Protectors of the nation United Sanctuary, the Royal Paladin clan are an order of guardian knights. Royal Paladins play on the Arthurian legend theme. The manga refers to them as "Holy Knights of Light". Royal Paladins are a Force Gift clan. They are easy to learn, and offer a player a gateway into more complex concepts in Vanguard. They are also the signature clan of Sendou Aichi, the anime's main character!
V-Era Royal Paladins is a fair, balanced and well rounded clan in the Standard V Format. They have a strong early to mid-game tempo push, but begin to fall off in the late game.
Their main game plan revolves around the card "Blaster Blade". He is the heart and soul of the deck. Royal Paladin's main goal is to set up a strong grade 2 turn with Blaster Blade as your Vanguard surrounded by strong units.
This card puts immense pressure on your opponent in the early stages of the game and if they do not have the resources in hand to combat it, they are forced to play from behind from the remainder of the game.
Promotes resource management
Incredibly strong Grade 2 game
Increased consistency with Monarch Sanctuary Alfred
Multi-attacking Force clan.
Weakness to Protect clans
Over reliance on Blaster Blade
Royal Paladin has one of the most punishing early games in Standard. If executed correctly, you can set your opponent behind early or put them on the back burner for the rest of the game. When you mulligan, look for aggressive cards for you to play in the early game. Always dig for Blaster Blade but make sure to keep any copies of Kay and Bedivere (especially in tandem), and Allen or Marron.
If you open up with any Grade 3 not named Solitary Knight, Gancelot, send it back for a mulligan. The same goes for Exculpate the Blaster, as he is only good late game. The ideal hand is having Blaster Blade and ways to reach the 4 card minimum to have his extra critical effect active without having to call triggers or sub-optimal units.
Treat every counterblast as “Draw 1 card.” Every counterblast open should either net you a card to the field for free or a draw. Avoid using Blaster Blade’s counterblast 1 skill to retire as this is not an efficient way to use counterblast in Royal Paladins. Make sure to always have a grade 1 behind Blaster Blade during your grade 2 turn when he has his extra critical active. This makes it so that if your opponent drops a 15k shield, you can still pass it with 1 trigger check. If they do not guard, you're in a very strong position.
Now they will be behind for the rest of the game while your units only get stronger in power. NOTE: Make sure to attack with Blaster Blade first to avoid your opponent getting a defensive trigger and making the +Crit more easily to guard. Rule of thumb whenever you hit a trigger, always give power to your weakest column first.
During your grade two turn, the magic number is 20k. It doesn’t matter if your opponent is on grade 1 or 2, 20k will always be the magic number. Why is 20k a magic number? It’s the amount your columns need to be to still hit after 1 defensive trigger. Grade 1’s have 8k power and Grade 2’s have either 9/10k power. 1 defensive trigger puts those numbers at 18k or 19/20k. Meaning your columns will still hit if they hit 1 defensive trigger. What cards hit for magic numbers? Belvidere and Kay together in 1 column is a 24k column. Also, having Knight of Truth, Gordon is extremely powerful because it gives all Blaster Blade units +5k power and it can boost any Blaster Blade in the same column, making a 25k column.
If you have the counterblast available, Allen and Marron both help hit those magic numbers as well. Making these magic numbers during your Blaster Blade turn could be the difference between winning and losing so make sure to plan accordingly!
Whether your first Grade 3 ride is Solitary Knight, Gancelot or Monarch Sanctuary Alfred, the ideal placement for your first Force Marker would be on a Rearguard Circle. The logic behind this is to help hit those 27k/28k “magic numbers.” Alfred can gain power by himself as long as Blaster Blade is live and Gancelot makes the column without Blaster Blade more deadly. If you have two Blaster Blades and you are riding Gancelot, putting a force marker underneath your vanguard is a good idea since Gancelot will always give Blaster Blade 10k power.
By putting the Force Marker on a Rearguard Circle, it forces more cards out of your opponent’s hand and or they are more likely to take that damage.
Once you ride Exculpate the Blaster however, the most optimal Force Marker placement would be on Vanguard Circle. Exculpate the Blaster does not gain power by itself and making it a 24k column is very important for forcing your opponent to guard with more cards from hand.
This also gives an important 10k boost to for Blaster Blade after the Exculpate attack. Blaster Blade will be hitting minimum 28k with any Grade 1 booster. This is significant as both attacks will be hitting “magic numbers” without the need of any triggers.
At this point in the game you have ideally gotten off a strong Blaster Blade turn and are now about to ride your first grade 3. Your opponent should also be at around 2-3 damage from that turn. Your ideal first ride is Solitary Knight, Gancelot. He puts the most pressure on the board out of all the other grade 3 options. He accomplishes two very important things: 1) He allows for Blaster Blade to gain a drive check on your turn, as it turns its rear guard circle into a vanguard circle on your turn, and 2) He helps make “magic number” columns without using resources from hand.
Your goal for the mid game should be to put your opponent to at least 4 damage. 5 would be optimal. If you cannot put them at 5, do not fret, as you may have forced your opponent to use valuable shield numbers and or perfect guards, which helps you out for your next turn.
If you run Exculpate the Blaster, your deck should be focused more around deck thinning. By deck thinning with cards such as King of Knights, Alfred and Knight of Friendship, Kay your chances of finding or drawing an Exculpate the Blaster increase. If you have not accomplished both of these things, you are still considered to be in the mid game and cannot proceed to the deck’s endgame strategy with this card.
Once you have accomplished the goals of the mid game, you can now proceed and execute your end game strategy. Royal Paladin’s endgame is revolved around pressuring with Gancelot and gaining 3 really powerful attacks, while getting around 3-4 drive checks per turn. The sheer power of swinging at a minimum of 28k power without Force markers and constant critical pressure from having a Blaster Blade on the field with a drive check, is extremely threatening. In addition, if you have 2 Blaster Blades on the field, you get 4 drive checks, but you lose the critical pressure, but gain pressure from potential triggers. If you run Exculpate the Blaster, your goal is getting off 4 effective attacks. With Exculpate the Blaster, you’re able to get 4 attacks all with “magic numbers” due to the additional Force Markers. If you haven’t already, stack the Force Marker from Exculpate the Blaster on the Vanguard Circle. You want to be able to force at least two cards out of your opponent’s hand for each Vanguard and Rearguard circle attack. Assuming you have a full field that all hits over 27 or 28k your attack pattern should be as follows:
Attack 1: 24k from Exculpate unboosted (Force Marker + Exculpate 14k base)
Attack 2: 28k minimum from Blaster Blade boosted by at least a 8k booster w/ Crit+ pressure
Attack 3: Lowest attacking Rearguard columnAttack 4: Highest attacking Rearguard column
Any triggers revealed off Exculpate and Blaster Blade should be distributed to your Rearguard columns. If playing against a non-Protect clan, giving the first power boost to your Vanguard booster is a fine strategy as well assuming your opponent doesn’t have another Perfect Guard as now the Blaster Blade will be hitting for 38k w/ extra critical.
If the game has not ended at this point, this is the stage of the game where Monarch Sanctuary Alfred is most effective. You have most likely depleted your opponent’s resources and the power gain to both Monarch Sanctuary Alfred and Blaster Blade along with the extra critical pressure it applies, should be more than enough to end the game on your following turn.