Deck Size

Sometimes bigger is better.

You’ve heard it a lot before about only ever running a power deck of 20 cards but is it the only right answer? Today I’ll be going over why it’s fine to run a power deck with more than 20 cards and in some cases, even more advantageous.

Now I’m not gonna lie, if you’re new to the game or a warband then it’s better to stick with 20 cards to get used to the warband and tactics. Even statistics claim that running 20 cards is the best but, you know, never tell me the odds. Also if you’re running a pure combo deck (aka you’re only taking cards that work in-tandem with each other) then the minimum is still more advisable.

So what’s the point of going over 20 then? You’ll never do well with going over the fewest cards needed! That could be true if you’ve never seen successful players with bigger decks. For example, I’ve won over 20 tournaments and 2 Grand Clashes with 22 card decks. Even the legendary Jay Clare (who’s done just as well as me at tournaments) and a few of my friends swear by running a 24 card power deck.

Why do we go over 20 cards then? It’s simple really. More choice. An argument could be made that you should rely on your combos more and going above 20 dilutes that but you’re forgetting that a) Underworlds is more than just cards, a good hand won’t win you a game and b) there are so many strong cards in the game that adding more helps make your deck stronger by allowing you to be more adaptive. Not to mention I published an article going over why you shouldn’t run cards just because they combo together.

Another point is if you have a 3 fighter warband. Generally you only have 3 activations to play around with activating your fighters. When I was playing my Steelheart’s I would always spend the first activation of every phase drawing a card, even when it came to later parts of the game. This becomes a little counter-productive with warbands that have more specialist actions such as Cursebreakers but even then I still followed the same plan. With a 22 card deck and drawing at least 1 card every action phase will leave you with 5 cards left unused or have you able to draw all remaining cards after a do-over.

What’s also worth mentioning is sometimes it’s better to just draw through your deck as either your objectives are fine or moving your fighters to commit is too risky. As you should have a solid and reliable objective deck, it’s better just to draw out so you have more tools to play around with whether it’s Hidden Paths to get that sneaky attack going or your trusty Great Strength to give you that damaging boost. This stacks upon the strong card idea. While a lot of powerful ploys and upgrades are restricted, there are still many others that aren’t such as Spectral Wings, Hidden Paths, Gloryseeker, Transfixing Stare, Commanding Stride, Sphere of Azyr and so on.

Now it’s fair to point out that a few decks I’ve used recently are only 20 power cards but that falls back to what I raised early. I’m not as comfortable with those Warbands as I am with the ones that I won with. Plus I don’t have the time to invest in practicing to get used to them. Even my tournament-winning Eyes of the Nine had only 20 power cards but that was strictly a power card combo deck.

In the end just remember that there is no harm in going over 20 power cards. You run the risk of diluting your combos but in return you get access to more options. Even your’s truly has lost to players with a 30 card deck and even a legendary 60 card deck so it’s not as doom and gloom as some people make it out to be. Don’t disregard the pros and cons for going above or sticking to the power card minimum. Instead use both resources to gather your thoughts and strengthen your own opinions on it. Play with what you feel comfortable using.

I have no statistical proof for my opinions apart from all of my many tournament wins. My advice is to play with a bigger deck, even if it’s just going from 20 to 22 and make your decision. At first I always swore to go to 20 until I went up to 22 for teching against Katophrane relic decks and I’ve never gone back since. You may even like it. Plus cards aren’t as important as people make them out to be, that’s because crits are your one true route to success 😉

One thought on “Deck Size

  1. It pretty much comes down to – would your deck be better without its weakest ploy and upgrade?

    Usually the answer is yes – consistency is gold in a strategy game like Underworlds and fewer cards means a better chance of finding what you need when you need it – but sometimes the added versatility and depth is more valuable.

    Liked by 1 person

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