Deck Profile: Otaku Power!

For the first Deck Profile in a long while, I’m going to be looking at the Otaku deck from Lucky Star. Thanks to a recent Comeback Campaign and a new PR card, the deck has been given a massive boost in strength. The deck has gone from outdated and weak, to something which can measure up to modern decks. The deck has a very straightforward strategy, but in my experience it does this very well.

This is probably the happiest Weiβ Schwarz deck I've played

This is probably the happiest Weiβ Schwarz deck I’ve played

I’ll be working through my current list for the deck, explaining my card choices and the strategies for playing them, alongside alternatives you might want to consider if you wanted to play the deck. For the convenience of the readers, each card will have a link to the translations found on Heart of the Cards. So if you’re unfamiliar with the cards you can check out exactly what they do on there. In some cases I will be using slightly different names to the ones they have listed, because I disagree with the way they’ve chosen to do some of the translations. Also in one or two cases, I’ve made some slight modifications so the name flows a little better in English.

Level 0: 18
4x Patricia Martin
4x Konata & Hiyori & Patty
4x Sunday’s Best Konata
4x Kung Fu Master Konata
2x Calm Type Miyuki

Level 1: 10
4x Battlefield Konata
4x Summer’s Day Konata
2x Innocent Konata

Level 2: 7
3x Swiftly Running Girl Konata
2x Kuroi Nanako
1x Way of Hobby Konata
1x 100M Shock

Level 3: 7
3x Stand Up! Konata
3x Favourite Food Konata
1x Strongest Character Miyuki

Climaxes: 8
4x Small Breasts are a Status Symbol and Rare
3x This Year Begins
1x Hiyori Starting

Level 0

Everybody looks so happy to be here!

Everybody looks so happy to be here!

The first thing you might notice about the deck is the large number of Level 0 cards that it plays, and the fact that a disproportionately large number of these are essentially support characters. The deck contains more support cards at Level 0 than most other decks contain in their entirety. These supports are vital for getting the deck up and running, and most of them remain relevant for the majority of the game. With so many supports it becomes much easier to set up for the early game.

The most important support in the deck, and arguably the most important card in the deck is [Sunday’s Best Konata], who provides general support for the deck, as well as turning [Battlefield Konata] and [Swiftly Running Girl Konata] into real powerhouses. During Level 0 she is important for helping your attackers reach their full potential, thanks to the global +500 she provides for Otaku, as well as the fact she has that attribute herself. Her true power isn’t revealed until you reach Level 1 though, at which point she turns into a +1,000 boost for [Battlefield Konata], allowing you to fairly easily field some 8,500 Power cards with Encore during Level 1. Once you reach Level 2 you can start putting down cards with up to 11,500 Power, which can even threaten some Level 3 cards. It’s only once you reach Level 3 where you might consider playing other cards instead.

You don't want to be staring this field down!

You don’t want to be staring this field down!

A big selling point for this card is the fact that it remains relevant into the late game. This means you don’t need to pay Stock in order to play new cards, or have to worry about drawing higher Level support cards. You can just keep the same Level 0 cards around and get large Power boosts out of them.

The second main support for the deck is [Patricia Martin], who not only functions as a backup plan for global supports, but also bonds to [Battlefield Konata], your most important Level 1 card. She gives a global +500 to all of your Manga characters, which includes all of your other Otaku characters, except [Swiftly Running Girl Konata]. This means that during Level 0 she serves just as good a support role as Konata, and that she still helps at Level 1, albeit not as much as Konata. You will hopefully have been able to replace her by the time you reach Level 2 though, because she will not give [Swiftly Running Girl Konata] a Power boost, beyond the fact Patricia will count as an Otaku.

Turn that stock into a Level 1 card! Sometimes you can even pay out a Climax.

Turn that stock into a Level 1 card! Sometimes you can even pay out a Climax.

Her Bond allows you to safely discard [Battlefield Konata] from your opening Hand, and it gives the deck an easy way to start building up card numbers. At the same time, she can also be helpful for paying out early Climaxes.

Miyuki is a multi-purpose card within the deck, who fulfils several different roles. The most obvious is the fact that she can search your deck for just about any card you want. The only character she cannot get is your Level 2 Counter, [Kuroi Nanako]. This search effect can be important at any point in the game, whether it’s getting your full set of supports at Level 0, or making sure you have more high Level cards to play at the end of the game.

Turn unwanted cards into powerful new ones!

Turn unwanted cards into powerful new ones!

Tied to this effect is the fact that you can also use her as a hand filter, allowing you to dump Climaxes to the Waiting Room without the need to play them. In this way you can avoid losing resources and also set up for after Deck Refresh. If you have her alongside [Patricia Martin], you might even consider discarding [Battlefield Konata], knowing you can bond it right back, although this will probably not be worth the effort most of the time, compared to just keeping it in your hand.

Her third use is to help provide a Power boost to your characters, ensuring she actually has a use after completing her search effect. This effect is obviously intended to work with [Completionist General Miyuki], who can reach at least 57,000, but that card has no place in an Otaku deck. Instead she’ll usually be providing either a 1,000 or 2,000 boost, which can be useful for winning battles you otherwise could not.

This effect can be useful at most points in the game, but will probably be least useful during Level 1. During Level 0 a +1000 boost can make a big difference, especially given the lack of Counters at that point in the game. Once you reach Level 1, not only does the importance of a +1000 boost go down relative to general strength of cards, but you also need to consider that in real terms it is only worth +500. Since she is not an Otaku, your Level 1 cards will not be getting the +500 they would have if she were. Whilst this is still true at Level 2, the fact you can start giving a +2000 boost, or in real terms +1500 can make quite a substantial difference. Level 3 cards will benefit from the full +2000, since they stop caring about the presence of other Otaku.

Miyuki also allows you to get an extra boost out of Climaxes, turning any Soul increase into an extra +1,000. So with [Hiyori Starting], you might even see characters gain +4,000 Power.

Since Kung Fu Master Konata is Level 1, it's extra hard to get rid of her.

Since Kung Fu Master Konata is Level 1, it’s extra hard to get rid of her.

The main attacker in the deck is [Kung Fu Master Konata], who is a powerful variant of some commonly seen Level 0 cards. Many decks have access to cards which become 3500 when two or more other cards of a certain attribute are around (usually matching to their own), so this is hardly a special effect. Where Konata differs is that by giving up an extra 500 base Power, she also gains a Level when two or more other Otaku are around. This kind of effect is much more common on ‘loner’ type cards, which become stronger when fewer or even no other characters are around.

Since Konata gets bigger in the presence of other cards, it means she can often become stronger than loner cards, because she is still able to benefit from support cards. You could also play multiple copies of her on the Front Stage, without worrying about her losing strength, although I wouldn’t recommend doing this most of the time. It’s not unusual to have her as a Level 1 4500, meaning that she threatens other Level 0 cards in battle, as well as being immune to most Level 0 Reversers.

Cheer up Rei! You didn't lose by that much!

Cheer up Rei! You didn’t lose by that much!

The final Level 0 in the deck is [Konata & Hiyori & Patty], who I often call the Otaku Trio. This card provides a big heavy hitter for the deck, capable of hitting 6000 on the offensive without too many problems. This should be able to deal with most Level 0 cards that Konata can’t beat, and even take on a few of the smaller Level 1 cards. Be wary that they will lose their Power afterwards, making them liable to only last a single turn. However their regular base is a respectable 2500 Power, so they can sometimes stick around for more than 1 turn. It’s also important to note that you will not be able to use two of them at full strength together. Although, usually you won’t want to be fielding too many cards at Level 0.

This is not a sensible plan!  You could lose far too many cards if it goes wrong.

This is not a sensible plan! You could lose far too many cards if it goes wrong.

As you might have realised,  both of these attackers need to have 2 other Otaku around in order to function properly. A lot of the time this can be achieved thanks to the large number of support cards the deck plays, but what about those games where you don’t draw them? What will you do then? If you cannot get 3 Otaku cards at all during Level 0, you will probably need to sacrifice them in order to simply gain Stock. Sometimes you might be able to get over 1 or 2 cards thanks to a Climax or Miyuki, but this deck can really struggle if it gets a bad opening draw.

If you do get 3 Otaku, but none of them are supports, what should you do then? It’s very tempting to go on the offensive, especially if you have lots of [Kung Fu Master Konata], but this could leave you very open to counterattack, especially if your opponent can easily play cards with 3,500 Power or more. Instead, I would suggest placing two of them Back Stage, only putting the final one to the Front Stage. Which one you choose to leave out the front will depend on what your opponent has.

A much better idea. Now you'll only lose 1 card if things go wrong.

A much better idea. Now you’ll only lose 1 card if things go wrong.

If you’re going first you’ll usually want to leave [Kung Fu Master Konata] out the front, because even at 3,500 it can threaten some cards, and the ability to get around Reversers should not be underestimated. If you suspect your opponent will defeat Konata anyway, you might simply want to sacrifice one of your Level 0 cards on the first turn, sending it out alone, and hoping that you get better cards on the second turn.

If you’re going second it will depend on what your opponent has played. If it’s a Reverser or small, then feel free to send [Kung Fu Master Konata] after it. If it’s big you’re better off using the Otaku trio to deal with it, because they can reach 5,000  even without supports. If 5000 is too small, even to suicide, then you’re probably in big trouble.

Due to the fact the deck plays 18 Level 0 cards, 16 of which are Otaku, it is usually fairly easy to start with Level 0 cards, at least some of which should be supports. I would usually advise dumping cards from your opening hand which are not Level 0, in order to increase your chances of setting up a proper Stage early on. This goes against how I usually play, where I try to keep at least some options for the late game. One card you might want to keep is [This Year Begins] for the Power boost and the fact you don’t lose cards by playing it. The draw will also help you dig for other Level 0 cards. You can always Bond back [Battlefield Konata], or simply search for the cards you need later on. If however you already have a good Level 0 set up in your opening hand, then it’s probably a good idea to hang onto the other cards as well, since you won’t need to dig for other Level 0 cards just yet.

I would advise playing as many copies of most of these cards as you can, because having as many Otaku at Level 0 as possible is very important for the deck. The only card where it might be overkill, is with Miyuki, because she isn’t an Otaku, and you might want to save some of your Stock for actually playing other cards.

Alternatives

Aside from these cards, which other Level 0 cards might you want to consider when playing this deck? Unfortunately, the choice of cards is very narrow, because most of them fit into the other decks within Lucky Star, like Twins or Glasses, and would not help the Otaku deck at all. Other cards like [Yasaka Kou] are completely outclassed by the supports already in the deck, and ones like [Hobbyist Hiyori] I just think are bad.

Not as strong as the others, but more consistent.

Not as strong as the others, but more consistent.

The only real choices you’re left with are [Konata Getting Out of the Bath] and [Idol of the Academy Michi], both of who are vanilla cards, the latter of which is one of the PR cards you are allowed to play in anything. I feel both of these are hugely outclassed by the Otaku trio and [Kung Fu Master Konata], although they will have more Power on their own. The only reason I can see to play the latter, would be for Red, for those very very rare circumstances where you might have to play the Red Counter onto the Stage. I really doubt this will happen often though.

Something which I had not considered until talking with another Lucky Star player was using [Online Gamer Nanako] to try and fix early game problems. She’s not an Otaku, so doesn’t directly benefit the rest of your cards, but her effect might come in handy when you have terrible starts. This could include Climax heavy hands and those where you simply don’t have the required Level 0 cards. You’ll hopefully be able to trade off your hand for a better one, but I can imagine it getting worse sometimes. The fact she doesn’t directly contribute to the rest of the deck’s strategy would make me wary of playing it, especially since I don’t think there’s that much space to play with at Level 0 anyway. I think she’s definitely an option if you can’t complete the Otaku core.

Level 1

Their printed Power might be small, but these are some deadly Otaku!

Their printed Power might be small, but these are some deadly Otaku!

Level 1 is all about fielding big characters which your opponent will have a hard time dealing with. Your offensive forces will be split between [Battlefield Konata] and [Summer’s Day Konata]. The former of which is a 1/1 with Encore that will usually reach 8,500, the latter is a 1/0 that will usually reach 7500. Both of these are fairly big for their costs, and the former has Encore to help keep her around.

You'd better watch out Yuki! 9000 Power is quite deadly for a Level 1.

You’d better watch out Yuki! 9000 Power is quite deadly for a Level 1.

[Battlefield Konata] will probably take up the bulk of the work, because she’s bigger, more durable and [Patricia Martin] has a bond with her. This makes drawing [Battlefield Konata] less of a problem, because you can always bond back copies which end up in the Waiting Room. With a full Stage of Otaku she reaches 6,500, which is actually pretty poor compared to similar modern cards which start at 6,500 with Encore. The only real difference being that Konata has a Soul Trigger, whilst those cards do not.

Where [Battlefield Konata] really starts to come into her own is when you consider her alongside [Sunday’s Best Konata]. She gets an extra +500 on top of the regular Otaku boost for a total of 1,000.

Lucky Star can put down lots of Power for cheap. But you need to watch out for Level 1 Reversers!

Lucky Star can put down lots of Power for cheap. But you need to watch out for Level 1 Reversers!

[Summer’s Day Konata] on the other hand just simply allows you to put out a big card without having to worry about Stock.

The deck gets its full strength when you have a full field. This means you’ll be pushing the game ahead quite fast, and is usually not how I would play things. Keeping a single copy of either alone on the Front Stage will be sacrificing 1,000 Power, which will be much easier for your opponent to pick off.

Putting lots out makes them harder to beat, but also leaves you more exposed if your opponent does manage it. At least with [Battlefield Konata] you can Encore her and strike back on the following turn. Paying the Stock for her early on might seem like a lot, but she’ll stick around for so long that she can easily make up for it in the long run.

Do you go for Power and searchability? Or less Power, but free? The choice is yours.

Do you go for Power and searchability? Or less Power, but free? The choice is yours.

Level 1 is rounded out by counters, where you have two possible choices of what to play, either the 1/0 [Takara Miyuki] or the 1/1 [Innocent Konata]. So far, I’ve tried out both cards in the deck, but I am currently still trying out the latter. Both cards have their advantages, so it will probably be down to the user to decide which one they prefer.

At a basic level, the difference between the two comes down to their Cost and the Power boost they give. [Takara Miyuki] is free to play, but gives a smaller boost of 1,500, whilst [Innocent Konata] can give a 2,000 boost for 1 Stock. As far as conserving Stock is concerned, Miyuki is the better option, because she’s free, meaning you never have to worry about her impacting on any of your future plays. On the other hand, the extra 500 from Konata will be useful for turning suicides into victories, or defeats into suicides. How often this matters will depend greatly on what you play, and how the deck is performing at the time.

An important difference between the two cards is the attributes they have. [Takara Miyuki] has Glasses and Chairman, whilst [Innocent Konata] has Otaku and Net Game. In both cases the latter is unimportant, but the former can make a big difference to the usefulness of the card during the game. Both cards can be searched by [Calm Type Miyuki], but only the [Innocent Konata] by the Climax combo of [Swiftly Running Girl Konata]. This latter interaction is important, because it allows you to search for a Counter to defend yourself on the following turn, something which you cannot do unless you run [Innocent Konata]. Whilst you’ll lose the surprise factor that counters can usually bring to battle, it makes it much easier to keep cards on the Stage.

The basic core of this deck’s Level 1 should be made up of four copies of both [Battlefield Konata] and [Summer’s Day Konata], because it not only increases your chances of seeing them, but also the number of them that you can play onto the Stage at once. Beyond this, the number of counters will probably be up to preference. My build shown here uses two copies of [Innocent Konata], but you could just as easily use one copy, replace them with [Takara Miyuki], or do a split between both kinds of counter. Just due to sheer availability, you may find it easier to use [Takara Miyuki].

Alternatives

Because the deck needs more supports.

Because the deck needs more supports.

Most of the other Level 1 choices for the Otaku deck really aren’t worth thinking about, but there are a few that you might find useful. There are two Red and two Yellow cards with Otaku, however they don’t do enough for the deck to consider trying to mix colours.

[Konata & Yui] is a Red card that could be useful for taking out support characters, but it is tiny for a 1/1. You’ll ultimately be using up a Stock and 2 cards just to get rid of a support card.

[My Pace Konata] is another Red, but it’s not worth running her Climax in order to use her properly.

[Anime Research Club President Kou] is Yellow, and honestly the deck doesn’t need the Power boost she provides.

[Outlaw Hiyori] is the final Yellow, and she’s quite frankly terrible. A 1/1 6,000 is awful.

This leaves you with three possible Blue cards to consider.

Firstly is [Izumi Soujirou], who is simply outclassed by the other supports in the deck.

Secondly is [Patricia in a Hot Country], who could fill a defensive role at Level 1. During the opponent’s turn she is equivalent to one of the other Level 1s, with 3 Otaku around. She allows you to have decent Power during your opponent’s turn, without having to commit a lot of cards to the Stage. She is completely lacking offensively though, and will be completely outclassed by the other Level 1s when you have a full Stage.

[Thinking that way Hiyori] is yet another support card for the deck, once again providing a global +500 to Otaku. Support wise it’s completely outclassed by [Sunday’s Best Konata], but it could give you extra options for when you haven’t drawn that or [Patricia Martin] yet. Her Climax combo is okay, because it allows you to recover from playing [Hiyori Starting], and actually gives said Climax a purpose outside of +2 Soul boosts. However, she’s so small that she’ll likely be defeated on the following turn, undoing any advantage you just gained. Her 3rd effect is mostly pointless, but I suppose it could be used to give [Swiftly Running Girl Konata] Manga, so she gets a boost from [Patricia Martin] or something like that.

Level 2

Even some Level 3 cards have trouble dealing with this lot!

Even some Level 3 cards have trouble dealing with this lot!

Level 2 is where you start to bring out the big guns, with [Swiftly Running Girl Konata], who thanks to [Sunday’s Best Konata] will usually have 11,500 Power when you’ve got a full Stage. This is more than most other Level 2 cards can handle, and will even trouble some Level 3 cards. For example, a Level 3 backed up by a Level support can usually only match her, meaning that at the sides of the Stage, some decks will struggle to beat her. Often she will still be your biggest card, even during Level 3.

You have to be wary that she does not have Manga, instead having Net Game, because this means she will not gain a Power boost from [Patricia Martin]. This means that during games when you cannot get the complete support set up done, she will be a little smaller than expected.

Use the Climax combo to add lots more cards to your hand!

Use the Climax combo to add lots more cards to your hand!

Her Climax combo is the icing on the cake for this card, because it allows you to turn a Climax card that would normally lose you a card, into just about anything you want. What’s more, it doesn’t cost you any Stock, so you can save that for the cards you add to your Hand. You’ll also be thinning your deck down, hopefully making it easier to cancel attacks in the future.

With a single copy on the Stage it turns the Climax into an even trade off, whilst with 3 you’ll end up gaining two cards out of it. In all likelihood, the only cards you won’t be able to get from your deck are [Kuroi Nanako] and, if you choose to use them, the Miyuki cards such as [Strongest Character Miyuki]. Cards you will often want to add to your hand include any of your Level 3 cards, [Innocent Konata] and extra or missing copies of your support cards. If none of these are available, just grab whatever cards you can, preferably with 0 cost, just in case you need them later.

You could also opt to play 4 copies of this card if you wanted, but that might be a bit much, and it would make your end game even more costly.

Outside of this, every other Level 2 card plays a support role of some kind.

For a Counter you have [Kuroi Nanako], who can give +3,500 to a single character, or split 2,500 and 1,000 across two characters. For the same cost, this outclasses the standard 2/1 vanilla counters that you get, and can make her quite a versatile card. She allows you to defend with up to 15,000 when used together with [Swiftly Running Girl Konata], which is very hard to get over, even for most Level 3 cards. She also allows your Level 1 characters to challenge Level 2 cards, because even [Summer’s Day Konata] can reach 11,000 with this card.

Kuroi-sensei can lead to some quite difficult decisions for your opponent. Do they worry about the split Power, or the big boost to one character?

Kuroi-sensei can lead to some quite difficult decisions for your opponent. Do they worry about the split Power, or the big boost to one character?

The fact you can split the effect across two cards means that on some occasions you’ll be able to take out two of your opponent’s cards for the price of one. Although it’s more likely that you’ll take one out and force the other to Side Attack, but even then it saves you from damage. Of course, since her bonus effect only works on Otaku and Net Game, she won’t be much use to [Strongest Character Miyuki], but that’s not really a card you plan on protecting in the long term anyway.

I feel that two copies should be enough of this card, but some people might want to play a 3rd copy instead of other cards.

As well as support, Konata can also use Brainstorm. You might thin your deck down, or you could draw cards!

As well as support, Konata can also use Brainstorm. You might thin your deck down, or you could draw cards!

As an extra support card that I run is [Way of Hobby Konata], who provides a global +1,000 boost to Otaku. During your Level 2 game, this will only be on par with [Sunday’s Best Konata], which also gives +1,000 to your main attack force, but without having to worry about a Stock cost. However it will start to come into its own once you reach Level 3 and start having to play cards which do not receive an extra boost from [Sunday’s Best Konata]. This extra 500 can help you win a few battles, but usually the advantages it has over [Sunday’s Best Konata] are negligible. This is why I’ve dropped it down to a single copy, but it’s very easy to play two in the deck, in order to see it more often.

The reason I haven’t removed it completely so far, is because it has a Brainstorm / Concentrate effect, which can be useful for thinning your deck down when you’re low on Climaxes, or refilling your hand when the effect succeeds. Since she rests herself, you cannot use the effect repeatedly, but this is usual, given that she lets you draw cards without having to discard any.

You needed to cause 1 damage to win the game? How about 7 instead!

You needed to cause 1 damage to win the game? How about 7 instead!

The final Level 2 card I use is [100M Shock], which isn’t vital to the deck, but I still find useful to have. This event gives your opponent’s character +6 Soul, which means that in all likelihood you will be cancelling that attack. This is best saved until the end of the game, where you can use it to survive attacks that would have otherwise killed you. If it fails, you were going to lose anyway, so it doesn’t really matter.

Alternatives

There isn’t really much else going at Level 2, because it’s mostly off colour vanillas or  cards intended for the wrong deck, such as [Konata & Kagami & Tsukasa], which is for the Glasses version of Lucky Star. Others which fit the colour, such as [Soujirou & Kanata], simply aren’t good enough to use or are once again vanillas.

That's not an instrument Konata...

That’s not an instrument Konata…

This really only leaves two cards that are even worth thinking about. Up first is [Cornet Player Konata], who can become strong and only costs 1 Stock. She can easily reach 11,000 during Level 2, working from a 10,000 base, which makes her nearly as strong as [Swiftly Running Girl Konata]. She does suffer from two major drawbacks though.

Firstly, she is not that useful in multiples. With two copies you’ll either need to split the Power across the two of them, leaving them at a 9,000 base, or alternatively leave one of them at a poor 8,000 base. With three of them, whatever you do, one of them will not be getting any extra Power.

The second drawback is the fact that this Power does not stay on the opponent’s turn. She’ll be an 8,000 base whilst defending, which will usually only mean 9,000 after supports. This shouldn’t be too hard for other Level 2 cards to deal with.

The only other real option at Level 2 is [Boooo!!], which is an Event that you could use to get more Otaku cards into your Hand. [Stand Up! Konata] does practically the same thing, and has a 10,000 body, so there’s really no need to play this Event any longer.

Level 3

Time to bring out the big guns!

Time to bring out the big guns!

At Level 3 the deck finally starts getting some interesting effects beyond just big guys. There are 3 main Level 3s that you will want to be playing in the deck, but the numbers you play of them will probably be dictated more by availability of the cards, than your desire to use them.

The most straightforward of the Level 3s is [Favourite Food Konata], who is the only straightforward healer in the deck. On top of this, she can also gain 1000 Power until the end of your opponent’s turn by resting two Otaku. This will often allow her to reach at least 12,000, making her the strongest card in the deck. This is nothing compared to other decks which can hit closer to the 15,000 mark. In the vast majority of games, the deck cannot defend against attacks which go above 15,500, so you need to be wary of facing decks which can break this Power level.

The only easy heal in the Otaku deck, and by far the most expensive card in the deck!

The only easy heal in the Otaku deck, and by far the most expensive card in the deck!

This card is useful in the deck, but I don’t think it is absolutely vital for it, hence why I don’t currently see the need for 4. The other Level 3s have much more interesting effects, which can be more useful for actually winning the game, rather than just delaying losing. Another thing to consider is the fact that this card is practically impossible to find, and if you do find it, it will cost you at least ¥4,000 (~£24). In the likely event that you cannot find it, or simply do not want to spend that much money on a single card, you can easily replace this card with extra copies of the other Level 3s.

5 Otaku means 5 cards!

5 Otaku means 5 cards!

Your game-ender at Level 3 is [Stand Up! Konata], who can maintain your hand size, thin your deck, and deal extra blows to your opponent. When she comes into play you can check the top cards of your deck, up to the number of Otaku on your Stage, and then add one to your hand before placing the rest in the Waiting Room. Usually this will allow you to check for at least 3 cards, but could go to as many as 5. This can be useful for digging for other cards to play late game, such as other Level 3 cards, or the Climax that goes with this card. At the very least it keeps your hand size the same, and leaves you with less cards in your deck.

Hopefully her effect won’t reveal too many Climax cards, and if it does, chances are you were going to Trigger them when you attacked anyway. Just be careful when using multiple copies of this card that you don’t dig too far into the deck, and get rid of all of the Climaxes that could have saved you from losing.

Miyuki and Konata combine their Powers to reach 16,000! Can Konata win the game with her 2nd attack?

Miyuki and Konata combine their Powers to reach 16,000! Can Konata win the game with her 2nd attack?

Her second effect allows you to Stand her for 4 Stock when she defeats something in battle, provided [This Year Begins] is in play, allowing her to attack for a second time, and deal even more damage. If your opponent wants to stop this, they need to make sure their character is bigger than Konata, which can be extra difficult considering [This Year Begins] can give her an extra +2000. A suicide isn’t enough, because she’ll still restand, regardless of her current position.

Something important to note with this effect is that Konata will still have any Soul bonuses she gained from her first attack. So if you used [This Year Begins] on her, and then hit a 2 Soul Trigger, her 2nd attack with be for 5, before even considering any extra bonuses. It’s rather unlikely, but you could even end up hitting for 7 damage in one go if the Triggers fall your way. You need to be very careful with this amount of damage though. If you’re not careful it will get cancelled and you’ll waste the extra attack. If you don’t need this much damage to win, you can always Side Attack instead. If you do need a lot of damage to win, you might as well take your chances anyway, because you weren’t going to win without the second attack.

This card can easily be bumped to 4 if you don’t have enough copies of [Favourite Food Konata].

All the Climaxes!

All the Climaxes!

The final Level 3 I use in my deck is [Strongest Character Miyuki], who whilst not an Otaku has a very useful effect. Miyuki can fetch all of your Climaxes from your Waiting Room, and then turn them into healing, however this will be incredibly stock intensive. Unless you have a Climax in hand already, Miyuki will cost you 4 Stock and a card in order to heal 1, whereas [Favourite Food Konata] will merely take 2 Stock and won’t lose you any cards. Stock wise, Miyuki will only become efficient after the 3rd heal, which has the same Stock cost overall as 3 copies of [Favourite Food Konata], but you will be hemorrhaging cards at a massive rate. If you have a huge pile of Stock (which can happen with this deck), then it is possible to heal 4+ in one go, but just be wary that you probably won’t have many cards left next turn.

The real use for Miyuki’s effect will be to get certain Climaxes into your hand, and not care about the healing. Mainly this will be to get [This Year Begins], so that [Stand Up! Konata] can use her Climax combo. It could also be used to get back the lone copy of [Hiyori Starting] to help you win those games when you’re behind on damage.

This Miyuki is helpful to have as a backup plan for late game, so I wouldn’t like to take her completely out of the deck, but the other Level 3s are more consistently useful on their own merits. If you’re lacking copies of [Favourite Food Konata], then you can replace them with more copies of Miyuki.

Alternatives

Old cards have weird effects.

Old cards have weird effects.

Beyond changing the amount of each Level 3 that you play, there’s not really much else you can do at Level 3. [Embarrassed Konata] serves a similar purpose to [Strongest Character Miyuki], in terms of salvaging Climaxes but she’s Red so is much harder to fit into the deck. Her effect to top deck opponent’s cards is also far too costly and restrictive to really be of much use at Level 3.

[Showdown on New Year’s Eve] is an interesting Blue Event card that prevents your opponent’s cards from standing, but I really think there are better things to be doing with your Stock, especially since you could probably Reverse a lot of them anyway if you have 3 Stock to spare.

Climaxes

Don't underestimate the yaoi Climax!

Don’t underestimate the yaoi Climax!

There’s not much to really say about the Climaxes that hasn’t already been covered with the cards they work with.

I use 4 copies of [Small Breasts are a Status Symbol and Rare] because it’s the best Trigger you have access to in the Blue build, and has a Climax combo with [Swiftly Running Girl Konata] for even more advantage.

After this, [This Year Begins] is needed for the [Stand Up! Konata] Climax combo, so it’s an obvious inclusion in the deck. The fact that it replace itself on play means that you can safely use it during the rest of the game without worrying about losing cards.

Rather than just playing 4 copies of each of those, I’m also playing a lone copy of [Hiyori Starting]. Normally I wouldn’t play this kind of card, unless it had a really good Climax combo, because it does nothing to help your Stage on its own. However, this type of card can be useful when you’re behind on damage, or during those games where your opponent runs through most of the Climaxes in their deck. A single copy means that I can sometimes use this Climax, but most of the time it will instead end up just being discarded or Clocked, because it’s much less useful during the early points of the game.

Since the deck is running [Strongest Character Miyuki], it means I can use her effect to retrieve [Hiyori Starting] from the Waiting Room at the end of the game, rather than needing to hold onto the card for when I need it. I probably wouldn’t run this Climax without access to cards like Miyuki.

If you opt to play [Thinking that way Hiyori] in your deck, then you might want to consider using more copies of [Hiyori Starting], because the two have a decent Climax combo together.

Alternatives

Sorry Kagami, you'll have to stay in your own deck.

It’s not like I wanted to salvage your characters for you or anything!

The remaining Blue Climaxes are either not very good, or have Climax combos that simply are not worth running in the deck. If you upped the Red count in the deck, I suppose you could get away with playing [Valentine], since it’s a Comeback Trigger, but to me that would take away from the other cards in the deck that need the Blue Climaxes to function properly.

Conclusions

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading, and finding out what a Lucky Star Otaku deck can do. It has massive field presence, and can easily put out very strong characters. However, it needs to be wary of decks that can put out bigger threats, because it doesn’t do much aside from play big characters.

So far I’ve been enjoying the deck, and it’s been nice to have something new after so long.

If you have any comments or questions, please don’t hesitate to drop me a message or write a comment on here.

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Weiβ Schwarz Fundamentals: Encore

Hello everyone! For a new series of articles I’m going to be looking at some of the fundamental concepts and plays in Weiβ Schwarz. For those new to the game it should help you gain a better understanding of how the game works. For those that have played for a while, I hope it might help you play better, and give you more to think about. Up first I’m going to be tackling Encore, which will soon become very important for English players, due to the impending release of Angel Beats! in July.

What is Encore?

Kanade

Prepare to see a lot of this!

In Weiβ Schwarz, games are meant to be a performance between the two players to see whose series is the best. This is why you have zones like the Centre and Back Stage, and the Waiting Room, which is where cards go when they leave the Stage. This is unlike other games which have Graveyards or similar, because you can’t be killing off player’s favourite characters. That would just make them upset.

Encore is the mechanic that allows characters to return to the Stage after being sent to the Waiting Room, just like if they were doing a real stage performance. By game mechanics every card in the game has an inbuilt Encore which costs 3 Stock. Plenty of cards also exist which can use Encore via alternative methods, or give other types of Encore to your cards.

Every day sure is a battlefield for you Konata.

If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you could possibly imagine.

One of the most commonly used types of Encore involves discarding a card from your Hand to the Waiting room, such as for [Battlefield Konata]. Some series even have cards which can give this type of Encore to all of your cards, such as [Sending Everyone Off Kanade] from Angel Beats!. For shorthand, this is normally called Hand Encore.

Akari

Don’t use this effect too much!

Another commonly used type involves placing the top of your Deck into the Clock, such as with [Girl of Destiny Akari]. This will usually be known as Clock Encore. Dog Days’ introduced a variation of Clock Encore, which places cards from the Waiting Room into the Clock, such as [Wave-Riding Hero Nanami].

Probably not worth the effort.

Probably not worth the effort.

It’s also possible to find cards which have lower Stock costs, such as [Guard Maid Rouge] who costs 2, or [Hayate & Rein] who can give everyone Encore for 1 Stock. It’s fairly uncommon to see these used.

Why?!

Why?!

Any other types of Encore beyond this are fairly rare, and barely used, such as [Queen of Fyrlandt Riemsianne] who needs a Climax discard and [“Bluffing” Yoshimoto Imagawa] who sends a character from Stage to Clock. There are also odd cards like [“Self-Loving” Twenty] who costs 1, and places a certain card on the bottom of your deck. These are pretty much one-offs though, so it’s not really worth worrying about them.

How does it work?

So now that you know what Encore is, the next thing you need to know is how does Encore actually work? The majority of the time Encore will take place during a part of the Attack Phase known as the Encore step, where you are allowed to Encore any of your Reversed characters.

However, this isn’t the only time it can happen! Any time a character goes from the Stage to the Waiting Room you may use Encore to bring them back. It doesn’t matter if they lost a battle, were sent there by an effect, or had another card played on top of them, they can always be Encored. Although I’d really advise not doing it in the latter case.

When you Encore a card, you pay the associated Cost and then place the card back on the Stage in the same position it was before, but in Rest. Both of these facts are important, because it can affect the Power distribution on the Stage if you bring them back in the wrong position.

WSEN_SAO_S20_CH_BP

Remember, I go to the Waiting Room first!

It is very important to remember that Encore does not happen until a character reaches the Waiting Room! When playing, most people will use shortcuts and just move a Reversed character to Rest when they Encore them during the Encore step. This makes it look like the card never left the Stage, and can be very confusing for new players.

Cards which gain Markers, such as [Asuna Takes Shelter], will lose them before you can Encore them.  This is because they must go to the Waiting Room first, at which point all the Markers are lost. Questions about this card repeatedly come up because of the shortcuts people use to speed the game up, which have not been explained properly to newer players.

Why Encore?

So, now that you know what Encore is and how to do it, you might be wondering what the point of it all is? At the most basic level it allows you to keep a character on the Stage that you wouldn’t have otherwise been able to. This means that you don’t need to replace that card on the following turn, or worry about drawing extra copies of that card.

If you are using Encore via Game Mechanics it will be because you do not have something better to replace it with. In the vast majority of cases, barring the few 3 Cost characters in the game, it is cheaper just to play another copy of the same card on the following turn. I really would not advise using this type of Encore on anything below 2 Cost, and not before you reach the end of the game, such as during Levels 2 to 3. Any other kinds of Encore which involve Stock are just cheaper variations of this.

Stock based Encore has the advantage of not needing other cards in your Hand, but it will prevent you from playing other cards, due to the fact you’re using up your Stock.

If you’re using Hand or Clock Encore, this allows you to keep characters around without worrying about Stock.

Yuri

It’s easier to bring me back by discarding 1 card, than playing another copy!

In the case of Hand Encore, you can get rid of a useless card in your hand, in order to keep a more powerful one on the Stage. For example, all of your Level 0 cards have now turned into extra copies of your higher Level cards. Since you also don’t need to replay the cards with Encore, you can save lots of Stock in the long run. Playing a 2nd copy of a 1/1 when the 1st is defeated would cost you 2 Stock, but using Hand Encore means you’ll only ever need to pay 1 Stock. This is much more noticeable for higher Cost characters.

With Hand Encore, you need to remember that you’re still losing a card, albeit a less useful one than the card you’re keeping on the Stage. So be careful not to give up too many cards by using Encore when you don’t need to!

Clock Encore does more or less the same thing as Hand Encore, except instead of losing a card from your Hand, you take 1 damage. Whilst this does move you closer to defeat, it essentially makes the Encore free. You lose no cards in the process, and get to keep the card that had been defeated. Sometimes you can even use the damage to your advantage, increasing your Level faster than your opponent would like. As such, Clock Encore is usually considered the most powerful variety of Encore, but also the most risky.

Some important things to consider when using Encore is what it will mean for the immediate game state.

Your opponent won’t have cards like this every single time!

When attacking, if your character only lost in battle due to an opponent’s Counter card, then it is possible that they cannot beat it without said Counter. So, if you Encore it, the opponent might not be able to beat it for a second time, and you not only save yourself some damage, but might even take out a second of your opponent’s cards in the process.

Equally when defending, it’s important to pay attention to how and why your opponent was able to defeat your card. If it was due to a Power boost from a Climax, Event or an ability which only lasts for one turn, then their Power will drop again during your turn. If you Encore your card, you’ll be able to strike back against their weaker card on the following turn, to make up for the card you lost previously.

Both of these scenarios demonstrate the power that Clock Encore has, because it allows you to get rid of your opponent’s cards without sacrificing any of your own.

How do I beat Encore?

Now that you know how powerful Encore can be, you might be wondering how to actually beat cards with it?

Who cares if you keep coming back? You’re still not big enough to beat me!

The most straightforward way is to simply play cards that are consistently bigger than the cards with Encore. If your opponent cannot beat your cards, it doesn’t matter that theirs keep on coming back. This is easiest to do against cards with built in Encore, because they usually sacrifice some Power to have that effect, but will be harder to pull off when the cards gain Encore via a support card, such as with Angel Beats!. Eventually they’ll either run out of cards, or just cause too much damage to themsevles.

Consistently having big cards isn’t something that every deck can manage though, so there are alternatives you can try.

8

Angel Invasion!

One possibility is using cards which can Reverse cards of the same or lower Level when defeated. Currently I think English lacks these above Level 0, but decks like Evangelion for example have access to Level 1 versions, such as the [8th Angel]. Whilst this still causes an even trade-off with the opponent, your card will usually have a Cost than the opponent’s card, saving Stock in the long run.

There’s no Encore where you’re going!

Sometimes just winning battles isn’t enough, and you want to make absolutely sure that your opponent’s cards will not come back. One way to achieve this is to make it so your opponent’s cards do not make it to the Waiting Room. This could be done with cards like [Battle Ready, Hitagi Senjyogahara], who sends them back to the Deck, or [Heart of Yuzuru Kanade], who sends them to Memory. Be careful with the latter type of cards though, because it does mean your opponent will end up with less cards in their deck.

Shiki

You won’t be coming back from this!

Another way is to shut down Encore completely, via cards like [“Mystic Eyes of Death Perception” Shiki], who has a Climax combo which completely turns off Encore for the turn, even via Game Mechanics. So as long as you can defeat your opponent’s cards, you know they won’t be coming back.

Anything else?

Given all this information, you might be wondering if there’s anything else you need to worry about when it comes to Encore? So far, most of what there is to know about Encore itself should have been covered, but there are also cards out there which can fulfill similar roles, often referred to as Pseudo-Encore. Since these cards do not use the Keyword Encore, they can get around anti-Encore cards like [“Mystic Eyes of Death Perception” Shiki].

H_N

Can’t beat a free Encore!

One type of Pseudo-Encore is cards which give abilities equivalent to Encore, such as [Swimsuit Haruhi & Nagato], who allow you to bring back a defeated character in Rest for free. Another popular version of Pseudo-Encore are cards like [“Fate of Scattered Cherry Blossom” Sakuya], who sacrifices himself in order to bring one of your defeated characters back from the Waiting Room. Cost wise, this is functionally similar to Hand Encore, except that it could potentially be used with any of your characters.

Another form of Pseudo-Encore involves sending cards to Memory and bringing them back at some point in the future, usually your next turn, and often with an added bonus. An example of this kind of card is [Mikuru Asahina], who can send two cards to Memory and bring them back next turn with a Power boost. Whilst this does leave you open to direct attacks for a turn, it could allow you to save two characters from being sent to the Waiting Room, for only 2 Stock.

If you have any comments or questions, don’t hesitate to ask, and I’ll try to answer them if I can! If you’ve got any suggestions for what you’d like to see next time, please let me know.

 

 

Adventures in Nipponbashi: Even more Lucky Star

As usual, I was off to Nipponbashi last Sunday for yet more card games. I arrived into Nipponbashi fairly late in the day, meaning I didn’t have much time for pre-tournament games, especially after picking up a Moguera figure first. I did manage to get two games in with my friend though.

Due to the fact that all of my tournament games recently have been with Lucky Star, I’ve been using friendly games as an opportunity to use my other decks. With this in mind, I started things out with the Wooser deck, which I was finally getting a chance to play. I’d managed to pick up [Everything is within a dream Wooser] the day before, so I thought it would be appropriate to try out the deck with the Wooser Rares. I opted to use all of them except [White Day Wooser], because I figured I’d never actually get enough Stock to play him. As it turned out, I might have actually gotten the chance to pull this off.

Evil lurks beneath that cute exterior.vsWe were no match for Wooser!

Wooser was facing off against my friend’s Symphogear deck, which got off to an utterly terrible start, allowing me to get an early lead. Once I reached Level 1 I put down two copies of [Proof of Manliness Wooser], which allowed me to build Stock up for the rest of the game. The Level 1 game wasn’t really much of an issue either, because [Go on a journey Wooser] is a 1/1 10,000. When it was eventually defeated, during my friend’s Level 2 I think, I used my journey to scout for what packs I might want to buy later.

Once I got into Level 2 I decided to use [Shopping Wooser], because why not, and bought a pack of Milky Holmes 2. I just so happened to pull [Saku & Hirano & Tsugiko, Phantom Thief Incident Investigation Team], which is one of the Green RRs in the set. With only 9000 Power it wasn’t particularly useful in game, but an RR is an RR. When I finally reached Level 3, I had 13 Stock, meaning that if I’d used White Day Wooser, and held off on Stock earlier, for example [Shopping Wooser], then I’d actually have been able to win with it.

Instead, I just put down [Everything is within a dream Wooser] in the centre, alongside a [Wants to destroy the world Wooser]. The latter card cleared both of our Stages out, and I Encored the former in case I lost on the next turn. [Wants to destroy the world Wooser] ended up striking for game anyway.

Hey look, a Level 3!vsNo Encore for you!

Afterwards we had a game with my new and improved Glasses deck against his Genei deck. Despite the distinct lack of Red in the deck (bar the Level 0 Kanji), it still had the Gate Climax in it, which actually ended up being fairly useful. There was a bit of back and forth at Level 0, and then once we were into Level 1 I used Shiki to clear his Stage out. Once I got into Level 2 I was able to put down copies of Chihiro and Lit Club Yuki, but beyond that I don’t really remember the Level 2 game all that much. I probably used [Battle Mode] at some point I suppose?

In Level 3 I was able to finally use a decent attacker, in the form of Shiroe, who could be pretty big. I can’t actually at this point recall how the game ended, and whether I won or not. I either won the turn I played Shiroe, or completely forgot about his top deck check ability when he was attacked, because I never used it. I think it might have been the latter…

Once this game was wrapped up we headed over to the C-Labo for our regular Sunday tournament, which had an unusually large turnout of 20, which would mean we’d be going to 5 rounds for the first time. I was still unable to break my habit from previous weeks, once again finishing on an X-1 record.

Even my Climax combo wasn't enough!vsI really don't know what happened...

My first round, and only loss, was against a Blue Macross deck, which was really quite an embarrassing loss. Given that he somehow also went 4-1 in the tournament, at least I wasn’t the only one to lose to him.

I really honestly cannot say what went wrong in this game. I think we had a bit of back and forth at Level 0, but he couldn’t really stand up to my Level 1 game. By the time I got my 2/2s out they could pretty much defeat all of his cards, whilst constantly gaining me new cards due to their Climax combo. Then I just died at Level 3 after taking 4 damage in a row. This wasn’t a good start.

This card actually did something this game!vsMy friend just had too many Level 3s this game.

For the second round I was up against my friend, who was using his Miku deck. We both seemed to get off to terrible starts, with him sending out his Len Brainstorm on turn 1, and me having to use a Climax so [Kung Fu Master Konata] could get over it. It didn’t get any better for him after that, sending out 39 Miku for a direct attack, due to having no other Level 0s. After we both sort of stumbled through the Level 0 game, things got a tiny bit better at Level 1.

Unfortunately for me, I was lacking in both supports and Otaku, so both [Battlefield Konata] and [Summer’s Day Konata] were unable to reach their full potential, whilst my opponent was able to put down stronger cards, thanks to his 1/1 vanilla Miku, supported by extra copies of the Miku support. Thankfully though, I had two copies of [Innocent Konata] to hold off his attacks and keep my Stage. By comparison, I don’t think the Miyuki counter would have had enough Power, but it did mean I was spending 2 Stock to keep my guys around.

On my next turn I was able to make my own Stage better, whilst hitting against a mostly empty Stage, and I think I left him at 1-5. I didn’t make a final direct attack, because I assumed that at this point his Level 1 game wouldn’t be able to keep up. This was correct, and I was able to build a bit more advantage.

What happened between here and the very end of the game escapes me right now, but eventually we reached Level 3 and my opponent put down two [“Electronic Diva” Hatsune Miku] and one factory chief Miku, but without the Climax combo. I think I might have had a Kuroi-sensei counter to protect one of my characters, but I lost the rest. On the following turn, I think I won though, by dealing enough damage to end the game.

Aya Hirano showdown!vsWho will win?

For my 3rd round I was facing of against an SOS Brigade version of the Haruhi deck, so I was relatively confident that this wouldn’t be too hard a game. This turned out to be correct, because it ended up being the easiest one of the day. As I’m writing this now, I only just realised this game was a battle of the Aya Hirano characters.

I started out with [Kung Fu Master Konata] backed by supports to defeat my opponent’s opening character. My opponent then followed up with the plays that were probably his downfall. He decided to send 3 characters after me, and one of which was [Kyon & Koizumi], which he sent right into Konata, not realising it was Level 1. (Despite the fact I let everyone know this when I play her). This knocked me into Level 1, at which point I stopped Clocking, and didn’t do so for the rest of the game.

My Level 1s dealt easily with his Level 0s, and then his own Level 1s couldn’t really keep up either. After sticking him at Level 1, like in my previous game, I was able to gain even more of an advantage over him in terms of both card advantage and Stock. He wasn’t really able to do much of any use until Level 3, when he put down a bunch of [Trouble Girl Haruhi] and used her Climax combo, but this wasn’t enough to finish me off. I cleared his Stage and won the game on the next turn.

Yaoi to the rescue!vsYou again?

My 4th round was against yet another Junes deck from Persona, in what was generally a poor game all around for me. I don’t recall getting any supports early in the game, at least not without searching them with Miyuki, which lead to me generally having problems in terms of card numbers throughout. We had a bit of back and forth on the Stage during the game, but my opponent always seemed to be ahead on cards. I also kept on clocking cards that weren’t immediately useful, then regretting that choice a turn or two later.

As the game was reaching a close I made what could have been a mistake, by using my Level 3 Miyuki to heal 1, meaning I didn’t have enough Stock for [Stand Up! Konata] to Stand again. This ultimately didn’t matter though, because my opponent cancelled all 3 of my attacks that turn, meaning that even the extra attack wouldn’t have been enough. My attacks had at least been able to deal with some of his Level 3 cards though.

On the following turn my opponent tried to go for game, but I cancelled enough to stay in the game, helped by the fact I’d just hit my Refresh. By this point I was really low on cards, but I knew my opponent had already gone through most of their climaxes, especially based on the previous turn. I had the +2 Soul Climax in my hand though, and it looked like it might finally be a chance for the card to shine. To get enough cards to attack though, I had to move supports up, and play Kuroi-sensei to the Stage. My opponent ended up taking 7 damage straight, the last hit being from my Counter.

I didn’t really feel like this win was deserved, but I was glad to have won. It’s exactly for these kinds of situations that I’m playing 1 copy of the +2 Soul Climax.

I'll show you guys who a real Kung Fu Master is!vsThat's a guy.

My final round was against King of Fighters, which was also using a copy of [Assisting Shiyoko], in order to increase the number of attributes on the Stage.

Level 0 got off to a reasonable start, thanks to [Kung Fu Master Konata] being hard to kill, however she wasn’t at full Power due to not having enough supports. Instead I’d had to place a copy of the Otaku Trio back stage and hope for the best. Later during Level 0 I debated sending a support to take out his [Chris] card to prevent the Change, but decided I’d rather keep the support card.

I seem to recall really not getting much in the way of Level 1 cards at first, instead having to rely on the Otaku trio to beat the 1/0 vanilla that [Chris] could change into. However, once it got up and running the King of Fighters cards couldn’t really fight back.

Later in the game I debated whether to hit my opponent into Level 2, because I actually need to be able to win at some point, or leave them stuck at Level 1 longer, so I can drag things on some more. I decided to go for damage, because my opponent had been getting loads of cards via Gates, Brainstorm and Event cards, such that I wasn’t confident that they’d run out of cards quick enough. This allowed my opponent to use [Ryo Sakazaki] to switch one of my supports out onto the Front Stage, which put a bit of a dent in my Power.

When we finally reached Level 3 it was time for [Plunderer Ash] to come into play and start sending some of my guys off to Memory. They first came down during my Level 2, meaning that most of my Konata weren’t strong enough to hold off Ash, however my Level 2 + the Kuroi-sensei counter managed to take at least one of them down. On the following turn I put some [Favourite Food Konata] into play, allowing me to heal a bit, and also reduce the number of attributes on the Stage by getting rid of my Level 2 (and it’s Net Game attribute). Since all of the cards I had left only had Otaku and Manga, it meant Ash could only gain 2000 Power from my side of the field, making defeating Ash a little easier.

On the second turn in Level 3, my opponent made use of [Ryo Sakazaki] again in order to weaken my supports once more, alongside the Climax combo for Ash, which boosted his Stock levels back up, after exhausting it all. I think both of Ash’s attacks were cancelled though, with my only damage coming from Ryo. I did lose a support to Memory though, which was a bit of a pain.

On my next turn I took out a few more of my opponent’s cards in battle, but I think I only managed to deal 1 damage in the process, with the rest being cancelled. At this point my opponent was running a bit out of steam, but still had a few last tricks up his sleeve, like [Omega Rugal]. I think I was on about 3-3 at this point, which meant that two hits could finish me off, but I was unlikely to go down in a single hit. At this point my opponent just sent everything at me to try and finish me off, and thanks to [Omega Rugal] he essentially got 4 attacks, due to his burn for 3 effect. I think every hit ended up being cancelled, maybe except for one for 2, but it wasn’t enough to take me out of the game.

On the final turn I had to cause 6 damage against an empty Stage to win, so went all in with 3 cards with 2 Soul. I hit for 7 off the first 2 attacks and won.

Once the tournament was over, we picked up our prizes, and I realised that not only had the Macross deck somehow gone 4-1 as well, but that another Lucky Star deck had won the whole thing. From looking at things his build was a little different to mine, but the core was probably the same.

After that my friend and I went for Sushi to finish off the day.

Adventures in Nipponbashi: Rebuild of Lucky Star

Last week I was finally able to get my hands on the missing Otaku cards for Lucky Star (at least the ones I was ever planning on using), due to yuyutei finally getting some back in Stock. Although it was split over two orders. This means I finally have 4 copies of [Favourite Food Konata] and 2 copies of [Innocent Konata]. In the latter case, the card actually arrived on Sunday morning, so I was a bit lucky in that regard. I also finally managed to get the full playset of [Overlord’s Vassal Etna] for the Prinny deck.

The most immediate, and likely permanent change I made to the deck was to switch out one copy of [Strongest Character Miyuki] for a copy of [Favourite Food Konata]. This would still leave me with a Miyuki for ridiculous plays if it ever came to it, but would allow me to heal more consistently. I’m currently not sure the deck needs 4 of the Konata, but I got the 4th one just in case, knowing that the card is very hard to come by.

On Saturday I swapped out one copy of [Way of Hobby Konata] for [Innocent Konata] to try and see how much difference it made. So far I’ve not been a fan of the former, since it rarely seems that necessary, but having access to a Brainstorm is always useful, so I’ve kept one copy in. On Sunday I also decided to swap out the Miyuki counter for the Konata one, once again to see how much difference it made. In theory being searchable by [Swiftly Running Girl Konata] is a big plus for the card. Also, I suppose the Soul Trigger helps to cause damage, not that the Lucky Star deck is particularly wanting for more Soul Triggers.

On Saturday there wasn’t really much to report. I was tired and generally just had problems asking people to play. Had one game with Otaku where I lost, at least partly due to hitting 3 climaxes in a row on my last turn. Not much you can do about those games.  Then played one with Miyuki and lost, but that deck is more for fun / to see if I can ever pull it off. I also modded my Glasses deck, but haven’t had time to use it yet.

Sunday got off to a bad start, but gradually got better. Pre-tournament I had two friendly games against my friend’s Project Diva deck, and managed to lose both of them, which was a remarkable change from the last time we played. In game 1 I’d gone through 6 Climaxes by the time my second turn started, so I was probably due to lose that one anyway.

In game 2 I held off my +6 Soul counter, hoping to use it on the 3rd attack, rather than the second. I died on the second hit. Turns out that if I had played it, I would have survived that hit, and cancelled the 3rd hit. I would then have had a good shot at winning on my next turn. It was a 50/50 choice there, I just made the wrong one.

Afterwards it was time for the tournament, and at first it looked like it was going to be a very small one, partly because some of the regulars were playing in what looked like a Level Neo launch event. (I don’t know anything about that game, other than the fact it has Kara no Kyokai / Garden of Sinners and Wake Up, Girls! in it). We eventually managed 16, which is one of our larger events, but 6 of them promptly dropped after Round 1. I once again managed a 3-1 record, with some very close games, but X-0 still evades me.

Miyuki to the rescue?vsYou guys were a pushover.

For round 1 I was up against a Junes deck, which was a pretty bad game for me. I was still feeling pretty exhausted and out of it at this point, and my deck really wasn’t cooperating. Except for the Kuroi-sensei counters, I didn’t draw a single card that was above Level 2 all game (well except maybe opening hand, where I don’t really need them). This meant that I couldn’t really keep up with my opponent Power wise, or in terms of damage output.

As the game was drawing to a close, I’d hoped to use Miyuki to search for a copy of [Stand Up! Konata], who would then try to fish another Level 2+ from the top of my deck. However it turned out I only had 1 Level 3 left in the entirety of my deck. My attempts to end the game that turn predictably failed, because I had to somehow cause 7 damage in a turn without access to 2 Soul characters. I lost the following turn.

This game was also a bit weird, because we had some mixed Japanese / English communication between us, since my opponent was trying to help out by using English where he could.

Did you miss me?vsYou guys sure did suck last time.

For Round 2, I somehow ended up against Junes again, which was being piloted by a friend of my first round opponent. The two of them looked to have very similar decks. Due to the number of drops in Round 1, it was also a pair up for me, so this wasn’t looking like a great start for me.

Thankfully, my deck actually functioned this time and I was able to put up a better fight. I think for 0-1 we were fairly evenly matched, with us generally just trading off against each other. I think I made a few dents here and there, but thanks to his Climax combo he was able to keep his card numbers up. Once we started to enter the late game, my Level 2 Konatas were able to make short work of anything below Level 3, and even some of his 3s fell before my Counters.

We reached a very tense point once I got into Level 3, when I realised I was down to 0 Climaxes in deck. My opponent was running relatively low on cards at this point, and only had 1 Level 3 out on the Stage. With them sitting at 3-2, it felt like do or die on that turn, and I was pretty confident I could get through, given that I only needed two successful hits. I decided to go after his Level 3 first, figuring there was really nothing he could do, and that I didn’t care much if my [Favourite Food Konata] lost, given that I wanted to end things that turn. What I didn’t realise (largely thanks to lack of knowledge on sets I don’t use / play regularly with), was that my opponent was playing [Jack Brothers], an event counter that lets my opponent Rest one of my characters. This cut out one of my attacks, and left me short of game. Given my opponent’s follow up hand, I’d have won that turn if I’d attacked his Level 3 last.

Fortunately for me, my opponent had also made a mistake by playing that Counter, because it left him with only 1 Stock, meaning he could not play a single 2 Soul character. He also didn’t have any Climaxes, which is how I knew I would have won last turn, had I not been stupid. This meant a tense turn of watching what my opponent triggered, because at that point I knew that 1 or 2 triggers and I’d be dead (either from attacks or Refresh). Thankfully I only took 3, and was able to end things on the next turn after an extra heal. I think my opponent conceded before all the attacks went through, because he was on I think 3/6, and knew he’d lose whatever happened.

Who needs Level 3 cards?vsI'll always fight on!

For my 3rd round I was up against Madoka, which I strongly suspected given his Ultimate Madoka sleeves. Oddly I’m not sure if he actually played that card at all, instead forgoing it for the new Homura PR.

Level 0 started well for me, but badly for him, and this generally seemed to be a theme for most of the game. I got down a 4500 Kung Fu Master Konata early on, and this pretty much just beat up every card that he played, never really finding a way around it.

Once we got into Level 1, it was time for the Apples combo on his part, with him putting one of his Kyoko front Stage, in order to keep his Brainstorm Homura back Stage. On the next turn [Battlefield Konata] and friends swiftly dealt with these cards, putting my opponent even more on the back foot. It wasn’t until my opponent got all the way into Level 3 that he was able to mount some kind of comeback thanks to Sayaka and the deck Refresh Homura. Sayaka took down [Swiftly Running Girl Konata], with Homura falling to my Kuroi-sensei counter. I decided to Encore my Konata and spent the rest of the game sitting at 2/6, refusing to clock myself higher.

Next turn I tried to ram my 13k Konata (boosted by Miyuki), into his Sayaka, but he of course used healing wish to heal himself. On my opponent’s final turn he still wasn’t able to knock me off 2/6, and was fast running out of cards. In the end there was only the vanilla 1/0 Sayaka left up front for him, and I was able to finish him off that turn. I was a little annoyed when my Side Attack for 1 turned into 2, and got cancelled, but my final attack finished him. By that point I’d amassed 3x [Favourite Food Konata], alongside 1 copy of [Strongest Character Miyuki] and [Innocent Konata], but never had to need to use them.

Finally I got to use this card properly!vsTwo can play at the big 1/0 game!

For my final round I was up against Love Live! in what was really a closer game than it should have been.

We both got off to fairly bad starts, with me having to do stupid things like use a Climax so Miyuki could beat things. After a turn or two I was able to get out [Kung Fu Master Konata] though, who pretty much controlled the rest of the Level 0 game.

Once we progressed into Level 1 my opponent immediately dropped 3 lots of Eri (who gains 500 per Music), and two global Music supports. This crushed Kung Fu Konata, but I was able to fight back with cards like [Battlefield Konata] on the following turn. After some exchanges with counters and Encore being involved, my opponent was eventually down to just 1 copy of Eri on the Front Stage and 3 cards in Hand.

It was at this point that I decided to break from my normal style of play and actually get a use out of my +2 Soul Climax. I’d realised that my opponent was down to either 1 or 0 Climaxes, so I decided I would hit him hard. In hindsight I really should have just killed off his Eri and dragged out the Level 1 game longer, in order to establish complete control over the game. This would have meant a much more comfortable and smooth game. As it was, I hit my opponent for 8 damage and then the final card in their deck was a Climax.

With my opponent now shifted into Level 2 they were able to shift momentum back towards them, and it certainly didn’t help me when they got a +2 off of their Brainstorm. (Although admittedly, this would contribute to their defeat later). Between that and Gates, they suddenly had lots of cards again, and I found myself on the back foot for most of the rest of the game.

As the game was drawing to a close I realised that I’d need to just keep on hitting my opponent for damage, because they were running low on Climaxes by this point. Unfortunately so was I. I realised 2 turns from the end that I only had a single Climax card left in my fairly large deck, and that I was likely in a lot of trouble. I was at 2-6 at the time, so could afford to take another 8 damage, but I really needed to win the game as well. I decided the best way to go about this was to simply ram everything in and leave myself open to direct attacks. This would increase the damage I took, but hopefully also push me closer to that 1 Climax, which could save me. I didn’t feel that just side attacking, then taking 6 damage would be a good idea, because I’d add no damage to my opponent. I think they cancelled a good amount of my Front attacks though, so I didn’t actually cause much damage, but I’m sure them drawing a Climax would have been worse for me.

My opponent hit no triggers, and I blocked the middle attack, leaving me at 3-5. On the following turn I had about a 7-8 card deck, with 0 Climaxes left after I’d drawn for the turn. I thankfully had a bunch of Stock, but couldn’t really do much with it. I did have a copy of [Stand Up! Konata] though, who I could use for deck thinning, and didn’t really care what card I picked up with her. Unfortunately I could only get 2 other Otaku on Stage, because the rest of my hand was Counters, which I either couldn’t play or weren’t Otaku. This meant I could only thin the deck down by 3.

Once again I decided suicide runs would be the best bet, because at least I’d get a slim chance of a cancel post-Refresh. I have a feeling that I needed at least 1 Soul Trigger to win here, but thankfully about half of the Otaku deck is Soul Triggers, so this wasn’t too tall an order. What was a bit nerve wracking was the fact that I hit a 2nd Soul Trigger on what would have been an attack for game, even without it. My opponent was so low on Cliamxes though that it managed to all go right through.

After all these games I’m still not convinced about the [Innocent Konata] counter. I haven’t yet had a time where it was more relevant than the Miyuki counter, except maybe for the fact it has a Soul Trigger. Not that the deck is really lacking in that department anyway. The fact the 2/2 can search it, thus essentially giving you a 13.5k on the defensive, should be an advantage, but this hasn’t come up yet. I’ll really have to play some more games, and test some more to be certain.

Adventures in Nipponbashi: Not so Lucky Star

Last weekend I took my Lucky Star deck out for another spin, but also decided I wanted a few friendly games with some of my other decks for the sake of variety. Since I now have 9 different decks it’s getting a bit unwieldy to take them all in at once (not to mention heavy), especially since I no longer have enough room in my Haruhi storage box for all of them. Since they’re slightly more unusual decks I decided I’d bring my Miyuki deck out and Usual Haruhi decks, in the hope that they would give my opponents some new playing experiences.

Before heading to Nipponbashi there was something I wanted to try out in Senri-Chuo, so I made my way over there for lunch. The Attack on Titan burger promotion had recently started at Lotteria, and I had to try it out, even if just for the experience. Since I was going to be spending a relatively large amount of money on it (¥2000 / nearly £12), I decided I had to go for the 10m class burger (named after the Titan class, not the actual size of the burger), which came with 10 patties. I didn’t see the point in going smaller if the price was going to be the same.

In addition to this the burger came with a choice of keyring and burger voucher for a future visit. I opted for the 3D maneuver gear one, which came with a voucher for a shrimp burger. However, there were no accompaniments, so I also got a Melon Soda to drink.

The burger was pretty large, at about the same height as my drink, but it was sort of disappointing compared to crazy things, like the burger that I’d tried in Bristol a few years ago. Then again, I’d advise against trying something like the latter, because there’s very little chance of you finishing it, or feeling well afterwards. Each individual patty was quite small, both in width and diameter, which meant finishing all of the 10m class wasn’t really a problem.

It was more a matter of how to actually eat it. As you might imagine, the burger was not structurally sound, and was threatening to collapse as soon as I unwrapped it. There was also the issue that at its full size it was impossible to take bites out of it. Without a knife and fork, I also couldn’t split it up easily like the Bristol burger. In the end I decided to split it in half using the wrapper, and work through a half at a time. Barring issues of things falling apart, it wasn’t that hard to finish.

Having now eaten it, I can’t say I’d want to try it again, but it’s really something you do for the spectacle more than anything else. There was nothing amazing about the taste, it was just a normal burger, but bigger. For slightly less crazy people, I think 5 patty burgers are also a regular option at Lotteria now, and much cheaper too. I’m not entirely sure if you can go bigger or not though.

Having now consumed my burger, I set off for Nipponbashi once again. Prior to playing any games I did some quick scouting around the area, looking for cards once again. Some friends back in England were after some higher end Monogatari stuff, and I was still on the look out for some final Lucky Star cards, and the Etna that was eluding me. I was only successful in spotting the former, which was mainly just a matter of price / stock check for now.

After finishing my search for cards, I met up with my friend again for some pre-tournament friendlies. I started things out with the Miyuki deck, which predictably lost. Given it’s only ever won against someone who had no idea what I was doing, this wasn’t really surprising. The fact the deck sends Climaxes to Memory did leave him on edge though, and we had fun playing. After this I switched over to the Usual Haruhi deck, which generally worked with it’s whole killing everyone and being untouchable strategy. However I was really drawing too many Climaxes throughout the game and eventually lost.

Once this was done it was a quick journey over to one of the C-Labo for their weekly tournament. In previous weeks the numbers seemed to have been growing week on week, but this time we barely even scraped 8 players, partly thanks to someone who entered with a Kantai Collection TD to up the numbers. A late entry would later increase this number to 9. The tournament had its share of unlucky moments for me, but I still managed to come out with a respectable 2-1 record. I’m determined at some point to pull off a clean sweep.

Who needs Level 3s when you have me?vsI hadn't realised Level lowering cards had been around this long.

Round 1 saw me facing off against an IdolM@ster deck, which I really didn’t experience many problems against. However, a mistake on my part arguably lead to my defeat. I was leading most of the game in terms of field presence and stock, regularly wiping out all of my opponent’s cards, and completely outmatching him in Power. Even his early play Level 3s were no match for Fast Girl Konata, and it wasn’t long before he’d also thrown away most of his support cards at me.

Arguably my mistake in this game came a couple of turns before the end, when I used Composed Type Miyuki to boost Fast Girl Konata over his Level 3. At the time I had a good hand already, and didn’t really see any reason to trade off any of my cards for ones from my Deck, so I didn’t use her first effect, especially since I was also planning on doing Fast Girl Konata’s Climax combo. In hindsight I should have used this chance to grab a copy of Strongest Character Miyuki, who could have saved me later in the game.

Come my final turn I was on 3/6, with about 12 cards in Stock and a small enough deck that I was probably going to take Refresh damage on the following turn, whatever happened. If I’d had Miyuki I could have healed to a safe amount, and probably also set up Stand Up! Konata to help finish my opponent off. Instead I just had to hit my opponent and hope enough damage got through for me to win. It didn’t and I lost on the next turn. This was a disappointing result given my dominance in the game, but it was giving me better ideas for future games.

The deck doesn't work without me!vsPower at Level 1 is no match for me!

For Round 2 I was up against a Vividred Operation deck and had possibly the worse opening hand I have ever seen in all my time playing the game. It consisted of 2 Book Triggers and one of the +2000 +1 Soul Climaxes, of which I drew another copy post-discard . This meant that before the game had even begun, I was already out of half of my chances to cancel. I’d hung onto the latter because at least I didn’t lose cards by playing it, and given my terrible hand I’d be needing it help get over some of my opponent’s cards. I was just about ready to write this tournament off at this point.

This turned out about as well as you’d expect early game, with me being forced to use Climaxes in order for Kung Fu Master Konata to get over anything. As we transitioned into the Level 1 game I’d managed to get copies of Sundress Konata, and Battlefield Konata, meaning that I was finally able to put together a decent stage and fight properly against my opponent.

Most of the rest of the game was a back and forth between my huge Konata and his cards, with his Level 1 reverser proving particularly annoying. My opponent kept on using Morning Special Training Aoi, obviously hoping to dig for cards from his deck, but this felt like a waste of Stock to me. I was quite happy that he wasn’t able to keep a decent Stock up because of this.

Thankfully in this game it didn’t look like my opponent was drawing many of his Climaxes, so I wasn’t taking too big hits every turn, it did however mean he was cancelling my hits quite a lot though. Pre-Refresh I think I cancelled a whole 1 time, which was when I was down to my last Climax, which was about 2 or 3 from the bottom of my deck. Throughout the entirety of the game I think I only cancelled about twice. However thanks to my field presence I was able to keep the damage I received down to a minimum, even if my hand was being damaged by this.

As we got down to the conclusion of the game, I was on 3-6, with the fate of the game resting on this turn. I can’t recall exactly my opponent’s Stage, but I really had no choice but to send everything I could into his characters whether I could beat them or not. After all of my attacks my opponent was at 3-6 as well, but with only 2 cards left in his deck. Unless my opponent had a heal in his hand, or could draw one, it’d all be over since they weren’t even able to attack me once. I could tell that my opponent didn’t have the healer in his hand, so it was all down to the draw. He drew his card and conceded the game, realising that victory was impossible.

I’d somehow turned around a terrible start and managed to win a very tight game, so I was feeling a bit better about my prospects for the day. In hindsight in that last game, if I’d realised my opponent’s last cards were not Climaxes, I might have been able to win outright, rather than leaving it to a tense luck of the draw. However I can’t recall if they hit their final Climax in that turn, or whether it was already gone.

Everybody jump!vsMe too!

My final round was against a Genius 4 / Police deck from Milky Holmes, which I honestly do not remember all that much about. I remember being really stupid early on, which could have cost me the game, but I ended up winning out in the end. The Level 3s in this deck really did not put in much work today, but I think in this game at least, Miyuki did a bit of healing.

My big mistake was due to unfamiliarity with cards, and not bothering to read them, instead just making assumptions about their effects and what Power they could reach. I was nearly undone by Self-Proclaimed Genius Beautiful Girl Kokoro, who gains 1500 every time one of my characters Rests. I did not realise this, and attacked her last, after resting every single one of my characters, meaning that she was at 9500, and I rammed by Battlefield Konata right into her. If I’d just attacked her first, I wouldn’t have lost a card for no reason, and been in a much better position for the rest of the game.

Despite this, I was able to win out in the end, although I would have liked it to be a smoother game.

You've fallen right into my trap!

Following the tournament I played a few friendlies against my last round opponent, whilst his friend (my 2nd round opponent) watched. I managed to play a game each with the 3 decks I had on me, with Lucky Star being the only one to win.

I started things off with the Miyuki deck against Guilty Crown, which actually had a fantastic start for once, managing to build up Stock with Laharl & Etna, and due to generally having a good Level 0 field. In the rest of the game I only ever drew 1 copy of Suginami though, which really messed up my Stock gaining capabilities for the rest of the game, and made it a bit harder to keep my card numbers up.

For some reason my opponent decided it was a good idea to use a Stock boosting Climax combo that let him put the top of his deck into Stock when he beat one of my guys. This could have gone disastrously for him, because you do not want to be blind-stock things against this deck. Unfortunately for me, he never did Stock a Climax via this.

By Refresh I’d put 4 Climaxes to Memory, and left him with 3 in deck. Unfortunately I lost before I was able to get rid of the final climaxes and play Miyuki though.

After this it was Usual Haruhi vs a Sara Da Capo deck. The deck pretty much did what it was meant to do in terms of field presence, but it just kept on drawing Climaxes, so I took too much damage in the end. This is especially bad for a deck which relies on taking direct attacks all the time to increase cancel chances. I think I even managed to blind Stock a Climax with the deck’s one Gold Bag Trigger.

We ended the day with Lucky Star vs Railgun, where I have a feeling my opponent deliberately chose a deck to mess up Lucky Star deck. (I’d let him choose which of my decks I’d play). He was running the Level 3 Mikoto who could kill Level 0s, so it really hurt my game to have the Sundress Konatas sent to the Waiting Room. Despite these kinds of problems, I was eventually able to win thanks to the +2 Soul Climax, and the fact my opponent was down to an 8 or so card deck, with no Climaxes in it.

Adventures in Nipponbashi: The Debut of Lucky Star

With my Lucky Star deck now complete (Deck Profile coming soon!), it was time to actually get some practice with the deck and use it in some real games. Until that point I’d only been thinking about how it might work, and trying to form strategies, but actually playing it would be a whole other matter. It turned out I’d pretty much gotten the right idea about this in my head prior to playing any games though.

To start off with, I got some friendly games against my friend, two vs Miku and two vs Day Break Illusion – il sole penetra le illusioni / Gen’ei o Kakeru Taiyō, which for convenience I will call Gen’ei from now on.

The final score was 3-1 to me, with the only loss being in one of the games with Gen’ei. I think it was my second game with the deck, and I drew lots of Climaxes and didn’t really deal with it well. From these games I realised just how deadly the deck could be, and just how much Power it could put on the Stage when things were functioning correctly. Which thanks to Miyuki and Patricia was most of the time. A field of 8500s with Encore is quite a scary prospect during Level 1.

I’ll save most of the playstyle talk for the actual Deck Profile, but there are some parts of the deck which are quite different from other decks I’ve played. The deck encourages a focus on the Level 0 game, otherwise it cannot get set up, and then builds on things from there, whereas normally I’m more used to trying to prepare for later as soon as I draw my first hand. Secondly the deck has a lot more supports than I’m used to, and finally it’s still a bit weird playing a deck with a decent amount of Soul Triggers.

After the practice games it was time for the deck’s first tournament outing, which unfortunately had a bad start and didn’t really let me test properly.

I played terribly against this deck.

Round 1 was against a Green Rewrite deck(piloted by the Da Capo player from last week), which I made some stupid mistakes against. For example I played a 500 attack card whilst the opponent had an effect in play which dropped all my Front Stage cards by 1000, so you can imagine how that went.

I also made a terrible mistake on the last turn of leaving a tiny card out vs the Level 3 Lucia who can hit to Clock, even though I was on 3-6 at the time. Fortunately he didn’t have the combo, but I still lost anyway. I think at some point I just fell too far behind on damage due to early climaxes, and just couldn’t pull it back, even with Stand Up! Konata double attacking.

My next two games were against beginners, so didn’t really count as proper practice.

This is really all I remember about their deck.

Round 2 was against a Nanoha deck focused on Hayate, but it was mostly full of vanillas or other underpowered cards. It was really no match for the brute strength of the Lucky Star deck, and I think I’d reduced him to about 1 card by the end of the game, and had stopped clocking pretty early on. I wanted to do the Stand Up! combo, but won before she got to attack even once.

They were really new. They even kept on forgetting to use this fully.

For the 3rd round I was facing a newcomer with a Miku deck, who basically just kept on throwing cards and climaxes at me. I took 9 straight damage at least in a single turn at one point, which was not nice. By pushing me ahead in damage it meant he had no chance of beating my Konata cards. I think I stopped clocking at 2/1, and actually stayed at that point for a couple of turns. Eventually his Level 3s started falling before my 2/2s, and I was pretty sure I was going to be able to win, due to his rapidly dwindling resources.

There was a very scary moment when I was on 3-2 and got hit for 5, but thankfully I cancelled that hit. I finished them off on the following turn, by which point they only had 1 card left.

An end result of 2-1 wasn’t bad, but really two of those games were unfair. The main revelation I had during the event was realising why people play the 1/1 vanilla counter over the 1/0 vanilla counter. It is simply the fact that the former is an Otaku, meaning you have a counter that can be searched by the Level 2 Konata, whilst the latter cannot. I’m still not convinced this is worth it, but it’s not a terrible deck building choice.

The following weekend, which last weekend from now, my friend had Saturday off, so we managed to get a load of practice games in. In fact we had so many that I’m not really sure how many we managed in total. I played 2 games against Gen’ei, and either 5 or 6 against Miku, managing to come out on top in every single one of them.

This included games with terrible starts where I could not set up my supports, and even one game where I did not get a single Level 3. I’d done the Level 2 Climax combo hoping to get a free search for a Level 3, but it turned out that I actually had none left in my deck at the time, so I had to fall back on the Level 2s for the rest of the game.

I had a couple of games where I was able to nearly win at Level 2. In one case winning at 3-0 on my first turn at Level 3, without even needing to play any of the 5 Level 3s in my hand. From my games it was quickly becoming clear that the Power output of the deck was substantial, and that it could generate huge piles of Stock.

The next day it was time for another tournament, and this time I was quite pleased with my performance, although I know it could have gone better.

Every day sure is a battlefield for you Konata.vsI've honestly forgotten what build it was, so here's a Hibiki.

Round 1 saw me facing off against a Symphogear deck. I can’t recall too many details about the game, barring the fact it was getting pretty close at the end, and the fact my opponent was using an illegal deck.

Early on in the game I saw something go to the Waiting Room that I was sure looked like an iM@S character. Later when he played that card I was still sure of it. I asked to read it, and confirmed it was indeed an iM@S card, and he was playing a Standard, and thus illegal deck.

I informed the guy running the tournament of this fact, and my opponent was given a loss and had to alter his deck. Feel a bit bad about winning in this way, but he couldn’t get away with using an illegal deck.

Even Level 3s cower before me!vsYou're no match for us though!

For Round 2 I was up against a Railgun deck, and thanks to some of my encounters with the Eva deck, I was a bit more ready to face this than some other decks. Throughout the Level 0-1 game I pretty much dominated the Stage, but my opponent kept on hitting gates, which allowed him to keep his number of cards up.

Once we reached into the Level 2 game, things started to sway his way a bit more, as his Level 3s started coming into play. It was during this point that I made a terrible mistake that probably in the long run cost me the game. After he wiped my stage out, for some reason I just let my 2/2 go, rather than Encoring it, even though I had a massive pile of Stock at the time. If I’d kept it around, not only would I have been able to do its Climax combo on the following turn, but I’d also have been able to kill his Level support that he’d brought to the front Stage.

Instead I was just forced to ram 3 Level 0s into his guys. Once we were into Level 3 proper, I was staring down a big field of things that were between 13 and 14k, which was a bit of a problem. I tried digging for a certain card with Stand Up! Konata, but it turned out it had actually been in my Stock at the time, so that didn’t really help. It even made things worse by going through at least 2 book triggers. In hindsight, if I’d realised this and just looked at 1 card with both copies of Stand Up! Konata, then I’d probably have cancelled all my opponent’s hits on the next turn, and had at least one final turn to strike back.

Instead I got knocked to 3-6, and had my last Front Stage card killed by Mikoto & Kuroko, which of course meant defeat for me.

After kicking myself a bit for the stupid mistakes, it was onto Round 3!

Don't underestimate the power of an Otaku!vsYou'd better be more careful next time Makoto!

This time I was up against IdolM@ster, which was a game that generally went my way for most of the match, although my opponent did make at least one glaring mistake.

Starting off with 2 Summer Dress Konata and a Kung Fu Master was a pretty good start for me,  but my opponent had the Runner, so the two cards pretty much dodged around each other for most of the Level 0 game. Once we moved into higher Levels I started to put on more pressure with higher power cards, which were able to just about beat over his.

At one point he made a big mistake by sending his Reverser Makoto into Kung Fu Master Konata, hoping to top deck it. After him and his neighbour trying to explain what was going on, and me looking confused, I let him know my card was Level 1, and he realised his effect did not work. I knew there was no way there’d be a Level 0 card that could top deck a Level 1 card like that.

Once we got into Level 2 and 3 I was mostly relying on the 2/2 Konata to push me onwards. My opponent’s resources were gradually dwindling as he was forced to move his supports into battle, and some of his Level 3s were falling to my Level 2s. This was whilst I was still managing to hang on at Level 2. I was using up quite a lot of stock keeping Konata around when his combos managed to get over her though, at least she could strike back and win on the next turn usually.

On his final turn he wasn’t even able to field 3 things that could attack, and he was finally able to get me to Level 3. I didn’t actually need to play any Level 3s though, and was able to finish him off with 2 copies of the Level 0 Miyuki and the 2/2 Konata. Since he was at 3/5 at the time, I figured there was no need to bring in the big guns, especially since their Stage was nearly gone, and they only had 3 cards left it their hand, which they’d been unable to play last turn.

The first Miyuki got cancelled, the second one let him use a heal counter, but hit for 1. By this point Konata was at 14.5k, meaning she could walk over my opponent’s last Level 3 and finish the game.

Vanguard! Stand Up!vsYou'll be no match for my sword!

For my final round I faced off against a Sword Art Online deck, in a game that could have gone much worse.

I opened up with Kung Fu Master Konata, a draw Climax, 2 copies of Kuroi-sensei and a Level 3, dumping the latter three only to draw into 2 Book Triggers. That right there could have been a death sentence for me, because not only was I already out 3 Climaxes, but I also couldn’t get my Level 0 game up and running properly. I ended up having to use the draw Climax just so Konata could actually beat something in battle.

As you might expect I was soon in Level 1, but by that point I’d managed to get some Level 1s, so was able to field my 1/0 7500 and a 1/1 8000 (I think I had a Patricia and a Summer Dress Konata back stage, rather than 2 Summer Dress). My opponent got rather unlucky with cancels, and got stuck at 0/5 when I put my big field down, meaning he was forced to lose cards for an extra turn. When I hit him with 3 direct attacks on the next turn he took a lot of damage.

As the game went on I was generally able to keep on top of things in terms of Power, whilst wearing my opponent down. I made a couple of mistakes, like trying to pay a Climax out with Patricia close to Refresh (with no Bond target) and forgetting the Climax was actually one deeper.

By the end of the game, my opponent was practically out of cards, and had a nearly empty Stage, with I think just 1 Asuna in my way. When I put Stand Up! Konata into play, paying out 2 Climaxes, I realised that my deck only had a single Climax left in it, and there were definitely more than 10 cards left in it. This was an incredibly bad situation to be in at this point in the game.

To try and help the situation out I decided to go all out with Stand Up! Konata and look a the top 5 cards of my deck, and hope none were the Climax. Thankfully there were 5 characters, so I was able to thin my deck by 5. Ultimately it didn’t matter because I won that turn. My opponent was down to one Climax as well, which was 2 from the bottom of his deck, so he never saw it.

A final result of 3-1 wasn’t too shabby, and I think I placed 4th in the end. With the number of players we got that day, it really should have been 5 rounds Swiss, but the tournament stops as soon as there’s only 1 person on perfect score, which had happened that round. We were also 20 minutes from closing time, so it’s not like they could have done another one.

I was happy with the performance of the deck, but as a player I could have done better in Round 2. Of course, I can’t say for certain how the other 2 rounds would have gone had I won that, so I might have actually done worse overall. Something interesting during this tournament, was that whilst I was playing at the higher end (like Table 1 for round 2), I could tell some of the others were joking about it being the World Championship, due to me being English.

With 3 losses out of somewhere near 20 games, I’d say I’m happy with the deck. I still need to play against more different decks, but I’m really happy with how it plays and the style of the deck. Of those losses, I’d chalk two of them up to mistakes on my part more than anything else, so I think there’s still room to improve.

Adventures in Nipponbashi: The Search for Lucky Star

I’ve fallen incredibly behind on this feature, and now have several weeks worth of catch up to do. Because of the relatively large time frame involved, I unfortunately cannot remember games in as much detail as I’d normally like to. This means that in general I will only be providing brief accounts of them.

We’ll start things off with the beginnings of my search for Lucky Star cards, and the final outing (for now) for my Evangelion deck.

Having not really settled on a new deck for a couple of years now, and mainly just playing my Evangelion deck, I was starting to feel a bit weary of the same thing all the time. However, I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to play as an alternative deck. I knew that decks like Da Capo and Rewrite were undoubtedly good, but especially in the former case there were a huge number of cards to work through before I’d be able to settle on a build.

In addition to this, I didn’t really care for either of them as series, since I’d never played or watched them. I’d much rather be playing a series I know, because I can relate to it in some way, rather than just playing to win. The only time I’d not followed this was for Robotics;Notes, because of the Science attribute, and that deck gets used a relatively small fraction of the time at the moment. This leaves me with a relatively small choice of series, because a lot of the stuff in Weiβ Schwarz I have never watched or played, and have no real intention to do so. In addition to this, I’d rather not overlap on series with namimo, which cuts out decks like Disgaea and Angel Beats!.

This left me with:

Sorry Nanoha, you're not for me.

Nanoha, which I watched the first season of with the anime society, but don’t really care about it beyond that.

Even a god isn't enough.

Madoka, which I watched and thought was a good series, but did not get blown away like lots of other people. I’d started trying to build this in English before the move was finalised, since I like the idea of what the GRB build can pull off, but never finished it. I was a little wary of going through that again, given my interest wasn’t huge.

So expensive!

Lucky Star, which I’d watched years ago, and had enjoyed at the time. Until very recently the set had been terrible and outdated, but with the Comeback Campaign and a new tournament PR it had suddenly gained a lot of strength. Otaku builds had a good showing at the WGP finals, managing 5th place, and were on the winning team for the New Year’s Trio Survival. Beyond that the modern version is too new for most people to have really made their minds up about, and most probably haven’t even given much thought to it. One issue I knew about ahead of time was the fact that the deck runs an old tournament PR from about 2009, which was now incredibly hard to find, and also one of the most expensive non-SP/SR/RRR etc in the game, at about ¥4000.

There's only one flat girl who comes out a level early for me.

Zero no Tsukaima, of which I’d seen season 1. I already had my Tabitha deck for a bit of fun, but I didn’t feel compelled to build a proper deck, despite knowing it was good.

Sorry, you're not the deck for me either.

Project Diva. I know vocaloids are a thing, and like some of their songs, but I would really feel no loyalty to it.

I think I got to about episode 5?

Monogatari. I’ve not watched enough of it to justify playing the deck. Also the RR Hitagi is nearly as expensive as the Konata PR.

Out of all of these I was leaning more towards either Lucky Star or Madoka, knowing full well that the former would probably be much harder to build, although I felt more loyalty towards the series.

Upon arrival in Nipponbashi that day I decided to set out looking for the rest of the cards on my ‘To Get’ list, as well as scouting for Lucky Star cards. Still to this day the Red R Etna from the first Disgaea pack evades me.

Much to my surprise the Card Pal near where I come into Nipponbashi had one of the Konata PRs, but as expected its price was around ¥4000. At this point I was very wary of spending that amount of money, especially if I couldn’t gather the rest of the set. So at the time I passed on it, but made a mental note that it was there.

Later at one of the other shops (which might also be a Card Pal, I’m not sure), I spotted some Kung-Fu Master Konata, which is the brand new tournament PR, and another big obstacle to building the deck. That day they had 4 of them, so I bought them up right away, even though they were substantially more than the Yuyutei price (which has been pretty much perpetually out of stock). I’ve yet to see any other copies at any of the other shops, so that was a good decision.

Some of the cards gathered during day 1 of the search!

After this I’d decided I might as well start down the path of Lucky Star, so went back to buy the first PR, which was thankfully still in stock. After a bit more searching I managed to locate a shop which was selling full playsets of both the Otaku and Twins PR sets, so I picked up one of each. With my collection of some of the harder to obtain cards growing, I was starting to think about how to complete the deck, and how quickly I’d look to be doing this.

So long Asuka, we won't be seeing you as much any more.

To round out the day I participated in another tournament, once again fielding my Evangelion deck. After a good early start it went downhill, and I became determined to have a functioning Lucky Star deck by the following weekend.

Round 1 started off against a Sharuru Da Capo deck, which I’d gained some knowledge of thanks to the previous week. Barring an early mistake involving me not realising he could get a Level 1 out early, it mostly went my way and I won.

Round 2 was against Guilty Crown, where I controlled the Stage for most of the game, but came dangerously close to losing at the end.

Round 3 was where everything started to go wrong. I was up against Love Live, and thanks to lots of early Climaxes, I ended up massively behind on damage. Whilst this did mean I was able to devastate his Stage and resources due to my superior Power, I was too far behind to be able to win. This loss was quite annoying, given that my opponent was practically out of cards by the end.

Round 4 I was against Rewrite, after a bit of confusion about pairings. This went terribly. The deck just seemed to fall apart before the 2/2 9500 that comes out at Level 1. I really had no hope all game and ended up losing.

With a closing record of 2-2 I was really disappointed in the deck, and determined to try something new in the future. The following weekend I’d continue by search for Lucky Star.

To start off with, I’d be visiting Nipponbashi on a Saturday, rather than my usual Sunday outing for the tournament, and this time I’d just be looking for cards, with no intention of playing.

You really exist!

To start off with, I was looking for more copies of the Konata PR, alongside the PR counter if I could find it. I was quite lucky that the newly relocated Hobby Station had both, which meant I was one step closer to finishing the deck. Unfortunately they didn’t have any packs, so I’d have to look elsewhere for those.

Eventually I found that the C-Labo at the top of Animate happened to have an unopened Lucky Star box on their shelf, so I decided to buy that. After trying to ask in broken Japanese about whether that was all their stock, the very helpful shop assistant made a phone call to secure me a 2nd box. I can only assume she was either calling up one of the other three C-Labo, or their stock warehouse somewhere. I was told to wait about 10 minutes for it to arrive, so I spent my time browsing through the cards and sleeves on display.

After finally securing my two boxes of Lucky Star I decided to get into opening them right away, and working out how much more I’d need to finish the deck. The biggest issue with Lucky Star is simply the availability of some cards, so I decided boxes would be a better shot, because I’d have some chance of getting the cards I’d need, rather than no chance at all. It also meant I’d had leftovers for the Twins deck, and other cards like the Minami ones, because Chihara Minori.

Both of my Blue RRs were the 1/1 and in the end, RRs aside, I was missing 3 copies of the Patricia R, and 2 Book Triggers. Up to this point I had never found anywhere with Patricia, so things weren’t looking the best for finishing the deck.

The final outcome of the two boxes!

After visiting several more shops, and revisiting ones from earlier I was no closer to finishing the deck, because everywhere was sold out of those two cards. Eventually I returned to the Hobby Station from earlier, which happened to have a Book Trigger on display. That along with more copies of Miyuki (2 for Otaku, 2 for Twins, 2 for Standard Glasses) would get me close to completion, but still not quite there. I managed to ask the shop assistant if that was all of their Lucky Star stock, and he understood which card I was looking for when I said Patricia. Thankfully they had at least 3 copies hidden away under the front desk, so I was able to finish the deck, at least barring more copies of the Level 3 PR and maybe the PR Counter.

Extras to finish off the deck, and Kyon and Koizumi again...

With that out of the way, I decided to go pick up some supplies to go with the deck, such as sleeves, a deck box and a playmat. I was able to secure a Lucky Star playmat, but other supplies for the series were long gone. Instead I got Squid Girl sleeves, and a plain deck box, the latter because it was getting very late by that point. I also picked up two copies of the Log Horizon TD to mix into my Glasses deck, and some doujin Aussa sleeves for Yu-Gi-Oh! cards.

Card supplies.

After getting home that evening I decided to start building the deck, and discussing strategy with namimo, in preparation for the following day. I also prepared a few alternatives for the deck, but I’ve yet to get around to using those.

Since this has already been a pretty long article, I’ll be splitting it into two, so come back soon to hear about the deck in action.