All posts by Tom

Recently, Bushiroad’s World Championship Qualifiers took place in the UK, in Manchester’s Event City. Roughly 450 Cardfight players came on the Saturday to enter the tournament, where the grand prize was a trip to Japan to fight for the title of World Champion. In the end, the event was won by Helene Bouree’s amazing Kagero build (deck profile here), which very cleverly preyed on the top decks of this format. However, the day featured a large variety of decks, from the obscure to the usual ‘meta’ decks! This is my account of how my Murakumo deck did – the results might surprise you!

The Format

The tournament format was Swiss (Best of One) – this means that you are paired with people with as close a score to yours as possible, so a player with two wins and one loss would play someone with the same results. Matches consisted of one game with a time limit of 20 minutes, at which point the turn player finished their turn, then three more turns were completed before the game was scored on damage. Wins scored 3 points, draws 1 point (for each player) and losses 0 points – effectively meaning that players could lose one game and still have a chance at the top 16.

The Matches

Round 1

G-CB01-001EN-GRThe first game of the day was against a deck built around School Etoile, Olyvia. I knew this card was excellent on paper, but it’s one thing to read it, quite another to face it in action! The early game was very much under my control, I managed to push my opponent to 5 damage early, while clearing the rear-guards the deck needs to function, but couldn’t quite finish him before he managed to start Striding. If you are familiar with G-Bermuda Triangle, they have an extremely strong draw engine once they are able to begin using Miracle Voice, Lauris in combination with Ideal Walking Weather Emilia, which makes them hard to kill in the later stages of the game.

His first stride was Fluffy Ribbon, Somni, which served only to set up Olyvia’s effect. I responded with an Ambush Demon Stealth Rogue, Kagamijishi, whose effect allows cloned rear-guards to attack from the back-row while also granting them +2000 power. This turned out to be the most useful combination of the day, as I was able to regularly attack 5-6 times a turn without too much effort, allowing me to adjust my strategy to pressuring the vanguard or clearing rear-guards as needed. I cleared out his front row units, but he managed to guard my other attacks, and on his next turn he used his first Olyvia. I managed to survive the barrage of attacks, and responded with a second Kagamijishi. On his next turn, however, he was able to use his second Olyvia in combination with Admired Sparkle, Spica to gain many attacks. I guarded them all, but Olyvia’s new column contained a Dreamer Dreamer Kruk, allowing him to gain one further attack which I just couldn’t guard! I had had enough for the first 6-7 attacks, but the eighth was just too much. This was a really enjoyable and close game, and it was great to see the deck in action.

W0 – L1

Match 2

EB11-001EN-RRR

The second game was against Shadow Paladin Witches, which I consider to be a favourable match-up for Murakumo. The deck’s ace, Mesmerising Witch, Fianna (pictured) calls Grade 0 units over opponent’s rear-guards, which Murakumo rarely keep on the field. Further, the fact that I run Stealth Dragon, Hiden Scroll in my deck allows me to call it, then instantly return it to the deck, denying the Witches their abilities which need two Grade 0 units on the opponent’s field.

My opponent hit Grade 3 first, riding Fianna and setting up a field. I managed to protect my Stealth Rogue of the Flowered Hat, Fujino so that, on my next turn, I was able to ride Stealth Rogue of Revelation, Yasuie and stride into Kagamijishi, cloning my Fujino so I had a full field. I focussed on removing the rear-guards before pressuring the Vanguard, and on his next turn he performed Legion, using his ability to call over the top of my Fujino and my Forerunner. Sadly for him, I was able to find a Hiden Scroll, allowing it to return to the deck immediately, shutting down his multiple Grade 0 skills. The following turn, I used Kagamijishi again, and he followed up with another activation of Fianna. I used the opportunity to set up Triggers for my back row, allowing me to use Ambush Demon Stealth Dragon, Homura Raider to finish him off on the next turn.

W1 – L1

Round 3

G-FC01-025EN-RRMy third round was my first encounter with Sanctuary Guards, which are usually very strong contenders against decks which can’t retire their Grade 1 units. My opponent, however, suffered somewhat from a bad opening hand, which allowed me to put much early pressure on him while he struggled to put up much of an offence or defence. As such, I was able to kill him on my first stride, using my trusty Kagamijishi with the support of Fujino. We recorded my win, and, since the game had finished so quickly, I offered him a friendly, hoping he’d have better luck the second time. He didn’t, and I won once more on my first Stride in the same circumstance. I apologised profusely, and really meant it. Oops.

W2 – L1

Round 4

BT17-010EN-RRRRound 4 was against Musketeers, and it was a really interesting game. Musketeers are able to put out a lot of early game pressure, while my Murakumo deck generally needs to Stride before I can do anything exciting, and my hand wasn’t well suited to early pressure anyway!

His early plays involved copious use of Pansy Musketeer, Silvia to call new units from the top of the deck for free. This was a very good tempo play, and combined with Blue Rose Musketeer, Ernst, enabled him to replace triggers he found. I, once more, tried to clear the rear-guards, forcing him to use resources defensively and noting that he had used the majority of his early-game plays. This game was much closer than I’d have liked – my hand was not ideal (I even had to clone my Gateway Stealth Rogue, Ataka, who’s just a G1 Strider!), and I was forced to take my 6th damage early on one of his offensive turns. I flipped the card…

… and it was a Miracle Heal. It seems that all my luck in that game boiled down to that moment, as the 5000 power let me survive the rest of his turn with ease! I went on to use Homura Raider to win on the following turn, as he had used his whole hand trying to finish me off. Before the game, he informed me that no-one had survived his first turn at Grade 3, and I can see why – Musketeers are a very cool deck, and certainly have the early strength that threatens G-Era decks!

W3 – L1

Round 5

I honestly can’t remember this match, no matter how hard I try – I forgot to take notes about it on the day, but all I know is that I won. I think I used Fantasy Petal Storm, Shirayuki as my vanguard and that she saved the day, but against what, I’ll never know!

W4 – L1

Round 6

G-BT04-005EN-RRR

Round 6 was easily the most memorable one of the day for me, and was a really close game. This game lasted so long that it not only surpassed the 20 minute time limit, but it even went to the very last turn allowed by the tournament rules!

My opponent was using a Black Shiver, Gavrail deck, with Prophecy Celestial, Ramiel as the back-up Vanguard. Having played a little bit of G-Angel Feather, I knew that this game was going to go on for a while, as their ability to heal for free using Holy Seraph, Raphael and their ability to add Perfect Guards from the Damage Zone to their hand make them very hard to kill. My plan was to whittle down their defensive resources while simultaneously denying them their biggest attackers. Million Ray Pegasus, if left alone, can easily gain upwards of 10000 power in a single turn, which coupled with a Thousand Ray Pegasus in the back-row can be deadly. However, this is largely enabled by Holy Seraph Raziel, which can only really be used once a game, meaning that I felt confident that, if I guarded early, I could survive his most powerful turn.

My opponent went into Holy Seraph, Uriel as his first Stride, which I blocked to prevent his field improving. This game, I had chosen to ride Yasuie, which really paid off. First of all, I cloned my Chain Sickle Stealth Rogue, Onifundo and Strode into Kagamijishi, which enabled me to gain 20000 shield without losing field presence. With some nice checks for my Onifundo effects, I managed to fill up my field and make five attacks in that turn. He went into a Raphael to heal, so I went into another Kagamijishi, cloning my Fujino and launching another assault, pushing him to five damage again. Sadly, this allowed him to search a Perfect Guard with his Forerunner, and then heal a damage for free using Raphael. His hand had been somewhat diminished, so I set up for Homura Raider, but he managed to block both attacks with Perfect Guards. He was able to use Gavrail’s On-Stride skill to call out a Million Ray Pegasus, and then used a powerful Raziel turn to try to kill me, which I succeeded in surviving. We were both slowly running out of resources, and I decided to go into a 51000 power Blizza, which caught him without a Perfect Guard on four damage, which he was able to block by using his whole hand, along with most of his field. I managed to survive his next turn using pretty much exact shield, and Strode into Cosmetic Snowfall, Shirayuki to clone a Yasuie (I had exactly one left in deck) and enable three attacks – as he only had three cards left in hand, he had to let my Vanguard through, and I finished the game with a Critical Trigger. This game was absolutely great – it must have gone on for half an hour, very little of it was decided on luck, and I feel he played really well. We had somewhat of an audience at the end too, and several spectators commented what a great game it had been, truly a highlight of the day!

W5 – L1

Round 7

EB02-027EN-CThere’s not much I can really say about this game. I had made it to the top 20 in the Tournament by this point (I was playing on table 10!), and my opponent was playing G-Bermudas. His first Stride, as is usual for G-Bermuda, was Fluffy Ribbon, Somni. I was on one damage, so I didn’t guard, at which point he checked three critical triggers. Turns out that it’s pretty hard to survive the following Olyvia turn when you can’t let a single damage through. It was really quite disappointing to lose through an exceptionally lucky Drive Check, especially when I was so close to qualifying for top 16, but sometimes it happens.

W5 – L2

Round 8
MT01-001ENThis round, I played against Sanctuary Guards again, though my opponent this time wasn’t hampered by an awful hand. He was able to use Jewel Knight, Swordmy to collect a full back-row of Grade 1 units, allowing him to easily grant all his front-row units 9000 power consistently, while his Vanguard managed to provide the third. This is a pretty hard match-up if you can’t target the back-row, and surviving (potentially) four turns of an extra 27000 power is often tough. I didn’t get a set-up where I could Homura Raider him back, as I just didn’t have the right mix of Rear-Guards and little to defend against the strong columns, so I lost. Nothing out of the ordinary really happened in this game, just slow, attrition-based death with high-powered columns!

W5 – L3

Round 9

BT16-006EN-RRRBy this point in the day, I was pretty tired, but I decided to play one last round just to get the most of the experience! I matched up against Narukami’s Brawlers, and, I must confess, I got absolutely slaughtered! I made the mistake of choosing to ride Yasuie over Fantasy Petal Storm, Shirayuki, which allowed him to kill all my rear-guards very easily. Worse still, because all my units are clones, it was easy for him to keep my front row clear of rear-guards, powering up his units! I definitely focussed way too much on clearing out his rear-guards, so I lost pretty easily. He was a very strong player, so I certainly didn’t mind the loss – I’ll be better prepared against Narukami next time!

W5 – L4

Conclusion

I had a really fun day with this tournament, and I’m very glad I went. I primarily went just to play a few games, but I did a lot better than I expected and came pretty close to Vanguard glory! One of the nicest things about the day was the mix of decks I saw – of course, not every clan was equally represented (I met the single other person who brought Murakumo to the tournament, so, if you’re reading this, you have excellent taste in clans!), but there was a pleasant variety. I had expected it to be dominated by Megacolony, Kagero and Link Joker, but in the end, I didn’t face a single one of those decks during the whole tournament! I’m definitely going again, possibly with my beloved Murakumo, possibly with some other obscure deck. I wanted to prove that Murakumo could be good, and I think I succeeded in changing a few people’s opinions, so hopefully more people will bring off-meta decks next time.

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All posts by Tom

Welcome back to our weekly Vanguard update! This week introduces more cards from Vanguard and Deletor, while also revealing new support for Aqua Force, Pale Moon, Gear Chronicle and Oracle Think Tank.

G-CMB01-029

Flowing Jewel Knight, Altgallo (pictured) offers Jewel Knights an alternative unit to Jewel Knight, Swordmy. When its attack hits a vanguard while the number of your other rear-guards with ‘Jewel Knight’ in their names is three or more, you can Soul Blast 1 to call one Grade 1 or less Jewel Knight from your deck. This is a low cost to gain a unit, but is unreliable in the fact that it can only call your fifth unit and, further, that it needs to hit to do so. While this adds a strong on-hit pressure, and most likely will force guards, it seems unlikely to contest the niche that Swordmy occupies; the ability to Counter Blast 1 on-call to call a Grade 1 Jewel Knight from the deck is both reliable and powerful, to the extent that it is even used outside of the sub-clan. It is hard to see Altgallo see much play except as a budget replacement or if Swordmy becomes banned or restricted – Altgallo is by no means a bad card, but Swordmy does the same job better. Meanwhile, Packgal is a new Grade 1 unit with 5000 power, with the ability to Soul Blast 2 to Counter Charge 2. This effect has been seen in many other clans, and is always a nice option to have, especially for Sanctuary Guard decks and those which have heavy Counter Blast costs. As a High Beast, Packgal can be called by the effect of Swordsman of Light, Blaster Javelin Larousse (released in the same set), who also happens to place two cards into the Soul for the cost for his effect. Packgal certainly won’t find a place in every deck, but will be a card worth considering if Counter Charging is needed. Finally, they receive three new ‘vanilla’ triggers in Player of the Flash, Niviana (heal), Hot Sand Knight, Rudford (stand) and Pirrolo (critical).

G-CB02-006-RR (Sample)Aqua Force’s ‘Ripple’ sub-clan receives more support this week, gaining three new units. Torrential Ripple, Podromos (pictured) can G-Persona Blast when he hits a vanguard (while having a Heart card with ‘Ripple’ in the name) to look at five cards from the top of the deck, search for up to two cards with ‘Ripple’ in their name from amongst them and call them to separate rear-guard circles. The ability to gain two more cards with no real cost is very good, even if the attack does need to hit for the ability to work. With the new Legion pair of Breaking Ripple , Militiades and Thundering Ripple, Genovious, having ‘Ripple’ heart cards is easy to achieve too, and Podromos offers a good Stride unit while waiting to fulfil Genovious’ Persona Blast. This is helped by the new critical trigger, Demise Ripple, Orest. At the end of the battle that it boosted, if the number of other rested units with ‘Ripple’ in the name is two or more, you can look at five cards from the top of the deck, search for one ‘Ripple’ from among them, reveal it to your opponent and add it to your hand. This is intended to help set up the Persona Blast of Genovious, but adds a great amount of consistency to the deck besides. If Ripples receive their own Perfect Guard, this card will be one of the greatest consistency tools in their arsenal. The final ‘Ripple’ revealed is Turbulent Ripple, Lavisse, a 9000 power Grade 2 who can gain 3000 power when he attacks if the number of rested units with ‘Ripple’ in their names are two or more. This effect is good, if not exciting, but as there are only two Grade 2 ‘Ripple’ units at the moment, he will surely see much play in the deck.

G-CB02-028-C (Sample)Tear Knight, Timos (pictured) adds a new control aspect to the clan: at Generation Break 1 and Wave 2, when his attack hits a vanguard, you may choose up to one of your opponent’s rear-guards and retire it. This is a newer version of Tear Knight, Valeria, who has a similar ability, albeit at what we would now call ‘Wave 4’. The benefit of Timos is that his effect is a lot easier to activate than Valeria’s, however it is limited to much later in the game – Valeria can activate on the vanguard circle and, with a good start, retire an opponent’s rear-guard on the player’s second turn. These effects are good, but they struggle to find a home in Aqua Force. Aqua Force rely on their Grade 2 units to activate their higher Wave abilities, using cards like Magnum Assault, Tidal Assault or Couple Dagger Sailor to chain multiple attacks, or units such as High Tide Sniper to guarantee that they can threaten the vanguard even when un-boosted. As such, the Grade 2 space is often quite tight in the deck, so, even if this skill is nice, there simply won’t be room for it in the majority of decks. Cobalt Neon Dragon, an 11000 power Grade 3, is the last card revealed for Aqua Force this week. His skill activates as either the vanguard or the rear-guard at Wave 2, granting him 2000 power when your other unit attacks. This can be nice when brought out from the back row (potentially by the effect of Couple Dagger Sailor), but ultimately there are better options for back-up Grade 3s.

BT13-007EN-RRRStar-vader, Chaos Breaker Dragon (pictured) receives some new support in G-BT05. Confusion Star-vader, Zinc is a 7000 power Grade 1 with a very useful ability. If you have a vanguard with ‘Chaos’ in its name and your opponent has a locked card, you can put her into your soul to Counter Charge 2 and Soul Charge 2. This helps to fund all of his skills, while also providing for rear-guards which can lock. He receives further support in what is presumed to be a Stride unit Death Star-vader, Chaos Universe, whose effects are yet to be revealed. Gear Chronicle have had two new units revealed  – Steam Maiden, Dah-nish and Metalglider Dragon. Dah-nish is a 7000 power Grade 1 that will come in the next Gear Chronicle Trial Deck with a Generation Break 1 skill. When she is placed on a rear-guard circle, you choose one of your opponent’s rear-guards, return it to the deck, then your opponent may choose to call a unit from the deck which is a single Grade less than that unit, and shuffle the deck. As this is free, it is an easy piece of disruption that can serve as a retire (on Grade 0s or Grade 1s, provided your opponent does not which to call a unit) or strip the deck of triggers (with Grade 1s). It can also power up units like Brass-Winged Gear Hawk, and so can be quite useful. Metalglider Dragon is an 11000 power Grade 3 also with a Generation Break 1 ability. When it is placed on either a vanguard or rear-guard circle, you can Counter Blast 1 to place an opponent’s Grade 1 or less unit on the bottom of the deck. This is a simple retire effect, and works well with units such as Interdimensional Dragon, Faterider Dragon. However, as Gear Chronicle like to use Grade 3s which are either Chronojet Dragon or can search for Chronojet Dragon, he might struggle to find a home in most decks.
BT03-003EN-RRRIn other news, Pale Moon have had two new units revealed. The first, Moonlight Melody Tamer, Betty, is a 7000 power Grade 1 released in the upcoming Trial Deck. At Generation Break 1, you can Counter Blast 1 at the end of the battle she boosted a rear-guard to put the boosted unit into the Soul and call one card with the Magia ability out of the Soul. This is going to be a very reliable way for Pale Moon to gain more attacks, and also signals that Magia is most likely the keyword for being called from the Soul. Nightmare Doll, Catherine is a Grade 3 with 11000 power which is designed to make Nightmare Doll, Alice (pictured) more relevant in the current game. The ability to gain multiple attacks and to trigger Pale Moon effects is very useful, yet she is limited by her 10000 power, which is what Catherine fixes! Her CONT skill is to give all rear-guard Alices 1000 power and an ability which activates at the end of a battle that they attacked, but did not hit. For Counter Blast 1, they are then able to call a ‘Nightmare Doll, Alice’ from the Soul, then move themselves into the Soul. Owing to the current wording, this cannot be the same Alice as just attacked, meaning that players will need to run multiple copies to get the most out of Catherine’s effect. Catherine’s second effect activates when she is placed on the vanguard circle, allowing her to search her deck for a card, put it into the Soul, then shuffle the deck – this allows her to easily get copies of Alice where they are most useful. Cards like Purple Trapezist and Miracle of Luna Square, Clifford can help to recycle Alices who have moved into the Soul, allowing access to further attacks.

Oracle Think Tank gain new Tsukuyomi support in Handedly Housekeeper, a 7000 power Grade 1. Her ability allows her to pay Counter Blast 1 when placed on a rear-guard circle to search the top five cards of the deck for a ‘Tsukuyomi’ card from amongst them and add it to your hand, then to put the rest on the bottom of the deck in any order. This helps to ensure that the Ride-chain goes smoothly, while also contributing to the stack at the bottom of the deck.

Narukami receive a new 10000 power Grade 3 in Djinn of Twofold Striking. His ability activates on either the vanguard or rearguard circles, at Generation Break 1 and Thunder Strike 2. For a Soul Blast, he gains 2000 power and, when he attacks, you may choose an opponent’s vanguard and a rear-guard and battle both of them at once. This does not specify that you have to choose a front-row rear-guard, so it can attack the back row as well! Assuming that he receives a 7000 power boost, he forces 10000 shield against the vanguard and (if they have a 9000 power Grade 2, for example) 15000 for the rear-guard. However, as Narukami struggle with Soul Charging, it is likely that his skill will only be able to be used a couple of times per game, though it will be very powerful when it is used.

Finally, a few more potential Stride units have been revealed. We have already touched on Death Star-vader, Chaos Universe, but there also appears to be one for Narukami in Conquering Supreme Dragon, Dragonic Vanquisher ”VOLTAGE”, one for Pale Moon in Masked Divine Dragon Tamer, Harry and a new Susanoo called Dragon-defeating Battle Deity, Kamu Susanoo. All these units, along with Nightmare Doll, Catherine have been shown to be receiving sleeves in the next set.

That concludes this week’s instalment of Cardfight!! Vanguard news, check back next week for more updates!

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All posts by Tom

Welcome back to our weekly Vanguard update! This week sees five new cards for Royal Paladins released, including a new Stride unit, while two new Deletors have been revealed. Further, a new card has been released which hints that the upcoming Blue Storm Dragon, Maelstrom might be a Breakride, while the first card in Fighter’s Collection 2015 Winter has been revealed!

G-CMB01-002-RRR (Sample)

Reincarnation Dragon, Holy Squire Dragon (pictured) is the new Stride for Alfred’s Royal Paladins. Holy Squire Dragon requires an Alfred heart card, but is very useful in the context of the Vanguard and Deletor set. By G-Persona Blasting a copy of himself, you unlock all of your locked cards, then gain two continuous skills: the first grants all your rear-guards 2000 power, while the second skill is available at Generation Break 3, granting Holy Squire 3000 power for every rear-guard you control. This means that, if he is used as your second Stride of the game, you will be able to use all of his effects. The unlocking skill is only useful in Link Joker matches, and the need for an Alfred heart means that this cannot be used as a tech choice for other decks. The second skill is primarily useful for unboosted Grade 2s, making 9000 power units 11000 without overly much effort. This skill grants 4000 power to columns, but it does not really help most columns reach 21000 without the use of 10000 power or 8000 power units, or units which can gain at least 1000 power with their skills (such as Knight of Fragment). The third skill allows it to gain power in a similar way to Holy Dragon, Saint Blow Dragon, although it does not gain an extra critical – this is balanced out by the increased pressure it grants to rear-guard columns, although most players will prefer Saint Blow as it can be used in many more decks than this. Two more Alfred-specific cards have been revealed: Signpost Sage, Eluron and Spinning Sage, Berck. Eluron is a new forerunner whose skill can be used when you have an ‘Alfred’ Vanguard. By Counter Blasting 1 and moving him into the Soul, you can search your deck for any Grade 2 or less unit and call it. This is a very useful and flexible effect, allowing you to call units such as Knight of Twin Sword to gain more rear-guards, or Blaster Blade, Blaster Blade Spirit, or Blaster Blade Seeker (If using Alfred Exiv) to remove your opponent’s vital units. Spinning Sage, Berck, on the other hand, is more restricted in its use. For a Soul Blast and a Counter Blast, if you have an ‘Alfred’ vanguard, you may unlock up to two of your units, then give up to two of your units 2000 power. Berck had the potential to be excellent, but sadly is too restricted to see much play. Outside of the Link Joker match-up, there are no targets to be unlocked – the Alfred restriction limits it from being used in Broken Heart Jewel Knight, Ashlei ‘Яeverse’ decks, where it would be more useful. As such, the only reliable use for the skill is to grant 2000 power to up to two units, but this is not worth the cost. As such, Berck will probably only be used in the context of Vanguard and Deletor matches.

G-CMB01-016-R (Sample)

Salvation Sage, Benon (pictured) is also released in Vanguard and Deletor, but he is not restricted to Alfred decks. His skill costs Counter Blast 1 and allows you to call a 6000 power unit from your deck, so players might like to call Hidden Sage, Miron or Sword of Hope, Richard to draw a card. The drawback, of course, is the low power units which you are forced to use, substantially lowering your offensive presence unless skills are used to increase their strength. In other news, Jewel Knights receive a new forerunner in Jewel Knight, Raisegal. This 5000 power unit can give a unit called from the deck (once per turn) 3000 power, provided that you have three or more other rear-guards with ‘Jewel Knight’ in their names. This is less restricted than it seems, requiring only two other Jewel Knights at the time of call. Raisegal works very well in conjunction with Banding Jewel Knight, Miranda when used in an Ashlei deck, allowing Miranda to hit 21000 (with a 7000 power boost) when called from the deck. You can also use it with Fellowship Jewel Knight, Tracie if you are not using an Ashlei build.

G-CMB01-001-GR (Sample)Original Deletor, Eigorg (pictured) is the new Deletor Stride, and offers Link Joker their second unique alternate win condition. At Generation Break 2, if you have a ‘Deletor’ Heart, you can Counter Blast 1 and retire a Deletor to Delete all of your opponent’s vanguards, lock up to one card in their back row, then force your opponent to Banish Delete a card. Then, if the number of cards in your opponent’s Damage Zone is four or more and the number of cards face-down in their Bind Zone is 13 or more, you win the game. This is a very strong card: its first effect is great value, as retiring a unit and Counter Blast 1 for a Delete and a Lock is cheap. The win-condition effect serves as a nice bonus – it seems feasible to pull off in a game, but equally does require work to actually use, as most cards can only Banish Delete a single card each use. As such, Eigorg is useful throughout the whole game – he can delete efficiently throughout the game, and keeping a copy in reserve for late game in case you can fulfil the alternate win condition is a good idea. Biting Deletor, Girba is a new critical trigger which, after boosting and if your opponent’s vanguard is Deleted, can return to the top of the deck to Counter Charge 1 and force your opponent to Banish Delete a card. This can help to push for winning through Eigorg’s effect, or simply to provide more resources so that you can Delete more often. Losing 10000 shield is somewhat bad, but considering that Deleting reduces the opponent’s offensive capabilities, it is not overly costly.

PR-0343 (Sample)Blue Storm Battle Princess, Choralia (pictured) is a new promo card for Aqua Force. When she is placed on a rear-guard circle, you can discard a Grade 3 card to search your deck for up to one card named ‘Blue Storm Dragon, Maelstrom‘ and add it to your hand. As this effect is similar to Eternal Bringer Griffin (who searches for Dragonic Overlord, later given a Break Ride), people have inferred by analogy that Blue Storm Dragon, Maelstom will be reprinted with a new Break Ride effect, especially given their upcoming Clan Booster. If so, Choralia will make it significantly easier for Maelstrom decks to set up the Cross Ride, while also potentially enabling the Break Ride to be combined with it (provided that the speculation is true). Another promo card has been revealed for Pale Moon in Daydream Tone, Arny, a 9000 power Grade 2 with the Generation Break 1 skill to Counter Charge 2 on hitting a vanguard. Pale Moon have long been one of the heaviest users of Counter Blasts, so this will be a very welcome addition to the clan! In other news, Fighter’s Collection 2015 Winter has had some information revealed about it. The first card confirmed is a reprint of Twinkle Happiness☆Pacifica, a Japanese Promo. This version will come with different art, and also has led some people to suspect that the set will once more be Stride-focussed. There are going to be 48 cards in the set, possibly showing that each clan will receive two new cards: a banner seems to depict a Seal Dragon, an Angel Feather similar to Nociel, a new form of Interdimensional Dragon, Chronoscommand Dragon, Lord of the Seven Seas, Nightmist and Beast Deity, Ethics Buster. This focus on existing Grade 3 units does hint that they might become G-units, especially considering that Beast Deity, Ethics Buster already has three Grade 3 forms. Though the fact that Nightmist’s only grade 3 form is a break ride there is a chance that this new form could be a cross ride for him.

Finally, it seems that in the new series of Cardfight!! Vanguard G: GIRS Crisis, members from the original cast will return, so we should expect to see Leon Soryu, Naoki, Miwa, Ren and Kai. The new series will focus on a quest called “G Quest” where Chrono will strive to become a Clan Leader. The season also introduces the idol group Rummy Labyrinth. This is a duo of Luna Yumizuki (a Pale Moon user who will be featured on the Trial Deck) and Am Chouno (a Granblue user whose Trial Deck will also soon be released). This implies that we might see a lot more of those two clans in booster packs when the next series airs.

That concludes this week’s instalment of Cardfight!! Vanguard news, check back next week for more updates!

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All posts by Tom

Welcome back to our weekly Vanguard update! This week reveals many cards from Vanguard and Deletor (including several reprints) along with the name of a new Aqua Force Stride from Commander of the Incessant Waves, Marine General of Heavenly Silk, Aristoteles!

As Vanguard and Deletor’s Royal Paladins all revolve around the classic unit, King of Knights, Alfred, it should come as no surprise that his reprint has now been confirmed! He will be printed as a single rare in the set, allowing easy access to the deck’s most important unit. The theme of the Comic Royal Paladins is that their abilities only work when you have an ‘Alfred’ vanguard, so both experienced and new players alike will surely welcome this reprint! The Revival Legion unit, King of Knights’ Vanguard, Ezzell, is also reprinted as a single rare in this set, enabling easy access to a full Legion line-up. Further, as they had previously only been printed as a revival legion, this set will introduce their matching legion art for the first time! Meanwhile, Flash Shield, Iseult is also receiving a Rare reprint in this set, enabling easy access to the old-style Perfect Guards. The final reprint this week for Royal Paladins is the draw trigger, Margal. One of the goals of Vanguard and Deletor is to be able to be used to create a full deck, and the easy accessibility of the main Grade 3 and the Perfect Guard will surely make this an attractive budget choice.

G-CMB01-028-C (Sample)

There are three new Royal Paladin units which have been revealed, and the first is Wave Sage, Thana (pictured). His ability is that, when he is placed as a rear-guard, if you have a Grade 3 vanguard with ‘Alfred’ in its name and all your vanguards are at stand, you can search your deck for up to one card with ‘Alfred’ in its card name, ride it, and grant it 5000 power for the turn. This ability seems rather odd at first – the deck seems best when it uses Alfred in Legion, yet Thana undoes that. However, Thana shines when he is used against the Deletor units that also come in this booster, being able to undo Delete for free. As a reminder, Delete turns your vanguard face down, removing its power and effects, but does not change its name or Grade – Thana therefore seems to mainly be useful in the context of this pack, but as a new Alfred unit is still a possibility, it is hard to be certain. Blaster Dark’s original form is released in this pack as Swordsman of Light, Yunos. He is a 7000 power Grade 1 who gains 5000 power when another unit is called through the effect of one of your cards, provided that your vanguard is an ‘Alfred’ unit. This enables him to serve as a 12000 attacker on the front row or to boost any 9000 unit to hit 21000 power. If he is combined with Swordsman of Light, Blaster Axe Guerard, they can hit 26000 combined, which is a very powerful column. It seems to me that Yunos will see a fair amount of play for his flexibility of use, making him a valuable addition to the deck. The final unit is Knight of Gale, Hudibras, a 6000 power Grade 1 with a pseudo-Intercept ability. At the beginning of the guard step of the battle that your vanguard with ‘Alfred’ in its name was attacked, you may discard a card from your hand to move him to the guardian circle at Rest, then give him an extra 10000 shield value. This can be a very useful skill, as you do not lose any shield value by calling him to boost – he even is able to avoid some ‘guard denying’ abilities, as he does not get called to the guardian circle, but rather moved there by an ability! He might not see the most play of the Grade 1s in this set, but players will certainly welcome having him as an option.

PR-0340 (Sample)

Waving Deletor, Greidoll (pictured) is designed to be the back-up Grade 3 to Docking Deletor, Greion, with a powerful skill. While Greion’s ability is strong, its hefty Counter Blast cost somewhat limits its late game – Greidoll can be used to mitigate this. Once per turn, you can Soul Blast a card named ‘Docking Deletor, Greion’ and retire a ‘Deletor’ rear-guard to Delete your opponent’s vanguards and force your opponent to Banish Delete a card from their Drop Zone. This is a very low cost for Deleting, and can be a viable alternative to Striding later on in the game. The second effect of Greidoll is that, when its attack hits a vanguard, you may Counter Blast 1 to search the top five cards of the deck for a ‘Docking Deletor, Greion’, put it into the soul, retire an opponent’s rear-guard in the front row, and force the opponent to Banish Delete a unit in their Drop Zone. This is a very strong ability, and provides a huge amount of pressure if their vanguard is Deleted. Counter Blast 1 is already good value to remove an opponent’s rear-guard, and the potential (however infrequent) to set up a future Delete of an opponent’s Vanguard is strong. Greidoll seems to be a great support unit for Greion, being both stronger and weaker in some regards, and so will certainly be sought after.

G-CMB01-010-RR (Sample)

Liedown Deletor, Givun (pictured) is another hotly-anticipated card, although very situational in its use. At the end of the battle where it attacked a Vanguard, if you have a Grade 3 Vanguard with ‘Grei’ in its card name, you can stand all your Vanguards at the hefty cost of Counter Blasting 1 Deletor and retiring itself, along with four other Deletor rear-guards. This is not an ability which can be used often, as Deletors are already somewhat retire heavy, but can serve as a powerful finishing move. The strength of Givun is that all of the columns can attack before being retired, so, if the opponent’s Vanguard is Deleted, even relatively weak columns can force the opponent to spend large amounts of their resources guarding. Most players who run this card will only use two copies – it has a strong effect, but it is too situational to be useful for the majority of the game. Instill Deletor, Ender is the G Perfect Guard for the set, and it’s very impressive. Its bonus skill is not to Counter Charge, but rather to Delete an opponent’s vanguard at the end of the turn if their vanguard was deleted when it was used. This is a boost that Deletors definitely needed, granting them the ability to keep their opponent shut down merely by defending. Ender’s skill cannot be used against Stride units, but is still extremely useful – it punishes players who cannot Stride on the turn they were deleted, and is also a Deletor Perfect Guard, allowing it to be used for Counter Blasts when taken as damage.

Sprout Deletor, Luchi offers the deck a new Forerunner, with an ability which activates when it is retired as a cost for a Deletor vanguard’s ability. It may lock an opponent’s back-row rear-guard and force them to Banish Delete a card from their Drop Zone. This works really well with the ‘Grei’ cards, although many players will still value the ability to draw and Counter-Charge that Acquire Deletor, Igor offers. In addition, Ferment Deletor, Gaian offers ‘Grei’ more support. It is a Grade 1 with 7000 power that can, when an opponent’s vanguard becomes Deleted, Soul Blast 1 to gain 3000 power and Banish Delete a card of your opponent’s choice. This lets it easily boost for 10000, and works very well with the new Swift Deletor, Giari. Giari is a Grade 2 with 9000 power which, when it is placed on the vanguard circle or a rear-guard circle,  can retire a Deletor rear-guard to retire an opponent’s front row rear-guard, Banish Delete an opponent’s card from their Drop Zone and gain 2000 power until the end of the turn. This is an exchange with slightly favours you, and so will be used in quite a few decks.

Finally, Illfate Deletor, Dorohn has been revealed. It is a 7000 power Grade 1 with a useful cycling ability – at the end of the battle it boosted a Deletor vanguard, you can discard a card and move it into the soul in order to draw two cards and force the opponent to Banish Delete a card from their Drop Zone. This can be very helpful to add consistency to the deck, and so will see a fair amount of play.

BT16-008EN-RRR

Deletor receive a fair few reprints in this set. Juxtapose Deletor, Zaele (pictured) is being re-released along with its mate, Juxtapose Deletor, Gaele. Of these, it seems Gaele will be the most sought after, considering that it can lock an opponent’s front row unit for free if their vanguard is Deleted. Clipping Deletor, Evo was previously exclusively a promo card, and is re-released in this set. At Counter Blast 2, it can call any Deletor from the deck, provided the opponent’s vanguard is Deleted. This is somewhat expensive and competes for the valuable resource of Counter Blast; however, given that Deletors retire their own units for their costs, Evo can be very useful to continue fuelling these skills. Greedy Deletor, Jail will be welcomed for its ability to Counter Charge on hit, helping to mitigate the heavy costs in the deck. Meanwhile, Looting Deletor, Gunec offers a sensible retire-target as, when it is placed on a rear-guard circle, you can Soul Blast 2 to draw a card. Idolizing Deletor, Guim offers a strong dedicated booster, being able to lock front-row units when the attack it boosted hits, while Penetrate Deletor, Iggy offers the same sort of skill as a dedicated Grade 3 rear-guard. Overall, the Deletor reprints are somewhat of a mixed bag – some will certainly be found very useful, while others seem to have been reprinted simply because they were promo cards.

That concludes this week’s instalment of Cardfight!! Vanguard news, check back next week for more updates!

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Welcome to the first part of our discussion and introduction to the world of Magic: The Gathering. In these articles, we’ll be trying to explain the rules of the game in a logical and easy to follow fashion, explaining potential points of confusion along the way.

What is Magic: The Gathering?

Magic: the Gathering was one of the original Trading Card Games available in the West and has had enduring appeal. Players take on the role of Planeswalkers, drawing energy from the places across the multiverse which they have visited, summoning creatures and casting powerful spells to earn their victory. In game, this translates into players playing Land cards to generate ‘Mana’ which is then used to play other cards. Players win when they achieve one of several win conditions, including reducing the opponent’s life to 0 or by removing all of the cards from their opponent’s deck (milling). Magic: The Gathering has several formats, but most notably a competitive scene based around its ‘block’ system, which limits the cards usable in decks to those released within the last year.

Cards

There are a few different kinds of cards in Magic with various different sub-types. The primary distinction is between Permanents and non-Permanents – this simply tells the player whether the card stays in play after it is used. Permanents include Lands, Creatures, Artifacts, Enchantments, Equipment and Planeswalkers; non-Permanents include Sorceries and Instants. It’s best to have a look at a few cards to get used to what they look like:

IslandThis is an example Basic Land. All decks require land as it is what produces Mana, allowing other cards to be used. This card simply has a title (‘Island’) and a portrait. The water droplet in the bottom middle of the card depicts the type of Mana it produces (Blue), while the symbol at the middle-right shows the set it came from and the rarity. Any number of Basic Lands may be included in decks, with most decks being composed of about 33-40% Land (20 to 24 cards). There are five types of Basic Land, each of which produces a different type of Mana: Island (Blue), Swamp (Black), Plains (White), Forest (Green) and Mountain (Red). There are lands which are not Basic, but these are relatively rare.

Llanowar ElvesThis is an example Creature card, Llanowar Elves. This card has a lot more detail on it, but is still relatively simple to read! At the top, we have the name (Llanowar Elves) and in the upper right corner is the Mana cost (one Green Mana, depicted by a single tree). The Green Mana symbol is on every Forest card, which serves as a reminder of how it is produced. We then have the portrait, and below that the text ‘Creature – Elf Druid’. ‘Creature’ shows the main type of card it is, while ‘Elf Druid’ describes its race. This information is often used on other cards – for example, there are several cards in the game which give bonuses for how many ‘Elves’ you control! The box below that gives the card’s effect ([Tap]: Add one Green Mana to your Mana pool) and the ‘flavour text’, which simply gives an idea of the story behind the card. In the bottom right, we can observe the cards Power (left) and Toughness (right), which are used in combat. Creatures are Permanents, and remain in play after they are summoned.

Permanents usually occupy one of two positions – Tapped or Untapped. All Permanents, unless an effect states otherwise, enter play Untapped (upright) and become Tapped (sideways) when being used for Mana (lands), attacking (creatures) or using their effect (multiple types of cards). This allows players to easily keep track of which cards are free to attack or use their abilities!

Counsel of the SoratamiThis is an example Sorcery Card, Counsel of the Soratami. On this card, the Mana cost is more complicated. There is a 2 in a circle, and a single Blue Mana. The (2) represents a cost of two Mana of any colour, while the Blue symbol is one Blue Mana. This means that the card has a total Mana cost of 3, of which at least one needs to be Blue. Below the portrait is the type of card ‘Sorcery’, and below that, the effect. Sorceries do not have Power or Toughness, and are non-Permanent cards. Once their effect has been used, they leave the field and go to the Graveyard. As they have one-time only effects, Sorcery abilities tend to be more powerful than those of Permanents with the same Mana cost.

Lightning BoltThis is an example Instant. It has a Red Mana cost and is non-Permanent. Instants differ from other Sorcery cards in the fact that they can be used from your hand almost at any time, including the opponent’s turn, provided you have the mana to pay for them. As such, Instants are some of the most powerful tools for counter-play in the game of Magic, allowing you to instantly respond to opponent’s threats. Many players will choose to use Instants only during their opponent’s turn, as it grants them more flexibility with the threat they choose to remove. When an Instant has been used, it is sent to the Graveyard.

The Field

The field for Magic: The Gathering is very simple compared to other card games. There are literally three zones – the Deck, the Graveyard, and the Battlefield. The Graveyard is where all cards that have been destroyed or used go, while the Battlefield is where all Permanents stay, whether creatures or lands. By convention, Lands are played closest to the player who controls them, and Creatures in the middle of the two players, but this is largely optional. Players may control as many Permanents as they wish.

Setting up

Setting up in Magic has a number of steps. Firstly, both players set their life total to 20, shuffle their decks, then draw a hand of seven cards. If a player draws a hand they’re not happy with, they have the option to Mulligan, returning their whole hand to the deck, shuffling and drawing the number of cards returned minus one. Therefore, the first time you Mulligan will mean you draw six cards, then the second will mean you draw five, and you can keep going until you have a hand you like. When both players have done this, the first player begins their turn. The first player, however, does not draw a card during their first draw step.

Structure of a Turn

The structure of a turn is as follows:

  1. Beginning Phase
  2. Main Phase (1)
  3. Combat Phase
  4. Main Phase (2)
  5. Ending Phase

Beginning Phase

There are three steps to the beginning of a turn. First, you untap all your Permanents. Second, you enter the Upkeep step. This is the part of the turn where abilities which activate at the start of your turn trigger, and various costs have to be paid. Abilities can also be activated at this time, including casting Instants. Thirdly, you enter the Draw phase, where you draw a card from your deck.

Main Phase

The main phase is where you can play the majority of cards. Players may play one land per turn during their own main phase and also play any number of other cards, provided they can pay the Mana cost. This phase is (usually) the only phase in which Creatures, Artifacts, Sorceries, Enchantments and Planeswalkers can be played. The player has one of these on either side of their Combat phase.

Combat Phase

In the Combat phase, you can declare attacks with any number of your creatures, but all attacks must be declared at the same time. Combat will be covered in more detail below! Instants and abilities can also be activated at this time.

Ending Phase

This has two steps. The first is the End step, where all ‘at end of turn’ abilities activate. Instants and effects can be activated at this time. The second is the Cleanup step, where the turn player must discard cards until they only have seven in their hand, and all damage is removed from Creatures. Unless an ability triggers in this step, no-one can choose to use instants or effects!

Combat

Combat in Magic is rather unusual. Unlike other games, you cannot attack your opponent’s creatures with your own, and, moreover, all attacks have to be declared at once! In this way, creatures can be protected from each other rather easily, so many players will run Sorceries or Instants to help them defeat important enemy Creatures. Further, only untapped creatures can attack, and even then creatures cannot attack on the turn they’re summoned. Let’s have a look at an example Combat Step:

mtg-attack-01In this example, the player controls three creatures. Blood-Cursed Knight (3/2) was played this turn, and cannot attack because it has ‘summoning sickness’, preventing it from attacking. The player, however, decides to declare attacks with the other two creatures and so taps them both. At this point, either player can decide to cast Instants or use abilities.

mtg-attack-02Now, the defending player may declare blockers. This means that they can use creatures on their side of the field to intercept the opponent’s attacks, and defend themselves! Only untapped creatures can be used to block, but as both the defending player’s creatures are untapped, this causes no issue. Multiple blockers can be assigned to the same target, and, if this is done, the attacker may choose which one will be damaged first, then second, and so on. In this example, the defender chooses to use both their creatures to block Blightcaster (2/3). Once blockers have been assigned, either player can decide to cast Instants or use abilities. If a blocker is destroyed at this time, then the defender does not get to re-assign their units!

mtg-attack-03Once blockers have been assigned and any effects have been used, all creatures deliver their damage simultaneously. In this example, Typhoid Rats (1/1) was unblocked, and so deals damage equal to the defending player equal to its Power (1). Blightcaster (2/3), however, was blocked by two creatures, which is where things get more interesting, and why the priority of defenders matters. The attacking creature can deal its full Power (2) as damage, split between the defenders. However, it has to deal enough damage to the first defender to destroy it before it can apply damage to the second. This means that the attacking player can (potentially) kill all of the defending units, as long as their Power is high enough. In this case, the attacker prioritises the damage to the Soldier token, inflicting one damage, then the rest is dealt to the Auramancer. The defenders also deal damage to the attacking creature at the same time, which in this case is enough to kill it. Therefore, the Solider token and Blightcaster are both destroyed at the same time.

During the Cleanup step of the turn, all damage inflicted on Creatures is removed, leaving them perfectly healthy. Therefore, if you didn’t quite finish off a monster during one Combat Phase, you may need to use an Instant or ability to finish the job. In this example, the Auramancer would be fully healed to 2/2.

Conclusion

In this instalment, we have learned how to generate and use Mana, the different kinds of cards, how to set up, how a turn is structured and how to attack and block. Next time, we will look at abilities in more detail, including Enchantments and Planeswalkers.

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Welcome back to our weekly Vanguard update! This week sees several new cards confirmed for G-Comic Booster 1: Vanguard and Deletor, while two new cards and the reprints for the new Booster Set (G-B05: The Dragon Fang That Glitters in the Moonlight) have been confirmed. Two new promo cards have been unveiled, while new keywords for Pale Moon, Gear Chronicle, Oracle Think Tank and Narukami have been discovered.

Keywords

Before we examine the actual cards coming out, it’s worth looking at the keywords. As Harmony and Wave have shown, these look as though they will develop and clarify existing skills in the clans. So far, only the names and vague relations to their effects have been shown, but there is some sensible speculation about the particulars.

Magia: Pale Moon’s new keyword is Magia, which is speculated to be shorthand for placing a unit into the Soul, then calling a different unit out of the Soul. This keyword will be revealed in the upcoming Pale Moon trial deck, which also features reprints of Poison Juggler and Egg Juggler.

Time Leap: Gear Chronicle gain this keyword, which is speculated to be shorthand for changing the Grade of your own rear-guards, such as in the effects of Upstream Dragon; Interdimensional Dragon, Epoch-Maker Dragon; or Interdimensional Dragon, Faterider Dragon. Some think that this might refer to placing your opponent’s units on the bottom of the deck, but ‘leaping’ implies a positive action, making it likely that this is about upgrading units. This will be revealed in the upcoming new Gear Chronicle trial deck, which features a reprint of Chronojet Dragon.

Oracle: This is the Oracle Think Tank keyword, showing effects which activate when the user has five or more cards in hand.

Thunder Strike (x): Narukami’s new keyword shows effects which activate when the opponent has x amount of cards in their Bind Zone, implying that the Narukami released in G-BT05 will focus on retiring units to the Bind Zone, as opposed to the Drop Zone.

Cards

G-CMB01-004-RRR (Sample)

Four more of G Comic Booster’s Royal Paladins have been revealed, all of whom revolve around having a Vanguard with ‘Alfred’ in the name. As seen before on Swordsman of Light, Blaster Rapier Lola, this seems intended to be King of Knights, Alfred, who will almost certainly see a reprint in this set. Swordsman of Light, Ahmes (pictured) is Blaster Blade before he was granted his famous sword. When he attacks and you have an ‘Alfred’ Vanguard, he gains 2000 power; then, when he hits a Vanguard, you may Counter Blast 1 to Superior Call a card with ‘Blaster Blade‘ in its name from the deck over this card and make the cost for its effect 0. This is a really nice skill – it allows for one extra attack, a cheaper retire and, lore-wise, reflects his progression into Blaster Blade. Swordsman of Light, Blaster Axe Guerard is a  9000 power Grade 2 with a very useful ability.  Once per turn, when another unit is called as a rear-guard by an effect while you have an ‘Alfred’ Vanguard, it gains 5000 power, easily allowing it to form a 21000 column with a 7000 power booster. Swordsman of Light, Blaster Javelin Larousse seems to imply further ‘-gal’ support. He is a 9000 power Grade 2 with the ability to put two cards from your hand into the soul to call two <High Beast> units from your deck. The new set will likely feature good <High Beast> boosters, but, as Larousse does not specify grades, any Royal Paladin <High Beast> can be used. This allows units from the hand to be traded for more useful ones from the deck for free, but generates no inherent advantage. G-CMB01-003-RRR (Sample)Knight of King’s Lieutenant, Galehalt (pictured) is designed to be the back-up Grade 3 for the new ‘Alfred’ decks. When he is placed on the vanguard circle, you may Counter Blast 2 to search your deck for up to one card with ‘Alfred’ its name and Ride it, then you can Call Galehalt from your soul as a rear-guard. Further, when his attack hits a vanguard and you have an ‘Alfred’ vanguard, you may Counter Charge 1. His first skill seems costly, but is not actually overpriced. Calling a single rear-guard is usually considered to be worth Counter Blast 1, so the other pays for ensuring you get the vanguard you need, with the cost further mitigated by his second skill. Galehalt looks set, therefore, to be a great unit for G Comic Booster Royal Paladins, and will see play in many decks. This set also sees Rain Elemental, Madew reprinted as a single R, certainly to benefit the 10000 power King of Knights, Alfred.

G-CMB01-005-RRR (Sample)

Docking Deletor, Greion also has been revealed from the G-Comic Booster, with a powerful new ability. When Greion is placed on the vanguard circle, your opponent chooses two cards from their Drop Zone and ‘Banish Deletes’ them. This seems to refer to binding them face-down permanently, preventing them from being used. However, it is his active effect which is best – by Counter Blasting 2 Deletors and retiring a Deletor, you can Delete your opponent’s vanguards and ‘Banish Delete’ a card of your opponent’s choice from their Drop Zone. This makes him strong against Legion decks, Granblue and other clans with the ability to return cards from the Drop Zone to the deck, such as Neo Nectar, Genesis, and Great Nature. An interesting pair of Grade 2 units have also been revealed in Hailing Deletor, Alba and Hailing Deletor, Elro. These units rely on being in the right and left columns respectively, which is visually depicted by each only having that one arm. Alba is an 8000 power unit which, when it is placed on rear-guard and your opponent’s vanguard is deleted, you can search your deck for a ‘Hailing Deletor, Elro’, call it to a rear-guard and shuffle your deck. Then, your opponent calls the top card of their deck to a rear-guard circle. This enables the effect of Elro, as, when an opponent’s unit is placed on a rear-guard by a card effect, you can Counter Charge 1 and force your opponent to Banish Delete a card from their Drop Zone. This can easily help to ensure multiple Deletes from your vanguard. Further, both units gain 3000 power when they attack a vanguard, provided both they and their counterpart are in the correct columns. The old forerunner, Acquire Deletor, Igor, also helps Greion a lot with his easy Counter Charge, alongside Alba.

Cloudmaster Dragon

Cloudmaster Dragon is one of the first two units to be revealed from G-BT05: The Dragon Fang That Glitters in the Moonlight. At Generation Break 1 and Thunder Strike 2, when it is placed on a rear-guard circle, it gains 2000 power for each unit in your opponent’s bind zone and prevents all their units from intercepting. This is a really strong ability, but fortunately can only be used once without replacing the copy. This encourages Narukami to use this for a turn of powerful attacks, rather than constantly shutting down intercepts. Rigid Crane is the second card to have been revealed from the future set, and is an Oracle Think Tank Grade 2 with 9000 base power. At Generation Break 1 and Oracle, it gains 2000 power during your turn and Soul Charge 1 and Counter Charge 1 on hit. Both of these cards can only be used after Striding and under certain conditions, which limits their powerful effects somewhat. In other news about G-BT05, promotional material has been released which seems to depict upcoming  Magus, Star-Vader, Messiah and Nightmare Doll cards, while also showing reprints of two promotional cards in Lady Battler of the White Dwarf and Battle Sister, Taffy.

PR-0341 (Sample)

Finally, two new Promo cards have been revealed. Geisharaizer is a normal draw trigger for Nova Grapplers. Steam Fighter, Galm (pictured), meanwhile, appears to be a prize for participation in Bushiroad’s 2015 World Grand Prix. He is a 9000 power Grade 2 for Gear Chronicle, with the Generation Break 1 ability to draw a card when its attack hits a vanguard for the cost of one Soul Blast. This is cheap for drawing a card, but competes for a very limited resource in Gear Chronicle, who only have access to two or three Soul in a game. As such, players might prefer to continue using the Soul for cards such as Steam Fighter, Mesh-he, as their effects are far more reliable.

That concludes this week’s instalment of Cardfight!! Vanguard news, check back next week for more updates!

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Welcome back to our discussion of Yu-Gi-Oh! rules. In this instalment we will be covering all types of Special Summoning, including Fusion, Ritual, Synchro, Xyz and Pendulum.

Special Summoning

Special Summoning in Yu-Gi-Oh is a blanket term for a number of different methods of summoning, only really united by the fact that they are not your single Normal Summon for the turn! Of these, there are two major types which affect the interaction between cards: the Inherent Special Summon and the non-Inherent Special Summon. Cyber Dragon cyberdragon(pictured) is an example of an Inherent Special Summon – its effect allows it to be Special Summoned from the hand, but this does not start a chain. You do not have to activate the effect, but rather you have the option to just Special Summon it as long as its condition is fulfilled! Inherent Special Summons are those which do not start chains, and are simply options which you have given the fulfilment of certain conditions. Synchro, Xyz and Pendulum Summons are all Inherent Special Summons.

Non-Inherent Special Summons are effects which start a chain. moboThese effects often affect other cards, such as the Spell Card Monster Reborn (pictured). Essentially, when an effect activates which would Special Summon a monster, that is a non-Inherent Special Summon. Therefore, cards such as Soul Charge are non-Inherent, as their effects activate, and equally all Ritual and Fusion Summons are non-Inherent.

But what difference does this make? Simply put, several cards in the game can only affect one or the other of BlackHornofHeaven-LCJW-EN-UR-1Ethese two major types. Black Horn of Heaven (pictured) can only be used to negate the Inherent Special Summons of monsters. Why? The wording of the card is ‘When your opponent would Special Summon a monster’, not ‘When your opponent would activate an effect which would Special Summon a monster’. This means that only actions which are inherently Special Summons can be negated – limiting Black Horn of Heaven to only affecting Synchro, Xyz, Pendulum and Cyber Dragon-like SummonsSolemnWarning-PGL2-EN-GUR-1E. Solemn Warning (pictured), on the other hand, can stop every type of Summon. This is because it can remove any Inherent Special or Normal Summon (‘when a monster(s) would be Summoned’ or any effect which can Special Summon a monster (‘when… an effect is activated… that Special Summons a monster(s’). As such, it is really important to learn the difference between the two types, as it does change what tools you can use to respond to them!

 

Ritual Summoning (Non-Inherent)

Relinquished-LCYW-EN-R-1EBlackIllusionRitual-LCYW-EN-R-1ERitual monsters are kept in the Main Deck and must be summoned in a certain way, requiring the user to have two specific cards.  Relinquished is an example of a Ritual monster, and can be summoned using the Ritual Spell Card ‘Black Illusion Ritual’. When the player activates the Black Illusion Ritual, they Tribute monsters from their hand or field according to the conditions written on the Spell Card. This is not a cost, but rather part of the effect, so if your opponent negates the Spell, you do not lose your monsters. At that point, you summon a copy of the appropriate Ritual Monster from your hand. This completes the summon, allowing the opponent to respond with cards such as Bottomless Trap Hole. Ritual Monsters are therefore one of the hardest types of Monster to summon, as they require a very specific combination of cards in hand to use. Further, Ritual Monsters sent to the Grave from the hand or deck cannot be Special Summoned using other effects – they have to be Ritual Summoned first! Therefore, you can only use cards such as Monster Reborn on them after you have already Ritual Summoned them, limiting their use even further. Ritual Summoning has become more popular recently given the advent of the Nekroz and Prediction Princess archetypes, as they can help to recover the heavy cost of Ritual Summoning through secondary effects on their Spell Cards.

Fusion Summoning (Non-Inherent)

BlueEyesUltimateDragon-PGLD-EN-GUR-1EFusion Summoning is, in many respects, similar to Ritual Summoning. However, they do differ substantially. Fusion Monsters are kept in the Extra Deck until they are able to be used, and Fusion Summons rely on activating a Spell Card with the effect of Fusion Summoning a monster. This can be one of several cards, and it is notable that Fusion Summons do not specify which Spell Card you should use, merely the specific monsters you need. This means that, without specific instructions, you could use any appropriate Fusion Spell Card to summon Blue-Eyes Ultimate Dragon (pictured), provided you use the three Blue-Eyes White Dragon as its Tributes. Polymerization-SP15-EN-C-1EThe most common Fusion Spell card is Polymerisation, although there are many more types of cards which can be used, such as Dragon’s Mirror! As such, many players will use those best suited to their deck, as the more specific Spell Cards are often more powerful. Further, some monsters, such as The Dark – Hex-Sealed Fusion, can be used as substitutes for a Fusion Material monster or to provide the effect to Fusion Summon. This means that, while Spell Cards are the primary way for the summoning to happen, other effects can be used as well. When a Fusion Monster would be returned to the hand or the deck, it instead returns to the Extra Deck, though they can be banished or destroyed as usual.

Xyz Summoning (Inherent)

Number39Utopia-YS13-EN-SR-1EXyz monsters are kept in the Extra Deck until they are ready to be used, and may be Summoned when you control two or more monsters with the same level on the field. This does not have to be their original level, so any level modifying effects (such as the Gagaga series) can be used to help create them. Number 39: Utopia’s summoning requirement is two level 4 monsters: when you have these on the field, you place the one on top of the other (order does not matter), then the Xyz monster on top of them both. The two monsters used in its summon become ‘Xyz materials’, and are often used as fuel for its effects. For example, Utopia may detach one material from itself to negate an attack – the material leaves the stack under the card and is sent to the Graveyard. On this note, Xyz materials do not count as leaving the field when used as material, so effects such as that of Reborn Tengu cannot activate. Further, Xyz monsters do not have a level, but rather a rank – this is shown by their black stars and their position on the left, rather than the right, of the card. As such, Xyz materials are immune to all effects which are dependent on level, such as Level Limit – Area B. When Xyz monsters are returned to the hand or deck, they instead return to the Extra Deck.

Synchro (Inherent)

StardustDragon-LC5D-EN-C-1ESynchro monsters are kept in the Extra Deck until they are ready to be used, and need to be summoned in a specific way. All Synchro monsters require a Tuner and a non-Tuner monster to be on the field for their summon, although some require multiple Tuners or non-Tuners. Stardust Dragon (pictured) requires exactly one Tuner and at least one non-Tuner – this means you can use any number of non-Tuner monsters (including Tokens) to summon it. However, the levels of the Monsters used as Synchro Material need to add up exactly to the Synchro Monster’s level, which in this case is 8. Therefore, you could use a level 5 Tuner with a level 3 non-Tuner; a level 2 Tuner with two level 3 non-Tuners; or even a level 2 tuner with three level 2 non-Tuners. As long as the level adds up to 8, you can use as many monsters as you need. The monsters used for the summon are sent to the Graveyard, so effects such as Reborn Tengu will activate at this time, as the monsters used are considered to have left the field. Further, as with Xyz monsters, any effects which return Synchro monsters to the hand or deck return them to the Extra Deck instead.

Pendulum (Inherent)

xiangPendulum monsters are the newest type of Special Summoning, and often are considered the most confusing. Pendulum is a secondary Type of monster, meaning that they go in whichever deck that monster would normally be in. Xiangke Magician, therefore, would go in the Main Deck, while Odd-Eyes Rebellion Dragon (the only Xyz Pendulum) would stay in the Extra Deck. Pendulum monsters are a hybrid between Continuous Spell and Monster Cards, and may be played in two different ways. The most obvious way is just like any other monster card, in which case the lower of the two effect boxes applies – in the case of Xiangke Magician, this is the box containing [Spellcaster/Pendulum/Effect]. This is considered their ‘Monster Effect’. However, they also have a Spell form. When they are played in this way, you may place them face-up in one of your two Pendulum Zones (you cannot set in a Pendulum zone), and they then count as Continuous Spell Cards. At this point, there are two very important pieces of information. The first is their Spell Effect, shown in the upper of the two boxes on the card. In the case of Xiangke Magician, this reads ‘Once per turn: You can target 1 face-up Xyz Monster…’. The second piece of information is their Pendulum Scale. These are shown by the two arrows on either side of the Spell Effect, which in the case of Xiangke Magician is 3. When both of your Pendulum Zones are occupied (for this example, we shall use Xiangsheng Magician as the card in the other zone), once per turn you may perform a Pendulum Summon. This allows you to summon as many monsters as you like from your hand or face-up from your Extra Deck with levels between the scale. So, with a Pendulum Scale of 3 and 8, you are allowed to summon monsters with levels 4, 5, 6 and 7. This is not considered to be activating an effect, so Pendulum summoning is Inherent – as such, cards like Black Horn of Heaven can be activated in response to the summon. But how do you get face-up cards in the Extra Deck? All Synchro, Fusion and Xyz monsters remain face-down at all times in the Extra Deck, even if returned there by an effect. You get face-up cards in the Extra Deck when Pendulum Monsters (even if used as Spells) on the field would be sent to the Graveyard – instead, they move to the Extra Deck face-up, ready to be summoned back by using the Pendulum scale. Therefore, using Pendulum monsters on the field for Tribute Summoning, Ritual Summoning, Synchro Summoning or Fusion Summoning will return them to the Extra Deck, while using them for Xyz material will result in them going to the Grave when detached, as they are not on the field. Pendulum monsters (even if used as Spell cards) must be on the field to return to the Extra Deck – negating their activation or summon will send them to the Graveyard, just like any other type of monster. When they are returned to the hand or deck, they behave normally too.

Conclusion

In this instalment, we have learned the difference between Inherent and Non-Inherent types of Special Summoning, as well as how to perform each type of Special Summon in the game.

Previous Rules

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Last night, while playing a game of Vanguard, we had an interesting (and confusing) interaction come up. I was playing Bermuda Triangle (in preparation for the Sneak Peak on 22/08), while my opponent was playing Gear Chronicle. Now, Gear Chronicle usually have very simple effects: they return a unit to the bottom of the deck, then they continue on their merry way. However, what confused us last night was this: Interdimensional Beast, Upheaval Pegasus.

For those of you unfamiliar the the card, Pegasus’ effect is somewhat unusual. It consists of two parts: the first is to return all your opponent’s rear-guards to the bottom of the deck, then the second part is to call an equal number from the top of the deck. What makes it interesting in terms of rulings is each of those cards is called one at a time. Our question was how this interacts with AUTO abilities, specifically, ones which activate on-call.

If all of the cards were called at the same time, there would be little confusion. Say that my opponent wanted to use Pegasus, then follow up with the on-stride of Chronojet Dragon. Upheaval Pegasus’ ability would entirely resolve, we enter the ‘check timing’ step, his Chronojet Dragon’s effect resolves, and then I get to use my on-calls. This uses the nice and easy principle that, when both players effects activate at the same time, the turn player gets to resolve them first.

G-CB01-010EN-RRBut, as I said, Upheaval Pegasus calls them all one by one. I had three units on the field, so I had to call three units in succession. My first was Superb New Student, Shizuku (pictured). Her ability is based on Harmony, so it’s not quite an on-call, but similar enough! My second unit was a Grade 2, so I placed that in the same column as Shizuku (triggering her Harmony effect), and my third was largely irrelevant. In this way, my AUTO ability triggered part way through the resolution of another units ability. Therefore, when do I get to use Shizuku’s effect?

The Cardfight!! Vanguard Comprehensive Rulebook has a few things to say on the issue:Rulings 1And:Rulings 2So, there is no question that I can and must activate my AUTO ability, but when exactly does it happen? In our game state, the Gear Chronicle player has two AUTO abilities that he needs to resolve – that of Upheaval Pegasus (mid-resolution) and that of Chronojet Dragon (on standby). I have one AUTO ability to resolve – that of Suberb New Student, Shizuku. According to the official rules, we should be checking the AUTO abilities of the Gear Chronicle user before my own. As such, the priority has to be on the full resolution of his Upheaval Pegasus’ effect. My AUTO ability does not get to resolve partway through the resolution of his Upheaval Pegasus, rather, if any ability could interrupt and resolve, it would have to be his Chronojet Dragon’s, as he is the turn player! As such, the actual sequence of events would be:

  1. Stride Interdimensional Beast, Upheaval Pegasus
  2. (Timing window for the effects of Interdimensional Beast, Upheaval Pegasus and for Chronojet Dragon)
  3. Start of Upheaval Pegasus’ effect
  4. My three units are returned to the deck
  5. I call Superb New Student, Shizuku to my back row
  6. I call Admired Sparkle, Spica to my front row, in Shizuku’s column
  7. (Shizuku enters Harmony State; timing window for Shizuku’s effect)
  8. I call my final unit
  9. Chronojet Dragon’s AUTO ability resolves, returning one of my units to the bottom of the deck
  10. Shizuku’s ability resolves.

So, as we can see, it turns out that Upheaval Pegasus’ effect interacts with other effects as if all the units were called at once. Essentially, the whole ability needs to resolve, then the turn player’s AUTOs, then the non-turn player’s AUTOs. Even though several cards might have their effects triggered at several different times, they all wait on standby until the turn player has finished.

As a final note, what happens if he uses his Chronojet Dragon to remove my Shizuku before her effect is resolved? According to the rulebook:Rulings 3My Shizuku still would get to use her ability, even when removed.

So, in the end, our confusion was misplaced. All we needed to do was resolve the ability fully and play on as if it were any other ability (which we did), but it turns out that was actually the correct ruling! It opened up some interesting questions about simultaneous effects, so hopefully this can be helpful for when situations come up in your games.

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The Synchron Extreme Structure Deck is released in the TCG on 28th October 2015, focussing on Synchro Summoning and bringing a total of ten brand-new cards, along with several important reprints! This article will discuss the most notable cards in the set, the new cards, and how well it can play out of the box.

New Cards

StardustWarrior-SD28-JP-UPRWhen we examine the contents of the deck, it is worth having a look at the brand new ‘Ace’ card! Stardust Warrior is a level 10 Synchro which needs to be formed using a Tuner Synchro monster and a non-Tuner Synchro monster. This would often be a hefty cost, but as Synchron decks usually use Synchro monsters as stepping stones to larger threats, it is not outside of the deck’s capabilities. For this investment, you receive a monster which can Tribute itself whenever your opponent would Special Summon a monster to negate the summon, and then return to the field during the End Phase. Further, if this card is destroyed by battle or leaves the field by an opponent’s card effect (while still in your possession), you may summon a level 8 or lower ‘Warrior’ Synchro Monster from the Extra Deck. This can include cards such as Drill Warrior, Junk Warrior, Road Warrior or the new Jet Warrior, all of whom work extremely well in Synchron Decks. As Synchron decks are often very monster-heavy to aid consistent summoning, Stardust Warrior offers the chance to control the game on the opponent’s turn while also, ideally, replacing itself with Road Warrior (who can summon level 2 monsters from the deck for free) to help the player recover should it be removed.

JetWarrior-SD28-JP-SPRThe Structure Deck also introduces a new pair of cards: Jet Synchron and Jet Warrior (pictured). Jet Synchron (a level 1 Tuner) is very good for aiding the deck’s consistency, as, when it is sent to the Graveyard as a Synchro material, you can add one Junk monster from the deck to the hand. Further, you can send one card from your hand to your graveyard to Special Summon it from the Graveyard, but banish it when it leaves the field. This can easily aid summoning larger monsters, and an easily accessible Special Summon is especially useful in this deck. Its Warrior form, Jet Warrior, requires Jet Synchron as its Tuner, bringing with it some very good effects. When it is Synchro Summoned, you can target one card your opponent controls and return it to their hand.  Synchron decks often consolidate into level 5 Synchros before moving up into the higher levels, and as this has an effect on summon, it is a very good option despite having specific requirements. What really helps this card is the ability to Special Summon it from the Graveyard by Tributing a level 2 or lower monster (although it will be banished when it leaves the field). This easily allows it to add levels to future Synchro Summons, especially since the deck revolves so heavily around level 2 monsters.

AccelSynchron-SD28-JP-SPRAccel Synchron (pictured) is another good level 5 monster. It is a Synchro Tuner monster, and can only be Synchro Summoned once per turn (for good reason). It can be used to Synchro Summon during the opponent’s Main Phase in a similar way to Formula Synchron. However, it also has the ability to send a Synchron monster from the deck to the Graveyard to either increase or decrease its level by the level of the sent monster. This easily allows it to tailor its level to be used to summon any monster, even becoming level 10 with ease (using Quickdraw Synchron). Its low stats cement it as a combo card, although its flexibility means it will find a home in any Synchron deck.

SynchronCarrier-SD28-JP-NPRSynchron Carrier (pictured)  is a level 2 non-tuner with a pair of useful effects. During your Main Phase, it allows you to Normal Summon a ‘Synchron’ monster in addition to your Normal Summon or Set. Further, it can summon a level 2 token once per turn when a ‘Synchron’ monster is sent to the Graveyard for the summon of a Warrior or Machine Type Synchro Monster. This allows it to serve a variety of purposes: you can Normal Summon this, then use your additional Normal Summon for Junk Synchron. Junk Synchron then can summon any level 2 monster and be used to summon Accel Synchron. This then causes Synchron Carrier to spawn a token, granting you access to any level 7 or 9 Synchro monster even without using Accel Synchron’s effect. This card really can help set up combos with ridiculous ease, and should be seen as a staple in the deck.

Reprints

OneforOne-LC5D-EN-UR-1EThe deck includes many ‘obvious’ reprints such as Quickdraw Synchron, Tuningware, Quillbolt Hedgehog, Level Eater, Unknown Synchron, Tuning and Doppelwarrior. These have always been mainstays of any ‘Synchro Spam’ deck, and their easy access is surely very useful to all would-be players of the deck. Players will be certainly excited for another reprint of One For One, whose utility has made it a key card in many decks. In a Structure Deck where most of the key cards have been included at one copy, this card really helps consistency – further, the discard cost is actually useful, as it can help set up the Graveyard with cards to Summon using Junk Synchron or with Quillbolt Hedgehogs to summon themselves.

ImperialIronWall-LCJW-EN-UR-1EImperial Iron Wall is an interesting addition, especially considering it is usually seen as a Side Deck card. It has been included in this deck for its synergy with cards such as Quillbolt Hedgehog, Jet Synchron and Jet Warrior, so that they are returned to the Graveyard as opposed to being banished, allowing them to continuously use their effects. The deck also includes a copy of Solemn Warning, which is often considered to be a ‘Staple’ trap card and is useful in virtually every deck. It has been reprinted quite a few times since its original release, but as the demand for it continues to be high, it is good to see its inclusion here.

ReinforcementoftheArmy-SDHS-EN-C-1E

Reinforcement of the Army and The Warrior Returning Alive also come with this set, and help increase the power of the deck further. As the deck contains so many important Warrior Type monsters (such as Junk Synchron or Doppelwarrior), these cards increase its consistency nicely. We also see the very ‘splashable’ Tuners of Plaguespreader Zombie and Genex Ally Birdman included in this set. They fit the theme nicely and also work very well in other decks. The addition of Effect Veiler, a card which is extremely useful in this deck (both to use for disruption and as a target for cards such as Junk Synchron) also makes the deck very good value in terms of staples.

How to improve the deck

The deck functions moderately well on its own, but can easily be improved. The best way to make the deck better is to buy a second copy of the Structure deck and merge them together – this allows you to easily gain more copies of the most important combo cards and fill your Extra Deck, while also providing some copies of Limited cards for other decks. There are, however, some easy ‘singles’ which should be added to really make the deck effective.

TGHyperLibrarian-LC5D-EN-ScR-1ENo Synchro deck could be complete without T.G. Hyper Librarian. This card is one of the most important tools in the Synchro arsenal, especially in a deck which Synchro summons as much as this Structure Deck does. It is extremely easy to summon in the deck, granting it consistency even past the first wave of summons and it shines when combined with cards such as De-Synchro or Tuningware. Further, when it has done its job, it can be used to help produce higher-level Synchro monsters, meaning that you definitely need to run the one copy you’re allowed! FormulaSynchron-PGL2-EN-GUR-1E

Formula Synchron is another card which really benefits the deck to an absurd degree. As soon as it is Synchro Summoned, you can draw a card, while the fact that it is a Synchro/Tuner monster means that it can be used to help create difficult creatures like Stardust Warrior or Shooting Quasar Dragon. This works very well when summoned after T.G. Hyper Librarian, or as a target for use with De-Synchro. Further, the ability to Synchro Summon during the opponent’s turn allows the user to easily use board wipes like Black Rose Dragon to respond to their threats. It is well worth using at least one copy of this card, depending on how you focus your build.

Theoretically, the Extra Deck now consists of eleven cards. I would fill out the remaining spaces with a single copy of Black Rose Dragon; a Stardust Dragon; a Mist Wurm or Trishula, Dragon of the Ice Barrier (budget dependant); a Shooting Star Dragon and a Shooting Quasar Dragon. For players new to the deck, this grants a variety of levels and effects which can be accessed before they move into a more specialised build, such as Quasar Turbo. In terms of cards to add to the Main Deck, a copy of Foolish Burial is very good, as it allows the user to help add cards such as Quillbolt Hedgehog to the Grave, while some copies of Machine Duplication can help to get more bodies onto the field (especially effective with Tuningware). This should create a nicely focussed build with some very strong combination plays.

My Rating

I give this deck an easy 8/10 – the introduction of ten unique cards means that it is worth purchasing even for experienced players, while the reprints of staple cards such as Effect Veiler and One for One mean that it has great value even when dismantled for other decks. This seems to be one of the better Structure Decks to start playing with, as buying two copies will create an efficient deck and a half-full Extra Deck, while working out the possible ‘combos’ will be a good exercise for experts and new players alike. The only thing that stopped me from rating it higher is the surprising lack of Formula Synchron, as it would have been a perfect fit for the deck, both in theme and play-style. This is well worth picking up!

Synchron Extreme Structure Decks are available from Big Orbit Games.

 

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Welcome back to our weekly Vanguard update! This week sees almost all of Soul Strike Against the Supreme revealed, as well as some cards from the new Aqua Force Clan Booster – Commander of the Consecutive Wave.

G-BT04-085-C (Sample)Gear Chronicle receive three new cards this week, including a new Forerunner in Steam Worker, Kuda. At Generation Break 1, he can move into the Soul to grant your vanguard 5000 power and the ability to return an opponent’s unit to the bottom of the deck on-hit. This effect can be really good if used at the right time, but suffers greatly from needing to hit. As such, it is most useful when combined with the Generation Break 2 ability of Chronojet Dragon, easily making it hit 21000 power whilst not being able to be blocked by Grade 1 units. However, most players will still prefer to use Brass-Winged Gear Hawk for its consistent power boost, rather than risk losing a card to no avail. The second card revealed is a simple Critical trigger in Steam Fighter, Rugal-Banda, which will give players more options in their trigger line-up. However, the most exciting card for Gear Chronicle users is Chronodragon Nextage! This is the ‘evolved’ form of Chronojet Dragon, and has the potential to be a really strong finisher. It is a G-Unit with a Generation Break 2 ability with a hefty cost. By Counter Blasting 1, G-Persona Blasting 1 and discarding three cards at the end of the battle where it attacked the vanguard, Chronodragon Nextage can return to the G-Zone and stand your vanguard if it is called Chronojet Dragon. This allows you to make five Drive Checks a turn, while also following up with an attack which cannot be nullified. However, as this is not a true re-standing Vanguard, any trigger effects given to the Vanguard do not carry over to the second attack, meaning that this unit is strongest with a powerful rear-guard column to which to donate its triggers. This is a really strong unit for an already strong clan, so expect to see this in high demand.

G-BT04-010-RRR (Sample)Neo Nectar have also had their next-generation boss revealed in Dream-weaving Ranunculus, Ahsha. Her effect is a little complicated, as it is an ACT ability which gives her an ACT ability. At the cheap cost of a G-Persona Blast, her first ACT unlocks her second ability and then, if you have two or more face-up cards in your G-Zone, allows her to clone a unit and give it 2000 power. Her second ACT allows her to choose a rear-guard, then if you have two or more units with the same name as that unit, to grant the entire front row 5000 power. This does not require Ranunculus Flower Maiden, Ahsha as the heart, but works exceptionally well with an Ahsha heart, essentially cloning two units and granting both of them 2000 power. Dream-weaving Ranunculus, Ahsha might not have the flashiest ability, but she is both strong and reliable and so will certainly be a staple. A good target for cloning in this way would be the new 3 Apple Sisters. They are a 6000 power Grade 1 unit who can grant the unit they boost an extra 2000 power for each other copy of themselves. This means that they can become a 12000 booster when combined with the skill of the Ranunculi units, allowing them to form 21000 power columns with most grade 2s. When combined with Dream-Weaving Ranunculus, Ahsha’s second ACT, this means that Neo Nectar can create two 26000 power rear-guard columns, even without triggers. Their final unit this week is the Grade 3 Crystal Wing Dragon. When she is placed on the vanguard circle, you may Counter Blast 1 and Soul Blast 1 to clone a Grade 2 or less rear-guard. Her Generation Break 1 active ability is to Counter Blast 1 and choose one rear-guard, then to give up to four units with the same name as that unit 3000 power. This can give a total of 12000 power across the board, ideally granting both rear-guard columns 6000. However, even in Neo Nectar, calling four of the same unit is difficult, so I would expect to see this as a back-up Grade 3 for Ahsha.

G-BT04-006-RRR (Sample)Genesis have had their new G-Unit, Destruction Deity Beast, Vanargand, revealed. His Generation Break 2 ability requires a Soul Blast of 6 and a G-Persona Blast. In return for this, when he attacks a vanguard (at the start of the Drive Step, but before making Drive Checks), you can look at the top four cards of your deck and put up to four of them back on top of the deck in any order – the others go to the bottom of the deck. This allows you to stack triggers and respond to your opponent’s guarding. If your opponent nullifies your attack, you can simply set up your deck to draw cards you need, or arrange triggers to give to rear-guards. This ability is really strong, but does require a heavy Soul cost – using him in conjunction with Dreaming Dragon would be a sensible idea. As the Soul Blasts occur mid-battle phase, you can call units such as Witch of Ravens, Camomile back from the Drop Zone for further attacks, allowing him to be a very aggressive unit. The other newly revealed unit is the 9000 power Grade 2, Mythic Serpent, Jormungand. At Generation Break 1, he gains 1000 power every time a unit is put in the Drop Zone from the Soul, making him the Grade 2 version of Mythic Beast, Hati. Virtually any Soul Blast effect will let him threaten the vanguard on his own, but he works best when combined with Hati. When Vanargand uses his skill, their column gains 12000, making them attack for 28000 combined. This means that any triggers donated by Vanargand are going to enhance an already strong column, possibly forcing a Perfect Guard.

G-BT04-096-C (Sample)Machining players will be happy to see a new trigger in the form of Machining Scarab, even if it has no effects. Pure Machining decks always suffered from having only four different trigger units, essentially forcing them to run four stand triggers. With the addition of this trigger, Machining finally have more choice in their trigger line-up, and the ability to draw cards without sacrificing their consistency. Scissor Finger is a 7000 Grade 1 who can, at Generation Break 1, increase the power of the unit it boosts by 2000, provided all the opponent’s units are at rest. When this is combined with the Grade 2 Buster Mantis (who gains 3000 power when all the opponent’s units are rested) you can create an easy 21000 power column. This can easily help to deplete the opponent’s resources and leave them unable to guard when combined with effects that paralyse the vanguard.

Swordsman of Light, Blaster Rapier Lola

Swordsman of Light, Blaster Rapier Lola’s effect has finally been revealed! She is a 7000 power Grade 1 with Resist and the ability to grant all your copies of King of Knights, Alfred in the same column as her a permanent 1000 power. This is a little odd – the existing King of Knights, Alfred cannot be boosted, so there is some speculation that a new version might be released with a different effect (such as what happened with Phantom Blaster Dragon’s Break Ride form). In other news, information on a couple of cards from the upcoming Aqua Force clan booster has been released. Battle Siren, Melania features the new keyword ‘Wave’, which refers to the standard Aqua Force limitation on abilities depending on which attack of the turn it is. At Generation Break 1 and Wave 3 (so, the third or higher battle), she can Counter Blast 1 to draw a card and gain 5000 power, provided you have a Thavas vanguard. She also features resist, meaning that Aqua Force’s reliance on rear-guards is now less risky. Further, a new ‘revival Legion’ for Thundering Ripple, Genovious has been shown – Breaking Ripple, Miltiades. When Miltiades is placed on the vanguard circle, you may Counter Blast 1 to look at the top three cards of your deck, add one card with ‘Ripple’ in its name to your hand, and send the rest to the Drop Zone. This helps to set up Genovious’ Persona Blast and to fill the Drop Zone for Legion. His ability in Legion activates on attack – if the number of rested units in your front row is three or more (your Legion vanguard counts as two), you may choose one of your rear-guards and stand it, then Counter Charge 1. Then, if the number of rested units in your back row is three or more, you may draw a card. This ability is really good in the clan, helping to reset the costs of switching units’ positions and to draw cards. This can also help to set up further Genovious abilities by allowing you to draw into his copies and helping to ensure you have enough Counter Blasts to pay. Either way, this is very good support for an older card.

That concludes this week’s instalment of Cardfight!! Vanguard news, check back next week for more updates!

Cardfight Vanguard singles are available to purchase at Big orbit Cards: Cardfight Vanguard