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Thursday, May 10, 2012

Deep Clan: Nova Grappler

Nova Grappler

I come in the name of America!
Nova Grappler are a clan that are obsessed with onslaught. Their primary tactic is to continuously attack at medium power in order to dwindle the opponent's resources hard; then continue that blitzkrieg in order to strike out victory. If you're someone who thinks you could win by attrition, Nova Grappler is likely for you. When you take command of this army of Mobile Suits, aliens, robots, and mechs, you will have access to many abilities that allow your units to stand after they have attacked.

Battleraizer one of your starting vanguards and his skill will put him into the deck any time he boosts a unit. This is almost always a bad play as adding a trigger to the deck for -1 sees no legitimately useful return. As you may guess, Stand Triggers and cards with effects that stand will be the key to our victory. Stand triggers have an advantage over critical triggers in that you make another attack all over from the beginning. This means you get more chances to activate effects as well as making the opponent guard more. A critical trigger aims to do the damage and mete out destruction as fast as possible; you want that attack to hit. In a deck that focuses on stand triggers, instead you don't actually care if the attack hits so much as the opponent loses something in the mean time.

And then Cloud was a robot
Depleting your opponent's resources takes a bit longer than if you could just land every attack because you have power and criticals on your side. Nova Grappler are in it for the long run and they attempt to keep the constant pressure on all-game. They want to create a card advantage in their favor by both depleting their opponent's options and growing their own options with cards like Magician Girl Kirara. Since stand triggers give you exactly one stage of power over your stood unit's current power, it's imperative that you scale your field properly.

With this clan, any one slip-up can mean certain failure. It means you need to be predicting your triggers properly at all times. Just expect that you will get a trigger during a twin drive check. In this deck, you should almost never attack with the vanguard first unless the build runs criticals, given the high chances that you will stand some rear guard unit due to an effect caused by the vanguard's attack. In order to facilitate the standing effects and have them occur much more frequently, we would want to include a unit that can make this happen naturally. We have just such a unit.

So, as I pray...Unlimited Blade Works!
Asura Kaiser. Our ridiculously amazing defender and our Grade 3 that gives us an extra pseudo-stand trigger each time another Grade 3 is revealed. As I talked about in detail, units that can twin drive check into either a trigger effect or their own effect by revealing a Grade 3 are invaluable to us in battle. Asura Kaiser will significantly increase the chances that we can stand and continue our ridiculous onslaught. This card is why you should expect to constantly stand your units.

This deck will be extremely straightforward and only require you to have mastered the basics as well as being able to properly set up your field to always be scalable. From there, your only job is to carefully manage your resources and then strike at a constant pace while trying to maintain your advantage over the opponent. If you're not willing to give up all of your guards on one turn, make sure you declare a no-guard on the first attack just in case you hit a trigger and can power up your vanguard for the attack. Also make sure that you ride Asura Kaiser as soon as you get him. Your remaining Grade 3s can either be used for their effects, used to lock down your formation, or used as fodder for the cost of your perfect guard. None of this should be news to you if you've read any of my other articles.

"Brutal". A step down from Genocide.
A word about Genocide Jack. This card is often used embarrassingly wrong. If you choose to ride him as the vanguard, do not waste something like your Tough Boy going behind him. If you release his restraint and attack, that will make him 24000, which is a total waste. Either go for 21000 or 26000 (if the opposing vanguard is an 11000, but if they're a 10000, just subtract a thousand from each number). There's no reason to ride him as the vanguard unless you plan to use this onslaught tactic to get in free damage before your Grade 3 ride.

When you call Genocide Jack as your rear guard, make sure you have damage flippers ready to go. Unflipping your damage is key to being able to use cards like Magician Girl Kirara to draw cards and keep the advantage going. Using up all of your counterblasts on Jack is suicide rather than genocide. Jack can often just attack on his own for 1 stage of power. Use this to your advantage to avoid having to commit to the field. When you release his restraint, count on standing him and going in for a 2-stage attack should a stand trigger appear, or count on a 1-stage again if Asura Kaiser's effect activates. His main purpose is getting multiple shots on the enemy vanguard free of boosters. Use this card on 10000 and 11000 vanguards just like you would King of Sword against the 10000 vanguards.

Pegasus Ryu Sei Ken!
The Beast Deity ride chain in this deck has a rather neat little ability to search the top five of your deck in order to find the Beast Deity, Azure Dragon. But the kicker is that they can do it if they hit a vanguard while in the rear-guard position which makes that deck amazing. Azure Dragon has a persona blast that costs nothing extra and allows you to just stand any two rear-guards if it hits.

If you couple this ability with Asura Kaiser, you get to check for Grade 3s and stand a unit when you do—and if that check was an Azure Dragon, you just netted yourself another 2 latent stands for its persona blast. Think about it: Asura Kaiser checks into Azure Dragon and stands a card. After you get a good amount of Azures in your hand, ride one and persona blast until your heart's content, standing 2 each time. That's 3 stands for every Asura check into Azure beyond the first one you draw. Including both would mean that you double up on 11000 vanguards, providing immense defensive capability. In the English format, Nova Grapplers will be a major offensive and defensive force to be reckoned with. It may seem reckless not to run Maoi or somesuch as your other Grade 3s, however it's important that you squeeze as many attacks out as possible in Nova Grapplers. So for the English format, I highly recommend running the Azure build with Asura inclusive.

I guess it's Queen Gainer now
With Set 3 comes only a little bit of new blood. Death Army Lady and Death Army Guy have identical effects, except they're 9000 and 7000 (Grade 1) each. Clearly they were made for each other. The idea is to have a Death Army column and any time you drive check a Grade 3, you'd get the stand the entire column. If you can't make the column, at least try to get Lady out on the field as standing her can often mean being able to pop a rear-guard as an unexpected last move for your Battle Phase.

Easy ways to stack this are the obvious; running with Asura Kaiser and running with stand triggers. If you can't make a proper column and Guy is your booster, a simple stand trigger or Asura check will do the trick to getting your column up to par for another full assault. If you have a full Death Army column, an Asura vanguard, and another column of something like an 11000 attacker; your Battle Phase could have you attacking with your two rear-guard columns, then the Vanguard, and if Asura hits a Grade 3, you're getting two more attacks off (one of which is fully powered). Obviously if you hit a stand trigger, you'd actually be getting two full attacks off and one is overpowered. A full field of Death Armys can actually cause easy gigantic battle phases. It's a very good way to put to use all of your Grade 3s. If you're combatting this deck, take out lady early and wane your attacks on her in the Late game due to there being less Grade 3s in the opponent's deck on average. Now that Death Army's exist, they should be considered a Nova Grappler staple unless you're playing a very specific strategy that can't include them.

Check and mate?
Unfortunately, not all new blood is good blood. Ultimate Lifeform, Cosmo Lord is probably bad blood. Resting a unit for +3000 power really isn't impressive. You need to do it twice for a full stage of power, only once if you have Tough Boy behind him. And it's a Vanguard-only skill. We can all see why this is futile flailing so I'm going to try and talk about what is good about him. Cosmo Lord can save your Raizers. Turboraizer and Battleraizer each go back to the deck after boosting, which can be a problem. They do boost for a decent 6000 power. Cosmo Lord would allow them to "boost" him for 3000 and then stay on the field to be used properly.

If you have bad columns because you didn't scale the field properly (why!?) or went for an early rush, you can make semi-use of one of the screwed cards by resting it and giving Cosmo Lord (boosted by Tough Boy) the extra stage. If you have something like a Jack or other 11000 power attacker, you can rest anything and do the same deal to make one column stage 1 and the Vanguard's column Stage 3. Eassentially, it's a power transfer rather than a "power up". If you're okay with taking a hit in card advantage, you can always rest something, call over it, and go from there. It's -1 every turn for a 3-stage Vanguard and not dent to your field, but requires that you have a new card to lay down each turn. And if you have to intercept ever, that starts to eat at your card advantage quick. However, it's still inferior to something as simple as Soul Saver Dragon which automatically gets the same boost when attacking. Spamming Cosmo Lord to make up the difference, really is not recommended. There just isn't a whole lot you can do with this guy.

Fuck you, I'm calling him Blaukruger!
Along with a few other decks, Nova Grapplers now have a Rank 1 ride chain. Blaujunger is your starter, and when you ride Blaupanzer, you'll get +2000 power and you can search for Blaukruger (Grade 2). If you call Blaupanzer, you can trade any Grade 3 in hand for Stern Blaukruger (Grade 3). Along with any other Rank 1 ride chain, you get a chance to run significantly less Grade 2s in your deck due to the consistency of the Grade 1 fetching it for you. It may seem insane, but the total probability of running 8 total Grade 2s in a Rank 1 ride chain deck is the same probability to ride as if you had 12 Grade 2s. The math doesn't lie.

This is important because Stern Blaukruger decks don't benefit nearly as much from having extra Grade 2s in as having extra Grade 1s and Grade 3s. They need those Grade 3s for the Death Army Guy and Lady cards to stand consistently in the battle phase and make your opponent leak damage like oil. The extra Grade 3s don't actually reduce your shield by more than a total of 5000 or so due to each other Grade 2 being swapped out for a Grade 1. The chance that you don't get Blaupanzer or a Grade 2 after mulligan is actually the same chance that you don't get any Grade 2 in a normal deck. Blaukruger's only skill is that when he's on the Vanguard position, he can unflip a damage if he hits. Since this deck only expends counterblast for Stern Blaukruger, that doesn't actually help, so Blaukruger himself should just be considered blank other than his power increase for having Blaupanzer in the soul.

Translation: Star Blue Wisdom
This card. Is. Ridiculous. A card like this should normally have a Limit Break to stop someone from exploding constantly and doing extreme damage at the start of Mid game. Yet Stern Blaukruger was created before the concept of Limit Breaks and stands as an exception. His skill is that any time he hits, you can pay a counterblast cost of 2, discard any two Nova Grapplers from your hand, and Stand him and his booster to lose Twin Drive. Sounds like a hefty cost, and it is. But it should've been heftier.

Stern Blaukruger can put on the scary pressure of Spectral Duke Dragon at the very start of Turn 3. Simply having two damage open, even with zero cards in hand, is enough to use this skill. Since the deck runs 12 critical triggers, there's not only a very high likelihood (~75%) to check one critical in the three total checks, but there's also a higher-than-usual likelihood of double critical checking. If Stern's 56% chance to check a trigger occurs before the third check and he hits, you can put the power on him, Stand Stern and his booster to now attack for 3 stages, Critical 2. If it hits once, it likely hits a second time (especially if the power is higher), dealing 4 damage in that circumstance. But the nightmare doesn't end there. A vanguard ability that must hit puts immense pressure on the opponent. Since the opponent has to guard, lest they potentially stare down an easy 4 damage in one turn, that means they now take one or more of your rear-guard attacks each turn and waste two cards per turn on your vanguard.

How does he compete with robots?
If they guard your vanguard (2 cards) and one rear-guard (1 card), they lose -3 every turn and still take 1 damage. The exact same amount of cards that you naturally gain each turn from drawing and drive checking. This stagnates the opponent's game for a significant period. If you never hit, not even one single time, you could still end up easily winning from advantage alone. Especially when you have Death Army columns that keep standing when you check Grade 3s.

But nearly every deck will break. And most of the time they break in Late game. This is when you are most deadly. You could start that turn with 0 cards in hand. Draw 1 card, attack and hit with Stern Blaukruger, pay the cost of -2, Stand him and his booster with all trigger effects on him for more critical, then drive check 1 more (you now have 2 cards in hand again) and pay -2 to stand him yet again. Stern can chain his own effect twice without needing a single card in hand before you start you turn. With 4 total drive checks and a likelihood of several critical; usually 2 minimum. You can never let this card hit when the Stern user is at 4 damage. Rushing a Stern user is even worse since it means they can now deal anywhere from 4-6 damage to you in one turn because you put them at 4 too quickly. Having to hit isn't even a weakness with this card. Furthermore, you can't rely on damage checking triggers to make the second (or third) attack easier to guard. Not only does Stern get an additional stage from the trigger(s) applied, but if his booster is Dancing Wolf, it will stand and be granted +3000 power for 10000 total power, or +2 stages. Meaning Stern will be initially attacking for 2 stages, hit, then Stand his column for 4 stages with higher critical. You would need to damage check 2 triggers in order to be right back where you started with guard potential (2 cards, aka virtual Stage 3 due to drive check). You would need to damage check 3 triggers in a row to cut your total guard amount down to a safe 2 stages. Stern's only true cost is the total of -1 card advantage he nets per use. The -2 discard and +1 from drive check result in a total of -1, rather than the -2 that Spectral Duke incurs. This means Stern actually can use his skill and keep going through several more turns without losing steam (especially since his opponents have to keep guarding him for 2 cards every turn). In other words: be afraid, be very afraid.

The goodies never end for Nova Grapplers as the Gold Rutile graces our decks. His first skill turns all of your rear-guards into damage unflippers on hit. Since this is constant, you can just stack that skill against units that exploit it very well. Genocide Jack now becomes free during any turn that he landed a hit (and that could be likely if you check a stand). Magician Girl Kirara suddenly has an opportunity to let you draw 1 for a total cost of counterblast 1. Though be careful with this, because Rutile specifies that she has to hit a vanguard, so don't get in Kirara-mode and start bloodlusting rear-guards if you want to stack it. Death Metal Droid can become free. And he doesn't specify Nova Grapplers, so it's entirely possible to combine this with other clans.

Rutile's second skill is more of a clone of what Lion Heat gets on the Vanguard circle. When his attack hits a vanguard, you can choose a Nova Grappler to stand after paying counterblast 2. So part Lion Heat, part distributed Superelecromagnetic Lifeform Storm. This makes Rutile pretty scary as a single on-hit skill isn't usually all that effective at applying hard pressure but multiple on-hit skills, each one adding a level of severe danger, can be quite devastating to an opponent. They have to take some hit eventually unless they want to run out of cards and die in one turn. So this forces them to go into risk management and determine if it's scarier to have one or more of the rear-guards benefit from hitting or to have Rutile Benefit. And the problem with letting Rutile hit, is you know that you have another attack coming and that it might still give some on-hit effect. So while there may be a lot of weak attacks or some medium and weak attacks, anything that connects is going to give the Rutile player some utility or advantage.

Perfect Raizer is a new build with Extra Booster 1 and the deck attempts to focus on gaining massive power and critical to bring pain hard and fast. Unfortunately, Perfect Raizer himself has some issues. The most annoying of which is that he takes an advantage obliteration due to his skill. When ridden, Perfect Raizer sucks up all your other "Raizer" rear-guards like a vacuum and this is mandatory. When you have 4 or more of them in your soul, he gains Permanent Critical +1, which is nice. For each one in the soul, get gets +3000 power, which is very nice. Just over 1 stage extra for two Raizers.

But he also gets -2000 power (both turns) if you lack another Raizer somewhere on the field. That can be pretty devastating until you call another Raizer out, but in testing, this is only a problem for one or two turns. Not enough time to exploit. The biggest issue with Perfect Raizer is that the average minus you take with him is -3. One for riding, another for battle raizer which you're basically guaranteed, and one to two more for other rear-guards with "Raizer" in the name. That means any Raizers you call during Turns 1 and 2 are automatic minuses during Turn 3. This is a huge problem because it shuts down a whole rush strategy and gives you a weak Early game and starts you off with a weak Mid game.

What's worse, is that if you rode a non-Raizer during any of those turns, you minus an additional -1 for each of them since you could've just ridden a Raizer and mitigated Perfect's vacuum. So make sure that if you're doing this, you remember to ride your lower grade Raizers as much as possible. The main concern is how fast you can get 3 additional Raizers over your starter before Turn 3.

Reason being; Perfect Raizer's vacuum is the only reliable way to gain soul in Nova Grappler. Any other way is going to be too conditional, so you really need to ride them or call before Turn 3. Meaning, ideally you get a Grade 1 Raizer, a Grade 2 Raizer, your starter, and any other Raizer (non-Grade 3) before Turn 3. And not counting Turboraizer or decked Battleraizers because getting rid of 2-stage shields for this is just beyond bad.

Chance to get G1+G2+Raizer before Turn 3: ~28.2%
Not very high. In just over 1/4 of games and just under 1/3 of games, you'll see a smooth Raizer combo go off which gives you net -2, not counting ride minuses (except the starting vanguard because it should've been +0 and most are). For each condition you fail (not getting a Raizer G1 or G2 in time to ride), you have another minus because you have to call it the next turn. So usually, you get a -3 not including rides. On top of that, you won't have 4 Raizers in your soul most of the time by Turn 3, so you have to ride another Perfect Raizer or call a Raizer and then ride another one. Like I said, the only reliable way of getting them in the soul is riding a Perfect Raizer. That means you usually need multiple Perfect Raizers to get the job done and each ride of him is at least -1. More if you were forced to call another Raizer rear-guard just to get some field presence. So assuming that you play smart (weak Early game and Turn 3) and aren't particularly fortunate, you'll probably have your Critical +1 by Turn 4-5 and you'll be about -4 or -5 in total just to do it, not counting natural rides.

This practically makes Perfect Raizer unplayable due to its devastatingly bad consistency and self-destruction with horrendous (dis)advantage. Without the huge minuses (and therefore getting no extra Critical), the deck doesn't really do anything special that Stern or Asura can't do better. For now, I have to consider a full Raizer deck something played casually for the novelty of using Raizers, and not competitive. Fortunately, the lower forms don't really have this problem. The above High-Powered Custom Raizer and to the left, Custom Raizer, both gain power if Battleraizer is behind in the same column. (Update: Japanese translations were wrong, you specifically need a Battleraizer behind them, and not in front of them too. This shuts off even more plays.)

Hi-Custom gets +8000, and Custom gets +6000. Each one doubling their printed power. Hi-Custom becomes a prime stand target what with him already being 2 stages alone (16000) and 3 if you apply the stand power to him. This makes him excellent as a tech into stand based decks so long as you make the starter a Battleraizer. Custom becomes 12000, which is nice for standing but bad for trying to hit the bare minimum of 2 stages. In both cases, you don't want to boost with Battleraizer because you'll -1 and stop your power increase, so that should be for Final Turn. Unfortunately, because it relies on a Grade 0 and a specific unit, these columns are easily shut down by any field destruciton unit in almost any destruction deck. That's a pretty big weakness so keep that in mind when you're choosing that tech.

Beast Deity Blank Marsh
Nova Grapplers are finally getting an expansion to the long-forgotten Beast Deity archetype. Pictured left is Beast Deity Blank Marsh which allows you to pay counterblast 1 and put it into the soul, if the unit it boosts (is a Nova Grappler and) hits a vanguard. Once you do that, you're free to choose a Beast Deity to stand! This is basically a reprint of Beast Deity White Tiger, the starter, but with 7000 power and a higher grade; allowing it to be maindecked. As such, you should probably only use Blank Marsh once your White Tiger is long gone. Unfortunately, that means that using lots of these stands causes Beast Deity themed decks to run out of boosters quickly and significantly lack a way to get them back.

In addition, since the big boss Azure Dragon's main focus in standing whole columns (though he can stand separate attackers, that usually doesn't get past since opponents can damage triggers), losing those boosters often causes a problem where you can't stand columns anymore and you've reached a point where even standing single attackers won't get over their trigger-enhanced defense. So keep that in mind. As for some of the others, Golden Anglet is a 9000 grade 2 that gains +3000 power when it is stood, and Yamata Drake is a 10000 grade 3 with an idential skill. As such, these make for ideal targets of standing since it puts them over the threshold of most solitary vanguard defenses just by themselves. Beast Deities sadly do not fare well as their own theme thus far (acting as an underpowered "Azure/Asura", see build below), but will come into their own with Set 10.

With that having been said, let's move on to the decks!

Decks tagged "Casual" are not recommended for tournament play due to some sort of extreme weakness.

Nova Beat (Flipspam) Azure-Asura (Standspam)
Grade 0: 17
  • 1 Beast Deity White Tiger. Starting Vanguard and free +1 and booster for your vanguard.
  • 4 Battleraizer / Turboraizer / Red Card Dealer. First stand trigger. Do not use the skills of the raizers to cycle. Minusing for chances at re-use is ridiculous since the chance is too small. Keep those 10ks
  • 4 Lucky Girl. Our second stand trigger.
  • 4 Ring Girl, Clara. Heal trigger
  • 4 Three Minutes. It may seem odd to run Draw Triggers, but you have to remember that our purpose is to create a card advantage gap that's wide. Another way to widen it is getting cards.
Grade 1: 13
  • 4 Twin Blader. Staple perfect guard.
  • 4 Tough Boy. Staple vanilla booster and in here specifically for Death Metal Droid
  • 3 Clay Doll Mechanic. Aside from being a really good booster, this card allows us to unflip damage. Careful that you don't waste his effect as it only activates when he's called.
  • 2 Death Army Guy. With Asura, it's not totally required that we run max of this. If we did, then it would become another build, not an un-flip build.
Grade 2: 11
  • 4 Genocide Jack / Death Army Lady. Our vanguard-killer. Be sure to stand him for more attacks. If you decide you want to run 8-12 critical triggers, you can switch to Death Army Lady.
  • 4 Magician Girl Kirara. Helps keep our hand large.
  • 3 Hungry Dumpty. Unflips our damage but only when called. Call carefully. Do not ever run 4 of these as they just clutter us up and we don't need that much unflip power.
Grade 3: 9
  • 4 Asura Kaiser. Our main vanguard that should be ridden ASAP
  • 4 Death Metal Droid. Once you get tough boy in, use this constantly so that you can keep unflipping. Even with a Jack or another DMD, you should be able to have open counterblast every turn.
  • 1 Stern Blaukluger. Optional tech for surprise Sternen Blitz to the face. Ride it if you get it and they're low on guard from trying to stop DMDs and Kiraras all damn game. If you don't prefer this tech, drop it for a Clay-Doll or Death Army Guy.
Grade 0: 17
  • 1 Beast Deity White Tiger. Starting Vanguard. Use the ability to stand one of the other Beast Deities in case its effect misses.
  • 4 Battleraizer. Stand Trigger. Use his effect to keep checking into triggers even when you should be running out. As the battle wears on, you'll check into even more triggers because there are less non-triggers relative to triggers if you use this effect. Careful with your card advantage.
  • 4 Lucky Girl. Our second stand trigger.
  • 4 Ring Girl, Clara. Heal trigger
  • 4 Three Minutes. Draw Trigger. Run this if you keep Kirara. Switch to Red Card Dealer / Turboraizer Stand triggers if you decide to run all-Jacks.
Grade 1: 14
  • 4 Twin Blader. Staple perfect guard.
  • 4 Tough Boy. Staple vanilla booster
  • 2 Clay Doll Mechanic. Aside from being a really good booster, this card allows us to unflip damage. Careful that you don't waste his effect as it only activates when he's called. Put behind Kirara only; if you can help it.
  • 4 Death Army Guy. Causes mayhem when placed behind Death Army Lady. You can put behind any other interceptor early on and guard with it when you get Lady.
Grade 2: 11
  • 4 Death Army Lady. Causes absolute mayhem when in front of Death Army Guy.
  • 2 Genocide Jack. Our vanguard-killer. Be sure to stand him for more attacks.
  • 2 Magician Girl Kirara. Helps keep our hand large. Alternatively put in more stands and run 2 more Jacks.
  • 3 King of Sword / High-Powered Raizer Custom. Alternatively, 2 Kirara and 1 of these or 1 Beast Deity Black Tortoise. If you choose Hi-Custom Raizer, run 4 and get rid of a copy of some other unit, and change the vanguard to Battleraizer. This works because it bases your stands on 16k. But it's vulnerable to almost all destruction effects.
Grade 3: 8
  • 4 Asura Kaiser. Our main vanguard that should be ridden ASAP
  • 4 Beast Deity Azure Dragon. Another star of the show. If you get him before Asura, it's safe to ride him instead since your beast deity rear-guards can search out your personas anyway.

Novadraw (Hani + Kirara) Star Blue Wisdom (Stern Blaukruger)
Grade 0: 17
  • 1 Beast Deity, White Tiger. Starting vanguard and simply used as a free 5000 booster. Put behind the Vanguard to use with your 11k power.
  • 4 Battleraizer. First stand trigger. Don't use this skill.
  • 4 Lucky Girl. Our second stand trigger.
  • 4 Ring Girl, Clara. Heal trigger
  • 4 Three Minutes. Draw trigger. This deck wants to draw. Usually it does this by standing, but having draw triggers won't hurt.
Grade 1: 14
  • 4 Twin Blader. Staple perfect guard.
  • 4 Tough Boy. Staple vanilla booster. This needs to go behind your Hani.
  • 4 Clay Doll Mechanic. Aside from being a really good booster, this card allows us to unflip damage. Careful that you don't waste his effect as it only activates when he's called. Try putting behind Kirara.
  • 2 Toolkit boy. It's usually very very bad to run a 5000 booster with no 11k Grade 2s. However, this card is too good to pass up. Only put it behind the Vanguard or if you're unfortunate enough to call Grade 3s to the rear-guard.
Grade 2: 11
  • 4 Marvelous Hani. Ride this on Turn 2 if possible to gain your draw. Call extras in front of Tough Boy and use stands to keep pushing out draw opportunities. Something will it and you will draw.
  • 4 Magician Girl Kirara. Main engine of the deck alongside Hani. Get out two columns of this as soon as possible or one of these and Hani. Anything that on-hit lets you draw is fine. With so many unflippers, we have practically unlimited counterblast given that she will be guarded so much. But with two columns, something has to hit. This should be your main stand target to try and squeeze that last draw opportunity in. Don't forget she can hit rears too (so stand triggers can be 2 stages against 9k rears).
  • 3 Hungry Dumpty. Unflips our damage but only when called. Call carefully. Do not ever run 4 of these as they just clutter us up and we don't need that much unflip power.
Grade 3: 8
  • 4 Beast Deity, Azure Dragon. Our main vanguard that should be ridden ASAP. Try not to call unless necessary since we need Kiraras and Hanis. Use the skill to stand your drawing columns, but not necessary. Just a nice bonus. If you do have to call an Azure, use White Tiger to stand it (which also makes room for toolkit boy). I wasn't exactly sure about this deck when I first created it, but it has proven itself in testing.
  • 2 Muscle Hercules. Works exactly like Clay-Doll and Hungry Dumpty. Call him for an unflip. These units are all supplimentary, so don't call them if you don't need them. Try keeping your field pure Kirara/Hani for a while until you run out of counterblast entirely, then intercept and call things like Hungry and Hercules. Once they do their job, intercept (or let them die) and call new Kiraras/Hanis.
  • 2 Stern Blaukluger. Surprises Sternen Blitz to the face. Used as a tech to ride in late game or so after they spend their shielding constantly guarding up all your draw-engine. Or if your draws get you a Stern to begin with. You'll also have plenty of draw to easily expend his skill twice (and plenty of counterblast due to unflippers). A well-timed Sternen Blitz is deadly.
Grade 0: 17
  • 1 Blaujunger. Starting Vanguard ride chain. For getting the Grade 2 easily when riding the Grade 1.
  • 4 Ring Girl, Clara. Heal trigger
  • 4 Shining Lady. First Critical Trigger. This deck loves criticals. Put them on Stern if he hits to start massive shitstorms.
  • 4 Red Lightning. Our second Critical Trigger. You will not need its skill.
  • 4 Fighting Battleship, Prometheus. Third Critical Trigger.
Grade 1: 16
  • 4 Twin Blader. Staple perfect guard.
  • 4 Dancing Wolf. You can run Tough Boy instead, but Dancing Wolf creates good situations for Stern when you put it behind the Vanguard. You can really put just about anything in this spot since we run a lot of Grade 1s.
  • 4 Blaupanzer. Ride chain and required for the deck to function at all.
  • 4 Death Army Guy. Causes mayhem when placed behind Death Army Lady. You can put behind Blaukruger early on if you don't have Lady yet and guard with it when you get Lady.
Grade 2: 8
  • 4 Death Army Lady. Causes absolute mayhem when in front of Death Army Guy.
  • 4 Blaukruger. The entire reason we can run 8 Grade 2s. If you can't mulligan for Blaupanzer (optimal), mulligan for any Grade 2. Most games, you will actually get Panzer. You have the exact same chance to misride Grade 2 as any normal 11-count deck.
Grade 3: 9
  • 4 Stern Blaukruger. Our main vanguard that should be ridden ASAP. Hopefully over Blaukruger to make him 11k defense. As you should know, this titan of terror can be used for mad damage, or chained twice in Late game for basically guaranteed win. Put Dancing Wolf behind this if possible. I haven't yet mentioned this, but this deck can actually morph into a viable Stand variant for fun. Run 12 stands instead of criticals, and make sure Dancing Wolf is behind Stern. When they guard him for 2 triggers to pass, if you check a stand trigger, stand Wolf. He'll gain +3k, making him 10k with an 11k for 21k or 3 stages, now simply apply the +5k from the trigger to your vanguard and instantly, you get over their guard! It's a pretty sneaky way to operate, but it does have its flaws. Firstly, it's chance-reliant in that you need Wolf or it fails. Secondly, restanding your vanguard probably won't mean much without crit added to it.
  • 4 Beast Deity Azure Dragon. We just need any old 11k Grade 3 to fill up space in case we miss Stern somehow. Use as a target for Blaupanzer's cycling, and use in emergencies to ride and stand columns (Dancing Wolf also benefits here).
  • 1 Asura Kaiser. Just need 1 random 11k Grade 3 for the Death Armies to go off well. Kaiser is not as optimal as Azure since his emergency ride will stand Death armies most likely. Or other Blaukrugers and all without a power boost, making it difficult to hit good stages. You can actually run 2 of these (10 Grade 3s) for more Death Army consistency, and reduce Dancing Wolf by 1. It seems insane, but it works perfectly fine and contrary to popular belief, does not screw anything up or make you guard less.

Iron Ball Clockwork Gold Ultraviolence (Gold Rutile)
Grade 0: 17
  • 1 Blaujunger. Starting Vanguard ride chain. For getting the Grade 2 easily when riding the Grade 1.
  • 4 Ring Girl, Clara. Heal trigger
  • 4 Shining Lady. First Critical Trigger. This deck loves criticals. Put them on Stern if he hits to start massive shitstorms.
  • 4 Red Lightning. Our second Critical Trigger. You will not need its skill.
  • 4 Fighting Battleship, Prometheus. Third Critical Trigger. Some people might want to run Draws, and it doesn't hurt the deck, but it does take it in a different direction that doesn't maximize Stern's capabilities. It's far better to just run 12 crit, get the extra shielding from that, and get draw power elsewhere.
Grade 1: 14
  • 4 Twin Blader. Staple perfect guard.
  • 4 Tough Boy. Vanilla booster, and in this case is the way we abuse 20k columns. These are your primary boosters.
  • 4 Blaupanzer. Ride chain and required for the deck to function at all.
  • 2 Clay-Doll Mechanic. Just a minor unflip to get you that extra use of Kirara or Stern in a game. Alternatively, you can use Screamin' and Dancin' Announcer Shout to reach a bit further into your deck to pick out those key pieces, and to get rid of Grade 3s after your initial use of Stern. You can also use Dancing Wolf if you don't care about unflips and just want a small chance at a good Blaukluger column.
Grade 2: 11
  • 4 Blaukruger. The entire reason we can run 8 Grade 2s. If you can't mulligan for Blaupanzer (optimal), mulligan for any Grade 2. Most games, you will actually get Panzer. You have the exact same chance to misride Grade 2 as any normal 11-count deck.
  • 4 Magician Girl, Kirara. The whole point of this card is to use after Stern hits on Turn 3. If you don't care about it, then just run some typical King of Swords so your Blaupanzers have a home that doesn't waste a valuable Eisenkugel column.
  • 3 Eisenkugel. This is your other attacker that makes 20k with Tough Boy. Since this is a meta-call deck for metas with high amounts of 10k vanguards, you run Eisenkugel to increase the pain you can deal out. And he works well on his own. It may seem reckless to run so many, but it isn't. Consider what you know about Rank 1 ride chains: having 8 Grade 2s is the same as having 11 Grade 2s normally. Therefore, these 3 extra Eisenkugels are actually extras and the only time you'd ever have to ride one, is if a normal deck (or the other Stern build) would have miss-rode. So don't worry about it. You'll get a stern in approximately 9/10 games, and in 8/10 he'll be 11k defense. So almost always, Eisenkugel is live and well.
Grade 3: 8
  • 4 Stern Blaukruger. Our main vanguard that should be ridden ASAP. Hopefully over Blaukruger to make him 11k defense. As you should know, this titan of terror can be used for mad damage, or chained twice in Late game for basically guaranteed win. However, the entire point of this deck is to get only 2 damage before Turn 3, ride Stern, use his skill once (it's almost never guarded Turn 3) regardless if you get a crit, then default to smashing your opponent's head in with 20k columns the rest of the game while they're terrified to let Stern hit again. Once you've used him once and no longer want to bluff using him anymore, hit with a Kirara and draw. Or do that earler, call Clay-Doll and hit with another Kirara for +2 in a game.
  • 4 Moai the Great. Used exclusively for making 20k colums. If the opponent keeps killing your 20k abusers, you have far more to keep putting down.
Grade 0: 17
  • 1 Beast Deity White Tiger. Starting Vanguard that's just here so you don't ride minus. If you really want, you can run some Azure Dragons in Grade 3 so he's not totally useless after that. If your opponent guaranteed has to ride a 10k vanguard, put him behind your vanguard for Rutile.
  • 4 Ring Girl, Clara. Heal trigger
  • 4 Shining Lady / Red Lightning / Prometheus. Critical Trigger. Criticals add a nice surprise element to your onslaught. You can run 12 stands or 8 stand 4 draw alternatively, and all of them will work.
  • 4 Lucky Girl. Obviously to maximize the chances of using the on-hit skills
  • 4 Red Card Dealer / Turboraizer / Battleraizer / Cannonball / Grapplemania. Second Stand Trigger.
Grade 1: 14
  • 4 Twin Blader. Staple perfect guard.
  • 4 Tough Boy. These are great for going behind Death Metal Droid.
  • 4 Clay-Doll Mechanic. Probably seems odd given that there's so much unflip already and that's true. But with any 7k, you won't likely use its skill many times during the game, so this is just for those one or two moments when you can call it and unflip. It lets you start spamming costs very early without worrying.
  • 2 Screamin' and Dancin' Announcer Shout / Toolkit Boy / Queen of Heart. Tech slot. Use Shout to get to cards you need and get rid of excess Grade 3s. Use Toolkit with Jack (or King if you have a 10k-heavy meta) to provide more unflip power. Use Queen with King if you chose to run King and want to abuse 20k columns instead of go for more unflip or cycling.
Grade 2: 11
  • 4 Genocide Jack. Practically free in this deck and an important target for stands.
  • 4 Magician Girl Kirara. Main stand target for pushing out advantage once Rutile hits the field.
  • 3 King of Sword / Super Elecromagnetic Lifeform Storm. This is a tech choice since so many things can go here. As a meta-call, you can use King of Sword if they're saturated with 10k defenders. Storm otherwise since he compounds our unflipping. With a storm on one side and a Kirara on the other, it's pretty scary noting that either one hitting will set you up for big re-uses of things. If Storm hits, you unflip 2 and use Rutile to stand Kirara. If Kirara hits, you get +1 for 1 cost. In this instance, make sure you're attacking with Kirara first to get the full use out of that situation.
Grade 3: 8
  • 4 Gold Rutile. Our main vanguard that should be ridden ASAP. Let him sit there and passively make your on-hits even scarier.
  • 4 Death Metal Droid. Together with your unflip power and Tough Boy makes this a nearly limitless supply of 3-stage attacks.

Transform and Roll Out (Raizer, Casual)
Grade 0: 16
  • 1 Battleraizer. Starting Vanguard. Keep until Perfect Raizer rides and forces a vacuum.
  • 4 Shining Lady / Red Lightning / Prometheus. Critical Trigger.
  • 4 Three Minutes. Draw Trigger.
  • 3 The Gong. Draw Trigger. It may seem odd to not run any Stand Triggers, but the only good target to stand with Raizers is Hi-Custom, which requires Battleraizer, which Perfect Raizer screws up. Meaning unless you're willing to screw yourself out of a 10k shield and wait to get both in your hand, Stands really are not useful. It's a shame that Perfect works against his own deck type, but that's how it goes. Lots of Draw Triggers to make up for the immense minuses you get. Plus you don't really need extra crits due to Perfect's skill.
  • 4 Ring Girl Clara. Heal Trigger.
Grade 1: 14
  • 4 Twin Blader. Staple perfect guard.
  • 4 Raizer Custom. Required Raizer.
  • 2 Tough Boy. Unfortunately required due to Hi-Custom and how it's very difficult to get another Battleraizer behind one.
  • 4 Burst Raizer. Generic power gainer whose skill you shouldn't really use unless it's dire (though there isn't any other counterblast use in the deck and Mr Invincible can grant more use of it).
Grade 2: 12
  • 4 High-Powered Raizer Custom. Required Raizer.
  • 4 Trans Raizer. Topcalling Raizer. Terrible power so try to put it in front of Tough Boy or wait for Perfect's vacuum.
  • 4 King of Sword. Due to too many low-power units, King of Sword is needed to even reach a modicum of decent columns.
Grade 3: 8
  • 4 Perfect Raizer. Try to ride lower grade Raizers and call at least one rear-guard raizer before riding this. If not able, wait for another Perfect to ride over it. This guy is going to heavily set you back for a while so use as much draw as possible to make up for it. Keep in mind that you most likely will not need a Vanguard booster since granting his condition gives you 23k or 3 stages by himself. After his vacuum, be sure to play another Raizer as soon as you draw it.
  • 4 Mr Invincible. Invincible helps unscrew your soul by possibly getting that last Raizer while also unflipping to re-use Burst.

Estimated Deck Cost: $175 | $186 | $174 | $218 | $176 | $168 | $204 USD
Closing notes: The decks have some wiggle room, as the notes above indicate. Test it often and go with whatever configuration suits you best. The deck is far too simple and easy to be extremely rigid like other lists. The cost comes from searching out singles on Cool Stuff Inc and Toywiz. Just choose the lowest price from either and you should be able to get the deck for around this cost—including the rares. Twin Blader has recently gone way up in price. Anywhere from 15 to 23 depending on where you look. Usually hovering in the 17 area. I suggest buying from somewhere like Pokeorder (14), Stop2Shop (14), or checking eBay for deals.

As for the Stern Blaukruger build, before you freak out about the Grade count, just know that the probability is the same for Rank 1 ride chains to only run 8 Grade 2s. Running the extra 9-10 Grade 3s only reduces the deck's total shielding by -5k (-10k if you go with 10G3). Most people don't care about reducing shielding by such an insignificant amount when they choose to run 4 Draw Triggers, so it really doesn't end up being a big deal. Just use those cards with your Perfect Guards or as fodder to pay for Stern's Skill. Using them in this way is very optimal. The chance to get either a Blaupanzer (which gives Kruger) or a Grade 2 is equal to running 4 + 8 = 12 Grade 2s. So don't worry about getting Grade 2s. This deck has a much higher chance to successfully ride Grade 1, same chance to ride Grade 2 (actually a bit higher than 11) and much higher chance to ride Grade 3. In short, it rides very well, it gets Death Army skills off very well, pays costs very efficiently, and works very brutally and efficiently.

Gold Rutile will be a pretty cheap deck considering its most expensive card is the perfect guard. If you already have a Novas deck built, it's a matter of getting spare Kiraras and buying singles of Gold Rutile to finish it. If you don't yet have Novas and want to get into them incrementally, this is a great starting position and the deck is an absolute terror beast.
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