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 Trading Card Game Tips from fans


August 2007

Deckbuilding for Beginners- p_p

Hello, Beginning Duelists!  Today, I will be discussing the fundamentals of deckbuilding, and what you need to do to create an effective one. 

I. Learn
With the release of new cards, what kinds of decks can you possibly build?  Beginners, check out pojo.com/yu-gi-oh and Yugioh.Tcgplayer.com for some ideas.  Learn the effects of popular cards, and see if you can understand how the cards work together to make the deck powerful.  Originality is another factor.  Maybe you don't want to simply copy's people's popular meta decks.  Maybe you want to try something new, or something different that can actually counter and defeat the metagame.  Or, if the metagame means nothing to you, you can build a fun, casual deck which doesn't have to be competitive.  The choice is yours!

III. Format

Are you building an Advanced deck (using no banned cards), or a Traditional deck (using banned cards).  Remember, your deck must follow the Advanced format if you want to take it to a tournament.

IV. Theme?
What kind of deck do you want to build? Decks are generally divided into three groups:

1.  Aggro- An aggressive deck, which focuses on quickly beating down opponents by attacking and gaining advantage.  Likes fast-paced duels.  Examples: Six Samurai, Warriors, Machines, Zombies

2.  Control- A slower deck which strives to control the field using cards such as Gravity Bind, Soul Exchange, etc.  There is no need for speed if you can control the field!  Examples: Water, Return-to-Hand, Remove from Game, Monarch Soul Control, Aliens, Stall-Burn

3.  Combo- A special deck that generally uses deck-thinning and draw effects in order to pull off a game-winning combo, perhaps an alternate winning condition (Decking out, by a card's effect, etc.).  It may or may not use stall.  Examples: Exodia, Final Countdown, Chimeratech OTK, Magical Explosion OTK, Reversal Quiz OTK, Life Equalizer OTK, Megarock Dragon OTK, Ben Kei OTK

Now that you've chosen a general theme, narrow it down.  Let's say that you've chosen to build an Aggro deck.  What kind of Aggro? Swarming the field? Then Six Samurai might be good.  Remember, every combo belongs in its own deck, and there should be only one theme per deck.  Not two, but ONEALL of the cards in your deck must work together toward ONE goal.  In other words, don't build a Warrior/Spellcaster/Machine/Monarch/Insect deck!

V. Choose the cards
Now that you've chosen a theme, it's time to make a decklist. Which key card(s) does your deck revolve around? (Where does the deck's true power lie?)  Are they easy to Summon/play?  What can help you bring them out more easily?

Let's say that you're building a Zombie Deck.  The true power of the Zombie deck lies in the ease of Special Summoning Zombie monsters.  Pyramid Turtle's effect allows you to Special Summon any Zombie from your deck with a DEF of 2000 or less (which is plenty), so that's a must.  But what can help you bring out Pyramid Turtle?  How about Giant Rat, which special summons a 1500 or less ATK Earth Monster when destroyed in battle?  That is only one of many possibilities!

Of course, Aggro and Control decks should run staple cards as well.  Staple cards do not really help the theme of the deck, but they can help the deck itself.  Heavy Storm and Mystical Space Typhoon are basic Spell and Trap Removal, Sangan is basic Monster recruiting, and Ring of Destruction is basic Monster removal.  Run some, but not too many.  You still should concentrate on the theme!

Also consider a decent monster/spell/trap ratio.  Typically, a built Aggro or Control deck will have around 20 Monsters, 12 Spells, and 8 Traps.  On the other hand, Combo decks' ratios will vary significantly, depending on the combo that you're trying to pull off. 

VI. Fix
Alright, so you've picked the cards to star in your wonderful deck.  But don't run to the card store yet!  There's still a few things left to do.  First, you should ask others of their opinion of the deck first, and see if they have any suggestions for you.  Other eyes will see what you do not see, such as flawed combos, other cards that work well with the deck, and others that don't.  You can ask your friends in person, or post your decklist on a message board, such as the one on Pojo or forum. TCGplayer.com.  Don't be shy, and if you have questions, ask!

VII. Test

After making modifications,  I strongly recommend that you do not buy any cards yet until you have tested it out.  You can do this by using fake cards made from index cards.   Invite your friends, and play against a variety of decks.  Which decks is it good against, and which decks is it not?  Which cards did you believe work for you, and which cards did not?  Fix your deck accordingly to what you have learned from playtesting. 

VIII. Side-deck
Learn what you're up against, and come up with cards that can effectively counter your opponents' decks.  You'll need 15 cards total for a side-deck.  There is no suggested ratio, as long as every one of the 15 cards are useful and effective counters against who you're playing, whether it is casually with friends or competitively against the meta.

VIV. Buy
'Nuff said!

X. Duel!
It's time to D-D-D-Duel!  Take your deck to a local card shop, or invite your friends over, and duel to your heart's content!  Improve your deck as much as possible, as there is no such thing as a "perfect" deck.  And remember, the point of Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG is to have fun!

If you have any comments, I can be contacted via email at caranthir.oronar[at]gmail.com, or at the TCGPlayer.com forums (forum.tcgplayer.com); my username there is p_p.  Send me a message; I love listening to your feedback!

p_p, signing off...



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