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Before the game begins, each player chooses 4 Characters and assembles a Deck of exactly 40 cards. This Deck represents the entirety of the assets available to the player in the game, so careful selection of cards can have a huge effect on the outcome of the game. The process of assembling a Deck is known as Deckbuilding.
Deckbuilding begins by selecting Characters. 4 Character cards may be chosen. Duplicate Character cards are allowed, and are in fact necessary to use certain spells, supports and events. When you have more than one Character card of the same type in your deck, it doesn't represent "having 2 Reimus", for instance, but rather "having a Level 2 Reimu".
See Character Cards for more information.
After this, Spell, Support and Event cards may be added to the deck. You may not have more than 3 copies of any card in your deck. "Copies" are determined by the name of the card; two cards with different artwork (or even game effects) but the same name are considered copies of each other.
The total number of cards in the Deck must be exactly 40. Character cards are not considered part of the Deck.
When building a deck, it is essential to pay attention to the Character Requirements of your Spell, Support and Event cards. If your Characters in play are not sufficient to fulfill the Character Requirements of a particular card, you cannot play that card. For instance, if you have Level 3 Reimu and Level 1 Yukari, you cannot play the spell Quadruple Barrier, since it requires Level 2 (or higher) Yukari.
Starting the Game
At the start of the game, both players' decks are shuffled and placed at the appropriate position on the Field. Following this, players each choose a Leader from among their 4 Character cards, and place their Character cards on the Field in the appropriate positions. It is recommended that players place their character cards face-down, and then reveal them simultaneously.
Next, each player draws 6 cards. Players may mulligan if they have no spell cards in their hand. To mulligan, reveal your hand to your opponent (to prove that there are no spell cards), then return all your cards in hand to your deck, re-shuffle it, and draw a new hand of 6 cards.
Finally, players collect counters to represent their HP and SP values. At the start of the game, HP is the Leader's listed Starting HP value, while SP is 0. Poker chips, coloured stones and other such items may be used. Extremely geeky players may want to use D20s to keep track of their HP/SP.
At this point, select one player to go first, either randomly or by mutual consensus.
The game consists of four phases: Replenishing, Battle, Preparation, and End, in that order. The player who goes first is on the Attack side, with the other player on the Intercept side. After the Attack player finishes with all four phases, the two switch their Attack/Intercept designation and repeat. The game continues until one player has either been reduced to 0 HP or lower, or if his or her deck cards have run out, at which point the game ends and the other player is declared the winner. The player who goes first shall hereafter be referred to as Player 1, while the second player will be referred to as Player 2.
When the phase starts, all Events and Special Abilities which are triggered by the beginning of the phase go into effect. Player 1 then takes the top card from her deck and adds it to her hand. However, she does not do this on her first turn (but Player 2 does on his first turn). At the same time, Player 1 replenishes her SP by 1 plus the number of Reserve Spell Cards she has. Next, both sides takes turns using Events/Specials. The phase ends when both sides pass; all Events and Special Abilities which are triggered by the end of the phase go into effect.
Player 1: Uses Event Card
Player 2: Uses Special Ability
Player 1: Uses Special Ability
Player 2: Pass
Player 1: Uses Event Card
Player 2: Pass
Player 1: Pass
The Battle Phase is where your Spell Cards are put to the test. When the phase starts, all Events and Special Abilities which are triggered by the beginning of the phase go into effect. Player 1 then chooses whether or not to attack (if she chooses not to attack, the phase ends). If she chooses to attack, she chooses one of her Active Spell Cards to put into battle. Player 2 now chooses whether or not to intercept Player 1. If he chooses not to intercept, the battle will go on without a Intercept Spell Card. Next, both sides takes turns using Events/Specials, in the same manner as in the Replenishing Phase. When both sides pass, the battle begins.
Each Spell Card has three numbers: 攻撃 (Attack Value or AV), 迎撃(Intercept value or IV), and 命中(Hit value or HV), each of which is subject to change by the Events and Specials that both sides have used. To determine the outcome of a battle, the HV of each card is compared to the EV of the opposition's Leader. For Player 2 (the same is true for Player 1), the possible outcomes are:
If the Spell’s HV is greater, his Leader gets hit.
If the HV is less, his Leader does not get hit.
If it’s a tie, the BV comes into play. If Player 2 can pay enough SP to match his Leader’s BV his Leader does not get hit. If he can’t, his Leader does get hit.
When Player 2's Leader gets hit, her HP goes down by the AV of Player 1's Spell. When Player 1's Leader gets hit, her HP goes down by the IV of Player 2's Spell.
Example (assuming that none of the values have been modified by Events/Specials):
Player 1's Spell has a HV of 3, compared to the 2 EV of Player 2's leader, so Player 2 is hit, and loses 3 HP, corresponding to the AV of Player 1's Spell.
Player 2's Spell has a HV of 3, compared to the 3 EV of Player 1's leader, so Player 1's BV comes into play. If Player 1 has enough SP to pay off the BV of her leader, she escapes unscathed. If she cannot, or chooses or not spend the necessary SP, her Leader would lose 2 HP, corresponding to the IV of Player 2's Spell.
If a Spell's AV/IV value is 0 or below, a player can get hit but not take any damage.
If a player chooses to use a Spell in a battle and gets hit by an opposing Spell in that battle, the Spell Card they used goes into the Reserve pile; it stays in the Active pile otherwise.
Once the HP values have been properly adjusted, the phase ends; all Events and Special Abilities which are triggered by the end of the phase go into effect.
Spell Cards are Activated and Support Cards equipped during the Preparation Phase, which is only for Player 1. When the phase starts, all Events and Special Abilities which are triggered by the beginning of the phase go into effect. Player 1 can do any of the following actions in any order:
- Take one Spell Card from her hand and add it to her Reserve pile.
This can only only done once per phase. There is no SP cost.
- Move Spell Cards from her Reserve pile to her Active pile.
As long as she can pay the requisite SP (and extra costs), she can move as many Spell Cards as she wants.
- Equip the playing field, Leaders and Spells with Support Cards
As long as she can pay the requisite SP (and extra costs), she can play as many Support cards as she wants.
- Spell Support - She can play the Support Card on either player's Spell Cards, but each Spell Card can only be equipped with a maximum of one Support. If a spell is already equipped with a Support, a new Support cannot be equipped to it unless the old Support is first removed by certain Events or Specials.
- Leader Support - She can play the Support Card on either player's Leaders, but each Leader cannot have more than one Support of the same name.
- Scene Support - Only one Scene Support may be in play at all times. If a new Scene is played, the previous Scene is discarded.
When Player 1 declares herself done, the phase ends; all Events and Special Abilities which are triggered by the end of the phase go into effect.
The End Phase is for Player 1 to discard any extra cards she might have accumulated. The maximum number of Hand Cards is seven, and the phase ends when Player 1 has no more than seven cards in her hand. Player 1 and Player 2 then switch their roles and the process is repeated.
Playing Cards and Using Abilities
The following rules apply when playing cards and/or using abilities.
You may only play a card from your hand, or use an ability, in the appropriate Phase. Spell Cards and Support Cards may only be played in the Preparation Phase. For Event Cards, the Phase when they can be played is listed on the card itself, and varies with different cards. For Abilities, the Phase when they can be played is indicated in blue text.
Certain Abilities can only be used when the current controller of the card is Attacking or Intercepting. These abilities have the additional text "/Attack" or "/Intercept" next to the Phase indication.
To play a card or use a special ability, a Cost must often be paid. However, Spell Cards cost nothing to play into the Reserve.
In the case of Event and Support cards, SP must usually be paid in order to play them, as per the "SP Requirement" listed on the card. In the case of special abilities, the cost (if any) is typically listed next to the Phase in blue.
Some cards have an additional cost required to play them; this is listed in purple as "Extra Requirement". If the player cannot fulfill the extra requirement, the card cannot be played.
However, certain costs are not paid when playing the card, but under other circumstances, as follows:
- (Battle) costs are paid when the associated spell is used to Attack or Intercept. If they are not paid, the spell cannot be used to Attack or Intercept.
- (Activate) costs are paid when the associated spell is Activated. If they are not paid, the spell cannot be Activated.
If two of the same Basic Ability apply to a particular card, the (X) power of that Basic Ability is the sum of the two. For instance, if Reimu's Special Ability "One of your spell cards gains Focused Movement (1)" is used on the spell Fantasy Seal - Concentrate - , which already has Focused Movement (1), the spell will end up with Focused Movement (2).
Leader Special Abilities
Only the character designated as your "Leader" may use their special abilities. The other characters' abilities may not be used, and they are taken simply to give you access to Team Cards.
Certain effects or abilities designate targets, while others prevent such targetting. Any valid targets designated by the Special or Event are listed in red.
Two main kinds of Keywords appear on the cards: Basic Abilities and Support Classes.
Unfocused Movement 高速移動（X）: When the opponent's Spell Type is "Concentration", your leader gains EV +X.
Focused Movement 低速移動（X）: When the opponent's Spell Type is "Spread", your leader gains EV +X.
Protection 防壁（X）: Gives the opponent's Spell a penalty of AV -X and IV -X.
Guided Bullets 誘導弾 : Any "Focused Movement" or "Unfocused Movement" basic abilities on your opponent's spell have no effect.
Penetration 貫通 : Any "Protection" basic abilities on your opponent's spell have no effect.
Faith 信仰(X): If your Leader would take X or less damage from a spell, she instead takes no damage. If the opponent's spell also has Faith (Y), then if you would take X-Y or less damage, you instead take no damage. For example, if your spell has Faith(3) and the opponent's has Faith(1), you ignore all damage from spells of 2 HP or less. If a spell would damage you for 3 or more HP, then you take full damage. For clarification, damage cannot go below 0.
There are 5 Support Classes so far: Doll, Shikigami, Instrument, Ghost, and Incident. These have no effect on their own and must be referenced by other cards.
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