Axie Infinity 101: What to look for in Starter Axies

6 min readNov 5, 2020

There are plenty of articles around to help beginners, some help with PvE, some clarify how to win the most SLP possible and some even go more in depth on how Breeding works. But there isn’t much content on one of the most important starting aspects of the game: how to choose your first Axies.

If you are a new player looking in, one of the most daunting aspects of the game can be the prices and the differences between Axies.

How do I make a good choice? Why are some worth more than $100 and some only $23? What makes an Axie powerful? Do I even need to have good Axies? I hope that at the end of this article you will have some notion on how to pick your first 3 starter Axies to begin your journey on Axie Infinity!

I’ll start with an overall view and what you should be looking for. Later, practical examples taken from the Marketplace and in the end an array of resources you can use to improve your knowledge even more.

Plant, Beast, Bird?

If you roamed around on Discord or asked someone’s help, it’s possible someone suggested exactly that: just get a Plant, a Beast and a Bird. It’s not rocket science! They’re not wrong, but you have to be careful on how you choose, getting a Plant with no shield cards, a tank Bird or a Beast with three cards with 0 cost will make your matches way harder than they should be.

When looking at an Axie, there are 2 important things to pay attention:

The Abilities (or cards). Look carefully at:

  • Their Damage (sword) and Shield (shield?) values.
  • The cards abilities.
  • Their energy cost (on the top left).

There are cards with 0, 1 and one (not great) card with 2 energy cost.

The Stats are simple enough and you should have read a basic guide to know what they’re about. What’s important to know now is how much is good. The highest attribute you can get (except Skill) is 61, so you want your tank to have at least around 55 and ideally high Speed or Morale damage dealers.

When you have more experience, you can have a good idea of all that just by looking at an Axie’s body parts.

There are 3 important things a team should have (although some top players may disagree on some of what I’m going to say):

  • A tank with high shield: The most used class in the game are Plants and for good reason, but sometimes Aqua Axies also can be used as tanks.
  • At least 1 good damage dealer: What constitutes a good damage dealer? The ability to deal good damage. This usually means at least 3 or even 4 cards with more (or close to) 100 damage.
  • Some sort of utility to bring the team together (synergy): This is more of a personal choice. Teams with 2 great damage dealers and a tank can win a lot of games. If you want a simple team, maybe go for it! Ideally, though, you’d want your Axies to have synergy and utility, which mainly mean the skill to generate, steal or destroy your enemies energy or to draw more cards to your hand. Of the top 10 cards used by the best ranked players in the game, 6 of them are utility cards!

Getting Our Hands Dirty

Now we know what to look for, is it that easy? Not if you’re on a tight budget! While it’s possible to get a pretty decent (not great, unless you are Indes) team while getting the cheapest Axies, it’s hard work to choose. I’ll share some tricks a little later.

For now, let’s look at examples of good and bad Axies found near the market floor price right now, at the start of November/2020 (0.059 eth or $24) and explain what makes them great or a terrible choice.

First choice, let’s analyze why it sucks:

  • Supposed to be a damage dealer, but has only 2 cards that deal decent damage. Early Bird special ability (+20% damage) will never work if the enemy team has any bird.
  • Because of Merry, it’s a mix between a tank (but has no HP) and damage dealer (with little damage). This type of mix rarely works and has to be done with specific cards (mostly ones with the ability to stun the enemy or negate damage).
  • Forest Spirit is a bad card. Don’t get Axies with it.

For our second choice, let’s pick something that can work, also near the floor price. Why it works? What’s the catch?:

  • He has Vegetal Bite, which is for now the best card in the game. Ideally with a 0 energy cost card, but can work with any.
  • He has 2 cards that will help him tank a decent amount of damage (with the ability of Keratin and the 60 Shield from Scale Dart).
  • Decent enough HP, although it could be better.

What makes him a floor Axie? He doesn’t have ideal stats, his tanking abilities are not great and the Heart Break card will be, more often than not, not a good choice to use. If your budget is severely limited, this can be a decent choice, although you can get better choices paying only a few bucks more.

Let’s compare 2 Birds looking only at their cards, can you figure out who’s the best one?

I hope it is kind of obvious: one has a weird mix of attacker and defender abilities and another is a full blown damage machine: a bird doesn’t need HP or shield cards, he just needs to hit fast and strong. They both cost the same amount of money (~0.085 eth). You should also already know this but cards with the same class as the Axie, like these pink Bird cards on a Bird Axie, also receive 15% bonus damage and shield when used!

Finally, some quick tips:

  • On the Marketplace (or the Axie Finder), you can search for Class and Pureness. If you select 4, 5 or 6, you’ll see Axies that have body parts (and cards) from the same type. Although this isn’t perfect, it can help filter out the trash.
  • Use the Card Tier List and the Axie Finder. Although not perfect, those sites can help you rate the pvp viability of any Axie instantly with their Meta Score.

The Resources

In the end, understanding the world of a competitive game (especially one where there’s money at stake) will be a struggle and there is a steep learning curve. If you like doing research or you’re interested in how to achieve the top ranks and win even more prizes, check out some of the awesome resources created by the community:

PVP Statistics that can be sorted to only the Top 100 players.

The Leaderboard, in which you can click anyone’s name and see what’s the hottest meta right now.

How damage and shield interact? Check Binary Assets guide.

And, of course, come to the official Axie Infinity Discord. There are always people willing to help!

This article was written as an entry for the Chimera Tribune. Check out their newsletter!