Strategic Deck Archetypes

In trading card games, players build decks with a win condition in mind. A win condition is a game state that a player reaches in a game where he or she is deemed a winner by the rules. In this article, win conditions will refer to the typical and modern forms of such conditions, mainly through dealing lethal combat damage of causing the opponent to deck out. Since inception of trading card games, the deck building strategies of players can be divided among three archetypes, which are defined either on the speed at which a win condition is met or how interactions between cards achieve a win condition. These archetypes are:

  • Aggro. This archetypal strategy focuses on winning fast win in early game by methods that are too quick for an opponent to respond or defend against. Examples of decks that fit into this archetype are weenie* decks or burn** decks.
  • Control. While aggro strategies focus on the early game, this archetype focuses on the slow buildup of resources for the sake of winning in the late game. Examples of this strategy are decks with high-cost creatures.
  • Combo. When other strategies focus on the speed at which a win condition is met, this strategy uses strong synergy between cards as a win condition. Decks under this archetype mainly rely on the effect interactions between certain cards in the deck to win the game on their own.

According to many players, aggro, combo, and control are the most common strategical archetypes for deck building in trading card games to date. Other decks may appear at your local card shop, but most of them will fall into one or more these three categories. Some examples of uncommon strategies that are not covered by the main three include:

  • Midrange. Defined by its flexibility, decks that fall into this strategic archetype have the ability to speed up or slow down against opponents when the need arises.
  • Mill. While many strategies focus on dealing the required combat damage to win the game, this strategic archetype solely focuses on forcing the opponent to discard cards off of the top of his or her deck until the player cannot draw any more cards out of deck.

Thanks for your continued support! If you have any questions or comments, please place them in the comments section.


*Weenie decks focus their efforts on generating many small creatures for a low cost and/or early in the game.

**Burn decks mainly focus on dealing a large amount of damage to the opponent through the use of card effects alone.</sup>

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Announcement: On Hiatus Until Sept. 8, 2017, Updates to Content

This announcement is a notice for our readers that we will collectively be taking a break from the blog until the 8th of September of 2017. During this time, the writers of the blog will be taking a much needed rest in order to combat fatigue, to catch up on archived content management, and to explore different avenues for the future of Cardfight Lab Tech.

In addition to this, Cardfight Lab Tech is no longer exploring the option to regularly create content on Future Card Buddyfight. This clarification is needed due to the website’s failure to generate consistent content around the game of Buddyfight. Although the content will not be created on a regular basis, this blog may publish content on occasion related to Future Card Buddyfight, which may include publishing some archived content related to that game. The decision related to the frequency of the creation of Future Card Buddyfight content is subject to change in the future.

We would like to thank our readers for your continued support as we attempt to create quality content. Keep having fun, and we hope to see you around!

Gaia Engorge Deck

Great Emperor Dragon, Gaia Dynast

Great Emperor Dragon, Gaia Dynast

The following article is a guest article submission and deck profile. Please enjoy!

Hello, Cardfighters! This is Jim, an active player of Cardfight!! Vanguard and I’ve been asked to write an article for your viewing pleasure.

Today I’m doing a deck profile for a deck that has been creeping up in popularity due to its strong stride turns, strong draw power, and its all around aesthetics. That deck hails from the Tachikaze clan starring Gaia Emperor. The following list is a heavily aggressive deck with it comes to the late game. Gaia’s early game is mostly straight forward, but I think you’ll enjoy this profile. With this in mind, I will go through each grade in the overview of the deck. Let’s take it from the top:

Grade 4 Units
4x Absolute Ruler, Gluttony Dogma
4x Great Emperor Dragon, Gaia Dynast
1x Destructive Tyrant, Gradogigant
1x Destruction Tyrant, Volcantyranno
1x Air Element, Sebreeze
2x Barrage Giant Cannon, Bullish Primer
1x Cliff Authority Retainer, Blockade Ganga
2x Iron-Armored Chancellor, Dymorphalanx

My choices for these G-Units are simply put, it’s the best I could come up with. Gluttony Dogma ensure that you have a solid finisher stride that doesn’t need that much set-up to pull off and is especially devastating to the opponent to be hit with Gluttony Dogma on first stride after G Guarding. Even with Gluttony in the deck list, Gaia Dynast has the potential to launch 7 attacks without stand triggers and only requires 2 of your multitude of Engorge units, generation break 1 already achieved, and 2-3 open counterblasts. Gradogigant is your typical first stride as it allows you to build up your hand for your 2nd stride and hopefully finish them off then. As the clan’s generation break 8 unit from the recent fighter’s collection, Volcantyranno is grants a lot of power to rear guards and wipes your opponent’s board. Barrier Ganga is very situational on when the card won’t actually make your situation worse (so I only play 1). Dymorphalanx is a solid G-Guard that compliments the fact that Gaia has the capability to mirage out its field every turn. In addition to the G Guards mentioned, Bullish Primer has variety and a bit of consistency added with the new heal trigger.

Grade 3 Units
4x Emperor Dragon, Gaia Emperor
4x Frenzy Emperor Dragon, Gaia Desperado

There isn’t much explanation needed here. Gaia Emperor is your ideal Grade 3 ride as it has the most synergy with your deck’s playstyle, allowing the player to give revival skills to two rearguards and fueling the clan’s engorge mechanic. Gaia Desperado is basically a weaker Gaia on vanguard circle, but it has a lot of synergy with the Dynast turn I mentioned earlier.

Grade 2 Units
4x Ancient Dragon, Criollofall
4x Ravenous Dragon, Megarex
3x Conflagration Dragon, Gigant Flame

The Grade 2’s may be a little boring looking, but allow me to explain. The reason why Gaia uses eight 10k base grade two units is because the deck, like a lot of G Era decks, are very weak to rush. Gaia’s first stride doesn’t have a lot of pressure behind it so, even if you Gradogigant on your first stride, you may not have the resources to mount a counterattack after that since you’ll probably already be at 3-5 damage before you stride. 10k vanilla grade 2s give you a solid 2nd ride and they have a lot of potential to help counter rush. They also commit to a grade 2 rush if you have a hand full of them and not all decks play 10k vanillas so they may not be able to to poke at them in the rearguard with the typical 9k base power grade 2 units. Gigant Flame also allows the deck to have essentially eleven solid and defensive grade two rides. You may be asking why I don’t have four of Gigant. My response to this:while it may have 11k base power, Gigant Flame has a very nasty ability that states that Gigant cannot attack a vanguard unless you have an engorged unit or a Gaia vanguard.

Grade 1 Units
3x Savage Guardian (Perfect Guard)
1x Barrier Dragon, Styracolord (Perfect Guard)
4x Prism Bird (Stride Helper)
3x Collision Dragon, Charging Pachycephalo
2x Cold Dragon, Freezernyx
1x Savage Heroin

The grade 1 units are my favorite of this deck. Savage Guardian add a very solid countercharging engine to the deck since the counterblasting can get a little hard to manage at times. While that is the case, four copies is not my optimal number for this deck. That very reason is because Styracolord is very situationally good as he has 11k total power when engorged and he goes back to your hand at the end phase, promoting aggressive early plays. Prism Bird allow you to almost guarantee stride every turn after riding to Grade 3. Additionally, it allows you to fish for the Gaia unit you want when you don’t have him in hand and have the other grade 3 in hand. Pachycephalo is good here because of how versatile he is. In addition to his draw skill when he’s retired, Pachycephalo also has the potential to be an attacker with his other skill. in Freezernyx is your cost refunding engine as he countercharges and soulcharges upon being retired. The 2k that Freezernyx grants as well can be useful in certain situations. Savage Heroin is, in my opinion, one of the most clutch cards in this deck, since it can be searched by the starter when retired and gains 3k power for each engorged unit on the field.

Grade 0 Units
4x Cannon Fire Dragon, Parasaulauncher (Critical)
2x Ancient Dragon, Dinodile (Critical)
3x Coelamagnum (Stand)
3x Cannon Fire Dragon, Sledge Ankylo (Draw)
4x Artillery Dragon, Flint Ankylo (Heal)
1x Baby Camara (Starter)

Last but not least, Grade 0’s. I’ll get the easy part out of the way first: the triggers. 4 Parasaulauncher is a very solid card; +1 soul, +1 hand, +5k vanguard. 2 Dinodile is a solid choice. I don’t think 8 critical is necessary when you want to draw into your combo pieces, but Dinodile at least allows you to have that extra soul or damage when you need it. That is the same reason why I like three copies of Sledge Ankylo. Simply put, draw triggers like Ankylo allow you to keep increasing your hand. In addition, that +1 soul and +3k to anything could change a lot. Coelamagnum is a rather controversial choice as he’s a stand trigger and most of your attack patterns would rather have criticals. Although this may be true in some decks, the reason why he’s in here is because he has many good uses out of being retired: +1 draw, +5k power to any unit, and he goes back to the deck after drawing, thereby allowing you to draw a non-trigger (most of the time) and allowing you to meet your quota for retiring for Gradogigant or Gluttony Dogma without having to waste valuable units. Flint Ankylo is a no-brainer, since it is a heal trigger with an effect that allows you to make the already good Bullish Primer an added in Agleam as well. Plus, he’s freaking ADORABLE! Lastly, Baby Camara. This card single-handedly helped me decide my grade one line up, and searched for a grade one unit when it is retired due to engorge effects and call it to the field with 3k additional power for the cost of one counterblast.

Now that I’ve explained the list, I’ll explain the Dynast combo that I mentioned earlier. The required scenario is to be on Gaia Emperor with GB1 already achieved, 2 or more face-up damage, and 2 engorge units in your hand (preferably 2 Gaia Desperado). Follow the steps below:

  1. Stride Gaia Dynast
  2. Use Gaia Emperor’s Stride skill to call 2 Engorge units to the front row and target them with the 2nd half of the skill.
  3. Enter attack phase and attack with one of the rear guards and DON’T use it’s engorge skill.
  4. Attack with the other rear guard, using it’s Engorge Ability to retire the other rear guard. This will trigger the inherited skill that Gaia Emperor gave that unit and call back to the field standing.
  5. Repeat Step 4.
  6. Attack with that rear guard 1 more time and DON’T retire anything unless it’s back row.
  7. Attack with Gaia Dynast and activate its Engorge Ability to retire 1 of the front row rear guards.
  8. Use Gaia Dynast’s GB3 skill to target the other rear guard and retire it in addition to all other units in the column (yours and your opponents) and countercharge 1.
  9. Gaia Dynast’s 3rd ability goes into standby twice; counterblast 2 and revive the retired units to the front row
  10. Pass all triggers to the revived units and attack.

It’s really much more simple than it looks. This easy to set up combo is what will either win you the game outright, or put your opponent so far behind, your next turn is more than assured.

That’s it for my first article on this blog and I hope you enjoyed reading it as I did writing it. Obviously, there are many ways you can build a deck, but I hope that this list brings you fellow dinosaur lovers success!


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

Editor’s Note: Progress, Patience, and Time

Augury Maiden, Ida

Augury Maiden, Ida

Let’s grow these seedlings! Seedlings of hope!

Augury Maiden, Ida

Hey everyone,

Over the last year and a half, a group of writers and myself set out to find cheaper, smarter, and more creative ways to play the game of Cardfight!! Vanguard. As I journeyed with along with these writers in the posts we created on this page, I have grown as a player, learning more and more about the complexities and strategies that surround this game and other trading card games like it. For this growth and opportunity, I am grateful to the readers and writers that have taken this journey with me.

Although I have seen myself grow through the process of building up content for this blog, I also have a sense of frustration about the process. At times along the way, I have been reminded that I still have much to learn, finding myself lacking in certain areas of competitive play. Even though I have learned from many great players around me, it sometimes feels like I may not reach that level of play. Although it has proven difficult at times to sort through such thoughts, after weeks of thinking about it, a thought came to me recently that might quiet my concern.

The thought: growth takes time.

Simple, right? So simple that I am bewildered that it did not come to me sooner. It’s true though. In many areas of our lives, there are many things that are worthwhile that are worth fighting, striving, and waiting for. Whether it is the overcoming of an obstacle, the solution to a complex problem, or the acquisition of a skill, each of these things and more might take time, patience, and a little elbow grease to come by or obtain. This seems to apply to becoming a better trading card game player as well.

Take heart. Rome was not built in a day, and neither are we. Keep growing, fellow readers,

Best regards,
Jonathan Smith
Cardfight Lab Tech
Editor in Chief

Crimson Roar, Metatron Deck

Crimson Roar, Metatron

Crimson Roar, Metatron

Angel Feather tends to be remembered nowadays for its great offense and defense through the use of Rescue, which allows them to damage themselves after healing to gain additional trigger effects and power.  While that gives the clan great capabilities in the late-game, it tends to fall behind in the early-game due to its reliance on units with Generation Break skills.  This can cause issues if you enter a point when you cannot take enough damage during your opponent’s turn to trigger your skills.  Well, that all changes with this deck.

Deck List

While it does utilize some of the above mechanics, several cards that allow you to manipulate your damage early alongside cards that gain power when you do so (most without Generation Break), giving the deck the ability to fend for itself in the early-game and threaten a very short game for the opponent.  The decks lack of reliance on Striding due to using cards with Limit Break, preventing the player from having an uneventful turn that can commonly arise in decks that want to Stride but don’t have the immediate resources.  Also, the deck can achieve its Generation Break skills through the use of Generation Guarding, allowing the player to continue to use their Limit Break skills while using all their Rearguard skills.  Overall, the deck offers a change of pace for Angel Feather that is not noticed as much in this day and age.  Also, it gives you the chance to play with some older cards, which can be enjoyable in a different rite. Here is the deck list:

Grade 4 Units:
1x Black Seraph, Vellator Terminal (GB8 Stride)
1x Holy Seraph, Zachariel
3x Holy Seraph, Altiel
2x Holy Seraph, Raziel
4x Black Seraph, Gavrail
3x Holy Seraph, Suriel (G-Guardian)
2x Black Seraph, Eleleth (G-Guardian)

Grade 3 Units:
4x Crimson Impact, Metatron (Limit Break)
4x Crimson Roar, Metatron (Limit Break)

Grade 2 Units:
4x Million Ray Pegasus
4x Nurse of Broken Heart
3x Love Machine Gun, Nociel

Grade 1 Units:
4x Thousand Ray Pegasus
4x Doctroid Remnon (Perfect Guard)
4x Confidence Celestial, Rumjal (Limit Break Enabler)
2x Black Call, Nakir (Stride Assist)

Grade 0 Units:
1x Hope Child, Turiel (Starter)
4x Hot Shot Celestial, Samyaza (Critical)
4x Surgery Angel (Stand)
1x Doctroid Refros (Stand)
3x Fever Therapy Nurse (Draw)
4x Sunny Smile Angel (Heal)

Deck Highlights

 

 

General Notes on the Deck

Overall, the deck construction itself is fairly simple:  Throw in cards that gain power and cards that can power them up while making sure to include Strides and G-Guardians. If you can, try to only Stride once or twice while continuously using each Metatron’s limit break to upgrade your cards and power-up your units.  Your goal is to end the game before your opponent has access to their most powerful Stride units, so fight fast and furiously.

Another thing to keep in mind is that this list can be used as a base for additional deck-building and tinkering.  With this in mind, each player can find how they like to play the deck and change it accordingly based on their play style and budget (especially with the G zone).

Thousand Ray Pegasus + Million Ray Pegasus

If you need to hold back due to their aggression being better, the Pegasi give you great defensive capabilities against aggression, especially since they gain power on the vanguard in the early game. These units also synergize well with the Rescue mechanics and units that switch out large amounts of damage in the late game (like Vellator Terminal and Raziel).

Nurse of Broken Heart

This unit is very useful in the late game, enabling it and the vanguard to power up every a card is put into the damage zone during the player’s turn and the opponent’s turn at generation break 1. Much like the Pegasi,  Broken Heart synergizes well with the Rescue mechanics in the deck and units that switch out large amounts of damage in the late game.

Crimson Roar, Metatron + Crimson Impact, Metatron

The abilities of both Metatrons can be used to exchange units from the field and the damage zone in order to optimize the field and power up units that rely on cards being put into the damage zone.

Black Seraph, Vellator Terminal + Holy Seraph, Raziel

In their respective abilities, these units allow the player to swap up to five damage in the damage zone with more cards, allowing units like Nurse of Broken Heart and the Pegasi to power up for a finishing turn with potentially 10k+ power.

Black Seraph, Gavrail + Holy Seraph, Suriel + Surgery Angel

These units supply part of the backbone of the Rescue mechanics of the deck, allowing the player to perform rescue check during the battle phase (Surgery Angel and Gavrail) and guard phase (Suriel).

Hope Child, Turiel + Love Machine Gun, Nociel

Not only do Nociel and Turiel allow the player to swap cards in and out of the damage zone before striding, it also allows the player to grab cards from the damage zone that they may need in hand before or during generation break.

Doctroid Refros

This card provides drawing options after striding while placing itself in the deck as another trigger and switching 2 cards in and out of the damage zone. In addition to this detail, it is only included in this deck at one copy due to the restriction placed on the card by Bushiroad.

Options: Holy Seraph, Zachariel + Holy Seraph, Altiel + Black Seraph, Vellator Terminal

These are provided in the deck list a potential options to fill in the grade 4 slots in the deck. Although these are provided in the deck list, these cards are optional and can be replaced if the user of this deck finds something more effective. Also, Zachariel is provided as a budget option, which can be replace with another copy of Altiel if the player has the budget for it.


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

On Quitting the Game

In the life cycle of a card player, there may come a time when a player decides that it is time to quit a card game and spend time and money on other pursuits. When considering whether to quit a card game, one should take time to think about it first, since selling out of a collection is easier than getting that same collection back.

Before quitting, one should consider the following:

  • If burned out, take a break instead. If one is burned out, it is better to take a break from tournaments and game play for a set amount of time instead of quitting a game prematurely. Taking a break from the game will also give a player more time to decide how one should invest or divest in a game.
  • Consider goals for the game. This note is mainly for the consideration of playing the game casually or competitively. If the player figures out that that the goals of a game do not align with the player’s buying behavior, then the player can treat his or her collection according to how the player wishes to play the game.
  • Consider the budget for the game. If money is an obstacle in updating the player’s current decks, then the player may simply need to choose decks that do not receive support often or receive cheaper support.

After considering these things and determining that (1) he or she dislikes a game or (2) considers investment in the game not worthwhile, then it may be wise to quit the game. If the player wishes to quit the game at this point, one can take one of the listed approaches to exiting any game:

  • Selling or trading the player’s collection. Selling a collection is typically the best option, since money gained from selling a collection can be used in a variety of ways outside of any other game. If one wishes to try another game, one can try to trade the collection for cards in another game. For a guide on where to sell and trade cards, one can find details at our article on places to sell and trade.
  • Keeping the collection. If selling or trading the collection is too difficult or the player has large amounts of nostalgia from cards in a collection, it may be better to keep the collection. Many memories can be preserved by keeping a collection, which may be worth more than any trade or sale that one may attempt to make.

What suggestions do you have for someone transitioning out of a card game? Please comment with your suggestions or questions in the comments section below.

How To Not Burnout During a Tournament

In any gaming environment, tournaments can last anywhere from a few hours to a series of days, which can be mentally straining on any participant competing in the game of choice. Although the player may be skilled enough to take any opponent, mental burnout can cause such a player to not perform optimally in the later rounds, potentially causing preventable losses. Although burnout is a danger to the player’s performance in the tournament setting, there are some ways to stay mentally focused during game tournaments:

  1. Have a simple plan for victory. In David Sirlin‘s book Playing to Winhe draws wisdom from his colleague Seth Killian and suggests that the player have a simple game plan for victory. The reason? Although it may not be impressive at times, a simple game plan that is executed thoughtlessly in the early rounds will save mental energy for the later stages of the tournament.
  2. Focus on one match at a time. Killian’s advice found in the book Playing to Win also suggests that one not worry about the future events in the tournament, hinting that the player should live moment by moment in the tournament setting.
  3. Take breaks between rounds if possible. Although this seems simple, taking a moment to collect oneself can allow the player to refocus and move ahead to the next match. This is especially true if one had a rough game in one of the previous rounds, since stepping away from a rough game may allow the player to refocus for the following matches.
  4. Take snacks for day-long tournaments. Some tournaments last for the entire day without lunch breaks, which can hurt the player’s focus due to hunger. The solution is simple: take some snacks with you to the tournament. If the player is unable to take snacks to the tournament, one can find places to buy food around the tournament venue.

Have any more tips for focusing more and burning out less during tournaments? Please leave your ideas, comments, or questions in the comments section.