So you're new to the game, and you need help building a deck? Well in this post, I'll try my best to demonstrate my methods of deckbuilding (remember, deckbuilding is completely based on preference, so take all of this with a grain of salt, but this is how I personally build decks, and I hear I'm good at it).
Without further ado, let's begin. To start, there are a few rules your deck must follow:
- A deck consists of exactly 50 cards. No more, no less.
- A deck must have exactly 16 trigger units. No more, no less.
- You may have up to four cards of the same name in your deck, no more.
- You may only play up to four trigger units with "Heal" in the deck.
- You may only play up to four units with "Sentinel" in the deck.
With those rules in mind, we can begin.
Step One: Choosing Your Clan, Focus, and Winning Image
Choosing your clan is important. It's the start of your journey into vanguard. Keep in mind, just because you start with a clan doesn't mean that that clan is what you're stuck with. Still, finding a good starting point is nice. I personally recommend you choose a clan with artwork you like (I only build decks with good artwork, even today). Remember, in competitive CFV, you can win with anything, if you know what you're playing, what you're playing against, and how to play against it. So there is no pressure, don't be worried that your favored clan is underpowered or can't win. Anywho, for the sake of this guide, I'll choose the first clan that ever wowed me (well second, but that's a long story). I will choose to use a clan from the United Sanctuary called Angel Feather here.
Second, you'll want to pick your deck's focus. What is a focus? A focus is to say whether or not you want your deck to be inherently defensive, offensive, or balanced. Since Angel Feathers have a lot of options, we'll just go for balanced here (more often than not, this is the option that should be picked, but there are times when you just really want to be on the agressive, or you could be the type to like using your defense to your advantage).
Third, we want to choose what is called a "Winning Image." Which is to say, the card you're going to build your deck around. For most intensive purposes, Grade 3's are often chosen for this job, however, you can easily build around Grade 2's like Blaster Blade or Peek-a-boo. You should choose your Winning Image based on the clan and focus that you chose. I chose to run a balanced Angel Feather deck, so for my Winning Image, I'll choose to use Chief Nurse, Shamsiel.
Step Two: Grades
As I'm sure you know, there are units of Grade 0, 1, 2, and 3. As you're only allowed one partial mulligan at the start of the game, you need to have a balance of units of certain grades. You want to have more Grade 1's than 2, more 2 than 3. For my decks, I usually use 17 Grade 0's, 15 Grade 1's, 10 Grade 2's and 8 Grade 3's. This isn't dogmatic, I just personally use it as a rule of thumb. The reason I chose these numbers is because I like the probablity. From grade to grade, the probability of getting my ride is as follows:
Grade 1: 90.38%
- Grade 2: 86.35%
- Grade 3: 86.35%
So I happen to like those odds. It's good for a strong G1, a solid G2, and a consistent G3 ride chance. Obviously, you can tweak these numbers a bit and solidify certain parts of your game. Some decks like Aqua Force like having great turn one rushes, so the sacrifice a G3 for another G1. It's important to test your deck so you can find whether or not you like the numbers of cards of each grade you have.
Step Three: Synergy
Alright, you have your Clan, Focus, Winning Image, and an understanding of the percentages involved with your grade line-up. So why don't we just build a freaking deck already, hm?
We have Shamsiel already, so that's 4/50 so far. Considering we'll have 16 triggers, that's 20/50, but we'll figure our triggers out last. First, why don't we start with our G1 line-up?
First, we'll start by adding four Pure Keeper, Requiel. It's the clan's perfect shield, and in today's metagame of hard hitting, astronomical numbers, it's indispensable, especially once we see Break Rides. Since we've chosen to balance it out, let's put an inherently powerful card in. Let's add in four Burst Shot, Bethnael. It helps us hit numbers later in the game, and it's defensive for the fact that it's an 8k G1. That's enough of the generics though, it's time to get some effects on up in here! As we know, Shamsiel performs a damage swap when she attacks, so let's try four Thousand Ray Pegasus. It's an invaluable G1 7k, and it gets power +2000 every time a card is put into your damage, including when the opponent hits you. He's incredibly synergetic with the deck, and he's your G1 star. Let's add in two Battle Cupid, Nociel to support him, as well as Shamsiel. What she does is when she's called to the Guardian Circle, she can perform a free damage swap, which means she can give Thousand and Shamsham power +2000 for the rest of the turn, and she can be used to get you your next grade even if you were otherwise stuck. Finally, let's add one Clutch Rifle Angel. Whenever you have equal or greater damage than the opponent, he can boost the Vanguard for 10000. His condition is incredibly easy to meet, and even if you don't, Shamsiel will hit 18000 with him, which is good enough against Crossrides.
So with that, we now have 35/50 cards in our deck. We have a basic idea of what we're building, which is to say, a deck that is both strong on the offensive, and strong on the defensive. With that, we can build towards our Grade 2 Line-up. To start us off, we'll add four Gatling Shot, Barbiel. He's a generic 10k, which is good. Because of his extra 10000, he can guard with less than average at G2. Second, we'll add something for our deck's theme, which is powering up when taking damage. Let's add four Million Ray Pegasus. He's the G2 9k equivalent of Thousand Ray. Because of this, we get even more synergy with Shammy and Nociel. Our deck doesn't have much counterblast usage, or an advantage engine, so lets add three Core Memory, Armaros. She lets us counterblast two to draw a card when her attack hits, and you can use Shamwow to But wait, that puts us to eleven G2's. That's okay though, we'll make up for our extra G2 by removing one of our G3's. We can do that because we have Nociel to rescue a damage checked G3. So now we have 46/50 cards.
The grade three lineup is simple, we'll just add in 3 The Phoenix, Calamity Flame. It's a G3 equivalent of the Pegasus series. With Shamu, she's getting consistent power, which is nice.
With that, we have 49/50. Now we need to get our Grade 0's figured out. First, we need to choose a starting vanguard for the deck. As we've seen, we have a lot of cards that power up when we have cards enter the damage zone. We also lowered the amount of grade threes in the deck to make room for Armaros. So ideally, we want a G0 that can put cards into the damage, and increase the consistency of our G3 ride. Magically, we have that in the form of Hope Child, Turiel. She has Forerunner, which is almost always something you want on a Starting Vanguard (some exceptions include Little Witch, LuLu and Blaujunger). So now we have 50/50 cards, but we need our trigger line-up.
To start, we should add in four Sunny Smile Angel. Heals are the best trigger in the game, and Sunny Smile Angel is the best Heal trigger in the game. So now we have our four heals for the deck. We can't have any more that that (well to be fair, Angel Feathers only have SSA for Heals right now anyway). So we now have one set of defensive triggers, so lets add a set of offensive triggers. We can choose between stand triggers or critical triggers for the deck. Shimsham wants to be the first attack of the turn to spread power around to the Pegasi and The Phoenix, so stand triggers don't agree with the deck's focus. So let's add in four Critical Hit Angel. She's a strong critical trigger that has the effect to put herself into the soul to give a unit power +3000 until the end of the turn. That helps hit numbers on otherwise lame columns. So we have four defensive triggers, and one offensive trigger. Let's add another defensive trigger. This time, we'll add four Fever Therapy Nurse. She's a draw trigger that can be turned face down in the damage to give your vanguard power +3000. This is fantastic because Shampoo can unflip her every single turn. The draw also helps with Angel Feather's lack of advantage engines, so it's pretty much the go-to trigger for the deck (also best draw trigger in the game, hurr durr). Finally, we'll finish the balance with another critical. You can choose you preference of Rocket Dash Unicorn or Rampage Cart Angel. I prefer Rampage since he's Kamina.
So if we put it all together, our deck list is this:
|Hope Child, Turiel||x1||SVG|
|Sunny Smile Angel||x4||Heal|
|Fever Therapy Nurse||x4||Draw|
|Critical Hit Angel||x4||Critical|
|Rampage Cart Angel||x4||Critical|
|Pure Keeper, Requiel||x4|
|Burst Shot Bethnael||x4|
|Thousand Ray Pegasus||x4|
|Battle Cupid, Nociel||x2|
|Clutch Rifle Angel||x1|
|Gatling Shot, Barbiel||x4|
|Million Ray Pegasus||x4|
|Core Memory, Armaros||x3|
|Chief Nurse, Shamsiel||x4|
|The Phoenix, Calamity Flame||x3|
So there we have it, a custom built deck. The idea I use when building (as I hope you saw) was to add in cards that support the focus and winning image, and then support it with high numbers. So remember, when you're building your deck, you want cards that support the theme, but you want cards with good base numbers as well. It's more important to have cards supporting your theme than to have all of your generics, but you can usually get away with it in most decks. When building your deck, you have to ask yourself if a card is worth playing, and the way you answer is with a further question: "does it help the theme," and "do I have space for it otherwise?"
Well, I hope this guide helps, please, if you have any further questions, please comment, and tell me what I should write about in my next blog post. Please, if you like what you see, follow along, I'll try and put out a post every other day or so!