Today we have a Cardfighter Spotlight! I’ll be having the opportunity to interview the Granblue player that recently accomplished 1st overall in Vision’s Online Standard Tournament! His name is Nabendu Raul ([SN] Lelouch) and is from India! Let’s get right into the interview!
Jaime: First off, congratulations to Nabendu for getting 1st place in Vision’s Online Standard Tournament! When I saw the results and you were playing Granblue, I was happy to see Granblue being represented. Today I wanted to do an interview with you about your overall experience and even get to know you a little bit. Sounds good amigo?
Nabendu: Thank you!! I am really happy to represent my Clan and now to be able to talk to you personally.
Jaime: Great! Tell us a little about yourself. Where are you from? Are you from any specific Vanguard teams/communities? Any other events that you and/or team have done well? Etc.
Nabendu: I am from West Bengal, India. I only play in Cardfight Area and my team Stardust Nova (SN) is also from CFA server. Our team became team of the month for April and May this year in CFA server as well.
Jaime: That’s awesome! How did you start playing Cardfight Vanguard?
Nabendu: It’s a bit funny. I saw the anime in May-June 2018, just before the reboot. But after searching, I saw that there is no facility to play in real life in India. My friend, Debojit, told me about this online CFA server and I immediately opened an account with a funny IGN that attracted Muqit’s eye (Leader of SN) and he introduced me with this CFA server team system.
Jaime: That’s great that you were able to find an online group of friends to play Cardfight Vanguard! During your preparation, what are some things that you mainly focused on? Certain matchups, deck builds, strategies, etc.
Nabendu: The current meta is very fast so I tried to made the deck faster that can hit hard, and parallelly keep hand advantage despite of Nightrose’s skill. Certain matchups… hmm since Nightrose’s skill kills all rear guards, there is not many ways to counter it other than CB controlling and there comes the awesome Dancing Cutlass to CC. The Shiranui matchup I’m still figuring out how to beat it consistently. Shiranui is the reason that there are 3 Skull Dragons with no doubt over 2 copies.
Jaime: Good call on the Shiranui matchup! What made you decide on Granblue to play with? Why Nightrose?
Nabendu: I am in love with the clan. After Flanger got banned, it was kind of impossible to win with it in Standard. Though in premium I am continuously playing it. It can do so much tool boxing and it has a “stone wall” defense. After Nightrose and Colombard came back to Standard, it really became viable again.
Jaime: Agreed! Let’s dive into your deck list. I see that you’re playing 4 Navigators, how were they able to help out in the tournament?
Nabendu: Nightrose can’t mill and you can’t really make the deck faster if you can’t mill fast enough. Also Negrobone becomes at full power when you have 10 cards in drop zone, so it’s really a useful card. But thanks to Colombard and also Navigator is not restricted 1/Turn or include self in the skill, you can run less but If you can use it’s skill from turn 1 it puts you in a very good position. If you are little lucky with top 10 mill, you can hit pretty hard on turn 2, like 21k VG, 24-36k RG and another almost 32-40k RG. That’s really handy if you can deal so much damage early. It literally happened in the finals.
Jaime: Yes! I completely agree with you, I also see you’re playing 1 copy of Samurai Spirit. What are some key plays/scenario that you felt this ratio helped out?
Nabendu: Yeah… I always use him since Cocytus Era (1 copy). It’s such a good card. Assume you rode Cutlass, Negrobone, or Ripple Banshee and now I want to get them into to the drop zone, I can SB them with Samurai Spirit to later call that card. Or during the turn 2 rush that I was talking about with Navigator, I can replace one of the rested units with Samurai Spirit as a 12k booster. If you went for final turn and you did the 4 Skull Dragon attack play using Colombard, the Colombard is still in the back row doing nothing. So the following turn, use Samurai Sprit to replace him and it becomes a 17k booster while Nightrose is the VG. Lastly, the cards you rode up with are stuck in the Soul and you want to revive those cards from drop zone. Use Samurai Spirit to SB them out and now you can call those cards with other revival skills. You can do so many things with it. It’s my favorite tech card.
Jaime: I see you wanted a balance of everything, makes sense! I’m also astonished at seeing that you were playing 3 Greed Shades. What made you decide to drop him down to 3? Usually Greed Shade is at 4 to increase the consistency of the deck in general. Was it to make room for the 2nd Captain Nightmist?
Nabendu: Honestly, it’s a space issue. If you allow me to run 52 cards, then I’ll run a 3rd copy of Ripple Banshee and the 4th copy of Greed Shade. The other reason is that Nightrose already minuses so much. Greed Shade doesn’t plus in advantage, so if you try to use it from hand you lose 2 cards to get 1 card. As a result, I don’t really want to see it too much in hand. Arguably, Colombard and Greed shade are the best 2 cards ever. But I really don’t use Greed Shade in this deck except when to fix hand and only when I brick. I am relying on Colombard and Navigator to get a copy of Greed Shade into the drop zone. Before Colombard was released, Greed Shade was obviously always at 4 copies. If you have to play a long game you need Greed Shade to help out. I personally think Greed Shade has the best values in Premium than in Standard. In my opinion, it’s the best card in Premium. Lastly, about the 2nd Captain Nightmist, I really hate to see my one of’s in the damage zone and I often like to use Colombard in main phase.
Jaime: Awesome, thanks for explaining those card choices. With this build, what was your winning image for most of your games? Like did you have a setup, game state, or strategy that you focused on?
Nabendu: Tank them until you set up your drop zone for the 4 Skull Dragon attacks turn while driving them to 4-5 damage. Granblue is the deck where you can set up your hand and next turn play well ahead. If you got lucky then you have the chance to just rush them out. Otherwise, control damage till you reach grade 3, then set up, drive them to 4-5 damage maintaining hand advantage, then go for the kill. Your setup should have the average of 32 cards in the drop zone, 3 Negrobone in deck, 0 cards in Soul, and 0 hand. It’s the ultimate final 4 Skull Dragon attack turn.
Jaime: Yep that’s a very good strategy overall with Nightrose Navigator! I also love playing aggressively with that build. During your games, which decks/clans did you face?
- A lot of Shadow Paladins (Luard)
- BanG Dream
- Nubatama (Shiranui)
- Another one I forgot
Jaime: Ha a lot of Luard, nice! Was there a game you would like to highlight? Like your toughest matchup, best game, break or deal moments, etc.
Nabendu: 2 games… First one, I ignored BanG Dream’s new support and (SnowSteph/Hello Happy World) caught me off guard in swiss rounds. He drove me up to 5 damage while I was at grade 2. So I couldn’t rush him and had to shift to defensive mode, then it was a tag of war and at last I won. That game was the longest game in that round. Later I faced him again in top 8 and won by 2-1 score. The 2nd game was against Luard in the finals, specifically the third. That game like I mentioned beforehand, I was able to mill really early on so I was at full power by my grade 2 turn. Again that shows the power of early Navigator.
Jaime: Wow, yes a new clan like BanG Dream can sneak up on you! Yes, Navigator helps so much on match ups like Luard. During your games, what is something that you appreciated about your deck from the preparation you’ve done? The strategy of it, consistency, power, plays, etc.
Nabendu: Whenever you brick, both Colombard and Greed Shade are there for you!! Don’t worry, just play your game. And I really appreciate my team mates who helped me a lot in testing and deck building discussions.
Jaime: Absolutely, those cards are phenomenal! How many rounds were in the tournament? How was your record throughout? Was there a Top 8?
Nabendu: There were total of 47 players in 6 rounds of swiss (best of 1). Then Top 8 was best of 3 games. I was on top in the swiss rounds with 5 wins & 1 loss. Then in top 8, 1st match vs Bang Dream (HHW) and the next 2 were vs Luard. I won all 3 with 2-1 records. Both Luards got 2nd and 3rd place.
Jaime: How were your final’s games?
Nabendu: It was interesting. The finals was best of 3 games. In the last game, I got lucky with Navigator’s early milling. I rushed him so much earlier that he was at 5 damage on his grade 2 VG when it was my 1st grade 3 turn. The next turn was like an auto win.
Jaime: Wow, very good way to finish up the tournament! After the tournament, did you take some time to reflect? Anything that you learned from your experience?
Nabendu: Well I felt little uncomfortable against Shiranui, so I’m currently working on it. Besides that, I like spending some time with my favorite clan on making some Limit Break Era decks of Nightmist, Nightsnow, Cocytus <Reverse> for other special tournaments.
Jaime: Awesome, you’ve still recognized there was some area you can still improve on. Would you like to do any shout outs to people that you know and/or have helped you along your journey?
Nabendu: Obviously, first of all my man Muqit, who found me and nurtured me to learn the game. Then my teammates who helped a lot with deck testing, reviewing the deck list, and finding ideas.
Jaime: That’s great stuff! I’m sure your friends are happy and excited for your accomplishment! Just one more question and we’ll be done amigo. While preparing with Granblue, did you use/see any social media to help you solidify your build? Such as blogs, YouTube videos/channels, Facebook, Reddit, etc.
Nabendu: As soon as Nightrose got revealed I started deck building in CFA unofficial. So, I already had 4-5 different builds for it. Later I read your blog and saw your YouTube content, but there was not much place to add anything, I tried running the g3 searcher Tommy, then I reduced Skull Dragon to 2 then I came back to 3 again, and at the end I stuck with this build. I never saw Samurai Sprit in anyone’s build till few weeks ago, I saw it in some event top’s deck list. So, more or less this deck is totally my idea since I started from scratch at first. But the content you have written in your previous blogs on Standard Nightrose and Premium deck builds, that is really impressive.
Jaime: That’s great you started immediately testing Nightrose when she was revealed! Wow thanks for the compliment and I’m glad the blog and my YouTube channel helped out with some ideas. The reason I ask is that the more social media resources that we can refer to for all Granblue players, the better. I can even reference new resources onto the Rogue of the Seven Seas blog. Thanks again for joining me in this interview!
Nabendu: Thank you for the interview invitation. It was a pleasure to chat with you as well, I’m a fan of yours.
Jaime: That’s a great goal and I wish you the best! I hope to see more from you in the metagame! Till next time amigos!
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this interview! I just wanted to highlight some takeaways that can help Granblue players out!
Recognizing The Metagame You’ll Be Playing Against
Nabendu mentioned, “The current meta is very fast so I tried to made the deck faster that can hit hard, and parallelly keep hand advantage despite of Nightrose’s skill. ……. The Shiranui matchup I’m still figuring out how to beat it consistently. Shiranui is the reason that there are 3 Skull Dragons with no doubt over 2 copies.“
I’m glad that Nabendu mentioned this because he recognized there’s more to the metagame that he expected to play against. Sometimes I’ve seen players assume it’s just certain decks that are the metagame, but there is a deeper level. He recognized the metagame had decks there were very fast in general.
Not only that, but he recognized one deck that can actually hurt his winning image turn. The 4 Skull Dragon attack turn. Adding the 3rd Skull Dragon was a good call. So if one got bounded by Shiranui’s skill, he still had access to do the 4 Skull Dragon attack turn afterwards.
There are multiple Nightrose builds that are viable and serve their own pros and cons. He ended up going with the Navigator build. I definitely agree that it was the right meta call for him and it really served him well that he got 1st place overall.
It’s important to see the metagame as a big picture. Once you recognize it, adapt to it and execute. You won’t be prepared for every deck nor every scenario but choose a game plan that will have a high success rate for yourself. If it turns out your matches were different than expected, learn from it and see what you may need to account for in the next event you’ll participate in.
A Common Deck Building Challenge
Nabendu also mentioned, “Honestly, it’s a space issue. If you allow me to run 52 cards, then I’ll run a 3rd copy of Ripple Banshee and the 4th copy of Greed Shade.”
In his build he had to cut down on certain cards that most people feel should be at higher ratios. If he could, he would play those cards and the other ones he accounted for such as the 3rd Skull Dragon and the Samurai Spirit. But he had to make a choice. His choice did end off paying very well for him.
I know I’ve always wanted to include certain cards to handle specific scenarios in order to help be prepared for them. However, I always remind myself that what are the 90% scenarios that will happen because those are the ones that actually matter. Sure sometimes those specific scenarios can happen, but you don’t want to cut down on too much ratios. It affects the consistency and power of the deck in most of the scenarios that will happen, which can hurt your chances of having success greatly.
There Is Always Room For Improvement
Last key thing Nabendu mentioned, “Well I felt little uncomfortable against Shiranui, so I’m currently working on it.”
Even though he won 1st place overall, he realizes that he can still improve in an area. That’s very key. One of the match ups he expected to face, did happened. He won which is great, but he felt like he still needs to get better at that match up. And he’s currently working on it too.
You have to be careful that even though you did really well at an event, there’s ALWAYS something to improve on/learn from. Never think that you’ve arrived just because you’ve topped. Your next goal should be able to consistently top in the events you plan to participate in. This will help you out in the long term in your Vanguard career.
Thanks again for reading this Cardfighter Spotlight article! It’s great to see Granblue take 1st in an event! Thanks again to Nabendu for joining us today as well! Til next time amigos!