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Recommended decks for new players


I had a guy at my local card club visit today (he was having trouble finding one of the Codex expansions on Amazon, which made me happy because that means I convinced him it’s a good enough game for him to get his own cards). Yomi caught his eye while he was there, especially since his two favorite heroes from my Codex Core Set (Jaina and Zane) are available in Yomi as well. This brings me to a question, though: What are the best decks for new players?

Before you give an answer, there are some caveats. First, while I have the Steam version, I don’t know if he can/wants to play that way – we both come to the card club to play games in person, and bringing a laptop seems weird in that context (and I don’t think he has an iOS device either). Second, I don’t have any physical decks, and I don’t really want to drop $40 on Yomi Round 1 (or 2) if I could put any of that towards either Pokémon Sun or a Codex expansion, so at least for now I’d prefer to get a standalone deck for myself (and he’d get one for himself too).

With that in mind, what should I do? I know Menelker and Persephone are bad to use against beginners due to how brutal they are when they win, but that leaves 10 standalone decks (no, I’m not getting the Pandánte themed two-pack for a beginner). Any thoughts would be appreciated!


Out of the decks sold individually, I would not get Lum, Menelker, Persephone, Gloria, or Vendetta. Any of the other ones should be fine, maybe read about how they work and pick the ones you like.


Since he likes Grave and Jaina in Codex, he should get one or both of those characters in Yomi. Because of their respective abilities, Grave is good in teaching Solid play while Jaina will teach you hand management.


Those characters are in the Round 1 box!


Grave is the best for showing off all the aspects of the game for “standard gameplan” characters: he has a straightforward DP, his innate ability encourages you to block which is a key thing to learn, he has a very strong supermove, and he can peek at his opponents’ hand.

Rook is very good for teaching how grapplers play, and also teaches some interesting hand management.

Lum is a good “weird” character. His gameplan is still pretty easy to understand, but he has some cool abilities and doesn’t work the way “normal” characters do.

If he has a fighting game archetype that he really likes, I encourage you to figure that out and pick a character based on that. I wouldn’t ordinarily recommend characters like Quince or Gloria to newer players, but some people really like weird combo decks, and would probably respond better to that then a typical “beginners” character.


Definitely some good responses so far! I do want to get the Round 1 box some time, but it and Round 2 are not really on the table right now. That excludes Grave, Jaina, Midori, Setsuki, Quince, Troq, Onimaru, and Bal-Bas-Beta. One question that might be worth asking is if there’s any character that’s good to use when teaching someone the game? I know in Puzzle Strike people said Geiger is good to use against new players, but is there some equivalent in Yomi?


Grave, basically. :smile: The classic example given is that, when using his 7 ability, which lets you peek at your opponent’s hand, you get an opportunity to explain what you’re worried about/what they can do/how it changes how you’re going to play.


That makes sense, but isn’t he also one of the best characters for new players to be using? I guess if I can teach people with the Steam version a mirror match would be an option… But if it’s physical then I won’t have access to him for a while. :sweat_smile:


Yeah, you’re not wrong. Honestly any of the first 10 characters is going to be fine. I would still highly recommend a quick “hey what’s your favourite street fighter character, or type of fighter.”


That’s a good point. Is there a list of what SF characters/archetypes each of the Yomi characters is based on? Some are obvious, like Grave being Ryu/“balanced,” Setsuki and Valerie being rushdown, and Midori and Rook being Grapplers, but I’m not all that familiar with Street Fighter myself…


Grave = Ryu
Jaina = Ken
Midori = E. Honda but he can turn into a dragon also(?)
Setsuki = Ibuki
Rook = Zangief/Potemkin
DeGrey = Dudley/Slayer
Valerie = Fei Long
Geiger = Guile
Lum = Blanka(?)
Argagarg = Dhalsim




Quick note: if you’re willing to shell out for it, getting the cards for just one of the Round 1 decks printed out and sleeved isn’t much more than the $10 to buy the deck outright, since Round 1’s print-and-play is free. So that possibly leaves Grave/Jaina/Midori/Setsuki on the table. (I actually specifically printed Grave out, since I own Round 2, because of his usefulness for teaching.)

DeGrey might instill a few bad habits, maybe, but he’s got some forgiving aspects for a beginner: Moral High Ground gives some bonus damage when they go down on cards (which beginners are likely to do), and Ghost Riposte, as a recurring full combo dodge, is a really really nice card to have, especially since it doesn’t get discarded vs a block.

Definitely recommend Rook. A lot of health (again, very forgiving!), and it’s fun to grapple through blocks.

Onimaru is nice and simple, although he doesn’t teach players how to combo. He feels really powerful, though, and the most complex part of the character is hand management, which is an important skill for them to learn.


Ooh, I’d forgotten about the print-and-play! I’ll see if I have enough left over sleeves from Codex for a deck or two (hopefully they’re big enough too).


They should be same size. I fit Codex and Yomi into Dragon Shields.


Good to know! I was thinking of using a spare deck or two of normal playing cards for the backing, and I assume Yomi decks are roughly the same size (since they’re based directly on playing cards). If all this is true, then at least for now I’ve got a good way to get started with the game!

I still want to get the proper decks at some point just for the higher quality, but if I end up getting an individual deck first I’ll probably get Rook for myself. I enjoyed him in what little I’ve played of Fantasy Strike, and I expect to like him in Codex (two lives + birds sounds awesome). Plus it would be good to have a simpler deck, both for myself and other new players.


I think Valerie, Vendetta, Argagarg, DeGrey, Menelker are all fine choices. All of them have simple abilities and none of them skew the basics of the game too hard.


I usually keep Grave, Jaina, Rook, and Valerie with me as my beginner teaching decks. Rook vs. Valerie is probably my favorite beginner matchup, neither of which are in the Round 1 pack.


That does sound like an interesting matchup and a good way to learn! I’ve printed out Grave’s deck already, but I’ll definitely keep that in mind. Perhaps trying that matchup will convince my sister to give her Steam copy of Yomi a second chance?


I find the core game play, that one on one battle of wits and nerve, to be intoxicating and downright addictive to anyone who tastes it. Sirlin attempted to reduce the entry requirements to reach that game play by reducing months of grinding combos and manual dexterity in training mode with placing a card face down on the table. I think he mostly succeeded but the unfortunate truth is that there is still some entry level speed bumps.

New players seem to see the combat reveals as completely random and hand management as a vague concept. Grasping these fundamentals can be very simply for an experienced gamer; I’ve even had the pleasure of teaching someone who grasped it all very quickly. The main barrier for new players is peeling though all the seemingly random and confusing system mechanics in order to glimpse the genius beneath.

Semi-drunken rant aside, my point is that deck selection isn’t very important. Exclude the most confusingly complex characters (Persephone, BBB, Quince, Gloria) and focus on engaging and fun teaching methods.