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 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 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
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
My 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 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
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 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
There’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
This 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
By 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
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.
Cardfight Vanguard singles are available to purchase at Big Orbit Cards: Cardfight Vanguard