General deck building tips?

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General deck building tips?

Postby Latro » Thu Aug 28, 2008 9:39 am


Been playing like crazy last few days but, again, my incompetence shows up :-/ I only finish one of may be 10 games cause I find myself in a starting position that leaves me sentenced to death (more with the Fist jumping around than before)

It is clear to me I'm not planning the deck with enough care to ensure that I get an proper beggining, thus getting out of the race for good in most cases except when look makes resources abundant and close to me or I get a cool unique next door to boost me.

Maybe I should stop putting all the pretty cards I can see into the deck :-P

So, what general principles do you apply to deck composition? I get some general ideas that I'll try to follow...

1 - Not many cards. Keep it low. Whats the best limit? 40 is mentioned but I dont know as in "this is the lowest I can get" or a normal run.

2- Recon Recon Recon: I normally put everything I have on that category. Kind of easier with Machines than Imperials (The Rangers are cool but not easy to deploy in the beginning)

3 - Heroes: Here I'm a bit puzzled. Given the risk of assasinations and all that, the more the better should apply, but if you dont really have the armies to follow they may just be dead weight. The administrators and science guys are also necessary and in fact I would very much like to ensure getting some of them ASAP (whoever gives bonus to supply)

4 - The army composition. I like bigger is better, but that again mean "stare at your hand 20 turns to be able to play anything" if resources are tight. On the other hand, the low level units are mostly dead meat when push come to shove. Maybe I should try and optimize the creation of tech and tactics to boost them?

Well, anyway, thanks for input, I'm reading the decks over here and the strategy section to learn more and I'm having a lot of "doh, why didnt I though of that?" moments :-)
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Joined: Wed Aug 27, 2008 6:07 pm

Re: General deck building tips?

Postby DuncanIdaho » Thu Aug 28, 2008 3:26 pm


I try to keep 40 cards, no more :
+ : it's easy to find cards in your deck
- : you can't really lose units

Here is what I need in an imperial deck :

HQ :
1 Stronghold : generally the one with "hardened".
1 Lab
1 Academy
1 Intelcenter
All administrators : Mudge, West
1 tactician : Erik Mai (leader of the garison)
1 genetician/technologist : Hannibal zarkov

Outpost :
3 imperial fire base

Recon : I need cheap recon and commando
About 5 cheap recon : 3 recon / 2 leopard, no more
2 rangers + Adam Wraith (=> movement 6, stealth, commando, bounty hunter, counter attack : yeah !)

Agents :
1 assassin : Valentine Kusanagi
1 saboteur : Mata Boyd
Maybe 1 spy : Artemis Vance

Aircraft : I need air to air and precision strike
1 with précision strike / Air to air : JSF II
1 with stealth : Nightwing

2 cheap, fast and small armies : one of these has to be deployed asap
Ex :
* 1 panther + 1 platoon + 1 cheetah + Vladimir Kost
* 3 imperial marines + Burwell Puller (very fast, can jump 6 hex and build outposts)
* 2 panther + 1 minotaur + Honore Harris

1 strong army :
ex :
* 2 Emperor's own + 1 Vengeance + 1 MA32 Grom + 1MRA21 Reaper + Ulysses Starke

Every card is usefull, you don't want to lose units, except a few cheap recon units. Don't forget : keep moving a recon around the HQ to detect assassins, destroy all enemy recon units. Try alternative victories : HQ sabotage, nuke bomb,...
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Re: General deck building tips?

Postby potatoedoughnut » Thu Aug 28, 2008 5:41 pm

Before I delve into deck comp, are you able to beat the game regularly without the cults on? If you're still new or learning the game it might be good for you to turn the cults option off to let you get a better grasp on the basic game mechanics. Cults are fun, but they're meant as a "hard mode" extra challenge for people who regularly stop the AI into the ground.

Anyway, decks. I usually play 275(self 175)/15(self 5) huge, rare/rare, 4+cults, AI resources, so this advice is with that in mind.

Small card count has advantages and disadvantages. More cards let you be more flexible, but means that it's harder to find certain cards and it's more likely you'll get dead weight in your hand.

To me 40 cards is a slim deck, no fat. Most of my decks are in the 50-60 card range.

Recon is vital. Include lots of it, but include good recon. All that s4 recon isn't much better than some random unit wandering around. Similarly the real fancy recon like Rangers aren't going to come into play until the mid game, so don't go too heavy on them. Commando is a really good thing to have on your recon units, you'll explore your supply range pretty quickly.

For heros I usually include 2-3 army leaders (I rarely have more than 2 large stacks in the field, though sometimes you'll lose leaders), a bounty hunter (I didn't use to use one, but it makes plague cult easier and the extra AP is nice), and the strongest 2-3 admin types. For card development I try and get 2 tech, 2 gene, 2 tactics in 3 cards. I try and take 2 tech/gene researchers and a tactician plus a general with tactics. You don't get any of the fancy extra bonuses, but it keeps your card count down and you are less likely to be waiting on X type researcher. Assassins/saboteurs I don't generally use as the make things "easy mode" a lot of times, but in general I'd include 1-2 assassins, 0-1 saboteur, and 0 espionage (totally useless currently). You can make a deck built around turtling and winning the game with sabotage, and use assassins to cut the heads off incoming uber stacks, but for a balanced "conventional" deck I wouldn't rely to heavily on covert ops.

For facilities I like to double up in case I lose things, so I take 2x science and 2x academies (you can use these as resource collectors with careful base placement). I like lots of intel centers for the AP bonus (I usually take 2-3). And I like to include lots (4) of the outpost bases (not the collector bases), because I play on rare/rare huge. If you play on a smaller map I'd take less, or on a more resource abundant map I'd take 1-2 of the collector kind. I take the cheapest HQ type (no hardened or air-defense), and I also don't include any anti-air facilities. I try not to let the AI get in supply/air range of my HQ, rather than make it impenetrable.

For air I usually take 2 Air-to-air, and if I plan on making air dropped munitions 1 bomber type. Mutants I don't worry about air as the anti-air equip is really easy to tech.

For units I generally go only with the "good" ones and then a handful of "filler" for garrison duty. This has changed some with tip of the spear, since infantry is more powerful now, but a deck full of uber units is still viable, especially if you have lots of shock units and fate points (they're as imba as ever). Generally the army part of the deck is most open to the flavour aspect. You can do lots of infantry, or combined arms, or super units, or a defensive composition and wait for tech, pretty much anything will work.

As far as tile selection goes, for machines and Xenos I get the specialized starter tile, and humans and mutants I get the balanced one. I only play with 5 tile points, so my decision is easy, but if I were to get more I'd take additional tiles with critical resources (humans for xenos, mats for mech, etc...). I don't like the mountain "turtle" defense tiles, since that is just asking for an assassin or saboteur to come in and rape your HQ. Again, don't let your opponent get in supply/air range of your HQ and you'll never have to defend it. A good offense is the best defense and all that rot.

Each race has it's own flavour and tactics, but I tried to keep this advice general. If you have questions about a particular army I can try and give more specific advice (strategy, what units are good/bad, tech, etc)
Eagles may soar, but weasels don't get sucked into jet engines.
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Re: General deck building tips?

Postby Latro » Fri Aug 29, 2008 9:52 am

I used to beat the game before Cults (as I said, I just fished it out of my old PC as I intended for months but never did :-P) Although I always found it easier and fun to play at bigger points and huge maps and now I'm trying at 175... So, in part, I may be in need of retraining, yes :-)

But again, I'm testing a Marines 175 deck and the problem of hand gridlock is so common I dont know what I'm doing wrong.

Well, now I know in part - too many Rangers :-P I like them and in the games I've been playing they are mighty useful with a scout hero to find HQ, kill observers, and catch some lowly independents and stablish a forward base.

IF I get both hero+rangers and WHEN I have the resources to play. Low probability :-/

Tried also a few things with my old machine decks, and I'm finding the same problem with the pure machine one .In this case, lack of materials if I dont get proper recon and hero and units to stablish collectors. Aggravated with Cults, specially Plague.

The one I made that is more cyborg themed fares better in the beggining, but the cyborgs arent precisely very good units (the Advanced ones if you kit them out a lot, but that takes time)
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Re: General deck building tips?

Postby potatoedoughnut » Fri Aug 29, 2008 5:49 pm

If you're locked on a particular resource you can include more of the resource generating facilities (if that's the resource you're short on). I find them particularly useful as Xenos and Machines, since you always need more Humans/Materials, but they can help with the other 2 races as well.
Eagles may soar, but weasels don't get sucked into jet engines.
Posts: 419
Joined: Mon Mar 24, 2008 12:31 am
Location: Chicago, IL

Re: General deck building tips?

Postby PDF » Fri Aug 29, 2008 10:04 pm

I mostly play in 175 pts (even if settings allow for more) and ca 45 cards : 10-12 heroes, 10 facs, 3 Air, the rest units.
A good number of heroes is necessary to avoid (as much as possible) ultra-crappy starting hand with no heroes for 10 turns.
The 10 facs are because in addition to 4 outposts, I usually put 2 Labs, Academies and Intel. They can show up too early but just 3 more cards can't really ruin your hand, but having 2 of each in deck really increase the chance to get one when needed, and is the only possibility to rebuild one after some sabotage or air raid !
Obviously if you don't plan to use Science it's not necessary to put even 1 lab ! (but it's usually fun and useful to use them). OTOH Academie are for me a must, the tac cards are soooo useful (to make better cards that will make you win that hard battle or successfully build that H-Bomb!).
For units, you need numerous recce units and big hitters, but also try to have some "affordable yet strong" kind of units - Scourge, Imp Guards ... I really like Shock Attack units (Tiger, Basher..), that usually helps in battle.
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Re: General deck building tips?

Postby Latro » Mon Sep 01, 2008 10:00 am

Thanks for all the tips! I'm starting to win again so it proves the advice was sound :-)

(well, except yesterday when the Empire of Man launched a full offensive for my HQ when I was almost at their base, Plague infects my attacking stack, and Mata nukes my Pod :-/ :-P)
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Re: General deck building tips?

Postby muddball » Sat Feb 28, 2009 7:43 am

I think the biggest tip i can give is do not be restrained by the point 'limits'. Your deck doesn't need fluff to max it out at 175/225 points. A fluff card in your deck is one turn that you DIDN'T get the unit you wanted or the hero you needed.
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