Thursday, February 27, 2014

News: TV Tokyo Commercial Reveals Plot for Legion Mate, Nouvelle Vague to Hit International Shores in June

This morning Japanese TV channel TV Tokyo aired a commercial for the upcoming fourth season of Cardfight!! Vanguard, Legion Mate, sparking a flood of images and comments over Twitter from Japanese fans. TV Tokyo's official website also updated with a synopsis of the season's upcoming storyline:
Just days after a deadly fight against Link Joker that involved the whole world,everything is peaceful and the usual calm days have came back. 
But, Kai Toshiki faces a surprising situation. 
Sendou Aichi, the hero who saved the world from the invasion of Link Joker, suddenly disappeared. Along with peoples' memory of his existence…While there are few clues to go by, Kai will seek Aichi with only the proof of their bond, “Blaster Blade” and a Royal Paladin deck. 
Fighters named the “Quatre Knights” appear before Kai. The four fightersGaillard, Neve, Ratie and Serraare world class fighters in Vanguard.
They use a mysterious power and tell Kai to give up seeking Aichi.What is their purpose…?! And what is their relationship with Aichi…?!Receiving the new power "Legion," Kai's fight to get Aichi back, starts now!!
The commercial for Legion Mate showed Kai's role as the protagonist prominently, featuring him alongside the surviving Team Q4 members, as well as Naoki, Ren and Miwa. Naoki and Kai's new friendship has been emphasized in the commercial, while a poster for the series seen above features the antagonistic Quartre Knights, each of which appears to be a counterpart of a member from Q4.

Another image from the commercial gave early details on some of the cards from TD14: Seeker of Hope, revealing that Blaster Blade Seeker will be a grade 2 with 9000 power and 5000 shield, and that Sacred Wingal will be a base 11000 power grade 3. Legion Mate is set to air on March 9 in Japan, exactly one week after Link Joker ends on March 2 this weekend.

In international news, two extra boosters were confirmed for an English release today, with VGE-EB08: Champions of the Cosmos and VGE-EB09: Divine Dragon Progression getting a dual release on June 6, 2014. The primary draws of EB08 are its crossride units Immortal Asura Kaiser and Galaxy Blaukluger, along with the legacy support for the old cards that they bring. Since Champions of the Cosmos' Japanese release last November the Galaxy Blaukluger deck has gradually climbed up the ranks of VGCS tournaments to become the dominant competitive option for Nova Grappler, much as the original Blaukluger had back in 2011.

Divine Dragon Progression is based around the cards used by Kai Toshiki in the more recent volumes of the manga and is the better known set by far, chiefly for the infamy of its cover card Dragonic Nouvelle Vague. As the first fully implemented grade 4 unit, Nouvelle Vague's designers are held to have overcompensated for its unwieldy nature with extensive options for deck searching and field control, and skills that both prevent it from being guarded with grade 0 units and passively nullify the opponent's trigger checks. These qualities were not in the card's original intention--Itou had envisioned Nouvelle as nullifying both players' trigger checks and not having the Twin Drive!! ability--and have snowballed along with Kagerou's self-standing break ride support to create a deck that can attack multiple times with its vanguard while preventing the opponent from guarding those attacks while also sitting on an unnaturally high 13000 base power and destroying the opposing rearguards to prevent them from fighting back. Nouvelle has thus superseded Link Joker in Japan as the dominant deck of competitive play, leading to the restriction of Lizard Soldier Conroe who was a major linchpin in the deck's consistency. The build is currently considered wounded but playable, as it has continued to dominate Japanese Vanguard Championships alongside Omniscience Regalia Minerva, accounting for up to 18% of all decks played in some cases.

EB08 will feature a promotional print of Nova Grappler's original critical trigger, Shining Lady, with her 2011 anime artwork as a box topper, while EB09 will get a print of Dragon Dancer Arabella.

2/28/2014 Update: The Nova Grapplers will also be receiving a special Sneak Preview playmat that can be won by participating in the extra boosters' dual launch event. This time the playmat will be of Galaxy Blaukluger. Unlike with EB04 and EB05, there will be a second playmat representing the Kagerou side. Which unit will be featured is unknown but it is speculated to be Dragonic Nouvelle Vague. Those that take part in the Sneak Preview will also receive a PR/101EN Chain Blaster Dragon. Back in Japan, Chain Blast had been a Monthly Bushiroad promo, and was known for his ability to simultaneously retire three of the opponent's rearguards by discarding two grade 3 units with his limit break, while searching for those grade 3s with his non-limit break skill. Sneak Preview events will be taking place around the world on May 30, May 31 and June 1, with the final dates determined by the hosting store.

In other news, VG-BT15: Infinite Rebirth officially released in Japan today. While there was some trouble with international sellers in Singapore stocking the set before the street date, the surprises surrounding the set were limited this time due to all of BT15's RRR and RR-rarity cards being known from promotional materials released ahead of time. What is drawing the most attention at this time is that the newly released Triple Reverse rarity card, Star-vader “Ω” Glendios, is now selling for as high as 6000~8000 yen (approx. $60~$80 in US money) higher than any other single card in the history of the game, including its immediate predecessor Chaos Breaker Dragon who sold for as most as a Japanese booster box at release. Although Link Joker usage has waned considerably since the release of Dragonic Nouvelle Vague in Japan, Glendios has gotten particular attention not just for its unique rarity but also due to the host of supporting units that have helped it along, in particular Cold Death Dragon and “Яeverse” Cradle.

Glendios' core strategy is built around its alternate win condition, having all of the opponent's rearguards Locked at the beginning of its cardfighters' main phase while also having five damage, but requires repeatedly discarding “Я” cards to use its highly defensive Omega Lock ability that prevents cards from opening during the end phase. The disadvantage to this is that prior to “Я” Cradle, all Reverse cards came from other clans and Glendios could only make Reverse cards already on the field into Link Joker units, so the deck had a crippling weakness in that it was forced to run between 12 and 16 grade 3s with many of them being of the wrong clan and having the Lord skill that prevents them from attacking unless Glendios is on the vanguard circle. “Я” Cradle neutralized this by giving both a Reverse card to Link Joker so that only a limited number of cards from other clans would need to be used, and also sharing his ability to turn Reverse units into Link Jokers. Meanwhile Cold Death Dragon is a grade 2 that when called can put the top card of the opponent's deck into play Locked for counterblast 1, on the condition that they already have a Locked card. This makes it easier to achieve the deck's win condition as the opponent does not have the option of leaving some circles empty to prevent cards from being Locked. With the addition of Ruin Magician and Praseodymium, grade 1 units that can add Reverse cards back to the hand from the drop zone and unflip damage respectively, the Glendios build has evolved into an effective alternate strategy that has even secured independence from Infinite Zero Dragon, but some have criticized it as lacking interaction with the game compared to Chaos Breaker or Nebula Lord and shutting the opponent down too heavily to promote interesting gameplay.