Beginner Deckbuilding guide for Zoey with Daisy

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Difrakt · 543

Hi everyone,

This is a mini-tutorial for introduction to deckbuilding using my preferred method. It's designed to be a starting point for new players to get into deckbuilding which is, in my opinion, one of the most fun and addicting parts of the game! In this tutorial I'll be using Zoey because she is fairly straightforward, and aim to pair her with Daisy Walker as a classic Fighter/Investigator duo. By design this uses a limited cardpool of one core plus the entire Dunwich cycle (a large enough card pool to explore but small enough not to be entirely overwhelming)

I follow these generic steps when deckbuilding:

  • Create a Plan

  • Add your 'core role' cards

  • Add cards that are central to your 'Plan'

  • Add cards that work well for your character or are generally 'powerful'

  • Add cards that round out your weaknesses

  • (optional!) Add a few 'fun' cards

  • Trim down to your deck-building restrictions.

These steps are intentionally vague, and there isn't a clear separation between any two steps. This is because in my experience deck building is more of an art than a science, so do what feels good to you.

Step One: Develop a Plan

This is possibly the most complicated step of all - and we haven't (and won't) even put a single card into our deck! At this point we need to look at our goals as a team (almost always to protect ourselves from monsters and collect clues) and individually how we fit into that picture. This means knowing our number of teammates (here, 2) and also keeping an eye on our ability and how that might help or guide our deckbuilding.

A plan can be as simple as 'I want to fight monsters effectively' (which is indeed our plan here) or "I want to throw money at my problems" or "I want to use some very specific, powerful cards that work well together". Your creativity here is the only limit, but be aware that in Solo you may have to plan to do everything on your own rather than specializing your decks. Once we have our plan this can help us make decisions about how to construct the core of our deck

Step Two: Find your Core Cards

This is usually fairly straightforward, though recognizing what a 'core' card is for a given role may require some experience. I define this as 'cards that you cannot even basically function in your role without'. Fortunately for us guardian's* usually have it fairly simple since our 'core' is going to usually mean swords and guns. Since we are useless without a good weapon we want to make certain our first hand has one so usually we pack 4-6 weapons (or ways to find weapons) into our deck.

(*this may change as we see new guardian archetypes, like Carolyn)

+1 Machete (this is a nearly universal take for all guardians)

+1 .45 Automatic

+2 Knife (I prefer knife to kukri myself but there's good arguments for both)

+1 Prepared for the Worst

This brings us up to 5 weapon-like cards that should help us get set up fairly quickly. We're a bit limited in options here since we don't have a second core, if you have a second feel free to ditch the neutral knives for another copy of machete and .45 since they are such good cards.

Step Three: Add cards that are part of your 'Plan'

This should be fairly straightforward. Cards that help us 'fight'! In this case cards like Beat Cop give us a boost, Vicious Blow and Guard Dog help us get an extra damage in, etc.

This is kind of where I throw the whole kitchen sink in and worry about removing the redundant junk later.

+1 Beat Cop

+1 Guard Dog

+1 Physical Training

+1 Dodge

+1 Dynamite Blast

+1 Prepared for the Worst

+1 Vicious Blow

+2 Taunt

Special mention goes to Taunt which kind of fits into the next category as well. It's a good card in general but it's really good on Zoey!

Step Four: Add good combo cards or 'just really good' cards

Again I think Taunt gets a special mention in this category for 'cards that go really well with Zoey's special ability'. Other than that I'm only going to add a couple "If it bleeds..." because we plan to be killing monsters a lot and a couple Emergency Aid because it can be used to keep your noble dogs in play longer. That being said these guys will usually be our first to consider for the chopping block if we go over deck size.

+2 "If it bleeds..."

+2 Emergency Aid

+1 Dodge helps us avoid needing those first two

Step Five: Round out your Weaknesses

Here we need to see where we have weaknesses that we need to patch, either because we might need to occasionally pick up a clue as a fighter, or we might need to defend ourselves as an investigator if a friendly neighborhood guardian isn't right at hand.

Step Five A: Take a look at those neutral skill cards!

Unexpected Courage, Guts, Overpower, Perception, and Manual Dexterity deserve special mention here. Unexpected Courage is very flexible, and we expect to need Overpower for our fighting so lets throw in 2 each of those and 1 of the rest

+2 Unexpected Courage

+2 Overpower

+1 Guts

+1 Manual Dexterity

+1 Perception


Ok now lets grab some things that help us do anything that might not be fighting. First of all we have lots of expensive assets so we NEED money: Emergency Cache is the go-to for that. Flashlight is an especially good card for helping us investigate even as a guardian with poor and Evidence! also allows us to contribute by doing what we do best. Zoey is nice and convenient in that her is high so we don't need to worry too much about boosting that and we don't want to evade enemies we want to make them go away so we don't care about as much either.

+2 Emergency Cache

+2 Flashlight

+1 Evidence!

Step Optional: FUN cards

This is 100% subjective and up to you - since I can't tell you how to have fun I'll be skipping this part

Step Six: Optimization and Trimming

I'm going to modify this step slightly. Zoey is a Dunwich character which gives us 5 cards from the whole level 0 card pool. For beginners this decision can be overwhelming, so lets just use it to tune our deck a bit and patch up weak points. Looking at our deck I think we could improve the quality of our weapons a bit. We're also fairly resistant to the encounter deck so Drawn to the Flame looks good, Elusive helps us with our unique weakness and Hyperawareness fills out all the stats that Physical Training doesn't get.

-2 Knife

+1 .41 Derringer

+1 Switchblade

+1 Drawn to the Flame

+1 Elusive

+1 Hyperawareness

Now we trim. Some good rules of thumb would be the following: Keep an eye on how much your average card costs (ours isn't so bad, most of our cards cost 1), and try and balance assets - events - skills roughly 12 - 10 - 8. These are very simple guidelines and feel free to absolutely ignore them as you get more experience. (we currently have 12 - 14 - 8! not bad)

Lets start by taking out Hyperawareness since we don't plan to have tons of money and we don't really want what it gives us anyhow. Next we have 14 events so that's probably a good place to trim. Healing is in general quite slow so lets remove 1 "If it bleeds..." and Emergency Aid. Finally while I love Taunt greatly it is situationally useful and will probably sit in our hand until it's ideal moment comes so we don't need two copies.

-1 Hyperawareness

-1 "If it bleeds..."

-1 Emergency Aid

-1 Taunt

With that we're at 30 cards and ready to go! Lets roll our Random Weakness and we get... Haunted! A minor inconvenience that we can take care of when we have free actions, not too shabby.

Appendix: Upgrading for Beginners!

I don't have much to say here since even as a 'veteran' my approach to upgrades is actually quite simple: keep in mind what you're building 'towards' and add the most powerful or important pieces first, making sure to cut and replace from your deck any cards that become redundant. If you're adding a big powerful Shotgun for instance, consider cutting a .45 Automatic!

Hopefully this walkthrough was helpful. Of course now there's the other half of the team to make - Daisy Walker! I'll leave her deck building as an exercise. My only advice there is that Daisy is strong from the beginning and very flexible so feel free to experiment!

Finally never feel obligated to follow any of these rules. They are only meant as simple thought-guidelines to get you started in exploring the deep world of deckbuilding, what you make of it after that is up to you.


Oct 12, 2018 Cathan · 1

Great writeup for a beginner. Very well done.

Oct 14, 2018 axesofevil · 1

I’ve been collecting the game since early in its life but I don’t play as much as I’d like. At the very least I’ve played through most scenarios at least once but there are always long gaps before I get to a cycle and one of the biggest things for me is building new decks. I’ve never been confident and this was a great little write up to kickstart me today, I’m trying to build two or three decks for an event next weekend and wasn’t sure where to start. Thanks for this!

Oct 19, 2018 brettrick · 1

As someone just getting into deckbuilding, this was very handy. Thank you!