Monday, March 10, 2014

News: Fireball VGCS Decklists, Hakata and Sapporo Tournaments Dominated by Kagerou, Post-BT15 Aqua Force Emerges

The third Laketown Vanguard Championship decklists went up on Card Shop Fireball's official blog early yesterday morning, showcasing some of the first competitive decks of the Infinite Rebirth-on format. Tournament winner Kado's “Ω” Glendios deck is of particular interest in part because it's the first Glendios deck seen in tournament play, and also due to its unusual composition, running a huge count of twelve grade 3s and just seven grade 2s. Previously only Aqua Force, Dimension Police and Nova Grappler cardfighters tended to run grade 3 heavy decks on a regular basis, due to their variety of grade 3 options and necessity for two or more gameplans in one deck, but Glendios is a different beast entirety. Some concern over the validity of the results has been expressed due to this Fireball CS only seeing a turnout of 34 persons when 60~80 is more common in VGCS events, but now that the decklist is visible it's clear that a thorough amount of work was put into its construction.

The high grade 3 count was generally anticipated by experienced Link Joker cardfighters due to the overall strategy of the build. “Ω” Glendios decks as a rule now rely on either Omega himself or Star-vader “Яeverse” Cradle Cradle; both of these boss cards use Link Joker's signature Lock mechanic by calling cards with  “Яeverse” in their name to rearguard circles, and accordingly can make any “Яeverse” into a Link Joker unit to promote synergy. In order to use their skills effectively, a high grade 3 count is necessary. Kado also exploited this to his advantage by running six different “Яeverse” cards, five of them as single copies, in order to obscure exactly how many he was running from his opponents. The core Omega strategy hinges on using Glendios in tandem with Ruin Magician, Praseodymium, Rubidium, Magnet Hollow, any two Reverse cards and the first vanguard World Line Dragon. Prior to hitting grade 3, Glendios' early game primarily revolves around trading Reverse cards in hand at the beginning of each ride phase with World Line's skill to search for other Link Joker units, avoiding the problems associated with failing to reach grade 2, and ideally replacing the Reverse cards discarded with other Reverse cards, primarily Cradle.

Magnet Hollow is the build's most valuable grade 2 because of how it instantly adds a Reverse card to hand for a single counterblast when its attack hits, which lets Glendios or Cradle Lock one card per turn, and Glendios can then use its limit break to cast Omega Lock and prevent the opponents' cards from unlocking for one turn. Omega can then get those Reverse cards back by calling Ruin Magician, who for counterblast 1 returns a Reverse card from the drop zone to the hand for each other Reverse on a rearguard circle, and unflip the damage with Praseodymium who operates on the same principle as Ruin. Rubidium is a special card that changes the target of the opponent's attack a rearguards with Reverse in its name, which compensates for the lower overall shield of a grade 3-heavy deck, and prevents skills that only activate when attacking a vanguard from going off.

Although these tactics were conceived with the idea in mind of using Omega Glendios' ultimate break skill to achieve an alternate win condition--automatically winning at the beginning of the main phase if the opponent has 5 or more Locked cards in play--the real outcome of fights with Omega have varied immensely. Being restricted to Locking a single card each turn (and only able to potentially subvert that with the occasional Cold Death Dragon who gives the opponent a card from their deck in the Locked position) achieving World End is frequently an unrealistic goal. Instead Glendios' main strategy has been to stall the opponent out by being able to Lock both frontrow rearguards with relative ease and cast Omega Lock while recycling the discarded cards, immensely slowing down games until they take double the amount of turns to complete. Since Omega powers up all Reverses to have a 15000 power base, the opponent is denied the ability to use their rearguards while Omega's strike for higher numbers on average.

The key weakness to the Glendios deck is its reliance on having Reverse cards available. None of these card skills can activate without Reverse cards already existing on the field or in the hand. Because of this, World Line Dragon's Reverse-discarding skill is not always an optimal play even though there's a limited window that it can be used inside of. Having those Reverse becomes a double-edged sword by enabling stronger plays while weakening Omega's ability to defend earlier in an aggressive format. You can jump to the decklists by searching the page for [3LVGCS]

At the third Hakata VGCS, Nouvelle Vague has continued a steady train of dominance under first place cardfighter Seishirou, while Dragruler-Raging Form and Minerva fighters are managing to hold their own with it in the top ranks of tournament play. In particular, the new definitive Revenger deck is clearly emerging in these early tournaments. Taking a leaf from EX's deck from the Half Moon VGCS, the basic framework of Kaakun's build was two of each Phantom grade 3 paired with four copies of Raging Form Dragon and a supporting rearguard lineup of double Judgebaus into double Sword Breakers with multiple ways to superior call the second Judgebau Revenger through Mana, Tartu and Darkbond, and the paired rearguards Rakia and Lukea who power up when low-grade rearguards are called. The most surprising shared feature of these decks is the absence of Blaster Dark Revenger, whose field control and unflipping with Dorint once made him a staple of the Revenger build. You can jump to the decklists directly by searching the page for [3HVGCS]

The third Hakata VGCS had 93 participants in all, with a burgeoning number of Glendios cardfighters alongside the established Nouvelle and Shadow Paladin decks. A complete breakdown of the tournament is below;
34 Kagerou (25 Nouvelle 9 Overlord)
18 Shadow Paladin
9 Link Joker (5 Glendios 4 Chaos Breaker)
8 Genesis
6 Gold Paladin
6 Pale Moon
3 Aqua Force
3 Narukami
2 Dimension Police
2 Nova Grappler
1 Neo Nectar
1 Royal Paladin
Original photo by SapporoVGCS.
Meanwhile word has gotten out that Kagerou is likewise dominating the first Sapporo VGCS over on the opposite end of the archipelago. Sapporo's top 8 was made up of three Kagerou, three Link Joker, one Shadow Paladin and one Aqua Force cardfighters. As this is the first major headway for Aqua Force in the wake of BT15, many observers are eager to see where professional cardfighters have developed the clan in the first two weeks of the new format.

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.

Third Laketown/Fireball VGCS [3LVGCS]
First place: Kado/カド
Grade 0
x1 Star-vader, World Line Dragon (FV)
x4 Star-vader, Stellar Garage HT
x4 Star-vader, Meteoliger CT
x3 Star-vader, Weiss Soldat CT
x4 Star-vader, Nebula Captor DT
x1 Star-vader, Scouting Felis DT
Grade 1
x4 Star-vader, Ruin Magician
x4 Carved Seal Star-vader, Praseodymium
x3 Barrier Star-vader, Promethium
x3 Taboo Star-vader, Rubidium
Grade 2
x4 Star-vader, Magnet Hollow
x3 Star-vader, Cold Death Dragon
Grade 3
x3 Star-vader, “Ω” Glendios
x4 Star-vader, “Я” Cradle
x1 Demon God Marquis, Amon “Я”
x1 Covert Demonic Stealth Dragon, Hyakki Vogue “Я”
x1 Eradicator, Vowing Saber Dragon “Я”
x1 Silver Thorn Dragon Queen, Luquier “Я”
x1 Ice Prison Dark Lord, Cocytus “Я”

Second place: Black-rimmed Glasses/くろぶちめがね
Grade 0
x1 Red Pulse Dracokid (FV)
x4 Dragon Dancer, Barbara HT
x1 Seal Dragon, Artpique DT
x4 Gattling Claw Dragon DT
x4 Blue-Ray Dracokid CT
x3 Embodiment of Spear, Tahr CT
Grade 1
x2 Dragon Monk, Gojo
x2 Wyvern Guard, Barri
x2 Dragon Dancer, Maria
x4 Calamity Tower Wyvern
x4 Nouvelle Roman Dragon
Grade 2
x2 Flame Edge Dragon
x4 Berserk Dragon
x4 Nouvelle Critique Dragon
Grade 3
x1 Cruel Dragon
x4 Dauntless Drive Dragon
Grade 4
x4 Transcendence Dragon, Dragonic Nouvelle Vague

Third Hakata VGCS [3HVGCS]
First Place: Seishirou
Grade 0
x1 Red Pulse Dracokid (FV)
x4 Seal Dragon, Sharting HT
x1 Seal Dragon, Artpique DT
x4 Gattling Claw Dragon DT
x4 Seal Dragon, Biera CT
x3 Blue-ray Dracokid CT
Grade 1
x2 Dragon Monk, Gojo
x4 Seal Dragon, Rinocross
x4 Calamity Tower Wyvern
x4 Nouvelle Roman Dragon
Grade 2
x2 Dragonic Burnout
x3 Berserk Dragon
x4 Nouvelle Critique Dragon
x2 Demonic Dragon Berserker, Kumbhanda
Grade 3
x1 Cruel Dragon
x4 Dauntless Drive Dragon
Grade 4
x3 Transcendence Dragon, Dragonic Nouvelle Vague

Runner-up: Kaakun
Grade 0
x2 Judgebau Revenger (FV)
x4 Grim Revenger CT
x4 Revenger, Area Raid Dragon CT
x4 Freezing Revenger DT
x4 Healing Revenger HT
Grade 1
x4 Dark Revenger, Mac Lir
x2 Black-winged Sword Breaker
x1 Revenger, Dark Bond Trumpeter
x2 Transient Revenger, Masquerade
x2 Brunt Revenger, Shadow Lancer
x2 Self-control Revenger, Rakia
Grade 2
x3 Overcoming Revenger, Lukea
x4 Nullity Revenger, Masquerade
x2 Wiles Revenger, Mana
x2 Dark Cloak Revenger, Tartu
Grade 3
x2 Illusionary Revenger, Mordred Phantom
x2 Revenger, Dragruler Phantom
x4 Revenger, Raging Form Dragon

Third Place: Jiou
Grade 0
x1 Vivid Rabbit (FV)
x4 Witch of Lemons, Limoncello CT
x1 Cyber Tiger CT
x4 Battle Maiden, Kukurihime CT
x3 Fancy Monkey DT
x4 Witch of Big Pots, Laurier HT
Grade 1
x4 Witch of Apples, Cider
x3 Witch of Frogs, Melissa
x4 Goddess of Protection, Kushinada
x2 Ordain Owl
Grade 2
x3 Witch of Ravens, Chamomile
x4 Grape Witch, Grappa
x4 Goddess of Trees, Jupiter
Grade 3
x4 Omniscience Regalia, Minerva
x4 Regalia of Wisdom, Angelica