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Luck of the Draw

As an additional excuse to meet up with my friends with whatever free time I have in a pixilated green uniform, I’ve picked up Bushiroad’s Cardfight!! Vanguard again, 3-4 years after it stopped punching holes in my wallet. I felt that the metagame was stale then, with the introduction of the ‘Lock’ mechanic, a new clan and cards that have the potential to sabotage your own deck. Coupled with the lack of any support cards for my favourite clan for months on end, it was the final nail in the coffin but that’s a story for another time.

I was surprised to find out that the game was still thriving, with gameplay that’s a lot more fast-paced, along with the anime series that aired weekly. Clans that boasted a unique style but were ignored by many players previously have made a comeback, being armed with a whole host of support cards. The usual ‘main character’ clans dominate the scene still, but winning isn’t as simple as paying top dollar for the best cards anymore, you actually have to stop and think on more turns than you might expect.

Much to my dismay, one thing that hasn’t changed would be the price of upgrading or creating a deck from scratch, no thanks to the game’s popularity. Throw in an additional eight Grade 4 cards to complete your G Zone (side deck if you play other TCGs) and that’s a pretty penny gone. It doesn’t help that the most popular Grade 4 cards belong to a new rarity level called G-Rare. A single copy of these can cost anywhere between a paltry $6-8 to ten times that amount to boot.

On a side note,  I like that Bushiroad didn’t take the easy way out and simply incorporate Grade 4 units wholesale into the game, wrecking established deck-building guidelines and causing a slew of other problems. Kudos to the company for constantly updating the game and ensuring the many clans are balanced, be it through the introduction of new mechanics or clans, although it’s understandable that the protagonists are given the best cards first. Bushiroad is a business after all, first and foremost.

Before it starts to sound like an advertorial, if it already hasn’t, I’ve realised that I’ve found myself being drawn to Japanese TCGs more than their Western counterparts through the years. Be it constantly promoting new clans or cards through their anime serials or even using anime characters as cards ala Weiss Schwarz, they’ve always had the upper hand over Western TCGs/CCGs.

If that isn't bad enough, these Japanese titles usually have an English version, basically forcing any potential competitors into checkmate. There’s always Magic the Gathering for purists and nostalgia but I hope to see more games being introduced as the years go by. It would be a great way to procrastinate completing that assignment or to extend a gathering by another hour or two.

Written by ET

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