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Saikyo Cardfighter R on Cardfight!! Vanguard
March 20, 2017

Why Is No-One Impressed with Oracle Think Tank?

Saikyo examines why OTT doesn't seem to want to do anything new. Or good.


Well, Trinity Dragon's Character Booster is coming up and I figured this would be a perfectly reasonable time for me to drop this one on everyone's shoulders, and then quickly remind everyone Oracle Think Tank still sort of sucks, if the title was any clue.

I am of the belief that OTT haven't had anything good since BT03 hit English shores and so, it seems, does almost everyone hanging around on the Cardfight wikia. Not only has it fallen out of favour as a minor clan nowadays, everything it gets seems to be revolving around more card hoarding and, should it remember it's supposed to incorporate THINKING as its name suggests, fuck you Soulless Witches, deck manipulation.

A primary problem with OTT is that it hasn't evolved from its GBT01 roots. All it's really concerned about is just amassing cards for you to use to block or perhaps fill a field reasonably guilt free. Silent Tom is still the VIP of almost all of the decks for the few clutch victories a G-Guardian cannot just tell to fuck off. So why is that? Why is OTT the pinnacle of underwhelming?

Card advantage hoarding alone as a strategy is severely overrated, something I learned from watching every deck revolving around re-standing Vanguards since 2013. Hard advantage is predictably costed and in the case of OTT, random from a select small pool of cards. Looking at all the soft advantage options for the same cost, it translates to more guard eaten or more damage inflicted. OTT's primary problem is that it doesn't then go on to translate any of its hard advantage into anything meaningful. Look at Murakumo for example, who used to be the worst clan ever until Yasuie started doing more with its clones than just temporarily relieve the hand of formation making. Now its clones get soft advantage up the whazoo, Kagamijishi, Homura Raider, etc.

That is not to say I am against the idea of mass card-hoarding in general. If you cannot be aggressive, a deck that seeks to stall out should at least be tanky enough to clutch a win through outlasting whatever the opponent can get, steal a Tom attack, then win. Then cake. Unless of course your offense sucks so much you deck out first, but then that usually means you're fighting a stall deck yourself. So I guess you could make an argument for OTT being on the low end of competitively viable. What I, and several other people take issue with is that Silent Tom is pretty much your ONLY win condition, and that the rest of the deck might as well be dedicated to trying to draw him. Without him, the deck has offense outclassed by other G decks and there's not a whole lot it does that another deck cannot do better.

So how can OTT evolve beyond Silent Tom and adding cards to the hand? Well, I suppose we would have to examine what soft advantage options other builds of its ilk have and see if they could be applied to OTT. First off is a re-standing Vanguard. These tends to pay costs from either the field or the hand to stand up again. Looking at OTT, that WOULD solve the issue of it sucking, but that would actually probably make it a bit TOO powerful, unless the cost was more expensive than normal. For OTT, paying a wash-cost such as a -2 from the hand for another attack worth a Twin Drive would be child's play, so it would have to be something like a -4 as a cost, or it could be paid from retiring rear-guards on the field. But in my mind, that's even worse, because not only does it clean a board, during your turn you are sacrificing nothing from the hand and only augementing OTT's hand based defending still further. So it would need to -1 you at least when taking opponent’s guard into account and be properly costed Counterblast-wise. But it would still help.

Another way would be columns, which would obviously help Silent Tom go a long way. Right now they only have the original Kamususanoo, who without a 9k booster wouldn't allow Tom to even reach 21k. This is an option I would actually prefer given that there are precedents for hard advantage decks to employ such a thing (Gurguit and his G4 form being the blatantly obvious choice). It would have to be restricted to Late Game and be costed to a GB3 restriction for 10k worth for each column, or similar possibly, and that's largely down to the type of hard advantage OTT accumulates. Something like Ahsha Neo Nectar can go for the column game right off the bat, but its a deck that needs a specific field to function outside of first G4 Ahsha or Multivitamin Dragon, and its always going to hit the field, which is limited in size. OTT on the other hand can commit to a board relatively guilt-free because its hard advantage is mostly going to a hand of infinite size, so even if the opponent chooses to address any rear-guards with retiring, you barely get hurt, and if not, pieces you don't want can usually be recycled or intercepted away. Therefore, for such controllable card advantage, the columns would need to be costed as a one-shot wonder or restricted to pretty late in the game, or possibly both. This could be re-balanced as hard advantage decks get more sources of soft advantage but for now, a conditional column former for a deck where its hard advantage is going to the best place it can be is reasonable enough.

A third option I thought of just now as I type would actually not revolve around finishing an opponent at all. OTT would actually be better if it introduced a basically unconditional resource engine covering all the three basics: deck size, Countercharging and Soulcharging. As I said, hoarding hand is not by any means an awful strategy, as long as it does a LOT of it so it can tank. What one could do if a finisher wasn't on the table would be to recycle things from the drop zone back to deck and get resources back, to spam the hand refresh forever and stall out an opponent. I realise that for a tournament this would cause some problems because of time constraints, but I don't imagine Bushiroad accounted for feeble mortal human flesh when designing Bloom and the loops it can do.

Or there's the fourth option, a G-Unit that seals Sentinel: the lazy option. Doesn't require that you do anything else apart from just have it and still gets blocked off by Grade 0s and G Guardians, but at the same time it's the perfect way to get the clutch wins when hands are terribly low. Because right now the only seemingly way OTT can win is to shuffle Critical Triggers back to the deck for low decks, and let's be honest, it isn't a classy way to win.

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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