Thursday, March 27, 2014

How I Write Deck Articles

So I'm updating the first major article I've ever done on this blog, Dragonic Kaiser Vermillion Narukami, and I felt like taking notes to both help me along with making this article, give myself something in the future to look back on, and maybe share my creative experience with others.

Before I begin building the deck with zero frame of reference to build on, I look through the list of cards Narukami has access to and filter out those that I can't use in the deck. In this specific example, I remove all archetype cards like Eradicators, Brawlers, and the Dungaree specific support. Along with this, due to the rules I put on myself, I filter out any cards that are too many sets ahead. At this point, it's important to not allow any bias into the card selection. Remove cards from the list according to whether or not the deck can use them, not because they don't appear to be able to be used well. In my most recent article, Great Daiyusha vs Reverse Daiyusha, this was integral to helping me notice how much more flexible Great Daiyusha was at allowing for a strong mid game.

This step is extremely important for the next step: Testing. Because I've already filtered out a (large) number of cards I know the deck can't use, it saves me time of trying to have to work around them later on as I experiment with different deck builds. Have you ever heard that saying to 'learn from your mistakes' and such? Forget that. It's a good statement on its own but it misses the point. It's not that you should bluntly focus on your failures and work from that, but you should understand how and why things happened the way they did. This also extends past failures and into success. If you failed, take notes about every reason why you think the deck failed during testing, be it a lack of pressure, failing to build card advantage, or inconsistencies caught up with it. If you succeeded, try to list out why you won. From fighting another deck that it does well against, the amount of card advantage maintained through the fight, or even if small quirks like Early Guarding ended up making all the difference. By the end of the day, your notes should amount to quite a lot, and after cross referencing successes to failures to the deck builds themselves, should lead to a final build or at least a rough draft of one.

Due to the way I structure my deck articles, with me leading off with card choices and how they influence the deck individually, then leading into how the deck should function as a whole, these notes are especially helpful for giving me actual substance to fall back on and write about. With the Narukami article, where my deck's emphasis is on Dragonic Kaiser, Vermillion's Limit Break, you'll find I have a large amount of notes based around Counter Blast efficiency, what cards can function best for the deck without CB and how much CB that Garuda allows for others. This influences the article as I write a lot around how much resource management works in the deck as I set up for Vermillion. Most of these notes around CB efficiency will be falling under the card choices section, due to how a large majority of how CB efficiency works is very specific to each individual card. Along with this, now that I've gotten all the notes about CB efficiency itself out of the way, this allows me more freedom to explain the effects of that CB efficiency as I write on about how the deck as a whole functions, due to the fact I've clarified how resources flow in the deck already. In other words, it makes writing the article far easier for me in the long run if I spend my time early on working through the more technical facts so that I don't need to continue reexplaining them later on.

Hope this gives some good incite into how I work. The revised Vermillion article will be on its way shortly.

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