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A.P.P.A. Lecture Series

Beginners Deckbuilding 101
by The Artful Dodger A.P.P.A.

1 INTRODUCTORY STUFF

1.1 Read the ChronX-Webpage

The ChronX webpage can be found at http://www.chronx.com
There you will find the Construction Yard, a lot of links to other good sites with a whole plethora of tips and a bunch of useful tools, too. It is always a good idea to read through ALL the stuff they offer (FAQs, Manuals, deck-tips) before you jump into the cold water. Also note that a lot of factions offer deck-tips, strategy hints and more on their websites. The information is out there - use it to your advantage.

2 ON DECK SIZE

2.1 The Battlegrounds

In order to get the cards you want at the moment you need them (especially when using combos like programmers) you need to cut down the decksize to an amount that has been proven to be OK in many games. To calculate how big decks have to be you can use a rule of thumb: Try to determine how long the average game in the given battlefield is lasting and then you can determine the deck size you need.
America : Game length 8-15 turns = 40-43 cards
Asia : Game length 15-25 turns = 43-48 cards
Europe : Game length 20-35 turns = 45-50 cards
World : Game length 35-50 turns = 50-60 cards

2.2 'Extra' card drawing

Another factor determining your deck size is your ability to draw 'extra' cards.
Examples for that are Syrtis Pilgrims, the Mawson family, Portable Lauchers or Tantric Crusaders (not to mention those programs that let you draw extra cards).
Using cards like those will 'thin' your deck faster than playing 'normal' cards so you can use a slightly bigger deck size while still having the odds of good draws (a prime example here is the 'Fat Deck' by Lazarus which was way over 70 cards and was featured in the Construction Yard section of the ChronX-webpage - it is always a good idea to browse the old issues of the Yard anyway).

2.3 The deck-focus

Lastly your deck-focus is working on your decksize as well. If your deck is defensive you can put in some more cards since the game will take longer than usual. Please test those decks in skill games vs. 'real' people since the trainer is somewhat stupid. Defense is always cheaper than attack so your resources should reflect that, too.

3 ON THE BALANCE OF THE CARD TYPE

This section deals with the distribution of the card-types in your deck (assets, bases, etc.). We will discuss this on the example of an average 45 card deck.
A good rule of thumb - exported from M:TG - is 30% bases and/or resource giving cards. That means 15 bases (including Thalmanns and maybe even those resource generating assets). Better use 16-17 just to make sure. Assets are your friends. When you are starting out with Chron X you will probably be good advised to use assets as your main force to win a game.
Leave the complicated combos to the older players - you will be one in no time yourself anyway :) You will want 18-20 assets (20 assets being better). This leaves us with 8-10 slots for special cards (Enhancements, Interventions and Programs). These cards are added to serve the focus of the deck and are determined by your overall idea for the deck.

4 ON THE BALANCE OF THE ASSETS

In this section look at the distribution of attacking and defending assets among your troops. Remember your deck focus! If you play a do-or-die fast america speed deck you don't want to draw 5 defensive assets in a row. Instead you want fast attackers so put few defensive ones in. The attacking assets you draw should only need one or two resources to deploy and attack since you want to go early on it. Charles 'Chuck' Doremann and Lucia Hunter are assets like that.
On the other hand if you want to stop a fast attack first and then counter-attack you need some fast defense first like Dresdner Bots, Viral Vines and AP Mines to survive the initial onrush of your opponents troops.

5 ON THE BALANCE OF THE RESOURCES

5.1 Basic schools

Two schools have emerged about this subject. If you play a speed deck you want to use ALL resources each turn to maximize your output. So you use assets of all resource-types. In longer games it is better to concentrate on one or two resources with a splash of the third (cov-mil, cov-cyb, cyb-mil).
First rule: Are you generating enough resources to play all the cards in your deck? Count the HQ as a 15 turn base in this case (use the DeckAlyz-tool here - it works great).
Second rule: Do you generate enough resources to attack constantly with your assets? There are some elaborate rules about this depending on the nature of your deck and the battlefield you play with it (i.e. in america an asset usually only attacks 2-3 times before getting shackled or killed or otherwise incapacipated).
Try each deck against the trainer for some times. If you notice that you lack some resource type while having spades of another adjust the resources accordingly.

5.2 Special bases

Be careful with using the double resource bases (Tinker Base, Ops Center and NSA Franchise). They can give you a serious speed advantage in the early game, but hinder you in the long run since you cannot deploy another base of the same type in the city (that makes two types for double bases) and you only get resources for 5 turns. So if you don't play a speed deck you are usually better advised to use 'normal' bases instead that last longer.
Bases like Prison Camp, Womb Array, Air Force One or High Flux Nuke SHOULD NEVER be counted as a resource base. Treat them as supporting cards. They produce few resources (if any) and their main use is support. Also note thatr if you use a special HQ you shall not count it in your total # of base (because the 'normal' HQ is not counted, too)
One last note on bases: Using Monastery bases protects them from Brother Benedict. And watch out for those second-story bases in Ascension that can only be build on certain domain bases.

6 ON COMMON MISTAKES

6.1 The combo dilemma

Yes. Programs are cool. Missiles look cool, too. But you need another card to make them work. If you are new to ChronX use cards that can stand on their own before you start using combos. And missiles and programs are combos since you need a launcher or a programmer (with a high enough CyberAffinity, too) to get them to work.
If you HAVE to use programs make sure that you balance the cards. Don't stuff in lots of programs if you don't have enough good (as in: high enough CA) programmers. And don't throw in lots of programmers just to play a few programs. Same goes for Missiles. Note that the Missile Cache introduced in Ascension helps Missile decks a bit though.
Bottom line: If you are new don't try combos... rely on cards that work for themselves. But of course it can be that two cards that work well on their own work even better in conjunction.

6.2 Perception

After you lost against an Enforcer or Nakuran deck for the first time you know what we are talking about. You NEED perception. You need perception to detect Nakuran Snipers and Assasins, to block Enforcers, to detect and take care of programmers and other nasty assets. Raul Grange, Sniffer Spores and Urdan Sentry are good assets for this. Be sure to use some CIA Archives as well - they are the best way to find hidden assets anywhere in the world.

6.3 How to break a shackle.

You will need some means to deal with those annoying Taser Shackles and Hypnotic Worms. A good idea is have at least one or two assets with a CyberAffinity above 1 to break shackles. Bouncing the assets back to your hand and replaying it by using MedEvac or Deportation is a good idea, too. Even more since those cards can be used for a plethora of other things as well.

7 ON CERTAIN CARDS THAT HELP

7.1 Emminent Domain

This uncommon card kills High Flux Nukes, removes Prison Camps, Womb Arrays, Air Force Ones, Purification Cults and all other nasty bases from the game. Plus it can be useful to give yourself a needed resource boost or to remove that Tomb of the 9th Master you just used and you don't want it to be destroyed (using Emminent Domain on a base DOES NOT count as 'destroy'). This card is so versatile that you may want two of them in EVERY deck (except really special decks).

7.2 Diplomatic Compromise

The Common no-brainer counter against UN WarCrimes, ComForce Operations and Buster Night. Also useful to kill off contracts (even your own Yakusa Contract after you drew all your Yakusa assets). You may want to put at least one in every deck just to be on the safe side.

7.3 Deportation

This common card helps. It helps against Worms. It helps against big nasty loaded assets. It helps cutting through defense for two turns. It helps against shackles. It slices, it dices and it even makes a mean coffee. This card is one of the most versatile cards in the game. It even passed Crash's other two all-time favorite cards (Worm & Bolt) for versatility. Deportation can make your life much easier in just about any game.

7.4 Golani Trooper

This girl is great. She is cheap. Can get AT. Cannot be tapped by a False Alarm. Gets +4 FP against Sabotage (kills Mother Earth, Raul, Black Army Saboteur and lives). Is cheap enough to even attack. Has stealth 2 and she is common!


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Last updated on 01/14/2008 by Crash.
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Chron X artwork © 2008 Darkened Sky, Inc.