Deck Building: The Intangibles.

Discussion in 'Games: TCG' started by Loyal-Guard, Oct 2, 2003.

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  1. Loyal-Guard Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jul 5, 2002
    star 1
    One thing I've had to come to grips with over the last year of playing the TCG is that no matter how much I try to be all big and bad, I'm not a gamer. And not being a gamer, I seem to lack that certian gene that gives me the ability to build decks.

    Now I've tried to do it on my own, and come up with little to show for it. I read some articles online, but most of them assume you have tons of rare cards, which I dont.

    But I DO have a fair collection of cards now, and I'm eager to really get into the nuts and bolts of making a deck that wins consistently.

    I guess what I'm looking to be discussed here isint really the technical facts as to what specific cards should be used (although that IS a part of it to a degree), it's more the mindset I should take when BEGINNING to build a deck.

    I guess that's really my problem, I dont know how to start. Should I pick one card I want to build around? A certian unit, or Battle card? How should I pick a theme, if necessary?

    More problems come when I try to add mission or battle cards. There's just so many of them that do cool things, I either cant think of what ones to use, or try to add way too many. For instance, when the game first came out, i thought for sure that battle cards like Pilots Dodge and High Force Dodge would become absolute essentials for any deck, and now when I research other player's decks, they are hardly included!!! I dont get it.

    So let's just imagine that I (or you) are sitting at a blank table with your box of cards at your left (I keep mine in a shoebox, so sue me). Where...how...should I start? And this comes down to the little things, and descions I should make.

    So as you can see, I'm a real mess. I hope there are others like me out there who have a hard time with this aspect of the game.

    Thanks for the help.
  2. Jedi_Benji Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 2, 2002
    star 4
    Well im in the same situation as you, almost.

    I love the game and when i started out i found i had NO skill making decks, but as i played i found some things out that may help you.

    First of all you need to choose which deck you wish to make. The 2 Sides are very different, a strategy used for one side will 9 times out of 10 not work for the other, so realise which strategies work for which sides.

    You then need to have a stragegy with whatever side you wish, usually Dark side is Offencive like force denial or UF decks. Light side is usually defensive like Jedi decks, where you have to maintain a steady rate of force.

    You then have to look at cards that support that theme, now with limited cards this will not be easy, but if you keep buying cards you can keep adding and removing cards. Remember, even though you may have an ultra super happy rare Vader, He may not suit the deck type.

    Also Remember that the best cards are not the ones with 10/9/9 and 11 build, but the ones which give you more for your build cost, usually more then 1 power and 1 build for each BP is alright, but with the increasing number of abilities you should be more concearned with what the card can do for your deck.

    Good Luck with your Deck :)
  3. RedneckJedi Historian, JediOKC Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    May 20, 2002
    star 2
    I used to think the same thing L-G... that there was some special gene that kept me from playing well, or building good decks. Truth to tell, better gameplay and deck building all comes from a LOT of trial and error.

    When I first started playing a little more than a year ago, I got my rear handed to me by 9 and 10 year olds. But they also played all kinds of card games and had a feel for them. Today, I do fairly well (which I consider breaking even or better by my standards) in the games I play, but I still get my fair share of losses.

    It sounds like you have experience, so I can't say if you need more or not. One thing that's really helped me a lot is the use of a PC tool called Apprentice. You can use it to build and playtest decks and can find the link in the Downloads section here Star Wars Duelist. With it, you can build any kind of deck you want, limiting it to either the cards you have, or using every card currently available.

    Okay, all that said, I see the game boiling down to 3 things: speed, power and longevity... not necessarily in that order. Sure, this sounds like the stats of a unit card, but let me elaborate. Speed allows you to attack first, potentially removing an opponent's attacker before it can do you damage. Power is the likelihood of removing an opponent's unit.

    I saved longevity for last, because it isn't just health, it's maintaining your units in battle. High health is a given, but the "intangibles", so to speak, are damage prevention, damage removal, and unit turnover (kind of a ratio between unit deployment and discard).

    So, your Battle & Mission cards affect all 3 of these things... either yours or your opponent's.

    That's the nuts-n-bolts... and maybe it's obvious. The next things you need to concern yourself with is, based on what I might typically be up against, how can my deck(s) win. Sometimes it's not just a matter of "how will my deck win" but "how will I keep my opponent from winning." Do you select cards that benefit you, detract from your opponent, or both?

    What I'm saying is plan out your decks. Rather than having a deck with "all the good cards", every card in it should have a reason to be there, and if you can pull off combos, then that's even better. Another good philosophy is that you should have cards in your hand you never want to discard.

    As a perfect example, my gaming buddies and I based our championship qualifier decks around a particular set of cards... essentially what we viewed to be the "best cards available". Then we tweaked them to our personal interests. Overall the 5 of us went 50/50 throughout the tournament, I was right in the middle placing 25th out of about 50 players, having won 3 out of 6 rounds. Two others fared better, two others fared worse. Instead of playing what I felt worked, I played a conglomeration of cards the best way I saw fit... and during the qualifier, I regretted it more than once.

    I hope this has been helpful. If not, give me some feedback and I'll either try to be more specific, or just keep my trap shut. :D
  4. Bacabachaui Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jan 24, 2002
    star 4
    Well they all said it better than I would have. I too feel this way sometimes and just found that the best way is to build cards that you think work well together and then play play play. After several games it will become apparent what cards work and which cards you think "What was I thinking when I put this in?" Then switch some out and play again and keep doing this and eventually you will have a great deck.

    There are still those players out there that look at a spoiler list and right away peg the good cards that most of us ignore, but then again a lot of them play many games over many years. And this is another source of ideas. Read the message boards for combos other people thought of and surprise the people you play in real life. When your opponent beats you, ask them how their deck works if you didn't figure out already. I also read the F.A.Q. s and erratta at the WOTC site which are a great source of ideas (I constantly go "Hey, I never thought of that one).

    Still, it is fun to go through the deckbuilding/testing process. Once you get that really good deck, you will find yourself bored with it after a while if it wins most of the time. So you just start again with a new deck. Half the fun is actually losing and then coming back and wiping up the floor with everyone or beating that meta deck everyone is playing.

    The main reason I like this game is that you can play it, get good at it, walk away for a few months if life gets busy, then pick it up relativly easy, get a few mew cards, and play just as good as before after a few games. That is not true about a lot of games.
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