A Guide To Building A Balanced Deck by Eternal21

A Guide To Building A Balanced Deck.

The following is a guide to building a Balanced Deck. I have written it with a beginner in mind, but more advanced players may find it useful as well. It is based on the experience I gained while trying to build a winning deck, and shows you what has worked for me.
Balanced Deck means that your 30 card deck contains equal number of elements, and each element has a whole array of mana costs (ranging from cheap to expensive). The main advantage of using this type of deck is that you don’t have to worry about ending up with a specific combination of cards in your hand. By including all elements, and mana expenses, you are increasing the probability of always having the right card to play for the given situation on the field. If on the other hand, you are limiting yourself to a specific element or two, you risk not being able to take advantage of the field bonuses (because the 2/3 available spots are taken by creatures already). The same applies to mana cost – if you are only including expensive creatures in your deck, you’ll quickly find yourself not being able to cast them, due to lack of mana.

Here are the detailed instructions on how to construct your first Balanced Deck.

1. Lay out all the cards from your current deck in front of you in columns. First column Fire, 2nd Water, 3rd Earth, 4th Wood, 5th Biolith, 6th Spells.
2. Arrange the cards in each column from lowest mana at the top, to highest mana at the bottom.
3. That was the easy part. Now is the time for some hard work. Your goal should be to have an equal number of elements (in other words you want all the columns about equal length). There is one exception, though. Biolith elements tend to be expensive, and can't be cast early due to summoning lock, so I keep that column a little shorter than the rest. I also keep my Spell column a little longer than the other columns, because a lot of them are cheap (or free) and extremely useful.
To give you an idea of what's a good ratio - here's an example:
Fire - 5, Water 5, Earth 5, Wood 5, Biolith 4, Spells 6.

Keep in mind that you can (and in fact should) be flexible. The ratios are not set in stone, and they don’t need to be exact (for example you may add an extra spell, or have 6 Fire creatures, and only 4 Water creatures, etc.)

4. Having an equal number of all elements is not everything. You also need a nice variety in mana costs. For example, you'll want 1 mana creatures of most, if not all elements. You'll definitely want 2 mana creatures, some 3 mana, a bit 4 mana, and a couple of heavy hitters. Keep in mind that Biolith creatures start at 3 mana.

Here are some examples of what your rows may look like:
-1 mana creatures – Hellfire Spitter, Tritonan Ice Guard, Verzar Canine, Bewitching Elf Archeress,
-2 mana creatures – Partmole Flame Lizzard, Tritonan Harpoonsman, Skeleton Soldier, Elven Berserker Maiden
-3 mana creatures – Great Minos of Sciondar etc…

5. While making your choices, don't forget to include your favorite Noble, Hero and Phantom in your deck. Heros and Phantoms in particular, give you a lot of advantages for very little cost.

6. A very important point that many new players forget is Magic. You absolutely need magic creatures to stay competitive. Your deck should at the very least contain one Aluhja Priestess and a Flame Magus. Magic is the only way (other than Spells) to get rid of your opponent’s creatures that have Perfect Dodge skill. It's also the preferred way of getting rid of regular Dodge creatures. In addition to cheap magic attackers, you may also want some heavy hitters, like Partmole Fire Oracle or even Arc Satellite Cannon (that particular card has saved me from a sure loss in quite a few of games).

7. No deck can be complete without an assortment of Spells. Below I list a few that you should definitely include in yours, you’ll find that most of them deal with mana generation – an absolute must to stay ahead of your opponent:
-Parmetic Holy Feast
-Goghlie Altar
-Beguiling Fog
-Fissures of Goghlie

You may also include the following, depending on your style of play:
-Summoner Mesmer's Lapse
-Healing Shower

To go in depth of why certain spells are better than others, would require another article. Suffice it to say, that when picking Spells, give preference to those that don't cost any mana.

If you follow all the points above, you'll end up with a pretty decent deck. But you're still not done. What you should do now is play the deck against the computer or players online. After you play it a number of times you'll notice that some cards you are very happy to see and they keep helping you, while other cards you end up just holding in your hand and never cast them. It is at that point that you make adjustments. If you feel like some card is really not as good as you thought it would be - take it out, and replace with another creature (don't forget to keep the balance between elements, and mana costs). If on the other hand you see some cards that you always wish would come up - think about putting multiples of those in your deck (exception being cards, like Heroes, or Nobles and certain Spells that are limited to 1 per deck).
Apply the same logic whenever you get a new set of cards from boosters - see which ones you like. Then replace the least useful in your deck with the new ones. This is a process that will take you a long time to finalize, but as time goes on you’ll find that your deck is getting more stable, and you are having a tough time when it comes to getting rid of any cards. You’ll also notice that your win-to-loss ratio is getting better, as it should be.

Posted by violentant on Mon, 7th Jan 2008, at 10:54
That's an excellent guide Eternal21, it kind of make me want to write one of my own. The only comment I would like to make is that with point 7 of course this is a manner of opinion but having both Beguiling Fog & Fissures of Goghlie is not a ‘definitely’ must have I would personally suggest having one or the other although they both can save you at certain points of the game, over killing your deck with too many spell cards is not a good think I would try and limit spell cards to 2-6 max, another spell I would like to recommend which were not mention would be Clair will banner. Anyway that’s my two cents to the piece. PSN: Victory_AVOS [rank 17 in the world]
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