General Arsenal Rules
Here are some general pointers when you’re constructing a deck.
Aura Particle Balance:
As a rule of thumb, decks should usually have 15 aura particles. This is the safe approach and will make sure you won’t have too many aggrivating “no aura” beginnings that can really hurt your game.
This rule changes with the type of deck that you’re playing, however. If most of your skills are high costing and you won’t be able to play effectively with just 4-5 at the beginning to early mid-game you should consider trying to squeeze in an extra aura particle or two, just in case.
The aura balance rule also applies when you’re playing a low-cost deck too. If all your skills are low costing, you can afford to have only 12-13 aura particles in your deck, depending on the situation.
Remember: having no aura in the beginning in the game is bad, so don’t set yourself up for such a situation by not budgeting your aura particles properly. Also remember that in the late game you’ll have excess aura particles, which isn’t helpful. You might have a max level of 14 but you’ll probably only use half of that at time, the rest won’t refill in time.
Defense is very important in most arsenals and they shouldn’t be overlooked. Even cartwheelers should keep defense, because wheeling won’t save them from all the stuff your opponent will be throwing at you.
Having an average of 3 shields in an arsenal is a good idea. Switch it to 4 or 2, depending on the scenerio. Don’t just get 3 duplicates of the same shield! All schools have multiple great shields, you should try to take advantage of as many as possible. At least one of your shields should be very hard to break and unlimited use, so you won’t have to worry about it falling apart when you really need it.
My recommended list of shields in no particular order are: Gust, Reverse, Glacial Wall, Fortress of Iron, Guard, Vacuum Wall, Absorb Energy, Flash Hole, Angel’s Wing, Psychic Wall.
Every deck has weaknesses and an effective arsenal will try to cover up as many of those weaknesses as possible. First, look at your deck — what will really hurt you? If your arsenal has alot of stat buffs, an Amaros or Amaros Watch would really hurt. Try and compensate for that by putting in something that would take away those nasty effects, like Purify or Return to Nature. If you’re playing a deck that really needs blah blah attack to connect or else it’s game over for you, an erase shield would be awful. Pack some erase skills to deal with those shields, like Dragon Slayer and Shield Breaker.
Then there’s the all-around counters. Every deck is susceptible to erase skills, so if you’re playing Nature try putting in one or two (preferable) Orbs to ruin ’em, or Amulet if you’re playing Faith. How about a nasty environmental? Try packing one or two environmental erasers, like Starting Point and Crush.
Always, ALWAYS have a backup plan to the intention of your deck. If you’re playing an erase deck, have at least 2 attack skills in there. Why? Not only are they all-around helpful, but if your target has Orb you’re done. Or playing a Compressor deck only to have your Compressors erased by a shield, kind of sucky if there’s nothing else you can do. So always have something handy in your deck like Flame Sword or Blaster, a reliable attack skill in case all else fails.
When you’re going about building a deck, try making it two-school. In general this is the best pick because it has no disadvantages.
One-school arsenals have the fastest aura recovery but you can only use skills from a single school, and therefore you lack a richer amount of skill options at your disposal.
Three-school arsenals are the worst in my opinion. Unless you absolutely must use three schools for your deck to work, avoid it. It has the slowest aura recovery and you can feel it when you play, which is bad.
Two-school arsenals lets you pick from the best of two schools, giving you a good chunk of selection while giving you no aura recovery penalties. When in doubt, pick this.
Copies of Skills:
Something else to keep in mind is how many copies of a skill you should have in your deck. Basically it boils down to just how important that skill is in your arsenal. The more you put in, the higher the chance that you’ll get it early in the game AND the more chances you have of actually using it. But in some situations if the card isn’t essential or relies on a combo to be used, you’ll just see it as dead weight if you put too many copies. Confusing just by reading it, I know! I’ll give examples.
Ex. 1) If you’re playing a deck that revolves around a single card that you absolutley must have to win like Dance of Death, put in 3. This means you’ll most likely get it early and even if it gets erased, you will have 2 more in reserve.
Ex. 2) If you have a back-up skill like Diabolical Trick that you’re considering of having multiple copies of, think about the situation for a bit. Having a back-up Diabolical Trick is great for late game when you and your opponent have spent up most of your decks and there’s only a few capsules remaining. So the D-Trick isn’t the focus of your deck and you don’t need it in early or mid-game, and by the time it’s late game you’ll for sure have seen it pop up as a capsule. So you only need 1.
In short, essential skills I’d put 3x, important skills I’d put 2x, and backup skills I’d put 1x.
Big Combos, Big Problems:
If your deck revolves on big combos that requires three or four skills together then you might run into some difficulties. First, collecting all the skills in your hand will usually take a while. Second, you’ll most likely get skills that are part of the combo at the wrong times.
Example: a variation of the popular Gravity Press combo works like this — Tiger’s Strength, Pressure, Gravity Press, Recollection. This combo deals 20 damage if done successfully. What if you get Recollection / Pressure without a Gravity Press in site? Well, your Pressure and Recollection are just dead weight. At least Gravity Press can be used independently.
To fix this problem, have the number of copies of the skills reflect how important they are in your deck. Gravity Press is the most important because it can work on its own and Recollection does nothing without it. So have 3x Gravity Press, 2x Recollection, and 2x Pressure.
Color configuration (bonus!):
You’ll notice when you’re fighting with your arsenal you will have a small colored aura around you. The color of this aura is determined by the most prevalent school in your arsenal:
Psycho – Red, Optical – Yellow, Nature – Green, Ki – Blue, Faith – Purple.
So if you want a pimpin’ purple aura when you’re fighting, Faith should be the school most used in your arsenal. However it is not recommended to make an arsenal based on what color you want, because it doesn’t have any effect on the game and 99% of the people don’t care what color you use.
Unique Arsenal Creation
This sections is to show the process of creating unique arsenals, since I’m sure everyone knows how to find the template arsenals DoD, Compressor, blah blah.
When you’re looking to build a unique arsenal, start off simple: look for a skill you think you can use in a cool way that will be effective. This will trigger the entire thought process of building the deck.
Some skills will practically scream at you what you need to do to use them right. For example, Compressor: STR = the number of consumed defensive skills. Gee, what will make this skill become powerful? Maybe if I put lotsa shields in a deck with this?!?! WOWZ.
But I’m going to use a harder skill to find a real use for. Holy Ray: Reduces damage of everyone’s attack by 1. How can we use this skill in a deck effectively? The thought process is in motion. Time to look for the complimentary skills to make it shine.
The Complimentary Skills:
Well, Holy Ray can definitely annoy opponents because of their reduced damage, but it effects us too. So how do we use our negative bonus to our advantage?
After some looking through I found a skill that could possibly benefit from this environmental: Digestion. [Absorb] Add: Health increase = damaged blocked. This awesome shield can turn damage into health, but what’s the downside? Its DEF is only 2, so it will break easily. But with Holy Ray it’s as if we raised to DEF to 3.
Still it will break easily, but we’re getting somewhere. What if we could attack ourselves for damage low enough that we can block with Digestion and not break it? Well, the easiest way to attack yourself is with Hole attacks.
Looking through I find Earthquake. Unlimited use, costs 5, does 3. With Holy Ray on it will only do 2, which Digestion can handle. Boom! Now if we use Earthquake and block the attack with Digestion, we heal ourselves for 2 while attack our opponents. Pretty neat huh?
Earthquake + Digestion combo costs 8 aura, which is pretty costly. So if we put in Level Amps we can get to the combo faster.
This is what we got so far as a deck: 3x Earthquake, 2x Holy Ray, 2x Digestion, 2x Level Amp. These are your essentials.
Well we can’t just play a deck with just those skills, so let’s throw some meat on the arsenal. Keep in mind the tips I gave earlier: defense, back-up plans, aura management.
Aura Management: Well, this deck already has 2 level amps so we don’t need as many aura particles as usual. Let’s play it safe anyway and have 13. That means we need 8 more filler skills.
Defense: I decided to throw in Vacuum Wall and 2x Absorb Energy. Absorb Energy can also be used to block my own Earthquake, giving me back aura. A good combo until the Digestion shields comes up. Now we need 5 more skills.
Counters: Holy Ray is an Optic skill, Earthquake is Nature, and Digestion is Ki. We’re playing 3-school arsenal, sadly. This means bad aura recovery. We can fix that with 2 meditations though, so let’s do that. We’re playing Nature and erase arsenals are evil, so let’s throw in an Orb too. Now we need 2 more skills.
Back-up: What if our opponents are really good at dodging Earthquake, or erase it? What if they come close to melee us? We need some back-up attacks. So put in a Flame Sword for a solid melee attack and a Vibration Blaster for a solid mid-range attack.
We’re done making the arsenal! Here it is. I affectionally call this one Love Hole, Optical/Nature/Ki:
Voila! A fresh arsenal.
Now comes the final part of arsenal creation — tweaking. Play with your arsenal for quite a few games so you can get a feel for it. Is the deck overall effective? If not, why? Are there any skills you find lacking? Anything you feel should be taken out for something else? Do what needs to be done to make your deck more effective.
It’s also a good idea to post your arsenal on the forums, where people can help you touch things up. But YOU should be trying to fix the problems first.
Credits: HunterSFL, DevilishPrune, Kazimar