Vanguards Riding Ponies (Finishing the Basic Introductions Series)

I’m doing the last 2 games in one post so I can get in another post about my weekend plans, current decks etc. Anyway let’s rush right into Pones and Vanguards.

My Little Pony CCG



In MLP each player uses their horde of adorable mini horses to solve problems (both there’s or their opponent’s) which are stored in their respective problem decks. Doing so earns the player points and the first player to reach 15 points wins the game.

Card Types

“Mane” Character Pony

Premiere_001 Premiere_001b

You start MLP with the “Start” version of your commander pony in play. After you fulfill their condition they evolve into a Boosted state (which is the reverse side of the card). The boosted state is stronger and has better effects.



Friends are your troops in the game. Friends have a cost, a power and usually an effect.

How do I pay this cost?

The resource in this game is called Action Tokens (which functions like mana with the exception that you don’t lose it at the end of your turn).  Both players gain Action Tokens on their upkeep. Action points can be used to:

  • Pay the cost of Friends, Events, Resources and Troublemakers
  • Move Friends
  • Ready (Untap) frightened friends (Fright is a status effect like Paralyze in Pokemon and works in the same way preventing your Friend from acting)
  • Draw a card (OH BY THE WAY THERE IS NO DRAW PHASE IN THIS GAME, IF YOU DON’T PAY YOU DON’T DRAW!!!). Honestly, not normally drawing is the strangest part of this game

Events, Resources and Troublemakers

Premiere_127 Premiere_141 Premiere_158

Events, Resources and Troublemakers are all your various weapons in the game. Here are some hopefully helpful comparisons:

Events are like Spells/Sorcery. These cards provide some kind of effect when played whether it be support or disruption.

Resources are like Continous Spells/Enchantments. These cards provide lasting effects while on the field.

Troublemakers are like traps. You play them face-down at a problem to disrupt your opponent.



Each player has a 10 card deck of Problem cards that both player attempt to solve. Each problem is solved by sending ponies whose total power is greater than or equal to the number facing the player attacking it.  Using Dark Dank Dungeon for example the opponent would need 9 power in any color to solve the problem, while the owner of Dark Dank Dungeon would need 7 (4 yellow and 3 white). When both players are attacking the same problem a Face-off occurs where the player with the higher power in ponies solves the problem (and wins the points). You also flip the top card of your deck and add its power to your team in a Face-off.

You can find the full rule book here. I have not played this game in a while. It’s more of a novelty if anything, but if you like MLP and card games then this may be the game for you.

Cardfight Vanguard


Ok so to be completely honest I don’t know how to play Vanguard. I haven’t played a correct full game yet, so it would be disingenuous to try and discuss it now. I can tell from skimming the rules that it works like Wixoss in that you grade up your starting Vanguard. I also know that the goal is to deal 6 damage to your opponent by attacking their Vanguard directly. Similar to Weiss, you check the top card of your deck for triggers when attacking too. Still I’m going to leave this as is for now. Sometime down the road once I play some matches I’ll be better prepared to talk about Vanguard.

So with that I’m proud to bring a conclusion to the introduction series. Thanks for following so far. I felt I needed to make this series if only so that when I later relate everything to either Magic or Yugioh there will at least be some more context. Anyway, I’ll discuss my current plans in a later post.


A Very Basic Introduction to Weiss Schwarz

So I’ve been giving a basic introduction of every game I play. I have only 3 games left to discuss. Weiss, Ponies and Vanguard, let’s do this.

Weiss Schwarz

I started playing this game at Katsucon in February. If you’re an anime fan, then this is the card game for you. Just find your favorite show and then play it (or be annoyed that your favorite show hasn’t been translated into English yet…)


In Weiss Schwarz you take turns attacking your opponent with various anime characters in order to level them up. The player who reaches Lv 4 loses the game, however as you level up you can then play stronger cards.


Card Types

In Weiss, there are units, events and climaxes.

Units are characters from whatever show your deck is based on. They have levels between 0 and 3. You can only play a certain unit when you reach the level on the card and have that color card on your field (other than lv 0 cards).

Events cost Stock (Mana/Energy) the in-game resource to give various effects (like Spells/Sorcery).

Climaxes are a strange type of spell. They give perks to attacking units when played, and have special effects when revealed during damage calculation.

It took us over an hour to figure out how fighting worked in Weiss Schwarz. I honestly think this game has the most intricate combat system of any of game I’ve learned. Anyway I’ll try to sum up your turn in order as simply as possible.

Draw Phase: You draw 1 card

Clock Phase: You can place a card in your Clock to draw 2 more cards

Now what does that mean?

(Your clock is essentially the battle reward system from Naruto. As you take damage the top card of your deck is placed face-up in your clock equal to amount of damage you took (min. 1). Once you have 7 cards in your clock you level up. The clock phase allows you to accelerate your own leveling up in order to get more cards and be able to play stronger ones.

Main Phase: You can move units on any of the 5 board spaces (3 units can be front stage, and 2 can be back stage). Characters lined up against each other in the front row can fight one another. Back stage units cannot be attacked.


This is picture I took of a board-state I got into. Hopefully it gives a decent visual.

Combat Phase: In the combat phase you have the characters lined up fight (and yes like in Magic you tap your units to have them attack/use effects). The power stats at the bottom decide who wins in the fight. Damage is based on that character’s soul is which a black symbol at the bottom of the card which is affected both by how you attack and what you trigger. Trigger: before resolving damage you flip the top card of your deck if that card has a wings symbol on the top right it increases the Soul damage by that many points.

To elaborate you can attack in 3 different ways in combat:

Frontal Attack: Same as all games, your unit fights the enemy unit and the opponent takes damage equal to your unit’s power + the trigger check.

Direct Attack: You attack an empty front space to hit the opponent directly. This attack gives your unit +1 Soul. + the trigger check.

Side Step: You unit dodges the enemy unit in front of them to attack directly. This attack has your unit’s Soul subtracted from the unit you side stepped + the trigger check.


Example time, if this Saber card with 2 Soul, side attacks this Madoka with only 1, then Saber can hit the player for 1 damage + the trigger check.

All the cards you reveal are added to your stock (mana). Also if your opponent reveals a Climax card while checking for damage all the damage from that attack is negated.

The last thing is if your unit loses you can pay 3 Stock to save them from being discarded. Defeated units go to the Waiting Room (Graveyard/Discard Pile).

I may have missed something (or been wrong) as I’ve played this game very sporadically for a few weeks. That being said I would say this game is really very satisfying just for being able to play a deck of your favorite show. It’s very complicated, but I swear if you play a few games it becomes easy to follow. I can’t do it justice just explaining it and it took a kind stranger at the convention to help us learn it. You can get the full rules here. They’ve only translated like 10 decks into English, but if there’s a series you like I’d go for it. Anyway thanks for dropping by.

A Basic Introduction to Wixoss

I’m started playing this game 2 months ago. I watched the anime with some friends last year and resolved to someday learn the game/import the cards from Japan. I’ve been playing semi-regularly with a friend over Skype ever since.

Goal in Wixoss

In Wixoss you have a set of 7 cards placed face-down from you deck that’s called your Life Cloth. Whenever you get attacked you reveal the top card of your Life Cloth and add it to your Ener (resource) pool. Once you have no cards in your Life Cloth, you lose the game if you take another attack.

Card Types in Wixoss



Your LRIG is your commander, or the leader of your deck. You reveal this card at the start of the game from your LRIG deck (Extra Deck). The basic mechanic of this game is to level up your LRIG to be able to play stronger cards.


You level up your LRIG during the GROW phase by paying Ener (your in-game resource, think Mana/Energy).

LRIG Arts & Arts


Arts are your spells/sorcery/trainer cards. There are 2 types of Arts: LRIG Arts and normal Arts. In addition to your LRIG you can play arts specific to your LRIG in your separate 10 card LRIG deck. However you also keep your differently leveled LRIG cards in your LRIG deck as well. Thus you have to allocate spaces to your LRIG and for their Arts. Normal Arts are stored in your main deck and cost ener to play.



Signi are your troops (Monsters/Creatures). The levels represent what level your LRIG needs to be before you can cast that signi. Most signi have their own effects also.


Some Signi have ability to guard against LRIG attacks

Some cards also have an effect called Life Burst which is an effect that triggers when they’re revealed for the life burst check. You can only have 20 Life Burst cards in your 40 card deck.

Phases in Wixoss:

  • Ready Phase (Untap)
  • Ener Phase (Charge Mana)
  • Grow Phase (Pay the cost to play the next level of your LRIG)
  • Main Phase (Play your Signi and your Arts)
  • Battle Phase (Attack with your Signi)
  • LRIG Battle Phase (Attack with your LRIG)

Your turn ends after you attack.

You can read the rules and watch a game tutorial here.


Sincerely this has been one of the most fun games I’ve ever played (an easy rival to both Magic and Yugioh). The board states in Wixoss are some of the most intricate ones I’ve ever seen. Also for whatever reason the cards are very cheap (I got both of the 2 decks I bought on Amazon for $14 and $11 respectively). It may seem daunting with the cards being in Japanese, but after a few play sessions you’ll remember each card’s effect pretty easily. I’d recommend this game to any fan of the anime. Thanks for reading and have a great day.

A Basic Introduction to Naruto Cards

My middle school life was mostly devoted to Naruto. The anime was a  a big thing among my friend-base and the card game was very popular as well. I was a casual player of this game during my Middle School years. Ironically enough, by the time I managed to build a decent deck High School came around and Naruto was pushed off to the side. I gave away all, but my main deck and never touched the cards again until I met up with an old friend from High School seeking to collect all the cards. We now meet every once in a while to play.

Goal in Naruto:

The goal in Naruto has to win 10 Battle Rewards. These cards are taken from the top of a player’s deck when they are attacked directly by the other player’s ninja characters. These cards are then placed face-down to the side can cannot be used (usually) for the rest of the current game.

Card Types in Naruto

Ninja Cards


Your troops in Naruto are the hundreds of ninjas from the series. Each ninja card has:

  • An Element/Color
  • A Turn Cost
  • A Hand Cost
  • Red Biography Text
  • A possible Effect
  • 2 sets of Combat/Support Stats

Ninja’s element reflects what color chakra it can be used for, but more on that later.

The Turn cost is the earliest turn that the Ninja can be played. For example this Yugito card cannot be played until the player’s 3rd turn. After turn 3, it can be played at any time.

The Hand cost is a card you have to discard as an additional cost to play that ninja from your hand. Higher turn cost ninjas tend to have a hand cost.

The red text shows that character’s personal information (what village they work for, their gender, etc.).

Some ninjas have effects that provide various perks, synergy or defects.

The combat and support stats are that ninja’s power. Essentially the way combat works in this game is you build a team using the ninjas you have in play. You do this by placing the ninja cards on that of each other revealing only the effect ans stats of the not lead ninja. The first number is that character’s power when at the head/front of a team, while the 2nd number is their power when in the back of the team.

The 2nd set of stats on the lower right side are that character’s injured stats. After a ninja receives any damage it becomes injured. An injured ninja is turned on its side (same position as a tapped creature or a defense position monster) However, even if a character is injured they can still contribute to their team’s power. Some characters (see Naruto) are powerful while injured. Though if an injured character receives damage then they are discarded.

You can also play 1 ninja each turn.

Jutsu Cards


Jutsus are cards that can be played in the combat phase in a stage called the Exchange of Jutsu, which occurs before damage is calculated. These cards give various effects to turn the tide of a battle. In order to use a jutsu you need to pay chakra. Most jutsus can also only be used by a specific character.

(So what’s Chakra?)

Chakra is a resource you use to pay for jutsu and ninja effect costs. You can charge chakra before you enter combat. To do so you place any number of cards from your hand into your chakra zone.

Mission Cards


Mission cards provide various effects during the mission phase. Some of them remain on the field (Permanent) while others go the discard pile after they resolve.

How combat works:

In order to win the game you need to attack your opponent with your teams of ninja. You can only attack with 3 teams in one turn. Whenever a ninja team damages a player that player must give 1 battle reward. If the attacking team’s power is 5 or greater they must give 2 battle rewards. The defending player however can choose to block attacks on them using their own teams of ninja.

Whenever ninja teams battle whichever team has the higher power wins. The leading ninja (called the head ninja) takes 1 damage when their team loses. If one team is 5 points or higher than the enemy team then the losing team’s head ninja is discarded and the supporting ninjas also take damage. Essentially 5 or greater power inflicts 2 damage to both player and ninja.


And I don’t have much more to say after that. I’m not that great at Naruto. I do find it to be a very fun break from Magic and Yugioh however. If you’re a fan of the series though I would highly recommend it. Being discontinued has caused the cards (if you can find them sealed) to be very cheap (the friend I mentioned bought the Naruto equivalent of a Yugioh/Magic box for less than $30). Anyway, I’m about to leave for a trip so I’ll see if I can get at least one more introduction in before I leave. Thanks for reading. Oh yeah you can learn how to play and look up the card sets here.

A Basic Introduction to Pokemon Cards

My experience with Pokemon cards is linked entirely to my younger cousin. He brought me into the game while I was in Middle School. He had a large supply of the cards and always had a better deck than mine. I could seldom beat him and I fell out of favor with the game with him as my only opponent. Years later he gave me his collection and I gained a huge supply of cards that I didn’t fully understand. To this day I still have a large amount of Pokemon cards however it costs money to have Pokemon cards accurately valued and I’m not sure I have any cards worth a decent amount to justify it. Anyway that’s my experience with the game, now for a brief introduction.

Goal in Pokemon

In Pokemon both players seek to win 6 Prize cards, which are 6 cards removed from the deck face-down at the start of each game. To win a prize card the player must knock out their opponent’s Pokemon. To do so, the player must reduce the HP stat of that Pokemon to 0. Hence victory goes to whoever can knock out 6 enemy Pokemon first.

Card Types in Pokemon

Basic Pokemon


Your troops in Pokemon are not surprisingly the near 800 characters from the franchise. Each Pokemon card has:

  • An HP stat
  • 1 or more Attack Moves
  • A Retreat Cost
  • A Possible Weakness
  • A Possible Resistance

Some Pokemon also have effects called Pokepowers or Pokebodies that are constant effects while they remain on the field.

Evolved Pokemon


In Pokemon you play your stronger Pokemon by evolving your existing basic or stage 1 Pokemon. To evolve a Pokemon you place the later stage Pokemon on top of the earlier one. However you cannot evolve a Pokemon the turn you play it (Without special effects).

Energy Cards


In order to launch the attacks of your Pokemon you need to use energy cards. These cards act as resources you attach to your Pokemon on the field. You can play energies from your hand once per turn on one Pokemon each turn (not counting special effects). Some energy cards provide additional effects when played.

Trainer Cards


Trainer cards offer support to your Pokemon, yourself and provide various supportive and disruptive effects. (Think Spells in Yugioh or Sorcery in Magic)

The Field

In Pokemon you control 1 active Pokemon and up to 5 Benched Pokemon. You can switch your Active Pokemon with a Benched Pokemon by paying the active Pokemon’s retreat cost (which involves sending that many attached energy cards to the discard pile). If at any point you have no Pokemon on your field you automatically lose the game.

Turn Order

In Pokemon you start by drawing a card, then you have the option to use Trainer cards, evolve your Pokemon, use Pokepowers, or pay the retreat cost to switch your Pokemon. After that you can launch an attack using your Pokemon, after which your turn ends.


I don’t know anything about the current meta-game of Pokemon. My cards are almost entirely from the older sets and I find them under-powered compared to the new cards I see released. Despite this, I find it a very fun game especially for any fan of the games. I know I love having a deck for my favorite Pokemon even if that deck cannot compete in meta (or even be legal to, since Pokemon like Magic only allows the use of the most recent sets for their standard). Anyway, before I start to ramble, I’ll stop here. You can find the full rules for Pokemon here.

Next game to talk about is Naruto!

A Basic Introduction to Magic the Gathering

I got into Magic during my senior year of High School. I had a friend who taught me Magic, while I taught him Yugioh. He gave me a mono-red aggro deck, and I gave him an Ancient Gear deck. My Magic playgroup vastly expanded when I got to college. I played Legacy for the longest time, using the decks built with the cards I had lying around. As I played more and more I began to get into the various formats. Anyway, as you already know I draft fairly regularly at this point. In addition I’m still struggling to make a standard deck that I like without spending too much. Anyway, let’s get the introduction rolling.

Goal in Magic

In Magic, you win the game by reducing your opponent’s life total from 20 to 0. To do so you use the following types of cards to battle your opponent:

  • Creatures
  • Planeswalkers
  • Enchantments
  • Artifacts
  • Instants
  • Sorcery
  • Lands

Card Design in Magic

Image (6)

This is an example of a Creature in Magic. Creatures act as the troops you summon to reduce your opponent’s life total by attacking them. In Magic the cards cost mana to play. To acquire mana you need to generate it using Land cards.


Land cards are tapped (turned sideways) to generate mana for the player to use while casting their spells. All cards while being played are treated as spells. The player can only play 1 land each turn also. This means that powerful spells cannot be played until the player has placed enough lands on their side of the field to tap for the right amount of mana. For example to cast the card I posted above (Elvish Mystic) it would require 1 mana to play.


The creatures in Magic can also have effects (usually in the form of keywords). Using the Stormtide Leviathan as an example you can see it has the word “Islandwalk” in its text. This is a keyword that allows the creature to dodge the creatures the opponent has if they control an Island. However, this card has an additional effect that turns all lands in play into Islands. This means that it always can apply its Islandwalk ability when attacking.

So how does attacking work? Well similar to lands, you tap creatures to either use their effects or to attack (For example you can tap the Elvish Mystic to generate 1 green mana). However, in Magic each creature (unless it has the keyword Haste) suffers from Summoning Sickness. This mechanic prevents it can being tapped for its effects or to attack during the turn it is cast. This means that once you play the Stormtide Leviathan you cannot attack with it until the next turn.

The other cards work in the same manner.


Image (2)

A sorcery is a spell you can play only on your turn. Sorcery can apply a myriad of effects. Sorcery cards go to the graveyard after they resolve usually.


Image (4)

An instant is a spell you can cast on your opponent’s turn if you can pay its mana cost. Instants also usually go to the graveyard when they resolve.

Enchantments and Artifacts


Both Enchantments and Artifacts apply an effect while they stay on the field unless they are destroyed. This card is an example of hybrid card that’s both an artifact and an enchantment.


Image (5)

Planeswalkers are difficult to explain at first. They act like additional entities on the side of the player who casts them. When the player is choosing how they’re attacking they can choose to attack the Planeswalker instead of the player. To kill a planeswalker you have to reduce the number in the bottom right corner of the card. The player who cast the planeswalker can change this number by using the planewalker’s effects.


When you attack in Magic you always attack the player, not their creatures. The defending player has the option to block attacks using their own creatures or choose to take the attacks directly. Also all of the attacks are launched at once not one at a time.

So that more or less sums up the basics of Magic. I could go into greater details, but I think this is good for now. You can find the full rules for Magic here. I talk about Magic on this blog frequently so I’ll bring it up again soon enough. Thanks for reading.