Cardfight!! Vanguard G: The Return of Star-vaders

Greetings cardfighters! I hope everyone is having a great Christmas holiday. While tis' the season to celebrate in good spirits, the game of Vanguard is facing a looming threat that was once thought to be happily forgotten. Star-vader, Chaos Breaker Dragon is back, and is with a vengeance......

For those who are not in the know or may have forgotten, Chaos Breaker Dragon was one of the top decks during the break ride era. The break ride combo alongside Star-vader, Infinite Zero Dragon shut many decks out and generated so much advantage, it was difficult to recover from. The deck remained dominant for a while, saw some competition against Glendios decks for being the dominant Link Joker build, and fell out of favor when legions and strides emerged. Thankfully (or unfortunately, depending on your point of view), the deck is receiving new toys in the new booster set, Moonlit Dragonfang. Let's first take a look at the deck's new G Unit: Death Star-vader, Chaos Universe.

[ACT](VC)[1/Turn]:[Counter Blast (1) & Choose a face down card named "Death Star-vader, Chaos Universe" from your G zone, and turn it face up] If you have a heart card with "Chaos" in its card name, choose up to one of your opponent's open (RC), your opponent chooses a card from his or her hand, and puts it on that (RC) face down as a locked card. If the number of face up cards in your G zone is two or more, choose one of your opponent's rear-guards, and lock it.

Chaos Universe takes the usual Link Joker mechanic of locking a step further. Lock has been upgraded previously before in various cards via "omega lock", but Universe takes a card right out of an opponent's hand and locks it on the board! It does not specify open RC either, so a unit in this instance must be retired. This unit's skill is definitely strong, especially since Star-vaders did not have any strong first stride units (Glendios builds being an exception, but they are not really a stride oriented deck). If you're at GB2, this skill results in two units being locked. This not only strips the opponent's hand of resources, but it also synergizes beautifully with what Chaos Breaker decks want to accomplish: a consistent method of setting up the opponent's board to abuse Chaos Breaker's limit break to the fullest. While the card is good but isn't quite an earth shattering unit by itself, the deck's new supporting units in combination with Chaos Universe's output are where it becomes really potent.

Confusion Star-vader, Zinc

[ACT](RC):[Put this unit into your soul] If you have a vanguard with "Chaos" in its card name, and your opponent has a locked card, Counter Charge (2)/Soul Charge (2).

This. This is the unit that breaks the deck in my opinion. Zinc is absolutely ridiculous for what she can do. She not only refunds Chaos Breaker's costs, she allows the engine to continue with a fresh set of new fuel. For every card Chaos Breaker can soulblast, that is a net card in the hand. Since Zinc herself goes in the soul along with two other cards from the deck, that is a result of three cards that can be used for Chaos Breaker's skill, which will net you three cards in hand in exchange for just one to put in the soul. Zinc fixes the main problem Chaos Breaker decks had: their soul being a finite resource of only a few cards. While the deck is not entirely counterblast heavy, unflipping damage is certainly a very nice bonus.

While not a new card, Star-vader, Colony Maker becomes by far the most important unit in the deck. Colony Maker was already an inherently powerful unit for Star-vader decks, but she excels in Chaos Breaker decks due to her very expansive utility. While old school targets like Palladium can certainly still be used, she is especially useful for grabbing Zinc out of the deck. In other words, Colony Maker is also allowed to read as "When this unit is placed on RC, Counter Charge (1)/Soul Charge (3)." Colony Maker is also very important for grabbing out Eclipse Star-vader, Charcoal, the deck's limit break enabler. It goes without saying that Charcoal is a vital unit to ensure Chaos Breaker's limit break is active earlier in the game. In addition to all these perks, Colony Maker is a Jewel Knight, Swordmy that just cannot be activated on turn 2, which is certainly a great tool for any deck not normally focused on superior call to have.

Intricacy Star-vader, Carbon

[AUTO]:Forerunner [ACT](RC):[Put this unit into your soul] If your opponent has a locked card, search your deck for up to one grade 1 or less card with "Star-vader" in its card name not named "Intricacy Star-vader, Carbon", call it to (RC), shuffle your deck.

Speaking of Colony Maker, here we have a new forerunner version of the card, except Carbon does not require a counterblast. Carbon is especially good for guaranteeing either the Zinc or the Charcoal that you are missing for no cost (it going to the soul is not a cost since your soulblasts are refunded as draws). All the other advantages of this card are identical with Colony Maker as stated above, but this card easily sets itself as the best forerunner for Chaos Breaker decks.

Star-vader, Chaos Bringer

[AUTO](VC) Limit Break 4:[Counter Blast (1)] At the beginning of your opponent's main phase, if the number of your opponent's locked cards is two or more, you may pay the cost. If you do, search your deck for up to one card named "Star-vader, Chaos Breaker Dragon", ride it as [Stand], and shuffle your deck. [AUTO]:[Counter Blast (1)-card with "Star-vader" in its card name] When this unit is placed on (VC), you may pay the cost. If you do, choose up to one of your opponent's rear-guards in the back row, and lock it.

With all these powerful support cards, the deck still lacked one thing: a way to guarantee Chaos Breaker on the vanguard circle.  Chaos Bringer fixes that too but to a limited extent. The issue is of course, you need the opponent to have two locked cards. While he himself locks one, you'd have to use an additional skill to get off the second lock, which could be potentially problematic going first if you did not open up a Companion Star Star-vader, Photon. On the plus side, Chaos Bringer does have "Chaos" in its name so it is able to be used alongside Chaos Universe to guarantee that second card being locked, while reaping the benefits off having Chaos Breaker ending up on the vanguard circle for your opponent's soon to be coming end phase.

So what makes this deck good?

Chaos Breaker has always been a flexible card that just became better as new support came out, but its engine was rather finite. The new support (Zinc in particular) turns its strong engine into an excellent one that can consistently limit what your opponent can do as well as net many cards in hand. One of the most notable traits is how the deck is not inhibited by opponent's staying at Grade 2, since Chaos Breaker Dragon itself can lock and is not entirely reliant on stride in this situation. The deck's support cards are also very good, if not excellent. With a grade 2 line-up consisting of Photon and Colony Maker, there is an excellent plethora of strong plays the deck is able to make relatively consistently. In other words, there are little to no "mediocre" cards in the deck, almost every card is excellent. Chaos Universe also takes a play out of Nubatama's book while synergizing well with what the deck wants to do.

The deck also has a strong (but not perfect) niche against Ripples, the newly hyped deck that was released earlier this month. Aqua Force has always crumbled under locks, and thanks to Chaos Breaker Dragon having access to an unconditional locking ability, it is able to neuter the deck's plays. This however has a catch to it, going second is significantly harder for Chaos Breaker as your opponent has two turns to harass instead of one, which under the right circumstances can be all that Ripple would need. That said, Chaos Breaker is widely regarded as one of the most solid decks to play against Ripple. Most other decks that rely on their rear-guard to win with little ways to play around Chaos Breaker (which is a good chunk of decks) struggle in this match-up.

Weaknesses?

The most glaring weakness this deck has is against unlockers. Unfortunately for Chaos Breaker, its Limit Break only applies for the end phase, so main or battle phase unlocks are fair game. Messiah Link Jokers haven't quite taken off in the meta, but serve as a hard-counter to this deck, as consistent means of unlocking shatter what Chaos Breaker wants to do. Another underrated deck that has access to unlock are Alfred Exiv Royal Paladin builds. Transmigration Dragon, Holy Squire Dragon is an unlocking stride from G: Comic Booster that synergizes with specific columns the deck makes, so it would definitely have a good niche if Chaos Breaker decks became popular enough. While the deck doesn't make columns as large as Sanctuary Guard builds do, the deck does have its own unique plethora of support, access to Blaster Blade Seeker, and a strong match-up against a soon-to-be top tier deck. Sanctuary Guard in comparison, has a rough time against Chaos Breaker. Among this same point, Mithril Ezel decks get an honorary mention for the match-up, but non-Liberator Gold Paladins unfortunately do not have enough cards to make a coherent deck to cover other bases. Speaking of Liberators, it wouldn't be too incredibly outlandish to see Bluish Flame decks consider teching in a Monarch Sanctuary Alfred or two to have an expensive out to lock, but it comes at a cost of consistency due to Prominence Glare's restriction.

 

Another very important trait to realize is this deck has little finishing power. It seeks to win off consistent attrition which can be plenty, but against some decks that isn't the case. One would have to be careful when playing against other grind decks, as it is very easy to deck out with Chaos Breaker. A good example of this is against Tester Fox-Chatnoir Great Nature builds, which are very effective at drawing and recycling cards into the deck, which would effectively be able to turn the game into a deckout war that they should inevitably win at. Some people have discussed teching in legion units such as Star-vader, Venom Dancer into the deck solely for their ability to help prevent deckout, but it remains to be seen on how much that could hamper consistency.

I want to hear what you guys think. How powerful do you think Chaos Breaker will be when it launches? Are there any other strategies you think would be strong to take against this deck? What other cards from Moonlit Dragonfang would you like me to cover? Let me know in the comments. As always, Play Hard or Go Home!

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