2. File Size: level 1-2 (rush)
-B. Soul Skills
-C. Cards to include in your rush
3. FIle Size: level 3 (rush)
-E. Soul Skills
4. File Size: level 4-5 (mids)
-B. Tech Cards
-C. Soul Skills
5. File Size: level 6+ (bigs)
-A2. Refess Tech Cards
-A3. Refess Soul Cards
-B2. Lawtia Tech Cards
-B3. Lawtia Soul Cards
-C2. Gowen Tech Cards
-C3. Gowen Soul Cards
-D2. Falkow Tech Cards
-D3. Falkow Soul Cards
6. Sample Files (Coming soon)
The purpose of this guide is to help players create better or new file compositions. This can be tricky to do on your own if you are unfamiliar with with a subtype, sphere, or file size. I Have experimented with almost every file at some point so I can give a lot of advice when it comes to building almost any file, as long as it is horizon based.
Keep in mind that all these files and cards I mention are horizon core cards only, so this won't show you the most over powered files in the game, but it is still a great guide at the moment. When the core list is released and the horizon meta is available to be played with, I think that is when this guide will be of the most use. For now its just a rough guide of how to build certain files (all horizon files) and a good spoiler. Some of the cards I mention in here could be taken out of the core and replaced.
Do not feel pressured into reading all of this. The purpose of this is to just help you with certain files you would like to build and play, not to understand every file, sphere, and size. I do plan on making a multi sphere guide in the future as well.
The final thing worth noting is if you see a card name that you don't recognize and it does not have a link to click on, it is from set 14 which will be out quite soon so I thought I would include them in here and not have to go back and edit the entire guide.
^^^^Don't skip this^^^^
2. File size: Level 1-2 (rush files 7-8lp on average)
A. Teching curveballs cards (Unexpected and rarely used cards)
Level 2 rush files are rather interesting. My favorite thing about them is they will generally only play cards that are all level 1 and 2 so you can easily guess what cards they are playing and what low level tech cards to expect, sometimes a random level 3 unit or grimoire can catch people off guard though. For example using 1 consuming grudge with a liz ss can really go a long way if you store up the sp which sometimes isn't too hard. If you have the file space for a curve ball card to throw in your file it worth using if it wins you most of the games that you could not win without it even if you only use it roughly 5% of the time. That is my threshold for if should use a random tech card. "If I have one slot open why not play a card that will win me 5% of my games"? Makes sense, but that is my aspect on curve ball cards. I wouldn't consider a card like cyclone in a level 4 falkow file to be a curve ball since you aren't really going out of your way nor is in unexpected from your opponents.
B. What Soul Skill gain and lose value in level 1-2 files?
Some normally used soul skills gain value in low level files, some lose value, some are unplayable, and some soul skills are only playable in low level files. So how do we decide what to use if level 2 files don't function well with a lot of commonly used soul cards? Their are a few soul skills I have a lot of respect for in low level files that I do not see many other people use. Cards like cudgel, chiruru, and grebados obviously gain value since you are getting more stats out of them than you would in bigger files but other cards gain value too, not just for the stats, but for the versatility they bring to your arsenal.
Dalos is one of my favorite cards to use as a soul skill in a file like pixies. The simple fact that Liz won't be usable if you have to play pixie healer makes Dalos a lot more reliable, not too mention I get field wiped a lot less with pixies since they are always aggressive and it is hard to clear many without an AoE grim. Plus archer pixie and mage pixie always helped me win against bigger files so the mass revive was never needed. With Dalos I could always get in good damage and the 1lp was convenient. Not to mention I got into a lot of situation where the assassin behind my Dalos gained a ton of value since I was able to trick someone into playing an engage card. I think Dalos makes the most sense in an always aggressive low level rush if Liz isn't working enough for you. Pixies are not a horizon file (some of them are included as good tech card choices), but they are a perfect example of why you should use Dalos over Liz.
Sergis is a great soul card in slot 1 and 2 in most low level files because you just don't need sp generation early game like most files. You gain 2sp (most turns) which will be enough to keep your engine going turn after turn for most of the game. I really like packing Sergis to dominate the field early game just so my aggressive plans can succeed more often. Ebreenu or even crest saboteur would be better than asuet for some low level files in the early game, if you aren't looking to be aggressive early or have expensive sp costs on skills you could do Asuet, in fact he would probably be the prime choice if your low level file operates like that.
Afeemia is a hit or miss card of course, but in certain metas she has been really good in files that don't drop level 3 cards. I think she is worth noting since she can act like an assassin early game but you keep your board to help yourself dominate the early game even harder.
Level 9 retear is a solid slot 4 or 5 soul skill if your field is always small at the end stages of a game. I really like using it in EN in slot 5.
A standard soul skill line up will look like this..... 1lp-1lp-1 or 2lp- 1 or 2lp- 2 or 3lp. Genreally staying around 7-8lp. 9lp is fine as well if you like having a 3lp soul skill and a 2lp soul skill like liz or cudgel in slot 3 or 4.
C. My file composition (excluding soul skill) should always try to include "X" when playing a level 1-2 file
Consistent ways to kill tanks should always be a concern when play a low level rush. You don't want to lose against 90% of refess files just because they play a couple guys with big hp, df, or counter skills. You will generally need a unit to take care of big threats that are hard to run over. If you feel like your units have enough base attack to do solid damage and you generally get to soul skills that take care of the problem you probably don't need too much help killing tanks.
Cards to counter or protect yourself from AoE are always great in low level files since your units should be squishy. Gowen has archer pixie and Tierie to help with most of the big AoE cards in the game. Low level lawtia and falkow files will generally need a soul skill to counteract getting field wiped. There are other options though. If you feel like you don't lose a lot of value from your units by reviving them and setting them all at 10 attack and 10 hp than neglected soul is an amazing card to pack. Falkow has......well first world AoE issues. Refess has a ton of healing cards, their are many options like devotion, wisp, and shield for the weak.
A solid balance of units is also great. Having the right number of range 1 units is always a great thing to check over before finishing with a new file. If you have way too many range one units you can lose games just because you can never play some of your units that could have been range 2+ units. A tank is generally a good idea if you can afford the file space for one. Magic doll healer + Sumer would be a very nice tank for a level 2 lawtia file if you had space for such a thing. Goblin soldier and blitz soldier are great tanks for gowen. First world falkow problems. Refess has plenty of level 2 units with 40 or more hp as well, not to mention you will probably be using lycans.
Synergy. A low level file is very hard to operate if it is just a bunch of small units you pump out turn after turn. If you can get a few cards that combo together that help increase one or the others value (sometimes both) that will help a ton. Cemetery rats is a great example. Even if I am playing a low level gowen or falkow file I will still play rats just to overcome obstacles when my soul skills that will have a similar effect are hard to reach.
3. File size: level 3 (rush files 8-9lp on average)
Similar to level 1-2 rush files but they have higher value units with more stats/skills and combos. The main difference is it takes a sacrificial unit and a soul skill to generally get the ball rolling to keep pushing out level 3 units. Level 3 files have the most diversity in the game in my opinion. They have so many cards that are unique and can work well together, not to mention you can still go for an endgame unit that is level 4 or 5 to finish the game. You get a ton of benefits that a level 1-2 would get since you can play all of there cards but it won't really play the same since you won't be slamming units on the field as fast or often as they will. Similar mechanics, different concept.
Level 3 refess files have two common themes right now. Tank and slowly roll over your opponents field (most solar kingdom files), or a fast file that tries to get a bunch of level 2-3 units that buff each other and have high agility (shrine knights and eternal morning). The tank concept for a level 3 file is interesting though. Often I only play a couple aggressive units and have the rest of my file be composed of supporty yet durable units that can help make my tanks even tankier and a bit stronger. Units like Holy Knight / Lapierre and Folrart Knight Captain greatly increase the value of other slow/tanky solar kingdom units, the stats can help you make a file out of units that normally wouldn't do much of anything without a constant attack and defense buff.
Elite Folrart acolyte andFolrart Hammer Solider are two of my favorite front line level 3 refess cards, and for a good reason. Generally you will play acolyte early and can opt to rest a lot or be aggressive early and poke with his 25atk. Hammer soldier can be played early to punish aggressive opens that don't use free revive units. Other aggressive cards like Folrart Charge Knight are also great but I do enjoy the duality of tanky and aggressive early game units.
I do my best to not play too many range 1 units in level 3 refess files. You can get stuck on early units like sunlight knight or will o wisp that just won't die because you are making them just tanky enough to keep living while you need them to die for sp and at the same time moving them back won't guarantee that, and while all this is going on you really want to get that 100hp guy in row 1. I'd say a good balance in a refess file would be to run 3 range 1 units that you want to keep on the field and maybe a sacrificial unit or two that have 1 range or you don't mind putting in the backrow. Cards with two range like Folrart Charge Captain can easily be placed in row 1 if it benefits you since his hp is high enough to be a tank if he gets a defense buff.
Some similar rules apply for fast, aggressive files. In shrine knights and eternal morning I like to use three units with 1 range and a tanky endgame unit like EX Ridrea for shrine knights and EX Brahma for eternal morning (Yeah it has 3 range but it never dies so you can place it in row 1 without any problems usually).
The last interesting thing worth noting is that cards like folrart flying calvary and church nun can be splashed in any refess file to help block damage and to give you a cool secondary effect, always take into consideration if these two cards are beneficial to your level 3 refess file.
Level 3 lawtia files can be one of the hardest decks in the game to play, depending on what cards or concept you are using. Cards like death's embrace can require great knowledge and insight of what your opponent will do the following turn or 2. You can actually win a lot of tough games just by denying your opponent sp and forcing them to not get to there soul skills when they want to. Sp denial isn't the only way to play lawtia of course, it is a popular mechanic that can prove useful though.
Say you play undead hawk(set 14), shades, bitter destiny, feast on the dead(set 14), and death' s embrace all in one file. This leaves you with a ton of room to destroy files that cannot function with a low sp pool, which is quite a few files actually. Bigger files that use large units and have AoE damage can be your downfall though. Match ups like this may require a well timed bitter destiny and a lot of iczer attacks.
Files like undeads, dutchy of crest, and magic dolls can get by without sp/soul skill denial but it is worth teching if you have the room for denial cards. Soul skill like chiruru can be great with undeads if you want to set up for a play that involves bitter destiny and death's embrace, while using chiruru to clear the enemies field for a turn. This combo can be used in a lot of level 3 lawtia files but it is pretty safe with an undead rush.
I think hell smoke is important enough to get his own paragraph. So this guy can pretty much be splashed in any level 3 lawtia deck. His close skill is great and so are his stats. He is basically a free revive that is tanky and doesn't actually close so he will continue to tank even if they were to do 60 damage to him in one turn. Hell smoke allows you to set up fragile combos and units that normally wouldn't be safe without a big meat shield in the way. Max hp drain isn't that popular in the early game stage as of right now so I suggest using him whenever you can.
In general I find lawtia to be an opinion based sphere with tons of personal preference. For example, I don't like using grimories in some of my level 3 lawtia files and would rather run 3 copies of a ton of units and building towards a late game unit like Dalos. I think the best advice I can give to you now is that you should try to see what units you like, what tech cards you find to be reliable for you, and what combos you enjoy using. I think if you do that, you will become better with files that fall under this category.
Gowen has always been my favorite sphere to play when I am using a level 3 rush. Their are a number of interesting things you can do with it that would be like breaking the laws of physics if it were any other sphere. Gowen has the benefit of rank up which is why it is so easy to play an endgame unit while making it worth your time to get your sphere level up to 5 or 6 in the early game. Ranking up will give your units the states needed to with less units on the field generally. Focus/rank up gowen is quite strong when it comes to having less units on the field early and still being able to clear the enemy field.
Two popular opens are used a lot with gowen rushes. The first one generally will open with a free revive unit or two. Such as Kurina and man-eating tiger, which will then lead into salamander and a level 3 card. The other popular method is to open with a sacrificial unit like emerald carbuncle and then a level 3 card. The first method is pretty strong if you aren't running units that depend on each other for combos or buffs since you don't need to get to your soul skills as soon as possible so you can get sp to get to your main strategy. The second open is very good for files like orks or focus gowen. The sp for reviving orks and fielding orks is essential, as for focus gowen getting your units to rank up and focus can require early sp.
The kurina/tiger open seems less favorable lately. I think playing a few strong level 3 units in gowen, that have no synergy together, can be rewarding against a number of files. Using cards like mercenary, forest rhino, Danes(set 14), EX yuni, and dual axe wielder can be pretty devastating to a number of other rushes and quite a few mid level files. A bunch of generic tanky guys that can hit hard is basically the strategy. You can easily opt to play an endgame unit as well that is level 4 or 5, like Bringer for Athira Shin.
Lower level gowen files have some great tech cards as well. Cards like purging flame can overcome a swarm of half dead or squishy units in the mid to late game stage. Units like pixie archer can help increase your match up against mid or big files. Tierie is a great counter to AoE opens and can heal almost dead units as well. Cards like salamander and dragon breath can give you just enough damage to over run your opponents field on certain turns. There are a lot of low level tech cards for gowen, I suggest playing around with them and seeing which ones you like.
Falkow has quite a few diverse options as a level 3 file. Even though it is generally mermaid or wizard kingdom based there are a quite a few ways to customize your file. Grimoires like return and [url]withdrawl strategy[/url] can force your opponent into a tough spot if they are relying on a level 3 unit to keep their strategy a float. Units like sylph,undine, flying sorceress of regus, and storm wizardess can make a great impact on the field for a turn and can easily give you an edge or protect you for a turn.
Many wizard kingdom files start off withEX wizard soldier of regus and owl sage, and for a very good reason. Owl sage is a card that you need to kill early or he will quickly give the player an edge with his easy sp generation. Wizard soldier will sit in front of him and revive for free while doing a considerable amount of damage for an early game unit. With the help of cards like sylph or return you can keep owl sage alive a bit longer than your opponent would like him to be. He is very fragile and can die to a lot of early soul skills and salamander's open skill. Violet's soul skill works well in slot 1 with this strategy, however I think Ebreenu or Asuet would work just fine too.
Aqua Sorcerer / Mystere is a great unit if you have the room for her. She is a solid unit that can patch up your weaknesses against mid or big files by returning the units they spent a lot of sp on. Playing EX mystere and Azure Dragon - East / Vordore is a great idea if you want to base a file around Mystere and the great spirit cards like sylph and undine.
Although a pretty common strategy with a falkow rush is to use a lot of wizard kingdom units, boost there agility, give them attack, and then run over your opponent's field turn after turn. Strategies like this generally involve a combination of units likemage knight of regus,eagle soldier, and regus combat sorcerer. Using a return soul skill or any soul skill to disrupt your opponent's field such as angry mob can help prop this strategy up against units that are strong against your strategy. Heierrat assassin's soul skill is also great in falkow rush files since you have a wide variety of level 1 units that you can sacrifice with that soul skill.
E. Soul skills
So we have a wide variety of soul skills that we can use in level 3 files but what you should be using is whatever will patch up your weaknesses. Say if you need sp early so your strategy doesn't fall apart you could use a soul skill that gives you +2sp or +1sp and damage. If you don't require sp but you like the damage, Ebreenu would be an excellent choice so you can harm the early game of other rush files. A large selection of revival soul skills exist, some are unit specific and generally buff them, some are generic and can revive almost any unit, If you seem to have trouble with getting your field cleared at a certain point in the game I suggest trying out a revival soul skill.
A soul skill like Revolver King / Shelby can help a lot against bigger files since it will generally engage and will follow up with a soul skill that will return a certain engaged unit (mermaid harpist and pixie aquamancer). It does costs two soul skills to return one unit though, getting to engage another unit for a turn is pretty good though as well. If you don't like using two soul skills you can always opt to use something like deep squid or Bastandora to return low agility units. Metia and deep squid can take care of high agility units. Heierrat Assassin will just take care of anything, provided none of the cards are engaged.
A pretty standard set up for level 3 files for soul skills is..... 1lp-1lp-1lp-1 or 2lp- 2 or 3lp. Generally you will have 8 or 9lp. 7lp is fine if you think you can end the game quickly and don't have too many sacrificial units.
4. File size: 4-5 (mid files 9-11lp on average)
Mid files will play differently than rush files. The opening will generally be slow and will take a sacrificial unit or two before you you start playing level 4 or 5 units. A lot of these files will primarily use level 4 or 5 units and will want to field multiple units of this size at the same file. A few level 2 or 3 units are used here and there as great tech or three copies because they have great synergy with all the bigger cards. Another large difference is that you will be using more lp than rush files since you can be left open for iczering at early and later stages of the game.
Most mid files will pack a few higher level units that function well together and can create a winning strategy. Refess is the one that comes to mind first. Being able to play a front line tank and then cards like Judie and Miffrye can set you up for your mid-late game easily and you have a strong field that can fight many other fields around turn 6. Then you can use can use units such asKing of Mankind / Verlaat, Holy Commander / Lapierre, and pegasus knights to add a lot of value to your field.
Gowen has a few files that are synergy based as well. Beltorats heavily rely on fielding multiple level 3 units and used using Ainhazard and Dyson to front line. It takes a build up of sp and then fielding a beltorat turn after turn and then will create a very strong field of ranked up units that make each other stronger, a very strong force to reckon with in the mid stages of most games.
Mercenary nation functions in a similar way but doesn't rely on fielding specific units. You have great early game units like light heierrat fighter and Niro to help stall and then bring out more level 3 and 4 units that are ranked up and get small buffs from units like heierrat field commander. Rozly and heierrat army make for a great opening for the mercenary nation tribe and can make it easy to get multiple mid sized units out on early turns while pushing at your opponent's life points. Emerald carbuncle and exploding spore are also pretty strong open units for this file.
Falkow has a larger variety of mid sized files in horizons. Wyverns, wizard kingdom, pirates, sea serpent, and mermaids are full of level 4-5 units. They are all pretty field based except wyverns which can do just fine with very few units on the field. If you want to make your file less field based you can use cards like Mildoreo to slow your opponent down and kill multiple units turn after turn. Quite a few openers can be used in mid falkow files as well. Catherina, mechanical bats, owl sage,emerald carbuncle,jewel of the deep sea, and ariete can all help you get to your mid sized units at a good pace. Jewel of the deep sea and Ariete combo nicely with Miffyre's soul skill as well if you want to field units as soon as possible. Lawtia doesn't have a lot of synergy in its mono mid files but can clear and stall the opponent pretty well. Most of the mid sized units generally work in big files with Zu.
B. Tech cards
Since a lot of your strategies will be based on cards that cost a considerable amount of sp and took you a while to field you should try to tech anti engage cards or even cards that engage so you can avoid soul skills that will engage your field or return some of the units. Each sphere has an anti engage(set 14) card with its open skill and some have cards that will engage all units or just your units. I suggest teching one of each if you have the room to do so.
A heavy damage grimoire is very useful as well. Fire arrow or hand of god can help a lot against certain files. Sakura is also an amazing unit to play one or two of in gowen. AoE damage is very important as well but gowen pretty much is the only sphere with access to cards like that. Lawtia has a number of cards to deny the opponent access to soul skills and sp to make up for this, and falkow has return and engage mechanics, not to mention a few mid sized units that can do AoE damage. Refess will generally have enough sp and units so they don't need the AoE, but burning sun is a solid option and you can combo it late game with soul skills that do AoE damage. Lelein and Font of Destruction(set 14) can help one shot certain cards as well.
Sp generation grimoires exist in each sphere and I think playing at least one will help with your mid file and give it the sp it needs. Optional but not mandatory, it depends on if you think you get to your units fast enough or not with your opening units and soul skills. Sacrificial units for the mid game can be nice as well. Whenever you think you will need your next soul skill but don't want to give up a larger unit to do so you can always play a small unit and try to get it to die as soon as possible. Try to make it a unit with an effective open skill so you get a great benefit out of it. Cemetery retrieval can be very important as well. If you need it you can rely on a couple of soul skills I will mention in the next section but a few cards like the word of dalos, church nun, and over soul can help you get back certain cards that you can really make use of.
C. Soul skills
It depends sphere to sphere and file type to file type. Most mid files will use around 9 to 11 lp. If you leave yourself open a lot like wyverns and mid lawtia can you will want to go for more lp, if you are secure most of the game and need access to soul skills in the mid stages to keep your field strong you will be playing with 9 lp generally. Mid files that use a lot of units for open skills may also want to go near 11lp. With files like wyverns or certain mid red files you don't plan to have many units on the field to synergize with each other and plan to drop a lot of units for there open skills so try to stay around 10-11lp with them.
Soul skills 1 and 2 will generally give you sp. Priestess of madness, +2sp souls are highly preferred here. If you can more value from using a soul skill that gives you +3 to your sphere level like mercenary nation might than you should do so, it is better in big files that use a few level 6 or higher cards though. If you plan on keeping your sphere level below 3 before this soul skill goes off then it will also be beneficial. Cait sith can be better in mid refess but requires you play carefully and always put your sp into your sphere level.
Solar Prince / Verlaat and Silver Sun Emperor / Verlaat are excellent choices if you are trying to get units back around SS 3 or 4, Silver sun is preferred since he will pinpoint your level 5 cards that may have a great impact on this stage of the game.
If you are having field control issues you can opt to use damage soul skills as well. Each sphere has the x20 damage per sphere level and can easily be accessed since it is only 1 lp. If you are looking for more lp to use in your file you have options likeZugateroza, Dub Rido, and Mercenary Princess / Yuni. Aoe damage also exists,Kanyu is a bit specific but can be very useful if you can time him correctly. Generally these soul skills should be placed in slots 2, 3, or 4.
Your last soul skill should try to be an anchor (aka 3lp). It can vary what you will use here though. Certain mid level cards can combo with soul skills like Kaldrao or Lelein so you can opt to use them for that reason, but I think they are just great in general. If you tend to have a lot of close games you can always try to use Vonderam. If you don't have units with defense and want your last soul skill to do nothing there are several cards like star dragon that are 3lp and give your units df=0. Having a soul skill that does nothing at the end isn't so bad since sometimes all you need is just the raw lp and don't want the AoE from lelein or kaldrao that may suck up important sp.
A standard lp line up for mid files will looks something like this.... 1lp-1 or 2lp-1or 2lp-1 or 2lp-2or 3lp. I suggest staying around 9 to 11lp if you don't plan on playing any large units. 8lp is ok if you are hard to iczer but I would recommend using a revive soul skill. 7lp can be very risky, always pack a revive soul skill or two.
5. File Size: level 6+ (bigs)
The game play for big files is quite different compared to sized files when comparing them by sphere. There are very few units that are level 6 or higher compared to all the other lower level units and these ones are generally unique and different than the smaller guys. With the high level comes stats of course too. Many big files are filled with 5* and 4* cards as well, I will be discussing mostly these rare cards since they are the most optimal choices. Since each one is unique I will break this part up by sphere and then talk about generic soul skill and tech card choices.
A1. Refess in general
Refess has a pretty straight foward strategy when playing large units. Get a few sacrificial units out like bearer of peace(set 14) and kesaran pasaran and use the +3 refess soul skill and Cait Sith to drop Legendary unicorn and/or star dragon to keep your opponents field weak. Using several sp generating cards like recovery powder and divine impact are great as well. Other large units like True Holy Emperor / Retear and holy dragon can devastate the opponent with their tankiness and abilities. With all the dragon kin units you should feel free to try and use a couple dragon fire for low cost, high damage.
Mid sized units like The Impregnable / Rubens and Right-hand Shield / Garfath are extremely useful and can help you stall the game. I highly recommend using an early game level 4-6 tank like Rubens, folrart guardian, veteran folrart paladin, or legendary unicorn just to stall against some files so you can get to your late game with ease. Units like Garfath are best used when you need a heal and can make use of him for his auto skill or letting him die to get a soul skill, getting the heal is generally good enough in my opinion. So you probably won't be using him until mid or late game. Another rare and great end game unit that is mid sized is Lion General / Zagar. His counter skill when you have 3 or less lp can make him a pain to deal with for many files.
Lower level units like Archer Captain / Fistara can deal a lot of damage thanks to your high sphere level, with all the tanks in the way she can generally work and will do tons of damage for a level 3 card. Silver Sun Emperor / Verlaat can also be quite useful since he can help activate counter skills and revive your units, not to mention max hp damage can be very effective against certain units. I personally think Cudgel can be worth teching two copies of as well. He is great against other big files and his counter skill is amazing against certain rush files that will give you trouble.
A2. Refess- Tech cards
The rules of mid files still apply for big files when it comes to tech. Anti engage like faerie blessing to avoid Shelby souls cards, and engage cards like unwanted charity to avoid return/assassin soul skills. Damage open skills are always great to have. If you don't use multiple dragon kin units you should try to use magic bolt as a replacement for dragon fire. Hand of god is very important as well. If you have a Kaldrao or Leilen soul card or two you can try to use a burning sun for AoE against mid/small files. Salamander is also very useful unit with counter skills such as star dragon's. That should sum up most of the tech cards you will want to be playing.
A3. Refess- Soul skills
The general rule of thumb in big files is to use a +3 sphere as your first soul skill so we will go with that. Next you should try to use a cait sith or maybe even two. If you opt to use one cait sith make your next soul skill a 2 lp card like Dub Rido or Zugateroza. If you don't use Retear I suggest using Silver Sun Verlaat in slot 3 or 4. For slot 4 and 5 I would play play Kaldrao so you can combo it with burning sun and star dragon's counter skill, not to mention 10 direct damage for 1sp to all is pretty good in general.
Generally your soul skill line up will look like this..... 1lp-1lp-1 or 2lp-3lp-3lp. Usually 10-11lp, I never recommend going below 10 and not going above 12lp.
B1. Lawtia in general
Big lawtia is generally only played in one way, and that is to bring out Dark Emperor / Zu-jyuva and clear the opponent's field as many times as you can and then you follow up with a swarm of undead units and use lich to return them or you can play several mid sized units. Since you want to get to Zu as soon as you can in most match ups you will want to play a sacrificial unit and get to your +3 lawtia level soul card. I think shade or bearer of peace(set 14) is appropriate here, since you will want the refess level for unwanted charity and possibly burning sun (you could open bearer-impact-limier as well). After that you will want to keep playing soul pacts to get zu out. If you feel playing zu would be better around mid or late game you can always opt to use cards like Dalos, Belus, or Durendal(set 14), which is why the mid level follow up version is generally more consistent.
Other cards like night wing wyvern and destroyed tome(set 14) can be played early if you need to slow your opponent down, wyvern preferably since you get the sp back. You can also use one of your mid sized units that won't be too valuable late game to stall your opponent and force him to build a field just so Zu can knock it down later. I think an early belus would be great for getting a few early kills, forcing soul skill, and making your opponent use sp to commit the field.
Your endgame should consist of units that are at there strongest late game. Dalos will be optimal since your opponent should have there highest level unit on the field. Zugateroza is a pain to deal with for some files and will also be valuable late game when your opponent is running low on units. Merciless death is also a very valuable card and can strip your opponent of their only unit that can match yours.
B2. Lawtia- Tech Cards
Anti engage and engaging your cards as usual so you don't lose to certain soul skills, I suggest crest excorsist(set 14). A salamander is always nice just to kill things like KP and owl sage early as well. Corruption or warning knife are a somewhat cheap way to debuff a really big unit too. Death's embrace can force your opponent into a corner and force them to not attack Zu or will allow dalos to clear them all late game, bitter destiny is optional if you use death's embrace. Word of dalos can help bring back endgame units like Dalos and Lelein and engage a swarm of enemy units.
B3. Lawtia- Soul Skills
Your first soul skill should always be +3 lawita level. Try to make your 2nd soul card a 3lp one just in case you get iczered while trying to bring out Zu. Your 3rd and 4th ones are best off being 2lp so you can get great utility out of them. Silver Sun Verlaat and Dub Rido are the best options in my opinion. The last soul card should probably be 3lp, Lelein or Kaldrao Preferably.
Your line up should look similar to this.... 1lp-3lp-2lp-2lp-3lp (12lp total). I never recommend going below 11lp since you can get iczered a ton early game. 13lp would be my cap since I want at least one of my soul skills to give me damage or cemetery retrival.
C1. Gowen in general
Big Gowen is a file that uses a ton of open skill grims/units to overcome your opponents units. You can also set up a few large units that can one shot or do solid AoE damage to the enemy field. It's all about making great trades and using your cards to pick off multiple enemy units or single target units. I enjoy the flow of the file a lot since you can generally only leave one to two units on field and save a lot of sp for grimoires or units with important open skills.
The start of the game will generally will start off with a sacrificial unit, like archer scout, and a few grimoires to get yourself enough sp to play your first big unit. If my opponent is playing a rush file I will generally try to get volcano wyvern on the field as soon as possible, if they are playing some mid or big sized units I will try to play units like Bringer or Sakura to kill them. If you can you should try to have a few cards to take care of rush files, and a few to take care of single target mid/big units. Playing a big red file that only does one or the other can be disastrous since you can lose a lot of matches to certain types of files. Not to mention you shouldn't need too many cards to take care of rush files, the same goes for mid/big files. Generally volcano wyvern or arthopluerid with a few AoE grimoires should be enough to kill a lot of smaller units, where as Bringer, Sakura, and [url]fire arrow[/url] can easily take out larger units.
Kanyu and Ben Machlacan can create a deadly combo as well. Making use of Kanyu's start skill to make Ben bigger can clear several large unit. Kanyu is also another good AoE unit, so using these two guys can also serve the purpose of taking out small and big units. Earth dragon and Three headed dragon work well in low budget big red files, if you use them make sure to pack some dragons fire as well. Dyson increases the value of dragon kin's as well with his counter skill.
Endgame units like Athira Shin can also be great since the best time to play him is when the enemy only has a couple of units. You will also have the sp for him at this stage of the game in many situation. EX girl mercenary can also serve a great purpose late game as a constant lp/damage blocker, not to mention in games where you don't have a lot of sp late game because you used it all on grimoires or you have a one or more large units out. She is a great filler and can be played several times in a game.
C2. Tech Cards
Anti engage/forced engage as usual, song for a hero is also a great option to block assassin soul skills and mischievous pixies(set 14) can stop your units from being engaged. Salamander is great early game card and can stop pesky fuzzies and owl sages. Fire snake whip and purging flame are great for additional AoE. Fire dragon and Three headed dragon work well in low budget big red files, if you use them make sure to pack some dragon's fire as well. Crimson Hero / Dilate and Vol agni are also great cards that you don't need three of. Vol agni will be a great counter to other big files that need there grimoires, if you are using a file with a few grims I think he is good to use. Finally, I think flying sorcerer of regus is good with volcano wyvern since it can move a unit, close it, and make it do nothing next turn if it has 1 range.
C3. Soul Cards
Slot 1 should be +3gowen level. Slot 2 should either be Zuga, Dub Rido, or 3lp. Slot 3 and 4 are excellent for Silver Sun Emperor / Verlaat or Dub Rido. The last soul card should probably be 3lp.
1lp-2-3lp-2lp-2lp-3lp. 11 or 12 lp is pretty standard with big red. 10lp-13lp sounds like a solid range to stay in.
D1. Falkow in general
Big falkow can be one of the hardest decks in the game to master. It takes a lot of foresight, sense of tempo, sp management, and a solid balance between control and aggressive cards and knowing when to use them. It can be a pretty frustrating file to play, but hopefully I can help you out with the file building part.
The early game will be slow, just like every big file. You will need a sac unit like owl sage, mechanical bats, or jewel of the deep to get to your +3 falkow soul skill. I suggest using three meaning of failures in case you need to play Legrye as soon as possible. Deep squid makes for an excellent early game unit since he can maintain solid control of the field and pick off a lot of units, not to mention he has 90hp. Lightning wyvern is also good early, especially with deep squid since it can let you do a lot of AoE damage mid game.
Luteum or Vonderam are great units for late game, both can keep great control of the enemy field when you combine them with cards like sylph. Refugee flying apprentice is a great unit with Vonderam as well, she will be a unit you can spam over and over to get a higher grimcount so Vonderam's action skill can do a ton of damage. Goddess of Darkness / Noze and Black storm also work very well with the grimcount version of big blue.
I suggest using only two copies of most of your units, big blue is supposed to use a variety of cards to cover most match ups to have a high winrate. I would probably only play three copies of Luteum, Vonderam, or Noze if I had room in one of these two versions I have discussed. Two lightning wyverns, deep squids, legryes, and sylphs sounds like a solid number and you probably won't make use of the third copies.
Hirume and Rijia work very well together and can beat a lot of files. If you go for this version I suggest using squid early with lightning wyvern. 3 Rijias, 3 Hirumes, 3 timestops, and 3 meaning of failures is pretty essential for this strategy though. The point of the file is to pick off all of your enemies while they are engaged units while only using a few of your own to do the job.
D2. Tech cards
Time stop or sweet dreams and song of miracles(set 14) make for solid tech to avoid soul skills that remove your large units. Flying Sorcerer of regus is also nice for moving cards around to disrupt your opponent even more. Word of dalos works well with Noze. Regus Patroller can also help to make your large units fast for several turns.
D3. Soul Cards
Slot 1 should contain +3 falkow level. Slot 2-4 can all be 2lp or maybe have one of them be 3lp if you are worried about getting iczered a lot. Dub Rido and Verlaats will probably be best in slots 2-4. Slot is the anchor as usual, I don't favor using a damage soul skill here,Holy Knight / Lapierre could be fine if you plan to return a lot of cards late game.
1lp-2lp-2lp-2lp-3lp. 11-12 lp is a great number, I suggest staying in that range.
6. Example Files- Coming soon
This section will include pictures of completed files, I will add them when set 14 is released.