The Breakdown – Cardfight Vanguard – Granblue

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, deck, archetype, or card, then get on down to breaking down what makes it tick and how one should approach playing it.

This time, we’re going to cover the clan of Granblue, and the theme for this article is going to be “The Power of Selection”, so even for those that don’t play Granblue 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 clan over other clans?
2) What is the ideal set up from opening hand to final turn?
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 clan over other clans?

Granblue plays nearly identical to their previous incarnation: they drop cards from their deck, then revive whatever Units they want from their Drop Zone.  Retiring their Units is an exercise in futility as they’ll be able to bring them back anyways, and the ability to be both offensive and defensive with minimal investment is easy.

Granblue likes to position themselves to drop enough cards in their deck to meet their threshold of 10 cards, whether by guarding or using abilities to drop cards.  By the time they hit Grade 3, they’re ready to use their Drop Zone to revive whatever Units they need.  What all of this means is that Granblue is a consistent deck able to use whatever formation it needs for the situation, and is a field-based deck that isn’t hampered by most forms of disruption.

2) What is the ideal set up from opening hand to final turn?

Start by aiming to find your Perfect Ride.  Dandy Guy, Romario is your ideal Grade 1 ride, and Ruin Shade is your ideal Grade 2 ride.  Combine those together and without any investment you already have 4 cards in the Drop Zone.  Add in any cards you guard with and additional cards you drop with Commodore Blueblood and Norman the Ghostie and you can easily hit the 10 you need by the first or second turn of Grade 3.  From there, you have all you need to set up.  Strike back with high power from Dragon Undead, Skull Dragon and additional Critical from King of Demonic Seas, Basskirk, and just rinse and repeat.  Your attacks will wear down any opponent while you continue to get stronger, and it’s only a matter of time before they fall.

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

I’ve listed what would happen in an ideal game, but not every game will go like that.  If we open poorly, or if we don’t ride into Dandy Guy, Romario, it’ll be difficult to get to 10 in a timely manner.  Even if we get there, if we take too long decks with a strong defense can just continually guard us and either our offense will sputter or we will run out of triggers or deck before our opponent.  How do we balance this?

Well, for an opponent’s strong defense, the thing to do is to run Violence Franger.  By effectively getting a guaranteed hit by discarding a 0, 1, and 2, you now have a great place for your Critical Triggers to go on to end the game quickly.  This’ll let us punch through any defense.  As for getting to 10 cards in the Drop Zone, we need to have a lot of backup ways to drop cards from our deck.  Besides Dandy Guy, Romario and Evil Shade, running Painful Bullet, Nightgeweer and/or Norman the Ghostie helps to accelerate us to the magic number.  Also consider guarding a lot early to accelerate the Drop Zone.

4) Where are our good and bad matchups?

Granblue has a bad matchup against two types of decks.  The first are the decks that are able to field control without retiring, and the second are the decks that rush aggressively early with additional Critical.  If they have a weakened field and/or Units that can’t stand, then their attacks are much weaker and effectively count as retired Units without filling the Drop Zone, and either weakening the Granblue player’s offense or defense is a good thing for the opponent.  Alternatively, if they get hit hard early, their hand size won’t be able to quickly recuperate and even the Protect Gifts they get won’t stop them from dying to a rushdown.

Granblue has a good matchup against decks that play a generally vanilla game with one or two strong cards to help bolster their offense or defense, because Granblue does it faster and better, and has more consistency in setting up compared to almost every opponent that plays this way.  For instance, in the Kagero matchup, Kagero’s retires only fuel the Drop Zone and Granblue can just easily revive them, and while Violence Franger doesn’t get the extra Critical that Dragonic Waterfall does, its attacks are a lot harder to block.  It’s also possible to misride Dragonic Waterfall while in over 70% of games you will see Violence Franger in your Drop Zone or hand by Turn 4.

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

No submitted questions thus far.

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Bonus Feature!

Here’s the decklist I would play if I were take Granblue to a BCS Shop Challenge or a BCS Regionals.

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.

Clan: Granblue

Grade 0 (17):
1x Guiding Zombie (SV)
4x Gust Jinn (Draw) [Sentinel]
4x Knight Spirit (Critical)
4x Mortal Mimic (Critical)
4x Rick the Ghostie (Heal)

Grade 1 (13):
4x Dancing Cutlass
4x Dandy Guy, Romario
2x Evil Shade
3x Norman the Ghostie

Grade 2 (11):
3x Captain Nightmist
4x Commodore Blueblood
4x Ruin Shade

Grade 3 (9):
3x Dragon Undead, Skull Dragon [Protect Gift]
4x King of Demonic Seas, Basskirk [Protect Gift]
2x Violence Franger

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

Grade 0

Starting Vanguard
Chappie the Ghostie isn’t really a Starting Vanguard so Guiding Zombie is the way to go.

Critical Triggers
A standard offensive Trigger, helpful for finishing the game early.

Draw Triggers
Sentinels are doubly important in Granblue more than anything else.  For a Protect clan, they don’t garner that much card advantage in hand, so the additional Complete Guards that these give help to bolster their defense.

Heal Triggers
No real explanation needed here.  Pretty basic.

Other Alternatives
You can run more Draw Triggers if you want more cards in hand to guard with, as most of your card advantage will be field-based and as such won’t translate fully into guard power outside of Protect Markers.  If you face a lot of decks with cards that block Sentinels, then this may be the way to go instead, especially since Basskirk already grants you an extra Critical.

Grade 1

Dancing Cutlass
For the low downside of removing another copy from the Drop Zone and reducing your Drop Zone by 1, you get a call and a Counter Charge.  With the amount of reviving you want to do, this card is very important at increasing your options and making sure you get to revive what you want to.  On top of that, it’s the perfect power to help your Grade 3s hit proper numbers against Force Clans.  A great card.

Dandy Guy, Romario
The ideal Grade 1 ride.  While it is also great as a 12k booster when you have 10 cards in Drop Zone, the second ability is the main reason to ride it, since you not only get to fix your hand for defense but you also get to drop cards from the deck.

Evil Shade
One of the more important cards in the deck, Evil Shade is a repeatable source of field advantage as long as your Drop Zone is healthy.  In addition, since you want to be reviving Grade 3s with King of Demonic Seas, Basskirk for the power boost, Evil Shade is relegated to reviving Grade 1s, which is absolutely fine.

Norman the Ghostie
This is mainly to accelerate the Drop Zone when you need it, and/or to give power when you need it.  Having a backup deck drop option is not only good to have but required for consistency.

Other Alternatives
If you want to complement extra Draw Triggers for more guard in hand, consider using Injury Shade for the additional guard.

Grade 2

Captain Nightmist
Captain Nightmist is a consistency card, able to perform like Evil Shade in getting the lower Grades that King of Demonic Seas, Basskirk doesn’t want to revive, but later can also revive higher Grades as well.  It doesn’t reduce your Drop Zone like Evil Shade does, but it also doesn’t remove your Soul to replace cards in the Drop Zone like Basskirk does, so it’s kind of the middle ground.  Still a solid tertiary Grade 2.

Commodore Blueblood
As long as you have a copy of him in your Drop Zone, he’s a 13k attacker, which hits Force Clans’ Vanguards perfectly.  He’s also a pressure Unit early, as if he’s allowed to hit he can fill your Drop Zone with 2 more cards while adding to your hand.  Unlike other clans who have this filter effect on a Grade 1, having it on a Grade 2 is more value because you give up less guard for the Unit.  Overall a great role-filler and pressure column early.

Ruin Shade
Probably the most important Grade 2 in Granblue, Ruin Shade attacks for 13k if you’re willing to drop 2 cards from your deck, something you want to do anyways.  And even without that skill it’s a 13k attacker on Rearguard, which is perfect for tackling even Force Clans.  Watch your Trigger ratios once you hit 10 cards in drop, and only mill if you need the power and/or you need to mill to increase the chance of Triggers.

Other Alternatives
Skeleton Bomber is a very cheap and solid way to assemble a field, taking only one Counterblast to revive four Units at maximum potential.  Of course, getting all four into the Drop Zone can be a challenge, so you’ll want to drop cards from the deck at a faster rate than normal to help alleviate this.

Grade 3

Dragon Undead, Skull Dragon
A high-powered tool that rewards proper risk and reward management.  Riding into this is absolutely fine if you haven’t met your 10-card threshold because this also has Protect, and being able to just Soulblast it later when you ride King of Demonic Seas, Basskirk is still a viable play.  All you need to know is that the longer the game goes the more power this card has.  Just remember that this card can’t be normal called at all, which includes calling it to the Guardian Circle.  Discard it to a Sentinel if it gets stuck in your hand and you don’t want to ride it.

King of Demonic Seas, Basskirk
Your main Grade 3.  Unlike other main Grade 3s in other clans, you don’t have to ride into this right away, but you definitely want to get into it quickly so your attacks with an additional Critical can put pressure on opponents.  In addition, this is the main reviving skill you want to use, as it is the only one that Soulblasts and thus allows you to use your Soul to help replace the card you remove from the drop.  Overall a solid Vanguard.

Violence Franger
If this card has any booster, including Dancing Cutlass, and you discard a Grade 0, 1, and 2 to this card’s skill, you can make this card’s attack unblockable if your opponent doesn’t have 10k guard Grade 2s to intercept with.  If you give it power from Triggers, then you can afford to not discard a Grade 2 so you’re not investing heavily into an attack.  Regardless, this is your finisher.  The inability for an opponent to guard this card if you discard the right cards means that your opponent never wants to be at 5 damage because of this.  Adjust the power and cards you discard based on what happens, and just remember that you can revive this when you need it and you don’t need to play it from hand.

Other Alternatives
Witch Doctor of Decay, Negrobreach is a consistency card, allowing you to avoid misrides.  It isn’t as efficient as Basskirk for reviving, and it doesn’t gain the extra Critical, but as an emergency ride the power isn’t bad.

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Thank you for reading.

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

~thenightsshadow, cleaning up the messy deck…I mean desk.

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