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Saikyo Cardfighter R
on Cardfight!! Vanguard
Is Anyone Actually Getting Better?
Saikyo has long crossed the bridge that was burning behind him.
Ever since Worlds, I rarely get the opportunity to hit the local scene anymore. The next tournament I actually entered after that fateful October was early December. And to my great disappointment, absolutely everything was pretty much the same as I remembered it, down to the decks they preferred using and the idiotic choices they made.
After Fighter’s Collection 2015 came out in June and I changed my deck accordingly, it took me until fucking November to actually finally make some minor changes to the deck again, and I can assure everyone that the decision was not influenced by how anyone at my locals played. So for five fucking months I watched everyone else chop and even change decks constantly and no matter what they used, they never were able to beat me and my completely untouched deck. Not consistently enough. I ended up winning every single tournament I entered save for one, and even then I only lost once to come second.
Here’s where there is an inherent problem with Vanguard players as a whole: the entire game is perceived to be reliant on chance. They therefore assume that any wins or losses are down to chance, and sometimes some victories were down to their own merits even if they only won because everything went right despite all of their incredibly poor choices. Because of that, there is absolutely no incentive for them to actually learn anything from their mistakes and so they stagnate.
It could be argued that I myself have stopped growing I suppose, and I sort of agree. But then again since 2013 there has been pretty much no incentive for me to actually change anything about myself or my playstyle, save for changing my deck to whatever seemed to be the most dominant of the format. Because by that point I had been pretty much been taught from online and from several intelligent people everything I needed. But even then I still pick up one or two old surprise lessons, including one from as far back as 2012 when it was written.
Let me give you a little puzzle based on a local game I saw once: Both players have G2 Vanguards, one is using G Genesis and the other is a Blaukluger deck. The Blau user has set up a full front row and went to swing. On the other hand the G Genesis player has only attacked the Vanguard with the Vanguard all game. Now it’s the Blau user’s turn to ride to Grade 3. As everyone knows, riding to Grade 3 second means meaning to Stride first. The Blau user is on 3 damage, while the G Genesis player is on 1 damage. The Blau user chooses not to ride and swings instead. What was wrong with that move, and why did it cost the Blau player the game later?
Answer: because it completely failed to take the opponent into consideration. In that moment, the best thing for the G Genesis player to do is call cards from the hand and use them to attack the rear-guards to stop pressure. The fact they didn’t do that implies they couldn’t, because their hand was full of Grade 0s and 1s or 3s they couldn’t even call yet. This was the perfect opportunity to try and even out the damage gap (remember, the Blau player was behind) so that when the next turn came for him to Stride if he wanted to it would have either won the game or come very close to it. The lack of calling also implied the G Genesis player would have been dependent on Fenrir and Witches Melissa and Chamomile to fill a field, so there was pretty much no reason to really fear anything like Doom Brace.
This is what is wrong with the Vanguard community as a whole: few players can actually look back at a game and identify what went wrong. This is especially true in any cases where a player wants to learn from ‘personal experience’. It’s bullshit because you automatically end up equating every single action you take with the consequence of a win or a loss. As a result, personal experience would tell you absolutely jack shit. You’re not separating any of the actions you’re taking as being either good or bad. That’s largely the reason why they do idiotic things like tech cards with no way to search them, run the most wonky trigger lineup, attack in a bad formation, etc. That’s why I pretty much abandoned using my gut when entering unknown territory quite a long time ago and waited to see if anyone smarter than me came to the same conclusion, testing in a way I was confident was not biased. I don’t trust myself not to completely blow it and to be honest, feedback has actually helped enormously in some cases.
I’m not shy in admitting I’m pretty selfish when I play Vanguard. I play whatever seems to be dominant and I look up tips from reputable sources. Doing well is my way of justifying the amount of effort and money I put into the game in the first place. It also helps a lot when it comes to saving money since I can look at it and go ‘nope, pretty sure my deck can beat that one’. It’s because I don’t believe in appeal to personal preference. If everyone agreed to disagree we would never sort out what was good and what wasn’t. This, I’ve known for some time, is also what’s contributing to the sheer apathy when it comes to real effort on Vanguard.
Apathy means giving up trying to know. The opponent is an especially important case here, and no, I’m not just talking about your own card shop buddies. Imagine you’re playing some dude you’ve never seen before for the first time. Are you seriously going to just cross your fingers and hope for the best? Even if you know nothing about this person initially, what deck they’re using and whatever cards they reveal through Drive Check ought to tell you plenty on how to play. If you remember my lesson on how constant rear-guard hate through attack is bad, then you should remember that if they clearly showed you spare attackers checked, if all you remembered was whether or not they scored a trigger, the opponent has the edge over you with the information they squeezed out of you. Newbies and rather more annoyingly quite a few veterans don’t have this mentality and so they don’t win as often as they would like.
I post shit like this every week to try and stop people falling into these common traps. You’ve got no excuse. Seriously, I know someone who taught Vanguard to their significant other. Four games, and they got as good as the teacher. So what the fuck’s your problem?
Ask me why I feel Team League 2016 is so far out of my grasp at firstname.lastname@example.org
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