Monday, June 12, 2017

Let's Translate Cardfight!! Vanguard: Lock on Victory!! Part 8: Misaki

MisaQ time.

Tetsu has arranged for our next scrimmage to be at the prestigious Miyaji Academy. Ren's looking forward to seeing Aichi again, while Asaka's preoccupied with a certain Tokura Misaki.

Suiko: You seem to care a lot about that girl. Is she your rival?
Asaka: T-that's not what I meant! I'm only concerned by her abilities.

Aichi: Everyone from Fukuhara High, thank you for coming here today.

Ishida Naoki: I'm Ishida Naoki. Nice to meetcha! So, which one's my opponent? Is it that Suzugamori Ren guy, after all?

Komoi Shingo: What are you saying? There's no way he'd fight someone like you.

Impressed by his energy, Tetsu volunteers to be Naoki's opponent. Meanwhile Suiko and Kourin, both being members of the idol group "Ultra Rare," are going to have their first match in a long time. But as we're pairing up, Ren notices one more coming in...

Tatsunagi Takuto: Hello, Sendou Aichi.
Aichi: Takuto-kun, what brings you here today?
Takuto: I overheard about a practice match with Fukuhara High, and thought I might come and study a bit. Is that a problem?

Aichi: Of course not. You're welcome here.

Tokura Misaki: So, you're their new guy. My name is Tokura Misaki. Is it all right if we fight?

Asaka: W, wait a sec. You're my...

Tetsu: Hold on, Asaka. This time, why don't we try assigning Touya to her?
Ren: That's right. It would be good experience for Touya to battle against strong fighters from other schools.
Asaka: If Ren-sama says so...I understand. I won't accept it if you lose to her, Touya!

VS Tokura Misaki
Genesis 1

Misaki: So then, let's begin.

Misaki is running the Artemis ride chain, the mechanical basis for our own Sanctuary of Light deck. She opens the game by riding Bowstring of Heaven and Earth, causing Aiming for the Stars Artemis to meet her check timing; but whiffs her top 7 check.

We're in a comparatively worse position, opening Toypugal rather than Little Storm. But then Misaki gets gradelocked at 1, and we reset.

This time we go first, opening on Little Sage Marron, but our hand is looking far more empty. A lot of players seem to give up the moment they see a hand like this, but I recommend not doing so; before hitting your grade 2 turn you'll see one to two more cards depending on if you damage a draw trigger, and each draw has a huge amount of potential on its own.

And in the first place, you can't do anything to change what your hand is, so it's better to keep a positive attitude and make your opponent think you have a god hand than to vocalize the fact that you're struggling. Take a leaf from Sun Tzu--your opponent should think you're winning when you're losing, and losing when you're actually winning.

Misaki whiffs her top 7 check once more, leaving us with an interesting scenario; Misaki is hitting her ride chain, but we have more card advantage. And just by going first, even though our starter is a 4k booster, we're still making magic numbers through our higher base power.

Misaki begins by playing Witch of Cats Cumin, a Genesis clone of Alluring Succubus. This is a key card to Genesis' overall winning image, which stores up soul like Dark Irregulars and Pale Moon, but then blasts it to gain effects later on. It's closer to the idea of the "soul as ammunition" that Bushiroad initially advertised with DI back in 2011.

We topdeck Constance for our grade 2 ride, and drive check Ashlei, securing our overall grade progression.

Misaki rides the next stage in her ride chain, Twilight Hunter Artemis. This is an interesting card because it's actually found in a lot of modern Fenrir decks; Artemis has an on-hit soulcharge 2 that becomes a soulcharge 4 if both Bowstring of Heaven and Earth, and Aiming For the Stars are in the soul.

We take her first rearguard attack, and damage check a draw trigger, putting a stop to her second. Since the attack hit, Saohime meets her check timing and Misaki pays the counterblast to soulcharge.

With her remaining rearguard temporarily out of the picture, that leaves just the vanguard; which is now a 10k for no-pass, denying Misaki a soulcharge 4 but allowing her a soulcharge 3 off Saohime. The difference between those two is Misaki getting three or four uses out of her vanguard options versus two, and that it leaves Misaki with one less counterblast. Most of the early Genesis grade 3s have a soulblast 3 as their primary cost, and getting additional soulcharges beyond 3 helps stack up over time into more uses overall. And with one grade 3 in particular, you can blast all of that soul repeatedly in a single turn...

Misaki can't take full advantage of this stand trigger due to our damage check and her own field setup, but checking a trigger does at least allow her to take a Toypugal out of our hand.

We drive check a second copy of Ashlei. It's not a Planetal, but an effective intermediary for stalling until we get there.

Misaki: Even besieged by the storm of despair, you seize the rudder of fate, and find the route to victory! Ride, Goddess of Good Luck, Fortuna!

Unable to connect with our vanguard, Misaki turns her rearguards on Claudine. This is a perennial question for cardfighters; is protecting this one rearguard against two or more attacks worth its weight in the shield it will take from the opponent? We can easily replace Claudine with a Constance we drove check, taking a -1 rather than -2, but that means not having a full three columns, and Constance won't make a 21k column with Little Storm presuming that Planetal hits the field. Our immediate prospects only have us break riding Ashlei into Ashlei, and we don't absolutely know our Sanctuary of Light gameplan will come together at this stage of the game. So we lose a prospective 21k column that could take 15k shield from the opponent later on, or we lose 20k shield now dropping Rachelles to defend Claudine.

In this case, I'm choosing to let Claudine go. Since Ashlei will likely deplete Misaki's hand, and she'll need to take our remaining rearguard attack to reach limit break, this will effectively allow us to get Constance's superior call off on our coming break ride turn.

Misaki drive checks a critical trigger, passing the critical to Fortuna and the power to her standing Saohime.

We don't damage check any triggers, but we're also not ready to sacrifice the chance to heal down to 3 just yet, so that last rearguard gets blocked. Currently, the game is in Misaki's favor; she's at 3 damage to our 4, and at a sum +1 to our -2.

We topdeck a replacement Claudine, which definitely opens up our options. Although we could set Constance out on his own to attack a rearguard and simply have Claudine take up his predecessor's place on the board, in preparation for a Planetal turn, by giving Constance the booster we open up the chance to use his on-hit to make all three attacks boosted this turn.

There's a couple approaches we can take to accomplishing that; if we swing with the vanguard first, we can simultaneously count on Ashlei's 2 critical to draw Misaki's guard, while passing trigger effects onto Constance to make him more likely to hit and finish our board setup. On the other hand, we could attack with Constance first in the hopes that our opponent wants to try for damage triggers to support their defense this turn. (By the same logic, it's technically safer for them to take the first attack of the turn, since the second and third can both receive crits.)

We're going with plan A.

Misaki drops a perfect defense on Ashlei, and we drive check into an Iseult and our third Ashlei. Not an ideal outcome, but one that's perfectly playable.

Misaki takes Constance's attack and damage checks a critical trigger.

Constance's counterblast superior calls Little Storm. What's happened now is that Misaki's essentially in the same position in terms of defense as before, because she still only needs to put down a 5k to block Claudine, but we've caught up in card advantage to -1 vs -1.

Misaki doesn't guard Claudine, beginning her next turn on 5 damage.

She activates Fortuna's non-limit break skill to soulblast 3 and gain 5000 power, leaving her at just 4 soul left--enough to limit break exactly once.

Her battle phase begins by attacking Constance and Claudine. I have to give up at least one of them. Fortuna needs a perfect defense, and I need to save the Ashlei I have in hand for my next break ride.

Misaki still has the chance to stand one of her rearguards, but she needs to hit both a crit and a stand to actually win.

Misaki: Drive check!

Saohime stands.

Now this is where things get really interesting. Misaki's second check revealed a grade 1 or greater card, which allows Fortuna's limit break to meet its check timing. Misaki soulblasts 3, discards the unit checked, and...

Misaki: Lend me new power; Limit Break!

Performs an additional drive check.

Unfortunately, Fortuna can only check additional cards, she can't guarantee that those cards are triggers. And since Misaki only has 1 soul remaining, she can't use Fortuna's limit break again.

Wisely, Misaki attacks Claudine. With that Kushinada in hand, she guarantees that our center lane means nothing. We're powerless to defend him, leaving our front row empty going into what's probably our last turn, and the remaining card advantage at -1 to -5. By focusing so intensely on the rearguards, Misaki was able to grind us down despite not even playing a retire deck. Depending on our draw, the next turn could change entirely...

Sanctuary of Light, Planetal Dragon. This entire turn has transformed.

Touya: That's right. This is something even I can do; break ride!

Planetal superior calls Determinator and receives Ashlei's break ride effect.

Touya: Now is the time to surpass all boundaries! Here I go; Limit Break!

With the remaining Ashlei we were holding onto, every lane now breaks 21k and the center will hit 30k 2 crit, 1k short of its maximum thanks to missing our Determinator ride earlier. That's really irrelevant at this point, since we already know Misaki has a Kushinada in hand. What's key is that she's staring down those rearguards while at 5 damage; even if we get no triggers, based on the cards known in her hand, she's going to lose both intercepts and go down to 3 cards in hand this turn. We'll be in pretty dire straights ourselves, but being at 4 damage gives us slight leeway.

As predicted, Misaki guards with Kushinada, discarding a copy of Twilight Hunter Artemis to pay for her cost.

Touya: Drive check.

Touya: Critical trigger!

All effects of this trigger go to Ashlei. Since we know that Misaki has three 10ks in hand and two intercepts, the optimal gameplan at this point is to divide any triggers among two rearguards, bumping up the shield requirements by 5k each and potentially grazing our way into Misaki overguarding with additional 10s rather than 5s, either to conserve those 5s for the field or because those 10s are all she has.

Our second check is Iseult, which in this situation is somewhat uncomfortable. Provided there is a next turn, we can take one attack, 5k block another, and perfect guard the vanguard. But should Misaki even make two 15k rearguard columns, we'll need a trigger to guard successfully.

Misaki drops two stand triggers to guard against Ashlei. We know of one crit left in her hand, so she can clearly defend Determinator's attack. That will bring her down to 2 cards, and -7 to -5. This next turn hinges on if she has at least two 6k boosters and one 9k attacker in hand.

She guards Determinator with an intercept and stand.

Misaki proceeds straight to battle phase on her next turn. While her limit break is still offline, we have to let Determinator go.

Misaki: Drive check.

In a truly bizarre play, Misaki splits the trigger effect, giving the critical to Saohime but the power to her vanguard. Not that it'll matter if she checks a stand, but...

That doesn't happen.

So, Misaki has five cards in hand, two of which are crits and one of which is a 5k. We draw a Toypugal for turn, which will be live thanks to our setup, but our center is only going to be 20k and the Toypugal column will cap out at 19k. If Saohime were super important we could use that column to guarantee her loss, but with Misaki at 5 it's objectively better to attack the vanguard. Altogether, our columns are 35k guard for a one-pass, which Misaki has. We could keep the Toypugal in hand and attack the rearguard with Little Storm as a 10k, which requires 5k less shield from Misaki but sets us with at least three cards in hand for her next turn. We have 5 draws, 4 crits and 4 heals left in our deck, but our heals are effectively dead due to us still being at 4 damage. More than half of our deck is triggers, although you should never assume that you're entitled to one based off of information like that.

Assuming the worst case scenario and a double grade 3 check, all we'll be able to do is drop the Toypugal as a 5k guard and no-guard the vanguard, hoping Misaki doesn't crit. (So far she's hit 3, she runs 8, and will have a 20 card deck at the start of her next turn.) Assuming the best case scenario, in which we double trigger, Misaki will need either 20k to no-pass the vanguard or 15k to two-pass it, and 35 to guard two full rearguard lanes. The former is impossible with her current hand configuration, and the latter requires her to have two more 10ks in hand. Which is a reasonable theory, as if she had grade 3s she would have played at least one of them as a rearguard last turn, and if she had boosters with power greater than 5k she would have played those. And no matter the scenario, a double trigger would be unrecoverable from at this stage.

I'm opting to deplete her hand as much as possible this turn.

Misaki two-passes Planetal with her previous turn's drive checks. Toypugal is up front because if Misaki is going to continue poking at a rearguard, I'd prefer it not be a Sanctuary of Light.

We draw trigger into a Hilmy, and give the power to Toypugal, bringing all of columns up to speed.

Our critical trigger goes onto Ashlei. The perfect turn has happened.

Attacking with the multiple-crit rearguard first guarantees that Misaki will deplete her hand further even if she can't block every attack, as a form of insurance against a potential next turn.

She guards Ashlei with a fourth stand and another critical trigger. Finally, it's Toypugal's time to strike...

The final card in her hand comes down along with her intercept. Tokura makes it through to one final turn.

Misaki topdecks Witch of Brooms Callaway, Genesis' Maiden of Libra clone. If this attack hits, then Misaki gets to draw a card. Had she any stands left, I would let the attack go through, but I have enough shield for a no-pass and Misaki's out of stands. I drop the Margal to keep Toypugal around.

Misaki: Drive check.

This seals it.

I topdeck a second copy of Planetal, replacing Toypugal. Even if Misaki sixth damage heals on the vanguard attack, she has no way of avoiding taking a seventh damage this turn.

Misaki instead one-passes the vanguard, the only attack she can reasonably block this turn. Even so, she has nothing to stop those last two attacks.

Touya: Drive check.

Misaki: A loss.

750 VP for a win, 100 for a double trigger, 100 for drawing in janken three times, 50 for limit breaking, 100 for break riding, 100 for attacking with 30k power, and 150 for scoring 5 or more bonus conditions.

Misaki: Hah, you're pretty good. Looks like you're not a total noob.

Asaka: S, so you did it. I'll praise you, for now.

Naoki: Guuuooohh! I lost!!
Tetsu: Don't lament so. It was a good, straightforward fight.

Ren: ...We were able to have a fun fight, huh? Aichi-kun.
Aichi: Yeah. As expected of Ren-san, it was a very fun fight.

Suiko: ...Hm? I don't see Takuto, do you?

Kourin: He was here just a moment ago, did he go home?

Naoki: All right! Touya, this time I'll be your opponent!

Misaki: Unfortunately, it's time to go home. We'll have to stop the scrimmage here.

Ren: That's right...Well then, we'll see you again, everyone.
Naoki: No helpin' it, huh. Oy, Touya, next time we'll fight for sure!