Stacking The Deck for WoW: TCG

A lot of people are picking up their first CCG with World of Warcraft's trading card game. There are a few tricks that are known to experienced collectible card game gamers, which aren't obvious, concerning how you construct your deck. This article aims to show you how to do this well, even if you're a complete ccg noob.

While you can't - and shouldn't - try to control exactly what cards you get at what stage of the game, you can ensure that there's a good mix of cards throughout your deck, so that even the most energetic shuffling can't leave you with a hand containing seven high cost allies and no quests.

Here's the step by step approach:

1) Sort your deck into types - allies, abilities, quests, and equipment.

2) If you've more than sixty cards, consider cutting the deck down as close to sixty as you can get. What you want is a lean, mean deck, where the cards for your killer tactics arrive in your hand as soon as possible. The alternative is a bloated monster where your essential card is still five turns away as your hero hits zero life, and you don't want that. It doesn't have to be exactly sixty, but try to get close.

3) Make sure you've a reasonable balance of allies and abilities. It's a common enough approach for beginners to make a deck full of allies, but as soon as a card like Jaina Proudmoore lands on the table, you're in trouble.

4) Sort your allies by cost. Generally speaking, "low cost", "medium cost", and "high cost" is as much differentiation as you need.

5) Sort abilities by cost - the same three categories should be fine.

6) Sort quests by how much they cost to complete.

7) Now make six piles of cards. In each pile you should have - approximately, depending on your particular deck and strategies - one low cost ally, one medium cost ally, one high cost ally, one low cost ability, one medium cost ability, and one high cost ability. If you've more left over, distribute them as evenly as possible.

8) Distribute the quest and equipment cards among the six piles in the same manner - don't put too many high-cost or low-cost cards in any one pile.

9) Put the six piles on top of each other, and your deck is assembled and ready to go. You have to shuffle and allow your opponent a chance to cut the deck before you start, but this technique should still result in a good distribution of cards.

This will result in pretty nearly any initial draw from the deck having a selection of abilities, allies, quests and equipment, giving you a good start. It will also prevent the effect whereby you're drawing ability after ability, when all you need is just one ally.

This won't guarantee that you'll win games - that depends on your deck-building and play skill. But it should go a long way towards preventing the frustration of not getting the cards you need.

Posted by Drew Shiel at November 16, 2006 4:45 PM

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ever heard of hate shuffling???

where u shuffle ur opponents deck so much it doesn't matter how u put the cards in advance.

Posted by: Rovwar at November 25, 2006 12:13 PM

This is also cheating, your deck muct be randomised, not stacked then moved around a bit.

Shuffling your opponents deck lots will help them.

Perhaps try the '3-pile' shuffle if people insist on cheating like this, just deal in order the deck into 3 piles, then put them on top of one another, in the hope that things clump.

Posted by: Phil at December 19, 2006 4:48 PM

Phil said: "This is also cheating, your deck muct be randomised, not stacked then moved around a bit."

Where in the rules does it say that?

I'm not advocating setting your cards up in the order you want them to come out, just ensuring an even distribution. Card players have been doing this for years; I've never seen or heard of anyone calling it cheating.

Posted by: Drew Shiel at December 19, 2006 10:25 PM

The point of shuffling is to randomize your deck. Presenting anything but a random deck is considered cheating. Whether it's intentional like you've described or shuffling poorly, it is a form of cheating. You can be penalized if someone calls you on it and a discerable pattern if found, so I advise againt this type of stacking. Someone pointed out earlier that if your opponent shuffles your deck well (and you should ALWAYS shuffle an opponent's deck well, specifically to prevent this type of cheating), or 3-pile sorts your deck, it will undo whatever "evenness" you tried to instill in your deck.

An "even distrobution" as you put it, is also not the same as a random deck. A random distrobution is a bell curve, and deck construction plays a huge part in the quality and consistancy of your hands. Stacking your deck effectively skews this curve in your favor, giving you an unfair advantage.

The WoW TCG comprehensive rules at this time doesn't define what shuffling means, but I believe any judge would agree it follows the definition in the Magic Universal Tournament Rules:

Shuffling must be done so that the faces of the cards cannot be seen. Regardless of the method used to shuffle, players’ decks must be sufficiently randomized. Each time players shuffle their deck, they must present their deck to their opponent for additional shuffling and/or cutting. Players may request to have a judge shuffle their cards rather than pass that duty to their opponent, this request will be honored at a judge’s discretion. By presenting their decks to their opponents, players are stating that their decks are correct, legal, and sufficiently randomized.

After decks are presented and accepted, any player who does not believe his or her opponent has made a reasonable effort to sufficiently randomize his or her deck must notify a judge. The head judge has final authority to determine whether a deck has been sufficiently randomized. The head judge also has the authority to determine if a player has used reasonable effort to randomize his or her deck. If the head judge believes that either the deck has not been sufficiently randomized or that a player has not made a reasonable effort to randomize his or her deck, the player will be subject to the appropriate provisions of the DCI Penalty Guidelines.

Posted by: Ganglame$h at April 1, 2007 6:06 PM

There is absolutly no fault in this shuffling technique. Just because you think a judge would probrobly agree that this meathod is "cheating", its not... Ganglame$h said, "The WoW TCG comprehensive rules at this time doesn't define what shuffling means, but I believe any judge would agree it follows the definition in the Magic Universal Tournament Rules:" that means your own opinion thinks its wrong... and your probrobly saying its our opinion its nit wrong, well then your wrong. No where in the rules does it say you can not sort your deck in a specific way that you want... i can put my cards in the order i want them to (knowing that my oponent will shuffle them out of order) but ths meathod is all just a stradegy. We all have different ones, but this one is a very good one. I would suggest trying it at least once.

Posted by: grimm at April 20, 2007 4:54 AM

you are so wrong, every CCG requires a shuffled deck (randomised) any other way simply means that you are placing the cards how you would like them to come out. this is cheating, stop trying to justify yourself.

Posted by: slapashrew at December 27, 2007 6:47 PM

Basically, you're advocating mana-thinning, except for with quests...

Would you honestly want to risk getting DQ'd, or even worst getting to a point in a tournament in which you could have won, but because they decided to shuffle your deck your horrible ratio retarded deck that had the crutch of being thinned out so you wouldn't notice lost pathetically?

Build a deck that's the best when random. Find around 15 different cards, run around 4 of each, and if you draw a hand with a lot of clumping...


No big deal. Don't be a noob running 40 different 7 costs cards with 6 quests having to thin out you r deck. When I build decks, I build them so every possible first hand I could get, is one I'm content with.

Posted by: Johneh at February 1, 2008 4:10 AM