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How to Play the First Four Turns

LSV walks you through the first four turns of a Storybook Brawl lobby.

Storybook Brawl is a game with near-infinite possibilities. You have many different decisions to make each turn, and once you get past the first few turns, those decisions represent different paths you can go down. Still, the first four turns have more decisions than you might realize, and today I’ll be giving you a guide to navigating them.

Your decisions can be heavily impacted by your Hero, but I’ve got some general heuristics as to how you should approach things. Once you learn these, it’s easy to adjust for odd scenarios or specific Heroes - you have to learn the rules before you break them.


Turn One

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Most of the time, your turn one will be to buy the best character and then either lock the shop or not. That’s not too complex, but there are a few things that impact the decision. What the “best” character is will largely depend on your Hero and if there are pairs (I often will lock for a 2nd copy if there are two of the same character), with Cinder-Ella, Sherwood Sureshot, Mad Mim, and Black Cat being my favorites (or Wizard’s Familiar if there’s a good spell and/or I’m a spell-based Hero). I will also usually buy Black Cat and lock for Mad Mim, since that’s such a good combo.

A note on locking: before buying anything, consider if you are going to lock the shop. If you are, and there’s a Golden Chicken in the shop that you don’t want, you can buy the Chicken, sell it to buy the character you want, and then lock. That opens up another slot to see something good. Likewise, the turn one shop of Chicken + Free Roll means you can buy Chicken and Roll, and hopefully find better options.

In the above image, I’d cast Roll the Dice and hope to get Sureshot or Cutpurse (the ranged character is better, but let’s be real - I’m hoping for Cutpurse). If I hit Cutpurse, I’d also lock for Sureshot, though if you got Fanny, you have to hope for Dwarves in the next shop.

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There are a couple spells you can cast on turn one. Roll the Dice is almost always worth it, since you’re getting +1/+1 for free (and is really good if you’re lucky), with Shard of the Ice Queen also worth playing if there’s a good character to buy and cast it on. Free Roll is, well, free, and I usually cast it after buying if there’s something I want or before buying if I don’t like the shop.

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Genie’s Wish and Forbidden Fruit are two spells I almost always lock. The key is that you have 3 gold on turn two, so you waste a gold if all you do is buy a character. Fruit lets you double-buy, and Wish can be cast pre-buying and sometimes hit Shrink Spell for massive value. Speaking of Shrink Spell…

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This one is tricky. You can cast it on turn one and lock the shop, leading to a lost fight but a triple buy on turn two, or you can buy a character as normal and plan on casting Shrink Spell turn two. That lets you buy one character on turn two, then lock the other two cheap characters for future turns. I’ve been leaning towards not buying Shrink Spell on turn one, and doing it turn two instead, mostly because losing the first fight automatically is tough on your health total (but I’m not confident that’s always right).

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These are the spells you could consider locking for on turn one. My rule of thumb is that I’ll lock for any of the +1/+1 spells if I have a good target for them, like Rainbow Unicorn plus Sugar and Spice. For Glory! is trickier, since you won’t win most fights with just two random characters. I generally will not lock for it unless I’ll have Humpty Dumpty or Sherwood Sureshot, or have a hero that gives me some sort of combat bonus (like Krampus or Jack’s Giant).

Whew, we made it out of turn one alive. It may seem like a lot, but it’ll be second nature soon enough, and once you have it down you won’t have to think about it too much.

Turn Two

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Turn two is usually pretty easy - you buy the best character, and either cast the spell in the shop or use the one remaining gold to roll. If you’re lucky enough to have four gold (thanks to Cutpurse, Forbidden Fruit, or one of the economy Heroes), then it’s even easier, as you just buy two characters. When rolling, you’re looking to lock a good buy next turn, whether that be a pair or just a good level 2 character.

In this case, it’s an easy Genie’s Wish, and hope for Shrink Spell. If you miss, buying Sureshot is a nice fallback, and Sureshot even gives you a chance of winning if you hit For Glory!

Turn Three

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Turn three is also fairly simple, since the vast majority of the time you’ll be buying two characters with your four gold. Sometimes you’ll have five gold, thanks to the usual suspects, in which case you can play a spell or roll to see better options. Of note, you should try and avoid locking on turn three. Turn four is when you level up to Level Three, and you really want to buy a level three character, so locking a shop and making it less likely one shows up is a bad idea.

In the example above, I’m off to a great start, as I went Wizard’s Familiar + Free Roll into Rainbow Unicorn + Sugar and Spice. On turn three, I’d buy Mim and Cinder-Ella, seeing myself up for a great game.

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For reference, here’s how I’d position my army. You want Mim to buff the high-health Unicorn, and then making Cinder-Ella into a 5/2 is better than making Familiar into a 7/4, since now both of those characters probably take down anything they fight.

Turn Four

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Turn four (or 3.0, depending on what you want to call it), is another turn where you most often make the same play. That play is buying a level 3 character plus a level two character, as you’ll likely have five gold to spend. There are some notable exceptions:

If you’ve got six gold, great - buy two level 3’s if they are in the shop

If you have an especially bad level 2 character and there are two great level 3’s, selling to buy both can be worth it

You don’t usually buy spells here, but if you’ve got a ton of incentive (like my Merlin game), it can be worth considering

In the disaster scenario where your shop has no level 3 characters, you may have to buy two level 2’s plus a spell, or roll and try to buy one level 3 plus hopefully a spell

This is about the level where you also start developing preferences as to which path you’re going down. You have enough info thanks to the level 2 characters on your team to help pick which level 3 characters fit best, since sometimes you’ll want Donkey, sometimes you’ll want Princess Peep, and sometimes you’ll want Spell Weaver. Synergy is starting to become more important than raw power, as the combo potential is starting to arrive.

In the above game, I’d buy Princess Peep and Labyrinth Minotaur. Peep goes really well with Mim (you want Peep in slot 4 and Mim in slot 6 most likely), and Minotaur is better than making your Mim an 0/7, since that isn’t super relevant.

To Turn 5 and Beyond

Now that you have a handle on the early game, you’ve got the fundamentals needed to tackle later turns. Turn five is usually buy two 3-drops, and from there, build out your team with an eye to synergy and triples. I’ll cover that in a later article, since mastering the first four turns is by far the most important - games are won or lost on these decisions, and having fewer resources means your decisions matter all that much more.

-LSV