Continuing the guidelines on building a good Epic Duels deck. So you know why you’re doing a deck, and you know, typically in a combination of 4-6 cards, it’s path to victory. Now what?
3. Bread-and-butter offense: I used to call this the “signature card” but bread-and-butter is a better descriptor, and I’m intentionally adding the word “offense” to it, because it kind of needs to be. You need a move you can use early and often, as an attack everyone knows you have and has to watch out for.
As far as it fits with the path to victory, the bread-and-butter offense card can combine directly with the path to victory cards, but it doesn’t have to, and in most decks I see, it doesn’t. How it does fit, though, is that by the time you’ve played through your PtV cards plus your B&B cards, you should be able to do enough damage to kill any major in the game, meaning some 18 hit points or so, plus defense.
If your PtV cards are enough to win the game outright, make these B&B cards a little weaker. If the PtV cards aren’t enough, make these B&B cards a little stronger, and/or consider adding 1-2 more big offense cards to the deck, such as high attacks or direct damage. This can be especially true if you have a personality minor, who might be able to carry 1-2 big offense cards.
Dooku’s 4-card TAUNTING is really his entire path to victory and bread-and-butter attack all right there in just 4 cards. That alone wouldn’t be enough to kill off majors AND minors, so he has some other offense cards, FORCE DRAIN in particular is quite powerful.
I call these cards “bread and butter” because every major character needs special cards that boost his offense, an offensive move s/he can rely on, his or her bread-and-butter. Some boxes need to be checked:
– There needs to be at least 3 copies of this card, 4 is also fine.
– It can’t be too heavily situational. You need to be able to use it early and often. It can’t be so precious that you’re afraid to use it. If it combos with another card, it can’t rely upon that combo to be effective.
– It should be something you can use against minors. If you can ONLY use it against minors, like Vader’s CHOKE, that actually works. If you can only use it against majors, that really doesn’t, then it becomes a card you have to save for the right moment.
– Offense can be in the form of direct damage or discarding, not just a power attack. Emperor Palpatine’s bread-and-butter offense is FORCE LIGHTNING. Yoda’s is FORCE LIFT. Our Bultar Swan uses a direct damage card called BLINDING LIGHT.
– FWIW, in the original SWED game, all of the shooters had a 3x A4 as their bread-and-butter in GAMBLER’S LUCK and ROCKET RETREAT.
– Going back to the examples of Dooku or Emperor Palpatine, the bread-and-butter offense can also be part of the path to victory. It doesn’t need to be, though. Han’s GAMBLER’S LUCK and Anakin’s WRATH are more complementary.
All of the original 12 characters have a bread-and-butter offense card:
Han: GAMBLER’S LUCK
Luke: I WILL NOT FIGHT YOU
Mace: BATTLE MIND (kind of)
Obi-Wan: JEDI ATTACK
Yoda: FORCE LIFT
Boba & Jango: ROCKET RETREAT
Maul: SITH SPEED, SUPER SITH SPEED, even ATHLETIC SURGE
Palpatine: FORCE LIGHTNING
Vader: CHOKE and WRATH
Attack-and-move cards are really good for these. Obi-Wan, Anakin, Maul and both Fetts have movement incorporated into their bread-and-butter. If I don’t know what else to do for a deck, I’ll go with attack+move as a starting point for a bread-and-butter offense card.
One less obvious B&B offense card is Luke’s I WILL NOT FIGHT YOU. Luke typically can’t just use JUSTICE on Clone Troopers early in the game but has to save it for the right moment. It’s also not like you can just use IWNFY every turn – but I’d argue if you’re playing Luke correctly, you’re going to use it early and often, and not wait for the perfect situation. It is his best offense card, after all, while Leia is still alive.
For a much more straight up example, let’s take a look at Anakin: His path to victory is ANGER-CALM. WRATH, though, is his bread-and-butter. It’s the card you can use while trying to set up your path to victory, allowing you to save your best cards for the important moments. Instead being part of the path to victory, WRATH complements it by dispensing with minors. ANGER-CALM alone probably isn’t enough to kill an opposing major, so Anakin does need another big attack or 2. In his deck, Padme carries those. Without her, Anakin typically has to cycle through his deck for more ANGER. Without Padme, Anakin can sometimes get by with his Red deck offense against weaker characters, but you don’t want to have to rely upon that.
Han and Chewie are obviously looking to play and recycle BOWCASTER, but GAMBLER’S LUCK is something Han can use early and often. Even when Chewie is out of the game, GAMBLER’S LUCK keeps Han in the game and lets him save his HEROIC RETREAT cards for key moments.
The one really wonky bread-and-butter offense card is actually Mace’s BATTLE MIND. It’s obviously a better and more flexible card than MASTERFUL FIGHTING, but I think Mace would really work better if he had a third or even fourth MASTERFUL FIGHTING as his bread-and-butter offense. BATTLE MIND is a card you will typically either use as defense, or save up for the right time to use on offense. I’d rather have 4 copies of the better card in BATTLE MIND, but it doesn’t really fit the definition of bread-and-butter offense since you can’t use it early and often. We think our Mace plays better with 4x MASTERFUL FIGHTING (though we boost ours to A6 because we think Mace should be really tough).
Anyways, there are different ways to do a bread and butter offense card, both as part of the path to victory, or as not. For your first deck, I’d probably give your character a combo of 4 cards that s/he uses to win, including a couple of big offense cards, plus a 3x bread-and-butter attack that can support that card.
If you’ve grasped the why, the path to victory, and the bread-and-butter offense of your deck, you’ve probably got a good deck going by now, at least 7 cards or more. The rest is just filling it out from here, which you can probably figure out on your own, but we’ll cover that in the third and final installment.