Choosing from Multiple Decks for Tournament Play

Card Dealer, Jacqueline

Card Dealer, Jacqueline

One of the more strategically difficult things to do in the tournament scene of Vanguard is to decide what deck to play, especially for those who own multiple decks. When a player has multiple decks at his or her disposal, it is important to choose a deck from the one he or she owns that will be the most effective against the potential deck choices of other people attending tournaments. To ease the process of choosing a deck to play in a tournament setting, the writer of this article has attempted to boil down the process into four simple steps along with additional advice, especially for those new to the problem of choosing decks to play in tournaments.

NOTE: This article is similar to our article on championing a deck, which means that some of the steps of choosing a deck will be similar. With this in mind, this article has one key difference: this article assumes that the player owns multiple decks that need to be chosen from for tournament play.

With this in mind, it is advised to follow these steps to simplify the selection process:

NOTE: Follow the steps in order from 1 to 4. In the event that a following a current step would eliminate all deck choices available to the player, ignore the current step and proceed to the next step.

  1. Consider the decks you own. This is the most simple step presented here, since it is common sense that a player cannot play a deck that he or she does not own. If the player is comfortable with the process, this can also apply to decks that he or she can borrow from trusted friends.
  2. Consider what decks you are comfortable with. When the player has considered what decks he or she owns or has access to, the player needs to consider what decks the player is comfortable enough to play with. A player may have the best deck in the game, but the player that is inexperienced with what the deck does will not be as effective at knowing how to play the deck and knowing the matchups for the deck generally. It is advised to play a deck one is comfortable with so that the player can perform optimally with a deck due to experience.
  3. Consider how your decks perform against decks in meta game. Once the player has narrowed the selection of decks to what he or she is comfortable with playing in tournaments, it is time to consider how the decks that are left to consider fair in the meta game. In other words, consider how the decks will do against other decks that are more likely to show up to the tournament that the player is considering participating in. In the game of Vanguard, one can determine the generic nature of the meta game from clans that are being played at the current time (in addition to knowledge of the most popular builds, which comes from experience). For a clan guide with strengths and weaknesses, one can read our clan guide here. For more help on reading the meta game, one can read our article on reading the meta game here.
  4. Pick the most fun from what is left. At this point, decks have been narrowed down to a small number of decks (if not one deck). In the event that there are still decks left to consider, pick the one that seems to be the most fun to play. After all, games are meant to be enjoyed!

Once the player has chosen a deck for tournament play, the following steps are recommended to prepare for tournament play with the deck that has been chosen:

  • Play the deck.  This may seem obvious, but sometimes people forget that they cannot master a deck until they play it first. In order to become an expert, practice and play testing are beneficial in learning the mechanics and capabilities of the deck that you are trying to pilot.
  • Practice against most likely matchups. Practicing against decks that the player is most likely to face will allow the player to adjust the deck build or the play style of the deck to answer threats and dangers that certain matchups provide. Whether or not one is able to practice against such decks, research how popular decks work currently, and create a plan that the player can use against them.
  • Seek advice if needed. On the flip side of the point above, it is important to seek help on how you play the deck from other people who play the same deck if you need the help. Do not be afraid to ask for help, since most people are happy to help.

I hope this article helps. If you have any questions or comments around the content of this article, please leave them in the comments section of this article.

Images of cards came from!!_Vanguard_Wiki. These images may have been re-sized.


Label Pangolin

Label Pangolin

One of the more common elements of card games in general is the method and concept behind shuffling. Shuffling is the process of randomizing the deck or decks of cards that either the player or players by mixing the order of the cards in said deck or decks of cards. Many card games share this mechanic, as it relies on the shuffling of cards in order to bring an element of chance to the player’s experience when using or drawing cards from shuffled decks.

Types of Shuffling

Since the method of shuffling is very important to achieve randomness in card games before and during games, it is also important to know some of the common methods of shuffling that card game players use. Some methods of shuffling are better at randomizing the order of a deck of cards than others, and some have more utility outside of randomizing the cards in a deck. With these things in mind, here are some of the common methods of shuffling that can be seen in the trading card game community:

  • Riffle Shuffle. This method of shuffling involves taking halves of a card deck and letting the card cascade into each other in such a way that the cards in the two halves interweave each other at the end of the shuffle.
  • Overhand. Shuffling in this way involves continuously taking a portion of the deck and moving it to the top of the deck, which rearranges groups of cards to achieve the shuffle.
  • Mash. Like the riffle shuffle, this method involves taking halves of the card deck and pushing the two halves together in such a way that the two halves interweave and combine into a singular pile of cards.
  • Pile. This shuffle consists of separating cards in equal piles one card face down at a time until the deck is all separated into equal or semi-equal piles, which are then combined into one pile after sorting. Although this seems like shuffling, card players in other games do not see this as a effective way to randomize one’s deck.

Best Way to Shuffle Cards?

With all of these options for shuffling that the player could choose, which one is best for tournament and casual play? When looking for the best shuffle that the player should choose, it seems logical to choose the shuffling method that is the most effective at randomizing the order of the cards in a deck. With a little bit of research, the riffle shuffle seems to be the best of the methods mentioned above, which takes takes 7-8 times to randomize a 52 playing card deck 2,3,4,5. The overhand shuffle may be good at randomizing groups of cards, but some statistical research showed that it takes 10,000 times to mathematically randomize a 52 playing card deck 1. Mash shuffling can replicate the randomizing power of the riffle shuffling, but only if done correctly. Although not as effective as a riffle shuffle, the mash shuffle can be seen, as Escapist writer Joshua Vanderwall said, as a “general approximation of a riffle shuffle”6. Pile shuffling is good at counting the cards in the deck in the beginning of the game, but is not seen as an effective way to randomize a deck of cards, whether by outside sources 9 or rulings in other games such as Magic: The Gathering. Although this is the case, pile shuffling is recommended in order to make sure all the cards are present in your deck at the beginning of the game 8.

I hope this helped clear up a few things about shuffling in card games for those who wanted a general overview. To view the sources referenced, please reference the list below. Please leave questions and comments in the comments section.

List of Sources


Images of cards came from!!_Vanguard_Wiki. These images may have been re-sized.

Championing a Deck


Victory Maker

NOTE: Although the original intent of this article was meant to help Cardfight!! Vanguard players when it was written, the concepts described in this article can be applied to any card game.

In the trading card games, the championing a deck is when a player chooses to stick to a certain deck and master it. In the game of Cardfight!! Vanguard, it is sometimes a wise decision to champion a deck to decrease the cost of buying too many decks while increasing the mastery of a certain game mechanic. When considering a deck to pilot, it is wise to consider the following:

  • Read the meta game. Among the general rules of Vanguard, there is something called the meta game at work. A meta game in a game consists of a group of strategies that people largely prefer when playing the main game. These strategies will be what the player has to play against, which matters when choosing a deck to act or counteract the meta game. For more about determining the meta game in Vanguard, read our article on how to read the meta game.
  • Pick a clan.*  Once the meta game is considered, it is time to pick a clan. Even if you don’t really know what clan is your favorite, it is important to Since meta games in Vanguard tend to be made up of several main clans, picking a clan that counteracts other clans in the meta game is wise when picking a clan to play. In addition to this, pick a clan that fits your visual preferences, personally preferred play style, or budget. For an overview of the clans, refer to our clan guide.
  • Obtain a deck. Having a physical copy of the deck is important when you want to become a pro at using it. When you reach this step, use the choices you made when picking a clan and reading the meta game guide you. If you need help with beginning deck building, read our guide to beginning deck building.
  • Play the deck.  This may seem obvious, but sometimes people forget that they cannot master a deck until they play it first. In order to become an expert, practice and play testing are beneficial in learning the mechanics and capabilities of the deck that you are trying to pilot.
  • Keep using the deck for as long as you want. Sometimes, people will advise you to get rid of the deck due to their opinions. If the deck is fulfilling its purpose for you (whether it is playing the deck for fun or for competitive reasons), then keep the deck. On the other hand, it is okay to sell or trade off the deck if it is not performing up to your standards. Either way, to keep a deck is your decision as a player, not anyone else’s.
  • Seek advice if needed. On the flip side of the point above, it is important to seek help on how you play the deck from other people who play the same deck if you need the help. Do not be afraid to ask for help, since most people are happy to help.

Hope this advice helps! If you have any questions or comments, please put them in the comments section.

* This step is specifically for Cardfight!! Vanguard.

Images of cards came from!!_Vanguard_Wiki. These images may have been re-sized.

Defensive Tactics Against Cheating


Larva Beast, Zeal

Although it is nice to assume that all people who play the game of Vanguard never cheat, this is not always the case. Some people are incentivized to win while playing this game, no matter what the cost. Although this is the case, cheating has the potential to hurt the entire community where it is taking place, at least in relation to the group’s integrity. In order to defend the game’s integrity and the community’s integrity, it is essential to know how to minimize or nullify the chance that cheating is taking place in tournament settings and beyond. How is this possible? People in other games beyond Vanguard have taken the approach to acknowledge the common methods of cheating and offering players methods to combat such cheating as a response. I think it is time we did the same for the Cardfight!! Vanguard community.

Important In-Tournament Tips From the Floor Rules

With that in mind, here are some tips to combating potential cheating while in the midst of tournament play originating from the Cardfight!! Vanguard Floor Rules.

Note: When the below bullet points mention judge, it can also be synonymous with the organizer of the tournament or the staff of a shop. This is justified through Cardfight!! Vanguard Floor Rules Section 3 and Section 4.

Disclaimer: There may be methods of cheating mentioned in this article. Although this is the case, Cardfight Lab Tech and its writers do not advocate cheating in any way, shape, or form.

  • Require opaque sleeves from your opponent. Cardfight!! Vanguard Section 201.1 requires players to have opaque sleeves on their cards in order to be tournament legal. In the event that the opponent does not have opaque sleeves on his or her cards, ask the opponent to re-sleeve his or her deck in opaque sleeves. In addition to this, transparent or translucent sleeves are known for use for marking cards in some games*, which is probably why this rule has been implemented. If the opponent does not comply, do not hesitate to call a judge over to resolve the situation.
  • Politely ask the opponent to pick up the pace of play if playing slowly.** This suggestion came from players who play the Pokemon Trading Card Game, but it is also applicable here. According to Cardfight!! Vanguard Floor Rules Section 309.8, all players need to play at a proper pace, which should allow the players to finish their games in the appropriate amount of time. In this case, politely ask slow players to pick of the pace of their game play. If the player seems to be intentionally stalling, call a judge over to handle the situation, since intentional stalling falls under another section (specifically, Section 403).
  • Have a judge shuffle extra cards drawn illegally into the deck. According to Cardfight!! Vanguard Floor Rules Section 304.4, any cards from the deck that have touched cards in a player’s hand are considered drawn. For level 1 events (aka local shop tournaments), there are two courses of action in this event. If both players can agree on which extra card was drawn, the judge can put the extra card(s) on the top of the deck and shuffle. If both players cannot agree on which extra card was drawn and the judge deems it as unintentional, the judge can choose randomly from the hand in question the amount of extra cards drawn and shuffle it into the deck.
  • Keep track of the amount of cards in the opponent’s hand. Keeping track of how many cards are in the opponent’s hand normally can determine if the opponent has the correct amount of cards in his or her hand. In addition to helping the player track the opponent’s hand for strategic purposes (like described in this article), this helps the player determine if the opponent is drawing the correct amount of cards in hand each turn.
  • Call judges over to your game if there are any ruling questions. This is one of your rights as a player according to Cardfight!! Vanguard Floor Rules Section 102.2. This tip is to remind you of this right and to suggest this so that all in-game events and effects are clear to both players (especially in the event of a disagreement).

“Played Slowly” vs “Stalling”, And Long Games

There is an important distinction in the rules that should be noted here that many players should know. Specifically, this is the distinction between “played slow” and “stalling”. Playing too slow and stalling are both considered slow play, but playing too slow and stalling are punished differently (with a warning and a disqualification respectively). Here is each term in its respective section in the Cardfight!! Vanguard Floor Rules:

309.8. Played Slowly

ex. Took too much time to shuffle his or her deck.
ex. Left the table without noticing judges or officials. All players need to play in a proper pace.

All players need to finish the match within the proper time. A player intentionally slowing the game down will fall under a different section.

Default Penalty: Warning
In a level 1 tournament, if the judge thinks it was just a careless mistake, he or she can downgrade the penalty to a caution.

403. Stalling
ex. Pretended to think for a long time even though
all cards in hand were unplayable.

Any actions to waste time to gain an advantage on
purpose fall under this section.

The key difference between the two terms in the rules is that playing slowly comes whether the player is slowing the game on purpose or not. Playing slowly in Section 309.8 seems to refer to slow play due to inexperience with handling cards or some other legitimate reason. Stalling is when the opponent is purposely slowing the game down, as explained in Section 403.

At this point, some may be wondering if long games would fall under either of these categories. On the one hand, is it possible that longer games are caused by either of these actions described above. On the other hand, there are some situations in the game that require the player to resolve multiple effects that takes a considerable amount of time to walk through the effect resolution legally compared to other effects. This is an example of a cause of a longer game that is perfectly legal. Differentiating between stalling, unintentional slow play, or long games depends on the situation and should be approached with common sense and patience.


One of the most notorious things to face is a person who stacks his or her cards. Spotting someone stacking is difficult at times, due to the fact that there are many ways to stack the deck in. Although this is the case, there are several tips that help in detecting and dealing with potential stacking.

Note: When the below bullet points mention judge, it can also be synonymous with the organizer of the tournament or the staff of a shop. This is justified through Cardfight!! Vanguard Floor Rules Section 3 and Section 4.

  • Watch your opponent’s eyes. Most of the stacking cheats seem to originate from sleight of hand magic tricks, which rely on the one using them to look at their cards to manipulate the deck. If the opponent looks at their deck while they are shuffling (especially in the event that the opponent is using a shuffle like the overhand shuffle***), it might be a sign that he or she is cheating.
  • Always cut or shuffle the deck when given the opportunity. This tip typically protects the player from stacking methods that allow the top card(s) to be predetermined. According to Cardfight!! Vanguard Floor Rules Section 202, each player must offer the opposing player the chance to cut or shuffle the deck once the player has shuffled it himself or herself. If the opponent refuses offer a cut or shuffle after he or she has shuffled, this is in clear opposition to Section 202, and a judge should be called over to dissolve the situation.
  • Call a judge when you reasonably suspect stacking. This is the safest call on dealing with potential stacking in an official tournament setting. Instead of cutting or shuffling the deck, you can either call a judge over to shuffle the deck for the opponent in order to ensure that it is officially randomized (according to Cardfight!! Vanguard Floor Rules Section 202). Only call a judge for the purpose of reshuffling the deck for this purpose if you suspect that the opponent is not sufficiently randomizing his or her deck.

Ending Remarks And Clarifications

Overall, the majority of games do not seem to involve cheating. Although this is the case, the tips above are meant to be used as a way to provide some protection to the typical player from cheating or infringements of the rules. Although these points have been brought up, this article does not condone cheating in anyway.

Clarifications and sources are provided in the footnotes of this article. In addition to this, here are the links to Cardfight!! Vanguard Floor RulesCardfight!! Vanguard G Standard Rule Book, and Cardfight!! Vanguard Comprehensive Rules. These links are provided to allow the general player to find out the correct rules and restrictions.

This article has been provided to help the community ensure the integrity of this game, the related tournaments, and the community as a whole from those who would try to win the game by unfair means not allowed by the rules of the game. If you have any questions or comments, please leave them in the comments section.



***To clarify, the overhand shuffle is a completely legitimate way to randomize decks during shuffling. Although this is the case, the shuffle can be used to stack since the opponent is able to view cards in the deck while shuffling if the deck is angled in a certain way. This same logic can be applied to side shuffling, which can be described at this link:

Images of cards came from!!_Vanguard_Wiki. These images may have been re-sized.

Tournament Etiquette

NOTE: Although the original intent of this article was meant to help Cardfight!! Vanguard players when it was written, the concepts described in this article can be applied to any Bushiroad card game.

With tournament season going on it is very important to remind players about tournament etiquette. Whether or not you are a competitive player, these are steps that you should know. This is also great for players who will be going to their first competitive tournament. Hope you enjoy and be sure to leave any feedback and leave tips for players as well!

Now according to Bushiroad there are several steps in tournament etiquette and they follow as such*:

  • Greet each other before the start of game.
  • Offer your deck to your opponent to cut or shuffle your deck.
  • Be clear on what you are doing and announce the steps you are making in a turn.
  • Ask permission before touching or handling another players cards.
  • Don’t be overly distracting to your opponent.
  • Offer a handshake despite the outcome after the match.

These steps aren’t hard to follow but speaking from some personal experience on both ends, it is recommended that both players follow these steps to show good sportsmanship even when losing. You never know who you could be playing against and whether this is their first tournament experience, because depending on the way the opposing player acts can change the mind of the player to not come back to the game at a competitive level. The step that sticks out the most is the step about being clear on skills. This is especially important in the current format with G-Guardians. If you don’t announce you are G-Guarding and place a heal in the guardian circle, you may risk having your opponent call a judge over because there wasn’t clear communication on whether the heal trigger was used for a normal guard or a G-Guard.

In addition to the steps for good tournament etiquette mentioned above, here are two different instances that are important to mention to beginning players:

  • If you find yourself in the midst of a game where  you accidentally drop your cards on the ground or on your lap and you want to be a good sportsman, you may call over a judge just to confirm that you aren’t cheating to your opponent when picking up your cards. This would take a bit more time, however in the long run it would be worth it by doing this instead of the alternative of having a judge called over for cheating.
  • It is important to know what to do when dealing with difficult people during tournaments. Let us say you are playing against someone who isn’t showing good sportsmanship by grabbing your cards without asking and being rude. What would you do in a situation like this? Well the answer is always an easy one: you still treat them with the respect that you would want back. If an opponent grabs your cards without asking, politely ask the opponent to ask before he or she picks up your cards next time. Now if you find your opponent just being disrespectful even after an attempt of still being kind to them, simply call for a judge since they will be able to help in that situation.

Now with all said and done, hopefully this article has helped even one person know how to conduct him or herself during games that take place during touraments. In the event that this article did not help, remember to treat other people the way you would like to be treated and always strive to be transparent and fair when playing your opponent in a tournament setting. If you have any comments or questions, please feel free to post them in the comment section.

* The original list of etiquette tips came from