World War D Deck Tech: A Look at the Deck that Won WGP 2013

Welcome to the 9th CX’s Weiss Schwarz Deck Techs! This article covers the deck that won the 2013 WGP.

Congratulations to Rafael Vigo, the player from North America that took down the 2013 WGP Title!

With the deck list being made public, we are only given the hints from Rafael in his deck comments as to how the deck works (paraphrased):

Level 0: Large cards to build stock & maintain board presence

Level 1: Anti-salvage 1/0, and maintain overwhelming board presence

Finally, change into healers & burn Milhi.

Seems simple enough, but let’s look at the decklist for those that may not know the set at all – (including me, the author!) [English card names based on the translations found on HotC: DD/WE17 DD/WE12]

Cards – 50

Level 0 – 15

2 DD/WE17-01 Couvert, Admiration Kept Inside
2 DD/WE17-02 Rebecca, Divine Sword Mercurius
2 DD/WE17-03 Couvert, Welcoming
1 DD/WE12-02 Gaul, Prince of Galette
3 DD/WE12-06 Leo, Solitary Charge
2 DD/WE17-19 Noir, Summer Camp
3 DD/WE17-35 Isuka Makishima

Level 1 – 13

1 DD/WE17-04 Adel, Hero Mask
4 DD/WE12-03 Leo, Fair and Square
4 DD/WE12-09 Gaul Galette des Rois
1 DD/WE17-39 Ecle, Battle of the Sealed Cave!
3 DD/WE17-33 Yukikaze, Battle of the Sealed Cave!

Level 2 – 7

3 DD/WE17-13 Couvert, Mage Type
2 DD/WE17-20 Gaul, Hero Crystal
2 DD/WE17-40 Millhi, Looking Up

Level 3 – 7

3 DD/WE17-05 Couvert Eschenbach Pastillage
4 DD/WE12-22 Millhiore Firianno Biscotti

CX – 8

3 DD/WE17-44 Heart Relation
3 DD/WE12-35 Hero’s Arrival!
2 DD/WE12-36 Rico’s Support

The deck has three colors: red, green, and yellow. Using three colors (or even all four!) is not unheard of in WS, and does demand a bit more attention than other decks that may run one or two colors.  Let’s start with the breakdown of the deck from level 0.

dd_we12_06dd_we17_01dd_we17_02dd_we17_03dd_we17_19dd_we17_35dd_we12_02

At level 0, we have 15 characters, and a very wide variety of effects. Note that all 3 colors in the deck are present in this spread. (Dog Days does not have any blue cards)

dd_we17_01Couvert, Admiration Kept Inside is a character with a discard & search effect. When sent to the waiting room, the player may pay 1 stock, discard a card, and search for a [Hero] or [Animal] character. For this deck, this is effectively the same as searching for any character. While Couvert is not particularly combat-worthy (only having 1500 power), the list only has 2, which emphasizes its utility over regular use.

dd_we17_02Rebecca, Divine Sword Mercurius is a card that becomes a 3000 power attacker the turn it’s played, but that effect is rarely relevant. More relevant is the brainstorm effect; on the offense, it adds +1 soul for each CX revealed. But on the defense, it can be repeated until the deck is more ‘safe’. Remember the chart? Two copies again emphasizes utility and a need to draw and use a single copy over a game.

dd_we17_03Couvert, Welcoming is a ‘vanilla’ 3500, only so long as the opponent has 4 or more cards in hand. If they have fewer, it shrinks to 2500. Because level 0 rarely results in an opponent having fewer than 4 cards in hand, this Couvert can be reasonably called a vanilla 3500 with no drawback, most of the time. Even if it shrinks or is reversed, it has no “punish” effect attached to it, such as sending it to clock, and so on.

dd_we12_02The one-of Gaul, Prince of Galette is an interesting inclusion. It is a 3500 power for a turn cycle, and then it shrinks to 2000 power thereafter. Most likely, it is included as a variant of the previously mentioned Couvert, that has a duration defined as opposed to a varied duration.

dd_we12_06Leo, Solitary Charge is a “loner”. If alone, the character becomes a 4000 power attacker that cannot be reversed by another character’s ability. That is, it is not possible to use a level reverser to eliminate this character on its own. This character is perfect for if the deck has to go first, and is the ideal first play.

dd_we17_19Noir, Summer Camp is a unique reverser. Normally, reversers just reverse a character of equal or lower level, but Noir can heals the opponent, and then send the character that reversed it to clock.

dd_we17_35Finally, we have Isuka Makishima, which boosts another character by 1500 for the turn and gives it the [Weapon] characteristic. Note that it cannot boost itself! The power boost is the most relevant part of this card though, as a 2000 power boost is relevant throughout the game, not just at level 0. The card is an example of good design; it has a fair cost, and an effect that challenges the player to use it at its best possible time.

Having 15 level 0 characters is just one short of the ‘recommended’ number, but the level 1 is where that number is definitely justified.

dd_we12_03dd_we12_09dd_we17_04dd_we17_33dd_we17_39

At level 1, the deck has 13 characters, and only 3 of them have a cost.

dd_we17_04Adel, Hero Mask, is a level 1 Backup character, that gives the chosen character +1000 power. At the cost of putting an [Animal] or [Hero] in the waiting room on the bottom of the clock, it can also give another character +1500 (both effects can be applied to the same character). Though this is just a one-of counter, the Adel has a very nice synergy with the deck, as it enables a player to access a color it might not have early on. Later in the game, it can also setup for a Change with Millhi, Looking up, in a CX combo with Heart Relation.

dd_we12_03Leo, Fair and Square is the dreaded “anti-salvage” character. While it is only a 4000 power 1/0, its triggered effect is quite powerful. Any time a character is returned to your opponent’s hand from their waiting room, Leo triggers and gives 2000 power to any character you control. Note that this effect is not just limited to a Door trigger. It can also apply to Bond! Leo can also rest to boost an [Animal] character by 1500 power for the turn, making it a relevant character regardless of whether it is in the front or the back. If any deck has Door triggers or many characters with Bond, Leo can be a huge problem. There are four copies of this card because the deck wants to see as many as possible in a game.

dd_we12_09Gaul Galette des Rois is a character that rewards a player for having a full board. On its own, it’s a 1/0 4500, with the potential to be 6500 if the player has 4 other [Animal] characters. It gains 500 power for each other [Animal] character the player controls. When boosted by a Leo, Fair and Square, and with a full board, it can have 8000 power on the attack with no cost, which is out of reach for many decks to react to. Because of this, the deck runs four.

dd_we17_39Ecle, Battle of the Sealed Cave! appears as a one-of as a very utility-based character. At the cost of 1 stock, it can become a level reverser (in case of emergency), but most relevant is the encore ability, which is to select a character in the waiting room with either [Animal] and/or [Hero] and put it on the bottom of the clock. Adding Ecle gives the deck the room to snipe troublesome level 1 characters (let’s say an opposing Gaul Galette, in the case of the mirror match), as well as setting up the clock in later levels for a CX combo change.

dd_we17_33Last, we have Yukikaze, Battle of the Sealed Cave!, which is the only character that costs anything at level 1 and below. Yukikaze is a 1/1 6500 that gains hand encore and +500 power if you have 3 or more other [Animal] characters. Given that no other character actually costs stock to play, there should very rarely ever be a time that this character cannot it played, and played to its greatest effect. Characters at 1/1 7000 with hand encore are rare (most recently, fate/kaleid has an Illya with a similar effect) and typically difficult to deal with in the context of level 1.

At level 2, we have 7 characters:

dd_we17_13dd_we17_20dd_we17_40

dd_we17_13First is Couvert, Mage Type. At its base, it is a +1000 power Assist for characters in front with a CX phase Change effect. At the beginning of the Climax Phase, the player can pay 1 stock and discard a card to swap it with a “Couvert Eschenbach Pastillage” in the clock. This kind of Change effect is a bit riskier with its window, as it demands that the target be in the clock instead of waiting room, which most Change effects check. Even if the timing is missed however, the player still has a 1000 power Assist effect.

dd_we17_20Gaul, Hero Crystal, is there to keep other level 2 characters in check. A 2/1 9000 power character usually has a drawback, but being unable to side attack is hardly a drawback. At only 2 copies, it gives the deck a little more play at level 2, while mostly remaining focused on  the Change effects.

dd_we17_40Last, we have Millhi, Looking Up, which is has both Backup and Change. The Backup is a level 2 +3000 power boost, which is standard for the level and cost. The CX Change effect is not used in this deck.   

The deck has a very small number of level 2 characters, and most of them are not for attacking unless they are using their Change effect. The cards also happen to be quite useful on their own, especially in later turns if the player is already at level 3 or if there is nothing to Change into.

The level 3 game is mercifully simple, with 7 characters but only 2 types.

dd_we12_22dd_we17_05

dd_we12_22Couvert Eschenbach Pastillage is a healer that gets +1000 power if you have 3 or more other characters with [Hero] or [Royalty]. Though this character is rather lackluster (it has no effects beyond this), its power lies in the ability to access it from level 2. What it sacrifices in hard effects, it gains in time. However, it is only run as a 3-of.

dd_we17_05Millhiore Firianno Biscotti is The Finisher: not only does the card heal, but it can deal an additional damage at the cost of 2 stock if it reverses a character in battle.

The CX lineup is:

dd_we12_35dd_we12_36dd_we17_44

Heart Relation is a +1000/+1 soul, Door trigger CX. (1K1)

Hero’s Arrival! is functionally the same.

Rico’s Support is a +2000/+1 soul (1 character), draw 1 card, 2 Soul trigger CX. (2K1, draw)

The deck has 3 Heart Relation and Hero’s Arrival!, and 2 Rico’s Support.

The CX spread, trigger-wise, is 6 Door and 2 2 Soul. Effect-wise, it has 6 +1000/+1 soul, and 2 2K1 + draw.

How Do We Use This?

Most of the guide in how to use the deck is in the explanation for the cards themselves. There are some characters that are best played at certain times. Actually, a lot of the learning for how to use a deck comes from learning how to beat it.

But How Do We Beat The Deck?

An excellent question. It starts with a plan of attack from level 0.

Because this deck has three colors in it, cutting it off from a color early on can be beneficial. Normally at level 0, the ideal place to leave a player is at 5 in clock. However, because Dog Days is on three colors, it can be worth pinching the quality of their hand and getting some information about what they will play by putting them to 0/6. If DD is at 0/6, they will (and should) clock to level 1. With this in mind however, they may level using a character with a color that matches with whatever they might have available in hand. If they level and play level 1 characters, it is probably because: you are far from level 1, and/or they do not have other level 0 characters to play. Because the deck does its best to enjoy as long of a level 1 as possible, there is no downside to it playing this way.

At level 1, how long the level lasts for Dog Days can really dictate the pace of the game. If the level 1 lasts too long, it will build up an overwhelming amount of stock and will be able to find the pieces it needs to be able to setup for a level 2 Change effect. If it does not last for very long however, the deck does not gain very much in terms of powerful board presence if it is short on stock. In addition, it’s usually very very difficult to get a player from level 1 to level 3. So, at Level 1, the target of 1/5 applies; make the opponent unable to clock to the next level while shortening the level. Level 2 and 3 are so functionally similar for the deck though, that if the Dog Days deck ends up at 2/5, it’s one of the best possible setups to have, especially if the Change targets are present in the waiting room and it has access to a character with the ability to put a character onto the bottom of the clock. If that happens, all the player has to do is decline drawing during the Clock Phase, and setup for the CX phase Change.

Much of the power of the deck’s level 1 can be mitigated by not using Bond or Door effects when the Leos are active. However, if your deck already uses Door triggers, it may be worthwhile to only attack with 0/0 and 1/0 characters as a concession to being unable to go over the characters. Side attacking is generally unfavorable at this point, unless you have access to a +1 or +2 soul CX. Ideally, attacks will cancel early and make it easy later on to use a CX to attack for more damage that will stick, but be aware if they have the Brainstorm character, as its repeated effect can dig the deck out of an early cancel pinch.

Characters that have the ability to attack characters in the back row are also favorable. If your deck has access to those characters (and especially if you have one in hand), the level 0 plan of attack changes slightly: rush through level 0, and then snipe the back row. Though your characters are unlikely to survive the attack on the following turn, being able to answer a full board in any way is a huge upside. The reason to attack more at level 1 is because the level 2 characters with Change are not particularly vulnerable to Bounce triggers because the Change effect often happens the turn that the character is played.

At level 2, rush down! If your deck has access to a +2 soul, use it, and shorten the opponent’s level 2 as much as possible. Ideally, you will want to bump the opponent from level 2 to level 3 in a single turn, and while this is not always possible (read: rarely), it is still worthwhile to go for to setup, also because it is likely that if the level 2 lasts for more than 1 turn, the opponent will have access to and use the CX phase Change effect.

At level 3, see the article on Attacking At Level 3 to determine the optimal strategy.

Questions? Comments? Have an idea for another article? Send us an email at theninthcx AT gmail DOT com! Thanks for reading!