“There’s a difference between the ideal and reality in card games.”
I still remember when I first heard these words as a kid. It didn’t matter how awesome I thought my deck was. It didn’t matter how perfect my hand was. Even when all the pieces fell into place, I wasn’t always guaranteed a victory.
That’s because there was another living, breathing opponent sitting across from me.
Let’s say you make a deck that takes ten turns to defeat your opponent. Meanwhile, your opponent uses a deck that only takes five. You’re probably not going to be pumping your fists in victory in this situation.
Or consider this. You’ve been attacking your opponent right from the start of the match but you can’t land the final blow. Obviously, your opponent isn’t just going to give up; they’re clawing for victory as well. The reality is matches won’t always play out as you hope. So is there a way to overcome this?
Jam Up Fast Opponents
There are quite a few ways to be aggressive from the outset and beat speedy opponents but the most effective strategy is to disrupt their timing and game plan. Take a look at this deck.
Sample Deck: Dragoncraft
Dragoncraft focuses on increasing your play points early to bring out stronger followers, but that won’t be enough to defeat an Aggro deck. Now here’s the downside: it takes a bit of time to build up those play points. Dragoncraft tends to work better in slower matches, which means you need to delay the opponent and pull them into a drawn-out match (often called “late game”). To do that, use low-cost followers like Ivory Dragon and minor damage spells like Blazing Breath.
Tinker with the speed of your deck but also include ways to disrupt your opponent. This idea applies to other classes, not just Dragoncraft. Destroy weaker followers that can be dangerous in numbers with spells like Dragon Wings and Conflagration. Also, try lining up powerful followers with Ward to guard yourself against followers with Storm.
Dealing with Slower Opponents
The next deck is designed to deal with opponents who play a slow-tempo game. In these matches, you should use many followers and amulets that are hard to get rid of. A useful strategy to use with this deck is to attack your opponent while efficiently supplementing your hand.
Sample Deck: Swordcraft
There are many Swordcraft cards that can summon multiple followers. Your opponent is going to need a lot of cards in order to deal with the deluge from your deck. Use followers with Storm, which can attack the leader on the same turn they’re played, and your opponent will find themselves backed into a corner.
Drawing more cards than your opponent is a big advantage since it gives you more options to work with. That’s what makes followers like Maid Leader a valuable addition to your deck.
This kind of strategy can apply to any class. Remember that using many followers and amulets that are difficult to deal with can defeat a defensive-minded opponent.
The Evolving Player
It’s impossible to tell if an opponent is using a fast, aggressive deck or a slow, defensive deck at first glance.
However, you can analyze the most commonly used decks or other popular decks and devise your own countermeasures. You’ll increase your understanding of the game and give yourself a framework for increasing your win percentage.
But again, keep in mind that your opponent is doing the same thing. There are players around the world that repeatedly go through the trial-and-error process in order to improve their chances of winning. The unbeatable deck that you create today will probably be solved the very next day by some player somewhere in the world. The metagame is always evolving and a player must evolve with it.
What if everyone was using fast decks yesterday, but no one is using them today? In that case, why not try reducing the number of cards for disrupting the opponent and increasing followers that are tough to remove?
If a lot of decks that are similar to your deck begin popping up, take the initiative and throw in some curve balls that your opponent won’t expect. You might see some surprising results.
There’s no perfect deck but that doesn’t mean you can underestimate your opponent. You’ll be able to take your game further if you keep that in mind. Lastly, it’s normal to only concentrate on one’s opponent, but don’t forget to continuously reevaluate your deck’s strengths and weaknesses. Keep at it each day and you’ll be a Shadowverse veteran in no time!
Update your deck often to stay ahead of the game. The more you know about your opponent, the higher the chance for victory!
In the next installment I’ll talk more about card advantage and how to use each turn more efficiently. Until next time, have fun out there!