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  1. #1
    DP Visionary Preybird's Avatar
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    2v2 and FFA – A guide to Multiplayer

    Intro

    Now that the Dark Prophecies physical cards are starting to hit people’s doorsteps and Wulven has promised to implement 2v2 and FFA (Free For All) game types in the digital client, it seems as good a time as any to look at those two game types and how to ensure you’re ready for them, because they are totally different to the 1v1 that we’re all used to.

    For those who aren’t aware, 2v2 is where there are four players separated into two teams, and FFA is a multiplayer game where it’s every man for themselves.

    Note: This article is based on my experiences with my physical play group and some of the things we’ve all noticed in our many games.

    Game Length

    Games run longer, as you would expect because there are more players. A standard 3 player FFA will last anywhere from 25-30 minutes and a 4 player FFA can go for 45-60 minutes. 2v2 times are very similar to a 3 player FFA (as you only have 2 opponents despite there being 4 players). This is an important factor when building decks, as your deck will generally need a heavier focus on the late game. Decks like Eladwen rush do lose a significant amount of power (particularly in FFA) because you aren’t rushing one player, you’re rushing two at the minimum.

    Threat Factor

    This is an interesting one, and can mean that even when the matchup is in your favour you’ll find yourself falling behind fast. Threat factor is basically something that is subconsciously assigned to individual players, a sliding scale of how powerful they are and how dangerous they are to you. It changes turn by turn but in the beginning it’s pretty much based on the matchup. The higher your threat factor the more likely you will be targeted by an opponent as opposed to the other players.

    Here’s an example. It’s a 3 player FFA, you’re using Zhanna and your opponents are Banebow and Serena. You might be thinking you’re in a good position, but in actual reality you’re most likely in trouble because you’re a real threat to both of your opponents, so it’s more likely they’ll aim to work together and remove you first. Your threat factor is far too high in this case, and it hurts you.

    Compare this to a matchup between Lance, Zaladar and Amber. Each of them is strong vs one opponent and weak vs the other. In this situation the threat factor of any player doesn’t rise too high immediately so you each tend to simply target whoever has an advantage at a particular moment in time. This makes it less likely someone will fall under the combined weight of both players.

    This also happens in 2v2, where both players instantly target one opponent because they are the more immediate threat. They may have higher life, or they may simply be a direct counter to your heroes.

    There are certain heroes that tend to generate high threat factor regardless of matchup as well. Moonstalker is one of the worst for this due to his ability to lock himself (and any friendly allies) out of a game. In addition some cards (like board wipes) tend to cause their respective heroes to generate high threat factors early on.

    This isn’t limited to the cards however; it also extends to the player. For example if I’m playing a 2v2 and my opponents are a new player and a multi tournament winner, who am I going to target first? I will naturally assign a higher threat factor to the more experienced player, unless there are extenuating circumstances (like the new player has a hero that is very strong vs my team).

    Board Control

    Board control is usually fleeting at best, particularly in the mid game. And as more players enter the equation it gets even harder to keep board, as your allies have to survive not one, but two or three turns before they see any use. Hasted allies are particularly useful here as they can get their shots in on your turn, as are weapons and abilities. Basically you are looking for ways to control the board without allies, because as soon you start to build a presence it will generally be knocked down. Eventually someone will lock down the board but by then it’s usually very late in the game and it’s only a couple of turns away from ending.

    Power Cards

    We all know about these for 1v1, and for the most part the strong cards in 1v1 are still strong in multiplayer. There are some real exceptions however, cards you really need to be aware of. Here are a few examples:

    • Rampage/Crimson Vest: These cards take on a whole new level of importance in multiplayer, FFA in particular. More opponents mean more opposing allies and you gain life of each and every one, even the ones you don’t kill. This can mean that you can go from being almost dead to being on full health and nigh invulnerable very quickly.

    • Ill Gotten Gains: This works like Rampage, except it gives you draw off any and all opposing allies and items. Basically in multiplayer the Rogue draw engine is far superior to any other, simply because of its wording.

    • Wrath of the Forest: This is no different to normal in FFA, but in 2v2 it gains significant power because it triggers off all friendly allies, not just the ones you control.

    • Board Wipes in general: All board wipes generate far more card advantage simply because you have more targets.


    There are stacks more, but I'll let you guys figure them out

    Mind Games

    You don’t see as much of this in 2v2 as your allies and enemies are very clear cut, but in FFA alliances shift constantly, and mind games and baiting are very prevalent. This can be as simple as using your DMT to ping a Jasmine down enough to give another of the players the ability to kill it off. This sort of thing happens constantly, and aside from using it to get assistance dealing with a stronger player it is a fantastic misdirection tool, baiting your opponent to wasting resources on others and giving you a chance to prepare your board and hand.

    Another very neat little trick is to leave dangerous items and allies on the table (unless you’re in real danger of losing) and giving your opponent a chance to deal with them first. I like to do this with items in particular as most decks have fewer answers for them than allies. This means when I drop my King’s Pride there’s no item destruction left to deal with it

    Of course all the usual tricks work as well, baiting your opponent into overextending into your Tidal Wave etc.

    Deckbuilding

    While standard decks will generally do well in multiplayer, to really maximise your chances you need to realise that decks will be different. In FFA it may be a case of having more crowd control than normal and building your deck more for control. For 2v2 however your deck should be built to interact with your partner’s in a positive fashion, which often can mean a complete rebuild. Examples of this would be using cards like King’s Pride to buff both yours and your partner’s allies, Wrath of the Forest to draw regardless of whose allies are killed, or Paladin of Unaxio or Legion United to reduce damage to both sets of allies.

    In 2v2 you will also want to think about the way you want the two decks to interact. Will one be the early game rush and the other a late game powerhouse? Or will the two decks ramp together, supplementing each other through all stages of the game? Or you could even go to extremes with one deck built solely to support the other, which will do the bulk of the work?

    Conclusion

    Hopefully this article has gotten you thinking about how to maximise your chances in multiplayer and highlighted some very important differences between it and the 1v1 matches we are all used to.
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  2. #2
    Senior Member Mightyoak713's Avatar
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    Always look forward to these. Very good read. I personally can't wait for this addition!
    Never let the Right Thing be a matter of Convenience

  3. #3
    Senior Member Jo3yb0i's Avatar
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    Nice read. But isn't this too soon? I mean clear rules need to be stated first and how various cards will interact. For example, protector and portal or what other cards there may be.
    "Try and try until you die...or succeed...whichever comes first"

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  4. #4
    DP Visionary Preybird's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jo3yb0i View Post
    Nice read. But isn't this too soon? I mean clear rules need to be stated first and how various cards will interact. For example, protector and portal or what other cards there may be.
    This is meant to be a more holistic look at it, as opposed to going into the nitty gritty of the rules. The cards I've used as examples have clear wording that allows them to work in multiplayer with little interpretation. Personally we (my group) has always treated Protector as only affecting the controller's allies, same with Portal.

    At the moment there is going to be some variation around the specifics between playgroups, but it's really not hard to adapt to suit 3 or 4 player games and 99% of the rules are exactly the same.

    Besides, multiplayer has been a common fixture amongst those who have played physical Shadow Era ever since CotC first arrived.
    Extra Tough Claws - Proud Member of ETC

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  5. #5
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    great article as always prey bird i owe you much

  6. #6
    Member Markmasters's Avatar
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    thank you for your post, i enjoyed reading it. I really look forward to more player games but i do think there will be a lot of same heroes in the games (like you said, some classes have the stronger cards in those situations). On the other hand, creativity chances increase a lot

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