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.
"Scissors are overpowered. Rock is fine." -Paper