The Breakdown – EN Weiss Schwarz – Kancolle: Fleet in the Deep Sea

If you haven’t read the Introduction to the Breakdown, click here to check it out.  It provides the context for the full series and lets you know how to read these articles.  If you’ve read it already, then continue on!

This article is rated Experience Levels 3-6.  This article series is intended to cover a wide range of topics about particular sets, and will help players of all kinds when it comes to knowing their set or the set of an opponent.

Welcome to the Breakdown.  thenightsshadow here, and as we do each time on the Breakdown, we look at several questions about a series, then get on down to breaking down what makes the series tick and how one should approach playing it.

The set we’re going to cover in this article is Kantai: Fleet in the Deep Sea, which I’m going to refer to as Abyssals shorthand since the full title is kinda wordy, and the theme for this article is going to be “Expanding a Counter Broadly”, so even for those that don’t play Abyssals they can still get something out of this article.

As a reminder, here are the general questions we ask ourselves for each set.

1) Competitively, why should I play this set over other sets?
2) What is the ideal set up from Level 0 to Level 3?
3) How does our play look like versus an opponent?
4) Where are our good and bad matchups?

Once we answer these questions,  there will be questions about those questions, but we’ll cover those afterwards.

With that out of the way, let’s answer question 1.

1) Competitively, why should I play this set over other sets?

In most cases, the reasons we should play a set is what sets it apart from other sets.  The Abyssals come from Kantai Collection, and are the enemy ships that fight the Kantai Fleet Girls.  This obviously means that the Abyssals specialize in something that aims to destroy the set of Kantai Collection.  Kantai Collection’s specialty is Board Control, so it would only make sense if Abyssals were able to tear apart a deck’s Board Control.

And it does.  Oh boy, it does.  It doesn’t matter what an opponent fields, every single card they field is vulnerable to your disruption.  They can try and protect their cards, but even their protection won’t last long, and every card you remove is another card your opponent has to replace.  If they don’t have repeatable advantage every single turn they’re going to be in trouble, especially when you wipe 5 cards from their field each turn.

2) What is the ideal set up from Level 0 to Level 3?

Abusing the Abyssals’ disruption means that we have to play on a Level ground.  If we get too far ahead in damage we won’t be able to disrupt the cards that matter, but if we fall behind in damage the cards we remove will be mainly meaningless.  As such, we have to watch our damage and bring ourselves to our opponent.

At Level 0, it’s important to take away every possibility of them gaining advantage.  Clock Kick their on-reverse searches, Bottom-deck their runners, and fill their Stock with Climaxes.  In fact, you’ll use this opportunity to gain Board Control early by using oversize Characters to push for a stable board.  However, keep steady with your opponent in damage.  You don’t have to attack with every Character you put out there.

At Level 1, it’s time to punish that back row.  It’s rare to find a deck that plays two Level 1 characters to their back row, so only field as many Northern Princess in the Deep Sea as they have targets in their back row.  The goal is to remove as many Characters as possible, so aiming to defeat the front row is usually a poor idea.  (Exceptions include on-reverse effects that replace or filter.)  The rest should be filled with power cards that aim to remove an opponent’s Center Stage since their back row is gone.

At Level 2, prepare your two-fold assault.  If they field Level 2s and lower, stall them out with powerful Characters and continue to leverage your assault, but if they early play Level 3s remove them from the board and prevent any advantage they would gain by keeping them on the field.  Clock kicking is usually the way to go, but in a pinch you can also anti-change the Level 3s for a bit more stock.

Finally, at Level 3, you’ve depleted your opponent, and they’re battered and bruised.  Continue to wear out their resources and they will be unable to muster an offense long enough to outlast you.  Finishing them at this point is trivial.

3) How does our play look like versus an opponent?

I’ve described what the ideal scenarios are in a close game at each level, but not every game will be like that.  Damage swings are very problematic, and if you’re not careful you may be in an unfavorable position from the get go.  It’s important to take stock of the situation early and adapt to the opponent’s moves.  If we can play Reactive while utilizing our best Disruption deck, then we’ll be performing at our best.

Playing Reactive means adapting our moves to our opponent’s moves.  We care about what they do, why they do it, and how they do it.  While we take care of their board position, there’s not much we can do about the cards in their hand, so we have to pre-empt their future moves with ours, since there won’t be enough time to adapt if the threat is already on board.  This means we have to know our opponent’s set, what exactly it does, and what kind of deck we can expect just out of the first few cards.

However, should we get all of that aligned, a Disruption deck contains every single tool necessary to throw off an opponent.  Instead of letting our play do the countering, we let our cards do it for us, so as long as we get the proper cards we can interrupt our opponent’s game plan time and time again.  And hey, it’s a little bonus if our opponent gets frustrated and starts playing poorly because of it, right?

4) Where are our good and bad matchups?

Our first bad matchup are decks that can survive multiple rounds of disruption through sheer advantage.  Whether a player gets lucky in hitting enough on Brainstorms to continue playing cards or just has an insane advantage engine that allows them to continually churn out power cards, that kind of deck usually spells the end for us if we’re unable to match their power level.

Our second bad matchup involves decks immune to the disruption at some point in the game.  If a deck has a full Level 1 backrow, for instance, our disruption does nothing at Level 1.  If we aren’t able to disrupt, they can stabilize or prepare for upcoming disruption.

Our first good matchup is against the traditional GBy Kantai Collection.  By disrupting their Level 0 field, weakening their Level 1 field, and then punishing their Level 2 plays, we effectively give them a very small window to accumulate their end game.  Our ideal field also gives us ample power to avoid Akagi-class Aircraft Carrier, Akagi-Kai clock kicking our cards too.

Our second good matchup are against decks with weak or low amounts of accumulated advantage.  Disrupting them is even more of a threat because all they have left is damage, and when we compress the advantage falls in our court.  As long as we recognize to compress against those sets/decks, then we’ll be fine more often than not.

===

Let’s now get into the next wave of questions.  These are questions we ask that involve card and style choices.

1) How do we take advantage of Northern Princess in the Deep Sea‘s ability to add Level 0s to hand from the top of the deck?  By adding those Level 0s in our hand, it seems hard to follow up once our Northern Princess falls.

The main way to do this is to look at the Level 0s in your deck and ask which of them you would be happy to get after Level 0.  The main ones are likely to be Wo-class Aircraft Carrier (especially if you don’t have one yet), Anchorage Ogre in the Deep Sea, Southern Battle Princess in the Deep Sea, and Ri-class Heavy Cruiser.  As such, it’s best to build a deck with those four cards in mind, and while they may not all synergize (the first three are backrow cards, after all), you should try to run a good amount so that the Level 0s you obtain can be useful.

2) If we’re not playing against Kantai Collection, is there a point to our field removal?  Will it work against other decks?

Definitely.  Here’s a few examples.

– A good number of Attack on Titan decks mistakenly rely on “Beyond the Walls” Eren to be the card to propel “Awkward Affection” Mikasa to the power she needs to be to help provide the costless offense and defense needed at Level 1, since this is possible at 1/0.  Snipe out the Erens and Mikasa becomes really weak, and even if she survives she can’t restand.

– A lot of Madoka decks rely on Kyoko Shares an Apple and Second-year of Mitakihara Middle School, Sayaka as their main Level 1 game, utilizing a two-wave style of play where they play Sayaka first, then when she’s defeated they play Kyoko Shares an Apple to retrieve Sayaka and attack with Sayaka once again, this time with a higher power.  Once the Kyokos show up, snipe them with Northern Princess and Sayakas go back to the weak power level they start with, making them easy fodder.

– The <Master> deck and Rin/Archer deck in Fate/ (series) both utilize cards that give Clock Encore to effectively all other Characters.  If you remove it, you force them to replace their field.  You have say over whether you give them the option to take damage or remove it from them altogether.  This gives you tremendous control over the game.

3) You don’t seem to play Final Mode, Light Cruiser Ogre in the Deep Sea, or really talk about it much.  Why is that?

I’m not really a fan.  There’s a bunch that this card does well, but it clashes a lot with the cards around it.  However, it won’t be fair to just talk about it without talking about Light Cruiser Ogre in the Deep Sea too, since effectively they’re a package that works well together.

First, let’s cover the Level 0.

Light Cruiser Ogre in the Deep Sea is an interesting card, to be sure.  You can force an opponent to never get their on-reverse combo off by sacrificing it on a Front Attack, regardless of if you have the change target or not.  There is the small issue that if you mill a Climax on play it goes straight to your stock, which is compounded a bit because a loss of a Character draws away from our ability to hamper our opponent, but it doesn’t happen that often so it’s generally fine.

It’s mainly the Level 1 I have a problem with.

Final Mode, Light Cruiser Ogre in the Deep Sea has a few things going for it, but it needs to be highlighted.  Its maximum power is 7000 for a full field at base, which is just 500 over Port Princess in the Deep Sea, a card I actually do use.  What downside does this come with?  The inability to encore any of my characters when defeated.

Normally, I’m happy to see opponents use Reversers against my field, guaranteeing a Reverse and an open slot.  But if we’re not dealing with that, we have to ask ourselves what does the extra 500 get over that the 6500 of Port Princess doesn’t?  Only Kantai Collection has a field strong enough with a strong enough counter that warrants using Final Light Cruiser Ogre over Port Princess, but you’re likely to remove at least one of their back row anyways, making the point moot.  The only time Final Light Cruiser Ogre is clearly better field-wise is if Resupply Vessel, Taigei has a full field behind her, as well as two of them being global power supports, AND you used both Armored Aircraft Carrier Ogre in the Deep Sea and a Climax to get strong enough to avoid the counter by 500.  Is that worth it?  Port Princess’ power is sufficient without the significant drawback, and the only time you want to play a powerful character at 1/0 is if you’re second to hit Level 1 and they played their field already.  You can still achieve the power you need with Armored Aircraft Carrier Ogre in the Deep Sea anyways.

Now, add on to the fact that if I get rushed, I need to rely on Aircraft Carrier Princess in the Deep Sea‘s Pay 1 Encore in case I get hit to Level 3 early.  If I have Final Light Cruiser Ogre it’s inevitable I’m going to have a scenario where I either have to get rid of one of my back row or play it and hope the anti-encore doesn’t bite me.  I’d rather that not have the potential to even happen when I’m already fighting from behind.

===

Bonus Feature!

Here’s the decklist I would play if I were take Abyssals to a BCS Shop Challenge or a BCS Regionals.  Here’s a link to the decklist on WSDecks as well so you can do your own testing or build your own off of it.

Warning: All decks I post fit the way I play and where I play, and may not be the same for your playstyle and locale.

Level 0 (15):
3x Wo-class Aircraft Carrier
3x Anchorage Ogre in the Deep Sea
3x Ka-class Submarine
3x Ri-class Heavy Cruiser
3x Christmas, Northern Princess in the Deep Sea

Level 1 (12):
4x Northern Princess in the Deep Sea
3x Armored Aircraft Carrier Ogre in the Deep Sea
2x Port Princess in the Deep Sea
3x Southern Ogre in the Deep Sea

Level 2 (10):
1x Port Hydro Ogre in the Deep Sea
3x Aircraft Carrier Princess in the Deep Sea
2x Seaplane Carrier Princess in the Deep Sea
4x Battleship Princess in the Deep Sea

Level 3 (5):
3x Final Mode, Northern Princess in the Deep Sea
2x Battleship Hydro Ogre in the Deep Sea

Climax (8):
4x Sink!
4x Please sink!

===

Let’s explain how this deck works, and what you can do to tailor it to your specific playstyle.

Level 0

There’s really only one key Level 0 you absolutely need: Wo-class Aircraft Carrier.  Early on, she will be key in adjusting your damage and finding the cards you want early.  To start, field any Level 0s for stock, and if you can, punish their field.  Ka-class Submarine sinks lone costless cards in the front row, so use it on a key Level 0 or a 1/0 that got into play early.  We want to stay within range of our opponent, but if there needs to be a huge damage leap, it’s better for us to hit our opponents to Level 1 first.  One word of note: try to save Ri-class Heavy Cruiser for later on, but if you need to search out Northern Princess in the Deep Sea or another key Level 1 then go for it.  It’s just that it’s usually better to have Wo-class Aircraft Carrier do it at Level 0.

Southern Battle Princess in the Deep Sea is a potential option for the discard-based board presence decks, though most tend to stick with Anchorage Ogre in the Deep Sea for their secondary Level 0 backrow.  If you end up using Southern Battle Princess, then consider Ho-class Light Cruiser for breaking walls if you accidentally hit your opponent to Level 1 early.

If you can’t find enough Christmas, Northern Princess in the Deep Sea, there’s a Fleet Girl that fulfills much of the same role in 10th Ayanami-class Destroyer, Ushio-kai.  Same power, color, and abilities.  The main thing to remember is that this is not a <Fleet in the Deep Sea>, so you can’t search for her, and if you Level with her you prevent Final Mode, Northern Princess in the Deep Sea from getting her 1500 power bonus.  Remember those two main things, because otherwise she’ll achieve what Christmas, Northern Princess in the Deep Sea does.

Level 1

It’s time for Northern Princess in the Deep Sea to do her job.  Field only as many as you need to, then pull of the combo to sink the backrow Level 0s.  In many cases, this now leaves the front row vulnerable.  Port Princess in the Deep Sea is a very serviceable Level 1 for defeating foes, and Armored Aircraft Carrier Ogre in the Deep Sea gives you just enough power to avoid or force counters.  At some point, you’ll want to move Wo-class Aircraft Carrier to the front row and replace her in the back row with Southern Ogre in the Deep Sea, giving you a reusable discard outlet in case you get too many Climaxes in hand.

Discard-based board presence decks can now utilize Anchorage Princess in the Deep Sea as their main Level 1, utilizing Southern Ogre in the Deep Sea‘s discard outlet to discard Characters on offense and Nu-class Light Aircraft Carrier‘s backup effect on defense to establish board presence and block decks from obtaining advantage by staying on board or blocking on-reverse advantage engines.

Alternatively, a non-discard variant of a board presence deck can utilize a small contingent of Midway Princess in the Deep Sea to not only topcheck and provide power, but also to change into Final Mode, Midway Princess in the Deep Sea so that decks that like to wipe your field will find themselves facing a powerful Level 2 that can help discard Green Climaxes when defeated.

Level 2

Level 2 has arrived, but you’re not done messing with your opponent.  Aircraft Carrier Princess in the Deep Sea handles all of your opponent’s early plays in their front row as long as they have at least one card in Clock, and if they played a Level 3 to their backrow you can still mess with it by using Port Hydro Ogre in the Deep Sea to remove it.  If you’ve done a good job denying them so they can’t play early Level 3s, or if their set can’t do it anyways, continue disrupting their backrow, either with Northern Princess in the Deep Sea or Battleship Princess in the Deep Sea.  Between these four, they can handle every single card that isn’t immune to being targeted.  As long as you’ve been focused on reversing cards and obtaining advantage each turn, you should have enough cards in hand to pull off whatever you need to while still preparing for Level 3.

Anchorage Hydro Ogre in the Deep Sea is a plausible Level 1 or 2 play, though usually the bulk of the play she sees in the discard decks is at Level 2 to help solidify the defense and help prevent an opponent from dealing damage from Side Attacking if they’re trying to avoid Port Hydro Ogre in the Deep Sea killing their early play.  Regardless, at some point you’ll have to replace your back row.  Generally, Airfield Princess in the Deep Sea is the go-to card since the extra 500 power to two lanes is more appreciated.

If you’re playing Final Mode, Midway Princess in the Deep Sea, then it’s better to use very few other Level 2s other than your back row, and just stick to fielding Level 1s, especially Armored Aircraft Carrier Ogre in the Deep Sea just to be able to reverse them and have a weak field to continue having a powerful Character.

Level 3

You don’t need much stock for Level 3.  If you’ve been doing a good job dealing with your opponent’s board, then you shouldn’t have much trouble with stock or hand size.  But even if you have trouble with one or the other, you normally only need to field 1 Level 3 at a time, since the most important part is to continue disrupting until they have nothing left.  Stubborn cards can be dealt with utilizing Final Mode, Northern Princess in the Deep Sea to clock kick it with a power boost from Armored Aircraft Carrier Ogre in the Deep Sea, but everything else you’ve already dealt with can be handled with Northern Princess in the Deep Sea or Battleship Princess in the Deep Sea.

A word of warning: Air Defense Princess in the Deep Sea is NOT a good card.  Not only does it take up a Climax combo slot, but unless you do some crazy power shenanigans it’s really only effective in the middle position, and as a Restander Climax Combo it’s very easy to play around this.  It limits the kinds of plays that make Abyssals strong by requiring field setup, power, and the Climax in hand only to get an additional attack in.

===

Thank you for reading up on the ships in Kantai Collection that aren’t generic looking.

If you have any questions, hit up the comments and I’ll be glad to respond.

~thenightsshadow, personally scared of the Abyssals in a Weiss match

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Errata: (Last Updated: July 20)

There is no Errata for Abyssals cards.

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2 thoughts on “The Breakdown – EN Weiss Schwarz – Kancolle: Fleet in the Deep Sea”

    1. Sure. I think it’s important enough, so I’ll add it in as a third question. Give me a few hours and it’ll be up.

      Like

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