Strategy for a SPELLFIRE game breaks down into two broad categories: the style of play and deck-building (deck theme). These two strategies are actually intertwined — meaning that the theme of your deck greatly depends on how you play cards during the course of a game. If you have a deck based on undead, the strategy will be based strongly around attacking an opponent's realms, as this is where an undead deck is strong.
Basic tactics in SPELLFIRE relate to how you use the cards in your hand to achieve a goal. If your deck is defensive, your tactics each turn may involve playing cards that prevent your opponents from attacking during their turns — all based on the cards currently held. You should plan to use the cards you have in your hand, not those you believe you'll draw on your next turn.
Which cards to choose for your deck?
The theme of any SPELLFIRE deck is based on the cards that are chosen to go into that deck. How do you choose cards for your deck? What should you look for in each card type? Why are some cards better than others?
For a SPELLFIRE deck to be competitive, you should have a minimum of 10 realms in any individual 55-card deck. Given the number of cards able to destroy or raze realms, having less means that you may be stuck without enough available realms at any one time to win the game. With a full 15 realms in a deck, the odds are good that you'll draw a realm every third or fourth card. This gives you the chance to play a realm nearly every turn, increasing your chances of getting six realms out first. The average number of realms in any deck is 12. This frees up three cards to follow the deck's theme or can be used to increase the number of holdings that can be used.
So, which realms are the best to use in a deck? That depends on the following factors: 1) the theme of the deck, 2) the special power of the realm, and 3) the realms available to the player. As previously mentioned, the theme of any SPELLFIRE deck is extremely important. Equally important are the types of realms placed within a deck. Should a deck have a Frozen Fire theme, it is obvious that realms from that world are best to use to take advantage of the optional World Bonus rule. Some realms also offer advantages to realms of the same world. Having realms of one world makes the task of putting holdings into play much simpler. On the other hand, non-world themes are equally popular. For example, realms that benefit defending heroes can be found in nearly any world. In cases like this, a player must search through the special powers of all his realms and choose those that best reflect the theme of his deck.
Many players choose realms for their deck based solely on special powers. Realms that can only be attacked by flyers or swimmers are extremely popular, as are others that have similar restrictions in the type of champion that can attack. There are also realms whose special powers give the player an advantage then attacking.
Finally, you don't have the money to purchase unlimited numbers of SPELLFIRE cards, and some are extremely difficult to find. In cases like this, you must weigh the pros and cons of each realm available to you, selectively using those that will best suit your deck. Not every realm needs to be rare or "untouchable." Holdings can also be used to increase a realm's effectiveness in play.
Holdings are the most overlooked of all SPELLFIRE cards. Because of the 55 card limit on a standard deck, players tend to find better uses for "holes" in their decks. Yet the special powers of holdings can greatly benefit any deck, even if only one or two of them are used. Which holdings you use depends on the theme of the deck involved. 5th edition Spellfire cards have some really powerful holdings which are essential to any deck.
SPELLFIRE decks with world themes tend to attract the most holdings, as they must be attached to realms of the same world. There are, however, a handful of holdings that can be attached to any realm. Holdings with this special power are extremely popular in decks with a mix of realms from different worlds.
Lastly, remember that the special powers of holdings are sometimes as powerful, or more so than the realms they're attached to. The combination of certain realms and holdings can make a realm invulnerable to attack, or at least very difficult to get rid of by spells or combat. When creating any type of SPELLFIRE deck, never overlook the importance of holdings.
Much like realms, the champions used in any deck depend on its theme, the champion's special powers, and what's available to choose from. Another consideration is the number of champions and their total levels, as not to overshoot the Deck Construction Limits. All of these factors must be taken into consideration when placing champions in a SPELLFIRE deck.
Decks built around a theme rely on the champions used. World theme decks should have most or all champions from the corresponding world. One or two champions that lend themselves to a sub-theme are always good to have, but too many may interfere with things like attaching artifacts or the use of the optional World Bonus rule. Other themes such as flyers or undead rely heavily upon champions since it's their main focus, while a spell casting deck must have champions able to use its spells.
The special powers of champions are crucial to any SPELLFIRE deck and many times become the main focus for a player. Having 11 to 14 champions with potent special powers may mean the difference between winning and losing a game. These choices should be handled on an individual basis, depending on what's available to you and what theme (if any) you're playing.
Lastly, with a cap of 90 points of champions for a 55-card deck, you need to be selective in the champions you choose. You should have 11 to 14 champions in a deck with an average level of 5 to 7. If you wish to use avatars, it's a good bet you'll have to settle for a few low-level champions or fewer of them. Unless a specific theme states otherwise, it's always good to have a variety of levels in every deck.
Rule cards provide an unusual twist that alters the mode of play slightly once they're put into play. They aren't a requirement but can help with different themes because rule cards lend themselves well to theme decks. A minimum of two in every deck is recommended. Even though a particular rule card may not help you to win the game, playing it can remove another one that's assisting an opponent.
Which rule cards are chosen depends on the theme of the deck. If your deck doesn't use spells, rules that eliminate or otherwise hamper spells are recommended. The same can be said for any other theme deck. A rule card can make a good deck even better. The same can be said for decks with sub-themes or no themes at all.
Remember that rule cards affect everyone. Unless you're aware of what cards your opponent is going to play, there is a chance the rule card is going to help him as well.
As with rule cards, the types of events placed in any deck depend upon its specific theme. Given the number and potential power of event cards, it's recommended that you have 8 to 10 events in every dock. Several events are considered essential to a deck (see Most Popular Events), but others can lend themselves well to a deck's particular theme. Which events are used in your deck has to be based on the other cards you have. Not everyone is going to have a deck full of Rare or Super Rare event cards. In the end, the events used in a deck can be whatever you want. Using them to forward a theme, however, can help lead to a speedy victory.
Artifacts are some of the most powerful cards in SPELLFIRE; however, when using artifacts there are several things to consider. First, in most cases, they can only be attached to champions from the same world. If you want to use artifacts, make sure to have a fairly large number of champions from that specific world. Second, along with realms, holdings, and champions, artifacts are subject to the Rule of the Cosmos. If an opponent gets a popular artifact into play first, yours can sit in your hand for the entire game. Lastly, artifacts often take a back seat to magical items because they're more easily brought into play. If you use an artifact, it should serve to forward your theme.
When deciding on a theme deck, especially a world theme, artifacts should be considered. Since the majority of the champions in world theme decks are from the same world, getting an artifact into play is relatively easy. Remember, that although there are many magical items that have powers similar to artifacts, defense against the special powers of artifacts is more difficult. There are many champions who are immune to offensive magical items, but only a very few aren't susceptible to the special powers of artifacts.
Of all the Spellfire cards that can be attached to champions, magical items are the most plentiful and present the largest range of special powers. Unlike spells and allies, the effect of magical items remains with the champion. The main drawback to magical items is that there are many cards in the Spellfire game that are immune to, can negate, or discard them. For the most part, this applies only to offensive magical items since they affect the opposing champion. Cards that are immune to defensive magical items can only ignore the level bonus (if any) of the item, but not the item's special power.
The choice for which magical items to include in a deck depends on their special powers and level bonus. Based on these factors, you must decide which magical item best fits the theme of your deck. Decks based around battle tend to have magical items with high-level bonuses or ones that confer special powers like Earthwalking or flying. Noncombat decks tend to have magical items that offer protection from your opponent's attacks.
When constructing a Spellfire deck, spells must always be taken into consideration, because of their potential power. To use spells in a deck you must first have champions able to cast them and must decide whether or not spells fit info your deck's theme. If not, then you should choose to include other types of cards. Because spells can be used in several different phases of a turn, they can become as versatile as events. Some spells tend more towards combat than others, having higher level bonuses and more offensively themed special powers. Noncombat spells usually have a usage in phases other than 4. Obviously, spells are needed for any deck with a spellcasting theme. A deck with spells should also support a deck's sub-theme, so it's not limited to one portion of the game. A combat deck tends to have more phase 4 than phase 3 spells, but that doesn't make phase 3 spells unimportant.
It's important to note that if there aren't spellcasters in your pool, spell cards have to remain in your hand. However, there are realms, holdings, and magical items that can confer the special power of using spells to almost any champion. You should keep this in mind when choosing support cards for a spell deck.
Allies are useful and versatile, playable with almost any champion during a round of combat. As with spells, the theme of a specific deck generally decides which, if any, allies are going into it. When choosing allies consider both their special powers and level bonus. Some have a good mix of both, while most are strong in either special power or level bonus. Decks with a theme based on flyers should contain flying allies, or at least those with special powers that allow them to reach realms, not in the front of a formation.
Some allies are chosen solely for their special powers — instant defeat allies that can win a round of battle regardless of the combat's level comparison. These are excellent choices for any deck, but unless an opponent puts forth a card it can affect, the ally is reduced solely to its level bonus in usefulness. In most cases, allies whose special powers have a direct effect on the battle regardless of circumstance are often more desired. As with most SPELLFIRE cards, allies are subject to special powers specifically designed to target them. There are many cards that cause allies to be discarded during the course of a round of combat, and any deck with allies should be wary of these cards.
Lastly, there is a category of allies known as "vengeful." Allies like these have special powers designed to hurt an opponent's forces—or the opposing player himself. Such allies typically have to lose a round of battle for their power to activate, "avenging" the defeat of the attached champion by hurting the opponent. The downside of a strategy built around these allies is that it costs a champion to use it. However, sometimes the results justify the loss.
Other Card Types
The choice to use psionic power cards, unarmed combat cards, blood ability cards, or thief skills is highly dependant upon the theme of a player's deck. Those with a hero theme should consider the unarmed combat cards, while blood ability cards can only be put in a deck with regent champions; and the same can be said for other card types. These cards can be useful in a deck of the proper construction, but in the end, are a matter of your personal choice.