The brand new series of Cardfight!! Vanguard, Vanguard overDress, released on May 14th of this year, and oh boy was it a big one.
We've seen major updates to the game made through new series before. Vanguard G brought with it the Grade 4 cards, and V brought a reboot of the cards. OverDress is no different, except.. it is different. VERY different.
3000 Years Later On Cray...
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.
Dragon Empire, the featured nation of the overDress Holy Dragon start deck, remains the same after all this time. In case you need a refresher, the Dragon Empire consist of Kagero, Nubatama, Tachikaze, Murakumo, and Narukami. While old Dragon Empire players had to run these clans separately, in the new system we see them all merge. In one deck you can use cards from the classic Kagero clan(we all love Dragonic Overlord)alongside the lesser-known Murakumo. I personally like this change as an old Paladins player because I get to use Gold and Royal Paladins in one!
Oh My Chakrabarthi!
The featured card of overDress Holy Dragon, and the one that appears in holo, is Chakrabarthi Divine Dragon, Nirvana. Yes. God itself. The Sunrise Egg (your starter Vanguard for this deck) hatched into Nirvana, who is said to one day achieve his true awakening and answer the prayers of all those living on Cray. However, until then, he's a grade 3 card for your deck.
Along with your special holo copy, you get three standard copies of this card, which is useful given it's a bloody good card! With 13000 power, Nirvana packs a pretty solid punch. Pair that with the old Grade 3 Twin-Drive ability and you can deal some good damage to your opponents in a single attack.
Alongside the original Twin-Drive is a brand new ability: Persona Ride. After playing a couple of games with the new decks, I can confirm that this new ability is...powerful, to say the least. Persona Ride is triggered when you ride a card from your hand on a Vanguard with the same name (given that both cards have the Persona Ride ability) . When activated, draw a card and all of your front row circles gain 10000 power. Yes I said that right, not your front cards, the circles. That means that even if you retire a rearguard on that circle and replace it, that new card retains that 10000 power till the end of the turn. As if that wasn't enough, some cards have abilities triggered by your vanguard being in the Persona Ride state. Unfortunately, overDress Holy Dragon doesn't have any such cards, but it's still a pretty powerful ability!
OverDress For The Occasion!
Another new feature introduced by the overDress Holy Dragon start deck is the "overDress" ability. Long story short, it's like the old "Legion" ability from 2014. Two cards combine to create a stronger union for some bonuses. However, unlike Legion, it's not limited to your Vanguard. In fact, your Vanguard is the only one that CAN'T overDress.
The overDress cards for Holy Dragon are Trickstar and Vairina. Trickstar is a grade 0 card but it isn't your starter and it isn't a trigger. Coming in with 5000 power, this card's only redeeming feature is that it can't be targeted by opponent card effects. Vairina isn't a whole lot better by itself. It's a standard grade 2 card, clocking 10000 power and no abilities. That is until you overDress it. You can trigger overDress by placing an overDress card (in this case Vairina) on a rear-guard with the specified name (Trickstar). Once in overDress, the card gets some new, and frankly quite terrifying, abilities.
When Vairina is in the overDress state, it receives this ability: "When this unit attacks a vanguard, this unit gets +10000 power until the end of that battle. Then, Soul Blast 2, choose one of your opponent's rear-guards and retire it." Now I don't know about you, but 20000 power even without boosting is, well, a lot. Not to mention that little extra of getting to remove ANY of your opponent's rear-guards for Soul Blast 2.
It's Over 9000!!!
Actually, it's well over 9000. 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 Holy Dragon deck 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). This is a shame, since the Dragon Empire Over/Trigger is awesome! Skimming over the stunning card art, Dragon Deity King Of Resurgence, Dragdeva has the additional trigger effect of standing your Vanguard. Bearing in mind that it still gives the 100 Million power on top of this, you could be making two attacks in one turn with 100 Million power each. Your opponents won't stand a chance!
Blazing Hot Artwork To Match!
Bushiroad have never ceased to amaze me with the artwork of their cards, and the overDress Holy Dragon deck hasn't broken that streak.
I have to begin with Chakrabarthi Divine Dragon, Nirvana because, quite simply, where else would I start? Nirvana's art is done by Hitoka (ひと和), who also did the art of many other cards in this deck. The attention to detail on every feather, along with the colour scheme, really creates the feeling that this dragon is in fact a god.
Another mentionable card is Fire Slash Dragon, Inferno Sword. With art by Rosuto Kurosu (瞑丸イヌチヨ), we see art that is rival to his other works like Liberator, Blue Flame Dragon.
Lastly, of course I have to mention Vairina. The card border does a great job framing the stunning design of this card. The skill in creating the blue glow from the eyes, as well as the incredible detail of the flames around the character. Easily my second favourite art in the deck.
Overall, for a faction I never really played in the old format, I can safely say this. OverDress Holy Dragon is a solid deck.
I tested all of the decks I have against each other (thanks to my father, who played as my punching bag), and this deck faired the best of them all. That may very well just be because it's the first deck of the new format. Or perhaps it's the simple play style. I found that what this deck does best is hit hard and hit often. Most cards pack a punch, and many have a simple-to-trigger power boost to get that last damage in.
As you'd expect from the deck used by the anime protagonist, it's built around the new mechanics. Many cards have abilities that call either Trickstar or Vairina to your hand so you can overDress.
At the end of the day, for an introduction to Cardfight! Vanguard it's a good place to start. Or even for those who want to learn the new mechanics on a simple deck, I can thoroughly recommend Holy Dragon.