Dueling Decks, a Trophy Guide – Going for the Gold
Have you ever played a game, tried your very hardest, thought you'd done really well, then visited the high score table only to find you are miles down it? That's what happened to me the first time I won Dueling Decks. I'd finished the game, surely that's how you get the highest score... but no strategy plays a big part in gaining that shiny trophy for your user lookup. This is a guide to help you get those high scores you need to get a trophy.
What is Dueling Decks?
Dueling Decks is a game where you pit your wits against Zenco the magnificent in a card match to see who will be the champion. If you've ever played Top Trumps you'll be right at home with this game, if not it's very easy to pick up. You each have a deck of cards with famous or infamous Neopians on it. Each card has 3 traits with a score to show how much courage, charisma and intelligence they display.
How do you play Dueling Decks?
You each have 10 cards (there are 40 cards total plus a wildcard so you won't see all the cards each match.) The winner is the first to get all 20 cards. You win a card by having the highest score in the category that was chosen, the hard part... you don't see Zenco's card until after the category has been chosen. There are 3 modes to choose from and how a category is chosen varies in each; you always get first pick whichever mode you use.
- Easy – you always choose which category to play and the score on your card is compared to Zenco's, highest score keeps both cards (makes it easy to play but the scores are so much lower than it's not really feasible to play for the trophy on this setting.)
- Normal - If you lose Zenco picks the category but he takes a while to decide and pushing the 'choose' button helps him pick the category you want. My problem – the pointy hand moves so fast that by the time I click the button it's moved and Zenco picks a different category than I wanted. Unless you have lightning fast reflexes I wouldn't recommend playing on this mode
- Hard - Whoever own the last round chooses the next. This might sound crazy since half the time you won't be in control of what gets picked but I find it balances out in the end and sometimes I won't have control over when the game ends but I do have a high score at the end of it
So how do I get a high score?
To get a high score you need to win rounds. If you can get a combo – a streak of up to 5 you get more points. For each win in the combo the scores are as follows on hard mode - 100 points, 200 points, 400 points, 800 points and 1600 points consecutively. In case of a draw you don't get any points but your streak holds where it was. All the cards go into the middle while you have another round. Whoever chose the category picks again. The winner gets all 4 cards, this only counts as 1 win on the combo streak. I try to win a streak which leaves my opponent with 5 cards, then I start trying to lose. Yup – you heard me right, the strategy for this game is at some point you have to lose so that your opponent gets his cards back to keep the game running. You can try with different numbers but for me 5 is the magic number. This is because sometimes as much as you try to lose by picking low scores Zenco will have lower scores. When Zenco loses if he has 10 cards or more I will try to get a streak of 5 again, if he has less than 8 I will lose again.
Okay, I get the strategy, how do I know what score to pick?
It helps to get to learn the highest and lowest scores for each trait. The more you play, the more familiar you will become with the cards.
Courage – 16 is the highest score you can get with Bruno Transformed and Judge Hog both getting 16. The lowest score is Prince on 1.
Charisma – 15 is the highest for Fyora and Rufus and Eliv Thade and Roothless are at the bottom of the heap with a measly 1.
Intelligence – Ruthless may be at the bottom of charisma but he is by far the top of the intelligence heap with 162, poor Rufus goes from one extreme to the other too with only 5 intelligence.
You can see already that some cards have really high values in one area but can easily be beaten in others. There are a few cards that are strong in all areas - Illusen, Judge Hog, Ylana Skyfire but with the right choice and luck with your card they can be beaten. Equally there are a few cards which are weak in all areas making winning hard – Werther, Prince, Mynci Guide and Gorix no name but a few. Even with these low scoring cards you can win as the very high scorers can have weak areas too as we already saw. It is a case of using your best judgement and that will come with experience but as a rule of thumb if I'm umming and ahhing I tend to choose a low charisma score over a low courage or intelligence. At one point I won with a charisma score of 3!
If you are just starting out on this game it might help you to have a look at terragainsborough's guide Dueling On and On and On as they have made you handy tables showing the courage, charisma and intelligence scores of each card.
If you are really stuck, you can use the wildcard. If you press the wildcard button, your card will swap to Nightsteed. This is a once per game chance and the card disappears as soon as it's been used. Nightsteed has a Courage of 14, Charisma of 14 and Intelligence of 140. This won't win against all cards, but it will beat most of them. You can use this at any time but as part of my win/lose/win etc strategy to prolong the game and get a high score I save it for when Zenco is choosing ad wait until he has beaten all but 1 of my cards. I then use the wildcard, get control and as long as I didn't win a really weak card from Zenco I'm off on a winning streak again.
I'm ready to play, what score should I aim for?
Each month the scores for the trophies change as different players try for the trophies. I recommend playing in one window and having the high score table ready in another window so that if you have a high score and are considering quitting you can check the scores to see where you are. After seeing a few months scores they have tended to be around -
Gold – over 70-80k
Silver – within 60k
Bronze – over 50k
Please be aware though that these bands are no guarantee of getting a trophy as they could be vastly higher or lower. They are just past trophy scores to give you a vague idea so you can practise and see what you can get.
It's a cliché but very true that practise does make perfect, or as close to it as we are ever going to get. Good luck going for a trophy!