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  1. #1
    Senior Member pyrogene's Avatar
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    Post Planning your turn (Guide to avoiding simple mistakes)

    Planning your turn

    Had this up on the Acolytes internal forums and after polishing it up, I'm ready to present my first guide mostly targeted at newer players but things everyone can take note of.

    Recently, I've been watching some games and to my surprise there were a substantial number of rather obvious misplays even among experienced players. I would thus just like to highlight some of the common mistakes. By avoiding these mistakes, you can increase your chances of winning with minimal effort.


    Forgetting to Draw

    Imagine this. You have 6 resources with only a Tome of Knowledge on the board. Your opponent has a Priest of the Light and a Puwen. You hold a single Fireball. What is the right way to play?

    Evidently, it is to use the ToK first, hope for a Lightning Strike and if you don't have it, then play the Fireball.

    It seems obvious here, but when there are more things cluttering the board, many people forget the fundamentals. Always use the draw engines first (Wizent's Staff/ToK/Wulven Tracker/Majiya's ability/Dimension Ripper/Night Prowler/Bad Santa/Wrath of the Forest/Ill Gotten Gains) if the card you could play anyway would not have changed your ability to play your draw engine. Yes, some of these are not traditional draw engines but you can think through to see how to make moves such that you get extra cards in your hand for more options before making the play.

    For example, you have 5 resources and a Garg in hand with Zaladar with a DR on the board against an empty field. Rather than playing the Garg straight-away, you should attack with DR 1st and potentially draw a more worthwhile play like a Molten Destroyer.

    As a counter example, if you have a Wulven Tracker on the field with a fireball in hand against a Raven, you should still use the Fireball 1st and then attack with WT so your WT will not be disabled.

    Additional note (credits to DnDFreak): When you have multiple draw engines available, the situation is more complicated. While it is still the case that your draw engine should be used 1st, deciding which draw engine to be played 1st would require careful thought. This would depend on the amount of cards drawn, board state, deck composition, hp and a whole lot of other factors.


    Maximising Damage

    Once again, a simple example: You have a Puwen against Fire Snake and Pack Wolf with a Lightning Strike in hand. Lightning Strike would be able to take out both FS and Pack Wolf giving you card advantage. Sounds great? But using LS on PW and the hero and puwen to attack FS instead would have netted you one extra damage on the hero. In a close match, this could be the difference between a win and a loss.


    Minimising Damage

    Following straight from the previous one, with allies on the field it is important to determine the order of attack/spells to minimise damage on your own hero and allies. Spells and allies/heroes with Ambush should usually be used 1st. The next part is a little more arguable. If you have an Armoured ally like Sandworm, it is usually to your advantage to let them tank the counter-attack. In general against most match-ups, it is also better to let the hero absorb the damage early since board control is crucial. Needless to say, if you have a Flayer and Molten Destroyer against a Brutal Minotaur, it would be better to suicide the Flayer and then use the Molten Destroyer to kill in most circumstances.


    Unnecessary Sacrifices

    In the 1st 5 turns, it is likely that you would want to sacrifice every turn (unless your deck is built to take advantage of low resources or your opening hand is filled with low CC cards). After which, it comes to a point where you may be able to play anything you want that turn without having to sacrifice.

    Your turn planning should start at the sacrifice step. Say you are against a shadow hero with a Evil Ascendant on your field with Garg, Fireball and another EA in your hand with 6 resources. While the extra EA is not very useful, there is no need to sac it this turn as you can still play all the cards you could. The EA on the field could get destroyed and therefore as long as the card you are saccing is not a completely dead draw, there is often no need to sacrifice it.

    Having said that, if your deck is capable of drawing multiple cards per turn or has a specific combo you intend to work towards that requires a certain resource level (e.g. Tidal Wave + Jasmine, Brutalis+Energy Discharge), you may still wish to continue sacrificing every turn.

    For more on the complex topic on sacrificing, have a look here: http://www.shadowera.com/showthread....to-Sacrificing


    Game Ends when Life hits Zero

    Credits to Demnchi for inspiring this.

    The game is over once anyone's life total hits zero. Rampage/Soul Seeker etc will not revive the player. The board does not matter at all at that point. Therefore as long as you can bring your opponent's life total to zero in that turn, that should be your play. Also remember DoTs on your opponent (Including unconventional ones like Blood Frenzy, Brutal Minotaur dying from a DoT, Him with EA against your MD).

    On the flip side, if your opponent has the ability to kill you next turn with what he has on board, then you have to do everything you can to deny him that even if you have to make an inefficient move like fireball on a Fire Snake. While you may still lose, at the least it still gives you a possibility of turning it around.



    That's all for now. Suggestions welcomed!
    Last edited by pyrogene; 04-12-2012 at 11:32 AM.

  2. #2
    DP Visionary Preybird's Avatar
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    Excellent guide Pyrogene! A lot of common sense plays which can be forgotten in the heat of battle.

    A bit of an extension to your guide is "Do the Math". I take 10 seconds at the start of every turn to calculate my damage potential and how it can be split. Doing this has won me many games as opposed to rushing in headlong and throwing spells around. It also helps to centre myself and prevent me from overreacting or overreaching.
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    Senior Member Harakhte's Avatar
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    Nice read Pyrogene. Certainly never hurts to be reminded of these points, especially when done so clearly and concisely.

    Personally I learned my 'game sense' playing scholastic/amateur chess, and the dictates of what to do and what not to do in a competitive game are extremely similar.

    I think of this refresher as one of my old teacher's sayings, "Before you do anything, sit on your hands!". When you've been thinking about what to do during your opponent's turn, you often 'lock in' a course of action that might be made irrelevant by your opponent's move. So, every time the clock flips to you, you sit on your hands until you analyze the move.

    Cheers,
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  4. #4
    Senior Member pyrogene's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Preybird View Post
    Excellent guide Pyrogene! A lot of common sense plays which can be forgotten in the heat of battle.

    A bit of an extension to your guide is "Do the Math". I take 10 seconds at the start of every turn to calculate my damage potential and how it can be split. Doing this has won me many games as opposed to rushing in headlong and throwing spells around. It also helps to centre myself and prevent me from overreacting or overreaching.
    Thanks Preybird! Indeed at the sacrifice stage you should be thinking of possible damage output. This is especially relevant late-game when there are multiple interactions affecting the board. Also relevant to the last point when sometimes people may be intimidated by heavy opponent board presence and forget that they actually have the damage capacity to end the game.

    Quote Originally Posted by Harakhte View Post
    Nice read Pyrogene. Certainly never hurts to be reminded of these points, especially when done so clearly and concisely.

    Personally I learned my 'game sense' playing scholastic/amateur chess, and the dictates of what to do and what not to do in a competitive game are extremely similar.

    I think of this refresher as one of my old teacher's sayings, "Before you do anything, sit on your hands!". When you've been thinking about what to do during your opponent's turn, you often 'lock in' a course of action that might be made irrelevant by your opponent's move. So, every time the clock flips to you, you sit on your hands until you analyze the move.

    Cheers,
    -Harakhte
    Thanks Harakhte! I completely agree with your point. Sometimes when the opponent takes a long time to make his move you end up planning your next turn without waiting to see what you draw. Then you get so eager to execute your elaborate plan that you miss out on a potentially better play. Always be prepared to reassess the situation.

  5. #5
    Senior Member glencocoe's Avatar
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    EPIC PREFACE (jk)

    Also, I have some. I'll try to add them to A1 thread too, but here are some off the top of my head (keep in mind a good amount of these are hero-specific). A lot of this WILL be obvious, but I'm listing anyways::

    I. ROGUES

    --- Playing against rogues: when a rogue equips black garb & they have a weapon you're trying to break or wear down, unfortunately, you can't do that because the armors effect is activated first, killing the attacking ally, negating a retaliation strike. The only way to "safely" get rid of black garb is to attack w/a 1-attack weapon or ally such as Wizent's staff or brutalis. So plan for that.

    --- Playing as rogues: to my knowledge, when traps Are sprung, you do get draw from IGG. if not, sorry, but I believe they do. Initially I thought they didn't. Also, just something insignificant: for those Who want to use nightstalker (stripping armor) with a weapon's ability together, the discarding goes first...THEN the stealing. So if your opponent only has one card, and ability is used, you will NOT steal anything.

    Also, when using stop thief!, it adds resources to BOTH available resources and total resources. So if you have 6 resources, you can use ST (reduction to 2 resources, but increasing to 3 because of effect), then cast a 3cc card. A GREAT card to keep ESPECIALLY if opponent uses items because you can avoid sacrificing. Plan for this. Oh & P.S. Stop thief! Does NOT destroy portal, so don't count on it.

    II. HUNTERS

    --- Playing against hunters: when dealing with traps, on-summon abilities activate BEFORE being destroyed. So DMT will work. So does tainted oracle, deathbone, lily, etc. TO synergizes well w/WotF & IGG, when dealing w/(spike) traps, so plan for that.

    In addition, anyone weird enough (lol...me) to use guardian bow needs to remember since 1.5, the bow has defender status...so if any ally attacks w/hp EQUAL TO or LESS THAN the attack of the bow, no damage will be inflicted. Works great w/Baduruu & Gwen. Plan for it.

    --- Playing as hunters: this only applies for Banebow. A lot of people wonder whether Kurt or legion united negates damage...no. Banebow pierces EVERYTHING. so don't depend on any armor to save you. Yes, sandworm isn't safe either.

    DESTROY WRATH OF THE FOREST FIRST!!! many people (including me) have made this mistake since we're so used to killing allies first, then attacking the hero. DON'T FORGET!!!!!

    III. WULVEN

    --- Playing against wulven: this should be obvious, but "mind-control-like" cards won't deal damage when moonstalker's ability is activated or full moon is on the field when attacked. Spells are obviously different, but be prepared to save mind control if you NEED it to deal the last blow.

    --- Playing as Wulven: typically against unique allies except Aldon, use captured prey. A GREAT card against DMT. so plan for keeping captured prey if you're sure the opponent has some vital Uniques. Though be wary of use with aeon unless you have to.

    IV. WARRIORS

    --- Playing against warriors: when you think a warrior has crippling blow and you have jasmine and Aldon, throw down jasmine, to plan for crippling blow. Abilities are NOT affected by CB. so throw down plasma behemoths before anything else. This should be fairly obvious.

    And when dealing w/Kings Pride, when destroyed, opposing allies LOSE 1 hp, so account for it.

    --- Playing as warriors: this should be the most obvious...really. If you play enrage and it gets removed by sever ties at 10hp or below, you will lose. Hence the reason fewer players use it.

    V. PRIESTS

    --- Playing against priests: if you have to deal with holy shield, and they have armor/weapons equipped, attacking will do zero damage, but it WILL wear durability/elicit a retaliation blow. Don't think you won't be able to.

    Furthermore, when using ghostmaker, if you have a unique ally on the field, and have the same unique ally as the topmost ally in the graveyard, it will NOT go on the field and Noooo, the ally below it will not be drawn. So make sure you remember that.

    --- Playing as priests: focused prayer can kill EVERYTHING, even portal.

    VI. MAGES

    --- Playing against mages: mages often have nova...if you're scared they have one in the end, get their hp to 5, or below to force a draw, avoiding a loss.

    Additionally, portal can not be destroyed by all item-destruction. Only the following will work: shrine of negatia (misplaced), shriek of vengeance, and focused prayer

    --- Playing as mages: keep in mind when playing against other mages. TYPICALLY (not always, but most times), the Mage who "blinks" or novas first is usually the on the lose...so only nova when ABSOLUTELY necessary.

    VII. ELEMENTALS

    --- Playing against Elementals: be prepared for mind controls....that's all I can say about that.

    --- Playing as Elementals: try to keep your mind controls...that's all I can say about that.

    VIII. GENERAL REMINDERS

    - When using dagger of unmaking or retreat, when applied to an ally stolen from you, you will get it back.
    - when a stolen item of yours is used, it goes back to your graveyard.
    - when wearing down armor, attack w/the lowest attack-rated ally, then finish with the strongest when about to break it.
    - already mentioned, but portal is a SUPPORT item, so stop thief, LLN, and some other items don't work on it.

    EPIC CONCLUSION (....maybe not)

    Ok, well I hope these "findings" help! All other suggestions welcome!
    Last edited by glencocoe; 04-12-2012 at 12:48 AM.

  6. #6
    Senior Member pyrogene's Avatar
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    Wow Glen your post probably deserves a new thread. There is A LOT of details and tips that can be included if you want to dwell into individual classes. I do like the Playing as and Playing against format. A lot of deck guides focus on how to play the deck itself rather than how to play against the various classes so that would be useful.

  7. #7
    DP Visionary Preybird's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pyrogene View Post
    Wow Glen your post probably deserves a new thread. There is A LOT of details and tips that can be included if you want to dwell into individual classes. I do like the Playing as and Playing against format. A lot of deck guides focus on how to play the deck itself rather than how to play against the various classes so that would be useful.
    Agreed. This is excellent work Glen, it deserves it's own thread.
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    Senior Member MistahBoweh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pyrogene View Post
    It seems obvious here, but when there are more things cluttering the board, many people forget the fundamentals. Always use the draw engines first (Wizent's Staff/ToK/Wulven Tracker/Majiya's ability/Dimension Ripper/Night Prowler/Bad Santa/Wrath of the Forest/Ill Gotten Gains) if the card you could play anyway would not have changed your ability to play your draw engine. Yes, some of these are not traditional draw engines but you can think through to see how to make moves such that you get extra cards in your hand for more options before making the play.
    All in all excellent and rather thorough, but I have to point out here that there's more to it than this.

    Essentially, what you're saying here is that if you have a line of play and a draw engine, and you can perform them in either order, perform the draw first since it may affect your line of play.

    However, this is assuming you only have one source of draw, and that none of the card draw cards have extraneous effects. Also, many of the game's draw sources can only happen in the middle of your line of play (such as say Maj or Dimension Ripper).

    For an example, say I'm playing as Majiya. I have seven resources, 4SE, a Sac Lamb and Nova in my hand, and an Infernal Gargoyle in play. My opponent has six cards in hand and a Plasma behemoth. Both of us are around 20 in life.

    Now, I have a lot of choices here.

    Possible lines of play:

    1. Attack opponent with Gargoyle, play Sac Lamb, Play Nova (or DoU if drawn).

    2. Use Majiya's ability, attack and kill PB, do whatever else (possibly still playing sac lamb)

    3. Attack PB with Garg, Play Sac Lamb, if no LS, etc. is found use maj on PB.

    Now, all three of these lines of play have their merits. With your statement about prioritizing draw engines that don't inhibit your line of play, The correct one would be 2, using Majiya's ability first since it doesn't have a resource cost. However, is that the right play?

    In option 1, The end result is that you wipe the board, dealing 7 damage to the opponent and drawing three cards in the process, but removing all your resources and dealing 5 to yourself, not to mention using the Nova as a 1-for-1 trade. However, this could easily be the optimal choice. Using the Sac lamb before anything else gives you the most cards in hand before having to commit the rest of your resources or energy. This means that it's the most likely line of play that will yield a better line of play, Like for example Dagger of Unmaking. DoU would set the opponent to seven cards, denying their draw. You get to keep your nova AND your SE, you have a 3 dur weapon, and it's very likely that your opponent will run out multiple allies to try and avoit a repeat, at which point you can gain optimal value out of said nova, yet again leaving your DoU and SE at the ready. The strongest tempo play, the best card advantage, and overall the best possible results. This play, assuming you don't get the DoU, still results in the most damage dealt to the opponent's face and three extra cards out of deck. If you still have some burn left over, it's entirely possible that you can kill them within the next two turns before they can kill you, and again your SE is still up to fish for more burn and go for the dome while maintaining that empty board and keeping pressure off yourself.

    Option 2 (pyro's choice) has the least potential to be a blowout, and also doesn't inherently lead to a win, or in fact any damage on the opponent. You get to save the Nova, but also immediately lose your SE first thing and for the next four turns have to rely on resources alone, which means it will be fairly difficult to claim the board for a while if the Garg doesn't survive or you plan on playing the Sac lamb at some point. Seeing as you have no removal other than Nova, if one of the top two cards isn't burn it's very likely you'll have to pop the nova a turn later anyways, only this time you won't be doing it with your SE intact. Even if you do rip burn off the top, if it's a Fireball and not a LS you'll be losing a potential win condition yet again to try and hold the fort, meaning the game just swings more and more in your opponent's favor. I'd go so far as to say this is the worst option of the three.

    Option 3 is similar to option two, only you use your 'draw three cards' before your 'draw a card'. This play also saves your Nova, but potentially also saves your SE and damages the opponent at the same time. There's also a chance to draw DoU, like the scenario in option one, only you'll have dealt 2 less damage to the opponent. The only downside with this play compared to option 2 is that in Option 2, you might get to keep the Garg around for a turn.

    Now, in option 1 you have the optimal gamestate: Nova in hand, 2 damage to the opponent, two other cards in hand and a DoU in play with 3 durability, with the opponent on an empty board and a maxed out hand size. Option 3 has the same possible outcome except without the 2 damage to the dome, as you attacked the PB instead of the player. However, there's also the chance of drawing a Lightning Strike. While strike wouldn't affect your play in option 1, in option 3 you get to still save the SE and nova, permanently kill the PB rather than stall, and hit the opponent for 3 instead of 2.

    I'd consider ALL of option 3's possible outcomes, in which the Nova is saved, to be better than the expected outcome for Option 1. You have to play for the worst possibility and I don't care for the idea of playing a Nova I don't have to play, especially while the opponent has such a large hand. Option 1 may have the BEST possible results, including both the highest player damage output and the best control gamestate, but in 3 I'm just more likely to have a stronger play, rather than taking a chance at the strongEST play.

    I'm distracting myself on a tangent. The point is that both 1 and 3 are preferable to 2, which the guide suggests would be the best. I don't really mean to nitpick or sound like a dick or anything, but just wanted to point out that there are always exceptions to every rule, and how complicated things can get when multiple draw engines are involved. Zhannax had the same problem, where there was a huge difference between people that knew how to use TO correctly and those that didn't. Saying to prioritize draw that doesn't limit any lines of play is great, but it's not just about the optimal current turn. Holding back, both cards and shadow energy, will often pay off just as much if not more than drawing cards first and foremost just because you can. In the above Majiya scenario, for example, the possibility (or certainty) of saving your shadow energy far outweighs drawing before using any resources or cards.

    tl;dr: when there are secondary effects that cause card draw, such as Majiya, Tainted Oracle, etc., or draw engines that use SE, such as Wizent's Staff, simply drawing before anything else is not always the best play. Examine every option you have and plan for future turns/actions before committing to your line of play. Even if you draw cards first, you might get better (or better on average) results by dedicating your materials to other things first, especially where multiple sources of draw are involved.

    *scrolls up*

    Holy crap.

    I have way too much time to kill right now.
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  9. #9
    Senior Member MistahBoweh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by glencocoe View Post
    --- Playing as rogues: to my knowledge, when traps Are sprung, you do get draw from IGG. if not, sorry, but I believe they do. Initially I thought they didn't.
    You do NOT get the draw. Its the same as Portal leaving play; the card is technically not being destroyed. It's just being sent to the graveyard. IGG will not trigger from traps being spung.
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  10. #10
    Senior Member pyrogene's Avatar
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    @DnD

    Good point but just to point out, I did not explicitly state that option 2 would be the right choice mainly because as you rightly pointed out, I have not gone through multiple draw engines. Sac Lamb is as much a draw engine as Maj's ability. To be frank, going into that would require a case-by-case analysis w.r.t. your deck composition, opponent's deck, state of the field, hp i.e. impossible to write a general guide on. But good point nonetheless and I would add a footnote regarding that when I'm less sleepy.

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