Cardfight Retrospective: Gold Paladins Pt.2: The Liberators and the Lion

Greetings everyone to the second part of this Gold Paladin retrospective. This is now Block 3, otherwise known as the Break Ride era, or as some like to call it “Bushiroad deciding to make archetypes for all the clans.” Gold Paladins’ archetype were Liberators who was essentially reskins of the old Royal Paladin units…

Everyone’s reaction to Liberators.

 

Let’s get this retrospective down the way
As mentioned earlier the Liberators were classic RP units like Gallatin and Marron retrained as Gold Paladin units. They WERE used by the show’s original protagonist, Aichi Sendou so it is fitting that we should look at his most iconic card, Blaster Blade.
Alfred isn’t paying me enough for this.
[AUTO]:[Counter Blast (2)] When this unit is placed on (VC) or (RC), if you have a vanguard with “Liberator” in its card name, you may pay the cost. If you do, choose one of your opponent’s rear-guards in the front row, and retire it.
 
…Riveting. Most people didn’t even ran BBL because during it’s inception CB2 was a LOT to ask for a simple retire. This was the days where retiring stuff actually meant something. The strange thing was that BBL didn’t get quality support much like his darker and edgier counterpart, Blaster Dark Revenger. I presumed that Bushi were cautious to give BBL any good support mostly due to the fact that people probably still had PTSD from Barcal+Soul Saver.
However BBL would get support in the future, but at the time it was suffering to be a Liberator player.
Now to show off to the rest of the guys.
[AUTO] Limit Break 4 (This ability is active if you have four or more damage):When a «Gold Paladin» rides this unit, choose your vanguard, and that unit gets [Power]+10000 until end of turn, and choose up to three of your «Gold Paladin» rear-guards, and those units get [Power]+5000 until end of turn.
[AUTO](VC):When this unit attacks a vanguard, this unit gets [Power]+2000 until end of that battle.
[CONT](VC/RC):Lord (If you have a unit without a same clan as this unit, this unit cannot attack)
 
Ah ha! Take that Platina Ezel! Gancelot does your job for free. In all seriousness though, this was pretty decent. It buffs up your rear guards even further thus it can give the archetype some solid finish power. At least it would in theory. The funny thing is that while Solitary Liberator’s Break Ride effect was pretty good…the meta was not kind to Rear Guard focused decks with one or two exceptions. At the time Link Joker was THE threat due to how defensive they are and how threatening their control was over the game state. If you were a Liberator player back in Block 3 and you had to fight Link Jokers…well you better pray you draw god-like AND the Link Joker player bricks hard.
I should point out that the archetype does have another Break Ride unit, and it was Steel Spear Liberator Bleoberis,  however the set he can be found in, Fighter’s Collection 2013, never came to the west, and as a result none of the exclusive cards from the set never came to us English players. A shame really cause I would have loved a RRR version of Little Sage Marrion.
In BT10, there was probably 3 cards of worth to look at: Josephus, the archtypal Dindrane clone, Escrad, and their boss.
Viviane senpai, please help…

[AUTO](VC/RC):[Counter Blast (1)-card with “Liberator” in its card name] When this unit’s attack hits a vanguard, if you have a «Gold Paladin» vanguard, you may pay the cost. If you do, look at the top card of your deck, search for up to one «Gold Paladin», call it to an open (RC), and put the rest on the bottom of your deck.

 
Basically Escrad is Vivianne clone except for Liberators. Another thing at the time was Especial costs, like Revengers can only sacrifice other Revenger units and in Liberators’ case, Especial Counterblast. Obviously it was done as an effort to make sure the archetypal support won’t boost the generic decks.
Anyways Escrad was a definite stable in Liberator decks not only due to his pressure and potential swarming, but Grade 2s at the time were limited.
Now technically Blaster Blade Liberator did get early support…but not in the way players wanted. I am talking about Wingal Liberator.
No I don’t want the shots.

[AUTO]:Forerunner (When a unit of the same clan rides this unit, you may call this unit to (RC))

[AUTO](RC):[Put this unit into your soul] When an attack hits a vanguard during the battle that this unit boosted a unit with “Liberator” in its card name, you may pay the cost. If you do, choose one card named “Blaster Blade Liberator” from your soul, and call it to an open (RC).
Unless you were Aichi Sendo, this little doggie was just a vanilla Forerunner. Terrific. You couldn’t even use that for extra attacks namely because it requires an open RC. I have really nothing else to say.
As for Liberator’s first boss, we have the king himself, Liberator of the Round Table, Alfred
And they say I’m weak without my horse.

[CONT](VC) Limit Break 4(This ability is active if you have four or more damage):During your turn, this unit gets [Power]+2000 for each rear-guard you have with “Liberator” in its card name.
[ACT](VC):[Counter Blast (2)-card with “Liberator” in its card name] Look at the top card of your deck, search for up to one «Gold Paladin», call it to an open (RC), and put the rest on the bottom of your deck.
[CONT](VC/RC):Lord(If you have a unit without a same clan as this unit, this unit cannot attack)

 
The first boss from the Liberators and he…is just a massive power gainer. Unlike Ezel his Superior Call abilities isn’t locked behind the Limit Break 4 so you can start to swarm the field for the mere cost of TWO Counterblasts…and only from the top deck. I mean the king can hit for 26000 which would have necessitated to Perfect Guard him, but that’s about it. I mean for the time period constant 26000 Vanguard swing was something to be feared of, but again the format at the time wasn’t kind to rear guard focused decks.
BT12 is when it gets crueler for the Liberator player. At that time that is when Link Jokers were starting to pick up steam along with Eradicators and Revengers. Here was the other boss for Liberators, Wolf Fang Liberator Garmore.
Rally comrades! Wait not you Flogal!

[ACT](VC) Limit Break 4:[Counter Blast (3)-card with “Liberator” in its card name] Look at the top card of your deck, search for up to one «Gold Paladin» from among them, call it to an open (RC), and put the rest on the bottom of your deck. If you called, and you have an open (RC), repeat this effect without paying the cost.

[AUTO](VC):[Choose a rear-guard with “Liberator” in its card name, and put it on the bottom of your deck] When this unit attacks a vanguard, you may pay the cost. If you do, this unit gets [Power]+4000 until end of that battle.
[CONT](VC/RC):Lord
Basically your panic button when your field gets wiped. Decent against retire based decks, but very useless against other decks that don’t retire or if you’re Link Joker. I joked earlier that being a Liberator player was suffering, but do you know how much? Garmore was in the same set Raging FREAKING Form Dragon. If this doesn’t tell you how much we suffered then I am not sure what to tell you. I mean it is cool that you can send any Liberator Unit, which includes Trigger Units, back to the bottom of the deck and Garmore can hit past 21000, but that’s about it. It sure was suffering to be a Liberator player.
Oh wait, I think I can tell you a little more by showing you Barcal Liberator.
This dog has seen better days in the junkyard.

[AUTO](RC): When an attack hits a vanguard during the battle that this unit boosted a unit named “Blaster Blade Liberator”, look at up to three cards from the top of your deck, search for up to one card with “Liberator” in its card name, call it to (RC) as [Rest], and put the rest on the bottom of your deck in any order.

I won’t even compare Barcal to Raging Form. Barcal is RR (shockingly enough but I heard worst cards get that high of a rarity) and Raging Form Dragon is RRR. That wouldn’t be fair at all. Instead I am going to compare Tartu. With Tartu she costs 2 CB but can tutor any Grade 1 Revenger AND has 9000 base so she can hit for good numbers so long as you can pay her ability or if she wasn’t fighting a cross-ride vanguard like Luquier Reverse and Dragonic Overlord the End. Barcal requires you to use a specific unit (BBL in this case) to boost it, said boosted unit has to hit, and THEN can only Superior Call the top card to the field at rest. Oh but it doesn’t have a Counterblast cost so I guess this is incredibly worth it. You may as well use this fellow as a coaster. Liberators needed more quality support at the time and Barcal was not what they truly desired. Boy was it suffering to be a Liberator player.
However this set wasn’t absolutely terrible for Liberators. An arrow of light was coming to tell us that there is still hope.
With one arrow, I can break the heavens …and your wallets!
[AUTO](RC):When your other «Gold Paladin» is placed on (RC) from your deck, if you have a vanguard with “Liberator” in its card name, this unit gets [Power]+3000 until end of turn.
I will go over Bruno much more in-depth in the near future, but I should tell you one thing. No one I knew was willing to put this guy in their decks, at least not anyone I knew who had a Liberator deck. However due to future support Bruno became a main stable and his price spiked by around 6000%.
Gold Paladin’s support was skipped over for BT13, but the clan finally got quality support in BT14, Brilliant Strike. Brilliant Strike could not have been a more fitting name as this was a chance to retaliate against the oppressive Link Joker and Chaos Breaker Dragon with…Ezel? Yeah for some reason Bushiroad decided that maybe Ezel’s previous support was not that good, so they gave him more support. Said support was actually pretty great for it’s time period. Let’s look at the cards that, in my mind, is what helped an Ezel deck be an Ezel deck starting with their starter, Scarlet Lion Cub, Caria.

[AUTO]:Forerunner (When a unit of the same clan rides this unit, you may call this unit to (RC))


[AUTO](RC):[Put this unit into your soul] When an attack hits a vanguard during the battle that this unit boosted a vanguard with “Ezel” in its card name, you may pay the cost. If you do, look at up to two cards from the top of your deck, search for up to two «Gold Paladin», call them to open (RC) as [Rest], and put the rest on the bottom of your deck in any order.

No questions ask, this is a really legit starter for an Ezel deck. In a dedicated Ezel deck you will naturally ride up to a Grade 3 Ezel, so the potential threat of swarming the field is pretty prevalent. Combined that with Vivianne, and you have a deck that has a lot of pressure with the threat of swarming. There really isn’t much to say about this card, it’s a very good starter as it serves it’s purpose.
Next card is an actual lion called Sacred Twin Beast, White Lion.
…No I am not a Zord.

[AUTO]:[Counter Blast (1)] When this unit is placed on (RC), if you have a vanguard with “Ezel” in its card name, you may pay the cost. If you do, Soul Charge (1), put the top card of your deck into your damage zone, and at the end of that turn, choose a card from your damage zone, return it to your deck, and shuffle your deck.

I am pretty iffy on this card. The idea is to enable your Limit Break early like other damage adders, and it even has a respectable 7000 base power. It even has a Soul Charge ability which seems out of place, but the thing is that Gold Paladins finally got their Battle Sister Lemonade clone AND Soul is part of the resource for the newest Ezel. Now before we move on, yes there is a black version of this guy hence the title “Sacred Twin Beast”. Let’s just say Ezel already has a 12k attacker and the Black Lion can only go up to 11k…and has an 8000 base. Never a good thing to have.
Next up we have Eliwood, Knight of Lycia.

During your turn when you discard one card from your hand you can force one Rear Guard in the backrow to move to the front and when Eliwood fights a Rear Guard with the Dragon attribute he gains an additional 2000 power and at the time it is actually pretty good because everyone and their mothers’ main G3 at the time were Dragon attribute and-wait that’s the wrong one! I am so sorry somehow got these two mixed.

Here is Blazing Scale Knight, Eliwood
Ezel no! Don’t leave me to be dragon chow!

[AUTO](RC):[Counter Blast (1)] When your grade 3 unit with “Ezel” in its card name is placed on (VC), you may pay the cost. If you do, look at the top card of your deck, search for up to one «Gold Paladin», call it to an open (RC), and put the rest on the bottom of your deck.

Not much to say about this card to be honest. Eliwood can fill up the field for you as well, and in a way he is a good bait because people do not want to be suddenly swarmed. Realistically his effect may be used or twice but he is pretty nice as far as supports go for the deck. He just fills the field decently which is what the new Ezel deck’s main goal is. However at this point, you are starting to wonder why Ezel is such in a hurry to fill the field. Believe it or not this is actually part of Ezel’s win condition.
Now for the savior of all that is sacred, majestic, and beautiful, the one thing that can make even Link Joker hesitates. This was the game’s savior Salvation Lion, Grand Ezel.
Beware Link Joker! My hair will destroy you!

[ACT](VC) Limit Break 4:[Counter Blast (2) & Soul Blast (2)] Unlock all of your locked cards, if the number of «Gold Paladin» rear-guards you have is five, until end of turn, this unit gets [Power]+10000/[Critical]+1, and at the end of that turn, Soul Charge (1), choose a card from your damage zone, and turn it face up.
[CONT](VC):During your turn, this unit gets [Power]+1000 for each of your «Gold Paladin» rear-guards.
[CONT](VC/RC):Lord

Yes folks you are reading it right here. Bushiroad heard how oppressive Link Joker was to the meta, so they literally made a counter mechanic JUST for them. Grand Ezel wasn’t the only card to have the Unlock, but he was the most notable at the time. Even without the Unlock ability, Grand Ezel can get 2 critical if your board is filled up with Gold Paladins. Swinging for 31000+ with two criticals basically means your opponent has to Perfect Guard it or die. What makes this even more spectacular is that you he CC1 and SC1, so his overall effects essentially cost CB1 and SB1. This is such a spectacle of a card and would have ended Link Joker…but even he cannot defeat the power of cards being released early as he gets sucked in by the almighty power of Glendios. No one knows what has happened to this brave lion though.
Now back to the topic at hand, Liberators actually got two noteworthy cards in Brilliant Strike, their third boss and a new Sentinel called Quintet Walls. Let’s look at Sword Formation Liberator Igraine
So beautiful…why could it not have been a PG?

[CONT]:Sentinel (You may only have up to four cards with “[CONT]:Sentinel” in a deck)
[AUTO]:[Counter Blast (1)] When this unit is placed on (GC) from hand, if you have a «Gold Paladin» vanguard, you may pay the cost. If you do, reveal five cards from the top of your deck. Call all «Gold Paladin» to (GC) at [Rest] from among them, and put the rest into your drop zone.

Yeah this was a time when Bushiroad tried to experiment on some new defensive cards because people were complaining the meta was being too offensive or something along those lines. Back then Quintent Walls like Igraine can give you a shield value of 20000 to 25000. It would have been a decent defensive option…if it didn’t had the Sentinel key word on it. This meant that it was competing for space against Perfect Guards and no one wanted to throw those out away. One can argue that it saves you more cards in the hand, but the thing about early Quintet Walls is that it costs CB1 which some decks want full access to. Quintet Walls’ worth wouldn’t be fully realized until Block 4. Even in the anime I counted at least 2 times when a Quintet Wall failed and after that the characters went back to Perfect Guards. One theory I can come up with as for why Quintet Walls were a thing wasn’t actually due to Link Joker or the frequency of restanding Vanguards. It was probably due to the fact that a certain deck had access to Guard Breaking.
I am going to dismantle that robot…

Now for Liberator’s third boss unit it is a cross-ride unit which was showing up more and more frequently. Here is Liberator of Bonds, Gancelot Zenith.

 

 

 

[AUTO](VC) Limit Break 4 (This ability is active if you have four or more damage):[Counter Blast (1)-card with “Liberator” in its card name & Choose one of your grade 2 or less rear-guards, and put it on the bottom of your deck] When this unit attacks a vanguard, you may pay the cost. If you do, look at the top card of your deck, search for up to one «Gold Paladin» from among them, call it to an open (RC), and put the rest on the bottom of your deck, and that unit gets [Power]+10000 until end of turn.
[CONT](VC):If you have a card named “Solitary Liberator, Gancelot” in your soul, this unit gets [Power]+2000.
[CONT](VC/RC):Lord (If you have a unit without a same clan as this unit, this unit cannot attack)
…Whoa sorry about the drool. It is just that this Gancelot Zenith is such a magnificent card. Granted it was not a restanding Vanguard that was showing up more frequently in Block 3 (to the point where I considered doing a top 5 list of restanders in Vanguard at the time), but it was not only unique but done well. Basically you can get three Rear Guard attacks, and Gancelot even powers up by 10000. Even if it was a Trigger Unit said unit can hit for 21k if you didn’t use your boost yet or you can use it to go after a rear guard at the very worst. This was a proper boss for Liberator as there was finally light shining down on us. Gancelot Zenith descended down to help us, almost like an angel to aid the soldiers in the battlefield. I really have nothing else to add about this card.
Now set 15, Infinite Rebirth, Bushi decides to FINALLY give Blaster Blade Liberator actual good support, as in give the guy a Dorint clone. Then they gave him more and more and…Liberator’s fourth and fifth boss. Yup it was time for Liberators to truly shine.
First I will start with the fourth boss Liberator, Holy Shine Dragon.
Roar I’m a dragon or wyrm.

[AUTO](VC) Limit Break 4 (This ability is active if you have four or more damage):At the end of your turn, choose one grade 3 «Gold Paladin» from your soul, and you may ride it. If you do, choose one card named “Liberator, Holy Shine Dragon” from your soul, and put it into your hand.
[AUTO]:[Counter Blast (1)-card with “Liberator” in its card name] When this unit is placed on (VC), you may pay the cost. If you do, look at the top card of your deck, search for up to one «Gold Paladin», call it to an open (RC), and put the rest on the bottom of your deck.
[CONT](VC/RC):Lord (If you have a unit without a same clan as this unit, this unit cannot attack)

Not much to say about this card, other than it has some pretty neat interactions with Break Ride Gancelot. Assuming you can keep you field alive and you weren’t playing against Link Joker then you can seriously pressure the opponent. Holy Shine wasn’t meta or anything but it was pretty lulzy in a casual play. Hell getting Break Ride Gancelot wasn’t even a problem because Gancelot had it’s own searcher.
Next card is another Grade 1 which was actually prelude to what was to come in the future. That card was called Physical Force Liberator Zorron.
Leave me alone! I don’t know the Power Rangers!

[AUTO]:[Put this unit into your soul] When this unit is placed on (RC) from your deck, if you have a «Gold Paladin» vanguard, you may pay the cost. If you do, look at three cards from the top of your deck, search for up to one card with “Liberator” in its card name, call it to (RC), and put the rest on the bottom of your deck in any order.

…What is this? A Gold Paladin recruiter that checks MORE than one card from the top of the deck (and doesn’t make you discard a card from the hand)?! Granted you still need to Superior Call Zorron but at the time, it blew my mind to think that Bushiroad is finally letting Gold Paladins perform more consistent calling. As I said earlier this was a prelude to what Bushiroad had in mind. It even feeds into the Soul which will be important for later.
Now if you thought checking the top 3 cards was great, then you should see their Starter, Yearning Liberator Arum.
One day I’m gonna be meta like Llew!

[AUTO]:Forerunner (When a unit of the same clan rides this unit, you may call this unit to (RC))
[ACT](RC):[Put this unit into your soul] If you have a grade 3 or greater «Gold Paladin» vanguard, search your deck for up to one card named “Blaster Blade Liberator”, reveal it to opponent, shuffle your deck, and put it on the top of your deck.

What the hell Bushiroad? Now you’re giving Liberators a surefire way to get their primary play makers?! Keep in mind that while it wasn’t tutoring like Great Silver Wolf Garmore, this pretty much made sure your Zenith was set up and possibly more. Worst case scenario he can set up the Superior Call a viable attacker. I am starting to run out of words to say though.
Now as for the support card that BBL should have gotten earlier, here is White Rainbow Liberator, Balan.
Who is laughing now Dorint?

[AUTO](RC):When your “Blaster Blade Liberator” is placed on (RC), if you have a vanguard with “Liberator” in its card name, choose a card from your damage zone, and turn it face up.

Yup this is Liberator’s Dorint clone. Whenever a BBL shows up, regardless where both Balan and BBL appear you can CC1. Now what people figured out that since it didn’t mattered where Balan is when BBL was called, that means the Liberators had access to a very powerful if unwieldy CC engine. If you have two Balans when BBL shows up you can CC2. Not to mention due to Vanguard not having a proper chain, you choose which to resolve first: BBL’s ability to retire or Balan’s CC. Really I cannot think of a single bad thing about this card. Sure it came out a set after Magelant, but it eats up Soul. When combined this with Arum, you can pull all sorts of shenanigans.
Now as for BBL’s last new support it is a familiar face that is useful, resourceful, and cute to boot. This is Liberator, Star Rain Trumpeter.
Yeah! Blade needs me!

[AUTO]:[Choose a card named “Blaster Blade Liberator” from your soul or drop zone, and put it on top of your deck] When this unit is placed on (RC), if you have a «Gold Paladin» vanguard, you may pay the cost. If you do, shuffle your deck, look at the top card of your deck, search for up to one «Gold Paladin», call it to an open (RC), and put the rest on the bottom of your deck.

As if Liberators weren’t getting enough quality support they got a practically free recruiter. Granted Star Rain can only call the top card in the deck, but lets think about it…her cost is basically putting one of your play enablers back into the deck from Soul or Drop Zone. Now obviously you want to return BBL from the Drop Zone since a certain card (which we will talk soon) wants the Soul but let me stress this though: Star Rain Liberator essentially calls a unit for nearly free. Combined that with Gancelot Zenith who can return ANY unit back in the deck, and Star Rain was a pretty good card for her time. No come on Aichi Legend Deck…make her retrained version bonkers for some reason.

The final Liberator and boy was it amazing is Liberator, Monarch Sanctuary Alfred.

Dammit Garmore! I thought we agreed I wouldn’t dress like a wall!

[AUTO](VC) Limit Break 5 (This ability is active if you have five or more damage):When your “Blaster Blade Liberator” is placed on (RC) from your deck, this unit gets [Power]+10000/[Critical]+1 until end of turn.
[ACT](VC) Limit Break 4 (This ability is active if you have four or more damage):[Counter Blast (3) & Soul Blast (2)] Put all of your rear-guards and locked cards on top of your deck in any order, look at five cards from the top of your deck, search for up to five cards with “Liberator” in its card name from among them, call them to separate (RC), and put the rest on the bottom of your deck in any order. This ability cannot be used for the rest of that turn.
[CONT](VC):During your turn, this unit gets [Power]+1000 for each of your rear-guards.
[CONT](VC/RC):Lord (If you have a unit without a same clan as this unit, this unit cannot attack)

Holy Hilary Duff on a stick, this is a card. Gold Paladins not only got a second Unlocker, and one that is also archetypal as well, but another Ultimate Breaker. The Ultimate Break is sorta situational at times, but my god this is pretty synergistic with the archetype at the time. Not only does Monarch Alfred unlock the field and fills it up, but he also triggers cards like Josephus and Zorron even if they were on the field previously. Monarch Alfred is such a strong card and counter to not only Link Joker, but strangely enough Cyclomatooth (which is begging to get a price spike of 2000% if MC even gets half-decent support) due to the fact that it sends all the Stunned units back into the deck and then Superior Calls them standing. Monarch Alfred was so good that even in Block 4, Liberator players would tech him not only for immediate field replenish, but also because of the Link Joker match-up.
With that, this was the end of Aichi Sendo’s Liberators. In the early days they were pretty outclassed since Revengers were just so much more powerful and more consistent than them, and Jewel Knights, while having quite possibly the WORST Break Ride in existence, saw some relevance with Broken Hearted Jewel Knight, Ashlei Reverse plus they were more consistent than Liberators even if the upkeep was higher. BT14 is when Liberators were starting to become good, and then BT15 is when they were at their most powerful. Sadly that was when Block 3 ended, and as a result, Liberators just missed their chance to be meta.
Now some of you noticed I referred them as Aichi’s Liberators, and I haven’t talked about the rest of the Liberators. I have a few reasons for why: (1) The next set of Liberators were pretty different, at least to me, hence I feel like they deserve their own part. (2) This is an article about the Gold Paladins in Block 3. (3) This article went on for far too long now. However, next time we will heat things up with what many people called the Bluish Flame Liberators or Gaillard’s Liberators.
Aglovale: The heat is on now! Percival:…Never say that phrase ever again please…

 

Phantom

The guy who is fascinated with the Paladins even though he prefers mages.

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