Love Live! Deck Tech – 2nd at 2014 Ohio Neo-Showdown Qualifiers

Honoka and Umi

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Welcome to the 9th CX’s Weiss Schwarz deck techs! For this article, we will be looking at the deck that took 2nd at the 2014 Neo-Showdown qualifier in Ohio: Love Live!

The deck and interview are brought to you by Audri Sampson, who is from Danville, Illinois. She’s the same one that has brought you the interview about tournament organizing as well as the ACEN 2014 tournament! Because the set has been released in English, the official card names will be used.

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Love Live!

Level 0 – 17

2 Kotori Minami (LL/W24-E011)
2 “Tight Hug, and Closing In on “love”!” μ’s (LL/W24-E012a)
4 Club Leader, Nico (LL/W24-E032)
3 “Khorosho” Eli (LL/W24-E039)
4 Maid Outfit Honoka (LL/W24-E058)
2 Daughter of a Japanese Confectionery, Honoka (LL/W24-E063)

Level 1 – 12

3 “Our LIVE, the LIFE with You” Umi Sonoda (LL/W24-E004)
4 “Our LIVE, the LIFE with You” Eli Ayase (LL/W24-E005)
2 Mini Eli (LL/W24-E114)
3 Energetic by Nature, Honoka (LL/W24-E054)

Level 2 – 7

3 Umi Sonoda (LL/W24-E013)
1 Otonokizaka High 3rd Year, Nozomi (LL/W24-E030)
3 Otonokizaka High 3rd Year, Eli (LL/W24-E031)

Level 3 – 6

3 “We Are Now Waiting In the Shining Light” μ’s (LL/W24-E014)
1 “Wonderful Rush” Honoka Kosaka (LL/W24-E109)
2 Idol Otaku, Nico (LL/W24-E027)

CX – 8

4 First Thoughts (LL/W24-E073)
4 Youthfulness Must Be Listening (LL/W24-E023)

Author’s Note: Because Love Live! has been featured prior on the site, this deck tech will be a shorter look at the more unique cards in the deck that haven’t been seen previously. You can check out the older variations that were able to win the 2014 North American Intercontinental Championships, and a 2013 WGP qualifier, to see a breakdown of most of the cards in this list.

At level 0 we have 17 characters, and 2 variants.

WS_LL_W24_E012a

When you play “Tight Hug, and Closing In on “love”!” μ’s, it gains +1500 power until end of turn.

WS_LL_W24_E063

You may pay 2 stock when you play Daughter of a Japanese Confectionery, Honoka. If you do, you may Salvage a [Music] character.

At level 1 we have 12 characters, and 1 variant.

WS_LL_W24_E054

Energetic by Nature, Honoka gains +500 power and character (hand) encore if you control 3 or more other [Music] characters. It also has a CX combo with “First Thoughts”: When it attacks, you may pay 1 stock. If you do, Salvage a character.

At level 2 we have 7 characters.

At level 3 we have 6 characters, and 1 variant.

ws_ll_w24_e109

“Wonderful Rush” Honoka Kosaka searches for a [Music] character when played, and when another [Music] character attacks, it gains +1000 power until the end of turn.

The CX spread is 4/4 split between 1k1 + Door and 1k1 + Bounce effects and triggers.

Audri will be joining us for a bit of the analysis!

How do we play this deck?

Michael: The level 0 is pretty familiar. The μ’s (Honoka variation) is kind of like a level reverser, except it doesn’t leave an empty slot when it reverses a character. The tradeoff is that you risk being unable to overcome powers of characters. There is also another Change from 0 to 1 in the deck.

Audri: “Our LIVE, the LIFE with You” Eli Ayase dominates the early game and does not take much stock. Energetic by Nature, Honoka sets up for the remainder of the game with Salvage effects, as well as the Umi with search effects.

M: It is worth noting that the deck uses characters for Backup effects, and as such they can be recurred with Salvage effects if needed. The level 1 for the deck is not stock-intensive and should be generating as much as possible in the early game. Because the characters are neither difficult to play nor difficult to sustain, generating 3 stock per turn is not unreasonable.

A: You finish the game with the Nico that can send characters to clock. Through level 2, you play the best big characters possible.

M: Because the deck does not have a very stock-heavy level 1, the deck is not as susceptible to being soul rushed. It can easily play its Umi at level 2 to reverse characters very reliably every turn if behind. The deck does not need green until level 2, but it’s most important at level 3, where all colors are most easily accessed anyway.

At level 3, it has the familiar CX combo to clear the opponent’s characters, and as Audri was saying, to send characters to clock with Nico.

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

Fortunately, this deck does not really suffer from color issues. Given that it uses primarily red and yellow for the early and mid game, it should very rarely run into issues with color.

Because the deck does not use blue (i.e. a +3500 power event), it is forced to play in a somewhat predictable fashion. It cannot Change from level 2 to level 3, and the Backup effects it has at level 1 are only good for +1500 power. On top of this, it is at its most powerful when the stage is full.

If it gets derailed by powerful characters or level reversers at level 1, it can recover because of its low stock demand, but it will likely struggle until level 2. To beat the deck, wiping its level 1 is solid, but also denying it level 2 while establishing and building a good board presence is just as important.

Most critical however is that this deck does not have any repeatable Brainstorm effects. While Umi at level 1 is arguably all the deck could ever need, the deck can (and at some point will) find itself unable to refresh the deck if it draws too many CXs early on or cancels too much.

How does the deck stack up? Is it conservative or greedy? What’s its overall power range? Is it easy or difficult to use? What would you say about its viability in the JP/EN metagames at large?

Greed: 5

The deck uses three colors, but is essentially two colors for most of the game. Because it uses a very powerful variety of characters and effects that search and Salvage, missing a color is very unlikely to happen in the course of a game. The lack of a repeatable Brainstorm effect is a factor to why the deck is still considered moderately greedy.

Power Range: 4 – 7

This version of Love Live! uses a lower-power and lower-cost level 1 plan which is built more toward the long term game. While it will not outright cripple an opponent per se, it can still create board positions that are difficult for the opponent to crack, whether it is through straight power or because of characters having special encore.

Searching is one of the most powerful mechanics in the game, but it is costly.

Difficulty: 4

The deck is rather forgiving because most of the early game plays, again, do not require stock. The game plan is very straightforward: line up characters where yours are bigger, build stock, and play characters from start to finish and repeat every turn. If the hand is poor, Brainstorm to search for some characters, or Salvage them with a CX combo or incidentally with triggers.

Interestingly, the fact that the deck does not have any repeatable Brainstorm effects makes the deck easier to use. Why? Because in a situation where a player knows that the deck absolutely cannot do something, it’s another factor that plays into how he or she plays. Using repeatable Brainstorm abilities can be a trap, especially for newer players who may be tempted to burn through the deck just to resolve an effect. Taking away this possibility allows for any player to play more optimally simply because the opportunity to make that kind of mistake (and reap the upside) are absent, even if that means the deck may be slightly less powerful overall.

Author’s Note: This is not to suggest that the user is inexperienced, or that anyone that chooses to omit such an effect from a deck is inexperienced. It’s ultimately a matter of preference. The benefits of a very costly Brainstorm effect (e.g. pay 1 stock, rest 2 characters) tend to be much better than those that are repeatable (e.g. pay 1 stock). What one gains in power one loses in the ability to repeat the action of putting the top 4 cards of the deck into the waiting room.

EN/JP Meta Viability:

In the scope of the JP meta,, Love Live! is a very well-supported set, and this iteration of the deck is very likely to be obsolete.  While it does still make use of some of the set’s most powerful cards, it does not make use of every card possible. It would probably be beaten by a deck from the same series that makes more use of the more powerful cards that were released in the Extra Booster sets. While that alone may not be the biggest indicator, the deck is hit particularly hard by its sparse endgame reach (e.g. no Burn effects) and any anti-salvage abilities.

In the EN meta however, Love Live! can certainly put on a show. (Pun intended) This deck in particular is not exceptionally greedy. While it does make use of a third color for its end game, it can still dominate the early game with a lot of power for little stock. With the stock advantage it generates, it can come back from being behind. It’s a reasonable choice for a larger event. Some players may even consider using both the Hanayo and Eli level 0 Change effects for a more power-oriented level 1.

Author’s note: This kind of change would probably not be recommended by Audri, but only because she is a huge fan of Honoka. 

Now to the interview!

M: Welcome back and congratulations on the finish! We’ve heard the run down on the deck, but we’d like to hear about the event a little more. What was a particularly lucky moment you had during the tournament?

A: In the top 8 I swear my opponent canceled at least 20 times. I was able to do over 10 damage in one turn to end the game because he finally ran out of CXs.

M: Sounds intense. How about a really unlucky moment?

A: The finals! It was against Clinton Chan who was playing Y/G/R SAO. I didn’t hit a cancel during an attack for 3 after refreshing and I lost because of it.

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🙁

M: Second place is still good for an invite! How did you prepare for the tournament?

A: Lots and LOTS of playtesting. I started testing for the event as soon as Neo-Showdown was announced.

M: How about the day of? Did you do anything special for it?

A: Nah, I should have slept more during the drive over the night before.

M: Must have been a long drive going across state lines! Thanks for the interview again and congratulations – anything else you’d like to say or shoutouts you’d like to make?

A: Thanks to William D., Nicholas T., and Ben Schiffli, the three guys who made me the player I am today!

If you have questions or comments, please send us a message via Facebook or an email at theninthcx AT gmail DOT com.  Be sure to sign up for our monthly giveaway where we are giving away a box every month! Thanks for reading!