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Blue Dragon: A different shade of Kantai Collection | Triple Crown

Blue Dragon: A different shade of Kantai Collection January 10, 2016

Kantai is one of the Weiss Schwarz sets that seems to have a single superior build over all other options. Kantai deck skeletons more or less follow the following skeleton:

4 Akagi-class Aircraft Carrier, Akagi-Kai
3 2nd Yamato-class Battleship, Musashi

4 “Faithful” Destroyer, Верный
3 Compass

4 A Winter Moment, Akatsuki
4 2nd Akatsuki-class Destroyer, Hibiki
3 7th Kagero-class Destroyer, Hatsukaze
3 Clumsy Girl, Inazuma

4 Akagi of the First Carrier Division is up next!

18 Open Slots (4 climaxes)

Most people opt to run Shimakaze and her support cards, which takes up about another 10-12 cards.

This is nice and all, consistent with enough variation for tech options, and certainly showcases the strongest that Kantai has to offer. Akagi + Musashi is one of the best endgames in Weiss Schwarz, anti-heal alongside cheap advantage engines and searchability makes GY Kantai hard to beat and the highlight choice for Kantai players. But that doesn’t mean this build is necessarily without its issues.

Problem 1: GY Kantai has very low field presence. Not that field is important in Weiss Schwarz, but the fact that Verniy (Верный) is only 6500 power with backrow and Shimakaze is even weaker can be an issue at times. Shimakaze is great because she gets advantage when she reverses stuff but she herself is liable to being reversed and taken advantage of in the same exact way.

Problem 2: GY Kantai has actually nothing to do at level 2. Again, this isn’t technically important because all you really want to do at level 2 is not waste extraneous resources so you can dump it all at level 3 for Kantai’s classic 1-turn push. But there are times when you just happen to be locked in at level 2 with nothing to do but be very sad as your opponent sets up on you. Kantai isn’t the only deck that can kill people from afar, and getting an extra turn to prepare against Akagi clockkick makes the deck function a lot worse.

What can we do about this?

Enter the Blue Dragon
Let me introduce another carrier.

Soryu-class Aircraft Carrier, Soryu-Kai-Ni. A sister aircraft carrier to Akagi from a later line, Soryu was launched a full decade after her senpai Akagi. Named “Blue Dragon”, Soryu was instrumental during the bombing of Pearl Harbor and various battles of the Dutch Indies campaign. And just like Akagi, she was sunk in the famous battle of Midway.

What Soryu brings is another powerful late-game trump card. While Akagi uses the opponent’s board as extra damage, Soryu disregards whatever your opponent’s board looks like. Soryu’s climax combo gives her an additional “The character facing this card gets -1 soul” effect on top of her continuous one, making Soryu a veritable wall that stops most damage from coming through. Losing 2 soul on the offense means that only triggering or playing climaxes can get damage through reliably and restanders are considerably weakened. A 3-soul restander that could normally hit 3-3 damage will only swing for 1-1 without triggers. Basically, Soryu buys extra turns while pushing out additional damage through climax combos.

Soryu is about flexibility. When you play Akagi, you want to end the game that very turn. And when that doesn’t happen, you have a real chance of being killed on the runback. On the other hand, playing Soryu buys more turns so that you don’t necessarily have to end the game right then and there. You can extend the level 3 game more turns and force your opponent into increasingly worse situations. Soryu still works with the finishing power of Musashi, but complements it with a strong defensive presence. While you could possibly describe Akagi as a “win-more” combo, Soryu definitely classifies herself as “lose-less”.

If we were to make the comparison between Soryu and Akagi alone, Akagi wins no-contest. Being able to draw more cards at level 3 adds consistency to the endgame, and Akagi’s gold bar climax means missing the Akagi combo is very difficult. On the other hand Soryu scrys (look at top card, leave it or bottom-deck it) and doesn’t draw which means you need to have the cards you need in your hand already. Additionally, book climaxes are harder to get into hand and possibly require you to hold onto them for a long time. Soryu also gets less power and doesn’t do more damage. So why would you ever choose Soryu over Akagi? The answer is in the color differences.

In Soryu decks you can tap into Kantai’s oft-overlooked blue color, which features some really strong options that both green and yellow lack. 1/0/6500 vanillas, 1/1/2500 counters, and 1/1 +500 and encore supports are just the tip of the iceberg. They supplement the typical Kantai skeleton with what it lacks: strong level 1 presence and playable level 2 options. Ultimately, BGY Kantai is a deck that aims to round out all its rough edges and present a deck that does just about everything.

4 Soryu-class Aircraft Carrier, Soryu-Kai-Ni
3 2nd Yamato-class Battleship, Musashi
2 2nd Nagato-class Battleship, Mutsu

3 4th Myoko-class Heavy Cruiser, Haguro-Kai-Ni

3 “Faithful” Destroyer, Верный
3 Ressuply Vessel, Taigei
2 3rd Myoko-class Heavy Cruiser, Ashigara
2 Newly Constructed Repair Ship, Akashi-Kai
3 Compass

4 A Winter Moment, Akatsuki
3 2nd Akatsuki-class Destroyer, Hibiki
3 Clumsy Girl, Inazuma
3 7th Kagero-class Destroyer, Hatsukaze
2 4th Asashio-class Destroyer, Arashio
2 Obstinate Class Leader, Shiratsuyu-Kai

4 Attack force, head out now~!
4 Haguro of The Fifth Squadron, heading out!

Let’s look at the new cards added from the blue color and how they fit into the deck.

Starting at level 0, we have 2 copies of Arashio and 2 copies of Shiratsuyu-Kai. Arashio is a great utility card, giving players on-play scry and pay 1 draw-ditch on the same body. She’s useful at all stages of the game, but particularly near the lategame. When you scry with Soryu and see the book you need, you can use Arashio to draw into it. This is the main reason Arashio is a better option in this deck than Murasame. Decks that need to draw into important climaxes/events want Arashio, while decks that need to grab combo characters want Murasame.

Shiratsuyu-Kai is a good draw brainstorm that also can mill and run at the cost of exploding, sending herself to the waiting room if she misses. Instead of treating this as a minus, look to see if you can utilize this in the matchup. For example, against decks that want to reverse your characters at level 1 you can put this in the front row and pop her while maintaining a strong front with your other characters.

At level 1, Taigei and Verniy become the crux of your frontline, sporting 6500 and 6000 power alone. Back it up with a Hatsukaze global +500 power and an Akashi-Kai support +500. Akashi-Kai also gives hand encore to the characters in front of it, meaning that Kantai’s level 1 game now has stability and reach. The final piece of the puzzle is Ashigara 1/1/2500 splittable counters. This allows you to threaten 9000-10000 power on each of your front row slots, making it difficult for your opponent to reverse more than 1 character. This hampers a lot of decks that take advantage of weaker level 1 games (you can see for yourself in the mirror match). Best of all, all your front-row characters are still costless so you won’t be countered by the many wind triggers in the current meta.

Level 2 is where the fun begins. Haguro-Kai-Ni lends herself to some very interesting and impactful synergies in this deck. First, her blue gate combo allows you to search your deck for characters on climax drop. This acts as blue’s Shimakaze clone and is a plus if you can get 2 or more Haguro out. You have to pay 1 stock to play Haguro and you do it a level later, but Haguro’s combo doesn’t require reversing and is on a much better climax. Her second combo is an on-field 3K counter. When another character is being front attacked, you can pay the cost of sending Haguro to your waiting room to give that character +3000 power.

There are three important things to note here:

  • Haguro can activate this ability even if she’s reversed
  • When Haguro uses this ability, you can encore her back to stage in the rest position
  • Haguro’s effect doesn’t count as a Counter so you can play Ashigara in addition to using Haguro’s effect
  • You need Akashi-Kai behind Haguro in order to make the most of the second effect, but basically Haguro threatens +3000 on your entire front-row and Haguro herself can be 11000 after an Ashigara counter. If your opponent is reverses a Haguro before attacking another character, you can use Haguro to buff that character without losing out on anything. And by discarding a character from your hand to encore her, Haguro effectively makes every character you have in hand a costless 3K counter. Haguro makes sure your opponent can’t freely set up at level 2 and even threatens some early-play level 3 cards while getting advantage and damage with her combo.

    Level 3 has Mutsu to help dig for climaxes and other important cards like Compass. Since your backrow doesn’t rest, you can also use Mutsu effect to scry. Between Soryu, Mutsu, and Arashio you can look at a lot of your next draws and get the important ones to hand.

    Why didn’t you consider…

    Mikuma: easily blown away by wind triggers which are popular at the moment. When wind triggers are less prominent Mikuma is very strong, almost no deck can deal with 2/1/10500 with hand encore at level 1 without bouncing it away. Since it gets the marker back when you encore it simply killing it once is not an option. When the meta shifts away from yellow Mikuma will be the first thing back in.

    Suzuya: suffers from the same issues as Mikuma and the change is actually more expensive, requires both the climax and the change target in hand. If you use Suzuya you also can’t use Haguro without making both less consistent.

    Zuiho anti-overlevel counter: Haguro makes early-play a risky move already and uses less resources.

    Hiryu-Kai-Ni: Haguro is a less stock-expensive option at level 2, is less susceptible to wind triggers and can gain advantage through climax combo. Hiryu-Kai-Ni is also a dead card at level 3 since you’d rather have any of the other level 3’s out.

    Murasame: See Arashio’s discussion above.

    Akashi (not Kai): Actually a possible replacement for Akashi-Kai if you don’t care about Haguro synergies. Global +500 power and pay 2 search on a costless character is very good.

    Yudachi 0-1 combo: It’s cute but hard-casting the level 1 Yudachi is expensive, Taigei offers similar power and for free. Also level 0 real estate is expensive, you have to be at least as good as Arashio to be considered.

    How are the matchups like?

    BGY Kantai holds up better against the mirror match, Fate, Nisekoi, while having about the same performance as GY against SwordArt, Madoka, and Love Live. I think the only matchup that is outright worse is against Fairy Tail, but that’s because the level 1 Natsu is good. The main tradeoff is a less offensively powerful level 3 game for more defensive options at all stages of the game. So while it may not be a huge difference against burn effects like Sinon or Akatsuki, it renders cancel burns like Saber and restanders like Levi rather ineffective.

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