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Last week brought the Banquet of Divas Extra Booster to American shores, ready to dive into the hands of the players willing to learn how to use them (or into binders for the ‘cute collectors’ to stare at).  EB02 is unique (so far), in that it’s a set that includes cards from only one clan.  A single 15-pack booster box (which can retail for as low as $30.00) tends to be more than sufficient to make a workable Bermuda Triangle deck.  Of course, it’ll lack things like Perfect Shields (at most, you’ll get one in a box, disregarding packaging errors) and the numbers of units you’ll end up with might not be perfect (perhaps you’ll only pull 3 Heal triggers).  Still, you’ll have a variety of units of all grades to choose from, and you’ll have more than enough triggers to choose from.  It sounds daunting, but imagine how many packs of any other set it would take to build an entire mono-clan deck with.

If that’s a challenge that you’re up for, then you’ll in all likelihood be building a Raindear deck.  ‘Velvet Voice, Raindear’ is a common 10k power, Grade 3 Bermuda Triangle unit.  It’s only effect triggers if it’s on the Vanguard Circle, and you Drive-Check a Grade 3 Bermuda Triangle unit.  You can send one RG unit on your field back to your hand, and call another unit from your hand to an open RG slot.  Even without knowing how Bermuda Triangle effects work, this doesn’t sound shabby at all.  Swing with an RG unit, have Raindear drive-check a Grade 3, send the rested RG back, and call something back to the field, poised for another attack.  Even without Stand Triggers, you can potentially pull off 5 attacks in a single turn.  Since the returning/calling effect happens immediately upon the Drive Check, you can potentially recall the same unit to your hand twice, if you check two Grade 3 units.

Now, to introduce the main mechanic of a Bermuda Triangle deck.  In real life / anime / manga / Cray, a crowd will cheer on an idol from the moment she steps onto the stage.  When that idol successfully completes her concert, she earns the praise of her devoted fans.  These fans then follow the idol around from venue to venue, forming massive crowds.  In card-terms, ‘stepping onto the stage’ becomes ‘getting called to a Rearguard position’, ‘completing a concert’ becomes ‘returns back to hand from a Rearguard position’, and ‘fans’ are ‘cards in the deck’.  Bermuda Triangle units generally have effects that trigger upon either being called to a Rearguard position, or upon being returned to the hand from a Rearguard position.  As there is no general way to return units to the hand from the Rearguard, some Bermuda units also have their own ways of returning units to the hand in order to use those other effects.

Cards like “Girls’ Rock, Rio” and “Rainbow Light, Carine” have the following effect: “[AUTO]:[Counter Blast (1)] When this unit is returned to your hand from (R), if you have a «Bermuda Triangle» vanguard, you may pay the cost. If you do, Soul Charge (1), and draw a card.”  Aside from “Top Idol, Pacifica”, “Top Idol, Riviere” (the key Grade 3 units of other deck builds), “Super Idol, Ceram” (Grade 3, CB1 during attack -> gains +3k for that battle) and “Bermuda Triangle Cadet, Shizuku” (the starting Vanguard that searches for Grade 3′s), Rio and Carine are the only units that utilize Counterblast.  However, by no means does that make decks including them light on CB.  Raindear’s effect, among other options available, allows you to both trigger and reuse those effects.  It’s not too uncommon to pull those effects off multiple times in a single game.  They also help to maintain the monstrous hand advantage that Bermuda Triangle is infamous for.

Cards like “Blazer Idols” and “Snow White of the Corals, Claire” have effects where, upon calling them to a Rearguard circle, you can empower another Bermuda Triangle on your field by +2000 until the end of the turn.  The units with those powers are typically weak on their own, but with Bermuda’s ability to send stuff back to the hand repeatedly, you could stack this effect multiple times to empower the column of your choice.

Of course, you need to be able to actually use those effects.  If you don’t have methods of returning stuff to the hand, then your Carine is just another 10k G3 field-filler.  I already mentioned that Raindear is able to return units from the field to your hand, but only upon drive-checking a Grade 3 unit.  Relying solely on luck to pull off an effect doesn’t make for a good deck, so we’ll need to include more consistent units.  “Bermuda Triangle Cadet, Weddell” is a Grade 0 unit that can Soulcharge itself from a Rearguard slot in order to instantly return another Rearguard of yours to the hand.  It’s typically used as a starting Vanguard in non-Riviere variants, and is actually consistent enough to consider including in the deck itself, much as a Gold Paladin player might throw an extra Spring Breeze Messenger into the mix.  “Pearl Sisters, Perla” is a Grade 2, 9k attacker that can, upon landing a successful attack against a Vanguard, Soulblast 1 to return a Rearguard back to your hand.  “Top Idol, Flores” is a Grade 3 unit that, upon landing a successful attack, can Soulblast 2 to return a Rearguard back to your hand, and “Turquoise Blue, Tyrrhenia” is a 5k booster that, upon successfully boosting an attack that hits a Vanguard, can send one of your Rearguards back to the hand.  So, now we have a few viable options to work with.

Without further ado, the deck list:

Deck List: Morikawa’s Underwater Fun-Time

Vanguard:

  • 1x Bermuda Triangle Cadet, Weddell

Grade 0:

  • 2x Comical Raine (Crit)
  • 2x Cooking Caspi (Draw)
  • 4x Drive Quartet, Bubblin (Draw)
  • 4x Drive Quartet, Flows (Heal)
  • 4x Drive Quartet, Shuplu (Crit)

Grade 1:

  • 3x Mermaid Idol, Elly (Perfect Shield)
  • 4x Mermaid Idol, Sedna
  • 3x Pearl Sisters, Perle
  • 2x Prism on the Water, Myrtoa
  • 2x Turquoise Blue, Tyrrhenia

Grade 2:

  • 4x Girls’ Rock, Rio
  • 2x Mermaid Idol, Flute
  • 4x Pearl Sisters, Perla

Grade 3:

  • 3x Rainbow Light, Carine
  • 2x Top Idol, Flores
  • 4x Velvet Voice, Raindear

As you probably gathered from the name, this deck focuses utilizing the presence of a high number of Grade 3 units, in order to pull off Raindear’s effect.  In addition, most of the cards work with the typical Bermuda engine of calling stuff to the field to get effects, returning units to the hand to get more effects, then playing them again to reuse those effects.  A 4 Heal / 6 Crit / 6 Draw Trigger distribution supports hand advantage, while supplying some much-needed offensive strength.  With so many effects constantly firing, this build excels at maintaining hand advantage, filling up the field, and defense.  Despite whatever you may think to the contrary, this deck has a fairly weak offense.  The units that you’ll call back to the field with Raindear won’t typically be able to push through an 11k or higher Vanguard without leaving a booster unused.  And without units like Blazer Idols in the deck, your column strength will never break 19k without trigger intervention.

Cards to think about:

  • Blazer Idols: As this build lacks any method of pushing your attack above 19k in any one column, being able to have Blazer Idols boost a stronger column up, or make a weaker column require an extra 5k shield to block is quite valuable.  Not to mention, this build offers the reusability that Blazer Idols likes to see.  If you find yourself being able to return units too easily without any worthwhile targets, consider dropping the Tyrrhenias for these.
  • Bermuda Princess, Lena: Although Lena has her own build, she works fairly well in a Raindear deck.  Riding a Lena lets you instantly shove all of your Rearguards back to your hand, triggering any of their relevant effects.  This doesn’t require any cost or on-hit requirements, so it’s a guaranteed way of pulling off the effect of Rio or Carine, and it can also refresh the effects of Perle and the like.  Or, if nothing else, it lets you fix up your Rearguard to optimize your columns.  In addition, as long as you have 4 or more Rearguards, a Vanguard Lena gets a 3k boost to her attack, allowing her to hit for up to 21k damage, before triggers.  The only reason I didn’t include her as she requires a slightly different playstyle to run.  Whereas Raindear likes to protect the units that she can use the effect of by keeping them in the hand until it’s their turn again, Lena needs to keep those effect units on the field, and protect them until she can be ridden.  Any unit that you intercept with, or the opponent retires, is a unit that Lena can’t bounce back on your next Ride Phase.  It’s possible to do, but it clashes with the playstyle behind Raindear, and thus wasn’t immediately included in this build.
  • Prism on the Water, Myrtoa: The “Dark Cat” of the Sea, Myrtoa is a Grade 1, 7k booster unit.  When she is called to a Rearguard circle, both you and your opponent may draw up to 1 card each.  Some people like to be tricky with these cards and not inform the opponent that they are also able to draw.  But, generally, the opponent knows what this card is, and will happily draw their card as well.  The viability of cards like this is highly debatable, as giving your opponent free card advantage is never a good thing to do.  Especially in a deck that has many other ways of drawing cards.  However, Myrtoa is by far the easiest card to work with, in terms of adding stuff to your hand.  Getting her early-game will get you another chance at getting your perfect starting hand.  However, it’s the same for your opponent as well.  If they run a card-reliant build like SDD or Riviere, in which they absolutely need a certain card in their hand, calling Myrtoa may very well spell your demise.  Okay, so I think I’ve talked about the negatives of this card long enough.  Why would I include it?  Well, it’s a reusable card effect that adds cards to your hand.  That’s really about all this has going for it.  If you just want 7k boosters, there’s always Felucca.
  • Super Idol, Ceram: Another 10k Grade 3 unit with a snazzy effect.  For a CB1, upon attacking, you can empower Ceram by 3k for that turn.  Many clans have this type of card, and for good reason.  It’s a solid beatstick, and can easily help make up for the lack of column strength that plagues the waters of the Bermuda Triangle.  Sure, it doesn’t have the effects that help the Bermuda engine at all, but it’s a solid choice, should you find yourself wanting to drop the Flores’ or a Raindear.
  • Mermaid Idol, Flute: A Grade 2 8k unit, that can boost itself up to 11k during your turn whenever you have 4 or more Rearguard units on the field (including itself, if it’s on the Rearguard).  If you don’t use Lena or Pacifica in this deck, then Flute will have the strongest attack power of any unit that this deck can bring out.  With only 8k attack, it’s fairly hard to defend, so some players might use Top Idol, Aqua over this.
  • Top Idol, Aqua: The Grade 2 10k Vanilla beatstick of BMT.  Generally, you’re not going to be lacking 10k units to call to the field, as you’re going to have a lot of Grade 3 units.  It’s better used defensively, either as a Grade 2 ride to prevent weaker RG units from hitting it too easily, or as an interceptor out on the field.  For most purposes, Flute will serve better as a Grade 2, due to its ability to hit 11k when you have enough Rearguards.

Playing around with Triggers!

As with every deck I’ve put on here, I fully intend on allowing players to mess around with trigger distributions and see what they like.  Even the slightest trigger change can drastically alter how a deck plays out.  I did mention earlier in this post that the units that Raindear can call out with her Vanguard effect can tend to fall flat on their face upon arrival, failing to be able to do any noticeable damage, or even just outright failing to hit an opponents 11k+ field.  This can be aided with the inclusion of Stand Triggers.  If you find yourself defending way too often, with a ton of cards in your hand, you can drop some Draw Triggers in favor of more Critical triggers.  If your attacks tend to get blocked repeatedly, you can drop some Critical triggers in favor of Stand Triggers to be able to pull off more attacks.
Potential Distributions:

  • 4 Heal / 6 Draw / 6 Crit: A solid mix of healing, draw power, and damage output.  Works best in builds that can bring out high-powered columns; for instance, a build utilizing Blazer Idols.  Even without column strength, it still helps maintain card advantage, and can deliver a few high-powered pokes, and/or force an opponent to drop their hand for a last-ditch defense.
  • 4 Heal / 4 Draw / 8 Crit: Even without draw triggers, BMT is still excellent at keeping card advantage.  If you find yourself with a ton of cards in the hand at all times, you can consider dropping some draw triggers in favor of more critical triggers.  Again, works best with builds that can maintain column strength.
  • 4 Heal / 4 Draw / 4 Crit / 4 Stand: Specifically, using the Quartet triggers.  This distribution seems strange, but it actually works fairly well.  The heal triggers are pretty much unarguable, and keeping draw triggers around helps to aid your defensive presence.  And you should know at this point how critical triggers work.  The stand triggers, however, might raise an eyebrow.  As this is for a Raindear build, it’s more that likely that you’re using cards like Top Idol Flores, Pearl Sisters Perla, and also calling units back to the field with Raindear’s effect.  In the case of Perla and Flores, they have on-hit effects.  Being able to use them twice in a row is rather frightening, especially after a 5k boost.  As for Raindear’s effect, when you call stuff out to the field, it’s typically going to be something of 10k power or lower.  Against an 11k Vanguard, they’ll just flounder on the field.  But, if you can stand a Rearguard booster unit, then you can make a 20k+ column out of nowhere, that more that likely has a snazzy effect of its own.  The Drive Quartet units also have their own neat way of synchronizing with each other (that +3k boost!), so this is quite the fun distribution.

Of course, these aren’t your only set options.  You can always fiddle around with small changes (e.g. 4 Heal / 5 Draw / 7 Crit) or attempt entirely different distributions (e.g. 4 Heal / 8 Crit / 4 Stand).  Just keep in mind that when you make these changes, that you understand what you’re altering in a defensive / offensive sense.  For instance, it’s much better to hit a draw or a heal on a damage check than it is to hit a crit or a stand.  On the other hand, it’s much better to hit a stand / draw on a drive check.

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