Last Update: 21 Jan 01

WCW Nitro TCG Main Page

Strategy Guide, Part 1


Deck Construction

Starting Play

Plan Your Turns

Taking Damage

Dealing Damage


Fog of War

Set Up Your Finisher

Orange Attacks and Weapons


Strategy Guide, Part 2

A Little Help From Your Friends

Fan Support

Multiple 1 or 2 AP Attacks

Out of the Ring


Pin/Continue the Hold

The Best Offense Is A Good Defense

Discard Decks

Balls to the Wall

Other Strategies



    This strategy guide is designed to help promote the WCW Nitro Trading Card Game (including the Hardcore expansion set) and help new players get some ideas to help improve their play. It may also have a trick or three which will be of use to veteran players. This guide assumes that the player has already read and is familiar with the basic game rules.
    This will be a "living" document which will receive frequent updates. Ideas for additions and corrections are strongly encouraged in the interest of improving play. All ideas should be submitted to me via private e-mail at "".

    Decks must contain exactly 60 cards (not including your Wrestler). The first thing to do when building your deck is to see which three colors are displayed at the top of your Wrestler's card. These are the only three Move/Corner card colors (along with White) that your Wrestler will be able to use in his deck. If your Wrestler has a "+1" listed in one or more of his colors, he gets a +1 point Attack bonus when playing cards of that color, so you may wish to put more of those cards in your deck.
    Blue cards are high-risk, high-flyer moves. Green cards are mat wrestling moves or maneuvers. Magenta cards are lifting or power moves. Orange cards are hardcore or illegal moves. Yellow cards are submission moves. White cards are special actions that any Wrestler can use. No more than four of any of these cards can be included in your deck.
    Nitro cards represent the cost or preparation necessary to play another card. You must have Nitro cards in your Corner in sufficient numbers to be able to play other desired cards. Once played, Nitro cards are never "used up" or "tapped". They remain in your Corner and allow you to play your other cards unless another game event requires one or more Nitro to be discarded. Your deck may have any number of Nitro cards in it. Most players use between 16-24 Nitro cards in a deck. The exact number depends on your playing style and the Nitro cost of the cards you are using in your deck. Start your deck with 18-20 Nitro. If you find it difficult to get enough into play to allow you to play your other cards, add a few more. If you always have enough in play, you can take a few out and add other cards to your deck.
    Thunder cards have various benefits which are gained either by playing them from your hand or when they are overturned from your deck during Damage resolution. You'll want to have some Thunders which stop all or most of the Damage from an Attack. Six of these (equally divided between the various Dodges and Blocks) is a good starting point. Depending on your playing style and deck strategy, you may wish to include some of the others, as well. 6-8 Thunders in a deck is normal and you can adjust from there.
    You'll want to select Move cards based upon your Wrestler's strengths and Special Ability. Concentrate on Move cards in colors for which your Wrestler can gain the +1 bonus. Consider including cards which give you a benefit (such as ignoring Dodges) and be wary of cards which force you to discard or which might do bad things to you if the opponent overturns a Block or Dodge while taking Damage. Check to see if cards require the previous play of other cards (such as the "out of the ring" cards in the Hardcore expansion set). Compare the Damage each card can do against the Nitro and AP (Action Point) cost of playing that card. Make sure you get good "bang for your buck". Big cards that you can't play are useless and weak cards take up valuable deck space without doing you much good. As you gain experience, you can "fine-tune" your deck and you might even consider creating a "theme" deck which concentrates on one particular strategy which is well-suited to your Wrestler or playing style. Some of these are described later in this guide.

    It should go without saying that you should get Nitro cards into your Corner as quickly as possible. Often, it's a good idea to play every Nitro card in your hand as soon as you draw it. A possible exception is the use of an early Attack strategy with cards like Arm Toss. This card requires only one Nitro and two APs to do four Damage. If you have the first turn and also get +1 for Green Attacks, a good first turn is to play only one Nitro card and follow that up with an Arm Toss. This will also gain the +1 "Most Nitro" bonus (since your opponent doesn't yet have any on the table) and allows you a first-turn Attack worth a total of six Damage points.
    If possible, play Attacks early in the game which do not use all three of your APs. This will allow you to draw and/or play one or two additional cards along with launching your Attack. Getting cards into your hand early will give you more options in later turns and is a more important early strategy than gaining an extra Damage point against your opponent by using a more expensive Attack card.
    If your style is to play more defensively, consider playing a Practiced Block as soon as possible. While this card only absorbs the first three Damage points from an Attack, most early-game Attacks won't be much stronger than that, so this card can save all or most of the Damage they would otherwise inflict. In addition, this card can help prevent early Pin/Continue the Hold or "Out of the Ring" attempts. After a couple of turns have passed, consider Strong Blocks and Practiced Dodges since your opponent's Attacks will normally get stronger as the game progresses.

    Unless you intend on playing a card which will use up all three of your APs, you should plan ahead for how you wish to use your APs during your turn. APs are a precious commodity in the game, so it is advantageous not to waste them (and remember that you are required to use all of your APs each turn, i.e., you can't "pass" on any of them). If, for example, you have only 2 APs worth of cards that you wish to play (or are allowed to play), it is almost always better to use the 3rd AP to draw another card prior to playing any cards. If you wish to play both Attack and Corner cards during the same turn, it is almost always a good idea to play the Corner card(s) first. The reason for this is because there are Thunder/Corner cards (e.g., Stopped Cold or Full Stop) which your opponent can use to force you to end your turn after an Attack. If you have APs remaining, they would be lost if your turn is stopped. If you use the excess APs before playing the Attack, you don't have to risk losing them. Also, you might get lucky with that initial draw and pull a valuable card that could change the rest of your turn's plans. If possible, you don't want to spend your last point drawing and then not be able to take advantage of a good card for lack of APs.

    Remember that most Corner cards can only be used to absorb the first Damage points from an Attack, so you must make the decision whether or not to use them before turning over any cards from your deck or playing cards from your hand. Also, you should not play cards from your hand to absorb Damage until absolutely necessary. In other words, give the Thunders in your deck a chance to be turned up and do their jobs and use the ones in your hand as a last resort if you need to ensure that at least one Damage point from the current Attack gets stopped in order to thwart Pin, Continue the Hold, or "Out of the Ring" cards.
    Don't waste powerful Corner cards (such as Practiced Dodge) to absorb the Damage from small Attacks unless absolutely necessary. Just having them in your Corner can provide a deterrent to your opponent breaking out his finishing maneuver or other ugly combo.
    Ensure that your deck has a mix of the various Dodges and Blocks. Dodges are stronger, but there are several cards which can ignore them. Therefore, you'll need Blocks to defend against those Attacks. It should go without saying that Reversals are valuable cards since they can turn damage back onto the original Attacker.
    Finally, take a moment to notice which cards you are overturning while taking Damage. If you notice an important card going into your discard pile, you will either have to change your game strategy or plan on doing something to recycle that card back into your hand or deck. (See "Recycling" below).

    To win the game, you must force your opponent to exhaust the supply of cards in his deck. This is done by launching successful Attacks. These Attacks can range anywhere from 1 point for a simple Fast Punch or Dropkick to 30 or more points for massive combinations. Playing big-point Attacks does not always mean that you'll inflict that much Damage on your opponent since there are several ways available for him to stop some or all of the Damage. Normally, this will happen as a result of your opponent overturning Thunder cards from his deck during Damage resolution.
    Ideally, you want to maximize the Damage from each Attack. Cards such as Resistance is Useless, Making It Look Easy, Aysa, and Aysa at Work will reduce or eliminate Thunder (or Corner) cards which could stifle your Attack. You should always try to have one of these cards available to play with any Attack which would do 10 or more Damage points or allow a Pin, Continue the Hold, or "Out of the Ring". Also, remember that you can play White Attack modifier cards (such as Running Start or Jump from the Top Rope) to add Damage points to any Attack and that it is legal to play more than one of these cards with any single Attack. There are generally two good times to play these modifier cards. First would be to augment a big Attack or finisher, but they can also take a normally weak Attack (like Kick or Arm Bar) and add enough points to it to make it hurt.
    Of course, the flip side of the discussion in the "Taking Damage" section above is to use small Attacks when your opponent has strong Corner cards. This will force him to decide whether or not to burn those cards (which opens the door for subsequent bigger Attacks) or eat the Damage and hope that Thunder cards will save him. Of course, he'll hate to lose a Dodge card on a 3-point Attack.
    There are certain Thunder cards that every Attacking player greatly fears. Nothing hurts worse than seeing your opponent overturn such cards as Crowd Chants "Goldberg", Kidman Gets Help, Hogan's F.U.N.B. or Reversal as one of the first few cards overturned while taking Damage from a big Attack. If you know or suspect that your opponent has these cards available, it is strongly advisable to use Resistance is Useless to allow your big Attack to ignore all Thunders.

    Every deck has important cards. "Recycling" is a strategy which will allow you to return those cards (including your finishing maneuvers) to your deck or your hand and be able to play them more than once during the Round. Cards like Instant Replay, Seeing Red?, We're Going Outside Again!, 4 Percent Body Fat, and Second Wind will allow you to retrieve important cards from your discard pile and put them back into either your hand or your deck. Use the recycling cards which will bring back the Moves, Corners or other cards which will be of the most help to you. This strategy effectively increases both the size and power of your deck and helps ensure that your key cards aren't lost in Damage resolution.
    If you have multiple Second Wind cards in your deck, it's usually a good idea to hold one of them in your hand until you see one or more of the others in your discard pile. Then, you can play the one from your hand to get back the others which would otherwise have been lost.
    To counter an opponent's ability to recycle cards, consider adding Doug Dillinger to your deck. This card allows you to use one AP once per turn to permanently remove any one card in your opponent's discard pile from the Round. The Total Package's special ability to place three cards from his opponent's deck into his opponent's discard pile can be combined with Doug Dillinger's ability to help get the most dangerous cards out of play.
    Bret Hart's Special Ability is equal to a built-in Second Wind card. Norman Smiley's Special Ability allows him to recycle four weapons cards back into his hand.

    "Fog of War" is a term which indicates the tactical or strategic uncertainty which results from a lack of complete or reliable information. In game terms, it comes from holding cards in your hand and keeping your opponent guessing about your intentions and abilities until you are ready to act.
    Unless you have a pressing need to play a particular card, it should be held until such a need arises. Every card should be played with a clear purpose in mind rather than just to burn APs or launch trivial Attacks. One of the best "Fog of War" examples is Jeff's Guitar. This is a weapon which requires no APs to play into your corner. Since it can be played essentially for free, and since a played Corner card is vulnerable to an opponent who could play such cards as Corner Chaos, this card should be held in your hand until Jarrett is ready to use it to augment an Orange Attack. Just like in reality (or, at least, what passes for "reality" in the world of professional wrestling), Jarrett's opponent will never see it coming and will be all but helpless against it.
    Rey Mysterio, Jr.'s Special Ability helps to combat a "Fog of War" strategy by allowing him to look into an opponent's hand and force the discard of two dangerous cards. Sid Vicious can play Sid Wins the World Title to force his opponent to discard his entire hand!

    A "finisher" is a big Attack which causes lots of Damage (normally 13+ points), is often unstoppable, and usually results in winning the Round or putting your opponent in a very precarious situation. It is strongly advised that your overall game plan includes saving up key cards in your hand until all the pieces are in place to launch this Attack. An extremely effective tactic is to save up at least two Extra Effort cards and a Resistance is Useless (RiU) in your hand. This will allow you to gain the extra APs necessary to play the RiU card along with your big Attack card or combo in the same turn and make your Attack unstoppable. Since many finishers include the ability to play a Pin, Continue the Hold or "Out of the Ring" card if none of the Damage from the original Attack is stopped, your opponent will be in deep trouble if you set up the finisher properly.
    To help set up the finisher, use cards like Corner Chaos, You Can't Stop Me and/or Chaos in the Ring to remove Blocks and Dodges from your opponent's Corner in the turn(s) prior to the big Attack. You can also use Making It Look Easy to ignore those Corner cards rather than removing them completely. When you play the finisher, be sure to include all cards which will add extra Damage points to the Attack. This is not a time to hold back!
    Finishers include not only cards like Goldberg's Jackhammer or Sting's Scorpion Death-Lock, but can also be lethal combinations of several cards played in the same turn. Some of these are listed below along with some suggestions for the best Wrestlers to use with each finishing strategy.

    These are the "hardcore" and/or "illegal" tactics in the game. You should avoid using any Orange Attack card or weapon whose text says that it is "illegal" unless you have a No Holds Barred card in play to save you from the possibility of a DQ Thunder card costing you the Round. Weapons normally require the referee to be distracted before they can be used. There are two important things to remember when using weapons. First, Jimmy Hart distracts the referee for *both* opponents while he is in play. Second, you may add multiple weapons from your Corner to any Attack card which permits their use. Loading up on Folding Chairs, Tables, Baseball Bats, etc. can produce a huge finishing Attack. Needless to say, before launching such an Attack, you should also have a Resistance is Useless or Aysa card in play to help prevent your opponent from stopping any of the Damage.
    Several Wrestlers have Special Abilities and/or Unique cards which assist them in using weapons or hardcore tactics. Almost any Wrestler who has a +1 Orange bonus should consider such a strategy. Foremost among them would be Diamond Dallas Page. DDP's Special Ability to ignore Dodges and Reversals and distract the ref will allow him to set up a crushing combination involving several weapons and Orange Attack bonuses which will be very hard for his opponent to stop or survive. Brian Knobs, Terry Funk, and Norman Smiley are also good choices for hardcore/weapons decks.
    To defend against weapons decks, consider using "Rowdy" Roddy Piper Takes Charge and Keeping It Clean to force your opponent to discard weapons from his Corner.

    There are several Green Attack cards (and one Orange Attack card, Punch in the Nose) which have the word "Punch" in their title. Most of these cards will give you a +1 Damage bonus for every other Punch card which has previously been played during the current turn. As such, this leads to the "Punch deck" strategy of loading up with various Punches along with cards which will give you extra APs. The proper tactic with such a deck is not to play Punches as soon as you draw them. Instead, you want to save up several of them and launch them all in the same turn to maximize their cumulative effect.
    Let's assume you have saved a Fast Punch, two Face Punches, two Top-Rope Punches, and one Down-on-the-Mat Punch in your hand along with any combination of three Extra Effort and Down but Not Out cards. On your turn, you will have up to six APs available and can launch all six Punches (assuming that your turn is not stopped in any way).
    Playing the Fast Punch followed by the two Face Punches and finishing with the two Top-Rope Punches and the Down-on-the-Mat Punch (in that order and assuming your Wrestler gets the +1 Green modifier), this combination will produce six Attacks which will, consecutively, be worth 2, 3, 4, 6, 7 and 9 points for a total of 31 Damage points. If you have also added White modifier cards (such as Running Start) to your deck, these can also be played to added extra punch (no pun intended) to any of the Attacks in this series. Having Brass Knuckles in your Corner adds +1 to all Punches, but makes them illegal, so you should also have No Holds Barred in play if you break out the knucks.
    Jeff Jarrett is easily the best candidate for a Punch deck with his Green and Orange colors and bonuses, his Special Ability to gain extra APs, and his Unique Jeff's Punch card. Ric Flair (or even, surprisingly, Hollywood Hogan) could also pull off this strategy successfully.
    Defense against Punch decks involves not allowing your opponent to get off a long string of Punches. This is done by using cards such as Stopped Cold, Full Stop or Desperate Dodge which will cause your opponent's turn to end after the current Attack.

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