Cardfight!! Vanguard G: Analyzing ARG Circuit Series Providence

Greetings cardfighters! So another ARG tournament is in the books and this week we're going to take a peek at it! For those who are not in the know, this last weekend's ARGCS event was in Providence, Rhode Island. Unfortunately I was not provided with the clan breakdown so I do not have a pie chart for you all, but I do have the top 8 and it's quite interesting. Let's take a look.

The top 8 for the event is as follows: 3 Kagero, 1 Royal Paladin (Sanctuary Guard), 1 Revenger, 1 Narukami (Sweep Command), 1 Aqua Force, 1 Dark Irregular

1st - Bart Andreoli (Kagero/The X)

2nd - Bailey Haapanen (Kagero/The X)

3rd/4th split - Emily Hulick (Kagero/The X) and Edward Webber (Royal Paladin/Sanctuary Guard)

5th-8th (in no particular order) -

Bruce Antone (Aqua Force)

Riley Haapanen (Narukami/Sweep Command)

Kreshna Hadinoto (Dark Irregular)

Anthony Webber (Shadow Paladin/Revenger)

Now I know what many of you are thinking. How is a top 8 spread full of Kagero exciting? The interesting part is comparing it to last weekend's event in Charlotte. In contrast to the top 8 spread found HEREthe top 8 makeup this time has changed quite a bit, yet has many interesting similarities. The most noticeable one for me is the Dark Irregular clan gaining a spot in the top 8 twice in a row! Prior to G-BT03 Sovereign Star Dragon, Dark Irregulars have stood at the periphery of cardfighting. They never had enough tools to be a solid enough contender in the competitive scene. Obviously the Sovereign Star Dragon support has proven this clan as a legitimate contender seeing as it topped twice!

The other similarity that caught my attention is how Kagero and Shadow Paladin appear to mirror each other. In Charlotte, Shadow Paladin gained three spots in the top 8, and Kagero gained one. As we can see here, it flip-flopped and we have three Kagero in the top 8 and just one from Shadow Paladin. In addition, the final match was a Kagero mirror match! Many players before have discussed Kagero falling off a bit due to the takeoff of the Revenger meta, but the clan is as resilient as ever and is still performing very well. How about we take a look at the top 2's decklists?

Bart Andreoli - Kagero

Grade 0: 17

Starting Vanguard: Red Pulse Dracokid

7x Critical Trigger

5x Draw Trigger (4 Gatling Claw Dragon, 1 Seal Dragon Artpique)

4x Heal Trigger

Grade 1: 14

4x Seal Dragon Rinocross (Perfect Guard)

4x Calamity Tower Wyvern

3x Dragon Monk, Gojo

3x Lava Flow Dragon (Stride Enabler)

Grade 2: 11

4x Burning Horn Dragon

4x Dragonic Burnout

3x Perdition Dragon, Dragonic Neoflame

Grade 3: 8

4x Dragonic Overlord "the X"

3x Dragonic Overlord the End

1x Perdition Emperor Dragon, Dragonic Overlord the Great

Grade 4: 8

4x Flame Emperor Dragon King, Root Flare Dragon

2x Supreme Heavenly Emperor Dragon, Dragonic Overlord "the Ace"

2x Divine Dragon Knight, Mustafa

His full deck profile can be found HEREHe stated a change he would like to do after the event would be to go with the 6-6 critical/draw line-up. Draw triggers are strong for this deck because an early check really helps to achieve legion without giving up too much hand while also giving you potential chances to snowball. He played the regular Perfect Guard instead of the G ones because he was afraid of Dimension Police and the mirror. He stated the third copy of Lava Flow Dragon was more valuable than the ninth Grade 3 because he did not want to drive check too many Grade 3s in a Shadow Paladin meta, which would be a death sentence. Other then that, he said his deck performed great and there is not much else he would change.

Bailey Haapanen - Kagero

Grade 0: 17

Starting Vanguard: Red Pulse Dracokid

9x Critical Trigger

3x Draw Trigger (Gatling Claw Dragon)

4x Heal Trigger

Grade 1: 13

4x Protect Orb Dragon (G-Perfect Guard)

3x Calamity Tower Wyvern

3x Lava Flow Dragon (Stride Enabler)

2x Dragon Monk, Gojo

1x Energy Flame, Aethonic

Grade 2: 11

4x Burning Horn Dragon

4x Perdition Dragon, Dragonic Neoflame

3x Dragonic Burnout

Grade 3: 9

4x Dragonic Overlord "The X"

3x Dragonic Overlord the End

2x Perdition Emperor Dragon, Dragonic Overlord the Great

Grade 4:

4x Flame Emperor Dragon King, Root Flare Dragon

2x Divine Dragon Knight, Mahmud

2x Supreme Heavenly Emperor Dragon, Dragonic Overlord "the Ace"

As we can see, Bailey's build is quite different on the ratios in comparison to Bart's. You can view his full deck profile HERE. Now I wasn't able to watch the final match on twitch, but my assumption is Bailey's choice of running G-Perfect Guards instead of Bart's choice of playing regular Perfect Guards gave him quite the disadvantage in the mirror.  To summarize, he commented that he did not love the nine Grade 3 line-up at the end of the day and would cut a Great out of his deck. He agreed that Divine Dragon Knight, Mustafa would have been a better choice than Mahmud was. He also decided to run a nine critical trigger line-up in comparison to Bart's seven because he wanted to increase the chances of checking them in conjunction with X's constant pressure, in contrast to the longevity and consistency more draw triggers provide. He also commented saying the only reason he did not play four Burnouts was because he could not obtain a 4th copy.

Both players agreed that Supreme Heavenly Emperor Dragon, Dragonic Overlord "the Ace" attributed to many wins throughout their experience at Providence. The Ace is a very strong finisher for this deck because the deck is so good at grinding out your opponent's resources. It's very difficult to be able to survive a guaranteed re-standing vanguard that also gets +5000 power in the late game. Because the Ace is a finisher, just two copies is more than enough and you should not need to go into it again. Even if you did want to, its heavy counterblast cost would likely be an issue when we are talking about the very late game.

Well folks, that concludes ARGCS Providence! Nationals is right around the corner and judging from the looks of both Charlotte and Providence, the meta is highly diverse. We've seen Shadow Paladin, Aqua Force, Kagero, and Royal Paladin consistently top and perform very well. We also see many other clans get into the top 8 cuts, such as Dimension Police and even Dark Irregulars! According to last article's pie-chart, Shadow Paladin is taking up a larger chunk of participants at events, but not by an overwhelming margin so there are many match-ups to consider when choosing your clan for the ARG National Tournament. Of course, the results from the Bushiroad Spring Fest Continental Championship are not to be overlooked and I will be covering the winning team's decklists next week! Until next time, Play Hard or Go Home!