Shard of the Week: Beginner Tips, Part 2
In a previous article I covered some of the basic concepts of strategy. The article turned out exactly as I hoped and it was alot of fun to write. It’s been a little while now since that first article was released, but the messages within are still relevant. With some recent inspiration I decided to make an attempt at a ‘part 2’ to see what other wisdom I could share. With any luck, these concepts will stay relevant to Keyforge for a very long time. If you haven’t read part one you can check it out here: https://www.reapout.com/shard-of-the-week-helpful-tips-for-new-players/
Crafting Your Plays
While you might not be able to build your deck, there are definitely some great ways to build impressive turns. A method I use all the time is something I call “crafting”. Imagine that your deck was Brobnar, Dis, and Untamed. You have just played out the first few turns of the game using Brobnar almost exclusively. Your hand has 2 Brobnar cards, 2 Dis cards, and 2 Untamed- an even spread. Now lets assume that playing each house will yield the same Æmber, board benefits, ect.
Knowing only this limited information, which house do you play?
Although situations in the gameplay will affect this choice, the limited information here would tell us Brobnar is still the house to pick.
A simple example explains the method in a simple way: we’ve already played a bunch of Brobnar, so there’s less Brobnar in our deck. This means that if we can play our remaining 2 Brobnar cards from hand, we are more likely to draw Logos or Dis. We are only playing 2 cards this turn, but the following turn will likely be 3 or potentially 4 cards played. This sets forward a momentum of playing more and drawing more. It’s a small decision that often arises in the middle of a game, but can change all your future draws in a critical way. This gets overlooked far too often! So when deciding what house you should play, you will occasionally want to count the houses in your discard pile. It’s not the only reason to pick a house, but it comes up often enough to keep it in the back of your mind.
The Choices of Archiving
Usually, a deck will contain a card or two that archives a card from your hand. Knowing what to archive is made slightly easier by the previous example; perhaps archiving a solitary Brobnar card knowing you aren’t likely to draw more of that house for a few turns. Archiving can craft your draws in a way that is similar to the example above.
But there’s a little more depth than just that.
Learning your deck is the biggest part of that depth, and knowing what cards are the most critical to archive. Every deck has it’s weaknesses, so consider archiving cards that help pad out your deck’s trouble areas.
Prime candidates for archiving are typically the most situational ‘all-stars’ of the game. What good is a Miasma if it doesn’t prevent a key being forged? How about a Burn the Stockpile that doesn’t burn a stockpile? A Doorstep to Heaven that leads nowhere? Or a cowboy riding an ostrich?
Wait… that’s from the Rudolph claymation Christmas special.
Still a valid point… try to treat your archives as if it were the Island of Misfit Toys. Santa will deliver em’ someday, but not quite yet.
Identifying the Opponent’s Strategy
It never hurts to enter a game with a plan. After reviewing your opponent’s decklist, you should be able to reasonably summarize what the deck does.
Maybe it controls the board.
Maybe it generates Æmber really fast. Perhaps it’s focused on stealing.
Maybe it’s a combo deck.
Now you have an opportunity to set a plan into motion.
If they are rushing out large amounts of Æmber, then keep the opening hand with Æmber removal.
Big creatures? Keep Gateway to Dis and wipe the board.
Combo deck? Try and disrupt the pieces of that combo.
Once again, this falls into the category of “nobody can tell you how to play” and your solutions will likely be different to these scenarios as you learn your deck. However, the one undisputed fact is that learning how to play around the opponent’s strategy is a requirement. Sometimes, you’ll draw the perfect opening hand to push your own plan forward and end the game quickly, and that’s fantastic. You will likely see better results pushing your own strategy to the forefront of your games when you can…
But even the best decks in the world need to navigate around what their opponent is playing. Sometimes, knowing that they have two copies of Hunting Witch in their deck can be enough inspiration to mulligan your opening hand and try to get your Poison Wave or well-timed Punch to destroy their first turn momentum.
Have you Ever Discarded Lash of Broken Dreams?
Keyforge is full of strange plays. During a recent game, I actually chose to discard one of the best cards in my deck- the Lash. The scenario called for it to happen that way. We were each at 5 Æmber- and we each needed our final key.
Dis was the optimal house to play, but I remembered seeing Poltergeist on my opponent’s Archon card… and he hadn’t played it yet (Poltergeist allows a player to use any artifact in play as if it were theirs). With only a few cards in his deck, I knew he was likely about to use my own Lash against me and stop me from forging my third Key. Additionally, I knew I had a Miasma amongst the final few cards of my deck, so holding the Lash for later was dangerous too. I couldn’t remember the opponent’s entire decklist, but if he did have a way to stop my key it could be game over.
So I discard the Lash, play some other things to gain 2 Æmber, and end my turn.
I draw the Miasma. A sigh of relief- it’s a fight to the finish!
I’m at 7 Æmber now, threatening to forge.
As predicted, he had the Poltergeist, plus Charette. He reaped with two Dis creatures that turn, played the Poltergeist and the Charette to capture 3 of my Æmber. He got me off my Key and was threatening his last one.
Me: 4 Æmber. Opponent: 7 Æmber.
My turn. Miasma. Reap with my solitary Shadows creature. Check. Pass.
Nothing to stop my final Key.
This is just one of many examples of strange plays I’ve made. Things like this tend to happen more when you know what all the cards do. The two minute review time of your opponent’s archon card is the MOST IMPORTANT two minutes of the entire game.
I believe that in the years to come, knowing what every card does will become the definition of what brings a player to an expert level.
So play often, learn all the cards, and keep forging ahead!
Until next time-