Premium Collection 2022 Early Impressions

Written by Dravoth

  1. Introduction
  2. Context
  3. Royal Paladin
    1. Divine Knight of Triumph, Eulogias
    2. Faithful Sacred Staff, Morgause
  4. Oracle Think Tank
    1. Happiness Gathering Dragon King
    2. One Who Builds the Eightfold Fence, Octagonal Magus
  5. Shadow Paladin
    1. Dark Knight, Crow Cruach
    2. Dark Dragon, Deep Griever Dragon
  6. Angel Feather
    1. Holy Seraph, Zafkiel
    2. Super Mobile Hospital, Firmament Grants
  7. Gold Paladin
    1. Golden Knight of Prosperity, Idvarious
    2. Golden Dragon, Sanctified Dragon
  8. Genesis
    1. Soul-offering Heavenly Dragon, Jagdanarruga
    2. Heavenly Support Bright Dragon, Arnavarta
  9. Kagero
    1. Divine Dragon Knight, Barakat
    2. Blaze Dragon Dance, Salima
  10. Tachikaze
    1. Explosive Tyrant Magnate, Giganotopharaoh
    2. Fortified Marquis, Legalguarder
  11. Nubatama
    1. Rikudo Stealth Rogue, Yatsukalord
    2. Rikudo Stealth Rogue, Moreilord
  12. Murakumo
    1. Ambush Demon Stealth Rogue, Izushiotome
    2. Ambush Demon Stealth Rogue, Aizen
  13. Narukami
    1. Conquering Supreme Dragon, Exterminate Dragon
    2. Sky Guardian Supreme Dragon, Counteract Dragon
  14. Megacolony
    1. Malignant Mutant Deity, Malignantis
    2. Constraint Mutant Deity, Cruweeble
  15. Great Nature
    1. Omniscience Dragon, Caladrius
    2. Omniscience Dragon, Sebket-avil
  16. Neo Nectar
    1. Flower Princess of Compassion, Ladislava
    2. Flower Princess of Dedication, Robertina
  17. Granblue
    1. Pirate King of Everlasting Darkness, Bartholomew
    2. Moon-singing Diabolic Princess, Orianna
  18. Aqua Force
    1. Blue Furious Charge Dragon, Furiargus Dragon
    2. Rebellious Heavenly Flow General, Dianera
  19. Bermuda Triangle
    1. Radiate Ocean, Heltrauda
    2. Diva of Salvation, Lucrèce
  20. Dark Irregulars
    1. Ultimate Deep Hades Emperor, Forfax
    2. Rebellious Storm Princess, Niljahbis
  21. Spike Brothers
    1. Lawless King, Gally Gabalus
    2. Compassion Queen, Villainess Evita
  22. Pale Moon
    1. Trenchant Megatrick, Leontina
    2. Jester Demonic Beast, Flexion Chimera
  23. Gear Chronicle
    1. Highbrow Steam, Shlishma
    2. Interdimensional Dragon, History-vision Dragon
  24. Nova Grappler
    1. Fighting Emperor Dragon, Merciless Dragon
    2. Meteokaiser, Stiffneid
  25. Dimension Police
    1. Cosmowinger, Unibird Galaxy
    2. Giant Armored-Beast, Giragamelgos
  26. Link Joker
    1. Nebula Dragon, Cosmic Dawn Dragon
    2. Terminal Ending Darkness, Big Ripper
  27. Final Thoughts

Introduction

This set is insane. I’ve never been so excited to play Premium and for the future of the format than I am right now! This set contains some much needed reprints of the previous PreColle crit triggers, the first new Strides in two years and the first new G-Guardians premium format has ever seen!

There are some real game changers in here too! Some of these G-Guardians have Perfect Guard effects (but aren’t sentinels and aren’t being called from hand so get around tons of guard restrict skills) and some of these Strides completely revolutionise the way the clan they’re going into can be played, breathing fresh life into some clans that previously had limited options, while others give some of the great clans a new option in their G-Zone toolbox.

Just to be totally clear about what this article is, this is a hype/opinion piece – this is in no way intended to be some kind of deep analysis and examination of each of these cards and the clan they’re going into. This is just a guy who loves Premium getting excited (and disappointed) about some new cards for that format. Don’t expect this to be a list of all the combos and so on for these cards and don’t view this as some kind of tier list.

I’m going to have more to say about some cards than others and I’ve got my own biases and prejudices that will likely come across. This is really just an extended first reaction to each of the cards so take everything I’m saying with a pinch of salt and there’s probably a ton of stuff I’m just getting wrong or misjudging too. Oh, I swear a few times too so be warned if you’re offended by that kind of stuff (I’m English and we swear, sorry!).

Context

There’s a couple of things you’re going to read repeatedly throughout this article so I’m going to address them here to give a bit of context as to why it’s something I’m mentioning so much. 

Many clans in this set got new G-Guards with an effect that basically amounts to them being perfect guards – those are incredible. Any clan that has one of these is basically now running 8 perfect guards (because each heal is now potentially a perfect guard) and that’s great for those clans – they’re actually better than perfect guards because they don’t have the sentinel keyword and they aren’t being called from hand either which means they dodge a ton of guard restriction (off the top of my head, only Gredora and Ichikishima can deal with these now).

The problem is that this has created a split with the haves and have-nots – I don’t necessarily think all of these G-Guards are objectively better than the ones without this kind of skill but it is definitely something that I think is worth highlighting and I’m going to mention it as a negative quite often throughout this article. Any clan without a perfect guard G-Guardian is missing out on something that I think could be extremely impactful in the future.

The other thing I talk about a lot is CB costs, especially on G-Guards. The reason a CB cost is significant on a G-Guard is because it limits when that G-Guard can be used and I haven’t seen this being discussed often. During your opponent’s turn, if you have no CB, you aren’t going to be able to use those G-Guards until your opponent has already hit you once – your new perfect guard G-Guard isn’t going to save you from a huge multi-damage swing if you can’t pay the CB cost for it. Again, this is something I’m going to highlight a lot as having a CB cost on a G-Guard hurts the flexibility of that card – it doesn’t make those cards bad but you need to be aware of it.

Royal Paladin

Divine Knight of Triumph, Eulogias

Great flip fodder for Crystaluster!

Yes, yes, I know everyone else has already made that joke but it is accurate. Crystaluster is so good and generic that you aren’t really going to have much use for this right now. What it does isn’t awful, don’t get me wrong, but is this Stride better than what your main deck boss does? That’s going to vary from deck-to-deck but if we’re looking at the current most competitive Royal Paladin deck, Jewel Knights, I can only really see this being useful if you have an empty soul or you’ve been Gredora’d – the rest of the time, I think I’d rather be on Crystaluster because that deck already does everything this does and more. I’d definitely rather be on Crystaluster once his GB3 is online.

There are decks other than Jewel Knights out there (or there might be eventually) and perhaps this will see more play in those if Crystaluster is less powerful there but I still think the card is quite situational. If you have a decent board, you can draw a load of cards and then call those units to get two additional attacks and a force marker – it’s not awful but it’s not great either. 

Perhaps we will get some future RP support that will make this significantly better that doesn’t work well with Crystaluster – it certainly has a very generic effect that could be powerful if cards arrive that synergise with it. Right now, though, I think this goes into the niche category – it might come up but it’s not going to be your core Stride.

Faithful Sacred Staff, Morgause

On the positive side of things, as I’ve said before, having another PG that you also aren’t calling from hand is great. The cost is also not prohibitively high either – to get around a guard restrict or pull out a PG when you don’t have one in hand, this card seems very competitively costed. Some people have also said that spending a CB is helpful for Altmile which is true but I think that’s grasping at straws a little to use that as a selling point for the card.

There are a few things to keep in mind that I think are worth mentioning that do restrict its use a little bit. Firstly, it gets around “from hand” guard restrict but not intercept restrict – there’s not a huge amount of relevant intercept restriction but it is out there. It also requires the intercept to get any value outside of its 15k base shield value – if you have no units that intercept or even no units, this is a dead G-Guard. If you’re not using the PG, this also provides a total shield value of only 25k which is on the low side for G-Guards from this set and RP already has G-Guards that get to 25k on the same conditions (having a unit on board) without needing to minus a unit via intercept – there is a niche it has as basically giving two 15k shields to guard two separate attacks which could be useful in certain situations but if you’re not intercepting immediately, it is vulnerable to being attacked or sniped.

It’s not a bad card so I shouldn’t really complain but I would have liked to have seen something maybe a bit more self-contained given that RP has mostly pretty underwhelming or archetype locked G-Guards. I was extremely negative about it when it was first revealed for that reason but it isn’t bad.

Oracle Think Tank

Happiness Gathering Dragon King

This card is great and easily among the best of the set. It plusses you at least three cards (triggers go to hand and normal units to rearguard – all to hand would have obviously been better) and activates trigger effects and the cards are revealed so reveal effects like V Goddess of the Sun Amaterasu and V Ichikishima are also triggering from this as well as being called. It also shuffles your deck which might sound bad but if you don’t have a stack, it doesn’t really matter and if you have a stack somewhere in your deck that you don’t want, it can break that up so it can be used to your advantage (not that shuffle effects are necessarily hard to find). As you flip more cards face up in the G-Zone, this card is going to start scaling, plussing and checking more triggers – you’re probably not going to be continuing to Stride this after the first Stride but the additional plussing as the game goes on is still nice and might come up enough to make this more than just a one-of.

The best part, though, is that the skill is free. A Stride for OTT that not only doesn’t cost CB1, it doesn’t cost anything else either – you just flip a card in your G Zone and that’s all! This is unheard of for OTT where basically all of your playable Strides cost at least CB1. This instantly makes this Stride one of the best in the clan and makes most of your pre-Premium Collection ones even more obsolete with the obvious exception of Ichikishima. Having an option that can get us to GB3 for Ichikishima without needing to spend CB is insane – the fact that it also plusses significantly without having to attack makes it even better. 

Whilst MoMo is a potentially great first Stride, you really need to build around it to utilise it effectively – the potential minus doesn’t make it an attractive Stride for a lot of OTT decks. This card is much more generalist as a first Stride and still benefits MoMo builds by giving them an option when they don’t have the resources to put into MoMo but still want to start flipping and plussing. On top of that, MoMo builds that want to OTK are looking a little bit less attractive thanks to the new G-Guards with pseudo-PG effects or -critical that a lot of clans are now getting. However, builds that are looking at an Ichikishima-PoPo turn as their win condition are going to be extremely happy with this Stride and Battle Sister decks are also looking significantly improved with this Stride and I can see those being a good option too.

One Who Builds the Eightfold Fence, Octagonal Magus

A 30k G-Guard that also plusses for CB1 is good but it does require some setup or you risk wasting resources – you shouldn’t be using it if the top deck isn’t a known card unless you’re desperate and it’s your last resort or you like to live on the edge. Setting it up is pretty easy as OTT, though, is often going to cost additional resources – the easiest ways are to use one of your other G-Guards or V GotS Amaterasu to defensively set up your top deck after your Vanguard attacks at the end of the previous turn.

There’s not a huge amount to say about it – it’s simple and reasonably powerful when it’s at full effect but if you can’t set your top deck up, you’re leaving it to chance. A CB1 cost is never my favourite thing to see more of in OTT but 30k shield and plussing is a decent reward for it, at least. It’s worth noting that it also reveals so it’ll activate your V GotS Ammy and Ichikishima skills to give your Vanguard a defensive power increase for the turn on top of the plus – that’s a small thing that makes this card just that little bit better.

The worst thing about it is that other clans got G-Guards that were also perfect guards or situationally might as well be perfect guards and this isn’t one of those cards. OTT isn’t the tankiest clan in the game so a PG G-Guard would have been great – being one of the have-nots on that front is disappointing. Definitely playable if not the most impressive card from this set.

Shadow Paladin

Dark Knight, Crow Cruach

I think it’s a niche Stride for sure but it definitely has a use within the clan. Shadow Paladin already has some extremely good Strides so getting a niche Stride to cover a bit of a blind spot is definitely a good addition rather than something that’s competing with Morfessa – it’s basically a better Spectral Blaster, “Diablo” and that’s a card that gets run pretty often so I think this will be too.

The cost might seem quite high but you are almost always going to at least break even if you consider that you’re also minusing the opponent (minusing the opponent isn’t the same as hard plussing but it does contribute to advantage in a lot of matchups). What this Stride does really well is help against decks that can block your rear-guard focused win conditions like Dagda. If you find your front row locked or Gredora restricts your ability to call from deck, this is probably going to be your go to now and I think that’s pretty solid. There are also times you’re going to want this just for the retire and there are times that your opponent sets you up for a big 6 drive restanding Vanguard turn when you have nothing better to Stride.

It isn’t going to be your go-to Stride in every situation but it’ll be a nice-to-have niche Stride which I think you have enough space for in most Shadow Paladin G-Zones. It won’t be setting the world on fire and it won’t be the key Stride in any builds while Morfessa and Chainrancor Dragon exist but it’ll come up.

Dark Dragon, Deep Griever Dragon

There’s a lot to unpack here. It gets pretty big, it returns your G1s from your drop zone to your deck and it can become a PG. As I’ve mentioned for several other cards with these kinds of skills, having a perfect guard that you aren’t calling from hand and that isn’t a sentinel is absolutely huge but this one is particularly good because there are times when recycling your G1s from drop is generally going to be beneficial for you. Returning 5 G1s from the drop zone and paying CB1 is something you’re going to be able to achieve most of the time too – some of the other cards have slightly harder to meet or higher cost conditions for their PG G-Guards.

Those G1s that you’re putting back into the deck are added to the bottom of the deck too so you’re not reducing your chances of checking any triggers immediately, though, once you’ve shuffled (and you’re playing Shadow Paladin – you shuffle a lot), you are going to have a fattened deck and that’s not something you want in Luard especially where you want to be checking stands. They’re very easy to get back out of the deck, of course, but just keep it in mind.

It’s worth noting that decks focusing on the V Luards rather than Dragfall have limited options to return their G1s from the drop zone to the deck so this is something that’s definitely benefiting them – even Dragfall can run out of (good) Dagda targets in your main deck and that’s going to really hurt your kill turn. I don’t think this is going to stop you from reaching your Ritual condition for Morfessa very often but it is something to be aware of – putting 5 G1s back into the deck could have you limboing under ritual 10 if you’re not careful so you do need to plan ahead there.

It’s great because it’s a PG but it also has a niche use for recycling G1s when they’re needed and even if you don’t want to pay the CB1 for the PG, it’s still up to a 40k shield and that’s still huge.

Angel Feather

Holy Seraph, Zafkiel

If you take her at face value and don’t think too much about the interactions she enables, she’s going to do something not too dissimilar to V Gavrail which will be enough for a lot of people to be pretty happy with it. She can have additional drives when compared to Gavrail (but they are tied to her attack which has the advantage of them going straight to hand rather than damage but has the downside of being attached to your Vanguard attack) or more front row power when compared to Gavrail (but it is applied as part of the skill resolution rather than as a CONT skill which is another minor downside when compared to Gavrail) but not more of either at the same time. She also gives you three face up damage to spend on a Hamiel (or the new G-Guard) which is good but keep in mind how many clans now have a G-Guard with a PG effect that can guard Hamiel’s skill (not to mention the number of clans that can just snipe her during your battle phase) – she’s not the same win condition here that she once was in V-Premium. You do still have to take three damage from another source too as although she adds three cards to the damage zone, she does heal three afterwards so you can’t cheat yourself into more resources with this skill.

If you look at the things she can do outside of being a G-Zone equivalent for V Gavrail, she becomes a lot more interesting. In addition to providing decent offensive power at a low cost, she’s also a great set up card – putting specific pieces from the field or drop zone (in bulk) into the damage zone is a very nice piece of utility and is absolutely huge for the clan at large now and going forward. Angel Feather has a ton of ways of getting cards from the damage zone back into the hand which means this skill can be utilised in so many ways. You’re basically able to keep cycling your pieces once you’ve found them which opens up a lot of potential avenues of play – the fact that you can move triggers too means you can keep bouncing heal triggers to keep the G-Guards coming.

She can also move locked cards from the field to the damage zone which could become relevant with the new Link Joker Stride and lock support in V. The only real downside to the card is that it discards and doesn’t flip a card in your G-Zone – the discard isn’t too bad because you’re able to plus with this card still via the additional drive checks if you set up triggers. I’m not sure it not flipping is as big of a downside either given that it’s now quite easy to recycle any heal triggers you see so you can G-Guard more often but it is still something worth noting and could potentially slow down a card like Basasael or Ultima – maybe that’s going to be super relevant but my gut feeling is that it probably won’t matter that much.

A Hamiel focused deck seems playable enough and I know that’s what a lot of people see when they look at this card but given that Hamiel isn’t likely to be super impactful in the format, I think that’s not the right way to think about this card. A better way of looking at this card is as a generic Stride with a great mixture of offensive power, plussing and the ability to set up future turns (both defensively and offensively) – given that Angel Feather was lacking solid general purpose Stride, I think this card is absolutely huge and will be very impactful given how versatile it is. This is the card Angel Feather has been waiting for since PC2019 and I can’t wait to see what people come up with for the clan now that it has a Stride like this.

Super Mobile Hospital, Firmament Grants

I really like this G-Guard. CB3 and SB1 is a high cost but you’re healing a damage and using its shield value and guardian circle skills – that’s extremely powerful. Healing is an effect that always comes at a premium and whilst this cost is high even when measured against some of those high cost skills, you’re doing it during your opponent’s turn and gaining some shield value out of the deal too (and potentially the guardian circle skills). You can also always have 3 damage face-up thanks to your new Stride so I doubt the cost will be a huge issue – given that she can also keep putting your heal trigger back into your damage zone to be bounced back to hand, this is something you could potentially be using very regularly.

The main draw of the card is obviously the heal but the ability to get certain things onto the guardian circle from the damage zone has a lot of potential for shenanigans. One of the things you could do with this that’s pretty cool is combine it with certain sentinels – you can call them from the damage zone and still use their PG skills because many of them have no when placed from hand requirement and that’s also going to get you around the vast majority of Guard restriction skills too. Combining this with the new Stride, you can recycle a PG to the damage zone on every turn too so you can do this multiple times. Even in the worst case scenario where you don’t have any such cards, you’re healing a damage and probably guarding for 30k without calling any cards from hand to Guardian circle.

Gold Paladin

Golden Knight of Prosperity, Idvarious

This is an interesting card that a lot of people are very positive about but I’m not convinced that this is quite the game changer for GP that some people think it is. I will say up front that it is one of the better strides Gold Paladin has but that is quite a low bar by which to judge it. It does open the clan up to being a bit more viable outside of Ezel as this is going to be a lot more impactful than Spear-X when you’re not superior riding but Ezel is still going to be preferable to those decks in my opinion.

She is very V friendly by having very generic V-esque abilities. If we’re assuming you’re not playing Ezel, it doesn’t really matter what V deck you have, she’s going to synergise with whatever it does – she’s a worse but bigger Gurguit that restands, basically. For a lot of people, that probably sounds great but I’m sceptical and I think Gold Paladin has more issues than just having bad strides (though, that was one of them) and even then, I don’t think this is great as a general purpose stride.

With how generic most of your rear-guards in Gold Paladin are and how many of them synergise with battle phase calling, a deck aiming for that really builds itself. With the obvious inclusion of Percival, you could toss together a deck very similar to V Gurguit filled with Sagramores, Mach Slash Dragons and Wonder Ezels and call it a day. I think you’d probably have something reasonably effective for casual play there but I don’t know if that’s really going to cut it as a competitive deck over Ezel. 

The first of my minor complaints about the card is that she’s not Gurguit and so her power gain doesn’t scale. Where Gurguit can run a deck full of when placed extenders with vanilla power, her rear-guards are going to struggle to hit over a single damage trigger if they’re relying solely on accel II and her +5k. I don’t think that’s a deal breaker for the card but that’s absolutely something that you need to be aware of if you want to build around this card. You aren’t giving 10k or higher to every unit you call with a skill like you can with Gurguit. I don’t think she should give as much power as Gurguit, don’t get me wrong, but 5k is a lot worse than the 10k,15k or 20k that you’d have if you were just on V Gurguit – you’re getting 15k additional Vanguard power, 2 additional drive checks and a restand in exchange for Gurguit’s scaling rear-guard power but I’m not convinced that’s always a good trade.

That being said, she doesn’t have any restriction on the grade of your opponent’s Vanguard like Gurguit does and that’s very scary in an Ezel deck if you’re able to get onto this card when your opponent is on G2. The downside with this in Ezel is that I’m not convinced you’re always going to have the resources to actually use her a lot of the time and I think hard striding Spear-X is going to be a more common play.

I don’t think this card is bad but I also don’t think it’s anything too significant in terms of how it’ll affect the format or clan. Having a solid V friendly Stride that non-Ezel decks can utilise is nice and does help those decks but doesn’t really address the biggest problem those decks are likely to face. An Ezel deck still looks like the strongest option in the clan but I also think this stride is probably not something you’re going to be able to use consistently in those decks. Perhaps I’m wrong about this one but it just doesn’t feel that impactful to me – by no means bad and a card that definitely has uses but I’m not blown away by this one.

Golden Dragon, Sanctified Dragon

Gold Paladin has a small pool of G-Guards so this card is pretty welcome – Sleimy is great but the rest are trash. For SB1 you check top two and call up to two units to guardian circle (and discard the rest so you probably want to call both whenever possible) and if one of those units is G1 or above, you can draw a card.

The effect is a bit random and that’s not something anyone loves to see when it comes to guarding but the result is always going to be good and you are usually going to be getting the draw. You’re generally going to get a G-Guard that will either guard for 45k or draw you a card. For a cost that you can generally afford in GP, those are both pretty good outcomes.

It is going to trigger any guardian circle skills that don’t have “from hand” requirements so it does work with a lot of PGs but given that it only checks top two, Sleimy Flare is a better card to guard with if that’s a gamble you want to take. I think most of the time it’s a slightly worse Sleimy that’ll probably draw you a card – that might make it sound a bit underwhelming but unlike Sleimy, this doesn’t require you to Spike Brothers a rear-guard to the bottom of your deck so you’re almost going plus two versus using Sleimy.

Genesis

Soul-offering Heavenly Dragon, Jagdanarruga

I’m mostly pretty positive about this card. As with a lot of the more situational Strides on this list, my reaction to it mostly hinges on how good the clan it goes into already is – a niche Stride is disappointing for a clan that isn’t performing well but a niche Stride in a clan in a good spot is generally going to be a win for them. A clan that’s already doing well doesn’t need their existing card pool to be powercrept, it wants cards that cover weaknesses or holes in their current card pool and this is a good example of that. I think a lot of the people saying this card is bad are forgetting the good Stride options Genesis already has and perhaps are underestimating how good Regalia as a deck is. Genesis players aren’t looking for a replacement for Marduk, Amaruda or Minerva – they’re looking for something to use in situations where they can’t or don’t want to use those cards and that’s exactly what this Stride is.

This card generates you soul and flips without costing you CB or SB – that’s pretty huge in Genesis and is totally unique in their Stride pool. All the other Strides that build soul in Genesis are going to cost you a CB and all of the Strides in Genesis that don’t cost a CB cost SB instead (and many cost both) – this Stride is basically fulfilling both of those niches and should be enough to earn it a spot in the Genesis G-Zone. It also doesn’t randomly SC to generate soul – it specifically returns cards of your choice from the drop zone. Being able to choose the pieces is helpful when you want specific cards or names in the soul and means you can soulblast them or equip things as gauges earlier in the game without having to worry about losing them to the drop zone forever. You’re also preventing deckout to some extent by building soul from somewhere other than deck.

Your Stride options in Genesis right now are all pretty greedy and want resources – they want to eat up all the soul you have to spare and many of them also want to eat up a CB too so having a Stride that generates soul is great, especially when it can do it for free. It does have a 1/turn restriction on that skill so you can’t do it twice with Norn which is a shame but it gets the 10k power until the end of the turn, at least so your Vanguard is still applying a little bit more pressure than if it were vanilla. It isn’t a huge offensive turn that you’re getting out of this card but it’s definitely better than not striding at all.

I’m not quite as sold on the second skill but it is cool, at least. I think you’re most likely going to use this card to build your soul rather than as something to spend it on. Retiring from the Guardian Circle is also not quite as good as it sounds a lot of the time either – any on place AUTO skills are still going to activate, for example, so this doesn’t turn off PGs or anything, but if your opponent drops a big shield value card to guard a multi-crit Yggdrasil swing, retiring that could be very impactful so I can see this skill coming into play now and then. At the very least, it is going to pressure your opponent to guard in a certain way when you have the soul to threaten its use and that could let you either sneak a few extra damage through or get a few extra cards from their hand as they try to play around it. It is worth noting that if we ever see Tahro come back or get a similar skill, this could become very relevant.

Genesis is in a very comfortable spot right now as I mentioned – good but not so good that they’re at the top of the list of restriction candidates. This Stride was unlikely to be something that increased the ceiling but it’s definitely a card that’s going to see play – Genesis players probably shouldn’t have been expecting anything revolutionary with this set but what they got instead is better than most people think.

Heavenly Support Bright Dragon, Arnavarta

The full payoff here is great. Giving a unit -2 crit until the end of turn is very powerful and is equal to or even better than the PG skills that other clans got in certain situations – lots of decks have units with 2 critical or guard restrict swinging multiple times right now and this card is going to be a very efficient G-Guard in those situations. Something like DOTX, Leslie or Talented Rhinos is going to really hate this.

It doesn’t have to be the unit that’s attacking that gets the -2 critical so you could potentially use this to guard a relatively low power early attack and then pick a unit that’s going to be attacking several times for the second skill which is going to give you a ton of value. While it isn’t technically a PG, it is going to basically do the same or far more than a PG most of the time.

The downside is that you are having to give up 3 cards to do it and that probably seems very high at first glance. They are going to soul so it isn’t as bad as just discarding them and it’s flexible too as you can pick rear-guards or cards from hand but it is still costing you 3 cards. That being said, if you use it properly, you’re potentially saving far more than 3 cards with this skill so although it feels like a big minus, compare it to the amount of cards you’d be using to guard the attacks it stops and the value can be enormous – used in the right situation, this G-Guard is very powerful.

Kagero

Divine Dragon Knight, Barakat

I’ve heard a lot of talk about “control” decks that are “viable” in Kagero because of this Stride – V Lawkeeper being the one that gets mentioned the most – but I don’t really see how this Stride benefits control decks at all. The only good removal you have in Kagero is on your V bosses and Zanburst – if you’re on this Stride, you’re not using either of those. If you’re paying for Kagero rear-guards to set this card up, those skills are not an efficient way to remove a board and you’re just throwing away resources. I think the idea of a Kagero control deck becoming viable because of this Stride is a complete fantasy.

If you’re thinking that this is a Stride you use when your opponent sets you up for it and leaves their board open, you still have to commit rear-guards to the field to fully take advantage of it and Kagero rear-guards are still awful – giving 10k to the rear-guards you have access to in Kagero really isn’t that impressive even if it’s 20k per column (and Kagero doesn’t really plus a lot so committing a full board just for this payoff is kind of questionable to me). If you want an aggressive Stride, you’re much better off with Ziegenburg or Dumjid than you are with this.

I think the best general use for this Stride is that you’re going to be able to plus via its additional drive check without having to spend any CB. You might be able to push with it a little during that turn too which is a bonus but I think it’s generally just the free plus that you’re going to be using this for. The stride is maybe a little bit more useful in a damage denial scenario – putting this on a force 2 is going to make a 3 crit swing with 4 drives and chances are your opponent will want to guard this more than a single lower crit attack on a unit that attacks multiple times. You put them into a position where the only opportunities you’re giving them to gain CB may also kill them. I don’t think the damage denial scenario is likely to be a huge factor in this card given how Kagero generally wants to play but if I’m going to search for a positive thing to say about this card outside of “it’s a plus one”, that’s perhaps something to consider.

You have space in the G-Zone for that so it’s not like this is a total dud but this is still one of the weaker offerings from this set, especially given that Kagero is so inaccessible right now and maybe could have used something else to address that – it’ll likely be played as a one-of and it is going to come up from time to time but this is far from a game changer for the clan. I think giving Kagero an impactful Stride that didn’t buff Overlord decks would have been quite easy to do so I don’t blame people who were hoping for a viable build for Kagero outside of Overlord for being very disappointed by this.

Blaze Dragon Dance, Salima

This has a perfect guard skill and it isn’t a sentinel or being called from hand – those are both solid points in its favour and mean that it will almost certainly see play. That being said, the discard cost could sometimes be so big that it may not be worth using or will at least feel very bad to use – if the opponent has a full board, you may not be able to pay the cost at all. It isn’t costing a CB, however, and that’s also quite significant for this card compared to many of the other G-Guards here with a similar pay off – not needing a CB for this does make it that like bit more flexible.

Kagero has one of the best G-Guardians in Denial Griffin so to get something niche like this is probably still a win for the clan. You’ll definitely play one just for that emergency PG – what’s the point of holding onto your hand if you’re dead?

Tachikaze

Explosive Tyrant Magnate, Giganotopharaoh

The ceiling on this card is very high – if you can get the right board and resources set up for it, this could potentially deliver absolutely insane numbers of attacks, plus it has a little glock for shooting people. Finding the resources to fuel it could be a struggle for Tachikaze but the payoff of building a deck around it and setting up a board bursting with combo potential is going to be able to get your attack count into double digits with restands that aren’t attached to your Vanguard swing.

The additional attacks not triggering when your Vanguard attacks like they are for Gyangchuraptor and Angerblader is also a big selling point for this card because it means you can stack triggers on a rear-guard you want to restand and get double value from them – that’s something Tachis aren’t doing right now and this does it on top of providing more attacks and power.

Actually getting the absolute most out of this card is going to require a lot of resources because for every unit that restands via its skill alone you’re paying SB1 – not a resource that’s easy to come by in Tachikaze. You’ll also need some highroll in terms of finding the right pieces and you still need to build a board and set up gauges to get this to its maximum potential – all things that this stride does not want to help with and that’s why this isn’t totally broken.

I think the potential is there to do some crazy shit with this card – the absolute best case scenario ceiling of this card is just so high and I’m pretty sure what I’m imagining isn’t even the best that this can do. I’m very far from an expert on Tachikaze but even I can see certain combos and interactions already and get a feel for the potential of this card. I think Tachi is in a pretty good spot in Premium already so I’m very excited to see what the clan is going to look like after this Stride.

Fortified Marquis, Legalguarder

This G-Guard is pretty good too – it gets huge and it converts your field to hand. It isn’t a PG but it can get big enough that you aren’t always going to care and as most of your units will have gauges, you’ll be drawing a ton from that. It’s also going to trigger the skills of units like Regiodon and Bluesprint which turns this into more of a hard plus than just conversion of field to hand, even more so if you’re able to G-Guard twice and use it as a follow up to Ganga. It also doesn’t cost a CB which is pretty nice given that a lot of these new G-Guards do and that makes it a little bit more flexible.

The only real negative about it is that you need to have a board set up and ready to go during your opponent’s battle-phase to get any use out of it – in situations where you’re facing a deck that can remove your board, this G-Guard isn’t going to be a ton of help. Aside from that, though, this is really good and it’s definitely going to get played.

Nubatama

Rikudo Stealth Rogue, Yatsukalord

Nubatama is in a fairly good spot in my opinion. Whilst not as visible as many other clans in the meta, Nubtama has several viable builds floating around, strong win conditions and good matchups into several popular decks. Although the reaction to this card has been mixed, I think it’s important to understand that the clan this card is going into is solid – this card isn’t the make-or-break card for Nuabtama. During my initial reaction to this card, I really didn’t like that it didn’t flip because I somehow had it in my head that you had to be on GB2 before striding Rinne to get his cont skill online – this isn’t true at all, you only need to be at GB1, Rinne gets itself to GB3 from there. Not flipping could matter for other reasons but it isn’t going to slow down Rinne.

What a lot of people don’t like is the amount of control your opponent has over the skill – you pick up to 3 units from your opponent’s drop zone and your opponent picks up to 3 of those to call to their rear-guard circles. For each card that they call, they discard a card and for each card that they don’t call, you draw a card and give your front row 10k power. I think you’ll generally want to be striding this just for the draw three and most opponents are probably going to choose that outcome most of the time. If your opponent chooses to call from the drop zone, there is potentially some synergy with Mizukaze and the threat of that may contribute further towards the opponent just letting you draw.

I’d say this card is pretty good overall but probably not anything that’s going to suddenly break the clan. The draw is good and that’s what you’re most likely to be using it for because Jakku and Rinne are both going to be more effective offensive strides. The draw isn’t guaranteed but I think that’s the most likely outcome the majority of the time – if the opponent doesn’t give you the draw, you can use Mizukaze to punish but I think that’s probably not going to come up too often.

Rikudo Stealth Rogue, Moreilord

The G-Guard is also good. It either gets huge or gets to a decent size and draws you a card and unlike some other G-Guards there’s no unpredictable element or set up required – you know what you’ll get out of it when you use it, you just have to count the cards in your opponent’s hand. It does cost CB1 which is a downside but the payoff is often going to be worth it – drawing a card on a 15-35k shield body during your opponent’s turn is pretty fair for CB1 and if you’re not getting the draw, it’ll have at least 40k shield which is going to be worth the CB1 a lot of the time too.

Right now in Premium, huge hands are not rare so this is generally going to be a big shield more often than it’ll draw you something. A ten card hand is going to have this as a 65k shield and that’s not an unrealistic scenario to find yourself in if your opponent has first Stride. Definitely a great G-Guard. The only thing that is a bit disappointing is that it isn’t a perfect guard like a lot of other clans got and even if it’s a fair price, costing a CB can be limiting.

Murakumo

Ambush Demon Stealth Rogue, Izushiotome

I think Shirayuki is already a pretty good deck, perhaps not top tier (yet) but I think it does need to be taken seriously as a deck. This Stride seems to fit very nicely into it and I suspect that was the intention but it is still generic for Murakumo at large. The skills both synergise quite nicely with Shirayuki – it digs out your pieces and the three additional attacks you’re going to get will be ideal for triggering the skills of any Six Flowers you have in play and having attacks scales very well with the -power from those skills.

As I’ve said, I think Shirayuki is a good deck and having a new Stride that basically just makes what you were already doing more consistent whilst raising the ceiling is just a big win for that deck and it still flips your Shibarakku Viktor too for the various shenanigans that he brings to the table. Returning a normal unit from your drop zone to your deck as part of the cost is basically only positive and synergises well with this card’s own skill and the skills of many other Murakumo cards – you do have to have a normal unit there to use the skill at all, of course, because it’s part of the cost but that’s a pretty small drawback and it’s not hard to set that up.

It seems a bit strange to me that this card isn’t being talked about as much as others so I’m assuming that this is more to do with a lot of players not being familiar with Murakumo and the clan being less popular perhaps than some others. Murakumo has a load of cards that can do so many crazy things with this card – I’m talking about Shirayuki because that’s the relevant deck right now so I’m the most familiar with it but the skills are generic and good for basically whatever you’re trying to do with the clan.

I feel like this card is going to turn Shirayuki into a very competitive deck. This is an already good deck getting a Stride that does everything that deck wants a Stride to do and more. I’m not quite sure what the deck final product is going to look like but I’m very excited about the future of Murakumo in Premium – this card is nuts and is one of my picks for the strongest card from the set.

Ambush Demon Stealth Rogue, Aizen

It’s certainly unique, I’ll give it that. The bounce is pretty interesting. Certainly unique. You could bounce one of your Shirayukis and then use it to guard later for the power reduction – that’s pretty cool. The bounce does cost SB1 to execute and you can easily find yourself using a lot of soul in Murakumo so I don’t know how worth it (especially for a Shirayuki who’s going to cost SB2 on top of that) this skill will actually be in practice but the obvious synergy is there and I think it looks pretty solid. There’s also potential for some other defensive interaction with this skill – if there’s not already such a thing, it’s definitely the kind of interaction that could turn up as more support is added.

The meat of the skill is that it’ll gain 10k shield value for each card you control with the same name as the card you gave the bounce skill too. That’s not terrible for most Murakumo decks and I think it’ll get large fairly often, though, if you’re facing any kind of removal, you are looking at a totally useless card. Worst case scenario, provided you have one rear-guard, this is a 25k G-Guard for no cost and that’s not the worst thing in the world.

Narukami

Conquering Supreme Dragon, Exterminate Dragon

Stunverse is still going to be your go-to Stride but now if it isn’t going to have the impact you want it to have, you have another option. In the event that your opponent is leaving their front row open, this is going to draw you at least two cards and it’ll give you a very beefy front row too. Having a Stride that you can go into other than Stunverse that fits the situation where you’re most likely not striding Stunverse is a great result for the clan.

Do I think this is too good when Stunverse exists? No, I don’t. If you’re on this instead of Stunverse, you’re generally just plussing – there’s no huge binds and there’s no V+ turn to follow up. Yes, it does punish slightly for playing around Stunverse but the offensive ceiling is significantly lower than most V turns would be and I think it’s a pretty fair trade and you are paying CB1 for it still too. That’s not to say I think the plussing is nothing or that I don’t think this Stride is great, I just think there has been a bit of an overreaction to this Stride because Stunverse is a controversial card.

Similar to Gredora, Stunverse is the elephant in the room when talking about Narukami in Premium. I think most players are agreed that Stunverse is probably not a card that’s going to exist forever but I think there are several decks that are higher priority for nerfs than this. Stunverse is a card that’s going to potentially create problems in the future, similar to Gastille Daimonas and that might need addressing at some point but right now, I think we’re okay – if Stunverse does need addressing, this card won’t be a factor in that and it’ll likely be what some V boss can do to follow up.

To be honest, there’s not a great deal to say about this card. It’s very simple and doesn’t interact much with your or your opponents’ cards – it just makes your front row bigger and draws. It’ll see play for sure because the general quality of Narukami Strides outside of Stunverse is pretty low and it’ll definitely come up as something to Stride when Stunverse isn’t the right call.

Sky Guardian Supreme Dragon, Counteract Dragon

A 35k shield that your opponent can reduce by 10k for binding one front row rear-guard or 20k for binding two front row rear-guards. I think your opponent is generally just going to let you have the shield unless they’re confident that this attack hitting is going to kill but if that’s the case, you’re probably not relying on guarding with just this anyway.

Narukami has some good G-Guards already but none of them get huge so this is a pretty solid addition to the pool. I think this is a good card that’ll see a lot of play.

Megacolony

Malignant Mutant Deity, Malignantis

I’m not going to weigh in on the Gredora debate that’s currently going on with any opinions of my own – I’m just going to talk about this Stride and how it’ll fare in either scenario (Gredora banned vs Gredora unbanned). It gives Megacolony the ability to either snipe a stand rearguard if its on V or trade a rearguard for a stand rearguard if it’s face up in the G-Zone and then you draw a card and CC1 – if there’s nothing that can be retired, you reduce your opponent’s Vanguard’s power by 10k.

This is a really cool and flexible card. You’re probably not going to choose to Stride this very often so it’ll generally just be flip fodder but its flip fodder skill is insane, especially as long as Gredora still exists. Giving an opponent’s Vanguard -10k means the unit Gredora calls in the battle phase (and the unit that unit is likely restanding) still gains the benefits of it too, whereas giving your front row +10k would only give that benefit to units that existed at the time the skill went off so all 5 attacks are going to benefit from it during the Gredora turn.

The retire is rarely going to be what you want to do with this skill so expect your opponents to be leaving one stand rearguard up to mess with your gameplan, however, the retire refunds the CB cost so if you have two of these face up, you can use one to set up another meaning your opponent would have to have two rearguards at stand to counter the -10k. If your opponent is not doing that, having several of these faceup is going to quickly get them into negative power.

On the downside, stacking the negative power does cost you CB1 for each instance. Given that Gredora already has to spend CB1 to flip this card, that does mean your opponent is going to be able to gate your CB spending to some extent and you’re going to need to be wary of it in general – at CB1 a pop, this skill isn’t easily spammable in multiple instances every turn so you may have to plan your use of it carefully. Megacolony does have access to some decent CC but you probably don’t want to run those cards if you don’t have to.

Given that Megacolony has one of the best Strides in the game in Gredora, getting a Stride that gives passive benefits (that scale particularly well with multi-attack) during the Gredora turn is quite a scary prospect. I think a hit to the Ordercolony deck is probably inevitable at this point – the question is whether the hit will just be to that build or the whole clan.

If we assume the Order part of Ordercolony is hit, I think Megacolony is still looking fairly strong with this and Gredora working together – I think any Megacolony players will be very happy with that outcome. Five attacks into an opponent with -10k power is something that’s going to have to be taken very seriously and with or without the bonuses from the Order toolbox, I think Megacolony will be an oppressive deck with this combination.

If we assume that Gredora is hit, I think the passive benefits of this Stride when flipped are a lot less powerful without the cheap multi-attack and guard restrict effects of Gredora but are still a nice bonus. Intrude Scissors still grants additional attacks that will scale well with the -10k power but come at a higher cost and it’s conditional to your opponent having taken damage by the time your Vanguard’s attack finishes so isn’t consistent.

As it stands currently, I think Megacolony players are going to be very happy with this Stride and it’s definitely a boost to the clan at large but until the next ban list, the clan’s future is a little uncertain so we’ll have to wait and see how Megacolony is looking.

Constraint Mutant Deity, Cruweeble

Megacolony G-Guards are shit. Barely playable in most cases. This is a G-Guard that is not as shit as the existing ones. I might go as far as to say that “not shit” is a bit of an understatement because I think it’s pretty good. For SB1 you’re getting a 45k shield that your opponent can sacrifice their own power to reduce by resting their stand rear-guards.

The cost can be high for Megacolony – you don’t have a ton of spare soul to just throw around and (aside from not being a PG) that’s potentially something I could see being a minor problem for this card but it’s not a deal breaker.

The majority of the time, this is just a huge fuck off shield that your opponent isn’t going to want to rest their rearguards to reduce – if they have an 8k vanilla booster or a unit that can’t hit over a defensive trigger you already got then perhaps they might choose to rest something but I think it’s rare that anyone is going to do it in most circumstances unless they know the attack that’s swinging now will 100% kill you if they can get past this shield. I don’t think this is going to be reducing the number of attacks your opponent is going to do very often.

Great Nature

Omniscience Dragon, Caladrius

I have a huge upfront complaint before we even get to the skills. Omniscience Dragon? I’m calling bullshit on that – this is a parrot. Omniscience Parrot.

It’s very hard to look at this and not make comparisons to Balaurl because they have very similar skills. It is technically generic but it does minus if you’re not on V Bigbelly so it seems like that was probably the focus when designing this card. That’s a bit disappointing given that you have access to a Denial Griffin play in Isabelle – this isn’t terrible for Isabelle but because she doesn’t replace the units it retires by drawing, it isn’t quite as attractive as it is for Bigbelly.

That aside, the Stride is good and it kinda gives you something similar to Balaurl earlier in the game. The first skill is just good – for flipping a G-Zone card, you get a flat 10k power to your front row but you have to retire them at the end of the turn. If you’re on Bigbelly, this isn’t a problem because it’ll draw cards to replace those units but if you’re not, you are minusing those units so that is going to be a drawback – you won’t have Balaurl’s on-hit draw to mitigate it. Balaurl will eventually outscale this skill too so those things combined don’t see this card completely creep him out of the G-Zone with just this skill but if you do have Bigbelly, this is definitely going to be a more attractive early Stride.

His second skill is the more interesting part of the card. When it attacks, for CB1 you can restand one unit with 30k or higher power and it then gains a Hardleg guard restrict until the end of the turn – this is going to combo extremely well with a Talented Rhinos and the Hardleg effect will hang around until the end of turn so you can restand it with a Crayon Tiger and Amazing Professor (potentially multiple times) which is going to be a real pain for your opponent to deal with, especially if you can get a crit trigger on it.

I have heard people saying that 30k power is hard to hit consistently and I don’t really agree with that. Talented Rhinos is your preferred target for this skill and on an accel II with this Stride’s first skill is at exactly 30k – that’s 11k base power plus 5k from the accel II plus 10k from the Stride’s first skill plus 4k from Talented Rhino’s Success skill is 30k exactly. Given that a lot of the V Bigbelly support contains lots of units that can give other units power, I  don’t think this will be too much of an issue to achieve consistently. Having the optimal target for the skill being able to get to that 30k threshold so easily is very good.

An extra attack is already good but when it’s a unit with one of the best guard restriction skills and also gives even more guard restriction in a clan that can restand it several times more with both of those guard restricts active is powerful – this has the potential to kill on first Stride, even more so if you’re lucky enough to check some triggers. The only real downside is that it doesn’t do anything against G-Guards – many G-Guards now give -critical for the turn and it’s also very vulnerable to getting sniped by many Denial Griffins that exist.

I think there are still a lot of problems with Great Nature more broadly and this Stride isn’t a magical fix for those but it’s definitely a strong Stride that has a lot of synergy with Talented Rhinos. I don’t think we’re going to see Great Nature take over the meta but there are clans out there that will have no answer to Talented Rhinos attacking repeatedly with even more guard restrict.

Omniscience Dragon, Sebket-avil

I find the G-Guard a bit frustrating because it definitely favours Isabelle but the Stride is leaning more towards Bigbelly. If you’re on Isabelle, this is a PG for CB1 – I’m going to say it many times more throughout the article but a PG that you aren’t calling from hand and that isn’t a sentinel is very strong and at CB1 with no others costs or conditions, this is the strongest of the PG G-Guardians if you’re on Isabelle. Isabelle now converts heals into PGs and that’s pretty great.

If you aren’t on Isabelle, though, you’re basically paying CB1 for a 35k shield or a PG at random and that’s not quite as good but it is still good. If either would guard the attack then it’s not a problem but if the 35k isn’t enough and you want the PG but don’t get it, you can still commit more to the guardian circle to make up the number and 35k isn’t a bad number for a G-Guard. CB1 is on the expensive side for a 35k shield, though, so you might be better off using your other G-Guards if resources are tight and you have some very good G-Guardians in Great Nature already.

Neo Nectar

Flower Princess of Compassion, Ladislava

It searches, it plusses, it multi-attacks – it does a lot of cool stuff that has the potential to be very impactful and powerful. Being able to find two of any card in your deck with very minimal restrictions and no cost beyond a discard is such an impactful skill. Restanding two units is also good – it’s conditional, sure, but you can meet the conditions very easily with its other skill. In a vacuum, this card seems quite good, right?

Asking two simple questions with regards to the targets of its skills is where this card starts to fall down: What cards are you searching for and what rear-guards are you restanding? Go ahead and look through the Neo Nectar card pool to find the cards that break this Stride. It’s cool, I’ll wait.

Found it yet?

Right now, this card does nothing. You’re searching mediocre units and paying CB1 for two conditional single damage, low-impact attacks. Neo Nectar right now just isn’t good enough to use this card in a meaningful way – that’s not the card’s fault but it just isn’t going to pull Neo Nectar out of the hole it’s been stuck in since Katrina was banned. Having now seen the next wave of V support for Neo Nectar, I’m pretty confident in saying Neo Nectar is likely to remain the worst clan in Premium until they get their next new Stride or Katrina gets unbanned – whichever comes first (or at all).

There’s some cool stuff it can do still – Cecilia R is the most common search and call target I’m seeing suggested and you can grab one of your heal triggers at the same time to survive until your next turn. That’s not nothing but given that Musketeers are hardly tearing up the scene in V, I think a bit of added consistency and one additional attack and drive check versus the V version of the deck isn’t likely to be a big deal.

It works well with the Bloom stuff but most of that is pretty lacking by modern standards and I can’t see that being a deck that’s going to have a huge impact either. With regards to the existing Ahsha deck, you’re losing access to your V Ahsha skills by striding this card which means you aren’t getting much out of it offensively until you already have at least one Flower Fairy token and the same Ahsha as your Vanguard on the field already – you can get some extra attacks with them which is cool but isn’t a super realistic scenario given that keeping them on the field across multiple turns is not an easy thing to do. Having two Flower Fairy tokens on the field seems just too unrealistic to even consider.

The conditional nature of the restand kinda sucks too. If one of the units you were hoping to restand gets removed by one of the many Denial Griffin-esque effects that exist in the meta right now, that’s not one attack gone, that’s potentially three attacks gone. That’s quite a realistic scenario when we look at how many of those kind of removal effects there are and it’s also vulnerable to the Genesis card Veratrum in a way that a lot of other decks aren’t because that’s very likely to call a unit with a different name. It also doesn’t flip which sucks given that Cycloned can give your plant Tokens a bit more pushing power.

Without amazing upcoming main deck support (and we know by now that the next wave of V support isn’t that) or Katrina being unbanned, Neo Nectar is probably going to take the crown of worst clan in Premium until the 2023 Premium Collection (and as this card proves, that’s not guaranteed to help) at the earliest. The sins of Katrina are something Neo Nectar must be eternally punished for, apparently. Whilst the card isn’t terrible when looked at in isolation, the state of Neo Nectar in Premium lets it down and it’s probably the biggest disappointment of this set due to how bad Neo Nectar is despite the card not being that bad in isolation.

Flower Princess of Dedication, Robertina

30k shield for free and you can return up to two units with the same name back to the deck and if you return two, you can CC1. Sadly one of the weakest G-Guards from this set and it’s going to Neo Nectar because of course it is – lots of other clans get PGs, -critical and power until the end of turn (Neo Nectar does already have the ability to do that, at least) and Neo Nectar gets a 30k shield that can sometimes CC1.

Okay, okay, it’s not that bad. 30k shield isn’t nothing and it is free. Recycling your pieces is nice for any bloom or bloom-like effects that can search them back out. That being said, putting cards back in the deck is pretty bad if you’re not searching them back out so that is a downside. The CC is pretty nice as the clan can be lacking in that area but it’s not necessarily something you desperately want to do during your opponent’s turn when compared to just surviving that turn.

Though, most Neo Nectar G-Guards are bad, there are some good combos with V Antero (probably one of the best things the clan can do) that can be extremely powerful defensively so the clan isn’t in the worst state in terms of G-Guards but this card is pretty underwhelming compared to what some other clans got and it is going into a particularly underwhelming clan.

Granblue

Pirate King of Everlasting Darkness, Bartholomew

There are a lot of layers to this card and they’re pretty much all good. At first glance, this looks like a better Nightrose but Bad Bounty existing makes Nightrose the better choice if that was all it did because you have the additional Vanguard attack and drive checks, not to mention the Nightmist break ride skill – you lose all of that by striding this instead of Bad Bounty. If you’re broke and don’t have Nightrose and Bad Bounty, I guess this is probably pretty exciting but if we’re talking about competitive play, this alone isn’t enough to justify running it.

The part of this card that’s interesting is his CONT skill – if you have 30 cards or more in the drop zone, your opponent has to call 3 or more cards from hand to guard. That’s definitely something you can’t do with Granblue right now and gives them a different win condition that’s going to be situationally better than what they have now. I think it’s perhaps a bit niche given how good Granblue’s kill turns already are and you do have to sacrifice some power by comparison – you’re getting less attacks, less drive checks and slightly lower power across the field. But what you’re gaining is effectively Hardleg’s skill and sometimes, that is going to be able to kill where perhaps you weren’t able to with the current GB kill turn. Another big selling point is that it does slow down the number of cards coming out of your deck compared to using Bad Bounty. If you’re close to decking out, this could be a solid alternative to Bad Bounty so you still have an offensive turn in that scenario.

30 cards in drop isn’t nothing, though. I know a lot of people want to make a deck that just turbo mills to 30 and then tries to OTK with this and Scaredick but I feel like that’s pretty risky and I’m not sure it’s going to necessarily achieve the results people think it will compared to what the deck already does without having to put themselves into a vulnerable position like that. That being said, I do think such a deck would be functional so perhaps that’s something that we will see in the future and I can see situations and matchups where that could be a solid deck.

I think Granblue players will be pleased with this. As with many other cards I talk about in this article, Granblue is in a decent spot and doesn’t need some new mandatory four-of auto-include Stride to revolutionise what the clan does. A Stride that provides a situational alternative to what Granblue already does to cover a weakness is a big win and I think this card is exactly that with the added bonus of perhaps offering a new type of deck.

Moon-singing Diabolic Princess, Orianna

I wouldn’t normally be such a huge fan of this one but Granblue already has very good G-Guardians – they have a Denial Griffin play and a Perfect Guard play already. CB1 to give -1 critical for every 10 cards in drop is pretty good, though, unlike some of the other -critical G-Guardians we’ve seen in this set, it is only for that one battle.

It’s alright. There’s not a huge amount to say about it. Granblue was not at all hurting for a good G-Guardian so to get one that has a niche use is better than anyone could have been hoping for. It’s not something you’re going to be using all the time but it’ll come up every once in a while.

Aqua Force

Blue Furious Charge Dragon, Furiargus Dragon

A solid Stride with some really amazing scaling potential. Although it “only” generates two additional attacks on first Stride, every single accel marker you generate with this card is an additional attack every turn for the rest of the game. Generating an accel marker is always powerful and potentially opens up some Vanguard choices that don’t have an imaginary gift to being slightly more attractive prospects than they are now – I don’t think we’re likely to see something like Flagburg become a competitive choice but I guess it’s nice if that’s what you have access to and want to play Premium.

What it lacks is raw power as it only increases the power of the unit you’re moving to the additional rear-guard circle, so you’ll likely want to lean into things like Coral Assault that are self-sufficient in terms of power and there are also some orders that are I think are worth considering that give some solid power increases that can get a lot of mileage in Aqua Force.

Although I’m feeling mostly positive about this Stride, it’s hard to say where this is going to sit in the Aqua Force Stride ecosystem because they have some big plusses from Genbold, better offensive pushes from Valeos or Alexandros and Thavas decks situationally choose not to Stride at all (and generate accel circles too).

I think most of the time it’s going to be something that you Stride into when you haven’t got the pieces for your other good Strides or you’re playing into a matchup that can deny your full Genbold turn (with something like Denial Griffin) or you’ll deck out by using Genbold. Aqua Force is a clan that you have to play flexibly and you need to be reactive to the game state more so than in a lot of other clans so an additional tool to increase that flexibility seems very worthwhile to me.

Rebellious Heavenly Flow General, Dianera

I love that it gives 5k power for the turn if used to guard the first attack – that’s a ton of value, against decks that have lots of small attacks and some attacks might not even be able to hit a 17/18k Vanguard. It’s very versatile in that you can instead choose to just have a 35k shield – it’s not a PG like some clans got but it is still a big number. Having defensive value across all attacks also covers very slightly for the weakness of other Aqua Force G-Guardians in that their skills only activate after a certain number of attacks or on specific attacks.

There are some aspects of the card to be aware of, though, the most notable of which being that it costs CB1. Whilst I think this is quite a fair cost for what you get, if you have no CB ready to go for the first attack of the turn, you can’t use the first part of the skill at all during that turn – it’s not a huge drawback but it is something you have to keep in mind. If you want to use the first skill, you have to save a CB coming out of your own turn.

It’s also just a 15k vanilla during the second or third battles of the turn which potentially gives your opponent some opportunity to sidestep the 35k shield on specific attacks by adjusting their attack patterns. Again, not a big deal and something you’re likely used to in Aqua Force but you do have to plan your guarding accordingly.

Bermuda Triangle

Radiate Ocean, Heltrauda

This card is the pinnacle of V+ design and is so generic that loads of V bosses for Bermuda are suddenly opened up as potential candidates for a viable Premium deck. Immediately V Ange, Vert, Lupina and Raindear jump out to me as bosses that work really well with this that I can see doing really well but any Bermuda boss with most of its power baked into battle phase AUTO skills is going to be worth experimenting with.

At its most basic and ignoring the skills of the other cards involved with the process, this is four rearguard attacks and two Vanguard swings (one of which is a Stride) with no drive check penalties – that’s already good but when you also consider all the combo potential that is enabled by it bouncing three units and then calling two more on Vanguard attack, not to mention then giving you the V battle phase on top of that, this card suddenly becomes insane.

Much like the Angel Feather Stride, the bounce is also worded so as to include locked units which is something that could definitely come up and is a very nice bonus on a Stride you’d want to be using anyway. This kind of skill isn’t unheard of in Bermuda, of course, but to have that kind of skill on a card that’s already powerful is going to make that matchup quite rough for a lock based Link Joker deck.

Very powerful, very generic, very V friendly – this is everything any clan could want. The fact that this card is in Bermuda Triangle has upset a lot of people and we’ve been hearing the usual “Bermuda gets everything good!” but actually their previous Premium Collection support has been pretty mediocre, in my opinion. Outside of Highlander, we don’t have anything meta relevant in Bermuda right now and it’s been quite a while since we’ve seen any other Bermuda deck really showing up to compete. We have had some quite strong Bermuda decks over the past few years but I don’t think anyone is arguing that Bermuda has ever been as powerful as something like full power Fenrir or Nue-Daio – as someone who isn’t a huge Bermuda fan, I still think it’s pretty fair that they be given a powerful and generic Stride like this. 

One thing that I don’t think is being discussed much in the aftermath of this card’s reveal is that discarding for cost before your drive checks is very different and significantly worse than doing it after your drive checks. You have to discard 3 cards before it drive checks and before you bounce – that’s huge and a lot of the scenarios talking about how broken this card is don’t seem to be fully taking that into account. I don’t think that by any means makes the card terrible (far from it) but that is something that limits what you can do with this card in some scenarios and that’s definitely worth considering – I don’t really think the Riviere superior ride is going to be a massive problem with this Stride (but if it is, we can just ban it with all the other superior rides that have been banned).

Something else to note is that it doesn’t flip. I don’t think this is going to be a big downside given that the card is so powerful that it renders the vast majority of the Bermuda Stride pool even more obsolete than it already was but there are times you might miss being able to get to GB2 from one Stride but this Stride is so good that I think it’s a very fair trade off. This is an extremely powerful Stride and whilst I think Highlander is already a very good deck, it’s probably going to get a lot better with this and several of the later V Bermuda bosses are looking ripe for experimentation now.

Diva of Salvation, Lucrèce

Excellent G-Guard. CB1 and bounce as a cost is interesting – the bounce is generally going to be beneficial but also locks you out of gaining any benefit from this G-Guard if you have nothing to bounce which is unfortunate and in some matchups, is going to make this a situationally dead card. The CB1 cost and the mandatory bounce to get anything out of the card are the main negative aspects of this card but it’s also not a perfect guard effect like some other clans now have.

Firstly, Bouncing stuff is always good, though – a unit in the hand is better than a unit on the field in the vast majority of circumstances. if you bounce a G2 or less unit, it gains 15k shield. If you have a 10k shield rear-guard sat there doing nothing just waiting to boost an attack next turn, you’re paying CB1 for a total 40k shield value that can be split across two attacks and that could be really significant in situations where you’ve got a lot of smaller attacks coming in and limited hand with which to defend yourself.

If you bounce a G3 or higher unit, you’re gaining 5k base power on your Vanguard for the rest of the turn which is just fantastic, especially in a force clan where you’re much more likely to have a 13k body on your Vanguard. An 18k base Vanguard is already significantly harder to hit but that also means a single damage trigger is now locking 27k power or lower swings out of being able to hit you and that’s an absolutely colossal defensive increase. Given that Bermuda has other cards and combos that can defensively make their Vanguard bigger, you can get your Vanguard’s power to very significant numbers during your opponent’s turn with certain builds.

Dark Irregulars

Ultimate Deep Hades Emperor, Forfax

Dark Irregulars has some really strong V era bosses that are core to the clan’s identity in Premium thanks to Gastille Daimonas and how the V era cards were designed. Now that Gastille Daimonas is gone, DI doesn’t have any V-friendly Strides to work with – it’s much more effective to use the expanded premium card pool to increase the power of those V bosses without striding. This Stride is a soft patch to that, giving the G-Zone more use in DI’s popular V+ builds but will allow you to get to GB1 when executing a combo which means your Bledermaus is going to be online as your second Stride without needing to use a G-Guard.

Rather than needing to Stride something that isn’t as good as your V boss, you can do what you want to do and then Stride this afterwards – it’s a simple extra attack and 3 more drive checks but it also gets some crits back into your deck. It does require both players to be at G3 so this isn’t the DI Marduk but it’s still pretty solid. Getting those 3 crits back in deck could also be the difference between a deck out of not in the late game.

I think most people are thinking about NLK when they’re talking about this card and discard 5 might seem like a steep cost (and it is) to add into the combo but you’re generally going to be able to find the cards for that thanks to the amount of drives you get and the protect marker you’ll be generating from your reride – the CB1 part of the cost is more likely to be an issue for that deck. In a typical NLK-Baromagnes deck, you’re looking at CB3 already just for your combo and whilst you do have access to a battle phase CC in Ironheart Assassin, that card isn’t currently run and another CB being added in might still be a problem even if you find room for it. You also won’t be at GB1 until you’re towards the end your battle phase when you’re using this Stride which means no Bobo to give you some extra damage.

That being said, adding another Vanguard swing and an additional three drives and returning 3 crits to the deck is a significant increase to the ceiling of that combo and deck overall. Whilst NLK-Baro is looking even harder to survive if they can find the additional resources to put into this, is it realistic to be regularly pulling this off on top of the NLK-Baro combo that already exists? I’m not quite convinced that it is.

The problem NLK decks really have is living to their NLK combo turn whilst still having the pieces to execute it effectively – increasing the ceiling of that turn (at a premium) doesn’t really help with being able to actually get to it and I think that’s a much bigger problem for the deck. I’m not sure what a stride could do to really address that but this stride doesn’t.

If we look outside of just NLK, I think this is potentially opens up Amon, Scharhrot and Gastille builds to more experimentation by giving them more attacks and drive checks without cutting off access to their main deck bosses’ main and battle phase skills whilst still giving them a good GB curve – I don’t necessarily think the Stride is going to open up all of those builds to competitive viability but they’re certainly better now than they were.

It isn’t Gastille Daimonas but it does offer some of the same benefits that he did – he gives you access to your main deck boss skills and gets you to Bledermaus’ GB2 without a G-Guard whilst still increasing the ceiling of existing decks enough to be impactful. It does have a fairly hefty cost attached to it in a clan that already has high resource costs and I think that’s likely to be the biggest problem for the card but it definitely feels like a solid addition to the clan overall.

Rebellious Storm Princess, Niljahbis

Depending on the situation, this card could be two or three attacks neutralised for just CB1. The 15k shield body of the card guards one smaller attack and then depending on your soul, you’ll be able to give one or two more attacks (I think three or higher isn’t a realistic expectation) -1 critical until the end of turn which is going to block a 1 critical attack regardless of its power. Sometimes, this card is a 15k shield and then two free PGs for later attacks – that’s insane!

Whilst that’s not a scenario that’s going to come up in every game, guarding two or three attacks with just one card and CB1 is going to be really strong when it does happen – against any multi-attacking deck, I think this card is going to be very useful and guarding lots attacks was something that was often an issue for DI – one of the biggest problems NLK decks have is having a big enough hand to actually execute their combo so having one card guard multiple attacks like this could really help with that. This G-Guard is an absolute auto-include.

Spike Brothers

Lawless King, Gally Gabalus

This is a contender for the best Stride from this set for me (though, I am a Spikes player) and I doubt I’m the only one who feels that way. A lot of people have compared it to Katrina and with good reason – there’s a lot it has in common with Katrina (RIP Katrina – the second victim of the ongoing Premium Collection 2019 massacre) and Spike Brothers now is definitely a much better clan than Neo Nectar was in early 2020 when Katrina was banned so it has huge potential to have a huge influence on the format.

It’s hard not to compare it to Katrina when the skill is so similar, powerful and generic. The cost is slightly higher and it searches for less units but the card quality of many Spikes units is so much higher than the card quality of 2020 Neo Nectar – the combo potential this thing has with the generic pool of Spikes cards is absolutely insane.

You attack a ton of times already with your normal Spike Brothers combos and then fish out any two cards and do it all over again (and everything gets boost), all with 10k additional power to your attackers and the call from deck only costs SB1 so you can’t even deny it. For those who aren’t big Spikes players, putting things to the bottom of your deck is good in Spikes and it triggers your Mecha Instructor which is basically your main extender – when combined with all the units that have “on place” skills to call units from deck, you have an insane amount of combos that are enabled by this deck.

I can’t even begin to go into how good this card is for Spikes – this card is fantastic, it’s totally generic and good with literally everything and as the card pool expands, this card just gets better and better. Anything good in a Spikes deck is something you’re always going to be able to have access to no matter what. 

Spikes is actually a pretty good clan already. Their relative lack of popularity when compared to your Pale Moons, Granblues and various Paladins generally has them quite underrepresented but they have multiple good decks that can be played right now – there are several variants of HH8, there are multiple aggro builds, there are Good End Dragger decks and Rising Greedon. The G2 game is also something that I think is quite important right now and Spikes does early game aggression very well – they can build some quite impressive boards on turn 2 and extend a single CB quite far with the right tools.

I would imagine that the reason Spikes is getting such a strong card is because of their historical low representation. They have their audience, don’t get me wrong, but they aren’t Shadow Paladin or Granblue. Most players seem to agree that Spikes are good and that they’ve been good for a while now but people are always attracted to other clans ahead of them and so representation has always been low – if that continues to be the case, it certainly isn’t because the clan isn’t good because I think they’re definitely a clan on the rise competitively.

Compassion Queen, Villainess Evita

A bit less exciting than Gally but by no means is this a terrible card, though, Spikes is one of those clans that don’t get a PG for their new G-Guard and that’s a bit of a bummer. For CB1 you can return to the deck from drop three normal units to have her gain their combined shield value and draw you a card if you returned one or more G3 units.

If you need a big shield to guard attacks, she can gain up to 30k shield (for a total of 45k) and you can sacrifice a bit of that shield value to plus. It’s a very flexible G-Guard and it makes sure you have targets for your from deck call skills. It’ll also help to prevent you from decking out – that’s something that could come up more in the future.

You do need normal units in your drop zone to actually capitalise on her skills – three G1s to give her the maximum amount of shield might not be something you always have. That’s a fairly minor thing but it is something that could easily happen that makes the card just that little bit more situational.

That being said, I think this card is very good and is definitely going to get run – it can be a big shield, draws and it has a bit of situational utility to make sure your offensive turns go smoothly. Spikes don’t have the worst G-Guardians in the game but the current pool doesn’t really do anything other than gain shield so having something that gains shield and does something else (including drawing) is great.

Pale Moon

Trenchant Megatrick, Leontina

The first thing that jumps out is that it doesn’t have the Magia keyword which means that this isn’t working with your Darklord Princess. I think this has prompted a knee jerk reaction from a lot of people who are overstating that as a downside – there’s no denying that this card would be better if you could superior Stride it from Darklord Princess but that doesn’t mean that not being able to do that makes it bad. Giving a Battledore skill to a deck that can put out as many attacks as Pale Moon has the potential to be very impactful and I think some people have dismissed this card without fully considering it.

The Battledore effect is definitely the part of the skill that draws the eye but there’s quite a lot more to the card than that and it can do some interesting things. One thing that I think is cool is that it sucks your whole board up into your soul – this means you can have your soul set up for later with specific pieces or just hide some things that you don’t want to lose. It also spits out more units than it sucks up – if you’re in a bind, this is going to convert a relatively small board into a much larger one and that’s definitely something that shouldn’t be underestimated. You’re doing both of those things in the battle phase too so you’re generating as many additional attacks as you have rear-guard circles and that’s not even considering the various combos you can enable – all of that with a Battledore skill thrown in.

The card is competing directly against Darklord Princess and another Magia unit – even though I think this card is good, is what it does better than getting a second Vanguard attack and an additional rear-guard attack on top of whatever the Magia Stride is going to do? It also costs a CB which isn’t hugely surprising but given how hungry the clan is for CB, you do have to be aware of it and striding Megatrick into Yvette has no CB cost by comparison. It also requires you to discard a card – not even just adding it to soul, you’re tossing it straight into the bin and that’s another drawback.

Overall, I do think the card is good but it isn’t necessarily power creeping the existing stride turns. I think it’ll probably end up as a very solid Stride for certain situations – if the opponent has a huge hand that you need to burn through or you can’t build the board you’d like but have a decent build up of good units in your soul, this could be a great option.

Jester Demonic Beast, Flexion Chimera

I think this is quite good if perhaps a little niche. If you end up with a hand full of 5k or less shield value cards, you can toss them into soul (to be used later) and convert them each into 10k of value. If you put two or more, your opponent chooses one of their rear-guards and puts it into their soul. You are still minusing from hand to gain the bonus shield but as the units are going to soul, you are still going to utilise them as rear-guards later because this is Pale Moon.

The first part of the skill is just great. Convert lower shield value cards into a higher amount of shield value and get your bricks out of hand and into soul without having to mess around calling them and getting them there with other skills. There’s no limit on how many cards you can put either, meaning this card can get absolutely huge if you desperately need it to – it’s not a PG but it will reach the kind of numbers you aren’t going to reach any other way in Pale Moon. You are losing hand but if you do need this card, you’re probably throwing away less cards to power it up than you would to be using to guard. It can also convert cards with grades that you can’t call to guardian circle due to guard restrict (something like Mizukaze’s skill) into meaningful shield value too and that’s a pretty cool niche.

I think the second part of the skill is less likely to be relevant. You’re probably not getting a Denial Griffin from this unless your opponent has no idea this card exists and walks right into it by building a weird board and attacking in a specific way. Still, it might shave a bit of excess power from another attack by sniping a booster but you might also give them a free SC of something that they might want in the soul – there’s a possibility that a smart opponent is going to be able to gain that very small positive out of the use of this card. That’s not a deal breaker but it is something to be aware of. Overall, though, I think this is pretty good and I can see this being a solid addition to all PM lists.

Gear Chronicle

Highbrow Steam, Shlishma

Gear Chronicle is not my area of expertise, I’ll be the first to acknowledge that, and I don’t know the card pool intricately either so it’s absolutely possible that I’m missing something here but the card seems fairly good to me. Despite that, I’ve seen a lot of people who aren’t impressed by it. The card itself seems pretty solid in isolation – it generates additional attacks across both of its skills, it gives some power when it attacks and that all seems pretty good on paper. I think the questions around this card are more to do with what the main deck it goes into looks like and I have to admit, I don’t have an answer for that – it’s very possible that Gear Chronicle isn’t able to build anything to utilise this well, I’m not the person to be making that call.

I think the design ethic of this Stride was to come up with something that could tie together the older Time Leap keyword pieces and the newer V support to bridge the gap between the G and V era card pools whilst still being generic enough to work with basically anything in the clan – something that has been a problem for Premium Gear Chronicle in the past. I’d say it seems to achieve that with a card that has a very broad design that works as both generic support and something more specific.

One thing I’ve noticed is that, similar to Shibarakku Victor, you can call over this card, return it to the G-Zone and then call it again when it triggers a second time. Being able to potentially use a single one multiple times (on a force marker) when flipped by the skill of whatever you’re striding is pretty great. It does specify that only a G3 rear-guard attacking will trigger it, however, so you won’t be able to loop two off each other like you can with Shibarakku Victor but I think this is still pretty cool and I’m fairly certain someone who knows way more about the clan than me will find a way of milking a ton of attacks out of this.

As I said, it seems good to me but of all the clans I’m talking about in this article, I think Gear Chronicle is the one I’m the least confident talking about just because I so rarely play against them or look at their card pool. If anyone who knows about Gear Chronicle has a drastically different opinion to me regarding this card, you’re probably better off listening to them.

Interdimensional Dragon, History-vision Dragon
I couldn’t find a better picture of this, sorry!

Best case scenario, discard a card to gain 20k shield or discard 2 cards and pay CB1 to get a PG. I think in less optimal scenarios for this card to actually be practical it’s probably going to be discarding two to four cards – anything more than that and I doubt this is going to be worth it unless you absolutely have to get that PG skill to survive. There are also times you might end up with a hand of triggers that can’t contribute to the grade requirement of the discard and that’s disappointing.

This is a costly card, there’s no way of sugar coating it but the cards that are going to most efficiently meet the various costs here are going to be cards with lower shield value. You probably don’t want to discard multiple G1s for this but if you’re discarding two G2s, that’s basically a conversion of 10k shield into 20k shield and discarding a G3 basically just turns that G3 into a 20k shield too. When you think of it that way, it’s not quite so bad but there are G-Guards that can achieve these numbers without also burning through their player’s hand so it’s hard to look at it too favourably.

It is still a perfect guard without the sentinel keyword that isn’t being called from hand. There are times you are going to want that where you’ll be willing to discard your whole hand to get it – if your hand isn’t enough to survive, there’s no point in holding onto it. But those times aren’t going to come up constantly and even then, it isn’t impossible that you have a hand that doesn’t quite have the grade requirements to reach it – not often enough to have you running more than one of these.

When you need it, you’ll be glad it’s there but when you look at the other G-Guardian perfect guards that we’ve had in this set, this is one of the weaker ones. This is really your all-in “I’m dead if I don’t” G-Guard but outside of those situations, it isn’t great – it will come up as it is but other clans got better versions of this pay off that are much more flexible. That being said, other clans don’t have Heteroround Dragon so I think it’s pretty fair that this isn’t the best card ever.

Nova Grappler

Fighting Emperor Dragon, Merciless Dragon

I feel like the problem Nova Grappler has in premium has always been more to do with the main deck than with their G-Zone. There’s been a mixture of hype and scepticism about this card and I think I’m leaning more into the camp of scepticism. The card itself isn’t bad, maybe I’d go as far as to say it’s good, but does a big aggro Overlord-esque Stride like this really do anything to make Novas significantly better? I don’t personally feel like it does even if the card is solid.

The card is good but so is Bustered. Maybe if you don’t have the right set up or resources to use Bustered, this Stride is going to be a good alternative but this is a pretty greedy card so I’m not sure you’re going to be able to get the most out of this if you weren’t able to use Bustered effectively in a given turn. It is giving you six drive checks across the many attacks it can get and that’s not bad if you check some triggers (though, Bustered is going to give you a lot more drives than that).

I’m not a huge Novas player so perhaps I’m missing something pretty big here but it feels kinda like a situational alternative to Bustered that has quite a lot of overlap with Bustered in terms of set up – the only real difference is the resources you’re pumping into it. I think as at least a one-of, this is probably going to come up and there is room in the Nova G-Zone to fit this in but I don’t see Novas significantly improved overall as a result of this card even if it’s pretty good in isolation. Novas is not the worst clan in Premium but they’re a long way from the best too so I imagine there are a lot of Nova players who are pretty disappointed by this.

Meteokaiser, Stiffneid

For CB1 to 5 you’re getting 5k per face down card in your damage zone (including cards that are already facedown) – if you paid CB2, you’ll get to draw once and if you paid CB3, you’ll get to draw twice (and you need to actually pay the cost for this part of the skill). That’s… interesting? It’s not bad but that’s quite a cost.

Eh, I’m not convinced. If you have 5 damage, 4 face down and 1 face up, you can pay CB1 for a 40k G-Guard – that’s kinda good. If you’re playing against a deck that’s going to poke you with lots of small attacks, maybe the CB3 is worth spending for the plus two so you can guard two more attacks or so you can actually play your next turn by having some cards to retaliate? If you have the additional heal you can follow up with Unior to CC2, if you have Dogantitan face up, you can get another CC there too. It does feel niche, though, so I’m not totally sold on it.

Dimension Police

Cosmowinger, Unibird Galaxy

It has the burst keyword so it works with Linka, it gets pretty huge relatively easily during the main phase (meaning it’s compatible with V Commander Laurel if that matters), it gains a crit, it gains two drives and it only flips for cost – all very nice. As Strides go, it’s fairly simple – there’s really not a lot to talk about in terms of its skills and it does what it does without much need to think about complex interactions or combos.  The problem the stride faces is that it’s in direct competition with X-Gallop and X-Gallop is a better card if we’re just talking about your main win condition Stride – what the card does do is give you a situational alternative to X-Gallop that will do more in certain scenarios.

The biggest thing it has over X-Gallop (and Geomaglass as a first Stride) is that it doesn’t cost a CB and only flips for cost – being able to do something without a CB is always a plus for a Stride, especially whilst flipping. Also, unlike X-Gallop, he doesn’t have a power gate on his ability to flip as cost either and whilst 40k isn’t a difficult number for X-Gallop to hit, if for some reason you can’t hit it, that’s going to slow you down – you really want to start flipping Geomaglasses as soon as possible so although that’s a very small advantage, it might come up.

It also plusses more than X-Gallop will whilst still giving you an offensive turn – being able to +2 with its bonus drives without spending any CB is pretty solid. That being said, if you’re hitting that 100k threshold, you have likely committed cards to the field and probably have cards in the damage zone too so likely already have access to some CB meaning it probably is a bit more niche than it seems. It doesn’t search for specific targets like Geomaglass will when we’re considering the ability it has to plus but it is generally going to be a scarier offensive turn than Geomaglass and it still doesn’t cost a CB like Geomaglass does. However, if you don’t have any CB to spend, you probably also don’t have many cards in the damage zone (if any) so reaching the 100k breakpoint for the skill might not be something you can do unassisted.

Like X-Gallop, it also can’t activate Linka on your first Stride – you’re not flipping until it attacks meaning that you won’t be at GB2 until after you’ve missed out on using her ACT skill so there’s nothing you’re able to do to stop a PG. As X-Gallop is attacking twice, a single PG doesn’t shut it down but when your offensive power is baked into one big swing like this card’s, that’s a lot easier for your opponent to completely veto with a PG.

It also just has a lower ceiling than X-Gallop – if you have them both fully online, all the resources you need and Linka active, X-Gallop is just going to do more, and scales better with the likes of Daizaurus or any other buffs than this does. Having two big swings is almost always better than having one even bigger swing.

Whilst it is far from bad, this isn’t an increase to the ceiling of the deck but it gives you another option in the G-Zone toolbox for DP – given that the clan is in a pretty good state in Premium right now, getting a situational alternative to their already good Strides seems like a good result for DP even if it isn’t the most exciting new addition.

Giant Armored-Beast, Giragamelgos

Definitely a contender for the best G-Guard from this set despite not having a perfect guard skill. SB1 to add two cards from the drop zone to your hand and gaining +5k shield value for each – that’s just really fantastic. Yes, the shield value is only 25k and that’s less than some of the other cards from this set but it isn’t costing you a CB and giving you a selective two cards back to hand.

Factoring in that you’re playing Dimension Police so will possibly be sat on Dailiner, defensively speaking, that’s an additional 20k shield value spread across two cards and it scales up with the number of Geomaglasses that you’ve flipped too – given that Geomaglass also gives intercept, you could potentially intercept with two units and then bounce them from drop zone to guard with them them again during the same turn. If you don’t need the shield value, you’re still going to be able to recycle your various G3 pieces with this too. Absolutely fantastic card for DP.

Nebula Dragon, Cosmic Dawn Dragon

A lot of people think it’s really good, a lot of people think it’s really bad, I think it’s probably somewhere in the middle but I’m leaning more towards it being pretty good but perhaps a bit disappointing if only because Link Joker have been an underperforming clan in Premium for a long time. I don’t think it’s total garbage (not even close) and I think it has a lot of potential but I don’t think it’s going to be too crazy right now, at least. At the very least, it’s CB1 to plus two cards with this and that’s probably enough to get it into G-Zones alone.

I think a problem Link Joker has had in the past is that a lot of their support is split across multiple archetypes that all do fairly distinct things that aren’t always able to play nicely together. This Stride is clearly designed to fit into as many of these decks as possible to give everyone something playable regardless of the deck they’re playing. I think for the most part it does that quite well but I think it’s also fair to say that card design like that risks leaving no one completely satisfied and I think the mixed reaction to this card is likely a result of that.

I think the most obvious decks to benefit from it are Messiah and Chaos decks but I think what it does, despite being very lock focused, is going to benefit more or less any Link Joker deck. You’re unlocking your board and fishing for two cards which you can either use for an immediate offensive play or you can bounce them to hand and force your opponent to choose and lock two of their units. No matter what deck you’re playing, those are generally both effects that are going to benefit you and it’s very flexible so you can use it in a lot of situations too.

It’s worth mentioning that this is really your best offensive option in Chaos builds. Enabling a Chaos deck in Premium that can multi-attack could do something to make that archetype a little bit better. Chaos has the problem that it isn’t really doing anything offensively, it’s just very annoying for your opponent and this card does at least do something to go on the offensive. I don’t think this is necessarily going to be anything too crazy but maybe long term there’s something there.

Obviously, this is quite nice with Given (And Burst Monk is also an option) and I think that we’re going to continue to see a Given/Ydoga combo splashed into a lot of Link Joker decks but I’ve seen pure Deletors also being talked about too. I’m most drawn to Messiah when I look at this Stride just because that’s the card pool and deck that I interact with the most but I’m confident that every Link Joker deck will find a place for this even if it isn’t necessarily the game changer they were all hoping for.

Terminal Ending Darkness, Big Ripper

It’s okay but it’s not great. Drawing a card is always nice but 25k isn’t a huge number and might disappoint Link Joker players who are still lacking big G-Guardians (and it doesn’t have a PG skill either). I doubt that the SB1 cost is going to be anything Link Joker players are too excited about either.

You can lock your own cards with it which for certain decks is going to be positive but it is specifically back row rear-guards so it’s a bit more restrictive than Lacus Carina if you’re wanting to lock your units to protect them or to set up your next turn. In general, it’s really just combining the various effects you already have across various other G-Guards so from the perspective of trimming the fat in the G-Zone, this could be pretty good – it’s not necessarily increasing the maximum defensive power of the deck but it is doing things Link Joker already does perhaps a bit better.



Final Thoughts

So, there you have it – this is mostly my extended gut reactions and the result of conversations with the rest of the Axis Vanguard crew as well as some light testing of the clans that I play. I’m not sure how well this article is going to age and I might be totally wrong about everything here but I’m pretty confident with most of what I’ve said.

Everyone knows what clans are already good and I don’t see this set making any of those a lot worse but I do think a few clans are going to be shooting up the rankings a bit as a result of this set. Angel Feather, Spike Brothers, Murakumo, OTT and Bermuda Triangle all got very powerful new Strides that I think could lead to those clans making waves in competitive play but I wouldn’t be surprised to see several other clans also doing better off the back of this set too.

On the flip side, Neo Nectar especially doesn’t see any significant improvements as a result of this set and has fallen further behind other clans by comparison – a low impact stride combined with a fairly weak G-Guard is a very disappointing result for the clan. I think Neo Nectar is indisputably the outright loser of this set and having seen their next set of V support, that that won’t change in 2022 unless Katrina is unbanned and I’m not holding my breath for that.

With a ban list looming on the horizon, I think it’s possible that the format could be blown wide open – with BRO 2022 just around the corner, an opportunity to see the impact of this set is fast approaching!

Thanks for reading – I’ll see you all soon for my BRO 2022 predictions!

Thanks to Cipher for doing all the tedious wordpress formatting!

Special thanks to the Axis Vanguard crew for their insight, analysis and company whilst writing this article, especially Cipher, Cayce, Zaee, Duke, Madnissimo and Intex!

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