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                        Brian Valdez on: "The Process of Deck Building"



There are many topics discussed in this article, but the main topic will be "The Process of Deck Building". I will only flirt with some of the topics such as "Tweaking", "Deck Construction, and "Playtesting". Keep in mind that this is only a general article on deck building, and there is no way to cover everything on deck building in one article. These topics will be covered more in-depth in future articles.


Introduction

Ask any "Cardflopper" (Card game Player) and he will tell you that the process of building a deck is one of the things that keeps playing interesting. The ultimate reward is having that one deck that dominates the current scene and pretty much nets you a easy tournament win. Throughout the lifetime of the DBZ CCG I have built 3 of the most feared and played decks in thier respective time frames. 

You can't just build a deck, and expect it to start winning from the start though. It takes days, weeks, sometimes even months to get that final card list that best suites your playstyle. Throughout this time, a player is constantly "Tweaking" (Making Minor Changes) to their deck. You first need to learn the basics though...and this should be all you need to start building decks on your own. 



Choosing the Deck Type

As you may know, there are 3 main ways of winning: Survival, Dragonball, and Most Powerful Personality. You will focus on winning with one of these one ways when building a deck, try to choose the one that fits to your liking the best. You may want to actually have the ability of winning more then 1 way, but try not to detract from your main way of winning too much. 

There are many ways in reaching the victory conditions...you might use allies to win by survival or red anger cards to win by MPP. This is your next step in building a deck. If you want to win by survival you can go at it by having cards that first drain powerstages (which has it's advantages) or have cards that directly attack the life deck (which also has its pros and cons). After you have found the type of deck to your liking it is time to actually construct the deck.


Deck Construction

This is when the deck is actually made and the cards are chosen. Basically you want the most powerful cards in the game to be in your deck, but the basics are still needed. Sometimes a card will be weaker compared straight up with another card, but in the actual deck, the card that is weaker may actually fit in the deck better. According to your style of play and your deck you will want a limit to the number of cards you may want for your deck. 50 cards...while making your deck faster and improving your draws, it is hard to fit everything you need in this amount. If you can make everything work at this card count...you should have a truly evil deck.


Playtesting

The single most important factor when making a deck is playtesting. Throughout playtesting you will find your decks weaknesses and strengths as well as what cards actually work. Also, how else are you going to learn how to play your deck to it's fullest potential? The more you playtest, the better you will become with the deck, and you will also improve as a player. Play as many different decks as possible as many times as possible....that is really all that needs to be said.


Tweaking

Tweaking is based on your experiences during playtesting, without adequate playtesting you can never have a fully tweaked out deck. The ability to tweak a deck is one of the most important skills in building a deck. The reason for this is simple, there are many cards with similiar effects that may help you, however, there is rarely enough space in the deck to include them all. Sometimes, there might be 2 cards that do the same exact thing and the card power is needed for the deck...that doesn't always mean you throw in 3 of each just because. 
Ratios play an important factor in tweaking a deck. Your main goal is really achieving balance in the deck. Every deck needs blocks, card removal, and a way of winning, you will need too learn to get by with "just enough" of everything. If you were to overcrowd your deck with blocks, you will probably not be offensive enough to go in for the kill, but if you don't have enough...you will lose very quickly.

Another major factor in tweaking a deck is the "Metagame" (The decks your local competition will be using) Metagaming is one of the most complex skills in any CCG. Due to this complexity, metagaming will be discussed in a future article.

So what do you do after tweaking your deck? Playtest some more of course, there is no perfect deck, but you can sure get close. Playtesting and Tweaking are generally looped at this point until you are satisfied with the result.

-Brian Valdez-

 

 

 

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