If you play Weiss Schwarz, chances are that you may have seen or experienced this:
*draws opening hand*
“Well, this just happened…”
*discards three CXs*
*draws three more CXs*
You know what that feeling is- the dreaded CX flood.
Side story: In 2012, during one of the first WS tournaments I ever played in, one of my starting hands contained all four copies of the same CX. I drew at least two more in the next couple of turns. I considered my luck so bad that day that I went and bought a lottery ticket after the event was over. No, hitting a 1/50,000 shot successfully (that is, the chances of drawing all 4 of the same CX in the opening 5 cards) was not going to say anything about the 1 in hundreds of millions chances of winning the lottery but hey, it made me feel better.
The CX flood (drawing or triggering 3 or more CXs, or cancelling that many times, especially in the early stages of the game), is a part of the game that we players will eventually deal with. Weiss Schwarz is unique, in that a CX flood doesn’t necessarily lose someone the game instantly. In fact, in WS, it can take a long time to lose. Compare to Magic: the Gathering, where typically being short a land for even a turn can cost someone the game within a very low number of turns, or even Cardfight!! Vanguard, where a missed ride will almost certainly (and quickly) lose the game for a player. In WS, a game will progress, because the game allows for characters to be played either for free, or with a small cost. Talking about the value of stock is a whole different discussion for another article. For now, it’s about what to do when that !@(&$ deck decides to be very evil!
Drawing a single CX in the first hand is actually more likely than one might think. To have exactly 1 CX in the first draw of 5 cards, the chances are 42%, just the right answer and a little worse than a coin flip’s chance. If we expand the range a bit to include the first 13 cards, the chances of having only 1 CX shrinks to about 25%, but the chances of having 2 or more increases to 66%! There are a lot of percentages to calculate, but I have already gone ahead and done those and was led to this conclusion, that:
In the opening turns, it is generally safe to assume that your opponent (especially if they have mulliganed only non-CX cards), has about 1 CX in hand.
It’s a fine tidbit to know, but what does it have to do with dealing with the 2, 3, or even 4 CXs in hand?
Dealing with a CX flood is deceptively difficult, and I have seen players deal with it in a variety of ways. Some clock excess CX cards, others just throw them away quickly at the start of the game, and some will use them aggressively to ‘keep up’ with damage. So what really works? I’ll break it down by timing. After I’ve gone through how to deal with one’s own CX flood, I’ll go into how to react to a CX flood on the opponent’s side.
Flooding at the start of the game
If for some reason you should draw 3-4 CXs within the opening turns, it’s time to hope your deck is packing free level 1 characters. Build a hand to maintain as much board presence as possible at level 1, and clock excess CX cards beyond the second. If your deck has +2 soul CXs, it can be very tempting to try to ‘race’ them, but doing this blindly is very dangerous. If you keep your opponent ahead on levels, you risk allowing them to continually clear your board with larger characters. Before level 1, try to get your opponent to level 0/5 or below. 0/5 is the optimal place to leave your opponent in the early turns, as it would take some very obscure effects and effort for an opponent to get him or herself to level 1 from 0/5. It allows you to preserve your board, and can give an incredible amount of card advantage. In the event that you are flooded however, keeping the opponent at or below 0/5 allows you to take less damage while cycling through six or more cards – 1 draw, 2 clock, 3 attack, 6 total.
Note that this may mean not attacking with or playing every level 0 character you may draw. For an early flood, the emphasis on the game should be placed on level 1, rather than level 0. In fact, after the excess CXs have been placed into clock, level 0 characters should be clocked as much as possible (with some exceptions, for example if the deck requires Experience, in the case of Shana or Bakemonogatari etc)
If your opponent floods
If your opponent is a victim of Drawing Way Too Many™, the first step is to stay calm and not celebrate too loudly. Poppers, confetti, and loud applause are generally frowned upon by players, and may have significant adverse consequences.
An opponent’s CX flood may show itself in a number of ways. Your opponent may have mulliganed a number of CXs greater than 1. They could have triggered a CX on their first attack if they are going first, or they could even have a very inappropriately timed triple cancel on the first turn cycle.
If your opponent’s deck is pretending that it is at Level 3/6, again the key is to not race ahead until the time is right. Even if your opponent drops/reveals 4 CXs in the first turn, do not slam that +2 soul CX! Why? Because inevitably, from level 0, they will go to level 1 and begin clearing your board with larger characters. In theory, yes, they are losing and losing badly. They are behind on damage and are ahead in levels. However, the game is not over until level 4 is reached! Instead, wait to use those CXs around level 1/5, so as to minimize the time that the opponent is at level 2.
If you attack for 5 soul (let’s say you have a direct attack with a 1 soul character, add +2 soul, and have a soul trigger), and the attack cancels on the fifth, that particular CX was very efficient for the opponent. Climax cards are at a mandatory number in each deck: 8. 8/50 is 0.16, or 16% of each deck. For example, let’s say your opponent has 40 cards in their deck and 5 CXs. If you attack for 5 soul, and hit a CX on the 5th card, the chances of that happening are about 7%. (Compared to a probability of 39% of the attack canceling at any point) If you attack for 5 and hit a CX on the 5th card on the attack after that, the chances of that occurring are also about 7%. (Compared to a probability of 38% of the attack canceling at any point)
Compare this to if you attack for 2 into the same deck of 40 that has 5 CXs. The chance of a CX appearing at all is about 22%. If the followup attack for 5 soul is into a deck with 38 cards and 4 CXs, the chances of an efficient CX showing up drops to 6%.
Therefore, you must give as little chance as possible to your opponent to have efficient CX cancels by attacking for less should they show more CXs early on.
As a side effect, attacking for little also allows us to keep drawing cards while maintaining board presence, while maximizing potential future damage.
Gather information about the number of CXs your opponent goes through by public information (the number they put into clock, the number they use and put into waiting room, the number they trigger, at the time of the trigger) to see that their CXs are as inefficient as possible.
(The spreadsheet containing the maximum soul per CXs remaining will be covered in a future article!)
Flooding in the Midgame
So let’s say that you haven’t flooded at the start, but around the end of level 1, you clock and draw a pair of CXs, leaving only a couple in your deck.
A midgame CX flood is trickier to navigate. While the early CX flood allows one to go all-in on their level 1 game, the midgame CX flood can force a player to gauge how long they will stay at level 2 before going to level 3. In addition, one’s stock and number of CXs in stock have to be considered.
As a general rule, avoid clocking CXs within level 2. A clocked CX at level 2 has a very low chance of refreshing with the deck, and is more likely to be worth less than two characters (especially if it is a +1k/1 soul CX, or a +2 soul CX).
So let’s paint one nightmare scenario, where we have only 3 CXs remaining in the deck, 2 are in hand, and the remaining 3 are in the waiting room from a rage-inducing mulligan. We are at level 1 and have 4 cards in clock. What do we do?
Assuming we have been doing a full clock and draw with every turn until this point, the deck will have somewhere between 20 and 25 cards remaining. If a maximum of three attacks can be canceled in the following turns, it’s time to start burning through the deck as quickly as possible. This is done best by attacking with as many characters as possible every turn, or taking a chance with a brainstorm effect. With 3 CXs remaining in the deck and 25 cards left, the chances of having a clean brainstorm (effectively denying the opponent four damage), is about 58%, and especially worthwhile if you are unlocking a CX from stock. (The percentages on brainstorming to deny damage will be covered in a future article.)
What about board presence?
If your opponent is down on cards, put as much as possible into your future level 2 as you can. If you have the luxury of doing so, save a level 3, but otherwise, stock your hand with level 1 and 2 characters.
If your opponent has an overwhelming card advantage (at least 3 cards and a full, nearly unbreakable board), consider getting in as much damage with 0 cost characters as possible. Be careful not to ram your smaller characters into theirs unless you have a significant damage advantage (in certain cases, this can happen!), as clearing your own board will leave you vulnerable to getting hit for a lot more on their next turn.
We Could Go On For Days About This!
Remember, a CX flood is usually a losing situation, and there is only so much one can do to actually dig oneself out of it. The key is to play to maximize a potential edge, and not be terribly bothered (nor surprised) by a loss that may come as a result.
Do you want a certain scenario to be looked at more in-depth? Questions or comments? Send your request to our email at theninthcx AT gmail DOT com!