Martial Arts Brutality – Mechanics and Deck-building

Information on deckbuilding, good cards, and my Hot Opinions on different styles.

Kung Fu

The starting deck that you own first. Listed as being a good mix of speed, attack, and defense. What this description fails to mention is that it’s not attack speed it’s talking about, it’s DECK speed. Your attacks do not go faster.

  • Starting Adrenaline: 1.5
  • Adrenaline per attack: +.2
  • Adrenaline per turn: +.5

  • Starting Chi: 20
  • Chi per attack: +5

  • Character effects: none
  • Card effects: none

In a lot of games, the starting (Whatever) that you get first is usually hot garbage. Not really the case here! Kung Fu is a rather useful style in that it’s very hard to lock down with adrenaline debuffs or chi drains, and if you hit 6-7 times a turn you get to adrenaline 6 in about 2 rounds of attacking. Past that, it’s mostly unneccesary, unless your opponent is packing the adrenaline -10 chi strike, in which case they aren’t even going to bother using it because it’s not cheap on chi. The chi regeneration rate, on the other hand, means that you can put way more expensive chi cards into a Kung Fu deck than pretty much any other deck, because you regenerate 30 chi or so a turn if you’re attacking at a good speed.


The first deck you unlock, unless you support the devs and have a hard-on for the U.S. Marines. (This is a movie reference, before you whip out your hate mail.) Karate is listed as having stronger bones and joints and stronger hand and foot techniques, but slower reflexes. Now, reflexes aren’t really touched upon as to what they really MEAN, so I’ll put that here to, in all bold, because this is very important. Your reflexes determine how fast your opponent’s attacks move for you when you block. Bad reflexes are, quite frankly, a death sentence in this game, unless your real life reflexes are godlike. I don’t know how bad they are, but I don’t play karate decks very much for this reason.

  • Starting Adrenaline: 1.0
  • Adrenaline per attack: +.1
  • Adrenaline per turn: +.6

  • Starting Chi: 45
  • Chi per attack: +2

  • Character effects: better bone/joint defense, worse reflexes
  • Card effects: +1 power to all attacks

Karate isn’t particuarly great in my opinion. You’re only going to get about an average of 1.2 adrenaline per turn, and the +1 attack doesn’t balance out for how many low adrenaline attacks you’re going to have to put into your deck. Even worse, low adrenaline chi skills usually cost more chi to use for the same effect, or are just worse. The only good reason I can think of to think of to use this is for the higher health, which could be rather useful, but not worth it in my opinion.


I’ll be honest, I may be biased towards Taekwondo because I used to practice it in real life. Taekwondo is listed as having much stronger foot techniques and stronger bones and joints, but less powerful hand techniques and slightly slower reflexes. Essentially, listed as a less versatile karate. However, there’s a bit more to it than that.

  • Starting Adrenaline: 1.0
  • Adrenaline per attack: +.1
  • Adrenaline per turn: +.7

  • Starting Chi: 20
  • Chi per attack: +3

  • Character effects: Stronger bones/joints, slightly slower reflexes
  • Card effects: +5 power and +3 speed to leg techniques, -5 power and -3 speed to hand techniques

Taekwondo decks are very strong for leg stuff, but they’re massively restricted in card choice. Not just offensive hand techniques either, oh no. External Chi techniques all (or all the ones I have anyway) use hands, and as such all take a speed penalty. As a result, most of your chi is going to be used for internal chi stuff, or for external chi counterattacks where speed doesn’t matter. Other than that, They also gain adrenaline at a slow rate like Karate, but unlike Karate they get enough stat boosts that the only thing you’ll be missing out on at low adrenaline are the fancy defense trajectories (more on those later).

Wing Chun

I may also be biased towards this deck, not going to lie. I play it the majority of the time. Wing chun is listed as having the fastest techniques and longer attack times (though it also has slower cooldowns for attacks, I think), with the drawbacks of being all around weak, body and attacks. Luckily, as I’ve been finding out, power doesn’t really matter as much as you’d think when you’re throwing out a billion punches and aiming for low health areas.

  • Starting Adrenaline: 3.0
  • Adrenaline per attack: +.1
  • Adrenaline per turn: +.2

  • Starting Chi: 50
  • Chi per attack: +1

  • Character effects: Longer attack timer, slower attack cooldowns, generally less health
  • Card effects: -5 all power, +5 speed to hands, +3 speed to kicks

Wing Chun is an amazing style for where I’m at, as long as you can block well. While I haven’t been able to see how fast my punches are going, I’m rather confident that my opponent isn’t going to block a 22 speed uppercut with fog and a second illusion fist. Wing chun is also very well suited to Dim Mak attacks due to their innate speed, though you’ll either want to do them early, or have multiple ways of regaining Chi. Finally, I’m not entirely sure about what the calculations on damage are, but it seems to me that a 1 power attack does a lot more than just half the damage of a power 2 attack. I could be wrong, but if I’m right, this makes Wing Chun a lot better than its face value due to quantity over quality.


Just unlocked this one recently so I haven’t had much experience with it, but it seems good at what it does. Ninja’s primary draw is that it starts out very strong, and is *supposed* to not scale well to higher levels, due to a very short turn timer and no natural chi regeneration. Of course, there’s always chi boost cards.

  • Starting Adrenaline: 4.0
  • Adrenaline per attack: +.1
  • Adrenaline per turn: +0

  • Starting Chi: 40
  • Chi per attack: +0

Character effects: 50% for used chi cards to not go on cooldown, the first spirit boost for ATTACKING each turn is free, weaker bones and joints, “poor” counterattacking, whatever this means.
Card effects: +2 power and +3 speed for hand techniques, -5 power and speed for foot techniques.

Ninja decks are rather similar to taekwondo decks, except they focus on hand techniques instead of foot techniques, leaving chi attacks much more viable (if you can gather the chi for them). Because attacks cool down almost instantly and you’re only going to be able to use 4 or so in a turn, along with the massive 8 redraws (your entire hand), you can get away with having a decent amount of 5+ adrenaline attacks in your deck. Of course, take this with a pinch of salt, I haven’t played too much with them yet.

Card Choice: Targets

To win a fight, you must deplete one of your opponent’s many health bars. “How do I know which body part to go for?”, you may ask. The answer is a combination of “Whatever you want, dude” and what cards you have to target with. In this section, I’m going to do a quick rundown of the different health bars, along with any pros and cons targeting them in particular has. Feel free to skip this part if you find it uninteresting. From top to bottom (more or less), we have…

Multiple Injuries: The basic health bar. Contains nearly all body parts, with the exceptions of the single target vitals and the eye sockets. You probably won’t be relying on this much later, but in team matches it never hurts, or if your game plan gets screwed up by a broken bone or two.

  • Pros: Makes card selection less restrictive by a massive amount, your attacks can come in at any angle, don’t have to worry about drawing cards targeting a broken body part. 
  • Cons: The largest health bar, you’ll kind of look like a dork. 

Head: The noggin. The block. The braincase. Contains the throat, the jaw, the teeth, the skull, the ears, and the nose. A lot of stuff targets this, so it’s a pretty common starting deck target.

  • Pros: Lots of cards target it, the nose breaks super easy, hitting it makes the opponent look bad on the taunt screen, don’t have to worry about targeting a broken body part much, loads of uppercuts target the head. 
  • Cons: All the non-uppercut attacks go to more or less the same point, decently high health. 

Brain: The thing you’re hopefully using to decide what moves to make. A single target vital, covered by the skull. The skull absorbs damage to the brain while it’s still intact, so taking that out first is usually the order of the day.

  • Pros: Instant kill so you can just stack skull and brain targets for days, Dim Mak targets it. 
  • Cons: The skull is pretty durable, if you break the skull you’re practically halfway to draining the head healthbar already, all the attacks go to the same location. 

Eyes: The things you use to see where your opponent’s attacks are coming from. (Unless you’re blind and using audio cues only, in which case I am incredibly impressed.) Consists of both eyes and both eye sockets. I… THINK? that the eye sockets cover the eyes somehow, but I’m not entirely sure. Someone check for me.

  • Pros: Pretty low health, Dim Mak targets them, makes the opponent looks half dead while taunting. 
  • Cons: All the attacks go to the same end point, the game doesn’t discriminate between left and right eye on the card overview so you have to go in and look at the motions while building and playing the deck, I think the good Dim Mak only targets one side. 

Jugular: I… think this is where most of the blood vessels on your neck are? The cause of death is blood loss and wolves go for it, so that sounds about right. A single target vital, covered by the throat.

  • Pros: The throat is a low health target so it doesn’t provide much protection, Dim Mak targets it, low health. 
  • Cons: Mostly high adrenaline skills target it with the exception of Dim Mak attacks, the cards that target it are pretty rare. 

Upper Body Bones: The things you use to move your mouse/touchscreen around and keep all your lungs in place. Consists of your hands, arm bones, FOREarm bones, shoulder blades, shoulder joints, and ribs. Breaking the hands or forearm bones will stop hand techniques from that side, breaking the arm bones, shoulder blades, or shoulder joints will stop elbows from that side as well. The ribs don’t restrict attacks, though I’m pretty sure I couldn’t throw a punch with a fractured ribcage personally.

  • Pros: Lots of targets, can disable hands/elbows, ribs are a common card target. 
  • Cons: Bones can be pretty hard to disable, hands are high adrenaline, decently high health. 

Heart: It’s what you love with ♥♥♥♥ (I didn’t want to go and find heart emojis so I just swore there.) Is a single target vital, covered by the ribs.

  • Pros: Dim Mak targets it, lots of things target the ribs so it’s not hard to break those, low health, punching someone’s heart to death is a pretty rad way of winning. 
  • Cons: Attacks go to the same end point, not a very common target. 

Lungs: You use your lungs to breathe. Despite having two lungs, they are counted as one single target vital, covered by the ribs.

  • Pros and cons: Pretty much the same as the heart! Except I think it has slightly more health and is slightly more common to find cards for. 

Spine: It’s how you have good posture! (Unless you have scoliosis like me, in which case, it’s how your back keeps hurting. RIP.) A vital organ, separated into upper, central, and lower spine segments. The spine is unique in that while all three sections share one bar, you have to destroy one section fully and ONLY one section to defeat the opponent. It doesn’t matter if the other two spine parts are flawless or at 1%, only breaking a section will do it. The central spine is guarded by the ribs.

  • Pros: Mostly unprotected, Dim Mak targets it, attacks have a wide range of end points depending which bit of the spine you attack. 
  • Cons: Pretty good health per section, while decently common as a group picking out just 1 section of the spine is going to leave you with not many cards. 

Abdominal Organs: All the famous organs that don’t live in your ribcage. Includes the stomach, the kidneys (counted as one target), the liver, and the “groin” (but we all know what we’re really kicking).

  • Pros: Some Dim Mak actually does target a few of these (rare as they are), each has rather low health, not covered by anything, causing death by massive “groin” bleeding is extremely metal. 
  • Cons: You have to destroy all 4 to deplete the health bar completely, which means you’re going to need to pack all 4 types of attacks. 

Lower Body Bones: Your legs, and leg accessories. Includes the feet, the lower and upper leg bones, the kneecaps, and the pelvis. Breaking the feet or lower legs stops kicks, breaking the upper leg stops knees as well. I’m pretty sure that breaking the kneecap stops knees too. I would THINK breaking the pelvis would stop your from kicking people (or standing at all really), but considering the pelvis is basically the ribs of the legs, maybe it doesn’t?

  • Pros: Disable leg techniques, lots of targets. 
  • Cons: Bones are hard to break, feet are high adrenaline, decently high health, and NO HAND TECHNIQUES TARGET THE LEGS, for what should be obvious reasons. 

Joints: They move your bones around. Pretty neat stuff! Contains all parts with the word “joint” in it. I’m not sure if kneecaps are included in this, but I think they aren’t. Breaking a joint stops attacks that use that joint. In my opinion, one of the best targets.

  • Pros: Varied attack targets, disables all limbs, a lot of individual joints are weak as heck. 
  • Cons: I’m having a hard time of thinking of any cons besides that there are no hand techniques that target the leg joints, but there’s still ones for the upper joints. Joints really are a sweet target.
Volodymyr Azimoff
About Volodymyr Azimoff 13537 Articles
I love games and I live games. Video games are my passion, my hobby and my job. My experience with games started back in 1994 with the Metal Mutant game on ZX Spectrum computer. And since then, I’ve been playing on anything from consoles, to mobile devices. My first official job in the game industry started back in 2005, and I'm still doing what I love to do.

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