Our story begins at the place where the story of every Splinterlands card begins… 1 BCX.
BCX is “Base Card eXperience,” and as cards become more powerful and they are combined, their BCX increases. So even though your 1 BCX Daria Dragonscale and my 46 BCX (max) Daria Dragonscale are each only one card, one is stronger than the other. Can you guess which?
Here’s How it Works
In Splinterlands, cards are “leveled up” in only one way: by combining BCX into higher level cards. Combining cannot be undone, and as cards are leveled up, the total supply of that card is always reduced. So when two 1 BCX cards are combined, the result is a single 2 BCX card.
Because there were fewer Alpha cards in the total supply, the BCX numbers required for leveling up are lower than for subsequent editions of cards. For example, while an Alpha common in Standard Foil takes 379 combined cards to reach the max level of 10, a Legendary Alpha takes only 8. Additionally, many players would say that some Legendary cards are playable at level 1, even at Champion League. But I'm getting ahead of myself.
Also note that Gold Foil cards are significantly rarer, so fewer cards are needed to reach max levels. Gold Foil cards are more than just collectible; playing with them also earns players a Dark Energy Crystal bonus with each win. Playing with Alpha cards also provides the same bonus. Some players are raking in huge DEC bonuses by using entire teams of Alpha and Gold cards in most of their battles (The max possible DEC bonus is 140%).
The Beta Edition
(Promo Edition cards have the same numbers as Beta)
As you can see in the above image, cards in the Beta set require quite a few more BCX to reach the higher levels, with Commons needing a whopping 505 combined cards! When a new card is released, no one knows for sure if it's going to be a hit, but almost all Common cards are powerhouses at level 10. Getting them there is a challenge that deserves to be rewarded with warriors that can stand against Legendaries.
The Untamed Edition
The Untamed set has a slightly different set of numbers for each card. There is no matching graphic, so I will create one using screenshots.
To Combine or Not to Combine
It's always a tough question, and one that you'll be asking yourself over and over as a Splinterlands player. Since it is brutally permanent, the decision to combine (or not combine) cards should never be taken lightly.
One one hand, you need higher level cards to be able to compete at increasingly higher levels, which as you might guess, can earn you greater rewards. On the other hand, if playing the Monster Market is more your thing, cards have traditionally sold at much higher prices per BCX as singles than they have as Max-BCX combined cards.
An example is Alpha Alric Stormbringer, the 3-Mana Summoner for the Water Splinter. The cheapest single-BCX Alric Stormbringer is currently listed for $4.73. Max Alric Stormbringers (86 BCX) are available for as comparatively little as $1.74 per BCX. I have played thousands of battles with my level 10 Alric and earned countless rewards as a result. Still, I cannot help thinking of the things I would do with 86 x $4.73 had I never combined them. It's not investment advice, but as I said before, it's always a difficult choice.
Summoners and Levels
While Monsters gain abilities and stats when their levels increase, Summoners gain the ability to summon Monsters of higher levels. For example, with a Level 1 Malric Inferno, you are only able to play Monsters of Level 1. If your Monsters have higher levels, they will still be limited to Level 1 play until your Malric Inferno has leveled up. At Level 3, Malric can summon Commons of Level 4 and Legendaries of Level 2.
Delwyn Dragonscale is often a good option for new players. Not only is he a Common card (available for $0.20/BCX at the time of posting) that is cheaper than most Summoners, but he offers an opportunity to play leveled up Reward Monster cards more quickly. As active players know, Reward cards tend to pile up in Splinterlands. For example, for only 12 BCX, a new player can get Delwyn Dragonscale to Level 4. Many players would say that's enough to get you into the Gold League or better!
The original one-per-Splinter Summoners that were released with the Alpha set in the beginning were all Rare, with the exception of Selenia Sky, the first Legendary Summoner. With Splinterlands Untamed, an entire new set of 4-Mana Rare Summoners was released. These Rare Summoners with their simple buffs and debuffs are the most popular to play with.
With the exception of the lovely Daria Dragonscale, all Epic Summoners have a Mana cost of only 2. They are ideal for low-Mana battles, or battles in which the Monsters are doing the buffing and debuffing. There is only one other 2-Mana Summoner in Splinterlands: The Ultra-Rare Baby Prince Julian (Legendary). Epic Summoners are often the quickest and easiest to get to Max Level, since they only require 46 BCX to do so.
While they are unbelievably enticing with their multiple abilities and low-BCX maxability, Legendary Summoners are in high demand, and they usually have high price tags. But no matter how expensive they get in the Monster Market, you can always get lucky and find Legendary Summies in Booster Packs (Not Archmage Arius from above... he's gone.).
Finding a Balance
I cannot specifically guide you down the difficult road of Splinterlands decisions you will face as a dedicated player; they are yours alone to make. I hope to provide the information and access to the tools necessary for you to make informed and educated Splintral choices. Many of these choices (such as the combining of cards) are absolutely permanent, and as I've said before, they are never to be taken lightly. For one player, combining cards and playing at greater Levels can yield greater rewards, but for another it could lead to defeat and heartbreak. I cannot assure you that you will not regret combining your cards, nor can I assure that you'll be glad you didn't. Here is one piece of broad advice I can offer:
Pick a Strategy that Feels Good and Stick With It!
Haven't Tried Splinterlands Yet?
In Splinterlands, you can learn the game for free, creating an account and battling as much as you'd like. Once you decide that you're going to love it, you simply Upgrade your account by purchasing the Summoner's Spellbook for ten bucks... and that's when the real fun begins.
With your $10 one-time purchase, all potential rewards are unlocked. To learn about the different rewards available in extensive detail, check out THIS POST. Basically, with your purchase of the Summoner's Spellbook, the trial is over and the real rewards begin. You can then complete Daily Quests, compete in Tournaments, buy and sell on the Monster Market and much more.
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