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How to play Vanguard: a beginners guide

Cardfight! Vanguard is a trading card game that you can play with 2 players, each with their own deck. Each player takes turns playing cards from their hand to inflict damage on the other person’s fighter. The deck you choose will have different effects during battle, your goal is to win with your strongest and most diverse fighters. Once you learn how the cards and rules work, it will be easy to challenge another player of the same level to a match. If you do well in your first match, be sure to collect more cards so you're able to improve or try new playstyles!

To play the game, you'll need to get a deck and some cards. Starter decks are pre-built decks that come with all of the cards you need to play. If you want to change your deck, buy booster packs to collect more cards you can use in your game. Every booster pack contains 7 random cards that will add a little more variety to your deck or collection.

The Grade and Power values only located on the card are important because they determine which cards you can play or how well a unit performs during an attack. Every card has one number in the left top corner called the Grade, and another on the left bottom corner called Power, and sometimes there's another number in the left center called Shield. The Grade ranges from 0-5 and determines what cards you can play during your turn; Power decides how well a unit does during an attack, and Shield decides how well it does when guarding.

Weak cards usually have a low power, but they can't be used until later in the game. Stronger cards usually have a higher power and grade, but they cannot be played until later in the game.

Balance your deck's grade distribution so you have 17 Grade 0 cards and about 15 Grade 1, 10 Grade 2, and 8 Grade 3 cards. Make sure your deck has exactly 50 cards in total, 16 of which are Trigger Units (Refer to Part 1 Step 6 for more).

The number 3

Right-click on any unit to view its abilities, which will be shown underneath its Grade. You'll notice that certain skills can be used at different times of the battle. There are 4 different skills a unit may have: Attack, Heals (limited use), Defensives (only on defense) and Support (when you move or attack).[2]

Boost Skill: The arrow points up. Units with this skill can be used to increase the power of another unit that's attacking.

The Intercept Skill is similar to a checkmark, and allows you to guard incoming attacks during your opponent's Battle Phase. This is an optional skill, and can only be used once per battle.

You'll be required to make two drive checks during battle. This is a compulsory skill.

Each card displays a skill below the card. You can activate the skill once per turn at the time listed in the text. These skills can aid your units in gaining power or performing special actions during the game, but you don't have to activate them if you don't want to. Follow the text on the card carefully to use a skill.

With every ability you activate, there are different zones on the playmat where it can have an effect. Some abilities have a cost, such as discarding cards from your deck or hand, or sending units to the drop zone.

Abilities labeled ACT can be activated during your Main Phase for any number of times - as long as you pay the cost each time. You can activate these abilities at any time, but you must pay the activation cost every time.

Abilities that carry the AUTO keyword trigger automatically when the conditions written on the card are met.

For cards with a CONT ability, the ability is active as long as the card stays in play. Some CONT abilities require certain conditions to activate.


Find the clan and race of your cards, listed on the bottom-right corner of each card. The clan and race may be important when activating certain abilities, but they don't affect gameplay otherwise.

In 2019, there are 24 different clans, 6 different nations and 69 unique races.

Every clan in Immortal Empires has their own unique play style and their own strengths and weaknesses.

Only 4 units from the same clan or nation can be in a deck, except for Cray Elemental cards which can be used in all decks.


Find the yellow icon at the top upper corner of the card. Units with a yellow strip on their bottom and a symbol on top-right corner are trigger units. Trigger units affect the outcome of battles by giving you a random effect and giving an ally 6000 power or 10,000 power(Certain series may not have certain triggers). Select 1 unit to gain 5000 power(in original series), 10000 power (in V and Overdress series) or one of 6 different effects to happen after that specific trigger (Some series might not have certain triggers).

Unique card abilities, called "Critical Triggers," allow you to choose a card and increase its damage power by 1.

This card lets you draw 1 card from the top of your deck and put it into your hand.

Standing triggers(意) lets you stand a rear guard, but you cannot do drive checks for the rest of the turn.

If you're attacking, having units in the front row on your side of the field can give them an extra 10,000 power to take down any enemies they come across.

The Heal trigger allows you to ready one damage that's on your back row, but can only be triggered when you have higher or equal damage in your damage zone. You're allowed up to four of these in a deck.

When revealed during a damage check, draw one card and choose a unit to gain 100 million Power. If revealed during your drive check, perform the above and activate its additional effect. Each Over trigger can only be used in one deck.

You can start by getting familiar with the areas of play on the Vanguard mat. Players place units as they are needed, so you'll need to know where to put them, like V for the Vanguard Circle and 5 other R's for Rear-guard Circles. Often, you'll be defending your G or Guardian Circle by playing units there during your turn to defend against enemy attacks.

The number 2.

Next, learn about all the zones of the playmat. Besides the zones where you can put your cards, there are 5 more zones where they go throughout the game. These zones are used when you draw a card or discard one, or track damage. Place your deck face down in the deck zone on the right side of the playmat at the start of the game.[7]

The bottom-right corner of the playmat is where you place your cards when they've lost a battle or been discarded for certain effects.

Whenever your vanguard is dealt damage, place it in the damage zone.

G units are strong-caliber units you can use later in the game, but at the start of a game place them face-down on the top left of your playmat.

The trigger zone is used for rollercoaster rides. It's located directly above your deck, and it's automatically checked during drive checks.

Except for the cards in your deck, hand and face-down cards, all of your cards are public information.

Note: The G zone is available only to original series characters. In the Overdress series, the same over dress code is known as the Order zone and used to play Set Orders. This will be explained in the future.


The beginning of a match of Vanguard

Place one Grade 0 unit on the Vanguard Circle. To search through your deck, locate a card with a "0" in the top-left corner, and place it face down on the Vanguard Circle. It's recommended to choose a Grade 0 card without a Trigger icon. This card is your starting vanguard, but you'll be able to make it more powerful each turn.[8]

Reveal your vanguard slowly so your opponent will not know the full strategy behind drawing cards.

The player has clicked the End Turn button

This is all.

Shuffle your deck, take 5 cards from the top of your deck, and place them in your hand. Those cards are now your starting hand; you'll now play with a total of 7 cards.[9]

Tip: If you have mulligan available, in your very first draw you can place any number of cards from the bottom of your deck on the bottom and draw the same amount from the top. This can only be performed once.

Toss a coin to determine who goes first, then reveal your vanguards. Whoever wins the game of rock paper scissors takes the first turn. Once the turn order is chosen, flip over your vanguards at the same time to reveal them("Stand up, Vanguard!"). The game starts with the first player as soon as vanguards are flipped.[10]


There are 3 things you should know/consider.

Move Your Turn

Step 12. Set your display location on the banner


To start the game, all cards are in a vertical position on the table. It's important to rotate the cards so that they're vertical to "stand" them up and make them available for the player to play with. This is called the Stand Phase. Once all cards have been rotated, draw 1 card from your deck and add it to your hand. This is called the Draw Phase, and this is how you will play throughout the game.

You won't have to Keep any cards during the first turn, but the Stand Phase will still be declared.

Units might have an ability that triggers at the beginning of your turn. If you want, you can choose to activate it if the cost is paid.

The number 2.

Your Vanguard is represented by a Main Character-type Hero on your side of the Board. As the game progresses, defeat your opponent’s Vanguard to win.[12] To play a card from your hand on top of this card, provide a card that has the same grade or one grade higher and place it on top of your current Vanguard vertically; the new card will take effect at the start of your next turn. This action is known as “Riding” and it makes attacking your opponent’s Vanguard easier as well as provides bonuses for cards that are riding.

Choose either to activate an ability from the start of the Ride phase or when a card rides.

Your vanguard’s soul consists of the cards underneath it, which are used for Soul Blast(SB) when you send that many cards to the Drop Zone.

You're in control and always have the option to ride or pass on this phase.

Rear-guard units stand behind your vanguard and protect it from immediate frontal attacks. During your turn, you may choose any number of units from your hand to play in any one of the rear-guard circles in the vertical position. This is known as "calling." The chosen units must have a grade equal to or less than the grade of your current vanguard. If you already have units on the field, you can move them between rear-guard zones but not into enemy territory or horizontally.

In the Main Phase of your turn, you'll get the chance to attack one of their units if they have any left.

Some abilities can only be used during the Main Phase, but most abilities can be used at any time.

If you play a unit on a rear-guard zone that has any units and more than one rearguard zone that doesn't, move all the units that were on the rearguard zone to your drop zone.

Attacking your opponent’s units wasn't always possible.

When you want to initiate a battle, turn the unit you want to use sideways so it’s horizontal in its zone. Unless stated otherwise by a skill, only front rows units may declare an attack. Choose an opponent’s front row unit that you wish to declare an attack against and let them know what you're targeting.

You can either use your card's special ability that is triggered during the Battle Phase, or when it attacks.

In Pokemon battles, you can't initiate battle on the first turn.

You can attack multiple times as long as you still have units in the front row.

You can choose to end your Battle Phase early even if you can still attack. This ends your turn and allows the opponent to take their turn.

When your vanguard attacks, check the top card of your deck for a trigger symbol. If it has one, then apply its effect. If it doesn't have one, nothing happens and you'll add the card to your hand.

You can activate any special abilities that your superhero has during the drive check.

If your vanguard has a skill that triggers when their drive checks have been met, make sure to resolve it before performing the remaining drive checks.

Assuming your unit has more power than the card you are attacking, proceed to step two. Check your attacking unit's power and compare it with the Power of the targeted unit. If the attacking unit has equal or more power, the attack hits. If a rear-guard is hit, it "retires" and moves to the drop zone. If a vanguard is hit, they perform a damage check.

You can activate abilities that happen during a battle such as when your units attack, the attack hits, at the end of the turn, or at the beginning or end of the damage step.