Set 14 is fast approaching and with it the some powerful aggressive tools for former meta powerhouses. Is it enough to break out of the slower more control based format of the past few months and make its mark on the format?
Lets take a look at my highlights from the set and see what potential they have.
In case you missed it I already covered gear chronicles cards here
[ACT](VC):[1/Turn]:[Soul Blast (1) & Choose a face down card with the same card name as this unit from your G zone, turn it face up, choose one of your rear-guards, and retire it] Search your deck for up to two grade 1 cards, call them to separate (RC), and shuffle your deck. If you called two units with the ritual ability, choose one of your opponent’s rear-guards, and retire it.
[CONT](VC) Generation Break 3 Ritual X:All of your front row units get [Power]+10000 for every four grade 1 cards in your drop zone.
This is certainly a strange one, Luard has up to this point primarily been a defensive deck but Abyss here offers an entirely different style of play.
First off we have a pretty straightforward skill another method of building a field with a tacked on retire as a nice little bonus.
Not an awful skill especially with cards like Swordbreaker or the new ritual g1 can get some extra cards to hand from this. Alternatively thanks to the new G2 Slaptail Dragon you can help to set-up an offensive line.
On its own nothing amazing but semi-noteworthy as a decent skill. Combined with the GB3 skill however I think this card becomes something special.
Ritual X is a new form of scaling ritual only present on the new Luards that definitely offers an interesting approach to the deck. With the help of some other new support such as Dragwizard, Gaunan and Dragfencer, Dagda a much faster, offence based Luard deck becomes a potential option.
It’s interesting to me that Bushi is taking this route now especially given the seeming push towards Gyze-Luard but its no doubt an interesting one that I look forward to seeing people brew around.
Evil-eye Vidya Emperor, Shiranui “Rinne”
Dominate-[ACT](VC)[1/Turn]:[Counter Blast (1) & Choose a face down card from your G zone with the same card name as this unit, and turn it face up] Your opponent chooses two cards from his or her hand, calls them to separate (RC), and they get [Power]+5000 until end of turn. Dominate all of them, and each attacks your opponent’s vanguard one at a time. Your opponent cannot activate the [AUTO] abilities of the card called with this effect until end of turn.
[CONT](VC) Generation Break 3:All dominated units get [Power]+10000/[Critical]+1.
Dominate is not a mechanic I’m a fan of, a lot of the mechanics issues arise from its shaky at best inclusion into the rules of vanguard.
That said it hasn’t been much of an issue with the deck having a relatively poor performance due to lack of defence and speed.
Rinne sets out to change that and at first glance certainly succeeds. It’s rare for a card to cause an immediate reaction from me and Rinne is one of them. Upon reveal this without a doubt became one of the most powerful cards in the set, ripping 2 cards from hand then forcing the opponent to guard after that is a huge defensive strain.
Combine this with the new grade 3 Zanki and that’s 2 cards and 3-4 dominated swings at minimal effort on first stride. This alone is enough to make most decks crumple especially if dominate gets that crucial 2nd turn start.
Rinne’s second skill only adds to the brutality of this card adding an extra 10k and critical to all dominated attacks, meaning 3 cards from hand, 3-4 dominated attacks all at 10k+ and all this before you even move to battle phase. Even the most able defensive decks could buckle under that kind of pressure.
If any card finally lets domination break into the metagame Rinne is it and no matter what deck you’re playing the grade 2 game against Nubatama is now crucial in ensuring you can build your defence before the Rinne turns.
One who Hunts Souls, Balaam
[ACT](VC)[1/Turn]:[Counter Blast (1) & Choose a face down card with the same card name as this unit from your G zone, turn it face up] Choose one of your opponent’s rear-guards, this unit gets that unit’s [Power], and drive+1. Retire that unit. You may Soul Charge (2) for each face up card in your G zone.
[CONT](VC) Generation Break 3 Darkness:If the number of cards in your soul is thirteen or more, your opponent cannot call grade 1 cards from hand to (GC).
This card does a lot, right off the bat we have removal, power gain, extra drive and soul charge. Each of these skills helps to gain tempo and push ahead of the opponent, but alone is nothing fantastic.
Where this card really shines is again in the incredibly potent GB3 skill, Ichikishima showed us last year that static guard restrict for an entire turn can cause huge issues especially when combined with number climbing columns.
Balaam or rather Dark Irregulars want to take this a step forward as while Balaam only stops grade 1 cards from being used, several of DI’s grade 2s carry their own grade 0 restricting skill.
All this coupled with a relatively highpower quadriving vanguard make for some fearsome turns and force the you to play in an irregular fashion.
Although the prevalence of Chaos will continue to offer issue to DI Balaam is an excellent foundation to build from and increases the output of the previously underwhelming darkness deck. Moving away from Enigmatic based burst turns should go a long way to help the clans consistency overall and I can certainly see them being a future contender should Chaos fade away.
Immortal Holy Sword, Fides
[ACT](VC)[1/Turn]:[Counter Blast (1) & Choose a face down card from your G zone, and turn it face up] Until end of turn, this unit gets “[CONT](VC):If the number of your opponent’s guardians is one, the attack of the unit with the brave ability will hit regardless of its [Power].”.
[AUTO](VC) Generation Break 4 Brave:When this unit attacks, if you have a heart card with “Altmile” in its card name, search your deck for up to three cards, call them to separate (RC), and shuffle your deck.
Brave is an odd deck, frequently the source of ridicule for its blatantly awful restriction. That said some of its cards certainly offered something despite the requirement but the deck was missing the kind of vanguard based push that other royal paladin decks had.
Fides much like the other cards in this set aims to fix that issue by offering 2 very powerful abilities that in tandem with each other and the other cards brave has to offer create an output that any deck would fear.
Forcing you to use 2 cards to guard every attack is again reminiscent of Ichikishima, under Fides’ effect you are forced to throw away cards to defend the onslaught and even a trigger may not be enough to deal with the sheer number of attacks coming your way. Brave could create turns that caught people off guard before Fides but now there’s a lot less luck required.
Coupled with Fides’ other skill allowing for a board refresh and the other stellar support brave saw, including potent early game tools, there’s a lot of potential here.
Once again the Chaos blockade is what really needs to be overcome and we’ll see in the coming weeks if Brave has what it takes. Early game tools are always an effective solution to link joker and Brave certainly isn’t lacking in that department.
Reaching the climax
I plan on covering the ZRs of the set in a seperate article since there’s a lot to say about each of them and I don’t want to rush them. Cards like Dust and Ultima are always going to have a lot to chew on and Gyze is a beast of its own.
So until next time-
Thanks for reading
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