Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Angel Feather Celestial Anime Matsuri Legion!

It's Anime Matsuri again!! YAYYYY!!! On another note, several clans have gotten Legion during this event(see: "Legion: the basics"), and one of them is Angel Feather with their beautiful Celestials. Let's take a look at their Legion unit shall we?
 PR-0225 (Sample)
Holy Edge Celestial, Malchedael
[ACT](VC): Legion 20000 "Overdose Celestial, Asmodel" (If your opponent has a Grade 3 or greater Vanguard, only once, this unit may return 4 cards from your drop zone to your deck, and search your deck for the specified card, and perform Legion)
[CONT](VC): During your turn, if this unit is in Legion, all of your units in the front row get [Power]+2000. Then, if you have a face up card in your damage zone with the same name as a unit on your (VC), all of your units in the front row get [Power]+2000.
[AUTO](VC): When this unit attacks a Vanguard, if there is another unit in the center column, this unit gets [Power]+3000 until end of that battle.

PR-0226 (Sample) 
Overdose Celestial, Asmodel
[AUTO](RC): [Counter Blast (1) & put this unit into your damage zone]When this unit's attack hits a Vanguard, you may pay the cost. If you do, choose one face up card not named "Overdose Celestial, Asmodel" from your damage zone, and call it to (RC).

I don't know about you guys, but these 2 just makes AF even more fun than it already is. Looking at the G2 Legion mate, it's an easy way to achieve the 2nd part of the skill for Malchedael. It can also combo with Emergency Celestial, Danielle when it enters the damage zone, allowing for more attacks in a single turn. Asmodel is basically a very pressurizing unit which would force your opponent to guard if they don't want more full-strength attacks coming their way(Raguel and Danielle, I'm looking at you :P).
Now let's talk about the G3 itself. Although this might seem a little weaker than Zerachiel in terms of all-round field power, the Vanguard power is absolutely devastating. Let's take a look: 23K(when attacking) + 4K(first part of skill, adding 2K to each unit on VC) + 4K(second part of skill, adding another 2K to each unit on VC) + 9K(possible boost from Hesediel with Zerachiel in the damage zone)= A devastating 40K Vanguard attack
Comparing to Zerachiel with a maximum consistent attack of 26K per turn, this unit obviously outclasses Zerachiel in terms of Vanguard power alone. Run this in an 8 Crit build, and it's a hell lot of pressure. :D
I'll go into a basic pressure field setup for this unit:
Left column: Asmodel(front row), Hesediel(back row w/ face-up Zerachiel in damage zone)
Center column: Legion Malchedael + Asmodel(front row), Hesediel(back row)
Right column: empty front row, narelle/hesediel in back row
Damage Zone: face-up Zerachiel, face-up Danielle, face-up Raguel, 2 face-up damage
This is a basic field set-up i thought of which is very pressurizing to the opponent, because if they let Asmodel hit, it will open them up to 2 more full strength attacks from Raguel, and Danielle later. Of course, it's risky to be at 5 damage in the current meta, so the part about Danielle is optional, and you can have one less face-up damage.

Here's a nice deck-list I thought up:
4 Zerachiel, 4 Malchedael
4 Asmodel, 4 Raguel, 3 Danielle
4 Aniel(pg), 4 Narelle, 4 Hesediel, 2 Nociel
Triggers: 4 Hot Shot Celestial, Samyaza(critical); 4 Rocket Dash Unicorn(critical); 4 Celestial, Landing Pegasus(draw); 4 Recovery Celestial, Ramuel(heal)
Starter: First Aid Celestial, Penuel

The reason I run Nociel in this build is to possibly swap Danielle or Asmodel into the damage zone, as well as obtain more shield for guarding during your opponent's turn. Hesediel serves as a good booster in the back row for higher powered columns. Narelle is a staple in practically every Celestial deck, because it has an on-call effect to allow you to swap cards from your hand with the damage zone, possibly setting up for more fun combos later. Penuel is still the best starter for the Celestials in my opinion because she allows you to superior call 1 unit straight from the damage zone for the effective cost of one counterblast(Asmodel & Raguel I'm looking at you :P).
Well, that's it from me for now for the Celestials. I run a Celestial deck myself, so I was able to write this nicely. Feel free to voice your opinions in the comments section though :D

Signing off,
Lee Megan

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Cray Journal: Genesis, the Sacred Regalia

One topic not covered in this blog yet, is the Genesis clan, and their atchetype, regalia. 
In the very beginning, we had Wisdom of Sacred Regalia, Angelica from the TD
After that, we had the crossride, Omniscience Regalia, Minerva 
Now, at Extra Booster 12: Waltz of the Goddess, we have legion for these beautiful ladies :D
Our main boss, the CEO of genesis herself, Regalia of the Cosmos, CEO Yggdrasil, and her mate Regalia of Fate, Norn. 
CEO Yggdrasil: [ACT] Legion 20000 "Regalia of Fate, Norn" (If your opponent has a Grade 3 or greater Vanguard, only once, this unit may return 4 cards from your drop zone to your deck, search for the specified card, and perform Legion)
[AUTO](VC): [Soul Blast 6] When this unit attack a Vanguard, if this unit is in Legion, you may pay the cost. If you do, until end of that battle, this unit gets [Critical]+1, and your opponent cannot call Grade 1 or greater units to (GC) from his/her hand. 
[AUTO](VC): When this unit attacks a Vanguard, if you have another unit in the center column, this unit gets [Power]+3000 until end of that battle. 

At a glance, this seems like a very powerful unit, but overcosted with a cost of soul blast 6, considering soul charging support from bt14. But wait, let's look at support from eb12:

Regalia of Abundance, Freya: [AUTO](RC): [CB1] When your Vanguard performs Legion, you may pay the cost. If you do, soul charge 3, and this unit gets [Power]+5000 until end of turn
Regalia of Midday, Hemera: [AUTO] When this unit is placed on (RC), choose up to 3 cards from your drop zone with "Regalia" in its card name, and put it into your soul
Exorcism Regalia, Shiny Angel: [AUTO] When this unit is placed on (RC), choose up to 3 cards from your drop zone with "Regalia" in its card name, and put it into your soul
Regalia of Foredoom, Lot Angel: [AUTO] When this unit is placed on (GC), you may Soul Charge (1)
Regalia of Prayer, Pray Angel: [ACT](RC): [Put this unit into your soul] If your Vanguard is in Legion, Soul Charge (3), choose your Vanguard, and that unit gets [Power]+5000 until end of turn. 

Now does it seem so hard to achieve the cost of Soul Blast 6? I don't think so...

Now let's take a look at what makes CEO Yggdrasil so powerful:

Regalia of Fate, Norn: [AUTO] When this unit is placed in the drop zone from your soul, choose your Vanguard with "Regalia" in its card name, and that unit gets [Power]+5000 until end of turn
Mirror Regalia, Achiles: [AUTO] When this unit is placed in the drop zone from your soul, choose your Vanguard with "Regalia" in its card name, and that unit gets [Power]+5000 until end of turn. 
Regalia of Purify, Pure Angel: [AUTO]: [Counter Blast 1] When this unit is placed on (RC), you may pay the cost. If you do, choose your Vanguard with "Regalia" in its card name, and until end of turn, that unit gets [Power]+5000, and "[AUTO](VC): [Soul Blast 3] When this unit's attack hits a Vanguard, you may pay the cost, if you do, draw a card. 
Regalia of Congratulations, Preach Angel: [AUTO](RC): When this unit boosts a Vanguard, if your Vanguard is in Legion, the boosted unit gets [Power]+4000 until end of that battle

These are the various supports that allow CEO Yggdrasil to gain so much power. Norn and Achiles' skills can be easily activated when Yggdrasil uses her skill to Soul Blast (6). Combining that with Pure Angel, we're possibly looking at 58k power with 2 Critical, without a Vanguard booster. This element of being able to easily power up, and have a critical effect is what makes CEO Yggdrasil so threatening, and hence Genesis' main boss in the current Legion meta. 
But of course, CEO Yggdrasil and her mate cannot stand as solo warriors on the field. And that's why we have a second Legion unit for the Regalia archetype: 
Regalia of Midnight, Nyx: [ACT] Legion 20000 "Regalia of Midday, Hemera"
[AUTO](VC): When a card with the same name as a unit on your (VC) is placed in your drop zone from your soul, if this unit is in Legion, this unit gets [Power]+5000/[Critical]+1 until en of turn. This ability cannot be used for the rest of that turn. 
[ACT](VC): [Soul Blast 3] If the number of cards in your hand is 3 or less, draw a card. This ability cannot be used for the rest of that turn.

The Legion skill seems abit hard to pull off at first glance, but remember the specific Regalia support like Hemera and Shiny Angel. These 2 units can get either Nyx or Hemera into the soul, and then you can use Nyx's ACT ability to place one copy of either herself or Hemera from the soul into the drop zone. Of course it's risky to have 3 or less cards in your hand at any given time, so this may not be a very good card to work with. 

All in all, the Genesis Regalia is a very strong deck to use, if you know exactly how each unit works with the other. Below is a decklist of this deck seen in tournaments, but your decklist is for you to decide. After all, Vanguard is all about having fun, right? :D

G3:
4 Cosmic Regalia, CEO Yggdrasil
4 Regalia of Midnight, Nyx
G2:
4 Regalia of Fate, Norn
4 Regalia of Midday, Hemera
3 Regalia of Abundance, Freya
G1:
2 Regalia of Cold, Svalin(Quintet Wall)
2 Witch of Strawberries, Framboise(Perfect Guard)
4 Exorcism Regalia, Shiny Angel
3 Regalia of Purify, Pure Angel
3 Regalia of Congratulations, Preach Angel
Rainbow triggers(all with regalia archetype)
Starter: Regalia of Prayer, Pray Angel

Some may choose to tech in Angelica and/or Minerva as back-up bosses along with some older support from bt14 and td13, but ultimately, your choice of deck build is yours. Do what suits you best and have fun :D

Signing off, 
Lee Megan

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Legion: Preliminary thoughts

Mikeru follows up on Megan’s introduction of Legion with common opinions about how future games will pan out with Legion at work.

On first glance, Legion appears to be Bushiroad’s power creep in the works as with each new mechanic introduced at the start of a new season of the anime, though it also raises several considerations on their impact on gameplay.

Apart from being stronger in terms of raw power, Legioned vanguards fasten the pace of the game and makes it more mid-game-centric as Legion abilities, while comparable in utility and power to the Limit Break 4 skills you and I are comfortable with till now, can be activated as long as both players are already at G3, the point in time considered to be the start of mid-game. By then, it is likely that around 3-4 cards are already in the drop zone from guarding against attacks received during the first few turns and the first Legion can be performed. Gone is the need to wait till you have reached 4 damage, and even then, proper pacing of which attacks to guard against and which to receive had to be practiced to prevent crippling late-game guarding power at the expense of over-zealously and eagerly rushing to take 4 damage and start using your Limit Breaks.

Games will also be slightly more-fast paced since the Vanguard column’s power has increased but the base power of Legion Vanguards still remains unchanged at the usual 10000 or 11000, hence each attack received by a Legioned vanguard equates to more Shield being discarded in the guarding when compared to a non-Legion one.

Each instance of Legion also essentially recycles 4 cards back to the deck, with triggers being good choices for the return trip. Subsequent Legions increase the remaining guard value of the deck and increase the ratio of trigger to-non-trigger units, hence increasing the chances of pulling triggers. This is akin to the compression technique practiced by the much-luck-reliant Weiss Schwarz players, whereby they try to maximize the amount of climax cards (the damage-cancelling cards that are the closest equivalent of Vanguard’s Heal Triggers) in their Waiting Room (drop zone) before their deck is refreshed upon deck to increase the odds of striking a Climax when they run through their deck a second time.

However, Legion also has its drawbacks as the mate sought has to come from the deck. One  stuck in the damage zone, drop zone, soul (by accidental soulcharge on effect) or hand does not make an appropriate candidate, and it can be quite easy to have a card wind up in those places by chance. This makes the number of Legions you can perform per game up to the dice, and the importance of such chances increases if you are aiming for the one-turn-on-Legion effects. I forsee that this might turn problematic for Legions from the Genesis, Dark Irregulars and Pale Moon which soulcharge excessively, or Granblue recognized for milling cards to the drop zone and using it as a source for rearguard respawns and other effects. 

In addition, there will soon be a G1 7000 unit for each clan that enables a vanguard’s Limit Break 4 skill to be used before reaching 4 damage called as a rearguard. This restores some functionality to the older Limit Breakers, allowing them to start using their skills once they are ridden or gain the sharp power increments of breakrides in early game, hence keeping them up to pace with the Legions. Despite so, I still feel that the Limit Break vanguards will still be intrinsically inferior to Legion as the columns they hit for hover around the 18000-21000 power thresholds. Personal boosters and other power-increment effects can still allow them to hit for higher power values but require resource payment and field setup of the specific personal booster, hence they cannot be considered as constant or liberally-usable as the Legions’ power values.

Whether you buy the Legion concept or retain your reservations about the new mechanic, it will be here to stay for the next few sets, so be prepared to adjust your decks and strategy to keep abreast of its influence on the game and the meta as a whole.

Happy cardfighting!

-Mikeru

Friday, 18 July 2014

Legion: the basics

This is basically an article talking about the basics of the newest mechanic, Legion. Enjoy :)

For all who watched S4, you would know about Legion. Legion is a new mechanic in Vanguard, released by Bushiroad in BT16. 
What exactly is Legion?
It is an ACT ability to return 4 cards from your drop zone to your deck, search for a specified "mate" and perform Legion. The Legion Mate is usually a Grade 2, placed on the left of the Grade 3 unit. 

How do I Legion?
When performing Legion, most people would send back 3-4 triggers or some key cards, depending on the contents of their drop zone. People generally want to perform Legion early for high numbers pressure. To do this, it is important to have 1-2 Quintet Walls in a deck consisting of Legion units. The QWs will help to build the drop zone quickly, allowing you to perform Legion sooner. However, do note that if you defend early-game, you may not have enough defenses for mid-late game. So do be careful on how you Legion :D

Examples of Legion units:

Royal Paladin: Seeker, Thing Saver Dragon + Blaster Blade Seeker
Shadow Paladin: Revenger, Phantom Blaster "Abyss" + Revenger, Blaster Dark "Abyss"
Genesis: Cosmic Regalia, CEO Yggdrasil + Regalia of Fate, Norn
Narukami: Brawler, Big Bang Knuckle Buster + Brawler, Big Bang Slash Buster
DP: Metalborg, Sin Buster + Metalborg, Ur Buster
DI: Psychier of Ash, Hadar + Psychier of Dust, Izaya(Monthly Bushiroad promo)
NN: Penoy Musketeer, Martina + Peony Musketeer, Thule
GP: Bluish Flame Liberator, Percival + Liberator of Oath, Aglovale
LJ: Star Vader, Garnet Star Dragon + Companion Star Vader, Photon
Spike Brothers: Bloody Ogre + Frozen Ogre
OTT: Battle Sister, Jelly + Battle Sister, Pudding(Monthly Bushiroad promo)

This is just a list of Legion cards that have already been released by Bushiroad. If your favourite clan doesn't have a Legion unit yet, fret not, because more Legion cards are coming your way in the upcoming boosters. 

Remember, Vanguard is all about havig fun, so have fun, and Seek the Mate!! :D

For more information on Legion, do read 
http://cardfight.wikia.com/wiki/Legion. They have an extensive article written on Legion here, for anyone who is still unsure of the mechanics :)

Signing off, 
Megan Lee

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Td16 & Td17

Here’s a quick review on the Trial Decks that came out last week, TD16 and TD17

Divine Judgment of the Bluish Flames and Will of the Locked Dragon respectively, allowing players to play using the debut decks of two members of the Elite Four, ahem, I mean Quatre Knights from the fourth season of the anime, Olivier Gaillard and their recently converted-to-evil leader, Aichi Sendou.

To sum up the 2 TDs, they are of course meant to be playable out-of-the-box for beginners as how TDs always are, but considering that they are based on the existing Liberator and Star-vader archetypes established the previous season, these TDs serve to introduce a few key cards that allow them to do what they usually do faster and more reliably, namely more cost-efficient superior calling for Gold Paladin (not so much extra focus on power increments this time round) and the lock that has become synonymous with the nefarious Link Jokers. However, these decks’ main point is still Legion, the name of the game status quo, hence they will also provide the debut for the Legion pairs in each clan and cards that support/benefit from a Legioned vanguard.

The key cards from each deck


TD16
Starter: Genius Liberator, Woltimer

[AUTO]: Forerunner (When a unit of the same clan rides this unit, you may call this unit to (RC)) [AUTO](RC): When this unit boosts, if the number other vanguards and/or rear-guards you have with "Liberator" in its card name is four or more, the boosted unit gets [Power]+3000 until end of that battle.

Bushiroad is nowmore generous for the TD’s starter vanguard. In past TDs, our dear publisher usually throws in a vanilla G0 as a starter that you will eventually scrap and buy a better unit in replacement. But for the first time ever, the TD comes with a Forerunner that essentially becomes a grade 1 8000 vanilla booster. The condition is extremely easy to achieve,considering that Gold Paladin emphasizes on filling as many Rearguard slots as possible. So as long as your backrow is full, the extra +3000 is yours.

Bluish Flame Liberator, Percival

[ACT](VC): Legion 20000 "Liberator of Oath, Aglovale" (If your opponent has a grade 3 or greater vanguard, only once, this unit may return four cards from your drop zone to your deck, and search your deck for the specified card, and perform Legion.) [AUTO](VC):When this unit performs Legion, look at four cards from the top of your deck, search for up to one card with "Liberator" in its card name, call it to an open (RC), and put the rest on the bottom of your deck in any order. [AUTO](VC):When this unit attacks a vanguard, this unit gets [Power]+2000 until end of that battle.

Percival is the trump card of the deck similar to other TD-trump cards that usually usually give Power boosts or superior calling effects like the Great Silver Wolf Garmore. Looking for 1 unit among the top 4 upon Legioning for free is an average-good effect and the odds of you pulling an attacker or booster that you need is high.

Liberator of Oath, Aglovale

[AUTO]:[Counter Blast (1)] When this unit is placed on (RC), if you have a vanguard with "Liberator" in its card name, you may pay the cost. If you do, look at three cards from the top of your deck, search for up to one card with "Liberator" in its card name, call it to an open (RC), and put the rest on the bottom of your deck in any order.

Percival’s legion partner. If not used as such, Aglovale being called onto the rear-guard is a low cost way of increasing field size and you get to choose from the top 3 cards of the deck at a low cost of CB1. This card will become a splashable seen in most GP decks.

TD17

Starter: Vacant Space Star-vader, Quantum

[AUTO]: Forerunner (When a unit of the same clan rides this unit, you may call this unit to (RC)) [AUTO](RC):When this unit boosts, if the number of locked cards your opponent has is two or greater, the boosted unit gets [Power]+3000 until end of that battle.

A starter capable of forerunning like the one in the GP TD. Its power gain, however, is not as reliable as his GP counterpart since you need 2 locked cards on the opponent’s side of the field. Moreover, this deck, being so Legion-centric, offers very little opportunities for locking in the first place. The only times you Lock with this deck is when you Legion or if you decide to call your single copy of Photon as a rearguard, so tough luck trying to maintain weak Quantum’s +3000.

Even if this card is used as a starter in other LJ decks, the +3000 might be harder to achieve until mid-game when you have access to grade 3s that possess more certain lock effects, but by then you are better off retiring this puny G0 and replacing it with an actual 8000 vanilla or 7000-power-with-effect booster.

Companion Star Star-vader, Photon

[AUTO]: When this unit is placed on (RC), if you have a vanguard with "Star-vader" in its card name, and your opponent has a locked card, choose one of your opponent's rear-guards, and lock it. (The locked card is turned face down, and cannot do anything. It turns face up at the end of the owner's turn.)

Assume Photon to be the new Blaster Blade of sorts, the new G2 signature of Aichi’s that has a disruptive effect on the opponent’s side of the field a la Blaster Blade’s retiring. This card is close to giving the you a free Lock, usable almost anytime in-game, as all you need is to call it as a reagruard, which is more reliable and has even fewer strings attached than Dust Tail Unicorn and the Infinite Zero Dragon breakride. Sadly, with all good things in the TD, only 1 copy is included, but forsee this card to become a new staple to both new and old Link Joker decks like what Blaster Blade is to the Royals.

Star-vader, Garnet Star Dragon

The boss of the deck, basically a Legion version of Infinite Zero Dragon, which locks 2 cards on the opponent’s side of the field, one from the front row and one from the back.

ACT](VC): Legion 20000 "Companion Star Star-vader, Photon" (If your opponent has a grade 3 or greater vanguard, only once, this unit may return four cards from your drop zone to your deck, and search your deck for the specified card, and perform Legion.) [AUTO](VC):When this unit performs Legion, choose a rear-guard from your opponent's front row and back row, and lock them. (The locked card is turned face down, and cannot do anything. It turns face up at the end of the owner's turn.) [AUTO](VC):When this unit attacks a vanguard, this unit gets [Power]+2000 until end of that battle.

LJ also received their first Especial Intercept in this TD, though we’re putting this to the back of our head as we rarely see use of the +5000 shield of this breed of G2s these days.

Since Legion is the new thing, a significant portion of the remaining cards that gain power increments when your Vanguard is in Legion. Each deck also has the “budget” Legion only there for the “+5000 when attacking” power increment which competitives will phase out. The remainder of your deck is your standard TD fare: straightforward “french vanilla” cards with simple effects or small power increments. You will definitely be throwing away the 7000s that gain 1000 with CB1 and in come the Sentinels or the other G1s that you have been using. I feel disappointed that Busiroad decided to dump in these 7000+1000s when they could have just printed 8000 vanillas like what they always did for previous TDs.

So, how worth it are the 2 TDs?

If this is the first time you are playing Liberators and Star Vaders, sadly you might not get much of the feel of these two clans’ traits because the superior-calling theme and Locks do not show much here - the only time you can do it with this TD is with the Legion components. TDs 16 and 17 are more about the Legion and generic power increments with the cards that support/gain effects when your Vanguard is Legioned than showing off what the clans are really unique at.

However, if you are an existing user of the said clans, you are most probably grabbing a copy just for the Legion couples and the better support cards that I have highlighted earlier. Most of the triggers and vanillas are mere reprints of the previous Liberator and Star-vader TDs which you will relegate to your common-and-rare scrap trunk.

And as with the recent TD bosses, do not count on them to win that many battles if you stick to using them as your main vanguard till the end of the battle, especially if you are a veteran or the competitive-minded. Moreover, at the point in time of writing, some of the cards in BT17 have already been revealed, including potentially stronger ace cards that Aichi will be using in the coming episodes of the anime. These new cards might easily overpower your the Legion couples you’ve just obtained from the TD. You might hold your horses and switch over to those if your wallet permits. Furthermore, there is also the Neon Messiah Deleter Deck used by Ibuki in the upcoming movie with the enigmatic Delete mechanic, which may prove to be a better Link Joker deck compared to Aichi’s.

Looking ahead for the villain clans

Gold Paladin and Link Joker will remain as relatively popular clans as it has always been for clans used by main characters in the anime. Furthermore, trends for the new and much-hyped Legion mechanic do not seem to be particularly detrimental towards any clan, unlike Locks which are a significant threat to decks that require a full field to function properly. LJ dominated the previous season because of the varied playstyles that they can achieve with Lock, which is not a mere stalling of attacks but from which, further injuries to the insult, such as chain-locking more cards or retiring Locked units, can be added. Of course, not to forget the amount of complaints we’ve heard over the feared Chaos Breaker Dragon. As for GPs, they have been around since Season 2 and will continue to be a clan favoured by entry- to intermediate- level players due to their heavy promotion in the anime and the easy-to-pilot nature of a clan that focuses on straightforward power increments and top-calls.

BT17 will bring upgrades to these clan soons in a month from now, but until then, enjoy Legioning with these two TDs for now.

Mikeru