Upgrading the Japan Starter – What I’m Playin’ 4

We continue our journey to upgrade each starter deck that new players earn right out of the gate and this week the Japanese are up.

Last week we upgraded the USA starter deck and the Americans were pretty versatile for deck building. The Japanese lean much more heavily on aggression.

We are going to try a few different builds along the speed spectrum, but just keep that in mind.

These are just recommendations, simple upgrades, and geared toward ranks between Private through/to Lieutenant.

As you grow as a player, your collection expands, and you start crafting new cards feel free to move beyond these decklists. If you pull some sweet special and elite cards then you should definitely tailor your decklists to play them! They are fun and will help you win!

If you would like to share a deck you have been working on, feel free to comment here, e-mail kardspodcast@gmail.com, reach out on Twitter @KARDSPodcast, or hit me up on the Discord channel.

If you like our content, we would love your support through our Patreon page.

And don’t forget to tell your friends to sign up for the KARDS Beta Test and Discord at KARDS.com.

KARDS Version

These decks were constructed on the 0.8.18-0.8.21 builds of KARDS – Card text/cost/rarity may have changed since publication.

Ground rules

Since these are new-player friendly, I have some ground rules for these upgrades:

  • Use cards that new players have easy access to – starting, standard and limited only
  • Make four different upgrades – 1 for each combination of Main Power + Ally
  • Try to make at least 1 aggressive build and 1 control build
  • Use 7+ cards from the ally power

Let’s get going with Deck Japan.

Ally – Germany

Decklist

Japan

  • Type 93
  • 15th Cavalry Regiment
  • Rising Sun x4
  • Model 25 x2
  • Akita Regiment x4
  • Mito Regiment x4
  • Ki-43 Hayabusa x2
  • Type 95 Ha-Go x3
  • Type 97 Chi-Ha
  • Honor x2
  • Naval Operations x3
  • Imperial Orders x3
  • For Prosperity

Germany

  • 4. Pioneer Battalion x3
  • Panzer 35t
  • Panzer III-J
  • 10.5 cm leFH x3

 

 

KARDSPodcast Deck Speed-o-meter (*Patent Pending)

  • Full on Aggressive – This deck
  • Front Line Favoring Aggressive
  • Midrange
  • Front Line Favoring Control
  • Full on Control

Plan

This is one of the most practical, effective, and, well, obvious ways to go.

The “burn” deck of the meta, this deck is filled with speedy infantry and tanks backed up with quick card draw, and then capped off by the destruction bonuses.

This deck is a fast and hard hitter that needs to be a part of the game. It is a good introduction for new players, offers a way for players to build collections up, while it also keeps control decks in check. There are players that are going to love this style and players that will hate it, but it has a crucial role in any good card game.

As for strategy, frontline control is crucial. Get there with a Japanese unit, play a Rising Sun to draw two as soon as you can.

Rush in with a Panzer or a Hayabusa to get an extra power boost. On turns 4 and 5 you want to drop a 4. Pioneer Battalion, or some Imperial Orders to buff your frontline. You also want to keep the opponent on the back foot with Naval Operations. The killing blow usually comes from an Honor order or from the 10.5 cm leFH German artillery pieces.

If you do get stuck in the supply line, you can get strangled out of a game.

There are a lot of different flavors of this deck (don’t be afraid to add Eagle’s Claws or lots of different Special or Elite cards in) and it isn’t as mindless as you might think to play it.

I have built versions that use blitz almost exclusively. I have built versions that rely heavily on destruction and direct damage to the HQ. I have built versions that use Japanese artillery. Admittedly, that last one is mostly for the fun of it.

From a zoomed-out-build-a-collection perspective, this is probably the best way to grind out wins and achievements quickly. That will grow your collection quickly and give you access to more cards to either tune this list or start playing others.

Most games are going to be pretty much over by about turn 10 and that probably only takes 10-15 minutes. So, if you are looking to get in a lot of games per hour, then this is your ticket.

Ally – USA

Decklist

Japan

  • Type 93
  • 15th Cavalry Regiment
  • Rising Sun x2
  • Imperial Order x2
  • Naval Operations x3
  • Tora, Tora, Tora x3
  • Akita Regiment x4
  • Mito Regiment x4
  • Type 95 Ha-Go x4
  • Honor x2
  • Type 97 Chi-Ha
  • For Prosperity
  • Model 25 x2

USA

  • M4 Sherman x4
  • Death From Above
  • M5 Stuart x4

 

KARDSPodcast Deck Speed-o-meter (*Patent Pending)

  • Full on Aggressive
  • Front Line Favoring Aggressive
  • Midrange (Aggressive) – This deck
  • Front Line Favoring Control
  • Full on Control

Plan

With any flavor of the Japanese, there is always the option to go all-in aggro. The USA certainly can go that route with multiple buff orders and units.

But let’s try to offer up some variety with this one that is a step slower, but in exchange, we get to be bigger.

You will fall behind very aggressive decks since your units are a touch more expensive.

Don’t panic.

You will have control deck go over-the-top of you in the late game if you don’t finish things off.

Don’t panic.

Use your own units as pseudo-removal orders to grind through any early opposing units and then take that frontline. It should be a little bit easier to hold since 15 percent of this deck gives 1 damage to all of the opposing units with Tora, Tora, Tora and Naval Operations. This can lead to a lot of 2- and 3-for-1s in the early game.

Use the M5 Stuart for another boost since it is a 4 HP unit that can clean up opposing infantry while holding the front line. It is a great candidate for some Imperial Orders.

We aren’t as reliant on Rising Sun to get the card drawing done, but we do have to maintain control to turn on the M4 Shermans.

Once you have an advantage, the best time to strike with this deck is on turns 5-8.

After that, opposing T-34s and Panzer III-Js will start to show up regularly. Keep a Naval Operations ready to pin them all down and use an Honor order, or two, to finish things off as quickly as possible. I would not recommend using Honor to kill an opposing tank, I would use it to gouge into the opposing HQ.

You are midrange deck, but you are an aggressive midrange deck.

Ally – Soviet

Japan

  • Type 93
  • Imperial Order x3
  • Rising Sun x2
  • Type 97 Chi-Ha
  • Tora, Tora, Tora x3
  • Naval Operations x3
  • Akita Regiment x4
  • Mito Regiment x3
  • Ki-43 Hayabusa x4
  • A6M Zero x3

Soviet

  • Bloody Sickle x4
  • 3rd Guards Regiment x3
  • From the People x2
  • 2nd Motor Rifles
  • T-34 1942 x2

 

KARDSPodcast Deck Speed-o-meter (*Patent Pending)

  • Full on Aggressive
  • Front Line Favoring Aggressive
  • Midrange – This Deck
  • Front Line Favoring Control
  • Full on Control

Plan

All-in aggro is in play with the Soviets too. The USSR has multiple 0 operation infantry units, the potentially potent BT-7 tank, and very good cheap removal.

However, both the Japanese and the Soviets have early access to the Ambush mechanic and they offer an interesting playstyle that might take some opponents by surprise. For those unfamiliar, when attacked, a unit with ambush deals its damage first. If that damage is enough to destroy the attacking enemy unit, the defending unit is dealt no damage in return.

The Soviets bring a nice suite of spot removal, card draw, and midrange beef with the T-34s, so, we will use all 12 ally slots in this build.

Our gameplay is three basic steps.

First, use that spot removal, and the 1-damage sweepers to clear the board of early threats. This is where you can get some card advantage (actual or virtual) with the draw off of Bloody Sickle or multiples-for-1 with the sweepers.

Second, find an ambush unit and get it into the front line. Don’t be afraid to use the A6M Zero to do this. As long as you can ping opposing units then that ambush unit should be able to hold the front almost all by itself. The Zero comes with a deploy ping so it is going to take something strong to get through.

This gives us time for our third step, build a small air force or find your tanks and get in there at the HQ. This is an opportunity to use the Imperial Orders and Honor for maximum effect as well.

The specter of opposing blitz tanks is always out there the longer the game goes, but you are going to be throwing some pretty big haymakers in the midgame.

Ally – British

Japan

  • Type 93
  • Imperial Order x3
  • Naval Operations x4
  • Tora, Tora, Tora x4
  • Ki-43 Hayabusa x4
  • A6M Zero x4
  • Type 95 Ha-Go x4
  • Honor x3

British

  • Desert Rats
  • Convoy HX 175 x4
  • For the King x3
  • Hurricane MK I x4

 

KARDSPodcast Deck Speed-o-meter (*Patent Pending)

  • Full on Aggressive
  • Front Line Favoring Aggressive
  • Midrange
  • Front Line Favoring Control
  • Full on Control

Plan

While I think there is a Japanese-British tempo deck (Humber Mk II, Imperial Orders, Naval Power, Naval Operations), we will try to make a go of a control deck at this point.

Standard disclaimer with making control decks when you are new to an environment or have a smaller collection – it is tough to plan for all contingencies.

We are using the full 12 ally slots again in this build because the Japanese do lack spot removal at the lower rarities.

This is deck is really about survival. Since we aren’t playing Britain as the major power we don’t have room to put in the HQ buffs, so we have to pin or pick off anything that the opponent does for the first four turns of the game, at least.

For the King, Desert Rats, Naval Operations, and Hurricanes can all fit into this role. Don’t be afraid to throw the small tanks into that fray either. If they get a boost from the Type 93 all the better (I highly recommend crafting more Type 93s, if possible).

Pulling away with the Convoys in the mid-game helps assemble an airforce that can strike with only a few killing blows.

A few Hayabusa runs, a Hurricane with Honor, or the Zeros getting in at the HQ can finish a fully healthy HQ in just a few turns, but once you have the advantage then you have to strike and strike fast.

Thank You

As with all of the content here at KARDSPodcast, we are open to feedback and questions.

Feel free to send anything to kardspodcast@gmail.com, reach out on Twitter @KARDSPodcast, or hit me up on the Discord channel.

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