Deck Building Journal: Guilty Gear – STRIVE –

I’m the kinda person who’ll come up with a Christmas gift in July and spoil it by mid-August, so it’s a bloody miracle I’ve been sitting on some exciting Guilty Gear -Strive- card reveals for over a month without losing my marbles. But as far as I can tell, I’m no less sane than when I took 5Pants3Standby Bang Dream to regionals, so in the following days, this post will grace you with a progressive insight into the deck crafting process of the creature who once unironically built this and liked it. If this venture were to have a disclaimer, it would be for entertainment purposes mostly – my entertainment, that is.


Week 1

The logistics are simple: for every day with scheduled card reveals, this post will get a new segment added to it as I try to build an Avis-esque deck to my liking (and everyone else’s concern). The schedule for week 1 is as follows:

Day 0: Intro

Now, I don’t doubt some of you will have noticed that today is, in fact, not November 2nd yet, and other than the Sol Worlds Promo, we don’t have any reveals to work with. But today is the first day I’m allowed to talk about my Guilty Gear – Strive – spoilers existing at all, so that’s really all I’m doing here 🙂 You could call this the mother of all Weiss clickbaits and I would forgive you. I’m by no means trying to overhype anything, it’s just that the framework of what I want to build in Guilty Gear has been bouncing off the walls in my head for weeks now – to the point that I even printed out some proxies and filled the rest of the empty deck slots with generic profiles from my Bang Dream collection just to have ‘a deck’ to fishbowl playtest against myself.

So going forward – especially if you’re new here – just keep in mind that all this is from the perspective of someone who is first and foremost very silly, but also easily excited and overly fond of gimmicky decks. And with your expectations (hopefully) reasonably set, please come back for the first batch of reveals on November 2nd!

Day 1: Baiken & Ramlethal

Ally’s video →
Imgur album of today’s cards →
Spoilers spreadsheet →

Okay. Alright. I’m barely coherent at this point but let’s do this. First off, I wanted a Standby CX really bad!! So I am excited about that, however … the Baiken really doesn’t work with what my deck would want to do. At least I don’t think so? I’ve got other Standby targets in mind, so I’m either hoping there’s a second level 0 or 1 Standby combo in the deck, or I might just run empty Standby if I end up feeling like it works well. It’s chaos hours, my dudes.

The 0/0 Baiken though? Sign me the heck up, I wanted costless mill. Check top 3 for a card? Any card?? Beautiful. Perfect. Gorgeous!

1/0 Baiken kinda whatever, I mean, great tech card if you wanna bully Alice and Mjurran, but not what I’m looking for.

I don’t have much interest in the whole Ramlethal package either, at least not at the moment. I don’t forsee Bar triggers being particularly valuable in my build, so I think I’ll pass on this for the time being – but maybe in some other deck once I’m done crafting my first one.

The Ramlethal brainstorm, however. The salvage brainstorm that gives you Memory too? I am overjoyed. This is almost explicitly catering to my needs, I’ll take 4 of them easy. I want the waiting room access for the most part, but the basically guaranteed Memory is nice too, makes it easier for me to be funny with some tech cards.

2/1 Assist? Maybe …. maybe … I don’t know tbh. I would have prefered a +2k assist so I’ll take that if we get one, but for the time being, sure. I guess a copy can’t hurt.

As for the 1/1 level shenanigans neg soul event, I don’t currently have the brain power available to process it properly. Doesn’t really matter I guess, cause it’s not going in my deck. I ain’t got the stock for that.

So with that in mind, allow me to tease you with the current working framework of Avis.deck – most of which are just redacted question marks at this point. You’ll just have to wait until Sunday to see what exactly I’m cooking 🙂 I don’t necessarily think the level 0s must be at a 4-4 ratio, I feel like that’ll probably end up being a 3-3 situation in the end, but hey: I’ve got room on the draft board. We pad first, we’ll cut later.

See you tomorow for another round of deranged deck crafting mere hours before I leave for our road trip to BCS Germany!

Day 2: Potemkin & Faust

Weiss & Chill’s video →
Imgur album of today’s cards →
Spoilers spreadsheet →

I keep asking for a level 1 combo, I keep not seeing one 😀 But okay, at least we have a plusing early game combo now, that’s what I wanted as a baseline. Now we’re cooking for real!

I think the 1/1 Potemkin is cute, but I don’t see 7500 power at level 1 as a wall in the current meta at all.

0/0 4k Potemkin feels situational, maybe some decks would run it but I feel it’s not gonna be worth the space after we see all the varied toolboxy stuff this set has available at level 0-

2/1 Potemkin haha 16k very funny. Like for real, I do think I’d enjoy trying to set that board up at some point in the future.

3/2 Potemkin combo is fucking yikes, my dudes. I don’t think I’ve been this afraid of reverses since Birdcage Yukina was a thing in sweet sweet 2019. Good thing I have my sac and freefresh counters in Bang Dream at least.

Now with that out of the way, we actually get to some cards that interest me for my build. I’ll happily take the Faust heal to stock EP!

And I actually want to try something with the 1/0 assist. You could almost say I am uniquely situated to milk that card for all its worth, and at the same time, have it bury me.

0/0 Faust to gain Memory and neg opponent’s power is alright I guess, can only hit center stage though, and I don’t think we need this kind of profile for memory at all given the Ramlethal brainstorm from yesterday, so unless one of these is printed with a superb 1st effect, I don’t know if they’ll see play.

As for the level 0 combo … like I said, I’ll take it.

I’ve updated my deck plan below accordingly, though all this blue is making the solitary green 2/1 Assist look really sketchy in there. But I’ll keep her for now until we see more cards. I guess my plan for level 1 is blue? Though I don’t have good blue cards to level yet … bugger. This is basically one big mess now, and I won’t really know my way out of it until I start playtesting – which will be after my last BCS this weekend.

Speaking of which … we leave in 1 hour and 15 minutes, and I haven’t packed my deck yet. So excuse me, I’ll be off.

Day 3: Testament & Nagoriyuki

Zabuton’s video →
Imgur album of today’s cards →
Spoilers spreadsheet →

Evidently I am already in blue, and running Pants at least for now, so the dropsearch and the Testament 1/0 are right up my alley. I’d be interested in the Nagoriyuki level 1 combo too, however I haven’t seen enough splashable yellow to make that happen yet. So for the time being, the Faust level 0 combo stays.

I have to test how the 1/0 Faust assist’s 2nd ability fares first, but I might include a copy or two of the 2/1 Testament later. I am looking respectfully ….

The other yellow stuff is all nice and cool, but the only card I really care for there is the CX swapper.

And with that in mind, my deck now finally has 50 slices of cardboard to work with! You guys will get to see all the secret cards soon in my reveal video (going live November 5th 6PM Pacific Standard Time), but until then … excuse me, I have proxies to cut.

Day 4: I-No & Happy Chaos

My video →
Imgur album of today’s cards →
Spoilers spreadsheet →

Not gonna lie, I was hoping to get May cards to reveal, but between her repeatedly smacking people with the dolphin and me repeatedly smacking people with I-No’s climax combo turn after turn, it’s basically the same thing. May at home, if you will – if home is chaos and dolphins are shufflebacks and burn 2s.

First off, I wanna make sure we’re all on the same page regarding I-No’s climax combo, because I forgot to mention in the video that if you choose the +1500 cross-turn power option, the shuffleback is optional. As in, you may return opponent’s waiting room to their deck, but you don’t have to. You can just give power and opt not to do the shuffle.

Second thing, unless we get another very serviceable Standby combo, I think it’s pretty clear that triple I-No at level 2 will be inconsistent at best. Like, you can do it, but even then, there are usually more optimal lines of play. Going for two feels a lot more comfortable, especially if it includes saving a third for next turn.

Because if you can fetch the CX two turns in a row, and your opponent lets even one I-No live from the previous turn, you’re basically home free. A common line of play for me so far has been double I-No at level 2, with one saved in hand to get the CX again next turn. So your opponent will immediatelly be under pressure to remove them, but there’s the thing: it can get hard to do so efficiently! If you choose the +1500 power ability, I-No will be 12k on defense (or bigger as soon as they show me a good assist that’s not green or yellow). And that’s in a deck that runs four 2k backups, which it searches from deck on demand to set up this combo in the first place … so you’ll maybe have a surplus of them in hand, or you’ll trigger a Door and grab one from the waiting room, and then there’s your 14k body. Not insurmountable by any means, but annoying for sure.

Same when it comes to anti-change counters: I might be wrong on this since I haven’t playtested enough yet, but unless you’re doing it to literally stop the I-No player from putting out lethal damage, I don’t think anti-change counters are actually worth it against this. Not only is the whole setup super cheap, but also … by the time I-No’s on board, you’ve definitely gotten a free CX off of her, which stays on board to push soul even if they anti-change her. And if you used Happy Chaos’ ability to search for an Asuka, you’ve also gotten a free hand fix, and a free marginal improvement to your deck compression, and a free look through your deck. There’s just so much value there! To the point that if someone’s spending 3 stock and sacking a character to get rid of my I-No, I don’t think I’d even feel bad about it. Like sure, that’s fair. Her ability resolves before counters anyway, so by the time she’s gone, the opponent would have already taken the two damage or shuffled their waiting room back anyway. Evidently, the anti-change counters get a bit better if you’ve got multiple copies of I-No and they get rid of one before it attacks, but even in that scenario … well, you’ve got multiple I-No’s out at level 2. I think even in that context, an anti-change counter is more of a hail mary rather than some kind of terrible blow to your gameplan.

Not to mention that you can also just side attack with I-No if needed! That’s why I’m actually glad she’s on a Door and not a Standby climax – the extra soul is much appreciated! And like I mentioned, the Doors make it super convenient to grab back the 2k Asuka backup, but also the 2/1 Happy Chaos. Or you might have an extra one left in your hand, that’s viable too. Point being that even if you end your turn with just one stock left, your opponent needs to worry about you getting out another I-No, grabbing the climax and going brrrrr again. Genuinely, if you’ve got the Happy Chaos in hand and they reverse an I-No, they kinda just did you a favor cause at least you have her in Waiting Room to bring back, and don’t need to do something silly like overplaying I-No to do the whole Happy Chaos + Asuka shtick again just to get the climax back. Which is just really fucking funny, not gonna lie.

Can you tell I love this combo yet, can you tell? Can you?

Putting Guilty Gear aside for a moment, this whole experience has genuinely been absolutely insane for me because I pushed my way into the Weiss content scene many years ago with deck builds that were borderline atrociously bad at the best of times. And the first good deck I ever put together was following the ratios in a reddit comment to the letter. And once I got more familiar with the game, one of the first things I learned was that I’m just not good at deck building, period. Which makes sense – I get easily overwhelmed with stuff that requires finding the right answer from a big pool of different pieces, and when complex interactions are involved, that’s even worse. So I just didn’t build decks for a long time. And if/when I did, they were mostly memes. Or stuff I wanted to play and literally had to build myself since no one else was running it. But I’ve been playing so much Weiss through all these years! And I got to befriend and learn from so many incredibly talented players. And I got to sit in so many late night voice chats with the coolest people, going over what felt right with the deck and what felt wrong and why. And I got to repeatedly sacrifice half of my desk to scattered Bang Dream cards that I didn’t have the energy to put away after a deck building session.

And after all of this, for the first time ever, I was handed good quality deck pieces that no one had seen before. In a set that would come with no solved lists, no wisdom from the JP side, no tournament results to look up to. Nothing. Just a 5 by 10 grid on my screen to slot cards into in sworn secrecy for weeks on end. I didn’t initially plan to play this set at all, much less build a deck on my own. But I’ll never forget holding a shitty grayscale proxy of 2/1 Happy Chaos in my hand the day I received my reveals. I was just gonna print them all out, get a little schema going on my desk, write a script once I can vizualize it all, you know – the usual. But then these pieces just floated into view, and I got this overwhelming feeling of wanting to put them together. Like it’d be really fun to do.

And it has indeed been amazingly fun. It’s as if all my Bang Dream brews were just dipping toes into the water, and this is me finally diving off the deep end. Now all that’s left is to see how deep this rabbit hole goes …

Because as far as the deck is concerned, evidently there are still areas of some concern (to put it mildly). Let’s take a look at what I’ve cooked so far, and then we can talk about the not so fun parts.

There’s a lot of what-ifs remaining, and obviously there are interactions all over the place that cease to exist if one part of the intended package gets replaced with something more suitable, but I’ll try to somehow chronicle the current state of the deck, and my thoughts behind it.

Source: Filip finally bought an Escanor deck today, and I trapped him in a loop for several hours this evening until he decided he’s going to sleep instead of playing more Weiss with me. And yes, I did play 7 rounds of BCS before that! I’m glad you asked 🙂

Best way I can describe this deck is: throw shit at the wall until level 2, then throw the whole wall. There was one game where I went from 0-4 straight to 2-0, and even then, I managed to stabilize with more and more I-No each turn, and by the end of it, I still lost, I but I don’t think anyone would look at our game state and think it started out that uneven.

But early game definitely just boils down to ‘yes, these are bodies on board the generate stock’ and that’s about it. I would be very open to to a different plusing combo in a different color, but honestly, this 0/0 Faust one is not … bad. For the bodies on board strategy, it works. You grab the key pieces off of Riki/Dropsearch/Brainstorm/Door (or just draw into them and hold them) anyway, so enough un-selective plus to reliably sac a turn is fine. It’s not great, but it gets the job done.

Level 1 is just … what the fuck at the moment, I guess. I have Pants Climaxes, hence the 1/0 Testament. I feel like as we see more cards, a lot of this might get completely reworked. But I kinda like the 1/0 Faust! Between that and the I-No Riki, I feel like there’s some potential – and the Ramlethal brainstorm really makes continuously replenishing memory as trivial as finding a Stroopwaafel in a Dutch supermarket.

Wanting to cheese free stock with the Faust is part of why I also have 4 of the Faust early play in the deck now – I just wanted heals and level 3s. But not gonna lie, the heal to stock has been pretty great so far, albeit situational. So I definitely still see playing at least some copies of him in the final build.

Other things of note: I cut the 2/1 green assist from the initial plans because color, and I quickly abandoned my 2 empty Standby fever dream too. As the deck is now, I just don’t think splashing the Standby is worth it.

Basically, the only way from here is up. This can’t get worse, but it can get so much better! If we see a ‘ditch CX to salvage’ profile, I’ll be yelling from the rooftops.

Thank you very much to everyone who stopped by the journal so far, and I hope to see you again once more new reveals are announced 🙂 I might come back to this and edit some typos or expand on some thoughts after the premiere, but until then, I’ll be off!

Week 2

Rolling into week 2, we have reveals coming up from the following creators:

Day 5: Millia & Zato-1

The Clock Tower’s video →
Imgur album of today’s cards →
Spoilers spreadsheet →

I really like a lot of the green stuff we got today! With that in mind, I’ve made some big changes to the deck, and I’ll go over the new shell with some comments and alternatives I’m hoping for.

I cut the I-No Riki and Ramlethal Brainstorm to 3 copies, both in relation to the Zato coinflip. Since it sends cards to memory for free, it’s no longer super necessary to have surplus Ramlethal’s around to be sent to memory instead. And while I’m not sure about the Riki at 3 copies (would generally just like 4), I made a cut there to lower the level 0 count to make the coinflip more likely. The whole lineup there is pretty uncertain in terms of numbers overall, so it’s not something I care to dwell too much on at the moment.

4 of the coinflip because I like coinflips. 3 of the Potemkin because I like the defensive power, which the new Millia runner does not provide since she’s only 2k on defense. And there’s plenty of decks that can trifield turn 2 and pump any lane over 2k on demand, which I something I don’t want to deal with at the moment. But I do think it’s good to have the option to switch between the two in the future.

2 of the Millia handfilter because that shit’s absolutey cracked, and I need all the selectivity I can get in this deck. Testament dropsearch, Nagoriyuki CX swap and Baiken check-3 all at one copy because they’re all good and useful profiles, I just haven’t yet determined which ones I actually need and in what numbers – still putting the feelers out.

The level 1 is rather simple: 2 of the I-No boardwipe for red color fix, 4of the Lucifero without its Climax. If I could please get a plusing level 1 combo in green, red or blue … even a selective level 0 combo … I would be very happy. But for now, I’ll take this and the empty standby. I’ve considered running the Bar + some of the 3/2 Ramlethal splash, but I don’t think that the Bar trigger actually does anything of value for the core of my deck, which is just being obnoxious with I-No. But running vanilla Lucifero allows me to slam empty Standby at 1 without losing out on damage, since it gains a soul and 2500 power if there’s a climax in play at the start of attack phase.

Going into green also allows for the 2/1 Assist to be back in the deck, which I think my I-Nos will appreciate.

The I-No package remains as explained above, and the rest of the slots are filled out with 2/1 Testament and Faust EP healer. I’d want to keep the Testament in the deck either way because I love the card, even though blue may be a bit of a problem in the current build. And Faust is just … the most convenient healer available right now. If they give me a better one in green or red, I’ll take it.

As for other things I’m still hoping to see:

  • costless mill that doesn’t require clocking
  • cleancut
  • selective level 1 combo in my colors OR a good way to run the yelllow Nagoriyuki combo
  • AZKi-esque level 0 combo on a standby? (let me dream please)
  • something to generate stock with (gimme Mel profile, I’m begging)
  • utility counters (free fresh, memory kick, sac counter for Potemkin mirror)

I’ll wait out the whole 3 day cycle of reveals this time before I put much testing in, but in theory, there’s only two ways this can go.

“this looks super aggro im scared” – Nando

“The list slanders itself” – Steve

Day 6: May & Jack-O

WossyPlays’s video →
Imgur album of today’s cards →
Spoilers spreadsheet →

Hoooooly shit. I have asked, and I have received!

Bye bye empty standby, bye bye weaker green assist. This is where we’re at right now:

Most notably, the coinflip left as quickly as it came. As much as I like plusing where I shouldn’t, given that we have an actual early game combo now, I think the value of bodies on board just for the sake of bodies on board has plummeted significantly.

I-No Rikis are up to 4, Millia filter is up to 3, and Baiken is up to 2 copies – all of these are attempts at making sure I can grab the needed copy of the level 1 combo while also guaranteing both green and red for level 1 – where my ideal board would be 2 Lucifero for the damage push + 1 Jack for combo, standbying out the 2/1 Happy Chaos. I do definitely think this is overkill at the moment, but again: this is purely theorethical. I’ll cut some of this after I test, maybe even go down to 2 copies of Jack combo.

I’d like two more free slots at level zero to shove in the Happy Chaos bouncer, so that I can have a bit more blue – but if we get a red or green healer, I am open to cutting Faust entirely and just cheesing out Testament via standby or random blue in clock if/when needed.

I do wish we had some way of reliably using all the memory this deck can build along the way, but so far it doesn’t seem to be a thing other than for Testament’s ability.

And lastly, I am respectfully looking at today’s 2/2 anti-reverse counter … but no idea how/where to work that in at the moment. Steve is trying to sell me on 4 Jack combo, no Lucifero, two copies of the 2/2 event. He’s technically correct that seeing the 1/0 Jack without having to search/grab it saves a stock, so that’s another thing I’ll have to wage agains the extra soul from Lucifero.

Let’s see what the next reveals have in store, maybe there will be somethig else to consider then.

Day 7: Ky & Leo

Tressa’s Collectible’s video →
Imgur album of today’s cards →
Spoilers spreadsheet →

Whole lotta blue, whole lotta nothing new – for my deck at least. I’ve gone into testing with the build from Day 6, and it’s … doing things so far. I think I’m still lacking a good grasp on stock use and pacing throughout the game, which makes sense because the deck is quite flexible and needs to respond to different game states accordingly. I might have accidentally given myself a very think-heavy deck to play … which has historically not been my forte.

That aside, I’m having two thoughts at the moment. One, since I’m already running the Luciferos, I’m considering splasing the 3/2 Ramlethal and one or two copies of her climax. And two, if this green-red venture doesn’t pay dividends, with today’s reveals in mind, I think a red-blue deck would be another option with a lower ceiling but possibly a more stable floor. So I will get to that eventually too, just wanna run the Standby into the ground first. I do think that the Jack combo is great, because all my early game is really about is fetching the I-No pieces, and one card fetching two cards is generally better for that than two cards fetching a card each. So I see that as a potential downside to consider when switching to the Ky combo.

Week 3

Last round is up!

Day 8: Goldlewis & Giovanna

Climax Combo’s video →
Imgur album of today’s cards →
Spoilers spreadsheet →

Okay, so, if we go back to my Day 5 wish list for a second:

  • costless mill that doesn’t require clocking
  • cleancut
  • selective level 1 combo in my colors OR a good way to run the yelllow Nagoriyuki combo
  • AZKi-esque level 0 combo on a standby? (let me dream please)
    • ❌ but tbh don’t really need it anymore
  • something to generate stock with (gimme Mel profile, I’m begging)
  • utility counters (free fresh, memory kick, sac counter for Potemkin mirror)

In short, I keep asking and I keep winning. Which feels great, but also, is giving my deck an existential crisis. I wanna run the 1/0 Giovanna. But that means needing two memory early, and it’s also an incentive to run more level 1s or higher, so … is it coinflip hours after all? After I’ve done my responsible duty of trying not to sack?? And it was all for nothing??? Well, let’s see what I can mangle together.

I’ll leave it like this for now. I think we’re lacking some splashable healers, so I just shoved in two 2/2 counters and called it a day. I’ll name this deck ‘Speedrunning Death (Yours or Mine)’.

Don’t ask me about the level 1 lineup: if I had the braincells, I wouldn’t make it like this. And another thought that’s occuring to me right now is that the 1/0 Luciferos are mainly there to mitigate Standby lack of soul. But the Standby itself is only there to help save stock. But 1/0 Giovanna gives stock. But the actual Jack O’ that combos with the Standby is perfect for grabbing pieces. Ugh. So do I need or do I not need the Standby????

#needs_testing #send_help

Day 9: Axl & Anji

Three Six Cancel’s video →
Imgur album of today’s cards →
Spoilers spreadsheet →

Intentionally coming in with a late update today, as I’ve been doing some testing in the mean time. I don’t think today’s reveals are super relevant to my deck, but I am keeping my eye on the Anji brainstorm, and obviously we now get to check the memory counter off the wishlist too.

With that in mind, here’s some of the thoughts I have so far after a few hours of grinding against another Guilty Gear deck (Jack O’ Standby into Ram and Potemkin 2-2 Bar split). Mostly just going over the card performance, thoughts on the current number ratios and alternatives I’m considering:

  • The coinflips are definitely a double-edged sword, in more ways than one. In theory, coinflip turn 1 + bounce + coinflip turn 2 is the most surefire way to get the 2 memory requirement for Giovanna on time. Brainstorm + coinflip + CX on turn 2 or 3 is another viable option, but for some reason, I just wasn’t seeing the Brainstorms much today. It is a less ideal setup though, because the Brainstorm can only send specific cards in memory, and setting all that up in waiting room during the first two turns can be near impossible.
  • Even with just the coinflip, the mulligan decisions are already pretty complex: you ideally want something to send to memory, and also something Standby out if you happen to trigger early, and then you also want one or two copies of the 2/1 Happy Maker in waiting room by level 1, so … yeah. There’s quite a bit.
  • However, if you go first and your turn 1 play is coinflip + I-No in the back row for top check, that’s kinda like getting a non selective plus off the I-No Riki for free. I’ve done it a few times today, doesn’t feel bad at all since you run 4 I-No anyway, and you’ll only really use one to fetch Jack O’ for the combo – if at all.
  • Another thing I’m dwelling on with the conflip is the value of plussing vs. the value of having a body on board to soak up damage – specifically in regards to the 4k Potemkin, which I’ve been going back and forth on in these slots. This deck absolutely thrives with a slower early game, even if just by a little bit – so in that regard, Potemkin is a better option because you don’t have to eat direct attacks. But at the same time, you’re more likely to cancel direct attacks. And 4k is annoying at level 0, but not insurmountable by any means. But also, coinflip can (obviously) fail. So neither is guaranteed to plus, and either can be more beneficial in terms of taking less damage in the early game. By the time spring circuit comes around and I can take this to a tournament, I’ll have to consider what the relevant decks will be playing for their level 0 lineup to see how likely a 4k is to get outed. If anyone wants to get their calculator out and do the math on this, hit me up I guess 😀
  • Last note on the coinflip, it’s great for color fixing though. If it bounces back to hand, you’ve basically got guaranteed clockable green at level 1, so you can level red without a care in the world.
  • Speaking of color fixing, Millia would also be great for that but man, I’ve seen her exactly once today, and even that was when I searched for her. I run three copies, where the hell are they hiding? I’d love to comment on the usability of this card so far, but all I can confidently say is that there were times when I wished I had her in hand … but I didn’t have her.
  • As for the Brainstorm … eh, I’ve got funny thoughts on the brainstorm so far. Like I said, didn’t see much of it today, but even that was pretty informative actually. I think as long as you plus once or twice with something at level 0, you’re good? At level 1 you’re going into Standby for the 2/1 Happy Chaos + Jack O’ combo to search for whatever else you need in hand, so I feel like the Brainstorm only becomes relevant after your first I-No combo turn, which is usually gonna be right after refresh too. At that point, yeah, Brainstorm away to fill the waiting room and maybe grab some pieces to loop the combo again. Before that point in the game, I think there would have been multiple occasions where I would have opted to Standby over the brainstorm if I’d had her out anyway. The set doesn’t have valuable Standby targets to put in the front row, and I’m not even running the 2/2 Baiken in this list, so if I’m playing a Standby at level 1 and hoping to trigger another, then I definitely want an empty back row to end the turn with two 2/1 Happy Chaos there. Does that mean there’s a world where I run only 2 Brainstorm somehow? Probably not, but I’ll keep this discrepancy in mind, as it’s very different compared to other decks I’m used to.
  • What I do think I need less of though, is the 1/0 Jack O’. Yes, drawing into her for free is nice, but drawing into multiples just feels mega bad, so I think I prefer having to Riki for her every game if I have to. Probably gonna run her at 2 copies in the end – I think some other decks might run 3 if they wanna do the combo again at level 2, but with the I-No gameplan, as soon as I’ve got one 2/1 Happy Chaos on the board, I’m fully intent on just slamming doors ’till kingdom come. I literally only need one copy of the Jack O’ combo once. If I’m playing down Standby climaxes after that point, something has gone horribly wrong.
  • Moving on to the green level 1s, I’m even more torn than I was yesterday. Giovanna can be finnicky, but getting one or two extra stock is massively valuable for this deck, and that simply can not be argued with. The whole build feels so much more stable after adding her, it’s amazing. And I’ve noticed that even if I don’t manage to meet her memory condition for my first level 1 turn, she’s also a great 2nd / 3rd lane attacker later in the game alongside one or two 3/2 I-No’s. I figured all this would make cutting the 1/0 Lucifero a no-brainer, but to be honest … there’s something pretty degenerate about consistently hitting for 2 and 3 damage on your Standby turn, and we all know first deck soul rush is the best kinda soul rush (stockswap+fumio shenanigans notwithstanding). So maybe this weird level 1 lineup is something to keep after all? But then If I’m running Luciferos anyway, like I’ve said before, it’s REALLY tempting to shove a Ramlethal and a Bar climax or two in here somewhere. I know I probably shouldn’t. But I want to 🙂 Guess I’ll save it for dessert after the main deck is cooked.
  • Quick comments on the 1-ofs: haven’t used 1/0 I-No yet, gotta find me an Overlord player to sacrifice one of these days to see how viable that is in practice. 0/0 Baiken has been convenient for mill and color fix, but doesn’t feel instrumental so far. And I think at this point, both the CX swap and the drop search are in the build just because they’re standard tech options. I don’t think they’re super necessary, but as is usually the case with these things, you don’t miss the toolboxy shit until you need the toolboxy shit. So they’ll stay in the deck for now.
  • I’m a little bit torn on the fact that I don’t have a healer at the moment – almost wanna swap one 2/1 Jack O’ assist for the 2/1 Ramlethal just to have theorethical access to healing if there’s water running down my throat. I haven’t actually needed a healer yet, but … I’ve spent the past few years of my Weiss career maining decks that played 6 healers at a minimum, so to say that a deck with no healers makes me feel like a caged panicked animal is putting it mildly. Perhaps I just need to readjust – sure hope that’s the case, since I obviously prefer Jack O’s +2000 power to level 3s over Ramlethal’s +1500 power. I’ve got nothing at lower levels that would benefit from extra power anyway, deck’s a bonafide glass canon when it comes to L0 and L1 defensive powerlines.
  • I’m sure there are some madlads out there experimenting with I-No pieces at less than max numbers, but I don’t think I’ll be one of them. I’m keeping all of these at 4 copies.
  • Lastly, the 2/2 anti-reverse counter. Used it once today and it has been good, but the thing is … even after that, I almost had to overplay the I-No it saved, just so I could loop it with 2/1 Happy Chaos and get the Climax again. And that’s exactly the thing I think can be a little deceptive about I-No’s combo: the kicker isn’t that she can do stuff at level 2 or late level 1 if you’re lucky, it’s that she can so easily keep doing stuff until the end of the game, provided you can keep looping her for 1 stock to grab the climax over and over again. So I think there’s a very situational balance to be struck there between keeping her on board and keeping her fluidly moving as an instrumental piece of the game process. That said, I do think my next line of play will be to replace one 1/0 Jack O’ combo with a 3rd copy of the counter to see where that lands me.

Other than that, I’m also starting to really get a feel for how to pace I-No given different game states – there’s a bit of balancing needed there too. Forcing out triple at level two is definitely not the play, and sometimes not even double is viable. There’s value in putting out steady pressure from one that turns into two and then three over multiple turns – the fact that she can give herself the +1500 cros turn power without shuffling back your opponent’s waiting room has been great so far, since I’ll often just go I-No + 2/1 Assist, boom there’s 14ks – usually with 2k counters to spare too.

On the topic of shuffling back though, I think there won’t be that many slam dunks where I’m shuffling back a clean brick of 20 cards into a perfectly compressed deck. What has been happening so far instead is a way more delicate game of chance, where a slight but often significant disturbance to my opponent’s deck can save them from taking a refresh penalty or two, but it also increases my odds of sticking damage. And that decision is often not black and white at all – I’m sure I’m still misplaying it in those cases, because I’m not good at keeping track of Climaxes that late into the game. But other times, it’s a lot easier to pull the trigger on the shuffle back: if they just refreshed and then leveled up, and you don’t need the extra two damage, just shuffle the 6 clean back into their deck as a little treat 🙂 Also, as much as I hate giving people what essentially amounts to a free refresh, the fact of the matter is that I can stick 3s in a deck that’s 8 in 30, but I literally can’t stick 3s in a deck that’s 3 in 5 – so sometimes, you just gotta pick the smaller of the two evils. I’ll take a non-zero chance to stick damage over a zaro chance any day.

And I think that’s it for the deck as it is right now?

Other future plans include trying I-No in a red/blue deck (either with 1/0 Ky combo or still on Standby but just with blue goodstuff instead of green), and a Pants/Bar Ky and Ramlethal deck. The May cancel burn things don’t really speak to me on a personal level, but she’s already being discussed to hell and back in every group I pop my head into, so I’m sure there will be no shortage of May content in the Weiss community either way.

Once again, thanks to everyone for stopping by today! I’ll try to check out the last reveals in the morning so that I can go to sleep at a reasonable hour this time … I say after spending 1.5 hours of my evening on these ‘brief’ deck thoughts.

Oh well.

Day 10: Sol & Chipp

Alex Hodges’ video →
Imgur album of today’s cards →
Spoilers spreadsheet →

Well. If that ain’t free hexproof for whoever and whatever needs it! This set just keeps getting more and more interesting.

I’m glad everyone else can now -also grab their climaxes for free with the 3/2 Sol from the Trial Deck 🙂 As for myself, this is what I’ve been trying since the last batch of reveals came out:

The Chipp brainstorm honestly feels pretty incredible, pretty seamless to Brainstorm twice per turn before going into 2x I-No at level 2. It’s kinda funny that I wrote all that waffle the day before about how early game brainstorming just doesn’t seem to fit in this deck, and then this happened.

Deck’s been running well so far, but here are some new thoughts that have come up (and a rehash of some old ones):

  • I think one less copy of the Riki and/or Chipp Brainstorm could be possible. Not sure if optimal though.
  • Making space for Sol hexproof assist could be nice.
  • Millia filter is just *chef’s kiss* absolutely perfect. So good. So good!! Provides waiting room access, provides a ditch outlet, fixes hand, fixes my mental healt tbh. Sometimes I’ll clock an excess Door CX going first on turn 1, and then if I’m still level 0 next turn, might as well grab that out of the clock and push damage if I’m fielding 3 characters anyway.
  • Still not sure what to do with the 1/0 Luciferos. Maybe 2 Lucifero + 4 Giovanna is the play? Maybe something else? 1/0 Anji or 1/0 Axl suicider?
  • Coinflip + Giovanna is … something for sure. I’m not gonna sit here and tell you it’s brilliant or anything (and I have a different version of this deck without the coinflips already saved too), but I just like coinflips. On a personal level. They poke something in my brain that gives out the happy chemicals. So I think I will push the very boundaries of making this work regardless, but I’m taking notes on how the lower L0 count and the times I miss topcheck are affecting my game outcomes. It’s also kinda hard to make decisions about this package by its individual components, doubly so with the Chipp brainstorm existing now (meaning I have less incentive to run Ram brainstorm). Because okay, let’s say I remove the coinflip so that I can run more level 0s – well that still hurts Giovanna’s odds of generating stock too. And without the coinflip, what do I generate memory with? 0/0 Giovanna clock bomb? What if I just stop worrying about level 0 counts all together and just run Giovanna at odds that are slightly worse for her but better for the rest of the deck? But then what if Giovanna being less likely to gain extra stock is actually worse for the rest of the deck? That’s the shit I’m grappling with right now, and it’s stuff I just need to test out. I know some other people can do all this math and approximation in their heads, but I need a lot of playtime on a deck to feel confident in making decisions about said deck – so that’s what I’m trying to do now.
  • More and more leaning towards a 1-1 split between Jack O’ and Ramlethal 2/1 assists just so I can have some heal, even if Ram is not ideal alongside Chipp brainstorm (since she needs to rest herself to heal, so can’t be rested for brainstorm cost).
  • Alternatively … do I just run 2x 3/2 Sol without his climax? For the heal mostly, since he’s in the right color. He’d go into the slots the 2/2 Event is currently occupying, I think I’ll try that.

If my math is mathing correctly, we are still missing 8 cards from the Booster Pack and 6 or 7 from the Trial Deck, so I’ll get back here either when we see new cards, or I have a new post-worthy deck update.

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