It’s the final week to earn your Blob World seasonal challenge foil. I’ve got 16 stars this season, 9 stars left to go, and this week I am tasked to navigate a Tech Boom. We’re building up a fleet like there’s no tomorrow — because there isn’t! Games are fast and deadly, leaving little space for misplays or missed opportunities.

I’ve had a fantastic week so far, going 0-2, 6-1, 1-2, 6-0. Unlocking this format involved losing to a Legends Series winner, and learning to buy cards I would never buy.

Format Rules and Technical Data

The scenario rule for Tech Boom leads one to think of a certain cartoon hedgehog. Gotta go fast!

When a player plays a non-starter ship, they gain +1 combat. When they play a base, they draw a card. We’re playing with the Colony Wars starter, along with Promo Packs 1 and 2. Trade decks begin with 111 cards this week, including both Mercenary ships (Merc Cruiser and Merc Battlecruiser). With the base-heavy theme of Promo Pack 1 and the cheap bases of Colony Wars, you are heavily incentivised to buy bases.

Only two technicals notes this week:

  • Because almost all rules text on bases are activated, you will draw a card before you have to make any decisions with those bases. This means that you will always draw a card before deciding which card (if any) to scrap with Fortress Oblivion.
  • Explorer is not a starting ship. You will rarely buy one this week, but if you do and play it you will get the bonus +1 combat.

Buy Every Cheap Base

I usually do not lay out an automatic always-must-do rule for these articles, but this week I have to. You must buy every base that costs 2 or 3 when they appear, basically every single time. There are a few examples when you would not want to do this — if you can buy a 6+ cost ship, for instance — but otherwise those cheap bases just have to be purchased.

Want proof? Watch a sped-up replay of my game against Crshaner also known as Star Realms Legends Series Winner Chris Shaner.

Stellar Reef is a solid card when it also draws you a card. Warning Beacon and Storage Silo are now worthy of a first-deck purchase. Orbital Platform and Fortress Oblivion are now amazing. If you had a Star Empire ship that cost 3, drew a card, cycled a card, and gain you 4 authority, you could probably always purchase it. If you had a Machine Cult ship that gained you 4 authority, scrapped a card, and drew you a card, you would probably always purchase it. Now you can, and instead of ships, you have bases that all combo off of each other!

IMPORTANT TIP: Save your trade-row scrapping cards until the end of your turn. If you purchase something and a cheap base appears and you can’t purchase it, scrap it from the row to deny your opponent that opportunity.

Assume Bases and Purchase Accordingly

There will be bases. How do you react? There are plenty of base-punishing ships and you should buy them early and often. Lancer is almost always 7 damage for a low 2-cost purchase! Remember that non-starter ships always get +1 combat, and your opponent will usually have a base in play. There are three copies of Lancer in the deck. That and the one copy of Knightstar (usually 10 damage and oftentimes draw a card, all for 5 trade) are enough to tilt me towards Star Empire this week.

Other factions have powerful anti-base options as well. The Blob has two copies of War Kite, and one each of Plasma Vent and Leviathan. The Trade Federation only has two copies of Frontier Ferry but they are key to purchase due to the authority gain (see next section). Machine Cult has one copy each of Cargo Mech, The Ark, and Mech Cruiser. All of these cards have “Destroy target base” as an ability, and you will always find use of that ability in the latter stages of the game.

Authority Gain Is Great! Scrapping, Not So Much.

Because there is so much additional damage this week, and there are so many cards that destroy bases, you can assume that your bases will not survive a single turn. Buy them anyways, of course, because they give good effects, draw you a card, and give you defense. But if you are serious about defending yourself, you must have authority gain. Every single game I’ve played this week without authority gain has ended before turn 18. That’s just nine turns per player, and usually less!

Don’t force it if it isn’t there. You can win without authority gain, but you will need to have a fast plan to make it happen. However, if you begin the game with Storage Silo, Trade Hauler, Frontier Ferry, and/or Federal Transport, you’ve got the basis of a deck that can stretch the game out. Stretch it out long enough to make deck-scrapping cards worth it, in fact.

Without authority-gaining cards, I would avoid most of the deck-scrapping cards. I would purchase any two-cost base over Battle Bot or Repair Bot, for instance. Because of the speed of the format, you aren’t shuffling your deck often enough to justify the loss of card advantage by choosing a deck-scrapper over a cheap base.

In Conclusion

This format is a little “swingy” — the luck can swing towards you or away depending on the first few cards on the trade row. That, combined with the speed of the format, can discourage some players. Don’t let it get you down! Hopefully these tips help you to maximize that swing when it goes your way.

Andrea Davis is an award-winning designer and producer. They have designed Star Realms promos, Hero Realms Boss Decks, and cards for Epic Card Game. Andrea is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Game Design and Development at the University of Limerick in Ireland.