What’s new with the new Cardfight!! Vanguard

To the casual observer it might not even be obvious that Cardfight!! Vanguard has been rebooted. Especially with the new version simply being titled ‘Cardfight!! Vanguard’ (though fans are calling it Vanguard V for differentiation). This may be confusing to onlookers but technically each new season of the Vanguard anime and corresponding card sets had different names (the last one being Cardfight!! Vanguard G Z) so to fans this was a clear reboot.

This is a reboot in all aspects of the word. First of all, the anime itself is getting a new series that follow the original manga a lot closer. Anime fans may recognise this as a Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood treatment. This means the series is back to following Aichi Sendou and the original cast of characters. For fans of Chrono Shindou and other Vanguard G characters though, don’t despair; you might meet them sooner than expected. By the way, you can watch all the episodes of Cardfight!! Vanguard, old and new, for free on the official YouTube channel. I always found that to be a very cool approach to promoting an anime based card game.

I am going to be binging this for a while.

As for the card game, Toby has tackled some of the reasons for the reboot as well as some of what’s new in his article here. The reboot has mostly to do with the slow power creep the game went though in the later sets as well as the problems encountered by having a massive card pool. There was also rumors of the creator visiting America and seeing the standard format that made Magic: The Gathering as a solution for a brighter future of Vanguard.

As for what’s new, other than resetting the entire card pool, the rules have been streamlined and new mechanics were introduced. First of all there are three new clan types and the ‘Imaginary Gift’ system that supports it. The clans now can be broken up into Force, Accel, and Protect types. Certain units have icons of one of these types on their cards and when they are played you can put down a corresponding ‘imaginary gift’ card according to their special rules. An in-depth explanation of this new mechanic can be found here.

The entire ‘trigger’ mechanic has also be renewed. To those unfamiliar, the trigger mechanic involves the ‘trigger’ icon being printed on certain cards, and when that card is flipped from decks, namely while attacking, defending, or taking damage, the effect triggers based on what type it is. Other than the usual Critical, Heal and Draw triggers, they have also introduced a new trigger named ‘Front’ that give all your front line units +10000.

These new mechanics are not only interesting in themselves but also represent a change in design philosophy that is promising. In the original, there isn’t much room for new general mechanics. A lot of new mechanics end up being clan specific or mechanics that add a lot of extra complexities to the game. These new mechanics make it easy to introduce new small but interesting mechanics to the game as a whole with new ‘imaginary gift’ types and new triggers.

An example of a front trigger card but also an example of awesome stuff in Vanguard, like an alien robot wrestler.

There has also been streamlining of keywords and text layout as well as smaller changes to rules that have pretty big consequences. For example the rules for blocking have made it less restrictive so it now prevents being hit hard because of a bad draw. Speaking of bad draws, the mulligan rule has also seen changes so you draw your new set of cards before you shuffle your old hand into your deck. This small change goes a long way towards reducing the frustration of bad draws ruining your game. Especially with the game’s ‘trigger’ system, cards you hope to be flipped mid game, being able to more reliably get rid of a hand flooded with ‘trigger’ cards is a very welcome change.

I am gonna try this at a bar at some point.

And of course a lot of the players will want to know if their clans are back and as far as I can tell most of those introduced in the original series (ie: not G) are back. They seem to be releasing extra booster sets for the non-main clans (ie: Clans that are not played by the main characters). Since the smaller extra booster sets have less clan support in each set its actually easier for players of these smaller clans to hunt down the card they want.

When a card game reboots like this there are always going to be mixed opinions from the player base. However, majority opinion seems to hold that the reboot is exactly what the game needed and it’s undeniable this makes it a lot easier for any new comers to get into the game.

I will be having a more in depth look at some of the new sets in the coming days. For now, please enjoy the unboxing of two booster boxes Ozanimart was kind enough to provide us with.

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