Opening Moves: Filling a Deck
Now that you’ve identified your win condition, it’s time to finish building your competitive deck.
While finding that cool combination that will end the game in style is great, the real skill to building a deck isn’t figuring that out—it’s finding the cards to surround them with that will allow you to pull it off! Each class has slightly different tools to manage this, so understanding what your chosen class can and can’t do is important. If you’re looking to build a Hunter deck and have chosen a handful of Hunter spells as your way to finish off your opponent, you’ll quickly discover that there aren’t many reliable ways for Hunters to draw additional cards—so you can’t guarantee you’ll be able to find those spells after all. Back to the drawing board!
Finishing Your Deck
Figure out what plan your deck has—the task of the specific deck. When you play a bunch of games, if a card doesn't work, you replace it. Think about how another card would fit into that spot in the deck.
The cards you are using for your win condition will determine how you round out the rest of your deck. If you want to play aggressively and win with multiple minions on the board, there’s no time to waste drawing cards—if you run out of gas (cards) in the tank (your hand), your win condition didn’t work out that time. If you’re looking to stall for a fatal combo or just hold the line to deny your opponent’s win condition, you’ll be looking for spells to clear the board, or ways to heal yourself or armor up. Exactly what you end up using to diffuse situations like these will depend on your class.
As an example, let’s say that your free Death Knight from Knights of the Frozen Throne was Uther of the Ebon Blade. The win condition is built in: If you have all four Horsemen (summoned one at a time by your Hero Power), you win the game automatically. Cool! But how are you going to survive until you draw Uther of the Ebon Blade, play him, and manage to use your Hero Power four (or more!) times?
You might decide that you want to try and pull off multiple Hero Power uses in a single turn and add Auctionmaster Beardo—that’s a good start. You’re going to need cheap spells to activate Auctionmaster Beardo’s effect, too, so cards like Burgly Bully or Hydrologist look good. None of these cards can be played until you’re ready to end the game, though, so you still need to fill in that space. Paladin doesn’t have much in the way of card draw, so you’re probably looking for a mixture of the things Paladins do best—putting down powerful Taunt minions and using a variety of heals to stay afloat! With cards like Forbidden Healing, Wickerflame Burnbristle, Spikeridged Steed, Sunkeeper Tarim, or Ragnaros, Lightlord, you’ve suddenly got a mixture of tools that might just do the trick.
Tomorrow we’ll queue up against an opponent with our killer new deck, and make our first game-time decision—what to keep in the mulligan!