Updated: Sep 7, 2019
Written and edited by China Ross
Hey Cardfighters! China here, bringing you an update on what Japan's metagame looked like after BT05: Aerial Steed Liberation dropped! This set brought us exciting new support for the clans Narukami, Gold Paladin, Royal Paladin, Oracle Think Tank, and Nubatama, with... varying levels of success, to say the least.
Going into this meta, Narukami was thought to be the forerunner of the set, seeing as Gauntlet Buster Dragon is such a powerful card in itself, along with the rest of the NK support. However, interestingly enough, the graph above seems to say otherwise. This pie chart represents the percentages of tops per clan in the first two weeks that BT05 was legal in Japan, and the only clan from Aerial Steed that sees any meaningful amount of representation was Royal Paladin. Did that change at all later on into the set?
The answer is... not really. While a couple more of the BT05 clans sneak in at 4%, none of them are at a commandeering spot -- Bermuda Triangle remained the highest in representation, although the meta is still becoming more diverse. Let's take a look at the individual clans, and analyze why they're placed where they are (or not topping at all).
Going into this meta, Narukami was the favored pick of the set. Gauntlet Buster Dragon is incredibly strong, being able to remove the entire front row of your opponent, pressuring with added power and criticals, and in general, being the Accel Killer™. (Sadly), the leading question for any deck hoping to be meta is still: Can it beat Bermudas? And Narukami looked to have the best chance, having the ability to remove almost an entire board of the essential Grade 3s.
And yet, for some reason, Narukami hasn't seen many tops, other than a few teams ones (which we don't value as highly). While it might be the inherent disadvantage against Force (especially if they go first), it also could be that GBD isn't as threatening when you hold a PG to guard with. New Narukami still falls victim to the ever-present Accel issue -- defensive triggers. Regardless of this, I'd still place Narukami at Tier 1, with BT as the Tier 0 baseline. After the banlist, BT might shift down to Tier 1, but Narukami is still incredibly strong right now, and when you get 2-3 Zuitans on the board with GBD... your opponent is in for a bad time.
Oracle Think Tank
Aerial Steed Liberation brings back a beloved archetype for OTT -- Tsukuyomi. The effect of the Grade 3 Tsukuyomi seems incredibly powerful, allowing you to manipulate your drive checks, essentially guaranteeing triggers, and getting a free 10K to your front row if you hit two triggers. The drawback, however, is its requirement of three or more Tsukyomi in soul. The deck pretty much fails to function if you don't open the grade 1 in your opening hand, and if you don't soul charge a Tsuku with either Inaba or Euryale, it's game over.
Many people have tried to fit Imperial Daughter into the build, but from our perspective, it's sub-optimal. A dedicated Tsukuyomi/Euryale/Deer build is the way to go, as it allows you to get your Tsukuyomi effect off faster and more consistently, as well as Deer's effect for late game. Meta-wise, the deck has only seen a few tops, and since it doesn't quite have the consistency that the other top tier decks have, I'd place it in Tier 2.
United Sanctuary saw a lot of support this set, and as per usual, the protagonist clan received more support. Did it push it to the top? Well... Not quite. Gancelot, the biggest Royals card of the set, certainly helps: giving Blaster Blades 10K and a drive check is no small feat. And giving them a countercharger along with a Blaster Blade searcher helps as well. It's not quite at the level of BT (which is sadly what we have to compare everything to), but it's definitely a strong contender.
Royals is definitely a strong deck. Based on this and its representation in tops, it sits in either a low Tier 1 or high Tier 2, a little on the fence.
Nubatama found itself in an odd position: Jamyocongo seems like an incredibly powerful card, but the deck as a whole still seems to fall off in Standard. In general, it's just much more of a viable deck in Premium (enough for it to get hit on the banlist before we even got to see it in English). The issue is that against decks that build up a huge hand, such as Tsukuyomi, Messiah, and other clans with huge advantage engines, Jamyo is great! But against those that already have around six cards in hand at a time, it doesn't do a whole lot.
Out of nowhere, Nubatama Standard saw a couple of tops in singles, but overall, not very much representation. Seems Nubatama still maintains its spot as a pretty low-tier protect deck (albeit not as bad as buggy boys), therefore I'd put it pretty close to the bottom, in Tier 3.
Gold Paladin... There isn't a whole lot to talk about in regards to them, as they only got five cards in the entire set, with two of them being triggers. The deck doesn't change a whole lot, minus the new Platina Ezel and the RRR's, Kahedin and Hoel. The grade 2/1 combo doesn't even see whole lot of play, so the clan is basically just waiting for its new support in a few months.
Platina can guarantee some triggers and more attacks, and its cost isn't hard to fulfill, since superior riding will get you at least one grade 3 in soul. While strong due to its highroll factor, there are still times that you lowroll with Golds. Those highroll games are scary, but it just doesn't have the sheer consistency that the top decks really have, putting it in a clean Tier 2 spot.
Five clans got support this set! Whether that was good support or not... is up to interpretation. Narukami, whether it tops or not, is a scary deck to play against, and the many drive checks of Royal Paladin require much more thinking when it comes to guarding. I'm looking forward to see how these decks do in the upcoming BCS circuit, and whether or not they'll rise to fame, especially after Bermuda Triangle gets hit. When that happens, and the next set drops, we'll be sure to keep you updated, so stay tuned!
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