• AlphonZeus

Fundamentals - Phases of a Turn

Game Flow – What to Know and What to Not Forget


Hello everyone! Welcome to the Art of Fundamentals series! Here, we get to introduce fundamental skills for new players (or for veterans looking for a refresher) in Cardfight!! Vanguard! Today I'll be explaining game flow, which is what happens when a player takes their turn. This aims to explain what a player is or is not allowed to do during their turn, as well as the basic interactions that take place between the player and their cards as well as cards that interact with the opponent’s cards. So, let’s begin!


First, we have the Stand Phase (a/k/a Stand and Draw Phase or “SDP”). Here, this is the second-shortest lasting phase of a turn. You start off by first standing all rested units and drawing one card from the top of the deck and adding it to your hand. Sometimes there are skills that take place during this phase, and keep in mind if they say “At the beginning of your turn…” This means that before you enter the normal SDP, some units’ skills are able to be activated. Sometimes, these skills are mandatory so you must keep timing in mind. Remember: any skill with a cost is not mandatory and if you miss timing, then your opponent will assume you chose to not activate it.


Second, we have the ride phase, which is the shortest phase. First, please keep in mind any “At the beginning of the ride phase” skills that could activate. This is the same for any other skills that have similar wordings in the turn as well as “at the end of the phase” skills (so for brevity, pretend this text will repeat in each phase). At the beginning of the ride phase, you may place one card from your hand on top of your current Vanguard, as long as that card unit is the same grade or one grade higher as the current Vanguard.. When you ride that card from hand, skills could activate on ride. For most Grade 3 units in Standard, you not only have any on-ride skills that could activate (as long as you pay cost), but also obtain one Gift marker. Depending on the type of clan, you have access to Protect I/II, Accel I/II, and Force I/II. Remember: once you chose a gift marker number, you will have to stick with that gift marker every time you ride a new Grade 3 (or Grade 4) with a gift icon in the top left corner.


Third, we have the main phase. This is the turn that can take most of players’ time. Here, you may call as many cards as you wish (but call one at a time) to the five rear guard circles available (or additional rear guard circles if you have an Accel Clan). The only condition is that each rear guard that you call must be the same grade or lower as the grade of your current Vanguard. Sometimes, rear guards have on placement skills, so be sure to activate them if you wish. If not, declare to your opponent that you are not activating that skill. There are a couple considerations you want to acknowledge before you call your field.


First, you want to have a strategy of how to build your board first to have an effective combat phase. This will require you to check your resources available: open counterblast, cards in soul, and other requirements. You also should generate an idea of how your Vanguard synergizes with your rear guards and vice versa.


Second, you should also consider your opponent’s board. Sometimes, they would play a clan that has more or less advantage than you. It is a matter of adapting to not only your opponent’s clan itself, but your opponent’s playstyle. You will pick up a general idea of how your deck works pretty quickly, but it will take time to learn your opponent’s clan and playstyles. Everyone has a different approach, so it is worth the investment to learn, adapt, and eventually anticipate your opponent’s strategy.


Finally, you should ask how hard you want to push your opponent. Sometimes, you do not want to call out your whole field unless you are trying to push to end the game, or have a strategy to help you gain either card advantage or limit your opponent’s card advantage.

All of these skills are refined over time, so practice is the name of the game to get better! Soon, you will develop a general understanding of the game that your main phase will be pretty quick. But for now, ask yourselves those three questions and then play your cards.

The next phase I consider one of the most important phases: combat! Here, we start swinging in at your opponent’s units! Attack order and utilizing combat skills will be expanded upon in a different fundamental article, but for now, let’s go over the basics. When declaring an attack, first declare your boosting unit. This unit would normally either be a grade 0 or 1 card and you rest that unit. By boosting, you take the current power of that booster and add it to the attacking unit that is in front of it. After the boost, then you swing with the attacking unit, which is in the front row. Then, you would declare your attack target. It can either be the opponent’s Vanguard, or another rear-guard. This set of moves completes one attack.


It then switches over to the opponent’s turn to make a decision. They can either place cards from their hand to the guardian circle to protect the unit being attacked, or they can let the attack go through. If they chose the latter option, then if the following happens: if the attacked unit is the Vanguard and your power matches or exceeds the opponent’s Vanguard, they perform a damage check and places the card in their damage zone, face up. If there are any trigger effects from the damage check, they shall activate as they are placed in the drive check area before they are placed in damage. If they chose not to guard a rear guard, that rear guard will go to the drop zone, and any skills that activate on-hit, will have a chance to activate and resolve.


If you are attacking with your Vanguard, after your opponent declares guard power or no guard, you perform a drive check. Normally, a grade 1 or grade 2 Vanguard would perform one drive check. First, you take the top card of the deck and place it in the drive check area. If there are any trigger effects that occur, you have two different effects to assign in any order. In Standard, you get to put a +10k power on any unit on the field, and activate a trigger effect such as draw, heal, front, or critical. Draw, front, or critical will always have their effects activated, but heal triggers can only heal if you are at equal damage or more than your opponents. If you have a Grade 3 or greater, you get Twin Drive, which means you perform two drive checks, one after the other. The main strategy when your Vanguard attacks is to check your opponent’s guard power. First, you should evaluate how many triggers do you need to break through your opponent’s shield value. It will can be a 1-to-pass (or just need one trigger to break), a 2-to-pass, and so on. However, if they have put enough shield value to be a no-pass (meaning even if you drive check a trigger each time, you still cannot break through the opponent’s shield value), then it is better to assign power to a rear-guard.


One key mechanic to remember is guarding. When a player places card/s onto the guardian circle, those cards are placed in rest position. Then, the shield value of each card increases the power level of the defending unit. Depending on trigger effects or other power gains, after power is compared to determine if the attack hits or not, the guardians shall be retired at the end of that battle.


Attack order and strategy will be expanded upon later, so let’s skip to the end of combat. If you finished attacking with all of your units, you move towards end phase.

In end phase, you only have to keep track of only one change. All power gain from triggers effects and skills on the field shall reset back to their normal power. There also could be skills that activate in the end phase as well.


And that is how a turn is played out in Cardfight!! Vanguard. There are some strategy tips involved, but overall, this will serve as a beginning guide to help you execute a good turn in this game. Cheers, and best wishes to your journey in Cardfight!! Vanguard!


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