by A.J. Coltrane
Star Realms tips, strategy, and collected thoughts.
1. In the first two shuffles I like buying either – economy, Red “deck thinner” cards, or cards that can be Trashed for Trade, such as the Ram (3 Trade when Trashed) or Blob Wheel (same). If it’s the Ram or Blob Wheel then I try to immediately flip them for something bigger. The object is to try to get a big economy engine going without committing to a lot of cards that would represent late-game clutter. Generally I only buy Explorers (2 Trade/2 Damage when Trashed) if literally nothing else is available, and Trash them no later than the 3rd shuffle. I think if I need Explorers after the 3rd shuffle I’ve already lost.
2. Trash Vipers, then Scouts. The tiny amount of damage that a Viper might do isn’t as valuable as the potential 1 extra Trade from a Scout.
3. Buy a maximum of 2-3 Red “thinners”. Red cards are good for thinning the deck and that’s about it. Once the deck has been thinned they’re relatively weak cards.
4. Try to buy a minimum of 3-4 Stations (Bases and Outposts). Bases and Outposts effectively thin the deck for as long as they’re in play, and Outposts function as bonus life every time they’re drawn. I love getting 5 or 6 Stations total, including at least 3 Outposts. That’s a lot of damage prevention.
Late (End) Game:
5. I think the end game starts at around 30 life (for either me or the opponent). I try to focus on Outposts, card draw, and offense after that point — ideally expensive stuff only. No cheap clutter allowed. Which leads to…
6. Don’t feel compelled to spend just because you have it. I generally avoid all 1 cost cards after the first shuffle, and by the time the mid game rolls around I try to avoid purchasing anything that costs less than 5. The exception is Outposts. Outposts = extra life. I like extra life. It’s possible I’m too “purchase averse” — it may be as I play more games I’ll reconsider this point, though right now it appears to be working.
7. Draw > Opponent Discard. In fact, I think Opponent Discard is basically useless, and the cards that have it are relatively too expensive. I say this because I’ve had it happen where I’ve been forced to discard down to two or three cards and redrawn a dozen cards anyway. I actively try to avoid buying Opponent Discard, except lately I’ve been buying a turn 1 Imperial Frigate (if there’s nothing else) and immediately Trashing it for card draw. (With the Frigate I will have paid 3 Trade for 4 damage, 1 Opponent Discard, and 1 Draw. That seems not unreasonable to me. But I’m not going to leave it to suck up space in my deck.)
8. Pay attention to what cards the hard AI likes. Especially Recycling Station.
9. Try to focus on buying only one or two factions + a few Red. Faction bonuses are really important. The exception is that sometimes I’ll snap up a 6+ cost stompy Ship or powerful Station, even if it doesn’t “fit”. I’ll also buy Outposts regardless of what it is, though I still try to match factions if possible.
10. Yellow: Focus on draw and Outposts.
11. Green: I tend to go for off-faction Outposts and Bases. Exception: Blob World is a game-ender.
12. Blue: Really needs a blue-heavy thin deck — without faction bonuses Blue isn’t very good. Blue bases help.