Buffy Deckbuilding 101: The Resource Deck

"Ready to get down, you funky party weasel?". - Xander, Season Two: Surprise.

Buffy Deckbuilding 101: The Resource Deck by Reason

In Buffy the Vampire Slayer Collectible Card Game, your Resource Deck holds all your Characters, Actions, Items, and Skills. This is the deck you draw from to make up your hand.

For BtVS CCG, there are a few rules that must be followed when constructing your Resource Deck.

Your Resource Deck must contain at least 40 cards, including the level 1 Character card for your Main Character (the one whose Essence card you are using). There is currently no maximum to the number of cards that may be in your Resource Deck.

NOTE: As of Feb. 1, 2002, the minimum Resource Deck size for official tournaments sanctioned by Score is 60 cards, not 40. Please make the necessary adjustments before attending tournaments in your area.

Your Main Character's Essence card, your Location cards (if any), and your Challenges are not considered a part of your Resource Deck and do not count towards the 40 (or 60) card minimum.

Your Resource Deck may contain up to three (3) copies of any card.

An Evil deck (one that uses Spike, Drusilla, The Master, or Collin as the Main Character) may only contain Villian and Minion (red bordered) Character cards in the Resource Deck.

A Good deck (one that uses Buffy, Angel, Giles, or Willow as the Main Character) may only contain Hero and Companion (blue bordered) Character cards in the Resource Deck.

Your Resource Deck may not be more than 50% Character cards.

Your Resource Deck may not be more than 50% Action cards.

Almost all Resource Decks will be constructed with one goal in mind: to win the game. You win the game either by either controlling (being the only player with Character cards at) Sunnydale Park for six consecutive turns, or by being the first player to accumulate a total of 10 Destiny Points by winning Fights or completing Challenges. How your deck accomplishes this goal is referred to as your deck's strategy. Each and every card in your deck should be a part of your deck's strategy.

The Strategy you choose will determine how you build your Resource Deck.

Say your strategy is to control Sunnydale Park. To do this, your deck will have to contain cards that accomplish that strategy. You will probably get into a lot of Fights to keep your opponent's characters out of the Park, so you will need Characters, Items, Skills, and Actions that will help you win Fights. You will also need to include cards that will help make sure the game lasts at least 6 turns - the minimum necessary to gain a Control Victory. If your opponent wins with 10 Destiny Points on the 5th turn, you won't have a chance to control Sunnydale Park, so you may need to disrupt your opponent's strategy long enough to establish your control over Sunnydale.

A more advanced strategy might be to defeat the evil Challenge The Master Returns in an attempt to gain all 10 Destiny in one turn. To do this would be difficult, but possible: The Master Returns awards 6 Destiny when it is defeated. The Location card Pool of Blood (where the Challenge must be played) awards you an extra Destiny Point if one of your characters defeating the has the Demonology Trait. And finally, the card Offer of Ugly Death awards you an extra Destiny Point for defeating a Challenge. Since your deck may contain up to 3 copies of Offer of Ugly Death , you may play three of them during the Challenge/Resolve phase to add 3 Destiny to the Challenge.

6 Destiny (the Challenge) + 1 Destiny (Pool of Blood's text) + 3 Destiny (three Offer of Ugly Deaths ) = 10 Destiny, all in one turn!

So, to use this strategy, you would need Characters, Items, Skills, and Actions in your Resource Deck to provide the Smarts, Weirdness, Charm, and the Spellcraft Trait needed to defeat the Challenge. You would also need a way to get the Demonology Trait (either by playing a Character with Demonology, or a card like the Skill Demonology 101 that gives you the Trait) , as well as three copies of Offer of Ugly Death.

Your Resource Deck, during the game, will be shuffled, placed face down (with the card backs showing), and drawn from randomly. This means you will rarely know what cards you are going to draw next, and will not usually be able to draw a specific card. Therefore, the goal when building a Resource Deck is to maintain a balanced deck full of cards that will (hopefully) be useful to you at any point in the game. It's not usually a good idea to focus your entire strategy around one card; even in a 40 card deck (the minimum) your chances of drawing that one card exactly when you need it are slim.

There is no set rule about how many of each card to include (i.e. 12 Characters, 4 Items, 4 Skills, and 20 Actions in a 40 card deck). Each deck will be different from your last. You should be prepared to tune your deck through playing, i.e. refine and rebuild the deck as you play. Even the best players rarely get their decks exactly how they want them the first time.

For example, let's say after you build a deck you find you are not drawing enough Characters when you need them (usually early in the game). You end up waiting several turns before you feel you have enough characters on the table to attempt Challenges or to get into Fights. Though perhaps you felt like you had the right card mix when you put the deck together, actually playing the deck has proven that this has been a problem for you. So, you need to tune your deck in an attempt to increase the number of characters you draw early in the game.

There are several ways to do this. The most obvious, of course, is to simply add more Characters to your deck. If you did this, you would then have to decide whether to just leave your deck as is, and play with a larger Resource Deck, or to take a few non Character cards out of your deck to make room for new Characters without increasing the size of your deck. I'll talk a little more about deck size in a later Deckbuilding 101, but for now, either option is acceptible.

Alternatively, you could play with cards that will help give you access to the characters you already have. A Friend in Need is a good example of this, it lets you search your deck for a Companion or Minion and put it into play. You could also use cards that let you draw more cards, like Empty Puppet Case, Gone Binary , and Dig Up the Corpses , to increase the number of chances you have to draw the Characters you need.

Your Resource Deck will be constantly evolving, changing perhaps daily as you refine it, introduce new strategies, and purchase more cards to play with.

Ok, let's take a look at what makes up a Resource Deck - the cards! With the Pergamum Prophecy, these cards will fall into one of four categories: Characters, Items, Skills, and Actions.


Characters are the movers and shakers of your deck. They perform the Actions, learn the Skills, and use the Items that will ultimately determine whether or not your Destiny prevails in Sunnydale. In BtVS CCG, it is impossible to build a deck with no Characters in it, and even if it were possible, it probably wouldn't be a good idea.

Your Resource Deck will always contain the Level 1 Personality card of your Main Character, even if you choose not to put any other characters in your deck. Though this card will start the game in play, and not in your deck, it is still considered a part of your Resource Deck. You may put up to three copies of the level 1 Personality card in your deck, but only one will start the game in play.

When you choose your Characters for your deck, there are several things to take into consideration. First, how will those Characters use your deck's strategy to help you win? If your deck's strategy is to defeat Challenges for 10 Destiny, do your characters have all the Talents and Traits necessary to defeat your Challenges? If not, you will need to include other cards in your deck to provide those Talents or Traits so you can meet your Challenge's requirements (i.e. the skill Power of the Black Mass to get the Spellcraft Trait, or the item Tome of Moloch to get some extra Smarts).

If your deck's strategy focuses around any characters that are not your Main Character, you will want to consider putting two or even three copies of that Character's card in your deck, so that you increase your chances of drawing that character and getting them into play.

However, keep in mind that Characters, like Locations, have certain Uniqueness rules. Once a player has a Villain or Hero in play, other players may not play a copy of that Villain or Hero (the only exception is if you and your opponent are using the same Main Character). This means that if your Main Character is Willow, but you deck relies a great deal on having Buffy in play to win, you will be in trouble if you're opponent's Main Character turns out to be Buffy, or if your opponent gets their Buffy into to play first. As long as your opponent has Buffy or her Essence on the table, you may not play yours.

In this case, it might be a good idea to change your Main Character so that you can be certain to get them into play, or to change your strategy so that you can use other Characters in your deck if you cannot play a particular Hero or Villain because of the Uniqueness rule.

Remember, Companions and Minions are not Unique in the same way Villains or Heros are. You and your opponent may both have Chris Epps in play, for example.

How many Character cards you put in your Resource Deck is up to you, as long as your deck is not more than 50% Characters. While it's true that putting more characters in your deck will mean that you get more Characters into play sooner, there is such a thing as too many Characters. Character cards cannot be played into Talent Stacks when battling in a Fight or Challenge, so you may find that too many Characters in your Resource Deck tends to "clog up your hand" during battles. Also, if you're planning on ascending your characters during the game, remember that you cannot play higher level Character cards until you meet the Destiny requirement on those cards, so a hand full of Level 2 and Level 3 Characters will usually be pretty useless on the first turn. By playing your deck and tuning it, you will eventually find the number of Characters that works best for you.

When choosing Characters for your Resource Deck, you should look at the Character's Game Text as well as the Talents and Traits those Characters provide. Game Text can often be used to help accomplish your strategy. If you're playing with Xander or Harmony, for example, playing with Cordelia can make them more powerful, since their Game Text gives them bonuses if Cordelia is in play.

Say you were making a good old fashioned Butt-Kicking deck. Joyce Summers may not give you any extra Butt-Kicking, but her Game Text gives you more cards and more options, a useful advantage even in a deck based around Butt-Kicking. This can also be combined with her 1 Smarts to play Empty Puppet Case to draw even more cards (Empty Puppet Case requires 1 Smarts to be played). In this example, Joyce Summers would be included in your deck to help you draw more cards, and therefore help you win the game, even if your overall strategy revolves around Butt-Kicking and Joyce's Butt-Kicking is zero.

Items, Skills, and Actions

Items, Skills, and Actions will usually make up the majority of your Resource Deck. If your strategy is to defeat Challenges, the first thing you should check is to make sure you have all the cards necessary to complete the basic requirements of your Challenges, including any Skills or Items a Challenge may require.

Items, Skills, and Actions are usually the cards that focus your deck and give it its purpose. They are usually the cards that determine what your deck "does". While Characters are basically constant to any deck, these cards will determine what those Characters do and how you win the game.

Since every game will involve building Talent Stacks at some point during Fights or Challenges, it's important to consider how your Items, Skills, and Actions will work in your Talent Stacks. Items and Skills are the most versatile, as they can be used in a Talent Stack to increase any Talent by one point. Actions, however, are more important, because even though they are are more limited on the number of Talents they can boost (most will boost either of two Talents, some only one Talent, and some, like Sunset , none at all), they often boost a Talent by more than one point, and, unlike Items and Skills, will eventually return to your Resource Deck after they are played. Once an Item or Skill has been put into play on the table, its value in a Talent Stack is negated.


Items are similar to Skill cards in many ways, and both Items and Skills have their advantages. Both types of cards add +1 to any Talent when played into a Talent Stack. Both cards are used to enhance your Character's capabilities. And, if you play with more Action cards than Character cards in your Resource Deck (many people do), Items and Skills are what you would use to make sure your deck wasn't more than 50% Action cards.

The advantages that Items offer are:

  • Giving an Item to a Character does not fatigue that Character. Giving them a Skill does.
  • Items may be traded between Characters at the same Location (Skills may not).
  • You may play as many Items in one turn as you want.

    The main disadvantage of Items is that each Character may normally only hold two items at a time (though there are certain card effects that will raise that limit). Items offer many different options for helping your deck's Strategy: while most concentrate on raising Talents (Tome of Moloch , Fire Axe ), Items can also affect many other things, including card drawing (Empty Puppet Case ), movement (Ring of Prophecy, Giles-Mobile ), and disrupting your opponent's strategy (An Innocent Guillotine ).


    As we've seen, Skills and Items are similar, but with a few critical differences. Depending on the situation, Skill cards may be a better choice than Items for your deck, but Skills have a heavier penalty than Items. Attaching a Skill to a Character fatigues that Character until the next Refresh Step, basically putting the Character out of commision for most of a turn. Also, you may only play one Skill on the same Character per turn. However, unlike Items, a there is no limit to the number of Skills a Character may have (as long as they only get one Skill a turn).

    Despite their penalties, however, Skills usually pack a bigger punch than a comparable Item would, especially when boosting Talents. Also, currently, only Skills can add Traits like Demonology and Spellcraft to Characters; Items can't.

    Now that you know the main differences between Items and Skills, choose carefully which cards you include in your deck. Both card types can help you win a game, but only if you have the right card at the right time.


    Action cards are where the action is! In most decks, you'll want to play with as many Actions as possible, meaning your Resource Deck will be 50% Actions - half your deck. This is because, though there card effects are usually short term (unlike Characters, Skills, and Items, which stay in play), they can have a bigger impact on over-all game play. Also, because most Action cards can add two points to at least one Talent when played in a Talent Stack, they're more effective than Items or Skills when used in this manner. Actions are the most versatile weapons at your disposal; their game effects span almost every possible aspect of game play, from card drawing, to movement, to Destiny adjustment, to disruption (of your opponent's strategy), to cards like Sunset , which change the very basic rules of the game.

    Whatever your Resource Deck's strategy for winning is, the Actions you choose to include can drastically enhance your ability to accomplish your goals.

    As you choose Actions to put in your deck, look at both their Game Text and the Talent boost icons. If your deck is based around Weirdness, for example, and you're trying to decide between two Actions to put in your deck, the Action that boosts Weirdness by 2 may be a better choice than the one that doesn't boost Weirdness at all.

    Similarly, if a couple of your Challenges require a high total of one Talent, pack multiples of Actions that boost that Talent into your Resource Deck. For example, if one or two of your Challenges require high Smarts to defeat, and you don't have many brainy Characters in your deck, you would want to include many Actions that boost Smarts. Keep in mind that you're probably not going to have every Action that boosts a particular Talent in your hand during the same fight, so pack some extras just in case.

    Let's take a look at a few Action cards and see how we might use them to our advantage:

    Number 1 Alternate (PP 29, common)
    Talent stack icons: 2 Butt-kicking, 1 Weirdness
    Game Text: Fatigue any refreshed Character you control and move it to this Location to Stunt-Double in this Fight. Vampires cannot be moved during day turns.
    Timing: Fight/Choose

    The Talent Icons for this card are 2 Butt-Kicking, or 1 Weirdness. When played into a Talent stack, you could choose either of these Icons to use to boost your Talents. For its Icons alone, it could be usefull in a deck that focuses on Fights or Challenges that rely alot on BK or Weirdness. But what about its game text?

    Ok, this Action, when used for its game effect, let's us pull one of your refreshed Characters from any location and bring it to a fight, letting them Stunt-Double for another character who was attacked at that Location. It also includes the reminder that, even though this card lets you move Characters around outside of the Movement Step, Vampires cannot normally be moved during Day turns.

    The advantage to this card is the element of surprise. You can save another Character that your opponent had thought was dead meat. You would play this card during the Choose step of a Fight, after your opponent announces his attack, but before either player draws any cards for the Fight.

    However, the Stunt-Double is fatigued, so that Character's Talents are all at a -1 for the Fight.

    Let's look at another Action card:

    Priority Check (PP 31, common)
    Talent stack icons: 2 Butt-kicking, 2 Weirdness
    Game Text: Refresh a fatigued character named as a defender in a Fight. Stunt-Doubles are included.
    Timing: Fight/Choose

    This card, when used for it's game text, allows you to refresh a fatigued defender (even a Stunt-Double) in a Fight. Like Number 1 Alternate, this card is also played during the Choose portion of the Fight.

    Priority Check is a useful card, it prevents your fatigued defenders from suffering a -1 penalty to their Talents. However, notice that we can combine Priority Check with Number 1 Alternate and increase the effectiveness of both cards! Simply play Number 1 Alternate to bring in a Stunt-Double, and use Priority Check to make them refreshed and ready to go!

    Using multiple cards in a sequence like this is called a card combination, or simply combo.

    This combo is even more effective than most, because both Actions boost the same Talents in a Talent Stack, meaning they also reinforce your Resource Deck's ability to provide the Butt-Kicking and Weirdness you may need to be victorious in your fights and challenges.

    Any number of cards may make up a combo, but keep in mind, the more cards you need, the lower your chances of getting all those cards together at the same time. Take a look at the cards you're planning on including in your Buffy the Vampire Slayer CCG deck - are there any new combos in there, waiting to be sprung on an unsuspecting opponent?


    So now you can put it all together... You have the deck strategy you need to win. You have your Characters, the Actions they perform, and the Skills and Items they need to get the job done. You've play-tested your deck and tuned it until it's just right. Your Resource Deck is the epitome of form, function, and style ...

    Let your opponent's beware. You're on the prowl...

    Witness you prowling.

    Next up, break out the scalpels and the formaldehyde, we're going dissecting! It's Buffy Deckbuilding 101: Anatomy of a Sample Deck.

    Listen to,


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