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Basic Deck Design by OWJ

Page history last edited by OBI_WAN_JOHN 3 years, 9 months ago

Basic Deck Design by OWJ

 

 

The purpose of this page is to provide a breakdown of the standard Basic decks and when to use them.  In addition, this page will explore new Basic deck theories; with the introduction of the experimental Magenta and Cyan decks.  This page will serve as a handy resource for new and experienced deckmakers alike; who don't have the card breakdowns memorized.  It is my hope that this page will prompt innovation and possible usage of some of my theories in their own deck designs.  

 

**Official Hasbro Decks in full color**

 

Major Melee Decks

38/18

35/21

32/24

30/28

28/31

30/23

28/28

Red

Magenta

Blue

Cyan

Green

Brown

Aqua

5/1

5/1

5/1

5/1 

4/2 

5/1 

4/1 

5/1

5/1

5/1

4/2 

4/2 

4/1 

4/2 

5/1

5/1

4/1

4/2 

4/2 

4/1 

4/2 

5/1

4/1

4/2

4/2 

4/2 

4/2 

4/2 

4/1

4/2

4/2

3/3 

3/3 

4/2 

3/3 

4/2

4/2

3/3

3/3

3/3 

3/2 

3/3 

4/2

3/3

3/3

2/3 

2/4 

2/3 

2/3 

3/2

2/3

2/3

2/4 

2/4 

2/3 

2/4 

2/3

2/3

1/4

2/4 

1/4 

1/4 

1/4 

1/4

1/4

1/4

1/4 

1/5  1/4  1/4 

 

Official Hasbro Decks

Red Deck

A Red deck is used for agressive Jedi characters; Anakin, Luke, Vader &  Maul use the Red deck.  The Red deck has alot of offense but is plagued by poor defense.  For this reason, it is generally considered inferior to the balanced Blue deck.

 

Blue Deck

The Blue deck is about having a balanced attack and defense.  It is used by Jedi characters; Obi-Wan, Mace and Dooku.  Having defense is critical to the staying power of your character; so you can win with your talent cards.

 

Green Deck

The Green deck is reserved for defensive masters; Yoda and Emperor Palpatine use this deck.  This is used by only the most powerful of Jedi and Sith characters.  The downside to all this defense is a weak offense.  For this reason, Yoda often struggles to put characters away.  But, his Green deck coupled with his 3 Power Defend cards makes him extremely hard to take down.  In some games, he'll block everything you throw at him.

 

Unofficial Decks

Brown Deck

The premise of the Brown deck is to be a weaker version of Blue.  The Brown deck is meant for non-Jedi type characters who need a good deck but lack the combat skills of a typically Jedi.  Characters like Jabba the Hutt and the Rancor are a good match for this deck.  This deck could probably be utilized a bit more by the ED community; rather than settling on Blue all the time.

 

Aqua Deck

An Aqua deck is meant as a weaker version, defensively, than a Green deck.  Notice just the defend value is lower than the Green.   A good deck to utilize when you need to tone done the defense on a Green deck but maintain the weak offense.

 

Experiemental Decks (Magenta & Cyan)

Characters that change skill levels at different stages of there career, such as Obi-Wan Kenobi, could range from Magenta to Blue to Cyan.  This can be easily justified.  The young energetic Padawan Obi could fit into a Magenta deck.  The episode 2 Epic Duels version of Obi has the standard Blue deck.  Then finally, as the wise Old Ben Kenobi, the Cyan deck.  But, bare in mind, the talent cards determine, greatly, the extent a character relies on his Basic deck for Offense or Defense.  You have to consider the whole deck.  I'd start with choosing a Basic deck you like first.  Then work the talent cards around that; understanding, that your basic deck and/or your talent cards may need to change to get the deck in the right balance.  These new decks are meant as a tool to achieve this end.

 

Magenta

The Magenta deck is between the Red and Blue decks.  It's meant for 'balanced to aggressive' characters.  Characters that are either Red or Blue could be tweaked up or down to Magenta and still represent that character well.   If you want to give a Blue deck character a bit more offense, you have the option to go to a Magenta deck and vice versa.

 

Cyan

The Cyan deck is similiar to the Aqua deck.  But is has a bit more offense.  It rests between the Blue and Green decks.  It is meant for 'balanced to defensive' characters.  Characters that are either Green or Blue could be tweaked up or down to a Cyan deck and still represent that character well.  If you want to give a Blue deck a bit more defense, you have the option to go to Cyan and vice versa.  

 

 

Minor Melee Decks

33/17 30/20 27/23 25/27 25-29 25/22 24/27 26/24  25/24 20/18 19/17
Red Magenta Blue Cyan Green Brown Aqua Strong+ Strong Weak Weak
5/1 5/1 5/1  4/2 4/2 4/1  4/2 5/1  4/1 3/1 3/1
5/1 5/1  4/1  4/2 4/2 4/1  4/2 4/2  4/2 3/1 3/1
5/1 4/1  4/2  4/2 4/2 4/2  4/2 4/2  4/2 3/2 3/1
4/1 4/2  4/2  3/3 3/3 4/2  3/3 3/2  3/2 3/2 2/2
4/2 4/2  3/3  3/3 3/3 3/2  3/3 3/3  3/3 2/2 2/2
4/2 3/3  3/3  2/3 2/4 2/3  2/3 3/3  3/3 2/2 2/2
3/2 2/3  2/3  2/4 2/4 2/3  2/4 2/3  2/3 2/2 2/2
2/3 2/3  1/4  2/4 1/4 1/4  1/4 1/4  1/4 1/3 1/3
1/4 1/4  1/4  1/4 1/5 1/4  1/4 1/4  1/4 1/3 1/3

 

As you can see from the above graph, none of the Minor Melee decks are official Hasbro decks.  That's because in the original game, there were no Minor Melee characters.  The premise of each deck is the same as for the Major Melee decks.  So, I won't repeat the explanations.  To get the Minor Melee decks, you simply take away the top card of the Major deck; since a minor Basic deck has only 9 cards.  The exceptions are the Weak, Strong & Strong+ Melee decks. 

 

Strong & Strong+

There is definitely some overlapping theory between the 'Blue and Strong+' decks and the 'Strong & Minor-Brown' decks.  I know I'm biased, but I prefer the Minor-Blue and Minor-Brown as each has less total defense.  Strong+(Melee) also has a 3/2 card; which is more typical of a Red deck or shooting character.  Whereas, Minor-Blue has a 4/1 card; which is a Blue deck card.  But, they are perfectly viable decks, nonetheless. 

 

Weak Decks

The Weak deck is for, well, weak characters; such as Watto, C3PO, R2D2, exc.  Typical non-compatants that you may have included in a custom deck.  These characters have to have 'something' for cards and so this deck was created with these types of characters in mind.  The 19/17 version, created by Roman Farraday, uses the same convention of having only 3 different card types; similiar to the Weak Minor Shooter deck.  For this reason, I think it's an improvement in design over the original.

 

Important Note

If you are new to deckmaking, I recommend that you do not use the Minor-Green, Minor-Aqua or Minor-Cyan decks.  I've included these decks here as a reference for advanced deckmakers.

 

Major Shooter Decks

27/19 27/20 27/21 29/21
Yellow Yellow+ Yellow++ Orange
4/1  4/1  4/1  5/1 
4/1  4/1  4/1  4/1 
4/1  4/1  4/1  4/1 
3/1  3/1  3/1  3/1 
3/1  3/1  3/1  3/1 
3/2  3/2  3/2  3/2 
2/2 2/2  2/3  3/3 
2/2  2/3 2/3  2/3 
1/4  1/4  1/4  1/4 
1/4 1/4  1/4  1/4 

 

Official Hasbro Decks

Yellow & Yellow+

Yellow is the standard deck for Major shooting characters; Jango and Boba utilize this deck.  Han utilizes a Yellow+ deck which has 1 more point of defense.  These decks have long been considered too weak on defense.  The game designers seemed to have missed the mark a bit on the defense point total.  Therefore, I'd only recommend a straight Yellow deck for a major character such as Jar Jar Binks; A typical non-combatant type character.

 

Unofficial Decks 

Yellow++

A much better deck in my opinion is using the Yellow++ deck for typical Bounty Hunter or shooting character such as Boba Fett, Jango Fett or Han Solo.  The standard Yellow deck that Jango and Boba employ has proven to be a failure in deck design; in my opinion.  So, I strongly recommend a Yellow++ deck for your shooter decks.  It's only 2 more points of defense, but it will help make your shooter deck more competitive and balanced all the way around.

 

Orange

The Orange deck is meant for Force-Sensitive characters such as a Mara Jade and Luke Skywalker.  Or, if you'd just like to give your ranged character a much needed boost.  It features one 5/1 attack and 21 points of defense.   The most powerful of the shooting decks.   It's a great deck.  I've also used the Orange deck frequently in my Jedi Battles expansion; which features 6 ranged single characters decks.  

 

 

Minor Shooter Decks

25/20 24/20 23/20 16/13
Strong++ Strong+ Strong Weak
5/1  5/1  4/1  3/1 
4/1  4/1  4/1  3/1 
3/1  3/1  3/1  2/1 
3/1  3/1  3/1  2/1 
3/2  3/2  3/2  2/1 
2/3  2/3  2/3  1/2 
2/3  2/3  2/3  1/2 
2/4  1/4  1/4  1/2 
1/4  1/4  1/4  1/2 

 

All of the above decks are official Hasbro Minor Shooter decks.

 

Strong++

This deck is for the strongest supporting characters.  The Emperor's Royal Guards utilize this deck.  Though it's reserved for the most elite characters, it probably could be utilized a bit more often by the ED Community in their custom decks.  It's almost a forgotten element.  I didn't even realize the Royal Guard used this deck until shortly before I prepared this webpage.  It features an additional point on the 2/4 card over the Strong+ deck.

 

Strong+

Most deck designers select this deck for the Shooting Minors; mainly to have the one 5/1 card.  The Super Battle Droids & Chewbacca utilize this deck. 

 

Strong

This deck is selected for the slightly weaker shooters.  Leia, Padme, Greedo & Zam use this deck.  It lacks the 5/1 card of the other two decks. 

 

Weak

The deck is the weakest of the weak.  The Clones, Storm Troopers & Battledroids use this deck.  They are usually fodder for other characters and are often no more than 'shields' for their majors.  However, I've won a duel using two consecutive 1 attacks with my Clones.  A character with a weak shooter deck would never have talent cards.  So, when selecting a weak shooter deck, your Major character should have all 12 talent cards.

 

 

SUMMARY

Many experienced designers have created their own custom basic decks to fit a particular character.  So, use this page as a resource and not an absolute authority.  Errors and omissions may be emailed to obi_wan_john@yahoo.com.  If you would like your custom Basic deck added to this page, please email me the breakdown and describe how it is used.  Happy Deckmaking! 

 

Comments (18)

Anonymous said

at 12:02 am on Jun 26, 2008

I find the Yellow++ deck to be very useful myself.

Anonymous said

at 6:01 am on Jun 26, 2008

Per my notes, "So, I strongly recommend a Yellow++ deck for your shooter decks."

Roman F said

at 12:01 pm on Apr 3, 2017

My own $0.02 on this: Among custom basic decks, I've found little use beyond Brown, Orange, and the Yellow variants. I invented Aqua but I don't use it because lacking offense in your basic deck is a strong hindrance unless you have great power attack cards... but if you're going that route, then why go with a defensive core deck anyways? Why not just use Blue? Aqua was intended for really defensive-oriented, non-Jedi master types, but those decks are boring to play, trust me on this. A more defensive-oriented character can have greater quantity and quality of power defense cards (still never more than 3, I say)

I also think Orange gets overused but I get it -- Yellow stinks. Still, it's for non-Jedi, shouldn't they struggle vs. Jedi types? If Boba Fett uses Yellow, should any other shooter use a better deck? I'd argue "no," and that assigning an Orange deck to Xizor in the EU expansion was a mistake. To me, Orange is for the force user who uses a blaster and a lightsaber, e.g. Bespin Luke or Aurra Sing or early years Kyle Katarn.

umondy said

at 6:28 am on Apr 8, 2017

Quick question to this. I'm planning to print an play Xizor soon (as I haven't done yet). Do you think it is that big of a mistake that I should change his deck before printing and which one would be your choice?

OBI_WAN_JOHN said

at 10:01 am on Apr 4, 2017

I have to say I think all of the original Hasbro 'Shooter' decks would be better served with an Orange. I think we all agree that a few mistakes were made with regard to the ranged majors. One being a weak basic deck. The second being the low health points of 13, 15 and 14; if I remember correctly. The third I see with the Shooter decks are no power defense. The Rocket Retreats and similar cards solve the problem to a point. But, if you solve the first 2 issues, giving power defense would be your last resort. If I were to tweak the original Hasbro Ranged characters, I would give Jango & Boba 17 HP and Han 16. Chewy would need to be dropped to 14 to compensate. All three majors would get an Orange deck. These decks would be more viable against Jedi decks. Right now, they lose too much for my taste; only winning when they get a good draw and the opponent gets a bad draw or when the Jedi player plays poorly. So, right there you have only a 25% chance of winning per below:

Analysis:
Bad Draw for Jedi-Good Draw for Ranged – Ranged wins with near perfect play.
Good Draw for both-Jedi Wins.
Good Draw for Jedi-Bad draw for Ranged-Jedi Wins in a romp.
Bad draw for both-Jedi Wins.

Anyway, all of the shooter decks I make now are Orange. The main decks I use for majors is Red, Blue and Green for Melee and Orange for Ranged and that's pretty much it. I just think the Orange deck gives the ranged characters a needed boost and I don't think it should be limited to force sensitive type characters. Further, I don't use Green that often either. As for the minors, that's another topic. But, I do maintain the other decks like Magenta and Cyan work and I have used them with success. Not in my expansions, but with some miscellaneous decks.

Roman F said

at 6:29 pm on Apr 4, 2017

Although it's not what I would do, you make a good case to just use Orange in place of Yellow altogether to make the shooter decks more balanced. Yellow stinks and really, so does Red, so maybe there is place for a Magenta deck after all and it's a fact that shooters struggle in the original game.

If it's worth your time, I gave Finn a Yellow* deck, a Yellow deck where a A5D1 replaces an A4D1.

Brown has been really handy for new decks with melee non-lightsaber wielders like Rey and Chirrut.

umondy said

at 6:35 am on Apr 8, 2017

After reading you post I was thinking about how funny it actually is that many people tried to fix the core decks but as far as I know nobody ever tweaked the basic combat cards of those characters or for that matter the health points. I would absolutely agree with you that there is definately some (or a lot) room for improvement. Maybe I'll take a look at the Boba & Jango decks and how I could boost them a little with changing to an orange deck for example.

Has anybody tried this before?

umondy said

at 6:37 am on Apr 8, 2017

Or what about using a yellow++ and reserving the orange for the before mentioned characters like Mara Jade, Kyle Katarn, etc.?

OBI_WAN_JOHN said

at 10:03 am on Apr 4, 2017

And right now the Original Ranged Hasbro shooters struggle HUGELY against the Jedi decks.

OBI_WAN_JOHN said

at 11:13 am on Apr 4, 2017

One note to add, in my Jedi Battles Expansion, there are 18 characters; The deck breakdown is 6 Red, 6 Blue and 6 Orange; the 6 Orange being Ranged characters. As this is a 1 on 1 battle, it's readily apparent the Orange deck just works better. But, no Green as I wanted a more offensive version of Yoda and the Emperor. With Green, you really have to tone down the offense a lot to make it work. I have 1 Green deck in Space Battles and at least 1 Green deck in Ground Battles.

Sophist said

at 1:26 am on Feb 1, 2018

Just wanted to include here I've been incorporating a new "Mid-range" minor ranged character deck where I felt there was a huge gap between the strong and weak decks. Obviously in the original you have your separation of named minor who play important roles and basically shield characters, where you save your cards for healing or only use when you know an opponents guard is down. But for expansions I feel there can be mid-ranged dual minors that have more of impact and need staying power and a small increase in offense for balance. I've first used this for the Bloodriders in my Khal Drogo Game of Thrones expansion deck and have been using it for others where the minors are important to the main character's strategy or special cards, but purpose aren't to supply raw offense like the Emperor's Royal Guards.

Currently the Weak deck is 16/13, Strong decks are 23-25/20. My mid-range deck is 20/18 and contains:

3/2
3/2
3/1
3/1
2/2
2/2
2/2
1/3
1/3


Overall it's not as much as a change as the 20/18 count suggest... a pair of 4/1 and 1/4s would be much more powerful then the 3/2 and 1/3 upgrades, but part of key is limiting the offense, while allowing a little more maneuverability within the cards to allow the characters to stay alive with cards that function offensively and defensively (albeit limitedly), or to deal damage when the opportunity arises. Overall I think it helps speed up the game more and improve play ability when the minor characters aren't so weak that they 1. aren't worth to effort to even attack with, 2. aren't enough of a threat to bother attacking

Roman F said

at 7:39 am on Feb 1, 2018

Interesting! You're right about the big gap between strong and weak. I think you might even sneak an A4D1 into there but it's up to you.

OBI_WAN_JOHN said

at 4:03 pm on Feb 2, 2018

Coincidentally, your new mid range shooting deck of 20-18 is identical to Rome's melee minor deck. I would tweak it a bit with a 4/1 and a 1/4

Roman F said

at 10:25 pm on Feb 2, 2018

You would think I would have noticed that! It's a good deck for melee minors but I do think there's room for a mid-range, ranged deck. Here's some food for thought:

4/1
4/1
3/1
3/1
2/1
2/1
2/2
1/2
1/2
1/2

This is the 10-card deck that Lee Freeman and his group came up with for the 4 Rebel Troopers with Officer deck, which I converted into a 4-Stormtrooper with Imperial Officer deck, and it works pretty well. Those 4/1s are key.

Anyways, the format for minors tends to be 5 offensive cards (including 3/2 and 2/1 as offensive cards) and 4 defensive cards. So a 9-card version of the deck would drop an offense card from the above. I would drop a 2/1 from it and give it a try.

Roman F said

at 12:23 pm on Feb 3, 2018

Actually, I’ve got a more thoughtful, analytical approach to a mid-range deck. To start, I typically analyze basic major decks by adding up only the attack values of the 5 attack cards, and only the defense values of the 5 defense cards. My approach results in Blue having 22/17 offense/defense, and Red having 24/13 O/D. Red gives up 4 points of defense for 2 points of offense, a bad trade that results in Red being weaker than Blue, which is consistent with my playing experience (that 3/2 really sinks the Red deck, should be another 1/4). I’m not a believer in adding up all the values and comparing them, because it makes the Red and Blue decks look roughly equal, which I really don’t think they are.

With 9-card minor decks, I’m going with 5 attack cards and 4 defense cards. Following this approach, strong has 17/14 O/D, and weak has 12/8 O/D. So a middle point between the two – which is what I think we want – would have 14-15 points of offense, and 11 points of defense. That lays out something like this:

4/1
3/1
3/1
3/1 (could also be 3/2)
2/1 (maybe a 2/2)
2/2
2/3
1/3
1/3

This is 15/11 O/D, but I couldn’t make anything I liked with 14/11. The strong has two D4 defense cards, the weak has only D2 defense cards, so this one gets D3s but not D4s, much like Sophist was thinking. Would love to get another A4 in there but I don’t think it would balance out. The 3/1 vs 3/2, and 2/1 vs 2/2, I think it's probably better with 3/1 and 2/1, otherwise, those are pretty decent defense cards for a minor and I think the deck would creep closer to the strong than the weak. I've already given it the benefit of the "extra" attack point so I feel like limiting the defense. Thoughts?

OBI_WAN_JOHN said

at 8:27 am on Jul 21, 2019

My recent forays into the basic decks shows that many characters benefit tremendously with a Magenta deck. I find Red decks extremely hard to balance. There is so little defense; you have 1x 4, 1x 3 and a couple of 2 defends. I find that Magenta probably should have been the original Red deck. With a Red deck, you often find yourself turtling until you have some defense. You must add a power defend card or 2, be a stay away deck with a lot of direct damage, have a couple force push's. cards that prevents a counter attacks or take away an action to make them playable.

Green I do not like and I find no real need for Aqua any longer. I like Blue, Magenta & Red for Melee and I like Orange for almost all ranged. In rare cases Brown, but only when some of the talent cards require being adjacent.

What make Magenta so good is that fact that it is exactly between a Red and Blue.

umondy said

at 11:13 am on Aug 3, 2019

1st off, this design article has been my most reffered and favourite design article over the years. So thanks for sharing this with the community.
Maybe some day you want to post an updated version of it, maybe even containing the above discussed mid-range ranged deck that probably all of us have missed for quiite some time?

I am actually surprised this discussion didn't come up 10 years ago because I stumbled over this many times already but always tried to stay true to your template for custom decks you put out on your great article above.

OBI_WAN_JOHN said

at 8:26 am on Aug 4, 2019

I appreciate your kind words. It's a great reference tool for sure. I come back to it very often.

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