Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Royal Paladin Extra Study Material: Fang of Light, Garmore

Photo by rawritzrichii, not to be reposted elsewhere without the original photographer's express permission.
The Garmore deck is unique among the Royal Paladin builds in that it is a High Beast deck. Much as Pale Moon has a Chimera deck, and Kagerou has a Flame Dragon deck, Garmore is a race-specific build. Coming out of BT04: Eclipse of Illusionary Shadows, this deck expands on the discard-and-search mechanics of the set to create a consistent Beast Knight strategy. No matter how poorly any individual fight goes, the Garmore cardfighter will almost always be able to bring out their strategy, one that persists throughout every stage of a match.

The build's intended first vanguard is Brugal, a base 4000 power first vanguard that outrides from the soul when ridden over with another Royal Paladin. His other skill is to gain +1000 power for each other Brugal on your field, but this isn't terribly practical because it requires running 18 grade 0s to make use of and that second grade 0 would probably be better off staying in your hand where its high shield can be used for defense. However, Brugal plays into another unit's skill that we'll get to soon enough. To understand Brugal, you have to understand the context from which he came out of; at the time of Brugal's original release, Barcgal had already been restricted for two months, and the only alternative RoyPala cardfighters had presented to them was Drangal. Brugal is then primarily a replacement for the 4000-power FVG that the clan had lost, but unfortunately his inability to return to the soul or contribute to it made him a poor replacement in that respect. For Garmore, the problem was and is Brugal's low base power, which inevitably requires him to be replaced to make way for Marron or Toypugal, voluntarily getting rid of his one-card lead. Soul Saver-based Royal Paladin cardfighters used Drangal to keep their soul high, Garmore-based fighters used Drangal to keep the field open for more useful rearguards, and thus left no one running the blue highdog.

The two core cards for the deck are the grade 3 Fang of Light, Garmore and grade 1 Snogal. Snogal continuously gains +1000 power for each other Snogal on the field over its 6000 base; Garmore has this same boost in the vanguard circle while also being able to discard any Royal Paladin to call a Snogal from the deck. The chief advantage then is being able to run up to eight base 8000 boosting units between Snogal and Marron, freeing you up to run more 8000-power grade 2s and make anticrossride 18000 lines easier with Gallatin and Lamorak.

Garmore's ability to search for Snogals is shared by the grade 2 Beast Knight, Garmore, who falls into that same 8000 baseline that the Snogals are so effective at supporting. Beast Knight and Akane are transformed by the Snogal strategy, into multiple copies of Macha. The ideal formation for the deck is clearly three Snogals in the back line for a 21000 Garmore and the guaranteed 16-18-21000 lines in the rearguard, but even two Snogals lets Garmore go boosted for 18000+ every turn, enduring into the crossride format much as Alfred has. Unlike Kiyomi's Alfred, consistent base 8000 rearguards take the spotlight over the extra advantage of an unneeded circle, and Garmore can also go for 21000 when necessary. Palamedes is still the best offensive support for Garmore that he is for the King of Knights, thanks to Snogal behaving as additional copies of Marron.

Garmore also gets his boost from having Brugal on the field, a clause which helpfully circumvents one of Brugal's weaknesses. This is a roundabout way for Brugal to be a base 5000 FVG, and at the middle stages of a match this does have some use as with one Snogal on the field Garmore hits 16000. Outside of these core units, the deck also has fringe support from High Dog Breeder Seiran, Akane's male counterpart. Instead of her counterblast 2, Seiran has a counterblast 1 on-call, giving +4000 power to one High Beast on the field. This can temporarily throw Snogal up to 12000, going for 25 with Garmore and Palamedes, or 16000 with Brugal while Seiran in his own line can hit 16 with Snogal's usual boost. Another fringe card is Starlight Unicorn, who has been around since the trial deck days but hasn't had much of a place in Royal Paladin until this definitive High Beast deck was conceived. Unicorn is a base 6000 unit that gives +2000 power to another RoyPala on-call; this can be a useful single copy because she is searchable by Akane and through that search can bump a Garmore-Snogal line up to 23000 with a net difference in advantage of 0 after replacing her, while crossrides are forced to drop 20000 shield to account for one trigger on that boosted Garmore.

The advantages to the Garmore deck are relatively simple and intrinsic to the cards, but as stated previously, consistency is the key feature. As long as you have one of the Garmores in hand, any card in the deck can become Snogal. Akane and Palamedes enhance it, while outlier cards offer ways to customize the build to meet current challenges. Next time that we revisit the Royal Paladins, I'll be discussing Majesty Lord Blaster and how to synthesize a coherent play style from Shadow Paladin supporters.

Three pros use this deck.