Epic Duels and card combinations

In designing some of these recent decks, I’ve noticed something about card combinations: A deck can’t rely upon them. It’s nice to have them, and having them should have big effects, nearly game-winning effects. However, you can’t design a deck where that’s their only real path to victory, unless it’s going to include 6 or so of the decks’ talent cards. I don’t have the math on this, but I’ve played enough to tell you, having two cards that combo together isn’t enough to count on having more than once in a great while. If a deck is going to rely on combos, it’s going to need 2 of each of the cards to have a decent chance of making it work. Better, though, is to have at least 6 cards that can work together towards a Path to Victory. It can be either 3 cards of 2 copies each, or 2 cards of 3 copies each.

In terms of the original decks, the easiest combo to think of is Anakin’s ANGER-CALM combo. Of all the times you’ve seen Anakin, how many times did he pull that exact combo off? Not half the time, maybe more like a quarter. When he pulls it off, he has a good chance to win the game. If he can do it twice in one game, he’ll almost for sure he’ll win, but it’s rare. It’s important, though, that ANGER can work independently of CALM. Anakin can go ANGER-ANGER or A5-ANGER-COUNTERATTACK. It’s nice if he can get CALM to play with it, but it isn’t a requirement. This is critical. Another original deck with a big combo is Emperor Palpatine’s YOU WILL DIE-MEDITATION combo. It only has 3 cards in the entire deck, but like Anakin with ANGER-CALM, Palpatine doesn’t really rely upon getting the exact combo. For Palpatine, just getting YOU WILL DIE is the main thing, and he will almost for sure get something to go with it, since any offense card can follow it, and because 6 other cards besides MEDITATION can work well with it. If he gets the YWD-MEDITATION combo it’s even nastier, but he doesn’t need it to win.

In terms of our own decks, this is where we’ve gone wrong with our Kit Fisto deck. He sort of depends upon a NAUTOLEAN INSIGHT-INSIGHTFUL ATTACK combo. Either card can work without the other, but doesn’t do a whole lot to help Fisto win the game. The combo can help him win, but isn’t YOU WILL DIE-MEDIATION, it isn’t even ANGER-CALM. So he’s kind of left to rely upon his 3x A7s, which never seems to be quite enough for him. The recent deck I’ve seen this play out in is Chirrut & Baze, based upon Freaky Mutant Man’s design. It’s so obvious for Chirrut to have a I AM ONE WITH THE FORCE-THE FORCE IS WITH ME combo. However, right now, both cards really need to be played together, in a specific order. It’s kind of like ANGER-CALM, but the cards don’t work as well on their own, especially AND THE FORCE IS WITH ME. The way to deal with this, as FMM figured out intuitively, is that you need to have 3 copies of each card just to have a chance to pull it off with any frequency. What I improved upon from FMM’s original design was making the lead card, I AM ONE WITH THE FORCE, a defense OR an attack instead of just a defense card. If it’s just a defense card, you’re really requiring a very specific set of circumstances to pull the combo off, which just isn’t going to happen very often. Even with 3 copies of each card, I think I’ve seen Chirrut pull the combo off maybe once in 5-6 games, and it’s not even a game-breaker when he does, just a solid couple of cards to play.

It gets even trickier if the combos are spread among different characters. In our Obi-Wan-Anakin deck, the FOCUS YOUR ANGER-DO WHAT I MUST combo comes up just once in a while. Meanwhile, the Luminara-Barriss deck works so well because they have 5 cards that work together in the 2x movement card, 2x FORCE BUBBLE and 1x TANDEM FIGHTING card. They don’t pull great combos off every game but they tend to win when they do, and the cards work on their own well enough without being combined.

Overall, combos are great, but a combo of 2 cards with 2 copies of each is only going to happen once in a while, so it should go ahead and have a big effect when it does. If you want a combo to happen consistently, you need 3 copies of each card to have that happen. Some of the most fun decks have been ones where there are 3 cards of 2 copies each that work well together, my Eomer deck in LOTRED is a good example.


    • roman says:

      Thanks for the heads up. We’re under renovation, obviously. The links should be back up soon enough. We apologize for any inconvenience.

      • Freaky Mutant Man says:

        On the subject itself, perhaps one way to improve Chirrut’s viability without going for a more thorough overhaul would be to make AND THE FORCE IS WITH ME a viable way to win even without getting AND THE FORCE IS WITH ME. Like, maybe it’s an A7 naturally and becomes an A8 or A9 when powered up. Since it’s unlikely to see a game where Chirrut would actually pull off all three powered up, most games it’d be more like he has only one or two A8/A9s; strong, but given Chirrut’s squishiness in your version that might be fine.

        One other way might be to make it so both cards are powered up by the other, sorta like the COMPETITION mechanic in your Legolas & Gimli deck. So you could play THE FORCE IS WITH ME (now AND-less, to accommodate this change) and then get a powered up I AM ONE WITH THE FORCE. This would probably necessitate lopping off the minor-killing effect of your ONE WITH THE FORCE, though.

        • roman says:

          First off, it’s really your design, it’s well-done and you deserve the credit.

          I guess if I’m taking my own advice: A combo needs to be strong enough to help you win the game, but the cards also have to be usable on their own.

          I think it’s as simple as boosting ATFIWM to A6/A8. He can use it as an A6, and if he gets the exact right combo (once per game, twice at most), it’s an A8. A8 is a good card but it’s hardly overpowered. I’d consider A9 but Chirrut is more of a defensive character, and I want to keep the deck weak overall for the Geektopia set (we don’t see those guys being much threat to trained Jedi). Chirrut needs Baze to chip in with offense and Baze’s MULTI-SHOT is a surprisingly good card to go along with the A8 POWER SHOT.

        • roman says:

          After seeing him recently, Chirrut actually looked good to me versus the other Rogue One decks with only A5/A7 on ATFIWM. The main thing is how really good IAOWTF is, with both flexibility and minor-swatting ability, but like it a lot. If he comes up with A6+A7, he can kill a couple of weak minors outright no matter what, or kill a 10 HP minor outright unless the minor has two or more defense cards. That’s actually pretty tough and it’s not that hard for him to pull off. Plus, Baze really plays as a deluxe offensive minor with 3 offense cards of his own plus an A5 in his basic deck. With Chirrut being a more defensive character, I think it will work at A5/A7 along with the three A6/D6 against minors. It’s not like an A5 is useless but he’s going to struggle if Baze goes down early.

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