Sunday, January 1, 2012

Starting Vanguards: Royal Paladin

I talked a little bit about starting vanguards in a previous post, but let's go into more detail here.

Royal Paladin
Options: Stardust Trumpeter, Barcgal, Graeme, Durangal, Brugal, Wingal Brave
Review: To sort these out, adorable as they may be, Stardust Trumpeter and Graeme should not be in any Royal Paladin deck that has access to any of the booster sets. Reason being, these cards are effectively copies of one another, and there isn't a good reason to run a vanilla grade 0 as a starting vanguard when every other grade 0 has skills that compensate for their lower power. You should always ride on the first turn, so there's no reason to stay at grade 0. Even as guard cards, Giro is better for Royal Paladins than any of these cards.

Meanwhile, Barcgal. Barcgal moves to the rearguard when ridden, giving you an extra unit and conserving your hand. As added incentive, Barcgal can call one of two units each turn, and is involved in a superior ride with Llew and Flogal that will make Young Pegasus Knight absolutely freak out by giving it a +12000 power boost when all of them soulcharge to bring out Blaster Blade from the deck. The key disadvantage is that in any country with access to booster set 2, Wild Dragon Soul Dance, Barcgal is restricted from being the starting vanguard. So currently we're three for three on useless starting vanguards.

This leaves Durangal and Brugal, from the current sets. Durangal is the first in a chain of evolving cards, the Galahad series, which is focused around keeping cards in the soul rather than blasting them, and soulcharging. It's good for grade security, but this particular evolution series is particularly inflexible, as the final form of it requires you to have all the other members of the series in your soul. If you want to run a deck that doesn't use Soul Saver Dragon, Durangal and its evolutions are a safe bet.

Brugal is a more multipurpose card, but it doesn't quite fill the empty space Barcgal has left behind. Statistically identical to Barcgal, Brugal gains power for each other Brugal on the field; it's okay, but since you can't soulcharge Brugal the way you can with Barcgal, this is one case where Durangal or even Graeme might be seriously considered first. Brugal was designed to work with another pair of cards, the Garmall series, which themselves work off of Snogal to create a High Dog theme. However, some players may be averse to Brugal because running multiples of it as was intended will throw off the grade ratios of certain decks. Unfortunately, it's just not a very good replacement for the overpowered-at-release Barcgal.

Our final option is definitely the best. Wingal Brave performs with the game balance that Barcgal was intended to. He moves to the rearguard, and soulcharges to give you a Blaster Blade. Difficulty being, there is no grade 1 Royal Paladin "Blaster" card for him to boost, so this doesn't carry quite the same effectiveness of Llew's superior ride. However, what Brave loses in effectiveness he gains in versatility, as Wingal can target not just Blaster Blade, but also Blaster Dark, Phantom Blaster Dragon, Phantom Blaster Overlord Blaster Keroro and Majesty Lord Blaster, opening up new possibilities for hybrid decks between the two Paladin clans. Despite being the only card of his clan, Blaster Keroro is an important key here, as he has a clanless effectively that turns him into an 11000-power grade 2, one of the "magic numbers" of Vanguard. The fact that Wingal Brave can search him makes Keroro a much better alternative than the card he takes his skill from, Randolf, and he is in fact the first 11K grade 2 to be searchable. With five total targets and the possibility of more upcoming, Wingal Brave is certainly the most versatile starting vanguard for the Royal Paladin clan, and is up there with Barcgal for utility.

Next time I come back to this subject it'll be on Kagerou lies lies lies I will be talking about Nova Grappler.