Updated: Jun 21, 2019
Vision Tournament Report BSF Houston: Dominick Manalo
Writing and Editing by:
Dominick Manalo, China Ross and Chad Leiske
Hey everyone, it's Dominick Manalo. Vision took two teams out to BSF Houston and I piloted the newly updated EB-06 Kagero "The Great".
Vision Team A consisted of Rodney Chan, Ken Cheong, and yours truly. Our clan choices and our seating choices were based on discussions we had together in the prior weeks. When selecting decks and seating arrangements, our goal was to get the most out of each deck that we could!
The two clear picks from the get-go were: Bermuda Triangle “Melody” piloted by Rodney Chan and Kagero “The Great” piloted by me. The third pick is always a difficult decision, do you optimize your choice for the meta? Or have the player pick what they feel most comfortable with. In difficult to decide situations such as this, I always advocate for players to pick the deck they are most comfortable with as it will lead to more wins in the end! As such, Ken decided to go with Link Joker. Ken believes that both Kagero and Bermuda are soft to Link Joker, due to the targeted binding and column binding that the deck has. Ken opted for a Brandt Ringer/Deletor hybrid. The deck was built fully around controlling the opponent's decisions and making them second guess their plays. With deck selection out of the way, we now had to wrestle with seat arrangement. Our seats ended up looking like this: Seat A: Bermuda Triangle - Rodney Chan Seat B: Link Joker - Ken Cheong Seat C: Kagero - Dom “Armstrong” Manalo As a team we were confident in Rodney's ability to win the mirror and beat other meta decks that may appear in Seat A. Whereas I elected to play in Seat C. Generally, Seat C has a lot of the off-meta picks. I believe that due to Kagero's ultra-consistent play strategies that it could easily defeat any rogue deck present. Seat B would be headed up by Ken Cheong, utilizing his difficult to play around deck to dismantle both meta and off-meta decks.
Arrival in Houston
The biggest change from California to Houston? The humidity. It hit me hard. Despite that, everyone we met was incredibly polite. After dropping our stuff off at the Airbnb and finalizing the next day's plans we went out to Heroes Collectibles a local game store. We were excited to see that some folks recognized us and wanted to test their mettle against us!
For dinner we hit up a local joint called Ramen Bar Ichi. The service and food was fantastic, and I'd recommend it if you're traveling through the area. After returning to the Airbnb we practiced for a while and I organized my binders in preparation for not only the tournament but also trading the next day!
Tournament Day 1
The Westin was a fantastic venue for this event. One of the coolest things about the event is that BSF had an entire floor to itself! We arrived early, both so we could trade with the locals and get to know folks from around the area.
The recognition we received was out of this world! We really loved meeting everyone and talking with a bunch of new people! After writing our deck lists and getting a few more important trades in it was about time for the event to begin. With a total of 154 teams, BSF 2019 Standard Vanguard began!
Round 1 - Kagero (Win)
Both my opponent and I were on Kagero, but it was clear that the builds were markedly different. My opponent rode Lizard Soldier, Raopia which clued me in to the fact that he might not be playing a Overlord focused list. I took the precautionary steps of guarding early and getting ready to see Dragonic Waterfall. While I found my optimal first ride, and used Full-armored Buster to insure that I had a second Grade 3 ride, I was struggling to find a Neoflame to combo with. In the mirror, I stack Force markers on the RG in order to maximize my Neoflame restands. My opponent successfully rode a Dragonic Waterfall with a Grade 3 in soul and attacked in using a Dragonic Gaias to set the critical to three!
Even though I was at two damage, I had to take the attack! Fortunately for me, he revealed to Grade 1 units on his drive checks letting me stand and ride into The Great. This time, I had a Neoflame! I looked at my damage and had three open counterblasts. Knowing that, I engaged with my Neoflame first. He defended the attack, and then when I attacked with The Great, I used Neoflame’s skill to give it an extra crit. My opponent was at three damage and had to take the attack getting put to 5 in the process. Without seeing any defensive triggers my opponent was unable to weather the re-stand effect of The Great and I ended up securing the victory!
Round 2 - Murakumo (Win)
While Murakumo may no longer be a Tier 1 meta pick, it's still a very strong deck. In my opening had I had three Grade 2 units, and two Grade 1 units. Rather than risk a poor mulligan, I decided that I would go ahead and rush my opponent before he could stabilize for a Zanbaku lock. Due to the pressure I exerted in my Grade 1 and 2 turns my opponent had to commit a large number of cards from hand to prevent himself from being put to high damage. The Murakumo player played very conservatively, not calling very many rear guards in order to maximize a big Zanbaku turn. I rode Overlord, giving the Imaginary Gift: Force to my rearguards so they would be able to hit solid numbers. I declared my attack with Overlord, and my opponent did not have the guard to stop it.
My drive checks revealed a critical letting me re-stand with it for maximum effectiveness.
He was able to defend the next attack, but was left at 5 damage. He rode over with Zanabaku and locked me down, I was already prepared for this, and all his attacks were centered to my vanguard and completely ignored my two Neoflames on rearguards. With my damage still at 2 I took two attacks from the rearguards and guarded the Zanbaku attack. On the turn where I couldn't attack with my Vanguard, I focused my attacks on his Arrestors. By doing this, I was hoping that he wouldn't be able to lock me the following turn. Fortunately, that was the case and I was able to weather the storm and ride The Great to finish the match.
Round 3 - Nova Grapplers (Win)
I had play tested against the new Nova Grappler support in EB-06, so I was prepared once my opponent flipped over his starter. I focused many of my attacks on the rear, throttling my opponent's counterblast to prevent large re-standing plays. Despite already having a Great in hand, I was hesitant to first ride it. I used Full-armored Bustered's skill and did not find a Grade 3 in the top 7. My opponent also was having some difficulty however, as he rode Incise Raizer,
My opponent utilized Black Tortoise very effectively to get in pokes here and there. Often times I just had to let it hit in order to prevent further attacks later in the turn. Unfortunately I had to ride The Great first, so I opted to attack my opponent's rear guards to prevent him from being able to utilize the restanding effects of his units.
My opponent does not re-ride and overall has a very lackluster turn. Fortunately, it was looking better for me. I managed to draw another Great and re-rode placing my Force marker on the rear. Calling a Neoflame I began combat and attacked in giving The Great an extra critical. These attacks were all guarded very effectively, but left my opponent with a very thin hand.
Once again the Nova Grappler player wasn’t able to re-ride another grade 3 so he attacked normally with his four rearguards to apply some pressure. I didn't have the same level of guard in hand so I took early damage in order to fish for defensive triggers and guarded the rest. On my turn I re-rode The Great and took the game with his restanding ability.
Round 4 - Gold Paladin (Loss)
Winning the die roll in this match-up eased my worried for a short while. Having played against this deck before, I knew all about the superior riding and how to prevent dying to it. I guarded very early because I knew that Raven-Haired Ezel would be much too hard to guard later on.
My grade 3 ride I only had Overlord, so I decided to starve him out of damage since he was at two damage and they were both used. I called Full Armored Buster to retire his back row rearguard, but I should have retired the unit behind Raven. This ended up being a big mistake.
I began to attack his rearguards with Overlord, completely ignoring his vanguard so next turn I’d be able to manage against the guard restrict. My opponent still had a large number of units in hand however and called out a number of good ones including Howell. Using Howell and his Vanguard he was able to attack too many times for me to guard and I had to rely on hitting a defensive trigger. Unfortunately for me, I didn't manage to see one.
Round 5 - OTT (Win)
While Protect may be on the downswing, never discount the most powerful Protect clan Oracle Think Tank. Generally, OTT has a near impenetrable defense against Force clans, I was hopeful however that with the new EB-06 support I'd be able to punch through due to sheer number of attacks.
Nothing much happened during the early turns, my opponent focused on guarding early to limit his damage and kept a Promise Daughter out on the field. I attacked in with Overlord, and to my surprise my opponent did not guard. Unfortunately however, it didn't manage to do much and my opponent re-rode into Imperial Daughter and attacked full force.
The attacks caused me to be left with one card left in hand and it was Flame of Hope Aermo, this card was crucial in securing my victory. I top decked a regular Overlord and called him as a rear guard to create this board: The Great, two Force Markers on a Neoflame and a Dragonic Overlord with a boost from Aermo each of these attacks were some form of magic numbers and I utilized this to win.
My opening attack I used Neoflame to put him to four damage, I then attacked with The Great using Neoflame’s Crit gaining skill and put on maximum pressure, but he used his Gift Marker to defend the attack.
My drive check gave me another heal trigger, so I gave all effects to Neoflame and my second check was a draw so I gave it all to my vanguard. I paid the cost to re-stand and attacked with my Overlord to retire one of his rear guards which enabled me to counter-charge and draw a card. I then attacked using Neoflame’s additional critical skill with the newfound counterblast. With my opponent at 5 damage and two of my units hitting 23k and 40k it was a difficult split for guard.
While the Great was stopped with a Protect, my opponent could not stop a massive Neoflame and I secured victory!
Round 6 - Murakumo (Win)
With the prior practice I had earlier in the day, I was feeling very confident going into this match. I swung rear guards this time as my hand was a bit slower, and my opponent was very adamant about keeping his Jakotsu girl alive.
Unfortunately for him, he ended up having to ride Zangeki first. Without having to worry about the lock I went in to my Grade 3 turn ready to push him to higher damage. One concern I did have was Shirayuki, and her ability to reduce the power of my units by 10,000. Because of this I rode The Great for my Grade 3 turn, and gave my Force Marker to a rearguard. In this matchup, I had to give my Vanguard a booster in order to prevent Shirayuki from being able to negate the attack altogether.
Since I couldn’t use The Great’s skill I attacked, my opponent used Shirayuki to defend against it. What the opponent didn't calculate for was the 5000 additional power that Dragonic Neoflame provides to The Great, this caused him to have to over-guard
Realizing his time was limited, he played out his hand and attacked me. I was able to guard all of his attacks and was able to ride The Great. With Follower, Reas I was able to give Neoflame a 3000 power increase, making that column 33,000 unboosted!
My opponent happened to have another Shirayuki, but due to my Force marker placement he was still looking at several large attacks. While I didn't manage to check a critical to end the game, I did receive a heal. That enabled me to weather his attacks on the following turn. I re-rode The Great and secured victory!
Round 7 - Neo Nectar (Win)
My opponent unfortunately sat a Grade 1 for two turns. This meant that there wasn't much of a game to be had as I rode right into The Great and ended the game very quickly.
After seven grueling rounds of Cardfight! Vanguard, we managed to go 6-1 and placed 10th. While it's disappointing we didn't hit Top 8, I was overall happy with our record and was excited to get to explore Houston for the rest of the evening. Despite the humid weather, the trip to Houston was a blast. I was able to meet so many new people, trade a bunch and play a great seven rounds of Vanguard! While we may have finished 10th this year, keep an eye out for Team Vision players in Top 8s at BCS this Fall!