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Newbie questions on deck construction


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#1 charmer

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Posted 06 March 2012 - 01:36 AM

Hi there!

I recently took a leap of faith with CoC and purchased the Core Set, Secrets of Arkham, Order of the Silver Twilight, Mountains of Madness and Ancient Horrors in order to have enough cards to accommodate up to 8 of my friends who mostly play Magic: the Gathering, as do I.

I understand the basic rules but I still can't always recognize which cards are better than others and how to build decks. I have the following observations/questions:

1. I find it very odd that there's only one copy of each card in the Core set, with no further reprints anywhere. I understand that secondary market for CoC isn't huge but what purpose does it serve to provide 3 copies of everything in updated asylum packs but keep the supply of core cards so small?

1a. Are we just supposed to buy multiple Core sets to appreciate the cards from it fully in tournaments?

2. Is there an online database for CoC LCG/CCG cards to consult up-to-date wordings of cards and browse contents of asylums packs for reference to help with deck construction?

3. Have additional cards for the Order of the Silver Twilight been released in more recent asylum packs?

4. Are Day, Night, Polar and other mechanics explored outside the expansions where they have been introduced?

5. By looking at the cards, I think one of the most powerful deck would be a dedicated terror-heavy one-faction Cthulhu deck with quite a bit of excellent neutral cards. How would you build against it other than cherry-picking characters with Willpower over multiple expansions and hoping they will stick around long enough to make a difference?

6. Are there faction conspiracy cards?

7. Is there a list of restricted/banned cards used for official tournaments?

8. What is the usual ratio of characters and non-characters in a 50-card deck to make it efficient?

9. There are some neutral Polar cards that do nothing or very little when you don't have other Polar cards discarded. Unless I'm mistaken, other Polar events are available only for Hastur (or in Mountains of Madness anyway). So, is the one-faction Hastur Polar deck a good idea?

10. Regarding the Realm of Ice and Death, this conspiracy card does nothing when you win it but as long as it's in play, it allows you to perpetually cast Polar events as long you are able to maintain some success tokens on it? Also, with it in play, does it gobble up every Polar event automatically, thus preventing you to stack them in your discard pile for the benefit of your subsequent Polar events?

I guess that's it for now, thanks in advance for answering

 



#2 TheProfessor

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Posted 06 March 2012 - 01:51 AM

charmer said:

1. I find it very odd that there's only one copy of each card in the Core set, with no further reprints anywhere. I understand that secondary market for CoC isn't huge but what purpose does it serve to provide 3 copies of everything in updated asylum packs but keep the supply of core cards so small?

1a. Are we just supposed to buy multiple Core sets to appreciate the cards from it fully in tournaments?

2. Is there an online database for CoC LCG/CCG cards to consult up-to-date wordings of cards and browse contents of asylums packs for reference to help with deck construction?

3. Have additional cards for the Order of the Silver Twilight been released in more recent asylum packs?

4. Are Day, Night, Polar and other mechanics explored outside the expansions where they have been introduced?

5. By looking at the cards, I think one of the most powerful deck would be a dedicated terror-heavy one-faction Cthulhu deck with quite a bit of excellent neutral cards. How would you build against it other than cherry-picking characters with Willpower over multiple expansions and hoping they will stick around long enough to make a difference?

6. Are there faction conspiracy cards?

7. Is there a list of restricted/banned cards used for official tournaments?

8. What is the usual ratio of characters and non-characters in a 50-card deck to make it efficient?

9. There are some neutral Polar cards that do nothing or very little when you don't have other Polar cards discarded. Unless I'm mistaken, other Polar events are available only for Hastur (or in Mountains of Madness anyway). So, is the one-faction Hastur Polar deck a good idea?

10. Regarding the Realm of Ice and Death, this conspiracy card does nothing when you win it but as long as it's in play, it allows you to perpetually cast Polar events as long you are able to maintain some success tokens on it? Also, with it in play, does it gobble up every Polar event automatically, thus preventing you to stack them in your discard pile for the benefit of your subsequent Polar events? 

1. In the core set, there are some cards that are 3 of, and some that have just 1.  The original asylum packs also had 1s and 3s.  Then FFG changed to 3 of everything in the asylum pack and we were all happy.  But they have not changed the Core Set, and I've heard no rumors that they will.  And yes, there are some very good cards in teh Core Set.  most of the competitive players have purchased 3 copies of it.

  2.  Yes.  There are a few.  I like http://www.cardgamed...ardsearch.html?

3.  Yes.  Order of the Silver Twilight is in every Asylum pack since the box set.  Check the card site above for details.

4. Somewhat.

5.  Question is too big for answering here.  But there are Rush decks and Control decks that can outmaneuver Cthulhu.  Destruction is pretty powerful, which Cthulhu and Agency are good at.  Hastur is good at insanity.  Miskatonic and Shub are good at Rush...

6.  yes!

7.  Yes!  Check out the FAQ on the Call of Cthulhu downloads page.

8.  This doesn't have the kind of answer you'd expect from Magic.  It really depends on your deck build and intent.

9.  Misktaonic has some Polar related things.

10. You can play these polar cards for their normal cost and a success token.  yes, it grabs all the Polar events.



#3 dboeren

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Posted 06 March 2012 - 07:41 AM

To expand on a couple of those questions...

The FAQ has the list of banned cards (there are only 2) and around 6-7 I think restricted cards - you can pick only one of these to be in your deck but you can still have normal 3 copies.  There's very little restriction overall.

The point of the Core set is to introduce the game.  With 8 factions (including Neutral) it's a tall order to include cards from all of them, going with single copies was the only way to do this and have ANY sort of variety at all, which is necessary to show newcomers a bit of what the game has to offer.  Eventually if you get into it you'll want at least one more Core set, and even more eventually two more.  What's "missing" really is a box with 2xCore cards and no frills to complete your set, but if it hasn't come by now I wouldn't expect one to be released now.

The Dreamlands cycle is where the Night/Day mechanic really was emphasized but it hasn't been reprinted in 60-card format yet.  Folks in a better position to know than me have said that it won't be until all the old copies are sold, so there's no telling when that might be.

A good rule of thumb is roughly 30 characters, 12 events, 8 supports in a 50 card deck, but it can vary.

 

"By looking at the cards, I think one of the most powerful deck would be a dedicated terror-heavy one-faction Cthulhu deck with quite a bit of excellent neutral cards. How would you build against it other than cherry-picking characters with Willpower over multiple expansions and hoping they will stick around long enough to make a difference?"

 

You need to get in some actual games, just looking at icons alone doesn't tell the whole story and this game is different enough from Magic that your intuition will probably lead you astray.  Also, any character with Terror icons is immune to Terror as well, so between that and Willpower there are a lot of guys that don't get scared.  Worst case, one character goes crazy.  There are also cards that can restore insane characters, some of them are Neutral.  Really, it's not that big a problem.

I don't know what you mean by "multiple expansions" and "sticking around".  Do you mean they live long enough in the game, or that the cards remain legal long enough?  It's very rare for any card to become illegal in this game, there are only 2 banned cards total so I wouldn't expect to lose a character just because they can't go crazy.  If you mean living long enough in that game, that's kind of your job - to use your deck to give your team what they need to succeed.

You can make a good deck without a single terror-resistant character in it.  Always keep in mind that you win the game by winning stories, no matter what happens to the characters.  They can all end up dead or crazy, as long as you grab that last success token you still win.

 



#4 charmer

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Posted 07 March 2012 - 04:35 AM

Sorry about the formatting but the quote markup system of this forum is really getting in my way...

 To quote TheProsessor:

"

1. In the core set, there are some cards that are 3 of, and some that have just 1.  The original asylum packs also had 1s and 3s.  Then FFG changed to 3 of everything in the asylum pack and we were all happy.  But they have not changed the Core Set, and I've heard no rumors that they will.  And yes, there are some very good cards in teh Core Set.  most of the competitive players have purchased 3 copies of it.

5.  Question is too big for answering here.  But there are Rush decks and Control decks that can outmaneuver Cthulhu.  Destruction is pretty powerful, which Cthulhu and Agency are good at.  Hastur is good at insanity.  Miskatonic and Shub are good at Rush...

8.  This doesn't have the kind of answer you'd expect from Magic.  It really depends on your deck build and intent.

"

 

1.Well, I get it that an intro core set wouldn't contain everything but to buy 3 Core sets? BTW, that box is HUUGE - and mostly empty. Also, thinking of ergonomy, the actual play board and the Cthulhu miniatures are completely unnecessary to carry around, especially for multiplayer. I guess I'll just start up my printer for proxies... once I learn how to build good decks that is :)

5. Would you recommend a site online with a repository of decks for inspiration?

8. Oh, we have creature-less decks in Magic :) Can you have that in CoC? But considering how similar CoC and MtG are in so many respects I guess I'll be save with the same average ratio.

 

Thanks!

 



#5 charmer

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Posted 07 March 2012 - 04:58 AM

to quote dboeren:

 

" Eventually if you get into it you'll want at least one more Core set, and even more eventually two more.  What's "missing" really is a box with 2xCore cards and no frills to complete your set, but if it hasn't come by now I wouldn't expect one to be released now."

Well, since the asylum packs are coming out with 3-ofs as reprints now, there is a chance the same might happen to the Core set. I can't believe anybody carries their gargantuan core set boxes with them to play in a pub or anywhere else...

 

"A good rule of thumb is roughly 30 characters, 12 events, 8 supports in a 50 card deck, but it can vary."

 

Will keep that in mind, thanks

 

"I don't know what you mean by "multiple expansions" and "sticking around"."

I meant that in order to build a terror-resistant deck outside terror-heavy faction, you'd need more than just a core set to collect enough characters with Willpower. Actually, one of my friends was seriously discouraged to even start to play CoC because in first few games with random decks build solely out of the core set, the Cthulhu dominated the board to the point even I started to think the game is broken...

 

"You can make a good deck without a single terror-resistant character in it.  Always keep in mind that you win the game by winning stories, no matter what happens to the characters.  They can all end up dead or crazy, as long as you grab that last success token you still win."

This isn't very different from Magic. But generally speaking, it is still true that more characters you have in play, the more chance you have to score at stories, right?

 



#6 dboeren

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Posted 07 March 2012 - 08:15 AM

"I can't believe anybody carries their gargantuan core set boxes with them to play in a pub or anywhere else..."

Well, I've seen several approaches.  Personally, I use a pair of 3-ring binders to hold all my cards in baseball card sheets.  If I want to bring my entire collection I take those, plus a deck box with all my tokens & accessories, plus maybe a couple deck boxes with pre-made decks.  If I only want to bring the decks I'll use that night I can just bring the deck boxes and leave the binders at home.

A friend of mine has made his own organizer to fit inside the Core box, and it holds his entire collection.  Other people use the cardboard card boxes that hold many cards.  The basic split is that boxes hold more cards per volume and are easy to insert cards but a pain to look through them all.  Baseball card sheets are a pain to insert cards but very nice to browse cards.  I try to partly limit the drawback by saving up 2-3 packs before doing an insert.

 

 


"I meant that in order to build a terror-resistant deck outside terror-heavy faction, you'd need more than just a core set to collect enough characters with Willpower. Actually, one of my friends was seriously discouraged to even start to play CoC because in first few games with random decks build solely out of the core set, the Cthulhu dominated the board to the point even I started to think the game is broken..."

This all hinges on your idea that a large number of character have to have Willpower (or Terror).  How many is "enough"?  Enough for what?  Why do you need a "terror-resistant" deck in the first place?  What we're saying is that this isn't required.  It's one way to build a deck but you seem to think it's the only way that works and that isn't true.  First, because a little insanity isn't a big deal to begin with.  Second, because you don't have to send characters to stories where the drawbacks (including insanity) are going to outweigh the benefits.  Third because as I said, the characters aren't how you win anyway.  You're going to lose some, that's OK, and the human factions may tend to lose a little more but it's compensated because their average cost is cheaper.

Consider this example.  One player has a big horrible monster with lots of combat and/or terror icons.  The other player has a dorky college student with just an investigation icon.  Big nasty goes to a story.  If the student defends, he'll end up insane or dead.  It's a bad play.  So you don't do it.  Big nasty collects 2 success tokens (one for winning skill, one for being unopposed).  Next turn.  Big nasty is exhausted, now the student can go to a story unopposed.  He collects 3 success tokens (one for winning skill, one for being unopposed, one for investigation).  This is a simple example, but hopefully the idea gets across.  Wimpy student did better than big nasty monster, and he did it by making the smarter play, not by beating his head against the wall in a battle he can't win.  You play to your deck's strengths.  If your strength is in the Terror struggle, then cool, play that game.  If it isn't, don't engage the enemy on their terms or you're going to lose.  Play YOUR game, the one you have the advantages at.

 

"This isn't very different from Magic. But generally speaking, it is still true that more characters you have in play, the more chance you have to score at stories, right?"

I get the feeling you're trying to pass a loaded question off here.  More of anything is an advantage, not just characters.  More characters, more icons, more skill, more cards in hand, more domains, more resources on those domains, more success tokens.  Nobody ever questioned that.  But how MUCH are they worth?  Often one is worth more than another depending on the situation.  I had a game the other day where my Shub creatures greatly outnumbered my opponent, but it was still a very closely fought game, in part because he had a lot of good events going on.  One event in the right spot can potentially nullify one or more characters, or remove them entirely.  I had one turn where a cost 1 Miskatonic event card cost me one 3-cost character getting killed and a second 3-cost going insane.  For one cost.  I can't play any one cost character that's going to do that.

It's not just about characters, it's about cards and what you can do with them, and your other resources as well.  You're often going to have to make a call whether to play a character or play an event or support instead.  Do you keep this card, or do you resource it?  Which one of several cards has higher priority?



#7 charmer

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Posted 10 March 2012 - 12:19 PM

"You play to your deck's strengths. If your strength is in the Terror struggle, then cool, play that game. If it isn't, don't engage the enemy on their terms or you're going to lose. Play YOUR game, the one you have the advantages at."

 

I hear you. Of course my misconceptions come from my inexperience but I don't insist on them.

But sadly, I don't get to play CoC as often as I'd like. I started the recommended way - mixed two random factions from core set cards to build a deck. And I got quite mixed results during gameplay.

Being the only one in my group to have bought CoC, I can't really just play MY game to win. I need to be able to build decks from my inventory that will be more or less balanced. No one will have fun with decks where some will consistently win and vice versa. That's the tricky part for me...

 

"I get the feeling you're trying to pass a loaded question off here."

Not at all. From my Magic deckbuilding experience, I know that a certain number of creatures is required in average, unless you specifically play a combo or a control deck. That's why I asked the char/non-char ratio in the first place because there are no lands in CoC and any card can be used as a resource.

I'm quite aware that good support cards can turn the tables in a game quickly. My assumption was that CoC is a character-centric game nonetheless. Or how would build a deck with at most 10 characters? Is it even a feasible idea in CoC?

 

Anyway, off I go build some more decks :)



#8 dboeren

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Posted 10 March 2012 - 03:14 PM

"But sadly, I don't get to play CoC as often as I'd like. I started the recommended way - mixed two random factions from core set cards to build a deck. And I got quite mixed results during gameplay.

Being the only one in my group to have bought CoC, I can't really just play MY game to win. I need to be able to build decks from my inventory that will be more or less balanced. No one will have fun with decks where some will consistently win and vice versa. That's the tricky part for me..."

Few of us do I think :)  I'm down to maybe once  a month lately.  I wish I had a foolproof way to easily build a set of mutually equal decks, but I don't know one.  That's the price of a game with non-identical factions.  Even if your Yog deck wins 50/50 against your Cthulhu deck and your Cthulhu deck wins 50/50 against your Syndicate deck that's no guarantee that your Yog deck will win 50/50 against your Syndicate deck.  There can and will tend to be uneven matchups to some extent, you just have to do what you can and make minimal adjustments to tune them out or else accept that this is the price of variety.

 

"From my Magic deckbuilding experience, I know that a certain number of creatures is required in average, unless you specifically play a combo or a control deck. That's why I asked the char/non-char ratio in the first place because there are no lands in CoC and any card can be used as a resource.

I'm quite aware that good support cards can turn the tables in a game quickly. My assumption was that CoC is a character-centric game nonetheless. Or how would build a deck with at most 10 characters? Is it even a feasible idea in CoC?"

I've never played Magic, so it can be hard for me to compare the two games.  I would say that it's true you want a decent percentage of characters, what I've always heard as a guideline is 60% - or 30 cards out of a deck of 50.  The rest is split between Supports and Events and it seems there are usually a bit more Events but they can be equal or tipped the other way.  For beginners, I always suggest more Events because they help break the stalemate problem that some people have as they're learning where both sides feel they cannot go to stories without losing something.

If any faction can go low on characters and be successful, my money would be on Yog, they seem to have some good events and some cards that trigger off of events in the discard pile - as well as having the best capability of running a discard deck.  Yog/Hastur would work well also.  Even so, I wouldn't want to run as low as 10 characters.  I'm no expert (I only have been playing a bit under a year now) but I think that is too much risk for me.  I would rather have some extras (20 may work) and if I don't seem to need them I can always turn them into resources.






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