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Making a strategy guide/tutorial for beginners

I think this is acceptable and at least people who have experience with MtG-like card games will come into the game with that expectation. I still think that giving some general advice goes a long way in helping somebody to get into the game, at least to the point where they can (A) “play the real game” against others with the same knowledge and (B) appreciate the special moves their more experienced opponents pulled against them.

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This is the second time I’ve seen mention of past/peace/anarchy now. What is it about that particular combination that makes it so potent? Most (all?) play-by-forum games I’ve seen so far have been mono-color. I haven’t had a chance to start experimenting with multi-color stuff yet, but I was beginning to even wonder if it was worth it given the trends I was seeing.

I think learning the game is being conflated with playing the game at a high level. Teaching someone how to win and teaching them how to play the game are two very different things. I would not even tell a new player how to patrol effectively, when to bring out a hero etc until they can reliably get a Tech II unit in hand the turn after they build Tech II.

Personally, I have had great success by picking out a build order for my friends’ first games. If they like the game, then they are eager to start making those choices themselves.


At some point I’ll do a strategy article on Purple Starter + Peace. Once the Fall Swiss tournament starts, you can spectate my games with Past/Peace/Anarchy - I usually have a bunch of comments on what I’m thinking and why I’m taking the actions I’m doing.

Short answer: Battle Suits makes Overeager Cadet able to trade with other Tech I things, instead of losing to them; Boot Camp can permanently enhance Hardened Mox, and Pirate Gunship is the best Tech III in the game.


On the old forum, multicolor was the majority of games. The games on this forum are monocolor because they are easier to follow along for new players. Don’t worry, there will be multicolor games soon enough.

Past/Peace/Anarchy specifically has some very interesting tricks. The Purple Starter provides some very interesting abilities. Most noteably Hardened Mox and Nullcraft. Hardened Mox can be buffed by Boot Camp very very efficiently, and Onimaru can win games easily if not answered. Battle Suits can buff Overeager Cadets. Zane can pop out of nowhere to wreck your board. Nullcraft is free damage every turn until your opponent answers it with a tower or anti-air, and forcing your opponent to defend is always better than letting them attack.

Other multicolors have nasty tricks as well. The 1g tax on multicolor is there for a reason, there are a good number of multicolor decks that have great synergy. That said, skill still makes more of a determination in winning than the deck, imo.


There are many great multi-color combos, PPA is one of them: It checks a lot of the boxes of “great spec combo”:

  • Has a lot of haste to make a move right when you need to (Zane especially allows for on-demand patrol zone shenanigans independent of card draw)
  • Has a way to answer maxed heroes in Origin Story
  • Has two of the best tech 3s in the game in Gunship and Archon, so it isn’t outclassed late game
  • Boot Camp + Mox has ridiculous synergy that allows for fast cycling and constant offense
  • Has the Peace tech 2 plan of Garrison and Drill Sargeant, which snowballs very quickly
  • Has Battle suits and the peace tech line of almost exclusively “soldier” type units & “mystic” units in seer & Calypso Vystari
  • Has a great early pressure hero in Onimaru
  • Prynn maxband can answer some good tech 3 units

Etc. Purple Starter + Peace + X is strong in a lot of combinations

I consider myself a mid-level player at best, and the explanation below by @FrozenStorm seriously helped me improve my gameplay:

-tl:dr - adaptability in your teching is key. I almost always split-tech unless I’m desperate for a certain card. Split-teching so you have options should be one of the key guidelines for newer players.

"One thing you’ll find about codex
that’s different from magic though: your opponent has many reasonable options,
you’re often unsure what they’re up to, and teching 2x of one card may spell
death for you if you guess wrong on which single card to tech 2 copies of.
Also, you are almost certain to see whatever you tech in the next 1-3
turns, and with heroes, tech buildings, and add ons always being available
expenses, you often want to spend your gold on something OTHER than what you
teched anyway. Even if you tech 2x of something, you likely will only have
enough gold to play 1 of it when you draw them.

Therefore, it is often wiser &
safer to tech 1 of a thing that’ll help against 1 route your opponent might go,
and 1 of another thing that would help against a different route. Or 1
expensive thing, and 1 cheaper thing, in case you want to invest in a hero /
tech building instead (there isn’t enough gold turn 3/4 to play Rambasa twins
AND build tech 2 very easily, so as white I’ll often tech Rambasa Twins AND
Martial Mastery or Sparring Partner, so I can decide between teching up,
beefing a hero, or the tigers, and always have use for the gold)."


Blue can also do this with Lawful Search :wink:

You are correct, forgot that one. I think blue might even have the best play trying to do this. Drawing into Tech 1 on turn 2 to grab an early Overeager Cadet seems pretty good.


I would love a strategy guide for beginners. One thing I wouldn’t mind seeing, and I am not sure that I have seen it anywhere, is a list of considerations when going with a non-monocolor set of heroes. (Or is this already beyond beginner and onto intermediate?)

Something like, when selecting a set of three heroes, ask yourself how your deck is prepared to handle:

  • assaults on your buildings and base
  • assaults on your heroes
  • assaults on your workers, gold, cards
  • lots of flying units, lots of invisible/stealth/unstoppable units, etc.
  • a multitude of weak units
  • a few massive units
  • effects from building cards, ongoing spells, upgrades

For example, I am curious to try out [growth]/fire/strength, but at present I have no heuristic to help me determine whether or not this is a viable deck. I would love such a heuristic.

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My impression so far is that even “bad” decks can be surprisingly effective, so I suspect that any guide discussing the method for choosing a multicolor deck would definitely be intermediate level.

Really, the question to ask about multicolor decks is what particular shenanigans does that deck allow that would not be available with monocolor? Two-Step Birds? Discord Terras Q? Hasty units to activate Might of Leaf and Claw? Those things are a bit harder to see without some games under your belt.


I remember playing the Starter Set PnP against myself the night that I printed it out.

  • I got a headache just trying to decide which card to worker one my first turn.
  • Then I had to play something, and was really torn on which card it would be.
  • Then I had to tech cards, and I was like, “How in the world I am supposed to know which ones to pick?”

And this is coming from someone that loves reading rule books and played a ton of MtG back in the day. So, yeah, a beginner’s guide would be very useful.


@Shax Writing a Starting Player’s Guide for a game with so many hard decisions is difficult, because most games don’t have many hard decisions. Compare this to MtG, where much of the gameplay is “obvious” if you understand your deck.

So, you really need to start by explaining the decisions you have to make every turn in a game of Codex. To simplify this, start with defining “normal” gameplay:

  1. Build a Worker every turn until you have 10 Workers
  2. Play as many Cards as possible, but ensure you always discard enough Cards so you draw you maximum Hand size.
  3. Build Tech I building on Turn 2, Tech 2 & 3 ASAP (basically, the Turn you build your 8th and 10th Worker)

With this gameplay framework, we can define the decisions to make every Turn:

  1. Which Card do I turn into a Worker?
  2. Which Card(s) should I play?
  3. When I Attack, what is my Objective?
  4. Should I damage a Tech Building or Base?
  5. Which Patrol Slot should I use?
  6. Hardest Question: What 2 Cards should I Tech from 5 Categories?

A. Hero Spells
B. Hero Ultimate Spells
C. Tech I Cards
D. Tech II Cards
E. Tech III Cards

I suggest this breakdown, because each has a different requirement during gameplay.


Also remember that most decisions in Codex are matchup dependent as well. So you can’t memorize your answer to each question without considering your opponent’s answer to the same question.

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First of all, this post is fantastic! Very well thought-out and clear, and really helps to clear up the murky waters of being a Codex/strategy game noob :smiley:

Second, you didn’t mention Add-ons (either accidentally or intentionally). Where do those fit, exactly? Should they go with #2, or should they have their own number? Or should #2 be reworded to say something like, “What should I spend gold on?”

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When I taught my friends to play, for their first game, I told them to tech 2 units the first turn, and 1 unit and 1 spell the second. This let both of them have the chance to create a board presence before reaching tech 2, which is when things get crazy.


I like @Ryjak’s way of breaking things down. I think it might make sense to do a guide on each component. I just drafted a beginner’s guide to workers, feedback is appreciated!


For Beginners, Add Ons are pretty simple: Build a Tower when you have enough Gold at the end of the Turn. It’s a good all-around option that generally causes problems. I would mention the Surplus as a more advanced option for when you find you can’t afford to only play two cards each turn to discard to five, putting you behind on card drawing, AND you find yourself floating 5 gold.

The other Add-ons are generally for very specific plans for mixed color Codex
Builds, and thus not appropriate for a Beginner’s Guide.

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That makes sense. I tend to build surpluses more often than not, but maybe that’s why I keep losing my games :stuck_out_tongue:. I’ll think twice before I skip out on making a tower next time.

In my experience, the one thing that has made the biggest difference in my play and the play of people I’ve taught is becoming better at tracking where my key cards and the effect that has on the way you tech. (@EricF is really really good at this, and reading some of his games is extremely helpful in developing the way you think about teching and cycling cards).

I’ve seen a couple of people in this thread advise building tech 2 as early as possible, but I think this can be a huge mistake. You should build tech 2 the turn before your tech 2 units arrive. If you read a lot of the PbF games (even among players who are not novices), it’s extremely common for players to build tech 2, and then not play any tech 2 units the following turn. Obviously, you can’t predict your draw, so this may happen occasionally, but it seems to happen a lot. If you watch what people tech, it’s not unusual to see players building tech 2 when they have 0 probability of drawing a tech 2 unit in their next hand. I guess you could be bluffing, but it seems generally to be a bad idea.

Another thing I’m finding recently is that I’m moving out of a mindset of spending all my gold every turn. I tend to advise new players not to be scared of floating gold - sometimes you don’t have any good plays to make, and it’s better to hold your resources until next turn. I also find that when my opponent floats gold, it’s scary, so it seems like it’s a better strategy than novices usually imagine.