By Chris Newton
Hi guys, in our last Deckbuilding article, we talked briefly about the bare-bones basics of deckbuilding and the strategy of picking your Persona based on your preferences. This week, I will be taking the next step and focusing your deckbuilding on learning to ‘metagame,’ or planning your deck around what other players may be doing.
As a long time card game player, I always loved to sit and muse over possible match-ups for my next tournament. What decks would I see? What are the odds that I will run into multiples of that deck type? And in the course of this musing, I eventually arrive at a conclusion of which deck I want to play. Am I going to attack the field or am I going to roll with the flavor of the month? These are all metagame strategies that exist with Age of Primes as well.
Despite the deckbuilding restrictions around your house and Persona, Age of Primes actually offers a ton of potential deck types with which to stretch your metagaming cravings. As I mentioned last week, you can quickly get overwhelmed when you first start contemplating a Persona in tandem with your deck’s personality. Today, I am presenting an approach to a Taren Blaine build that will highlight how important card selection and synergy can be when attacking the meta.
Let’s be honest… It is Wren Week, so it really narrowed my decisions. We focused on Sly in my last Deckbuilding 101 article, so we only have Taren or Roman left. Further, Episode I is called Firstborn! How can I pick anyone else, right? I mean… it’s named after her! Look at her card!
The great thing about Taren is that she is really good at exploiting the Replace rule. In fact, Taren is the very reason for the rule. In case you are unaware, because you can have a maximum of five Followers in your Party, it is super-easy for Taren to completely fill her party by the end of the first turn or two. After thinking about this a while, we had two decisions: either change Taren’s design or revise the rules to allow players to recruit Followers even when the Party was full; thus the Replace rule was created.
Replace has two rules:
First: If your party is filled to the maximum capacity of five Followers, you may still recruit a Follower. In this case, you chose a Follower in your party, trash it and place the newly recruited Follower in its place. Those Followers are never in play at the same time, therefore they don’t trigger off of each other. You are still recruiting and defeating a Follower, so normal effects are still triggered. This does not count as selecting and does not trigger Splice. Additionally, the newly recruited Follower is put into the same position in the party that the existing Follower held. If the original Follower was in position #2, then the newly recruited Follower is also placed in position #2.
Second: Primes and Unique Followers in your party are limited to a single copy. If you recruit another copy with the same name, you Replace the first copy with the second. If your party is full and you recruit a Unique Follower with the same name as one in your party, you must select the existing Unique Follower as your Replaced card. Meaning, you can’t select another Follower and have two copies of that Character in your party.
And in general, that is how Taren Blaine operates — taking advantage of the Replacement rule. If you are not aware of her story, Taren is the leader of a gang of children and teenagers who flock to her, as she is the embodiment of the youth movement in Macedon. Because of this, she has no ends of an army to both protect her, and drive an opponent crazy with tricks. She is also protected by her best friend, and a name that you will become very familiar with, Ginger Hind.
As you might expect, the fact that Taren can summon Ginger means that she is going to be a pretty darn good strategy. Ginger is as powerful as your party size, including your Primes. She also has Glory, which means that she is a threat to be a game-ender. This just means that we need to protect her from Action removal… and that leads into the Taren Blaine deck. This version of Taren is generally an aggro deck. Taren’s goal is to generate as much prestige as possible early game to break into the 10+ Threshold. This is accomplished by recruiting a party full of Fighter tokens in order to clog up the battlefield and allow you to begin Replacing the tokens with Followers that have the “Glory” ability such as Glory Seeker and Blackguard Thug. If those cards don’t show up, you can offset that with a well-timed Glory of Wren, boosting a Fighter token to a 4-5 Might Follower with Glory.
One of the great aspects of Age of Primes is the Global Threshold Rule, which allows many cards to become stronger as the game progresses into later stages. If you don’t know, the Global Threshold Rule means that if ANY player has broken the required threshold, it turns on for all players. So as soon as anyone clears 10 prestige, Taren’s ultimate ability comes online and she can begin to recruit Ginger from your hand or deck. You can use the ability whenever you feel the time is right. The important part is that this doesn’t require your play for the turn, therefore you are clear to also play cards to defend Ms. Hind.
This deck really wants to keep Ginger on the board and ensure that she remains there. Using only Wren cards, we have two really good ways to do that. First, Recover will allow Ginger to be re-recruited if she is defeated. This is awesome because it forces an opponent to spend another piece of removal to defeat Ginger. Let’s face it, almost no one is strong enough to duel her and win without help. This makes it pretty deflating when you have to draw into yet another removal card to deal with her.
The second option for this deck is Back from the Brink. This powerful card allows Ginger to absorb the removal that will inevitably be thrown her way and bring her back (netting you an extra prestige when you re-recruit her!).
If we want to take a look outside of Wren, Neutral cards such as Shield Wall and Heightened Reflexes offer additional options to protect her from combat related answers, but really these may be overkill as I said earlier… no one wants to attack into a 7 Might Ginger, so combat tricks are probably not needed.
The aggro version of Taren also needs to have a lot of Followers to power Taren’s first ability. In addition to the Seeker, Thug and Veteran, I recommend Followers like Blackguard Captain and Taren’s Lookout as means to keep up the fight. The Captain rewards recruiting of Thugs and Veterans and the Lookout continues to recruit Tokens through the game, drawing Taren ever so closer to victory.
One last trick before I present my decklist… Shelter. Early game, Shelter is really good at holding a more aggressive deck at bay, like Roman Jackson, to let your engine warm up. However, later in the game, Shelter becomes a weapon. The 15+ Threshold ability on Shelter is extremely powerful when an enemy attacks into a party full of tokens. Not only does it cancel the duel’s damage, but you gain prestige for each Follower in your Party! If I was at 15 Prestige, gaining five during your turn is an incredible momentum changer. Especially, if I refresh and play Glory of Wren on my champion token and gain six during the duel.
Let’s take a look at my build for Taren Blaine Aggro:
1 Taren Blaine
2 Sylvester McCormick
3 Ginger Hind
3 Charging Ruffian
3 Glory Seeker
3 Blackguard Captain
3 Hired Killer
2 Blackguard Thug
2 Taren’s Lookout
3 Glory of Wren
3 Cold Blood
2 Back from the Brink
2 Midnight Raid
So there’s Taren’s most forefront strategy: flood the board, and keep the pressure mounting. I think there are other directions you can take her as a Persona, but it will take a lot of experimenting, which is part of the fun of card games. Who knows which strategies will ever land on top?
What did you think of my Taren build? Would you change a few card selections? What kind of meta decisions would impact your deck build? Place your responses on either our Facebook page or in the comments below so that we can discuss your thought! Also, if you have a topic idea that you would like me to discuss in the future, please feel free to let me know.
Don’t forget to join our Age of Primes Discord channel where you can talk with other fans and our design team in real-time.