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  1. #1
    Senior Member Narziss's Avatar
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    Lightbulb How To: Building a Competitive PVP Deck

    I had this information scattered around, and I decided to post it here, in one straightforward, condensed location. This is so that other players, especially new players, will be able to get into advanced, competitive game sooner and offer the rest of us a fun challenge! Here are things I think we should all keep in mind when building strategy into our deck and when tactically dealing with situations mid game:


    1. Card Advantage (Does the card trade 1-for-1 "okay" or 1-for-0 "bad" or 1-for-2 "excellent"; Sandra, Belladonna and Lightning Strike are two clear examples of awesome 1-for-2 trades. If you can get a card to count for two or more, then you are on the right track. Obviously, cards that let you draw give you a great advantage in that they slim down your deck and give an immediate card advantage, like Research or Blood Frenzy. However, be careful of playing cards like Bad Santa which actually can benefit your opponent more than it benefits you, since playing it when both players have empty hands actually nets you a -1 card advantage because you both gained three cards but you paid one. Unless Bazaar is part of your long term strategy, be careful in using it since it gives you both a -1 card advantage and a loss of tempo, since your opponent gets to take advantage of the extra draw before you).

    2. Tempo (Sometimes cards don't give you a card advantage but they give you some tempo, letting you outpace your opponent. Examples include "Here Be Monsters" which trades 1-for-1 but grants you a tempo advantage. You might think that Rain Delay falls into this category and that it makes up for the 1-for-0 card disadvantage by granting you tempo, but in reality, Rain Delay just slows you down since it takes time and resources to cast it which could have been instead allocated toward strengthening your defenses, instead of just stalling the game and putting yourself at a card disadvantage. Sandra Trueblade is the best example of tempo since it not only slows your opponent down but it leaves you with an ally to attack with; she is a Puwen Bloodhelm and a Here Be Monsters in one card at a lower resource cost).

    3. Board Presence (This is really important since attacking allies get first strike. Portal is a great card for facilitating Board Presence since you are able to kill enemy allies before they get a chance to attack you.)

    4. Resource Curve (This is basically a subfield of tempo, which basically reminds you to not have too many expensive cards or too many cheap cards but to balance your deck such that you are doing something appropriate to how much resource is available to you on each turn).

    5. Damage (So in the end you win the game by dishing out enough damage to kill your opponent; nevertheless, this is your long term goal. The more important goals, your short term goals, are card advantage, tempo, and board presence. In fact, don't think of damage as a separate long term goal, just think of these short term goals (tempo, card advantage, and board presence) as indirect but highly effective means of working toward this long term goal. In other words, starting a game off by hurling a Fireball at your opponent hero is usually a bad idea since, although you are dealing 4 damage, you are putting yourself at a -1 card advantage. Cards like Fire Snake that can't survive enough to trade one-for-one are really bad. On the other and, Belladonna is great because she gives you the card advantage to establish your presence in the long term, and she is an intimidating ally with 4 attack. Dropping a Sandra grants you both tempo and card advantage. Sandra gives you the tempo to dish out more damage before your opponent is able to set up defenses, since they are now down one resource, and she also gives you a card advantage, since Sandra is two cards in one).

    6. Minimum Deck Size (Lastly, every competitive player should really keep a no more than 30 card deck, since the more cards you add, the less of a chance you have of getting to your best cards. Getting to your best cards sooner aids in all of the above).


    A final note: The fascinating thing about Shadow Era is that you can make a deck that is strategically balanced in both card advantage and tempo and then you can tactically choose to play one or the other (and use the other's cards as your resources).
    Last edited by Narziss; 03-24-2011 at 12:13 PM.

  2. #2
    Member HomieK's Avatar
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    You play magic...
    I do too and i have picked up on this game very fast and have mostly figured our the format now.
    Everything you said is true

  3. #3
    DP Visionary BlanketEffect's Avatar
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    From one veteran MTG player to another, I agree with the entirety of the OP.
    -Doctor of Philosophy, A1 Alliance - Evolution in theory
    Original designer of the Serena Superdraw® archetype; connoisseur of all things un-meta


    Santa Bomb ©2011, Lamb Slam & Feedbomb ©2012 - All rights reserved

    Zaladar - ZTC 3.0: The Feedbomb Dynamo <-- An iconic deck in Shadow Era history - SE v1.5


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  4. #4
    Senior Member Thuull's Avatar
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    ...unless you break the paradigm that everyone else plays, effectively resetting the "rules" of competitive deck building.

  5. #5
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    Yes MtG players in da hizzy!! ROFL. Yes I am one more brother from another mother....that also played MtG. I also agree with all of your points. However I will say that this game differs SIGNIFICANTLY from Magic ( I am sure you already know this ). Therefore I will somewhat disagree with your point of deck size. Sure the leaner the deck the more consistent. However not all classe / faction combinations are the same. Some classes NEED more cards so that they can use all aspects of what the class is about. Perhaps mages (I will be biased here and say mostly Eladwen ) don't need more than 30-33 cards in their decks.
    Guild: Marksmen
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  6. #6
    Senior Member yeater42's Avatar
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    So would it be correct to say that with the exception of spark human decks have an advantage of board presence and tempo as of now? It seems that using a shadow deck puts you into a defensive position outright? (with the exception of elementals)

  7. #7
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    It all is stuff you learn playing Magic, my question is, knowing this stuff. Do you think that Shadow Era is going to become the sort of influential Monster that was it's predecessor? Do not get me wrong, I love Shadow Era, but do you miss the nuanced mechanics? Do you prefer this simpler approach, I'm only asking you guys since I'd imagine you all have way more ccgs under your belt than I ever will. I always felt the price barred me from playing magic as much as I'd have liked.

  8. #8
    DP Visionary BlanketEffect's Avatar
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    @ Sorter: Yes, deck size varies based on hero, for sure. My Banebow deck could NEVER work consistently without it being @ the 40 cards it is now (imo) - On the other hand, plenty of other decks/heroes can rip it up with 30 cards.

    @ Yeater: I would agree with you that Shadow is intrinsically more defensive than Human. This is painfully obvious to me every time I play Banebow against (fill in the blank Human-mage)

    @ Jovai: I would love to see SE get as complex as MTG; however, with it being a video game, the coding has to be able to roll with all the complexities of every card effect and how it will affect the game mechanics, from a programming perspective. MTG can get complex, because it's played in the real world, and players can figure out what's what, no matter what combination of cards comes along. The computer might not be able to do that as consistently, and you get bugs as a result. I would love it to be more complex, but I favor the stability of simple KISS - Keep it simple & stable, haha
    -Doctor of Philosophy, A1 Alliance - Evolution in theory
    Original designer of the Serena Superdraw® archetype; connoisseur of all things un-meta


    Santa Bomb ©2011, Lamb Slam & Feedbomb ©2012 - All rights reserved

    Zaladar - ZTC 3.0: The Feedbomb Dynamo <-- An iconic deck in Shadow Era history - SE v1.5


    Listen to past episodes of State of the Era: a dialogue on all things Shadow Era, brought to you by Alliance One


    We are all one mind, capable of all imagined, and all conceivable.

  9. #9
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    BlanketEffect MTGO Has been around for a long time, they have all the card rules in effect. I am not suggesting that it becomes ridiculously and needlessly complex, but it would be nice to run a bigger variety of decks by having more mechanics. I am not suggesting that it need get crazy, but more cards/mechanics = more variety.

    I mean even stuff like Transference, Mind Control, Eternal Renewal, Hunter Traps, Rabid Bite have "effects'' that end up being useful in a given situation, enough to warrant their use.

    I just want more useful utility cards.
    Last edited by Jovai; 03-24-2011 at 09:41 PM.

  10. #10
    DP Visionary BlanketEffect's Avatar
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    Yeah, even when MTG first came out, at least Alpha had the decency to have 300 cards in it. Not a paltry 115.

    SE has the potential to become huge, if it plays its cards right - pun both unintended and yet intentional!
    -Doctor of Philosophy, A1 Alliance - Evolution in theory
    Original designer of the Serena Superdraw® archetype; connoisseur of all things un-meta


    Santa Bomb ©2011, Lamb Slam & Feedbomb ©2012 - All rights reserved

    Zaladar - ZTC 3.0: The Feedbomb Dynamo <-- An iconic deck in Shadow Era history - SE v1.5


    Listen to past episodes of State of the Era: a dialogue on all things Shadow Era, brought to you by Alliance One


    We are all one mind, capable of all imagined, and all conceivable.

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