Saturday, December 6, 2014

News: Dragonic Overlord “The X” Tops FC2014 Fukuoka, 2012 National Champion in Fourth

Flavor text: "The End isn't finished."
December 6th, Fukuoka prefecture, Japan. The Fukuoka branch of Bushiroad's ongoing Fighter's Climax 2014 tournament concluded at the West Japan General Exhibition Center with a Kagerou cardfighter, alias "Bottan," placing first using a Dragonic Overlord “The X” deck. Second place was a Gear Chronicle cardfighter, and third place a Royal Paladin fighter playing Thing Saver Dragon, and fourth was 2012 national champion Nakamura Seishirou also playing Thing Saver. The first, second and fourth place decklists are given below. Bottan tweeted that he was undefeated in the tournament, with his qualification rounds consisting of Nova Grappler, Dimension Police, Revenger and Royal Paladin matchups. He played top 16 against Gear Chronicle, Kagerou, Royal Paladin and another Gear Chronicle fighter.

Dragonic Overlord “The X”  (read as "The Cross," as in "crossover") was introduced in G-BT01: Generation Stride as a revival legion for Dragonic Overlord the End, the grade 3 that has served as a continual hazard throughout multiple formats. Nearly every era of the game has had its own incarnation of the End, making him almost as long lived as Kagerou itself. Few cardfighters will need a reminder of what the End is capable of, but for the benefit of newer players; if the End's attack hits, he can counterblast 2 and persona blast to restand. Because the End gains more cards from his second twin drive than he has to discard, his restand is both a +1 in card advantage and a grossly aggressive means of checking for additional triggers.

“The X” makes the End all the more effective because not only does his legion turn the End into a 22000 base attacker to make the on-hit easier to get off, which  “The X” legions he can search the deck for a copy of either the End or “The X.” And if his attack doesn't hit,  “The X” can counterblast 1 and persona blast a copy of himself to retire two of the opponent's rearguards. This turns the crossoverlords into a lose-lose situation--since the copy of the End is added directly to the hand from the deck as a +1 in advantage, the opponent is faced with either letting the attack hit so that the vanguard can restand with a net +2 and able to overwhelm the opponent with their inherently large center lane, or blocking the attack and taking a -2 while “The X” goes back to a neutral +0. This is only the basis for the deck however, as what is truly championing “The X” is his massively overgrown pool of Overlord-specific support cards and alternate grade 3s that give him more options than there is room in the deck for.

“The X's” rise was not unforeseen. Just two days prior to the set's release on December 5th, prerelease prices in Japan showed an immense demand for “The X,” with the card being the most expensive triple rare in Generation Stride at 1500~1700 yen per card according to aucfan. Route Flare, the deck's primary stride unit, stood at only 1000 yen per card. Some will dispute the Fukuoka results as not being representative of what is to come, as Bushiroad's tournaments are infamous for their best-of-one format. However, the prereleases prices suggest a demand significant enough that these results will be replicated at the more legitimate VGCS tournaments.

Original image uploaded by besthito. Full decklist is transcribed below. Other than Route Flare and Messiah, the deck is fully SPed, with all of his Neo Flames being legion rares.
The core of “The X” rests on the grade 2 Perdition Dragon Dragonic Neoflame. Unlike many of the Perdition support, Neoflame does not require a Perdition vanguard to activate. When Neoflame is called to the rearguard, it receives a skill that when an opponent's rearguard in the same column as it is put into the drop zone, allows Neoflame to counterblast 1 and retire another in the same column. Virtually every skill in the deck can play off of Neoflame in some way. If the End's attack hits a rearguard, not only will the End restand but because a rearguard was placed into the drop zone Neoflame's counterblast will retire its booster. If the End does not hit and “The X's” persona blast goes off instead, “The X” can retire two rearguards and Neoflame will remove one of their boosters. This dramatically escalates the situation to either a +1 vs -2 or -1 vs -3 depending on which persona blast is used.

Furthermore, with the grade 2 Dragonic Burnout, who can return an Overlord from the drop zone to the deck and then soulblast 1 to retire a rearguard, it becomes possible to combo him to Neoflame, paying counterblast 1 and soulblast 1 to destroy an entire column. Because of Burnout's conditions, if either “The X” or the End's persona blasts go off, Burnout is fully set up for next turn, giving multiple options across several turns for clearing out the opponent's field and punishing them for fighting back. Bottan built his deck with multiple legions in mind that are able to recycle these grade 2 options, and having access to Dragonic Overlord the Great both offers another restanding vanguard option that can also trigger a rearguard Neoflame's skill.

Kagerou's primary stride unit, Route Flare Dragon, expands the deck's options by allowing it to retire an entire column twice per game. While this does not synergize with Neoflame, it does give the Kagerou cardfighter additional options for beating down the opponent so that the End will hit later. The cost of discarding a grade 3 in order to stride provides an opportunity to use Dragonic Burnout in the same turn as the stride unit, retiring three rearguards. Since Route Flare requires two units to be face-up in the generation zone after his persona blast is activated in order to resolve, he encourages early use of Divine Dragon Knight Mahmoud, whose on-hit retires another rearguard. The turn 3~4 plan for the deck depending on which fighter went first then becomes to discard one of the Overlords to stride Mahmoud, call Neoflame, call Burnout and return the Overlord discarded to the deck to retire a rearguard, use Neoflame to retire that rearguard's booster, then hit with Mahmout to retire another. On the next turn the Overlord returned to the deck can be grabbed back with “The X's” on-legion skill. The Overlord deck has multiple ways to trigger its key cards and start up an explosive sequence of retire skills that severely limit the number of safe plays against it. The only decks capable of circumventing “The X” directly are Tachikaze, Shadow Paladin and the Great Nature variants that draw off of their rearguards' end phase retires rather than call them back to the field.

Original image uploaded by Doctor O. Full decklist is transcribed below.
Bottan's Overlord decklist was later uploaded a second time by Doctor O, followed by the second place cardfighter's Gear Chronicle deck. The Gear Chronicle finalist focused on guard manipulation in his build, using the grade 2 Steam Knight Puzur Ili as a Silent Tom variant capable of blocking grade 0 cards, and Chrono Jet Dragon's generation break 2 to block perfect defense cards. With the generation rare Chronos Command preordering at 2500~3000 yen per card, the deck's grade 4 lineup is difficult to complete in Japan, but its property of sending all of the opponent's rearguards into their deck has been enough to launch Gear Chronicle into professional play out of the box.

One of the contributing factors to “The X's” victory may be the new G-BT01 onwards version of perfect defense cards. The runner-up at Fukuoka ran Steam Maiden Alulim, a new variant of these units, that can unflip a damage if there is a copy of herself in the drop zone when she is guarded with. In exchange, Alulim variations can only protect the vanguard and cannot be called against an attack on a rearguard. Neither Dragonic Overlord “The X's” nor the End's skills require them to hit or attack a vanguard. Both the End's restand and “The X's” retire skill can activate after attacking a rearguard, and the Great's on-hit specifically has to hit a rearguard, which means that by running these new perfect defense cards, other cardfighters are enabling Overlord fighters to funnel them towards whichever scenario is the worst one.

Original image uploaded by Seishirou. Full decklist is transcribed below.
Nakamura Seishirou tweeted his decklist shortly after the tournament. As in most years since his 2012 debut Seishirou played a Royal Paladin deck, this time using a Thing Saver variant with the legion grade 2 Jewel Knight Swordmy to superior call his copies of Shellie to act as boosters. Since Swordmy does not require a Jewel Knight vanguard, Swordmy has seen recent integration into Seeker decks as a source of cheap boosting power. Other modifications include Cycirlz from G-BT01, who gains +2 grade when discarded for the cost of stride, allowing him to be used as an alternative means of striding the deck's grade 4s Gablade and Saint Blow Dragon. Gablade's on hit skill superior calls a grade 2 or greater unit from the deck, providing an ideal moment to bring out Swordmy early on and then superior call Shellie behind him for a net +2. Like Route Flare above, Saint Blow's skill requires it to turn a copy of itself face-up in the generation zone and then have two or more face-up G-units in the zone. This endows it with +3000 power for each rearguard and an additional critical, which combined with the power from striding makes an unboosted 41000 power 2 critical center lane that can alternatively force the opponent to higher damage early so that Thing Saver's restand skill becomes devastating, or catch the opponent unprepared to defend in the turns after TSD has taken out much of their hand options.

Seishirou had just recently won the sixth Hakata VGCS with a similar deck, and in August had won the second Kitakyuu CS with Thing Saver-“Abyss.” His success in multiple tournaments, both official and underground, has made him one of the most recognizable professionals in Japanese play.

Fighter's Climax 2014 Fukuoka Regional Qualifier
Regional Champion: Bottan/ぼったん
Grade 0
x1 Red Pulse Dracokid (FV)
x4 Seal Dragon, Shirting HT
x2 Seal Dragon, Artpique DT
x3 Gattling Claw Dragon DT
x4 Seal Dragon, Biella CT
x3 Magnum Shot Dracokid CT
Grade 1
x4 Protect Orb Dragon
x4 Dragon Monk, Gojo
x4 Calamity Tower Wyvern
x1 Violence Horn Dragon
Grade 2
x4 Dragonic Burnout
x3 Burning Horn Dragon
x4 Dragonic Neoflame
Grade 3
x4 Dragonic Overlord “The X”
x3 Dragonic Overlord the End
x2 Perdition Emperor Dragon, Dragonic Overlord the Great
Grade 4 (Generation Zone)
x4 Imperial Flame Dragon King, Route Flare Dragon
x1 Divine Dragon Knight, Mahmoud
x1 Harmonics Messiah
x2 Miracle Element, Atomos

Grade 0
x1 Timepiece Dracokid (FV)
x4 Steam Maiden, Ululu HT
x4 Lucky Pot Dracokid DT
x4 Steam Battler, Dadashig CT
x4 Steam Battler, Mashuda CT
Grade 1
x4 Steam Maiden, Alulim
x4 Steam Breath Dragon
x3 Steam Scalar, Gigi
x3 Maser Gear Dragon
Grade 2
x4 Smoke Gear Dragon
x4 Steam Knight, Puzur Ili
x3 Twin Maser Dragon
Grade 3
x4 Chrono Jet Dragon
x4 Ruin Disposal Dragon
Grade 4 (Generation Zone)
x4 Interdimensional Dragon, Ragnaclock Dragon
x2 Interdimensional Dragon, Chronos Command Dragon
x1 Interdimensional Dragon, Mystery Flare Dragon
x1 Miracle Element, Atomos

Fourth place: Seishirou
Grade 0
x1 Advance Party Seeker, File (FV)
x4 Jewel Knight, Hilmy HT
x4 Margal DT
x4 Jewel Knight, Noble Stinger CT
x4 Blazing Jewel Knight, Rachelle CT
Grade 1
x4 Holy Knight Guardian
x4 Laurel Knight, Cycirlz
x4 Stinging Jewel Knight, Shellie
x2 Good Faith Seeker, Cynric 
Grade 2
x4 Blaster Blade Seeker
x4 Full Bloom Seeker, Cerdic
x4 Jewel Knight, Swordmy
Grade 3
x4 Seeker, Thing Saver Dragon
x3 Seeker, Sacred Wingal
Grade 4 (Generation Zone)
x4 Shrouded Divine Knight, Gablade
x4 Divine Sacred Dragon, Saint Blow Dragon