Neon Genesis Evangelion: Building the Deck.

3 Nov

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.

Yellow

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.

Green

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.

Blue

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.

Red

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.

Climax Cards

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.

Overall

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.

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6 Responses to “Neon Genesis Evangelion: Building the Deck.”

  1. Newbie-kun January 3, 2012 at 5:05 pm #

    Hi there!

    I recently picked up WS due to my huge fandom of Evangelion, is it a problem if you would show me your deck list? Due to being a newbie, I have not much concept of the ratio of cards to play, upon reading your posts(where you talked about the WSGP Paris) it seems that you’re very level 3 heavy, a concept that I have been discouraged to do so by friends.

    It would also helped me see just how much support cards I should have, as oppose to straight up beatdown cards. Cards like Elevator Asuka/8th Angel are useful, but opponents who used level up assist characters screws this up, level 0 backrow assist cards are no doubt cheap and useful, and yet obsolete to late game level support type assist characters(Finishing Blow Asuka). So just how many copies should one have before it becomes too much and clogs up precious card space?

    • Xagor January 3, 2012 at 8:04 pm #

      Hey there! Glad to see someone has read some of the WS articles.

      I’d be happy to share my decklist. It’s honestly not all that different from many of the lists you’ll find on the Bushiroad website though. It probably should have done better at the event, but I was outplayed by Steven (who went on to get 2nd at the WGP finals, so it’s not too bad.) or just had terrible luck in my other loss. It’s easy to modify to your own style / character tastes. Just be careful some of them can be expensive/ hard to find.

      Level 0 : 19
      4x O-bento Duty Shinji
      4x Elevator Asuka
      2x Top Secret Immigrant Mari
      4x Emergency Summon Ayanami
      2x Horaki Hokari
      3x Moving House Asuka

      Level 1 : 11
      3x 8th Angel
      3x Monopoly? Asuka
      2x Asuka from the Purification Experiment Institution
      3x Disagreeing Asuka

      Level 2 : 5
      2x Finishin Blow Asuka
      3x Cooking!? Asuka

      Level 3 : 7
      4x “Ace of the Euro Airforce” Asuka
      3x Entry Plug Ayanami

      Climax : 8
      4x The Worst Possible Situation
      4x Three on One

      Your friends are right in that normal conventions would suggest playing less level 3s is sensible, so you don’t draw too many dead cards throughout the game. However from what I can tell there’s been a shift in the game towards using lots of Level 3 cards nowadays.

      This is usually either for Experience Requirements (EVA or Bakemonogatari), or due to the ability to play some of them at earlier levels (Haruhi, Milky Holmes). Experience decks require you to run lots of high level cards to make the experience easy to fulfill, but still be able to play your other copies at level 3. Decks like Haruhi can essentially play Summer Festival Nagato as a level 2, which means for example my current Blue/Red build used 9 Level 3s.

      The Removal cards like 8th Angel usually won’t have to worry about level assist cards. They exist, but usually the top decks don’t play them, for example you rarely see Former Famous Detective Kobayashi or Dressed Up Mikuru (outside of a specialist deck). There is a Katanagatari card that’s a pain though, but it’s not a support card. Then again in your local area lots of people might use level support cards.

      In terms of support, yes the higher level ones are better, but the level 0 support cards can still be useful through the entirety of the game. Most decks other than EVA have a hard time getting rid of things Back Stage, so they’ll tend to stick around for a long time. Usually 4 level 0 support cards will be enough I’ve found in most decks, but you can go up to 5 or 6 if you want.

      Hope this is helpful in some way.

      • Newbie-kun January 4, 2012 at 12:23 am #

        Thank you very much for the reply and help! ^_^ FIrst of all, I shall apologise first for any bad english or confusing sentences that I might make m(_ _)m

        I am really surprised that your level 2 only consists of 3 attackers, which is Cooking?! Asuka, mainly because for me I feel that level 2 is a phase that’s more important and that you would very much prefer to make more effort to have a bigger stand/advantage there, pushing your opponent into level 3 further then you are in, packing more level 2s, like the level 2 8.5k Ayanami from the Trial Deck for example, which have a similar effect to moving house asuka, boosting her to 9.5k, more soul damage too. Instead it seems you’re way more interested in going to level 3 to bust out your big guns.

        Have you ever faced a situation where you are pushed too deep into level 3 by your opponent’s level 2 to make a recovery out of it? Considering that you do not have any other characters that have a soul count of 2 other then in level 3, do you generally not face a problem where you are unable to catch up the pace of your opponent dealing damage to you? I am very interested in how you mostly played out your level 2 phase!

        In my area, lots of people runs Index and I see a couple play Aliens too, which really discouraged me from simply relying on going into level 3 phase to bring out my big guns and going head to head with theirs, because of their massive healing capabilities, it’s easy to come out on the losing end.

        You have inspired and convinced me to try and play more level 3 cards and to run the same amount of card retrievals as you 😀 Prior to this, I have not a single retrievals in my deck, instead opting for level 2 counter cards that boosts attacks by 3k. Now, I am going to try and drop these counter cards and put in Horaki Hikari and Monopoly? Asuka. Also, raising my level 3 cards from 4 to 6. The way you played makes me interested and amazed at how easy it seems for you to swarm your field with level 3s.

        Once again, thank you SO much for your enlightening of how your deck functions, And yes, I very much enjoyed your posts about WS, I have read about your Aliens and your daily card posts that you’ve started a few days ago. I do so hope to hear about your battles in future tournaments 😀 Pity we shall never meet ._. I’m from South East Asia.

  2. Xagor January 4, 2012 at 12:10 pm #

    Don’t worry about your English, I’ve heard far worse from English people…

    At level 2 I have thought about using another Cooking!? Asuka, because as you say the deck is rather short on cards at level 2. However it’s fairly easy for her to become a threat to even some level 3 cards. She’ll usually be at least 10,000 attack, and can be boosted up to 11,000 in your own turn. The Ayanami card can be stronger, but it costs more. For most of the game you want to be building up stock. This makes it easier to use Finishing Blow Asuka and the level 3 cards, as well as all the retrieval cards.

    That’s one of the big problems of the deck compared to say the Alien deck. If it gets pushed into a corner it doesn’t really have anything like Dressed Up Nagato to turn the tide of battle. The lack of Soul isn’t usually as much of a problem, because the deck has a decent amount of Soul triggers. Also a lot of the time hitting for smaller amounts will be better because it’s more likely to get through.

    At level 2 the plan is usually to get Finishing Blow Asuka down and take out a support card if possible. I will then try to get as many Cooking!? Asuka onto stage as I can, since barring things like Summer Festival Nagato, it’s usually quite hard for people to overcome her. Sometimes of course this doesn’t happen, so you might be forced to try and protect level 1s with counter cards or just side attack to build up stock.

    Another thing is that you want to try and get into level 2 before your opponent, since this means you can try to ruin their stage before they can play some of their power cards. Finishing Blow Asuka is great against any deck that relies on level 0 supports before level 2, and very little can overcome Cooking!? Asuka, especially once they’ve lost their support cards. If you can ruin their stage it makes things much easier for you once you get to level 3.

    Something like an Alien deck is quite a pain to go toe to toe with at level 3, however taking out their 3 Aliens card can help you. Also I think the healing power of the Alien deck is overstated. Unless you get lots of Summer Festival Nagatos on stage, and use multiple Climaxes it doesn’t actually heal any better than all the level 3s with in built heal.

    The retrieval cards are very useful in the deck, because it allows you to throw away cards earlier in the game and get them back later. This can be really helpful for getting back the level 3 cards. Of course it gives away that you have a counter card, for example, but this can sometimes reduce the damage you take because the opponent doesn’t want to lose their card.

    The deck’s strength lies in its consistency because it’s able to put down relatively strong cards for cheap.

    Hopefully you’ll have some success with the deck. This is by no means the only way to play the deck, but it’s what I’ve found myself comfortable with. Let me know how it performs against your friends.

    Glad to hear you’re enjoying reading the articles. I hope to keep up the writing if I can find the time. Unfortunately there aren’t all that many events in the UK, however namimo and I do meet up with some other players at anime conventions every so often.

    You never know what can happen down the line.

  3. Newbie-kun January 4, 2012 at 2:40 pm #

    Thank you very much for guiding me to building and playing Eva 😀

    I had an incredible time playing against various decks today! Winning every rounds against KoF and Basara deck users, and we had 10 matches at the very least 😀 Fighting him, I realise that I have a very strong presence in level 0 and 1, and the enemy tends to find it hard to overcome me, just as you had explained, and that I could so easily build up my stock at these two stages that all of it came to be very useful in abusing Horaki Hikari~ However, I also and to note that my extreme success against these two decks could be also due to the player who’s using them might not be as good as I had hoped he was.

    My next player is a considerably more skilled player, running a Fate/HA deck, we also had easily more then 6 matches, and we had a 50/50 win rate, all of which are great games~ We each won matches against each others back and forth lol. His level 0 assist card that allows his characters to encore by clocking allows him to have a good level 0~1 phase with me, side attacking me while encoring when it’s my turn, bypassing what was supposed to be a repeat of me taking control of early game phases like I did against KoF and Basara. I took a priority to nuke his level 0 encore support as soon as I reached level 2, and it helped ease his barrages of attacks. What gave me even more trouble and earning him his wins was his huge soul triggers and 2x soul to all character climaxes. At level 3, he could still do side attacks on my level 3s for decent soul damages to clinch the win. He also always does this “spark” damage similar to what my Level 3 Asuka could do, but without needing to reverse an opponent’s card.

    I then fought against yet another Fate/ deck(quite different from the previous player though), and in all 4 matches, I could not win against him once =/ Once again, his 2x Soul Climax got his wins at level 3 phase. I am trying to remember what went wrong against him, but everything’s pretty normal, perhaps too normal, there’s no one sided matches in any of the games, we both went to level 3 and decent pace, with one really really close match that I could have won but triggered a soul trigger and the attack got cancelled. It just felt… Wierd, but nonetheless, his deck is very stable, and that’s what makes him so strong 😀

    Other players I fought are a Guilty Crown TD, which poses no trouble at all, and a Idolm@aster deck that’s really fun, we won one match off each other, not much to say about his deck, other then there being some really interesting cards such as these crazy Haruka cards that gains attacks when my character goes from stand to rest or reverse, and he swarmed the field with 3 of these >.>;

    If you’re wondering what my deck is, it’s really similar to yours, except with no Mari, and I ran a couple more level 2s for safety~ Thank you so much for your advices, as evident from my plays today, it works great! Some loss may be contributed to my lack of experience, I’ve only played this game for less then a month! XD

    • Xagor January 4, 2012 at 3:10 pm #

      Good to hear you’re doing well with the deck and having fun with it! Those +2 Soul Climaxes are a real pain sometimes… I’ve had games like yours where they’ll cause a mass of damage late game that I can’t stop it. I imagine decks designed to work around them can be quite difficult to face. Late game they can be devastating.

      What you’ve done to the deck is honestly something I’ve been contemplating myself. Right now the deck is a bit level 0 heavy and Mari was the card I was thinking of changing, but there are times where her boost is helpful. Then again I’m usually against namimo’s Angel Beats deck and its +3500 counter so the extra boost is especially helpful here.

      Hope you have more fun with the deck in the future, it sounds like you’ve got a good community around you.

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