Archive of General Terminology

Below is a glossary of terms, primarily official ones, used in the discussion of the Cardfight!! Vanguard Trading Card Game.

Bind -- An official term for skills that "make an opponent's card unusable"2 causing cards to be placed outside of the play mat. This form of skill debuted in BT05: Awakening of Twin Blades, and was later expanded on by EB03: Cavalry of Black Steel.

Break Ride -- Also "Breakride." An official term originating from the anime3 and press conferences4 used to describe a specific kind of skill. In contrast to crossrides, break rides activate when you ride a unit over the unit with the skill, giving the unit that you rode +10000 power and then activating another effect. All break rides are limit breaks, combining the disadvantages of both crossride and limit break while provide a comparative payout for activating the skill. These skills debuted in TD08: Liberator of the Sanctuary, and were popularized in BT10: Triumphant Return of the King of Knights.

Crossride -- An official term originally used to describe Dragonic Overlord The End and Phantom Blaster Overlord in the anime1, the term has since been adapted in Bushiroad's printed publications2. Crossrides are characterized by several traits, some of them unique to their cards, but mainly the violation of characteristics 1 and 2 will mean that the unit is not a crossride;
  1. The unit is a grade 3 intended to be ridden over a grade 3.
  2. The unit has 11000 base power and gains +2000 power continuously for having the grade 3 that it is intended to be ridden over in the soul. The official definition is that the crossride "benefits from having the unit in the soul."
  3. The unit has either "CONT【V/R】: If you have a non-«X» vanguard or rear-guard, this unit gets Power -2000." where X is the unit's clan or "[CONT](VC/RC): Lord (If you have a unit that doesn't belong to the same clan as this unit, this unit cannot attack)"
It was previously a rule that the grade 3 the crossride was to ride over would have 11000 base power and that the crossride itself would have a persona blast, but these mechanics have since diverged away from being characteristics of crossrides. Majesty Lord Blaster is commonly mistaken for a crossride, but he is a base 10000 unit that gains +2000 power for having two specific units in the soul, and he is not intended to be ridden over a grade 3. Crossrides are a controversial subject because it is generally held that the Cardfight!! Vanguard trading card game is designed around 11000 power, and that 13000 upsets this; the view is not universally agreed upon however, and crossrides are not always practical depending on what the most recent set releases are. Crossrides do not exist in the manga's continuity, where Dragonic Waterfall, Phantom Blaster Dragon and Exculpate the Blaster replace their role in the storyline. Mechanically, crossrides resemble a grade 4 unit without its actual drawbacks. As of BT10: Triumphant Return of the King of Knights, crossrides have generally fallen out of favor among pro fighters in favor of break rides and units with faster setup, but some like The End and Blockade Inferno remain popular.

Especial Intercept -- The official term for a skill that "gives a unit +5000 shield when it intercepts."2 These skills naturally belong to grade 2s, and usually have a restriction that the unit they intercept for must be of the same clan for the skill to activate. Originally, the term was misromanized in the anime as "S-Special Intercept." All units printed with this skill thus far have 8000 base power.

First vanguard -- The grade 0 that you lay out face-down at the start of the game, which forms the basis for your strategy. Usually a normal unit, some variations are trigger units which cycle back into the deck after their skills are used. "First vanguard" is the official term used in Bushiroad-sponsored publications like KeroKero Ace and VANGUA-JYUKU, and in the anime1, while "starting vanguard" is a fan-created term that began on Cardfight Pro and was later adapted by other websites. Cardfight Pro has since converted to the official term "first vanguard." Usually abbreviated as FVG (first vanguard) or more recently, FV (first vanguard.) Generally not treated as a proper noun, in Japanese it is approximated from English as ファストヴァンガード (fasuto vangaado.)
An example of the "FV" abbreviation being used in the September
 2012 issue of KeroKero Ace. Here Terence Lao's Military Dragon,
Raptor Soldier is marked with "FV" at the bottom left, indicating  
that it is the intended first vanguard. Some publications use "FVG."
Forerunner -- Official term, this is a shorthand way of referring to the skill "[AUTO]:When another «Royal Paladin» rides this unit, you may call this card to (RC)." The official definition is "When a unit of the same clan rides a unit with "Forerunner", you may call the unit with "Forerunner" to your rear-guard circle."5

Format -- Unofficial term referring to all cards currently in circulation. Formats can be defined by language because different languages have different booster sets available at any given time; in the TCG there are three formats, Japanese, Korean and English.

KeroKero Ace -- A magazine which frequently features Cardfight as a subject matter, often revealing exclusive previews of upcoming sets or showing off information about yet-to-be-aired episodes. The magazine has always been an important element to the game's success in Japan, as the second Cardfight card to ever be distributed, an unskilled Blaster Blade promo with alternate artwork, was released in this magazine. Since then, KKA and Bushiroad have worked closely.

Limit Break -- An official term for a skill which activates when the user has 4 or more damage in their damage zone. Limit breaks are generally believed to exist to counter crossrides, and have since evolved out of that purpose into break rides. Because they activate at a specific damage count, limit break units are typically weaker before they hit that count, and they usually have no use in the rearguard. Limit breaks are a subject of controversy, though not as much as crossride, because they are seen as introducing power creep to the game and giving unequal advantages in an attempt to create a comeback mechanic. Those in favor of them defend the mechanic with the point that they give an advantage to decks without limit breaks by having stronger early and midgame skills, and that matches prior to four damage remain unchanged from pre-limit break formats.

Megablast -- Also "Mega Blast." A skill "with the cost of a soul blast of 8 cards plus a counterblast of 5 cards" these can be either autoskills that meet their conditions during the battle phase or activate skills that can be used in the main phase. The actual skill is generally dramatic, i.e. Stil Vampir's megablast which causes the opponent to ride a unit from their rearguard--typically a grade 0--or Agravain's megablast which causes him to gain +1000 power for each of his rearguards, even on the opponent's turn. However, many of these skills are impractical because of their need to hit, as with CEO Amaterasu's draw 5 megablast.

PASH! Otomedia -- A more character-centric magazine targeted at women 18-40 rather than young boys like contemporary magazines, PASH! has featured occasional Vanguard articles since 2012 and often has exclusive artwork that later gets issued in merchandise. Because it's more focused towards the characters rather than the cards, PASH! tends toward previewing whole story arcs, and so can spoil episodes like ride 97 just days before the episode airs. As a general rule, PASH! tends to feature the male cast in situations that would appeal to female readers--some examples are when they featured a two-page artwork of Aichi, Ren and Kai proposing in tuxedos, or when they showed the same cast dressed up for the Tanabata festival in kimono.

Persona Blast -- Also "Personablast." An official term for a skill that activates by "discarding a card with the same name."2 These skills are sometimes associated with other costs, like counterblast or soulblast. Originally the definitive mechanic of BT05, Crossrides were first revealed as having persona blasts as one of their defining characteristics, although other units like Covert Demonic Dragon, Mandalalord and Maiden of Trailing Rose had their own persona blasts within the same booster set.

Professional Scene -- Also "Scene." Unofficial term for all of the pro cardfighters participating in a given region's tournament season. The line between a professional and amateur is blurred, but the act of turning pro is generally defined as being recognized by Bushiroad in their deck recipes. Scenes are mainly defined by region and the level of communication between regions, as opposed to formats which are defined by card availability. For example, within the English format some of the different scenes are a North American scene, Japanese scene and French scene; the Japanese and North American scenes do not communicate very much, but the North American and French scenes communicate heavily. Because of that, the North American and French scenes are more similar in terms of which decks see play, while the Japanese scene is unrecognizable compared to the other two. And while there is a lot of communication in terms of the English scene to the Japanese scene, the opposite is not true; because of this, the Japanese format-Japanese scene is generally seen as an indicator of what the English format-North American scene will look like in six months, but the Japanese scene is not influenced by the North American one at all. Bridging the communications gap between cardfighters is a major goal of many people and organizations in the Cardfight community.

Restraint -- A skill which prevents a unit from attacking. Typically these are on very powerful units, grade 2s with 11000 power like Genocide Jack, or on grade 3s that do not have a different continuous skill to decrease their power.

Subgroup -- A series of associated cards which activate by interacting with cards from the same series. Generally these work by having a vanguard with a specific keyword in its name like "Blaster" or by only being able to pay costs using cards with that keyword like "Seal Dragon." Subgroups effectively create a subclan within a clan, with the bonus that some subgroup cards can be efficiently used by those not from the same subgroup but part of the same clan. The first subgroup was the Blaster series introduced in TD01: Blaster Blade, but it was not completely codified until BT05: Awakening of Twin Blades.

TMS -- Tokyo Movie Shinsha Entertainment, TMS Studio. This is the animation studio responsible for animating Cardfight!! Vanguard, Asia Circuit and Link Joker, as well as illustrating several promo cards.

Ultimate Break -- A limit break which activates at 5 damage rather than 4. These skills are crossride-exclusive so far, and even more dramatic than standard limit breaks. These can be considered impractical because they only function on the brink of death, and it is very easy to lure opponents to 4 damage and then leaving them hanging each turn by only attacking with the vanguard.

VANGUA-JYUKU -- A series of informative publications from Bushiroad distributed in magazines, online and at cardshops in Japan, which give sample decklists based on a characters' anime deck to educate the reader in how to use that clan. Despite being based on the characters' decks, the articles do not always reflect the actual deck used by them at the time, and will sometimes contradict what a character is shown calling or riding in the anime.

Citations and External Links
1. Cardfight!! Vanguard Ride 107. Crunchyroll, 2013. Web. 27 Jan. 2013
2. "Terms Used in Cardfight!! Vanguard." Cardfight!! Vanguard Playbook. 2nd ed. Singapore: Bushiroad Inc., 2012. 38-39. Web. 27 Jan. 2013. <>.
3. Cardfight!! Vanguard Ride 106. Crunchyroll, 2013. Web. 27 Jan. 2013.
4. Touya. "Bushiroad's December 5th Press Conference, Season 3, TD-10 and EB06 Info, Minivan Anime ." Cardfight Pro. Google, 5 Dec. 2012. Web. 27 Jan. 2013. <>. 
5.  "Cardfight!! Vanguard Comprehensive Rules Ver 1.12." CARDFIGHT!! VANGUARD. Bushiroad Inc., 1 Apr. 2013. Web. 7 June 2013. <>.