Friday, November 28, 2014

Under the Full Moon

Hi there. It's me again with another deck profile. In the first of the new arc, G Booster Set 1: Generation Stride, one of the clans that was ignored for quite a while, got a very huge support. That clan's name is (*drums*): Oracle Think Tank.
 One of the clans that was very popular at the beginning of the game, decayed through two seasons, getting crumbs of support from Bushi, has become now, with the new support, one of the most popular again. (Welcome back.)
 Even if OTT got a lot of support at the beginning of the game, it started to get more rare and rare until they were reduced to extra boosters and promos support only. (Bushi took a considerable amount of time to release this common 10k attacker).
 To make this matter worse, the OTT clan which was used by Misaki Tokura in the beginning of the anime was losing practically all of her fights (with the exception of the decisive ones). And that hasn't changed. In the new arc it was degraded to second-rate clan used causally and of course, losing. But you need to know that that isn't true.
 As for the strategy, OTT is the "strategist" of the Cray planet. They exceed in prediction, draw, and defense (oh boy.) which makes this clan very hard to beat (if they would get regular, effective support that is.)
 The new support for Oracle Think Tank abuses the basic of the OTT's specs. With this, they have a new thing that I like to name "strategic draw". It works like Battle Sister, Monaka: you look at top x cards and select an y number of cards, add them to your hand an put the rest on the bottom.
 Even though the principle isn't new, now it became more effective. As a result you can use it to stack triggers (again, nothing new but more effective) Reaching that stack of triggers will not be that very hard considering the fact that we have grade 4 triple standing behemoths (and I am surprised that OTT has two of them making it possible to play the maximum number of G-Units.)
 Many people have started already building OTT decks. Some of them barely include old cards, others barely have new cards. Either way, these decks are much, much better than the old OTT decks which involved more planning than now.
 No more babbling about general specs let's get down to business.
Grade 0:17
1x Godhawk, Ichibyoshi
4x Psychic Bird
4x Paisley Magus
4x Lozenge Magus

Grade 1:15
4x Goddess of the Crescent Moon, Tsukuyomi
4x Mediator, Amenosagiri
4x Oracle Guardian, Gemini OR Shrine Guard, Tsunagai (both are 8k  vanillas.)
3x Battle Sister, Lemonade

Grade 2:11
4x Goddess of the Half Moon, Tsukuyomi
4x Silent Tom
3x  Diviner, Kuroikazuchi

Grade 3: 7
4x Supreme Sky Battle Deity, Susanoo
3x Goddess of the Full Moon, Tsukuyomi

G-Units: 8
4x Soaring Auspicious Beast, Qilin
4x Sword Deity of Divine Sound, Takemikazuchi
 As you might guessed, the deck involves the full Tsukuyomi chain ride. Even though this chain ride has shift from the main role to a supportive role, the chain ride still plays an important part.
 Tsukuyomi chain ride is famous for stacking. With this chain alone, you will send 15 cards at the bottom of your deck. Since you can place them in any order, you can group the triggers which will increase the chances of getting double/triple triggers.
 Usually, after I perform the check of Godhawk, Ichibyoshi, I put the triggers last. This way, after you perform the check of Goddess of the Crescent Moon, Tsukuyomi, by sending first the triggers to the bottom and than the others, you will create a more solid stack of triggers.
 These chain rides also give some small pluses. If succeed riding from the top 5 of your deck, you will get a +2 or +3 since you will not ride from your deck.
 However, your main vanguard is not Goddess of the Full Moon, Tsukuyomi. As much it hurts me to say, Goddess of the Full Moon, Tsukuyomi is not what is used to be. Now, she is a sidekick, a "back-up" vanguard whether you like it or not.
 The main vanguard is Supreme Sky Battle Deity, Susanoo. He is one of the grade 3 that activates skills when you Stride. He has a GB2 (+5000/ +1 crit when attacks) which is nothing to scoff at but it is not this skill which makes him valuable at. The"break stride" skill is what makes it valuable for this deck, When you Stride over him, by paying a counterblast, you can look at the top two cards, choose one and add it to your hand. Yeah, I know. It looks lame at first, that is what I thought too but in the actual practice, this proofed to be more awesome.
 However, this is just a part of the combo involving the OTT Stride units. OTT has two of them (while GC has three already and counting), and probably, we won't see others very soon.
 Now, it is your grade 3 turn. Which unit is it to Stride first?.  The first unit to Stride would be Soaring Auspicious Beast, Qilin for two reasons.
 The first reason is it has an on hit skill. It allows you to look at the top two, add one and put the other on the bottom when the attack hits. So, it is logical to use it ASAP since the attack has a higher chance to hit early rather than lately.
 The second reason is Sword Deity of Divine Sound, Takemikazuchi's skill can be activated when you have two or more face-up cards in your G-Zone (not to be confused with Generation Break where the requirement extends to Vanguard Circle but in this case, it doesn't.) Sword Deity of Divine Sound, Takemikazuchi allows you to look at the top four cards, add two to your hand and put the rest at the bottom in any order. The cost of the skill is counterblast two and you turn face-up one copy of Sword Deity of Divine Sound, Takemikazuchi. Since OTT doesn't have anything to return G-Units face down, striding this unit at random is not recommended. The skill can be used maximum of two times since two copies will be reserved for Stride and the other two as a part of the cost.
 All the units above help in stacking triggers. Even though Tsukuyomi chain ride is the main engine, the other occasional engines are also welcomed.
 The other unit that has GB which comes very handy is Diviner, Kuroikazuchi. By paying a counterblast, you can draw one card when this boosted unit attacks a vanguard. (doesn't matter if the hits or not.) This makes him much more better than Maiden of Libra since this unit attacks needs to hit and the price is counterblast 2. Sure it doesn't have a GB, which makes her viable for early pressure, but in a deck that is heavy counterblast, you cannot use them at rand and recklessly.Before we are going to review the heavy counterblast issue, I will talk about Silent Tom and his best buddies: Oracle Guardian, Gemini  and Shrine Guard, Tsunagai.
Silent Tom and his two best buddies: Oracle Guardian, Gemini and Shrine Guard, Tsunagai, (they are 8k vanillas and  4 of these vanillas will be enough) are a must in almost all OTT deck. Combined with Oracle Guardian, Gemin or Shrine Guard, Tsunagai,  and mix up with a trigger you make your opponent  to lose some hand. It's skill has become more important due to new G Units appearance, Silent Tom and his clones has become more valuable than before.
 So the last part is about resolving the issue of counterblast. An efficient unflipper in such is always welcomed since you will not be force to eat damage for just the sake of counterblasts, especially in a deck that is focused on defense rather than attack.
 In order to boost their sales, Bushiroad added a new skill to PG. Besides the usual "that unit cannot be hit", if you have a unit with the name of PG untile the of the battle, you can choose one card from the damage zone and unflip it. OTT is one of the first clans to have such unit: Mediator, Amenosagiri. You can still play Battle Sister, Chocolat if you want, but you gotta agree that Mediator, Amenosagiri is much better  (sorry Chocolat.)
 The main unflipper for the deck Battle Sister, Lemonade. When called, by soulblast two cards, you get to unflip up to two facedown cards from your damage zone. Usually,  units with such skill  are played at two, but I took a risk to play three of them and  it paid off. Since Tsukuyomi gives you a small extra soul and the 6th soul can be achieved by reriding/Psychic Bird , you can use it more than two times Also, playing it at three, increases the chances of getting it at the right. Third thing is that you will not be force to eat damage or call Mediator, Amenosagiri solely for its unflipping skill.
Units that I considered.
These are just some cards that I considered to play (and at one point in my testing, I did but I excluded them eventually.)
 Divine Sword,Amenomurakumo  is the OTT version of the "1+2" when comes to Stride. I had to cut down each of my units by one in my Grade 1 section (except Goddess of the Crescent Moon, Tsukuyomi, of course), just to make some room for it. The deck transformed into a total mess and besides, I seldom used it since when it came to Striding time, I always had a grade 3 when it came to it.
 Don't get me wrong. The unit is great and if I would have room for it without cutting something else from grade 1 section, I would put him in the deck.
 Tankman Mode Morning, Star is not that great. When called, you return grade 1 or higher unit back to the deck, shuffle it, soulcharge one and unflip one card. I considered it for while because it might come in handy with Tsukuyomi but then I realized one thing: the whole point of the deck is to get a good hand advantage not reduce it. And besided, I have Battle Sister, Lemonade and Mediator, Amenosagiri for this stuff without going, in best case, -1.
 Playing Weather Forecaster, Miss_Mist now is a wild gamble, Some people already tried to combine Legion with Stride (no comment on that.) but the majority already moved to Stride (or will move.), making Weather Forecaster, Miss_Mist's invalid as a Sentinel unit without Sentinel text.
 Diviner, Shinatsuhiko has a 9k base power he has a GB1: when he attacks a vanguard, he gets +3000 power. When I built the deck it cam down to him and Diviner, Kuroikazuchi. After a small debate and some weird ratio while I worked on it, I decided to go with Diviner, Kuroikazuchi since the deck was a focusing more on defense rather than attack and here any card drawn outside the draw phase counts, Based on that logic, I decided not to go with that.
 Also I considered a wider variety of grade 3's instead of Goddess of the Full Moon, Tsukuyomi but since they won't make an appearance on the field since they would be used as a cost for Stride, I decided that it doesn't really matter so I put Goddess of the Full Moon, Tsukuyomi to have the full ride chain.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Views on Stride

Hello, everyone. Now, since all my decks from now on will have to involve Stride, I need to talk about it even if it is a little bit summary.
 So, what is Stride?. Stride is a new deck zone in vanguard a.k.a Extra Deck. Before we talk about the new mechanics based on this new zone,  Let's talk about some common traits that all Stride units have a.k.a G-units.
Common Traits of G-Units. 
 All G-units are grade 4 triple drive behemoths. You can Stride when you and your opponent are at grade 3 or higher. Also,  when you Stride, you select one of your Vanguards and it becomes it's Heart. It copies the name (meaning that the Stride unit will have two names: its own and the Heart's) of the Heart but not it's skill (but I think that will change very soon.).
 The triple drive is what buggs me the most since the only weakness of clans such as Nova Grappler and Narukami are gone (they always had hand problems.) But with this, that problem is gone and makes them the most terrifying clans ever: a huge attack power and a strong defense.
 All Stride units are put face down in the G-Zone and they can be strided only when they are face down. At the End Phase, they return to the Stride zone face-up. This means that one copy of a G-unit can be Strided just once (like Legion.). Since you can put a maximum of 8 G-Units in the G-Zone (you can put a maximum of 4 copies of the same G-Unit so yeah.), logically you will be able to Stride 8 times. But that is not true. There are Stride units which involves turning one facedown G-unit face-up. That means the number of Strides you will have is of course less.
 Now, in order to Stride, you need to discard card(s)   which grades are equal to grade 3 or more. So, obviously, when you Stride, you will discard a grade 3. Sometimes I discarded a grade 2+1 or three grade 1 units. Considering the fact that they have triple drive, it makes sense that such cost will be put.

Mechanics based on G-Unit/G-Zone
 Now, let's talk about the new changes that brought up Stride. Well, the first change was the introduction of two new phases: Stride Step and G-Assist Phase. 
 Stride Step occurs after the Ride Phase and only then you can perform Stride (unless stated otherwise. I have a feeling that soon we will be able to Stride outside of this step.)
G-Assist Phase
 The G-Assist Phase is a  new phase and, personally, a very effective way to make some people buy the new products by pressing the point where it hurts most. This phase was introduced to prevent grade locking.
 This phase is after the draw phase and in order to perform this step you have to fullfil all conditions bellow:
1. Your current vanguard must not be grade 3 or greater.
2. You must not have any card in your hand with one grade greater than your vanguard.\
3. You must have 2 or more cards in your Generation Zone.
If you fullfill all three conditions above, than you can perform the next steps:
1. Reveal the cards in your hand to your opponent.
2. Look at five cards from the top of your deck.
3. From among them, add up to one card with 1 grade greater than your vanguard to your hand, and shuffle your deck.
4. Send 2 cards from your hand and 2 cards from your G zone out of the game (This is not bind nor discard).
Note: In the case where you did not add any card to your hand during the step 3, shuffle your deck, skip step 4, and proceed to ride phase.
Now, if you read the 3rd condition, then you will understand what I mean by saying that G-Assist Phase is  a very effective way to make some people buy the new products by pressing the point where it hurts most.
 As a result of this new Phase, a new zone appeared which is named RFG: Removed from game. And mark my words when I am saying that a new clan will appear that will resolve around this zone.
Generation Break 1 & 2.
 Another mechanic that Bushiroard created based on the G-Units is Generation Break (GB for future refference). It is similar to Limit Break but instead of damage as refference, it uses the face-up G-Units on your side of the field. Currently there are two types of  GB: GB1 and GB2.
 GB1 (=Generation Break 1) can be activated when you have one or more face-up G-Units on  your vanguard Circle and/or G Zone. GB1 is present not just in the grade 3 but in all grades (yes, in grade 0 as well.),. GB1 is a solid proof that Bushi still has some reason left. Since you can Stride when both players are at Grade 3, this is a very reasonable restraint.
 GB1 makes grade 2 or lower units usable as simple beatsticks early, not abusable early as skills. This restraint has been included even on the common 10k/11k/12k attackers and on on-hit units, making impossible for a solid early rush and/or abuse. In a twisted way, you can think that triggers have a more important role than ever with this restraint.
 GB2(=Generation Break 2.) is a restraint that so far only grade 3 units have. The skills they get are activated by having two or more face-up G-Units on your vanguard Circle and/or G Zone. These skills varies from lame to op, but the point is the same. Now, some people may that this will be a whole new LB era since you need some time to turn two G-units face up. That is not true since it doesn't involve a certain number of damage but involves the number of face-up G-Units on your Vanguard Circle and/or G-Zone. So early guarding is advised.
G-Units' Assistance 
 The new grade 3's have another skills also concerning G-units. These new grade 3's have skill(s) that activate if you Stride while they are on the Vanguard Circle (similar to break ride but without the the Limit Bread 4 stuff.) The skills, again, varies from lame to op. However since you are going to Stride early, this makes even the lamest new grade 3's very effective.
As usual, some clans have cheating while others don't. Stand triggers have not been very popular lately so Bushi decided to give them skills that a certain clan and/or deck needs. So, it happens that the new Gear Chronicle clan has one stand trigger that when it boosts, you can choose one face-up Stride unit and turn it face down (talk about recycling.). If you do this than you will have to return it back to the deck. (very convenient.) With such dinamic change, it is always hard to predict how many times you will be able to Stride. Usually, in the recent games when I used Stride, I never Strided more than 4 times and I Strided every turn..
  Another important addition and, of course, must have a.k.a staple, is the new 1+2 grades unit. This new card a  is a grade 1 unit that has two skills. The first skill is that, when called, you may reveal one grade 3 and  you can search your deck for one grade 3 add it and send one card from your hand to the drop zone. The second skill activates when you pay the cost to Stride. If you discard this unit as a cost for Stride, than it gains grade +2 => makes it a grade 3 => which is sufficient to Stride. Also, this means that you won't need to play more grade 3's than usual (even though they are the first candidates to do this).
Impact on the game
 Some impact have been described above and now I will try to describe (predict would be better said) how this will impact the game. Besides a new level of power creeping, some old cards and also, ignored cards, are returning to the scene and/or are getting from the tier 2 or bellow back on top. Such as Tsukuyomi chain ride which has become op lately and especially with Lemonade and the Stride units, you will a super-mega cocktail which is greater than Amtaerasu Megablast. 
The Limit Break era, well, it is not affected  a lot even with the new Limit Break Cancelers. They mind their own business and G-Units mindtheir own. They can work together but not as the new grade 3 bosses do.
 Legion is a little bit more complicated. Their interaction is much better than the Limit Break since you can return triggers back to the deck and combined with a triple drive behemoth.... you do the math. On top of that, you can still have both Legion support cards and GB support cards in your deck. Looks pretty promising to me. (a new deck idea came upon me.)
 Now, I save the best for last: Break Ride. Since it occurs during the Ride Phase and the Ride Phase is followed by the Stride Step, is it worth to play them since you are planning to Stride right away?  The answer is: yes, as long as the break ride skill will activate right away or as I like to say. "effective immediately". Of course, if you stride the same turn you will lose the 10k boost from the ride. However, the original power of your current vanguard is added to the G-Unit G-units so far have a 15-16k) so you will still gain 5k or 6k depending on the G-Unit so there is no loss here.
To understand what I mean by "effective immediately" I will give you an exanple between two breakrides: Prism Image, Vert and Duo True Sister, Meer. These two units, they are both break rides but they have different timing. 
Duo True Sister, Meer gives the vanguard a skill that activates when you attack with your vanguard. So, if you Stride a G-Unit on the vanguard after the breakride, you will lose that skill since the G-unit copies the name but not the skill.But things are different with Prism Image, Vert. Her skill activates in the Ride Phase, before the Stride Step, which means the part about bouncing units will activate (and since Bermuda Triangle activates skills when are bounced back, you gain something.). 
 This can also be abused with the units such as Liberator, Holy Shine Dragon. This units abuse the breakride even more since they recycle themselves at the End Phase, after the G-Unit is returned. 
 So like it or not boys, Break Rides are still viable now (even after one era and the beginning of the a whole new arc.*sigh* )
This is all for this article.