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It's Not Cheating! - James Carpenter (3/11/2007)

[Editor's note: Not being a fan of World of Warcraft, I haven't gotten into the card game. With that said, I take no responsibility for the possible rules implications that might come from this article. The technique discussed here is similar to mana-weaving in Magic, which is frowned upon quite a bit by judges. Just so you know...]

World of Warcraft CCG is all the rage! If you're just getting into it (i.e. a newb) or if you're a CCG legend there are some tricks of the trade you can use to stack the deck (so to speak) in your favor.

While you can't - and shouldn't - try to control exactly what cards you get at what stage of the game, you can ensure that there's a good mix of cards throughout your deck, so that even the most energetic shuffling won't leave your hand containing seven high cost allies and no quests.

Follow this guide step by step:

A) Sort your deck into types - allies, abilities, quests, and equipment.

B) If you've more than sixty cards, consider cutting the deck down as close to sixty as you can get. What you want is a lean, mean deck, where the cards for your killer tactics arrive in your hand as soon as possible. The alternative is a bloated monster where your essential card is still five turns away as your hero hits zero life, and you don't want that. It doesn't have to be exactly sixty, but try to get close.

C) Make sure you've a reasonable balance of allies and abilities. It's a common enough approach for beginners to make a deck full of allies, but as soon as a card like Jaina Proudmoore lands on the table, you're in trouble.

D) Sort your allies by cost. Generally speaking, ´´low cost´´, ´´medium cost´´, and ´´high cost´´ is as much differentiation as you need.

E) Sort abilities by cost - the same three categories should be fine.

F) Sort quests by how much they cost to complete.

G) Now make six piles of cards. In each pile you should have - approximately, depending on your particular deck and strategies - one low cost ally, one medium cost ally, one high cost ally, one low cost ability, one medium cost ability, and one high cost ability. If you've more left over, distribute them as evenly as possible.

H) Distribute the quest and equipment cards among the six piles in the same manner - don't put too many high-cost or low-cost cards in any one pile.

I) Put the six piles on top of each other, and your deck is assembled and ready to go. You
have to shuffle and allow your opponent a chance to cut the deck before you start, but this technique should still result in a good distribution of cards.

This will result in pretty nearly any initial draw from the deck having a selection of abilities, allies, quests and equipment, giving you a good start. It will also prevent the effect whereby you're drawing ability after ability, when all you need is just one ally.

Of course your deck-building and play skill will lend itself towards your ultimate goal of victory, but these basic deck building skills are the foundation upon which you will ultimately succeed. Plus there's nothing more frustrating than not getting the cards you need, or worse, the cards you want, but can't use.

Now of course some might say that this is cheating, and that Hate Shuffling could just as easily kill this whole process. First off there are no rules anywhere stating this is not allowed. And secondly I'm not advocating actual deck stacking, only better distribution of cards throughout your deck. Give it a try and if your game doesn't improve by at least 25% then I'll gladly give you free cards next time you buy from me. I just might do that anyway.


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