If you want the set descriptions, expand the post, then Ctrl+F ‘Kirino is worst girl’. It’s not even that far down, but the more people I can get to type this, the better.
You may have noticed a sizeable gap between publications. I’m blaming writer’s block. And life. Mostly life. Life sucks sometimes.
It is very, very difficult to write about every set as if you know it. I have had to draw from many, many sources to get this much information. Tier lists are fluid. Sets have shifted in the process. Monogatari went way down. Fairy Tail and Sora Kake did a little dance. Devil Survivor 2 moved in both directions quite a bit, then came right back to where it was initially. And MELTY BLOOD sucks. I haven’t even covered C tier, but I thought that MB being bad is something that needs to be reinforced.
This is barely even serviceable as a set summary, because there are so many little options that beat other little options. I can’t even cover the basic gameplans in detail, so all I can do is talk about each set’s general viability.
If you want more detail about any particular set, comment and I’ll reply with some of the key cards to focus on when building that set. It’ll all be from my personal knowledge, and I’m hardly knowledgeable about every set. This might be a good entry point for any player who’s learnt the game and is wondering about their favourite series, though.
Firstly, regarding sets that have released inbetween that post and this one.
A+ Tier -> A+ Tier: SAO
It got a TD, which normally wouldn’t mean anything, but that TD introduced a very solid support that also stops counters AND event counters. Splashable into YRB, which is already a very solid archetype. Aside from that, it also got a whole new archetype, which I am entirely unwilling to recognise as meta-defining. It’s just not that good. Half the targets you want to nuke will be the ones directly affecting you, since SAO is already plenty big by itself (and there is a Death Gun that gets even bigger). Most relevant targets will have done their job already by negating salvages or providing field presence already. Field nuking simply isn’t that amazing when it happens at Level 2 and costs more than a card from hand.
Also, no Asada-san jokes here, because that joke is terrible (and the show isn’t much better).
B Tier > A Tier: Nanoha – YRB, probable shift to YR or Fate-centric
Nanoha should move up, potentially by a whole tier, but that remains to be seen. Its main weaknesses prior to the new booster were a lack of accessible and efficient finishers, and a rather paltry lv1 game outside of dedicated Fate builds. At lv1, you were often forced to play the advantage game with clock bonds, because the majority of your cards were transient beaters. The new booster hasn’t really changed very much at Level 1, but at the same time changed plenty elsewhere. Before, you would run the lv3 Hayate as your mid- to endgame trump, and would sit on it forever and ever. That was fine. It wasn’t anything special, but it was fine. Now, however, the meta is becoming more fast-paced, and the deck should change to reflect that. The finishing issue Nanoha has had is well and truly resolved. Both the new Nanoha and Fate lv3s provide tremendous pushes for game, and both should fetch a hefty price because of it. This will probably cause an overhaul in terms of how the deck is built. While Hayate & Reinforce is still clearly the best endgame card for the deck’s field, running a significant number of finisher lv3s will eat up the space Hayate cards used to take up by default, and it’s probable that the decks will run the new Fate support and advance summon heals in greater numbers. It’s not a stretch to say a shift towards Fate-centric builds is in the works, especially since its arguably the best lv1 spread regardless.
Gigant Tier > Gigant Tier (probably low B or something): Gigant Shooter Tsukasa
Silly set with silly nonsense. Only really one build. Excellent lategame push with the Level 3 Kirito. Clock bondable 1/0 7k is very solid. Advance summoned Level 3 is decent, but is expensive and clashes with the Kirito gameplan pretty badly. Further analysis would require I read the rest of the cards, so I’m not going to do that. I cannot see this deck taking tops, mostly because it’s rated very poorly by the WS audience, who are mostly about mainstream anime with cute girls feeling sad feels and doing shounen things.
S Tier > Banhammered Tier: Nisekoi
No idea where it’s going to go. If it’s hit with an appropriate restriction (this is a topic for another time), then I see it going down to A Tier, depending on how hard the combination of Marika and Kosaki Level 3s are hit. We’ll see.
Tier list continuation time. Kirino is worst girl.
Important note: I cannot possibly cover all the options for every set. If I ever say a deck is limited or is a one-trick pony, that is because those are the results I have found for the set, both in research and in limited testing. I am aware Phantom has other Level 1 plays. I know Ilya has a Level 1 bomb. I know Basara has alternate Level 2s, and I definitely know that Disgaea has a ton of other options. Etcetera, etcetera. This is not an exhaustive list, and you can feel free to comment with additions. If they’re worthwhile, I might even toss said additions into the post, and then you’ll be INTERNET FAMOUS. Applies for the last post too.
Standout decks from the B Tier that are very powerful if they are not disenabled in some way, but just happen to rely on one or more elements of gameplay that simply aren’t that viable at the moment. Old top tier decks sometimes land here. Every deck in this tier is still incredibly playable. They can very easily win, but have uphill battles against some relevant series. Remember that many decks from A Tier are essentially B+ Tier decks with one or two especially strong gimmicks or gameplans.
Log Horizon – RB with varied lv1 options
Very powerful cards, but a plethora of niggling problems. While it has a stalwart Level 1 game (clock encores, bombs and a bondable 1/1 fatty if you want) and a superficially ridiculous Level 3 game, it doesn’t quite do everything that you specifically want to do at that level, and opponents can counterplay against it without much issue. Its main advantage engines (aside from clock-encore field) are rather non-selective, which can be troublesome. Unless it utterly dominates at Level 1 (and also manages to cancel), it probably won’t hoard enough stock to go completely ham, and has some handsize issues, even with clock encores. In the current meta, which skips Level 2 in favour of advance summoning Level 3s, LH is in an awkward spot where its Level 1 cards aren’t quite big enough to tussle well with most advance summoned Level 3s, and its only advance summon is incredibly costly. This is part of why I place Railgun above LH, despite the two having similar gameplans and LH having a better endgame. Does alright against Nisekoi specifically and therefore gains bonus points for that, but really suffers against decks that can both deny advantage and retain their own handsize. Has problems against KC, moreso now that people are moving away from mindless Musashi spam.
Shakugan no Shana – YR
A solid deck that has had to adapt quite profoundly to the meta. Still quite viable with one of only a couple antiburn supports in existence, plus plenty of ways to bond for advantage and handfix through brainstorms and the like. Acceptable endgame too. Has to slowly move away from gate-based advantage (not that it ran more than four before), and should reconsider automatically slapping in four Khamsin supports and multiple 1/1 global support attackers, given the current Level 1 environment. Good options include sitting on the 1/0 Wilhelmina and 1/0 6k Shana, then moving to the bondable 2/1 Wilhelmina. Basically, Shana players have an opportunity to greatly increase their average deck density of maids. Don’t miss it. Touted as a ‘power creep casualty’, and while this isn’t exactly untrue, it is fairly well-placed in the current meta, and will continue to be, what with all the emphasis on burn these days.
And no, those are not cards every Shana deck plays without thinking. They’re just maids. De arimasu.
Phantom – YGR with 1/1 Zwei focus
Strong deck based around a 1/1 that not only provides field, stock and compression, but is also quite easy to summon through a number of methods, including ways to pull it onto the field at Level 0. Contains many counters to keep the 1/1 on the field, and has functional lv3s that support your fat 1/1s and help push for game. It also has reasonable finishers, as icing for your very fat 1/1 cakes. While the deck has a solid, powerful and centralising gameplan (in a game that rewards powerful centralising gameplans), it has glaring weaknesses. It is badly countered by 1/0 bombs, which are seemingly omnipresent nowadays. There actually is a sort of counter against this, but that card restricts your total field to three characters total, which probably isn’t going to happen past Level 0. Additionally, timely bounce effects or mass-bounce destroy this field-based deck’s advantages over your standard SAO or LL deck. If it cannot maintain advantage via field, it struggles with handsize and may not be able to close out a game, given its finishers are quite expensive in terms of stock. Additionally, decks can just accept their loss in the field department and side over the 1/1s with climax plays to keep up damage, which is a problem that decks like Genei, VRO and SAO don’t have. Remember, you win by hitting your opponent, not by having 7 cards at all times. A deck that relies on having decent matchups, of which it has quite a few. It will falter in matchups that are unfavourable to it.
Angel Beats – variety of YR builds
A deck that feigns power through raw consistency. If the deck fails to pull off its gameplan, it is almost always the fault of the player, whether it be in playing, or in deckbuilding. It sets the Level 1 power standard around which all decks are centered – 8k on defence pre-counter. It has the traditionally powerful ability of global field Encore, which does not actually provide real advantage, merely filtering. Filtering, however, is perfectly fine, and means that AB can turn any advantage it gets into more selective advantage to its benefit. On that note, AB itself has many ways to filter and handfix, as well as a few select advantage engines that are sufficient, if a little lackluster. It also boasts the original freefresh counter, some excellent new finishers (courtesy of Re:Edit), (still) the best customisable finisher in the game, and enough variability in its cardpool to deal with most metagames. Badly hit by antisalvage and antiheal effects, but it is able to compensate somewhat with a more aggressive endgame and a bigger focus on main-phase advantage.
Madoka – GRB
For a heal-reliant deck, it has kept up quite well with the meta, given that it has a heal-to-hand counter and very efficient advantage engines that actually give you enough stock to pay the antiheal penalties. Unlike many trait-based decks of late, Madoka has a hugely powerful (but underlooked) attribute. Their best bond combo is entirely in-trait. Decks like Railgun and Nisekoi have off-trait bonds to good cards, or on-trait bonds to bad cards, whereas Madoka can easily turn one or two stock into a whole new field through pushed trait-specific salvage cards (which look like they break even) or brainstorms. This allows them to maintain advantage, compression and stock outs all the way up until Level 2 or 3, at which point they start looping their deck with the freefresh and pressing for game. It even has a clock kick to patch up its faltering lategame pressure. The problem with this deck is that it has a lot of problems against decks that do huge amounts of burst damage (ie. all of S tier and most of A tier at the moment), which is a natural ‘counter’ to good compression. Still a very solid deck if built and played in a calculated way.
Devil Survivor 2 – YB with Yellow Level 1 focus
Fierce dark horse deck that is essentially unaffected by the salvage hate. Exceptional Level 1 game with some of the best 1/1 clock Encores in the game and a 1/0 fueled to at least 7k on average by strong 0/0 supports. While its cardpool is very small, there are some very specialised gimmicks that slowly snowball. Devil Summoner Hibiki is one of the most unique and powerful supports in the game, giving potentially amazing compression as well as global power. Whether or not the endpoint of this compression is reached, even 3 or 4 cards placed under Hibiki, coupled with clock encore and fairly large 1/0s, can achieve a level of compression most any deck would be proud of. The fact that it accomplishes this without a huge vulnerability to Level 1 bombs or battle phase salvage honestly places its metagame value a bit above decks like Phantom in my eyes. The deck also has a very competent brainstorm assist not too far removed from Love Live’s Umi, as well as multiple ways to deny Encore and plenty of reason to run bounce good triggers, all of which are quite good in the current competitive climate. Its primary weaknesses are the high potential of losing to your own attempts at compression (ie. losing climaxes as markers) and a very unremarkable lategame.
Relatively strong decks that can tussle with the higher tiers, but are not strongly favoured to win in the majority of matchups. Often have a significant weakness that can be compensated for with a streak of luck.
Lucky Star – Otaku
A somewhat plain field advantage deck. One reason this deck is so solid is that it completely ignores antisalvage nonsense, and can very effectively bully decks that rely on this virtual advantage. It derives almost all of its value from fielding really big level 1s and 2s, some of which have encore. The 2/2 Fast Girl Konata is particularly good at the moment, providing some very scary field presence and potential cantrips. Its comeback campaign gave it a support which pumps its two key costed cards by a whole 1k, which obviously pushes you towards running those cards. Later on it gets a straight up 1k support for its whole field, which doubles as a support brainstorm, and it even gets a restander. I tend to compare it to Phantom a lot, in that a huge amount of its game is derived from its lv1s and cards to support its lv1s, and that the deck is thus quite vulnerable to lv1 bombs (though its 1/1 does have encore). It doesn’t boast the tremendous compressive or snowballing potential that set has, but in the case that its lv1s are toppled, it still has good plays at every point in the game, and has some interesting gimmicks to boot. The +6 soul counter is especially good against restanders, of which there are several particularly strong ones at the moment.
Disgaea – GRB
Disgaea is a shell of its past self, but its past self was one of the scariest sets in the game, so go figure. While it is nowhere near dead, it has lost its incredibly powerful lategame toolboxing and has had three of its key utility/consistency cards restricted. Despite this, the deck lives on with a plethora of interesting advantage options and the ability to customise itself to its metagame. It has always had fairly good bond engines to weather Level 1, even without Laharl & Mao as the ubiquitous 4-of. That being said, Disgaea also has the only particularly-reliable re-enabler of climax phase salvagers, and its name is Winged Slayer. This is its main weapon in the current meta, allowing its perenially-undersized characters beat over opponent fatties with impunity, and more importantly, crushing the lv0 and lv1 backrow that many decks rely heavily on nowadays. The virtual and real advantage generated by this card is immense, and ensuring the Disgaea player cannot do this for the cheap price of one or two damage should be a major concern when playing against this deck. It is also for this reason that Laharl & Mao is still a super-relevant card, because fielding them after a Winged Slayer is pretty much a guaranteed refill with no risk of antisalvage. It is often actually worth manually encoring your Kyousuke or Hatsukaze in this situation. The main issues this deck faces are that it often has only middling advantage, and that its only real finishers are a 2/2 who is easily countered nowadays, and a 1/0 who requires you play a lot of +2 soul climaxes. Lategame used to be a flurry of retrieval and combo assembly, but now the deck has to prepare over a much longer time in order to properly push for game. That being said, it can guarantee a win as effectively as most decks out there, which I think counts for a lot.
Prisma Ilya – Monoblue
Defined by absurdly powerful finishing pushes, courtesy of an almost solitaire-like gameplan. Live or die by a Level 3 climax combo, that is Ilya. Relatively consistent with acceptable advantage engines that allow you to keep up until you hit your game-winning play. You have plenty of ways to actually get the climax combo pieces too, which makes it a lot better than it sounds. Mostly immune to antiheal and antisalvage nonsense, but still suffers badly from just plain losing if you don’t pull off the combo, or if you are rushed too hard while you hold your climaxes (or at any point before the combo, really). Needing two of your ‘trump cards’ in hand post-refresh, in addition to a relatively specific spread of field… it’s just not a fantastic strategy, even in a game with high turnover and relatively powerful searching effects. Arguably a tier higher than this, given the metagame does not currently have the focus on compression that metagames of old featured, but at the same time, why not just play Nisekoi? Zwei will probably help this deck out simply by giving it more options, which are something this one-track deck sorely needs.
Fate – Master (YRB), Rider (GRB)
The Master deck is a relatively solid deck that doesn’t excel at That any particular point until lv3, at which point it can push for game with the best of them. Its main boon is a global clock encore support, which turns your 1/0 6.5ks and other assorted characters into sustainable beaters. It has a surprising variety of utility cards and rather excellent handfixing, with fun things like the 3/3 super-heal event and repeatable opponent topdecker Rin, courtesy of really old and poorly balanced sets. That’s significantly less fun due to the ubiquity of antiheals, but it’s still something to look out for, especially if your meta is mostly Nisekoi rather than KC, Rewrite or LB.
The Rider build is more about the current meta than anything else. It has a preposterous backrow rivalling any power deck you care to name, and the same backrow makes all your Rider cards unbombable, which puts a huge damper on a meta mainstay. This gives it ridiculous field advantage. Couple this with relatively good finishers and a non-dependence on climax-phase salvage, and you have a very frightening gem in the rough. If you can beat over them or throw out even a single bounce effect, then it loses more or less all of its advantage for that turn – a tempo swing, if you will. Nisekoi, LB, KC, LL and RW are all very capable of running bounce, which means the player will need to make a hard meta call.
Some of the major weaknesses of Fate come from the set being somewhat dated – a lack of good brainstorms (don’t say Sakura), a rather vanilla Level 1 game, and a very quirky but undersized cardpool. That being said, it has surprisingly good advance summons, some really scary finishing pushes, and some of the best sustainability in the game, so it should never be discounted like the other TYPE-MOON series should be.
Gargantia – GRB
This set is bursting with potential. Not only does it have one of the most ridiculous NK gameplan ambushers in the game (I’m not going to say which card, go read the set and immerse yourself in Urobutchery), it has solid plays at every single level. People often tend towards trait-based decks with Gargantia, which is fair enough. A lot of the cooler cards run off Letter or Pilot/Army traits, like the backrow attacker. However, many cards, like the TD 1/1 7k clock encore and lv3 Amy, are completely unreliant on traits, and the 0/0 PR antiheal makes goodstuff decks perfectly viable. The best Level 1s in the current meta are probably Blue and/or Red, your best Level 2 play would probably be the Amy advance summon, and Green is there mostly to be splashed as your techs and clock kick. A solid and mostly unexplored set with some excellent surprises that you should be prepared for.
Guilty Crown – GRB
Ah, GC. A set with enormous potential, given its primary gimmick is scrying to top/bottom. The deck itself is relatively solid. Unremarkable Level 0 dedicated mostly to utility, a 1/1 clock encore field (notable as one of the first examples of a clock-encore reliant Level 1), and then just kind of sitting there, maybe using a change, pray to RNGesus for a clock kick, who knows. I know that sounds kinda bland, but the deck has lots of little intricacies that should honestly make strong. It has a 1/0 global support that gives you a free scry every turn. It has a 2/1 support that gives you a scry up to twice a turn, just for playing relevant characters. Additionally, it has cards that work off scrying, like a plussing clock brainstorm and a hand filter for Level 1+ characters (which also functions as a peek at topdeck). The act of scrying itself is enormously powerful, and you’ll often see this deck stack 3 or more climaxes all on the bottom, then brainstorm until you can’t get damage through. The problems with the deck all lie in the simple fact that it is dated, and that it is only a 1-set series. Its Level 1 field and gameplan are honestly pretty great if they work out, but if GC can’t get over its opponent, then that’s that, and you’re just sitting there punching yourself to stay relevant. Its Level 2 game is changing to what is for most sakes and purposes a vanilla 10k heal, and while it does have a pretty damn good clock kick (which heals, to boot), that’s not nearly as solid a gameplan as what the higher tier decks have in terms of game finishers. It also lacks reliable ways to gain advantage, outside of clock encore, its clock brainstorm, and a few lategame gimmicks. This isn’t helped by the fact its change timing is climax phase, losing you more advantage you didn’t really want to lose. All in all, a theoretically solid deck that sometimes goes off, and at other times fails to do anything of relevance.
Dog Days – YGR
Dog Days is the same as ever. It’s a mostly average deck with one particularly strong supporting antisalvage card. I’m talking, of course, about Leo, Unfair and Square. This card by itself generates enormous virtual and real advantage, both by being a 1.5k pump, and by strongly discouraging salvaging, ever. This would normally be super-powerful against the meta, but with KC sweeping in and blowing up the auto-8-gate mentality, DD has by extension weakened considerably. Not only that, but DD itself generally ran at least 4-6 gates, if not a straight up 8, giving it a rather mediocre matchup against KC (and LB). Other than that, it maintains some pretty significant power in terms of game-finishing pushes. Not only does it have a relatively easy change to an overspec healer at Level 2, it also has one of the better condition-less finishers in Millhi, who also discourages your opponent from casually ramming in (or salvaging lategame, since that can often gift Millhi with another 4k power). The 3rd season of the anime looms, which might just give this old dog new tricks, but this deck is probably past its time in the limelight if it doesn’t get some amazing new toys.
Kill la Kill – YRB, RB, GRB
Like literally everything related to Kill la Kill, the WS set was hyped to high heaven when it first came out, and I still don’t know why. It was immediately obvious that the set’s marquee combos were relatively unsustainable, and looking at the set as a whole, you begin to notice a distinct lack of advantage engines. Still, the deck is relatively solid if built and played a specific way, and has all the hallmarks of what you might regard as a standard, solid WS deck. It has reasonable costless Level 1s that can serve as answers to field presence problems, various decent Level 0 staples (including a limited runner) and a solid advance summon heal. It also has some relatively strong game-finishers, though they are somewhat susceptible to antidamage. I must stress that the deck has some glaring weaknesses. It suffers from a lack of sustainability – it doesn’t really have a way to refill hand, aside from the brainstorm and 2/2 salvage event, neither of which ranks up there are super-strong ways to keep advantage. For all its power, it’s surprisingly small in the endgame – both Satsuki and Ryuuko Level 3s are easily murdered without counters, and kicking the latter to clock is just a lot of inherent value.
I want to take some time to dissect Berserking Ryuuko, the 1/1 antiheal change that they pushed so hard. While it can definitely be a home-run hitter, it can also be the fielder that fumbles the fly ball. Not only does the change push you down in terms of hand, but the damage you take upon reverse is a downside hugely disproportionate to its 500 extra power. It makes it much less useful in the lategame as a topdeck. If your opponent can take it down, it is a huge liability. Even with a 1/1 3.5k event counter in the cards, there are quite a few decks which hit over it without issue, and forcing you to play the 1/1 counter is also losing you resources. With that in mind, playing one or two is often fine, especially with the 0/0 Mako support making it unbounceable, but it shouldn’t be the focus of your deck, as it will punish you unreasonably hard if it dies, unlike with Railgun, Phantom or Lucky Star.
Symphogear – RB, YRB
Symphogear is describable as a jack of all trades, and a master of none. Its major gimmick is advance summoning Level 3s at a somewhat reduced cost – by using events to do so. It does not stand out at any particular point in the game as compared to your average deck, but it’s relatively versatile and has some tricks. The main build would probably be a two-colour focusing on Tsubasa, but there are a lot of routes you can take. A significant issue plaguing Symphogear is its relatively weak Level 1 game. It simply does not have anything particularly sustainable (except maybe in Green, and we don’t talk about Green), and either has to play a +2 soul salvage combo (not great vs. the meta) with auxiliaries, or the old Kanade + Tsubasa combo with the new +level Tsubasa in order to dodge bombs and hopefully not die to other things. If anything else is going to hold Symphogear back, it’s the fact its finishers all rely on 2-soul beats with 1k 1 soul climax plays, which sometimes just won’t stick. A deck that has a few niggling issues, but is still fairly formidable by virtue of solid utility cards and fairly effective advance summons that can take over the game.
Those cards aren’t all staple, by the way. Just in case.
Sora Kake/Mai-Hime – YR with SK CC cards
Surprisingly formidable deck that shows up randomly in Japan Neo-Standard tops. The deck itself is basically a straight-up power deck, with good supports (including multiple efficient handfixers) and a pseudo-EXPERIENCE theme. It runs a passable bond engine to 2/2 9.5ks, which are in reality around 11k on average. I must stress this again: the deck is all about power. Its cards are supersized at pretty much every level, and while they are fairly vulnerable to bombs, any series without bombs will fold. The only reason this deck isn’t higher up is that it simply lacks anything particularly special, and it doesn’t have finishers as efficient as Lucky Star or Phantom. On that note, the Level 3 introduced with the comeback campaign is nuts, but also lets your opponent levy plenty of advantage out of their otherwise-dead Level 0 and 1s, which is kind of sad. A few fun gimmicks, a super solid foundation, and a lot of heart.
Note: if you want to run Mai-Hime, you basically run the 1/0 Arika and pretend you’re playing a Time Machine deck instead of having (bombable) fatties. Stock + soul climaxes are neat. Oh, and if you ever see a Mai-Hime player put a red Level 0 down and ask you to name a level… never say 3. Ever. Same deal as Master of Predicaments.
Fairy Tail – YRB
A fairly solid deck with enough potential to be relatively decent, but also enough faults to prevent it soaring any higher. It boasts some great value early-game, with a clock bond to a probably-6.5k, a card that buffs the 6.5k to even greater levels AND saves you stock, as well as virtual value in one of the best Level 1 bombs in the game (Akihiko now fights for that previously uncontested title, but Natsu is pretty goddamn solid as well). The Natsu bomb acts as straight up removal rather than a 1-for-1, comboing with a gate to boot. It’s a bit hard on the hand, but it’s very good. There are a few issues, though. Fairy Tail needs memory more desperately than any deck in the game. It requires two characters in memory by Level 1, which is a hard ask, and forces you to build your deck in a very specific way. Once you get there, that’s cool, but jumping through hoops like that kind of sucks. Even ignoring that irritating drawback, Fairy Tail’s lategame is surprisingly lackluster. Your best options for Level 2 are a change to Level 3 Gray and… that’s about it, really (don’t say 2/2 Wendy). The Gray change is fine, especially for a healer with extra power on defence, but it’s really, really bland. This is not helped by the fact that there really isn’t much good blue at all. At least you have a competent heal event, for whatever that’s worth. More confusing is the fact that, despite being one of the most hot-headed and fiery characters in WS, Natsu does not have anything close to a competent finisher. Instead, that role is left to Erza, who is a somewhat sketchy restander. Her cost requires that you discard a specific climax, which is great when it happens, but not nearly guaranteed, especially if you’re the sort who doesn’t like holding climaxes into refresh. All in all, it’s a deck that’s there if it wants to be. Sometimes you just don’t pull off the tricks you need to get your efficient overspec cards going, but if you do, the deck is relatively solid.
Yeah, look, I know everyone and their mom wants to use Wendy, but she’s just not that good. Yes, I know there’s a 2k power assist (OMG 2K POWER) for Dragons, but that doesn’t mean Dragons are good. Mono-Gray is also bad, and shame on you for thinking it’s comparable to goodstuffs.
Sengoku Basara – GRB
Kind of extremely lackluster until it goes man mode and suddenly you’re eating 5. This deck has all sorts of frightening tricks lategame, but the fact that it doesn’t really do a great deal until you get there is often a tad depressing. Its Level 0 and Level 1 are nothing special whatsoever. It relies on either undersized encore characters or vanillas at Level 1, and while it does have a Level 1 TD-only support that sometimes gives you extra stock, that’s about all. However, once Level 2 hits, oh, the fun definitely begins. Masamune Date, the Blue Demon, is a card to be feared. It doesn’t matter how well you compress, when the Blue Demon is on the field, you’re going to groan. His climax combo basically lets you select as many climaxes as there are in the top 5 cards of your opponent’s deck, and straight up throw them away. While there are a bunch of limitations, like maxing out at two attacks per turn, this is still one of the scariest abilities in WS. It completely overturns what many decks strive towards. Luckily, those cards aren’t put right back on top, and instead are shuffled back in, else we would see a borderline unfair combo. Even more luckily, Basara has no way to remove characters on their field mid-battle, so they don’t get to cheat extra attacks before their Blue Demon combo. Did you think we were done? Oh, we weren’t done. There’s a 2/1 event that gives a character the ability to ping 1 on reverse… and it’s a counter. I hope you never swing at a Basara character while you’re less than 1500 bigger than it. Not to mention the 2/1 event that straight up heals and gifts a character 4000 power for the turn. Very helpful for the clock kick and on-reverse ping characters the series has. Yeah, it has those. It also has a Level 3 gate combo on a healer which (wait for it) burns for 5, albeit costing 3. If the series had more sustainability and advantage at Level 1, it would jump a tier or two. Sadly (or not so sadly), the woes of an aged set mean that, until a brilliant comeback campaign emerges, Basara will be confined to anecdotes where you lose 5 climaxes before your opponent deals you any damage at all.
Idolm@ster – GRB, choice of 3 is probably not Takane – this will soon change drastically
Oh boy. This bit was written before the BSR promo was released, and that promo revealed cards that will change more or less everything about this deck. IM@S got finishers! I fully expect this deck to move up to A+ or even S tier, depending on how much emphasis remains on anti-salvage, and whether or not they get the sustainable Level 1s to rival KC and LB. Therefore, instead of speculating, this bit will cover IM@S as it is now, which is… a pretty miserable shell of what it used to be. IM@S was once a truly absurd deck. It boasts what is still one of the best Level 0 games in existence, a (then) incredible Level 1 field that could not be exterminated without expending resources, and one of the original advance summoned Level 3s, which even healed. So, what changed? Firstly, the three flagship cards were hit with a restriction. You can no longer dominate with costless, bomb-immune characters at both Level 0 and 1. If you wanted your powerful advance summon heal down, you would have to give up your domination at both Level 0 and Level 1. It was a painful hit, and remains so to this day, given IM@S hasn’t gotten anything since.
Still, IM@S has some cool cards, right? Healing counters and stuff, right? Well, if you know anything about the metagame, or have read that last post I wrote, you’d know that antiheal and antisalvage are big now. IM@S derives a huge amount of longevity from its unbombable field, and its best Level 2 play was a heal. Not only that, but it was a heal that cost an extra card to play down. This is obviously problematic, as you now gain no advantage except a vanilla 2-soul beater. Why not just play Nisekoi, LL or LB, and reap the advantages of their advance summons? Additionally, the deck currently runs heavy gate and bar, the former of which just isn’t very useful right now. Their 1/0 advantage engine was super-strong because it not only lived forever, but also had a climax combo which refilled hand via salvage, which is another thing that antisalvage just happened to hit. And that’s not all. The other thing about the current meta is a huge focus on pushing for game. IM@S has so few finishers that it is honestly depressing. The deck still has the ability to smother their opponent at Level 0 or 1, but that’s really all it can do. Right now, I think the best deck for IM@S is an Azusa-choice with primarily green Level 1 and a focus on Yorumichi/Sidetracked Miki, but this is irrelevant, given what the future has in store for IM@S.
Monogatari – YRB, GR, GRB
Monogatari is… a conundrum. It’s really confused about what it is, and sometimes you aren’t sure what you’re trying to do with it, even though you built it. It’s like an exceedingly solid trial deck, with amazing Level 3s. It’s overspec on offence if it wants to be. It can soul rush if you build it to. It can take the super-stockcharge route in conjunction with this, giving it plenty of resources. It has solid advantage engines, and it has some nutty value-based Level 3s. However, that’s where the fun stops. The deck doesn’t have much presence on defence, which means its solid advantage engines are usually worked to the bone, and you often use up the stock you saved up. You will be trading fields continuously. They even taunted you by giving you a +level support… for your turn only. Bombs ahoy. Eventually, you reach the point where you field a whole bunch of absurdly big things, which is your gameplan from then on in. The deck has a very solid offence, including an anti-event/counter support, but there is one glaring problem. If you don’t splash out to somewhat risky or expensive cards, you have pretty much no finishers. The only thing you get to rely on is climax-enhanced one-soul beats, forever. It’s for this reason that I personally advocate the GRB version, because a +2 soul combo at Level 1 can often swing the game far enough in your favour to give you the win almost by default. A deck with a deceptively bad endgame, but one that can still shut down enough decks to have a semblance of coherence and power.
Still with me? I’m not. These sessions are expensive.
Remember, B-tier is around Tier 1.5 in most games. It’s actually better than Tier 1.5 (going by normal Tier 1.5 terms), since you would rarely take Tier 1.5 to high-stakes tournaments unless it straight up countered most of the meta. tl;dr, these sets are GOOD.