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
[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
[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!