SAO 2 Deck Tech – 1st in 2014 NY Neo-Showdown Qualifiers

Silica

Welcome to the 9th CX’s Weiss Schwarz deck techs! For this article, we will be looking at the deck that won the Neo-Showdown Qualifier in New York: Sword Art Online!

This deck & report are brought to you by Tianyu Wei, who is from New York City, New York. Tianyu bested the field of 74, which is a contender for the largest WS event in North America to date. Because SAO and SAO vol. 2 have been released in English, the official card names will be used.

To the breakdown!

MonoRed Silica

Cards – 50

Level 0 – 17

2 Silica’s Unyielding Trust (SAO/S20-051)
4 Familiar, Pina (SAO/S20-054)
2 Silica – Like a Date (SAO/S20-055)
2 <<Beast Tamer>> Silica (SAO/S20-062)
1 Blade User, Klein (SAO/S20-078)
3 Solo Player, Kirito (SAO/S20-083)
3 Silica Looking Up At the Sky (SAO/S26-043)

Level 1 – 13

2 Cait Sith Girl, Silica (SAO/S26-041)
4 Caution Towards Kindness, Silica (SAO/S26-054)
3 Silica – Start of the Adventure (SAO/S20-057)
2 Silica Leaves the Party (SAO/S20-064)
2 Pina’s Heart (SAO/S20-065)

Level 2 – 4

4 Silica’s Relieved Smile (SAO/S26-042)

Level 3 – 8

4 Silica’s Bashful Troubled Look (SAO/S26-045)
4 Like a Younger Sister, Silica (SAO/S20-047)

CX – 8

2 First Adventure (SAO/S20-073)
2 Pina’s Resurrection (SAO/S20-074)
4 Happening During Battle (SAO/S26-059)

At level 0, we have 17 characters.

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Silica’s Unyielding Trust has a Brainstorm ability where you can pay 1 stock and rest 2 characters to Salvage for each CX revealed.

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Familiar, Pina, gives all your other characters with “Silica” in the name +500 power. When a “Silica” is placed into your waiting room from the stage, if this card is on the back stage (back row), you may put this into the waiting room to return that character to the stage, rested, in its previous position.

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Silica – Like a Date has an ability that triggers at the beginning of your climax phase: at the beginning of your climax phase, reveal the top card of your deck, and rest this card if the revealed card is a climax.

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<<Beast Tamer>> Silica has a Bond ability for 1 stock with “Familiar, Pina”.

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When you play Blade User, Klein, you reveal the top card of your deck and give a character you control +1000 power until end of turn if the revealed card is an [Avatar] or [Net] character. It also has a 1 stock Brainstorm ability that gives an [Avatar] or [Net] character you control +1000 power until the end of your opponent’s next turn.

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Solo Player, Kirito, gains +1500 power and +1 level if you control no other characters.

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When you play Silica Looking Up At the Sky, you may pay 1 stock and discard a card to tutor (search your deck for) up to one [Avatar] character.

At level 1, we have 13 characters.

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When you play Cait Sith Girl, Silica, you reveal the top card of your deck. If the revealed card is not an [Avatar], [Net], or [Dragon] character, put this card into your waiting room at the beginning of your encore step.

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Caution Towards Kindness, Silica is a vanilla 1/0 5500 power character.

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Silica – Start of the Adventure has a CX combo with “First Adventure”: when it attacks, you may pay 1 stock. If you do, this card gains +3500 power until end of turn,  and you choose a card named “Familiar, Pina” in your waiting room and return it to the stage in any position rested.

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Silica Leaves the Party has a 0 stock +1500 power Backup ability.

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Pina’s Heart gives your “Silica” character in the middle position on center stage +1000 power. When another one of your characters becomes reversed in battle, you choose a character you control and give it +1000 power until end of turn.

Level 2 features only 4 characters.

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When you play Silica’s Relieved Smile, you look at the top card of your deck and put it back on top or into your waiting room. It has a CX combo with “Happening During Battle”: when it attacks, you may pay 2 stock to deal 1 damage to your opponent, and then select up to one card in your opponent’s waiting room and put it on top of his or her deck.

Level 3 features 8 characters.

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Silica’s Bashful Troubled Look, gets +500 power for each of your other [Avatar] or [Net] or [Dragon] characters. When you play it, you may pay 1 stock. If you do, deal 1 damage to your opponent.

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Like a Younger Sister, Silica has a Heal effect upon being played. It also has a CX combo with “Pina’s Resurrection”: when it attacks, Salvage a character and choose up to one card in your opponent’s waiting room and put it on top of his or her deck.

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The CX spread is 4/2/2 among 1k12k1, and +2 soul effects, with Door and +2 soul triggers respectively.

How do we use this deck?

Author’s Note: Tianyu has offered some general analysis and insight for the deck. 

At level 0, we have a handful of solid front line attackers in Silica – Like a Date and Solo Player, Kirito. Silica Looking Up At the Sky can help smooth out draws early on by discarding CXs and high level characters. (Of course, this changes in the late game to discarding low level characters or CXs to find characters with Heal abilities and so on.)

TW: Blade User, Klein and Familiar, Pina are very key cards early on.

M: Blade User, Klein not only has a repeatable Brainstorm ability, but the effect of said ability can keep a board stable for a turn by making it difficult for the opponent to run over the character(s) it boosts. Familiar, Pina is a linchpin in the deck because of its ability to encore any Silica while also giving all “Silica” characters you control +500 power.

Moving into level 1, we get the standard 1/0 5500 vanilla Silica, but also the 1/1 7500 Cait Sith Girl, Silica. The potential drawback of Cait Sith Girl, Silica is that it will only last for one attack if the card it reveals isn’t an [Avatar], [Net], or [Dragon] character, but it can still be given an encore as normal with 3 stock or “Familiar, Pina”. The upside is that it is a larger character than most others for the same cost (assuming no other boosts or modifiers are present). Silica – Start of the Adventure gives an excellent incentive to push for a lot of damage while clearing the opponent’s board early on, as the CX combo boosts said Silica to 10000 power for the turn.

M: So what about the +1 stock +1 soul alternative CX for First Adventure?

TW: I chose the +2 soul CX instead of the +1 stock +1 soul because the extra stock doesn’t really help. The CX combo isn’t free, and that stock would end up being spent anyway. On paper (in theory) it’s good because it enables the combo right away, but it provides too little benefit for your other attackers.

M: The idea is that the loss of three potential damage overall is not worth the one stock in compensation.

Level 1 also gives the deck access to Pina’s Heart, which can make reversing characters you control awkward business for the opponent if he or she does not line up attackers properly. That is, it can and will punish an unaware opponent that attempts to trade characters away or does not exceed the power of your characters by very much (i.e. 5-00 as opposed to more than 2000).

TW: The deck’s plan A is actually to push for as much damage as possible with Silica’s Relieved Smile and the CX combo.

M: Silica’s Relieved Smile allows access to tons of damage  TriForceLoL a good amount of high-probability damage with its CX combo. With the CX combo, the probability that the attack deals with may look like a 1-soul (deal 1 damage trigger) and then 2-soul attack (1 soul, +1 soul from CX). But because Silica’s ability puts a card on top of the opponent’s deck (assuming that one does not feel very silly and puts a CX on top of the deck), the math works out to a 1 soul attack and then another 1 soul attack (plus any triggers).

TW: But, using the combo right at level 2 is not ideal. The level 2 Silica is not the idea play for exactly level 2. Because it is so stock intensive, burning the combo right away is one of the worst things that the deck can do. The level 1 characters should be used as much as possible to push the opponent beyond level 2.

M: If the deck has a ridiculous stock advantage and is attacking with three characters every turn while sustaining minimal losses, it is feasible to use the CX combo sooner than level 3, but as Tianyu said, it’s more ideal to treat it as an effectively level 3 character, and to use that combo near the end of the game to deal the final damage.

TW: In case plan A doesn’t work out, plan B is to Heal and burn with the level 3 Silicas.

M: The level 3 game offers a similar but upgraded version of the level 2 Silica. Like a Younger Sister, Silica has a Heal ability and with its CX combo can deal more probable damage. Silica’s Bashful Troubled Look can deal extra damage when played and can be difficult to remove if the field is full, and even more difficult if it receives boosts from other characters.

TW: Some extra tips on the 2/1 Silica CX combo. For the combo to deal the most damage possible, the top 2 cards of the opponent’s deck have to not be CXs for one attack to go through completely for 3 damage. For 2 Silicas, the top 4 have to be clear to deal 6 damage, and for all 3, the top 6 cards have to be clear to deal 9 total damage.

M: The 2/1 Silica CX combo should be reminiscent of another few decks that have similar endgame strategies in terms of dealing a lot of damage in a single turn. Compare the attacks to Illya & Miyu: the attacks for that deck are 1/3/1/3/1/3. With the Silica combo, the attacks are 1/2/1/2/1/2 (assuming no triggers), but the probabilities are 1/1/1 because of the way the deck can setup the top of the opponent’s deck.

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

[Disclaimer] TW: I don’t think the list is optimal. If someone was to build this deck, I would highly recommend taking out the Like a Date – Silica and one copy of Silica’s Bashful Troubled Look in favor of three copies of Lisbeth, Artisan’s Pride (the level reverser + accelerator). I didn’t have them at the time, but I would have done this if I had access to the cards.

M: With that in mind, let’s take a look at what this deck may be vulnerable to.

The deck’s level 0 is solid but is very predictable; there are no level reversers and very few Brainstorm effects. Familiar, Pina is very important because it can keep a Silica on the board for a long time. However, both cards are subject to Bounce effects; one of the most painful situations for the deck can be to have a Pina bounced and a Silica reversed because of the loss of power.

At level 1, no character has any special type of encore ability and is very reliant on its Backup and triggered +1000 power effects to keep its board. Level reversers can be effective, but are much less so when there is a Familiar, Pina on the back stage. Characters with hand encore or clock encore can keep up with the damage that the deck is capable of putting out at level 1.

The deck’s level 2 is completely null if it does not draw its CX combo. While it does have +2 soul CXs to keep up in damage, it can struggle to keep up during level 2.

Because the deck’s level 2 is so stock-intensive, if the deck is rushed to level 2, it will be faced with a difficult situation of trying to maximize stock while at the same time dealing as much damage as possible. Usually, this will mean that if the deck gets to level 2 without a minimum of 4 stock, it will come down to an evaluation of where it is relative to the opponent. If the opponent is at or near level 3, using the level 2 CX combo is a viable albeit stock-intensive way to close the game. If the opponent is anywhere from level 1 to mid level 2 though, the deck’s next best line of play may be to soul rush to keep even in damage, and save 6+ stock to be able to play out a full front line of level 3 Silicas.

Heal tax, anti-salvage and prevention effects (anti-burn) all have good points against this deck, however because the deck’s primary focus is to deal extra damage in the form of deck manipulation (cards from waiting room to top of deck) as opposed to completely straight burn (deal X damage effects), these three effects, even if somehow all used in the same deck, will not be able to completely shut it down.

To the interview!

M: What was a really lucky moment you had during the event?

TW: In round 3, I was paired against one of my friends. I knew that he had 6 CXs in his waiting room and that he could still cancel up to two times. I had the First Adventure CX combo in my hand and wanted to get a Pina onto the field, so I played the +2 soul and ended up dealing a lot more damage than I thought. It turned out that he had been holding the remaining 2 in his hand – we play against each other a lot so we’re very familiar with how the other plays.

M:  Was there a particularly unlucky moment you had?

TW: Having to play against my friends.

M: Fair enough. Were there any incredible comebacks you made?

TW: I think for my opponents, almost every round was a comeback for me. In those games I was behind in damage, but was able to catch up within the later half of each match, mostly because my opponents did not have enough cancels.

M: How did the final match go for you? What did you play against?

TW: I played against Miku in the finals, but it wasn’t the build I was used to seeing. The 2/1 Silica was what I used to win that game.

M: Do you have any shoutouts or things you’d like to say?

TW: Thanks to Alvin for lending me his cards, and the rest of the WS players in NYC!

The English meta is still very much in its infancy, but it’s growing. Some tips for the newer players: make sure to use cards with Brainstorm! Don’t hold too many CXs in your hand for combos and try not to strand too many CXs in your stock. Also, don’t attack an Ultimate Madoka with a Flash Asuna especially if there is a Madoka’s Swaying Feelings on the board – you’ll give them a free Heal!

All-in-all, it was a great weekend, and I think Bushiroad did a great job running their first truly large-scale event. Kudos to BSR USA!

M: Thanks Tianyu and congratulations again!

 

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