How I Went About Building a New Deck

Using Expert Opinion and Math to Select Cards for a Deck

At one point, I thought I was going to be able to attend the Championship in Toronto back in November. Well, it turned out that life got in the way and I wasn’t able to attend. But, way back then, I wanted to take an original deck to the championship. Something new and something I would enjoy. How did I go about designing and building the deck? This is article is about how I got started doing that prior to the championship.

This article is actually a little old, but maybe still timely. We have Invasions coming out in a few months and this approach might be used again. I certainly intend to use the approach again to find some competitive edge.

The first thing I did was to play games with the cards from Origins. Tried to get better with all the champions and cards, but that was taking a long time. Therefore, my second approach was to watch episodes of Exploring the Library and the Chronowalkers on YouTube. One particular episode of the Chronowalkers sparked my interest. They listed the great cards in Origins. It was their opinion, of course, but the list made so much sense. They also did spotlights on champions, but the one episode on cards that are good no matter the champion caught my attention. What made those cards so good? What stood out? And, if I can figure that out, why can’t I figure out which old cards are also good? And, consequently, are there any old cards that are good but everyone is overlooking because most of the attention is on the Origins set?

That last was question was the crucial one to achieving my goal of developing a unique deck to take to the championship. But that created a problem - How do I apply the logic of the Chronowalkers’ choices of great cards to old cards? The answer there is Discriminant Analysis.


Discriminant analysis (DA) is a mathematical approach to distinguishing between groups of things. Maybe you have a long list of favorite sports teams and are trying to guess which teams will do great this year. Or, maybe you are a Fire Marshall and you’re trying to distinguish which buildings need to be inspected more than the others. To do DA, you need a list of things you want to sort into groups and a long list of things that have already been sorted. In addition to those two lists, you also have lots of data (columns of data in a spreadsheet) on the things in both lists. First, you run DA on the list of things already sorted hoping a few mathematical formulas pop out that will calculate the groupings of the other (unsorted) list. Those formulas are then ran against the unsorted list to calculate the probability that each item is an actual member of the different groupings. DA can be pretty effective depending on the quality of the data you have. Lots of people use DA in picking stocks for investing, but here I’m trying to pick cards in Genesis.


The Chronowalkers have some great videos. All are worth watching. Multiple times. From their videos I wrote down the great and the good cards they mentioned. All other cards were graded as fair or maybe even poor. That’s my sorted list. I’m taking their expert opinion and combining into a spreadsheet I have on my Genesis library. Imagine a spreadsheet with name of the card, chi, aura cost, damage, awareness, etc…and a column for a Chronowalker’s opinion. I took this spreadsheet and ran it through a software app to develop the mathematical formulas for picking great, good, and fair cards. Then I ran those formulas against the old cards in my library. I have cards going back to Beta. Here is the resulting list of great and good old cards.



Revenge of the Phoenix That's it. Only one card came up as being Great. All other cards worth mentioning are only rated as Good. Not sure if that says anything about Origins cards being better than previous sets, but it is what it is.


The cards that DA said might be good are Bone Elephant, Chain Lightning, Displace, Downpour, Finishing Blow, Fleet-Footed, Gilded Stag, Hurricane Sweep, Landslide, Meteorite, Oten, Pressure Point, Primordial Force, Purifying Wave, Rain of Arrows, Sandstorm, Shockwave, Thunderstruck, Tsunami, Undead Servitude, and Vorpal Blade.

Hmmm..some of these make a lot of sense, such as Gilded Stag, Landslide, Oten, Purifying Wave, and Tsunami. That’s good. But Bone Elephant? Fleet-Footed? Well, Bone Elephant is a 4 chi summon with 3 health, which could have its uses. And Fleet Footed? Sometimes rotating can be really important to someone like Tashir. OK, not a bad list but some are questionable.

One card caught my attention though. Downpour. Because I had recently started playing Alta, Downpour jumped out. Thirty-three aura is very expensive. Nobody plays it. Four damage for 33 Aura is terrible. And it's awareness is limited to three spots, so it's easy to Diving Juke out of the way. Let’s say you catch the champion and one summon in Downpour’s awareness. That’s 8 damage for 33 aura. A little more than 4 aura per damage. That’s not optimal. Maybe not terrible, but not optimal. But then again…8 damage from one card? That’s good. Let’s look at this some more.

Alta_Champion_Card Alta starts with 140 aura, which means she can only play a couple of these at the most to have enough aura for other things. How do I get more use out of Downpour? It has Electric Branding and Alta likes electric damage. Electrical Storm hits for 3, sometimes 6, and has a great awareness. Taser fits the same profile of a card as Electrical Storm and is one chi cheaper. Can I build a deck around Downpour?


I built several decks around Downpour. Tested them in solitaire. Played a few games face to face with friends. And talked to some great experienced players out of Toronto. Here is how it ended up.
3 Epiphany
2 Traumatophobia
5 Electrical Storm
3 Downpour
2 Chronowalker
5 Taser
7 Al-Ilm
2 Aura Break
3 Aura Surge
13 Bombadier Beetle
5 Electric Strike

It’s a fun deck. The idea is to catch an enemy champion right after beckoning a summon or two. Throw down Traumataphobia if you have it and then Downpour. After that, pile on as much electrical damage as possible while the Electric Brand is active. The Chronowalkers are there to help keep Alta into position if the enemy moves out of range of Downpour. It can be considered a One-Turn-Kill deck using AoE. The Epiphanies, Al-Ilms, and Dedicated Studies are there to build up your hand of electrical damage.

There is plenty of room for tweaking the deck. Switch out the Traumas for Roundhouse Kicks, or remove the Epiphanies to add more Electrical Storms and Chronowalkers. Maybe switching out some Electric Strikes for Kabus would lower the need for more aura. Could also upgrade the Bomb Beetles to something else. Or, just leave them because even if you don't pull Downpour, a few Electrical Storms backed up by Bomb Beetles aren't too shabby.

Is it a great deck? I don’t think so. Too iffy, too chancey. I mean it is an Epiphany deck after all. Is it different? Yes, because of Downpour. Is it something I will enjoy? Yes, there will be times I get the cards I want and other times that I struggle. Can it win games? Sometimes. Who do I think I will play against in the championship? Mostly summoners, like Suttir, Nubia, and Bazin. Is this good against summoners? Yes. Good enough for me; I’m taking it.

And, of course I didn’t get to go to the championship after all. Wish I had been able to take this deck to Toronto. I don’t know how I would have done in the tournament. Lose all my games…win a few lose a few… I don’t know. However, the approach of using expert opinion (Chronowalker videos), math (Discriminant Analysis), and playtesting will be used again as soon as Invasion comes out.

I'm also thinking that I could combine the Chronowalkers' opinion with cards that were in the decks of the top 16 at Days of Beckoning. More input could mean better output. I am thinking that I will run DA again to rebuild the formulas and then run those formulas against the cards in Invasion as soon as that set comes out. Crossing my fingers that gives me a headstart...