Kagero has been around since the game was released, and has always been a top tier deck. Whether it's Goku or Lawkeeper, their ability to control the opponent's field while still being able to put ample pressure on the opponent has allowed them to stay at the front of the pack. With the release of Dual Axe Archdragon in Booster Set 3, Lawkeeper-oriented decks have received a boost in consistency when it comes to swinging for 20k+ numbers in the rearguard columns, making them even more fearsome. In terms of what Kagero build is best, it's nearly impossible to say, although Goku has definitely stood against the sands of time, not being replaced until Set 5, where Dragonic Overlord The End took over in Japan.
Then we have Gold Paladin, the newer clan that has been topping in Japan as well - although one can argue that their tops are credited due to the high number of players that bandwagon'd over to them. Sure they can hit for high numbers, and sure they can create some advantage, but if we compare their tutoring ability to Royal Paladin, they appear to be a nerfed version of their Royal counterparts.
So what do you need to know about these decks in order to be prepared? Let's find out.
Whenever you see the clan's name, you immediately associate it to a true and tested deck. Kagero has two competitive builds at the moment - Goku and Lawkeeper. Goku is just... really good. Check a Grade 3? Retire an opponent's Grade 1 or lower rearguard. Goku essentially makes all your grade 3's "kill triggers" increasing the advantage you can create while drive checking. No boosters means you need less to guard their attacks, means you keep more cards in your hand and means your opponent slowly whittles away.
Lawkeeper on the other hand is more of a beatdown deck, revolving around creating 21k columns with Dual Axe Archdragon with the help of Lawkeeper's Limit Break. Kimnara and Berserk Dragon are used more sparingly than compared to a Goku build since Lawkeeper requires counterblast. If you manage to bind a full field, your opponent must retire a unit - netting you the easiest +1 of your life. This may scare your opponent into playing another unit in fear of having to -1 again next turn, but once again - no boosters, less guard, more cards for you!
So what can you do about them? Well against Goku... not much. There's nothing you can do to prevent your opponent from checking a Grade 3, and when it does go off it is quite disruptive for most decks. If you see that you're playing against Goku, I would recommend not guarding with your good Grade 1 units (ie. for those easy 5k attacks just intercept or use a Grade 2 from your hand to guard) in order to be able to easily replace a booster that was sniped off last turn. Also exploit the fact that Goku is 10k as much as you can, with either easier 20k columns or 15k columns. Although Goku may not allow you to do what your deck does best (which is why Goku is so good) taking some preventive measures and cutting your losses will hopefully soften the impact and allow you to recover and take the game.
- Free advantage engine
- Control the field well with Berserk Dragon, Kimnara
- Goku costs no counterblast
- Aermo allows you to ditch those Grade 3's and cycle through your deck well
- Extremely disruptive
- 10k Vanguard
- Unable to hit numbers higher than 19k
- Highly dependent on drive checks
Lawkeeper on the other hand is a little easier to deal with. Although you cannot do much against your opponent binding your units, you can definitely try and take out the Dual Axe Archdragons to prevent being hit hard when Lawkeeper does activate it's Limit Break. Secondly, you can also exploit the bind mechanic, by keeping "on call" effect units such as Blaster Blade, Berserk Dragon, etc. in hopes of scaring your opponent into not breaking the limits for a turn until they deal with the threat. The bind mechanic also gives you a chance to rearrange your field, so if you had bad columns set up or misplayed in placing a booster and attacker pair, Lawkeeper gives you a second chance at it. The deck is less disruptive as well, since it focusses more on beatdown, giving you an easier time to do your thing. In the end, simply dealing with the high beaters and playing smart to use Lawkeeper to your advantage should be enough to give you the edge against the deck.
- Able to hit high numbers
- Takes away interceptors with Lawkeeper Limit Break
- May force a unit to retire after Limit Break
- Consistent 20k+ rows thanks to Conroe
- Not as disruptive as Goku
- Also 10k Vanguard
- Dependent on counterblast
Now a clan that, to be honest, I'm not a big fan of. To me, Gold Paladin are an overhyped, watered down version of Royal Paladin. They have no clear advantage engine other than random calling from the top of the deck, which rewards sack even more than the game already naturally does. Garmore can tutor sure, but if I wanted a deck that could tutor well then I'd play Royal Paladin. Garmore's Limit Break will rarely let it break the 25k mark, unless it's being boosted by Tron - an already conditional booster - or Charjgal and even then you'll most likely smash into a perfect guard, as will Ezel most of the time. The reason why the deck has been topping in Japan is because everyone and their mother plays it. If a deck is much more played than others, then probability dictates that it will top - especially in a game such as this one.
In terms of different builds, in my eyes there is only one competitive build - Garmore/Ezel. Spectral Duke Dragon is much too reliant on it's ride chain in order to be consistent at a competitive level, especially in a best of 1 format. Garmore is simply more consistent, harder-hitting and with targeted tutoring, can actually be useful when it comes to field set-up.
So what do you do against them? Play your game. Gold Paladin do nothing to disrupt your play, have no real good rearguards other than the "when this unit attacks the Vanguard +2k" clones and isn't even that good at creating advantage outside of the "oh I sacked a card that's not a trigger with Ezel or Vivian". Do what your deck does best and you should have no problem against this deck.
- Some ability in targeted tutoring
- Potential high powered Vanguard attacks
- Rewards sacking (is this even a pro?)
- Not disruptive
- Random tutoring
- 10k Vanguards
- No sack = no good
And this brings Part 2 to a close. Next part shall focus on Spike Brothers and Narukami. Until then!