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art (c) Mike Trap

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Ramping Up

A deck-construction technique that I've grown very fond of over the years is the inclusion of "ramp-up" 1-cost characters.  They can often take the place of an extra foundation character -- I like to push the rule of 5's a little, as I often find that running just 20% foundations is a little erratic, especially in multi-faction decks. 

To more clearly define ramp-up:  Getting the required number of resources to play that cards that really make your deck work requires time and power.  Sure, Kar Fai is going to kick-butt once he enters play, but you need to get him in to play.  If you do that strictly through foundation characters that don't do much of anything but a little fighting while building resources, you've spent 5-10 power and 5 draws just to play Kar Fai.  But, if instead you've played Student of the Dragon, Hacker, 2 Scrappy Kids an a Consumer on the Brink, you've still spent 5 power and 5 cards, but 3 of them were superior to foundations.  Putting ramp-up characters in your deck also has a late game benefit -- Now that you've got Kar Fai in play, which would you rather draw:  Friends of the Dragon or Chinese Doctor?

I like playing about 3-4 Ramp-ups in an average size deck (70 or so cards).  Below I've listed cards that you are almost always going to see in my decks.  Notice that I've only picked ones with what I consider to have useful abilities -- while cards like Jack of all Trades look good on the surface, a ramp-up card really needs a potentially useful ability, and Jack's ability is only really useful in just a few decks (BattleMatic) so he is really no better than an extra foundation.

You may notice that some of the factions don't have good ramp-ups -- write to Z-Man and let them know you want to see more cards like this!

Arcanowave Researcher, Assassin Bug*, Midnight Whisperer

Cabinet Minister, Gruff Lieutenant

Chinese Doctor, Consumer on the Brink, Scrappy Kid

Gardner, Yellow Geomancer

Simian Sneaker

None!

Ice Courtiers

None!

None!

*Only in a deck with all -providing foundations

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