Saturday, 30 May 2015

Guests-Decks: Aquaforce - Maelstrom

I'd rather upgrade an existing deck than build one anew, although in the case of Aqua Force that isn't going to save all that much cash at the moment, not with the insane price of Lambros (which I definitely can't afford at his current price.) And really, even if you still run Maelstrom, which I do, the old Blue Storm support is pretty much redundant when the new stuff is just so much better. :3

That said, next month we have Link Joker TD, Legend Deck and Fighter's collection all releasing, which means we're going to have a meta boom, mostly Diablo hype, so hopefully La,bros becomes a bit cheaper by then. On the other hand, Link Joker and Shadow Paladin, along with eternal powerhouses Kagero and Narukami, and heck, we'll toss in Gear Chronicle and Megacolony for good measure, that alot of clans that can counter Aqua Force, all through generally screwing the field. My guess is by next month the hype train will have moved on and the only expensive part missing for the deck will be the Maelstrom Stride, but on the other hand, Lambros is SO good that he'll probably have a place in any and all present and future Aqua Force decks.

This weeks deck doesn't come from myself but rather a local player we call Dops

Deck Name : Storm coming
NOTE: This deck is post Fighter's Collection but since that's out in a few wekks I'm making an exception to my EN card pool only rule, with everything in FC and the LD and TD both also releasing there's no way I'll get everything covered.

Grade 0: 17

1x Blue Storm Cadet, Marios (FV)
4x Blue Storm Marine General, Despina (CRIT)
4x Angler Soldier of the Blue Storm Fleet (STND)
4x Officer Cadet, Alexpose (STND)
4x Blue Storm Soldier, Kitchen Sailor (HEAL)

Grade 1 x13
4x Guardian of the Seas, Platon (PG-G)
4x Mako Shark Soldier of the Blue Storm Fleet (LB0)
3x Battle Siren, Sutasia
2x Kelpie Rider, Nicky

Grade 2: 12
4x Blue Storm Marine General, Spyros
4x Blue Storm Soldier, Rascal Sweeper
4x Magnum Assault

Grade 3: 8
3x Blue Storm Supreme Dragon, Glory Maelstrom
3x Blue Storm Dragon, Maelstrom
2x Blue Storm Karma Dragon, Maelstrom "Яeverse" 

G Zone x8
4x Marine General of the Sky and Earth, Lambros
1x Marine General of the Heavenly Scale, Tidal-bore Dragon
3x Blue Storm Master Dragon, Admiral Maelstrom

This deck hurts... a lot.

While many players would question the prioritization of stand triggers over Critical triggers, Aqua Force with it's own inherent re-standing abilities would appear to be a more bizarre choice than most, however, the extra attacks and indeed pressure a drive checked stand trigger makes, these stand triggers at any stage of the game give that extra wave of offensive which makes defensive walls crumble faster than even critical triggers would manage. And one of those stand triggers Officer Cadet, Alexpose acts as a competent, low risk, battle enabler, for reaching your fourth battle so your Vanguard skill may go live, unless you consider letting go of a 10k shield a high risk, but this deck really doesn't care, it going to hit hard enough and fast enough that a minor reduction in shield will not phase this deck in the slightest.

Blue Storm Cadet, Marios while dated is still a valuable card in a Maelstrom focused deck, especially in this case where all of your Grade 3's are Maelstrom's this in turn means if he a effectively a reusable Grade 3 sercher with no risk to him should he fail as you can retry as often as needed, since he is often the Vanguard Booster, I don't know why you'd place him at the side but hey, that means the Vangaurd will attack last even in early game, this come back to stand triggers and why they work for this deck. More potential attacks even in the early game. Which brings us to the Grade 2 line-up.

The first thing that I know many will notice and raise their eyebrows at is the obvious omission of Tidal Assault a card seen as a staple by most, and yet, the entire Grade 2 line-up still focuses on getting in as many attacks as possible by one means or another. Blue Storm Marine General, Spyros may be restricted to needing a grade 3 Vangaurd, and an especial counterblast, and Blue Storm Soldier, Rascal Sweeper is restricted to Maelstrom vanguard's but the important note is that neither can be shut down by the opponent by something as simple as refusing to ride to grade 3. Blue Storm Marine General, Spyros acts as the replacement of Tidal Assualt here, the trade off for his restrictions is that he keeps his 9000 power which is ideal for swinging at a rearguard on his second swing and providing an effective aggressive rush that clears the way for the Vanguard to breeze through and land a crucial blow. Blue Storm Soldier, Rascal Sweeper works slightly differently, and is also more restrictive. Where as Blue Storm Marine General, Spyros can activate as the first or second battle, Rascal Sweeper can only activate on the first battle meaning he MUST attack first. After doing so he exchange positions with another unit in the same column, additionally the attack MUST be targeting an opponent's Vanguard, to make up for that fact that you can not boost Rascal Sweeper without rendering his skill pointless, he is able to attack for 11k, this is an important number to account for as his +2000 boost applies for every attack he makes, a trigger makes any encore swing hit for 2 stages instantly. As such this also works out in favor of stand triggers. The final Grade 2, it's no surprise,  Magnum Assualt, Generation Break 1 and Aqua Force's Amber clone. Also the first amber clone with a 1/Turn, which frankly this card needed it to be balanced. When boosted, Magnum can stand again with an additional 2000, this power lasts until end of turn, which means he becomes 11000 until end of turn, it's that magic number again because once he stand again with either a trigger or Lambros skill, that's 2 or 3 stages depending.

Grade 1, boosters and in this deck's case attackers also. Not really alot that needs to be said for the line up here, Mako Shark Soldier of the Blue Storm Fleet allows you to pressure with both Blue Storm Dragon, Maelstrom and Blue Storm Karma Dragon, Maelstrom "Яeverse" even if you can't stride, which is frankly unlikely other than attempted sabotage of Stride decks by the opponent, such an attempt would horribly backfire in the case of this deck though that can easily punish an opponent at grade 2 or less.
Guardian of the Seas, Platon, the Perfect Guard from G-BT-02, sure it can only guard Vangaurd and this deck may not be excessive on counterblast, but Spyros creates an exception as he needs especial counterblast, and while the number of Blue Storm is high enough to get a decent amount in damage consistently, it is advisable to have a means to unflip these to continue being able to use Spyros.
Kelpie Rider, Nicky is used as stride fodder first, and a booster second, but can not be used to search for Thavas as this deck isn't running him.
And last, but by no means least we get to the interesting one; Battle Siren, Sutasia can be placed behind Spyros to act as another attacker for sniping rearguard, since her skill is a Generation Break 1 which allows here to attack front rearguards from the back row for 9000 power, which as mentioned above, is ideal for clearing the way for your Vanguard to land that critical blow.

With the support out of the way, onward and upwards to Grade 3.
Blue Storm Dragon, Maelstrom acts as your primary ride target with a later transiation into Blue Storm Supreme Dragon, Glory Maelstrom, both for the x-ride defense which is actually quite effective for reducing the damage an opponent can do, even now and especially useful for reducing the amount of attacks that can deal damage in a mirror match, but also because if you get the chance to perform a glory attack boosted by Despina, the attack will almost certainly hit and that can steal you the game. Obviously all these gambits require the vanguard attack to be fourth battle or more, between Blue Storm Dragon, Maelstrom with an LB enabler fielded for early game pressure, and that's on top of being being boosted by Blue Storm Cadet, Marios which means there's a good chance of striding on your following turn should you hit.

Ascending even higher, once you do stride, you bring the wake of the storm with it.
Opening up with a single stride of Blue Storm Master Dragon, Admiral Maelstrom will soften the opponent by dealing a guaranteed retire, while you also draw a card, this making your opening stride a +2, and let's not forget the battles and stand triggers.

In terms of formation of your columns, your Vanguard should be boosted by Marios, until you make the swap to Despina for a finishing push. As for rear guard coloums, if you want to achieve the most battles.

For Rearguard columns Blue Storm Soldier, Rascal Sweeper should always have a Officer Cadet, Alexpose for optimal column of the deck's capability, further more he must always attack first for you to benefit from his skill.

Blue Storm Marine General, Spyros must attack no later than second in order to go off, you can run Battle Siren, Sutasia behind him to then follow up with two separate swings at each front rearguard the opponent has. One rearguard to be taken out by Spyros while Sutasia takes the other.

In relation to Magnum Assault, he can attack whenever, but his first attack should be boosted by a 7k so that he hits for 2 stages.
Having at least one of either of these coloums setup and one other attacker aside from your Vangaurd will secure netting the 4 battles required for your Vanguards to go live.

So you've hit four attacks, gone off with Admiral Maelstrom and hopefully severely crippled your opponent in the process. All you have to do now is last a turn, hope they don't wipe your board and swing  for them again, this time by striding into Marine General of the Sky and Earth, Lambros, your ideal frontline for this turn is Blue Storm Soldier, Rascal Sweeper on one side (note Lambros will also be a Maelstrom due to his heart), and a Magnum Assault with booster on the other. Swing, Swing, Swing, Lambros restand the two units I just named and boom! Two 21k Rearguards.

So just to rephrase that into number.
11 (1 stage) + 16 (2 Stages) + 11 (1 stage) + 26 (minimal) (4 Stages 1-pass/potential 6 stages) + 21 (3 stages) + 21 (3 Stages)
Total minimal turn power: 106000 (19 stages)

Sure there's decks that hit harder, but due to how Aqua Force functions, the raw numbers are only part of the story. With 6 attacks incoming, it's not like a perfect guard is going to help much, if at all.

Credits to "Dops" for letting me use his deck list for this post. I just did my role of analyzing it.