Neil Brooks
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Hi all,

I'm still a novice to deck building and I need to be treated like the idiot I am, so please forgive what might seem an obvious question to you.

OK, so I know that if you're trying to build a strategy around, say, Gandalf, then you'll want to have three if him in your deck. If you want to double his guest appearances, then you'd put three Sneak Attacks in there too.

I'm getting kinda stuck on using two and even one copy of a card in a deck though. Would someone mind giving me a working example of each, please?

If you plan to have any card in your deck, then why wouldn't you want to maximise your chances of drawing it as soon as possible? Why even bother to have only one copy of a card in your deck when that means there's only a 1-in-50 chance of drawing it in a game?

I know that having three of each card in a deck build means that you have to choose 17 cards out of the many that are available now to try to keep as close to 50 as possible so your repertoire is limited. But is that a problem?

If you carry two or one copy of a card in your deck then I'd love you to hear your reasoning behind it so that I might learn something.
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Louie Knight
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Well for me when I am building a deck I am always looking for synergy between cards. And in doing so there are some cards that are a must for the certain synergy that I am building. So usually when I build a deck I look for those must have cards, I usually put 3 copies of those in my deck. But for unique allies I usually only include 2 copies because I don't want to draw several copies of Faramir if I can only have 1 copy of him in play. I would much rather draw things that are useful. Also there are cards that I will just put a copy in that could be useful in the deck that I am running... for instance Dwarven Tomb if I am running Spirit, because it's ability is nice and can be useful but I don't really need 3 copies of that card. So it is a little give and take and for me it boils down to synergy and what I want my deck to accomplish (i.e. Threat reduction, attacking, questing, encounter deck manipulation, card draw, shadow effect/ when revealed effect cancelation, action heavy, multiplayer, attachment heavy, healing, etc.). There are many decks that can have several of those things or you can focus on a few. Your choice, but if you put 3 copies of every card you could be drawing cards that you can't play or are not helpful and you could be limiting the power of your deck. However on the flip side you don't 1 copy of every card because the odds of drawing it become slim. So it is a balancing act that I think comes down to synergy and balance.

So my suggestion is figure out what you want your deck to accomplish and go for it.
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Chris Corbin
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I think for most people, they carry 1 or 2 copies of a card because they only have 1 or 2 copies of that card (that only goes for those core set cards that FFG thought would be a good idea to only have 1 or 2 copies of.)

typically for me, if I only have 2 copies of a card in a deck, it is because it is a unique card that, once I get that first copy out, the extra copies are dead in my hand. Or just a cheap filler card that isn't essential to my deck, but still works.
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ys jo
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I build decks with 1, 2, and 3 copies of cards.

Sometimes I am forced to use less than 3 cards due to the fact I only have 1 core set (1 unexpected courage, 2 steward of gondor, etc.)

If I want some cool card near late game, or an effect that is good to have but is not essential to have from beginning, I would include only 1 of such cards (fortune or fate, Landroval comes to mind)

When I do not play with Eowyn, I don't like to have more than 2 copies of Unique cards because they could potentially be dead card. I feel like 2 gives me some chacne of drawing the card, but less chance of drawing multiple of that card (2 Elfhelm and such)

I also include 2 copies of cards that are good to have, but not essential to my 'deck type'. For example, 2-cost rohan allies are all good to have, but having 3 of them all gives me too many 2 cost spirit ally cards that quests, so I would normally take 2 of them each.

If I absolutely want that card from the beginning (Radagast in eagle heavy deck, Zigil miner and Gildor in zigil miner deck), I would include 3 copies of that card.

I also include 3 copies of cards that I can summon on turn 1 (snowbourn scout, vassal of windlord).
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Tony Fanchi
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As with others who have posted, cards I run fewer copies of tend to be situational cards that are not critical to my overall strategy. This is especially true of counter cards (i.e. cards that serve to counter something in the encounter deck). Cards like Miner of the Iron Hills, Fortune or Fate, and Dunedain Cache are things that have use in some games, but it would be a waste of space to run three of them because they are only situationally useful.

Another reason to run fewer than 3 copies of a card is if you're using one of the "grabber" cards. Mustering the Rohirrim and The Eagles Are Coming let you go get cards out of your deck, meaning you have a better chance of getting the one you want, when you want it. You can save card slots in your deck by taking out some of the extra copies of the cards that these grabbers can go get for you.
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Jamie Riehl
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It's good to keep in your mind as you play which cards tend to stick in your hand. Extra copies of unique cards, expensive and situation cards (Fortune or Fate for example). Then adjust accordingly. Or, on the other hand, which cards you are repeatedly wishing you had in your hand. The best way to become better at deck building is to pay attention to which cards make you win and lose and then tweak your deck accordingly.
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Larry Haskell
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AdmiralACF wrote:

Another reason to run fewer than 3 copies of a card is if you're using one of the "grabber" cards. Mustering the Rohirrim and The Eagles Are Coming let you go get cards out of your deck, meaning you have a better chance of getting the one you want, when you want it. You can save card slots in your deck by taking out some of the extra copies of the cards that these grabbers can go get for you.


Rivendell Minstrel is my favorite example of this -- if I'm running a dual-sphere deck and want a Song in my minor sphere, I'm much more likely to have three Minstrels and one Song rather than three Songs in my deck. The Minstel allows me to search for the necessary Song, but once that is done she can be used for questing or, in dire circumstances, as a chump blocker.
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Uncle Potato
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gamedog wrote:
Rivendell Minstrel is my favorite example of this -- if I'm running a dual-sphere deck and want a Song in my minor sphere, I'm much more likely to have three Minstrels and one Song then three Songs in my deck. The Minstel allows me to search for the necessary Song, but once that is done she can be used for questing or, in dire circumstances, as a chump blocker.


Exactly. I've done this many times.

And like Jamie mentions above, I can tell within the first few rounds of a game if I'll want to tweak the deck for the next play based on what's in my hand. At this point, I think there are enough useful cards available that in a dual sphere deck you can almost always get a good starting hand on the first draw. I usually don't do a mulligan, but if I do, it's a sign that my deck is not quite where it needs to be.
 
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I follow a similar model when I construct my decks.
I own 2 core sets, and proxied the rest to have three of each card.
I always try to keep it between 50 to 60 cards. I always try to make a generic deck, that can handle all scenarios, but some adventures have very specific requirements (like the need for Ranged in Rhosgobel). I tend to have around 10 cards that are scenario-specific.

I start by categorizing the cards into must have, nice to have and not needed.
The next step depends on how many must have cards I end up with, but there are usually more nice to have cards. Next, I try to sort those by usefulness even further and add the most useful cards to the must have cards to make up the first version of the deck. This version has three of each card
Now it's time to fine-tune. I kick out a few copies of cards, where 3 copies per deck aren't necessary. Unique characters are usually the first to go, but also situational cards and cards that aren't very cost-effective. Now that there is room, I put in the next candidates from nice to have pile. When I'm down to 50 to 60 cards I call it day and jump into the adventures of Middle-earth.

Ever since the release of Khazad-dum and the Zigil Miner, my approach changed slightly. If you use the Miner, it's useful to have a few more of those highly situational, high-cost cards like Beorn's Hospitality or Fortune or Fate in your deck, just to pull of some high reward combos. But usually one copy per deck will suffice.
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Jeff Herold
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I know that my main playing partner, who primarily uses Leadership-primary decks, has a big problem with deciding whether to carry 2 or 3 Steward of Gondors. On the one hand the extra copies are just dead-weight once he gets the first one in play (barring some attachment-discarding cards that might come up); but on the other hand it's just so good, and his resource-curve is more or less built around getting it in the first 2 (or, max, 3) turns.

He's actually got one (and only one) mulligan rule "Do I have Steward of Gondor in my hand?"
Y=Keep
N=Mulligan

In terms of keeping your deck "close" to 50 - in my opinion that's not good enough; 50 cards, no more or less, is absolutely my rule. "A small deck is a consistent deck" and all that.

My 2 cents. I'm sure that wasn't terribly helpful.
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Talorien
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Is there a good reason why one can't just make 30- or 40- card decks and play with those? (Not for tournaments, of course)

Are 2 copies of a card in a 30-card deck similar enough in distribution to 3 copies in a 45-card deck, to play 30-card decks?

(I know it's not exactly the same, depending on the number of cards you draw each game).
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Bart Rachemoss
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Talorien wrote:
Is there a good reason why one can't just make 30- or 40- card decks and play with those? (Not for tournaments, of course)

This is an excellent idea for anyone who does not have 3 copies of every card they want to use.
 
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Neil Brooks
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Many thanks for the feedback so far, everyone. I *think* I'm beginning to understand now. That said, I see a couple of suggestions akin to, "add one of this and one of that because they're handy if they're drawn."

Why would you do this? Why not just pick your favoured single card, add a couple more copies and ditch all the other singles? Sure, it's to allow for a more broad range of situations but is that edge on variation worth having when it has a 1-in-50 chance of being drawn?

Why not streamline the variation and go in favour of probability? Doesn't high probability make for a more "stable" deck? Or have I misunderstood stability in the card game context?

Anyway, many thanks again so far. Apologies also for so many questions.
 
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Tony Fanchi
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xibxang wrote:
Why would you do this? Why not just pick your favoured single card, add a couple more copies and ditch all the other singles? Sure, it's to allow for a more broad range of situations but is that edge on variation worth having when it has a 1-in-50 chance of being drawn?

Decks with good draw power can go through most, if not all, of the deck over the course of the game. Get Unexpected Courage on Beravor and you can get your whole deck into your hand without too much trouble. With decks that can manage to do this, having a wider variety of cards is better than using many copies of the same cards, especially when it comes to unique cards. Some player cards are so powerful that it's a no-brainer to include three of them every time (e.g. Northern Tracker), but most player cards are at least somewhat balanced, so if you have good card drawing in your deck, you can afford to sprinkle in a few of a lot of cards so that you have more flexibility.

xibxang wrote:
Why not streamline the variation and go in favour of probability? Doesn't high probability make for a more "stable" deck? Or have I misunderstood stability in the card game context?

Yes, stability is something to keep in mind, especially for decks without a lot of card drawing. The less drawing mechanisms you have, the more you'd want to play the odds and stick to mostly 3 copies of cards.
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Neil Brooks
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AdmiralACF wrote:
Decks with good draw power can go through most, if not all, of the deck over the course of the game. Get Unexpected Courage on Beravor and you can get your whole deck into your hand without too much trouble. With decks that can manage to do this, having a wider variety of cards is better than using many copies of the same cards, especially when it comes to unique cards. Some player cards are so powerful that it's a no-brainer to include three of them every time (e.g. Northern Tracker), but most player cards are at least somewhat balanced, so if you have good card drawing in your deck, you can afford to sprinkle in a few of a lot of cards so that you have more flexibility.


I've been reading and hearing (on podcasts) about card draw builds along with decks that are great at resource accumulation. I'll finally get a chance to sit down with the cards tomorrow night after a *brutal* week at work and I'm going to study up and figure out both concepts myself.
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