What a title. Unbelievable. This should be a crime.
A competitive deck is, as the name states, meant to be able to compete and perform well in tournaments. It is true that the different series are by no meaning equal in power and viability, so take these decks as the cream of the crop for the specific series in question, because even the best deck of one set may not be a match for a semi-good deck from another.
WS Decks link: The Story You Don’t Know
- Colors: 18 yellow / 18 green / 14 blue
- Level 0 = 14 characters
- Level 1 = 12 characters
- Level 2 = 4 characters
- Level 3 = 12 characters
- Events = 0
- Cards with triggers (excluding CX cards) = 18
- Characters with “Experience” abilities = 20 characters
- Cards from the Bakemonogatari set = 24 cards
- Cards from the Nisemonogatari set = 26 cards
Side note: all of the deck’s experience effects pertain to the sum of the levels of the cards in your level zone, so if a card’s ability is explained with Experience (X+), that means that the said ability is in effect when the total level of cards in your level zone equals X or more.
2x Wandering Girl, Mayoi Hachikuji
If you have another <Blood> character, she has +2000 power.
BRAINSTORM: Pay 1 / rest 2 characters / flip 4. For each CX revealed, search your deck for up to 1 <Strange> character.
4x Hitagi Senjyogahara on Holiday
When she’s played, put the top card of your deck into WR. If it’s not a <Strange> character, discard a card from your hand to WR.
2x Meme Oshino
When he’s played, you can pay 1 to swap a card in your level zone with a card in your WR.
4x The Way Back, Shinobu Oshino
During your turn, all your other <Strange> characters get +500 power and +1 level.
Experience (5+): +1000 frontal assist to characters with “Experience” abilities.
2x Celebrity of Tsuganoki 2nd Middle School, Karen Araragi
When she attacks, give +1000 power to one of your other <Strange> characters until end of turn.
2x Vampire-looking Human, Koyomi Araragi
If you have another “Shinobu” character, he gets +1500 power.
2x Family Circumstance, Tsubasa Hanekawa
All your <Strange> characters get +500 power and this ability: rest one of your characters to give this +1000 power for the turn.
The CXC change effect is irrelevant here because it’s not in the deck.
4x Lovers, Koyomi Araragi & Hitagi Senjyogahara
Experience (2+): This has +500 power and hand encore.
CLIMAX COMBO w/ Everything About Me: When this attacks, you can pay 1 to look at up to 5 cards from the top of your deck, put up to 1 <Strange> character from among them to your hand and put the rest into WR.
4x Blessing of the Moon, Shinobu Oshino
Experience (2+): She has +500 power and an additional +1000 during your turn.
2x Resident of the Shadows, Shinobu Oshino
Change: If this is rested at the beginning of your encore step, you may pay 2 and put this into the WR to bring out “Master-servant Relationship, Shinobu Oshino” from the WR into the slot this was on.
2x As Lovers, Hitagi Senjyogahara
CLIMAX COMBO w/ Sandy Beach for Two: When she reverses something, rest 1 of your other characters, move it to an open back row slot, and this get +3000 power until the end of your opponent’s next turn.
4x Charmed by a Cat, Tsubasa Hanekawa
<Strange> characters in front of her get +2000 power and this ability: when this card reverses something, you can pay 1 to put that reversed character on the bottom of your opponent’s deck.
When she’s played, draw up to 2 cards and discard a card from your hand to the WR.
4x Master-servant Relationship, Shinobu Oshino
Experience (6+): She has +1000 power and can’t be chosen by your opponent’s effects.
Heals on play or when she’s summoned via change.
4x Someone to Protect, Hitagi Senjyogahara
Experience (5+): She has +1500 power and when she attacks, you can give +1000 power to one of your other <Strange> characters until the end of your opponent’s next turn.
When she’s frontal attacked, look at the top card of your deck and put it either back on top or in the WR.
4x Everything About Me
+2soul, 2SOUL trigger
4x Sandy Beach for Two
+2soul, 2SOUL trigger
Holy shit, what is going with this deck??! A dozen level 3 characters? Monogatari soul rush? How is this even a thing? – Well, it’s a thing now 🙂 It’s fun to play, it works and it wins. It’s a deck that’s good on both offense and defense. It allows you to side attack constantly with little drawback if needed and the power levels it can reach are nothing to scowl at either. Let’s go through what this evenly split Bake-Nise build has to offer!
The Shinobu support is a good tool to avoid suiciders on your turn, but it’s somewhat weak at level 0 and doesn’t truly shine until you reach level 2 and hit EXP 5+, at which point it then becomes a powerful frontal assist for your other EXP characters (that includes all your attacking level 3s as well). However, the +1 level she gives eventually makes you vulnerable to anti-change, so that’s something you need to be careful of.
The Mayoi brainstorm is one of my personal favorite brainstormers simply because it easily doubles as an efficient attacker as well. She has a base power of only 1000, but gets a +2000 power boost if you have a <Blood> character beside her. Obviously, Koyomi has the <Blood> trait, and more importantly, so does every Shinobu card in the deck. So if you have Mayoi out at level 0 together with one Shinobu support in the back, the brainstormer is a 3.5k beater during your turn and still has 3k during your opponent’s turn – so she’s still plenty useful early in the game even if you don’t want to use her brainstorm just yet.
Similar to the Shinobu support, Meme is also a card that becomes useful later on in the game on the off chance that you don’t manage to get high enough levels in your level zone. It’s a rare occurrence, but it does happen every now and then and when it does, Meme is a good tech card to have, though I’ve used him for other purposes like emergency color swapping or just for paying out climaxes from stock as well.
The main attackers of the level 0 lineup are the 3.5k Hitagi beater and the 2.5k Karen that gives out a +1000 boost on attack: by utilizing this combo together with the Shinobu support, you can pretty much reverse most level 0s you’ll end up facing. But I have to say that as much as I personally like running level 0 beaters, Hitagi’s drawback isn’t my favorite: if the top card of your deck isn’t a <Strange> character when you play her, you have to discard a card from hand to the WR. All the characters in the deck have the <Strange> trait and there are no events, so this technically only triggers when the top card is a climax, and putting that in your WR instead of triggering it in the first rounds of a game is a good thing, but it also eats away at your handsize – it’s safe to say that unless you have a climax flush in your hand, that’s not something you wanna do. All in all, the risk of revealing a climax when you play her isn’t that high … unless you have the same luck as me, in which case: I’m sorry.
The 1/1 Hanekawa is the main source of your power from here on out. I usually keep one of her and one Shinobu support, but if you’re playing against something with a lot of anti-change tools, you might want to get rid of Shinobu before hitting level 2 and just have 2 of these Hanekawas in the back. She also has a climax change combo with a BAG trigger that lets you change her into this 2/1 beater, but using this combo is pretty pointless, especially in this build where a lot of characters rely on encore.
Speaking of that, as long as you have EXP 2+, your level 1 advantage Lovers combo has hand encore – and that’s pretty neat, not only because having CXC cards with encore lets you easily reuse the combo multiple times but also because with a dozen level 3s for experience’s sake, you’ll often have higher level cards in your hand that you’ll want to drop in exchange for bringing back level 1s. As far as the combo goes, it’s not the most perfect thing in the world, but it works fine both as a way to plus your hand, “search” for characters and mill through your deck – also, it’s kinda funny how it lets you look up to 5 cards when other similar effects in Weiss Schwarz usually give you 4 cards to work with, though that’s probably because the cost for the effect is paying 1 stock instead of discarding a card from hand (and luckily so, because the deck does struggle with handsize at times).
The main source of your level 1 power is the 1/0 Shinobu. EXP 2+ turns her into a mediocre vanilla on your opponent’s turn and a 6.5k beater on your turn, which quickly adds up with the 1/1 Hanekawa and the Shinobu support in the back, bringing one of her up to 9.5k power if needed. This boost increases further if you hit level two and get EXP 5+ while still having the Shinobu support in the back, since now the 1/0 Shinobu qualifies for the frontal +1000 boost as well. Most of the time, this 1/0 Shinobu is what I keep around through level 2 as well because she’s often able to reverse at least 1 of the opponent’s characters.
The last level 1 character, Vampire-looking Human, Koyomi Araragi, is pretty meek when compared to other characters. That’s because he’s merely part one of your two stage backup plan for when things go horribly wrong and you don’t have anything useful to play aka when your hand is flushed with level 3s. He’s weak, but he has hand encore that can keep him around if you have nothing better to play because in the end, any attack is often better than no attack at all.
Curious about part two of the backup plan I just mentioned? Well, look no further than the 2/1 Hitagi and her climax combo. When I was building this deck, she was implemented completely on random … or by accident, you could say. I was almost done with the build when I still had some character slots open and one climax combo missing. When I came across this 2/1 Hitagi and her CXC, I realized that I’ve never built a full soul rush deck with eight +2 soul climaxes before and I thought to myself: why the hell not? So in the full spirit of my reckless personality, I went with it. The reason I call it a backup plan is because in most games, you’ll never need or even get to use this combo at all. The moment it comes in play is when you’re running low on handsize and/or playable characters: presuming it can reverse something with her base 8k power, her combo allows you to use one of your backrows as an attacker, crash it and then rest it and move it to the back row again once Hitagi reverses her opponent. Not to mention that it gives her a 3k boost on top of that, making her an 11k level 2 for your opponent to reverse, which isn’t too shabby. Sure, it’s only a defensive feature, but if you’re in a pinch, that’s usually all it takes for this deck to recover. It doesn’t play into the rest of the experience theme, but it only costs 1 stock to play and the combo is cost-less, meaning that she can be just as easily used as a strategy tool even if your setup is otherwise doing well.
Your other level 2 character is the 2/1 changer for the level 3 Shinobu. I’ve referenced the level 3 in question many times on this blog already, but if you’re unfamiliar with why this Shinobu is just a tad bit better than most other changeable level 3s with heal, it’s because if you have EXP 6+, she has base 11k power and she’s hex proof – that means she can’t be chosen by your opponent’s effects, which makes her immune to stuff like anti-change backups and WIND triggers. However, she isn’t completely untouchable: if your opponent is running anti-change bombs, getting rid of her should be a piece of cake. Does that make her bad after all? In JP, where anti-change tools that don’t require the opponent to “choose” a character are more prevalent, yes: that’s why a lot of JP Monogatari deck lists have completely moved on from running the 3/2 Shinobu.
But they have the Second Season set anyway, so no big deal for them. In EN format, I think Shinobu is still at least a decent change if not a very safe one.
And that’s most of your actual level 2 play, if it all goes according to plan: change into the level 3 Shinobu and heal along the way (unless you’re playing against anti-fun Kantai).
(featuring a somewhat off-topic SAO comparison)
Upon reaching level 3, you get access to another Hanekawa support that’s basically a less OP version of the new Attack in Waves, Asuna, minus the climax combo. The 2k boost is the same, but Asuna lets you send reversed characters to memory for free while Hanekawa requires you to pay 1 in order to put them on the bottom of your opponent’s deck. Both of these effects prevent the opponent from encoring their characters, but both also have their advantages and drawbacks which largely depend on the situation they’re used in: getting rid of characters for free is nice, but so is being able to pay out climaxes from stock right away if you happen to trigger them. In the broader aspect, I think Hanekawa’s version of the effect fairs slightly better when either you or the opponent are nearing a deck refresh since it helps you keep your stock clean while making sure the last few cards in your opponent’s deck will be guaranteed damage.
Their secondary effect is also somewhat similar, but not nearly as much as the first one. Asuna lets you search your deck on play which makes setting up easier – you can also setup with Hanekawa’s draw 2 / drop 1 effect, but you’ll have to be considerably luckier to get what you need on blind luck – though with 12 level 3s in the deck, the chances of drawing one of them aren’t that slim either. And once again, the ability to drop cards from your hand to the WR is a valuable utility.
That aside, the final level 3 character is the lovely Hitagi that serves as a basis for your level 3 offense and defense. If you have EXP 5+, she has a base power of 11.5k and is able to give out an additional +1000 power boost to another one of your characters when she attacks. The defensive part of her effect lies in the fact that the boost she gives out lasts until the end of your opponent’s next turn, but the wall she can create isn’t the only thing you’ll have to rely on since she also has a top-check ability that triggers when she’s frontal attacked and helps you get closer to hitting a climax when taking damage.
Eight +2 souls are fun to run and definitely unconventional for Monogatari, to say the least. The downside is that you’re missing out on additional power (which isn’t that hard to compensate for with all the different assists) and you also don’t get access to any trigger effects since the +2 souls climaxes have 2SOUL triggers. However, you do get a lot of maneuverable space when it comes to attacking: if you’ve ever wanted a deck that doesn’t have to run away from side attacks, this is it. Even without a climax in place, more than half of the cards in the deck have at least one soul trigger so the chances of triggering one of them are quite high … and so are the chances of your opponent cancelling a lot if you’ll constantly be swinging for 3+ damage. It’s not ideal, but it keeps up the pressure and mills through their deck faster than they may have been prepared for.
This is the first soul rush build I’ve ever made and played myself and I definitely like how persistently it’s able to deal large amounts of damage. But what I like most about it is that it’s an accidental soul rush build – I already mentioned I started making this as an experience based deck and not as a soul rush deck, which reflects greatly on how the deck plays. Most soul rush builds are largely focused on soul rushing throughout the whole build, but Monogatari can make soul rushing subtle and unexpected while banking on experience effects to make up for the power you lose by not running 1k1soul climaxes.
The deck definitely has a surprise aspect to it, and while that might not be everyone’s playstyle, I definitely like it. But if you’re wondering what kind of changes can be made if running eight +2 souls isn’t your thing, I’ll address that in the final segment of the post as usual!
Important stuff to keep in mind when playing:
- All characters are <Strange>
- All Koyomi and Shinobu cards are <Blood>
- Supports are your best friends … and so are characters with hand encore.
- Watch your handsize at all times and use your stock accordingly. Just because you can use the Lovers combo 3 times in one turn it doesn’t mean you always should!
- Keep your eye on the experience and colors you will need to play the deck properly. Ideally, you want the first two cards going into your level zone to be level 3s because that gives you 6 EXP and ends your further worries. In the worst case scenario, at least aim to have 5 EXP by the time you’re level 2 or 2 EXP by the time you’re level 1.
- In my experience
(pun not intended), getting the correct EXP amount isn’t that much of a problem – it’s actually colors that take more caution. You should be fine in most cases, but heavens forbid you level up to level 1 with nothing but green.
- The deck takes a lot of getting used to: it might be a while before you’ll remember when which EXP effect is triggered. Not to mention all the temporary power boosts! I definitely suggest using dice or some other form of counter to keep track of how much power each character has until you memorize it better.
Possible changes & other card options
If you don’t want to play a full set of +2 soul climaxes, there are plenty of other options too. I’ll be analyzing all other possible CXCs from Bake and Nise on the pretext that you’ll be keeping the Lovers combo and switching out the 2/1 Hitagi.
- Serious Mode, Shinobu Oshino & Encounter in the Ruins (2k1soul)
This is what I first considered running before I came across the 2/1 Hitagi and her +2 soul. It doesn’t play into the experience theme either, but it has a great way of reversing your opponent’s characters. Together with the 2k1soul boost, the combo can get this level 2 Shinobu up to 16k power and with your opponent not being able to use encore for the turn, what else do you need?
- Brushing Teeth, Karen Araragi & Teeth Brushing Time (BAR trigger)
It’s a level 1 combo that clashes with Lovers, so I’d advise against it. Even if an 8.5k level 1 is too much for your opponent to handle, suiciders are still a thing – it’s just not worth running this when you can have the hand advantage combo instead.
- Primp and Proper, Nadeko Sengoku & Welcome (WIND trigger)
Another level 1 combo. If you want to get rid of +2 soul climaxes in order to cut down on soul rushing, swapping for this would be slightly ironic since the combo itself gives out +1 soul as well. You have better supports already and a better level 1 CXC – end of story.
- Benefactor’s Advice, Tsubasa Hanekawa & Girl Who Knows Anything (Green stock-soul)
If you want to get rid of the Lovers combo, this is your best bet: a level 1 on attack deck search for 1 stock. You gain reliability with searching, but the climax doesn’t give you any extra power or trigger effect, and you also lose the milling option and encore that Lovers have. It’s more or less a playstyle dependent choice.
- Girl Who Was Given a Bee, Karen Araragi & KAREN Bee (2k1soul)
Technically a possible swap since it’s also a level 2 combo, but damn … this thing is heavy on your stock. It works with experience and it does provide a nice 2k boost across your whole board, but that’s not really what the deck needs right before hitting level 3. I guess it could be played as more of a joke card, but even then, it’s still questionable at best.
- Koyomi Araragi Heading for Battle & Family Matters (BOOK trigger)
A level 1 combo again: it provides extra power and avoids your opponent’s encore, but it’s obviously not cost-less and the only way it helps your handsize is if you trigger the climax, which lets you draw a card. Though relying on BOOK triggers to plus your hand is not something you should be doing if you have better tools available. BOOK triggers are good if you need to draw into climaxes or events, but this deck doesn’t even have any events, so yeah …
- Shinobu Oshino & Maintaining Existence (WIND trigger)
Another level 1 beater combo. Assuming you were going to crash one of your characters to begin with, the effect is basically cost-less, but it doesn’t help your handsize at all and once the turn is over, this Shinobu goes back to being jokingly easy to reverse.
- Girl Who Wished on the Monkey, Suruga Kanbaru & SURUGA Monkey (BAR trigger)
A cost heavy level 2 character with a weird deck search to say the least. Yeah, it adds to your hand and lets you search for a character you need, thought that’s still up to your opponent in the end, unless you’re perfectly fine with either of the two characters you pick. Ideally though, you wanna increase your handsize early on and then save stock for your main level 3 lineup instead of playing 2/2 characters.
- Girl Bound By a Snake, Nadeko Sengoku & NADEKO Snake (BOOK trigger)
The deck doesn’t have a level 3 combo yet, that’s true – but running this would be completely counterproductive to the current build because it doesn’t benefit from experience at all.
- Wandering Spirit, Mayoi Hachikuji & MAYOI Mai Mai (SHOT trigger)
Not a bad combo at all: you could easily and successfully utilize its burn abilities in a different build with less level 3s where you’d have more stock available to spend on level 2.
- Bashful, Nadeko Sengoku & Cursed Girl (Blind stock-soul)
Actually one of the more suitable replacements. At the cost of potentially blind stocking a climax, you get a free on-attack deck search and the Nadeko can also search for another copy of herself by paying 1 stock if you have EXP 4+ when she’s played.
- Sharp Tongue, Hitagi Senjyogahara & Girl With No Weight (Blind stock-soul)
More additional power at level 1, but at least this combo doesn’t eat at your stock or handsize. It also gives you a way of avoiding suiciders, but the Shinobu support already does the same, so I see no reason why you’d benefit from running this as your level 1 combo (since it’s obviously not a good idea to run it alongside Lovers).
- Family Circumstance, Tsubasa Hanekawa & Secret Reward (BAG trigger)
Already mentioned this one during the level 1 play analysis, but pointing it out once again: using this to change into “Energy Drain”Black Hanekawa actually hurts this build instead of helping it.
- Black Hanekawa & TSUBASA Cat (Blind stock-soul)
Eeehh … maybe? It’s a 2/2 character with 2 soul and hand encore: the combo gives you a free on-attack deck search, although with limited options. But keep in mind that by using the combo, you’ll also be swinging for 3+ damage with this Hanekawa, so if you want to change the existing Hitagi climax combo in order to do less damage, this isn’t the best choice.
How come the deck doesn’t use any red cards?
Simply put, red doesn’t have good enough level 3s that would work with an experience build. Immortal Strange, Tsukihi Araragi is a borderline joke card and would maybe work as a one-of & Daughter of a Proper Family, Senjyogahara Hitagi from the Bakemonogatari trial deck is too weak on defense compared to what other colors have to offer and while her salvage effect is good, it isn’t nearly as helpful as what your current level 3s are doing.
Lastly, I could write a sizable paragraph about why Girl Who Met a Crab, Hitagi Senjyogahara isn’t a good choice either despite having an experience ability, but this has already been extensively and thoroughly cover by @thenightsshadow on Climax Phase as part of the Weiss EN Breakdown series – so please, do head over there if you want to know why I did a 180 degree turn away from this 40$ RR.
However, there are some nice red level 0s that could be used in this build as tech options:
- Big Backpack, Mayoi Hachikuji is a suicider that also gives +500 power to one of your other characters on attack.
- Girl Who Cannot Be Left Alone, Hitagi Senjyogahara is an alternative beater option, having 4k and hand encore if she’s your only character.
- Farewell to the Past, Hitagi Senjyogahara – if you want a spammable salvage brainstorm, here she is.
- Accelerator, Suruga Kanbaru is one more beater you can run instead of the 3.5k Hitagi, since Suruga’s requirement of having 2 or more <Strange> characters is extremely easy to fulfill outside of the very first turn.
How about if we keep the CXCs and colors, is there anything else to modify?
Well, the first thing up for debate is that level 0 Hitagi beater. If you want to lean more towards late game utility, I suggest you run only 2 of the Hitagi and max out the Karen that gives out +1000 power on attack instead. If you want to have 4 beaters but are looking for different options, I heavily suggest the above mentioned red cards, but if you don’t want to splash red into the deck, I advise you use either of these 3:
- Sake of Cooperation, Shinobu Oshino – has 4k if you have 1 or less other characters
- First Visitor, Nadeko Sengoku – has 4k on the turn she’s played.
- Tsubasa Hanekawa in Pajamas – has anywhere from 3k to 5k when she’s played.
Before I finish with level 0 options, I feel like I should also mention Hairband, Nadeko Sengoku as a possible tech card.
Outside from level 0, if you keep all CXCs the same, there is little room for change left. However, depending on your playstyle, if you find that having hand encore on the Lovers combo is enough, you can switch the 1/0 Koyomi and run counters instead, probably either the 1/0 Hanekawa backup that works with experience or the 2/1 event counter.