You don’t need a body to ball. Just watch the cards go at it for hardwood supremacy in My NBA 2K17 and you’ll see what we mean.

As a result, you don’t need to know how to defend the pick and roll or have an opinion on the rise of the stretch four to succeed at the latest NBA card game from 2K and Cat Daddy Games either. All you need is some guidance, and that’s something we can provide after spending some quality time with it.

Our My NBA 2k17 tips, cheats and strategies will be even more useful if you’ve never played a previous game in the series (because this one isn’t that much different than previous entries) or are unfamiliar with other 2K card games like WWE SuperCard. But we’ll try to inform and entertain you regardless.

Statistical Showdown

My NBA 2K17 Tips, Cheats and Strategies

At it’s most basic level, My NBA 2K17 is a game won by comparing the stats on your players’ cards to those on your opponent’s cards. You’re told which stats are going to be used for the comparison (either one or two) and how many players are involved (again, it can be one or two), and then you choose your guys and hope for the best. Different game modes add more wrinkles, but the underlying formula remains the same.

Does this mean you need to know something about basketball, like if LeBron James is faster than Stephen Curry? Nope. The values on the player cards don’t really correspond to real life.

Instead, the advantage comes mostly from a card’s rarity — super rare is better than rare, which is better than uncommon — and then within the same tier, what level each card is. Cards can be leveled up by selecting them from ‘MyCARDS’ in the main menu, then tapping on ‘Improve.’ Hit the ‘Train’ button and choose cards you’d like to sacrifice to level up the target, just like in nearly every mobile card game since the dawn of time.

BONUS TIP: Every player has a position (some have two), and it pays to play them there. Your lineup for most modes requires a PG, SG, SF, PF and C, and even if you don’t know what those abbreviations stand for, it’s important to heed them. Playing cards in their proper positions gives them stats boosts that could be the difference between winning and losing.

Going Pro

My NBA 2K17 Tips, Cheats and Strategies

Even lowly common cards can be magically transformed (note: it’s not really magic) into better versions of themselves by turning them pro. And yes, we thought all NBA players were already pros.

To turn a player pro, you’ll need three extra copies of that same player at the same tier, along with a contract card. The main player also needs to be at max level, which could vary depending on what rarity he is.

The contract and the duplicate player cards are consumed in the process, so make sure you’re willing to part with them. Pro versions of cards tend to be competitive with or even better than the next tier up once they are fully leveled, so if you are stuck on, say, super rare, obtaining some pros at that level allows you to hang with and beat ultra rare decks, and is a valid reason for not using rare or better cards as leveling fodder.

Know Your Modes

My NBA 2K17 Tips, Cheats and Strategies

Just like real basketball can be played in ways from one-on-one all the way up to full court five-on-five, My NBA 2K17 has various ways to play as well. Better still, only some of them have energy systems or restrictions on how often you play, so this is one free game you can play as much as you like.

The modes that are always in the game are:

  • Quick Game – The first mode you can access is also the simplest. You bring your starting lineup of five cards and pick from one of four opponents. The game consists of four match-ups, and you score more points in the simulated quarter if you win one. If you have more points at the end of four quarters, you win the game and receive more rewards for doing so.
  • Season – A season is an actual 82-game simulation pitting your team against those of other players. It’s a long grind, with games going on around the clock. It’s also primarily a management challenge; you form a team of 15 players and three support cards to bring into season mode, and then you need to manage their energy levels (which drop after each game) to ensure their stats don’t fall too much. Energy cards can be won in Quick Games, providing some synergy between the two modes. Rewards are earned based on your final place in the standings, including playoffs if you make it that far.
  • Blacktop Challenge – This is a fast-paced mode that pits you against nine other players’ teams in timed rounds. The idea is to challenge other squads for Quick Game-like showdowns and win as many as possible in a limited amount of time. Taking on and defeating higher ranked players earns you more Victory Points, with rewards based on how many VP you’ve earned at the end of five rounds. Blacktop Challenge is the most involved game mode and requires the largest deck (25 players), so you might want to hold off on it until you have some experience with the rest of My NBA 2K17.

It’s also an absolute certainty that My NBA 2K17 will feature limited time events on a regular basis, particularly once the NBA season is off and running. Be sure to check back in daily to see what’s happening.

Beefing Up Your Squad

My NBA 2K17 Tips, Cheats and Strategies

Those cards you got when you first fired up My NBA 2K17 are nice, especially the rare player from your favorite team. But you’re going to need more and better cards to get anywhere, and you can acquire them in several ways.

  • Post-game draft picks – After Quick Game victories, many event wins and at the end of a Blacktop Challenge, you’ll receive a number of “draft picks.” These allow you to select cards from a face-down selection, continuing to pick until you run out of selections or hit a rare or better card, at which point the board will reset (though you’ll get to keep picking if you have selections remaining). The best possible tier of cards you can receive is indicated by a meter at the very top of the draft board, and it will improve as your team improves.
  • Season rewards – As noted above, sticking with a season until the very end can pay off, because making the playoffs and advancing as far as possible can yield you some decent new cards. Like the Quick Game draft picks, the rarity of season rewards varies depending on the overall strength of your season deck, but you’ll know going into it what you can earn.
  • Event rewards – It’s impossible to say for sure what kinds of cards will be tied into My NBA 2K17 events, because as of the time of this post, they hadn’t started yet. Rest assured, though, that based on what we’ve seen from previous games in the series, events will be a great way to earn extra players, including some that you might not be able to acquire in any other fashion. It’s the number one reason to log in daily.
  • The in-game shop – Buying packs of cards is a staple of most card-based mobile games, but here it’s a supplement, not your primary team-building tool. That said, you can tap on ‘Get Cards’ in the main menu and find the store, which has options for both Credits and Reward Points. The former is a currency you pay for with real money, while the latter can be earned by knocking out in-game achievements. Not surprisingly, the packs you buy with Credits have the potential to be much better, but there are usually some fun theme packs in the store that are worth checking out.