Monday, 28 September 2015

Road To Regionals: 2 weeks to go

No activity. Just been toying witg collection and play testing but nothing out of the ordinary. At this point everything but what I'll actually play has been finalised, locked in and prepared for. So just kick back relax and don't worry. Going to win isn't right, more pressure more likely to mess up. The priority should be on fun and any further funding that may be required. After this my season is done. The annual festivies and German market come to the city in the countdown to Christmas. This makea travel to and from HQ much more difficult.

I can always Escape of course but November is fully booked by concert and meet ups already and budget must be considered for Christmas and what to get people is a crucial also. Guess more items need to go on the sales platter to balance the books.

I will confess I never factored Christmas Shopping into my budget for this quarter.

Going splits on a box of the new set just cuase can. Preparing my secret weapon for nats and then actually going up only for further costs to hit while up there. Among these is getting a set of the Summer Bermudas and a binder for someone back home. And of course need to prepare fresh and spare sleeves.

Thursday, 24 September 2015

Saturday, 19 September 2015

Road to Regionals: 3 Weeks to go - Payments made, Ongoing Deck Decisions

Baka...

Another Locals and more idiocy anr mis-piloting. Game 1 vs. a new player using just a Gear Chronicle Trial Deck. I triple drive when attacking with a rearguard? Even at Level 1 in our shop that's rightfully an auto-game loss. It wasn't on this occasion and I did go on to win but point stands I should have forfieted and accepted my mistake.

Round 2 was lost to a recurring foe, Brave's Buddy, LJA Darkness. Once more his Link Joker locking down and decimating Sanctuary Guard's advances. He suffered a bad start having to G-Assist and survive past an attempt to early rush but he held firm and once Messiah was gaining advantage and cards. Once that happened he perfect guarded my single attack 3 turns in a row, held full board control nd eventually slew me with a 4 attack turn. My own recourses expired.

Round 3 was lost to Gear Chronicle as piloted by Chris who's becoming a regular at the shop.

Round 4 was a win, but this was vs a new player as with Round 1, however this win was at least fully legitimate without any hiccups.

Generally another rough day at the office so Sanctuary Guard clearly isn't for me. Pity.

Other than that- contribution towards hotel paid and train has been booked. Every is in place for open nationals... everything except the deck. But I still have two more ideas I'm willing to try- one of which, if correct, will help me complete the forfeit conditions required to unlock Dimension Police.

The last thing and unrelated note is I have now taken on several decks cheaply given away due to exceptional circumstances.

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Road to Regionals: 4 Weeks to go, finances

Cost of accommodation: £50 (per person)
Cost of train fare: £23.90 (per person)
Cost of consumables: £25.60
Cost of taxis/local transport: £20 (per person)
Cost of Bermuda promos and binder: £20
Total cost to attend BWC regional: £139.50 (per person approximately)
Total cost to group therefore approximately: £560, most likely more.
Remaining Expo Budget: n/a

And I plan to do this with no money how? I do have reserves. But using that means sales must be made to replenish the reserve pot. I'm also after a deck from a departing acquaintance/friend but I must buy that out of my own means. The reserve pot is not authorized for funding purchases of items not required for this trip. And all this following Point Omega which requires me to spend money to build Gold Paladin just to complete the forfeit and regain use of Dimension Police. At this rate I'll have to just sell the gear I have for the clan to cover further increasing costs. First to go from the clan if anything will be Metalborg but I'm extremely hesitant. Toys which take up space but aren't used are in the firing line first.

As for game play preparations. I used Sanctuary Guard in a local Saturday and failed abysmally. Coming 7th/7 with a score of 1-3.
4 games and losses came right from the gate. My first round and first defeat went to Gear Chronicle with me being grade stuck all game, without an ideal hand to toss cards for G-Assist, till it was too late to push back. One of incidents you just have to put up with in a B/1 format.

Second round was against Messiah commanded by Brave Buddy, LJA Darkness. Legally he'd won before we even stood our Vanguards since I wasn't at the table within 5 mins of pairing declaration and round start, the joys of multitasking and being bad at it. Nevertheless we still played out the game and while I hit hard, LJA retaliated harder by locking my front and ceasing my advances, using Judgement, followed by Nebula Crunch, and repeating this a second time to keep me locked down for 5, maybe 6 turns, suppressing my offense and gaining advantage before finalizing the result with me worn thin and Amnesty hitting while huge with crit. I was outplayed,  plain and simple, my deck functioned but I failed it, I tunnel visioned, misplaying by failing to account for the specific match up.
Round 3 was triumphant against G-Royals. Opposing player calling triggers instead of holding them for defense no doubt helped towards their own downfall when combining with the raw aggression of Sanctuary Guard. I can't say that it was a game I won because my opponent really defeated themselves through their actions. But a win is a win as far as record is concerned.

Final fight was against Eradicators Sweep Command & Descendant with G support. I took some early hits and allowed the opponent to Superior Ride, no problem.  The problem was the rearguards and their persistent threat, remove one and it's replaced by another just as bad. Narukami has strong support for it'd bosses and I was board wiped twice, the first I could come back from, the second not so much, the game nearly drove me to deck out, which made me realize why Thing Saver is the popular choice for supporting Grade 3/Alternative Win Con. But alas I will never obtain the saver.

---

In other news I woke up this morning to read a statement from Bushiroad CEO Kidani himself informing us of price increase on products across all English releases for each of their games as of October 1st, joy oh joy, so that puts up price of sneak preview booster drafts and product with a knock on effect of driving up the rate on the secondary singles market which in my experience points towards an imminent market crash as several players are forced to downsize and consolidate their efforts on just one or two clans, or quit entirety. As for the exact impact I'm predicting a 20% increase on the RRP across the board.
This move will severely impact low budget and casual players alike and especially hurt collectors who go for completion. For those profiting off the second hand market however, a blanket increase on the expected flat value of stock is a good thing. So the communities Robbie Kohl's will probably be the ones to benefit the most from any forthcoming events that will unfold. If there's a temporary crash the scalpers can hit and hoard to then resell after the calamity, controlling the flow of the market and therefore the value of their stock.
Ultimately the increase in price is due to higher printing production costs to meet ever increasing demand, however this same action may drive a portion of the audience away. A catch 22 and no doubt will double as a decisive moment that will test the longevity of Vanguard and Bushiroad's other games.

Friday, 4 September 2015

Road to Regionals: 5 weeks to go - SOUL STRIKE and meta prediction

6 Weeks... Just 6 Weeks. That's all I've got until the UK Regionals. I need money for the trip, I need to try get any upgrades I can in time for the event and with G-BT-04 Soul Strike Against the Supreme coming out one week before the event that also gives the new issue of predicting the meta at the time of the event, noting new card hype may also play a part.

I still doubt they'll be much Neo Nectar despite the support they got, but it's everything else that stirs up the pot.

Not much will change for Royal Paladin or Shadow Paladin, the builds leading the ranks of both clans will still be Sanctuary Guard with what ever support and/or alternate Grade 3, for Royal. Revegners will remain the main beck build for Shadow Paladin with possibly only one change to the deck, but otherwise unaltered from it's current form.

Best thing to do for predicting changes from the current form will be to look at what cards are coming out. I would go over mermaids for this as I know they are good with the new support, be it Harmony, Duo or PRISM, all 3 builds are strong and considerable T1, Oracle Think Tank, even at it's best, is relegated to Tier 2 due to Bermuda Triangle. Sorry CoCo. :L

What about set 4 itself, what does Soul Strike change? Start with the main attractions, the Shiny and valuable Generation Rare cards


[Stride]
[ACT](VC)[1/Turn]:[Counter Blast (1) & Choose a face down card named "Supremacy Black Dragon, Aurageyser Dragon" from your G zone, turn it face up, choose three of your rear-guards, and retire them] Reveal two cards from the top of your deck. For each grade 1 or less card revealed with this effect, choose one of your opponent's rear-guards and retire it. Put the cards revealed with this effect into your hand. If the number of face up cards named "Supremacy Black Dragon, Aurageyser Dragon" in your G zone is three or more, this unit gets [Critical]+1 until end of turn.

Often under estimated in my opinion, this in turn means many people will probably opt to not run Supremacy Black Dragon, Aurageyser Doomed but 3 Aurageysa, 1 Doomed and 4 Diablo? I don't know, sounds a no brainier to me. Sure in Revengers counterblasts comes at a premium, and this guy will also require 3 (or 2) sacrifices for his power to be unleashed but Doomed can also wipe opposing units out to which every little helps towards that crippling Diablo play, of course, there's also the crit to be concerned about and also a re-standing threat from Aybss- or could the rising popularity of one deck possibly see a return of Raging Form to counter it? But more on that later. I know Shadow Paladin will have a presence and I've experience facing them so I'm not too worried there. But what does concern me more is the rouges that may be breaking into the meta.

Angel Feather especially is a match-up in which I don't know where it may go. I only know one person who uses the clan and uses it well. And I frankly look forewarn to seeing them use the new units and if I can I will help them with their own regional deck, but I'm not doing well on cash for this quarter since I'm recovering from Auto Assembly 2015. Going for broke at the 11th hour was a terrible idea in hindsight.

To put this into perspective as to why Angel Feather may be a threat, I've played against Celestials and from that I know the clan has the capacity to really get some force behind those needle. Egh- I hate needles, makes me cringe just mentioning them.

Anyway Exhibit A.
Holy Seraph, Raziel
[Stride(-text-)
[AUTO]:[Soul Blast (2)] When this card is placed on (VC), you may pay the cost. If you do, return all cards from your damage zone to your deck, shuffle your deck, and for each card returned with this effect, put the top card of your deck face up into your damage zone.

This is Angel Feather's new opening stride, but it may also as well be their finisher, albeit not the win con- not by itself anyway. This unit not only resets used counterblasts by reshuffling the Damage Zone but it also enables Thousand Ray Pegasus and Million Ray Pegasus to become potentially huge and push for game, this would be the Celestial way to win, but now the clan can also play, just to outlast it's opponent. Which is going to be a pain for me while I lack the high critical attacks of Dimension Police for the remainder of this block.


Healing yourself is a neat trick and all that, but those Pegasus' are still your main means of stealing the win, also by the void! That unicorn is ugly!


Black Shiver, Gabriel

[AUTO](VC) Generation Break 2 (This ability is active if you have two or more face up G units in total on your (VC) or G zone):When a card is put into your damage zone, until end of turn, this unit gets "[CONT](VC):All of your units in your front row get [Power]+2000.".
[AUTO](VC):[Counter Blast (1)] During your turn, when your G unit Stride, you may pay the cost. If you do, look at three cards from the top of your deck, search for a card from among them, put it face up into your damage zone, put the rest of the cards on the bottom of your deck in any order, choose a face up card from your damage zone, call it to (RC), and that unit gets [Power]+2000 until end of turn.

Oh yeah, I forgot your new Heartbreaker tanks at Generation Break 2. But there's a simple solution to all of this. Rush hard. Literally a case of "Play Hard or Go Home" (sorry for the motto steal there ARG) Control will have some affect vs Angel Feather but there is one factor that must be considered here.

Angel Feather as a clan is very technical and one of the most difficult in the game to play well, if you opponent is playing this deck expect them to be well accustomed to the clan's style as this isn't really a clan that get many on it's bandwagon. Chances are those that play it after BT04 already played it anyway, but were just waiting to get the support they needed to be able to once again compete.

So let's see here, what else have we got? Well we just did Angel Feather so Neo Nectar?
Well Neo Nectar have got another round of support, but the older Musketeer deck is still the better deck if we're talking consistency so I guess the only thing to really look at would be their stride. 

My word! There's an image in ENGLISH this time! But in any case, if the text isn't clear-
Dream-spinning Ranunculus, Ahsha
[Stride(-text-)
[ACT](VC)[1/Turn]:[Choose a face down card named "Dream-spinning Ranunculus, Ahsha" from your G zone, and turn it face up] Until end of turn, this unit gets "[ACT](VC)[1/Turn]:Choose one of your rear-guards, and if you have two or more rear-guards with the same card name as that unit, all of your units in the front row get [Power]+5000 until end of turn.". Then, if the number of face up cards in your G zone is two or more, choose one of your rear-guards, search your deck for up to one card with the same card name as that unit, call it to (RC), shuffle your deck, and that unit gets [Power]+2000 until end of turn.



While not really intended as such, this card functions fine as an initial stride to then go immediately into GB2 so long as you managed to get what you needed to complete this card's requirments early game. Fortunately Musketeers can manage this fairly easily, or if running NN-G then if you stride atop your Grade 3 Ahsha then being able to use Dream-spinning's skill is guaranteed. It's a good early game rush, not quite on par with Royal Paladin's Holy Dragon, Sanctuary Guard Regalie but that is not by fault of the cores units, rather it is simply a case that Royal Paladin rearguards provide better support for rushing than anything Neo Nectar can sow. So while I expect to see some Neo Nectar it still won't have an overly prominent saturation, and it may not even be the biggest force emerging from the Zoo either.

Getting back on track, following the mention of Royal Paladin I wish to glance over what they got next and then then finish off the United Sanctuary before moving on to what remains.


Soaring Divine Knight, Altmile
[Stride(-text-).
[AUTO]:[Choose a face down card named "Soaring Divine Knight, Altmile" from your G zone, and turn it face up] When this unit is placed on (VC), you may pay the cost. If you do, until end of turn, this unit gets "[CONT](VC):All of your units in your front row get [Power]+3000.". Then, if the number of face up cards in your G zone is two or more, search your deck for up to one grade 2 card, call it to (RC), shuffle your deck, and that unit gets [Power]+5000 until end of turn.

Most of the royal support in this set, and there's not much of it, supports Sanctuary Guard but the evolved Altmile is an exception to that, following a similar format to Ahsha in how he's worded but follows RP-G's gimmick of Grade 2 recruitment. In terms of decent targets within this set, there's Techgal.
[AUTO](RC) Generation Break 1 (This ability is active if you have one or more face up G units in total on your (VC) or G zone):[Soul Blast (1) & [Rest] this unit] When another of your units in the same column as this unit attacks, you may pay the cost. If you do, increase that unit's [Power] equal to this unit's [Power] until end of that battle.

Through his own skill, Techgal utilizes the soul to become a booster for an attacking unit in front of him. Now that's certainly one form of utility.

Aside from that though there is one other unit that is present among the 8 slots for Royal Paladin that specifically supports Altmile but even then, I'm debated over whether or not I'd use it myself, probably not but it's far from a bad unit. Just a case of the art putting me off. Pir (pictured right) stacks up more power with each Grade 2 called so long as your Vanguard is Altmile.
As I said, it's not a bad unit, I just don't like the art.

As for Sanctuary Guard support.
Archer of Sanctuary
[AUTO](RC):When this unit attacks, if you have a vanguard with "Sanctuary Guard" in its card name, this unit gets [Power]+2000 until end of that battle.
[AUTO]:[Counter Blast (2)] When this unit is placed on (RC), if you have a vanguard with "Sanctuary Guard" in its card name, you may pay the cost. If you do, search your deck for up to one grade 1 or less card, call it to (RC), and shuffle your deck.

Aside from the fact that I think I'm going to need to get some counter charging power for Sanctuary Guard I'm suitably impressed with this unit, does what it needs to an a fitting upgrade from Battle Flag Knight, Constance in some regards, and yet a step back in others. Constance upon hitting can follow on into a another attack, this fills the field but you don't have the same pressure as when using Constance. Easy solution to that though, use both. Problem solved. I'll probably take out Brede from my deck for this. The less Generation Break units in my deck the better and I'm not running the Jewel Knight engine, may give cheaper swarming but it's also higher monetary cost to get Swordmy than it's really worth.


Speaking of calling, there's a new Grade 1 to call.
Battle Song Angel
[CONT](RC) Generation Break 1 :If the number of your other grade 1 or less rear-guards is two or more, this unit gets [Power]+2000 and "[CONT](VC/RC/GC):Resist (This unit cannot be chosen by the effects of your opponent's cards)".

I usually shy away from Resist units because of Diablo but if the space can be made I can see this being useful.
Unlike the decks, new starter Jumpgal whom if you meet the same requirements as listed on this card, and Jumpgal is in the front row, then Jumpgal will become a especial intercept. Ok, that's all well and good, except now one would allow that and being a Grade 0 means his going to cost more to protect than you're likely to get back out of him in defensive value.
In contrast, Battle Song Angel here is a 9k booster, which is good already, that means hitting 18k columns, but further more than that there is another reason why this is good Resist can disable based on field conditions meaning if you needed to, you should be able to retire to guard Diablo even if this unit would have otherwise been unable to be used to pay the cost before you drop that PG.

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Genesis is probably what I fear the most coming out of this set. I mean they can now call from soul, you can not deck them out AND now they can scry 4 before they triple drive but after you've guarded.
Yes, Mythical Destroyer Beast, Vanargandr I'm talking about you. I loath you I despise and I certainly do not want to be against you. So if you don't mind sir I'm going to locate the door and take my leave before you kill me.

That said, there are other units that need looking as such as Dreaming Dragon (below)








[AUTO](RCGeneration Break 1: At the end of your turn, you may pay the cost. If you do, return all cards from your drop zone to your deck, and shuffle your deck. Then, if the number of cards returned is ten or more, draw a card.

This is just unfair now. I preset to you ladies and gentlemen. Making it's grand return to Tier 1 status, it's Genesis.

But really with these two skill alone that's a lot that the deck has gained and I've not even touched their heart breaker or amber clone yet. I honestly have yet to look at either of them myself.




Insatiable Devourer, Gleipnir
[AUTO](RCGeneration Break 1 (This ability is active if you have one or more face up G units in total on your (VC) or G zone):[Counter Blast (1)] When this unit attacks a vanguard, if this unit is boosted, you may pay the cost. If you do, Soul Charge (3). Then, if a card was put into the drop zone from your soul during that turn, draw a card.

Soul setup and potential +1. Tamer than expected, considering Dreaming Dragon but it's still a good card. SC3 put you half way towards most of the clans' larger costed plays, YggdrasilMinerva, Vanagrandr... oh dear, Messiah save us please. O_O
  Case in point is just like any other Amber Clone type card, Gleipnir is good and a staple.

Mythic Beast, Fenrir
[AUTO](VCGeneration Break 2[Soul Blast (3)] When this unit attacks a vanguard, 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 from hand to (GC).
[AUTO](VC):During your turn, when your G unit Stride, Soul Charge (3), choose one of your vanguards, and until end of turn, it gets "[AUTO](VC)[1/Turn]:[Counter Blast (1)] When a card is put into the drop zone from your soul, you may pay the cost. If you do, call that card to (RC).".

So this is the heartbreaker huh. I've seen better GB2 skills but due to what he is that isn't what you'll mainly be using. Just striding on this alone provides a quick Soul Charge typically meaning you'll have 5 Soul on your first stride. Allowing you to use a multitude of skills, although most likely scenario is that you will open up with Great Angel, Doom Brace who will SB3 just to undo his own cost and SC3. Further more with all the soul charging, and subsequent soul blasting the deck will thin rather rapidly, standard deviation should dictate a trigger every 3.06 cards as an average, but with the hand taken into account that should have triggers in it to start in a normal game, but this depends on the scenario of course, maybe you may want to keep a trigger in your starting hand, depending on what that trigger is and what it's capable of of course. This then becomes every 2.75 cards, the general point being that for each SC3 there's a decent change you will take in a trigger, this can be soul blasted and returned to the deck with Awakening Dragon or Cramer Harry. Whom has the following ability.
[AUTO](RC)[1/TurnGeneration Break 1 (This ability is active if you have one or more face up G units in total on your (VC) or G zone):When a card is put into the drop zone from your soul, put that card on the bottom of your deck, and Counter Charge (1).






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Ok, let's get this out the way then time to go over Gear Chronicle. Wait- they also only have 8 Cards in this set... Just buy singles guys, seriously just don't bother with boxes unless your after this particular version of Chronodragon Nextage

But good luck with that because if the Japanese set is anything to by chance of getting this, or the pack it's in is 20% chance for a case, 1.25% chance of having the right box for the pack, or if pulling packs themselves 0.04%. It best to just not bother, actively trying, but if you pull the pack. you are in the money! But what you do with that is your choice.
And in anycase, being one of 2 GR means there's only going to be 2 of this guy in his standard form per case anyway, and being a staple that must be ran in pairs to be useful is only going to make the cost of this guy as a single hurt. Expect the $60 mark, maybe even 70. Easily £60 over here anyway. Above anything I will ever pay for a card. But why so expensive? Because this is the type of card that makes any deck meta... unless you're Murakumo apparently. Chronodragon Nextage is a re-standing Vanguard!

[Stride]
[AUTO](VCGeneration Break 2 :[Counter Blast (1) & Choose a face down card named "Chronodragon Nextage" from your G zone, turn it face up, choose three cards from your hand, and discard them] At the end of the battle that this unit attacked a vanguard, if you have a heart card with "Chronojet Dragon" in its card name, you may pay the cost. If you do, put this unit into your G zone face up, choose one of your vanguards, and [Stand] it.

Ok, I may have slightly lied about it re-standing, but what it does is just as good and works around a problem that would have existed if was a straight re-stand. Between you two attacks with this and then Chronojet Dragon you have 5 Drive Checks total. The triple drive of Stride followed by a regular Twin Drive, except that second swing also has Glory. I should be noted here that Nextage is a GB2, this means you can not use his skill at all as a first stride, you can't even pay the cost unless he his your second stride or later. By the same token this means when you do use Nextage you will always be following with Chronojet's own GB2. And if there's any doubts of having Chronojet Dragon as your heart, not an issue, because you WILL have Chronojet Dragon as your Vanguard before using Nextage without fail.


Steam Fighter, Balif
[AUTO](RC) Generation Break 1:[Counter Blast (1)] When this unit's attack hits a vanguard, you may pay the cost. If you do, choose a rear-guard in your opponent's front row, and your opponent puts that unit on the bottom of his or her deck.
[AUTO](VC):During your turn, when your G unit Stride, choose one of your vanguards, and until end of turn, it gets "[ACT](VC)[1/Turn]:[Counter Blast (1)] Search your deck for up to one card named "Chronojet Dragon", put it in heart state on your (VC), and shuffle your deck. If you put that card, choose a card named "Steam Fighter, Balif" in heart state from your (VC), and put it on the bottom of your deck."

So- Ride this? Use Lost Age, Epoch Maker, or Fate Rider as your initial stride and you're good.


The other real thing of note is that Gear Crhonicle now have a much more efficient Counter Charge than they had before thanks to Steam Fighter, Ul,nigin who has no cost to Counter Charge, all he requires is that an opponent's unit is clocked and that your Vanguard be Chonojet, to which your Vanguard WILL be Chronojet which in turn means that you WILL be clocking units, so simply stride and have two of this on the field to regain a counterblast, if you have just one of these then you're breaking even. Ironically though, this makes want to try getting off Mystery Flare again, as with this rearguard long side other unlippers it may just be possible to play normally and still pay Mystery Flare's cost if your scry 4 for 1 card of each grade, 0-4, proves successful. Not an efficient play, in fact it's a terrible idea, but it would be cool to get it off.

The other breakthrough for Gear Chronicle is that they have got some "ok" support that isn't locked behind Generation Break, which so far has been the clan's biggest weakness, it's inability to function without having used at least one stride to go online.
These units are Steam Kight, Kalium and Forethought Gear Fox respective. Forethought Gear Fox is a Grade 1 Silent Tom, Kalium however isn't quite as simple.
[AUTO]:When this unit is placed on (RC), choose one of your opponent's rear-guards, your opponent returns that unit to his or her deck, searches his or her deck for up to one card that is a grade less than that unit, calls it to (RC), and shuffles his or her deck. (He or she may stop looking when they do not want to call any card)

Kalium clocks on opponent's unit but it isn't even a -1. However it can be as such. Targeting a Grade 0 such as a forerunner means there's no options for the opponent to call, clocking a Grade 1 can force out a trigger which genuinely isn't a bad thing in fact it may be better for you than just clocking a unit, however the opponent can choose to accept the -1 and not call a trigger or if they do call a trigger it will probably return itself to the deck anyway while also giving some form of advantage to it's user so suddenly this is no longer as appealing as it could be. There is also the issue of being only an 8000 power unit.

There's a Grade 2 RR card called Upsteam Dragon that behaves like a Great Nature unit but at the same time, kind of not since in Gear Chronicle fashion it returns to the deck instead of going to drop zone but also replaces itself with a Grade 1 unit in "rest" state. I can think of a good few targets for that sort of skill. I don't preict seeing much use but I may be surprised, it certainly a good card when paired with Fate Rider but it can also fetch a power gainer to prepare for a big finish on your next turn. Probably what it was meant for now I think about it.

Other than that there's a new starter, that has clearly been designed with Nextage as it's intended partner, despite not saying so on the card and Gear Chronicle have also got their fourth Critical Trigger so 16 crit kamikaze is now an option, if you want to take things that far.

Generally though Gear Chronicle even after this sets support still have the same issues they've always had. Poor early game and Stride Reliant, however once they have stridden, they now have once of the strongest late game assaults in the game, unfortunately though the meta has passed the point where a late game deck can prosper. We're now very much in a rush more format, this also means the format is very rearguard reliant. So it's good job out final clan can slow those rushes down.

---

Megacolony have been at it again, and this time everyone has become aware of the sleeping giant. The swarm has now fully awoken and people to have woken up to the threat this clan possesses. 

Stronger than they've ever been with new support sporting the new Giga-Paralyze ability and a new leader to command their field forces.

Intimidating Mutant, Darkface
[AUTO](VCGeneration Break 2 :[Soul Blast (2)] When your opponent's unit is placed on (RC), you may pay the cost. If you do, [Rest] that unit.
[AUTO](VC):[Counter Blast (1)] During your turn, when your G unit Stride, you may pay the cost. If you do, choose two of your opponent's rear-guards, [Rest] them, and until end of your opponent's next turn, they get "[AUTO](RC):At the end of your turn, if this unit is [Rest], your opponent may draw a card.", and those units cannot [Stand] during your opponent's next stand phase.

I just want to take a moment to admire that design the asymmetry is just perfect for the character being depicted and really helps towards fitting the description of a mutant.

Here we are treated to a defensive GB2, which are my favorite kind as these encourage player interaction beyond just attacking and defending, although based on the cost I'm going to have to find a way to build up soul outside of Machining if I want to be able to consistently use it. Further more it has perfect synergy with the Giga-Paralyze Mechanic as it featured in Darkface's Heart Break ability. Very similar to Paralyse you stun an opponent's unit so that it can not stand in their next turn's stand phase, the Giga upgrade adds to this mechanic with additional restrictions on an opponent's actions or penalizing skills that force the opponent to make bad plays to reduce your advantage, an action which in of itself gives you soft advantage anyway. If an opponent leaves a Giga-Paralyzed unit on the feild that was stunned by Darkface and ends their turn with that unit still in rest that's a physically hard +1 to you, and if they try to resist by calling over that unit that's where Darkface's GB2 comes in to play. This is a COTW week card all by itself.



The swarm at his command also boasts the Giga-Paralyse mechanic. The Amber Clone, (above left) this time a R instead of RR, is the only other unit that attaches a Draw Engine to Giga- Paralyze all other units with this abitly instead prevent a unit from being used to intercept, something that I personally belive should have been an ability of Paralyze the entire time but better late than never.

However, Machining have also got support, there's of course the LB0 but also a legion, a new critical trigger, giving the deck 8 Machining Crits and a Draw trigger these triggers alone are all the deck needed to be be complete The legion they got is in of itself useful to, but it's still out shined my Machining Stag Beetle.



Scorpion Mk II and Mosquito Mk II are the latest models to roll off the secret factory floor.
There's alot of ability text with this legion.

Machining Scorpian Mk II (Legion Leader)
[ACT](VC): Legion20000 "Machining Hornet mk II" or"Machining Mosquito mk II"
[ACT](VC)[1/Turn]:[Counter Blast (1) & Choose a card with same name as a unit on (VC) from your hand, and discard it] If this unit is Legion, choose up to three cards with "Machining" in its card name from your soul, call them to separate (RC) as [Rest], and increase this unit's [Power] by the sum of the original [Power] of the units called with this effect until end of turn.
[ACT](VC)[1/Turn]:[Choose one of your rear-guards with "Machining" in its card name, and put it into your soul] Choose one of your rear-guards, [Stand] it, choose one of your opponent's rear-guards, and that unit cannot [Stand] during your opponent's next stand phase.

Machining Mosquito Mk II (Legion Mate)
[CONT](RC):During your turn, if you have a vanguard with "Machining" in its card name, and all of your opponent's vanguards and rear-guards are [Rest], this unit gets [Power]+2000, and "[AUTO](RC)[1/Turn]:When this unit's attack hits a vanguard, choose one of your other rear-guards, [Stand] it, choose one of your opponent's rear-guards, and that unit cannot [Stand] during your opponent's next stand phase.".

A dual legion huh? Not that there's any reason to run Machining Hornet Mk II with this since there are other, more useful options such as Machining Paplio who does exactly the same thing as the aforementioned, but without needing a legion vanguard to be usable. The exchange is that she is 8k base as opposed to 9k but that's fine considering what the deck does anyway.

The main event here, being a legion, is ofcourse the legion skill, so what have we got. CB1 and a persona blast to have the same ability as Stag. But you're already a legion... how much more power do you want? Ok this works as a slower Stag if you can't afford, or can't find him but if you have Stag you aren't going to use this to you just can't, and further more Stag more useful still since that's a ride phase activation, which can follow into a Destroyer stride, this a main phase ability which means it's impossible to stride in the same turn leaving your units vulnerable before you even have the chance to fire your main cannon.

The secondary skill works to keep recycling units like Papalio and helps with the mirror match, but goes against the decks win con of just rampaging with Destroyer before going for the kill with a final sting.

 Mosquito Mk II is a good unit stand alone it's a pressure unit that dissuades an opponent from wanting to attack with all their might and gives you chance of extra attacks while further ensnaring the opponent with paralyzing venom. Thing is, even if the opponent did opt to leave some of their forces standing, no matter what your vanguard is, there's no escaping the threat Mosquito Mk II and a new stride is in part to thank for that.

Poisonous Spear Mutant, Paraspear
[Stride(Released when both players' vanguards are grade 3 or greater!)-Stride Step-[Choose one or more cards with the sum of their grades being 3 or greater from your hand, and discard them] Stride this card on your (VC) from face down.
[AUTO]:When this unit is placed on (VC), [Rest] all of your opponent's units, if the number of your opponent's [Rest] units is three or more, draw a card, and this unit gets [Power]+5000 until end of turn.

As I said, no escape.





Hitting the Rearguard is very good at slowing an opponent down, but the hives new ultimate weapon prototype, using technology stolen from the Dimension Police will stop them in their tracks- permanently.

Raging Spear Mutant Diety, Stun Beetle
[Stride]
[AUTO](VCGeneration Break 2 :[Counter Blast (2) & Choose a face down card named "Raging Spear Mutant Deity, Stun Beetle" from your G zone, and turn it face up] When this unit's attack hits a vanguard, you may pay the cost. If you do, all of your opponent's vanguards cannot [Stand] during your opponent's next stand phase, and during your opponent's next ride phase, your opponent cannot normal ride. (He or she may ride with an effect of cards)

Different to any other persona stride this unit MUST hit before his skill can be utilized. But if hit he does, you opponent has a means of superior riding a new vanguard to escape this ultimate giga-paralyze then that's as good as game. The issue with this guy needing to hit to be usable means that to you can run 3, and have 2 shots, or run 4 and have 3 shots, but in either case, with 3 you are left with a dead unit, and with 4 if the first stride doesn't hit, the same issue is present as such to make the most out of the G-Zone I would choose to run Snow Element, Blizza in the MC G-Zone as an alternate finisher.

Stun Beetle is ironically better with Machining than with the G support, both deck are good in their own rights however Machining have the generally better early game that can carry through from beginning to end, the G deck has the typical issue G Decks have of starting off dead and not going live till both side are Grade 3. In contrast to this Machining can play an adequate Grade 2 pressure game if one were to feel so inclined, which also means it's possible to stall to try stride first, into Destroyer of course, before the opponent can.

Oh there is also one additional bug that while not in the set itself, will be promo available in time for the event and a staple tech. It's also incredibly funny to since it stops re-standing vanguards. Unfortunately it won't stop Raging Form Dragon, Thing Saver Dragon or Chronodragon Nextage, funny how those are all dragons, does that means Duo Eternal Sister, Meer has dragon powers?
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So that's the set, and based on the support of the set I reckon Gear Chronicle will start to see a stronger showing but they can still be relatively easily outplayed due to their persistent flaws. Nextage will draw many more people towards playing the clan now because people love having multiple vanguard attacks in a turn but I don't think the clan will top.

The Paladin clans, both light and dark are currently top tier and there they remain, between them they will probably both the top 2 clans being played at the regional and Sanctuary Guard Regalie with it's still ongoing record will probably top to. With Shadow Paladin it'll be interesting to see theirs any change to the build to respond to bugs.

Genesis with their new support see a return to form both with their new build and Regalia, but I would expect to see Regalia with the new strides and the amber clone being the only new units being incorporated into their deck, and possibly the stand trigger. The expected build itself I'd presume will be Yggdrasil/Minerva. Giving both Legion and Limit Break options while also bringing the two most populer types of finisher together, Guard Restrict with Yggdrasil and restand with Minerva.

Neo Nectar will likely not see any change in saturation, or if it does it'll only be a decline.

Angel Feather for all the great support they have, I don't see being something I'm going to see a lot of. This being in part due to how technical the clan is, also meaning that people who can master it are few and far between.

Megacolony will become fully integrated into meta once their support hits. The hype caused by Stun Beetle alone when he was revealed give me enough confidence to lay this claim.

Bermuda Triangle with their own recent support will have meta grade saturation and I while I'm not expecting a top from idols, it wouldn't surprise me if they did.

Dimension Police has faded to a rouge deck by this stage, despite Laurel

Link Joker deck I'm not sure on, I reckon I'll probably have to face one Link Joker deck myself, Omega being an expected encounter more so than Messiah.

I know that here, and in Europe in general, that Gold Paladin are popular so I ought to try and be prepared for that, since that's the clan I also lost Dimension Police to so I want to crush every GP player I play as crusade of revenge to dominate over the clan that slew my Braves and shattered my Justice Core.

I won't list Tiers here as that's different so instead I'll use a Meta Scale to show expected saturation per clan.

MU: RP, SP (Predicting >15% each)

M1: GP, MC, BT, NK(Narukami), GC, GS, LJ, K (Upto 8% each, typically around 6%)

M2: GN, DP, OTT, NG, DI (Upto 5% each averaging nearer 3%)

M3: AF, NN (1-3%, but would love to be proven wrong with their saturation being higher.)

And then the rest. that will have <1% playing them.

Step 2: Choosing the deck I'm going to take. Well as I noted already the deck doing the best in the meta as it is are those that can hit hard and hit fast, but must utilize rearguards to accelerate that rush. Traditional Control is out the window as the game now moves too fast.

I can't use justice as I lost that, and it's slow anyway, even though we could revenge kill.
I own a complete Sanctuary Guard deck, that does NOT run the jewel engine, upgrades would be cheap, but I don't feel like the light.

I could use Nova Grappler and both rush and wipe board, but then I lose out  to Megacolony, Link Joker and then Narukami is a death sentence. There's Aqua Force Mealstrom but that doesn't have a G Zone and building that alone will cost as much as the base deck it worth and I don't have sort of money. Money being the main troubling factor here and it limits my options realistically to Sanctuary Guard or Megacolony, but Machining are missing Stag and 3 Destroyers so again, cost is an issue. If I had Dimension Police usable and not restricted due to forfeit I'd be able to go in with D-Robos just needing to spend £20 to complete one missing element. As it happens, due to the forfeit I only have one realistic option and that is Sanctuary Guard so that will probably be the deck I must take with me to regional. I'm not going to win though, and that's the thing, but I do want to score equal or higher than the rest of my locals going to prove that while I've not been all that active, I am still of the same caliber as everyone else, aside from which if I made top cut, I'd have to forfeit at top 8 because I'd have no intention of going to the continental I can't afford to go.