Bigbelly vs Bigbelly: Analysis Update

Similar to the first article I posted on this site, this will be a “compare and contrast” sort of deal where our two Bigbelly Grade 3s are concerned.  I decided to revisit this article and write an updated version because, as many of you are likely aware, quite a bit has changed since then.  New cards bring new strategies and new ways of interacting, bringing cards back into consideration that once may have been found underwhelming.

I will save space here by skipping the unit introductions.  If you are unaware of what Famous Professor, Bigbelly (FPB) and Teacher’s Cane of Affection, Bigbelly (TCAB) do or need a quick refresher, their effects are in the old article linked above.  Last time we started with FPB, so I think this time we’ll switch things up and begin with TCAB.

Ultimately, not a lot ended up changing for this card between the last article and this one. Sadly, this set did not give us too much in the way of great new Success units, though we were granted more Resist toolboxing thanks to Lesser Writer, a great target for TCAB, providing you with plays around otherwise troublesome G Guardians as well as giving your field an extra boost.  We also finally got the skill of Omniscience Dragon, Fernyiges.  Fern is a great utility card for TCAB for a couple reasons.  First, he provides resources just like in any other GN deck.  More importantly, his skill is an easy way to make sure your field is clear if you want to focus on getting the Stride cost buff from TCAB’s GB2 skill.

Because we were not gifted a large array of new powerful Success RGs, this card can still have the occasional consistency hiccup.  There will be times when you find yourself with less-than-ideal targets to call for his skill or worse, none at all.  However, this should be mitigated with careful play and deck building.  TCAB is still an incredibly solid card that I believe will see quite a bit of play.

FPB is where things really got interesting this set.  Before, he was a mess of inconsistency and weakness to control.  Now, his issues have been mitigated to a degree.  Omniscience Dragon, Al-mi’raj gives you less to worry about against decks that can retire or spin your field, as you can call buff targets back as long as you have a Heal trigger and targets in hand, also giving them protective abilities to keep them around until you get the chance to target them with FPB’s on-Stride skill.  Another boon granted to FPB is Fullmark Gorilla.  Keep in mind that his GB2 only protects him from attacks and you will still need to pay his CB cost if you want to keep him around through your own retire effects, but even with the cost, Fullmark provides another avenue toward getting and keeping units on the field to target with FPB’s ability.  Finally, Fernyiges works wonders with the units like Alibelly and Fullmark, as Fernyiges gets the draw/CC/SC for each rear guard targeted, not each retired.

Even still, FPB has some kinks to work out.  You can only guarantee ideal targets for him if you have a Heal trigger in hand and while this may not be a huge feat for a clan that draws heavily each turn, it is still something that you need to keep in mind when considering FPB’s overall usefulness.  The deck is still much more vulnerable to Lock, just by virtue of having units on the field where TCAB actively tries to get rid of them.

Regardless, it feels nice to have choices.  With testing, I feel certain different players are going to be popping up with all kinds of Bigbelly decks once this set releases.  We will see pure TCAB decks whose goal is to wipe the field and gets heavy draw and easier Stride costs.  We will also see pure FPB decks that mitigate retires by saving units and strategically use Heal triggers to ensure they always have the best targets.  We will also, of course, see hybrid decks, a blending of the two strategies with decks built to make the most of whichever Grade 3 you end up riding.  I for one look forward to seeing them all in time!

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Honorary Professor: First Thoughts

Today’s article is going to be a new take on the First Thoughts series.  Instead of looking at a single card, I will be giving my thoughts on an entire sub-clan.  I will likely have more articles like this in the future so if you enjoy this, let me know what other sub-clans or deck types I haven’t covered yet that you’d like to see my impressions on.  To start this potential series off, I’ll be taking a look into the recently fleshed out Honorary Professor sub-clan.

G-CHB02 has given us a handful of cards that turns Honorary Professor from a couple connected cards into a full sub-clan, and the results are unexpected to say the least.  I don’t know that much of anyone expected Honorary Professor to become what it has, but I suppose points go to Bushiroad for originality this time.  The Honorary Professor sub-clan is a small group of cards that is focused on a combo that allows for multi-attack turns.  Everything seems designed to set up for a single burst turn, Break Riding Chatsauvage into Brahmananda and getting in as many attacks as you can to poke for extreme pressure and, barring a kill on the opponent, draw heavily at the end of the turn.

As with everything, there exists good and bad.  The good is that the Chatsauvage combo really can net you insane draw.  If you Break Ride into Cath Palug and go for a standard current Cath Palug turn with Crayon and all, you net +28k power, a restand, and draw 7 for CB4.  Brahmananda coupled with the Break Ride combo nets you +8k power and draw 2 for only Brahm’s own CB1 for each RG attack you make that turn.  When combo’d with Reader Pig and/or Go-Home Toad, your multi-attacks on this Break Ride turn can get downright deadly.

The bad is just how awkward the combo is.  You need the right cards in hand to pull it off, and they’re not general either.  The cards you need are specific and you need them at the right time.  Without Reader Pigs, your multi-attacks aren’t going to extend very far, and this issue is worsened due to Go-Home Toad’s complete and utter lack of synergy with Brahm’s on-attack call skill.  I will never understand why Bushiroad didn’t allow Brahm’s call targets to attack from the back as part of the Stride’s skill.  This would have made Treatise Panther infinitely more versatile and opened Pig and Toad’s spots for other more generally useful cards outside of an overly specific combo turn.

The need for combo pieces may inspire you to run Draw triggers.  Consider, though, the negative effects this will have throughout your deck.  For one, Draw triggers lack any sort of offensive potential whatsoever.  This is a deck that goes for the throat, and lacking Criticals works counter to the deck’s core strategy.  Beyond that, Draws do very little to increase consistency of draw for specific cards.  You need to hit them to start off with and beyond that, you’re still hoping for very specific draws.  Add to this the fact that Great Nature is in legitimate range of decking out in its new decks and Draws start to look like a worse and worse option.

Many players have already considered running part of the sub-clan and leaving out the clunkier parts.  Toad is a common choice to be dropped, Binoculus or other more versatile Grade 2s being run in his place.  Some players are even going so far as to drop Chatsauvage, pinning the Break Ride combo itself as too situational and gimmicky to rely upon.  Whatever your choice for cuts, rarely do I see anyone attempting to make the full sub-clan work, and I do believe that this is with good cause.

Currently, Honorary Professor seems to suffer from a common ailment among new sub-clans.  The concept is there, but they just have not received the cards necessary to flesh it all out.  With time and more sets of support, I believe that we will see Honorary Professor’s unique style of play become something to be feared, but until then, we may have to make a few necessary sacrifices for consistency’s sake.

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Bushiroad’s Honorary Professor: Deck Analysis

Just like they did with Bigbelly, Bushiroad has given us their interpretation of a deck for the Honorary Professor sub-clan.  It is to be expected that the deck would run a selection of cards from the new set, but just how does Bushiroad’s version of how to utilize these new cards seem to stack up against other Great Nature builds?

1x Gifted Bear

4x Brushing Kitten
4x Ruler Chameleon
4x Pencil Case Pelican
4x Cafeteria Sea Otter

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

Grade 2:
4x Treatise Panther
3x Go-home Toad
2x Binoculus Tiger
2x Crayon Tiger

Grade 3:
4x Honorary Professor, Chatnoir
4x Honorary Professor, Chatsauvage

G Zone:
4x Immortality Professor, Brahmananda
2x Omniscience Dragon, Fernyiges
2x Sage-saint Professor, Bigbelly
2x Omniscience Dragon, Managarmr
2x Omniscience Dragon, Cath Palug
2x Immortality Professor, Kundalini
2x Omniscience Dragon, Al-mi’raj

This deck (which can be found here) is puzzling to say the least.  The starting Vanguard makes sense but it rapidly goes downhill in a fast spiral from there.  Gifted Bear is a great card for securing your Honorary Professor, Chatsauvage combo.  As stated in his article, he also combos very well early game with Mikesaburo and Duckbill. Now to be fair, this deck is very combo heavy, but I still cannot wrap my head around Draw Triggers in Great Nature, especially at 8.  Draw Triggers do very little to add to early game combo draw consistency, to the point where they may as well be entirely useless.  Later in the game, they become doubly useless, as Great Nature has the draw power on its own to shun Draw Triggers.  In a multi-attacking deck, Crits and Stands make infinitely more sense to keep constant pressure on your opponent.  Their specific choice of units as their triggers baffles me as well.  They have chosen Ruler Chameleon as their lone Critical.  His ability is nearly worthless in this deck, costing a Counter Blast where CB is tight.  Meanwhile, they have chosen two vanilla Draws over Castanet Donkey, who could help get key units to greater power levels.  I am not disparaging the use of vanilla triggers, though.  In fact, I applaud them for using vanillas.  If you are going to be running Binoculus for early game retires, you want all of your triggers to be vanilla so that you can hit key early game numbers with them.  All in all, this trigger zone is nothing short of a nightmare.  Remove everything except the Heals and start over with vanilla Criticals and, if you so choose, Stands.  Be consistent.  It’s how this deck wins games.

Overall, I like the Grade 1 lineup quite a bit.  Shell Master provides vital Counter Charge.  Reader Pig combos heavily with Immortality Professor, Brahmananda and Crayon Tiger. Sabu and Duck combo with the starter and provide you with early game rush as well as ways to add other combo pieces to your hand.

The Grade 2s are yet another tragedy.  I understand wanting to use Honorary Professors in an Honorary Professor deck, but this is taking it too far.  Thanks to Reader Pig, one of the best Grade 2s to combo with Brahmananda is Crayon Tiger.  Even without Pig, Crayon Tiger is a large portion of Great Nature’s offensive power, no matter what variant you’re building.  Especially in a build that has no room for Tusk Master, maxing out on Crayon is crucial.  Binoculus seems a bit out of place here, but not so much as Go-home Toad.  Toad provides extra attacks from the back row, but his complete lack of synergy with Brahmananda makes his inclusion questionable.  You are honestly probably better off not worrying about Toad, even in an Honorary Professor combo deck.  Similarly, Treatise Panther suffers from a lack of synergy with Brahmananda.  Even on a multi-attack combo turn, Treatise Panther will only ever be able to grant his buff to your other front row rear guard.  Buffing and killing a Crayon Tiger for a random draw is not a valuable enough skill to put Treatise Panther up to max copies.  If you’re dedicated to going with a full Honorary Professor combo, keep in mind that every potential combo piece you add is going to make it harder and harder to pull off your strategy.

There is honestly nothing much to look at in the Grade 3 section.  Because of Chatsauvage’s skill, including four copies of both himself and Chatnoir makes perfect sense to keep the combo consistent.

As for the G Zone, I believe that I see where Bushiroad was trying to go with it but I still have strong negative feelings toward it.  It seems as though Bushiroad planned this G Zone out for the long game.  Go into Cath Palug, burn your resources, go into Fernyiges to get them back, rinse and repeat for heavy draw each turn.  The main issue, other than the loss by deckout you’re going to earn yourself, is that Vanguard as a game does not last long enough to make that kind of draw power relevant.  In Vanguard, most clans and decks are geared toward at least attempting to end the turn on their second Stride.  Great Nature is no different.  Especially in a deck where you can use Brahmananda as your first Stride for a more powerful Sage-saint Professor, Bigbelly, what is the purpose of elongating the game when you can almost always just go into Bigbelly once or twice and win?  Like their Bigbelly deck, Bushiroad left Afanc out of this G Zone.  It would appear that Bushiroad is aware of just how hard they have left Kagero in the dust meta-wise, but it still isn’t advisable to go into a serious tournament without an Afanc or two lying in wait, ready to deny the Denial.  The final point of confusion I have is the inclusion of two Al-mi’raj.  Unlike Famous Professor, Bigbelly, this deck has no reason to desire opponent’s-turn calling.  There are no on-Stride skills to assign to rear guards, so keeping them in hand to call during your Main Phase or with Brahmananda is perfectly fine.  Even though Honorary Professor does not quite have the same mass retire that Teacher’s Cane of Affection Bigbelly has, Ardillo is still a prime choice for G Guardian, granting easy or even free bonus shield.

Honorary Professor is a deck that is going to take time and care to get just right.  It would appear that even Bushiroad isn’t entirely sure of what to make from the sub-clan, and they designed the cards.  For now, trial and error prevails, but I have to file this list under “error”.

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Bushiroad’s Bigbelly: Deck Analysis

Bushiroad has given players a gift.  This is a gift that they like to hand out whenever a new set releases, but it is always nice when the gift is wrapped and signed out specifically to Great Nature players.  This gift is that of a deck list.  Each new set, Bushiroad comes up with a deck list for new key cards in that set.  This time, Bushiroad has given us a deck list centered around Teacher’s Cane of Affection, Bigbelly.

1x Scintillating First-year Student, Littlebelly

4x Brushing Kitten
4x Polish Penguin
4x Application Researcher, Ponbelly
4x Chemical Skunk

Grade 1:
4x Fine Coat Maltese
4x Traveling Momonga
4x Diligent Assistant, Minibelly
3x Coiling Duckbill

Grade 2:
4x Lesser Writer
3x Crayon Tiger
3x Problem Child, Greybelly
2x Fullsack Squirrel

Grade 3:
4x Teacher's Cane of Affection, Bigbelly
3x Contradictory Instructor, Tusk Master

G Zone:
4x Saint-sage Professor, Bigbelly
2x Omniscience Dragon, Wisdom Teller Dragon
2x Omniscience Dragon, Managarmr
2x Omniscience Dragon, Hrimthurs
1x Omniscience Dragon, Fernyiges
1x Omniscience Dragon, Kirtimukha
2x Immortality Professor, Kundalini
2x Omniscience Dragon, Al-mi'raj

Much like my previous Deck Analysis article, we will look through this grade by grade bur first, if you would like to see the list for yourself, you can find it on Bushiroad’s website here.  (If it redirects you to the English Vanguard website at first, close that window and click the link again)

The starter of choice here seems to make sense for the deck as a whole.  Littlebelly provides much-needed Counter Charge with his own skill and is also a sitting target for Fine Coat Maltese if you so choose.  The trigger lineup is not unconventional.  Stand triggers can be understood in a deck that hits with so much power.  Chemical Skunk’s skill is more than a bit underwhelming (Why give OTT and DP powerful new Stands but hand GN a Margal?), but it does provide a couple useful things.  3k power isn’t much, but if you’re putting that on a unit that will restand, that number doubles.  If that 3k causes you to hit an extra stage of shield, that Stand trigger has effectively forced 10k shield out of your opponent’s hand.  He also provides on-demand Soul, which is a resource Bigbelly decks can quickly run out of.  Another potential option here would be Watering Elephant, which provides Soul – albeit more slowly – while providing a field-sustaining ability.  Do keep in mind that maintaining a field presence may be the last thing on this deck’s mind thanks to Teacher’s Cane’s GB2 ability.  However, also keep in mind that Watering Elephant is a Success unit, making it a call target for Bigbelly in a pinch.

The Grade 1 lineup seems incredibly solid to me, to be completely honest.  In a deck based around Success, Maltese can be a recurring source of Perfect Guards while being a minimal hindrance on your End Phase plays.  Traveling Momonga is a fantastic Success unit which can be called via Bigbelly’s on-Stride skill and searches out key cards like Grade 3s for Stride or Crayon Tigers for offensive pressure.  Minibelly allows you to Stride more consistently and also allows you to search out Bigbelly if you draw into Tusk Master instead.  Finally, Coiling Duckbill is a source of extra draw in lieu of having other, more useful Success units at the Grade 1 level.

I feel this deck starts to lose focus at the Grade 2 level.  I understand wanting to cram in as many Success units as possible to make Bigbelly consistent, but I do not understand doing so at the cost of Crayon Tiger.  To make matters worse, the unit that they have chosen is possibly the worst choice they could have made.  This deck thrives off of removing its own Success units from the field, so why would they choose to run a unit like Fullsack Squirrel which needs to survive your turn to use its ability?  If you just wanted another 4k power, there’s no reason not to run Field Glass Otter or even Archaeology Junior, Cornegie instead.  My advice would be to cut the two Squirrels to add fourth copies of Greybelly and Crayon Tiger.  Both provide great offensive pressure as well as valuable retire and draw.  Lesser Writer is a solid choice for second Success unit at G2 because it buffs up your Success units, making it easier to hit their thresholds while simultaneously rendering Kagero and Gear Chronicle’s disruption G Guardians useless against your successful attackers.

The Grade 3 lineup seems to be emphasizing the focus this deck has on Teacher’s Cane of Affection, Bigbelly.  Famous Professor, Bigbelly is nowhere to be found here, opting to run Contradictory Instructor, Tusk Master instead.  I imagine this unit is at three copies to compensate for the missing Crayon Tiger, but as I recommend keeping Crayon at max copies and as Tusk is also searchable via Momonga, I would say that it is a good idea to add a copy or two of a Success Grade 3 to make up for the lost Success consistency at the Grade 2 level and the lack of it almost entirely at the Grade 1 level.

The G Zone honestly seems more rushed and last minute than anything else.  Omniscience Dragon, Wisdom Teller Dragon particularly stands out, as it is not a common choice for Great Nature decks even now and certainly does not get any more appealing with the release of G-CHB02.  Any card that gives your opponent that much control over what you do is generally frowned upon.  Another point of confusion I have is the inclusion of two copies of Omniscience Dragon, Al-mi’raj.  While fantastic in a deck centered around Famous Professor, Bigbelly, Al-mi’raj seems questionable in a deck that actively shuns having rear guards at the start of your turn.  Notably missing are Head of the Bastion, Ardillo and Omniscience Dragon, Afanc.  Ardillo is a phenomenal card to have in any Great Nature deck, but his condition is the easiest to meet in this deck.  A virtually guaranteed 25k shield is nothing to be discounted.  Meanwhile, Afanc is your last line of defense against Kagero.  Although Kagero may not be a commonly played meta deck right now, Great Nature’s G Zone space is not so tight that you have to exclude him.  He can almost single-handedly win the Kagero matchup for you if you wait for the right turn to use him and the G Zone is nothing if not a toolbox to prepare you for any situation.

I know that I said a lot, but in the end, I am fairly impressed with this deck.  It includes some informed if unorthodox choices and the few mistakes I feel it did make do not seem to be so egregious as to call this deck utter trash.  With a few slight modifications to fit the deck’s playstyle as well as local and widespread metas, you can go far with this build.  Thanks for the gift, Bushiroad!

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Pastel Deer: First Thoughts

We are nearing the end of the new cards from G Character Booster 02: WE ARE!!! TRINITY DRAGON.  After today, there are only a couple cards left to cover until we have unfortunately seen the entire set.  It is disappointing to reach the end of new spoilers, but the ride must end some time to let other clans have a chance.  Pastel Deer is arguably the most interesting of the final few cards, so let’s take a look.

[AUTO](RC) Generation Break 1:When this unit is boosted by a unit with 20000 [Power] or greater, this unit gets [Critical]+1 until end of that battle.

This unit’s effect is extremely simple, but is unusual enough to be noteworthy.  Rare is it to find a rear guard that can grant itself extra Criticals.  All Pastel Deer requires to give itself that Critical is to be boosted by a unit with 20k power or more.  In Great Nature, this is hardly a difficult accomplishment, especially in Bigbelly decks where you have the ability to distribute large amounts of power wherever you may wish.

Unfortunately, and feel free to color me a pessimist here, but I do not see much beyond a handful of negatives for this card.  My first complaint is minor.  As this card is restricted to GB1, there is no potential for early game rush tactics.  Because its ability is limited to GB1, it becomes a unit that you never want to see early in the game.  If you have to Ride the Deer, you become a wide open target for your opponent to freely rush down with extra Grade 1s they may have.  A potential bright spot would be that this card is not limited to once per turn.  However, as the Critical is gained only during the battle, there is also no extra potential for beatdown via restanding.

Even though restanding and re-boosting does not grant Deer a third Critical, restanding it could be very threatening to your opponent.  If you choose to make this part of your strategy, know that it will be a difficult feat to accomplish without Stand triggers.  Not only would you need to restand Pastel Deer after his attack, you would also need some method to restand the booster.  The closest we may come to having a simple method for this is Anchor Rabbit.  Keep in mind though, that this is still going to be awkward to attempt because Anchor Rabbit’s Success threshold is 20k.  If you boost Pastel Deer with an Anchor Rabbit that is not at 20k or more, Deer will not gain its crit.  If you get Anchor Rabbit to 20k before boosting, you will miss your window of opportunity to restand it post Deer attack because you must choose whether or not to Stand Rabbit as soon as it becomes successful.

My last gripe is that this card has no kind of Success skill itself.  In Bigbelly decks, this makes it less desirable as Teacher’s Cane of Affection, Bigbelly needs as many Success-capable units in deck to make its on-Stride skill as consistent as possible.  Regardless, I believe that Pastel Deer is a card to keep in the back of your mind.  Going into the future, it would be very easy for Great Nature to receive some kind of support card that fixes enough of Pastel Deer’s issues to make it a real threat.

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Gifted Bear: First Thoughts

Gifted Bear is the final new card that needs to be looked at from this week’s Monthly Bushiroad reveals.  Honorary Professor finally has their own starting Vanguard and like many cards in Great Nature, his goal is consistency.  Will the consistency he brings be enough to dethrone the reigning Chatnoir starter?

[ACT](RC):[[Rest]this unit] Choose a card with “Honorary Professor” in its card name in your hand, and you may reveal it. If you reveal, search your deck for a card with “Honorary Professor” in its card name with different card name than the revealed card, show it to your opponent, add it to your hand, shuffle your deck, choose a card from your hand, discard it, and at the end of that turn, retire this unit.

In a way, Gifted Bear is his own built-in Honorary Assistant, Mikesaburo.  However, there is one main difference between the two.  While Mikesaburo can grab any Grade 3 when the unit he targets dies, Gifted Bear requires you to already have an Honorary Professor Grade 3 in hand.  If you choose to run Gifted Bear, gone are the days where you could quite so comfortably run lower Grade 3 counts.  You are going to want to be somewhere close to normal grade ratios if you want to get the maximum consistency out of Bear.  What he is useful for, though, are combos.  If you already have Chatnoir, Bear ensures that you will then have the Honorary Professor, Chat Sauvage you will need to ride once you are at four damage.  If you have Chat Sauvage, Bear makes sure you don’t have to worry about riding him first instead of Chatnoir.  This is also accomplished by Mikesaburo without needing to discard a card, but he does so in a self-contained manner.  While Mikesaburo needs a target and a way to retire said target, Bear only needs himself and a Grade 3.

You could compare and contrast Bear and Mikesaburo all day but in the end, the way they work best may very well be together.  Unlike Telescope Rabbit, the current starter of choice for Chatnoir decks, Bear ensures a retire target at the end of the turn without spending valuable CB.  Gifted Bear marks himself for death for no cost beyond resting for his own skill.  Because of this, Honorary Professor decks now have a near guaranteed end of turn retire target that they can stack effects from Mikesaburo and Coiling Duckbill on.  This development could mean all sorts of changes to Chatnoir decks going forward, replacing Telescope Rabbit and potentially even making Binoculus Tiger redundant.  As a minor note, Bear removes himself from the field, opening up spots where you can call Reader Pig or Go-Home Toad later in the game when you are ready to combo with Eternal Professor, Brahmananda.

At first glance and first analysis, Gifted Bear seems to provide a very desirable skill while simultaneously enabling other cards that are already commonly played in Honorary Professor decks.  Don’t be surprised to see this Vanguard stand up across from you once G Character Booster 02: WE ARE!!! TRINITY DRAGON releases later this year.

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Reader Pig: First Thoughts

Species diversity is something I wondered if we would ever see again.  Just when it looked like this clan would end up being only pandas and cats, we get a few other animals as Honorary Professor support, including Reader Pig.  This card was very much designed with the new Honorary Professor multi-attack strategy in mind, and serves its purpose efficiently.

[AUTO]:When this unit is placed on (RC), you may have this unit get “[CONT](RC):If you have a vanguard with “Honorary Professor” in its card name, this unit can attack a vanguard from your back row.” until end of turn. If you do, at the end of that turn, retire this unit.

Unlike Go-Home Toad, Pig can gain the ability to attack from the back row during any phase of the game, as long as it is placed on a rear guard circle while you have an Honorary Professor Vanguard.  This tends to be more useful than Toad’s version of the back row attacking skill for a small handful of reasons.  The first and most obvious is that Pig’s skill is free where Toad’s costs a soul.  Soul is renewable, but Omniscience Dragon, Fernyiges is something you will likely want to Stride into less often in Honorary Professor mainly by virtue of this deck relying more on constant combos than Bigbelly.  You would rather be going into that second Brahmananda for a big multi-attack turn or going into either available G Unit for a Break Ride turn thanks to Honorary Professor, Chat Sauvage.

Beyond the obvious are the potentials for combo.  Where Toad works awkwardly or not at all with Eternal Professor, Brahmananda because its skill is ACT, Pig works flawlessly, gaining its ability even when called mid-battle phase.  This can provide for some fun combos such as the one detailed in my Brahmananda article wherein you use Pig to boost a Crayon Tiger, have Crayon restand Pig, and end with Pig available for its own attack.  The card is not without its vulnerabilities.  As a 7k base power unit, its purpose is certainly best served when Striding into specific G Units, mainly Brahmananda.  When called on a relatively mundane Stride turn such as Hrimthurs, you will be forced to miss out on Pig’s skill entirely or else have Pig die in the end phase without truly accomplishing much.

Fans of the full Honorary Professor combo decks will be sure to love this card.  It provides everything in a rear guard that a big push from Brahmananda could want, but pales more than a bit when used outside of combo situations.

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Eternal Professor, Brahmananda: First Thoughts

For the longest time, we have only had this card’s art but as of the other day’s Monthly Bushiroad scans, we now know everything about the new professor.  Along with the revealed rear guard support for the Honorary Professor sub-clan, Eternal Professor, Brahmananda appears to support an entirely new play style for Great Nature.

[Stride] (Released when both players’ vanguards are grade 3 or greater!)-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.
[AUTO](VC):[Counter Blast (1) & Choose a face down card named “Immortality Professor, Brahmananda” from your G zone, and turn it face up] When this unit attacks, if you have a heart card with “Honorary Professor” in its card name, you may pay the cost. If you do, choose up to the same number of cards from your hand as the number of face up cards in your G zone, call them to separate (RC), and until end of turn, they get “[AUTO](RC):When this unit attacks, this unit gets [Power]+4000 until end of that battle. At the end of that turn, draw a card, and retire this unit.”.

Mid-battle calling is a mechanic that is largely new to Great Nature, but Brahmananda brings it to the forefront of the Honorary Professor sub-clan in style.  Important to note is the fact that Brahmananda calls cards from hand up to the number of any face-up cards in the G Zone.  This is likely due to the fact that Honorary Professors do not have a common naming convention for G Units, but has the side effect of making this card potentially very powerful with the right setup.

When paired with Honorary Professor, Chat Sauvage, Brahmananda could net you a very profitable turn.  Thanks to Chat Sauvage being able to grant Chatnoir’s Break Ride skill to your G Unit, every attack by a unit Brahmananda called that turn will grant your field 8k power.  It will give itself 4k via Brahmananda and grant another unit, even potentially itself if you so choose, 4k power as well.  In theory, a full field called via this unit on a Break Ride turn that can all attack would grant your field an extra 40k power and an intimidating draw of 10 cards during the End Phase.  This is, of course, very much an ideal scenario generally only possible in a vacuum, but it’s fun to think about nonetheless.

There are a couple fun combos that immediately come to mind when thinking about using this unit.  If you have a Crayon Tiger on the field, you can call the new Grade 1 unit that gains the ability to attack from the back row behind Crayon Tiger (Note: You can find said card in my Honorary Professor overview article.  Its First Thoughts article will go up tomorrow).  When you attack with Crayon Tiger, you can choose to stand its booster, standing the Grade 1 up to attack after Crayon’s battle is finished.  This simple combo executed on a Break Ride turn would grant the Grade 1 8k power – 4k from Crayon Tiger and 4k from the Break Ride – during Crayon’s attack, brining that attack to 24k power.  Following that, the Grade 1 would attack on its own, giving itself another 8k power – 4k from Brahmananda and 4k from Chatnoir – for a 25k swing.  During the End Phase, you would retire the Grade 1 and draw 4 cards just from that one column.  Factor in your other column or other calls from Brahmananda and you could see truly impressive gains.

A second combo relies on rulings where Honorary Professor, Chatnoir is concerned.  A very important thing to note is that Chatnoir’s Break Ride skill is not rear guard reliant.  What I mean by this is that although the skill activates when a rear guard attacks, the full skill is not tied to the targeted rear guard itself.  Because you must resolve as much of an ability in Vanguard as possible and the Break Ride skill’s activation condition was met on rear guard attack, you will still get all draws from the Break Ride skill even if the original target for the power gain is not on the field at the end of the turn.  This allows Brahmananda to potentially force quite a bit of shield out of your opponent’s hand without losing out on defensive draws if you fail to finish your opponent off.  You can attack with any rear guards you choose before the Vanguard attacks and if any of them were the beneficiary of a Break Ride power buff, you will still get the draw for said buff at the end of the turn even if you call over them with Brahmananda to continue your offensive assault.  Keep in mind that this is not true for all retire and draw skills in Great Nature.  Cards like Coiling Duckbill assign the full ability to a specific unit and require that that unit specifically be retired during the End Phase to activate the draw skill.

Brahmananda does of course have its faults.  It relies entirely on its rear guards in regards to back row attacking.  Were it to give its called targets the ability to attack from the back row itself, units like Treatise Panther and Go-Home Toad would be significantly more versatile and useful.  Instead, they are still fairly restricted.  Treatise Panther will still be required to target your other front row rear guard, which in some builds may still be Crayon Tiger, which is not a unit you want to be retiring often.  Go-Home Toad is probably the worst offender, though.  To gain Brahmananda’s +4k on attack ability, the attacking unit has to have been called by Brahmananda itself.  Go-Home Toad suffers horribly because of this.  Toad’s ability to attack from the back row is gained from a main phase ACT ability, causing it to miss out on that ability when called during battle.  This can be circumvented somewhat by giving it power via a different unit on a Break Ride turn but it makes Toad awkward at best on a normal Brahmananda Stride turn.

Eternal Professor, Brahmananda breathes fresh air into a sub-clan that was already strong but largely provided more of the same thing the rest of the clan already did.  Whether that ends up being for the better remains to be seen, but more offensive options are rarely a problem.  Prepare to see this unit’s adorable face across the table from you at all levels of tournament play this year.

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Go-Home Toad: First Thoughts

Amphibians are a woefully underrepresented group of animals in Great Nature, so it’s nice to see them get some love.  Go-Home Toad is one of the newest students to enroll in classes with the fabled Honorary Professors and appears to have taken lessons specifically from Eternal Professor, Brahmananda as that is the unit he was designed to work with.  Let’s hop right in.

[ACT](RC) Generation Break 1:[Soul Blast (1)] If you have a vanguard with “Honorary Professor” in its card name, this unit gets “[CONT](RC):This unit can attack a vanguard from the back row.” until end of turn. At the end of that turn, retire this unit.

As was said before, this card appears to be designed specifically with Brahmananda in mind.  The idea appears to be that when you use Go-Home Toad on a turn alongside Brahmanada, you can get a plethora of attacks from anywhere.  This is particularly potent when used on a turn where you granted a Break Ride effect to your G Unit via Honorary Professor, Chat Sauvage.  Even attacking from the back row, Toad can give itself extra power on a Break Ride turn to hit the opponent’s Vanguard.

There isn’t much to say on what this card was intended to do, but there is something to be said for its awkwardness in actual play.  The big issue I see here is its lack of real interaction with Brahmananda.  The new G Unit seems to encourage multi-attacking thanks to its in-battle call skill.  However, Toad’s skill is ACT.  He can only gain his back row attack by an activated effect in the main phase, causing him to miss out on his skill and the +4k and draw if called by Brahmananda to the back row.  On a Break Ride turn, this card can still be potent, however.  If you have an empty spot in your back row, which is not unlikely if you have already retired your own starter, Toad can provide an extra poke along with more draw power during a turn that is already putting quite a bit of pressure on your opponent.

Go-Home Toad is certainly a card to keep in mind when building your Honorary Professor deck, though whether or not it will be widely included in finished builds has yet to be determined.

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Honorary Professor, Chatsauvage: First Thoughts

There’s a lot to cover in the new Honorary Professor support, but this card has arguably been the center of the most discussion in the new reveals.  His ability is unorthodox and can be slightly confusing, so let’s take a look into this card to see what makes Honorary Professor, Chatsauvage as good as he is.

[AUTO]:[Choose a grade 3 card with “Honorary Professor” in its card name from your hand, and discard it] When this unit is placed on (VC) by riding a “Honorary Professor, Chatnoir”, you may pay the cost. If you do, choose a face down “Omniscience Dragon, Cath Palug” or “Immortality Professor, Brahmananda” on your G-zone, Stride it on your (VC). If you Stride, until end of turn, you cannot Stride.

At first glance, this card may appear to be useless.  As is commonly known, Break Ride skills are lost under normal circumstances when you Stride.  Even though Chatnoir’s Break Ride skill focuses on rear guard attacks, the ability itself comes from the Vanguard and as such, even the rear guard power gain and retire/draw are lost if you Stride over a Grade 3 that has been granted the Break Ride skill.

However, Chatsauvage brings Vanguard’s interesting card interactions and timings into light.  Chatsauvage’s skill forces your Stride for the turn to happen at a different time than it normally would.  In Vanguard, if two skills activate simultaneously, the turn player decides in what order those abilities resolve.  When you ride Chatsauvage over Chatnoir, two things happen at exactly the same time.  Chatnoir’s ability activates to give your Vanguard +10k power and the rest of the Break Ride ability, but Chatsauvage’s skill also activates to discard an Honorary Professor Grade 3 and Stride.  As the turn player, you can decide to resolve Chatsauvage’s skill first.  This allows you to Stride before resolving Chatnoir’s skill, gifting the Break Ride to the G Unit instead of giving it to Chatsauvage.

Chatsauvage has two specific targets that he can Stride into with his ability.  When you use him and gift your G Unit the Break Ride skill, you turn your G Units into incredible powerhouses.  Cath Palug suddenly gives +8k and draw 2 for every attack.  Brahmananda lets your multi-attacking get bigger and beefier with every rear guard attack, potentially closing out games by overwhelming your opponent.

Even if you have to ride Chatsauvage first and miss out on the combo, all is not lost.  Unlike previous backup Grade 3 choices for Chatnoir decks, Chatsauvage himself still has the Honorary Professor name.  This means that if you are unfortunate to miss out on riding Chatnoir first, you still retain access to the two G Units that require Honorary Professor Hearts.

Do I wish Chatsauvage had a second ability, perhaps his own on-Stride skill?  I do, but with the combos he enables, that surely would have been asking for too much.  The only major drawback I can see that is worth noting for this card is that he is restricted to Cath Palug and Brahmananda specifically.  This means that any future Honorary Professor support may make him a bit awkward if we get more G Units to work with.

Overall, there is a myriad of reasons to love Chatsauvage.  I for one welcome him to the ever-growing cat family within Great Nature University.

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Honorary Professor: New Card Reveals

Courtesy of Monthly Bushiroad and with translations thanks to the people at Cardfight Coalition, we have our first look at the new Honorary Professor support.  I was wondering when we’d get to feast our eyes on these cards, though I never expected them to all come at once.  In this article, I will be giving a general overview of the new cards and will be going more in-depth into them in the coming days.


Eternal Professor, Brahmananda

Auto (VC): [Counter Blast 1 & Choose 1 face-down “Eternal Professor, Brahmananda” iin your G Zone, flip it face-up] When this Unit attacks, if you have an “Honorary Professor” Heart Card, you can pay the cost. If you pay it, choose a number of cards from your hand up to the same number of face-up cards in your G Zone, call them to separate (RC), during that turn, and each of those Units gain “Auto (RC): When this Unit attacks, during that battle, this Unit gains Power+4000, and when that turn ends, draw 1 card, this Unit retires.”.


Honorary Professor, Chat Sauvage

Auto: [Choose 1 “Honorary Professor” Grade 3 card from your hand, discard it] When this card is placed on (VC) Rides on “Honorary Professor, Chatnoir”, you can pay the cost. If you pay it, choose 1 face-down “Omniscience Dragon, Cath Palug” or “Eternal Professor, Brahmananda” from your G Zone, [Stride] it to (VC). If you [Stride], during that turn, you cannot [Stride].


Go-Home Toad

Act (RC) GB1: [Soul Blast 1] If you have an “Honorary Professor” Vanguard, during that turn, this Unit gains “Cont (RC): This Unit can attack the Vanguard from the Back Row.”. When that turn ends, Retire this Unit.


Reader Pig

Auto: When this Unit is placed on (RC), during tha turn, you can have this Unit gain “Cont (RC): If you have an “Honorary Professor” Vanguard, this Unit can attack the Vanguard from the back row.”. When that turn ends, this Unit is retired.


Gifted Bear

Act (RC): [[Rest] this Unit] You can choose 1 “Honorary Professor” card from your hand, reveal it. If you reveal it, search your Deck for up to 1 “Honorary Professor” card with a different name as that card, reveal it, add it to your hand, then shuffle the Deck. Choose 1 card from your hand, discard it, when that turn ends, Retire this Unit.

There is quite a lot to take in here, which is why I decided to start my coverage of these cards out as one big information dump.  The general idea of this new support seems to be that Bushiroad intends to turn Honorary Professor into a deck that performs multi-attacks with the end goal being death by a thousand pokes but with the reward of impressive draw power.  The new G Unit has the ability to call multiple units out mid-battle and thanks to the new Grade 1, this can enable attacks from any circle on your field.  It would be an extreme understatement to say that this is new territory for Great Nature.  Multi-attacking has generally been limited to a restand or two per turn, but this new support takes the idea to a new level.

As I said before, I will be taking these cards and analyzing what they bring to the table both individually and as members of the sub-clan over the next few days.  Look forward to articles going in depth on what really makes these cards run.

Magnifier Chow Chow: First Thoughts

After yesterday’s look at a new dog unit, I thought that tonight was the right time to look back at the last card from this set that has not yet gotten its own First Thoughts article.  Magnifier Chow Chow was revealed alongside Fullsack Squirrel, and similarly has a lower base power for his grade.  Is that lower power worth it?

[AUTO](RC)[1/Turn]:[Soul Blast (1)] When your unit is successful and is retired from (RC), you may pay the cost. If you do, draw a card.

A very short and simple ability, to be sure.  This is a dog that wants to watch other units die.  I mean, succeed.  Once per turn, when a successful unit dies, you can draw a card for the relatively small cost of a single SB. First in this card’s series of issues is that “once per turn” clause.  Great Nature does not have a large amount of soul to throw away but even so, if this card was not limited to once per turn, it would be more worthy of consideration.  Only being able to draw you one extra card in a clan that already draws so heavily makes me question why this card is a 5k G1.  The only reason seems to be that Bushiroad did not want to make it too much better than other 5k G1s that Soul Blast 2 on-call for that draw 1.

Bittersweet is the lack of a success ability or condition on this card itself.  Yes, it is somewhat nice that this card itself does not have to reach an extra condition for its draw.  However, considering that another card has to be successful, this means that Chow Chow would have been successful as well, assuming similar Success thresholds.  What this takes away from this card is versatility.  In non-Success decks, you will not be retiring successful units often enough to consistently take advantage of Chow Chow.  In decks that run enough Success units to consistently get Chow Chow’s skill off, running him will lower the number of spaces you have for Success units and in turn lower both Chow Chow’s consistency as well as Teacher’s Cane of Affection, Bigbelly’s consistency.

This card appears to just miss the mark on nearly every point and falls short of being useful.  Its low base power makes meeting Success thresholds more difficult, its lack of Success makes it too awkward to run in Success-centered decks, and its “once per turn” clause prevents it from being a source of constant draw power.  Unless something new is revealed, I cannot suggest his inclusion in any G-CHB02 GN decks.

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