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Saikyo Cardfighter R
Rear-guard Hate And Why It’s Manageable
I look back at the Limit Break era with a cold shudder. I felt that this was the start of a wave of people making incredibly stupid plays both to set up and prevent such a mechanic.
It basically worked this way. People aiming all of their attacks, rear-guard to rear-guard, and only ever attacking the vanguard with their own. And to be honest, I only ever thought of one reason why anyone would ever continue doing this in Legion format and indeed later on Stride format. Very loose understanding of advantage. Or as I affectionately say, “They’re a bunch of idiots.”
Consider that assuming a field was set up properly, every column should be forcing 10k guard on the Vanguard on attack at least. Now consider that outside of a few cards, every front row unit was slapped down at the expense of 5k shield, except in the case of interceptors where their shield is still useable. Conventionally, you can see that wasting an attack that would eat 10k just to defeat a unit doesn’t work out in terms of reward. Especially if you attack a Grade 3. Congrats, my otherwise shield-less unit helped to block an attack that could have taken me 2 cards or more to block if it were towards the vanguard.
It’s an especially welcome strategy when I’m on a lot of damage and need all the guard I can damn well get.
Even if you were to accept the notion that maybe attacking a unit could help to relieve yourself of pressure, that principle would only apply if said unit was something you absolutely could not leave on the board or you die. Silent Tom for Oracle Think Tank, for example. Otherwise, probably the best bet is to simply leave them alone unless your own RG can’t hit the VG for some reason.
It’s largely down to the fact that it’s considerably easier to replace attackers than boosters. In a deck of the usual 14 Grade 1s or so, you would have 4 Sentinel units taking up that space. You almost never call them as boosters unless you’re desperate, so altogether that’s 11 available if we include your Forerunner vanguard, assuming you don’t call triggers because that’s generally a bad play. Attackers on the other hand are much broader. You have 11 Grade 2s and about 8 Grade 3s, meaning a total of 19 available units to slap onto the front row. Some decks even have Grade 1s that can become 10k attackers so in a lot of cases the amount becomes broader still. The exception would be Persona Blasters since they have to remain in the hand to work but even then, spares can still be dropped later if you go off even once.
It’s not as though they won’t draw them. You’re drawing one card and once you hit Grade 3 Drive Checking two more, so that’s three opportunities every turn to get a new attacker to play with. And to be honest, the opponent has to SHOW what they check. If you attack a rear-guard forgetting they have a replacement it’s your own fault.
It’s not even especially efficient if we were to look strictly at cards that were lost. Before 4 damage, you’re looking at attacking two RGS and then the Vanguard. The opponent no-guards the Vanguard and then spends whatever s/he needs to defending rear-guards, or not. Every turn once Grade 3 happens, you’re adding 3 to the hand. The pattern of play takes two of those cards away, so every turn you do this your opponent is getting +1 ahead of you and could in most cases save shield.
The only times I can think of when attacking rear-guards would be acceptable is if 1. The opponent is dependent on them to win, such as in a Nova Grappler deck. 2. The RG in question has an on-hit skill you can’t ignore. 3. Its 15k guard forcing every turn will cause you problems.
It was because of this usually unnecessary strategy that I basically kept to either Kagero or Narukami for the 3 straight years I played Vanguard and will most likely continue to do so come March and after. If I could use units to get rid of cards without needing to attack them then I was golden to keep bollocking their vanguard with everything else available, confident as I am that I’ll win in a contest of vanilla.
Rule of thumb: If all a column is doing is swinging for a 10k guard, leave it alone. If it has a skill that will give you long-term trouble or it’s swinging for numbers you can’t handle, get rid of it. Never doing unnecessary things changed how often I won by an immediately noticeable amount. This principle never extends to my own home life, unfortunately. I should hoover my room soon.
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