This is a new series of articles that I plan to continue into the foreseeable future and one I imagine will be very interesting to a lot of people out there. In this Deck Analysis series, I will take a look at decks from various sources and look into what makes them tick. For the first entry, we’ll be looking at a deck centered around one of my favorite cards: Honorary Professor, Chatnoir.
I will be analyzing decks from various sources including various tournament tops, my own builds, and potentially even user-submitted builds. This particular deck is one I myself have used in some form or another since the release of G-TCB02 and has produced great results. I will link to each card’s wikia entry instead of listing each effect individually so as to avoid clutter on the page so feel free to click on any card you don’t recognize.
1x Telescope Rabbit
4x Draw of the School Cafeteria, Abysia
4x Triangle Cobra
4x Holder Hedgehog
4x Cutter Falcon
4x Contradictory Instructor, Shell Master
4x Honorary Assistant, Mikesaburo
4x Coiling Duckbill
3x Diligent Assistant, Minibelly
4x Crayon Tiger
4x Binoculus Tiger
4x Field Glass Otter
3x Honorary Professor, Chatnoir
2x Special Appointment Professor, Arusha
1x Contradictory Instructor, Tusk Master
4x Saint-sage Professor, Bigbelly
2x Omniscience Dragon, Cath Palug
2x Omniscience Dragon, Managarmr
1x Omniscience Dragon, Hrimthurs
1x Omniscience Dragon, Afanc
1x Wind Element, Sebreeze
2x Immortality Professor, Kundalini
2x Head of the Bastion, Ardillo
1x Dark Element, Dizmel
The idea of this deck is the word “consistency”. Everything about this build is designed to serve a specific function and perform it with as much regularity as possible. Because of the consistency certain cards in this build provide, it is possible to mess with the grade ratios a bit to fit in extra copies of key cards. For organization’s sake, I will go through each grade and explain the thought process behind including the cards in that group. Ideally, I hope you will come out of this with a better understanding of what the choices I have made with this deck bring to its overall strategy.
First off, let’s take a look at the chosen starter. Telescope Rabbit is extremely simple but effective. The consistency of this deck is largely centered around being able to activate the skills of your G1s at any point during the game, especially in the early turns before your first Stride. For the most part, Telescope Rabbit will be a vanilla 5k, but it is vital to have in your back pocket for the games when you need it. A guaranteed early game retire will come in handy more often than you’d expect and can save you from getting gradelocked via Mikesaburo or net you early game combo pieces via Duckbill draws. Next, let’s take a look at the triggers. Generally, most decks want to cram in as many triggers with good skills as they can in the off chance that they may need those skills, but this deck chooses its triggers with the exact opposite in mind. All triggers included in this deck are vanilla, meaning that they are 5k units. This is largely for early game purposes. Triggers are going to be your most common early game retire targets, and that 5k means that they will be able to swing at a 9k unit with one buff and for 16k with one buff and a G1 booster. These numbers combined with the fact that you will already be fielding units early in most matchups can lead to some high-damage or low-hand situations for your opponent, leaving them vulnerable to your late game pushes.
The Grade 1s are the real stars of this deck. Mikesaburo is in essence four extra copies of any Grade 3 that you might want at any time. Thanks to that adorable cat, you can generally safely put Grade 3s back into your deck when you mulligan to try and get more early game combo pieces without worrying about gradelock. Because you are already focusing on early game retires thanks to Mikesaburo, Coiling Duckbill fits in with your strategy flawlessly. Those retires that are already granting you Grade 3 searches are also now netting you extra draws all while letting you flood the field for early pressure. Minibelly is your standard Stride enabler. Even though you are able to search Grade 3s with Mikesaburo, having extra cards that let you Stride, especially on your first Stride turn, is a very nice commodity. Last is your Sentinel. Thanks in no small part to Cath Palug, this deck is incredibly heavy on Counter Blasts. You are going to find Shell Master to be invaluable toward keeping free CBs for Crayon Tiger and Bigbelly after your big pushes with Cath Palug.
There is nothing particularly surprising in this deck’s Grade 2 lineup. Crayon Tiger is currently a staple at 4 in Great Nature. The pressure it puts on the opponent for very little cost while also netting you draws is nothing to be scoffed at. If Mikesaburo is the star of the show, Binoculus Tiger is his trusty sidekick. Binoculus is your main source of early game retire, but his usefulness doesn’t end there. His ability is not limited to once per turn, so if you are looking to make a big game-ending push, you can sometimes strategically assign his skill multiple times to his own booster, hitting often difficult-to-block numbers on his second attack, assuming a restand from Crayon Tiger or other sources. Field Glass Otter is my choice for the Grade 2 tech slot for a couple reasons. Before I get into those reasons, keep in mind that this card was misprinted originally and has been errata’d to have its +4k and retire become optional. The on-call buff can help you fix some issues with column power and can also help you out in matchups against Link Joker, giving you a way to retire extra units that cannot be locked except in the case of Chaos Universe. The real benefit of Field Glass comes from his final skill. At the end of the turn, if any of your rear guards reached 20k during the turn, Field Glass can bounce himself to avoid retire effects. Keep in mind that in Vanguard, you resolve as much of any skill as possible, so even if you stack a handful of draw and retire effects on Field Glass, you still get those draws even if he bounces himself back to hand. He does conflict a bit with Mikesaburo and Duckbill as both of those cards require the target to retire in order to resolve their skills, but since Field Glass is optional, you can always choose to let him die when necessary.
The first Grade 3 in the deck list above is the card this entire deck is planned around. You can get away with only running 3 because of your draw and search power from the Grade 1 lineup, but you do not want to go below 3 if only because of how necessary riding Chatnoir first is to the overall strategy of the deck. It is currently the only Grade 3 in the game with Honorary Professor in its name, giving you access to the incredible Cath Palug in your G Zone. Beyond that, its skill is synergistic with the secondary Grade 3, Arusha. On your Break Ride turn, Arusha turns into a 21k restanding Vanguard, giving you pressure from the Vanguard column along with your very powerful rear guard swings. For more information on why I chose to run Arusha as a backup to Chatnoir over the Fox Legion, check out my Tester Fox vs Arusha analysis posted earlier this week. Tusk Master is another tech choice that I have come to love. At 1 copy, it acts as a fifth copy of Crayon Tiger that does not need to be boosted but does not provide you with a draw. Thanks to it being a Grade 3, it is also a searchable copy of Crayon Tiger to be grabbed when you need it.
Great Nature’s G Zone has a decent amount of open space to play around with, but there are some cards that are too good not to have around. Bigbelly provides you with insane power buffs to put game-ending pressure on your opponent. Managarmr is a backup win condition. Hrimthurs is a valuable first Stride if you don’t feel like you have the CB to make going into Cath Palug worth it. The two clan-specific G Guardians are important as well. Both were contentious cards when first revealed, but time and testing has proven their worth. Ardillo can be cumbersome at times, but you often have one or two empty spaces on your field before using it, and using multiple in the same turn diminishes the effective cost of any retires that arose from the first use. Kundalini is your primary Counter Charge engine. Because of your consistent draw power, it is rare that you will not have a Heal or two by the time your opponent starts putting some offensive pressure on you and you have already started using resources. In most matchups, by that point, Telescope Rabbit will likely still be sitting behind the Vanguard not doing much beyond providing a 5k boost. Kundalini turns him into extra shield and a CB as well as frees up that rear guard space for an extra use of your on-call G1 skills.
Looking at the non-staple cards, a lot of the choices I made were thanks to the aforementioned open space to play around possible fringe situations. Cath Palug is in this G Zone at two copies because there are times when it is worth it to go into Cath Palug even on a turn where you can’t go all out with it just to get a little extra power and guaranteed draw. This should only be done when you have the cards to reliably unflip any used CBs so that you do not stunt your own resources. The second Cath Palug can easily be removed for another tech choice such as a second Afanc to make the Kagero matchup smoother. Sebreeze is not necessary, but was included for times where you have the available CB to use it as well as Crayon Tiger all in the same turn to get an extra edge on an already disadvantaged or gradelocked opponent. Dizmel was included to protect Crayon Tiger at times where you may not have an extra for the luxury of letting the first Crayon die to targeted RG attacks.
Overall, the idea of the deck is to ride Chatnoir after using your early game skills and use Cath Palug and Hrimthurs to put pressure on your opponent while keeping yourself alive. By your second or third Stride, you will likely have used enough G Units, both offensive and defensive, to make going into Bigbelly a dangerous proposition for your opponent. One or two uses of Bigbelly tend to be your win condition unless you feel that the conditions are right to go into Managarmr to end things off. One way or another, most decks are going to find that they have a difficult time handling Great Nature’s unique combination of offensive and defensive pressure, and those are things this deck excels in producing.
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