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  1. #1
    Senior Member Cruxx's Avatar
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    Building and reviewing a deck: The Rule of Six

    With this thread I would not only like to help newcomers to build competitive decks, but also offer veteran players a way to quickly review their deck's reliability and structure.


    Formulate (up to) 6 basic goals for your deck and support these with at least 6 cards each.


    I - Getting started aka Motivation behind this Principle
    The numbers are tailored towards a 40 card deck (hero + 39 cards). A different deck size would have effect on all numbers, though the main idea would remain the same: Put at least X cards in your deck to support a specific goal, otherwise you won't be able to achieve this goal consistently.

    This principle is supposed to provide a quick and easy way to build, refine and double check a deck for the current 40c format. It derives from my own experience in which a goal represented with less than 6 cards in a deck of 40 is just not a reliable option if you are counting on those cards continually throughout a whole lot of matches.

    Why at least six cards? One part gut feeling, the other part is even in round 1 you will have one of the cards that supports your goal in close to 3 out of 4 times. A solid basis to start from, backed up by game experience.


    II - Basic goals aka The Foundation
    With this principle in mind we can formulate up to 6 basic goals (6x6 = 36 out of an ideal sized deck of 39 cards) we would like to achieve with our deck. When thinking about these don't forget about the Resource Curve of our deck. Don't worry about formulating goals that do not help against every deck. Those cards also play a very important role: Cards that are an easy decision for being sacced as resources!

    Example needed to be moved here due to maximum characters limit.

    Our deck is almost complete! I used up 36 of my 39 available cards. I use the last 3 to balance my deck out as I see fit. I quickly realize I am only running 12 creatures, 6 of those high cost. Let's add 3 more good creatures to the mix then, that also help balancing out the resource curve: 3 Pack Wolf.

    Voila, after setting some very simple goals, the basis of our deck is complete!


    We may also formulate less goals and increase the card count per goal.

    6 cards should be the minimum for any given goal, not the optimum or maximum in every case. If we are playing a heavy burn deck for example we probably want to put more emphasis on direct damage and formulate the same goal more than once (2x6 cards for "Burn!!!") or allocate more cards to it.

    The danger in specialising our deck more and more though is, that we may fall prey to specific counter decks. For example if we decide to run no item destruction, this can really kick us in the behind vs certain opponents. I personally tend to keep my options open, being able to adjust. Just remember that we can still sack cards of 1 or 2 goals that seem not so important vs our current opponent.


    III - Adaptation aka Building the Theme
    Having up to 6 basic goals only brings us so far. We want our deck to have an underlying theme that runs through it like red tape and not just a loose assortment of totally unrelated goals. At this point a lot of our consideration goes into finding and exploiting synergies that might work especially well with our overall game plan.

    The beauty of our principle is that if we don't like a specific aspect of our deck, just adapt that module!

    For example looking at our 6th goal, we may realize that Full Moon does not only provide protection from damage, but also increases our creature damage. (Sidenote: Making use of cards that support 2 or more goals can be very effective! Synergy!)

    Let's say we want to get more into our opponents face. We just re-define this goal to aggression and switch the 3 Regeneration with Bloodlust.

    Bloodlust and Full Moon work very well with a lot of cheap creatures (Synergy!). So maybe we decide to get rid of our hard hitters and add 4 Fire Snake and 2 Hellsteed instead. Since we want to establish board control early on with cheap creatures, we also may remove our creature control cards and add another Pack Wolf and 2 more Hellsteed.

    A lot of cost 1 creatures increases our chance to Santa Bomb in T2, so let's adapt our card draw accordingly.

    A board wipe can hurt us really bad, but no worries, we still have our 3 jokers left, so back in with 3 Behemoth if we run into issues during the late game and after only a few easy steps we got a deck with a completely different theme.


    Note: The 3 Behemoth and the "Heavy Artillery" aspect itself are not a dependable goal to strive for on their own. 3 cards are just not enough to make this goal work almost every time we play. They can be used though as a fallback option in late game, as part of our generally "I swarm you to death with pimped cheap creatures" theme. (More on this in chapter VI.)



    IV - Specific goals aka Refining the Deck
    Next to our (up to) 6 basic goals, we should try to implement as many specific goals that are important to us.

    One example would be being able to deal with stealthed creatures. If we think back to our 3rd basic goal "Hard Hitters" we might as well have chosen Minotaur instead of Behemoth (we didn't though because subconsciously we already knew the value of Behemoth ping damage and let's face it, we just rock!)

    Sticking with this example we would now go back and may remove Minotaur in favour of Behemoth. Together with our 3 Thaddeus and 6 creature removal options we should have ample of options to deal with pesky stealthed creatures!


    V - The Hero aka Complementation and Substitution
    Heroes play a vital role in Shadow Era, so obviously they as well should be worthy of our consideration. Thinking back on the general theme of our deck: Our hero plays a big part in that!

    Heroes have different abilities that give us a benefit in a certain area, like board control, direct damage, defense or item destruction to name some. Generally we can make all basic goals work with any hero, since these are backed up by the cards we chose. Normally the first thing we do is picking the hero and afterwards we formulate our basic goals: We already chose these goals with our hero in mind.

    One way of making our hero fit into these considerations is to substitute some cards due to his ability. For example a Ter Adun player could decide to run less item destruction, because his ability already gives him the option to destroy items. Due to the different nature and cost of hero abilities I don't want to promote a fixed value like "run only 4 / no item destruction cards". It really depends on how important this goal is to us and to what extend we feel comfortable substituting these cards.

    Another way is to complement our hero ability with our overall theme. Eladwen would be a great example. Every 4th round she can dish out another 4 damage, which is additional direct damage stacked on top our direct damage main goal. (Eladwen would be a hero most players will boil down the amount of basic goals to only a few.)


    VI - Going to Extremes aka Very early and late Game Goals
    As addressed previously it may be a valid option to only add a few cards for late game fall back options. The 3 Behemoth mentioned before might be a good idea because they are part of our strategy, if we encounter mass removal decks.

    As a Elemental player it might also be a good idea to add just a single Eternal Renewal to our deck, if we are concerned about mill decks or just want the option to re-use everything we already launched at our opponent later in the game.

    The other way around for things we want to happen super early in the game. If we really want to be super agressive and play creatures in round 1 and 2, we should definitely add more than 6 per cost. (This is already implied in the basic idea of having up to 6 goals and adressed in chapter III.)




    Don't forget the basics! Card advantage, Tempo, Board Control, Damage (goals as well) and our Resource Curve (cards chosen for goals should be chosen with this point in mind).
    This thread helps us understand these basics.
    This thread helps us to get into the math to min/max things out.
    This thread finally helps us to present our deck in an easy to understand way.




    Bottom line:
    • Formulate (up to) 6 basic goals for your deck and support these with at least 6 cards each.
    • Try to make use of cards that fulfill more than one goal, promote synergies and include as many specific goals as possible.
    • Don't think cards, think goals! Cards are just tools to achieve these goals.



    Thanks for reading & HF with The Rule of Six!
    Last edited by Cruxx; 11-19-2011 at 12:16 PM.

  2. #2
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    Nice! I'm going to try it.

    Make sure to include this link http://www.shadowera.com/showthread....card-deck-size

  3. #3
    Senior Member Helio's Avatar
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    How do we know if this is legit? Maybe tournament decks use the "rule of 5" or "rule of 7" and you are just trying to pull the wool over our noobie eyes...

    All kidding aside, thanks for the post. Definitely some food for thought.
    SHADOW ERA, ETC
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  4. #4
    Devoted Fan Gondorian's Avatar
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    Hi there. Nice effort. Will definitely help some people with their deckbuilding.

    Have you checked out top decks from 1.27 and checked whether your rules apply to them?

  5. #5
    1.27 Tournament Champion Raphael Majere's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GondorianDotCom View Post
    Hi there. Nice effort. Will definitely help some people with their deckbuilding.

    Have you checked out top decks from 1.27 and checked whether your rules apply to them?
    +1, very nice effort.

    I think Cruxx was referring to 1.28 deck building, with mentions of item D, and Elad.

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  6. #6
    Devoted Fan Gondorian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raphael Majere View Post
    +1, very nice effort.

    I think Cruxx was referring to 1.28 deck building, with mentions of item D, and Elad.
    I think the example is about 1.28, but the intro suggests that it might have worked for previous versions.

  7. #7
    Senior Member GS's Avatar
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    Your deckbuilding demo has zero draw in it.

    Just saying.
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  8. #8
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    I wholeheartedly disagree. Deckbuilding is not a formula. Each deck is different and a lot depends on synergy and metagame.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by GS View Post
    Your deckbuilding demo has zero draw in it.

    Just saying.
    There's 4 Bazaar and 2 Bad Santa... What you smoking, boy?

  10. #10
    Senior Member GS's Avatar
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    Catnip. What YOU smoking
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