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Saikyo Cardfighter R
on Cardfight!! Vanguard
Soft Advantage 4 LIEF, Yo
The most subtle way to take cards away or get some of your own is probably the best way.
If I were suddenly so inclined, I would probably run some sort of G1 rush deck if for whatever reason I couldn’t use what I currently have. Only one thing really turns me off it, apart from effort building it, and that I really don’t like to think about how consistent it would be without someone else collaborating so we get the same results. They work on assassination by turn 4 and if they fail then you’re pretty fucked.
Primarily, the reason they work so well is that they tend to still scale to make the 16k columns, but they have an advantage normal decks do not have. Normal decks have to spend the first 3 turns riding, so for the first bit of it, they are restricted in terms of guard, making it the perfect opportunity to hit them for damage they cannot block. G1 decks only need to ride once and so they waste no more shield riding up and can quickly set up a board.
I believe that damage is worth more than cards, and G1 rush decks take this to an extreme by running 16 Critical: they work by a fast kill and seek to have a big damage gap so Heals are useless. I swear by 12 in most of mine but if strong enough cause is given for me to run 16, I may. Think about it. If I can quickly accelerate damage and/or threaten them with some more, they have to then spend more guard trying to not die, and each guardian used either means one less rear-guard to worry about or less guard to block my truly meaty attacks. It all comes down to the soft advantage.
When I say soft advantage, I mean plays or mechanics that don’t give a straight-up plus to you, but can threaten to do that much based on how the game works. This is something I combine to good effect in my own decks, and is largely the reason why I stuck with Kagero and Narukami.
You see, both of them work to blow up enemy cards for a cost. That’s the source of your HARD advantage. Where the soft advantage comes in later is when the opponent no longer has backup attackers and boosters. They attack weakly or in good cases don’t attack at all. This in turn saves cards in your hand you would otherwise have used guarding. That’s the SOFT advantage.
But as the title ought to have told you, I’m totally all for soft advantage whenever possible. The reason for this is because of the way soft advantage is costed compared to hard advantage. Anything that can increase a gap in card advantage tends to be for a clear price, usually Counterblast 1 for a +1. Soft advantage on the other hand tends to be costed differently because they may not force the same advantage out of the opponent. And it can be deceptively cheap.
Take something like Takemikazuchi for Oracle Think Tank for example. For a Counterblast 2 he adds two cards to your hand. That’s CB1 for every card. For something like Jingle Flower Dragon for Neo Nectar, for no CB cost he gets to on average give all the columns an extra 12-16k as long as 3-4 cards of the same name are on the board, which is easy if you’re not playing control decks. That’s about 10-20k more guard needed for every column, which means in a dire situation like 4 damage winds up getting the opponent to throw away more cards, like 1-2 more, 3 if they got uber hand screwed.
I don’t think a hard plus can actually be strictly called a real plus anymore. Calling something to the board kind of restricts it to one use and adding to the hand, especially randomly like drawing, tends to fluctuate in quality. Card quality is definitely more important than quantity in my mind. You know how Draw Triggers add 5k shield to your hand on average when checked and are also 5k shield themselves. When guarding against a 16k column you therefore either need to spend two 5ks or one 10k. I’d rather lose the one 10k. It’s more cost efficient.
It basically all comes down as to whether any hard advantage you gain can be translated into some sort of worthwhile investment. If you look at a Shadow Paladin deck, especially the modern ones, they plus and then use it to do…whatever the hell they want with it. Sack it to force more out the opponent’s hand through pressure, add to your own, replace with a higher quality card, you name it. They take what they gain and turn it into something else, which to me is worth more than just a straight +2 to field or hand.
The soft advantage that is damage is also primarily why I am so aggressive when playing Vanguard and why my bread and butter is retire: because I appreciate the numbers going into it. I didn’t do every single bit of math off the top of my head, because I’m not a fucking wizard, but from what I gathered I knew the game was basically going to boil down to whether or not you could match or equal whatever advantage the opponent can gain. Hard advantage-wise, retire takes away more cards than they gain on average, and damage forcing guard only adds to this problem the opponent has. Victory lies in the subtle gains over the course of several turns. It needs to at the very least match the amount of shield gained by the opponent compared to the shield they take away from you. I’m pretty sure I’m the only guy at my own locals who thinks this way and so I tend to win a lot.
I am of course aware that a deck cannot realistically rely on just either hard or soft advantage to survive (save for some very extreme exceptions like Spike Brothers), because remember, if you call a card, you’re effectively sacrificing that unit’s shield value to have something to attack with. Therefore, if you fight a deck based on manipulating the cards you have on the board, it’s going to get positively shat on, because they’re using your resources for THEIR gain. Therefore, if you can spare any G1 or 2 that can give you hard +1s then they’re welcome, but that’s really only because of how important rear-guards are in that deck. All the same, throughout the history of Vanguard anything that gains soft advantage such as re-standers or Turn 3 on-hit effects tend to be the ones that do better because of how they’re costed so cheaply compared to hard plusses, which Bushiroad seem to value more. So I’ll leave you with the advice that you ought to abandon what you knew about the TCGs you used to play because Vanguard farts in the general direction of those concepts.
Talk to me about something else that’s either hard or soft, you pervert, at email@example.com
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