Stages of Attacking Power and Shielding

One of the basic mechanics in the game of Cardfight!! Vanguard is the concept of using cards in hand to shield the vanguard or rearguards from attacks that the opponent will through your way. Shield in the game of Vanguard, according to the comprehensive rules, is “[t]he numeric value that expresses the combat strength while a card is used as a guardian”. In other words, the shield value on the card is the amount of power that it adds to the base power of the unit being attacked. The use of shield in the game can either protect rearguard units from being removed from the field due to attacks or, more importantly, prevent the vanguard from taking damage. So… how should players use the basics of shielding mechanics in Vanguard to more efficiently play the game?

Basics of Power Stages and Shields

First of all, it is important to consider what happens in combat when the ties happen. Specifically, in the event of a tie between the the defender’s power and the attacker’s power in combat, the attacker will win the battle. This is also true when adding shield to the vanguard while guarding from hand. In other words, if the power of the sum defending unit’s power and shield from hand equals the attacker’s power that is attacking the unit, then the attacker will win that battle.

With this in mind, one will also notice that shield value in this game comes in the form of defensive trigger power and the shield that can be used from hand, which comes in the form of 5k power or shield or 10k power or shield. With this being the case, stages of defensive power come in increments of 5k power. For example, if the attacker is attacking an 11k vanguard for 15k power, the defender only needs to place 5k shield (since 5k shield + 11k defending vanguard power is more than the 15k attacking unit’s power). If the attacker wants to force the defender to drop 10k shield from hand instead of 5k, then the attacking unit must reach at least 16k power, which is equal to the defender’s 11k base power and the 5k shield that the defender would place.

Implications of Power Stages

So… why is this important? Answer: This is important in order to maximize the amount of shield that the defender will need to drop in order to defend against attacks. In order to aim to force the maximum shield out of the opponent’s hand, make attacking columns that equal numbers that equals exceeds the opposing vanguard’s power in increments of 5k power. For example, if the opponent’s grade 3 vanguard will most likely be 11k base power, the player would want to create columns on his or her board that would equal 11k power, 16k power, 21k power, 26k power etc. when attacking/boosting with each column. Keep in mind that the increments might change due to the base power of the vanguard.

This is also important for the defender, since the defender aims to maximize the impact of his or her shields. With all of this in mind, the defender wants to save shield in hand that can defend at larger stages of power by avoiding over-guarding. If an attack can be guarded by a 5k shield, it is recommended to guard with a 5k shield instead of a 10k if it can be helped, since guarding with a 10k shield would waste 5k shield that could have been used later to guard attacks from the opponent.

That is the basics around stages of attacking and shielding power in Vanguard. If you have any questions or concerns, please put them in the comments section.

Finding Tournament-Winning Decks from Around the World

Globe Armadillo

Globe Armadillo

If you have been around your local game shop, you may have seen some of the same decks win over and over again several weeks or months in a row. It has happened to everyone, causing those who go through such an experience to wonder if it is the same everywhere in the world. Do the same decks top everywhere? Sometimes, but some players around the world can either win tournaments with such decks with variations, or something completely different.

This post will help those who are seeking how other players, those who share our love or intrigue for this game from around the world, build or play decks different from something one may be familiar with. With this in mind, I would like to give disclaimers before sharing locations where this information can be found:

  • Consider that metagames are different around the world. Though there may be similarities in the popularity of specific decks around the world, metagames may vary overall due to different tastes and strategies. It is wise to keep this in mind, since certain decks or builds have success based on the metagames in the regions they are played in. For more information on measuring metagames, please visit our article about metagames here.
  • Don’t blindly copy deck lists, but learn from them. Although playing deck lists from around the world may benefit the player using them, it does not make one a better player unless one learns why certain decks or deck lists were effective, which ties into the previous disclaimer.
  • This list may not be exhaustive. We are continually looking to upgrade this post if we receive any information about other websites or sources of information. If you would like to suggest some, please go to our suggestion box in the menu under the “Contact Us” section.
  • All owners of the referenced sources below retain their ownership and rights of their respective web content. Cardfight Lab Tech does not claim any ownership over other player or company referenced in this post other than its own content.

With that in mind, here are some of the locations that contain information about decks from around the world:

  • Bushiroad’s English Deck Recipes Page (Worldwide). This site contains the top deck lists from the Bushiroad premiere events over the years, ranging from decks used in single-player events or team events.  (URL:
  • Bushiroad’s Japanese Deck Recipes Page (Japan). This site includes winning deck lists of major Japanese events beyond the world championships, ranging from local regional championships to national championships within Japan. (URL:
  • Vanguard Card Search (Japan). A directory of deck lists found at tournaments, local and national, which are cataloged for the sake of archiving the winners and players in Japan. (URL: Search URL:**)
  • ARG’s Metagame Page (USA). As a main tournament organizer in the United States, ARG is archiving the deck lists and players that achieve the top placements, which includes biographies of the players and their deck lists at each regional USA event listed on the page. (URL:
  • DifferentFight’s Competitive Wrap Up (Worldwide). Differentfight, a European Vanguard YouTuber, has done a fantastic job covering events in his videos of decks and deck archetypes that are victorious around the world. For a person who wants a quick reference to decks topping around the world, this is the best source one can have. (URL:
  • Twitter Search Term “ヴァンガード 優勝” (Japan). Translating to “Vanguard championship” in English according to Twitter, this Japanese search term seems to be used at times among Japanese card shops and players that share deck list photos on Twitter, which are used to recognize and congratulate winning players. Although the search results are not all deck lists, there are a good number of Japanese deck lists that can be found in the results.*
  • Twitter Search Term “VGCS” (Japan). This search will typically return VGCS tournament announcements and results, including deck lists that have done well within the Japanese tournament scene at VGCS events. Results reported from such events may include deck lists or replays from tournament matches. In addition to this search term, drop-down suggestions from Twitter will suggest specific VGCS event tags if you want to follow a specific tournament event. **

I hope this helps you find out more about what players are using around the world in the game of Cardfight!! Vanguard. If you have any questions of comments, please leave them in the comments section.

** This is included due to reader recommendation.

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

Strategic Guide to Grade Rush Decks


Reckless Express

Its brakes are completely broken.

Reckless Express

In the wake of the introduction of the legion mechanic and the generation break mechanic, players worked to find ways to fight decks with such abilities without having to spend large amounts of money and ways to fight other decks in the meta in a unique way. One such way of doing this that players found was through grade rush decks, which were designed to kill the opponent before he or she could even play the game. So… what is a grade rush deck?

Anatomy and Physiology of Grade Rush Decks

A grade rush deck is a deck that is purposefully designed to rush the opponent at a certain grade. These decks typically run less or no grade 3 units compared to standard decks that are in the meta. These decks had the tendency to have low grade units that could attack grade 3 vanguards in a way that would force the opponent to use a large amount of shield in order to guard such attacks. In addition to this, some versions of these decks had the capability to superior call to the field, allowing the player rushing to guarantee an optimal field for rushing the opponent while maintaining a reasonable hand size in the early game.

Strategies of Grade Rush Decks

So what is the premise behind these types of decks? Well, there are several strategic reasons that they still remain relevant as a concept:

  • Grade rush decks deny their opponents generation break. In order to achieve generation break, a player either needs to stride or G guard in order to activate generation break 1 skills. As a rule of the game, a player cannot stride or G guard unless both players in the game have grade 3 vanguards. With both of these facts in mind, grade 1 rush decks do not ride to a grade 3 vanguard (unless the pilot of the deck is ready to finish the game) in order to prevent the other player from ever striding or g guarding. Although this seems very effective, a player can use either Air Elemental, Twitterun or Air Element, Sebreeze in order to activate g break if the opponent’s vanguard is not a grade 3 unit. Twitterun is not run as often, but it allows itself to be put in the g zone if the opponent does not ride a vanguard and the player has a grade 3 vanguard. Sebreeze can be strode from the g zone if the opponent did not ride a vanguard, the opponent has a grade 2 vanguard, and the player has a grade 3 vanguard for the cost of discarding one card from hand and two counterblast. With the fact that Twitterun is seldom run in decks, and Sebreeze requires a grade 2 vanguard on the opponent’s side to activate it’s skill, grade 1 rush decks specifically have the capability of denying the player generation break for the entire game, even with these special elemental units in mind.
  • Grade rush decks deny their opponents legion. Both players must have a grade 3 vanguard in order to perform legion. In addition to this, there is no current cards that allow the player to legion if both players are not grade 3 except for Metalborg, Blackboi, a starter specific to the Dimension Police clan. With the exception of Metalborgs from Dimension Police, the player can be denied legion if the opponent refuses to ride a grade 3 vanguard. This applies to either grade 2 rush decks or grade 1 rush decks, since both can refuse to ride a grade 3 unit or wait to ride a grade 3 unit until it is the moment in the game that the player wielding such a deck can end the game.
  • These types of decks attempt to give as much damage as possible before the opponent can guard from hand. In a standard deck, a player will try to have the grades needed in order to ride each turn, which ends at their grade 3 ride. Grade rush decks will have the ability to call a viable attacking field with 2-3 attacks on the first turn. In addition to this, the grade rush deck builds typically area designed to force 10k shield from the defender’s hand near the end of the game. Against a rush deck, this puts the player at a disadvantage, since the player cannot guard with higher grade than the vanguard. Even if the player can guard many of the attacks in the early game, guarding too much early can rob the player of precious cards needed later in the game.

Historic Examples of Grade Rush Decks

Throughout the history of the game, players have tried to use the concept of grade rush decks to for the purpose of using the listed strategies above to undermine the decks in the meta game at the time of their use.Whether or not these rush decks are relevant now, these decks have set a certain precedent for rush decks now and in the future. Although these are not all of the rush decks that have appeared in Cardfight!! Vanguard, here are some of the notable decks from the game’s history:

  • 8k Grade 1 Rush. Before the start of clan fight format, this deck was considered one of the best rush decks in the game. 8k base grade 1 units from multiple clans with spike bros support cards (mainly Reckless Express and Gyro Slinger) made up the deck with the goal to create early 16k columns. Such columns forced even grade 3 vangaurds to guard with 10k shield or more. A version of the deck list can be found here on an article by TimPowerGamer.
  • Grade 1 Liberator Rush. This grade 1 rush deck contained units that could use the “Liberator” name on the vanguard or on superior calls to guarantee 14k-17k by the end of the game. This deck also had the option to run cards that could enhance the utility of the deck, from running two strong guard options (Starry Skies Liberator, Guinevere and Sword Formation Liberator, Igraine preferably, since they have the Liberator name) or generic cards from the Gold Paladin clan that can help create consistent columns that force 10k out of the defender’s hand each time a column attacks (e.g Knight of Elegant Skills, Gareth). Although other blogs have created this list in the past, our list can be found here.
  • Grade 1 Seeker Rush. Like the Liberator deck, this deck has units use the “Seeker” name to guarantee 14k-17k by the end of the game. This deck is able to do this by having four units that can gain power through the use of their sub-clan Seeker name (specifically, these units are Honest Seeker, Cynric, Righteousness Seeker, GangarenHeaven Arrow Seeker, Lunate, and Seeker, Sebrumy). Due to the large amount of beaters in the deck, it makes it easy on the player using this deck to make consistent attacking columns that force large amounts of shield out of the opponent’s hand. An early list for this deck build can be found on TimPowerGamer’s blog in this article.
  • Seven Seas Rush. Originating in Japan, this build is focused on using the early-game mill mechanics and superior call mechanics of the Seven Seas sub-clan to rush the field, mainly using units like Seven Seas Apprentice, Nightrunner and Witch Doctor of the Seven Seas, Raistutor to do so. In addition to this, the build incorporates other units to fix the field (e.g. Seven Seas Helmsman, Nightcrow) and guarantee multiple attacks (e.g. Seven Seas Master Swordsman, Slash Shade). Although this deck build does not use grade 1 normal units, the grade 2 units are able to be called from the drop zone due to varying methods, which will be set up with Nightrunner. A list of this deck can be found on TimPowerGamer’s blog on this article and a Japanese example of the deck in tournament can be found on syeeki’s channel on this video.

How to Combat Grade Rush Decks

In an format that is full of legion and generation break mechanics, the grade rush decks can be very effective. Although the concept of a deck type that is meant to deny skills and kill quickly is daunting to some players, there are ways to combat such decks. Here are a few tips for those facing these rush decks:

  • Play limit break units in your deck if possible. For those who can fit it into his or her deck, playing powerful limit breaks can act as powerful deterrents to rush decks. Rush decks focus on rushing in damage on a player, which naturally fulfills the conditions of the limit break mechanic. This takes away the denial strategy of rush decks, and you will force the opponent to either ride to a grade 3 vanguard or fall behind.
  • Rush back if plausible. If the player has the chance to rush back against a rush deck in order to win the game, it may be the right play. This is due to the fact that grade rush decks cannot typically keep a hand to defend itself (since the pilot of the rush deck normally uses the hand only to place a field of attackers).

I hope you enjoyed this strategy guide to grade rush decks. Please leave any questions or comments in about this deck list in the comments section.

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

Clan Overview

In the world of Cray, clans war against each other for supremacy among each other. Each of these clans seek a commander to lead them to victory. Who do these clans call to for leadership? Who do they call to for guidance? You, of course. Despite this calling, you must choose your allegiance. You must choose your clan.

For every player, this is how the game of Cardfight!! Vanguard begins.

Clan selection is no easy task, especially with the fact that 24 total clans exist in the game of Cardfight!! Vanguard. Each of these clans contain a unique mechanic, a unique aesthetic, and a unique lore behind the units found in the clan. In addition to these characteristics, each clan also comes with its own strengths and weaknesses. With all of these traits in mind, the player can make a more educated decision on what clan he or she will play with.

When starting this game, choosing a clan to start with is the beginning of your adventure in the game of Vanguard. Even for the experienced player, choosing a main clan to focus on can be important, since more time with the clan could result in its mastery.

Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Before you can choose a clan, you must know all the clans available. Here is an overview of the clans:

List of clans (click on clan to jump to section):

Click here for our acknowledgements and sources for this guide.


Angel Feather

Overview: Based on angels from several world religions, the angels of Angel Feather focus their efforts on manipulating and accessing cards in the damage zone. This includes the processes of calling units from the damage zone to the rearguard, exchanging cards in hand for cards in the damage zone, increasing units’ attacking or defending power based on how many cards are placed in the damage zone at certain times, and healing damage.

Lore: The medical institute of Angel Feather specializes in healing the injured through the means of advanced technologies or magical means. As a third party, this clan sends angels all over the world of Cray in order to heal the wounded and the dying.

Play Style: This clan’s play style is defensive in nature, since it is able to use the damage that the opponent gives it to its advantage. With this in mind, Angel Feather can also be considered as one of the clans in this game that has a defined toolbox (aka the damage zone) for gaining the cards it needs on field or in hand.

Strengths: Angel Feather excels in defense and gaining extensive access to cards through the use of the damage zone, making this clan consistent and reliable. This clan also welcomes early damage, allowing the player using this clan to conserve hand early and punish any early offensive pushes from the opponent.

Weaknesses: This clan is very slow at times when setting up resources and plays, which can be at a disadvantage early in the game.

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Aqua Force

Overview: The marine soldiers of Aqua Force endeavor to achieve multiple battles during the player’s turn. With this in mind, this clan also achieves abilities when the player achieves a certain amount of battles during the turn.

Lore: Aqua Force is a marine military force that protects the seas and the coastlines of the planet Cray, whether that be from natural disasters, pirate attacks, or public disturbances on the coastline. Even during peacetime, the soldiers of Aqua Force train and prepare for any threat that may present itself in the future.

Play Style: With its focus on achieving multiple battles, Aqua Force is naturally an aggressive clan that focuses on a large number of attacks in order to wear down the opponent’s defenses.

Strengths: This clan is able to wear down the opponent through the use of multi-attack combinations and skills gained after a certain amount of battles are obtained during the turn. Typically, this clan is able to achieve these multiple attacks against the opponent as early as the second turn, which allows for a great early game.

Weaknesses: Aqua Force as a clan is very rearguard reliant in order to gain a certain amount of battles, which can be difficult when facing clans that focus on field disruption and board control. Such field disruptions mainly consist of retire, lock, and stun mechanics.

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Bermuda Triangle

Overview: The musical mermaid stars of Bermuda Triangle focus on returning the player’s rearguards to the player’s hand through the use of abilities either before or during battle. With the mechanic of “bouncing” units to hand, this clan is able to achieve certain combination plays based on the cards that are bounced back to hand.

Lore: Bermuda Triangle is a musical idol group that can be found holding sold out concerts in the deep seas of Cray. Their main talents can be found in magic and vocal music, allowing them to excel in their performances. It is said that the days of the clan’s live broadcasts are the most peaceful days on the planet Cray.

Play Style: As mentioned before, this clan’s main mechanic focuses on returning rearguards to the player’s hand. This mechanic has a variety of uses, allowing the player that uses this clan to have a very flexible play style. Although this is the case, the focus seems to be focused on the player’s hand, which tends to prefer a slightly defensive play style, no matter what variant of the clan is built.

Strengths: The clan is able to return units to hand from field to either increase the size of the player’s hand or the number of the total attacks during the turn.

Weaknesses: In order to effectively use its skills, the clan needs a good number of cards in hand. With this in mind, Bermuda Triangle normally has problems enabling its combination plays without a good number of cards in hand or on field.

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Dark Irregulars

Overview: Derived from ancient monsters and demons from myth and lore, the Dark Irregulars focus on amassing a large amount of cards in the soul in order to gain  large amount of power or special skills. Such skills can vary in nature, such as retiring opponent’s rearguards, gaining extra criticals on attacks, or additional soul charges.

Lore: Members of this clan consist of beings that have been possessed by supernatural forces or beings that have undergone changes due to forbidden techniques of science or magic. As such, they are scorned by the rest of the world, being viewed as appalling by most of the populous of the Cray. Though these members are diverse, they are governed by the concept that “might is right”, which justifies any form of abandoning convention in order to achieve power.

Play Style: The Dark Irregulars clan is very aggressive in nature, but it takes time to build the appropriate amount of soul that is needed to achieve certain amounts of power or unlocking certain skills. This clan is known for achieving levels of attack power that will leave the opponent unable to guard certain attacks, leading this clan to victory.

Strengths: The ability to gain attack power based on the number of cards in the soul and the large amount of soul charging in this clan allows the player who uses it to attack the opponent with high levels of attack power, even to the degree that the opponent cannot practically guard attacks from this clan.

Weaknesses: Although the Dark Irregulars can force the opponent to lose a large amount of cards in attempting to block its high-powered columns, it does not do a very good job of retaining cards in hand in order to guard itself. In addition to this, the large amount of soul charging can act against the player, especially when soul charging needed triggers or normal units.

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Dimension Police


Overview: Wherever there are villains and evildoers dwell among the stars, the superheroes and giant mechs of Dimension Police will be there to stop them. As a clan, Dimension Police focuses on either giving the vanguard large amounts of power or taking power from the opponent’s vanguard.

Lore: In the known universe, the cosmic monsters that seek to invade other worlds constantly tried to escape the heroes of Dimension Police. Although the monsters and the heroes of this clan were at odds with each other, they put their differences aside in order to protect the planet Cray when it was in danger of being destroyed.

Play Style: This clan plays aggressively by focusing most of its attack power on the vanguard (which can either be by giving power to the player’s vanguard or taking power away from the opponent’s vanguard). This form of power manipulation normally forces drop large amounts of shield from hand in order to guard such high-powered attacks.

Strengths: Since most of the clan’s offense is centered around the vanguard, it is not as effected by field disruption compared to other clans that rely on rearguards for offensive pressure (e.g. locks on field).

Weaknesses: Although the power of the vanguard is the main offensive threat, the power of the rearguard columns are normally not as strong as the vanguard offensively. In other words, if a player is able to guard the vanguard  when facing this clan, then the rearguard columns of the Dimension Police clan do not pose much of a challenge when defending them.

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Gear Chronicle

Overview: Travelers from another time, the units of this clan are themed around the technologies and automatons found within the subgenre of science fiction known as steampunk. The clan’s main power lies mainly in two mechanics: the mechanic of swapping rearguards with units in deck based on their grades and the mechanic of sending of rearguard units to the bottom of the deck.

Lore: Gear Chronicle is an army that can transcend space and time and are ruled by gear dragons. After Link Joker invaded Cray, a warp of space time appeared and allowed Gear Chronicle to enter the world. The clans of Cray are somewhat cautious about Gear Chronicle, as their intentions are still a mystery to the inhabitants of the planet.

Play Style: This clan focuses on excelling in the late game, as most of their mechanics rely on generation break. They have multiple ways to be build decks for this clan, whether the build focuses on time leap to enable multiple attacks, removing threats from the opponent’s rearguard, disallowing opponent’s from using certain cards from hand in order to guard, or a mix of both of of these mechanics. In addition to this, Gear Chronicle typically focuses on big explosive turns one right after another whenever it is able to stride.

Strengths: With the consideration that this clan focuses heavily on striding to win and the expansion of the G zone, this clan’s access to strides enables it to find multiple ways to win. In addition to this, the time leap mechanic allows the deck to operate as a toolbox for the player, allowing for flexibility in play.

Weaknesses: This clan’s early game is considered weak compared to a good number of clans due to the fact that the clan mainly focuses on abilities that occur after the player has rode to grade 3, such as legion and generation break. Since this is the case, the clan can be hindered by large amounts of early game pressure.

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Overview: Genesis as a clan is based on the myths and legends of the legendary ancient civilizations of Rome, Greece, and Scandinavia. This clan revolves around building soul for the sake of soul blasting in order to attain powerful effects, which range from giving power to units on your field, restanding vanguard or rearguard units, and achieving attacks that cannot be guarded with certain cards.

Lore: After the Link Joker invaded the planet Cray, a group of priestesses who predicted that they must repel the invaders in order to survive began to form Genesis. With the help of the United Sanctuary, they became a conglomerate of powerful beings to assist United Sanctuary in fending off the invasion. After the war that was caused by said invasion, Genesis became an independent company, focusing on combat and security as a means of profit.

Play Style: Genesis as a clan has the flexibility to focus on offense, defense, or a mix of these two depending on the deck build. Although the strategy of this clan can vary due to what build one may choose, it uses the soul as a means of making the strategy consistent and reliable. With this in mind, setting up a certain amount of soul is the top priority of this clan in order to use it to pay for abilities.

Strengths: Being versatile is the clan’s greatest strength. There’s something for almost every cardfighter in the Genesis clan as a whole, whether the player wants to play defensively or offensively.

Weaknesses: This clan suffers from having to blindly soul charge in order to set up the soul, which can remove triggers or key cards from your deck that the player may need in hand instead. In addition to this, key cards are needed in order to set up the desired amount of cards in soul, which can also be soul charged due to other effects.


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Overview: Hailing from the depths of the oceans of Cray, the Granblue pirates consist of the undead (such as zombies, skeletons, and vampires). Granblue focuses on the drop zone by placing cards from the deck into the drop zone and by calling units from the drop zone.

Lore: From the Magallanica nation, the pirate bands of Granblue roam the seas of Cray. At one point, the term “Granblue” referred to one pirate band. As time went on, Granblue transformed into a larger coalition of pirates due to other pirate bands joining their ranks. As they travel from place to place, some of their ships have been known to disappear in a certain region of Magallanica, a place where the clan’s headquarters is rumored to be hidden.

Play Style: Granblue is a versatile clan. With the player having access to almost every card in the deck, it can be considered a toolbox clan. With a wide variety of skills ranging from retiring opponent’s rearguards to drawing cards, this clan has the power to maintain the rearguards on field and general resources effectively.

Strengths: Although the main method of putting cards in the drop zone is through the methods of guarding a losing units, this clan is able to bring back units to the field. This methods of recycling units allows key units to always be accessible to the player. This is also enhanced by the clan’s mill mechanic, which allows the player to place cards from the deck to the drop zone.

Weaknesses: Since it mills cards in order to set up the drop zone, it has a high chance of running out of cards in deck. Therefore, the player always needs to pay attention to the number of cards in his or her deck.

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Great Nature

Overview: In the fields and the forests, the clan of Great Nature houses some of the top minds on the planet, researching the mysteries of the world. Although the school is comprised of units that seem silly and innocent, this clan is able to give rearguards additional power in increments of +4000 in exchange for retiring the units that gain such power.

Lore: The anthropomorphic animal students and professors of the Great Nature University research anything that can further their knowledge of the world and take courses that further their respective talents and abilities.

Play Style: This clan focuses on conservation of resources by refunding costs. Such conservation is triggered typically through the retirement of the player’s rearguards. Such refunds could come in many forms, such as drawing cards when a unit is retired or countercharging damage in order to reuse counterblast later on in the game.In addition to this, these refunds can allow the player to profit off of them as well (e.g. drawing more than one card when a unit retires and no cards needed placed in order to achieve such effects).

Strengths: This clan has the capability of creating a large amount of hand advantage when retiring its own units while creating high-powered columns during battle. This clan is also very flexible to build due to lack of archetypes and restrictions between card interactions.

Weaknesses: Although the clan is capable of large amounts of hand advantage, builds from the clan also need rearguards in order to achieve win conditions and allow skills, falling victim to field control in the form of retire or lock mechanics.

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Gold Paladin

Overview: From the fall of the Shadow and Royal Paladins, Gold Paladin shines as a beacon of hope and defense in the history of the United Sanctuary’s history. In line with such history, Gold Paladin focuses mostly on calling units from the top of the deck to generate power and preserve their hand.

Lore:  Gold Paladin started as a make-shift army of the leftovers of Royal Paladin and Gold Paladin. Although disorganized at first, they have become a disciplined army for the sake of the defense of the United Sanctuary during the kingdom’s darkest times.

Play Style: Gold Paladin focuses on calling units from the deck to power up the rear-guard that will keep the player from calling cards from hand. While similarly Gold Paladin decks also have the vanguard gain power from the amount of rear-guards controlled on the field.

Strengths:  This clan has the capability to create a full attack formation with the use of the clans abilities with little to no help from the player’s hand, combining a strong balance between offense and defense.

Weaknesses: Typically, units called from the deck to the field are called at random. This leads to calling units that the player would rather have in deck (e.g. triggers) or in hand (e.g. perfect guards).


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Overview: The Kagero clan consists of the elite military force consisting of flame dragons. Units in this clan focus on taking advantage away from the opponent through different tactics, such as discarding units from the opponent’s field or forcing more guard from a re-standing vanguard.

Lore: Comprised of dragon knights and dragonmen, this military force has become the most dominant army on Cray. This army credits its strength to the flame dragons that lead it, the dragons that comprise it, and the human technology that enhances it.

Play Style: The main goal of this clan is to gain card advantage by taking resources away from the opponent. This is mainly seen through the ability to retire rearguard units from the field. At times, this mechanic either forces the opponent to play without any rearguards or play cards from hand in order to fill the rearguard. In addition to retiring rearguards, this clan has a variety of builds that enhance this mechanic and allow the player with this clan to slowly get ahead of his or her opponent.

Strengths: Consistency and removal of opposing key units are this clan’s main weapons when competing against other clans. The retire mechanic in this clan is completely in the player’s control, allowing the player to remove specific offensive threats. In addition to this, this clan remains consistent with the use of skills that search specific cards and/or allow the player to cycle for needed cards.

Weaknesses: This clan can be played against if the opponent does not rely on specific rearguards in order to win. This is especially dangerous when dealing with certain decks that mainly rely on the vanguard unit to win games.

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Link Joker

Overview: Descending on Cray from the abyss of the cosmos, Link Joker is a defensive clan in terms of being able to lock rearguards or to delete vanguards. These skills are mostly unique to Link Joker as a whole (aside from the lock which also shows up on Reverse units).

Lore: After a failed attempt to conquer the planet Cray, this clan split up into three different factions. Two of these factions, the Star-vaders and Deletors, still wander the stars in their desire to quell life wherever it exists. The units of the final faction were left behind on the planet Cray to be reborn as a new type of Link Joker never seen in the universe: the Messiahs.

Play Style: Although the play style of the clan can vary due to build, this clan focuses on two mechanics: locks and deletes. A lock turns an opponent’s unit face down, forcing it to remain in that location on the field until the end of the opponent’s next turn. A delete forces the vanguard face down and has zero attack or defense until the end of the opponent’s next turn. Although these mechanics are disruptive in nature, the clan can build into many different variations and play styles.

Strengths:  The clan excels in its ability to lower down the attacks through the use of locks. This strength is further emphasized in the delete mechanic, which decreases the quality of attacks from the deleted unit. In addition to this, certain skills that rely on the placement of a card on the deleted unit will not be able to activate its skill.

Weaknesses: Decks that do not rely on rearguards in order to achieve victory will be a problem for this clan (e.g. Dimension Police). In addition to this possible counter to the clan, deleted units can be restored either through the use of riding another vanguard or striding on top of the deleted unit. Along with these characteristics, the majority of skills in the clan do not activate until the late game, forcing the player play defensively until then.

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Overview: Megacolony is a clan made entirely of insects, and is the crime syndicate of Planet Cray. They specialize in using stun to keep your opponents down and crippling their turn by lowering the number of attacks the opponent has. To clarify, the stun mechanic referred to prevents a targeted unit from standing in the stand phase, leaving it at rest when the opponent starts his or her turn

Lore: Being the crime syndicate of Cray, Megacolony has gained an infamous reputation. Invading other nations simply for personal gain, this clan pillages and steals anything they can get their hands on. For this band of thieves and crooks, no crime is too big for the crime ring of Megacolony.

Play Style: This clan has a controlling play style, limiting what your opponent can do by stunning their rearguards and/or vanguard. Megacolony also has a habit of gaining advantage for stunned or rested units your opponent controls either through the use of effects or by weakening attacks coming from the opponent.

Strengths: Megacolony excels in defense due to the fact that the player wielding this clan can save guard by weakening the offensive capability of the opponent’s field. Although the mechanics of the clan is to be able to save more guard by stunning their units, Megacolony’s units are able to gain additional skills and power for stunned units, giving them an offensive side as well.

Weaknesses: Megacolony can be a bit slow at the beginning. As of now, Megacolony has no practical boss cards that can initiate a finishing offensive push, and can only hold out for the long game. In addition to this, opponent’s that gain heavy card advantage can naturally counter the clan due to the fact that stunned rearguards can be replaced with cards from hand.

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Overview: Based on Japanese folklore and ninja legends, Murakumo focuses on copying supporting units similar to shadow cloning. In other words, the copied units appear during the turn and vanish back into the deck at the end of turn, which is similar to how ninjas disappear into the shadows.

Lore: Serving as a ninja division in the Empire Black Ops Agency, Murakumo serves the Dragon Empire with the aid of their ninjustu and weapon mastery. In contrast to the Nubatama, this clan focuses on the defense and protection of the Dragon Empire, keeping the kingdom secure from the shadows.

Play Style: This clan focuses on calling copies of rearguard units to the field, which later disappear at the end of the turn. This copying mechanic resembles shadow cloning that ninjas are famous for. With this in mind, these clones can be used to attack the opponent or pay for abilities, allowing the player to call a field of attackers without sacrificing much of his or her hand.

Strengths: The Murakumo clan is able attack the opponent with a full offensive formation while conserving defensive resources in hand due to its cloning mechanic. Since the cloned units return to the deck at the end of turn, they are practically immune to certain types of control tactics (especially those in Megacolony and Link Joker).

Weaknesses: In order to clone units, this clan typically requires units to already exist on the field before the player’s turn begins. With this in mind, these remaining units are able to be retired from the field or locked in order to prevent their cloning, requiring caution and more resources from the player’s hand in order to call a field.

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Overview: Composed of dragons who wield lightning, Narukami is a clan of destructive power that first originated around retiring/attacking the front row. In addition to this strategic focus, the clan also has the capability to bind what is retired in order to disrupt the drop zone.

Lore: This clan is full of thunder dragons, Narukami is considered as one of the main military forces of the Dragon Empire along with Kagero. During a time in which  Kagero, Royal Paladin, and Shadow Paladin were sealed away by invading forces attempting to destroy the planet Cray, Narukami stepped in as the main assault squad until the time that Kagero would be freed from the enemy.

Play Style: The clan is aggressive in its play style by focusing on mass retiring or killing off the opponent’s rearguard formation. In the process of demolishing the opponent’s attack formation, Narukami is known for building attack power as a result of destroying the opponent’s formation.

Strengths: Narukami has the ability to completely destroy an entire field through the use of skills or attacks. The destruction of the opponent’s field also helps the player with this clan defensively giving the player the ability to reduce the quality of the opponent’s front row attackers.

Weaknesses:  Players using this clan should be careful with the use of counterblast costs, since some of the skills of this clan are very high cost. Also, this clan needs the opponent to have a field to activate a majority of skills based on retiring the opponent’s field. With this said, opponents that can either rely on his or her vanguard to win or retire their own units can prove to be a problem at times for Narukami.


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Neo Nectar

Overview:  Neo Nectar, as a clan of growth and prosperity, focuses on calling units to rearguard that are of the same name as that of another unit on their field.  This allows the player to generate a field of rearguards very quickly while triggering the effects of many of their units while being placed on rearguard, such as increasing their power or gaining skills.

Lore:  The clan of Neo Nectar, chock full of bioroids and various sentient plants, focuses on the production and transportation of crops throughout Cray.  This leads them to having everything from beautiful dryads to hilarious dancing pieces of broccoli.  They seek to defend the natural world around them while attempting to grow all plants prosperously.

Play Style:  This clan is generally aggressive, as it has the potential to build an entire field off of a single card.  Depending on the card which is being propagated, an extreme amount of power can be generated, extra attacks could be created, or card-advantage could be amounted.  Neo Nectar seeks to to make the most with what it’s given.

 Strengths: Neo Nectat has the ability to create very high-power columns while also having the ability to build its field rather quickly.  This allows the clan to make explosive plays while also having the ability to play the long game when played correctly.

Weaknesses:  As a rearguard-centric clan, Neo Nectar generally struggles with clans which interfere with Neo Nectar’s board, such as Link Joker, Kagero, and Narukami.  The clan also must manage its resources very carefully, as you can only run four copies of each card in your deck, limiting the number of times that a certain rearguard can be generated.

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Nova Grappler

Overview: Nova Grappler are a clan of Robotic wrestlers  who enjoy nothing more than the thrill of battle. They specialize in restanding units and battering their opponent with a flurry of relentless attacks.

Lore: The pro fighters of Nova Grappler are the main income for the Star Gate region on the planet Cray, being the clan that holds the shows for the people of Cray to see. Although most of the participants are robotic, there are many types of participants far and wide who join in the festivities, using any technological or magical weapon at their disposal.

Play Style: Nova Grapplers focus on dealing as much damage as possible through the use of their multi-attacking style. As a side effect, this clan uses its multiple attacks to wear down the opponent’s defenses. This is enhanced through abilities or additional power that Nova Grappler grants to rearguards that stand again after their initial attacks.

Strengths: Nova Grappler is an extremely offensive deck by nature. Nova Grappler as a clan uses its abilities to stand and gain additional attacks in one turn, ranging up to six attacks on a good turn. These large amount of attacks can happen early in the game as well, forcing the opponent to guard earlier than he or she would want.

Weaknesses: Nova Grappler, while being a very offensive deck, has little defense as the deck uses all its resources to attack the opponent. In addition to this, rearguards in this clan are essential and fragile to mechanics such as retire and lock, which requires careful management of such rearguards.

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Overview: As assassins that work from the shadows of Cray, the Nubatama clan focuses on binding cards from the opponent’s hand and/or field. In addition to this, this clan is able to force its opponent to discard cards from hand or discard cards from the bind zone.

Lore: Serving as a ninja division in the Empire Black Ops Agency, Nubatama serves the Dragon Empire with the aid of their martial arts and dark arts passed down to them from the eastern part of the Empire. In contrast to the Murakumo, this clan focuses on gathering information through espionage for the Dragon Empire, a mission they are willing to sacrifice themselves for if necessary.

Play Style: Nubatama focuses on playing defensively until it can set up one turn that kills the opponent, much in the way that an assassin would. To describe this further, this clan focuses on taking resources from the players hand at crucial times and removing essential rearguards from the field in order to ensure that the clan’s final big play will not fail.

Strengths: This clan can adapt to situations that the opponent can throw at it. This is mainly found in the fact that this clan excels in creating lose-lose situations for any player facing it. With this in mind, Nubatama uses lose-lose situations to set up for burst turns that can kill even the most defensive clans in the game.

Weaknesses: Despite the deadly turns that this clan can create, win conditions seem to be inconsistent. Resource management is also difficult in this clan due to several attributes that the clan embodies, including attributes such as large amount of counterblast, reliance on rearguards, and small hand size.

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Oracle Think Tank

Overview:  Predicting the future, Oracle Think Tank is a clan that focuses on having advantage by drawing extra cards and predicting the top card(s) of the deck. Prediction helps the player in varying ways, from predicting trigger checks or cards upcoming in draws.

Lore: The clan has mostly consisted of fortune tellers and spell-casters, which are able to tell the future. These abilities are used in order to aide the customers of the conglomerate Oracle Think Tank, which uses prophecy and fortune telling in order to give economic forecasts and life counseling.

Play Style:  The play style for this clan revolves mostly around being able to generate advantage by the cards that allow you to add more cards to your hand, whether by predicting the next card of the deck or by straight up skills that let you draw. The use of prediction in these decks relies on the player’s memory, which is required for some builds for the sake of mastery.

Strengths: Oracle Think Tank has a great defensive capacity against decks due to its built-in mechanics emphasizing drawing cards. Due to this, this clan can also last for a long time defensively in games. In addition to this, predicting triggers correctly in certain builds will win games for the player.

Weaknesses: Despite its strong defense, this clan lacks a lot of strong offense with the exception of a few key cards (e.g. Silent Tom) which provide such offense. In addition to this, this clan is typically slower in the early stages of the game.


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Pale Moon

Overview: Based off of a circus theme, the Pale Moon focuses on manipulating the soul. This clan splits its focus by placing units into the soul and calling units from the soul. Cards can be put into soul either by soul charge or by selective placement. Units can be called from the soul for the benefits of gaining extra attacks, gaining increased power, and maintaining card advantage.

Lore: From their headquarters in Dark Zone, the Pale Moon circus performs all over the world. The members of the Pale Moon circus are assassins who will turn their powers and beasts on those who attampt to obtain the secrets of Dark Zone.

Play Style: Pale Moon is a mainly aggressive clan due to the fact that the units that are called from soul gain advantages that aid in creating high-pressure attacks. Although this is the case, this clan defensive properties as well, since it can protect it units by placing them back into the soul and it allows the player to conserve hand instead of calling rearguards from hand.

Strengths: Allowing the player to manipulate the soul, Pale Moon can adapt to many situations and play styles. For example, the magia keyword ability allows the clan can avoid the retire and lock mechanics.

Weaknesses: Pale Moon has an increased risk of deck out due to its soul charging reliance. The clan also burns through counterblast quickly, so it needs to be carefully managed.

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Royal Paladin

Overview: Royal Paladins are knights at heart, a band of brothers and sisters that prefer to stick together. In line with there bonds of friendship, their over-all abilities focus on calling specific units from deck and/or giving specific units power based on rearguards in the attack formation.

Lore: The clan represent the main army of the kingdom of the United Sanctuary, an order that stands against invading forces to the holy nation, which span from the Dragon Empire to the invaders of Link Joker. This army is made up of many creatures, such as sprites, humans, dragons.

Play Style: Royal Paladin focuses on calling units from the deck by the ability of other cards to preserve the resources of the hand. In addition to this, this clan also has the ability to give its attack formation power based on card abilities. Overall, these characteristics benefit the clan both aggressively and defensively.

Strengths: By allowing the player to save cards in their hand to play units to the field, players who use this clan enjoy a slight buff to their defenses. This clan can also guarantee a optimal field formation by having the ability to call specific units from the deck to the rearguard.

Weaknesses: Although Royal Paladin has the potential to end games, this clan has the potential to lose due to poor plays, specifically in calling the wrong units from the deck to the field. In addition to this, certain builds can run out of units to call from the deck to the field, leaving the abilities of cards unfulfillable in the late game.

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Shadow Paladin

Overview: As the name implies, this clan is comprised of warriors and dragons that fight in the shadows created by the light and virtue of the United Sanctuary. Shadow Paladin’s basic mechanic boils down to sacrificing your own units to gain powerful vanguard abilities, which can range from retiring opponent’s units to restanding your vanguard. In addition to this, certain units in this clan activate abilities when they themselves are retired.

Lore: In the United Sanctuary, it is rumored that there exists an order of knights that operates in mystery and slays its enemies in the shadows of history. This order, the Shadow Paladins, has been blamed for unfortunate incidents that happen within the holy nation’s borders, even though there is a considerable amount of doubt on whether the dark order of knights are of fact or of fable.

Play Style: As stated in the overview Shadow Paladin primarily focus on retiring your own units in order to allow the vanguard to gain a range of different effects (which include gaining additional attack power, gaining additional criticals, forcing your opponent to take a damage, etc.). In order to enable this, the clan has the capability of superior calling units from the deck in order to use the newly called units to pay for skills that require rearguards to be retired. The use of superior calling and retiring the units called in this way from deck allow the player to pressure the opponent with a full field while conserving hand in respect to calling units.

Strengths: Besides the wide range of abilities Shadow Paladin can do, arguably the biggest strength they have is their ability to sacrifice their own units. The great thing about this is Shadow Paladin units usually retire during your battle phase. This generally means that by the end of your turn you will have less units than what you started out with, which can prevent the opponent disrupting your board through the use of stuns, retires, or locks.

Weakness: One clear weakness of this clan is a lengthy game. The longer the game lasts, the more the likely it is for the player to run out of quality units to retire for their effects. This in turn forces the player to place units better suited in hand, such as triggers and perfect guards. Another weakness is that some variants of Shadow Paladin want to keep certain units on field, which can make such units targets for opponent retires, stuns, or locks. In certain situations, opponent effects targeting remaining units can leave the player unable to pay for effects.

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Spike Brothers

Overview: Passionate for the extremely violent game called Gallows Ball, the Spike Brothers are a sports team that rushes for a one-hit wonder play. This clan seeks to win the game in one-to-two turns by using all their resources at once to create extra attacks, pressure, and power. Spike Brothers are never out of the fight, no matter how the game had been going.

Lore: Being extremely zealous for their sport, the Spike Brothers will do anything to win. Gallows Ball has no rules in the game other than attempting to get Metamorball, a special type of sport ball which changes its nature and shape depending on the holder, to the opponent’s goal line in order to score. This leads to the development of deadly weapons, implementation of many enhancement surgeries and medicine, and the game ending more often-than-not with the opposing team in comas or dead.

Play Style: Spike Brothers always play with the winning image in their head, spending the entire game setting-up for the opponent’s final turn. Spike Brothers want to have a turn so powerful and threatening that if the opponent survives, then they won’t be able to mount much of an offensive in response.

Strengths: Spike Brothers have the ability to produce many high-power attacks that could create even more problems for the opponent should they hit, leading them to have one of the most dangerous offensive capabilities in the game. 

Weaknesses: Spike Brothers have below-average resources in terms of defending themselves, making them find a way to hit the opponent very hard in order to slow them down.  Any sort of out-of-turn interaction by the opponent, whether it be damage triggers, G-Guardians, or power-buffs, can turn the supposed “final turn” into a pitiful excuse for an offensive push.

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Overview: Resurrected from the ancient past, the dinodragons of Tachikaze retires its own rearguards in order to achieve more power and criticals to attacks. In addition to this, the retired units often contribute to the resources of the player, either through the form of shield, additional power to remaining units, or the ability to return to field when retired.

Lore: Before the time that flame dragons and thunder dragons ruled the Dragon Empire, the dinodragons reigned supreme. Then, after the destruction of a large portion of their population due to the power of the flame dragons, the flame dragons reorganized the dinodragons into the infantry known as Tachikaze, where their destructive tendencies are kept under control by the might of Kagero.

Play Style: The main style of this clan is maintaining a high level of aggressive attacks throughout the game while maintaining resources. Aggression from this clan is found through its mechanic, which is the retiring of units for power or the achievement of multiple attacks. The maintenance of resources is found in the ability to bring back units retired for the payment of skills and the skills that the retired units achieve when they are retired.

Strengths: This clan is able to mount a aggressive attack almost every turn if it is able to use retire effects in order to gain power or more attacks.  Aggressive turns from this clan will force the opponent to lose a large amount of cards for the sake of defense. Although this clan’s draw engine is average, the loss of the opponent’s cards due to defensive measures will make it seem like the player is winning on card advantage.

Weaknesses: The major weakness to Tachikaze is that they require rearguards in order for their vanguards to function. This can be counteracted by continually retiring or locking the field of units, forcing them to drop cards from their hand in order to fill the rearguard. In addition to this, poor management of counterblast can cost the player who plays this clan victories in the long run.

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All of our writers contributed to this post, and we would like to thank each and every one of them. You can find more about our writers here.

Lore on each clan has been provided from the Cardfight Wiki, who is able to obtain lore on each clan through Bushiroad Monthly. Images of clan symbols came from the Cardfight Wiki, which is found at!!_Vanguard_Wiki. These images may have been re-sized.

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How to Choose a Clan

Vanguard is a game that is full of groups that are defined a unifying lore, a similar look, and a centralized mechanic. As almost every player knows since the beginning of their time playing this game, these groups are known as clans. There are a total of 24 clans in this game to choose from, which can supply some complexity when trying to decide which ones to play for either the competitive or casual side of Cardfight!! Vanguard. Even thought the player may want to choose multiple clans in the time that he or she plays this game, it is at least important to decide what clan to choose for the sake of building a deck due to clan fight format rules that are in place.

When deciding a clan to play in this game, there are several considerations that should be taken into account. Specifically, there are certain traits in each clan that can help the aspiring card fighter determine whether or not a clan is the right purchase for him or her. These traits include:

  • Price.  When entering into a trading card game, the price of entry (or the price for the player to start playing the game/deck) can be an important consideration. Before deciding what clan to play, try to have a budget set for how much money you want to invest in one deck. After deciding this, start researching the prices for how much it will take to build decks from the clan that you are considering building a deck for. For more information about how to play Vanguard on a budget, go to this link for more tips and information.
  • Aesthetics and Lore. Since you may be playing with the clan that you choose for a long time, you might as well like the way the cards in the clan look. This mainly consists of the artwork that can be found on the cards, the creature type and/or race of the unit, and the flavor text found on the card. For those who want to research further, each clan will also have a unique lore that influences the aesthetic of the clan’s units. Overall, these aspects could provide a certain mood is trying to attain while playing the clan. Although these aspects do not matter to some, players who are looking for a certain look and feel for their cards should consider this.
  • Clan Mechanic. Each clan has a unique game mechanic that it can use in each fight. Some clans can utilize such skills to gain other advantages, such as increased amount of attacks, card advantage, etc. Such clan mechanics include standing units on attacks, locking rearguard units, retiring rearguard units, and many more. Since there are as many unique mechanics as there are clans, it takes research and game experience to see each clan mechanic in action.

When these traits are identified, the player can use them as tools for whether the player would want to play with a certain clan or not. Most of these traits can be found for each clan with more research into each clan. If you are looking for general information about each clan, the Cardfight!! Vanguard Wiki clan page contains a glossary that this wiki has on each and every clan, including more information about clan mechanics, artwork, and lore. Each clan’s can be accessed by clicking their respective emblems on the page. Coming soon, a clan guide will be provided on this site as well.

I hope you enjoyed this guide. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to put them in the comments section.

Skills and Abilities Within the Meta


Dragonic Overlord the End

The current state of Cardfight Vanguard’s meta game is actually rather diverse. While the decks that consistently place higher in tournaments only really seem to change when game breaking combo cards are introduced, the skills among the different decks includes a little bit of everything. Take some of the recent major decks: Sanctuary Guard, Ripples, and Seven Seas. Each of these decks received support that made them very hard to deal with, and each of these decks include a combination of old and new skill types.

When building your main deck, consider the different skills that are available among your units. For grade 1 and 2 units, they are split among support for: Legion, Generation Break, and restriction-less support. Grade 3 units are more diverse, including all of the skill types listed below. Let’s look at the different card abilities the players have at their disposal.

Skills with no restrictions: Skills in this category are not restricted to being at a certain point in the game state for their skills to be utilized. One of the splashable examples of these skills are the grade 1 units who can soul blast to draw a card when placed on rearguard. Within the current meta, the skills in this category usually support the advantage engine of the deck, or allow for faster skills. However, grade 3 units that fall under this category (such as Dragonic Overlord the End, Nightmare Doll Alice, etc.) are either heavily supported by the deck, part of the core strategy, or are able to offer different options depending on how the game has been unfolding. Stride helpers are a good example of this. These units can either be used to lessen the cost of stride, or to search for the main GB unit of the deck.

Some of the best skills in this category are restricted to an archetype or a sub-clan. Most of the best decks in the current meta fall under an archetype or sub-clan. Normally, these skills require a unit with a certain name to be on vanguard or the target of the skill. Special counterblast and/or soul blast refer to paying a cost with a unit having a specific name.

Mega Blast: The term refers to the skills that have a cost of counterblast 5 and soul blast 8. This skill is only available among grade 3 units. While each mega blast has a way to soul charge, they are still rather underwhelming when combined with their massive cost. Most mega blast units do not have a place in the current meta, they are simply too slow and expensive. While this is the case for most mega blast units, there are some decks that are designed to use mega blast units. These decks do not appear often, but can be effective if used correctly.

Cross Ride: A skill type exclusive to grade 3 units. This term defines a grade 3 unit that gains a skill from having another grade 3 unit in soul. Originally this skill was a continuous +2K power, though more recent cross rides have been getting more complex skills. During the break ride era, these units were everywhere and these units are still some of the game’s most defensive. In the current meta, these units are still viable with the addition of generation break. While they may not be used for their defensive nature, some do have skills on par with strides and can be equally devastating during the early stages of a cardfight.

Limit Break: Limit Break (LB) is also an ability exclusively available to grade 3 units. Limit Break units gained a powerful skill after the player had reached 4 damage. The term “Ultimate Break” still refers to a limit break whose requirement is 5 damage. While these units included some of the best skills for grade 3 units so far, they are almost useless if the player isn’t at 4+ damage. Within the meta, these units are still widely used either when paired with generation break support or with LB enabler units (grade 1 units that allow LB4 abilities to be used at 3 or less damage). All three of the decks stated above focus on Limit Break units, being supported by the rest of the deck.

Break Ride: Break Ride describes a unit that activates it is LB4 when another unit rides on top of it. The slowest form of limit break has seen less play in the recent meta games because legion hit almost as hard a turn sooner, and the benefits of stride usually outweigh the benefits of break ride. Though decks that can combine break ride and generation break units can have devastating turns without the need of Stride every turn. An example of this type of combination is Darkface and Cyclomatooth for Megacolony.

Legion: The skill type that had the shortest focus of only 2 sets in English, and saw the fastest game play. Legion is a skill that is included on some Grade 3 units that allows a player to add another unit’s skills and power to the current vanguard by placing it on vanguard as well. Legion has the same requirement for use as stride, but came at the low cost of putting 4 units from the drop zone back into the deck. The end result was having 2 units on vanguard with a base power between 20-22K. While this new vanguard only attacked with the critical of the Legion Leader, the Legion Mate can still use vanguard circle skills it may contain.

Most of the heavily supported legions were archetype and sub-clan oriented. The support for legion mainly focuses on the turn the vanguard becomes Legion or by having a vanguard in legion. Within the current meta legion is still valuable as a way to return key units and triggers back to the deck. Decks focusing on Legion will most likely have either a strong early or late game.

Generation Break: Generation Break (GB) is the slowest skill type in the game as well as being the most powerful. Every skill of this type is dead before the first stride or G guard. As a result, before the addition of Fighter’s Collection 2016, GB could be stopped completely by a player staying at Grade 2*. In exchange for this flaw, GB skills are both cost effective and synergistic. Within the current meta, GB is included in almost every main deck as the main focus, or to reinforce the effectiveness of combos.

Keyword Skills: The newest skill type, which include the following terms: Time Leap, Wave, Blaze, Hollow, Brave, Magia etc. The main reason for this new skill type is to have a general understanding of what the unit can do. Stating that a unit can Time Leap when it attacks sounds better than explaining Time Leap each time it is activated. Units with this skill will define what the keyword means, and then include the keyword in the actual skill. These skills are becoming a focus in recent sets. These skills have a lot of potential to become competitive within the current meta.

I hope you enjoyed this guide. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to put them in the comments section.

*Although this is the case, there are cards coming out that help decks with GB operate and use skills, even if the opponent stays at grade 2 for the majority of the game. Such cards include Air Elemental, Twitterun and Air Element, Sebreeze.

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

Board Control: The Whens, Hows, and Whys


paymat pic for field.PNG

Overview of the play mat in the official rule book.*

In Vanguard, the main way to win the fight is to deal six damage to your opponent’s vanguard. This leads to the idea that attacking the vanguard is always the best choice, and, for some clans and deck builds, attacking the vanguard at all times is the best choice. Although the assumption about attacking strategy exists, attacking the vanguard is not always the best option. Many clans are highly reliant on their rearguards in order to activate many of their skills and synergize off one another, which makes them viable targets for attacks in order to slow the tempo of the game. This means that controlling the field of rearguards, whether through attacking or various skills, is a very important factor in a cardfight. In this article, we will examine why board control is important, how to achieve board control, when to achieve board control, and which clans tend to either excel at board control or simply do not care about board control.

Achieving Control of the Board:  Why It Is Important

crayon tiger

Many rearguards, can be so dangerous that dealing with them is a priority.

Rearguards play a large part in setting the identity and play style of a deck and its fighter. As an extension of this logic, rearguards typically lead the fighter to plan his or her next turns based on the combination of the vanguard’s skills and the rearguards’ skills and the synergy between said skills. Without their rearguards, the player may not be able to achieve certain actions, such as obtaining extra attacks, activating more skills, and achieving higher power. This is even true for clans that do not necessarily need rearguards in order to win the game, since having rearguards that further the player’s strategy and board state are beneficial even for these clans. This makes dealing with these rearguards a very potent option as your opponent will have to decide how valuable each rearguard is to their plan.

In addition to this, targeting rearguards can also be useful in denying the opponent resources that he or she needs in order to achieve an optimal board state. When a player attacks a rearguard, the player is guaranteeing that the opponent looses at least one card either through the loss of a rearguard or the loss of the shield used to protect the attacked rearguard. Not only will attacking rearguards prompt the opponent to lose card resources, but attacking rearguards can also deny the opponent damage for counterblasting in the following turn. This will likely slow your opponent down and give yourself time to build up some defense and offense to fight back.

Achieving Control of the Board:  When and How To Accomplish Board Control

Rearguards in Vanguard can be dealt with in two different ways:

1.) Attacking them during the Battle Phase

2.) Using various skills to retire, lock, bind, stun, etc. during any phase of the turn, but usually the Main Phase or the Battle Phase

Attacking Rearguards:

In the Battle Phase, the general idea is to attack your opponent’s vanguard in order to push them closer to six damage so that you win the game. However, if you ignore your opponent’s front row rearguards and give them too much counterblast, they could retaliate much stronger than you could be prepared for. Attacking rearguards allows for you to determine how much counterblast you wish to give your opponent their next turn (keeping in mind that they may have methods to countercharge). By controlling which of your attacks target rearguards and which attack the vanguard, you can create a dire situation for the opponent where they can only obtain counterblast by not guarding attacks that have low power values or attacks that include on-hit skills.


Cards that require any hit may be useful for rearguard attacks to add extra pressure.

The main decision that must be made is how many attacks and how much power you want to commit to attacking rearguards. The trade off to removing a rearguard with an attack is the damage that could have been given to the opponent’s vanguard. If the player is not careful, he or the leaving your opponent at lower damage allows them to not guard more attacks in the future. Using lower power columns can be good if you know that your opponent must use a 10K shield in order to defend it, whereas higher power columns “ensure” that the rearguard will be removed from the field. This leads to the importance of extra rearguards without boosters and power columns which may not be as effective against the vanguard due his power from base power and trigger boosts. Decks with many attacks can target rearguards over and over such that your opponent must use many cards to defend a rearguard that they deem integral to their plan. Overall, attacking rearguards is a major consideration during the Battle Phase in order to control the pace of the fight.

Clans that excel at controlling the opponent’s field through many attacks:  Aqua Force, Nova Grappler, Murakumo

Using Skills:

root flare dragon

Dealing with rearguards in entire columns can prevent entire attacks!

Different clans excel at using their skills to do various things, whether it be superior calling units from different zones, powering up their own cards, or interacting with their opponent’s field. Decks which have the ability to manipulate the opponent’s board tend to be very powerful in terms of board control since they are not limited to attacking the front row. These decks generally have the ability to use most if not all of their attacks on the vanguard since many of the opponent’s powerful rearguards will have been dealt with already. This means that the opponent will not only be pressured to guard more attacks against their vanguard, but they must try to conserve enough resources in order to rebuild their forces for a retaliation. The only drawbacks to these decks is that they are weak against decks with either no board presence out of turn are decks that can easily rebuild their field or protect their own units (deck builds that retire rearguards at end of turn, return rearguards to hand, etc.). These decks will attempt to take advantage of the many attacks against their vanguard to obtain enough damage to retain/rebuild their board, so be careful about how much counterblast you give them!

Clans that excel at controlling the opponent’s board through skills:  Kagero, Nubatama, Megacolony, Link Joker, Gear Chronicle, Narukami

Clans that excel at retaining/rebuilding their board from opponent’s skills:  Pale Moon, Granblue, Royal Paladin, Gold Paladin, Murakumo, Oracle Think Tank


Cardfight Vanguard is a game which can fit any play style and gives the fighter many different paths with which they can take the fight to victory. The hardest part is choosing the “correct” path based on analysis of your opponent’s resources, your own resources, the opponent’s play style, your own play style, and many other factors which can change the outcome of the fight. In addition, the fighter must recognize when to take each path and change between them so that they do not stay on a path too long such that there is no turning back. By using rearguard attacks correctly, you can control the pace of the fight and play at your own speed, whether it be fast and furious or slow and calculated. Seeing the path to victory is key in a Cardfight and will help you triumph.

If there are any questions or comments, feel free to leave them in the comments section and I will do my best to clear any misconceptions.

*This picture came from the official playbook at this website:
Images of cards came from!!_Vanguard_Wiki. These images may have been re-sized.

Attack Patterns and Triggers


Holder Hedgehog

Even though it was difficult, I’ve done it!

Holder Hedgehog

One of the main mechanics in the game of Cardfight!! Vanguard is the checking of triggers when the player’s vanguard attacks or when the player’s vanguard takes damage. Not only do triggers add extra power to a unit when they are activated, but activated triggers have effects associated with them, including the addition of an extra critical to a unit’s attack (critical triggers), the effect of standing a unit that has already rested from an attack (stand triggers), the drawing of an extra card an extra card (draw triggers), and the healing of damage (heal triggers). With all of this in mind, two triggers among the four mentioned above are optimal in terms of offense: critical triggers and stand triggers. How is this? The reason that stand and critical triggers are optimal during the player’s attack phase is that they  can potentially cause the opponent to take more damage in the form of adding an additional critical to an attack or standing units to increase the amount of attacks. In order to use critical triggers and stand triggers effectively, the player must learn how to attack when using them. In short, this article will be covering the basics of how to attack when certain trigger line ups are present in the deck.

As an additional note, this article will not be covering the basic definition and function of each trigger in the game. With this being the case, if you have any questions on what triggers do in the course of the game, please refer to the Vanguard Comprehensive Rules, which is present here.

Critical Triggers Present In Deck, But Not Stand Triggers

Decks that contain critical triggers but do not contain stand triggers normally focus on pressuring the opponent with attacks that could potentially have extra power and critical through the use of drive checks. These decks do not need a field full of rearguards for critical triggers to be effective, but having a field is beneficial in the event that the trigger effects should not be applied to the vanguard (e.g. when the opponent uses a perfect guard against the player’s vanguard attack). In the event that the player with this type of deck has a field full of rearguards, the player should attack with the vanguard first, then attack with the rearguards. With this attack pattern, the player has several optimal options to consider. If the opponent does not guard the vanguard, the critical effect can be given to the vanguard and the power can be allocated to one of the rearguards in the event that a critical trigger is revealed during the drive check. This ensures that the player guarantees that the extra damage earned through the checking of a critical trigger can be achieved while the power can be given to the rearguards to cause the opponent to use more shield in order to protect himself or herself. If the opponent guards the vanguard and it seems unlikely that the vanguard will overcome the amount of guard placed, the critical effect and the power can be allocated to the rearguards of your choice in the event that a critical trigger is revealed during the drive check. This ensures that the player can use the critical effect and power elsewhere in the rearguard instead of using it on the vanguard and potentially wasting the opportunity that the trigger presented.

Stand Triggers Present In Deck, But Not Critical Triggers

Decks that contain stand triggers but do not contain critical triggers normally focus on pressuring the opponent with multiple attacks that can be achieved through the use of unit effects or stand triggers. These decks tend to rely on having a field of rearguards to provide targets for the stand trigger effects, since the stand effect cannot be applied to the vanguard. In the event that the player with this type of deck has a field full of rearguards, the player should attack with rearguards first, then attack with the vanguard. With this attack pattern, the player can pressure with the rearguards first and then use the drive checks from the vanguard attack to stand rearguards and give power to the vanguards or rearguards. Typically, the power from stand triggers are given to the rearguards so that they are more likely to hit the vanguard.

Critical and Stand Triggers Present In Deck

There are some situations where one may run both critical triggers and stand triggers in the same deck. If this is the case, the player will want to acknowledge that there is a chance of drive checking either a critical or stand trigger. With this being the case, the player should attack in a way that would optimize the use of both triggers. If the player has a full field of units that can attack, the player should attack with one rearguard column, attack with the vanguard, then attack with the remaining rearguards at stand. This allows the player to stand rearguards if stand triggers are found in the drive check, and there is a column to put critical trigger effects if critical triggers are found in the drive check.

How Attacking Strategy Applies to Deck Construction

These attacking patterns are not only important to know for when facing an opponent, but it is also important to know these attacking strategies when constructing decks. In game, each deck has a strategy for what attack pattern it favors in most situations. If the player can determine the strategy that his or her deck uses in order to win the game, then the player can determine the amount of critical triggers or stand triggers to run in the deck. Does the deck focus on having a high-powered vanguard (e.g. Ultimate Dimensional Robo, Great Daiyusha) that does not rely on a field of rearguards to win? It may be best to run critical triggers without stand triggers in the deck to help the vanguard to cause the maximum amount of damage without relying on a field. Does the deck rely on wearing down with rearguards that have devastating on-hit abilities (e.g. Nightmare Doll, Alice)? Running stand triggers instead of critical triggers may be the best way to maximize the amount of rearguard attacks per turn. Does the deck constantly generate a full field of rearguards and give the front row an obscene amount of power (e.g. Holy Dragon, Sanctuary Guard Regalie)? The deck may benefit from running critical triggers and stand triggers so that the opponent has difficulty figuring out how to guard against attacks that the deck may generate. Determining the trigger line up should also factor in draw triggers and heal triggers, and the process of determining trigger line ups will be determined by what the player favors and/or finds optimal due to testing the deck. Though this is the case, the trigger line up in terms of stand triggers and/or critical triggers can be determined if the player knows the attacking strategy he or she builds into the deck.

Special Cases: Game Mechanics Considered

The advice in the sections above are typically safe to abide by in most decks. Though this is the case, there are some special cases that should be considered.

  • Restanding rearguards through effects. Units that either stand themselves (e.g. Tidal Assault) or stand other rearguards (e.g. Crayon Tiger) through the use of skills can be used to attack the vanguard multiple times. These abilities tend to go well with decks that run only critical triggers, which allows the player can put the power and the critical from a critical trigger to the rearguard that is to be stood up through the use of an effect. If this is done, the player would have the capacity to attack an opponent with a rearguard that would hit the vanguard for two damage. In this strategy, it seems to be better to attack as if there are critical triggers only in the deck to ensure that the critical trigger effects can be given to the vanguard and/or restanding rearguards.
  • Consistent field and front row power. There are units in this game that power up the vanguard and front row rearguards consistently but sacrifice field in order to achieve the skill to power up such units (e.g. Covert Demonic Dragon, Hyakki Vogue “Яeverse”). Though it may seem counter-intuitive,  the attacking strategy may favor stand triggers over critical triggers if the front row units are powered up enough, even if the back row may be sacrificed. This is due to the fact that rearguards with large attack power would be harder to guard if the power level is high enough, let alone if such rearguards stood up due to the effect of a stand trigger. In the current format, decks that can consistently power up rearguards to the point that the opponent must guard with 10K or 15K shield against each individual rearguard would fall into this category. Furthermore, such decks tend to benefit from attacking as if the deck contains stand triggers with a lack of critical triggers since the threat of multiple attacks from high powered rearguards is very difficult to defend against.
  • Superior call decks. This special case comes in many forms, whether its mechanics of superior calling is either from the deck, the damage zone, the soul, the bind zone, or the hand. With this being the case, these decks tend to fill the field easily, which could mean that certain decks that use the superior calling mechanic may benefit from using stand triggers. There is one caveat to mention: if the superior calling is used to replace units that have attacked during the battle phase, then the deck may not benefit from stands. This is due to the fact that stand triggers only achieve multiple attacks if the effect of standing a rearguard is used on a rested rearguard. Overall, decks that use superior calling seem to benefit from using either stand triggers or critical triggers, and each deck must be considered on a case-to-case basis.

I hope you enjoyed this article. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to put them in the comments section.

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

Obtaining and Using Information in Game


School Special Investigator, Leo-pald Chaser*

The truth is always in front of us. That is why we continue our pursuit.

School Special Investigator, Leo-pald Chaser

In order to win this game, the player must measure resources on the field in order to determine what the best decisions may be in relation to certain actions one must take to win. At times, this may be knowing the amount of guard in hand and the timeliness of pushing the opponent for his or her last remaining damage. At times, this may be knowing the amount of critical triggers in deck when the player is being attacked. In these situations and many more, knowing more about what is available to you and your opponent will present to you with your advantages and your opponent’s disadvantages.

In the game of Vanguard, there are zones in the game that are either classified as public zones or hidden zones, according to the Vanguard Comprehensive Rules as provided by Bushiroad. As defined at rule 4.1.3, hidden zones are zones that contain hidden information and public zones are zones that contain public information. As an application of this rule, the player is able to ask and check the public zones of the opponent at any point in game as long it is does not stall game play (referring specifically to rule 3.9.8 in the Bushiroad Advanced Floor Rules, which relates to unintentional slow play), and the information about specific cards in hand or in the deck are not available to the opponent. This article will cover what to look out for in each game zone, along with the strategic implications of checking public zones and estimating hidden zones. However, this article will not be covering the intricacies of guarding (which relates to the guardian circle).

game zones in vanguard pic 4

Game zone diagrams from the Vanguard Comprehensive Rules joined together. The game zones featured in image are the (1) Deck Zone, (3) Drop Zone, (4) Field, (5) Circle (Guardian), (5) Circle (Vanguard), (5) Circle (Rearguard), (6) Soul, (7) Damage Zone, (9) Trigger Zone, (10) G Zone. The (2) Hand and the (8) Bind Zone are not featured in these images. 1**

Open Hand and the Trigger Zone

The discussion around information in game and the measuring the resources of the opposing player should start around the hand. The hand is the group of cards that the player holds in his or her hands and is only known to the owner of the hand. Since it is only known to the owner of the hand, the hand is classified as a hidden zone.

So, if the hand is a hidden zone, why would anyone start a conversation about finding out more about your opponent by talking more about the hand zone? Simple. The hand is the zone where cards for offense and defense are used. When the player wants to place vanguards or rearguards, it is normally from the hand (with some special exceptions excluded, such as superior calling). When the player wants the defend, it is normally done by using cards from the hand to defend. With all of this in mind, estimating what is in hand is a good way to measure what the opponent is capable of doing.

One such way of measuring hand has been discussed in this article, which talks about how to remember what drive checks your opponent had and put to hand. If you have not read this article, please read it now. If you have read the article, you would have remembered the concepts of open hand and closed hand. Open hand is the group of cards in your opponent’s hand that have been revealed at one point during the game (e.g. drive check) and put to hand. Closed hand is the group of cards that has not been revealed during the game as is only known to the owner of the hand.

The main way of estimating open hand is through the mechanic of drive checking. A drive check is the card that is revealed off of the top of the deck when the vanguard attacks. This revealed card is put in the trigger zone face up when the drive check happens, then the card is put to hand. Since the drive check is revealed in the trigger zone and the trigger zone is a public zone, the drive check is public knowledge. In other words, the player is gaining glimpses of cards that are going to hand by seeing cards that are passing through the trigger zone during a drive check, giving you information about the player’s open hand.

Open Hand and the Field Zone

As mentioned in the article on open and closed hands, the closed hand can also be decreased by placing them face up on field. Interestingly enough, the cards revealed from the closed hand through this way do not become part of the open hand (since field units are not part of the hand), but become public knowledge since the cards are placed in the field zone. This is due to the fact that the field zone is a public zone, which means that the cards on it are allowed to be viewed by both players.

Since the cards in the public field zone are allowed to be viewed by both players, one must be careful about what field units to place. In the optimal situation, the player would be advised to place cards from the open hand to the field. In this way, the player is not decreasing the amount of closed hand while using cards that were at one point public knowledge due to being part of drive checks (aka cards from the open hand).

The Vanguard Circle, the Rearguard Circles and the Field Zone

Though the cards that are used from hand are important things to consider, the player should also pay attention to vanguard of the opponent’s field. The vanguard is the main unit of the game, even if its abilities are based on having rearguards on the field. With this being the case, the skills of the vanguard typically provide good insight of how the opponent plans to win. For example, if the vanguard focuses on restanding rearguards (e.g. Exxtreme Battler, Viktor), then the opponent may plan on winning by attacking multiple times with rearguards. In evaluating vanguards, this also includes units from the G Zone that become the vanguard. In this regard, grade 4 units from the G Zone can also be analysed to take a glimpse at how the opponent plans to win.

Rearguards are normally in the deck to support the vanguard. Although this is the case, rearguards can have abilities that can act as win conditions for the player using them. One example of this is Magnum Assault. Although the main purpose for his restanding ability is to allow Aqua Force to reach it’s third or fourth battle, putting a critical effect from a trigger on Magnum Assault could allow him to attack two times for two damage. This, in some situations, would be enough to end the game. With this being the case, the player needs to understand the rearguard abilities on the opponent’s side of field in order to distinguish rearguard threats. If the player does not know or understand the rearguard abilities on the opponent’s side of field, the player is should ask the opponent to either read the rearguard’s ability in question or ask the opponent to explain the ability. This player’s ability to ask for this information is allowed by the game due to the fact that the rearguards are part of the field, which is an public zone and cards in this zone are considered to be in the public knowledge of both players.

Trigger Units and Game Zones 

In the later parts of the game, knowing what trigger units are in your public zones and your opponent’s public zones is important to devising a defensive strategy. Both players have 16 trigger units in deck since it is required in every Vanguard deck. Since this is the case, it is possible to estimate the amount of trigger units left in the opponent’s deck and hand. In order to figure out how many triggers are left in the opponent’s deck, the player should first check triggers in the opponent’s public game zones. These zones specifically are the opponent’s damage zone, drop zone, soul, bind zone, and rearguard circles. Secondly, the player should estimate amount of triggers that he or she tracked in the opponent’s open hand. In order to check to check the trigger units available to the player, the player should check the damage zone, drop zone,  soul, bind zone, rearguard circles, and hand to measure the amount of triggers left in deck.

Checking triggers will help the player devise a defensive strategy. Once the amount of triggers is estimated, the player must determine what the probability is for the opponent checking a trigger. This can be done by comparing the amount of estimated triggers in deck with the number of trigger units in the deck at the beginning of the game (which is the number 16). The reasoning for this is simple: the more triggers the player sees from the opponent during the game, the less likely it is for the opponent to drive check a trigger2. This is made evident through a simple experiment done by Scientific American and featured in one of their articles, aptly named Suited Science: What Are the Odds of Drawing That Card?. Though the cards used in the article are playing cards, the concept is still the same: the more of the one type of card that is drawn or seen outside of the deck, the less likely the player will draw that type of card.

Special Cases: The Damage Zone, the Soul, the Drop Zone, the Deck Zone, and the Bind Zone

In special cases, the player will want to track possible attacking options or guarding options in the opponent’s damage zone, soul, drop zone, the deck zone, and/or bind zone. Typically, these special cases stem from clans that focus on using cards that rely on or benefit from these zones. Here are the clans that require additional attention to certain zones when the player opposes them:

  • Angel Feather. This clan is able to use the damage zone to access cards that can help the user. One such use is the ability of this clan to allow the player to switch cards from the damage zone to other zones in play, such as the hand. The clan can also gain certain abilities or power bonuses by having or placing certain cards in the damage zone.
  • Genesis. This clan normally pays for skills with a high amount of soulblasting. With this being the case, some cards in Genesis can either come back to the field when they are put to the drop zone from the soul or give the vanguard ability and/or power bonuses to the vanguard when they are put to the drop zone from the soul.
  • Dark Irregulars. This clan allows the vanguard to gain power and skills based on the amount of cards in the soul. Though the specific cards in the soul do not represent offensive threats on their on, the number of cards in the soul allows the clan to use certain skills. When this clan reaches 15 cards in the soul, the clan will be able to use its best skills (e.g. Abominable One, Gilles de Rais).
  • Pale Moon. This clan is able to switch cards in and out of the soul in order to gain more attacks. Specifically, units in this clan typically are switched in and out of the soul due to on-hit effects or on-placement effects. Furthermore, these individual skills can be combined at times to increase the amount of attacks that are completed in one turn.
  • Gear Chronicle. This clan is able to place cards from its field to the bind zone in order to call units from the deck due to time leap effects, then the bound cards are typically placed on the field and the units called due to time leap are put back to the deck. The units that are put into the bind zone typically are units that have on-placement abilities spanning from putting units on the opposing player’s field,  time leaping units on Gear Chronicle’s field, and other effects.
  • Granblue. This clan is able to call rearguards or ride vanguards from the drop zone. When units are called to field from the drop zone in this clan, the units placed from drop zone activate abilities that span from drawing cards to gaining power.

These clans should be taken on a case-by-case basis based on the mechanics and zones mentioned for each of them above.

Special Case: The Deck Zone

Another special case that should be considered is the use of the deck and superior calling units. This is a feature for many clans, and should be considered when playing against them. Specifically, superior calling non-trigger units is a way to filter the decks for triggers, and should be considered in the player’s defensive strategy due to the fact that the filtering of triggers could mean the appearance of more triggers in drive checks later on in the game. Clans that utilizes superior calling in such a way that filters the deck for triggers include Royal Paladins, Gold Paladins, Shadow Paladins, and Neo Nectar.

Two clans that superior call but do not necessarily filter the deck for triggers are Spike Brothers and Murakumo. Spike Brothers superior call units from the deck to fill the field, but normally shuffle the units called back to the deck at the end of turn. Murakumo is able to slightly filter for triggers through its mechanic of calling copies of a rearguard unit to the field and putting those units to the bottom of the deck. Though this is the case, Murakumo cards in the stride format have encouraged the clan to shuffle more often than the older cards in the clan, which could disrupt such filtering.

How to Use This Information

Now that all this information is about you and your opponent has been collected through the game, the player is much more informed about each situation in each game. In addition to this, the player can use this knowledge to win. How is this possible? The player can devise how to win against his or her opponent more effectively with more information.

Speaking from experience, the writer of this article finds that Vanguard becomes more like chess and less like poker when the player is more informed. When the player can see the offensive strategies and resources available to the opponent, the player can plan on how to defend against potential future attacks. When the player can see the defensive strategies and resources available to the opponent, the player can plan on how to wear down such defenses.

I hope you enjoyed this article. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to put them in the comments section.

For additional references, here are the Vanguard Comprehensive Rules and the Vanguard Advanced Floor Rules.

  1. Bushiroad Inc. “Cardfight!! Vanguard Comprehensive Rules ver. 1.19”. February 14, 2014. PDF file.
  2. “Suited Science: What Are the Odds of Drawing That Card?” Scientific American. Scientific American, September 27, 2012. Web. January 15, 2016.

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

**This image has been altered from the game zone images found in the Vanguard Comprehensive Rules. Bushiroad retains the original rights to these images and the numbering of game zones in the diagram.

Open Hand, Closed Hand


School Dominator, Apt

The first lesson, there are no limits to knowledge.

 – School Dominator, Apt

One topic of discussion among Cardfight!! Vanguard blogs is the concept of perfect memory and/or knowledge of an opponent’s resources, especially the opponent’s hand. Since this knowledge would be advantageous to the player, there have been many attempts at trying to apply this in game. One such method that has been discussed is the use of memory of what the opponent drive checks during the attack phase of his or her turn. Such discussion around this topic can be found around the community, such as the article on perfect knowledge from vMundi and the article on perfect memory from TehNACHO. This technical article is meant to implement and apply such theories around the use of memory in a normal game setting.

One such application of this is the use of a strategy of reading resources in hand that looks at open hand and closed hand. Before this can method can be explained, the terms “open hand” and “closed hand” should be defined for clarification. Open hand is the group of the cards in the opponent’s hand that are known to the player. In contrast, closed hand is the group of cards in the opponent’s hand that are not known to the player. Furthermore, cards that are in closed hand will be referred to as closed cards and cards that are in open hand will be referred to as open cards. If one can track the open hand and closed hand of the opponent (along with the rest of his or her field and drop zone), the player could know up to 2/3 of the cards in play on the opponent’s side of the field 1.

So… how does this work? In order to determine this, it is crucial to see how the general concept of open hand and closed hand are seen in game. To conceptualize a game for the sake of demonstration, a series of diagrams will be shown that will depict a turn in game from the beginning of a typical game. Each figure will have a caption depicting the point of game that the picture in the figure represents. In these figures, the turns will go in the normal pattern of play. Each diagram will depict both players’ fields, which will include hand and board. Hand will be depicted by cards on the end of each play mat and will either be face down (representing closed hand) or face up (representing open hand).

Let us consider the beginning of a game. At this point in the game, the only thing that each player has seen are the starting vanguards on both sides of the field. Though this is the case, more information is available to the player in the first few turns of the game.


Figure 1. Beginning of the game, with revealed starting vanguards. Each player has five closed cards in hand.


Figure 2. Player 1 (player with white play mat) has taken his first turn. End phase of player 1’s first turn. Each player has five closed cards in hand.


Figure 3. End of main phase of player 2’s (player with green play mat) turn. Each player has five closed cards in hand.


Figure 4. Beginning of player 2’s attack phase of her first turn. Player 2 is attacking player 1’s vanguard. Drive check has not been initiated at this point. Each player has five closed cards in hand.


As seen in diagrams 1 and 2, nothing of either player 1’s hand or player 2’s has been revealed except for the vanguards that they have promoted in the first phases of game. Though this is the case, this changes when player 2 drive checks, as seen in Figure 5 and 6.


Figure 5. Attack phase of the player 2’s first turn. Player 2 is attacking Player 1’s vanguard. Drive check reveals Ancient Dragon, Gattlingaro. Each player has five closed cards in hand.


Figure 6. Ancient Dragon, Gattlingaro is added to player 2’s hand after the drive check. Player 1 has five closed cards in hand at this point, while player 2 has five closed cards and one open card (as depicted by the face up Gattlingaro in hand).


Drive checking in Vanguard is one of the main methods of finding out what is in your opponent’s hand. Player 1 is now aware that Ancient Dragon, Gattlingaro is in the opponent’s hand. To reiterate, the cards that player 1 does not know in player 2’s hand is closed hand. In the Figure 6, the open hand portion of player 2’s hand is revealed for the sake of demonstration. The remaining diagrams will track player 1’s and player 2’s in the same manner. This demonstrated open hand portion of both players’ hands becomes more prominent as the game goes on. This is demonstrated in the following diagrams.


Figure 7. Stand and draw phase of player 1. Player 1 has six closed cards in hand. Player 2 has five closed cards and one open card in hand.


Figure 8. Attack phase of player 1 with drive check revealing Machining Firefly. Player 1 has five closed cards in hand. Player 2 has 5 closed cards and one open card.


Figure 9. Machining Firefly is placed in hand after the drive check and before player 2 takes two damage, since Firefly’s critical effect and power have been given to player 1’s vanguard. Player 1 has five closed cards and one open card in hand. Player 2 has five closed cards and one open card in hand.


Figure 10. Stand and draw phases of player 2’s turn. Player 1 has five closed cards and one open card in hand. Player 2 has five closed cards and one open card in hand.


Figure 11. Player 2’s ride phase. Each player has five closed cards and one open card in each of their hands.


Figure 12. Player 2’s main phase. Player 2 has called Ancient Dragon, Dinodile to the rearguard from the player’s closed hand. Player 1 has five closed cards and one open card in hand. Player 2 has four closed cards and one open card in hand.


Figure 13. End of player 2’s attack phase. Ancient Dragon, Dinodile has been added to hand after being revealed in player 2’s drive check. Player 1 has five closed cards and one open card in hand. Player 2 has four closed cards and two open cards in hand.


As seen in the diagrams above, one can see that the open hand of each player increases with each drive check. One can also see through observation that the closed portion of hand decreases as each player either places rearguards on the field. This decrease in closed cards in hand also can be caused at any other time they are used out of hand (e.g. guarding with cards in hand).

The application of theory referred to in the introduction of this article is the use of memory to keep track of the opposing player’s open hand. With the information about the opponent’s open hand, the player could have the capacity to make better decisions based on the increased information compared to the player who does not keep track of this kind of information. Though this is the case, memorizing all of this information can be a challenge. After testing this method several times, this author can give a few pointers around this method:

  • Keep practicing. This method takes time to learn, so try to get used to keeping track of hand through the course of your local tournaments and casual play.
  • Improve memory. This is part of the reason that you practice this method of playing Vanguard. The old saying goes that the brain is a muscle. If this is true, then practicing the use of memory in games could prove useful in improving memory. Beyond that point, improving memory will help this method of keeping track of open hands and closed hands become more accurate and more effective in games. One useful article on this subject is available on V-Mundi, and is found here.
  • Track problem cards. An easier way of tracking what is in the opponent’s hand is to keep track of cards that could be a potential threat instead of all potential attackers in hand. These potential threats are those cards that are essential to the mechanics of the opponent’s deck or detrimental to the mechanics of your deck. Examples of such cards are cards like Tidal Assault (which helps Aqua Force achieve multiple attacks) or Grade 3’s (in the case that you are Megacolony and you are thinking about stunning the vanguard).
  • Track perfect guards and 10K shields. On the flip side of the previous point, keeping track of perfect guards and 10K shields allows the player to determine critical times to attack certain units or finish the game. This is especially important for aggressive decks that have big late game plays that can be stopped easily by perfect guards, such as Dark Irregulars (with the exception of Gille de Rais) or Tachikaze.

I hope you enjoyed this article. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to put them in the comments section.


  1. Alice. “Perfect Knowledge” V-Mundi, 23 May 2012. Web. 7 January 2016. <>.


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