Travelling Momonga: First Thoughts

While not exactly a newly revealed card, Travelling Momonga is still a card from the upcoming set that I have not yet had the time to cover.  This little guy falls into the “cute but deadly” set of Great Nature cards, providing a nice bit of utility for future decks.

[AUTO](RC):Success 20000 (When your rear-guard’s [Power] becomes 20000 or greater, this unit becomes successful until end of turn)
[AUTO] Generation Break 1:When this unit is successful and is retired from (RC) due to an effect from cards, if you have a vanguard with “Bigbelly” in its card name, search your deck for up to one grade 2 or greater card, reveal it, put it into your hand, and shuffle your deck.

The first thing of note here is that his ability requires you to have a Bigbelly Vanguard, which tells you what type of deck Momonga was intended to work in.  It is important to remember that due to the order of events in the End Phase, you must put your G Unit back into the G Zone before any “end of urn” effects activate.  Since you can almost exclusively meet the conditions for Momonga’s ability in that “end of turn” timing, you cannot Stride into Sage-saint Professor, Bigbelly and still get Momonga’s ability if your Grade 3 is not also a Bigbelly.

When this card was first revealed, we did not yet know about Teacher’s Cane of Affection, Bigbelly.  Even without the new Grade 3, Momonga provides incredible utility.  Bigbelly decks love to retire things in large part thanks to Greybelly and Momonga is more than happy to be chosen as a target for those retires.  You can grab all sorts of useful things – Grade 3s for Stride fodder, important utility Grade 3s like Tusk Master, or any Grade 2 you want including the ever-helpful Crayon Tiger.

With the advent of Teacher’s Cane, Momonga becomes even more powerful.  When Teacher’s Cane’s GB2 ability is live, every single card Momonga can fetch becomes something you can Stride with.  No matter what, as long as you retired Momonga during the turn before, you will be able to Stride on your upcoming turn provided you live through your opponent’s turn with that card still in your hand.  Because of Great Nature’s impressive draw power, this should not often be an issue unless you are in an extreme losing position.

Thanks to Fernyiges, we certainly have room in the main deck for this adorable little guy.  Before G-CHB02, Bigbelly decks often had a tightly packed Grade 1 lineup, but Fernyiges’ CC/SC allows you to free up space that often was occupied by Label Pangolin.  Barring an even better card being revealed down the line, I think it is safe to assume that there will be room for Momonga due to the utility it provides.

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Sage-saint Professor, Bigbelly: Analysis

The famous professor became such a profound instructor that students flock to his classes in droves.  Just as he has had an enormous impact on the students of Great Nature University, he has provided a wealth of power to the clan itself.  It is hard to imagine a Great Nature G Zone without Sage-saint Professor, Bigbelly, which makes him an important candidate for an analysis of what really makes him tick.

[Stride]-Stride Step-[Choose one or more cards with the sum of their grades being 3 or greater from your hand, and discard them] Stride this card on your (VC) from face down.
[ACT](VC)[1/Turn] Generation Break 2:[Counter Blast (1) & Choose a face down card named “Sage-saint Professor, Bigbelly” from your G zone, and turn it face up] Choose one of your rear-guards, and it gets [Power]+4000 for each face up card in your G zone until end of turn. Choose one of your units, and until end of turn, it gets “[AUTO](VC/RC):When this unit’s attack hits a vanguard, choose up to the same number of your other rear-guards as the number of face up cards in your G zone, and [Stand] them.”.

Immediately upon release, this card earned a valuable spot in G Zones across the clan, no matter what build you were running.  Managarmr looked on as his role as the clan’s primary finisher was diminished and taken over somewhat by this big blue panda.  He is more or less Great Nature’s answer and upgrade to Blizza, giving 1k less power per face up unit but applying more pressure behind the turn thanks to the AUTO ability it bestows.

One of my favorite things about this card is that it provides you with choices for how you want your turn to play out.  Even though the power buff and on-hit skill are given out all at once, you can choose two different targets if you desire.  That is, in fact, often a point of confusion for players both old and new when attempting to utilize this card to its fullest.

With a current ideal field setup, you will have Sage-saint Professor on the Vanguard circle, a boosted Crayon Tiger on one side, and an attacking column on the other.  Assuming this field, it tends to be a no-brainer to give the buff to the non-Crayon front row rear guard.  Rarely would you want to be giving the buff elsewhere, as you want to put as much pressure in shield from your opponent’s hand as possible by restanding a large attacker with Crayon Tiger.

More concerning is where to place the on-hit skill.  Unlike the power buff, the on-hit restand can be given to any unit, including the Vanguard itself.  Because of the way Great Nature’s attack patterns work, this is generally not the road you want to go down if only because your Vanguard should be your first attack unless you run Stand triggers, at which point you may accidentally render the on-hit skill redundant.  Your best bet in most situations is going to be to give both the buff and the on-hit skill to the same non-Crayon rear guard.  On-hit skills work best when attached to attacks that are harder to guard, and if you have Crayon Tiger on the field, that big attack is going to be coming at the opponent’s Vanguard twice in the same turn.

As long as you have a full field, you can get some value out of the attack hitting no matter when your opponent lets it through.  If they let the rear guard’s first attack hit, you can stand its booster to lend extra strength to the column’s second attack.  If your opponent waits until the rear guard’s final attack to let the damage through, you get to restand your Crayon Tiger column.  Although Crayon Tiger is only once per turn, an extra 16k attack (or more if you assigned any triggers or power buffs to that column) will at the very least be enough to force another card or two out of your opponent’s hand and at best can be the last bit of push you need to finish them off.

Under the right circumstances, you may want to assign the on-hit skill to Crayon Tiger even though its attack will likely be weaker than your other rear guard column.  The time to do this would be when you are reluctant to give your opponent any more damage.  I often find myself in a position where I put a crit on my more powerful rear guard during my Triple Drive but my opponent has the shield to block my restanding rear guard and has the luxury of taking my weaker Crayon Tiger attack for an extra CB to use on their coming turn.  If you feel as though you may be in a position where this situation is going to become relevant, putting the on-hit skill on Crayon Tiger can be a deterrent against that easy damage.  Suddenly, that attack becomes more dangerous, being able to restand the other rear guard column’s booster, lending even more power to the freshly standing unit.

Wherever you choose to put Sage-saint Professor’s abilities, this card is a force to be reckon with, granting more and more power with every Stride and G Guard you perform.  Your opponent will rarely feel comfortable staring this card down mid to late game, needing to drop quite a few cards from their hand to survive your onslaught.

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Omniscience Dragon, Fernyiges: First Thoughts

Omniscience Dragon, Fernyiges is the Lord of Dragons from Hungarian mythology.  He is a fearsome beast and just as he caused havoc in legend, so will he cause havoc in the world of Cardfight!! Vanguard.  His ability is something that has different implications for each variant of Great Nature, and all of those implications will be covered here.

[Stride]-Stride Step-[Choose one or more cards with the sum of their grades being 3 or greater from your hand, and discard them] Stride this card on your (VC) from face down.
[CONT](VC):This unit gets [Power]+4000 for each of your rear-guards.
[AUTO] Generation Break 3:[Counter Blast (1) & Soul Blast (1)] When this unit is put into the G zone from (VC), you may pay the cost. If you do, at the end of turn, choose all of your rear-guards, and retire them. For each unit chosen with this effect, draw a card, and Counter Charge (1)/Soul Charge (1).

This card brings us one basic thing that Great Nature has a history of lacking: some slight focus on the Vanguard.  Like our last GR, Afanc, Fernyiges grants himself an extra 4k power for each rear guard you have.  Assuming that you have a full field, this brings him up to an intimidating 46k power before any boosts.  This does a nice job of trying to unfocus your opponent’s guarding patterns.  Before, one could feel relatively safe saving their big guards for your increasingly powerful rear guards.  Now, they have to think a bit harder about how to stop the Vanguard from dealing damage.

The first unit that I would like to take a look at with regards to Fernyiges is Teacher’s Cane of Affection, Bigbelly.  An obvious benefit here is that Fernyiges clears your field to make way for Teacher’s Cane’s GB2 to add extra Grade to the cards in your hand, making Striding a simpler affair.  You would, of course, need to build your deck with this interaction in mind.  Cards like Alibelly and Fullmark Gorilla become less useful due to their tendency to stick around.  Cards that get bonuses upon being retired start to be at more of a premium.

Not to be outdone is Famous Professor, Bigbelly.  At first glance, this card seems to conflict with Famous Professor on a very basic level and in a vacuum, that assumption would be correct.  However, we have been getting card after card since Bigbelly’s release building us up to the point that the interactions between Famous Professor and Fernyiges become significantly less painful for you as a GN player.  An important thing to note is that Fernyiges gets the draw/CC/SC for each unit it targets.  Even if that unit does not retire, you still get the bonuses.  Alibelly is a fantastic card that can help your field grow stronger when it boosts a unit that has a Success skill.  Fullmark Gorilla seems designed with this build in mind, keeping itself around for pure plusses.  Of course, our brand new G Guardian from G-CHB02, Omniscience Dragon, Al-mi’raj tells Fernyiges not to worry about how much ends up being retired as you can call vital units back to the field as long as you still have a Heal trigger in hand.

Even the Chatnoir build has a place for Fernyiges.  This deck cannot benefit from an empty field and does not have much if anything in the way of units that stick to the field, but Chatnoir can utilize the buff owl dragon regardless.  Thanks to the mass CC, you have the potential to win games that sometimes drag out like the Nociel matchup.  After you run dry of resources thanks to a big Cath Palug turn, you can easily use Fernyiges to refuel for a second burst turn, putting yourself into a position where you have plenty of shield throughout each of your opponent’s turns.

Keep in mind that Fernyiges’ skill does not have to be the first thing that happens during your End Phase.  There may be times where you fear that you will deck out from the drawing and soul charging or you simply don’t need the extra resources.  At those times, it will be very convenient to remember that if you so choose, you can choose the order of resolution of all effects that activate simultaneously.  If you want to save that Field Glass Otter instead of losing it to retire, go ahead and use its ability to bounce it to your hand to avoid unnecessary deck loss.  Any other skills can be utilized this way to retire other rear guards before Fernyiges’ skill fully kicks in, allowing you to moderate the amount of resources you use.

The biggest concern in utilizing Fernyiges was mentioned above.  You will need to keep an eye on your deck at all times, because Fernyiges’ soul charging and drawing on top of the other draw effects you are already using have the potential to drain your deck before you know it.  Fortunately, Bushiroad thought of that and has already given us a unit to mitigate the deck loss somewhat.  Thanks to Omniscience Dragon, Kirtimukha, you have a G Unit who can refuel your deck somewhat while still maintaining some of the rear guard pressure Great Nature is known for.

Truly Fernyiges is a blessing from the Hungarian gods straight to our clan.  No matter what resource you are worried about running out of, Fernyiges is available to refuel it while packing a powerful punch.

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Lesser Writer: First Thoughts

How can one card be so adorable and yet so strong?  This is a question I’ve had to ask multiple times throughout Great Nature’s history.  It started with Coiling Duckbill, continued through Crayon Tiger, and stands as a strong condition with Lesser Writer.

“Some writers are much better than others.  This one is not.  It is less.  But it is cute and it tries real hard.  It is just a little raccoon thing, but it is the cutest.”

-My wife, 2016

[AUTO](RC):Success 20000 (When your rear-guard’s [Power] becomes 20000 or greater, this unit becomes successful until end of turn)
[CONT](RC):If this unit is successful, all of your units with the success ability get [Power]+2000, and “[CONT](VC/RC):Resist”.
[ACT](RC)[1/Turn]:[Soul Blast (1)] This unit becomes successful until end of turn, and at the end of that turn, retire this unit.

Here we have the bane of Kagero’s existence.  I was a little worried about the Kagero matchup post-G-CHB02 because we will likely have no main deck space for Sleepy Tapir and less G Zone room for Afanc.  My worried appear to have been largely in vain.  Any deck that you use this card in has the potential to obtain a Resist rear guard to shut down Denial Griffin on command.  Bigbelly decks will particularly appreciate this card, as it supports the Success units that are so valuable to Bigbelly’s…well, success.

In a deck where as many units have the potential to be successful as possible, this card appears to be fairly valuable.  Even what appears to be a small buff from this card can make a world of difference when trying to reach a crucial Success threshold.  A full column of success-capable units gets the trademarked GN +4k buff, a familiar number to GN players.  Resist is more useful than ever nowadays, especially Resist active during your Battle Phase, so Lesser Writer is a very nice card to see.  Expect to run into this card fairly often once G-CHB02 is released.

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Fullmark Gorilla: First Thoughts

This is a nice change of pace from the constant onslaught of cats and pandas Great Nature has been getting lately.  Fullmark Gorilla is an interesting card clearly intended to fill a specific niche in Great Nature decks.  Now to look and see whether that niche is necessarily worth filling.

[CONT](RC) Generation Break 2:This unit cannot be retired even if it was hit.
[CONT](RC) Generation Break 1:Resist (This unit cannot be chosen by the effects of your opponent’s cards)
[ACT](RC):[Counter Blast (1)] This unit cannot be retired by card effects until end of turn.

The longer the game goes on, the more this card can do.  As soon as you throw it down, you can stop it from leaving the field via a Counter Blast.  After you Stride once, your opponent can’t target him.  However, his true usefulness is unlocked at GB2.  At that point, he will be sticking around through just about anything, whether it be by your effect or your opponent’s.

Fullmark appears to be heavily designed with Famous Professor, Bigbelly in mind.  Famous Professor wants nothing more than for cards to stick around as long as possible.  If your opponent cannot get rid of Fullmark, it stays around to be a great buff target every turn.  Paired with Al-mi’raj, this card shows that, intentionally or not, Bushiroad is diversifying Great Nature.  On the flip side of the Bigbelly coin, Teacher’s Cane of Affection does not seem to play well with this card at all.  He can call his own buff targets on Stride, so he does not overly care about cards sticking around.  Longevity actually works against him, as Fullmark still being on the field renders Teacher’s Cane’s GB2 non-functional.  As for the other GN builds, Honorary Professor, there does not appear to be enough space to make full use of the card and unlike Bigbelly, there are no on-Stride abilities yet to make use of him with.

This card will be one that requires practical testing to see if it ends up carving out a place for itself within any GN build.  For originality of skill though, I give this card full marks.

As a final note on this card, it works incredibly well with Great Nature’s GR out of G-CHB02, Fernyiges.  If you want to hear more about Fernyiges, stay tuned for a special article dedicated to him later today.

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Omniscience Dragon, Al-mi’raj: First Thoughts

Once again we have an Omniscience Dragon whose name is a figure from legend.  Al-mi’raj is a figure in Arabic poetry that would prey on animals big and small.  It was a constant worry for villagers because it would attack them and their livestock, leading the villagers to enlist the help of witches to drive the Al-mi’raj away.  In Vanguard, Omniscience Dragon, Al-mi’raj terrorizes the landscape of a clan we thought was just settling down in the way its builds worked.

[G guardian] (Usable when both fighters’ vanguards are grade 3 or greater, and the number of face up G guardians in your G zone is three or less)-Opponent Turn’s Guard Step-[Choose a card with “Heal” from your hand, and discard it] Call this card to your (GC) from face down.
[AUTO]:[Soul Blast (1)] When this unit is placed on (GC), you may pay the cost. If you do, choose up to two cards from your hand, call them to separate (RC), choose up to four of your rear-guards, until end of turn, they get “[CONT](RC/GC):Resist” and “[CONT](RC):This unit cannot be retired even if it is hit.”.

I mentioned it terrorizing the landscape of Great Nature and I was not exaggerating.  There’s plenty to be said about the implications of this card, so I won’t waste any more time.  First off, we will look at a build that this new G Guardian resurrects, if that build could even have been said to be truly alive in the first place: Famous Professor, Bigbelly.

As noted in my Bigbelly vs Bigbelly: Analysis article, the original Bigbelly unit has a plethora of issues largely stemming from its weakness to different forms of control.  Because your field could be disrupted and key units could be removed before you had the chance to Stride, your opponent ended up with far too much control over where you could put your power boosts.  Thanks to Al-mi’raj, those weaknesses are heavily mitigated.  Not only can you call specific units that you want to buff with Bigbelly on the following turns, those units also cannot be hit or targeted if you so choose, rendering them nearly untouchable.  Keep in mind that none of this can be accomplished without the requisite Heal trigger used to active a G Guard, but thanks to Great Nature’s draw power, this is a relatively small concern.

Because of how much Al-mi’raj brings Famous Professor, Bigbelly back into the picture, Great Nature has been provided with a few separate builds for players who want to focus on mostly G era GN cards.  You would still be fully justified in wanting to build a deck solely geared around Teacher’s Cane of Affection, Bigbelly.  His on-Stride skill keeps him independent enough of outside influences to be run on his own.  However, with some of Famous Professor, Bigbelly’s weaknesses covered by Al-mi’raj, one also would not think you were crazy to consider building a deck around him instead.  He can buff twice as many cards as Teacher’s Cane and the on-hit skills he provides do not give you any immediate bonus, but they do instill a bit more pressure into your RG attacks.  As a third and possibly most sensible option, you can always build a deck that uses both versions of the Grade 3 Bigbelly, gearing your G Zone and main deck to be able to work with either one, regardless of which you ended up riding.

Al-mi’raj does not only benefit Bigbelly decks, though.  Because the ability to call units specifies “up to two”, you can always choose to call zero if you don’t feel the need to.  The abilities this card gives the up to four chosen rear guards are nearly identical to the abilities given by Dizmel.  Since any Great Nature deck can now easily afford soul blasts, this card can almost always be treated as a better Dizmel, replacing him wherever you may have included him in your Great Nature G Zones.

Needless to say, I am very excited about this card.  The implications outlined here that it brings to Great Nature decks resound loudly, and I cannot wait to test out fun new builds that include it.

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Chatnoir Arusha: Deck Analysis

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.

Starter:
1x Telescope Rabbit

Triggers:
4x Draw of the School Cafeteria, Abysia
4x Triangle Cobra
4x Holder Hedgehog
4x Cutter Falcon

Grade 1:
4x Contradictory Instructor, Shell Master
4x Honorary Assistant, Mikesaburo
4x Coiling Duckbill
3x Diligent Assistant, Minibelly

Grade 2:
4x Crayon Tiger
4x Binoculus Tiger
4x Field Glass Otter

Grade 3:
3x Honorary Professor, Chatnoir
2x Special Appointment Professor, Arusha
1x Contradictory Instructor, Tusk Master

G Zone:
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.

Remember, if you want to keep up to date with past, present, and futures articles published on this website, we have a Facebook page that will update whenever something new is posted here.  Give it a like or a follow to make sure you get a notification when important things happen in the world of Great Nature!

Great Nature University now has a Facebook page!

While thinking about the best way to keep all of you informed about when new updates and articles are posted, the first thing that came to mind was to create a Facebook page.  You can find that Facebook page here.

If you like or follow that page, you can get a notification via Facebook whenever a new article is posted to this site.  For those of you interested in finding out when new cards are revealed for Great Nature or hearing about new strategies, decks, and ideas, this will be a great resource for you.  I plan to add more ways to keep tabs on this site in the future, so keep checking back to see what we have in store!

Binoculus Tiger: Revival Collection

The Revival Collection is an English-exclusive set aimed at reprinting important older cards from most clans as well as bringing previously Japanese-exclusive cards to the west.  We are beginning to learn which specific cards will be reprinted, and the first confirmed reprint for Great Nature is a card that desperately needs it – Binoculus Tiger!

Binoculus Tiger should be a card that is familiar to all of you, but for those of you who may not know what it does, I will go ahead and post his effect.

[AUTO](VC/RC): When this unit attacks a vanguard, choose another of your «Great Nature» rear-guards, and you may have that unit get [Power]+4000 until end of turn. If you do, at the beginning of your end phase, retire that unit.

This card is something you could easily point to if someone were to ask you to explain Great Nature’s unique mechanic.  Binoculus Tiger has been a staple in almost every Great Nature deck since the clan became playable on its own in BT07.  What it brings to the table is something so simple and yet so incredibly useful.  Every time it attacks the Vanguard, you can choose to give another RG +4k power and at the end of the turn, the chosen RG retires.  Binoculus is not limited to activating once per turn and of course, having been originally released so long ago, is not limited to Generation Break either.  This card is most often seen nowadays in decks based around Chatnoir, which rely more on early game retire thanks to the prevalence of cards such as Coiling Duckbill and Honorary Assistant, Mikesaburo.

In the past, many players who got into this clan around the start of the G Era have been forced to play Sleepy Tapir as a substitute for Binoculus due to the latter’s price and lack of availability.  No longer will you have this issue.  Tapir was a decent replacement because he serves largely the same purpose and even has Resist to help against the ever-dreaded Denial Griffin.  However, the relatively few matchups where Resist was important along with Tapir’s inability to work on VC make him pale in comparison to Binoculus.  The tiger works no matter what circle he is on, eliminating the need for extra G2s in hand just to be able to get off his retire skill early in the game.

This reprint is very much welcome.  Now if only Bushiroad would sneak a Crayon Tiger reprint in the set, though I wouldn’t hold my breath for it.  I will be sure to keep you updated on any new Great Nature cards that may be revealed for the Revival Collection.  After Binoculus, extra cards can only be icing on the cake!

Recorder Parakeet: First Thoughts

Promos are always a hit or miss when it comes to Great Nature.  We have had some incredible promos like the Fox Legion as well as some cards that some might say genuinely belong in a garbage can such as Beaker Holstein.  Let’s take a look at Recorder Parakeet to determine which, if either, category this card belongs in.

[AUTO]: When this Unit is placed on (RC), choose up to one of your other rear-guards, it gets [Power]+4000 until end of turn, and at the end of that turn, retire that unit.

An extremely simple skill with very little to seriously discuss.  It performs its function well and without drama.  When it hits the field, you can give another RG 4k power and at the End Phase, the unit that was buffed dies.  This skill is about as basic as Great Nature’s unique mechanic gets, which ends up being both good and bad.  Some of Great Nature’s greatest (pardon the bad pun) cards exist because of how simple they are.  Binoculus Tiger buffs and marks a friendly RG for death whenever he attacks VG.  This card serves a similar purpose, and even does so without the need to be at Generation Break.  Not having a GB restriction is a rare treat nowadays.

However, this card is yet another 6k Grade 1 in a clan that has become sick of seeing them.  Great Nature is now more focused on hitting certain number thresholds than it is about the mindless power buffing that may have been some players’ focus over the history of the clan.  6k is only 1k below your normal Grade 1 power level of 7k, but that 1k power can hurt you more than you might imagine when trying to get to specific numbers.  Beyond that, Great Nature just has too many cards that are already doing Parakeet’s job and doing it better.  This card may not be completely useless, but it is difficult to see a niche for it in any current Great Nature deck.

I know I said there was little to discuss about this card earlier, but I ended up writing more than I expected.  It turns out almost nothing is simple when describing GN’s card interactions.  As a side note, I enjoy this card’s art.  Look how happy he is!

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Treatise Panther: First Thoughts

This will be the initial entry into my First Thoughts series.  In this series, I will address new cards that have been revealed for Great Nature and give my first impressions on them.  I will be doing a more in-depth analysis of new cards once we know the full set contents and some testing can be done, but this is to give a preliminary idea of what these new cards are capable of as well as pointing out some of their potential shortcomings.  Without further ado, let’s jump into our first candidate.

Treatise Panther

[AUTO](RC)[1/Turn]:When this unit attacks a vanguard, if you have a vanguard with “Honorary Professor” in its card name, choose up to one of your other rear-guards in the same row as this unit, until end of turn, it gets [Power]+4000, and “[AUTO](RC):At the end of turn, draw a card, and retire this unit.”.

At long last, Honorary Professor is being turned into the full sub-clan that it has always deserved to be.  This is the first official rear guard support for the sub-clan and there is quite a bit to look at in its relatively short text.

The first thing to note is that this card’s ability is not restricted to Generation Break, meaning you can use it before you ever have the chance to Stride or use a G Guardian.  Keep in mind that this is not as liberating of a condition as it may seem.  While it does not require GB to function, it does require an “Honorary Professor” Vanguard.  Taking a look at this card’s name, it would seem to suggest that Bushiroad wants to keep the Honorary Professor name exclusive to Grade 3 and higher units.  We could see Honorary Professor rear guards in the future, but this card currently cannot use its ability until you are at least on Grade 3.  This does mean that you have more skills that you can utilize if you go first, but in about half of your games, being on Grade 3 should be functionally identical to being at GB1.

Something that sticks out as particularly awkward about this card’s ability is what it can target.  Treatise Panther can target any rear guard in the same row, indicating that it can buff any rear guards to its left or right.  However, as the activation condition for its ability is upon attacking the opponent’s Vanguard, this gives it only one viable target: your other front row rear guard.  With our current card pool, you will want to have Crayon Tiger in front of the other column as often as possible and Crayon Tiger is generally not something you want to be losing for a blind draw, especially since only a 4k buff is not going to be sufficient to increase Crayon Tiger’s presumed 16k column by enough to force an extra stage of shield from your opponent.  If Treatise Panther were not restricted to once per turn, he would be more readily useful to stack extra draws onto the other column.  This is, at least, only the first Honorary Professor rear guard support, so it is very possible that we may get more cards going forward that want to be targeted by Treatise Panther.  Only time will tell.

Tester Fox vs Arusha: Analysis

Another analysis article, another head to head battle between two cards vying for space in the same deck.  This time, we’ll be taking a look at two of the most popular Grade 3s to run alongside Chatnoir.  Both have their upsides and downsides and enable very different strategies.

Let’s start with the older of the two, shall we? – Magic Scientist, Tester Fox

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[ACT](VC):Legion20000 “Illusion Scientist, Researcher Fox”(If your opponent’s vanguard is grade 3 or greater, this unit may return four cards from your drop zone into your deck once, search your deck for the specified card, and Legion)
[AUTO](VC):During your end phase, when one of your rear-guards is put into the drop zone, if this unit is Legion, choose a card from your damage zone, and turn it face up. Then, if the unit put into the drop zone has the same name as a unit on your (VC), draw a card, choose up to two cards from your drop zone, and put them on the bottom of your deck in any order.
[AUTO](VC):When this unit attacks a vanguard, choose one of your rear-guards, and you may have that unit get [Power]+4000 until end of turn. If you do, at the end of your turn, retire that unit.

As has quickly become the norm, let us begin with this card’s good points.  Of course, as a Legion, this card lets you cycle back cards via its Legion ability.  Being able to put triggers back into your deck is a bonus no matter what you’re using.  However, as an added bonus to that, you can put back extra cards via Tester Fox’s first full skill.  Ideally, you will want to be retiring Tester Fox’s mate so as to get the full benefit from Tester Fox’s skill.  Not only do you get to put cards back in the deck, you also get a free draw and search thanks to the combination of Tester Fox’s Counter Charge and Scientist Fox’s CB1 to self-search.  Tester Fox’s +4k to a rear guard on attack is nothing groundbreaking, but it is something that has become a staple of many of Great Nature’s G3s over time and helps you reach magic numbers on your rear guard columns.  A nice thing to note is that even if you do not have a copy of Tester Fox or its mate to retire for the draw and returning cards to deck, you always get the Counter Charge regardless of what you retire.  Nowadays, Counter Blasts are at a premium in GN, so it’s nice to take them where you can get them.

On the other hand, Tester Fox does have some detriments that become more glaring as time goes by.  The biggest of these is, funnily enough, the fact that it is part of a Legion.  While having a Legion does provide you with the aforementioned card return, it comes with the drawback of requiring that you run the mate.  This is even more of an issue with this card in particular, as the nature of the on-retire ability essentially requires that you play the parts of the Legion, especially the mate, at max copies allowed.  Scientist Fox is a great card, but only when you are already in Legion.  Before that point, Scientist Fox is a more or less dead card.  While still on Chatnoir, almost any other viable G2 would be preferable to Scientist Fox, and this becomes apparent the farther we get into the G era of Vanguard.  As we get more and more powerful G Units such as Managarmr, Bigbelly, and others, it becomes more and more important to have G2s at your disposal that have practical uses during the Battle Phase.  Cards such as Binoculus Tiger and Sleepy Tapir provide more immediate use than Scientist Fox for their power boosts and Resist (on Tapir, at least).  Legion being an ACT skill also means that you have to skip a turn of Striding in a format where those high-powered skills and Triple Drives from your G Units can make or break a game.

Moving forward, it’s time to take a look at our second contender – Special Appointment Professor, Arusha

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[AUTO](VC):Success 25000 (When your rear-guard’s [Power] becomes 25000 or greater, this unit becomes successful until end of turn)
[AUTO](VC) Generation Break 1:[Choose a card from your hand, and discard it] When this unit becomes successful, you may pay the cost. If you do, [Stand] this unit.
[AUTO](VC) Generation Break 1:When this unit attacks, choose one of your rear-guards, until end of turn, it gets [Power]+4000, and this unit gets “[CONT](VC):This unit cannot be chosen by trigger effects.”. (Trigger effects cannot be assigned to it)

I’m absolutely convinced that this card was created and designed with Chatnoir in mind.  That is not to say that it is without faults, but we’ll get to those in a minute.  First, let’s talk about what Arusha brings to the table.  The obvious benefit is that you can Break Ride to add an extra 10k power to the VG and even though you cannot assign trigger effects to the Vanguard, your opponent still needs to guard with enough shield to block two 21k swings before your booster’s power is applied.  Thanks to its last ability not being limited to once per turn, the restand allows you to buff a rear guard twice.  Now let’s talk about that restand.  Sure, Arusha is a bit restricted in that he can’t pass triggers to herself but even so, discard 1 is still one of the cheapest restand costs in the game.  You still get to pass the effects from any triggers you get in your four drive checks to rear guards, which may very well be restanding as well.

Moving on to the bad, we mostly need to address how awkward this card can make your turns on occasion.  Success 25k is a breeze to hit on a Break Ride turn, but if you’re stuck on a turn where you cannot Stride and all you have is Arusha, you’re going to have a little bit of a bad time.  Success 25k is much less automatic in a deck where a decent chunk of the power gain comes from Vanguard abilities.  That is not to say that hitting that Success threshold is impossible, but you may need to do some reordering of attacks to make sure you get there.  The ability restricting triggers may be able to be mitigated thanks to rear guard power gain and restanding abilities, but it is a restriction nonetheless.  Even on Break Ride turns where Arusha herself is swinging for 21k, your opponent is guaranteed to stop your Vanguard attacks with 15k shield if unboosted and is free to save their big guards like G Guardians and Sentinels for your much more threatening rear guard attacks.  If you have one of those unfortunate turns where you cannot Stride and are stuck on an 11k Vanguard, your center column swings become even more pathetic.

Overall, both of these cards bring much to the table in their own right and especially when combo’d with Chatnoir.  You certainly could not be faulted for preferring either, as they each cater to a very different playstyle with Tester Fox favoring defensive players and Arusha preferring a more aggressive pilot.  In the end, my preference lies with Arusha for the extra power and draw on your Break Ride turns specifically.  I also find myself using Tester Fox less because one of its biggest draws, easy and reliable Counter Charge, just isn’t as valuable as it once was thanks to commonly used cards like Contradictory Instructor, Shell Master and Immortality Professor, Kundalini.

Whichever cards you choose to put in your deck, your instructors at the Great Nature University wish you nothing but the best of luck and the strongest of rear guards!