November 26, 2012

WARNING: Veteran or experienced players will not gain much from this article.

So it's come to my attention that the majority, or at least half, of the Naruto CCG player base has difficulty constructing a decent, competitive deck. This could be because of incompetence, lack of resources, or even laziness. I'm sure you have caught on to the theme of the article so we'll jump right into it. There are five basic components of deck building: purpose, support, a win condition, speed, and tech.

This is the base of your deck; every single card you play will be decided by your purpose. Purpose is basically the goal or reason behind your deck. Why are you playing this deck? In every case the answer is to win, however purpose can go deeper than that. Purpose should also be interpreted as WHAT you are playing, not just WHY. Popular decks include Fire and Lightning, currently of course. These examples should not limit your purpose, you can virtually build anything and make it somewhat viable. Purpose is, in reality, common sense when beginning the deck building process.

Win Condition
Something you should take into consideration is a win condition or, in some cases, plays that will shift the game in your favor. It's fair to say 90% of decks have the win condition of "winning by Battle Rewards", however some decks go beyond this or take a different approach. A win condition may seem like common sense but can be much more depending on how one approaches it.

Now that your win condition and purpose are established, how are you going to build them up? The support should consist of cards that are not only beneficial to your purpose and win condition, but also staples or cards that are needed to carryout a game. The last part may seem vague, let's clear it up. Basically, you should play cards that allow you to keep up with the changing game state. This means you should run Ninjas that vary in Entrance Cost from Turn 0 to Turn 5/6/7. Run cards that help you maintain presence or gain advantage; this is done through the proper usage of Jutsu and Mission cards.

In decks that have an alternate win condition or do not play the standard way, there are different cards to support it. Theme decks have specific cards that support the theme overall. Mechanic or action based decks (I.E. Chakra control, Surge, Growth coins, etc.) also have specific cards that support it. However, be careful, not all cards that support these decks are good enough to make it into the final build.

Now you just put a lot of support into this Deck, probably around 30 to 40 cards. The next thing to do is make sure you can access these cards with ease. This is done through Speed; speed is most likely going to be found in your Mission, and sometimes Ninja, line-up. The basic form of speed is through draw. Cards that draw 1 card should not be played unless there's more than just that to them. Cards that draw 2 or more cards are usually playable. Cards that draw 3 or more cards usually have a catch, whether it be balancing out by discarding cards or giving up resources.

The other form of speed is through tutoring. When one tutors a card, they search it out from a designated area. You can see how this can be beneficial. Generally speaking, most tutors are not bad at all, however you have to watch out and pick the right ones. There are other forms of speed such as exchange and filter but those are just variations of draw and tutor.

Tech is a concept that is usually utilized by the brightest or bravest of players. Tech is just a card or cards that are generally not considered when building a deck that proves to either counter a deck or improve one's own deck. Note that a card that counters a deck is not always necessarily tech. When looking for tech you should be aware of the format. What is the most popular deck? If your tech card(s) can counter that tech without interrupting the flow of your deck then you're good to go. Tech can also help you gain advantage against certain decks or in general. Be careful though, some "techy" cards are just Side Board cards, don't think too much of them.

These are just the basics of deck building, you can expand on it and go deeper and deeper. I haven't even discussed the concept of card count (how many of each card should be played). Maybe there will be a sequel to this article, maybe not. That's all for now, there should be another update either tomorrow or the next day. Also, stay tuned for a big article some time later this week.

Please leave comments, questions, and concerns either below or in our thread on Bandai.

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