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Guide to Stolen Purples

Stolen Purples, abbreviated SP in this guide, is a very powerful disruptive red. It is the canonical example of a puzzle chip that counters mono-purple. Yet proper application of Stolen Purples is highly nuanced; an experienced player can employ it for offense, defense, economy or as the key component of a devastating endgame plan. This guide is an introduction to the most popular and effective Stolen Purples strategies in 2-player games, and the ways to counter those strategies.


The basic properties of the chip dictate a lot of how it’s used.
*It costs 4 to buy. It competes directly with combines for your buys. Most decks will be able to afford one occasionally, but you must build your economy to afford one consistently.
*It doesn’t have any arrows. If you want to do anything afterwards, you need a fork.
*It is [color=#ff0000]Red[/color]. It can be played to end a :psfist: chain; it also goes well with the various multicolor forks.
*It has a :psfist: and is therefore vulnerable to :psblueshield:s.

And it has several effects when you play it.
*It reveals the opponent’s hand. This effect is usually not useful.
*It makes your opponent discard :psorb:s. If it hits, it stalls their rush and pile control for a turn and renders them unable to countercrash except for character chips. The discard effect is the basis for the offensive applications.
*It moves a :psorb: from their deck to yours. This is the basis for economic applications - the opponent must spend a buy replacing their :psorb: rather than improving their deck.

Also, Stolen Purples is not a Combine. It probably won’t help if you draw it the turn your opponent crashes you to 10+ pile.

How to fight it:
There’s no one correct way to defeat Stolen Purples. Many of these tips work against some, but not all, Stolen Purples strategies.
*Immunity :psblueshield:s turn Stolen Purples into a wasted action. Other :psblueshield:s punish the opponent for using it, such as Self-Improvement, Really Annoying and early Money for Nothings.
*Purples in your bag are safe. Filling your deck with Roundhouses, One of Eaches or similar chips keeps your effective purple density high while making Stolen Purples more likely to miss.
*As an extension of the above, an engine where you have only a few purples, but draw your entire deck every turn, is highly Stolen Purples resistant. If your engine is strong enough, you can even draw back into the extra purples you discarded.
*Iron Defense crashes are safe also, but only worth it if you’re fine with the Iron Defense being dead weight once your opponent stops using SP.
*Certain puzzle chips like One True Style, Option Select and Dashing Strike act like substitute :psorb:s that can’t be stolen.
*Make sure you have enough cash to replace the :psorb: s that are stolen. Having your only crash stolen will kill you if you can’t scrape together $5.

How not to fight it:
*Build a small deck with lots of :psorb:s but no immunity :psblueshield:s . You will spend a disproportionate amount of effort replacing your purples.

Defensive SP Openings

The most straightforward use of Stolen Purples is to slow down a rush. Stealing a crash gem requires the opponent to buy another one before killing you. Stealing a combine typically slows the rush by one turn. And stealing one :psorb: while discarding another combine is usually enough to stabilize a defense singlehandedly.

When to attempt:
*You think you are likely to lose to a rush AND can play the Stolen Purples before the rush hits.
*Proactively, or in reaction to a cycle-1 combine, to discourage the opponent from rushing you.

How to fight it:
Unless you get really lucky, or it shows up too late, stolen purples will slow down your rush. If you are rushing and your opponent buys Stolen Purples, you have three options.

*Rush faster and hope to crash them to 8 or 9 pile before they can play it. This option punishes them for buying Stolen Purples instead of a Combine. Having your Crash Gem stolen after the big crash leaves you more time to recover. Also, there’s a chance your opponent won’t even be able to play the stolen Purples because they lose if they don’t crash instead. The downside to this is your economy will be terrible if it fails, and you might be risking a rush-ending countercrash.

*Slow down your rush to be more SP-tolerant. Buy more early money so that you can afford to replace stolen chips. Pick up an immunity :psblueshield: if it’s available to make SP less likely to kill the rush. Switch from a pure combine rush to a red-based rush. Perhaps buy a rushdown-friendly :pspuzzle: like One True Style instead of a Combine. And grab a second crash right after your second combine so you don’t die if one gets stolen.

*Change strategies. By purchasing a fast Stolen Purples over a Combine or money, your opponent has committed to a defensive opening. If you buy money, you should be able to take the economic lead. You can then transition into a more potent :pspuzzle:-based strategy than your opponent.

Stealing Purples for Value

Sometimes you get Stolen Purples just because it puts a :psorb: in your deck. Usually, you would just buy a :psorb:. But maybe you have an ongoing chip that punishes you for buying :psorb:s, or your opponent does and you want to screw them up. Or maybe you envy your opponent’s Double Crash Gem. In all these cases, you don’t care about fancy combinations or rush timings, you just want a specific :psorb: .

The most important part of a Value SP is watching the opponent’s discard pile. If the :psorb: you want to steal is in the discard, don’t play SP. If their immunity :psblueshield: is missing from a well-stocked discard, don’t play SP. If they just cycled their discard, and you didn’t see a chip, they have the chip in hand.

When to Attempt:
*When another Stolen Purples strategy fails, leaving you with an extra Stolen Purples in your deck.
*In response to a DCG rush, including Combos are Hard.
*When, thanks to Ongoing chips, you judge it’s worth losing tempo on Stolen Purples to avoid or force buying :psorb:s. This case may lead to an all-out Stolen Purples war by a player trying to keep their Ongoings around.

How to fight it:
*Have enough money to re-buy your :psorb:s; don’t buy a Double Crash Gem unless you can afford another one when it gets stolen.
*Your bag is safe from Stolen Purples; building an engine before reaching for the Double Crash Gems makes Stolen Purples less effective.
*Thinking Ahead is an effective deterrent. Blues are Good usually isn’t, because it’s an expensive wound when the SP inevitably hits something.

The Finisher

Against a careless or pressured opponent, Stolen Purples can kill by itself by preventing the opponent from crashing while they die to ante. There are three important cases here:

  • Stolen Purples hits a player at 9 pile. They can’t draw into a crash on their turn and lose.
  • Stolen Purples hits all of a player’s crashes at once while they have a high pile and a full bag. They lose before their bag cycles.
  • Stolen Purples hits a player’s only crash. They lose before they can buy another crash.

How to fight it:
*Don’t end your turn at 9 pile when the opponent has Stolen Purples available. This avoids case 1. Avoiding a pile of 7+ makes case 2 less likely, since you can re-draw the crash.
*Have extra crashes in your deck. This makes case 2 less likely and case 3 impossible.
*Use non-:psorb: pile control. This usually means Dashing Strike, character chips or fork+Training Day to pull and play a :psorb: from the bank.
*Use the normal set of anti-Stolen-Purples plans. Engine-based strategies are particularly good at preventing case 2, since they cycle the discarded crashes in sooner.
*Iron Defense is particularly effective; The Finisher doesn’t work at all when you have a stored crash gem.

Steal + Crash combo

Fork -> Stolen Purples -> Crash Gem is one of the strongest defense-busting and counter-rush threats in the game. The basic Finisher assumes the opponent is in danger of losing to ante; this combo puts them in danger directly. Furthermore, you don’t need to worry about possible :pspurpleshield:s; the Stolen Purples discards most of them, then reveals their hand. If you don’t see any non-crash :pspurpleshield:s, it’s safe to crash a :ps2gem: or :ps3gem:.

The downside, like all simple fork combos, is unreliability. If you draw all enders but no fork, or drawing the fork but only one of your enders, one of your combo chips acts like an expensive wound. Redundancy helps if you can afford the extra forks and Stolen Purples, but pigs are even more effective at stacking your hand.

It’s worth noting that Fork-> Stolen Purples -> Stolen Purples is a fine backup plan against immunity :psblueshield:s

Hundred-Fist Frenzy can replace the crash gem. This version of the combo has its upsides (resistant to opposing Stolen Purples and leaves a threatening HFF on the table) and downsides (Stolen Purples is ineffective in an HFF mirror).

When to attempt:
You should at least consider using the combo whenever you have access to Stolen Purples and a fork, and already have a combine. It’s more useful as a midgame threat than early (low piles, no :ps2gem:s stocked) or late (opponent can go over the top with a strong endgame plan), but the upside is an instant win. It’s also effective at any stage of the game if the opponent doesn’t respond to the threat.

How to fight it:
*Since they bought Stolen Purples and a fork instead of combines, the combo has a narrower threat range than a 4-crash. Staying at 4 or 5 pile is safer than it would be against a combine rush. On the other hand, 7+ is much more dangerous. A :ps4gem: in your gem pile is a liability if you can’t crash it.
*Gems to Gemonade is a deterrent but not a hard counter, since Stolen Purples reveals it in your hand.
*The combo is itself vulnerable to Stolen Purples. If someone has the combo in their deck and pigs a chip, that should be an ‘attack me’ sign.
*Improvisation is surprisingly effective as a way to squeeze off a crash even after a Stolen Purples. Reacting to Stolen Purples with Stolen Purples gives you an extra chance to not get crashed at.


Playing Stolen Purples usually ensures the opponent will not crash on their next turn. So in certain banks and matchups, if you play Stolen Purples every turn, they completely lose the ability to control their pile and die.

The strongest method of pulling this off is as an engine payload. By the time you start the lockdown, you should be drawing your entire deck every turn. You only need to have one Stolen Purples in your deck at a time; draw until you find it, play your combines, play Stolen Purples stealing Combine if possible, buy Stolen Purples. When your opponent can’t have a target in hand, crash a :ps4gem:. Or just buy a fork and crash every turn also.

A cheaper and somewhat weaker form of lockdown comes from buying a lot of Stolen Purples, usually 3-4, and using pigs to space them out. Secret Move is by far the best puzzle chip pig source for this, being cheap and not taking up bag space, although Pick Your Poison is also functional. The trickiest part of setting this up is making sure you have enough money to replace Stolen Purples as you use them, while buying your puzzle chip components and also going off before you hit a critical pile height.

How to fight it:

*If your opponent gets a complete deck-cycling engine with a payload, and you aren’t doing something similarly powerful and haven’t killed them yet, they deserve to beat you regardless of the payload.
*Stolen Purples does not take Master Puzzler, and the lock kills quite slowly; there’s often time to rush Master Puzzler before you die and it probably wins the game on the spot.
*Certain characters, such as Argagarg, Onimaru and Valerie, are highly resistant to the lockdown for various reasons.
*The pig form of the lockdown relies on having a lower pile than the opponent, since it’s playing Stolen Purples instead of crashing. Having a lower pile before the lockdown starts is a significant advantage. Even a lowly Repeated Jabs can force them to stop stealing before you die.
*The top of your bag is safe from Stolen Purples. Even if you can’t build an engine, drawing into and playing an :psorb: is a way out. Improvisation main and Self Improvement reaction provide useful draw power not available to the Stolen Purples deck, and you only need to get lucky once or twice to not lose.
*Finally, as long as you survive and keep forcing them to steal crash gems, time is on your side. You are slowly improving your deck; meanwhile, they are spending all their money on more Stolen Purples while clogging their deck with redundant Crash Gems. Eventually they choke on all the enders, their economy crashes, and you’re back in the game.

Combos with Specific Chips

Bang then Fizzle
Bang then Fizzle into Stolen Purples forms the core of an early game strategy. Steal their crash to keep them from increasing your pile, then use it with the Bang fork to keep your own pile low. This strategy can pressure people to death, but more commonly just extends the Bang period long enough to grab a dominant economic advantage.

Chip Damage
Chip Damage into Stolen purples encourages them to discard their :psorb:s, which benefits them given the Stolen Purples follow-up. However, Stolen Purples and then Chip Damage is quite effective, especially since it deprives them of the money they need to replace a stolen crash. Finally, the bag control makes it somewhat useful in a Lockdown, where you don’t care about anything but discarding all their :psorb:s anyway.

Color Panic
Color Panic has a number of useful roles to complement Stolen Purples. It forks, reveals their hand to scout for :psorb:s, baits or strips :psblueshield:s, takes their non-:psorb: actions leaving them nothing to do, and even suppresses their pile control in between Stolen Purples turns. It only does one or two of those at a time, but the immense flexibility makes this combo quite powerful.

Master Puzzler
Stolen Purples makes for a strong Master Puzzler kill sequence. Play it before your Crash or Double Crash Gem.

Option Select
Option Select becomes a Super Stolen Purples in a Stolen Purples bank. You can play it as Stolen Purples, or a SP-proof one shot :psorb:, or a :psblueshield: if one is available. Almost always buy Option Select over Stolen Purples if you get the chance.

Pick your Poison
Jaina was sparring with Midori one day. At the climax of the match, she played Pick your Poison.

“From watching your discard, I see you have Stolen Purples in your hand” said Midori, discarding a combine and a :ps1gem:.

“Aha!” exclaimed Jaina. “I shall pig my Stolen Purples and steal your crash gem next turn.”

“Your technique is sound,” said Midori, “but your Yomi needs work.” And he crashed a :ps2gem:.

Risk to Riskonade
Playing Risk to Riskonade and then Stolen Purples in the same turn increases your chances of hitting a specific :psorb:. However, Riskonade is riskier than normal if the opponent is also using Stolen Purples.

Sneak Attack
Chains into Stolen Purples while putting the opponent under pile pressure. Use it to increase the range of a Finisher SP, or win in a Lockdown situation from an initial pile disadvantage. However, don’t go totally nuts with it because you need to maintain money density.

This post was originally a front page article on in July 2013