Legend of Mana Card Duel - Deckbuilding

聖剣伝説 レジェンド オブ マナ カードデュエル デッキ構築
How to build Legend of Mana Card Duel decks.

Page Navigation:
Sample Decks
Deck Archetypes
Main Deck Construction
CharacterDeck Construction

Sample Decks

The two decklists provided below offer what I believe to be a great introduction to the game. The “Red” sample deck comes from an official publication (Making of Mana, 1999, ISBN4-7561-3148-4) discussing the card game. I put together the “Blue” sample deck as a counterpart to it, and as such the two decks create a decent matchup with one another. The 50 card decks have very low power levels; they are made up nearly entirely of common and uncommon cards. Along with the decklists, I have provided analyses of the deck contents to help players strategize before jumping into a game.

Red Sample Deck


Blue Sample Deck


Deck Archetypes

In Making of Mana (1999, ISBN4-7561-3148-4), Duelle described three particular deck archetypes. There are many more styles of decks, including much more balanced decks, that can be constructed but I will just relay the archetypes Duelle detailed here. Duelle suggests aiming for a specific win condition instead of trying to win through each method.

Land Make Decks

Very fast decks stuffed full of Artifacts aiming to complete Land Make in 9 turns.

Party Buffing Decks

Decks that buff the Party with Item cards without inserting a single Monster. These decks focus on completing Land Make or collecting 12 Mana.

Party Crushing Decks

Decks that aim to annihilate the opponent’s Party by blocking Land Make with powerful Monsters and Support cards that directly damage the Party.

Main Deck Construction

Legend of Mana Card Duel normal card back.
Card backing for cards in the Main Deck.

Decks must include anywhere between 40 and 60 cards. Unless you are building the Land Make archetype described above, it is probably best to stick to 3 Attributes: 2 main Attributes (likely from Fire, Earth, Wind, and Water) and 1 sub Attribute (likely from Light, Dark, Metal, Wood). The Rule Book recommends using around 3-4 Attributes in a deck. Below various suggested card counts are presented, based on the Red Sample Deck counts above, but depending on the goals of your deck you may end up with a completely different balance.

Artifact/Land Cards

For a 40 card deck, around 14 Artifacts/Lands may suffice, 18 for a 50 card deck, and 22-23 for a 60 card deck (according to Niccolo). Remember that you may only play one of each Land on your side of the field, so for most Lands you will likely only want to include 2 of them unless their Artifact is particularly potent. Keep in mind that unlike other card games where you can get “land flooded” a hand full of Lands in this game means you have access to a lot of powerful Artifacts. It is unlikely you can include too many of these, so be careful not to include too few. Keep in mind the attribute conditions of Support cards, Monsters, and Magical Weapons when selecting your Lands.

Monster Cards

For a 40 card deck, around 13 Monsters may suffice, 16 for a 50 card deck, and 19 for a 60 card deck. While having your Monsters match your land attributes can be beneficial due to the attribute bonus provided, only a handful of Monsters actually care about the attributes of your Lands. This means you are free to add a surprising range of Monsters to your deck regardless of the Lands you include. However, for the Monsters that require specific attributes in play only Lands of that attribute will count (sorry Bud and Lisa), so make sure to watch out for those Opening Costs. Keep in mind that Monsters serve a dual purpose; they can slow down your opponent’s Land Make by invading, but also protect your own Lands from being invaded.

Support Cards

For a 40 card deck, around 8 Support cards may suffice, 10 for a 50 card deck, and 12 for a 60 card deck. These cards will often get you out of a sticky situation or help you meet your goals faster. With so many different effects, the number of Support cards actually included in each deck may vary a lot. Only Fire, Earth, Wind, and Water Support cards will ever require double attributes.

Item Cards

For a 40 card deck, around 5 Items may suffice, 6 for a 50 card deck, and 7 for a 60 card deck. Items can make battles a lot smoother, but once your Party is fully equipped they will be wasted in your hand. Make sure to consider which Items can be equipped by the Characters in your other deck. When it comes to Magical Instruments, remember they get stronger the more Lands of the matching attribute you have in play. Since fewer Light, Dark, Wood and Gold attribute Lands exist, those corresponding instruments pack an additional punch.

Rule Book excerpt (p. 45)

Deck composition greatly affects the outcome of the game. If you collect many cards, try creating a unique deck using your own ingenuity.

How to build the Main Deck

  • This explanation focuses on creating a standard 50 card deck. First and foremost are Artifact cards that produce Mana. Consider the main attributes of the deck, building it with around 3~4. Including around 20 of these cards would be good.
  • Next, insert about 15 Monster cards. It’s safer to include Monsters that get an attribute bonus from the attributes of your Artifacts, but you can also choose to ignore this altogether. 
  • Insert about 10 Support cards. Make sure to pay attention of the attributes of your Artifacts so that you do not add any unusable cards.
  • The number of Item cards is a bit small, around 5 cards. Item cards are very efficient cards for strengthening Characters, but if you put too many in you will have difficulty dealing with various developments.

Character Deck Construction

Legend of Mana Card Duel Character card back.
Card backing for cards in the Character Deck.

No matter the size of your Main Deck, the Character Deck must always contain 8 unique Character cards. It is important to consider which Characters work well together as well as which Characters have Special Skills that can assist with the goals of your Main Deck.

Synchro Effects

These effects offer free stat bonuses to your Characters if you manage to get different pairs of Characters in play at the same time. Synchro effects only matter in battle, as the two Artifact cards that destroy players based on their DEF specifically state to ignore any Synchro effects.


Make sure your characters can make use of the Weapons and Magical Instruments included in your Main Deck.

  • Princess Pearl, Elle, Matilda, and Sandra cannot equip heavy weapons such as 2H Swords, 2H Axes, and Hammers.
  • Niccolo and Elazul cannot equip Magical Instruments.
  • Bud and Lisa can only equip Magical Instruments.
  • The Rabite, Skippie, and Hamson cannot equip any Items.
  • Roger is limited to Gloves and Hammers.
  • Cap’n Tusk is limited to Knives and 1H Swords.
  • Golems cannot activate Special Techniques or the effects of Magical Instruments.

Attribute Conditions

Bud (Fire, Earth, Wind, Water) and Lisa (Light, Dark, Wood, Gold) can help you meet the attribute conditions of Support cards and Magical Instruments. This can be especially useful if you run many different attributes in your deck.

Cost Reducers

Depending on the aim of your deck, Characters such as Lady Blackpearl (Support), Matilda (Monsters), or Rubens (Special Techniques) may be worth including to help reduce the cost of playing important cards from your Main Deck.


Probably every deck should consider including Niccolo due to the amount of card draw he generates. With 1 STR he will rarely defeat Monsters without assistance, but his 4 DEF means he will also rarely perish in battle allowing him to enter into battle relatively safely and return with a free card. If including Niccolo, you may also consider including the Rabite so he can untap and generate two cards a turn. The Jacobini Axe and Scale 2H Sword along with a handful of Support cards can also be used to this effect.

Rule Book excerpt (p. 45)

Deck composition greatly affects the outcome of the game. If you collect many cards, try creating a unique deck using your own ingenuity.

How to build the Character Deck

  • There are various elements to consider, such as combining Characters with synchro effects and considering compatibility with the Main Deck. However, if you focus on the Special Skills of low STR Characters you may have difficulty dealing with the opponent’s Monsters.