A look at the unification of the Nations with AlphonZeus
Hello there everyone, I am The AlphonZeus from Team Gradelock and Vision brought on to write for Axis Vanguard! Today, we’re going over one of Bushiroad’s biggest moves in the Cardfight!! Vanguard world: reducing the support from 24 different clans to 6 unified (?) nations. Dragon Empire, Dark States, Brandt Gate, Stoicheia, Keter Sanctuary, and Lyrical Monasterio. For at least what we know so far, Lyrical Monasterio will not be talked about as much because we only know at the time of this writing announced support for the first five. There will be the good, the bad, and my personal opinion towards this shift for the various formats.
To start, let’s introduce what this shift is, lore wise and game wise. Recently last month in January 2021, Bushiroad made a big announcement regarding the future of Cardfight!! Vanguard. There were 24 standard clans that received support somewhat consistently over the past ten years.
All had their own unique mechanics and strategies for victory. However, that shall change as Cardfight!! Vanguard OverDress takes place three millenia into the future as there are now six different nations that have evolved from the nations that we knew from before. Dark Zone evolved to Dark States, United Sanctuary evolved to Keter Sanctuary, Star Gate evolved into Brandt Gate, Dragon Empire evolved to remain Dragon Empire, Magallanica and Zoo clans merged to form Stoicheia, and Bermuda Triangle branched off from Magallanica to become their own nation of Lyrical Monasterio. Besides the merge and branched off clans concerning Stoicheia and Lyrical Monasterio, all of the 24 standard clans retained from before are within the new nations now.
Also before moving forward, there are financial incentives and disincentives to the 24-to-6 such as values for premium, V Premium, and Standard. There will be an entire article about investing including the impact of OverDress so this will be kept to a minimum here. So, take this as a teaser for a future article!
For the trading card game, this means that the sets going forward will be split into five nations (with Lyrical Monasterio retaining their own exclusive extra booster set) instead of choosing a number of the 24 standard clans to support. We know that there will be five starter decks available for $3.99 USD each launching in May for five of the nations that will be supported in the first OverDress booster set. There will also be 120 cards announced for those same five as well. So now that you have the basics for what this future is like for clans to nations, let’s go over my pros and cons for this.
The first pro I can think of is that there are less chances for nations to receive disproportioned support among the available clans/nations. Depending on how long the OverDress boosters will follow this format, every nation will have a consistent support of cards to add and alter their deck over time. With the release schedule also set to be launching every other month rather than every month, this gives enough timing for the colors to be fleshed out in competitive play. What has happened before in Original/G and V formats was that there were just some clans like the Paladins that have consistently received support and that support almost hits competitive top tiers every single time that it launches. For example, let’s look at the V format. The card pools for Royal and Shadow Paladins total at least 100 cards each. The quality can differ, but the card pool alone shows more options. In contrast, other clans that have received less support like Spike Brothers and Megacolony that share about 80 cards in the card pool each. When you have 24 standard clans to support over 10 years, it can be exhausting because there will be more likely other clans that will receive more support than others.
The second pro is to reduce the amount of predictability and increase the creativity of each time you play a set. By consolidating the 24 clans into 6nations, you can establish that there is something for every player every single main booster set. This can present many more options in the card pool and a refreshing way to approach deck building every single time a booster set is launched. For the clans that are not as supported or not as often supported create predictability whenever a tournament or meetup for matches happen. When clans like Pale Moon have those gaps in between sets like from Set 6: Phantasmal Steed Restoration that launched in EN on September 27, 2019 to Set 9: Butterfly d’Moonlight that launched on October 2, 2020, that was a year in between main booster set support, and Sets 7 and 8 featured no Pale Moon support. I see that gap that Pale Moon has not had much time to evolve or work around the support featured in Sets 7 and 8, but still stick with what works. Although it’s good durability, players will have a better idea of what they are facing against every time they match up with a Pale Moon player.
They know the limited amount of viable main Grade 3s (with little surprise in case you are playing against a spicier build) that will lead the charge and the supporting allies in remaining grades to help bring the deck together. In contrast, when playing against a Dark States player, you probably have to take more precautions when approaching thinking “Is this more of a Pale Moon soul tag type of Dark States build or more of a Gear Chronicle Dark States Build?”
This may not be as apparent in the early sets because there can only be so many cards released out of the 120 cards in OverDress’ first booster set that would diversify what the five nations would look like in practice. Monasterio will probably still be the most diverse because of the annual big amount of support.
Alas, as time moves forward and more sets release, each of the five nations will start to take on different specialties given the number of clans within each of them. Putting OTT legal stacking triggers with Angel Feather damage zone manipulation sounds fantastic for Keter Sanctuary. However, you can also put Angel Feather damage zone manipulation with Royal Paladin board presence as well.
- Crayon Tiger is one of the best examples of a Great Nature card that would have worked well with most Rearguard Centric Strategies!
Teaming up Great Nature power gain and draw power with Aqua Force multi-attacking sounds deadly in Stoicheia. However, you can also take Aqua Force multi-attacking and try it out with Neo Nectar token generation and power-gain as well. This wouldn’t be possible with the 24 clans because there would be players that would see other clans’ identity inserted into other clans and removes their unique identity. By playing against a Dragon Empire player vs playing against a Kagero player, there are a plethora of factors to consider more when playing a game from playing a card vs not playing a card that turn to including/excluding tech cards.
With this shift, it is not all sunshine and rainbows. There are also cons to consider when OverDress hits the local game stores or your own playgroups. First, is the effect on premium and V formats. Players that have invested into V formats would and should feel comfortable feeling shafted because of this rotation/reboot. The V reboot in happened at V Set 1: Unite! Team Q4 on June 22, 2018. Original Booster Set 1: Descent of the King of Knights launched in EN on December 10, 2011. For the original format, including limit break, legion, and G, that lasted close to 7 years as the standard format. V format has not even lasted three years as the standard format with OverDress starter decks and D Booster Set 1: Genesis of the Five Greats launching on May 21, 2021 in EN. Although a friend has informed me that Bushiroad said this would be the last reboot/rotation from executives at Bushiroad, this does create a sense of dread that they could reboot again so soon if this goes awry.
The creation of the three formats again also creates a ticking time bomb that V Premium could go the same way as G Premium did when the V reboot occurred. Two formats for Cardfight!! Vanguard has always worked because Standard takes care of bringing in new players and retains incentive for veterans to stay invested because of both nostalgia and new units to add to their premium decks. I think that V Premium after considering past history would not last as long as its G Premium counterpart did, but I would be happy if proven wrong.
The second con that although predictability is reduced because of merging clans and their themes together, the identity crisis also comes into play. Cardfight!! Vanguard in particular has multiple players and content creators that champion their favorite clan. After the announcement, they now find themselves sharing that pride with other players who happened to be drafted together with other clans that have different, clashing identities. Examples include flying Megacolony and Granblue under the same Stoicheia flag where two extremely different strategies are now teaming up together.
- These cards were released about the same time , while the decks did share similarities before pre V series, this just shows how far they have diverged
It may be easier for Keter Sanctuary and Dragon Empire to combine clans together, although even within those nations, the clans are still developing their own unique identity. Murakumo and Nubatama come to mind. Both are ninja dragons that have slowly developed their own identity as Murakumo the shadowstitch and name-focused theme and Nubatama as ninja dragons that focus strictly on hand control and quirks to mess with opponent’s guarding patterns. By flying them under the Dragon Empire flag, their identities become merged together and with the limited amount of cards in the first few D Booster sets that are designated Dragon Empire, Premium formats will begin to merge together these cards with their individual clan decks, in the slow removal of those identities with tech cards specifically for those clans. That is a concern for the long run, but that bridge has not been reached yet.
It is completely normal to be both excited and worried about OverDress. There are so many factors that we have still yet to know, and at the time of this writing, my friend group informed me about a new Order Zone that has been announced, but nothing much more than that.
As news continues to proliferate and announce about OverDress, feelings of excitement and worry will change. However, at the very core, change brings about growth, and who knows where the game will go over the next year or two. What we do know is, we should take the good with the bad, and support the game that we love play however we can. Even if that support is critique. With that, those are my pros and cons. I hope you enjoy this article and feel free to suggest more meta/theory/CFV culture articles you would like to see. I am The AlphonZeus, and I hope that you are doing well, cheers on!