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Neopets Trading Card Game: Back to Basics


by neopian_queen_liana

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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:

Basic Neopets:

3 Green Aisha

2 Yellow Blumaroo

3 Yellow Elephante

2 Green JubJub

Locations:

3 Happy Valley

Something Has Happened:

3 Smite

3 Battle Stations

Equipment:

2 Battle Hammer

2 Bzzt Blaster

2 Engraved Boomerang

2 Goo Blaster

Items:

3 Light Faerie Token

3 Attack of the Oranges!

3 Spooky Beans

3 Dark Faerie Token

3 Petpetnip

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 advantage!

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 your way.

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 turn!

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

 
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