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Neopets Trading Card Game 101: Anatomy of a Deck

by neopian_queen_liana


GAME TABLE - You’ve tried the online tutorial of the Neopets Trading Card Game. You’ve played a few games with the starter decks. You understand the rules, but you’re ready for a new challenge. What do you do next? It’s time to start building your own decks! There’s only one problem; you don’t know where to start! This article is the first step towards building your own great decks.

Within this article, we’ll go step by step and create a sample deck. Please note that this isn’t an incredible deck. I chose only the cards that are most easy to understand. Many cards have special abilities that read “If you do this, then this happens.” Very few of the cards I have included have any special card effects of abilities for the sake of simplicity.

There are very few rules to building your own deck. First, you need a minimum of 40 cards in your deck. You want to stick as close to this number as possible, as it increases your odds of drawing what you need. Second, you must have at least 10 Basic Neopets in your Neopet stack. Again, you want to keep this down to the required amount, allowing you to draw what you need without wasting turns searching for the right Neopet. Finally, you may not have more than 3 copies of a card in any deck. Now that you know the required rules, here are a few things to keep in mind.

To win the game, you need to bank 21 points before your opponent. To bank that many points, you have to have cards to bank. I recommend that about half of any deck should be made up of Equipment and Items, which are the only bankable card types.

Another thing to keep in mind when building your deck is faerie type. With six faerie types to pick from, you might be tempted to stick to a single faerie type or to have a little of each faerie type in your decks. There are a lot of cards that target a single faerie type, so it’s dangerous to pick a single faerie type. If you try to use several or all the faerie types, you’re going to waste a lot of time trying to get the right Basic Neopets on the board so you can play cards of different faerie types. Right now, the best thing to do is pick only two faerie types for your deck.

Now that we know the rules, we can start building our deck. Although more experienced players often build decks around specific themes or card combinations, some of the greatest decks begin with Experienced Neopets.

Experienced Neopets are stronger versions of Basic Neopets. When you draw an Experienced Neopet, you simply replace a Basic Neopet in play with an Experienced Neopet of the same species. The Experienced Neopet keeps any Equipment that was attached to the Basic Neopet.

Many Experienced Neopets have great effects! For example, the Grarrl Gladiator allows you to win instantly if you roll a 5! You automatically win on a 6 normally, so with the Grarrl Gladiator, you automatically win a third of the time before even considering the cards stats!

Normally when building a deck, you’re doing to want to pick two to three species of Neopets to play with. This will make it easier to draw the Neopet you need rather than wasting time looking for the right one. So when choosing your Experienced Neopets, pick out of only two or three species. Let’s start building our deck.

I’ve chosen the Aisha Slorgrider and the Starry Scorchio. Again, for the sake of simplicity, these cards have no special abilities so it doesn’t get too confusing. The Aisha Slorgrider has a 12 in magic and an 11 in intelligence. When playing, we’ll try to get two of those in play as soon as possible, one in each of those arenas. The Starry Scorchio has a strength stat of 12.

Now that we have out Experienced Neopets, we need the matching Basic Neopets for our Neopet stack. Since we are trying to get two Aishas on the board and only one Scorchio, we’ll pick six Aishas and four Scorchios to go in the stack.

After choosing our Basic and Experienced Neopets, we have one arena that is undefended. This is where Villains come in. Villains allow you to block off an arena. You don’t tap them, you can’t start a contest with them, and you can‘t equip them. Neither you nor your opponent may start a contest in that arena until the Villain is beaten in a special Villain contest. To play a Villain, just follow the directions on the card. Villains are pretty specific. In contests against a Villain, the Villain does not get to play an Item or roll a die.

For this deck, I’ve picked Farlax V, a light faerie type Villain, to block the agility arena. A light Villain is better for this deck because there are two Light Neopets and only one Fire Neopet, so the odds of being able to play it are higher. Farlax reads, “To play this, you need a Light Neopet. Dark Rivals get +5 to all stats in contests against this Villain. When this Villain loses a contest, the player who defeated it draws a card.” So to play Farlax, you just need to have a light Neopet (Basic or Experienced) in play. You can start a contest against Farlax to gain the card draw, but the point of Farlax in this deck is to block your opponent from winning in the agility arena.

Farlax isn’t incredibly powerful for a Villain, so we’re going to add something to help it out a bit. This is where Locations come into play. When you play a Location, put it in an arena. If there’s already a Location in that arena, discard it. Locations are tricky because they benefit or hurt both you and your opponent, so you have to plan this well. For this deck, we’re going to add Oubliette, which states, “Play this only in the agility arena. Players can’t draw cards for winning contests here.” Since we are only playing a Villain in agility, this card won’t hurt us, and will keep our opponent from drawing a card for beating Farlax!

Looking over our deck, it’s obvious that our Experienced Neopets could still use a boost, so we’re going to pick Equipment. I’ve chosen Battle Hammer (+6 in strength), Bzzt Blaster (+6 in magic), and Goo Blaster (+6 in intelligence). These should beef up our Experienced Neopets enough to all us a few wins. They’re also bankable, so if our pet seems to be dominating an arena and there are extra Equipment cards in our hand, we can use them for banking instead of equipping them.

Speaking of bankable cards, in a deck for a beginner, I would recommend at least 9 Items with a bank value of 4. Bank 4 Items don’t have great stats, but it will really make any contests you win count. For 4 point bank cards, we’re going to add Illusen’s Charm, Moon Charm, Bottle of Grarrl, and Shadow Breeze, giving us 12 cards with a bank value of 4. Another Item that is a must for almost any deck is a Rainbow Paint Brush. This card allows you to get your Experienced Neopets into play much faster. So we’ll add three of those.

At this point we have 39 cards in our deck. This leaves just enough room for a couple of Something Has Happened (SHH) cards! Something Has Happened cards are usually self-explanatory. When you play a Something Has Happened, show it to your opponent, do what the card says, then discard it. Since we’re playing with Light and Air faerie types, a couple of great SHH cards come to mind, each bringing up a new piece of information about the game.

Card draw is extremely important in the Neopets Trading Card Game. You can’t bank, equip, or play what you don’t have in your hand. Library Visit is a Light SHH card that allows you to tap a Light Neopet to draw two cards! This is a very helpful ability to get cards into your hand.

Another thing you’ll notice as you get to know the cards is that most 4 point bank cards are Foods. This is why Crop Failure is a great card. Crop Failure allows you to choose a Food in your opponent’s bank and discard it! All you need is to have a Fire Neopet in play. This will help you to keep your opponent’s bank under control!

We’ve got our Villain set up, but what do you do about Villains your opponent lays to block you? The solution is Banishment. You need to tap a Light Neopet to use it, but it’s worth it! Banishment allows you to remove a Villain from the board, then look at your opponent’s hand and deck, and remove all Villains with the same name! That’ll take card of a few pesky Villains!

At this point, we’ve covered every card type but Heroes. I don’t recommend using Heroes as a beginner. Heroes take a lot of concentration, and most people only play them in Hero theme decks. We won’t be using any in our deck.

We’ve finished! Let’s take a look at the deck we’ve put together:

Basic Neopets:

3 Blue Aisha

3 Red Aisha

1 Blue Scorchio

3 Red Scorchio

Experienced Neopets:

3 Aisha Slorgrider

3 Starry Scorchio




3 Farlax V


3 Oubliette

Something Has Happened:

3 Library Visit

3 Banishment

3 Crop Failure


3 Battle Hammer

3 Bzzt Blaster

3 Goo Blaster


3 Illusen’s Charm

3 Moon Charm

3 Rainbow Paint Brush

3 Bottle of Grarrl

3 Shadow Breeze

Bankable: 24

Other: 21

Total: 45

Now that you have a better idea of how to build a deck, you can start creating your own! Try to keep them as simple as possible on your first few tries; there’s a lot to remember! Once you feel confident that you understand how each card type works, you can move on to more complicated decks, but this should give you a good start. What are you waiting for? Go build a deck, but beware; it’s addictive!

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