B4B deck building guide: master the cards
Back 4 Blood shares many similarities with its spiritual successor, Left 4 Dead 2. A team of four survivors fights their way from saferoom to saferoom checkpoints amid a horde of mutated zombie-like creatures. Guns, melee weapons, explosives—it’s all there.
But in some ways, Back 4 Blood not only deviates from Left 4 Dead’s formula but also attempts to reinvent the entire survival-horror genre. One unique thing Back 4 Blood brought to the table is its robust deck-building mechanic, an important game feature that shouldn’t be overlooked.
Some gamers may find the prospect of collecting cards to build the ultimate deck somewhat out of place in a zombie apocalypse title, but the mechanic works quite well. As a player, you’re not meant to brute force your way through Back 4 Blood’s campaigns. There are roles to fill as part of a team, and knowing which role you play will help you in crafting a better deck. And preparing a better deck is the key to surviving all four acts of Back 4 Blood’s story.
If you’re finding it hard to leave the starter deck and figure out what any of the buffs, debuffs, and god cards mean, this Back 4 Blood deck building guide is for you.
Gotta catch ’em all!
First things first, get busy unlocking cards. You don’t have to aim for all of them, but the more, the better.
More cards mean more options, and more options are always good when dealing with all the ways a run can and will go wrong in B4B. There are over 150 cards to unlock in B4B, and with each DLC release more will be added to the game.
That means you’ve got your work cut out for you.
What’s the best way to go about unlocking all these cards? Well, the quickest way is simple; play through the game. Better yet, play the game and survive. More specifically, play the game on a harder difficulty than Recruit. You’ll earn way more supply points.
Keep an eye out for challenges on each level that can offer you more supply points to take home to the bank, like finding medical supplies, keeping your entire team alive, or reaching the saferoom without setting off any alarms.
There are a lot of cards in B4B. Not counting burn cards, you will need at least 21,000 points to unlock them all.
It should go without saying that you don’t need every card to start building your decks. But it helps. And many of the strongest cards in B4B will be the last cards you find in each supply line.
So get busy.
Math can be deadly
Here is a critically important bit of information about cards in B4B: each category you see listed on a card is multiplicative, not additive.
What does that mean? It means that your different damage types—whether that’s for grenades, melee weapons, or guns—multiply with each other instead of adding with each other.
Here’s an example: you pick Silver Bullets, which gives you +10% damage. Straight damage. And you also choose Large Calibur Rounds, which provide you with +7.5% bullet damage. And then you throw Tactical Vest on top that boosts assault rifle damage by 10%.
While staring at your cards and calculating everything up, you might be thinking that you add 10% + 7.5% + 10%.
That’s not how it works. You multiple them because they’re all different kinds of damage. It’s 10% x 7.5% x 10%.
What does that mean when building your deck? If you’re going for damage output, you may want cards that give buffs to different damage types instead of stacking all one kind of damage. Use this knowledge wisely.
Build decks for each cleaner
You get to choose the 15 cards you place in your deck. But you also get to choose your character, which comes with its innate card. It would be best if you built decks around each character’s abilities. The goal is synergy.
Evangelo comes with the fastest speed in the game and the ability to break out of holds. He’s a great scout character. Try building a deck that works around Evangelo’s strengths and lessens his weaknesses. Give him cards that increase his speed even more, like Speed Demon, so that he can outrun everything around him. Give him cards that buff his defense since, while he is fast, he is also weak. Give him cards that increase the number of grenades he can carry so that he’s sprinting around the map tossing pipe bombs like a madman that no one can touch.
Hoffman is great for item drops. Have him on your team, and you’ll be swimming in molotovs and extra ammo. Give him cards that buff his molotov damage since he’ll have plenty to choose from, and let him carry as many as possible. Give him cards that buff his fire damage, like Pyro, and give him extra speed and damage resistance whenever he throws a molotov. He’ll be unstoppable.
Similarly, each character in B4B should have a deck that plays into their strengths and shores up their weaknesses. This will allow you to further cement yourself in your desired role. If the team needs a healer, you should pick Doc and use the deck you’ve built that makes her essentially Jesus with a machine gun. If your team needs a scout, it’s good that you’ve already got a deck built just for Karlee, making her a veritable psychic.
This doesn’t always have to be followed down to the letter, especially on lower difficulties when the consequences aren’t as high. The starter deck is an excellent general deck to work with. You can always build broad, more generalized decks that fit most cleaners. But you’ll find yourself more generalized instead of specified, which won’t serve your team well in later levels.
An excellent way to think of your B4B party is like a D&D party. It would help if you balanced it. If you’re all general warriors, who will dispel the magic? If you’re all standard thieves, who will be the healer? If you’re all wizards, where is the tank?
Balance out your team’s roles as best you can and stick to those roles. For example:
- One person is for generating and gathering resources.
- Another is sniping and gathering information.
- Another is the tank.
- The last is a flex member.
Adapt or die
There are a lot of cards in B4B. There are cards for your campaign, the cards cleaners come with, and there are cards for Swarm mode—don’t even get us started on that—and now there are corruption cards? When will it end?!
As you fight your way through B4B’s story, you won’t be fighting against any old algorithm, and you’ll be going up against an AI Overlord.
Pay no attention to the cool title; this enemy is designed to kill you in the most unceremonious way possible.
- It will throw mutations at you when you least want them.
- It will hide Sleepers around corners you’d never think to check.
- It will make strong weapons incredibly hard to find on the map.
And each level, it will play a card from its deck against you. These are called corruption cards, and they are not to be taken lightly. These cards can do anything from increase the health and damage of every Ridden you encounter to populating the map with blighted Ridden that explode when you shoot them.
These cards can be the sole reason your run fails. And the higher the difficulty, the more punishing the corruption cards. Not to mention it throws more of them at you on a single level.
We know you only have 15 slots for cards in your deck and that you’re probably already focused on making each of those slots enhance your cleaner as much as possible. And that’s good. But it would help if you also left a spot or two open for cards that will help you adapt to your least favorite corruption cards.
For us, Biohazard and Toxic Spill are cards we despise. Not to mention, Pure Chaos. For that reason, we keep a few healing cards in each deck to counteract the adverse effects. If we never encounter one of the corruption cards that trips us up, then we never use the card we brought for it. We can always pick one of the standard cards instead.
Be adaptable. If you build a deck centered around melee but keep getting blighted or volatile Ridden, you built the wrong deck.
Final thoughts on Back 4 Blood Deck Building
Don’t get caught up in the meta of each update. Try not to bust out the calculator and crunch the numbers to ensure you’re maximizing damage.
Remember to have fun. Back 4 Blood isn’t a high-level strategy game. It’s a game where you run around and kill shit loads of zombies. To that end, remember to build a deck that makes it as enjoyable as possible.