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Saikyo Cardfighter R on Cardfight!! Vanguard
 October 17, 2016

Being Reactive in Vanguard


You're better off just making things happen yourself rather than hope the opponent's an idiot.


I observed a rather fun argument recently about how Magia Pale Moon meant an auto-loss for Chaos Breaker decks which then escalated into a lot of name-calling and insults. Ha, what a bunch of fucking scrubs. But at least it gave me something to churn out for another week so I guess I can thank them for staving off writer's block until next year when I can approach 2017 with a lazier attitude.


That brings me rather nicely to the subject of being reactive in Vanguard? What do I mean by this? I mean making a play or several of them in response to something that the opponent does or is attempting to do throughout the fight. The big issue I should probably address first is how the opponent's plays usually can never be blocked during their turn and so therefore you have to pre-empt them, and that's true to a point. But I'm using this week's article to address a slightly different problem: what happens when you chose and built your deck specifically for certain matches, at the expense of performance against everything else.


I never fully understood why everyone gets so worked up about Chaos Breaker decks myself, personally. I can understand the appeal behind such a deck, certainly, but it's not something I would main. It's partially because of how it's not fast or efficient at locking compared to something like Messiahs, and also because it's only really annoying to decks that are also built around prolonging a game for as long as possible since Chaos doesn't really seek to win, just not lose for as long as humanly possible, but also because as mentioned above, Magia and Hollow (with Hollow being particularly popular I'm told) it struggles. The only way you'd convince me to main such a deck is if everyone started to collectively use Grade 1 rush and the meta suddenly de-evolved into G1 rush, and anti-G1 rush.


In fact, that's largely the point of running G1 rush at all. The current meta that Bushiroad are trying to push revolves entirely around the assumption that both players are trying to shoot for the same goal, via the same means, the means being riding to Grade 3. Grade 1 rush almost completely robs them of being able to do anything interesting as long as the boss card and almost all of its rear-guards are bound to Generation Break. So short of pretty extreme sack, they'll get shat on by a deck that can explode out the gate early and deny them their plays. The only decks I can name that would shit on them is anything that can consistently murder shit without Generation Break, but that still means that at least the enemy deck is actually trying to make situations, as opposed to waiting for them to be made.


And no, I would not count Limit Break (or at the very least no Limit Break that's mainstream, and when was something like Tempest Bolt Dragon mainstream) as the counter to Grade 1 rush. Admittedly, yes, it's considerably less reliant on the opponent's reactions unlike Legion or Gen Break, largely because regardless of deck, 6 damage is still the end goal and so it will eventually happen, but by the time you can get one to go off, you're pretty much almost dead and so it could be seen as sort of a desperation play, unless you can boardwipe their sorry ass once you reach Grade 3. Well, actually, staying on the topic of Limit Break for a moment, does anyone remember the time when you found yourself not being at the damage cap you needed to be on for your big push because your opponent wouldn't give you damage? In fact, that was the strategy for some decks, like Blaus and the End, or anything else on-hit, leaving you floating at 3 and then pressuring with a sudden damage burst. Still, at least 4 damage was something to look forward to. Legion, and then Generation Break in comparison, was built as a comeback mechanic, I'll not mince words. If you have a deck that can seal off even those, then you're left with basically nothing else, right? You've just got some vanilla Vanguard and rear-guards that can prod and poke at best depending on how many non-GB1 units you have.


I fell into the trap of using the same logic before regarding Generation Break and Legion by extension. I thought that because Generation Break units were bringing more to the table once their requirements were fulfilled, that it was probably better to use those units instead given early game was where not much happened anyway. And that's true, but only if both you and the opponent are playing by the same rules. Cards like Sebreeze were only useful as far as tying to use an Anti-Stride strategy while still using a deck hoping to do the same went, and G1 rush denies them even that. Even so, people soldier on because the promise of reaching Grade 3 sounds more appealing than the 2 turns they spent having the shit kicked out of them.


But I will admit that G1 GB1 seal is a pretty extreme example of how their reactive plays and assumptions can destroy them. Let's talk about Magia and Hollow, which are slightly easier to relate to. I will admit that blanketly, yes, they are pretty much the anti Link Joker/Kagero/Narukami. But at the same time, I still wouldn't main either. The main problem with them is that being the anti-control deck is basically all they're good at, save for the occasional column cards they have. Hell, most of their G Units involve calling more shit: they haven't got anything like a Sentinel sealer G Unit or a re-standing Vanguard. And yet, they are largely the reason for Blademaster's rise to popularity just basically...not happening. It has to be Overlord-centred, because largely the best thing to do against a deck that doesn't give too many shits how many rear-guards you murder (if there are any to murder at all) is simply refuse to play along and do something else, said something else being Overlord the Ace and Nouvelle Vague L'Express. I cannot get behind a deck that cannot take matters into its own hands and consistently ruin the opponent's day without help. I'd sooner use Royal Paladin since at least that has more options and should it meet its strategic counterpart, can answer it without compromising its best moves, unlike Magia.


So I guess at the end of the day what I'm trying to say is that trying to rely on the opponent to fall into your trap is a sort of pointless affair, if there are resources available that will allow you to start bashing the opponent's skull in without help. Soft advantage through attacks 4 LIEF...as long as you're good at recovery. Or alternatively, go 'fuck that' and play something where no-one but you is allowed to have fun, because it's sort of their fault for not catching it. Blaming victims is apprently good enough for Bushiroad judges and so it's probably good enough for you too.


I’m taking requests for articles if there’s something about Vanguard you need to gripe about. Email ideas at saikyocardfighter@outlook.com. Or drop a message on my Twitter account!





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