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Saikyo Cardfighter R
on Cardfight!! Vanguard
Early Game vs Generation Break:
If we must decide, make the earlier skills actually, you know, good.
So the new Character Booster hits the shelves later this week. At around this time I'd write an article on what's worth picking up and what isn't, but I abridged my summary in January and to be honest, I could do the same thing for almost all of them by writing 'pick up the Strider support, the rest can get fucked'. However, this Character Booster, the main draw of it is that we're going to get a new Ahsha and Altmile so that we can continue to have Main Character decks be the most stable, reliable and have the best rate of kickassery. And that caused me to think about an interesting topic.
Theoretically, Generation Break, Legion and the rest of it operate on waiting before you can unleash your big-ass skills. Decks that don't operate around this principle tend to have skills that can be abused earlier but are more conditional and/or suck more. My big gripe about it is that it's rather unbalanced when comparing the two.
I mean yes, okay, my deck is the earliest of early and revolves around denying even the opponent's later skills, but I'll go ahead and assume Grade 1 Blitz fucked off and died for the purposes of this article. Anyway, there are enough cards for Chronojet, Ahsha and Altmile to a point that they are basically their own deck despite the lack of common naming like Liberators, so inevitably they will need to be compared to a deck with an archetype, particularly a reasonably early one. And if I were to be honest? There's only like two decks where Stride ISN'T the main draw I'd want to pick up, and the problem lies in their suck-ass Early Game.
The whole point of Early Game effects is that they can be used right away and start pressuring the opponent. But typically, they all follow a common theme, the Grade 2 lineup for archetypes particularly. They either only net a +1 on-call and after that do nothing else for as long as they remain on the field, or need to fulfill some condition like needing to hit and therefore can be played around, particularly since without help a 10k shield is all you need to fend them off. They are so poor at their job that early that unless it's something you actually want to block, like Holy Mage Elio which chains attacks (damage is worth more than cards, as small fields with big lanes can attest) that it's often better to wait until Generation Break which can often be spammed multiple times, according to the average player, anyway.
The decks that have the best Early Game tend to be the ones that don't really do much for hard advantage to you, unless it's retiring cards because getting rid of problems early is good, but ones that can rack up damage, or threaten to rack it up. An example that springs to mind is a friend I have who uses an Ezel deck. It has no real problems in terms of Early Game, as GB1s are restricted to Grade 1s, which do nothing for attacking and are basically pointless before then even WITH Early Game, and a lot of on-hit. And if he needs columns for later there's always Grade 4 Gurguit. That deck covers all the bases: on-hit pressure and Early Game when guarding is sparce, and big beatsticks for later. That, I think, is what is missing from these sorts of decks. You cannot deny that something like Silver Thorns needs to improve beyond older, crappier Murakumo, and its G Units don't approach Gurguit levels of power for later game without one rear-guard (Upright Lion).
So how can it be fixed? Well, looking at stuff that isn't GB1 restricted but needs a Grade 3 or above Vanguard isn't the way in my mind, at least at first, as thanks to the fact you'd often rather be Striding than sit on your Grade 3 Vanguard it might as well be GB1 resticted due to timing. So if you let these old decks run wild regardless of Grade? Sounds okay right? One problem with this however is that a deck that had such Early presence which continued to stick around even after was the old Seven Seas Blitz. No obligations to Grade and lots of soft advantage options meant it wrecked. But that's more of an outlier. What about decks that cannot search its key pieces and must rely on what it draws first time around?
The main issue I can see is the fact that attaching conditions such as needing to hit to rear-guards is that the later in the game it gets, the more common guarding becomes. This is primarily the reason I was so stamp happy on the Limit Break units that need to hit with the Late Game Critical Sucks Stamp about 3 years ago: because they did nothing early and continued to do nothing later. If the opponent must guard regardless of what they're carrying they may as well have no skill at all. The solution is therefore obvious: make more G Units exclusive to their archetype and have them all focus on huge-ass columns or launching another Vanguard attack, so that either the rear-guards have presence, or the Vanguard is so bullshit it doesn't need rear-guards...much. With that, when it comes to deciding between these main character decks or something more obscure, you can pick between early presence, or waiting for more bullshit stuff.
But first, the issue of the quality of Early Game needs to be addressed, because right now it's mostly needing to hit for a +1, or an assured +1 you cannot get again. What really needs to happen is for all of these older decks to expand their options to include multiple attacks should they hit, restricting it to name obviously otherwise the Gen Break decks will be using them too. Failing that, I'm looking at something like Doreen the Thruster for answers: a card that can make the on-hit +1'ers carry wait by making them more likely to hit. The best thing about Doreen is that she could continue to stay until Late Game and still be relevant afterwards by making units harder to guard at a time where it's 'guard or die'.
But of course, that's assuming that Bushi remember that the old archetype exists first. And they remember some of them clearly, it's just that they're attaching GB1 to the new units, so they can get fucked. And as fun as theoretical articles are I know Bushiroad have no self-awareness at all, so I might as well clap my hands and bark like a well-trained aquarium seal.
So I guess what I'm saying is that if you want to do well, just play what hasn't been power-creeped out of redundancy or just play Blitz: something that everyone ought to have known but denied all along, you sad bastards.
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