The contest structure is new for 2015, and as we got a preview of last night, its definitely a bit different than it used to be. I am actually a huge fan of this new structure, and I cant wait to see all the crazy fun things that Topps can come up with on a day to day basis.
All that being said, there is a new strategy element for the decks used to fund your lineups in the game, and as mentioned before, it will change as the individual contest rules change. This is where deck building has all of a sudden become a valuable skill in Bunt.
In case you are unfamiliar, here is how it works. For each contest league, you will select cards to use in the course of that specific requirement. You will have to choose between any cards that arent being used for another league, and those cards may be automatically limited by the contest’s rules.
By going to the little flag at the bottom of the screen, you can select which deck you want to edit, and start building for the week, day or game. As an example, for Opening Day, you can choose any card you have as long as your total boost does not exceed 175x for the whole team. This means at most, you can play 175 of your common white cards. Other contests may be different.
Topps has added an auto build feature, but it may not be the best way to build your deck if you have tons of cards to use. If you only have a few, that is the way to go. It will select your top available boosts first and filter down to your lesser boosts. From what I can tell, it may value heat index and other elements in which cards it chooses, but we all know that position is almost more important than anything.
Who Should You Play?
Right now, there are two types of players to consider for your deck, pitchers and hitters. Position outside of that designation doesnt matter, as you will likely not worry about playing a 1B over a 3B, just that both are hitters.
If you are someone planning on sitting in front of MLB Extra Innings all day, having a good mix of top guys is really important. Because stats depend on API from MLB, there is a delay between live TV and the Bunt scoring to populate. It provides a switch out opportunity if you see a home run or strikeout live, and gives you the time to make the switch in game. If you have hitters in your deck, you will be able to get A TON of points for the big plays.
If you are not planning on streaming games, then I would definitely lead to play more pitchers in your deck. Pitchers will have more opportunities to score than the hitters do in most cases, and the negative points are less likely to accumulate in big ways. You will only have to switch every half inning instead of changing out your entire lineup with every at bat.
The best thing to do is reference the day’s probable starting pitchers and pick those out of your collection to start. After those are done, pick up some of the closers from the favored teams, and some of the big bopper hitters that you have available. You never know when Giancarlo Stanton is going to come up with nobody out and the bases loaded.
What to Look for In Contest Rules
Based on my limited interaction with the contest part of the app, I can make an educated guess as to what will be the main elements they will toy with.
Boost Max Level – I would look at this pretty closely, as there could be leagues with very tiny max levels or ones that have infinite levels. 175 looks to be middle of the road for the beginning of the season when everyone’s collection is tiny, but it could end up getting much larger.
Plays – Last year, each switch to your lineup cost one play, and those plays regenerated at a specific rate. You were only granted so many at a time, and for right now they are unlimited. This could change contest by contest, and its a good thing to take a look at. Check out the number of plays and regeneration time before building your deck.
Player Types – I can see them doing a hitters only league, or a pitchers only league, as its one of the things that makes the contest fun. Keep an eye on this for the future, as right now, there are no limitations.
Teams – I expect at least one contest per week that focuses on a specific game or teams.
Max Card Boost Level – I can see them using a league structure where every card must be a certain boost level.
Look at all the contests you plan to play in and find a way to create a playable deck for each one. Because you can only use a card in one league at a time, you may need to figure out which of the leagues fit best for the better cards in your collection. That 4x Mike Trout game boost only gets you so far in a league that is better fitted for pitchers.
Leagues with low plays favor pitchers. Leagues with shorter timeframes favor hitters, in that if you only have to watch one game, its easier than watching a full slate at once.
A word to the wise – if a league favors a certain type of card, the trade value will skyrocket temporarily. Like we saw with Opening Night, everyone knew that Cubs and Cardinals were the only playable option, so the chase was on. Dont overspend, for these cards as it could handicap you for future leagues. Because this is no longer a week by week play (for now), you need to stay balanced. Dont give up the house for a card that could only help you for one day. Think bigger picture.
The main point here is to have fun and play the fantasy element of the game much more like you would in your normal leagues. This was one of the main reasons I was so drawn to Bunt, and I am glad that it is now a huge part of the game.