Avoiding Overthinking During Tournament Play

An important part of playing in tournaments is keeping the proper and clear mindset. Among many things that can prevent such a mindset, overthinking (also known as rumination) during a tournament can cloud in-game judgement and prevent the player from optimal play. The keys to avoiding this mental pitfall during tournaments are to reduce mental strain during game play and to reduce unhealthy self-assessment during the course of game play. Here are some tips for working toward this:

  • Practice before tournaments. Playing the deck before the tournament allows the player to properly understand the cards and play style of the deck ahead of time. Although this seems minor, playing the deck until it becomes second nature will lessen the mental effort during the course of tournaments played with the deck.
  • Answer questions before the tournament. If the player has questions about the deck that he or she is playing, rulings surrounding play, or other in-game information, the player should try to find answers to such questions before the tournament begins in an effort to reduce mental strain during a tournament.
  • Focus on the game at hand. Worrying about past mistakes in the tournament or deck choice during the course of the tournament will not help once the tournament has started. When in a game, it is best for the player to focus on the game(s) that is happening in the moment.
  • Break down difficult decisions*. If there is a decision in front of the player that is hard for the player, he or she can break down the decision and its ramifications into smaller pieces in relation to facts that the player knows (e.g. cards in hand, units on the board, etc.). The process of breaking down the decision helps the player digest a flood of thoughts and prevent being overwhelmed during the course of game play.
  • When all else fails, choose and act*. When stuck between decisions and the player recognizes that he or she cannot make up one’s mind in the moment after considering the game board, it is better to make one of the decisions in front of him or her instead of making no decision at all. The reason for this suggestion is to act and keep moving forward during game play. After a situation like this, access whether the decision was good or bad after the tournament and learn from the situation in future games and tournaments.
  • Enjoy the game**. Sometimes the best medicine for overthinking is to distract oneself by enjoying the game that he or she is playing. Games are meant to be fun, so go and enjoy them!

I hope this helped! If you have any questions or comments, please provide them in the comments section.

* https://www.forbes.com/sites/jeffboss/2015/03/20/how-to-overcome-the-analysis-paralysis-of-decision-making/#e6f8b421be5a

** https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/habits-not-hacks/201503/how-over-thinking-kills-your-performance

Top 5 Yellow Cards in DB-BT01 and First-Run Trial Decks

Hello readers of Cardfight Lab Tech! This will be the first in a series of Dragoborne articles that are planned in the upcoming months. To start off, I will be briefly discussing what I think are the top 5 most impactful cards for each of the 5 color combinations! Our article will focus on yellow cards in the Rally to War, the first released set in the game. Listed below are my top five picks for the top 5 most impactful cards in yellow in Dragoborne in the set Rally to War:

5. Kaddar, Dragonmage Adept


This guy is a pretty exciting card when we get right down to it. He’s a 4/4 body for 4 mana that allows you to draw cards equal to every set of 2 of your yellow creatures. At his best, he will allow you to draw 2 cards when dropped on the field. The fact his effect doesn’t say “other yellow creatures” is a big bonus, since this allows him count himself in his own effect! On average, at 6 resources, you can drop 1 other creature and this guy to draw one card, then patiently try to trade with your guys, putting you up a card.

4. Axion, Herald of Armies


Axion is an odd card due to being overcosted for his stats (without being dragocrossed) but possessing a very strong effect to make up for it. Ideally, this card is dragocrossed most of the time, allowing this card to be a 5/5 creature for 5 mana once dragocrossed. In addition to this, Axion is able to stand when a dragoshield is destroyed and moved to another fort, forcing your opponent to think twice about attack patterns.

3. Sunscale Dragon


Sunscale is the ultimate shield buster, making it a worthy candidate for the top 5 yellow cards. This is possible with its effect, which allows it to restand once a turn after destroying a dragoshield. It can even be used a pseudo defender if all you want it to do is break shields then stay standing to block. Some of Sunscale’s biggest strengths are that he prevents the opponent from trading well or being a threatening blocker since he can single handedly break a shield then force the opponents big guy to block him and due to its defensive stats. To top all off, he draws you a card when he smashes shields! He has a very minor downside though in that he cannot break 6-value dragoshields by himself without some form of additional power and dragocross (e.g. Althaine’s Blessing).

2. Replenish the Ranks


I very well may regret not making this the number one yellow card as of right now. It’s that good. Playing it by paying its 3 mana cost will result in drawing two cards. In addition to this, it conditionally allows you to draw three cards instead if a yellow die that exactly equals 1 and/or allows the card to be played for free if there is a yellow die that exactly equals 6. I would like to emphasize that you need at least a 6-value yellow die roll to make this an optimal card to play. With this card’s reliance on yellow die value, this card excels in any deck that can modify dice values or exchange values. With the proper setup, it’s very common to see 2 of these played in one turn to draw 6 cards for free. This is a card which will only have its potential value rise as future sets release with increased support with dice manipulation and as a mainstay in yellow due to the draw support it provides.

1. Angelica, the Light of Logres


It should be no surprise to see Angelica here. Reason: she lets you play a lot of creatures who like being dragocrossed, and her effect dragocrosses every other creature on the field with the same die that Angelica herself is dragocrossed with. This allows you to enable multiple creatures’ dragocross abilities with the use of one die (e.g. two Remus on the board). Just having multiple cards that want to be crossed is enough due to the 1/1 stat gain. It’s just a bonus if they’re all the same color needed (e.g. Azraeus, Blade of the Justicar). She is going to enable a lot of cool deck builds as the game goes on just due to her first effect alone so her potential moving forward is most certainly there. She’s a solid card on her own because she was given stats that assume she’s always dragocrossed, which her effects incentivizes.

Thanks for reading this article on Dragoborne! If you have any questions or comments about the article, please leave them in the comments section.

Images of cards came from http://dragoborne.wikia.com/wiki/Dragoborne_Wiki. These images may have been resized.

Top 5 Green Cards in DB-BT01 and First-Run Trial Decks

Hello readers of Cardfight Lab Tech! This will be the first in a series of Dragoborne articles that are planned in the upcoming months. To start off, I will be briefly discussing what I think are the top 5 most impactful cards for each of the 5 color combinations! Our first article will focus on green cards in the Rally to War, the first released set in the game. Listed below are my top five picks for the top 5 most impactful cards in green in Dragoborne in the set Rally to War:

5. Fal’thalas, the Lost Wind


This guy is quite interesting to say  due to his early game applications and his usability through the mid and late game. He’s a 1 mana drop that can essentially break any dragoshield barring a 6 roll while diced and on top of that he just eats through red forts early if they leave blockers. His upside most certainly outweighs his downside, which is his 1 health pool. Although this is the case, a 1 mana drop that can bust nearly any shield is too good to overlook, especially when it opens the way for one of the better blue cards mentioned in a later article.

4. Mischievous Sprite


I love cards that directly impact the board when they are played, and Mischievous Sprite definitely fits this category. She pumps up your green creatures when dragocrossed with a green die, making pushing or defending with creatures easier. Despite this, the real application is that she destroys ambushes in a format where ambushes are very prominent in multiple ways.

3. Tanglewood Druid


This is a card that might not be very strong now, but it most certainly has many future applications to the game. If not answered right away, she will let you play any color cards from your hand and pump its stats to 3/3, which is fantastic for a 1 mana creature drop. I placed her on this place in my list due to her large future potential card. Although she may not receive attention right away,  she most certainly will in time.

2. Eleanor, Queen of Storm


She’s very straightforward in what she does: disrupt or prevent ambushes from the opponent. If she is dragocross green, she shuts down ambushes for the entire turn. If you choose not to dice her, she will destroy an ambush on any opposing fort on attack. With her abilities, she ensures that creatures attacking opposing forts are not stopped by powerful opposing ambushes, allowing such creatures to push for game-winning turns more securely.

1. Springleaf Angel


This is what I would consider green’s bomb. While others consider Teraxx to be green’s best card, springleaf is a 5 drop 8/8 if played in a mono-green deck or potentially a 5 drop 6/6 before dragocrossed and the player has 3 green resources. She has limitless power scaling, specifically when you consider ramp and she will survive any red spell that tries to kill her with raw damage, requiring multiple cards to deal with her. If you do happen to have her dragocrossed green, you can stand a rested opposing unit and force it to block her, potentially killing opposing creature threats in combat. Although this is a powerful effect, she only can target rested units with this skill. Despite this one detail, the combination of this ability and her ability to gain potentially limitless power makes her an absurd card now and in future sets.

Thanks for reading this article on Dragoborne! If you have any questions or comments about the article, please leave them in the comments section.

Images of cards came from http://dragoborne.wikia.com/wiki/Dragoborne_Wiki. These images may have been resized.

Stages of Attacking Power and Shielding

One of the basic mechanics in the game of Cardfight!! Vanguard is the concept of using cards in hand to shield the vanguard or rearguards from attacks that the opponent will through your way. Shield in the game of Vanguard, according to the comprehensive rules, is “[t]he numeric value that expresses the combat strength while a card is used as a guardian”. In other words, the shield value on the card is the amount of power that it adds to the base power of the unit being attacked. The use of shield in the game can either protect rearguard units from being removed from the field due to attacks or, more importantly, prevent the vanguard from taking damage. So… how should players use the basics of shielding mechanics in Vanguard to more efficiently play the game?

Basics of Power Stages and Shields

First of all, it is important to consider what happens in combat when the ties happen. Specifically, in the event of a tie between the the defender’s power and the attacker’s power in combat, the attacker will win the battle. This is also true when adding shield to the vanguard while guarding from hand. In other words, if the power of the sum defending unit’s power and shield from hand equals the attacker’s power that is attacking the unit, then the attacker will win that battle.

With this in mind, one will also notice that shield value in this game comes in the form of defensive trigger power and the shield that can be used from hand, which comes in the form of 5k power or shield or 10k power or shield. With this being the case, stages of defensive power come in increments of 5k power. For example, if the attacker is attacking an 11k vanguard for 15k power, the defender only needs to place 5k shield (since 5k shield + 11k defending vanguard power is more than the 15k attacking unit’s power). If the attacker wants to force the defender to drop 10k shield from hand instead of 5k, then the attacking unit must reach at least 16k power, which is equal to the defender’s 11k base power and the 5k shield that the defender would place.

Implications of Power Stages

So… why is this important? Answer: This is important in order to maximize the amount of shield that the defender will need to drop in order to defend against attacks. In order to aim to force the maximum shield out of the opponent’s hand, make attacking columns that equal numbers that equals exceeds the opposing vanguard’s power in increments of 5k power. For example, if the opponent’s grade 3 vanguard will most likely be 11k base power, the player would want to create columns on his or her board that would equal 11k power, 16k power, 21k power, 26k power etc. when attacking/boosting with each column. Keep in mind that the increments might change due to the base power of the vanguard.

This is also important for the defender, since the defender aims to maximize the impact of his or her shields. With all of this in mind, the defender wants to save shield in hand that can defend at larger stages of power by avoiding over-guarding. If an attack can be guarded by a 5k shield, it is recommended to guard with a 5k shield instead of a 10k if it can be helped, since guarding with a 10k shield would waste 5k shield that could have been used later to guard attacks from the opponent.

That is the basics around stages of attacking and shielding power in Vanguard. If you have any questions or concerns, please put them in the comments section.

Goldfishing and Testing Decks By Yourself

Testing deck ideas and builds is an essential skill for trading card game players. Much like in a scientific experiment, testing decks in card games proves or disproves the validity of certain hypothetical builds. Although this process of testing is important, testing a deck build usually requires two players. Is there a way to test with one player? The answer: goldfishing.

Goldfishing is a term from players in the Magic: The Gathering community that describes the solo-testing process of one player playing a deck solitaire-style as if playing against a goldfish, as if one is playing against their pet. For the sake of this article, the fictional opponent that the player will face in a solo game will be referred to as a “goldfish”. This process is executed in the following steps:

  • Define player behavior for the goldfish. This behavior can vary from only giving a damage per turn to destroying creatures and other conditions. In addition to this, the behavior the player sets for the goldfish to do each turn may vary depending on what one wishes to test. if the player is testing for tournament validity, the behavior of the goldfish should replicate the kind of turn-to-turn play that one expects to see in a current tournament. If the player wants to see if the deck in question will function at all, the goldfish should replicate a player that is doing close to nothing during the solitaire game.
  • Play games with the goldfish. Play games as normal with the exception that the goldfish behavior is happening on the opponent’s turn. Also, play enough games that one can determine how consistent the deck can function as the player desires in the scenario set up in the solitaire game scenarios.

That sums up the process of goldfishing in a nutshell. If anyone has any questions or comments, please leave them in the comments section.

Goldfishing is defined on this wiki: https://mtg.gamepedia.com/Goldfishing

Top 5 Red Cards in DB-BT01 and First-Run Trial Decks

Hello readers of Cardfight Lab Tech! This will be the first in a series of Dragoborne articles that are planned in the upcoming months. To start off, I will be briefly discussing what I think are the top 5 most impactful cards for each of the 5 color combinations! Our first article will focus on red cards in the Rally to War, the first released set in the game. Listed below are my top five picks for the top 5 most impactful cards in red in Dragoborne in the set Rally to War:

5. Carefree Orc.


Carefree Orc is a solid card that can find its way into any red deck color combination regardless of what the decks game plan is. While dragocrossed, it can hit a 6 roll dragoshield for half of its value while either removing or assisting in the removal of early game creatures through direct damage. It’s a strong addition to nearly any red deck because of the sheer annoyance and power it can provide.

4. Pyroblast.


This card just oozes with potential value. If you’re playing multiple red banners or if you’re playing with dice value modification abilities, it becomes very likely to threaten 5-6 direct burn damage on all creatures on one opponent’s fort. Anyone that triggers the activation of this card without paying attention to dice can put himself or herself in a game-losing situation.

3. Torch.


Torch is the essential removal card of red and it has multiple pros and cons. Among these, one of the major pros is that this card has fort burst which allows you to shut down attacks or save a fort at random during your opponents turn without needing to spend anything including the 2 resources needed to set an ambush. Another major pro of this card is that you can hard cast it to take out important targets in nearly all stages of the game. The con of this card is that its damage is based on your dice value which allows opponents to have certain interactions with it, just like with Pyroblast.

2. Fafneer, Volatile Fire.


Cards that are impactful right away as soon as they are summoned are obviously going to provide huge tempo swings, and this guy has that in spades. Although he’s just an under-costed 5/5 costing 6 mana, he makes it up in his effect. When this guy gets dropped on the board, he’s going to destroy a shield on a fort and usually he will kill a defender through burn damage, allowing you to push a fort down pretty easily. He always takes at least 2 cards to deal with him provided he actually destroys a creature. The pushing power is just icing on the cake.

1. Izarco-Tvash, Born of Magma.


If you thought Fafneer had a huge edge in the tempo swing, you might have missed this big boy. Not only does he instantly impact the board in multiple ways that are all beneficial to you by burning any number of opposing creatures for a total of 6 damage, but he can do it again with 7 total burn damage when he dies and is dragocross red. With this effect, Izarco goes well with cards like Death and Decay, which wipe a board of 3 drops and smaller while Izarco kills the bigger creatures. In addition to this, Izarco hits the board and changes any of one of your dice to a value of six. You can use the dice modification alone in a multitude of ways. You can use this with cards that rely on 6-value die for effects, like Replenish the Ranks for yellow, which allows one to draw 2 cards entirely for free with a 6-value yellow die. Overall, Izarco himself will usually take your opponents 5-6 drop from them be a huge body on board and while diced makes your opponent scared to kill him as he just kills more stuff. This guy is so strong that decks  are able to just be built around him and very easily steal games just off the value he can generate by himself and that’s why he’s my number one pick for current red cards.

Thanks for reading our first article on Dragoborne! If you have any questions or comments about the article, please leave them in the comments section.

Images of cards came from http://dragoborne.wikia.com/wiki/Dragoborne_Wiki. These images may have been resized.</sup>

Strategic Deck Archetypes

In trading card games, players build decks with a win condition in mind. A win condition is a game state that a player reaches in a game where he or she is deemed a winner by the rules. In this article, win conditions will refer to the typical and modern forms of such conditions, mainly through dealing lethal combat damage of causing the opponent to deck out. Since inception of trading card games, the deck building strategies of players can be divided among three archetypes, which are defined either on the speed at which a win condition is met or how interactions between cards achieve a win condition. These archetypes are:

  • Aggro. This archetypal strategy focuses on winning fast win in early game by methods that are too quick for an opponent to respond or defend against. Examples of decks that fit into this archetype are weenie* decks or burn** decks.
  • Control. While aggro strategies focus on the early game, this archetype focuses on the slow buildup of resources for the sake of winning in the late game. Examples of this strategy are decks with high-cost creatures.
  • Combo. When other strategies focus on the speed at which a win condition is met, this strategy uses strong synergy between cards as a win condition. Decks under this archetype mainly rely on the effect interactions between certain cards in the deck to win the game on their own.

According to many players, aggro, combo, and control are the most common strategical archetypes for deck building in trading card games to date. Other decks may appear at your local card shop, but most of them will fall into one or more these three categories. Some examples of uncommon strategies that are not covered by the main three include:

  • Midrange. Defined by its flexibility, decks that fall into this strategic archetype have the ability to speed up or slow down against opponents when the need arises.
  • Mill. While many strategies focus on dealing the required combat damage to win the game, this strategic archetype solely focuses on forcing the opponent to discard cards off of the top of his or her deck until the player cannot draw any more cards out of deck.

Thanks for your continued support! If you have any questions or comments, please place them in the comments section.

*Weenie decks focus their efforts on generating many small creatures for a low cost and/or early in the game.

**Burn decks mainly focus on dealing a large amount of damage to the opponent through the use of card effects alone.</sup>