As many of you will be aware a few weeks ago we hosted one half of the Bushiroad Springfest tournament. For the Saturday Vanguard tournament we had 279 players (making 93 teams in total). One of those players wrote us a report on his experience and the deck he played.
Without further ado I will pass you over to Chris and the tournament in his words!
Spring Fest 2015 IQ Games Centre Report
Hi everyone, this is my tournament report along with a guide & discussion regarding what I ran at Springfest Team League 2015 Huddersfield held at IQ Games Center. In this report I´ll go into specific details regarding the deck I´ve been using. The first part of this article requires basic understanding of the game and the clan royal paladin, so if you are not familiar with these you will probably have trouble understanding my explanations and reasons for deck choices and such. If that´s the case feel free to skip further down this article to the tournament report part.
A Little About Me:
My name is Chris and I´m 23 years old, currently studying information technology in college.
Games have always been a part of my life and since childhood I was always a little competitive. A little resume of my achievements include: 3rd place in Pokemon TCG nationals in
2005 at an age of thirteen and 2nd place in Yu-Gi-Oh nationals in Norway 2012. I also have experience with Magic the Gathering and have topped several semi-large tournaments like Gamedays in the small timeframe I’ve played. Vanguard tournaments I’ve been able to top include Team League Sweden 2013 and Spring Fest Team League 2015 Huddersfield which are the only big Vanguard tournaments I´ve been able to attend.
Other competitive games I´ve played include: CS, Dota, Wc3, Starcraft, League Of Legends and such. Two seasons ago I was Diamond 1 in League of Legends, but unfortunately I no longer have the time to play League anymore due to college and the time it requires.
My deck of choice
My deck of choice coming into this tournament was Royal Paladin. I´ve been playing Royals since February and have used several different builds from time to time. I settled on Altmile and Thing Saver along with Jewel Knights to take advantage of the broken card Swordmy, a card that Royal Paladins have been blessed with. This build is inspired by Bushiroad Spring Fest Georearguardia (http://cf-vanguard.com/en/cardlist/deckrecipe/BSF2015_USGA_1) champion team, which I then further tweaked to my preference.
Abs and Dragons
1x Jewel Knight Tiffany (starter)
8x Jewel Knight critical triggers
4x Jewel Knight heal triggers
1x Jewel Knight draw triggers
4x Jewel Knight Perfect guards
4x Sicilus (stride enabler)
3x Jewel Knight Shellie
3x Jewel Knight Prizmy
4x Knight of Twin Sword
4x Jewel Knight Swordmy
3x Blaster Blade Seeker
4x Thing Saver Dragon
x4 Saint blow Dragon x1 Samuil
x1 Consistent Sage Jirron
– Abuses Swordmy consistent with the amount of Jewel Knights ran (half of the time you should be able to damage check a Jewel Knight)
– allows for consistent field presence with Gablade, Swordmy and Knight of Twin Sword
– Massive pressure with Gablade´s on-hit effect and Saintblow´s crit
– Good toolbox options and recycling with Swordmy and Prizmy
– Good all stages of the game due to Altmile
– Always presents some way to use up free counterblast
– Low kill zone, meaning several ways to finish off the opponent from low damage
– Good, if not the best, grade 2 turns in the game because of Swordmy (one could argue Aqua
Force is better due to getting many attacks when riding grade 2)
– Regular perfect guards means that The X matchups and Dimensional Police matchups become significantly easier
– Specific strides relevant for every possible situation
– rushes very hard, sometimes it becomes impossible for the opponent to take control of the game
– Vulnerable to perfect guards early, more so than other decks, as Gablade hitting is quite crucial in the deck
– Counterblast heavy, this build does not run perfect guard damage un-flippers
– Stride dependent if NOT riding Thing Saver first (and if starter is not retired, something that is never often the case)
– Plusses include getting a full field, this means that if you already have a full field you won’t
be able to make full use of free calling (I don´t usually retire my own front row rearguards for putting in extra attacks with Knights of Twin Sword unless I absolutely have nothing to spend my counterblast on)
– Have to rely on getting Jewel Knights in damage otherwise Swordmy will be useless
– No 12k g2 attackers and also g1 10k attackers can be a little inconsistent
– Even though it has good options for fielding the deck depends on having full field to function properly (with Altmile and Jewel Knights requiring other rearguards to function properly)
Reasons for g0:
– Tiffany is needed for the Jewel Knight name, giving you a consistent option to utilize your Jewel Knight cards and is also there for those clutch situations where Thing Saver needs soul. You could also make an extra stage using this card by having an entire row consisting of Jewel Knight cards.
– As many Jewel Knight triggers as possible to make Swordmy live
– only 3 Margals because in this deck Thing Saver is actually used as a backup vanguard, and is only there for cases where Tiffany gets retired (having 3 k trigger boosters gives you the option for 21 k rows on rearguard, but this is mostly achieved if you run 12k attackers). I feel like the one Jewel Knight draw is justified, because running 3 Margals will consistently be enough for the situations you need him.
Reasons for g1:
– 4 stride enablers speak for themselves, run four of these (Altmile´s best nakamas :)!). You could also use Sicilu´s skill to replace a Thing Saver in hand for an Altmile, or if you wanted to thin your deck for better chances of hitting triggers. Remember that you can discard anything from your hand, meaning you could keep both grade 3s and discard some other card.
– I prefer to use Jewel Knight perfect guards as mentioned earlier as they help you with certain matchups. Also they obviously have the added benefit of having Jewel Knight in their name. This results in a more live Swordmy.
– I chose to run 3 of both Prizmy (drop and draw) and shellie (10k attacker). The reason that i don´t use the 10k Jewel Knight booster on call is that you usually have to have 12k attackers to make most use of them. Sure you can make 19k columns and rush them g2, but Prizmy actually has helped ditching useless cards and made me draw crucial cards like perfect guards in the right situation many times. An example of a good grade 2 turn would be riding Blaster Blade on VG, calling Shellie to rearguard, calling Swordmy to activate his skill and search for Prizmy, since you exactly have 3 other Jewel Knight rearguards including the starter, activate Prizmy´s drop and draw effect and discarding a draw trigger and drawing another attacker or a perfect guard.
Reasons for g2:
– 4 Swordmy speak for themselves
– Blaster Blade is mostly used as a ride target. Most of the time you won’t really be able to use Blaster Blades effect, because you will be sitting on Altmile and Altmile requires a Seeker Vanguard.
– 4 Knight of Twin Sword is so good with Altmile and Swordmy. Knight of Twin Sword
allows you to fill up your field even though Gablade didn´t hit. A nasty combo you can peform if you know your opponent can’t guard Gablade, or they haven´t checked a perfect guard, is striding into Gablade, placing a booster on the back row, attacking with Gablade, and if it hits: give power on the booster you placed earlier, calling Knight of Twin Sword infront of the booster with Gablade onhits effect, attacking with the new row and then get Swordmy and call another booster on the other rearguard column (you can combo this pretty well with Prizmy also as mentioned earlier). Knight of Twin Swords is also a very versatile card. For example: Saintblow costs no counterblast, so you can still get access to Swordmy with Knight of Twin Sword if you have 2 counterblast and have a booster available.
Reasons for g3:
– Thing Saver is probably the best legion vanguard out there, and if you have experience with him this one shouldn´t require an explanation. Have 2 damage open and put Tiffany in soul, proceed to go ham on them when they are at 4 damage or higher, as taking a hit from the Vanguard could result in a loss (use Thing Saver as a finisher in this deck, and prioritize striding. Thing Saver is really nice to go if your opponent has 2 perfect guards and is on 4 damage)
– Altmile allows for a broken late game. I usually prioritize and wait until I´ve established a full field, and my opponent is on 4 damage or higher, before I use his on-stride skill, as there is
no point trying to boost a rearguard they would block early anyways. This deck also uses
tons of counterblasts so mastering and getting a feel for when you should push and use
Altmile on-stride effect separates the good Altmile users from the bad ones.
Reasons for Strides: The rule of thumb is
– To open with Gablade or Samuil
– Saintblow when they are at 3-4 damage and you know they haven´t checked any perfect guards. If you combo Saintblow with Altmile i prefer making 21, 21 column rearguards because they would probably perfect guard Saintblow, because of the risk of dying, and if they do they have to waste minimum 2 cards to block each rearguard attack if they check no triggers.
– Samuil when they are at 3 you have a full field and you seen they drive checked a
perfect guard (they are still forced to guard it because samuil skill puts them at 4 damage and they can risk dying from a crit). If combined with Altmile i prefer making 16,31,26 columns as you try to reach 31 k column if they perfect guard the Vanguard. Getting a crit you could give it to the 26 k row making it 31 forcing them to waste minimum 25 k guard (minimum 3 cards, 10+10+5 k guard if no perfect guard) and hitting the last column on a rearguard because you wont kill them that turn anyways.
– Jirron for when they are at 5 damage and you want to create 21,31,26 columns with Altmile. You could also stride Jirron at 4 damage if you know they drive checked a perfect guard and you don have full field/counterblast for Samuil, because the opponent is at risk if you drive check a critical trigger
– Gablade for anything else, mostly a safe pick
Every matchup plays differently and it’s about knowing and utilizing your opponent´s deck strength and weaknesses. Writing every matchup will would require so much writing that I´ll save it for another time.
Altmile vs Ashley Reverse
People usually compare Altmile/Thing with AshleyR/Thing. Yes Ashley Reverse is good with Swordmy and also has Jewel knight in her name, but this is only the case if u start first, because going second almost always means you want to stride Gablade when u hit g3, so you can be able to kill them with Saintblow as fast as possible. Late game retiring front row, locking your card and searching for a grade 2 (getting Swordmy wont usually be as efficient, because you already have a full field anyways) and retiring front row is not that big of a deal, whereas Altmile allows for a better late game because of the columns he produces(21,21 or 17,26 rearguards all depends if your opponent wants to guard or if you’re on Saintblow). Altmile also makes better use of Knight of Twin Sword, a card that works perfectly with Swordmy and Gablade, compared to the 12 k attackers AshleyR uses. Both of the Vanguards have their merits.
– If you want a stronger backup vanguard and a stronger first turn go AshleyR
– If you want better mid and late game go Altmile
The tournament report:
My team played 8 rounds of swiss ranking highest before entering top 8, going 7-1 only losing one round in total. We came top 4 and unfortunately lost to a team we´ve beaten in swiss.
Round 1 vs Nubatama, 1-0
I got a pretty good start, went second and managed to get a Jewel Knight trigger on my grade 2 ride along with some Swordmy combos. He survived a Saintblow on 3 damage and healed back to 3 damage, later I Samuil him to get him to 4 because I know he has a perfect guard that turn. He got me to 5, but I had full control of the game no passing his vanguard and rearguards (although left with 1 card in hand to stride with), and next turn I stride Jirron and using his skill with Altmile for a 21,
31, 26 columns to the face while he only has 2 cards in hand.
Round 2 vs Link Joker Alter Ego, 2-0
I went first and open up pretty good with Swordmy. I force myself to not ride 1 turn, making it so i will be able to stride first. He responds by staying a turn himself on g2, and I respond back by staying on g2 for another turn. He decides he can´t compete with me because because of Swordmy and he rides to g3. He attacks for 16k, getting a crit putting me on 5 damage. I stride Samuil next turn on my first stride and combo with Altmile and he has no way to guard all my attacks.
Round 3 vs Aqua Force, 3-0
Can’t remember this game properly, all I remember is that I Saintblow him from 3 damage and get a crit for game.
Round 4 vs Kagero, 4-0
He gets gradestuck first turn but hits his G-assist. He was forced to stay on The Great and had perfect guards for both my Gablade and first Saintblow. Eventually he ran out of perfect guards and I kill him on 4 damage with Saintblow.
Round 5 vs Glendios, 4-1
I get gradestuck for 3 turns on g1. He rides Glendios locking my frontrow and hitting me for 15 k with rearguard when I am only at g1. It seemed impossible for me to win. My teammates both got sacked by 2 to pass triggers (their opponent giving all to Vanguard in drive checks) in their respective games, and our whole team ended up losing that round.
Round 6 vs Nova Grapplers, 5-1
I drew 3 perfect guard early game and also had to stick with Altmile without getting any stride fodder. Because of this my early-mid game was heavily crippled. Late game I let him stay on 1 open counterblast on 4 damage after surviving a burst from him, so he was unable to use Victoplazma next turn. I end up losing because of all the advantage he gained from the momentum he gained in the early-mid game.
Round 7 vs Aqua Force 6-1
Pretty nice game. We both got great opening hands but I had the edge of starting and kept myself gradestuck on g2. I mainly focus on his rearguards and on g2 I attack rearguard with VG and focus on removing his rearguard. I do not attack his VG with my remaining rearguard because I was afraid that he was running any of the Maelstrom, especially Maelstrom Reverse. He rides Thavas and attack me putting me to 4 damage. Next turn I ride g3 and go for Samuil because he had a perfect guard. He didn’t have enough to block my Samuil and rearguards powered up by Altmile, and this resulted in sealing the deal.
Round 8 vs RP
Nothing special about this game. We both had perfect guards when the situation called. Difference was that he was not running the Jewel Knight version, which means I had the edge with Swordmy. I ended up winning this game.
Top 8 vs Link Joker Alter Ego
I played against the same person I met round 2 and this game went almost exactly as the game before. He also drew too many g3 so he wasn´t able to withstand my Samuil.
Top 4 vs Aqua Force
I went first and opened up with 2 perfect guards in my starting hand after redrawing. I get an early Swordmy off but managed to draw into the other 2 remaining perfect guards in my deck. My momentum was halted and I stayed stuck one turn on g2 in hopes of striding first. I go Gablade and he perfect guarded it, but I managed to use Knight of Twin Sword for another grade 2. I wasn’t able to get any stride fodder for 2 turns and had to stay on vanilla Altmile, which gave me no momentum at all. When I finally strode Saintblow I got him to 5 damage, but this wasn´t enough and next turn he finishes me off with 7-8 attacks and I lose.
What I would change and my overall experience
All in all I am satisfied with my deck choice. RP has no real weaknesses at the moment (except maybe glendios and link joker because RP is dependent on their field) but no superb matchups either. Honestly, if I had enough time to playtest I would rather had gone with Aqua Force, because I firmly believe that it´s the strongest deck along with shadow paladins at the moment (my teammate played SP). It could have been the smarter choice going AsheyR instead of Altmile because using AsheyR gives you a much better matchup against Aqua Force. But on the bright side Altmile is awesome vs other decks. On the other hand the games I had to stay on Altmile without any chance to stride is going to leave you far behind, as RP is all about tempo and overwhelming your opponent each turn.
The Team League experience overall was great as I had anticipated! Only thing I would change was the best of 1 format being changed to best of 3 instead, as you could analyze your opponent round 1 and adapt for future games, resulting in more skill being involved. Would also have been nice if Bushiroad had a small entry fee so the top tables could have received bigger prize support as the top prizes felt a little meager -- considering people traveling from far places to play probably already paid a decent amount to travel there, why not pay a little extra so we could get bigger prizes? :)
Also congrats to Alex and his team, Charles’Angels, for topping, well played! It was nice getting to know so many people and people from UK generally seemed like awesome, nice folks!
I am really proud of my team, even though we didn´t make it to the finals, we had the best tiebreakers after swiss and managed to beat many pretty strong teams. I´ve known my teammates since childhood and we are really good friends in real life. I look forward to playing with you guys again and couldn´t ask for better teammates :)!
I also couldn´t have asked for a better host for the tournament. The staff at IQ Games Center really took care of their players and assured that everyone had a good time. IQ Games Center is a prime example of how a hobby store should be!
Thanks to everyone who took part in the Springfest and making it such an awesome weekend. Springfest however wasn't all just Vanguard there was other tournaments running as well. These will be talked about in a future blog so keep an eye out.