Decks are magical devices granted by Nemelex Xobeh which are used by eVoking them, similar to wands. This draws a random card from the deck to produce a certain effect. Each deck comes with 4-13 cards.
Decks are made up of subunits that are also called decks, which are made up of a range of possible effects that are called cards.
Archetype decks are the arrangements of the various cards from which the "physical" decks (those that a character can possess and evoke) are built. Some of these archetype decks, by virtue of their being the only component archetype of a physical deck, are sometimes called "pure" decks. The others are sometimes called "mixed decks." Not all single-source decks can be granted to players. The decks of oddities and punishment are never granted by Nemelex.
Three tables below detail the compositions of physical decks from their parts. The archetype decks are composed of changing lists of cards, and these card compositions of the archetype decks are the subject of the first table. The physical decks are then composed of changing lists of archetype decks, and these deck compositions are the subject of the second table. Finally, the physical decks resulting from these combinations contain varying sets of possible cards across versions, and these deck compositions by cards are the subject of the third table. Together, they describe exactly how all cards and decks are related. A fourth, separate, card availability table under the cards topic also illustrates these relationships from that direction.
Prior to 0.14, there was relative stability in these structures, but the changes beginning with 0.14 and picking up steam in 0.15 have literally shuffled the decks to a large extent, bringing significant changes to this part of the game, as these tables illustrate.
Composition of archetype decks by cards and version
Component cards by version
Composition of physical decks by archetypes and version
Component archetypes by version
|Deck of changes|
|Deck of defence|
|Deck of destruction|
|Deck of dungeons||
|Deck of escape|
|Deck of oddities|
|Deck of punishment|
|Deck of summoning|
|Deck of war|
|Deck of wonders|
Composition of physical decks by cards and version
If you want to ID an unknown deck by drawing from it, take the following precautions. (You will probably need at least two draws to identify a deck.)
- Be at full health (Torment)
- Stand on solid ground (Water), and not at a chokepoint for the level (Tomb).
- If you'd have trouble getting out of a Tomb, stand next to something mobile (monster or ally) or destructible (plant, fungus, bush). A closed door will do as well.
- Have at least one monster around, preferably a couple. (Damnation).
- Make sure you have room to send a Fireball or Orb(s) off to a safe distance.
- If you have access to Abjuration, keep that handy in case of hostile summons.
- You may want to equip resistances, Sustain Abilities, Clarity, and have remedies for poison and mutation. (Venom, Helix, Potion, Wild Magic).
- Prior to 0.19, decks could be found as loot on the floor. Also, scrolls of identify could be used to reveal both the deck type and the current top card.
- Prior to 0.16, players had to wield the deck that they wished to draw from.