Cardfight Vanguard: Drafting 101

Hello there! My name's Caesar E.S, and this is my entry for ARG's Vanguard writing contest. I'm an Indonesian player who has played since BT-02 JP first came out, and a user of Dimension Police since BT-03 JP (You read that right. Well...mixed with Nova Grapplers, actually.) and am currently running Dimensional Robo decks both in ENG and JP. By chance, the team that uses Dimension Police in the anime is called Team Caesar. Coincidence? Probably. (Or not.) Either way, I'm very eager to write about my thoughts on the game, and of course, my favorite clan!

But today, I'm here to talk to you about Booster Drafts. So let's get right to it!


Booster What?

The Booster Draft format is a format where you play using a deck of cards made from freshly opened Booster Packs. Each player chooses one card from the pack to add to their card pool, then passes the pack to the next player, rotating the packs. Each player keeps adding cards one at a time until all packs are opened. More popularly, this is the format used in the Sneak Peek events. It’s a fun format where you get to use cards you probably won’t use in normal play, and see plays that would otherwise normally just can’t happen.Fun fact: Clan effects that state “when a <<Clan Name>>” for example, is treated as <<All Clans>> in this type of play, meaning clan effects can activate regardless of your unit’s clans! Bushiroad has their recommended rules on Drafting which can be found here:

…but you can always create your own rules in non-official drafting. That’s the gist of it, but those of you who have already participated in a Sneak Peek before should already know about it by know. What you might want to know is how to do well at these events and if so, you came to the right article.

Constructing Your Deck

Using six booster packs, you’re going to have to play using a deck consisting of only 30 cards. That’s a step down from your usual deck of 50, so there’s different numbers that you have to run there.

Your usual deck of 50 would run about 17 Grade 0’s, 15 Grade 1’s, 10 Grade 2’s, and 8 Grade 3’s. In drafting, you ideally might want to run a deck of 10 Grade 0’s, 10 Grade 1’s, 6 Grade 2’s, and 4 Grade 3’s. Those numbers are the result of simply dividing the usual numbers by 3/5 and rounding it up. I found these numbers to be quite consistent in play.  Of course, you can’t always (scratch that- you almost probably won’t) get these numbers in play, but you can always get something similar.

Of course, like I said, you won’t always get the right numbers. After drafting a couple of times, I found that you’re more likely to end up with more Grade 0’s than you bargained for. But you can try to make do with it. For instance, if you get more Grade 0’s than you hoped for, you might want to add some more Grade 1’s and Grade 2’s than Grade 3’s, since it’s better to stay gradelocked at 2 rather than 0. Having certain cards also helps- the Grade 0 searcher cards that search out Grade 3’s like Red Pulse Dracokid could cover up for your lack of Grade 3’s.


You Might Want To Use These Cards

In a set, some cards are better than others, that’s a given. But some cards than don’t see much use in normal play can also be useful in booster drafts. Here are some types of cards you want to look out for:

Break Rides. It’s no secret that Break Rides such as Blue Flight Dragon, Transcore will define the game from now and onwards. Break Rides can quickly end games in this format where your opponent most likely won’t have perfect guards. But most importantly, they are 11k Vanguards, which most units won’t reach without getting boosted.

10+k Attackers. And speaking of 11k, having units that can reach that number will matter when your opponent is using an 11k Vanguard. There are some of these types. Grade 2 LB4 attackers such as Titan of the Beam Rifle is one. Note that the text only says “with LB4”- you don’t have to have 4 damage first, having any LB4 unit as your Vanguard will activate it’s effect. The new Grade 3 12k attackers like Mobile Hospital, Assault Hospice are also good. They can also reach 15k unboosted  as a Vanguard, and can be a pretty good second option when you don’t have anything better to Ride. Then there’s the G3 13k attackers like Booting Celestial, Sandalphon which requires a Counter Blast. You’re most likely not going to use CB’s often, so this is a good way to use up those spare CB’s. (Which also makes G1 LB4 special boost types like Battle Siren, Euphenia quite useful. Remember that their effects also apply to boosting the rear-guard.)

Vanilla Units. Get Grade 1 8k units and G2 10k units like Seal Dragon, Hunger Hell Dragon when you can. Needless to say their numbers make for a good defense, and quite useful when you get gradelocked.

G3 Searchers. G3 searchers like Red Pulse Dracokid see use even in regular play, but their chances are upped considerably in sealed play! Having a deck of 30 means a higher chance of getting a G3. For example, 30 cards minus your hand of 6, one card to the damage zone if you started second, and your draw means  searching five cards out of 22 cards- that’s statistically a lot more than searching out of a deck of 50.

Chain Rides. They might more often not work, but adding chain rides to the deck is a considerable option if you get the specific parts. If it doesn’t work, you have nothing to lose, and if it does, then you get a free +1. That’s pretty nice. Not to mention the new chain rides like Silent Ripple, Sotirio gives you the chance to search even if you didn’t ride the needed unit. And 7 cards out of 30 gives you a pretty big chance for it to work.


Avoid These Cards

Archtype-Specific Cards. These types of cards require a certain archetype such as “Seal Dragon” or “Dimensional Robo” to activate their effects. In sealed play, clan effects don’t matter, but archetype effects still do, and they are not treated as “All Archetypes”. So, Seal Dragon, Jacquard seems like a good card (and it is in normal play), but it’s not a good card in this format. This also applies to units that need special counterblasts.

4k Units. Like Seal Dragon, Chambray. Unless it’s a unit like Commander Laurel from Set 4 than can enable some big plays. Otherwise, don’t. Just don’t.


And that’s about it. Here’s also some tips to follow by:


- Some holos are good, some are not. You might want to pick another card instead of the Seal Dragon, Blockade you just got from your pack.

- Study the set. You will get a better picture of what you can get and what you might be up against this way, and plan ahead.

- Try to stick to a certain clan. Despite clan effects activating with different clans anyway, each clan’s cards tend to have more synergy with each other.

- Think out of the box! With clan effects not relying on specific clans, you can get cross-clan plays that would otherwise not happen in normal play. Some are pretty cool.

- Mind your deck. Remember that you only have 30 cards in your deck- that means less turns, a faster game, and you will tend to deck out faster. Calculate you moves so you don’t deck out- this tends to happen frequently.


To close it off, drafting is a fun format that you should definitely try if you haven’t. The Sneak Peek events for BT-10 should come up next, so keep your eyes peeled and have fun drafting!

Caesar Esaputra Sutrisna

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