Cardfight!! Vanguard: Series 1 – Review
Follow Genre: Cardgame
Developer: Bushiroad
Publisher: Bushiroad
Platform: /

Cardfight!! Vanguard: Series 1 – Review

Site Score
Good: Easy to learn, yet complex
Bad: Not that many special abilities
User Score
(9 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.6/10 (9 votes cast)

Cardfight!! Vanguard is a fairly new cardgame (based on an anime series with the same name) but is not to be taken lightly, in a lot of countries all over the world it’s getting more and more known and is starting to be a reasonable competitor for cardgames like Magic the Gathering, Pokémon: TCG, Yu-Gi-Oh and World of Warcraft: TCG. In this review we’ll try to figure out why.



As stated before the cardgame is based on an anime series and watching the series will also help you get started. Cardgames are well spread in their entire world and Vanguard is probably the most popular one. The battles are fought on a planet named Cray and the series makes you seem as if it’s just imagination – or not? I can’t say that much about the story without spoiling too much.

Fun fact: The starter decks called ‘Trial Decks’ are based on decks and characters you’ll see in the anime.


As for the rules I’ll keep it very basic. Your play area is pretty simple, you have 1 spot for your Vanguard (Your main unit) and 5 spots for rear-guards and a guardian circle to defend against attacks. (Yes reading this will probably be comparable with reading Chinese)

Your creatures each have grades and each player picks a grade 0 to start with as his Vanguard. Each turn you will be able to ‘RIDE’ this unit to upgrade it. You can only do this once every turn. (except if an ability tells you otherwise) Now about those rear-guards I mentioned earlier, you can put as many as you like but they can only be the same grade (or lower) than your vanguard. Rear-guards have different abilties to help you in combat, they can either intercept an attack and sacrifice themselves or they can boost a creature on the front row when it attacks.

The guardian circle is used for those rear-guards that can intercept, or cards out of your hand that have a shield value written on the left hand side of the card. (the shield also counts for the interceptors) After the battle your guardians will have to be discarded.

The game is over when one player is out of cards or when you receive 6 ‘damage’. Most units have a critical damage of 1, this means 6 attacks will have to go through in order for you to win. Some units offer you the ability to boost their critical rating in order for you to do even more damage with 1 attack.


We also have a difference in attacking, when a rear-guard attacks and the defender has a higher amount of power, the attack is over and nothing happens. (except if guardians are used, they will be discarded) When a vanguard attacks, he is able to perform a drive check, this means he can flip the top card of his deck to see if a trigger is activated (right upper corner), with a trigger he can boost his own power or another unit’s power + the extra trigger ability.

When damage goes through, the defending player also does a ‘check’ for damage, if he pulls a trigger he can also use this trigger.

note: This game does not have any ‘spell’ cards like most cardgames. All abilities are written on the units themselves and will be used when you pay a specific cost or when you place them in your play area.


If you’re new to cardgames, this game will also be quite easy to learn but will still be complex enough to keep you occupied for a long time. After you get the hang of it, you’ll want to start building your own deck. If you’re new to deck building it’s easier to buy a trial deck and then build around that deck. Keep in mind you can only have 50 cards (no more, no less) in your deck, and 16 triggers. (no more, no less and max 4 heal triggers) When building a deck look up which ‘clan’ you want to play with and try to choose units from the same clan. Most units add abilities to their own clan and triggers only work on the same clan as well. You can mingle clans, but to find a proper balance you’ll probably have to spend a lot of time finding the right clans.


After a few matches, we did our best to find some booster packs to start changing our own decks, which was very fun but we felt that the first series “Descent of the King of Knights” was too limited to start building your own deck outside of the clans that are offered in the 2 trial decks. After doing some research the next series “Onslaught of Dragon Souls” will offer you more chances to start building new decks, but we haven’t had the chance to test it yet because Vanguard isn’t that well distributed yet in Europe.

The matches themselves aren’t too long but aren’t too short either. Most of the matches will take from 10 minutes to 30 minutes (depending if you’re playing about a master tactician… *cough*). Vanguard offers you the chance to think about tactics but adds a little luck on the side as well. (when it comes to triggers that is!)

I have played a decent amount of cardgames in the past and after playing Vanguard I feel like this game has a bright future ahead of them if they offer you the chance to do enough customising when it comes to deckbuilding.

We’ll try to keep you posted about evolutions of Cardfight!! Vanguard.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.6/10 (9 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: +2 (from 4 votes)
Cardfight!! Vanguard: Series 1 - Review, 9.6 out of 10 based on 9 ratings

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