The Art of Modifying Starters

Strategies and Card File Construction

The Art of Modifying Starters

Postby Logress » Tue Oct 21, 2008 12:16 pm

This week's strategy article is aimed at answering the number one question new players have after “will you give me free cards?” The starters are great against other starters, but how can I modify them into something more effective without buying a zillion Gran? Here we go, one Sphere at a time.

Falkow is first. Unlike the others, this one ramps up well without any additional cards, you just modify your strategy to bring Vordore out earlier and earlier as higher and higher HP enemies appear quicker and quicker. The Soul Cards need some help, though. Witch isn’t absolutely necessary and can be replaced by doing a first turn skip. The others pump up your units, which can really hurt you in a game involving a lot of unit turnover. Switch out your cards for some more direct damage. Also, you’ll want three copies of Scythe Soldier in your playing set, so replace him with Djinn in your Soul Cards. You might want to try opening with Witch and then Undine, and if that works with your playing style you can grab more copies of Witch on your level ups. Other cards to pick up at level ups: a second Return, a Cyclone to fight off Gowen rush, and a third Song Sorceress. Higher rarity cards that can be a huge asset include a third Vordore, Wind Sorceress Femiel, and Aqua Sorcerer Mystere.

Now let’s take a look at Gowen, not the strongest out of the box but arguably the strongest after some adjustments. The Gowen starter’s Soul Cards are really good, but they are designed for a more careful start. Since Gowen works best with an explosive start, you might want to trade up Salamander’s Soul Skill for some more conventional direct damage. This way you can put your third Salamander in your playing set. You also may want to put Magic Sword Dual Wielder in your playing set right away, she’s such an advantage even one copy might be enough. Cards to go for at level ups are Magic Sword Dual Wielder, Blitz Soldier, another Fire Tornado or Flame Arrow, Revolver Knight, a second Firestorm Wyvern and of course, Panther Soul. To make some space for all these goodies, go ahead and toss Charge and Archer Scout. If you go with Revolver Knight, use him to replace Bear Killing Axeman.

Lawtia’s modified starters are infamous. At the time of Set One, Lawtia level 1’s were throwing one or two of their LeBeau’s into their Soul Skills and cleaning up. Now there’s a lot more DF solutions floating around, and it’s not nearly as effective. However, it might get you past some of the other Starters. Tweaking the Soul Skills is in order, however. I recommend moving out Shade, possibly into your playing set, and replacing it with another direct damage card. It may also be a good idea to move a second Scylla into your playing set as well. Cards to go for at level ups are Elite Crest Knight, more Assassins, Succubus and Corruption. Succubus is especially valuable, even one copy can buy you an extra turn of night, and then on the next night she can spend two SP to ruin your enemy’s big creature File with a full SP drain. A properly played Succubus can let you compete against many advanced Card Files.

The Refess Starter is generally known as the most difficult to ramp up. This is partially because many of the other starters are improved by removing the slower cards and adding higher AGI units. To do that with Refess would require replacing almost all of the units, and then it wouldn’t be much of a modified Starter, now would it? The key limitation with the Refess starter is the various Shield Skills, which effectively penalizes your units for going second. This becomes a big problem when players start modifying their starters, and slow cards like Bear Killing Axe-man are the first to go. During Set One the Cards to go for at level ups were clearly Dispel, Folrart Shield Knight, and more copies of Phoenix and Cassowary King. These cards let you slow down the pace of the game, causing faster Card Files to overextend themselves and run out of resources. Cassowary King is really good at limiting the number of enemies that can attack, and I’d say is one of the few stalling cards that delivers effectively. Unfortunately, exhausting the enemy is basically just waiting for him to lose, not going for the win yourself. That is not a great situation overall. However, now that Set Two is out, I’d say that the number one card you want to grab is Sylph Sorceress for use as a Soul Card. She’s a 2 LP card that gives +2 AGI permanently to every unit on your field (you may even want two of them). Remember, thanks to the Shield Skills, you get a big advantage out of going first, and since your cards have better staying power than average, the extra AGI will stick around for longer. Also, having a Sylph Sorceress in your Soul Cards will turn Brutal Inquisitor into a much more effective unit, so you might want to keep an eye out for one more of those. Finally, I’d say that Refess benefits the most from splashing cards from another Sphere. Its starter has the most stable foundation, but also the least options. Level 1 cards like Sylph, Song Sorceress, Salamander, Magic Weapon, Dryad and even Shade can give you a lot more flexibility, although you’ll want to limit yourself to one other Sphere. One last thing, you may have noticed that most Refess units do 25 damage, while 30 is a magic number for closing Falkow’s support cards, Gowen’s quick fighters and a variety of Lawtia units. There are several Refess cards that give +5 to AT to all your units as a Start Skill, and if you can put one of these units in your playing set and stick it in the back, it can really improve your efficiency at putting enemies in the Cemetery.
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Re: The Art of Modifying Starters

Postby Candi » Tue Oct 21, 2008 1:29 pm

Talking Refess starter mods, some other cards to keep a sharp eye out for:

Shield Breakers are the new dispel, and every shield breaker come with other benefits. Logress mentioned +5 ATK start skills, Inqusition Raid Leader is a beautiful one. Not only goes he have that start skill, he has 2 RNG and can sit in the middle row making use of his shield breaker to knock away any DF heavy front liners giving your units trouble, heck even low DF units (a 10 DF Blitz for example) can be tough to handle.

The other shield breaker that can really turn a Refess file around is Holy Weapon Priestess. With her 15 HP healing a turn she can turn a well organized Refess style wall into a long lasting well organized Refess style wall. If your shield knight is using standby to increase his lifeline then boosting him another 15 HP a turn really makes him stick around for a long time. And guess what? She's RNG 2 and has shield breaker. Another DF controller to ensure you are the only player running any defense :D.

I also would like to give a shout out to Spiked Shield Knight and Blessing. A blessed SSK backed up by a Holy Weapon Priestess is one seriously resilient wall - it has 75 HP, 15 DF and heals 33 a round if it uses standby. Cassowary in the back to direct all damage to it and you've got a stall that will hold up while you prepare something bigger. OF course, this will require a bit more than LV up card luck to put together - but it's something to take note of.
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Re: The Art of Modifying Starters

Postby DanTheTimid » Tue Oct 21, 2008 2:46 pm

I find the "cards to go for at level up" portion of these suggestions to be kind of silly. They would make sense if level up gave you a choice of 4 cards from the sphere of your starter, but since your only given one card from your sphere you can hardly go after any specific cards at level up, you've just got to take what your given. Perhaps whats intended by these comments is that if you didn't get these cards in your level ups by level 10, the point at which level ups basically stop giving cards, that you should delete your account and start over?

My personal opinion on refess starter(based on being one of the few people who ran Refess from launch through out all of set 1 and into early set 2), don't even try to run low levels. Once you get out of the 1-9 room Refess low level decks tends to get brutally slaughtered. The only Refess decks that have seen any significant amount of even mediocre success have been high level decks, so pray beyond prayer that you get 3 copies of a high level card and a single copy of Seraph to use as a soul card.

Why can't low level refess work? Unfortunately its the result of a horrible re-balancing blunder the Japanese did to our game. In the Japanese game all 6 of the great spirits are arguably over powered for being level 1s, and standing out among them Refess has arguably the single most powerful level 1 in the entire game. In an attempt to make the english game better balanced they turned said amazing level 1 into barely usable highly situational card in the english game... but they did not give similar nerfs to the other great spirits for the other spheres. The result is that Refess, instead of having the best level 1, has nothing but terrible or mediocre level 1s while every other sphere has atleast one if not multiple INCREDIBLE level 1s. This means by even trying to play low levels your putting yourself at an automatic disadvantage to any other sphere thats doing the same thing. Against weaker players you may over come that disadvantage, but against players of equal skill the non-refess player is going to be the winner far more times then not.

High level decks though allow you to bypass this disadvantage by simply not caring in the early game if your low levels are getting run over, your really just stalling until you can drop the big boys. Refess big boys aren't any better then other sphere's big boys, but they are comparable so atleast you'll be on even footing instead of at a disadvantage. And yes big levels have their vices, assassin soul cards and what have you, but again, atleast your facing the same issues high level decks for all spheres face.

Again this is just my opinion. If you aren't lucky enough to get high levels but don't want to restart, I agree with candy that Holy Weapon Priestess and Folrart Spiked Shield Knight are some fantastic lower rarity cards so if you managed to pull 3 of either of them, make sure and include them. If you didn't get a third copy of Lion Baron / Zagar I'd suggest removing him, at only 2 copies his a liability. Splashing some of the amazing level 1s of the other spheres can be ok but make sure you only do it if you can splash several of their cards, if your splashing just to get a single card in your basically paying 2 sp for a level 1 card that will only give you 1sp back when it dies, thats pretty significant sp disadvantage and refess is already so sp expensive to run compared to most spheres they really can't afford any more sp disavantage.
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Re: The Art of Modifying Starters

Postby darklogos » Wed Oct 22, 2008 3:02 am

Lawtia should never get rid of your shades in this new game environment. Sp control is powerful. Well timed it can save your bacon. Draining 2 sp here and there will slow down the opponent and at times slow special effects the other field has. Shade really can hurt return based decks because you at least need 3 sp to do any return card effect outside of witch.
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Re: The Art of Modifying Starters

Postby edgarfigaro » Wed Oct 22, 2008 12:13 pm

No time to save bacon. Bacon is meant is for eating.
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Re: The Art of Modifying Starters

Postby Grain » Wed Oct 22, 2008 12:15 pm

EdgarFigaro wrote:No time to save bacon. Bacon is meant is for eating.

Your face.
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Re: The Art of Modifying Starters

Postby DWildstar » Wed Oct 22, 2008 12:51 pm

Grain wrote:
EdgarFigaro wrote:No time to save bacon. Bacon is meant is for eating.

Your face.

Don't get off topic you two. If you want to talk about bacon, start a bacon thread in the Off-Topic.
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Re: The Art of Modifying Starters

Postby Romdeau » Thu Oct 23, 2008 1:08 am

Hey, I happen to like my bacon. Baked, preferably.
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Re: The Art of Modifying Starters

Postby Gota » Thu Oct 23, 2008 1:49 am

darklogos wrote:Lawtia should never get rid of your shades in this new game environment. Sp control is powerful. Well timed it can save your bacon. Draining 2 sp here and there will slow down the opponent and at times slow special effects the other field has. Shade really can hurt return based decks because you at least need 3 sp to do any return card effect outside of witch.

I believe Logress meant taking shade out of the SS line in the starter deck and putting it in the deck. Not totally out.

Tweaking the Soul Skills is in order, however. I recommend moving out Shade, possibly into your playing set, and replacing it with another direct damage card.
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