Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Ride to Victory Translation Part 6: Shop Tournament Finals

←Part 5

Card Capital

Everyone, thank you for waiting. At last, it's the shop tournament finals. Which one will seize the championship laurel? Let's hope for a wonderful fight.

...Hnn. Foolish.

Kai is really strong so, I think it's best to fight with all your strength from the very beginning.

That's right. That Kai guy is about next in strength to the great Morikawa. Don't let your guard down. You're my disciple.

Haha...if Kai hears you, I'm sure he'll be be mad.

I saw your fight with Aichi. It seems you're growing in your own way, but I will confirm on this field whether or not your victory was just by chance. Picture it. Us touching down on the planet Cray, in our own forms. Let's go!

「ライド・ザ・ヴァンガード!この世の全てのものを焼き尽くす黙示録の炎! 」
"Ride the Vanguard! Burn everything in this world to ashes with your apocalyptic fire!"
Grade 0
x1 Lizard Soldier, Conroe (FVG)
x4 Dragon Monk, Genjo HT

x4 Embodiment of Spear, Tahr CT
x4 Blue-Ray Dracokid CT
x4 Gattling Claw Dragon DT
Grade 1
x3 Wyvern Guard, Barri

x2 Embodiment of Armor, Bahr
x4 Demonic Dragon Mage, Kimnara
x2 Flame of Hope, Aermo
x4 Flame of Promise, Aermo
Grade 2
x4 Burning Horn Dragon
x4 Berserk Dragon
x2 Dragon Knight, Nehalem
Grade 3
x4 Dragonic Overlord The End
x4 Dragonic Overlord
The match with Kai is undisputed as the hardest part of the entire shop tournament sequence. His deck is better composed than previous opponents, and he's smarter than them too. Since RTV is pre-January 1st restrictions, Kai is playing with four copies of Dragonic Overlord The End and Conroe as his first vanguard. This is a big step up from previous matches, since what Kai can do in one fight he can do in any, no strings attached.

Kai's basic strategy revolves around fielding his boss card, The End. If he rides Dragonic Overlord and then The End in sequence, End's power will be at 13000 for the rest of the fight, meaning that he can shrug off the upper half of all rearguard combinations with just 5000 shield, and even if he's forced to ride The End first he'll still have an 11000 base power to fall back on. Kai can get a 21000 power vanguard line going either way, with Bahr when his crossride is active or with Flame of Promise otherwise. Both of those cards can be searched by Conroe with a simple counterblast 1. In this fight, you absolutely need to not let The End's attack hit; the reason is that if it does so, The End can counterblast 2 and persona blast to stand, which means that Kai is now getting a second twin drive and one extra card overall. Four checks all but guarantees him a trigger, so letting that attack hit can devastate you.

Getting that second copy of The End in hand for the persona blast is also not difficult, because he's running Flame of Hope, whose skill lets Kai change out a card from his hand to draw another when an attack that Hope boosts, hits. So with just these five cards, Kai already has a ton of synergy going, in addition to the two critical triggers that he's running in the deck, which make him a lot more threatening than Emi or Izaki were. His draw trigger, Gattling Claw Dragon, is also one of the few of its kind that isn't a dead draw, as Kai can counterblast 1 and soulcharge it to retire one of your grade 0s, primarily a retreating first vanguard like Wingal Brave. Kimnara can do the same thing for grade 1s, and all this works back toward giving him additional turns for Flame of Promise's soulblast to make a 21000 power vanguard or rearguard Overlord.

Kai's AI is pretty good about all this, too. He'll use Kimnara and Gattling Claw for cheap early attack or boosts, then use their skills afterward to get them off the field while removing your rearguards. And in addition to everything else that's going on, Kai also has access to Dragonic Overlord's counterblast 3. Overlord gets +5000 power and stands whenever its attack hits a rearguard once the counterblast is paid, which can get Kai a third drive check in the vanguard circle or provide a means of destroying your intercepts in the rearguard. This deck was professional Cardfight throughout 2012, and a lot of the difficulty associated with fighting it comes from all of the different, equally destructive moves that Kai can pull out at any given point.

The best way to take this on is to accept earlier damage, then shut down Kai's attacks in the mid to lategame by destroying key rearguard lines (Burning Horn and Bahr, either Overlord and Flame of Promise etc.) while focusing your resources on stopping his vanguard. If you can maintain steady 18000 power rearguards throughout, you can negate a key part of his crossride's advantage, and wear him down gradually. Furthermore, Kai isn't running Bellicosity Dragon in this deck, so once his counterblast is exhausted it's gone for good.

Note that while most fights in the game are worth 750 VP, and the semifinals were worth 850 VP, beating Kai is worth 5000 VP. You're really earning it.

Hm. Not bad. Your victory against Aichi was not just luck.

The shop tournament champion has been decided! Everyone. Please applaud freely~

You did it! Congratulations on your victory.

You beat that Kai jerk! Fitting for Kamui the great's rival.

Super surprising!

SS yo!

This guy's really worthy of being my rival.


HH yo.

As expected of my disciple. Well, this much is natural.

Hey, if Kai hears you he'll be mad.


What's wrong, Misaki? That's a depressed look you have there.

That guy, I feel like he was holding back.

"That guy," you mean Kai? Surely, you're just imagining things?

Today I tested your ability. I'm looking forward to the next time we meet.

Ah, Kai-kun. You're already going home?

Unsociable as always.


←Part 5

Monday, April 29, 2013

Ride to Victory Translation Part 5: Shop Tournament Semifinals

←Part 4
Card Capital

The intense fights go on at the shop tournament's much anticipated finale. The semifinals are beginning! The first match is, the favorite to win through the round Sendou, and [Player Name] contending.

Wow! I was looking forward to being able to fight you. So that we have no regrets, let's fight fair and square with all our strength.

Whoever wins this fight will be well worth seeing.

Hmm? Won't Aichi win?

I wonder about that. I think you shouldn't be taking her lightly.

Having come this far, she could advance to the next round. Make no mistake, she has real ability.

Huff, huff...it looks like I made it in time for the semifinals. I almost missed it eating lunch. Good grief, it's because you guys asked for seconds on gyoza.

We're very sorry.

VS yo...

Gyoza are Japanese dumplings similar to pot stickers. The word actually has a long o ("gyouza") sound in Japanese, but like "Tokyo" this is one of those things that was omitted after the word was adopted to English.

Be quiet. The match is starting.

Aichiii! [Player Name]-san! Both of you, do your beeest!

Now, it's beginning. My Royal Paladin allies, lend me your strength!

"Enter the fray, king of all knights! I ride the King of Knights, Alfred!"
Grade 0
x1 Stardust Trumpeter (FVG)
x3 Yggdrasil Maiden, Elaine HT
x3 Margal DT
Grade 1
x3 Little Sage, Marron
x4 Flash Shield, Iseult
x1 Lake Maiden, Lien
x1 Pongal
Grade 2

x3 Blaster Blade
x1 Knight of Silence, Gallatin
x1 High Dog Breeder, Akane
Grade 3
x2 King of Knights, Alfred
x2 Soul Saver Dragon
(Above are the confirmed cards that we've seen; there are around 25 cards missing from this list, but until complete data can be assembled it should give you an idea of what to expect from Aichi.)

Aichi's deck is a fairly cut and dry Alfred/Soul Saver Dragon deck that just about anyone that's taken a glance at the deck recipes from 2011 can recognize, but there's a glaring hole in it. The first vanguard is Stardust Trumpeter, not Barcgal or even Wingal Brave. This is to conform with the game's internal restricted list, and Trumpeter does guarantee that he keeps one more soul for Saver Dragon where he couldn't guarantee Brave going back in, but Margal would actually give Brave a lot of synergy with this deck since he'd have a 17000 Blaster Blade and Brave vanguard line going, which almost guarantees a no-guard to get Brave in while also thinning his deck. Furthermore, basically no one has ever run SSD with Stardust Trumpeter because the Drangal and Galahad line was so much more efficient for both getting you the extra soul and an extra card lead. Now, there is a good reason that the game has to not use Drangal or Brave here because they need to differentiate Aichi from a couple other in-game characters, but it really would have been better for the game to break its own rules this one time to let Aichi have Barcgal as his first vanguard.

So, he's not going to be getting any extra advantage early in the fight, and he's gonna have to look to other sources for that fifth soul. Aichi's deck is pretty good on this front. Pongal gets him one more soul with his counterblast while also adding Soul Saver to the hand, and he can be a search target for two different cards, Akane and Alfred. Akane has an 8000 base and can call any Royal Paladin High Beast for a counterblast 2 when she's called or ridden, which nets Aichi a one-card lead. Other than Pongal, she can also target Margal, then move it to the soul for +3000 power and as another option toward the fifth soul.

Be wary of giving Aichi too much damage to play around with, because his AI loves Blaster Blade's counterblast 2 more than anything else in the deck and will freely retire your rearguards at the first chance it gets. On the other hand, it has trouble with Alfred. While the King of Knights is generally thought to be the one boss card that needs no introduction, I'll go over his skills just in case. In the vanguard circle Alfred can't be boosted, but he gets +2000 power for each Royal Paladin rearguard, which means that if your vanguard is at 10000 or less power, you have to drop 20000 in shield to make him need two triggers to hit. The majority of offensive vanguards from BT01-BT07 fall into that category, so Aichi already has a good way to force his critical triggers through and get you to five damage faster. Alfred's other skill is an expensive counterblast 3 to superior call any grade 2 or lesser Royal Paladin, which makes it difficult to combo to anything but nonetheless it's one card more that he doesn't have to put down from his hand.

The trouble here is that Aichi's AI doesn't handle Alfred's counterblast well. He prioritizes Blaster Blade and Pongal, which means that even when it would be better to conserve more of his hand for defense, he'll call from the hand just in case he can get those cards out later on.

The reason that Alfred getting you to five damage is so important is for Soul Saver Dragon, one of the very first explosive attack cards in Cardfight. On-ride SSD can soulblast 5 to give three Royal Paladin rearguards +5000 power, and on-attack she gets +3000, so you have a consistent 21000+ power vanguard line as well as two rearguards pushing 21000+. Luckily, Aichi doesn't seem to run Palamedes this early in the game, so you don't need to worry about 26000+ rearguard lines, but that's still a lot to defend against and you'll probably need to let one attack through. You can try to go after his front row to weaken the skill, but unless you're playing Kagerou or Narukami, if Aichi has a good back row out and gets Pongal going, you're in for a very destructive endgame.

It's my loss. You're amazing.  You've become strong in such a short time. I lost, but I can feel that it was a good fight, and it was fun. At last, the finals are next. I think it will be an intense fight, but do your best.

The next round is coming up, so please make your preparations.

←Part 4

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Ride to Victory Translation Part 4: Shop Tournament Round 2

←Part 3
Card Capital

Now, we're in the second round of the shop tournament. If you win here, you'll be in the Best Four. I'm expecting heated fights from all of you!

Shin-san is the hottest of us all right now.

In the original Japanese this line sounds nothing like it does in English.

Misaki...how about "Manager"?

Yes, yes. Shin-san.

T, this card has the first match of the second round on it, so let's get ready.

I'm Sendou Emi. How do you do? I'm Aichi's little sister. Every day, I'm taking care of him. It's nice to meet you. I'm still getting started with Vanguard, but I won't lose!

As her brother I'll support her, but I don't think there's anything to worry about, because I know that Emi has a lot of ability. Both of you, do your best!

Grade 0
x1 Bermuda Triangle Cadet, Riviere (FVG)
x2 Drive Quartet, Flows HT
x2 Drive Quartet, Ressac ST
x1 Drive Quartet, Shuplu CT
Grade 1
x2 Mermaid Idol, Riviere
x2 Mermaid Idol, Felucca
x2 Blazers' Pleasures
x1 Pearl Sisters, Perle
x1 Mermaid Idol, Elly
x1 Mermaid Idol, Sedna
Grade 2
x2 Super Idol, Rivere
x2 Pearl Sisters, Perla
x1 Mermaid Idol, Flute
x2 Top Idol, Aqua
Grade 3
x1 Top Idol, Pacifica
x1 Super Idol, Salem
x3 Top Idol, Rivere
(Above are the confirmed cards that we've seen; there are around 23 cards missing from this list, but until complete data can be assembled it should give you an idea of what to expect from Emi.)

Emi is definitely the most dangerous opponent RTV's thrown at you yet, and a lot of that lies in her deck construction. Kamui had a first vanguard that could move to the rearguard, but the worst that Battleraizer could do was cycle back to the deck to increase his chances of checking triggers on subsequent turns. Riviere is an actual evolving line of cards, and her skills work so that Emi has the potential to draw an extra card every turn of this fight. First, when she rides Mermaid Idol Riviere over Triangle Cadet Riviere, she gets to look at the top 7 cards of the deck for either the grade 2 Super Idol or grade 3 Top Idol; this gives her an extra card along with grade security, so that she can focus on developing her field. The skills of Super and Top are more simple, in that if she rides them and has the previous forms in the soul, Emi gets to just flat out draw a card.

Furthermore, Emi is very good at building up her soul. This gets dangerous in combination with the Riviere series because, even if she misses her grade 1 ride, Emi can use Felucca and Perle's soulcharges to get the grade 1 into her soul so that if she rides her grade 2 and grade 3, she'll still get one extra card out of the deal. The Pearl Sisters are another thing--if the grade 2 Perla's attack hits she can soulblast 1 to return a Bermuda Triangle to the hand, but when Emi calls the grade 1 Perle she gets to add another skill to Perla for the turn, allowing her to soulcharge 1 to draw a card. So Emi calls Perle, adds the skill to Perla, Perla's attack hits, she gets to soulcharge 1 and draw a card, then soulblast 1 to send Perle back to the hand and repeat the combo next turn.

To combat the constant drawing, you need to wear Emi down with multiple attacks each turn, and take out Perla at your first opportunity. If you can get a 19000 power line going with for example, Blaster Dark and Doranbau, you can force Emi to either lose Perla or drop 15000 in shield, either of which will work toward this goal.

The grade 3 that you need to worry about the most from the onset is Riviere, a base 10000 power unit that becomes 11000 when her grade 2 form is in the soul, and who can counterblast 2 and persona blast when her attack hits to give three Bermuda Triangle rearguards +5000 power.

Emi's main weakness is also her greatest strength; Riviere's persona blast and her stand trigger Ressac conflict with one another. Because it targets three separate Bermuda units, the blast is used best by attacking with the vanguard line first, so that she can power up two rearguard lines, but she has to use a rearguard first in case of a stand trigger. So while the ultimate, strongest move she can make is devastating, standing a rearguard with a trigger then powering it up with the blast so that it's going for 20000+ while the other line is easily clearing 25000+, it's more likely that she checks no stands and has just one 25000+ line with no other attacks coming after. Her AI just can't handle the persona blast well, and she'll often use it when there are no rearguards standing just because she's met the conditions. It probably fits the fact that Emi is still a beginner, but it also means that the Riviere evolution that makes her deck so devastating is also working against her.

As I've said though, Emi is extremely good at building up the soul. Since you're likely to block Riviere's persona blast anyway, this does help her out. If she reaches her fourth turn after riding the Riviere cards and hasn't used Riviere's persona blast or Sedna's counterblast yet, Emi will ride Pacifica; counting her soulcharge she'll have 5 cards in the soul, meaning if she's already gotten out or drops two Feluccas, that's one more turn to have the timing just right on Pacifica's megablast. Counterblast 5 Soulblast 8 is a steep cost, but in her deck it's actually pretty realistic to have that much available, so the main issue is that the persona blast has to hit for her to use it. This is another point in favor of Emi's stand triggers. The megablast lets her call three Bermuda Triangle rearguards when Pacifica's attack hits, so she'll be using both rearguard lines beforehand. Checking a stand trigger before the blast goes off lets her attack with two full lines afterward instead of one complete line and one unfinished, and one of those will be at 20000+ power. Pacifica constant +3000 power means that she'll also be breaking 20-21000 every turn, and the AI is pretty good about gauging how to build its lines when it actually has suitable attackers.

That said, by stopping only the key units and letting other early damage slip by, you can ride out her mid to endgame pretty well and gradually wear away the tinier Sendou's resources.

I lost...but it was really fun! Thank you! If you go to the city, you'll meet many more cardfighters!

That's right! Miwa-kun will lend you special trial decks. I think Miwa-kun is in the park, so by all means try fighting with other clans.

The next round is coming up, so please make your preparations.

←Part 3