Saturday, June 10, 2017

Let's Translate Cardfight!! Vanguard: Lock on Victory!! Part 6: Kyou

Today we're going to play a little game called "my hand is better than your hand."

Ren: Well then, shall we resume our club activities?

Yahagi Kyou: Wait a sec, Suzugamori Ren! This is where your luck runs out!
Ren: Umm, you're...who was it, again?
Kyou: Youuu!!! I'm the one and only Yahagi Kyou! Dang-blang it, you still don't remember me? I'm not some errand-boy service!

Kyou: Eh? What's with you? Haven't seen your face before. Fukuhara's new member!? You mean, you're Ren's underclassman!? Disregarding the great Kyou, you must be pretty arrogant.

Kyou: Let's you and me fight. I'll begin this bloodbath with you, and after I win, Ren is next. Get ready, partner!
Ren: It's no trouble really, but I think that opportunity may not concern us.

This is how my deck is looking. At this point it's going to remain fixed until we hit a certain point in the story. It's a 6 draw build, which is one of my preferred lineups. It makes for a good balance of offense and defense, where you tend to benefit more from successfully damage checking triggers. That can be important in a break ride deck that hinges on taking the right damage at the right time. And since Sanctuary of Light benefits from placing its grade 3s on the rearguard, the draws give you another ideal discard target for Iseult.

VS Kyou
Spike Brothers 1

Our opening hand is pretty darn good. Even if we don't get Determinator in our top 7, we get a second attempt with it just by having a grade 2 available, and if we're in the business of holding back this game then we can ride Planetal a second time later to use its CB2 again and effectively trade a grade 3 for a 10k booster.

Our top 7 check gives us the complete ride chain, so we can anticipate having three attacks next turn and a full field on the turn after.

Kyou: Suzugamori Ren! After I'm done with this one, I'm gonna rip you apart!

...He's gradelocked. Reset!

Our new hand is still playable, but barely. We're going to have to stall on Ashlei for a bit, and hope the extra crit makes up for it.

Kyou has a pretty terrible opening ride though, opening on a 4k base, and we can easily capitalize on the numbers difference here. Our hand is defensive, so we need to play defensively. Since we're going first and can count on consistently having a higher base power than Kyou, we can likewise guarantee he'll be at a higher damage throughout the match if we guard accordingly.

In most cases, you want to take advantage of opportunities to no-pass an opponent with a 10k shield. There are exceptions, like when access to counterblast becomes more important than maintaining a lead, or when facing deck-out strategies, but those are not the rule. Most Vanguard fighters are bad at utilizing the fundamentals, and will happily let attacks like this hit when they have zero incentive to do so.

"Get! Critical trigger!"
On this particular battle phase, I've wasted one of Kyou's eight critical triggers by blocking him in this way. In pre-legion format, that loss is permanent.

We ride Claudine and swing; Kyou rides Treasured Black Panther and uses Mecha Trainer to search out a copy of Dudley Dan. Dan requires a staggering 2 counterblast to play, but if used in combination with a vanguard that can offset its low base power, his ability to superior call anything mid-battle phase can prove devastating.

Kyou calls Devil Summoner, a pretty important card that can topdeck call anything as long as it's a grade 1 or 2, but he whiffs it on a grade 3 Juggernaut Maximum. Summoner is chiefly a threat when called mid-battle phase while a field power up like Bad End Dragger is active; depending on the call target, it can raise the required guard anywhere from 5 to 15k. Of course, if it whiffs, you're far worse off than if you had simply played something with more reasonable power like the aforementioned Maximum.

We nail a defensive draw trigger, but it doesn't give us much to work with. Our hand is still primarily triggers, without even any Sanctuary of Light units to put down.

Palamedes and Marron are only relevant as a vanilla 16k column, but we don't have anything else to play on our turn, and we want to make our break ride turn bad for Kyou as fast as possible.

Kyou: Watch closely. This is my incredible power! The great Kyou rides--

Juggernaut Maximum may not look like much, seeing as it's a vanilla 11k on vanguard circle, but in classic Spike Brothers you didn't really need an effect vanguard. General Siefried existed if you wanted to use it, but both Maximum and Skydiver were such excellent rearguards on their own that he wasn't wholly necessary. Unfortunately for Kyou, the classic pre-limit break Spikes have aged like milk.

Kyou's winning the card advantage game for now, but we're winning the damage game, and that's the game that'll kill you. His 15k center lane is a 10k two-pass, while his final rearguard will be a 24k that returns itself to the deck--there's an obvious route to minimizing damage here.

Kyou vanilla drive checks a Highspeed Brakki and Spike Brothers Reckless Assault Squad.

Soulblasting for Maximum's cost is wholly needless here as just knowing we're down to 3 cards in hand and at 1 damage tells you that we're taking any boosted attack that comes our way. Kyou thinks it's a good play though, so Juggernaut shuffles into the deck.

Bizarrely, Kyou decides to go to 5 damage this turn. The Lions work in mysterious ways.

Thus far this has been a game of "turn cards sideways until one of us hits triggers," and we've been winning that game handily, but next turn we'll be in that magic 4 damage range where card effects start happening.

Kyou calls a Brakki and swings with Juggernaut. Dudley Dan meets his check timing, and Kyou throws Cheer Girl Marylin into the soul to superior call Maximum from the deck. It's absolutely ridiculous, but he just gave up a perfect guard while we're sitting on a break ride that gives additional crit--and we know he could have put Assault Squad into the soul instead! This one's a 10k two-pass, using up our final heal trigger from the opening hand.

Kyou checks a single crit, passing all of the effects over to Brakki. We have no reason to block any more attacks.

Kyou's turn ends with us at 5 damage. He's finally caught up--but when two players trade damage in Vanguard, the player playing catch-up is generally the loser.

Break ride! Pure Heart Jewel Knight, Ashlei! 

Our hand doesn't allow us to set up a proper endgame, but it will let us continue delaying until we can get to that point. We know Kyou has two 5ks and one 10k in hand, and he can't let a single attack hit this turn, or he loses. Our Determinator can attack the intercept he left in play, and our vanguard requires at least 20k shield for a one-pass or a 25k shield for two. Even assuming he has a perfect guard in hand, that leaves only two unknowns left for him to call and attack with next turn--and with six cards in hand, two perfect guards among them, a 10k and two intercepts, Kyou has little hope of getting through it.

Kyou drops two 10ks and the Assault Squad from before on Ashlei for a two-pass, bringing the card advantage count to -3 (us) vs -6. (him) Twin drive.

We draw a Claudine off of Margal, and now we have a choice to make. We know of one 5k he has in hand. Presumably, Kyou can handle two triggers on the rearguard, but couldn't both no-pass our vanguard and block Palamedes with two triggers on him, hence why he did a two-pass. That means at least one of his other two cards is a 10k and the other is (at minimum) a 5k--the only way we're dealing six damage this turn is if we check a second trigger and put the first one on our vanguard. But that would be a waste, as Kyou will inevitably lose if he uses up his whole hand to block Palamedes. So it's in our best interest to put Margal on Palamedes, regardless of whether the second check is a trigger or not. Power to Palamedes it is.

Our second check is a dud. Kyou drops 15k on our rearguard, and begins his last turn.

He calls Treasured Black Panther, and uses Dudley Dan to send a Wonder Boy into soul, superior calling Juggernaut Maximum.

His hand is empty; we have game next turn. This time, 15k is a no-pass.

Kyou drive checks a Sky Diver and Wonder Boy. Between that and his intercept, he has 10k shield available. It's time we become a 2013 advertisement for limit break.

"Break Ride!"
That extra critical puts Kyou beyond even the possibility of a sixth-damage heal.

Kyou: No guard!

Kyou is now staring down three damage.

Kyou: KUSSSOOOUUUU  (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻)

This time we see one of the more interesting bonuses. In addition to our normal win points, limit break, and break ride points, we score 100 more VP for making 3 consecutive draws in the pre-game match of rock-paper-scissors. This is a recurring bonus in all three Victory games, but it's much harder to get in Lock on Victory than it is in Stride.

Kyou: Guoohh! I-impossiblllleeee! The great Kyou lost to this nobody!?

Ren: Touya is extremely strong.
Kyou: And Ren even remembers his name! I haven't even been his opponent yet. Damn it! From now on I'm in training! I'll be back, you'll see!

Kyou: Remember this, Suzugamori Ren! Koyo Touya! I'll be back!

Ren: Hmm, I wonder what he wanted? Well, let's not worry about that. Moreover, we should hurry and return to our club activities. Tetsu will be angry if we're late.