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  1. #1
    Senior Member Seth's Avatar
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    The Beginner's Guide to Sacrificing

    Throughout Shadow Era's entire history, there is one simple question that has always existed. It haunts every player, from the newest of newbies to the most grizzled of veterans. It's the simple question that makes or breaks games on every level of play: "What the hell am I supposed to sacrifice?!" Finding the right answer to this question is critical to success in Shadow Era. The cards in your hand are some of your most valuable tools, and throwing the wrong one away is one of the worst mistakes that can be made in the course of a game. Unfortunately, it's also one of the most common mistakes that players make. Knowing which card to sacrifice each turn is an incredibly complex, situational issue. In order to maximize the effectiveness of your deck, it's very important to learn the basics of sacrificing strategy at each stage of the game.


    DECK CONSTRUCTION

    One common mistake new players make when constructing decks is to add in cards with little or no value with the specific intent of sacrificing them in virtually every game. This is absolutely the wrong approach. While it may be painful to toss cards you'd like to play into the resource pile, it hurts a lot less than reducing your chances of drawing useful cards throughout the game by filling your deck with junk cards. Any time you add a card to your deck and think to yourself, "this card is for sacrificing," you should immediately remove it and replace it with something more useful.

    That being said, there are times when it is appropriate to add cards to a deck that will be sacrificed a large percentage of the time. These cards get added when your deck has a situational weakness that needs to be covered, or a match-up so bad that it warrants a few cards specifically to deal with it. Nobody faults the Mage player who carries two or three copies of Ley Line Nexus in her deck to counter Spelleater Bands and Legion United, even though in a number of match-ups it will be little more than sacrificing fodder. The key is to include only a few of these cards in your deck, and ensure that they are necessary enough to justify the card slots they occupy.

    Another important aspect to consider during deck construction is the possibility of expensive cards showing up in your opening hand. It is vital that you be able to sacrifice these expensive cards in the early game when this happens. If an expensive card is important to your mid-game or late-game strategy, be sure to include enough copies of it that sacrificing it within the first few turns won't deal a deathblow to your primary strategy.


    EARLY-GAME SACRIFICES (Turns 1-4)

    The sacrifice phases during the first four turns of a game are, without a doubt, the most stressful sacrifice phases a player faces. During this time, it is necessary to sacrifice a card every turn, no matter what. VERY rarely is it correct to skip gaining a resource before you have four. For this reason, you will often be forced to give up very useful cards. When the best sacrifice choice is a very useful card, players will often make the mistake of holding onto it for too long. In order to maximize your effectiveness in the early game, you need to have a plan going into each sacrifice phase.

    As soon as you see your opening hand, you have a lot of analysis to do. First, you need to check what hero your opponent is playing. Consider what cards he is most likely to play during the first three turns. Once you've gauged that, it's time to formulate your strategy. Before you ever sacrifice your first card, you should have a good idea what you'll be playing for the first three turns. Look at your hand and pick out the three cards you expect to play. Once you've identified them, those cards are never to be sacrificed, unless you draw into a better option on a subsequent turn (for example: if your best third-turn play is a Brutalis, but you draw an Infernal Gargoyle on turn three, you can now sacrifice the Brutalis, since Infernal Gargoyle is a much better play).

    At this point, you're ready to sacrifice your first card! When choosing which card to sacrifice, these are the cards that offer the best options:

    Duplicate cards in hand: These cards usually make the best early-game sacrifices, because you don't reduce your capabilities by throwing them away. Always pick the least powerful duplicate first, and continue tossing duplicates for as long as you continue to have them in the early game.

    Cards of diminished usefulness: Whenever you have a card that your opponent is likely to render useless, don't hesitate to send it to the chopping block! Dark Flayer may be a great two-drop, but if your opponent is a Shadow hero and is likely to have Death Mage Thaddeus in his deck, its usefulness suddenly drops by a vast margin.

    Cards that cost 5 or more: Once you're out of duplicates, very expensive cards are the next in line for the resource pile. To put it simply, you just won't be able to play these cards for several turns, and you have pretty decent odds of drawing more copies of them by the time you're ready to play them. The more expensive the card is, the more true this becomes. Thus, you should start with the card that has the highest cost. If you're afraid that you don't have enough copies in your deck to draw more in time, it's time to review the guidelines in the Deck Construction section!

    Using these guidelines, you will always be able to find enough sacrificial fodder to get you through the first four turns of the game.


    MID-GAME SACRIFICES (Turns 5-8)

    This is the point in the game where the strategy behind sacrificing becomes truly complex. Because there are so many factors that come into play, there is simply no way to lay out a few basic rules that will always apply. As with all things, experience is your best teacher. However, you can follow these guidelines to be sure you're headed in the right direction:

    Identify "safe" cards on your board: Sometimes you will have a card that your opponent simply can't remove. Tome of Knowledge and Ill-Gotten Gains are entirely safe against a Human warrior deck. They simply have no tool capable of destroying cards like these. Even if they use Shrine of Negatia to return them to your hand, you can simply play them again. Identify these cards in all of your match-ups, as copies drawn after the first can be automatically sacrificed at literally no cost to you!

    Consider your card-drawing power: This is an extremely important consideration going into the mid-game. How many extra cards have you drawn? Are you set up to easily continue drawing extra cards? The more cards you have, the more correct it is to sacrifice to increase your total capability each turn. If you're low on extra cards, however, the decision to sacrifice must be taken less lightly.

    Know how many resources you need at what times: Over- and under-sacrificing are common pitfalls in Shadow Era, and if you aren't thinking ahead, it may be too late by the time you realize you've walked over the edge. You will not only need to consider what plays you would like to make (or don't need to make) to bolster your own strategy, but what plays your opponent is likely to make and what you'll need to do to counter them. Don't give up valuable cards if you don't need to, but don't hesitate to start tossing cards if you'll be unable to properly respond to your opponent's plays.

    Be willing to make necessary sacrifices: At times, you will identify the best possible play, but it will only be possible if you sacrifice a very valuable card to have enough resources. You must be willing to do this. For example, you could find yourself with no allies on the board, but your opponent has three of them. When you look at your hand and see Jasmine, Fireball, and Supernova, it's easy to see the best play. You should play Supernova and follow up with Jasmine. But suppose you only have 7 resources. Should you sacrifice a card as valuable as Fireball? In this case, yes. It's worth it, as painful as it may seem.


    LATE-GAME SACRIFICES (Turns 9+)

    As you head into the late game, be wary of over-sacrificing. I've simply seen far too many Shadow Era matches where a player has 13 or 14 resources, and one or two cards in his hand. This is not helpful! As you head into the final turns of the game, the mid-game guidelines still apply. However, you must start asking yourself a very important question every turn: "Do I NEED more resources?" Sometimes you'll be most effective by passing up an extra resource or two and instead keeping a card to impact the board or opponent with. Every late-game card you sacrifice is a tool you are deciding you have no use for. Be careful not to toss cards you'll find yourself wanting to draw a few turns later.


    NOW YOU'VE SCRATCHED THE SURFACE

    Sacrificing is easily the most difficult and nuanced part of Shadow Era. While this guide covers the basics, it can by no means be considered comprehensive. That being said, learn all of the basics laid out in this article, and you'll be headed in the right direction! Remember to always be thinking several turns ahead and reading into your opponent's strategy. It's also helpful to recall sacrifices you've made throughout a game and ask yourself, "If I had sacrificed a different card, would this game have gone differently? Would it be better or worse for me?" Constantly considering these issues and situations is the best way to improve your sacrificing instincts. Now get out there and get started!

    (Look for more strategy articles for players of all levels and exciting content coming soon in A1's Project Omega! What you see here is a sneak-peek and some of the things we've got in store for you.)

  2. #2
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    clap clap clap


    great guide, for noobs and veterans

  3. #3
    DP Visionary Atomzed's Avatar
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    Great guide! Should be stickied!
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    DP Visionary Preybird's Avatar
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    Damn this is brilliant NinjaDucky! It's stuff that I tend to do subconsciously now, but even so it's great to be able to read it in such a succinct form!

    I would never have been able to write an article like this.
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  5. #5
    Senior Member stevevai1983's Avatar
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    excellent guide

  6. #6
    DP Visionary Kriminal13's Avatar
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    This is awesome. It's taken me hundreds of games to come to these conclusions. This is pretty much what goes through my head every game, just alot quicker. A must read for players who want to be competitive.

  7. #7
    Member Nordh's Avatar
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    Wonderful guide, well done!
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  8. #8
    Member Algork's Avatar
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    Great guide.

  9. #9
    Senior Member ahmet476's Avatar
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    Just subscribing. Will read it tomorrow.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Keaven's Avatar
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    Can we get a sticky please?
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