I’ve been dreading this review for some time now, and that kind of spilled over and delayed KLK for like half a month, but we’re finally here. Delving into unknown territory, or something like that. Despite owning a sort-of Haruhi deck (I say sort-of because the deck has one of each Endless Eight sleeved), I really have no insight as to how you play the deck now. Haruhi needs all the help it can get, and the fact that the cards you just got range from mediocre to heartbreakingly trait-limited… it’s almost like Bushiroad really, really hates Haruhi players.
When you take a proper look at the set, you’ll see that Bushiroad tried very hard to do good things with the flavour. Lots of cards are therefore not in the relevant traits, which just goes to show how far development has come in making decks dumb as doornails when it comes to trait optimisation. I firmly believe the game would be more interesting if not every idol had <Music>, but I digress. We’ll cover each card in what I regard as surprising depth, because this is not a no-brainer set. There’s a lot to consider when you choose cards for inclusion, and a lot of the time you will be wondering why there are so many hoops to jump through.
Still, if you have played Haruhi for any period of time, you will be used to injustice. Let’s get going and see what we can salvage from this pile. A special feature for the Haruhi EB – I’m going to add what I would do to change these cards for the better, just to show everyone what could have been.
Even though HotC has these translations, this draft has been sitting here for ages, so they are still effectively mine.
Mikuru, Taking a Break
Level: 0 / Cost: 0
Colour: Green / Trigger: None
Power: 2000 / Soul: 1 / <Time> <SOS Brigade>
[A] When this is placed from Hand or Memory to Stage, you may put the top 2 cards of your Deck in the Waiting Room.
[A] When this Character reverses its Battle Opponent, you may send this card to Memory. If you do, at the start of your next Draw Phase, choose a “Mikuru, Taking a Break” in your Memory and put it in any Slot on the Stage.
In my rather humble opinion, this card has only one thing going for it – milling. You move closer to your next refresh, you fill your Waiting Room for your Brainstorm and climax combo, and if you somehow mill only characters/events, you even set up your 1/1 event to do some actual first-round compression and give you a semblance of an outlast game. It’s also fixing for Green, which you definitely want.
As for the second effect, it will not reverse anything with reliability, even with the help of things like Onsen Haruhi and the new Nagato Riki clone. There is a reasonable support you can play to help it along, but you can’t salvage that card and it hasn’t got much worth for any card but this and the rather mediocre Level 1 combo. You value the field to a pretty significant extent, so I think that passive 500 assists are just better. I’m not playing 2k1s climaxes just to bump this card’s worth up. If you do get a reverse off, then all the more power to you – this card just gave you a plus and milled 4 cards, which is an excellent rate for what amounts mostly to a millbot.
[A] When this is placed from Hand or Memory to Stage, you may put the top 2 cards of your Deck in the Waiting Room. This Character gains +X power for the turn, where X is 1000 times the number of <Time> or <SOS Brigade> Character put in the Waiting Room this way.
Level: 3 / Cost: 2
Colour: Green / Trigger: Soul
Power: 9500 / Soul: 2 / <Time> <SOS Brigade>
[C] If you have 2 or fewer Climaxes in your Waiting Room, this Character gains -1 Level in Hand.
[C] Your Opponent cannot play BACKUP abilities from Hand when this Character battles.
[A] When this is placed from Hand to Stage, you may put the top card of your Clock into the Waiting Room.
Token advance summon that I don’t think anybody worked very hard on. It has the relevant traits for your advantage engines, Level 3 ‘finisher’ and 1/1 event, it is a heal in case you manage to stabilise at Level 2, and it is otherwise pretty unremarkable (kind of like Mikuru herself HEY YO). Its advance summon condition is fine – if you don’t go completely ham with both the above Mikuru and brainstorm, you’ll probably manage to hit it just fine. Thoroughly uninteresting but a 2-soul workhorse nonetheless, and you would do well to make use of it liberally.
If you care to do so, you might be able to reverse an advance summon without fear of counter, though getting power to do so may be a difficult task. The PR level support is probably the best way to get there, and the Nagato Riki helps as well (plus that support I mentioned just before, which is getting more and more relevant as I think about it).
I really don’t have a lot to say about this card, but I do think it’s straight up better as an advance summon than the old Festival Nagato, simply because filling the field with <Alien> traits is so 2014.
[C] If you have 2 or more other <Time> or <SOS Brigade> Characters, this Character gains +1500 power and [C] Your Opponent cannot play BACKUP abilities from Hand when this Character battles.
[A] When this Character is placed from Hand to Stage, you may look at up to 3 cards from the top of your Deck. Choose one of them and add it to your Hand, then discard the rest.
Haruhi, Taking a Break
Level: 0 / Cost: 0
Colour: Red / Trigger: None
Power: 1500 / Soul: 1 / <Brigade Chief> <SOS Brigade>
[A] Your other Character in the Middle Border of the Front Row gains +500 power.
[S] BRAINSTORM [(1) Rest this Character] Reveal the top 4 cards of your Deck. For each Climax revealed this way, choose one <Brigade Chief> or <SOS Brigade> Character in your Waiting Room and add it to your Hand.
Powerful brainstorm effect that has a very good selection around the time most decks want to brainstorm, and you can even do it twice a turn pretty easily. It singlehandedly kept decks like Guilty Crown relevant, so it should be at least decent here. Haruhi wanted this so badly, and yet now that it’s here, it’s depressing as all get-out. Not only is it trait-restricted (and therefore horribly incompatible with many cards), but it manages to not contribute to the compression goal that I think Haruhi is forced to take. If it had been a Nagato with a search effect, then we might actually have had a functional deck on our hands. Also, I understand how hypocritical it is of me to complain both about being babied and not being babied enough, but once you give everyone horse a carrot, there’s something rather insulting about kicking the dying horse on the ground.
With that whining out of the way, this card is perfectly reasonable and fetches the majority of your functional cards. It gets your whole Level 1 game (sans costless counters) and your whole Level 3 game (sans the quirky techs). It just so happens that the exclusions are extremely relevant, as you really would like the 1/0 costless 2k counter (a deck-defining staple), the anti-climax Level 3 (on the watchlist for banning for untold reasons), and the field scramble Level 3 (which was so powerful it was once banned). So yeah, you miss out on quite a bit. I’m sorry, that turned into whining again. I should stop.
Anyway, luckily for you, one of your primary Level 1 field survival mechanisms is actually based on raw advantage, and allows you to turn any given card in your hand into a sort-of-costless 3k counter. The card that allows that actually is in the relevant traits, which is a pretty big deal, and I think that card will form the foundation of Haruhi’s Level 1 from here on in. Additionally, the support provided by this card is honestly very well appreciated, and sets your secondary Level 1s to 5k in the center slot. 8k after counter is a very decent number, and I can therefore rate this +500 support effect very slightly higher than I usually would. For all my complaints, this card is pretty close to what Haruhi wanted, so I really can’t rank it badly.
[C] This Character has the traits of all Characters on your side of the Stage. If this Character has 4 or more traits, it gains the ability [C] All of your other Characters gain +500 power.
[S] BRAINSTORM [(1) Rest this Character] Reveal…choose one Character in your Waiting Room and add it to your Hand.
Haruhi, Insolent Girl
Level: 1 / Cost: 0
Colour: Red / Trigger: None
Power: 4500 / Soul: 1 / <Brigade Chief> <SOS Brigade>
[A] When this Character is placed from Hand to Stage, it gains +1500 power for the turn.
[A] When this Character reverses its Battle Opponent, if ‘A Certain Day in the Clubroom’ is in the Climax Border, choose up to one Level 0 or lower Character in your Opponent’s Front Row and put it in the Waiting Room, then choose one <Brigade Chief> or <SOS Brigade> Character in your Waiting Room and add it to your Hand.
This card is so mediocre. It’s the KLK on-reverse combo (complete with stock soul),but you have a trait restriction, your power is time-limited, you don’t have the consequential compression from markering a card, and it’s not in the probable primary colour for your Level 1. Bushiroad at least pretends to balance their cards, so what do you get for your trouble? A practically worthless pop of your Opponent’s front row Level 0. Front. Row. This is an absolutely ridiculous ‘bonus’. If there was a Level 0 in the front row, you would be killing it with this card. If there was a second Level 0 in the front row, you would be killing it with a second copy of this card. If you didn’t have a second copy of this card, you would be plussing off it with your Level 0 Mikuru. The only benefit this card will ever have is popping an opposing Hibiki/antiheal Ryuko/memory searcher before they can fly off and get their owner some amount of value, but barely a quarter of the decks in the game have anything even resembling that. All in all, I have to ask: what in the hell were they thinking? How hard was it to completely omit the phrase ‘front row’ and make this card actually relevant?
It’s still a costless 6k that maybe gets you your stock soul back. The only counter you can salvage is a 1/1 vanilla one, which is fine given how costless the rest of your Level 1 is. You’ll definitely run into situations where you fail to reverse something, even with the Nagato Riki, and even with cards like the Mascot Mikuru support, but the support is there should you choose to play it. It is functional and you will probably still run some number of it, though the days of 4 Marika 1/0s is long, long gone.
[A] When ‘A Certain Day in the Clubroom’ is placed to the Climax Border, choose up to one of your Opponent’s Level 0 or lower Characters and put it in the Waiting Room, then choose one <Brigade Chief> or <SOS Brigade> Character in your Waiting Room and add it to your Hand.
“10th Anniversary” Haruhi
Level: 3 / Cost: 2
Colour: Red / Trigger: Soul
Power: 10000 / Soul: 2 / <Brigade Chief> <SOS Brigade>
[A] When this Character is placed from Hand to Stage, you may choose up to one <Brigade Chief> or <SOS Brigade> Character in your Waiting Room and add it to your Hand.
[A] When ‘Someday in the Rain’ is placed to your Climax Border, if this is in the Front Row, it gains the ability [A] [Put one of your other Characters into the Waiting Room] Up to once per turn, when this Character attacks, you may pay cost. If you do, reveal the top card of your Deck. If that card is a Level 1 or higher <Brigade Chief> or <SOS Brigade> Character, you may put it in any slot on the Stage, and that Character gains +1000 power for the turn.
Man. Really? Is this really how they want to celebrate Haruhi’s 10th anniversary?
This card is not outright terrible, but I would never consider it anything but a secondary finisher that draws you your second Trouble Girl. Your primary finishing combo is still going to be the once-banned Trouble Girl, and this does actually improve the chances of you getting multiples off. You can also just salvage a costless 1-soul card, giving some control over your soul output. However, Haruhi has exactly zero additional raw draw on its Level 3s, and the fact that you will be relying on raw draws and clocking to get your Gate is a significant drawback. Let’s not forget the fact you can’t even salvage Cat Mikuru or Dressed-Up Nagato to mess your opponent up a bit.
I haven’t even talked about the actual ‘finishing’ effect. In my unoptimised build, I have 21 hits, which is actually going to be a base of ~18ish when you take into account the likely tri-fielded Level 3s you have. You are rarely going to hit a suitable card off the top, and even when you do it is probably not going to be any better than a standard on-reverse effect. It is unreliable at best, regardless of that one time you hit Trouble Girl off the top and got an additional TWO attacks (WOAH). It’s questionable as to whether this is even better than triple Trouble Girl, and when you’re worse than a 2011 all-star…
[A] When this Character is placed from Hand to Stage, you may choose up to one Character in your Waiting Room and add it to your Hand.
[A] [(4) Put one of your other Characters into the Waiting Room] Up to once per turn, when this Character attacks and ‘Someday in the Rain’ is in your Climax Border, you may pay cost. If you do, you may choose up to one ‘Trouble Girl, Haruhi’ in your Waiting Room and place it in any slot on the Stage, and that Character gains +1000 power for the turn.
Nagato, Tree-colour Dress
Level: 0 / Cost: 0
Colour: Blue / Trigger: None
Power: 1500 / Soul: 1 / <Alien> <SOS Brigade>
[A] [(1) Put the top card of your Deck into Clock] When this Character is placed from Hand to Stage, you may pay cost. If you do, search your Deck for up to one Level 1 or lower Character and add it to your Hand.
[A] When this Character attacks, choose one of your other <Alien> or <SOS Brigade> Characters, and that Character gains +1000 power until the end of the turn.
This card is a much-needed advantage engine, good fixing for what is likely going to be your primary colour at Level 1, and even provides incidental power for a bunch of your cards. It’s a super functional card that gets you whatever field you need, thankfully has no trait restrictions (you can get your 1/0 2k counter!!!!!), and will therefore be a 4-of in every Haruhi deck, no exceptions. A proven all-star in every set it’s been in.
None. I know, right?
Nagato, Taking a Break
Level: 1 / Cost: 0
Colour: Blue / Trigger: None
Power: 6000 / Soul: 1 / <Alien> <SOS Brigade>
[C] If the Level of the Character opposite this is higher than this Character’s Level, this Character cannot Front Attack.
[A] [Discard a card from Hand, Put this Character into the Waiting Room] When another one of your <Alien> or <SOS Brigade> Characters is attacked, you may pay cost. If you do, choose one of your Battling Characters, and that Character gains +3000 power until the end of the turn.
A very solid Level 1 with an ability that hasn’t been widely well-regarded since… probably Vividred, actually. It has relevant traits for pretty much everything and a decent statline. There isn’t a great way to pump your Level in this set outside of some fringe cards, but side attacking with this isn’t a terrible idea either. In fact, one of your primary Level 1s gives something a free front attack, which compensates for any need to side. On the defence, this effect will almost definitely prevent you from being totally fieldwiped, barring some obscene numbers on their side. Keep in mind you can use both this effect and a normal counter in the same battle, though I would not recommend that unless you are threatening an early summon or something. It’s also a pretty reasonable card to put in empty rows in the lategame, since the counter effect continues to threaten relevance into Level 3.
It is unfortunate that the card both wants to kill itself to keep others alive AND wants to stay alive to be a somewhat oversize card, but if you ever activate the card, something will be kept alive. If your card was going to die anyway, the option to ditch a card to open an opposing slot and keep another Character is nothing but upside, even if it means your opponent gets a direct hit in. I would recommend starting at the full 4 and seeing how it goes, but regardless of your Level 1 game, I see this being a prominent pillar of the deck.
[C] If you have another <Alien> trait Character, this Character gains +1000 power.
Haruhi is a deck that has a few roads forward, but none of those roads are particularly promising. It wants to play a compression game and yet hasn’t got great tools to do that. It wants to maintain a decent field, but struggles to do so without emptying some lanes. It has to rely on finishers from literally half a decade ago, because the new option they gave you is unreliable at best. I see this deck being a high B tier deck at best, because it just hasn’t got high impact cards, nor does it have extreme consistency. For the curious, even though the set actually got higher ratings than what I gave KLK, it had a lot less to start with, so it ends up lower.
My updated sample decklist is here. I will mostly be messing with Endless Eight myself (spoiler: I have never seen an all-or-nothing combo like this be particularly good in any TCG), but I welcome any feedback regarding this list, as I am far less sure about it than I am my RG or KLK lists.