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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

What clan are you?


Picture it in your mind. You are on the planet Cray. It is a terralike planet with six great Nations. You are the Field Marshall of the Vanguard battalion in your Nation's army. Your army is likely going to be a mostly homogeneous Clan made up of one of the many diverse peoples. And it's time to go to war.

Cardfight Vanguard is a game of warring Clans and Nations. Unlike most card games, it's highly balanced and skill based. Playing one deck because you like the art or fun things that it does, does not necessitate that you will lose just because it's unpopular or low-cost. Popularity of a deck is purely based on appeal in this game. Decks are almost always consistent of a pure Clan and nothing else. Some tech cards may be introduced for some builds, but most of the time, it's pure. So what Clan are you? Below, I provide a detailed analysis of the clans thus far and give insight into their strengths, weaknesses, and themes. The term "Winning Image" will be used to express a deck's overall goal. I have also done a "deep analysis" of each clan and even provide some starting builds for the avid enthusiasts.  



If you have a difficult time deciding what's right for you, click the button and try taking this questionnaire I created and get a suggestion! Be sure to read its disclaimer.


Royal Paladin. The most common deck type in Japan for the infancy of the game and one that's expected to be played at a consistently high popularity in the US (about fourth). Its aesthetic are Arthurian legends found in the Mabinogion and various other sources like a Matter of Britain. Units usually consist of some marriage between the concepts of medieval knights and futuristic plasma weapons and armor. Play style usually varies between ultra beatdown and consistency in all actions.Click the link for a deep analysis and deck lists.
Winning Image - Royal Paladin have, and will continue to get, tons of support that make many different Images available. In general, the idea is to use your units to either make lots of high-powered columns to whittle down an opponent's hand very quickly, or to populate the field and vanguard zone with consistently expected units for a very predictable result. The clan also contains some game-enders such as Soul Saver Dragon.
Strengths - Very consistent in getting their rides (and the proper ones) as well as getting what rear-guards you need, and for some builds: consistent at getting lots of high-powered columns. Mostly, they operate on synergy both in the deck and on the field.
Weaknesses - Depleting the Rear Guard completely shuts the deck down. Making them guard early and often from the hand further stops consistent plays. More specifically, killing key rear-guards such as Palamedes or sniping key boosters such as Snowgal, Borgal, and Toypugal can leave them high and dry.


Kagero, the Dragon empire. Another very popular deck and like the Royal Paladins (third), it is one of the "Big Four" in popularity. Expect this to stay popular throughout the life of the game due to its ease of starting. Kagero are a collection of mostly dragons and lizardmen (with some sparse human knights as well) that fit a mostly Persian and Iranian aesthetic. Click the link for a deep analysis and deck lists.
Winning Image - There are a ton and a half of viable builds for this clan. The general idea, though, is to constantly keep obliterating enemy units until they win by card advantage. This both alleviates pressure against them, allowing Kagero to win in the long run.
Strengths - Defense and control. Kagero cards often have effects that deplete the opponent's on-field Rear Guard very quickly. They have excellent management of their counterblast resources which allows them to squeeze out every advantage. This clan is almost entirely defensive as retiring units has next to no possible offensive uses. This is also the perfect clan to get rid of an opponent's key units.
Weaknesses - Kagero have no general weaknesses at all and are probably the most balanced deck in the game. Without a bad matchup and with a powerful advantage engine, Kagero are a tough opponent if you happen to rely on specific units to get your job done.


Oracle Think Tank. Another semi-popular clan and a mean contender at that. This deck was played by Misaki in the anime—a person with an eidetic memory. It's built primarily for players who have a lot of willingness to think and plan ahead. It does contain some lesser-thoughtful builds, but the general idea is to plan ahead. The aesthetic mostly consists of women of various cultures, usually sharing in common a fortune-telling or religious nature that are somewhat based on hitmen and mafia members as well. And lastly, sports gods from Shintoism and ancient Greece. Tying it all together, they're part of the "Oracle Think Tank" corporation which is possibly a nod to Bushiroad Inc. Click the link for a deep analysis and deck lists.
Winning Image - Oracle Think Tank is all about stacking the deck to never play the guessing game. They entirely eschew the notion of chance and randomness. Their winning image is to explode with card advantage and use the strengths of the player's memory to crush anything.
Strengths - Constant drawing and deck stacking. Given a sufficient aptitude, a player can remember every single card and stack the entire deck. They also have 'meh' offense but set up for Late game very well. The Divination skill allows a player the same probability to check a trigger in their Twin Drive as if they had a triple check. They also have one of the tankiest lineup of units for defense, specifically the ability to draw and have extra shielding.
Weaknesses - Extremely weak Early game in most builds. Rushing them is heavily effective as most of the decks can't guard or can't afford to guard early.


Nova Grappler, are overflowing with builds. They have a ton of viable cards in their pool and many creative things you can do with them. Some of their builds heavily focus on multiple attacks via spamming stands, some focus on spamming criticals, some focus on spamming draws. If I had to sum up Novas in one word, it would be "greed". The aesthetic consists of an underground world of aliens, battle-robots, and transformers that compete in a wrestling ring. Though hardly any of them resemble wrestlers so much as hardcore mecha and face-destroyers. Click the link for a deep analysis and deck lists.
Winning Image - Spam everything always forever. And ever. No, really. Keep spamming.
Strengths
- Re-flip damage zone to keep counterblasting. High powered attackers that repeatedly stand and continue their onslaught. Standing the vanguard for a sudden game ender. Many good defensive vanguards with costless or low-cost skills.
Weaknesses - Can sometimes rely on key cards, though the thing is the field is usually full of them so simply killing one or two doesn't always get the job done. If they rely on standing, an 11000 or higher vanguard might slow them down - if their formation isn't right. There aren't a whole lot of weaknesses here other than often relying on certain cards going together. Though that's usually its strength.


Dark Irregulars are a set of vampires, werewolves, and other horrors of the night that soulcharge like mad and have lots of builds to prey upon weakers foes. Specifically being rejects from other nations, they consist of psychic humans, succubi, demons, and shadow people as well.
Winning Image
- Spam the soul as fast as possible and abuse the hell out of powerful effects.
Strengths
- Excellent use of the soul and good resource management. They set up for Late game and become practically unstoppable. Their effects often grant power boosts and retirement of opponent's rear guards. One build can completely avoid all Limit Break effects.
Weaknesses - Extremely weak Early game. Like any Late game long-haul deck, these do not accel at keeping up early. They also run a huge risk of milling-out, so you can switch to a defensive stance and guard their attacks until they run out of cards. Very inconsistent at setting up and actually require lots of set up.


Megacolony is a set of giant mutant arthropods (not just insects) that set a new boundary for trolling your opponent. Click the link for a deep analysis and deck lists.
Winning Image - Shut. Down. Everything. Megacolony is the Madagascar of Vanguard. They don't close their port, they close every other port and stop it from sending out any boats.
Strengths - Ability to shut down decks hard if they rely on key cards. Very good at alleviating incoming pressure. Cause confusing bottlenecks for opponent's plays (which can also cause easy misplays). Has ability to shut down any card, while Kagero and Narukami are much more limited. Often have the stronger cards of "clones" they share with other clans. Pretty good late game if you save your sticky effects for then. Calling over trapped units makes it a strict plus for you.
Weaknesses - A bit underdeveloped, they lack some of the support other clans get like game enders. They play a very weak early game for the most part. Slightly overcosted in some ways. Have a hard time creating advantage engines, if at all. Trapping is easily countered with bouncing or standing effect heavy decks like Bermudas, Pale Moon, or Nova Grappler.


Nubatama are an incomplete clan that would have completely broken the game if they had been finished. If you think Kagero is trollerific, you have yet to see this clan in action. The four that exist consist of anthropomorphic shinobi. Click the link for a deep analysis and deck list.
Winning Image - Reduce the opponent to 1 or 0 cards extremely early and then attack freely. That's really it.
Strengths - Very fast deck that makes your opponent always have very bad decisions to make. They discard from your opponent's hand when you have less cards and power up when you have more cards. It's very hard to get around this deck when you play against it because it requires extreme precision and forethought.
Weaknesses - Exactly the weaknesses you would expect from an unfinished clan that needs hybridization,  namely: low synergy, inability to use their own triggers which causes misfires, and chance of either missing rides or being forced to use the wrong card to ride. Additionally, since there are so few cards, you can run out of them quickly. You must play expertly and think far ahead to properly place the units and get this deck working right.


Tachikaze are dinosaurs that are either part cyborg, wholly cyborg, or wearing a cybernetic suit. When a raptor in a jetpack is chasing you, I think it's time to run. Click the link for a deep analysis and deck list.
Winning Image - Unlimited Tank Works! Heavy guard that prolongs the game and is almost deterministic in creating advantage this way. Wins by outlasting the opponent rather than through some innate grab for power, damage, or obvious advantage.
Strengths - One of the easiest 3-stage Vanguards to set up in the game. Some units are anti-retire. Gain net shield increases eventually leads to a hidden card advantage engine that most players are unaware of and easily takes them by surprise.
Weaknesses - Very low support. A huge swath of very bad cards that you should not play. No 11000 defense vanguard so even all of the extra guarding won't help against 10000 power abuse. Higher-than-average chance to misride due to the inclusion of more Grade 0 cards.


Spike Brothers. Ah yes. What's not to love about a blood sport American football game played in a Mad Max dystopian apocalypse with Lovecraftian horrors and demons? Click the link for a deep analysis and deck lists.
Winning Image - Teamwork! Spike brothers tags out their units often—with a power boost—to make room for another one to come out during the same battle and keep the combos going. Very much about damage explosion.
Strengths - Spamlicious battle phases. The ability to attack 5 times per turn easily without breaking a sweat. Excellent Mid game that brings the pain and puts on heavy pressure all the way until the end. Using Seifried gives you many many more chances to check into absolute destruction. Rarely requires any boosters due to innate power effects and boosting makes them hit even harder. One-turn kill explosive final play. Easy early-game rushing.
Weaknesses - The explosive gambit is pretty easy to counter once you study it. Spike Brothers also lose card advantage quickly because many of their combo-extending effects require them to lose a card somewhere. It's easy to phase out of your trigger checks with them if you're not careful. Some builds rely on chance and are easy to misplay with. Very reliant on their tag-rearguards so getting rid of those can be devastating.


Granblue are the zombie pirates that resurrect any number of times and bring this game even more mind-numbing complexity (in deck creation anyway). This is definitely a deck for advanced builders. Click the link for a deep analysis and deck lists.
Winning Image - Stupendous rear-guard consistency. By milling, you set yourself up for a drop zone toolbox that brings you whatever you need to end the game.
Strengths - Did I mention reanimation? Because they reanimate. A lot. Several of their creatures are ridden or called directly from the drop zone and for tiny costs. They have lots of drawing effects that allows them to get very high on card advantage. Losing something to the drop is rarely threatening, and usually a help. Has a lot of tech to get through just about any situation. Access to very offensive trigger lineups.
Weaknesses - Can phase out of their trigger checks due to milling. One of few decks in danger of quickly losing due to self-mill (some builds). It's definitely not an autopilot deck and it can be very difficult to build properly, which is a weakness if your opponent isn't very adept. Quickly and often runs out of its resources such as soul and counterblasts due to constantly relying on effects that cost. No major game-ending plays or high powered skills.


Narukami are similar to Kagero and really don't differ much at all. This is the second-most popular clan in English. Unfortunately, Narukami doesn't yet have enough support to differ themselves much from Kagero. But they're far from a bad clan and they certainly look cool (who doesn't like awesome lightning stuff?). Their aesthetic is similar to Kagero in that it also can consist of dragons and snake people, and also has a Persian aesthetic, but focuses more on lightning. Click the link for a deep analysis and deck list.
Winning Image - Defenseive, control and force the opponent to misplay often.
Strengths - Kill lots of cards. That's really about it. Threaten to kill cards and kill cards.
Weaknesses - Having a terrible Grade 3 lineup after Vermillion. Not being all that different from Kagero's early release. Not being very good at any one thing.



Gold Paladin are similar to Royal Paladins in that they can fill up the field quickly. Except they make a trade off: faster field filling for less certain filling. In other words, lots of their effects make the card that gets called more random like Gigantech Charger. Currently leading by a landslide as the most popular English clan. Their aesthetic is a more "wild" warrior type but still based on Arthurian legend for the most part, and some are even the same units from Royal Paladins. Their aesthetic consists of Roman and French influence within their Arthurian mix.Click the link for a deep analysis and deck list.
Winning Image - Fill the field and hit often. Lots of final push cards (game enders) for Late game.
Strengths - Full field most the time. High-power cards or beefy game ending. Does have a toolbox consistency build with Garmore, which is also one of the best searchers in the game.
Weaknesses - Relies on chance which makes them horrifically inconsistent (every build except Garmore Toolbox), more even than Dark Irregulars. Often its game enders are somewhat lackluster compared to other that exist in the game. Often has very bad fields due to the random calls and are easily overtaken by consistency decks or rushdown.


Angel Feather are a toolbox clan similar to Granblue in that they use their damage zone to swap cards in their hand. They also have defensive effects. Their aesthetic are nurses and doctors with sex appeal. Click the link for a deep analysis and deck list.
Winning Image - Take damage to turtle up with power, and power up then unflip damage to keep it coming. Swap cards out if you don't have what you need.
Strengths - Can swap cards in the damage zone with ease which increases offense, defense, and can increase net shielding during the swap. Can effectively unflip damage by using the swaps. Prevents itself from losing cards that get damage checked. Very consistent due to having a toolbox, both for not miss-riding and getting what rear-guards it needs. Requires opponent to make one or more 17000 power columns just to hit decently.
Weaknesses - Supar offense against 11000 defense. It's hard to keep the pressure on with this clan when they don't have an exploitable 10000 vanguard. Can be difficult to play due to the highly techy nature.


Pale Moon are a toolbox clan similar to Spike Brothers or Dark Irregulars in that they use the soul as a fuel source for their effects. They consist of a "dark carnival" aesthetic with demon performers and otherworldly athletes. Click the link for a deep analysis and deck list.
Winning Image - Combo attack from the soul in an all-out onslaught of tag-team attacks. Use cards in the soul to power up your other units and deliver massive blows.
Strengths - Swap cards in the rear-guard with cards in the soul if an attack hits. Get tons of attacks and whittle the opponent's guard down quickly. Massive pressure early and often.
Weaknesses - Very reliant on the soul so getting in what you need is based partially on chance, making them slightly inconsistent. Consequently, they cannot use soulblasts or risk losing all of their utility. Taking out key-cards like Alice or Crimson Beast Tamer will cripple the deck by shattering all of its limbs into a thousand tiny pieces. Typically a very erratic win cycle due to the odd nature of its plays.


Bermuda △ are a clan of mermaid pop stars that specialize in bouncing to gain or re-use effects. They are heavy on card advantage. Click the link of a deep analysis and deck lists.
Winning Image
- Draw as much as possible with the built-in advantage engine and use those cards to set up a healthy guard and a huge beatdown field swap cards out for what you need.
Strengths - Gains lots of cards and soul for its advantage engine. Bouncing can be used to hide key cards so that the opponent can not target them for assassination. Has a free card cycler every turn and a spammable Soul Saver Dragon like card. Gets lots of guarding potential due to the cycling and such.
Weaknesses - The key cards to the deck can be attacked to stop the advantage engine. Often have on-hit, on-check, or other conditional cases. Sometimes require specific cards to be present, so can be difficult to set up. General lack of comparable offensive power.


Great Nature are a clan of school teachers, mad scientists, researchers and librarians with a twist—they're all animals. Click the link for a deep analysis and deck lists. 
Winning Image
- Power up with skills and calculate your attacks to be precise. Use power and/or tag-outs to overwhelm the opponent in one turn or to recycle cards and facilitate constant field changeups.
Strengths - Special doping effect that grants a 4000 power boost. Some attackers can power up their own boosters. Recyclable cards. Despite their cost, does not lose card advantage easily. Punishes 10000 power vanguards very hard. Overcomes Angel Feather defensive powerups.
Weaknesses - Killing Binoculus Tiger or Magnet Crocodile can be devastating. Can minus hard if used recklessly. Not easy to face defensive decks like Tsukuyomi.


Dimension Police are a powerhouse clan of Justice soldiers from Japanese kid's shows that focus on empowering the Vanguard to gain additional skills such as Critical or standing rear-guards. They also have the capability to stand their vanguard to continue drive checking. Click the link for a deep analysis and deck list.
Winning Image - Multiple vanguard attacks with extra critical, absolutely destroying faces.
Strengths - Vanguard standing. Vanguard extra critical passively. Extra unit standing. Very threatening center line that forces guard lest you gain lots of damage and card advantage. Burns through enemy Perfect Guards like paper.
Weaknesses - Very reliant on a select few cards. Terrible card selection as of now. Makes inconsistent columns due to limited card pool. Often easily loses pressure if everything isn't going exactly according to plan.


Shadow Paladin are a clan of Irish-mythology sorcerers and heroes. They sport a dark Royal Paladin aesthetic with some TRON-like flairs. Click the link for a deep analysis and deck lists.
Winning Image - Currently very specific in that they plan to rush early and then turtle late or use surprise finisher moves for game.
Strengths - Extremely consistent despite the odd builds. Tons of cycling and often get to draw plusses. The cycling being draws means you usually get exactly what you need when you need it. Surprise death tactics. Ability to re-purpose a crappy field into something good.
Weaknesses - Countering the Dark Dictator is identical to countering soul saver in that you simply attack rear-guards early. They have very low support so their rear-guard selection is pretty weak. Countering their finisher attacks is usually a matter of saving perfect guards. Sometimes have low pressure temporarily from weak field. Sometimes hard to end a game if the opponent has a deck that powers up Late game.


Murakumo are a clan of various anthropomorphic beasts and dragons that were originally going to be part of the Nubatama clan, but for reasons unknown were split apart. They serve as the Dragon Empire's covert operations force and their in-game skills reflect their reliance on stealth, tactics, and resource conservation. Click the link for a deep analysis and deck lists.
Winning Image - No specific image. They merely use whatever tools they can to gain temporary advantage for a longer-term game.
Strengths - Can rush early decently well. Creating card clones gives temporary advantage. Have a vanguard that can "guard" with Grade 3 copies of itself. Mixes extremely well with Nubatama for advantage plays.
Weaknesses - Lack of support. Struggles to make normal stage-2 columns. No real advantage engine or way of gaining much of a standing over the opponent at all.


Neo Nectar are a clan of mostly flora that have very rich and colorful art. They're mostly vanilla for now but sport some interesting "growth" gimmicks. Click the link for a deep analysis and deck lists.
Winning Image - Extending their attacks during the battle phase to gain damage advantage. Exploiting key low-cost units to gain card advantage. Gaining shield bonuses for defensiveness. Being a "hybrid" to choose the best winning path based on the situation, or use all in combination to squeeze out victory.
Strengths - Can uniquely rush by ramping their power. Easily gains strict pluses for zero or low cost. Tons of pressure with nearly the whole deck being on-hit skills. Gains net increases to shields sometimes. Has lots of leftover room to use resources strictly for gaining advantage.
Weaknesses - Lack of support, though all this does is make them slightly vanilla; they lack no legitimate numbers. Since skills are on-hit, smart opponents can prioritize which hits to take in order to minimize the risk. Eliminating key threats can leave them a bit helpless (until something happens and this opens up a chance for them to fill the field and plus again). Slightly "weak punch" syndrome that other attack-extending clans like Nova Grapplers, Spike Brothers, and Pale Moon do not share.


Aqua Force are a clan of law on the high seas featuring men in naval uniforms and battle sirens. Click the link for a deep analysis and deck lists.
Winning Image - Extend their attacks during battle phase to gain special skills based on the number of passed battles. Use those skills to generate advantage.
Strengths - Has the ability to convert a normal 2-stage column into two 1-stage attacks to force more guard. Gets extremely cheap skills that gain advantage. High pressure and power during late game. Great center line.
Weaknesses - Lack of grade 1 support. Reliance on key units makes a weakness to field destruction. Possible low-pressure during midgame. Setup reliant so chance reliant. Weak rear-guards makes them easy to target for death.


So what clan are you?
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