Welcome to another 9th CX deck tech! For this article, we have a theorycrafted version of Log Horizon (based on a very well-tested prior version), thanks to the newly released Power Up set.
As always, translations can be found on Heart of the Cards, and if a translation is unavailable or otherwise inaccurate, in-house ones will be used. Cards that were released in EN will have those names used.
Most of the cards in the deck have been introduced in past articles, notably in our old Triple Deck Tech, so we will only be showing the newest cards.
Now onto the list!
Cards – 50
Level 0 – 17
4 Isuzu, Poem She Wants to Recite (LH/SP02-01)
3 Minori, Shiroe’s Pupil (LH/SP02-04)
3 Beach Angel, Marielle (LH/SE20-01)
4 Akatsuki (LH/SE20-TE02)
3 Samurai, Toya (LH/SE20-43)
Level 1 – 11
4 “Full Raid” Shiroe (LH/SP02-07)
4 William Massachusetts (LH/SP02-06)
3 Isuzu (LH/SE20-05)
Level 2 – 5
2 Tetra, Bishoujo Idol? (LH/SP02-02)
1 Silent Worker, Akatsuki (LH/SE20-14)
1 Sorcerer, Rundelhaus (LH/SE20-15)
1 Nyan-ta (LH/SE20-26)
Level 3 – 9
2 “Shadow Lurk” Akatsuki (LH/SP02-03)
4 Lord’s Ninja, Akatsuki (LH/SE20-03)
2 Log Horizon’s Representative, Shiroe (LH/SE20-28)
1 Guardian, Naotsugu (LH/SE20-34)
CX – 8
4 Waltz for Two (LH/SE20-24)
4 Gamer’s Pride (LH/SP02-08)
At level 0, we have 17 cards and a few new faces.
Isuzu, Poem She Wants to Recite gives another character you control +1500 power until end of turn when she direct attacks. When played, you can discard a CX to salvage a [Weapon] or [Magic] character.
Minori, Shiroe’s Pupil gives a character you control +500 power until end of turn at the beginning of your climax phase. She also has a brainstorm ability for 1 stock and resting her: for each CX revealed, tutor for up to 1 [Weapon] or [Music] character.
Samurai, Toya can run in front of an opposing character at the start of your opponent’s attack phase. (Your slot needs to be empty)
At level 1, we have 11 cards.
“Full Raid” Shiroe gets +1000 power as long as all characters you control are [Weapon] and/or [Magic]. When reversed, if you control 1 or fewer other [Weapon] and/or [Magic] characters, he goes to clock.
William Massachusetts gets +500 power for each other [Weapon] or [Magic] character you control, and has a CX combo with “Gamer’s Pride”: on attack, you reveal the top card of your deck, and put it into your hand if it’s a [Weapon] or [Magic] character. (This happens before the trigger check. In this deck, any non-CX card revealed will go to hand.)
At level 2, we have 5 cards.
When Tetra, Bishoujo Idol? reverses a character, you may salvage a character, and if you do, discard a card. Tetra is also a kind of anti-change reverser; when reversed, if the level of the character that reversed Tetra is higher than your opponent, you may reverse that character.
Nyanta (Nyan-ta) gets +1000 power until end of turn whenever another [Weapon] or [Magic] character you control attacks. At the beginning of your climax phase, you may pay 1 and discard a card. If you do, you choose a character your opponent controls, move it to an empty slot on their stage (center or back), and Nyanta gains +1000 power until end of turn.
At level 3, we have 9 cards.
“Shadow Lurk” Akatsuki has trespass: as long as you have 2 or fewer CXs in your waiting room, she gets -1 level in your hand. She gets +1500 power as long as you control 3 or more other [Weapon] or [Magic] characters. When played, you sift X, where X is the number of [Weapon]/[Magic] characters you control. (She counts herself, so X will always be for at least 1)
The CX spread is now a 4/4 split between door + 1k1 and gate + 1k1 triggers and effects, respectively.
What’s new in this deck? What did the Power Up set give?
Let’s break the deck down by the levels and check out where the differences are.
At level 0, gone are the level reversing Akatsukis and the Shiroe brainstormers. They’ve been replaced by a much more powerful Minori brainstormer and an Isuzu that helps keep CXs from crowding the hand at any stage of the game. A completely new card, more to answer pesky runners, is Samurai, Toya, there to
mindlessly bravely tank opposing runners, reversers, and so on. This level 0 was constructed with utility over power in mind. While the series does have a number of options at level 0 that focus on power, the utility gained just by having the new Isuzu far exceeds the potential gains that could be seen by playing a large level 0 character.
Level 1 has a new CX combo and a new beatstick! William Massachusetts took lessons from Puyo Puyo’s Witch and gives the series its only true level 1 CX combo: “Gamer’s Pride”. Before, the plan was to merely try to beat down and brainstorm to reduce future damage. Now, the deck can actually maintain cards in hand with the combo!
Interrupting question! Why no level 1 backups?
The lack of Shiroe cards made the 1/0 +2000 power Minori PR fall below the threshold of consistency desired to play in the deck. “Full Raid” Shiroe should be good enough as a 0-stock option to reverse or trade with other characters, and the inclusion of the Isuzu reverser also plays into the deck’s greater game plan.
Trade, and avoid encoring characters.
There are many CX combos that rely on reversing opposing characters at level 1. Though those types of combos are not necessarily the only things that decks will play, being able to incidentally deny them that portion of their game can prove instrumental in constructing winning scenarios. This is more of a finer strategic point; EN players will recognize KanColle’s Shimakaze and more recently, Idolmaster’s Minami as two on-reverse combos. Some players’ styles will favor playing the 1/1 Akatsuki with clock encore, and as a 1 or 2-of or even a replacement for the Isuzu, this substitution can work out.
Now where were we…
Level 2 is where the deck gets some of its exciting utility. Tetra is the latest in level-punishing technology to lead the way at level 2 for opponents who are all too eager to slam their level 3 (or build up really large marker characters, etc). Not only do you get a guaranteed trade, you’ll also be able to filter your hand! If you’re about to refresh and you just need to get that extra CX out of hand, Tetra gives a way to do that on your turn after your main phase. Now that’s handy!
The freefresh Akatsuki makes another appearance, and the comeback king Rudy is also back with his cannon to try to randomly win games. Nyanta is in as well to yank out annoying support characters and provide some power.
Joining the club though we have “Shadow Lurk” Akatsuki who can come in at level 2. She replaces herself immediately (as in, you get a card back) and can dig for important cards, including CXs. This Akatsuki gives the deck some much needed oomph at level 2 to lead into level 3 – a stable attacker that can get in for good damage. If used at level 2, she can be used to find important characters, and at 3, in a pinch, she can be used to find a Waltz for the CX combo.
Level 3 should look familiar; it’s all about setting up enormous Akatsukis, and if ever needed, build a random Naotsugu wall.
Is there anything missing from the deck?
Absolutely. From this list, we can see that there are no ways to defend characters at levels 1 and 2 (the freefresh Akatsuki is more for the effect than the power boost), and there are no supports between levels 0 and 3. The lack of backup effects and stronger assist effects can make some players uncomfortable, and some changes could be in order to accommodate that. In particular, the deck’s level 2 lineup is the most flexible, especially Rudy and Nyanta; they could potentially be swapped for a Serara level support and a level 1 backup effect of some kind. Because of William Massachusetts’s CX combo, events become much more difficult to justify playing, so cards such as Mind Shock are out, unless you like taking that kind of risk.
Update: It has been pointed out that the Minori backup (0 stock +2000 power) is enabled by the Minori brainstormer. If one would want to use that, it’s highly recommended to run 4 copies of the Minori brainstormer, and adjust numbers accordingly. Most likely, the cuts would come out of the deck’s rather odd assortment of level 2 cards.
About the list: Is it conservative or greedy? What’s its overall power range? Is it easy or difficult to use? Is it viable in the JP meta?
Log Horizon is mercifully simple in its color spread in that there are only red and blue cards. As such, situations where one is stranded off a color should be rare. The deck has many more ways to search and salvage post-powerup, that it is reasonable to expect it to draw its most important cards in the course of a game.
Power Range: 6 – 7+
The Power Up set did increase the series’ overall power. However, most of that power lies in how consistent the series was enabled to become. Most of its finishing power remains untouched and unchanged, because the only level 3 that was included was not necessarily a “true” level 3. Its defensive capabilities should not be discounted though; anti-burn is still very rare and Log Horizon is one of the few series to have it. If decks that have very burn-focused endgames are popular, the deck’s power grows slightly.
Managing CX swaps with Isuzu and brainstorms with Minori are the deck’s first repeated challenges, but should become automatic with enough practice. The deck’s plan through level 1 is fairly straightforward; most of the difficulty thereafter will come from matchup-specific knowledge, and not so much the knowledge of this deck itself.
JP Meta Viability:
Because the Power Up set is not available in EN and it’s unknown whether it will be released there, the JP meta is the only one to consider here for now. Burn has been the focus of many series as of late, as seen very clearly from such sets as TLR(2), Puyo Puyo and Nisekoi. While older sets also have access to burn effects, those three (and perhaps Girl Friend Beta) have been popping up consistently as the decks to beat, and they usually have burn as the common factor. Charlotte has not been seen as a contender to answer these sets because it is overpowered by brute force and non-burn effects, leaving Log Horizon as the go-to series to play if one truly wants to avoid burn. Arguably, the set’s position as an “anti-meta” set has never been better, but that does not necessarily mean that it’ll be taking the top places at every event.
As a matter of personal opinion, I see the deck as a solid off-meta choice that can only be rewarded if the environment is open to the punishment. If the call is wrong, the deck may feel a little lackluster because not all of its effects get to go off. But if correct, the deck can make one feel like being that person who brought the bazooka to the
knife card fight.
Just remember, the deck is a work-in-progress and is by no means optimized for tournament play. If you see a card choice you disagree with, play with both iterations; at least a couple of times this way, and at least a couple of times your way. Testing gives more answers than a deck tech ever will! Good luck!
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Thanks for reading!