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Saikyo Cardfighter R on Cardfight!! Vanguard
June 12, 2017

Let's Talk 'Toxic' Cards 

The cards that are vital, and people love to hate are examined this week.


I'm one who tends to follow a strict lexicon on what separates a 'broken' card from an 'overpowered' card. For a card to be overpowered it has to have an effect that's under-costed for what it does. For it to be broken it has to be unbalanced by overhauling an otherwise established constant in the game. I do realise this makes Mass Production Sailor as broken as pre-Break Ride Era Crossrides technically, but that's why distinctions exist.

And then you have certain other cards that technically don't fall under either category, but are so vital to the success of the deck that they are mainstay staples almost everywhere, or at the very least for the deck it was supposed to go in with great success, and to everyone's chagrin. Cards such as Angelic Wiseman with Goddess of Deep Sleep Tahro for Fenrir decks, and Commander Laurel for...every DP deck to ever exist on the face of the earth. Critics say that dependency on these cards stifle creativity and make them dependent on those cards to actually succeed. From one standpoint, I can see where they're coming from. Without Tahro and a reliable Battle Phase Soulblasting unit, Fenrir decks would basically be amassing hard advantage with some incredibly crap soft advantage thrown into the mix. At the same time though, if they're so toxic, why haven't they been hit? You want my honest answer? I don't think there's any real reason to at this stage.

I can assure you that this has nothing to do with any innate fondness for the deck. It's more down to a few contributing factors. First of all, I rarely see the deck actually top anything big. I know that the observation is meaningless as long as tournaments employ best of one and chance plays an enormous part, but that's really the point. Secondly, it's not nearly as popular as Gear Chronicle, or Luard Shadow Paladin, and I'm guessing that's because more people are running it, thus it stands to reason more can squeeze through the net. Odysseus in Ripples go hit only because it appeared so often and had such an obvious flaw that it warranted it. I can't see the Tahro loop this way because it is in fact being used the way it was intended to, at the timing it was meant to. To amass Tahros you'd have to open with Tyr nearly all the time and then Stride into something else, which slows the deck down, so functionally it's not much of a reason to declare the combo as overpowered.

I digress. Let's talk a bit more about stifling creativity. Now personally, I'm someone who would prioritise effectiveness over how flashy my wins should be, as if my cheap and not-cheerful Grade 1 Rush should already prove. But even then, I would say that even when you're running these cards you cannot wean yourself from, there should already be sufficient variety in strategy that your deck can function without them. Vanguard isn't really like Yu-Gi-Oh: apart from some obvious staple cards like Perfect Guards there isn't any other must-haves for a deck because everything in a Vanguard deck is equally useful to some degree, they just don't have the same purpose.

Aside from that, you need to keep in mind similar combos and similar cards, such as the Flogal Engine in Blasters exist, and they don't really fall under the category of OP enough to warrant restricting. As I said, if that is truly the most optimal way to use a deck, then so be it. If you play anything and the end result is to win, then personal feelings shouldn't matter and you ought to run what has been established by peer review to work. It's like comparing a Chronojet Dragon deck for Gear Chronicle. It is flat-out the only one that has any degree of success due to all the support, yet people still accept that and put up with it. It may be restricting options a little, but I would still say that it's a necessary sacrifice. It's not as though every deck aims to win in the same way and has access to similar cards.

But what about a card that actually genuinely gratuitously takes up space and, unlike the Wiseman/Tahro loop, literally only needs to exist and be present to cause problems, like Commander Laurel for Dimension Police? Well, the only reason they are allowed to be is as I described above: they are under-represented. Without any obvious and consistent results such as topping major tournaments all the bloody time, they will only continue to cause headaches for those unlucky enough to face them. I blame it on the fact people tend to believe every clan and deck is equally useful to some degree and therefore it doesn't occur to them (unless you're a VERY hardcore netdecker) to copy what works, combined with a tournament that is frankly unforgiving towards those that brick or get a bad run of chance.

You need to remember that cards generally don't get restricted unless they cause a lot of time-wasting via looping skills or seal off Stride through some means, regardless of how overpowered it actually is.

Commander Laurel is actually in a rather odd place. It was introduced at Dimension Police's debut and since then has only been one of the most obvious choices to find room for. Despite how busted it can get played correctly, I would argue that such cards and by extension combos are necessary, certainly when one examines the modern era where the soft advantage can reach ridiculous levels. These decks need these unfortunate staples because otherwise they would suffer tremendously. For Dimension Police particularly, I'm not sure how one could improve its main strategy without it. Even something like Metalborgs which seal certain types of guarding prefers to use it in conjunction with Laurel because of how both cards compliment each other.

I dunno. I have admitted already that I'm one who values results over creativity, and most of the cards people want restricted are not technically what one would call over-powered anyway. Yes, I know today's article wasn't particularly helpful, but honestly, I feel like elaborating would only cause me to repeat myself. If you insist on arguing, here's some helpful reading: quit your bitching, and don't ban shit. That should keep you occupied.

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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