Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Shadow Paladin (SP) Deck 1: Phantom Blaster Dragon

At the time of writing, BT04 was just released and SP is a very new clan. SP was very much hyped out, being the main antagonist’s deck (Ren), more than two thirds of the cards in BT04 belonged to SP so that players could quickly assemble together a relatively balanced SP deck upon released, and cards like PBD RRR were selling at 2400 JPY and Nemain at 1500JPY in Japan. But whether this hype is justifiable, that remains to be observed. Some people love SP for anti-hero impulse ( and their preference for the dark side), some for the artwork, there is also a significant portion of players who stand against it arguing that it is overhyped.

I personally find it true that it is rather hyped out, especially with single cards being so expensive. The SP deck I am about to talk about is rather commonly used by SP players at the time of writing (with a few minor differences), not mainly because we all agree that this is the best way to go, but because SP was a new clan and we were all restricted by the variety of SP cards we had access to. I personally do not own this deck, I constructed it for a friend of mine who was happy that his anti-hero likings could finally be satisfied upon SP’s release.

If you were to asked me “should I make an SP deck” at the time of writing, my answer was if you managed to pull a number of PBD and Nemain from opening BT04, then by all means please go ahead if you like the SP concept, else you should sell them all away at good prices while the hype is on. If you intend to buy singles to form an SP deck, I would suggest against that, because SP is still in its infancy stage (but already gaining a lot of spotlight), you can’t pick up cards at a bargain and speculate on future possible breakthroughs, they already cost so much, you mind as well wait for more cards to be released so you have a bigger plate of choices to form your preferred SP deck (at least wait until BT05). Without further ado, here is the SP decklist.


Basic Deck Playstyle:
Mainly Aggro with a bit of combo. The star of the deck is PBD, and this deck is really all about PBD even until the extend he may standalone to fight. Bascially, ride it up with Fullbau -> Javelin -> Blaster Dark -> PBD, then attempt to use his ability for as many turns as possible. Feed him with other units, use Skull Witch Nemain, Dark Mage, Badhbh Cath, and draw triggers (I do suggest playing 8 draws, but at the time of writing SP was just released in BT04 with only a standard trigger package of 4 of each) to dig out more units to feed PBD.

In Depth Deck Analysis
Not much to say here, SP is a very new clan at the time of writing, things are rather undeveloped, so the gameplan is really very straightforward.

The Stars: PBD? Hmm I’d say Nemain and Darkmage

PBD, The boss of SP decks, the star. This is obvious. You will want him at your vanguard on your 3rd turn, you would want to feed units to him and use counterblast ability for as many turns as possible (ideally you would prefer to use it when the opponent has a small handsize). But he is only a 3 of because you would only want him as a vanguard, he is fetchable by javelin, and he is no difference from rugos as a rearguard. But man, feeding 3 units and counterblast 2 is really costly, without Lancer perhaps at most you could use it twice, but hey opponents know this, so guess what, they just keep negators in their hands waiting for you to use PBD’s abilities (so around 2 negators ready to stop you), ok now that is all gone, and oh you have no more other SP units, sheesh what a gamble. Which is why Nemain (man oh man what a sex bomb) and Darkmage are IMO the real stars of the deck, they give you more units to feed PBD, they help to at least still have a few more “friends” on the field instead of a lonely PBD. I would go so far (as a number of players would too) to say that if you are not playing Nemain and Darkmage then please don't play PBD. Now opponents know you need units to feed PBS, if you place them upfront, they will likely be attacked, ideally you wanna combo them out this turn and feed them straight away to PBD, but sometimes you may even have to shift grade 3 and 2 rearguards in the backrow to prevent them from getting hit, so you can use them to feed PBD the next turn, but this is really a situation you should try not to get into.

Rugos vs Donnerschlag vs Fatalia
As with why I preferred Nehalem to Lava arm, the argument stands when comparing Rugos to Donnerschlag. As for Fatalia, he is a 10k intercept. Noticed that I also put 3 negators in this deck, all this hints of my shift of gears to being slightly more defensive for this deck. Defend what? PBD man and your life points! Since he is the star of this deck when in play.

Pros of the deck:
1. Able to make a good handsize. Although you would ideally want to feed the units to PBD, but when necessary you have the option to use them as shields.

Cons of the deck:
1. Too much concentration risk, you are often betting it all on PBD.
2. Room for variety by developers.
3. No other mechanic (other than PBD's ability) that really helps to deplete the opponent’s handsize so as to pave the way for PBD's finishing blow.

Overall Play Experience:
Fun, the bets on whether PBD’s ability successfully go through is the fun part. Expensive, oh yes indeed. Competitive? Hmm I would say it is a rather balanced clan at the moment. Stay tune for future developments of this clan, at the rate things are going and how much attention SP is getting, I am sure you can find your way with this clan in the coming future.

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