Hey there everyone. This is the first article I've written for ARG, so I'll tell you a bit about myself before I get into the topic at hand. My name is Aaron Dougherty, I'm a cardfighter from the Republic of Ireland and have been playing for around 2 years now, since BT-08 first came out in English. I've played at the regional level and I run a Vanguard based Youtube Channel with my team TCG Ireland. I'm best known for playing Pale Moon, specifically the Silver Thorn archetype.
Before starting into the body of the article, there are a few disclaimers I have to get out of the way. This is my own opinion on these clans. Some of these clans I have spent more time playing with than others so bare with me if I miss out on some minor details. Finally, I've refrained from writing out the skills of most units word for word as I think those things are better suited for a deck profile than a strategy article.
This brings me on to the point of this article, the best way of playing your non G-Supported clan in this current meta. Well first of all, we have to answer the question. What is the current meta?
From what I've seen from the tournament reports so far, the Meta looks a lot like this (in no particular order): Revenger Phantom Blaster Abyss, Sanctuary Guard Dragon, Aqua Force and Dragonic Overlord the X. With a close Tier 2 being Link Joker, Megacolony Machining and Bermuda Triangle. After Generation Booster Set 4 is released, this meta list will be extremely different considering the release of the new Megacolony, Angel Feather and Genesis support that will definitely have an effect on the meta.
As of Set 4, there will only be 5 clans that this article will be relevant to; Pale Moon, Granblue, Nubatama, Tachikaze and Spike Brothers. These clans can be split into two strategies that players can adopt to have a higher chance of getting the upper hand on meta decks especially in this stride focused format. The first is Rush and the second is Attrition. These strategies can be applied to any deck that is lacking its proper G-support but for the purposes of this article I will just be focusing on these 5 specific clans.
The Rush strategy is where you over extend early game in the hopes of getting as much damage dealt to your opponent as possible before they can go off on their main win condition combo. 3 of the clans I've mentioned fall into the Rush category: Tachikaze, Pale Moon and Spike Brothers. Tachikaze and Pale Moon have some of the strongest Grade 2 rush potential in the game. This is due to them both being able to bust out 4 to 5 attacks on turn 2 and unless the opponent has mulliganed extremely defensively, they will be taking 2-3 damage on turn 2. This in and of itself can change the outcome of the matchup as your opponent will always be on the back burner when it comes to damage as they will have to start holding cards back to stay alive.
Tachikazes way of rushing is using two main cards; Ancient Dragon, Dinocrowd and Ancient Dragon, Tyrannobite. The rush is achieved by having a Dinocrowd on your Vanguard circle and at least one Tyrannobite on the rear guard circle. Your rearguard Tyrannobites attack first and then swing with the Vanguard, using his skill to retire one rearguard and giving himself +5000 power. The unit you choose to retire is one of the Tyrannobites, using his skill to bring him back to the rearguard for a Counterblast of one. If you have two copies and two counterblast, you can call the retired unit back on top of the still rested unit and use that skill to call him back to the open rear guard giving you two more attacks. This rush can be changed up depending what units you have available to you on turn 2 and whether the opponent went first or second. This can be continued in the following turns denying your opponent from striding or you can ride into grade three yourself and put on pressure with your own strides or the Tyrannoquake legion.
Pale Moon has its one main rush tactic in the form of Silver Thorn Beast Tamer, Maricica paired with Silver Thorn Assistant, Zelma and any other grade 2. This rush combo can be deadlier than the Tachikaze rush but is a lot riskier considering that it can easily be shut down due to it relying Maricica’s on-hit skill and having a Zelma in soul on turn two. Getting the Zelma into soul isn’t a tough task due to the amount of filtering effects that make Silver Thorn the more consistent Pale Moon build to play at this point in time until the Trial Deck comes out either later this year or early next year. The rush combo is fairly simple. Your field will preferably be two rearguard grade 2’s with Maricica on vanguard circle and a Zelma in soul. Attack with one of your rearguards then attack with the vanguard, if you hit, counterblast one and call out the Zelma in soul to swap in and out the grade 2 that has already attacked. to create another standing column able to attack. At the end of the turn, Zelma will go back into your soul making it possible to keep the pressure on every turn. If the rush didn’t work or if you are pushed into late game, you can ride into Silver Thorn Dragon Empress, Venus Luquier to make use of her what some people would call redundant 13,000 base power if you have the original Luquier in soul. You’d be surprised how handy that 13k body is in this meta as nearly every deck makes 16k-21k columns, making them easy guards for a Silver Thorn player. The Strides are mainly used as utility and not your main win condition.
Spike Brother's rush is a little different as it is actually a late game, Limit Break focused rush strategy based around the Bloody Ogle / Bad End Dragger kill combination which can easily put out 7-8 attacks on the turn the combo goes off. This makes it a tougher deck to pilot as timing the combo incorrectly could easily cost you the game. The combo is achieved by break ride-legioning Bloody Ogle on top of Bad End Dragger which gives all of your rear guards +15,000 power for the rest of the turn when they attack but the “downside” being that the unit gets put to the bottom of the deck at the end of the battle.
The Attrition strategy, also called "Tanking" or "Pillow Forting", is a strategy that is purely based around keeping your hand size high and winning on hand advantage alone. This cannot be employed by many clans as most clans are made to be inherently aggressive. When discussing the non G-Supported clans, the two that adopt the best attrition strategy are Granblue and Nubatama, both employing it differently.
Granblue have access to one of the most consistent draw engines in the game in my opinion in the form of Sea Strolling Banshee, a grade 1 with 6000 power that was released back in Booster Set 13. When she is paired with Granblue's new G-Unit Ice Prison Hades Deity, Cocytus Negative, you can create solid columns every turn that pressure the opponent while drawing extra cards to keep your own hand advantage high. The fact that you don't have to call units from hand to fill your field is a huge plus as this adds to the overall "Tankiness" of the deck. They also have access to a Legion in Witch Doctor of the Dead Sea, Negrobolt which lets them recycle triggers and keep them in the game longer in the game considering many of the clans costs include having to send the top X amount of cards from the top of their deck to the drop zone. As long he is in Legion, when he attacks you can Counter Blast 1 and retire 1 rearguard and call a unit out as stand from the drop zone. This brings a solid bit of aggro to Granblue's late game as he can create a 4th attack in the turn.
Nubatama has a different way of using Attrition, they don't have the same draw power that a clan like Granblue has. Instead they manipulate their opponents hand forcing their opponent to discard and bind cards from their hand, causing them to have less guard power and less resources to use to put pressure onto the board. This allows them to be more of an offensive attrition based deck in contrast to Granblue’s defensively based strategy. Their main ways of hand depletion are their utility grade 1’s such as Tempest Stealth Rogue Fuuki and Stealth Dragon, Dreadmaster. Dreadmaster is, in my honest opinion, the best card in the clan. It can singlehandedly make the opponent panic due to the unit having an on hit skill that doesn’t have to hit a Vanguard to force a discard. Their boss units, the Legion grade three Shura Stealth Dragon, Mandoracongo and their main stride unit Rikudo Stealth Dragon, Jorurirakan also put immense pressure during your own turn by temporarily binding cards from your opponent's hand.
In conclusion, until these clans get their proper, non-Fighters Collection support, they will always be at an inherent disadvantage when compared to the meta decks of today. This does not mean they cannot be competitive but it takes a lot more luck for them to be able to win consistently. This is due to the fact that most of the strides given to these decks seem a little tacked on and are just there if the situation arises. Thanks for reading and keep on cardfighting guys.