I Heard You Like Dragons…

Vermilion Bloodlines has certainly delivered a number of new power house archetypes that all have format changing implications, but with just a handful of cards being spoiled the Shadow Dragons archetype received even more juice allowing it to maintain its tier 1 status. In fact, the crux of the deck was that you had a lot of filler slots and overall the deck needed to have Ball 1 on turn 1 to create its most optimal lines of play, this set fixed both of those issues.

***Shout-outs to Chris Welch for making both “Boiz” and “The Juice” some of the most used phrases in my repertoire***

The List

Shenron’s Lair Deck List

Embracing the Nature of Vermilion Bloodlines

As you have all read, hopefully, by now overall deck consistency and the ability to execute your game-plan as quickly as possible is the key to success in this upcoming format. Game 1’s are more so decided by who establishes their engine first, versus the old formats where it really came down to adjustments in the middle parts of the game and who drew their more powerful cards more often.

Syn Shenron was a powerhouse in series 10 due to its ability to punish the fair decks, whereas the fast decks truly could punish a draw where Syn Shenron didn’t open ball 1. This changes with the release of series 11 and the introduction of Eis Shenron, the Cryomancer. Eis Shenron is a card that provides 2 modes: he either acts as a more expensive Crusher Ball or, more importantly, you can use his [Activate: Main] to pay a yellow, discard him, and then play a Shadow Dragon that costs 1. This means that now your deck contains 4 additional copies of whatever ball you want for a single energy. We all know the deck needs ball 1 on turn 1, and now we have 8 copies to mulligan for to get our engine online.

Overall, the Naturon and Eis Shenron cards don’t match the power level of Syn and Haze so it is hard to justify devoting more slots to them, instead I run 2 copies of the new promo, Surprise Attack Naturon Shenron, as an additional dragon that we can revive that can be impactful both offensively and defensively if we’re forced to pass the turn back.

Sideboard Considerations

3x Max Power Kamehameha – Gotenks and Gogeta: Br match-up
3x Dark Power Black Masked Saiyan – Vegeks and Red Broly: Br, Obuni
2x Final Flash – Invoker, Gogeta: Br
2x Released from Evil – Reboot Gohan, Gogeta: Br, Red Broly: Br
2x Mechikabura, the Broken Seal – Invoker, Blue, Gotenks, & mirror
2x Fu, Shrouded in Mystery – Invoker & mirror
1x Flying Nimbus – Aggro

VS Gogeta: Br

-2x Naturon Shenron
-1x Swift Retaliation Cooler
+3x Max Power Kamehameha: to kill Gogeta 6

-1x Mechikabura Unison
-1x Flying Nimbus
+2x Final Flash: to turn off Gogeta 6 and combine with Haze Shenron

-1x Vegeta, Prideful Transformation
-1x Eis Shenron
+2x Released from Evil: to turn off Gogeta 6 when we need to protect our board

VS Red Broly: Br

-2x Naturon Shenron
-1x Swift Retaliation Cooler
+3x Dark Power Black Masked Saiyan: to counteract Vampa and free playing Ba/Paragus

-1x Mechikabura Unison
+1x Flying Nimbus

-1x Vegeta, Prideful Transformation
-1x Eis Shenron
+2x Released from Evil: to turn off Swap

VS Vegeks

-2x Naturon Shenron
-1x Swift Retaliation Cooler
+3x Dark Power Black Masked Saiyan: to help counteract free play

-1x Mechikabura Unison
+1x Flying Nimbus

VS Invoker

-2x Naturon Shenron
+2x Mechikabura, the Broken Seal: [Deflect], can keep them off of their finishers to delay the game

-4x Zarbon
+2x Fu, Shrouded in Mystery: to close the game once we delay it with Mechikabura
+2x Final Flash: the ability to turn off Invoker on an aggressive turn

VS Blue

-2x Naturon Shenron
+2x Mechikabura, the Broken Seal: to keep them off of Obuni, Turning the Tide, and Baby 5

-1x Zarbon
-1x Eis Shenron
-1x Vegeta, Prideful Transformation
+3x Dark Power Black Masked Saiyan: to keep them off of Obuni

VS Reboot Gohan

-1x Mechikabura Unison
-1x Vegeta, Prideful Transformation
+2x Released from Evil

-1x Eis Shenron
+1x Flying Nimbus

VS Gotenks

-1x Naturon Shenron
-1x Eis Shenron
+2x Max Power Kamehameha: additional way to handle Gotenks 6 and keep them off of Successor 12

-1x Swift Retaliation Cooler
-1x Naturon Shenron
+2x Mechikabura, the Broken Seal: keeping them off of Gotenks 6 at any point in the game derails what their deck needs to do

Conclusion

Ultimately, I am very excited for where Syn Shenron sits heading into the upcoming format. The deck is linear but with tons of room for the pilot to adjust to a given match-up, has the ability to make changes post board without sacrificing consistency, and overall checks all the boxes in terms of power level when compared to the new decks coming in. I am also excited to see your thoughts on the list, sideboard considerations, and your own match-up experiences with the deck. Happy testing <3.

#scrubfamisbestfam #KTHXBAAAIIIIIIII

A Raider’s Last Warcry

Great Ape Bardock, Raider's Warcry | TrollAndToad

With Draft Box 4 came the introduction of, for the time, the best battle card the game had ever seen. Great Ape Bardock, Raider’s Warcry offered a two energy, 20k double striker, that tapped something, drew a card, and was played during the combo step which at the time would take yellow from not only the best color in the game, but instead the most oppressive as time would continue on. Yellow Broly leader would be errata’d, but then shortly after the release of Series 8, Surgeku would be released and the game would never be the same… until the introduction of Series 10.

Unisons and Scaling

With the release of Rise of the Unison Warrior came a new normal – being on the play, with a Unison was the best thing you could be doing. A Unison basically has Deflect and Barrier, and once on the field provides additional actions per turn, virtual/actual card advantage, a threat that requires multiple efforts to be dispatched, and they enable free interaction. This amount of value for your energy is unlike anything we have ever seen in the Dragon Ball Super Card Game, and with this new shift in scaling at the two energy slot Raider’s Warcry went from being good all of the time, to being good in very specific spots: turn 2 on the play and turn 2 on the draw if your opponent doesn’t have access to removal. Even then you’re going to point your Warcry attacks at the opposing player’s Unison, which allows the game to continue on longer and cause it to be out-scaled anyway. Lastly, Unisons have also made the combo step more difficult to prey upon as your opponent can remove your ability to combo entirely by pointing their attacks at your Unison. You of course have the option forgo the use of Unisons, but see the point above where I talk about how much a Unison is worth compared to a Battle Card.

The Increase of Power and Losing Tempo

Alongside the introduction of Unisons making the application of Raider’s Warcry much more narrow, the card in general has become much worse on defense due to how powerful battle cards are becoming earlier in the game. If your leader is unawakened and facing down a 20k attack, you’re having to combo Raider’s plus an additional card to defend the attack. Yes, Raider’s will replace itself but as you’re aware, the minus 1 over time always takes a toll as the game continues to scale; let us not forget the introduction of an entire archetype built around free 30k’s heading into Series 11.

Along with that increase of power causing Raider’s to be worse, the game is becoming much more tempo based. Not doing something powerful on your turn for a chance to leave up two energy for Raider’s Warcry is such a feel bad in this new world. Just think about how energy intensive and powerful these new archetypes have ended up being, and now think about ever leaving up more than 1 energy on your turns… it feels so bad. 1 energy has become so powerful due to the introduction of floodgates and tapping out with a Unison while holding up a free counter: play is just so much better than leaving two open or actually committing to spend that two energy on an ape.

The Power of Negates and the Need for Floodgates

Above we referenced the increase of power when it comes to Battle Cards, this simple fact has led to a higher reliance on negates as opposed to the combo step to stave off attacks. In fact, if a player combos multiple cards as opposed to negating the attack it is actually a sign of weakness that the opposing player will then prey upon. With the increase of negates, combined with the impact of Unisons, the overall number of combo steps is drastically reduced; this makes Raider’s Warcry a huge liability.

With the importance of negates skyrocketing, and the new, powerful engines producing an abundance of huge attacks, floodgates become a necessary evil. A floodgate for 3 or less energy is just so much better than trying to leverage a Raider’s Warcry to potentially stop an attack or two; it just isn’t good enough in the world we live in now. Why just stop a small number of attacks when you can stop an entire turn? There is honestly no reason to try and leverage your two energy in a fashion where you’re only taking small steps when you need to be taking leaps.

The Original Raider’s Warcry

Scrambling Assault Son Goten (Event Pack 02 2018 Version) - P-062_PR -  Dragon Ball Super CCG Singles » Dragon Ball Super Promos - Carta Magica

Not the same card by any means, but Goten was once the best Battle Card in the game; so much so that he was added to the ban list during the time of “Storm”. With the recent unbanning of Goten a lot of players have already began to start brewing new decks featuring Successor of Hope, Adoptive Father Son Gohan, Goten, etc. I even joined in by testing Goten with Galactic Frieza leader from series 1 so that my Goten would have built-in protection. The data from the games played produced the result I had expected: the deck and the cards you’re forced to play get out-scaled so ridiculously fast by any deck playing new cards. I know that playing with Galactic Frieza isn’t exciting, but even if you port over the cards into yellow Gotenks you’ll run into the same scaling problem.

There is hope in some brews I have been seeing with Reboot Gohan leader that try to mimic “Storm”, but ultimately those decks will fade away due to the information we have gone over here today. Shout-outs to the folks in our discord for some neat lists. Be sure to check out the contact page so you can join if you haven’t already.

Conclusion

It is so important now more than ever to pay attention to the details of your testing. Games have the ability to scale so fast that every energy and card used on a given turn needs to be given additional thought. Deciding what to charge, what play to commit to, how much defense is needed, and what your opponent can do require more attention now than they have in the past due to the power level increases. In series 10 games on average would be decided by turn 4.5/5, in series 11 it is looking closer to 3.5/4 which is quite a difference if you really begin to think about it. To clarify a bit, I am speaking of the turn in which a game starts becoming overwhelming tilted to one side, not necessarily when the game is actually over. Take sometime over the next few weeks and try to spend more time on these more micro types of decisions, I am certain it will do a ton of good in your overall development heading into the release of Vermilion Bloodlines. Happy testing ❤

#scrubfamisbestfam #KTHXBAAAIIIIIIII

Lessons Learned Pt. 2: Don’t Get Too Cute

Spending 3 straight days testing series 11 with Frisco and Jose did a lot to not only uncover some truths within the format, but additionally it radically changed how we would have to approach deck building due to the massive engines included within Vermilion Bloodlines. Not only that, but certain cards and ways of thinking just weren’t good enough anymore as we got deeper and deeper into testing. What I am about to talk about today is certainly something I have always been guilty of and I am certain others can relate as well.

At the time this article was posted, https://3xgproductions.com/2020/08/18/vermilion-bloodlines-broly-returns/, the promo Broly 1 drop had not been previewed, I tested limited games, and ultimately felt I knew better based on the games and match-ups I was playing. I was dismissive of Planet Vampa at the time, and ultimately I tried to be smart and more correct, when in fact I was wrong. The best part about going into a testing environment with others is that you get to start over, and now that we had everything previewed we could see how all of the pieces were moving together, so I went back to the basics – 4x of everything important with a hyper focus of mitigating any and all possible points of failure. This is where I ended after the weekend:

Shenron’s Lair Deck List

As you can see, there are only 7 slots ultimately that became dedicated to me being more “creative” or “smart”. I have seen builds that go further with creativity by reducing chain pieces, Unisons, etc. but in all of my experience the most powerful thing I could always do was try to abuse the Broly chains as often as possible. Sure, you could try to invest some space into Toppo, but if you leave 2 energy up on a turn, you probably lost already. You could add FDC, but is it better than using that energy to progress your chain? It is debatable, but when my mindset is “I always want to do this” then that means my deck needs to be focused on doing so. My plan to express creativity will come from the sideboard, but for the main deck I am all good on pulling off Broly more than you can/will.

3x Max Power Kamehameha for the Gogeta: Br match-up (great against Syn Shenron too)
3x Crown of Retribution for Blue match-ups to play around God-Sealing and other counters
3x Beerus Ball to counter Heroic Prospect
3x Unending Awakening in match-ups where there are more 15k attacks than 20+
3x Toppo, Righteous Aid for the Vegeks match-up

Broly happens to be the easiest, most extreme case due to it being a Series 11 deck, but how do we apply this same logic to a deck from the past to something like… Dredgeku?

Arguably the most underplayed archetype in Series 10, Dredgeku, only got better with the release of Series 11. In the previous environment lists were stretched thin to account for everything and provide enough versatility and power to be able close games. In series 11 though we have the ability to trim away all of the fat and finally get this archetype in a place where it plays an entire deck of good cards and is completely focused on maximizing every slot.

Shenron’s Lair Deck List

54 cards and I really don’t want to increase it at all. Dredgeku has always been the best deck when it comes to utilizing Unisons, so why try to dilute that? Additionally, I know that To Save a Hopeful Future was a cute package you could play, but why invest all of those slots when you have the new Lebron James of DBS with Prince of Destruction Vegeta, Prideful Warrior – he does it all!!! When you look at this deck list now as compared to lists from the past you can clearly see what this deck is trying to do: establish a Unison, tax your resources, keep the game close, and then use some combination of Bardock, Man on a Mission, Cooler, or Lebron to close the game. Is there some creativity here? Sure, but honestly not a lot. Instead we’re focused on what makes the archetype so good. Again we will flex our creativity a bit when it comes to approaching our sideboard:

1x Cooler and 3x AoD Unison for the Syn Shenron match-up
3x Max Power Kamehameha for Gotenks, Gogeta: Br, and Syn Shenron match-up
3x Dark Power Black Masked Saiyan for the Vegeks match-up
1x Ribrianne against Syn Shenron and other match-ups where you want to lean into discard more plus bring in AoD Unison
1x Saiyan Instincts for any more attrition based match-up, green mirrors, etc.
3x Arena Wrecker is great against Invoker and can be brought in against Broly: Br for added pressure/disruption

Conclusion

The biggest change from series 10 to now for me has been getting away from the old ways of thinking and instead focusing on trying to maximize the best attributes of every leader and archetype I work with. Instead of trying to force a deck into being something it isn’t due to my own biases, I instead try to lean as hard as possible into enabling the deck to be at its very best doing the most powerful things it is capable of, as much as possible. Of course as we start receiving more meta game data, we will start adjusting, but for now our focus has to be on truly maximizing these more competitive archetypes – Dont’ Get Too Cute, because ultimately with the release of Vermilion Bloodlines you’re going to be heavily rewarded for consistency in your deck building, as opposed to creativity and flexibility.

#scrubfamisbestfam #KTHXBAAAIIIIIIII

Lessons Learned Pt. 1: Always Do Your Thing

As the 3xG #scrubfam is aware, Frisco, Jose, and myself spent an entire weekend together messing around (pause) with all of the cards spoiled from Vermilion Bloodlines, and even adjusted as the new SCR’s were revealed by having access to Jose’s printer at home to get them printed to test with the moment they were revealed. Huge shout-out to Frisco getting the proxies together and another to Jose to using his work printer to get the entire set printed, and of course for being the most *accommodating* host (tilt). I can tell you that playing paper games felt so amazing and having all of the proxies ready to go made our weekend super easy and incredibly fun.

Decks we Tested

SS4 Vegeta
Red Gogeta
Red Broly
Dark Broly
Vegeks
Invoker
Dredgeku
Syn Shenron

I posted some of the lists on the Facebook group, but for sure will be diving into them in the coming weeks so you all can see what these decks looked like over the weekend and where our heads are at heading into this new environment.

The best way to truly articulate the way this format is going to look is to first look at the two decks that, quite honestly, demonstrated the highest power level overall over the weekend: Red Gogeta and Red Broly.

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The first thing that stood out about these decks is just how damn good they were at ALWAYS doing their thing. I know in previous weeks I worried about the consistency of Broly, but the promo 1 drop truly CHANGES EVERYTHING! Vampa went from being medium to absolutely snapped, and awakening turn 2 went from being a detriment to being incredibly powerful. Not to mention the overall power level of Kale Unison skyrocketed. I digress – ultimately these decks instantly became the pace setters for the rest of the decks we were playing due to their combination of overall power level plus consistency.

Gogeta operates in this space where since it has such a high level of consistency both the pilot and the opponent know for a fact that Gogeta 6 is always coming down on turn 3, this then shapes the way the entire game is forced to play out before both players even start playing. If we operate under this assumption, this means any deck that is less consistent, nor has an answer for what Gogeta is about to do is immediately removed from being within that tier. Broly is faster, just as consistent, but much more susceptible to floodgates stopping them from closing the game in time – but the opponent HAS TO HAVE IT, or they die.

As I begin to look back on older deck lists from when previews began, and even ones that folks are posting now, you can definitely see them viewing the games from a much different lens, one that honestly won’t age well into the series 11 environment due to the above powerhouses that completely shift the way that games will be played.

Do Something Powerful First, Then Stop Their Turn

When Vegeks was at the peak of his powers we often talked about how the series 10 format was defined by the floodgates available, well it seems that is the case again here in series 11, but there is a caveat to that – your deck has to also be doing something powerful and consistent enough to be able to compete turn by turn and punish the opposing player when you get the chance to stop them for multiple turns.

As you can see, there are a ton of options when deciding on what floodgates to play, the tricky part becomes choosing which ones and how many to play of each without diluting your deck’s core strategy too much. Don’t forget, Blue has Baby Hatchhyack SCR as well. If I had to rank them in any particular order:

1.) Baby Hatchhyack – stops everything, costs 0 + a card
2.) Dormant Potential Unleashed – sometimes costs 0 + a card, reduces the amount of attacks to 2
3.) Violent Rays – costs 1 + a card, conditionally can stop all but the leader and Unison attacks
4.) Heroic Prospect – costs 1 with Unison, counters are easy to access, conditionally can stop all but the leader and Unison attacks
5.) Flying Nimbus – costs 1 + a card, reduces the opponent to 3 more attacks if they control a Unison and didn’t swing with the Unison or Leader first
6.) Toppo, Righteous Aid – costs 2 + a card, counters are easy to access, opponent can attack as long as they have resources, played early enough it usually stops the turn
7.) SS4 Son Goku, Protector of the Earth – costs 5, reduces the opponent to just a leader and Unison attack if you wipe the board with the minus 2.
8.) Vegeta, Ready to Rumble – costs 4, opponent can attack as long as they’re willing to sacrifice energy
9.) Son Gohan, Baby’s Minion – costs 3, counters are easy to access, opponent can attack as long as they have resources, played early enough it usually stops the turn
10.) Is That All You’ve Got – costs 1 + a card, has a low floor, but high ceiling based on board state
11.) Protector of the People – costs 1 + a card, best against decks with smaller attackers

This means that even beginning to enter this format, you need to be selecting your deck based on the floodgates available to you alongside your deck’s ability to do something powerful and consistent enough to play with these new, more potent strategies entering the fray in series 11. This list of cards along along with the options available has led me down the path of avoiding counter: play cards completely, outside of the free ones, and not playing decks that are trying to go one for one with negates or removal in game 1 configurations. Instead I have been focusing on trying to do something powerful while dedicating between 4-10 slots on ways to derail the opponent’s turn entirely as opposed to just one for one’s.

I hate to reference old games, but Dragon Ball Super’s new pace of playing be reliant on actions/attacks per turn reminds me of both Score and PanZ trading card games. Where when these floodgate cards start to come out the decks also became so consistent and powerful that you no longer could play real blocks anymore, you would just play effects that stopped all attacks or ended combat instead. Why waste time countering each attack or countering/removing the opponent’s thing? You can just stop them from killing you and buy yourself another powerful turn.

Now that we’re starting to reach this space with the floodgates available you have to instead focus on making your deck do its powerful thing 90+% (arbitrary) of the time, then you can begin dedicating slots to addressing the rest of the decks in the format. Play Vs Draw is always important, but in series 11 it is definitely magnified in pre-board games. In game 1 you focus on doing your thing, games 2 and 3 you focus on delaying the opponent a turn or 2 if you’re on the draw, or if you’re going to be on the play you want to make sure you’re still dedicated to doing your thing, but bring in extra help to buy you another turn just in case. Often times you’ll find that this leads to a neat pattern of escalation where tension is just building and each player is forcing the opposing player to have it, then finally it snaps when one player is defenseless and the other player can capitalize.

Conclusion

Though we aren’t so far removed from series 10, we are definitely seeing the pace of games being pushed harder in series 11 which honestly is refreshing. The series 10 format was very fun due to the amount of decks available and honestly series 11 offers a similar feel so far, but with the added speed and tension that the new, more powerful archetypes provide the games all feel much more rewarding when it comes to deck construction, mulligan decisions, and your awareness of certain cards within the format. I for sure am excited for Vermilion Bloodlines to release and of course to provide more in-depth content as the format begins to develop online.

***DISCLAIMER*** Not every game will play out that way and certainly the deck construction from the general population will ultimately decide what games look like heading into series 11, this is just my observation from playing games over the weekend and what seemed to matter vs not matter. Below I am going to give you some quick takes on some competitive decks.

Blue

1.) SS4 Vegeta – the tension created by the leader and the snowball effect of Zen-Oh combined with minimal slots dedicated to floodgates plus SS4 Unison easily bridges you to the late game where you win with Turning the Tide.
2.) SS3 Reboot – probably the best deck for abusing Baby Unison and Baby 5 drop.
3.) Soul Striker – probably the 2nd best deck for abusing Baby Unison and Baby 5 drop.
4.) Baby – good in a format with aggro decks that are leader reliant or that have to commit all of their resources to trying to close a game early

Red

1.) Red Gogeta – not the fastest, but the most powerful and consistent turn 3 deck in the game
2.) Red Broly – fast, powerful, and consistent just can get hosed by defensive draws featuring multiple floodgates

Green

1.) Dredgeku – makes every match-up, aside from Syn Shenron, much closer to fair and if the deck consistently opens a Unison it is primed to win almost any match-up
2.) Gotenks – the best Cell: Xeno deck, it just happens to be hyper linear due to the size of the engine and sometimes Grim Reaper of Justice isn’t good enough (crazy, I know)
3.) Reboot Gohan – falls victim to decks with a plethora of negates and ways to shut down the turn, but Reboot Gohan leader can still win an entire game out of nowhere if the opponent doesn’t have the answer.
4.) Majin Vegeta – same syndrome as Reboot Gohan except the leader has a harder time winning the game on its own.

Yellow

1.) Syn Shenron – the best yellow deck, not close. Against any fair-ish deck Syn Shenron 4/9 just dominates games. With the preview of 2 drop Eis Shenron you’re now playing 8 copies of your best ball which doubled your overall consistency.
2.) Gotenks – if you enjoy playing fair games and need to sleeve up Raider’s Warcry, you play this deck.

Black

1.) Vegeks – the best black deck, and arguably the best deck in the format. Heading into series 11 I would probably play between 50 and 54 cards to be as consistent as possible.
2.) Dark Broly – not the best match-up spread overall, but if we see a downturn in Violent Rays, this deck has a chance to shine. The deck is powerful and rewards the pilot, it just happens to not be fast enough and falls victim to the best cards in the new format.

Multi

1.) Invoker – Violent Rays breathed new life into the archetype and outside of a few bad match-ups due to play/draw disparity if the format falls into a mid-range space, Invoker is setup to do extremely well.

#scrubfamisbestfam #KTHXBAAAIIIIIIII



SS4 Vegeta is Finally Here!!!

After a tease in Series 8, SS4 Vegeta has finally made his debut in Vermilion Bloodlines and of course has already received an overwhelming amount of attention from the DBSCG community. This attention has a lot to due with the leader’s built-in ability to ramp on both sides just by dealing damage, which definitely seems really powerful when you have the right payoffs. Series 11 certainly delivered some powerful cards, but it seems we’re still going to be reliant on some tools from the past to get the job done.

Let’s get into our list:

Click Here for Shenron’s Lair Deck List

An Argument for Bulma, Wife of the Prince + Super Blutz Wave Generator

As we all know, the “machine” tends to theorize and test hundreds, upon thousands, of iterations of decks before the best version comes to light. This statement isn’t meant to lead you to the version posted above being the best version, but really I just want to call attention to the nuance of Bulma + SBWG and how it has a much needed way of both creating urgency for the opponent and allowing you to draw more of your threats/answers more often.

Turn 1 on the play or draw, if you play Bulma, it is not only going to tutor SBWG, it activates it as well. Then, SBWG draws you a card upon activation. This means Bulma is thinning a card out of your deck, then allows you to draw an additional card. This already moves you through two cards in your deck, plus your leader swing. As you can see this small ripple has the potential to then create a butterfly effect, since now you’ve just increased your opportunity to draw the cards you need/want throughout the remainder of the game.

Additionally, once you start activating SBWG each turn, it forces the opponent to swing at your leader, otherwise you’ll self awaken. This creates urgency, which allows Vegeta to access his awakened side much quicker and we all know that’s exactly where we want to be. All of this upside, and the subsequent copies aren’t even bad to draw since Bulma either thins your deck again or SBWG acts as a simple cantrip.

The Art of Manipulation

As mentioned in the beginning the hype around SS4 Vegeta has been the fact that the leader has the built-in ability to ramp on each side, but what if I told you that sometimes just the threat of ramping is so much more powerful than actually ramping? Once you begin mastering which turns you need to ramp and which you don’t, based on a given match-up, you’ll quickly start realizing that your leader swings often trade for a card, and in some cases high value negates or combo pieces the opponent was relying on.

This threat of ramping creates a tension that usually always works in your favor and additionally gives you the ability to control the opponent’s hand size and overall defense across the course of the game. This is why Vegeta can’t be all about ramping, he has to also play a normal game as well. This reality that gets created for the opponent plus the blunt force turns with UI Kamehameha places the opponent on the back-foot to where they never truly know what your goal is, when honestly you’re just trying to keep the game going since your deck has, on average, more powerful cards.

The Setup Man

First off, this card does not need to be banned.

The role this card plays is gigantic for the overall success of this deck. Yes, ramping it out early is powerful, but honestly it just does so much work for you by providing four, relevant bodies that can pressure the opponent and take the pressure off of you when you’re trying to find more threats throughout the mid and later parts of the game.

Obuni is our setup man by acting as a boxer throwing body shots throughout the course of the game. The longer he stays on board, or the more copies you play, the more resources he eats up while you’re still heading towards the endgame.

Commence the Endgame

Commence the Endgame | War of the Spark | Standard | Card Kingdom

Upon its release you all know I could not stop gushing about Turning the Tide. The complaints about Gogeta, Hero Revived ultimately led to a ban and players then wondered if blue would ever receive a powerful “boss monster”. Turning the Tide has [Deflect], puts the opponent, and yourself to 0 cards in hand, and is a 30k [Critical] attacker – #snapped.

If Obuni is our setup man, then Turning the Tide is definitely our closer. With an established board there are few ways to survive a turn where Turning the Tide hits the table. This is the finisher ramp/control players live for.

Role-Players and Unisons

Ultra Instinct Son Goku, the Unstoppable saw a huge drop off in play once ramp strategies lost their viability. With the resurgence of ramp, along with hard to stop threats, we have the opportunity to go back to playing this card which honestly feels great in a ton of spots. The ability to get around a [Deflect] threat is so powerful and for just four energy I am more than happy to include it in our build.

Baby, Golden Avenger is definitely the most obvious inclusion. It is a [Counter: Counter] that truly negates the counter and comes into play, or has the option to be used as a [Counter: Play] for a threat cost 7 or less that then comes into play and places any opposing threat on the bottom of its owner’s deck, and draws you a card. It also has the upside of being a 30k [Triple Strike] attacker. Nuff said.

Zen-Oh is the most obvious inclusion of the two cards pictured since it does absolutely everything you could ever want in a deck as energy hungry as this one.

SS4 Son Goku, Protector of Earth on the other hand has been receiving little to no attention, which baffles me. The turn it comes down it basically shuts off any Battle Card attacks, has a ton of markers on it, and then you gain access to two amazing minus abilities. The first lets you filter by drawing two cards and then bottom decking the worst card in your hand, and the second is a minus two that bounces all of your opponent’s Battle Cards back to hand, ignoring [Barrier]. SS4 works so well in tandem with Turning the Tide as well. Let’s say on your 6th energy you play a SS4 Goku for 5 and leave an energy open. Then you trigger the [Auto] and then use the minus two ability to bounce all of their threats back to hand. Now, they can’t really attack with Battle Cards at all, you will probably have access to a God-Sealing Trunks, and then the next turn you just Turning the Tide to send all of those cards you bounced back back to the owner’s deck and start using the minus 1 ability to draw cards. THE JUICE!!!

Sideboard Talks

3x SS Gotenks, Absolute Unison – I enjoy bringing this in as a secondary 4 energy play to Obuni that gives me whatever I need more of at that time between removal or card draw. Additionally, I like to bring Gotenks in against Dredgeku as a sticky, hard to remove threat that provides pressure and utility.

2x Betrayal of the Master – With the new Gogeta 6 proving to be incredibly powerful I feel it is needed to address it somewhere in the 65 and Betrayal offers me that. Additionally, I feel it is really important to keep the deck pure, mono blue so I have no possibility of a flip being missed.. ever.

4th Bean – Season to taste. Whenever, wherever we’re meant to be together. I’ll be there and you’ll be near, and that’s the deal my dear.

3x Vegeta, Savior of the Future – Series 10 Unisons are still vulnerable to one energy double strikers.

SS2 Trunks, Heroic Prospect – You NEED this against Dark Broly and the card is such a huge boon against most aggressive strategies.

3rd Ultra Instinct Son Goku, the Unstoppable – Blue mirrors and decks that contain hard to address threats. If you have access to this card in those spots, it will be a huge swing in advantage for you. This is why we give ourselves the 3rd in the board.

2x SS4 Son Goku, Energy Annihilator – If you’re on the play against the blue mirror, a slower deck like Syn Shenron, or a deck that can’t truly counter this card you’re going to want it. Just having a way to set back the opponent’s energy is so powerful in the right match-up. I definitely don’t think this deck could ever live in the main deck or come in on the draw, but on the play, in those match-ups is where it has the potential to shine.

Conclusion

SS4 Vegeta is definitely going to be a leader that people turn to in the early weeks of the format since it is so unique and offers you access to some very powerful plays. There is so much room for exploration and innovation with this set that this is possibly the most excited I have ever been for a set release. It is great to finally have true ramp back again along with all of the new archetypes that Vermilion Bloodlines is offering us. If you get a chance I would love to see the lists you’re all working with, feel free to comment a link to them down below or just send them to us via the contact page.

#scrubfamisbestfam #KTHXBAAAIIIIIIII

Frisco Brews: Oh, How I’ve missed You Old Friend!

Hey Scuba Scrubs! 

We’re back with another deck profile and this one brings back a lot good memories. Red Gogeta Br back in Set 6 was one of my favorite decks and it was so unappreciated/unrepresented, it gravitated my attention even more. So much so that I was 2nd in Swiss and top 16 in Niagara Regional and Top 32 at 2019 Nationals. Now, Set 11 is coming out In October and Red Gogeta is back! Let’s check out this set 11 Brew.

Click Here for Shenron’s Lair Deck List

What does this deck do?

The decks game plan is straightforward. The goal is to resolve as many SSB Gogeta, Technique Unchained as consistent and as much as possible. The card is so flexible that it allows you to close games in a hurry by swinging 55k to leader and adds a bunch of Markers on your Unison or essentially removing 3 Markers when attacking a Unison and allows amazing protection when unchecked on the opponents turn. Once it’s protected with Strategies of Universe 7, you can follow up with another chain or go into SSB Gogeta, Fusion Onslaught.

Mulligan Strategies: 

My goal is to have Birth of a Super Warrior, a Unison (preferably Gotenks, Earth Shattering Might) and Gogeta, Fusion of the Gods in my opening hand. The reason why I want to keep the 5 drop Gogeta in my hand is that it essentially draws 3 new cards with the Leader Skill and the Union-Fusion skill and you should see a 6 drop by turn 3 so it’s not necessary to have all the pieces in your hand at the start of the game.

Card Choices

1 Cost Red Extra Cards: The New Gogeta Leader is unique that it tutors 1 Cost Red Extra Cards from the top 7 cards from your deck. This allows you to find Frieza’s Death Ball, Violent Rays, Wolf Gang Fist and most importantly Birth of a Super Warrior. All these cards are super important for the deck to function properly. Birth of a Super Warrior has the flexibility to run less Goku BR’s and Vegeta BR’s since you can utilize the same 2 over the course of the game for Union-Fusion compared to the Set 6 variants when you needed to run 12-14 copies of Goku Br’s and Vegeta’s BR’s to have the consistency of your leader skill’s plus targets for Unison-Fusion in hand. One card that has been overperforming is Wolf Gang Fist. In the early turns, this card puts in so much work because it essentially is saying “my Unison is surviving another turn” which is really important and super energy efficient to play the Unison on turn 2 compared to turn 3.

Unison Cards: The preferred Unison to have is Gotenks, Earth-Shattering Might. Every turn it survives provides additional card draws or a way to close out the game in a hurry. On turn 3, you can play this Unison and awaken and still play the Gogeta Chain to give it 4 Additional Markers (1 from Unison Auto, 1 from 5 drop Gogeta, and 2 from Gogeta 6 drop) and have the ability to close out the game with the -5 Skill to make the Unison a 30k Double Strike Dual Attacker. If worse comes to worse, you have Gotenks, Unison of Rage which can be done with the same sequencing as the other Gotenks Unison but now you can use the -2 skill to start picking apart your opponent’s hand and making informed decisions which feels really good.

Veku, Contents Under Pressure: This is a free Union-Fusion skill that can be used in the early game to apply pressure to leaders or unisons while drawing cards from your leader skill and adding a marker to your Gotenks Unison. It starts to lose value in the later turns in the game but sees big returns in the early game since it essentially is saying get a free 15k attacker that can attack Active Mode Battle Cards and draw a card for the turn which is pretty deece.

Gogeta Chain: I’m not going to lie, when first reading the chain, it can seem underwhelming when reading the green cards right beside it in the previews.However, when playingthe new chain, it feels very strong and can provide so much value on both players turns. Gogeta, Fusion of the Gods let’s you see 3 new cards with Union-Fusion skill and Leader skill while essentially clearing the board which mitigates the need SSB Kaio-Ken Son Goku, Concentrated Destruction. By the way, the card has deflect and can’t be KO’ed which gets around the majority of the counter play cards in the game. Then you’re able to go into SSB Gogeta, Technique Unchained for zero energy that provides flexibility that “allows you to close games in a hurry by swinging 55k to leader and adds a bunch of Markers on your Unison or essentially removing 3 Markers when attacking a Unison and allows amazing protection when unchecked on the opponents turn.” (quoted from earlier) In the later parts of the game, SSB Gogeta, Fusion Onslaught is the perfect way to close the game because your opponent is basically playing with 2 less life over the course of the game which forces your opponent to stop any swing from 4 life to 2 life which can put them super behind in hand advantage. Just a reminder that you can’t play the 6 drop and the 8 drop in the same turn since the 6 drop states you can’t play battle cards for the reminder of the turn.

SCR: The best SCR for the deck (as of now) is SS4 Gogeta, Peerless Fusion not just because it’s a Gogeta card but because Black Smoke Dragon would seem very hard to pull off. You could go with either one because they’re both really good, but it just comes down to preference and card availability.

Zero Copies of Toppo, The Righteous Aid: It’s crazy to think but we live in a world now that Toppo, The Righteous Aid cost too much energy and seems to be more of a liability when your opponent can fight right through it (Bibidi Super Combo) or has a Counter Play card that doesn’t let that auto activate. Also, the debut Violent Rays has a lot to do with it as well. Violent Rays cost 1 less energy, has far more less cards that can interact with it, and has the ability to stifle an opponent’s turns. I appreciate the fact that Violent Rays stops anything 20k or higher power while Wolf Gang Fist, Frieza’s death Ball, Is that all you Got, Gogeta 6 drop can deal with anything that’s 15k or less power.

Conclusion: 

I’m very pleased in the direction that Red Gogeta takes in S11. It feels very strong and it has all the makings of a Tier 1 deck. I think building the deck go wide-aggro deck makes it a worse version of AoD and the deck shines more of a Mid-Range deck that has the capabilities to close out games if your opponent doesn’t have an answer to your explosive turn. I hope you enjoyed the deck profile and let me know what you think!

KKKkkkkkkkkkk, Byyyyyyeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

Vermilion Bloodlines – Majin Vegeta Returns

Arguably one of the most popular characters in all of the Dragon Ball universe finally returns to the DBSCG – Majin Vegeta!!!

There has been a ton of hype around this leader, some videos even eluding to it being the one of the best leaders in the game, and ultimately I think this leader helps add a much needed burst of aggression to Green as a whole. After Rise of the Unison Warrior’s release, a lot of the green strategies centered around just being mid-range/hand destruction decks that all revolved around the same set of cards, whereas with the release of Majin Vegeta we have the ability to play either an aggressive/combo oriented strategy, or we can actually play an aggressive/mid-range strategy that isn’t as easily disrupted. Today I want to dive into the more mid-range variant that highlights the power of Majin Vegeta’s awakened side.

The List

Click Here for Shenron’s Lair Deck List – The deck list intentionally shows both, playable SCR’s. Cell: Xeno is obviously the preferred SCR, but Masked Saiyan is more than passable.

The first thing that stands out is that yes, we move away from the Quickening engine completely and instead we’re leaning hard into all of the Majin Vegeta’s that were revealed in order to maximize the leader’s awakened side. Honestly, the card that has truly shined the most is the new negate that is receiving little to no hype at the moment – Mighty Strike Prince of Destruction Vegeta.

It’s a 2 cost negate that when you negate searches the top 7 of your deck for Dark Broly, Overwhelming Evil and additionally has the [Servant] skill which gives the card plus 10000 power, with the downside of it not being able to ready during the charge phase. This means you get a 25k beater that you can swing with, tuck it with your leader skill to draw a card, and then on your awakened side, pay a green energy to play it from the bottom of your deck so you gain access to another swing – lather, rinse, repeat.

The more obvious, good card that people have been playing, Prince of Destruction Vegeta, Life and Death, also has the potential to take over the game once awakened due to the same interaction. You bottom deck it with your super combo, tap a green, play it from the bottom of the deck, and then now you’ll always have access to a 1 energy, 30k double striker that draws you a card and readies whenever your opponent activates a [Counter] skill. The draw a card from [Overlord] is such a huge boon whenever you’re trying to preserve your life total – that honestly has been a huge factor in preventing that feeling of the walls closing in that we talked about on the last Corona Cast.

Ratios and Turn Progression

For 1 drops that we actually pay for, we play a total of 14. If Demigra is in your opener, it is always your turn 1 play. If it isn’t then it really comes down to play/draw. If I am on the play, I prefer to play a Zarbuto if I already have a two drop Vegeta in hand, or if I don’t I will opt for Babidi, Evil Mindsnatcher. On the draw, I will either play Babidi, Evil Mindsnatcher or leave up energy for Earth-Destroying Kamehameha to protect life and disrupt the opponent.

Turn 2, depending on life total, if it is too high to awaken I will just leave up two for Vegeta. If it is at 7 and I have Zarbuto plus Earth-Destroying Kamehameha or Frieza, Imperial Inspiration I will play the turn aggressively and finish the turn by awakening at 5 life, readying two energy and then holding up Vegeta.

Turn 3, it really depends on life totals again. If you haven’t awakened yet, then Dark Broly – into awakening is the play. That way you can use your energy to enable your Leader’s awakened ability.

If you are awakened, then it comes down to you having a combination of Dormant Potential plus super combos to defend yourself on the opposing player’s turn. If you do, then you can still lean into Dark Broly, if you don’t then you can continue the beat downs by swinging with Vegeta 2 drop, bottom decking it with your leader skill to draw, then using your leader skill to tap a green and then replay it.

By turn 4, your plan is to either secure a large enough lead to play Prince of Destruction Vegeta, Prideful Warrior or continue the beats by recycling your Prince of Destruction Vegeta, Life and Death. All the while that this is going on, don’t forget that you’re green and you have access to the best defensive tools in the game to stay alive/disrupt your opponent.

Tech Choices

Zarbon, The Emperor’s Attendant is a cheeky way of getting to ready one of your Vegeta’s to enable an additional attack on the crack back.

Surprise Attack Frieza is just too free with cards like Frieza, Charismatic Villain and Dark Broly, Overwhelming Evil.

Another consideration, if you lean harder into hand disruption would be Son Goku, Power of Legend.

Definitely the most obvious of tech choices, but want to note how powerful it is to have either live on turn 1 with Demigra, Unison of Sorcery. It truly cannot be stated enough how powerful this feels.

Giving yourself access to drop area utility is such a boon in green. For the Greater Good picked up a ton of mileage, and 2x Roshi feels like just enough to get you there.

Sideboard Considerations

Bardock, Paternal Unison is an amazing card to pivot to against any deck that is trying to leverage the combo step more than most, this is mostly Yellow decks with Zamasu Super Combo into Arrival card or Bardock, Raider’s Warcry.

Max Power Kamehameha is your out to any large threat, including this card which is becoming quite a nuisance when testing against Red Gogeta: Br:

Dark Power Black Masked Saiyan is a great option against AoD, Vegeks, and any other deck looking to accrue advantage through non-keyword skills.

An extra For the Greater Good and 2x Max Power Kamehameha can come in when you’re in any match-up where you feel extra negates are needed.

Saiyan Instincts is for mid-range mirrors and comes in handy against Dredgeku and any other hand destruction strategy. Also, I would be inclined to bring in another Unison in that match-up since the battle card plan gets much worse.

Arena Wrecker is your tech for Invoker and works in conjunction with Demigra, Unison of Sorcery to provide the perfect amount of early pressure plus disruption.

Conclusion

Overall, I truly love the streak of aggression that Majin Vegeta has brought to green. It truly is refreshing after all of the non-interactive games played with Dredgeku/Frieza where you’re just trying not to die while whittling away at their resources and then closing the game out with a leader swing, unison swing, then maybe a finisher in the distant future. This build of Majin Vegeta offers you the high utility of green as a whole, but gives you that true KO punch that can come at any point in the game. I have truly enjoyed this version of the deck and hope you get a chance to try it out as well!

#scrubfamisbestfam #KTHXBAAAIIIIII

Vermilion Bloodlines – Broly Returns!!!

Previews dropped for Series 11 and the boys and I have of course been in the lab brewing, tuning, and testing these new archetypes trying to see the strengths, weaknesses, and exploits each of the new engines entail. We all had our early favorites – Zapp wanted to work on Gotenks, Frisco of course wanted to mess around with Red Gogeta, and I have been playing both Broly and Majin Vegeta trying to “crack the code” on the best builds featuring the intended engines.

Planet Vampa is a Trap

Broly’s front side ability to tutor a 1 cost extra card adds a fair bit of utility to the leader and the Series 11 reveals gave us a few extra cards to digest, Planet Vampa seeming like the most obvious to choose from for the deck. The card overall reads really well – you take a life, look at top 7, play a thing for free, and then discard a card. To put this into context, we can look at the hits and see that if you don’t hit a Paragus or Ba, you’re not going to accrue any actual advantage. If you hit a Broly, it is only good if you can go up the chain right away, and from there the biggest downside is honestly taking the life to enable something that just isn’t that powerful to begin with and requires you to discard a card. It may be too soon to tell because the set isn’t completely spoiled, but as of right now Planet Vampa feels like a trap in Series 11.

Two Chainz

One of the first things you’ll learn in testing Broly is that the deck is hyper reliant on the opening hand plus some number of consistency contingencies added to help enable the deck’s peak potential. When you open a single chain, the deck is decent but loses hard to opposing pressure plus removal or disruption. When you can go turn 1 – 1 drop into 3 drop, then turn 2 – 3 drop into 4 drop, then another 1 drop into 3 drop, you quickly notice that this is exactly how the deck needs to function to be successful. The goal when playing then becomes to on turn 3/4 to get as many swings in a possible while moving up each chain into the 5 drops and then the 6 drop. The first time you achieve this, you then get a true glimpse into why certain cards are so important versus other. Not only that, you get a good look into how the sequencing needs to work, the priorities you need to have, and of course when not to swing so you don’t leave a Broly stranded in rest mode.

The List

Click Here for Shenron’s Lair Deck List

Consistency Pieces

Kale, Paragus, and New Model Scouter all serve the purpose of helping us get to the pieces we need. Due to this, we max out on Paragus and Kale, and play 2x New Model Scouter, since it can be tutored by our leader. In addition, we also max out on all of the Broly pieces to ensure that we are always hitting on something. As I eluded to above, the deck is so dependent on an ideal board state to be successful that you need to take every measure to help ensure you get there one way or another.

Kale at first glance comes of so “meh” but in reality it is a 1 drop tutor with the upside of requiring an attack to answer it or it just has the capability of going off and enabling a huge kill turn if the opponent does not respect it. This is why I have ventured down the path of Wolf Fang Fist as a way to protect the unison and get something out of its existence in the deck.

Defense and Tech

With the majority of the deck having to be focused on maximizing the engine, there are a few choices I made outside of Bardock the Resolute plus Intensifying Power Trunks that take into consideration the deck’s core weaknesses and attempts to address other powerful strategies within the format.

The first thing I want to touch on is the power of Violent Rays and its ability to potentially supplant Toppo, Righteous Aid as Red’s floodgate. The card as written is a 1 cost negate that requires you to discard a card and then enable the ability to stop all attacks from battle cards 20k or higher, or stop 20k unisons from attacking for the duration of the turn. From what we have seen so far, the power of the average threat has gradually increased over time so Violent Rays ability to capitalize on that for 1 energy feels incredibly powerful. Especially when speaking of cards like Grim Reaper of Justice, or the Buu Chain featured in the Majin Vegeta deck, Violent Rays completely shuts those strategies down. Ultimately though, it really just comes down to being a 1 cost floodgate which is why it is so appealing in this deck. Broly needs to stay on tempo and use the majority of your energy every single turn, holding up two energy usually means you’re losing. Also not to mention that God-Sealing Trunks or Android 13 counter: play just completely wreck Toppo.

Wolf Fang Fist is trying to cover the other end of the spectrum and give you a cheap/free way to play defense for your leader or unison, if necessary. We then play 2x Loyal Kikono as a way to act as another copy of each, which can also be tutored by New Model Scouter, so we always have exactly what we needed to buy us more time.

Lastly, we play Secret Identity Masked Saiyan, a card which has been getting a lot of attention in Series 10, in order to net some X for 1’s when we are behind or fend off some of the biggest threats such as the new Gogeta 6 drop, which is an absurd card that takes over the game and if not dealt with will kill you offensively and defensively.

Conclusion

As stated above it may be too early to tell the designation for this archetype but in practice so far it does feel like it is slightly below the new Red Gogeta stuff in terms of overall power level. This is mostly due to the deck being so weak to variance and the deck’s reliance on threats that create so much room for the opponent to be able to interact. None of the cards have barrier or deflect and the leader’s built-in redundancy on the awakened side only gets you so far. Overall though the deck is quite fun to play and has been a really cool deck building puzzle to work through. I am super excited for Series 11 and what the rest of the set entails and I truly hope to see more support for this archetype moving forward since its ability to go wide and tall at the same time is incredibly appealing for new wave aggressive players.

#scrubfamisbestfam #KTHXBAAAIIIIIIII