Welcome to the 9th CX’s Deck Techs! For this time around, we have a list from the 2015 World Champion Clinton Chan, which he used to win the Top Cut New Years 1K in Chicago, IL prior to claiming the title. Special thanks to Johnny for article prep.
If you ever doubted the power of Corps, you might want to consider this list! Now, onto the cards!
Attack on JP
Cards – 50
Level 0 – 18
4 “Paving a way for the Future” Mikasa (AOT/S35-E060)
4 “Honor on the Battlefield” Eren (AOT/S35-TE02)
3 No. 1 Oddball” Hange (AOT/S35-E038)
3 “Violent Ripples” Levi (AOT/S35-E033)
2 “104th Cadet Corps” Christa (AOT/S35-E056)
2 “Beyond the Walls” Eren (AOT/S35-E001)
Level 1 – 11
4 “Battle Stance” Mikasa (AOT/S35-E077)
3 “104th Cadet Corps Class” Sasha (AOT/S35-E062)
4 Anti-Titan Device “Omni-Directional Mobility Gear” (AOT/S35-E026a)
Level 2 – 5
3 “Beyond the Walls” Mikasa (AOT/S35-E058)
1 “104th Cadet Corps Class” Mikasa (AOT/S35-E056)
1 The Emblem on Their Backs (AOT/S35-TE11)
Level 3 – 8
4 “Resisting Fate” Levi (AOT/S35-E032)
3 “Resisting Fate” Mikasa (AOT/S35-E057)
1 “Resisting Fate” Armin (AOT/S35-E002)
CX – 8
4 The World the Girl Saw (AOT/S35-E083)
4 The Wings of Freedom (AOT/S35-E053)
At level 0 we have 18 characters.
At the beginning of your opponent’s attack phase you can put the top card of your deck into the waiting room. If the revealed card is a [Corps] character, “Paving a way for the Future” Mikasa can run to an empty slot on the center stage.
“Honor on the Battlefield” Eren gives a character +1500 power until the end of turn when he direct attacks. He is also a stock reverser. When he becomes reversed if he is facing a level 0 opponent you can send that character to stock and put the bottom card of your opponent’s stock to the waiting room.
“No.1 Odd Ball” Hange is a “standard” searcher (pay 1 stock, discard a card) for both [Titan] and [Corps] trait.
“Violent Ripples” Levi is a “global”; +500 power to all other [Corps] characters and on play you can give one of your opponent’s characters on center stage -1000 power until end of turn.
When “104th Cadet Corps” Christa is played from hand, you can pay one and clock the top card of your deck to salvage a level 1 or lower character from your waiting room.
“Beyond the Walls” Eren gives your middle character in the center stage +1000 power on your turn. You can pay 1 stock and rest it to brainstorm and search your deck for a [Corps] character for each CX revealed.
At level 1 we have 7 characters and 4 events.
“Battle Stance” Mikasa gets +1000 and +1 level when she is played. And you can pay 2 stock when she is front attacked to send her to the waiting room and place a “Beyond the Walls” Mikasa from your hand as the defending character.
“104th Cadet Corps Class” Sasha gets +1500 power and clock encore if you control 2 or more other [Corps] characters.
When you use Anti-Titan Device “Omni-Directional Mobility Gear”, you can search your deck for one [Corps] character and add it to your hand and then discard one card. Then, you can choose one of your [Corps] characters in battle and move it to an open slot on your stage. (If you use it outside of battle, during your main phase for example, you will still get to search, but your characters won’t be forced to move because they aren’t in battle.)
At level 2 we have 4 characters and 1 event.
“Beyond the Walls” Mikasa cannot side attack and gets +500 power for every other [Corps] character you control. When she reverses her opponent and the climax “The World the Girl Saw” is in play, you can burn for one damage.
“104th Cadet Corps” Mikasa gets +1000 power for every other [Corps] character that is played from your hand, up to twice per turn. Her second ability is a 2 stock, encore phase change into “Resisting Fate” Mikasa.
The Emblem on Their Backs gives one of your [Corps] characters +8000 power until the end of turn.
At level 3 we have 8 characters.
“Resisting Fate” Levi has a CX combo with “The Wings of Freedom”: when played, you can discard a card and choose one [Corps] character from your clock and place it on stage. His last ability is on the turn he is played from hand, up to once per turn, when he reverses his opponent you can pay 3 stock, discard one [Corps] character and send one [Corps] character from your stage to the waiting room. If you do, you can stand him and move him to an open slot on your stage. (“move noob” – Levi 2015)
“Resisting Fate” Mikasa gets +2000 power if you have two or more [Corps] characters and on play she heals. Her last ability is at the beginning of your opponent’s attack phase you can pay one and choose her and another [Corps] character and stand and switch them.
“Resisting Fate” Armin has hexproof. He is also an assist that gives +2000 power and hexproof to your [Corps] characters in front of him. His last effect is, when played, you look at up to X cards from the top of your deck and choose a card and add it to your hand, then discard the rest, where X is the number of [Corps] characters on your stage. (He counts himself)
The climaxes are a 4/4 split with gate (1k1) and bar (1k1).
How do we use this deck?
Something to remember is that just because the deck has all these options at this level doesn’t mean that the focus of the deck will be to do all these things before level 1. On the contrary – remember that games don’t really play to a “schedule” and that the idea of laying out the game plan per level is to keep options in mind, rather than give a road map for “here’s what to play when”. To that end, we won’t reiterate a lot of analysis on cards per level unless there is a very good reason to.
The level 0 game for this deck is fairly simple. The Mikasa runner is in to deny early cancels, deny damage, and gain card advantage. Eren stock reversers are great for clearing troublesome characters and other utility cards, but are also great for gaining incidental card advantage if you need to reverse another character at any stage of the game. Levi provides a way to snipe out annoying characters such as reversers (or Hibiki [Kantai], or Yuu [Charlotte] etc). One of the best cards that Corps has to offer though, comes in the form of the Eren brainstorm. 1 stock to be able to search as early as level 0 is quite nice. Make sure to use it if you see that there is a good opportunity; if you haven’t seen a CX in some time (5+ cards), there’s a good chance you’ll hit at least 1 CX with the effect. Like almost every brainstorm effect, it’s important to be mindful of the number of cards left in the deck versus the number of CXs remaining.
Level 1 is where the deck can start to not only win, but deny a slew of common effects. Most notable, is the “Shimakaze” on-reverse search effect, found in Kantai, GF Beta, etc. Almost the entirety of the deck’s level 1 lineup facilitates this. Four full copies of Mobility Gear can shuffle up the board in your favor starting level 1, but should be done throughout the game. It’s been said before in other deck techs featuring this series but it bears repeating: Mobility Gear is the most skill-testing card in this deck. Practice with it a lot, but also keep in mind that the card favors the player who knows more about the card pool of the game at large as well. The SURPRISE Mikasa is a solid card as well. While many will never try to run into it, it’s kind of a rare effect where one can actually bluff out the opponent. Why? Normally, when played, she signals that the user has a Mikasa in hand ready to ambush whatever comes to battle her. An opponent who is aware of this (and most are), will likely side attack. A CX played will usually mean that this side attack is fine anyway, but in a situation where no CX is in play, it puts the opponent in a predicament. The normal play should be to side attack it because getting hit for 2 or 3+1 on the following turn is a heck of a punish, but if one is flooded, it can be played as a way to try to mitigate midgame damage. Little things!
By level 2, the deck should already have a Mikasa swinging or ready to. Having a level 2 burn on-reverse combo is one of the ways that the series can snowball leads, or mount comebacks. If the level 2 Mikasa still isn’t enough, you can change into the level 3 Mikasa to overpower opposing characters and begin to kite your opponent. By now, it should be painfully clear to your opponent that it will be very difficult to clock kick your characters, or gain advantage from on-reverse effects.
Level 3 can be the Levi show, if you so choose. The ability to shove away a reversed character (unless you really feel like killing a standing Eren on principle) to get in for another attack is highly punishing, and Mikasa can shuffle your board in your favor for a low cost. Note from Clinton: because the deck does not have an anti-change effect, the Emblem event is in the deck to make sure that Levi is able to stomp on whatever he needs to fight.
(Editor’s Note: We gave Clinton a chance to look over the analysis here, and he gave it a thumbs up)
Let’s run the numbers on the deck’s greed, power, difficulty, and viability.
A three-color deck is more aggressive than 1 or 2 color decks, but the way the deck plays out, it doesn’t truly need all 3 until later in the game. Because there are so many search effects in the deck, accessing the desired cards at any given time, whether on or off-turn should be easy to pull off.
Power: 6 – 9+
The power of this deck is highly variable, and that’s not just counting the variance one might encounter during the game itself while drawing cards. Against a deck that needs to reverse characters as early as level 1, this deck should shine. It has a lot of the tools needed to deny the advantage engine that many popular decks have (again, Kantai, GF Beta, To Love-Ru, etc), and can even carry this into the endgame to deny clock kick effects which are seen in even more sets. There is a good amount of burn that the deck has access to, and its finishing combo, while being literally brute force, is still effective.
Do not use this deck without practice! This deck will also favor a knowledgeable player, as we’ve said before, because proper use of Mobility Gear can and will make the difference between slaying an opponent with finesse or running out of gas, falling to the ground and unceremoniously being eaten by a happy titan. Don’t be the one who ran out!
EN/JP Meta Viability:
Meta-sensitive. While the deck is always ‘good’ on its own, there exist some environments where this particular setup may even be favored to go deeper.
In the JP game, many decks favor using level 1 as a way to gain advantages through on-reverse effects. If you absolutely despise this kind of engine, this is one of the best decks to run to shove that into an opponent’s face. (Please don’t actually rub your cards in your opponent’s face) The deck does not have as flashy of a game as something like TLR or Nisekoi, but it still gets the job done.
In the EN game, it’s a different environment. Log Horizon doesn’t get its anti-burn Shiroe until super late, SAO doesn’t have its final form yet, and Kantai can indeed fold hard to losing Shimakaze early. There’s a reason that Corps was played so heavily during the 2015 season, and while numbers alone aren’t enough to indicate the quality, it should be clear by now that this series is a real contender.
To those who are curious, at some point, we may find a way to discuss specific matchups, but there are not enough consistently winning lists to run meaningful data on yet. In the future, when we talk about the various builds from the series, this will be considered one of three ‘core’ lists that are best known to the series: Corps (this one), Levi Squad (any Corps deck incorporating the Levi Squad CX combo, can also be three color), and Titans.