Dragonic Blademaster “Kouen” – Deck Profile

With the release of Demonic Advent we can expect to see some interesting meta shifts, one of these is the rise of Blademaster. Once stuck in the shadow of the more consistent and powerful Overlord, Blademaster has burst onto the scene and is ready to sear his name over the metagame.

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The newest iteration of Blademaster still focuses on cleaning the board and getting bonus from empty circles but now thanks to Ziegenburg the deck has an effective payoff for all its hard work. So without further ado lets get into the list.

 

The List

As always I’ll go into more detail regarding triggers and tech slots later for now I’m just going to go into what is set in stone.

Grade 0 – 17

  • Lizard Soldier, Conroe

Grade 1 – 13/14

  • Protect Orb Dragon x 4 (PGG)
  • Lava Flow Dragon x 2/3 (Stride fodder)
  • Dragon Knight, Nadel x 4
  • Tech slots x 2/3

Grade 2 – 12/3

  • Dragon Knight, Mbudi x 4
  • Perdition Dragon, Dragonic Neoflame x 3/4
  • Tech slot x 3/4
  • Tech slot x 0/2

Grade 3 -7

  • Dragonic Blademaster “Kouen” x 4
  • Wyvern Strike, Jargo x 3

G-zone

  • Divine Dragon Knight, Mustafa x 1
  • Supreme Heavenly Emperor Dragon, Vortex Desire x 1
  • Air Element, Sebreeze x 1
  • Supreme Heavenly Emperor Dragon, Dragonic Emperor “Taiten” x 3/4
  • Flare Arms, Ziegenburg x 4
  • Supreme Heavenly Emperor Dragon, Blazing Burst Dragon x 1/2
  • Flame Wing Steel Beast, Denial Griffin x 2/3
  • Supreme Heavenly Emperor Dragon, Advance Guard Dragon x 1
  • Divine Dragon Knight, Abd Salam x 1

Starter

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There is no debate here, you run Conroe. Conroe is flat out the best starter in the game, any arguments can be shotdown by the fact that Conroe can search for any other starter if you want it. But even beyond that Conroe is essential to this deck allowing you to search out heals to take advantage of Kagero’s powerful G-guards or maybe a stride fodder to fix your ride, Nadel for counter charge, Bellog for Melem or even just a simple PG to stop a big attack Conroe can fetch any of it. The retire offered by Sadegh doesn’t accomplish enough, the draw and countercharge of Deida pales in comparison to being able to open up your entire deck and look for anything you might need.

There is no debate.

Run Conroe.

Triggers

Normally I would say triggers are player preference based but this time I think it’s a little different.

We have a few set triggers, those being –

  • Dragon Knight, Jannat x 4 (Heart thump clone, crit)
  • Positive Dracokid x 4 (FC2017 Heal)

Jannat has a few uses and all of them are good, early you can throw him down to make a 9k column if you decide to move your starter to a side column. From there he has the obvious use of cycling himself but he is also exceptional at enabling blaze and as a booster for Ziegenburg. Let me explain, blaze requires more rearguards than your opponent in matchups where your opponent can mass retire you can often end up in a position where you need to enable blaze but don’t have an effective rearguard, in this situation you can call Jannat, attack with vanguard, trigger blaze, then trigger Jannats own skill to prevent yourself from losing cards in hand. As for Zieg, if you apply Kouen’s power bonus to Zieg he will become 29k boosting the first attack with Jannat will put you to 33k (pushing your attack up a guard stage) and then on the second attack you can activate his skill and move him to soul. To add to all this soul is a precious resource in the deck so having an easy way to fill it up is very handy.

 

Positive doesn’t need much explantation, we run advance guard and gain no benefits from other triggers so running Possitive is a given. The counter charge is relevant to the deck and vanilla advance guarding is still an acceptable play.

So following up from them I also believe you should be running 3/5 draw triggers the deck can generate plenty of advantage but the lack of any superior call means that removal can cause a lot of issues especially en-masse, draws can help to alleviate this. It also helps that Kagero has access to some choice draw triggers.

 

Gatling claw is arguably the best draw in the game and Artpique’s Margal skill is relevant in a deck as resource intensive as this. Shooting down starters can be very handy in some matchups notably Gears where you can limit their immediate time leap capability. I reccomend –

  • 3 Gatling 2 Artpique
    OR
  • 3 Gatling

But feel free to mess around with that.

From there I’ve had the most success with more crits but stands can work as Mbudi is not a once per turn skill, however I would like to note that the abilities of Kagero’s stands are not anything special and using Mbudi more than once a turn can be resource intensive. Relying on stands for multiattacks is also risky and having a restander makes crits even better than they already are. So although I do think stands are workable I highly recommend crits over them.

Grade 1

Blademaster likes its grade 1s, Nadel makes up the decks main countercharge engine and helps create high power columns, Protect orb is your obvious PG with much needed resource regeneration and your fodder helps to ride fix and stride. However thanks to Kouen’s GB2 skill Lava flow can be cut with relative safety from the usual 3 copies to 2 although this hurts ride fixing and can occasionally cause first stride issues more often than not the extra space is more beneficial and Conroe can completely bypass this issue if needed.
As far as perfect guard choices go Protect orb is 100% the right call as I’ve mentioned the deck is resource intensive so the utility offered by other options is nowhere near the value of the extra counter charge.

As for the tech slots one card is an obvious choice but as I believe that other units can be handy I will bring attention to them.

Bellog

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Bellog is excellent in this deck, offering disruption and retire. Bellog can help to set up Zieg as well as disrupt decks that rely on stand triggers or more specifically shooting down Grenaches and soft countering Melem. As a meta call this card is amazing for Ziegenburg this card is great, as far as I’m concerned Bellog is the best choice. Due to the consumable nature of his skill I recommend him at 3 or 4 but 2 can work, personally I’ve been using 3 and it has been working just fine.

So although I firmly believe that Bellog is the best use of these slots, especially in this meta, I do want to bring attention to some other possible options quickly.

Other Options

 

Marcel – Marcel can help to make columns but more notably can search for units, however low blaze unit density and lack of overly useful targets lose her a few marks. That said it can still help to regenerate field so it has some limited use.

Aethonic Aethonic is countercharge and soul both things this deck wants, that said having to go down a unit is iffy for the deck. Once again though since the deck is very greedy Aethonic can go a long way even at just 1 copy so it could be worth squeezing in if you find yourself in a lot of long games.

With all that said you can also move slots towards G2 or 3 is you want them more there but my more successful test builds were at 14 G1s.

Grade 2

Grade 2 is 50/50 some units are set in stone (those being the 4 Mbudi and at least 3 Neoflame) some are not. Mbudi is one of the decks most important pieces adding card draw and making massive columns with ease and Neoflame helps to deal with the early game. So how do we use the tech slots?

Essentially there are 3 main options-

 

10k Vanilla – Pretty self explanatory, helps to block early rush and looks good while doing it.

Nadim – An 11k beatstick who will occasionally get you some extra countercharge, handy for evasive decks and useful in the early game too.

Radint – Extra retire and a solo column. However very resource intensive with a restricted retire. Mbudi has mostly replaced Radiant and while the card is still decent the deck often can’t afford to spend the resources on his skill.

I broke this into 2 slots but it would also be fair to break the entire lineup down into 2 basic builds-

  • 4/4/4
  • 4/3/3/2

In 4/4/4 you’re maxing out Mbudi, Neoflame and your preferred tech, in the current meta this will most likely be 10k vanillas as along with Neoflame this will allow you to fend off early aggro.

In 4/3/3/2 you’re sacrificing a little bit of consistency for an extra slot with 4 Mbudi, 3 Neoflame, 3 of your more important tech (likely 10ks) and 2 of another tech.

Currently I’ve been liking –

  • Dragon Knight Mbudi x 4
  • Perdition Dragon, Dragonic Neoflame x 3
  • Dragon Knight, Nehalem x 3
  • Dragon Knight, Nadim x 2

10ks can often be dead cards in the late game and although they can make numbers with Nadel I do think having Nadim as a solo beater helps the deck, Nadim also doesn’t hurt your early game too much as he can still swing for 11k.

Grade 3

Grade 3 is much more simple than the others, you want 4 Kouen and 3 Blaze grade 3s.

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Kouen is your obvious boss, he carries the Blademaster name, offers retire and a small power bonus and has a surprisingly useful G3 salvage skill. The stride bonus is fairly straightforward, retire a unit and give the power to whatever unit you can push up a guard stage with it. The G3 salvage will most often be used to secure your stride but it can be used to pay for PGs, regenerate the field or as discard fodder for Ziegenburg.

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As far as blaze G3s go Jargo is the obvious choice, it offers retire power and makes a solo column. A lot of the time you will just use this card as if it’s a grade 2 dropping it as a retire for Zieg and a beater to deal some damage. Thanks to Kouen if your opponent retires it you can get it back with ease, and even get some extra retires out of it.

There isn’t really any other G3s worth all that much for the deck Jargo is easily the best option.

G-Zone

Similar to Overlord we have 2 first stride options in the form of Vortex and Mustafa.

 

Vortex offers on hit pressure but can very often do nothing at all. Mustafa is an extra retire if you really need it but is fairly low impact and somewhat pricey.

In case it wasn’t obvious first stride is a very sore spot for the deck, offering very little of anything. So how do we get around this?
Well if you stride first overall you suck it up and roll with the punches but if you are the second to stride we can do things with a little more flare.

By using Conroe to search out a heal we can G-guard an opponents attack and respond with the incredibly powerful Ziegenburg.

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As far as first strides go this one is pretty good especially with backup from Mbudi or Jargo, chances are your opponent doesn’t have too much field so setting up for the free restand is much easier and you can actually apply good pressure.

Zieg itself is the key to the deck, the sole focus of the deck is to setup Zieg and use its cheap restand to gain advantage and apply pressure. 2 VG swings for basically free is crazy. In my previous article on Zieg I don’t think I got across just how powerful this card is. A guilt free restand that can even net you advantage is insane value and even if you can’t setup the completely free restand throwing grade 3s into the bin for this guy isn’t too bad thanks to Kouen. However I would advise against going for the restand if its going to cost 3 or more cards (Although chances are you won’t blaze if thats the case) unless you really need to score the kill.

So what do we do if we can’t setup Zieg? Well we punish them for calling a field with an oldie but a goodie.

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If they have a lot of rearguards Taiten can wipe the field and ideally cost them more cards from hand while applying pressure with its crit.

If you were paying attention you noticed that despite it being an amazing card I put it down that you can run it at 3. This is for a specific reason and has been used for quite a few Japanese lists. And that is of course the bane of Kagero’s existence – resist. Resist is a big issue for the deck since it asks for more cards from hand with Zieg and reduces the power of some of your beaters. So how do we handle this?

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Not exactly rocket science, an indiscriminate board wipe to clear off those pesky resist units while offering a field buff to push your columns even higher with the chance of gaining a buff and crit himself. Burst accomplishes much the same as Taiten but in a far more bombastic way, the obvious caveat being that it is locked behind GB8. Japan has obviously seen a rise in Blaster decks which boast resist units in the form of Laura which really throws a spanner in the works if dropped in the back row. Blasters also gives incentive to use advance guard in the form of Flogal so getting to GB8 isn’t too hard against them. That said Taiten and burst offer slightly different utility so weigh up what kind of decks you expect to see before choosing 3 and 2 over 4 and 2.

From there we have Kagero’s ever powerful G-guard suite, boasting disruption in the form of Griffin and Advance and now thanks to a new addition in Abd Salem massive defense.

 

From there we run Sebreeze as we want GB and although you can use 10K vanillas to defend  and Neoflame to pull slightly ahead in terms of card advantage, moving the game forward is much more important for the deck.

Ashes to Ashes

And with that we are done.

In Japan the deck seemed to be a response to the resurgence in Wiseman decks, this was a result of the limiting of Heteroround something we didn’t see in English. However after some time the deck has earned it’s spot among the top decks, offering good offense, advantage and a powerful disruption based defense. Despite it’s relative weakness to boardwipes and bad matchup to Nightrose the deck still puts up good results and I’m sure it will make some waves in the English metagame even without a Wiseman resurgence.

And as always –

 

Thanks for reading

 

Domination’s Hazy Execution

To kick off my string of Demonic Advent articles I want to talk about arguably the most hyped set of cards of the year. I am of course talking about domination.

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Nubatama has for a long time been a troubled clan the inherent power of their initial mechanic (discard) meant that Bushi dropped them almost immediately and the clan was left to fade away. That is until Bushi tried again changing the discard from a permanent one to a temporary disadvantage, this was still at base incredibly powerful but the cards given to support it were somewhat lacking. Finally Bushi tried discard one more time in the reckless rampage, opting to combine discard and bind and trying to push the build forward with afterimage offering a hit and run option that tied into the previously established binding mechanic.
Well it didn’t work out afterimage was tied to a hand size limit which meant the hit and run style didn’t work all that well and the few powerful cards the deck had couldn’t carry such a low advantage and low pressure shell.

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And so Nubatama once again switches gears and gains a new mechanic – Domination.
The basis of domination is pretty simple, attack your opponent with their own stuff, sounds easy right? Well unfortunately this needs to be made to work within the ruleset of the game which means it gets a little tricky. Especially in a game as restrictive as vanguard.

I’ll say it straight out domination is messy.
It has all kinds of rules specifically for it, its resolution is different than almost anything else in the game and there’s all kinds of strange terms that only really matter for it.
As someone who likes to be well versed in the rules and help resolve issues domination being throw into the mix is a bit of a hassle.
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The best rule of thumb for resolving almost any ruling dispute in vanguard is to resolve all effects completely before moving onto the next skill in the queue.
Domination however is a little different Bushiroad breaks domination into 5 parts –

  1. Dominating fighter chooses a unit
  2. Opposing fighter stands the chosen unit
  3. The unit attacks the target chosen by the dominating fighter with the ability, and a battle occurs.
  4. Abilities that activate during battle can be used by the dominating fighter as though it were his or her own unit.
  5. If there are no more dominated units that can attack, the unit is no longer dominated, and the game returns to the phase in which the unit was dominated. If there are dominated units that can attack, or if there are dominated units in stand, it remains dominated, and return to 3.

The thing that really bugs me about this is step 4.
Activating a skill within a skill can create massive headaches especially if we look at something like Mujinlord which dominates multiple units. For example if you dominate 5 units and we assume they all have on attack skills, you half resolve each dominate, pause, use a skill from the unit, resolve that and then resolve the rest of the dominate. Repeat 5 times. The more complicated the skill the more tangled this will get. New players will learn harmful precedents from this such as pausing skills and its abundantly clear Bushi made it this way simply to push the new mechanic with no regard for how it would really fit in the game rules.
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And then there’s the issue of who the unit belongs to…

When you dominate a unit you don’t control it you simply make the owner use it to attack the chosen unit but if you want to make a unit attack another dominated unit it is your unit and can’t be chosen as your opponents unit. So you don’t control the unit but it is your unit which means you can’t select it as an opposing unit but you can select it as your unit but not as a unit you control.

So intentionally writing aside this is obviously a bad idea. Creating a situation where you can have a unit but not control a unit is a bad idea, not just for ruling but also for complexities sake imagine trying to explain this to a new or even casual player. And this is in a trial deck, a product that lots of new players will gravitate towards.

However Bushiroad has us covered, now a unit can have –

  • A Master
  • An Owner
  • A Controller
  • Not really sure what to call it but whoever “has” the unit

That’s 4 terms that really only matter in regards to domination or else are intuitively solved by common sense.

We’ve gone from essentially 2 types of units, yours and mine, to 4 that all happen simultaneously.

It feels bad to rag on a mechanic so harshly especially when I believe game developers should be braver with the kinds of mechanics they are willing to put into a game but even then sometimes you need to accept that it’s too much. Domination is a badly designed and poorly implemented mechanic given to an already troubled clan.

I appreciate the attempt Bushiroad but this shouldn’t have left the drawing table.

 

Thanks for reading

Altered Dragon – Altering the G-zone

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Here’s a card I didn’t expect to consider a staple. In fact when I made my time leap deck profile I didn’t even mention this card. However since I got my hands on this card and messed around with it, it’s easily something I would call a definite inclusion in the deck.

For the sake of this article I will only be covering this cards uses in time leap, there are obviously some similarities between builds but I won’t be mentioning uses specific to builds like Fang.

First Stride

At this point it is not a controversial statement to say the game is often decided by first stride. All the best decks have amazing first stride options and often games between tier 1 decks are decided by who strides first. In some cases this is due to the power of the strides themselves but in the case of Gear chronicle it’s more down to the unlocking of generation break restrictions.

 

 

Essentially so long as the infamous combo is unlocked you can mount your offensive and gain advantage. I know this isn’t exactly new information, first striding warp drive was already a similar situation merely setting up the board rather than doing anything itself. So why am I bringing this up in an article about Altered? Well quite simply sometimes you just don’t have the cards to stride. Maybe you had to ride your fodder or will have to dump a Melem and History to stride. Both of these situations suck and are enough to lose you the game especially against similarly powerful decks. Altered helps get around this issue, including Altered in your deck turns every zodiac time beast in the deck into a psuedo stride fodder, this tends to be your triggers and 10k vanillas. Even beyond first stride this card can help you keep up tempo in the later game just in case you were unable to get a card to stride with in hand.

Mulligan

If I’m playing time leap and know the deck I’m about to fight against is a fast one, I don’t know about you but I want my Lishmas in hand as soon as possible.G-TD09-011EN

Being able to get extra attacks early while removing troublesome units. Having Altered as a safety net lets you mulligan more aggresively to get that early game push while also dropping G3s for Lishmas discard cost.

Setting up

Another use of Altered takes advantage of its second skill. 00

By using its selective bind you can set up for a Haung/Groovy turn by putting something important into the bind zone for later, while also slightly increasing your chance to hit a trigger. While it’s a limited use, small advantages can add up and netting another guard stage, a PG or even extra attack on your Groovy turn can make a difference. You could even use it to mitigate Nextages discard cost.

Altered opinions

This card is something you really need to see to believe, I know it certainly was for me. Thanks in part to them having it for longer this has been in most Japanese time leap builds since its release, I mostly overlooked it but the utility of the card is far too much to pass up. I highly reccomend giving this card a shot and myself consider it a staple of the deck.

thanks for reading

 

Single Card Analysis – Flare Arms, Ziegenburg

As any reader might know one of my favourite clans is Kagero and with Demonic advent on the horizon (well September) I thought I would take a look at a card causing the most commotion for the clan.

 

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Did you know Ziegenburg translates to – Goat Castle.

Ziegenburg the latest in Kagero’s long line of restanders and only the second to not be an Overlord (I’m counting Dauntless Drive) with a very interesting catch – the discard cost customary to restanders scales with how much you retire.

Zieg reads –

[Stride]-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](VC):Blaze
[ACT](VC)[1/Turn]:[Soul Blast (1) & Choose a face down card from your G zone with the same card name as this unit, and turn it face up] Choose one of your opponent’s rear-guards, and retire it.
[AUTO](VC)[1/Turn]Generation Break 3:[Counter Blast (1) & Choose the same number of cards from your hand as the number of your opponent’s rear-guards, discard them] At the end of the battle that this unit attacked a vanguard, if this unit is blazing, you may pay the cost. If you do, [Stand] this unit, and it gets drive -2.

 

So there’s a lot going on here, obviously we have the restand but on top of that we have a very cheap retire skill.

So lets break it down, the retire is clearly here to help facilitate the restand allowing you to pick off a unit to reduce Ziegs own cost. You could almost consider it as swapping 1 soul for a hand card but that would be forgetting the persona flip cost. I don’t think this is too steep a trade off as chances are you aren’t going to be going into all 4 copies (provided you run that many) and soul for retire is great economy as seen with Dragonic Burnout.

That said don’t first stride this solely for the retire it’s really not worth it, only use the retire as a way to facilitate the restand.

Now onto the main meat of this skill. Restanders are losing favour these days as G-guards get larger and the meta tends to favour mass attacks. That said the potential free restand is excellent, it’s hard to go any further without comparing it to Kagero’s other finishing options.

 

So first off here’s a subtle yet important feature of Ziegenburg, both Nouvelle and Ace have their costs paid during main phase. Zieg asks for it during battle phase, this lines up much nicer with both Overlord and Blademasters main countercharge which was a bit of a sorespot for the clan.
We’ll start by comparing Zieg to Vague

Like I said earlier G-guards already give restanders a strain due to the massive shield potential but that’s nothing comapred to the catastrosphic effect they had on guard restrictors. Not only that but Nouvelle was already struggling, a guaranteed kill is great but nothing special when miracle heals are rare anyway and the tradeoff being a surprisingly relevant lack of restricted grades (only stopping 1s) meant this cards performance was already lacking. Nouvelle is almost certainly axed in favour of Ziegenburg.

So what about fellow restander the Ace?
Ace is old now at the time of writing this article FC2015 was released 743 days ago, (basically 2 years) Ace was already a little unwieldy upon release requiring 2CB and a specific discard lead to several unfavourable comparisons to the previously released Victoplasma. That said Ace proved its worth serving as the de-facto best finisher of the Overlord deck for the past 2 years. Comparing it to Zieg we have –

  • Same number of drive checks, with Ace going 2-2 and Zieg going 3-1. This means that while the second attack is easier to guard Ziegs first attack is a little more fierce. Ace however provides similar pressure with both attacks.
  • Blaze requirement, Zieg asks for you to be blazing where as Ace can go solo which can occasionally turn a bad situation into a win.
  • The aforementioned cost timing.
  • Named discard, Zieg can more consistently pull off its restand even if the cost is steeper.
  • Emergency first stride potential, due to the Ace being made at a time where Bushiroad did not want strides to have generation break (presumably for flavout reasons) his cost can be paid multiple times to allow for a powerful first stride potential kill turn.

With these considered it seems like things are somewhat balanced but I think Ziegenburg still takes it here.

An Ace turn is powerful for sure but if the attack fails to kill or at the very least cripple your opponent your left with far less resources than is ideal having only kept 2 drive checks and using a card from hand to stride this was one of the main reasons Nouvelle was run allowing for an alternate finisher that didn’t leave you as open to attack. Zieg should hopefully bypass this cost thanks to its scaling discard cost and restanding on an empty field is an extra card in hand overall. And again I cannot understate how important the battlephase cost is.

Obviously in Blademaster Ace was already shaky but I think Zieg means its no longer needed at all. Overlord however may want to keep a few copies if it can find space in its G-zone.

To top off these favourable comparisons restanding for free is a big deal even with large G-guards in the context of the clan it’s certainly powerful especially against evasive decks that leave an empty field. Allowing Kagero an alternate way to apply pressure and gain advantage against these kind of decks is really important and should give the deck enough of an edge to stay relevant in tier 2.

Zieg will however have issues with resist units as especially in Blademaster (the build that best backs it up) most retire is targeted, of course Blazing burst can be used as an out to this but that still has a GB8 requirement.

 

Flaring up

Well I’m certainly excited by this card and look forward to the English release in September, Zieg already seems to be making some waves in Japan as Blademaster is becoming a good meta call due to the resurgence of Wiseman loop decks. Whether or not we will see this happen in the English format we’ve yet to see but as for now –

 

Thanks for reading

FC2017 – Gear Chronicle

Now to cap off the FC2017 reveals lets look at what Gears got.

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Gear chronicle the scourge of the meta-game, once again going into this set the new guards and stride hell even the heal trigger had a lot to live up to. Gear Chronicle already has an incredible suite of powerful finisher strides and defensive and utility G-guards so earning a spot in the G-zone is not an easy feat. So let’s see if any of the new units have earned a spot in the G-zone.

For this article I’m going to be looking purely at the effect these cards will have on time leap Chronojet builds. I understand that these cards have different implications in other gear chronicle builds but as time leap is the most relevant and also the one I have the most experience with I’m going to focus on that.

Heal and G-guard

Well once again Uluru makes a return this time as both a heal and a guard so how do these cards fit into the deck. Well first off the heal trigger actually has some competetion in the form of Chronotherapy Hamster not only is this little guy adorable he also has the benefit of being a Zodiac time beast, which is relevant for Jet G/Nexstage push turns and can be pitched to Altered Dragon in case you don’t have a way to stride normally. Now obviously as a heal trigger you mostly want to use it to G-guard but the racial implications of Hamster are worth mentioning, especially as despite being fringe situations they are somewhat important. So what does Uluru offer in exchange? When used to guard with New-luru she allows you to return a normal unit to the bottom of the deck. While not the most beneficial skill that gears could have gotten (countercharge would have been incredible) this defintely sweetens the deal. The old Uluru guard offered similar utility returning a trigger unit on top of the normal unit. On the whole the normal unit being returned is more often that not the more important part, but returning an Ur-watar that has found itself in the drop zone to the deck can be game changing so its still nothing to sneeze at. Old Uluru aside the new heal allows you to return important leap targets to the deck giving the new guard half the utility of the old one. To put it simple if you decide to run the new Uluru guard run this heal. And that of course leads us onto the guard iteself.

While this is certainly an impressive skill, with the potential to effectively be a perfect guard late game, space is tight. When guarding with New-luru by paying CB1 and flipping a guard it gains 5k shield for every face up G-unit. So undoubtedly this will be a large defense, but that wasn’t really a sore area for gears anyway. Because of the advantage gained thanks to Ur-watar gear chronicle will almost always have enough shield to block the larger attacks that most opponents can offer. This is even further magnified by the CatRound combo that allows you a 21k base on the opponents turn. Still using one card to guard a large attack vs using more is obviously better but now we come to the biggest hurdle for New-luru – that CB1 cost. Gears is a deck that can often go into turns with 1-2 CB relying on taking damage and Arlim to gain CB, this means that going 1 down can be the difference between attacking and drawing more cards.

So overall the new guard has potential offering similar utility to old Uluru and a near inpenetrable defense but is hamstrung by its semi-redundancy and cost. Regardless it can definitely slot into the G-zone if you find yourself in need of more raw guard power.

Generation Break 8

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Beyond Order Dragon with a name like that this card better deliver and I’m really not sure if it does or does not.

This card is so hard to assess its ability is seems very obviously powerful but has so many conditions attached to it that I’m not quite sure how to aproach it. For 1SB, 1CB and 8 cards from the top of your deck, Beyond Order will restand and create and extra main and battle phase. Even looking at just the restand skill this card has some very obvious raw power having no disard cost and losing only 1 drive check and the implications of extra phases is certainly interesting. However just like Uluru we come back to the cost, CB1,SB1 is easily managed essentially you’re just substituting what you would pay for Nextage, but then we come to the bind 8 cards from the top of the deck. So theoretically this is a nebulous cost, you aren’t really losing any resources – these are not cards in your hand or cards from your field. Of course this is vanguard, deckout is a very real issue in a lot of games especially later on such as a GB8 turn. On top of this time leap is a deck already drawing a lot of cards and having important timeleap targets in the deck is essential to most attack patterns.

Gears obviously has ways to deal with this steep cost while retaining important targets but even then this card has such a huge dependance on the cards in your hand that it is a hard sell. So what value can we gain from going into Beyond Order over Nextage.
So lets imagine that going into my turn I have 2CB open (which is fairly common) and I have optimal set-up for each respective turn.

– Nexstage allows for 7 attacks
– Beyond Order allows for 10

So essentially whatever you call over the rested attackers from the first battle phase this is also best case scenario and isn’t likely to happen but it’s a good baseline for comparison.
Also worth noting is that the second attack from the Nexstage turn will be much higher power while the Beyond’s second swing could have criticals from drive checks.

This card is impressively complex to evaluate, it has so many moving parts and “ifs” that really it seems like it comes down to being about the games that go that long. I don’t think you should be passing up a Nexstage turn to use this card and from there you need enough cards in deck to use this card so it honestly feels like this card has such limited and situational use that is doesn’t earn its space.

However with that said those 2 extra attacks could very well decide some games. I will almost certainly release a follow up article when I can get my hands on this guy and get some proper testing done but for now I do not believe Beyond Order is an overly relevant stride to the deck.

Order up

At the very least this is an interesting set for gears and I look forward to getting my hands on these cards and trying them out for myself.

As for now more regular articles should start appearing on the site including a few I’m very excited to share with everyone, as for now-

 

Grazie per aver letto

 

FC2017 – Kagero

As promised in the last article today I’m going to cover Kagero’s new toys in this years fighters collection.Kagero_Icon

Kagero is a clan that needs no introduction and going into this set I was eager to see what bushiroad would give to the clan. Many consider Kagero as the clan with the best G-guards in the game so when it was confirmed we would be getting a new one I was cautiously optimistic, thankfully I wasn’t too disapointed.

 

Heal and G-guard

Positive Dracokid and Advance Guard Dragon some interesting new tools but do they find space in Kagero’s G-zone?

So starting off Positive is probably the best heal Kagero could’ve gotten considering the selection, countercharge is limited in Kagero but the skills that want it certainly aren’t so I’m more than willing to swap a soul for a CB. Of course this isn’t perfect as several of Kagero’s skills ask for soul with very limited ways to fill it up. So if you plan on using positive to get some extra CB plan ahead.

Next up is advance guard, advance guard has some interesting utility certainly but overall is a little lacklustre. That said his utility certainly earns him a spot in the G-zone as being able to snipe important G1s is always a useful skill to have. Again the soul cost is restrictive especially if you plan on using positive’s skill as well so once again, plan ahead.

The key plays to look at with these two are –

  • Vanilla guarding with advance simply using advance as a 15k block to get a CB back is more than acceptable, I definitely find myself in a position where just 1CB more would put me in a better position so having this option is a welcome adition to the G-zone
  • Gaining “effective shield” – This means simply shooting down a booster, defeat flare already does similar in Overlord but now Blademaster (and seals) have the option too, this almost makes up for the lack of shield gain.
  • Combo blocking – Sometimes the most important units on the field are grade 1s, probably the biggest example of this is Nightrose’s Negrobone the source of her multi-attacks. Advance guard can block the RG being boosted by him and shoot down Bone before it can get another attack in. Other examples of this are the infamous tick tock worker and Commander Laurel but I’m almost certain there are more.

So final conclusion?

Both positive and Advance guard certainly have a home in Kagero’s G-zone, more utility is always  a positive and more than welcome in the clan.

Generation Break 8

G-FC04-007-GR_(Sample).png

Blazing Burst Dragon certainly a familiar face I didn’t see making a return but certainly a welcome one. Blazing burst has a rare ability for Kagero in that it boosts the power of the field. Now positives aside this card does carry some baggage namely the GB8 restriction.

So let’s break down this cards three skills

  1. Field wipe – Presumably you’ll have used a few Taitens going into this card so this skill would mostly have been achieved by striding another, only a few decks frequently fill the board and several of them are quite evasive as well. However a non-targeted mass retire skill will be useful in some matchups and is a nice bonus at the very least.
  2. Field buff – This is the real meat of the skill boosting up the entire field by 10k. Kagero isn’t a clan that can often make high powered columns outside of Blademaster so the leg-up from burst is more than welcome. That said against other decks that carry removal this skill will be hard to capitalise on especially this late in the game. Kagero has few ways to regenerate its board so Burst could potentially be a do-nothing stride.
  3. Crit and power gain – This is mostly an added bonus and there isn’t much to say about it other than it’s nice. Oh and that it will rarely go off against most decks. Ideally by this stage of the game your opponents ranks should be struggling to recover after several turns of mass retire so it’s unlikely there will be 3 units on board to hit and even then this skill is massively telegraphed as it is a GB8. Still that said it is a nice little extra bonus and might help close some games.

So overall burst has a space in the G-zone but it certainly isn’t the amazing game ending GB8 I had been hoping for. Nonetheless Kagero should be able to reach the all important GB8 in most games so maybe burst is just balanced for that.

 

Stay Positive

So all in all this fighters collection is solid for Kagero nothing amazing and not nearly enough to bring us back into the metagame but certainly a nice bonus. Besides we have GBT-11 to look forward to and as always

thanks for reading

 

Gear Chronicle, Time Leap – Deck Profile

Probably fitting considering how much time has passed since my last article.

chron-gg

Last time I covered an old favourite of mine, this time I’m going to cover a new favourite.

Gear chronicle is one of the most powerful decks in the game right now. A ludicrous number of attacks, insane advantage engine and powerful strides make this deck one of the most feared in the current meta-game. The number of resigned sighs I’ve heard after flipping over the Chrono Dran is more than enough evidence of this decks infamy.
So lets not waste anymore time and leap right into it.

 

The List

As before I’ll cover triggers and tech slots later.

Grade 0 – 18

Grade 1 – 13/15

Grade 2 – 10/12

Woah would you look at that strange bold text. I’ll explain in a minute so just hold on for a minute.

Grade 3 – 7/8

G-Zone ver 1

G-FC02-007EN-GR

Viva la bottom of the deck

 
Strides

Guards

This version of the G-zone is what I prefer the access to revolution is incredibly useful against decks that overcommit to the board or don’t have a good way of rebuilding the board. It’s rare but when you get to use it you will be glad you have it. This version is also a lot more open and you can tinker with it yourself to see what works.

G-Zone ver 2 (Let’s get Groovy) 

groovy

Groovy Baybee


Strides

Guards

I’m not nescesarrily fond of this version but some people are very fond of Groovy and this version does top once in a while so I thought it was definitely worth mentioning.

So as you can see it’s a very loose list but in an oddly restrictive way. Once you start finding your prefered techs and playstyle the list will become a lot more restrictive. I like to make my lists a little more comprehensive than “this is what I use” so that more people can learn about the decks shell and apply it in their own way. Now I won’t lie some of the openess of this deck is from lack of playtesting a lot of option I have heard are viable, but no I’m not hurrying out this list I genuinely think I’ve found a good quality shell worth sharing.

Hey also check out this article on a card that after the publishing of this article that I now consider a staple.

Triggers

Okay so as always triggers are incredibly subjective based on playstyles and local meta-games but Gears has a few locked in cards.

Heart thump is your strider crit and is useful in a variety of situations, such as the Nextage turn or even just getting soul for Heteroround.

Ur-Watar is restricted for a reason, in combination with Melem this card creates the advantage engine that builds defense for the deck with the added bonus of letting you return triggers or important units to the deck.

Vainglory is for chaining with Heteroround, when you use Hetero’s skill you can trigger Vainglory’s skill and gain +10k until the end of the turn helping you to block further attacks or even move out of range of them. Especially handy in the Sanc matchup and in some cases the mirror.

Apart from that its a pretty open lineup currently I’m running

  • 4 Heal
  • 6 Crit
  • 3 Draw
  • 3 Stand

Another thing worth mentioning is that Zodiac time beast triggers can be used to benefit from Jet G’s first skill.

 

Grade 1

So first off although I said that you could cut Steam breath and Melem from 4 to 3 I would not reccomend it. Consistency is always key and these cards are very important to the deck, Melem for obvious reasons and Steam breath is important for first stride or choosing a more effective Jet. Still if you feel like you want the extra slots then 3 is still pretty good.

Arlim is essential this deck will chew through CB very quickly and many turns will only need 1 or 2 CB but Arlims charge is crucial in far too many games to pass up – no matter how tempting the alternatives.

As for techs I have a few personal recomendations and 1 card I would like to recommend against.

Recommend – Lishma

Lishma was a card I innitialy underated, it looked interesting but I didn’t exactly see any amazing use for it. The card that really makes this unit shine is Delayed Blazer, by leaping Lishma into Blazer you can squeeze out another 2 attacks after your vanguard swing. If need be you can even use the skill for your first Nextage swing and put triggers to the 2 new units.

The draw skill is a little expensive just because its a CB and Gears needs its CB although I do use it quite a lot so it must be doing something right.

 

Recommend – Tick-away

Tick-away is a card that I almost feel should be a locked in slot. One of the issues you will run into is that often you will find your important leap targets in the bin. Tick-away helps a lot with this and in some of the more complex combos can even allow you to use a second tick tock in one turn.

At worst Tick-away will be throwing back triggers and at best it makes sure you have the nescessary targets for your combos.

Recommend – Mesh-kia

Mesh-kia is a card that far too many people innitialy passed on. Around this cards reveal a lot of people were comparing it to Gigi but without Upstream synergy. This card however is incredibly useful.

One of the decks weaknesses is that your opponent can hit a defensive trigger which disables your Melem attacks.

Mesh-kia is your go to in these situation, gain some advantage and try again next turn. I also find her useful on Warp drive turns since I sometimes have an extra pre-battlephase timeleap.

 

Be careful of – Causality

This card has the opposite story to Lishma and Mesh-kia. This was the golden child of gears of fate for a lot of people and if the deck was still the same as it was 1 year ago it would be deserved. It’s impossible to deny the use this card has with Upstream, granting power and a skill. However in a huge amount of testing (I wanted this card to work) and found that very rarely was I ever able to capitalise on the bonuses. Even when the unit with the on hit skill did connect I generally didn’t find a way to fit the extra timeleap in.

Of course if you do find this card useful it still has some interesting potential and would love to hear about it.

Other cards to consider

 

Gigi – A decent option if you decide to run upstream but just be wary of using too much soul, Heteroround is more important.

Timebreak – A mainphase timeleap to help fix your board, hard to fit in but can help in games where you find yourself lacking the right units.

 

Grade 2

History maker needs no explanation. Run it at 4 no questions asked, this card is so important to the deck and running it at any less than 4 creates a possibilty of you being unable to get it.

Run it at 4.

So in the next slot I’ve put in Delayed Blazer dragon in for at least 2 places. Blazer is a great option for getting more attacks in and a key combo piece for some of the more extensive attack chains. I like this at either 2 or 3 copies since its main use is as a leap target in the deck so most of the time you’re searching it out anyway.

Now as you can see there are a lot of tech slots, these will generally be filled by the same cards in a lot of the lists you see but I definitely do not think of them as set slots. Basically and grade 2 is fair game for these spaces and you would probably still be okay. I want to go over the most common (and what I feel are most effective) choices for these slots but again these slots are very open so feel free to experiment.

10k Vanillas

Gears is a deck that doesn’t like the early game a whole lot so 10ks help to alleviate this issue. Personally I really like this option as it helps to cover your biggest weakspot and get you to that crucial first stride turn. If you are going to run them use Chronospin Serpent, as a zodiac time beast it can transition into the late game by gaining boosts from Chronojet G.

Kalibum

In a similar vein to vanillas Kalibum is for the late game, by flinging away starters he can make guarding early VG swings much easier. As an added bonus he can be combined with time leap to get 2 shots at his skill which can come in handy occasionally.

Upstream

I think an apt way to describe this card is as the “best, worst card ever”. When time leap was first creating a fuss this card was an essential part of that, granting more options in case you didn’t draw Melem and it also had some great synergy with Gigi and Uluru/Tick-away that allowed you to soul blast out important targets then send them back to deck. Now the deck has moved beyond Upstream and while it can often find space in the deck its purpose is mostly as an attack that can hit. Don’t get me wrong Upstream is good but don’t mistake it for the key card it once was.

Clockfencer

A grade 2 version of timebreak dragon it serves the exact same purpose. Not much to say about it other than it is a field fix and that Japan really seems to like it.

Grade 3

Consistency is key.

There are arguments for grade 3 techs, I don’t think they hold water.

Nextage is essential and requires Jet, Blazer needs Jet, Phoenix needs Jet, Thump, Groovy, Dran – Basically Jet.

I mean it helps that both G3s are pretty great.

G-zone

These 2 are an obvious pick, Nextage is your high power finisher and Phoenix is your explosive first stride.

windy

This one should also be fairly obvious, the deck needs generation break so Sebreeze is there to punish gradestallers.
One thing I would say is try to be at 3 damage before going into Windy here. If you’re only able to stride into Sebreeze you aren’t really gaining anything, by having 1 CB you can use history maker to gain some advantage while doing some damage.

G-FC03-006EN-GR.png

Warp Drive is fantastic, if your set-up is too bad to Phoenix then Warp Drive in combination with Jet G’s stride bonus can allow you to easily make something out of nothing and throw one of your opponents units into the deck.

Your G-guard suite serves 2 purposes, utility and defense. Utility can be anything from disrupting the opponents field or correct your own.

Heteroround speaks for himself, a Griffin lite with way more utility and a much better deck to fit into.

Uluru offers effective defense while putting important units back to the deck that you want to time leap later on.

Raphana defends you against larger swings and nets you a grade 0 that you can later leap into a Melem if need be or grab a gear cat and follow it up with a Heteroround.

What I will say is don’t get caught up in the larger shield value of the Arlim G-guard and the upcoming second Uluru. Time leap doesn’t struggle with blocking large attacks and thanks to the cat-round combo you can even defang some of the higher intensity turns.

 

And there we have it

Well that took some time but now we’ve reached the end. I hope this was helpful to anyone looking into the deck.

Unfortunately as for teaching how to play the deck, I’m afraid that’s not an easy thing to do with words.
Keep practicing with the deck and always plan ahead, coming up with your entier attack patern before you even swing once is one of the most rewarding aspects of the deck.

Of course the deck will perform just fine if you leave it all to the Melem loop but if you can learn how to extend your turns beyond that the deck will become far more deadly.

Well good luck and

thanks for reading