We are just a few days away from the release of the second set of the My Hero Academia card game, Crimson Rampage. Starting this Friday, local card shops around the country will be holding special pre-release events for eager players to get their hands on cards a little before the official release of the set the following week. For a lot of people, My Hero Academia is not just their first foray into Universus, but trading card games in general. This article will break down how pre-release events for Universus work, what to expect, and even some drafting tips for more advanced players. Hopefully, after reading this article, both old and new players will be able to make the most out of their pre-release experience.
So, first things first, how do you play in a pre-release event? Well, pre-releases are a Draft event. For those that don’t know, a draft is when you open a preset amount of product with the people at your event, and take turns taking cards out of those packs to make a deck to play with. Draft is a variation of Sealed, which lets you play with just cards that you open at the event. In either case, the rules for deckbuilding in sealed or draft MHA are very simple.
Players will open up 6 packs (with most stores charging about $30 for entry), and make a 40 card deck. You can make a bigger deck if you want, but the minimum is 40 cards in your main deck, not including your character. The biggest difference when making a deck for sealed and draft is that you do not have to follow the standard deck building rule for resource symbols. You can include any card in your main deck, as long as it shares at least one symbol with your character. This frees up deck building to include a lot more options within a limited card pool.
Second, you can include more than four copies of any card in your deck. This rule change often supports many winning strategies for drafting. Some cards, even simple ones, can be extremely effective when you are running 10 of them. It’s something to consider when drafting, but we’ll get there in a bit. The last big rule change is that when you run out of cards in your deck (which will happen more often with the smaller deck size) you will only remove from the game 5 cards from your deck after cycling, not the standard 10.
Now, what about characters? Worried you might not be able to run your favorite character if you don’t pull them in your packs? Not to worry, as stores will have access to proxy characters on the MHA website that can be used for whoever wants them. However, even if these aren’t available, your friendly local game store should let you just use your phone to pull up your character if it comes down to it. The idea is that players are able to play whatever character they want during a draft, so whatever gets the job done should suffice.
So, those are all the sealed specific rules, but how exactly do you draft? When you are at your FLGS, depending on the number of players, you will be assigned to a certain table with a certain number of players. For example, if your event has 20 players, you may have 4 tables with 5 players each, and your tournament organizer will tell you which of those four tables you are assigned to. Once there, and you get the all clear from your TO, you will open your first pack. You will then choose one card from the pack to keep, and then pass the remaining cards, in a pile, to the player on your left.
After all the cards are distributed from that pack, you will then open the second pack, choose a card, and then pass the pile to the player on your right. This will continue, alternating between passing from the left or the right with each pack opened, until all 6 packs are opened and all the cards have been evenly distributed to all the players at the table. If it sounds a little confusing on paper, don’t worry, it will click with you much easier when you’re actually there. Of course, if a mistake happens and a player has too few, or too many cards, flag your TO or a judge (if available) to remedy the situation.
That is how draft works in a nutshell. It’s a very easy and fun way to make a deck and play some games, with every player on an even playing field. But, like all things TCG related, there is an element of strategy involved. Sure, what cards you pull are up to RNG like always, and some players might get luckier than you, but the nature of drafting means you have to think about what cards you keep and what cards you take. There are a few schools of thought when it comes to drafting, and one of them is called “shiny hunting” (Ed. Note – or “Rare Drafting!”). This is exactly what it sounds like, you draft the foil cards, your draft deck be damned, and take it from there. Nothing is inherently wrong with this style of drafting, it’s your money after all, but adopting this strategy usually means you don’t care about winning lots of games in the event. As, more often than not, those shiny cards you’re hoarding probably won’t synergize in a deck very well (unless you get really lucky).
You can also do something called “hate drafting”. If there is a particular strategy or card that you know is really good that you either want to use for yourself, or more importantly, keep others from using, then you can keep those cards to yourself. This does run the risk of pigeonholing yourself into one type of strategy that your opponent may not even know, or care about. You don’t want to spend all your time hiding something from your opponent that they were never going to use in the first place. If you’re playing with friends and people you know well, this strategy becomes more effective as you probably know their tendencies and playstyles better.
There are also some general drafting tips that can help you though, especially if you’re new to the format. First, keep in mind what cards you’re being handed, not just what you’re handing out. Seeing what your opponents are passing up on, or are taking, can help inform your strategy. If you opened a lot of Deku cards, but passed them down, and they are all gone when the pile makes its way back to you, then someone is probably building Deku. It is just something to think about.
The next piece of advice is probably the biggest, and something that has hung me up personally in previous draft events I have entered. That being, don’t get stuck on a character right away. You might not pull what you need for them, or enough of what you need, and trying to put a round peg in a square hole won’t help your chances of winning. Instead, try to focus on a symbol when you start drafting. Once you start getting an idea of what symbol(s) you are using, then you can start narrowing down what character you are going to use. Also, try not to focus on more than two symbols, especially when early on in drafting. As you are likely to end up with a pile of mismatched cards that don’t synergize well.
After you have drafted at least two packs, you really need to start targeting specific symbols and character specific cards. Let the first two packs build your base, and then add all the trimmings on top of it with your remaining four packs. Conversely, if you pull a bomb early in your packs that can win you games (like a very powerful UR), it isn’t a bad idea to begin drafting towards building a deck around that card. Just don’t pigeonhole yourself too early on though.
For deck ratios, it is, of course, character depending as more aggressive characters will want to run more attacks. But the general rule of thumb for Universus still applies to drafting. Normally, you want two non-attack cards (foundations usually) for every one attack card. This way you run less of a risk of drawing all attacks with no foundations, or checking too many attacks. A very standard draft deck will contain 14 attacks and 26 foundations. Which skews a little more to the attack side, just to make sure you don’t run out of attacks and can’t win.
Also, if you find yourself with a few slots left in your deck with nothing to fill them, consider adding a couple of character cards. They will still have to share a symbol with your starting character, as per the draft rules. But adding one or two character cards gives you the chance of hitting a very good check (as all characters check a 6), or holding a very good block (all characters have a +0 mid block). I personally wouldn’t run more than two or three so as to not clog your deck, but it is something that shouldn’t be overlooked when drafting.
With all that info, you should be more than prepared enough for the Crimson Rampage pre-release event starting this Friday, April 29th! Check the official Store Locator to find a FLGS near you hosting an event. Then, while you’re there, you can get the exclusive pre-release promo, Alleyway Ambush.
Good luck and have fun, heroes, and remember – Go Beyond! PLUS ULTRA!