(We got a guest writer. Because reasons.)
I’ve been playing WS for 2 years now, and Disgaea was one of the first few series I decided to properly invest in. Before the release of D2, I heard that Disgaea cards were tough to find due to their age and limited print. Yes, it did cost a bomb (or two) to get the stuff I wanted/needed, but it was worth it. Disgaea is one of the most unique and interesting sets in the game, and remains so to this day. While it has to work around a few glaring weaknesses, it more than makes up for it with some staggeringly powerful effects.
This article is not meant to be a strict set of guidelines for deck construction. Instead, it’ll consist of card reviews (in chronological release order) to show what kind of stunts Laharl and his crew can pull in WS. It won’t be super comprehensive and won’t cover any specific deck archetypes, but it will cover a lot of the main players in any sort of competent goodstuffs Disgaea deck. As for what sort of deck it ends up being… it’s up to the player. This is one of the most versatile sets in WS, and can be modified to meet most players’ needs.
Onto the set reviews!
Disgaea – Afternoon of Darkness
As the part of the second booster set wave released in WS, Disgaea – Afternoon of Darkness brought a lot of interesting, flexible and overly powerful effects that eventually warranted restriction. It’s not surprising that the cards making Disgaea unique all come from this set, or that every restricted Disgaea card resides in this set. While some older sets verge on unplayable, Disgaea distinguishes itself by being an extremely potent set from an era where balance wasn’t fully understood yet. Speaking of restricted stuff, let’s get a move on, shall we?
The infamous card itself. Read its effects. Then read them again. It’s an extremely powerful card by any standard. By sending Laharl to memory, you get a selective +1 straight away.
A particularly brutal combo is getting a Laharl with Laharl and chaining the ability. You used to be able to use this effect up to 4 times, usually multiple times in the same turn. It was one of the premier engines in the game, despite only being available at Level 3, and as such this card has been heavily restricted throughout its existence. It was first cut to a count of 2, which still eventuated in an extremely strong lategame. It was straight-up banned afterwards because Disgaea was winning far too much. And now, in 2015, it’s come back to being a 1-of. Even with anti-heal around, he’ll still have a strong impact because of the toolboxing you get from him. Staple in every Disgaea deck.
This card is also bondable by a green 0/0 Flonne. It’s nice, but probably not worth running when you only have 1 target to bond.
Next, the three cards that Disgaea players are only allowed to choose one from. Each of these helped define the deck in its golden years, and being able to pick only one of the three is a major factor in preventing Disgaea from being as good as it used to be.
This card is it. The card that defines Disgaea. The card that most all competitive Disgaea decks in Japan run 4 of. But why?
It might take awhile to understand the potency of this card. Most players are initially taken aback at the cost. Returning a climax back to your opponent’s deck? Why would you do that? That’s another cancel for them, right?
The answer? The gameplay of WS makes that a relatively insignificant drawback. Returning a climax doesn’t mean really you’re giving them one more cancel. Cards are also drawn and triggered. Giving your opponent a small chance of cancelling once is honestly a small cost for a free +1, and allows you to develop your own board and stock.
Cost aside, the ability to grab any character from your waiting room is super solid and not something you see costed so low nowadays, or at least not without a climax combo. Maintaining hand size at level 1 is very important, as it’s a point in the game where full fields are usually deployed and maintained. You can start preparing for future turns by grabbing reshufflers or level 2 plays. Strategically speaking, Disgaea usually wants to hit lvl 1 first to bash opponent’s level 0 characters without issues. The effect is obviously much harder to pull off in the late game.
Additionally, against Kantai Collection’s anti-salvage, you can choose to attack with Laharl and Mao last, activating the salvage after damage is dealt and the opposing card is reversed. -3 soul? Dodged.
This card is the equivalent of AB’s global encore giver. However, instead of providing additional tap power, her second effect contributes to your toolboxing, and is what really stands out about this card. She allows you to salvage when she’s sent from the waiting room from stage, and doesn’t even require an additional discard, like most equivalent cards would. This card gives you incredible flexibility, allowing you to adapt to whatever situation you encounter. My personal favourite of the three, though her function is eclipsed by the raw power of Laharl & Mao.
- Drawing 2 of these is never usually a bad thing. She can be used to attack into something big, and salvage at the end of turn into another character… or another Flonne, if you don’t have what you want in your waiting room yet.
- You can play over her to salvage a character on your own turn. Need to grab that deck reshuffler when your deck is thinning out? Need to heal with Desco this turn? Play over her, and you’re solid.
- If you have two of her, you can encore the one in the front row when it dies(since she can give another copy of herself encore), giving you the ability to loop her effect to some extent.
- She gives all demons encore, giving you more control over what stays on your field.
Good ol’ Mid-boss avoided refresh damage before it was cool. The ping is a really big bonus. If one has enough stock at lvl 3, brainstorming into until you have 5> cards is a very viable damage option for end-game, considering if you don’t have that much else to do with your stock. It is perfectly possible to use this card more than once in a turn.
Sadly, with the restrictions, he feels like the weakest of the 3 cards. As he is a level 2 with no other benefits, you’re probably better off with one of the other two. Going back into the deck when reversed adds another card to take as damage, too. He does have a place in a pure Etna + Prinny deck, since he disappears from stage when reversed. This can fufill the power requirement for the 3/2 Etna from the Disgaea 4 EP.
Editor’s note: This card is definitely one of the most frustrating to face in all of WS. It’s basically a heal and a ping for one cost. That’s ridiculous.
Apart from these restrictions, the rest of Disgaea is, fortunately, spared from the banhammer. Now onto more cards from the first set! The majority of competitive cards are green, red and blue, as DG yellow is kind of lackluster.
A solid (and budget) support card. A good meta call that prevents your level 1 cards from being bombed! Sadly, her power buff isn’t that great, as there are only so many cards with “Overlord” in the name.
I’d run 2-3 in a Prinny deck if you’re afraid of Level 1 bombs. She also works quite well with the 1/1 vanilla Laharl from D4, but it takes a spot that a Matron Prinny might be taking up. Speaking of which…
This card is amazing. It gives your characters Love! Love, I tell you! That’s the trait that’ll help you win EVERY WGP regardless of all odds! Editor: Ahem.
She provides a global boost to Laharl in addition to supporting characters in front of her. With one of her, a Laharl gets +1000 by just being in front of her. With 2 of her… wow. But are there any good level 1 Laharls out there? Well, Laharl & Maoh instantly becomes a 1/0 6k (or even 7k) with her. That’s pretty sweet. But… where have I seen this before?
Man, it’s almost like I’m playing Railgun.
The Railgun support is outclassed by this, though. It doesn’t give Love. Editor: AHEM.
Despite being “Good for nothing”, this Archer’s effect is pretty neat. A -500 power snipe might seem insignificant, it does kill some pretty strong things from older series. For example, the level 0 support Tsubasa from Symphogear, and many other smaller support characters. Her main use, however, is that she combines with a certain mighty event card, giving players the extra 500 power reach to kill 3.5k characters. Why is this relevant? LB and RW antiheals, AB Kanade, and LH Shiroe (with a Marielle support), just to name a few. It was a staple in Disgaea when Rewrite was the other major deck that needed consideration.
Run 1 at most. It’s a tech! It’s just not that good without the next card on the list…
Ok, what? All your opponent’s characters!? From a ‘meta’ standpoint, this card is one of the reasons you would play Disgaea at all.
This card can be difficult to use, and often difficult to play against. When playing against Disgaea, it is wise to take note of whether your opponent is running green, and how much you are comfortable committing to the field. While some series don’t really care (read: LB) because of their ridiculous advantage engines, other series may have to play around this 3k power reduction to a rather crippling extent. Suddenly, the power 嘉盛外汇 of characters in the back row becomes very relevant. Keep in mind that it is more than just a global field nuke, and can be treated as a global +3k pump to your charactersh. You don’t have to straight up kill everything on their field, and can instead opt to mop up with cards that would otherwise be too weak to beat anything up. If you think of it like that, you can often get a +4 off this card. That’s a lot of cards.
Personally, I’d run 2 of these if you’re brave enough. After experimenting with 3 of these in deck, I find they can clog your hand, especially at level 3.
Q: But Overlord-senpai! When do I know when to cast it?
A: It all really depends on what you’re playing up against. Most of the time, if you can afford to take 1 or 2 damage playing, it is generally worthwhile. Even if it means skipping the clock and draw phase! In other circumstances, when facing decks that heavily rely on certain level 1s or 2s to maintain dominance (or have a very important backrow), there are times when taking up to 4 damage for playing Winged Slayer is viable.
Playing this card takes a lot of practice. Sometimes, I end up holding onto Winged Slayer for too long and end up having it clog my hand up till level 3. You have to know when it’s good to let Winged Slayer go, or when it’s worth clocking it away for more useful things.
It burns. It is therefore good, regardless of its name.
I would run 2-3 in a red deck if burn is your thing. Most decks are leaning towards burning for extra damage now. The only downsides are that the climax card itself is pretty average (stock and soul), and that sometimes it just isn’t big enough. Risky, but not too shabby. This card is also searchable via another deck reshuffler that will be mentioned later.
A neat card with a neat climax combo. This card doesn’t see that much play, but as a finisher, he can be devastating. Many decks nowadays run Level 1s as their mainstay, and field them at Level 3. Being able to side over them for 2 uncounterable (read: ‘un-Compass-able’ or ‘immune-to-money;) damage is a really strong ability right now, especially when at least one of that damage has been confirmed as a non-climax. What’s more, King of the Earth is a +2 soul climax, the kind that every strong deck should have.
Being a bonder at level 1 also keeps your opponent on their toes for an extra 1.5k power boost. Worst case scenario, you can play the counter as another character to take advantage of your +2 soul. All this on a costless 1/0 body. It’s definitely a consideration, and it’s much better than it looks. I would play 4 if you run it, and some number of the counter it bonds to.
This card gives you an answer for irritating level 1s without needing to use Winged Slayer. It kills many important things, such as almost all anti-salvagers, most encore-givers, crucial power backrow, Phantom’s level 1, etc. Worst case scenario, it can open up a frontrow slow to give your Level 0s somewhere to swing into. If you can afford to run this event, run 2 at most!
Editor’s note: Killing a huge 1/1 in your opponent’s frontrow is a very solid play, to be quite honest.
Remember me saying how Laharl & Mao was the competitive pick out of the 3? Well, if you just wanted ENCORE, she makes up for the lack of Flonne pretty well. The secondary effect is occasionally useful.
I would run 2-3 of her if required. Blue is a colour you’d probably want anyway, and this fixes for that too.
Geez, I love this guy. I always get a chuckle from seeing him appear, fail, disappear, and reappear again later. Anyway, with this guy, your opponent’s refresh timing is under your control!
For example… you saw your opponent stock 2 climaxes last turn when his deck is almost out of cards? Well, now your opponent doesn’t even have the chance to pay them out, or use that stock for counters!
Perhaps early in the game, your opponent didn’t cancel a lot or trigger very much, speeding his way to level 2. Just use this guy’s ability before your opponent starts canceling again! Here, have a complimentary ticket to Level 3 as well!
Realistically speaking, if you ever want to run him, 1 (tech-ed) copy is enough. He’s very situational. You can also play Laharl & Mao before activating his effect and reshuffle, making the salvage effectively ‘free’. Not that it cost a lot to begin with.
This card had everyone talking when it was first featured in a winning WGP deck. With her 2nd ability, you could have just effectively +1 on turn one without attacking. Why would you do that?
The answer is… Laharl & Mao!
If you skip a turn of attacking, the likelihood that you’ll hit level 1 first greatly increases. This helps set-up the field nicely for Laharl-Mao’s effect to kick off at least once at level 1. Never mind that this card in itself is a plus on its own! Being able to support for 500 power is a nice bonus too.
A really great replacement for the restricted Mid-boss. At one cost, he’s a shuffler with a selective +1! . The 1/0 restricted Flonne can salvage him from the waiting room when your deck is thinning out. Just make sure you have 4 or more climaxes in the bin for Flonne’s effect to be active! Laharl & Mao can also salvage him when the time is almost right!
Personally, I would play 1-2 copies if you are planning to run him. 3 if you have really bad luck. He’s not exactly a small character.
This card is currently less viable with antiheal around. Still is a very fun card to use. It’s nowhere as good as DC’s xylophone event, but this Pile of Pudding can be used multiple times throughout the game, starting from Level 1!
Why do I find this reasonable? Despite the potential horror stories after playing this card (eg. triggering more than 2 climaxes during the attack phase afterwards), with 5 more non-climax cards back in the deck, the chances of triggering a non-climax card is higher. After attacking three times, you probably didn’t trigger any climaxes, so most of the time this is only reshuffling two cards for a double heal.
Editor’s Note: Hah. Good joke.
The odds eventually work out in your favour… assuming antiheal isn’t around, of course.
Wow. Really? You’d pay 2 stock at level 1 to do that? Well, paying 2 cost for a heal is reasonable at all levels.
Back when antiheal wasn’t a thing in every match, this card was very effective in manipulating your clock, especially if you plan to use Winged Slayer optimally. Not only that, you get to encore a character. Solid, but you might be pressed for space, so think about other cards before this one.
This set brought a fair few staples to Disgaea, many of which are played in a standard DG deck today. It was a small but relatively impactful set.
Being unbombable isn’t quite as relevant nowadays. I mean, 3.5k is pretty easy to run over with most any set. Well, yes. That’s what you’d think. Until you meet the next guy…
With both of them on the field, you now have a 5k power level 0 that cannot be bombed. That’s pretty high up there in the hierarchy of Level 0 plays. Even if you just have 2 Fenrichs, you get two 4k beaters. Prone to bombs? Sure. But why not?
I like Fenrich more than Sardine Valz, but Sardine Valz is kinda hard to just pass up. The combination sets up you very well for the midgame. Personally, I would run more Fenrichs than Valzs. Fenrichs can buff your other Level 0s quite significantly, making them formidable even without the unbombable ability.
Editor: I put this in myself. This combo is more dangerous than anything in Disgaea, except for Winged Slayer and maybe the freefresh. Just read the card.
Pretty solid vanilla that warrants consideration purely because Mother Prinny exists. Run a couple; your Level 1 should still be mostly costless.
If it weren’t for Mother Prinny, this card probably wouldn’t see any play. As it is, it’s a nice option.
This guy packs a punch! Murdering Level 3s is always worth consideration. He’s fine as an 11k base, and comboing with a gate is always good. The -1 soul can be a pretty major issue though. Play 1 if any, you’ll know exactly when you need it, and the Level 3 Laharl will get you whatever you need.
A very good global support for your DESCOs and Fuukas. And Emizels. Milling through your deck used to be very important to chain Mid-boss plays, though that’s a lot less important now. Filling your graveyard to expand your options off Laharl & Mao? That’s pretty good, if you ask me.
The draw effect of the brainstorm is also solid. Drawing into any of your events or just more characters is fantastic, making this a must have in any deck running blue. Really good in decks that don’t run blue either.
Even if one-off brainstorms aren’t your thing, there are still some decent repeatable brainstorms to pick from. You can look them up yourself.
This is it. The final player for Disgaea. While antiheal has made her a lot weaker, DESCO’s passive buff is still extremely effective. She’s basically an 11k base character against your opponent’s level 3s, which is very serviceable. The cost to tap a character can vary from negligible to game-changing, but that’s neither here nor there. That being said, you could always into her instead.
Changing into a healing Level 3 wall at Level 2 is as good as always. Her climax combo is pretty decent too, and is a decent argument for running a book climax. Tucking away one of your opponent’s characters can put a huge dent in their field, especially if it’s a valuable brainstorm or Level 0 support.
Fantastic power buff that Disgaea sorely needs. The +2000 every turn makes this card a staple support for decks not running Mother Prinny. It helps out Laharl & Mao a lot, and makes hitting Level 1 before your opponent a bit less important. While it’s really good, don’t hesitate to tap your backrow for other purposes either.
Disgaea got a few nice things from the D2 booster.
Editor: I omitted most of the things in this booster description because I don’t agree with most of them. This booster is widely regarded as one of the least impactful in the past few years, with only a few cards worth consideration outside of a dedicated Prinny build. It has some cute combos, at least.
This card is pretty solid. 6k clock encores set you up pretty well, regardless of what deck you’re running. She has a that can get her out at Level 0 with a , though that’s not nearly as reliable. The main issue with this card is that it needs to either have clock encored once to be 6k, or be pulled out by the 2k1s combo, which as stated isn’t very reliable.
She’s not very popular in the Japanese meta, but that’s mostly because Laharl & Mao is so strong. Still, I think this combo is pretty neat, and worth playing. 2k1s is also a really good climax for Disgaea.
Pretty good card filters, something which Disgaea doesn’t have a lot of. Being able to discard climaxes is definitely worth the inclusion, especially when the card you play down will probably stay for a turn or two. It’s noteworthy that you can search ‘Up to 4’ cards with each, meaning that you can search less if you have a free refresh character in hand.
Editor: Yes, this is the Akatsuki text. These are some of the first cards to have this effect as come-into-play triggers, preceded only by a Gargantia 2/1. Goes to show that costed filters are just not as good as costless ones, though these DG cards are actually pretty good.
The week that D2 came out, this was priced at 1980 yen! That’s almost 16 USD apiece!
As for now, with anti-heal in place and a complete deflation of the hype balloon, this card’s price is down to 100yen. This card doesn’t go into every deck, unless you just need a 3/2 healer with mediocre attacking power, ad also aren’t running blue (why wouldn’t you?).
She’s good. She does get better in a pure Prinny and Etna deck, but that’s a topic for another discussion.
This Etna is a decent 7.5k if you have 4 other relevant cards on the field. While this is pretty good, she needs a full field to get her power up and running, so I wouldn’t play more than a couple of them in a deck. Still a good power consideration.
A level support, which is something that Disgaea hasn’t had in a relevant colour since… well, ever. He helps the 3/2 Desco become 11k, even when there’s nothing in front of her. I wouldn’t call this a mandatory card, but it’s pretty good. Just remember he supports only Demons and Angels. Anything else (I’m looking at you, blue reshuffler) is a no no…
Great card! Good counter, good colour, good art… and a potentially great effect!! Use the mill to your advantage! Remember it applies to both players. Disgaea previously played a vanilla 2/1 counter in this role, so it’s fine to put this in your deck and spin the wheel every now and then.
Editor: There’s a lot to say about this, but that’s a topic for another day.
Soon after they banned the 3/2 Red Laharl, Bushiroad was nice enough to give us another 3/2 Laharl to work with. This 3/2 Laharl is more straightforward than its predecessors.
There is actually a yellow Level 3 Laharl, but Editor: Good cards only.
Anyway, is this card good? Yeah, sure, why not. Draw 2 drop 1 is fine, and it even has a bond. Plus, its name means you can search it with the 2/2 reshuffler. While you can ‘encore’ characters and maintain boardstate pretty easily, losing the ability to side attack is game-changing, especially in Disgaea, which has some of the better +2 soul climax combos in all of WS.
When the first two cards were spoiled, it was rumored that the climax would be a gate. Sadly, this wasn’t the case.
This combination results in sturdy field presence. Getting the climax at the right time can sometimes be a problem, especially if your opponent is very aware of the combo. Getting the 2/3 into the discard early can also be an issue. Something to note is that is the 1/0 Laharl chan’s ability activates when it is placed into the waiting room from the stage. She doesn’t have to be reversed, which is an interesting option. You do go -1 from this, though.
Beware wind triggers.
Lastly, some promo cards that might be good in your Disgaea deck.
This promo is awesome. While she can still be bombed, 4.5k gets over most things your opponent will ever field, which at least makes her a good 1-for-1.
This card’s effect is awesome! Yeah, you do have to pay one stock, but for a top deck, it’s very much worth it! The best thing about this is that you can hit KanColle’s antiheal to topdeck, then smack it to either clock or waiting room with your next attack. It’s an excellent card for Disgaea in the current environment.
This event is great for ending the game. Being able to control damage you want to deal to your opponent is great though, if you have the right characters on the field.
A great card for a “Final Turn”, though I wouldn’t run more than one.
When I first started playing Weiss, I really couldn’t find any good info about Disgaea. Still, I decided to leap in and try to figure out the crazy combos myself. I hope that my knowledge will be put to good use by others who wish to play Disgaea too!
Well, that’s all I have for the Disgaea review. Please do leave your comments and thoughts about Disgaea below! If you enjoyed reading, please also leave a comment to let us know that you enjoyed it! Every little bit counts!
Keep cancelling, dood!