Greetings Weiss Schwarz players,
With the excitement of the UKs special qualifier gone, it is now time to focus on the main event of Rome in December. For the first part of my preparation I want to look at what I expect people to be playing this year for WGP.
Having the league being used to feed into our final this year and with people sharing deck lists it has certainly made predicting the field a lot easier than it has been in previous years. There is also the handy statistics page on the league website giving a nice breakdown of the winning sets and number of appearances.
After taking a look through all this there are definitely still a lot of different sets being played, and there isn’t really any one set taking more top spots than any other. I believe that there are 10 sets it is worth preparing to play against this year. In this article I will look at half of these with some of their key cards and are the 5 I consider to be most important.
1. Re Zero
This years big set. Popular anime, popular set and really strong to go with it. Re zero has, in my opinion, one of the strongest utility games in the entire game right now. This shows in the different amount of viable decks the set has.
Despite having multiple builds I think the focus for Rome should be on the build that is aiming to early play both Felt and Rem.
You need to be able to deal with this if your opponent plays both of these in a single turn otherwise the game can easily snowball out of control. If the deck you are playing has both an anti change counter and a slayer then this is the ideal solution to this. You simply need to anti change one level 3 and use the slayer on the other. The difficulty comes if you either, don’t have answers to both in hand, or don’t have access to these in your set.
If you have to choose one to remove I would recommend putting the priority on removing Felt. After Rem has hit the field and healed the only thing she is going to do is become an immovable wall which is a mere annoyance. Felt on the other hand generates multiple stock and gives out cancel burn.
Having the initiative can also be important against this deck. If you can get your own early plays down first and force your opponent to have to answer it will make things easier. However if you are put in a position where you need to hope your opponent doesn’t have an anti change counter in order to stop their onslaught then it is going to be hard to win from that position.
The final thing to note about these builds is that it is likely they will run a single copy of Reinhardt. I’m not going to list all his effects here but it will be important not to be caught off guard by this.
That’s all I want to highlight in re zero. I would recommend taking a look through the set and some lists that are around (they aren’t hard to find) because if this set isn’t amongst the most popular at the event then I will seriously be surprised.
While I don’t expect this to appear in the room as much as re zero I expect a rewrite deck to make it into top 8 and there will probably still be a number of these decks floating around the room. The focus here is going to be on the guardian build.
This is the card you will be playing around from level 1 onwards. The guardian deck is a stock charge deck and it does this incredibly well. If guardian gets the ball rolling then the counter can easily become a free 4000, 5000 or 6000 counter.
There are a number of ways to attack this deck. The first point to note is that this deck doesn’t have the greatest ability to generate extra card advantage. For this reason if you are running a deck that is able to generate significant hand advantage and have a plussing combo then I would say taking an aggressive stance early on is correct. If you end up playing the slow game then gloves is going to get out of control way too quickly and you will lose the field and your own hand will shrink fast. It also gives your opponent time to build their hand size.
Next is that Level 1 slayers are really good. It makes gloves useless and forces your opponent to replay their field, diminishing their hand.
Alternatively you can play the defensive game against their level 1. If you have enough soul to side attack and still push damage, re write can’t get the same power on their offence without playing gloves from hand (I consider this a win if the rewrite player decides to play gloves in their own turn). If you do go with this plan you need to be ready to have a wall of your own and back ups in hand.
Anti change counters and any tech cards that can remove the back row are incredibly valuable in the guardian matchup. I would say that removing the back row is more important with an anti change counter than removing an early played level 3.
This deck also does not have an anti change counter of their own and tend to just rely on the power it gets from the event when on defence. They do have access to an anti change slayer but it does mean you don’t need to be fearful in your own turn and can just focus on removing your opponents threats.
The final thing to point out are these two cards. The level two is an interesting card as it has the effect “no player may use backup from hand”. The wording is important here because it means that while character back ups don’t work events still do. This could work both ways, however I don’t think there are many event counters outside of gloves being played right now. This card is difficult to deal with so the best play is to make sure you are reversing all 3 of your opponents front row characters before gloves is played.
The only thing to point out about the level 3 is that it can do it’s burn effect in both players turn so you need to make sure you don’t get caught out by that.
3. Vivid strike
I expect this set to show up a fair amount and I expect most people playing vivid strike to either be running mono green or green splashing blue for the early play (and maybe the Scuderia event). Most of what these decks do is nothing out the ordinary but fills all the staples needed for a solid deck. It has pay 1 clock to search a level 1 or lower, a brainstorm that helps filter the 8 treasure climaxes it runs, and an on reverse level 1 search combo. The fact the level one combo needs to reverse is one possible way to fight the deck through large power characters on your own side of the field, but this isn’t the main reason that I’ve listed Vivid strike.
These cards are the main reason I wanted to talk about this deck. On attack the level 3 can get a marker for checking the top card of the deck and then gains 1500 power for each marker. The 1/1 on reverse can do the same and also gains 1500 for each marker. This itself can be a problem because if you don’t deal with them straight away then the sheer amount of power they gain will be too much to ever think about reversing them. The level 3 combo also uses the markers to remove all markers and burn 1 x number of times where x is equal to the number of markers. Leaving one of these to snowball can easily spell the end of the game.
The markers don’t come without risk though, there is a chance that climaxes get trapped underneath as markers and if you can get a read on that and soul rush at the right time this is one way to fight back.
The level 0 einhard is an interesting card as in addition to resting to give out power you can pay 1 to send it underneath a reversed Fuka with a marker and put it back to rest. This makes removing the marker cards extra tricky if this is on the field.
One way can be to reverse the card with the marker multiple times. However as stated above the Einhard puts itself under as a marker so after reversing you then have an even bigger threat to try and reverse. Hard removal and stall are definitely the best way to get around these cards. Anti change counters that send to the bottom of the deck or stock and anti change slayers that don’t just reverse are the way to go. Anti change counters that send to the waiting room are also fine, but this gives your opponent the opportunity to encore and start building the markers again. These forms of removal can also be used on the 1/1 as in addition to the 1500 power it also gains +1 level for each marker, so this is something to keep in mind if you really want to get this card off the field.
Another alternative is through the use of wind triggers. If you have wind triggers then using them just to remove the markers is worth it. You just have to keep an eye out to see if your opponent has the blanket boost that gives the centre character untargetable as this then removes this option.
Finally if you don’t really have many ways in your deck to deal with these marker cards then all I can say is try and rush down your opponent before they get too many markers and try and close out the game before the level 3 can burn for too much damage.
4. Milky Holmes
I consider this to be one of the less popular top tier decks (and the statistics on the league show this) but as I consider this deck to be one of the best right now it is still worth preparing for.
The main build of Milky Holmes runs around a stock charge engine and wants to fight for board and hold the board at level 1.
These are the cards to pay attention to. All of these cards synergise really well together and once assembled it can be difficult to gain control of the board. The first thing to point out is that both level 1 counters are 3000 power back ups and both have the same cost to play, which is swap a climax into level. When a climax is put into level the level 1 then also gains an additional 2500 power pushing it up to 10000+ which is enough to get over the majority of level 1 characters. Most players will run between 4-6 copies of level 1 counters so it is almost guaranteed they will have at least 1 in hand.
To add even more to this, once a turn whenever a level swap occurs the Milky player can pay 1 stock to top 4 and grab a detective. Because the level 1 combo in this deck puts a Detective character in stock on attack, paying 1 for this effect is not a problem most of the time and this also serves as the decks way to run through the deck and generate hand advantage.
The best way to fight against this level 1 game is to assume your opponent has at least one copy of a level 1 back up, and try to play to reverse as many characters on the field as possible before any extra power is given out. This is another match up where level 1 slayers are incredibly useful when on the offensive as it guarantees at least one reverse.
The other way to fight level 1 is the same as against rewrite and play defensive with side attacks. You just need your own wall and counters of your own ready to go.
When you hit level 2 is the time to try take back board control. There is no anti change counter to be worried about so you can go in with your own early plays and hopefully wipe their board. The Milky Holmes player is then forced to try and stall out using their compression and any early plays of their own and use that time to set up for the explosive level 3 turn.
While there are other level 3s that can and are played in Milky Holmes these are the 3 I consider the core. Between these three Milky Holmes has an explosive finish and huge damage potential. There isn’t much that can be done to play around a turn with these apart from being well compressed yourself and hoping for the cancels to come.
Another of this years popular decks. I wouldn’t be surprised if I ran into this during the swiss rounds. If I’m honest there isn’t too much that is worth specifically pointing out with this deck. It has good utility, decent power and a climax combo at level 1 that puts cost 0s in to play. It also has an easy early play condition and good finishers that don’t need a climax combo to do their thing. It’s all of these things combined that make Railgun strong.
One of the most important cards. When she comes into play she reveals and then draws 1 card and discards 1 card if it is an Esper character or a Saten. When a climax is played this card can be bounced back to hand to give out 2000 power to another character. Most railgun players will try and get multiple uses out of this card by either playing one on the back row or by using it in combination with the level 1 combo to replace it on the front row with a cost 0 or a combination of the two. The other things to note is that this card needs to be on clock as the early play condition for the level 3 Mikoto.
Having power on your side of the field is useful in this match up as if the railgun player loses too many characters early on or plays too aggressive they can struggle for hand size during points of the game. The deck also doesn’t really interact with the board before level 2 so you are pretty free to do what you want.
If there is anything to actually play around when playing against railgun it is the climax combo with this card. When the climax is placed they can discard a character card to kill a level 3 or lower on the front row and then reveal the top card of their deck. If the top card is a traitless or Esper character then they can kill a level 2 or lower on the back row.
One important thing to note is that there are two climaxes that people generally choose from that can be played for this combo. The choice is usually made between the salvage trigger 1000 to all characters and +1 soul climax, or the draw a card and +2000 power to a character climax. There is also a third choice of a +2 soul climax but I think you would be crazy to play that version of the climax.
The ways to get around this combo is to either have level 3 back row or have a way to make your early plays level 4 and thus untargetable by this combo. They are then forced to kill the back row giving out the level before being able to remove any front row level 3s. The other way to play around this is by having a large enough hand size and holding on to additional back row cards to put them back onto the field during your next turn.
You can also hold off on your own early plays if possible until theirs are down and then play them after. Railgun is another deck where you don’t have to worry about anti change counters and also doesn’t have any anti change slayers so the only thing you need to watch out for is the Railgun combo.
Finally if you can whittle down your opponents hand this is a good thing as all the level 3 cards in this deck need to discard.
So that covers everything I wanted to write about in this part. Next time I will look at the other 5 sets I think it is worth watching out for in this years EU WGP final.
Until next time.