Persona 5 Deck Tech – 1st at 2017 WGP Regionals – Arizona

Welcome to another 9th CX dech tech + tournament report! Today’s article features the list from the Arizona WGP regional. The list is brought to you by Arthur O. and special thanks to Travis for putting the article together, including writing in the shout-out to himself. (Heheh) As always, translations can be found on Heart of the Cards.


The deck can be found on wsdecks here.

Name: Rivers in the Desert

Level 0 – 15:

3x Soul of Betrayer, Protagonist (P5/S45-003)
3x Calm Anger, Ann – PANTHER (P5/S45-059)
3x Deal Made, Ann (P5/S45-060)
2x Deal Made, Ryuji (P5/S45-011)
2x Futaba Sakura (P5/S45-079)
2x Deal Done, Yusuke (P5/S45-090)

Level 1 – 11:

4x Ryuji Sakamoto (P5/S45-005)
2x Deal Made, Morgana – MONA (P5/S45-061)
1x Phantom Thieves of Hearts, Futaba (P5/S45-107)
1x Protagonist (P5) (P5/S45-T03)
3x Advanced Notice (P5/S45-021)

Level 2 – 9:

3x “All-Out Attack” Protagonist – JOKER (P5/S45-006)
1x Fated “Imprisonment”, Protagonist (P5/S45-012)
2x Yusuke Kitagawa (P5/S45-082)
1x Phantom Thieves of Hearts, Protagonist – JOKER (P5/S45-101)

Level 3 – 9:

3x Protagonist & Arsene – JOKER (P5/S45-001)
2x Navigation Role, Futaba – NAVI (P5/S45-076)
2x Yusuke & Goemon – FOX (P5/S45-077)

CX – 8:

4x THE SHOW’S OVER (P5/S45-023)
4x You Think I’ll Forgive You!? (P5/S45-100)


At level 0, we have 15 cards:

Soul of Betrayer, Protagonist can give +500 power to a character once per turn when you use a startup ability. He is also a pay 1 rest 2 search brainstorm for [Phantom Thief] characters.

Deal Made, Ryuji on play you may discard a card to get an Advanced Notice from waiting room to hand.

Calm Anger, Ann – PANTHER is a global +500 power to all [Phantom Thief] characters. When one of your character’s direct attack damage doesn’t cancel, send a face down card in your opponent’s memory to waiting room. If you do, you can pay 1 to salvage.

Deal Made, Ann on play you can discard a CX to salvage a [Phantom Thief] character.

Futaba Sakura reveals the top card of your deck on play. If it is a [Phantom Thief] character, you may put it under this as a marker. While this has a marker, this card gets +1500 power and  +1 level.

Deal Done, Yusuke gets +2500 power and +1 level if he is in the front row center position.

At level 1, we have 11 cards:

Ryuji Sakamoto gets +500 power for each other [Phantom Thief] you control.

Deal Made, Morgana – MONA is a 1k backup, where you can give an additional +1000 power to a battling character if you control a [Phantom Thief].

Phantom Thieves of Hearts, Futaba gets +1000 power if you have 2 or more other [Phantom Thief] and has clock encore.

Protagonist (P5) on attack can give one of your other [Phantom Thief] characters +500 times the number of your other [Phantom Thief] characters

Advanced Notice has your opponent put a card from their hand face down into memory. They may draw a card. You may then look at the top 4 cards of your deck for a [Phantom Thief] character and add it to hand. You may then bounce a cost 0 from your opponent’s stage to their hand.

At level 2, we have 9 cards:

“All-Out Attack” Protagonist – JOKER gets -1 level in hand if you control 4 or more other [Phantom Thief] characters. CX Combo with THE SHOW’S OVER where on opponent reverse, draw a card then tutor for a level 1 or lower [Phantom Thief] character.

Fated “Imprisonment”, Protagonist is a level assist for +1000 per level on your turn. He also gives all your Protagonist & Arsene – JOKER +500 power, and during your turn, on-reverse scry.

Yusuke Kitagawa lets you draw and discard a card, then put the top card of your deck into stock on play if you control another [Phantom Thief] character. At the start of your CX phase, you may pay 1 and discard 2 [Phantom Thief] characters and return him to hand to put a Yusuke & Goemon – FOX from your waiting room to the slot this was in.

Phantom Thieves of Hearts, Protagonist – JOKER is a 3k backup. When you use his backup, you may choose a character in battle to give memory kick on opponent reverse.

At level 3, we have 9 cards;

Protagonist & Arsene – JOKER gets +500 power for each other [Phantom Thief] character you control. On play, you may heal. At the beginning of your encore step, if your opponent’s front row is either gone and/or reversed, you may pay 3 and discard 1 [Phantom Thief] to perform the following action for each [Phantom Thief] character on your front row “Reveal the top card of your deck and deal X damage to your opponent, where X is that card’s level,  put it at the bottom of your deck, then shuffle.”

Navigation Role, Futaba – NAVI gives all your other [Phantom Thief] or [Coffee] characters +1500 power. When your other character is attacked, if you have 3 or more other [Phantom Thief] or [Coffee] characters, you may pay 1 and discard a You think I’ll Forgive You!?   If you do, choose one of your opponent’s characters in battle, and that character cannot deal damage during this turn. (If your opponent has effects that trigger on attack, those will resolve first. e.g. On attack burn X will not be prevented by this ability, but an on-reverse burn X can be.)

Yusuke & Goemon – FOX on attack lets you pay 1 and discard a [Phantom Thief] character to heal. At the start of your opponent’s draw phase, you can give one of your characters +4000 power

CX spread;

THE SHOW’S OVER (1k1 Wind)
You Think I’ll Forgive You!
(1k1 Pants)

 


M: Congratulations on the finish! Multi-part question: What made you decide to play this deck for the event? Were you considering other series? Was your local meta a factor in your decision?

A: I’m the biggest Persona mark in our playgroup. Seriously, with one other exception (another WGP winner, funny enough), I’m the one that dropped money on the boxes and made the deck. Having been burned by the Persona series before (with a disappointing EN offering and the JP offerings being meh, though it did carry me to a 2nd place offering last year), I was very, VERY happy with Persona 5, even more so after playing the game and falling in love with the Phantom Thieves. Sure, meta is important, but playing what you like is even more important to me.

M: How did you approach building the deck you ran? If you had to make changes, what would you add or take out?

A: I had so many approaches to P5. At first, Red/Yellow was my jam, but I found myself eating damage too hard, so I approached blue as an idea. Earlier builds lacked Yusuke, because I thought the cost was too high, but testing and encouragement brought him into the fold.

M: Describe your list. What does it do at each level? What’s it’s early, mid, and endgame like? In your mind, what makes this deck a good choice? Is there a time or a place where you think it would not be a good choice to play?

A: Most of the game is about survival.

At Level 0, you start some setup and have at least one slot that buffers damage (with a 4500+ Yusuke at Level 1, he defends against reversers and damage if your opponent wants to keep field).

Level 1 is where you start building your foundation with hongry boi Ryuji defending, Trial deck Akira giving a burst boost, and early play Akira netting me at least 2 cards per battle phase (though against some fields, there’s some difficulties reversing, which is where the Trial Deck Akira comes into play).

Brainstorms and Calling Cards help filter, with a bonus that Calling Card might disrupt a savvy opponent with limited hand; Futaba’s in there as both a stock filter and a reliable field presence.

At Level 2, if you don’t have at least one Level 3 Akira and one Level 3 Futaba in hand, you need one immediately, so dig with everything. Otherwise, keep field and get Yusuke out to be intimidating and to heal you down. You may not even need to reach Level 3! He keeps himself alive (and, occasionally, others).

Then, if you reach Level 3, you play it smart, count your high level cards out of deck, then see if it’s worth it to drop 3 to finish with at least 2 burn 1s. Otherwise, save your stock and blue CXs to keep yourself alive one more turn. The deck is a good choice because it doesn’t rely on one win condition too heavily, choosing the route of self-preservation if needed. If the job can be pulled off, then, yes, go for it, but it also keeps itself safe, much like a Phantom Thief.

M: Tell us how the event went. What did you play every round, to the best of your memory? How did the matches go?

A: Game 1 was against a unique take on Vivid Strike – the game didn’t go too well initially but I pulled back. Game 2 was against Little Busters G/Y, and we both agreed that it was a…well, he was nearly down before coming back in a big way, just not big enough to take the win. (+2 Soul, man. I still love it.) My final game of the tournament was against the eventual 2nd place, Rewrite G/B, a deck I had a lot of trouble against. There was one heart-stopping moment were one of Akira’s burns would have beaten him, we both realized at the last second that was going to happen, but he managed to pull a CX out of nowhere. It was beautiful.

M: What was the best play you made (or saw someone else make) during the event?

A: In all honesty, this event taught me that I should be very careful with Akira Level 3’s burn. The best move I pulled was not using the burn during the second game, where I would have certainly triple whiffed on the check for burns, instead keeping myself alive. Self-preservation is a very important thing.

M: Give us an ideal opening hand. What makes it good, and how important are the cards in it?

A: My ideal opening hand is 1x Yusuke level 0, 1x Yusuke level 3, 1x Akira Early Play, 1x Brainstorm, and 1x of any other level 0. The Lv 3 Yusuke is good clock fodder on turn 1 (doubling as a way to filter him into your waiting room in time for the early play) and the rest help set up for the rest of the game, building stock and filtering with the Brainstorm.

M: What would a difficult opening hand look like for the deck? What would you mulligan? (Please don’t do something outlandish like 5 CXs)

A: 5 CXs weren’t that outlandish in our tournament! Really, a lack of 0s would be disastrous, but not having a single Akira Early Play would really suck, because that combo helps you be easily situated for later game.

M: What are the deck’s best/worst matchups in your mind, and would you be open to doing a part 2 where you do some field/play analysis?

A: I tend not to worry too much about matchups – whatever I play against, I’ll deal with. Anything with Anti-heal might be a bad match, though, now I’m thinking about it. Oh, and things with big fields at Level 1 and beyond, like Titans. I hate Titans. (And sure, given some examples.)

M: Felix Question: Do you feel that it’s truly possible to tryhard in Weiss Schwarz, and why?

A: I believe in letting every player play whatever style they wish, so long at it doesn’t ruin the overall game experience. Win or lose, if the game was fun, then it’s at least somewhat worth it.


Congratulations again to Arthur!

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Love Live Sunshine Deck Tech – 1st at 2017 WGP Regionals – San Jose

Welcome to another 9th CX dech tech plus tournament report! Today’s article features the winning Love Live! Sunshine list from the San Jose WGP regional. The list is brought to you by Rin D. and special thanks to Travis for putting the article together.

As always, translations can be found on Heart of the Cards. Onto the deck!

Deck can be found on WSDecks here.

IT’S NOT JOKE

Level 0 – 16

2x “Tear of the Fallen Angel” Yoshiko Tsushima(LSS/WE27-10)
3x “Aozora Jumping Heart” Riko Sakurauchi(LSS/W45-034)
2x “Koi ni Naritai AQUARIUM” You Watanabe(LSS/W45-037)
2x “Mijuku DREAMER” You Watanabe(LSS/WE27-22)
4x “Aozora Jumping Heart” Dia Kurosawa(LSS/W45-067)
3x “Capture Stance” Kanan Matsuura(LSS/W45-077)

Level 1 – 11

4x “Koi ni Naritai AQUARIUM” Ruby Kurosawa(LSS/W45-005)
4x “Aozora Jumping Heart” Chika Takami(LSS/W45-035)
2x Riko Sakurauchi(LSS/W45-038)
1x Glamorous Swimsuit Look” Kanan Matsuura(LSS/WE27-44)

Level 2 – 5

3x “MIRAI TICKET” Riko Sakurauchi(LSS/WE27-19)
1x “Aim for the Brilliance” Ruby Kurosawa(LSS/WE27-14)
1x  “Today’s Ultimate Ragnarok” Yoshiko Tsushima(LSS/WE27-11)

Level 3 – 10

3x “MIRAI TICKET” Chika Takami(LSS/WE27-20)
3x  “MIRAI TICKET” You Watanabe(LSS/WE27-21)
2x “Aim for the Brilliance” Dia Kurosawa(LSS/WE27-42)
2x “Aozora Jumping Heart” Hanamaru Kunikida(LSS/W45-003)

CX Spread

4x “Aozora Jumping Heart” Chika(LSS/W45-063)
4x “Aozora Jumping Heart” You(LSS/W45-064)


At level 0 we have 16 cards.

“Tearof the Fallen Angel” Yoshiko Tsushima prevents you from using backups or events at all while she is on the stage. She also freezes the character in front of her to the slot she is facing(Anti-Runner).

“Aozora Jumping Heart” Riko Sakurauchi has revenge trigger for 500 power and is a salvage brainstorm.

“Koi ni Naritai AQUARIUM” You Watanabe is a level 0 reverser with an on death ability to pay 2 and salvage a [Music] character.

“Mijuku DREAMER” You Watanabe mills 2 on play and gets +X times 1000 power where X is the number of [Music] characters milled this way.

“Aozora Jumping Heart” Dia Kurosawa on play top checks for [Music] characters. When she goes to the WR from stage, you may pay one and clock from top of deck to draw.

“Capture Stance” Kanan Matsuura scrys when sent to waiting room, and can pseudo encore a character by sending herself to waiting room from backrow in the place of another character.

At level 1, we have 11 cards.

“Koi ni Naritai AQUARIUM” Ruby Kurosawa is an Azusa (Akatsuki) clone for [Music] characters on play. She has a CX combo with “School Idol Project” to pay one and send this to waiting room to place an ‘”Aozora Jumping Heart”Ruby Kurosawa’ in her previous slot.

“Aozora Jumping Heart” Chika Takami is a level 1 reverser if all your characters are [Music] trait. She has a CX combo with ‘”Aozora Jumping Heart” Chika where on reverse, you may salvage.

Riko Sakurauchi on play gets +500 power until end of turn for each [Music] character you control.

Glamorous Swimsuit Look” Kanan Matsuura is a 1k backup that can give another 1k to a battling character if you control a [Music] character.

At level 2, we have 5 cards.

“MIRAI TICKET” Riko Sakurauchi is a level assist. You can rest her and discard a card to reveal the top card of your deck to salvage a level X or lower character where X is the revealed card’s level.

“Aim for the Brilliance” Ruby Kurosawa is a +3k backup that makes your opponent mill equal to the number of [Music] characters you control.

“Today’s Ultimate Ragnarok” Yoshiko Tsushima on play has you play rock paper scissors until someone wins. If you lose, your other characters get +2k.

At level 3, we have 10 (!!) cards.

“MIRAI TICKET” Chika Takami gets -1 level in hand if you have “MIRAI TICKET” Riko Sakurauchi in your clock. On play you may pay 1 to summon a “MIRAI TICKET” You Watanabe from waiting room to the stage.

“MIRAI TICKET” You Watanabe gives all other “MIRAI TICKET” Chika Takami +2k power. On attack you can reveal the top card of your deck for a [Music] character and burn equal to the revealed card’s level.

“Aim for the Brilliance” Dia Kurosawa on play gives you a blind stock from top of deck if you have 4 or more other [Music] characters. She also heals on play.

“Aozora Jumping Heart” Hanamaru Kunikida gets -1 level in hand if you have 2 or less CXs in WR. She also heals on play and has a CX Combo with ‘”Aozora Jumping Heart” Hanamaru’ where on CX placement, if this is in your front row, you may put a [Music] character from WR into stock and this gets +3k until the end of your opponent’s turn.

CX Spread

“Aozora Jumping Heart” Chika Red Stock Soul
“Aozora Jumping Heart” You 1k1 Salvage Trigger


Onto the report and the interview!

M: Congratulations on the finish! Multi-part question: What made you decide to play this deck for the event? Were you considering other series? Was your local meta a factor in your decision?

R: Out of every deck I currently own, I feel my Love Live! Sunshine!! deck was by far my most consistent as well as most potent on top of being a deck that represents a franchise I hold very dear (People who were at the event would recall the swag I sported during the duration as well as know that I have cosplayed as You from the series!). I was confident, out of every deck I own, this was the deck that can contend against most titles that are capable of doing well in the current competitive environment. As I seldom go to local tournaments due to my work schedule, I paid attention mainly to the Japanese meta, and I played off of that.

M: How did you approach building the deck you ran? If you had to make changes, what would you add or take out?

R: I built with a strategy of trying to getting the upper hand at Levels 0 and 2 rather than the conventional Level 1, because I know Love Live! Sunshine!! is not particularly favored at that stage of the game. The Extra Booster did bring “Mijuku DREAMER” Kurosawa Ruby and “MIRAI TICKET” Kurosawa Dia as alternative Level 1 climax combo advantage engines (“Mijuku DREAMER” Takami Chika does not quite completely exist to me as a card) with the former being easily recurred to some extent while having high damage potential and the latter having more potential to win lanes at Level 1 while also netting a maximum of 2 cards per reverse. But, those are too high variance for my taste, so I stuck with the tried-and-true “Aozora Jumping Heart” Takami Chika to have access to a Level 1 Reverser that makes the title more capable at dealing with wall strategies as well as having actual choice in what I can grab off the CX combo.

That said, I hope either opponents fall for the bait/are not prepared for fielding multiples of their Level 1s to deal with a full front row of 0s, most of which will be able to float like “Aozora Jumping Heart” Kurosawa Dia and “Koi ni Naritai AQUARIUM” Watanabe You. Because of such cards’ abilities to be able to replace themselves, I am able to stabilize my hand size while not facing major repercussions for tri-laning so early in the game. Of course, a major thing people will notice is a lack of runners. While I do contend that runners are a great thing to have Turn 1, their value substantially decreases on subsequent turns especially with the way I prefer to the pilot the deck. Instead, I choose to run “Tear of Fallen Angel” Tsushima Yoshiko to deal with opposing runners and increase the number of the aforementioned Dia to a full playset to have the cheap float ability (and the hand filter is very nice). “Mijuku DREAMER” Watanabe You digs through the deck a bit deeper and can get decently large for a Level 0 even if just for a turn.

Of course, we can’t forget the Brainstorm that is “Aozora Jumping Heart” Sakurauchi Riko. The standard “Koi ni Naritai AQUARIUM” Kurosawa Ruby is in there as a playset for easy hand and deck fixing, and the now tried-and-true tripartite of “MIRAI TICKET” Sakurauchi Riko, “MIRAI TICKET” Takami Chika, and “MIRAI TICKET” Watanabe You are there for potentially additional instances of damage starting at Level 2. Instead of shelling out the approximately 80 American shekels to get myself a playset of “MIRAI TICKET Tsushima Yoshiko for the cancel burn ability, I decided to play a pair of “Aozora Jumping Heart” Kunikida Hanamaru and “Reach for the Brilliance” Kurosawa Dia as a quartet of healers. Hanamaru is an alternate/supplementary early play I can plop down, and Dia is effectively a 1-cost healer.

“Capture Stance” Matsuura Kanan (and a couple of backups in the form of “Glamorous Swimsuit Appearance” Matsuura Kanan and “Reach for the Brilliance” Kurosawa Ruby) featured in the deck in order to maintain a high cost midgame and keep the investment steady. In other scenarios, she can bring back Dia floaters or Chika Reversers to the board earlier on in the game to keep a semi-stable board state. Also, the scry she does on top of her revival ability has come in quite handy throughout the game. Climax choices in both “Aozora Jumping Heart” Chika for the climax synergy and extra stock and “Aozora Jumping Heart” You for the salvage trigger help to maintain resources better.

As for possible changes, I may consider switching out the Sakurauchi Riko beater for Uranohoshi Girls’ Academy Summer Uniform, Kunikida Hanamaru for additional stock as Level 1 is not too important of a level for me to have the upper hand as it is for other builds. If I suspect I am going to play in an environment that deters Level 1 Reversers, I will consider switching the Level 1 climax synergy plan to one of the Blue choices of either “MIRAI TICKET” Kurosawa Dia or even the upcoming “HAPPY PARTY TRAIN” Matsuura Kanan to retain the precise toolboxing and can safely also use “Aozora Jumping Heart” Ohara Mari to have a beater that can possibly be recurred.

M: Describe your list. What does it do at each level? What’s it’s early, mid, and endgame like? In your mind, what makes this deck a good choice? Is there a time or a place where you think it would not be a good choice to play?

R: As mentioned in the response to the previous question, the game aims to get the upper edge at Levels 0 and 2 rather than the conventional 1.

Level 0: Overwhelm opponents with a barrage of self-replacing characters, anti-runner oversizes, and so on.

Level 1: Field Reversers that have a climax synergy (ideally get to Level 1 before opponents to farm off of their staggering Level 0s)

Level 2: Time to bring out the bigger guns and start increasing the damage output with Chika, You, and/or Hanamaru.

Level 3: Follow-up on the additional damage output gained from Level 2 and go for the finish

Throughout the game: Brainstorm, hand/deck fix if necessary The early game in this deck is a tad more aggressive than in some of the more competitive titles that prefer to grind out the level a bit more. The idea is either to force opponents to field their own 0s to get over yours in an attempt to put the Level 0 game in their control or put them in a situation where they are not quite prepared to start the Level 1 game despite being sent to that level.

During Level 1, “Aozora Jumping Heart” Takami Chika might be able to get over some lingering opposing 0s for some advantage, but for the most part, I do not expect her to, so it is particularly common for me to do a field exchange especially while I have a “Capture Stance” Matsuura Kanan in the back row to bring back a Chika who exchanged and maintain a deterrent or an opportunity for me open up a lane for a direct attack on my subsequent offensive.

Reaching Level 2, early Level 3 2-soul beaters come into the fray in the form of “MIRAI TICKET” Takami Chika, who then brings out “MIRAI TICKET” Watanabe You, having a maximum of 2 instances of damage on the latter for each turn she remains on board, which can easily send the opponent to Level 3 quicker than opponents would typically prefer. “Aozora Jumping Heart” Kunikida Hanamaru is also an alternate/supplementary early play option.

From Level 3 onwards, healers can come online if necessary to extend the game a bit, and I can easily maximize the damage output if needed via “MIRAI TICKET” Watanabe You (and of course, fielding “MIRAI TICKET” Sakurauchi Riko by this point will help to guarantee those burns because that OT3 2nd year power~~<3). This deck has the advantage of being able to start off aggressive and follow up on early aggressive pushing with up to 4 possible instances of damage starting as early as Level 2. In an environment of high damage potential at Level 3 and with the duration of that state of the game being shorter as a result, I do what I can in my power to stay ahead on damage so that once I do get to Level 3 (typically after my opponents), I am able to go for the finish either on that turn or my subsequent offensive turn.

The deck is also relatively more stock efficient than most other titles with the top end in the forms of a pair of 2-soul characters that can come out early at the cost of 3 instead of the usual 4 total and a healer that is essentially a net cost of 1, adding another form of advantage especially with the former if those are able to remain on board for some time. Access to “Capture Stance” Matsuura Kanan means it is easier to maintain the front line with the added bonus of scry to proceed with subsequent moves with more certainty rather than leaving it up to chance.

This isn’t without its limitations though. With the decision to play self-replacing characters that activate upon being sent to the waiting room, any build that runs stock, clock, or bottom deck bombs or an on-play bottomdecker at Level 0 will neutralize this aggressive floater early game strategy despite being a 1-for-1 exchange, and the popular ones of choice for the bomb category have a Power stat of 1000 or lower, putting them below even that of “Aozora Jumping Heart” Kurosawa Dia, my preferred floater of choice because of her low cost and ability to accelerate myself to Level 1. This deck also will struggle a bit more against any deck that runs Level 1s like Re:Zero’s Great Spirit, Puck that can gain Levels for that will mean “Aozora Jumping Heart” Takami Chika is no longer able to fulfill her field removal/attack deterrent role. Furthermore, with the deck’s other main emphasis on the Level 2 game, anti-change counters, especially those that are lower in stock cost like Re:Zero’s Not Being True to Herself, Emilia, and anti-change “crashers” that do not simply Reverse the higher level character like Love Live Sunshine’s very own “Today’s Ultimate Ragnarok” Tsushima Yoshiko can definitely set this deck back a good amount. Furthermore, certain opposing early plays like [email protected] Cinderella Girls “Trancing Pulse” Rin that have an insane power Level can just obliterate the formation with ease, forcing me to use “Capture Stance” Matsuura Kanan when I really should not or let my heavy stock investment end earlier than desired. Railgun’s “That is All” Mikoto is also a problematic character as she can easily decimate the board state I would have preferred to retain for almost the rest of the game via her climax synergy.

T: “Tell me where Mikoto touched you.”
R: (points to an empty front row slot where You once stood and an empty back row slot where Riko was once sitting comfy in)

M: So tell us how the event went. What did you play every round, to the best of your memory? How did the matches go?

R: Since I was friends or was somewhat chummy with a good amount of people who went to the event, having to play against any of them would definitely leave a bad taste in my mouth. Oh well, all is fair in love and Weiss, right? That being said, I was fortunate not to have to play against too many of them, and I was also lucky not to have play against particularly problematic matchups coughcoughREEEEZerocoughRailguncoughcoughcough

Round 1: vs. Love Live! Sunshine!! (Y/R/B) – Whoo mirrors. Whoo a friendly kill in either direction. Whoo the only other player of the title at the event surprisingly enough. As if to put a super amazing start to my tournament run, my opponent passes turn not once but twice during the Level 0 game. (M: Ouch!!) He is able to bounce back some by trilaning “Aozora Jumping Heart” Takami Chika, but my floaters allow me to remain stable on hand size, and as the game progresses, he loses out on climaxes before he is on the defensive, eventually culminating to my win.

Round 2: vs. Sword Art Online (Y/G/b/r) – Oh boy, SAO, a title that has a character with an advantage gaining climax synergy that gives the middle finger to Level 1 Reversers like Chika. :ChikaPout:

As if to continue the good streak of fortune, my opponent cancels early during the Level 0 game, but he does eventually get pushed to Level 1 first, allowing him to field down a couple of “Zekken” Yuuki, providing the much needed barrier against my Chikas. Regardless, I drop a pair of “Aozora Jumping Heart” Chika and another character and exchange one of the Chikas to get some damage in and one salvage. Of course, I would later get the childhood friend duo onto the board to increase the damage output and push my opponent to Level 3 while I sat comfy at Level 2. Having left “Sword Skill Succession” Yuuki in the backrow, my opponent proceeds to bring “Resemblance to Big Sister” Asuna onto the field. I end up canceling the soul damage, but then he procs the aforementioned Yuuki, does the mill 11, hitting 7 trigger icons including 2 climaxes much to his dismay. However, I do eat this burst of 7 damage uncontested, putting me at Level 3 and some clock. Not feeling too particularly pressured, I ended the game on my next turn via a side attack on a Level 0 character to prevent him from clutching the game with Gathering Materials, Leafa.

Round 3: vs. Monogatari series (Y/g/R) – All right, post-restriction Monogatari, let’s do this. Early on in the game, my opponent would cancel the majority of my attacks, leaving him in a 0.4 -> 0.5 or 0.6 situation at best, preventing him from being unable to deal with my field easily. I would then find myself in a #firstworldproblems situation in the form of clocking = discarding at end phase, so I just continue to do what I can to push damage from him, but he continues to cancel until getting to early Level 1. From that point, he proceeds to get his own #firstworldproblems by trilaning “Oddity Killer” Oshino Shinobu and her climax synergy, but my floaters ¯_(ツ)_/¯ at that. Some turns later, I get him to Level 3 before me as a result of having the childhood friend duo and Hanamaru on board (which I managed to plop down early despite having something like 20+ cards in my waiting room with the maximum of 2 climaxes required for the latter’s early play condition), essentially preventing him from utilizing his intended early play of Living in the Shadow, Oshino Shinobu -> Master and Servant Relationship, Oshino Shinobu.

Being at Level 3 and some clock, he fields a pair of Serious Face, Senjougahara Hitagi to dig for Clown Glasses and to catch up in damage via her climax synergy. However, I end up remaining at Level 2 edging on 3, retaining some of my frontline, but using Clown Glasses, he manages to survive one more turn. His attempt to finish me off fails, and I begin the subsequent turn by confirming my next trigger off of “MIRAI TICKET” Sakurauchi Riko, directing on a lane for the finish and denying him the ability to use another Clown Glasses.

Round 4: vs. fate/kaleid liner Prisma Illya (R/B) – Well, at least this wasn’t against the deck of high damage potential in the form of the Kaleidoscope duo. Things go relatively calm at first, with me dealing with his wall of “Magical Idol” Illya with my Chikas fairly well while not allowing too much damage from his end. As the game progresses, I get him to Level 3.6 where he fields a pair of “Soaking Wet Uniform” Kuro and uses her climax synergy to reduce my damage output on two lanes. However, he leaves a Level 0 character behind, so knowing I have 1 last climax in my deck somewhere, I attempt to clock for it but do not get to it. I then proceed to activate the ability of “MIRAI TICKET” Sakurauchi Riko to confirm the next trigger to be a salvage one, so seeing my opponent 1 from defeat, I play a 1-soul character and side attack for the finish.

Round 5: vs. Konosuba (y/R/B) – 3 undefeated people left in the standing for 2 invites, and I am facing off against one of them at Table #1. Oh, should I mention it’s another friendly kill? :upside_down: Anyway, before this round even starts, I end up getting slightly flustered and drop a bunch of my cards from my finicky hands. I thought I had lost a card, but a careful recount confirmed the 50. Anyway, onward with the game! My opponent begins the game by fielding a “Board Game” Megumeme, but I have a “Tear of Fallen Angel” Tsushima Yoshiko in response. The game eventually progresses to him getting to Level 1 before me from which he fields “Preparation for Explosion Magic” Megumeme and uses her climax synergy to net some hand. I proceed to utilize my own climax synergy (albeit not as optimally as I would have liked), and the two of us would field our early plays of choice as the game proceeds towards the later stages with us doing as many additional instances of damage as we can, my way being “MIRAI TICKET” Watanabe You and his being “May You Be Blessed With Kind Encounters” Eris. Some more exchanges later, he gets to Level 3 a tad before me, and he has “Crimson Demon” Megumeme with the aforementioned Eris. However, as he declares an attack with said Megumeme, he elects NOT to use Eris as if he intends on somehow utilizing the Megumeme climax synergy without having “Full of Concerns” Kazuma on board. We proceed to the beginning of the subsequent encore step, at which point he realizes his mistake. I then take the game on the following turn, closing the last round of the tournament and guaranteeing one of the two invites for myself!

M: What was the best play you made (or saw someone else make) during the event?

R: Aforementioned mill 11 for 7 and made me eat it during my Round 2 game, ’nuff said.

M: Give us an ideal opening hand. What makes it good, and how important are the cards in it?

R: -“Aozora Jumping Heart” Kurosawa Dia -“Tear of a Fallen Angel” Tsushima Yoshiko -“Capture Stance” Matsuura Kanan -“Aozora Jumping Heart” Takami Chika -“Aozora Jumping Heart” Chika.

This hand gives me my preferred start regardless if I am going first or second. If I am going first (and confident my opponent does not have ways of removal that move a character to a place other than the waiting room), I can easily field Dia for an easy floater and field Kanan as a way revive her for a second serving if I deem it necessary to do so. If I am going second and up against a common opening play of a runner, I can field both the Yoshiko and Dia to deal with said runner and proceed to start taking control of the game. Even if I am not going up against a runner, the Yoshiko’s power stat is not something to balk at and either players will simply utilize a bomb of some sort to deal with her, opening up a lane for me to get the damage lead (hopefully with subsequent floaters), or they will end up fielding their own oversizes if they do indeed run them, which I will not get fazed by. The hand also contains 1 “Aozora Jumping Heart” Chika and 1 of the climaxes required to get the climax synergy off, and I am confident in getting a 2nd one by the time I hit Level 1. Of course, as I have mentioned earlier, I do not value trying to take the upper hand at Level 1 in this deck as much as I would in a build that utilizes a climax synergy on a character of higher offensive stat. I would typically need 1-2 procs of the Chika at most to get the necessary pieces of “MIRAI TICKET” Sakurauchi Riko and “MIRAI TICKET” Takami Chika to start my 2nd phase of gaining control of the game.

M: What would a difficult opening hand look like for the deck? What would you mulligan?

R: -“Aozora Jumping Heart” Sakurauchi Riko -“Koi ni Naritai AQUARIUM” Kurosawa Ruby -“Aozora Jumping Heart” Takami Chika -“Aozora Jumping Heart” Takami Chika -“Aozora Jumping Heart” Chika

This hand is a bit awkward. This contains the pieces for 2 procs of the sole climax synergy in the deck, which is great, but having just 1 Level 0 in these 5 cards, one that is not even desirable as a front liner at that, is not the best of openers. As I stated in the previous question, I can live comfy with even just 1 proc of “Aozora Jumping Heart” Takami Chika, so the second copy would definitely be one of the cards to go. While the following might sound odd because of the utility the card carries, I would also discard the “Koi ni Naritai AQUARIUM” Kurosawa Ruby and instead hope I will not too have too severe of a deck problem or if I do end up with a deck crisis, easily get into her one way or another. Discarding those 2 will allow me to keep at least 1 guaranteed Level 0 and a guaranteed proc of climax synergy (assuming I do not end up facing against something with a good anti Level 1 Reverser strategy) and hopefully see a higher quality hand to start the game off with.

M: To you, what are this deck’s best and worst matchups?

R: This deck definitely does well against decks that are not too aggressive at Level 0 as well as against decks that do not have proper answers against early Level 3s since the deck prefers to emphasize getting the edge at those Levels 0 and 2. The deck is also able to speed the game up against decks with lower damage output because of a lack of additional instances of damage or so on. As for unfavored matchups, the deck has trouble against any deck that has an on-play ability to send opposing Level 0s to a place other than the waiting room, preventing my floaters from activating their self-replacement abilities. The deck does not mind it when people do 1-for-1 exchanges with stock, clock, or bottomdeck bombs, of course. The deck also has a bit of struggle against decks that have characters that gain Levels like Re:Zero as the Chika climax synergy strategy falls flat if opponents with access to such cards get to Level 1 first and start fielding them. The deck’s access to extra instances of damage via “MIRAI TICKET” Watanabe You from Level 2 onwards is null and void against titles with access to anti-burn that can proc mid-game like Charlotte or the recently released Kemono Friends if I end up revealing a Level 1 card off of the topcheck. :NotLikeYou: Luckily, having access to a pair of 2-soul beaters early at the cost of 3 stock as well as early play healers are already considered decent value provided I can keep the board intact for a while, so anti-burn is not the end of the world. I am definitely willing to discuss and elaborate more in a subsequent article!

M: For our last question, we have our Felix Question™:

F:  Do you feel that it’s truly possible to tryhard in Weiss Schwarz, and why?

R: While I do not consider just about any Bushiroad game to be 100% viable as a competitive venture due to officially sanctioned events having various flaws in terms of tournament formats and structures, I do believe it is possible to be a tryhard in the game of Weiss Schwarz. With Weiss Schwarz as my first Bushiroad game, I made the initial misconception that plenty of people who step into it for the first time, thinking it is a game with high variance with little player control. However, once I decided to become more serious about the game especially after exposing myself to Cardfight!! Vanguard for a time and realizing that Bushiroad truly outdid themselves with a game prone to even more variance, I found out how wrong I was at first and made it a point to improve my skills in deckbuilding and utilizing my cards to a more optimal degree.

Through introducing new players to the game and discussing with both them and more experienced players, I have explored approaches and methods of play that I would not have considered before especially given that I joined during the infamous ‘8g8 heal’ spam era of the game. I do admit it has taken me a while to adapt to some of the changes in the competitive Weiss Schwarz environment especially after the prevalence of anti-heal with the advent of Kancolle as a game changer, but at this point in time, I can look back and laugh at how ignorant I was to remain steadfast to staying with the old times. That said, I do think that this game’s design space allows for a player to craft a deck and playtest it extensively in hopes of being more competitively viable for the game does offer tools for players to take better control of the game to reduce the negative effects variance can have on the state of the game. While one can win games through cheese in a free-of-charge, Bo1 tournament, we witness time after time that people demonstrate some consistency with similar builds doing well because of precedent earlier on in a given circuit or even previous circuits, and especially in today’s Weiss Schwarz community, plenty of outlets are out there to provide useful information in the form of blogs, podcasts, videos, and so on. The exchange of deck ideas through topping lists across both official and unofficial tournaments via the Internet has really fostered a stockpile of information to learn from and contribute to, and I think the stronger connections made via the Internet and such have really made it very feasible for players to get serious about the game and make an effort to perform well, whether they choose to use a deck representing a franchise they are very fond of, a deck with their favorite mechanics and abilities, or a deck that is somewhere in between. So long as one puts in the dedication and remains open-minded, being a tryhard in Weiss Schwarz is very well within grasp.


Congratulations to Rin again on the finish!

If you have questions, please send us a message via Facebook or an email at theninthcx AT gmail DOT com. Be sure to sign up for our seasonal giveaway, and subscribe to our YouTube channel!

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Thanks for reading!

Konosuba Deck Tech – 2nd at 2017 WGP Regionals – San Jose

Welcome to another 9th CX Deck Tech and Tournament Report! Today, we have a Konosuba deck that went all the way to the finals of the 2017 WGP Regionals held at Hidden Leaf Games in San Jose, California. The list and report are brought to you by Kole C.

Translations can be found on Heart of the Cards. Though the set was printed in EN without functional changes, we will be using the HotC translated names.

 

Let’s take a look at the deck!

The list can be found on WSDecks here.

Level 0 – 16

3 “Full of Concerns” Kazuma (KS/W49-005)
3 “Specialty: Delusion” Darkness (KS/W49-007)
3 “Board Game” Megumin (KS/W49-037)
4 “Problematic Act” Megumin (KS/W49-040)
3 “Meaning for Killing Snow Sprites?” Aqua (KS/W49-075)

Level 1 – 13

3 “Good Explosion!” Megumin (KS/W49-042)
3 “Trouble” Megumin (KS/W49-P07)
4 “Preparation for Explosion Magic” Megumin (KS/W49-T05)
3 “Crimson Demon Girl” Megumin (KS/W49-T06)

Level 2 – 4

1 “Calling for Sensei” Megumin (KS/W49-051)
1 “We Are the Presents~” Megumin & Aqua (KS/W49-P04)
2 “Pride of the Goddess” Aqua (KS/W49-T17)

Level 3 – 9

4 “Crimson Demon” Megumin (KS/W49-034)
3 “May You Be Blessed With Kind Encounters” Eris (KS/W49-072)
2 Aqua (KS/W49-073)

CX – 8

2 Explosion Magic (KS/W49-069)
2 Resurrection (KS/W49-098)
4 Explosion (KS/W49-T10)


At level 0, we have 16 characters.

“Full of Concerns” Kazuma has a brainstorm ability for 1 stock and resting 2 characters you control: for each CX revealed, you may tutor for up to 1 [Adventurer] or [Goddess] character. He also has a CX combo that is not used in this deck. He is also part of the level 3 Megumin’s CX combo.

“Specialty: Delusion” Darkness gives a character you control +1000 power until end of turn when you play a CX. You can also pay 1 stock, rest her, and put the top card of your deck into clock to tutor for up to 1 [Adventurer] character.

“Board Game” Megumin is a free runner. (At the start of your opponent’s attack phase, you can move her to any open slot in your front row.) On play, you can discard a CX to salvage an [Adventurer] or [Magic] character.

“Problematic Act” Megumin is an Akatsuki-like clone for [Magic] characters upon being sent to the waiting room. (When sent from the stage to waiting room, you may discard a card. If you do, look at up to the top 4 cards of your deck, tutor for up to 1 [Magic] character, reveal it, put it into your hand, and the rest of the cards into your waiting room.)

When you play “Meaning for Killing Snow Sprites?” Aqua, you may put a card in your hand into clock. If you do, tutor for up to 1 [Goddess] character.

At level 1, we have 13 characters.

“Good Explosion!” Megumin is a level reverser with character (hand) encore.

When “Trouble” Megumin is played, she gets +500 power until end of turn for each [Adventurer]/[Magic] character you control (including herself).

“Preparation for Explosion Magic” Megumin cannot side attack, and has a CX combo with Explosion: when she reverses a character in battle, you may salvage a character.

“Crimson Demon Girl” Megumin has clock encore and gains +500 power for each other [Adventurer]/[Magic] character you control.

At level 2, we have 4 characters.

“Calling for Sensei” Megumin gets +6000 power on attack if the character across from her is level 3 or higher. When she reverses a level 2 or higher character in battle, you may pay 1 stock. If you do, you salvage 1 character. (If you pay for the ability, you must return a character. The Japanese text for the card lacks the ’まで’ which would otherwise let up to 1 card be chosen.)

“We Are the Presents~” Megumin & Aqua has a 1 stock +2500 power backup ability. When you use the backup, you reveal the top card of your deck. If the revealed card is a [Adventurer] or [Magic] character, you put it into your hand and discard a card.

“Pride of the Goddess” Aqua is a level assist. She has an on play Akatsuki effect for [Adventurer]/[Goddess] characters.

At level 3, we have 9 cards.

When “Crimson Demon” Megumin is played, you mill the top card of your deck, then choose a character your opponent controls with the same or lower level of the milled card, and send it to the waiting room. (CX cards are considered level 0.) She has a CX combo with “Explosion Magic”: at the start of your encore step,  if the CX is in play, this is in your front row, and you control a “Full of Concerns” Kazuma (anywhere on your stage), you may discard a card. If you do, burn 5.

“May You Be Blessed With Kind Encounters” Eris gets -1 level in your hand if you have a “Meaning for Killing Snow Sprites?” Aqua in your clock. On play, you may salvage an [Adventurer] or [Goddess] character. Its last ability triggers only up to once per turn: when the character in the middle slot of your front row attacks, you may pay 1 stock and discard 2 cards. If you do, reveal the top card of your deck. If the revealed card is a [Adventurer] or [Goddess] character, stand this character. (Even if Eris is reversed or padded, she will stand if you pay the cost and pass the check.)

When Aqua is in battle, your opponent cannot use Backup effects. (Events are OK.) On play, you may pay 1. If you do, your opponent chooses 2 CXs in their waiting room, then shuffles all the other cards in their waiting room into their deck. She has a CX combo with Resurrection: when the CX is played, if this card is in your front row, you may discard a card. If you do, choose an [Adventurer] or [Goddess] character in your clock and put it onto your stage in any slot.

Explosion Magic is a 1k1 + Door.

Resurrection is a 1k1 + Gate (Pants).

Explosion is a red waiting room stock/soul.


Onto the report and interview!

M: Congratulations on the finish! Multi-part question: What made you decide to play this deck for the event? Were you considering other series? Was your local meta a factor in your decision?

K: I love Megumin, so I played a consistent Konosuba deck (mostly) featuring best girl.

Best Girl™

M: How did you approach building the deck you ran? If you had to make changes, what would you add or take out?

K: After a 2 week test period, I found what seemed to be the best fit for what I wanted. Any changes I would make are maybe around level 2, though the level is pretty much skipped by early play Eris.

M: Describe your list. What does it do at each level? What’s it’s early, mid, and endgame like? In your mind, what makes this deck a good choice? Is there a time or a place where you think it would not be a good choice to play?

K: Early game level 0 you want to on-death Akatsuki to get targets and set up for level 1 game. If you’re able to get level 1 before your opponent, you have a higher chance of getting more cards off your level 1 CX combo. At level 1 is when you use your salvage CXC Megumin to get 2 Eris and 1 Aqua early play enabler. At level 2 clock Aqua if not already in clock, drop 2 Eris, and hope to not whiff the restand.

M: Seems solid. So tell us how the event went. What did you play every round, to the best of your memory? How did the matches go?

K: Round 1 vs Kancolle was hard. Had a hard time working around having back row popped by level 1 CX combos. Round 2 vs Rabbits choice anti-early play, I feel this game would have been rougher had the choice cocoa and chino finisher been played. Game 3 was vs Rewrite Guardians. This game I fought hard, as my record vs the deck isn’t great, but Eris restand prevailed. Game 4 was vs [email protected] CG (TP). The match was tense because I’d never played against the deck before. This tournament was my first WGP too, and I wasn’t expecting to be 3-0 by then. After toppling CG, I sat 4-0 vs Love Live! Sunshine where a misplay I made cost me the game.

M: What was the best play you made (or saw someone else make) during the event?

K: I turned cards sideways, and then top deck checked and turned card back standing. Then sideways again.

M: … Give us an ideal opening hand. What makes it good, and how important are the cards in it?

K: 1 level 1 Megumin, 1 CX for said Megumin, 1 “Riki/Item” Darkness, 1 Kazuma brainstormer and an Akatsuki on-death Megumin. Though the Kazuma isn’t super necessary and could be replaced by a runner Megumin, Riki is very key to search into level 1 plus combo.

M: What would a difficult opening hand look like for the deck? What would you mulligan?

K: Level 3 Aqua, level 3 Megumin, level 2 Akatsuki Aquas and an off CX.

M: Yuck, that sounds like that hand is one where you would just ditch everything, yes?

K: Actually, no, I’d ditch everything but the CX. I’d keep the CX just in case I get a Megumin runner.

M: Ah, good point. To you, what are this deck’s best and worst matchups?

K: Deck is best when I’m not being dumb. Deck is worst against lucksacks.

M: … So for our last question, we have Felix with his signature Question™:

F:  Do you feel that it’s truly possible to tryhard in Weiss Schwarz, and why?

K: Can’t tryhard in RNG and sacking.


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Thanks for reading!

Kemono Friends Deck Sketch – YB, YG, and By

Welcome to a 9th CX Deck Sketch! We’re presenting some of our ideas here as works in progress to share our processes and insights. Michael has two to start, and Travis will round things out with the third.
Kemono Friends has been released into the wild new Neo-Standard format where only a couple changes have been made. What decks will come from the set that can suppress the very popular “burn 1” effect?

Onto the lists!

Kemono Hakken!! (Y/B only, not recommended)

Cards – 50

Level 0 – 18

1 Royal Penguin, Congratulation Party (KMN/W51-116)

1 Kaban-chan, Guide Map Found! (KMN/W51-011)

2 Gen, A Little Break (KMN/W51-096)

4 Serval, Driving (KMN/W51-021)

4 Kaban-chan at the Congratulation Party (KMN/W51-005)

4 Serval, RAWR! (KMN/W51-006)

2 Serval, Ditzy Girl Lives (KMN/W51-008)

Level 1 – 12

4 Emperor, New Leader Outlook? (KMN/W51-094)

4 Kaban-chan, During Desert Tour (KMN/W51-010)

4 Commerson’s Dolphin, Loves Playing! (KMN/W51-083)

Level 2 – 3

2 Serval, Good Bath (KMN/W51-111)

1 Lucky Beast, Emergency Situation (KMN/W51-019)

Level 3 – 9

2 Paper Airplane (KMN/W51-033)

3 Kaban-Chan, Full of Ideas (KMN/W51-002)

4 Serval, Curious About Everything (KMN/W51-001)

CX – 8

4 Returning to the Original Form…..(KMN/W51-034)

4 Oozora Dreamer (KMN/W51-110)


What does this build do?

It’s a starting point. The deck is probably not making sufficient use of the set’s range, but the idea went something like this:

Find the finishers, and find the card advantage. Put them together, and hope they form a deck.

This method of deck sketching though is limited by its own rigidity. After all, not every set will get its own card advantage engine at level 1, and it won’t have a spectacular and flashy finisher like Yami, Arle, Coco(a)Chino, etc.

The premise of this deck is basic, and because we aren’t recommending it for use, we’re skipping its card intros.

Level 0 was built with utility and filtering in mind, all while being able to push for a little extra damage by putting Serval in the middle slot.  Attacking for 3 on the very first turn can be a good thing, and having a level 0 that can hit for extra damage is also helpful later in the game. The real star though, is the Hat that denies burn 1 effects. Splashable and very difficult to counter, this is arguably the set’s most central ability.

The level 1 for this deck is where its brainstorm action starts, as well as its card advantage engine. It has a CX combo to get a Friends character from the top 4 cards of the deck, and a free attacker in Dolphin, as long as you draw multiples. Depending on who went first, being able to bounce your own board and deny your opponent on-reverse effects at level 1 (or later) for free is strong, but balanced out by the added vulnerability to damage.

Level 2 is more of the same at level 1, just adding soul, and level 3 has the shield and sword with a rest counter, and a restand CX combo.

So then what’s missing?

This sketch is simply not hitting even more potentially powerful combinations that are available. In itself, it does have a lot of strong points that people have come to expect from decks. But, the set’s most notable card is also very flexible. (Kaban-chan at the Congratulation Party) When a star card in a set is a level 0 that isn’t trait-locked and operates without a CX combo, it arguably becomes one of the first considerations to make when trying to design a deck.

Most of the cards in the set do not care about the loss of a burn 1 effect, even if it is symmetrical. Assuming that we do want to make use of this effect, we are left exploring other color combinations.

Yellow has restanding, and the set’s most ‘unfair’ event in Paper Airplane.

Green has the ability to clock kick and heal, a lot.

Red has burn (which will likely be ignored), standby effects, kill effects, and

Blue, for the most part, has a self-contained path from start to finish that involves a lot of attacking at level 3. It also has other splashable elements.

Let’s see if we can use this question to guide the deck sketching process this time:

“What is the most unfair thing that cards at a certain level in this set can do?”

Since blue is being taken by Travis later, we’ll look at the first three colors to see what combos come of them. (This doesn’t mean that blue can’t be splashed)

Level 0 is kind of a wash to apply this question to, because any cards are usable. Certain cards may become more important with different combinations, but let’s go through the other levels first.

At level 1:

Yellow: can brainstorm, can deny attacks (at great cost), and use a high-risk high-reward CX combo

Green: can use a stock-generating CX combo, can potentially boost power for free

Red: can use level reversers and setup future damage, kill cost 0 characters (using top checking effects from level 0), and use a CX combo to increase board presence

There is a +2000 power backup effect in red that is only bound by trait.

At level 2:

Yellow: can search its deck for its core events, play early level 3s, and push for additional damage

Green: can heal to hand, burn 5 (CX combo), generate additional stock (CX interaction), early play a level 3, and can bounce characters it controls (to save characters and potentially deny CX combo interactions)

Red: can generate additional stock for no cost, early play a level 3 to heal

There is an anti-change backup effect in green.

At level 3:

Yellow: can attack a lot, and deny attacks

Green: can send characters to clock, and search (thereby potentially reducing future damage)

Red: can burn, setup its triggers, heal, and restand

With these general effects in mind, the next step is to decide, based on player judgment and preference, what combination of effects is best. For the rest of this article, I’ll be trying to walk through a sketch of a deck that uses green and yellow. There are (almost certainly) a good number of other color combinations, including other tricolor combinations. For this exercise, I’ll be going through G/Y, and we will most likely revisit the set in the future.

Let’s look at this next list:


YG Zoo

https://wsdecks.com/deck/41307/

Level 0 – 12

4 Kaban-chan, Magnifying Glass (KMN/W51-042)

4 Serval, Driving (KMN/W51-021)

4 Kaban-chan at the Congratulation Party (KMN/W51-005)

Level 1 – 13

2 Serval, Saying Hi to Friends (KMN/W51-009)

4 Kaban-chan, During Desert Tour (KMN/W51-010)

4 Common Raccoon, Always Full Power (KMN/W51-040)

3 Giant Armadillo, Steely Guard (KMN/W51-067)

Level 2 – 9

1 Kaban-chan, Helping Out (KMN/W51-054)

2 Hearthfire (KMN/W51-055)

4 All Together, Pull (KMN/W51-056)

2 Serval, Good Bath (KMN/W51-111)

Level 3 – 8

3 Ruffed Lemur, Jungle Life (KMN/W51-039)

1 Kaban-chan, Full of Ideas (KMN/W51-002)

2 Northern White-faced Owl & Eurasian Eagle Owl, Chiefs of the Island (KMN/W51-041)

2 Paper Airplane (KMN/W51-033)

CX – 8

4 Capture Completed? (KMN/W51-057)

4 Releasing the Wild Side (KMN/W51-058)


What’s the plan with this deck?

At level 0, the deck can do a good amount of filtering and searching for its level 1. There are very few level 0 cards in this deck though, mostly to make space for its much more high-impact level 1 and 2.

The level 1 for this deck is where it both gets to focus on preserving its board with power, and generating stock. Serval, Saying Hi to Friends gives a character you control a massive +1500 power boost if you reverse a character in battle. On the offense, this means that on-reverse effects (including the deck’s endgame clock kick) are much more easy to pull off. On the defense, it means that your opponent has to really hit power levels way over the first character attacked, or risk losing their board. Even if you trade, you still get the power.

The deck’s stock generating CX combo can be accessed at level 0, though it will cost some cards in hand.

Level 2 is where the deck gets to cash in on its stock and heal up. The Pull event, though one-time use, heals to hand, and dodges hate effects. If you are fortunate, you can even early play some cards. The conditions to play them early, 2 or fewer CXs and having a Kaban-chan, Magnifying Glass in clock, are not extremely difficult to meet. Ideally, the deck will still be able to maintain a board while adding a Serval support to tack on free damage.

Level 3 is where the deck can try to do it all. It uses some copies of Paper Airplane to deny attacks. It kicks characters to clock, and it tries to compress via searches.

Overall, this deck is probably more complete than the first YB list. It has more synergy, and more importantly, much more staying power. The next step: testing!


Travis: Blue Splash Yellow

https://wsdecks.com/deck/41281/

 

Level 0(16):

4 Kaban-Chan at the Congratulation Party (KMN/W51-005)

2 Kaban-Chan, Guide Map Found! (KMN/W51-011)[Bonder to Event/Serval, Curious]

2 Serval, Driving (KMN/W51-021)

4 “PPP” Humboldt Penguin(KMN/W51-086)

2 Gen, A Little Break(KMN/W51-096)

2 Rocker, A Little Break(KMN/W51-097)

Level 1(12):

4 Commerson’s Dolphin, Loves Playing(KMN/W51-083)

4 Emperor, New Leader Outlook(KMN/W51-094)

4 Gen, Orthodox Idol(KMN/W51-095)

Level 2(5):

1 Kaban-Chan, Helping Out(KMN/W51-054)

2 “PPP” Gentoo Penguin(KMN/W51-087)

2 “PPP” Southern Rockhopper Penguin(KMN/W51-088)

Level 3(9):

2 Paper Airplane(KMN/W51/033)

4 “PPP” Royal Penguin(KMN/W51-085)

3 “PPP” Emperor Penguin(KMN/W51-089)

CX(8):

4 Oozora Dreamer (KMN/W51-110)

4 Idol Aura (KMN/W51-108)

 

I mirror Michael’s statements above, this is a rough sketch of a deck so I’ll avoid card intros here. However, I do recommend testing out this along with the small variations I have mentioned with the build.

 

Level 0; the game plan here was to fit as much utility into the deck as possible. I want to have access to both the rest counter(Paper Airplane) and the anti-burn 1(Kaban-chan at the Congratulation Party) while also being able to meet color conditions to play the event and also be able to light the level 1 combo easier. I don’t mind not having the extra damage “Golden Snub-nosed Monkey, Cerulean Hunter” and “Serval, RAWR!” so much as I can sustain my damage through other means.

 

I did consider adding in “Serval, Helping” so I could gain some sort of ground at level 0 to 1 with excess CXs in hand that didn’t have a combo to go to at the current moment, and an additional plus for the decks main combo at level 1, but I would rather have the top check ability of “Serval, Driving” to be able to top check for the rest counter. Granted, I am running the bonder to the event so I should be able to get it regardless, but it also filters for <Friends> characters. Those two cards can be swapped out per preference.

 

Level 1; easy level 1 combo, you literally have to be breathing to light this combo. It’s great for building stock, and seeing that the deck’s entire level 1 game is blue, the condition for the plus to light is irrelephant. Blue also has access to a bounceable assassin character just by having another copy of it in your hand, making an easy 7k on play(before assists and other effects) I don’t run any backups at level 1, since bouncing back the “Commerson’s Dolphin, Loves Playing” keeps a field empty, there’s no need to have counters. Level 1 also grants access to a Rize clone(Reveal up to top 3, choose a <Friends> character, add it to your hand, discard the rest then discard a card.)

 

Level 2; most of the work here is setting up your back row to meet the requirements for the restand condition of “Royal Penguin” Fortunately, you do not need the other two cards mentioned in her combo, but having them makes the combo hit harder seeing as it is 5 attacks for 1 stock and a card from hand(not counting the stock required to play all the characters). The same restand condition also lights an early play condition for one of the level 3s the deck runs, which doubles as a healer. Running the Mecha early play reverser wasn’t an option since it was off trait. However, the set does have access to an anti-early play card in green at level 2, another optional card to run in place of that would be “Serval, Did Well?”. The aforementioned card is a 3.5k backup if you have a <Friends> character.

 

Level 3; here’s the gravy of the deck. The restander has probably one of the cheapest restand costs in the game, being 1 stock and 1 card from hand if you meet a certain stage requirement. On top of that, if you can manage to get a yellow card in clock/level, you now have access to the Rest counter. The deck doesn’t eat up a lot of stock aside from paying for character costs and a brainstorm every now and them, not to mention getting the Kaban into memory. Being able to use a rest counter and still being able to do a second restand the next turn shouldn’t be a problem.


What do you think about the set? Do you think other color combinations are more viable or better? Let us know!

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Level Up! – How Much Testing?

Welcome to another round of Level Up! For today’s article, we’re going to be giving our answers to a question:

How much testing does it take before you feel OK about a deck?

For today’s responses, we have Michael, Travis, Arin, and Felix.

It’s something we have written about before; testing is good! Testing allows you to see what in your deck is working, and what doesn’t – provided you do it enough. Here’s the premise we went in with to write our responses:

There are many schools of thought when it comes to testing. Some players opt for a high-test approach, where combinations of cards are discussed and then tested, kind of like an A/B test. Others simply theorycraft to bits and run with whatever feels best. Occasionally, there are moments of brilliance when decks just work when built. But, that shouldn’t stop people from feeling the need to test decks. So how much testing does it take before a draft is considered good to go, or junk?


Travis:

When it comes to testing, or even in this case brewing, I consider the following;

 

  • What utility does this set have
  • What finishers do I have access to
  • What ways are there to deal with -insert situation here-
  • What plus combos does the set have to offer
  • What tech options are there

Once I have those questions answered, I start the brewing process. Each build I have goes through roughly 20-30 games before I make any major changes such as combo swapping. At most quantities in the deck will be edited and in the case of a major flaw in one of the cards it will be removed.

TL;DR Play blue, true meta. Can’t have green without blue.


Arin:

I usually just go with the first draft of whatever deck I build. If there are obvious fixes, I’ll make them, but otherwise I’ll just run with it. If the deck sucks, I might try something different, but I rarely change decks.


Michael:

Testing is difficult. You need to have a good scrim partner or group to get the best testing possible. Barring that, you’ll hit the value ceiling much sooner with a less experienced group. This might sound elitist, but consider this: let’s say you’re in a chess club and you’re the only player with a rating higher than 2000. If the remaining players are all rated ~1400, you’re not going to be learning as much from your games as your competition. Similarly, if you try to play test with a newer player, you may find some time sunk into explaining the mechanics of the game or other intermediate concepts that you’ve known for some time.

So let’s say you have a good testing group, and a new deck idea. You’ve drafted it up and want to play it out. How many games do you play?

In a “perfect” world, we would have all the time we need to play hundreds or even thousands of games. But as we become more experienced, we may notice that we need fewer games to really know if a deck will work or not. We may also find ourselves with less time on our hands. Since WS does not have a pro player scene (and never will), the idea of dedicating entire weeks or months to testing as players in other games will probably remain foreign.

For me, because my time for testing is so limited, I try to record as much data as possible from a set of three games, or even a single game. I recall each decision made during the game that I made that could have been either improved or changed, usually with input from my opponent. In a pinch, I goldfish, and play a hypothetical game against an opponent who attacks for 2/2/2 almost every turn, and clears at least 1 character. It’s a very narrow range of games that this kind of goldfishing represents, but it’s mostly to prepare for using CX combos. I don’t recommend it as anyone’s sole method of testing, and can’t recommend it using it frequently.

In practice, I probably echo Arin’s sentiment; I’ll just go with a deck idea and try it out at a couple of tournaments as my ‘testing’. Between weeks, if something didn’t work well, I may make an adjustment. Otherwise, I’ll be patient and give it another try if I find that my misplays were more responsible for my losses than my luck. If I can’t make a deck do reasonably well within 3 events (somewhere between 15-20 games), I’ll make more major changes, or just scrap the deck.

Felix:

So there are many approaches to take regarding deck testing ranging from 0 to infinity games played. It is possible for testing to never be done as a deck can continually go through updates and refinement. This pertains largely to games with new sets constantly and eternal formats such as Magic: the Gathering, Hearthstone, Shadowverse, and to a lesser extent WS. The reason WS is put as a lesser extent is while the game has no rotation, not every set constantly gets updated and the amount of innovation in deckbuilding is severely limited by that fact. The other listed games allows for improvement of older decks to compete with newer archetypes that pop up, unless that archetype involves Spawn of the Abyss. In Magic, you can have a Modern/Legacy/EDH deck that you constantly add to and improve as new cards get released. When choosing to swap out cards, new testing needs to be done to verify that the changes are good. In essence, the amount of test games played drops to 0 because it is a different configuration. As other decks change and adapt to a newer metagame, you will need to test against those newer decks which effectively drops your test games played count to 0 again. In this sense, you will never be done with testing (unless you just jam 3x Spawn of the Abyss in your deck in which case you’re basically done testing) until the creators stop releasing cards.

 

In a more middle of the road case, with a relatively stale metagame, the number of testing games can be finite. For example, you have 31 other players who consistently goes to your local legacy FNM. You know what everyone else is playing so when you test anything, you can proxy up a gauntlet of decks that you know you will be facing. In this case, assuming your opponents do not make major deck updates, after about 1000 games against each unique deck every time you change something, you should have a good enough data set to draw some conclusions regarding your configuration. Good luck if all 31 people play unique decks!

 

Lastly, let us discuss the most practical way to test. Play 1 game with your deck. If any cards underperformed, take them out and put something else in. Play 1 game with your new deck. Repeat until you get a game where no card under performed. Deck done. Repeat entire process every time you change anything. Then the night before any large/important tournament right before you go to bed, completely change any and all decks you will be playing to something you’ve never played before and proceed to either smash or get smashed.

 

Tl;dr play aggro/mono red/+2 soul rush and avoid testing completely and have fast games for sanity of mind.


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Asuna vs Zekken, Last Shot vs Switch pt. 2!

Welcome to part 2 of the SAO discussion post! We are continuing off of the previous article over the new hand plus and finishers that have came to SAO, and to do so we have Clinton Chan and Bren Olit chiming in!

For reference, these are the new cards that will be discussed today;

When you play Attack in Waves, Kirito, you may sacrifice a “After the Battle, Kirito” you control. If you do, you may play this card at 0 cost. It heals on play. If you control 3 or more other [Avatar] and/or [Net] characters, this card gets +1500 power and “When this reverses a character in battle, you may choose another [Avatar] or [Net] character you control, rest it, and then move it to an open position on your back stage.

Attack in Waves, Asuna gives all [Avatar]/[Net] characters you control in front of her +2000 power and “When this reverses a character in battle, you may send the reversed character to memory”. When played, you may tutor for up to 1 [Avatar] or [Net] character. It has a CX combo with “Quest to Get <<Excalibur>>”: on attack, if you control 4 or more other [Avatar] or [Net] characters, you may pay 2 and discard a card. If you do, choose a “Attack in Waves, Kirito” you control, and this card, and exchange them. (Their status will not change)

Inherited Sword Skill, Asuna gets +1500 power until end of turn when played. She has a CX combo with “Demise of <<Zekken>>”: if she reverses a character in battle and you control 3 or more other [Avatar] or [Net] characters, you look at up to the top 3 cards of your deck, choose up to 1 card, put it in your hand, then send the rest to your waiting room. (You can choose 0 cards for either half of the ability.)

The other cards, <<Zekken>> Yuuki and Last Shot, Sinon, are the familiar gold bar and book CX combos.

 

Now onto the discussion!


Clinton:

So the first major point comparing Asuna vs Yuuki is does the deck want to play green as the primary or secondary color. If one doesn’t want to do more than splashing a few green versatility cards at 0 then the Asuna combo is the way to go. Asuna comes with a wind trigger that has uses throughout the game and the effect doesn’t require any extra cost in stock or cards from hand and provides milling and the choice of any card not limited to characters.

Yuuki is the number one reason to play green in SAO; she comes with a gold bar climax and the effect doesn’t require reversing an opposing character.  She also provides some of the best filtering and compression the game has to offer at a reasonable cost of 1 stock and a card from hand, which many times is more beneficial than a drawback. I think the Switch deck requires a lot more specific cards to fill up deck space than Last Shot, and having Asuna to be your main combo at 1 is viable because it is already on color with the focus of the deck.

The Last Shot build could benefit greatly from not having to pay extra stock with Asuna compared to Yuuki, but as a deck that mains Book triggers, Yuuki’s ability to potentially pay out a climax and pitch one to fix your hand and thin out a deck is just too good at getting you out of a pretty common scenario. So I don’t think either one is better than the other per se, but any SAO deck will want to play one or the other.

Last Shot vs Switch is the first crossroad in SAO builds in a long time. Last Shot is simple, a 2 card combo involving a healer and provides a potential big burst of damage from 2 sources that can easily deal a whole level worth of damage to your opponent in one attack. The effect of 4 damage on attack for a relatively cheap 2 stock and 1 card in hand is good because it is before the trigger step. It gets around half the damage mitigation from Compass and Project Darkness, and you can get around that by side attacking. Also, if the combo effect for 4 damage gets canceled, you get a big 4k attack buff until the end of your opponent’s turn, which gives you a good opportunity to combo again or at worst having a 2 soul beater. Blue is easily the best color in SAO at the moment and she fits in relatively easily without much space commitments. The drawback is that the Sinon goes to memory on reverse so you can’t encore her, but most times you’ll probably too low on stock to even want to encore her. Also, a continuous source of anti-character damage like the level 3 Shiroe from Log Horizon is a counter but playing against Log Horizon was already such an advantageous situation that you can afford to give those poor players something to be happy about.  

The Switch combo revolves around the Attack in Waves Asuna and Kirito. Both are level 3s and you need both on the field to make this combo work. The Kirito can be field for 0 stock if you sacrifice the newer brainstorm Kirito to waiting room. The effect is good enough to warrant playing that brainstormer, but isn’t absolutely required. The Kirito heals on play which is nice and on play, the Asuna searches for a character, so you can easily get Kirito. If you have 1/1 of each in play with the combo you get a 4th attack and with 2/2 in play you get 5 total attacks assuming you have a full board and a cost of 2 stock and 1 discard per Asuna activation. The strengths are that you aren’t affected by anti-character damage effects  and you have more opportunities for side attacks for precise damage. The extra attacks thins out your deck from the triggers and makes up for losing damage from Compass and Project Darkness. Also, the Asuna effect of giving characters in front of her a huge boost and memory kick is good in the mirror and removing threats from the board. Drawbacks are more deck space is more limited because of slots occupied by 2 different level 3s and potentially a specific level 0, requiring a full board to go off and are vulnerable to effects that gives character memory kick or bottom deck on reverse and effects that exhaust characters like Mismatched Pair.

At the end of the day the preference can come down to what climax triggers you prefer to play or not play. I think both finishing combo are very similar in damage opportunities and it comes down to how the deck plays to get to that point. I personally prefer Last Shot more because… (Editor’s note: The following was specifically requested to be published as-is.) 

Spoiler


Bren:

I’m going to assume that this is posited toward the English Format of Weiss Schwarz with an emphasis on competitiveness. (Editor’s Note: It is.)

When we compare two cards with a similar role in Weiss, we can’t just take a look at what they do, but also the context of the deck they come from, as well as what are the advantages and disadvantages of each choice.

 

Level 1

<Zekken> Yuuki and Inherited Sword Skill, Asuna are the generally accepted best advantage engines in their color (for those wondering, the initial question posed wasn’t specific, and it’s unclear whether they meant Inherited Sword Skill, Asuna or Asuna Invites to Party), and they share a small amount of similarities.  Both of them gain power on play, and they use a Climax to obtain Card Advantage, but that’s about it.  They’re vastly different otherwise.

Card Quality

<Zekken> Yuuki is great defensively in the short term, but also prepares for the future offensively.  While it’s costed and requires a discard, it searches out two Characters instead of just one, a small but significant difference, especially if done in multiples.  In addition, any Climaxes that are triggered, such as Treasure, Pants, or Book, can be either discarded or paid out to another Yuuki to prevent Climaxes from building up in either stock or hand.  It also reaches a higher base power with the combo, since base it’ll be 6500 if the last one played, then adding the 1k from the Climax brings it up to a respectable 7500, and that’s before the supports that can bring it to 10k easily.  The plus 1 level on both turns isn’t shabby either, as in English it blocks Level 1 Reversers from preying on them.

Inherited Sword Skill, Asuna isn’t without her strengths, however.  She’s on-color for the Switch combo, doesn’t require any stock, and as such, increases future defense due to that increased first refresh compression.  When she succeeds at her Combo, you get to go up to three cards deep, and choose any card, allowing you to set the pace and tempo while also keeping a small amount of information hidden.  The ability to pick Events and Climaxes for future turns also keeps this card interesting, and the added benefits like extra stock don’t hurt.  It also gets to a respectable amount on offense, going to 9500 with supports regularly.

Downsides

<Zekken> Yuuki is a weakling.  Even with supports, a 4000 base Character isn’t going to survive, with almost all Level 1s normally played in the center stage able to match or exceed that power level with their base power before supports.  Even some Level 0s can beat it.  The stock cost and discard may increase current compression, but it usually weakens the first refresh.  Yuuki’s presence gives on-reverse Level 1 combos a bright “Kick Me” sign, and the +1 Level only blocks Chika and Natsu.  Yuuki is also Green, a color that isn’t part of the Switch combo, and while it’s an easy squeeze for the Last Shot combo, it might be difficult to also squeeze any red cards in the Switch combo deck due to having to balance four colors. There’s also the potential anti-change counters here, as Level 1 ones like Taking Pride in Lyrics, Nico can function as a sort of anti-damage counter by sniping out a Yuuki once it’s received its level increase.

With that said, Inherited Sword Skill, Asuna isn’t much better on the power front.  4500 isn’t much better defensively than 4000, and still invites on-reverse combos to farm.  In addition, without the +1 Level Chika and Natsu aren’t even blocked, and with the right supports can even surpass the power without too much of an issue.  Asuna also doesn’t help solidify the future; she only adds cards in hand, not particular Characters, and most decks don’t run two of the most powerful events in SAO: Self Sacrifice and <Demonic Sword Gram>.  Running Events, after all, weakens the chance that Determination with Life on the Line, Kirito will get his power boost, and as we already covered, 4500 is not a strong power line.

Deck Ramifications

In very many cases, Yuuki is not the only Green thrown into the deck.  Adventuring with Everyone, Leafa, is quite a good card for the pressure, and for being able to dig for a Climax or Character, depending on what’s missing.  She slots in easier in the Last Shot build due to that build not requiring more than one color for its finisher, but she has a place in Switch as well since she’s not intrusive and enables the deck to run a card that can dig for the combo.  Due to the way Yuuki operates, it’s much less likely Choice to Fight, Kirito will be run alongside her since their power gain is pretty much the same, and can ruin the power of either card if there are too many copies.  In Switch, it’ll be harder to run Adventuring with Everyone, Lizbeth since that’ll put a fourth color out there.  It’s also much more likely that the Stock Soul is run given the support Yuuki demands, but the jury’s still out.

Asuna has a few different roads to take, regardless of deck.  You can go with Red with Lizbeth for a stronger Level 2 game, or a more solid Level 3 with Leafa able to grab necessary cards while providing an alternative finisher.  While on color for Switch, the base of Last Shot is only mono-color, and adding Asuna can also provide Attack in Waves, Asuna to give Last Shot, Sinon and Adventuring with Everyone, Leafa power boosts and the crucial optional memory kick, useful to shut down the Switch combo in a potential cross-archetype set mirror.  Yellow also enables the use of Agile Start, Asuna without making Level 1’s color situation awkward.  A further question compares using Self Sacrifice in the deck to reactively shut down an opponent’s attempts to take advantage of your weaker defensive field to the use of Determination with Life on the Line, Kirito to not only accept your power line on defense but increase the mill factor of the deck while helping to hand filter.  It’s possible to run both but it does weaken Kirito’s offensive capabilities.

Level 3

Last Shot, Sinon and Attack in Wave, Kirito/Attack in Waves, Asuna (known as Switch) are the premiere finishers of the Sword Art Online set, and it is definitively a debate as to which is better.  They provide interesting takes on how to finish an opponent, but they essentially provide multiple instances of damage that are difficult for an opponent to fully stop.  Oh, and they require a cost of 2 stock and a card in hand with the Climax in play in order to add on damage.

Card Quality

Last Shot, Sinon is quite straightforward.  It provides the most potential damage, the most instances of damage, is somewhat resistant to anti-damage, and on a Healer that can get prohibitively large if it doesn’t immediately finish the game.  Your backrow is not prohibited, allowing you to place supports that last.  Sinon can also self-compress by sending herself to memory if she’s somehow defeated.

Switch is likewise, straightforward, though with a bit more loopholes.  It avoids anti-burn, is quite resistant to anti-damage, is slightly cheaper than Sinon, even when not using the cost reduction for Kirito, and can be assembled with just one Asuna and the Climax, making it much easier to set up.  Since you don’t need particular Characters for the other slots, you can adjust your soul in your attacks.

Downsides

Sinon is expensive for its full combo, requiring 10 stock, 3 Sinons, 3 cards in hand, and her Climax.  This means that decks that are able to rush and have damage stick will be at an advantage due to the time needed to accrue those resources. Due to this, plenty of players end up using her combo only twice, making it only require 8 stock and 2 cards in hand instead, but it heavily weakens the damage range available, which allows Rest Counters to forcefully solve a good portion of the issue.  The ability to burn can be stopped by Anti-burn, and burning for 4, while great against an opponent who ended up a ratio of ¼ or worse, if it’s close to ⅓, it’s quite harmless.  In case Sinon is defeated, there is no option to try again, she sends herself to memory and you can’t try again, though usually the lack of handsize or stock will prevent another try.  You get one chance in most cases.  Also, due to her Climax being a Book, it’s very important to increase the number of Level 2s and 3s in English in order to pump up the Soul Triggers in the deck.  Prototypical Sinon decks that run the Mother’s Rosario and Last Shot climaxes tend to have around 10 Soul Triggers in the deck, providing a damage output similar to a standard deck running 2k1 Climaxes, like Shimakaze-focused Kantai.

Switch is very reliant on attacks.  A strong -1 or -2 Soul wall can heavily disrupt the damage output.  If the attacking Asuna or Kirito gets removed from the board, say, from a memory kick, the combo is dead.  Running After the Battle, Kirito takes up Brainstorm (and backrow slots), making running the Sleeping Knights Brainstorm at the same time awkward.  If he’s in the deck as well as the Sleeping Knights Brainstorm, it’s very likely that Kirito will only be used to make Attack in Waves, Kirito cost 0, and while he does some good work in milling other cards (like Comforting Moment, Asuna) do much better at getting two stock.  And without After the Battle, Kirito, a full combo requires 7 stock and 2 cards in hand, plus the Climax, though there is a reprieve in that starting with Attack in Waves, Asuna in hand lets you assemble the full combo as long as you have the rest of the pieces in the deck.  A Rest Counter on a non-Switch member hits Switch just as hard as Sinon, taking away two attacks while making the turn cost the same amount of stock, while a Rest Counter on an Asuna/Kirito that hasn’t attacked yet costs 1 more stock but you only lose 1 attack.

Deck Ramifications

Sinon is very freeform and can fit whatever shell you want to fit it in.  As examples, her combo can fit into a Lizgun shell, an Accelerate shell, or even a Silica Waifu shell.  By only having one color she opens up the floor for variety and greater accessibility by any kind of deck.  As long as you provide more soul and a way to increase stock and hand size without too much interruption, you’ll be able to achieve a triple Sinon combo.  This lends itself to having a more defensive Level 1 game, playing cards not for their offense but for their ability to reduce damage.  Burst Compression cards like <Zekken> Yuuki or mill cards like Determination with Life on the Line, Kirito aim less for specific cards but more to compress and prevent as much damage as possible.

Asuna is less flexible early game, so it can be flexible late game.  Running two colors late doesn’t necessarily close avenues, but it does make it a bit harder.  In order to fit both Green (for <Zekken> Yuuki and Adventuring with Everyone, Leafa) AND Red (Adventuring with Everyone, Lizbeth), you need to force Blue to be the base color, with Green the main splash at Level 1, Red the main splash at Level 2, and Yellow the main splash at Level 3.  It’s possible to not use Red due to it providing the least amount of help overall, but it still hurts to lose a card that avoids anti-heal and reduces stock usage, providing defense later on in the game due to stock compression.  Regardless, a third color does make it harder for newer players to play the deck to its fullest capacity, and the fourth color lends itself only to those used to four-color decks.  The emphasis for Switch is on its ability to be cheap and flexible late, so the early game is all designed to set up and go for specific cards over defense.

 

Final Thoughts

While both Inherited Sword Skill, Asuna and <Zekken> Yuuki have their individual strengths, the needs of both Switch and Sinon decks lends themselves to <Zekken> Yuuki.

Inherited Sword Skill, Asuna certainly adds more mill power to the Sinon deck like Determination with Life on the Line, Kirito does, but does so taking up a Climax slot AND a color slot.  It isn’t guaranteed to improve defense, and in some occasions may even worsen defense with a Climax in the first few cards.  Yuuki, while costing a stock, is guaranteed to compress with her ability, and while that does open up the deck to triggering more, due to the nature of Treasure and Book triggers the chance of cancelling is better with Yuuki on average, even if only slightly.  The stock can be regained by Comforting Moment, Asuna, anyways.  Finally, Green actually brings more use to the table than simply being the advantage engine.  Adventuring with Everyone, Leafa complements Adventuring with Everyone, Sinon by being another two-cost way to grab the Last Shot Climax, while also providing a 2-soul attacker and an additional finishing option.  Yellow’s main use outside of Asuna is her Level 3 variants, and while a Shot effect is alright, Asuna’s Commanding Strength’s role is mostly taken up by Machine of Ice, Sinon, the only exception being a Kantai Collection opponent holding multiple Compasses for your final turn.

Likewise, the Switch really cares about the <Zekken> Yuuki combo, but this time for her ability to grab specific cards rather than compression.  It’s unlikely a Climax is going to be the necessary card in hand, and the deck doesn’t run Events, so Inherited Sword Skill, Asuna’s niche is more or less useless, and while Asuna is in color, Yuuki is more guaranteed to find the card you want anyways.  Like with Sinon’s deck, Yuuki lets you run Leafa late, allowing you to help find the Climax while providing an alternative finisher.  The added stock isn’t too much of a downside to the Switch, and having a discard outlet early on is beneficial when the endgame combo can be a Pants trigger.

 

Tl;dr: Inherited Sword Skill, Asuna is good.  It just doesn’t do enough of what it needs to do in the Sinon and Switch decks because <Zekken> Yuuki does it better.

 


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Asuna vs Zekken, Switch vs Last Shot

Welcome to a 9th CX discussion post! Travis and Michael are here to talk about the new finishers that have come to SAO, and determine which one they prefer. Part 2 of this article will feature some more voices and will be posted later. Onto the discussion!

For reference, here are the cards being discussed:

When you play Attack in Waves, Kirito, you may sacrifice a “After the Battle, Kirito” you control. If you do, you may play this card at 0 cost. It heals on play. If you control 3 or more other [Avatar] and/or [Net] characters, this card gets +1500 power and “When this reverses a character in battle, you may choose another [Avatar] or [Net] character you control, rest it, and then move it to an open position on your back stage.

Attack in Waves, Asuna gives all [Avatar]/[Net] characters you control in front of her +2000 power and “When this reverses a character in battle, you may send the reversed character to memory”. When played, you may tutor for up to 1 [Avatar] or [Net] character. It has a CX combo with “Quest to Get <<Excalibur>>”: on attack, if you control 4 or more other [Avatar] or [Net] characters, you may pay 2 and discard a card. If you do, choose a “Attack in Waves, Kirito” you control, and this card, and exchange them. (Their status will not change)

Inherited Sword Skill, Asuna gets +1500 power until end of turn when played. She has a CX combo with “Demise of <<Zekken>>”: if she reverses a character in battle and you control 3 or more other [Avatar] or [Net] characters, you look at up to the top 3 cards of your deck, choose up to 1 card, put it in your hand, then send the rest to your waiting room. (You can choose 0 cards for either half of the ability.)

The other cards, <<Zekken>> Yuuki and Last Shot, Sinon, are the familiar gold bar and book CX combos.

Travis:

With the release of Sword Art Online Re: Edit, SAO has been given access to a new hand plus combo and a new finish combo. The new hand plus combo being a newer type of on reverse effect we have seen this year where the player checks only up to the top 3 cards of their deck and can select any card blind from those 3. As for the finisher, it is a type of pseudo restand combo where on other character attack, you can pay a cost to swap the position of two characters on the stage, potentially reaching up to 5 attacks in that turn. Now with two decent combos in both the hand plus and finish department, it makes deck building in an already decent set even more tricky. If you ask me, all the combos can be interchangeable. As in you can run Switch and Zekken, Switch and Asuna, Last Shot and Zekken, or Last Shot and Asuna. It just depends which combos you value more.

All my decisions and statements below are made based off my locale. These may not apply to where you play.

Personally, I value the Zekken over the Asuna for hand plus. Asuna is indeed a costless hand plus combo, on the condition that you reverse her battle opponent. On play she does gain 1500 power and does combo with a 1k1, so getting her reverses isn’t that hard to do just based on her being a 7k before adding in the power given by backrow cards. However, unless you double field Asuna’s Married Life, the board is going to look like 7.5k/7.5k/7.0k (with a Married Life and new Kirito brainstorm in the backrow) before the Married Life on CX play effect is assigned. Some decks have the defense power to block out one reverse, maybe two if they have a counter or two. If SAO had a Riki effect that searched for level 1 cards or lower, I would consider this card over Zekken since I would be able to force myself to get to level 1 faster and start to benefit from the hand plus ahead of time.

I value Zekken mostly because A.) She offers me a filter to get unwanted triggers out of my hand, B.) If I were to trigger a CX, I could pay it out with her CX combo and C.) Instead of pulling cards off the top of my deck, risking more than 1 CX being taken from deck, Zekken pulls damage out of the deck instead leaving in CXs unless it gets triggered. She might not have much to offer for defense, but pulling what you want or need out of deck makes it a lot more worth to run instead of the Asuna.

As for a finisher, I like Last Shot still over the Switch combo. I may have to give up more instances of damage, but it leaves me room to run Machine of Ice, Sinon in the back row to deny anti damage counters and rest counters, plus I can combo Last Shot in with the new Leafa cross turn clock kicker. Switch ideally can have 5 attacks in a turn with only 1 stock going into the attack phase, but I would need to have 2 of the new Asuna, leaving no room to deny my opponent counters or back-ups.

Michael:

One of the biggest drawbacks that stood out to me with the new Asuna search combo was that it requires a substantial board commitment to go off. Now, SAO has historically not had too much of a problem running a full field at level 1. In fact, among most builds that I have seen, it really does enjoy scrapping and drawing/searching for cards once it hits level 1.

There are some clear advantages that the new Asuna has.

The new Asuna:

  1. Looks at an additional card
  2. Can get a CX into your hand
  3. Can mill an additional card

But what if we consider what Yuuki does?

The “old” Yuuki:

  1. Only filters out future potential damage
  2. Can discard CXs from hand
  3. Can help tune damage depending on if soul triggers are pulled from the deck

The downsides that the two share regarding their power level are similar and potentially a non-factor. They aren’t supposed to survive for a turn. If they do and another CX combo can go off, that’s a huge plus, but it’s not the end of the world if they are steamrolled.

The endgame is where we start to see more differences. I have never been a big fan of Sinon’s headshot (burn 4) ability, simply because 4 damage is rarely favored to land. Yes, it can catch you up and give you another shot at ending the game if your opponent is at 3/3, but I have yet to hear anyone (be they experienced or new) call it a reliable effect.

So then where does that put the new Wave attackers? Being able to put out a healer for the cost of a 0 stock brainstormer is quite nice. No matter the build (that is, if someone is still using the 3/2 Kirito that can be played at level 2), it’s still a discount on stock, which SAO could use. Most if not all level 3 finishers would benefit from being free, so that’s already a point in favor of attacking in waves.

One of the biggest potential points of discomfort with the wave attackers though, is that they rely on the most easily disrupted method of ending the game: attacking! Perhaps my view is that of a spoiled player. After all, ending games with 1 damage pings is pretty safe and reliable. In comparison, trying to swing ‘wildly’ to end a game just feels clunky and barbaric. If one was in an environment where disruption at level 3 was unlikely, (i.e. no Compass, no Project Darkness), I’d call both finisher plans equally viable. As for my preference, I would have to test it before judging it. My gut says that I don’t like it, but I attribute that feeling to not having used it yet.


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A Link in the Chain – Chain Chronicle Deck Tech

Good evening! Melanie here from 9th CX with some of my recent brews for Chain Chronicle. I recently split a case and have been very much enjoying the set. There are several things to iron out through playtesting in this very diverse set and to consider in how some components were color locked while others weren’t. In my quest to do so I have mostly started out playtesting some mono-colored decks first and a few variants. Despite being works in progress, I did want to share some of these now because they have been a lot of fun to play with for the most part. Updates will be released later!


Mono-Yellow:

 

Level 0: 18

4 x Fatima, Three Sages (CC/S48-003)

4 x Dilma, Sage of Life (CC/S48-004)

4 x Melchior, Sage of Might (CC/S48-011)

3 x Yoshitsugu, Second Lord (CC/S48-013)

3 x Lolo, Fire Sprite (CC/S48-020)

Level 1: 12

4 x Fatima, Golden Witch (CC/S48-005)

2 x Haruaki, Fated Swordsman (CC/S48-006)

3 x Werner, Combustion Sealer (CC/S48-025)

1 x Juni, Blue Ice Sealer (CC/S48-026)

2 x Melchior, Three Sages (CC/S48-007)

Level 2: 4

1 x Juni, Magic Corps Captain (CC/S48-016)

1 x Yoshitsugu, Blood of Shura (CC/S48-027)

2 x Ark, Blade That Cuts Through the Darkness (CC/S48-028)

Level 3: 8

4 x Fatima, Witch of Fate (CC/S48-001)

2 x Werner, Magic Corps Commander (CC/S48-002)

2 x Dilma, Three Sages (CC/S48-008)

Climaxes:

4 x Burn!! (CC/S48-029)

4 x To Produce New Light (CC/S48-030)

How to Play the Deck:

This deck is all about building up power on your turn only to get over your opponent’s board, hopefully refilling your hand in most instances. We also want to preserve stock for the endgame in addition to hand so that we can light the ideal setup “Fatima, Fatima, Werner”. A common theme among most decks in this series and others in the current game state is that we have a deck teched full of “answers” to search or call out to deal with different situations.

The deck has to be very careful in dealing damage and knowing where its climaxes are. The deck doesn’t have a traditional brainstorm due to keeping in mono-yellow. Instead it has the 0/0 Fatima in back row that, when you play a climax, you can pay a stock to get a guaranteed plus mill 4 for a yellow character. Combined with the 0/0 Dilma “Akatsuki” clone, this should be enough mill to sustain the deck, but the issue sometimes becomes that the brainstorm action being based off playing a climax is a little too late to help you get missing combo pieces in hand. Personally this is an effect that I am not fond of playing or running, but since she is part of the condition for early dropping 3/2 Dilma I wanted to give her a try.

The Dilma early drop is convenient from the perspective that you can drop her so long as you have the right back row and if her damage cancels you may ditch a yellow character from hand to heal again. If she can survive through your opponent’s turn, her heal is also reusable if her damage cancels. The downside is that her power level isn’t amazing and the stock and ditched card from hand for the additional hand may better be reserved for finishing the game at Level 3.

The end game for this deck is pretty straight forward. The ideal goal is to get Fatima, Fatima, Werner with Werner’s on play ability giving you a chance of pulling his climax combo. It’s okay if you wipe your stock going into this set-up because Werner pays for his ability after your 3rd trigger step if he cancels his attack. This deck is also running 2 copies of the 2/2 event that allows you to target positions on your opponent’s stage to send things back to hand. Why? Two reasons. One, this deck’s (and many Chain Chronicle Decks) biggest enemy is someone saving a rest counter or a anti-damage counter for your Werner. Most sets with popular rest counters need a full board (Osomatsu, To Love Ru Animal) or require the anti-damage counter to be played in that battle (Little Busters!, To Love Ru Alien, etc.). The second reason is that you want Werner’s damage to cancel to get his finish ability. Putting him in front center stage and attacking into an open slot stacks more soul damage on him from a direct attack. Either the damage sticks, or you pay and get your stacked finish abilities.


Yellow/Red:

 

Level 0: 19

4 x Fatima, Three Sages (CC/S48-003)

3 x Melchior, Sage of Might (CC/S48-011)

2 x Yoshitsugu, Second Lord (CC/S48-013)

2 x Aram, New Hope (CC/S48-T04)

4 x Yuri, Breaking the Chains (CC/S48-051)

4 x Juliana, to Recapture the Capital (CC/S48-080)

Level 1: 10

4 x Fatima, Golden Witch (CC/S48-005)

3 x Haruaki, Fated Swordsman (CC/S48-006)

3 x Werner, Combustion Sealer (CC/S48-025)

Level 2: 5

1 x Juni, Magic Corps Captain (CC/S48-016)

2 x Ashrina, Queen of the Lake of Sand (CC/S48-017)

2 x “Dragon Slayer” Vorg (CC/S48-071)

Level 3: 8

2 x Aram, Bond of Allies (CC/S48-056)

4 x Fatima, Witch of Fate (CC/S48-001)

2 x Werner, Magic Corps Commander (CC/S48-002)

Climaxes: 8

4 x Burn!! (CC/S48-029)

4 x To Produce New Light (CC/S48-030)

 

While there are some things that I really like in the mono-yellow build above, two of the cards that I was displeased with needed a tech out. I haven’t been a fan of the 0/0 Fatima backrow psuedo-brainstorm ability, nor that I had to have her on the stage to drop the early play Dilma. But I really like the endgame for this deck and like the bouncing shenanigans that Melchior synergizes with the Level 1 game to make things really big for several benefits. My decision: try splashing in some red.

The red splash is pretty simple. Swap the 0/0 Fatima for the salvage brainstorm Yuri that allows you to get back any character. Yes, he has to be off the stage by the time you get to Level 3 to light Werner, who requires a full board of yellow characters. This is pretty easily achieved simply by putting down Ashrina at Level 2 or 3, either moving him forward to crash into something at Level 2 or playing over him at Level 3. Also splashed in have been 2 of the runners from the trial deck, and 2 of the 2/1 reversers for early drop Level 3’s. The early drop Aram is also a tech option for a heal at Level 2 and some possible sustaining power. I realize this may not be the best synergy due to the fact that if he survives to Level 3 he has to be played over, but his early drop condition in most cases is easier to pull off and with so many anti-Level 3 abilities floating around I usually don’t expect him to survive.

I have also teched in a playset of the Juliana “Riki” clones for this set. Early on she can grab anything I might want for Level 0 or Level 1 that is either missing from my hand or I need to answer to other player effects. Unfortunately with all of the teching the 2/2 event is the one things that gets lost from this build, as well as some of the soul plussing at Level 1 by losing the 0/0 Fatima backrow. In most cases I’ve found this to be fine. Swinging for 2, 2, 1 with triggers may not be ideal, but it does allow for pinpoints and some attack order decisions to help damage stick.  As I work on this list I will probably be looking at what to drop to put in the 2/2 event. This build is very much a work in progress with several tech decisions to be playtested out.

I feel it is also important to note that there is an entirely third viable mostly yellow deck in the series that runs off of the 1/1 and 3/2 Shuza walls that get markers. While the deck does have some hand challenges and definitely needs to make use of the Red 0/0 Brainstorm, it can build some really big compression marker walls that can deny on reverse abilities and still chain into Werner as a finisher.

Mono-Blue:

Level 0: 16

4 x Burckhardt, Shield of the Holy Princess (CC/S48-T16)

4 x Juliana, Holy Princess (CC/S48-T17)

4 x Musica, Magical Voice (CC/S48-079)

4 x Juliana, to Recapture the Capital (CC/S48-080)

Level 1: 12

2 x Lilith, Holy Savior (CC/S48-082)

4 x Teresa, Natural Sword Skills (CC/S48-083)

4 x Einslot, Captain of the “Holy Blade” Knights (CC/S48-085)

2 x Louise, Body Double (CC/S48-091)

Level 2: 6

2 x Musica, Magical Songstress (CC/S48-086)

2 x Louise, Maid of Holy Princess (CC/S48-087)

1 x Aries, “Holy Blade” Knights (CC/S48-095)

1 x Rowendia, “Holy Psalm” (CC/S48-096)

Level 3: 8

2 x Juliana, Female Knight (CC/S48-T19)

2 x Juliana, Queen of the Holy Kingdom (CC/S48-077)

4 x Teresa, Swordmaster of Slaughter (CC/S48-078)

Climaxes: 8

4 x Light of Hope in That Heart! (CC/S48-098)

4 x You’re Next! (CC/S48-100)

This has become one of my favorite decks from this set in a short time, and the build that I have playtested the most. It went 3/1 its first week at locals, and it’s only loss so far is to Konosuba R/B running the Megumin 3/2 finishers that rest to burn and kick. In my opinion Konosuba is a counter to this deck and punishes it for it’s wall game. This week it went 3/0 against Puyo, GFBeta Blue splash Pumpkin, and Railgun with Power Up Set.

The deck works like a pinball machine all for the cost of using one “Start Up” ability. The deck is filled with costed and free start up abilities that can also be used on your opponent’s turn to create a power wall. Complete with a 1/0 character counter that can hand filter a card to boomerang back to hand and a 2/1 easy conditional 3500 character counter, the deck walls up very nicely, allowing you to sustain hand.

The downside to this deck is twofold. One, some will not like that the mill/plus combo requires a full field of blue to activate. This decreases the amount of splashing and teching you can do from the other colors in the set, although, truth be told, I don’t really think this is necessary. Second, the endgame of this deck is very much a “go big or go home” when relying only on the Teresa 3/2 RR finisher and not splashing in any other colors. Honestly, moving forward, I could see splashing in the RR 3/2 Fatima and stacking her punish burns on Teresa for a more effective end game. An easy 0/0 splash may be the yellow card that can call your Musica 0/0 brainstorm to stage, or simply just level a 3/2 Fatima at some point. It will be tricky due to the conditions for the Level 1 combo, but I think it might be doable.

Mono-Red:

Level 0: 16

3 x Aram, New Hope (CC/S48-T04)

4 x Pirika, Light of Hope (CC/S48-047)

4 x Yuri, Breaking the Chains (CC/S48-051)

3 x Selene, Excellent Assistant (CC/S48-064)

2 x Dusty, Arms Dealer of the Vice Capital (CC/S48-065)

Level 1: 15

2 x Aram, White Mana (CC/S48-060)

4 x Phoena, Live Together And Fight Together (CC/S48-048)

4 x Dusty, Hot-Blooded Arms Dealer (CC/S48-052)

3 x Kain, Virtuous Mercenary (CC/S48-053)

2 x Aludra, Universal Mage (CC/S48-059)

Level 2: 3

2 x Marina, Fervent Healer (CC/S48-054)

1 x “Dragon Slayer” Vorg (CC/S48-071)

Level 3: 8

2 x Aram, Bond of Allies (CC/S48-056)

4 x Yuri of the Volunteer Army (CC/S48-T13)

2 x Yuri, Grasping the Light! (CC/S48-049)

Climaxes: 8

4 x Light that Shows Bond (CC/S48-T14)

4 x Power of the Chain Chronicle (CC/S48-076)

 

This deck has a lot of polishing to be done to tweak numbers at various levels, but overall I’ve been pretty happy with it. The deck, like many salvage decks, seeks to use it’s waiting room as an extension of hand to tech back the pieces it needs. The play style, though, is a little counter to normal deck play where your plus combo at Level 1 adds key late game pieces to hand. Similar to the Goddess Konosuba deck, Phoena instead calls your Level 1 game or other missing backstage pieces to the board provided you meet her conditions (5 or fewer cards in hand and the things you call are cost 0’s). You ditch your Level 1 game and sculpt your hand to hang onto key late game pieces for your match up. The Yuri 0/0 brainstorm and the tech of the 0/0 Dusty help you with this if the cards never seem to come to hand.

Some players will prefer to run more of the 1/0 level reverser Aram, maybe fewer of the Dusty 1/0 in favor of more of the Kain, etc. Level 0 in this deck also has some super hard choices to make due to the amazing utility in the Red 0/0 commons, uncommons, and trial deck cards. I’m currently still swapping around numbers and utility cards to eventually settle on a final Level 0. I will also note that you shouldn’t undervalue the 0/0 Pirika RR in this deck. She gives us another free mill engine that puts more call and salvage options into our waiting room, prevents triggered climaxes that can get buried, and occasionally nets us a free stock.

Level 3 is also in super flux right now for me with this deck. My first build has been playtesting the 3/2 trial deck Yuri as the finisher, with the rare Aram 3/2 as the early play healer with some wall potential and the 3/2 RR Yuri that can heal on play, heal on reverse with the 2/1 Marina in the back row, and chain into a burn on the third attack of the turn. While he has won me at least one game while playtesting, I’ve been finding the ditch 3 to really hurt this deck’s hand and also have been having issues getting my main finisher’s climax for his climax combo. My next step will be to use the Level 0 and 1 core to experiment with the 3/2 RR Aram and the 3/2 rare Yuri early drop that can search out my finishing climax combo potentially on play to help consistency.

So far in games the deck has been decently solid, with work needed on finishing the game. The deck builds a ton of stock if it gets going, which helps if you like a compression style deck. Yes, there are 8 +2 soul triggers in the deck, but so far that hasn’t really come up as too big of an issue. If anything, it helps push damage for a pinpoint finish end game. I would recommend, though, that it is very possible to run the 3/2 RR Yuri with his gate climax combo, or the 3/2 RR Aram with his gate climax combo if you would like another finisher option that isn’t the trial deck combo.

Mono-Green:

Level 0: 27

4 x Eirneus, Demon of Destruction (CC/S48-034)

3 x Burckhardt, Demon (CC/S48-038)

20 x Black Soldier (CC/S48-039)

Level 1: 5

4 x Black Knight, Darkness of the Abyss (CC/S48-035)

1 x Black King, King Dyeing Things in Black (CC/S48-036)

Level 2: 5

3 x Black Knight in the Twilight (CC/S48-037)

2 x Olzada, Rampaging Blade (CC/S48-043)

Level 3: 5

4 x Black King, Fearless Smile (CC/S48-032)

1 x Eirneus, Black Army (CC/S48-033)

Climaxes: 8

4 x Power of Blackening (CC/S48-045)

4 x Dyeing Everything in Black (CC/S48-046)

 

There isn’t enough room for everything in this deck! The frustration in building this deck was very real in attempting to narrow down a build. There isn’t a lot of green in the set, but what we received is top notch. There are countless substitutions and, due to the nature of the deck’s plus combo, several tech ones or twos of cards that could easily be viable in several build variants. The deck also has the means to compress in several ways, and could even be built to splash some red in for an alternate end game and to abuse the 0/0 Yuri brainstorm and the 0/0 Pirika assist.

This deck is a clone deck that is built to focus around the Black Soldier 0/0 clock reversers. While all clone decks rely heavily on their clone counts, this one in particular hinges on it for its plus combo, its dealing of damage back to players by milling a clone, and putting damage back into deck a la “Krone” style. From my few games with this deck I have noted it is a bit greedy on stock, but ends up balancing out due to the fact that most of your plus abilities yank 2 cards from deck to aid in compression.

Level 0 is pretty simple. Play and utilize the clock reverse Black Soldiers, and (ideally) get your Eirenus brainstormer and the 0/0 Burckhardt. Level 0 is a slightly less powerful duplicate of the Yuuki plus combo from Sword Art Online. The corrupted Yuri 1/0 on attack with the gold bar climax pays 1 and ditches a Black Soldier Clone to search two other “Black Army” characters from the deck. This deck can, if running certain cards not featured in this build, hit power levels, but I’ve found the compression engine of yanking damage from the deck with both the 1/0 plus combo and the Eirenus brainstorm to be enough to crash cards and cancel damage.

Level 2 is where the fun begins, starting with the 2/1 Black Knight in the Twilight. He has the chance, if he mills a Black Soldier, to deal damage back to your opponent. This makes it easier to finish the game on your turn. Also, as a hefty 2/1, some meta decks don’t have a great answer to him power wise if they get stuck at Level 2. The 2/1 Olzada counter can help him stay on the board and potentially deal another damage if a Black Soldier is milled. Level 3 runs a tech of the Eirenus healer that can return to hand, and the finisher combo with the Black King to potentially stuff damage back into your opponent’s deck.

The deck certainly dances with luck a bit late game for it’s mill to burn abilities, but overall is a very solid contender in a range of new clone decks that have proliferated in the past year. There is definitely room to play around with tech card options and splashing in some other colors to vary it’s build and end game.

Thank you for taking a look at some various builds! I’ll keep you updated with edits as more playtesting is finalized!


If you have questions, please send us a message via Facebook or an email at theninthcx AT gmail DOT com. Be sure to sign up for our seasonal giveaway, and subscribe to our YouTube channel!

Please check out our partner store, Card Academy!

Thanks for reading!

Level Up! – How to Use a Lead (Part 1)

Are Sonzai X and RNGsus conspiring against you in your games?

Are you convinced that you are just doomed to lose?

Is there a possibility that you have missed potential advantages and opportunities?

If there is, (and there might be!) we’re going to be looking at a much finer point in WS: just what do we do when we are winning a game?

In WS, having an advantage (or having it look like we’re winning) looks different from other games.

(These are general comparisons only)

For instance, in chess, a tempo is a turn gained. (e.g. Your opponent having to move out of check) In Magic, it could be getting a sweet 2-for-1. In Shadowverse, it could be slamming your animated Bahamut onto a full enemy board when your opponent has no cards in hand. Okay, that’s more like Winning™, but advantages come in many shapes and sizes.

In WS, there are many places for a player to gain an advantage, and each has a value that is dependent (ranging from barely to completely) on other factors. For example, an effect that draws 3 cards is powerful by itself, but is even more powerful the lower the level of the user and the higher their stock, and only slightly diminished by the number of remaining CXs in deck, and cards in hand.

But when it comes down to the little decisions in a game, we don’t have the luxury of notes to refer to; we can’t even take notes during a game. So with that in mind, how can we best prepare to recognize advantages that may arise during a game? And if we do spot one, how do we best use it? Our answers may change depending on what kind of deck we’re using, but we thought that there might be some general truths out there. For that, we’ve turned to our guests and team for their thoughts!

We’re featuring thoughts from Bren, Clinton, Sebastian, Travis, and Felix. We took everyone’s opinions blind, so no one has seen what the others have said. We did this to avoid accidentally biasing anyone, though the drawback is that some of the points may overlap. Michael will be adding some of his

When playing a game of WS, how do you recognize, take, and maintain a lead?


Contine reading

Re: Visiting SAO Pt. 2 – 1st at 2017 Sakura Fest

Welcome to another 9th CX Deck Tech! Today, Travis is here to show off his winning build from the 2017 Card Academy Sakura Fest tournament. Since we have visited these cards so many times, we’re going to skip the usual card intros and head right into the deck itself. Onto the report!


Note from Travis: Special thanks to Bren Olit for helping me test and create this build.

SAO G/B Post Re: Edit v1.2

Level 0 -16:

4 x Kirito, Temporal Alliance (SAO/SE23-20 -or- SAO/S47-077)
3 x Silica, Gathering Materials (SAO/SE23-07 -or- SAO/S47-051)
2 x Yuuki, Undefeated Super Swordsman (SAO/SE26-07 -or- SAO/S47-026)
2 x “Sleeping Knights” Talken & Nori & Jun (SAO/SE26-09 -or- SAO/S47-027)
1 x Silica, Straightforward Trust (SAO/S20-054 -or- SAO/S47-058)
1 x Kirito, After the Battle (SAO/S47-113)
3 x Sinon, Mission at Dusk (SAO/SE23-P01 -or- SAO/S47-122)

Level 1 – 11:

4 x “Zekken” Yuuki (SAO/SE26-10 -or- SAO/S47-028)
4 x Sinon, Temporary Alliance (SAO/SE23-21-or- SAO/S47-078)
2 x Asuna, Vice Guild Leader (SAO/S20-011 -or- SAO/S47-007)
1 x Sinon, Challenge to the Strong (SAO/SE23-P08 -pr- SAO/S47-123)

Level 2 – 7:

2 x Leafa, Gathering Materials (SAO/SE23-06 -pr- SAO/S47-041)
2 x Sinon, Adventuring with Everyone (SAO/S47-119)
1 x Sinon, Strong Being (SAO/SE23-22 -or- SAO/S47-086)
1 x “Machine of Ice” Sinon (SAO/SE23-T15 -or- SAO/S47-079)
1 x “Dicey Cafe” Gilbert (SAO/S47-118)

Level 3 – 8

4 x Sinon, the Last Strike (SAO/SE23-24 -or- SAO/S47-076)
2 x Leafa, Pure Wish (SAO/S20-027 -or- SAO/S47-029)
2 x Leafa, Adventuring with Everyone (SAO/S47-107)

CX Spread:

4 x “Mother’s Rosario” (SAO/S47-048)
4 x Phantom Bullet (SAO/SE23-35 -or- SAO/S47-098)


Round 1: Loss vs Konosuba

This match didn’t play in my favor. Didn’t see a CX until it was too late. First refresh I was refreshing with 2 in an at least 30 card deck. There was no return from this game.

Round 2: Win vs Kiznaiver

Started off with a strong lead and kept it up. Opponent was having difficulty getting damage to stick against me since I kept using the Zekken combo almost every turn keeping my hand full and damage out of my deck.

Round 3: Win vs Log Horizon

The closest match I had, however I had a big enough damage lead my opponent opted to not play the Anti Damage Shiroe to try and catch up damage(I was 2/4, he was 3/6 at the beginning of his attack phase) He ended up pushing me to 3/6 where I cancelled his final attack that was in front of my Leafa clock kick. His character happened to be lower so I clocked kicked for game.

Round 4: Win vs Girlfriend Beta

Normally I’d think a set like this would be putting me at a disadvantage since I don’t see it in WGP season, but since I own the set personally I had a general idea on how my opponent’s deck was supposed to run. I just kept forcing his hand until it became harder for him to keep a field and took the win.

Top 8: Win vs Kantai Collection

I actually did not have much experience versus Kantai before this match, but from what I could tell, my opponent was not having a good time. I believe she was out 4 within the first 3 turns, so I  just pushed damage. I was pushed to 3/4 before her final attack and cancelled on the last damage.

Top 4: Win vs To Love Ru

I got rushed to level 1 early in the game, but in turn did the same to my opponent. My opponent was unable to get his backrow early in the game, making it pretty easy to force his hand to keep board presence since he couldn’t encore his level 1 Mikan with the 1/1 Yami that grants hand encore in front of her. I got lucky at level 3 that my opponent didn’t have a Darkness Plan in hand to stop at least one of my attacks.

Finals: Win vs Cinderella Girls

I rushed my opponent to level 1 early, so naturally seeing that he can start off his plussing engine immediately worried me slightly. The real MVP in this match though was the Kirito brainstorm. Once I was level 1, a majority of my hand was CXs, so being able to hit on his brainstorm allowed me to mill though my deck faster, and gather more attackers for that turn. Afterwards, I just kept getting cancel after cancel, while my opponent wasn’t so lucky on that regard. I got the win while still being level 2 at the end of the game.


Q&A

M:  So we’ve seen that SAO Re:edit has given the card pool some options. One of the first one that comes to mind is the new Silica:

When Adventuring with Everyone, Silica is played, you look at the top card of your deck and may leave it there or put it into your waiting room. On attack, if you control 1 or fewer other characters, you mill 1. If the milled card is a level 0 or lower character, put it onto any slot of your back stage. (If you put it onto an occupied slot, it will send the other character to the waiting room.)

This card seems sweet because you can get a scry and possibly an extra card for the following turn. Why no new Silica?

T: The new Silica is good yes, but I’d opt for it if I could put the scryed card at the bottom of my deck instead of milling it. True I could use it to potentially bring out another attacker/set up back row, but I felt that risk wasn’t worth the reward and would rather have the reverse power and filter power of Materials Silica.

M: Why not both?

T: Couldn’t justify cutting anything for it. I need the Kirito runners for board sustain and milling that I’d prefer, Silica as a filter, Yuuki for color fixing, Sinon for back row, Brainstorms for well….brainstorms.

M: And I assume the spread of brainstormers is for diversity’s sake?

T: It was there as an option if I needed to brainstorm but everything needed was in waiting room, or if I prefered to filter my hand instead of a straight search and take more damage off the top of my deck. Or they operated as a body to deal damage, so I guess you could say the spread was for diversity.

Oh, also as a mill engine in case I couldn’t get a runner…
M: Which every brainstormer is in its worst case, pretty much.
Is there anything else you’d consider changing in the deck? Were there any cards that performed unusually well or poorly?

T: As of right now, the only thing I could think about changing would be the “Leafa, Pure Wish”, the only game I played it was in the final match because I met the early play requirement. I’ve thought about bumping it down to a one of and making the “Leafa, Adventuring with Everyone” a three of. The latter Leafa is a lot better for the deck because it can dig through my deck for answers, and possibly getting rid of some damage as well. I still want to attempt to run “Kirito, Life-Risking Seriousness”, but the clock encore option of Temporary Alliance, Sinon was really helpful for me throughout the day, and same went for “Sinon, Challenge to the Strong”.

As for card performance though, the one of “Strong Existence, Sinon” gave me a ton of leeway whenever I had to discard cards, or wanted to clock for turn. The strong part about her is being able to change into “Sinon, the Last Strike” at any point while “Strong Existence, Sinon” was on the board. “Dicey Cafe, Gilbert” was never used at all during the day, but I can’t really say it performed poorly, I just never ran into a situation where I needed him. More often than not, “Sinon, Adventuring with Everyone” did the job when it came to level 3s, whether early or when my opponent was at level 3. “Kirito, After the Battle” definitely had some work put in for him, especially in the finals match for the day.


Congratulations again to Travis for taking down the event!

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