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40kccg strategy

One to Four: Evaluating Card Counts

This week we talk more about evaluating how many copies of each card to include in your deck, as well as the difference between “micro” and “macro” analysis.

As I upgrade and revise my existing 40K CCG decks, lately I’ve been thinking more about how many copies of each card I should put into my decks, and what criteria should be used to make each decision.

Just like in Magic, you’re allowed to play up to 4 copies of any given card in your deck. While there is a lot of math backing up the numbers behind building a Magic deck, in the 40K CCG the statistics are a little trickier because you cannot predict the likelihood of drawing a card as easily, since sector battles and dice rolling add variability into how many cards are removed from your deck. Additionally, cards in your deck can be drawn as both deployment cards and command cards. 

The comparison between Magic and the 40K CCG breaks down even further when you consider that each 40K card is essentially three separate cards: the unit, the die roll, and the command line. You are evaluating each card on three axes, and as such, there should be two lenses through which you should evaluate each card: at the micro level, and at the macro level.

“Micro” Analysis

At the micro level, you are analyzing each card on its own merits, and how well it contributes to your gameplan. Here are some of my own qualitative guidelines for how many copies of any given card I choose to play, along with some examples. 

1 Copy:

  • This card is a very strong unit but has an abysmal command line and/or die roll
  • This card is a redundant copy of another similar card in my deck
  • This card is a ‘flex’ slot for filling in any gaps in the deck
  • This card is spicy or meme-worthy

2 Copies

  • This card is a solid unit, but is hampered by a bad command line and/or die roll
  • This card has a negative E command line
  • This card is a redundant copy of another similar card in my deck
  • This card is a non-critical character

3 Copies

  • This card plays a strong role in my deck, but I do not want to see more than one in my deployment hand
  • This card is a strong unit but has a low die roll and/or a situational command line
  • This card is a Unique

4 Copies

  • This card is critical to my battlefield strategy, and I am never sad to see multiples in my deployment hand
  • This card also has a command line that is useful in the majority of battles
  • This card is so powerful on the battlefield that its other drawbacks are outweighed by its destructive abilities
  • This card’s die roll, unit abilities and/or command line makes the rest of my deck function more consistently

“Macro” Analysis

The second half of this evaluation process is analyzing each card choice within the context of the entire deck—at the macro level, so to speak. Some questions you might ask yourself:

  • Will this card raise or lower my average die roll?
  • Will this card increase the number of difficult tests in my deck?
  • Will this card increase the number of unusable command lines in my deck?
  • Will this card reduce my total flag count?
  • Is this card useful by itself at a sector, is it too dependent on other units?
  • Can this card counter an opponent’s specific strategy (e.g., infiltration, die manipulation, assaulting)?
  • Can this card counter an opponent’s specific units (e.g., high armor, high speed, multiple assault units)?

Balancing micro and macro perspectives helps provide a clearer picture of how you expect each card to perform. Just because a few cards combo together doesn’t always mean you should play them; conversely, just because a unit appears objectively strong doesn’t always mean it will mesh with your deck’s strategy. Every decision you make is contained within a myriad of contexts.

Hopefully this will give a better picture of how I approach deck building, and provide another perspective when you are working on your own decks. Good luck!

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