Force of Will Boot Camp! Part 1 ~ The first week of Curse of the Frozen Casket

Greetings, rulers! Welcome to the Force of Will Beginner’s Boot Camp! In these articles we’ll be looking at the game from the perspective of a brand new player and learning how to design and build decks, get involved with our local Force of Will community, and ultimately compete in tournaments!
Before we begin today’s discussion, keep in mind that these articles assume that you are a beginner, but have a basic understanding of the game’s core concepts and rules. If you have yet to learn the rules, check out the Rules Sheet section under the Rules tab of the main website. You don’t need to be a rules expert just yet, but knowing the basics will help you understand and utilize the information in these articles more effectively, as they will make use of terminology in the Force of Will trading card game.
So you’ve just started playing the game after the release of Curse of the Frozen Casket, and the Lapis Cluster starter decks last week. Perhaps you participated in a pre-release event, or you simply bought a starter deck. But where do you go from here? How can you use the limited collection of cards you’ve amassed thus far to work towards creating the ultimate deck? Today, let’s start by taking a look at what you have.
~Starting with Fairy Tale Force~
Did you decided to pick up the Light starter deck as your first step into Force of Will? Great! Fairy Tales are a common and popular archetype in Force of Will. If you’ve looked through the deck at all, you may notice there aren’t really any heavy hitters in your deck.
You could always use Millium’s Judgment, of course, but relying solely on him when you’ve got a deck full of resonators seems a bit of a waste. Though they may not look it Fairy Tales can dish out some hefty damage, it’s all about getting a bunch of resonators onto the field.

One of, if not your biggest threat is actually this simple little resonator. Tinker Bell starts out small but can ramp up in power significantly, gaining +200/+200 for each other Fairy Tale resonator you’ve got on the field. She’s also got Flying, making her far harder to block. Even with only two other Fairy tales on the field, a 500/500 Flying card for one light will is a tremendous value.

Speaking of pesky Flying cards, Cinderella can do the same. Though she can’t gain extra power, she can gain Flying by resting one of your resonators. Now this sounds a bit lame at first. However, let us remember that in Force of Will there is a priority sequence at the beginning of your turn after your draw a card, but before you recover all your cards in your field. This means that you can rest a resonator (even Cinderella herself!) during that time, grant Flying to Cinderella, and then immediately recover that rested card (and all your other ones) as the recovery phase begins! This is something frequently employed by skilled players and you’ll need to take advantage of it too. Once she’s got Flying, Cinderella can easily deal damage to your opponent, which in turn will let you search out a Fairy Tale resonator to strengthen your field (and Tinker Bell!).

This addition makes using Cinderella’s ability even easier, ensuring you have a recovered card to rest every turn! It also helps you keep your defenses up. This way you can attack with all resonators and still have one of them able to block during your opponent’s turn! Manifestation of Power can recover one of your resonators too (it can also destroy an addition, a very useful alternative ability.). This spell can be used at any time, meaning it can even be used to get a multi attack with Cinderella or Tinker Bell! Be sure to play it wisely to maximize it’s value. You’ll only want to bust it out when you really need to attack twice (i.e. KOing your opponent). Other wise, it might be best to save it for addition destruction or emergency blocking. Remember, just because you can play a card, doesn’t mean it’s the right turn to do so.

Don’t forget about your Force cards! Puss in Boots is hit or miss, but even on a roll of 3 can still be a fair first turn play! Grimm can really beef up your Fairy Tale resonators making Tinker Bell and Cinderella even more destructive!
~Starting with Rage of R’lyeh~
Feeling that eldritch call? Rage of R’lyeh is capable of dealing some heavy damage, but you’ll need to work around the Limit ability of your stronger J/resonators to do it.

One of the wisest things you can do is not underestimate Lunya’s 100 damage ability. This is free damage, and free damage is almost always good. Especially when coupled with the card Demonflame from the Alice Cluster. With just the starter deck, however this ability still has it’s uses. 100 extra damage can help you knock out pesky blockers with low DEF or reach a total amount of damage needed to destroy a J/resonator that would otherwise be just out of reach. When able, you’ll want to abuse Nyarlathotep as well. Entering and dealing 800 damage is helpful for getting rid of most turn three or even turn four resonators. Plus she’s got great ATK and Swiftness to boot.

In your deck, Hastur is probably your most valuable attacker. He’s got a fair cost, gains swiftness thanks to having Lunya/Nyarlathotep as your J/ruler and deals 400 damage to a J/resonator whenever he attacks. He’s only got a Limit of two, but honestly two turns of attacking with Hastur is already very good. He can deal out some very high damage, clear the board of anything with 500 or less DEF (remember Lunya will deal 100 damage when Hastur attacks!) and can do it on the turn he’s played.

What makes it even more destructive is that you can summon copies of him for one will if you’ve got the right set up. With Fayli on the field, Charlatan’s Tricks will let you search out a card with the same name as one you control and put it into the field. Set up Fayli on turn three (she’s a vanilla sadly, but her Chant is very strong and 800/800 isn’t so bad). Then on turn four, drop a Hastur, and play Charlatan’s Tricks to summon another one to the field. This simple set up creates huge board advantage. Even playing one Fayli and using Charlatan’s Tricks to immediately summon a second one if you haven’t got Hastur isn’t too bad of a play.

Pushing into late game Niggurath will help end the game with her massive ATK. Though she’s only got Limit 1 she can gain extra limit counters by banishing a goat (which she happens to call out for free when she is played). The fact she calls an extra resonator who enters with 500 ATK and DEF for free also helps you maintain or regain board control.

The fire deck also has some incredibly potent non-resonator cards. R’lyeh will boost up your Cthulhu and give them a limit counter. Nightmares of R’lyeh can function as a power up or a destruction spell if used correctly (a J/resonator with 0 or less DEF dies automatically!). However the undeniably most useful spell is Lightning Strike. 500 damage to anything for one will is something no fire deck should be without. It can eliminate J/resonator threats, or be that last bit of damage you need to clinch the game. Either way, this card is indispensable.
~Starting with Malefic Ice~
Ready to play the trampoline game? Because Malefic Ice is all about that sweet bounce action.

Mercurius can use Mana counters to pay for spells with the Ancient Magic keyword, allowing you to save your stones for playing things without said keyword (most notably resonators). Through this extra source of will you must manipulate and control the field, removing obstacles so your attacks are unobstructed. Mercurius is a J/ruler you’ll likely want to Judgment as soon as you are able. Doing so grants you more Mana counters, reducing the impact of not being able to call a magic stone, she’s also a fairly strong beatstick that can even gain flying if you remove an Astaroth in your hand from the game.

Servant of Mercurius is going to be your favored first turn play, as the loyal attendant will grant you an extra Mana counter. He can also spend a Mana counter to gain an extra 300 ATK and DEF, but it’s best not to use this frivolously as there are better uses of your counters. However it can be useful in a pinch!

Obviously Ancient Magic cards are going to be some of your key spells. Mercurius’ Icy Spear will let you bounce a resonator and rest another one, essentially removing two blockers(Make sure to bounce the one with the higher total cost!). Ice Wall will help you stall, sapping a J/resonator of 1000 ATK, great for when you block in a mutually assured destruction situation. While this card can be played with Mana counters, this spell’s low cost may incentivize you to play it simply with magic stones instead if necessary. Ancient Knowledge is your draw source, helping you to dig for necessary cards and keep your hand plentiful, while casting it with Mana counters means you still have the stones to play the cards you drew on the same turn.

Astaroth is going to be a key card, he’s fairly good as an attacker for his cost, Flying really helps too, of course. He’ll also let you draw a card when he hits the field, if you’re using Mercurius. You’ll want to have him in your hand when you use Judgment too, so be sure to have a second copy, or bounce Astaroth back to the hand with his ability before sending your J-ruler into the field!

Ice Dragon of Altea and Spirit of Ice are going to be your big damage dealers. The dragon becomes cheaper for each card in your hand (Cast Ancient Knowledge with Mana counters to help get this cost low!) and Spirit of Ice combos fantastically with Icy Spear, bouncing a rested resonator and then being a good three cost resonator in its own right with 800 ATK and DEF.

Even your additions can disable your opponent. The Ancient Frozen Casket card will freeze a resonator in the rested position, and it’s protector, the Keeper of the Frozen Casket will keep your opponent from weaseling out of the lockdown.
~Starting With Swarming Elves~
This starter deck’s name really says it all. The Elves are, and have always been, about swarming the field, getting some buffs and overwhelming your opponent. Fiethsing only serves to make that even easier!

Just by playing two card’s you’ll get a free resonator token. Now admittedly a 100/100 resonator isn’t really a whole lot, but in the early game, it’s really important for you to focus on building up the number of Elves in your field. Once you’ve got enough, or if you’ve reached mid/late game and need to generate more quickly, use Fiethsing’s Judgment to get her onto the field as a J/ruler where she’ll boost all other Elves by +400/+400 and generate two tokens per turn.

One of the issues with Elves and their new Torrent ability is that by encouraging the play of at least two card per turn, it can be easy to run yourself out of a hand. As such make good use of your Tama and Torrent Elf cards which can be played fairly cheap and replace their spots in your hand when they enter the field. Don’t forget, Torrent Elf has to be your second play of the turn for his ability to go off!

The second issue is resources. Fiethsing’s Judgment cost is a heft five, plus playing two cards every turn isn’t always that easy. As such try to get Sacred Elf down as your first turn play, and Home of the Sages is a good card to get down early too. There’s a fair amount of addition destruction cards in the game right now, so if you’re worried Home of the Sages may be destroyed keep some will open to at least use the card’s second ability to banish it and draw a card when it is targeted for destruction.

You’re going to need to run some interference as well, to deal with aggressive rush type decks. Thankfully the starter provides you with two options. Great Holy Sealing Wave will send back a resonator to the bottom of it’s owner’s deck and Two-Fold Chance can outright cancel any spell your opponent may try to play unless they pay an extra will (or just a straight no nonsense counter if you play this with Torrent!). Make liberal use of these to take out your opponent’s key cards. It may be a bit difficult your first couple of games to tell what is worth countering and what isn’t, but don’t fret! As you play the game and build your knowledge of what cards are likely to be in what decks, you’ll find yourself making the right calls more and more! In the beginning it’s best to observe the flow of the game and try to think ahead!

If Fiethsing’s buff to your Elves just isn’t enough, you’ve got four copies of the fantastic Aria, Friendly Vampire card to help you out. She’ll boost all other wind J/resonators by +200/+200! Even better, she has a Barrier ability that will protect her from darkness attribute cards, making her that much harder to destroy! Christie is your ace card, the one you play when you need to take out an enemy J/resonator that’s just too strong. Remember her second ability can chase her first one, meaning you can beef her up before her and the target J/resonator actually exchange damage.
~Starting with Vampiric Hunger~
The Vampiric Hunger deck is all about bringing that pain to your opponent’s hand and field, messing with them as much as you can.

Ally of the Black Moon can deal 100 for one darkness will. At first this seems like a poor man’s version of Lunya’s ability. However what’s really important is that he’ll gain a blood counter. Of course you’ll still want to abuse this damage ability as best you can (most notably to kill Fiethsing’s Elf tokens and snipe Kid Puss in Boots before his Force ability can resolve) to take out resonators, but if you ever have will to spare you should use the ability even if you can’t destroy anything. Once you use this ruler’s Judgment he can put those blood counters to work. Mikage Seijuro can remove a blood counter to sap a resonator of its strength, beef up one of your resonators, gain life, or permanently power up a Vampire with a +100/+100 counter. Mikage himself is fairly formidable for only a three cost Judgment, packing both Flying and Imperishable meaning you can attack with near impunity.

This deck is also host to one of Seijuro’s many daughters. Shara is an incredibly powerful card for her cost. 500 ATK and DEF for total cost one is ludicrous strength. However, she’ll be unable to attack unless she’s got a +100/+100 counter on her. Seijuro can put a counter on her, of course, but that’d require you to use his Judgment. Shara can put a counters on herself too, but this also has a total cost of three, and doesn’t really accomplish much else for her. So, how does one go about using Shara in the early game? The answer is Power Absorption. This spell will hit a J/resonator with 600 damage plus some more for each Vampire you’ve got. Then you put a +100/+100 counter on each Vampire you control. This makes for a great second or third turn play, taking out your opponent’s second turn card and powering up the one or two Shara’s you’ve dropped while enabling them to attack!

Power Absorption isn’t the only way you can control the field and your opponent though. Faithful Hellhound will force both players to banish a resonator when it enters the field (ake sure you’ve got something you don’t mind losing! If Hellhound is the only thing you’ve got he’ll destroy himself!) and Heaven Bound Pheasant will force your opponent to discard a card when it’s put into a graveyard. Seeing the combo? Drop heaven Bound Pheasant turn two, then attack with it on turn three, then play Faithful Hellhound to banish it and force your opponent to discard!

Blood of the Mikage also makes a great combo with Heaven Bound Pheasant. The insidious spell will pump up a J/resonator you control by +800/+800 and give it Precision. However as a price for this power, the J/resonator will be destroyed at the end of the turn. This works great with the pheasant, who you want to die anyway. The Monkey Trapped in Life also makes for a great target as well, as he will jump back to your hand whenever he would be sent to the grave.

Once you hit late game, The Drunken Oni and his support cards are going to be your go to spells. Oni Strike will destroy a resonator and deal some damage if you’ve got an oni. The Drunken Oni himself is a simple beat stick, but will search out his castle which increases the power of all darkness resonators.

And this concludes our first Force of Will Beginner’s Boot Camp article! We’ll be back in a little while to see how you’ve progressed. In the meantime, if you picked up any booster packs, have a look at your cards and try to see which cards work best with the ones in your starter deck.
Be sure to use our official store locator (found on the main website) to find official stores for easy access to more booster packs as well as singles.
In the next article we’ll see how your basic deck ideas can evolve to become even better, and we’ll cover attending your very first tournament!