Cardfight!! Vanguard is a card fight anime based off the collectible card game and manga of the same name. Card fighters all around the world battle each other to become the best, using their avatars known as "Vanguards" with different decks based off the six nations of planet Cray. This is the world where all the Vanguards live, a planet similar to ours, however there is one big difference: magic! A perfect mix of magic and technology is used by the world's inhabitants to further their civilization. The world consists of six different nations, with different clans and unique creatures within them. Most of these nations and clans are in conflict with one another, with each opposing force constantly planning ways to wipe out their adversary. (If you think about it, it's practically like Earth only with dragons.)
The Nations of Cray
A nation of light, governed by a monarchical system of government, they are ruled by United Sanctuary's main force, the Royal Paladin Clan, who are led by King of Knights, Alfred. The clan itself uses both technology and magic to further expand their strength. Characters that run this clan in their deck tend to focus their strategy on summoning as many rear guards as possible, in order to boost their Vanguard's attack power.
A clan that uses magic in order to predict the future, the Oracle Think Tank clan is another strong force within United Sanctuary, a corporation consisting of magical deities led by CEO Amaterasu. In the anime, decks that use this clan have less focus on brute force and more on playing carefully, utilizing their hand size, card draw, or looking at the top of their deck in order to gain the advantage in a fight.
The Angel Feather Clan are also residents of this nation, they are the doctors, nurses, and healers of the country. Their deck's play style focuses on switching cards from the damage zone with units in the battlefield.
The Shadow Paladin Clan exists outside the rule of the Royal Paladins, as they have a long-standing rivalry for control over the nation. Mostly consisting of Royal Paladin members that chose to dis ban themselves from their holy clan, they are ruled by the Phantom Blaster Dragon. The clan's play style is similar to the Royal Paladins, with the only difference being that they focus on sacrificing their rear guard in order to greatly enhance the power of the Vanguard.
After a mysterious event, which sealed away most members of the Holy and Shadow Paladin clans, the remaining survivors came together to form the Gold Paladins. They both wield the power of darkness and light, united together to face an evil far greater than them, and are led by the Great Silver Wolf, Garmore. The deck's play style is a combination of the Holy and Shadow Paladin decks, with some units giving bonuses to their rear guards, or gaining power by the amount of rear guard units in the field. Other units in this clan share the ability of the Shadow Paladins, gaining power when retiring their rear guard units.
They're represented by the color red, have the largest country in the world, and are renowned for their strong military force. (Does it remind you of a country in Asia?) The whole nation itself is dedicated to military use, with each of its clans assigned to a different aspect of armed combat. They have a long rivalry with United Sanctuary, as both nations are in close proximity to one another.
The Kagerou Clan is the nation's aerial assault force, led by the powerful Dragonic Overlord. Famously used by Toshiki Kai, the clan's strategy focuses on gradually retiring their opponent's rear guards, depleting their resources to guard incoming attacks. This allows them to easily defeat their enemies with a powerful...ehem...Final Turn.
The mechanical dinosaurs of the Tachikaze Clan operate as the Dragon Army's basic infantry force, led by the awesomely named Tyrant, Deathrex. The clan's strategy focuses on retiring its rear guard, which in return grants massive power bonuses to their units or Vanguard. In addition, some units of this clan also have the ability to further enhance the user's defense, making it a force to be reckoned with both in offense and defense.
One of the nation's Black Ops clans, the Nubatama Clan, is led by the Stealth Dragon, Voidmaster (who is not surprisingly a master of stealth). Players that use this type of clan focus their strategy on card advantage, making their opponent discard their hand, and when the player has more cards than their opponent their units gain more power.
The Murakumo Clan is another division of the Dragon Army focused on covert operations, they are under the leadership of Dueling Dragon, ZANBAKU. The clan holds a defensive play style, focusing on a hit-and-run tactics in order to effectively attack their opponents while still having the ability defend against strong attacks.
The same event sealed the Royal, Shadow Paladin and Kagerou clans, and this made way for another force to rise - the Narukami clan with its leader, Dragonic Kaiser Vermillion. They have successfully brought order to the chaos the nation felt after the disappearance of Kagerou, and now they carry the banner as the nation's ruling clan. A highly offensive play style is used when wielding a Narukami deck, as it focuses more on attacks, preventing the opponent's rear guard from intercepting. Unlike the more calculating Kagerou clan, where the player wears down the opponent's rear guards before launching an all out attack, the Narukami clan is more high-risk as their focus is on one big attack that finishes off the game, with failure leaving them open to a counter offensive by the opponent's rear guards.
As a nation of Cray which seems to be a meeting point of aliens and races from different dimensions, Star Gate is located on the planet's South Pole and is a space port operated by the Commercial Wrestling Federation. (yes, a wresting organization is in charge of Star Gate) Its residents vary from different shapes and size, with most of them coming from alternate dimensions. (think about it as the ultimate sci-fi nerd's convention hall)
Among the many alien races that reside in Star Gate one prominent clan reigns supreme, the Nova Grapplers, led by the ever-awesome Mr. Invincible. This clan is famously used by Kamui Katsuragi, utilizing the clan's power to stand their units to perform devastating attacks again and again. Some of Nova Grapplers' troops also enable the player to perform more counter blasts, by un-flipping cards in the damage zone.
If you wanted to see Gundams in a card fight, then you've come to the right place. The Dimension Police is a clan led by Super Dimensional Robo, Daiyusha, with the members of this clan not native Cray, but instead beings from other dimensions. (That happen to look like awesome robots.) The Dimension Police clan's main strategy is to power up their Vanguard to a certain power level, which would trigger its skill that are usually involved in increasing the critical level of the attack. (That will teach you to mess with robots)
The Link Joker clan also reside in the nation of Star Gate, and are an evil clan originally bent on taking over the world of Cray until they were saved by Alter Ego Messiah who purified them, making them official residents of the world. In the anime, this clan is also responsible for turning characters evil, known as "Reverse" possessing characters with the clan's avatar, the Void. When used in a card fight, the Link Joker deck focuses on locking the opponents rear guards in order to gain an advantage over the opponent.
In a world with aliens, dragons, and holy knights, of course there is a nation called Dark Zone. A land where its leadership is constantly being fought for in a twisted tournament known as the Demon World Cup, with most of its clans fighting for the right to lead the war against the United Sanctuary. (Geez, first there were dragons and now this?) Most members of Team Foo Fighters/Asteroid use decks that run clans of this nation.
Dark Irregulars are a clan that gained power through, well you guessed it, dark magic and forbidden science. A clan consisting of creatures from famously evil and scary stories. Their leader is the Demon World Marquis, Amon, who has an army of evil soldiers known as Amon's Followers. (Now that sounds creepy) The deck's strategy revolves around gaining as many soul charges as possible in order to gain powerful bonuses from them.
The Spike Brothers clan are the nation's Blood Ball champions, a famous sport which we can safely assume is not safe at all. They are led by General Seifried, a really cheerful looking fellow. (Just kidding, he's in fact evil!) The main focus of this clan's strategy is to replace units from the battlefield with units from the deck, giving the player greater opportunities to launch powerful attacks.
If twisted sports teams weren't enough now we have a carnival of freaks. The Pale Moon is a circus themed clan with Hades Ringmaster in charge of its inhabitants. If you though this circus was fun and enjoyable, well guess again, as this clan is primarily used as an expert assassination group that has no sense of loyalty whatsoever, only following the one who wins the Demon World Cup. The clan focuses on superior calling units from the soul, allowing them to have high grade units all around the field. (Scary)
A nation of aquatic creatures, immortals, and apparently mermaid pop idols, located far beneath the ocean the nation's only land mass is an archipelago. (But seriously, mermaid pop idols)
The Grand Blue pirate clan, with its members consisting of immortal pirates and undead creatures. Their captain is King of Demonic Seas, Basskirk, a seasoned pirate whose face resembles the Kraken of Greek Mythology. Players who run this deck focus their strategy on a superior calling their units from the drop zone.
(Now if only they would face off against the Nubatama or Murakumo Clan to finally end the debate of Pirates vs Ninjas...)
A group of mermaid pop idols called the Bermuda △ or Bermuda Triangle, their clan leader is the Top Idol, Riviere. The clan's play style focuses on returning their rear guards to the player's hand, allowing them to use certain effects multiple times, giving them the ability to replace their rear guards without sacrificing any units to the drop zone. (Now just how embarrassing would it be to get beaten by a deck of mermaid pop idols.)
We've had undead pirates and mermaid idols, now we have the primary fighting force of this nation the Aqua Force clan. They protect the nation with their lives, fending off any incoming intruders with sheer power. Its leader is Blue Storm Dragon, Maelstrom. The clan gets their strength from unlocking abilities, depending on the number of attacks that occurred in a turn or the amount of resting rear guard units the player has. This is further strengthened with units that can perform multiple attacks.
This is quite literally a zoo, but is home to not only many intelligent animals but also a group of dangerous criminals, who just happen to be insects. It is a fertile nation with an ecosystem that is perfectly balanced, as both the good and the bad belong here.
Great Nature is the peaceful clan that lives in the Zoo nation, they consist of anthropomorphic animals that devote their lives to gain more knowledge. Unlike most of the clans in Cray, Great Nature has no known leader, and this is likely because the clan itself is at peace all the time. Most units from this clan have trigger effects when they're retired since its main strategy focuses on giving power boosts to units in exchange for that unit to be retired at the end of the turn. This allows a player to either superior call, recover damage, or draw cards. (They may be peaceful in practice, but they still pack quite a punch!)
The bad and scary that exists in the Zoo nation, the Megacolony clan, is a direct contrast to the peaceful ways of Great Nature. The clan itself consists of sentient insects that wreak havoc on whoever opposes them, they are led by Death Warden, Ant Lion. The main strategy of this clan is to stop the opponent's units in their tracks, making them unable to stand during their next turn which effectively prevents them from attacking or boosting other units.
A group of plants, tree spirits, and elves, the Neo Nectar clan is the primary source of all produce among the six nations. Its various residents continuously work hard to maintain the environment within Zoo. The clan is led by Maiden of Trailing Rose. The clan utilizes abilities that call copies of units into the battlefield, as most units in the clan gain bonuses from having multiple copies in the field. This allows a player to constantly have a strong presence on the field, without having to rely on calling units from their hand.
There you have it, the six nations of planet Cray, be sure to check them out in Cardfight!! Vanguard! You will surely be amazed how Aichi, Kai, and the other card fighters use these nations to fight battles of epic proportions.
So what are you waiting for? Ride the Vanguard!!
If card fighting anime is your cup of tea, then you might just find these anime series below an enjoyable watch.
The Yu☆Gi☆Oh! series
The card fight anime that practically everyone has watched or heard about. This series focuses on the story of Yugi Motto, a kid that has similar personality traits with Cardfight's Aichi Sendou. Both main protagonists also face an array of opponents who not only challenge them with their immense skills, but also expose them to the varying amount of units and strategies present within their respective card games. Yu☆Gi☆Oh! also emphasizes the concept of friendship, where one can only overcome great obstacles with the help of the people around them. Both of the series also have skilled rivals that eventually would turn into one of the main character's closest friends.
(And there are also villains that seek to rule the world with the use of a card game because anything else would just be silly.)
The rules of Duel Masters closely resemble that of Cardfight!! Vanguard, with the player evolving their units by placing a card on top of them. The main protagonist is also the type to never give up and always finds a way to win every match. Duel Masters also introduces an array of different deck types and monster types. So if you loved Vanguard's diverse unit make up and deck strategies, then Duel Masters is something worth looking at.
(Yet again, evil seeks to take over the world ... with a card game.)
This anime is probably the most different among the three, but it still promises some awesome card fighting action. Set in a world where cards began to fall from the sky for no apparent reason, the series' main protagonist, Dan Kuso, along with his friends decided to create a card game out of those mysterious cards. Though Bakugan is mainly a card fighting game, players (or Brawlers as they're known in the series) also have cute little ball companions known as their "Bakugan," which are sentient creatures and can communicate with their partners.
(Actually this time no one is trying to take over the world, rather it's an evil Bakugan seeking to have control of Earth ... with a card game)