How to Play?
First I intend to cover each of the character decks, what makes them different, and the strategy I find most useful when playing them. I have played each deck at least once and, while I have my favorites, I will try to be as impartial in my review of each deck.
At the end, I will include some universal tips that helped me to go from losing almost every match (especially against the AI) to semi-consistent wins. While I can’t claim I can win every time, RNG can be really problematic at times, I feel I’ve at least become competent to win more than I lose.
Let’s start off with the main character of the series. Ruby is known for her speed in the series and her signature cards certainly portray that well. Her signature action card allows you to look at the top two cards of your deck and then choose one to discard while drawing the other. This helps her to go through her deck faster and allows you some versatility in regards to being able to ‘temporarily’ get rid of cards that don’t help you, particularly Doubts and Wounds. Her signature Weapon capitalizes on this by giving 1 power to start, and 2 more if you draw or have drawn a card in the same turn. As such, it’s very helpful to gain as much card draw as you can. You’ll be able to go through your deck faster, get your weapon more often, and build up a lot of power to buy what you need, or take on bosses.
Cards to really look out for when playing this deck are:
- Penny (Best option by far. A little expensive to upgrade but gives you power while drawing another card so is immediately useful. Upgrade as soon as you can without sacrificing the chance to get other good cards)
- Professor Ozpin (While not able to draw as many cards as Penny, the fact he has card draw in addition to 3 power makes it extremely useful for this deck, though everyone will likely be itching to buy him as soon as he appears)
- Cookies (Not the most useful initially but when upgraded, gives you so much potential to run through your deck)
- Qrow (You’ll be going through your deck so this card is perfect for this deck. Can pretty consistently get 5 power from this card)
I’m Sorry (It’ll be hard to have defenses when you have your deck filled with card draw. This card fits both aspects, though it requires that you get attacked for the draw to work. Gives a decent 2 power, though)
- Combat Skirt (Similar to signature ability and in fact combos extremely well with it. You can use this to put a Wound or Doubt back onto your deck, then use the signature ability to send it to the discard)
- White Fang Lt. (Most draw cards are low cost so chances are this guy will draw your next card. Even if he doesn’t, he’s at least giving you 2 power)
- Unlocked Aura (Card draw with deck thinning. No upgrade needed. Would be more useful if it provided power)
- Zwei (More deck cycling. Even un-upgraded, lets you replace a bad card with a better one. Once upgraded, let’s you thin your deck making it that much easier to draw through it each hand)
- Nutritional Juice (Not the greatest card draw, but useful to make upgrading cards easier)
Cool Off (Thin your deck to draw more. Only works if you’ve managed to upgrade to some Valors, though if you lack some, it’ll make one for you. Have mixed feelings about this card.)
- Harsh Questioning (Good draw, but each use gives you a wound. Only recommend getting this if you already have deck thinning)
- Secret Signal (Not card draw initially, but pretty cheap to upgrade so you CAN draw with it. Also good for deck thinning)
It’s also useful to grab most of the locations as well since they increase draw.
On to Weiss Schnee, we have a character of action with the funding to equip herself with all manner of equipment. Her deck plays out like that as well. Her Glyphs draw your next card and, if an action or equipment card, draw another one. Myrtenaster becomes more powerful if you play, or have played, one of those cards.
The following cards to look out for with Weiss in particular are as follows:
Winter (While not an action or an equipment card, she is probably the top card to look for since she gives you +1 power for each one you play)
Combat Skirt (An equipment card that lets you set up your Glyphs. Very useful.)
Airbus (The ability to place a purchased card on top of your deck combos well with her Glyphs card if the line-up has the right cards)
Scroll (Don’t see a card you want? Swap it with this and deny cards that’ll help other decks. Being an equipment also helps.)
Vast Wealth (An equipment card that helps you get more cards. Can be somewhat useless, but could help you spend your power on more important things like the boss.)
Vale Port (Card draw for playing equipment.)
Amity Colosseum (Card draw for playing actions.)
I haven’t played much with Weiss, not because she isn’t good, but because I don’t really find her that interesting and the cards she really could use are quite few making it harder to get cards that work out for her. I say this because I might not have the best idea on her strategy so take these suggestions with perhaps a bit of skepticism.
Next is perhaps my favorite character amongst the RWBY cast, Blake Beladonna. I’ve played her a lot and, while it doesn’t seem like villains are generally a winning strategy, she actually makes it work somehow. This may be due to how she makes them much more cost effective to purchase with her Gambol Shroud, making every villain cost one less power while providing two power on it’s own. This is even more useful when you have her signature ability, Shadows, which lets you draw another card when purchasing a villain. It’s not as useful since you might be using most of your power to buy one only to get a 1 or 2 power card, but thankfully it draws a card regardless.
Cards to try and purchase include:
Grimm Mask (Top priority since there’s only one in the main deck. Can easily get 5 power from this one.)
Furious Assault (Having a deck primarily composed of villains means you’ll be drawing them more often, and you’ll get an extra 2 power for each one you use.)
Mountain Glenn (A location to help with card draw when you play your villians.)
Not many cards geared for Blake but keep in mind you’ll likely be disrupting your opponents, a lot, and they’ll be less likely to disrupt you. It can be quite fun to pile on a bunch of effects to the lead player and see them struggle to block everything. Just be mindful of who gets Unstoppable, or Pyrrha in general.
Yang Xiao Long
Yang Xiao Long is one of the more fun decks to play in my personal opinion. Where the other characters try to avoid wounds, Yang invites them in. This is because of her Signature Ability, Burning Anger, which turns those Wounds into Valors. This is best done when they are in your hand as you can get 1 Power from it if you don’t transform a wound. Not enough Wounds for Burning Anger? Ember Celica has the answer by downgrading a card in your hand or discard and giving you a whopping 3 Power, the highest of any starter cards (aside from those that trigger off specific actions). Just be careful when playing with Wounds. Too many and you’ll find you can barely muster the power to buy or upgrade anything.
You’ll find these cards of particular interest:
Bumblebee (You’ll be turning Wounds into Valors. This makes them worth 4 Power, even when not in hand.)
Cool Off (You’ll be turning Wounds into Valors. This makes those Valors into card draw.)
Pancakes (Pretty much a win all around. +3 Power and a Wound you can later turn into a Valor.)
Taiyang Xiao Long (Haven’t unlocked this card yet but seems useful if it counts Burning Anger’s upgrade.)
Trap Card (Use this to help keep your Wounds a bit more manageable, especially if you get Harsh Questioning.)
Harsh Questioning (Nice card draw that also provides power AND adds a Wound to use with Burning Anger.)
Not a lot specifically for her, but many of the Villains become less of a worry allowing you to save your defenses for something really threatening.
Jeane Arc is… Jeane Arc. He relies on others to help him out but he surprisingly makes a great leader. It makes sense why his Signature Ability, Dedicated Leader, nets him free cards. For these cards, though, you’ll likely aim for Hero cards as his equipment, Crocea Mors, gets stronger when one’s in your discard. Still, there’s some useful defense cards that you can get for free which means you can focus your power on upgrading or other useful cards.
As Jeane Arc, you’re gonna wanna aim for these cards:
Relic (Top choice, partly because there’s only one in the deck. Easily a 5 Power card for this deck.)
Emerald Forest (Card draw for Heroes.)
Penny (While generally useful to everyone, Penny is particularly useful when paired with Team Attack in a Hero focused deck.)
Team Attack (The hope is that you’ll be getting a lot of Heroes and will easily get two in your hand most rounds. Even if you don’t, a few of them provide card draw. This makes this one of the easier 7 power cards without the cost.)
Dr. Oobleck (I’m not going to list every single Hero here, but this one becomes much more useful in a Hero-centric deck.)
Scroll (No Hero to buy, particularly for 4 or less power? You can use this to make the main line more favorable. Also has decent Power, especially when upgraded.)
Vast Wealth (Expensive to get and lacks any power boost, but makes filling your deck with Heroes easier.)
I’ve only played him a bit more than Weiss and Ren. I find his playstyle too… dull. His deck is pretty good in general and I get annoyed when playing against him as he’ll take the 4 cost card I’m aiming for, but I don’t find him that fun. As such, I might not have the best strategy down for him yet.
Now we come to the deck I have the most fun with, Nora Valkyrie. While most characters are willing to get cards that don’t directly add Power, Nora wants the power. I feel the main focus with her is to only buy cards that are at least +2 power (or more of her signature cards), the higher the better. This is because Magnhild, her Signature Equipment, gains a boost in power based on the base power value of the top card of your deck. This can be further altered by her Signature Ability, Rush of Power, which let’s you look at the top card and choose if you want to discard it.
These high power cards are what you should be looking to purchase:
Shield Up (Defense cards are always useful, but since few have 2 or more Power, you should grab these when you can. Only things to grab before these are the higher Power cards that only show up once.)
Secret Training (You’ll be grabbing cards with high upgrade costs. This will help you to bypass some of them.)
King Taijitu (2 Power that upgrades to 4 Power. Hard to beat, but takes a bit to get there.)
Sun (2 Power, upgrades to 4 Power, and fairly cheap to get.)
Scroll (Can be upgraded to a 3 Power, is decent at 2 Power, and can clear some cards to make way for the juicy ones.)
Bullhead (Filling your deck isn’t always the best but 3+ Power cards are hard to come by, and the Valor won’t hurt you too much.)
Pancakes (Same as Bullhead, except it gives you a Wound instead. Still, you can potentially cycle it through, though, and it’s a bit cheaper to get.)
Airbus (Yes, this is a 1 Power card, but upgraded it becomes a 3. Not the highest priority, but it’s cheap to get.)
There are many other cards to get as well, but these are perhaps the ones that aren’t always an auto-add. It may take some time to get rolling but with luck, and enough time, you’ll be smashing bosses turn after turn.
Ah, Pyrrha Nikos, the “Untouchable”. She’s not invincible, but she’s pretty close to it. The only character to start with a defense, she specializes in… defense. If played right, it’ll be tough for anyone to break her stride, unless multiple players gang up on her, anyways. Her signature Ability, Steadfast Defender, ensures that she’ll get through her starting deck in two turns (unless it starts at the bottom), and is the start to her near impervious nature. Milo and Akouo, her Signature Equipment, is where things get really interesting. For every defense card played in the same turn, it gains 1 more power. With some card draw and as many defense cards as you can get your hands on, it’ll really rank up in Power.
Many of these cards are high priority for most characters so it may be difficult to nab;
Untouchable (The single best defense card available.)
Trap Card (Very useful to thin the deck. It’s almost essential to get rid of your basics.)
I’m Sorry (Defense with card draw. Helps you draw into more defenses while defending and also boosting Milo and Akouo.)
Yatsuhashi (Less useful than Shield up on average unless getting attacked a lot. Then it’s much better. Use best judgement if choosing between.)
Combat Ready (Inexpensive defense at first. Really shines when upgraded but expensive pull off.)
Raven (Only defensive Villain. Gets an attack out of other’s hands which may not always be good since many defenses get bonuses if used to defend. Doesn’t help that it’s discarded if used to defend.)
Professor Port (More Actions and heroes than equipment and Villians. Still can be useful, though.)
Penny (Card draw with power. More amazing when upgraded.)
Cookies (Doesn’t provide power, but is fairly inexpensive and adds card draw. Really needs to be upgraded.)
Defense is great, but can be tough to win with. Amazing when it works and feels great to shrug off almost every attack. Be sure to get high Power cards and remove Basics or you may find it hard to build up the power to defeat bosses. This may mean spending turns buying nothing if there’s no useful card.
Quiet Lie Ren is rather hard to nail down a good strategy for. He seems to be focused on upgrading cards which can lead to some tough choices on whether to buy a card, or upgrade. With Focused Calm, his Signature Ability, you might want to lean towards upgrading giving you another use with a better effect. His Signature Equipment, Stormflower, ensures he has at least one card to upgrade early on, and also gives him a sub-focus of card draw. Unlike Ruby, however, you can’t just focus on it as he needs Power cards to really benefit.
From my attempts with his deck, here’s what I feel works best as card choices:
Professor Goodwitch (Gives 3 Power, which is great, and reduces upgrade costs. Higher priority due to there being only one unless you really need more card draw.)
Beacon Academy (Ongoing effect that reduces all upgrades by one. Also hard to get as there’s only one in the main deck. Also helps that it doesn’t go back in the deck unless a Griffon comes for you.)
Nutritional Juice (Top priority buy. Dropping upgrade costs means easier chance to utilize Focused Calm. Always useful since many of the better upgrade cards cost a fair amount.)
Velvet (Everyone could use a Velvet or two but Velvet could bring back Focused Mind which would then cause Velvet to hit the deck when upgraded and allow you to get Focused Mind once again.)
Penny (Card draw with Power and an upgrade. Upgrade is rather expensive, though.)
General Ironwood (Highly sought after card. Even better if you can upgrade it back to the top of your deck.)
King Taijitu (Similar to Sun but more expensive cost up front.)
Sun (Really good card in general but even more useful in an upgrade focused deck.)
Secret Training (Haven’t unlocked yet to verify but I feel it’ll be handy regardless as you’ll have many cards to upgrade, some that are pretty expensive. More valuable if it also triggers with Focused Calm.)
Taiyang Xiao Long (You’ll be doing a lot of upgrading and it comes with card draw. Makes it easier to thin the deck.)
Cookies (Card draw that can be upgraded. Fairly inexpensive but really needs your deck to have substance to be useful.)
Combat Ready (Upgradable Defense. Due to upgrade expense, however, it’s hard to buy a boss and upgrade this back to the top of your deck.)
Secret Signal (An upgrade card that’s inexpensive to acquire and upgrade. When upgraded helps with card draw, while also potentially thinning out Basics.)
A lot of options and a lot of things you might be upset to miss out on. Just remain calm and get what you can. If anyone has a better idea of priority cards for him, or strategy in General, I’m open to suggestions.
Most of the time, you’ll want to utilize every bit of power that you gain from your hand. This is, ideally, the goal of each hand. There will be times, however, that you may want to buy something for your deck that will leave you with 1 or 2 unspendable power. It happens, usually with the lower sections, and you may be tempted to skip that purchase just so you can make use of every bit of Power. I can’t tell you in every case which would be the better route to go. Maybe you’ve built a fairly decent deck and you can pass on an expensive item so that you can spend all your Power. Other times you want to ensure you get a high priority card but you can’t spend the remaining points. Finally, you might not have drawn cards you can upgrade and the main line has nothing that will add to your deck. The general rule of thumb is to use as much power as you can but only on things that won’t hinder your deck.
High Value Cards
In my many plays of this game, there are some cards that you almost always want to grab. Many of these are expensive in one fashion or another, either in initial cost or a later upgrade. With the exception of certain decks, you’ll want to add these in whenever possible (in no particular order): Revealed Semblance, Combat Ready, I’m Sorry, Shield Up, Trap Card, It’s Also a Gun, Grim Mask (When you have 4 Villains), Relic (When you have 4 Heroes), Scroll, Velvet, Sun, Penny, Yatsuhashi, Coco, Beowolf (Not for the power but for the attack), White Fang Goons, King Taijitu, and White Fang Lt. (unless most of your deck’s cards cost 5+). All these cards are immediately useful, with some getting much better after upgrade. Don’t expect to see these cards stay long unless they appear near the beginning while players are establishing their decks or players are getting cards that really help out their deck more.
This is what usually wins you the match. These cards have a really high cost, give you a really high score, and come with really potent abilities. More often than not, when you can afford to buy one, you’ll want to grab it. However, be ready for the attack that follows. Each boss has a different attack and these attacks can be devastating if not defended. For that reason, you’ll want to grab some defense cards before purchasing these.
High Priority Cards
There are a lot of cards that I didn’t mention that tend to take extremely high priority with everyone. Often times, I feel you might want to grab some of these instead of buying out a Boss. While bosses gets you points to win the match, they come with some downsides, the main being the attack that follows. Many of these cards will help you more in the long run than buying the boss would, however, and you might only get one shot at grabbing them, particularly in mid-late game. Cards to really consider above bosses include, Untouchable, Silver-Eyed Warrior, Nora Smash, Professor Ozpin, Nevermore, Alpha Beowolf, General Ironwood, and Death Stalker. If a boss benefits your deck playstyle greatly, however, it might be worth it to pass up on some of these cards, particularly those that don’t fit the theme.
Advanced Attack Strategies
It pays to take note of who grabs what cards. Someone who was falling behind in points because they upgraded their basic cards grabs that Silver-Eyed Warrior card and now they have a greater potential to purchase bosses in the following turns. In that case, it may not be prudent to send attacks at the player in lead for points. Other things to consider is how some attacks might help instead of hinder. Someone whom has purchased I’m Sorry, Trap Card, and Yatsuhasi might be hoping to be attacked to gain their defense benefit. Other times it’s character specific, for instance, Yang needing more Wounds to fuel Burning Anger. Try to target your villain cards towards those that they will actually impact. It’s also why Beowolf is such a good card. With 1 power upgrade, it’ll make them lose their most expensive card which is usually something that would get them the Power to buy a Boss. Even generic discards are good because it limits options as is the case with Nevermore. Finally, Villains that target all opponents can be both good and bad. You have a better chance of someone being affected but it’s also more likely to give someone a benefit from defending it. Another tactic is to piggyback a boss attack. Depending on the attack, you may force them into a difficult position of taking the hit from the boss, or suffering the attack you just sent at them. Lastly, and this primarily works against the AI, send the least dangerous attacks first. This might make someone waste a defense on something that’s not threatening, particularly with the AI as they’ll use defenses right away.