Kantai Collection Deck Tech – 1st in Bay Area Locals

Welcome to the 9th CX’s Weiss Schwarz deck techs! For this article, we’ll be taking a look at the game’s largest set yet, Kantai Collection! This article is one of a few deck techs that will be featuring it.

Translations can be found on Heart of the Cards. Names will be matched to reflect the translation notes.

Author’s Note: This is based on a list that Felix and I worked on when the set was released. The core of cards we decided on is very similar, but our numbers varied, and there were some differences in character selection. I took my list to the Bay Area local event at Game Kastle, besting a field of 16 players in Swiss + top cut. Because the set is so large, I believe that the list can still be improved. That said, I would like to present the deck in its form as it was used in the event.

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Image Credit

RGY KanColle

Cards – 50

Level 0 – 17

2 Hatsukaze, 7th Kagero-class Destroyer (KC/S25-006)
3 Maikaze, 18th Kagero-class Destroyer (KC/S25-007)
2 Ikazuchi, Works Hard (KC/S25-057)
3 Mutsuki, 1st Mutsuki-class Destroyer (KC/S25-092)
4 Satsuki, 5th Mutsuki-class Destroyer (KC/S25-104)
3 Hibiki, 2nd Akatsuki-class Destroyer (KC/S25-056)

Level 1 – 15

2 I-168, 1st Kaidai VIa Submarine (KC/S25-024)
2 Yuubari, Yuubari-class Light Cruiser (KC/S25-037)
3 Verniy, “Trustworthy” Destroyer (KC/S25-038)
3 Aoba, 1st Aoba-class Heavy Cruiser (KC/S25-050)
2 Jintsuu, 2nd Sendai-class Light Destroyer (KC/S25-066)
3 Nagara, 1st Nagara-class Light Cruiser (KC/S25-097)

Level 2 – 2

1 Zuihou, 2nd Shouhou-class Light Aircraft Carrier (KC/S25-134)
1 Maya, 3rd Takao-class Heavy Cruiser (KC/S25-072)

Level 3 – 8

2 Yamato, 1st Yamato-class Battleship (KC/S25-001)
1 Musashi, 2nd Yamato-class Battleship (KC/S25-002)
2 Kongou Kai-Ni, 1st Kongou-class Battleship (KC/S25-080)
3 Kongou, 1st Kongou-class Battleship (KC/S25-082)

CX – 8

2 Ready for Shelling and Torpedo Launching! (KC/S25-032)
4 Ready! Fire!! (KC/S25-123)
1 I Expected So, Raise the Anchor! (KC/S25-124)
1 Torpedo Cruiser, Deploy! (KC/S25-126)

 

At level 0, we have 17 characters.

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Hatsukaze, 7th Kagero-class Destroyer gives +500 power to all your other [Fleet Girl] characters. It also has the dreaded anti-salvage ability. During the attack phase, if either player puts a character from the waiting room into his or her hand, all characters controlled by that player get -3 soul for the turn.

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Maikaze, 18th Kagero-class Destroyer reveals the top card of your deck upon being played, and puts that card into clock if it isn’t a [Fleet Girl].

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Ikazuchi, Works Hard has a Brainstorm ability for the cost of 1 stock and resting it. For each CX revealed, you choose a card in your clock, return it to your hand, then put the top card of your deck into clock. Note that this action happens one at a time, so if you reveal two CXs, you choose one, then clock, then choose one, and clock again.

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Mutsuki, 1st Mutsuki-class Destroyer gives the card across from it +1 soul.

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Satsuki, 5th Mutsuki-class Destroyer is a level reverser that can also be given an Encore for 2 stock. (You can still pay 3 if you feel like it though)

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Hibiki, 2nd Akatsuki-class Destroyer has the dreaded Heal tax ability that triggers from when it is in memory. Multiple copies of Hibiki will trigger if any player uses a Heal ability. If reversed, you can pay 1 to send it to memory and choose a Верный, “Trustworthy” Destroyer from your waiting room and put it onto the same slot Hibiki was on in rested position.

Level 0 for this deck is all about getting to level 1 as soon as possible, even with as little as 2 stock. It can play its anti-salvage effect from the first turn, thereby shutting down Salvage effects from very early on. If the deck is able to mulligan a copy of Верный into the waiting room before the game begins, it makes Hibiki an incredible threat that will dominate the board at level 0.

At level 1, we have 15 characters.

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I-168, 1st Kaidai VIa Submarine is a free +1500 Backup.

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Yuubari, Yuubari-class Light Cruiser comes armed and dangerous with four effects. The first is you cannot play it with ≤ 1 CXs in your waiting room. If you have 4 or more stock, it gains +1000 power. If your opponent uses any Salvage ability at any time, you can choose one of your characters and give it +2000 power for the turn. If you are level 2 or higher, it gains +1500 power. But if you’re hungry, you’re out of luck. Ideally, the combination is a nightmare for your opponent.

Melon

わたしはメロン
メロンが割れたら甘い夢

今夜のお夢は苦い夢
お皿の上には猫の夢
丸々太って召し上がれー!

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Верный, “Trustworthy” Destroyer gains +1000 power if you have at least one “Hibiki, 2nd Akatsuki-class Destroyer” in memory. It doesn’t gain +1000 power per copy.

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Aoba, 1st Aoba-class Heavy Cruiser lets your opponent choose one of his or her characters and give it +1000 power for the turn.

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Jintsuu, 2nd Sendai-class Light Destroyer gives the characters in front of it +1000 power. When it is on the stage, when you play another character, you reveal the top card of your deck. If it’s a CX, you rest that character.

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Nagara, 1st Nagara-class Light Cruiser gets +1000 power if you control 2 or more other [Fleet Girl] characters.

Level 1 is where this deck thrives. It can assemble an extremely difficult-to-remove  wall of 1/1 7500+ characters early on if the Верный has not already gotten at least a couple of good attacks in removing characters. Yuubari fields the back line until level 2 or until sufficient stock has been built, while acting as a secondary punisher to Salvage effects. However, because it is only one-way, it serves as an alternative to the Hatsukaze. The free counter ensures that any character above 8500 will be around to attack the following turn, barring fancy effects or Bounce triggers. However, it is quite important to preserve the field once it has been established, because it will be most of what the deck will be attacking with for most of the game, at least until level 3.

At level 2, we have 2 characters.

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Zuihou, 2nd Shouhou-class Light Aircraft Carrier has a +2500 Backup effect, with a secondary ability. When you use its Backup ability, you may pay 2 stock and put the top card of your deck into clock to choose one of your opponent’s characters that has a level higher than his or her current level and put it on the bottom of the deck.

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Maya, 3rd Takao-class Heavy Cruiser has a 2 stock +4000 power Backup effect.

Level 2 is just a continuation of the characters from level 1, except with much more powerful Backup effects. The Zuihou acts as a Change punisher, but can also target characters that have the ability to get their levels above 3.  Maya is a hefty Backup but gives a very high +4000 power boost, which is good for ensuring that characters at any level will survive an attack. In a dire pinch, it also has 2 soul.

At level 3, we have 8 characters.

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Yamato, 1st Yamato-class Battleship has a Heal ability, and a CX combo with “Ready for Shelling and Torpedo Launching!”. If you have the CX, when it attacks, all your characters get +2000 power for the turn (including itself), and your opponent may not encore any characters, including by the 3 stock game rule.

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Musashi, 2nd Yamato-class Battleship cannot side attack. When it is played from hand to stage, it gains an ability that triggers up to one time. If the damage dealt by it is canceled, you put the top card of your deck into the waiting room, and deal X damage to your opponent where X is 1 + that card’s level. CXs are considered to be level 0, and that damage can be canceled as well. (But if that damage is canceled, the effect does not occur again.)

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Kongou, 1st Kongou-class Battleship gains the ability “When this reverses a character in battle, choose up to 2 [Fleet Girl] characters from your waiting room and return them to your hand” when played from your hand to the stage for the turn. It has a CX combo with “Ready! Fire!!”, where when it attacks, it deals 1 damage to your opponent, and it gains +3000 power for the turn. At the beginning of your encore step, you may send it to the waiting room if it is rested (not reversed!), and Change into…

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Kongou Kai-Ni, 1st Kongou-class Battleship, which gains +500 power for each other [Fleet Girl] character you control. It also has a Heal ability when played from hand or placed via Change. If it is reversed during your opponent’s turn, you may discard a card to rest it, and then put it into the waiting room at the start of your next encore step.

The CX spread for this deck is 4/2/1/1:

Door (1k1), 2 Fire (1k1), 1 2 soul (+2 soul)

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How do we play this deck?

Very carefully.

One of the key decisions in the early game right away comes from in the opening hand contains a Верный. The type of game one might have can vary wildly as a result. In the ideal conditions, one begins the game with one or more in hand, and is able to mulligan them to the waiting room, and have access to the Hibiki within the first couple of turns. In a vacuum, being able to ensure superior deck compression in the future by having characters move themselves to memory is already a powerful effect, but being able to enforce a Heal tax from as early as the first turn can put a damper on strategies that rely heavily on Heal effects, especially those that aim to do it at earlier levels. The anti-salvage Hatsukaze can also be played early on to prevent an opponent from gaining value from triggered Door CXs, and also because attacking for 0 for a single turn early on is not really a bad thing. If nothing else, it can be used to one’s advantage when on the attack, to prevent the opponent from hitting level 1 before you and/or to prevent getting stranded at level 0.

The front line for the deck is either the Hibiki, or a 4000 power attacker in Mutsuki or Maikaze. The Satsuki level reverser is a very unique card in that it will trade with any other level 0, and can be encored for a much cheaper 2 stock.

The Hibiki can be used to crash into a larger character early on without risking a slot being opened for a direct attack. (Getting a trade out of it is like winning a small lottery) The Mutsuki gives the character in front of it +1 soul, which makes early attacks just like direct attacks through it. This is a good thing! Early in a game, an opponent will be much less likely to use a 1k1 effect because there is so little incentive to push for damage at level 0. A +2 soul CX has the greatest potential to punish the +1 soul “penalty”, but if a player uses that early, they will lose a card and be behind to the level 1 game.

Level 1 is when the deck is at its most dangerous. Large front line Cruisers are easily 7500 on their own, but with Support and Backup effects can even be as high as 11000 on the defense. (+2000 support, +1500 backup) The Yuubari serves as a way to scale into level 2 while also providing an alternative to the Hatsukaze if you know that you have multiple Door triggers still in the deck and want to use them to full effect. Remember rule 8.5.2.4.1: If it is a character card being played, then the character is placed in the Slot chosen. If there is already a character in that Slot, then the character currently in the Slot is put in the Waiting Room at the next rule processing timing. That means that so long as you have something to replace your Hatsukaze, you can “play over” it to send it to the waiting room when you want to play without its effect active. This is a very high-risk decision (or low, if your opponent has no Door triggers or Salvage effects), so make sure you are confident in what you (and your opponent) are doing!

Ikazuchi, Works Hard, is also a very good card to use during level 1, as it will deny damage, and deny additional damage if you should reveal any CXs. It can fix the colors available to you later on as well. The Ikazuchi indeed does work very hard.

If you have the Jintsuu +1000 support available, make sure to play it last after you have played all your characters. No need to accidentally rest all of your would-be attacking characters!

At level 2, the idea is to preserve as much of the board as possible with even larger Backup effects, and build stock for a level 3 finishing wave. A +4000 power Backup is very difficult to go over, and the Change/Overlevel punisher can get rid of problematic cards, especially those that have been played a level early, or have been snowballing out of control. Even if unable to get its full effect, a 2500 power boost is still something that your opponent will have to consider when attacking.

If the opponent has the audacity to allow you to get to level 3, make sure to level with the appropriate color! Yellow is in rather short supply in the deck, because unlike red and green, the number of cards that one would and should level with is quite small.

Yamato has a Heal ability that can be declined if the rent is too &!^#  high Heal tax is active. With the CX combo, you can use it to clear an opponent’s board, saving damage and securing a win.

Musashi is included as a kind of “fourth attack” insurance if your opponent is at 3/5 or 3/6. If its attack is canceled, it deals at least 1 more damage to the opponent, which makes surviving very difficult.

Kongou is the flagship (couldn’t resist) level 3 for the deck. With its CX combo, you get to do extra damage and net a couple of cards from your waiting room, which will usually be Backup effects. Provided it doesn’t get reversed, you get to Change into the Kai-Ni 3-stock version, which has a Heal effect that can again, be declined if the Heal tax is too high to pay.

Being able to Salvage with Kongou, especially if retrieving cards with Backup can ensure they survive for another turn. Because the level 3 is so stock-intensive, it’s very ideal to enter level 3 with 5 or more non-CX stock.

What about the CXs in the deck?

The CX spread is primarily 1k1 because in earlier levels it allows for more 2/2/2 attacks. If your opponent has very few CXs left in deck, or if you are behind by a level (e.g. you are at level 0, he or she is at level 1), the +2 soul can give you the maximum value out of side attacks.

Against a majority of decks, the anti-salvage will be good enough to shut down early game Salvage effects. Because the deck itself has 5 Door triggers, it will be playing the numbers against the opponent, who may have 0, 4, or even 8 Door triggers in his or her deck. However, if a game is played where the anti-salvage is not drawn, the 5 Door triggers will help preserve the level 1 board with free Backup effects, and setup for level 3 later on in the game. Once Yuubari has been played, it is also a potential option to play over the anti-salvage.

The Fire (Shot) triggers are there to conveniently secure damage. Though it does not offer as much in the way of utility as a Bounce trigger might, it does mean that your opponent will likely be going to level 2 before you do.  It can also be a death sentence when triggered on a final turn’s attack(s).

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

As it is, the deck has very few ways of addressing an overwhelming CX flood because of the lack of a repeatable Brainstorm effect. Early on, the deck will clock its CXs because cards are more valuable. Around level 1, use anything to boost the soul value of attackers that can’t compete with the stats of the front line, and side attack.

The deck is incredibly stock-intensive, and level reversers at level 1 are especially effective in this regard. Backup effects in the deck can’t prevent a trade from happening from a card effect! This is of course, only if the set one is building so happens to have level reversers that are worth playing.

The deck is also incredibly punishing for newer players to use, because a lot of the deck is reliant on knowledge of sets. If the player using the deck knows about other sets and their effects, they can and will aim to play their Heal tax and anti-salvage effects optimally. However, if a player uses the deck with these effects in the dark, he or she risks losing in a horrible manner to his or her own deck’s effects.

The deck you may have noticed does have competing effects. It has anti-salvage effects and Salvage effects in the same deck, same with Heal and Heal tax. the skill of the pilot is really what is put to the test when it is being used, and an experienced player will usually catch on if the player using the deck is less experienced.

If the Heal tax is used in the dark to get ahead on the board rather than prevent later healing effects, a soul rush strategy can potentially punish the deck with huge +2 soul attacks early on. 3/3/3 attacks, though much less favorable to land in general, it can cause the deck to get to level 3 with less stock than it needs to thrive.

Author’s Note: During the event, I played against Guilty Crown, Love Live! (2x) and Railgun (3x). Railgun, though by far the most difficult matchup for the deck in the event, was still largely shut down by the anti-salvage effect. Looking back, I think the deck could use just one more copy of it, if nothing else to make it available to send to clock or level with later in the game because yellow is very tight in the deck. I have also been considering reducing the number of Nagara in favor of additional Backup effects, because the Aoba’s “drawback” has hardly ever been a true drawback.

Questions? Comments? Have an idea for another article? Send us an email at theninthcx AT gmail DOT com or send us a message on Facebook! Thanks for reading!