Saturday, April 20, 2013

Ride to Victory Translation Part 1: Card Capital & Morikawa

Cardfight!! Vanguard Ride to Victory!! is a Cardfight simulator released on the Nintendo 3DS on April 11, 2013. At the time of this writing, there is no announced western release. While there is still ample time for a publisher to pick it up, Cardfight Pro will be providing a full translation for the game's core story, which will double as a walkthrough on certain game mechanics and fights. Initially, mission fights and side events will not be covered.

Acknowledgments: In addition to my own efforts, this guide was made possible by the information gathered and generously provided by Matibari, Miwawan, Miwawan's sister and Twotaileddemon, as well as the gameplay videos recorded by Kuropon and others.

I will be including the original honorifics in this translation. My policy as the translator in this project is that because you are unlikely to see them in the official product, this other translation will be your only opportunity to see them in action within the game, and there may be something to take away from that. Since almost every westerner that's read a manga after 2002 is familiar with them, there shouldn't be any problems with readability. Pronoun-wise, the real English game script would probably substitute he/she based on the player's choice of character, but my translation will assume a female main character.

With regards to character creation, Ride to Victory!! allows the player to choose one of six characters for their single save file. These are divided by personality and gender, and each character has unique in-fight dialogue for riding, calling, defending and activating a limit break. The personalities are Hotblooded, Cool and Dark, and Hotblooded-kun (at left) has generally been used as the mascot for the game. While the player is free to rename them, they have default names and the default nickname is based on your 3DS username. Following character creation, RTV boots you right to Card Capital's front doors.

Within the translation, I'll be formatting text like this;

This is dialogue.

This is Touya's commentary.

This is in-game narration.

Card Capital

Oh, a customer? Welcome to Card Capital. Are you interested in Vanguard? That's good.
Don't be shy, come in.


Yo! It looks like this is your first time. You wanna fight me?

Don't rush her, Kamui-kun. I'm Sendou Aichi. It's nice to meet you.


 Let's begin the introductions. These four are the pride of Card Capital. The national championship winning Team Q4!

...Well, right now Kai-kun is only with Q4 in certain circumstances.

 What do you think? Amazing, right? If you do your best, you can become great like us.

That's really arrogant.

Beyond really.

What's that supposed to mean!?

I'm glad that you're interested in Vanguard. It's nice to meet you.

Let's fight right away! Eh? You want to fight but you don't really understand the rules yet? If that's the case, I'll teach you. We should fight together so that you'll remember them better. Don't be tense. Relax, ask for help and have fun.

At this point Aichi throws a rulebook at you to flip through.

What do you think? Do you understand how to play? Even after reading that, at first you may not be able to help feeling that the rules seem complex, but while fighting you should be able to familiarize yourself with them. Anytime you have something you don't understand, you can always ask.

The manager wants to talk to you.

Do you get how to play now? It won't be so difficult. Now that you know how to play, I have good news for you. I wan you to have fun with Vanguard for a long time and get playing right away, so here's a trial deck as a present!

As expected, manager. You're really generous!

Not at all, it's my pleasure. As someone who loves Vanguard, I'm going to support you with all my power.

 ...Before that, let me describe the trial decks a little. There are several kinds of trial decks. The difference is the clan that makes up the deck. Clans are the affiliated team of the cards in the deck. Each clan is characterized by a different way of fighting. So, to figure out what kind of deck suits you, answer a few of Aichi-kun's questions.

 I understand. Then, will you answer my questions?

Aichi's questions are answered on the bottom screen. They're basically phrased to be binary questions.
1. Is this your first time playing Vanguard?
2. When you answer a question, do you take the time to ponder it?
3. Between old things and new things, which is better?
4. When you have a tough problem, do you give up right away?
5. Between attacking with the strongest power once, or attacking with a weaker power many times, which is better?

Thanks. This is the deck that suits you the most.

Hoho. [Clan Name]? That clan's characteristic is...

Shin's dialogue changes depending on how you answered the questions. Sendou will recommend one of the Royal Paladin, Kagerou, Nova Grappler, Oracle Think Tank, Gold Paladin, Narukami or Aqua Force trial decks, and Shin will explain their strategy. For example, if your result is Royal Paladin, Shin will explain that you can search and call specific units to the field from the deck, and that it's very good at deploying a force from many types of units.

Well, choose the trial deck you like.

Regardless of what result you get, you then get to personally choose from TD01-TD07. While you can always refer to the deckbuilding advice section, I'll still be providing line-by-line strategy. I'll get to which choices are the best further down; while in the real world, trial decks are a matter of personal preference, Ride to Victory has a certain mechanic that can give you a stronger start at the beginning of the game from specific decks.

Yeah. I think that deck suits you. Thanks, manager.

No, no. Thanks aren't needed. I love Vanguard, so it's natural. But, that trial deck is special. I'm giving you four of every card. If you put the same card in your deck multiple times, drawing that card will be easier during a fight! And, and, I'll give you this freebie!

(Technically, Shin said that he put four of every card in the deck, but this is misleading; the extra copies of those cards are in your collection, while the deck you have is a normal TD.)
So, Shin gives you four copies of each of your trial deck's cards to customize your deck with. There are two sides to this, because while it greatly expedites the speed of building a good deck, it also has the potential to make RTV much easier than it's supposed to be. In my first history article I explained why the Goku deck was so strong and prolific as a pro deck early in Cardfight's history, and RTV ups the ante by letting you have four Goku and four Dragonic Overlord right out of the box, which with the four Berserk Dragons that are already in there lets you pretty well control the opponent's field.

With Berserk or Goku you can for example, take out their vanguard booster so that on their turn you can drop just 10000 shield and require two triggers for them to pass (if you have Overlord as your vanguard, Berserk can become a no-pass maneuver) and strain their resources immensely over the course of the game. And since RTV gives you access to every booster set right from the onset, once you have your copies of Barri from BT01, you can then go right into building up Dragonic Overlord The End with BT05.

But beyond even the establish decks, there a couple trial decks that very specifically benefit from this mechanic. TD04: Maiden Princess of the Cherry Blossoms suddenly has four Goddess of Flower Divination Sakuya, meaning that with Dark Cat and Apollon to get Sakuya's continuous skill off more easily, and the copies of Milk already built in, she can go for a consistent 24000-power line right from the first fight you get into. A vanguard line that can hit anticrossride numbers with minimal maintenance is pretty well off right now.

TD05: Slash of the Silver Wolf is probably the deck that came to most English cardfighters' minds, since now you have four Garmore for a vanguard line that can consistently break 26000 through limit break and Charjgal, while also being able to consistently get out Garmore's CB2 to fill the field. TD02 likes to control the opponent's field, but TD05 likes to control its own and that makes for an aggressive deck that will push the early game opponents over the edge. The Gareth and Beaumains that come for free can also be a good lead-in to building an Ezel deck, because of another point covered further down.

TD07: Descendants of the Marine Emperor is the last of these to benefit, since four Navalgazer with four Dorothea is a consistent 23000 line that has the option to go for 26000 when it needs to, and Xenophon is probably the best alternative vanguard the trial decks will give you this side of Goku-Overlord. This is probably the most popular choice that I've see Japanese players making, to the point where some of them never convert to Maelstrom.

Shin also gives you a free booster pack; note that the in-game odds for any given box are different from the real world odds, since you can get 6 of the same R from the same box, but in this particular instance it doesn't matter. That's because Shin's pack corresponds to the trial deck that you chose, and save for one particular deck the data shows that it always contains one RRR of the same clan as your deck. These are the confirmed cards; 
VG-TD01: Shining Swordsman of the Sanctuary will get you VG-BT01: Descent of the King of Knights with King of Knights, Alfred as its rare card. 
VG-TD02: Raging Dragon of the Empire will get you VG-BT01: Descent of the King of Knights with Demonic Dragon Mage, Kimnara as its rare card. (This is because you already have four Overlord from Shin.)
VG-TD03: Golden Mechanical Soldier will get you VG-BT01: Descent of the King of Knights with Asura Kaizer as its rare card. 
VG-TD04: Maiden Princess of the Cherry Blossoms will get you VG-BT01: Descent of the King of Knights with CEO Amaterasu as its rare card. 
VG-TD05: Slash of the Silver Wolf will get you VG-BT06: Breaker of Limits with Incandescent Lion, Blond Ezel as its rare card.
 VG-TD07: Descendants of the Marine Emperor will get you VG-BT08: Blue Storm Armada with Blue Storm Dragon, Glory Maelstrom as its rare card.
And these are educated guesses on the remaining packs, as data is still being gathered;
VG-TD06: Resonance of Thunder Dragon will get you VG-BT06: Breaker of Limits with Dragonic Kaiser Vermillion as its rare card.
We're still getting these tables together, so expect the confirmed list to be updated soon. TD05 has the additional benefit of a built-in superior ride thanks to this pack. At that point, all you really need is your second critical trigger and copies of Mark, so Gold Paladin and Kagerou are definitely the fastest to build, with TD04 and 03 coming in as the runners-up thanks to EB04 and 05 being pure Oracle/Grappler boosters.

That's amazing! If you use this booster pack, you can strengthen your trial deck.

In other words, you can choose a strong deck construction. By skillfully combining cards together in your deck and using them to fight, you can become strong. And with everyone in Team Q4, aim for the national championship together!

That's right! It's nice to meet you. Let's fight and have fun!

"The Final Goal is the National Championship!"
From here the game explains its basic goals and flow. You proceed from the shop tournament level, to the regional tournament level and then to the national level. Note that Ride to Victory operates under the September 25th restriction from 2011; you cannot set Barcgal as your first vanguard. The January 1st restrictions are not in effect though, so cards like The End and Silent Tom can be used with impunity.

Oh? It seems we have a customer.

Fuhahahaha. Today as well, I will weave the great Morikawa's strongest legend!

Hey there!

...Yo, Aichi.

Morikawa-kun. Miwa-kun. And Izaki-kun. Let me introduce you to my new friend.

Hoho. A noob, perchance. My great name is Morikawa Katsumi, the strongest fighter.

Again, Lose-umi is saying arrogant things.

It's Katsumi! Ka-tsu-mi!

The newcomer has a nice face. Somebody be her opponent.

Interesting! What do you think, noob? Will you fight me? Card Capital's strongest fighter will let you butt horns with him. Come on!

Grade 0
x1 Lizard Runner, Undeux (FVG)
x4 Dragon Monk, Genjo HT
x4 Dragon Dancer, Monica DT
x4 Embodiment of Spear, Tahr CT
x4 Lizard Soldier, Gan-Lu ST
Grade 1
x4 Embodiment of Armor, Bahr
x3 Iron Tail Dragon
Grade 2
x4 Dragon Knight, Nehalem
Grade 3
x4 Hell Spider
x4 Vortex Dragon
x4 Demonic Dragon Berserker, Yaksha
x4 Ravenous Dragon, Gigarex
x3 Seal Dragon, Blockade
x3 Dual Axe Archdragon 
Morikawa's deck is one of the least well put together of the franchise, but his loss isn't entirely guaranteed. He'll spend a lot of fights gradelocked and won't have a lot of boosters to call, so mainly you want to take advantage of his weakened vanguard line by stopping it with 10000 shield grade 0s whenever possible, and to a lesser degree you can count on his rearguards being weakened as well. When he does get to grade 3, it gets a little dangerous. The best thing that he can do is superior ride Yaksha early on, then switch over to Hell Spider, Vortex Dragon or Blockade. Reason being, Hell Spider gets +3000 power when all of your rearguards are at rest, and Vortex gets +2000 at the start of each turn, so with Bahr as his booster that's a 20-21000 power vanguard line at a point in the game when you don't yet have perfect defense cards to stop him with.

Blockade's continuous skill will stop you from intercepting, something which is dangerous in typical fights but at the trial deck stage can force you to drop 10000 shield on attacks that only demand 5000 power normally. TD03-TD07 have it the worst if he hits Blockade because each of these decks comes built in with especial intercept units like NGM Prototype, Nemean Lion and Titan of the Infinite Trench. Since their skills give them +5000 shield when intercepting, normally you would want these units out, but Blockade locks them where they are so that their low power hurts your formation if you have a 6000 or lower booster behind those units. TD05-07 can circumvent this the best, since you can sub in extra copies of Sleygal Sword and Charging Chariot Knight/Djinn of the Lightning Flare and Brightjet Dragoon, while TD07 can put additional Algos and Coral Assault in place of Titan, but 03 & 04 will have a rougher time.

Also note that Hell Spider's counterblast 2 works in the rearguard circles as well as the vanguard, and it doesn't demand a Megacolony vanguard to activate, so Morikawa can freeze up your play field in a couple different ways when he actually does get the ball rolling. Since the deck is so low on counterblast, Iron Tail Dragon effectively doubles as additional copies of Bahr, so a strong Spider or Vortex line is pretty easy for him to pull out if he pulls one of his Nehalem first. That said, the stand triggers don't really do him any favors and with only 4 grade 2s in the deck, it's entirely possible that he'll never get past grade 1.

Grr...the great Morikawa's because my horoscope's fortune was bad that this didn't go differently!

Is today's excuse your horoscope? As usual, you've learned nothing.

Lose-umi is Lose-umi, after all. As long as his grade 3 obsession is alive, he can't win.

Certainly, balancing however many of each grade you have is important. Morikawa-kun's deck has a certain characteristic that...

Wasn't very helpful...was it?

I-I don't think such things but...

Fuu. Quite good, aren't you. Out of consideration for that strength, I'll make you one of my disciples.

Oi oi! Don't trouble them.

What you say! To come into my amazing consideration is an honor. Isn't that right, Aichi!

...Hahaha. Morikawa-kun...