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Author Topic: Tactics Tuesday: Solid Decking  (Read 10 times)

CGReynolds

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Tactics Tuesday: Solid Decking
« on: July 17, 2019, 02:07:08 am »
Tactics Tuesday: Solid Decking

At the heart of your game of AD is your deck. No matter what units you bring, build or ‘borrow’ from your opponent, using them to their fullest depends on the tactics you employ on them. More than that, though, what cards you choose to bring with you will make or break your game plan far more thoroughly than any other element of your game. So let’s take a look at how to select your deck.

Before we get started, a couple of points.  We’re only looking at a 1-commander set in this article, so just the 30 card deck and only the one commander’s units to use them on. We’re also looking at a generic deck here rather than going into more detail on different builds.

So how should you build your deck? Let’s start with the fundamentals, or more accurately, the fundamentals of deck-building that we won’t be using. Unlike other games that might include a deck-building element, in AD you’re not shuffling and drawing from your deck. You won’t need to worry about what percentage of your deck has cards of type x, so that you’re more likely to draw them. There are also no restrictions about what to put into your deck, so if you really want to you can just take 30 copies of the same card and just spam it. Of course, that’s not really going to be all that helpful to you… unless… (*sits down and starts drawing up a plan for an all-Cougar force that plays nothing but Redline and rams the enemy to death*)

When choosing your cards, you want to have a nice spread of different options to play with. There will be many hard choices when deciding your deck composition, and those choices will only get more difficult as your collection of units (and therefore cards) grows. So which ones will you go for?

I like to build a deck around a few concepts. The portion of your 30 cards you devote to each element will differ, but here’s what I keep in each:

- The Basics. This is the set of cards that you find yourself reaching for time and time again.
- The Response. This is a collection of cards that you can take to respond to what your opponent will bring. Tailor it both to your opponent and to whatever vulnerabilities you’re likely to have.
- The Focus. Whatever you’re looking to do a lot of in a game with your commander, playstyle, forces and strategy, this is your set to build on what you brought in The Basics.
- The Specialists. These are cards that are closely linked to one or two of your units that they can’t live without.
- The Opportunities. This is a set of cards that you might need to use occasionally if a particular situation comes up, or else exploit a great setup for fun and profit.

The Basics.
There’s probably very few surprises in this lot. These cards are basically all out of the core set and are already the ones that get highest rotation in your hands each game. We’re talking about classics like Move, Shoot, Assault, System Crash, Redline, Rapid Fire and Precision Fire.
With these cards, you’ll want to choose enough that you can throw a few of them around in a turn. This usually means 2-3 of each card, and no more. Remember that your maximum hand size is usually 6 cards, and even if you’re going hard for one particular thing it’s often better to take a spread of different cards that do similar things (like if you’re advancing with your forces, some units may Move while others Redline, while still others may Assault as they move). Some of these cards will not need such numbers, but a single copy of the card may still see high rotation (like Rapid Fire or Precision Fire).
Overall, your Basics should come to around 12 cards (or 40% of your total!).

The Response.
This set is another lot of essentials, but generally the card count isn’t all that high… often a single copy of each card will suffice. These are the cards that you will want to use infrequently, but they are very important when you do need them!
The cards in this set include defined response orders like Hard Reboot, general emergency orders like Emergency Repairs and orders that allow you to respond to poor rolls like Buffer and Tactical Analysis. Also try to include at least one Capture card- you’ll need it if the enemy succeeds in using a Core Wipe but doesn’t have a Capture of their own ready to go!

The Focus.
This set will be where you support your basics set and aim for a particular playstyle. You’re probably looking at around 6-8 cards at most here, which is a sizeable chunk of your remainder after the Basics and Response sets.
This is where you ask yourself what general factors will be at play here, and a lot of them relate to your playstyle and planned tactics. Are you going to be an aggressive player? You might look at movement cards like Evasive Manoeuvres and Forced Crossing. Are you going to be spread out and need some more control? Pack a Signal Boost or two. Going to be defensive this game? Hull Down should be there. Will you be focused on Electronic Warfare? Reach for those Core Wipe cards. Whatever it is that you will be doing a lot of if you have your way, support that with cards you can use in your strategy.

The Specialists
Some of your units will need a special orders card to realise their full potential. Here we’re talking about cards like Jamming and Area Defence. You don’t have an absolute need to take these cards, but if you don’t bring them to the battle, maybe it’s time to reconsider whether you should really take that unit or perhaps just pick something else to fill that role.
After these ‘must have’ orders for your unit roles, consider some of the other units that might perform better with their specialised orders. Packing Elephants? Indirect Fire and Blindfire should be in your deck (if they aren’t already as a part of the Focus set). Driving a Vampire or leading some Vipers? Stealth Mode might come in handy. Bears are great places to place Divert Power, and your Centaur with an active sensor pod would love to use their Guided Missiles.
This set should be no more than about 4 cards. 

The Opportunities
If you’ve followed the guidelines above about how many cards from each type you should be taking, at this point you’re probably only able to take another four cards. This is your chance to add in the oddball cards (or at least, oddball compared to your usual strategy). If there’s a card that you’ve always wanted to try out, or one that you think might line up once in a blue moon, this is your chance to go a little wild. Maybe you’re an aggressive player but think you can pull off a spectacular Barrage with a Cheetah after you win the Surprise roll? What if you want to pull off a sneaky Spoiling Attack with your barely-armed Jackal?

Now, I did mention that you might have to make some hard decisions. This is a good thing, and it’s something that’s worth having a play around with. Pick more than 30 cards during your deck-building process, and then start paring back the ones you think are less likely to be used. Justify each card’s presence as you go through, and compare the likely usefulness of cards to make your decisions.
In some cases, you might even have to revisit your force selection to change your units. Having too many specialist units (especially where you have only one of them) might require more cards than you can fit into your deck, and it might be easier to choose a different unit instead of trying to serve those specialists properly with orders cards.

What cards do you like to keep in each of these sets? Do you have a different approach to deck building?

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