Table of Contents
Introduction: How is Overdress Unique?
Among the three formats in the game, Overdress is generally agreed upon as the simplest format, mainly due to the fact that it’s barely even half a year old and thus does not many cards that open it to extremely powerful and combo-heavy plays like its predecessors. Thus, this format is the most welcoming for new players or old ones coming back because of the simplified mechanics and the addition of the ride deck, a mechanic that would allow players to have more flexibility in constructing their decks. One of the main hindrances in deck building in the previous format is the deckbuilding restrictions that prevent players from optimizing some builds in fear of sacrificing precious consistency. In previous formats, having too many or few grades would result in the deck bricking, thus players would often have to sacrifice key units just to ensure they do not malfunction in the middle of matches, which heavily restricted certain playstyles or outright render them unplayable. However, due to the ride deck, players are now able to optimize their builds by being guaranteed a ride every turn, which essentially makes the chances of bricking 0%. As such, builds that greatly benefit from having an abundance of certain grades such as Bastion are now functional and have proved itself to be very powerful.
In addition to this, the lifting of clan restrictions in the form of assigning nations to cards as opposed to clans has enabled players to mix and match certain builds more, allowing them to be more flexible in building their decks for the future to come. Back then, players would be restricted to building a deck that is comprised of cards from a certain clan alone, which unfortunately caused a 1:1 playstyle to clan identity ratio. This means that players who are fighting Kagero will (not should, keep this wording in mind) expect to see a vanguard that restands multiple times, and players who are using Royal Paladin should expect a full field on steroids. With the introduction of nation-based groupings, however, players are now able to come up with more playstyles as opposed to the one that is generally associated with their clan. An excellent example of this would be Magnolia decks, which would often use some of Zorga’s ride chain to reach levels of consistency that is not achievable in their default ride line. Technically speaking, Zorga is more reminiscent of Granblue while Magnolia plays more like Neo Nectar and Aqua Force, but thanks to the introduction of nation groupings, it became possible to have more options when building decks, allowing players to mitigate or outright remove some of their deck’s weaknesses.
With a limited, yet diverse meta comprised of decks who each play a certain playstyle, it can be quite difficult to choose which deck to start first, or to try next. While every deck is powerful in their own right, some players might find themselves excelling more using a certain deck that better facilitates the playstyle they have in mind (ignoring the Bastion and Bruce-filled meta of course). Thus, I came up with an indefinite and simple guide slash analysis on which start deck would fit you as a newcomer, or as someone who is looking into buying another deck without having to build them piece by piece from booster packs.
What to keep in mind
The five start decks are not created equally, and thus players should be informed before their purchase to ensure that they are really buying the deck that is fit for them. Arguably, there are some start decks that need more extra commitment to truly bring out its potential in comparison to others who are strong straight out of the box, so players need to keep that in mind before they commit to it.
In addition, the article was written after DBT-02’s release and took into consideration the new cards that came into the meta. They should also know what to expect in certain matchups, such as whether their chosen build will struggle against this match-up or easily win against it. This factor may be important for players who do not want to play a deck that is easily countered by others or whose consistency is ruined by fighting against a nation that can derail their plans quite easily.
Lastly, the article also takes into consideration the general game plan and difficulty the decks follow so players will know what to expect should they ever decide to commit to a deck. It is important to know the compatibility between a deck’s play style and a player’s preferences to ensure that they actually enjoy what they are doing. At the end of the day, Cardfight!! Vanguard is still a game, so what’s the point of playing if you do not enjoy what you are doing? Thus, without further ado, here are the start decks and what they can bring to the table.
D Start Deck 01: Yu-yu Kondo – Holy Dragon
The first of the start decks in the Overdress format, this deck, which is also known as Nirvana, is a build that focuses on overdressing your units to attack with powerful columns that your opponent would have difficulty guarding. The card’s core mechanic, Overdress, allows you to turn your seemingly weak Trickstar into a powerful attacker while giving you additional effects, such as drawing extra cards, restanding when its attack hits, or retiring your opponent’s rearguards.
The Nirvana playstyle is best for players who want to play a deck that swings hard, is reliable, and allows them to have options outside of having powerful attack. Cards such as Vairina Arcs allow you to draw more cards and Vairina Erger (or Elgar) allows the deck to have multiple attacks while recycling resources to ensure that they are able to keep the pressure on. Because of this streamlined play style, it is quite intuitive to play this deck; you overdress your Trickstar, attack with Nirvana to power up your Overdressed units, and you repeat this until your opponent croaks. In every Overdressed attack, you can expect your opponent to drop at least two cards to be able to guard it because of how easily the deck can generate powerful vanguard and rearguard columns.
The weakness of this deck, however, is its reliance on having rearguards and specific key units to do any meaningful damage. Decks that can mess with your Overdressed units such as Seraph Snow and Eugene can easily slow down the deck, with the former de-dressing your units while the latter outright retiring them. This means that Nirvana players can expect a difficult match-up when playing against decks that can deal with their rearguards well. However, with smart plays and knowledge of when they can reliably push for a turn without leaving themselves wide-open, it is quite possible to do some counterplays and win against these decks. In particular, the “Triple Trickstar Backrow” strategy is effective against two of those decks because Trickstar is a unit that cannot be chosen for card effects.
Thus, for players who want a balanced offensive and defensive playstyle who prefer to beat down their opponents consistently without relying too much on luck and complicated set-ups, then this trial deck will fit them. Keep in mind that this deck isn’t really good out of the box due to having only four copies of units that you can use to overdress, so it will take additional financial commitment to be able to play its deck to its full potential. Despite the Bruce and Bastion topping in JP tournaments frequently, however, this deck is still played quite frequently because of its multi attack potential and utility.
D Start Deck 02: Danji Momoyama – Tyrant Tiger
Inspired by the American football aesthetic, this deck, commonly known as the Bruce build, is a deck that focuses on having powerful multiple attacks to overwhelm your opponent during mid-game. During the early game, the deck is pretty vanilla as its effects are locked behind “Final Rush” a game state that you go into once you hit your second turn with Bruce as your vanguard. During Final Rush, your rearguards become overwhelmingly powerful and attack twice each, which makes this a deck that more aggressive and hot-headed players may find desirable.
Bruce follows a simple playstyle: You attempt to win the game as fast and explosively as possible once you hit your 4th turn. Cards such as Eden allow you to retire your opponent whenever his attacks hits and gain an extra critical for when he restands, and Lenard essentially allows you to destroy an entire column as he attacks two units at once, and calling a card whenever his attack hits (in other words, an additional attack for when your opponent allows your attack to hit). This makes it a very powerful deck that is quite difficult to stop because of how oppressive it can play; opponents can expect to lose their rearguards and cards from hand as they struggle to survive the onslaught once it starts. This overly aggressive playstyle allowed the deck to be meta and top consistently in tournaments.
However, because the deck relies on soul charging, some players who dislike having to rely on luck too much may find this deck undesirable, as they should expect to soul charge at least two triggers during the match, as part of this deck’s cost. On unlucky days, you might find all your triggers in the soul while your drive checks only reveal normal units, which can be frustrating because of how integral the trigger system is in this game. In addition, because the deck sees many players using it, it can be quite difficult to find affordable and accessible support cards. This deck has no early game potential too; there are no optimal options for players to start their onslaught early on, as the deck condenses all of its offensive power in the later stages of the game. However, this deck is quite powerful straight out of the box; it can easily generate 28k-38k columns on non-persona ride turns as long as you are in Final Rush.
Thus, for players who favor a more aggressive, yet straightforward playstyle that aims to end the game as fast as possible, then Bruce might scratch their itch.
D Start Deck 03: Tohya Ebata – Apex Ruler
Comprised of units from a medieval fantasy setting, Bastion is a powerful offensive deck with utility options that serve to mitigate their lack of defenses. This deck is infamous for being able to easily build columns that can make mincemeat out of your opponent’s hand while having enough cards to block your attacks long enough for them to end you before you can end them. When going first, the deck becomes even more problematic as they can easily swing for attacks that would take you at least two cards to actually block, as their grade 3 rearguards are all technically 15k attackers during their turn.
Bastion’s ability to restand a rearguard with an additional +10k is reliant on revealing a grade 3 during your drive checks, which is why the deck runs an abundance of grade 3 rearguards. In fact, most meta decks only run one grade 2 unit in the deck, because the bulk of the deck’s offense comes from its powerful grade 3 units anyway. Cards like Alden allow you to draw two cards if you call a grade 3 rearguard with his ability, and Fosado allows you to refresh your resources whenever his attack hits, ensuring that you always have enough cards to continue your offense. This makes it an extremely powerful deck because of how it can easily pressure your opponent whilst maintain a healthy supply of defensive cards; it is a deck that can survive onslaughts from offensive decks such as Bruce long enough for the deck itself to punish your opponent for overextending their resources. Such a playstyle is what allowed Bastion to dominate the meta and top consistently; it’s a simple, yet extremely powerful deck that does its job well.
However, players should be wary of the deck’s inherently low defensive potential and susceptibility to being rushed early game; because the deck has no way of calling powerful rearguards until they reach grade 3, they are the weakest clan among the start decks when it comes to the early game. Decks such as Magnolia can rush them down and bring them to an uncomfortable damage range before they even get the chance to get the ball rolling, so inexperienced players who do not know how to control damage may be frustrated. In addition, the deck itself needs some extra cards for it to be consistent, so it might take some additional financial commitment for you to use the deck to its decent potential.
For players seeking a playstyle that allows them to nuke their opponents while having some fallback options, then Bastion might be what they are looking for.
D Start Deck 04: Megumi Okura – Sylvan King
Ah yes, the clan filled with cute doggos and critters. Magnolia is a deck build that follows a single playstyle: Rush your opponents with multiple attacks. Among the five start decks, this one has the highest amount of attacks possible and is most powerful early and mid-game, because of how its units allow other units to attack from the back row, at the cost of having slightly weaker attacks than say, Bastion and Bruce. However, this playstyle is formidable early game because of how easily it can overwhelm your opponent, to the point where they are not able to set-up in the first place.
Magnolia’s abilities revolve around allowing your rearguards to attack from the back row and powering them up, ensuring that your opponent needs to drop at least one card to block it. Because of the games assigning of values to shields, your opponent either has to waste a good defensive card in the form of 15k shield triggers or drop two by guarding with 5k shields. This allows players to quickly eat up their opponent’s hand, as they would need to either rely on a damage trigger or guard at some point so they do not get pushed to a damage level that essentially guarantees a win for Magnolia later on. The deck’s early game potential is powerful too, because it can easily call additional rearguards from the top of your deck, which allows you to rush your opponent without actually sacrificing the cards in your hand to do so. Cards such as Damainaru allow another rearguard to attack from the back row during the early game, and Elrante is a 23k beater from the back row while giving you a soul charge, perfect for fueling the costs of your other rearguards.
However, keep in mind that this deck may struggle against builds that specialize in-field control, such as Seraph Snow and Baromagnes. Seraph Snow in particular forces them to stretch out their already thin resources too to bail out units, so players must be wary of knowing when and what units to call so they do not fall flat when fighting against this nation. In addition, damage triggers may singlehandedly ruin their gameplan too, as their many-but-weak attacks ensure that only base 13k power vanguards are the only one that they can actually hit. Thus, some players may find this reliance on RNG undesirable. The deck is quite good outside of the box however and actually needs to replace only around four cards or so to bring it to a competitive level.
For players who love to play aggressively even early on and aim to overwhelm their opponents before they can set up or who just want cute doggos, then Magnolia is their best bet.
D Start Deck 05: Tomari Seto – Aurora Valkyrie
HEY GUYSSSS! Seraph Snow is a nation comprised of policewomen, robots, and aliens. The deck focuses on resource manipulation by imprisoning your opponent’s rearguards and forcing them to use their resources to bail them out. As more cards are imprisoned, the deck unlocks additional effects such as extra power and shield, or an extra drive check for your vanguard. Thus, your opponent is always forced to respect this deck or risk slamming into a brick wall at full speed.
Seraph Snow’s game plan is to basically starve your opponent out of resources whilst bolstering your own, making it a defensive-oriented and deliberate deck. While it does not have the powerful columns as Nirvana and Bastion have or the multi-attacking potential of Magnolia and Bruce has, it does have the ability to dictate the tempo of the fight by always threatening to lock up your opponent’s key units. Whilst doing so, it gains extra cards and slowly pressures your opponent to be the one playing the defensive by having decently powerful columns and a vanguard that they are better off using a sentinel to safe guard. Cards such as Perio Turquoise reduces your opponent’s rearguard’s power if they ever get bailed out of prison, and Derii Violet is essentially a sentinel against any attacking grade 2 or lower unit. This makes it an excellent defensive deck that smart players will be always able to find alternate strategies to work with, as it slows down the game to a tempo that is more favorable to you.
However, despite being a clan that boasts impressive defensive potential and utility, it still struggles against certain key match ups. In particular, Orfist is a difficult match up for Seraph Snow because Orfist’s tokens are retired whenever it is imprisoned, which unfortunately locks the deck out of its more powerful effects. Baromagnes, who can bounce rearguards after it attacks, is also difficult to fight against because it leaves Seraph Snow with no cards to imprison. However, this was somewhat mitigated with the new DBT-02 support, which allows Seraph Snow to still do significant damage or win against these unfavorable matchups.
For players who want a deck that focuses more on utility and being defensive, then Seraph Snow is something they will definitely enjoy. The deck needs some extra love to function better though, but outside of the box it is quite decent and represents the potential of the deck well.
Overdress is the perfect time for any player to hop in and try the decks they want, mainly due to the fact that the meta isn’t skewing to either one playstyle too much and how affordable it is to build a competitive deck, especially when compared to the other two formats in the game. Thus, whether you pick up a deck for its aesthetic, for its gameplay, or for its worth in the meta, Overdress is a format that has a bit of something for everyone and will continue to grow that way as the game progresses. Thanks to the new mechanics, it became easier to build the perfect deck you have in mind without fear of sacrificing a significant amount of consistency.
Thank you for reading my article and I wish you the happiest and thrilling of cardfights!