossan were recorded and uploaded to YouTube. GmfWingal demonstrated a clear difference in play style, prioritizing aggressive stride turns to change the flow of the game and following up with legion skills later on, while Mossan left his G-units untouched. Much of their early turns were spent mirroring one another, but in game 1 GmfWingal maintained a clear advantage throughout the fight by playing continual damage control and aggressively getting his opponent to higher damage. Mossan played a defensive game of minimizing his losses by continually restanding the Great and attacking GmfWingal's rearguards, using his Protect Orb Dragons to keep damage unflipped. GmfWingal instead used “The X's” on-legion skill to search out a copy of “The X” instead of the End; this gave his opponent an incentive to let the center lane hit and put Mossan further behind at 4 to 2 damage, which would make “The X's” persona blast become live on the next turn.

Midway through the game GmfWingal made a critical play that is in some dispute. He strode Route Flare Dragon and used its skill to turn a copy of it face-up in the generation zone, but because he did not have two face-up G units after doing so, he could not retire a column. Route Flares skills states "This ability cannot be used for the rest of the turn." but because not being able to use the ability for the rest of the turn was believed to follow from having two or more face up generation units, and it did not satisfy the condition of "If the number of face up cards in your G Zone is two or more," the remainder of the skill, including the statement that it could not be used for the rest of the turn was not implemented. A later ruling issued by Bushiroad Inc.'s support staff stated that based on as much of the skill text needing to be fulfilled as possible, "This ability cannot be used for the rest of the turn." should have taken effect. Gmfwingal issued an apology for the mistake over Twitter.

GmfWingal ultimately won game 1 by deck out, reaching the point where Mossan had no critical triggers left in his deck, no-guarding his vanguard while at 4 damage, and then passing his turn so that Mossan would draw his last card and automatically lose. This type of game is only possible with the extended time limit that VGCS tournaments afford; in Bushiroad's system both players would have hit time at the 20 minute mark and mutually lose, producing a tournament with no winner.

In game 2, GmfWingal started at a clearer disadvantage and played more carefully to stride from the outset with Divine Dragon Knight Mahmoud, but forgot to use his on-hit skill to retire Mossan's Calamity Tower Wyvern. Mossan was able to get a stronger early game going, but multiple turns of stride shifted the pace of the fight in GmfWingal's favor; by striding Route Flare on his next turn and using his persona generation skill to retire Dragonic Overlord the Great, then using the copy of Great he discarded for stride for Burnout's skill to retire Calamity Tower, and attack Burning Horn with Burnout afterwards, GmfWingal cleared out his opponent's rearguards and set up a net four card advantage over Mossan.

In both of these games any attacks on the rearguards by “The X” were effectively unblockable because Protect Orb Dragon cannot guard for a rearguard; nevertheless, versus a 29000-power “The X” lane, GmfWingal chose to put down 30000 shield to prevent the End's persona blast from going off, trading card advantage to shut down Mossan's recovery gameplan. Without a definitive way for Mossan to overtake the match, GmfWingal won the finals 2-0.

Original image uploaded by Card Shop Sakura.
GmfWingal's decklist was similar in composition to that used by Bottan at the Nagoya tournament, including nearly identical grade 3 lineups, choice of stride units and grade 2 lineup. The primary difference between them is that GmfWingal favored Burning Horn Dragon over Neoflame in the rearguard, and their aesthetic choices over trigger units.

Sakura Vanguard Championship
First place: GmfWingal/ごまふがる
Grade 0
x1 Red Pulse Dracokid (FV)
x4 Perdition Dancer, Agafia HT
x1 Seal Dragon, Artpique DT
x4 Gattling Claw Dragon DT
x4 Demonic Dragon Mage, Apalala CT
x3 Blu-ray Dracokid CT
Grade 1
x4 Protect Orb Dragon
x4 Dragon Monk, Gojo
x4 Calamity Tower Wyvern
x1 Flame of Strength, Aetniki
Grade 2
x4 Dragonic Burnout
x3 Dragonic Neoflame
x4 Burning Horn Dragon
Grade 3
x4 Dragonic Overlord “The X”
x3 Dragonic Overlord the End
x2 Perdition Emperor Dragon, Dragonic Overlord the Great
Grade 4 (Generation Zone)
x4 Imperial Flame Dragon King, Route Flare Dragon
x1 Divine Dragon Knight, Mahmoud
x2 Miracle Element, Atomos
x1 Heat Element, Magum

Today's Card Analysis: Spring Waiting Maiden Oz

Today's Japanese card of the day is a new first vanguard for Neo Nectar, introduced in the upcoming trial deck G-TD03: Flower Maiden of Purity. Like Gunner Gear Dracokid and his contemporaries, Spring Waiting Maiden Oz is intended to linger on the field for several turns before having her skill made active by striding a grade 4. This leaves her exposed to retire and lock skills like those of Gattling Claw Dragon or Mobius Breath during the initial turns of the fight, but if you can keep her around long enough to activate her generation break the results are stronger than skills that could be used on the first or second turns of the game.

Oz's generation break 1 costs a single counterblast, putting her into the soul in exchange for superior calling a copy of any grade 2 or lesser unit on the field from the deck. While this has immediate synergy with the old Arboros deck from BT08: Blue Storm Armada, which requires having multiple rearguards with the same name in order to give them power boosts, it's difficult to get Arboros away from his evolution line because of how beneficial it is to him. Considering more recent cards for Neo Nectar, the grade 1 Dandelion Musketeer Mirkka is a 9000-power booster during any turn in which the deck was shuffled by one of your card effects. Since Oz shuffles the deck with her own skill, you can bring out a second copy of Mirkka so long as you have the first and make it easy to form 21000-power lanes, as well as hit basic crossride numbers when necessary. Or from Neo Nectar's grade 2 lineup, having one copy of White Rose Musketeer Alberto out automatically lets you get out a second one with Oz, forcing the opponent to block two instances of an on-hit unflip.

The trick with Oz is that she lets your gameplay become better based on already having some form of positive setup. Her generation break escalates the existing situation by giving you another copy of whatever you have out to play around with, making each card you draw exponentially better. This is not a FVG like Maiden of Physalis or Shield Seed Squire that can make something out of nothing. Oz has to already be in a favorable position to become important, and has to survive long enough for that to happen when cards like Blaster Dark Revenger “Abyss” and Dragonic Neoflame are running around ready to snipe her. This makes her a more technical support card like Evil Ferret, as well as one that is defined by her call targets. Since Snowdrop Musketeer Pirkko has effectively resuscitated the old limit break decks, Oz may well find a home in Venus Trap “Яeverse” or Arboros, provided you can determine useful call targets for her and find room for Arboros. In combination with the break ride Master Wisteria, Oz and Tamara from BT16, Arboros now has a multitude of options for setting up his ideal ~23000 power columns that don't rely on using his grade 0, 1 and 2 forms, so the deck has the makings of a niche carved out for itself.

It should be noted that Oz is not actually considered a part of the Maiden subclan, as in Japanese the subclan uses the English word Maiden while Oz is instead an Otome like Darkness Maiden Macha. Thus, any subclan-specific support would likely not benefit her if it were to arise in G-BT02.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

News: Dragonic Overlord “The X” Tops FC2014 Fukuoka, 2012 National Champion in Fourth

Flavor text: "The End isn't finished."
December 6th, Fukuoka prefecture, Japan. The Fukuoka branch of Bushiroad's ongoing Fighter's Climax 2014 tournament concluded at the West Japan General Exhibition Center with a Kagerou cardfighter, alias "Bottan," placing first using a Dragonic Overlord “The X” deck. Second place was a Gear Chronicle cardfighter, and third place a Royal Paladin fighter playing Thing Saver Dragon, and fourth was 2012 national champion Nakamura Seishirou also playing Thing Saver. The first, second and fourth place decklists are given below. Bottan tweeted that he was undefeated in the tournament, with his qualification rounds consisting of Nova Grappler, Dimension Police, Revenger and Royal Paladin matchups. He played top 16 against Gear Chronicle, Kagerou, Royal Paladin and another Gear Chronicle fighter.

Dragonic Overlord “The X”  (read as "The Cross," as in "crossover") was introduced in G-BT01: Generation Stride as a revival legion for Dragonic Overlord the End, the grade 3 that has served as a continual hazard throughout multiple formats. Nearly every era of the game has had its own incarnation of the End, making him almost as long lived as Kagerou itself. Few cardfighters will need a reminder of what the End is capable of, but for the benefit of newer players; if the End's attack hits, he can counterblast 2 and persona blast to restand. Because the End gains more cards from his second twin drive than he has to discard, his restand is both a +1 in card advantage and a grossly aggressive means of checking for additional triggers.

“The X” makes the End all the more effective because not only does his legion turn the End into a 22000 base attacker to make the on-hit easier to get off, which  “The X” legions he can search the deck for a copy of either the End or “The X.” And if his attack doesn't hit,  “The X” can counterblast 1 and persona blast a copy of himself to retire two of the opponent's rearguards. This turns the crossoverlords into a lose-lose situation--since the copy of the End is added directly to the hand from the deck as a +1 in advantage, the opponent is faced with either letting the attack hit so that the vanguard can restand with a net +2 and able to overwhelm the opponent with their inherently large center lane, or blocking the attack and taking a -2 while “The X” goes back to a neutral +0. This is only the basis for the deck however, as what is truly championing “The X” is his massively overgrown pool of Overlord-specific support cards and alternate grade 3s that give him more options than there is room in the deck for.

“The X's” rise was not unforeseen. Just two days prior to the set's release on December 5th, prerelease prices in Japan showed an immense demand for “The X,” with the card being the most expensive triple rare in Generation Stride at 1500~1700 yen per card according to aucfan. Route Flare, the deck's primary stride unit, stood at only 1000 yen per card. Some will dispute the Fukuoka results as not being representative of what is to come, as Bushiroad's tournaments are infamous for their best-of-one format. However, the prereleases prices suggest a demand significant enough that these results will be replicated at the more legitimate VGCS tournaments.

Original image uploaded by besthito. Full decklist is transcribed below. Other than Route Flare and Messiah, the deck is fully SPed, with all of his Neo Flames being legion rares.
The core of “The X” rests on the grade 2 Perdition Dragon Dragonic Neoflame. Unlike many of the Perdition support, Neoflame does not require a Perdition vanguard to activate. When Neoflame is called to the rearguard, it receives a skill that when an opponent's rearguard in the same column as it is put into the drop zone, allows Neoflame to counterblast 1 and retire another in the same column. Virtually every skill in the deck can play off of Neoflame in some way. If the End's attack hits a rearguard, not only will the End restand but because a rearguard was placed into the drop zone Neoflame's counterblast will retire its booster. If the End does not hit and “The X's” persona blast goes off instead, “The X” can retire two rearguards and Neoflame will remove one of their boosters. This dramatically escalates the situation to either a +1 vs -2 or -1 vs -3 depending on which persona blast is used.

Furthermore, with the grade 2 Dragonic Burnout, who can return an Overlord from the drop zone to the deck and then soulblast 1 to retire a rearguard, it becomes possible to combo him to Neoflame, paying counterblast 1 and soulblast 1 to destroy an entire column. Because of Burnout's conditions, if either “The X” or the End's persona blasts go off, Burnout is fully set up for next turn, giving multiple options across several turns for clearing out the opponent's field and punishing them for fighting back. Bottan built his deck with multiple legions in mind that are able to recycle these grade 2 options, and having access to Dragonic Overlord the Great both offers another restanding vanguard option that can also trigger a rearguard Neoflame's skill.

Kagerou's primary stride unit, Route Flare Dragon, expands the deck's options by allowing it to retire an entire column twice per game. While this does not synergize with Neoflame, it does give the Kagerou cardfighter additional options for beating down the opponent so that the End will hit later. The cost of discarding a grade 3 in order to stride provides an opportunity to use Dragonic Burnout in the same turn as the stride unit, retiring three rearguards. Since Route Flare requires two units to be face-up in the generation zone after his persona blast is activated in order to resolve, he encourages early use of Divine Dragon Knight Mahmoud, whose on-hit retires another rearguard. The turn 3~4 plan for the deck depending on which fighter went first then becomes to discard one of the Overlords to stride Mahmoud, call Neoflame, call Burnout and return the Overlord discarded to the deck to retire a rearguard, use Neoflame to retire that rearguard's booster, then hit with Mahmout to retire another. On the next turn the Overlord returned to the deck can be grabbed back with “The X's” on-legion skill. The Overlord deck has multiple ways to trigger its key cards and start up an explosive sequence of retire skills that severely limit the number of safe plays against it. The only decks capable of circumventing “The X” directly are Tachikaze, Shadow Paladin and the Great Nature variants that draw off of their rearguards' end phase retires rather than call them back to the field.

Original image uploaded by Doctor O. Full decklist is transcribed below.
Bottan's Overlord decklist was later uploaded a second time by Doctor O, followed by the second place cardfighter's Gear Chronicle deck. The Gear Chronicle finalist focused on guard manipulation in his build, using the grade 2 Steam Knight Puzur Ili as a Silent Tom variant capable of blocking grade 0 cards, and Chrono Jet Dragon's generation break 2 to block perfect defense cards. With the generation rare Chronos Command preordering at 2500~3000 yen per card, the deck's grade 4 lineup is difficult to complete in Japan, but its property of sending all of the opponent's rearguards into their deck has been enough to launch Gear Chronicle into professional play out of the box.

One of the contributing factors to “The X's” victory may be the new G-BT01 onwards version of perfect defense cards. The runner-up at Fukuoka ran Steam Maiden Alulim, a new variant of these units, that can unflip a damage if there is a copy of herself in the drop zone when she is guarded with. In exchange, Alulim variations can only protect the vanguard and cannot be called against an attack on a rearguard. Neither Dragonic Overlord “The X's” nor the End's skills require them to hit or attack a vanguard. Both the End's restand and “The X's” retire skill can activate after attacking a rearguard, and the Great's on-hit specifically has to hit a rearguard, which means that by running these new perfect defense cards, other cardfighters are enabling Overlord fighters to funnel them towards whichever scenario is the worst one.

Original image uploaded by Seishirou. Full decklist is transcribed below.
Nakamura Seishirou tweeted his decklist shortly after the tournament. As in most years since his 2012 debut Seishirou played a Royal Paladin deck, this time using a Thing Saver variant with the legion grade 2 Jewel Knight Swordmy to superior call his copies of Shellie to act as boosters. Since Swordmy does not require a Jewel Knight vanguard, Swordmy has seen recent integration into Seeker decks as a source of cheap boosting power. Other modifications include Cycirlz from G-BT01, who gains +2 grade when discarded for the cost of stride, allowing him to be used as an alternative means of striding the deck's grade 4s Gablade and Saint Blow Dragon. Gablade's on hit skill superior calls a grade 2 or greater unit from the deck, providing an ideal moment to bring out Swordmy early on and then superior call Shellie behind him for a net +2. Like Route Flare above, Saint Blow's skill requires it to turn a copy of itself face-up in the generation zone and then have two or more face-up G-units in the zone. This endows it with +3000 power for each rearguard and an additional critical, which combined with the power from striding makes an unboosted 41000 power 2 critical center lane that can alternatively force the opponent to higher damage early so that Thing Saver's restand skill becomes devastating, or catch the opponent unprepared to defend in the turns after TSD has taken out much of their hand options.

Seishirou had just recently won the sixth Hakata VGCS with a similar deck, and in August had won the second Kitakyuu CS with Thing Saver-“Abyss.” His success in multiple tournaments, both official and underground, has made him one of the most recognizable professionals in Japanese play.

Fighter's Climax 2014 Fukuoka Regional Qualifier
Regional Champion: Bottan/ぼったん
Grade 0
x1 Red Pulse Dracokid (FV)
x4 Seal Dragon, Shirting HT
x2 Seal Dragon, Artpique DT
x3 Gattling Claw Dragon DT
x4 Seal Dragon, Biella CT
x3 Magnum Shot Dracokid CT
Grade 1
x4 Protect Orb Dragon
x4 Dragon Monk, Gojo
x4 Calamity Tower Wyvern
x1 Violence Horn Dragon
Grade 2
x4 Dragonic Burnout
x3 Burning Horn Dragon
x4 Dragonic Neoflame
Grade 3
x4 Dragonic Overlord “The X”
x3 Dragonic Overlord the End
x2 Perdition Emperor Dragon, Dragonic Overlord the Great
Grade 4 (Generation Zone)
x4 Imperial Flame Dragon King, Route Flare Dragon
x1 Divine Dragon Knight, Mahmoud
x1 Harmonics Messiah
x2 Miracle Element, Atomos

Runner-up
Grade 0
x1 Timepiece Dracokid (FV)
x4 Steam Maiden, Ululu HT
x4 Lucky Pot Dracokid DT
x4 Steam Battler, Dadashig CT
x4 Steam Battler, Mashuda CT
Grade 1
x4 Steam Maiden, Alulim
x4 Steam Breath Dragon
x3 Steam Scalar, Gigi
x3 Maser Gear Dragon
Grade 2
x4 Smoke Gear Dragon
x4 Steam Knight, Puzur Ili
x3 Twin Maser Dragon
Grade 3
x4 Chrono Jet Dragon
x4 Ruin Disposal Dragon
Grade 4 (Generation Zone)
x4 Interdimensional Dragon, Ragnaclock Dragon
x2 Interdimensional Dragon, Chronos Command Dragon
x1 Interdimensional Dragon, Mystery Flare Dragon
x1 Miracle Element, Atomos

Fourth place: Seishirou
Grade 0
x1 Advance Party Seeker, File (FV)
x4 Jewel Knight, Hilmy HT
x4 Margal DT
x4 Jewel Knight, Noble Stinger CT
x4 Blazing Jewel Knight, Rachelle CT
Grade 1
x4 Holy Knight Guardian
x4 Laurel Knight, Cycirlz
x4 Stinging Jewel Knight, Shellie
x2 Good Faith Seeker, Cynric 
Grade 2
x4 Blaster Blade Seeker
x4 Full Bloom Seeker, Cerdic
x4 Jewel Knight, Swordmy
Grade 3
x4 Seeker, Thing Saver Dragon
x3 Seeker, Sacred Wingal
Grade 4 (Generation Zone)
x4 Shrouded Divine Knight, Gablade
x4 Divine Sacred Dragon, Saint Blow Dragon