It’s time to digivolve!
Greetings and welcome to the first of one of my many looks at new game systems I’ve been playing regularly. While I love Warhammer Underworlds, playing only a single game system eventually gets tiring and I need to branch out. What I wanted to talk about first was the Digimon Card Game. If you’ve been following my Facebook and Twitter channels, you know I’ve gotten quite deep into this game. Today I’ll give a brief overview of the game and then run through a webcam tournament I attended.
The Digimon Card Game Basics
The Digimon Card Game is, as the name suggests, a collectable card game (CCG). While CCGs are quite daunting beasts, especially compared to Warhammer Underworlds which is more of a limited card game, I’ve found the Digimon Card Game to be fun as well as quite competitive too. I also am a big Digimon fan and wanted to expand my experience with CCGs in general, so this seemed like the perfect combination to me!
The biggest thing about the Digimon Card Game is the memory gauge. This is what your general resource is and it goes from a 10 to 10 scale with each side representing the memory available to each respective player. The memory gauge is a sort of bidding scale. You aim to try and maximise what you can do during each of your turns with your available memory while trying to give the opponent as little memory as possible. This is because once your memory goes past 0, it overspills and immediately starts your opponent’s turn, with their memory for the turn being what was left over.
This aspect is the best part of the game for me. You don’t require time building up land or are restricted by what cards you can play/summon, it all depends on what memory you have to use. It can cause really tense games where you try to slowly build up your own board while minimising the memory your opponent can get to force them into just playing higher cost cards to get back momentum.
Another key rule to memory that is if you simply pass your turn, your opponent’s memory gauge will set to 3 for their turn. This is important in scenarios for where you may just want to pass instead of playing a card that costs 7 or more memory and resulting in a sudden huge tempo gain for your opponent.
Next is your security (think of them as your shield cards if you ever played Duel Masters). At the start of the game after shuffling your deck, the top 5 cards are placed facedown to the side. Security is checked whenever a player is attacked by another Digimon. A Digimon attacks a security card and will survive as long as it has a higher DP, the security card is then discarded unless it has a security effect. Once a player has lost all of their security cards, any successful direct attacks will instantly win the game for the attacker. It’s simple yet can be quite tense as there are a lot of cards which only trigger when attack while as security.
How the Cards Work
The above image breaks down how a general Digimon card works. Your play cost is how much it would cost to “hard cast” a card. Digimon can digivolve for a reduced memory cost, you also get the added bonus of drawing a card every time you digivolve too which helps build momentum and encourage even more to digivolve.
Levels for Digimon start at 2 (In Training) and go all the way up to 6 and 7 (Mega), making it a nice and easy workaround the Digimon terminology for their “rank”.
DP (Digimon Power) is the card’s power. This is compared when battling other Digimon. If your Digimon has more DP than the opponent’s then you delete it, if there is a tie both are deleted and if your DP is less than the opponent’s then your Digimon is deleted instead. Also if a card’s DP is reduced to 0, it is automatically deleted, this is just important to mention now as some cards/decks revolve around DP reduction.
Digimon played start with summoning sickness and so can’t attack the turn they are removed from the raising area or played. When a Digimon attacks, you tap it (rotate it to its side) as it becomes rested. A Digimon can only be attacked while rested. A rested Digimon also cannot Block an attack from another Digimon. Digimon become un-rested at the start of your next turn.
Next cards will either have “On Play” effects and/or “Inherited” effects in addition to standard effects a card may have. On Play effects only trigger when a card is played, not digivolved, and inherited effects only trigger when you digivolve another Digimon on top of that card. Digivolving is simple, once you pay the cost you simple stack the evolved card above the card you have digivolved from which will then trigger an inherited effects as appropriate. This can result in a single Digimon card having several Digimon cards beneath it and multiple inherited effects which can all stack (and take up quite a bit of space too haha).
Finally, including the previously mentioned Digimon cards, the game also has Option cards, Tamer cards and Digi-Eggs. Option cards basically have effects based on their cost, Tamers provide permanent game effects and Digi-Eggs are your starting tempo cards which you include 4 to 5 of. Digi-Eggs let your level 3 (Rookie) Digimon digivolve for free from and grant you free card draw.
The Digimon Card Game has 6 main colours: Red, Blue, Green, Yellow, Purple and Black. There is also White but that’s not really its own full archetype (yet) like the other 6 main colours. Each colour is quite complex and you can only digivolve cards that are of the same colour as well as only play Option cards if you have the appropriate coloured Digimon/Tamer in-play.
For a simple breakdown of the colours: Red focuses mainly on aggro, high DP and checking multiple security. Blue is more about memory and digivolution manipulating as well as keywords like Jamming. Green has lots of low cost digivolution Digimon as well as abilities focused on resting enemy Digimon. Yellow is all about security and DP manipulation. Purple is more a control archetype, focusing a lot on drawing, milling as well as having a prominent keyword Retalliation (which deletes any Digimon that survives battling with your Digimon with that keyword). Black is all about having lots of Blocker Digimon and building an impenetrable wall around your security.
This is only a very brief overview of the Digmon Card Game mechanics. It is quite simple but has lots of depth, especially when it comes to the memory gauge between you and your opponent. If you want to read the rules, Bandai has them for free on the Digimon Card Game website, which you can find here.
Bandai has also made a free mobile app to teach you how to play the game. Simply search for Digimon TCG on the Google Play or Apple stores and download the app. It gives a much more thorough explanation of the game and talks you through the basics.
Finally, if you want to look at all the cards, there’s a great 3rd party deck builder website called Digimoncard.dev which allows for deckbuilding and exporting!
There is also the official Bandai Digimon Card Game website with all the cards, news and future releases which you can check out here.
One of the best aspects for the Digimon Card Game is how competitive play is still viable and thriving during these lockdown times. Bandai themselves have been hosting official webcam tournaments with prize support and there are lots of other stores/people running their own webcam tournaments too. Even then, there is lots of regular gaming organised via Facebook and Discord. You can also play on Tabletop Simulator or the web-based Digimon browser. I’ve played on all formats and currently use the web-based player as it “auto plays” and is very easy to quickly play games with multiple people. Either way, there are lots of ways to currently play the Digimon Card Game and Bandai has been dedicated with their continued support of official tournament play which is awesome to see.
Today I’ll be going over the Europe webcam tournament I attended in January 2021. It was a decently sized event at around 16 players. While I’m still very new to the game and didn’t think I could win, I attended because I wanted to help improve my skills and gain some tournament experience. There was also guaranteed loot for simply just signing up and paying the entry fee so I was going to walk away with some prizes no matter my position.
Playstle: Aggro/Omnimon Turbo
Individual Card List:
1 Yokomon BT1-001
4 Monodramon BT1-009
1 Prof Agumon BT1-011
1 Tyrannomon BT1-016
4 DarkTyrannomon BT1-019
4 Groundramon BT1-020
3 MetalGreymon BT1-021
2 Skullgreymon BT1-023
2 WarGreymon BT1-025
4 Omnimon BT1-084
2 Tai Kamiya BT1-085
2 Gravity Crush BT1-090
2 Volcanicdramon BT2-018
1 Puppetmon BT2-049
4 Koromon ST1-01
4 Biyomon ST1-02
4 Agumon ST1-03
4 Coredramon ST1-06
2 Greymon ST1-07
2 Phoenixmon ST1-10
2 Terra Force ST1-16
Above is the deck I was running with the cards I had available at the time. I’m basically running an Omnimon Red deck because I like Omnimon in general and this is a very aggro build, focusing on turboing up to Omnimon/any of my level 6s and then begin attacking the opponent for game. Now one key aspect was that I was missing the cards I needed. I was unable to get a 2nd Gaia Red starter deck and so was missing out on some of the cards you can only get in there (namely 1 more Greymon, 2 more Phoenixmon and 2 more Gaia Forces). This is why I wasn’t 100% confident in being able to win the event but still knew it would be an awesome learning experience. As a result of missing said cards, that is why I have 1 Tyrannomon, 2 Wargreymon and 2 Gravity Crush.
My deck revolves around speeding up to level 6/level 7 (Omnimon) and then continually beating over whatever my opponent puts down. I have 4 Coredramon as my Blockers to prevent the opponent running over me and to help deal against Rookie Rush (level 3 Digimon spam) too.
For my tech cards I have 2 Volcanicdramon to deal with any Rookie Rush as well as having a nice natural level 6 to digivolve into as it has Security Attack +1 (checks additional security). Then there is a single Puppetmon. He allows me a turn to stall the opponent and then gain 1 memory when attacking in the following turn if he is still alive.
Overall it is a pretty straightforward and standard Red Omnimon deck, with the aforementioned limitations due to availability of physical stock.
Round 1 – Green
My first game was up against a fellow using a green deck with what cards are available in 1.0. It was a surprise as I wasn’t expecting to run into a green deck for this current meta. Still, I unfortunately lost 2-0. Both games had me getting going too slow, by the time I had enough Digimon to go on the offensive I had already lost. It was in-part due to “bricking” with the first game and then the second game I just got going too slowly, with both games having the green player being able to capitalise on the memory I had given him because of having to hard cast some Digimon. Still, it was a good experience at learning the green matchup more.
Round 2 – Blue Omnimon
Round 2 saw me run into a blue Omnimon player. Game 1 saw me lose after another bad start due to card order to which my opponent capitalised on and quickly took me apart. Game 2 went much better for me, this time I got a decent starting order and was able to Omnimon first, prevent my opponent from doing so and gathering enough stable momentum to take him out. Game 3 started off evenly for us both. Unfortunately I made the wrong call I played Gaia Force a turn early against an enemy level 5. My opponent then used this to turbo back up to a level 6 and then Omnimon the turn after. With no way around him as I couldn’t build up my own board, round 2 ended up as an overall loss. Still, it was a 2-1 defeat and it was a good learning experience for showing me the consequences of playing Gaia Force at the wrong time as well as how an opponent can capitalise on that memory gain you give them.
Round 3 – Yellow Security Stall
Round 3 saw me play against a yellow security stall deck. It basically had a lot of recovery for security and ways to give me -1 security checks. Game 1 unluckily took nearly 40 minutes of the 50 minute round because my opponent was playing Kentaurosmon wrong and having his Security Attack -2 effect last 2 of my turns instead of just 1. I was able to recognise this after the game but the damage was done. Game 2 saw me lose due to bricking again and game 3 basically ended in a draw as there was no time for a full game. So overall, a draw. Not bad but kinda due to the drawbacks of webcam gaming with cards I was unfamiliar with. Not that I’m saying my opponent was purposefully cheating, he just got the reading of the card wrong. I was still happier with my overall performance and took the lesson of just asking the game to pause the next time I want to fully check what a card does that I am unfamiliar with.
Round 4 – Mixed Colour Deck
Finally, round 4 saw me pair off against a new player with a sort of mixed colour rookie rush. This time both games saw my deck consistently work both times, having me establish a strong board presence quickly, partly due to the inconsistent nature of my opponent’s mixed colour deck. Still, it was nice to end on a 2-0. I had finally got into the swing of things, even if it was at the end of the tournament.
After 4 rounds I ended up placing 9th overall, just outside of top 8 for extra prizes. Still, I walked away with some nice Ultimate Guard loot (that was shipped to me after the event) and gained valuable tournament experience. Sure, I didn’t win but I learned a lot and it helped me point out more things I need to work on. The issue of my current available card pool cropped up a lot, which was inevitable, yet the main issue was still my lack of experience with the Digimon Card Game in general.
As a result, I took it upon myself to play more so I could get more experience with the Digimon card game. I still plan on attending more tournaments in general, just as long as my schedule allows for it. I was unable to attend the February European webcam tournament but hopefully I should be able to attend the official Bandai webcam tournament for March at the end of the month! By that time, I should have gotten my hands on some 1.5 cards (hopefully). I’ve been playing a lot more online recently and I’m really happy with my performance. Sure the cards change a lot, but that core memory gauge mechanic still remains as important as ever.
So there’s my first article foray into the Digimon Card Game (I’ve done an unboxing of 1.0 boxes which you can watch here). I hope you enjoyed it and I plan to do more as time goes on. I’m just really into the game’s core mechanics. If you’re interested, let me know what you want to see more of in regard to this TCG. Keep safe, keep rolling crits and see you soon!