The beginners guide to TEPPEN strategy, fundamentals, and deck building.

What is TEPPEN?

If you love Capcom characters, card games, or mobile games in general, chances are you have heard of TEPPEN. If you haven't yet, imagine if Magic: The Gathering merged with a 2D fighting game and the resulting creation took the most intuitive aspects of Hearthstone and sped them up x10. 

Japanese developer GungHo Online Entertainment teamed up with Capcom to place their most iconic IP's into a real-time digital card game. There are no turns and each round has a 5-minute timer while all the action happens live

TEPPEN is easy to learn but difficult to master. The high skill ceiling has attracted legendary fighting game veterans Justin Wong and Daigo Umehara to stream promoted gameplay regularly and, as the community of TEPPEN players becomes more familiar with the mechanics of the game, the competitive meta has become more and more nuanced.

Players at the highest rank squeeze out every possible advantage through precise timing, predictions and the increasingly accurate ability of correctly assessing the opponent's threats. Unlike other card games, TEPPEN places raw mechanics and quick decision making at a premium. In other words, an unskilled player wielding the most powerful deck in the game will face significant obstacles when facing a veteran opponent.

Getting Started.

But aside from playing TEPPEN and become familiar with the nuances of a match, what should a new player know when first starting out? Luckily, we have already suffered countless losses on the climb to A5 (Not the highest rank in TEPPEN, but a respectable one) and the lessons we have learned on the way are things we wish we knew earlier.

So let's get started: Here is the most important thing for beginners to know when first playing TEPPEN.

1. Hero Arts define a deck.

When you first start playing TEPPEN, each available hero only has its first Hero Art available. Hero Arts are the inherent ability you have access to whenever you build a deck with a specific Hero and their proper use is hugely important to winning games of TEPPEN. Keep in mind that, as you unlock a hero's additional Hero Arts, this doesn't mean they are inherently more powerful. They aren't, they are just different.

The overwhelming majority of successful TEPPEN decks take full advantage of their Hero art. A good deck seeks maximum synergy with a chosen Hero Art and it is a new-player mistake to switch Hero Arts while sticking an identical deck. Experimentation with each Hero Art is part of the fun and strategy of TEPPEN, but try and build decks that have a focused gameplan that is made even stronger due to a complimentary Hero Art.

Quick Tip: Ryu's Shinku Hadoken is the first Hero Art players are introduced to and, as a matter of fact, one of the most versatile. Excellent Ryu Decks can be built by choosing cards that have strengths other than destroying 7 health enemy units. Why? Because Shinku Hadoken can cover that weakness!

2. Reaction times matter.

Because of TEPPEN's real-time system of play, a common new mistake is to play cards as fast as you gain the mana to play them. While this may work early on because you can easily overwhelm new opponents, skilled TEPPEN players won't be so easily flustered.

In fact, they will punish this technique harshly by waiting until the very last moment to play units and ability cards, giving the new player virtually no time to react with units of their own. Ability cards "stop-time" when played but it still takes a manual finger-movement of selecting the card and choosing a target -- this is a reality that skilled TEPPEN players are keenly aware of and use it to their advantage all the time.

Try to start developing the habit of hovering unit cards, ability cards, or targetted hero arts over empty board spaces that you suspect your opponent is trying to fill at the very last second. This gives you the best chance at stopping skilled TEPPEN players from sneaking player damage that was otherwise preventable. Remember, a skilled player bank on their opponents inability to react in time.

In this clip, look at the in which both high ranked players are waiting until the last minute to play their units and abilities. The player on the right is trying to sneak in 3 points of Zombie damage on the bottom lane and the Ryu player can only defend with a very quick movement.


3. Player health is a resource.

Understanding that player health is a resource is an important lesson in most competitive card games, but it is even more important in TEPPEN. Because the gameplay is so quick (and when your health falls to zero, you lose) a common new-player mistake is to want to avoid taking any damage at all time.

After all, taking damage feels bad and it makes a new player feel like they are losing, but skilled TEPPEN players understand that the only point of health that matter is the last one. Simply put, it doesn't matter how much damage you take -- as long as you win the game. 

So, think twice before you instinctively place units to defend against taking damage or start spewing away all of your ability cards because an enemy unit is about to deal significant damage to you. One of the easiest ways to lose a game of Teppen is to run out of resources because, in the quest to reduce damage taken, you failed to accrue maximum value out of the cards in your deck.

Quick Tip A general rule of thumb is to try and force your opponent to use multiple cards to deal with just one of yours. Sometimes, this means taking damage while saving up your mana or leaving one lane undefended because you have enough Health to ignore the threat your opponent created. This type of mindset allows you to open up the most efficient avenues of attack.


4. Patience is Key

While this sentiment is true in most competitive games, it is particularly relevant when piloting certain TEPPEN decks and when facing certain decks as well. To understand why patience is so important in TEPPEN, consider the unique way the game handles instant ability cards.

When a player casts an ability spell, both players immediately gain two extra units of mana. This mana can only be used during this active ability period and, when the abilities all resolve in order and the action ends, so does the extra mana. In other words, casting abilities in TEPPEN gives your opponents options they may not have otherwise had.


Imagine the scenario where your opponent has a powerful 7 mana ability but they currently only have 5 mana at their disposable. If you have a threatening unit on the board about to make an attack, foolishly playing an ability card during this time helps out your opponent immensely -- you just granted them the two extra mana they needed to use their powerful 7 mana ability to handle your powerful unit!

In this scenario, you would have been better off doing nothing and, instead, reacting to your opponent. While this scenario may seem niche, it actually is extremely common and happens multiple times within a single TEPPEN match. New players should be wary of playing abilities when they are already winning on board as, in most cases, it gives your opponent extra resources to react.


5. Deck Building isn't themed.

The last most important detail every new TEPPEN player should understand is that, although the games card and Hero design are highly themed, building a deck around visual or thematic elements is a recipe for disaster.

Ryu decks don't need to include Street Fighter cards. Morrigan decks don't automatically need to include Dark Stalker cards -- you get the idea. This is an easy mistake to make because, as you continue to play with a certain Hero, the game rewards you more cards (yay!) that usually include their character art or cards within their signature game.

Don't let anything like this limit your deck building exploration. Some of the most powerful decks in Teppen combine multiple colors and cards from all sorts of Capcom IP's and that is more than ok! Sure, it just feels right to have a Megaman X deck feature cards entirely within the Megaman universe, but doing so severely limits your deck's ability to compete.

Instead, try choosing your favorite card or hero and building a deck catered around that. As you play against human opponents, tinkering and adjusting your deck becomes a vital part in understanding the game and refining your ability to play it.

Download Teppen for free!




TEPPEN is free to download and play on the IOS App Store and on the Google Play Store. The games newest expansion "Day of Nightmares" will release in the beginning of September and feature new cards, content, and potentially, new playable Heroes.

As part of a launch event, new players are given tons of free cards -- over 34 packs just for getting started! If you have any interest in exploring the fast-paced world of TEPPEN, now is the time to put your card-slinging abilities to the test.

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