Thursday, 24 March 2016 12:53

Taking a Step Further

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Hi guys, today I will be touching on some key pointers and a little advice on deck building and fine tuning. A disclaimer; I am no pro player nor have I won any major tournament with a deck I brewed myself. I do however have experience up to a certain extent as I have played many different card games since TCGs caught my interest. In my opinion, every TCG which was and still is in the market has the same concepts and pointers in terms of deck building and side boarding. Now this article may not be much of a use to veteran players but I believe it will help our younger generations to make it where we are right now. Veteran players, this may be a refresher course for you so do read on if you find the interest! I will be touching on TCGs as a whole rather than focusing on one particular game. 
Deck Building: The rule of thumb, choosing a deck.
Often you wonder will this card go with this deck, will this deck go with the meta. The easy way out will be to go online and search for the top decks and make an exact copy of it to play. I am not saying this is wrong, it actually is a good stepping stone for newer players to get accustomed to what cards are great, what cards are good and what cards are crap. But, every meta is different for each part of the world we are at. One must think outside of the box: Hey! What if I make an anti-meta deck which nobody suspects? This is called innovation. And if you can create a brew with a fair chance of winning, then you have achieved what most veteran players have, mastering deck building. 
The key point to understand and most importantly to identify what a cards can be suited in a deck is to first get accustomed with all the available cards made to you which are legal to play in the format. From there, sieve out the colours/factions you want to build a deck around with. Next chose an archetype route: aggro/midrange/control/tempo (tempo is not a deck archetype but rather a branch off a deck archetype). Once you have chosen your route, you hand pick the cards from the colour/factions which will aid you to building the walkway for your route. Of course if you chose aggro, you would want fast cards with cheap costs preferably with immediate effect once they hit play. How about midrange? You would want cards that come down and stay down during the mid of a game (usually turn 4s to 5s). Midrange cards are generally hard to deal with and most of the time, the opponent will waste a large removal or several removals to get rid of the threat. Then you slam down another threat and your opponent will either have run out of answers or will not have enough to deal with it, paving your way to victory. For control you want to maintain the board-state empty except for resources. Always dealing with your opponents threats by either hard removal or interrupts which stops them from casting or recruiting threats. Once you hit a reasonable and safe amount of resources (including cards in your hand filled with answers) you slam down a large threat which will most of the time seal the game for you. Tempo as I mentioned earlier is a branch off a certain deck archetype. There are tempo-aggro decks, tempo-midrange decks and tempo-control decks. 
Want is tempo? Tempo cards are usually two-for-ones and sometimes three-for-ones. Tempo cards are usually cheap to cast and they put the opponent in a difficult position, not unanswerable, but just plain difficult. It forces the opponent to make a choice which bears the chances of him/her making the wrong choice thus securing the win for you. 
Deck Building: What is my Currency?
Resources play major role in most TCGs. They are your currency to keep putting threats or providing answers to nullify your opponent's play. The big question is; how much should I bring in my wallet if I should go to a fine-dining restaurant to eat or how much for a fast food joint? Simple rule of thumb; bring sufficient amount so you can pay the bill and not too much so that you won't get robbed on the way home. Decks which go fast generally wants to draw more threats than resources. Decks that hit like a truck in the mid-game would want to draw just the right amount of resources to keep putting threats on the board. Decks which are slow wouldn't mind drawing more resources during intervals. Take a look at your deck composition, does it have cards with a high cost like 6? Or does it have cards with the highest cost of 3? What happens if you have 4 resources with a 5 casting cost card in hand on your 5th turn, you didn't draw a resource card? Will you be able to hold the board without your turn 5 threat? Or you have 3 resource cards in hand and you draw another resource on turn 5? What will the impact of the game be like? Your favour or your downfall? 
A good starting point is to use this formula: if you have 2 or more cards with 6 cost, play 26 resource cards. If you have 5 or more cards with 4 cost and 2 or more cards with 5 cost, play 25 resource cards. If you have a huge card with 8 or 10 cost, play 27 resource cards. If all your cards are 3 cost or less then you may want to consider playing 24 or less resource cards. Of course each TCG is different. Some games have fixers to get your resources out on time. Those are different and in my opinion should only be experimented once you, a new player, have mastered deck building to a certain extent. 
Deck Building: A second chance; Sideboard 
Sideboards for most games (which are best out of 3 games) provide a second chance to grab a win. After all there is no supreme deck which can best every other deck out there. Sideboarding solely depends on the meta. You only have 10-15 slots to fit in the interchangeable cards so it is best to chose wisely. Your sideboard should consists of cards which will help you win games should you be paired against a deck which has the upper hand against yours. Putting too much removal in your main deck would prove useless if you are paired against a control deck but it will be great against an aggro or midrange deck. However, putting no removal in your main deck will be bad against decks with loads of threats. This is the balance. Always include some answers (by answers, you need to identify those which has multiple use rather than just one) to everything but don't include all your eggs in one basket. Leave some spare ammo in your sideboard. Side those bullets in should you need them for the second game. 
Then there are those unique cards which will have a direct impact on your opponent's deck type. If your opponent is playing a token build for example, it is wise to have a token nullifying card, good enough for your sideboard but not good enough to have in your main deck. If your opponent is running an accelerating deck, it is always a good thing to have a card which removes one or all of his/her large threats which is being accelerated into. But I digress, all these options is solely dependent on the meta. Will there be many cards which produce tokens? Will there be many cards which are worth accelerating into? What colour or faction provides these answers? Thus this leads back to your initial deck building. What colour/faction to chose?
That should be the skimmed surface of deck building which I can provide you for now. As I said earlier, this is meant to be for newer players so I wouldn't pour too much detail in just one article. Do take the time to read up and digest all these pointers and in future, I will be going into more detail regarding deck building options. Thank you for reading and please let us know what you think of this article in the comments below! See you for SOI prerelease on the 2nd and 3rd April at Classroom yoz!
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