Deck-building heuristics

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    Quantitative questions to ask yourself while building the deck.

    – How many cards do I have in this thing? (guideline: 15-18 for standard Gold, 18-22 for standard Crystal)
    – How many units first-turn playable units produce resources? (If you didn’t know, the first draw of the game is guaranteed to be playable.)
    – What are the chances that I’ll get a good producer on the first turn? (This is the chance of getting it as the first pick, or not getting it on the first pick and getting it in the other first turn recruits.)
    – What is my maximum attack?
    – How many strong frontrow units do I have for the endgame? (You shouldn’t have more than 7 pure power units. You should have fewer, maybe, to leave room for side plans like wound defense.)
    – What is my maximum production?
    – How many of my producers do I need in play to be able to buy my biggest units? (If your full production lineup is necessary, you should add more producers.)
    – What are the chances that I’ll be able to play a unit on the second turn? (This depends on your first-turn possibilities and your number of cheap units.)
    – How many healers do I have? How much healing do I have?



    Most good, but this one needs a strong caveat:
    “- How many of my producers do I need in play to be able to buy my biggest units? (If your full production lineup is necessary, you should add more producers.)”
    I’ve got one deck that can’t possibly buy its biggest unit with mere producers, and another that could in theory but never has. Those units are Blights that cost 20, and they generally get bought by selling back a bunch of units including a Kren. Each deck works quite well, thanks, with win %s in the 90s. (Though that might change a little with the most recent Kren nerfing…) I’ve also got a Spike and an Arthur deck that generally get their big guy by selling. I don’t think there is anything wrong with planning to get your biggest unit by selling others back.
    Then there are the terrifying Matriarch decks that I’ve never built, but have run into (and generally been run over by!) that don’t plan on buying their biggest units at all.



    I believe that in this case, Kren would count as an economy unit, just as an alternative style of economy. In general, it tends to be less advisable to depend on selling units in non wood decks, because Kren’s windfall works especially well with Wood’s explosive early economy, as well as to make up for Wood’s more mediocre mid game economy and to help bridge the gap towards Wood’s unusually expensive end game units.

    Lynaia/Ifrim/Tally using Matriarch would be another example of an alternative economy style.

    In general, my guideline for building a deck follows something like this:

    I aim for about 20 units. The fewer the better, but no less than 16 and no more than 22 if I can help it. A deck almost never needs to be as small as 14 units, and almost always get’s too bloated and unpredictable with anything over 22. The higher the number of units, the more units I try to include who have some recruit to help bridge the gap. I almost never play with mixed resource cities, but when I do I try to reduce my deck size closer to 18 units when possible, and drastically increase my number of units who have recruit.

    For T1, I almost always go for nothing but 2 cost producers. The only exceptions are rush decks, and Wood decks, where loading up on 1 cost and 0 cost units can be worth the risk of a bad start. On mixed resource cities, I’ll sometimes try to load up on T1 recruiters such as Remi to even my recruitment odds a little.

    I don’t usually worry about what my maximum attack is anymore. My decks tend to be more about rushing to victory, or disrupting my opponent. But I do tend to avoid having more than 7 heavy hitters in the front row, sometimes fewer than 7 if I plan on having other types of units in my front row for the majority of the game. But in general, it’s still probably a good idea for most players, especially newer players, to keep track of their maximum attack.

    My economy philosophy has gotten pretty strange. I’ve almost entirely abandoned most units who produce 4 or more resources, in favor of adding lots of units who produce 2 resources. Their advantage is that they tend to be more cost effective or have added perks like defense, and the ones who cost 3 resources can be sold like miniature windfall units for a few extra resources in a pinch. 7 units producing 2 resources each (plus the 2 from your city) gives you 16 resources, which is more than enough to buy almost any unit in the game. In general, I try to have around half the the units in my deck be able to produce some amount of resources.

    My biggest weakness tends to be healers. Maybe because I tend to focus on doing the wounding rather than defending against it. In general, I try to have at least 1 healer in most decks, but most decks would probably benefit from having a minimum of 2 units with heal, so that they can heal each other. Ideally I’d tend to shoot for having a total heal quantity of 3 or 4, although in practice I tend to usually end up with 1 or 2 total heal in most of my decks. You can get away with having less healing by having more defense, more speed, or more wounding of your own, but in general, healing is the only way to protect yourself against an opponent who is really committed towards wounding you.

    I’m sure that my deck building philosophy has some holes in it, but in general I do alright. My philosophy has developed around the types of units I’ve gotten. Mostly wounding or rush deck type units, while my heavy hitters have come less frequently. There are definitely a lot of ways to make a deck, but in general, the questions in Raijinili’s original post are always good to ask. Every time that you diverge from the basics of deck building, you need to ask yourself if the payoff is worth the drawbacks. You’ll usually end up with a broken deck if you don’t have a really good reason for going outside the norm.

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