Tuesday, 31 May 2016

V-Talks: FC2016, G-Guardians !MPACT

The Collection has been out a few weeks now, opinions have solidified and what's decided now probably isn't going to change at all.

So, Fighter's Collection released May 20th, and in the UK it sold out in many places on release weekend. I've had to have a store hold a box for me till after team league so I could ensure I get it. The market has moved and even the singles sold out from national dealers doesn't surprise me.

First thing to address 16 is G-Zone.
Is it Good, is it Bad, is it healthy or ugly? Call it what you will one this it certainly is, is expensive.

An increase to the G-Zone means more spaces for G-Units meaning certain staples see a huge rise in price. One key example being Super Comsic Hero, X-Tiger. Previously attainable at $10, now the lowest you'll find is $22, all because there's more room to fit him now taking him from a two of, to a 4-of, thus increasing the demand, without an equivalent increase in supply. This is just talking a bout a RRR G-Unit, GR Staple G-Units were ridiculously inflated already and that only gets worse, even an increase in GR Pull rates from 4 GR a case to 6 a case (based on word from Japan for Set 7) this only means the problem remains the same, the pull rate increase isn't great enough to make main set GR's affordable to the majority of players.

Ignoring the secondary market and focusing on the game side of the argument, it's exceedingly nice to have, you get room to max out your best stride options and still fit in at least 4 G-Guardians, the latest mechanic bought in by Fighter's Collection, and the reason for the G-Zone increase. Obviously G Break centred decks benefit the most from this, and yet finding the balance and space can still groove to be difficult even at 16 G-Zone slots. So much for saying it was excessive in initial reactions. Even in cases of a deck where they don't have the best offensive options, such as Angel Feather, they can run more than 4 G-Guardians to make up for the lack of offensive strides by maximizing defensive utility, even if only 4 of those G-Guardians can be used in a game.

Based on recent tournament observations and discussion with other parties the over all affect of G-Guardians, the main point of Fighter's Collection 16, seems to be that games now have the potential to last well beyond the current sanctioned time limit of 20 minutes  Many games going into the three turn rule that were previously over at the toss of a hat or just in the nick of time, depending on "welcome to vanguard" situations. 
This would explain why Japan has increased to 25 mins in their floor rules, but some people I've been speaking to have suggested the time limit should extend further, to 30 minutes.
  It's peculiar though as on the flip side G-Guardians can also be the catalyst to accelerate and end games much faster than before. Key example being the possibility of a 1st Stride Nextage. That scrapheap hurts!!! Personal experience. Although in that example the extra salt in the wound is just how good Gear Chronicle's G-Guardian is, and that acts a good segway to my next segment. Top 5 G-Guardians from Fighter's Collections, in no particular order.

I'm not including the G-Guardians as they speak for themselves, they are staples and remain is use for some time to come in many many decks, so I'll get the obvious one out of the way first since I already mentioned it.

Retroactive Time Maiden, Uluru

So, the "cost" to gain +5000 shield for this card is to return two cards from drop zone to the deck. To clarify that, you can return to the deck the heal trigger you dropped to in turn access this card, for the normal unit, there's no shortage of options. The cost isn't so much a cost as it is more an additional benefit to the user, this card is incredible and that's probably why it's sold out on cardfightvanguardsingles when I checked the site prior to writing this.












Enigman Patriot
To rephrase this card's wording Patriot essentially tells it's user "Is it worth using me? Yes? Ok, here take a free additional buff." Many of the G-Guardians in Fighter's Collection that are reliant on opponent board states are lack lustre due to their requirements being easily foiled, Enigman Patriot can't be foiled and any situation where an attack wouldn't be worth using her on, can be guarded by a single trigger unit instead.














False Dark Wings, Agrat bat Mahiat
Dark Irregulars already have an exceptionally powerful defence thanks to Blade Wing Sullivian toss in a G-Guardian to the mix, and you have a nigh-on unbreakable wall. Even outside of Sullivian this card is an easy 20k guardian by itself. Simply Soul Charge 2 card and then if the number of cards in your soul is 6 or more, which is an easy number for Dark Irregulars, this unit gains it's additional shield stage. Furthermore that Soul Charge works towards the deck's ultimate intention of sitting at the 15 soul mark.











Goddess of Seven Colors, Iris
On a similar note to the previous section, this card makes my list for adding fuel for it's respective deck's main resource, but in this case it's recycling cards from the Drop Zone to place into the soul. 2 cards once again being the number. Not so much a cost, more of a benefit, and it gets you the extra stage to. Yet isn't quite as stupid in the potential implications as Uluru thankfully.














Eclipse Dragonhulk, Deep Corpse Dragon
I've been following a pattern in my sections here, so what I'm going to say here should come as no surprise as it's repeat of Mahiat and Iris, however this is not as good as either of them as Granblue is a two phase tutoring deck and you want specific targets in the Drop Zone, while this card can give options it can't secure you anything specifically desirable. On the plus side it doesn't care what you mill, it's going to gain shield +5000 either regardless of the drops. This is the only reason this card has beaten Pale Moons G-Guardian into my list.












And yet despite my personal top picks I notice Genesis in particular is not making much an impact or taking up much of the meta saturation. The reason for this is quite simple, it's going to take more than just  G-Guardian to bolster that clan back into metagame prevalence.
It should be noted that every clan now has some form of competitive edge over another. The meta itself is blown wide open. However rearguard reliant clans that lack consistent recovery should be concerned, as now the FC has passed Radiant Sword comes next, and that set has some nasty G-Guardians for Kagero so be on the lookout.

Thursday, 26 May 2016

Brave's Battles: Geared Out

Last Night I played a 26 man championship circuit event at Global Gaming.
You know what I played before I even say it.
I went 2-3


Round 1
Vs Angel Feather Garvial with Celestials
WIN (1-0)
I denied the opponent damage ironically because kept firing at a broken heart he kept trying to protect, when he eventually could no longer shield it I had a full board, a Laurel, and a Daikaiser Leon (previously used Patriot to get GB2, Daiearth unused this game) and broke my was past, and from there it just continued to steam roll in my favour. I did think I was in trouble at one point because Morikawa hand happened, but that also turned out in my favour in the long run.

Round 2
Vs. Kagero Legend

WIN (2-0)
Managed to hold my own and never felt under much pressure from the match-up oddly enough. What won this match was going into X-Tiger when I realised my opponent had 4 cards in hand, all 10k shields, one Heal. I went in on that turn for game and hit  the opponent with X-Tiger twice, 3 critical both times thanks to a trigger on the initial swing, power was above 60000 so there was no chance of guarding. I focused fire power in this game on a Nehalem whenever one appeared and that is what I would say kept me in the running. Even then if I hadn't had a G-Guardian on the turn leading to the final moments to help deflect a 3 critical Nehalem this game would have gone the other way.
I did very nearly perform a fatal misplay early on but was able to catch it and the opponent did allow me to re-evaluate the board before finalising the play. The mistake, I forgot about an Early Nehalem because it hadn't done anything yet, but I changed targets to it, determined to remove it before damage could build up. Similar situation to Angels but for different reasons, their damage was kept lower than mine till I was ready to strike, and they were left struggling with counterblast management. A Conroe fixed that but they had to wait till they retrieved one before they could get back on the pressure.

Round 3
Vs Aqua Force Blue Wave

LOSS (2-1)
No matter what I did, Lambros was still going to go off, and I've never survived two turns of that. Although with how long the fight did manage to last for I think exposure to the sea caused servos to rust cause I lost to Nextage decks twice in a row after this. This was a skill intensive game that in the end came down trying my best to restrict the Navy's formations despite DP not really being ideal for it. Be that as it may, I tried, I made sure to target key combat enablers, the opponent was able to keep enough of these alive though and get a consistent enough stream of them from the deck that, I was ultimately unable to dodge Lammy going off. I hit point where I just had to fire the cannon, it missed and after that the steam had ran out. The tide consumed me.

Round 3
Vs Gear Chronicle Time Leap Nextage 1

LOSS (2-2, and out)
Opponent Player G-Assisted for a Grade 2, because of this I saw a chance so tried an early Luarel board to force them to drop their heal they were keeping hold of early, they PG'd instead, he then rides to Grade 3, I have to no guard as I overextended and get twin crit to the face, the plan B required I be able to stride on my Turn 3 but I didn't top deck a second Grade 3, he used the Heal for a G-Guardian against my Daikaiser attack, not much else to note as next turn he can achieve Nextage, I have to no guard suffering from having not being able to stride and the earlier overextension, and I get twin crit again. Given the crit fest I feel that even had I not overextended, I would have still been dead,


Round 4
Vs Gear Chronicle Time Leap Nextage 2

LOSS (2-3)
The second Nextage was again a case of I got critted early, I had first Grade 3 turn but was already at four damage due to poor defensive hand. I had the break ride and Shadow to hand so I went for Superior X-Ride, it helped me last longer but I never had a chance to build a proper board in this game and that meant reduced pressure. In the end I lost to a Nextage Turn but this time it was an exceedingly powerful Chronojet (2 personal crit abilities used) which landed the final blow just because I couldn't get enough guard with Glory in play.

Favourite Match: Vs Blue Wave. 
Worst Match: Nextage 1 (Welcome to Vanguard)

The Blue Wave player who defeated me made it to top 8 as the 6th seed, there they encountered pirates in the form of Seven Seas, and the walking dead sank his fleet.

The Top 8
Angel Feather Gavrail (not the deck I fought)

Dark Irregular Sullivan
Granblue Seven Seas
Burmda Triangle Leion DUOs
Gear Chronicle Time Leap Nextage 1
Aqua Force Blue Wave
Spike Brothers Rising Nova Charge
Link Joker Messiah

Messiah defeated GavrailSpikes Impaled Sullivan tearing right through the latter's darkness barrier. Seven Seas sank the Blue Wave fleet. Nextage was left seeing Double DUO.

After this Link Joker locked out Rising Nova and Seven Seas retired to the depths.
And so it was that the final would be Messiah vs Duos. The Idol's sang a swan song to the god, and thus put him to slumber.

Idols took to the stage in celebration, the mermaids had triumphed and that's one person who's going to Telford bypassing the first Elimination Round.


I was going to publish a post relative to Saturday's Game HQ event, but due to circumstances and a controversial conclusion it seems that to say anything about the specifics would be inadvisable. It was a mess I ended up getting involved in, in trying to help resolve the initial problem I actually made it worse, and that's all I'll leave it at for now.

Friday, 13 May 2016

V-Reviews: The Legend



The Legend Lives On

The past week I've been playing with the G-Legend Deck 02: "The Overlord Blaze" Tohshiki Kai to give it as an informed review as I can into the product as Kagero is not one of main clans, even though it does hold appeal.

As a player I've always struggled to get into Kagero due to the cost entailed in completing a deck so the Legend Deck was a very welcomed announcement from myself. One of the original clans of the game and successor/homage to 2011's VGE-TD-02: Dragonic Overlord, and yet that said many of the units this new set feature did not début in the original Trial Deck.

The Star of the show and the main card of the deck is the Overlord himself as Dragonic Overlord, "The Legend", this marking the character's 8th iteration in the Cardfight vanguard universe.
 

"The Legend" has two abilities, one for when placed and one to resort to slightly later into the game state when you're at Generation Break 2, the on ride ability cheaply searches the top 5 cards of the deck for any card of the Flame Dragon species. In the stock Legend Deck your targets for this are fairly limited but frequent enough to have a decent chance of success.

The GB2 ability of The Legend likewise relates to Flame Dragons but this time requiring you discard 1 from your hand, specifically a Grade 3 Flame Dragon. As far as this deck is concerned all your Grade 3's are Flame Dragons, with the other Grade 3 being Amber Dragon, Midnight, so that isn't much of an issue. You also need to pay a counter blast alongside that discard but the return you net is The Legend becoming a stride himself, with the ability of a second attack after attacking a Rearguard. This ability is classic Overlord and also fits with the dragons lore personality of he'll fight relying on his own strength instead of relying on unity with others.

His ability of course means you're running an infinite number of strides even if you used up all your G-Zone already. Treating him as a stride though and he is a powerful stride in his own, yet the irony of his ability, and Kagero on the whole is that without rearguard support on the board, their field lacks pressure, Kagero's vanguard's alone will not win games.

The deck's offensive and abrasive Grade 2 units trigger abilities each time a G4 Vanguard attacks. Emperor Dragon Knight, Nehalem gains a 5000 power each time you attack with a Grade 4 but this is only if you have Overlord Vanguard to start with so it won't work outside of an Overlord Deck where he'll just be a 9000 power vanilla, even then if you're an Overlord Vanguard but not a Grade 4, what you you get out of Nehalem is an 11k beat stick, and that's never a bad thing to have. This unit effectively replaces Burning Horn Dragon in all Overlord decks and is so much more dangerous than the unit who's spot he takes over. As a word of advice, if Kagero is your opponent you want Nehalem gone and fast, likewise as a Kagero player you want to defend Nehalem but only so long as it is beneficial to do so.


The other half of this paring come from the unit named Berserk Lord Dragon, he retires an opponent's unit when ever you attack with a Grade 4 Vanguard, and unlike Nehalem this ability applies in any deck, and I would say replaces Twilight Arrow Dragon in any of the other Kagero Decks, yet may be used alongside as well as here's the draw back. This card is completely vanilla if you are not on a grade 4 Vanguard, certainly not an issue in most situations though since you're always looking to stride anyway. Yes it also costs counterblast 1 but it's a versatile retire capable or removing almost anything from the board and for the Legend Deck itself cost isn't much of a concern to the return of a lizard called Conroe.

With Lizard General, Conroe aiding his allies once more this new form is an overlord searcher, but beyond that is also the Legend Decks, and by extension any Overlord Decks', primary damage management unit, for his retire an Overlord vanguard get's to countercharge 2 for every attack it is able to make. With this it is so easy to maintain damage management and even reset all used counter blasts back to 0 in a single turn if desired.

The remaining gang members of the Legend Deck that matter are Aermo, Monica, Tahr, Barh and Undeux.

Aermo returns as the deck's draw and drop perfect guard with the new title Flame of Tranquillity, Aermo.

Monica is a 7k base, 10k booster for Flame Dragons, considering most of Kagero's Vanguards are Flame Dragons that turns her into a 10k booster for most of any Grade 3 and 4 Kagero you're going to be using, thus making her useful in a number of decks.

The Embodiment armaments take on new roles each. Barh returns a 15000 shield intercept, so long as you can return a Grade 3 Flame Dragon to deck from drop to use him. Frankly he's better off being replaced by Dragonic Burnout in Overlord Decks, and while that is a card highly valued now, for players joining I advise waiting till the release of the Radiant Sword expansion in June where Dragonic Burnout will be reprinted as a promotional card you can potentially obtain from the purchase of a sealed box, it will also bring down the cost of singles if you'd rather go that route.
Tahr is the more interesting of the two and deserves being highlighted. He's costly in his activation but worth it in the pay-off. Any unit granted the gift of the spear get's power +4000 and checks across the top 5 cards of the deck to keep your strides going as you search for a Grade 3 from among them whenever the enchanted (or if you follow the lore, cursed) unit attacks your opponent's vanguard. If you're running grade 3's that aren't valid targets for this card, it's worth reconsidering your deck build- as I mentioned earlier. Most of Kagero's Vangaurd and Grade 3s units on the whole are Flame Dragon.
I feel I should rephrase that though. All the Grade 3s that matter (at least currently) are a Flame Dragon without exception.

Rounding off the pack is Undeux as the deck starting vanguard, nothing fancy, GB1 into soul search an "Overlord", the standard deal, but considering the number of Overlords that exist it worth the mention none the less.


I should cover the stride now, of which their is two, or rather three types, and overall a total of 8 G-Units included for the full G-Zone (Untill May 20th) The third type is a reprint promotional card, Dragonic Overlord, The Ace a powerful re-standing stride much like The Legend however his restand is after attacking a Vanguard and is a stride primarily used for pushing damage, it costs counterblast 2, requires flipping another copy of itself face-off as well as another card, but this is all required to keep the card in check, I'd run 4 if I had two more than I did. However it's function is to push the opponent to the brink so you may finish them with the deck's actual finishing stride, Transcendence Divine Dragon, Nouvelle Vague L’Express, and that is the only time I'm typing THAT name in full.

Main Phase Activation for affects that influence the battle phase, very similar to Phantom Blaster "Diablo" of the first Legend Deck. I even think the CB1 and Persona G cost may be the same to. Once active, this unit can not be guarded with Grade 1 cards from the hand, but all other grades may be used, interestingly thins card will soon be nerfed in the face of more guarding methods, namely G-Guardians. But what won't be nerfed due to upcoming cards and gimmicks is his trigger negation for opponent's when they are sitting on five damage or more so there's no way a foe is getting a miraculous last second heal to stay in the game.

Neither of these strides can be used immediately though as both are Generation Break 2, so how about looking at the opening stride this deck offers?

Supreme Heavenly Emperor Dragon, Vortex Desire, darn these long names...

This card is simple yet confusing if you don't understand how the game mechanics work.
If you turn any face down G-Unit face up when this unit attacks, you may retire 1-3 of your opponent's rearguards depending on how many Flame Dragon units are on your Vanguard Circle if this then hits.

How this works is that both your G-Unit Vanguard and any hearts are counted as being on the Vanguard Circle, the soul isn't counted. A heart in Legion grants you 2 hearts rather than one so in this instance for example you count this unit, and any heart cards that are also of the Flame Dragon Species. Notably this means this card is at it's strongest when you stride it atop a Legion such as any Perdition Legion and Dragonic Overlord, The X.




----

In my testing of the  Legend Deck I used an ever so slightly modified version in a local. The changes I made were I removed Amber Dragon, Midnight to insert the original Dragonic Overlord, I also removed the Legend Deck Draw Trigger, Goku in favour of Gatling Claw Dragon and took out any none Flame Dragon Triggers I could in order to then fit Flame Dragon Triggers. Lastly I removed the Legend Deck's take on Bahr to put in the original Berserk Dragon.


So what I ended up with was this

(Note to self: use PRO-MATTE or ANY MATTE sleeves for photos)

The G-Zone however was exactly as it comes with the Legend Deck, 2 Vortex, 2 The Ace, 4 L'express.

Local was 6 man if I recall. 3 Swiss Rounds, no top cut. The opponents faced, in order of battles was Shadow Paladin, Revenger, Desperate Dragon, Nubatama Shiranui, and then Angel Feather Nociel all 3 were victories.

Desperate Dragon is exactly what it says it is, it's desperate to be noticed but it's not a strong card even with an old Revenger engine behind it, and what I really mean by that is the old Shadow Paladin Revenger Trial deck of 2014 Winter. With an old core set, that was mediocre on release, minimal modification, and power creep in play, this victory can't really hold much meaning.

Nubatama bricked and failed G-Assist twice, so again a hollow victory that can't be used as a useful test result.

How about Angel Feather? Well this I should have lost and did, except for the fact I 6 damage healed twice in a row, it was close game game either way and I was only forced into that situation due to variance, just as fortune like wise allowed me to survive, I then finished the job.
I can't really determine whether if this result makes for reliable at all or of any use.

But hey, even if the matches were a wash for how useful they were, I won a fresh new Playmat. :D Didn't pull anything useful from packs though. -_-

-----

At the end of the day what I CAN determine having handled the deck is that it is indeed "competitive" but only to T2 or high T3 standards. Even then DOTX itself, the most consistent Kagero Deck currently isn't the Tier 1 monster it used to be either.

The Legend Deck is ultimately but a starting point, it has the tools it needs to win, but it needs re-working and high investment due to the cost of the cards one would really need to be able to rework it to it's full potential, which for Dragonic Overlord is Dragonic Overlord, The X, in of itself that wouldn't be so bad, but the card you use it with Dragonic Overlord, The End is £22 each and that adds up quick. That said, it's not the most expensive the card has ever been, the concern is The X Legion deck may have lost it's hold in the meta, and yet with Kagero support in Radiant Sword releasing in June, it is a deck that has strong potential to bounce immediate back to the forefront of the meta game, if the competitive enviroment is of interest to you.

Sunday, 8 May 2016

Brave's Battles: Why did I do this? (April 23/24)



(This Post relates to the weekend of 23&24th of April, that was some time ago and my memory has degraded since then.)

I thought I'd left Yu-Gi-Oh behind, well maybe not completely as it would appear since today I played... Vylons vs Plants... Overgrown monstrous plants, considering I haven't "quit" 3 years ago when I picked up Vanguard and haven't played a deck in  12 months I was amazed I was somehow able to pull off a win, albeit my opponent was almost certainly holding back their deck's full pwer they still put me through the ropes with some gargantuan thing that got stronger the more occupied the board was. Although I bricked I was eventually able to come up with a combo that allowed me to get to Vylon Omega and from there I was able to recover and begin a push back even if It did require a slightly self destructing myself to stop a bad situation from going down south entirely. Unfortunately while I was able to recall certain interaction rulings that I was able to use to my advantage to push back and take control to eventually land a finishing blow with a piercing shot from a specially equipped Vylon Omega I can not remember the name of my opponent's cards but there was a lot of Level 8 Flower Princesses in there so anyone more active with the game still may know what it was I was facing.

The more amusing thing from this I guess is that since playing just that one game I've picked up Yu-Gi-Oh World Duel Carnival for Nintendo 3DS and I play on it couple of hours most nights before slumber.





Leaving the topic of Yu-Gi-Oh I'm moving on to Pokémon. 24th Young's Hobbies had an ORAS VG swiss tournament, or rather it was supposed to be. But only four people turned up, but four is better than three as four is the minimum required player count. I don't really play Pokemon beyond just playing the game and trying to complete the Pokédex (-event Pokémon as I'm told they don't count towards the rewards for "completion") so entering a local was a new experience. We played Round Robin due to just 4 players. I played with whatever I had loaded at the time, I don't metagame in Pokémon it's something I need to learn.
Level 50 Cap, Double Battle VGC rules ect.
I was expecting to come last, I did come last, but I managed to defeat one person in one 2/3 2-1, only for them to then 2-0 me in a rematch as an extra found cause we both finished 2/1(6 points) and apparently instead of following tiebreakers we played off again. This time with me loosing by a landslide.

And that day I made the same mistake several time, I lost count how many. Salamance and Primal Kyogre on my board. I try to use Flamethrower and of course it doesn't work. You'd have thought I'd have learnt after the first time or even remembered to not do it at all, but I still made that mistake at least 3 times, and more than that to. I believe that means I fulfil the condition of scrub. On the plus side the only way to go is up right?

(Now to write the rest of my Catch Up stuff)