Monday, July 30, 2012

Clan Review:Oracle Think Tank

On the fine line of Raw Card Advantage and Auxiliary Advantage, Oracle Think Tank take these elements to the fullest. From powerful strikes from Silent Tom, to the Vanguards manipulating the very deck itself, topped off with whatever draw based ability associated with the deck variant, absolutely no deck can come anywhere close to the amount of Card Advantage Oracle Think Tank can create.

Now for those of you who've seen the anime, well you can go ahead and scrap whatever you think of Oracle Think Tank. While draw elements are a very notable presence in almost all Oracle Think Tank builds, uberdrawing is not what makes the deck powerful, rather it's their ability to outpace almost any deck through Card Advantage as a whole. Of the 4 major builds of Oracle Think Tank, elements of blasting through your opponent's cards while refining the quality of your own can be found all over, to the point that some decks can't even hope to keep pace with this clan.

And of course with these 2 major elements, card manipulation and drawing, Oracle Think Tank currently has access to 2 starter Vanguards that represent each element almost exclusively. First up is Godhawk, Ichibyoshi. Ichibyoshi here, while essentially demanding you run both the Grade 1 and 2 Tsukuyomis to make best use of its skill, is a first generation styled ride chain. This means that every Grade 0-2 form of the ride chain will check the top 5 cards of the deck, check for the next grade, and superior ride it if it's there. Oh look, instant ride stability. Along with said ride stability is that of the 4 or 5 cards left, you get to return them to the deck in any order you want. Let me repeat, you get to stack up to 15 cards in your deck in whatever order you'd like, with the assumption you ride up to Grade 2. What this creates is actually one of the deadliest possible late games in almost all of Vanguard, the Tsukuyomi deck loop. The idea is, in tandem with drawing or more divining skills, to dig straight through the entire deck back into those 12-15 cards you just stacked at the bottom. Because you stacked the deck ahead of time, what this basically means is by the time you hit this stack, you can end up pulling perfectly consecutive Double Trigger Checks turn per turn. Don't ask how I got this, but essentially this digs up a +1.5 every turn from trigger effects each time you blast through an intentionally set up Double Trigger check. And this chain's increased ride stability and deadly late game  doesn't even end here, because due to how Silent Tom works, you can end up building a gigantic, almost surefire 26K Silent Tom attack, leading to scary dangerous late games that can end in a blink.

Of course, the other starter has its own merits to offer. Introducing Little Witch, Lulu. Introduced in set 07, Lulu is a rather interesting starter. Instead of immediately activating in response to or to initiate a Grade 1 Ride, Lulu sits in the soul up until a Grade 3 Vanguard rides. Sadly, this compromises those early stages of the match just slightly, for not being there for your Grade 1 and 2 attacks as a booster or a pseudo beater, but makes up for it in the mid game. Unlike most starters, who'll only lead to a gross +1 in your benefit (for example, calling out, searching a single card card), Lulu is actually a gross +2 on your behalf, with its extra draw. This means that if you can handle that slight loss of power in the early game, you can start outdrawing the opponent in raw card advantage simply by riding your Grade 3 Vanguard. This extra draw could also help with field development, drawing into another beater to set up your 3rd attack or a booster to reinforce your strikes, Lulu prominently shows as one of the best units in terms of net Raw Advantage.

Now an interesting unit to appear is Battle Sister, Cocoa. Cocoa here, on call, allows one to look at the top card of their deck, and place it on the top or the bottom of the deck. Now there are quite a few applications for this kind of skill. The most obvious is trigger stacking and manipulation. Reveal the top card of your deck. If it's a trigger, you can feel rest assured that you will hit a trigger with your next Drive Check. If there isn't a trigger, you can send the revealed card to the bottom of your deck to increase your chances of drawing a trigger anyway. Alone, as a one of occurrence, Cocoa's trigger manipulation isn't much. While you're still Drive Checking, it's essentially a success increase of only 1/9, an 11.1% increase in probability that you pull a trigger, whether or not confirming you get a trigger and what kind it is will make a difference. While you're Twin Driving, this is doubled into 22.2% repeating probability that you get 1 more trigger than normal, however is still a rather small amount of impact considering how the game can play out from there. Instead of direct benefits from Trigger manipulation, a key aspect when doubling up on divining skills with Cocoa is her ability to confirm anything on the top of your deck, including non-triggers. This is especially helpful during the early stages of the game while your field is still developing, or later on when Intercepts and Perfect Guards begin to increase in demand ever so slightly. High priority Grade 1s like Perfect Guards and your vanilla Gemini, Grade 2 utility in the form of Silent Tom, and any Grade 3s you may want to ride into like CEO Amaterasu can all be divined to the top of the deck if revealed, basically setting up for a guaranteed out for field development by next turn, or immediate defense in the case of Chocolat.

And now that I've described to you one of the driving forces behind OTT, it's about time to reveal the raw firepower that makes Oracle Think Tank so dangerous. Silent Tom has one of the rarer few skills in the game: the ability restrict what the opponent can guard with. This skill is so hugely monumental on one's ability to claim victory that Tom has almost permanently etched itself as a must run of OTT, and for good reason too. Boosted by a Gemini that you may or may not have divined, Tom's 16K strike would require 2 cards from the opponent instead of the usual single 10K shield, meaning that upon the late game and guarding becomes almost mandatory to stay in the game, guarding Silent Tom becomes a necessary direct -1 on the opponent. This doesn't even end here, though. The Divining skills of Amaterasu and Cocoa can work together to constantly ramp up Triggers, triggers that once placed on Silent Tom only work to increase how powerful it is. Barring Perfect Guards, for every stage of power Tom increases, your opponent is essentially looking at another -1 from their resources, which under the influence of Tsukuyomi can lead to massive 26K attacks requiring upwards 4 cards to deter. Hurrah Silent Tom, let's completely destroy the concept of b.a.s.s. values. Due to the fact that Perfect Guards exist and screw with Tom, it's generally a good idea to keep track of those sort of things before you start doubling up on cashing in your triggers on Tom without any forethought.

And now we come to the universal answer to everything, CEO Amaterasu. Usable in almost all builds of OTT, Amaterasu takes what Cocoa can do and goes a step even further. One interesting fact about Amaterasu is that as a megablaster, it actually has 3 skills in total, one of which is a power boost that's totally separate from the Soulcharge, and far succeeds what the other Mega-Blasters are capable of. Another element about Mega-Blasters is their soulcharge skill, and I'm very tempted to name Amaterasu the strongest Mega-Blast in that aspect. Every turn after soul charging, you may check the top of your deck, and either keep it at the top or move it to the bottom. What this essentially means is that CEO Amaterasu is a resource free topdeck diviner, for every turn it is out. With this, your chances to pull triggers increase literally exponentially, turn by turn and ramping up huge amounts of auxiliary advantage from the trigger's effects. CEO Amaterasu also makes especially good use of Godhawk Ichibyoshi and the Grades 1 and 2 Tsukuyomis with its constant Soul-Charging and being able to push another card down turn per turn to essentially turbocharge your way into the stack.

From here, we branch out to Goddess of the Full Moon, Tsukuyomi. Obviously a high priority Vanguard in Godhawk builds, your first priority is being able to reach that late game stack with utmost efficiency, which Tsukuyomi is absolutely amazing at. Sitting at an ever so useful 11K base, simply for having the Grades 0-2 in the soul, will allow you to better tank through the midgame. On top of this, when you have 6 soul, you may Counter-Blast 2 to draw 2 cards, and send 1 to the soul. Not only is this ridiculously easy to do as, if you rode the G2 Tsukuyomi, all you need is 1 more soul to activate the skill, but the benefits it gives are absolutely amazing. For all practical reasons, it gives you raw card advantage, a +1 in the fullest, but instead of simply drawing 1 card as a +1, you instead draw 2 cards after cycling 1. What this means is that along with those 2 draws, you can pitch a Grade 3 beater to gain all the added shield in an extreme + in auxiliary advantage. Because there really shouldn't be competition for Counter-Blasts in the deck, this means that using this skill twice should be absolutely no problem to a player using it. What really makes this card great for its own deck, though, is that you essentially just pushed through 4 cards with the use of its skill twice, rushing you to meet that stack far faster than normal.

Scarlet Witch, CoCo is Lulu's own ideal combo. Set up to have no soul after riding up when Lulu was your starter, on ride you can Counter-Blast 2 to draw 2 cards. For anyone who speaks highly or has heard someone speak highly of a Power-Breaker (+5000 LB), here's why. What this does is that the -1 you must invest in your ride is instantly given back to you, giving you an extra card to field or guard yourself for. What makes CoCo especially good in this aspect is that the skill is a net +1, rather than a break even like for Power-Breakers, essentially giving you a far better set up in general. Also, because this raw +1 was so early on in the match, in tandem with Lulu also giving you an extra draw, what this does is that it allows you to charge into the midgame, guns ablaze thanks to all that raw advantage. Whether you just filled up on a great field, or have the hand to tank out all the opponent's developing attacks, the deck should have absolutely no problem taking on the midgame at full force. To wrap up this card is its ability to attack for 13K. Instead of being a totally draw devoted midgame card, it also has access to great power ranges to attack opposing Vanguards at an optimal power range, giving it all the better of a late game push on top of its midgame capabilities, making it an amazing all around card.

EB01-006EN-RR (Sample)Introduced in Extra Booster 1, Imperial Daughter takes credit for the weirdest card in almost all of Cardfight Vanguard. With its unorthodoxed tactic of fighting without any Rear-Guard support, and its needing to eat another unit just to attack if you have other Rear-Guards, it has received so many different opinions and theory-guard thrown at it that it almost hurts to process it all.

That said, she has uses. While her strength in the late game is absolutely pisspoor for many reasons, she offers a rather neat way to carry yourself through the midgame. Because she is a 21K Vanguard attack, it's more than likely to expect her to blast past the opponent's guard in many cases, dealing 2 damage - sometimes 3 - to keep constant tempo. On top of this, her 11K defense and how damage triggers work means that the opponent needs to work just harder to actually deal some damage out of you. A single damage trigger, or the opponent just can't get a booster behind their beaters, and Imperial Daughter will most definitely not be touched. Essentially, you can put up a good damage lead on most any opponent just by tanking on your lack of need for intercepts who can be killed by intercepts, while still dealing a sizable amount of damage per turn even without the need of a decent field.

Despite her very interesting midgame attributes, she does come with flaws. Her early game is more than likely to be ridiculously slow due to you needing not to bring out a field, which may be detrimental if you went second. There's also the entire issue of her late game, almost necessitating the need of a partner Vanguard to carry out whatever midgame you set up for yourself. There's also the giant flaw in Perfect Guards or Cross-Rides totally ruining your forward push, but in general, she does have the potential to keep up in a fight.

To wrap up, Oracle Think Tank is the clan of presence. To be able to build card advantage and make amazing use of the cards in its disposal makes it an amazing clan for those who can well monopolize the presence it can generate.


  1. I've been doing a lot of thinking about Imperial Daughter lately.
    I know the simple fact of the matter is that the single high-power attack she offers should never compare to laying down a full field of attackers.
    However, OTT has access to some unique tools other clan's don't.
    Specifically, in addition to perfect gaurds,a player has access to the weather girl Miss Mist and Battle Sister Vanilla.
    I was considering the possibility of a build using a minimum of calling, gaurding through the early game and then attacking with imperial daughter in the mid-game while assembling attackers in-hand, before switching vangaurds and calling a full field as a finisher.

    The problem is the B.A.S.S values.
    At most, per turn, the opponent is only going to need to use one perfect gaurd, or a max of 25K in sheilds to completely lock out an attack from I.D. Attackers such as high-speed brachi or in non-english formats, the spirit blaster blade/dark that dissapear after attacking could suppliment that, but in the end, I'm not sure that a deck based around her as the vangaurd is going to cut it.
    Which is a shame since I was going to give one to the person who got me into vangaurd as a birthday present- but I digress.
    I haven't yet managed to get through the entirety of your blog (though I have seen enough to make me insecure about running riviere without having purchased another two copies of the grade three), but it's obvious you're beyond experienced.
    Do you think the I.D. is not worth considering?

    1. Well...


      Give me a few minutes.

    2. Added her to the clan review.

      Honestly, I don't think she's terribad. Her 11K defense and the lack of weaker intercepts on your field means the opponent must use boosted units which, to put it frankly, is not easy to set up perfectly in most cases. On top of her defensive bubble from unboosted hits, she can still maintain a decent damage tempo to keep up in a fight should the opponent not have a Perfect Guard, or is unwilling to drop 20-25K shield. And yeah, not needing to lock up your field with possibly misplaced beaters and boosters allows you to set up just perfectly when the time comes, so that's always useful. In general, she can work. Maybe she's not super competent and probably has to stand down in bigger fights, but she more than certainly is an option if you really want to use her.

      (I don't actually like the idea of Brakki with her, in all honesty)

    3. Thanks! I'm still new to vangaurd relatively speaking, and so my first port of call for cards to compliment her was her page and since I hadn't the opportunity to playtest, I couldn't simply dismiss the idea, but the fact of the matter is that the single extra attack he brings comes at a relatively high price. Not only are you soulblasting, by calling him, you lose a card from your hand and since without a booster he'll generally be blocked by a single 5K shield, usually the only result is going to be that you've just depleted your soul a little.
      Situationally, I think it might be quite useful, but when I imagine it, there are too many times when you'd wish you'd simply drawn something else.

      Anyhow, thank's for your answer, I'm more confident about giving her a deck based around this now. Fortunately, though her birthday was april first (no, really) I haven't had a chance to give her her gift yet anyway.

      Wish I'd read your feedback before I grabbed a couple of booster boxes (Sets 06 and 07) as a backup >_<.
      Still, all good, thank's for the help.

    4. Drat. Meant to say my first port of call was her wiki page.

      Also 'tanking on your lack of need for intercepts' Did you mean banking?

    5. I actually did mean tanking, since without weaker intercepts out, your opponent can't deal as many unboosted hits onto Imperial Daughter~