Category: Deck Guru


Deck Guru: John Fox’s Queen Kalima!

Deck Guru

Deck Guru

So I know in my last article I said I would talk about the decks that topped the ARG open and the first week of KMCs. I even typed up the entire article. However I felt that it has been covered in various articles I have seen throughout the web. So instead I am going to focus on one deck. That made the top cut.

John Fox’s Kalima Deck:

Darkness: 32
Queen Kalima x 3
Suffocate x 3
Gregorias Fortress x 2
Death Liger, Apex Predator x 2
Grudge Weaver x 3
Mesmerize x 3
Scaradorable of Gloom Hollow x 3
Terror Pit x 3
Bone Blades x 3
Ripper Reaper x 3
Maddening Whispers x 2
Mark of Kalima x 2

Light: 7
Andromeda of the Citadel x 2
Stormspark Blast x 3
Keeper of Laws x 2

Nature: 9
Sprout x 3
Mana Storm x 1
Root Trap x 2
Reap and Sow x 3

Darkness/Nature: 3
Necrose Nightmare Bloom x 3

Darkness/Light: 3
Spire Puppet x 3

Total 54

So as soon as I saw the deck make the top 4 I had to build it. I immediately built the deck card for card. I played a couple of solitaire matches and it did alright against my Dragon deck. Seemed like a solid enough deck for me to take to locals and test further. At locals however I went 2-2 and one of those wins was a bye. However I think John built a solid foundation that we can expand upon. Let’s see what John did right and what he did wrong.

What John did right:
The light section was a great inclusion. It is not the first time I’ve seen its inclusion nor will it be the last time, but I can confidently say that adding the light section seemed to curb the Kalima decks tendency to fall flat on its face to any type of aggression, because of Andromeda.

The discard was handy enough. Mesmerize can still be an early game monster. Crippling all the set up plays that the Tempo/Mid-Range need to hit. As well as taking out that pesky Keeper of Laws everyone is playing.

The Nature section seemed pretty solid and standard. Mana Storm proved to actually be pretty useful. Reap and Sow should have been giving the foil treatment, not sprout.

X 3 Suffocate is the way to go. Although not as solid against Naya Blitz/Starseed Smasher decks, it can decimate certain board states. Not to mention it destroys the various Blurple decks popping up.

What didn’t work for me:
Adversely the discard sucked as well. They’d slap down a Keeper of Laws and then there is basically no point. Spire Puppet was cool but did nothing worthwhile to keep you alive long enough to see the benefit of your grind game. Not to mention when you got to late game and you are stuck with a fistful of discard and your opponent is top decking their way to freedom you just get sad.

I am not sure how he got Apex Predator to work, but kudos to him for it. Card was garbage for me all day. Sure it has some cute tricks. But really it’s nothing worthwhile. I got the same feeling about Stormspark Blast. The card is amazing just not in this deck. You have plenty of “board wipe” effects and Stormspark doesn’t really save you a ton when rush/tempo is going in at your face.

Probably the biggest weakness I noticed was that the deck just felt like it packed less of a punch without Tritonus. You were literally Kalima or bust. Andromeda was more of a card that keeps you alive rather than finishes the game. Against any form of Haven, Andromeda gets smashed. You want to overwhelm your opponent by constantly banishing creatures, and you just don’t have enough Kalimas (nor hand presence) to win like that. There needs to be some back up, and Tritonus just lets you do that.

I missed water badly. Even it was just for Tritonus, but Kivu and Squillace Scourge allows for flexibility.

Thoughts:

Well first we need to take a look at what the core of a Kalima deck is. It’s Math and Probability. So let’s look at the math.

After play testing with the deck I never straight up whiffed, but you will suffer epic wins and heart breaking losses all through Kalimas/Marks effect.  John has 38/54 Darkness cards, so a little over 70% of the deck is Darkness targets for Kalima and Mark. However this isn’t even taking into account the possibility of shields being darkness cards and the cards you have drawn. In a perfect world you would hit 2/2 or 3/3 for Mark and Kalima respectively, but this world isn’t perfect. Still the odds are in his favor to hit at least 1/2 or 2/3 (usually).

Since this is more of a deck analysis than a deck fix I won’t go into detail about which cards to cut and which cards to add, because honestly. There are a lot of different directions you could go with Kalima. I’ll just list some cards I have really enjoyed testing with (as well as a small explanation about the card).

Skaak the Stinger:

Not going to lie. I underestimated these new Battle Mages. Skaak is awesome. He’s essentially a +2. Definitely a card that should be considered.

King Tritonus:

Even if it is a small Water section, and only 2 of him. You just need something. You burn out so quick with ramp. Tritonus is just a natural fit.

Squillace Scourge:

Dare I say staple in this deck? The card is nuts, it’s a dark for Kalima, AND you push peoples chest in for game. Super Sharktopus Sharknado™

Screeching Scaradorable:

Shout out to Rob Heber for thinking up this one. She fits right in. Hugely necessary for surviving the early game, not to mention its unblockable effect will come in handy. Calling it now.

Ghostbite/Grip of Despair/Toxic Fog/Devouring Smog/Death Smoke:

These are kind of interchangeable, what you are expecting to play meta wise is a key factor into deciding what to put in. Grip is generally all around good but T5 can hurt. Ghost Bite is like a pseudo Bone Blades so it can help and suck all in one. Toxic Fog is a bird and bug killer. I’ve even enjoyed Devouring Smog and Death Smoke. They all have their place and they might even be good if Keeper of Laws didn’t dominate kill spells.

Dark Scaradorable/Doomblast Scaradorable/Obsidian Death/Serperns the Spirit Shifter/Wild strider Ranmoth:

So there are a lot of options in this area. Kalima has zero mid-game. ZERO. These cards kind of solve that, sorta, Doomblast is probably the best of the bunch with Serpens in second. Dark Scaradorable being T6 actually makes him viable. That extra turn can mean the death of you. Obsidian Death hasn’t done crap for me and Ramnoth doesn’t exactly help your Darkness count, although he has had some decent results.

Abstract Ideas:

Notice the abundance of Chimeras? Maybe Hydra Medusa could be a thing? And perhaps some more discard pile recursion. Pathwork Surgeon? There is a lot of directions we could go with Kalima but I just wanted to throw the ideas out there and show that this deck has a lot of different directions you could take it. Experiment!

Next article we will look at a deck that was submitted to me. No surprises now, but keep sending in deck submissions!

For all deck submissions please send your complete list toTheCardAcademyTCG@gmail.com
Please Include:
– Your Deck list. (Please send a written deck list, not a screenshot.)
– Your name and city.
– Remember – please use full card names! No Abbreviations and miss-spellings please!
– A paragraph or two describing your deck: what it does, why you’re playing it, and its strengths and weaknesses.
– Don’t forget! The cooler and more out of the box your deck is the more I’ll want to fix it, so don’t be afraid to get creative!(Hint: New cards/decks will get priority)

Deck Guru: The Deck Building Process

Deck Guru

Deck Guru

As I mentioned in my introduction article, the majority of my articles will focus on decks: Building decks, Deck Doctors, Budget Builder, and Deck Analysis. However, for the first article I want to go through the basic deck building process. I will be referencing this article frequently in future articles. This article is for deck builders new and old. I myself constantly have to re-evaluate deck building and how to make card choices.

However where is the fun in just reading a boring article about deck building? Let’s build a deck in the process! Let’s keep some things in mind

*This article will be written before Shattered Alliance premieres. Thus, I will base this deck on the current card pool we have available (no Shattered Alliance).
*This is the process I, Robby Stewart, use when building decks. This might work for you, or it might not. Everyone is different.

So we are going to build a fun/semi-competitive deck today. Skyforce Champions!

Step 1- Pre-Deck Building:
How do you decide to start building a deck? What if you are brand new to the game? Generally, you find a card or theme you like and you try to expand upon that theme by inserting cards of similar design and nature. Go check out Kaijudo.com or the Kaijudo Wikia and browse the gallery of cards they have for each set. Take some time to familiarize yourself with the card pool. I promise this will pay off in the future, when new cards come out.

NOTE: I researched cards before this article, and just seeing some of the underused cards effects/art can really inspire a person to build something cool or Meta breaking.

Step 2- Foundation:
This is the most important part of your deck. What is the deck’s foundation? What does it do? Here are five things I look at:
1. What Type of Deck am I creating?
2. Is there an overarching theme?
3. What civilization is my primary focus?
4. What civilizations compliment what I am trying to achieve?
5. What is my win condition?
Now, these cover some broad categories. Newer players might have no idea where to even begin, or may not have the cards at their disposal. Even with limited card pool, you can still make something locally viable by using  these 5 concepts, which I will expand upon later.

Step 3- Building:
So you have thought everything out. You know what you want to build, and some of the cards you want to include, but what now? We actually start putting them together, naturally. There are a couple of ways to build your deck and each has its own applications.
1) Top Down
2) Bottom Up
So I am stealing a little bit of terminology from Wizards R&D, but let me break it down.

Top Down: This is where you smash as many cards as you want into the deck. Every card that you want to experiment with or have thought about trying, stick those suckers in there. This allows for you to see different card interactions during a variety of situations. The various card choices you make can be seen in different scenarios against different decks, generally without compromising the foundation you have already established. After some testing, you can see which cards work the best and begin cutting them from you deck. This process allows you to eliminate some of the fat, and see what cards are strong in what match-ups. Slimmer decks might be considered because of the concise nature of the deck.

Bottom Up: This deck construction technique has you start out at the bare minimum. You put your key essential cards inside the deck, with however many copies you decide on, and keep your deck at 40 cards. Why is this useful? It really establishes the foundation concept that I discussed earlier in the article. These core 40 are your consistency. However, it does limit your variation and your answers to a varied meta. Once you get your foundation down, you can start establishing tech and meta calls, and start increasing deck count. The size of deck is your choice.

Step 4 – Testing!
This step is the most tedious and frustrating. Play style and opponents make a huge difference in the card choices you make. So I will break down testing into the types of tournaments you could be attending.

Locals/Duel Days – If you are trying to improve your standing at locals, take a look at what is being played by the majority and plan accordingly. Test against the most common decks, and choose your cards based on how those testing sessions go. Remember: Your opponents can do the same thing to you.

KMCs – As KMC attendance grows, they will feel less like slightly larger locals. The 2nd round of KMCs will be different, and you can’t plan to play against someone you know every round. This part requires some research, and not just looking at what’s played around you, but what is the most popular in general. This can change from week to week. So stay on your toes!

Lets apply these steps to building Skyforce Champions.

Step 1 – Pre deck building
250px-Azuri,_the_Dawnbreaker_(7CLA)Prior to this article, I did some research and decided Skyforce Champions were fun, cool, and something people could relate with. So Azuri, The Dawnbreaker, and Skyforce Champions will be the focus of the deck I want to create. Plus, Skyforce Champions are just plain awesome.

Step 2 – Foundation
1. What Type of Deck am I creating? –A deck that has a primary focus on Skyforce Champion creatures and evolutions. Primarily Control.
2. Is there an overarching theme? – The Light Civilization has powerful Tap abilities as well as a focus on powerful spells.
3. What civilization is my primary focus? Light
4. What civilizations compliment what I am trying to achieve? Nature and Light are both Complimenting Civilizations. It is an argument for Darkness as well for its powerful spells. (Remember: You have to usually pack enough cards of a certain civilization in order to use them effectively.)
5. How do I win? Attacking shields and overwhelming my opponent through battle and various spells.

Step 3 – Deck Building
So like I said earlier, we want Azuri and Skyforce Champions to be the centerpiece of the deck. After looking at the list of current/available Skyforce Champions, here are the ones I picked:

X 3 Azuri, The Dawnbreaker
X 3 Storm Seeker
X 3 Wave Lancer
X 2 Starlight Strategist
X 1 Ra-Vu Seeker of Lightning

These cards work great in combination and independently. This also gives us plenty of Skyforce Champions to evolve into Azuri.

Now that we have our Skyforce Champion line up, are there any other powerful Light creatures or spells that we throw in? Look at what Light creatures are at your disposal and pick from there. I went with these:

X 2 Andromeda of the Citadel
X 1 Keeper of Dawn
X 3 Keeper of Laws
That’s 18 Creatures, which is almost half of the deck. That is a solid foundation to start with.

Now, I know that we started building in the previous section, but I felt like adding those cards into that section would help everyone better understand where the foundation concept was coming form. On to the real deck building. For this deck I am going to use the Bottom Up approach.
As of the beginning of step 3, we are at 18 cards, which give us another 22 cards to work with. It is no secret to you seasoned Kaijudo players that Water Dark Light Nature is a solid deck. So I am going to go with something familiar and use those civilizations. Here is what I came up with (Notice the importance of Multi-Civ cards to keep card count low, and still have enough cards to meet a consistent mana requirement):

Darkness:
X 3 Terror Pit
X 3 Bone Blades
X 3 Skull Shatter
X 1 Dark Return

Water:
X 3 King Tritonus
Nature:
X 3 Sprout
X 3 Reap and Sow
X 3 Root Trap

This puts us right at 40 cards. That’s a lot to cram into a 40 card deck. Since we are using the Bottom Up theory of deck building, it requires some sacrifice to get that core 40.

Step 4:

So now that we have our core 40, we can start adding cards. It doesn’t matter how much theory you put into it. Nothing is better than testing the value of a card than actual matches. After some initial testing, here is what I decided to add:

Light/Water:
X 2 Piercing Judgment
X 2 Aqua Strider
X 1 Gigahorn Charger

With the addition of those 5 cards, that puts us at a comfortable 45. Lets break it down.

4 Colors is a lot to stuff in a relatively thin deck. Here is the Color break down.

Light: 16
Water: 3
Nature: 10
Darkness 10
Water/Light: 7

Lets look at the deck all in one list:

X 3 Azuri, The Dawnbreaker
X 3 Storm Seeker
X 3 Wave Lancer
X 2 Starlight Strategist
X 1 Ra-Vu Seeker of Lightning
X 2 Andromeda of the Citadel
X 1 Keeper of Dawn
X 3 Terror Pit
X 3 Bone Blades
X 3 Skull Shatter
X 1 Dark Return
X 3 Keeper of Laws
X 3 King Tritonus
X 3 Sprout
X 3 Reap and Sow
X 3 Root Trap
X 1 Gigahorn Charger
X 2 Piercing Judgment
X 2 Aqua Strider

If you want to see a match with this deck, go check out my channel. TheCardAcademyTCG
We covered a lot today in this article, but these are some great fundamentals when it comes to deck building. Add some of your own personal touch, and you can build virtually anything with a competitive edge. Give it a try!

For all deck submissions please send your complete list toTheCardAcademyTCG@gmail.com
Please Include:
– Your Deck list. (Please send a written deck list, not a screenshot.)
– Your name and city.
– Remember – please use full card names! No Abbreviations and miss-spellings please!
– A paragraph or two describing your deck: what it does, why you’re playing it, and its strengths and weaknesses.
– Don’t forget! The cooler and more out of the box your deck is the more I’ll want to fix it, so don’t be afraid to get creative!(Hint: New cards/decks will get priority)

Next Article I will be looking at one of the decks you all have submitted! So if you want a deck looked at send away! Be sure to check out www.cardsnow247.com for any cards you are looking for!

Introducing: Deck Guru Robby Stewart

Deck Guru

Deck Guru

Hello Everyone!

Thanks for tuning into my introductory article! My name is Robby Stewart. Some of you may know me, but since this is my first article, I want to introduce myself and maybe you’ll learn something new about me.

A Little History:

I started out in TCGs because I watched the original Yugioh series. I bought some packs and after a couple of years of having no idea how to actually play the game, I decided to read the rulebook. I found a couple of friends whom also played the game, and soon enough I was at my first local scrubbing out.

After some time playing Yugioh, and not really enjoying the atmosphere, I decided to branch out and play some different TCG’s. I have played Magic: The Gathering, Pokemon, WOW TCG, and finally settled on a little old game called Duel Masters.

So right when I picked up Duel Masters, I loved it. DM had everything I was looking for.  It was fast paced, but still allowed for a level of skill and control that a lot of other TCGs just didn’t have. I immediately sold all my other TCG cards and picked up as many Duel Masters cards as possible. I played in a few Tournaments of the 5 Civilizations and I even won one. All my practice and love for the game culminated into what was, at the time, the best TCG experience I ever had: The Duel Masters Continental Champs (Where I wound up getting a respective 9thplace). Sadly, after the champs DM started to die down in the US, and support for the game whittled away. Thus, my passion for TCGS.

The Road to Seattle:

I kind of messed around with Yugioh & WOW TCG during the period between Duel Masters and Kaijudo. However, when I saw the announcement for Kaijudo, I almost couldn’t believe it. Suddenly, 1TVR hit the shelves, and my passion for TCG’s was once again reignited. I got to see so many old friends and buddies whom I hadn’t seen since DM ended. It was a awesome, and I got to be around other people who loved the game as much as I did.

Organized play was amazing. I loved road tripping with my buddies to the various KMC’s, getting to meet the different people, and checking out the other locals. I was able to participate in 3 different KMCs, and I was in the top 8 three times in a row. On my third attempt, I won my invitation to Seattle.

Then Seattle happened. It was hands down the best time I’ve ever had playing TCGs. Saturday was amazing and Sunday was one heck of an intense tournament. Every competitor was on their A game. After getting stomped by CVH’s Mono-Light deck round 3, I was able to win the rest of my matches all the way to the finals, where I met my good friend Bobby Brake. You can go check out the match on Kaijudo.com.

What to Expect:

I love building decks and messing around with a variety of fun, serious, and budget decks. Most of my articles will have me being a Deck Guru. Some weeks might be me personally building a deck, and other times I will hopefully hear from the many of you submitting decks for me to fix or change (like a deck doctor)! So stay tuned!

For all deck submissions please send your complete list toTheCardAcademyTCG@gmail.com

Please Include:
– Your Deck list. (Please send a written deck list, not a screenshot.)
– Your name and city.
– Remember – please use full card names! No Abbreviations and miss-spellings please!
– A paragraph or two describing your deck: what it does, why you’re playing it, and its strengths and weaknesses.
– Don’t forget! The cooler and more out of the box your deck is the more I’ll want to fix it, so don’t be afraid to get creative!(Hint: New cards/decks will get priority)