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Dueling Decks: Courage, Charisma & Intelligence!

by magic_man_4_eva


Do you love strategy cards games? If so, then you are sure to enjoy Dueling Decks! This guide will tell you everything you need to know about the game and also give you those all important tips and game play strategies to help you achieve a high-score and hopefully a new shiny trophy!

How to play Duelling Decks:

In this game you face Zenco the Magnificent, who is a champion of card games and a master of Duelling Decks. Do not fear, by following this guide you will make mincemeat of Zenco and become a true master of the game in your own right.

There are a total of 41 unique cards in the game; however, each game uses only 21 (you and Zenco begin the game with 10 cards each, and there is also a wildcard which I will explain about later on). Each card is represented by well-known and loved (yes, some people do love Dr. Sloth) Neopians, each card also has three attributes that reflect the personality of the famous Neopian; these categories are Courage, Charisma and Intelligence.

Once you and Zenco have received your starting 10 cards (chosen at random) the game and the fun begins. You must now use the attributes on your cards to beat and collect Zenco's cards, this is done in a heads up style with you choosing which attribute you want to play and if it is higher than the attribute on Zenco's card (which you can't see) then you win that battle and keep both cards, however if Zenco's is higher he wins and keeps the two cards. In the event of a tie, the two cards are placed in the middle of the table and the game continues, whoever wins the next round gets the winning cards and also the tie-breaker cards from the table.

You win the game by being the first person to collect all 20 cards!

The Wildcard

The wildcard is available to you during every game you play, however you can only choose to play it once per game. I only use the wildcard as a last line of defence in the event of Zenco going on a lucky streak and leaving me with one card remaining, if this card is weaker than my wildcard and I know it stands little chance of survival then activating it is a must.

The wildcard is Nightsteed and his attribute stats can be seen later on in the guide.

What difficulty should I play on?

Easy: I would only recommend this mode if you are learning to play, or want to pass the time as it poses no real challenge and the scoring is very low! On this mode, whether you win or lose you always get to choose the attribute to play on the next card.

Normal: You still have control over which attribute is played on this game mode, however a little more skill and timing is involved to ensure the one you want is chosen. When you lose on this difficulty you are able to choose which attribute Zenco plays by stopping a pointy finger flicking through the attributes at the right time, with a little practise you should be able to stop it perfectly around 95% of the time. It is possible to achieve a trophy score on this mode, and although it takes more time to complete, it is a more reliable and safer option than playing on hard mode.

Hard: Whoever wins the last round, has full control over the next chosen attribute (and Zenco is a very smart player so don't expect any charity from him). This mode gives you the highest return on points and following my strategy should ensure you get a trophy, however it is possible for Zenco to go on a lucky streak with little you could have done to prevent it.

The scoring system

The best (and fastest) way to score points on Duelling Decks is done by winning many hands in a row, with 5 being the maximum before the scoring chain restarts. Below you will see the points awarding for winning streaks on their respected difficulties:

Easy: 1 win: 25pts, 2 wins: 50 pts, 3 wins: 100pts, 4 wins: 200pts, 5 wins: 400pts (total: 775pts)

Normal: 1 win: 50pts, 2 wins: 100pts, 3 wins: 200pts, 4 wins: 400pts, 5 wins: 800pts (total: 1,550pts)

Hard: 1 win: 100 pts, 2 wins: 200pts, 3 wins: 400pts, 4 wins: 800pts, 5 wins: 1,600pts (total: 3,100pts)

Attributes: who's got the best?

Courage: this attribute represents the bravery (or cowardice) of our famous Neopians! The highest amount of bravery in the game is 16 and is credited to Judge Hog and Bruno Transformed, while the not so brave Prince has the lowest possible score of 1.

Charisma: so which of the Neopians has the charm, and who are the ordinary modest ones! Queen Fyora, along with Rufus, top the charismatic chart with scores of 15. Roothless and Eliv Thade sit at the bottom with only 1 point each, quite expected from a Kacheek who is obsessed with solving puzzles.

Intelligence: now we must find out who listened in school, and who didn't! Although he lacked charisma, Roothless stands alone at the top of the intelligence chart with an impressive 162. Far behind at the bottom of the table sits the charismatic Rufus with a measly 5 points to his name.

There are Neopians who have high scores in all areas (eg. Judge Hog, Ylana Skyfire, Illusen), while there are some who have relatively low scores all round (eg. Gorix, Prince, Werther).

Below shows all the available Neopians and also their respected stats:
Neopian Courage Charisma Intelligence
Brucey B 10 4 82
Bruno 6 11 143
Bruno Transformed 16 2 23
Captain Scarblade 14 3 137
Captain Tuan 13 9 121
Commander Gormos 15 3 120
Cybunny Collector 8 12 70
Cylara 13 10 103
Dr. Sloth 3 5 141
Eliv Thade 9 1 76
Fyora 9 15 107
Garin 8 12 117
Gorix 2 3 73
Hannah 6 9 108
Illusen 12 12 118
Isca 7 9 100
Ixi Raider 12 9 80
Jacques 11 10 129
Jhudora 7 13 125
Judge Hog 16 11 115
Kauvara 10 7 115
King Kelpbeard 12 6 132
King Skarl 7 12 97
Lisha 3 3 120
Magax 12 5 99
Magnus 12 11 40
Meerca Brothers 4 9 93
Mynci Guide 8 7 83
Prince 1 9 50
Roothless 2 1 162
Rufus 12 15 5
Sophie The Witch 9 7 152
Techo Master 15 5 140
Tor 15 5 124
Torakor 13 2 60
Torshac 10 6 112
Vira 2 13 101
Werther 8 8 88
Ylana Skyfire 15 13 141
Zafara Princess 4 11 101
Nightsteed (Wildcard) 14 14 140


Ever wondered how people achieve scores of over 100,000, especially when you can easily defeat Zenco and only reach an unsubstantial score around 8,000? That's because they are playing to lose certain hands to prolong the game and increase their score! Let me explain, when you lose a hand to Zenco, you do not lose any points but instead you are ensuring the game continues. Therefore, if you are able to get Zenco down to a few cards remaining and then purposely lose and allow him to collect more cards, then you are allowing yourself the opportunity to hit more wins and increase your score.

A vital and important part of any strategy within this game (when going for a trophy score) is being able to follow where Zenco's cards go, this enables you to know the order of his cards and therefore you can pick your own attribute knowing full well the outcome of the round, whether that be you winning or purposely losing. It is not important to know the whereabouts of the cards in your pile, as it does not effect your judgment, you only need to worry about your active card (which you can see).

So how do I follow the cards in Zenco's pile you ask, well it all boils down to how the cards enter Zenco's pile when he wins; both cards will go to the back of Zenco's pile with the one he just won of you being played first and the one he had previously used going to the back. Knowing this information allows you to visualise Zenco's pile of cards, and although its not easy to memorize in your head there are some effective ways to ensure you know what cards are where in Zenco's pile, these methods can be seen below in the trophy guides and are different depending on which difficulty you're going to play on.

Normal: How to get the Trophy

When playing on normal it is important that you have mastered the ability to 'choose' the attribute played by Zenco (a few practise games should be enough). Once you have acquired this skill and have a little knowledge on each Neopians attribute levels you are ready to play for the trophy.

The basic strategy (also for hard mode) is to get as many 5-in-a-row bonuses as you can, you do this as just playing as normal. When Zenco gets towards the end of his pile though you want to lose a few times to get him back around the 8-12 card mark and then continue trying to score those bonuses.

When you are (purposely) losing to Zenco, keep note of the last card he wins on before you start to go for your winning bonus streak again. You want Zenco to end on a strong card so if you happen to go on a big lucky streak you know he will have a strong end card you can purposely lose to, for example Zenco has just beat you with Judge Hog, you now know Judge Hog is at the back of his pile and with a courage of 16 you know if you accidently get him down to his last card you can definitely lose on purpose (whereas if his last card was a Gorix you might beat him accidently without having achieved a high enough score). If worse case scenario his last card is strong, but yours is even stronger you can always use the wildcard if Nightsteed's stats are lower and can get you out of trouble.

I also find it useful to play a game with Roothless (if he doesn't appear then restart another game) this is because of his high intelligence. Having this card in your pile means you can never lose, so if you somehow manage to make a mistake and have few cards left, as long as Roothless is one it is impossible to be beaten as nobody has the ability to beat (or draw) with his high intelligence level (just make sure you don't accidently 'choose' his low courage or charisma).

I have achieved a score of 100,000+ on this game mode; it took me around ~2hours to complete.

Hard: How to get the Trophy

Most people will choose to aim for the trophy score on Hard, as points are higher so time taken is much less, and although this is true, it does not guarantee success unlike the strategy on normal mode.

On hard mode, you have no input over what attribute Zenco chooses therefore it is possible (if you are unlucky) for Zenco to go on a winning streak and defeat you, leaving you with a lower score than you expected and your time wasted. The best way to prevent this from happening is to guarantee when you choose your attributes that you are going to win (or lose if Zenco is low on cards or if its just impossible, eg. Werther vs. Ylana Skyfire).

To guarantee your card is going to win or lose, you must know Zenco's card. This is done by following every card that enters his pile (not just the last one like on normal), remember that when Zenco wins a round both the cards enter the back of the pile with the one he won from you going in first and the one he previously played becoming the very back card. By doing this method every time Zenco wins you will soon be able to know Zenco's whole pile and therefore what his next card is (at the start of a game Zenco's cards are hidden, therefore you must wait until all his cards have been played once before you know the whole field of cards). If you are gifted enough to have the intelligence of Roothless and the memory of an elephant than you can do this in your head, however for us other mere mortals I recommend creating your own little replica cards with some pens and paper so you can have a visual aid to remember the order of Zenco's cards, just make sure you put them in correctly to prevent any mistakes (this game is not timed, so do take your time).

I hope you can use this guide to have fun playing while also having a shot at the trophy! Good luck!

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