Luquier Venus and More Zelma

Luquier Venus and More Zelma

This is the 'perfect game' and the idea winning image for Silver Thorns if you're main is Luquier Venus, and also why the Ana/Maricica/Zelma trio is incredibly scary, especially if you go first. In fact, this game's Zelma use is so perfect, if there's ever going to be a textbook on Silver Thorns, this will be a very good textbook example.

Too busy to spend 3 minutes?
CB1 for 2 attacks at 0:28
Cross riding by Ana/Maricica + Zelma at 0:58

Do keep in mind what happened in the video is almost like Exodia happening, and players that knows how Silver Thorn functions can reduce the amount of damage done to them (see bottom of this article), so do not expect this to happening every game. Most of your real games will be more similar to the Zelma example video, and not as fast and smooth as this one. But just always remember how you can dance with Zelma if you are given the opportunity.

A few things to take away from this for Silver Thorn players:
1.) Going first is very advantageous for Silver Thorns due to your insane on-hit pressure and exploit.
2.) It's beneficial to keep Emil around for boosting for as long as possible if you have Venus, because the spot Emil takes is the same as an open spot for Venus. This means once you clear your front row by intercepting, counting the Emil spot, you're guaranteeing at least +3 off Venus's skill, more if you leave more booster spots open.
3.) Always remember when there's a 7k exposed on your opponent's side, CB1 can result in 2 attacks. Abuse it and exploit it when you can.
4.) Maricica and Ana can help you cross ride if you have Zelma properly setup. Take advantage of it.

A few things to take home from this for players playing AGAINST Silver Thorns:
1.) Avoid exposing a 7k if you can (in this video's case he can't)
2.) Guarding Maricica and Ana is a very smart move. VERY. An opponent that knows what he's doing will rain pain on you if you let one of those hit unless you sack triggers.
3.) DO NOT give your opponent his damage for his Ana/Maricica/Zelma shenanigans unless you are ready for it, just like LB4 and break rides. If his Damed Leo didn't give me that 1 damage (at 0:50), I could not have rained pain upon him nor could I make such quick work out of him.


Zelma Video Example

Zelma Video Example

   I had a game with a really good Zelma usage recently on CFA, and I thought this would be a good example of how devastating the Ana/Maricica/Zelma combo is if your opponent is to ever let it hit, especially with a booster exposed. Unfortunately I did not cross ride using Ana/Zelma combo in this video, but if I was sitting on Venus or Reverse, and one of the RG was a Luquier, I would have cross ridden as a bonus to the combo.

   If you're in a hurry, you can skip to 1:14 and 2:53 watch Zelma being MVP.
   If the video to too fast/slow for you, feel free to pause or click the 'cogwheel' and adjust the playing speed.

   Also, if you see any misplays, or have any suggestions or things you're unclear about with the video, please leave a comment either here on this blog or on the YouTube so I can improve on quality in the future. This is also my first YouTube video ever lol.


Silver Thorn Starters

Silver Thorn Starters

Silver Thorn Beast Tamer, Emil

   Next up is the review of starters! Silver Thorn starters are super adorable, and because they are both loli's because picking a good starter and the right one at that is super important to a deck, they deserve to be up next for the review! I mean, after all, they are the only loli cards the deck has your starter is the only card that you are guaranteed to have at the start of each game, right?

   If you are not familiar with Ionela or Emil, you can look them up by clicking on them respectively. This article will not cover Innocent Magician because he is not a loli, who will only be considered in a break ride build, and who is also a generic G3 searcher clone that have existed beyond the scope of Silver Thorns.

Silver Thorn Assistant, Ionela

Dream time is, starting, starting-!

   Starting off, we have the loyal and original Silver Thorn starter that had been waiting for her mistress's return ever since BT12! In a nutshell, she's Irina that requires an on-hit on the VG, meaning just like Irina, she stacks triggers at the bottom of your deck, forcing you to play OTT or suffer if you can't afford to stall for that long or have no means to shuffle your deck. Similar to any FVG that stays on the field and needs to remain on the field to for an extended amount of time to function, she's extremely vulnerable to retiring by cards like Gattling Claw Dragon, and you're pretty screwed if you need to rely on her to do the bulk of the soul charging if she gets retired.

   On the bright side, she can be used over and over again, and doesn't result in a -1 to use like many other Pale Moon FVGs. However, even though she can be used multiple times, keep in mind that because she requires an on-hit on the vanguard, she gets triggered 3~4 times at best (usually 3) on your average games, essentially allowing you look up to 6~8 cards and soul change 3~4 out of those 6~8 cards over the course of 4~5 turns. Also, due to how she doesn't leave the field, she makes it very hard to call an Ana behind your VG without minusing yourself.

   What does this mean? This means that unfortunately for her, a new loli competitor appeared that does her job better in almost every single aspect just as her beloved mistress came back to her senses after being corrupted by the void, leaving her sitting in a binder after all that wait.

Silver Thorn Beast Tamer, Emil

I am, a beast tamer! Are you amazed? Amazed?

   And that competitor is called Emil, whom Bushi is too lazy to even give a CotD lore. Unlike Ionela, Emil requires a cost of putting herself into the soul to soul charge, resulting in a net -1 to use in exchange for higher efficiency and speed. However, due to the prevalence of retire-based decks out there, this very negative aspect of Emil is actually a very positive strength for her, further favoring Silver Thorns in using her as a starter over Ionela. The reason behind that is Emil can hide immediately into the soul as soon as the game starts if necessary because she is completely independent of counter blasts or any other factors, meaning you can use her skill as soon as possible without her ever being sniped, making her vastly more reliable than Ionela because you are not at your opponent's mercy.

   Emil is also so much faster and more efficient than Ionela in soul charging, that she essentially does what Ionela does over 3 turns in one, without even needing to land a hit on the VG for 3 times. It takes Ionela 3 hits to to view 6 cards and soul charge 3, and yet it takes Emil less than 1 turn to look at 5 and soul charge 3. On top of that, Emil doesn't care for the order of the Silver Thorn cards hidden off the top of your deck. Say you have 2 Silver Thorn units sitting back to back on the top of your deck, Ionela will only be able to soul charge one of them. Emil, however, doesn't care for the order as long as the Silver Thorn cards you reveal off the top 5 are of different grades, meaning even if the 2 cards are sitting back to back, she's able to soul charge both of them if they are of different grades. So with only 1 use, Emil already rivals what Ionela is capable of doing over the entire game. Add the fact that you can easily use Emil multiple times per game, she just blows Ionela out of the water. Remember when people said cross riding was easy for Silver Thorns back in BT12? Well, Emil made it even easier.

   Another aspect going for Emil's favor over Ionela is that she shuffles the deck after soul charging. Back when Silver Thorns relied on Ionela and Irina for soul charging, the deck has a side-effect of stacking a considerable amount of triggers at the bottom of your deck if you are unlucky. And if you didn't have a See-saw Game Winner or something similar that has a side effect of shuffling your deck for you, you're forced to play OTT if you ever want to see those triggers.

Imagine this being what's left in your deck.
And this actually happens quite a bit.
   This shuffling aspect of Emil also means that she condenses your deck with triggers every time you use her
ability, increasing your chance of drive checking a trigger. After several uses of Emil's ability, your deck can easily be left with a lot of triggers, and having your deck reach the point where there are more triggers than normal units in it isn't something uncommon in actual practice.

   On top of condensing triggers and allowing you to sack more often, she also thins your deck with stuff you don't want to draw into with each use. While that seems obvious, what does it really mean? It means if you are in late game, when you use Emil's ability and see multiple cards of the same grade, you can soul charge the one you don't want to draw into and leave the ones you would prefer to draw into in the deck. For example, at late game, Ana becomes vanilla when Zelma's uses skyrockets as you accumulate more and more soul. So if you see Ana and Zelma together in the same group of 5 cards that Emil revealed, you would soul charge the Ana and leave Zelma in the deck, essentially making your drive checks and draws end up being of higher quality. Another good example of this is you can and will be thinning your deck of grade 3s, increasing the chance of you drawing and drive checking into cards that have a shield value.

   The final nail in the coffin for Ionela is how much synergy Emil has with Luquier and Luquier Venus or the deck in general (unfortunately, Luquier Reverse doesn't have much synergy with Emil). Previously, in order for Luqier's LB4 to even be able to call a grade 0, you need to soul charge a trigger with Irina or Ionela beforehand, or use a Poison Juggler. Now the grade 0 is just there automatically without any set up, and a very good one that can further enlarge your tool box and hyper compress your deck. She also has high synergy with Luquier Venus, and makes the Ana/Maricica/Zelma combo significantly easier to achieve.


Emil wins!
Look at how proud she is!
   Emil is a vastly superior starting vanguard in pretty much every aspect there is when compared to Ionela. Even her only drawback (the -1) ends up being a pro rather than a con for her.


The Silver Thorn Beast Tamers and Zelma

Silver Thorn Beast Tamers and Zelma

   I decided to write about these 3 units together because it's weird to write about them separately when them going together is what makes them so formidable. Again, I assume you the reader already know their effects. If not, you can look up MaricicaAna, and Zelma respectively on the wiki.

   This article will assume you are playing with BT15 support since I'm writing all 3 together; there really isn't much to write about Ana and Maricicia with only BT12 support since the only combo the do is with Irina who gives you additional soul charging, and otherwise all they do is just call a single unit with a very high chance of a -1 because your front field will likely be full. What they do essentially with BT12 support is still there in the BT15 meta if you can't get a Zelma in your soul.

   I'll first do a brief overview on the cards themselves before jumping into the shenanigans they do and the havoc they can wreck.

   On a side note, I used a lot if GIFs in this article, so give them a few seconds to load up. And you can click on the GIFs to expand them.

 -I've cut down the GIF size by 50% (length and width) to make it less of a pain to load up. Let me know if there are any other issues or if it's still an issue.


   Maricica is a pressure VG-only on-hit unit that has the ability to call specifically a Silver Thorn unit from your soul, and doesn't care if your VG is a Silver Thorn or not, meaning even if you're sitting on an Eva, she still does her thing. Unlike the traditional Pale Moon pressure unit Alice, Maricica cannot pressure by attacking rear guards, meaning once your opponent hits limit break or hits their 5th damage, Maricia becomes vanilla because no one will ever let anything hit at that point regardless of what unit it is.

   She is one of the best rides you can get on a G2 ride aside from Lilian, and that is also when she applies the most pressure because your opponent will be reluctant to guard when you have ~1/3 chance of drive checking a trigger (provided they're not sitting on a 10k vanilla), and that in the early stages of the game, any card in hand is very precious.


   Ana is Maricica in the form of a booster, and she is probably the best VG booster for Silver Thorns right now thanks to Zelma. A VG boosted by Ana essentially becomes similar to DOTE where you punish your opponent greatly if they let your VG hit with an extra attack for a cheap CB1, except without the Twin Drive and without the need to Persona Blast. She is incredibly annoying to deal with if your opponent has no way to lock her or retire her because she essentially leaves your opponent with 2 bad choices: 1.) actually guard a VG attack early on when you still need damage to function and hand is still precious, or 2.) take the hit and have another coming at you or your RG, putting you greatly behind in damage, or putting you behind in direct card advantage.

   Similar to Maricica, she has the issue of becoming vanilla when your opponent gets to 4 or 5 damage for the same reason. Unlike Maricica, sacking and drawing into a lot of Ana doesn't do you much good because Ana need to hit on her boost, meaning she doesn't do jack on her own.


  Zelma is the best thing that happened to Silver Thorns in BT15. He (yes, HE) is essentially a Silver Thorn only Purple Trapezist with 7k power, and being a Silver Thorn makes him call-able by Ana and Maricica. He single handedly changed Ana and Maricica from mediocre units into absolute monsters, allowing a full-column extra attack or 2 smaller attacks (I will explain this combo later) for a cheap price of CB1. It's also searchable by Emil and Irina, making it relatively consistent and easy to get one in your soul. Needless to say, it's very important to get at least 1 copy of Zelma in your soul ASAP if possible, and hence he's usually your best G1 ride.

   One does not simply try and list all the things Purple Trapezist can do in a brief intro, and the same goes for Zelma. You guys will see what this guy is capable of later in the combos.

The Trio at Work

    So what exactly is so amazing about these 3 cards working together? If you have been playing Pale Moon for a while, you probably know the classic combo of Midnight Bunny and Purple Trapezist, where Bunny will boost an attack, and if the attack hits, you use Bunny's skill to swap places with a Trapezist in your soul, and then using Trapezist's skill, you send the rested front row unit back into the soul, and call an attacker out, essentially creating a pseudo-stand effect. However, this classic combo grants you 1 additional full column attack, and then Trapezist is stuck on the field, and Bunny is stuck in the soul, essentially making the combo a 1-time thing.

The basic Zelma combo with Maricica/Ana
   The Ana/Maricica and Zelma combo is like the Bunny and Trapezist combo on steroids other than that the need to land the attack on the VG. What happens is, you land an attack with Ana/Maricica, call Zelma from soul, send a rested unit into the soul with Zelma, and call it back out in stand position, similar to the Bunny/Trapezist combo (gif on the left).

   However, unlike the classic combo, the Silver Thorn's version of it it's not a one time thing. Whatever Ana and Maricia calls will return to the soul at the end of the turn, and Ana/Maricia themselves do not disappear from their own skill, meaning once you get the combo going, the combo pieces will always be there until you run out of CB or your opponent retires your stuff. Now what does that mean? It means as long as they can't retire your Maricica/Ana, they will be under the wrath and pressure of your combo every single turn at no additional cost on your end; you are putting all this pressure on for free!

This kind of field often spells the end for your opponent
   So if you sack some kind of field like the image on the right on your 2nd turn, you're opponent's pretty screwed if they're sitting on a VG that's anything 9k or below; the game might even end before they ride to Grade 3 because a field like seen on the right will cause a lot of pain; it's almost like you have a Galaxy Blaukluger that works on turn 2 without needing to limit break. Obviously a field as scary as seen on the right isn't common, so don't build your deck assuming you'd be getting that every game. Just keep in mind that if you do have something like that in your hand, make sure to take advantage of it and make quick work of your opponent.

Other Tricks

CB1 for 2 attacks!
   There's also a neat trick that allows you to gain up to 2 bonus attacks for the cost of CB1 with Zelma and Ana/Maricica. As long as your opponent has something that's 7k or under in their front row, you have the option to call Zelma to your front row. Zelma and the unit he stands will both be able to attack, granting you 2 attacks.  Obviously, if your opponent is still sitting on a 7k VG, this trick is very useful in expanding the damage gap or the advantage gap, as could be see in my Luquier Venus and more Zelma video. This is a huge advantage, because you are essentially getting 2 or more cards' worth of advantage through a measly CB1. Why 2 or more? If they guard both attacks, that's obviously getting 2 cards for CB1. But if they take the damage, that means later into the game when you swing at them with a 21k column, they may be forced to guard an attack with 2 cards because they can't afford to take further damage.

If you happen to have a open spot in front if a booster,
Zelma can swing for 12~14k in those cases.
   An alternative way to gain 2 attacks for CB1 with Zelma that does not require your opponent to have exposed 7k front rows is to call Zelma in front of a unused booster, standing the attacker on the other column. This can be valuable at times as well, and usually best used when you have an unoccupied front row to avoid the -1. However, if the situation calls for it, calling over an attacker using this method is also an option.

Don't like the draw trigger? Just swap it out.
    Another thing Ana/Maricica and Zelma can do is they can swap out your useless cards and re-scale your field if you need to. For example, you may have a draw trigger that you don't know what to do with, and you have a booster that can't hit anything by itself, but if you call both to the same column, you're able to hit something. Well, you can easily swap the draw trigger out for something more useful if your Ana/Maricica lands a hit and calls Zelma. The best part? Sometimes you don't even miss an attack because of it.

Now you'll have half a DOTE next turn.
  This also applies to getting Ana behind your VG. Remember I mentioned earlier in this article about the goodness Ana is when behind a VG? And how she essentially makes your VG half a DOTE? Well, you can give up an extra attack (for a boost) and just fetch key cards.

   Zelma can also function similar to a Purple Trapezist in re-standing entire columns if you run Eva on your break ride turn. However, just remember that Zelma cannot do anything to an Eva sitting in a RG column, essentially making the column 'stuck', so just be careful when and where you call an Eva as a RG if you do run Eva.

Video Examples

Here are a couple of actual game examples where Zelma is being used:
1.) Zelma Video Example

2.) Luquier Venus and more Zelma

   This article took me a lot longer to write because of the GIFs. I figured with cases like these 3 cards it's probably more clear and straightforward to just use animated GIFs to show examples of what and how certain stunts can be done.