Love Live! Deck Tech – WGP 2013 Qualifier Winner

Welcome to the 9th CX’s Weiss Schwarz deck techs! For this article, we’ll be taking a look at Love Live! which is due in English on May 23rd 2014. Because this deck tech only contains cards from the first set of Love Live!, it will be considered an EN deck tech.

Translations will be matched with those provided by Heart of the Cards. The deck list can be found here. Now… Start Dash!

ラブライブ!

Cards – 50

Level 0 – 14

3 Kotori Minami (LL/W24-011)
2 Niko Yazawa (LL/W24-017)
2 Niko, Improving Nails (LL/W24-P05)
1 Niko, Third-Year Student at Otonokizaka Academy (LL/W24-029)
3 Niko, Club President (LL/W24-032)
3 “Pretty” Eri (LL/W24-039)

Level 1 – 13

1 Chibi Eri (LL/W24-114)
3 “Our LIVE is LIFE with You” Umi Sonoda (LL/W24-004)
4 “Our LIVE is LIFE with You” Eri Ayase (LL/W24-005)
2 Kotori, Second-Year Student at Otonokizaka Academy (LL/W24-051)
3 Umi, Youth Days (LL/W24-067)

Level 2 – 8

4 Umi Sonoda (LL/W24-013)
2 Nozomi, Third-Year Student at Otonokizaka Academy (LL/W24-030)
2 Eri, Third-Year Student at Otonokizaka Academy (LL/W24-031)

Level 3 – 7

4 “Us in the Moment” μ’s (LL/W24-014)
2 Niko, Idol Otaku (LL/W24-027)
1 Umi, Second-Year Student at Otonokizaka Academy (LL/W24-052)

CX – 8

4 Youth Can Surely Be Heard (LL/W24-023) (bounce)
4 First Feelings (LL/W24-073) (gate)

At level 0, we have an aggressive 14 characters.

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Kotori Minami lets you pay 1 and discard a card to tutor a [Music] character.

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If Niko Yazawa is completely alone, it becomes a level 1 with 4000 power. Otherwise, it has 2500 power.

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Niko, Improving Nails can get +2000 power if you rest 2 characters. If you really feel like it, you could rest it for its own effect.

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Niko, Third-Year Student at Otonokizaka Academy gets the top card of your deck as a marker when you play it. You can use that marker in place of 1 stock to pay for a Change cost. When it attacks, you choose up to 2 of your [Music] characters and give them +500 power for the turn.

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Niko, Club President gives characters in front +500 power and can rest to give any other character +1 level for the turn.

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“Pretty” Eri can Change into “Our LIVE is LIFE with You” Eri Ayase at the start of the Climax Phase for the cost of putting it into your clock.

The level 0 for Love Live! is certainly a little different than other sets. One thing to point out is that there are no Brainstorm nor Salvage effects in this deck’s level 0.  One of the big upsides of having an aggressive level 0 is that it has access to a level 1 character as early as the first turn with “Pretty” Eri.

At level 1, we have 13 characters.

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Chibi Eri has a Backup effect that gives a character +1500 power.

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“Our LIVE is LIFE with You” Umi Sonoda gives all your other [Music] characters +500 power. You can also pay 1 and rest 2 characters to Brainstorm and tutor up to one [Music] character for each CX revealed.

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“Our LIVE is LIFE with You” Eri Ayase is a 4500 that gets +500 power for each other [Music] character you have.

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Kotori, Second-Year Student at Otonokizaka Academy has a CX combo that is not used in this deck, and is a level reverser (level 1 or lower).

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Umi, Youth Days can Change into Umi Sonoda at the start of your Climax Phase for the cost of 2 stock and putting it into clock.

In level 1 we have yet another way to skip a level and go straight to level 2 with Umi, Youth Days. The cost is a bit more steep, being 2 stock, but the upside is still worthwhile. Level 1 is also where the deck gets access to a limited Brainstorm effect. While generally much poorer in addressing a CX flood, it has a much higher upside to having its full effect which can net up to four (if one is particularly unlucky) characters from the deck. The free Backup is there as a cute one-of to catch the opponent by surprise. Kotori, Second-Year Student is a level reverser and handles any oversized level 1 character that can’t be normally reversed by a maximum power Eri Ayase. Ideally at level 1, one has a full center stage of Eri Ayase at 7500 power with two Umi Sonoda on the back stage, and if available, an Umi, Youth Days ready to Change.

At level 2, we have 8 characters.

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Umi Sonoda starts with 8000 power, but gets +500 power for each other rested [Music] character you control.

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Nozomi, Third-Year Student at Otonokizaka Academy has a Backup effect for +3000 power. If you play it, it gives another [Music] character +2000 power.

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Eri, Third-Year Student at Otonokizaka Academy, has a level support effect. When you play it, if you control 4 or more other [Music] characters, you may put the top card of your deck into stock.

The level 2 for this deck gives us only one viable character for attacking on the center stage reliably in Umi Sonoda. However, it also gives us a couple copies each of the level support as well as the Backup. During level 2, the ideal board to have is as many Umi Sonoda as possible, or even to have a leftover board from level 1 that is still capable of holding up because of additional support and backup effects. One of the advantages of this deck’s plan from level 0 to level 2 is that it is very straightforward. There is only one ‘best’ character to have on the center stage at each given level, and those characters are built to not only to last for more than a turn cycle, but also be on the center stage in multiples.

At level 3, we have 7 characters.

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“Us in the Moment” μ’s has a Heal effect (its Change effect is not used in this deck), and a CX combo with Youth Can Surely Be Heard that gives +3000 power to all your characters (including itself) until end of turn.

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Niko, Idol Otaku gives the character opposite it -1 soul. When it reverses a character through battle, you may pay 2 and discard a card to put the reversed character into its owner’s clock.

ll_w24_052Umi, Second-Year Student at Otonokizaka Academy gains +1000 power if you have 3 or more other [Music] characters. It has a Heal effect, and a CX combo that is not used in this deck.

At level 3, it’s all about making sure the stage is cleared for the idols to make their entrance.

“Us in the Moment” μ’s gets enormous with its CX combo and even larger in multiples. The maximum power one can get out of the deck is 23000; have three copies on the center stage, two level supports, and the CX combo, and attack with the other two first before attacking with the middle copy.

10000 + 1000 (1k1) + 1500 (level support) + 1500 (level support) + 3000 (first effect) + 3000 (second effect) + 3000 (own effect) =

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Niko, Idol Otaku, is somewhat weak on its own, given its ‘standard’ 10000 power. However, it uses “Us in the Moment” μ’s to have its effect go off reliably. The single copy of Umi provides a fifth Heal effect to increase the deck’s probability of having such an effect at level 3.

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The CX spread for the deck is 4/4. All are 1k1 effects. Youth Can Surely Be Heard has a Bounce trigger, and First Feelings has a Door trigger.

How do we play this deck?

At level 0, build some stock and attempt to get a jump on the Change effects. At level 1, attack with “Our LIVE is LIFE with You” Eri Ayase. Use the level reverser to clear characters that are otherwise too large, and attempt to Change as well. At level 2, attack with Umi Sonoda.

Wait, is that it?

For the early game, that is the deck’s only game plan. If the deck is going first, it can even begin the game with a 4500 level 1 (risky, because there are cards that can either trade with it or go over it if it’s alone), but that plan is best reserved until the second turn, provided the opponent has played a character or two. 5000 or even 5500 power at level 0 takes an immense amount of commitment to take down, with the exception of the mirror match, which can potentially do the same thing.

At level 1 is when the deck can address issues with CX flooding, though it will be slow. Fortunately, its level 1 costs no stock at all. The level 1 Eri can become a 7500 with an optimal board for no cost, and is on par with characters of the same costs from other sets. It also has the Kotori to deal with characters that may have somehow gone over that 7500 power mark.

Level 2 can be accessed a turn earlier with this deck as well with Umi, Youth Days. Umi Sonoda can get to 10000 power with a completely rested board and no other boosts, which is quite difficult to answer without characters with similar abilities from the opponent. The level supports and Backup effects also can secure the board for more than a turn.

Level 3 is the one level that does not really connect with previous levels via Change effects. However, the characters stand entirely on their own and can (and usually will) clear the opposing board with the CX combo. Ideally, one wants to get to level 3 second, but then begin the turn having had some damage to maximize the efficiency and effectiveness of the Heal abilities). Why level 3 second? Because the opponent is prompted to (and really should) play his or her level 3 characters. However, Love Live! with respect to other sets released in English, has an even higher power cap with its level 3 characters, as well as a unique level 3 in Niko, Idol Otaku. Though Niko has a pair of abilities that are seen on other cards, the combination of the two is rare to have on a single card, that doesn’t require a CX combo, and that applies to each time it reverses a character.

(So yes, that’s it. There isn’t really much else to say about it.)

What does this deck not do well? How do we beat it?

When the deck is functioning optimally, it can get to its level 1 and 2 a turn ahead. What it sacrifices in potential, it gains in having a single game plan. Compare this to SAO’s 1/0 Asuna that can have a very high potential attack if left unchecked. Where SAO may have a character that stays on the board the entirety of the game, Love Live! may have an entire board that stays for more than one or two turns at a time. One of the key differences however, is that because Love Live! has a one-note game plan (pun intended), it can be very easy to determine the quality of its hand at a given time. Playing any number of its level 1 or 2 characters without a completely full board is suboptimal in a vacuum, that is, without knowledge of what a potential opponent may be playing.

Bounce triggers are somewhat useful against the deck, especially when having to deal with characters that have rushed the downbeat made an early appearance via Change effects. (Author’s note: Yes, I am also a  musician.) If the deck has a full center stage though, the trigger’s effectiveness declines sharply. However, this can be mitigated by adding effects to a deck that may include the ability to Bounce characters through other means, such as CX combos. SAO 2 and Hatsune Miku -Project DIVA- ƒ have access to these abilities.

At level 3, the deck has one of the highest power levels in terms of character power alone. Being able to go to 14000 is good on its own, but having access to multiples and being able to go even higher than that is very taxing at level 3. Usually at that point, characters are too expensive to encore because of the initial stock commitment they require. But, this can also be used to an advantage. The power boosts that the deck receives at level 3 are only for its own turn. Holding large characters (unless a Heal effect is necessary) until one of the deck’s level 3 characters is viable, but only if the math favors the player to survive an attack.

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

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