Updated: Aug 28, 2019
DISCLAIMER: Hey it's me from the present. This article was written about a week ago before the ban list. Let me tell you, if I could go back to the past and tell myself to sell my max rarity OTT deck and my basic Ange deck I would. But hey, no one expected uncle Bushiroad to come in with the scythe and reap the souls of Premium's most popular decks. Future me still thinks Neo Nectar will be the best deck post this list. I'm not changing this article just yet because EN doesn't get the list till September 20th. If you're going to a BCS before Sept. 20th this article will be of use to you. No, DI is not relevant until BT06. Even just Rhodia can't save the deck just wait till BT06.
Neo Nectar is the best deck in Premium. No, not Gold Paladin. No other decks can come close, for a variety of reasons. I'll be breaking down five reasons why Neo Nectar outclasses every deck:
Grade 2 Game
Flexibility and Skill Floor
Consistency is king in all formats. It's one of the many reasons why Bermuda Triangle is so powerful in Standard. The ability to always put out a level of pressure that very few decks can match is the primary reason why Neo Nectar is the best deck in Premium. "Tutoring" or the ability to call specific cards from your deck to field is a fundamentally broken ability that should never be printed on cards. You'd think that hitting four or five plant tokens on your first stride would be a difficult task, but with the power of V-Series Neo Nectar support it's an easy ask. Often times you do not even have to ride Maiden of Trailing Rose to achieve it.
Katrina enables five or six attacks per turn, all hitting magic numbers, every turn no questions asked. This turn requires 2 CB for maximum power, 1 CB for medium power, and no CB for minimum power.
This combo requires no cards from hand and gets easier to perform after each turn. Did your opponent somehow survive your first stride? Next time you stride into Katrina you'll be replenishing a minimum of three tokens (more if you G-Guarded)! After your first Grade 3 turn you will no longer have to call any cards from your hand to the field on a given turn. You can save it all to guard with.
YIKES THE 8/23/2019 BAN LIST CHANGES ALL THIS IN ABOUT 30 DAYS. WELL FOR THE BCS EVENTS THAT WILL BE BEFORE THE RESTRICTION THIS IS MY HOT TAKE:
Oracle Think Tank
Even with the continued addition of V-Series deck manipulation OTT lacks the ability to have a consistently strong stride turn. Their stride turns are heavily dictated by their ability to manipulate the top of their deck, which requires a commitment of resources from their hand to board. This leaves them without adequate defenses most of the time even with a Protect gift in hand. Additionally, as Neo Nectar you have a large number of cards in hand from not having to call anything to the field post Grade 3, and since you do not run any perfect guards there are no dead cards in your deck. Guard early, and save larger shield values for their first stride turn. If they are running RyoGoza's build, Grade 2 game them long enough that their BoBos become dead cards. While OTT may be the boogieman everyone loves to hate the clan has glaring weaknesses and an over reliance on the pair of Ichikishima.
With the highest defensive capabilities in the game, and consistency levels that beat every other clan Bermuda Triangle exists in Premium as the best defensive deck. The cost to have those defensive capabilities, and supreme consistency comes in the form of reduced kill potential. The best Bermuda Triangle deck is the build that abuses Minne to draw a large number of cards per turn and compress their deck. This is what gives them that incredibly high level of consistency. When you've activated Minne for the 4th time in a turn, you can end up with 14-16 cards in hand after first stride. What does reduced kill potential really mean in practice? Both Shandee and Elprina draw or call cards, not kill your opponent. It's not until their second or sometimes third stride that Bermuda Triangle can use Tirua to finish the game. Because of this ramp up time Neo Nectar will throw 12+ high powered attacks at them and because Ange is a 11,000 base power unit, you can hit numbers even with your Mirkkas! Bermuda Triangle is your worst match up. However, if you go first you have a much higher likelihood of achieving victory.
The signature high roll deck of the format, it's Beaumains or Beauhome. A quick glance at the hyper-geometric calculator indicates that you have about a 61% chance of opening Beumains on a mulligan of your whole hand, but the other piece of the puzzle is that you have a 50% chance of going first. Multiply those two independent events together and you get a 30.5% chance of opening Beaumains and going first.
I already hear the comments now, "what about the three cards you draw before Grade 2!" and "What about ride assisting after guarding away your non-relevant G2 units"... You're right. The percentages do go up. But I still tend to shy away from a ~50% chance to forfeit the game outright, even with a ~30% chance of automatically winning the game. The biggest factor to take into account here is that Neo Nectar will kill on first stride if you did not guard early, or have an adequate amount of guard in hand. Ride assisting for Beaumains, and then using his ability will guarantee that you will die to the Neo Nectar player once they hit first stride. My tip to help seal the deal? Don't be afraid to pass the turn without attacking if they went first. You'll make the card up on Grade 2 if you play Irminsul and it'll give you much more control over the flow of the game.
Neo Nectar is one of the only decks that can truly kill on first stride in Premium right now. There's a lot of talk about how a majority of decks in Premium kill on first stride, and that simply isn't true. If you guard properly a majority of decks won't have the punching power to push you to six. Neo Nectar can however.
Fellow Vision member Deo Halili broke down Neo Nectar turns in a very granular way in his Neo Nectar Standard Plus guide you can find here. I'll be going over it in a more brief way. You have six attacks on an average turn. I'll break down each attacks power, and whether or not it's on a Force 2 marker.
First Attack: Plant Token + Plant Token = 30,000 Power (One Damage)
Second Attack: Plant Token + Plant Token = 30,000 Power (Two Damage F2)
Third Attack: Katrina = 28,000 Power (One Damage) TRIPLE DRIVE At this point you'll pull out five cards from your deck: Irminsul, Maiden of Trailing Rose, Mirkka or Sylvia, Maiden of Gladiolus and a Rebecca. You'll call a plant, assign power from Rebecca then call over Rebecca, a sample board state will look like this (read more in Deo's article here). We'll assume you hit one critical trigger on the Triple Drive.
Fourth Attack: Irminsul + Plant Token = 35,000 Power (Two Damage F2)
Fifth Attack: Gladiolus + Plant (+15,000 Rebecca from Trigger/Two Damage) = 39,000
Sixth Attack: Maiden of Trailing Rose + Plant Token = 28,000 (Two Damage F2)
By pulling FIVE cards out of your deck with Katrina's ability you are increasing your chances of hitting a trigger by a sizable amount. Don't forget that you're removing 10% of your non-trigger units from the deck, that's huge! This attack string will decimate any opponent's hand. Even the most defensive deck, Bermuda Triangle, will struggle with the multiple attacks that require 20,000+ shield to guard. Something to realize also is that this onslaught comes after a very dominant early game that V-Series Neo Nectar is famous for.
Grade 2 Game
While I do not think that Neo Nectar has to Grade 2 game against most decks in Premium there are a few to watch out for: Luard, Bustered, and the mirror. If you are forced into it either by match up, or by the composition of your hand don't worry all too much you've got it in the bag.
With the ability to generate free rear-guards in the form of Plant Tokens, Neo Nectar does not have to commit as many cards to field as other decks. That Sylvia that you ride? It's a 15,000 power unit disguised as a 10,000 power unit. Additionally you can hit massive numbers by calling an Irminsul to the board, all while drawing a card for it! One thing to note here is that Irminsul counts all Grade 0 units on the board for his ability. Don't hesitate to call the new PremColle critical so you can use it for later.
Remember the fundamentals of Grade 2 Gaming:
Cards in Hand
Units on Board
Always ask for an update on your opponent's hand, and keep careful track of the cards they drive check. You'll want to know the shield value of their cards in hand to be able to create optimal numbers. The units on board matter significantly. Always make sure to keep active count of the cards your opponent calls. Notice that they have 2-3 of a specific card out of deck? Utilize that to your advantage to help you deduce remaining shield value of cards in their hand. Finally, if you're at 1 or 2 damage (which you should be by guarding early) don't hesitate to ride up the moment you think you have a tempo advantage. Shut the door on them by going into Sebreeze if you can, or just put that Force 2 marker on your Grade 3 Vanguard for a very threatening attack!
Flexibility and Skill Floor
This deck has the ability to win going first or second. It can play the Grade 2 game, or it can force the Grade 3 turn with Force 2 and Maiden of Trailing Rose giving 15,000 power to the board. It can draw cards with Irminsul and gain power at the same time. But the most flexible thing about this deck? It's the Plant Tokens. The Plant Tokens are both your best offensive and defensive tool. They enable your larger G-Guardians for free, and allow you to keep cards in your hand to guard with all while hitting decent numbers throughout the game. You can build this deck all in, or play more conservatively with perfect guards. Tech for match ups with Honoly, or just kill people with Zoa.
Most importantly? It has a low skill floor. This deck is very easy to pick up. I'd recommend this deck to any first time Premium player. It has powerful G-Guardians, a broken Stride and a solid V-Series backed early game. Why bother with complex decks like Ange and Dark Irregulars when you can just focus on your fundamentals.
That's what Neo Nectar promotes, fundamentals. The same was true for Standard Neo Nectar. You focus on making the best columns, conserving and utilizing guard in the most effective ways possible and keep track of your triggers in deck all while beating face with massive columns. You won't get tired playing this deck in a long tournament like Luard or Bermuda Triangle. This deck will make you a better player by forcing you to learn fundamentals because strong fundamentals are the only way to express skill with Neo Nectar.
Neo Nectar G-Guardians are some of the most powerful in Premium for two reasons:
Raw Guard Potential
Bond Protector Musketeer, Antero is a 35,000 shield G-Guardian with only two requirements: SB1 and to have 1 or less rear-guards, or 4+ rear-guards. In a deck that has a full field very frequently Neo Nectar often always gains the benefit of this card. The only deck that can successful mitigate this is Bermuda Triangle, but with their anemic first stride you can successfully guard with other G-Guardians.
The recycling G-Guardian is called Sacred Tree, Rainbow Cycle Dragon. This G-Guardian is crucial in enabling an endless stream of 6 attack turns. Generally the units you want to throw back in the deck are Gladiolus or Maiden of Trailing Rose. But it can change from game to game!
Last but not least is Flower Princess of Cherry, Kosterina. The most useful match up involving this card is going to be against Nubatama. When they dominate two of your units with their stride you can simply utilize the G-Guard to call over the other dominated unit to prevent the other attack! This is super useful once they hit GB3 and have that massive power bonus to Dominated units!
Neo Nectar is the best deck in Premium because of these five reasons: Consistency, Kill Potential, Grade 2 Game, Flexibility and Skill Floor, and G-Guardians. By having a hyper consistent game plan that never changes game to game, by being one of the few decks in Premium that can actually consistently kill on first stride, by having a stellar Grade 2 game (which you don't even need most of the time), by having a low skill floor and a high flexibility enabling you to adjust to every match up on the fly, and lastly by having fantastic G-Guardians that fully synergize with the deck, Neo Nectar rises to the top of the Premium format.
Why is it better than Gold Paladins? Because Neo Nectar doesn't forfeit about a percntage of it's games by not hitting Beumains nor does Neo Nectar lose another large percentage of it's games by not going first. I fully believe that Neo Nectar has a high win rate against Gold Paladins when GP goes first, and an insanely high win rate when GP goes second. Force Clan base power, along with the ability to punch back incredibly hard make it a terror to play against.
Finally, if I wanted to inject more variance into the large amount that exists already in Vanguard I'd just go play Hearthstone. I don't want to roll the dice when I play, I want to make sure I have the ability to win from start to finish. Neo Nectar gives you that.
And that is why Neo Nectar is the best deck in Premium.
ADDENDUM: Hey it's present day me again. No it's not BT06 yet so DI isn't relevant. Something important to note here is that now that the "gate-keepers" of Premium are gone it's going to be interesting to see what decks can squeeze their way into the meta-game now. Gredora, and Link Joker are both fringe decks that may see more play now. But in my heart of hearts I want Time Leap to be good. I know it won't. But just let me have my dream.