Written by Matt Ochs | Designs by Gina Milone and John Kimmel
Today we're going to take a look at what makes a card in the Battle for Sularia tick. Tomorrow we'll take a closer look at the four basic card types and what they do, but first let's get to know how our cards work, so you can get ready to brew a deck!
There are four basic card types that battle commanders can utilize when making a deck (from left to right): tactics, conditions, sites, and combatants. You probably noticed that there's a lot of similarities amongst the different card types, but there's some pretty major differences as well.
Let's take a closer look and learn what it all means.
First and foremost is a card's faction alignment. In constructed play (formats where you create the deck before you sit down to play) you may only use Synthien cards in a Synthien deck, and the same goes for the Jotune. They're hated enemies after all, so you wouldn't expect to see these two factions banding together for some wishy-washy ideal like "the greater good" or anything else of the sort. There is one significant exception to this rule, however; Mercenary cards may be used in any deck since they're guns for hire and are willing to sell out to highest bidder!
Next is the card's name. Not simply a flavor piece, a card by any name is restricted to a number of copies on the battlefield and under your control, at any given time, by its type or "rarity" number. This means you may have four copies of a Type 4 Spartan Terminator under your control, whereas if you have a Type 1 Animus Vox, he's considered "legendary" and you can only have one. The same goes for Types 2 & 3. It's worth noting that though you may include up to four copies of any given card in your deck, the number you control on the battlefield is limited to the number of its Type rarity.
Below the art is a card's text box, which includes any special ability "keywords," non-keyword special abilities, and/or flavor text. Though the world of Sularia is still stumbling out of the aftermath of a world rending apocalypse, its denizens have spent the last 1,000 years honing their fighting prowess and the technology of war, and a card's special abilities are a depiction of these talents. Flavor text is simply that, to add flavor, and has no bearing on a card's actual performance.
B4S uses a unique 60/90 construction system for deck building. A construction value is at the bottom of each card, and is used only when a player creates their deck for constructed play. We'll dive deeper into the intricacies of deck construction later, but the cliffnotes version is that you must have a minimum of 60 cards in your deck an use no more than 90 construction points in its creation. This leads to some pretty interesting decision making; for instance, you might really want to include that fourth copy of Master Mining Program (3 construction points), but you're at 89 points and have only 1 construction point left to spend... which will have you going back over your list looking for any points cutting that could be had. It really helps to balance the value of all cards in the game and add another layer of deck building strategy!
So that's all for the fine print on our cards, and leaves us with only four more items: cost, sularium generation, attack value, and defense value. This is as simple as it sounds; the cost of a card is how much you must have in either: sularium, influence, or threshold of influence to play it. Once again, we'll dive into greater detail as to the importance of each resource tomorrow when we examine the four different types of cards.
Though sites are the most common generators of sularium, each card, be it a tactic, condition, site, or combatant, may generate this precious resource. If positive number is represented next to the blue sularium symbol, then that card generates that much sularium during your sularium mining phase. If a negative number is represented, then that amount is subtracted from the sularium generation on your turn; with the added caveat that if you don't have that much sularium to subtract, that card dies and is placed in your damage pile!
Attack and defense values go hand-in-hand, one indicates how strong a card is in combat and the other, how many points of damage a card must suffer before it dies. Damage stacks over the turn and clears at the end of the turn. The amount of damage a card suffers in a turn reduces its defense value by that much and when it is reduced to zero or less, it's dead!
Costs aren't all created equal, and there's three forms of payment required to play a card: threshold of influence (green), influence (purple), and sularium (yellow). Tactics and conditions require threshold, sites require influence, and combatants require sularium to play. You'll notice the sularium "cost" icon and the sularium generation icon are the same, but different colors. This is by design as one requires sularium and one makes it!
Though each card states whether it is a tactic, condition, site, or combatant below its name, there is another quick way to tell what it is by the color of its cost icon. As you fan out your hand it might look something like this:
At a glance you can tell how many tactics/conditions, sites, and combatants you have. Since tactics and conditions serve a similar purpose on the battlefield, this will often be as much information as you need to determine if your starting hand is a keeper.
Now that we know how to read a card we're almost ready to start building some decks! Be sure to check back with us tomorrow to learn all about tactics, conditions, sites, and combatants and how to use them to achieve victory!