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Wiktor Makowski

The Noble Art of Deck Building. Part I.

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Dice Masters has grown to 5 sets already. It's a large pool to draw from and building a deck can become a bit overwhelming at first. But you sit, create your deck and then go for local tourney, or play some games online, and you get smashed. Something is not working right. Your win condition is so good, yet it has too many pieces and you newer can put them all together, or maybe you fill that if you just had those perfect rolls you were counting on the game would be yours. But after thinking for a while you come to conclusion that you're missing something on a deck building level, something that would allow you to build well working constructions, that can both deal with lady luck turning your back on you favors, and opponent trying to counter your great ideas for killing him.

This series of articles will try to provide reader with some basic guidelines for deck building, that I myself follow, hopefully allowing to understand how to make a better team.

At the most basic level it's possible to to say we have three types of cards. Core cards that anwser; How do I win. Meta card that anwser; How do I not lose. Filler card that make the whole thing run. Part I will cover Core cards.

The task of the game is to win. Until were are given an alternative win condition, there is one way to do so, bring your opponent to 0 life. It's ususally easier said then done. So the core of your team is what you plan to use to hit for those damage. A good core should include these:

Finisher is something that wins the game, when it comes it out marks the moment you're about to start hitting for lethal. It can be this one large hitter bringing opponents life to zero. Alternatively you can use something to put your opponent on clock, showing him a threat that unless answered in two turns will kill him in a given time. Finisher can indeed be a single creature like:

There is very little that can be done once he hits table. Other times the win condion can be multipart consisting of two or more cards and/or globals working together just like here:

Here we have a creature, an action card that gives it massive bonus, and a global that triggers it.
Now picking up a win condition is a hard thing, but there is something you should follow. The more elements your finisher needs the less likely you are to use him.
The easiest elements to use are globals, you always have them, and they are quite hard to shut down.
Character cards are more complex, they have to be bought, fielded and kept on field long enough to work. If your win condition needs more than two characters fielded, it's better to scrap it, or work hard on trimming it.
Action cards are even trickier, cause, short of using beholder, they can't be be fielded, and wait for rest of win condition, but have to be used right on spot. So win condition that uses more than a single action card is also a material for a quick scrap. Win condition should use no more than a total of three non-global elements and that already is quite heavy and hard to pull, anything more than that is near to impossible. Cards with high attacks and overcrush are an example of good finishers, as well as those with high potential for big numbers of indirect damage.

Pusher is a card that allows to push the win condition through. That's something that allows that big creature to connect with opponent, or to remove blockers when hitting. Pusher can be something that works along with finisher, like in this pair:
Here we have Hulk who's already a massive finisher, acting as pusher for Lily, a high attack, but low cost finisher. As a pair they work quite incredibility Hulk clears blockers, is quite massive himself, and Fairy has a very high A, and she triggers Green Goliath ability all by herself. Other times pusher can be something that works outside of win condition, but allows it to pass through like in case of:

It can take a very large wall of blockers from the field, allowing to push your win condition.
Character pushers are those that should be worked along with finishers, as they have stats, that should be used. Action card pushers, be it removal, or giving overcrush are those that are to be used outside. In case of globals we have a most well known, and often used pusher in form of:

This is the third subcategory of core. These cards work by boosting effects of other cards. They are not part of win condition, they make it work faster. They are not necessary to kill, but, boy do they make winning easier. In power bolt Machine Gun teams the win condition is simple:
:avx31: :avx73:
Usually that is enough but there are boosters that make this deck both work faster and hit harder:
The first one allows to reuse actions a lot, the second one boosts damage from actions. Another example is a booster that bolt teams use heavily:

That boosts everything the team has, and while you can win without him, you will do it a lot faster when he's on field. There are also a lot of creature with extra ping abilities, that can be used as boosters too, by simply lowering opposing players life a little here and there.
Boosters are really important in Dice Masters as it's not only the strength of you hit that counts, but how fast you can do that. Effects that allow us to win faster thus become very important. Global boosters are perhaps the easiest to use as we have a large choice of fist and bolt +1A effects. Action boosters usually provide us with big effects. Character boosters are perhaps the strongest one, as you can both have they're abilities, and you can always count on their body to make some difference.

So here we have core. You should always have one. You need to pick something as win condition, to be able to close the game. Ii should be backed by pushers to make it work. Putting some boosters should be usually higly considered. But the most important part is not to go over with core cause going up with three elements for win condition, two pushers, and two boosters is a recipe for a disaster. By putting too much emphasis on winning, youre forgetting that before you end the game you should not lose it.

Stay tuned in for Part 2 where meta will be covered.
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  1. Steele's Avatar
    Excellent post and breakdown!