Welcome to a 9th CX deck tech and tournament report! For this article, we have a list that took the top spot in the 2016 NA WGP Regionals in Indy! Our friend Audri (#1 Honoka fan NA) was the pilot behind this list – special thanks to her for the content!
As usual, translations can be found on Heart of the Cards. In the event inaccurate or missing translations are present, in-house translations will be used. Let’s get to the list!
Editor’s Note: We are including our own justifications for each card’s inclusion as our best shot at analysis. For those who are familiar with the series, many (if not all) of these cards will probably look intuitive or obvious.
Rin’s Replacement Friends
Level 0 – 16
2 Miku, the Best Team (IMC/W43-055)
3 Rin Shibuya (IMC/W41-078)
4 Nao, Trancing Pulse (IMC/W43-081)
3 Arisu, Project:Krone (IMC/W43-082)
4 Kaedae, Important Place (IMC/W43-083)
Level 1 – 17
3 Sae Kobayakawa (IMC/W41-083)
4 Nao, Encounter of the Three (IMC/W43-088)
4 Rin, Troubled Feelings (IMC/W43-100)
2 Rin, Stern Gaze (IMC/W41-105)
4 Karen, Trancing Pulse (IMC/W43-084)
Level 2 – 2
2 Nao, as an Idol (IMC/W43-104)
Level 3 – 7
3 Rin, Trancing Pulse (IMC/W43-080)
4 Rin, Power of Smile (IMC/W43-090)
CX – 8
4 Triad Primus (IMC/W43-122)
4 Trancing Pulse (IMC/W43-126)
At level 0, we have 16 cards.
When you play Miku, the Best Team, you may discard a CX to salvage a character. If damage dealt by her is canceled, you may send her to stock.
Many a-deck can appreciate a way to filter CXs and turn them into other cards. CXs for characters is always a nice way to go, and being able to potentially net an additional stock off an attack provides so much awesome incidental value.
Rin Shibuya is an ‘Akatsuki’ clone for blue characters. (On play, you may discard a card. If you do, you look at up to the top 4 cards of your deck and tutor up to 1 blue character.)
Azusa Rin needs almost no introduction; the recent toning down of this type of effect in recent sets (including this card!) suggests correctly that these effects are very powerful.
Nao, Trancing Pulse gives your other “Rin”, “Nao”, and/or “Karen” in the middle slot of your center stage +1000 power, and has a very specific brainstorm ability: pay 1 stock and rest 2 characters you control to brainstorm 5. For each “Trancing Pulse” or “Triad Primus” (i.e. for each CX) revealed this way, tutor for up to 1 [Music] character.
One more card? One more card is huge! Normally, brainstorm effects are 4 cards at a time, so just getting that one extra card makes this card a big value magnet.
Arisu, Project:Krone has two on-play abilities (which can be used in any order): 1. Reveal the top card of your deck. If it’s a [Music] character, put it into your hand and discard a card. 2. You may discard a [Music] character. If you do, draw a card.
Two effects, both on-play, but both very useful. There is actually a small skill test with this card in choosing the order of effects. If you are diving for CXs, you’ll want to use the filter ability first before drawing a card. The loot is optional as well, so autopilot is not recommended!
Kaede, Important Place is a runner (can go to middle slot on center stage) without a condition, and gets +1500 power as long as you have 2 or less stock.
Run and beat down? Sign us up!
At level 1, we have 17 cards.
Sae Kobayakawa has a(n effectively) 0 stock +2000 power backup ability.
Nao, Encounter of the Three cannot declare a frontal attack against a character with a higher level.
Rin, Troubled Feelings gets +1000 power as long as you control 3 or more other [Music] characters. When reversed in battle, she
runs away and hides goes to the bottom of your deck.
As if Rin or Nao could be considered fragile with a powerful and free 2000 power backup being threatened every turn! Everything here so far costs 0 stock, which can only mean that that stock is freed up for brainstorming or saving, or anything else, really.
Rin, Stern Gaze = vanilla!
Before wielding a pitchfork, we should consider some specific upsides this kind of vanilla character can offer to the deck. We can think of a couple: she’s a stock sink in case a CX just needs to get out of there and you’ve already used a brainstorm, and her power level is not awful if she picks up support from Nao.
However, we should also say that while Audri has expressed that she isn’t sold on using this card, she’s not sure yet what should go in its place.
Karen, Trancing Pulse gives all other “Rin, Trancing Pulse” you control +1000 power. If you control a “Nao, Trancing Pulse”, all other [Music] characters gain a power boost based on level (500 x level). When you play a “Triad Primus” CX, if you control another [Music] character, choose another character you control, and it gains: “When this reverses a character in battle, tutor for up to 1 [Music] character, then shuffle your deck.” (The search is actually mandatory, so even if you decline to find something, you’ll have to shuffle your deck.)
Shimakaze has gone behind the scenes and now appears on demand, it seems. Being able to dole out on-reverse effects to your most favorable battles is no joke. The only major difference here is that Karen costs 1 stock, but calling the cost a downside is very difficult to defend.
At level 2, we have
2 5 cards!
Nao, as an Idol has a ‘slayer’ ability: when she attacks, if her opponent is level 3 or higher, she gets +4500 power and “when this reverses a character in battle, you may put that character on the bottom of its owner’s deck” until end of turn. She also has a CX combo with “Trancing Pulse”: on attack, she gets +2000 power and “when this reverses a character in battle, you may draw a card” until end of turn.
Need cards nao? Need pesky early plays gone? Why not both? Clearly with Nao, it’s not about winning the battle against early level 3s, it’s about sending a message, and man, can she send one.
At level 3, we have
6 4 cards.
Rin, Trancing Pulse can be played at level 2 if you have 2 or fewer CXs in your waiting room. She has a heal ability when played, and if she’s in the middle slot of your center stage, she gives all other [Music] characters you control +500 power and your opponent cannot play events or backups during her battles.
Next in the exhibit, we see an idol who can lock your opponent out of freefreshes or inconvenient events, at least, for one battle. Did we mention she heals? As we visualize this walk through this museum of idol art, please also imagine the trail of salt and bitter tears that follow Rin, as we get to our final exhibit-
When Rin, Power of Smile is played, you draw up to 2 cards, discard 2 cards, and then put up to 1 card from the top of your deck into stock. When you play a CX, she gets +1500 power until end of turn. She has a CX combo with “Triad Primus”: up to once per turn, on attack, she gains the ability: “This triggers up to once per turn. When another character you control attacks, if you control 3 or other blue characters, you may pay 3 stock and discard a card. If you do, stand this card”.
If at first you don’t succeed, attack and attack again! Rin needs no fancy tricks like burn and such, she just gets in there for 3+, over and over and …
One of the most powerful (or perhaps, unsettling) aspects of this card is that it has an optional stock refund attached to it. Without it, the card would be fine; it would still see play but it probably wouldn’t be considered particularly powerful because the restand is rather expensive. With it though, we get a very potent package of effects with a much more accessible ability.
The CX spread is a 4/4 split between stock/soul +2 soul and 1k1 + gate (pants).
How do we use this deck?
From turn 1, the deck wants to build stock and sculpt a hand for its level 1. Unfortunately, the deck cannot fire its search combo without stock like some other decks might because Karen, Trancing Pulse demands her stock upfront. The deck does not have a way to accelerate its journey to level 1 and in this case, it’s probably for the better.
Being able to use a slightly better brainstorm than most decks is an incredible but subtle advantage. The deck can cycle through itself more quickly and setup earlier refreshes. Its stock demands are generally low throughout, and its level 2 game is mostly an extension of level 1, with options to kick out early level 3 characters and heal.
In the endgame, at least one Rin, Power of Smile should be center stage to take up a second attack. Just keep the ‘once per turn’ trigger in mind. For instance, if you attack with Rin 1 followed by Rin 2, if you don’t pay for Rin 1’s ability when Rin 2 attacks, Rin 1 will not be able to stand again during the turn.
(While not allowed in any official tournament setting, we recommend using a small visual aid like a die or coin to show that Rin still has an available trigger when playing her. This can greatly help prevent confusion in games.)
What are some potential options that players might have to customize the deck? Were there any inclusions that were made based on your play style/ personal preferences?
A: I would say Miku, the 1/1 Rin and TP Arisu could be taken out to make the deck your own.
M: Swapping out a CX-salvage effect in the deck could be risky, we might add (re: Miku).
For this fun section, Audri’s offered her thoughts on an ideal hand, and a nightmarish hand:
A: Perfect hand! You have a setup in the back row and can get to work milling out the deck right away. I would use the level 3 Rin as my clock for the first turn.
M: I took a second to think about why one might not want to ditch the Rin, and I thought of a couple of reasons. It might be advantageous to not immediately reveal the deck to the opponent (if, at the time your deck is completely unknown), but also because Audri’s right; Rin’s excellent clock fodder here. Going through an additional card is almost like tempting fate because you are already slightly favored to see a CX in your opening hand to begin with. (Roughly 60% to see at least 1 CX in the first 5 cards you draw)
A: Hold onto 1 Triad Primus and drop everything else. The deck mills itself quickly, so you should be able to dig your way out of this mess before hitting level 3. The one Triad in hand should help with pushing early damage, since your opponent will probably be rushing you.
M: If this statistical anomaly ever should happen to you (Travis can attest), the key is to not panic. Remember as Audri said, the deck mills through itself very quickly, and has ways to do it without stock too. Build up as much of a board as you can, and sprint for the first refresh if you can right before or upon hitting level 1.
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?
A: 6. The stock usage in the deck is nearly all in the endgame. Triad Primus also makes it very easy.
M: 2. I must agree that the deck’s stock is all for its endgame, but I must also point out that the deck has a ton of ways to stockpile (…literally) and is only 1 color. Its combos are not particularly elaborate nor difficult to execute in terms of cards, player decisions notwithstanding.
A: 6. I find outside of the level 3 Rin, counters are needed a lot to keep your early game alive.
M: 6 – 9+. The deck does indeed have a potentially fragile game at levels 1 and 2. Reversers and anti-change effects can still prey upon the deck’s idols. However, Rin at level 3 becomes a terrifying force. I can’t justify calling the deck a 10 in terms of top-end power because the CX combo requires a lot of practice to ensure consistent accuracy in use, and the deck does not have any ways to try to deal extra damage outside of Rin.
A: 6. The deck has a few tough judgement calls, but overall the deck can be run on autopilot for a lot of the time.
Now onto the tournament report!
Round 1 Monogatari Series
I always seem to have to start a regional against a good friend. He brought Y/R Monogatari. Both decks were running rather awkwardly, and neither of us could reliably retain any stage presence. He was able to get a Shinobu early play down, but that was countered by using the Trancing Pulse/Nao CX combo to bottom deck it. Once that happened, things went much better for me as TP Rin locked down the center stage, and the game ended on several restands from the Power of Smile Rin.
Round 2 Accel World
This match really took me by surprise. The deck was mono red and really good. At level 1, my opponent setup 3 1/1 7500 characters with a +1000 assist that top decked anything they reversed. This really hurt me at level 1 as Rin and Nao could not compete with out backup. It took out a lot from my hand. At level 3 though, my opponent missed on a top deck check for a burn that proved critical; he attempted to knock me from 2/6 to 4, but I survived and won.
Round 3 Charlotte
Neither of us seemed to be able to cancel and I took him from level 0 to 1 very quickly and he followed up by taking me from level 0 to level 2. I was able to hit him to level 2 as well on the following turn, and that’s when the game really began. I got really lucky when he used the level 3 Nao to force me to side attack with a restander and got a Triad Primus +2 soul trigger on the trigger check. The other restanders followed up, and it was a win.
Round 4 Mono Blue Rabbits (Travis)
If things could go wrong for a player, they certainly did for him. He had tons of CXs in hand, and when he refreshed the first time, they were still there while his deck refreshed with nearly 40 cards. This let me just slam through damage for the win.
Round 5 Triad Primus
Kit and I joked all day that neither of us really wanted to play this match up till the finals, and it happened. Picture this match like a shootout in an old western film where the first person who blinked was going to get shot and lose. From his face and comment about a weird hand, that blink happened in the final 5. I was able to get a quick lead and ride it despite several restanders coming at me and hold on to end the wild ride of a day.
I was once told by a very important person that the people around you, make you who you are. Thankfully I have greatness around me. Let’s start with Ben Schiffli who keeps me looking forward and on the right path while I’m freaking out or about to do something dumb. Next, I would have to give credit to Forrest G., David Y., Aubrey P., Andrew C. and the rest of Illiana who are the best playtesters a player could want, as well as great friends. Facebook has also connected me with some great friends like Devon Mesunchuk and Bren Olit, who I know cheer for me all the way from Vancouver.
Next in the 2D world, I need to give credit to Rin, Karen and Nao. Those three girls busted their butt and had to put up with me producing them…
Lastly, I need to give a shoutout to the most wonderful waifu that could ever exist, Honoka Kosaka. Her smile keeps me going and her determination is an inspiration as I continue to work with Illiana and her beauty mesmerizes me and enchants me like a goddess.
Congratulations again to Audri on qualifying for the 2016 NA WGP Nationals!
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Thanks for reading!