Little Busters Deck Tech – 2014 NA WGP Nationals Champion!

Yuiko

Welcome to the 9th CX’s Weiss Schwarz deck techs! For this article, we will be exploring the deck that won the 2014 NA WGP Nationals: Little Busters!

This article and interview are brought to you by Andrew Castillo.

Unofficial Article Title: The Champion I Partied With

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 take a look at the list!

“Baseball with Tears”

Cards – 50

Level 0 – 16

2 “Little Busters” Komari (LB/W21-003)
2 “Returned Leader” Kyousuke (LB/WE18-06)
3 “Friends” Komari & Rin (LB/W21-T10)
2 Haruka, Water Shot (LB/W06-051)
2 “Gaze of Curiosity” Yuiko (LB/W21-042)
4 “Little Busters” Riki (LB/W21/065)
1 Mio, Unchanged Song, Unchanged Sky (LB/WE21-24)

Level 1 – 12

4 “Candidate for Next Captaincy” Sasami (LB/W21-T02)
4 “Sunset-colored Feelings” Rin (LB/WE18-03)
2 “Save the Cafeteria!” Rin (LB/W21-028)
2 “The End And the Beginning” Kyousuke (LB/WE18-04)

Level 2 – 7

3 “One Cut, Two Pieces” Yuiko (LB/W21-010)
2 “Moral Committee President” Kanata (LB/W21-026)
2 Farewell Yukichi!! (LB/W21-078)

Level 3 – 7

1 “Irreplaceable Time” Rin (LB/WE18-01)
4 Kyousuke, Stage On! (LB/WE21-03)
2 “Words of Reunion” Sasami (LB/WE18-16)

CX – 8

4 Invincible Kurugaya (LB/W21-020)
4 We Should Date (LB/WE18-15)

At level 0 we have 16 characters.

lb-w21-003

When “Little Busters” Komari attacks, you choose another level 1 or lower character you control, and that character gets +1 level and +1500 power until end of turn.

lb-we18-06

“Returned Leader” Kyousuke has a +1000 power Backup ability. When you use its Backup ability, you choose a level 1 or lower character you control, and that character gets +1 level until end of turn.

lb-w21-t10

“Friends” Komari & Rin gives characters you control in front of it +500 power. You can pay 1 and send this to your waiting room to choose a card in your clock, put it into your hand, then put a card in your hand into clock. (If you don’t have any cards in your clock when you use the ability but have cards in hand, you will still need to put a card from hand into clock!)

lb-w06-051

Haruka, Water Shot has a Brainstorm ability for 1 stock: for each CX revealed, you Salvage a character and then discard a card.

lb-w21-042

Characters in front of “Gaze of Curiosity” Yuiko can’t run. It’s also a level reverser.

lb-w21-065When you play “Little Busters” Riki, you may pay 1 stock and put the top card of your deck into clock. If you do, you search your deck for up to 1 level 1 or lower character.

LB-WE21-24

When you play Mio, Unchanged Song, Unchanged Sky, you draw and discard a card.

At level 1, we have 12 characters.

lb-w21-t02

“Candidate for Next Captaincy” Sasami has clock encore.

lb-we18-03

“Sunset-colored Feelings” Rin has a CX combo with “We Should Date”: when it attacks, you search your deck for up to 1 level 2 or higher character. (The search effect is mandatory, but you can choose to search for 0 characters)

lb-w21-028

“Save the Cafeteria!” Rin makes your opponents so jelly of your character’s power that they lose has a 0 stock +1500 power Backup ability.

lb-we18-04

“The End and the Beginning” Kyousuke gives characters you control in front of it X power, where X is 500 times the number of characters with Assist you control. (An Assist Assist!) If your opponent Salvages during the attack phase, he or she discards 2 cards.

At level 2, we have 5 characters and 2 events.

lb-w21-010a

When you play “One Cut, Two Pieces” Yuiko, it gets +1500 power until end of turn. It has a CX combo with “Invincible Kurugaya”: when it attacks, it gains +3000 power and your opponent cannot use any Encore abilities for the turn (including the default 3 stock encore ability).

lb-w21-026

“Moral Committee President” Kanata gives characters you control in front of it +1000 power, and has a Heal tax ability.

lb-w21-078

Farewell Yukichi!! is a 3-stock event with counter step timing. You choose a character in battle, and that character gains “This card cannot deal damage to players” until end of turn.

At level 3, we have 7 characters.

lb-we18-01

When “Irreplaceable Time” Rin is front attacked, you look at the top card of your deck, and put it either back on top or into your waiting room. When you play a CX, you may pay 2 stock and discard a level 1 or higher character. If you do, Bounce up to 2 characters your opponent controls on his or her center stage.

LB-WE21-03

If you have 6 or more CXs in your waiting room, Kyousuke, Stage On! gets -1 level in your hand. It has a Punish Burn ability. (Up to once per turn, when you’ve played this from your hand, if damage dealt by this card is canceled, you put the top card of your deck into your waiting room and deal X + 1 damage where X is the level of the revealed card.)

lb-we18-16

“Words of Reunion” Sasami gets +2000 power as long as you have 4 or fewer cards in your hand. During the turn you play it, if it reverses a character in battle, you may discard a card. If you do, send the reversed character to clock.

The CXs are a 4/4 split between 1k1 + Bounce and 2k1 + 2 soul effects and triggers respectively.

lb-w21-t09

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How do we use this deck?

Andrew: The deck has a unique approach that does its best to answer the most popular effects being used in the game right now. The deck has answers to SalvageHeal and even Burn.

Michael: This build of Little Busters (and many others like it) make use of one of the game’s best level 0s in “Little Busters” Riki. Though it costs a point in clock, it doesn’t cost any cards from hand to use, and can even be used to functionally accelerate to level 1.

The level 0 game is full of effects that also nullify and counteract both runners and level reversers. (RIP Chitoge) There is a small amount of clock swap tech that can be used to virtually increase the hand size.

At level 0, the idea is generally to abuse Riki as much as possible to setup for the level 1 game, all while denying the opponent the ability to gain free stock from runners or utilize level reversers.

Level 1 is where the deck gets access to its powerful anti-Salvage in “The End and the Beginning” Kyousuke. While other anti-Salvage effects (such as +2000 power and -3 soul) can be mitigated by careful attack sequencing , this effect hits right where it hurts and makes Salvage effects almost impossible to use. The CX combo with  “Sunset-colored Feelings” Rin provides a card at no cost, and it only finds level 2 or higher characters. Even though the search is restricted, a card is a card!

Level 2 is where the deck has some deadly pushing power to cement an advantage. The CX combo with “One Cut, Two Pieces” Yuiko is a kind of an all-in shove that almost always ends up in the user’s favor. Being able to shut down encore abilities at any given time with a deck almost guarantees that it will put a strain on the opponent’s resources, and there are enough support effects in the deck to ensure that characters can have a fighting chance of lasting more than a turn. Level 2 is also where the deck gets access to a Heal tax effect, which is usually where most decks would begin to want to Heal to begin with.

In case of good cancels or a horrible flood, Musashi Mako Kyousuke is available to come down at level 2 if you have enough CXs in the waiting room. Though it doesn’t have as much power as its other Punish burn counterparts, it does have the ability to shove and win the game when ahead.

Finally at level 3 is the tech inclusion of a double Bounce effect and the familiar “clock shoot” ability. Farewell Yukichi!! keeps the user safe from most damage in the end game, and is best used during level 3.

What are the risks this deck takes? What are some potential weaknesses?

A: One of the biggest weaknesses of this deck is that it doesn’t have very high power. Usually the deck has to accept losing characters early on, and needs to use the 1/0 clock encore Sasami to keep up in cards.

M: It’s true, this deck does not have very much in the way of overpowering opponents at level 1. Decks that have access to large level 1 characters (e.g. Log Horizon, Lucky Star, etc) can punish the deck by forcing it to use clock encore repeatedly. Alternatively, decks that can Change into larger or higher level characters earlier than level 2 (e.g. Vividred Operation) can also put the deck in a pinch.

As far as the deck’s suite of prevention however, it’s answers to Salvage are virtually unmatched in terms of effectiveness, and its answers to Heal and Burn/damage, however limited in scope, are still very effective. What this means for this deck however, is that it needs to search constantly to maintain consistency. There are no Salvage effects, but there are clock swap effects which are the closest thing it has to a Salvage effect.

A: This deck can be dangerous to play.  It has 8 key cards that clock yourself, which is always risky. The potential upside is that it can prevent you from being locked at a certain level.

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

A: I’d say the deck is right in the middle. It uses stock lightly until levels 2 and 3, and has a lot of utility once it hits that point.

M: As far as colors are concerned, the deck is almost straight yellow-green, but has a splash of blue to support its event. The deck will need to eventually clock or level with blue in order to play the event, but otherwise shouldn’t need to worry about that very much because it has clock manipulation. A steady stream of search abilities are also what keep the deck consistent, if not somewhat predictable.

Power Range: 4 – 9

A: I think the set as a whole is one of the most powerful in the game; the EB really added a lot and it can go toe to toe with the other two “big” decks Kantai and Nisekoi.

M: Being able to tell a very popular deck “No” is a very powerful thing. Being able to tell a lot of other decks “No” in the process is also very strong. In that, this deck has access to a unique combination of ways to prevent the opponent’s game from going according to plan. Put that together with a strong mid to late game, and you have a deck that stands to look very powerful in the field. However, clocking yourself constantly can be very embarrassing when against soul rush decks.

Difficulty: 6 – 8

M: At first blush, the deck looks like it’s fairly straightforward. Why? The things that the deck searches for at each level are restricted. However, just because the targets are restricted doesn’t mean that they can be skill-testing. A player can have a range of options at a given time, and knowing what to search for can mean the difference between having a smooth victory or a horrible disaster of a defeat.

An additional level of difficulty will come in the very critical midgame where clocking oneself can either backfire horribly or be used to one’s advantage. Usually, it will be the latter, but knowing how to adjust and Brainstorm accordingly (if a CX should become lodged in clock for instance) is a basic that the deck will test.

EN/JP Meta Viability:

M: While the deck isn’t available in EN, as Andrew said before, the deck is capable of going headfirst against the other two “big” decks, which, at this time, are Kantai and Nisekoi. That ability alone is enough to rank Little Busters (and in particular, this deck) among the top 3 contenders in the JP meta.

Now let’s get to the interview!

Because I got the opportunity to hang out with Andrew before and during the event, our interview format will be a little more relaxed and have a few more stories in it than the usual cut and dry stuff.

M: Congratulations on winning Nationals Andrew! Could you introduce yourself for the rest of us who might not know you?

A: I’m Andrew, and I’m 28. I attended IU and graduated with a degree in Computer Science. Believe it or not, I have a minor in Asian History. As much as I’ve always loved Japanese pop culture, I also love the history and the impact the Pacific has had on the world. I was going to become a history teacher, but I realized I wouldn’t be able to support my expensive hobbies. So now, I’m an IT contractor and I help a non-profit organization for Down Syndrome.

M: Neat! How was the whole Nationals experience for you?

A: The whole weekend itself was by far one of the things in my life that I’m not going to easily forget. My friends in the Illiana group made it amazing and I got to meet some cool people.

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

A: I would say the most epic moment that I had was actually before the tournament itself – I pulled an SP Sasami (the level 3) and it made me pretty giddy.

M: Haha, who wouldn’t be? It still sounds like you didn’t burn all your luck before the event though. Was there any really unlucky moment you had during the event?

A: During the final match, my starting hand was horrible. I had 3 CXs in hand and I triggered another one, and I accepted in my head that I would probably lose, especially given how aggressive my opponent’s set was.

M: Did you have any incredible comebacks?

A: During that same final match I was able to repair that really terrible CX draw with a lucky topdeck. I drew a Riki searcher right at the right time to get my brainstormer and forced an early refresh. If I hadn’t done that, I would have lost for sure.

M: How did the match in the grand finals go for you?

A: I played against Kantai Collection in the finals. The match was pretty intense because I had to play more aggressively because my hand was so bad in the early game. It became a race to see who could end the game first. I kept my anti-damage event in my hand to stay alive at 3/6 and won the game the turn after.

M: That definitely sounds like an epic way to win! So how did you prepare for the tournament? I know the night before there was quite the party.

A: I’ve been working on my build for a few months, and was blessed to have such a great group to playtest against. The night before I partied a little too hard, but it was definitely worth it. I was able to get in some games with players I’ve always wanted to meet in person and also have a “few” drinks with them.

M: So what do you plan on doing when you get to Japan?

A: Other than participating in the WGP I will definitely be going to Akihabara. That’s everyone’s dream, right?

Akiba

M: Story time! Tell us a few stories about your Nationals experience. Pick three!

A: So first, the start of our trip to Rochester began picking up two of our players on the way there. On our last stop before the drive to New York we were all surprised when our friend Ryan Hannah decided to come along. He had initially trolled us that he wasn’t going to come. He then appeared out of nowhere and surprised us. He pretty much made our car and weekend amazing.

The second moment would have to be the night after last minute qualifiers. Some of our players in our group participated during it and afterwards alot of us went to hang out at our hotel. We decided to step up the gathering and upgraded it to a party. I don’t think it was a wise idea to take lots of shots before a big event. You were there also and made us all feel like lightweights. Haha.

M: Hey man, it’s called randomly having a tolerance!

A: That’s a nice way to put it. LOL.

M: You were saying?

The third moment was the final attack of the finals game were I secured my 1st place spot. I literally was in utter shock and all I can remember hearing was cheering and one resounding voice: Audri. Within seconds I was in hugged so tight i lost my breath for a second lol.

M: How did you manage the top 8 matches, by the way? I remember before they started you came up to me and mentioned that you were feeling the pressure. 

A: Honestly I think what I learned from last year’s event is your approach to big tournaments. Funny story about that – last year was my first Nationals. Let’s say my track record this year compared to last is a total 180. Going from 0-2 to 9-1 made me happy.

M: Funny you should mention the approach to big tournaments. Not long after that article went live, I found an article posted by a friend of mine (Magic pro) that found that people play poker better when hungry.

A: Haha. I would have loved to eat. I technically had time to do it i just wasn’t in a mindset to leave the store. I felt i would lose focus somehow. I will note that Audri did yell at me to eat. Several times. I managed to buy a cherry Pepsi and some choco bears. After not eating literally for ten hours I was able to survive on children’s Advil and adrenaline.

M: Oh yeah, I remember you eating those!

A: That’s the secret to winning! LOL

Uoohohohoho

Insert ojousama laugh here

M: Those were some really high stakes games compared to others you’ve played in tournaments. Were you still having fun?

A: Believe it or not, those were the most fun games I’ve ever played. Leading up to the event, I was a little salty because of how my testing games went. (0-11!) But even if I had lost at the end, it was still an amazing experience.

M: Alright, well thanks for taking the time to be interviewed! Anything you’d like to say before we wrap up?

A: Yes. Lots of shoutouts!

The Illiana Weiss Schwarz group has been a pivotal part of my experience while playing Weiss Schwarz. To think it all started when seeing a flyer at my local Japan hobby store.  At first I didn’t want to try it but I loved anime and card games and took the plunge.  Since then I’ve been hooked!   I was able to meet Audri Sampson who was the TO at B.C Collectibles in Danville IL.  The best part of the game is the opportunities I have had to meet some amazing people.  Some of my closest friends are those I met through the game.

Even people overseas that I have met through social media have helped me a lot to sharpen my skills as a player. My Senpai Nicholas Tay helped develop my play style and exposed me to the potential of many sets and approaches to the game.

It was also awesome to finally meet you in person. See the person behind the articles. People like you help the game regardless of the haters that say otherwise.

Audri, Ben, Alex, Justin, Ryan, Aubrey, David H., Melanie are some of the best players have made me a better player and a better person THANKS everyone!!!

TEAM RAINBROS PRIDE!!!!!!

Awwww Yeaaah

M: Thank you and congratulations again Andrew, and best of luck at the 2014 WGP!

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! Thanks for reading!