Welcome to the 9th CX’s Weiss Schwarz deck techs! For this article, we will be looking at the deck that took 4th place at the 2014 NA WGP Nationals!
This article and interview are brought to you by Melanie Strock. She has been featured previously with an earlier version of her deck here.
This series has been analyzed and featured numerous times in the past. Cards won’t be introduced, but will be reviewed in the article itself.
Translations and the deck list 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 look at the new list!
Level 0 – 16
2 Kosaki, Store’s Mascot Girl (NK/W30-033)
4 Chitoge, Surprising Side (NK/W30-053)
2 Marika, Active Girl (NK/W30-054)
2 Marika in Swimsuits (NK/W30-078)
4 Raku Being Similar (NK/W30-084)
2 Kosaki, At the Secret Place (NK/W30-091)
Level 1 – 15
4 Marika, Loving Carnage (NK/W30-056)
3 Marika, Tilting Her Head (NK/W30-059)
4 Kosaki, First Visit (NK/W30-080)
3 Pendant of Promise (NK/W30-097)
1 Pendant of Promise (NK/W30-071)
Level 2 – 4
2 Marika, Daughter of the Police Chief (NK/W30-057)
2 Kosaki, Angel in White Clothing (NK/W30-081)
Level 3 – 7
1 Chitoge, Deepened Friendship (NK/W30-051)
3 Marika, Maiden’s Heart (NK/W30-052)
3 Kosaki, Maiden’s Heart (NK/W30-076)
CX – 8
4 Feelings of 10 Years (NK/W30-073)
2 I…. Lied…. (NK/W30-098)
2 Promise of a Day Long Gone (NK/W30-099)
How do we use this deck?
Melanie: My deck has been designed to have flexible utility to get around what I planned to be a very anti-Nisekoi meta going into Nationals. While heal tax is not a huge problem for this deck, anti-burn and anti-salvage effects are strong against this set. The Level 0 game outside of Chitoge, Surprising Side is designed to help shape the hand both early and late game and to gain card advantage.
The things going on in this deck from Level 1 on are familiar to many who have either played or built with the Nisekoi set, but when I was building and play testing I found that I liked the power up that adding the “I……Lied……” 2K1 to the deck for various spots did, as well as the plus 2 soul “Promise of a Day Long Gone” helped with in other Nisekoi mirror matches. I planned to face a lot of anti-salvage, and tried to set up this deck with the mindset that I could search if salvage was not an option.
Michael: This deck was definitely tuned to face off against the mirror! (In this case, mirror meaning a deck from the same series running very similar cards and with a similar plan.)
The plan looks to be quite similar to many other Nisekoi lists; Salvage and maintain a board presence at level 1 with Backup effects. The deck allows for very greedy salvaging with Marika, Loving Carnage, and can keep the opponent’s large characters at bay with Marika, Tilting Her Head.
The deck has a much more powerful level 2 plan than some, using a pair of level support Marika, Daughter of the Police Chief to complement the trio of Kosaki, Maiden’s Heart in the deck. This allows the deck to have a powerful alternative to Marika, Maiden’s Heart if it is “stuck” at level 2, or if it is trying to extend a lead during that time (or both).
Marika, Maiden’s Heart, is the finisher among most if not all Nisekoi decks.
What are the risks the deck takes? What are its potential weaknesses?
Melanie: This deck’s weakness lies in power level and anti-salvage. While I have included search cards in the build to aid in combating this, the deck can lose hand advantage either to anti-salvage effects and decks that have very powerful Level 1 games that wipe the field. Even though I do run Kosaki, First Visit and Marika, Tilting Her Head to help combat this, decks that get very big can be difficult to keep up with. I also feel the series can be weak to soul rush, as it prevents you from being able to take the time to use the tool box in this deck to set up for a very powerful Level 2 and 3 game.
Michael: Indeed, after testing a lot with this series, I agree that it can be prone to soul rush, because both the deck’s level 2 and level 3 game require a lot of stock. One of the most awkward things that can happen to the deck is if its level 1 and/or level 2 only last for one turn, particularly because the amount of stock it needs to capitalize on its level 2 game is so high.
While the deck may have problems with high power characters, a single Pendant can be all it takes to solve that at level 1, and a second Pendant takes care of that (potentially) at level 2.
To add onto the analysis and to expand on the deck from the last time it was featured, I asked Melanie a few different questions about the deck.
Were there any notable interactions you had facing certain decks? How did you have to adjust your play style?
Melanie: I would say my most difficult matches of the day were against Kantai Collection, although I was able to win one of my Kantai matches in the tournament. This weekend was my first time playing against the deck, and I have to say it is one of the most powerful decks I’ve seen. I had hoped before Nationals in my playtesting to face it, but was unable to do so.
Because my deck doesn’t have a high power level at Level 3, clock shooters can also be a problem. Throughout the day I kept adjusting my playstyle as best as possible to react to what was on the table in front of me. I played so many wonderful games against different decks and had a few close matches that eventually pulled out in soul damage either to “Marika, Maiden’s Heart” or the climax “Promise of a Day Long Gone”.
Michael: Against Nisekoi and Kantai Collection in particular, players have started to “crash everything” at the end of level 2 to shut down Marika and Akagi for a turn. This not only prevents the most unfair elements of both cards from triggering (Burn + clock shoot), but also allows a greater chance of canceling.
What changes did you make to the deck since you last qualified, and why?
Melanie: I have made most of my changes to the Level 0 and Level 1 game since I last qualified with this deck. I discovered that I had too much going on in Level 1 and took out the “Time Machine” Onodera’s in place of the Marika level reverser. I play tested many games assuming that I would come into scenarios where I would not be able to salvage, so I set up the Level 0 game with “Kosaki, Store’s Mascot Girl” for an early game hand fix search, as well as keeping in Kosaki, At the Secret Place to set up a late game search if I wasn’t able to get “Kosaki, Maiden’s Heart” in my hand by then.
I feel that there are many viable variations on to this deck, including splashing yellow for “Chitoge, Lovers!?” and adding the 1/0 Chitoge assists in the back for power level. Right up to the day of the event, I actually did a lot of playtesting with a blue/green version of the deck based around my favorite character Onodera, but eventually came back to this deck because of the amount of utility it gave me to react to the game.
Melanie: I feel the challenge of this deck comes into knowing what to salvage/search for and picking the right card for the situation. Also, stock management, even with a costless Level 0 and 1 game, can become problematic if you are unable to generate enough early on in the game to support the Level 3 Marika and Chitoge game.
Let’s move onto the interview!
Michael: Congratulations on your finish! It’s been quite a run for you – would you like to introduce yourself for everyone?
Melanie: My name is Melanie and I am 30 years old. I have been teaching middle school general music and guitar now for nine years, and am currently completing my Masters degree through Kent State University. I started playing English Weiss Schwarz in late May this year when I discovered there was a card game that had Sword Art Online cards, although I have played Magic: The Gathering before this. I began playing with Japanese cards this August and love it!
Michael: Woohoo! A fellow music educator! How did your event go overall?
M: This was my first time at Nationals, and it was amazing. I agree with Andrew on this point: I wish that I had left my wallet in the car! My friends and I came up on the Friday before so we would have plenty of time to be relaxed and playtest before the actual event. I had an amazing time seeing and playing against so many creative decks on Saturday and Sunday, as well as getting to see more Japanese sets in action.
As I am newer to playing Weiss, I didn’t expect to go very far on Sunday, but planned to learn and gain experience at the event. I learned so much this weekend, and look forward to playing more games in the future to learn even more. It was a wonderful weekend of fun, great card games, and time spent with friends!