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Strategy for Red vs Green

I took my Core Set to my local library’s weekly card club the last couple weeks, and while the people I’ve convinced to try it have generally liked it, I’m starting to notice my own lack of knowledge now. Since I’d rather not have my entire Codex scene (such as it is) be an example of “the blind leading the blind,” I thought I’d ask some questions I’ve had about Red vs Green specifically, since I’d rather we focus on learning as much as possible with a single matchup until the official expansion boxes get released. I figure that having more colors to choose from will just make people think they can fix things by playing a different color, rather than correcting flaws in their play.

(To clarify, I know there’s a number of topics already covering beginner strategy, but I really need to focus on Red vs Green for now, and I’ve found surprisingly little about it as opposed to either general strategy for all colors or specific strategy for a different color.)

  • In general, what strategies should each side try in the first couple of turns?
    • How much does going first or second affect this?
    • What specific considerations are there for Red vs Green, as opposed to other matchups?
    • I’ve noticed that as Green I like to play Ironbark Treant ASAP, whereas with Red I’m a bit less consistent but I generally like Bloodrage Ogre. What other things should I consider?
    • As Green I’ve only played Rich Earth once, and that was using the “Argagarg’s Riches Opening” (so I also had Merfolk Prospector), whereas I’ve never used Verdant Tree. Should I be using either one more?
    • As Red, I’ve often played Bloodburn, but I don’t know if it was always worth it. When can I “get away” with it, and should I focus on a particular strategy if I do? (Probably Blood, right?)
  • What “build orders” should I use to teach the game? In other words, what “general strategies” does each side have? I need some kind of standard game-plan before I can be clever by throwing a wrench in things.
    • Based on what I’ve read, Green likes using either Centaur or Murkwood Allies second cycle. Why would I choose one of them over the other, and which option do I choose if I use Murkwood Allies? For that matter, what are good cards to tech alongside them?
    • What even is my game plan for Tech I as Red? It’s perhaps telling that I don’t have a good strategy with Red, but I still win with it more often… It feels like Red is more forgiving for beginners, since there’s more Haste and such.
  • What is my reason for picking a specific spec for Tech II?
    • In general, you pick your spec either because you’re going for a specific strategy or to counter your opponent’s strategy, right? What’s the main strategy for each spec, and what common strategies can each spec counter?
    • Right now, I’m particularly lost on why Green would use Feral Tech II and Red would use Anarchy Tech II, but I’d appreciate thoughts on all of them.
  • Which Add-ons are worth using in this matchup, and when would I generally want to build them?
    • To quickly get people playing, I had two beginners face each other for the first game I taught, and both built a Tech Lab. Should I even allow beginners to have Tech Labs and Heroes’ Halls, or would it be better to make them play with “normal” strategies at first?
    • I’m pretty sure Green needs a Tower in this matchup, but fitting it in seems hard sometimes… Red would probably like a Surplus, but it’s expensive enough that I don’t see it working out for beginners anyway.
    • What are the best threads that already exist for beginners? Some are obvious, like the Rules Questions thread, but I’d like to be able to collect as many links as possible together (I know about the Collected Codex Resources thread, but right now things seem to be happening too fast for it to keep up).

I’ve looked around the forum a bit (actually, I’ve been obsessively reading as much as I can over the past couple months), but I still don’t really know what I’m doing with anything but my print-and-play Starter Set, which I’ve lent to someone else for now. I’m sure there’s more that I’m forgetting, but if any of you can help with even a single question, I’d really appreciate it. Thanks!

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Here’s an example match:

To give you some specific answers to your specific questions:
Going first vs. second is hugely important, and many plans that work on one side don’t work on the other. For example, going first Red can play turn 1 Makeshift Rambaster and deal 3 immediate base damage, and then continue leveraging its Haste and other direct damage to clear the patrol zone and keep hammering on Green’s Base (ignoring the tech buildings, and often ignoring any back-row heroes in favor of just dealing Base damage).

There are some good general guidelines here, it covers all 7 starter decks, but just read the Red and Green sections.

Generally speaking, you look to Spells to counter what your opponent is doing, and your Tech II is more proactive. Generally you go Anarchy Tech II if you’re planning on getting to Tech III (Pirate Gunship is the best Tech III card in the game), or if you are on the afore-mentioned direct base damage plan (haste + stealth is a great combination for this, and Monkeys stick around to provide last-ditch blockers, unlike the Blood alternatives). Feral is typically either as a follow-up to Calamadra summoning Tigers (so you can re-play them), or for Gigadon (this is not a good plan against Blood, though).

Add-ons worth using:
Late-game, Red can use a Tech Lab (for Anarchy) when/if they build their Tech III. Green might Tech Lab to be able to re-play something off-spec that got pulled directly into play (a Tiger, or Circle of Life target).

Red might also want a Hero’s Hall instead of or in addition to their Tech II, especially if they played Jaina or Drakk early, and had that hero survive. Green might want a Hero’s Hall late game instead of trying for a Tech III (typically, this would be if green has a max-band Arg in play that is unlikely to die due to better targets existing, and wants to ensure that he can summon a specific hero next turn in order to cast a critical spell, but either already has a second hero in play, or is worried that his Tech II might get destroyed)

Either side benefits from a Tower, especially as Player 2. Tower helps protect against Calamadra’s Stealth (both on her Hero, and from her spells/units), and it also helps Ironbark Treant and Frogs actually trade with attackers (and protects against the Anarchy Tech II stuff).

Surplus is very expensive and fragile. Because it doesn’t re-build for free like a Tech II or Tech III building, you’re usually better off trying to use better cards, rather than more cards. Or just spend that 5 gold on getting a hero (already in play) to Max-band, which has a similar payoff (you get about 1 card of value each turn until the hero dies) and risk (hero has about 4 hp) as a Surplus.


I figured first vs second was pretty significant, and that seems like the clearest example of that. That being said, I’m having trouble thinking of anything equivalent for Green (no Haste makes me feel like I’m always player 2 against Red).

I looked through the Red and Green sections, like you suggested. It looks like I’ve been valuing most of Red correctly, but I was surprised by how far off I was on some of the Green cards. In hindsight, the -2 ATK when Ironbark Treant patrols has been an issue in the games I’ve played, and I should definitely try using Merfolk Prospector more in particular. I guess I should experiment more, but I really only get to play on Saturdays…

That… makes a lot of sense, actually. Spells usually don’t stick around, so you want them to have a strong impact on someone either you or your opponent. Units often help across multiple turns and/or cost your opponent resources to get rid of, so they can advance your own strategy.

OK, I can see how you’d use Anarchy for a base race, though (looking ahead to your next point) I would probably prefer to Tech Lab for Pirate Gunship. I guess what your synopsis of Feral tells me is that I don’t understand Calamandra at all… I haven’t found her to be too useful, but that’s probably because I don’t understand how to use her Spells and abilities. I don’t think I’d go with Feral as my Tech II for Gigadon alone, but maybe Tech Lab it in to Growth?

Already mentioned some stuff related to this earlier, but it seems like Red would really like using Tech Lab for Pirate Gunship in many games. For Green… I can see what you mean, but I suspect there might be too much of an opportunity cost compared to Tower if you’re going second.

I’ll have to try Hero’s Hall next game I play with Red (assuming I get the opportunity to do a hero-based strategy). I can see why Green might want to just get 3 heroes without bothering with Tech III… But again, it all depends on whether the other add-ons would be better.

I know the general consensus is that a lot of supposedly unwinnable matchups can be solved by building a Tower, but I’m starting to really appreciate that after my last game. It’s the closest I’ve come to winning with Green (I think I would have won, but the library closed before we finished), and the biggest difference was that I built a Tower fairly early on. Definitely need to play more games and experiment, but it feels like Tower is almost essential as Green against Red.

Yeah, I noticed that the last time I built a Surplus. I still think Red would like it more, especially if they’re going with Blood Tech II. Since you want to play a lot of cheap but suicidal units, it should help to draw an extra card per turn so you can cycle them faster and play more per turn without going down on cards.

It seems like a large part of the problem is just that I haven’t played enough games yet. Still, this does help! I guess the only question that hasn’t been touched at all is the “standard build orders” one. To be clear, I mostly want these so I can more easily guide people through their first games. After all, even though I’m still a beginner myself, I am the one who brought the game, so I have to take the role of teacher.

Here’s a default build order for red, works going first or second, and is kind of mid-range, and good against green specifically. Build your Tech 2 Fire on turn 4 (thats at 8 workers going first, 9 going second)

  1. Lobber + Lobber
  2. Bloodlust + Chaos Mirror
  3. 2 of Kidnapping, Molting Firebird, and Lizzo
  4. The other card from #3 + 2nd Lizzo
  5. War Drums + Calypso Vystari

For green (again building Tech 2 Growth on turn 4)

  1. Tiny Basilisk + Galina Glimmer
  2. Tiny Basilisk + Ferocity
  3. Might of Leaf and Claw + Blooming Ancient
  4. Might of Leaf and Claw + moments peace
  5. Stampede + blooming elm

That’s exactly the kind of thing I was looking for, thanks! Both of these look solid, and I think I could even explain them if a player asks. I am a bit surprised that you included both copies of Might of Leaf and Claw, though… That’s something I thought would be unnecessary.

You won’t have to play both, but it is highly likely that Red will be able to destroy the green Tech 2 at least once, so having 2 copies helps ensure it comes out ASAP.

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OK, that makes sense. I suppose teching them on different turns is so they won’t be in the same hand, right? And I’d guess that once one of them gets played, the other can be workered.

Technically they do stack, so you could worker one, or you could play them both, depends a lot on game flow.

True, but I figure most games where you can get both of them active are games you probably could win anyway. Obviously it’s an option, but it’s good to know that it’s a good worker choice too.

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I actually struggle in this match up as red. What do I do when might and leaf triggers? It usual ends really bad for me :frowning:

Most are going to struggle once MolaC triggers. The trick is to not let it trigger. Being aggressive in Codex is good and especially so vs Green. If you let them build up they are just going to kill you with gold advantage and big dudes for cheap. Just kill their stuff as much as possible. As red you shouldn’t be trying to build up yourself. Don’t be afraid to lose your guys in trades. For Green to even make MolaC work they need to have a big board of guys so try and not let them get that board.

With out knowing anything specific about the games being played this is the best general advice I can give.


The most important thing to remember is that green has _ no haste _.
They also don’t have much in removal. Usually, you know how much they can do to your board, so if you kill all their things they don’t have many nasty surprises.


Well, watch out for Wandering Mimic, and pump spells on Wisps. But other than that!


Ooo yes you’re right, mimic can copy red’s haste.

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circle of life into that mimic, too. Can’t be too careful. Attacks with Centaur, maybe rampant growth for even more overpower, then circle of life into a wandering mimic. Or just circle of life a sacrificial gemscout owl or galina you just played.


Last night I played against myself using the build orders EricF gave earlier so I’d be better prepared to teach with them tomorrow (As an aside, it was a “fair” match in that both sides could have looked at the other player’s “recommended build order” anyway and I didn’t look at each side’s new hand until it was their turn). What this really made clear to me is that a lot of my problems stem from forgetting about my “non-hand” options.

So many years of playing other CCGs has taught me that if I don’t have enough board presence I should look to my hand for answers, but that doesn’t necessarily hold true in Codex. After all, later in the game I could spend 6 gold to play and max Argagarg or Calamandra, or even early in the game I could play a hero for 2 gold or build a Tower for 3, but the thought doesn’t cross my mind very often (plus I’m worried about giving my opponent free levels if I summon a Hero). Other problems, like wanting to skip workers more than I should and going down on cards any time I’m in trouble, seem to stem from this root problem, and I can’t think of a way to remind myself about those other options. I guess I just need to play a few games where even if it seems suicidal to do so, I never go down on cards and always hire a worker until I reach 10. Maybe forcing myself not to have other options will be reminder enough? Then again, I might just play more expensive things from hand instead… :disappointed_relieved:

[details=Old post about Reference Sheets]
On a happier note, I’ve compiled some of the advice from the forums into reference sheets that I’ve put in my Codexes. There’s one for the Blood Anarchs and one for the Moss Sentinels, and anyone can comment or suggest edits (be careful, though – space is tight, and some of the formatting I used relies on weird tricks). The first page on each is specific info for Red and Green respectively, with an overview of each starting deck taken from @Barrelfish’s Beginner’s Guide to Workers, spec generalizations based on this post by @Zejety, and the build orders from @EricF’s post in this thread. The second page is the same on both, and includes seven points of general advice from @FrozenStorm’s post and @Ryjak’s post in the “Making a strategy guide/tutorial for beginners” thread (speaking of which, I should probably post this there too?), as well as another chunk of @Barrelfish’s Beginner’s Guide to Workers (I figured that since choosing what to worker is so common and so prone to paralyzing new players, it might be worth using half a page to talk about it). Finally, the logo was taken from the graphic design page at, the Hero artwork is from the rulebook, and the cards are from the Codex Card Database.

(Sorry about the number of links and mentions, but I believe in citing sources! Any changes of wording were either an attempt to clarify something or to fit it into the available space.)

My question at this point is whether what I have here is OK, both in terms of content and formatting/presentation, or are there some changes that should be made before I try using them to teach tomorrow? In particular, if the section on workers could be condensed, what would be good to add (and how would you condense that section)? Also, how can I convince my own brain to follow the advice on this thing? :expressionless:[/details]

Any discussion about the reference sheets should go to the new thread.


Can I like @Hobusu’s post more? Mods plz let me like it twice!

Seriously, those are some EXCELLENT sheets! Love the format, love the advice!

I might suggest adding a third “good early worker” to Green, as it would be common enough you wouldn’t have either of those cards in your first hand. My suggestion would be Spore Shambler, as he’s mostly good late game and Forest’s Favor is usually better IMO.

But we as a community NEED to make one of those sheets for EVERY MONO COLOR DECK, and it’d be awesome to have one for the 3-4 most common multi-colors (definitely PPA & Necro Blood Truth, maybe Demon/Necro Strength Growth or Fire Anarchy Growth?) These would be AMAZING to bring to IRL demo days

Bravo sir!


Thank you so much! I agree on Green needing another early worker, and I can add Spore Shambler (edit: it’s been added, but if someone has a convincing reason otherwise, I can remove it). I just copied from Barrelfish’s guide (linked above), so maybe you should mention that there?

Well, I still only have the Core Set and my print and play Starter Set, so that’s beyond what I can do right now. :sweat_smile:
It shouldn’t be hard to edit for other mono-colors, at least, but I don’t have a clue what the “recommended build order” would be for any of them. For multicolor, you would probably take out the Starting Deck and Spec Generalizations in favor of describing the reason for putting those specs together. Until I can afford the expansions (and they both come out, of course), I’ll leave that to the rest of the community.

I think producing the same thing for Bashing vs Finess would be very useful.

Sure, I can whip something up later today. I’ll have to think of a recommended build order, but the nice thing about the Starter Set is that it’s simple enough that almost anything can work. Mostly have Bashing tech both Iron Men ASAP and have all the other techs for both players be 2 different cards, and it should work out reasonably well.

This raises a question, though: If I (or someone else) keep making more of these, should they have a dedicated thread?

  • Make a separate thread
  • Don’t bother

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