Monogatari Series Deck Tech: Part 1 of 3

Monogatari

Welcome to Part 1 of a 3 part deck tech series on the new Monogatari set! This series is brought to you by Melanie! With her signature in-depth style, she brings us a look at a new deck. The video here is a visual walkthrough, as well as a comparative analysis with more parts to follow. Enjoy!

Melanie: As a huge Shaft anime fan I recently began watching the Monogatari series, the last anime I have not watched from the studio. I initially got a little tripped up by the very first episode of Bakemonogatari which is why I haven’t viewed the series before now, but once I got past it I was quickly drawn into the unique art and the incredibly deep story lines. Inspired by what is quickly becoming one of my top favorite anime series, I decided to invest in the Monogatari 2nd Season set. It is the most fun I have had with a Weiss set in a while as far as it’s depth and creative solutions to the many competitive series out there. I’m currently investing and seeking out the singles I’m missing from Bakemonogatari and Nisemonogatari, but in the meanwhile I wanted to bring you some deck builds using the new set. Please note that these decks can be vastly improved by including in some of the cards from the other two sets, but as I have not had a chance yet to play test with them I didn’t want to include them in builds yet. I will, however, make a note at the end of each deck build cards you can consider teching in from Bakemonogatari and Nisemonogatari. Let’s take a look at the first in this 3 deck list series!

 

Build #1: Y/B Monogatari 2nd Season

 

Level 0 – 16

4 Mayoi Hachikuji, Overall Happiness (MG/S39-001)

3 Nadeko Sengoku, Goddess (MG/S39-003)

3 “Little Girl” Yotsugi Ononoki (MG/S39-076)

3 Tsubasa Hanekawa, Temporary Farewell (MG/S39-078)

3 Tsubasa Hanekawa, Extended Hand Towards the “Past” (MG/S39-083)

 

Level 1 – 12

4 “Oddity Killer” Shinobu Oshino (MG/S39-002)

3 “Aragi-san Hating Act” Mayoi Hachikuji (MG/S39-011)

1 “Little Girl” Shinobo Oshino (MG/S39-019)

4 x Kuchinawa (MG/S39-07) (Event)

 

Level 2 – 6

2 Nadeko Sengoku, Uroboro’s Cat’s Cradle (MG/S39-005)

1 Hachikuji Mayoi-san (MG/S39-012)

2 Nadeko Sengoku, Devilish Girl (MG/S39-088)

1 Black Hanekawa, Favor From Master (MG/S39-095)

 

Level 3 – 8

4 Mayoi Hachikuji, Smiles Until the “End” (MG/S39-007)

4 “Girl with Bangs” Nadeko Sengoku (MG/S39-077)

 

CX – 8

4  Spell Chanting (MG/S39-023)

4 For the Sake of My Own Dream (MG/S39-098)

 

mg-s39-001

Mayoi Hachikuji, Overall Happiness is a “Riki” Clone where on play you can pay 1, put the top card of your deck into clock, and search for a Level 1 or lower character. Her second ability is very useful, and that is if she side attacks she can give another Strange character +1500 power for the turn.

mg-s39-003

Nadeko Sengoku, Goddess is a 0/0 stock reverser that also has an Experience on play ability that if a specific Level 3 is in the Level Zone (“Girl With Bangs” Nadeko Sengoku) that on play she chooses a Level 1 or higher character and gives them +1 soul.

mg-s39-076

“Little Girl” Yotsugi Ononoki is a 0/0 on play choose a [Strange] character to get +1500 power for the turn. She also has on play reveal top, if it is a Strange character add it to hand and then discard a card from hand to the waiting room.

mg-s39-078

Tsubasa Hanekawa, Temporary Farewell is a +500 in front assist that has a useful experience ability in most cases from Level 1 upwards. If you have Experience 3 in your Level Zone, up to once per turn when you play another character from hand to the stage you may scry 1, and that character gets an additional +500 power for the turn.

mg-s39-083

When Tsubasa Hanekawa, Extended Hand Towards the “Past” is played and/or reversed, you scry 1.

mg-s39-002

“Oddity Killer” Shinobu Oshino is a 1/0 “Shimakaze” clone that if she reverses a character with the +1000 power +1 soul punish burn trigger “Spell Chanting” climax in play, you search for a [Strange] character. She has Experience if the number in your Level Zone is 2 or higher and gets +1000 power.

mg-s39-011

“Araragi-san Hating Act” Mayoi Hachikuji is a 1/1 6000 that gets +1500 power and hand encore if you have Experience 2 or higher in your Level Zone.

mg-s39-019

“Little Girl” Shinobu Oshino is a 1/0 +1500 power character Backup.

mg-s39-097

Kuchinawa is a 1/0 “Camera” clone event that on play allows you to look at up to the top 4 cards of your deck, choose a [Strange] character from among them and add it to hand, and then discard the rest of the cards you looked at.

mg-s39-005

Nadeko Sengoku, Uroboro’s Cat’s Cradle is a Level Assist X 500 to all cards in front, and has a climax combo that isn’t used in this deck. (The climax combo allows you to bounce a card from your opponent’s stage if all conditions are met.)

mg-s39-012

Hachikuji Mayoi-san is a ‘slayer’ reverser; if she gets reversed by a character with a higher level, you may reverse that character.

mg-s39-088

Nadeko Sengoku, Devilish Girl is a 2/1 7500 that on attack if she is facing a Level 3 or higher she gets +6000 power for the turn.

mg-s39-095

Black Hanekawa, Favor From Master is a 2/1 +3000 power character Backup.

mg-s39-007

Mayoi Hachikuji, “Smiles Until the End” is a 3/2 10000 on play that heals on play, as well as chooses a character on play to give that character plus one soul and punish burn activated up to once for the turn. At the end of the turn she goes to memory.

mg-s39-077

“Girl With Bangs” Nadeko Sengoku on play from hand or by the change effect of another Level 3 not run in this deck build looks at the top 3 cards of your deck, adds 1 to hand, and then discards the rest. Her second ability is a climax combo with the climax comeback trigger +1000 power and +1 soul “For the Sake of My Own Dream” to mill the top 5 cards of your deck and for the total number of climaxes revealed this way deal that much damage to your opponent. When she attacks and the climax is out she also gets +5000 power for the turn.

The climax spread in this deck is 4 “Spell Chanting” and 4 “For the Sake of My Own Dream”, with 1k1 + burn and 1k1 + gate effects and triggers.

mg-s39-023

mg-s39-098

Deck Walkthrough & Analysis

At Level 0, the deck favors utility over power. It can hit power levels by stacking up the on play “Little Girl” Yotsugi Ononoki +1500 or side attacking with the Mayoi. The stock reverser Nadeko can also take care of issues with walls and some level zeros that have on reverse/memory effects (anti-burn Yuu from Charlotte and anti-heal/change Hibiki from Kantai as examples- But keep in mind this is only on your turn!). While the reality is that they will most likely be able to get these abilities off on their turn by playing another, if they try to leave it on the stage to swing into an open space with you can delay their tactic and benefits. The Tsubasa Hanekawa assist doesn’t get her scry ability until Level 1 at the earliest if you are lucky, but she is still a +500 assist that can lend some power. Tsubasa Hanekawa, Extended Hand Towards the “Past” may not have a high attack power, but she serves a very important purpose in this deck. Her scry ability allows you to control your triggers, search targets, and give you a chance of not making a first stock a climax in a deck that would like to build it. The fact that she gets it on reverse can help you scry damage to the bottom, or if your opponent attacks in the wrong order, control what you draw the start of your next draw phase.

The series has a ton of options that it could be running here (see the below section) with a lot of customization options to fit different metas and playstyles. I’ve playtested a few variants, and found that I really like the new scry abilities that Hanakawa’s cards have, and like the filter/plus of the Mayoi’s. I was also somewhat trying to keep this deck two colors, and because there are some excellent anti-Shimakaze effects in Green and Red that are useful I can definitely see those being splashed in (MG/S39-054 in particular).

At Level 1 the deck probably does what is being termed as the very “boring”  typical Level 1 game. Shinobu-kaze hits very nice power levels on her own, utilizing the Hanekawa’s scry ability for an extra power up (I typically tend to level a yellow 3/2 Mayoi if I can pull it off). The 0/0 Riki clone Mayoi can pull her from deck and side attack to give her more power, or the on-play power of Yotsugi Ononoki can also lend her some power to get over things. Honestly, this is the first time I have ever played a set with a costless Shimakaze clone effect, and I have to say as much as I love it that it is also one of the most broken effects I’ve seen in the game. The free plus and compress at that point in most games is something really powerful.

I will note here that some people will want to run the 0/0 Shinobu assist from the Nisemonogatari set to power up Shinobu-kaze additionally with the +1 Level, but with anti-change being a growing thing at Level 1 instead of just 2, it’s something to be aware of. I was not a fan in my playtesting of how the assist only helped on my turn. I am also running the 1/1 Mayoi that typically can sit on the field as a 7500 power with hand encore. With Hanekawa I get a way to set up searches/triggers/ and prevent the first attack sending a climax to stock with a power up to Shinobu, and a constant +500 in front. The Mayoi 1/1 now sits at 8000 power usually, and if I’m lucky to get two out, 8500. With the vanilla 1/0 1500 counter I can usually defend with her up to 10000, and if you tech in the yellow conditional 1/0 2000 counter from Bakemonogatari you can make her a 10500. While this is all under ideal circumstances, having a bit of a wall can help (you can also just discard the counter to character encore her if it can’t save her.) With some of the new anti-0 cost level 1 cards running around since Symphogear I feel that going totally costless isn’t the best idea, especially since in most games I do not tend to have stock issues so far with the deck and Mayoi usually sticks around and hits nice power levels.

Later into Level 1 I tend to use Kuchinawa’s mill effect on the event as a way to even exchange the event for a free brainstorm and an almost guaranteed control plus. The deck mills through its deck very quickly, typically refreshing late Level 1 if you hit more than one of these events. Some players will prefer to replace this slot with a searchable brainstorm character. I would recommend the Mayoi from the first Bakemonogatari set since she is your deck’s colors (yellow), even if you won’t always get her power up ability as an attacker (lack of Koiyomi and Shinobu at Level 0). Or consider the new Hitagi (green and +500 to center) from this set, which may be stronger because she doubles as an assist somewhat. You may also opt for the spammable hand filter Hitagi (red) from the Nisemonogatari set as a hand filter/salvage brainstorm since this deck isn’t running that mechanic. In all of those cases, though, the brainstorm costs a stock and while the main point in running brainstorm is to get damage out of your deck, it is nice to get a plus. Kuchinawa does both for no stock and acts as a hand filter, and I’m running it as a playset to make getting them every game easier.

At Level 1, I typically set up for my Level 2 game which requires some decisions based off of what my opponent is playing. Because I am not running an early drop Level 3 in this deck, or a Level 2 to 3 change; I am running two of the ways to deal with early drop Level 3’s. The first is a newer skill Mayoi 2/1 that says when she becomes reversed, if her battle opponent is higher than your opponent’s level, reverse that character. I really like her ability, because no matter how big they wall up or whatever character/event counter they have in hand you can reverse your opponent. I think this card will be especially good in certain matchups against early drop walls (Colossal Titan in AoT, Saya in GFBeta, etc.) so long as your opponent is still at Level 2. The downside of this card is that if Mayoi’s attack triggers and levels your opponent, her on reverse effect won’t go off, so she’s a stronger play when your opponent is early or mid Level 2.

I am also running the Nadeko 2/1 which is an updated, on attack level slayer with a 7500 power base that gets +6000 power if she is facing a Level 3 character. Before any assists or power up abilities the deck has that makes her a 13500 power base which isn’t bad at all, and the deck has many other ways to power her up. If I think I can get over an opponent and if I’ve already sent them to Level 3 I tend to go for this character if they don’t have any huge “on reverse” effect (clock kick, restander, etc.) they can light on their next turn.

On top of the Level 3 attackers, I also typically keep the hand encore Mayoi around for this level, and depending on what my opponent leaves on the field it sometimes even a possibility to relight the Level 1 Shinobu climax combo (although you should expect these opportunities to be super limited and likely to be countered).

Level 3 is where the shenanigans begin. Prior to reaching this level it is ideal to typically have 3 Level 3’s in hand,  either 2 of the Nadeko and 1 of the Mayoi, or 1 Nadeko and 2 Mayoi. Upon reaching the end game I usually play 2 Nadeko, search the top 3 cards of my deck for her climax combo if I don’t already have it in hand, or another 3 (if Shinobu-kaze didn’t have much of an opportunity to fetch stuff earlier). And then I play the 3/2 Mayoi, heal, and give her punish burn ability to a Nadeko. This works  out very nicely, because you have the option of lighting the punish burn on either her burn ability through mill (which can’t be anti-damaged with an event since it is before the counter step) or her main attack (which sometimes has a higher tendency to cancel because Nadeko combos with a +1000 power and +1 soul climax). Note that unless you play two Mayoi’s and put both of their stacks on her, you can only choose to activate the punish burn once (the effect on Mayoi’s card specifically reads “this activates up to once per turn”) either on the mill burn or her main attack. The Mayoi’s heal helps to recoup a little damage and save you from dying to refresh, as well as some late game deck compression. I found these two cards to have some very nice synergy at Level 3 with their varied abilities that can really help push enough instances of potential damage for finishing out the late game.

There are several other cards from this series that you could run to even out the deck. There is the early drop, on reverse change for the 3/2 Nadeko that pulls her out of waiting room or deck which is a lot of fun, but I found the deck really lacking in the heal department. You could also run the change for either the 3/2 Shinobu’s, but one is a hexproof/heal with no help in finish (albeit getting around the influx of sets with anti-damage counters), and the other 3/2 is a hexproof wall with a nice defensive ability to burn/damage with a change. I found though that if I really wanted to get the most out of the defensive ability I needed more than one of Shinobu, Tales of the Past on the field so that the ability stacks and that lessened my number of finishers and pushing for end game damage. While you could also run the 3/2 uncommon Shinobu to help with not dying to refresh damage in some situations, I felt that the card’s freefresh was somewhat of a double edged sword in playtesting requiring some very careful thinking. True, the card force refreshes your opponent and forces a refresh damage point. The downside is that depending on the game state, you typically put more climaxes back in their deck with the damage. The upside being you put more damage in there, but that is simply a chance at damage, and it requires some very skillful playing to know when and when not to use it. Also at this point I felt there were too many things going on at Level 3 and decided to simplify it. For me Mayoi and Nadeko made a very strong endgame pair, but because of how much variance exists in the Level 3 game in the series it is definitely up for argument.

Finally, I will point out one weakness of this deck is that you don’t have a very good way to deal with zombies (auto-reviving characters, e.g. Sayaka) or characters with hand encore, even though Nadeko gets more than enough power to reverse them. Even though it is a bit stock intensive, I am going to try testing the 3/2 Hanekawa assist from Bakemonogatari. While her ability is not always going to be helpful (because if you deal enough damage they may be able to draw into the bottom deck), if they have recently refreshed this effect could work out very well in a build to get rid of characters like Yuma from Shining Resonance, Yami from To Love Ru Darkness (be careful with this one, you do not want them to draw back into it, get their draw 2, discard, and then relight their finish combo again), and Ryuko from Kill la Kill that just keep coming back and looping to cause problems in some cases. I wanted to share this because it  may be something that you wish to test out as well and use it to replace the level 2 assist in the deck.

Cards from earlier sets or from this set that could improve this build:

Level 3:

Bakemonogatari: Tsubasa Hanekawa, Cat-Enchanted Girl BM/S15-076 (consider running as a 2 of in place of the 2/1 Nadeko Assist. It gives you the ability to draw into things and hand filter, synergizing with the need to draw into your Level 3 climax combo, the ability to discard extra climaxes in hand, and the need to mill through more of your deck closer to refresh with the new Nadeko 3/2’s ability. It’s pay 1, bottom deck is a great way to get rid of “hexproof” or “zombie” characters that your opponent may encore and relight a finisher ability on if they aren’t close to refresh again. Did I mention the ability is also active on your opponent’s turn? Finally, it gives you another “Experience” Leveling target to meet that requirement in a pinch.

Nisemonogatari: Shinobu Oshino, Master and Servant Relationship NM/S24-002 (This pricey conditional hexproof with an on play heal and a change is very strong in an environment of anti-damage counters and bounce mechanics. A second option that could replace the Mayoi 3/2 in this build.)

Monogatari: Shinobu Oshino, Tales of the Past MG/S39-006 This card is an Experience 6 or higher and she gets +2500 and hexproof. Her second ability is during your opponent’s turn when damage dealt to you is not canceled, you can scry the top card of your deck and leave it there or put it in Waiting Room (This ability stacks if you have more than one of her on the stage.). She does have an Encore based change and decent enough defensive powers and abilities to consider running it.

Level 1:

Bakemonogatari: Nadeko Sengoku, Shy Girl BM/S15-010 (1/0 2000 conditional counter for yellow. Consider running in place of Shinobu vanilla due to the extra power with the 1/1 Mayoi and 1/0 yellow Shinobu at Level 1. If it doesn’t work out as a counter it can be used to still hand encore Mayoi in most cases.)

Nisemonogatari: Shinobu Oshino, Blessing of the Moon NM/S24-004 (Can consider if you wish to have a costless level 1 game and perhaps replace some or all of the 1/1 hand encore Mayoi’s. This combined with the 0/0 assist from the Nisemonogatari set can hit nice power levels. On the flip side it has less defensive power and is week to other search/salvage on reverse effects in other decks despite the nice 1/0 2000 conditional counter for yellow characters. It is also weak to some of the newer anti-zero cost characters that have been appearing in sets.) The downside to running this card is the lack of defensive power and leaving the character open to easy reversal to Shimakaze/Marika effects.

Level 0:

Bakemonogatari: Mayoi Hachikuji, Girl Who Keeps Wandering BM/S15-004 ( This is a Pay 1, Rest Two Characters Brainstorm that searches for a Strange Character for each climax revealed in this way. She also gets +2000 power on top of her 1000 power base if you control a blood character, which if you’re running Shinobu you can sometimes pull off. It would probably fit best consistently in a deck running some of the different Shinobu cards at 0, including the assister from Nisemonogatari  and the new Shinobu 0/0 from the Monogatari 2nd Season set.

Nisemonogatari: Shinobu, Return Path NM/S24-003 (0/0 During your turn all of your other strange characters get +1 Level and +500 Power. Experience: If the sum of cards in your Level Zone is 5 or higher, this gains [C] Assist All of your characters with experience in front of this gain +1000 power. This is a very interesting assist and fitting to the character. It helps power up Shinobu and get around Level reversers with the 1/1 Mayoi, flip side being the power bonus is only on your turn at Level 1. Even though it doesn’t help on defense early game, this assist also grows with the levels to continually help powering up. While the Tsubasa from the new set has a very nice scry and power up ability starting from Level 1, if you’re planning on running the 3/2 Tsubasa assist this one helps you throughout Level 2 to 3.

Shinobu Oshino, For the Help NM/S24-007 A base power 2500 that if you have 1 or fewer other characters gets +1500 power. Not a bad way to maintain some power at Level 0, and paired with the R assist can power over even leftover Level Reversers on the field on your turn. Some decks looking for a less utility and more power based Level 0 game will consider this card.

Monogatari: Shinobu Oshino, Partner with the Same Flesh MG/S39-008 This is a +500 Global Assist to all Strange characters, with a second late game value ability. It also has Experience: When this card comes into play from hand to the stage if the total of cards in your Level Zone is 4 or higher you may discard a card from hand to search your deck for up to one Strange character. A very nice assist that can filter climaxes out of hand early Level 2 to exchange for character from deck.

Shinobu Oshino, Middle School Student MG/S39-009 This 2000 power base character gets +1500 power on play and has a second ability that can be helpful in some situations. When another of your Strange Characters is attacked you may pay 1 and send her to the waiting room to bounce another character to hand. While this may seem expensive, this card is somewhat of an anti-Shimakaze/Marika, especially if you send your opponent to Level 1 first. While they will be smart and mostly get one effect off of attacking this card first, it will prevent them from chaining two Shimakaze’s or Marika’s with no resistance. (Note: If she is reversed you can still pay the cost.)

Nadeko Sengoku, Lip Service Optimism MG/S39-017 This 3500 power base character has the downside that it can’t side attack. A decent power wall combined with some of the other on play power up and assist abilities for a steady attacker.

Be sure to stay tuned for part 2 of this article and video series!


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