Deck Doctor #4 - Catch Up Time!

Published by Tyro D. Fox in the blog The Leather Bound Book. Views: 5772

It's been ages since I wrote one of these! I've got so much to talk about still!

Deck Doctor #4
Catch Up Time!

So, what did I miss? Well! Everything!

Seriously, I don't know what's happened to me. I think it's the inevitable lethargie that happens from looking for work. You jump through hoops for the benefit of getting your benefit, taking a special kind of enthusiasm or effort to do anything more useful than just fling CV's at people in the vain hope they'll be interested. It's draining. Add on to that a bubbling level of tedium as I wait for BUCK 2016 to finally arrive because thanks to my miniscule amount of income, I can't afford to do anything but save for that.

So, if you've been wondering where these article have been, I've been streaming Kingdom Hearts HD ReMix and watching 3rd Rock from the Sun almost nonstop. I've also constructed decks in both MLP:CCG and Magic: The Gathering. Those being the only games I have any amount of cards in to make something halfway decent. I even tried to come up with a draft cube in MLP:CCG; the ultimate sign that you might have too many cards.

So, now I have the start of a cube, a Zombie deck, a Human deck and a deck that tries to use the Random Keyword to super charge Pumped abilities. I'll come back to that. Oh! And enough John Lithgow to want to make a global religion based around him.

I've also missed out on quite a bit so let's dig into this, shall we?

On January 13th, we got 'Bulk Biceps, Extra Strong Masseuse' axed from the game. The reason the MLP CCG Wiki gives is something along the lines of 'it's pretty exploitable without many obvious counters so therefore, not fun'. Which I can see if you build a deck around it. It means that the deck I showed off last issue 'Sombra The Soul Engine' will be taking some uncomfortable chops to it. It might just get removed entirely but I'm not sure as of yet. I'll get back to you on that when I do get round to exercising 'Bulk Biceps, Extra Strong Moose' from my deck. Shame, I liked that card.


You shall be missed, you basket case lawsuit-waiting-to-happen!

We got other stuff too. 'Discord, Party Clasher' and 'Fancy pants, Respected Aristocrat' both got technical nerfs. Instead of their respective abilities activating when they enter play, it now stipulates only when played from your hand.

So, not the jolliest message from on high but there's tournaments happening now! Oh boy!

Apparently, there are UK regionals and I'm honestly kinda terrified. Mainly because I have to battle a lot of my friends who are all really good players if I have any chance of moving up the ranks but also because I have to put my decks where my mouth is. I'm the guy that rides in with the outsider chance decks. You've seen the way I build decks. I haven't got tons of rares to make every deck I have as horrible as possible to fight against. I just have solid decks with the most solid cards I have. Still, the best deck I run is pretty formidable so I could still clinch a few good wins.

I have BUCK 2016 to see how good my decks actually are before the regionals. I am expecting to see Applejack's everywhere! So much orange, man!

I'm expecting Diligent everywhere.

Thank you Nurse! Let's have a shufty at some decks, shall we? It'll help me calm down…


Case #1 - Let's Do The Time Warp Again! (Harmony) - KorenCZ11 - Submitted to the MLP:CCG Subreddit

Well, let's get right bang up to date with a Mane Character that hasn't really been released yet. Say 'hello' to Doctor Hooves, a card that I am pretty much convinced is going to be banned quicker than crack cocaine Crunchy bars. I might be cheating a little bit here as it seems to be an experimental deck to see what can be done with this card but I think it's fun to talk about too.

You don't mind, do ya Koren?

The first deck I've seen that has it's own mandatory victory dance

I mean look at this thing! It gives you extra turns! Extra Turns! The amount of screwing around you can do with this card is biblical as you plunder that mechanic as hard as you possibly can! The saving grace of the card that stops it from being utterly broken is how hard it is to flip, even using the few methods the game allows. Winning 5 Face-Offs is not very easy, even with Competitive cards on the field. You can get around this though, which the rest of the deck is entirely built around.

I know, Nurse. This Mane Character frightens me a little. It's potential for value and agro is unparalleled if you can get that timewarp to work just when you need it to.

'Relay Race', 'Rock, Paper, Scissors, Shoot!', 'Multi-Goof Off!' and 'Magic Duel' are all Showdown cards that are designed to automatically instigate an instant Face-Off, usually between either only select targets. 'Multi-Goof Off!' and 'Relay Race' are the only ones that start a Face-Off involving more than one character, while the others only allow a 1-on-1 battle between one of your friends and one of there's of either equal or greater power. The entire point of these is to boost the number of possible Face-Off victories to help the good Doctor get his Time Counters to instigate his special ability.

Next up, we have a collection of Face-Off fixer cards to help sway the competition in favour of the player. 'Star Swirl Research' is a simple event that gives a guaranteed 7 power flip the turn you use it. Use it before you flip and you're more than likely to dominate any Face-Off. Even better, the card doesn't banish itself or get dismissed when it's played, it's put on top of your deck. So, you could use it to add power to cards that need cards to go on top of the deck for nothing, if you'd like. Though, here it's just a card that goes to the bottom of your draw deck when used because it counts as a flipped card in the end. Fair enough.

If Koren doesn't have that, then we've got 'Scope Things Out'. This allows you to draw 4 cards then put 3 cards back on top of your deck. Notice I didn't specify that they had to be any of the 4 cards you just drew, allowing you to throw down anything from your hand down. Usually, we'd be using this to activate certain cards that gain power from cards being placed on top of the deck. But, Koren wants to use it to ensure we rig the draw deck in their favour by rearranging the cards they're about to flip. So far, so sensible.

Next, let's pay lip service to the cards Koren is using to ensure this mad contraption doesn't explode. As such, utility cards such as 'Call in the Dream Cavalry' and 'Juggling Routine' have been mixed in. 'Dream Cavalry' grants Swift to all friends for that turn, allowing any deck to get a shift on far more efficiently than normal. An indispensable card for any budding Blue deck, regardless of intention, frankly. Think long and hard about leaving this card out. 'Juggling Routine' on the other hoof, is just to ensure your discard pile doesn't come back to bite you in the rear. Using all these events to ensure the pile of counters on The Doctor is always on the up can drain a deck pretty hard. 'Juggling Routine' forces both players to shuffle their discard piles into their deck then the user draws a card. Sure, your opponent get's their discarded cards back too but you get to draw a card. It also messes with any decks that attempt to fiddle with their draws using Meticulous. Potentially handy to ensure you always have the upper hand.

I saw this picture to illustrate how 'Juggling Routine' is kinda like a janitor and now I want
to go binge watch 'Scrubs'. If I reference Dr Cox in this article, I might just give in and do that.

The problem with using a Mane this potentially powerful is that Enterplay have deliberately made him pretty awkward to get off the ground. Which is perfectly fine and dandy as Koren seems to get that the deck might get maybe one or two shots of the ability off before the game ends. 'Finger Snap' adds a Time Counter, reducing that daunting requirement for 5 Face-Off wins to just two at minimum if the cards can be found. 'Chaos Capital of the World' is ordinarily a 'Panic Button' kind of card. It flips everything. Every character on the field is now turned over, causing friends to be frightened and Manes to be flipped. That's the point, this flips The Doctor, just at the cost of everything on the field, 5 Pink requirement and 4 action tokens. The Chaos effect targets only both Manes on the field, again instigating everything we want the deck to do.

This goes both ways, however. The Doctor has to be flipping end over end as often as possible to get the most out of it's ability. As such, 'Chaos Capital of the World' is also here to reset Doctor Whooves after his ability has been spent, seeing as he does nothing on his Boosted side other than grant 3 Blue power.

The troublemaker 'Rover' is here to mine for extra cards and 'Twittermites' are just here to hopefully gain a few extra Time counters or just block the opponent from taking too much advantage with this odd deck. Koren's thought appearing to be that the possibility of this deck being out run often was prevalent enough to add a card that get's more powerful when you're behind on points.

Lastly, because the game is pretty tricky to play without these, the friends. Which are all over the place to facilitate all of the above card choices. Rainbow Dash, Pinkie Pie and Princess Twilight Sparkle in 'Rainbow Powered' flavour is teamed with 'Cloudchaser, Flexible Flyer' to reduce friend costs and 'Kevin, Fitting In' to somehow keep on top of the wayward colour requirements on the field. To try and help, we've got 'Singing Barrel' and 'Makeover!' to help grant extra colours to characters. 'Gyro, Poindexter' then allows you to search your deck for an event, ensuring you have at least one guaranteed poke around for the card you need when played. Considering the vague plan, that's not a bad idea.

Does anyone else get a 1980's 'Weird Al' Yankovic vibe off this character?
Imagine a curly wig on his head and you'll see what I mean.

Prognosis - It's a Bit of a One Trick Pony

Pun unintended but left because it's awesome.

This looks like a mess. Yes, Koren has built a fun casual deck and I commend that as building weird decks that do something specific but unexpected is my jam. But there's a lot you could try doing here.

The most of the Blue cards in the deck are all about winning Face-Offs, which makes sense. You're doing things, being pro-active though trying to find colour for your various friends so you can keep this deck on track seems unwieldy. I believe Koren's claim that they've been able to get the colour on field pretty reliably but it seems uncomfortable for a deck to stretch to do so many things at once. Colour correction and Face-Off generation and Deck Fixing and Mane Flipping seems too much.

Either way, I'd be looking at this thing and shaking my head if I didn't see it in action first.

The reliance on Events isn't a terrible idea but the deck doesn't really do anything that other decks like it would do to offset the generally heavy cost of throwing all those Events around. There's no Action Token generation at all other than winning a Face-Off using 'Magic Duel'. Sure, some cards are cheap or even free but the deck would have to balance being able to keep up with the game in terms of consistent point scoring with trying to flip Doctor Whooves for that huge advantage an extra turn could give. It does come with extra action tokens and even flipping Troublemakers without your opponent being able to do anything about it.

One looks like it would be harder to maintain than the other. There's a lot of plates spinning here but they don't look towards doing anything tangible. Um...It generates the extra turns but there's something missing. Nurse Foxy, thoughts?

Excellent point! The deck has no bite otherwise. It can gain extra turns but who cares if it can't do anything in it except set up another turn straight after. If you're not gaining points, who cares? Just like any time machine, if all you can do with it is travel forwards in time by thirty seconds, you're going to look pretty lame compared to the guy cracking open beers with Sir Isaac Newton and Oscar Wilde.

Actually, they probably wouldn't drink beer normally but if you were being taken on a journey to the future by some stranger with a box, wouldn't you accept a drink if it was handed to you?

You'd also be in the running for Stephen Fry's best friend ever if you arrange a meeting.

Prescription - Focus on Scoring, not Bending Time and Space into a Pretzel

Oh, where to begin!

In the post, Koren said that this Mane has them concerned over the 'sheer stench of combo that this card reeks of'. Which it does. So, I would suggest going ballistic in that direction.

If you must insist on trying to get as many free turns as possible, then why not throw out a colour in order to squeeze in 'Fluttershy, Backup Vocals' along with a bunch of Yellow to facilitate it. On top of 'Singing Barrel' being able to return this card to your hand to allow you to reload The Doctor's ability, but Yellow cards have enjoyed being rather inexpensive for a while. The deck can then benefit from Critter synergies should you want to use them. 'Fast Food' or 'Critter Cavalry' come to mind in order to help boost the speed you rack up Face-Off wins.

Combo this with stuff like 'Chaos Capital of the World' and you can make The Doctor regenerating more often than the constant rotation of actors playing him have.

Why do I suddenly want a battle royal of every Doctor Who versus every James Bond?
Wouldn't that be neat? It could be judged by every Sherlock Holmes we've had so far.

For this, I'd take out the highly awkward Purple cards, possibly even the Blue cards and build mainly into the Yellow and Pink, using Doctor Whooves just for his ability. This is the most likely and obvious strategy. It is also the most ploddingly boring as taking extra turns annoys the player, proving that you really can't exactly think outside the box. Of course, you'd try to ramshackle the game in your favour as often as possible!

It's just awkward as all hell to do, requiring most of the deck to pull off.

Thank you Nurse! And I know of a way that seems far more fun. This involves almost everything I'm about to talk about in my own 'Doctor's Deck'. So, I don't want to repeat myself. In a change of routine that I've only done twice so far, let's jump to my own deck for Possibility Number 2.


Doctor's Deck - Let The Alicorn Win

Mane - Princess Luna, Princess of the Night (From Canterlot Nights)
Colours - Purple and Blue
Strengths - Has many tricks and abilities to gain the advantage in any Face-Off, Able to raise extra Action Tokens whenever it wins a Face-Offs, Plenty of Events for various uses, Powerful and Intimidating Troublemakers, Name is a Star Wars reference.
Weaknesses - Deck is slow to get started, movement is inefficient unless an event is used, flipping the Mane is easily counterable if not careful, flipping mane is necessary for a strong early game.

Strategy Summary
No one is allowed to win any Face-Offs, by decree of Princess Luna as she storms every single one, fixing them all in her favour with the clever use of her Boosted ability to gain power at the cost of events and friends carrying the keyword Competitive. Luna is looking for competition so is more than happy to make it happen as often as she likes.

At the center of this deck is Luna herself, arguably the most powerful card here. A difficult card to utilise but hiding a very powerful ability that might just beat back the onslaught of Diligent or Meticulous if you play your cards right. Literally! Luna's secret weapon is that she can gain +3 power during a Face-Off if you discard an Event. This turns a 3 power card into a six power card, making Luna pretty formidable in her own right. Very cool.

We turn Princess Luna into Popeye. And Events are her spinach.

This is an action you can take multiple times, as long as you have the Events to pay for it. Yes, this effect stacks! With a few events, you can shift a Face-Off heavily in your favour, allowing control of a very important aspect of the game. As a small bonus, this Luna still has a rather outdated Keyword called 'Studious', which grants an action token when you win a Face-Off. Not insignificant but, if you are going to build your own version of this deck (and we think you should), remember that 'Studious' does not stack. Unlike 'Inspired' or 'Meticulous'. Having extra cards does not net you more Action Tokens, only more chance of winning that singular token.

The friends of the deck are hardly anything to be sniffed at either as they back up Princess Luna's conquest of all competition placed before her. The most noticeable are the blue cards that contain the keyword 'Competitive'. Competitive cards will gain extra power when they are involved in Face-Offs, so already we've a large advantage with all the extra power from no-where and Luna ready to consume Event cards.

'Filthy Rich, Cold Hard Cash' is a bit of an outlier but still hugely useful in the right situation. Hasty allows that card to be played when the player has a priority window, whenever they like. So, like Immediate, it can be used to suddenly turn the tide in a Face-Off unexpectedly. It's three Action Tokens but the card does have Diligent to boot. If you win the Face-Off it turns up late to, it'll gain some permanent power from it too.

On the purple side, 'Lady Justice, Judge & Jury' takes the opposite idea and lowers opposing card's power that are involved in a Face-Off at it's problem. Costly but invaluable card to have in this deck. Similarly, throwing down 'Rare Find, A Real Gem' is just as indispensable as it gains power for every opposing character at it's problem. Against a swarm deck or a deck that loves to dogpile problems, this card is hilarious as one action token gains some ludicrous amount of value. Plus, it can be deployed to deter a player from moving or playing characters there.

Next, the Events themselves. When they're not being used as Princess fodder, the events are hardly anything to scoff at. 'ROYAL CANTERLOT VOICE' allows for free opposing friend movement, 'Star Swirl Research' fixes the flip from the deck to be a very high 7 power. 'Through the Ages' knocks down the opponent's power during a Face-Off, across the board so is most powerful in a Double Face-Off. 'Read the Manual' just grants extra action tokens. 'Magic Duel' sets up a Face-Off that could possibly win an extra Action Token without spending any. 'Call in the Dream Cavalry' gives all characters in play 'Swift', cutting their movement costs in half. 'Under the Wire' allows all friends in your hand to become Hasty but only until a friend is played, allowing for clutch moves to take the lead in a Face-Off.

Perhaps a Lady Justice swoops in unexpectedly? Such is the power this deck wields.

"Oooohh! That Lady Justice came out of nowhere! I'm so sorry!"

Huh. If I actually acted like that, I'd want to punch my face just as much as my opponent.

Lastly, 'Special Beam Cannon'. This is the deck's main defence against resources. This powerful card banishes them from the game, rather than just dismisses them. That could be an important distinction when dealing with a Fashion deck, for example, which is dipping back into it's discarded garments to gain more power. One action token and three purple requirement is pretty cheap for powerful resource dismissal.

Speaking of resources, this decks two choices are very rare cards which I find work excellently but there are alternatives to these should you not have any of these. Which, I wouldn't be surprised by.

'Utterly Drained' is the biggest slap in the face a player can give as far as I'm concerned. 'A Party of One' is irritating but there are decks which can recover from it. But many decks are built around the abilities of the Mane Character. Most play-based aggro decks which use Octavia's Mane card, for example, rely on that +2 power for that turn in order to get their cheap friends up to meet problem requirements. The Yellow Derpy Mane which limits players to one of each type of card per turn would be utterly neutralised until the resource was removed. In a deck looking for every advantage and trick it can find to win Face-Offs for it's own gain, that could be a particularly dastardly one.

'Heart's Desire' in a deck about winning Face-Offs? Of course, it's a no-brainer! A card that can be discarded for double it's action token cost if you win any Face-Off is astoundingly powerful if you make room for it. Those four action tokens could be for tones of things. More friends to pound the opponent into submission with? More uses of events?

What about those Troublemakers? A collection of highly unpleasant cards. 'Biff' can prevent a Mane Character from confronting it. It can also force a Mane Character to flip back to it's start side at the cost of the card itself and 2 action tokens. Not bad. 'Princess Mi Amore Cadenza' and 'Nightmare Moon, Blackest Night' are far more offensive cards. Sticking with the theme of picking as many fights as possible, Nightmare Moon can instigate a Troublemaker Face-Off as a Main Phase action for 3 action tokens. 5 power and 2 points bounty on her head are interesting stakes for your opponent to play for when you consider the possible chance to dismiss an opponent's friend should it lose. Nightmare Moon challenges opposing cards one on one, allowing the user to pick off unsightly cards that might be causing issues in their turn, if they can with the Face-Off.

Though, a Lady Justice or a 'Through the Ages' ought to help out there.

"Oh Duuude! A 'Through the Ages'! I did it aga- SMACK!"

'Princess Mi Amore Cadenza' is honestly one of my favourite Troublemakers because she always has something of a psychological aspect to her. This is utterly subjective, I'm sure, but the card looks unsettling. Dismissing an opponent's card uncontestedly is not to be sniffed at. If the roadblock isn't working out with your Troublemaker, you can snatch up an opposing friend instead. The issue is that it's sent to your opponent's home and they gain control of it, like it was a friend. They are then able to do the same right back at you for the same cost, by which they then hand the card back to you, which then sits at your home until you use the ability again.

This goes back and forth like a pistol duel where you only have one gun, taking turns to shoot each other. It's a chaotic thing to do for 4 action tokens. As a late game move, that could turn the tide of the game and snatch victory by removing an opponent's star player. It's often unlikely they will retaliate by using the ability themselves as 4 Action Tokens is very costly to take a friend but then load the dismissal sniper rifle to shoot back with.

A little chaos throws off an opponent. At least, that's how I play.

It can't be stressed how powerful control over Face-Offs can be in the right circumstances. This can upset Villain Farming decks but it mainly messes with decks reliant on Diligent. They have to win Face-Offs to gain power. It's able to slow a Diligent deck to a crawl if they can't get that powerful snowball rolling.

Large amounts of Face-Off potential also forces a savvy player to think twice about their position before entering a Face-Off with you. They know they need to be on top form, countering every advantage you have with their own to stay within a shot of winning the bonus points. It's likely you're opponent will have to spend a little longer to set up suitable amounts of power or beneficial abilities before jumping in, which gives you more time to score points or move characters where they need to be. Or to throw down a 'Heart's Desire'.

No. Not even close. Who is that?!

The rest of the strengths of this deck tend to center around the little combos and tricks this deck is capable of. Most of which have been explained, such as Luna's Event burning for extra power, aggressive troublemakers and 'Utterly Drained' but the most interesting trick of the deck involves the showdown event 'Magic Duel' and a Competitive friend.

'Magic Duel' stipulates that the Face-Off it creates has to be between two opposing friends. The opposing friend targetted can be of equal or greater power. There's also no limit on what friend you choose for your side, it just has to be a friend. Enter Competitive Friends. Let's say we play 'Magic Duel' and choose to make our 'Scootaloo, Daredevil' face-0ff against another 1 power friend our opponent controls. Ordinarily, this would be an even fight but Competitive kicks in as soon as the Face-Off starts. Scootaloo gains 2 power becoming three power. Instantly, we have a two power lead on our opponent, putting them at a big disadvantage right off the bat. 'Magic Duel' is only for one action token but it could mean all the difference when you're short of them and need the extra token to move up that last character.

Also, throw down a 'Heart's Desire' before you start this, netting you 5 action tokens total for whatever nefarious deeds you have planned.

The extra Action Token generation by this deck is tricky to plan for or counter for the opponent as it's not a widely used method. But, if you do so fantastically in such bouts, why not make a little more scratch on it?

A weird choice for this deck is 'ROYAL CANTERLOT VOICE' which forces the opponent to move a card from a problem. Yes, what get's moved is the choice of the opponent, not you. The upside? If you control Princess Luna in any form, your action token is refunded after you play the card, making it very cost efficent. While there are far more effective methods of shifting cards out of the way, this one is essentially free. Why not use it? Plus, it's an Event, leading to even more Princess Fodder.

'Princess Fodder'. That sounds like it ought to be an extreme but slightly confused breakfast cereal. Or maybe an action movie where a Disney princess snaps and kills everyone. Or was that Mulan?

Unless Snow White learns black magic, Mulan is still the only Disney Princess able to
kill hundreds in one move. OK, the Huns survived the avalanche but those guys seemed
so nuts, disemboweling them would be shrugged off like a hangnail!

We also shouldn't forget the potential havoc that a well placed 'Utterly Drained' or Biff can cause. Upsetting a deck by applying a strangle hold directly to the deck's only constant can cripple decks that rely on the Mane's ability. Many decks are built on their Mane Character's ability because they're certain it'll usually be available. It's a smart way to approach deck building but it's an exploitable chink in any deck.

See? Fun! Well, for you. Though the best use of this is against a Bubbly Mare Mane Character and nullify the play restriction ability the card has. Awww...I can only play one card of each type per turn? Well, then that's an ability that needs to go! Right now! Before I spend most of the game throwing counters at your head for playing such a card.

This deck's Mane is not for pansies. If you're going to do well with this deck, you have to concede that getting Luna flipped is a number one, hyper super duper, extra magic sprinkles priority. The issue is that it's ability to fix Face-Offs in your favour has the cost of 2 Action Tokens but only if you confront a problem. Yes! You have to confront and then have 2 Action Tokens left over! A deck that moves far faster right off the bat can knock this deck around quite easily. A lock-out deck can bugger up this deck if it can act quickly enough. Even a turn two Troublemaker reveal dents this deck's star player quite powerfully.

But, let's assume that you get things off the ground nicely, which isn't very hard but it's not unreasonable to think that complications might arise. You still have your legions of cards that are mainly useful during Face-Offs. Your biggest problem is getting them up to a problem to take part in said Face-Off. Only 'Cloudchaser, Wonderbolt Trainee' has Swift, meaning that these other cards are a little cumbersome for an aggro deck which has a strong emphasis on valuable cards rather than tactics other aggro decks tend to use; either play cost efficiency or movement abilities. Only 'Call in the Dream Cavalry' does anything about this, necessitating all of the tricks this deck is capable of to beat down the opponent then win action tokens through rigged Face-Offs just so that it can mobilise it's forces more comfortably. Five action tokens seems pretty tight to move a Mane, a Lady Justice and at least one Competitive character with. 'Twilight Sparkle, All-Team Organiser' does help on a more reliable basis but it's not the most cost effective thing in the world.

Let's also warn anyone that tries using this deck that Events are a precious resource. They can allow victory in almost any Face-Off but the deck has no means of retrieving events from the discard pile. A few problem cards can allow the deck to dig through the draw deck for them but otherwise, it would be advised to use Luna's ability carefully, as the Event cards are able to do more than just burn as fodder. Once they're gone, it's likely they're gone for good.

Where To Go From Here?
Well, that's the thing: this one we do actually encourage to build yourself and fiddle with because it's possible to play around with it rather nicely. Maybe throw in some Pink, focusing on a dismissal version. Which would be extra hilarious as you use 'Rock, Paper, Scissors, Shoot' to dismiss something in the event of a victory and collect the reward from 'Heart's Desire'. White would be particularly interesting, especially considering a character like 'Rarity, Breezified' that would be retired in exchange for extra points in the event of a victory. Though, the white 'Showdown' event is 'Fashion Week', which grants an extra point upon victory anyway. Not to mention 'Antiquing' which fishes for extra power in the discard pile. If you do keep the Luna mane in your version, those event's your burning for more power aren't quite as lost.

That and powerful cards that can stop opposing friends from moving too.

"Oh, no, no, no! That friend is in the wrong place! Here! Let me fix it for you, darling!"

Though, if you're not quite as lucky as I am, it's possible you could throw in some cards instead of 'Heart's Desire' or 'Utterly Drained'. They are monstrously difficult to find cards for a beginner or novice without shilling out for them. Either by buying individually or buying more packs. The average player might not have such a risque taste in Troublemakers as I do. So, what do you do instead?

Perhaps use 'Extreme Sledding', an event which moves up to two of your characters for two action tokens. A round about Swift, if you'd like. 'Rage Face' is a hilarious looking resource that not only moves a friend if you control it but it's also a Vexing card, allowing you to shift something up to a problem, ready to poop your opponent's party. 'Oh YEAH!' seems handy if you're confident you will always pull ahead by being an Event that frightens an opposing friend if you won a Face-Off by at least five power. A little insult to injury as you romp to victory.

For Purple, I can think of 'Zecora, Forrest Sharman' that excludes Mane Character's from Face-Offs. Y'know, to get up the noses of Maud and Applejack players. The resource 'Saving the Day' would make defending problems and their bonuses a little easier should you need more time to mount a suitable group for a Face-Off by being not only a Vexing card but also able to reduce the cost of playing events by one action token, down to a minimum of one, while it sticks around. Potentially very useful. Perhaps you could try 'Ponyville Emergency' instead of 'ROYAL CANTERLOT VOICE'. While not as funny, it is able to move more opposing friends when played. It's also a movement that you decide, making it more tactically useful.

Other weird ideas? Umm...'Amethyst Maresbury, Crystal Librarian'? It can build up cards underneath itself with Pumped then cash them all in for action tokens when you win a Face-Off. Not too bad. 'Awkward Silence' just to grab full control over any Face-Off by outright ending it there and then. 'Canterlot Archives'? Once it's in place, you can exhaust it to banish an Event under it. When a Face-Off kicks off, you can move one of the banished cards underneath it to the top of your deck and gain an action token from it. Not too shabby from a Canterlot Night's card. 'Private Journal' allows you to not only look at your opponent's hand to check for possible traps coming but also place them on top of your opponent's deck, forcing them to flip it in the Face-Off. Just the kind of underhandedness I like.

But, finally getting back to Koren's deck once more, why not build a deck around this idea? Well, the issue comes in rebalancing colours. You might want to take out 'Spitfire, On The Wing' and go for either a 'Makeover!', 'Singing Barrel' or maybe even 'Pegasus Royal Guard, Elite Sentry' that not only has 1 Blue requirement but will gain power in a Face-Off. Alternatively, you have 'Cerulean Skies, Skyward Soarer' which gives you a weak friend with Swift that still allows you that attainable amount of Blue power to make up for the glacial pace Doctor Whooves will take to flip.

"Hold on! I need to wind up to solving everything by being amazing and wonderful.
Try not to die for five minutes, OK?"

Y'see, we're only looking to make a robust deck that can handle it's Mane being less than useless for a bit while it winds up. Sure! It doesn't have Princess Luna to jump in and decimate everything with it's Event cannon. However, you now have an extra turn with which to throw down troublemakers or pick on the opponent. This plan focuses on getting points first, with The Doctor acting more like a special prize for doing really well at it. Pick your moment and throw in that extra turn, ready to capitalise on it as effectively as you can when it does roll around. Quality over quantity.

Perhaps hold back till your extra turn is active and deploy a 'Call in the Dream Cavalry'? Storm ahead and win a second Double Face-Off in a row. That ought to feel pretty good.

Still, you're all encouraged to try this deck out. Maybe you can create something far more monstrous than I've managed to here. If you do, let us know!

I...I don't have any. Otherwise I would have.

Case #2 - <Unnamed> (Harmony) - ponyboymlp - Submitted to the MLP:CCG Subreddit

So, it's a hodgepodge deck. You know what these are! A relatively new player turns up and throws everything they have that looks vaguely powerful together in one deck in the hopes it will coalesce into something powerful. Like a Draft deck, almost.

"I had to settle for a five colour Random and Teamwork deck, Rainbow Dash!
If I die, I want you to burn the deck that killed me!"

Now, sure! Not everyone has to build their deck around a gimmick or central strategy but it does usually help greatly as you look for an edge your deck can exploit for victory. White and Purple is a pretty decent pick for colours, both rich in cards that can deal some serious obstacles to an opponent. Both colours are usually attributed to being heavily 'Control' focused in my experience.

Y'see Pony Boy, Purple usually works to alter the game state to it's own advantage. It's weird and unusual abilities usually render most other decks pretty heavily messed with, meaning they either pick themselves up or get left behind.

'Lady Justice, Judge and Jury' I have already talked about but it's lovely ability is hampered by it's Action Token cost. A good if costly card. This is the only Purple entry in the deck unless a Face-Off can be won. Otherwise, we've got 'Princess Celestia, Gambit Planner'; a card that can be retired for 4 Action Tokens when another one of your friends is dismissed. It's a nice contingency plan if nothing else. Lastly, 'Moondancer, Page Turner'. This is a pretty powerful card in the right hands. First off, we have a Chaos effect where you can effectively flip a card indirectly from your hand to add extra power from a face off. So, that could be 3 power plus an extra 5 or even 7 if you give up an Event. Not to be sniffed at. The other ability is gaining +2 power for every card that's put on top of your deck. A rare but powerful card.

The Mane 'Princess Luna, The Party's Over' is a tricky one. It's certainly a decent card that could boost further Face-Off wins later on. Though, it is a little tricky to flip. This requires winning a Face-Off to make use of it's Boosted side. You have to do that with a Problem Face-Off as there's no way of forcing a Face-Off with it using Showdown cards. The kicker is that it has to be a Face-Off that Luna is involved in. Though, -1 power to all opposing friends during Face-Offs is handy.

The other half of this deck, White, seems more slanted towards denying movement or directly controlling the board. They have some overlap with other colours but their own spins on them. Purple, for example, can move characters around the board, quite commonly. White stops them from being able to move all together. Purple usually concerns itself more with Events and finding them. White often looks for Resources and finds them wherever they can, even the discard pile.

"Oooo! 'Pony Charm'! And a 'Chic Beret'."

As for White friends in this deck, well...'Aloe, Magic Touch' is useful, certainly. A card that will increase the power of whatever is played in the same place is pretty useful. Our only other entry for White being 'Sugar Twist, Twister Sister' - a 2 cost, 2 power card without any abilities - which does cover most of the friend requirements the rest of the deck demands.

'Savoir Fare, Snooty Server' has the now a little outdated but powerful keyword 'Inspired', allowing the deck to alter the opponent's deck each turn. But this also can boost another character at it's problem by 2 power for the turn. Like a more powerful Aloe. 'Octavia, Virtuoso' is arguably the most difficult to play cards in the deck. While jacking up movement costs for the problem it's now sitting at by a whole 2 Action Tokens is very crippling for most decks, 4 power and that ability comes at the reasonable but still large price of 5 Action Tokens.

Then there's the events, most of which we've discussed: 'ROYAL CANTERLOT VOICE', 'Star Swirl Research', 'Scope Things Out' and 'Through the Ages'. All cards we've seen before and should know have their place. The new cards are 'Back Where You Belong' a card that moves an opponent's character of your choice, with no quibbles or extra hurdles to consider. 'Stand Still' is a pretty powerful standard of a lot of White cards that's able to prevent a character from being moved. No matter what it is, you can send that character right back where they came from. Potentially devastating if deployed with the subtle cunning of a paranoid cat pouncing on everything that comes near it.

For resources, we have the ever mildly annoying 'The Twilicane'. Playing it on an opponent's Mane Character forces all friends for that player to suffer -1 power during the Score Phase, screwing up most attempts to score points. Though, this is only if the Mane Character is at home. So, it's clear this is supposed to be used in conjunction with 'Stand Still!' and 'Back Where You Began'. You keep the opponent right where you want them while you march in and score all the points you want.

"Here we go. MLP:CCG rules. Mm, AH! Here we are!
'Rule 487 - B Sub-section F: Rarity wins always and forever. No exceptions.'
Seems perfectly legitimate to me."

Then, a few troublemakers. They're useful in any deck though it's been awhile since I've seen anyone use Quarray Eels. 2 points on a 4 power card is supposed to be balanced by an extra Action Token tax on any character movement. Hm...Still, 'Starlight Glimmer, Exposed Inequality' is more like it! A troublemaker that grants a free movement when flipped, then has 0 bonus points to win. That's pretty much indispensable. A perfect card for plenty of occasions. 'Trixie, Highest Level Unicorn' is Pony Boy's Villain, which makes plenty of sense. Villain's allow for a more potent break up of any Lock Out potential the opponent might be planning while also serving as some points you can try to pick up as well. Though, you might just shoot yourself in the hoof as this Trixie removes abilities. Sitting behind this with certain cards would yield no benefit other than power.

Something to consider.

Prognosis - Two Words: Focus!

Right. Though, it could still do with a rather heavy tune up.

I'm sure this is not the last deck we cover that seems to just be a rough chucking together of cards that look good with only a cursory plan in their selection. But, to give it credit, this is a deck that looks like it could be hammered into something decent if a good direction was picked. Right now, it seems in a kind of strategy limbo where it's effects don't coalesce into an overall plan of attack. Without that tactical throughline for the deck, playing it is likely to result in a pretty patchy performance. Sometimes, it'll to well but there's also times when it'll probably trip up hard. There's plenty of directions to go in though. Which makes any suggestions I can give very broad. But, here's what I came up with.

Prescription - Get some Teeth in the Deck!
Lessee, here...Welp! Your Mane suggests you ought to look at the deck I suggested right here as well. That Luna Mane would slot into that deck rather easily, though it would now have a lot more Events to play with than usual. It's debateable whether this Mane is harder to flip than the Princess Luna I suggested but it would have plenty of help once the Competitive friends landed.

Your friends do lend themselves to a few other possibilities.

The Purple in the deck could be turned into an aggro-combo idea that's powered by Meticulous. Instead of Princess Celestia, we could have a card like 'Mayor Mare, Vote of Confidence' which gains power whenever cards are placed on top of you deck. Couple that with a few more Meticulous cards, say...'Princess Twilight Sparkle: Ambassador of Friendship' or 'Owlowiscious, Reshelver' and you have a nice little engine that can not only ensure your deck is throwing up things you want to be drawing or flipping in Face-Offs at that point but also boosting the likes of Moonshine and Mayor Mare up to confront problems with confidence. Sure, it's only in your turn so you're on the back hoof if a Face-Off happens in your opponent's turn but then that's what 'Scope Things Out' could be for. You'd get the most out of that single Action Token you could by boosting the power of Moonshine and Mayor Mare three times.

"Good luck with that. All my cards got buffed like crazy for this set.
I'll let you finish before I show you how it's done."​

With your inflated mares, just rumble on through problems (perfectly fine and dandy for most situations, by the by) like giant Japanese monsters.

Your White on the other hand? Well, why not keep White as an off-colour and use it to prevent movement at every turn. You have 'Stand Stills!' in your deck, there is no reason to remove them. Though, where to go from there?

One angle is to jack up movement costs for your opponent. The 'Tax' deck is a long standing archetype that takes advantage of a variety of cards that will demand extra Action Tokens from the Opponent for every action the deck can stretch to. The most common are taxations on movement. In this, we have tons to work with. The Resource 'Combat Hat', 'Fleur Dis Lee, Canterlot Socialite' and 'Aunt Orange, Distant Cousin' come to mind. Essentially anything that has Showy would work. For taxations on card play, 'Stack of Suitcases' might be the most useful to consider as it imposes a tax on any card played by your opponent, ratcheting higher and higher the more cards they attempt to play. It's a Rare so don't hope and pray you'll get it. I suppose 'Fashion Upgrade' would be useful in this endeavour too but it's only a tax on action tokens if the Opponent can afford it. It's useful to thin down the opponent's movements with no Action Token cost to yourself but can't stop an opponent by itself.

However, this only slows down the march of the Opponent, not prevent it. Well, White has you covered further. Plenty of cards are able to prevent cards approaching, though usually at a heftier cost. 'Photo Op' comes to mind, instantly preventing the movement of every character the opponent has in play for that turn. They either play cards or do nothing. For a more permanent alternative would be 'Spotlight' which surprises the opponent during their Mane Phase by paying an Action Token, exhausting the card then calmly telling them that one of their cards isn't allowed to move. Do this on a key card and you're laughing. 'Preemptive Flick' is rather similar, if cheaper and disposes of itself when used. Not as fantastic but could be useful.

In recent sets, White has been proving that it wants to be just as Aggro as the other decks. If you wanted, you could attempt to kick your deck into maximum speed and play cards like 'Daisy, Lilly & Roseluck, Wilt Under Pressure' which will start at 1 power but then gain 3 power if there's no opposing friends at the problem. A cheap card that can power you to a quick, inexpensive point boost if you can capitalise on the opportunity. Team that with maybe an Aloe or any of your Purple powerhouses and you have a lot of White cards you can take advantage of as long as your opponent isn't there. 'Solo Performance' will allow you to score extra points. 'On A Deadline' will grant +1 power to friends at the problem you play this on. Certainly worth considering. Especially if it's teamed with some movement prevention cards. That could be toxic for any deck facing it.

Though, using Octavia as your Mane to accomplish the
same goal might make just as much sense.

Still, this is just my thoughts on this thing. There's plenty of places to go with these colours, depending on how you want to face your opponent. Practice, practice, practice is the key here. The more you play a deck, the more you can find it's little faults and try to patch them up. With a little focus, you'll have a vicious deck, I'm sure of it.

Oh! And 'Rarity, Truly Outrageous' because White deck.

Wow. That was truly a Jem of a joke, Foxy. Yes.
I think that wraps it up for now. If you'd like to show us something you think would be interesting to write about, please let us know! If you agree or disagree or have thought of something we haven't thought of, please let us know! If you prefer porridge to waffles, please let us know?

Thanks for reading.

"Weeeeell! Not bad, Fluffy. Ya cracked off a few jokes and rammed no less than three
narcissistic rants about your own creations while yammering on and-" Oh sod this!

Foxy! Get me some munchies, stat! I'm booting up Netflix and I'm not turning it off until
JD starts teaching!
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