Good evening! Melanie here from 9th CX with a reflection and some playtesting on two decks to share with you.
It’s become apparent that decks that have climax combos with the following effect:
“When you play this climax, draw a card, and choose a character receive +2000 power and +1 soul for the turn.”
a.k.a, 2k1, have seen a decline in playability.
Earlier in the game, they were seen as a decent climax type because 1.) they replaced themselves in hand with a card draw, and 2.) they helped power up a character to get over an opponent. This type of climax is starting to show its age. Firstly, the lack of a global +1 soul to all characters on the board is a huge concern due to the need to push damage. Soul damage, i.e. damage dealt to players, is how you win in Weiss Schwarz, and while denying hand or field advantage can play a role in game victories, pushing damage and getting it to stick is the true goal. Secondly, the two soul trigger is less desirable in many deck types, especially those that run some type of global soul climax at Level 3 (such as the many variants of “+1000 power and +1 soul to all characters”) because of the tendency to over swing. Even decks that capitalize on the newer “Card of X color from waiting room to stock and +1 soul to everyone” are wary of this problem occurring since that climax runs the same type of trigger.
Recent set design has actually been avoiding this climax, relegating it the Climax Common (CC) slot and comboing it with less powerful, but still playable, cards. Series such as Rewrite Anime that are getting continued support, have seen them not printed at all again due to the fact that they already exist in earlier sets. Some other recent series, such as Is the Order a Rabbit??, have seen them printed in TDs in some colors only. This is speculation, and the shift is more likely due to incorporating new climax types that are seeing play at the competitive level, there has been some judging and avoiding of some card combos because they do combo off of a 2k1. Also, some climaxes that have alternate types per climax name available have seen a slight spike in price if they are a limited promo (PR) that gives global soul damage.
While global soul damage may always be ideal, there are ways to make cards that have good climax combos with 2k1’s playable and competitive viable today. Taking some research from two recent deck builds that I have play testing throughout the previous summer and fall, I have found that there are ways to make this climax type at least mid-range competitive today. Let’s take a look at two decks that, in theory, shouldn’t work but have tournament records that prove otherwise.
Mono-Red Rabbit House (Pre-Extra Booster)
Tournament Record: 20 wins out of 23 games
Notable Losses: IM@S CG Trancing Pulse and Card Game Shiyoko
Notable Wins: Persona 5 (Y/R focus), Rinne, and Kantai Collection (updated with set 3 card, G/R focus)
Level 0 – 17
4 “Rabbit Ear Parka” Cocoa (GU/W44-032)
3 “Dignified” Rize (GU/W44-034)
4 “Report that Brings a Smile” Cocoa (GU/W44-036)
4 Pitcher Rize (GU/W44-053)
2 “A Little Cool” Chino (GU/W44-T13)
Level 1- 13
4 Cocoa Very Drunk (GU/W44-037)
4 “Pretty Look” Rize (GU/W44-038)
2 “Invitation” Rize (GU/W44-043)
1 “Twintail Girl” Rize (GU/W44-T05)
2 “Greeting” Rize (GU/W44-P05)
Level 2- 4
1 “Guardian of Roses and Explosions” Rize (GU/W44-045)
2 “Suspicious” Rize (GU/W44-047)
1 Chino in a Maid Outfit (GU/W44-085)
Level 3- 8
4 “Rabbit Ear Parka” Rize (GU/W44-033)
2 “For My Little Sister” Cocoa (GU/W44-039)
2 Cocoa in the Wood-Framed Town (GU/W44-T10)
4 Fluffy Hunter (GU/W44-065)
4 Helper, Wild Black Horse (GU/W44-067)
Older cards that were considered for this build:
Rize in the Wood-Framed Town (GU/W44-035)
Puppy Cocoa (GU/W44-044) * If you do not like clock encore or don’t have access to the 1/1 Rize PR *
New cards that should be considered for this build:
Rize, Being Herself (GU/WE26-020)
Cocoa, Going Together (GU/WE26-021)
Rize, Club Helper! (GU/WE26-030)
Some of the new cards in this set at first glance seem like they should be ‘gold starred’ for this build. In reality, they don’t have any synergy with the concept of this deck and in playtesting didn’t work out. Feel free to try them out, as they may work out for you and your playstyle/preferences.
Chino & Cocoa, Good to Have Met (GU/WE26-018) and Pillow Fight (GU/WE26-032): This is a very powerful finish combo that has seen play in the newer competitive decks of this series. In attempting to slot it into this build, I found that it’s finish had a likely chance of failing due to the ditch 2 cards from hand cost requirement. This deck cycles its hand, and while it can build an excess, it usually does not. This combo didn’t fit the playstyle of this deck for me personally and I feel is a better fit with the Chino “Shimakaze” clone.
“Present Exchange” Rize (GU/WE26-019), Cocoa Get Well Visit (GU/WE26-023), and Chino Being Playful (GU/WE26-035): It would seem that this pairing would be more optimal as an early drop trio than the old 3/2 early drop Cocoa salvage combo, but not for this deck. This pair eats too much stock (3 to early drop Rize), despite the benefit of the heal, and even though some assist power on the brainstorm would be nice the search brainstorm Chino works counter to what this deck does. This deck mills and salvages so much that it wants to turn our waiting room into an extension of our hand. While the search brainstorm is a compression search on hit that still mills, the reality is that this deck mills so much that half the time my search targets were in the waiting room and I was sitting there wishing I had my salvage brainstorm. The scry effect on the 1/1 Rize assist is also needed to help set up and make the chances higher for hitting the 3/2 Rize’s on play burn ability.
Rize Being Ladylike (GU/WE26-022), Rize, Big Transformation! (GU/WE26-026), and Liberal Interpretation of Phantom of the Opera (GU/WE26-033): As much as I like the idea of the swap for power and plus combo these two Rize’s can pull off, as well as the potential for a plus off of the stock soul salvage combo, these cards didn’t perform as well as I wanted in playtesting. They monopolized tech spots at Level 1 and had difficulty pulling off initial chain swap unless I went to Level 1 first with a very precise hand. The combo itself isn’t bad at all, just didn’t fit the synergy of this build. Definitely worth considering for Rize waifu and other deck builds for this series.*
Mocha, Big News (GU/WE26-027): This is a great Level Assist that pumps all Level 3’s in front of her, turns our healer from the TD into a big wall, and hand filters to get the healer back. A solid card. While she can be salvaged by many effects in the deck, she still causes problems with not having [Rabbit House] trait by interfering with the 0/0 Rize’s mill combo and the top check to burn Rize. Too risky to run with any consistency.*
How to Play This Deck:
This deck does take some hefty risks on both its plus combo and it’s end game finisher, but interestingly enough it ends up working out. This deck is a mill deck that seeks to turn your waiting room into an extension of your hand. This allows late game some interesting teching of Level 2 counters, and allows you to filter through your hand pretty easily if you get climaxes stuck in your hand before your multiple refreshes. In playtesting this deck, in 7 games the deck had refreshed at the end of turn 2, and in 10 additional games had refreshed by the end of it’s first turn. The deck seeks to compress by milling and hopefully plussing through your mills, refreshing early which naturally leads to a more compressed deck no matter what you do, and then repeating the cycle.
At Level 0 this deck pushes soul damage early game by committing heavily to the field. Most times any higher level cards that are not Level 0’s will be discarded from the opening hand as there is a chance they can be salvaged back early in the game. Optimal turn one plays are either the TD draw/ditch a card Chino or the mill Level Reverser RR Cocoa. Turn two at Level 0, if it happens, ideally sees the 0/0 Rize’s climax combo in hand coupled with at least one brainstorm Cocoa. I try to get as many of the 0/0 Rize’s as possible so that I can mill through the deck and potentially plus off of it. The 2k1 at Level 0 lets me get over wall characters, replaces itself in hand, and allows me to mill through the deck at any Level for either a chance at plus, milling through damage, or milling through climaxes I don’t want to trigger.
Level 1 this deck seeks to wipe its opponent’s board capitalizing the on the 1/0 Level Reverser Cocoa with hand filter, the 1/0 6500 Rize that usually can be a 7000 with the global 0/0 Rize assist in the back row, and the 1/1 clock encore PR Rize that on attack usually hits at 8500 with back row. I usually try to play any extra climaxes I get in hand, and also use the brainstormer to keep hand up. The clock encore Rize allows me to preserve hand with a decent size attacker if she becomes reversed on defense, although some players will prefer to swap this out for a hand encore character if they don’t like the clock encore dealing them damage. For my play style I found that the hand encore didn’t work in this deck as it hurt hand too much.
Level 2 can run two ways. With the right combo pieces, it is possible to early drop the 3/2 Cocoa that on play salvages a Rabbit House or Bread Character and then also has the climax combo with the new climax type “Draw a card. Choose two of your characters and give them +1 soul for the turn” (i.e. split soul) that allows for a hand filter to salvage 2. Sometimes, though, depending on how the game has gone you may not want to commit the stock to this. At this point I fall back on the 2/1 Rize that can take out early drop Level 3’s and preserve stock by using the 1/0 Rize’s and clock encored 1/1 Rize’s from the previous level. It is also possible, against “on reverse” decks to take advantage of the Level 0 tech in this deck, play a bunch of tech cards, crash your board, and cause your opponent to overswing (though this is a risky option).
Level 3 in this deck will pinpoint heal with the TD Cocoa, tech salvage back what you need with the 3/2 Cocoa if you didn’t drop her early at Level 2, and play as many of the 3/2 Rize finisher as possible. Even though her 2nd ability is very iffy to pull off, the on play burn effect that can be set up with the 1/1 Rize Level assist for a higher chance to hit. Building enough stock in this deck is tricky, but in 8 games I was able to pull of the on attack, pay 6 to burn 5. For most games, though, the on play reveal top to burn was enough of a finish to push the game to a close.
Little Busters! Y/B
Tournament Record: 32 wins out of 38 games
Note: 14 of these tournament games took place during the 2016 Nationals Qualifying Regional Season. This deck placed 9th at a 28 player regional in Indianapolis, and 5th at a 4 seat available regional in Columbus of about 19 players. At a regional in North Carolina, however, it did pretty poorly, finding bad match ups against the Monogatari series and To Love Ru.
Notable Losses: Monogatari Series (Several Variants), To Love Ru (Animals/Spirit Build), and Railgun (Post-Restriction List Lift, Pre-Power Up: Although it should be noted that with Power Up it will also probably still make this deck cry.)
Notable Wins: IM@S CG Trancing Pulse (Several Wins), To Love Ru Aliens, Mono-Blue Rabbit House (Pre-Extra Booster), and Puyo Puyo (Several Build Variants)
Level 0- 18
2 “Costumed Mascot” Sasami (LB/W06-003)
2 “Optimistic Magic” Komari (LB/W02-E03)
3 Komari, Heart-thumping Donuts (LB/WE21-04)
3 Haruka, Water Shot (LB/W06-051)
4 “Shadowless Girl” Midori (LB/W06-082)
4 “Little Busters” Riki (LB/W21-065)
Level 1- 10
4 “Sunset-colored Feelings” Rin (LB/WE18-03)
2 “Pleasantly Cute” Komari (LB/W02-079)
4 “Away from this Life” Mio (LB/W06-091)
Level 2- 2
2 Yuiko in Maid Uniform (LB/W06-011)
Level 3- 10
4 “Step to Courage” Rin (LB/W21-001)
2 Kyousuke, Stage On! (LB/WE21-03)
4 Mio in Maid Uniform (LB/W06-081)
2 Farewell Yukichi!! (LB/W21-078)
4 My Best Puppet Show (LB/W21-018)
4 We Should Date (LB/WE18-15)
Cards that probably should be in this build but aren’t:
“Godly Poor Control” Rin (LB/W02-017)
We Should Date (LB/W02-101)
“Little Busters” Rin (LB/W21-005)
“New Bond” Rin (LB/W21-009)
“Good Friends” Komari & Rin (LB/W21-032)
Kud, Playing Catch With Pillows (LB/WE21-13)
Mio, Unchanged Song, Unchanged Sky (LB/WE21-24)
How to Play This Deck:
At first glance, this deck probably shouldn’t have won any games. The reality is though, that while there are some definite tech options to deal with other decks and anti-heal would make this deck cry, this deck flat out doesn’t care what your opponent does half the time. It runs its own compress game engine and seeks to just keep using tech to either search out cards to play late game or to filter through the hand. Also, it turns out that while crashing your board most turns is playing a dangerous game of “Pray to Cancel”, it can also deny the plethora of on reverse abilities in the playing field.
Level 0 is where you want to capitalize on pushing soul damage with early attacks, taking out your opponent’s board (this is one of the few levels you can do that!), and using all of the various tech options Little Busters has available for hand plussing. The 0/0 Komari stock reverser is great against runners and Yuu from Charlotte, and her stock bomb effect can punish players for leaving Hibiki from Kantai or Yuu from Charlotte out on the board instead of crashing them. Riki is can search for either the 1/0 plus combo Rin, the 0/0 Mio bond, or the 0/0 Haruka Brainstormer for hand filter. If stock is clean, though, in some games I will wait to capitalize on some of these effects until later as this deck does eat a ton of stock. The 0/0 Komari assist is for certain match ups, like Railgun and Kiznaiver, that want to blow up your board. It allows you to keep your front row late game against these decks to use the anti-damage counter in at least two slots.
Level 1 is a mix of old and new Little Busters. The 1/0 Rin plus combo that on attack with the 2k1 or the +2 soul PR searches for a Level 2 or higher is a staple in many deck variants. The 1/0 Mio though is a bit of an older card that saw limited play in some variants of the old Stardust Himuro heal loop deck. She’s a 1/0 5000 that has the ability if she has [Glasses] trait, on reverse, send her to Memory. The 0/0 Midori that has a pay 1 to bond for her gives all characters with “Mio” in the name [Glasses] trait. Essentially, depending on your hand situation or how you Leveled, you can either light the 1/0 combo search Rin or can bond back the 1/0 Mio’s so that on reverse they go to memory.
Level 2 in this deck is super awkward until this set gets a power up set (unlikely, but I can hope!). Most times the deck has already refreshed, but if you haven’t and have 6 climaxes or more in waiting room you can early drop the 3/2 Kyosuke that has Musashi burn. Otherwise, I usually like to preserve stock if I can for Level 3 and will either relight the search Rin combo if I have the pieces, or crash 1/0 Mio’s into my opponent’s board so that they go to memory and help compress. It is also an option to drop the 2/1 Maid Yukiho and the 0/0 Sasami that gives +3000 to Level 2’s or higher to get over things.
Level 3 is very stock intensive, but essentially everything heals and/or compresses. Firstly, I will use the 3/2 Maid Mio to not only heal, but send her to memory to pull out maid traits (herself, the 2/1 Yukiho, or ideally the 1/0 Komari). If I have the climax, I will play the 3/2 Rin’s that heal on play, that become 14000 on their own with the punish burn climax combo. It’s possible to use the 0/0 Sasami to make her or the Maid Mio’s larger, but as this is a tech card, I typically don’t worry about it. No on reverse is necessary for the finisher in this deck, and we really only leave characters on the board at this level to use the anti-damage counter to prevent damage. Hopefully the deck is compressed enough at this point that you are able to repeat this cycle to a small extent. As this deck eats a lot of stock, though, the final turns of this game sometimes end up being playing a healer Mio, searching free play 1/0 Komari’s or another healer, and then crashing the board for pinpoint damage.
I’m going to mention it now: Yes, I probably ought to be running the +2 soul PR “We Should Date” climax in this build. There are plenty of decent Level 0 and 1 green cards that can be teched in to splash the green necessary and this would enable siding for more pinpoint damage, or fronting for more soul damage push. I do own the climax, so it wasn’t the cost of it that was preventing me from running it. This build eats through it’s hand pretty fast with all of the crashing due to power creep recently, so the 2k1 being able to replace themselves in hand help. The siding tactic really isn’t so great because it allows people to relight their on reverse combos for plusses. This set has Level 1 counters, but many of the better ones cost stock better spent on other things and the only 1/0 +2000 counter in the set is looking for a [Sports] trait character on stage (primarily Sasami and Kengo in this set) to activate. There is also a color issue, as the +2 soul is green and the Rin is yellow. I have been finding, more and more lately, that I prefer mono-colored Level 1 games. Yes I lose some tech options, but more often than not I do have to level myself to Level 1 and am stuck with missing a turn on my plus combo.
How these Decks are Winning Games:
These decks both have three things in common that are allowing them to still push enough soul damage to win games. Firstly, it should be noted that the 2k1 climax combos are at early Levels in the game (0 and 1 respectively) that are not ideal. However, there are some things these two deck builds are doing that allow this to not be a problem.
These decks are both running a slightly larger Level 0 tech game that encourages attacking more at Level 0. This pushes soul damage early, and helps combat the problem that both decks have in needing more stock build to do what they want to do.
Count the number of triggers on cards including climaxes. These decks are running a larger than normal number of cards that have soul triggers. Honestly, this is the secret success to these decks. The Mono-Red Rabbit House deck is running 14 soul triggers on characters plus 8 +2 soul triggers to equal out to 22 triggers. That means that 44% of the deck has some type of additional soul trigger. The Little Busters deck is running 12 triggers, 4 single triggers on the punish burn climax, and 4 +2 soul triggers on the 2k1 climax for a total of 20 triggers, or 40% of the deck. These triggers in both builds, especially the Rabbit House deck, are getting put back into the deck to trigger after refresh. The punish burn trigger is especially effective in Little Busters because that gives us another finish option for triggering an additional soul.
Compression happens in any game of Weiss naturally, and sometimes doesn’t work out the way we wish, but these decks do it decently well in most match ups. Rabbit House does it through milling and refreshing more times in a game than typical, while the Little Busters deck does it by sending non-trigger cards to memory early game. True, this can backfire and cause us to trigger our climaxes, but in most cases we won’t be overswinging in this deck. Yes, it can still happen. Both decks, though, pay out a lot of stock throughout the game for their effects. This makes it pretty easy to pay out triggered climaxes both early and late game to prevent them from getting stuck.
True, these builds aren’t going to stand up to some of the bigger meta decks all of the time and have match ups that are extreme disadvantages. Yes, there are stronger builds in these series that will continue to see competitive play. But these decks have proven through play that they are capable of holding their own in the competitive scene even with running 2k1 climaxes early game. While they many not always be ideal, keep in mind they can work out in your deck builds if they have decent combos even if they are early game.
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