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Things to consider when building a deck / starting a multicolour game

Monocolour decks are generally well-rounded, so that they have several possible strategies against any particular opponent. Multicolour decks are generally more specialised, with more pronounced strengths and weaknesses.

This is a list of things to consider when constructing a deck. It’s also handy when comparing two decks in a game to decide what strategy to take, or for guessing what your opponent will do. Hopefully it’s a handy checklist to start with if you’re new to multicolour and don’t know how to assess a matchup. I’ll make this a wiki, so feel free to add things.

Game pressure

Being on the offensive, and making the opponent react to you, rather than vice versa, can cover up a lot of other weaknesses, so this is the most important part of the list.

  • Can I keep applying pressure at every stage of the game? If not, the opponent can tech up quickly, e.g. to Gunships.
  • Can I have a strong board presence at Tech 0/1, or am I stalling until Tech II? If one side is much stronger early on, the game might not reach Tech II, or it makes the other side playing a hero early a bad idea. Most of the 2-cost 3/3 units are good for this: e.g. Taxman’s stealing ability helps you to keep momentum, Bone Collector creates a free patroller so you don’t leave yourself as open to counterattacks.
  • Does my pressure rely on a small number of key cards? If there are ways to easily deal with those cards, you’ll need a backup strategy when they’re present, e.g. early maxband hero + spells vs. any deck with Origin Story / Snapback.
  • Can I increase board presence quickly if not under pressure? If you have a decent board at the start of your turn, for example, bringing out midband Drakk is good for this. Decks without early haste can do this more easily, since their more gold-efficient stats matter more.
  • Can I improve my economy if not under pressure? Especially gold economy (e.g. Merfolk Prospector), but improving card economy (e.g. Graveyard) is also useful. This is especially useful if you can make it very expensive for the opponent to destroy the economy card, e.g. by making it expensive to get through your patrol, since they can feel forced to do so.

Counterplay

After surviving early game, are there opponent strategies you’d struggle to deal with? Are there strategies you have that the opponent needs an answer for?

Units

  • Can I efficiently deal with large units? Some units are very hard to efficiently kill in combat unless you have powerful buffs/debuffs (e.g. Dinosize, Chaos Mirror), and are better dealt with using removal or sidelining.
  • Can I deal with many small units at once? Sparkshot and Overpower will only get you so far.
  • Can I deal with invulnerable units? Hardened Mox isn’t so bad on its own, but Mox with + runes or Immortal are nasty. They’re much easier to deal with if you can bounce them to hand, or apply - runes.
  • Can I deal with flyers? Either with anti-air or your own flyers. If not, decks containing Balance will give you a hard time.
  • Can I handle Tech III units if they come out? Removal (e.g. maxbands for Prynn and Grave) is great if they’re targetable, deathtouch is great if they are untargetable but don’t have Swift Strike, air units / Chaos Mirror can be useful if they do have Swift Strike. You probably won’t be able to cover all of these, but Tech III units aren’t seen as often. Except for Gunships, but you’ve probably lost if one comes out anyway.

Patrols

  • Do I have patrollers that can inflict high damage / deathtouch on attackers? Some units are much better if they can attack several times, e.g. Bone Collector, Hyperion.
  • Do I have patrollers with more health than attack? At odds with the previous point, but health is more useful if facing lots of small attackers. In addition, sometimes you just need to discourage Kidnapping, and it’s much less valuable if it can’t be used to kill two units at once.
  • Can I easily hit an opponent’s backline without killing the patrollers first? Some key cards want to hide at the back and survive: economy cards, Macciatus, Captured Bugblatter, Blooming Ancient if they don’t have runes yet. Bypassing the patrol makes them much easier to deal with. If it’s a unit, you can steal it instead of killing it. You can also sideline the patrollers, but that’s more situational.

Other

  • Can I deal with high-level heroes? Some heroes have dangerous ultimate spells that you really don’t want to see, and many of them also have high stats. Deathtouch or removal is useful.
  • Can I get rid of buildings? Especially useful against a deck containing Peace.
  • Can I get rid of upgrades? Particularly useful against Might of Leaf and Claw, or Skeletal Archery if you struggle to deal with large numbers of small units.
  • Can I deal damage from off-board? Includes damage spells, hasted units, unit that deal damage on arrival, damage buffs, health debuffs, Drakk’s maxband, Zane… It’s generally less gold-efficient than damage from your board, but it makes patrolling against you much harder. It’s part of the reason why facing Black and Red is so nasty.
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