Hey folks, Atlas from the Nexus at Night podcast here. Commander Jaime has been so gracious as to give me the floor for this Rogue of the Seven Seas article, and for that I thank him. Today, I wanted to talk about Aqua Force. While I am not an Aqua Force main persay (I’m more of a Great Nature man myself) but I can say that I do enjoy me some navy bois.
One thing I have noticed is that, through all of its various waves, storms, wings, ripples, and maelstroms, Aqua Force is a clan that has genres to its playstyle, particularly in premium format. No, I’m not talking about requiring this-or-that Vanguard, or getting a Heal trigger for whatever reason. What I’m talking about is how it gets its multi-attacks.
Unlike clans like Granblue, Pale Moon, and Angel Feather, who call from the drop, soul, and damage zone respectively to get multi-attacks, and unlike the various paladins, which call from the deck. Aqua Force is a clan that makes use of its pre-existing field to put on pressure. This requires significant hand commitment, but doing 4+ attacks from turn 2 onward makes that less of a problem. That said, I wanted to look at the different ways Aqua Force does this, and what can be done in the future to improve the already existing infrastructure. Starting with…
Back Row Attacking
Back row attacking is something that’s pretty uniquely Aqua Force, until the overDress reboot blessed us with the fantastic lycanthropic grade 3 that is Magnolia. That said, it’s something that’s a little uncommon in Aqua Force itself, usually on Grade 2 units that can swing for a poke to increase your attack count. I’ll be using two examples here, Blue Wave Marine General, Medla, and Blue Storm Soldier, Eldermoss.
In both of these cards’ cases, they’re not the main event of your battle phase most of the time. They’re something you put behind something like your Vanguard, which is usually swinging for big enough numbers to hit anyway, or something you can move up (in Eldermoss’ case) if your guy in front of him gets retired or whatever. This is one of the two unique ways Aqua Force has multi-attacking, and while I do like it, it’s a little clunky in terms of deckbuilding and card design. Being that these kinds of cards are usually getting the effect themselves, you’re incentivized to put them in the back row, lest their effects go to waste (especially in something like Medla’s case.)
Obviously, these aren’t the only back row attackers Aqua Force has, I just think they’re good examples. Eldermoss’ effect is an example of a back row attacker doing something else useful. With the 10k base being helpful defensively in that era of Vanguard G, and the back row attacking being an ancillary benefit to the recycling of Maelstrom cards from your drop zone, while Medla, meanwhile, is a back row attacker and that’s it.
Magnolia, a Stoicheia grade 3, lets you give back row attack to anything of your choosing after he attacks. It’s generic, flexible, and can combo with other cards well. This is part of the reason I like Magnolia so much. He being the Vanguard giving the back row attacking to other rearguards with his own effect (however limited that may be on its own thanks to the persona ride limitation) is something that allows for flexibility in field set-up and deckbuilding. As you can just run rearguards who make for good attackers on their own (restanders, draws, retires, power gains, whatever) and let Magnolia pick up the slack from there. That’s not to say this kind of thing should be fully generic to the clan of Aqua Force, but a sort of bigger unit would be nice here.
It also allows for things like Giunosla (aka Glow Nipples) to be designed that help bolster the rest of the board if it happens to be attacking from the back row, rather than the back row attacking being the point of the card’s effect itself that you have to work towards or build around in the power department. Aqua Force could definitely benefit from a stride (outside from the now mostly outdated Commander Thavas) or a Grade 3 that gives back row attack to the rearguards around it, rather than needing to draw piecemeal into those rear-swinging pieces.
Restanding is by far the most popular genre Aqua Force has going for it. Not only do you have strides like Genbold Dragon, Alexandros, and Lambros all being huge players in any Aqua Force deck, but you also have things like Tidal Assault and Battle Siren, Orthia that restand themselves or others at the end of battle. One problem with this, though, is that this leads to many comparisons, particularly from newer players, with Nova Grappler.
Let me put this to bed once and for all. Much like the difference between improv comedy and stand-up comedy (“yes, and” vs. “no, and here’s why”,) Aqua Force and Nova Grappler look similar until you take a second and consider it. Someone told me once that Nova Grappler hits like a fist, then a bat, then a car, then a tree, then a house. Aqua Force, on the other hand, hits like 3 fists, a tree, then an entire apartment complex. Multi-attacking is still involved, but there are nuances there.
I think Bushiroad tends to lean toward restanding because it’s easier to design cards like that, and especially easier to grasp as a new player: stand the card up, swing, repeat. No front then back then front then back, no weird maneuvering around (we’ll get to that in a bit), just turn cards sideways till your brain goes numb.
I’m not really sure how you improve the re-standing part of Aqua Force. That part is very well developed on its own, with its main weakness as a clan being card advantage and piece finding. But that’s not the point of this article, so moving on!
Now we come to the last genre of Aqua Force: position swapping. This is arguably the least abundant genre. You had a card like the original Storm Rider, Basil, who would attack, swap with the thing behind it, and then continue on from there. Now you have things like these two:
These are two examples of position swappers: those that swap themselves, and those that swap other cards. One problem with position swapping, in general, is that you normally lose out on a potential booster. Wheel Assault has that problem, and is mostly placed behind your Vanguard so you can use his effect after you allocate triggers and adapt on the fly. Putting him on another column is usually pretty bust. Most of the time you run Wheel as a Grade 1 ride for his turn 2 ability and for the 10k shield, not so much for the position swapping itself.
This problem of losing a good booster is largely remedied in Jet’s case, as you can swing with him on accel circle, switch him with a grade 2 in the back to where he is, and then attack with the front row grade 2 you had where Jet is now, with Jet as your booster for that unit and the grade 2 in the back now on the accel circle. Unfortunately, I can’t talk about position swapping without talking about this guy though:
Valeos is an odd card in Vanguard history. Any newer players might not remember the “disciples”, a group of players in the late G era anime that were trying to awaken Vanguard’s version of Satan, Gyze. When they brought the units the disciples used into V series (Chaos Breaker Dragon, Gastille, and Valeos) they didn’t give those cards imaginary gifts. In Chaos Breaker’s case, it was so you could actively steal gifts from the opponent, while in Gastille and Valeos’ case, it just hurt.
Valeos on paper has good effects, allowing you to both decrease the opponent’s vanguard’s power AND prevent them from getting a lucky damage trigger, which allows you to use his 3rd effect with impunity. However, his second effect, which allows you to make a whole board for a measly persona blast, requires you to kill all your accel markers. Accel is the best marker by FAR, especially accel 2, and making you kill them just for a board is just not worth the trouble. Lore/imaginary gift problems aside, I think this is a good example of what Wheel Assault has going on and kind of what Magnolia has going on: a Vanguard that does the position swapping for others, as opposed to having to run something like the old Storm Rider Basil.
That said, position swapping requires something by itself like Coral Assault, who can hit 24k power on his own, and is thus hitting numbers. Position swapping is definitely the most ancillary of the 3 genres, and how I would “fix” it is to make something like Valeos who lets you position swap without being slow as the dickens by not having/actively eating your imaginary gifts. Jet Propulsion Dragon is also a great compromise, giving up your bigger attacks on the front end in exchange for having bigger attacks on the back end, and that’s all Aqua Force really wants anyway: to hit like a house.
I hope this has given you something to think about as you play with Aqua Force in the future. Thank you to Commander Jaime for featuring me on Rogue of the Seven Seas. You can follow me @atlasnovack on Twitter or Instagram. Check out the Nexus at Night Vanguard podcast if you haven’t already! We have weekly episodes, and they’re available anywhere you get your podcasts, or on Youtube, and you can follow us on Twitter @nexusatnight. Thanks for reading!
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2 thoughts on “The Genres of Aqua Force”
Really interesting style of article. I found it a cool overview of what options the clan has present now in its long history.
Yeah it’s really cool to slow down and see how far a clan has gone through too. I’m sure we’ll see more of these type of articles in the future. 😎