Gold Paladin: Meta or Just Popular?

Cardfight Vanguard is a TCG that has been around for more than a year now, and people are questioning what is the meta of the game. If you were to ask the average Cardfighter what is the meta of the game, the most likely answer would be Gold Paladin. And that answer would make sense to people. Championed at the start of season 2 by Aichi Sendou and Suzagormari Ren, the Gold Paladin clan has many diverse ways of playing the deck even compare to decks that were release prior to Gold Paladin, such as Pale Moon and Dark Irregular. Because of the large diversity it became a popular deck for both beginners and veterans of the game. Going over the percentage of clans over the course of the 2012 United States National Tournament, the Gold Paladin always had the highest turnout, and in the Championship Tournament at Tokyo three of the top 4 decks were Gold Paladins.

But does that really mean that Gold Paladins are the “Tier 0” of Cardfight Vanguard and every clan is subpar in comparison? If you omit out the Gold Paladin clan while looking at top 4 of all regional tournaments you can see a diversity of clans working their way to the top. Oracle Think Tank, Kagero, Nova Grappler, and even Granblue show that they have the potential to be strong. Does that mean that they are superior to the rest of the clans that didn’t make it to top rankings? Let’s look at Tachitaze’s performance during the regionals throughout United States. Their appearance in tournaments were in the 1-3% range, and even in a tournament of a few hundred people that is a very small minority. Does that mean they are a really bad deck to play with? Well, it definitely shows that it is not a popular deck due to the fact that there’s only one real strategy to play the deck with until the Raptor and the Brachio series are released.

But if you were to go to locals and watch people that play Tachikaze decks then you will realize that despite having only Death Rex as the ideal vanguard it can defeat anyone, even Gold Paladin. I have seen a friend at my local top 4 a few times with his Tachikaze deck even when majority of the players were playing the popular decks such as Gold Paladin and Narukami at the time.

The Los Angeles Regional Tournament has the best example in showing non-popular decks being able to stand their own against the popular ones. The turnout of that tournament was the highest one before the National Tournament, and similar to previous events Gold Paladin had the highest percentage of players. Yet what deck came out on top? Granblue, the deck whose percentage of players hovers around 3%, defeated every deck that stood in its way and came out on top. Yes, the players used 12 critical triggers, and yes he got some heal triggers to activate; but that is part of the game and deck construction. You play a deck with 12 or more critical, and the chances if you activating at least a few of them increases in comparison to a deck that uses four or six of them. If everyone at the Los Angeles Regional played Granblue and only 3% of people play Gold Paladin, how many of you are confident enough to say that Gold Paladin will definitely reach top 2, or even top 4?

Going back to the reason of Gold Paladin’s large popularity, it is simply due to the large amount of support that the clan received. With multiple key grade 3 units such as Incandescent Lion, Blond Ezel, Spectral Duke Dragon, and White Hare in the Moon’s Shadow, Pellinore, people can play the clan in such a way that it isn’t merely a deck that superior calls the top card from the deck. Ezel gains a massive power to punish his opponents, Spectra Duke can stand himself up again for another attack, and Pellinore can be superior rided for another twin drive attack. With soo many benefits off of one type of strategies it is no wonder that the “meta” of the game is Gold Paladin, Gold Paladin and more Gold Paladin.

Whenever I hear the term “Meta”, I think of Yugioh, one of the most popular TCG ever since it came out. Often the term “Meta” is used to describe the top deck strategies that can defeat a large population of the game due to overwhelming strategies and abilities. It changes every 6 months however due to the ban list that changes to keep the game more “balanced” in that they change the number of a card you can play in a deck to prevent one deck strategy from steamrolling every other deck. Such was the reason for banning of various cards like Raigeki and Harpie’s Feather Duster. Because of that what may be the best deck a year ago does not even hold a candle to the decks today. What makes Yugioh’s meta different from Cardfight Vanguard’s meta is that while majority of the people mention only Gold Paladin is the supreme clan in Vanguard, there are usually three different decks at the very least that can be considered as the top decks of Yugioh. Of course, there were times where majority of the players played one deck such as Airblade Format and TeleDAD Format, but in most formats

In a game like Cardfight Vanguard, deck construction and luck play a large role in achieving victory. There will always be moments where the opponent top-decks the card he needs to pull a victory, or gambling to hit double trigger and having it pay off. It is frustrating to anyone who has played the game long enough to lose when you have the advantage due to the luck. But it happens. It always will. So is Gold Paladin really the deck that can defeat anything standing in its path with ease, or is the popularity of the clan simply the big factor that lead the clan to its glory that it stands for today? That is for you to decide.

Charles Hsiao

Latest posts by Charles Hsiao (see all)