View Full Version : Linear Decks VS Intricate Decks.

05-17-2011, 03:29 AM
Howdy folks. So the idea to this thread was spawned while trying to convince my girlfriend to bring her deck to the PTC in June. The observations I related to her spawned a curiosity in me....

Does your meta play linear decks, or intricate decks? Give me a minute to explain what I mean....

Using the term 'linear', I desire to relate a deck with a specific play style and stratagem while eschewing others. This is the sort of deck that I see almost everyone at my local run... It's the typical deck when you mention "(character) deck".... It has one primary focus, and almost quite literally, none other than that. Like the "Zi Mei" decks, which typically go "Fire -> Fury of the Ancients", or Xianghua "Waterfall", things like that. The decks that you just know what are coming next, because it's obvious with no variation..... I know at least four players at my local guilty of this style of deck. The kind of deck that's a train on tracks that aint stoppin' till it's at it's destination, or derailed and destroyed.

Using the term 'intricate', I refer to the decks with more than just 1 win condition. That can deal with just about everything, or if they can't, they can survive long enough to spring something new on ya. The sort of deck where you really have no idea what's going to happen next, where they spring something completely opposite to what you were expecting. The sort of deck where you have to consider and evaluate every move you make, and attempt to read your opponent like an open book. I know at least two, maybe three, players at my local are guilty of this kind of deck. The kind of deck with all the unpredictability of an ever changing labyrinth, with more traps and ways to kill you than a bandit village.

I'll give an example for each... My Marius Gaius deck is very linear, as any earth throw deck is.... Play a throw, pump it up, do damage. Where mine differs is I try and blank my opponent's field permanently, using No Forgiveness!, Memories of a Nightmare, among others. Still, it's purpose is unchanged, it's methods do not shift in the slightest.

My girlfriend's good Sevastian deck off punches is a good example of the 'intricate' deck... A deck built by someone who is primarily a defensive player, while retaining enough aggro to teach her to be more aggro. The thing has an answer to almost everything that gets thrown at it except for bad control checks. It hacks it's progressive difficulty, draws cards when damaged, draws cards when attacking, hacks your card pool with face downs, almost every card is a block... Most importantly, it doesn't have one set kill condition, and out of all the CandI it's faced, it has only had a problem with it once, when Chaosflash had 3 CandI in his hand at once.

The problems with each one... Is that for linear decks, for one any player who's played long enough will know pretty much what the deck is doing. It's built for one thing, with very few defensive options left open to certain deck styles. For the intricate deck, if it's not well constructed, and not piloted perfectly, there's a very strong chance of failing hard. If you don't know your opponent's play style (usually dictated by deck) well enough, you could misread their moves and get trounced. It requires time and consideration, knowing your deck like the back of your hand.. And having the cards to deal with the deck you're facing out at the time you need them....

So what kind of deck do you like to run? I'm going to guess from what I read on the forums, with how everyone responds to deck building threads... And especially the major discussion on CandI a few weeks/months ago... That most of the people here play Linear decks... The 'optimized' deck for a character that does that one thing very well, with all those glaring weaknesses of predictability.... Intricate decks require thinking outside of this little box of what a "perfect deck for a character" is.

I realize that with the meta, it's very hard to build an intricate deck. Very few characters can pull this off effectively to keep your opponent guessing well.... The main problem is there are no characters that support such a form of deck, because most of them have specific effects geared towards specific styles of play.... Still, there are those rare few that have the opportunity for such an occurrence.....

I myself would love to build an intricate reversal/intercept control deck. It's my personal favorite style of play, one that I attempt to use in any card games I play outside of UFS... Unfortunately with UFS I don't have the potential to build one... Lack of cards, and support for such a deck. I'd love to see more potential for intricate decks in the future.

If anyone needs any clarification as to any point of this post, just ask and I'll try and fill ya in... I'm actually halfway nodding of as I type this up, but the curiosity simply wouldn't let me sleep, lol.

Basic debate and discussion I hope to open up.... Which style do you play? What do the people at your meta play? And which do you hope to see more of in the future?

05-17-2011, 03:48 AM
There are lots of "linear" decks in our playgroup, as far as standard is concerned. However, most of our legacy decks would be considered "intricate" due to the large number of threats they pose, and threats they can overcome.

But while you're doing a great job at making people playing straightforward, aggro decks look dumb, I would like to point out that foundation wars between control, "intricate" decks in Legacy are not (by a long way) as much fun as fierce aggro battles in standard. Punishing your opponent with reversals and overpowered foundations might seem like the "smart" way to play (that's what you're implying, isn't it ?), but most of the time it just comes down to a rather dull game of guessing when you're less likely to get punished by your opponent's retaliating power...

I'm a strong advocate of building a character along its strengths as best as possible, and to hell with its weaknesses... I like the metaphor of the train you used in your post. In Magic the Gathering, I like to play white and / or blue control, and to outsmart my adversary. In UFS, I just wanna be the train.

05-17-2011, 04:00 AM
In UFS, I just wanna be the train.

Hell yes, Awesome Quote of the Day award.

05-17-2011, 08:44 AM
Didn't have time to read it all yet, or "tl;dr" lol :P

But, in my meta there are both. There are the straightforward Reese, Ivy, and to a "somewhat" lesser extent even my tira deck (has a few different win conditions but Tira is Tira lol).
Then there are Vapor and Hurricane's decks. Usually Vapor just prevents you from winning until he wins by default (I don't mean he always mills or anything, i mean eventually you "can't win" and he does, lol) and with Hurricane lately it seems every card in his deck is a kill condition lol.

We don't play legacy. We have sharp sticks and instead stick those in our eyes because it is more pleasant.

05-17-2011, 08:50 AM
Great thread, man! Good points and observations all around. I confess that i'm a very linear style of deck-builder and player. That is to say, when deck building i try to figure out how my deck is going to win, and then i throw a ton of cards to support that win condition, first. I'm very aggro-centric, and within 'aggro' i prefer to play overwhelm/rush and throw 6+ attacks at my opponent a turn, rather than playing only one or two attacks and boosting their speed and damage values to atmospheric values.

However, there is a game-within-the-game that i like to play where i like my decks to be surprising. For example, you cited that when you see certain characters you automatically assume to know what kind of game you're up against when facing them (Xian with "Waterfall", Zi Mei with "Fury"). Well, i do run Xian, but i doubt you've seen anything like the Xian i run; it's unexpected what it does and how it runs, and yet it is a very linear deck-type. It either wins gloriously, or it's a glass-cannon.

I like decks like that. :)

Within my playgroup expect to see both linear-style decks and mad-genius intricate decks. Both deck-types are viable and contain several different build and play-styles across nearly every character. You can play the Reversal/Intercept game in UFS, it just takes a bit of thought to build a good Reversal/Intercept deck.

2 Cents,

05-17-2011, 09:08 AM
Hmmmm well I have no playgroup here xDD

But well in Costa Rica we only played Legacy. But all of us always were messing around with ideas for decks so our decks were very VERY Intricate. I made decks for fun that ended up being very annoying hahaha. Like sending attacks with 150+ damage :P

05-17-2011, 09:30 AM
Depends what's your basis of comparison.

If you think any monosymbol deck is linear, then I'm the only one playing intricate decks 'round these parts.

05-17-2011, 10:02 AM
No, what he means is, let's say I wanna build an "Amy Deck":

Then I add:


Triple Botta in Tempo
Flash Needle
Bloody Funeral
Soaring Dance

To the Ends of the Earth
Not Human
Together Again

and so on. All of those are Amy's cards. That's mostly what would make a linear deck very predictable. OR some kind of deck like in Yugioh, the ones that everyone builds EXACTLY the same as everyone else.

Examples of this are:

Most Marius Gaius decks (Or any other Earth Throw deck)
Most Amy decks
Most Mitsurugi decks
Most Zi Mei decks
Most Eva decks

and so on.

05-17-2011, 12:29 PM
Not the point - it all depends on what's your perspective on the "linearity" of decks.

05-17-2011, 02:17 PM
lisa's sevastian deck isnt an "intricate" deck, its your average good symbol'd deck

05-17-2011, 11:37 PM
I agree with most of what you said vex. However I disagree with a few points.

First is that what your describing is the classic net deck vs jank. At least to me. A lot of the threads in deck building support this as usually they end up referring to certain key optimized cards. And these tend to be kill cards such as fury of the ancients.

Second is that several characters currently have support for some fundamentally odd decks. Zhao Bleed is an example it only runs like 8-10 attack cards and kills thru blocks and remove from game. I think its less about have the characters that create jank and more about finding creative ways to use them. Even normal characters can be used in abnormal ways, such as using christie support with sigfried to make strong fast kicks.

Right now I am running a super defensive Evil Netahli deck and Good Sevastian combo deck. the netahli is probably what you would call an intricate deck, its hard to play and requires the opponent to quasi-exhaust themselves to get damage thru. The sevastian deck is the closest thing to aggro that seems to work for me (most just fall on there face). it's a pretty standard good combo deck but the attack lineup is kinda weird. Hope this is what your looking for.

05-18-2011, 12:26 PM
My name is VaporGecko, and I'm an out-fighter.

I play almost exclusively intricate decks. As I've been watching the metagame evolve I've realized more and more that there is a lot of variability, and potential to build absolutely amazing toolbox decks. All of my recent builds have been multi-win condition, and like Sal said, been the sort that create scenarios where my opponent simply cannot win the game. Yes my rounds tend to push out to 20-30 minutes and 6-8 turns, but it is a fantastic play style and I love it to death. I'll probably post something about my opinion on the meta after the PTC.

I also really appreciate Hurricane's deckbuilding. He has some of the most fantastic aggro builds I've ever seen, and a great game sense. I really don't think he suffers from being a linear player either, since he is perfectly ready to throw down surprises and capitalize on mistakes. His most recent decks have been pretty magic-bullet proof. They don't have bad match-ups, just better ones. I think a lot of linear decks can end up squaring off against something that instantly kills them, and Hurricane's ability to build decks that don't have exploitable flaws, and simply force you to out-play him is the key to building a solid deck. I wouldn't say his an intricate builder, he has very clear goals in mind, and hammers through to them without pause or giving up an inch. He is a brilliant in-fighter.

P.S. I have never been a boxing fan, but after watching Hajime No Ippo through seasons one and two, I feel like I have a pretty damn expansive knowledge of the sport and it's terminology now. It is a fantastic anime.

Wild Party Hat
05-18-2011, 12:53 PM
This thread made of 100% wall-of-text.

05-18-2011, 03:04 PM
This thread made of 100% wall-of-text.

My walls are one sentence long. They are also from Jericho.

05-18-2011, 07:45 PM
so you're breaking down the Walls of Jericho... eh

really how our playgroup is when we get together and i'm not joking... we just pull random ideas out of our *** and play those decks w/o care of combo or whatever for the most part, though i do keep side decks that are mostly Combo or just off the wall ideas.


05-19-2011, 02:10 PM
so you're breaking down the Walls of Jericho... eh

Much prefer the Lion Tamer though.

06-02-2011, 12:17 PM
Back when I was more active in the game, I played both kinds of decks. I went as intricate as a Catch-22 Mitsurugi or as linear as K' Check Hack. It was fun either way it went though. Mitsurugi would pull a Burning Knuckle out of nowhere sometimes and attackwise set my opponent up for an easy choice: Block and take 10, or don't block and take 10? It was funny.