Tag Archives: budget

Catching Up on New Frontiers

Were you gone from the game during the months of Alice Cluster, but want some quick wins on that sudden, upcoming New Frontiers tournament at your local hobby shop without spending too much time or money on updating your deck?

Look no further, here are some of the decks that you can run and still beat people with at your locals.

Continue reading Catching Up on New Frontiers


Ruler On A Budget: Yog-Yamata Reanimator Combo Decklist for $50

Just last week, I visited the local FoW community at Ongkeco’s Hobby Shop (OHS) in Taft Avenue. I met around six people throughout the afternoon, and after playing, exchanging ideas, and having a lot of excitement involving a couple of boxes of Vingolf, I went home in high spirits – it’s great to see the local community steadily growing.

I’ve promised two of the players, Lenard and Fran, a deck that the latter would enjoy. Lenard has a grasp for the game and is experienced – just behind a bit on cards, while Fran is new to the game. After seeing her play an aggressive pre-Alice cluster Bahamut deck, it occurred to me how aggressive decks in FoW does a lot of stuff and it might be intimidating to newer players to remember them all and play optimally, not to mention that with the shortage of supply of the Melgis and Faria duel decks, upgrading to a better aggro deck might not be the best solution at the moment.

An idea came to me as I was perusing Lenard’s binder and came across Yamata-no-Orochi. The Nightmare/Dragon Resonator has been a centerpiece of most combo decks because it can OTK (One Turn Kill) the opponent from nowhere using reanimation (when you put a resonator from the graveyard directly into play, bypassing its actual cost) shenanigans. I remember Cesar, one of the prominent players in our local community, piloting a version which used Book of Eibon and Genesis Creation a couple of weeks before, and it did well. However, his list contained some hard-to-find cards like Guinevere, but I’m convinced that there might be a way to build it cheaper without compromising its power too much.

Image of Yamata-no-Orochi
The disaster refers to pulling out one of these from your TAT pack.

A couple of days later, I made this list:

Ruler: Blazer Gill Rabus (Php500)

4 Prowler of Niflheim (Php40)
2 Shantak (Php20)
4 Forty Thieves (Php40)
4 Card Soldier “Club” (Php40)
2 Arthur, the Dead Lord of Vengeance (Php150)
4 Yog-Sothoth, the Dark Myth (Php200)
4 Yamata-no-Orochi, the Eight Disasters (Php200)

4 Necromancy of the Undead Lord (Php40)
4 Book of Eibon (Php80)
4 Genesis Creation (Php200)
2 Realm of Pure Spirits (Php40)
2 Niflheim, the Realm of the Dead (Php50)

4 Magic Stone of Heaven’s Rift (Php600)
5 Darkness Magic Stone
1 Light Magic Stone

Total: Php2200 (or roughly $50)

So here’s a deck with a linear game plan, cheap, and can potentially be faster than any aggressive deck at the moment. Barring an initial learning curve involving the reanimation shenanigans (which will be explained in simplified fashion below), the deck is easy to pick up for the enthusiastic newbie. But before we move on, let us take a look at the cards in the deck and what they do:

Ruler: Blazer Gill Rabus

Image of Blazer Gill Rabus
He and Grimm are forever locked in a staring contest.

Blazer is our Ruler of choice primarily because of his ability to produce Fire Will out of any Magic Stone. This saves us a bit of money since we don’t have to invest in a set of Magic Stone of Scorched Bales (the Fire/Darkness one). More importantly, it lets us cast Forty Thieves, a key part of the deck’s engine, without any problem. A nice benefit of having Blazer as a ruler is that the opponent won’t be able to guess our deck’s game plan – a Blazer deck is mostly aggro or control, and it might lead to a slight advantage. They’ll also be more cautious when J-Activating.

Monsters: Yamata-no-Orochi, Yog-Sothoth, the Dark Myth, Arthur, the Dead Lord of Vengeance

Image of Yog-Sothoth
‘Sup Knights. 🙂

These three are the big hitters and are the main targets of reanimation spells. Yamata is the centerpiece of the deck, and allows as early as turn 3 kills. Yog is our other big toy to reanimate, with the added bonus of being able to come down early via the Incarnation mechanic. With lots of 1 and 2-cost Resonators in the deck, it should be easy to Incarnate Yog and stop early pressure. Note that his [Enter] effect won’t work when he enters play from the graveyard. Arthur, while having poor synergy with Yamata, is great with the rest of the deck should we find ourselves going for Plan B – which is good ol’-fashioned beatdown.

Enablers: Shantak, Prowler of Niflheim, Forty Thieves, and Card Soldier “Club”
These four cards make up half of the deck’s engine, as they put cards into your graveyard for reanimation later on. Forty Thieves is best used when we have the big monsters in your hand and need to discard them and/or we have to find our reanimation spells. Card Soldier best used when we already have reanimation spells in our hand, but lack targets in the graveyard. Learning when to use these two properly is one of the tricky, yet rewarding aspects of the deck, and requires a bit of intuition and luck.

As for Prowler, it’s almost always a good idea to cast him on turn 1. In the later turns, treat him the same way as Card Soldier when weighing your options. Finally, Shantak is a great early blocker, Incarnation fuel, and another way to discard any big monster that gets stuck in your hand.

Reanimators: Book of Eibon, and Genesis Creation

Image of Book of Eibon
Remember that it can also steal your opponent’s Resonators.

Book of Eibon is probably the best reanimation spell in the game so far. It only costs 3, and with the current metagame being light on Addition-hate, it’s unlikely that the opponent will be ready for it. Take note that it’s an Addition:Field, meaning that we can target it with Genesis Creation, and it’ll reanimate another Resonator in the graveyard when it enters the field (e.g. if we have Yog, Yamata, and Book of Eibon in our graveyard and play Genesis Creation, we can reanimate Yamata and Book. Book then enters play and reanimates Yog).

Genesis Creation is our other reanimation spell and can be used as described above, though ideally, its main targets are Yamata and Realm of Pure Spirits.

Others: Necromancy of the Undead Lord, Niflheim, the Realm of the Dead, and Realm of Pure Spirits

Image of Necromancy of the Undead Lord
The Real MVP

Despite only granting minor stat buffs, Necromancy of the Undead Lord is one of the best cards in the deck since it never truly dies (hence no loss in card advantage), and latches itself for free to the Resonators that we play or reanimate. Just a couple of these on a Yamata is enough damage to close the game. As an added bonus, it turns the Resonator that it’s attached to into a Zombie, so it gets the bonus of Niflheim as well.

When there are little to no Zombies on our field, Niflheim can be treated as Card Soldier 5 and 6 – it’s an enabler that puts stuff into our graveyard, and can be brought back by Genesis Creation later if needed. Otherwise it’s a nice global buff to your Zombies (or anyone with a Necromancy attached to them).

Finally, a couple of Realm of Pure Spirits makes Yamata nearly untouchable since he doesn’t need to rest to attack, hence always “inside” the Realm’s protection.

Here are some general rules to remember when playing the deck:
1) Always keep the important enablers (Prowler, Thieves, Club).
2) Always keep at least one reanimation spell. Two is fine, if the other cards in your hand are enablers.
3) Always keep Necromancy of the Undead Lord, but not more than one. You may keep multiples if you have ways to discard it from your hand like Shantak or Forty Thieves.
4) You’re better off seeing the big monsters in the graveyard than in your hand. HOWEVER, do keep a big monster if your initial hand can allow reanimating it on turn 3 or 4.
5) Keep a Yogg against aggro, but only if your hand can support casting it via Incarnation.

The deck’s main plan is to hold off until it can pull the Yamata combo and kill the opponent in one go. How often this happens and at what turn can vary, but should the stars align, we can kill as early as turn 3. When we’re not raising eight-headed dragons from the dead, the deck’s plan B depends on the matchup.

Against aggro decks, we have to stall until we can pull out a big monster from our graveyard to defend with. Keep in mind that sometimes, clearing the field is better than going for face. Be sure to count damage before committing to a play.

Against control decks, we can be proactive with our enablers and use them to constantly pressure the opponent. Control decks tend to have solid removal spells, so relying on Yamata might not be the best option. However, do take advantage of any opening that comes up. Arthur might be the best among the big monsters in this matchup, since he’s a recurring threat that buffs our other attackers.

Despite having a plan B, most of the deck’s wins rely on an unanswered Yamata combo, and in some games it just doesn’t happen. Such is the nature of a combo deck that relies on the quality of cards in the graveyard – there will be times when it’ll be inconsistent, or we draw the wrong cards, or things don’t simply mesh together – and that variance is something we’ll have to accept in exchange for potentially winning regardless of any game state.

Just think of it as high-risk, high reward.

In terms of match-ups, I think the deck can go toe-to-toe with most decks. However, it has two nightmare matchups – Pricia (or anything that has Horn of Sacred Beasts) decks, and control decks. The former is almost unwinnable given how good Horn of the Sacred Beast is in ruining our main game plan, while the latter can reach a point where it can Cancel most of our plays if we don’t apply pressure fast enough. Blazer, the Eater of Dimensions, could potentially be bad for our deck as well, but he’s not a popular choice in the metagame at the moment.

Sideboard and Moving Forward

The sideboard is where we can get flexible with our card choices, and for this I suggest that we do a transformative sideboard instead to fight against the control matchups, and keep our opponent guessing regarding which strategy we’ll use.

1 Rezzard, the Undead Lord / Rezzard, the Desecrating Vampire
4 Death Scythe, the Life Reaper
4 Underground Dragger
3 Scion of Ancient Lore
3 Seth, the Arbiter

Death Scythe is a natural complement to Blazer’s J-Activate abilities, and those two combined can easily scare the opponent into holding back on their J-Activation. Since we’re using the Darkness Regalia, we might as well take full advantage of it by using Rezzard as our alternatre Ruler against heavy control decks. The Undead Lord adds a lot of pressure because he can come out early before control decks can truly stabilize, and is often huge enough that he can’t be taken down easily. With Death Scythe in play, he can easily dominate the field by stealing opposing Resonators.

The rest of the sideboard is dedicated to this Rezzard beatdown strategy. Underground Dragger serves as a natural Rezzard buff when in the standby area, and removal when triggered. Scion is really good beater for his cost, and is another great reanimation target.

Finally, we have Seth. He’s a secondary engine that allows us to retrieve cards from the graveyard whenever we kill opposing Resonators, and is still good even if we don’t have discard effects. There are a lot more tricks involving him, which will be covered at a future Rezzard article.

Image of Seth, the Arbiter
So. Much. Value.

As for the cards to remove when siding in the Rezzard suite, we’ll want to take the combo pieces out entirely, but still leave the reanimation spells in. So we go:

-1 Blazer
-4 Yamata-no-Orochi
-2 Realm of Pure Spirits
-2 Yog-Sothoth
-2 Shantak
-4 Forty Thieves

So that’s it for our deck. If you want to try something risky yet fun, give it a shot! It’s quite easy to play and build, and won’t cost you an arm and leg to acquire the pieces. It can be frustrating at times, but when everything comes together, there’s no greater satisfaction than bringing the opponent from 4000 to 0 in one play.

A disaster indeed.

Until then!

Card images are from db.fowtcg.us

Four Thousand Damage On A Budget

Let’s start with a simple equation:

What’s [(1000 x 2) + 300] x 2?

How about 300 + 1200 + 2000 + 800?

Actually, it doesn’t matter. Those numbers go over 4000, and that’s the potential damage you can deal from nowhere with this Wind/Fire Budget deck. Just make sure to keep their doors open for attack.

4 Refarth, the Castle in Heaven – Php200
4 Evolution of Limits – Php40
3 Duel of Truth – Php30
3 Rapid Decay – Php60
3 Poison Apple – Php30

4 Hunter in Black Forest – Php40
4 Wolf-Haunted in Black Forest – Php80
4 Seven Dwards – Php40
4 Beowulf, the Blazing Wolf – Php40
3 Moon Night Pouncer – Php60
4 Oz, the Great Magician – Php80

6 Magic Stone of Flame – Php18
4 Magic Stone of Wind – Php12

Total: Php730

Crimson Girl in the Sky / Little Red, the True Fairy Tale: Php400+

Little Red, the True Fairy Tale is the Ruler that makes all of this happen, and it is necessary that she J-Activates to make the deck work at full power. Aggressive Resonators coupled with the threat of early J-Activation plus huge damage spikes puts the opponent on a very fast clock, where a simple mistake of not having a blocker or instant-speed removal can mean lights out for them.

Grimm on a Budget

Let’s say that you’ve opened a pack, and that inside is the much coveted Grimm, the Prince of Fairy Tales. Your mind raced with thoughts of commanding an army of Fairy Tales into battle (and beating other players with them). Suddenly, a bit of doubt sneaks in: aren’t Fairy Tales and those fancy-schmancy spells that go with them expensive?

Pied Piper is the cheapest win condition around.

Well worry not friend, we’ve got the answer! Presenting F&F’s Grimm Budget list (with prices!):

4 Tell a Fairy Tale – Php200
3 Realm of Evolution – Php60
2 Voice of the False God – Php20
2 Dream of Juliet – Php20
2 Realm of Pure Spirits – Php40

4 Hunter in Black Forest – Php40
4 Tinker Bell – Php200
4 One-Inch Boy – Php40
3 Aesop, the Prince’s Tutor – Php60
2 Sleeping Beauty – Php100
2 Deadman Prince – Php20
2 Pumpkin Witch – Php20
1 The Emperor in New Clothes – Php20
1 Rapunzel, the Long-Haired Princess – Php100
4 Pied Piper of Hamelin – Php400

3 Magic Stone of Wind – Php9
3 Magic Stone of Light – Php9
2 Magic Stone of Water – Ph6
2 Magic Stone of Darkness – Php6

Total: Php1370

Grimm, the Fairy Tale Prince – Php600+

The key to saving up on a Grimm list is that we cut any fancy Special Magic Stones thanks to Grimm’s power. We just need to find the right ratio of the Basic Stones needed in relation to the spells (or non-Fairy Tale cards) we are running in the deck.

The deck plays as a mid-range deck whose primary game plan is to pump your Fairy Tale Army via Realm of Evolution and Sleeping Beauty, and then do an alpha strike via Pumpkin Witch. The backup plan of course, is to win on the back of Hamelin’s Pied Piper controlling to opposing field while under the protection of Aesop and Realm of Pure Spirits.

And then there’s Rapunzel flying over the enemies’ heads and hitting for 1000 damage multiple times a turn.

So there you have it, a Grimm deck that doesn’t break the wallet.

Until then!

Steamrolling: The Basics of Crimson Girl Oz Aggro in Grimm Block

For the third straight time I’m writing about aggressive decks, and it’s not by coincidence. A metagame is shaped by the decks at the base level – where aggressive, proactive strategies can be found. They often set the pace of how fast or slow a format is, and creates a basis on how good the other deck types are.

The Cycle

For example, in a format with cheap, efficient Resonators, aggressive strategies can be considered good. Soon however, players might find that the format too have big, useful creatures that halt these aggressive strategies, and takes over the game soon after – thus we now have mid-range decks in the mix. Players then realize that to beat these big creature decks, one viable option is to go even bigger, or snuff them out with cheap removal and halt their slow offense by grinding them out of options because hey, we have drawing power and they don’t – now we have some form of control decks popping up. Let this trend keep up a bit and the aggressive players start taking notice of how “slow” the format is becoming, and then punish it by playing something that kills fast enough before the more cumbersome decks set up.

Combo decks just mind their own business regardless of what’s happening.

Going Big vs Going Wide

Aggressive options generally fall into two forms of offense: going big – which is playing progressively bigger threats per turn, or turning a smaller Resonators into a bigger threat via pump spells. It relies more on the quality of the threat rather than the quantity of it available.

In order for these big threats to stick around and do damage, they’re usually protected with spells that enable them to survive removal (e.g. Breath of the God), or combat (e.g. Evolution of Limits, Addition: Resonator that adds more ATK/DEF). The main drawback of this play style is that you concentrate a bulk of your offense onto one end, so it goes without saying that once it dies, it’ll be hard to recover because the rest of your offense is smaller by comparison, and thus easier to handle.

For example, I consider my Bahamut and Snow White decks as “going big” in terms of offense, as they tend to play a bigger threat after the next, culminating in a J-Ruler activation. While it doesn’t have protection spells to save my Resonators from removal, it contains some form of reach instead which deals the last few bits of damage should my attacks wear off.

The other form of offense is going wide, where you go for the quantity of threats rather than quality. The idea here is to swarm the opponent quickly with multiple, cheap sources of damage, so even if they take one out with removal, the rest of the team still keeps pounding. One-for-one removal doesn’t do well against these guys because their power level is evenly spread out, so killing one of them doesn’t affect their offense much.

The main drawback of this kind of strategy is that cheap guys are generally weak. They won’t do much later on in the game when matched against bigger, costlier threats. Swarm decks are also prone to mass removal or Area of Effect (AoE) spells. Should you happen to commit all-in with your guys and they died to AoE, you’ll be way behind the game.

Despite both types of offenses being linear in nature, most decks contain a bit of both (sometimes unintentionally). Draws with multiple 1-drops for example, will force you to go wide even if there are other bigger threats in your deck.

The Deck

Or maybe your deck swarms first, then turn the small guys into bigger threats later, like this one:

Little Red Riding Hood grew up nicely.

Ruler: Crimson Girl in the Sky / Little Red, the True Fairy Tale

10 Magic Stone of Wind

4 Cowardly Lion
4 Heartless Tin Man
4 Brainless Scarecrow
4 Dorothy, the Lost Girl
4 Oz, the Great Wizard

4 Refarth, the Castle in Heaven
4 Silver Shoes
4 Evolution of Limits
3 Realm of Evolution
3 Oz’s Magic
2 Absolute Cake Zone

The Oz lineup of Resonators are some of the best aggressive drops because they have ways to grow out of their mediocre starting stats via the “achievement” counter mechanic. Cowardly Lion, for example, is one of the best one-drops in the block since he can potentially spiral out of control if left unchecked. Heartless Tin Man, on the other hand, has a natural synergy with the deck’s plan to buff Resonators with its numerous Additions. Finally, Brainless Scarecrow rewards you for swarming, by entering as a 1-cost 500/500 as long as the other two are around.

Made out straw… and the corpses of his enemies.

I previously had less copies of Oz, but after reading through his text, I realized that there are more possibilities to it than just getting a free Oz’s Magic (which is good in itself). Notice how the wording says “spell” – which in FoW, translates to either Summon Spells, or Normal Spells.

He can get anything that costs 1. Or maybe not. It was pointed out to me by Jason from the FoW-US group that spells only count Standby, Instants, and Chants. He also pointed out that Oz is outside of Thunder and Rapid decay reach, so he’s kinda good still. Thanks Jason! 😀

Gotta love the community for taking their time to point these out. Thanks guys! 🙂

You know what else costs 1? The Oz trio. Silver Shoes. Evolution of Limits. And if you splash a second color (like Red), he can fetch Huntsman, Rapid Decay, and Thunder too! Or Tinker Bell, and Cheshire if you’re playing Grimm. He’s a multipurpose tool whose main function helps the primary strategy of the deck, but also fetches crucial cards when needed.

A great wizard indeed.

Behind Dorothy, the Lost Girl’s happy-go-lucky, somewhat derpy look hides the fuel that keeps the Oz engine running. Her Awakening ability can seem random, but the fact is that you’re refilling your hand with more threats. Sure it sometimes whiffs and hits nothing, but that’s part of the nature of card games. But boy, when it hits, you get to have an army in your hand.

The face that launched… well, three guys on a journey.

Remember to always, always keep track of her continuous ability, because it enables something an aggressive deck normally can’t do – which is to ramp resources. The deck benefits greatly from this because we want to J-Activate our Ruler as soon as possible.

Wow, those are some huge umm… stat bonuses! Yeah, that’s it.

Little Red’s second Continuous ability is nuts. Evolution of Limits is already great value for what it does, but with her around it’s lights out for your opponent if they let any of your threats through. But that’s just one of the things they have to worry about – there’s Refarth, Realm of Evolution, Silver Shoes, and achievement counters which turn the weak, fragile Oz group into huge monstrosities. It’s also a great thing that she protects herself from Fire and Darkness spells and abilities, so sorry, no Bloodsucking Impulse or Duel of Truth for Little Red.

Despite what the art on the card shows.

As I’ve mentioned above, the rest of the Normal spells all help in buffing Resonators and pushing damage, but I think Absolute Cake Zone deserves a special mention here.

I’ve could have gotten away with it too, if it weren’t for those meddling cakes!

I initially thought that in a format that’s geared towards playing Resonators, this thing would be obsolete, but I was wrong. Behind every Grimm Block deck lies one or two abilities that play a huge part in its plan – Tell a Fairy Tale, Stoning to Death, Alice’s World, Xeex the Ancient Magic, Treasury Items, etc.

This card throws a wrench on those.

Granted, with two copies it doesn’t appear much (and it doesn’t really need to, since we’re on the proactive end that’s putting out all the threats), but you can count on it messing up your opponent’s game plan on crucial moments.

Gameplay and Weaknesses

If you’ve played a Grand Crusader deck in WoW TCG before, you’ll feel right at home (and perhaps a little nostalgic) because this deck follows the same game plan – you play small, early threats, then pump them for huge amounts and overwhelm your opponent later on.

And that’s actually it! Just keep attacking until they give up, and protect your guys with cake if necessary. Use Dorothy to reload, and Oz to pump them further or find a crucial spell to threaten them further… like more small guys to snowball into victory with.

But therein lies the weakness of the deck – it needs to be able to get a solid footing (having small Resonators on the field) before it can steamroll your opponent. That means you need to get your Oz guys out ASAP, because a slower start will cripple your offense especially if your opponent is able to answer your threats 1-for-1. What happens then is that you’ll be left with Additions in hand and waiting for your next Resonator to show up – giving the opponent more time to deal with it.

The other big weakness of the deck is this guy:

He hates Castles, Realms, and fancy Treasury Items, among other things.

Here are a few other points to consider when playing the deck:

  • You have to mulligan aggressively for early drops. Two 1-cost Oz guys, and an Addition are good, but more is generally better.
  • Keep Refarth, the Castle in Heaven whenever it shows up. It’s a world of difference to J-Activate Crimson Girl manually compared to using it with Refarth. For one, it costs less resources, and you can do it as early as turn 3 if you need to. Finally, multiple copies of Refarth aren’t so bad since you can Banish the existing one easily for more benefits.
  • When to play Dorothy: She’s generally good in any stage of the game, but as a general rule, play her when you’re ahead but after the other guys. For example, if you have some Oz guys in play, playing Oz, the Great Wizard on turn 3 is generally better since he can buff them immediately with Oz’s Magic. Dorothy isn’t too threatening by herself – it’s her ability to fetch threats that makes her a powerhouse. It’s also interesting how she gets more out of Cinderella’s glass slippers rather than the story-related Silver Shoes. :))
  • Speaking of Cinderella, always keep the Ashen Maiden in mind when playing against Darkness decks, since her ability has the potential to wipe your board early on. It might be best to actually play Refarth or Realm of Evolution to somewhat counter this. The good news is that there aren’t many popular AoEs in Grimm block to worry about.
  • Against other aggressive decks, it’s oftentimes better to trade Resonators and keep their board clean, since yours will eventually grow out of proportion and become difficult for them to deal with.
  • Against control, keep going at them and reserve Absolute Cake Zone for the most crucial of moments.

Opportunities and Upgrades

It’s worthwhile to consider splashing a couple of other colors to provide the deck with a different angle of attack and cover some of its weaknesses, such as Fire for removal (and Beowulf shenanigans), Darkness for Pumpkin Witch alpha strikes (and removal), and Light for other angles of attack or protection (e.g. Aesop, Rapunzel).

As for more Wind options, Xeex the Ancient Magic shines here with four modes which an all be used at the same time. Depending on your local metagame, it might take the place of Absolute Cake Zone, and probably a copy or two of Evolution of Limits. Glinda, the Witchc is also good, but not necessary in a deck with a spread-out power level such as this – she’s better suited for decks with huge, single threats. However, the ability to disrupt the opponent’s Normal Spells make her a good sideboard consideration against some decks. Against the mirror match, it’s probably a good idea to pack Christie, the Wind Tracker / Helsing, the Vampire Hunter, and add Silver Bullets and Elvish Archers on the sideboard.

Finally, Feethsing, the Wind Holy Stone is good as an additional form of protection.

So despite the linear strategy the deck has, it’s actually a bit flexible to build and benefits from other colors, but is equally capable even if it stays all-green. Always weigh the pros and cons when adding other cards and colors to the deck, and always keep in mind the metagame that you’re taking it to.

Other than that, keep steamrolling your foes.

Until then!

Pauper and You

So there I was, under the dim lights of my laptop, and carrying a sinister grin, thinking of where I can get my copy of Snow White. After sorting through the Grimm Block cards, I’m pretty sure that nothing can beat her as long as I draw my apples.

Out of the common, and uncommon cards at least.

Now, why was I doing this?

Because I want my playmat, that’s why. 😛

I’m not too confident that I’m the only one on the Snow White train. The other viable option was Bahamut, who can J-Activate more consistently and has flying, but at the cost of having less stats and no Target Attack.

And then there’s the concept of breaking the format.

Now, I’m not advocating the idea of not looking for things that are imbalanced and riding them to victory. It’s an inherent trait of card games (and other games in general), and I believe it’s every player’s responsibility to at least give a shot in trying to solve a given format or metagame because that’s how mistakes come to light, and from there we can solve them.

Anyway, going back to our scenario, imagine if this thing went under the radar, and news spread like wildfire – Turn 2 Snow White wins Pauper tournament! Guess what happens on the next one? Probably a Snow White top 8, each trying to get their Poison Apple.

With a limited card pool, all the strategy, possibilities, and potential fun of the format devolves into a frantic mulligan for a certain card, and praying to go first.

So I had this conundrum in mind as I made my way to Glorietta 2. Should I play Jeanne d’Arc on the sideboard? Then it doesn’t move the initial problem too much – it now becomes a Jeanne vs Snow White format, with everyone else becoming canon fodder.

And that’s the whole point – everyone else is simply too weak for these two ladies.

Alex was quick to notice this as well, and came to the conclusion that J-Rulers in general are a bit too overpowered for Pauper, and I think I’ll have to agree too (no matter how much I love my 2nd turn Snow White). So we started looking for alternatives – ban Snow, Bahamut, and Jeanne? Maybe, but there will always, always, always be arguments on specific bans, especially if these aren’t backed up officially. And even if it does push through, someone will always find another Ruler to exploit. Simply put, as cards they are inherently powerful enough to warp the Pauper format around their selection.

Then a ray of hope showed up: “What if we do it like in draft, where any resonator can be a face-down ruler, then we can pay their cost to flip them up and put them in the field and treat them as regular resonators? Then if they die, they simply go back face-down to the ruler area and, just like the real thing, still be able to call up stones?”

Oh FoW Draft, I have never experienced you before. But it did make a lot of sense – first of all the “Ruler” is at least on the same power level as the other cards in the format, yet at the same time, they present a strategic element in that they can be played in a timely manner to potentially turn the tables around since they’re readily accessible. And there’s TONS of them to choose from! Endless possibilities anyone? 😀

All while still being realistically beatable.

In fact, this idea can instead be the foundation of the ongoing Deck-raising campaign, wherein all of the giveaway decks are Pauper decks (since it’s very costly to give away Rulers). So we teach new players Pauper first, let them enjoy it a bit, and then teach them the regular game as a way of moving forward. This can be the rule that can separate casual play/tournaments from serious/big competition, and I think that it’s a great tool in increasing the number of potential players.

So yeah, I think that’s awesome.

Finally, there’s another issue that I’m partial to, and that’s allowing cards from the Valhalla block, but that stems more from my lack of knowledge of the older sets. However, if it keeps the format fresh, evolving, fun, and most importantly, encourage people to play, then I’m all for it.

Well, those are my thoughts on Pauper for now. How about yours? Let them be known at the comments!

Until then! 🙂

Updated Pauper Decklists for the Deck-raising Campaign

I’ve been tweaking the list for a bit to make deckbuilding easier, and for decks to have more variety (and opportunities for upgrades) by not containing too many copies of specific cards. Enjoy!

List of Pauper Decks


Ruler: Sacred Princess of Guidance / Lumia, Creator of Hope


2 The Emperor in New Clothes
2 Caterina, the Saint of Fantasy
2 Light of Lumia
2 Realm of Pure Spirits


2 Clothes Tailor
3 The Queen’s Butler
3 Pure Spirit of Fantasy
3 Seeking Sky Soldier
2 King’s Servant
2 Guardian of the Tower
3 Knight of Loyalty

2 Dream of Juliet
2 Breath of the God
3 Longinus, the Holy Lance
3 Silver Stake
2 Light of Hope
2 March of Saints

10 Magic Stone of Light


Ruler: Nameless Girl / Jeanne d’Arc, the Flame of Hatred


2 Stone Bowl of Buddah
2 Heavenly Feathered Robe
2 Rabbit Kick
2 Little Mermaid of Tragic Love


3 Knight of the New Moon
3 One-Inch Boy
3 Riina, the Girl with Nothing
3 Sleeping Rat
3 Shallows Giant Dolphin
3 Servant of Kaguya
3 Archer of the Crescent Moon
2 Squirmer of the Dark

3 Star Money
2 Rat Catcher’s Pipe
2 Witch’s Dagger
2 Voice of the False God

10 Magic Stone of Water


Ruler: Alucard, the Dark Noble / Dracula, the Demonic One


2 Neithardt, the Demon Knight
2 Elder Things
2 Necronomicon
2 Romeo, the Despair


3 Card Soldier “Spade”
2 Card Soldier “Club”
2 Servant of Vampire
3 Ebony Devil
2 Pumpkin Witch
2 Deadman Prince
2 Spire Shadow Drake
2 Vampire Bat
2 Whisper from the Abyss
2 Midnight Bell
2 Death Sentence from the Queen
2 Slipper of Cinderella
2 Joker’s Suit
2 Black Coffin of Vampires
2 Demon’s Curse

10 Magic Stone of Darkness


Ruler: Snow White / Bloody Snow White


2 Moon Night Pouncer
2 Rapid Decay
2 Purifying Fire
2 Wolf Haunted in Black Forest


3 Card Soldier “Diamond”
2 Hunter in Black Forest
2 Granny by the Fireplace
2 Murderous Snowman
3 Seven Dwarfs
3 Beowulf, the Blazing Wolf
3 Gliding Dragon Knight

2 Duel of Truth
2 Kusanagi Sword
2 Clockwork Apple Bomb
2 Poison Apple
2 Basket of Little Red
2 Big Bang Revolution
2 Red Hot Iron Shoes

10 Magic Stone of Flame


Ruler: Crimson Girl in the Sky / Little Red, the True Fairy Tale


2 Gretel
2 Realm of Evolution
2 Oz’s Magic
2 Oz, the Great Wizard


2 Elvish Priest
2 Heartless Tin Man
2 Brainless Scarecrow
2 Cowardly Lion
3 Porthos, the Three Musketeers
3 Wolf in the Sky
2 Elvish Bowman
2 Elvish Exorcist

2 Dragonslayer
2 Musketeer’s Bayonet
3 Evolution of Limits
2 Absolute Cake Zone
2 Crucifix
3 Silver Shoes

10 Magic Stone of Wind