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Subject: Deck Building Guidelines rss

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Donald Gardner
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Hi there

I was wondering if anyone could recommend some general amounts of the different types of cards to use when building a deck?

For example, how many cards in your deck should be ships? And in what ratios (Scout/Frigate/Cruiser/etc)? How many Outer Regions vs Locations? And so on.

Or is it a matter of the type of deck you are building? Is it viable to build a deck where the only ships are 30 Scouts? Or where you have no Outer Regions?

Thanks for any help!
 
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Cristhian Carpio
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this is a great idea, i only have 2 starters sets The Great War Starter Deck and Day of Darkness Starter Deck. but i would like to see this idea developed. what kind of ideas you have right now? i would like to know more about it

que gran idea. yo solo tengo 2 juegos de inicio The Great War Starter Deck y Day of Darkness Starter Deck pero me gustaria ver esta idea desarrollada. que clase de ideas tienes ahorita? me gustaria conocer mas hacerca de este proyecto
 
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Henrik Johansson
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It depends very much on what type of deck you are building. You could go for many small cheap ships or fewer big ships and instead more income generating cards to be able to afford the big ships once you draw them.

My recomendation is to try it. Build your deck, shuffle and start drawing cards. You should soon get a feeling for if the balance, between income generation and the ships/cards you want to get out, is good.
 
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David
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The following is a salvaged article originally published on the game's website:

EVE:TSG Basic Deckbuilding Concepts
By Ian O’Brien, aka Calmdown

Hello there! I’m Calmdown, and I’ll be your host for the next, well, however long it takes you to read this article. I’ve been playing collectible card games for around 12 years, and the Eve-CCG since it first came out on pre order. With the assistance of my trusty playgroup here in Liverpool, I’ve managed to clock up something in the area of about 300 games of Eve: TSG so far. I’ve written this article to help Eve beginners, whether new or old to CCGs, understand the basics of deckbuilding and some of the game’s unique facets. I’ll hopefully be covering more specifics of most of the topics discussed here in future articles, so stay tuned!

I write this assuming that the reader understands the rules of the game, and maybe even has a few games under his or her belt already. Having your cards to refer to in the example would also be a good idea; if you don’t own any of the cards I mention or don’t have your cards with you, I would suggest using the sortable card list for reference purposes.

OK, enough introduction. Read on!

Deck Size and ‘The Best Cards’
An oft-made mistake among newer CCG players is to try and fit every useful card into their deck. It’s true that in any given deck, there can be a lot of good cards that will fit with your theme. However, you must avoid this temptation. For any given deck of 52 cards, there are likely to be certain cards, which are better than others. For every card that you exceed your 52-card minimum by, you’re less likely to draw one of these better cards. It’s all about probability.

'Ask youself, which of these cards do I need, and which would just be nice to have'
When you build a deck, you need to be brutal. Ask yourself, which of these cards do I need, and which would just be nice to have? Throwing in those extra couple of Megathrons might sound like a good idea, but when you needed to draw a Pirate Mercenary to win the game and later see that it was underneath that Megathron on top of your deck, you’ll be kicking yourself.

If you find yourself unsure of what you should drop and what you should keep, pick one randomly. Play with that card. Everytime you have it in your hand, think “if this had been the other card, would I be better or worse off?” Then try the other card, and do the same. Eventually you’ll work out what’s best for your deck.
Who, What, When, Where, Why, How?

One of the hardest parts about building a deck can be deciding how many of each card type – ships, news, starbase structures, and locations – to play. There are no hard and fast guidelines for this, as it’s very much dependant on what type of deck you’re playing. A military deck will obviously have more ships than a news based deck; a deck full of cheap cards will have a lot less need for income generating locations and structures; an Amarr ‘Reclamation Tower’ based deck will have need for a lot more starbase structures.

A general guideline though, for a balanced deck, would be something like this:

- 52 card absolute deck limit (Remember, be brutal!)
- 8-14 Locations and Starbase Structures, at least 8-10 of which should be income generating
- 16-24 Ships
- 16-24 News

Resources and Card Advantage
To win a game, you need to play your cards. Now, before you kick me for being obvious, this leads us to two conclusions; firstly, you need ISK to play cards. Secondly, you need the cards in your hand to play in the first place.

To establish an effective cash scheme, you need to make sure that your income works in a good ‘curve’. For example, you may want to play a Turn 1 Sansha Scout Outpost, which gives you 5 ISK on turn two; your turn two could then be playing an Inferior Iteron, laying Heaven, and warping there. You now have 5 ISK again on turn 3, your Iteron starts to trade, and you can play another location into Heaven, giving you an income of 7 + your location’s income on turn 4, which is very strong. With the Eve mulligan allowing you to redraw some or all of your opening hands, ideal starts like this can be had fairly commonly if your deck is built well. Now imagine that instead of Iterons, your deck contained Hoarders. On turn 2, you wouldn’t have the 4 ISK required to play Hoarder and the 2 ISK to play Heaven. Your ISK curve is immediately halted. If you wanted to run Hoarders, you’d have to run a 1-cost outer region, and there are none of these that you can directly play a location into on turn 3 to finish off your initial ISK curve.

Right. Drawing cards – simple. You get one every turn for free, right? Well, in the same way you use cards to generate ISK, you can use cards to draw other cards, and give you an advantage in this resource area too. Cards such as Information at A Cost and Bad News can put you ahead of your opponent in this area. Uniquely among CCGs, Eve also has a built-in method of card advantage; skipping your ISK phase to draw a card. This means that establishing a strong income is a form of pseudo-card advantage, as you can afford to skip some cash for extra cards.

'..establishing a strong income is a form of pseudo-card advantage, as you can afford to skip some cash for extra cards.'
Now, to explain “card advantage”. Card advantage refers to how efficiently you play the game; for example, if your opponent has a 6 shield ship, you’ll need to play two Adaster’s Disasters to destroy it. Your opponent has gained card advantage over you because you’ve used two cards to deal with his one.

Every time you do something, you use up resources to do so. To go back to my old faithful Pirate Mercenary, you use up X ISK and a card, to destroy an enemy ship. You’ve used both kinds of resources to achieve a goal. Now take the card ‘Mind Clash’. For 4 ISK and a card, you neuter an opposing structure for 3 turns. But, when it ends, you draw a card back. This is another form of card advantage; whereas normally you would lose a card every time you play it for an effect, with this type of card you gain your card back, and hence you’re at an advantage to your opponent. Cards that draw a card in addition to another effect are referred to in CCG circles as ‘cantrips’ and can be very good cards.

If you build and play your deck so as to gain an advantage over your opponent in both ISK and cards, you will generally find that no matter what your win strategy, I guarantee you will win games. If your win strategy is also strong, you’ll win a lot of games!

Deck Focus
All decks should be focused, to accomplish a certain goal or goals. For example, you could focus your deck to out-build your opponent via superior ISK generation. Or you could include a lot of cards to destroy opposing ships and give you military superiority. Maybe you want to play cards to protect your ships from opponent’s cards.

Here’s an example of the news from two Amarr military decks for comparative purposes:

Deck 1:
4x Pirate Mercenary
4x Exiled From The Empire
4x Hired Enforcers
4x Stubborn Mechanic

Deck 2:
3x Stubborn Mechanic
3x Pirate Mercenary
3x Damage Control
2x Exiled From The Empire
2x Hired Enforcers
2x Forsaken Ruins
1x Network Access

You can see right away how Deck 1 is a lot more focused than Deck 2. Deck 1’s builder knows that his news has two major components; the ability to control the enemy’s ships via Exiled and Pirates, and the ability to beef his already tough ships up with Enforcers and Mechanic. He is aware of how his deck will play out and can develop a cohesive strategy around this. Deck 2’s builder can cover more bases, but he will never be sure of what he’ll draw next. He isn’t as strong militarily as Deck 1, and whilst his single Network Access and 3 Damage Controls may be great for controlling enemy news if he draws them, but he could easily go for a whole game without seeing either. He has no focus, and unless he pulls the right cards at the right time, he won’t be able to control his game.

A deck doesn’t have to have one particular focus, but all of its sub-focuses should be complementary. Deck 1 above destroys enemy ships and boosts it’s own ships, both of which contribute to military superiority, and which lead to winning via destroying your opponent’s starbase.

A deck with a strong focus will be a lot more consistent than one without such focus. Consistency wins games.

Synergy
Card synergy is an important part of deckbuilding. The best players, and the best deckbuilders, are often the ones who find great synergy between the cards they use.

OK, ok. What the hell is card synergy, you ask? Well, it’s quite simple. Card synergy is when you play two (or more) cards that have complementary effects, which leads to an effect that is greater than either card has played individually – to quote, the whole becomes greater than the sum of it’s parts.

Deck synergy is essentially the same as deck focus, above; it’s when the cards in your deck all work towards similar or complimentary goals.

A well-built deck will have lots of card synergy between its cards. Armageddon Project’ing your opponent’s location, and then using your Ginnungagap to ‘steal’ it for yourself, is one such example. If you’re also playing Scordite, which sacrifices your own locations to play, then your Ginnungagap is seeing even more use. Again, multiple synergies like this make strong decks.

'Strongly synergistic decks can be tough to beat, as their cards become stronger than they would individually.'
Also, you need to make sure you avoid negative synergy; that is, cards that are mutually exclusive when used. For example, using Arkanor and Superior Iteron is somewhat of a waste; Arkanor’s draw/discard ability triggers when you collect income, Iteron’s ability triggers when you skip income.

Strongly synergistic decks can be tough to beat, as their cards become stronger than they would individually. Some of the top decks in CCG history have been decks built wholly of cards that synergise well with multiple other cards in the deck.

Summary
So, how do we put this all together to build a successful deck? Well, to sum up:

Keep your deck to 52 card. Be brutal, brutal, brutal! Have an idea, and stick to it. Focus your deck on a goal, possibly with some sub-goals. Maintain a good ratio of card types. Make sure your ISK income runs smoothly. Cards win games – have ways of getting more than your opponent! Synergise! Make sure your cards work together and don’t negatively affect each other.

If your new killer deck doesn’t work the first time, alter some cards, or try playing it differently. If it doesn’t work a lot, go back to the drawing board. If you follow the basics in this article, once you build a few well-functioning decks you’ll start to develop your own style and techniques for deckbuilding. That’s when it really starts to get fun, and you start building killer decks with killer strategies that other people haven’t even thought of. That’s the part that makes Eve so much fun – there’s literally a universe of possibilities out there!
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Donald Gardner
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Brilliant! Thanks David, just what I was looking for
 
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Tom Chappelear
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So, my son and I finally started playing the set we had purchased from Tanga--four starter decks and a box with 24 boosters. After a few games, we cracked open all the boosters and started to build decks. It was a blast!

However, our decks performed fairly horribly, mostly due to not having enough resources in the early game. You'd get stuck on one or two locations, and your engine would simply sputter. So we looked at the precon decks, and in 43 cards, they run many, many more locations than described in this primer on deckbuilding. (13 out of 43, as opposed to 8-10 out of 52).

Increasing the number of locations made the decks MUCH more reliable. We cut News cards to make room.

We're probably the last people to play this game, but in case anyone else finds their way here, I wanted to give them a heads-up.

Or has my MTG deckbuilding led me astray?
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Christian Svensson
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You are not the last one, I picked up a used full core set just the other day, my first CCG/TCG infact. Thanks for the tip about more locations, will endorse that when building my first few decks
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chris smith
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I think maybe I'm the last. My decks are coming this week! Are there different size cards to sleeve?

My first deckbuilder. I guess I missed the craze, but I did play magic a few times in the summer of `99 and I liked it.

Can anyone recommend any good space theme ccgs? I bought Star of The Guardians, Star Quest, Battlestar Galactica, GI Joe.

I have sooo many star wars games I haven't gotten into the ccg, is it worth it? where do I start??
 
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Andreas Lilja
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I'm not an expert on the Star Wars CCG, but the Special Edition starter decks seems to be a good starting point. There seems to be a lot of rules to digest though and most of the famous character are rare cards.

If you want to know how to play it, here's a good tutorial video:
https://youtu.be/iYlV3-4XOrg?list=PL2NV-aVDPFYfRD4n-ic0ygNv6...

A cheaper space-themed CCG would be WARS TCG that has the same mechanic as the Star Wars CCG, but in another setting.

Here's an old video about it: https://youtu.be/67qSbQjVAjo

Congrats on your first deckbuilder game

 
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