Deck breakdown: grave (100-300DP PvP)

  • Last updated 11th September 2017

    Disclaimer: Some links may display outdated effects. Where possible check the cards in-game for up-to-date effects.

    Who am I?

    I'm Nietono, aka OhGodShana (not to be confused with shananyan). I'm one of the more experienced players on fakeSG and I have a reputation for being a walking player guide. I also have a reputation for writing walls of text, but please at least try to read the guide before throwing up your hands and giving up. :sweat_smile:

    What is this guide?

    This is a breakdown of a grave deck: what it is, options for what to include, and the strengths and weaknesses of the deck. Many of the major cards are rather expensive or difficult to obtain early so this guide will assume that this is not the first deck someone is trying to make.

    This is the third in my series of deck breakdown guides.
    Previous: Resurgence
    Next: Lyrica grave (a variant on this deck so read this guide first)

    What is a grave deck?

    Grave decks use cards, such as the spell Iri and Vernika, that selectively discard specific cards from your deck to rapidly fill up your grave. It then uses cards that benefit from having these cards in your grave such as GS 5th Star.

    The deck aims to create strong followers with Iri and Vernika early on then continue to produce strong followers and/or damage opposing followers with cards that fill and/or take advantage of the grave. Once the grave gets really full followers such as GS 5th Star or Charon can become incredibly strong.

    The deck is incredibly draw-dependent in early turns, all too often leading to using both shuffles on turn 1, but the high amount of deck thinning makes it really easy to draw or shuffle for (if any shuffles remain) specific cards later on. The cards with grave-based effects can easily become very powerful, though the deck is typically highly vulnerable to follower removal as it leaves itself with so few followers remaining. Since the deck burns through itself really quickly it needs a character that can prevent it from decking out but there are character options that work really well.

    Since the deck sends so many copies of its followers to the grave it needs to start off extremely follower-heavy, often running around 20 followers. As spare copies of followers get sent to the grave during a fight the remainder of the deck slowly becomes more spell-heavy.

    Iri and Vernika

    Iri and Vernika is the main way for the deck to fill the grave and targets for it should either have multiple cards of the same name or a limit higher than the standard 3. Whenever possible aim to leave slot 1 open to allow Iri and Vernika to be used on a new follower. The spell itself and some example targets are listed here:

    Note: For mixed-faction grave decks there are a number of viable targets belonging to other factions, however I'm only listing Darklore targets in this guide.

    • Iri and Vernika: If used on one of the many followers with 2 same-named limit 3 cards this can buff that follower by +5/+3/+5 and put 6 cards into the grave (itself and the 5 spare copies of the follower). Since this discards from both the hand and deck you don't need to worry about prematurely drawing any of the spare copies of that follower. This card is essential to the deck.

    • GS Fighter: Being limit 6 makes this one of very few cards with a limit higher than 3. Being a 1pt card makes this the lowest pt option if DP is tight. This otherwise gains no additional benefits from having extra copies of itself in the grave and isn't particularly strong on its own. Use this if you need the spare DP for other cards or if you're using GS 3rd Star as a character.

    • Crescent Kris Flina (EP0), Crescent Kris Flina (EP10): Both cards are 1 pt so this is again tied for lowest pt option. The EP10 version also has additional ways to get copies of herself into the grave and gain STA in the process, though only from the deck. The EP0 version however is unimpressive on her own (the skill shown in that link is not present in this version of the game). This is a fairly good option for such a low pt value and can work to fuel Ritual of Harmony.

    • Red Moon Aka Flina (EP1), Red Moon Aka Flina (EP10): Both cards are 7pt so this is one of the higher pt options. The EP10 version can deal 6 sta damage with 5 spare copies in the grave and so works extremely well as a target. The EP0 version wastes the DEF buff but her skill allows her to function well with any initial buff, self-buffing rapidly against opposing high DEF followers. This is a high pt but powerful option and can work to fuel Ritual of Harmony.

    • Crescent Conundrum (EP0), Crescent Conundrum (UE1), Crescent Conundrum (UE2), Crescent Conundrum (EX4): Having potentially as many as 10 same-named followers allows for a possible +9/+5/+9 buff to one of them and 10 cards (Iri and Vernika plus the 9 spare copies) in the grave. A couple of 1pt versions, a 7pt version, and a 33pt version allow for flexibility in how much DP is used but the full set will use up a lot of DP. None of them gain additional benefits from having extra copies in the grave. The skill of the EP0 version only works in PvE, the UE1 version has a very powerful self-buffing skill, the UE2 version has an unreliable but potentially helpful survival skill, and the EX4 version can snowball her DEF. This is a flexible but potentially very high pt option that can fill the grave particularly quickly and can greatly fuel Ritual of Harmony.

    Benefitting from the grave

    Cards that can benefit from a large grave include:

    • GS 5th Star: The biggest threat in the deck, if played late she can potentially reach 20+ ATK/STA immediately. She's of little use until after you've used up a lot of your deck though. Being a 33pt rare she uses up a lot of your DP but she's the major reason to even run the deck. Auto-include unless you have extremely good reason not to use her.

    • GS 6th Star: Can snowball extremely quickly in early turns, gaining up to +4/0/+4 (this cap is not listed in that link) each time she attacks. Her effect becomes much less impressive by turn 6 however and stops working on turn 7, as well as requiring you to get 7 or more cards into your grave quickly. 7pt is fairly high though this card is potent enough to justify it. A strong and highly recommended inclusion though not absolutely required.

    • Nether Conductor Charon: Can snowball extremely quickly once the graves start filling up, though her skill is underwhelming early on. 33pt is a lot but she's the 2nd biggest late-game threat in the deck. Highly recommended for higher DP versions.

    • Clue about God: A potential 6 STA damage (the 8 listed in that link isn't accurate to this version) to 2 opposing followers. This is strong for 3pt and highly recommended.

    • Ritual of Harmony: A potential 9ATK buff to 2 of your followers if a lot of your Iri and Vernika targets are compatible. This is very strong for 1pt and is highly recommended in versions that can use it well.

    Other useful cards

    Other cards that can work well in the deck include:

    • Relapse: Can split your GS 5th Star into 2 copies to have an additional major threat. This will deplete your grave twice as fast however, and it's a 13pt card. A nice option but far from required.

    • Miracle: Severely weakens the opposing field if your first follower is fairly weak and many of the Iri and Vernika targets work well for this if they haven't been buffed or graved already. This can work especially well if using GS 3rd Star as a character. Being a DR this takes up 50pt of your DP but is a very powerful safety option. Highly recommended for higher DP versions.

    • GS Agent (EP12): Can be used to recycle GS 5th Star if she's graved. If running this you may opt to avoid using GS 6th Star and GS Fighter in order to only recycle GS 5th Star. Also works as a good Miracle target. A nice option but not required.


    Possible character choices include:

    • Santa Iri: The recommended character for most versions. Provides a small +1/0/+2 buff and usually an additional 2 STA buff as well as keeping you from decking out by returning a card from your hand to your deck each turn. Being only 1pt also frees up DP for other cards.

    • GS 3rd Star: Keeps you from decking out by spawning extra copies of GS Fighter at the bottom of your deck. These can be used as additional targets for Iri and Vernika or Miracle. Also heals you by 1 life if your life is lower. Santa Iri is usually preferred though.

    Advantages and disadvantages

    The advantages of grave decks:

    • Powerful effects once your grave gets large.
    • Can produce followers with very high stats.
    • One of the few decks that can take advantage of deck thinning.
    • Suggested characters are anti-deckout.

    The disadvantages of grave decks:

    • Heavily dependent on drawing Iri and Vernika early.
    • Highly vulnerable to removal.
    • Extremely vulnerable to grave-removal, e.g. Genius Student Nanai.

    Example decks

    Here are some example deck lists:

    Edit: Updated Rotori version.

    I hope this guide will help players (if the length of it hasn't driven them away already :sweat_smile: ).


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