Thursday, February 20, 2014

News: Kai Toshiki to Play Royal Paladin for Legion Mate, Team League 2014 Regional & Continental Dates

The cover characters for the fourteenth and fifteenth trial decks broke early this morning, confirming fans' initial speculations about the direction of the Cardfight!! Vanguard franchise's fourth chapter, Legion Mate. VG-TD14: Seeker of Hope features cards that will be used by Kai Toshiki in the anime, while VG-TD15: Brawler of Friendship will instead feature Ishida Naoki's units. The news was first leaked through promotional posters sent to card shops, with official images replacing their placeholder equivalents on the Japanese portal soon after. The promotional posters also advertised Legion as a new mechanic, each showing off two new cards united by the same crossing of swords symbol used in Legion Mate's official logo. Moreover, a set of promo cards have given some indication of what the new mechanic may look like.

Set to be released on April 26th and 27th as part of this year's Great Vanguard Festival, the promos are new first vanguards for for Narukami and Royal Paladin intended to work alongside the trial decks' new cards. In addition to their basic Forerunner skills, Brawler Fighting Dracokid (喧嘩屋 ファイティング・ドラコキッド) and Vanguard Seeker File (先陣の探索者ファイル) have Legion-centric skills. File's skill activates automatically; when the vanguard gets "Legion" he can move into the soul to superior call a Blaster Blade Seeker from the deck. Dracokid instead has to be activated in the main phase. By moving into the soul, Dracokid gives the vanguard a skill that when an opponent's frontrow rearguard is put into the drop zone and the vanguard has "Legion," his fighter can counterblast 1 and retire an opponent's unit on the same column as the retired card. The way that these cards are worded defines Legion as a quality any unit can have or have taken away, like Twin Drive!! or Boost, but also specifies particular benefits for the vanguard receiving it, and these units also give Legion a specific icon in the shape of a shield made up of crossed swords like that shown in other promotional materials.

Note that since neither promo card is subclan or clan dependent, they do not necessarily have to be used with Brawler or Seeker vanguards, or even units of the same clan. All they require is that the vanguard have Legion. Currently it's presumed that Blaster Blade Seeker will have an on-call retire skill like past incarnations of Blaster Blade, and because File exchanges himself for a copy of Blade Seeker while Fighting Dracokid does not give anything but a retire skill, the cards are balanced around the idea that Dracokid causes the user to lose one card in advantage while the opponent's loses two where File does not cost card advantage and in exchange the Seeker he calls can only take away one card. If multiple retire skills can be triggered in one turn however, Dracokid can snowball more effectively by retiring two cards on his own in addition to what was accomplished with other skills. Furthermore, putting him in the soul can contribute towards Rising Phoenix's soulblast-to-draw skill. These extended combos specifically depend on being able to access other retire skills for less than 2 counterblast in the first place however, could not function with break ride skills due to the timing involved and can only last for a single turn.

Accounting for how posters have advertised Legion as connecting two cards, the contiguous Blade Seeker and Sacred Wingal artwork, a similar design pattern for Skybeat and Skyhowl Dragon, and the literal reading of Legion's kanji 双闘 as "fighting as a pair," Legion itself seems to be built on the idea of tagging two cards together to work at once. Thus the mechanic both enables the abilities of certain cards as with File and Fighting Dracokid, and can be made useful on its own. The fact that Legion has to be received to use it at all suggests that there are restrictions on when and how many times a unit may get Legion per game.

In international news, the upcoming Team League 2014 has had some of its terminology modified. What were previously identified as national championships are now being called regional championships, and what were called regionals are now being referred to as continental championships. This answers some of the confusion surrounding the idea that League 2014 was previously touting, that the national tournaments for each country would serve as qualifiers for regionals, which to many veteran fighters sounds like a paradoxical inversion of the established tournament structure; qualifying for a smaller event at a larger one. With the change in terminology has also come the dates for the upcoming tournaments, with regionals picking up in April and lasting through July while the continental tournaments will be in July. Specific dates can be found on the official Cardfight portal.

Team League 2014 is a triples format for the English-language Cardfight!! Vanguard TCG, with each team taking the side of either the Cray Defenders protecting the planet from attack or the Void Invaders seeking to conquer it with the otherworldly power of Lock and Reverse. Invader teams are required to play either with Link Joker or "Яeverse" cards empowered by the Void, while Defender teams are banned from using these cards and must fight back with their natural abilities.