Design space discussion – Narukami and Gold paladin.

Design space, that imaginary place that cards come from full of puddles and rivers of wonderful ideas. Some ideas are amazing and allow for all kinds of different innovations, others… not so much.

In some games it’s a matter of finding design space where there’s depth but for vanguard every clan is locked into a pretty limited area. The more clans there are the smaller the space for each gets. If you didn’t already guess today I’m going to look at clans that have a very limited design space and elaborate on why this is and the direction I think Bushi should take them.

Now some people aren’t going to be happy with me because we tend to get very attached to out favourite clans so let me get this out of the way first, I do not think that limited design space means bad design or vice versa. Just because there isn’t many places to take an idea doesn’t mean it can’t be fun and interesting. The biggest issue for these clans is that power creep means once a design space is used up and there isn’t any new places to take it’s hard for them to compete.

Anyway without further ado let’s get on with the show…

Narukami and Gold paladin

These two clans are very similar in conception. Remake two clans to be more cost effective but less consistent. Why restand after attacking rearguards when you can just hit them all at once, why pay more to call anything from deck when you can pay less to call from the top. Unfortunately this makes these clans pretty short sighted.

Kagero can now kill anything for 1 counter-blast or less and royals have similar efficiency when calling rearguard . Meaning that the “season 2” clans are left in the dust. This leaves Bushiroad with a bit of an issue, they pushed for people to adopt these clans and now they can’t really support them. So they have to look for design space elsewhere. For Narukami this was binding and thunderstrike and for golds it was unite.


Let’s talk about Narukami first.

For a while these guys were top dog until overlord pushed them aside and told them to watch how it was really done. Eradicators were pushed aside as overlord came back with a brand new emo style and his new found friend burnout. Obviously this wasn’t the death of the clan and in legion era they moved into a focus on vermillion style attacks with rearguards that gained power from hits. However Bushi pushed this a little too far and used a lot of the already limited space very quickly (This was somewhat nescesarry with the power level of the legion era) meaning there wasnt anywhere for them to go with it.We can’t punch more than six cards and attacking the vanguard twice at once is pretty risky so where do we go from here, the answer ended up being the bindzone.

At this point it’s pretty clear Kagero is the go to “retire” clan so Narukami has to work extra hard to keep its place in the support calendar. So Bushi decided to do something a litte bit crazy and change the clan entirely. The focus was swapped from multi-attack (which was already a swap from retire) to a new mechanic entirely based on the bind zone, an idea the clan had dabbled with in the early days. The clan became less about controlling the board and more about controlling the drop zone by removing cards from play permanently. However at the same time as introducing this new direction for the clan Bushi (as if knowing it wouldn’t be well recieved) gave support to an old favourite in Vermillion and boosted the clan with a powerful generic stride.They’ve pulled this stunt three times now and supported older parts of the clan as well as pushing the new stuff. Now whether or not Bushi intends for binding to become the identity of Narukami I can’t say but what I can say is I think it’s the only real way for the clan to survive, there isn’t any point in printing generically strong cards because the clan needs to stay unique when compared to others.

So now that we have the history lesson over let’s talk about where Narukami can go. Well obviously the bind zone but how, Personally I don’t think thunderstrike is interesting enough on its own to hold up the whole clan and it definitely needs some extra spice. Multiattack is a good mechanic for Narukami to take advantage of even if the design is somewhat limited but it’s a good mechanic to build around similar to Kagero with restanding.

Here’s what I propose –

1.Make the bind zone a resource

By making the bind zone not only a way for Narukami to further control the game but by also allowing them to use it for costs the clan gets a brand new edge that I think has some interesting ideas. I’ve bound my opponents drop zone and now want to use a skill, I want to make sure I’m not giving them powerful cards back and I can probably bind them again later so I need to choose carefully. This creates interesing back and forth play between the two players with each having to carefully choose what to bind or unbind.

2.More selective binding

Right now if Narukami wants something specific bound it either needs to be on the field or they need to give their opponent no other option. They of course have ways that let them choose but they are somewhat inconsistent. By giving them more selective binding it fits them into a really interesting control niche one that in this meta would certainly be interesting.

3.Time to abandon or recreate legacy support

This one stings but sometimes we gotta let go. Not to beat a dead horse but there isn’t space for Eradicators and Vermillion there maybe a place for Brawlers if they can adapt to integrate the bind zone (perhaps a generic card that binds when the vanguard scores a hit) but there really is no space. It’s just not going to happen, I’ve seen some people talk about empty rearguard circles (Think tempest bolt) as a place for Eradicators to go and I think that it’s not a bad idea but it’s again moving into limited space.

So to sum it all up Narukami needs to fully embrace the bind zone and accept it as part of the clans new identity. It can be a powerful mechanic and offers the clan a new lease on life with some interesting options for developing it.

Gold Paladin

Golds have a very similar history to Narukami but I think the real death of them came in the G-era. Royal paladins are so good at calling new cards, getting extra attacks and power boosts that there isn’t a whole lot left for their shiny siblings. So what direction has golds been taken in? The answer is unite and a quantity vs quality aproach which might just work…

So before we go into what golds have lets look at what royals have.

  • Targeted calling
  • Extra attacks
  • Power gain
  • The blaster engine
  • Sanctuary guard
  • Thing saver
  • A bunch of powerful generic effects

oh okay so pretty much every thing…

So with all this golds might look a lot less apealing so  what can golds do to rival the royalty. Well first off we are already seeing the quantity vs quality aproach with golds calling a whole lot of units for an easy boardfill with most of the deck being useful targets. The other thing golds seems to be going for is easy and massive power boosts from things like Radiaint Gurguit and Scourge point and even to some extent unite but granting skills rather than simply power.

So there’s some decent foundations here and lots of possible room to improve. Now  up untill recently I would have said that bringing back sacrificing units would be a good idea since the clan originially had aspects of shadows and royals but Bushi has gone that direction with the new Luard shadow paladins and seem to a lesser extent musketeers. That’s not too bad since we can still take advantage of that mechanic with a more modern gold paladin feel, in fact we already have with gold paladins newest toy Glorious reigning dragon.

So lets sum it up

  • Quantity of calling
  • High effiency power gain
  • “sacrificing” units by putting them at the bottom of the deck

This is already shaping up to be much easier than Narukami simply down to adding units having more room to work with than removing them. So here’s my suggestions-

1.Amp it up

Let’s embrace the power gain with more units that give a bonus to themselves and called rearguard this is something we’ve already seen bushiroad do and in more ways that simply numbers with unite but I think we need to go harder on this make gold palading the power gain paladins we’ve already seen steps in this direction.

2.Embrace the shadows

This is where golds top calling comes in handy by sending units to the bottom they can plus more without looping. More skills that required this “sacrifice” would add some awesome new synergies and give golds a more unique identity than just the begginer paladins.

Well that was significantly easier.

So there you have it my thoughts and suggestions 0n two clans that I think need a bit more spice. I might’ve been a little more harsh on Narukami but like I said the design space is more limited for them especially since Kagero hogs a lot of the more interesting ideas.

Let me know what you think, would this revitalise these clans or doom them, be redundant or break them and join me again on Monday for another article.

Thanks for reading.


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