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!!_Vanguard_Wiki. These images may have been re-sized.

Guest Post: Perspectives

9th cx logo

Hello Cardfighters,

I was recently asked to share some perspectives on Cardfight!! Vanguard and Bushiroad games in response to an older blog article that cropped up in a discussion at our locals. For those of you who don’t know me, I’m mainly a Weiss Schwarz player who also plays Vanguard and Luck and Logic casually. I started my TCG career playing Magic: The Gathering and switched to Weiss Schwarz in 2014. Since then, I have been playing Weiss competitively and casually in both English and Japanese.

I will preface this article and information with a few disclaimers. I am not Japanese, nor do I pretend to be. With a base Western education, I recognize a few of the cultural differences that exist between Japanese and Western culture. Of course, I may still be wrong in my viewpoint of such differences. Also, I am not an employee for Bushiroad, nor have ever worked for the company. My perspective comes from being a player who has gathered bits and pieces of information that I simply wish to share with others. Again, I may be in error in my observations or come across as providing false information. Though this is the case, this article is simply meant to open a different perspective on some of the things that I hear grumbles about from players in passing.

In October 2015, a very active Vanguard blogger in the community for Cardfight Pro (Vanguardians), Alexander “Touya” Fisher, wrote an open apology letter to players and readers of his blog as he backed out of the community.  Among the many things, he cited some reasons why he felt he could no longer support the game as he wanted to (his original article can be found here). Some of his concerns as a competitive Vanguard player are more than understandable, and this article does not aim to say he was wrong in his observations and frustrations. Some of the things that upset him, though, are things that through another viewpoint may provide consideration in understanding how and why Bushiroad makes some of the decisions that they do.

Differing Perspectives on Bushiroad Tournaments

Despite an overwhelming amount of data, Fisher cited first in his grievances the lack of the support of the Best of 3 format at tournaments. He was tired of fighting an uphill battle against Bushiroad who, from his viewpoint, seemed to want to kill the further development of the “professionalization” of Vanguard. To players who see card game players in games like Magic who make a living off simply playing the game, it is hard not to see why they might get frustrated by this, especially when competitive Vanguard cards sometimes do hit the prices that Magic competitive cards do.

The conflict from this arises is the fact that Bushiroad’s company philosophy is rooted in everyone playing together and having fun. In this light, the company is more oriented around family and community involvement in the game rather than worrying about recognizing the best pro player at all times. While Bushiroad certainly takes the time to recognize and reward those who top in their games, it also doesn’t want this to be the only reason why people play. Anyone with some business sense and strategy can see this is a stronger policy than just catering to a smaller, extremely competitive player base. The more people you expand to, the more people buy your product, the more the game grows, and the more people play. Give away small free participation gifts at events and don’t charge entry? What a great way to get people to just pick up a trial deck and play for the day.

Consider the recent G Vanguard Anime series as another example of this. They showcase festival days with everyone playing Vanguard games in their communities from young to old. The show the protagonist and his friends playing games with elderly man to earn points to qualify for a regional tournament. Again, community is the focus rather than professional play. Everyone playing together and having fun. Another friend through Weiss shared with me a memory from one his trips to Japan about the coolest Vanguard tournament he had ever seen. Families came to the event with one deck, and the youngest member in the family piloted the deck with all the other members standing behind to help him/her out in play.

Best of 3 format is a great thing for dedicated professional players who understand that sometimes in a Best of 1 format doesn’t allow for the mathematical issues when your deck just says “No” due to a bad shuffle. Trust me, I’ve had those games on both sides of the table. Best of 3 format is terrible in a tournament format with families and younger children who only have a limited time to be there, participate for the day, and realistically can’t come back to participate in a Day 2. In North America, our demographic audience is drastically different. Tournaments are usually attended less by families and more by single adult individuals or couples have devoted the weekend to play.

On another note, paid entry or included tournament pay outs to top players is a very hard thing to handle, especially for a foreign company. Winnings must be reported on both ends for tax purposes, and some areas view playing card games for an entry fee as a form of gambling which isn’t allowed sometimes. From Bushiroad’s cultural viewpoint, these people would argue your entry fee is a ‘wager’ at a chance to earn more money back than you paid into the event. Bushiroad, like many companies, don’t have the resources to devote to this kind of a format as of yet, nor do they want to. I feel that this kind of competitive format will have to continue to be supported by local stores for the player communities here in North America that desire that.

In regards to the handling of a reported cheating incident that Fisher, realize that it is difficult for any TCG company to pick up the pieces of hard evidence after a cheating event has occurred. Similar to viewers at home viewing a sporting event on TV seeing things the referees didn’t, this type of event is a problem in any competitive format play. In addition to this, Bushiroad also practices passive judging for larger events, which means that players are responsible for their own fair play and for calling a judge if they need a ruling. It isn’t that their judges won’t stop to correct a misplay if they see it, rather that it is the player’s responsibility to know their cards and play properly. Though hard to understand, the culture of Japan has a negative stigma for cheating or dishonest play and/or work is so high that this stigma is a form of community censorship. People just don’t do it with the frequency that it crops over here in competitive formats, where I would hazard a radical opinion that while cheating is also negatively looked upon that it also carries with it an unwritten “Let’s see if I can get away with this without getting caught” clause. It is understandable for people to be frustrated with these things, but understand the company’s difficulty with pulling up evidence during tournaments and the implications of the company’s policy of passive judging.

Differing Perspectives on Secondary Markets

In addition to the point above, Fisher also cites high card prices and increased rarities as a contributing negatively to Bushiroad not continuing to push for professionalization of the game. The reality is that the singles market for the game, also known as the secondary market, is driven by business minded individuals who realize that in a collectible game that the cards pulled from packs are sometimes a better sale deal to competitive players than opening sealed card packs. Bushiroad does attempt to combat this if they can, even if it takes time to do so. The most recent Revival Collection was printed in English to help bring down the cost of some older staple cards and reprints of expensive generation rares at a lower rarity but a few examples. Interestingly, more from my experiences in Weiss and less in Vanguard, the company’s reprint formulas are much sounder than some other TCG companies. It is very rare that cards do anything but a dip in price briefly, and then rise back up in value. They keep their collectibility as much as they can in a very fast paced and ever changing competitive scene. While I will not deny how quickly the meta has been evolving in the game to any degree, realize that players contribute to determining these outcomes. True, Bushiroad could do away with the higher GR rarity, but this tactic is no different than trance rares in Luck and Logic or mythics in Magic.

Differing Perspectives on Bushiroad’s Game Design Decisions

Fisher cites his frustrations with Bushiroad’s Research and Development team for contributing to a stale game state ridden with power creep. If you look across all Bushiroad games, you will find players in their perspective communities with a similar frustration. Even I have read spoilers for a newly up and coming Weiss set or Vanguard Generation Rare, get heated, and grumble “Did they play test this?!?”. The reality is that they did, and they are attempting in their own way to push the game forward. Vanguard has grown to the card pool point to begin competing with Pokemon, Magic, and Yu-Gi-Oh. Similar to Magic, there is no way for a team to play test every card combination that players might find, and Bushiroad’s R&D is on a much smaller scale than Magic.

With the intent to advance the game design mind, Bushiroad also likes tournaments and events to move along at a decent pace and not stall. In Weiss Schwarz, cards like anti-heal and anti-salvage were actually printed in response for games taking forever to finish due to stalling the game out with overuse of these abilities. Power creep in the game actually contributes to making events and games move faster. My recent experiences in playing my Genesis and Oracle Think Tank decks at locals have found that the game is moving so fast it feels like you don’t have enough turns to do everything you might want to actually do. While this can be a frustration for more casual players, it helps Bushiroad keep tournaments on the shorter side and move new product. Honestly, this is all par for the course in TCGs as a whole, proving to be a strong business move.

Sympathizing with Touya and Concluding Thoughts

Fisher brings up valid reasons in his post for players to be upset with the game and Bushiroad as a company. It isn’t wrong to be frustrated by these things. I’d be lying as a player if I said otherwise. But I will point out that Bushiroad’s perspective on their card games is a bit alien to our perspective. They want everyone to come, to play, and to have an enjoyable experience. They want to encourage a variety of level of players to play their game, not just the competitive ones. They want to give away free items and not hinder participation with an entry fee on top of travel fees to play at a location. The things we grumble about from time to time as players sometimes stem from perspective differences in location and philosophy.

I realize this article is highly unlikely to change anyone’s opinion, nor do I disagree completely with the points Fisher brings up. Rather, all I hope to do, is lend a different perspective to the discussion to hopefully help others see things a bit more differently. At one point in time, a variety of other skilled players shared these perspectives and more to help give me a better view of things. Similar to Fisher’s statement in his post, I have no intentions of leaving Weiss, Vanguard, or Luck and Logic even though I may become frustrated with changes and decisions that happen. I feel it is better rather to move forward and improve my playing to help support the games I love.

Thanks again,

Writer from 9th CX

P.S. – Fisher’s original article is online if interested if you are interested in his perspective. Please read here the original post that was the inspiration to this response:

Thanks to 9th CX for the perspective on Bushiroad as a company! If you want to find out more about them and their adventures in the game of Weiß Schwarz, you can visit there official website here.

Guest Post: Playing a Format Behind


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.