January 23, 2007

World of Warcraft TCG: "One Card at a Time" Class Roundup

Valamos.jpgThe World of Warcraft TCG has a lot going on between the nine different classes a player can create a deck around. Thankfully Ryan O'Conner, staff writer at the Official World of Warcraft TCG Website, has been hard at work writing his One Card at a Time series which breaks down key elements of each of the various hero types.

Granted that at this point in time we're pretty sure that WoW players are pretty good at controlling their favorite class. But we also assume that serious players like you have stacks of cards in reserve that could be used to build alternative hero decks. This series will get you started with building a deck for a hero that you might no know from head to toe; not only profiling the card stated within the title, but also detailing other class-specific and ally cards that you should use in conjunction with it.


One Card at a Time Class Articles (in reverse chronological order)

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

January 16, 2007

World of Warcraft TCG Deck Tuning: Probability Primer

WoWStarter.7.3.06.jpgBalancing a Deck is hard work, and the choices are rough. Should you put more quests in your deck of 60 cards? Add a few more allies to the mix? Perhaps you feel like your deck is light on the weaponry, but then again will adding more weapons upset the balance of Ability cards?!

We've always wondered what the right mix of our World of Warcraft TCG cards should be, and if you're lazy like we are then you probably don't ever, ever, ever want to sit there and derived the the math behind the probability of drawing any card during a game. That would like, take two bar napkins and probably three scotches, and by then we'd be scribbling down names of our ex girlfriends instead of worrying about World of Warcraft TCG draws.

Thankfully the mathematician Doombringer over at Wowcards.org has written an article "Probability and the WoW TCG" for the masses of interested - but not die hard - World of Warcraft TCG players who want to tweak their deck for efficiency. We must warn you though, this article ranks a solid 8 / 10 on the scary math scale, and it gets a bit heavy at the end. Thankfully there's some great stuff to read early-on, before we start calculating the Gaussian surface of Elendril's left eyeball in section 2.11b.

RealGenius.jpgHere's a snippet from "Probability and the WoW TCG":

"Now let’s look at resources, specifically quests. Quests serve two purposes: to avoid using other valuable cards as resources, and to provide some additional firepower such as card draw. How many quests you need in your deck has been a subject of great discussion. Obviously weenie and low-resource cost decks don’t need as much. Control and build decks may need more. You don’t have to play a resource every turn, especially if you’re short on cards in hand. But if you wanted to play a quest every turn through turn 10, how many would you need in your deck?"

Great question, and the article has some great answers. It explains how you can derive the average number of cards you'll draw in a 10 round game (given the cards of cards that you've added to your deck to let you draw more cards than usual) - and given that - your chances of drawing a particlar card in a game, or having a weapon in your hand on turn one, etc.

The article even explains how to use an Excel macro to quickly and easily calculate the probability that you'll draw a particular card on your first turn given the frequency of that card in your deck. Sweet stuff.

If you're scared of math then here's a quick tip to keep in mind while you're reading all of this. Given a 60 card deck, your chances of drawing a specific card is 1/60. The trick is, your chances of drawing a specific card after that is 1/59, because your original draw consumed 1 card from the deck of 60.

That's why these probabilities are so complicated, but getting your noggin around that one simple principal will help you with the entire article. Enjoy!

Similar World of Warcraft Trading Card Game links:

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

December 14, 2006

World of Warcraft TCG: Onyxia Week

Onyxia Smash!Caves are supposed to be dank, algae blanketed, stalactite-ridden, cavernous holes of the subterranean question mark - especially when they sit in a dead-end swamp. But with so many people running in n' out of Onyxia's Lair [Amazon,Toywiz] lately, the highly anticipated encounter seems a bit less foreboding. Instead we're in crunch mode.

As gamers we're elbow deep in determining the best way to tackle the Onyxia raid encounter from both sides of the fence. Entering the encounter as a group of WoW TCG players we're working hard to find the best combination of classes and abilities to meet Onyxia head-on. And while playing as Ony we're refining our play so that we realize the full potential of her abilities - so that she incinerates the players into neat lumps of ash as fast as she possibly can.

And what better resource on the matter is there but the words of the designers themselves?

That's right - there isn't. That's why Upper Deck has made this second week in December the official "Onyxia's Lair Week" on the World of Warcraft TCG website. And here are some of the good articles published this week that any WoW TCG aficionado should check out:

  • "Playing As Onyxia" starts things off with some hints on and tips how and when to play Onyxia's ability cards, and most importantly which of your opponents Ony should munch-on first. Sometimes it's not so obvious.
  • "Customizing Onyxia" is great for those groups who've already defeated Onyxia once, and are looking for a more challenging encounter the second time around. Remember: You can mix any number of cards from your first Onyxia Raid Deck into your second deck. Four Engulfing Flames should help to humble the inflated egos of your group.
  • "Treasure Pack Cards" goes through some of the fat loot you should expect to loot after downing Onyxia, and even better - how it should be used to bring her down even faster the next time around.
  • And going against the status quo is "Beating Onyxia" which offers help to those players who find the original deck too challenging (and for more hints check our Onyxia Raid Deck Review.
Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

December 8, 2006

World of Warcraft TCG Onyxia Raid Deck Review

Onyxia's Lair Raid DeckThe Onyxia's Lair Raid Deck [Amazon,ToyWiz] for the World of Warcraft Trading Card Came has shipped to stores, and most retailers have finally received enough copes to meet the preorder demand. We picked up our copy a few days ago, and we were like kids on Christmas morning. Immediately we tore into to our copy and ran the game through its paces.

The cards themselves are gorgeous - with some of the best artwork in the game to date. The deck comes in carrying-case that matches the same design as the World of Warcraft TCG Starter Decks [Amazon,ToyWiz]. The black dragon Onyxia is represented by an over sized Hero card, just as those that shipped with the starter decks, and her deck of cards is the same size as the normal WoW playing cards. But they sport a gold framing around them because they're special.

Now - if we were to sum up our experience in two concise words which lack any sort of elaborate details, then we'd have to say: "too easy".

Fortunately we're not dismissive jerks. We feel the game merits a far more detailed and constructive criticism than that, and we're more than willing to break-down our experience a bit more. Perhaps whatever you read here can make the Onyxia's experience a bit more challenging for yourselves than it was for us, and hopefully a bit more fun.

ArrowContinue reading: "World of Warcraft TCG Onyxia Raid Deck Review"

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

November 17, 2006

Our Favorite World of Warcraft Combos - Rogue Burst Damage

Your shoe's untiedThis week for TCG It's Friday we thought it's high-time we share some of the World of Warcraft Trading Card Game card combos that we've come across. Like we said in our WoW TCG review we have a quite a few players involved in the online version of World of Warcraft, and if we've learned one thing dueling other players it's this: Never, ever, ever think a Rogue is a push over just because they're wearing soft and squishy leather armor, and never ever over-commit when fighting one mano-e-mano.

Rogues are all about pouncing on you when your pants are down, and then following through with a massive burst of damage. It's the old "You're shoes untied" hoodwink-move followed by a well-placed dagger where the sun don't shine. It's enough to ruin anyone's day and we think we've found the TCG equivalent. And best yet - all of the cards are either common or uncommon which means it's something anyone can get their hands on.

From our resident Rogue expert Chris:

Here's an Ally Combo for the Horde Rogue to toss around:

1: The Base Line
Populate your deck with as many Voss Treebender and Bala Silentblade cards as you can. The 2/1 (2-Attack/1-Health) Voss has the ability "When Voss Treebender attacks, you may exhaust target hero or ally." and Bala (who is a 1/4 default) gets a +3 Attack Bonus under the condition "Bala Silentblade has +3 ATK while attacking an exhausted hero or ally." This is a great way to put a a quick 4-point One-Two combination punch against a hero or ally.

Note two things : This is a great common-combo for any class, but you might also want to have a Protector Ally in play to ensure Voss doesn't kick-it before you can put him to good use.

2: Send in the Rogue
Here is where it becomes evil. In conjunction with the Voss / Bala combo there's a low cost big damage opportunity that opens up for the Rogue. In the case that you are going after the opposing Hero, have Voss hit the Hero to both to exhaust him and to cause 2 points of damage. Next have Bala hit the exhausted hero which causes 4 more points of damage due her +3 to Attack an exhausted target. Were' up to 6 damage now in a single turn.
Now comes your Rogue Hero who's wielding a a Barman Shanker (2 Damage at a cost of 2 resources to Swing, +2 against exhausted targets). That's four more damage, so we're now up to 10 damage.

3. Poison Makes it Sting
Now that you've hit a hero for Combat damage spend 1 to play Deadly Poison (cost of 1) which reads "Attach to target hero or ally that was dealt combat damage by your hero this turn. Ongoing: At the start of your turn, your hero deals 2 nature damage to attached character." It's the gift that keeps on giving.

4. And Stay Down
By now your opponent is a little hot under the collar, but you're about make matters worse with: Crippling Poison (cost of 1) which reads "Attach to target hero or ally that was dealt combat damage by your hero this turn. Ongoing: At the start of each turn, exhaust attached character unless its controller pays 3." Looking a little woozy there.

5. Not the Face!
If your opponent does chooses to get back up, then finish things off by hitting the Hero with: Gouge (cost of 1) which reads "Exhaust target hero or ally. It can't ready during its controller's next ready step." If he doesn't get back up, then gouge any protector ally standing in your way. Either way, ending with a Gouge sets-up the opposing hero for at least another hit from Bala for 4, and another hit for 4 from your Barman Shanker.

Total Damage:

  • Voss: 2
  • Bala: 4
  • Barman Shanker: 4
That's 10 points of damage this round, for the cost of only 2 Resources.


  • Deadly Poison: 2 more damage next round
  • Crippling Poison: Make them spend 3 just to Use the Hero
  • Gouge: They stay exhausted for the Rogue next round!

Not bad for spending 5 Resources!

I have 4 x of the Deadly Poison, Gouge, and the Barman Shanker in my present Rogue deck, and 2 x Crippling - so this isn't a difficult combo for me to pull off. And if I ever draw an extra Shanker when I already have one in play, then that it becomes an instant resource!

Yes, yes very nice, but now we wish Chris would freakin retire that burst damage Rogue deck until we storm Onxyia's Lair. We're seriously tired of thinking we're ahead in a game against him, and then losing in just a few turns.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

November 3, 2006

World of Warcraft TCG Review

Wow.TCG.11.03.06.Title.gifWe had our first WoW Trading Card Game rumble last night. Five of us grabbed a Starter Deck [Amazon] and 3 extra Booster Packs [Amazon] each. Five hours later, in the dark hours of the morning, we reluctantly decided to call it a night. At 1:15 am - on a weeknight - we went our separate ways to sleep off the giddiness, but as early as 1:50 am some of us were already emailing each other with exciting WoW possibilities. No Joke.

Was all the hype for the World of Warcraft TCG worth the wait? You bet your sweat bippy it was.

ArrowContinue reading: "World of Warcraft TCG Review"

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

October 31, 2006

World of Warcraft TCG: Exactly What You'll Need to Get Started Playing


Want to get started playing the WoW TCG? Then pick up a Starter Deck and a few booster packs. Also check-out Our Review.

If you've heard good things about the WoW TCG and you're looking to break into the game but don't yet know how, then look no further. We've had numerous questions from our readers regarding 'how do I get my foot in the door?' in what is chalking-up to be one of the biggest gaming releases of the year. After you read over these three things you should be good to go!

1: First things first, get your hands on a World of Warcraft TCG Starter Deck [Amazon]. Each deck contains everything you'll need to start playing the WoW TCG out of the box, including: a Hero card that cements the foundation and focus of your deck; a basic deck of 33 cards that includes select equipment, abilities, and quests designed specifically for your Hero; two booster packs containing 15 random cards each (more info below); and an instruction booklet with rules to get you into the game quickly. There are nine varieties of Starer Decks at launch, covering the spectrum of classes from the World of Warcraft Massively-Multiplayer Online Roleplaying Game.

2: You should also pick up two extra Heroes of Azeroth Booster Packs [Amazon]. Why? Well although the Starter Deck has everything you need, the individual cards that makeup the prepackaged decks aren't of the highest caliber. The Starter Decks are simply that: a start. However, every WoW TCG Booster contains a fair number of powerful cards which could replace some of the lackluster cards in the starter pack. Each booster also contains a wide variety of other common cards that could change the way you focus your deck, and it includes a new hero card which might inspire you to completely branch out and try something new with your collection.

Customization is an important aspect of the game - there are a lot of different ways to play the WoW TCG: at least nine classes to build decks for, and then you can toy-around with the internal designs and focuses for each of the classes, too!

3: Counters. You'll need something to represent the damage accrued to your hero and his henchmen. Sure - you could use stacks of pennies, but one of the game's heroes can accumulate 30+ points of damage before going down. That's a lot of pennies. Our favorite solution: grab a number of six-sided dice. If those Rush t-shirts in the back of your closet veil an dusty copy of Axis and Allies, then you're golden.


Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

October 27, 2006

World of Warcraft TCG: Launch Links


Want to get started playing the WoW TCG? Then pick up a Starter Deck and a few booster packs. Also check-out Our Review.

It's official: The World of Warcraft TCG is now in stores, and actually, should be in your living room right now. If you've cracked open your Starter Deck and sifted through a few boosters, and wonder if there are other cards in the Heroes of Azeroth Set that might be useful in flushing-out your deck, then we have a few links that might fit your fancy.

Card Databases
Wev'e found two great sites where you can browse the entire first set of WoW TCG Heroes of Azeroth cards. WowCards.org is our database of choice because it's got a slick site layout, and a nice card zoom-in feature. Meanwhile WowTCGdb is a bit bland on the eyes in comparison - with stronger empathises on a textual layout - but it let's you poke through all of the cards in each of the nine starter decks. Very nice.

Official Feature Articles
This week also marks the first in what we're sure will be a long-line of weekly feature articles from the designers of the game. Wizards of the Coast does a similar thing with its Magic the Gathering design staff, and it's created one heck of an online resource over the years. We hope the World of Warcraft team from Upper Deck keeps up what seems to be a very good first round of info:

  • Ryan O'Connor starts off the new series with "One Card at a Time: Parvink" which investigates the weight of card advantage on WoW TCG gameplay.
  • Then William Brinkman gives us the skinny on some cards you should always keep on your Heroes of Azeroth collection radar. "Lazy Peon's Perspective: Release Celebration Top 10 Commons and Uncommons" pretty much says it all.
  • Finally Jason Grabher-Meyer lays-down the foundation of WoW TCG ideology with "Starting from Scratch: What’s a TCG?", covering the enticing elements of a TCG: Customization, Collecting, and Social Gaming. This might sound trite to some CCG veterans, but we're starting a TCG system from scratch here, and it's great to hear these things from the horse's mouth.

Onyxia.10.27.06.jpgOnyxia's Raid Deck
This last bit of news isn't a link but it's exciting all the same. Upper Deck recently sent-out release emails that detail the upcoming Onyxia's Lair Raid Deck for the TCG. For those of you unfamiliar with the World of Warcraft MMORPG: Onyxia is a very, very mean Black Dragon who acts as one of the first bosses in the gamem and takes takes nearly fourty players to kill. She acts as the gateway to raid organization, cooperation, and is a stepping-stone to even more difficult battles.

Onyxia will also be the first raid boss in the WoW TCG. You and your friends can purchase an Onyxia raid deck, and instead of bashing each other's heads in the standard Player vesus Player gameplay, you can team up and bring down Onyxia together. The reward for your efforts: a special cold foiled loot deck that comes with the Onyxia boss set, which contains some powerful and rare cards. Here are the details:

The Company Line: In the charred, desolate Wyrmbog, deep in Dustwallow Marsh, lies the lair of the black dragon Onyxia. Many bands of heroes have journeyed there, only to fall under the dragon's claw. Now take on the role of Onyxia and face the latest group of heroes brave enough to challenge the Black Dragonflight. Open up a whole new facet to the World of Warcraft® Trading Card Game (TCG).

One player takes on the role of an epic foe that only multiple heroes working together can even hope to challenge. With a successful raid on Onyxia, the heroes can win the chance to crack open the enclosed "Treasure Pack" and reap spoils not found anywhere else.

Each deck includes 110 Onyxia Game Cards plus one 10-card "Treasure Pack" and three oversized Onyxia raid boss cards. This limited edition raid deck requires players to build their raid parties by using cards from the World of Warcraft® TCG: Heroes of AzerothTM.

Available to ship: Nov. 22, 2006!

That's less than a month away. Start practicing those heals!

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

October 20, 2006

World of Warcraft TCG Hands On Product Details


Want to get started playing the WoW TCG? Then pick up a Starter Deck and a few booster packs. Also check-out Our Review.

The World of Warcraft Trading Card Game is still one week from it's official World Wide Release. Somehow, somewhere, a few lucky people have already received their preorder shipments and they're laying down PvP smack down even as we speak.

Thankfully one of these lucky ducks posted a video of himself sifting through the TCG packaging, opening the starter decks and posting images of some of their booster cards - a lot of these cards haven't yet been detailed by the official website's card previews, nor anywhere else on the net for the matter.

We recommend skipping ahead to 2:40, which is when Mr X pulls apart the WoW TCG Starter Deck packaging. The stuff looks like it's made of high quality materials, and acts as a deck transport box to boot. Very, very nice.

There are also some great image uploads of other 'new' booster cards at zyeye.com.

Finally - we did some sifting of our own and found one of the better preorder deals online. As usual we found that IconUsa.com has the best prices on starter decks, boosters, and Onyxia's Lair raid deck preorders. The box of 24 boosters is nearly 40% off MSRP, which is nothing to sneeze at.

The World of Warcraft Trading Card Game officially launches next Friday.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

October 13, 2006

World of Warcraft TCG Prelease Deals at wowtcgstore.com


Want to get started playing the WoW TCG? Then pick up a Starter Deck and a few booster packs. Also check-out Our Review.

Upper Deck's World of Warcraft TCG is only two weeks away from release. Holy smokes, time flies, huh?

If you're scratching your head regarding where to pick up your cards for release, then put down the topical cream because wowtcgstore.com just sent us word of some prerelease specials and a contest that might net you gobs of free cards.

The Company Line: wowtcgstore.com is giving away a whole box of boosters (24 booster packs) for the World of Warcraft Trading Card Game to one lucky customer! To enter this contest, add the coupon code "BOXCONTEST" at checkout to any pre-order, or send an email to [email protected] and include in your message any other coupon code listed on our site. Only one entry per customer, please.

The site also has some other great mass purchase prerelease deals posted on their front page in case your entire group or office is thinking of playing:

  • NINESTART: Buy eight Starter Sets, get a ninth FREE!
  • NINEBOOST: Buy eight 15-Card Booster Packs, get a ninth FREE!
  • NINEBOXES: Buy eight 24-Pack Booster Boxes, get a ninth free! (A $71.99 value!)
  • FIVESTART: Buy four Starter Sets, get a fifth at 50% OFF!
  • FIVEBOOST: Buy four Booster Packs, get a fifth at 50% OFF!
  • FIVEBOXES: Buy four Booster Boxes, get a fifth at 50% OFF! (A $36.00 value!)
  • THREEBOXES: Buy two Booster Boxes, get a third at 25% OFF! (An $18.00 value!)

The cynic in us feels that we should say: we won't get a dime for any subsequent referrals from our site. These are simply good deals that we thought you should know about!

We'll keep an eye out for any more good online deals for the WoW TCG, and we'll let you know as soon as we find them.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

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