Like a lot of other games on the market, before a game begins, you'll build a deck in Ivion. The thing is, it's not quite a deck. Or a character. It's both! If you're not into that, no worries. You can find some starter decks here.
If you are into that, let's talk about how the rules actually work. It's pretty cool.
There are quite a few ways you can approach deck construction, but we'll pick and choose one formula to instill you with essential knowledge. I call deck construction in Ivion the Archetype System. The core of building a deck is that you'll be picking three archetypes. Some Archetypes are Classes and others are Specializations. If you've played an RPG like World of Warcraft, this will come naturally.
At the bottom middle of most Ivion cards is the Archetype they belong to. In the example below, the cards on the left belong to the Warrior Class and the cards on the right belong to the Steward Specialization. How do I know which one is a Class and which a Specialization? Well, the Class cards have a golden border while the Specialization cards have a platinum border. There you go!
Well... what's the difference between a Class and a Specialization besides a name?
A Class has a larger pool of cards to choose from than a Specialization. More on that later. Specialization cards are generally more focused and feel more powerful, while Class cards help add core aspects of playing Ivion to your deck: damage, healing, interaction, resource generation, stuff like that. If you like thinking of things in terms of a character, your two Classes are your character's core development, while their Specialization is their powerful focus. Anyone can be a Warrior, but only a chosen few can become a Steward.
Now, at this point, you don't really need to know anything about a Specialization to pick one. Choose it based on how cool its art is, or the name. Set that pile of Specialization cards aside. One of them will look different...
The card on the left is the Steward Specialization's Ultimate card. This card has a different format because it exists in the Feat Zone. Unlike the rest of the cards you'll be choosing, this card won't be shuffled into your deck. It will be available to you at all times during the game! Some Ultimates are passives, which means they'll always be active. Usually, they grant you a permanent, powerful bonus, or a one-time boost.
After you've chosen a Specialization, you'll need to choose a Class. You can choose two Classes if you'd like, but that isn't necessary to build a deck. Set your chosen Class(es) aside in their own piles. Classes don't come with inherent Ultimates like a Specialization does. One of your Classes must have a color at the bottom left or bottom right of each of its cards that matches one of the colors in the same places on your Specialization cards.
Now, you have two (or three!) Archetypes in front of you. The time to build your deck has come! A few additional rules to get you started: you can have a max of three copies of the same card in your deck. You'll need exactly 15 Specialization cards and 30 Class cards. If you have two Classes, those Class cards can be in any combination from both Classes. There are some good things to keep in mind while building a deck, which you can find in here. If you'd rather not, the two most important things are to put in a lot of cards that generate power and put in a lot of cards that deal damage.
Once you've chosen 45 cards, you can set the remaining Class and Specialization cards aside. It's on to choosing your two Traits! Something to note before choosing your Traits is that each of your Archetypes contributes two color bars to your deck's identity. If you chose Warrior as your Class and Steward as your Specialization, you'd have four gray color bars.
Traits, like Ultimates, exist in the Feat Zone. They're outside of your deck, never shuffled in. They to choose a Trait for your deck, you must have an equal or greater amount of color bars in your deck's identity of that color. To pick a double gray Trait, Warrior or Steward would suffice. To pick a triple gray Trait, you'd need both Warrior and Steward, or another source of gray from another Class or Specialization.
And that's the basics on how to build a deck! If you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comments below. If you think you're ready to move on to what makes a deck cool and interesting, check out this article.