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Building That First Deck
By Scott Gerhardt

            Okay, some of you may or may not have read my first article about Busting that First Box.  Regardless, itís not a prerequisite to this article, which might just turn into a little series of articles Ė who knows.

            Anyway, itís time for a disclaimer.  The following deck is not necessarily good.  To be honest, I donít know.  Itís literally, my first deck.  Iíve played a couple games with starter decks prior to building this, but this was my first Neopets deck.  My credentials?  Nine years of MTG, I won (or split) the first 8 Pokemon tournaments I ever played in, and won the only 2 Yu-Gi-Oh! tournaments I ever played in.  I have a decent record with being able to figure out games and cards.  So, the deck might be good, or it might be trash.  To be honest, I didnít even have every single card in front of me when I built this deck, so there may be cards that are better to use.  I havenít checked it out completely, so donít berate me if you think some of my card choices were bad.  I simply want to enlighten you as to the process I went through to build that first deck.

            Anyway, itís late on a Friday night.  Iíve been acquiring some cards and I decided to put my hand to deckbuilding.  Whatís the point of owning cards if youíre not going to build with them?  So, I grab my binder and start flipping pages.  The binder is organized by card-type, then rarity, then alphabetically.  Why did I do this?  Well, first of all, keeping all the card types together rather than the numerical order allows for a better compare-and-contrast when youíre checking cards out against other cards that would fight for that deck slot.  Why do it by rarity?  Well, letís be honest Ė the rarer the card, USUALLY the more powerful it is.  This is certainly not always the case, as some gamesí most broken cards can be common.  I decided to try it this way since the more rarer cards were more likely to be the centerpieces of my deck.  The exception to this rule were Basic Neopets.  Those I organized by type (putting the Blue and Red versions of one together), and keeping all the elemental types together.  This lets me do a direct compare and contrast of all the types against each other more easily. 

            Time to start, but where?  Immediately, this game seems to be one of the more complex ones I have ever had to build a deck for.  There are so many types of cards, almost all of which are needed, but in what ratios?  Well, you have to start somewhere.  I felt initially that starting out building a 40 card deck would be harder than a 10 card deck.  That said, I flipped to the basic neopets and started looking.  Luckily, I did have all of them, so I knew exactly what my choices were.

            So, to begin, I looked at Stats.  Not sure I would know what my exact strategy would be, I decided that it would be best to pick something that was high stats, but balanced.  Almost immediately I looked at the Poogles.  Both Blue and Yellow Poogle have combined stats of 21, and both get some form of bonuses.  On top of that, they seemed incredibly balanced, with all stats in the 4-6 range.  If I wanted to play a beginnerís control deck, they seemed to be the right choice.  That said, I played three of each.  Leaving 4 slots left, I needed something else.  I felt a bruiser in one of the categories might be best.  Looking over it, Gnarrls seemed to do that best, with a solid 9 in strength.  Their other stats were terrible, but in the strength category they were amazing.  On top of that, I was thinking about Grarrl Gladiator, which may be one of the best experienced Neopets in the game.  That said, I decided that the bonuses against light seemed to outweigh the -1 Magic, so I went with 3 Red Gnarrls and 1 Green Gnarrl.  That said, I have my Neopets set and can move to main deck building.

            My deck would be Dark and Water, so I needed cards that would accommodate that.  As my binder had equipment first, I started looking there.  One of the first cards that caught my eye was the Faerie Slingshot.  The card could be used by anyone, gave some small bonuses, and could help out any neopet or hero in any arena.  Knowing my deck would have to be very item heavy, the slingshot seems very natural, so I put in three of those.

            Next I moved to Items.  Now in Magic, I am a BIG fan of card advantage, and Neopets gives you plenty of opportunity to gain card advantage through the use books.  I knew I couldnít utilize the awesome drawpower of Traveling Library since I was lacking in light Neopets, but why not go that way anyway.  After a perusal of books, I found quite a few tasty morsels.  Hiding in the common slots were Beyond Neopia and The Thievesí Code.  Banking, even if itís small with the card draw ability was too good, so we slapped in three of those.  Figuring I would have some dead cards on occasion, Biting Book was the perfect way to fly through my library and find what I needed, when I needed it Ė play 3.  How to Cheat is obscene when youíre book heavy.  It might need some help to go off, but it gave decent stats and banked for more than 1 Ė play 3.  Finally, the grand daddy Ė Grimmoire of Thade.  I figure I would be playing with some for of experience, so might as well draw 2 for it Ė play 3.  I knew I would need more items, but I wanted to move on before filling out those slots.

            Villains are the key to locking down arenas that give you problems.  You generally wonít play more than 1 at a time, maybe 2, so you donít need a lot.  To be honest, I saw little I liked in my color combination.  Lord Darrigan is awesome, but needed Dark.  Since I was only 40% dark, I slapped 2 of him in.  I didnít like Vira as much, but it still has solid stats and could be more easily played without too huge of a drawback, so go ahead and throw in 3.

            Knowing my opponents would be smart enough to play Villains as well, I move to Heroes.  I only find one I even mildly like Ė Kora, Korbat Huntress.  It needs Dark, but being able to flop the top 5 was a great ability with How to Cheat.  I felt it was worth the risk, so I put in 3.

            Next, Experienced.  This was easy.  Poogle Racer is ridiculous.  The card gives you so much versatility, especially when you have to play second.  Itís stats are decent too, so I had to play three.  Grarrl Gladiator, as I mentioned earlier, is amazing as well.  It adds a little to the Grarrlís base stats, makes it almost unbeatable in strength, and gives you a 1 in 3 chance of winning any contest in any arena.  We play fewer Grarrls, so only 2 of these.

            Now we have to round out our deck.  Only finding the 1 good Hero, I needed Villian protection.  On top of that, my stuff banks for very little.  Enter Jerdanaís Orb.  The card gives okay bonuses to Ability and Magic, and absolutely destroys Villains.  Banking for 3 is nice too.  Seeing this being key in two arenas, I dropped in three.  A question then popped into my head Ė what happens if I get stuck with three of a kind Neopets.  That could be horrible for me.  I needed some way to assure I got the 2/1 split that I wanted.  I then stumbled onto the Paint Brushes, which did just that.  I was Magic light, so I wanted one that helped that.  Since that didnít happen, I went with Agility to make sure I could overpower about anyone with Poogle Racer.  I only put in two of these, as I only see them as being useful on occasion, but required when I did need them. 

            Iím now left with two slots left, and I have no idea what to put in them.  Iíve gone through my binder and found everything I could think of that would be good.  But, if you remember, my binder was not complete, and I knew that.  Enter in a trip to the computer and Neopets.comís TCG checklist.  From there, I was able to look up a couple other cards that might be good.  After some stumbling, I found this juicy little Hero known as the Malevolent Sentient Poogle Plushie.  This guy is sick.  It slaughters Villains, and gives you a solid chance to break through a line when you need to, getting that last bank.  I decide to drop 2 in the deck for their ability to bust some heads. 

            Now, finding nothing else, I have 2 slots left.  In the end, I went with Hubrid Nox Statue.  I couldnít bank it without the Puzzle Box, but itís +4 to all stats with a Dark seemed okay, so it made the last two.  Now recapping for everyone at home, this is what my deck looked like:

Murky Waters
Scott Gerhardt

Main Deck

Basic Neopets

3 Koya, Korbat Huntress
2 Mal. Sent. Poogle Pl.
5 Heroes

3 Vira
2 Lord Darrigan
5 Villians

3 Poogle Racer
2 Grarrl Gladiator
5 Experienced Neopets


3 Grimmoire of Thade
3 How to Cheat
3 Biting Book
3 Beyond Neopia
3 The Thievesí Code
3 Jerdanaís Orb
2 Hubrid Nox Statue
2 Yellow Paint Brush
22  Items

3 Faerie Slingshot
3 Equipment

3 Yellow Poogle
3 Blue Poogle
3 Red Grarrl
1 Green Grarrl
10 Basic Neopets


           Some of you may be wondering, ďScott, where are the ĎSomething Has Happenedí cards?Ē  The answer Ė I didnít find any I liked.  There was one Ė Nothing Has Happened Ė that I thought might have some potential.  This early, though, I wanted to playtest some and see if I was having any real problems with other Something Has Happened cards before I decided to play it.  I felt the range was too narrow to simply play in the maindeck.  Later on, my mind might change.

            So, there you have it.  The process of building the first deck.  Iím not certain this deck is amazing, but I think itís solid.  What might be some of itís problems?  I might have too easily mixed Dark and Water.  Hopefully Paint Brushes will solve that.  Also, banking 21 before being decked is a concern.  Some testing will be required before I know all the answers to this questions.

            Stay tuned to my next article in this little series.  I donít know for sure whatís going to be in it, but I think I know the title:  ďWhat I did WrongĒ. 

Until next time, keep playing!


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