School Life

All Hands on “Deck”

By: Denny Tan (Grade 12)

What we should know about the card game that is taking WPGA by storm

If you have ever passed by DTC (Death by a Thousand Cards) club’s weekly meetings, you may have seen one of Henry and Yi’s legendary bouts. You may have been confused by fanatical shouting of seemingly-mystical jargon. As complex as it seems, DTC, at its core, is simply a two-player card game that was influenced by the dual cartomancy and entertainment uses for Tarot cards. Jaden sums it up well when he said that the world of DTC was so immersive that getting used to the rules, and the learning curve was no problem.

How is it played?

In a nutshell, DTC is a duel between two ‘champions’ (which are selected from a group of character cards called major arcana) ranging from “death” to “the wheel of fortune” to “the high priestess”. What distinguishes one champion from another are their abilities. Because each player can only have one champion, all the other major arcana become your spells. There are strategies for playing whichever champion you pick, or counter-picking whichever champion your opponent picks.

 The bulk of the game is about using units and resources (minor arcana cards) strategically. There are three basic units: “swords” (offensive units), “wands ”(defensive units), and “cups” (support units). (Some spell cards can double as units too, but we’re not going to get into that just yet.) Your ‘stronghold’ is connected to the opponent’s by four patches: two in the wilderness and two lanes. The differences between the two are that while units travel slower in the wilderness, they stay hidden, and can only be placed during the daytime cycle. Along the wilderness, you can find a shop to spend your pentacles (Currency cards). With pentacles, you can buy powerful enhancements and structures.

For more detailed rules, you can visit DTC’s official website at

The Tournament

 As of now, the WPGA DTC Tournament is well underway. The tournament is composed of a 16 player bracket and double elimination. This means that, Josh L., dubbed “the best Tarot Wars player” may have lost after fouling Nick D., but he can continue playing in the Losers Bracket if he wishes. There is a $200 prize, so naturally I signed up to better understand the game. Participants range from hardened veterans to rookies trying to experience DTC for the first time, or perhaps just testing their luck. 

Many players, like Marcus, got into DTC because the spells, characters, and concepts were interesting. Others, like Daniel, were drawn in by prospects of triumph and notoriety that accompanied beating established players. But almost everyone stayed because the cerebral strategy of the game meant countless possibilities and limitless potential in every game.


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