In Cardfight Vanguard, clans are the main way different decks are separated. If you’re a native Yu-Gi-Oh player, they are akin to archetypes. Basically, they’re a set of cards designed to work together using a common strategy, ability, or style of play. Generally, they all have different styles of artwork that focus on a central idea or theme, such as mermaids, or dragons. As with any other card game, players tend to develop a playstyle that works for them that they try to stick to. For example, someone could be a “control” player, where they enjoy playing decks that limit what the opponent can do, while someone else may enjoy playing decks where their cards gain a lot of attack and deal a lot of damage. Some people may enjoy playing long games, while others may look to end it swiftly and decisively. Heck, there are people who pick their decks solely on the artwork. Within Cardfight Vanguard, the wide selection of clans offers all of these play styles, and more!
These guys are the clan used by the show’s main character, Aichi Sendo, and have received more than their fair share of support. In fact, they’re one of the most supported clans in the game, and sport a huge card pool that gives way to many deck types. Aesthetically, they are a bunch of futuristic knights, sporting white armor. They wield swords, shields, and just about anything else you’d think a knight would fight with.
The biggest thing Royal Paladins are about is consistency. With units like High-Dog Breeder Akane and King of Knights Alfred, they have the ability to search the deck for essentially anything you could need. Another card, Pongal, has the ability to search for their boss, Soul Saver Dragon, making sure you have a game-ending move, but also ensuring that you don’t misride. In any game, the faster you can get your strategy going and your ideal cards on the field, the more likely you are to win, and Royal Paladins are all about recruiting the right guys for the right jobs.
Oracle Think Tank
In every game, stacking your deck is illegal and is punishable by a game loss. If you play Oracle Think Tank, stacking is part of the job title. Their strategy is two-fold: 1) Check the top cards of your deck to know what’s coming, and 2) Drawing a lot of cards. Oracle Think Tank (OTT, for short) has a large pool of cards to pull from, but they tend to stay within the above two strategies. There are quite a few cards that allow you to check the top card of your deck, and then either place it on the top or bottom of the deck. This allows you to filter through your deck and hit your triggers more consistently, which gives you a huge advantage over the opponent and greatly reduces the “luck” factor of the game.
Artwork-wise, OTT is based around mythology. Their titular cards, CEO Amaterasu and Goddess of the Full Moon Tsukuyomi are based off of the Shinto deities of the same names. The “Battle Sister” series of cards have artwork that resembles Nuns, and are all named after fancy foods.
The antithesis to the Royal Paladins, the Shadow Paladins were used by Ren Suzugamori in the anime, the main villain of the first season. As evident by their name, the Shadow Paladins are an evil clan that contains many units from the Royal Paladins, just turned evil, such as their titular Blaster Dark. As opposed to the Royal Paladin’s white, utopian artwork, the Shadow Paladins are dominated by black and purple and have very demonic artwork, often related to witches or ghouls.
Like Oracle Think Tank, Shadow Paladins function in two ways. They tend to gain raw advantage, such as drawing or calling random units, through the use of cards like Skull Witch Nemain and Dark Mage Badhabh Caar. Then, they “feed” their monsters in order to activate skills, like Phantom Blaster Dragon, whose skill requires you to retire 3 of your Rear Guards, but then gains 10,000 power and +1 critical. Origin Mage Ildona retires 2 rear guards to gain 3000 power and then lets you draw 2 cards. Their idea is to turn weak or useless cards into power for your stronger units.
Yeah, the game creators like Paladins. Gold Paladins are used by Aichi Sendo and Ren Suzugamori in Season 2, both of which used the other Paladins in Season 1. In the card lore, the Gold Paladins are made up of members of both the Royal Paladins and the Shadow Paladins. Rather than being futuristic or demonic, however, the Gold Paladins wear animal-related armor. You can find lions, wolves, bunnies, and even an elephant. The main focus of the clan is to call units from the top of your deck through various means, such as the skills of Incandescent Lion Blonde Ezel or Lop Ear Shooter. While this seems a bit inconsistent, since you don’t know what cards you’re going to get, the clan also has units that gain additionally skills when they are called from the deck, such as Hearer of Truth Dindraine, who lets you draw a card if it was called from the deck, or Flash Edge Valkyrie, who calls another unit from the top of the deck if it was called in such a manner.
As evident in the name of the clan, Angel Feathers have a lot of angelic units, characterized by their angel wings. Additionally, this clan is made up almost entirely of females, all of them being nurses. Yes, that’s right; Female, nurse angels.
Gameplay-wise, Angel Feathers are one of the most intriguing clans in the game. They work by swapping cards from your hand with ones in your damage zone. This remedies the problems a lot of other decks tend to have; your good cards getting stuck in your damage zone, with no way to retrieve them. On top of that, there are a bounty of cards in this clan that gain power whenever cards are placed in your damage zone. This allows you to make powerful columns AND get good cards into your hand at the same time!
For those of you who are die-heard users of control decks, this is the clan for you. Kagero is a clan made up mostly of dragons with a fire-affinity, which just makes them that much cooler (or would it be hot?). The whole idea behind Kageros is to retire your opponent’s units, so they can’t attack you as much, or to make them use cards out of their hand to replace the ones you killed off. They specialize in killing the opponent’s boosters, drastically lowering their attacking power, with cards like Dragon Monk Goku, and Berserk Dragon. It is a fairly straightforward yet shockingly effective strategy.
A fan of ninjas? This is the clan for you. Murakumo is a group of animals sporting ninja gear, mainly black tights and cool weapons. Their strategy is an odd one, mainly focused on having a “ninja’s bag of tricks.” Most of the units in this clan have skills that “clone” themselves or other Murakumo, which help fill up your field early on for early game aggression, but then return the “clones” back to the deck at the end of the turn. Beyond this, they possess a few other units such as Covert Dragon Mandala Lord, who can reduce the power of an opponent’s attacker, and Dueling Dragon ZANBAKU, who can actually stop your opponent from riding!
If Gold Paladin is the successor clan to Royal Paladin and Shadow Paladin, then Narukami is the successor to Kagero. Rather than being fire dragons, however, this clan is full of lightning dragons, as well as a handful of cards influenced by the Hindu religion. Like Kagero, Narukami are also a control-type deck, which focuses on retiring the opponent’s cards. However, while Kagero are focused on retiring the opponent’s boosters, Narukami cut to the chase and go after the opponent’s front row, attacking units. Their most infamous unit is Dragonic Kaiser Vermillion, who can attack the opponent’s entire front row in one attack!
Tachikaze are a clan of mechanical dinosaurs. Imagine Iron Man, but instead of Tony Stark, there is Godzilla, and you have Tachikaze. They are essentially an army, as in continually referenced in their lore, and made evident in the “Raptor” series of cards: Raptor Soldier, Raptor Sergeant, Raptor Captain, and Raptor Colonel. Being an army of missile-shooting, nuke-dropping dinosaurs, they do what you would expect them to: rampage. They operate similarly to Shadow Paladins in that they retire their own units for their skills. However, Tachikaze are more focused on gaining raw power than gaining card advantage. Unlike Shadow Paladins, who use their skills to gain easy advantage to support their retiring costs, Tachikaze have a few select units that allow themselves to be retired over and over again. Winged Dragon Skyptero and Dragon Egg will return to the hand when they are retired, and Raging Dragon Sparksaurus will call copies of itself from the deck when you retire it.
If it goes bump in the night, you can find it as a part of the Dark Irregulars. They are a clan of demons, monsters, and anything you wouldn’t want to find in your closet during the witching hour. The main focus of this clan is the soul. YOUR soul, to be exact. No, I’m not being creepy, I’m referring to the stack of cards under your Vanguard; the soul. Like any good demon would, the Dark Irregulars hoard the soul. The more you have, the more powerful they are. There are tons of cards in the deck that soul charge (add cards to the soul), such as Emblem Master and Blue Dust. Doreen the Thruster is a card that gains a power boost each time you soul charge. Poet of Darkness Amon becomes a powerful booster for your units if you have 6 or more cards in your soul. Dark Lord of the Abyss gains 1000 Power for each card in your soul when he attacks, so if you build your soul up enough, he can become ridiculously powerful. But power isn’t the only thing the deck has; If you have 15 or more cards in your soul, Blade Wing Reijy gains 2 critical.
Welcome to the Pale Moon Circus. This is a clan of acrobats, chimeras, and tamers, who have all come together to bring you the greatest performance they can muster. You can find anything in this clan that you would find in a regular circus; Lion tamers, jugglers, even a Ring Master. However, behind the scenes, the Pale Moon clan is full of secret assassins, traveling from town to town under the guise of a circus as they move in on their targets.
Similar to the Dark Irregulars, Pale Moon utilizes the soul. However, rather than worry about the size of the soul, they worry about the quality. For units like Turquoise Beast Tamer and Crimson Beast Tamer, if there is a Crimson Beast Tamer in the soul, they gain power. Cards like Nightmare Doll Alice and Nightmare Bunny enter the soul, and then call new units out if they successfully attack, meaning you should have a good replacement in the soul. Jumping Jill gains power when it is called from the soul.
Pale Moon is easily one of the most gimmicky clans in the game. If you’re into having a lot of options, and being able to alter your strategy depending on what you put in the soul, this is the clan for you. They certainly take some getting used to, but when you become capable of bringing out their full potential, you can do some crazy things.
Hut-hut! First down!
Get the football references? Spike Brothers are a clan full of football-playing ogres. As their name says, their art depicts a lot of spikes, just adding to the sinister essence of the clan. Like a football team, their strategy is to rush the opponent through cards like Juggernaut Maximum, High-Speed Brakki, and Reckless Express, all of which gain power by soul blasting, but then get shuffled back into the deck during the end phase of the turn (or “return to the bench,” if you want to keep the football analogies up). They have a lot of powerful, low-grade units to help with their rush tactics, and to finish the game before it can ever really start for the opponent.
So, you thought Angel Feathers were the eye candy of the game? Think again! Bermuda Triangle are a clan of mermaids who also happen to be pop stars. It also happens that they all look to be under the age of 12. So if you’re into young girls who may or may not have fish tails instead of feet, this clan is for you!
The pedophilic jokes aside, Bermuda have one of the most interesting mechanics in the game. They focus on returning cards from your field to your hand, also called “bouncing,” in order to trigger certain skills. Cards like Girls Rock Rio and Rainbow Light Carine let you draw when you bounce them. You can also bounce cards like Blazer Idols, or Pearl Sisters Perle, who have skills that activate when you call them, letting you re-use those skills. It isn’t uncommon for a Bermuda Triangle player to have a hand size of 8+. My personal record is 16.
Everyone remembers Pirates of the Caribbean, and apparently so did the creators of Cardfight Vanguard. Granblue is a clan of zombie-pirates, seamen dealing with the supernatural. Think the Flying Dutchmen from Spongebob. The clan is full of zombies, ghosts, skeletons, and creatures of the deep that sport rotting flesh, tattered pirate clothes, and a lot of water in their artwork. As for their clan mechanic... well, they do what comes natural to the undead: come back.
Cards like Ice Prison Necromancer Cocytus and King of Demonic Seas Basskrik revive units from your Drop Zone (or Graveyard, if you’re used to Yugioh lingo). Deadly Spirit, Deadly Nightmare, and Dragon Undead Skull Dragon are cards that can revive themselves. The whole clan revives around getting the ideal field setup by sacrificing not-so-good units in order to revive better ones.
If Granblue are the undead pirates that sail the seven seas, then Aqua Force are the Naval officers that bring them to justice. Most of their cards picture the seamen in white naval uniforms, contrasting Granblue’s rag-tag, tattered images with some of uniformity and order.
Their playstyle is something unlike any other in the game, however. Plenty of their units have skills that say “If this is the third or more attack this turn...” or “If this is the fourth or more attack this turn...” which clearly indicates the ability to launch more than the standard amount of attacks. They do so with cards like Storm Rider Basil who, if he is the first attack of the turn, gets 2000 power. Then, he swaps zones with the card behind him. This lets you get 2 attacks out of 1 column, although you won’t be swinging for any big numbers. However, the strength of Aqua Force isn’t that they hit hard, its that they hit a lot, which forces the opponent to guard a lot, and eventually have to use larger shield amounts to block weaker attacks.
For those looking for that Lion King flashback, this is the deck for you. Like most other clans, Great Nature combines two elements for its artwork: cute forest animals, and school. Most of their names have something to do with school supplies or positions: Pencil Squire, Globe Armadillo, Calculator Hippo, etc.
Great Nature focus on giving power to their Rear Guards, which then retires them during the end phase, a skill some players refer to as “doping.” Its ironic that the creators of the game would put a drug problem in a clan based on school. Units like School Hunter Leo-pald and Binoculus Tiger have skills that give the power, while units like the “Hammsuke” series have skills that search the deck for other copies when they’re retired. Great Nature operates similarly to Tachikaze in this manner, but while Tachikaze focuses on a powered-up Vanguard, Great Nature beefs up their Rear Guards.
Remember the movie “A Bug’s Life”? Megacolony is kind of like that. They are based off of various bugs, organized into a mafia-like organization. So this game has Mermaid Pop Stars, Zoids, Jack Sparrow, AND a Bug Mafia? Who wouldn’t want to play!
The idea behind Megacolony is to prevent the opponent’s units from standing during their next turn. Cards like Martial Arts Mutant Master Beetle, Megacolony Battler B, and Lady Bomb all have this type of skill. You can classify this as a control deck, similar to Narukami and Kagero, although I would call it more of a “troll” deck. Kagero and Narukami totally kill cards, removing them from the game, while Megacolony just momentarily prevent it from being useful.
However, that isn’t to say Megacolony is directly worse than those two clans. When you retire a unit, you leave that space open for the opponent to call a new unit to attack you with. But when you lock it down for a turn with a Megacolony skill, your opponent simply can’t use it. That’s one unit that can’t attack for the turn, and the zone isn’t open for the opponent to replace it. They could call a card over it, but then they would be wasting their own cards.
Weeds. No, not the kind you smoke, but the kind that grows. Neo Nectar is a clan full of plant life, and plant-based life. Anything from small flower people to giant tree beasts, its in this clan. My personal favorite is Hey Yo Pineapple, a Jamaican Pineapple with an iPod. So, right off the bat, you can tell that the clan has huge amounts of swag.
Just like the weeds they’re based off of, Neo Nectars spread across your whole field until its entirely full. Maiden of Trailing Rose, their boss, can check the top 5 cards of your deck and call any 2 Neo Nectars in the middle of the battle phase! Knight of Harvest Gene can return himself to the deck to call 2 Knight of Young Leaves Gene, his younger form. Hey Yo Pineapple, the swaglicious card I mentioned earlier, gets more power for having more units on the field.
This is a clan of fighting robots. Imagine those old Rock ‘em Sock ‘em Robots, but instead of the Red Guy vs. the Blue Guy, you have a bunch of different robots and designs beating each other up, WWE-style. You have cards like Tough Boy, who looks like a robot Sumo wrestler, and cards like Stern Blaukluger, who is a laser-shooting gundam. Basically, if its weird and its a robot, it belongs in this clan.
The whole idea of this clan is to attack. And attack. And attack. They have a lot of skills that re-stand their units to keep putting the pressure on the opponent, having anywhere from 3 to 6 attacks on any given turn. Cards like Death Army Guy and Death Army Lady will automatically re-stand themselves if you Drive Check a Grade 3 unit. Asura Kaiser will stand 1 Rear Guard under the same conditions. Or, you can rely on good ‘ole stand triggers to do the trick too.
But standing isn’t the only thing Nova Grapplers are good at. Mr. Invincible, Hungry Dumpty, and Claydoll Mechanic are units that have skills that unflip your damage, allowing you to use counterblasts a lot more.
The clan also has quite a few sub-series. The “Raizer” series focuses on having a lot of “Raizer” units in the soul to have a powerful Vanguard. The “Death Army” series resolve around re-standing themselves so that their boss, Infinite Phantom Invader Death Army Cosmo Lord (try saying THAT three times fast), can gain a lot of power and an extra critical. The “Beast Deity” series focuses on standing other “Beast Deities” more effectively than the standard deck type.
Just as their name suggests, the Dimension Police are a clan of intergalactic warriors intent on keeping the peace. They are made up of aliens and policeman, generally based, at least loosely, around the Kamen Rider series from Japan. Basically, if it looks like it belongs in Power Rangers, then it belongs in Dimension Police.
If you’ve looked at any Dimension Police, you’ll notice most of their Grade 3’s say something along the lines of “When this unit attacks, if it’s power is #### or greater, it gets so-and-so skill.” Unfortunately, this has to be before the Vanguard is boosted. But how do you power up your Vanguard without triggers or boosting? Well, that’s where Dimension Police shine. They take the idea of a “strong Vanguard attack” to the extreme. Most of their Rear Guards are very weak, but have skills that give power to the Vanguard, such as Masked Police Grander or Cosmo Roar, so you can trigger those skills I mentioned before. In exchange for powerful Rear Guard attacks, you get monstrous Vanguard attacks with extra criticals and skills slapped onto them. Enigman Cyclone will gain the skill to retire an opponent’s Rear Guard if you power it up, while Enigman Rain will gain the ability to stand one of your own Rear Guards. This clan is all about a powerful Vanguard attack.