Why, welcome! You're probably wondering who I am, and that's ok. That's what this post is for.
To start with, my UserName is Rahkshimaster999, but I decided that I also like the sound of RoyBoy so I'm going by that on here too. I live in Utah unless that's just what I want you all to think. Come play card games with me at the GameHaven in Bountiful on Thursday evenings. We play games...and stuff...yeah. ANYWAYS!
I'm here because I like to play Fire Emblem Ø(Cipher), the card game. Yeah, there's a card game. You guys should play it too. That's what I'm doing here - I'm writing an introduction to the game in case someone hasn't already. Somebody probably has, but I'm doing it too. So there. Let's begin!
NOTE: I'm kind of scatterbrained sometimes when it comes to explaining stuff, so this might not be in the best order. Please forgive me if I seem to be bouncing around with my explanations and definitions.
Cipher is split into colors, each color representing a game or set of games, and each character shows up in a certain card color based on what game they're from, though some characters show up in multiple colors. I'll do a quick breakdown of each color before beginning the explanation of terminology and rules.
Red cards come from Shadow Dragon, New Mystery of the Emblem Heroes of Light and Shadow, and Shin Megami Tensei Hashtag Fire Emblem(whoops, I mean Tokyo Mirage Se...meh, whatever, it's practically the same thing to be honest). The cards generally have effects that trigger when you Deploy Cost 2 or lower Units or power up your Cost 2 or lower Units.
Blue cards come from Awakening and Hashtag Fire Emblem(yes, I'm just trolling at this point). The cards are mostly designed around Class-Changing Units, and they feature a lot of CCSs(Class-Changed Skills).
Black and White cards come from Fates, with Black cards mostly representing Nohr and White cards mostly representing Hoshido. There's also some Revelation-Path stuff, but I won't go into that right now because spoilers. The colors were apparently designed to balance each other out, with White cards usually doing stuff that allowed you to swarm the Field and Black cards usually blowing a bunch of Units up at the same time. The only problem with this was that the two colors ended up originally being really focused on each other - and consequently awful against all the other colors. Thankfully for Fates fans, they seem to be fixing this in Series 6 and 7. Both colors also make use of the Dragon Vein mechanic, shown in Cipher as flipping Orb cards Face-Up or -Down.
Green cards are from Path of Radiance and Radiant Dawn. They mostly make use of the Level Up or "Stacking" function to achieve powerful combos.
Purple cards are from Binding Blade and Blazing Sword and possibly will be from Hasha no Tsurugi, a Spinoff Manga for Binding Blade, in Series 9, which was only just revealed(I read about it while writing this post). They're focused on doing fancy things with Support Skills and making sure you don't flip a Self-Support when you attack.
Yellow cards are from Genealogy of the Holy War and possibly Thracia 776, though the latter is unconfirmed at time of writing. The color mainly centers around the Bond Area, with certain cards needing certain other cards to be in the Bond Area to do their thing properly.
So now that that's over your heads and driven off all the people who were just pretending to want to read this, let's get into the actual terminology and setup! If you reach the end and still don't quite get it, ask me any questions you have in the comments and I'll do my best to at least address if not answer them, or if you want another person's explanation(albeit an older one) go here. Also, before you go on, I've been told this game plays exactly like the old card game Duel Masters, so if anyone reading this plays or played that, you should apparently be able to breeze through this.Here's a Cipher card. Beautiful art, isn't it? Anyways, let's break the card down into basic terms so you know what everything is.
First off, that little number up top in the corner there. That's what we call a Deployment Cost. It's basically how many Bonds you need to put the card onto the Field. The higher the number, the harder it is to get the Unit out onto the Field, but it also means the Unit is stronger than lower-numbered Units. Unit is just the term for any card, by the way. There's also a Promotion Cost, but this is an Unpromoted Chrom card so I'll get to Promotion Costs later.Next, that little symbol at the top of the three little squares with pictures in them, the one with the Mark of Naga. That's the Affiliation of the card, but nobody uses that word, we all just call it the card's Color. As you can see, the little symbol is blue and so is most of the rest of the card(It is Chrom, after all). Red cards have the hilt of Falchion for their symbol, Green cards have a Mercenary Medallion, Black and White cards have the Crests of Nohr and Hoshido respectively, Purple cards have a symbol representing the Divine Weapons, and Yellow cards have a Holy War Flag.
Now for the symbols under Chrom's Color. Those are Affinities. Each card has at least one, almost always at least two, though there are one or two cards that only have one. Most cards have a Male/Female Affinity because this is Fire Emblem - you can't always tell which is which without a little symbol telling you(looking at you, Forrest), however, apparently Series 7, to be released the 8th of December, contains a character who will not have either a Male or a Female Affinity. This is supposedly consistent with game lore, but I've never played Blazing Sword so I wouldn't know. Almost all cards then have a Weapon Affinity, which can be Sword, Axe, Lance, Shuriken/Dagger, Bow, Tome, Beast, or Stone, and many cards come with other Affinities that further help you know what type of fighter it is, like Dragon, Rider, Flier, etc. There's also a Hashtag Affinity for Hashtag Fire Emblem characters and cards but I usually just pretend those don't exist.
Next are the two numbers in the bottom corners. The one on the left is the Unit's Attack Value and the one on the right is the Unit's Support Value. The purpose of the Attack Value should be obvious, so I'll explain Supports quickly. When a Unit attacks another Unit in Cipher, both players flip the top card of their respective decks over and add the Support Value of the flipped card to the Attack Value of the Deployed(that means on-the-Field) Units. However, if you flip a Support with the same Name as the attacking Unit, you've flipped a Self-Support and you won't gain the Support Value or be able to activate a Support Skill.
Speaking of Support Skills, that's the little blue(or whatever color the card's Affiliation/Color is) box below the big text box. It's only on Cost 1 cards with some exceptions, all of them Purple at time of writing. There'll be either a Shield or a pair of Swords, and that tells you whether the Support Skill triggers when you flip that Unit for a Support when attacking(Swords) or being attacked(Shield). There are also Support Skills that trigger either way, but again those are all on Purple cards at time of writing. So far, Support Skills can include extras such as adding 20 ATK when attacking, adding 20 when attacked, letting the player draw one card and then discard one card, making it so the opponent can't use Critical Hits, and making the opponent discard one card if their hand is over a certain size.
Now for the Promotion Cost. I would add a picture of the Promoted Chrom card, but for some reason my computer isn't letting me, so I'll instead add a link to a page for it here. Basically, the Promotion Cost is another little number below the Deployment Cost. The way it works is that if you have the Promoted Chrom in your hand, and you have a Chrom on the Field, you can pay the Promotion Cost instead of the Deployment Cost and put the Promoted Chrom in your hand onto the Deployed Chrom. The Promotion Cost will almost always be lower than the Deployment Cost, in order to make it worth playing both the Promoted and Unpromoted versions of Chrom, because when you play a Unit onto a Deployed Unit using the Promotion Cost, it's called Class-Changing, and when you Class-Change, you get to draw a card, so you'll get more of an advantage using Promotion Costs when possible as opposed to just playing the Promoted Chrom using its Deployment Cost. For those of you wondering why you can't just play like six copies of Pegasus Knight Paragon, Cordelia onto the Field and run the other guy over, Cipher's creators saw that coming and added a rule where you can't have more than one Unit with the same Name on the Field at a time except Anna, and that's only because there's like a million and fifty Annas in all of Fire Emblem so it makes sense...kind of. Something about they're all identical sisters or something. I don't try to understand it at all.
Next is Range. This is super easy. It's a little box squeezed in next to the Attack Value. It's either going to be 1, 2, or 1-2. There might be a 1-3, 2-3, or 3 Range card later on, but there aren't any right now. The Range, obviously, tells you where on the Field you can hit with that Unit. Not much more to it.
I believe the last piece of card text I need to go over is Skills, so let's get that done quick. Oh, but I forgot, there's an easy way to tell if a Unit is Promoted or Unpromoted. Promoted Units have a small gold text box next to the Range, while Unpromoted Units will instead have a small silver box. Also, Promoted Units have a Promotion Cost and Unpromoted Units don't.
Skills are the semi-transparent text box above the Support Skill on the pics above. They're split into certain types, each helpfully marked out with a small colored square to make it easier to tell.
Red squares roughly equal Ignition Effects as defined in YuGiOh!, another TCG. Basically, you can choose when to activate them.
Blue Squares are roughly equal to Trigger Effects. They automatically activate whenever the conditions for their activation are met - whether you want them to or not.
Green Squares roughly equal Continuous Effects. They're always active as long as the Unit is Deployed.
Pink Squares are unique to Cipher(unless it is exactly like Duel Masters in which case it's unique to Ø and Duel Masters). They are Skills that can only be activated while the card with the Skill is in the Bond Area.
Purple Squares are extra effects that are always active, even when a card isn't Deployed. These Skills include weird effects like Lucina's "This card is always treated as if its Name was also Marth". Purple Square Skills are fairly rare, so you shouldn't have to worry about them too much.
Well, I think I covered everything in card breakdown. I would start on the Field and how a turn plays out, but if you look at the scroll bar it's kind of small so I'm going to get to that in another post. If there's any piece of text on the card I missed explaining, let me know in the comments and I'll do my best to explain it to you. For now, though, try to be content with letting your mind figure out all the info up above because there's kind of a lot. See you next time! SANKYU