Thursday, April 19, 2018

Today's Card Analysis: Flash Shield Iseult and Wyvern Guard Barri

This is game changing.

The Japanese cards of the day for April 20th, 2018, are a pair of Double Rares from V-Booster Set 01: UNITE! TEAM Q4. Flash Shield Iseult and Wyvern Guard Barri will ring familiar to the old guard of Vanguard, and while like their 2011 incarnations they are Perfect Guards, this new generation of Sentinel units stands to completely overhaul how we build our decks.
CONT: Sentinel (You may only have up to 4 cards in your deck with "Sentinel")
AUTO [Guardian Circle]: When placed, by paying [Discard 1 card from your hand], one of your units cannot be hit until the end of that battle.
Every deck should run 4 Sentinels as a given, but now these units have been incorporated into the mandatory 16 Trigger Units every deck is forced to run. That opens up grade 1 space, and fixes the problems surrounding Draw Triggers by decreasing their shield value. In the classic game Draws ran into the problem of on average returning less shield than if you had just run Critical or Stand Triggers, and reduced the total shield value of the grade 0s in your deck, but making Draws into Perfect Guards fixes the problem since Draws now represent infinite shield and give you the card you need to discard for them when you check them. Manually drawing a Draw Trigger is no longer the great loss it once was, as it means you have a perfect guard you can conceal from the opponent until the time is right.

It also carries deep implications for guard restrict mechanics. Cards that prevent you from calling grade 0 guardians become much more power than those that block grade 1 and greater, and should these units make a return in Standard it may pay to divvy up your grade 1 and grade 0 Sentinels to compensate.

Beyond Silent Tom/Nouvelle threatlists, there's not really a question of whether or not grade 0 Sentinels are inherently better than grade 1s. Bushiroad Research & Development knows they are, as otherwise they wouldn't be Double Rares in BT01 while grade 1 perfect guards are handed out for free in Trial Decks. Trigger lineups now lean towards including 4 Draw as an optimal build, scaling back the aggression we saw from the 4/6 Stand 8/6 Crit and 12 Crit decks of old. Decks with access to Front Triggers, like Tachikaze and Aqua Force, have a powerful incentive to run a "rainbow" lineup of 4-4-4-4 rather than sticking to Fronts and Crits. Protect clans like Angel Feather and Megacolony no longer need to make a choice over whether they will or won't include regular perfect guards in their deck.

For an example of how this all works in practice, up to now we've been operating under the assumption Runoria or another grade 1 Sentinel would be necessary in Royals. The Iseult reveal means the grade 1 lineup can now be;
Grade 1
x4 Little Sage, Marron
x4 Knight Squire, Allen
x3 Wingal
x3 Pongal
This is unambiguously good for the game. There are now more viable grade 1s per deck that can hit the board as soon as you draw them, make more hand combinations playable compared to classic Vanguard, and result in a lower chance of your deck bricking overall. Barri and Iseult are just a small glimpse of what the Vanguard's future will look like; and it's shaping up to be a world where the triggers are for the first time fully balanced and equally desirable. A world where double crits occur less often, guard decisions are made based on a greater scope of outcomes, and variety is the name of the game.

Flash Shield Iseult's lore from the classic game:
A female knight wielding a massive but cursed shield.
Among the Royal Paladins that specialize first in attack and support, she is one of the few charged with "Defense."
With the "Flash Shield" up, she never flinches even when struck by an incredible weapon.
The previous Japanese cards of the day were Funnergal and Radical Knight Anil.

V-Trial Deck 01: Sendou Aichi and V-TD02: Kai Toshiki will launch in Japanese May 11th, 2018, and in English June 8th, 2018. They will be accompanied by a new sleeve based on the "Imaginary Gift" design. The first Booster Set of the Standard format, V-BT 01: UNITE! TEAM Q4 will launch in Japan May 25th, 2018, and in English June 22nd, 2018. It will be accompanied by sleeves based on Dragonic Overlord and Blaster Blade.

The first Extra Booster set of Standard, V-EB01: The Destructive Roar will launch in Japan June 29th, 2018, and August 3rd for the English-speaking world. The accompanying new anime series, codenamed "Origin," will begin airing May 5th, 2018, on TV Tokyo and affiliated stations. It will be simulcast with English subtitles on YouTube and Crunchyroll.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Today's Card Analysis: Funnergal and Radical Knight, Anil

 
The Japanese cards of the day for April 19th, 2018, are Funnergal and Radical Knight, Anil. These cards are our first double feature of the Standard format, from V-Booster Set 01: UNITE! TEAM Q4.

Funnergal
AUTO [Rearguard Circle]: When it attacks a vanguard while boosted, by paying [Counterblast 1], soulcharge 1 and this unit gets Power +5000 until the end of that battle.
Radical Knight, Anil
CONT [Rearguard Circle]: During the battle it attacks a vanguard, this unit gets Power +3000.
Anil's skill is identical to the version found in the Stardrive Dragon Start Deck, but his base power is 1000 points higher. That base makes an importance difference, as the original Anil was becoming hard to argue for following the reveals of Allen, Marron, and Wingal. Now that Anil can reach an 11k base, he's capable of forming all-important 18k columns with 7k bases like Miru Biru. It's not exactly awe-inspiring, but it's something the grade 2s we've seen thus far aren't capable of, not even the vanillas.

Funnergal is more interesting. Effectively a substitute for Jarron, Funnergal only gains half the power but can soulcharge to fuel costs--albeit costs for units we haven't seen yet. Royal Paladin is already building its roster of soulchargers, but unlike Kagerо̄ we haven't seen any big plays that utilize the soul just yet. Beyond randomly soulcharging Blaster Blade off the top of the deck for Alfred Early, Pale Moon-style, there's little we can do with all that soul.

Whether Funnergal will earn a place in the deck is definitely in question. High Dog Breeder Akane functionally does the same thing by superior calling Pongal for their soulcharge, but Pongal only gains power if he soulcharges a Trigger Unit. (Which is more like compensation for hurting you than anything else.) Funnergal is more useful offensively, but Akane builds card advantage; however, in light of how tight space is in Royal Paladin and how much you can draw off of Allen and Marron, it may be optimal to forego Akane-Pongal entirely in favor of Funnergal paired with the 8k grade 1s.

The resulting deck would look something like this:
Grade 1
x4 Strong Knight, Runoria (Perfect Guard)
x4 Little Sage, Marron
x3 Knight Squire, Allen
x3 Wingal
Grade 2
x4 Blaster Blade
x4 Sage of Literary and Military Arts, Jarron
x3 Funnergal
The previous Japanese card of the day was the Dragon Knight, Burj.

V-Trial Deck 01: Sendou Aichi and V-TD02: Kai Toshiki will launch in Japanese May 11th, 2018, and in English June 8th, 2018. They will be accompanied by a new sleeve based on the "Imaginary Gift" design. The first Booster Set of the Standard format, V-BT 01: UNITE! TEAM Q4 will launch in Japan May 25th, 2018, and in English June 22nd, 2018. It will be accompanied by sleeves based on Dragonic Overlord and Blaster Blade.

The first Extra Booster set of Standard, V-EB01: The Destructive Roar will launch in Japan June 29th, 2018, and August 3rd for the English-speaking world. The accompanying new anime series, codenamed "Origin," will begin airing May 5th, 2018, on TV Tokyo and affiliated stations. It will be simulcast with English subtitles on YouTube and Crunchyroll.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Today's Card Analysis: Dragon Knight, Burj

The Japanese Card of the Day for April 18th, 2018, is a Kagerо̄ grade 1 from V-Trial Deck 02: Kai Toshiki, Dragon Knight Burj. While the Start Deck version of Burj had a fairly low base power for the format at just a 7k base, the new Burj is even weaker--and has an incredible skill to pay that back.
ACT [Rearguard Circle]: If the number of your opponent's rearguards is 4 or greater, by paying [Counterblast 1, put this unit into your soul] choose 1 of your opponent's rearguards, retire it, and until end of turn one of your rearguards gets Power +10000.
Burj functions like an additional use of Force that retires any of your opponent's rearguards while simultaneously refueling the soul for Bahr, Berserk Dragon, and Dragonic Overlord. It's a successor to Demonic Dragon Mage Kimnara, and a card that has to be used carefully. At this time Kagerо̄ lacks draw power compared to their immediate rival, Royal Paladin, so any loss of card advantage incurred by giving up a unit like Burj represents a permanent long-term commitment to playing with fewer cards. You have to ensure that using Burj will actually conserve more shield than you lose by having to give up both him and dedicate a new booster to the board, and target the right cards.

Knight Squire Allen is a poor target because the opponent is likely to call over him anyway to get another Little Sage Marron into play, while Marron is the perfect target because he has a long-term use for the opponent and can reuse his skill every time another unit is called to his column. Blaster Blade would make for a poor target because his rearguard skill is one-and-done, while his Wingal booster would be ideal because of its continuous boost to Blade. Jarron is one of the big finishing moves in the Royal deck right now and so has high priority as a target.

Another factor to consider with Burj is the order of effects. Because Burj is only active when the opponent has 4 or more rearguards in play, the ideal time to use him is as your first retire of the turn. Using Berserk Dragon first could put the opponent down to 3 rearguards, disabling Burj--thus you're encouraged to play Burj early as a 6k booster, then give him up later in the game after the opponent has put down a board and you're ready to call a better booster like Bahr.

As for where to allocate the power, while you could power up Dragon Armored Knight or another beater, you should be aware that you can just pass Burj's power onto the vanguard's booster to make your Overlord swing stronger. Of note is that there are only 3 copies of Burj per Trial Deck, so if you want to go for an average ~2 Burj per game you'll need to either pick up two copies of the TD or buy a single of Burj on top of your initial deck purchase.

Dragon Knight Burj is illustrated by Aoji, who previously illustrated Spectral Blaster “Diablo” and Defeat Flare Dragon.

The previous Japanese card of the day was Gigantech Charger.

V-Trial Deck 01: Sendou Aichi and V-TD02: Kai Toshiki will launch in Japanese May 11th, 2018, and in English June 8th, 2018. They will be accompanied by a new sleeve based on the "Imaginary Gift" design. The first Booster Set of the Standard format, V-BT 01: UNITE! TEAM Q4 will launch in Japan May 25th, 2018, and in English June 22nd, 2018. It will be accompanied by sleeves based on Dragonic Overlord and Blaster Blade.

The first Extra Booster set of Standard, V-EB01: The Destructive Roar will launch in Japan June 29th, 2018, and August 3rd for the English-speaking world. The accompanying new anime series, codenamed "Origin," will begin airing May 5th, 2018, on TV Tokyo and affiliated stations. It will be simulcast with English subtitles on YouTube and Crunchyroll.

Blaster Blade leaked

April 17th, 2018. An English product leak for V-Trial Deck 01: Sendou Aichi reveals the full skills of the Standard format Blaster Blade, hybridizing a number of different versions of the card from formats past.
CONT [Vanguard Circle]: If you have four or more rearguards, this unit gets Critical +1.
AUTO [Vanguard/Rearguard Circle]: When placed, by paying [Counterblast 1 & Soulblast 1] choose one of your opponent's rearguards in the front row, and retire it.
While the original Blaster Blade from 2011 could only retire grade 2 or greater units when placed on a rearguard circle, and gained the ability to retire any unit when placed on the vanguard circle, the reimagined card borrows Blaster Blade Liberator's front-row retire and gains a vanguard-critical skill that seemingly foreshadows Majesty Lord Blaster.

Although some have expressed concern with regard to Blade's early critical and emphasis on swarming, Bushiroad's plan seems to be to push both fighters in a match to advance the game state as quickly as possible. Nowhere is this more evident than in the age-old Royal Paladin-Kagerо̄ rivalry; Royal Paladin swarms the field with Allen and Marron to fuel Blaster Blade's extra critical, but Kagerо̄ in turn punishes Royals by retiring their units with Burj, Bahr, and Berserk Dragon, trading counterblast for counterblast and damage for damage. Royals have a theoretical damage lead from Blaster Blade, but Kagerо̄ gets to power up off retiring their field with rearguard Vortex Dragon. Royal Paladin in turn has to put down more guard to defend in the late game, while Kagerо̄ conserves hand by needing to defend against fewer and less powerful rearguards after initiating their retires. Royals' constant drawing off of Allen and Marron helps alleviate the high guard requirements, but Dragonic Overlord swinging for 43k+ promises to break through that hand as it builds up instances of Force and Burj power. It's a phenomenally designed matchup defined by a string of trades and choices on what each fighter wants to keep and what they are willing to sacrifice--and where will it lead? The King of Knights and Dragonic Waterfall will have to tell us.

Dragonic Overlord & Blaster Blade Part 2 sleeves launching in May

Duel Portal reports that a set of upcoming sleeves featuring Blaster Blade and Dragonic Overlord will be launching simultaneous to V-Booster Set 01: UNITE! TEAM Q4 on May 25th. Titled "Blaster Blade Part.2" and "Dragonic Overlord Part.2," these sleeves feature the card's alternate artworks by Itou Mishou and DaisukeIzuka. Each pack contains 70 sleeves and will retail for 799 yen.

V-Booster Set 01: UNITE! TEAM Q4 will launch in Japan May 25th, 2018, and in English June 22nd, 2018. It will be preceded by the first Trial Decks of the Standard format, V-TD01: Sendou Aichi and V-TD02: Kai Toshiki, launching in Japanese May 11th, 2018, and in English June 8th, 2018. They will be accompanied by a new sleeve based on the "Imaginary Gift" design.

The first Extra Booster set of Standard, V-EB01: The Destructive Roar will launch in Japan June 29th, 2018, and August 3rd for the English-speaking world. The accompanying new anime series, codenamed "Origin," will begin airing May 5th, 2018, on TV Tokyo and affiliated stations. It will be simulcast with English subtitles on YouTube and Crunchyroll.

High Dog Breeder Seiran, Embodiment of Armor Bahr & Berserk Dragon

High Dog Breeder, Seiran
AUTO [Vanguard/Rearguard Circle] When placed, one of your <<High Beast>> in the same column as this unit gets Power +5000 until end of turn.

Compatible with Pongal, Miru Biru, Margal, Flogal, and Wingal.

As previously announced, High Dog Breeder Seiran will be the participation prize from May 12th-31st for Standard and Premium Standard format tournaments, while an Origin Rare version of Pongal will be the winner's prize.

Embodiment of Armor, Bahr
AUTO [Rearguard Circle]: When placed, by paying [Counterblast 1, Soulblast 1], choose one of your opponent's grade 2 or less rearguards on the same column as this unit, retire it, and if the number of your rearguards is greater than the opponent's, this unit gets Power +5000 until end of turn.

Grade 1 counterpart to Knight Squire, Allen.

Berserk Dragon
AUTO [Vanguard/Rearguard Circles] When placed, by paying [Counterblast 1, soulblast 1] choose one of your opponent's rearguards, retire it, and if this unit is on the Vanguard Circle, draw 1 card.
AUTO [Rearguard Circle]: When it attacks a vanguard, if the number of your rearguards is greater than your opponent's during that battle, this unit gets Power +3000.

Berserk Dragon is Kagerо̄'s first Triple Rare of the new format, V-BT01/010 RRR.

Angel Feather can heal by putting Protect Markers into the damage zone

In the 27th episode of Weekly Bites Z, Vanguard producer Shimamura "Shima-P" Masatoshi issued an important ruling on the Angel Feather clan. Angel Feather is one of seven Protect clans, each of which add a Protect Marker to hand when they ride a grade 3 with the Protect ability. That Marker functions as a perfect guard with no grade nor other unit information, but as ruled previously cannot exist outside the hand or guardian circle; therefore if Angel Feather uses one of its skills to send a Protect Marker to the damage zone and take another card out, the Protect Marker will instead be sent to where the fighter stores their Gifts, and the Angel Feather cardfighter will functionally heal a damage.

This gives Angel Feather the capacity to heal as many times as they have Protect grade 3s in a deck, an ability closely guarded up to now; previously healing without adding cards to the damage zone was limited to a handful of units, and gated behind specific conditions like on-hit skills or Generation Break 2.

Shima-P did not announce when Angel Feather will actually be hitting the Standard format, but based on the current schedule it won't be until October at the earliest. Until the clan actually receives units with the Protect ability, the ruling is little more than trivia.