Category Archives: Guides

Star Realms Card Tier Lists (incl Frontiers)

BEFORE READING: For the newest version of the Card Tier List, CLICK HERE!

Original by Scott Heise aka HomerJr
Frontiers content by Rick DeMille aka Darklighter

[Updated 8/26/2019] 

Since HomerJr’s last update to the card tier ranking, Star Realms has added several new expansions.  We’re working on updating the card tier list to include all expansions, but we’ll do so one or two expansions at a time; so it will take a few posts.

Our first update will include the most recent expansion to hit the digital app: Frontiers!

For a brief discussion of each card in the Frontiers set, check out Megahaulin podcast Episode 81, where Dustin and Rick discuss Frontiers.

Updated Tier List

The intent of these Tier Lists is to provide a quick reference to help players, especially newer or less experienced players, when deciding which card(s) in the trade row they should buy (or whether to buy a card at all).  Every card included in the V, 1, B, H, F, & R sets is contained within these lists and grouped into one of three tiers based on the overall value of the card relative to the cost of the card.

HomerJr originally wrote the Tier Lists for the V, 1, B, H, & F sets.  I (Darklighter) have not changed any of HomerJr’s original rankings, and have just added rankings for Frontiers (“R”) using HomerJr’s methodology (as best I could).

While every card in the game can be valuable and help you win, not every card will have equal value over the course of the game thus there are separate Tier Lists for different phases of the game (opening buys, mid game, late game).  Furthermore, many cards are highly situational or valuable only in certain decks.  Please note that this is all the personal opinion of the authors, so don’t take anything in here as law.  🙂   We are always open to feedback, criticism, and discussion.

We rank each card into one of three tiers as follows:

  • Tier 1:  Strong value and/or agnostic to situation; beneficial in almost any deck; you almost always want to have it in your deck if you can
  • Tier 2:  Solid value and/or somewhat situational; may rely on ally ability triggers to be effective; generally a good buy if no Tier 1 card available
  • Tier 3:  Weak value and/or highly situational;  may need exactly the right game circumstances to be effective; best to avoid buying except in rare cases
  • Tier 4:  Poor value in nearly all situations;  buying this card will probably worsen your deck;  you’re probably making a mistake if you’re buying this card

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Guide to Online Leagues

This post provides a guide to the various online Star Realms leagues/tournaments played using the Star Realms digital app.  These are all free, fan-created leagues.

Summary of Ongoing Fan-Created Leagues, with more details about each below:

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The Four Card Types and Deck Archetypes (Part 2)

Written by Brad Elkey aka PanicFire


In the first part of this article I introduced the concept of the Four Card Types. Economy, Combat, Defense, and Card Advantage are types of cards found across all four factions and have different uses throughout the course of the game. Understanding the four types of cards are essential to understanding how they work together to form deck archetypes.

Deck Archetypes:

By changing the ways you combine the four different card types you can create different deck archetypes that work as a cohesive whole. If you only buy cards of a single faction they will all work well together since most of them work towards the same goal (and Continue reading

How to Play Well with Events

By Derek Thompson (aldaryn)

CardsWBorders_0109_45_TradeMission-copy-Copy-213x300For better or for worse, Star Realms is not the game it was upon release, and I don’t just mean that there are more ships and bases. The original core set was a fantastic deck-building game, but an inherent feature of its gameplay was a considerable slowness to the feedback loop. What I mean by that is, when you purchase a card, it usually takes at least a turn (if not several) for it to show up and do anything of use. The basic exception would be buying a card and then forcing a shuffle; the only other exceptions in the core set are Freighter, Central Office, and Blob Carrier, and those require some combination of ally effects and card draws to have immediate effect.

Since then, we’ve had:

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The Four Card Types and Deck Archetypes (Part 1)

Written by Brad Elkey aka PanicFire


These four cards are good in almost any deck, regardless of factions.

Everyone knows factioning is good. If you can stick to buying one or two colors you are more likely to play them together and get their faction bonuses, thereby increasing the efficiency of your cards and the effectiveness of each turn. In an ideal world, you can choose which cards would be available for you to buy ahead of time to maximize this strategy, while keeping your opponent from maximizing theirs. In this world, however, the trade row and your opponent don’t always cooperate with you so you must think more flexibly and adapt to changing circumstances and create cohesive decks not just based around factions but around what the cards actually do and when they will be played. While factioning can provide useful bonuses throughout the game, the real key to victory is purchasing cards for their primary ability in time to be played in the phase of the game where that ability is most useful and by purchasing cards that fit your deck archetype and counter your opponent’s archetype.
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Star Realms Card Tier Lists UPDATED (incl B&B, F&F, Heroes expansions)

BEFORE READING: For the newest version of the Card Tier List, CLICK HERE!

by Scott Heise aka HomerJr

[Updated 1/21/2017] 

A lot has happened since I originally wrote this card tier ranking almost a year and a half ago. Not only have four new expansions containing 16 new ships/bases been released (B&B, Heroes, and F&F), but I played about 5500 more games in that span.  Both of these demand a lot of discussion and necessitate an update to my Tier Lists, so let’s get into it!

Before we get to the updated card tier lists, let’s talk quickly about the new cards introduced in the B&B, F&F, and Heroes expansions.  I think these cards are still new enough to many players that it’s worth going into each card in a little detail.

(If you want to skip to the update Tier Lists, they’re down below with my original ranking concept description.)

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Ranking the 6 Cost Cards

By Patrick Myers aka karmakanik

Once players have grasped the basic strategic principles of Star Realms, they understand that the early game is often about building up enough trade/economy in order to purchase the “power” cards that cost 6 or above.  But what happens when you finally get to up 6 trade and you have a choice of four different 6-cost cards?  Which ones are the best?  The worst?  Which ones fit into which kinds of decks?  When do these cards shine?  When are they weakest?  Read on to find out…

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How do you buy? And can you stop? By Matt ‘TheCutter’ Newburg

An informational traffic sign over a blue sky showing a division of directions - a clipping path is included to separate sign from bkg.

Star Realms fans spend substantial time staring at trade rows. Which cards are the most efficient? Should I counter-purchase? Am I getting enough bases? What about scrap? We scrutinize, rationalize, and eventually settle on the best purchase. Often we see posts asking, ‘What would you take?’ accompanied by a screenshot. Deck Building offers simple-but-lively discussion about what to take, when, and why.

I will ask you to assess your process. Where are you as a Trade Row Decision Maker?

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