Starting the Game: Beginning Deck Building

rainbowmagician

Rainbow Magician

Cardfight!! Vanguard is a trading card game which requires players to build decks and face each other in cardfights. Naturally, a player who wants to play the game of Vanguard will need to learn the basics of deck-building. To help beginners to that purpose, this guide is meant to serve as a starting point for beginning players who want to start building their own decks in the game of Cardfight!! Vanguard.

What is a Deck?

So… what is a deck? When literally defined, a deck is a stack of cards. In the game of Vanguard, the player has a main deck consisting of 50 cards and a stride deck of up to 16 cards. These two decks consists of the cards that the player will use to play the game. In a larger frame of mind, the player’s main deck and stride deck are the tools that are at the player’s disposal when trying to solve the problem presented in the game of Cardfight!! Vanguard. The problem in this game is the dilemma that is trying to be solved, which, in this instance, is how to deal six damage before the player’s opponent can deal six damage to the player. Since the main deck and the stride deck are the main tools for the player in solving this dilemma, it is up to the player to construct these decks to properly tackle the obstacles that are in game.

Basic Rules of Deck-building in Cardfight!! Vanguard

Before the reader can get in depth in the concepts and strategies of beginning deck building, he or she must know the basic deck-building rules that are present in the game of Cardfight!! Vanguard. Here are the basic rules for building a deck in Vanguard:

  • Each deck must include exactly 16 triggers in the main deck.
  • Each main deck must include exactly 50 cards in the main deck.
  • Each stride deck can include up to 16 cards.
  • Only four or less copies of cards with the same name can be included in the main deck or stride deck.

Beginning Strategy for Deck-building

Now that the player knows the basic rules of deck-building, there is a process that I follow that might help the beginner build his or her first deck (in this section, I am referring to the main deck and stride deck collectively when I say “deck”). The steps of this process are:

  1. Choose a clan(s) to build the deck from. Due to the prevalence of the Clan Fight in most tournament areas, each player must choose a clan to build a deck with for the sake of playing in tournaments. The choice of a clan typically comes down to cards available to the player or the player’s preference. For more information about choosing a clan, one can simply refer to our article about how to choose a clan. For more information about the Clan Fight rules, one can go to Bushiroad’s official Cardfight!! Vanguard landing site.
  2. Choose a boss card(s) to build the deck from. In each player’s deck, there is a main unit(s) that the deck focuses on using in order to win. These units, also known as bosses, are normally the unit that the player wants as the vanguard he or she rides or strides into in order to win the game. The player has the option to choose more than one boss, but it is recommended that the player choose one boss unit when he or she builds the first few decks.
  3. Find out how the clan and boss card(s) can win games. In game mechanics, the specific game state that allows the player to achieve victory is known as a win condition*. In the anime, this is known as a “winning image”. In Vanguard, the main win condition for all players is to damage the opponent six times. Although this is the main win condition, decks and clans have different ways of enabling the player to damage the opponent six times or hinder the opponent from damaging the player six times. These different ways act as separate win conditions, and the clan and the boss card that the player uses will fall into these two secondary win conditions.
  4. Determine main deck’s grade ratio. A grade ratio is the amounts of each grade that is run in a main deck. In Vanguard, a good grade ratio will allow the player to ride from one grade to the next by giving the player a good probability of seeing the right grades in hand at the right point in the game. For beginning players, we recommend either a 8-12-13 ratio (meaning 8 grade 3 units, 12 grade 2 units, and 13 grade 1 units) or a 8-11-14 ratio (meaning 8 grade 3 units, 12 grade 2 units, and 13 grade 1 units) for the main deck. This recommendation is mainly derived from research and play testing over time for the use of the average Cardfight!! Vanguard deck.
  5. Add non-trigger cards to help the deck reach its win conditions. In order to effectively do this, the player needs to add cards that have synergy with how to deck and/or the boss card(s) win games. Synergy in card games is the characteristic of cards to interact with the other cards in the deck**. The player wants to place cards in the deck that have a high amount of synergy with the abilities of the boss card(s) and how the clan is designed to win games. When adding cards at this point, players should try to have cards that abide by the grade ratio that he or she determined beforehand. In addition to this, cards that a standard deck are required or are recommended to contain should be added the the deck first. Such cards include perfect guards, G guards, strides, stride helpers, strides, and starter(s).
  6. Add triggers to the deck. When the main deck has 34 normal units (or non-trigger units) including the grade 0 starting vanguard and the stride deck has up to 16 stride and/or G guard cards, the player can add 16 triggers to the main deck. For a standard main deck, it is recommended to run heal triggers in the deck if the player is running G guards. In addition to this, it helps the standard deck recover from damage during the game. Beyond this, a player should run triggers that have strong synergy with the goals that the deck needs to accomplish in order to win. For more information on triggers and attacking orders, go to our article on triggers.
  7. Play, change, and improve deck overtime. The best way to improve the deck after building it is to see how it competes against other decks that other players have built. Start playing the deck with friends and other people to see what the deck needs in order to improve. When an improvement needs made, the player can change the deck according to what he or she has seen in play and try the deck again. If the player likes the boss card(s) but still needs improvement, repeat 3-6 and try to play the deck again. If the player does not like the deck at all, he or she is free to repeat steps 1-6 and taking a different approach. This process of testing and rebuilding the deck is a form of incremental development***, and it can improve decks the more they are tested, played, and improved.

I hope you enjoyed this strategy guide to beginning deck-building. Please leave any questions or comments in about this deck list in the comments section.


Images of cards came from http://cardfight.wikia.com/wiki/Cardfight!!_Vanguard_Wiki. These images may have been re-sized.

*https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Game_mechanics#Victory_condition_mechanics

**http://mtgsalvation.gamepedia.com/Synergy

***https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iterative_and_incremental_development

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