Raw Deal

Winning on the Mat: A Guide to the Raw Deal Card Game – Rules, Strategy & Play Instructions


Raw Deal is a collectible card game that’s all about the world of professional wrestling. It was first introduced back in August 2000 and hit shelves aimed at wrestling fans and card game enthusiasts. The game lets players step into the boots of a WWE superstar, complete with signature moves, dramatic comebacks, and the thrill of the crowd. It’s a game where strategy and showmanship go hand in hand, and knowing your cards is just as important as knowing your opponent.

The game has a few expansions that introduced new wrestlers, moves, and mechanics. However, it’s important to note that Raw Deal cards are no longer being printed. The game was officially discontinued, but that hasn’t stopped fans from keeping the spirit alive through online communities and local game nights. If you’re looking to get into the game, you’ll likely be hunting for cards on the secondary market or through other players.

Quick Tip for Raw Deal

Always keep an eye on your opponent’s discard pile – it can give you valuable insights into their strategy and what moves they might have up their sleeve!

Rules for playing Raw Deal

Getting into Raw Deal can seem a bit daunting at first, but once you get the hang of the rules, it’s a blast. The game is played with a deck that represents your chosen wrestler’s arsenal of moves, abilities, and tactics. Each player starts with a hand of cards, and on your turn, you’ll play these cards to simulate a wrestling match. You’ll attempt to hit your opponent with moves, counter their actions, and ultimately pin them for the win.

Raw Deal is a card game designed for one-on-one or two-on-two matches, with multiplayer variants being quite popular. Players use a 60-card main deck known as the “Arsenal” to emulate their preferred professional wrestling superstars and maneuvers. Additionally, there is a 20-card “Backlash Deck” to complement the main deck. Cards are obtainable through starter decks and booster packs, with expansions launched bi-annually or tri-annually. “Survivor Series” update sets are also released, featuring a selection of the most popular cards from previous expansions.

The game has a few key concepts to grasp:

  1. Superstar Card: This is your wrestler, the core of your deck, and it dictates a lot of your strategy.
  2. Maneuvers: These are your attacks, the bread and butter of your offense.
  3. Reversals: These cards let you stop your opponent’s moves and turn the tide.
  4. Actions: These are various tactics and effects that can change the game’s flow.
  5. Backlash Deck: A smaller deck that gives you additional options and powerful effects.

Matches are a back-and-forth of playing cards, countering, and trying to maintain control. You’ll need to manage your resources, know when to go on the offensive, and when to hold back and defend.

Card Types for Raw Deal

In Raw Deal, your deck is made up of several types of cards:

  1. Superstar Cards: Define your character and special abilities.
  2. Maneuvers: Attacks that deal damage to your opponent.
  3. Reversals: Cards that counter maneuvers.
  4. Actions: Special moves that can have a variety of effects.
  5. Backlash Deck: Contains Pre-match and Mid-match cards that set up the game and can turn the tide mid-battle.

Starter sets are a great way to begin, as they provide a balanced deck themed around a specific wrestler. From there, you can customize and enhance your deck with booster packs and trades.

How to Play Raw Deal and Game Mechanics

Playing Raw Deal involves several key steps:

  1. Setup: Each player chooses a Superstar and sets up their deck and Backlash deck.
  2. Pre-match Phase: Players play Pre-match cards from their Backlash deck to set the stage.
  3. Draw Phase: Players draw cards to maintain a hand of cards.
  4. Play Phase: Players take turns playing Maneuvers, Actions, and Reversals.
  5. End Phase: Certain effects happen at the end of a turn, and play passes to the opponent.

A player in the game can win by either pinfall or count-out. Pinfall occurs when a player deals so much damage that their opponent cannot overturn enough cards from their Arsenal. Count-out happens when an opponent finishes a turn with no cards left in their Arsenal. Additionally, a player can choose to reject a count-out victory to prevent their opponent from intentionally losing by count-out.

How to Win at Raw Deal

Winning at Raw Deal requires a mix of strategy, timing, and a bit of luck. Here are some tips:

  1. Know Your Superstar: Play to your wrestler’s strengths and build your deck around their abilities.
  2. Balance Your Deck: Include a good mix of Maneuvers, Reversals, and Actions.
  3. Control the Pace: Dictate the flow of the match by choosing when to attack and when to defend.
  4. Resource Management: Keep an eye on your arsenal and don’t burn through your deck too quickly.
  5. Read Your Opponent: Anticipate their moves and have counters ready.

As you play more, you’ll develop your own style and find what works best for you and your chosen Superstar.

Best Strategies for playing Raw Deal game

To really shine at Raw Deal, you’ll want to:

  • Study different Superstars and their decks to understand potential strategies.
  • Practice different scenarios so you’re ready for anything your opponent throws at you.
  • Adjust your strategy based on your opponent’s playstyle and deck composition.
  • Keep track of what cards have been played to predict what’s coming next.
  • Stay flexible and be willing to change your game plan mid-match if needed.

Remember, sometimes the best move is the one your opponent least expects!

Deck Building and Best Cards in Raw Deal

Building a strong deck is key to success in Raw Deal. Focus on synergy between your cards and your Superstar’s abilities. Here are some general tips:

  • Include a variety of card types to handle different situations.
  • Consider the balance between high-risk, high-reward cards and consistent, reliable options.
  • Think about your deck’s flow and how you’ll draw and play your cards throughout the match.

Best Cards in Raw Deal

While the “best” cards can vary based on your playstyle, here are a few that are widely regarded as powerful:

  • The People’s Elbow
  • Sweet Chin Music
  • Ankle Lock
  • Shooting Star Press
  • Know Your Role

These cards can turn the tide of a match when played at the right moment.


In Raw Deal, you’ll face both good and bad scenarios. Here’s how to handle them:

  • If you’re ahead, keep up the pressure but be wary of overextending.
  • If you’re behind, look for opportunities to counter and regain control.
  • When you’re out of Reversals, play defensively until you can rebuild your hand.
  • If your opponent is setting up for a big move, prepare your counters and disrupt their strategy.

Adaptability is crucial in turning any scenario to your advantage.

Frequently Asked Questions about playing Raw Deal game

Here are some common questions and answers:

Q: Can I mix cards from different wrestlers in my deck?
A: No, your deck should be themed around your chosen Superstar.

Q: How many cards can I have in my hand?
A: There’s no upper limit, but certain cards and effects can impose restrictions.

Q: What happens if my deck runs out of cards?
A: You’ll reshuffle your discard pile into a new deck, but this can leave you vulnerable for a turn.

Q: Can I change my Superstar mid-game?
A: No, once you’ve chosen your Superstar, you’re locked in for that match.

Q: Are there any banned cards?
A: Officially, no, but some playgroups may have house rules or bans.

Official website

World Wrestling Entertainment website

Raw Deal deck builder