Disclaimer: Attempting to create my own card game from scratch is difficult. Balancing cards is a challenge so it's entirely possible that I might create a game more unstable than Quidditch. And strategizing isn't my strong suit and planning ahead is not my forte. You may wonder Why is this character playing that way? Or If they had that card in their hand, why didn't they use it earlier? Nevertheless I shall do my best.

I may refrain from doing so in the future, for the sake of the flow.

Furthermore: The only TCG I am really used to is Yu-Gi-Oh! My brain tends to default to Yu-Gi-Oh terms, so I need to do my best to catch myself.

General Content Warning:

Future Chapters include: Bullying, suicide, death, death of family, demonic influence, and general acts of malice.

Important Notes: This story does have some focus on romance and human emotions. As such the characters will be dealing with their attraction to each other. Sometimes that does include PG 13 thoughts about each other.

There will not however be any actual descriptions of any sex scenes. If any characters do have sex it will be the older characters who are like 16+ and it will be entirely off screen.

Currently this story is in the Manga category as an Adventure/Mystery. I might try switching categories to see if other places might get more attention.

Regarding the title: Currently the title is Card Force Infection. I began this story when the Coronavirus was rather new and many of us thought this wasn't going to be such a big deal. I am considering changing the title if I ever do get a new title idea.

Prologue

Card Force- easily the world's most popular game, seemed to have made its home here in Augusta City. Why not? Augusta was the hometown of one Touka Akimoto, creator of the game, as well as the residence of many wealthy members of the Akimoto family elite. At the center of it all stood the tall Akimoto Building, stretching into the sky like a tall metal tree. At over 100 floors and 1500 feet, it's the second largest building in the country, housing numerous businesses owned by the Akimoto family, while renting out its numerous remaining floors to other companies.

Also of note, the Akimoto Card Force Stadium, host of legendary exhibition matches and monthly tournaments with generous cash prizes. Thousands of dollars were given away each month to participants. And, once a year, an even larger tournament rolled around with a top cash prize of over ten billion dollars. Many fans wondered how the company could still make a profit, but the tournaments continued endlessly, not stopping once, and money still seemed to roll in.

Some said it must have been magic. This was no baseless claim or offhand joke either. Part of the game's claim to fame was the way it shattered all known laws of science. Card Force ran on magic. When you played a card in battle, a small hologram like illusion appeared to act out your commands. Special tables could be used to amplify this magic, creating larger illusions for more thrilling events.

Nobody knew how it worked, and the Akimoto family refused to divulge its secrets.

Some of the world's greatest card shops migrated to this city, including Strange Heart, where it's said that players can get their hands on some of the game's rarest cards, like Angel's Blessing, Sky Pearl, or even the legendary Holy Magnet Storm. If you can afford it that is. But be warned, some of these cards cost more than your average house.

Of course the places, while not insignificant, pale in comparison to the people involved. For ours is the story of gods and devils, angels, monsters, phantoms, and a group of friends. It's hard to say where it all began, for everything built upon events that began long ago, like new floors of a tower building upon the old. But perhaps we can begin here, just before things got truly out of hand.

.

A fan buzzed as it spun around the room, but the circulating air could do little to combat the heat rolling in from outside the house. Sitting cross legged on the wooden floor, two teenagers eagerly leaned over an open laptop. "Looks like we're just in time," said one of the teenagers, a young boy. He had light brown skin and short black hair peeking out from under a blue baseball cap. His clothes were simple, an olive green T-shirt and camo shorts, but he possessed a certain charm to his face. "The final match is about to start."

The girl beside him smiled. "I hope I can keep up, the rules are still a bit confusing to me." She and the boy were the same age, fourteen, and like him she had brown skin and black hair, though hers was long enough to tie up in a scrunchie. Her clothes were about 5% less casual, a white top with a blue plaid skirt.

"Don't worry, Erica, I can tell you what's going on. I invited you over because I thought this could help you learn." He smiled as he pointed to the screen. "Okay first up, our two Enforcers in this match. Aron is the current champion, he's only fourteen but he's been reigning for like a year now."

The boy in question, one Aron Vector, had pale white skin covered in a lot of black clothing. Black long sleeve shirt, black shorts stopping just above his knees, and long black socks that rose up his thighs. He used a darkness themed deck so the color suited him. He sat cross legged in a chair on one side of a large table.

"Wow, so he's the strongest Enforcer in our city and he's the same age as us?"

The boy shook his head. "He made his tournament debut just over a year ago, made it to the finals and then lost to a boy named Yuu Akimoto." He explained.

"Wait, Fletcher, did you say Akimoto as in-" she didn't even need to finish. Fletcher nodded in affirmation.

"Yuu won the finals, defeated the reigning champion, but then dropped from the scene immediately. Some say it's because he's a member of the Akimoto family and didn't want to make it look like the family was cheating its way to victory. Some say he grew bored because he was just too good. Nobody knows for sure.

"The previous champion reclaimed her title and Aron swept the tournament the following month, defeated the champion, and took the throne for himself.

"The current champion doesn't need to participate in the monthly tournaments, but whoever wins those tournaments earns the right to challenge the champ for their throne. And this month that challenger is Alicia Thomas!" Fletcher smiled as he pointed at the young woman on screen. She was a dark skinned young woman, older than Erica and Fletcher but still not an adult, dressed like a doll in an elegant white and sky blue outfit.

"Hey, doesn't she go to our school?"

"Yep! Oh they're starting." Fletcher fell silent as both contestants drew seven cards to begin the game. Info boxes appeared on the screen, displaying both players' Energy, their life force for the game, at 25000. "The goal of the game is to reduce your opponent's energy to 0 by destroying their Units or by attacking the player themselves."

"I'll take the first move," Alicia announced, drawing an eighth card. "I activate Crystal Iris!" She played a card and immediately an image appeared above the playing field, a simple crystal flower that sparkled in the rays of the sun before shattering. A small crystal mound appeared behind Alicia, like a miniature tower still under construction.

"That was a Craft card. They have various effects that help you win the battle by drawing more cards, empowering Units, hindering your opponent and so forth. But each Craft has a Tier Level. You stack them up in Towers, but a Craft card basically has to be an equal or lower Tier than whatever "floor" or "story" you out it on."

"I'm not so sure I follow."

Alicia thrust her hand out dramatically, "I activate the Craft card Wonder Rush." Her tower grew another story. "This card allows me to reveal cards from my deck until I get a Wonderland Unit. It goes to my hand and the rest are shuffled back into my deck."

"That's a Tier 2 Craft card," Fletcher explained. "Alicia couldn't immediately play it at the bottom of her Tower. But because she played Crystal Iris first, she was able to play a Tier 2 card as her second floor."

Alicia began revealing cards from her deck with magical copies appearing in the air like holograms. "I add Mad Hat to my hand," she narrated.

"Different cards have keywords on them that describe them. Mad Hat has the keyword Wonderland, so that makes it a Wonderland card. It can gain special effects from cards that are made specifically to target Wonderland cards."

"Next I play Wonderland Springtime. As long as this card is active, whenever I play a Wonderland Unit in the same zone as this Tower, I can draw a new card." A grassy field spread out across the table, with red and white roses in full bloom.

"Some Craft cards have continuous effects- but only if they're at the top of the Tower. Once you cover them up the effect will vanish. Sounds like she's about to start playing Units."

"Come forth, Mad Hat!" Cried Alicia. A large brown top hat with frayed threads materialized between the players. A zipper running across the hat opened up to reveal a row of teeth, snapping and snarling at Aron. A box appeared on the screen displaying the Unit's stats at 500/500/500. Alicia drew another card.

"Units are played attached to Towers. The stronger the Unit the more floors you need. Most Units range from Tier 1-Tier 3 and simply need a corresponding number of floors. There are Tier X Units though, and they require a bit more, but they're pretty rare. You usually need five floors and a sacrifice to play them, but a lot of card effects treat them like Tier 3 cards, for gameplay balance.

"There's also- never mind," he paused, brow furrowed in contemplation.

"So three floors for that thing? I've seen lots of Units with way higher stats. Does it have a powerful effect?"

Fletcher shook his head. "This is actually a Tier 1 Unit. You can't attack on the first turn, so many players throw out a weak unit as a shield to protect from enemy attacks. Units have three stats, Strength, Defense, and Bond. When you attack, you deal damage equal to your Strength. When a Unit takes damage exceeding its Defense, it gets destroyed. When a Unit is destroyed, its controller loses energy equal to its bond. So if Mad Hat gets destroyed, Alicia loses 500 energy, which is a lot better than taking a huge hit from a Tier 3 powerhouse.

"It's possible that Aron will play a Tier 1 Unit to take out Mad Hat and a stronger Unit for a direct attack on Alicia. This will mean he has to split his resources into multiple Towers, which can be a huge benefit to Alicia. If a player pools their resources into a single Tower, they won't be able to play as many Units, but they'll be able to pull out some wicked powerful Craft cards."

"Sounds like a game of balance."

Alicia smirked. "I play one card face down and end my turn."

This time it was Erica who spoke up. "That's a Rune card right? I remember you mentioning them. Rune cards are like traps. You can activate them from your hand on your turn or play them face down to use later, even on your opponent's turn!"

"Exactly! Runes also have Tiers, currently going up to Tier 3. Higher Tier Runes can only be activated when you have other runes face down. Seems like she's got a trick up her sleeve. If Aron isn't careful, he could be in big trouble. Still, he is the current champion for a reason~"

Aron snatched a card off his deck. "I also activate my Crystal Iris, followed by Silver Hand Mirror. This lets me copy a Tier 1 Craft card directly beneath it." Aron's hand remained at eight cards as his tower assembled itself. "Next I'll activate Greed's Shadow. This card allows me to draw 2 cards from my deck, while you can draw 1."

Aron immediately slapped a new card on the table. "I'll begin constructing a new Tower, starting with Zero Construct. If I have less Units than you I am allowed to choose a Unit you control and add 1 Unit from my deck to my hand as long as it has a lower Bond. So I pick Silent Eye and play it immediately." A large eyeball appeared in the sky, just above Aron's three story Tower, as dark clouds gathered. A new box showed the creature's stats, 0/0/0. "Using Silent Eye's skill, once per turn I can add a Tier 1 Craft card from my deck to my hand, but this increase's Eye's Bond by 1500." (0/0/1500)

Each time he added a card to his hand by card effect, he shuffled his deck right after, as per the rules.

A dark aura surrounded Silent Eye like a vortex, humming as Aron rummaged through his deck for the card he wanted. "I choose Violet Ember," his smaller Tower grew as a dark purple flame flickers do life in his fingertips. Aron rolled it around like a coin. "This allows me to sacrifice a Dark Strange Unit I control, so goodbye Eye." Violet flames engulfed Silent Eye, consuming it to a crisp in a roar of fire. "But then I can play a new Dark Unit in its place, and for one turn only the new Unit gains Strength equal to the Bond of the sacrifice, come forth Dark Vortex Dragon." (3000/3000/5000)

From the heavens descended a dragon, smoke curling around it. Scales like onyx glistened in the dying light of the darkening sky. Mighty wingbeats echoed like thunder. It fell upon the field in a swift motion, drawing storms of dust as a dark aura amplified its power. (4500/3000/5000)

Watching at home Erica's jaw dropped. "Wow, that monster looks pretty tough."

Fletcher guffawed. "Wow, I didn't think he'd pull it out so early. Dark Vortex Dragon is a rare card, only a few are said to exist. It's worth more than a million dollars and it's still only Tier 3." The hair on his neck stood up as he watched in awe. "If that thing connects, Aron will take a huge lead. It has a powerful ability known as Overkill. Units with Overkill deal extra damage when destroying Units."

Aron refused to stop. "I activate the Craft card Dark Lightning." His second Tower grew to three stories. "As long as this card remains active, than once per turn if a Dark Unit is played an attached to this Tower, then we'll both take damage equal to its Strength. And I play Knight of Nocturnes!" (2500/2100/2000)

A female knight with long blond hair and jet black armor made her appearance in battle, brandishing a glowing violet sword that hummed with power.

A brief flash of lightning tore through the sky before two more bolts fell upon Aron and Alicia both. The sight was purely aesthetic and didn't hurt the enforcers at all, but watching it made Erica's heart race. New info boxes appeared on the screen, reflecting the players' updated Energy scores.

Aron: 22500 Alicia: 22500

"Go, Dark Vortex Dragon, destroy Mad Hat!" With a beating of its mighty wings, Aron's dragon soared through the sky, raising its razor sharp claw to strike down the flimsy hat.

"Dark Vortex Dragon has 4500 Strength. Mad Hat only has 500 Defense. Normally when a Unit is destroyed, its controller only takes damage equal to its Bond, but the dragon's Overkill ability will inflict extra damage equal to the difference between Strength and Defense. Alicia will take a total of 4500 damage."

"I activate my Rune card," Alicia grinned as she flipped her face down face up. "Wonderland Waltz! It's a Tier 3 Rune Card but, once per game, Mad Hat allows me to activate a single Tier 3 Rune without meeting its requirements!"

Erica smiled brightly as she watched a glowing circle appear on the screen. "When a Wonderland Unit I control is selected as an attack target, I get to redirect the attack to any other Unit on the field, so I'm turning the tides."

Dark Vortex Dragon did a U-turn and flew straight toward Aron's knight.

"So say goodbye to Knight of Nocturnes." An audible slashing sound filled the air as Aron's own Dragon turned on him, clawing through the Knight of Nocturnes with a single mighty blow. Then the sound of shattering glass rang out as one of Aron's Towers shrank, an entire story shattering to pieces.

Aron: 18100

"When my Dragon destroys a Unit, that Unit's controller also loses the top Craft of one of their Towers, so my Dark Lightning is destroyed." Aron shrugged. "No matter, I can still make a comeback. Now, before we proceed, I believe Wonderland Waltz has a further effect."

Alicia nodded. "I'm allowed to shuffle my Unit back into my deck and replace it with another wonderland Unit from my deck, with a Tier equal to or lower than the attacking Unit. So I bring out the Queen of Hearts." A regal woman appeared wearing a black dress decorated with red hearts. (3000/3000/3000) "And of course Wonderland Springtime activates, so I can draw another card."

"I see. That card could be quite a problem for me. Guess I'll need to get rid of it as soon as possible. I end my turn." The darkness around Dark Vortex Dragon seem to dissipate a little as the effects of Violet ember wore off. The card's Strength dwindled back down to 3000 and Aron smirked. "From my hand I activate the Rune card Grief Assault. When a Dark Unit loses Strength I can discard any other Dark Unit from my hand to double the Strength of the afflicted Unit and have it immediately launch an attack." (6000/3000/5000)

"Wait," said Erica, "didn't he already end his turn?"

"Yes," Fletcher nodded, "but some effects still need resolution so his turn isn't completely over yet. It's like he pushed the power button but things are still in the process of shutting down, so he can still use Runes."

Aron grinned. "This is a Tier 3 Rune card, but if another player has activated a Tier 3 Rune this turn then I am able to activate it without restrictions."

Alicia's jaw dropped. "That means I've been playing into your hand this entire time."

Dark Vortex Dragon inhaled deeply and gathered energy in its mouth, spitting out a ball of darkness that grew in size until it engulfed the Queen of Hearts.

The top floor of Alicia's Tower shattered into pieces, raining glass below as Wonderland Springtime was torn to shreds. Flowers wilted and the grass turned dark with decay as it became dust in the wind.

Alicia: 16500

A shadowy figure appeared behind Alicia. She sensed something behind her and turned to see the hazy figure of the Knight of Nocturnes standing there with sword raised. In a swift flash of light she brought the sword down upon Alicia.

Alicia: 14000

"During the end of each of my turns, whichever player has the lowest Energy will take 2500 extra damage from my Knight's skill," Aron explained. "Hope you're able to turn the tables on your turn or else she'll be back for more soon enough."

"Oh don't you worry about that," Alicia smiled. "I activate Wonderland Roses. This allows me to revive any Wonderland Unit in my discard pile, so it's time for the Queen of Heart to make her return." (3000/3000/3000)

A storm of red rose petals swirled around as the Queen of Hearts faded back into existence. Watching, Fletcher smirked as he placed his hands behind his head. "That's a Tier 1 Craft and so she's staring a new Tower, but she managed to bring out a high Tier Unit with just one Craft. If she can get other powerful cards onto the field she can turn this around and take the crown."

"Next I'll activate The Looking Glass," her first Tower rebuilt itself a little, regaining the third story it held before the dragon's assault. "As long as this card remains active I can protect an attached Wonderland Unit from one attack each turn by using myself as a shield. Now I'll bring forth White Rabbit." (1500/1500/2500) "And I'll play the Attachment card Wonder Mushroom. Whenever this card attacks or is attacked I can flip a coin. If it's heads then I can double its Strength or Defense until the turn ends. If it's tails than I halve its Strength and Defense until the turn ends."

Once again, Erica displayed familiarity with the onscreen actions. "Attachment cards have no Tiers. They're played directly onto Units to give them various power ups or restrictions."

Alicia closed her eyes and took a deep breath. "I activate White Rabbit's skill, revealing the top card of my deck." An image of a card appeared above her head and slowly flipped toward Aron. "If it's a Craft card I can use it next turn regardless of its Tier."

Alicia: 11500

Alicia took a peek at her card. "Off with her Head! This card allows me to destroy a Unit once per turn." She returned the card to her deck. "It's Tier 10, but with my rabbit, that doesn't matter. I'll be able to demolish anything you throw at me." She thrust an arm forward. "Queen of Hearts, destroy the Dark Vortex Dragon."

With a wave of her hand the Queen of Hearts engulfed the dragon in her magical energy, crumbling it to dust. "When the Queen of Hearts destroys a Unit, I'm allowed to draw a card."

Aron: 13100

"Next I'll construct a third Tower with my Twin Light Craft card. This allows me to take any card from my hand and play it face down as a Craft card on top of Twin Light. And then I'll play the Mimsy Borogove." A medium sized bird with ruffled white feathers fluttered down to the field. (1800/1700/1500) "Borogove, White Rabbit, attack Aron."

The two Units raced toward Aron as Erica flipped a coin, having it land on heads. The rabbit doubled in size, the effects of Wonder Mushroom giving it a power boost. (3000/1500/2500)

Aron: 8300

"When Mimsy Borogove attacks a player, it destroys the top card of your deck. And if it's a Unit, you still take Bond damage even though it's not on the field."

Aron revealed his next card. "Despair Butterfly, with a Bond of 2000. That stings a bit, but it's nothing I can't handle."

Aron: 6300

"Don't forget your knight is waiting for you," said Alicia. "And on my next turn I get to activate Off with her Head, which will let me destroy one Unit every turn. If you can't turn this around now, then it's my victory."

Aron drew a card and grinned. As he examined the cards in his hand, his smile grew bigger. "You're right, it looks like it's time for us to end this. I activate Magnet Force!" One of Aron's Towers lifted out of the ground, bits of dirt crumbled away. It slowly moved into location above the first Tower, hovering in place above it as a new floor appeared between them, joining the two together into one.

The crowd gasped in surprise. The move was a risky one, it limited his ability to call forth units to fight, but also greatly expanded his Craft options. "I activate Cherry Blossom Rebirth, allowing me to bring back my Dark Vortex Dragon!" (3000/3000/5000)

Aron began to recite:

"Pink petals dancing
Drifting down toward the earth

A dragon rises"

His dragon returned to the field, but didn't remain there for long. "I'm going to evolve it!"

Fletcher leaned forward. "So he's bringing out a Tier X Unit? Those need a five story Tower and a sacrifice of an appropriate Unit. If the Unit has already attacked this turn then the new Unit is unable to attack until next turn, so Aron is still limiting himself to one Unit, but it may not matter. Tier X Units can be game enders."

Darkness spilled forth from Aron's dragon, reshaping into a larger form. It was a new dragon, with eyes like burning coal, and six sharp looking metallic wings. "Behold, my new ace, Saturn End Dragon!" (3000/3000/3000)

Fletcher explained. "Stat wise, most Tier X Units aren't that far above Tier 3, but they have powerful skills, many of which involve boosting their stats to incredible heights. Others have powerful destructive capabilities."

Aron snapped his fingers. "Saturn End Dragon allows me to select one Unit you control and boost my dragon's stats by an equal amount, so I select your Queen of Hearts." A red and violet aura surrounded Saturn End Dragon and it let out a mighty roar. (6000/6000/6000)

Erica turned to Fletcher. "So how do you take on something with that much Defense? Do you have to use a card effect to do it?"

Fletcher smirked. "You could, and if Felicia is able to use Off with her Head next turn, I don't see how Aron could win. But you can also have multiple Units target a single foe. For example, Queen of Hearts, White Rabbit, and Mimsy Borogove have a total of 6300 Strength. If they all attacked they would destroy Saturn End Dragon, even with its Defense boost. Some Units even have the Unity ability, which allows them to perform Team Attacks as a group."

"Then I don't see what makes Saturn End Dragon so strong. It doesn't seem to be that powerful, truth be told."

"I guess we'll just have to wait and see."

"Saturn End Dragon, attack and destroy Queen of Hearts." A screeching laser blast shot out of the dragon's mouth and tore through the Queen of Hearts. The beam splintered outward tearing through White Rabbit and the Mimsy Borogove as well. "When Saturn End Dragon destroys one of your Units in combat, all other Units on the field take damage equal to the destroyed card's Bond. So that's 3000 damage to everything else on the field!"

A box appeared on screen, displaying Alicia's energy as it trickled away with a mechanical whir sound effect added in for show.

Alicia: 4500

"I'll set one card and end my turn," said Aron.

Alicia didn't flinch as the phantom knight once more sliced into her back. There was no pain, but she could still see the sword poking through her and it sent chills down her spine, but she wasn't about to let it show. Not when the battle was this much fun.

Alicia: 2000

She revealed her dangerous spell, Off with her Head, as she played it. "I hoped to keep Queen of Hearts around. Whenever I use this card I need to send Craft cards from my side of the field to the grave to use it, but that cost is negated when the queen is around. Still it doesn't matter. I use my card to destroy your Saturn End Dragon." She sent three Craft cards to the graveyard, for it was necessary to target a Tier 3 or higher Unit with her card's effect. This reduced her to a singular Tower with three floors.

A large guillotine blade fell from the sky and cut through Saturn End Dragon's neck. "So much for your Tier X Unit, it wasn't around very long," Alicia's hands shook as she surveyed the scene.

Aron: 300

Heart pounding, Alicia played her final card. "Come forth Cheshire Cat," a multi colored cat flipped onto the field, grinning broadly. (2500/2500/2500) Alicia reached down and mimed petting the cat, even though she could not feel its fur or head. "Cheshire Cat is immune to the effects of other cards, so you can't target it with your Rune. Go, Cheshire Cat, attack him directly!"

The Cheshire Cat teleported in short bursts, throwing its body through the air like a football player tackling someone. Aron merely grinned. "My Rune card may not be able to affect your Cheshire Cat, but who says its purpose is to target your cards? I activate Dark Revival Ritual. This card allows me to bring back a Dark Unit in my discard pile, but with some restrictions.

"First, I need to have enough Craft cards for it. That won't be a problem however. Secondly, at the end of this turn, I need to rebalance the scales by choosing a Unit of mine to destroy. That means I need to make the most of what I'm about to do."

A large purple flame erupted, cackling wildly.

"The card I bring back is Despair Butterfly!" (2000/2000/2000) A large purple butterfly fluttered forth from the pyre as it dwindled. "When this card is attacks or is attacked I can choose a Tier 1 Dark Unit in my graveyard and remove it. Despair Butterfly becomes a copy of that card until the turn ends, so I choose~" he paused dramatically.

"Shadow Sinner!" (1000/1000/1000) The dark butterfly burst into countless smaller butterflies that flocked in all directions, revealing a sinister looking gargoyle creature with stony skin and folded wings.

"When did you," Alicia began, but she caught herself midsentence. Aron must have discarded Shadow Sinner as the cost of Grief Assault's effect. Now she was helpless as she watched her Cheshire Cat crash into the gargoyle, with no way to guess its effect.

"When Shadow Sinner is destroyed, I can pick another player to receive the Bond Damage in my place." Shadow Sinner burst into dark energy that raced around the field like wild animals recklessly encircling their prey. With a final burst of movement, tendrils of energy shot forward and slashed at Alicia.

Alicia: 1000

But Alicia kept smirking. "This still leaves me with 1000 Energy, and you've got nothing left in your hand, if you don't draw a card that can beat me on your next turn, your own Knight will take you out."

"I'm sorry Alicia, but this battle is over. There's a reason I chose to revive Despair Butterfly and not Shadow Sinner. When Despair Butterfly is destroyed I can select one of the Units removed by its effect and bring it back to the field. So Shadow Sinner returns." (1000/1000/1000)

"I'm ending my turn," said Alicia.

"And here's where the fun part happens."

"Your Dark Revival Ritual claims its sacrifice," Alicia's brow furrowed contemplatively. "A curse brought about by the boon, how fitting." She watches as glowing glyphs appeared beneath the gargoyle, and dark tendril like hands shot from the ground, snaking around the card's waist, neck, and body. Shadow Sinner was crushed to pieces and Alicia paid the price.

Alicia: 0

Though her heart was heavy, Alicia managed a smile. "That was a great game. I hope we can play again sometime." It wasn't a lie, she'd had fun.

"Win next month's tournament and maybe we can." Aron smirked.

.

Erica leaned back. "Wow, that was so intense. I can't believe the game was over that quickly." She fished through her pocket and pulled out her own deck of cards. "I think I get the rules. Promise you'll go easy on me though."

Fletcher smirked. "I'm sure you'll be an expert in no time." He grabbed his own deck and both players shuffled. Neither had any idea where their shared hobby would soon lead them.

Author's Notes: Rule Clarifications

Tier X

Units have Tiers. Tier 1, Tier 2, Tier 3, and Tier X. For balance purposes any card that says something like 'Discard a number of cards equal to the targeted Unit's Tier' will treat Tier X Units the same as Tier 3. But instead of needing 3 Crafts to play, you need 5, as well as other special requirements.

This usually means evolving the Unit from a Tier 3 Unit. (Though not all evolution Units are Tier X.) These special requirements cannot be ignored through revival.

Tier X Units can be really powerful so players are currently allowed only 3 per deck.

"There's also- never mind,"

Just Fletcher's distracted thinking and not at all foreshadowing the existence of a higher Tier.

Team Attacks and Unity

This story is an ongoing progress, one of the biggest changes is phasing terms in and out. Unity is being retconned in as a way for Team Attacks to work specially. And regular Team Attacks are being phased out. Some mistakes may still linger. I thank you for your patience.