Neopets Trading Card Game: Back to Basics
If you’ve ever attended a Neopets Trading Card Game release event, you’ve probably
beaten and been beaten by an incredible range of deck types. From players with
three copies of every card in the game to choose from down to the players who
have a starter deck and a couple booster packs to get them through the tournament,
deck building can be an art or a throwing together of whatever is on hand. With
the base set of the game and five expansions, the options available to build new
decks with new combinations are endless.
This being said, not everyone can afford three copies of around nine hundred
different cards. Most players have few cards to work with, and coming up with
an inspired deck can be difficult. This is the negative side of the game. Here’s
the positive: there has been a recent trend of beginner decks winning tournaments
over those of seasoned players with tons of holographic rare cards to choose
from. Neopets is a fast moving game, and with the right cards, it’s possible
to win even on your fourth or fifth turn! With a simple deck of little more
than common bank fours and a few well-chosen Equipments, even a beginner can
win this game.
I’ve put together a deck based on this theory and expanded a bit. This deck
has no holographic rare cards, and only three rares. It is mostly made up of
commons with a few uncommons thrown in. Anyone can build this deck, or take
this idea and make it work for them with the cards that they own. I call it
Back to Basics. Here’s a card list:
3 Green Aisha
2 Yellow Blumaroo
3 Yellow Elephante
2 Green JubJub
3 Happy Valley
Something Has Happened:
3 Battle Stations
2 Battle Hammer
2 Bzzt Blaster
2 Engraved Boomerang
2 Goo Blaster
3 Light Faerie Token
3 Attack of the Oranges!
3 Spooky Beans
3 Dark Faerie Token
3 Illusen’s Charm
3 Moon Charm
3 Shadow Breeze
The first thing to note about this deck is that it is a speed deck. The theory
behind a speed deck is that you will always have bankable cards, and you bank
them as fast as possible. This deck will not stand up over a long game, but
the point is to win before your opponent can set up their strategy. While your
opponent is wasting turns drawing to set up their combinations, you can bank
again and again.
This is also the reason that there are no Experienced Neopets or Paint Brushes
in this deck. It takes time to set up Experienced Neopets. Let’s say you have
a Rainbow Paint Brush in your hand. You start one contest, and if you win, you
bank two points and put the Experienced Neopet on the top of your deck. You
have to start and win an additional contest and then instead of banking, draw
the Experienced Neopet from the top of your deck. So it takes at least two turns.
In this amount of time, you could have banked eight points, which is more than
a third of the score you need to win.
Now you’re thinking about your opponent, who spent those two turns getting
Experienced Neopets on the board. They now overpower you in a couple arenas.
The solution to that in this deck is Happy Valley. This Location card gives
Basic Neopets a +5 to all stats. Just stick it in an arena where your opponent
has an Experienced Neopet and you’ll be just as strong if not slightly at an
Let’s talk about Equipment. One of your Neopets will need a little boost at
some point in the game if you don’t win immediately. That’s why I’ve included
some of the most powerful Equipments in the game for specific arenas. The Battle
Hammer, Bzzt Blaster, and Goo Blaster give a +6 to strength, magic, and intelligence,
respectively. The Engraved Boomerang gives a +5 to agility, but also comes with
the ability to bounce back into your hand if it is to be discarded for any reason.
Each of these banks for two points, so if you’re ahead of your opponent in a
certain arena and have one lying around in your hand, it’s always good for a
couple points as well.
Speaking of power in specific arenas, the Basic Neopets chosen for this deck
have just that. The Aishas have an 8 in magic, and the Blumaroos, Elephantes,
and JubJubs have a 9 in intelligence, strength, and agility, respectively. This
is also based on the idea of the speed deck. If your opponent has an arena blocked
off with a nasty Villain, just tap out and get a new Neopet for a different
arena. If they have two arenas blocked, you can double up two of your pets in
a third arena. Having Basic Neopets for each of the four arenas opens up the
entire board to you, instead of using three arenas and leaving the fourth to
be dealt with by a Villain. This is also the reason I’ve chosen not to include
Villains in this deck. In this deck, it’s very possible for an opponent to shut
down an arena with enormous stats early in the game. If they shut down an arena
on you, you can move elsewhere. This might now be possible if you have Villains
on the board as well.
Villains in most decks are a major advantage. As I said, they can be very helpful
in blocking off that fourth arena if you are focusing on three specific arenas
or even blocking off two arenas so that you can concentrate massive power in
the other two arenas. To deal with that, I’ve chosen Smite, a Light Something
Has Happened card. Not only does Smite allow you to choose a Villain in play
and discard it, but you also get to draw a card AND untap your Neopets in that
arena! So now you’ve destroyed a Villain, drawn a card, and you have the opportunity
to start a contest! This is a massive benefit because normally if you beat a
Villain (something you might have trouble with in this deck without Smite) you
either get to draw a card or untap, depending on the Villain. With Smite, you
get to draw, and you have the opportunity to bank or draw again if you win the
contest in the arena after the Villain is gone! This will help you speed ahead
to that 21 points very quickly while getting rid of those pesky Villains blocking
The other Something Has Happened card in this deck is Battle Stations. This
card is incredibly useful, as you get to tap one of your Air Neopets to untap
all of your Neopets, including the one you just tapped to play the card! If
you’ve already done contests in two of the arenas, you can use the second contest
to put on Equipment or move to different arenas. Normally, the Neopet you tap
to play Battle Stations won’t have started a contest yet this turn, so you get
that third contest as well! It’s a very valuable card if used at the right time.
Consider using it even at the beginning of the game. Let’s say it’s your second
turn. You have one untapped Neopet in an unchallenged arena, and you bring in
your second Neopet into an unchallenged arena (tapped of course). If you play
Battle Stations now, you get to start two contests unchallenged this round instead
of one! Talk about speed!
This leads us to Items, the last card type in this deck. Most of them are self-explanatory.
I’ve included 18 non-Food bank four cards solely for banking. Some of them are
not even playable in contests because that’s not their purpose in the deck.
These cards are non-food Items because Foods are weak to cards such as Crop
Failure and King Skarl. In short, just bank the darn things.
The only other cards I’ve included are Attack of the Oranges! and Spooky Beans.
Attack of the Oranges! allows you to take a card worth four or more points from
your opponent’s bank and return it to their hand when you bank the card with
an Air Neopet! This will keep your opponent’s bank point total lower, and give
you quite a nice advantage. If you used all three of these in a game, you could
take from 12 to 15 points from your opponent’s bank! That’s more than half the
points necessary to win! Spooky Beans gives a different type of advantage. When
you bank it, you can choose one of your rivals and move it to the arena of your
choice! If you and your opponent have close stats in an arena, use this to move
their Neopet, keeping them from a possible win and bank or draw on their next
Back to Basics involves speed. Bank and bank quickly. Whenever you can bank
or draw, bank, even two points if it’s what you have. Keep your opponent’s bank
under control with Attack of the Oranges! and keep them on the move with Spooky
Beans. Get Happy Valley on the board as soon as your opponent puts out an Experienced
Neopet, and use Battle Stations when it’s going to give you the most extra contests
or added benefits.
The beauty of this deck is that it’s changeable. You can make it work for you
no matter how many or few cards you have. Almost everything in this deck can
be substituted with something else! For instance, you could use Blue Cybunnies
with Royal Summons instead of Green Aishas and Smite, or if you happen to have
some Banishments lying around, your could change out the Smites for them! Just
build, rebuild, and rebuild again. It’s fun, and that’s the most important part
of the game