May 29, 2023

How’s it going, Cardfighters? I’m GleamingGarmore and I’ve fallen in love with the latest in a long line of decks drawn by Daisuke Izuka. Let’s talk about Cardinal Deus, Orfist.

When Orfist was first revealed, many players simply wrote off the strategies attached to it as weak due to a lack of multi-attack and a seemingly simplistic game plan. A large chunk of those players never revisited their thoughts on the deck and as such, the popular opinion is that Orfist is not only a weak deck but, a boring one. This could not be farther from correct. Even if all the cards seem simple on their own, they work together to create a unique Vanguard experience.

In a game like Vanguard, flashy effects and explosive turns are valued above all else. This often results in players losing sight of what Vanguard really is: A game of making your opponent say “No Guard” six times before they can make you do the same. Orfist is brilliantly designed to force No Guards out of your opponent while strengthening your own guard.

Orfist’s ACT ability may not look it, but it is one of the ways the deck strengthens its guard.

[ACT](VC):If your World is Abyssal Dark Night, COST [Counter Blast (2)], and call up to three Shadow Army tokens to (RC).

(Shadow Army Token)

Normally to create rearguards and attack the opponent, you must use cards from your hand. Thanks to Orfist’s ability, that is not the case. Orfist pays 2 Counter Blasts to create powerful boosters and attackers. You are essentially paying 2 CB for a +3 in Card Economy. But, the advantage these Shadow Army tokens can gain you does not end there. There are no 10000 shields in Standard, and a column of 2 Shadow Army Tokens is 30k. If your opponent is on a 13000 base power vanguard, the fewest cards your opponent can use to stop your Shadow Army (Barring Sentinels and Over Triggers) are 2 Trigger Units. God forbid you add a Persona Ride on top of all of this. And remember, all of this came from 2 Counter Blasts.

If Orfist on his own is so strong, you might wonder what the rest of the cards in the deck are capable of. Why don’t we look at the source of Orfist’s power, World Orders?

Hollowing Moonlit Night

Play this with COST [Soul Blast (1)]!
[AUTO]:When this card is put into order zone, draw a card.
[CONT](Order Zone):If your order zone only has World cards, the following effects are active according to the number of cards in your order zone.
•1 card ‐ Your World becomes Dark Night.
•2 or more cards ‐ Your World becomes Abyssal Dark Night.

One of the key worries of playing an Order-based deck is that the order cards will clog your hand when you need to guard. Luckily, Hollowing Moonlit Night is an order you can play on turn 2 that can replace itself with another draw. This order can be used every turn to dig deeper into the deck, giving Orfist a boost in deck velocity.

In the Darkness Nobody Knows

Play this with COST [Soul Blast (1)]!
[AUTO]:When this card is put in the order zone, choose one of your opponent’s front row rear-guards, and retire it.
[CONT](Order Zone):If your order zone only has World cards, the following effects are active according to the number of cards in your order zone.
•1 card ‐ Your World becomes Dark Night.
•2 or more cards ‐ Your World becomes Abyssal Dark Night.

The other World Order is In the Darkness Nobody Knows. While at first I believed this card to be rather weak, play testing revealed to me that a Soul Blast and a card form your hand that had no shield value anyway to be able to remove a problematic rearguard from your opponent’s field and force them to commit yet another card is actually pretty solid.

To achieve your deck’s full potential, you must see at least 2 order cards before your third turn. One might think this would be a weakness of the deck, but if you use 4 copies of each of our 2 World cards, that gives you an 88% chance of opening at least one of them after your mulligan. Seeing your Worlds is not an issue.

The last card that makes Orfist so powerful is Lightning Thief Monster, Jabatall

Lightning Thief Monster, Jabatall

[CONT](RC):If your World is Abyssal Dark Night, when this unit would attack, it battles all of your opponent’s units in a column.

This card is an understated masterpiece. It can remove an entire column of Rear Guards while your opponent is concerned with guarding against your Vanguard and your Tokens. Even when attacking the Vanguard, it also retires the booster, making attacks easier to guard on subsequent turns. Jabatel allows you to mix up your attack patterns, either pushing damage with it boosted by a Shadow Army or removing units from the board, forcing your opponent to replace them with cards from their hand.

With this, we have all the pieces to discuss how a little 3 Attack Deck with a simple token effect can be so powerful as well as how a deck with very little in terms of flashy effects can and should still be considered a threat to play against and a joy to pilot.

I said before that Vanguard is a game of making your opponent say “No Guard” six times before they can do the same to you. One way to do this is by making multiple attacks. This is the way most Vanguard players opt for. Another way, the way Orfist operates, is to make small exchanges in card advantage that add up over time. Taking cards away from your opponent both makes it more difficult for them to guard your attacks and lowers their pressure against you. This is the premise that retire decks have had since the start of the game. It just so happens that Orfist creates those retires and bits of advantage differently than your Kageros or your Narukamis. Rather than massive board wipes for large costs, Orfist gains advantage through the use of In the Darkness Nobody Knows and Jabatel to retire up to 3 opposing units a turn all while avoiding the loss of cards in hand via Shadow Army tokens.

The logic of incremental advantage carries over to any deck with or without Multi-attacks, but is something that is easier to learn through playing decks like Orfist. Orfist appears boring at first because before playing, you don’t realize just how many of your skills as a player are tested on each turn. Simpler decks teach you how to use your cards carefully and snipe your opponent’s cards while protecting as many of your own as you can.

As a Vanguard player, it’s imperative that you remember the fundamentals of the game and are able to value card advantage rather than just going after the largest, most explosive-looking plays you can muster. You could even say that an important part of Vanguard is self-control.

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