Hey there everyone, this article is primarily to help new players get a grasp of deck building and game flow. This guide will primarily delve into how most decks function and the flow of the game at various points. Also in this guide I’d like to introduce the terms that most players call certain cards that way you can familiarize yourself with why people use these cards.
At level zero players generally run the following cards. There are: runners, suiciders, beaters, brainstorms, supports, and bond cards.
Felt, Declaration of War
“[A] At the start of your Opponent’s Attack Phase, you may put the top card of your Library in the Waiting Room. If it’s a Character with either ::Magic:: or ::Weapon::, you may move this to an empty Slot in your Front Row.”
These cards are called runners because they have the ability to move around on the board during your opponent’s attack phase which makes it troublesome for your opponent to kill and it saves you resources because your character won’t be reversed and sent to the waiting room allowing you another turn to use this card and gain more stock.
Rem, Gaze of Admiration
[C] You cannot play Events or BACKUP from your hand.
The card gains 1000 power over the standard 3000 vanilla which gives it a lot more power that can usually run over any other level 0. The 4000 power is also a nice number because it can be boosted to kill some level 1s.
Rem & Ram Under the Sunlight Through the Leaves
[A] When this becomes Reversed, if the Level of the Battle Opponent of this is 0 or lower, you may Reverse that Character.
These cards are called suiciders or bombs because they kill the opponent cards when they die. They are useful because they kill opponent level 0’s that reach high powers and become hard to remove.
Crusch, Head of the Karsten House
[S] BRAINSTORM [(1)] Flip over the top 4 cards of your Library and put them in the Waiting Room. For each Climax card revealed this way, search your Library for up to 1 Character with either ::Magic:: or ::Weapon::, reveal it, put it in your hand, discard a card from your hand to the Waiting Room, and shuffle your Library.
Brainstorms are very useful cards because they help manipulate the amount of cards in your deck which can be important depending on how many climaxes you have remaining in your deck. In situations where a lot are out you may use the ability to send 4 cards to the waiting room to attempt refreshing faster so the opponent can’t take advantage of all the free damage. If there are several in you can use the ability to try to search for more characters to add to your hand.
Rem, Happy Dream
[C] All your other Characters with either ::Magic:: or ::Weapon:: gain +500 Power.
There are actually 2 types of supports. Technically there is only one support that give power or effects to cards directly in front of the card but the example here gives power under the basis of traits which makes it “global” versus only the two characters you have directly in front of it.
Bond cards are useful because they allow you to discard or clock away useful cards at a future level now while you don’t need them and when you need to retrieve them you can play the bond and pay the cost to retrieve the card.
Some of the cards here have more than one of the abilities on one card which gets you more bang for your buck by having multiple good effects stacked onto a single card. The most that any one card gets out of the abilities here is 2, the important part is to know which combinations contributes more to the deck you’re building.
At level one the game plan is usually a level one search card. Many series started to get cards like this with the first to popularize it being Kantai Collection so most players just call these types of cards “Shimakaze”.
Shimakaze, Shimakaze class destroyer
[A] When the Battle Opponent of this becomes Reversed, if “Swift as the Island Wind” is in the Climax Zone, search your Library for up to 1 ::Fleet Girl:: Character, reveal it, put it in your hand, and shuffle your Library.
These cards are really powerful because they help you increase your resources but the usual cost of losing a card or spending stock is exchanged for reversing the opponent characters. The drawbacks are very minimal because even if the opponent plays a counter causing you to be unable to reverse them then you still dealt damage with the climax card’s soul boost while not expending any stock.
The other types of cards people can run are beaters. These are 1/0s that have around 6500 power that again instead of spending stock they “pay” by having a certain number of characters of traits or negligible negatives.
Kirei, Truth Seeker of the Holy Church
[C] For every other Character with either ::Master:: and/or ::God:: that you have, this gains +500 Power.
This is a good level 1 card in the Fate Masters build as your entire deck will be composed of <Master> trait characters which means if you have a full board this card will be 6500 power which is 1000 over the standard 1/0 5500 cards.
Another popular type of card people run at level 1 is the level 1 suicider. These function the same way as level 0 suiciders but can reverse characters of level 1 or lower.
“Cool and Playful” Yuiko
“[A] When this becomes Reversed, if the Level of the Battle Opponent of this is 1 or lower, you may Reverse that Character.”
At this point in the game most players don’t play level 2s. The only level 2 cards people will run are free refresh cards that send all the player’s cards back to their deck and gaining a bonus over the usual one damage penalty if the set they play has access to one. There are also level 2 counters, they’re usually ran for the extra power they provide over level 1 counters or a unique effect. The cards that players play most often are level 3s with a condition that allows them to enter the stage with an alternative summon condition. There are primarily two ways to do this, the first is the keyword CHANGE which allows a lower level card to summon a higher level card, the other are early plays which is a level 3 with a condition that allows it to gain -1 level in hand while meeting some condition.
“Beauty Baron” Mid-Boss
[A] When this is placed from hand to Stage, if there are 5 or fewer cards in your Library, return all cards in your Waiting Room to Library. If so, shuffle that Library, and you may deal 1 damage to Opponent. (Damage Cancel can occur.)
“Judgment” Uiharu → Uiharu in Swimsuit
“Judgment” Uiharu’s ability
[A] CHANGE [(1) Discard a card from hand to the Waiting Room, Send this to Memory] At the beginning of your Climax Phase, you may pay cost. If so, choose 1 “Uiharu in Swimsuits” from your Waiting Room and put it in the Slot this was in.
“That is All” Mikoto
[C] If “Kuroko, Summer Fun” is in your Clock, this gets -1 Level while in your hand.
Level 3 is the late game and it’s the time players want to close out the game with strong finishers that have high damage output abilities. For finishers there are generally 4 types: Clock shoot, Restand, burn, and cancel burn.
Akagi Kai, Akagi-class Aircraft Carrier
[A] When the Battle Opponent of this becomes Reversed, if “Akagi of the First Carrier Division, Deploying!” is in your Climax Zone, you may put that Character in Clock.
Clock shoot or clock kick cards are strong because after they reverse the opponent’s characters they send them to the clock which prevents the opponent from encoring it but more importantly to deal additional damage.
Restand & Burn:
Marika, Maiden’s Heart
[A] RECOLLECTION When this attacks, if there are 2 or more “Pendant of Promise” in your Memory, you may deal 1 Damage to your Opponent. (Damage Cancel can occur)
[A] [(2) Discard 3 cards from your hand to the Waiting Room] This ability activates up to once per turn. When the Battle Opponent of this becomes Reversed, if you have 2 or more other ::Key:: Characters, you may pay cost. If so, Stand this.
Burn effects are really strong because they just make the opponent perform damage checks. If it goes through then you get free damage if it doesn’t that’s fine too since you removed a climax that would have otherwise cancelled the bigger damage coming next.
Restands are powerful because they allow a character to attack a second time which means you get a second chance to deal damage and gain more stock as well as any other benefits that come with attacking depending on the card. In the case of Marika it triggers her first effect which means a player can deal a damage, attack, restand, deal a damage again, and attack again. That results in a total of 5 instances of damage which is insane for any one card.
Marika is the strongest finisher in the entire game because she is composed of two end game abilities that not only synergize well together but the conditions are not very difficult to pull off. This card was so powerful it had to be restricted to 1 copy per deck to try to offset its consistency.
Musashi, 2nd Yamato-class Battleship
[A] This ability activates up to once per turn. During the turn this is placed from hand to the Stage, when the Damage dealt by this is Cancelled, put the top card of your Library in the Waiting Room, and deal X Damage to your Opponent. X = 1 + Level of that card. (Climax cards are considered Level 0 for this effect. Damage Cancel can occur)
Cancel burns are another strong form of end game because they punish the opponent for cancelling by making them take additional damage too, sometimes more damage than the initial attack. Although Red burn deals damage regardless, they usually come with a condition or cost while yellow cancel burn generally has easier conditions such as cards like Musashi that just for the turn it comes to the stage from hand it automatically gains the ability without any other requirement.