Tachikaze: An In-Depth Clan Review

avery horton

Out of the numerous clans that inhabit Cardfight!! Vanguard, you’re bound to pick out one that you like the most. It could be that you just really like their artwork, their style of play, or maybe you just tend to win an unnatural amount of games with them. Everyone has their own reasons and, likewise, everyone has their own favorite clan. There is no single “best clan” in the game, which means that no matter what clan you favor, it will always have a fighting chance.

My personal favorite is Tachikaze. No matter what game I play, I tend to gravitate towards anything dinosaur-based. Luckily, Cardfight!! Vanguard combined dinosaurs with the only thing that could possibly be more awesome; giant robots. This clan is full of different predators wearing Iron Man’s armor, making for a delightful combination of destruction and… well, more destruction. Who doesn’t like destruction?

Tachikaze have received support from Booster Sets 1, 2, 3, and 8 (due for English release in May 2013), as well as receiving 2 extra cards in Extra Booster: Comic Style Volume 1. Their triggers (the key to any deck of a certain clan) were released in Booster Set 3: Demonic Lord Invasion and the bulk of their deck was released in the two prior sets. In Booster Set 8: Blue Storm Armada, they will receive a multitude of “new-age” support, including multiple cards with “Limit Break” and new deck types.

The mechanic the clan utilizes is essentially “Retire your own Rear Guards and get more power.” This is especially befitting for a clan based around carnivorous hunters, who existed in a world where the strong devoured the weak. There are quite a few clans in Cardfight!! Vanguard that revolve around a similar mechanic, those being the Shadow Paladins and Great Nature. What differentiates Tachikaze from those other two is the fact that Tachikaze is really the only deck that has skills to mitigate the retiring you do. I will elaborate on these units and their skills more as I come to them.

As of Booster Set 8, there are essentially 3 different deck types available to Tachikaze:

1)      “Pre-BT08” Tachikaze

2)      “Raptor” Tachikaze

3)      “Dark Rex” Tachikaze

“Pre-BT08” Tachikaze

Essentially, this is how the deck was built before the release of Booster Set 8, where it really only had 1 viable build. There was a 5 set gap between the release of their Triggers in Booster Set 3 and the release of their new support in Booster Set 8, so they were stuck with this build for quite a while. To start off this section, I’ll provide a sample deck list:

Starter: Dragon Egg

Grade 0: 19

4x Black Cannon Tiger (Critical Trigger)

4x Pack Dragon, Tinyrex (Stand Trigger)

4x Herbivorous Dragon, Brutosaurus (Draw Trigger)

4x Savage Shaman (Heal Trigger)

2x Ironclad Dragon, Shieldon

Grade 1: 14

4x Archbird

4x Sonic Noa

4x Winged Dragon, Skyptero

2x Savage Warrior

Grade 2: 10

4x Ravenous Dragon, Megarex

3x Cannon Fire Dragon, Cannon Gear

3x Assault Dragon, Blightops

Grade 3: 7

4x Tyrant, Deathrex

3x Chaos Dragon, DinoChaos

The first thing you will probably notice is the inclusion of “Ironclad Dragon, Shieldon” in the Grade 0 slot. For you Veterans of the game, you’ll know that it is uncommon (and sometimes looked down upon) to include more Grade 0’s than your triggers, as it messes with the Grade ratios in your deck and can affect your Ride consistency. However, there is a method to this madness. Shieldon, like all Grade 0’s (aside from Draw Triggers) has 10,000 Shield. Why is this important? Because of “Assault Dragon, Blightops’” skill. When he is moved from a Rear Guard Circle to the Drop Zone, you may pay his cost (Counterblast 1), and search your deck for up to 1 “Ironclad Dragon, Shieldon” and add it to your hand. That’s right; he is a searchable 10,000 Shield. And notice that Blightops says “sent to the Drop Zone from the Rear Guard Cirlce,” not “retired.” This means if your opponent attacks him, you can use his skill, as well as if he is retired by any skill. Note that his skill will not activate if you use him to intercept.

Blightops is one of the many cards I mentioned before that help mitigate the retiring you will be doing in the deck. Usually, “retire” is associated with a -1. With Blightops’ skill, you not only get the benefits of the skill you used to retire him, but he replaces himself card-advantage wise, so you will come out ahead every time.

He isn’t the only card able to do this, either. The Starting Vanguard in the deck, “Dragon Egg,” is another such unit. Like any good Starting Vanguard, when you ride a Tachikaze on him, he will move to a Rear Guard Circle. Then, if he is retired, you can return him to your hand by paying a mere Counterblast 1 cost. As all starters are Grade 0, Dragon Egg has that oh-so-important 10,000 Shield value. When other decks use their starters, they tend to end up back in the soul or in the Drop Zone, but Tachikaze are unique in the fact that their starter almost always ends up in your hand. Combine this with the two Shieldons I already talked about, and your deck has 30,000 more shield than any other given deck, putting you ahead defensively by miles. “Winged Dragon, Skyptero” is a unit that has an identical skill to Dragon Egg; if he is retired, he will return to your hand with a Counterblast 1. Unlike Dragon Egg, however, Skyptero is a Grade 1, and sports 6,000 Power, making him a viable booster.

Now, you may be asking “There are tons of cool things that have skills when they get retired, but how do I retire them?” That is a very good question, and I thank you for bringing it up, because it leads into some of my favorite units in this clan:

The big bad boss of the deck is “Tyrant, Deathrex.” Just his name speaks volumes; “Tyrant” is a king, “Rex” means king, and he has “Death” in his name. With a name like Death King2, how can you possibly NOT think this card is awesome? And you haven’t even seen his skill yet! When he attacks, and is in the Vanguard Circle, he gets 5,000 Power! Simple as that; he attacks, you get free power. Kings get free stuff, that’s just how life works. He has another skill that says when his attack hits, you have to retire a Rear Guard. In any other deck, that would be a huge turn off, but Tachikaze just LOVE skills like this. You can retire a Blightops or Dragon Egg to get a 10,000 Shield to your hand, or retire Skyptero just to save him for next turn. But that’s only if he hits. If a unit hits, something of the opponent’s either dies or they take damage, and nobody wants to take damage. They will more often than not try to guard this guy, but since he gets 5,000 Power for no reason, it just makes it that much harder for them to do so.

Death King2 isn’t the only big-bad who eats the weaker units, either. “Cannon Fire Dragon, Cannon Gear” is another powerful predator that can and should be found in every Tachikaze deck. He is a Grade 2 unit with 11,000 base power (yes, that’s a LOT!), and the only cost he has is that you have to retire a Rear Guard when you call him. Since pretty much all of the “recycle cards” in the deck do so for a Counterblast 1 cost, you essentially get an 11,000 Power attacker each turn for 1 Counterblast. Compare him to units like Brutal Jack, the Nova Grappler’s 11,000 Power Grade 2, who requires a counterblast every turn in order to attack, then you can see the awesomeness that is Cannon Gear.

The last retiring unit is Chaos Dragon, DinoChaos. Like how Deathrex has “King” in his name twice, this guy drops “Chaos” twice. He sounds like he’ll make for some hectic gameplay, right? Right! With his skill, if you have a Grade 2 Vanguard, you can retire 2 Tachikaze Rear Guards and Superior Ride him. Yes, you heard me right. That means getting to Grade 3 (and getting access to Twin Drive) a turn early. If you went first, you bully your opponent’s wimpy Grade 1 Vanguard until there’s no tomorrow. You Veteran players may be a big skeptical about this guy, however, since on paper he’s a big minus. That's -2 Rear Guards from your field, plus the one card from your hand to ride. And you’re right, even with the early Twin Drive, this guy comes out to a net -1 in overall advantage. That is, if you aren’t Tachikaze. Since you always have access to Dragon Egg, that’s one unit that isn’t a -1 to retire, so Superior Riding into DinoChaos, most of the time, is a +0. If you managed to draw into Blightops or Skyptero, then you actually get a +1. But that’s just hard advantage; imagine the fear your opponent must be feeling when they have to try and guard a Twin Drive, 10,000 Power attack on their pitiful Grade 1 Vanguard. The increased chance of you getting a trigger can turn into even more plusses, be it in the form of a critical trigger and forcing one more damage on them, or a draw trigger to let you draw a card and plus even more. Not to mention this guy lets you make a comeback from misriding. If you’ve been stuck on Grade 1 for a turn or two, and you just got your Grade 2 ride, do you want to wait another turn before riding to Grade 3? No need! Just use this guy and you’ll skyrocket straight from Grade 1 to Grade 3 and be right back in the game.

Before I move on to the next deck type, I think it’s just as important to explain what didn’t go into the deck as what did. There are 3 specific units that I want to point out that people should stay away from, or at least be wary of:

1)      “Ravenous Dragon, Gigarex.” I can’t express my distaste for this card enough, and you can’t even begin to fathom the amount of people who want to put this into their deck. At first glance, there’s no reason not to. His skill says that whenever a Tachikaze gets retired, he gets 1,000 Power for that turn. The deck’s main focus is retiring, so why not run a unit that gets power from doing just that? There’s just one thing: the power boost doesn’t mean anything. Gaining 1,000 Power (i.e. going from a 16,000 Power column to a 17,000 Power one) is next to meaningless, unless you’re playing against something like Majesty Lord Blaster, where 17,000 forces out more guard then 16,000. However, you could just put a normal booster behind Gigarex and be hitting that power for free every turn. The only time his skill will really make a difference is if he is being boosted by Sonic Noa, which has 8,000 Power, and you retire 2 Rear Guard to bring him up to 20,000 Power, which forces out more guard against 10,000 Power Vanguards. However, that takes 2 retires each turn, and there’s no way you can keep your resources up doing that for very long. My advice is just to run DinoChaos over this card, since he can net you some advantage every once in a while.

2 & 3) “Raging Dragon, Sparksaurus” and “Raging Dragon, Blastsaurus.” I grouped these units together because they function relatively the same way. Sparksaurus is a 5,000 Power Grade 1, and Blastsaurus is a 9,000 Power Grade 3. They both have the skill that, when they’re retired, you can discard 1 card to call another copy from the deck. In theory this is great, since it thins the deck of non-triggers and provides another way to recycle units than counterblasts, like Blightops and Skyptero use. However, the fact that you can draw into, or damage check the other copies means their effectiveness is greatly reduced, even more so by the fact that they have very low power levels. Blastsaurus in particular because, since he is a Grade 3, you will have to ride him at some point or another. Not only will he not have a skill as a Vanguard, but he’ll also only be 9,000 Power, which is very weak and prone to having to guard more. Not to mention that you more or less need to run 4 copies of each card to keep them consistent, furthering your chances of drawing into dead copies or having to ride them. They’re perfectly fine to use and try out, but do so at your own discretion, and remember: you’ve been warned.

“Raptor” Tachikaze

Introduced in Booster Set 8, the “Raptor” Deck is named so due to the backbone of the deck being the “Raptor” Ride Chain. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the term, a “Ride Chain” is a deck that is dependent on riding a certain Grade 1 on the Starting Vanguard, then riding a certain Grade 2 on that Grade 1, and a certain Grade 3 on that Grade 2. Inconsistent? Yes. Worth it? Most of the time. Here is a sample deck list to kick things off:

Starter: Military Dragon, Raptor Soldier

Grade 0:

4x Black Cannon Tiger (Critical Trigger)

4x Dragon Bird, Fire Pteryx (Critical Trigger)

4x Carry Trilobite (Draw Trigger)

4x Ironclad Dragon, Steelsaurus (Heal Trigger)

Grade 1:

4x Military Dragon, Raptor Sergeant

4x Archbird

4x Sonic Noa

3x Winged Dragon Skyptero

Grade 2:

4x Military Dragon, Raptor Captain

4x Ravenous Dragon, Megarex

3x Winged Dragon Slashptera

Grade 3:

4x Military Dragon, Raptor Colonel

3x Savage Warchief

You’ll notice that 13 of the units in the deck have names that begin with “Military Dragon, Raptor” and then list a military ranking. This is the Raptor Ride Chain, and this is how it works: When you ride Raptor Sergeant (the Grade 1) on Raptor Soldier (the Starter), you can look at the top 7 cards of your deck and select up to one Raptor Captain (the Grade 2) or Raptor Colonel (the Grade 3) and add it to your hand. If any Tachikaze Grade 1 other than Raptor Sergeant rode Raptor Soldier, then he moves to a Rear Guard circle. When you ride Raptor Captain on Raptor Sergeant, you can search your deck for up to one Raptor Sergeant and call it to a Rear Guard Circle. When you ride Raptor Colonel on Raptor Captain, you can search your deck for up to one Raptor Captain and call it to a Rear Guard Circle. So, essentially, when you complete the Ride Chain and activate all of their skills successfully, then you will have just gained two free units: a Raptor Captain and a Raptor Sergeant, a Grade 2 and Grade 1 respectively, and will have a free 16,000 Power column.

Of course, the inconsistencies of the deck come into play when you miss the Ride Chain, which is actually quite often. Statistically, the Ride Chain will be successful around 68% of the time, i.e. 1/3 of the time. This is pure math, and doesn’t take into consideration how you shuffle, what cards tend to get stuck together in your deck from last game, things of that nature, so you may find yourself achieving the full Ride Chain more often than not, or you may find yourself rarely ever getting it. The thing to remember is that it is not guaranteed. By running this deck, you realize that you can’t bet your strategy on the idea of getting the full Ride Chain every game, but you’ve decided that the benefits of doing so outweigh the risks and costs.

The disclaimer aside, the Raptors can spawn quite a powerful deck. Since, as characteristic of all Ride Chains like this, each piece gains 1,000 Power if the previous piece is in your soul, Raptor Colonel has the very real possibility of becoming an 11,000 Power Vanguard, the only one available to Tachikaze as of Booster Set 8. Anyone who has used an 11,000 Power Vanguard can tell you that the extra power DOES matter, and will make it infinitely easier to guard the opponent’s attacks, conserving you have advantage. This is on top of the two free units (the 16,000 Power column, which is an optimal number for a Rear Guard Column to reach) you get from successfully activating the Ride Chain, which conserves your hand size further. It isn’t uncommon in this deck, or Tachikaze as a whole, to find yourself with an unnaturally large hand.

As with any Tachikaze deck, the whole point of the Raptor Deck is pure, carnivorous beatdown. Unfortunately, unlike the Pre-BT08 Deathrex-centric deck, your Vanguard isn’t going to be reaching psychotic levels of power every turn. That is, until your Final turn.

Raptor Colonel’s Limit Break is the focus of the entire deck. It requires a small cost of 1 Counterblast and for you to retire 2 of your Rear Guards. What do you get in return? Raptor Colonel gains the combined power of the two units you retired. So, remember those two free units you got from the Ride Chain? Turn them into sacrifices. You can attack with one Rear Guard column, the 16,000 Power one in this instance, to force out shields and/or intercepts from the opponent, and then feed them to the Colonel to swing for 27,000 Power unboosted. Boost him with something like Sonic Noa and that’s 35,000 Power! If your opponent doesn’t have a Perfect Guard, they’ll have a hard time guarding that. But be wary: Perfect Guards can ruin this entire setup. You’ll be sacrificing 2 cards for almost nothing. It is in your best interest to try and keep track of your opponent’s Drive Checks to see if there are any Perfect Guards in their hand, and to also keep track of how many they’ve used. If you have played the entire game and they have only used one, there’s a very high chance they have one in their hand.

That aside, what should you sacrifice to the great and powerful Colonel? Like I said before, you won’t always get the Ride Chain, so you won’t always have those two free victims to offer up. It is for this reason that you should run Winged Dragon Skyptero, to recycle when he gets eaten. Since Colonel’s Limit Break is only a Counterblast 1 cost, that leaves plenty of counterblasts to use on other things, like Skyptero. Since he returns to your hand, you can just play him the next turn and sacrifice him again to Limit Break once more. Winged Dragon Slashptera is also included to act as a meal for your Vanguard. He doesn’t recycle himself when he gets retired, but instead he gives 3,000 Power to another unit. You can make your Vanguard hit even more ridiculous numbers, or you could power up the Rear Guards who haven’t attacked yet. This deck is pretty much Oprah Winfrey; “You get power! You get power! Everyone gets power!”

As with the previous deck, I feel that it’s just as important to talk about cards I didn’t include in the deck as it is to talk about those that made the cut:

1)      Cannon Fire Dragon, Cannon Gear. You’ll remember that I talked about how awesome and cool he was back in the Pre-BT08 yet neglected to find a place for him in this deck. The reason would be his cost; retiring 1 unit when he is called. In the previous deck, you had access to Dragon Egg as your Starting Vanguard, which means you’re essentially guaranteed ammo for Cannon Gear. In this deck, however, the only card that can recycle itself is Skyptero, and there’s no guarantee that you’ll get him before you need to call/ride Cannon Gear.

2)      Triggers. Honestly, the trigger lineup for the deck is very interchangeable. None of the English-released triggers have skills, so you can use whatever ones you think look cool or fit the aesthetic theme of your deck. I used the ones I did in this deck list because they were released in Booster Set 8.

3)      “Supply Dragon, Brachioporter,” “Aircraft Carrier Dragon, Brachiocarrier,” and “Citadel Dragon, Brachiocastle.” These are the newest set of “retirable” units released in Booster Set 8. They work similarly to Dragon Egg and Skyptero in the fact that, when they are retired, you can pay 1 Counterblast. However, instead of returning them to your hand, they call each other in a circular manner. Brachiporter is a Grade 1, and will call Brachicarrier, the Grade 2, who will call Brachiocastle, the Grade 3, who will call Brachiporter. Seems pretty cool, since you can retire a column of them with Colonel’s Limit Break and replace them with an entirely new column to attack with again. Four columns, plus the Vanguard’s 30,000+ power attack seems incredibly broken, doesn’t it? The only bad thing about them is the fact that Brachiporter has 5,000 Power, Brachicarrier has 7,000 Power, and Brachiocastle has 9,000 Power. Not only would you run the risk of having to ride a 9,000 Power Grade 3, but you will end up with 12,000 and 14,000 Powered columns, which is pitiful. You might get one extra attack the turn you use Colonel’s Limit Break, but the opponent will have more shield in their hand from not having to guard your Rear Guards for anything more than 5,000. I personally don’t run them, but I know people who do. If you want to try them out, more power to you. I’d love to hear the results.

“Dark Rex” Tachikaze

Rather than a new deck type, this is more or less just an improvement on the Pre-BT08 Tachikaze deck. However, the few changes that are made to it pretty much turn it into a whole new deck type, so I am treating it as such. Let’s start off with the deck list:

Starter: Dragon Egg

Grade 0:

4x Black Cannon Tiger (Critical Trigger)

4x Dragon Bird, Fire Pteryx (Critical Trigger)

4x Carry Trilobite (Draw Trigger)

4x Ironclad Dragon, Steelsaurus (Heal Trigger)

Grade 1:

4x Archbird

4x Sonic Noa

4x Winged Dragon Skyptero

3x Winged Dragon Beamptera

Grade 2:

4x Ravenous Dragon, Megarex

4x Cannon Fire Dragon, Cannon Gear

3x Winged Dragon Slashptera

Grade 3:

4x Tyrant Deathrex

3x Destruction Dragon, Dark Rex

The Dark Rex Deck returns to the beat-face idea of the original Tachikaze deck. With the inclusion of Deathrex and Cannon Gear, there is a constant stream of retiring going on, as well as high-powered columns. The slight alterations, being the inclusion of Winged Dragon Slashptera, Winged Dragon Beamptera, and Destruction Dragon Dark Rex, have remedied plenty of the problems of the original deck. Their biggest inhibiting factor was the lack of a 7,000 Power booster, so making good powerlines was extremely awkward and difficult. Beamptera not only provides this booster, but his skill adds to the overall idea of the deck. When he is retired during the battle phase, one of your Rear Guards gain 3,000 Power until the end of the turn. So when you feed him to Deathrex, another Rear Guard column gets stronger. Winged Dragon Slashptera provides a good 9,000 Power attacker for the deck as well, since the only other option for the deck is Assault Dragon Blightops, but you have to run Ironclad Dragon Shieldon with him, which takes up too much room in the Dark Rex build.

The biggest change, however, is the namesake for the deck: Destruction Dragon, Dark Rex. This guy is the second of the two Limit Breaks introduced for the clan in Booster Set 8. This guy has a skill from the most lethal skill category in the game: re-standing. His skill is two-fold: First, if he is in your hand, you can bind him and give one of your units 3,000 Power until the end of the turn. Secondly, if he is in the bind zone, and your Grade 3 Tachikaze Vanguard’s attack does not hit, then you can retire 3 Rear Guards and ride him. He isn’t nearly as lethal as Stern Blaukluger or Spectral Duke Dragon since you can’t put triggers on him and then re-stand him, but he’s more akin to White Hare in the Moon’s Shadow Pellinore, in the fact that he is a re-ride in the battle phase. Still, even without being able to retain trigger power from the first Vanguard attack, the fact that he is a second Twin Drive your opponent has to deal with when they’re probably running low on shields and hand size means he is a force to be reckoned with.

Now, you’re probably thinking “Retire 3 Rear Guards? That’s insane!” You’re right, especially since Spectral Duke Dragon has the same cost but can keep his triggers. But Spectral Duke isn’t a Tachikaze. Considering you get a second Twin Drive, thus two free cards, and his cost is a -3, you end up with a total net -1. Then you get to factor in cards like Dragon Egg and Skyptero, who just return to your hand when they get retired. Feeding one of them to Dark Rex means you won’t lose any card advantage. In fact, you can start the turn with 0 cards in your hand and, if you retire a Dragon Egg or Skyptero, end the turn with 5 cards. That’s almost an entire turn of survivability!

However, with only a base power of 10,000, Dark Rex won’t be doing much on his own, right? That means against a, 11,000 Power Vanguard he needs 1 trigger to hit, and they can easily guard you to prevent you from hitting them. But this is the whole reason the deck uses Slashptera and Beamptera! Since they both give one unit 3,000 Power when they are retired, if you feed one of them to Dark Rex, that’s a 13,000 Power Vanguard! Even Crossrides have to guard against it! Even better, if you had a column consisting of Slashptera boosted by Beamptera (which, by the way, is a 16,000 Power column) then that makes Dark Rex 16,000! 11,000 Power Vanguards will have difficulty blocking that!

A bit of a ruling note: Yes, the Beamptera/Slashptera combo works. In Cardfight!! Vanguard there are no “chains,” you just wait for one skill to resolve before activating any others. So, when you activate Dark Rex and pay the cost of retiring units, no other skills can be activated until Dark Rex’s revolves, ending with him being ridden. Since retiring triggers Slashptera’s and Beamptera’s skills, they can activate once Dark Rex finishes resolving, at which point he is already ridden, already a unit on the field, and thus a valid target.

The “Did Not Include” list for the Pre-BT08 deck applies here as well. I’ve heard of some people including the Brachio Series, which I detailed in the Raptor Deck’s “Do Not Include” section. Since they replace themselves immediately, you could theoretically have 3 Vanguard attacks by retiring the Brachio’s twice and riding two separate Dark Rexes. The deck would have the same powerline problems that I talked about in the Raptor Deck’s “Do Not Include” list, but if you’re bored one day and want to try something fun, it’s a suggestion.

As a disclaimer, the decks I included for the purpose of this article are simply the ones that I use or would use. They are in no way the “mandatory” builds for the different deck types I discussed; just what I feel (and most of the Tachikaze players I know feel) are good skeletons or bases. I strongly encourage you, if you feel like taking up the Tachikaze Deck, to try out your own tech ideas and card choices. The trigger lineup is extremely flexible as well, as everyone has a different trigger set that they like to work with. Instead of 8 Criticals and 4 Draws, you may like 7 Criticals and 5 Draws, or 6 Criticals and 6 Draws. You may want to incorporate Stand Triggers into the deck as well. It's all up to you.

Avery Horton

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