164.html|@/@@TEXTR*chl@rt~;O# Deck Building: Hazards

Strategy Week Day 2: Deck Building: Hazards

Making a good deck involves balancing of three different parts: The resource deck (which includes characters), the hazard deck, and the site deck. Since designing a site deck is, for the most part, just a matter of putting every site you've got into a pile, I won't waste a review on that, but instead will spend two reviews on deck building: one on the resource/character deck, the other on the hazard deck. Today we'll cover the second of these, the hazard deck.

You have a little more "creative freedom" when designing a hazard deck than when designing a resource/character one, because there aren't as many requirements in it, it's more just finding new ways of torturing your opponent. Of course, you can with careful planning help yourself as well, which I'll get into in a little bit, but the main thing to do is hurt your opponent. As for deck sizes I'd usually let the resource half dictate that and simply match up the hazards with it, rather than the other way around, since the resource half requires stricter planning. But let's get on to designing decks.

The first step is creatures. This is probably the easiest part, and the most fun, but also one of the most important. You need to try to get a wide variety of creatures, and still make sure they're all pretty good. Start out with some basic creatures to make sure you can fling something around every turn or so, maybe about 5 to 10 of these. Try to have a few creatures for each type of terrain, maybe not quite as many in the safer areas because there aren't as many good ones but any good ones for those places you have put in. Only use the double and triple wilderness guys like the Drakes when you've got enough variety everywhere else. Variety isn't necessarily a great strategy for an entire hazard creature set, but for a few staples like this it's a necessity. Next try to do some more specific creatures. A few Dragons or Drakes, for example, to try to enliven things a bit. For Dragons if you have a choice of them I'd probably reccomend Smaug, Scorba, Earcaraxe, Itanghast, and Daelomin, in that order, as good Dragons to include, mostly due to their fairly wide combined range. But don't necessarily put them all in. Also maybe a few Nazgul can help with some backup in darker areas if you have any and some enhancers for them. Finally round off with a few miscellaneous, fun creatures, like Morgul-Rats (a REALLY cool card) and Neeker-Breekers. Once again, make sure you have something for everywhere. My reccomendation would be make about a third to half of your hazard deck creatures, varying from how many good creatures you have and how many enhancers/other good hazards you've got.

Next you want to take up another good chunk of your hazard deck, not that many cards but certainly a few, on creature enhancers. Pick these carefully, too many of them can leave you with some unnecessary waste, and focus partly on making sure your really powerful creatures (like Dragons and Nazgul) are playable fairly widely, so you can be sure of using them. But also be sure to include a couple for your other creatures, the lesser ones with broader enhancers. You can still have powerful enhancers for those too, however. If you've got a specific strategy in mind, maybe a Nazgul-heavy deck, you can concentrate more on that strategy and increase the numbers of cards used on creature enhancers if that fits with your strategy. I won't get into much detail on specific strategies, you'll have to work those out yourselves or wait until a later issue.

Finally it's time for the non-creature hazards. First the essentials. Will of Sauron, Doors of Night, Muster Disperses (or something with a similar effect), all of those are almost absolute essentials in hazard decks. And of course a few cards that use them, a couple of long-events like Snowstorm that benefit from them. Better yet, Ahunt Dragons, which can also be used as substitutes for Dragons in the creature part of your deck. These are also cool because with DoN they can be very wide-range in their destruction, covering over half the map with their automatic attacks. Also keep a Twilight or two to make sure you can cancel these at any time. Then add in some other dangers. Balrog of Moria type things, more long-events, short-events, you name it. Corruption cards are sometimes nice, so are various discarders, delayers, and pure inconveniencers. Also some cool special ability ones like Wind of Wrath (especially when combined with Earcaraxe). This is a very flexible part, pretty much up to the player. You can also use this space to help with a specific strategy too, maybe some cards to provide backup to your main assaults. Or like Nazgul are Abroad to provide enhancers and backup.

Finally, check over it a bit again, make sure everything somewhat fits. You may want to try playing this against a basic resource/character deck with a solitaire-like strategy to see how much damage it causes. There's always room to fine-tune it a bit if you happen to think you don't use something much or something doesn't quite work like you planned it. Experiment with this, and eventually you'll have a hazard deck that can truly make opponents scream. Good luck. And stay tuned for the next issue, when I review starting configurations and what to do the first few turns.

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