Category Archives: Strategy

Let’s Get Physical! [Part 1]

by Alex Sarkesian aka SilentAl

We all love Star Realms, but most of us primarily play online.  In fact, there is a whole lot of the community that either don’t own the physical cards, or if they do, have only touched them to sleeve them and put them away for safe keeping.  Which is fine.  But what happens when you go to a live tournament?  What happens when you want to win a playmat, some cash, or even your face on a card at Origins or Gen Con?

Whether you realize it or not, playing the physical game is a much different experience than playing online.  So, how can you prepare?  How can you transition from being a great player online to a great player in the real world?  Hopefully, this article can help with that.

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Star Realms Card Tier List (added Stellar Allies)

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

by Scott Heise aka HomerJr and Rick DeMille aka Darklighter

[Updated 12/3/2019] 

With the release of Stellar Allies to the digital app on Dec. 4, 2019; we have updated the card tier list to include the cards from Stellar Allies.

The quick access card tier “app” as also been updated.  That “app” can be accessed here.

This update includes one set:

  • Stellar Allies (“L”)

Previous Updates:

Before we get to the updated card tier lists, let’s talk quickly about the cards introduced with the Stellar Allies expansion.

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Star Realms Card Tier List (added Colony Wars)

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

by Scott Heise aka HomerJr and Rick DeMille aka Darklighter

[Updated 11/6/2019] 

FINAL UPDATE! [until the next one] 

With this update the Card Tier List includes all expansions available in the digital app as of Nov. 2019 (except Events, Gambits, Missions).  We will add new sets to the Card Tier List as they are released to the digital app.

This update includes one sets:

  • Colony Wars (“W”) by original Tier List author HomerJr

Previous Updates:

Before we get to the updated card tier lists, let’s talk quickly about the cards introduced with the Colony Wars expansion.

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Star Realms Card Tier Lists (added Y2 Promos & Untied Heroes)

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

-Original by Scott Heise aka HomerJr
-Recent additions by Rick DeMille aka Darklighter

[Updated 10/30/2019] 

This update includes two sets:

  • Year 2 Promos (“2”)
  • United Heroes (“U”)

Previous Updates:

Before we get to the updated card tier lists, let’s talk quickly about the new cards introduced in the Year 2 Promos & United Heroes expansions.

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Star Realms Card Tier Lists (added Command and Assault)

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

-Original by Scott Heise aka HomerJr
-Frontiers, Command, & Assault content by Rick DeMille aka Darklighter

[Updated 9/20/2019] 

This update includes the first two multi-faction sets:

  • United Command
  • United Assault

Before we get to the updated card tier lists, let’s talk quickly about the new cards introduced in the Command and Assault expansions.

(If you want to skip to the update Tier Lists, they’re in the chart below)

Command (“K”) and Assault (“A”) Ships and Bases:

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The Reshuffle: A Strategy Guide (2nd Edition)

by Rick DeMille aka Darklighter

Why a 2nd Edition?

I wrote an article for the Megahaulin blog in 2015 about strategy considerations surrounding the reshuffle in Star Realms.  “The ‘reshuffle’ in Star Realms,” I wrote, “produces some unique strategy considerations, particularly in the on-line game where you must play all cards in your hand.”

Things changed.

Following the Colony Wars update to the Star Realms app, you no longer had to play all cards in your hand, which is consistent with the physical game rules.  You now have the option to “End Turn” before playing all your cards.

EndTurn

So, while many of the principles in my 2015 article are still relevant, other parts of that article no longer apply.

Finally, after hundreds of requests – mostly from myself – I updated this article given that the app no longer forces you to play all your cards.

Basic Principles

The “reshuffle” in Star Realms produces some unique strategy considerations, particularly when you will reshuffle mid-turn.

For example, playing a draw card (e.g., Corvette) when your draw pile is empty will cause your deck to reshuffle during your turn. Any cards in your current hand will not be included in that reshuffled deck. Instead, the cards in your current hand will sit in your discard pile until the next time your deck reshuffles. In other words, when you reshuffle during your turn, the cards in your hand are essentially “lost” for one deck; you will have to wait until your deck reshuffles again to have access to those cards.

This can be good when you are “losing” starter cards for one deck; for one deck those starter cards aren’t diluting your deck. But this can be a bad thing when “losing” stronger cards. Let me set the stage with two examples.

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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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Convoy Bot Changed My Life

Long before I began playing Star Realms, I played an unhealthy amount of Magic: the Gathering. It has always been my favorite thing to counter a spell and shut people down. I could never actually finish someone off with aggressive decks, and they were lacking in choice and card advantage. I’ve always loved to draw extra cards and to come back from behind. So, it’s no surprise that I lean towards blue/red decks in Star Realms, with lots of bases. For a long time, I didn’t touch green cards if I could avoid it.

Furthermore, back in the days before Colony Wars, what is now “top row” was the “big deck” format for a very long time. I felt very confident in that format, and still believe that the top-tier deck is one revolving around bases/scrap/life gain, and that aggro decks are considerably weaker.

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Podcast Episode 77: Happy Holidays!

[Recorded prior to Christmas]

This week Dustin and Matt reveal our end of the year contest winners. Also detailed coverage on the Star Realms SCENARIOS set. They also take a deep dive into the newly released (to digital) UNITED COMMAND set.

Happy Holidays and thanks to all of our listeners in 2017! This was an incredible year and here’s to a great 2018!