Coraabia's gameplay significantly differs from most other big TCGs. Many concepts of Western TCGs derived from Magic: The Gathering like the mana system or board control are therefore not present. Being a more complex version of the classic card game War, Coraabia accentuates small scale duels between individual cards, although not as much as Eastern card battle TCGs. Coraabia therefore stands somewhere in the middle of the East-West split of approaches to trading card games.
At the heart of Coraabia is the concept of declaration. A correct declaration is the key to progressing your game plan while simultaneously stopping your opponent from furthering his own. At the basic, most straightforward level, this is usually accomplished by declaring to win, that is to declare a parameter your character has higher than your opponent's. This gives you a clear tempo advantage (gaining tempo, as the chess theory roughly goes, is to force your opponent to make a move to counteract your play), as your opponent has to make a move if he does not want to let you win the duel. As the amount of moves one can make during a duel of Coraabia is limited, pulling ahead during declaration is critical to consistently winning duels.
Declaring to win[edit source]
Successful declaration demands not only correct assessment of the character's strengths (which is facilitated by the color coding of character's parameters according to their relative strength to other characters) but also anticipating the parameters of opponent's character. A great help comes from the ability to see the factions of characters remaining in opponent's deck. A deck full of red Outlaws will be very strong on Danger and relatively strong on Vitality, while blue Guardians sport great Intellect and respectable Karma, gray Mercenaries have superb Karma and strong Intellect, and green Xennos have unmatched Vitality and passable Danger. The situation gets tricky with the Unliving since they actually often play to lose the duel, so they often demand a completely different approach to declaration, which will be covered later. Apart from this general guidance provided by the ability to somewhat predict what cards your opponent can still pull from his deck, some cards can be pinpointed almost perfectly. At higher level of play, some off-color cards are staples that can be expected to be in your opponent's deck. A deck full of Xennos with one Outlaw in it hints at BEUPO XII, while an Unliving deck with a single Mercenary in it points at CREAK. A deck with a connection for DUNGs will likely have mostly DUNGs in it, so looking in opponent's Dump allows you to use elimination method to lower the range of cards you can put him on. Being able to accurately predict what cards are in opponent's deck is a crucial part of successfully playing Coraabia, and it is a skill that only comes with playing many, many matches.
Declaring to lose[edit source]
As mentioned earlier, declaration against the Unliving gains a whole different dimension. While some Unliving play it straight and want to win, the signature Unliving strategy is to harm the opponent by lowering points or dumping tricks and Champions. To accomplish this successfully, they have to be losing the duel, otherwise lowering opponent's points does not matter and dumping cards is hard when you cannot use your abilities. It is thus always important to carefully assess how much harm can your opponent do to you if you play to win the duel. If the negatives outweigh the positives, it is wise to declare to lose. This does not apply only to the Unliving, other factions also has cards that can harm you and that you want to "undershoot" during declaration. Also, if you're ahead in Score while declaring in the last duel and your opponent has a trick, you might want to play around it by trying to declare to lose the duel - going for the greedy overkill might not serve you well when the trick turns out to be something devastating. To know when to declare to win and when to declare to lose is another important skill to achieve declaration proficiency.
Resource management[edit source]
The basic resources in Coraabia are the cards you have. Cards in your deck can be used to pay Dump costs, or to summon them, cards in your hand can be played to steer the outcome of the game, and of course your character in the duel has abilities that have some effects. As in most TCGs, having more cards to work with ("card advantage") is a great advantage in Coraabia. Playing cards allows you to gain tempo you might have lost during declaration or to gain the points necessary to win the game.
Character in duel[edit source]
Your core resource is the character you have in the duel. Since it will last only for one duel before it goes to Dump, there is no reason not to use its abilities if it gives you an advantage - there is no opportunity cost tied to that. If that character has no activated abilities, you are basically hoping your opponent's character also has none, otherwise you have no free way of reacting. You would have to use resources from your hand, which means card advantage for your opponent. Characters with only passive abilities might have great parameters, but they often end up being dumb beatsticks that sit in the duel watching opponent Restarting, deboosting, or gaining Domination. This is mostly an issue of proper deckbuilding, but having no in-built reaction capabilities in your characters forces will gradually deplete your other resources until you will be left with nothing to do and having to pass every duel while the opponent dictates the rest of the match.
Cards in hand[edit source]
A more outer layer of resources are cards in your hand, Champions and tricks (Champion is just another name for a character card in hand). Both kinds of cards offer different things. Tricks trigger a one-time effect, while Champions offer a fresh body to use in the duel. The great advantage of Champions compared to tricks is the fact that nothing can stop you from playing them - there is no Champion equivalent to Isolation. COMING SOON
Strategy styles[edit source]
Common TCG terminology can be used to describe strategy styles in Coraabia.
Plays to win duels, leaves opponent space for interaction.
Plays to win duels, prevents opponent from interacting by passive abilities.
Plays to lose duels, prevents opponent from interacting by closing the game as soon as possible
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