Know Your Tempo: Part 1


In card games, drawing the right card at the right time can determine the outcome of the match. Still, if you play in a way that gives you the advantage over your opponent, the odds of winning the match increase exponentially.

Control the Board to Win

In Shadowverse, there are many types of lethal moves. Forestcraft has Rhinoceroach for devastating combo damage, Dragoncraft has Genesis Dragon for a surprise attack, and Runecraft has Dimension Shift to attack over multiple turns. Your end goal is to reduce the enemy leader’s defense to 0. However, you can’t rely on lethal moves alone to win.

You’ve got to whittle down the enemy leader’s defense before you finish them off with your ace. And don’t forget to keep your defense high so you don’t lose the match before you have a chance to use your lethal moves. You will need board control to effectively achieve these objectives.

In the previous article, we talked about gaining card advantage based on the number of cards in your hand, but this time I’d like to focus on the board.

The Importance of Board Control

Let’s briefly define what board control means. It refers to the board state where your followers outweigh enemy followers in numbers and/or in strength.

Unless followers have Storm, they cannot attack immediately after being played. They must survive one turn of the enemy’s attacks in order to strike on the following turn. Players that get their followers on the board first can decide which enemy followers to attack or ignore. If it seems best to take out an enemy follower, then go ahead and do so. If little threat is posed, focus on attacking the leader instead. Gaining control of the board, in other words, means gaining control of the match. Your opponent can try to turn the tables, but the player with board control will have more options and an easier time paving the way to victory.

Let’s imagine you have a Genesis Dragon in your hand. Be sure to clear off enemy followers to avoid taking unnecessary damage. Then, once you can bring the enemy leader’s defense down to 7 (or 9 with an evolution), you’re guaranteed victory!

Making the above happen requires having control of the board. Remember, board control is not only a necessary step towards winning but crucial for staying alive.


Having board control limits the opponent’s strategic options. In the screenshot, they have to deal with the Ancient Elf or face certain defeat.

How to Control the Board

Playing cards more efficiently than your opponent will give you board control. Every class gains control of the board in a different way, but in general, the easiest method is to use all of your play points each turn in order to develop your area. In Shadowverse, the amount of play points available per turn is fixed (except for Dragoncraft), so a good strategy is to use up all your play points when possible.

The following is an example of ideal board development.

Swordcraft (Going 1st)

Turn 1: Play Vanguard

Turn 2: Play Veteran Lancer

Turn 3: Play Fencer

Turn 4: Play Courageous Knight

Turn 5: Play Ninja Master, Evolve a follower

Turn 6: Play Sage Commander, Reinforce followers and Evolve


Depending on what the opponent does, you could decisively gain board control if they are careless on any turn (like skipping a turn for example).

In card games, using resources efficiently is often called seizing tempo or gaining a tempo advantage. Keeping tempo in mind throughout a match allows you to objectively determine whether you are in the lead or falling behind. The player that goes first has the chance to set the tempo and develop the board before the other player.

(Disclaimer: Tempo is a broad idea that players have different opinions about, but this is my definition of it.)

Every class has its own power plays and power cards. Dragoncraft players can use Dragon Oracle on turn 2, which may delay area development. However, this boosts the amount of play points that can be used from the next turn and on, allowing stronger cards to be played. This is another efficient and effective way of gaining tempo.



Stay ahead of your opponent by choosing cards and making plays to help you gain tempo!

(Continued in Part 2….)