Star Realms Card Tier Lists

by Scott Heise aka HomerJr

Here are my Star Realms Card Tier Lists!  The intent of these Tier Lists is to provide a quick reference to help players, especially newer or less experienced players, when deciding which card(s) in the trade row they should buy (or whether to buy a card at all).  Every card that is available in the online app (base plus year 1 promos) is contained within these lists and grouped into one of three tiers based on the overall value of the card relative to the cost of the card.

While every card in the game can be valuable and help you win, not every card will have equal value over the course of the game thus there are separate Tier Lists for different phases of the game (opening buys, mid game, late game).  Furthermore, many cards are highly situational or valuable only in certain decks.  Please note that this is all just my personal opinion based on over 3500+ online plays, so don’t take anything in here as law.  🙂   I am always open to feedback, criticism, and discussion.  I also hope to do a deeper dive into how/where/why many of these cards derive their value and how best to use them in future strategy articles.

I rank each card into one of three tiers as follows:

  • Tier 1:  Strong value and/or agnostic to situation; beneficial in almost any deck; you almost always want to have it in your deck if you can
  • Tier 2:  Solid value and/or somewhat situational; may rely on ally ability triggers to be effective; generally a good buy if no Tier 1 card available
  • Tier 3:  Weak value and/or highly situational;  may need exactly the right game circumstances to be effective; best to avoid buying except in rare cases

Please note that my intent is not for cards in the same tier across cost brackets to be considered equivalent in value.  In general, I like to think of cards in the next higher cost bracket have a value one tier higher.  For example, a Tier 2 card in the $3-5 cost bracket would have a value on par with a Tier 1 card in the $1-2 cost bracket.  Also, cards are listed within a cell by faction and cost;  the order of cards within a cell is not meant to imply anything about the value of the card relative to the others in the same tier and cost bracket.

($X) = Cost to buy card

[P] = Promo/kickstarter card


Opening Buys (Deck 1)

I prioritize strong trade and scrapping cards for my opening buys, as well as bases that provide good long-term value.  Combat cards are generally only valuable at this stage for destroying opposing bases, or for all-out rush strategies.

$1-2

$3-5

Tier 1

Cutter ($2)
Trade Pod ($2)
Barter World ($4)
Freighter ($4)
Starmarket [P] ($4)
Ram ($3)
Blob Wheel ($3)
Supply Bot ($3)
Patrol Mech ($4)
Battle Mech ($5)

Tier 2

Explorer ($2)
Federation Shuttle ($1)
Trade Bot ($1)
Missile Bot ($2)
Battle Pod ($2)
Embassy Yacht ($3)
Defense Center ($5)
Trade Escort ($5)
Blob Destroyer ($4)
Breeding Site [P] ($4)
Fortress Oblivion [P] ($3)
Stealth Needle ($4)
Imperial Frigate ($3)
Battle Barge [P] ($4)
Space Station ($4)
War World ($5)

Tier 3

Blob Fighter ($1)
Imperial Fighter ($1)
Corvette ($2)
Merc Cruiser [P] ($3)
Trading Post ($3)
Battle Screecher [P] ($4)
The Hive ($5)
Battle Station ($3)
Mech World ($5)
Survey Ship ($3)
Recycling Station ($4)
Starbase Omega [P] ($4)

Mid Game (Decks 2-3)

I consider the mid game to be the period after the opening buys where there is still time for trade and scrapping to amortize, and both players have enough authority to survive through at least their opponent’s next shuffle and a full deck thereafter.  During the mid game, I tend to value cards that help buy $6-8 cards (but also have late game value), strong bases, and cards that sow the seeds for big rallies in the late game (card draws, top-decking, etc).

$1-2

$3-5

$6-8

Tier 1

Cutter ($2) Starmarket [P] ($4)
Blob Destroyer ($4)
Breeding Site [P] ($4)
Stealth Needle ($4)
Patrol Mech ($4)
Battle Mech ($5)
Battle Barge [P] ($4)
War World ($5)
Port of Call ($6)
Central Office ($7)
Megahauler [P] ($7)
Command Ship ($8)
The Ark [P] ($7)
Brain World ($8)

Tier 2

Missile Bot ($2)
Trade Pod ($2)
Battle Pod ($2)
Blob Fighter ($1)
Corvette ($2)
Embassy Yacht ($3)
Barter World ($4)
Freighter ($4)
Defense Center ($5)
Trade Escort ($5)
Supply Bot ($3)
Ram ($3)
Blob Wheel ($3)
Battle Screecher [P] ($4)
The Hive ($5)
Imperial Frigate ($3)
Survey Ship ($3)
Recycling Station ($4)
Space Station ($4)
Flagship ($6)
Battle Blob ($6)
Blob Carrier ($6)
Mothership ($7)
Blob World ($8)
Missile Mech ($6)
Machine Base ($7)
Battlecruiser ($6)
Royal Redoubt ($6)
Dreadnaught ($7)

Tier 3

Explorer ($2)
Federation Shuttle ($1)
Trade Bot ($1)
Imperial Fighter ($1)
Merc Cruiser [P] ($3)
Trading Post ($3)
Fortress Oblivion [P] ($3)
Battle Station ($3)
Starbase Omega [P] ($4)
Junkyard ($6)
Fleet HQ ($8)

Late Game (Decks 4+ or Authority < 30)

I consider the late game to be the point at which trade and scrapping no longer have enough time to provide value, and/or one or both players do not have enough authority to survive the next full play through of their opponent’s deck.  During the late game, I tend to value cards that provide maximum combat in as few cards as possible and help fuel big rallies via card draws.

$1-2

$3-5

$6-8

Tier 1

none Blob Destroyer ($4)
Breeding Site [P] ($4)
Stealth Needle ($4)
Imperial Frigate ($3)
Battle Barge [P] ($4)
Recycling Station ($4)
War World ($5)
Flagship ($6)
Command Ship ($8)
Battle Blob ($6)
Mothership ($7)
The Ark [P] ($7)
Brain World ($8)
Battlecruiser ($6)
Dreadnaught ($7)

Tier 2

Cutter ($2)
Battle Pod ($2)
Blob Fighter ($1)
Corvette ($2)
Starmarket [P] ($4)
Barter World ($4)
Defense Center ($5)
Trade Escort ($5)
Battle Mech ($5)
Battle Station ($3)
The Hive ($5)
Starbase Omega [P] ($4)
Central Office ($7)
Megahauler [P] ($7)
Blob World ($8)
Missile Mech ($6)
Royal Redoubt ($6)

Tier 3

Explorer ($2)
Federation Shuttle ($1)
Trade Pod ($2)
Missile Bot ($2)
Trade Bot ($1)
Imperial Fighter ($1)
Merc Cruiser [P] ($3)
Embassy Yacht ($3)
Trading Post ($3)
Freighter ($4)
Ram ($3)
Blob Wheel ($3)
Battle Screecher [P] ($4)
Supply Bot ($3)
Fortress Oblivion [P] ($3)
Patrol Mech ($4)
Survey Ship ($3)
Space Station ($4)
Port of Call ($6)
Blob Carrier ($6)
Junkyard ($6)
Machine Base ($7)
Fleet HQ ($8)
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11 thoughts on “Star Realms Card Tier Lists

  1. acrossthedeepblue

    Awesome job on this! I love the organization and clarity of the explanations. A couple comments:

    I’m surprised War World is ranked higher than recycling station in early and mid game.

    In late game, why are there so many damage cards in Tier 3? Specifically, the Ram, Battle Screecher, Patrol Mech, Merc Cruiser, Blob Carrier are all in Tier 3.

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    1. HomerJr Post author

      Hi, thanks for the questions!

      War World is capable of delivering the most damage from any base in the game (except Fleet HQ in rare cases), and therefore deserves a spot in the upper tiers. Tier 1.5 would probably be more accurate in the Mid Game, but I rounded up to Tier 1 due to the incredible damage it can deliver in short order especially in tandem with another yellow base.

      Recycling Station on the other hand can be deceptive, as it actually takes a card away from your hand the turn you play it (giving you a 4-card hand), so it is really only actually helping you if either 1) it is pulling your powerful cards into your hand (thus making up for the fact that you have only a 4-card hand), and/or 2) your opponent is unable to destroy it immediately and it stays out for an extra turn or two. In these situations Recycling Station is very beneficial, but the odds of (1) are low in the early game and (2) is unlikely against a well-prepared opponent.

      Regarding the Tier 3 damage cards in the late game, the quick answer to this is that these cards should already be in your deck before the late game. Late game buys will only get played once or even not at all before the game is over. The final turns often come down to a single turn rally for 20-30 combat to finish of your opponent, so while these cards will increase the average combat per card of your deck, they can actually disrupt a big late game rally because they are dead-end cards (they don’t draw a card) . The extra combat in your deck may not be worth slowing down the velocity of your deck by adding a card.

      Great questions! 🙂

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      1. Utinni

        First off, good read. Thanks for putting the work on. But in regard to the tier 3 damage cards, I’d think the Merc Cruiser would be Tier 2. A lot of allied abilities let you draw a card and unless you somehow buy all cards of one faction, the merc cruiser helps you activate those allied abilities in off suits. And while I agree that the bases can be good late game buys, some (Defense Center and Starmarket in particular) are only good if you have a strong base strategy going. Both of the aforementioned bases can help prolong the game, but when you are that deep in a game, I see them as being highly situational.

        I’m also not as keen on Central Office as I think some people are. It’s a heavy base, but the ability really needs good cards in the trade row to be effective. And, late game, it seems really situational. But, if you have a heavy blue deck, it’s a solid buy. If you don’t have a fair number of blue, I would stay away late game.

        Just my musings and to each their own and to each game a different value given!

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  2. HomerJr Post author

    Hi Utinni, thanks for your comments! I’m happy to see these lists spurring interesting discussion.

    Regarding Merc Cruiser, since several folks have commented on my low ranking of it, I still think the ally abilities that you might be triggering aren’t not be worth adding a card to your deck. Using it to trigger a draw-a-card ally ability, which is one of the strongest ally abilities, still boils down to essentially the same effect as never having added the card to your deck in the first place, so your net profit is still only 5 damage. I put it in Tier 3 just because the probability of MC aligning with off-color cards is usually low-probability and there are usually more effective ways to get 5 damage into your deck.

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  3. Dan

    Team, I would love to be able to get a copy of breeding site to add to our family’s deck. Do any of you happen to have an extra one you can sell us?

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  4. Frank Forkl

    I find Stealth Needle being Tier 1 in the opening to be extremely counter-intuitive. In the mid and late games I wouldn’t dispute it. In the opening however you’re very likely looking at a turn with an extra Scout in your hand. Unless the intent is as a keep-away purchase, I will let that card go deck 1.

    You list 5 cards which never leave Tier 3, essentially the “Worst Value Cards in the Game.” I agree on Imperial Fighter, Trading Post and Fleet HQ. You’ve defended your stance on Merc Cruiser above, though I’m not sure I agree. The last one is the Junkyard. While I would concede that I can frequently find more value for $6 than it provides, the value of scrapping + outpost in the mid-game phase justifies Tier 2 for me personally.

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  5. GS

    On Recycling Station I would argue against you. It’s generally a must buy Tier 1 för phase 1 & 2. As a first buy only thing better would be freighter. You don’t mention a third (3) positive thing, namely that it circles your deck faster and hence you quicker gets your hands on better cards.

    I also believe the cons you mention ain’t as large as you value them but that’s debatable.

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    1. HomerJr Post author

      Yeah, you’re right. I’ve come around on the Recycling station as an early game buy since writing this and agree that it’s one of the best. I will write an update card ranking soon that includes B&B and F&F, and you’ll see that I’ll reflect this in my new rankings. 🙂

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    1. dclingman

      Every time you reshuffle, that’s referred to as a deck. Your first deck is the starting 10 cards. Your second deck is the cards you bought plus your first starter 10 and so on. The average game ending in 4.5 decks means that late buys will not really provide much overall value.

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