SAO 2 Deck Tech – Sinon!

SinonSilica

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Welcome to the 9th CX’s Weiss Schwarz deck techs! For this article, we will be taking a look at a couple of lists featuring New Best Girl™ Sinon!

One of the lists we’ll be featuring comes from reader Randall M., who you may recognize as Randall D’Randall on social media. The second will be my (Michael) own list, but because the lists are so similar, most of the analysis will overlap and mainly come from differences in numbers. Special thanks to Randall not only for the list but for providing his own analysis as well.

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.

Note: There is an error in the HotC translations for the card listed as “Sinon, Temporal Alliance”. Because the characters and storyline (pardon the pun) both point to it being a temporary alliance, the “correct” spelling will be used: “Sinon, Temporary Alliance”. Sorry for any potential confusion.

Because these decklists are indeed waifu lists, they are not necessarily recommended for competitive play. However, for those who are interested in making their dedicated Sinon deck as viable as possible, these are decks to try! As a word of caution to those wallet-conscious, these lists both make use of the Sinon PR. Asuna’s Married Life is a much less expensive replacement, but if you are building a Sinon waifu deck HOW COULD YOU SPARE ANY EXPENSE FOR ASADA-SAN???

Ahem… So without further ado, let’s get to the lists!

Michael’s List – [9CX]

Randall’s List – [RDR]


 

[9CX]

ASADASANASADASANASADASAN

Cards – 50

Level 0 – 15

3 Mission at Dusk, Sinon (SAO/SE23-P01)
4 Sinon, Ideal Self (SAO/SE23-18)
4 Sinon in the Midst of Sunlight Through the Leaves (SAO/SE23-19)
4 Sinon, Basic Knowledge of Guns (SAO/SE23-25)

Level 1 – 14

2 Shino, Another Self (SAO/SE23-T13)
4 Sinon, Temporary Alliance (SAO/SE23-21)
2 Sinon, Angered (SAO/SE23-31)
4 Sinon, Kind Guide (SAO/SE23-T12)
2 Shino, Want to Become Stronger (SAO/SE23-28)

Level 2 – 5

2 “Machine of Ice” Sinon (SAO/SE23-T15)
1 Sinon, Strong Being (SAO/SE23-22)
2 “Check Six” Sinon (SAO/SE23-32)

Level 3 – 8

4 Sinon, Excellent Sniper (SAO/SE23-T17)
4 Sinon, The Last Strike (SAO/SE23-24)

CX – 8

4 Partner Hecate II (SAO/SE23-T20)
3 Phantom Bullet (SAO/SE23-35)
1 A Tiny Step (SAO/SE23-36)

[RDR]

Sinonon Sniper Skool

Level 0 – 15

4 Sinon, Basic Knowledge of Guns (SAO/SE23-25)
3 Mission at Dusk, Sinon (SAO/SE23-P01)
4 Sinon, Ideal Self (SAO/SE23-18)
4 Sinon in the Midst of Sunlight Through the Leaves (SAO/SE23-19)

Level 1 – 14

4 Sinon, Temporary Alliance (SAO/SE23-21)
4 Sinon, Kind Guide (SAO/SE23-T12)
3 Shino, Want to Become Stronger (SAO/SE23-28)
3 Sinon, Angered (SAO/SE23-31)

Level 2 – 5

2 “Check Six” Sinon (SAO/SE23-32)
2 “Machine of Ice” Sinon (SAO/SE23-T15)
1 Sinon, Strong Being (SAO/SE23-22)

Level 3 – 8

4 Sinon, The Last Strike (SAO/SE23-24)
4 Sinon, Excellent Sniper (SAO/SE23-T17)

CX – 8

4 Phantom Bullet (SAO/SE23-35)
3 A Tiny Step (SAO/SE23-36)
1 Partner Hecate II (SAO/SE23-T20)

Since there is so much overlap, let’s take a second to introduce, well, all the cards!

At level 0, we have 4 cards.

sao_se23_p01

Mission at Dusk, Sinon gives characters you control in front of it +500 power. When you play a CX, you choose a character you control and give it +1000 power until end of turn. (i.e. Asuna’s Married Life)

sao-se23-25

Sinon, Basic Knowledge of Guns gets +1000 power and hand encore if you control no other characters on your center stage. (You can control characters on the back stage and the bonus will still apply.)

sao-se23-18

When you play Sinon, Ideal Self, 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 one level 2 or higher character and put it into your hand.

sao-se23-19

Sinon in the Midst of Sunlight Through the Leaves gives your other character in the middle slot of your center stage +1000 power during your opponent’s turn and has a Brainstorm ability: pay 1 stock, and for every CX revealed, you search your deck for up to X [Avatar]/[Net] characters, then discard X cards. (This ability resolves all at once – don’t shuffle after only finding one character unless you only intend to find one character!)

At level 1, we have 5 cards.

sao-se23-t13

You can rest Shino, Another Self to give another [Avatar] or [Net] character you control +2000 power until end of turn. At the start of your climax phase, you can pay 1 stock and discard a card to Change into a “Machine of Ice” Sinon from your waiting room.

sao-se23-t12

Sinon, Kind Guide is a vanilla (gasp!) 0-stock 5500 power character.

sao-se23-21

Shinon, Temporary Alliance has clock encore and gains +500 power for each other [Avatar] and/or [Net] character you control.

sao-se23-28

Shino, Want to Become Stronger gives all other [Avatar] and [Net] characters you control +500 power. It has a CX combo wtih “A Tiny Step”: When you play the CX, you may pay 1 stock. If you do, choose a character you control with “Sinon” in the name. It gains +2000 power and “When this reverses a character in battle, you may draw a card.” until end of turn.

At level 2, we have 3 cards.

sao-se23-t15

“Machine of Ice” Sinon gives characters you control in front of it +1000 power. You can rest it to choose a character your opponent controls. Until end of turn, your opponent cannot use Backup abilities or events in battles involving that character.

sao-se23-22

Sinon, Strong Being gives all your [Avatar] or [Net] characters +1000 power. During your climax phase, you can pay 2 stock and discard a card to Change into a “Sinon, The Last Strike” from your waiting room.

sao-se23-32

“Check Six” Sinon gets +3000 power if the character across from it is level 3 or higher. (This ability applies during either player’s turn!) You can rest two [Avatar]/[Net] characters to give it +2500 power until end of turn.

At level 3, we only have 2 cards!

sao-se23-t17

Sinon, Excellent Sniper gets +500 power for each other [Avatar]/[Net] character you control during your opponent”s turn and has a Heal ability upon being played from hand.

sao-se23-24

Sinon, the Wall of Text Last Strike Heals when placed on the stage from hand or via Change. When it is reversed in battle, send it to memory. It has a CX combo with “Phantom Bullet”: when it attacks, you may pay 2 stock and discard a card. If you do, deal 4 damage to your opponent. If that damage is canceled, this gains +3500 power until the end of your opponent’s next turn.

The CX spread has 3 cards.

sao-se23-35

Phantom Bullet – a 1k1Draw.

sao-se23-36

A Tiny Step – a 2k1 + 2 soul

sao-se23-t20

Partner Hecate II – a +2 soul

That’s a lot of cards! How do we use these decks?

Michael: Randall has generously offered to show us step 1 of playing the Sinon deck properly.

Behold!

SinonDeckTech

Note the customized mat, the spread of the cards, and the clear focus on Sinon + Shino.

I can only hope that the proper sleeves were used, but we’ll just assume that this is the magical land where all waifu decks are sleeved in proper waifu sleeves. (Riiiiiiiight?)

So then how do we play the decks? What are the strategies like and what are the strengths and weaknesses of them both?

Randall: The strategy is simple and linear. Get to level 1 first, flood the board with 1/0 clock encore Sinons, and then setup the hand for level 3. At level 3, use the CX combo to finish off the opponent. Sinon, Basic Knowledge of Guns is one of the key opening cards to have because it can potentially be really really big (5500 on opponent’s turn).

Michael: The deck seems to take a page out of Little Busters!’s book with a Sinon that can grab a level 2 or higher character straight from the deck for no additional cost from hand. Though it doesn’t enable you to get a level 1 Sinon, it does practically guarantee a smooth end game.

Please note that screaming ASADASANASADASANASADASAN does not in fact cancel damage, though as long as players in your vicinity don’t mind you are more than welcome to try.

Drooling and grabbing your opponent’s leg if you lose are absolutely NOT recommended though.

R: Once at level 1, Sinon, Temporary Alliance is your main attacker. You have a great global support in Shino, and her CX combo can be used to get over your opponent’s threats while netting card advantage.

M: My list however, cuts down on the use of the level 1 CX combo in favor of potentially securing more damage in the long run with +2 soul CXs. If your characters are too small to beat anything on board, slap down a +2 soul and side attack! There is still a single copy of the Shino CX combo in case it is ever relevant, but the main line is to actually try to Change into the “Ice Machine” support Sinon to shut down early Backup effects, which can include shenanigans such as Compass from Kantai (for example).

R: The deck’s level 2, in my opinion, the weakest point. If you knock your opponent to level 3 too early, you have the “Check Six” Sinon to keep level 3 characters in check.

M: Like Randall said, the level 2 for these decks are woefully short of sustainable characters. The “Check Six” Sinon basically assumes that your opponent is going to either hit level 3 before you or is going to get a level 3 character out at level 2 (Madoka, Rewrite, SAO, … almost any series can do this). Just because the card might be weak on its own does not necessarily mean that the deck’s level 2 is weak – after all, it can be searched out earlier in the game for “free”.

R: Level 3 is all about the combo. If you can get to 6 stock, you can potentially use the CX combo twice in a turn.

M: Level 3 has a surprising amount of Heal, which is reminiscent of older decks. The CX combo does mean that if the damage fails that your opponent will be very hard-pressed to find sufficient power to overcome your oversized Sinons.

[RDR] Deck Strengths & Weaknesses

R: The deck has a fairly strong level 1 game, and is able to generate a lot of card advantage through Clock Encores, the 0/0 clock-yourself searcher, and 1/0 Shino climax combo. The goal is to trade-off Stock for extra cards, but have enough stock for the endgame wombo-combo. It’s very common to have a full field and full hand at level 1.

As for weaknesses, I’d say Level 1–>2 Changers are hard to deal with, since our power can only get so high. (M: e.g. Nanoha & Kantai 2) Heal tax also hurts, since all of the Level 3s in this deck are healers. Rewrite is a HUGE potential problem, since it has everything this deck can’t really deal with – Chihaya 2/2 with huge attack power, hand encore through Kagari, and Akane’s heal tax on the stage.

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?

R: 

Greed: 4

I’d say it’s on the conservative side. Knowing how much stock you can use at a given point in the game is crucial. Do you plan to use a counter? A brainstorm? Knowing how much stock you can spend and how much you should save will leave you with enough stock to finish the game. I highly recommend NOT using the 2/1 change into the 3/2 while you are at Level 2, because it uses up a ton of stock, and the 3/2 has no staying power. However, if you already have the 2/1 on your field, you can treat it as one of the two Sinons you need for your wombo combo (assuming you don’t have both of them already in hand).

Power Range: 6 – 7

Overall, power is pretty good. The 1/0 Clock Encores are 6k with a full field, and there are plenty of global and support abilities to further boost their power levels. You have good offense with your Shino 1/0 climax combo, and on the defense you have 2k counters. If all else fails, you have Clock Encore as well. At level 3 you have 2 sides of the coin: Final Strike is potentially HUGE when the burn is canceled, but if it doesn’t cancel, your opponent might already be dead. Excellent Sniper Sinon is average on your own turn, but gets very big on the opponent’s turn.

Difficulty: 5

The deck is very linear. It’s not hard to figure out the deck’s plays just by watching the player. Stock management is a skill that every Weiss player should have, so if you have that, this deck shouldn’t be very hard to play.

EN/JP Meta Viability:

Viability is dependent on the deck’s counters: Against decks that don’t have counter mechanics, such as Nisekoi, you can just do a ton of damage to them. However against the earlier-mentioned Rewrite, and other decks like Kancolle (Hibiki) or Log Horizon (Shiroe has anti-burn), this gets a lot harder. In English, once this deck comes out in April, the lack of counter mechanics in the metagame outside of Ryuko heal tax will let this deck run wild. However, Kantai ENG in June will change that.

[9CX] Deck Strengths & Weaknesses

M: I made this deck deliberately more aggressive. A bit of wisdom from Magic: the Gathering I feel applies here: when a limited (sealed) pool is not so great, you play aggro (or aggressive cards) to apply enough pressure on your opponent to be able to end the game sooner than his or her endgame threats will become relevant. In this case, a mono-Sinon deck might not be able to compete with other more popular decks head-on such as Little Busters!, Kantai (especially Kantai now- have you seen that second set?), and Nisekoi (pre-ban).

Therefore as a concession to the card quality, more +2 soul has been added to make sure maximum value is gotten out of those early turns with 1/0 clock encore characters! The deck has no way of dealing with anti-Burnheal tax, or even salvage, so it has to make do with dealing tons of damage and preserving its board if its damage is canceled.

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: 3

This deck is not greedy in the slightest. The end game is easy to find, and there’s only ever one color to worry about! While there is the matter of stock management, being able to hit a CX combo or draw a particular character should not be all that difficult with how many cards this deck can search for in a given game.

Power Range: 4 – 7

I actually think the deck can get completely stomped in a straight damage race against a dedicated soul rush deck. 1/0 clock encore characters are usually too small to withstand really large attacks, and other rush tactics can simply use a +2 soul CX and side attack around them, thus completely negating the presence of the encore ability. Granted, the strategy is more live against decks with level reversers, and the 4 damage finisher does mean that Sinon could 720NoscopeHeadshot your opponent from 3/0 to dead. The lack of counterplay against the game’s more unfair mechanics however, does take away from the deck’s overall potential power range.

Difficulty: 4

The deck is fairly straightforward. A newer player may find him or herself very uncomfortable with the thought of taking a lot of “free damage” for preserving his or her board and searching for characters. However, it’s all done in the name of building stock, and once that end game is understood, it becomes that much easier to execute.

EN/JP Meta Viability:

With the JP ban list looming, it’s difficult to say exactly where this deck might fit in. On one hand, it does a combination of damage and Healing which is rather unusual to see. It is able to prevent some characters from “going off” in the end game (hi Marika!) if the opponent survives, but does not have complete invincibility. The deck very much reminds me of a sniper itself – deal lots of damage, but very few answers if the damage comes to you too, or worse, first.

On the EN side of things, SAO 2 will be the first EB to hit the shores and will make the series the most supported in the game. Even though SAO has not done has people have feared it would (i.e. win absolutely everything under the sun), access to this set’s card pool may just be the tipping point. It should be noted though that Love Live! will also be getting its combo of SiF and the EB, and I predict that those two series will be among the top 3 series (Kantai being the third among them).


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