Chris F. is back for more play group tips! This time, he shares about his 4 Tier system for giving away cards to new players, as well as “level” and “introduction” decks to progressively train them up!

Welcome back!

So last time, in part 1, we talked about the method I use for my play group, and new members in particular. The first thing I want to discuss this time is the cards that new players are allowed to pick from to build their new/first decks. Given that I am have been playing this game for an extremely long time and have a huge collection of early game cards, simply use what I do as an example and adjust based on your supply.

Due to the sheer number of cards in this game, I’m going to give you the basic breakdown of what I make available in each of my four “Tiers”.

Tier 1:

– Every card from Limited/Unlimited (minus 2/3-Liner Lost Souls), Prophets, Apostles, Patriarchs (minus Haman’s Plot), Faith of our Fathers & Rock of Ages

– Every non Ultra-Rare from Warriors

– Every non Rare & Ultra-Rare from Kings, Angel Wars & Priests

– Every non special ability Lost Soul as I have, to give players either enough of one for one deck or a choice of their favorite art

Since the amount of cards available in this Tier is huge, I eliminate anything that isn’t even remotely useful. I tend to be most gracious with characters. If a character fits into a “category,” I include them. So, for instance, in my brown you will find Haman (no special ability), Persian Presidents & Zeresh because they are Persians (and Persians is getting a lot of upcoming love). For enhancements I keep battle winners, negates, bands, draws, and very useful utility cards like Crucify Him, Land Purchase, Zeresh Advises Haman, etc.

There are also characters who would never be used in (almost) any “competitive” decks that get included because they are very strong when going against cards of like power. So blue will have both Ehud and Thomas as choices to pick, as in the right deck they can be very strong against decks in similar power (which almost all of these are).

If you would like an exhaustive list of Tier 1 cards, then please reach out to me and I’d be glad to share it with you. Again, if you don’t have all of the cards I have, then just give students what you have and they will be grateful for it. You can also choose to “water down” the deck to match the potential power level of the cards you have available.

I allow play group members to pick the following cards from Tier 1: 5 Lost Souls with no abilities, 2 Lost Souls with abilities, and 8 single color cards of each of the following: Heroes, Good Enhancements, Evil Characters, and Evil Enhancements.

Note: I do make them pick 8 single color cards, as it would be difficult to keep up with the demand of the multi-brigade cards if offered for every color they include. I also allow the player to choose 8 of the same color or 4 of one and 4 of another. This allows them to “load up” on one color and not have to worry about not having the right color enhancements at the right time. Or they can choose to potentially make 4 of the colors from the I/J decks even better by moving from 4 heroes and 5 enhancements (per color) to 8 heroes and 9 enhancements (per color) for 4 different brigades.

Once they choose these 39 cards, they are allowed to choose 11 more cards. They are allowed to pick 6 more cards from Tier 1, which include anything from the list including dominants, artifacts, fortresses, sites and any other character/enhancements they would like to add. So that leaves them with 5 more cards – 4 from Tier 2, and 1 card from Tier 3.

Tier 2:

These are a Tier higher due to the fact that they are a little bit harder to acquire than Tier 1 cards. If you have an abundance of any of these categories, feel free to move them down a Tier.

– Rares from Kings, Angel Wars & Priests

– Most cards from C/D Starter Decks, E/F Starter Decks, G/H Starter Decks, I/J Starter Decks, Women, Disciples & TxP

– Most of the Promos, except for retired or Nationals promos. Other “expensive” promos might be withheld, but it mostly depends on the availability to you

– Commons from Early Church, Persecuted Church, Cloud of Witnesses, Revelation of John & Fall of Man

Tier 3:

– Basically “High-End”, harder to acquire cards

– Ultra-Rares from Kings, Angel Wars & Priests

– Rares from Early Church, Persecuted Church, Cloud of Witnesses, Revelation of John & Fall of Man

– Any of the cards you find it hard to acquire: higher cost C, D, E, F Starter deck cards, higher cost / hard to acquire promos, Ultra-Rares from Warriors, etc.

Tier 4:

I don’t really have any way to give away these cards due to the fact they are very difficult to acquire. These cards include:

Falling Away from Women, Grapes of Wrath and Mayhem from TxP, National-only promos, Ultra-Rares from Early Church, Persecuted Church, Cloud of Witnesses, Revelation of John & Fall of Man, etc.

 

So now you know my personal breakdown of my “Tiers.” Here is one adjustment from the list and choices from above. Say you do have that player that decides to purchase the I/J Starter Deck from you. I reward those players by allowing them to choose more cards from the higher Tiers. So here is a breakdown of what they get to pick if they bought the I/J Starter Decks.

Tier 1: 5 Lost Souls with abilities and 8 of each of the following: Heroes, Good Enhancements, Evil Characters and Evil Enhancements. The Characters and Enhancements no longer have to be single color, as they already have a good set of them with the Starter Decks. They get to choose 5 more cards from this set as well.

That allows them to have 8 cards left to choose. Notice I give them 50 cards regardless of if they have some or not. They are then allowed to choose any 5 cards from Tier 2 and any 3 cards from Tier 3.

This allows them to acquire a few better cards earlier as a simple reward for spending money on the game.

If you feel like there needs to be more incentive, then feel free to change up those numbers, but I do feel a balanced deck is better for new players, as they don’t get frustrated by not having offense or defense for an entire game.

 

Level Decks and Rewards:

So as I mentioned in the previous article, once a player has cards of their own, I then allow them to face off against me and I play what has been termed “level decks.” Without going into a lot of details, these decks are based on increasing difficulty and having to win a game by making the right decision and not just playing cards randomly and hoping it works.

I have 4 Level Decks, and then once those are beaten I have 12 “introduction” decks built around a specific ability, of which the deck name is that. Again these decks are not always meant to be super strong and always win. Due to the deck type, some will inherently be stronger than others. You do want some incentive for players to keep coming back and not get bored, which might happen if they were all super strong because players could get discouraged by not being able to beat any of them.

The rewards are going to be based on what you have and can give away. When I first started this project, I gave away $10 worth of cards for each of the first 3 wins and then for beating the “final level deck” I was giving $7 worth of Tier 1 cards and $3 of Tier 2 cards. But if you have a lot of stock, and don’t feel like keeping up with card amounts (which is where I’m starting to head), you can give away a certain amount of cards instead. So whichever reward system you decide on, this is my suggestion: For the first 3 level deck rewards, only give Tier 1 cards. This allows them to get a good base for several different colors, and possibly identifiers. I do like to give a “larger” reward for beating my Level 4 deck, as it tends to take some players a while to get past it. I’m starting to think about giving half my decided Tier 1 reward, plus three (or more) Tier 2 cards and one Tier 3 card. But you can modify this based on your haves. After that I give the same reward for every of the introduction decks, they are normally 75% of my Tier 1 rewards and the other cards turn into Tier 2 cards.

So as I have said before, modify any of these numbers (and decks) based on your haves. Again, feel free to reach out to me about cards I include in my 4 Tiers, as well as if you’d like any of the current decklists for my “level decks” and “introduction decks”. And if you have any suggestions to the decks please give them, as I’m always looking for upgrades!

To buy singles, sealed product, and other gaming supplies mentioned, please visit Three Lions Gaming!

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