Hello, and welcome to my first article for ARG's Cardfight Vanguard article contest. In this article I want to go over one of my favorite clans in the game, Pale Moon. The clan debuted in BT03 and focuses on utlizing your soul to work with your rear guards to either apply pressure or pure offensive power. It's one of my clans mainly because it can do so much with the soul, which is one of Vanguard's most unique mechanics in my opinion. This article, albeit a long read, will cover all of the cards that I feel are relevant when building Pale Moon.
To start off, I'd like to go over the grade 3 bosses, since they establish how the rest of the deck should be built.
Silver Thorn Dragon, Luquier is the first grade 3 and my boss of choice. Her first skill is her limit break: by counter blasting three, you can superior call a grade 0, 1, 2, and 3 Pale Moon from your soul. At first look this skill seems absolutely amazing. For the cost of three counter blast you gain four cards, but this skill comes with a few downsides. The first problem is getting the four units into the soul. Pale Moon essentially have three methods of doing this, which are through riding, random soul charging, and specific soul charging. Riding is the best method of achieving this, as you ride your grade 1 and grade 2 normally and you can just call them out later. But there's still the matter of getting a grade 0 and a grade 3 in the soul. You can ride a grade 3, then ride Luquier over it which isn't bad, but playing a grade 0 without Pioneer so it can stay in the soul can hurt your early game. There are ways to achieve the limit break easily, and I'll go over them as cards are introduced.
Luquier also comes with a second skill. Whenever a unit is called from your soul to the rear guard, Luquier gains +3,000 power until the end of the turn. This means if you use her limit break, she gains 12,000 power from the four units called. There are a lot of other units that can power up Luquier too, but I'll also cover those later in the article.
The next grade 3 is Sword Magician, Sarah. To start, when she is boosted by another Pale Moon as a vanguard, she gains 3,000 power during that battle. This allows her attacks to easily reach 20,000+ with standard boosters. Her other skill however is akin to Dragon Monk, Goku. When you drive check a grade 3 Pale Moon unit, you can send a grade 3 Pale Moon rear guard to the soul to call a Pale Moon unit from your soul. What this essentially means is that you can choose a grade 3 that has rested this turn, send it to the soul and call it or anything else back, ready for another attack.
This skill is useful as it turns every other grade 3 in your deck into pseudo stand triggers which makes them not as useless. Being able to attack again with cards like Nightmare Doll, Alice can also put a lot of pressure on your opponent. The problem with Sarah is that this is all she really does, and outside of gaining extra "triggers", she's just a decent attacker. She is still a very solid boss for Pale Moon however.
After these two is the more recent (at least in the english game) Mistress Hurricane. When you ride Mistress Hurricane, you can counter blast two to call any Pale Moon from your soul to a rear guard circle. This skill allows you to immediately get compensation for spending a card on your grade 3 ride. In addition to this, Mistress Hurricane gains an extra +1,000 during either player's turn if you have eight or more Pale Moon units in your soul. As opposed to Luquier and Sarah, this allows Mistress Hurricane to be an 11,000 power vanguard, which gives you extra defense.
While these two skills do seem useful, Mistress Hurricane is flawed a bit more than the first two bosses. Unlike the first two, it is incredibly hard to make her a relevant center column. The only boost she gets is the +1,000 continuously, making 20,000+ attacks very rare. The second problem is that having eight cards in your soul hardly synergizes with anything else in Pale Moon. Pale Moon rely on having specific cards in your soul instead of having large amounts for their power, like Dark Irregulars. She's still a decent card to use if you choose to use her, I personally feel that Sarah and Luquier are better though.
These are the three boss monsters that I feel are the most relevant. There's also Dusk Illusionist, Robert and Barking Manticore, but they aren't capable of doing as much as these three cards can do. Anyways, let's move on to the core engines that Pale Moon can utilize.
Pale Moon is best known for soul swapping, which is exchanging your rear guards for units in the soul. There is a variety of cards that can do this. Some have to rely on winning battles and others do not. I'd like to talk about the units that can soul swap by winning battles first.
Midnight Bunny, Mirror Demon, and Nightmare Doll Alice all share very similar skills. When Mirror Demon and Alice attack and hit a unit, you can counter blast one to send them to the soul and call any other Pale Moon, aside from other copies of themselves. Bunny essentially does the same thing, except it has to boost instead of attack. These units have the potential to apply a lot of pressure, because if your opponent lets them hit, you can pull something out for another attack right after.
Like I said earlier, Alice synergizes very well with Sarah. If they guard the first attack from Alice, Sarah can swap it in for itself and another attack, demanding even more guard. Mirror Demon isn't as good however, since it only comes with 8,000 power to Alice's 10,000, and this becomes a lot worse with crossride units. It is almost impossible to make a good column with Mirror Demon against crossrides, but the upside is that it can still threaten rear guards just as easily as Alice can. Midnight Bunny can be used a bit differently though, due to what it potentially can bring out and how easy it is to resolve since it can boost your vanguard and then show up somewhere else on the field.
In addition to applying a lot of pressure, they can synergize fairly well with Luquier. If any of them activate during the battle phase, they give Luquier +3,000 power, meaning you can force out cards in their hand and make a stronger attack with Luquier afterwards. However once again, even if they can create pressure, they're very weak units to use to begin with, so you need to decide whether you want strong columns or pressure columns when building your deck.
Moving on to other soul swap units, Purple Trapezist is a 6,000 power grade 1. Despite being a really weak unit, it's the core of Pale Moon's support. When it's called to a rear guard circle, you can send any other Pale Moon rear guard to the soul and bring out another Pale Moon, except another Purple Trapezist. Trapezist gives Pale Moon more utility than anything else in the deck. Its first application, which is probably the most obvious, is that it turns any worthless card in your hand into something new from your soul. You can call draw triggers or additional Luquiers or Sarahs. Anything can be turned into a relevant card, depending on your soul.
This card also works really well with the soul swap units above. When Alice, Mirror Demon, or Bunny win battles, they can switch themselves for Trapezist, which in turn can pull something else through the soul and back out, ready to attack or boost. For example, you can boost anything with Midnight Bunny, and when it hits, you can swap Bunny for Trapezist, then swap the unit in front of it for itself and you get another boosted attack at the cost of one counter blast. If Luquier is your vanguard, then she gains +6,000 power from the two units being called as well.
Another unit capable of soul swapping is the Girl Who Crossed the Gap, which is currently your ideal starting vanguard. Being a grade 0 with 5,000 power, she calls herself to the rear guard when you ride a Pale Moon over her. While she's a rear guard, you can counter blast one to send her to the soul and call any other Pale Moon from your soul. This essentially means that you can turn your starter into any unit that you might need, which is really good for a starting vanguard.
In addition to its versatility of being whatever you want it to be, it also has a combo with Luquier and Purple Trapezist which can greatly increase Luquier's power. If you have her and Trapezist on the field with another Trapezist in the soul, you can send her into the soul to bring out Trapezist, then send in the other Trapezist to put Gap on the field again. So for the cost of one counter blast you swap Trapezist's and Gap's positions and you give Luquier +6,000 power due to two units being called. This can be done multiple times in one turn if needed, as long as you're able to use Gap's skill, and this allows you to make Luquier swing for a lot in an attempt to push for game, so it's a useful combo to be aware of.
Lastly, there's Magician of Quantum Mechanics, a grade 1 6,000 power unit that works similarly to Girl Who Crossed the Gap. At the cost of a counter blast, he exchanges himself for another Pale Moon in the soul, except that Pale Moon returns to the soul and Magician comes back out in the end phase. The last part of his effect may seem like a downside, but in turn this can make him much more useful. Since Magician switches back out in the end phase, this means you can swap him for a Trapezist, use Trapezist's skill for whatever reason, and then Magician returns, allowing you to use him again next turn. This allows the above Luquier combo to be done with only Magician on the field and Trapezist in the soul. While he is useful, he should only be considered if you don't focus on using counter blasts on other cards, since he can eat it up pretty easily, and sometimes there's just no room for him in your grade 1 lineup.
Now that you've seen your options for soul swapping, it's time to move on to your power options. Crimson Beast Tamer is an 8,000 grade 2, which may seem weak, but don't let that 8,000 fool you. During your turn, if you have another Crimson Beast Tamer in your soul, all of your Crimson Beast Tamers on the field gain +3,000 power, making them 11,000 attackers. It might be easy to attack and kill Crimson Beast Tamers, but having them with their boosts allow you to make easy 18,000+ power columns, which are relevant with the advent of crossrides.
However, Crimson is not the only Beast Tamer that can output raw power. Turquoise Beast Tamer is a grade 1 6,000 power unit that, like her partner, gains 3,000 power during your turn if you have Crimson in the soul. Now, by having a single Crimson in the soul, you have access to four 9,000 boosters and at least three 11,000 attackers. This makes 18,000+ columns incredibly easy, and with the inclusion of Midnight Invader, which is a grade 3 10,000 unit that gains +2,000 power when it attacks a vanguard, you can make easy 21,000 power columns. These units should definitely not be overlooked when building your deck.
Now how exactly do we tie all of these units together? They all rely on having specific units in the soul, and you're not going to put everything together just by riding them. Like I said earlier, Pale Moon have the ability to soul charge specific cards and randomly in larger quantities. The most important unit for soul charging is Dancing Princess of the Night Sky, a grade 2 with 8,000 power. When you ride or call Dancing Princess, you can counter blast one to soul charge any grade 2 or lower Pale Moon from your deck. This gives your deck a much needed boost in speed, since you can enable your Crimsons and Turquoises by calling a single card, or you can send a Trapezist into your soul for Gap and Magician combos, or you could send a grade 0 to bring out with Luquier. The possibilities this card brings is endless, but sporting only 8,000 power takes away from its playability slightly. However, that doesn't mean that this card shouldn't be played.
In addition to Dancing Princess, you can soul charge randomly with a plethora of cards, the most efficient being Skull Juggler and Nitro Juggler. Being grade 1 7,000 power and grade 2 9,000 power units respectively, they both soul charge one card when you ride or call them. Their base power is decent enough to make columns with and the soul charge is essentially free, so if you feel like you aren't building your soul effectively enough these are good options. Unlike Dancing Princess, these have the chance of soul charging the Grade 3 that you need for Luquier as well. Though take note that because they are random, you aren't going to get what you want every time, and Nitro Juggler hasn't been released yet, and is going to make its debut with the release of Comic Style Volume 1 in March, so look out for that.
Lastly, I'd like to go over the triggers in the deck. Currently, Pale Moon has two critical triggers, two heal triggers, two draw triggers, and three heal triggers. This allows you to focus on either stand triggers or critical triggers while still being able to rely on four to six draw triggers. Two triggers I'd like to make note of are Poison Juggler and Sky High Walker. Poison Juggler is a 4,000 power critical trigger that can add itself to the soul to give another Pale Moon +3,000 power. This can seem unbeneficial, since it's a minus in card advantage to give something power for one turn, but this card is really good in the late game. Being able to use the same one multiple times because of Trapezist and subsequently powering up a vanguard like Luquier can result in you having ridiculously strong columns for the turn and most likely defeating your opponent if they're at high damage. However, this is not always the right play, because if they survive, you've essentially exhausted all you have and are open for them to do as they please. Still, it provides options and options are good.
Sky High Walker is a 4,000 power stand trigger that can add itself to the soul to unflip one of your used up damage. This skill can be very helpful in Luquier variants that eat up a lot of counterblast at the cost of it being a stand trigger and unsynergestic to the deck. If you feel like you can accustom your deck to stand triggers, I encourage you to go ahead and try it out.
So these are the main cards to focus on when building Pale Moon. There are also vanilla units, your perfect guard, and a handful of other decent units, but in the end it's all up to preference. The units above are probably the best to consider when building your deck due to what they contribute. If you want something to work off of, this is my Luquier build that I'm currently using:
1 Girl Who Crossed the Gap
4 Poison Juggler
3 Dynamite Juggler
4 Rainbow Magician
1 Flyer Flyer
4 Popcorn Boy
4 Turquoise Beast Tamer
4 Hades Hypnotist
4 Purple Trapezist
2 Midnight Bunny
4 Crimson Beast Tamer
4 Dancing Princess of the Night Sky
2 Midnight Invader
2 Mirror Demon
4 Midnight Invader
3 Silver Thorn Dragon Tamer, Luquier
If you have any questions about my choices, leave a comment down below and I'll try to answer them when I get to them. I hope this article gives you a good idea on how Pale Moon works, and thanks for reading!