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Saikyo Cardfighter R on Cardfight!! Vanguard
September 25, 2017

Diminishing Returns in Vanguard


You pay all those costs and you hit fuck all. Maybe you should use a less chance-reliant means?


I have never particularly liked being screwed over by chance, whether it is being Heal or Crit sacked, or just opening with the shittest of hands. At the same time, as every deck in Vanguard is pretty much subject to similar rules, I have not given these aspects much flack. That is not the same, however, as decks that seem to actively embrace random advantage as the MAIN strategy. THEN you start to run into some fairly avoidable problems.


When Vanargandr came out and I reviewed it, I mentioned how you end up essentially overpaying if you don't actually hit any triggers, despite your efforts to scry (incidentally, I may have been a bit too generous with his 3/5 score, frankly). In this case, we hit what is known as diminishing returns: the more the skill is used and fails, the less benefits there will be in the event of eventual success. Nowadays, this is a bit less relevant now that Vanargandr is no longer the go-to G-Unit for aggressive Genesis players, that's Ishtar now, but admittedly that's a bit specific. He is, after all, only one card. But in the case of a whole DECK? That's when we start to enter unnecessary levels of self-fuckery.


Let me cite a Gavrail deck revolving around Rescue as an example. I've always thought, as a strategy, Rescue was flawed. The deck revolves around excessive Damage Checks to score triggers and thus advantage, but I should point out that singular Drive Checks only yield a trigger about a third of the time. The chances get higher the more one spams Rescue in a turn, but you are basically shaving your own deck and the resource pool that is your damage zone, just for what is essentially a glorified 5k extra power (and possibly extra Critical), so the only time Rescue would have relevance would be during the Battle Phase when Rescue checks, timed well, can have the element of surprise, so basically just Black Seraph, Gavrail.


Deckout issues aside, you really would be entirely reliant on Nurse of Broken Heart to justify doing this, otherwise I can take some other deck that can also make columns and also just bodily throw my units at the Vanguard for less effort and with less luck needed.


If I want to pay any sort of cost for doing anything, I want there to be a very clear and very predictable end result, otherwise it's just going to result in several games where losses are racked up due to factors that were not controlled when frankly they could have been. Assuming one plays to win one ought to control chance as much as possible, hence things such as my fairly reliable 12 Critical safety net. I distinctly remember writing somewhere that a gambit was only as good as the reward at the end. And if I can get what I desire elsewhere for cheaper and with less restrictions, then no fucking contest, that's the deck I'd play instead.


One other example of diminishing returns is sitting on a crappy attacking column and then doing nothing to replace it, or if it were created due to some random chance, calling over it and undermining it. Admittedly with the advent of cards such as Heart Thump Worker and the popularity of field cleaning units in several decks this has become less common, but I still think it's worth noting. Let me cite something like Gold Paladin here. The deck revolves around calling units from your deck, with only the bare minimum of control required to make it less crap. If you randomly called terrible attackers and boosters and created a bad column, the longer it's left there, the more shield the opponent will save every turn just from guarding that column less, when you could just call something normally, or run something more controlled. Either way, whether it's calling over or just leaving that column, you cannot do strictly better a lot of the time by randomly calling.


So how can one avoid being subject to the whims of chance-fuckery? I've actually cited several solutions, related to some of these problems in articles in the past, but I guess it wouldn't hurt to tell you again. Firstly, don't make the deck so needlessly bloody complicated. I'll cite a real-life local example: Thavas Aqua Force. The best one I ever saw abandoned the gimmicky draw/retire/hard advantage useable only through Wave and decided the only ends that justify Wave being the means was more damage. So it was basically bum-rush or die, with Resist cards like Melania just to fuck with Kagero and similar, and after that there was little that could touch it. The more complex a deck is, the more easily it can be disrupted, but more importantly, the more misplays you will make.


Second, don't be a pussy. Spend the early game calling stuff to attack with, don't just use the Vanguard. Not saying you call EVERYTHING in the hand, just enough to get two attacks in at least. I don't give a shit if you suspect it will be sniped, you'll be able to replace it later. Damage is worth more than cards. The sooner you can sneak some in when guarding is limited, the better.


Third, don't expect everything to be perfect. People say 'run Draws, you need to draw your combo pieces'. I say 'Run Crits, and don't rely on your combo pieces being there, be grateful when they are, and there's less of a chance of a decisive turn being fluffed'. 12 Crit, 4 Heal, general rule. Why leave anything to skill, amirite?


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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