Earlier this year saw the release of the new Cardfight!! Vanguard series: overDress.
This release completely revamped the game, redoing old rules and introducing new ones. Along with this new set, several new start decks were released, including the overDress Apex Ruler deck.
Cray, 3000 Years In The Future
The new series of Vanguard (and subsequently the cards) is set on the original Planet Cray but 3000 years in the future. Torn by war and struggle, the 28 clans have formed into six nations: Dragon Empire, Dark States, Keter Sanctuary, Stoicheia, Brandt Gate, and Lyrical Monasterio. This new nation system replaces the old clans, meaning that cards that previously couldn't run together now can.
Keter Sanctuary is the featured nation of overDress Apex Ruler which is why I went out of my way to buy it. I'm an old Royal and Gold Paladin player.
Keter Sanctuary is one of the smallest nations left on Cray. The United Sanctuary struggled with war and civil strife, resulting in land loss and the desolation of the nation. In response, the upper class built the flying island "Ketergia" and began a better life in the sky. The lower class were left in the squalor below, scrounging for what they could get. This, as you'd expect, creates conflict within the nation. However, the people have no time for internal battles as they must unite to fight off their neighbours of the Dragon Empire.
The clans that united to form the Keter Sanctuary are Royal Paladins, Gold Paladins, Dark Paladins, Oracle Think Tank, Genesis, and Angel Feather.
The Apex Ruler Of The Land
Looking for the best general to lead your knights? Look no further than the captain of the Cloud Knights: Bastion.
The Cloud Knights are the protectors of law and order on the surface. They serve the Emperor of Keter Sanctuary and use strict codes to keep the peace of the nation. Apex Ruler, Bastion is your featured card in overDress Apex Ruler. If his name doesn't already sound cool enough, the direct translation from Japanese is "Heavenly Emperor of the Peak, Bastion". A powerful name; suitable for a powerful card. The wielder of the Holy Sword swings at 13000 power, but when he's your vanguard, all of your grade 3 units receive a bonus 2000 power. Yes. Bastion boosts himself to 15000 power just by being your vanguard.
If you haven't sussed it out already, the Cloud Knight ride chain, used in overDress Apex Ruler, rewards the use of grade 3 cards. Another prime (or apex) example of this is Bastion's second ability. Once per turn, if Bastion reveals a grade 3 card in his Drive Check, you can discard a card from your hand to stand a rear-guard and give it +10000 power. That, my friends, is insane. Especially since the Apex Ruler deck has a total of 16 grade 3 cards to pull. You can be making 4 attacks a turn somewhat consistently, with the fourth attack smashing in with that bonus power. Bastion can really help your deck to pack a punch!
Alongside all this, Bastion has access to the new ability added in overDress: Persona Ride. Persona Ride is triggered when a card with the ability is ridden on a card of the same name. The first bonus given by Persona Ride is that you can draw a card. Okay, no big deal. Well, I've played a good few games with this deck since purchasing it and the second part of Persona Ride is...good. Each of your front row circles, including vanguard, get +10000 power. Circles, not cards. That means you can retire either of your front row rear-guards, replace them, and those new cards keep the 10000.
Order The Chaos
Orders aren't new to Vanguard, but the new order in overDress Apex Ruler is too good to ignore.
The Hour of Holy Judgement Cometh sounds like a rewording of the old "The End is Nigh" signs people hold. Well, it could be said that the end IS nigh for your opponent. You play this order with a cost of counterblast 2, so it isn't particularly cheap. However, it allows you to draw 2 cards, as well as giving a card of your choice +5000 power. 5000 doesn't seem like much, but that additional boost can just tip a card from powerful to godly.
A combo I like to use is to call Knight of Broadaxe, Rafluke and use his ability. This ability puts Rafluke in your soul but gives 10000 power to another of your grade 3 rear guards. Play his ability in tandem with the order to get a nice 15000 power boost for relatively cheap. PLUS another 2000 if Bastion is your vanguard. This deck can push some damage through onto your opponent, or make them use up all their guard cards ready for you to do another boost combo next turn. Crackin'.
Now This Is Over The Top
WAY over the top. Yet another new feature of Vanguard overDress is a brand new trigger. You can have one card of this type in your deck, and for good reason. The Over/Trigger is the most powerful Trigger by far. All Over/Trigger cards have the same trigger effect: "When revealed as a trigger, remove that card, draw a card, choose one of your units and it gets +100 Million power until the end of turn!" Yes, you read that right. +100 MILLION power.
Oh, and that's not all. If an Over/Trigger is revealed in a drive check, it gets an additional effect that's unique to each unit. For example, the Cray Elemental (yes they're still a thing) Over/Trigger card of the overDress Apex Ruler grants an additional 100 Million power to another unit. That means you can have two units on your field that have over 100 Million power. Now that's nuts!
There are Nation specific Over/Trigger cards too, but you have to draw them from a Genesis Of The Five Greats booster pack (review for that hopefully soon). The Over/Trigger specifically for Keter Sanctuary is easily one of my favourite cards. Light Dragon Deity of Honors, Amartinoa has one of the best arts of any overDress cards in my opinion. If you can take your eyes off of the gorgeous design, you can read its additional effect and your jaw will drop even more. If Amartinoa is revealed in the drive check, you can also perform drive checks for rear-guards until the end of your turn. That is completely and utterly broken and I LOVE IT.
Here's a hypothetical scenario. You have two grade 3 rear-guards and Bastion as your vanguard. First attack with a rear-guard. You make an attack with Bastion next, drawing a grade 3 and the Over/Trigger on the twin drive. The 100 Million power goes to one of your rear-guards and now both of your rear-guards get drive checks. Discard a card and stand the rear-guard you already attacked with. Now you have two more attacks to make and both get twin drive. I pray to draw this card in a pack, and if you play Keter Sanctuary, you should too.
Where do I even begin with the artwork of overDress Apex Ruler? Every single card is stunning, and I'm not overexaggerating.
Obviously, Bastion himself holds the title of best in the deck, with his armour drawn splendidly and his sword over-shoulder. His black, winged stallion looks ready to carry him into the fray, as it's also armoured similarly to its rider.
But also I have to mention the attention to detail on Lifesaving Angel, Kurabiel. I've noticed through the years that most Perfect Guard cards get amazing art, but Kurabiel puts that into overdrive with medicines and flashes. I'm not even going to mention the skill put into the character herself.
Quite simply, this is my favourite of the starter decks. I may be slightly biased as an ex-Paladins player, but overall I genuinely think that this deck is the best constructed for synergy and features the best art of them all, rivaled only by the glorious Chakrabarthi Divine Dragon and Sylvan Horned Beast King.
If you're completely new to Vanguard, I would say that overDress Holy Dragon would be better for you as it is simpler and easier to learn. However, if you're a returning player or looking to start overDress, overDress Apex Ruler is for you.