Characteristics of a Competitive Deck

Dumbbell Kangaroo

Dumbbell Kangaroo

Whether you are piloting* the best deck of the new set or piloting the old rogue** deck that has been around since the beginning of the game, it is important to know what makes a deck “good” or competitive in tournaments. Whether favorable or not, it is important to know what makes a deck competitive either for piloting a deck, building a deck, or counteracting a deck you face in tournaments. Good decks or tier*** one decks will always have some or all of the following qualities:

  1. Consistency. A good deck in any card game has to have consistency. Consistency comes up in the ability to get to your win condition on a more regular basis. This might come from just blind drawing a large amount of cards (e.g. Great Nature) or searching your deck for specific cards (e.g. Royals, Gears). All this being said, a consistent deck usually tries to achieve a winning board state+ and/or ensure it has enough cards to adequately defend itself.
  2. Pressure. Every good deck has a form of pressure, which is the instance a player is being threatened with the loss of advantage or the chance of victory. Pressuring the opponent can come in different forms. Be it in the form of controlling the opponents moves (e.g. Link Joker, Kagero) or just ripping into them usually in the form of either a large combo attack(e.g. Great Nature, Royals) or consistently jabbing (or poking) at the opponent (e.g. Gear Chronicle, Aqua Force). If your deck is consistent but lacks pressure, you need to do a revision.
  3. Recovery. Sometimes things fall flat. It happens. Recovery is the ability for a deck to come back from being put in a bind or drawing poorly (yes, even good decks have dead draws). An example would be getting Mikesaburo to grab your grade 3 unit after going 2 turns without seeing one. Another example is the grade 1 seven seas deck, which can constantly create a full attacking board from an empty field despite the opponent attacking or retiring rearguards.
  4. Match ups. A good deck will generally only have one or two horrible match ups if that. It’s very common for high tier 1 decks to only have a bad match up against a random tier 2 or tier 3 deck that nobody typically plays. Some decks do not specialize or excel in any particular strategy or play style, but they can fight every deck in the game adequately with a bit of practice.

I hope this article helped. If you have any questions or comments, please leave them in the comments section.


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

* “Piloting a deck” is another way of saying playing a deck on a consistent basis.

** A rogue deck is a deck that is not seen often in tournaments but is deemed as a dark horse (or a deck that can win events without anyone expecting it).

*** Tiers are expected levels of performance that players sort decks into based on their hypothetical performance at tournaments.

+ A winning board state is a game or board state that the player tries to achieve that will have the best chance of achieving victory in a game.

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