Welcome to the 9th CX’s Weiss Schwarz deck techs! For this article, we will be looking at the deck that took 3rd at the 2014 WGP Regional Qualifiers hosted in Indianapolis, Indiana by IndyGamerz!
The deck and interview are brought to you by Andrew Castillo. Special thanks to Felix for preparing the cards for the article.
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.
Let’s get to the list!
“ScytheMaster was on Vacation”
Level 0 – 17
4 Zwei, No. 2 Guy (PT/W07-027)
4 Claudia, Conspiracist (PT/W07-026)
2 Zahlenschwestern (PT/W07-079)
2 Godoh, Rising Dragon (PT/W07-088)
3 Drei, Edge of Madness (PT/W07-051)
2 Cal, Observer (PT/W07-108)
Level 1 – 15
4 Claudia McCunnen (PT/W07-040)
4 “Successor of Phantom” Zwei (PT/W07-110)
3 Claudia, Tough Customer (PT/W07-034)
1 Ferrari F40 (PT/W07-047)
3 Ein, Greatest Trust (PT/W07-054)
Level 2 – 3
1 44 Auto-Mag (PT/W07-096)
2 Reiji, Talent for Killing (PT/W07-114)
Level 3 – 7
1 “Phantom of Inferno” Zwei (PT/W07-031)
2 “Invincible Phantom” Drei (PT/W07-056)
4 “Nobody Phantom” Ein (PT/W07-077)
CX – 8
4 Past (PT/W07-048)
2 Conclusion (PT/W07-074)
2 Name (PT/W07-075)
At level 0 we have 17 characters.
Zwei, No. 2 Guy gains +1500 power the turn it is played.
Claudia, Conspiracist gives characters in front of it +500 power. You may put a “Zwei, No. 2 Guy” from your field to your clock. If you do, choose a “”Successor of Phantom” Zwei” from your clock and put it in any slot on your stage.
If you have Zahlenschwestern on your stage, at the start of your CX step, reveal the top card of your deck. If its a CX, rest it.
Godoh, Rising Dragon gives all your other characters +1 level if you have 2 or less other characters.
When you play Drei, Edge of Madness you may pay 2 stock. If you do search your deck for a card with “Phantom” in its name and put it in your hand. It is also a level 0 Reverser.
Cal, Observer gains +1500 power the turn it is played. It also has a Brainstorm effect: you may pay 1 stock and rest 2 of your characters. If you do mill the top 4 cards of your deck, and for every CX revealed this way search for a [Weapon] character and put it in your hand.
At level 1 we have 14 characters and 1 event.
Claudia McCunnen has a CX combo with “Past”: when you play the CX you may put a character from your stage to your waiting room. If you do you may search your deck for a [South Town] character that is level 1 or lower and put it in any spot on the stage.
For every marker “Successor of Phantom” Zwei has, it gains +1000 power. When it reverses something, choose a [Weapon] character from your waiting room and put it under this as a marker.
Claudia, Tough Customer gives all your other characters with “Phantom” in its name +1000 power. It also has a Change effect: at the start of your CX step you may pay 1 stock and put this into your clock. If you do choose a “Master of Phantom, Claudia” and put it in the slot this was in.
Ferrari F40 is a +3000 power event counter that goes to your clock after you use it.
Ein, Greatest Trust is a +1500 power character counter. It also has a Change effect: at the start of your CX step, you may pay 2 stock and put this into your clock. If you do, choose a “”Greatest Assassin Phantom” Ein” and put it in the slot this was in.
At level 2 we have 2 characters and 1 event.
44 Auto-Mag is an event counter. When you play it choose 1 of your characters to gain” When this is put from the stage to the waiting room, put it back rested in the slot it was in” until end of turn. You also choose 1 of your opponent’s battling characters, and it doesn’t stand next turn.
Reiji, Talent for Killing is a +2500 power character counter. When you use the counter ability of this, choose a battling character with “Phantom” in its name and it gets +1000 power until end of turn.
At level 3 we have 7 characters.
“Phantom of Inferno” Zwei gives the character in front of it -1 soul. When this reverses something you may pay 3 stock to send it to clock. This also has a (rare) CX Encore effect.
“Invincible Phantom” Drei has a Heal effect on play or change. This also has a CX combo with “Conclusion”: when damage done by this is canceled you may pay 4 stock and send this to memory. If you do, choose a character from your waiting room and put it in the slot this was in.
“Nobody Phantom” Ein gets -1 level in your hand if you have 2 or more copies of this in your waiting room. It also has an on play Heal effect.
The CX spread is 4 2k1, 2 P2S (+2 soul), and 2 1k1 + Door.
How do we use this deck?
Andrew: This deck focuses almost entirely on the 1/1 Zwei that can be sneaked in early at level 0. It gets +1000 power per marker, and what’s even better is that it has to take [Weapon] characters from the waiting room instead of blind cards from the top of the deck.
Michael: That is, Zwei will never have a CX under it! That’s good.
A: The level 3 Ein can also come out early. Despite needing 2 copies of it in the waiting room, it’s not that difficult to pull off.
M: Early on, the level 0 has a range of decent effects as well. As Andrew suggested, the 1/1 Zwei is a threat that can start to take over a game early on, and only is really a liability against series with good or necessary level reversers at level 1. There are a lot of cool tricks with the events in the deck, as well as a lot of abilities that force things into your clock as a payment for a powerful effect. The level reverser is also a searcher, which means that the user will usually be forced to hold it back and use it for maximum value (search, and trade with a larger character, etc)
It can look pretty reckless (the deck can clock itself a LOT), but if it can defend a level 1 Zwei, the card advantage will keep rolling. Also of note is Godoh, Rising Dragon, which gives other characters you control +1 level if you control 2 or fewer other characters.
The end game does have a lot of ways to cash in on the stock that Zwei has built up in the early game with abilities to send characters to clock and Heal. The deck can also exploit being ahead on board early on with its pair of +2 soul CXs. With a properly prepped Zwei, the deck can go on full offense, all while building stock and (ideally) gaining card advantage through favorable attacks.
What does this deck not do well? How do we beat it? Is it missing something?
A: The biggest flaw is actually in the Zwei, because it doesn’t gain levels while gaining markers. It isn’t that big of a liability because of how low cost the deck is in terms of stock, but any deck that can use level reversers and worse reuse them is really bad. (i.e. Nisekoi!)
M: Andrew got to the big point first – any set that has a level reverser at level 1 (or even a cost reverser) can completely throw this deck off its main game. If a deck can gain and maintain an overwhelming advantage with cards in hand and stay even if not ahead in terms of damage, this deck will struggle. Interestingly enough though, the classical forms of “hate” in the meta with anti-salvage and anti-Burn are not particularly effective against the deck.
Backup effects that punish characters for being over-level (which are seen in Love Live!, Kantai and Nisekoi, for example) are not as effective against the 1/1 Zwei. So while it does maintain a weakness against level reversers, it stays safe against punishing Backup effects. Bounce effects however, are still live.
Godoh, Rising Dragon, as mentioned before, can actually keep a Zwei safer from level reversers, at the expense of having to keep a smaller board. If the user is not careful with this card, it can give the opponent the opportunity to attack for a greater amount on the lesser or open slots on the stage, or worse, use one of their level-punishing Backup effects.
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: 6 – 7
M: The deck has a 3-color requirement, with green, red, and blue being used in the deck. However, the tri-color requirement is not nearly as all-in as the Zwei plan is for the deck.
A: If you can’t get rid of the 1/1 Zwei, he will become completely unmanageable and the deck’s ability to cancel often will be greatly increased.
Power Range: 3 – 8+
M: It’s been said once, but it bears repeating: level reversers (and to some extent, Bounce effects) can make the deck look like a disaster. However, if a Zwei does get going without an answer and is able to stock up 4 or more non-CX cards, the deck can get very close to being unable to take very much damage in a turn. If the Zwei does get going though, having overwhelming power may not be enough to keep up with the deck’s total offensive power.
M: Despite the deck’s seemingly simple early game, it does require a lot of practice and discipline to properly time and use the deck’s many Change effects and self-damaging cards. Though the deck early on does not have anything in the way of tricks with runners, its Change effects will really determine how the game goes.
A: There are a lot of moving parts in the deck, and even one small mistake can derail your whole game.
EN/JP Meta Viability:
A: The comeback campaign in my opinion made this set top tier. One of the upsides of using this deck is simply the fact that most players haven’t seen it, and it’s very likely to overwhelm the opponent if that is the case.
M: As suggested before, the deck is very focused on offensive power. It isn’t particularly bothered by Heal tax, anti-Salvage and anti-Burn abilities, and its use of +2 soul with a snowballing character can make life hellish for an opponent without anything to answer it. Unfortunately, one of the most powerful decks in the format currently, Nisekoi, so happens to have a plan A against most of what this deck aims to do. To that end, it’s a small strike against the deck (having a poorer matchup against what is arguably the ‘best’ set in the game), but that doesn’t take away from its power or potential power.
Now let’s get to the interview!
M: Congratulations on the finish! How did your event go overall?
A: It was an amazing experience, especially seeing how great my fellow players from the Illiana group did.
M: Did you have any really lucky moments during the tournament?
A: In the last game [of Swiss] I played against a yellow/green Nisekoi deck. I took advantage of my opponent’s CX flood – I was sure he had only 1 cancel left in deck, but he ended up having none. With a single +2 soul CX I pushed him from level 1 to level 3 even through his refresh. I felt a little dirty and happy inside because most of the time I never get that lucky.
M: Ouch! Any unlucky moments?
A: After the top 4 cut, I had to play against my friend Alex who was playing Nisekoi. He already knew how to play against my deck, and it did not go well.
M: How did you prepare for the tournament? Did you do anything special the day of?
A: I approached this year’s Regional a little more calmly than last year’s. I feel that keeping a cool head and just focusing on the game at hand makes you less prone to making mistakes. I didn’t let the importance of the event bear down on me, and I was able to avoid doing things that I wouldn’t normally do.
M: Nice! Once again, congratulations on the finish and best of luck at Nationals! Any shoutouts or other things you’d like to say?
A: Shout out to everyone in the Illiana group! I was proud of the two Regionals we participated in with 5/6 of us earning spots. Last shout out to Nicholas who was one of the players who helped me gain my foundation and play style. See you in Rochester everyone!
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