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Saturday, July 28, 2012

Deep Clan: Granblue

Epic mount
The highly anticipated and long-awaited Granblue analysis. There is a lot to say about this clan—the zombie pirates that can be resurrected any number of times. For a lot of people, Granblue is both a difficult clan to build and execute. This is because the clan is based so much around synergy with each card that one misplay can pretty much cost you the game. I can confidently say this is the most technical clan to date and both the easiest to screw up and the hardest to master. It isn't through sheer power, spam, rushing, defense, or any one gimmick that Granblue pull victory. Nay, even contrary to what the theme might suggest, revival is not even the ultimate goal for victory. Granblue excel in every area and have an answer to most situations.

Because of the synergistic nature of this clan, many cards can be sprinkled into any of the other builds at 1-2 copies with no problem at all. Granblue also allows for some of the most bizarre Winning Images—that actually work, to exist in the game. Ever think about running one copy of only 4 Grade 3s? Howabout one Grade 3 total? Have you ever wanted to spam those soulblasting cards that let you draw, or just get advantage simply for riding Grade 3? Have you ever thought about running 10 critical triggers and 2 stand triggers? This is some pretty weird stuff, but that's Granblue for you.

Captain Shotacon
So we shall start at the beginning, with the starting vanguard selection. There are three viable choices: Captain Nightkid, Guiding Zombie, and yet another Grade 3 searcher—Skeleton Assault Troops Captain. Let's skip over the latter and talk about the first two. Starting with Captain Nightkid.

His effect is somewhat interesting. You'll have to pay a counterblast, which can be pretty devastating in Granblue, then you minus one, and get to drop a card from the top ten. The pros of this are being able to set up your drop as a toolbox without requiring the random drops of the "Shade" cards or without getting a Chappie early on. This set up can mean that you're opening the game strongly and helps you set up for mid-game quickly. Another upside is the 5000 power should you chicken out or not need the drop. Unfortunately, his two cons are pretty bad. The first is that you minus him; pretty typical. Most starting vanguards do this, but at least Conroe and his ilk try to make it a net +0. But none of our three starters can do that, so moving on. The second problem is that he costs counterblast. Which makes him an immediately bad card for Cocytus-based decks (and obviously rules him out for a megablast deck). Those decks need 2 unflipped damage by Turn 3. If they don't have that, they basically never get started (see more in Cocytus' section). Luckily, he's good enough that you can include him in other versions of the deck. Especially decks that need 1 very specific card in the drop before Mid game. If you run this, you should probably include Three-Star Chef Pietro. You probably will anyway, but your other cards pretty much rely on 1 counterblast to get off their effects. Nightkid will cut your total down by 1, which can devastate you, unlike in other decks.

I bet his name is Igor. Or Jeeves.
Or Jeegor. Or Bob.
Your second real option is Guiding Zombie. He needs more love. Guiding Zombie is pretty much the go-to vanguard for anything Nightkid doesn't fit into, like Basskirk or Cocytus builds, and even works just fine as a universal replacement in all but a few builds. His main advantages are, like with Nightkid, his great 5000 boosting capabilities. In most of the decks he is present in, there should be room for either Ruin Shade or Deadly Swordmaster or both. In that case, you can hit stage 2 with Guiding Zombie against a well-defended Vanguard. And if you run Cocytus and they only have a 10000 vanguard, you pretty much get a free 3-stage attack just from running this guy and not using the skill.

The other pro is that his skill can be used straight on the first turn. If you see a Kagero or Narukami vanguard, you might want to ninja-vanish your Guiding before it gets hit by a killing skill. In some decks, you can afford to take the minus early with this guy and start off your drop toolbox early. As for cons, the toolbox he gives you is indeed random. Thankfully it's 3 cards and not some awkward number, so your triggers stay in phase. As a rule, if the deck needs to counterblast early, run this vanguard. If it needs to counterblast a lot, run this card. No use in sealing off your resources just because you like Nightkid more.

Pictured: After his meal of Judas Iscariot
If you have your starter, you either have a build in mind or you want to use the starter as a jumping-off point. In either case, you should know by now to use Guiding Zombie with this guy, Cocytus. Necromancer Cocytus is played in full reanimator builds and half-reanimator builds. Sometimes, he's teched into other types of decks, but I'll explain why that's not really very good later.

Cocytus is probably one of the best power Limit Breaker we've gotten so far. He easily ties with Garmore for first place. Kiriel is limited by only face-up damage zone cards. Thunder Break isn't too limited since he gets the field, but he's redundant with a better card in his own deck. Garmore is amazing always, even if he can't get a Grade 3. But Cocytus; this guy is the real deal. If you want to negate your Ride minus, this is a great card for it. If you can set up the drop as a decent toolbox just before Mid game, he's one of the best rides. Riding him in late game really doesn't yield that well since you would -1 from your ride, overlaying some other useful Grade 3 that you could've just gone with, and then getting your plus. Still a +0, but the thing is, that late in the game, you probably would've ended up with a similar setup had you just called Cocytus. Either you call him for 10k vanilla attack, or call him and sac-to-regenerate a booster in the drop. If you ride him...those are pretty much the same options to get from the drop anyway. So it's pretty much the same no matter what, unless you absolutely need the Limit Break at some point. For this reason, it's probably not wise to tech him into a deck that doesn't have the free Grade 3 slots immediately open and unused.

Cocytus even has his own army of supporting cards. There's a Grade 1 persona-booster that is the pretty typical "Soulblast 1 to boost by +5000". It's okay if you really hate resurrecting things with that soul or really hate getting +1s with that soul, and just want to do a full power build. On the whole, Granblue needs their precious soul a bit too much to squander it on a persona-booster.

Then there's his Superior Ride line. Not exactly a "ride chain" as I've heard it erroneously referred to; and they are a bit of a wall-o-text. Essentially, you have a Grade 1, Grade 2, and Cocytus himself. Each one can superior ride the next one if it meets two conditions and you pay a cost. The conditions are, the next one must be in the drop zone, and your opponent must have a higher Grade than you already out. So unless they misride, you need to go second to get this off. The cost is that you must discard a Granblue from the hand, which actually makes meeting the drop-condition fairly easy if you drew the other piece(s). Doing this, ending with Cocytus, even ensures that whatever you discarded to the drop, Cocytus can revive. The good news is even if you superior ride the Grade 2 and Cocytus, you will still be in the same situation as if you rode normally, card advantage-wise. Since each discard means getting another from the drop. I don't really recommend these unless you have either a crapload of room leftover in your deck (fat chance) or have a bizarre build—and there actually is one that works for them.

His original name was "Kink of Demonic
Bedrooms, BDSMKirk"
Basskirk is a set of builds all his own. Lately, true megablast decks have been getting popular because of the neat mechanics for Narukami's Gyras and Gold Paladin's Agravain. Basskirk was a popular megablast unit before it was cool.

In the megablaster build, you would prepare your entire game for the final turn where you resurrect the a whole field at once. A perfect field. Since Granblue have no retardedly good attackers like Palamedes, they have to resort to the old tricks of 10000 vanguard bullying by using Nightstorm (+2000 when attacking vanguard) and Romario (8000 booster). That's 3 stages, but of course only against a midline vanguard. Basskirk himself would then become stage-3 with a Romario as well, or Evil Shade with the cost paid.

This is really just a for-fun build since it not only relies on getting off a megablast just to win, but it also counts on the opponent having a less-than-optimal defending vanguard. Remember guys, not including available 11000s means losing to crap like this! The other very good build is typical of abusing megablast units: ignore the megablast and spam your soul. This allows you to use the Deadly Nightmare/Spirit cards multiple times to re-situate your field, as well as having a 3-stage attacker with Evil Shade. So basically Basskirk is beatdown or spam.

Angriest. Dancer. Ever.
To compliment Basskirk (and later explained, Spirit Exceed), you'll want to actually run Dancing Cutlass. In most other decks, you're forced to run these awful things because their soulblasters are so bad. In Granblue, you actually want to run them despite having good soul use. It's just too easy to abuse it by soulcharging Rough Seas Banshees and having a Basskirk on the field. In a deck where every single card you draw is useful—due to the ability to trade it in for something that's from the drop zone, Cutlass is invaluable.

On top of that, the benefits are recursive: you can trade in Cutlass itself if it's not useful. Most importantly, you can do it for cards such as Deadly Spirit and Captain Nightmist since it's a Grade 1 that's no longer useful and not just a Grade 0 (because a good tactic is closing the game by calling unused triggers in hand, and converting them into boosters if you want to Final Turn). He's not bad at all in this clan just based on the fact that he can be exploited, is never a minus, and can be either traded for something more useful or used with your 11000 attackers for good numbers.

He's just offering you candy. Don't be a
pussy. This guy seems legit.
As has been alluded to, this deck focuses heavily on keeping your field perfect and spotless. The Deadly line of cards are an excellent mechanism for this as they make use of your otherwise not-Cutlass'd soul and non-useful fodder. For Nightmare, you can trade any Grade 0 in for a damn good booster, and that will definitely save your hide in the game. For Deadly Spirit, you can trade Cutlass or other unwanted boosters of any Grade to get a good vanilla interceptor. It even sometimes helps as a last guard resort when you can't afford to take another stage of damage but you can afford 2 soul and a booster. That may be situational, but Granblue is about creating situations or having an answer to all situations just waiting in your drop zone.

This card is a shoe-in for pretty much every deck with only a few exceptions. Its booster companion as well, since it's already a nice 7000 booster, and you can revive it to boot. Any time you get random card advantage such as drawing, you can convert it if it's unwanted into one of these guys. Or even a Spirit Samurai if you don't have the soul but you do have the counterblasts. Even Kagero's Goku can't keep a well-made Granblue deck from setting up a good field each turn, due to the ability to just trade in everything it gets that doesn't hit for good numbers for something that does.

Someone please kill me, it hurts to live...
Oh, right.
"Oh god why did she post this card?" you must be asking. It's pretty much a terrible piece of garbage in every deck—except Granblue. Now, with the exception of the specifically stand-based build, Granblues are terrible with stand triggers. So why then, should anyone run Steersman—an awful booster, stand trigger, and oh god the worst +1 ever?

Because he's only the worse +1 in every deck except Granblue. As you've just read, this clan is notorious for its ability to swap cards in the drop. So if you use two Steersman (probably not more than that) and ride Grade 3, you'll get him for free. Then you can soul/counter-blast for a better booster. The set up does require that he's in your drop, you're riding Grade 3, and of course, that you have something not-shit in your drop to trade with. It can actually be a decently tall order, which is why he is only run at two for the most part. It's great to just have 1 or 2 of these in case you drop a Cocytus Late game to get the delicious power from its limit break (and don't really have anything useful in your hand, so you need the drop call). It's also useful in the stand-based Granblue for the obvious reason that you can run 4 and not feel like you need to take a 3-hour long shower, scrubbing your skin with lye soap. But he does have another use...

Oh god no, not another horrible card! Yes, another horrible card. Holy shit, counterblast 3 just to superior ride from the drop. Ouch! Except...not?

It's a pretty steep cost in any deck that actually uses counterblasts beyond a couple of 1-cost and maybe a single 2-cost. In fact, he happens to work quite well in a certain very bizarre set of decks for Granblue, that do just that. One of which includes running only Monster Frank. And just one copy. How does it work? Spamming the everloving hell out of drop cards and taking lots of damage early. It's pretty risky, but the advantage is you get to have all the delicious 7 slots left over for things like rushdown cards so you can destroy faces in the Early game with impunity. And unlike doing this with Spikes, you won't miss your Grade 3 ride just because you have too few of them.

The other way of running it is with just one of him and every other superior-ride-from-the-drop Grade 3. So 4 Grade 3s total, all different. It requires a lot of hard thinking and technical knowledge. If you can master the use of these two decks, you're well on your way to becoming a tactician in vanguard. It's basically Hard Mode and yet it can be done. This deck also requires the use of Hades Steersman to make up for the abysmal reliability it has with getting what Grade 3 skill you actually want. The free +1 after superior riding is very nice, and changes your usual net -1 ride into a net +0, while still giving you the Grade 3 and your Twin Drive. Just don't run him at all in any other deck besides bizarre ones like this. He actually is bad for those.

< S W A G >
Chappie the Swagmaster. Pretty much every Granblue deck needs to run this at one minimum. And for some builds, you need three to four. In the above-mentioned Hulk Smash deck, you'll absolutely have to run 4 Chappies in order to search him out early and get him in the drop. Memorize this number: 57%. This is the probability that you can get a Chappie in your hand, at four copies, given that you don't damage check anything. Even if you do, the chances get higher so long as you didn't damage the Chappie itself. That doesn't even include being able to mulligan for him; which I kind of recommend so long as you have a ridable Grade 1 and 2, and your Grade 3 is one that you can superior from the drop.

Now that you have him, it's all gravy. Guarding like mad, and then setting up your toolbox better than anything else in the whole clan. Have the Grade 3 you want to superior? Alright, grab a teched Nightmist, or Skull Dragon, or any booster that can be revived, or a Cocytus target, or Deadly Spirit. Hell, want a free +1 by the time you ride Grade 3? Get one of the damn Hades Steersman. The only limit to Chappie's usefulness is the structure of your deck. In Cocytus decks, Spirit Exceed, and the weird superior-Grade 3 decks, Chappie's pretty much the boss and the MVP in the Early game. He can also help you set up for getting anything you need from the deck later on. If your opponent keeps screwing you around, you can get "card x" that would exactly help, then just use freaking Cocytus to bring it out.

"Ichabod, stop stealing my pumpkins!"
Speaking of Spirit Exceed (about a dozen times), it's time to talk about this guy. Unlike most Superior Rides, this one is actually good. Why? Because it fills the soul like mad, is very easy to execute in Granblue, and can give you an expansive advantage in terms of power. Consider the following: You went first. That means you have the ability to superior ride Exceed on your second turn  (doesn't even cost counterblast or require a specific vanguard, like Blazing Flare or Aleph). Your opponent only has a Grade 1 out. This means you have a freaking Grade 3, the potential to call other Grade 3s (which would probably be 11000), and the potential to just completely rush them for almost guaranteed 3 damage and make up your minuses for superior riding him by the very next turn.

That's one hell of an advantage. And you typically want to do this alongside Deadly Swordmaster, to increase the probability that you will get to superior ride and pull off the power-rush gambit much like the Kagero Superior Riders build does. Swordmaster's may not be ideal, but at least it's a fallback. The best part about Exceed is you can just tech one into almost any Granblue deck except Basskirk. Since every Granblue deck runs 10-12 critical triggers and one of his requirements is a critical; along with one of the near-staple boosters—Samurai Spirit, also being in just about every other build. So you basically don't lose much at all by chancing that you might get a Chappie and pull him off in an unrelated deck (or even random-mill him and pull him off). He may seem pretty bad/vanilla at first, but there's a lot of deceptively hidden potential in Spirit Exceed. Sadly, he's very punishable, so you need to eventually ride the Swordmaster that you're packing in that deck so you can shut down the opponent's bad columns. Bear in mind, that deck burns bright but early. Once you ride, the rest of the game is pretty much just attacking with vanilla columns. It does work, and it does set you up for an early victory, but you have to keep it going manually.

I'm pretty sure Pirates do not resemble
Vikings or ...whatever this is.
We've been talking about this guy behind his back a lot. Deadly Swordmaster. This card gets a lot of flak for having a bad effect and is generally considered a vanilla by people who dislike the skill. I'm not really much of a fan of the skill, in general, myself but the fact that he has 11000 power means all the difference to me. You could print this card with 11000 power, remove his ACT skill, and I wouldn't bat an eye or change anything in the decks. Simply the ability for Granblue to be competently defensive is enough. His ACT skill is a bonus under extremely rare circumstances when you fail to get anything good going, can set it up, and can afford to pull it off. It's happened before, just don't count on it being often.

Try to think of this card as mostly being separate from the other Deadly cards. It often appears in decks that coincidentally happen to run the other Deadly cards because they're good for general-purpose swapping and he's good for vanilla beatstick and defense. As mentioned previously, he and Ruin Shade are your only good targets for pairing with a 5000 booster against an 11000 vanguard. This makes Cutlass and Guiding/Nightkid actually useful as boosters, should you choose not to get rid of them for a drop booster or use their skills. That pretty much goes without saying mostly, but since this card is so often overlooked, and Granblue has a special place for Cutlass, it bears going into. This card is also useful as a 1-of in the Bizarreblue deck mentioned earlier with Hulk.

Redundant redundancy attack!
Dragon Undead...Skull Dragon. Note to Bushiroad: that's redundant. Skull Undead Dragon Dragon is a very good card that can be teched in at 1 in just about any Granblue deck. This does have a couple of caveats. The first is that you should note, this is basically a fair version of Palamedes. Skull Eyes Dead Dragon is supposed to be hitting 3 stages for you, or at freaking least sealing the game with 1-2 because you can. Skeleton Zombie Undead Pirate Dragon will die once you attack with it (and you shouldn't be skipping attacks just to keep it), so it can indeed be risky at copies above 1. If you damage check Pirate Jesus Dragon, it's probably okay, since you're not losing much anyway.

It does technically only become Stage 3 with Romario, which means Basskirk or Basskirk. Romario is too redundant and unneeded in other builds that hit good numbers on their own, which means Skeletor Sinbad Dragon is going to sit his dead-ass in the drop if your opponent has an 11000 vanguard in most Granblue decks. However, if they get a 10000 out, Unliving Femur Wyvern will pretty much deliver the rage of a thousand tormented souls from Hades. Since, you know, you have 7000 boosters coming out of your ears. It's not bad at all to tech him in regardless, since he can sit there in your drop and not be screwing you over.  That makes him a great situational card. It's okay to use him if you need him, and okay to ignore him if you don't. No harm done either way. The cost is a bit steep, and sometimes you'll even finding yourself "leveling up" by swapping a 0 for a 1, and a 1 for a 2, then finally a 2 for him. That can happen a few times, so make use of it and go Final Turn. Most of the time it's much easier to get out Nonliving Tibia Carpal Lizard.

Aka Mr. Googley Eyes.
I have to say it. Thanatos is easily one of the least useful Granblue cards. He's trying way too hard to be Alice from Pale Moon or Sky Diver from Spike Brothers. Hell, even Sky Diver is actually better since he can be used for good defense riding, doesn't have to hit the vanguard specifically, and requires no counterblast. Alice is better since she can be re-used due to other cards like Midnight Bunny being able to pull her back out. With Thanatos, your options are Negromarl (why is this in your deck) and Cocytus to get him back and continue with his skill.

Additionally, his must-hit requirement is not actually pressure for your opponent. They can simply stop your combo gambit that you are relying on with a 2-stage shield at most. At least in Pale Moon, you're not totally reliant on that skill to drive the build home. He does at least gain some credit for working well in Standblue, where Thanatos can afford to fail, and where his skill can be put to more uses than comboing attacks, by setting up a good booster somewhere. He certainly looks cool at least, and his presence in Standblue is indeed staple, so he's not completely useless. You just plain do not run him out of a pure stand deck. Basically anything else is better. Tech in a Spirit Exceed; you'll probably superior ride just as often as you get Thanatos off, and at least then the rewards are better. Even putting in Deadly Swordmaster for his high power vanillaness is a good alternative. And you don't ever want to ride him since he just becomes a poor defense vanilla. Unlike Alice whom actually benefits if you have to ride her since Pale Moon never "loses" a card into the soul. That's where they go. Now, it is actually true that you can do neat stuff like ride Cocytus, superior call Thanatos, hit and use his skill to superior call something else like Nightstorm. Three to four nice attacks the moment you get Grade 3 is pretty cool. Except that the gambit requires 3 damage to pull off; that or 2 damage and a Pietro on the other side who also has to hit. Not guarding early, with rare exceptions = bad. At least Monster Frank can stop you from minusing on your ride, while Thanatos cannot generate any advantage.

He sparkles. No, really.
Welcome to Misconceptions Corner with Alice. Today, we will be talking about the most over-rated Granblue card: Captain Nightmist. Nightmist does have his uses. Namely, the second skill which allows him to trade a Grade 1 or higher for himself from the drop. It's a counterblast, which is nicely redundant with Deadly Spirit's soulblast. Unfortunately, that's where the good things end. Because he's 8000 power, Nightmist often just doesn't fit into the average Granblue deck, which is a shame considering the big deal they made of him in the anime, and his potential as a good card otherwise.

Why not? Because most decks don't run Romario. If you run Romario it means Basskirk or Basskirk. And you wouldn't run Nightmist in the megablast version anyway since that means giving up your megablast for his skill. In other words, the only real use for Nightmist is in Basskirk soul abuse. Similarly, the Special Interceptor is really not great anywhere else either. The first ability could be really good if it was usable from the rear-guard position. Unfortunately, this means Nightmist can only be 11000 on your Grade 2 ride, and only-if another copy exists in the drop zone. That's pretty much a waste of Chappie for this skill. There are much better 11000 Grade 2s, and they at least get a boost for being Vanguard, as well as being 11000 on a rear-guard position. If you have the room for Romario, and you can chance bad columns with Nightmist, he's not a bad run. This all having been said, he is a main target in Basskirk soul abuse since you'll want your soul a bit more freed up. Nightmist accomplishes this nicely by helping you swap out your used-up Cutlasses once you draw. It's a pretty nice way to ensure a good attacker after drawing a card. Essentially, that means +1 every two turns in that deck, provided you can keep the Cutlasses flowing. It must be said that Nightmist, just like Undead Skull Dragon Dragon Dragon, can be a 1-copy tech into most decks even if they only use a 7000 booster lineup since it does hit stage-2 against weaker vanguards. Unfortunately, I don't believe this is a good use of a Grade 2 slot, unlike our Grade 3 selection. And at least Undead Skull Dragon can hit Stage 3 for his tech. If you want to use single counterblasts, in most decks, it's better to use them with Spirit Samurai and Skull Dragon over Nightmist.

"You are already dead."
Let's talk about Shades. Ruin shade is probably one of the best Grade 2 selections you have available. Being a 9000, it fits naturally into any Granblue deck since they all run appropriate boosters. Even better is that it has the ability to become 11000 and either hit any English vanguard alone, or be boosted by your starting vanguard or Cutlass—as has been mentioned multiple times in the article. Just ignore Stormride Ghost Ship because she exists.

The most important key feature of her though, is that she has the option of doing it or not. So you won't be stuck milling through your deck when you don't want to or when the trigger phasing is out of sync. We'll just ignore Greed Shade since Granblue rarely will have more cards in hand than the opponent, but Undead Pirate of the Frigid Night will work as an okay replacement to Ruin Shade until you can afford the cost of all those RRRs. As for Evil shade, it's a pretty good booster and doesn't un-sync your triggers given that you have to mill 3. It's also nice if you play Ruin Shade and Guiding Zombie and just don't care what ends up in the drop so long as there's a huge selection very early on. That's essentially the reason you run Evil Shade—not for it's 10000 boosting power since most Granblue decks just plain don't  need it. Cocytus can hit stage 3 as of the Late game, which is good enough. Deadly Swordmaster does benefit decently if you're running a build that actually rides him as a main, but more often than not you won't want to pay to use the skill each turn, making him a deadweight 6000 booster. Once again, the exception to the rule is Basskirk, who pretty much always benefits.

No comment.
Did they mean Necromarl? Nope. That's his actual name. ネグロマール. Ne-Gu-Ro-Maa-Ru. Well then. So apparently he's the black witch doctor.

You may notice some artistic and mechanical similarities between Negromarl and Cocytus. But the similarities end pretty quickly. Negromarl sports an abysmal (get it?) 8000 power. The lowest of all the Grade 3 cards. This means, once again, that it pretty much only works in Basskirk. Even if you want to run full reanimator, this guy just isn't a good idea. Sure, he is a blatant +1, absolutely. Except that in most decks, you just don't have the room for Romario, making Negromarl a -1 anyway.

If he were Grade 2, this would be amazing since you could at least intercept next turn. Unfortunately, no opponent is stupid enough to just attack him and let you facilitate a field change-up because they know he's going to make bad columns for you. As usual, you can consider him a tech in at 1 in some decks, but for the most part I wouldn't recommend it. Once you have like a billion techs, your entire deck just becomes one giant mass of convoluted situational garbage. It's best to use him where he really shines: Basskirk soul abuse. Since that deck has plenty of free counterblasts and even runs Romario. Keep in mind, when you do actually have Romario to boost Negromarl, he's a true +1 for Counterblast 2, which is usually what we see in this game (a la, Berserk Dragon, Blaster Blade, etc). There's one very important feature of this card that you probably did not notice. His only clan requirement is that you have the Granblue vanguard. Think about it. Not the drop zone target. Just the vanguard has to be Granblue. So if you were thinking of crossing Granblue with some other deck, you should really consider Negromarl for it.

Now it's time for like a million deck lists.

Cocytus Reanimator Deadly Exceed
Grade 0: 20
  • 1 Guiding Zombie. Starting Vanguard. Mostly just keep this card on another rear-guard circle so that Ruin Shade or Deadly Swordmaster can use it. If you somehow have no targets for Cocytus by the time his ride comes up, you might have to use him.
  • 4 Knight Spirit. First Critical Trigger.
  • 4 Rough Seas Banshee. Second Critical Trigger. You mostly won't use the effect unless you're in a bind or can go for Final Turn.
  • 4 Ghoul Cannonball. Third Critical Trigger. Granblue benefits greatly from this wholly offensive set up. If you want, you can exchange 2 Cannonball for 2 Hades Steersman in case you want the +1s so long as you can set it up. Additionally, you can run 4 Hook Arm Zombie for draws, but in general, you want as much guard as possible and as many critical as possible.
  • 4 Rick the Ghostie/Doctor Rouge. Heal Trigger.
  • 3 Chappie the Ghostie. Running at least three is completely necessary for the deck to even function, unless you don't plan on properly using Cocytus or you just want to let chance do it for you. It's not as necessary as some builds to run 4, but you can if you remove a tech.
Grade 1: 12
  • 4 Gust Jinn. Staple perfect guard
  • 3 Deadly Nightmare.
  • 3 Samurai Spirit.
  • 2 Dancing Cutlass. Use only if you can afford the 2 soul. Usually you can, but soul is rather limited in this build.
Grade 2: 10
  • 3 Deadly Spirit.
  • 4 Ruin Shade. Put in front of 5000 boosters.
  • 3 Three Star Chef, Pietro. Try to use his skill a few times to make up for Cocytus. Not necessary, but we have a lot of room in our Grade 2 lineup.
Grade 3: 8
  • 3 Ice Prison Necromancer, Cocytus. Required for the deck to function. Unlike most decks, you do not actually have to ride this ASAP. Hence the reason for 3 copies and not 4. It's not always beneficial since your drop may not be set up yet. Better to wait and minus a card than waste a Cocytus and then minus a card. Riding Deadly Swordmaster is perfectly fine.
  • 1 Dragon Undead Skull Dragon. Backup for when the opponent has a 10k vanguard. Use Chappie if your cocytus and boosters are already set up.
  • 1 Spirit Exceed. It may seem odd but it's actually a really great tech given that you already have its requirements in high number and a chappie. Sometimes you can pull this off. Otherwise, no harm done, just call it and swap using the Granblue drop toolbox.
  • 3 Deadly Swordmaster. Mostly use as a vanilla defensive vanguard or attacking rear-guard. If you absolutely must, then you can superior ride.
Grade 0: 21
  • 1 Captain Nightkid. Starting Vanguard. You can run Guiding Zombie, but Nightkid ensures you get an Exceed in the drop more likely.
  • 4 Knight Spirit. First Critical Trigger.
  • 4 Rough Seas Banshee. Second Critical Trigger. You mostly won't use the effect unless you're in a bind or can go for Final Turn.
  • 2 Ghoul Cannonball. Third Critical Trigger. You can run 2 Hook Arm Zombie for draws, but in general, you want as much guard as possible and as many critical as possible.
  • 2 Hades Steersman. Stand Trigger. Use to help make up the minuses of the superior ride much earlier, which cause it to turn into a raw +1 within one turn. Make sure you swap him for a better booster from the drop.
  • 4 Rick the Ghostie/Doctor Rouge. Heal Trigger.
  • 4 Chappie the Ghostie. Running 4 is necessary. You HAVE to get Spirit Exceed in the drop for this deck to work. If your mulligan is ass, then at least get Swordmaster in and try for the Deadly instead.
Grade 1: 13
  • 4 Gust Jinn. Staple perfect guard
  • 3 Deadly Nightmare.
  • 4 Samurai Spirit.
  • 2 Dancing Cutlass. You should be able to afford these at just about any time due to Exceed's mad soul charging.
Grade 2: 10
  • 4 Deadly Spirit.
  • 4 Ruin Shade. Put in front of 5000 boosters.
  • 2 Three Star Chef, Pietro. Not necessary, but we have a lot of room in our Grade 2 lineup. If you want, you can just use 2 Commodore Blueblood. You probably won't use 5 counterblasts, but it's here just in case. The only advantage to Blueblood over this is that he can hit a 10k alone.
Grade 3: 6
  • 3 Spirit Exceed. Required for the deck to function. Only running as many as 3 because the deck needs Nightkid to be reliable most of the time. At 2 copies, Nightkid only has just over 2/5 chance to get him, and with 3 has almost 3/5 chance, then you have Chappies. You can run 2 and stick in another Cutlass/Deadly Nightmare/Undead Skull dragon. Usually it's better to stick with the 3 Exceed, however. You don't really want to draw him to normal ride.
  • 3 Deadly Swordmaster. Mostly use as a vanilla defensive vanguard or attacking rear-guard. If you absolutely must, then you can superior ride. You can also remove 1 for Undead Skull Dragon if you find you need the tech.

BDSM Abuse (Basskirk's Deadly Soul Management) Standblue
Grade 0: 18
  • 1 Guiding Zombie. Starting Vanguard. You can use Nightkid, it probably doesn't matter. Mostly, the reason for Guiding by default is that you want to guarantee the use of Negromarl, which is much more important than Nightkid.
  • 4 Knight Spirit. First Critical Trigger.
  • 4 Rough Seas Banshee. Second Critical Trigger. Don't be shy about the effect in this deck. You'll more than make up for the loss in shield when Basskirk is letting you get mad plusses and cycle well.
  • 4 Ghoul Cannonball. Third Critical Trigger. It's actually dangerous to run draws in this deck since you could end up decking out. Plus aggression is very good for it.
  • 4 Rick the Ghostie/Doctor Rouge. Heal Trigger.
  • 1 Chappie the Ghostie. Not super necessary, but it can help. Should be considered a tech in this deck. But it's probably the only reliable way of getting your lesser-copied cards in the drop.
Grade 1: 14
  • 4 Gust Jinn. Staple perfect guard
  • 2 Deadly Nightmare.
  • 1 Samurai Spirit.
  • 4 Dancing Cutlass. Spam the HELL out of this.
  • 3 Dandy Guy Romario. Vanilla booster for use with Nightmist and Negromarl. Also Basskirk if the opponent has a 10k vanguard.
Grade 2: 10
  • 4 Deadly Spirit.
  • 4 Ruin Shade. Put in front of cutlasses. They're precious until you can trade the cutlasses out, so try not to waste Ruin Shades.
  • 2 Captain Nightmist. With the exception of Negromarl, you'll have a lot of free counterblasts to use this card.
Grade 3: 8
  • 4 King of Demonic Seas, Basskirk. Ride ASAP and you pretty much never need to ride again. Extra Basskirks can be used for perfect fodder or as fodder for boosters, interceptors, and Skull Dragon.
  • 1 Dragon Undead Skull Dragon. You can easily afford to use this every turn in this deck due to the plussing. Put in front of Romario for essentially a Palamedes.
  • 1 Witch Doctor of the Abyss, Negromarl. Just one because you never want to get stuck riding this, and you probably can't afford using both and keeping up with Skull Dragon unless you plan to somehow fit Pietros in the deck. Make sure you put Romario behind it. In fact, Negromarl can even set up his own column if Romario is in the drop.
  • 2 Deadly Swordmaster/Fencing Master Nightstorm. This one is really your choice. I personally run Deadly Swordmaster since missing Basskirk likely means I'm riding whatever else I get. If it has to be something, I'd rather it be a good defender. Nightstorm is great if your opponent has a 10k vanguard. Put these in front of Cutlasses until they can be traded in. You can drop this down to 1 copy safely and put another Deadly Spirit, Nightmist, Samurai Spirit, or Romario in if you like.
Grade 0: 20
  • 1 Guiding Zombie. Starting Vanguard. Don't run Nightkid as it screws Cocytus.
  • 4 Skeleton Lookout. First Stand Trigger.
  • 4 Hades Steersman. Second Stand Trigger. Use to help make up the minuses of the ride , which causes Cocytus to turn into a raw +1 within one turn. Make sure you swap him for a better booster from the drop.
  • 4 Knight Spirit. Critical Trigger. Interestingly, you can run this, which increases your defense, threat level, and screws with your opponent hard. If you choose to run Hook Arm Zombie for draws instead, that's fine but remove Spirit Exceed tech for something else like another Thanatos or a Nightstorm.
  • 4 Rick the Ghostie/Doctor Rouge. Heal Trigger.
  • 3 Chappie the Ghostie. Running 3 just like the other Cocytus build.
Grade 1: 12
  • 4 Gust Jinn. Staple perfect guard
  • 3 Deadly Nightmare.
  • 3 Samurai Spirit.
  • 2 Dancing Cutlass. Use sparingly.
Grade 2: 10
  • 3 Deadly Spirit.
  • 3 Ruin Shade. Put in front of 5000 boosters. Great as a stand target since it can hit 11k.
  • 4 Three Star Chef, Pietro. Try to use his skill a few times to make up for Cocytus. This one is pretty much necessary since you're not getting far for Thanatos without him.
Grade 3: 8
  • 3 Ice Prison Necromancer, Cocytus. Required for the deck to function. Only running as many as 3 for the same reason as Cocytus Reanimator. Try to ride only this card as riding Thanatos is usually bad. You can also run 4 of Cocytus and 2 Thanatos if you want to increase the chances of riding, but then your opponent can shut your deck's Winning Image down pretty hard by killing Thanatos.
  • 3 Death Seeker, Thanatos. Really, don't count on this guy hitting like ever. But if you manage to get a stand trigger and he does hit, it's pretty nice since you can swap him out and keep attacking with something like the Skull Dragon. It can be pretty devastating of a combo. Alternatively, target a booster if you need one. The deck usually has no shortage of attackers to lay down next turn as replacement for Thanatos.
  • 1 Dragon Undead Skull Dragon. As usual.
  • 1 Spirit Exceed. Yet another Spirit Exceed tech since you basically have everything you need. If you ran draw triggers instead, replace with Thanatos, Nightstorm, or Deadly Swordmaster.

Wharrrgarbl Bizarroblue (Extreme budget deck)
Grade 0: 21
  • 1 Captain Nightkid. Starting Vanguard. Do NOT use the skill if you are having to use the Monster Frank route during a game. Only use his skill for the other Superior Rides. There's a very high chance of getting any given superior ride in the drop with him.
  • 4 Rough Seas Banshee. First Critical Trigger. Can use Hook Arm Zombie for draws instead since this deck wants lots of card advantage and rushdown. However, rough seas works just as well since its skill also allows cycling through the deck to help rushdowns.
  • 4 Hades Steersman. Stand Trigger. Use to help make up the minuses of the ride. If you want to make the deck a real mindfuck, run 2 draw triggers, 3 Hades Steersman, and 3 Rough Seas Banshees.  If it's the first time your opponent fights this deck, it can throw them off one or two turns, which can help you just long enough to get ahead.
  • 4 Knight Spirit. Critical Trigger. Required for the Spirit Exceed route.
  • 4 Rick the Ghostie/Doctor Rouge. Heal Trigger.
  • 4 Chappie the Ghostie. Any less than 4 and this deck is dead in the water.
Grade 1: 14
  • 4 Gust Jinn. Staple perfect guard
  • 4 Deadly Nightmare. Deadly Swordsman route. Bear in mind, this is a rushdown deck. Don't be shy calling boosters in front of boosters to get early damage. Just swap them for interceptors in the drop later.
  • 4 Samurai Spirit. Spirit Exceed route.
  • 2 Dancing Cutlass.
Grade 2: 11
  • 4 Deadly Spirit. Deadly Swordmaster route.
  • 3 Ruin Shade. Goes in front of Nightkid if you don't use his skill this game. Stand target for Steersman if it's checked.
  • 4 Skeleton Demon World Knight. Cocytus route only. Otherwise, use as a vanilla rushdown.
Grade 3: 4
  • 1 Ice Prison Necromancer, Cocytus. One possible route. Only choose if: You go second AND you get his Grade 2 in time. You can use chappies and Nightkids to set up the rest.
  • 1 Spirit Exceed. One possible route. Highest priority route in the deck. Choose any time you can.
  • 1 Deadly Swordmaster. One possible route. Only choose if: You have no other route to follow (except Monster Frank of course) and you did get the Deadly requirements.
  • 1 Monster Frank. The lowest priority superior ride route in your deck. Only choose if you get a dead hand. Absolutely under no circumstances should you use Nightkid's effect before superior riding Monster Frank. Taking 3 damage before Grade 3 is bad enough, but 4 is pushing it even in a rushdown deck. If you get this card or Exceed in the opening hand, mulligan them away. Only keep Cocytus or Swordmaster and ONLY if you can't superior something else with ease.

Estimated Deck Cost (in order): $120 / $105 / $120 / $113 / $80
Closing Notes: Basically, get everything from Cool Stuff Inc. Every Granblue deck starts with a base of $36 for the perfect guards and then goes up from there. Ruin Shade is staple in every deck and most run 4. She's $10, so save up. Granblue's costs have sunk like a ship since Set 6's launch, so get them while they're one of the best decks for cost-to-effectiveness ratio. The most expensive versions go for $120, and that's about the average price of an average Vanguard deck.

Now a little something about each build and who they're recommended for:
Cocytus Reanimator - Great for someone wanting to commit to Granblue wholly. It works like a normal aggressive deck and takes moderate skill to execute well.
Deadly Exceed - Very cheap for the Granblue enthusiast. Requires a well-working knowledge of Granblue and above average technical skills, due to deciding how to pull off the main features of the deck. Extremely strong rushdown capabilities if you go first.
BDSM - Specifically included for the Basskirk enthusiast. Lets you use a lot of underused cards as well as being quite fun. Requires more skill than most other Vanguard decks, but less than most Granblue.
Standblue - High skill required due to the odd mechanics. Only fit for those that love standing decks or want a fresh take on Cocytus Reanimator. Otherwise only suggested for Granblue enthusiasts.
Wharrrgarbl Bizarroblue - Pretty much only recommended for people with extreme levels of skill who want a challenge. It's also the cheapest of all the decks and can usually be made with what you have collecting dust in your trade binder. If you're new to Vanguard, don't play this unless you are a masochist. If you're new to Granblue, don't play this unless you're a masochist or want to get really good at Granblue really fast. You have to learn how to pick a superior ride "route" early on. The point of this deck is to make the opponent think "What the fuck I going on?" while you're busy stomping their guts out.

Pirates can be resurrected any number of times.
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