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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.

252 comments:

  1. Hey you did this before set 6. how would this deck change with set 6? because im trying to figure out how to balance the set 6 cards... i play english....

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    1. You run the last set of Stand triggers. Azure Dragon is also awesome. I'll be revisiting this clan soon

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  2. Gonna be any Volume 3 early updates for Nova Grappler? eg. Death Army

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    1. Probably not until August is a little closer to us. The reason why is because those will replace cards in the current build(s) instead of adding a new one which will screw up peoples' current decklists. Same for Paladins.

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  3. Hey, i dont know much about what sets come out when but i was wondering would it be safe to go ahead and spend money on the asura/azure build or is there something coming out soon that will be a better build or replace the g3 lineup? I was wondering since i dont get much money and didnt want to buy the stuff if something better was coming lol

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    1. Blaus are coming in set 4 (November-ish), but if the article on ride-chains are anything to go by, The Azure Dragon build is preferable (missing a link in the chain is painful, so a retreating first VG is more secure). Stern Blaukruger is also largely unimpressive. If you want a deck that's consistent, the Azure/Asura build won't let you down.

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    2. Set 4 is actually December 15, not November.
      http://cardfight.wikia.com/wiki/Booster_Set_4:_Eclipse_of_Illusionary_Shadows

      Sern is not unimpressive. He's actually one of the better ride chains in the game. He's a Rank 1, so he has the highest chance of being pulled off. He's also better than Duke at pulling off the stand effect. Your opponent is not going to be able to block a Vanguard every turn. Dragonic Overlord The End is the best stander, with Stern coming in second and Duke in dead last.

      A rank 1 ride chain is also exactly the same card advantage as a retreating vanguard. You really only need the Grade 2, which is guaranteed 50% of the time due to riding the Grade 1, and then has a higher chance by accident. There's roughtly the same chance of you damage decking an Azure in a given game than there is for you to miss Blaukruger.

      To answer the original question; no new builds of Nova Grapplers will be coming out in Set 3. You get Cosmo Lord, the Death Armys, and a stand trigger. We'll have to wait until December and next year for Sets 4 and 5 (and promos).

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  4. I'm rather curious as to the lack of Criticals in the Azure build. Surely the whole point of those is to force the opponent into extra guarding so that you can gain one up in terms of card advantage due to the lack of Draws in the deck (as opposed to easily predicted and countered Stands)?

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    1. You can run a set of crits if you like. Running the full stand gamut just lets us re-stand more beast deities to hit more times, to search more Azures, to stand even more.

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  5. Hi I recently started playing in vanguard tournaments and I think your articles are mad helpful!!!! I think Sern is cool but do you think he is good to make a build off of, would you still need 4 asura kaiser.

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    1. Stern is amazing and you can choose to also use Asura with him. However, I don't have a decklist for the English format until November/December due to the scheduled release of Set 4

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    2. sweet thanks yah I will hold off till then thanks!!!!

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  6. I like the revision on your Azure-Asura build, but I noticed that it only had 49 cards (not enough G2). I was wondering if I could add another Kirara for more draws or drop down a grade for another Mechanic for more flipping? Which would you recommend? Or if you have another option?

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    1. Oh sorry that's just a typo. It said 3 Ladies but was supposed to be 4. That's because the entry used to be King of Sword which was run at 3.

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    2. That's what I thought. Thanks for the help!

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  7. Just wondering, what's your opinion on Gold Rutile?

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  8. If Gold Rutille is used, do you think it fit in the flip-spam deck?
    (I am playing Japanese version)

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    1. I can't really comment on Japanese formats because I don't like playing it and this site is about English. I can say I like Rutile and I like combining it with Genocide Joker for good standables when I proxy test. There will be more on him when the TD draws nearer.

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  9. In the stern build you mixed up the starter and the beast deity starter

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    1. Thanks, I've had my net off for a few days so I couldn't fix it.

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  10. I really hope they don't translate it to Blaukluger in English. Growing up speaking German all the time (German Baptist commune), seeing horrible translations of it always bug me.

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    1. Blaukluger means Blue Wisdom. That makes about as much sense as Blaukruger or Blue Potter. Especially since the latter is just a surname and shouldn't be translated anyway.

      Plus Blaukluger is harder to say. I suppose it could go either way since it's ブラウクリューガー (Buraukuryuugaa). The ryuu part could be lu or ru, and mostly you'd expect someone to use ru by just putting ル. The drawn out ryuu seems to suggest it's pronounced with a lowered jaw (like an L). Even if it's "right", it's probably still wrong. >Implying Japan knows German

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    2. Oh but I forgot to mention. The "ryuu" part could also just be the Japanese Katakana equivelent of "ü". Like Krüger (surname from potter/innkeep). So ryuu like you're saying the umlaut "Krueger"

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  11. Hey Alice, I really like the mechanic of some of the multiattack clans. Could you explain the most major differences between Nova's, Pale Moon's, and Spike Bros. playstyle? Also, what is the most active and fun to play build for Nova Grapples?

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    1. I assume you're asking the difference between specifically Asura/Sarah/Seifried?

      -Asura, works by giving surprise extra attacks with cards you already have out like Jack or other 11k+ units. Death Armies also add another element of surprise attacks by standing a whole column redundantly with Asura's check. For Asura to be optimal, you need to already have your best field, but you don't need to change it once you do. Really his only weakness is that you likely need 1 other Grade 3 on your field (cutting down the total useful checkables) unless your field is specifically Jack and Death Armies. But since his ability is redundant with building up Azure's persona blast, Asura really don't have weaknesses. Especially with his great 11k power.

      -Seifried, works by adding surprise attacks but with the stipulation that you have an open (R) before the Drive Check. Meaning you need to expend some cost like soul or moving Sky Diver away in advance which is a pre-commitment to Seifried's skill. For Siefried to be optimal, you have to be willing to take minuses in the instance when his drive check doesn't reveal a G3. Because of the mechanics of the deck, he should be revealing more of them due to Juggernaut going back in. His downside is that you only get to call what's checked, and therefore your deck/field is only as strong as its weakest link. (Usually extra copies of himself). However Jugg attempts to make up for that by adding himself to the deck repeatedly.

      -Sarah, works by completely changing out what unit you attack with next but storing it safely in the soul instead of the deck. It requires no true pre-commitment since the extra Grade 3s are all pretty good and even copies of herself can simply be used as [Attack] -> [Move into soul] out of the way. You're not forced to do anything with the thing you checked. For Sarah to be optimal, you want a soul set up with good Grade 3s and a field set up with good Grade 3s. Meaning her first few checks will be less impactful since having her ridden and at least 1 on the field with at least 1 in soul means you're -3 opportunities to check. Most likely you'll have her and one other called G3 to be optimal without wasting opportunities. Her weakness is also that she runs out faster due to setup requirements. However, Alice and Purple Trapezist make up for that by allowing more switching.

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    2. Thank you for the awesome reply.
      I think that I'm going to go with Stern, since I think his art is so amazing.
      3 Questions though:

      1. When he comes out in English, is Street Bouncer a useful card for a Blaukluger deck?

      2. Are Draw triggers helpful or hurtful? A lot of the fights I play are tag ones and I'd like to be able to assist my partner even through the discarding effect of Stern.

      3. Are there any other reliable cards for Stern draw wise? Or is Kirara not an option due to space for counterblasts? Maybe I could add some Claydoll Mechanics in to balance it out? Would that work?

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    3. Street bouncer is crap for Kruger.

      Draw triggers are crap for Kruger. You /need/ the offense. Tag fights are crap in my opinion so I would never base my decks on that.

      Stern really does not need to draw at all. If he did, I'd put it in the decklist or notes. Not every deck needs draw power. Some get the job done by focusing on one aspect like explosive damage.

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    4. What's your opinion on Armoured Fairy, Sphira as a budget backup VG in an Azure Dragon deck?

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    5. She's really just plain not necessary. Novas have amazing 11k Grade 3s so it's a huge shame to pass them up for a not-so-amazing 10k. I suppose if you want it for budget...ehhh okay. But there's always Maoi too.

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  12. Looking at your blau ride chain decklist, it's a very aggressive one with the 12 crit. My question is what about the defense? Do you still have enough to guard the opponents attacks?

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    1. Those 12 Critical Triggers, when drive-checked or drawn, will serve as the means for the Blau-ride chain cardfighter to guard against the opponent's attacks (when they're already in your hand). That means you have 12 10k shields in the deck available.

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    2. Yep, 12 10k shields is 20k more shielding than a typical 8/4/4 deck. Subtracting -5k for having 9 G3s and you still get +15k shielding over a normal deck :V

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    3. Interesting. Never thought about that. Thanks!

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  13. I have been waiting for a Nova ride chain forever. I have been reading your Vanguard stuffs for the last couple months and the insight you bring to the table has helped a lot. The shop I play at is super competitive so I always feel like I get the edge after I read up on your site. Thanks for being awesome. Did I mention I am super excited for set 4, what with nova's and DP and SP Oh my!

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    1. So many great things in set 4 :)

      I'm glad reading my blog is giving you the upper hand.

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    2. I wanted to throw something else out there, I noticed most of your builds incorporate Azure dragon. I really feel like Asura Kaiser is the stronger unit in this instance mostly since they are both 11k but since Kaiser's ability just works off of drive checking those grade 3's, which happens a lot since your running 9 to 10 typically, wouldn't you agree that Azure is just a little bit too high of a cost and also a little too situational. By that I mean I can count the number of times, on one hand, that I've had an extra Azure in my hand to ditch.
      Set 4 will definitely change consistency levels for getting the ride chain which is what I am ecstatic about but I think I will still shy away from Azure mostly due to his effect needing to hit a vanguard and ditch a card. Where as Asura as an emergency ride only needs the drive check of a grade 3. I know it leaves a little more to chance but if your riding either of these 2 on your vanguard your probably already in a desperate situation where it would be better to have that 11k your gonna ditch just standing on the rearguard to hit and possibly stand again anyways. right? Am I crazy for thinking this way?
      I know that they are now bringing out an Azure crossride which is cool, in you know like 4 months when we might actually see it in the US, but even with the crossride I feel like Asura is still the safer bet.

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    3. He really isn't. Asura was my first choice but I quickly realized that it didn't make any sense. Even if his skill goes off, he can only stand either a Death Army Lady (which already would be standing), Blaukruger (which is crap alone), or one of the G3s. Now, assuming an 11k vanguard like you always should, that means the only viable targets are rear-guard Asura Kaisers. Given that, we know that one is ridden so only 3 are left. That means Asura Kaiser has the SAME number of targets to stand as Azure Dragon has to persona blast. If I got the Asura to call, then I also got the Azure given that you run the same simulation with the cards swapped. Except Azure is better in the sim because he can twin drive into his own Persona (which is REDUNDANT with Asura's skill of checking a G3, therefore redundant with any Death Armies present) which gives us at least another 2 stages of attack vs Asura's 1 for the same number of possible targets.

      If that was all a bit much to take in, it basically means Azure strictly performs no worse than Asura in this build, but yet has easy potential to perform better. It's true that Azure needs to hit a Vanguard, but that still makes him really good. Now your deck is all on-hit vanguards and they can never escape having to guard your van or take massive losses. It isn't ALWAYS like this, but for this specific deck, it is due to the all 9k Grade 2 lineup and the half-10k Grade 3 lineup.

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    4. I see what your saying, I think I was operating more under the pretext that you would still be running stands which I think would support my argument but your right you could drive check into that extra azure. mostly I'm just bitter that it took this long to get them a ride chain so I have just been really frustrated with this deck.

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    5. Ride chains are usually a bad thing since most of them don't fit a very good cost-to-benefit ratio. So I wouldn't really worry if clans don't get chains. However, Rank 1s provide a unique Grade Ratio opportunity which is about their sole benefit over running non-chain builds. And yeah you wouldn't run stands in Stern. Especially with hardly any targets. Stern is a critbuild.

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  14. I don't think I agree that ride chains are typically bad. The stronger decks, in my opinion, all have functional ride chains that help line up attacks or at least grade consistency. There is nothing worse than getting stuck at grade 1 say with an 8k while your opponent pushes out an unboosted 10k worth of damage plus effects. For example, I use the Galahad ride chain but I don't run any of the grade 3 and the 2 reasons for this is that Alfred hits twice as hard at the top level and consistency in grade riding. I then throw a couple palamedes on the rear guard. So far, that deck has not lost me more than one game average in tournament play.
    Also, the Spectral Duke chain is just ridiculous, if your not winning every single game with that deck your doing something wrong, I throw Vivians in there just to scare people into blocking my rearguard attacks and then, BAM, you hit em with the duke stand. I just feel like in every game because Vanguard moves so fast, the sooner you get to top level the better and the ride chains just help you lock it down. If you wanna talk about bad ride chains lets you and me have a chat about Tsukuyomi, I never got ANY consistency out of that deck, to the point where I sold my entire OTT deck 2 weeks after release of the Tsuky stuff. It's not even that she was truly the worst chain but I found myself praying for late game and never getting there due to the punishment of decks like gold and narukami where I either had to dump my hand to guard or risk taking crits all over my face. In some cases, yes, chains are bad, but in the majority of decks with chains I see much more reliability than on those without.

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    1. Since we're putting Rank 1s aside and Tsukuyomi is good independently of the benefits of being a ride chain and Galahad is generally not loved, Rank 3 is the most common. You have a 2/3 chance of failing to get it off which is a bad bet for any deck structure. If you fail to ride the G1 (44%) you get a 4k booster which is basically useless and can't even be considered a +1 until you specifically get a Gigantech in front of it. Low chance of working with a bad backup plan typically means that normal decks are going to be better on average. The effects themselves do NOT make a ride chain good. It's the chance that you can get those skills versus the advantage they give. That's called expected value.

      Spectral Duke's chain is not at all ridiculous. It's barely passable and the moment that Gold Paladins get better G1s and G2s for a Duke Deck, I recommend that everyone stop running the full chain. Duke isn't even that impressive by himself. If you're winning every single game with that deck, then your skill is independently better than all of your opponents' or you are having a damn long streak of good chance. Duke is no better than any other given deck. This is a horrible misconception that needs to be fixed in this game's playerbase.

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  15. Awesome you updated the Article with the English cards of the day!

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    1. Yeah I couldn't wait because Blaukruger is so beautiful

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    2. He's my #1 favorite card art! But I can't use him cause all the people I play against call him OP.

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    3. Oh christ they do? Well, he's not OP but he's certainly pushing it. That's a refreshing change from the usual "Stern sucks" that I hear from Japanese players.

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    4. Yeah, they act all shocked when they read his skill, and even though one of them uses Spectral Duke they claim that restanding the vanguard is too powerful of an ability.
      Could you give me any things to say to them to convince them hes balanced so I can play the pretty card?

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    5. Try being patient. Anyway, what the hell is stopping you playing it? It's a legal card. Stern is very very good but not broken. He's net -1 when you use the skill. That's traded off for the ability to get another attack (drive checks are factored here). Duke dragon is net -2 and really hard to pay the cost for. He's also limited to late game, and swings like a wuss when restood. So basically Stern is nearly unilaterally better than Duke. But Stern doesn't even approach The End which we all know is broken. And Laurel + Zeal is even better than Stern since you get Twin Drive and will almost always hit. Stern is also a completely centric deck so it doesn't have a lot of flexibility. There are a lot of ups, not many downs, but it isn't overpowered. I don't even get the thought process behind "Stern is overpowered"

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  16. Would you recommend using Storm or any other damage unflipper in Stern decks?

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    1. Nope. You don't need to unflip damage. If you used Stern twice ever, you won anyway. If you didn't, something horribly wrong has happened. Remember that using it once is a net -1.

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    2. Just asking because I was thinking of running Kirara for some extra pressure and because I really like her.

      Delete
    3. You don't really need it. Real pressure comes from the Death Armies.

      Delete
  17. Hello Alice.
    You have a very nice blog with helpful articles.
    Can i ask 1 question? Why do you use azure dragon in 4s rather than asura kaiser?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I assume you mean Stern Blaukruger like the other people who've asked this. I've actually answered this question already. Copy paste answer from another reply:

      Asura was my first choice but I quickly realized that it didn't make any sense. Even if his skill goes off, he can only stand either a Death Army Lady (which already would be standing), Blaukruger (which is crap alone), or one of the G3s. Now, assuming an 11k vanguard like you always should, that means the only viable targets are rear-guard Asura Kaisers. Given that, we know that one is ridden so only 3 are left. That means Asura Kaiser has the SAME number of targets to stand as Azure Dragon has to persona blast. If I got the Asura to call, then I also got the Azure given that you run the same simulation with the cards swapped. Except Azure is better in the sim because he can twin drive into his own Persona (which is REDUNDANT with Asura's skill of checking a G3, therefore redundant with any Death Armies present) which gives us at least another 2 stages of attack vs Asura's 1 for the same number of possible targets.

      If that was all a bit much to take in, it basically means Azure strictly performs no worse than Asura in this build, but yet has easy potential to perform better. It's true that Azure needs to hit a Vanguard, but that still makes him really good. Now your deck is all on-hit vanguards and they can never escape having to guard your van or take massive losses. It isn't ALWAYS like this, but for this specific deck, it is due to the all 9k Grade 2 lineup and the half-10k Grade 3 lineup.

      Delete
  18. Alice what is your opinion on Perfect Raizer?
    I'm thinking of using an Azure Dragon deck, but one day ( Whenever he is released in English) would like to use a Perfect Raizer themed deck.
    Do you think his power outweighs the minuses you receive after riding him?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You know I really haven't tested him that much yet.

      Delete
    2. Because he's not relevant until February. Meaning my article doesn't go up until January so I won't be testing him until the end of December. It's a month away. No reason to test him.

      Delete
    3. He's coming out in FEBRUARY!!! XD

      Delete
    4. Well we don't know that for sure. There are no slated releases for EB01 any time soon but I'm counting on EB04 somewhat soon. I would understand if they didn't want to release it in February since those new EBs reprint Trial Deck exclusives in the TDs coming out in January, and that might compete with their own product. We'll have to see. Whichever the case, Perfect Raizer isn't even on my radar right now.

      Delete
  19. hello alice, my names is james and i started vanguard asa it came out. im a huge nova grapple fan and the, to me, are just a wonderful deck altogether. im waiting for stern o coe out in english bcuz that is my fav build. right now tho i am running my own creation and i would love ur opinion.

    starter - beast deity white tiger

    0's - 4 ring girl clara
    4 shining lady
    4 battlraizer
    4 three minutes
    1's - 4 tough boy
    4 death army guy
    4 twin blader
    2's - 4 king of sword
    4 deatharmy lady
    2 magician girl kirara
    2 beast deity black tortoise
    3's - 4 asura kaiser
    4 beast deity azure dragon
    now this build i sat down and thot bout. after test playing numerous times i have found out it needed draw so i put in draws, the stands i found wrk at 4 nd im also thinking taking them ou to make 8 critsbut with asura kaiser and the death armys it pretty much stands itself but i have 4 stands for wen i dnt have asura as vg or the death armys on rg. the goal of the deck is to not ride azure dragon but to call atleast 1 to rear for white tiger. the main formation which i pull off alot is asura kaiser with white tiger behind azure dragon with tough boy and the death armys. 1 grade 3 and a hit off asura kaiser causes me to restand all reguards making for 5 attacks in 1 turn. now magiaican girl is in it for extra draw and bcuz i found jack to b quiet useless without damage to flip but i can also go a diff way with the deck if i dnt get the formation which has also happend alot. the deck wrks really well and i was wondering wat u thot and ifu could give me any pointers? as a huge nova grappler fan i look forward to any help u can give and i thank you, pls let me knw wat u think. thank you very much

    ReplyDelete
  20. Wait what; this is nearly identical to my Azure/Asura build. You just traded Jack for Tortoise and Claydoll for nothing. You ended up with 49 cards and a weird Grade ratio. You have 12 G2s which isn't necessary (-1 King of Sword) and obviously since you're under by 1 that means you need +1 Grade 1s (and I obviously recommend claydolls).

    Other than that it's fine. My version only runs 12 stands if it runs 4 Jacks. Otherwise you run 2 Jack, 2 Kirara and 4 draws (as per the notes in the build).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. my deck is actualy 50 cards and i actually built the deck b4 i was tld bout this website i actually like how ur blaukruger deck is built but for my deck now i dnt want to copy a deck bcuz nly the origial creator of the deck knws how to use it properly haha i was just wanting to knw wat u thot. i dnt run claydoll bcuz i have no need to kirara uses 2 yes but everyone i play doesnt just let her attack go so using it once or twice is alright for me. thanks for the reply and im still trying to figure out how to wrk things on here im actually akagrim123 butcnt figure how to get my name to show haha

      Delete
    2. I would disagree that only the creator of a deck could know how it works. The creator may not even know all of how a deck works depending on both their playing skill and deckbuilding skills. Additionally, other people may know a great deal more about it based on their own skills.

      There's nothing wrong with netdecking in vanguard at all. No one gets points for originality. You get points for winning and it's not like vanguard is a very free-form card game. You have a limited clan pool and from there you need 16 triggers, a starting vanguard, 4 perfect guards and you have to make proper columns and it all has to fit a Grade ratio. In the end, all you really pick is a core concept and you attempt to optimize that. Most well-built decks will turn out the same save for an extremely low number of card choice differences and count differences.

      Delete
  21. Beast Deity White Tiger or turboraizer in a non Azure Dragon deck?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. White tiger. I'll take a +1 5k booster instead of a card that boosts and then -1s during Early game. Plus there are lots of 11ks in Novas that it can properly boost.

      Delete
  22. Alice, question on Blakuger build. Let say, opponent keeps guarding for 1 trigger against my stern. If my first drive check is a critical trigger, should i put it all in and hope for the second critical trigger, so that i can use stern skill to stand again and attack one more time?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Guarding for 1 trigger? What? If you mean guarding for 1 trigger to pass, then obviously if you check a critical you put it on the vanguard so he hits and does 2 damage, then stands and goes again. That's a dumb opponent by the way (approximately 56% chance his guard fails)

      If you mean they are guarding you for 2 triggers to pass, then hell no you don't put it on the vanguard. You enjoy the -2 they just took and put it on a rear-guard so they can -2 again or get hit for 2 damage. Unless it's the ONLY way to win somehow, and then you're basically screwed anyway. The chance to double check crits is far less than 10% when the distribution is even.

      Delete
  23. I tested your Stern grade ratio and I have to say that it's works very nice. On first glance I never thought that it's possible to properly play with it. Now I'm convinced. Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yep, Probability Theory doesn't lie :D

      Delete
  24. So in non Stern Blaukruger decks, using Stands and Draws is the way to go? What about Criticals?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's kind of a self-answering question isn't it? If the answer is yes, then the answer to crits is no. And the answer is yes, for the most part Novas capitalize well on stands. Especially Asura Kaiser who needs to attack last when there are Death Armies present (basically cards you can't live without). If your DAs attack last, then you just waste your checks. But if your van attacks last with crits in the deck, you get perfect guarded and waste crits.

      Delete
    2. So there are 8 stand triggers, plus the extra G3s when you drive check them to stand DAG, DAL, etc. Is that not too much stand power?

      Delete
    3. No. It isn't. You need to attack a lot to gain advantage over your opponent and that's what this does. The biggest problems in testing have been exactly what you'd expect. Stands sometimes hit for one less stage than 2, making them subpar to a crit, and with crits you have to attack with the vanguard last making them get perfect guarded often and misfire entirely.

      Delete
  25. Alice, what do you think about eisenkugel? should i even bother playing him in my blau ride chain deck?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love the art and the name is badass. In casual play, I already plan to run a few shamelessly just so I can say "Eisenkugel". However, no he's really not great to run in the deck. Best case scenario you have a 12k attacker which means really nothing. Worst case, a 7k attacker which is really bad. Plus my build exploits having less Grade 2 slots anyway and Death Army Lady is just too valuable. I'd consider King of Sword before Eisenkugel.

      Delete
    2. Thx. I see that some people are thinking that usinh the Death Army units in a Stern deck wouldn't work that great. Well, I can prove differently.

      Delete
    3. It works really well. Your opponent has to guard Stern anyway, so it doesn't matter if he's the last attack. Usually though, I just make one DA column, attack with it first, and Stern second. That way I get the best of all worlds. That strategy doesn't really work for the Asura standspam deck though since it needs maximum standing.

      Delete
  26. Alice, I see that in your Star Blue Wisdom Deck you run 4 Blaukluger.
    Is it really necessary to run 4? Especially since Blaujunger can search for Blaukluger from the deck if you ride Blaupanzer.

    Thank you for your answer.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm not one for being taken advantage of when I can easily prevent it. Being a 10k vanguard isn't fun. 8/10 chance I'll be 11k in any given game if I run 4 Krugers.

      Delete
  27. Alice!
    Perfect Raizer has been announced to come out in March!
    XD

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Which adds him to my to-do list. In fact, having all of the announcements is good because now I know what the English meta will look like during each release. That might let me get out new articles faster.

      Delete
  28. First off, Happy New Year! Here's to another year of great articles for a great game.

    Recently, I split a box of BT04 with a friend in hopes of pulling a Stern Blaukluger because his art is rad as fuck. Luckily I did manage to pull him and a Blaukluger, so I've decided to go ahead and start my quest to make his build. Now, I don't have many Novas right now as the only clan I've been playing has been GNs as I haven't been playing for very long. I've been able to get a Twin Blader from a friend but the local shops are out of them. While I can get everything else pretty cheaply, Twin Blader is probably the only card that would take me some time to track down. So my question is, while I scrounge for Perfect Guards, what should I put in as filler untold I can get all 4?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Pffft
      >Implying you have to scrounge or use filler
      Join the V-Mundi forums. There are tons of things for trade there and every single person is reputable. Crystal in particular has 2 Twin Bladers she needs to part with for Dark Irregulars and stuff. TBs recently went up in price due to lolStern, so careful building that deck that you don't kill your wallet. :P

      Delete
    2. Also, thanks, you have a happy New Year too :D

      Delete
    3. Thanks, I''ll do just that. Unfortunately, I don't have a lot of valuable stuff to offer except for some Pale Moon RRs and RRRs I was collecting since I was toying with the idea of building a deck for that.

      One more question. Do you feel like Stern would be a good deck to play for the long run? Long run being the cross-rides that are right around the corner. Because I imagine my local meta is going to be full of JI ENDO and MLB once they show up.

      Delete
    4. No. Crossrides are superior to everything. Stern can sometimes get a lucky hit that wins the game, but it's only slightly less rare than other decks. Once Crossrides are limited (if), Stern will be amazing again. However, once you join our forums, you'll find dozens of players who don't use crossrides.

      Delete
    5. Alrighty. Guess I'll have to bite the metaphorical bullet here and hope my local meta can keep their pants on and play by honor rules or something.

      Delete
    6. Japan had some locals where players would refuse to play against crossride users in casual matches. If you can get enough people to make a social contract, then the rest won't screw it.

      Delete
  29. I just noticed a typo in your Nova Blast (Flipspam) deck in grade 2 you wrote Genocide Jack, while you meant to write Brutal Jack right?

    ReplyDelete
  30. you do it when you speak about the card too, is there something I missed? I thought Genocide Jack was another card, but is it just same name for the same card?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh god, you're serious.
      Genocide Jack is the original name of the card before Bushiroad decided to arbitrarily censor it. If you go watch the anime, when characters say his name, it's just so awesome. So yeah, Genocide Jack > "Brutal" Jack

      Delete
    2. I think Genocide Jack and Joker might be the same case as the Prototype Sonic 2, Japan thinks Genocide is a great sounding, impressive, fear inducing word. Which it is, it's powerful to use. However, they don't grasp English well. Or at all by the sound of it, so have no idea what it means.

      If your read his lore, he's... kinda Brutal and in no way Genocidal. He's like Balrog(The Boxer) from Street Fighter.

      Delete
  31. Your guides have helped tremendously with every deck I have played, so thank you very much!

    I do lose consistently against a buddy of mine, who rotates between Angel Feathers, Shadow Paladins, and Dark Irregulars. I use most of the cards you suggest with more grade twos (4x DA Lady, 3x Blaukluger since I get him very consistently, and 3x Eisenkugel so I can have a 20k RG), I run 3 Sterns for budget, 3 Asura Kaisers because through my experience I get his effect off more than Azure Dragon, and 1 Moai the Great for another 20k RG. I only have one perfect guard for budget reasons as well.

    Most of his decks have a few draw triggers, and he is **incredibly** lucky when it comes to any kind of trigger check, so he usually has enough power to block my Stern, or has enough to block my restanding. It also stops my death army columns from attacking because they are not strong enough to land a hit or get intercepted (happens a lot with Angel Feathers).

    So I figured he can only block a vanguard for so long, so I thought of replacing 3 of my 4 stand triggers with draw triggers to boost my hand advantage for Sterns ability and to consistently have units out, because he frequently likes to take out Death Army troops. I try to only use intercepts to guard my rearguards and I typically will block his rearguard attacks against my VG, and when his VG attacks I either block enough to cover 1 trigger he may get, or no guard, sometimes over-guarding near in the End Game, but with his luck he typically gets a stand when I do that, or puts a critical trigger he got on a still-standing column now that my hand is wiped out.

    It also could be my frequent bouts with bad luck, such as not getting to ride grade 3 on turn 3 and him pulling triggers out of his ass. But would added draw triggers help my defense/attrition techniques?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow, that deck is a hodgepodge. My obvious suggestion is making it more like my decklist, attempted budget or not. Draw triggers won't do anything for you in Stern since you need that crit to make his standing count, and if they block it, the crit still punishes them hard. Stand triggers are really bad at 3 copies. There's a stand version of Stern but I haven't yet posted that deck due to time constraints and it doesn't actually perform as well as crit version, so I'm giving it a wait.

      Also you should use the proper word instead of luck. Luck is a fictitious supernatural force. What you're describing is chance. So when you have unfavorable chance like that, the best solution is to try and pinpoint why. The first question you ask is "Do I have a big enough sample size?" as your number of games tends toward 50 or 100, you'll smooth the curve out. The second question is "Does my opponent shuffle properly?" Be sure you read my "Why you get bad draws" article for details on this one, and always cut/shuffle your opponent's deck even if it's a friend! Not everyone is thorough with their shuffling.

      The third question you ask is "Is your opponent seriously cheating?", because it sucks if he's willing to do that, though some will. You'll have to investigate that possibility in your own way. There are a lot of other possibilities as well and it can sometimes just come down to "play more games" because you're stuck in a probability Universe (this is what we call it) where you're on the side of chance that you personally do not enjoy.

      Delete
    2. I always resisted 12 criticals and ran 4 stands instead just for the sake of variety, but I will try that and see if that can speed up the game. With all these limit breakers and cross rides around me, I feel like Stern needs to end it ASAP once they get to 3-4 damage, which is crazy-possible with that many criticals.

      I also like your description of chance and just read your article on trigger synch, which proved helpful in anticipating triggers.

      How do you feel about using 3-4 Moai the Greats in a Stern deck? I know getting him as a Vanguard would be horrible, but as long as my opponent is not running an 11k VG, would throwing a tough boy behind him boost my offensive power or would I get the same coverage with Asura Kaiser?

      I'd also like to run more Grade 3s to trigger the Death Army effects, but I only run 1 Perfect Guard as of now so Grade 3s tend to clutter my hand. I currently run 7, is that too low for a deck like this?

      Delete
    3. There's a build of this that exploits 20k columns. It uses Eisenkugels, Maois, and Kiraras (you only use Stern's skill once in that build) which lets you win through advantage and only one explosion. It's kind of a weird hybrid deck.

      Delete
  32. I am going to guess you are trying out Raizer decks at the moment; I wish to make a suggestion.

    Try out Custom and Hi Powered Custom with Asura Kaiser/Azure Dragon/Gold Rutile, not using Perfect Raiser.

    Reason being that Raizer Custom gives you a nice big 18 swing, puts the trigger back in the deck and is a reasonably decent booster for King of Sword, DMD, Yamata, or Brutal Jack, depending on what you're using.

    Hi Powered Raizer Custom might be the best card the deck has as far as Stands go. 16 instantly, but 21 when stood. Like the Set 9 Beast Deities, he's actually stronger when stood, but to a ridiculous degree, not just 11k and XRide 2 stage smacking respectively, he's 3 stage 11k smacking.

    The only problem with it is that you desperately need Tough Boy for times when you are forced into a situation where your rear is Hi Powered without Battle, and you need Brutal/DMD/Yamata to put stands on.

    It's not perfect, and White Tiger behind Jack or Asura Kaiser/Azure is no where near as fidgety, therefore more reliable, but it's worth a look. I had a lot of fun with it when I was proxying.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I will try this, but I won't recommend that someone boost with the Battleraizer unless they're going for final turn. Putting the card back into the deck is BAD because you minus. You're far less likely to see that specific card get re-used than you are to feel the effects of a straight minus to your advantage.

      Otherwise, this all sounds pretty neat. Though I did already have most of these ideas and am in the process of trying each.

      Delete
    2. I should explain the Boost better.

      I only do it when the 12k column starts to become lacking. It's great stand bait, no question, but you will eventually both need and be able to turn it into a 16k column with Custom as a booster, why -1 fully by retiring when you can increase Stands, even if it is ~1% and have a 2 stage attack instead of 1 to get rid of it?

      Though, with 4 High Powered Raizer Custom, not getting it by G3 ride doesn't happen too often. Just focusing on the other side. I'm actually considering removing the G1 custom for something else, but I'm not sure what. Probably Shout or something.

      Delete
    3. Because that's not a column you should even be making. And if you do, Battleraizer should be the one in front. Even if you get a 12k attacker by having Custom in front, you can't boost lest you minus, meaning the only way to make up for that bad column is getting a stand and even then it's only half-decent. If you absolutely must make that column, put the battleraizer in front so that it becomes 15k.

      I agree that if you're forced between retiring and boosting, you should boost; but I disagree that this should be a common occurance. The only reason I'd even run Custom is if I ran Perfect. HighPowered is what I really want.

      Delete
  33. Alice, I love you


    Most people do not understand the awesomeness that is Gold Rutile

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well then most people are missing out of the awesomeness that is Gold Rutile :D

      Delete
  34. In Rutile, would it not make more sense to start with Battleraizer? Just that DI Article says it isn't good to start with Greedy Hand in Death Anchor build since you'll just retire it afterwards. I'm not wanting to ditch Tiger and minus so I'd rather cycle it back for extra trigger chances.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You minus either way...how did you not notice that? You don't get extra trigger chances. You get one extra chance. Which isn't likely to even occur. We're talking about a 1-2% gain over a given game. It'd take something like 50 games or more to see a difference in that. For guaranteed -1 each game. As far as White Tiger goes, you don't retire it. Death Anchor's build has nothing to do with this one. In Death Anchor you want 3-stage columns which requires specific units in them. You'd normally be able to move Greedy Hand to the soul for the same total soul as Gatekeeper, but the problem is you can't use any counterblast in that build. So you can see that you won't want Greedy Hand. It works against the deck.

      White Tiger works well with the deck. You put it behind a location that'll have a Jack OR a King/Rutile if they have a 10k vanguard.

      Delete
  35. Alice let me start by saying this whole guide and all of the articles have been an amazing help, just started vanguard about a month ago and have read most of the articles here and they all seem very informative and extremely helpful. I was hoping to get into nova grapplers with the rutile build, and my one question is on the grade one and 2 line up. if stands and getting hits are so important in the deck, why not run the death army columns?
    I didn't really wanna ask because you would know so much more than i do in this game and this clan, was just wondering your insight. thank you very much for your time and information.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Because 8 Grade 3s and no pressure when Lady is stood alone. Guy is fine at 2-3 as booster.

      Delete
    2. The actual reason is because the point of that deck is one of two things:
      Stand triggers (12 count) are used on 11ks/10ks for 2 stage re-swings OR to re-swing an on-hit for effects.

      Death Armies can only use Grade 3s (8-9 count) and don't re-swing for two or on-hit when used with a stand. Plus they require a whole column dedication. They're amazing cards but they belong in other builds that focus on standing for standing's sake. This uses standing as a tool to other ends.

      Delete
  36. Can you explain to me what would be the difference between the Iron Ball deck and the Star Blue Wisdom deck? How different do they play and which one do you recommend?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Iron Ball is specifically for abusing 10k vanguards, so it's only recommended as a meta-call deck where you know people run 10ks constantly. (Contrary to popular belief, Duke does not count as it's 11k in 70% of games) It plays by using Stern once to gain a big damage lead, then picks off rears with Kirara and gets advantage from her. Then goes back in for game. It's similar to Shadow Paladins in that it rushes and then tanks up a bit, but in this case, it rush/explodes until Turn 3's end, then goes for cards, then goes back in for damage or a long late game.

      Delete
  37. I noticed you didn't mention Mr. Invincible. What are your thoughts on him?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Unflipping is nice. Soul really isn't. If you want my appraisal of his megablast, check the megablast unit analysis article. Otherwise there isn't much to say about him other than it's nice he's semi-splashable.

      Delete
  38. Alice,, I need ur advice -_- I'm currently into NG.
    And I'm struggling to choose either the iron ball deck(Stern) or the death army build(Cosmo Lord).
    Could u tell me the +/- for each build please ._.
    Thx before for ur reply :D
    *NP: I learned vg from ur blog. awesome job XD

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What...I don't have a Death Army build here. I only write for the English format. So obviously I suggest the deck I know, which is Stern.

      Delete
    2. Thx for the fast reply!! :D
      well, actually I was just wondering about ur opinion on the new DA build lol --', well thx anyway..
      Also, I was using your iron ball build with a little bit of my quantity adjustments of G1.. also I use 8crits,4stand,4heals..
      Do you think it's better to use the same trigger or to switch the stands into draws? .__., cause I often have a lack of hand in some cases that my Stern's final turn failed..
      Also I switched kiraras into NGMs for better defense ._.

      Delete
    3. Yeah...you've missed the entire point of the Iron Ball deck by making those changes. Stands do nothing useful in that deck at only 4. NGMs also ignore the point of the deck which is abusing Kirara after a single stern.

      Delete
    4. sorry 'bout that. Okay, I'll try it, thankss

      Delete
    5. Mess around with it until you feel the balance. You'll know why I had it the way I did :D

      Delete
  39. alice, do you prefer the iron ball stern or the star blue wisdom stern?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Star Blue Wisdom. I play for the 11k format. I don't have a meta-call to make on abusing 10ks.

      Delete
    2. ok, thanks alice! :D

      Delete
  40. Man, I really need to think a little more outside the box. I was kinda frustrated because I was running 4 Battleraizer and 4 Turboraizer because I sort of had to, but then I looked at the Raizer deck on here and it does make sense...

    Have you ever tried NGM Prototype in it? You know, to compensate for lack of defense otherwise?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I tried EVERYTHING. Including NGM. I spent a solid week playtesting almost every waking hour. I really wanted Raizers to work. NGM had the problem of only being usable in Bouncer's slot which was a problem because it needed advantage. NGM can't work with Raizer Custom like Bouncer can, so there were often bad columns for a turn which negated his usefulness as an S-intercept. I wouldn't say it's the worst thing you can put there, but in testing a Bouncer or Dumpty did better.

      Delete
  41. After reading that Dancing Wolf works like Amaterasu, I am questioning Stands in Stern.

    A stand forces Stern all the way up to 26 by way of Dancing Wolf, this means two distinct scenarios. A) They have no clue, you net yourself two damage. B) They know, and over guard a lot, meaning that any Stands you get will get through, no question.

    Of course this also works with Beast Deity Azure Dragon and Asura Kaiser.

    I know the general consensus is that Dancing Wolf is Stern's personal booster and Stern loves Crits, but 26 with trigger forces a lot more guard than 23 with trigger and is more likely to get through, though a crit is more likely to win a game.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's why it's in the notes...because it can work. But I have actually tested all the variations I could. Crit 8/4/4, Stand 8/4/4, Crit 12/4, Stand 12/4, Draw 8/4/4 (Crit and Stand as backups, second draw was Gong). Out of all of them, 12 crit performed the absolute best, followed by 8 crit, followed by 8 draw (SURPRISE). They all did pretty well, I'm just relating back what testing has given me.

      Delete
    2. Oh sorry I meant to throw in there that 8 crit 4 stand and 6/6 split did better than 8 draw.

      Delete
  42. Alice, I'm really struggling with the trigger line-up with the Asura/Azure build. I was first trying out a basic 8 crit 4 draw build, but recently I'm trying to explore how I would make space to put stands in, because I don't want to remove my crits, since I like the pressure that my vanguard exerts with this, on top of the possible stand trigger. How would you go foward with this? Possible combinations I've been thinking were 6 crit 4 stand 2 draw, 6 crit 6 stand and 4/4/4/4. I would really appreciate your opinion!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. For what's worth, I'm playing around with the amounts of Kirara in forms of compensation in the lineups in where I forego draw triggers.

      Delete
    2. Mine actually uses 8/4 Stand-draw. I've also tested 12 crit and 12 stand. 12 crit did better than 12 stand on average, but 8 stand 4 draw did decently. I think 12 crit might be better, but just slightly.

      Delete
    3. So you don't think mixing up Crit and Stand is a good idea? Sticking with one or another is better?

      Delete
    4. In some decks, mixing works well. In others, picking something you're good at and focusing on it does better. Novas have that latter theme throughout their builds, so I'm not surprised that going extreme in one way or another makes them better.

      Delete
  43. Read about Miss Splendour (she's Comic series as well) and I figured Stern would rather like her. The opponent guards Stern (-2). You pile Crits onto Miss Splendour and the opponent HAS to guard from the hand, and only if they can. -4 is very nice.

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  44. Alice, what would you think is the most competitive Nova Grappler build? The Azure-Azura or the Star Blue Wisdom?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I dunno if "most competitive" is a discrepency between them but Stern has fewer weaknesses from what I've seen.Azure/Asura is a bit reliant on setup.

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  45. Alice, what's your opinion on 8 crit 4 draw on Stern? I've been testing out Stern for a while, and I've actually gotten underwhelming results, having better results with Asura, for some reason. I don't know what to make of it, but maybe the lack of any draw power is screwing me over in the game, and making me lose too much fuel before the overguarding in the game actually starts affecting my opponent.

    Also, you don't think that the lack of crit triggers in the Asura/Azure make it a bit hard to make pressure? Or does the stand trigger make up for it?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Stern NEEDS the crit when it hits to be so threatening. If you're running draws, you really are at a disadvantage to full critical. This is backed by an over-ridiculous amount of testing (Stern is my favorite deck) among myself and several other people. I've never seen a lack of draws hurt the Stern deck.

      No, I don't think Azure/Asura requires criticals. I've used them though and I can say 12 crit or 12 stand work almost equally well. I have slightly better results with stands but I'm not sure what the cause of that is, so I just say they're about equal.

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    2. Well my reasoning was that if, worse case scenario, you hit a draw trigger when you are able to hit the vanguard, if you use the skill, it would be a net +0, from the original -1 you'd get, which isn't really bad, right? But yeah, I'm using a decklist similar to yours and I really want to know what I might be doing wrong with this deck, cause I like it a lot, but Im not having too much success with this one =\ I admit I'm barely an average player, so I'm not entirely sure what I'm doing wrong with this deck specifically. Any thoughts? Thanks a lot, Alice.

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    3. The problem is you only have so many opportunities to even hit. Your opponent is not going to be shield-dry forever and you'll likely miss your chance past Turn 3. Having draws screws that badly. Stern isn't concerned with advantage because he doesn't have to be. Most of Stern wins occur because of advantage gaps caused by overguarding. That only works if the threat of obliteration is real.

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  46. Hey Alice, besides from the SDD GP, I am also interested in building either a Nova Grappler (Stern) or a Spike Brother (Hail Mary) deck. Which of the two do you prefer in terms of budget, consistency and competitiveness (before and during the cross ride era)? I know that you like both clans compared to the others so I'm asking you for advice. :P

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hail Mary beats tons of decks in budget. But both are equally deadly. I'm not going to comment on the crossride format at all. I currently use Stern and would be taking that to tournaments. I'd experiment with Hail Mary at locals first though.

      Delete
  47. Why don't you have dancing wolf in your iron ball deck?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Because A. there's no room and B. there's no need. 20k abuse is what that deck is about so wolves can't replace tough boys. Can't replace PGs becuase staple. Can't replace panzer because chain. Can't replace clay doll becuase 2 copies isn't enough to be worth bothering with since he's only useful behind Stern. Which only attempts to hit once in that deck anyway. It's a totally different build than the other Stern deck.

      Delete
  48. It is possible to use Stern Bl. with stand and critical?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes but I believe I already mentioned to someone that it's better for him if you pick one and go all out.

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  49. Hello again, Alice. Recently, I've taken interest upon Nova's Stern Blakluger and I'm planning to build them under the crossride format... What do you think of the build so far?

    G0: 17
    SV: Blaujunger
    12x crit
    4x heal

    G1: 14
    4x Blaupanzer
    4x Twin blader
    4x Tough boy
    2x Dancing Wolf

    G2:11
    4x Blaukruger
    3x King of Sword
    2x Eisenkugel
    2x Kirara

    G3:8
    4x Stern Blaukruger
    3x Death metal droid
    1x Moai the great

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Death Metal Droid doesn't really fit on top of Stern and Kirara. Too much CB usage (constant for DMD) with no unflippers.

      Stern's CB is only going to be used once usually, making Dancing Wolf a one-time thing and otherwise just a 7k vanilla booster. Better to replace with Clay Doll Mechanic in this case.

      Would take a look at the Iron Ball decklist since that seems closest to what you're trying to do.

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    2. My advice is always the same. Just copy one of my decklists since your list doesn't do anything one of mine doesn't do. Copy Iron Ball or Star Blue Wisdom.

      Delete
  50. No Top Gun? I know he's not prime RG material, being 10k and all, but I would have thought he'd get a mention...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Death Metal Droid, Moai the Great, and even Muscle Hercules at least have the decency to work on RG.

      Better question: What does Top Gun do that Asura Kaiser, Azure Dragon, Stern, Rutile, etc don't?

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    2. Hit 2 stages on a cross ride with an 8k booster

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    3. Assuming you're serious: all of the previously mentioned units do that too whether on VG or RG. Most can do it with a 7k booster too.

      Assuming you really meant 3 stages (10k + 8k + 5 rested): you attack last and get PG'd.

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    4. It was meant to be 3 sorry. It's funny how everyone responds with the perfect guard. They have to have 1 of the four copies in hand and do it consistently. That is not happening. What is going to happen though is that they are going to let him through early, and tank a lot of cards defending him late.

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    5. I don't understand why anyone would talk about Crossride meta at this site.

      Delete
    6. Top Gun is the only way for Nova to have a three stage VG Column without standing Dancing Wolf, who goes into four behind an 11. I would have thought he deserved mention for that alone.

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    7. Firstly, no he isn't. You're forgetting Cosmo Lord. Secondly, he's about as useful as Cosmo Lord. A 3-stage vanilla in Nova Grapplers? Really? Other decks do that naturally. Instead, why not focus on what Novas do /well/ like multiple attacks or drawing cards? 3-stage vanguards don't even do anything until Late game. So you basically sit on a card no one will guard anyway until the last two damage of the game.

      Delete
    8. Also Armored Fairy, Shubiela. Which is far better.

      Delete
  51. Does Street Bouncer have a niche anywhere other than in Perfect Raizer? I would like to be able to get my +1 in an actual competitive deck.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It isn't a +1 though. It's a straight wash. The only reason it's useful in P.Raizer is because that deck often makes terrible columns and Bouncer can temporarily make it hurt less. Nova Grapplers are otherwise far too reliable to use him.

      Delete
  52. Just tested an Iron Ball variant with 12 crits and I must say, using the deck is quite fun as it causes shitstorms for my opponent. They minus heavily by guarding Stern with 20k/PG then my other columns can benefit from the triggers instead. Loving the build so far... thanks Alice.

    ReplyDelete
  53. Alice, i want to ask something. I have two Brutal Jack at my rear guards.. and it is my turn now.. when i flip one of my damage card, is the restraint loses for both brutal jack or i have to flip two to use both of the brutal jack?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The cost is printed within [brackets] meaning each cost must be activated separately. You have to pay twice.

      Delete
  54. Hey Alice, I'm thinking of purchasing Nova Grapplers to be my competitive deck and it will most likely be the Beast Deity and Stern Blakruger build. In terms of competitiveness, do you think that it will be able to hold up to the crossrides coming up in a few months? And if they aren't, would it be easy to switch over to a beast deity crossride deck because I already have azure dragon and the perfect guards?

    Thanks and if you don't have a comment on this, thanks for reading and replying!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. By Beast Diety ( or Asura/Azure, I'm going to assume) hits 18k columns all the way, and can hit stand those 18k columns again. Definitely good, especially against crossrides where in 18k is that treshold.

      Stern Blau is sort of so-so in my opinion, given that he has to hit to be anything useful, and that 6k Blaupanzer isn't really going to help much in creating that much needed 18k columns, until you have Moai or DMD in front of him. But when he shows up in the VG circle, people are going to be losing hand cards just for him not to be able to stand again.

      Delete
    2. Okay I have this policy of not commenting on Crossrides because inevitably it makes shitstorms appear, but I can't sit by and see bad advice (no offense) being given either. Odin help me, but I'll lend you a hand. If you mean Azure-Asura, no, this is very very bad against crossrides. 7/10 games, you won't be able to use your delicious standing to hit meaningful columns. Think about it; your main weapon, the Death Army column, is completely dead because it only reaches 16k. That's one stage and pathetic. So even standing that is just flaccid. Making an 18k column sure sounds nice and all, but your only option that actually works is an 11k + Death Army Guy with Asura as vanguard. This is your only usable standing column. Standing one alone no longer works either since 11k is not enough to hit 13k. On average, this deck just does tremendously poorly.

      On the other hand, Stern is one of the rare few cards that actually continues to exert pressure. If you use the Iron Ball version, you have a really high chance of laying a mean smackdown to Crossride players, though, don't get ahead of yourself because The End still gets more advantage, more drive checks, does so easier, and is less conditional, with more retire options for pesky counters, and more consistency. Yeowch. But at least for hitting numbers, Stern does pretty good. The entire build is set up to be able to smack a crossride across the face with anywhere from 18k-20k (useless above 18, I know but the point is consistency). You can make it with Eisenkugel + any booster; or Azure + 7ks, or Stern rears + Tough Boys, or Stern vanguard + 7-8ks. Much more of an option than many decks, and Eisenkugel presents no threat to yourself because of the math behind how I structured that deck.

      Essentially it plays like "The End-lite" by exerting the same pressure on any vanguard. Now, unfortunately, it loses its pressure when standing. It might still hit 3 stages during the stand like the Dancing Wolf type, but because no wolf, it's reliant on trigger chance. I don't consider that too big of a deal, but Wolf's whole point was getting over damaged triggers to leave no comeback chances. Unfortunately, that goes away now so you can indeed be screwed. So while obviously never as good as a real crossride itself, it's certainly far from so-so as far as anti-crossrides go.

      In fact, if you want to know; Stern has performed with the highest anti-crossride consistency of all decks I've tested, though still not coming to a 50% win ratio on average, it does better than any other deck.

      Delete
  55. Hello Alice. I started Vanguard a while ago and now I want to build a competitive deck. Not Super expensive now but something I can build so that I won't be totally behind when I do put the money in. What I mean is should I not build the Azure-Asura deck because cross rides make it useless? I like the Star Blue Wisdom but would Iron Ball make more sense? I ended up Nova grappler because my friends are going GP and Narukami. I was going to originally do OTT.
    My favorite Nova cards are Stern Blaukruger and Azure Dragon.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Was thinking of returning to OTT but
      Beast Deity, Ethics Buster, Yamata Drake and Super Beast Deity, Iluminal Dragon seem like their gonna be a lot of fun...

      Delete
    2. Stern Blaukruger is a totally cool card that exerts a lot of pressure when dancing wolf is placed behind him. It wins games by itself, especially if you drive check into 2 crits and restand for final turn. I have been testing my iron ball variant and it does wonders for me against xrides and other meta decks.

      Delete
    3. I really like that build but my only concern is that by the time I get it all together, Set 9 will be out and I'll want all the awesome new beast dieties and there may not be a viable place for Stern Blaukruger anymore...

      Delete
    4. Hmm, then do the Novadraw instead. It paves a path for dieties and a side path to Stern.

      Delete
    5. Probably easiest for me to build. My problem with that deck is Marvelous Hani are useless against 11k Vanguards. Other than that, I like the idea of it.

      Delete
  56. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Uhhhh, you mean Transraizer and Burst Raizer right? It remains to be seen. I'll have to test that all when Set 9's time comes up.

      Delete
    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    3. Uhhh no, if you're asking me if you can use current Raizers to make a viable build, the answer is no or I would've already done it.

      Delete
    4. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    5. The problem with Perfect Raizer isn't entirely "lack of Raizers". Having a good portion of the deck be non-Raizers is probably a good thing because in the likely case you need to reride to get 4 Raizers in soul, you won't have to lose the whole field to do it.

      The stand trigger Raizers (Battle/Turbo) are also extremely dumb to call just to put into the soul with Perfect. Losing 10k shield, chance of it getting sniped by Kagero or other such effects, and (as mentioned in the build) the best stand target is High-Power Custom which will get sucked up into Perfect. Battle is only used as a starter because he's not really getting in the way and makes the Customs more consistent until he gets sucked up.

      Something like that, at least. Also that Trans/Burst Raizer aren't being considered yet because English meta. 7k G2 (ugh!) and 7k booster as well. What to remove?

      Delete
    6. I'm saying that Turboraizer is not the way to get all your raizers in the soul. Firstly, all it does is slightly increase the chance of getting what you need in the soul. Secondly, it doesn't change the biggest problem with the deck which is extremely heavy minusing due to Perfect Raizer's vacuum. Other than that, exactly what Edalborez said.

      Also don't mistake me about the three new cards. I never said jack diddly about them, I asked you if you were talking about them. I even specifically said in my last reply "current Raizers". They're part of different non-English sets so I haven't tested them yet. Though I hardly think they'll be able to fix Perfect's severe minusing problem.

      Delete
    7. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    8. "First of all, calm down. I'm not looking for a fight or a flame war."
      Wha...what are you ..even talking about? Everyone here looks pretty calm to me. I'd be scared of people falling into a death sleep if they got any calmer.

      Delete
  57. The analysis on display here is excellent. I'll admit all the maths does my head in (and maths always did that), but I can see it makes sense and I really admire your research.
    I've played this clan from the very beginning of my time in Vanguard; Stern Blaukruger's my ace card and I pretty much follow your advice of Stern and Dancing Wolf - the satisfaction of taking moronic opponents who burn their guard in early game (and sadly, several players in my area do that no matter what advice you give them) from 2 damage to crushing, ruinous defeat in one turn is tremendous.
    I'll admit it's not as easy finding solid rearguard support since Novas lack a lot of on-hit rearguard effects; Lion Heat and Super Electromagnetic Lifeform Storm (say that five times fast) are pretty much all I can think of.
    Also, and slightly unrelated, I have to give your blog credit for reviving the fortunes of my Basskirk deck.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow, thanks. It's refreshing to hear someone got something useful out of it~

      Delete
    2. It is a very useful archive for Vanguard info. I'm looking forward to future analyses.

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    3. Yep that's its intention. Rather than being a traditional blog.

      Delete
  58. hey alice would you ever consider taking out a death army lady for an eisenkugel?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. sorry, i completely forgot to mention it was for the stern build

      Delete
    2. There are two Stern builds. The other (Iron Ball) does use Eisenkugel and mainly focuses on abusing 10k vanguards, using Stern's effect once, and using the remainder of your CB for Kirara or just to threaten with Stern.

      Delete
  59. You should really create a page on persona blasts (or at least put it on the blasts and limits page).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Actually if you read that page I mention Personas; mainly that they're not suited for that page :P
      But I'll take heed and put some math on them up in another article at some point.

      Delete
  60. Ok I ended up building the Iron Ball Version of the deck. My problem is that the people I play against all run 11k vanguards. Is there any tweaking I can do to this deck? The magician girls with a 7k booster hit nicely but 20k columns seems to be a waste. I thought about DMD for 21k but I can't afford the CB.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. One idea I had was to run 4 clay dolls and 2 tough boys but giving up any 8k boosters seems crazy...

      Delete
    2. Yeah that's really not what it's for. 11k vanguard format is the Star Blue Wisdom deck; which is what it was specifically designed for. Iron Ball is specifically designed for 10k vanguards. That's why I call it a "meta call" deck.

      Delete

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