Intimidating Mutant, Darkface Deck

Intimidating Mutant, Darkface

Intimidating Mutant, Darkface

Borrowing philosophy from the control decks of old, the Megacolony have found new tools in the G era for slowing down the opponent and playing daunting and powerful threats in the late game. Specifically, the main powerhouse of G Megacolony is Intimidating Mutant, Darkface, an on-stride unit that allows the player to reduce the threat of rearguards while allowing the player to set up for powerful strides that require time, patience, and resources to optimize and survive long enough to use.

Deck List

Grade 4 Units
2x Lawless Mutant Deity, Obtirandus
4x Merciless Mutant Deity, Darkface
1x Wild-fire Mutant Deity, Staggle Dipper
2x Mutant Deity Fortification, Grysfort
2x Seven Stars Mutant Deity, Relish Lady
1x Dream Mutant Deity, Scarabgas
1x Poison Spear Mutant Deity, Paraspear
2x Suppression Mutant Deity, Tyrantis
1x Air Element, Sebreeze

Grade 3 Units
4x Intimidating Mutant, Darkface
2x Unrivaled Blade Rogue, Cyclomatooth (Break Ride)
2x Despot Mutant, Arie Antoinette

Grade 2 Units
4x Buster Mantis
4x Cyclic Sickle Mutant, Aristscythe
3x Tail Joe

Grade 1 Units
4x New Face Mutant, Little Dorcas (Stride Helper)
4x Rebel Mutant, Starshield (Perfect Guard)
3x Vulcan Lafertei
3x Scissor Finger

Grade 0 Units
4x Makeup Widow (Stand)
4x Earth Dreamer (Stand)
4x Scissor-shot Mutant, Bombscissor (Critical)
4x Gourmet Battler, Relish Girl (Heal)
1x Young Executive, Crimebug (Starter)

 

Deck Highlights

 

Intimidating Mutant, Darkface

This on-stride unit is the main linchpin of the deck, resting and stunning two rearguard units when a unit strides on Darkface. The resting of the units is very useful in activating Dark Device skills found in the deck, varying from Merciless Mutant Deity, Darkface and Aristscythe. In addition to this, the stun skill of this card also allows the player of this deck to draw a card for the units stunned with the on-stride effect if they are rested on the field at the end of the opponent’s turn. If this all was not good enough, Darkface’s generation break 2 allows the player to soul blast 2 cards when an opponent’s unit is placed in order to rest it, potentially wasting the opponent’s replacements for stunned units.

Aristscythe + Tail Joe

Both of these units are able to hit 11k power on their own before generation break, which allows the player using this deck to use these cards in the early game to hit an opponent’s vanguard without a boost. These two cards are also good targets to either gain additional power from units like Tyrantis and Staggle Dipper or stand trigger effects.

Merciless Mutant Deity, Darkface

For the cost of one counterblast and unflipping a unit in the G zone, the player can use this unit to choose an opposing rearguard for each copy of Darkface in the G zone in order to prevent the chosen rearguard(s) from intercepting and being chosen for effects or costs until the end of the opponent’s next turn (which includes trigger effects). Beyond being able to shut down certain decks that favor choosing rearguards for skills, this stride can also enable generation break 2 on the first stride, which helps Intimidating Mutant, Darkface rest units with its skill.

Scissor Finger + Buster Mantis/Arie Antoinette

With the combination of Scissor Finger and either Buster or Antoinette, a column of 21k total power can be created when all of the opponent’s rearguards are at rest, providing more push power to this deck for forcing opposing guards from hand or finishing games.

Grysfort + Relish Lady

Both of these G guards allow the player to stall the game out for bigger threats in the late game by potentially granting more shield while resting opposing rearguards in the back row (Grysfort) or the forcing the opponent to let the player gather resources or rest two opposing units (Relish Lady).

Unrivaled Blade Rogue, Cyclomatooth

In the event one must stun the vanguard and the field, this is an option for the Megacolony player. Although the amount of copies of this card in the deck can be altered, it has proven useful enough to run at 2 or 3 copies, but 4 copies seems to be too much due to the fact that one wants to ride Darkface as the first grade 3 unit in most games.

Starshield + Vulcan Lafertei

These cards are mentioned together in this note due to the amount of counter charging mechanics they provide to the deck through their own respective skills. In addition to this, Vulcan can also provide soul for the Darkface player.

Lawless Mutant Deity, Obtirandus

Due to this unit’s ability to prevent any rearguard calls, this card is in the deck list against certain counters to this deck, which can include Granblue and Gold Paladin clans at times.

Suppression Mutant Deity, Tyrantis

At the time of the creation of this deck list, this is one of the best finishers for Megacolony to date. In short, this unit’s generation break 8 prevents opposing intercepts and auto abilities from activation, as well as granting all units on the player’s field 5k power for each rested unit until the end of turn. Most of this deck is designed to wait until this unit’s ability can be activated while filling the field with rested units that do not effectively push for the end game.

 

 

 


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

Ghosties Deck

Ghostie Great King, Obadiah

Ghostie Great King, Obadiah

Hello everyone! It’s been a little while since you have heard from me. Today, I wanted to bring attention to a newer deck made possible by the Rummy Labyrinth booster and consists of the Ghostie archetype.

Sadly, Ghosties have been randomly included in Granblue until now, mainly staying as grade 0 units with a few exceptions.  Though Ghosties could not realize their full potential before, new support has gifted the archetype with an amazing mill engine and the ability to use the Ghostie name for consistency and pressure*. With this in mind, let’s look at the Ghostie deck and why it can be useful in the current meta.

Deck List

To start with, the Ghostie play style is all about getting 10+ Ghosties in drop zone, after that it is power 24/7. This deck can hit as hard as early-game Royals with a surprising amount of durability. Given the requirement to make the deck work, at least 80% of the deck needs to be Ghosties to be consistent. After testing various builds, this is the build that felt the smoothest to play:

Grade 4 Units
4x Witch Doctor of Corpse, Negrosonger
4x Eclipse Dragonhulk, Jumble Dragon
4x Ghostie Great King, Obadiah
2x Great Witch doctor of Banquets, Negrolily
2x Diabolist of Tombs, Nebromode

Grade 3 Units
4x Ghostie Leader Demetria
2x Fabian the Ghostie
2x Vampire Princess of Starlight, Nightrose

Grade 2 Units
4x Hesketh the Ghostie
4x Clemmie the Ghostie
3x Pirate Swordsman, Colombard

Grade 1 Units
4x Quincy the Ghostie
4x Freddy the Ghostie (Perfect Guard)
4x Tommy the Ghostie Brothers (Stride Helper)
1x Jackie the Ghostie
1x John the Ghostie

Grade 0 Units
1x Matt the Ghostie (Starter)
4x Mick the Ghostie and Family (Stand)
4x Howard the Ghostie (Draw)
4x Rick the Ghostie (Heal)
4x Cody the Ghostie (Critical)

Notes and Details**

 

Ghostie Leader Demetria

The most important card for the Ghostie archetype came in the form of this new boss unit, which provides the deck list consistency and durability. When Demetria rides, you can soul blast 2 Ghosties in order to reveal cards from the top of your deck until you reveal a grade 1 unit. If that unit has Ghostie in the name, you add it to your hand and discard the rest. If it doesn’t have Ghostie in the name, you discard all revealed cards. Now since most of the Ghosties work off of having 10 or more in the drop zone, this sets up the deck almost immediately allows the player to refund the card lost due to riding by gaining one to hand. The second skill allows the player to call a Ghostie normal unit of  a grade less than a retired unit when it is retired. This second skill of this card is very reminiscent of Nightrose’s generation break 2, but Demetria only can use the second skill once a turn due to its phrasing. This skill allows you to constantly revive key pieces and aren’t required to mill each time you do.

Fabian the Ghostie

Fabian is meant to be a rearguard support for Demetria and has a few skills to support her, though, being a 10k base is almost useless as a vanguard. One skill that was surprisingly absent from Granblue until the new support of Ghosties was the ability to be called to rearguard when sent from the deck to the drop zone. For one counterblast, when dropped from the deck, Fabian calls itself in hollow state. At generation break 1, Fabian gets +4k when it attacks a vanguard. While this may not be that impressive now, it combos perfectly with Demetria and quick aggression strategies, along with creating 21k columns with 7k boosters.

Vampire Princess of Starlight, Nightrose

Almost everything about this card synergizes with the core of the deck. Her stride skill allows you to mill between 0-3 cards and calls a unit, giving the unit +3 if it has hollow. Her generation break 2 skill to call a grade 1 to her column for Soul Blast 1 when another unit is called increases the advantage created by certain strides. If that wasn’t all, she also has hollow. Having hollow allows Demetria to call Clemmie or Hesketh when Nightrose retires, which makes her synergize to Demetria (similar to Fabian in this way).

Clemmie the Ghostie

I think most players would agree that Negrorook is one of the best grade 2 units in the clan, being a 16k attack while hollowed. Clemmie, with the support of other Ghosties, is actually an improvement on that card. If you have 3 cards in the drop, Clemmie gets +2k. While you have 10+ Ghosties in drop it gets another +5k power and +5k shield on guardian circle. This is an ideal target to bring back with Demetria when Fabian retires by hollow or with Negrolily’s G guardian skill, making Clemmie one of the core pieces to the deck.

Hesketh the Ghostie

This card can be amazing in the early game, but gets replaced every time by Clemmie. When Hesketh is placed on RG, it gets +3k, but if you don’t have 3+ cards in the drop zone with “Ghostie” in their names, calls in rest. Hesketh does however have a counter to this, once per turn, you can Counter Blast 1 and drop the top card of your deck if it has Ghostie in the name, Hesketh gets +3k and stands. This skill makes it swing for 15k from turn 2 or 20-22k if boosted, becoming an almost unblockable  in the early game.

Pirate Swordsman, Colombard

As the Amber clone for Granblue, this unit allows the player to call a unit from the drop zone for one counterblast when boosted at generation break 1. Its ability to call a unit on swing allows you to recycle Clemmie and continues to put pressure on the opponent.

Quincy the Ghostie

Quincy has 2 skills that do nothing but improve the quality/ durability of the deck. The first skill is a generation break 1 drop zone skill to place a grade 0 rearguard on the bottom of the deck and call itself to rearguard. Not only does this give you a better boost, but it cycles triggers to the deck. The next skill is that Quincy can be retired when your Ghostie vanguard is attacked to give it +5k. This card works well with Clemmie, giving you a very strong defense in addition to a 23k attacking column.

Tommy the Ghostie Brothers

The stride helper for the Granblue clan can not only search for Nightrose and discard as a grade 3 when placed on rearguard, but it can also be added to hand by Demetria’s skill.

Freddy the Ghostie

A Ghostie perfect guard. End of speech.

Jackie the Ghostie

Another hollow unit that gets +2k at generation break 1 for attacking an opponent’s vanguard, allowing it to swing for 9k total. If the unit is hollowed, it gets another +2k and intercept, which has good synergy with Negrolily.

John the Ghostie

When the attack it boosts hits a vanguard, it can be added back to hand. This can be searched by Obadiah or just to boost Hesketh or Clemmie. This card allows you to keep the pressure on the early game and can return to hand, meaning you don’t have to worry about committing your entire hand to board.

Matt the Ghostie

Like Peter before him, Matt can also mill card from the deck, though generates resources in a different way. When Matt is put into the soul, you mill the top 2 cards from deck. If one of those milled cards have “Ghostie” in the name, you soul charge 1, if they both have “Ghostie” in the name, you counter charge 1. This allows the deck to recycle the cost of Demetria and allows you to use Gauche as first stride if needed.

Mick the Ghostie and Family

One of the best triggers in Granblue and currently the only hollow trigger. When called from the drop at Generation Break 1, it gives a unit +10k power if hollowed and can go back to the deck when retired.

Howard the Ghostie

A new addition to the clan. Finally, they get a draw trigger that goes into the soul to give a unit +3k.

Witch Doctor of Corpse, Negrosonger

The new RRR stride for the clan. After it attacks, pay counter blast 1, discard a card, and flip Negrosonger. if you pay this cost, you look at the top 4 cards of your deck, discard up to one, shuffle the remaining cards, and call a unit from drop that gets +5k for each face-up G unit. This card can consistently call a 21k+ Clemmie from first stride.

Eclipse Dragonhulk, Jumble Dragon

When placed on VG, you mill up to 4 from the top of the deck. For each normal unit dropped this way, Jumble gets +5k. If 2 or more triggers are dropped, you can call a unit from the drop. This unit can be a 46K first stride. If you have been keeping on the pressure from the start of the game, this can be a great finisher.

Ghostie Great King, Obadiah

Search your deck for any 3 cards and mill them, and if 2+ hollows were dropped, you call a Ghostie normal unit behind the vanguard. This can search cards varying from Fabian to John, which allows for great flexibility in offensive and defensive plays.

Great Witch Doctor of Banquets, Negrolily

When this unit is placed on guardian circle, you can pay counter blast 1, retire a unit and call a Ghostie normal unit. If you call a unit, Negrolily gets +10k shield. Combined with Demetria, this G Guardian calls an additional 20k shield or two 16k attackers.

Diabolist of Tombs, Negromode

This stride is a nice compliment to Negrolily. For soul blast 1 when placed on guardian circle, if you have 5+ cards in the drop, this unit gets +5 shield. Additionally, if you have 10+ cards in the drop, it gets another +5 shield, and again for 15 cards in the drop. In total this card turns a 10 heal into a 40k shield, easily helping against monstrous strides such as Gill de Rais.

 


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

*I want to mention that the Ghostie engine can be molded to function in almost every previous Granblue deck.

**Each card name in this section can be clicked and expanded for more details.

Maelstrom Deck

Blue Storm Dragon, Maelstrom

Blue Storm Dragon, Maelstrom

As some of our readers may know, a reader known as Eddie would comment on every post, no matter how big or small, that every article needed a little bit more Maelstrom, much like the one guy in a concert that demands that Free Bird is played. For our dear friend Eddie, it is time that I finally give him what he asked for. Please enjoy this deck list created on April 1, 2017.

The Maelstrom archetype is part of the Blue Storm archetype, which focused on hitting consistent multi-attacks that could hit the vanguard when on a vanguard with “Maelstrom” in the name. Such units focuses on two powerful mechanics, which consisted on preventing the opponent from guarding with grade one or greater units from hand to guard (e.g. Glory Maelstrom) or having the capability to retire rearguards based on whether certain attacks hit or miss the opponent’s vanguard (e.g. Admiral Maelstrom) . Without further adieu, here is the deck list:

Grade 4 Units
4x Blue Storm Master Dragon, Admiral Maelstrom
4x Blue Storm Helical Dragon, Disaster Maelstrom
1x Marine General of Heavenly Silk, Aristotle
1x Marine General of the Heavenly Scales, Tidal Bore Dragon
2x Marine General of Heavenly Silk, Lambros
3x Guard Leader of Sky and Water, Flotia (G Guardian)
1x Blue Storm Deterrence Dragon, Ice Barrier Dragon (G Guardian)

Grade 3 Units
3x Blue Storm Karma Dragon, Maelstrom “Яeverse”
1x Blue Storm Supreme Dragon, Glory Maelstrom
4x Blue Storm Dragon, Maelstrom (Break Ride)

Grade 2 Units
4x Kelpie Rider, Nikitas
4x Blue Storm Soldier, Rascal Sweeper
3x Blue Storm Marine General, Gregorious

Grade 1 Units
4x Mako Shark Soldier of the Blue Storm Fleet (Limit Break Enabler)
2x Blue Storm Marine General, Hermes
4x Blue Storm Shield, Homeros (Perfect Guard)
4x Blue Storm Battle Princess, Theta

Grade 0 Units
2x Blue Storm Battleship, “Wadatsumi” (Critical)
4x Blue Storm Marine General, Despina (Critical)
2x Blue Storm Fleet, Angler Soldier (Stand)
4x Officer Cadet, Alekbors (Stand)
4x Medical Officer of the Blue Storm Fleet (Heal)
1x Blue Storm Cadet, Marios (Starter)

Blue Storm Karma Dragon, Maelstrom "Яeverse"

Blue Storm Karma Dragon, Maelstrom “Яeverse”

The main objective of the deck is to ride Maelstrom “Яeverse” with the intent to finish the opponent off with the limit break. On the fourth battle of the turn and the cost of resting a rearguard and locking it, this limit break allows the player to give Maelstrom “Яeverse” to gain 5k additional power and an additional critical and the ability to retire an opponent’s rearguard and draw a card if the attack misses. To make this effect more powerful, the break ride version of Maelstrom allows the vanguard that rides this unit at limit break 4 an additional 10k power and the ability to retire an opponent’s rearguard, draw a card, and the inability of the opponent to guard with grade 0 units from hand if the vanguard attacks on the first battle. This is similar to Despina, which can prevent the opponent from guarding with grade 0 units from hand when it boosts a “Maelstrom” vanguard on the fourth battle of the turn with the cost of returning to the deck after the battle it boosted. In the event that the player cannot break ride Maelstrom “Яeverse”, the player can attempt to break ride Glory Maelstrom, which has the ability to prevent the opponent from guarding the attack with grade 1 or higher units from hand to guard at limit break 5.

Blue Storm Soldier, Rascal Sweeper

Blue Storm Soldier, Rascal Sweeper

This deck runs Rascal Sweeper and Nikitas in order to help this deck reach the fourth battle. At the end of the battle that Rascal Sweeper attacked a vanguard on the first battle of the turn, and the player’s vanguard has “Maelstrom” in the card name, it can exchange positions with a rearguard unit in the same column as Rascal Sweeper. Nikitas’ generation break one allows it to switch positions with a rearguard unit with the wave ability after the battle attacks the vanguard. Units with the wave ability in this deck include Theta, Maelstrom (Break Ride), Nikitas, and Homeros. In addition to this, both unit are able to reach 11k total power based on certain conditions. Specifically, Rascal Sweeper gains 2k power when a unit with “Maelstrom” is the vanguard, and Nikitas gains 2k power (even outside of generation break one) if it attacks on the first or second battle of the turn. Alekbors also helps with achieving multiple attacks by switching with a unit in the rearguard and returning to deck at generation break one.

The stride deck focuses on having synergy with the normal play with Maelstrom unit as the vanguard. Specifically, two grade 4 units focus on having a Maelstrom heart in order to activate their skills: Admiral Maelstrom and Disaster Maelstrom. Admiral Maelstrom allows the player to flip over a G unit and counterblast one in order draw a card and choose three rearguards of the opponent, forcing the opponent to choose one to retire among the three for each Admiral Maelstrom in the G zone. Disaster Maelstrom can flip a copy of himself when it attacks a vanguard in order to give 5k to three units in the front row if a unit with “Maelstrom” in the name is in the soul.

Units in this deck also provides ways to search “Maelstrom” units in the deck, making the list more consistent. Marios allows the player to search the top five units of the deck for a card with “Maelstrom” in the card name and add it to hand when it boosts a successful attack with the vanguard on the third battle of the turn or more. Likewise, Maelstrom (Break Ride) allows the player to search the deck for a unit with “Maelstrom” and add it to hand when it hits an opponent’s vanguard as the vanguard on the third battle or more of the turn. In addition to the skill mentioned before, Disaster Maelstrom allows the player to search the deck for a unit with “Maelstrom” in the card name when it attacks.

I hope you enjoyed this deck list. Please leave any questions or comments in about this deck list in the comments section.


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

Shuffling

Label Pangolin

Label Pangolin

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

Types of Shuffling

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

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

Best Way to Shuffle Cards?

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

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


List of Sources

  1. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/BF01048267
  2. http://www.nytimes.com/1990/01/09/science/in-shuffling-cards-7-is-winning-number.html
  3. http://www.mtgsalvation.com/forums/magic-fundamentals/magic-general/334934-shuffling-the-truth-and-maths-primer
  4. http://projecteuclid.org/DPubS/Repository/1.0/Disseminate?view=body&id=pdf_1&handle=euclid.aoap/1177005705
  5. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AxJubaijQbI
  6. http://www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/tabletop/columns/hexproof/9430-Shuffling-is-Not-a-Formality
  7. http://www.starcitygames.com/article/8565_The-Beginner-s-Guide-to-Shuffling-and-Deck-Randomization.html
  8. http://magic.wizards.com/en/articles/archive/news/magic-tournament-rules-release-notes-2017-01-16
  9. http://www.starcitygames.com/magic/misc/4832_What_Was_Mike_Long_Doing_In_The_Last_Round_or_Why_Pile_Shuffling_Isnt_Random.html

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

Measuring Card Advantage: Pluses and Minuses

Red Card Dealer

Red Card Dealer

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

As a term, card advantage describes the state in which a player generally has more cards than his or her opponent. With this in mind, the theory around this concept describes how the player can achieve card advantage and how to measure it.* Although the theory is not perfect, the basis of the theory is that the player with card advantage has access to more cards than the opponent, meaning that the player is closer to drawing his/her deck’s win conditions than the opponent. This is especially important for slower control decks, which focus on gaining card advantage slowly before finishing off their opponents.**

In the game of Cardfight!! Vanguard, the total card advantage that a player has not only refers to cards in hand, but also the cards that are on the rearguard circles. Conserving card advantage in this game could make the difference between having enough cards at the player’s disposal to guarantee a winning game state, or the exact opposite. Although this is concept is being applied to Vanguard in this article, this concept can be applied to almost any trading card game in general terms.

NOTE: This article is mainly used as a guide to measure tangible card advantage in the game of Cardfight!! Vanguard. This method is not easily applied to virtual card advantage, which is described at this link.

Measuring Card Advantage

In Magic, players tend to measure gains or losses in card advantage in a way describes trades in resources. For example, if one card’s effect allows the player to force the opponent to discard two cards and the player to discard the card after the use of an effect, the player traded that card for two of the opponent’s cards. This, in Magic: The Gathering, is known as a “two-for-one”, describing the transaction that took place.

The approach this article will show the player is also taken generically without specific vocabulary, which allows the player to easily gauge the amount of card advantage being gained or lost in the course of the game. Specifically, this approach tracks the net card advantage between the two players in the game of Cardfight!! Vanguard.***

When describing net gains and losses of card advantage on the board or out of hand, there are three ways to describe such trades:

  • Negative cards. Also described as a “-(number of cards lost)”, a net loss happens when a player loses one or more cards of advantage compared to the opponent’s cards. An example of this is when a player loses a rearguard due to an attack. This rearguard is discarded without the opponent losing any cards from field or hand, meaning that the player has lost one card in advantage.
  • Positive cards. Also described as a “+(number of cards lost)”, a net gain happens when a player gains one or more cards of advantage compared to the opponent’s cards. An example of this is when a player draws a card due to a unit’s on-hit ability to draw a card when it hits an opposing vanguard. In this instance, a player that is able to draw a card without having to discard cards from hand or lose rearguards, which equates to +1 net gain (assuming the opponent does not gain cards due to the skill).
  • Zero cards. Also described as a “0”, netting zero happens when a player gains no more cards of advantage compared to the opponent’s cards, even in spite of a trade or transaction. An example of this is when the player activates the ability to drop one card and draw one card. The player loses one card (-1) due to the drop part of the ability, but gains one card (+1) when he or she draws one card. The net of this transaction is 0 (or 1-1 = 0).

Applications of Measuring Card Advantage in Vanguard

This style of measuring card advantage can be tedious during game play, especially for those who do not wish to keep track of facts and figures while keeping trade of card skills. With this in mind, here are a few ways to apply the theory discussed here.

  • Analyzing card abilities. This method of analyzing card advantage can be used in the process of deck building to decrease the amount of inefficient cards due to the cost of abilities. In addition, this method can also be used to compare similar cards by comparing their effects on general card advantage.
  • Making better trades in battle. In the midst of game play, choices like attacking the vanguard versus attacking the rearguards can be crucial in taking advantage away from the opponent or obtaining advantage for the player. For example, if attacking the vanguard will force the opponent to guard with two cards compared to guarding the same attack directed at his/her rearguard with one card, then attacking the vanguard is a better choice in terms of card advantage (aka forcing the opponent to -2 instead of -1).

I hope this article helps. If anyone has questions or comments in relation to this article, please put them in the comments section.


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


*http://magic.wizards.com/en/articles/archive/magic-academy/introduction-card-advantage-2006-12-23

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

***This approach takes its inspiration from Upstart Goblin University’s way to track card advantage, which can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=peo3JrGedPc

Guest Post: Playing a Format Behind

vanguard-central-academy

Hello Cardfighters,

As many people may not know, I was always playing a deck that was a whole format behind the current meta up until the release of the stride mechanic. I first started playing Vanguard around the English release of BT11/BT10 (sets during the limit break format). The deck I decided to play? Dragon Monk, Goku. In the realm of competitive play, this deck had not been relevant for an extremely long time. Later, when the legion mechanic was released, I picked up a Great Nature deck consisting of the break ride combo Chatnoir/Polaris, again a format behind. These days, I tend to play whatever I feel like on the main channel, known as Vanguard Central. As a side effect of this, I have accumulated a lot of decks, but I felt that playing a deck that was so far behind or simply not on the same level as the competition around you can teach you a lot of things. So here it goes.

  1. The importance of player skill. Being behind the power curve in terms of cards meant that a lot of my success was dependent on how well I was playing. I realized this quickly, and I owe a lot of my success as a player to when I was forced to play starting from a disadvantageous position. I thought and read about the game a ton so that I could improve that way rather than completely switching to a top tier deck. I’m still lacking in a couple areas as should be expected, but a few of the things I taught myself/read about were card efficiency, optimizing attack/guard patterns, and memorizing the opponent’s drive checks (the last of which I still need practice with and have to constantly focus on to get right). Even with all the skill building I have done so far, I still have a long ways to go. I learned where I was lacking as a player, and I think that is an important thing to know.
  2. The willingness to try new strategies. So, if I had all this time to improve myself, why do I still suck at memorizing drive checks? Well it’s mostly because of this second point. I spent a lot of time researching similar decks, thinking of new ways to build my deck, and trying out combinations I had not heard of before. I tried out cards that people had long forgotten and trigger line ups that no one would expect. After spending all of this time and effort spent on trying to improve my chances of victory, I found out what strategies worked and and, well, didn’t work. During these times experimenting with the game, I think the best lesson I gained was learning not to count out any strategy and to explore all of your options. My favorite example was when I mixed Seal Dragons into my Goku deck, a deck where I started trying a really aggressive strategy of moving my starter to the side column to make multiple attacks quickly. There are lots of interesting ways to build decks that are outside the norm, so don’t be afraid to try out something new. You might be pleasantly surprised.

My experiences started out with decks that were far from being considered top tier. From these experiences, I was able to improve myself a lot as a player and as a deck builder. If I could go back and redo my experiences in the game of Vanguard, I’d probably focus more on my player skills since I think that I’m lacking a lot in that department. Then again, who knows? Maybe if I had, I’d still be here writing about how I wish I had tried more strategies, still striving to become the best that I can. There are lots of ways to improve at the game, whether it’s through tweaking your deck as a master deck builder or by becoming an expert player.

Keep on learning, keep on having fun, and thanks for reading,
Vanguard Central Academy


Thanks to Vanguard Central Academy for the great advice! To get more great content from Vanguard Central Academy, you can visit the official YouTube page by clicking here.

Deliberate Practice and Cardfight!! Vanguard

Capable Assistant, Guru Wolf

Capable Assistant, Guru Wolf

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

Whether the readers of this article is a new player in Cardfight!! Vanguard or a player looking to become the best, many readers typically are looking for ways to improve performance in the game that they love to play. Although some players play nonstop, they tend to see no improvement. Why is this? Psychologist K. Anders Ericsson had a theory in the field of cognitive theory that describes the action of, for example, playing a card game does not necessarily lead to immediate improvement. In order to improve, it is important to go through a process that Ericsson calls deliberate practice. With this in mind, this article will attempt to describe the theory behind deliberate practice and how it may apply to Cardfight!! Vanguard.

NOTE: The following pieces of advice are based on skill mastery theory in psychology, which has not been 100% proven (even though it is backed up by extensive scientific research and study). Although this is the case, it is some of the most effective ways at describing skill mastery during the writing of this article despite competing theories at the time of the writing of this article.

Ericsson’s Theory

Deliberate practice is the collection of “activities that have been found most effective in improving performance”, according to Ericsson (367). In other words, deliberate practice is actions that are intentionally meant to teach and provide the best way for the player to gain mastery of a skill. If the theory holds, this can apply to any subject or activity in particular, including Cardfight!! Vanguard. According to Ericsson, there are three main characteristics of such practice:

  • Motivation. In order to for a person to acquire or improve performance in a skill set, the person must be motivated to do so. Deliberate practice offers no immediate rewards, so the person must be motivated enough to take the time and effort to practice and hone his or her skills. (Ericsson 367) This can also can translate to the satisfaction or passion that one has for skills enough to motivate someone to master them.
  • Knowledge. Knowledge of the skill that the player wants to master is important in learning the skill. Prior knowledge helps the player contextualize the progress the person has obtained in proficiency of the skill, and new knowledge from experts or instructors in the skill that is to be mastered. (Ericsson 367) In the instance of a game such as Vanguard, veteran players and guides are some examples of where this knowledge can be obtained.
  • Feedback. A person mastering a skill should receive information about whether the activity in said skill is correct or incorrect as the skill is repeatedly executed. (Ericsson 367) Although this feedback can come from players, games in general generate favorable or unfavorable feedback (e.g. loss of a rearguard, loss of a game, etc.), which can indicate to the player whether he or she is executing practical uses of the sought after skill correctly or not.

Implications of Theory

As an activity, deliberate practice is meant to improve specific skills during each practice session, meaning that not all aspects of an activity can be improved in one session of practice. It is different than play, according to Ericsson, which has no specific goal and are inherently enjoyable. It is also important to note that tournaments and competitions are not necessarily the best place to practice (Ericsson 368), although learning may happen through such events and casual games (Ericsson 367).

Criticisms of Deliberate Practice

Although the research community refers to Ericsson’s theory of deliberate practice in its research, there are some criticisms of the theory that need to be kept in mind. One such criticism is the amount of time of deliberate practice that it takes to master or acquire a skill. In his book Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell cites that 10,000 hours is enough to become an expert in anything (“Geek Pop Star”). Ericsson claimed that experts would tend to take 10 years to reach the top (Ericsson 366). Others argue that a skill can be acquired but not mastered in less time. An example of such a person is Josh Kaufman, who found in his writing that a person would likely gain a skill (not master a skill) with 20 hours of practice and time (Vermeer).

Another criticism of deliberate practice is that there are other factors that influence skill mastery beyond the use of mere practice methods. One such research article from the Association of Psychological Science concluded that Ericsson’s conclusions that the differences in skill performance were mostly caused by deliberate performance was not backed up by the study’s findings (Macnamara 6). Specifically, the study found that only 12% of general performance variance measured in the study was explained by deliberate practice (Macnamara 5). Although this is the case, the study also found that the effectiveness of deliberate practice varied based on the domain it was used in. For games, the study found that 26% of performance variance was correlated by the use of deliberate practice (Macnamara 8). With this in mind, such research shows that deliberate practice is not as important as once thought but not invalid in relation to skill performance.

On Practical Application

Although deliberate practice may not explain 100% of a player’s performance in the game, evidence from the study criticizing deliberate practice still shows that the increase in performance has some correlation to the deliberate practice that a player undergoes. With this in mind, here are a few ways to implement the concepts of deliberate practice in the game of Cardfight!! Vanguard.

  • Foster a desire for improvement. This ties into the motivation of deliberate practice. In order for a player to improve at Vanguard, that player must want to improve, plain and simple.
  • Use past experiences to identify weaknesses in play. According to Ericsson, knowledge can be used to contextualize progress in skill mastery or proficiency. On the flip side of this, a player who can identify where he or she has failed can identify what skills need improved in the future. These past experiences in Vanguard can include any games that the player has participated in or watched, allowing the player to learn from personal experience and the experiences of others. Weaknesses in a player are potentially skills that can be improved, varying from deck building to in-game decisions.
  • Research and practice sub-skills if necessary. In reviewing Kaufman’s book, Alex Vermeer learned that Kaufman suggests that the player break down skills that a person desires to learn into sub-skills (or smaller components of the skill in question). Some skills, such as keeping track of public game zones, can be broken down into smaller components that can be practice on individually (e.g. memorizing drive checks, memorizing cards in the drop zone, etc.).
  • Play practice games. If possible, a player is advised to work on skills during casual matches outside of a tournament setting that he or she can work on skills that the player has identified for the sake of improvement. If a player has trouble accessing people outside of tournaments, local tournaments can serve as a good alternative due to their tendency to be casual in nature.
  • Focus on one skill at a time. When playing practice games for the sake of improving skills, work on one skill at a time. Rome was not built in a day, and the same fact can be argued when talking about skilled players in Cardfight!! Vanguard. Acquire one skill, then move to the next one.
  • Learn from skilled players. Whether it is the strong local player or the Vanguard Youtuber that the general player respects, find a player more skilled than you and learn from him or her. Learning from such players can include watching games, taking advice, or playing games with that player as some examples. Ideally, stronger players in the community can serve as guides and teachers to beginners and aspiring competitive players that are seeking to improve their skills.

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


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


Bibliography

Ericsson, K Anders, and Ralf Th. Krampe and Clemens Tesch-Romer. “The Role of Deliberate Practice in the Acquisition of Expert Performance”. Psychological Review 1993, Vol. 100. No. 3, 363-406. http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/blogs/freakonomics/pdf/DeliberatePractice%28PsychologicalReview%29.pdf Accessed 27 January 2017.

“Geek Pop Star”. New York. http://nymag.com/arts/books/features/52014/index2.html Accessed 27 January 2017.

Macnamara, Brooke N. and David Z. Hambrick and Frederick L. Oswald. “Deliberate Practice and Performance in Music, Games, Sports, Education, and Professions: A Meta-Analysis”. Psychological Online ScienceFirst 1 July 2014. http://scottbarrykaufman.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Macnamara-et-al.-2014.pdf Accessed 27 January 2017.

Vermeer, Alex. “The First 20 Hours by Josh Kaufman – Review & Summary”. June 2013. https://alexvermeer.com/the-first-20-hours/ Accessed 27 January 2017.