SAO Deck Tech – 2nd at 2015 BCF (Sapporo)

Sinon 1

Welcome to the 9th CX’s Weiss Schwarz deck techs! For this article, we will be looking at the list that took 2nd in the 2015 BCF in Sapporo!

As a heads up, the deck list does not feature any of the SAO vol. II EB cards. Translations can be found on Heart of the Cards. Special thanks to Johnny for article prep.

Now let’s get to the list!

Cards – 50

Level 0 – 19

3 Silica, Straightforward Trust (SAO/S20-051)
2 Rika Shinozaki (SAO/S26-047)
2 Kirito, Waiting Out Rain (SAO/S26-063)
3 Kirito in “Flower Garden” (SAO/S26-073)
4 Silica, Gathering Materials (SAO/SE23-07)
4 Shouichi Shinkawa (SAO/SE23-08)
1 Sinon in the Midst of Sunlight Through the Leaves (SAO/SE23-19)

Level 1 – 12

3 Asuna, Vice Guild Leader (SAO/S20-010)
2 Lizbeth, Changing (SAO/S20-052)
4 Sinon, Temporal Alliance (SAO/SE23-21)
3 Kirito, Choosing to Fight (SAO/SE23-29)

Level 2 – 4

1 Leafa, Gathering Materials (SAO/SE23-06)
2 Kyouji, Overly Attached (SAO/SE23-13)
1 “Check Six” Sinon (SAO/SE23-32)

Level 3 – 7

3 Sterben “Death Gun” (SAO/SE23-09)
4 Sinon, the Last Strike (SAO/SE23-24)

CX – 8

1 Accident in Battle (SAO/S26-059)
4 Phantom Bullet (SAO/SE23-35)
3 The Power of “Death Gun” (SAO/SE23-T08)


At level 0 we have 19 characters!


Silica, Straightforward Trust has a pay 1 stock rest 2 character brainstorm ability. For every climax revealed salvage an [Avatar] or [Net], or [Familiar] character.


When Rika Shinozaki is sent from stage to waiting room you can pay 2 stock to salvage an [Avatar] or [Net] character.


When Kirito, Waiting Out Rain attacks he gives 1 of your characters +1000 and +1 level until end of turn.


When Kirito in “Flower Garden” gets reversed if you have 1 or less other [Avatar] or [Net] characters you must send him to clock.


When Silica, Gathering Materials is played from hand reveal the top card of your deck. If that card is an [Avatar] or [Net] character, you (must) add it to your hand and then discard 1. She is also a level 0 reverser.


Shouichi Shinkawa is a global +500 power to all your [Avatar] or [Net] characters. He also gives all your opponent’s characters in the center stage [Target] trait.


Sinon in the Midst of Sunlight Through the Leaves gives your other middle character in the center stage +1000 power on your opponent’s turn. Her second effect is a pay 1 stock brainstorm ability. Then search your deck for X [Avatar] or [Net] character and discard X. X being the number of climaxes revealed. (If you search for fewer characters than X, you’ll still discard X cards)

At level 1 we have 12 characters.


Asuna, Vice Guild Leader has a 0 cost 0 +1000 power backup and when you use her backup if you have 2 or more [Avatar] or [Net] characters you can give one of your characters +1000 power.


Lizbeth, Changing gets +500 power for each of your other [Avatar] or [Net] characters.


Sinon, Temporal Alliance gets +500 power for each of your other [Avatar] or [Net] characters. And she has clock encore.


When Kirito, Choosing to Fight is played from hand to stage he gets +X power. X being the number of your  [Avatar] or [Net] characters until end of turn.

At level 2 we have 4 characters.


Leafa, Gathering Materials has a cost 1 +2500 power backup and when you use her backup reveal the top card of your deck, if it is an [Avatar] or [Net] character add it to your hand and discard a card.


Kyouji, Overly Attached is a global +1000 power to all your other [Avatar] or [Net] characters. And he gives all your opponent’s characters in the backstage [Target] trait.


“Check Six” Sinon gets +3000 power if she is facing a level 3 character. And you can rest 2 characters to give her +2500 power.

At level 3 we have 7 characters.


When Sterben “Death Gun” attacks if all your opponent’s characters are [Target] trait you can burn 1. His second effect is a climax combo with a climax that is not in this deck.


Sinon, the Last Strike heals on play and her second effect is climax combo with the climax “Phantom Bullet”. When she attacks with the climax in play you can pay 2 stock and discard 1 card to burn 4, if this damage is cancelled she gets +3500 power until the end of your opponent’s next turn. When she gets reversed, send her to memory.

sao_s26_059 sao_se23_35 sao_se23_t08

For climaxes it’s a 1/4/3 split respectively with 4 gates and 4 books in total.

How do we use this deck?

M: SAO never seems to go away, and the fact that only 1 CX combo is used in the deck can speak to the power of the cards the series has access to.

This red/blue brew is considerably less dependent on midgame CX combos, and instead focuses its attention to gaining incremental advantages throughout the game, mainly through getting more cards in hand.

At level 0, we have a popular mix of utility and beatdown, found in the reverser + filter Silica, as well as some big Kiritos. Rika makes an appearance in the level 0 lineup, as a nod to furthering the potential for getting more cards in hand at almost any stage of the game.

Level 1 features a balance of power on all three ways it can be found: the tenacity of clock encore, through sheer numbers (Lisbeth) and through “burst” or “assassin” characters (Kirito). There are no CX combos; the deck should focus on pushing damage and building stock at this level.

At level 2, the deck has some proactive answers (as opposed to the reactive anti-change effect) in the Check Six Sinon, as well as some solid backup + filter effects in Leafa. Everyone’s favorite thirsty boi Kyouji is there to quietly setup for the late game.

Should the deck enter level 3 with its ideal setup against a full field of [Target] characters, the burn damage potential is pretty great. It’s no pre-ban Nisekoi Marika, but it takes significantly less setup. (Also, unless power creep starts to go at breakneck speed, no card should even get close to Marika, at least for now). Sinon can try to go for a massive headshot with a burn for 4, or your Sterbens can simply attempt to pistol down your opponent for 1 damage a piece.

The deck’s endgame is like a one-trick pony that people have seen at the show before. It’s old, and somewhat predictable, but that doesn’t mean it’s worthless!

What does the deck not do well? Is it missing anything? What are some of the potential risks the list takes?

M: This deck spreads out its focus by accepting a less explosive early game in order to keep its overall game plan more stable. It looks more like a “traditional” deck list, which for older players looks like 4+4 card advantage triggers (gates, books, maybe pants) in the CX slots, as well as a fairly linear game plan. It does not have a great variety of plays, and it cannot deal with overwhelming power very well, at least from characters that might get enormous at level 1 or level 2 (provided they aren’t level 3+).

The deck also does not use any of the newest EB cards, and misses out a little bit on the more offensive utility of cards such as Unnerving Gaze “Death Gun” which has a brainstorm ability that can ‘kill’ level 0 characters outright. Kirito, to Obtain the Holy Sword is a potential substitute card for the Check Six Sinon, as it is an early play level 3 that draws cards.

About the list: 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: 2

M: The list is about as chill as a 2-color list can get, though I guess the next step down would be if it completely did away with all CX combos, but giving up that much power is most likely not worthwhile. Only needing to worry about one CX combo ever and having it be at level 3 takes a lot of the worries of execution out of the early game, too.

Power Range: 6 – 8

M: The nice thing about having a deck that is so focused on having a great B game is that even if it doesn’t perform its best at the very end of the game, the start and middle of the game will generally look about the same (in the long term). The deck’s A game is full of burn, and that has always been and will continue to be very good (unless there’s a sudden surge in the popularity of Log Horizon).

Difficulty: 3

M: If there was ever a deck that allowed a player to practice and master the basics while still having a great shot (excuse the pun) at winning, this would be a great example of one. Two colors means that leveling up at level 1 is a small but relevant skill test, and the deck has enough repeatable brainstorm abilities and hand filtering to make sure that it has ways to dig itself out of dreaded CX floods.

EN/JP Meta Viability:

In the EN game, many of the popular decks still focus on doing bigger and more powerful things. The presence of Attack on Titan, Madoka with Rebellion, Kantai and Miku means that SAO has not been seeing as much play. As the EN game grows and the card pool becomes more diverse, more decks will become viable and will see more play. Eventually, a more diverse metagame will reward a player for using a more “steady” deck like this. And that’s not to say that this deck is a “bad” choice; it’ll never be a bad choice, but it may also never get to a point where it is the deck of choice to use to win a given event. Keep this one on the radar and in the back pocket, and if you have the cards, try practicing with it or with a list like it if you feel the need to practice your basics.

In the JP game though, the card pool is already so big that we’ve already seen “steady” decks beat out the big elephants named Girl Friend Beta, Nisekoi, and Kantai. Where those series can take risks in consistency for the potential of greater power, this list capitalizes by having a solid A and B game. Most decks will be built to have the best A game possible, and that’s quite alright, but sometimes a player’s style might be to simply ignore the variance and go for what he or she feels will be the most consistent. If you are that player, then give this list your consideration!

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