May 29, 2023

With DBT05 returns the original final boss trios into the Standard. The trio is some of the most iconic units in Vanguard and many hold special meaning to those who watched the anime or played during the initial years of the game. Amongst them, I’ll be going through the antagonist deck amongst the 3, Phantom Blaster Overlord ( PBO).

Similar to all its past versions , Phantom Blaster Overlord is an evolved form of Phantom Blaster Dragon (PBD) , Shadow Paladin’s first real boss card and was originally part of a ride chain as we used to call it back in the day. These units would benefit from riding up on top of each other and was very much a precursor to the ridelines of the modern day. Something the standard versions of the cards, continue to reflect. Phantom Blaster Overlord is thus the unit used in the climax of the show, and featured new mechanics at the time such as “Crossride” which gave it benefits by having its base form in the soul  and “Persona Blast” which required you to discard copies of itself. 

In its current iteration however, it calls back to its V series iteration as well  to call Blasters during the battle phase giving you 4 attacks. Its “crossride skill” also gives with its passive critical rather than being locked to behind its persona blast like the original , which even back in the day was very overcosted. In contrast , this time both its skills are completely counterblast free! Definitely its best version relative to its format. 

Blasters Before D-BT05? 

When they first returned as Keter’s encounter deck in DBT02, The whole Shadow Paladin styled deck was not really too impressive, while it definitely was able to rush quickly and has a great bonus from the ride line, it struggled to stand up against anything that could survive its initial turns before it started to run out of its own resources, this is namely due to one main issue

  1. Lack of synergy of Phantom Blaster Dragon and the deck’s winning image.

As I’m sure we can tell by now , Phantom Blaster Dragon in the D series is quite frankly, underwhelming. It has a relatively high retire cost for a pay off that does not quite fit in the current day. 

While yes, the retire skill can be relevant in certain matchups and extra power and critical is nice. It does not quite play quite well with the rest of the support it has gotten , besides using them as fodder. Looking at the bigger picture , this skill does not particularly push the game state when used and does not play into the strengths of the Blaster Rideline ability to play aggressively unlike other decks in Keter Sanctuary. Thus the deck often found it difficult to close games and make it very reliant on ideal rearguards in the front row and persona rides.

By comparison Phantom Blaster Overlord is a much more suitable vanguard for the deck. Firstly its skills do not require a counterblast , thus allowing you to use all the resources into your rearguards and also prevents the deck from being damage denied, a strategy that slower decks in standard often use to set the game to their pace.

While it forgoes the ability to retire an opponent’s rearguards, PBO is a much more active vanguard that creates multiple attacks, as it activates on attacks as opposed to the main phase, and even gives itself and the called Blaster Dark +10000 when the opponent is a G3 or higher. Combined with Blaster Dark’s own skill that creates a 23000 vanguard and 25000 Blaster Dark at the bare minimum,. It which will of course increase with Persona Ride and the fuller the field.

Example of a possible board and attack formation on the first G3 turn going second, The Left column will be retired for PBO’s skill

One thing to note is of course that it requires only 2 retires which may not seem like All the more, it can even gain a passive critical if PBD is in the soul, and in the earlier stages of the game, I would even say, it can put up more pressure than let’s say Bastion up to Turn 3, especially considering what the Blaster deck can put out on Turn 2 onwards. Finally, the Blaster deck will have a way to push for game

Still it is not the only reason why the deck will improve so drastically

Skull Witch, Nemain

The next card from D BT05, that will change how Blasters will play, is Skull Witch Nemain, an old classic unit brought back once again. This time taking inspiration from its original version back in the day. On the play, as long as you have a Shadow Paladin vanguard , you can counterblast 1 to put a card from your hand to soul to draw 2 cards. 

First of all , before we even look at how  this works with the rest of  the deck ,this skill is already very powerful even outside of the context of Standard. It live as early as Turn 2 ,and can be used throughout  the game to fix up your hand and help draw into your deck for shields to survive or anything really. 

In context of the Blaster deck  , this gives Blasters a reliable way to put a PBD into your soul, and makes replacing PBD from the ride deck entirely rather appealing. Also during your turn,  it gains 5000 as long as you have a Blaster Vanguard , useful as it allows it to act as a normal 10000 G2, and thus not slowing down your rush if you do play it early.

How can we build it now?

Of course, the old support like Macha, Charon, Mugain, and similar support to fill the board are still viable choices for the deck as they feed the Vanguard’s cost, while also maintaining a constant attack, but there of course other cards to consider now, like Bedivere and Kay who value consistency power over speed. Even Maple our dual nation card with Stoichea comes to mind as a possible 1-2 off.

Some types of cards that can be used now are cards that can put Phantom Blaster Dragon into the soul to help with the consistency for the extra critical. Drilling Angel and Difusser Angel in particular both come to mind as their easy to use cards and will act mostly as a back up to Nemain for the most part.

Phantom Blaster Dragon also now stays in the main deck to give PBO its critical and also an occasional option. It its quite common to see many players still playing 4 of it in the deck, and while it might seem excessive to run a vanilla “G3” the extras can always used or discarded for other cost, and its a rarely a burden. Still , I think there is a possibility to reduce it if future support that helps search it out comes out to make space other rearguards.

To help you out here’s some sample starting to builds to get the gears moving , of course many of the non core cards are exchangeable.

Starting Builds
Prioritizing Aggro – personally my preference
Consistent Columns and steady advantage

Where does it stand ?

In my opinion out of Set 05, Phantom Blasters is definitely one of the stronger decks out of it that can definitely give even top tier decks a run for their worth. With the potential of the Blaster deck has finally been unleashed, its able to be build and played in different ways to success.

While its growth as a card is gated as it is hard locked to use Blaster Dark and Phantom Blaster Dragon specifically, I do think it will be able to stand strong for a while. So if you’re fan of the deck , there’s no real better time to get on it then now and start experimenting with it. I’ll be doing the same before reporting back here with results too.

With that thanks for reading this short introduction and feel free to share it with anyone whose looking for a starting point!

  • Cipher

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