Home > Special > Building Battle Pack 2, Part 9: Building on BP2, plus a Draft Tale

Building Battle Pack 2, Part 9: Building on BP2, plus a Draft Tale

November 8th, 2013

Today, I’m going to start talking about the 98 cards being added to the draft pool with War of the Giants – Round 2. I’m also going to go walk you through some of the choices I made during one of our in-house draft testing sessions. This will be a long article, but I hope you enjoy it and get a better understanding of what War of the Giants draft play is going to be like.


Building on BP2

One of the big things about Battle Pack 2 is that certain types of cards were excluded from the set. Single Tribute Monsters, monster removal, and Spell/Trap removal, for example, are extremely rare.

For War of the Giants – Round 2, we scoured every card ever made, looking for fun, balanced, and compelling cards that really make you think about your choices when drafting. We’ve combined this new card pool with some new engineering regarding the way we construct the booster packs, to reach a point where we can add a limited amount of cards to the draft pool that were specifically excluded from Battle pack 2, in order to enhance – but not unbalance – the gameplay.

It’s like adding spices while you’re cooking. You want a little to enhance the flavor, but not so much that you change the nature of the dish completely.


Here were our design rules:

1. It needs to be balanced. There’s a big difference between Raigeki and Raigeki Bottle. Raigeki Bottle requires set-up, requires battle, and creates a lot of interesting strategy choices. It also makes you carefully consider its merits against other cards available to you, when you’re drafting your card pool. Raigeki… well, let’s be honest, Raigeki is a fun card but it doesn’t do any of those things.

2. It needs to be roughly on par with the cards in Battle Pack 2. Again, the point of Round 2 is to enhance your card pool and let you branch out a bit in different directions. Not to overwhelm the BP2 cards.

3. Birds of a Feather Flock Together. This is a huge change and comes down to a bunch of invisible and really complicated/boring things that happen at the factory to govern how the packs are built (about which I won’t go into detail, here). Cards that do similar things will tend to travel in pairs. Or sometimes even in threes or fours. This is extremely important because it means that if you have the opportunity to draft a card that fulfills role X in your Deck, you are extremely likely to be passing at least 1 other card to the player on your right that also does X. Fair is fair, after all.

Not to say that they’re going to take a card that does the same thing you did, of course. Even if taking that card was the best choice for you, it might not be, for them. (See my Draft Tale below for a good example of this.

Oh, one more thing. You can use this knowledge at the start of a draft stage to ‘read’ what the person sitting next to you is doing. This is a Good Thing.


What’s In

So, what does this let us add to the set? In very small quantities, and in a balanced fashion, and keeping in mind that these cards usually have similar companions that your opponents can draft, we were able to add monster removal, Spell/Trap removal, and single-Tribute monsters. But with a twist.

“But taking those things out was what made BP2 work so well. Aren’t you just breaking it by doing this?”

No, because of (a) the high criteria we set for the cards we’re adding, and (b) the pack engineering that both restricts how often these cards show up, and makes them appear in pairs so you only get 1 of the bunch before your opponents get next pick of the mechanically similar cards. (If they want it.)

Of course, there’s a lot more to the set than just that. It’s got plenty of low-Level monsters, battle outcome changers, high-Level Tribute Monsters, and other cards. And in most cases, these cards will be just as compelling and attractive as the previously excluded cards listed above. Which means you have some interesting decisions to make.


Draft Choices – A Tale

“But won’t I always take the monster removal? Isn’t it always better?”

Nope! And that’s the whole point.


Story time!


While we were working on War of the Giants – Round 2, we naturally did a lot of drafting and a lot of Dueling. And we kept records of the order in which all cards were drafted by each person.

I went looking for a good example that involved both hard choices on the part of the players, as well as showing how drafting was a reflection of personal Dueling style. I didn’t have to look far, because the first one I looked at was a great example.


Looking at the draft testing from my perspective, I had already drafted the following cards from the first Battle Pack 2 stage:
Darklord Desire
Power Giant
Darklord Desire (a 2nd copy)
Zero Gravity
Blustering Winds
Miracle Locus
Rush Recklessly
Machine Lord Ur
Hyper Hammerhead (I was pretty happy, and surprised, that this got passed around as much as it did. I had already passed it up in favor of Rush Reckleesly and my 2nd Darklord Desire, but these were tough calls. I was really stoked to get this on the 3rd pass.)
Ego Boost
Bacon Saver
Bacon Saver (a 2nd copy, which I did not include in my Deck)

I had heavily drafted battle outcome changers, and had a total of:
7 Battle Outcome Changers
(Shrink, Zero Gravity, Blustering Winds, Miracle Locus, Rush Recklessly, Riryoku, & Ego Boost)

4 Low-Level monsters
(Copycat, Machine Lord Ur, Hyper Hammerhead – who also counts as removal, & Bacon Saver)

2 Tribute Monsters
(Darklord Desire x 2)

1 Special Summon monster
(Power Giant)

I was really happy with my card pool so far, and had managed to clean up on battle outcome changers. It quickly became clear to me that others were drafting removal cards and monsters as their priority, because those cards were rapidly disappearing from the stacks each time they got passed around.

As a side effect of this, however, I was really short on monsters and definitely needed some more hitting power. And I was desperately short on low-level monsters.  So ideally, what I wanted were some high-ATK level 4’s. When you play Battle Pack 2 sealed pack (with no drafting), you usually have plenty of those monsters. But I had skipped them in the first stage of drafting to pad my deck with all those battle outcome changers.


So now we opened up our Round 2 packs. Here’s what I had in mine:
(IMPORTANT NOTE: This was during the development stage, so not all of these cards made the cut and wound up in the final set!)

Battle Outcome Changers: Black Pendant, Megamorph, Lucky Iron Axe, Nitwit Outwit, Call of the Earthbound, Flint

Monster Removal: Cameraclops, That Wacky Alchemy, Wall of Illusion

Spell/Trap Removal: Worm Apocalypse, Release Restraint Wave, Hypnocorn

Low-Level Monsters: Evilswarm Heliotrope, Evilswarm Obliviwisp

Tribute Monsters: Majestic Mech Goryu


Remember how we started this train of thought, with the false premise that monster removal would always be better? Not in this case! I didn’t need monster removal with all those battle outcome changers I had. But I sure needed some monsters to use them with!

I picked Evilswarm Heliotrope, a Level 4, 1950 ATK Normal Monster.

As the Round 2 stage proceeded, I also picked up Chow Len the Prophet (1800 ATK), Berserk Gorilla (2000 ATK), Swallowtail Butterspy (1800 ATK), and Deep Sweeper (1600 ATK, and doubles as Spell/Trap removal). In the process, I bypassed a bunch of monster removal, including Yomi Ship (I took Chow Len instead), Adhesion Trap Hole, and Different Dimension Gate (I passed on both to grab Berserk Gorilla).

I was also able to pick up the Black Pendant & Lucky Iron Axe from my original pack, which gave me even more battle outcome changers. Plus a Sauropod Brachion & Jurrac Tyrannus, in case I wanted to add another Tribute Monster or two to my final Deck.

When it came time to do the third stage, with our final Battle Pack 2 packs, I added Beast King Barbaros, Krebons, Evocator Chevalier, Botancial Lion, Exarion Universe, Chiron the Mage, and Shocktopus to my Deck. This gave me PLENTY of low-level monsters.

I won the pod.

A big part of my success was that at each stage, I was able to draft things that others were passing up. In the first stage, while I was grabbing the battle outcome changers, others were picking up monsters. In the second stage, while others went for monster removal, I was filling in my monster selection and finishing up my battle outcome changers. In the third stage, when everybody else was trying to fill out their Spell/Trap selection, I cleaned house on high-ATK monsters.

There’s a ton of strategy involved in drafting, but drafting what other people are skipping can net you a lot of great cards for your deck.


Remember how I said I didn’t have to look far to find this? Well, looking at the next record on the list, there were more examples there, too. The reason you don’t have to look far for examples of fun drafting decisions is because every draft will have them! That’s what drafting is all about.

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