Saturday, January 26, 2013

Oracle Think Tank Extra Study Material: Goddess of Flower Divination, Sakuya

Photo by rawritzrichii, not to be reposted elsewhere without the original photographer's express permission.
Oracle Think Tank is a variable clan known for its diversity of play styles and many draw techniques; Sakuya may be a core element to the soulless Witch deck, but before she was codified as this she was also a deck of her own. Coming out from the trial deck TD04: Maiden Princess of the Cherry Blossoms, Sakuya introduces all of the major elements of OraThin while bringing a host of exclusive cards along with her to support her skills, and to reinforce the clan as a whole.

Sakuya comes with two skills attached, an autoskill and a continuous skill. When she's ridden, Sakuya returns all of your Oracle Think Tank rearguards to the hand by compulsory skill, opening the field while also allowing the reuse of on-call skills. Her continuous skill, taking right out of CEO Amaterasu's playbook, grants her +4000 power during your turn as long as you have four or more cards in hand. With Milk, Sakuya can go for 24000 power on-attack, so she's most definitely still relevant even in crossride formats. There are a number of ways to support this, using Luck Bird's soulblast, Maiden's Libra's counterblast and other skills, but most importantly is a grade 1 from Sakuya's own trial deck, Dark Cat.

Dark Cat is a base 7000 unit that allows all fighters to draw a card when he's called. This has been panned by some for giving the opponent cards as well, but the key reason for this card's importance is that he modifies the total number of cards in play without actually changing the card advantage of either fighter, effectively lowering the requirements for Sakuya and Milk's skills. This makes the 24000 line very easy to create, meaning that the real advantage lies in the increase in power, which the opponent will have to drop extra cards to stop. In a very roundabout way, Cat hurts the opponent long-term. This is not his sole use, either; Dark Cat is invaluable to every OraThin deck.

Cat gives greater overall access to the deck with his call, so that you can bring him out even if you have something to boost and potentially access an attacker in that very turn. For Goddess of the Full Moon, Cat is important for shaving off another card from the deck and bringing his fighter close to the stack of cards that they prearranged using the foresight skills of Godhawk, Ichibyoshi and the Tsukuyomi series. Generally this ranges from a 12-15 card stack, preferably with trigger units situated close to the top for the purposes of a drive check, and while Cat individually only brings the Tsukuyomi fighter one card closer to that stack, when taken together with the deck's multiple soulcharge and draw skills, our dark kitty becomes an instrumental piece in bringing about that cohesive strategy. CoCo takes advantage of Cat's access differently, setting up a 15000 line with Silent Tom for fighting base 10000 vanguards to force them to expend at least two cards for defense, or an 18000 line with the Battle Sisters, Mocha and Glace for assaulting crossrides reliably.

Within his trial deck, Cat does have two other partners. Sword Dancer Angel is a base 8000 that gains +1000 power whenever you draw a card. This makes a base 16000 line with Cat on the turn that he is called, but it also raises her power whenever you check a draw trigger, including on the opponent's turn. That can make for some interesting scenarios, since suddenly a unit that could be wiped out by a Marron and Gallatin line requires 19000 power to forcibly retire, although this isn't as reliable a defense as Angel Feather sees. Sword Dancer is very strictly limited to draws, not trigger checks, so more reliable than her is Battle Sister, Maple, a base 6000 grade 1. While not extensively impressive right out of the box, Maple's skill is to gain +3000 power when she attacks if you have four or more cards in your hand, and you can play the same trick of "lowering" the requirements with Dark Cat as you can with Sakuya. Maple also forms a 16000 line with Cat, making her a good backup front row unit if you have to intercept the rearguard that she's boosting at some point in the game; she's also useful for early aggression in this regard, as you can call Maple and Cat on the first or second turn for a full-power rearguard line, then ride Sakuya on the third to return them to hand and make a more normalized formation while also making Sakuya's skill that much easier to trigger by recycling Cat's autoskill. Overall, Maiden Princess of the Cherry Blossoms is a flexible set of cards that can be neatly integrated into multiple OraThin builds, providing a good foundation and offshoot for any deck set in the clan.

Next time that we revisit Oracle Think Tank, I'll be discussing Imperial Daughter and the cards introduced in EB01: Comic Style Vol. 1.