Greetings Weiss Schwarz players,
To continue where I left off at the end of the last article, it’s now time to look at the other 5 sets that I think it is worth paying particular attention to for the WGP final this year.
6. Is the order a rabbit?
As expected, for this set I will be focusing on the RB deck. Rabbits was the only set that is part of this years meta game to be hit by the last round of ban list changes and we’ve all made the joke of “Rabbits is a dead set” but unfortunately this is not the case. For reference, the choice is between the level 1 anti change counter and the level 3 Chino and Cocoa finish.
In my opinion anyone who chooses the counter over the level 3 might as well just play a different set. While Rize is a strong early play with a stupidly easy condition to fulfil and can net wins from just staying at level 2 forever, this alone was not what made the deck top tier. Removing the Chino and Cocoa level 3 from the deck gives you such a mediocre finish and there really isn’t any other level 3 available for this deck that can turn the tide of the game in the same way. With that out the way the only other thing I want to focus on is how Rabbits now deals with people early playing level 3s.
While a lot of rabbit decks already ran a single copy of this card, with the counter gone this is now the primary way for the deck to deal with anti change if the level 3 Rize isn’t around to win through power alone. If you see this card in your opponents deck then expect there to now be two copies in the deck instead of just one.
So these two cards are a bit of tech that I’ve seen floating around. Rather than just reversing early plays Aoyama sends them to the bottom of the deck. In the current meta game this is definitely the preferred effect. The only problem is that Aoyama is an offtrait card so can’t be chosen as a target for most of the decks effects. To get around this, in addition to the Aoyama, people are running the promo Chino alongside this card.
The Chino searches for a blue character for pay 1 and discard a card and the anti change would probably be the prime target for the search.
The rest of the deck hasn’t changed since the start of the year because it is consistent and good at what it does. This can be seen as both a strength and a weakness of the deck. The way the deck plays is so linear it is pretty easy to predict what is going to be played next and prepare for it. Only now you have a bit more breathing room without having to worry about an anti change counter when you play against rabbits. You just have to be ready for the eventual Chino and Cocoa combo turn.
7. Kantai Collection
Ah Kantai, the set that just never goes away. While I don’t think it is as strong as it used to be after the last time its restrictions got changed, it is still a very popular set. The builds of Kantai to focus on are the ones based around Prinz Eugen and the Z3 back row cards. These builds focus on using start up abilities and giving out a lot of power. The main difference between these Kantai builds is what the player decides to use at level 3.
Prinz Eugen is the main source of hand advantage in the deck. After the combo turn it will then mostly be a case of the Kantai player trying to keep their side of the field alive through the use of back ups and the extra power given out by Z3 zwei. The annoying part about the level 1 in Kantai is that it gains power in both turns assuming that the level 0 Z3 is on the back row as well.
This is another deck that falls into the category of high powered costless level 1 cards. As with all types of these decks, removing the cards that give out power, setting up multiple reverses before backups and level 1 slayers are all effective tactics.
For most of the game these decks will want to build as much stock as possible while setting up their hand for level 3. There is a variety of choice available and without going into specific details they all have their different uses. The pictures above are the level 3s I consider to be the most popular. The best way to battle most of this is to try and have a wall of level 3s of your own as even stopping one of your own characters from being reversed can help a lot against some of these finishers.
8. Persona 5
There are two ways a lot of people go when playing Persona 5. The first is going Y/R which is a more aggressive build at level 3. These builds are more likely to have an all in turn after hitting level 3. The second is going Y/B which is more defensively oriented but still keeps the finishing power of protagonist at level 3.
This event is the deck’s main piece of utility. Most decks will have three to four copies of this in the deck. This event is great for running through the deck and finding whatever cards are needed at the time. There are then a number of back row cards that can be played alongside this event to interact with the card the opponent has put into memory.
There is also a level 0 Ryuji which can bond the event to run through the deck even further.
At level 1 the field will likely contain a number of copies of each of these cards on the field. This field is slightly more awkward to deal with compared to the rest of the walls you will face in the current meta game due to the level 2 protagonist.
Sometimes it will be that you will just have to suicide into their field at level 1 and then take back control at level 2 with your own early plays because there is no anti change counter to worry about only the level 2 Ryuji.
The blue builds will run this as part of their main plan for level 2 and 3. Anti change of some form is almost necessary to remove a Fox that is played at level 2. It’s power level is high enough to make it awkward to try and reverse, and the repeated heal can become real troublesome if left to stick around.
The level 3 Futaba is another annoying card to deal with in these builds. This is because as long as the Persona player can maintain their own side of the field then even if they don’t win in their own turn they can stop potentially lethal damage on the swing back through this card.
The only way to fight against this card is to try and keep control of the board so that they don’t have enough phantom thief characters on the field to be able to use the climax combo to stop damage.
These are the level 3s that will appear in the more aggressive builds of Persona 5. While protagonist is used in both builds in this build it is important that a kill is landed when protagonist is used as the defensive options aren’t there.
Level 3 Ann is used to compliment protagonist and can help with making sure that all of the opponents front row characters are reversed as well as doing an extra bit of burn damage on combo.
Level 3 Morgana is there to possibly be early played and to be an extra heal for the deck. If this card is in the deck it won’t always be played as stock needs to be saved up for level 3. It is there to give the deck a bit of resiliency or to try and buy an extra turn with the heal.
The best way to deal with this build of Persona is to try and get your own compression and be ahead on damage when they want to do their finish turn. There is a lot of potential damage output but there is also the chance that the reveals on the protagonist are bad.
9. Kemono Friends
One of the more recent sets to actually make it into my top 10. Most of what Kemono Friends does isn’t exactly new or special. I don’t want to go into too much detail about what the set can do but there are some key cards I want to highlight.
This is the main thing I wanted to highlight from this set. While not true anti burn there are a lot of burn 1 effects floating around in the current meta game. If the only way your deck has to finish is by burning 1 from effects then you are going to be in trouble when you come against this deck.
Obviously if your burn effects do more than one then this card is completely irrelevant. For those decks that do run burn 1 effects then the way to play around this is to make sure that your level 3 game is diversified. Whether this is through switching your game plan to mass healing or having some sort of alternate finish it is good to have a game plan ready for this card.
The other annoying card that this set has access to. If your opponent is running this card in their deck it is likely that if they don’t kill you the turn they play their end game then it is likely they will save 3 stock to play this event. You just need to be prepared for it and plan your attack order carefully and use side attacks where possible.
The most interesting early play the set has access to. It has an easy condition to play and can then get multiple copies in play without using further stock. Finally the climax combo lets you refill hand and thin the deck to allow for some nice deck compression depending on triggers when attacking. There isn’t really any need to have a game plan for this card. Its low power means it is easy enough to get rid of after the turn is passed, and using anti change counters if your opponent just runs into you can be a way to prevent multiple searches.
The final thing I want to highlight is the penguin combo. The deck needs all of these to do it’s 5 attack turn so the most effective way to slow down the deck is to target the back row if possible. Rest counters are another way to stop the re stand combo from going through. Unfortunately there aren’t a lot of these type of effects around at the moment.
There are a lot of different sets that could easily be put into the number 10 slot. I decided to put Konosuba in here and specifically talk about the goddess build as I think it is one of the most aggressive and volatile decks that could see play this year.
I’ve tried this deck myself and personally I think the best way to play this deck is as soon as you have the level 1 combo ready to go you want to push as much damage as possible every turn. You want to put that foot on the gas and never let up. It’s quite often I find myself clocking every single turn when I play this deck to keep my hand size up and keep the pressure going.
This what makes this deck tick and the main reason Konosuba is a threat in my opinion. If the game is going well you can early play one or chain two Eris as soon as you hit level 2 and start going for 4 or even 5 attacks a turn until the game ends. The level 2 Aqua isn’t a requirement but it does help keep Eris around it just costs some more of what is left of your hand. This is partly why I end up clocking every turn.
The thing that makes this deck so volatile is the fact that Eris can whiff and not stand back up which means you have effectively discarded two cards for nothing. However a high roll game with this deck gives you an insane damage output starting from level 2.
There is no playing around this deck, you just need to try and keep up or outpace the damage that it is doing. Eris is going to attempt to do her thing no matter what you are doing.
Summary and final thoughts
That wraps up what I think are 10 of the biggest threats for this year.
I think that level 1 slayers and wind triggers are in a really good position right now and can help swing the tempo of the early to mid game. This is due to the amount of level 1 walls I expect to be around.
Anti change that doesn’t allow the opportunity to encore is also really good right now for the reason that there are a lot of stock generation decks which can easily pay 3 stock to keep something around.
If you are playing one of the stock generation wall decks yourself then I personally think it is fine to play the side attack game and then try and outplay your opponent when you both have really good compression.
A lot of late game in the current decks is focused around all in turns where players will spend most of their resources to have high damage potential in a single turn. There are turns where you can’t feel safe even if you are level 2 while your opponent is level 3. This is a reason why compression and having a high chance to cancel is important this year.
The final thing to think about is whether you are going to play to the meta or go for the element of surprise and play an off meta deck. It is definitely easier to play one of the big decks and they are popular for a reason. However there are definitely ways to fight these decks and still be okay against the rest of the field while playing something a little out there.
Personally I’m playing a build that I imagine isn’t very popular in the west. Like last year I have chosen something that is a little different but still has the tools to deal with the powerful things people are doing. Hopefully I have made the right choice like I did last year and can push myself to at least a top 8 finish.
When I next return it will be with a tournament report of how the EU WGP final went this year and a run down of the deck I played. Until next time.