SAO 2 Deck Tech – 1st at 2014 Fanime Tournament

Asuna Nya

Image Source: Unknown (Supposedly a now-suspended Pixiv user)

Welcome to the 9th CX’s Weiss Schwarz deck techs! For this article, we’ll be looking at a winning deck list: Sword Art Online + Sword Art Online vol. 2! The tournament was held by Bushiroad at Fanime 2014 in San Jose, California, and 55 players attended. The format was double elimination with a cut to single-elimination top 8. This article will be featuring a deck tech and a tournament report.

Because the sets are released in English, the English card names will be used.

First, the breakdown!

SAO 2.0

Cards – 50

Level 0 – 16

4 Lisbeth’s Professional Pride (SAO/S20-050)
4 Asuna’s Married Life (SAO/S20-008)
2 Silica’s Unyielding Trust (SAO/S20-051)
4 Ceasefire Agreement, Keiko (SAO/S26-049)
2 Silica Looking Up At the Sky (SAO/S26-043)

Level 1 – 14

4 Asuna Invites to Party (SAO/S20-001)
2 Asuna Takes Shelter (SAO/S20-011)
2 Vice Commander, Asuna (SAO/S20-010)
2 Self-Sacrifice (SAO/S20-022)
4 Lisbeth Changes Clothes (SAO/S20-052)

Level 2 – 4

1 Skilled <Sylph>, Leafa (SAO/S26-
3 Searching Lisbeth (SAO/S20-046)

Level 3 – 8

4 Asuna’s Commanding Strength (SAO/S20-007)
4 Leafa’s Pure Wish (SAO/S20-027)

CX – 8

4 <<Star Splash>> (SAO/S20-024)
4 Seeking Warmth (SAO/S20-072)

At level 0, we have 16 characters.

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Lisbeth’s Professional Pride is a level reverser. You can also Accelerate at the beginning of your climax phase to give another [Weapon] character you control +2500 power until end of turn.

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Asuna’s Married Life gives +500 power to your characters in front of it. When you play a climax, you may choose a character you control and give it +1000 power until end of turn.

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Silica’s Unyielding Trust has a Brainstorm ability: pay 1 stock and rest two characters to Salvage for each CX revealed.

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When you play Ceasefire Agreement, Keiko, you put the top card of your deck into clock if you have 3 or more CXs in your waiting room.

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When you play Silica Looking Up At the Sky, you may pay 1 and discard a card to tutor for an [Avatar] character.

At level 1, we have 12 characters and 2 events.

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If you have three or more [Avatar] and/or [Net] characters, Asuna Invites to Party gets +1000 power. It has a CX combo with <<Star Splash>>: pay 1 stock and tutor an [Avatar] or [Net] character.

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Whenever Asuna Takes Shelter reverses a character in battle, you may put the top card of your deck underneath it as a marker. For each marker it has, it gains +1500 power and +1 level.

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Vice Commander, Asuna has a 0 stock +1000 power Backup ability. When you use the Backup ability, if you control 2 or more [Avatar] and/or [Net] characters, you can choose a character you control and give it +1000 power until end of turn.

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Self-sacrifice is an event that can be played during the Counter step that gives an [Avatar] or [Net] character you control +3500 power until end of turn.

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Lisbeth Performs Fanservice Changes Clothes gets +500 power for each other [Avatar] and/or [Net] character you control.

Level 2 contains a mere 4 characters.

WSEN_SAO_S20_CH_BP

Seeking Lisbeth has a CX combo with Sought Warmth: When it attacks, you may pay 1 stock. If you do, Salvage up to 2 characters and discard a card, and it gains +1000 power until end of turn.

sao_s26_021

Skilled [Sylph], Leafa gives all your other [Avatar] and/or [Net] characters +1000 power. When a character you control in front of it is reversed in battle, if this card is standing, you may pay one stock and rest this card. If you do, that character gains hand (character) encore until end of turn.

At level 3, we have 8 characters.

sao_s20_027

Leafa’s Pure Wish gets -1 level in hand if you have 5 or fewer cards left in your deck. It gives your other [Avatar] and/or [Net] characters +1500 power. You can pay 1 stock and discard an [Avatar] or [Net] character to give this card +3000 power and make it untargetable by your opponent’s abilities until the end of his or her next turn.

sao_s20_007

Asuna’s Commanding Strength has a Heal ability. When it attacks, you may pay 1 stock and discard a card to give all [Avatar] characters you control (including itself) +500 power and +1 soul until end of turn.

What does this deck do well?

This build of SAO has a lot of powerful options. Aside from the obvious “build a Leafa wall” objective that the deck has, it uses all 1k1 effects to attack for 2/2/2 as often as possible. It has Bounce triggers to deal with oversized cards or cards that have Change abilities, and Door triggers to maintain its hand size. It also has Asuna Invites to Party and Searching Lisbeth to ensure that stock from attacks is clean. That is, one can attack with other characters first, and then attack with the character’s appropriate CX combo to immediately dislodge an errant CX. While Asuna’s Commanding Strength can also do this, it will not be as relevant because refreshing the deck at level 3 tends to be very rare.

Because the deck doesn’t have solid encore effects, it turns that weakness into an offensive power with Self-sacrifice and Vice-Commander, Asuna.

Leafa’s Pure Wish can lock down a board from level 2, and is arguably the best use of 2 stock at that level in the entire series between its two sets. Asuna’s Commanding Strength can make playing catch-up very easy, and can close games outright at level 3.

Self-sacrifice should be used as much as possible as a Backup and not an offensive tool, even in the mirror.

What does this deck not do well? How do we beat it? Is there something missing?

A much larger level 1 game or level reversers can nullify the benefits of Backup effects this deck has. Characters with clock encore for instance, can force the deck to use its Backup effects without a lot of additional benefit or incentive.

The deck can also be denied cards or its entire level 2 game if the deck is rushed right before its refresh or in mid-level 2. +2 soul CXs are favorable to use in the midgame, especially around 1/6.

If you are using +2 soul CXs, remember that side attacking is OK! Not only does it get around an opponent’s Backup effects (and this deck has a lot of them), but it also helps keep damage as even as possible.

Bounce effects can also act as a countermeasure to Leafa’s Pure Wish, and can cause a game to swing back in the opponent’s favor. This particular list also does not make use of a lot of Brainstorm effects, so it trades off having poor early draws (and subsequent CX floods) for having a very solid level 0.

Now onto the tournament report!

Hi everyone! I’m Michael, the owner/editor of this website, 9th CX. Thank you for reading! For those who are interested in hearing about how the event went, this next part will be a round-by-round breakdown, with some analysis.

I borrowed the deck from my friend Alan, who was judging the event. Before the tournament started, I made some last-second changes to the deck, taking out some of the oldest cards and reintroducing green for Leafa.

Note: I recalled how the matches went to the best of my ability. VODs will be released at some point and will be linked to here, and I will be making adjustments if there is a particular discrepancy.

Round 1 – Andrew (SAO, Mono-Red Silica) [Feature Match]

Andrew was playing a truly dedicated Silica deck, with matching sleeves to boot. In the early turns, we traded damage until I reached level 1. I was able to use a full set of Asuna Invites to Party with the CX combo to sculpt my hand for future turns. Andrew wasn’t able to cancel very much, and I was able to use Backup effects to preserve my board in the midgame. My advantage eventually grew to a full level, and I closed the game at level 2.

After the game, I did an interview with Coopa of FinestKO.

One of the questions I was asked was which sets I think would be in the top 3 of the event. My prediction was that SAO would definitely make it, and after that, Madoka and Love Live! I picked SAO because of its deep card pool, Madoka because of its wealth of Heal effects, and Love Live! because I think the set is solid (based on what I remembered from a previous deck tech).

Round 2- Daryl (Madoka, Green/Red)

Daryl’s list reminded me a lot of my old Madoka deck, except it was built to assemble a large End of Karma for Madoka with Time Regressor Homura at level 2 (from what I saw). Unfortunately for Daryl, he missed most of his characters at level 0 and level 1. The few characters he did manage were either undersized or KO’d by my Backup effects. During one turn, I stuck 10 straight damage to send him to 3/6, and had a Bounce trigger for his Madoka’s Swaying Feelings. My being at 2/4 at the time drew a very rare concession from him.

Round 3 – Nicholas (SAO, YR)

Nicholas and I have played in our local tournaments before, but I’ve always managed to win (so far!). In the opening turns, I canceled the first attack, and was left at 0/3 to his 0/5. I did have two Lisbeth,  Artisan’s Pride in play though, so to prevent myself from getting stranded at level 0, I used both Accelerate effects to get to 0/5 and ensure that I would be going to level 1 the following turn unless he elected to not attack.

My attacks pushed him to level 1 first, but his first draw on the following turn was either 1 or 2 CXs, and he did not have any copies of Asuna Invites to Party on the board at any time. My draw on the next turn however, had a pair of Asuna Invites to Party, and a copy of <Star Splash>. There was a point that I had already gone through all 8 CXs in my deck with about 9 cards remaining (including one that had become a counter for Asuna Takes Shelter), but he didn’t draw a CX to punish it. Near the end of the game, my Leafa wall made it impossible for him to keep characters alive, and I won the turn after I had played them.

Round 4 – Luyi (Miku)

My friend Luyi is a fellow Magic player. His desire to play in the Magic tournaments trumped his desire to show his devotion to Miku (kind of), and so he dropped. I overheard from a judge that Luyi wasn’t the only X-0 player who had dropped from the event.To their credit, no prizes were announced prior to or even during the tournament.

After the four rounds was the cut to top 8. I was 3rd seed after the double elimination rounds.

Interestingly enough, the top 8 had 2 Love Live! players, 2 Madoka players, and 4 SAO players.

Quarterfinals – Hayden (Love Live! (TD?))

This was kind of a team kill match because Hayden and I both frequent the same store for our local events. I looked at my opening hand and saw 3 CXs, so I mulliganed 4 cards and looked at yet another one. On my first turn, I drew yet another CX, clocked it, and fortunately did not see another enter my hand. I made my first attack and found a Door trigger… which made me look at my deck again. I had about 32 cards left with only 2 CXs remaining.

It turned out that my CX flood was being met with a kind of CX flood as well. After I got to level 1, in consecutive turns, he made direct attacks for 2, but then triggered a +2 soul trigger, and one of my last remaining CXs canceled the damage on the very last card. While he did get me to level 2 on the following turn, Leafa’s Pure Wish made an appearance to ensure my characters would not be run over. On his last attack, he was only able to do the 6 of 7 damage that he needed to win, and it took a single 3-soul attack for me to end the game.

Semifinals – Albert (Love Live!) [Feature Match]

Albert was wielding the Love Live! Trial Deck.

During this match, I did not play optimally. I missed an Asuna Seeks Shelter trigger after reversing a character, and I also had an awkward Door trigger at the bottom of my deck which was unable to Salvage anything. Oops.

Despite my inaccurate play, my Backup effects were able to sustain my board for multiple turns. I triggered Bounce triggers to keep him from keeping a board at level 2.  In mid-level 2, I gained a about a half level advantage but had that lead erased by a single +2 soul attack from him. After my first refresh though, things looked pretty bad. I had an awkward triple CX trigger immediately following, and I was forced to Brainstorm to deny damage. By that time however, I had run him out of resources and he was unable to punish me during that critical turn where it would have certainly meant the game had he drawn and played another +2 soul CX. Instead, I was given another turn, and  had 5 cards left in my deck with 2 CXs among them to make losing at level 3 impossible for a turn.

Some might say that it is very lucky that he made it this far with a trial deck, but I argue that that assessment is a bit inconsiderate. Albert had a few things going for him and his deck. Newer trial decks, Love Live! in particular, are more powerful than their older counterparts. The TD also makes use of +2 soul CXs. And lastly, Albert had to play well to make the semifinal round. 

Grand Finals – Eddie (Madoka) [Feature Match]

Before the game began, I accidentally got into Eddie’s head because I mentioned that the deck belonged to Alan. According to Alan, Eddie had lost 80% of his testing games against his SAO deck.

The game started off very quietly. Both of us triggered a CX on our first attack, and we both had cancels to prevent us from going to level 1 very quickly. I used my Keiko, Ceasefire Agreement and a pair of Asuna’s Married Life to prevent his level 0 characters from staying on the board for more than a turn, and then played a couple of Lisbeth Changing Clothes. Those two Lisbeths would go on to stay on the board for almost the entire game, as they were 7000 and 7500 power respectively. My Backup effects would reverse his Sayakas with every attack he made, and I was able to use his Sayaka’s Healing Prayers as a punching bag, which at one point sent a CX from the top of his deck into clock.

During one critical turn at level 2, he had a Madoka’s Swaying Feelings in play that had no Change target. I made a direct attack and triggered the last card in my deck – a Bounce trigger! The attack canceled as well, stranding him at level 2. His return attack triggered a Book, and I determined that the maximum number of cancels he had remaining in his deck was 1, unless he drew that last CX.

Over the course of two turns while I was at level 2 and he around 1/3, he had perfect cancels for 5 out of 6 of my attacks. We both maintained enormous hands throughout, but I kept a slight edge in damage because I drew a couple of CXs while he drew none.

During the last turn, he was at 2/5, and I was at 3/0, having just used the Heal ability from Asuna. I attacked with a Leafa first to build stock for an Asuna effect in case I wanted to do more damage. The attack for 3 connected. At that point, he had only 2 cards left in his deck that I knew were not CXs, so I attacked with my Asuna and declined the ability. After the shuffle, I cut his deck and a CX rolled right off the top to cancel the damage. The refresh penalty sent him to 3/2, and I made a direct attack with my Asuna, and this time opted to pay the cost to push it to 4 soul. My reasoning was to deny him cards by putting him at 3/6. I knew he had already previously used Salvage effects to put a pair of Sayaka Miki in his hand, so doing anything less than 4 damage would effectively be doing no damage because it would just be answered by Heal effects. Instead, a soul trigger came off the top of my deck, and 5 consecutive non-CX cards were flipped, ending the game in a very sudden and dramatic fashion.

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Barely visible: Love Live! sleeves

Aftermath

After the event ended, I received my prize of a pack of Gold/Silver redemption Love Live! sleeves. There was a prize raffle, and Eddie was one of the first winners … for a WS shirt! At the very end, there as a pack of the G/S Fate/zero sleeves and I won those (talk about a win more). I found out that second place received nothing, so I traded my sleeves to Eddie for the shirt.

Shoutouts, etc

I’d like to thank Alan first for letting me borrow (and change) his deck for the event. Yay for the Bay Area scene! Thanks to Ben (and the PH WS community) for their support. Big thanks to Bushiroad for coming out to Fanime – hope they can make it up here again next year! And a big thanks to you, yes you! – the readers, who help make all of this possible.

If you have questions or comments, please send us a message through Facebook or an email at theninthcx AT gmail DOT com. Remember to sign up for the monthly giveaway! And as always, thank you for reading!