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Saikyo Cardfighter R on Cardfight!! Vanguard
November 14, 2016

The Ups and Downs of Effort in Vanguard


Play that then that then that and then get Perfect Guarded. Stay free scrub.


I finally got a suggestion for an article from someone complaining about how the meta had basically come down to exploiting broken-ass combos which kill individuality. While it didn't provide anything to make an entire article out of, given my take is exploiting what works is what a competitive player seeks to do anyway and it's sort of your fault for playing sub-optimally and thinking you deserve the same odds, it did however give me an idea for this one: when you have a supposedly broken combo to use, it comes down to how many liberties you need to take for it to have merit at all.


As a general rule, nobody who plays for real wants to put effort into the perfect combo. Anything that requires 3 or more cards to use properly has to either win you the game or come extremely close to it. Vanguard is in a somewhat unique position as outside of shit like Denial Griffin, the opponent usually cannot respond to anything you do and so your overly elaborate combo can be executed without a hitch, as long as you have the right pieces, anyway. So basically, it comes down to how consistently the broken combo can actually be used at all.


Some combos are pretty simple. Ur-watar combined with Melem combined with whatever can Time Leap, usually History Maker or Metallica Phoenix. That's a pretty simple combo and the pieces can be searched through various means. That's a pretty solid move. If you want to use it then fair play to you. But let's talk about something a little more recent: I know of people who are trying to abuse Goddess of Deep Sleep, Tahro, with Angelic Wiseman. To that end they Soulcharge constantly whenever possible through Tyr, Valencia and Grappa to try and get as many of them in the soul as possible. As far as combos go, I guess the idea is solid. The problem with it however is time. It requires having to sift through that much soul which buys faster decks more time to kick your elaborate ass into the curb. Payoff doesn't actually start unless you can get a Wiseman out.


Some well-known and quite frankly unrealistic cards to use as intended are Glendios and Demiurge. No-one tries to World End with Glendios anymore, not when 4 damage can be played around and the sheer amount of effort in having to maintain the fuel to constantly Omega Lock as well as lock is too much. It's pretty much Glendios beat nowadays, because any build dedicated to World End would have to cut out the more consistent support in favour of very situational cards up to and sometimes including otherwise useless crap dedicated to World End but doing nothing to solve consistency. I have also never seen anyone actually use Demiurge, although I largely suspect that's because people don't really know how to build it or are simply not inclined to. No-one likes to shoot for the flashy thing that takes a long time to set up when they can gain a lot of little advantages eventually adding up to a big one over the course of several turns.


Even a clan that requires external setup wouldn't go so over the top for just one combo. Aqua Force for example wants to include a lot of options to generate several rear-guard attacks in a turn so that in the event they get field nuked, or they simply can't draw everything, they want to get to a stage where they can declare 'good enough'. Usually anything beyond that is a bonus. Trying to shoot for a comprehensive victory contained insode one turn is only inviting inconsistency to bite you in the ass, or the opponent to wreck your main pieces and dominate you, unless you have a backup plan to use right away. That's why I constantly roll my eyes whenever anybody online declares they found the perfect way to use whatever gets revealed in Bushi's COTD, because inevitably it's going to involve a situation assuming that everything is perfect. And whenever that happens I just say 'you tried'. I'm not sorry for having realistic expectations.


What it comes down to is how realistic the results will be and how it'll change. I will never believe that short of a massive overhaul old decks that depended on last year's format will be entirely relevant again, but there will always be those who believe any card can be great. And by that they usually mean that Bushiroad would have top dedicate a fuckton of future support to make it suck less. But that's not important to me because it's only hypotheticals. It sucks NOW. That is all that matters. If it was last season, then odds are your old deck is only going to get a new G Unit and a few token rear-guards at most to keep you reasonably happy, and trying to milk any use out of something outdated and limiting yourself that way is just masochistic. Use what's best for the deck, not for you. I could argue until I'm blue in the fucking face about how Crested Dragon is sooper-abuseable with Madew, fear his 10k base, all bow down. But the fact is I can do better with other, better cards. Like Blazing Flare Dragon. And I have just compared something to Blazing Flare Dragon. That is a new low for me.


The biggest problem I have with combos like these is that while they are certainly interesting, shooting for what works ought to take priority, and trying to deliberately put yourself at a disadvantage that you cannot immediately cash in on is only going to sting later. Take for example the old Limit Break era involving virtually any Limit Break that required hitting the Vanguard to work. Would you take 4 damage for a skill that allowed you to gain advantage, usually a hard +1 or an extra Critical? That's all well and good, but now you're on 4 damage and need to throw away cards to avoid a Critical Trigger to the face ending you. You woukd have conserved more advantage by simply not letting all those attacks through in the first place.


Even when Legion and Stride became a thing, when you break down each of these mechanics down to its base level, they are essentially flashy comeback mechanics, and that annoys me. It encourages bad play and often bad deck building because the perceived reward looks more appealing than the risk, the risk being the assumption the opponent's going to be that kind (as fucking if, scrub) and that the move you're shooting for will let you overtake the opponent. It has to overtake because if it evens out, the opponent will simply use their turn to get ahead again and you've solved basically nothing. Don't assume that you'll be losing. Run the glorious Gold Paladin G1 rush master race deck. If nothing else if they decide to Twittern people will laugh at them.


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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