Today we’re going to be looking at some of the more powerful cards that could make up a competitive Evangelion deck. Rather than doing an in-depth study of every single colour, like for Haruhi, I will just be focusing on cards that you might want to consider using in a competitive deck. The vast majority of the good cards in the series are from Red, which means most Evangelion decks are based around Asuka. Blue follows, and as such you’ll often see mixed Rei and Asuka decks with varying amounts of Blue. Unfortunately there aren’t that many general use Yellow and Green cards, so you will only occasionally see Shinji and Mari cards in use. A lot of the cards in the deck rely on their Experience abilities, which activate when the total level of the cards in your Level area reaches a certain amount, so most decks will be very top heavy. As a shorthand for this article I will refer to level X Experience effect, to mean an Experience effect requiring a total of level X or more.
The most commonly used Yellow card is [O-bento duty Shinji (EV/S12-003)]. He gives +500 attack to all Asuka and Ayanami cards and by resting him can give a further +500 attack and the «O-bento» attribute to one of them. This makes him an invaluable support card for the deck, so many decks will use him as their only yellow. Sometimes you may also see [“Unit 01 Pilot” Shinji (EV/S12-012)] and [Eva Unit 01 (Suspect Evolution First Awakened State) (EV/S12-002)] used in the deck. The Shinji card has a Change ability allowing you to bring out EVA Unit 01 early. Unit 01 only has 9500 attack, but gains +1500 from its level 4 Experience effect, which is relatively easy to activate. In addition when you play Unit 01 from your hand or via Change you draw two cards and then discard one, allowing you to speed through your deck faster and regain cards.
Unfortunately most of the Green cards don’t really help the deck, so the only card that sees much use is [Top Secret Immigrant Mari (EV/S12-029)]. When she’s played you can give a «Pilot» character a +1500 boost making her a useful one shot support card that can work at any point in the game. Since she’s a character card rather than an event card she can also cause damage herself once her effect is used, but she’s unlikely to stick around for long, especially if used in the late game. Since she’s also a «Pilot» character you can give the boost to herself making her a 3500 if the situation calls for it. As an alternative to the Shinji support card you can use [Another Pilot of Unit 02 Mari (EV/S12-033)], who gives all other «Pilot» and «Mecha» +500 attack. She would be useful in a more Green/Yellow focused deck, but in an Asuka/Ayanami deck is completely outshone by Shinji.
There are several useful Blue cards to consider when building the deck, but there is one card that is a staple, [Emergency Summon Ayanami (EV/S12-076)]. As a level 0 4000 she is an enormous threat during the early parts of the game. As you might expect there is a penalty for playing her though. When you play her you need to send the top two cards of your deck to the Waiting Room, and if either are Climaxes she goes to Rest. In most cases all this will do is thin your deck, and when she does hit Climax cards the waiting room might be a better destination for them than getting stuck in the Stock. You have to be prepared for her effect to fail and halt your offensive plays though.
If you don’t want to use Shinji in the support role you can use [Classmate Ayanami (EV/S12-078)]. In addition to giving +500 to the cards in front, she has a level 3 Experience effect, whereby resting her gives a «Pilot» or «Mecha» +1000 for the turn. This makes her more versatile than Shinji as the game progresses, and allows her to be used in a wider range of decks. However Shinji is still better at the start of the game, and as the game progresses you will usually want to switch up to stronger support cards.
For heavy hitters you have a choice of 2 cards [Entry Plug Ayanami (EV/S12-104 )] or [Ayanami Who Swore to Protect Shinji (EV/S12-082)]. Both provide healing when played to the Stage, so their 2nd ability will determine which you use in your deck. [Entry Plug Ayanami] gains +1000 during the opponent’s turn, whilst [Ayanami Who Swore to Protect Shinji] has a Climax Synergy. If she’s in your Front Row at the start of the opponent’s Attack Phase you can discard [Ayanami’s Smile (EV/S12-099)] to give herself and another character +3500 attack. As a standalone card this makes [Entry Plug Ayanami] better and allows you a greater diversity of Climax cards, but [Entry Plug Ayanami] has a very powerful effect, so it’s up to the player to decide whether they want reliability or strength.
Finally there is a Blue event card which sometimes sees play [Mysterious Insitution (EV/S12-097)]. By resting a «Glasses» or «Pilot» character you can look at the top 4 cards of your deck before adding 1 to your hand and placing the other 3 back in any order and finally giving one of your characters +2000 attack. This card can be very useful for setting up specific amounts of damage, or setting up a Climax for the following turn.
The main strength of this deck lies in its Red cards, which are filled with character removal and retrieval. Many rely on Experience to enhance their power.
For removal you have [Elevator Asuka (EV/S12-054)], [The 8th Angel (EV/S12-066)], [Finishing Blow Asuka (EV/S12-052)] and [Experimental Plugsuit Asuka (EV/S12-057)]. [Elevator Asuka] and [The 8th Angel] are the usual type of character removal cards, which reverse an opposing character when they get reversed, providing you cover for level 0 and level 1 characters. In addition [Elevator Asuka] can retrieve a «Pilot» from the Waiting Room for a cost of 2 stock when she gets sent there from the Stage, meaning she will often net you an extra card overall. [Finishing Blow Asuka] provides the usual level support of +500 x level to the cards in front, as well as removal against all level 0 characters. By paying 1 stock and resting 2 «Pilot» cards you can send an opponent’s level 0 to the waiting room, meaning that even support characters hiding Back Stage aren’t safe. [Experimental Plugsuit Asuka] has Climax Synergy with [The Worst Possible Situation(EV/S12-073)], which allows you to place an opponent’s level 2 or below character on top of their deck for 1 stock. This guarantees they’ll be out of your way, since you don’t need to worry about Encore. Unfortunately she goes to the Waiting Room at the end of that turn, but she can come right back since she has Encore herself. Most Red/Asuka decks will play the first 3 of these cards in varying numbers, but due to the high cost most people don’t include [Experimental Plugsuit Asuka].
For character retrieval, in addition to [Elevator Asuka], you have access to [Horaki Hikari (EV/S12-053)] and [Monopoly? Asuka(EV/S12-067)]. Hikari has a Bond to [Monopoly? Asuka], in addition to a level 3 Experience effect which allows you to return any character to your hand for 1 stock and a card from your hand. [Monopoly? Asuka] as well as being a +2000 counter card can also return any «Pilot» to your hand by discarding a card from your hand when she’s played to the Stage. All of these cards make it very easy to gather your important cards.
Red has access to several heavy hitters, some of which have Experience. [Moving House Asuka (EV/S12-055)] gains +1000 when there are 2 or more other «Pilot» on stage, making her a 3500, which shouldn’t be too hard to achieve in this sort of deck. Both [Disagreeing Asuka (EV/S12-056)] and [Cooking!? Asuka (EV/S12-061)] gain +1000 when they fulfill their Experience requirements (2 and 3 respectively), which is very easy to do, making them a 1/0 6000 and a 2/1 9000 respectively. Finally there’s [Asuka from the Purification Experiment Institution (EV/S12-068)] if you just need a little extra power at level 1.
The trump card of Red is [“Ace of the Euro Airforce” Asuka (EV/S12-062)] who can both heal and deal burn damage. Like most level 3 cards she heals 1 from the Clock when played. She also has a Climax Synergy with [Three on One (EV/S12-075)], which activates quite a powerful burn effect. When she attacks the opponent will take 1 damage for each of their reversed characters. This means that with 2 of these cards and a 3rd character on the front row it is possible to cause an extra 3 burn damage.
Finally if you don’t want to use any of the other level 0 support cards Asuka has one as well. [Pointing Out Asuka (EV/S12-058)] gives the characters in front +500 and can be rested to give a «Pilot» +500. In a mixed «Pilot» deck this probably makes her the most useful of these support cards, but for a deck focused around Asuka, you are probably still better off with the Shinji support card.
If you are playing cards with Climax Synergies the first thing you will want to do is of course play the Climax card they work with. If you haven’t filled all of your 8 Climax slots in the deck with these, you are best using [The Worst Possible Situation] in the remaining slots, since as a Door type Climax it’s the most powerful one available to you.
A deck based around Asuka/Rei is a fairly straightforward deck to play, and it offers a lot of control over the flow of the game. You just need to be wary of your Level area and make sure that you can reach the required level of Experience quickly, as well as making sure you can play all the colours in your deck. Thanks to the Experience effects you can have cheap, powerful cards all the way up to level 2, so hopefully paying for cards should not prove to be a problem, and you can overpower most cards without expending too much effort. Thanks to [Elevator Asuka] and [The 8th Angel], no level 0 or 1 cards should be a real threat to you once they step onto the Front Stage. [Finishing Blow Asuka] can take out support cards, making it easier to defeat decks which rely on their level 0 support cards. The many retrieval cards should make it easier to get the cards you need for whatever situation you are facing. Finally the large number of healing level 3 cards means that the deck should be capable of surviving at level 3 for quite a while.
Of course as with any deck it still has its flaws. If you fail to get the required Experience the deck loses a lot of its power, with the cards relying on it become worse than the standard vanillas. In addition whilst the deck can consistently put fairly powerful attackers on stage, it generally lacks the ability for explosive attack gains, and can fall foul to characters with very high attack points. Finally [Monopoly? Asuka] is fairly weak as a counter card, which means you won’t always be able to protect characters from opposing attacks.