The Wonder of Climax Combos

Climax cards are just all around great: from cancelling damage to power-ups and various trigger effects. But there’s one aspect of the CX cards that especially new players often forget to utilize to its full potential – the so-called Climax Combo or Climax Synergy, if you prefer. Simply put, it’s a connection between a character and a climax that triggers an ability. For a few examples:

Many Madoka players I know ran those cards in their decks before Rebellion, and there’s a good reason why. Both the Madoka and the Homura, the first being a healer and the second letting you top-check when frontal attacked, are already nice on their own (unless you’re facing Kantai), but with the Madoka’s Wish CX combo, they become even better. You can play the Madoka from hand, heal yourself for 1, then play the climax to put her in memory and summon the Homura from your deck into her place, giving her a +3k power bonus until the end of your opponent’s next turn. Also, that activates Homura’s ability – since Ultimate Madoka is in your memory, she gains additional +1.5k power. Adding the +1k general climax bonus you have from the Wish, you now have a card with a current power of 15.5k on your turn, 14.5 on your opponent’s turn and 11.5k on your next turn. Since you’re able to summon Ultimate Madoka on stage at level 2 with Madoka’s Swaying Feelings, you have a chance  to pull this one at level 2 already! This, along with  3/2 Sayaka Miki, used to be the powerhouse of Madoka before Rebellion came out – these days, most of the meta has moved towards the new early play Sayaka that has a deck search combo with a pants tigger, but I put the Wish combo up here as an honorable mention regardless, since it was my introduction to CX synergies. It also has a heartwarming story attached to it for those of us who have seen the anime: Homura fights on because she has the memory of Madoka to drive her forward.

A widely used combo in the Fairy Tail Dragon Slayer decks: by dealing yourself one non-cancellable damage, you can remove an opponent’s level 0 from the stage and send it to the bottom of their deck. Usually, you’re gonna use this to get rid of back row assists with pesky additional abilities like Hatsukaze. If you were facing a standard Madoka deck running the Apples bond, you could really hurt their level 1 play. And if you reach level 1 while your opponent is still level 0, you’re gonna have a handful of potential targets for this effect. Having 3 Wendys in your front row when the CX is played would give you the chance to clear the opponent’s front row entirely and you’d get an open way for 3 direct attacks. On top of making sure that the last few cards of their deck will not be climaxes, this combo also gives you a way to manipulate your own clock and level.

Ouch. Playing this one is pure joy. Playing AGAINST this one is the equivalent of wearing wet socks while staring into the gates of despair. The Sinon is a healer to begin with, but with this combo, she becomes a lean, mean game-finishing machine. Pay 2, discard 1 and you get to deal 4 damage. If they cancel it, she gets a 3.5 k boost until the end of their next turn. Got it? Good. Now imagine having 3 of these up on the field with the CX in place: we are talking a minimum of 21 damage…. MINIMUM! You heard it right, that’s without any triggers. They’d need 6 climaxes in their deck to cancel all of it, and in my personal  experience, that’s still just wishful thinking. The only bad side to this is the cost for the effect, but if you play an SAO deck right, you have no problem accumulating that kind of stock and hand size (don’t forget that the CX used is a book trigger, meaning you get to draw extras anyway)… and being completely honest, if you’re about to use Last Shot Sinon, you don’t have to think about your stock for the next round, ’cause there probably ain’t gonna be one.

I’m actually building a deck around this one right now: it has such trolling nature and while Haruhi isn’t a really strong set, it’s filled with gimmicks like this one – that’s why I love it. The character in question is a 1/1 with 5500 base power, but this combo makes it worth the 1 stock because you’ll definitely be attacking twice with it; not by restanding it, but by sending it to memory at the beginning of your encore step and then bringing it back from memory at the beginning of your next draw phase. Doesn’t matter if it got reversed or if it reversed something, no position requirements… heck, it doesn’t even matter if it attacked at all. All you need is to have it on field together with the climax, there’s not even any additional cost to use it.. But wait, there’s more: it comes back with a 3k boost for the turn, putting it at 8.5k and enabling it to take down most level 1s and even some utility level 2s. I had a really good run with this yesterday: I had 3 of the characters up in front with the climax and while I only thought I’d pull it off once, I ended up getting 2 more of the CX in hand the next turn, so I think Haruhi & Kyon went on and off of my field 3 or 4 times in the end. It really adds to the field presence and saves you stock in the long run – while you’re wide open for directs on the opponent’s turn, they don’t have anything to reverse so all their on-reverse effects become pointless. (Also, if you don’t fancy the 3.5k boost enough, check out Mascot Mikuru for more power.)

Another good finisher, but unlike Last Shot Sinon, this one is good even if you so happen to not actually finish the game with her effect: the combo provides you with a free clock-shoot upon reversing a character. Might seem minor in comparison to some of the other combo effects, but this has killed me in a game before… beware, travellers, beware.

These are just a few of my personal favorites. As you can see, there are so so so many ways to go with CX combos! In my opinion, they are one of the funniest parts of the game. They easily and unexpectedly shake things up in one way or another, and even when you become aware of all the possible combos your opponent might pull, there’s still this uncertainty whenever a character with a combo ability comes on stage– do they have the matching climax in hand or not? How might the current situation change if they play it? Do I have the means to counter it somehow? All that and more is why CX combos are always exciting to play.


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