Guarding and how you guard is probably one of the most important parts of Vanguard. When done right, you minimize the amount of cards you are required to use and you can preserve your hand into the late game. Just like with triggers, however, there are a few different tricks that can make the guarding process easier.
Guarding early damage can dramatically shape how the fight continues into the late game. What’s more, guarding early damage is a pretty easy situation to judge. Basically, if you can use one card to guard against one trigger, you should probably guard. This allows you to take more attacks in the late game which conserves your hand for the late game. By doing this, you’ve helped ease the late game pressure. This early in the game, you have already made it so your late game is going to be easier.
Another situation to consider for guarding early damage is your opponents starting Vanguard. Many people will ride their rank 1 and then call their starter to the front lines. Why are they doing that? It’s because of exactly what I was talking about before. If you drop 10k shield in this situation, then they can give the power to their rearguard, meaning one attack is getting through anyway. You basically just gave your opponent a free card. However, if you guard for 5k, you could possibly stop 2 attacks with one card. If he triggers, he gets one attack through but his starter can’t attack. If he doesn’t trigger, his starter will be too weak to perform a follow up attack.
Knowing which attacks to guard and which to let through is also an important skill to master. When your opponent is swinging at you with 2 rearguard attacks, one being 16k and one being 21k which one should you guard and which one should you let through? Should you let the 16k through to try for the trigger? It would make guarding that second attack easier…. but, why? Why would you let a definite 10k block through to hopefully make the 15k block a 10k block. The smart way to do this would be to block the 16k attack and let the 21k attack through. This way, you have only used 1-2 cards in your hand rather than 2-3 cards.
The situation is a little different, however, when your opponent is swinging at you with two 21k rows. In that situation, you should always let the first attack through. This is because by letting the first attack through, you may get a trigger that reduces the amount of guard needed to block the second attack. Remember, a fight ends when someone runs out of cards to block.
Discarding the right cards for Perfect Guards is very important. One thing to remember with a perfect guard is that you are always performing a 2 card guard, so using it nonchalantly is a very bad idea. You should only use them on attacks that you wouldn’t be able to block otherwise, or if it would require many cards to block, like a 26k attack. Once you start seeing number like that, you are actually preserving the shield in your hand by using a Perfect Guard. The cards you should always target first for discarding is Draw triggers, grade 3’s, and useless boosters. Rearguard material should always be the last thing, as being able to attack and defend with one card can be very key in some games. Now, this situation varies, and I myself have found myself keeping the Grade 3 in my hand over other cards with actual shield values. This is something you need to judge for yourself.
With Grade 2’s, don’t be afraid to use their intercept skill. Alot of the time, they provide great blockers and conserve your hand. Finding more attackers is usually not an issue. Sometimes you may find yourself in that situation where you need to keep your rearguards, and that’s fine, just don’t forget they are there. Many games have been lost over being overprotective of the rearguards.
Now, this last thing involves when to guard Vanguard attacks when you are at 4 or more damage. One thing to remember is that if you’re at 4 damage and blocking for 1 trigger would drain your hand for the following attacks, then don’t guard it. This is risky, as a critical trigger would kill you. However sometimes that risk is necessary, as your opponent would probably win anyway if you attempted to guard the Vanguard attack. However if you are at 5 damage always make sure to count your shield very carefully. There are several things to consider at this point when guarding. For one, if your opponent triggers once, will you have enough shield to guard everything? If the answer is no, then this is the time when you guard the Vanguard attack, allowing a single trigger to pass your guard. If you’re going to lose if he triggers anyway, you might as well preserve your hand if he doesn’t. The second thing to consider is if you will have enough shield to guard all of his attacks period. If you can’t, you should probably no guard his attack. Going for that heal trigger is the best option at this point. It will reduce the amount of shield you would need for the rest of his attacks.
Guarding is mostly about math. I know, I know, it’s an awful thing, but doing it right and making sure you are ready for all possible outcomes can lead you to making very solid plays and blocking with the greatest efficiency. I can very safely say that knowing when to say “no guard” or “one to pass” has gotten me through some very tough games. Try it out, if you do this right, I’m sure you’ll surprise a few people.