Oldschool Cool: How To Become A 'Deckball' Champion
Hold on to your Uni, ladies and gentlemen, because we're going on a magical adventure through time.
Our destination is right back at the beginning of time itself, on the beaches of Krawk Island. Picture this. It's the Year 3. You are standing in the midst of a visual spectacular, a great battle of fire, and fury, and gritty determination. Gathered on those golden sands, and scattered around a worn-out old pirate ship are the great leaders of Neopia. They are cheering, loudly, indiscriminately, at two Petpets smashing a ball across a makeshift course.
You're watching what will become the greatest moment in the history of Neopia. It is The Krawk Island Cup. That challenge, held over two weeks, was between 40 members of the Neopets Staff. While many of their names have been lost in the sands of time, the name of the champion will live on forever; it is that of the great mythical being, the legendary Mr. Roboto.
I am talking, of course, about 'Deckball', the greatest game ever created in Neopia. As a master of this dark art, with the trophy to prove it, I will be your guide on this adventure. The secret truth is Deckball is one of the easiest games to master, and, if you give me five minutes of your time, I'll show you how to beat it and get a glistening new trophy in your cabinet.
To cover off the basics, Deckball is a ball game between two warring Petpets, the Mirgle and the Pawkeet. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to stop your opponent from putting the ball in your goal, while trying to put the ball into their goal. Sounds simple, right?
The first thing to note is the three difficultly modes; you've got Swabby, First Mate, and Captain. Head straight for Captain, for two reasons; one, Captains are way cooler than everyone else, and two, Captain is the only mode that will win you Neopoints.
You now have to choose between three game modes; Survival, Timed and Points.
This game mode is all about defense. Score as many points as you can without letting the other guy put one in your goal. The moment they score, its game over. Kaput. Pow. See you later. No matter the temptation, stay in front of your goal at all times. Never cross the half way line. If you follow this formula, you have a very good chance reaching the maximum score, of 10 points, which will immediately put you into the high scores on most months.
Take everything you learned from survival and flip it upside down. This game mode is all about untamed aggression, taking to the other guy with some grit in your belly. Both players have three minutes to score as many goals as possible. It doesn't matter how big the margin is, so if you're ahead, don't worry about the other player scoring goals. This is where you get the gold trophy; you can score above the 10 points, which is the maximum on Survivor, but you'll have to hustle. The magic number is 14 goals in three minutes, if you hit that, congratulations, you're a champion.
This is the great middle road. The first player to five points wins. It means you can afford to go on offence when the situation arises but keep an eye on things, if your opponent starts to get a hefty lead, or it's a tight game, revert to your survival instincts, and get on defense. This is not a great game mode to get into the high scores, but, hey, it's still fun!
This is where champions are made. Your opponent has a few bad habits you can exploit.
1) Kick off
The CPU is at its weakest at the very start of every single play as the kick off happens. It can happen at varying speeds, so keep a close eye on how it's heading out, and act accordingly. The best kick off is a slow take-off that only rebounds once, off the bottom wall, and then floats up slowly to the center. The CPU misses this every single time, and if you play it right, by going in slowly, and giving it a slight nudge, you can score immediately off the first touch. This approach is not possible with other kick offs, which can go much faster and slower, where you and your opponent reach the ball at roughly the same time. Mastering this technique is especially important for scoring points quickly on the 'Timed' game mode.
2) Avoid Direct Confrontation
Never, ever, go head to head with the CPU. This will result in a risky bounce off, where the ball will go between you very quickly, and then bounce off at an unpredictable angle. This can go either way and can often lead your opponent scoring a point. It's far better to nudge the ball out of the danger zone, if you're playing defense, or directly target the CPU player, and nudge them away from the ball so you can get control.
3) Gently Does It
The great secret to Deckball is to nudge your way to victory rather than bashing in. If you hit the ball too hard, and miss their goal, it can quickly rebound into yours. It's also far easier to aim if you hit the ball gently, so make sure you come in softly when you're trying to score. Don't be afraid to rebound gently off the walls while shooting, either. Your unburnt energy can then be used up by throwing everything you have at targeting the other player, bashing them with all of your might, to make sure they can't get to the ball and stop it on its slow, plodding path to victory.
4) Corner Ball
The CPU's favorite scoring technique is to bounce the ball rapidly up from the corner near your goal. It will try this over and over again, bouncing it up the wall into the goal. The quickest way to dismantle this attack is to attack the player, rather than the ball, which usually confuses it and can sometimes actually result it scoring an own goal with a miscalculated rebound.
There are five power ups and traps throughout the game but these are fairly rare and usually don't have a big impact. The two to note are the biscuit, which will make you go faster, and the anchor, which will make you go slower. I typically avoid both as they can disrupt how you're used to playing and force mistakes. A mast can also sometimes pop up in the center, which is a massive pain and will turn everything into corner ball. Employ the same technique mentioned above, and attack the player instead of the ball for maximum confusion. The other two are a trench or gate, which prevent the ball from going into a goal for a short time.
It's been nine years, so you can easily be forgiven for forgetting about the mighty Deckball. But it hasn't forgotten about you. It's been sitting, patiently, waiting for you to fall back in love with its simple, classic charms. You now have all the information you need to join the ranks of the legendary mythical beings, following in the footsteps of the titan of Neopia, Mr. Roboto. It's time to put this information in to action. Go well. Cover yourself in glory!