Stand vs Crit: What is Your Image of Victory?

Charles Hsiao

"Twin drive check. Get, critical trigger. That is probably one of the most common way that the people in the Cardfight Vanguard season win their matches. And it's not just the show. Many people who play the game more often lose to critical triggers rather to stand trigger, the second offensive trigger in the game. In fact, the stand trigger often gets the boot as people stack their deck with any number between 8 to 16 critical triggers for game. And why wouldn't you play a trigger that increases damages dealt? It allows you to be that much closer to victory that much faster. It's because of how simple a critical trigger works that people barely even see stand triggers in the game. That's why people are surprized when they choose to drop a null guard on the vanguard only to lose because of the few stand triggers the person uses in the deck.

In my opinion, stand trigger can be just as effective as critical, especially late games when you want to force your opponent to consume as much cards from their hand as you can. That way they will have fewer defense when it comes to the next turn. Decks like Nova Grappler and Aqua Force focus on launching multiple attacks on their enemies to force out cards from their defense, and late game stand trigger can be just the power you need to win the game. If you perform your twin drive check when your opponent have 15000 shield left, even with a critical bonus the 15000 is most likely enough to defend the attack. But if your front row units have the same power as your opponent's vanguard it will require 20000 shield because the re-standed unit attack will take 5000 shield and the last rearguard with the trigger bonus will take 15000 shield to defend. Also,if your opponent has only two 10000 shield cards to defend with it can defend even against a double-powered rearguard from critical, draw or heal trigger, but even one stand ruins their hand because then one card is needed to defend the unit that stands up again, and 2 cards minimum are needed to defend the unit that hasn't attacked yet.

But the problem with the stand trigger is the restriction of standing only a rearguard; it can NOT stand the vanguard up again, so you must have field presence to make the stand trigger effect. And if you play criticals as well as stands you need one rearguard standing in case you pull that critical and are unable to break your opponent's defense. And there will be situations where you only have one or even zero front row rearguard, which makes your stand triggers obsolete. Withe critical triggers you can go ahead and attack with your vanguard first because then any trigger you get can power up your rearguard without having to worry about trying to maximize the trigger effect. And the ability to instantly increase damage can increase the pressure on the opponent as they are one point closer to losing faster.

The generic decks such as Kagero, Oracle Think Tank, Dark Irregular and Royal Paladins play no stand triggers as the decks focus their power on their center line, which makes critical trigger more effective. However, some decks such as Nova Grapplers, Soul Saver Royal and Mr. Overlord love stand triggers because they can power up their rearguards to high numbers and standing them will require more cards to defend with than criticals. After all, who wants to deal with a re-standing Dragonic Overlord with his Counterblast activated after stopping it the first time? Or how about dealing with a 20000 power Gallatin like Aichi did to defeat Gouki at the Regional final? A few Spectral Duke decks I say play stands triggers so that Spectral Duke Dragon can hit for large numbers twice rather than having one boosted attack and one non-boosted.

Some decks choose to not play stand triggers simply because they have more effective wants to stand their rearguard; an Asura Kaiser deck combine with Death Armies can play all criticals and simply stand their rearguard when a Grade 3 shown on the drive check due to their skills. Naval Gazer's Limit Break allows two Aqua Force rearguards to stands when it hits the opponent's vanguard, so a few stand and a few criticals works well in that deck. A Great Nature deck revolving around Polaris have the option of whether or not to play stands, since Polaris' Limit Break allows a rearguard unit to stand up and gain 4000 power at a cost of retiring it during the end phase. That means you can use stand triggers to stand up the booster behind the unit or criticals to give it more of a threat. And then a cheaper variation of Great Nature, Apt Dominator, can utulize stand triggers because of the ability to replace a unit on the field with another unit in hand, which allows for multiple powerful attacks when used correctly.

I myself do not use stand triggers for my competative Vanguard deck, but I have messed around with trigger builds and as far as I can tell using 2 stand triggers in a deck works well the majority of the time. It is few enough that you will most likely not get it on the first drive check, and yet just enough to serve its purpose when it comes at a later time. Not to mention, your opponent will most likely be unable to figure out what is your trigger ratio in a deck, which can determine  victory or defeat. A deck that plays 8 stand, 4 draw and 4 heal means that even if you are at four damage there is no imminent threat of being forced to six damage all of a sudden, and 8 critical, 4 draw and 4 heal means if you can guard three attacks that turn then you are safe. So if you were playing, say, 6 critical 3 stand 4 draw and 3 heals, and play triggers with different names on top of deck, your opponent will be thrown off-guard as to what to expect from your drive checks, and when every decision counts making the wrong guess can cost you the game.

Charles Hsiao

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