Akihabara is the nerd/geek Mecca of the world, but it’s not always the easiest place to find what you’re looking for. Last year I covered the Osakan equivalent, Nipponbashi, so it’s about time I tackled Tokyo. TCG players, especially those into Weiβ Schwarz, can read on to find out about some of the places worth visiting.
In case you missed the news, the latest restriction list (effective March 2nd) made some important changes to the game, making Haruhi a viable deck again. In the new environment, the deck won’t be as good as during it’s prime, but it’s good news to the old time fans who’ve been hanging onto the deck for years, or the newer players who’ve always wanted to play the deck, but been told the restrictions ruined it.
March 2nd Restriction List Updates
Banned: Junyou, 2nd Hiyou-class Light Aircraft Carrier
Pick 1 of 3:
Hibiki, 2nd Akatsuki-class Destroyer (New)
Hatsukaze, 7th Kagero-class Destroyer (New)
Akagi Kai, Akagi-class Aircraft Carrier
The new changes for Kantai Collection mean that it’s likely to still be a good deck, but will no longer be the defining force of the game. The deck now has to pick between anti-heal, anti-salvage and one of its many game enders. So far, It looks like most people are favouring anti-heal with Hibiki, because she’s just a good card, regardless of the fact you also get anti-heal added on.
The new changes also mean that Kantai get back one of their best early plays in the form of Inazuma, and Musashi is once again allowed to roam free. Kantai’s finishing power will be just about as good as before, but other decks can fight back better because their entire game plan is no longer shut down.
Anti-heal will still be a thorn in the side of old revived decks like Zero no Tsukaima and Haruhi, but it no longer feels like you should just throw in the towel when you sit down across from Kantai Collection.
Banned: The World Has Lost Its Colour (New)
Pick 1 of 2:
Trouble Girl Haruhi
Dress Up Nagato
The most important change here is that Summer Festival Nagato is no longer on the pick 3. This means the Alien deck finally has access to more than 4 cards for the entirety of its Level 2 to 3 game. You can either go the burn route with Trouble Girl, or messing up your opponent’s stage with Dress Up. I’ll go into more detail on this later.
Index & Railgun
Removed from Pick 3: Kuroko, Tokiwadai’s Lady
Railgun got its big 1/1 back, but it seems people have mostly moved on to Green anyway, so this is likely to have little impact on the game.
A History Lesson
Before going into details on the deck and where it stands now, I thought I’d cover a bit of my history with the game of Weiβ Schwarz, since it and Haruhi are directly linked to each other.
My first exposure to the game was back in the summer of 2010, during a trip to Japan. I picked up a few random Yuki cards (I think Usual Nagato from the TD and something else), not knowing anything about the game. I just intended to use them as tokens for Yu-Gi-Oh! because I liked the character.
A bit later, at the very first Hyper Japan in London, Bushiroad were there demoing the game. One of the choices of demo decks was a modified version of the Haruhi TD, with the 3 Aliens support added in. So of course, I had to try it out and quickly realised how good the support cards was. It was then that I realised the random cards I’d bought were from this very game. That event would be the start of the game for me, and the start of the Weiβ Schwarz scene in the UK. If Bushiroad hadn’t been there, the long time dedicated players that I know would never have gotten into the game.
After that, namimo and I got started on building Haruhi decks, back in the day when you could actually still buy TDs. She started off with SOS Brigade, whilst I went with Alien. It was always a pain fighting against The World Has Lost Its Colour (aka Emo Swing) whilst it was still legal. At some point we discovered Yuyu-tei, and the world of single cards was opened up to us.
A bit later the Haruhi Extra Pack would be released, which gave the Alien deck a massive boost, leaving the SOS Brigade deck in the dust. I would eventually settle on the famous 9 Level 3 Red / Blue build, but this would come too late for the French WGP in 2011, where I opted to go with Evangelion. In hindsight, testing them against each other to decide what to use was a bad idea, because Evangelion had the better match up.
Eventually, the deck would get restricted and fall from grace. I’d still play the deck sometimes, but it was a shell of its former self. Along the way I built other decks, like Robotics;Notes (because Science), and Usual Haruhi (because Level 3 unkillable Reversers are fun, for me), but would generally fall back to Evangelion. Silly decks like Deck Out and Traitless would get added along the way
After moving to Japan I managed to pick up a Lucky Star deck, newly bolstered by the Comeback Campaign and Kung Fu Master Konata, which quickly became my go to deck. Other decks were improved with new cards and ideas, and new decks like Wooser and Log Horizon were built.
Every time the new restrictions game around, it would always be a case of waiting and hoping that the restrictions on Haruhi would one day be lifted, especially in the face of Kantai Collection. The Zero no Tsukaima unrestriction in December gave me hope, as I waited for the February announcement.
With the restrictions lifted, I can finally go back to where I started 5 years ago.
Above you’ll see what my deck currently looks like, along with the 14 extra cards that I can swap in if I want to convert it into a Blue deck making using of Dress Up Nagato.
For the benefit of new players, I’m now going to give a run down of the options available to the deck. Since I’m primarily and Alien player, I’m only going to focus on the cards for either the Red / Blue or Blue versions of that deck. You’ll need to look elsewhere for most of the Green / Yellow options, and even good Red stuff like Usual Haruhi won’t be getting space in here, because it doesn’t really benefit the Alien build.
We’ll be starting off at Level 0, where you’ll find the central card for the deck along with the cards you need to get your game started.
Aliens, Nagato & Asakura & Kimidori (hereafter called 3 Aliens) is a cornerstone of the deck, and you can usually tell how your game will go based on how quickly you can get one of these into your hand.
The give global 500 to all of your other Aliens, and you can pay 2 and Rest it to search your deck for another Alien. Often your first choice will be another copy of itself, followed by copies of Summer Festival Nagato for later in the game. At other times you might just search for a card you can play now, such as one of the many 0 cost cards, or a safety buffer like Magician Nagato & Shamisen.
The card is also useful for paying out Climaxes from Stock, since the deck is usually very cost light in the early game. Just make sure not to use it too much and run out of Stock for actually playing your Level 3 cards.
The key to your Front Stage in the early game will be Nagato Yuki, who boasts Hand Encore, and + 2000 in the opponent’s turn. Some modern cards get away with that power all the time now, but it’s still nothing to scoff at. It’s fairly easy for her to be 4500, which isn’t that easy to beat, and you can always Encore her when that does happen.
Once you hit Level 1, she might even hold off some weaker Level 1 cards thanks to your counter, but don’t count on that happening too much.
She’s a bit weak on the offense, but you have other cards for dealing with threats.
Depending on which Deck you’re playing, you have a choice of 2 Reversers. Either a normal one in the form of Onsen Haruhi, or a Stock Reverser from Kyon & Koizumi. I’d personally favour the former in Red / Blue for the colour fixing, with the latter being a better standalone card for the just Blue version.
On top of Onsen Haruhi’s regular effect, she can also give an SOS Brigade card +1500 when she gets Reversed, which in an Alien deck is pretty much restricted to the above Nagato Yuki. This can get you a quick 2 for 1, or mess up opponents who aren’t paying attention to your effects and attack her first.
Kyon & Koizumi is a stronger standalone card because they can get rid of cards that are immune to usual Reversing effects, and can deal with cards that have Encore or other annoying effects. Ideally you’d want to use them to get rid of Memory Anti-heal cards like Hibiki before they get a chance to use their effects. The problem is that they have 1500 compared to the usual 1000 you find on the Anti-heal cards. In the past, this wasn’t much of an issue, since Hibiki backed up by Hatsukaze was 1500, but now I reckon she’ll be sitting at 1000 most of the time. An opponent who knows what they’re doing would also never leave it in the 1500+ range anyway.
Filling out the Aliens
You’ll want most of the rest of your Level 0 cards to be Aliens, because you need as many on Stage as you can get for Summer Festival to be useful.
My personal pick to round off your Level 0s is Usual Nagato, who gets a quick burst of power on play. When played from your hand, she gains 500 times the number of Aliens on Stage, meaning that at worst she’ll still be 3000. With just 2 supports, she’ll easily hit 5000, which can deal with nearly any threat during Level 0. If you still have her during Level 1, she can reach 6000, which can handle a few straggling Level 1s, or take down Reversers without costing you a more important card.
Nekomimi Nagato is a vanilla. I see no reason to play this when you have access to far better Level 0 Nagato cards already.
Eating Watermelon Nagato is a change for the upcoming Swimsuit Haruhi and Nagato, which I feel is mostly a waste. You’ll get out a reasonably powerful card for during Level 0, but you’ll usually waste their free Encore effect keeping another Level 0 alive.
Why play this when you have the 3 Aliens?
Wedding Dress Nagato is a PR card that came with the first run of Nagato sleeves, so good luck finding either now. The Haruhi and Nagato ones are generally sold out, and have been for years, but you can sometimes still find the Mikuru ones. I always found it odd that the character whose whole point is meant to be her moe appeal, is actually the least popular of the 3.
This card lets you heal on play for the cost of 2 Stock. This is the sort of effect you’d expect on a 3/2, except she of course has a much smaller body, and if you’re stuck for cards, can just use to attack with for no cost. With the return of the Level 3s, this card is pretty much obsolete now. You only used to run it because you couldn’t play any Level 3s other than Summer Festival.
Observer Nagato is another support card that can also act as an attacker thanks to her 2500 Power. She gives all your Aliens +500 during your opponent’s turn, making her a decent alternative to the 3 Aliens if you haven’t got them already. One of the better choices for the deck.
The remaining Level 0s either work with cards you don’t play (Nagato and Kyon’s Little Sister in Yukata), or are support for Book cards (Nagato in Apron), which you don’t really have enough to support playing.
The obvious choice at Level 0 for added colour fixing is Flower Bouquet Haruhi. As well as being a normal assist, she has a rare type of effect that works when you hit a specific trigger, in this case a Gate. By paying 1, you can send an opponent’s Level 1 or lower from the Front Stage to the Waiting Room. Not only can you kill a problem card, but you can also pay the Gate out immediately. The net result is a +2 for you, with no worry about the Climax being stuck later.
Highest priority to take out are big 1/1s you can’t otherwise deal with, annoying cards like Runners, and things you don’t want getting Reversed, like Anti-Heals or on Reverse searchers.
As you approach Level 2, this will usually move up front to clear space on your Stage.
Night of the Summer Festival Haruhi is an alternative (and much more expensive) option, who works as a backup for the 3 Aliens, who can also get Trouble Girl into your Hand. By paying 2 and Resting her, you can add a character from your Waiting Room to your Hand. She should add some consistency to the deck, but I’d be careful with her stock cost.
If you really want to pull off combos with Onsen Haruhi, then look no further than Dress Up Haruhi. If she Reverses something she can rest one of your other characters and move them Back Stage. Since she has SOS Brigade, this is the perfect card to team up with Onsen Haruhi. Onsen Reverses a card, pumps Dress Up to 3500 at least. Dress Up Reverses a card then moves Onsen Back Stage. If you pull this off you’ll take out 2 cards for the price of none.
She’ll probably lose next turn, making it just a +1, but at least Onsen Haruhi will probably be able to deal with the new threat as well.
A slightly more unusual choice for Red is Super Editor-in-Chief Haruhi. Her first effect is largely pointless, since very few of your cards will have book trait. You will sometimes get random power boosts off when Trouble Girl Haruhi gets Reversed. Or if for some reason you’re playing this in Blue, Dress Up Nagato.
Instead, you’ll be playing her for the second much rarer effect, anti-Brainstorm. If your opponent hits a Climax whilst doing Brainstorm, you can pay 1 to burn them for 1. This could steal you random games here and there, but isn’t something to rely on.
The final Level 0 I’m going to highlight is Xmas Party Kyon’s Little Sister. The reason for her inclusion in the deck is because it’s the only reasonable Brainstorm the deck has access to. The 2/1 Yuki won’t be much good to you earlier on in the game.
She has a really niche effect, which gives +1 Soul to a Kyon character for every Climax you hit. Don’t forget that as Kyon’s Little Sister, she counts as a Kyon card too. Most of the time she’ll just be used for deck fixing, but you can also use her for massive Soul hits when desperate, or as a way to side over big cards for damage.
For most of the decks Level 1 game you will be relying on vanilla cards to carry you. If the opponent has Reversers and not too big cards you’ll fall back on your 1/0s, but if you need to take out something big, you can bring the 1/1 in. From this point on, cards will be pretty much exclusively Blue, barring counters and the Trouble Girl cards.
Onsen Nagato & Mikuru might just be a vanilla, but it shouldn’t be underestimated. Will usually be 6500, and can reach 8500 with your counter.
If you have to beat things, bring in Standy Mode Nagato. Can reach 10,000 on defense.
The rest of your Level 1 will be filled with cards to help keep your vanillas alive.
Swimsuit Haruhi & Nagato gives one of your characters free pseudo-Encore on play, allowing them to be Rested again if they get Reversed. Very useful if you want to ram something in for damage, but don’t want to suffer a direct attack next turn. Also helps gets around Reversers, and can put your opponent in a pickle if your cards have equal power, or you fall within their counter range. Whatever happens, you won’t lose your card, and your opponent will either be down a counter, or a card on Stage.
Magician Nagato & Shamisen is one of my favourite cards in the game, and a key card to the deck. For starters it gives +1000 Power to a card in battle, but if you have 2 or more Aliens on Stage (which really isn’t hard), you can give another 1000 Power to any of your characters. You can put all 2000 into one card to keep them safe, or split it across two to make sure both cards stick around. The second card doesn’t even need to be an Alien, so you can help out Trouble Girl too.
Kimidori is an interesting Alarm card, that will probably be cut for space in most modern builds. She gives +1000 Power to all your Aliens when on top of the Clock, which is helpful for pushing over bigger cards with your vanillas. Her second effect can also give a card the ability to draw a card when it reverses something, but you’ll probably fairly rarely use this.
Other Aliens & Events
If you’re playing the Blue build, you’ll probably want to round out your Level 1 with Glasses Girl Nagato, who combos with the other Book Climax. When she attacks, all your Aliens gain ‘Pay 1, draw a card on Reversing opponent’s card’. This is useful for replenishing your hand, and instantly paying out Climaxes.
She’ll only see play in Blue, because there’s no space for the Climax in Red / Blue.
Message on a Bookmark is a useful event card which is probably past its prime. You pay 1, draw 1, discard 1, heal 1, send it to Memory. So you can dig into your deck, heal and compress for later, all at once. Currently I think it’s hard to find space for it over actual character cards, and you probably don’t want to leave yourself even more exposed to anti-heal.
It’s still a good card, so other people may find space for it.
I know there’s also the Ryoko card, but honestly, I’ve never felt compelled to use it, so that will be left out.
At Level 2 you’ll play very few actual Level 2 cards, so I’m going to group Summer Festival Nagato into here, since that’s when she gets played.
What’s Level 3?
Summer Festival Nagato has finally been released from the restrictions list, now that decks can actually do things about her.
She has an incredibly easy to fulfil early play requirement, of having 4 or more Aliens on Stage. You can just drop down all your Cost 0 cards, then suddenly a 10,000 2 Soul appears. Just be careful of anti-Change / early play counters, which are much more common than when she was released.
In addition to this, she has a Climax combo which allows you to heal 1 and gives her +3000 Power for the turn. She’ll usually be hitting for 15,000 and will get over most other cards. In an ideal world, you will keep on pulling this combo off over and over again with multiple Summer Festival Nagato and never leave Level 2.
She still remains relevant in Level 3, because she still heals and still beats things in battle, it’s just that the opponent’s cards are probably bigger now.
Your primary late game support is Guitarist Nagato, who gives global Level support in the opponent’s turn, and Book triggers an extra kick. Whilst around, any book triggers you hit allows you to draw an extra card and discard one. This can happen quite often in the full Blue deck.
Thanks to Guitarist and a copy of the 3 Aliens, your opponent will usually be trying to get over a stage full of 12,000s from sometime in Level 2, whilst knowing you also might have a 2,000 counter waiting for them.
Your Ryoko counter is the surprise trump card of the deck, and the card most likely to make your opponent question whether you’re cheating or not. It sends their Climax to the Waiting Room, shutting off their Climax combos and potentially robbing them of their stat boosts.
Watch out for on attack combos, since it’ll be too late to stop them, and remember that some Climaxes apply their effects on play, whilst others do it whilst they’re in the Climax slot. Don’t make the mistake of using this card for no effect.
I’m not a big fan of the Koizumi & Nagato counter, but at least it’s searchable and bigger than the 1/0. 2500 Power is still a but underpar for a 2/1 counter, but you’ll be playing it for the bonus effect. By discarding a card you can put two cards from your opponent’s Waiting Room back into their Deck. This can stop attack phase salvage cards, and slightly decrease your opponent’s compression. Back in the day, I rarely used this effect.
There are further Level 2 options, like Flower Viewing Nagato, who has a spammable +2,000 to Alien Brainstorm, or China Dress Nagato, who is a decent wall with Encore. However, I feel that since the deck got a proper Level 3 game back, it’s no longer worth thinking too much about them. Kyon’s Sister is cheaper stock wise anyway.
Level 3 is where you try to end the game, and where you’ll see a different line up depending on which of the Pick 2 gets chosen.
The choice for most people will be Trouble Girl Haruhi, if not for her own effect, but for the fact that playing her allows you to use other cards which add to the consistency of the deck. She is a simple and powerful card.
Haruhi heals on play, then combos with a Gate to burn for 1 on attack for free. Multiples of her can very quickly end the game when you’re attacking 6 times. She doesn’t even need to have anything to fight, like Akatsuki, and can quite happily just ram into bigger cards.
Don’t you wish Commons were this good now?
Your other choice is Dress Up Nagato, who has a unique effect that hasn’t been printed since. Shuffle Time comes close, but that’s random. On play she sends all of your opponent’s Stage to Memory, then you can put them back wherever you like. You can bring supports Front Stage to beat them in battle, move Bodyguard’s like Naotsugu out of the centre slot, and remove Markers and lingering effects from every card your opponent has.
Whatever happens, your opponent’s Stage is going to be messed up.
On top of this, she can also get an extra heal off if she reverses something on the turn she’s played. This is pretty easy when she’s got supports to fight.
Dress Up Nagato is definitely still a strong card, but I think the extra cards around Trouble Girl make her more worthwhile.
There are 3 main choices for Climaxes, depending on which build you’re making.
Nights of Remaining 2 weeks will be in your deck whatever you do, because you’re always going to be playing Summer Festival Nagato.
If you’re playing Red / Blue you’ll need Someday in the Rain for Trouble Girl.
If you’re playing full Blue you’ll mostly want Struggle in the Information Controlled Space, since it works with your Glasses Girl Nagato, and makes Guitarist even more likely to get her bonus.
You might also feel like teching single copies of the +2 Soul or +2,000 +1 Soul Climaxes in the Blue deck, but I personally just prefer 8 Books.
Hope you’ve enjoyed reading about my take on the Alien deck. I’m certainly looking forward to playing it in tournaments from next Monday. If you have any questions or comments, you can drop me a message on here, or find me on Twitter @Xagor1.
Things have been pretty quiet around here since last September, with only my Nipponbashi article between October and now. In December I moved to Tsukuba, which of course meant a big disruption to everything. The end of my time in Osaka was basically just more local tournaments, and small updates to my decks here and there. Since moving to Tsukuba, there was the WGP in Tokyo in December, but there wasn’t really much to report on that except for the fact that Lucky Star under-performed. Since the move I’ve managed to meet up with several other foreigners who are into the game, and am starting to get back into regularly playing the game.
End of time in Osaka
As things wound down in Osaka I was generally just playing my Lucky Star deck in the C-Lab tournaments, whilst messing around with the Standard decks in friendlies. For my final tournament in Osaka I decided that I’d run my Alien deck, because I felt it was an appropriate send off. Currently the deck is still suffering from years old restrictions, and the rise of anti-heal hasn’t done it any favours. However, I decided that winning was less important than going out one last time with my first deck.
The tournament that week was a relatively low turn out, but was still split into 2 blocks with about 10 in mine. The results and pairings would end up falling in such a way that it would all be over in 3 rounds, and somehow my Alien deck triumphed. For the first round I fought my way through Little Busters! and their anti-heal. It’s been so long now that I can’t remember the second round, but it wasn’t anything that was particularly worrisome for the deck, and I came out on top. For the third round I faced off against Nisekoi, and this was still during the pre-restrictions period. My opponent had a terrible string of bad luck during the game, failing to get off the Level 1 Marika combo due to my vanillas, then repeatedly being on the receiving end of Summer Festival Nagato. By the end he didn’t even have enough resources to justify doing Marika’s restand.
This event was a bit of a washout for me. It was a long journey, early in the morning, to get there on time, so my head wasn’t really in it that day. I was using Lucky Star, packing things like double 100M Shock for taking on Marika, which I unfortunately never faced. There was nothing much worth noting, since I was out by the 3rd or 4th round. I was at least able to say hello to some of the foreigners who were also attending the event.
Thoughts on the Emergency Restrictions
It’s now been nearly 2 months since the Nisekoi forced updates, so it’s a bit late to be getting my thoughts out now, especially since there should be another one coming out this month. Although, I wouldn’t be surprised if there were no changes with that update.
The two strongest decks in the game, Nisekoi and Kantai Collection were weakened, whilst two decks from a bygone era, Disgaea and Zero no Tsukaima were given some of their cards back.
Nisekoi deserved to be hit, because it had been absolutely dominating the game since release. The choice of pick 3 essentially banned Raku and the deck refresh Onodera from play, since you have to play the Pendant to get the deck’s most powerful effects. Marika’s still strong at 1, but the deck is nowhere near as bad as before.
Kantai Collection was weakened slightly, but is currently probably the strongest deck out there. Junyou was deservedly banned, since she’s one of the stupidest cards Bushiroad have ever made, whilst Akagi took her place on the pick 3. This just means everyone plays Akagi. Kantai pretty much defines the playing field at the moment, but it would only have been worse without these changes.
Disgaea got Laharl back and it’s had no impact. The game has moved on since Disgaea’s heal loop was an issue.
Zero no Tsukaima got all of its cards back, but once again this doesn’t seem to have done much. In the face of decks like Kantai Collection lots of healing simply won’t cut it any longer. It should still be good against lots of decks without anti-heal, but it’s not safe with the majority of any given event being Kantai.
Now I’m just patiently waiting to see if they’re going to do any updates for February or not.
Updates to decks / new decks
Since my last update I’ve gotten my hands on a few new decks, updated others or just increased their rarity.
Girlfriend (Beta) came out, and I decided to try putting 3 decks together for that. Although, so far I still haven’t bothered getting all the Red cards yet. I’ve got everything I need for Blue, and most of the Yellow cards, so those two currently have working decks. The Yellow (touch Red) build is strong, but very straightforward and lacking on defence. Blue just seems to wall up a lot. The Yellow build is probably one of the safest options I have for entering a tournament.
I have finally managed to max out my Alien deck after how ever many years its been since I started playing. It’s pretty bad with Kantai around as the top deck, but one can always dream.
My Tabitha deck has undergone a retool, and is now sporting 7 signed cards (6 Tabitha and 1 Louise). Since increasing the number of Louise in here, I doubt it’ll ever reach max rarity now. The whole deck is pretty much a gimmicky rush deck now. If you’re very lucky you’ll be able to play the Level 2 Tabitha during Level 0, ideally as early as turn 2.
If that fails, they’ll come out sooner or later, and once you’re above Level 2 you can start using the Alarm Tabitha to give all your Yellow cards +1 Soul. Hitting for 6 does happen sometimes. From here you can just hope that Louise can keep on bring Cost 0s back to ram into your opponent.
My traitless deck has seen some changes to accommodate the Level 3 Riki and a 2nd Miyako. This is still one of my favourite decks to play, and the Alarm Kunikida is a great card to spring on people.
My Glasses deck has also had some minor updates to incorporate the new Level 3 from Girlfriend (Beta). It’s still very much a deck about walling up against whatever your opponent can throw at you. It doesn’t really have a game plan beyond this. Filling your field with 16ks whilst holding a 5k counter is just nice sometimes.
Current situation in Tsukuba / Tokyo
Currently I’m in Tsukuba, which doesn’t really have much in the way of cards. There’s a shop tournament on Monday evenings which I attend, that usually has about 10 people. I’ve tried out a few different decks there so far, but nothing has really been that successful.
From where I am, it takes a bit over an hour (timetables dependent) to get to Akihabara, which has plenty of card shops. This allows me to meet up with other players on the weekends and get in practice with my decks.
This past weekend I went to Nakano for the first time, which is meant to have the shop with the largest shop tournaments in the area. I had fun messing about with my Gigant Shooter deck, and playing friendlies with the Traitless deck afterwards. I’m certainly considering going back there again in the future, because it was a fun evening.
At the moment, I’m not really sure what to do with this blog. It’s been months since I’ve written something regularly, and outside of maybe local tournament reports I can’t really think of much to write on. I’d like to keep things going in some way.
If there’s any content people might find useful, you can either contact me on here, or on Twitter @Xagor1
Last Sunday I made another trip out to Nipponbashi, this time once again in search of more single cards. I was also planning on meeting up with the friend I’d made a few weeks ago for some games.
The whole of last week I’d been feeling pretty bad, I think due to eating something bad on the Monday, and had only really started to recover properly by the Sunday. So I was quite looking forward to having some fun playing cards, and not worrying about feeling ill.
Before that, I decided to venture out for some of the more unusual food on offer in Japan. I’d read about Lotteria doing a Chocolate and Honey Mustard Chicken Burger, so I felt I had to try it out before it disappeared from the menu. I’d spotted a Lotteria the other day at Senri-Chuo, and since it wasn’t too far out of the way on the journey to Nipponbashi, I decided I’d make a stop there for lunch.
After arriving at Senri-Chuo I eventually relocated the Lotteria and ordered the meal version of that burger. (I didn’t go all out and get the chips with chocolate dipping sauce though.) It wasn’t actually all that bad, and I didn’t think that the addition of chocolate was as weird as I’d been expecting. I can’t say I have any plans to try it again (I’d rather go for taste over novelty), but there was nothing wrong with it.
Afterwards I made my way onwards to Nipponbashi, and learnt an important lesson about paying attention to which way the train is going. Normally I get on at Yamada and just ride the train straight through to Nipponbashi. What I hadn’t realised was that the line splits at Awaji, and I didn’t realise this until I passed through an unfamiliar station. Fortunately in the end I only ended up two stops off track, so I was able to get to my final destination eventually. It just took longer than usual.
When I finally made it into Nipponbashi my first order of the day was to return to the shop that had a couple of cards I’d been after the previous week. This time I knew how to fill in the request slip, so hoped I’d be able to obtain the cards easily. What I hadn’t realised was quite how complicated (to my eyes anyway) the name of the Level 0 Accelerator was (最強の能力者 一方通行). This lead to the fun task of me trying to copy this was a printed copy of the card picture, in the middle of a crowded shop, whilst trying to balance the folder containing said printed copy on my arm. This was pretty uncomfortable, so I was glad when I finished it. The shop had 3 copies of that, plus the Tabitha counter, so I was getting a step closer to finding all the cards I wanted.
After that I went on a look around all the other shops I regularly visit, on the search for single cards, and looking through all their folders of singles for anything interesting. Unfortunately, I didn’t really have any luck finding the cards I was after. I eventually remembered that I should also be looking for extra copies of the 3 Idiots card, but hadn’t realised how expensive they could get.(¥1000 at the first shop I saw them in). Thankfully I found them in the next shop for about ¥700, so decided to opt for that.
After that I met up with my new friend, who let me know that there was a tournament on in the evening at one of the C-Labo that he usually attended (The one I happened to find the KoF card in before). I’d been planning on heading that way anyway, so we went to see if there was any space for us to play prior to the tournament. We were out of luck though, because the play area was absolutely full when we arrived. I did manage to locate two copies of [Overlord Zenon Defeated!!] though, which was good.
After unsuccessfully trying a few more shops we finally found some space in the Card Pal, and settled down for a couple of games. We stuck to Neo-Standard in preparation for the tournament, so I used Eva and Haruhi, whilst he used Project Diva.
I started off with Eva for the first game, but I honestly cannot remember too many details about this game. I’m pretty sure I got off to a decent start with Shinji and some characters, and that Shinji helped keep my power Levels decent, but can’t recall much beyond that. The effectiveness of Shinji is sort of diminished when the opponent has the same card, but for Miku.
I think late game I had loads of Level 3s and was just able to keep control of the game.
Once again, the full details of this game escape me, so I’ll have to recount as best I can. Kyon & Koizumi dealt with some Level 0s as usual, the Level 1 game was pretty much battle of the vanillas, and then Level 2-3 was just protect Summer Festival as usual.
During Level 1, the free Encore was useful, which makes a change. Ultimately I think a big deciding factor was that I managed to stop Sadistic Music Factory Miku’s Climax combo with the Ryoko counter, and was able to stay in the game because of it. I eventually won, but don’t think I ever did the Summer Festival Climax combo.
After this, it was pretty close to time for the tournament, so we decided to head back over to C-Labo. Since it was only a ¥100 tournament, there wouldn’t really be much on the line. In the end we had 9 players, which meant 3 rounds of Swiss. I decide to take Eva in, because I have the most faith in it.
Against a lot of the decks I wouldn’t really know what they were doing, so this might have negatively influenced my playing. It wasn’t until the evening after the event that I actually had a chance to check what lots of them did.
I sit down against my first opponent and sort of recognise his sleeves. After a bit, I realise they’re for one of the characters from Accel World, so I’m sort of expecting an Accel World deck. I’ve never faced one before, but I’ve heard they’re not too bad, so I’m feeling okay about the first round.
During the first turn, my opponent dumps [Mikoto & Kuroko , One Roof], which makes me realise I’m facing Railgun, and my heart immediately sinks. When he starts playing though, it turns out it’s a Saten/ Uiharu deck, so it’s not too bad for me. In fact my opponent would never actually get to draw the Mikoto & Kuroko card.
This game started off with no Shinji in sight, and I’d only ever get one when I salvaged it later in the game. This put me in trouble as far as power was concerned, especially when my opponent put down two copies of [Haruee, munching] at Level 1, providing them with an across the board +2000. Eventually I managed to claw things back with [Finishing Blow Asuka] and start to set up a decent field.
Eventually they drop 3 copies of [Uiharu in Swimsuit], but fortunately they’re unable to use her Recollection effect, so her Power isn’t too much to deal with. On the following turn I try to break their Power a little bit with the [Experimental Plugsuit Asuka] Climax combo, to get rid of one of the supports, but I don’t make too much of a dent in the Uiharu.
The next turn I follow up with the Climax combo for my Level 3 Asuka, and managed to get in a bit of burn, whilst also damaging their Stage. I somehow survive another turn, and finish them off on my next turn, by which point their Stage has fallen apart.
For Round 2 I was facing off against a Da Capo III deck, and I’d have an absolutely terrible start. I think the only playable character I got for the first 2 turns was a copy of Shinji. This really put me on the back foot for a lot of the game, because I was really behind on damage and Stock.
By Level 1 I’d managed to draw more copies of Shinji, and had managed to build a pretty solid Stage, but was still a bit behind. At some point my opponent used [Playing in the Creek], and followed up with a Brainstorm, which allowed them to add 3 copies of the Level 3 Charles from their Waiting Room to their Hand. Things really were not looking good for me at this point.
During Level 2 I was able to start picking apart their Back Stage with [Finishing Blow Asuka], which helped keep my Front Stage going. It was only after the event that I realised that one of the supports only gave Power to the Middle of Centre Stage (albeit a 1500 boost), which would explain why a Level 0 reached about 9000 Power at one point…
At Level 3 they dropped 2 copies of Charles and hit me with a double Climax combo, giving them both the ability to burn for 1 damage twice. I can’t help but feel that they wouldn’t have had the 6 Stock to pay for this if I hadn’t had such a bad start. I somehow survive this onslaught and start to fight back.
By the end I’ve turned the advantage around completely, now in complete control of the Stage, and with overall card advantage. However I was behind in damage, and couldn’t actually kill my opponent off, so a last few suicide attacks were able to end it.
For the final round I was paired against my friend, so we were in for a rematch of earlier.
For once in the tournament, I got a decent Level 0, meaning I could actually put pressure on early game. We both ended up cancelling a lot, so spend quite a long time in Level 0. Since we both have quite a lot of similar cards, we mostly end up trading off different guys at Level 0, with neither really establishing dominance.
At Level 1 I have to deal with a bunch of 1/1 vanillas, which isn’t too bad for my deck when on the offensive. I can’t recall too much about Level 2, beyond that Cooking Asuka probably got big and caused issues.
I think generally in the later game I was able to control the Stage quite well, but things came very close to game over, when I realised that I would lose if his final attack hit a Soul Trigger. Fortunately this didn’t happen, so I was able to take game on the next turn, by which point his resources and Stage were exhausted.
In the end I go 2-1, and get one random choice of a card. I end up with a R from Accel World which I don’t really care for, but a card’s a card. My friend ends up with an RR from the very first Da Capo set, which is terrible and tells you just how far the game has come. It was a 1/1 6K Encore, with a negative effect, compared to the 1/1 6.5K with no negative effect that you can get now.
After this we get in one more quick game with my Glasses deck, which just falls apart (never drew any Lit Club Yuki), before we decided to call in a night.
I had fun in the tournament, and hope that in the future I might be able to perform better, now that I’m getting more exposure to cards.
Welcome back! After a long absence I’m going to be recounting some of my experiences with TCGs in Japan.
Since I’m in Osaka, this gives me access to Nipponbashi, which is essentially the Osaka equivalent of the much more famous Akihabara. Personally I prefer Nipponbashi, possibly because of my interests, or just because I’m more familiar with the area and have seen more of it. To me, Nipponbashi seems bigger, but that might just be because it’s more spread out, and has lots of smaller shops.
If you’re after card games, Nipponbashi has a huge number of card shops around, including Yellow Submarine, Hobby Station, Card Pal, at least 3 C-Labo, and many more too. The shops stock a wide variety of cards, most covering many games, with a few focused around specific titles. Series will often be split into different displays, or sometimes even different floors.
In addition to the boosters, single cards, sleeves and other playing goods, many shops will also have a play area where you can sit down and play cards with other people. These areas could be upstairs, or in the larger shops even next to the card displays.
If you’re after Yu-Gi-Oh! cards you can find these at practically any card shop, and I’m sure if you browsed the single cards for long enough, you could find practically anything you needed. It is worth shopping around though, because prices will vary from shop to shop (this is true for any of the games). There were also quite a lot of Vanguard cards around, as well as the multitude of other Japanese games, like Weiβ Schwarz, Z/X, Chaos TCG, and many more that I don’t even know the names of. I even spotted an advert for the new Attack on Titan expansion of Sieg Krone, which I imagine is popular amongst some fans.
Since for now I’ve mainly been eyeing up the Weiβ Schwarz cards, I’ve not really paid too close attention to the Yu-Gi-Oh! cards on offer, but may look closer into this later.
So far I’ve made two trips into Nipponbashi, the first of which was a rather quick look around, but the second allowed me to take things more at my pace.
My first trip to Nipponbashi was mainly in search of the special Wooser TD set for Weiβ Schwarz, which had been released that day. However, since it was only produced in very short numbers I had expected it to be quite hard to find, and my suspicions were confirmed when I could not locate a single copy. Despite seeing adverts in lots of shops, and on the streets outside, the best I could manage was finding one place that seemed to be sold out.
I also tried looking around a bit for some Weiβ Schwarz singles I was looking for, but to relatively little success.
During my return trip to Nipponbashi two days later, I pretty much had a free day, so was able to explore more and check more shops. My search for Wooser was more successful, finding one lone set in the first shop I entered (which I’d also been to 2 days ago). Despite further searches throughout the area, I was not able to locate a second set, but I’m just happy to have been able to find a single copy.
After this I set off again looking for single cards, and trying to find Hobby Station. I’d been informed they were holding a Wooser tournament, and was hoping they might have more copies of the cards too. Unfortunately they didn’t, and I wasn’t feeling up for trying to navigate my way through a tournament with Wooser at the time.
The search for singles was mixed. My main goal for the day was Literature Club Nagato (a 4th copy), the support Saten from the Railgun S TD (for the No Attribute deck) and the Chris card from King of Fighters (as a present). In addition to this, I kept my eye out for a few Signs, but those are generally too expensive to think about at the moment.
I managed to locate one relatively expensive Literature Club Nagato, but decided that I didn’t need it for that price just yet. I couldn’t locate the Saten, and do wonder if just buying the TD would be easier at this point. I did however find one copy of the Chris card, which is honestly the first time I’ve ever seen it in person before.
After searching around the shops for cards, and getting something to eat, I decided it was time to try and play a few games. This first of all involved finding people playing Weiβ Schwarz, and then working up the courage to ask them to play in broken Japanese.
Finding people to play was relatively easy, because a few of the shops had a couple of people playing, it was just a matter of picking one. In the end I settled for the C-Labo in the basement of Gamers, because it had one of the biggest playing areas. At the time I think it was mostly full of Yu-Gi-Oh! and Vanguard players, but I did manage to locate a few pairs playing Weiβ Schwarz.
Eventually I managed to work up the courage to ask for a game, and then sat down to play a long series of games with a variety of decks and against a variety of decks, using everything except my Robotics;Notes deck. It was lots of fun even if I didn’t quite understand everything that was going on, and my opponents and their friends seemed to be having fun seeing some of the fun decks I brought out.
The first game saw my Evangelion deck facing down a Love Live! deck. Things got off to a bit of an iffy start for the deck, because Shinji was nowhere to be seen, but thankfully the Level 0 and 1 Reversers were able to put in some good work. I don’t think Shinji made an appearance until really late on, when he had to go Centre Stage, to help me overcome more powerful threats.
When I got to Level 2 I was able to get two Finishing Blow Asuka out, which helped bolster Cooking Asuka, as usual giving me a fairly cheap but strong Level 2 game. Once my opponent reached Level 3 though, they soon fell before superior power.
During this time I just kept on drawing Level 3 cards, to the point I actually had 5 in my hand at one point, although one would eventually be Clocked. By the time I needed to play them, I was at 2/6, so lots of those heals ended up being wasted, but it was worth it for the board control. During the opponent’s next turn they lost their Centre Stage, either due to being forced to suicide, or thanks to Counters, but it did push me up to 3/6 in the process.
I won on the following turn with a series of direct attacks.
Next up I decided to switch to one of my fun decks, namely my Glasses deck, at which point my opponent switched with one of his friends, who I’d continue to play for the next 6 games. He started off with another Evangelion deck, but with more Blue than I choose to play.
Unlike in my previous game, he was able to start off with double Shinji, which meant he had a bit more power to work with. The glasses deck didn’t do anything particularly fancy at first, mainly having to rely on Tabitha at Level 0, then vanillas at Level 1. Thankfully, I think my opponent was lacking useful cards early on, so I was able to build a little bit of Stock.
Once I hit Level 2 I was able to fill the Back Stage with Chihiro, and start building a Stage of Literature Club Nagato, whilst generating a big pile of Stock.
I managed to fend off my opponent’s Level 3 Asukas thanks to Battle Mode, and even though a Climax combo Shiki failed to defeat another Level 3 Asuka, I managed to win whilst still at Level 2. I’d been waiting for a chance to drop the Miyuki with the silly heal combo, but never got the chance.
Next up was No Attribute vs Prisma Illya, which was my first encounter with some of the new cards, like the new Trigger. I opened with two of the Global support for the deck, but unfortunately didn’t have anything really to make use of this fact, so was quickly forced to Level 1.
Once at Level 1 I filled my Stage with 3 copies of Maya, who managed to give me some board presence for a while, thanks to their Encore. When more powerful threats appeared, the Saten Climax combo helped to deal with them.
Unfortunately, my Level 2 game was terrible, with my only Level 2 card being the Lucia Change. At the time there were no Level 3 Lucia in the Waiting Room to change into, but fortunately I remembered Triggering one on the previous turn. This meant I could pay it into there with the Stock requirement for the Level 2. Fortunately the Level 3 was able to survive through a turn thanks to my counter.
By the time the Level 3 game started I’d managed to gather 3 Saten in my hand, which I’d hope might be able to keep me in the game a bit longer, however the Illya and Miyu I was facing down made this problematic. After two of them joined Lucia on the Stage, I only had enough Stock for the final Saten to reach full strength. This meant I was only able to defeat Illya on that turn.
On the following turn my opponent played another Illya and used the Climax combo for the pair, giving burn to everyone, and making Miyu strong enough to defeat Saten. Despite the Soul reduction from my Saten, it wasn’t enough for me to survive the turn, and I was defeated by an attack from Miyu.
Next I decided it was time to switch over to the non-attribute themed decks, starting off with the Miyuki deck out. Coincidentally my opponent switch to their Lucky Star Twins deck, so it was sort of a Lucky Star showdown.
In this game it didn’t really matter what my opponent did, because Miyuki is the biggest card in the deck, and aside from her I don’t think anything else even breaks 3500 Power. In this game my opponent and his friends seemed quite impressed and excited that I happened to be playing a deck with Banana Parfait.
The deck got off to quite a good start starting out with both Kyon & Itsuki and the 3 idiots. The latter even managed to stay around for a while by repeatedly throwing themselves in front of the new Miyuki searcher PR card. I even opened up a copy of Suginami and my Encore support, so had hoped my Level 1 game was going to be set up as well.
Unfortunately though, as the game progressed I only ever had that one Suginami, so I was never able to establish my Stage properly. I was able to get rid of 4 Climaxes before Refresh, and since my opponent had triggered some of them, they ended up with a deck of 2 Climaxes.
Unfortunately because of my bad Stage position I struggled to build Stock, and due to repeatedly drawing Events I could no longer risk suiciding Suginami. My only hope pretty much rested on the opponent Triggering both Climaxes, allowing me to attack for game. Unfortunately I was defeated on the turn that they hit their first Climax.
Next I switched to the Usual Haruhi deck, which is one of the most annoying decks you could possibly face, as anyone who has ever played against it before can attest to. Initially my opponent and his friend were confused by the deck, thinking that it was maybe some kind of KyoAni deck, but once I reached Level 1 it became clearer. My opponent did seem to at least enjoy seeing this deck in action though.
The early game started off well, with me being able to use Onsen Haruhi to take out any threats, and build stock with other cards. I even had the pieces for Onsen + Dress up combo, but never had a chance to pull it off due to my opponent only playing 1 card at a time during Level 0.
By the time I reached Level 1, not only had I built a decent pile of Stock, but I also at had least one of each combo pieces already in my possession, with the Y-shirt card, Usual Haruhi and Dress Up Mikuru in my hand and Mikuru Asahina already on the Stage. Thanks to “I have no interest in ordinary humans” I was able to complete the full set up.
From here on out it was just a matter of killing things and dealing damage with two copies of Usual Haruhi and one of Mikuru Asahina, before having everything run away to Memory. Eventually once my opponent played a Level 3, I had to switch up the Stage to allow for a second Dress Up Mikuru. Apart from this I’d just heal when the opportunity arose via the Da Capo Blue heal combo.
As usual, the deck cancelled a lot, and eventually won the battle of attrition.
Next, I decided it was time to move back to Neo-Standard, and continued the Haruhi theme with my Nagato deck. This faced off against a Shana deck, which actually had very few Shana cards in it, instead focussing around Hecate and Wilhelmina.
Early game I was able to start with the 3 Aliens card and Nagato Yuki, providing a good starting wall. My opponent followed up with Empty Existence Hecate, which meant I had to use Usual Nagato to clear their stage, and fortunately I didn’t get them to Level 1 just yet.
On the following turn I added another copy of the 3 Aliens to my Stage, bolstering the power of my Aliens some more. Once we were both at Level 1, my powered up vanillas were able to overcome his cards, and this was helped by the fact that Kimidori ended up on top of the Clock.
By the time I reached Level 2 I had a massive pile of Stock, which meant I was able to search for, and play, 2 copies of Summer Festival Nagato. I already had a 3rd copy in my hand, but at that point in time the Waiting Mode Nagato I already had on the Stage wasn’t under threat. Both Summer Festival Nagatos managed to survive the turn, so that on the following turn I could get the complete trio out. The game then turned into protect Nagato, whilst building up my hand and Stock.
The Witch counter and another copy of Kimidori helped make sure my Stage could not be broken, and with 2 copies of the anti-Climax counter in my hand, I was pretty sure I’d be safe. Thanks to some fortunate cancels my opponent’s Hecate could not break my defences, meaning that in the end I was facing a completely empty Centre Stage on the turn I finally drew the right Climax.
This allowed me to heal away 3 damage, and put Kimidori back on top of the Clock, ready to weather more attacks. However I won that turn, whilst still at 2/1, making the set up unnecessary.
For what turned out to be the final game of the day, I switched to my weakest non-gimmick deck, which is my Tabitha deck. It features nearly purely Tabitha cards, with the only exceptions being her familiar, Sylphid, and one of the Louise Concentrates. Since the deck is mostly full of vanillas and unremarkable cards, its only real play is to try and get a Level 2 8500 with Encore out during Level 0, which did not happen here.
It was facing off against a Green Rewrite deck, featuring Lucia and Shizuru, which has just a few more tricks up its sleeve.
I started off the game with several copies of Sylphid, and Tabitha of the Yukikaze, which is quite frankly one of the few good cards in the whole deck, so I was expecting to have a pretty good start to the game. Unfortunately though, my opponent Changed into two copies of the 1/0 6000 Shizuru on turn 1, which put me in a bit of trouble.
I managed to force suicides though, thanks to 3 copies of Sylphid and 2 Tabitha of the Yukikaze and a Climax card. This did dent my hand quite a bit.
Once the game progressed beyond Level 0, my deck struggled to put anything too impressive on the Stage, having to make do with the 1/1 vanilla, until Louise finally brought back the Level 1 with Change.
From here on I kept on getting luck with Climaxes, which allowed me to do better in the game than I really should have done. First of all, my opponent Changed out the Level 3 Lucia, who got bounced away by a Wind Trigger on the next turn. Then they played Shizuru a Level early, who also got bounced away on the following turn.
When the game finally reached Level 3 properly, they could both be played normally, and thanks to Lucia’s Climax combo, my Centre Stage was soon empty, and I’d taken large amounts of damage. This left me at about 3/5 compared to their 3/0. Even at the best of times the Tabitha deck wouldn’t be able to break their field, and my hand was far worse than that. Aside from the bounce Climax combo, the deck really cannot do much about Level 3s with a decent Power.
Even though I had options to play from my Hand, I decided to take my chances with Louise, and happened to hit two Climaxes, bringing back two copies of the 1/0. I added to this the Great Performance version of the Level 3, and decided to ram everyone into my opponent’s cards, hoping for a little bit of damage, and then maybe to cancel lots with an empty Stage next turn.
Instead I attacked with a 1/0, hit a 2 Soul Trigger and it went through. Then the same thing happened with the other 1/0. Then finally the Level 3 hit, once again for 3 damage, which also wasn’t cancelled. Somehow I won that game, even though in all honesty I probably should have lost. From what I could tell, I think my opponent was getting a bit of gentle mocking from his friends for managing to lose to a Tabitha deck of all things.
After that my opponent and his friends had to pack up and head off home, so after our thank yous, I also decided it was enough cards for one day.
Coincidentally during my games, another English speaker had arrived at the shop and had been playing my first opponent, and we ended up exchanging details with the chance of playing or meeting again in the future.
Please visit again, and maybe you’ll get to hear more about some of the TCG related activities I get up to.
After many months of absence I am hoping to get things up and running on here again soon. The focus is probably going to be a bit different from before, due to a change of personal circumstances, so keep an eye out for new posts!
Hey everyone, just you let you know that from now on my new articles on YGO will be posted both here and on http://www.ukaypro.co.uk/. Please support the YGO community in the UK by visiting and checking out the community forums as well. In addition slightly updated/ edited version of my ORCS Preview (now Overview) will be available there soon hopefully.