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Saikyo Cardfighter R
on Cardfight!! Vanguard
Trap Cards in Vanguard
What if we had more ways to fuck up attacks?
So Defeat Flare Dragon and Denial Griffin have been touted as being among the better G Guardians we have out there, largely because it actually penalises attacking rather than just reduce the cost paid to respond to an attack. And of course, as someone who mains Kagero, I was of course incredibly pleased at the opportunity to put those fucking Magia decks in their place by Cutie Paratrooper murder.
If I had to make one criticism of Vanguard as a collective whole, it’s that there is basically no good reason for you not to attack. Every attack basically winds up as more damage or more card advantage gap for you. Denial Griffin was basically the first example of a card being able to check attacks on a somewhat permanent basis with a 1:1 card advantage cost. And I’m wondering if it’s a good idea for every clan going forward to have at least one G Guardian that functions this way. I’m leaning towards FUCK YES.
Even in Yu-Gi-Oh!, despite the fact Traps can be seen from a mile away, it’s usually the player’s first instinct to attack anyway, largely to get the opponent to waste it early and prevent several of them stacked on top of one another from causing problems. In Vanguard at present, there’s arguably less room for bluffing because Drive Check will reveal most Heals that are pulled, and the number of them is severely limited due to the nature of Heal Triggers.
With that said, I think if Vanguard did introduce more G Guardians that actually did more than just deflect attacks, it would also add a somewhat healthier bluffing element to the game. Even if you end up drawing your Heals, as long as they remain unrevealed to the opponent, they can legitimately catch an opponent off guard. In Yu-Gi-Oh, this largely cannot happen as you are forced to play them from your hand on the board, effectively announcing to the opponent what you got. Drawing your Heal and then just leaving it is a more understated play which could lead to some bad situations for the opponent if played incorrectly.
I do of course understand that taking card advantage away from the opponent may not be for every clan, largely due to some emotional reason such as clan image, but I don’t think that it would be impossible for them to punish an opponent for stumbling into a trap. The theoretical G Guardians shouldn’t wipe several front-row cards at the same time for balance’s sake, not unless it’s otherwise expensive or difficult to use to compensate, but anything that can check one attack at a time for 1:1 advantage is reasonably balanced. Hell, for quite a few of them designing them wouldn’t even be particularly difficult. Gear Chronicle warps the attacker away, Link Joker could Lock an attacker, Megacolony could rest a stood unit that has yet to attack, etc.
But what about for clans that do the exact opposite, like Royal Paladin? Well, it could be functionally similar to a retire, except it takes advantage of game mechanics instead. They could for example move a rear-guard to an occupied rear-guard circle, either cancelling an attack or weakening a future one, depending on how the card is costed. There might even be some sort of strategy that an archetype, but not necessarily an entire clan could have used as a foundation: I’m looking at Shadow Paladin Witches for an example.
On the other hand, it may not be entirely wise. Before someone can point out the obvious flaw here, I’ll do it instead and save you work: these trapping G Guardians when used in conjunction with units that already penalise attacking, such as Nubatama’s Hagakure or Megacolony’s Brillian Blister, may end up unbalancing certain clans. I don’t think it actually would. You need to keep in mind these units usually carry some sort of clause, such as having poor power or in Hagakure’s case, being useless for riding, which makes parts of the deck vanilla to compensate. What’s more, if we were to take Denial Griffin as the template for all future Trap-based G Guardians, these ones wouldn’t gain any shield on top of their base shield, which means the user would still be forced to guard in excess to entirely block off the attack. Hell, Brillian and Bellog-esque cards would be useless in the face of cards like Gilles de Rais which sort of balances things out anyway. Even then, it would still work out as the defender having dropped several cards, and as long as it comes out to the opponent losing more cards overall than you, then it still works out as one attack having been slightly more efficient to guard. It’s like how Commander Laurel didn’t allow your rear-guards to move, but still, through more Drive Checks and the opponent minusing heavily to block the Vanguard again, nets you more advantage than if you just swung for normal numbers.
This might cause some people to get a bit salty about their G Guardians that don’t involve field control not being 99% perfect answers to attackers without Resist, but there is no reason that problem can’t be licked by reducing the cost on some of them and/or reversing the gimmick onto the opponent. Bermuda Triangle for example could bounce an opposing rear-guard to the hand. If it’s the attacker, there would be no Counterblast cost involved as the opponent still has the unit, and can now guard with it if they want. Or you could use it on a unit that has yet to attack, in which case it needs to be costed appropriately.
I think this could work and is actually a possibility in the works. There can only be so many ways to create conditions to gain shield for G Guardians, and increasing the complexity on any future units in order to gain more shields than their predecessors would only cause them to be dropped for cheaper and less unwieldy ones. More G Guardians in the vein of Denial Griffin would introduce more of a bluff factor as well as a bit more strategic thinking beyond calculating shield: it’s not as though anyone these days would reasonably main 4 Denial Griffin due to restricting of options and resource management. And if nothing else, it weeds out those who can’t think that many nested levels deep and leaves the top spots to be taken by actually good players and not scrubs.
Ask how to play around this assuming the vanguard can’t jump to stupid power levels for whatever reason at firstname.lastname@example.org
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