Tuesday, January 28, 2014

News: Musketeers Make Second in Kansai Vanguard Championship, Nouvelle Vague Reworked for Restricted List

From A Quick Dip! Board Game & Hobby Blog
The first Kansai VGCS concluded on the 26th in Japan, and decklists went out today with Kagerou and Neo Nectar cardfighters in first and second place. Coming on the heels of the fifth Fateclock VGCS, a similar ruleset which adopted the upcoming restricted list was used at Kansai to jump straight into the new format. In spite of this, tournament champion faruke (sic) was able to make first place undefeated in sets using a Nouvelle Vague deck modified for the new play environment.

Unlike other Nouvelle cardfighters that are still testing the waters with 2 copies of Nouvelle, faruke chose to keep maxing out the grade 4, with 4 grade 3s as in the preceding format. Due to the use of grade 4s and Dracokid in place of Conroe, the new Nouvelle has twice the soul count of pre-restricted list Kagerou decks and is more readily able to make use of Calamity Tower Wyvern's soulblast. For this reason Tower is now being run at 4, and this general improvement in draw consistency has helped compensate for Conroe's restriction so that faruke's list is made possible.

The Kansai VGCS took place at Hobby Base Yellow Submarine in Kyoto, and drew 96 participants. Entry fee was 1000 yen, with a prize payout for the top 4 identical to that used at Fateclock. The tournament began with four preliminary rounds lasting 40 minutes each, with the first fighter to 2 wins winning their round, and was followed by four more rounds for the finals under similar rules but with a 50 minute time limit instead. faruke wrote a tourney report for his blog, explaining that he went undefeated in sets, and counting each game individually came out of the day 16-1 (2-0 vs Dauntless Dominate Dragon, 2-0 vs Nouvelle, 2-0 vs Eradicators, 2-0 vs Blau series, 2-0 vs Revengers, 2-0 vs Regalia, 2-1 vs Eradicators and 2-0 vs Musketeers.)

By far the most surprising turn of events was Musketeers in second, piloted by Neo Nectar cardfighter, Tomato. Although appreciated as one of the more strategically challenging and rewarding decks around, Musketeers have not seen heavy play since their original debut in BT08. Like Nouvelle and the Eradicator decks that have enjoyed popularity in recent months, the Musketeer deck's core strategy hasn't changed, but the components of it have undergone adjustment to bring it more in line with the times. Tomato expanded the core concept of cycling out less useful Musketeers using Kaivant, Rebecca and Cecilia by bringing in the grade 2 Pansy Musketeer Sylvia to topdeck call other Musketeers that can then be cycled out if they're poor for more precise calls, and the Fighter's Collection promo Mirkka. Since Mirkka becomes a 9000-power booster as long as the deck has been shuffled by a card effect, and all of the Musketeers' unique effects shuffle, Tomato was able to form easy 21000 power lines with Augusto and Hermann as frontrow attackers. With Cecilia's limit break allowing them to recoup lost card advantage or otherwise conserve cards in the same way that Paladin decks do, trading the extra copies of Cecilia for the most important Musketeers, and now to recycle perfect defense cards with the introduction of Antonio, the build has evolved into a unique branch of Neo Nectar in the same way that Dudley Emperor has for Spike Brothers or Cosmo Lord has for Nova Grappler.

While these were generally expected changes, one which was not foreseen by the general community was the use of stand triggers in Musketeers. More accurately, it is the utility of an almost-pure Musketeer trigger lineup; as there are no Musketeer draw triggers, Tomato chose to run Blue Rose Musketeer Ernest to have as many Musketeers in his grade 0 count as possible. Ernest's own skill allows him to return himself to the deck to search the top 4 cards for a Musketeer in the same way as Rebecca and Kaivant. With the amount of consistency that Cecilia and her support gives through repeated searching and cycling, cutting draws is an understandable move. Another unforeseen change was a Maiden of Venus Trap "Я" tech used to fill out grade 3 space in place of a fourth Hermann, providing a fifth grade 3 for the vanguard circle. Since Venus Trap cannot be targeted by any of the Musketeers' skills, her chief purpose is to provide an alternate gameplan by Locking any of the Neo Nectar rearguards with her limit break to build up the field by superior calling others from the top of the deck, which can eventually lead into a Cecilia ride to tie things back together.

Third and fourth place in the Kansai VGCS went to Nouvelle and Eradicator cardfighters, with fifth and sixth going to Sacred Regalia and Revenger fighters playing Minerva and Raging Form Dragon decks. The return of Eradicators in competitive play is part of an ongoing narrative inherited from the Fighter's Climax tournament that ended earlier this year; since the release of VG-BT14: Brilliant Strike the Narukami subclan has experienced a resurgence in popularity credited to Matsumoto Kenji, the FC2013 Osaka regional champion who carved out the Eradicators' first open class victory for the Eradicators since the preceding national tournament five months ago. The major difference between his and past Eradicator builds is the use of the Ignition Dragon break ride, who fills the space that was once used by Vowing Saber and Vowing Sword Dragon techs. For a single counterblast, Ignition's break ride skill has the opponent retire 2 of their rearguards, allowing it to conditionally reach the back row where Vowing Sword could not. The really transformative change is that Ignition gives the opponent a -2 in exchange for the break ride's -1, which immediately puts the opponent in a worse position than the Narukami cardfighter, can wear them down if multiple break rides are forced in, and provides insurance because the opponent's back row is their most likely voluntary sacrifice where the front row will be dedicated to intercepts so that their attacking power is significantly diminished going into the next turn. At Kansai the build was piloted by Takai ("Expensive") who prioritized Gauntlet Buster above his other grade 3 options and dropped subclan attackers entirely, favoring Zuitan's unflipping instead of Spark Rain as well as Castor's card changing instead of Demolition Dragon.

The VGCS tournaments are a series of unofficial tournaments organized by fans and cardshops. Unlike Bushiroad's larger official tournaments, most VGCS events are done using a best of 3, Swiss tournament model. Turnout is typically 70-80 persons, but some events see 100 or more participants, all of whom compete using pseudonyms and internet handles rather than their real names as in official events.

The First Kansai VGCS
First Place
Grade 0
x1 Red Pulse Dracokid (FV)
x2 Embodiment of Spear, Tahr CT
x2 Blue-Ray Dracokid CT
x2 Lizard Soldier, Goraha CT
x2 Seal Dragon, Biella CT
x4 Gattling Claw Dragon DT
x4 Dragon Dancer, Barbara HT
Grade 1
x4 Nouvelle Roman Dragon
x1 Dragon Monk, Gojo
x4 Seal Dragon, Rinocross
x4 Calamity Tower Wyvern
Grade 2
x2 Hidden Dragon, Striken
x4 Nouvelle Critique Dragon
x4 Berserk Dragon
x2 Demonic Dragon Berserker, Kumbhanda
Grade 3
x3 Dauntless Drive Dragon
x1 Cruel Dragon
Grade 4
x4 Transcendence Dragon, Dragonic Nouvelle Vague

Second Place
Grade 0
x1 Broccolini Musketeer, Kirah (FV)
x4 Hibiscus Musketeer, Hanah HT
x4 Blue Rose Musketeer, Ernest ST
x4 Night Queen Musketeer, Daniel CT
x4 Bullet Chestnut CT
Grade 1
x3 Lily of the Valley Musketeer, Rebecca
x3 Water Lily Musketeer, Ruth
x4 Red Rose Musketeer, Antonio
x4 Dandelion Musketeer, Mirkka
Grade 2
x4 Cherry Blossom Musketeer, Augusto
x3 Lily of the Valley Musketeer, Kaivant
x4 Pansy Musketeer, Sylvia
Grade 3
x1 Maiden of Venus Trap, "Я"
x3 Black Lily Musketeer, Hermann
x4 White Lily Musketeer, Cecilia