May 28, 2023

It’s been a while since the release of Advance of Intertwined Stars over in Japan, so let’s take a look at how the ride lines of Keter Sanctuary are holding up in the presence of new challengers in the format since our last update with Set 02.

This time we are back with Bastion!

Bastion’s support in this set certainly confused many on release and many of the new cards do not feel like direct upgrades to the tried and true Bastion Beatdown builds which have been standardized with the addition of the new order Form Up, O Chosen Knights, and Refuerzos from the set before. It didn’t really seem like the deck needed to adapt too hard to stay relevant. Amongst the new cards, however, was one in particular that shake up the norm of the builds before it

Heavenly Shock of Distinction, Lagrele

At first glance, most players either fall into one of two main camps. You either were hyped for it and looked at the positives of how the extra drive checks could help you push or even win games earlier, or you hated it due to the card being unnecessarily risky and the additional counterblast cost made it harder to use cards like the aforementioned Form Up Order and Alden, both key cards in most if not all Bastion decks.

Taking a deeper look into the skill essentially gives you a Twin Drive during the battle for a counterblast 2 while also giving you 5000 power. This skill is of course really powerful as it changes the way your opponent has to defend against Bastion’s typical 4 attack patterns as it acts as a Pseudo Vanguard for the battle. Which is needless to say a very strong skill despite its counterblast cost. Extra Drive Checks get you more chances to check triggers and of course, more chances to trigger Bastion just in case.

This makes it a strong finisher/pusher, and the fact that it does not require a persona ride also makes it easy to use its skill, which was one of the problems people had with cards like Prideful Dragon and even Refuerzos to a lesser extend.

Of course, this is not without a catch. To balance this skill Lagrele cost is also tied to needing rest any number of your rearguards, and yes you can choose to rest 0, and depending on how many you have to discard cards from your hand. To break it down simply

  • Resting 4 – Discard 0 – With Twin Drive + 2
  • Resting 3 – Discard 3 – With Twin Drive – 1
  • Resting 2 – Discard 3 – With Twin Drive – 1
  • Resting 1 – Discard 5 – With Twin Drive – 3
  • Resting 0 – Discard 5 – With Twin Drive – 3

As we can see , even with the twin drive, if we rest any less than 4 , this will always lead us to losing a cards in our hand Combined with its high counterblast cost and rearguard requirement’s , its easy to see why the card is risky!

How do we use it then ?

In practice , we will aim to rest 4 , 2 or 0 , with each depending on the scenario and just our board presence in general as we do need that many rearguards on board in the first place.

Resting 4

  • Typically used as a way to cycle through more cards in our hand, as we do need to also commit 4 rearguards alongside it which may not seem worth it usually, but keep in mind as Bastion, many of the cards we will have in hand are Grade 3s which typically do not have shield either way. So sometimes going for this play especially earlier on can be useful to try and get more triggers that can help you come back into the game or search for cards like Persona Rides or Sentinels.
  • This will also cut Bastion’s usually 4 attacks to just at 3 as well so do keep this in mind, as it may not be as good at closing a damage gap where multi attacks are preferred.
  • The downside is course it leaves our field open against retired heavy decks, so doing this against something like Bruce, Meteor or even Flagburg is really risky! So do know your match-ups!

Resting 2

  • Used to push damage and apply pressure with extra twin drive, Primarily used as a way to pressure the opponent at 4 damage to force them to guard differently they would usually guard against Bastion, while is will be – 2 overall during the turn if we count Lagrele discard and Bastion’s discard cost.
  • Hits good numbers and can make use of “dead Grade 3s” on the board. And functions as a strong attacker in the even Alden is not present.
  • This is usually the way we will end up using it, as it is the most practical .Do note that you have you can resolve Bastion’s skill to restand a rearguard first before discarding with Lagrele

Resting 0

  • Used as a Final Gambit, by resting 0 we will have full access to all our units/boosters, but at the end of the battle we will have to discard 5.
  • A risky play for sure, but if we are already low on resources later into the game or nearing to deck out, the extra push can save you by checking extra triggers along the way.

New Grade 3 Options

Easerod Angel

Heavenly Incitation Above the Clouds, Blagar

To go over them quickly both Easerod and Bragard are new Grades 3s that help us to call my more units to the field, Easerod being SB1 and Blagar for a counterblast 1. At the moment at least, Bastion decks do not have an urgent need to refill the field given how cards like Alden and Form Up already help with that. Still watch out for them, in particular, Easerod as it is a very high-quality card in my opinion which may find a home in many decks in the future while Blagar can help search for a specific unit you may need on the board like a Refuerzos.

Pride to Protect

Keter Sanctuary’s First Set order, that needs you to need to discard a card to play. Once played it gives all your Grade 3 units boost, until basically the end of the game. However, being an order card conflicts with Form Up Chosen Knights which makes it less appealing in Beatdown Variants, and Darkstrain Dragon while having a soul blast 2 cost attached to it, is generally still preferred because of the consistency it brings. While I’ll say the card has potential, there really needs to be a reliable way to search it out if it ever were to be a staple for Bastion, as playing too many copies of it, which is needed for consistency makes every other copy of it you see later a dead card which even with the discard cost in Bastion, is not ideal.

Non Grade 3 Highlights

Knight of Heavenly Bullet, Proklis

Honestly, this is one of my favorite cards in the set, while not being a Grade 3, it can help you in rough spots to get more attackers into hand and well any G3 in general, it also fuels soul, which is useful for deck variants having Darkstrain. While yes, it is chance reliant and will send anything else to the drop zone, that burst of card advantage can really be what you need to form a threatening board early or even later for a comeback!

Knight of Heavenly Piercing, Esalta

Normally I wouldn’t highlight cards like this but this card does deserve a shout-out, as it can be used in Decks focusing on Lagrele to re-stand back row units when discarded, softening the rest penalty ever so slightly.

Deck Build Variants

Here I’d like to discuss the main deck build variants that have been popping up from the japanese side of the game as well as my own play testing experiences

Lagrele Bastion

The popular build has seen success in Japan appearing around the 4th week after release. This version of Bastion plays in a rather unorthodox way with Lagrele as its main feature card. While the deck still plays the usual Alden and Form up for consistency, what gives this deck an edge in terms of flexibility is Lagrele and Facciata as they allow for power plays that allow the deck to have a comeback factor with Lagreles drive check ability. Refuerzos is played as well to combo with Lagrele and also provide boost without having the hefty soulblast 2 cost of Dark Strain.

While the extra 4 Grade 1s in the deck can interfere with Bastion’s drive check skill, this is offset by Lagrele’s Drive Check ability as it gives you 4 chances in the turn to hit a Grade 3.

By using these options the deck is able to push harder and end the game faster than a traditional Dark Strain Variant that are commonly seen as well. Using this style of list is a risk in itself. While the build is consistent in what it does, the deck is very much a glass cannon and has very poor defense and resistance to field removal due to the lack of cards like Kokabiel and Fossado.

A dangerous deck with a lot of potential, the unpredictable nature of Lagrele can either make you or break you. Effectively your usually playing on a time limit .

Can you break through, before you crumble through the added discard cost? Are you willing to bet it all on that one attack?

That’s the sort of mentality , you’ll need if you are considering a focused Lagrele Bastion Deck.

If you would like to learn more in detail about how a usual Lagrele Bastion Deck, I did a deck profile on it recently, so do check it out!
The “stock” version of the deck which has seen a lot of play over in Japan
A variation of said deck , this time adapting some Dark Strains and fronts over the draws. Here Dark Strain is the backup plab in the event that persona rides are not present

Bastion Beatdown

The list here will probably look a lot more familliar to most players who picked up the deck prior to this set.

Dark Strain and/or Refuerzos are the core cards for the strategy, as they make sure our grade 3 units will be able to boost throughout the game, to make easy 30000 columns with Bastion.

All while Rafluke and Fosado help you get more resources throughout the game , and then using those resources for Form Up and Alden to build up more card advantage. Fosado in particular being very useful as it also cant be chosen by your opponent’s card effects, allowing it to evade one of the common field control options.

Amongst the new cards, Easerod Angel is probably the one that you will see played here as it can be used early to gather rearguards to meet the requirements of Form Up Chosen Knights. This direction is still strong albeit a little fragile in the face of control options in the format.

A unit to highlight is definitely Kokabiel as it gives the deck some form of shield values into its Grade 3s while also being a unit. With Darkstrain focused on forming full rows to attack, it is generally able to gain at least 10k Shield.

The last card I would like to highlight is Proklis a Grade 2 unit , which can help Bastion gather more rearguards and provide soul.

Here I present you 2 lists to start off with the first being my own personal list and the other a more conventional one.
A different variant of a typical Bastion Beatdown and is similar to the persona variant from before, this build plays most of the core engine before but now includes some Copies of Lagrele and Proklis for more flexibility as well search power. Fosado is adapted here to help extend plays and also function as a “resist” unit to withstand retire skills.

So which build is better?

Between the two main deck types. I feel that the Dark Strain versions are more consistent in the grander scheme of things, especially if we play around with the tech choices, but I can’t deny the results that the explosive nature of a focused Lagrele Bastion.

That said there isn’t a strict rule separating the builds as Bastion is a relatively flexible deck when it comes to deck building, as apart from Alden and to some extend Form Up Chosen Knights , there isn’t really a strict rule of what you can mix and match. Rather just think of them as which game plan you would rather focus on

What about the other variations of the past ?

If you have been following Bastion and the site for a bit probably some builds may come to mind. the Control Bastion variant which was featured as the main alternative build in Set 01 which was strong in the mirror then but well out of favor when Form Up O Chosen Knights became the staple that it is now. The second is the Persona Bastion build which used various draw skills to guarantee a consistent flow of combo pieces and persona ride Prideful Dragon being the highlight) A build meant to give Bastion a more conservative Turn 3 while having explosive turns comparable to Final Rush turns.

Well while it is still early to count them out yet. I would say they have fallen out of favor. The control version not being as powerful as mirrors no longer being the most common match-up anymore. and the Persona Version is harder to play with all the field removal nowadays. Still, their respective key cards could be used as tech choices in Bastion Beatdown.

Conclusion and Place in the Metagame

That said, it is fair to say, the deck has not improved drastically and it’s a minor upgrade from its last iterations, especially compared to decks like Nirvana and Bruce

In my opinion, while Bastion probably is not THE BEST in the game right now, its consistent game plan and quality of support cards from its previous sets Still keep it ahead of many decks. If there’s something to worry about right now, it’s probably how the deck has to adapt to the growing amounts of retirement in the format which is one of Bastion’s natural weaknesses.

The way I see it, Bastion can adapt in 2 ways, Win before it becomes a problem, or we find a way to play around that with both older and new cards. Frankly, I prefer the prior. With Bruce and Loronerol both being TOP decks in the format right now, I rather try to go for the win earlier than try and guard everything with our Grade 3s!

While Lagrele did spark arguments on its reveal, as it stands it is still a welcomed addition to Keter’s every growing G3 card pool and gives Bastion another winning play which it was lacking from its previous sets, where a timely heal from the opponent can kill the momentum the deck needs to win. I’ve certainly warmed up to it.

With that, I hope this quick deck update caught you up with the newest developments for Bastion and help you decide what you should pick up for your deck!

Till next time

  • Cipher

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