So I’m pretty much an expert in D&D Fortune Cards now, having:
- Purchased 4 packs of them the other day.
- Read the rules on how they work, including how to make your own custom deck: http://www.wizards.com/dnd/files/FortuneCardRules.pdf
- Made my own custom deck!
- None of the powers super overwhelm me with how awesome they are: This is probably a good thing or it would have screwed up the balance of the entire game.
- They are an obvious boon: There are no negatives to having fortune cards so you might as well get them from a pure character optimization point of view.
Thoughts on Deck building:
- Do It: If you have a bunch of boosters then there is virtually no reason not to build your own deck. It will be a lot more powerful once you get rid of “Lucky Fall”, “Only a Flesh Wound”, and similarly unimpressive cards.
- Build a 10 Card Deck: Just like in Magic: The Gathering, it is almost never a good idea to build a deck consisting of more than the minimum number of allowed cards (in this case, 10). Adding more cards just means diluting your deck with less than ideal cards. I’m unclear on what happens when you run out of Fortune Cards (do you just stop drawing them?), but fights that last more than 10 rounds are fairly uncommon in D&D 4e.
- Load Up on Easily Triggered Cards: Since you can only have one card in your hand at any given time AND can draw a card every round, you want to load up on cards that you can actively trigger, as a general rule, instead of those that only trigger when an enemy does something. Ideally, you’ll be playing a card every round and getting some kind of benefit out of it! With that said, the cards do seem to be balanced to push against this principle, with more powerful cards coming into play more rarely.
- Load up on Attack Cards: What this really means is put 4 attack cards in your deck (assuming a ten card deck) since you need a minimum of 3 tactics and 3 defenses. They seem to generally be more powerful than the other cards.
My Deck: Here’s what I put into my deck, following the general principles outlined above. I am playing a level 16 Half-Elf Valorous Bard:
- Wary Shot X 3 (Defense): This card seems like a natural pick from the options I have available, allowing me to avoid AOs for ranged attacks when I play it. I have a few ranged attacks that I use with my Songblade (Unluck being high on my list). This can certainly be handy for those times I want to make a ranged attack and can’t be bothered to move because I’m sustaining some effect AND healing in the same round, but it’s definitely a card I will cycle through as soon as I get it.
- Go For It! (Tactic): This card makes an adjacent enemy grant combat advantage to all charging allies. I’ve got a Barbarian in my party who charges with Howling Strike fairly frequently, so this seems like a fine fire and forget card. I’ll throw it out at the start of my turn, and if he or anyone else wants to take advantage of it fine. If not, I’ve lost virtually nothing.
- Gang Up (Tactic): Allies get a +2 bonus to damage rolls against enemies that are adjacent to me. Pretty lousy, but who cares?! It costs me nothing, and it’s another card I will throw out no matter what. Huh, it strikes me that this card would actually be decent at level 1 and almost useless at level 30. Might have been nice if cards scaled by tier like feats.
- Get a Grip (Tactic): If you or an adjacent ally fails a saving throw, it lets that character reroll the saving throw. This is an exception to my fire and forget rule mainly because failing saving throws can be so devastating. I’ll still ditch it if no one needs it, but in my experience certain fights are made or broken by a few saving throws, especially when daze, stun, and dominate are being thrown around. If I had 3 of these, I’d probably replace my other two tactics cards for this one, but maybe I’m just a little overprotective when it comes to all those nasty save ends conditions.
- Phantom Ally (Attack): Gain combat advantage against the targets of at-will powers. Wow, I could see just having this on standby as a rogue, but for me I will either use it or ditch it immediately. I will gladly use an at-will if this means getting an extra +2 to hit on my turn when I wouldn’t otherwise.
- Reckless Onslaught X 2 (Attack): Played when you miss with an attack, it let’s you reroll the attack roll, but then you fall prone and take damage equal to your level! Awesome! Falling prone sucks and damage equal to your level is an annoyance, but for a reroll this is almost always going to be worth it. This might be a card I hang onto for a round or two, since in my view a reroll equates pretty much to another attack, which in a combat where you only get 10 attacks or so, is pretty awesome!
- Touch of Fate (Attack): Played when you miss every target with an at-will, allows you to gain stroke of luck (which gives a reroll to any attack roll, saving throw, or skill check), which can be used any time in the encounter. I think I like this better than Reckless Onslaught, since it has no downsides. I’ll definitely use an at-will when I get it, in case I miss. A reroll on any roll is very nice for those risky daily powers, especially since potions of clarity are uncommon items now.