Friday, October 30, 2015

Announcement: Disbandment of Cardfight Pro's News Branch

Four years ago, I said in no uncertain terms on the Vanguard Rider forums that I would continue to play Cardfight!! Vanguard for as long as it continued to exist, and would see the game through to the end. This much has not changed.

Ideally, I would not be publishing this post at all. Everything would have gone as planned; coming off of the ARG national championships on August 14th I would have reported Matthew Day as the new national champion, distributed the finalists' decklists, and moved on. Making top 16, I should have been very happy with what I saw on those days. But the reality is that I, the editor in chief of Cardfight Pro, have not sat down in this office for two months. I believe that I have been avoiding writing this. In the end, there are things that even I fear to do. There is perhaps one man in the entire world that can persuade me not to go ahead with this decision, and I suspect that he wouldn't dare stop me after all this time.

I cannot go on with lying to my readers and to myself. I have wanted to resign ever since the onset of limit break format in April 2012, and I repeatedly persuaded both me and the world into believing in a ridiculous, false ideal that Cardfight!! Vanguard is a masterpiece game worthy of clinging to no matter how low it sinks. In truth, Bushiroad is a corrupt organization which has no interest in fostering a genuine professional environment for tournament play, and which actively works to sabotage the modes of play we establish for the game. Effectively immediately, all news functions of Cardfight!! Pro are disbanded. The website itself will remain functional, and our archives will be available for future generations to look back on. Various persons have asked me about this decision, both close friends and distant readers. There are three primary reasons that I am choosing to do this now;
  • The company's refusal to adopt best-of-three in tournament play, and of lesser importance an unmodified Swiss format. This year Jonathan Lee, sales manager for Bushiroad USA, brought a survey of more than five thousand cardfighters showing majority preference for best-of-three in tournament play to CEO Kidani Takaaki. Lee had previously tested the format at the 2015 Origins Game Fair, to mass positive reception. Kidani refused his request to use the tournament format in the world championship series. Bushiroad under Kidani is adamantly opposed to the professionalization of Cardfight!! Vanguard as a competitive TCG, advocating to maintain the paradox of casual tournament play when single cards cost $80 apiece. I am tired of fighting this uphill battle. I have been doing so for several years too many.
  • I have helped create a second Konami. My ardent support of Bushiroad has created an exploitative corporate force which seeks to milk its player base with increasingly-inflated rarities that force them to either buy multiple sixteen box cases or shell out to an incredibly expensive secondary market just to have functional decks. The evolution of the generation rare rarity from a glorified triple rare into an entirely separate brand of Golden Ticket has destroyed the game's economy and locked out both the young and the poor from succeeding at high level play. We are approaching the point where legendary fighters like Rikino Sakura could never even hold their ground in the modern game, much less repeatedly win national championships. I cannot continue to commit such a sin. Cardfight Pro condemns Bushiroad in its entirety.
  • The gameplay stalemate perpetuated by the Bushiroad R&D team. Cardfight!! Vanguard has been spinning its wheels since its second block. The game has increasingly become about arbitrary restrictions that increase both cardfighters' ability to stall one another rather than actually facilitate plays that modify game state, and the escalation of subclan supremacy in place of deck diversity. Limit break was one of the most redundant mechanics the game has ever introduced, as counterblast already specifically restricted one's ability to make plays. Legion was a very positive reform until the onset of stride format; at present the majority of the new card pool is unplayable as a direct result of needing the opponent to be at grade 3 to be active. Genericized support which should have revived older deck types and increased diversity within the clans themselves instead further vitalized the existing subclans--Revenger, Seeker, Liberator, et al.--making them disproportionately powerful in relation to their generic counterparts when they were already dominant to begin with. It is ridiculous how effective basic subclan attackers are in comparison to their genbreak counterparts just by virtue of being able to make 19000-base columns that force the opponent to ride a grade 3. The world needs fewer Balberiths and more Gattling Claw Dragons.
I don't necessarily share all of the community's grievances. Other cardfighters have levied complaints regarding the game's restricted list, but I'm not particularly concerned with it. I have many lesser reasons, like Bushiroad's refusal to address the Almeida Stewart cheating scandal, and the removal of key staff that advocated for the player community--head judge JD was fired earlier this year for going on stream in violation of his NDA--but the three given above are my primary reasons for stepping down.

The friends that I have made through my work for the community will be with me for a lifetime. The one feature which I wish to proceed with work on is the History of Professional Cardfight, my only genuine legacy. The game's history is dedicated to everyone that has looked up at the stars at night and wished to be the world champion; they are the ones who deserve it most. Work on the HPC will likely only be finished when the game itself is finished.

When I first began taking this website seriously, I believed that I could create a legacy in testament to the community that first took me in back in February 2011. We've lost so many people over the years; I wanted all the love they put into Cardfight!! Vanguard to be monumentalized. Whether the work I have done accomplishes that goal will be answered by the ages.

Reflecting on my work, I mismanaged this organization on many fronts. Though we had a strong social media push, it was only through Tumblr. I needed to adopt Twitter as a platform, and that needed to happen four years ago. I will go to my grave never understanding why anyone would want to use Facebook. Starting out, I had no concept of what form Cardfight Pro would eventually take, and in retrospect my original works on this website were juvenile and something of an embarrassment. Several pages were also practically abandoned in an incredibly unprofessional way, as the scope of the website quickly outgrew its number of editors. On that front, I needed to efficiently gather additional revenue sources sooner. I started doing that far too late, and hurt the website's sustainability in the process. That was an irresponsible mistake.

Naturally, I understand entirely if those of you who have chosen to sponsor Cardfight Pro wish to cease your contributions on Patreon and PayPal. After all, this is about honesty. You were never paying us to be incompetent. Please withdraw your pledges and provide no further monetary support. You are under zero obligation to do so. In light of the organization's disbandment, in the time to come I intend to repurpose our former Patreon account to support a new endeavor on an up-and-coming site, though I want to finish working out exactly what that will look like before I propose it.

As for where I'm going next, I want to turn my attention to work that I can earnestly believe in. You will find me primarily reporting and writing at Tamer Union. On social media, you can find me @digimonworldneo on Twitter, as well as on digimon-world-next-order on Tumblr. I will be infrequently checking vanguardus. I have always wanted to pursue writing about media and video games more than I have Cardfight!! Vanguard. Perhaps this departure is long overdue. Since first engaging in it I have gotten nothing but love from the Digimon community. Certainly it's irresponsible for me to leave now; we are at a critical juncture in the game's history, when Cardfight!! Vanguard is just on the verge of professionalization. Cash tournaments are beginning to emerge as a new mode of funding professional cardfighters. By all rights, I should be providing extensive coverage at such an uncertain time in the game's evolution. Yet I cannot look at where the game and its management is now and support it. This is not the Vanguard Itou wrote about.

At this time I have no desire to quit the game. Despite what the list of grievances above may suggest, I am at heart an optimist. My favorite format is always the current one, and I am looking forward to the new direction the game is taking in designing new cards like Comic Booster 01's Alfred suppot that operate under few to no restrictions. Though the Shadow Paladin decks that I have cherished most--the first generation Phantom Blaster Dragon, and Claret Sword--have never gotten the support necessary to flourish at the apex of the metagame, there are niches I can try to fill. I am a competitive person by nature, and there is no time that I am more alive than when I am going full force against the greatest the world has to offer. My strongest desire is still to fight without end.

Before I close today, several apologies and final words are in order.
  • To our sponsors; I have acted irresponsibly and not responded to your messages in a timely manner. Moreover, today's announcement is bound to disappoint you. For this I am sorry. In the past year Cardfight Pro has been graciously supported by the likes of iDeal808, The Gaming Goat, Elgin IL., various donors on Patreon, and members of the fanguard community on Tumblr that have all supported our work. iDeal808 in particular has been an important sponsor since early 2014.
  • To Alter Reality Games; I have not kept my promises. Last winter out of the half dozen tournament organizers I contacted, CEO Jim McMahan was the only one to respond to my e-mail arranging to set up real tournaments for Cardfight!! Vanguard. Mr. McMahan has been an amazing and accommodating person who has done far more than could ever be reasonably expected from a small business like his. I urge everyone to continue to support ARG and their play community.
  • To Pitarui, Seishirou, Gungnir, and all of the other Japanese tournament organizers and cardfighters that have both helped contribute to creating a solid community in Japan, and who have so kindly cooperated with me in bringing this news to the west. I have failed to effectively and ethically report your works to the world. Because of my negligence, the world never saw things like a top 6 of entirely Raging Form decks, or of Bermuda Triangle making up 15% of tournament play at the end of every format. I wish that I could continue to tell your stories.
  • To fanguard; I can never repay what this community has given me. I have made friends that will be with me for a lifetime.
  • To all those who mentored me as a journalist; You taught me ethics, ruthlessness, discipline, and the strength necessary to survive in a competitive world. From you nothing was taken, only learned. I will continue to apply the skills you taught me.
  • To Itou Akira; I have failed to support your vision for Cardfight!! Vanguard, and that was the one thing that ever mattered to me. Your manga gave me hope when I had none, it gave me courage I never had before, and in a few short years it turned a weak boy into a proud man. To you I owe all the friendships I have made since I picked up that first volume of Yu-Gi-Oh! R in Borders. You created all of my favorite cards, and I still wish I could have gotten them signed.
Perhaps the day will come when I reopen our doors, but I would rather not hold anyone's breath over that idea. I am for the first time in years happy; I am free to fly higher, to pursue anything without restriction, to choose a path for myself rather than being tied down by my obligations. The abilities that I cultivated as the editor of Cardfight Pro will continue to serve me in the years to come. I will always cherish the memories I wove here, the friends I made, and the battles that I fought.

On the subject of succession, I will not name any one specific successor that readers should turn to in order to get their news. However, there are several individuals who have collectively kept the community informed over the years, and who are all very reliable and talented people. Neo Ark Cradle remains one of the foremost news and discussion sources for Cardfight!! Vanguard long after the fall of Janime, and of its users Siulzen and Ark have always stood out to me for their diligence and dedication.

If another individual wishes to rise up and become the premiere source for a professional voice in the community, then they will have to do so as I did, on their own merits, and by their own power. That individual should bear in mind that if they inherit my position in the community, they will also inherit my battle; my "war on Bushiroad" will be theirs to fight. When you reach the end of the path, you may no longer want the things you were fighting for, nor believe in the ideals you once did. Nothing I can write here will ever prepare you for that long, long road. To the strongest, the spoils.

Best regards,
Alexander "Touya" Fisher
Cardfight Pro
Editor in Chief

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

News: ARG National Championships to Conclude This Weekend

This weekend Alter Reality games will be holding a special event to thank those that supported their Circuit series tournaments this year, followed by the 2015 national finals. The special event will last from 12 PM to 5 PM on August 14th, and those attending will be able to play against community organizers Robbie Kohl, William Cole, and Jonathon Mindham. The winner of the event will receive a special edition playmat (pictured below) featuring characters in the likeness of Mindham, Kohl, and Cole. Only twenty-five copies of this playmat exist. Top 16 for the national championship on the 15th will receive an Amnesty Messiah playmat (pictured above), and the national champion will be awarded with the championship trophy seen at right.

The promotional cards White Dwarf Lady Battler and Fiercebau--both distributed at Bushiroad's earlier New York regional qualifier--will be tournament legal for the ARG national championships.

Cardfighters should take note that unused ARG points expire after the finals. Points cannot be retained for use in 2016. Those attending the national finals will need to use 20 ARG points earned from previous regional qualifiers to enter, and may use 50 additional points to receive a round 1 bye. Entrants will present their points to points when they register for the tournament. 111 cardfighters have qualified with invitations to the finals, and ARG is planning for a turnout of between 80 and 120 participants. As always, the tournament will use a best-of-three Swiss model to determine the first national champion as fairly as possible.

Senior Cardfight Pro editor Touya will be attending to provide coverage of the events, and will be participating in the finals. Today's article was made possible by the donations of our patrons at Patreon. Cardfight Pro is funded by public contributions from readers like you. 

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

News: Chrono Plush Toy to Debut at Comiket 88, Episode Previews

August 11th, 2015. In today's weekly stream, Doctor O leaked three new cards from G-BT04: Soul Strike Against the Supreme for the Angel Feather, Megacolony, and Neo Nectar clans. Meanwhile an announcement made through figure production studio Gift's Twitter account teased an upcoming plush doll based on the likeness of Shindou Chrono. Previously Gift had produced similar dolls of Sendou Aichi, Kai Toshiki, Suzugamori Ren, and Miwa Taishi based on their appearances in the Asia Circuit chapter of the anime, and will debut at Comiket 88, from August 14th through 16th at the Tokyo Big Sight Chrono's plush will be the first based on Cardfight!! Vanguard G. Four new episode previews for Cardfight!! Vanguard G have also been leaked from this month's issue of Monthly Bushiroad magazine.

The episode previews, along with the new cards, and a recording of today's livestream are all provided below.

Turn 41 "Tokoha VS Rin"
The United Sanctuary branch's special match begins. Tokoha enthusiastically seeks revenge, attacking the princess-like presence of Team Demise's Hashima Rin.

Turn 42 "Shion VS Shouma"
Game 2 of the special match. Shinonome Shouma toys with Shion with the words "People see their own futures." Can Shion show the future for himself that he believes in!?

Turn 43 "Stride Force"
Kanzaki Yuuichirou reigns over the United Sanctuary branch with absolute power. Hidden in his heart is a grand ambition. Chrono and his friends will face that ambition head-on!

Turn 44 "Chrono VS Taiyou"
Standing before Chrono is the Taiyou that coldly pursued victory and became like a machine. Can Chrono's burning ideal reach him, and take back the old Taiyou!?

Nursecap Dalmation
AUTO (Rearguard circle): Generation Break 1: When this unit boosts, during that battle, for each face-up card in your damage zone, the boosted unit gets Power +1000.

Machining Slater
AUTO (Rearguard circle): When this unit boosts a vanguard with "Machining" in its card name, if your opponent's vanguard and rearguards are all at rest, soulcharge 2.

Maiden of Calyces, Sarianna
AUTO (Generation Break 1) [Counterblast 1, soulblast 1] When this unit is placed on a rearguard circle, if you have a grade 3 or greater vanguard with "Ranunculus" in its card name, you may pay the cost. If you do, choose one of your other rearguards, search your deck for up to one card with the same name as that unit, call it to a rearguard circle, shuffle that deck, during this turn, this unit gets Power +2000.

(Deckbox and sleeves at 8:11, G-BT04 cards at 20:20)
During the stream Doctor O also revealed that a pair of Pacifica and Shizuku deckboxes and sets of promotional sleeves will be available for purchase at Comiket 88, as well as related merchandise to promote Touken Ranbu -ONLINE-. The stream attracted over ten thousand live viewers during its run.

Monday, August 10, 2015

News: Second Phantom VGCS Decklists, Duo Tops Running Four Grade 3s

August 9th, 2015. The second Phantom Vanguard Championship site updated today with complete decklists for the top 4 cardfighters, as well as a more complete deck breakdown over what was previously given. While the tournament has been primarily noted as the resurgence of Glendios, in third place was the first Japanese Duo top since the second Kansai Vanguard Championship, over a year ago. Top 8 at the Phantom CS was Healer (Glendios), Toothpick (Sanctuary Guard), Hanta (Duo), Nekono (Glendios), Sanba (Royal Paladin), Gungnir (Revenger), Tomo (Kagerou), and Derrin (Kagerou). Hanta's Duo deck includes just four grade 3s, running additional copies of his first vanguard in place of the remaining ones in order to abuse Darling's ability to return Peace to hand to repeatedly resolve her draw and countercharge skill to add up to four cards to hand. Using this strategy, up to one third of the main deck can be added to hand in a single turn if all of the possible combo pieces come together, and Duo's new legion Nemuel is designed to facilitate this by searching out copies of cards returned to hand.
Deck Breakdown (101 Participants in total)
34 Revenger
22 Royal Paladin
11 Bermuda Triangle
9 Kagerou
6 Great Nature
4 Aqua Force
4 Glendios
3 Narukami
2 Nova Grappler
2 Gold Paladin
1 Dark Irregulars
1 Neo Nectar
1 Tachikaze
1 Touken Ranbu
Shadow Paladin was the most played deck of the Phantom CS, followed by Royal Paladin, and Bermuda Triangle. Glendios had previously topped the Kansai Spring Cup and West Japan VGCS in early May, and has since become a prominent rogue that has popularly superseded the Messiah deck in Japan. Phantom CS champion Healer's Glendios deck was similar to that used at West Japan, running fourteen grade 3s to capitalize on “∞” Glendios' ability to trap the opponent in a full-field lock as much as possible. The addition of Vorium from Sovereign Star Dragon similarly plays into this pursuit of the deck's alternative win condition, adding “Яeverse” units to hand to get five into play as quickly as possible.

First place: Healer/ヒーラー
Grade 0: 17
x1 Star-vader, World Line Dragon (FV)
x4 Recollection Star-vader, Tellurium HT
x3 Star-vader, Nebula Captor DT
x3 Star-vader, Jailer Tail DT
x3 Star-vaer, Meteo Liger CT
x3 Star-vader, Spark Doll CT
Grade 1: 13
x4 Flowers in Vacuum, Cosmo Wreath
x2 Sword Draw Star-vader, Vorium
x3 Star-vader, Ruin Magician
x4 Taboo Star-vader, Rubidium
Grade 2: 6
x4 Star-vader, Magnet Hollow
x2 Star-vader, Colony Maker
Grade 3: 14
x4 Star-vader, “Ω” Glendios
x3 Star-vader, “Яeverse” Cradle
x1 Dragonic Overlord “The Яe-birth”
x1 Maiden of Venus Trap “Яeverse”
x1 Broken Heart Jewel Knight, Ashlei “Яeverse”
x1 Eradicator, Vowing Saber Dragon “Яeverse”
x1 Cleanup Celestial, Ramiel “Яeverse”
x1 Deadliest Beast Deity, Ethics Buster “Яeverse”
x1 Silver Thorn Dragon Queen, Luquier “Яeverse”
Grade 4 (Generation Zone)
x1 Genesis Dragon, Judgement Messiah
x1 Genesis Dragon, Amnesty Messiah
x2 Nebula Dragon, Big Crunch Dragon
x4 Death Star-vader,  “∞” Glendios

Second place: Toothpick/つまようじ
Grade 0: 17
x1 Shining Knight, Millius (FV)
x4 Jewel Knight, Hilmy HT
x4 Jewel Knight, Noble Stinger CT
x4 Blazing Jewel Knight, Rachelle CT
x4 Seeker, Hallowed Breath Dragon CT
Grade 1: 13
x4 Flashing Jewel Knight, Iseult
x3 Jewel Knight, Sabremy
x4 Laurel Knight, Sicilus
x1 Heat Wind Jewel Knight, Cymbeline
x1 Hidden Sage, Miron
Grade 2: 13
x3 Starlight Violinist
x4 Jewel Knight, Swordmy
x4 Knight of Twin Sword
x2 Transmigration Knight, Brede
Grade 3: 7
x4 Sanctuary Guard Dragon
x3 Sanctuary Guard Guarantee
Grade 4 (Generation Zone)
x4 Holy Dragon, Sanctuary Guard Regalie
x4 Holy Dragon, Saint Blow Dragon

Third place: Hanta/はんたぁ
Grade 0: 20
x4 Duo Lovers Singer, Darling (FV)
x4 Duo Tropical Healer, Medjerda HT
x4 Duo Love Joker, Chulym CT
x4 Duo Granpus Turn, Shannon CT
x4 Duo Pride Crown, Madeira CT
Grade 1: 14
x4 PRISM-Duo Aria
x2 Duo Clear Parasol, Kura
x4 Duo Petit Etoile, Peace
x4 Duo Gorgeous Lady, Kazuha
Grade 2: 12
x2 Glitter of Yearning, Spica
x2 Duo Kelpie Jockey, Syrdarya
x4 Duo Mini Hat, Rhone
x4 Duo Lovely Devil, Vepar
Grade 3: 4
x4 Duo Lovely Angel, Nemuel
Grade 4 (Generation Zone)
x1 Snow Elemental, Blizza
x1 Legendary PRISM-Duo, Nectaria
x2 Legend of the Glass Slipper, Amoris
x2 Rain Elemental, Madew
x2 School Etoile, Olivia

Fourth place: Nekono/ねこの
Grade 0: 17
x1 Star-vader, World Line Dragon (FV)
x4 Taunting Deletor, Gotho HT
x2 Shockwave Star-vader, Dysprosium ST
x4 Exulting Deletor, Maestol DT
x2 Squeezing Deletor, Id DT
x4 Beloved Child of Superstring Theory DT
Grade 1: 9
x4 Flowers in Vacuum, Cosmo Wreath
x1 Grab Hand Gorilla
x2 Rain Elemental, Tear
x2 Taboo Star-vader, Rubidium
Grade 2: 8
x2 Light Speed Cheetah
x2 Star-vader, Astro Reaper
x4 Star-vader, Cold Death Dragon
Grade 3: 16
x2 Star-vader, Dark Zodiac
x4 Star-vader, “Яeverse” Cradle
x3 Star-vader, “Ω” Glendios
x4 Ice Prison Hades Emperor, Cocytus “Яeverse”
x3 Star-vader, Freeze Ray Dragon
Grade 4 (Generation Zone)
x4 Rain Elemental, Madew
x2 Death Star-vader,  “∞” Glendios
x2 Nebula Dragon, Big Crunch Dragon

Saturday, August 8, 2015

News: Glendios Tops Second Phantom VGCS

August 8th, 2015. This morning Gungnir, winner of the 2014 Hachioji Cup and veteran of the Japanese professional community, tweeted the results of the second Phantom VGCS. First place went to Healer playing Glendios, second to Toothpick with Sanctuary Guard, third to Hunter playing Bermuda Triangle, and fourth to Nekono also playing Glendios. This statement was confirmed by tournament organizer Yuihan, who thanked everyone for their support in holding the tournament. Decklists will likely come out within the next few days. A breakdown of the top 16 cardfighters is provided below.

The Glendios fighters that made the top cut represented a very slim minority of entrants, as they were two of the only four Link Joker cardfighters present, all playing Glendios. The Messiah deck, in spite of initial hype, has not caught on strongly in Japan. Royal and Shadow Paladin have alternately dominated tournament results since the launch of Sovereign Star Dragon, with Kagerou taking a backseat to the two primary Paladin clans. Royal and Shadow together made up almost half the entrants at the Second Phantom CS, with Revengers alone accounting for 34% of participants. It should be noted that the most played deck at this Phantom CS was also not played by anyone in top 4, and that Bermuda Triangle was the third most played deck of the tournament, a trend that has been growing in Japanese play since Academy of Divas' launch.
Deck Breakdown (101 participants in total, 10 decks unreported)
34 Revenger
22 Royal Paladin
11 Bermuda Triangle
9 Kagerou
6 Great Nature
4 Aqua Force
4 Glendios
3 Narukami
2 Nova Grappler
2 Gold Paladin
1 Dark Irregulars
1 Neo Nectar
1 Tachikaze
1 Touken Ranbu
Entry at the Phantom VGCS cost 1500 yen (approx. $12 US at the current exchange rate), and first place won a New Nintendo 3DS XL, as well as entry into a sub-competition for a copy of Splatoon. Second place won an official Amnesty Messiah playmat, as well as one box of Soul Strike Against the Supreme. Third place also won an Amnesty Messiah playmat, and fourth a Lambros mat. The five preliminary rounds used a 30 minute best-of-one format, while the cut to top 16 used a 50-minute best-of-three tournament bracket. The first round of the tournament began at 10:30 AM, with the final preliminary finishing at 1:40 PM, and the cut to top 16 began at 2:40 PM. The finals ended at 6:30 PM, with the tournament dispersed by 8 PM.

The VGCS tournaments are a series of unofficial tournaments organized by fans and cardshops. Unlike Bushiroad's official tournaments, most VGCS events are done using a best-of-three, Swiss tournament model. Turnout is typically 70-80 persons, but some events see 100 or more participants, all of whom compete using pseudonyms and internet handles rather than their real names as in official events. The VGCS model of fan-organized play has begun to gain popularity internationally, with the bi-monthly BeNeLux tournaments serving as their European equivalent, and there are now similar grassroots organizations emerging in the United States like the ARG Circuit series tournaments.

Today's article was made possible by the donations of our patrons at Patreon. Cardfight Pro is funded by public contributions from readers like you.

Friday, August 7, 2015

News: Cardfight Online Greenlit, Commemorative Cards to be Given as WCS Prizes

August 7th, 2015. This morning Cardfight!! Online was finally greenlit by the Steam community, leading to outreach by Valve Corporation to Bushiroad to make the online game available through their software distribution platform. The online game, which was only announced a month ago, is set to launch within 2015 as a free-to-play means of playing the Cardfight!! Vanguard trading card game through the web.

In other news, Bushiroad announced through Facebook today that their 2015 World Championship series will introduce commemorative prints of existing Cardfight!! Vanguard cards, to be given to the finalists of the national and international championships. The cards currently know to be distributed are Supremacy Dragon Claret Sword Dragon, and Chronojet Dragon. Each card will be gold stamped and have a unique foil, different from its original print.

Today's article was made possible by the donations of our patrons at Patreon. Cardfight Pro is funded by public contributions from readers like you. 

Thursday, August 6, 2015

News: Machining Legion, Sanctuary Guard Support Premiered in Monthly Bushiroad Magazine

August 6th, 2015. Approximately twenty-four hours prior to street date, fans have leaked images from the most recent issue of Monthly Bushiroad magazine, revealing an upcoming legion as well as reprint for the Machining subclan in G-BT04: Soul Strike Against the Supreme. A remake of Machining Stag Beetle from Comic Style Vol. 1, the legion combines improved superior call with power gain, and being able to paralyze the opponent's rearguards to prevent them from standing. The issue also unveiled new units specifically designed for the Sanctuary Guard Regalie deck, and Angel Feather breakstride support from G-BT04. The issue also revealed that the existing Machining legion, Machining Tarantula mk II, will be reprinted in G-BT04, and that the promotional card "Blaster Rapier, Lola" from Koshimizu Makoto's Swordsman of Light manga will be packaged with next month's issue.

Machining Scorpio mkII
ACT (Vanguard circle): Once per turn: [Counterblast 1, choose a card with a same name as a unit on your vanguard circle, discard it] If this unit is in legion, choose up to three cards from our soul with "Machining" in their card name, call them to separate rearguard circles as rest, during this turn, increase this unit's power. The increment is equal to the combined power of all units called by this effect.
ACT (Vanguard circle): Once per turn: [Choose one of your rearguards with "Machining" in its card name, put it into your soul] Choose one of your rearguards, stand it, choose one of your opponent's rearguards, during your opponent's next stand phase, that unit cannot stand.

Machining Mosquito mkII
CONT (Rearguard circle): During your turn, if you have a "Machining" vanguard, and if your opponent's vanguard and rearguards are all at rest, this unit gets Power +2000, and "AUTO (Rearguard circle): Once per turn: When this unit's attack hits a vanguard, choose one of your other rearguards, stand it, choose one of your opponent's rearguards, during your opponent's next stand phase, that unit does not stand."

AUTO: Forerunner
CONT (Rearguard circle): Generation Break 1: If you have two or more other grade 1 or less rearguards, and if this unit is in your frontrow, this unit gets Power +5000, and Intercept.

Archer of the Sanctuary
AUTO (Rearguard circle): When this unit attacks, if you have a vanguard with "Sanctuary Guard" in its card name, during that battle, this unit gets Power +2000.
AUTO: [Counterblast 2] When this unit is placed on a rearguard circle, if you have a vanguard with "Sanctuary Guard" in its card name, you may pay the cost. If you do, search your deck for up to one grade 1 or less card, call ti to a rearguard circle, and shuffle that deck.

Black Shiver, Gavriil
AUTO (Vanguard circle): Generation Break 2: When one of your cards is put into the damage zone, during that turn, this unit gets "CONT (Vanguard circle): All of your units in your frontrow get Power +2000."
AUTO (Vanguard circle): [Counterblast 1] During your turn, when your G unit strides, you may pay the cost. If you do, look at three cards from the top of your deck, choose one, and put it into your damage zone face-up. Put the remaining cards on the bottom of your deck in any order, and choose a face-up card from your damage zone, call it to a rearguard circle, during that turn, that unit gets Power +2000.

Gavriil's generation break 2 and stride bonus skill amasses their past boss cards Chief Nurse Shamsiel and Circular Saw Kiriel into a single card, providing a powerful alternative deck to Celestials that can even gain power bonuses during the opponent's turn when damage is checked, or swapped through the guard circle of Nociel. Her name comes from the Russian reading of Gabriel; in Japanese Gavriil is transliterated as ガウリール while Gabriel is ガブリエル.
Soul Strike Against the Supreme will launch in Japan on August 28th, and in the United States on October 2nd.

News: Maelstrom, Tetra-Drive, Thavas to Receive Support in "Commander of Waves"

August 6th, 2015. The Japanese Cardfight!! Vanguard portal updated this morning with new images and information for the previously-announced Aqua Force clan booster, G-CB02: Commander of Waves. Like G-CB01: Academy of Divas before it, this clan booster will introduce a new mechanic, "Wave." The set will feature an evolved form of the clan's breakstride Thavas, "One Who is One With the Storm, Thavas" as well as support for the Maelstrom, Tetra-drive, and Genovious boss cards of past sets.

The clan booster will also include a reprint of the promotional card Couple Dagger Sailor. The setlist will comprise 40 cards, 39 new and one reprint; one generation rare, four triple rares, seven double rares, twelve single rares, sixteen commons, and six special parallel cards. One of these SPs will be an alternate artwork reprint of an existing card. Each sealed booster pack will contain seven cards, with two of them being guaranteed to be single rare or greater. Each sealed booster box will contain twelve packs, and retail for 3600 yen (approximately $29 US at the current exchange rate), while individual packs will cost 300 yen (~$2.50).

Worth noting is that the Nextage, Ahsha, and Altmile strides in G-BT04: Soul Strike Against the Supreme were also referred to as evolutions during the set's announcement. Commander of Waves will launch in Japan on October 23rd. No international launch date has been given as of yet.

Today's article was made possible by the donations of our patrons at Patreon. Cardfight Pro is funded by public contributions from readers like you. 

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

News: English Launch of G-Comic Booster 01 "Vanguard & Deletor" for November

August 5th, 2015. Today Bushiroad Inc. has announced a November 20th launch for the English edition of G-Comic Booster 01: Vanguard & Deletor, which will contain cards featured in Itou Akira's Cardfight!! Vanguard manga. Vanguard & Deletor will feature Link Joker cards supporting Ibuki's "Docking Deletor Greion," and Royal Paladin units supporting Aichi's Alfred deck. There will also be a series of prerelease tournaments from November 13th through the 15th, a week prior to the set's launch date. Although the associated volumes of the Cardfight!! Vanguard manga featuring Ibuki were set to launch this month and in November, according to publisher Vertical Inc. the release of volumes 7 and 8 have been delayed.

In total the Vanguard & Deletor setlist will comprise 45 cards; 29 new cards and 16 reprints. The set will include one generation rare, four triple rares, seven double rares, fourteen single rares, nineteen commons, and six special parallel prints of cards from lower rarities. The set will also include alternate artwork prints of several cards.

Each sealed box will contain twelve booster packs, with seven cards in each, two of which will always be single rare or higher. Prerelease kits will contain 32 booster packs, with four packs being given out to every player, for 28 cards per participant, as well as 9 promotional cards and two playmats.

Artwork published to generate interest in the set shows off Docking Deletor Greion, Blaster Blade in his appearance as Ames (Blaster Blade prior to having receiving his titular sword and having succeeded Yuunos, who became Blaster Dark) in Koshimizu Makoto's Shining Swordsman manga, and Lola (the future Blaster Rapier) of the same.

One noted change between the Japanese and international key art is the use of Blaster Blade's Descent of the King of Knights special parallel print for the English edition; in the Japanese edition, Aichi held an unidentified Vanguard card. Past English-language sets have made a point of editing out stride card backs for standard ones, but in this case the card Aichi was holding was completely innocuous by the standards of the international game.

Today's article was made possible by the donations of our patrons at Patreon. Cardfight Pro is funded by public contributions from readers like you.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

News: Aqua Force Clan Booster "Commander of Waves" to Launch October 23rd, Comic Booster Sleeves

August 4th, 2015. During today's weekly stream, host personality Doctor O unveiled the title and launch date for the previously-announced clan booster, G-Clan Booster 02: Commander of Waves. (連波の指揮官 Renpa no Shikikan lit. "Commander of Connected/Successive Waves;" initially misread as 連破 Renpa "Successive Wins") Featuring Euro League pro cardfighter Jaime Alcaraz from the TV anime Cardfight!! Vanguard G, the booster set will launch the month after G-Comic Booster 01: Leaders & Deletors hits the Japanese game. Commander of Waves will launch on October 23rd in Japan. No international release date has been given as of yet. A complete recording of the broadcast may now be viewed below.

In other Leaders & Deletors related news, a pair of sleeves were also announced during the broadcast for a September 18th release date. Featuring protagonist Sendou Aichi and antagonist Ibuki Kouji as illustrated by the manga's lead artist Itou Akira, these are the second set of sleeves to feature the manga incarnation of Aichi, after another dual release of manga sleeves from October 2013 featuring Aichi and Kai Toshiki, also illustrated by Itou.

Doctor O also unveiled three cards from the upcoming G-BT04: Soul Strike Against the Supreme, presented below.

Greedy Devourer, Gleipnir
AUTO (Rearguard circle): Generation break 1: [Counterblast 1] When this unit attacks a vanguard, if this unit is boosted, you may pay the cost. If you do, soulcharge 3, and if a card has been sent from the soul to the drop zone during this turn, draw 1 card.

Charming Mutant, Sweet Cocktail
AUTO (Rearguard circle): Generation break 1: [Counterblast 1] When this unit attacks a vanguard, if this unit is boosted, you may pay the cost. If you do, choose 1 of your opponent's rearguards, rest it, and until the end of your opponent's next turn, that unit gets "AUTO (Rearguard circle): During the end phase of your turn, if this unit is rested, your opponent draws 1 card.", during this turn, that unit cannot intercept. During your opponent's next stand phase, that unit cannot stand.

Coercive Mutant, Darkface
AUTO (Vanguard circle): Generation break 2: [Soulblast 2] When one of your opponent's units is placed on a rearguard circle, you may pay the cost. If you do, rest that unit.
AUTO (Vanguard circle): [Counterblast 1] During your turn, when your G unit strides, you may pay the cost. If you do, choose 2 of your opponent's rearguards, rest them, and until the end of your opponent's next turn, they get "AUTO (Rearguard circle): During the end phase of your turn, if this unit is rested, your opponent draws 1 card.", and during your opponent's next stand phase, those units cannot stand.

Above is a complete recording of the stream. Bushiroad Cardfight event report is at 5:30, Aqua Force clan booster announced at 33:23, manga sleeves at 34:49, G-BT04: Soul Strike Against the Supreme cards shown at 35:54. Today's article was made possible by the donations of our patrons at Patreon. Cardfight Pro is funded by public contributions from readers like you. 

Monday, August 3, 2015

Today's Card Analysis: Raging Spear Mutant Deity, Stun Beetle

"Crawl. Such an unsightly form is perfect for you."

The Japanese card of the day is a triple rare stride for the Megacolony clan from VG-G-BT04: Soul Strike Against the Supreme. Featured in the most recent episode of Cardfight!! Vanguard G, Stun Beetle is a finishing move with a deceptively designed skill that will almost always ensure victory if resolved; however, there is one specific barrier that prevents Stun Beetle from fully eclipsing its existing Machining counterpart.

AUTO (Vanguard circle): Generation break 2: [Counterblast 2, choose a face down card named “Raging Spear Mutant Deity, Stun Beetle” in your generation zone, turn it face up] When this unit's attack hits a vanguard, you may pay the cost. If you do, during your opponent's next stand phase, all of your opponent's vanguard cannot stand, and during your opponent's next ride phase, your opponent cannot normal ride. (They may still ride by card effects.)

Stun Beetle is among the first strides to use generation break wording rather than specifying a number of cards in the G zone to be face-up. This has not changed the actual mechanics of his skill compared to those strides, it's only simplified the wording; the generation break requirement still counts Stun Beetle himself as part of it. Stun Beetle's skill is impressive on paper, as it both denies the opponent their twin drive for the turn, and prevents them from using the one out that the game has had versus Megacolony since the clan began paralyzing vanguards in VG-BT15: Infinite Rebirth. Because strides inherit the position of the heart, and also pass that position onto the heart in the end phase, Stun Beetle truly leaves no way out of being hit by his skill. This -2 and dramatic loss in offense can be game ending, as outside of activated abilities like that of Takemikazuchi, there are very few ways to recover from Stun Beetle going off to actually catch up in the difference in card advantage it creates. Effectively the card creates a delayed victory condition, where the game is already won on the turn that Stun Beetle resolves, but additional turns have to pass before the opponent is truly unable to keep up any longer.

What should be kept in mind is that the stage at which Stun Beetle comes into play is the same as Root Flare and Saint Blow Dragon. At this stage in the fight, the opponent should already have one or more perfect defense cards available, which makes it exceedingly difficult for Stun Beetle to actually connect within his given timing. The card falls into the same trap as Chronoscommand, having a game-ending skill that is unlikely to ever go off because it is attached to vanguard-hit conditions. Moreover, Stun Beetle is appearing on the field at a point when any stride hitting should win the game. The card primarily caters to drawn-out games in which both fighters are staying at low damage over prolonged periods due to a mutual lack of rearguard aggression. This actually plays against Stun Beetle's strengths, as in a prolonged game the opponent is more likely to be able to take a hit from Stun Beetle and still come out victorious, as they're potentially taking that hit while starting at one to two damage. Because of his persona generation condition, running Stun Beetle at a playset can be detrimental to stride efficiency. If during one of these protracted games, the first Stun Beetle is blocked but the second one goes off, there will be three face-up Stun Beetles and the fourth becomes a dud stride. The same is true for if three Stun Beetles are blocked. Compared to Machining Destroyer from Fighter's Collection 2015, Stun Beetle is a lackluster means of paralyzing the opponent's vanguard that's unlikely to ever go off, gives the opponent better aggressive options, and they need to survive through one less turn than when staring down a playset of Destroyers before the vanguard-paralyze options become locked off.

The optimal means of using Stun Beetle is at 2~3 copies, but in the presently dominant Machining decks, Beetle cannot compete with Destroyer and that puts him in conflict with Paraspear's draw ability. It's difficult to argue for sacrificing Paraspear's draw in a deck that's starved for defensive options. Hence, while Stun Beetle provides a powerful killing blow, the difficulty associated with pulling it off and the sacrifices necessary to take multiple shots at it mean that unless the vanguard and rearguard support of G-BT04 is more compelling, the Machining subclan is likely to remain the dominant form of Megacolony for the foreseeable future.

As this subclan is on the verge of receiving new support cards from Soul Strike in the form of the Machining Scorpio mkII and Mosquito mkII legion pair, and the enigmatic Machining Yellow Jacket, tomorrow is bright for the subclan and dim for genericized Megacolony.

Today's article was made possible by the donations of our patrons at Patreon. Cardfight Pro is funded by public contributions from readers like you. 

News: Cardfight!! Online Hits Steam Greenlight Top 10

According to Bushiroad Inc.'s Cardfight!! Online Twitter account, the web game just hit Steam Greenlight's top 10 list today, putting the game in the top 10 out of 1,400 games currently on Greenlight. This took place within 49 hours after the game first went up, demonstrating enormous popular support for the game.

Readers are encouraged to support the Greenlight effort by upvoting it through their Steam accounts. Readers who do not have an account are encouraged to register one; registration for Steam is free, and as Cardfight!! Online will be free-to-play, fans have every incentive to support the effort.