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Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Deep Clan: Royal Paladin

Royal Paladin
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
The clan actually has multiple viable builds even in English. There's a Lohengrin power build, an Alfred premium build, a Galahad, and a Dragon-focus build, and all kinds of proper mix-mashes inbetween. The Trial Deck is, unfortunately, one of the worst the game has; offering you little in the way of what you actually need for this clan.

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, King of Knights (*coughArthurKingofCamelot*). Geoffrey of Monmouth inspiration aside, Alfred sports a bad defensive power but a skill that allows him to bring out any Grade 2 or less Paladin for counterblast 3. You see where using Blaster Blade more than once can interfere with Alfred. He gives you a +1 that also empowers him, so not using this effect can ruin you. I see this guy constantly played wrong. People will put their Marron or Pongal behind their Grade 1 or 2 and then Ride Alfred. If you have Alfred in your hand, call Barcgal or Lake Maiden Lien freaking behind the vangaurd position, not off to the side, and get him behind Alfred. Since Alfred can't be boosted, you can just rest Barcgal every turn for a card that empowers Alfred. That's about the only way you can make Barcgal generate good plusses though not in competitive play.

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
Another card that's almost always played wrong is Soul Saver Dragon. Let's first go over how easy she is to get out. As most of you know, Future Knight Llew has a counterblast: 1 that lets you send him, Flogal and Barcgal to the soul to superior ride Blaster Blade from the deck. If you do the math, that's 5 cards in the soul the moment you ride any Grade 3 on top of him. If that Grade 3 is Soul Saver Dragon, you can immediately soulblast for her effect. Just a few problems: You need to have rear-guard units out to get the best from her effect. We just minused our rear-guard boosters by putting them into the soul. This means you have to call from your hand a turn early, and that assumes you even have units you can call. And it's casual only, obviously.

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...
Okay, I have to do this. I have to talk about freaking Gancelot. This is a card that gets too much love. First why you should not love him: Gancelot is a terrible terrible defender. With 9000, he makes you guard out all of your shielding too early. You might want to take some damage to activate his effect but that's actually another problem with him. His Critical +1 requires counterblast 2. So let's say it hits and you deal 2 damage successfully. Good job, you just equalized the 2 damage you had to take in order to use his effect. Worse: you activate his effect twice for counter-4 and get off 3 damage. You just saw diminishing returns on your damage relative to what you opponent did to you. You also have to run either your 7000 or 8000 booster behind him because otherwise, he doesn't even hit for 2 stages naturally. Using Gancelot as anything other than an equalizer or a searcher for Blaster Blade is retarded.

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.
Oh my god, they gave Paladins a Jet Black Poet, Amon. They gave them the Aspiring Amon too. Borgal is just one of those cards that are too good not to put in your deck when you know you can get cards into your soul. If you're playing a Galahad, Pendragon, or Lohengrin deck, you pretty much want Borgal, even over Marron if you have to. Being a 9000 booster, usually by Mid game, is pretty amazing and especially in a clan that already has great support. Considering Barcgal is now restricted from tournament play, you would be leaving your starting vanguard in the soul (whichever one you choose). That means that you are only 3 soul away from Borgal's condition once Mid game hits, assuming you didn't soulcharge something in the mean-time. If you're in Galahad, you're only 1 soul away (and his skill is redundant with Galahad's, making him an excellent pick for that deck).


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
I've been talking about Galahad, and here he is. This is Royal Paladin's twin to Tsukuyomi, making him a Rank 2 ride chain.

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"
I've raved about the new soul mechanics in Royal Paladins a lot so far. What all ties it together is Lohengrin—a card undeserving of his bad reputation. Megablasters can be pretty bad due to their heavy reliance on a "one gambit per game" mentality which shuts down other good options. In addition, his effect is on-hit which makes a lot of people weary of running him. Fortunately, megablast is not his only effect, contrary to what most peoples' eyes are apparently telling them. His soulcharge and power gain ability is the primary one you'll be using in soul paladins.

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
I've joked before about how bad Pendragon is, but now I have to write about what he can do seriously. Let's actually start with lore first. Pendragon represents Uther Pendragon (the father of Arthur) much the same way that Alfred represents Arthur Pendragon. His skill replaces himself with another vanguard, in the way that Uther replaced himself as king with Arthur after his death. Unfortunately, I couldn't draw on my knowledge of "A Matter of Britain" lore to figure out a good use for this card as using his skill to superior ride Alfred didn't really do anything special.

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
to live!
The ultimate god of the rear-guard zone, Palamedes. Usually incorrectly pronounced; it's "Pah-lah-mee-deez". Four syllables, not three. This guy may not seem special to newer players but actually he is. His effect is conditionless, period. It does not say "If the number of other Grade 3" it says "If the number of Grade 3". This means that his skill is instantly in use when you call him out. No, really. You're going to call him after you Ride your Grade 3. Once you do that, you fulfill his requirements completely and he's a 13000 versus any target.

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.

With Set 4, Royal Paladins get a nice consistency boost and a much-needed diversity increase to their card pool. Fang of Light Garmore kicks off a brand new deck that ties a lot of older cards into four new cards "Fang of Light, Garmore", "Beast Knight, Garmore", "Snowgal", and "Bluegal". Snowgal and Bluegal start at 6000 and 4000 respectively and each gain +1000 for each other Snowgal or Bluegal respectively. Bluegal is a Starting Vanguard who doesn't gain much of an increase even with a field full of himself, which also ends up making for a very poor field (and a very poor chance to properly ride Grade 1).

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).


Both Garmores share a skill as well. Beast Knight and Fang of Light both have a condition where if either enter the field, you can discard a Royal Paladin in your hand and search for Snowgal or Bluegal. Since Bluegal won't be in the deck, most likely you'll search for Snowgal. This adds massive consistency to the deck by allowing you to get rid of extra copies of Fang of Light or other Grade 3s you no longer need. It also means that you can convert any attacker or Draw Trigger into a very good booster. On the order of 8000 power vanilla good.

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
Set 5 hits us with Starcall Trumpeter, which is very similar to Akane. When you call it, for counterblast 2 you can search out a "Blaster" of grade 2 or less and call it. This is an interesting way to gain +1 since essentially its only target is Blaster Blade unless you run some weird Shadow-Royal hybrid. So it's a pretty neat unit for what it does, and definitely gets you that second Grade 2 in a pinch if your main deck doesn't rely on counterblast use a whole lot. On the opposite end of that, Akane can get you a pretty nice booster. While Akane is used to set up massive consistency in most Royal Paladin Decks, I only see Starcall being used as a tech with maybe one or two copies.

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
Sage of Guidance Zenon. I won't pretend I have much to say about this guy except "there isn't much to say". His skill is to give a second chance at a better vanguard, or at least that's the best I can make of it. Royal Paladin doesn't have a way to stack cards on top of your deck, which is unfortunate because that kind of destroys the point of this card, where it could otherwise be used to increase the chances of getting the proper Grade 3 for your deck's main gambit. As it stands, you have two different probability numbers to consider when you can use this card. Since re-riding grade 1 is essentially useless in Royals, the best bet is either at Grade 2 or Grade 3. Assuming a 14-11-8 Grade ratio:

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!?
Here's a fun game: let's count the number of negative effects Exculpate has: Cannot be ridden without a grade 3 royal paladin vanguard. Cannot be called. Cannot attack without Blaster Blade in the soul. Empties your soul and puts a weak 9k unit onto your (V). So right there, four bad things. Two of which (cannot ride without a grade 3 and cannot be called) make it a pseudo-grade 4, where it has essentially all the properties of a far more restricted grade 4. Also you won't ever use the 12000 defense of this unit. Unless you just love taking a minus by not getting a vanguard attack with Twin Drive!! then you'll instantly have a 9000 power defender at the end of that turn. Thus the 12000 is only for attacking purposes.

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.

Let's face it, Exculpate is a mess of a card. Super scrunched text, ten goddamn lines of effects (some of which could be smaller or combined), and mega-conditional skills for obscene output. This isn't a card that belongs in Vanguard at the least. But despite all of that, what you actually end up looking at is a really conditional Counterblast 3 for +3. Is it good? Let's not be hasty. Even if you wipe out your opponent (which is great for quality control, something Kagero and Narukami do well), then you have a weak vanguard that can easily be taken advantage of. Since it's likely late game, as any other time to use Exculpate is suicide, then they now only have to call their whole hand for 14000 columns and bleed you dry all in one turn.

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%

Ten Kaaaaaaaay~
Consider the following: If Exculpate generates +5 at most, and -2 at least, then that's +3 total. Using the Game Theory formula for expected payoffs (multiply probability of the outcome by the value of the outcome), then you get 0.3573 * 3.0 = ~1. So you actually get an expected value of +1 per game when you factor in whether or not Exculpate even can go live. (Also you do the same thing for his cost of counterblast 3, but we know it's identical so it's counterblast 1). Counterblast 1 for +1 on average.

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...
A lower ride chance and one-third chance at something like Vermillion with so many vulnerabilities and conditions hardly speaks to a worthwhile run in a normal competitive deck. However, and this is a big however: in casual play, you can take a Barcgal-Brigitte deck and modify it to include some Exculpates. You'll be guaranteed the chance for a Blaster Blade, and even more so if you use Gancelots to return themselves to the deck (for Brigitte) to get the remaining Blasters. Eventually, you'll get an Exculpate you can use. The beauty of this system is:
  • 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
Then you have something along the lines of a semi-true Vermillion for Royal Paladin. Unfortunately, it's a casual-only deck as Barcgal is restricted. But I thought I'd mention it for people looking to make use of this. As for the competitive analysis: I have to be very thorough in the way this card is handled, because it's just too high-profile to have some half-assed blurb written about it. There's way too much going on in this card to just say "it's good" or "it sucks" and leave it there without proving it. I can't say I wouldn't just rather cut the hassle and pay one less counterblast for one less retire on average by calling a single Blaster Blade. Or pay one more counterblast for the same number of retires on average by calling two Blaster Blades. It's onto the decks!

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
  • 1Wingal Brave. Starting Vanguard. Our only options now are him and Drangal.
  • 4 Alabaster Owl. First critical trigger.
  • 4 Future Knight Llew/Margal. Second Critical Trigger. You can run Margal instead if you need to save money but Llew is not worthless just because Barcgal is restricted. He's our only way to run a set of 3 criticals. And 3 criticals works wonders for making up Royals' lack of previous consistency with pure power.
  • 4 Bringer of Good Luck, Epona. Third Critical Trigger. We really like critical triggers in Paladins.
  • 4 Yggdrasil Maiden, Elaine. Heal trigger
Grade 1: 14
  • 4 Flash Shield, Iseult. Staple perfect guard
  • 4 Little Sage, Marron. Staple vanilla booster
  • 3 Toypugal. Use with Palamedes for scary columns.
  • 3 Lake Maiden Lien/Pongal. We needed some more boosters as well as a neat card-floater. Note: do not play this retardedly. Do not pop this behind a vanguard and then sit there attacking for 1 stage every freaking turn. Put it behind Alfred if you want to use the effect all the time. Use Pongal as a replacement for this if you chose to run Margal draw triggers (to build soul for SSD).
Grade 2: 11
  • 4 Blaster Blade. Like Berserk Dragon but on crack. Do not use the kill flippantly though, as Paladins usually counterblast to gain something, not to kill something.
  • 4 Knight of Truth, Gordon. Non-soul based Paladin decks have a ton of extra Grade 2 wiggle room. This will help greatly with shield and you have plenty of good boosters for it.
  • 3 Knight of Silence, Gallatin. Just about anything can go here.
Grade 3: 8
  • 3 King of Knights, Alfred. Required for the deck to function. Call your units in conjunction with Palamedes for a devastating field.
  • 3 Swordsman of Exploding Flames, Palamedes. Staple in every non-soul Paladin deck. Get them out and keep them out. You can replace up to 2 of these with Gigantech Chargers if you need a more budget build. Do not put in more than 2 as riding Gigantech is disasterous.
  • 2 Holy Disaster Dragon/Knight of Conviction Bors/Soul Saver Dragon. First off, if you chose Margals, go with Soul Saver Dragon. If not, try to get your hands on Holy Disaster Dragon. Use its skill wisely. If you fail at all of that, Bors is always a reliable choice due to the deck having counterblast left over after either 1 Alfred or 2 Blaster Blades.
Grade 0: 17
  • 1 Drangal. Starting Vanguard. Required for the deck to work. Memorize what cards go to the bottom so you can plan until you shuffle the deck.
  • 4 Alabaster Owl. Critical Trigger.
  • 4 Bringer of Good Luck, Epona. We really like critical triggers in Paladins.
  • 4 Yggdrasil Maiden, Elaine. Heal trigger
  • 4 Margal. Draw Trigger. This is absolutely required for the deck and you will most likely have to soulcharge one or two Margals each game if you don't ride Lohengrin.
Grade 1: 14
  • 4 Flash Shield, Iseult. Staple perfect guard.
  • 2 Little Sage, Marron. Staple vanilla booster
  • 4 Borgal. Search these with Akane and try to put them everywhere. They're freaking invaluable for having 3/3/3 stage columns.
  • 4 Knight of Quests, Galahad. Required for the deck to function.
Grade 2: 10
  • 3 Gigantech Dozer. Obviously redundant with Galahad and Borgal. You can run Blaster Blade if you prefer instead.
  • 4 Knight of Tribulations, Galahad. Ride chain and required for the deck to work. If you miss this card, you need to ride Lohengrin and soulcharge until you get it. Memorize the crap he puts on the bottom of your deck until you can call Akane.
  • 3 High Dog Breeder, Akane. Really freaking important in this deck.
Grade 3: 9
  • 3 Knight of Godly Speed, Galahad. Required for the deck to function. If you miss any of the ride chain, do not ride this until Lohengrin can soulcharge them. This card is a semi-copy of his daddy Gancelot but with actually good power. You will need a margal in most games to get your 6th soul. You do not need 4 since you have the ability to superior ride him and you don't always even want to superior ride. Keep in mind, Galahad's ride chain is a mandatory effect, you must choose to look at those 5 cards and put the rest at the bottom, even if you're not forced to ride one. Once this guy is out, you can play Akane and shuffle you deck.
  • 3 Swordsman of Exploding Flames, Palamedes. Hardcore staple in this deck. The only way this isn't a staple is if you're running 4 Lohengrins and therefore running Young Pegasus Knight in your Grade 1 lineup. That's a more budget version that you can choose.
  • 3 Demon Slaying Knight, Lohengrin. What needs to be said? Stage 3 vanguard with the 9k boosters and builds soul for Galahad.

Swan Soul Dragon Quest (Galahad)
Grade 0: 17
  • 1 Wingal Brave. Yeah...not much to say here. No room to run Galahad's ride chain since our Grade 1 lineup is full. But at least we don't minus our opening ride.
  • 4 Alabaster Owl. First critical trigger.
  • 4 Future Knight Llew/Margal. Second Critical Trigger. You can run Margal instead if you need to save money but Llew is not worthless just because Barcgal is restricted. He's our only way to run a set of 3 criticals. And 3 criticals works wonders for making up Royals' lack of previous consistency with pure power.
  • 4 Bringer of Good Luck, Epona. Third Critical Trigger. We really like critical triggers in Paladins.
  • 4 Yggdrasil Maiden, Elaine. Heal trigger
Grade 1: 14
  • 4 Flash Shield, Iseult. Staple perfect guard
  • 4 Young Pegasus Knight. Place behind Lohengrin to get 9k boost every turn. Try to fill your field with these or Borgals.
  • 4 Borgal. Amazing booster like Pegasus Knight. This takes almost no time in this deck, so Marron is actually not better since this card is essentially conditionless.
  • 2 Pongal. Obviously get Soul Saver Dragon. Replace with Marron if you choose not to run SSD.
Grade 2: 11
  • 4 Great Sage, Barron. May seem like an odd choice, but remember that this is Lohengrin. His 11k swings alone or for 20k in front of the boosters. Very much exploits weak vanguards. You can choose to run Blaster Blades or Gallatins if you prefer.
  • 4 Gigantech Dozer. At least run this if you don't run Barron. Basically conditionless 11k in this deck.
  • 3 High-Dog Breeder, Akane. Use to get out Borgals. Delicious Borgals. In this deck, she sets up her own column perfectly. Next turn just intercept with her and lay down your Stage 3 attacker.
Grade 3: 8
  • 4 Demon Slaying Knight, Lohengrin. Required for the deck to function. Ride ASAP. Ride anytime you get him. This card must be on the vanguard position as quickly as possible.
  • 3 Swordsman of Exploding Flames, Palamedes/Swordsman of the Twin Shine, Marhaus. Either of these will do. If you prefer to be able to hit rear-guards for insane damage, go Palamedes. If you chose not to run Soul Saver, and therefore to run Marron instead of Pongal, also go with Palamedes but Marhaus is even more acceptable then.
  • 1 Soul Saver Dragon/Holy Disaster Dragon. If you go with the default build, you want SSD. Use it as a game ender if you can't megablast because you used Akane. Megablasting in this deck is actually common if you get your columns set up before Akane, but in case you can't, there's Soul Saver. This is not really a main gambit. That means you can run Disaster Dragon instead if SSD is too expensive. Use Disaster as a convenient way to ditch excess Lohengrins since you'd prefer to have Palamedes out instead. This converts a useless card into another stage of power.
Grade 0: 17
  • 1 Drangal. Starting Vanguard. Required for the deck to work. Memorize what cards go to the bottom so you can plan until you shuffle the deck.
  • 4 Alabaster Owl. Critical Trigger.
  • 4 Bringer of Good Luck, Epona. We really like critical triggers in Paladins.
  • 4 Yggdrasil Maiden, Elaine. Heal trigger
  • 4 Margal. Draw Trigger. This is absolutely required for the deck and you will most likely have to soulcharge one or two Margals each game if you don't ride Lohengrin.
Grade 1: 14
  • 4 Flash Shield, Iseult. Staple perfect guard.
  • 2 Pongal. Required for our getting Soul Saver Dragon.
  • 4 Toypugal. Used with Palamedes in RG or Lohengrin/Galahad(with ability) in VG for Stage 3 columns. Running this over Borgal due to final Soul Saver gambit.
  • 4 Knight of Quests, Galahad. Required for the deck to function.
Grade 2: 10
  • 3 Knight of Silence, Gallatin. Needed over Dozer due to using Soul Saver as final Gambit and he scales with +5000 powers.
  • 4 Knight of Tribulations, Galahad. Ride chain and required for the deck to work. If you miss this card, you need to ride Lohengrin and soulcharge until you get it. Memorize the crap he puts on the bottom of your deck until you can call Akane.
  • 3 High Dog Breeder, Akane. Really freaking important in this deck.
Grade 3: 9
  • 3 Knight of Godly Speed, Galahad. Required for the deck to function. If you miss any of the ride chain, do not ride this until Lohengrin can soulcharge them. This card is a semi-copy of his daddy Gancelot but with actually good power. You will need a margal in most games to get your 6th soul. You do not need 4 since you have the ability to superior ride him and you don't always even want to superior ride. Keep in mind, Galahad's ride chain is a mandatory effect, you must choose to look at those 5 cards and put the rest at the bottom, even if you're not forced to ride one. Once this guy is out, you can play Akane and shuffle you deck.
  • 1 Soul Saver Dragon. Use as a final gambit once you get 5 soul (easy) and want to go for final turn. If you're feeling cramped by the lineup, you can run 2 Soul Saver for safety reasons and knock down one Lohengrin.
  • 3 Demon Slaying Knight, Lohengrin. If you don't get Galahad's full chain off, ride this card instead and chain them into each other. .
  • 2 White Dragon Knight, Pendragon. If you don't get Galahad's full chain off, ride this card instead and chain them into each other or into Soul Saver Dragon.

Bark Bark Doggies :V
Grade 0: 17
  • 1 Wingal Brave. You are not using this for blaster blade. You are only using it because its a retreating vanguard that gives you an early game booster. For casual play: run Barcgal and try to get a 6th soul.
  • 4 Alabaster Owl. First critical trigger.
  • 4 Future Knight Llew/Margal. Second Critical Trigger. You can run Margal instead if you need to save money but Llew is not worthless just because Barcgal is restricted. He's our only way to run a set of 3 criticals. And 3 criticals works wonders for making up Royals' lack of previous consistency with pure power. For casual play: Run 2 Llew, 2 Flogal.
  • 4 Bringer of Good Luck, Epona. Third Critical Trigger. We really like critical triggers in Paladins. For casual play: Run 4 Margal and try to soulcharge 1.
  • 4 Yggdrasil Maiden, Elaine. Heal trigger
Grade 1: 13
  • 4 Flash Shield, Iseult. Staple perfect guard. Sorry, you just can't get around this thing even if it's budget.
  • 4 Snowgal. You probably don't even need to mulligan for one of these as an opening booster. Most likely, you'll have to ride one or damage check one at some point, so it's not a problem if you lost just 1. You do not want to lose 2 though. This is the backbone of your deck. You will not always get the proper setup with this. It's your priority since your Garmore vanguard hits 3 stages, but sometimes you either minus too heavily by calling over other boosters, or you just don't get it.
  • 2 Little Sage, Marron. Staple Vanilla Booster. If you need boosters before your Snowgal formation goes off, this is a good replacement.
  • 3 Borgal / Toypugal. Just mostly for use as another consistent booster. This is again if you can't get Snowgal or Marron. Most likely you can, so Toypugal often ends up as fodder or shield. The relationship between Marron and Toypugal/Borgal counts can be adjusted due to Akane.
Grade 2: 11
  • 4 Beast Knight, Garmore. Use to get a Snowgal out.
  • 4 Hi-Dog Breeder, Akane. Use to get a Snowgal out.
  • 3 Blaster Blade. This is basically your only use of counterblast once Snowgals are accounter for. That's perfectly okay, too since Blaster Blade nets us a +1. You can also run anything else here that you desire, but for casual play this must remain a Blaster Blade.
Grade 3: 9
  • 3 Fang of Light, Garmore. Required for the deck to function. Ride this and use it to get any missing Snowgal. Not necessary at four since you might want soul for the other backup boosters first.
  • 3 Swordsman of Exploding Flames, Palamedes/Swordsman of the Twin Shine, Marhaus/Holy Disaster Dragon. Any of these will work. Palamedes being preferred due to the prominence of 8000 power. Marhaus only as a last resort since most times he can only reach 20k. Marhaus is more usable in the Casual Play version of the deck due to Borgal (and you can change the Marrons into Toypugals to help) but Palamedes is still greatly preferred.
  • 3 Demon Slaying Knight, Lohengrin. Works great for the tournament version since it gets the extra soul you need to fuel your boosters. For casual play, this can be Alfred Early / Soul Saver Dragon (at 2), with Garmore at 4, or any other random tech at 2.

Estimated Deck Cost: $205/215 | $180/150 | $140/160/190 | $125 | $233 USD
Closing 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.

100 comments:

  1. Gancelot is certainly not "required" for Majesty Lord Blaster builds. In fact, I've found the opposite to be true. Considering the fact that you only need to use Majesty Lord Blaster's effect once to get Blaster Blade and Blaster Dark into your soul (and it only makes you lose advantage to do it more than once), it is a complete waste of space to run an otherwise useless grade 3 like Gancelot in your deck just to search for Blaster Blade.

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    1. What would your suggestion be for the second Grade 3 set? I'm not as fluent in the Japanese metagame as the English so my suggestion comes from my own analysis of the deck. I find Gancelot makes the deck much more consistent at getting the proper Blaster when needed. It's much harder to search Blaster Dark unless you both use Fullbau as your Vanguard and ride Blaster Javelin on top of it—which I've been told is vastly inferior to starting with Wingal Brave. If you could let me know the better alternative, that'd be great. Hah, and people wonder why I don't often comment on the Japanese metagame.

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    2. By "second Grade 3 set," I assume you mean a Majesty Lord Blaster build's grade 3 lineup? If so, I've found that running simply

      4 Majesty Lord Blaster
      3 Swordsman of Exploding Flames, Palomides
      1 Soul Saver Dragon

      works just fine alongside sane counts of Blaster Blade and Blaster Dark, alongside Wingal Brave, of course. If you're feeling particularly adventurous, you can even throw in a copy of Alfred Early to make riding Blaster Blade and even using his ability a possibility without ruining consistency. Builds incorporating King of Knights, Alfred are perfectly viable and good, too. Royal Paladins slim the deck and such so often that it isn't really worth it to run cards whose only purpose are to search for the ingredients of a one-off combo.

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    3. Oh, and one more thing. I don't want to come off as too standoffish or anything. I absolutely love your articles, even if playing since the game came out led me to learning most of these things myself. You make it easy to understand these more complex topics that would normally take a new player significant amounts of time and practice to find out themselves. Keep it up!

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    4. That's great, but I welcome criticism and dialogue! :) I enjoyed reading your solution to MLB and I'll probably throw in some Alfred Early and Palomedes (WHY DO YOU EXIST?) for hilarious shenanigans.

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    5. gance isn't needed for MLB decks but only using it once?u mad bro? MLb skill spammers can easily get mlb to ove 30k with using it's skill and this wins most of the the MLB's games

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  2. Cardfighter from SGJuly 30, 2012 at 8:16 PM

    Hey Alice!
    I've been reading your articles for a long while now. Thank you so much for you in-depth analysis for VG!

    I've been wondering about Holy Disaster Dragon for a while now since he's come out in the English Promo Packs.

    What do you think about him? I think he's a pretty hard hitting RG should one have enough draws to sustain him and hand size. 6 Crit, 6 Draws?

    What do you think?

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    1. Truth be told, I have not yet tested this card. So anything I say is me asspulling a first impression only from reading the card and thinking about it, and not from actual testing like the rest of what I say. Meaning I'll likely have to eat my words.

      This card seems to be, to be something where you trade a card in hand for 1 stage of power. Now that doesn't actually mean he hits for 2 stages by himself, since opposing vanguards can be 11k. It also can only be used once when you declare the attack, and cannot be spammed. Anything you put behind him has to make best use of this. With either a Marron or Toypugal behind him, he can reach 3 stages against anything in the game including crossrides. So at first glance, he seems to be a crossride killer.

      His discard effect would definitely warrant more draw triggers. Additionally, it should be noted that I believe this can serve as a useful alternative to Palamedes until you can afford them. As well as being run in decks that don't have all 4 Iseults since you will lack discards for your fodder.

      I'm pretty split on how I'd construct a normal deck that includes him though. I'll get back to you if I get any ideas.

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    2. Cardfighter from SGAugust 2, 2012 at 8:30 AM

      Thanks Alice, please do test them!
      I've heard people offering a really high price for Holy Disaster Dragon, and it seems he's even more wanted that Palamedes!

      The person who used Holy Disaster Dragon went rogue and built his deck around Soul Saviour Dragon, and the Dorangal ride chain for consistent rides. He also used Pongal to tutor for SSD when he needed it. With 6 draws and 6 crits, he said he had no problem forcing the opponent to guard heavily whenever HDD and SSD were out. Its probably a matter of preference.

      Maybe you could work out a list from here and test it out! Hope that helps!

      Delete
  3. whats the biggest weakness of RP what should I aim for I use tachikaze if that helps

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    1. Attacking their rear-guard early and often shuts down most every play they do (Alfred, Soul Saver Dragon, killing Palamedes, etc). Depleting specific key cards can help you win pretty easily. You have to slow down the game and rush all of your field to hitting their rears every turn that they come out, usually sparing 1 Vanguard attack each turn. That's, coincidentally, how you beat Nova stand decks too.

      If you use Tachikaze, no easy way to say this, I recommend waiting for Set 8. They have no "weakness" strictly speaking, but all the cards are very underpowered right now. It's really tough to win with them.

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    2. wow that was a quick reply thank you I thought it was something like I just didn't know where I should draw the line and start going after the vanguard. Also I think I should buy the cards now just in case the price goes up. The only thing I don't like about them is after deathrex all their grade threes suck. Is their anything else I should kick out besides the other grade 3.

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    3. Tachikaze won't be going up. They're all commons and rares right now. The only two foils in Set 3 are a cheap RRR that no one will run and the RR perfect guard.

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    4. some people hate that but I love the cheap cards. I wish they would give us some tachikaze spoilers already.

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    5. also same guy when you called Alfred Geoffrey was that a fire emblem path of radiance reference because I was playing that game when I read that.

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    6. No...I haven't played that. Alfred is King Arthur Pendragon. Geoffrey of Monmouth is an iconic figure who popularized the Arthur stories in Britain.

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    7. well they look the same so now I know where Geoffrey from fire emblem came from

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    8. Could be that's where he came from.

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  4. When will you be writting up on Shadow Paladins? I know its unrelated and still about 130 days till enough are in english with Eclipse of Illusionary Shadows booster, but I figured Royal Paladins would be an appropriate page to ask. I love all your in depth pages. Its helping me teach a few friends better than if I didnt have your help. Thanks again!

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    Replies
    1. I typically write on a clan 1-2 months close to the english release date.

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    2. Well I look forward to the future clan overviews. So far I've been using your Bizzarblue set up (replaced my Spectral Duke Dragon Deck) as a placeholder till I get a better grasp on the other clans or Shadows are released in english. I like the idea of them, but we'll see.

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  5. Since Palamedes is in Set 3 which will be released within a week, will you be posting the Palamedes "Power" build soon?

    I hate asking questions like this but my friends are trying to build this deck and I don't know a damn thing about the Royal Paladins.

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    1. Yes. the Pegasus Lohengrin build uses Palamedes, and it's one of my personal favorites. It'll be posted.

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    2. Alice, I've been reading your stuff and I wanted to say that I thought you were awesome. But with this latest post, I love you even more! Why? Because I play a Lohengrin Pegasus build with Palamedes and I just love the crazy intense power it can have.

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    3. It's really nice because it reaches columns with 3/4/3 stages easily.

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  6. i dont like the idea of playing galahad-Soul saver with borgals and gigantech dozers, just because soul saver eats your soul and borgal and gigantech dozer will be really weak, together hitting stage 1(!). i'm playing an build, based on galahad and soul saver with palamedes as rearguard beatstick. so instead of using borgals and gigantech dozers, i use the slots for toypugals and , gallatins and gordons. i never tried borgal and gigantech dozer, just because i thibk they are to weak eith soul saver in this deck. and i really like the synergy of soul saver with galahad

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ugh. Yeah I just realized what you meant. Those are not supposed to be there. It's an oversight due to copypasting from the first Galahad build above and forgetting to change it. Thanks for pointing that out. I was like "Why is he complaining about Dozer/Borgal in the SSD Galahad build?"

      Haha.

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    2. now i understand, but i still dont like the high amount of toypugals in the galahad ssd build. i prefer playing 2, because they are too weak if you dont have any other grade 3 in the rear. so i use the slots for marrons, solid 8k booster bringing palamedes and soul saver (vg) on 21k. also i like playing 3 pongals and 2 soul saver dragons, because they are the backup plan if the chain fails. pongal searches ssd and marron fills up the missing card in the soul for ssd's effect. and in my opinion lohengrin kills the slots for other grade 2 units, even though he can soulcharge and "maybe" getting the missing parts of the chain into the soul. but its a bit too weak.
      so with 3 pongals and 2 ssd the ssd is a backup that works fine the most of the time, because akanes gettin the pongals getting ssd is really constant. also you should play 2 ssd, because it can happen that one gets into the damagezone. even without his soulblast he attacks for 20-22k, no matter who boosts it(except iseult).

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    3. If you don't pull off the ride chain, it's hard as hell to get off SSD. You need a good amount of Lohengrins. Feel free to have your opinion, but know that this set up is what did empirically best in testing.

      Delete
  7. Hi Alice!
    Do you think maindecking Barcgal is a good idea?

    Greetings from Peru ;)

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    1. It's an option, but really improbable to use the Llew superior ride. If you check my article on Barcgal, you'll note that he's nothing special without Llew. Those calls he makes aren't very good.

      Delete
  8. Hey Alice, just wanted to ask you a question. With the Soul Charge Paladin deck, do you think that the traditional Alfred-Palamedes Deck is somewhat outdated?

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    1. I personally prefer the Swan Soul build due to its consistency and wide range of power. It hits like a Mack truck.

      Delete
  9. Hey alice do you like alfred eary, is he a viable choice for an alfred premium build instead of say... soul saver

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    1. Only if you play Barcgal. Getting Blaster Blade in the soul is hard without him. With Barcgal, Alfred Early is a great tech.

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    2. Oh and specifically, I mean Barcgal as the starting Vanguard.

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  10. The profile pic and status. That is all.

    http://www.wattpad.com/user/Just_Chris_Gill

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    Replies
    1. Aww that is too sweet. And very nice job on the carving!

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  11. Does Barcgal have any place in Royal Paladins as a kind of tech choice? Or is it far too inconsistent?

    ReplyDelete
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    1. I never did like Barcgal as anything other than a starting Vanguard. Once you hit Grade 2, that's it; Barcgal has no meaning other than as a 10k shield. And even if you do manage to get it, you are using Barcgal as a security ride to Grade 2, but this involves minusing yourself two triggers in the deck (one of which has to be a Stand, which doesn't fit the RP stategy) and cutting out more consistent cards.

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    2. It really has a lot of issues. You're sure as hell not using it with Llew to make your Grade 2 ride consistent. Meaning no 5 soul. So the only thing he's good for as for "tech" is calling shitty flogal boosters. Which we all know doesn't make any sort of sense if you want an actually good set of columns. Maybe if you do something like 1 Barcgal, ride Akane CB:2 put Barcgal behind vanguard, ride Alfred, then rest him for 2 Flogals and call Marhaus/Palamedes in front of them for 2-stage columns. But that's not only extremely situational, but unoptimal since Marhaus can make 21k with 9k boosters and Palamedes is better served for 8k boosters. All of which are doable with the same card: Akane. So it's best to just go for the 3-stages, free cards or not.

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  12. For fang of light garmore build the gr 1 lineup i don't understand it says 13 gr 1 but you have 4 iseult 4 marron 4 snogal and 2 toypugal how does that = 13? , do you run 1 toypugal?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Whoops that's an error due to my original alt recommendation of Marhaus over Palamedes (Marhaus + 9k = 3 stages). Fixed

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  13. I'm thinking of making Galahad + Garmore. In my oppinion Garmore just works well in most decks and they will allow you to redo the mess that Galahad made in the bottom of the deck. What do you think about it?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I really wish Bushiroad didn't release two goddamn cards named Garmore in different clans. That's so confusing.

      Anyway, your idea about shuffling the deck is completely sound. It also works as a backup if you fail Galahad royally. So yep, go for it. There's just no decklist up because I don't want to have like 600 variants of Galahad :P

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    2. Ok, thanks :D

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    3. Yep :D
      Also one of our members thought up a decklist for you to test if you like:

      Drangal
      8/4/4 Crit/Draw/Heal
      4 Galahad / 4 Snogal / 4 Iseult / 2 Marron
      4 Galahad / 2 Akane / 4 Garmall
      3 Galahad / 3 Palamedes / 3 Garmall

      I approve of this build. Use Akane and BeastKnight to shuffle the deck when you screw it up. Ride Garmall when you fail to get the ride chain. Everything else is obvious since 3-stage columns are the meat of the deck.

      Delete
  14. hey alice, what a nice read i've got through here :D
    are you planning on writing about majesty lord blaster?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I understand your stance on it, but I don't agree with the "If I don't cover it, it doesn't exist, nope, nope, nope." Obviously not, but that's what it seems to communicate with that move. If anything do an analysis on how to play against it, since people are gonna play it anyway.

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    2. >"If I don't cover it, it doesn't exist, nope, nope, nope."
      Don't misrepresent me like this. I don't cover it because it's a waste of my and your time. If you want to know what to play post BT05, it's Dragonic Overlord The End and only Dragonic Overlord The End. Just spam up with vanillas and rear-guard killers and presto: windeck!

      It's a boring slog of garbage and not worth my time to cover, nor the time of readers to read anything else on this site. I'm not going to cover how to play against it because the suggestion is: Make The End with 18k columns and play against that same exact deck.

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    3. I still believe that it's worth covering, if only for the fact that, even if you don't like it, people WILL be using it and the meta will probably be infested with this deck and The End. People who want to play stuff that isn't crossrides will still have to play against them, so I don't understand why you are so adamant about not covering them if only for the benefit of the players who will go against them. And we know that last suggestion is a lazy and angry advice that doesn't help at all and that there is in fact helpful things that can come out from analyzing them. My 2 cents.

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    4. And on a tiny bit unrelated note. What is your stance on the BT08 and BT09 crossrides? Do you think that they are more balanced due to the limit break restrictions? Can I expect some coverage from those cards? (Ex. G Daiyusha which is pretty much accepted by the community as a balanced card, and even underwhelming.) Sorry if this was posted somewhere else.

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    5. Covering it doesn't help anyone. Here, I can do it in one sentence:
      Put as much vanilla in your deck as possible just so you can hit 18k reliably.

      There. Now guess which decks do that the best? Crossrides. Because they have the support for it. Consquently, they're also the decks with the better defense. And The End is the best crossride. Hence what I said earlier becomes: Just play The End. If players want to be competitive, this is the only way to do it. So I've already covered it and answered your question. It's not an "angry" or "lazy" response, it really is just that simple. Quit misrepresenting me like this.

      No, they're not balanced. Nothing with a 13k body that isn't properly costed is balanced. It ruins the game and makes everything vanilla.

      Delete
    6. Pretty sure she already explained that when she said "use The End".

      Delete
    7. Because if she write about Crossrides, it would just be one post with a DOTE decklist and an explanation of how to use it and why it's the only deck you should use. When "competitive" Vanguard devolves into one top deck, there's no point in a player pretending they're competitive while still using other decks. At best you're setting yourself up for failure. At worst, you're arrogantly implying you can win with a handicap against anyone. By ignoring 3 broken cards, you can avoid all of that and the rest of the clans stay competitive.

      Delete
    8. I wouldn't read an article saying how good are crossrides. I know that already. I want to know how actual fun and strategy-based decks work to understand them better and make myself a better player.

      DOTE beats all? Not new.

      Delete
  15. All right. I don't agree, but since you've made your mind already and don't even consider leaving space to analyze the Crossride decks on how to play against them (Not play them, mind you). Yes yes 18k collumns durr. But that's not the only thing there is to fighting agaisn't them. And if you seriously think that 18k collumns is the only thing about fighting DOTE and MLB, I don't see the point in pushing this discussion further. The cynical behavior towards crossrides doesn't help anyone, though.

    And nobody's misrepresting, that's how your actions come off.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dont forget Cross-ride stop any kind of RG column being able to hit 3 stages naturally, so deck whos winning image is multiple 3 stage attacks, is absolutely fucked, also this image proves exactly the problem with CRs

      http://i.imgur.com/scgJd.png

      Delete
    2. You're delusional if you think beating cross-rides is more than making up 18k columns and swinging. Your deck will be so vanilla doing that, it can't do anything else. Plus if you're not using one yourself, you're at a defensive disadvantage because the opponent doesn't need 18k, even if they themselves have a cross-ride deck.

      And yeah, you're misrepresenting her. It's in plain black and white (or dark gray and light gray). Multiple times you've just resorted to using words and over-simplified false summaries of her arguments.

      Sounds like you're the one who didn't want a real discussion.

      Delete
    3. Please list which deck strategies hit 18k while doing anything other than calling a 12k attacker, and a booster. Great Nature is about the only one I can think. And that deck has had like, zero tournament presence in Japan.

      Tsukuyomi is about the only deck I can think of that has multiple 12k attackers, but actually has a winning image that isn't some vanilla snoozefest.

      You may disagree that it boils down to "run The End" but The End decks by far seem to be the dominating tournament force in Japan. So dominating that Bushiroad felt the need to restrict the deck.

      Delete
    4. I'm pretty sure she doesn't mention anything about it one way or another because people who disagree will cause a shitstorm. Because they always do.

      Delete
    5. and conbrio to add to what u said 12k is vanilla too How can someone look at a power+ card and say it aint. u got 12ks, 10ks 8ks and whatever g3s. thats not even a real deck anymore its just like total vanilla. smh

      Delete
    6. Look guy, when people get this opinionated, the environment becomes toxic and any reply I give is going to fuel some fire on some side of it. The best course of action is to take this discussion to a proper medium for one that would be so long and involve opening so many cans of worms. You've brought up a lot of things that, in order for me to explain satisfactorily, you'd have to see a forum post for. So I encourage you to take any questions or concerns to the forums and make a thread in the Newbie Lounge. Blogger comments is just a terrible medium for lengthy discussions.

      Delete
    7. Fair enough, I didn't mean to start any flame wars, for what's worth.

      Delete
  16. Uhm, Alice? not to be a party pooper or anything, and I already know we're not gonna go into MLB and such, but just to quote about Star Call: "When you call it, for counterblast 2 you can search out a "Blaster" call it. This is an interesting way to gain +1 since essentially its only target is Blaster Blade (until Extra Booster 1 when we get Exculpate)" Uhm, right there, a problem. Star Call superior calls to the rear guard, Choosing Exculpate as a target basically just wastes 2 counterblasts, because one of exculpate's skills is "[AUTO]:When this card is placed on (RC), retire it." yeah, uhm.... yeah.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's been a very long time since I've looked at that travesty abortion of a card. Thanks for reminding me of that skill, I'll fix the article.

      Delete
  17. wondering why not soul saver as backup in garmore, as opposed to alfred early. lets you reach 3 stages as VG if you have snogals up but happen to miss garmore, and you can tech in pongals in g1 for more consistent riding, seeing as your g1 lineup isn't doing much else. Also maybe liens in G1 for fishing if you go first.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well if you read the notes, any random tech works. Actually the version most of us in the community play is 3/3/3. Garmr/Palamedes/Lohengrin. And then we go soul main body as backup to the snowgals. I'll probably update this deck list soon since it seems to be working better.

      Delete
  18. Hey Alice!

    I am having trouble making good columns for the swan soul build before 6 soul or before Lohengrin starts feeding cards into soul. Every booster and rear guard seems precious so I don't know when it's best to use them for guarding. Whats the game plan for swan soul? Any help would be great!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well you have 8 amazing boosters, or 10 if you don't use SSD. That's quite a lot and it's affordable to guard with some. Just consider that you need 4 total boosters on the field at some point. One to ride, 3 to call. What tempo you get those at is up to you. Before 6 soul is usually Early game up to Turn 3-4. Most games don't take that long to get it so it's not a problem if you sit on Borgals and YPKs for a while. Don't forget you have Akanes which can call Borgal. And if you don't run Pongal, you can run 2 Toypugal for more targets.

      Delete
  19. I abandoned my Royal Paladin deck in favor of my oh-so-fun Stern Blaukluger deck, but seeing my friend work the soul like crazy with the Dark Irregulars got me curious about the Swan-Soul build

    I don't follow it to a T just based on my play style, but regarding Borgal, how long should it take to reach 6 soul? I play casually so I use Barcal as my starter. Should I not call him to (R) so I can build up to 6 soul by turn 3 Lohengrin ride with a Margal soul charge? Or should I use his blaster blade combo and use up two of my trigger to fill up the soul faster?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. PFFFFT if you use Barcgal, that's 5 instant soul when you ride a Grade 3; 6 if it's Lohengrin. Without Barcgal (say, Bluegal) that's more along the lines of 5 turns from the very start of the game. So usually 2 turns after Grade 3 ride unless you have abundant Margals. Also Lohengrin makes Bluegal work. Lohengrin is seriously amazing, which is bizarre given how craptastical he is on his own.

      Don't bother with Barcgal's other effect that calls weak triggers to your field. That's not a plus unless you can MAKE it a plus, which is partially reliant on your opponent's deck choice and highly reliant on chance.

      Delete
    2. For the lohengrin build , when you saythat it can make bluegal work all i can see is putting him behind 11k g2 units minimun to hit for 2 stages. But unless i replace him with a better booster I can't make a stage 3 column there. Alternatively i could leave bluegal in the soul to hit 6 soul earlier, but minus my ride. Any advice on using bluegal?

      Delete
    3. Lohengrin with Bluegal is 16k.

      Delete
    4. That totally slipped my mind. I'm so used to 5k starters and moving it to rearguard columns. I guess I could call over him with a better booster when I have cards to spare. Thanks.

      Delete
    5. That's the idea. Bluegal behind lohengin vanguard, call over with YPK/Borgal/Toypugal when possible.

      Delete
    6. what is the preferred amount of lew vs margal for this build? also if i ride lohengrin and soulcharge first then play young pegasus does he still get the +3000? or do i have to wait for next turn?

      Delete
    7. 4 vs 4. I am not sure what you're asking here. In the notes I explain that margal is just the budget trigger you run. Llew is recommended in Swan Soul because lohengrin already soulcharges.

      YPK only gets the power increase if he's present during the soulcharge. So in that instance he misses the power.

      Delete
    8. Oh, I meant which to pick as the 4th set of triggers. I was wondering if there was value using margal to stack oulcharging bonuses. Thanks Alice. Currently using 1 lew because people are stingy.

      Delete
    9. Yeah hence the budget option. Llew is going to rise with Set 5 because people will want 12 crit paladins more. And opportunists will jack the price thinking they can get away with it to piggyback on the success of the new more broken cards.

      Delete
  20. What do you think abou mixing up Galahad with Garmore and Soul Saver Dragon as an finisher? Seems odd and i didn't test it already but in my thoughts it seems quite consistent for riding due to the ride chain an consistent in terms of beatdown due to Garmore. Also the chain can fill up the soul for Soul Saver Dragon as a finisher after having the Blizzard Formation.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mehhh sounds inferior to Galahad/Lohengrin/Soulsaver, or Lohengrin/Garmr/Soulsaver.

      Delete
  21. Alice-chan, I'm planning to build the Hi-Beast deck (Fang of Light, Garmore) deck. How well does it hold up in real-life tournaments?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. it holds up well i run a variant of it although for my deck the main vanguard is soul savor dragon cause you can not only grab it with pongal but she also gains 300 when she attacks the vanguard as well so she hits for 21k too. furthermore shes nice cause if you need to save your hand for a few turns she still swings for 17k with brugal. also akaine can summon pongal in a jam and its also a nice 7k boost if needed. last i also found that draw triggers helped out more than crits in the deck. i run 8 draws 4 heals and 4 crits.

      Delete
    2. If you can convince people in your area not to run any unit that gets +2000 power just from having a unit(s) in the soul then sure, they do well in tournaments. Your friend is consistency and pressure. Your enemy is field destruction (kills key units).

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

    ReplyDelete
  23. Hi Alice. I've been playin nothing but RP since I started Vanguard so I've decided to try out GP as my first different clan since it is quite similar to RP in the root aspects. I was wondering, could u tell me the major differences between the 2 clans and which one is often betr?

    Also, could u tell me which clan is more Rear Guard dependant? I get the feeling that this might be a major factor between the 2 clans.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Hi Alice, was wondering if you were gonna' cover about MLB then I thought you were gonna' say no since you're anti angainst Cross-Rides and I respect that. Just waiting for your reply :)

    ReplyDelete
  25. And also what would your suggestion be? Should MLB be played with Crits or Stands? I understand if u don't wanna' answer.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Seein as how Alice might be busy doin other posts and such, I'll explain. Run 8-12 crits. And only run 4 draws next to 8 if u can't get the extra 4 crits. MLB is about smashin things into the red zone as soon as possible. This is paramount especialy on the moment u add BB and BD to the soul for the damage boost.

      U pressure the opponent into guarding completely every time until they run outta cards. Once this happens, u basically win the game. MLB gets a permanent 2+ Crit once BB and BD is in the soul. THis makes the opponent guard him always, especially late game. Makin them overguard MLB allows u to keep the card advantage even between u and ur opponent even if u dont run draw triggers.

      Stands are not good in MLB decks so dont run them. Crits are always prioritised in every RP decks. But if u wanna run Stands, u can try them in a classic deck like SSD since the power boost from 'Holy Charging Roar' can be used again.

      Delete
  26. i just have a bit of correction with galahad... the ride chain WORKS like tsukuyomi allowing the stacking gameplay, only difference is the G3 form :)... they both allow you to put the remaining cards in any order :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mechanically, sure, but Royals both lack the support to actually reach their stack and are really doing it more for the soul.

      Delete
    2. i still think its viable ... i run one, just toss in 6 draws, liens
      & great sage G1

      Delete
    3. It really isn't viable at all. And Galahad misses out on soulcharge 2 unless you get the entire chain, where Tsukuyomi does not. OTT have CEO Amaterasu which lets them speed through their deck stacking even more, and Oracle Guardian Blue Eye which also helps. The Grade 3 of OTT doesn't really factor into the deck loop unless you need an emergency pull of 2-4 cards to reach your stack.

      If you want to stack with Galahad, it's going to take a lot longer which exposes you to failure at a much higher rate. The only reason you should run a Royal Paladin deck stack over Oracle Think Tank stack is if you can gain something from the whole of Royal Paladins that Oracles can't contribute to that specific strategy. And really they can't. Royals are better served focusing their energy on getting 6 soul, good boosters, and Palamedes/Marhaus instead.

      Delete
  27. Alice wich of the two galahad builds do you recommend? i got a royal paladin deck with galahad ride chain in it, i mean wich one is more competitive.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Neither. Swan Soul is more competitive. But Grailbearer comes the closest by making 3/3/3 stage columns while having a chance at a decent crit vanguard.

      Delete

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