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. As far as it fits with the path to victory, the bread-and-butter offense card can be part of the path to victory, but it typically isn’t. It should be included, however, in the total damage your deck does. By that I mean, your Path to Victory cards are probably not enough to win the game outright, but your PtV cards + your bread-and-butter offense should be.
I call it “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.
– Going back to the examples of Dooku or Emperor Palpatine, the bread-and-butter offense can also be part of the path to victory. Other times, like with Anakin’s WRATH, it’s the card you can use while trying to set up your path to victory, so instead of being part of it, it complements it.
– 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. Bultar Swan’s bread-and-butter is actually BLINDING LIGHT, a direct damage card. Yoda’s is FORCE LIFT. They both have a 2x big attack card that they have to save for the right moment.
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
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.
The only real wonky, situational bread-and-butter offense card of the original 12 is Luke’s I WILL NOT FIGHT YOU. IWNFY might not seem like his bread-and-butter but it is, because he can’t just use JUSTICE on Clone Troopers. It’s 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.
For a much more straight up example, let’s take a look at Anakin: His path to victory is ANGER-CALM. Between those A8s and his A5s, he has enough damage to kill any major. However, his bread-and-butter offense card is WRATH, and it has really nothing to do with his path to victory. It’s to help him set up his PtV, to keep ANGER saved for the majors, because WRATH dispenses with the minors.
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.
Meanwhile, Dooku’s bread-and-butter offense, TAUNTING, is also the main card in his path to victory. Since it’s 4 copies and very strong, it can do both jobs, but Dooku has other offensive cards, plus strong offensive minors. Mace’s BATTLE MIND is similar. His big hitter is WHIRLWIND ATTACK, so he can use BATTLE MIND more frequently. However, I think Mace would really work better if he had a third or even fourth MASTERFUL FIGHTING that he can just use whenever he needs it, since BATTLE MIND is a card you have to wait for the right situation to use.
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 so. 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.