|Why does no one love me ;_;|
Royal Paladins are all about consistency, field commitment, and synergy. These core principles are what makes this clan a favorite among long-time card game players that move over from Yu-Gi-Oh, Magic the Gathering, and Pokemon Trading Card Game. These have been the top choice in the Japanese metagame for the infancy of Vanguard, and their prominence was so oversatuared the competitive scene that the publisher, BushiRoad, had to restrict this Barcgal here from being the starting vanguard just to try and encourage people to use other decks for a change. They even did it in English despite Royals only being the fourth most popular deck.
The ability of Paladins to double-dip on effects is astounding. In addition to being able to search out specific cards you might need (Llew, Pongal, Soul Saver Dragon etc) you often get to power something up or feed into another effect by doing so. Playing Paladins without committing to the field is practically heresy—their main function is to get units out early and often and play everything up to the maximum. A fighter must always be very careful to have a properly scalable field in Paladins as they typically commit very quickly.
|I will stab you with bullets|
In casual play (non-tournament), you want to run Barcgal as your starting vanguard because he's just so consistent. +1 card only in the form of a lame Flogal booster, the turn that you rest him. It's really not that great since Flogal has to boost a 10000 attacker and you have to be up against a 10000 defender just to hit stage 2. Not to mention how abysmally Barcgal itself boosts. What's the use of card "advantage" if it's not an advantage? But unlike Mecha Trainer, Conroe and other vanguards, he only needs to rest; no counterblast, no retiring. He does have another drawback in that, his effect calls either your critical or stand trigger out, reducing their count in the deck. In official tournament play, your starting vanguard will vary based on your build.
Blaster Blade is a staple in most builds that you often need to run the maximum number. His effect is similar to Berserk Dragon as he gets the option to kill a rear-guard. The difference is, if you only call Blaster Blade, he gets a Grade 2 or Grade 3 (but not a Grade 1) and if you ride him; any Rear Guard just for counterblast 2. Take note Blazing Flare Dragon lovers: A Grade 2 staple can do your effect for less cost and with an alternative option even. Mostly, we would only use his effect in a dire situation as counterblast is highly in demand in Paladins. He interferes with our other boss:
|Perfect sauce for your pasta|
Alfred has amazing synergy with Gigantech Charger. A nifty little combo is calling Gigantech Charger, checking the top card and if it's an attacker, put it in the front row on the opposite side of Charger; if it's a booster of 7000 power or higher, put it behind Charger to get him to a stage 2 attack; and if it's a weak booster choose any backrow arbitrarily. Then rest Barcgal, call Flogal to an open booster position. Finally, use Alfred's counterblast to call whatever you happen to be missing (boster/interceptor). Try to keep all of you Rear-Guard attackers around the 16000 power mark if possible. This sets you up so fast and strongly, it's ridiculous. You'll take note that Alfred is now at 20000, his maximum power.
|A dragon. WITH BOOBIES|
When you're setting up for Soul Saver on the previous turn, you're making it super obvious. She can only use her effect the moment you ride her, so you have to get two good interceptors out the previous turn. Meaning, firstly, you did not superior ride Blaster Blade so you could make riding a Grade 2 easier, you did it so you could call your Grade 2s to the rear-guard. Remember that. Secondly, you put up a gigantic sign saying "I am about to ride Soul Saver Dragon; please kill my rear-guard units this turn so that I can't use her effect". Even worse is when you use Pongal's effect to search Soul Saver which holds up a big sign with "SSD" and an arrow pointing down at your hand. Then it flashes rapidly like the <blink> tag in old Netscape browsers. You have to play this card carefully. For instance, if you have Marron boosting your Soul Saver, do not freaking choose Marron for the effect of SSD. It's a total waste to pump yourself up past 21000 since you get Twin Drive check anyway. Obviously, if the situation calls for it and it's absolutely necessary, you can do it. But don't make this your first gambit. Just remember that she gets a boost when attacking a vanguard, so if Marron is there, she's already attacking at 3 stages. That's almost always either "no-guard" or "perfect guard" on a vanguard attack since you have Twin Drive. This is supposed to be a game-ender skill that you use when you have the opportunity in Late game. In most modern competitive Royal decks, this is the only way it can even be used: after Galahad ride chain or Lohengrin's soul charging.
|Please kill me, it hurts to live...|
Why you should not hate him: When not in the hands of fanboy nerds, Gancelot is actually very effective. His Blaster Blade search ensures that if you get doubles of a Grade 3 but no Grade 2, you absolutely won't miss your ride. Additionally, he also has the power to trade out his own counterblast for the counterblast of a Blaster Blade. Keep in mind that search function basically makes him a wild card 9000 power unit. He can either be an interceptor with counter-2 kill something; or he can be a Vanguard with counter-2 to try and hit for more damage.
|Smuggest. Dog. Ever.|
In addition, Borgal is searchable with High Dog Breeder, Akane. This actually leads to a huge chain of logic which shapes the very nature of some decks. Look at this regal-ass dog and remember that he is changing the fundamental nature of your deck all up in here.
|FLYING SHOE WITH A KATANA|
There's a lot you need to know about this guy. Firstly, his pros: Galahad is the only 11000 defending vanguard in Royal Paladin. And rightly so as Royals are pretty ridiculous with an 11000 vanguard. He also has the Gancelot effect, which isn't a bad effect by nature, it was just bad on a 9000. They both become 14000 power 2 critical after the effect is used. Make sure if you do this, that you don't activate twice unless absolutely necessary. You get more crits for your counterblast if you wait until next turn (4 damage vs 3). His requirement is also only 6 soul which makes him redundant with Borgal; that's badass.
Unfortunately he has some bad. Being a Rank 2 ride chain is a good way to pull of your ride chain at a decent number of the time. But he is not Tsukuyomi. The cards his ride chain put on the bottom of the deck can completely screw you by putting in copies of valuable cards (the other ride chains, Palamedes, triggers, perfect guards etc). You absolutely need to have a deck shuffler when you play Galahad. It is for the reason that he's redundant with Borgal and he needs a shuffler that Galahad should be run with Akane due to her searching ability and shuffling ability. Optionally, a budget deck for Galahad runs Pendragon over Palamedes (purely for money saving) which allows you to shuffle as well. Galahad is definitely a welcome member to the team. However, there seems to be another option for his chain. Without Barcgal, people have taken to running Drangal (Galahad starter) as their Grade 0. The reason for this is that they can use the Grade 1, or Grade 1+2 of Galahad and possibly make up for some ride minuses to reduce the hit they take by having no real good options for a starting vanguard anymore. This can actually be folly if your deck doesn't have the room in its lineup or if you don't have a deck shuffler. You need both of those to use that strategy, but otherwise, it can work sometimes. You may be thinking it's better than nothing, but that's not necessarily true. Your Grade 1 and 2 lineups might be crowded, and putting a chance lineup like Galahad in there may not be your best option. Just give it a think-over before you do it.
|Lohengrin is the "Swan Knight"|
Lohengrin makes an easy 9000 booster deck. You can have all of your columns hitting for 3 stages easily, and he makes use of the new Twin Shine Swordsman, Marhaus (Which now works as a complete budget replacement to Palamedes any time you have a 9000 booster set in your deck). Since Lohengrin's build has 8 total such cards, Marhaus is indeed a formidable ally. At the end, if you haven't spent your resources, you can use them for Lohengrin's megablast. No one can guard a vanguard every single turn. And it becomes even harder to do so in Late game. Retiring your opponent's entire field basically seals the game for a win. In Galahad, Lohengin is used to build soul in case you missed one of the rides (notably, the Grade 2 ride). Lohengrin is so useful that the number of builds with him is pretty high, including his vanilla power build (probably the best one), a Soul Saver focused build, and a Pendragon Build. He also makes every single booster in the entire deck, yes even Margal, hit at least 2 stages if it's behind him.
|PEGASASU FANTAJI, yes only in dreams|
But then there's the "Penned Dragon" part. And guess what? He works pretty damn good at getting Soul Saver Dragon's skill off. Check this for a moment: Royal Paladins have no retreating vanguard. This means when Pendragon is on the vanguard circle, you should have Grades 0, 1, and 2 in the soul. If you soulcharge once (Margal or Pongal) you can use Pendragon to get Soul Saver Dragon and instantly use the skill. It's a bit of a reach, but this actually works pretty well. It's, by no means, a good card. But unfortunately, it's one of the best we can do with for now. Pendragon would be a lot better if it wasn't Limit Break requirement. For now, his main three uses are: Activating "on ride" effects without minusing; Gaining extra soul; Effectively counting as a wild card for your other Grade 3(s). That latter effect can be both good and bad since it means you sometimes get Palamedes as your only target, and you'd have to be stupid beyond belief to waste your Palamedes this way.
|Oh god it hurts for everything else|
Palamedes is usually expensive money-wise and is a huge target for rear-guard attacks due to his retardedly high power. He makes getting stage 3 an absolute breeze with Marron. With Young Pegasus Knight (and Lohengrin as vanguard) or Borgal, he also hits stage 3. Including with Toypoogal which has the same condition as Palamedes. Basically, you're hitting Stage 3 if he's out in that column. Getting Palamedes out in both columns is usually going to be your goal for extreme pressure. Marhaus doesn't completely replace him even with 9000 boosters due to the condition that he must hit a Vanguard. Palamedes doesn't have that condition. Palamedes just is powerful. Powermedes.
Fang of Light, Garmore will gain +1000 power for each Snowgal or Bluegal you have called but only as the Vanguard. Since Snowgal is a booster, it's most likely that you'll just have 3 of him out, and not all 4. Having four copies of him out (aside from being difficult due to damage checks) is not very optimal since you only have three booster positions. You'd have to use one Snowgal as an attacker. It's possible to do this in a pinch, since both would be +3000 (9000) making 18000 for a Stage-2 column, but it would also mean you can't intercept it away to get something like Palamedes down there and make use of all the extra power. Therefore, Fang of Light will most likely always be granted +3000 from the number of Snowgals, and they will all each be +2000 (making them 8000 boosters).
Snowgal is also a High Beast unit, meaning that Akane can search them out. If you ran maximum Snowgals, Fangs, Knights, and Akane, you have 16 cards in your 49 card deck that can end up resulting in a Snowgal on your field. Akane and Knight just so happen to reach 2 stages when the 3-snowgal setup is complete. And Fang just so happens to reach 3 stages if he's the Vanguard during the same setup. With Garmore's ability to hit 21000, this means he can rival even Alfred for the seat of Vanguard. His Stage 3 is more consistent and he has a counterblast-less search (albeit more limited, and it's not a true +1). Let's take it a bit further now that Akane is in there. If you could get in Borgal, you'd have a 9000 booster so long as you can reach six soul. An easy way to do that is Barcgal if you are not playing in a tournament since he's only restricted as the starting vanguard for Bushiroad events. Barcgal's superior ride will give you 5 of the necessary soul by the time you ride Grade 3, and this deck doesn't really even do anything with the remaining soul. So if you are allowed to use Barcgal, might as well try for that and soulcharge a Margal! Be sure to use your Snowgals, Marrons, and Borgals (if you are allowed) to make the most consistent backrow for Palamedes ever.
|Vastly superior to Stardust Trumpeter|
Hell, she even encroaches on her target's skill to destroy things with her cost. I would say that Starcall isn't really worth trying to fill up the field anyway. If you consider that you actually need two front-row rear-guard positions empty to fully use this skill, (one to call herself, one to superior call Blaster Blade), then you're looking at a highly chance reliant gambit of getting her early enough that you don't have to minus yourself or break even when she's called. But that's not the only blaster support. Wingal Brave is a 5000 power retreating starter (finally) that can move to the soul if he boosts a Blaster that hits (most likely Blaster Blade) to then search for another Blaster and add it to the hand. So there are a ton of ways to get Blaster Blade now, making him one of the most consistent units to find in the game. Especially the most consistent rear-guard killer. Wingal Brave, for his power and retreating alone, will go in every deck that doesn't focus on Galahad.
|The best Wizard name ever|
Chance Zenon grabs a g2 on Turn 2: ~23.26%
Chance Zenon grabs a g3 on Turn 3: ~17.5%
Chance Zenon grabs a g3 by Turn 5: ~15.15%
It actually just keeps going down the longer you drag the game on. The first two calculations are "best case" where I assume 10 remaining grade 2s and 7 remaining grade 3s. On Turn 5, I assume a total of 47.5% of total grade 3s are removed from the deck (5 remaining) due to probability to draw 3 total grade 3s from the start of the game being high. Thus as the game wears on, Zenons get less and less likely to work. If you think about it, this makes logical sense. Your draw and twin drive each turn is 3 cards that Zenon can't hit being removed from the deck, while he himself can only hit 1 card. Assuming you Zenon once per turn (just for argument sake), you're at a 1:3 ratio of Zenon-ables, so you'd expect his chances to actually diminish as the game wears on (more grade 3s come out during the 3 rather than the 1). The best scenario with this card is if Royal Paladins make use of Robert or CEO Amaterasu. But Zenon requires a Royal Paladin vanguard so that doesn't work. Zenon, being better in early game for grade 2 replacements, then only replaces grade 2s and that gets ridden over the direct next turn. Thus it would be better served in some sort of rush deck where the chance of getting a different grade 2 (hopefully better) is higher. In any case, you have to also find the probability of getting Zenon in time (~59.75%) and multiply that by the chance that he works properly when used. Then you get numbers closer to ~13.95% at best. Basically avoid this card. I have no idea how this wound up an optional SP rarity. But his name is so badass, I just had to write about it! If someone can come up with a legitimate use for Zenon, please let me know in the comments below. That was rather long for "not having much to say"...
|What is this unholy abomination!?|
Let's look at his positive skills: Counterblast 3 for essentially what amounts to +4~5 in most scenarios. Average Power increase of +10000 (usually have 6 soul including Blaster, so that's 5 that you use for the skill, or +10k). So about +2 stages or the same as a break ride or Phantom Blaster Dragon. So that's pretty insane, but let's take a step back and analyze the total advantage here:
Assuming the opponent has a full field, that's +5. But you also minus when you ride Exculpate since it forces you over a grade 3, and that's relatively one less card at your disposal than your opponent (and any other copies of Exculpate are auto-minuses when you draw them for anything other than discard fodder for Iseult). Then it rides Blaster Blade over for you. Since retiring skills only take effect on your defending phase, we have to assume Exculpate is not a Final Turn gimmick, otherwise you wouldn't risk it just for a bit of Power. Thus we'll assume you take another turn. In that case, you have to ride another grade 3 (-1) or not ride and not get Twin Drive (-1 anyway). Either case, that's a total of -2. So Exculpate has a floor advantage of +2 and a ceiling advantage of +3. About +2.5 on average. If you ignored that 0.5 extra, this would be essentially identical to the advantage that Vermillion and many other Counterblast 3 cost units generate, including the power increases they usually get (if they're also limit break). The +0.5 average comes at the cost of a super conditional unit.
You're looking at a very conditional, very hard to use, and very chance-based Dragonic Kaiser Vermillion. Vermillion is a good card. So I wouldn't outright say "Exculpate is bad", but I would say that it's probably not worth the space in your deck, especially given that it takes up a grade 3 slot that you otherwise need for riding or...Palamedes. In addition, it's not all roses once you get one. You have to hope that you had a Blaster Blade in the soul. Since Barcgal is officially restricted, that means the only viable way to do this other than wishing on a star that Lohengrin pulls through for you, is to ride Blaster Blade on Turn 2 (wasting a valuable retire unit) and you only get ~60% chance of doing this. Then you have to draw Exculpate, which is probably one or two copies in your deck, by late game. You can probably do that, but if you're running Lohengrin, you also have the chance to soulcharge him by accident as well as damage it. Not to mention needing emergency discard for Iseult. So looking at this from a strictly mathematical point of view:
Chance of Blaster Blade by Turn 2 ride: ~59.79%
Chance of ≥1 Exculpate (of 2) by Turn 6: ~59.76%
Bizarrely close numbers, but this is actually bad. We have to multiply the chances of both to know the chances of a successful Exculpate by at least late game.
Chance to execute Exculpate by Turn 6: ~35.73%
Therefore, about 1/3 games, you'll legitimately get off this skill to its absolute fullest. This does not account for the conditional factors such as not being able to call it and the 9000 defense that can leave you vulnerable. Let's not forget that you can't increase Blaster Blade's chance of going into the soul with Lohengrin because that can also hit Exculpates which ruins your strategy. Finally, we have to consider what happens to the grade ratio. Assuming you have 2 Exculpates (any less does not work properly), and you have a common grade ratio of 14-11-8, then you end up with a virtual 6 grade 3s because you cannot ride Exculpate on Turn 3. So let's redo our riding math to reflect this, always assuming mulligan 3:
Chance to ride grade 3, Turn 3 (6 ride-able grade 3s): ~81.95%
Chance to ride grade 2, Turn 2 (11 ride-able): ~91.42%
Chance to ride grade 1, Turn 1 (14 ride-able): ~96%
Now we have to multiply the chances of all of these to find the new chance of not miss-riding;
Chance to not miss-ride (0.8195 * 0.9142 * 0.96) = 71.92%
Considering this makes your chances of riding go down about 11% under standard riding, I'd say you get nothing out of this deal. Sorry about that. I had to revise this area because I forgot to add the chances of riding each other grade and the multiply them together. I knew the answer couldn't be 2-3% below.
|He's better-vere than you|
That joke was terrible...
- No reliance on Blaster Blade by chance
- Small reliance on Exculpate for chance
- Synergy with the existing deck setup
- No ride-screwing because you'll have at least 9 other ridable grade 3s
A deck tagged with "red text" in its notes are card selections that are possible in casual play, not tournament play. All other non-red card selections are for competitive tournament play.
|Alfredo Sauce||Grailbearer (Galahad)|
|Grade 0: 17 ||Grade 0: 17 |
|Swan Soul||Dragon Quest (Galahad)|
|Grade 0: 17 ||Grade 0: 17 |
|Bark Bark Doggies :V|
|Grade 0: 17 |
Estimated Deck Cost: $205/215 | $180/150 | $140/160/190 | $125 | $233 USDClosing notes: Paladins have actually come down in cost. They're still extremely expensive, but now, Oracles are the most expensive clan. Even the budget deck isn't the cheapest one. Basically, there's no advice here. Buy singles and go cheap. If you can get Llew for $5 or under, put him in. He should be coming down in value now that Barcgal is restricted in official tournaments. It's my experience that the Swan Soul build is the best currently available for consistency and raw domination. Other builds included for variety and building them based on your older Paladins before the format change.