Greetings readers, my name is Conner Morgan. I'm ARG's newest writer for Cardfight Vanguard. As this is my first article, I think it'd be appropriate if I introduce myself. I've been playing CFV since the game came out in English in the beginning of 2012. I quickly fell in love with the game and have been an active player ever since. With some hard work, dedication, and luck, I was fortunate to have my team take the first North American Team League Championship title back in 2013. Ever since, I've been pretty active in growing the #1 underdog TCG within my locals and my university. As fate would have it, I'm now a part of ARG. With the pleasantries out of the way, I'm ready to dive into my first article, and what better way than to start off with the upcoming G-BT02 Aqua Force?
Aqua Force? That doesn't sound like fiery dragons or [insert paladin clan]?
Aqua Force has always been one of my favorite clans barring Paladins. They have always had neat cards, and they have the potential to force the opposition into submission with their high-pressure plays. However prior to next month, they have always been in a shaky spot in the meta. Unfortunate as it is, their strong cards have always come out in a bad time, or they would be victims of lack luster support. To go into a quick history lesson, Aqua Force originally came out in BT08 - Blue Storm Armada. Blue Storm Dragon, Maelstrom, and Storm Rider, Diamantes could not compete with crossride units, as their mechanic was shut down due to not hitting the minimum magic numbers of 12000 and 13000 . BT11 - Seal Dragons Unleashed brought Last Card, Revonn, a situational card that was no match to the stronger decks of its time. BT13 - Catastrophic Outbreak introduced Blue Wave Dragon, Tetra-Drive Dragon, Aqua Force's first re-standing vanguard. Unfortunately, the set also introduced Star-vader, Chaos Breaker Dragon, which propelled the Link Joker clan to the top tiers, which directly countered Aqua Force due to lock. Transcendence Dragon, Dragonic Nouvelle Vague came out in the following month, re-introducing the 13000 base vanguard, which did not help Aqua Force's cause. Similarly to the BT13 scenario, BT15 - Infinite Rebirth's Blue Storm Karma Dragon, Maelstrom "Reverse" had to compete with the same metagame and more crossbreakride units. Lastly, the legion era was not kind to Aqua Force. BT16 - Legion of Dragons and Blades Ver. E. brought Blue Storm Wave Dragon, Tetra-burst Dragon, a weak legion in comparison to powerhouses like Seeker, Thing Saver Dragon and Bluish Flame Liberator, Prominence Glare. The result was Aqua Force remaining as more of a "for fun deck" throughout its existence.
So what is different this time for poor ol' Aqua Force?
Everything changes with G-BT02 - Soaring Ascent of Gale & Blossom, for now the Water Nation has attacked! Aqua Force's lord and savior Marine General of the Sky and Earth, Lambros will arrive and he takes no prisoners. Compared to every G Unit released so far, Lambros is one of the most powerful to date. With a persona-flip and being the fourth attack (or greater), two rear-guards restand with +10000 power! This card single-handedly takes Aqua Force pressure to a whole new level. Instead of only draining the opponent's hand with micro-attacks, you now get to do that AND some very large ones! Oh and there's no cost either. No Counter Blasts or Soul Blasts at all, just a persona-flip that restricts you to using it twice per game. That's really strong!
The G-era has blessed Aqua Force with Generation Break Grade 2 units that they would have loved in the past. Magnum Assault is a unit that allows it to restand as an 11k attacker, something that Tidal Assault always had issues doing without Battle Siren, Mallika. There is also High Tide Sniper, who is a 19000 attacker for a simple Soul Blast 1, which is insane considering the norm for Grade 2s is 9000 or 12000. With a 7000 booster that would hit 26000, and with Lambros' skill, it would reach a whopping 29000 without a booster! You're also not limited to once per turn, so you may re-use the skill upon re-standing with Lambros. In addition, there is Couple Dagger Sailor who acts as a Grade 2 version of Storm Rider, Diamantes.
So what would a sample decklist look like with these new cards?
Grade 0: 17
Starting Vanguard: Bubble Edge Dracokid
4x Supersonic Sailor (Critical Trigger)
4x [Insert any Critical Trigger]
4x Battle Siren, Mallika (Draw Trigger)
4x [Insert any Heal Trigger]
Grade 1: 14
4x Guardian of the Seas, Platon (G-Perfect Guard)
4x Kelpie Rider, Nicky (stride enabler)
Grade 2: 12
Grade 3: 7
Grade 4: 8
The deck grants us a versatile mix of power and combo plays. We have ten Grade 2's who enable Lambros to be the fourth attack of the turn to activate it's skill, in addition to three copies of Battle Siren, Sutashia, who acts as a 10k attacker from the backrow. This results in thirteen cards for Lambros, which is highly consistent for our purposes. With all the Generation Break cards in the deck, we still carry four copies of Tidal Assault to have an aggressive early game, a trait many of the G Era decks do not get to boast. Tetra-drive Dragon serves as a back-up option for the off-chance we cannot stride and can just have a re-standing vanguard instead, which we all know is never bad by any means. Thavas' on-stride skill serves as a nice bonus to retire a rear-guard for absolutely free once per turn, which is icing on the cake for the rest of shenanigans this deck has. I decided to go 2/2 on the Couple Dagger/High Tide ratio as I wanted more enablers for Lambros, but it comes down to player preference at that point.
Is there any love for older Aqua Force decks?
Maelstrom players fear not! Blue Storm Marine General, Despina comes out, and it allows the classic Blue Storm Supreme Dragon, Glory Maelstrom to guard restrict your opponent completely! If the conditions are right, you actually do not allow your opponent to guard at all, which is as insane as it sounds! These cards are completely capable of being played in the previous deck list if you replace Tetra-drive and one set of critical triggers, the only issue being that it is far easier to play around Glory Maelstrom than Tetra-drive. It really comes down to personal choice.
So these cards are cool, but Aqua Force got cool cards before. Why is it different this time?
The key difference is the current metagame does not inherently counter Aqua Force as disgustingly as before. Link Joker has disappeared from the top tiers due to power creep, and the era of vanguards above the 11000 mark is a thing of the past. In addition, the new Aqua Force units actually gain a very large amount of power to compliment their multi-attacks, which is a huge boon to make the deck a legitimate threat. If you don't plan on picking up Aqua Force, at the very least prepare a deck that has the capability to take it on, or you'll be blown right out of the water (pun intended)! Last but definitely not least, Play Hard or Go Home!