When I talk about generating advantage, it can mean many different things. There is not just one way to lose or gain advantage in Vanguard, and there are many tricks in being able to maintain the advantage that you have. The basic idea of advantage is increasing your presence on the field or in your hand without expending any cards of your own in order to accomplish this. This, however, is not always the case in Vanguard, as there are many different ways that you can create an advantageous situation for yourself without necessarily increasing cards in your hand or even on your field. So lets get into answering what advantage is.
So what advantage is in it’s basest form is getting cards for free that otherwise you wouldn’t have gotten. All Vanguard games start with your starting Vanguard on the field and you must ride every turn until you are at rank 3 for a successful game. However, every time you ride, you use one card from your hand. Riding in it’s basest form is actually a minus to your advantage, as you are down one card in your hand, without increasing the amount of cards you have on the field. Say your field and hand looks like this:
After you ride, your field and hand looks like this:
Your hand is actually down one card, but you still only have one card on the field. This is because you are minus 1 every time you ride. That is why there are cards, such as many of the starting Vanguards, that act to counteract this, either by adding another card to your hand, or by moving to the rearguard to make it so you now have two cards on the field. Many of the ride chains, for example, are specifically set up to counter the minus 1 at the ride.
So as stated before, the most basic definition of advantage is increasing your presence on the field or the amount of cards in your hand. This means that any effect that gets you a card to your hand or to the field is in definition a “plus 1”. For example, when you counterblast 2 for Scarlet Witch Coco, you get to draw 2 cards. Since you needed to ride Coco, you are at minus 1, since she didn’t increase your field presence when you rode her. Since you then drew 2 cards, you got 2 more cards to your hand, otherwise known as a “plus 2”. So overall for that turn, when you put the minus 1 from riding Coco and the plus 2 from drawing two cards together, you have gained 1 card. You not only replaced the Coco that you rode, but you also drew an extra card with it. Abusing the advantage a deck can give you is very important to victory in many matches.
The easiest way to generate advantage is through Draw Triggers, which is why so many decks run them. With Draw Triggers, you get to draw one card, without having to expend any cards from your hand or field in order to accomplish this. This means that you made your 5 card hand into a 6 card hand and you lost nothing in order to do it. This is why many decks with no way to generate advantage themselves run more Draw Triggers than other decks. Kagero, for example, has few ways to generate advantage like other decks do. They specialize in controlling their opponent. This makes Draw Triggers very important in this deck, as they need some way to replenish their hand for the later portions of the game. However, Draw Triggers come at the price of only having 5k shield, compared to other triggers and their 10k shield. This means that you need to be careful in how you balance your deck so you don’t leave yourself vulnerable from running too many Draw Triggers.
There is also another way to generate advantage, which has nothing to do with generating plus 1’s or anything of the like. It is something known as deck thinning. Great Nature is the deck that uses this the most and can be very deadly because of it. Basically, with Great Nature, they use the Hammsuke’s to counter the fact they needed to retire a unit that turn. The Hammsuke dies, they counterblast one to look through their deck for another one. They in the end gain nothing, but there are now less cards in their deck. This increases the chances they have for triggers on their following turns, as there are less non-trigger units in the deck. This creates a favourable situation for them, allowing them to trigger more both on damage checks and on drive checks.
I know that’s alot of information to process and I’ll leave it here for now. If you have any questions, leave them in the comments below and I will answer them as best I can.