Love Live! Deck Tech – 1st in 2014 Kanazawa Neo-Standard

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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 1st at the 2014 Kanazawa BCF, Love Live!

The deck list can be found on Bushiroad’s official site here.

Translations can be found on Heart of the Cards. Names will be matched to reflect the translation notes. If translations are unavailable for the card, in-house translations will be used. Because this series has only been partially released in English, HotC translations will be used for the deck tech’s entirety for the sake of consistency.

 Now onto the list!

ラブライブ!スクールアイドルフェスティバル

Cards – 50

Level 0 – 15

2 “That Is Our Miracle” Kotori Minami (LL/WE19-02)
1 “After School Songstress” Maki (LL/W28-007)
1 “School Idol Festival” Umi (LL/W28-053)
2 Honoka in Maid Uniform (LL/W24-058)
1 Umi in Maid Uniform (LL/W24-P06)
2 Hanayo, Discovered Idol! (LL/WE19-25)
4 “Going out Together♪” Rin (LL/W28-071)
2 Hanayo, Rin’s Childhood Friend (LL/W24-078)

Level 1 – 16

1 Doing Push-Ups While Smiling (LL/W24-095)
1 “No brand girls” Rin (LL/W28-011)
4 “Our LIVE is LIFE with You” Umi Sonoda (LL/W24-004)
4 “Our LIVE is LIFE with You” Eri Ayase (LL/W24-005)
3 Kotori, Second-Year Student at Otonokizaka Academy (LL/W24-051)
1 “Secret Talk” Maki (LL/W24-083)
2 “That Is Our Miracle” Umi Sonoda (LL/WE19-06)

Level 2 – 2

1 “Cooked Rice♪” Hanayo (LL/W28-024)
1 “School Idol Festival” Hanayo (LL/W28-085)

Level 3 – 9

3 “Towards the Dream” μ’s (LL/WE19-13)
2 “Sheep’s Feeling” Kotori (LL/W28-003)
1 “Incredible Sympathy” Hanayo (LL/W28-006)
3 Maki, First-Year Student at Otonokizaka Academy (LL/W24-081)

CX – 8

3 That Is Our Miracle (LL/WE19-15)
4 Love Live! School Idol Festival (LL/W28-P01)
1 First Feelings (LL/W24-073)

At level 0, we have 15 characters.

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When you play “That Is Our Miracle” Kotori Minami, it gives another character you control +1000 power until end of turn. At the beginning of your opponent’s battle phase, you may put the top card of your deck into your waiting room. If you do and the revealed card is level 0 or lower, you may have Kotori “run” to an open slot on your center stage.

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“After School Songstress” Maki has a  0 stock +1000 power Backup ability. If you control a level 3 or higher character, it gets +1 soul.

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“School Idol Festival” Umi is a level reverser. You can pay 1 stock to choose a level 0 character on your opponent’s center stage and send it to the waiting room.

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Honoka in Maid Uniform is also a level reverser. When it attacks, you may shuffle 2 characters from your waiting room into your deck. If you do, it gets +2000 power until end of turn.

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Umi in Maid Uniform gets +1000 power until end of turn whenever another [Music] character you control attacks.

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When you play Hanayo, Discovered Idol!, you may pay 1 stock and discard a card. If you do, you may search your deck for up to 1 [Music] character.

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“Going Out Together ♪” Rin is a runner: you may pay 1 stock a the beginning of your opponent’s attack phase to move it to an empty slot on your center stage.

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Hanayo, Rin’s Childhood Friend gives characters you control in front of it +500 power. When a trigger check during your turn reveals a CX, you choose a character you control, and it gets +500 power until the end of your opponent’s next turn.

At level 1, we have 16 cards: 15 characters and 1 event.

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Doing Push-Ups While Smiling (aka Smile! Push-ups!) gives a character you control +3500 power until end of turn and has Counter Step timing.

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When you play “No brand girls” Rin, it gets +X power until end of turn where X is 500 times the number of [Music] characters you control. (It counts itself.) You can also pay 1 stock to give it +1 soul until end of turn.

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“Our LIVE is LIFE with You” Umi Sonoda gives all other [Music] characters you control +500 power. You can pay 1 stock and rest 2 characters to Brainstorm: for each CX revealed, search your deck for up to 1 [Music] character. Regardless of the outcome, you shuffle your deck.

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“Our LIVE is LIFE with You” Eli Ayase gets +500 power for each other [Music] character you control.

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Kotori, Second-Year Student at Otonokizaka Academy is a level reverser. It has a CX combo that is unused in the deck.

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“Secret Talk” Maki has a 0 stock +1500 power Backup ability, and a  Change ability that is not used in the deck.

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“That Is Our Miracle” Umi Sonoda has clock encore and gets +1000 power if you control 3 or more other [Music] characters.

At level 2, we have 2 Hanayo, er, characters.

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“Cooked Rice ♪” Hanayo is a level support (+500 power times level to characters you control in front). Whenever a trigger check on your turn reveals a CX, you choose a character you control, and it gets +1 soul until end of turn.

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“School Idol Festival” Hanayo has a 1 stock +3000 power Backup ability.

At level 3, we have 9 characters.

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“Towards the Dream” μ’s has a Heal ability and also rests a standing [Music] character you control when played. It has a CX combo with “That Is Our Miracle”: up to once per turn, when it reverses a character in battle, you may pay 2 stock and put the top card of your deck into clock. If you do, stand this. (The second attack will be for the previous attack’s soul value, plus whatever the second attack’s trigger gives.)

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If you control 3 or more other [Music] characters, “Sheep’s Feeling” Kotori gets +1000 power and “When this attacks, choose a character you control. That character gets +1000 power until end of turn.” When it’s played from hand or via Change, it gains a Burn trigger: up to once per turn, when damage dealt by it is canceled, you may deal 1 damage to your opponent.

ll_w28_006 “Incredible Sympathy” Hanayo has a Heal ability when you play it. You can pay 1 stock and discard a card to give it +2000 power and “When this reverses a character in battle, search your deck for up to 1 [Music] character, then shuffle your deck.” until end of turn. (Multiple instances of this ability will work and trigger separately when its condition is fulfilled. For the sake of timeliness, if you have to resolve more than one instance of the ability, it is acceptable to ‘shortcut’ by looking for all the characters at once.)

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Maki, First-Year Student at Otonokizaka Academy gets -1 level in hand if you have 6 or more CXs in your waiting room. When you play it, you draw up to 2 cards and then discard a card. It gets +500 power for each other [Music] character you control.

The CX spread is a 5/3 split between 1k1 Door (Salvage) and 2k1 + 2 soul abilities and triggers respectively.

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How do we use this deck?

This deck has a wide variety of effects at level 0. However, trading and running are two abilities that the level 0 lineup has. “School Idol Festival” Umi is a level reverser but also has a “sniping” ability to deal with opposing runners and other troublesome characters that the deck can’t otherwise answer.

Honoka in Maid Uniform can give incidental card advantage by boosting itself to reverse a character with lower power, and then reversing its opponent on the return swing.

Hanayo, Rin’s Childhood Friend makes the most of a bad situation from early CX triggers by helping a character you control survive for a turn. +500 power may not matter as much come level 1, but in the early game, it can mean being able to score some card advantage.

Hanayo, Discovered Idol! gives the deck a standard search ability but in blue. (Contrast this to the Kotori from the first set which is the same card except yellow.)

Because the deck’s level 1 does not demand a lot of stock, it is reasonable to keep running and attacking with “Going Out Together♪” Rin and enter level 1 with 3 or less stock. Early CX triggers can be filtered out easily enough with the deck’s repeatable [S] abilities, so getting them right away shouldn’t be a big concern or priority unless it would result in an advantage being gained, e.g. using that stock to ‘snipe’ a character with Umi.

At level 1, it’s important to get an Umi Brainstorm online to generate card advantage. The +500 power boost for all your characters will keep the front line stable, and the Second Year Kotori can keep the opponent honest by reversing oversized characters. “That Is Our Miracle” Umi Sonoda is the first character that requires stock to play, but is very stable, especially given its size for characters of similar cost and ability.

A 1/1 character with 7000 power (upon a condition or otherwise) typically has hand/character encore, but this Umi has clock encore, making it less resource-intensive to keep around for multiple turns. It’s also a very good target for the deck’s 2k1 effects early on as even if the opponent defends his or her character with a Backup effect or other counter, it will cost a mere clock ‘damage’ to encore the Umi.

Level 2 only brings a pair of Hanayo: a level support and a 3000 power Backup.  Hanayo’s function is primarily to support the very strong level 1 character spread. Note that at every level there is a repeatable [S] effect to filter stock, from 0-3, and “Cooked Rice♪” Hanayo is no exception. However! Hanayo is not necessarily the only play the deck has at level 2.

Maki, First-Year Student at Otonokizaka Academy is effectively a level 2 character in this deck. If the Brainstorm Umi is being used every turn, it should be fairly easy to play before level 3. Right away when played it allows you to net 1 card and filter another, though if you have fulfilled its -1 level requirement, you are likely not CX flooded.

Level 3 continues to bring the pain and card advantage with some incidental Heal effects. “Towards the Dream” μ’s is one of the best level 3 characters to happen to the series, as it gives the deck access to re-standing with its CX combo. “Sheep’s Feeling” Kotori is straightforward enough; play and attack and Burn! “Incredible Sympathy” Hanayo is a super tech inclusion that can keep the card advantage engine going even in the endgame. Though the deck only has one copy, there are so many search effects that the number is justified.

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

This deck aims to go big with card advantage, with opportunities to gain it starting as early as the first turn.

On top of that, it has a number of one-of Backup effects that can also come down very early. Anti-salvage and Heal tax effects, as such are only annoying to the deck at best.

Strategies that can deny the deck’s card advantage engine by drawing more cards or searching for more characters can keep up with the deck, essentially turning it into a damage race.

Bounce effects are actually more well-positioned to give the deck a hard time in the endgame because the deck does not build an abundance of stock, and if used optimally, will not have a critical mass of stock until the endgame anyway because it will be searching for and drawing cards as much as it can.

Strategies that focus on playing characters with very high power, especially at levels 1 and 3, can make it difficult for the deck to gain the rewards of reversing characters in battle.

The deck also does not have any Bounce effects of its own, nor does it have any answer to Burn effects, so strategies that focus on being as greedy as possible (with Burn effects first, Heal effects less so) can also do well against the deck.

The reason that Heal effects may not be as favored against the deck is because characters that have Heal effects generally do not go too much higher than the 12000 power mark alone, for which the 2k1 effects in the deck are more than prepared to handle. With more than one “Towards the Dream” μ’s in play with the CX combo and more than one reversed character, the deck has a reasonable shot (no pun intended) of dealing 7+ to the opponent in a single turn.

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

Despite the deck having one the game’s best searchers, the deck is still 3 colors and can potentially get stranded in early levels. Fortunately, being stranded on a color is very difficult to plan and is more likely to happen only incidentally. Still, it’s important to make sure that yellow at the very minimum is found in the clock or level zone by level 1 or else the deck may experience a hiccup in tempo, and be forced to use level reversers at an inopportune time, for example. The deck also makes use of a good number of 1 and 2-ofs, which can randomly be detrimental to the situations that the user may find him or herself in.

Power Range: 6 – 9

This deck does not rely heavily on specific cards to fire certain combos, but instead uses the whole deck as its ‘toolbox’ to pick out whatever it needs at the time. Consistency again can be the bane of the deck’s potential power, but if it is able to get going, (especially if it’s able to attack first at level 3 with a “Towards the Dream” μ’s) it can deal a scary amount of damage.

Difficulty: 6 – 8

Once the deck is into the midgame, most of its decisions should be fairly automatic; search for characters, attack, reverse characters, and so on. Interestingly, how one plays the early game with the deck is one of the biggest differentiating factors of skill and experience, particularly with when running with characters, and what to level up with. A poor start can lead to a hellish game, but if the user is able to stay safe in the early turns, the deck should be able to pick up and continue into the late game with ease.

EN/JP Meta Viability:

Because of the popularity of Heal tax and anti-salvage effects, it might seem odd to see a deck that has access to, of all things, 5 Salvage triggers and a few Heal effects. However, Salvage and Heal are not the focus of the deck. Having access to those effects gives the deck an advantage over decks that otherwise don’t have access to Heal tax and/or anti-salvage, but also can capitalize on poor draws from decks that do have them.

Because search (still) has no counterplay, it resembles SAO in a way, except with the ability to potentially search more and draw more.

Against decks such as Nisekoi and Kantai, it’s important to not let them get to level 1 first. While letting either deck get its search/salvage-on-reverse CX combo can make things difficult, the deck has Backup abilities and runners to minimize the likelihood of that happening. Overall, the deck is a solid and viable pick, even in a metagame flooded with Nisekoi and Kantai.

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!