• Deck Editing Tips from a Pony CCG Developer - Part 2!

    Back from last week’s article about editing the Nightmare Moon theme deck from Absolute Discord, Adam is back with part 2: personalizing the orange/pink theme deck called Double the Fun! This one comes with Princess Luna and Discord, and here Adam has gone with Princess Luna as his Mane Character to lead the charge of power-packed earth ponies into victory. Take a look below the break read more!

    Last week we started rebuilding the deck by selecting a clear strategy up-front and building towards it. This is one of my preferred ways of building a deck, and that kind of planning helps to ensure you end up with a cohesive end product–but it’s not the only way to get started. Sometimes you’ll find one or two cards that speak to you, and you can simply start building around those cards, trying to make them as effective as possible, and let the deck’s strategy grow organically around them.

    In the orange/pink deck, Granny Smith, Respect Your Elders and Applejack, Farm Foremare immediately jump out at me as being some of the more exciting, powerful cards in the deck, so we’ll start there. The cards have several things in common–both are orange, both are Stubborn, both have relatively high printed power, and both require 1 orange to play. This gives us a good place to start–first things first, the fact that both cards have 1 orange requirement means they’ll both be a lot easier to include if we’re running an orange Mane Character, so we’ll stick with Princess Luna, Dream Guide over the included Discord Mane. Because we’ll be starting with 1 orange power in play, we won’t have to worry about unlocking either of our build-around cards before playing them, and we also won’t have to worry about unlocking orange much at all, since these two cards will do it for us.

    Since we’re running Dream Guide, it’d be good to have some ways of discarding our own cards to make it easier to flip–we can always draw up above the hand limit, then discard down and flip that way, but it’s expensive and inefficient compared to getting it for free, so we’ll add Defenders of Equestria and Cider Stand. Defenders of Equestria lets us use our unwanted cards to get an action-efficient Friend on the board, while Cider Stand lets us essentially convert our extra cards into extra action tokens over time. Both are generally a trade up, since ATs are often at more of a premium than cards, but they become particularly valuable when they also net us an easy flip. Cider Stand is even a Resource–which means we can dig for it with Farm Foremare!

    Speaking of which, if we’re building around Farm Foremare we should make sure we’ve got some good targets for her on-play ability. Cider Stand is an excellent start, but reliably getting a card out of her ability will require us to include a few more. Absolute Discord gave orange an excellent tool in Clipped Wings, which disables the abilities of an opposing Friend–essentially turning off its text box. It doesn’t remove them from play entirely, but reducing a Friend to nothing but its power is a great way to mitigate a variety of powerful threats. Out of Action from Crystal Games is almost the opposite; it exhausts a Friend and keeps it exhausted, making it largely useless for confronting Problems but leaving its abilities largely intact. Both are excellent ways for us to keep opposing characters under control, and together they put our Resource count where we want it, so we’ll add them.

    Taking a step back at this point, we’ve got a suite of efficient, high-power Friends, a means of powering them out even faster, and some tools for slowing down opposing threats–it sounds like we’re falling into an aggressive archetype that wants to instigate and win faceoffs. That helps us form a clearer picture of our strategy so that we can better fill out the deck. We’ll keep Princess Luna, Sandmare, since she plays pretty well with our plan–she’s high-power and cost-efficient, and she can knock an opposing Friend out of the way long enough to give us a faceoff edge (and if we’re looking to start a lot of faceoffs, we’re likely to flip a lot of cards, so her Chaos ability is more likely to help us out). We’ll keep Cutie Pox Outbreak as well, since it’s got a useful Chaos ability of its own. We’ll also want to keep Apple Brown Betty, since she unlocks our Cutie Pox Outbreaks, and we’ll keep Pinkie Apple Pie as well.

    Since we’re building an aggressive deck and we’re already planning on playing cards with 3 pink requirement, including Snips & Snails, Problem Solvers from Canterlot Nights seems like the right call–it helps us push Troublemakers out of the way, reset Problems we’re losing momentum on, and it even fits with our plan of playing power-efficient Friends, with 3 power for its 2 cost. Since both of our important pink cards have a 3 pink requirement, we’ll want to find one more 3-power power pink spotter. Sadly, there isn’t one (yet!) among the actual pink cards, but we do have a less-direct option: Pie Sisters, Two of a Kind is a 3-power orange card that can become pink on demand. It even has Stubborn, like several of the other cards in our lineup–something we’ll want to make use of before we close out the deck.

    Reviewing what we’ve built so far, it seems that we’ve got a deck that wants to instigate faceoffs and is full of Earth Ponies, many of whom have Stubborn–a situation which seems tailor-made for Applejack, Carbo-Loader. Exhausting our Stubborn Friends to flip extra cards is a powerful synergy that should tilt a lot of faceoffs in our favor. From there, Coco Crusoe, Flipping Out probably earns a spot. His 2 power is nothing special, but he’ll flip an extra card for us in play, he’s an Earth Pony so he might net us another extra card with Carbo Loader, and if all those extra flips end up flipping a Coco Crusoe then we’ll get an extra flip that way, too. We’ll also give a spot to Berry Punch, All-Night Partier, out of the Rock ‘n Rave decks–she’s an Earth Pony so she’ll work with Carbo Loader, and since Cider Stand and Defenders of Equestria will be depleting our hand, it will be nice to have a way to replenish it.

    Our last draw deck spot goes to Popping Corn from Absolute Discord, which does something a straightforward confront-heavy deck like this needs: it can lock down a Problem for a single Score Phase. It might not sound like much at first, but one of the major weaknesses of a deck like this is that once we force a faceoff and reset the Problems, our opponent gets the first shot at those new Problems and their attendant Bonus Points. We’d much prefer to get those Bonus Points ourselves, and Popping Corn lets us do that by exhausting our opponent’s characters when he goes for the confront, giving us a critical turn to grab those points first.

    Turning to our Problem Deck, we’ll definitely want to keep Rockslide, and Flooding at Sweet Apple Acres makes it even easier for our big 4- and 5-power Friends to shine, since our opponent can’t outnumber them. The other three Problems in the theme deck don’t really advance our plan, so we’ll want to replace them. Want It, Need It from Premiere is perfect for us, since it gives us an extra point that our opponent likely can’t take from us even if they beat us to the bonus points, and since we don’t want Troublemakers in our way we’ll finish out our list with Deep Dark Forest and Swindlers in Town. Our final list looks like this:

    Mane Character:
    1 x Princess Luna, Dream Guide - AD (Absolute Discord)

    2 x Want It, Need It! - PRE (Premiere)
    2 x Rockslide - TCG (The Crystal Games)
    2 x Flooding at Sweet Apple Acres - AD
    2 x Swindlers in Town - TCG
    2 x Deep Dark Forest - TCG

    3 x Cutie Pox Outbreak - AD
    3 x Berry Punch, All-Night Partier - RNR (Rock 'n Rave)
    3 x Apple Brown Betty, Pastry Chef - PRE
    3 x Applejack, Farm Foremare - PRE (and inside AD Theme Deck)
    3 x Coco Crusoe, Flipping Out - AD
    3 x Granny Smith, Respect Your Elders - AD
    3 x Popping Corn - AD
    3 x Out of Action - TCG
    3 x Clipped Wings - AD
    2 x Pinkie Apple Pie - AD
    3 x Princess Luna, The Sandmare - AD
    2 x Applejack, Carbo-Loader - TCG
    3 x Cider Stand - AD
    3 x Pie Sisters, Two of a Kind - Pinkie and Maud Collector's Tin
    3 x Snips & Snails, Problem Solvers - CN (Canterlot Nights)
    2 x Defenders of Equestria, Royal Sisters - Princess Luna Collector's Tin

    And there you have it, Double the Fun revamped into a high-power beatdown deck. Try it out yourself–or build one of your own! I hope you’ve enjoyed this look at what Absolute Discord’s theme decks can become!

    Great, thanks Adam. Today's the street date for Absolute Discord booster packs, so you should start to be able to find them in friendly local game shops as early as this weekend. And that means we'll have more to talk about in coming weeks, as you start building decks of your own!