Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Today's Card Analysis: Cheer Girl, Franny

The Japanese Card of the Day for June 20th, 2018, is a Spike Brothers Common from V-Extra Booster 01: The Destructive Roar, Cheer Girl Franny.
ACT [Rearguard Circle]: [Cost: Put this unit into your soul, put 1 card from your drop zone on the bottom of your deck] Countercharge 1.
Franny is Spike Brothers' equivalent to Giro, a grade 0 that's not a trigger unit nor a First Vanguard, with a powerful skill as a reward for decreasing the ride consistency of your own deck. If Franny were a grade 1 or 2, it would be easier to make an argument for her; the problem is that being a grade 0, you inherently increase your chance of being gradelocked by running her. While it's no problem for Megacolony to run the similar Jocular Cicada, Cicada is a dramatically more aggressive skill that Megacolony can reuse Cicada Stag Beetle or even set the card as their FV.

What Franny brings to the table is a net -1 to recycle a card from drop for superior calling later and an additional countercharge, permitting the reuse of General Siefried. Siefried is currently the only card in the clan's repertoire that benefits from the countercharge, but because his skill is not once-per-turn it can easily translate to a counterblast 4 or 5 rather than a CB1. This is Franny's role in the clan for the time being, enabling Siefried to bring out two columns with 20k on them, a powerful booster for himself, and pump up himself by 50k. Minussing oneself still isn't a great idea in Spikes, as the clan's only ways to plus are through Draw Triggers and Unite Attacker as a result of their core mechanic being one-for-one trades where they give up a card to gain a card, but final turn is final turn.

The previous Japanese Card of the Day was Water Gang.

V-Extra Booster 01: The Destructive Roar will launch in Japan June 29th, 2018, and August 2nd for the English-speaking world. The accompanying new anime series, codenamed "Origin," began airing May 5th, with an English-subtitled simulcast on both YouTube and Crunchyroll.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Weekly Bites reveals: General Siefried, Daiyusha and World Grand Prix 2018 promotional cards

Super Dimensional Robo, Daiyusha
Imaginary Gift: Force
CONT [Vanguard Circle]: If its Power is 35000 or greater, this unit gets Critical +1.
ACT [Vanguard Circle] Once per turn: [Cost: Rest any number of your rearguards] Until end of turn, this unit gets Power +10000 for each unit Rested for this cost.
Note that this is altogether different from how the Daiyusha of the original series worked. The original Daiyusha had to meet his power benchmark before boosting, while the new one can reach it after, or even via having trigger effects applied to it.

Image 8: "Uproar!! Q4 vs NwO"
A shop showdown with Team Q4 representing Card Capital and Team NwO representing Voyage begins! The siblings Daimonji Gоuki and Nagisa are up first to face Team Q4.
Animation reference for Team Q4 out of their school uniforms. Note the fanny pack on Aichi.

Japan's Standard-format shop tournament promo for July 1st through 31st is an Origin Rare print of Oracle Guardian Gemini.

Eight new promotional cards will be distributed at in Japan through Special Fight Pack Vol. 1. Fighters will be able to exchange coupons received for participating at shop tournaments from July to September, then exchange them at World Grand Prix regionals for packs. Each pack contains 1 randomized card, with a chance for the card to be printed with a Double Rare foil instead of as a Common. This is similar to the redemption process used for past Spring Fest promos.

Double Rare (right) foiling compared to Common.

Royal Paladin
Holy Disaster Dragon
No Gift
AUTO [Vanguard/Rearguard Circles]: When it attacks, [Cost: Put 1 card from hand to soul] this unit gets Power +10000 until the end of that battle.
Eagle Knight of the Skies
AUTO [Vanguard/Rearguard/Guardian Circles]: When placed, [Cost: Soulblast 1] this unit gets Power +3000/Shield +5000 until end of turn.
Oracle Think Tank
Battle Sister, Torte
CONT [Vanguard/Rearguard Circles]: During your turn, if the number of cards in your hand is 10 or greater, this unit gets Power +10000/Critical +1.
Goddess of Tolerance, Oomiyanome
ACT [Rearguard Circle]: [Cost: Counterblast 1, retire this unit] Draw 3 cards, and at the end of your turn, discard 3 cards.

Kagerō
Chain-attack Sutherland
CONT [Rearguard Circle]: If you have a "Follower, Reas" on your Rearguard Circle, this unit gets Power +5000, and if you do not, Power -5000.
Follower, Reas
AUTO [Rearguard Circle]: When placed, 1 of your other rearguards gets Power +3000 until end of turn. If that unit is "Chain-attack Sutherland," it gets Power +5000 instead.
Nova Grappler
King of Sword
AUTO [Vanguard/Rearguard Circles]: When placed, [Cost: Soulblast 1] 2 of your units get Power +3000 until end of turn. If the number of your units is 5 or greater, they get Power +5000 instead.
Queen of Heart
AUTO [Rearguard Circle] Once per turn: When a Sentinel is placed in your opponent's Guardian Circle, Stand this unit.
Card supplies associated with V-Trial Deck 04: Suzugamori Ren will launch August 10th, 2018. They include Blaster Dark and Suzugamori Ren sleeves, each retailing for 740 yen + tax, and a Blaster Dark deckbox for 600 yen + tax.

Treasured, Black Panther
AUTO [Rearguard Circle]: When it attacks, [Cost: Soulblast 1] you may have this unit get Power +5000 or Power +15000. If it gained Power +15000, at the end of that battle, put this until into your soul.

General Siefried
Imaginary Gift: Force
ACT [Vanguard Circle]: [Cost: Counterblast 1, put 1 of your rearguards into your soul] Search your deck for up to 1 card with the same name as the unit put into soul for this effect's cost, call it to a Rearguard Circle, and this unit and that unit get Power +10000 until end of turn. Shuffle your deck.
AUTO [Vanguard Circle]: When its attack hits, [Cost: Soulblast 2] Stand 1 of your rearguards, and choose 1 of your opponent's rearguards, and retire it.
Note that Siefried's second skill caused some confusion on-stream. Its Japanese wording sounds vague due to literally saying "When attack hits." (アッタックがヒットした時 attaku ga hittoshita toki) The sentence uses a subject-drop rule of Japanese where the subject of the sentence is not stated if it is presumed to be obvious; all cards in Standard format are worded like this to save space, but Doctor O mistakenly skill would resolve when a rearguard's attack hit. He was then corrected--Siefried can only pay his soulblast 2 if his own attack hits. The wording is identical to Dragonic Overlord.

Next week will feature the voice of Inanaga Ichirō and Vanguard evangelist Maeda Seiji as a special guest, and a fight with cards from V-Extra Booster 01: The Destructive Roar.

Episode 8 of Weekly Bites will air Tuesday June 26th, 2018, at 9:00 PM Japanese Standard Time.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Today's Card Analysis: Water Gang

The Japanese Card of the Day is a Megacolony Single Rare from V-Extra Booster 01: The Destructive Roar, Water Gang.
AUTO [Rearguard Circle]: When it stands, [Cost: Counterblast 1, put this unit into your soul] draw 2 cards.
Water Gang was a staple R when Megacolony's full support first debuted seven years ago in Booster Set 04: Eclipse of Illusionary Shadows for giving the clan on-hit pressure and rare draw power, and his reimagining is similarly joined at the hip to the new deck for being a net +1 that's live from the moment you put him on the board. Right now there are two ways to use Water Gang--either you call him early and use his skill at the start of your next turn when you stand all of your units, or you superior call him with Machining Stag Beetle and stand him with Helldemise in your main phase. The fact that Stag Beetle calls from soul and Water Gang sends himself to soul as part of his cost gives the clan some incredible draw synergy, as each Stag Beetle ride is net neutral thanks to the Protect Gift adding a card to hand, and his superior calls are raw pluses with the trade-off being that they come out at rest. These two in combination allow you to reuse a single Water Gang across multiple turns to rack up card advantage.

With Water Gang's introduction, the Megacolony deck has taken on a more concrete shape, as it's much clearer what we do and don't want to be doing with our counterblast...
Grade 0: 18
x2 Jocular Cicada (FV)
x4 Paralyze Madonna (DT)
x12 Triggers
Grade 1: 12
x4 Machining Hornet
x4 Phantom Black
x4 Platoon Commander, Butterfly Officer
Grade 2: 11
x4 Machining Mantis
x4 Water Gang
x3 Bloody Hercules
Grade 3: 9
x4 Machining Stag Beetle
x3 Machining Spark Hercules
x2 Death Warden Antlion
Of course, several unknowns ambiguities remain about the deck. For one, a Helldemise skill on a grade 1 would be extremely valuable for the Stag-Gang synergy--or for grade 0s, Machining Worker Ant not being a Glyme clone and displacing Cicada could be the most pleasant surprise of the set. With tomorrow's stream coming in just a matter of hours, and full set reveals in ten days' time, we'll know soon enough what the final deck will look like.

The previous Japanese Card of the Day was Gyro Slinger.

V-Extra Booster 01: The Destructive Roar will launch in Japan June 29th, 2018, and August 2nd for the English-speaking world. The accompanying new anime series, codenamed "Origin," began airing May 5th, with an English-subtitled simulcast on both YouTube and Crunchyroll.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Today's Card Analysis: Gyro Slinger

The Japanese Card of the Day for June 18th, 2018, is the final Spike Brothers Double Rare from V-Extra Booster 01: The Destructive Roar, Gyro Slinger.
AUTO [Vanguard/Rearguard Circles]: When placed, [Cost: Place 1 card from your hand into your soul] look at cards from the top of your deck equal to your vanguard's grade, call up to 1 card from among them to Rearguard Circle, place the rest of them on the bottom of your deck in any order, and until end of turn the called unit gets Power +5000.
Originally a promotional card used by Morikawa in the manga, Gyro Slinger has gone from an Iron Tail Dragon clone to becoming a unique support card that trades a card in hand for one from deck. This has been a recurring cost for Spike Brothers across the past seven years, allowing them to trade fodder like vanilla Draw Triggers for quality units and build up towards powerful soulblasts. In Standard format  those "powerful soulblasts" are consolidated into their finisher, Unite Attacker. Alongside the likes of Brakki and Juggernaut, Gyro Slinger builds towards being able to pay Unite's cost while creating powerful 23-28k columns that force the opponent to reach a damage threshold where Unite is threatening. Comboing into the aforementioned cards is an ideal way to make lanes that exceed the magic 28 threshold, so this is one RR that's likely to be a staple of the clan just as Little Sage Marron is over in Royal Paladin.

The previous Japanese Card of the Day was Death Warden Antlion.

V-Extra Booster 01: The Destructive Roar will launch in Japan June 29th, 2018, and August 2nd for the English-speaking world. The accompanying new anime series, codenamed "Origin," began airing May 5th, with an English-subtitled simulcast on both YouTube and Crunchyroll.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Episode 7 of Cardfight!! Vanguard reboot teases 12 new Dimension Police cards

12 Dimension Police units from V-Extra Booster 02: Champions of the Asia Circuit were shown in part in today's episode of Cardfight!! Vanguard. With the exception of the trigger units, the effects given are only partially complete or involve guesswork based on what was shown in the anime.

Dimensional Robo, Goyusha
6000 Power
Because Koutei had 6 cards in his hand on his grade 2 turn after drive checking--2 more than he should have had--Goyusha appears to be the clan's Glyme clone.

Diamond Ace
Draw Trigger
5000 Power, 0 Shield
CONT: Sentinel (You may only have up to 4 cards in your deck with "Sentinel")
AUTO [Guardian Circle]: When placed, [Cost: Discard 1 card from your hand], and one of your units cannot be hit until the end of that battle.

Dimensional Robo, Daibattles
Critical Trigger
5000 Power, 15000 Shield
Dimensional Robo, Gorescue
Heal Trigger
5000 Power, 20000 Shield
Commander Laurel
Grade 1, 10000 shield

Dimensional Robo, Daitiger
Grade 1
8000 Power, 10000 Shield
Dimensional Robo, Daimariner
Unknown

Dimensional Robo, Daibrave
Grade 1, 8000 Power
Dimensional Robo, Daidragon 
Grade 2, 10000 Power
AUTO [Vanguard/Rearguard Circles]: When placed, [Cost: Soulblast 1] your vanguard gets Power +5000 until end of turn.
CONT [Rearguard Circle]: If your vanguard's power is 35000 or greater, this unit gets Power +10000.
Koutei uses Daidragon's soulblast twice in the fight, once when riding it and a second time when he rides Daiyusha to reach 35k. Daibrave seems to have a +3k effect, as Kenji's final power after boosting Daiyusha with it is 38k.

Because Koutei has 6 cards in hand on his second turn after his battle phase, either Daidragon or Daibrave appears to have a draw effect. Koutei never declares anything related to Daibrave, but it could be a Circle Magus equivalent. Or Daidragon could have a vanguard draw like Berserk Dragon.

Cosmo Break
Grade 2
10000 Power, 5000 Shield

Super Dimensional Robo, Daiyusha
Imaginary Gift: Force
13000 Power, 0 Shield
CONT [Vanguard Circle]: If its Power is 35000 or greater, this unit gets Critical +1.

Ultimate Dimensional Robo, Great Daiyusha
Imaginary Gift: Force
13000 Power, 0 Shield
Skills unknown

Friday, June 15, 2018

Today's Card Analysis: Death Warden Antlion

The Japanese Card of the Day for June 15th, 2018, is Megacolony's final Double Rare from V-Extra Booster 01: The Destructive Roar, Death Warden Antlion.
AUTO [Vanguard/Rearguard Circle]: When it attacks, [Soulblast 1 grade 3 card, discard 2 cards form your hand] this unit gets Power +10000/Critical +1, and your opponent cannot call Sentinels from hand to Guardian Circle until the end of that battle.
Already there have been accusations of power creep and predictions of the format's doom; but Antlion is not a card we should overestimate anymore than it is a card we should underestimate. Much hype has been made in the past twenty-four hours over combining Antlion with Phantom Black, a combo that prevents the opponent from guarding with both normal units and perfect defense cards. However, consider what you're realistically locking the opponent out of by adding on that additional discard--grade 1s with 10k shield and grade 2s with 5k shield. Antlion already pushes the opponent to guard with trigger unit guardians just on the virtue of those being the cards with the highest shield. Note that unlike in the case of Dragonic Waterfall you don't have Force Markers to layer power onto Antlion with, so with Phantom Black the card is functionally equivalent to 33k, which only requires 25k shield to guard--a Critical or Heal Trigger and virtually any other guardian.

The situations in which Black's normal unit restriction come into play are when the opponent would guard with a Heal and non-Sentinel Draw Trigger, Heal and grade 1, Heal and grade 2 from hand (as opposed to an intercept, which Phantom can't do anything about) a crit and grade 1, or a crit and vanilla Force interceptor. These are very specific scenarios--non-Sentinel draws are run sparingly by Nova Grappler and Kagerо̄, and intercepts are generally favored over guarding with grade 2s from hand.

If you're going to give up a card at all, a better use over Phantom is to stack Butterfly Officers onto Antlion to bump the card past the 38 and 48k thresholds. Of course they're not mutually exclusive, but contrary to popular belief all these discard, soul-in, and self-retire effects Megacolony is getting carry a significant impact on the clan. Megacolony can rapidly gain card advantage thanks to Machining Hornet, Machining Mantis, and Machining Stag Beetle stacked on top of the Protect Gift, but these skills involve deliberately giving up that advantage and crippling one's own defenses rather than maintaining it in the style of Oracle Think Tank. Just because he can use his skill on rearguard does not mean Antlion is a free win; the card has to be carefully built up to and used like any other finisher to close the game out, and botching the play by trying to go for it too early will only lead to making a fool of yourself.

Death Warden Antlion in episode 46 of the original series.
That said, a rearguard Antlion makes for a brutal win condition when combined with Spark Hercules in the late game. Hercules reducing the opponent's power by 5 while buffing both Antlion and your booster of choice by 5 functionally raises Antlion's final power by 15, and stands any Butterfly Officers you used for maximum synergy. Hercules himself can also put a grade 3 to soul with his second skill to set up Antlion, and being a 38k unboosted center isn't exactly something to sneeze at. The Megacolony endgame is shaping up as incredibly powerful precisely because every card the opponent doesn't take away from you in the preceding turns can be used to punish them with a harder push; if you have a hand full of Butterfly Officers and discard fodder, it's entirely on them for not beating those cards out of you.

Finally, Antlion's lore from the classic game:
An exceptionally brutal and cruel mutant that dwells in the deserts and sorts of faraway lands.
Despite being restricted, it has immense power, terrifying the people in the same area as it to the very depths of their souls.
No matter where it is, as long as there’s a few grains of sand, it can form an enormous quicksand trap called “Desert Prison”, which allows it to slowly torture and wear down its prey.
The previous Japanese Card of the Day was Unite Attacker.

V-Extra Booster 01: The Destructive Roar will launch in Japan June 29th, 2018, and August 2nd for the English-speaking world. The accompanying new anime series, codenamed "Origin," began airing May 5th, with an English-subtitled simulcast on both YouTube and Crunchyroll.

Kagerо̄ overtakes OTT in 193 Vanguard Championship

Last Sunday the 3rd 193 VGCS in Nagoya saw Oracle Think Tank's train of dominance broken by the format's previous number 2, Kagerо̄. Dragon Empire's sole representative in Standard made up nearly 40% of the 193 Championship, with the finals coming down to a Kagerо̄ versus Kagerо̄ match and third place becoming a struggle between Kagerо̄ and OTT. Decklists for the top 4 follow below.
3rd 193 VGCS deck breakdown (68 participants)
26 Kagerо̄
18 Oracle Think Tank
15 Royal Paladin
9 Nova Grappler
The top cut consisted of 5 Oracle Think Tank, 7 Kagerо̄, 2 Nova Grappler, and 2 Royal Paladin cardfighters. The tournament began with five 30 minute best-of-one Swiss rounds followed by a three-round best-of-three cut to top 16 with hour rounds. The 193 CS was over capacity, as it was originally scheduled for 64 participants. Entry cost 1000 yen per person, and first place received a voucher for 20,000 yen in store credit (approx. $180 at present exchange rates) second place received a voucher for 10,000 yen, 3rd and 4th received 5000 yen vouchers, and 5th-8th received 2000 yen vouchers.

The next major tournament for Standard is the Preyz Cup hosted by Card Shop Preyz, on June 17th: it will be Japan's last large unofficial tournament prior to the end of the V-BT01 format on the 29th.

1st place: Shirokko (Overall record 16-3)
Shirokko went 8-1 against Oracle Think Tank, Royal Paladin, Kagerо̄, Royals, and OTT (loss) in the Swiss rounds, followed by OTT (2-1) Nova Grappler, OTT (2-1) and Kagerо̄ in the finals.

Grade 0: 17
x1 Lizard Runner, Undeux (First Vanguard)
x4 Dragon Monk, Genjo (Heal Trigger)
x4 Wyvern Guard, Barri (Draw Trigger)
x4 Embodiment of Spear, Tahr (Critical Trigger)
x4 Demonic Dragon Berserker, Yakshasa (Critical Trigger)
Grade 1: 14
x4 Flame of Hope, Aermo
x4 Embodiment of Armor, Bahr
x3 Lizard Soldier, Raopia
x3 Dragon Monk, Gojo 
Grade 2: 10
x3 Berserk Dragon
x4 Dragon Knight, Nehalem
x2 Dragon Armored Knight
x1 Bellicosity Dragon
 Grade 3: 9
x4 Dragonic Waterfall
x4 Dragonic Overlord
x1 Cruel Dragon

2nd place: Momiji (Overall record 9-5)
Momiji went 7-2 in sets, facing Royal Paladin (loss) Oracle Think Tank, Nova Grappler, Kagerо̄, and Kagerо̄ in the Swiss rounds, then Kagerо̄ (2-1) Royals, Kagerо̄ (2-1) and Kagerо̄ (0-2) in the top cut.

Grade 0: 17
x1 Lizard Runner, Undeux (First Vanguard)
x4 Dragon Monk, Genjo (Heal Trigger)
x4 Wyvern Guard, Barri (Draw Trigger)
x4 Embodiment of Spear, Tahr (Critical Trigger)
x4 Demonic Dragon Berserker, Yakshasa (Critical Trigger)
Grade 1: 13
x4 Flame of Hope, Aermo
x4 Embodiment of Armor, Bahr
x4 Lizard Soldier, Raopia
x1 Dragonic Gaias
Grade 2: 12
x4 Berserk Dragon
x4 Dragon Knight, Nehalem
x4 Dragon Armored Knight
Grade 3: 8
x4 Dragonic Waterfall
x4 Dragonic Overlord

3rd place: Ramigyo (Overall record 11-4)
Ramigyo went 8-1 in sets, against Kagerо̄, Royal Paladin, Kagerо̄, Oracle Think Tank, and Kagerо̄ in the Swiss rounds, followed by OTT (2-1) Kagerо̄, Kagerо̄ (0-2) and Kagerо̄ (2-1) in the top cut.

Grade 0: 17
x1 Lozenge Magus (First Vanguard)
x4 Sphere Magus (Heal Trigger)
x4 Weather Forecaster, Miss Mist (Draw Trigger) (Sentinel)
x4 Oracle Guardian, Nike (Critical Trigger)
x4 Psychic Bird (Critical Trigger)
Grade 1: 12
x4 Circle Magus
x4 Farfalle Magus
x2 Goddess of Time's Passing, Mizunohame
x1 Oracle Guardian, Gemini
x1 Luck Bird
Grade 2: 11
x4 Promise Daughter
x4 Goddess of Insight, Sotoorihime
x3 Yellow Witch, MeMe
Grade 3: 10
x4 Imperial Daughter
x4 CEO Amaterasu
x2 Victorious Deer

4th place: Sakaki (Overall record 10-6)
Sakaki went 6-3 against Royal Paladin, RP, Oracle Think Tank, Kagerо̄, and OTT (loss) in Swiss, followed by OTT (2-1) Kagerо̄, Kagerо̄ (1-2) and OTT (1-2) in the top cut. 

Grade 0: 17
x1 Lizard Runner, Undeux (First Vanguard)
x4 Dragon Monk, Genjo (Heal Trigger)
x4 Wyvern Guard, Barri (Draw Trigger)
x4 Embodiment of Spear, Tahr (Critical Trigger)
x4 Demonic Dragon Berserker, Yakshasa (Critical Trigger)
Grade 1: 13
x4 Flame of Hope, Aermo
x4 Embodiment of Armor, Bahr
x4 Lizard Soldier, Raopia
x1 Dragon Knight, Burj
Grade 2: 12
x4 Berserk Dragon
x4 Dragon Knight, Nehalem
x4 Dragon Armored Knight
 Grade 3: 8
x4 Dragonic Waterfall
x4 Dragonic Overlord

The VGCS tournaments are a series of unofficial tournaments organized by fans and cardshops in Japan. Unlike Bushiroad's official tournaments, most VGCS events are done using a best-of-three, Swiss tournament model. Turnout is typically 70-80 persons, but some events see 100 or more participants, all of whom compete using pseudonyms and net handles rather than their real names as in official events.