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Dutchy

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  1. Dallarian liked a post in a topic by Dutchy in Updated: BattleForge PvP deck overview - by Hirooo & RadicalX 2.0   
    Next tournament I'll bust out my new Bandit brew. Everyone better prepare!
  2. Dutchy liked a post in a topic by Xanatoss in Community update #16 - December 18th   
    The sheer amount of quality content is jaw-dropping. You guys are just beyond epic.
  3. Dutchy liked a post in a topic by Volin in Community update #16 - December 18th   
    ❤️
  4. Dutchy liked a post in a topic by RadicalX in Updated: BattleForge PvP deck overview - by Hirooo & RadicalX 2.0   
    Updated Version: BattleForge PvP deck overview - by Hirooo & RadicalX
    Hello and welcome! Since this has been requested for a while we made an update for the PvP 1vs1 deck preview Hirooo and I ended up writing more than 5 years ago. The meta has changed since then, mostly due to recent balance changes and the introduction of brand new cards. We also expanded our matchup descriptions a little bit to provide some additional information and hopefully some useful tricks. With the official release of Skylords Reborn, free PvP decks were added to the game. They have replaced our previous "deck examples".
     
    Where to find the free PvP decks
    - Select the sword on the top right of the menu to select your 2 free PvP decks, see image below.
    - Free PvP decks are fully upgraded decks, that can only be used in PvP. 
    - You can select two new decks every day, if you want to switch things up.
    - You can freely swap around cards in those decks with cards in your collection to customize the decks to your liking. You can do this by clicking the tab in your inventory on the top left and changing General to Free PvP and vice-versa.



    What will you find in this PvP guide?
    Here is what each of the sections in this guide contains:
    • Basic deck descriptions where we point out major strengths and weaknesses and explain how to play and possibly adjust the presented free PvP decks.
    • Comprehensive matchup discussion, sorted by favorable, skill based and difficult matchups. 
    • Final ratings, including a power level for competitive gameplay as well as an assessment about new player experience.
     
    [ PURE FROST ]

    1. Deck description
    Pure Frost is a very defensive oriented faction, but can also be very dominant. War Eagles are one of the most powerful T2 units and with proper support they'll ensure strong air control for you next to every game. Your units are powerful and your scaling into late game is fantastic, but the deck often follows a slow playstyle and the reliance of War Eagle has been a clear weakness in the past, especially against enemies with access to mind control units. In T1 the lack of a swift unit can get exposed, therefore you may have a lot of trouble acquiring map control. This part has been improved due to the adjustments of various maps. The risk of playing Frost is not as big as it used to be and with the introduction of buffed White Rangers/Mountain Rowdy there are more options in deck building. The reward can be great too, since there are really easy matchups for you if you manage to survive the early stage of the game. Your T3 is quite powerful and often ends up synergizing well by splashing towards shadow. Options like Ashbone Pyro, Lost Grigori or the buffed Unstable Demon emerge from this.

    2. Matchup discussion
    So, how does this rating work? This rating will go from the easiest matchup (1) to the hardest matchup (9) for each faction. In addition to that, the matchups are divided in 3 categories: favourable, skill based and difficult matchups. The matchup description with details and a rough gameplan follows afterwards.
    Favorable matchups:
    (1) Pure Frost vs Pure Fire
    Used to be one of the most onesided matchups in BattleForge and still is clearly Frost favored in the T2 stage! Going even in the early game without taking to many risks is the way to go. Skyelf Templar has been nerfed, but still could help to assure air control against Skyfire Drakes. Alternatively a mix of White Rangers/Gravity Surge/Stormsinger can do the job almost as well. Once you managed to secure it War Eagle exterminates every single other Fire T2 unit. If you use Area Ice Shield, try to split your units afterwards to avoid huge negative trades into Global Warming, which has been a lot stronger nowadays. With a very controlled T2 you can dominate this matchup, but you shouldn't play too hesitant since Pure Fire has a shot to win the game in T3. Juggernaut is still one of the most powerful T3 units and hard to match tempo wise.
    Skill matchups:
    (2) Pure Frost vs Fire Nature
    The early T2 is slighty Fire Nature favored . Your opponent will win trades on an open field with Ghostspears/Skyfire + cc, but if you stay in a defensive position you shouldn't get in trouble at all, because Stormsinger is a really good all round counter and White Rangers can help you to hold your ground since their ability has been buffed a lot. From the mid T2 stage you start to outscale Fire Nature. War Eagles are a dominant force and with enough power to protect them you will consistently win trades and get to the power wells at some point of the game. Fire Nature has limited options to contest air units (Eruption, Gladiatrix, Skyfire Drake). War Eagle beats Gladiatrix, Area Iceshields can protect against burst combinations around Eruptions, so Skyfire will be the most dangerous unit to play around. Adding natural counters to them (Gravity Surge, Defenders, Skyelf Templar) will make your life a lot easier in this particular matchup.
    (3) Pure Frost vs Fire Frost
    First Frost has a limited amount of playable units and you have very good answers to the options they have. Frost Sorceress + Skyfire Drake is the most powerful synergy this deck has and it can pose a serious threat if you fall behind at any given point during T2. Mountaineer could help snowballing this for the Fire Frost player, which shouldn't be underestimated. But as long as you can match the early Shielddrakes with crowd control (ideally Gravity Surge or Stormsinger ability), it quickly leaves the Frost Sorceress unprotected. White Ranges can help to stabilize in defense and also deal with Rageclaws effectively. Once you established control in the game, you can use your War Eagles to build up a really powerful force, leading to solid chances during the T2 stage. On top of that your late game scaling in T3 is better as well, so once you are in control of the game, you probably won't lose it anymore.
    (4) Pure Frost vs Stonekin
    Aggressor can be quite annoying since he knocks back your War Eagle. Stormsinger & Spirit Hunters are really efficient against air units in the early T2 stage. Stonekin has what it takes to prevent you from executing successful attacks, especially because Stonekin has superior Crowd Control. Crystal Fiend can play a big role in this matchup and it is important to shut it down as quickly as possible (Gravity Surge may be very helpful here). The constant healing over time can start a snowball, that will be impossible to stop once you fall behind too far. With nerfs to Crystal Fiend and Stonetempest this matchup has been a little bit more even compared to the past. Keep an eye on how many different cards your enemy uses in the T1/T2 stage. Stonekin often has a weakness based on slot allocation and it is important to identify which stage is the weakest. Some players might skip T1, others might try play without a T3 to pressure you a lot in the mid game.
    (5) Pure Frost vs Pure Nature
    Your advantage lies within the T1. Frostmagespam is very powerful against pure Nature if you manage to get a critical amount of units (7+ Mages with Icebarrier & Homesoil). Try to stack your mages to avoid getting caught and isolated by ensaring roots and slowy push towards the enemies base. In the past there was not a lot nature could do to prevent this, but with recent buffs to Swiftclaw this dynamic changed. Nature does have the option to play a more aggressive early game nowadays while keeping Swiftclaws alive through Shaman support. In an early engagements you often lack burst damage, so the nature player might not lose a single unit with good micro as the Shamans can heal everything up for free. To prevent this snowball you want to use some Ice Guardians to buy time due to their strong health pool and M bonus damage. Use this time to transition into a large Frostmage army, because once there are many ranged units available (Dryads/Shamans) your melee units are prone to kiting or Ensnaring roots. Glyph of Frost can be a great tool to catch them the nature player out of guard. This matchup often ends in T1 as both faction play around a very snowball heavy T1, therefore this is described more in detail here. If your opponent reaches T2 you are at a slight disadvantage, because Frost has a lot of trouble against the pure Nature core cards (Deep One/Energy Parasite). On top of that your core unit (War Eagle) is also pretty inefficient because Parasite Swarm can just mind control it (Gravity Surge might be a useful pick here). These unit swaps are extremely power efficient due to the way void return works and need to be prevented at any cost. Gravity surge can help here to cancel the animation on a reliable base. Always zone Energy Parasites with your Stormsinger to avoid their ability to go off, this is your highest priority to prevent heavy snowballing by the nature player. T3 can be very uncomfortable to play as well since Parasite Swarm can also take over almost any T3 non-XL unit.
    (6) Pure Frost vs Shadow Frost
    There are no massive advantages for each faction. Shadow Frost has Darkelf Assasins & Stormsinger to remove your units, but on the other hand there is no Shadow Frost unit, that can put you under a lot of pressure, especially with the buffs to White Rangers, that can actively punish reckless ability activations by Darkelf Assassins. In the late T2 stage multiple War Eagles with appropriate support start to be a little bit better, but with Nightguard on the board this remains hard to pull off. Most games often reach the T3 stage. Souls has more agency in T1 due to Shadow mobility and often gets a little bit of extra pressure due to more aggressive spell synergies (Nasty/Life Weaving). This is why you should try to secure as much map control as possible in T1. On some maps your T3 spots may get denied, because Shadow T1 is faster than Frost and superior in dazed fights, which can lead to a big problem if those games reach that inevitable scaling war. Northstar can be a great extra tool to get the upper hand and deflect any attack the souls player throws at you. The bigger and more well rounded T3 setup often wins this matchup. Most of the time Shadow Frost has a slight edge in this matchup, but deck building does have a huge influence. Curse Well even after the nerfs still is an insanely powerful tool in this specific matchup and almost guarantees a T3 win.
    (7) Pure Frost vs Pure Shadow
    Pure Shadow can give you a lot of trouble for many reasons. The first one is in the early stage of the T2, where Nightguard destroys Shadowmages shut down any aggression. Against Frost the first spike is actually even more important. Shadowmages & Darkelf Assassins are really hard to remove and can delete single units pretty efficiently. Mountain Rowdy and White Rangers can be very helpful against heavy unit stacking due to their powerful abilities. They are more reliable tools nowadays, because Cold Snap or War Eagle screams can be dodged by Netherwarp, that also ensures very effective use of Nightguards. Once you win a few trades you can try to zone Nightguards (Stormsinger + Frostbite) to make room for your War Eagle later on, which effectively outtrades any Shadow unit. Since most Shadow units are pretty cheap it will get harder to split them up later into the game which makes your AoE tools more efficient. Just keep in mind to avoid unit stacking as well, because Aura of Corruption counters low mobility single area attacks. Split attacks are necessary, but can be hard to pull off due to limited mobility and therefore makes good use of Stormsinger very important. Harvester can be easily dealt with as long as you play either Lyrish Knight or Lightblade (purple). Just don't waste your Coldsnap too early since you want to use it after the Harvester reaches your power well. At this point he has to teleport away from you well/orb in order to dodge the Coldsnap. Freezing units with Liveweaving is extremely effective, because the two damage reductions don't stack. A nice micro trick in this matchup is to cancel out War Eagle screams in order to bait out a Nether Warp dodge attempts. The T3 stage is rather dangerous since Frost relies on unit spam to finish the game, which can be hard countered by Voidstorm.
    Difficult matchups:
    (8) Pure Frost vs Bandits
    While most fire splashes tend to struggle against the powerful air control of Pure Frost, Bandits does surprisingly well against the deck. The reason for this is pretty simple: Bandits has strong tools to remove War Eagles from the map entirely. Windhunter with its recent buffs is an excellent unit and combined with well splitted Darkelf Assassins pure Frost starts to struggle a little bit. Nightguard can also be very threatening to control the War Eagle. Your advantage lies within your reliable trading tools and strong defense. Stormsinger and White Rangers can assure a safe mid game to then win the game through good trades around your crowd control or T3 scaling. Mountain Rowdy (purple) is a great counter tool to large rallying banner attacks. Counterpressure into the Minefield/Sniper combo might be extremely difficult though. If you can slow down the game and play a very controlled match you will have the upper hand, but with recent changes, this matchup will slightly go in favour of Bandits now, since the deck can snowball out of control once it gets ahead at any given point of the game. With the new Bandits cards this might happen more often than not.
    (9) Pure Frost vs Shadow Nature
    As in the previous deck overview Shadow Nature continues to be the most difficult matchup for Pure Frost. Darkelf Assassins and Nightguard supported with cheap nature crowd control still are a dangerous snowball tool and can deal with nearly everything pure Frost has to offer. The Shadow Nature player can pretty much ensure to steal your War Eagle and take out the Nightguard safely afterwards. Shadow Nature has everything it takes to beat Pure Frost in the early T2 stage and therefore ends up as the hardest matchup. After its buffs the Mountain Rowdy (purple) can be a good tool to punish heavy Darkelf Assassin stacking, but on the other hand the addition of Amii Paladins also might give you some trouble too since they can block War Eagle screams and reflect damage to close units (this reflect damage circumvents shields!).
    3. Ratings
    Competitive Rating 
    Pros: 
    + Strong mid game trading tools
    + Versatile defensive options to enable late game scaling
    + Powerful T3 options
    + Powerful in close well scenarios
    Cons: 
    - Mobility issues leading to map dependencies
    - War Eagle is susceptible to Mind Control effects

    Especially on maps, where its T1 can't be pressured too much, pure Frost can be a powerful pick to secure important maps within a bo3/bo5 during a tournament. With its recent changes the deck is more versatile than before, but might also encounter a new powerful enemy if Bandits starts getting more popular after the buffs. Therefore the competitive rating does not change.
    Final comp. rating: 7/10
    New player experience:
    For new players Frost should a very solid choice now. It has great upsides due to the strong scaling and the amount of ways to abuse Frost T1 have been reduced, especially Uro should be much more intuitive to play now. With the buffs directed to some of the pure cards and a transition to a more diverse T1 I think pure Frost will be a more and more appealing deck overall in the future. That said right now there still are some downsides since playing without a swift unit in T1 can be a rough experience if you don't know how to approach the first 3-5 minutes of the game. Overall we think the NPE has been improved, but still isn't perfect.
    Final NPE rating: 7/10
     
     
    [ PURE FIRE ]


    1. Deck description
    If you want a deck with offensive strength, this deck provides it. Crazy dps units & spells and an immense siege potential with Firedancer. In addition to that pure Fire has one of the best T3 units also known as Juggernaut, which makes closing out games seem quite easy. Your downside is the lack of deck variety. The amount of viable cards is insanely limited and you end up with mostly M ground units in T2. This can be a problem when facing a powerful M counter like the War Eagle. The very clear deck structure allows you to focus on improving your set up and micro execution level especially in T2, without investing too much thoughts into optimized deck building or strategic matchup approaches since these aspects are strictly limited within pure Fire. In many matchups you attack with the same unit setup (2x Enforcer, 1x Fire Dancer, 1x Skyfire), which is simple but effective.

    2. Matchup discussion
    Favorable matchups:
    (1) Pure Fire vs pure Nature
    Nature tends to struggle against your powerful siege tools. The slightest amount of tempo in the early game usually tends to be enough to snowball the game leading to very one sided matches as long as you play accordingly. Nature has very few tools to remove Skyfire Drakes from even power leading to very consistent tools for controlling early trades. Ravage counters poison effects and Parasite Swarm can be dealt with by either playing 2 splitted Drakes (cc + mind control can be countered by hit + Eruption) or preemptive disenchant green. Once you win a trade you can try to push towards your opponent's power well immediately with a Rallying Banner set up. Since nature is very reliant on its crowd control abilities, undazed summonings are very hard to deal with for them. A short and aggressive T1 leading towards a low void T2 usually is the best way of controlling the game pace in the described manner. It is very important to avoid heavy scaling games, since nature can win at that point by snowballing with Deep One + Spirit Hunter setups that are fairly hard to counter once there is enough power for healspam support. If you can’t avoid this try reaching the T3 stage, because Juggernaut is completely unrivaled in this matchup.
    (2) Pure Fire vs Shadow Frost
    Pure Fire does very well into Shadow Frost and can be considered a soft counter especially after Mountaineer got nerfed. Enforcer is superior to Nightcrawler/Stormsinger and Firedancers are really hard to remove. This gives you a solid advantage in open field trading as well as siege scenarios. L units are the only ones, that are difficult do deal with. Mountaineer & Lost Reaver can apply a solid amount of pressure and also synergize well with Live Weaving. But with well timed disenchants and good uses of wildfire you can deflect these attacks without losing a powerwell to then start a powerful counterattack in return. At higher void levels you can start rolling over your opponent In T3 Juggernaut may be the best tool in the game to break through a Timeless One defense, so scaling is on your side as well.
    (3) Pure Fire vs Shadow Nature
    This matchup has been really easy to play in the past. Shadow nature relies on small and medium low hp ground units to trade and apply pressure. The powerful AoE spells like Lavafield & Wildfire are really efficient against that type of unit setup. On top of that Shadow Nature lacks the tools to stop the powerful Rallying Banner attacks from pure Fire. Cliffdancers often are impossible to deal with since the amii deck has no long range or air units to remove them. Up to this point there is been nothing to match this, but with the addition of Amii Paladins there is a new tool to pressure the fire player and directly counter the high AoE efficiency with their reflect ability. It is extremely important to play around the high ability cooldown to make sure your spells and trade attempts don't start to backfire. We will still list this matchup as fire favored for now, but it might change based on how well Amii Paladins do perform here since T3 scaling is pretty equal.
    Skill matchups:
    (4) Pure Fire vs Fire Nature
    A pretty specific matchup, but not too complicated to learn. At the early T2 stage Ghost Spears + Skyfire Drake is really hard to remove, because your own Skyfire Drakes get oinked and die without dealing damage at all. Ghost Spears are M Counters and stronger on a low void base than Scythe Fiends. Since Pure Fire has no S or L ground units in T2 it's really hard to play against these kind of attacks early on. Once the Fire Nature player gets ahead he might throw in a Vileblood to seal the deal. Later in the game you'll have an easier time, because you will regain air control on a higher void level, since Skyfire + Oink can be countered by an immediate double Eruption (155power vs 150power) now and you can attack with Ravaged Scythe Fiends and keep Ghostspears away from you with Wildfire support, which leaves you in the game leading position. Against Vilebloods try using Enforcer instead of Gladiatrix. Even though it seems like a damage loss, Enforcer can get close to the Vileblood in order to body block it (reduced movement speed), which grants you a more efficient wildfire.
    (5) Pure Fire vs Stonekin
    Stonekin has really strong and solid units to remove the pure Fire units in the early T2. Stoneshards are insanely strong against you and are pretty much the main reason why Stonekin is competitive against pure Fire. Enforcer clearly outtrades Stormsinger, therefore you often face a mix of Stoneshards and Spirit hunters in the first place. Stonetempest does knock back M Units which can be troublesome at some point, but you can remove him with Scythe Fiends + Skyfire + Wildfire (in case he gets permahealed) at the later gamestage. Even though Stoneshards do well in early trades, they don't scale well into the mid/late T2, where Wildfire gets better and better at dealing with them (higher unit counts -> harder to split them against AoE). Essentially you play to survive the early T2 since Stonekin can leverage power leads by using Stonetempest with its M knockback or Stormsinger + CC, even though those pieces don't work from an even position. It is up to you to reach this mid game, where pure Fire can take over and set up its powerful Rallying Banner attacks. If the game reaches T3 and your opponent tries to play Stonewarrios (blue) + Timeless One against your Juggernaut try to disenchant the Stonewarrior ability mid air. At this rate the ability cast goes through (enemy loses energy and ability goes on cooldown), but you don't receive any damage.
    (6) Pure Fire vs Bandits
    Bandits is a little bit tricky for you. With tremendous buffs to Windhunter, Skyfire loses a lot of value in this matchups. Gladiatrix will be an essential tool to burst down Windhunter and it is extremely important to disenchant any life weaving right from the start to prevent a snowball. Both decks are extremely tempo reliant, so there might be a reward for playing a risk aversive early game to prevent a T2 snowball. With Bandit Spearmen and Windhunter the odds of winning a trade in early T2 probably will be in favour of Bandits, but if you play without too many mistakes and the game goes to the later stages, it will be hard to stop pure Fire from burning down everything in their way. In T3 Juggernaut should be unstoppable as it outtrades the Soulhunter as well as the Bandits Lancers with ease.
    (7) Pure Fire vs pure Shadow
    Balanced, but uncomfortable matchup and really T1 reliant. It's Shadow favored on a low to mid elo range, but this drastically changes once both players execute their decks well. Pure Fire needs a tempo lead to start its huge snowball against pure Shadow. This is possible to achieve, but you often sit on a timer, because most of the time you can't kill a Harvester without losing at least one power well if not more and T3 is pretty hopeless either because Voidstorm can hard counter juggernaut and Netherwarp can stop stampede from destroying your base aswell. This leads to a position where you need to create a substantial advantage before the Shadow player gets to use his Harvester. At this rate the Shadow player often takes the backseat in the early game to wait for the XL unit, while attacks will be deflected with defenders advantage (the ability to summon undazed units next to your own power well). A strategy to break this stalling game is to set up an attack next to the enemies base without going all in immediately. You kinda dance around the enemies base with a Fire dancer and 1-2 Enforcers. At this rate the Shadow player often needs to respond with units to zone of the Firedancer to prevent his wells from taking damage. This has two positive side effects, where the enemy binds power, which delays the Harvester and by repeating this method both players will end up stacking units at some point, which is an ideal setup for really high lavafield value. This way you can set up an expensive unit composition consisting of 3-4 units, a rallying banner and lavafield support behind it without running into a Harvester immediately. At this point you can commit for an attack and with a well placed Lavafield you might be able to start a game winning snowball. A very useful micro trick here is using the Enforcers to dodge the Shadow Mage attacks. During the charge animation they can outrun a shot consistently (try practicing this one in the Forge). If you dodge the first shot, your charge goes through allowing the Enforcer to win the 1v1 against the shadow mage without taking any damage.
    Difficult matchups:
    (8) Pure Fire vs Pure Frost
    With nerfs to Skyelf Templar and buffs to Global Warming your odds of winning in T2 did increase compared to the past. On the other hand with map changes and Mortar Tower nerfs your odds of destroying Frost in T1 have been reduced. So overall this still is a very difficult matchup, but with less extreme outcomes throughout the different tech stages. Playing very defensively in T2 can be a good way to stall out the game. It allows you to split multiple Skyfire Drakes against crowd control and also adapt your unit composition based on what kind of units you face. Gladiatrix to counter Skyelf Templar, Skyfire Drake to apply pressure against War Eagle, Global Warming to remove Area Ice Shield and start summoning Enforcers & Scythe Fiends immediately after Eagles are down to deal with powerful ground units like Stormsinger or White Rangers. If you trade well, you might get a shot of transitioning into T3, where Juggernaut can take over and win the game for you.
    (9) Pure Fire vs Fire Frost
    Even though Mountaineer got nerfed, the combination of Mounty + Skyfire Drake + Frost Sorceress probably is the most powerful setup you can play against pure Fire. It converts leads really easily, grants enough room to split your units against a potential global warming counter & wins trades almost every time. Once you lose some of the open field trades, your power wells will start melting and leaves no room to breath. As the pure Fire player you want to play really defensive again to survive with the help of summoning undazed units right into the fight. Once you get tempo at the late T2 stage the pure Fire dps just gets to high and you'll roll over your opponent by killing the enemies skyfire drakes before they receive their shield. T3 also ends up being clearly in your favour. Fire Frost has no tools to fight against Juggernauts in T3, which can be very important on big maps, that allow uncontests tech ups. A nice little trick to ensure better positions in this matchup is to extend your T1 and take as many power wells as possible during this stage. The Fire Frost player does not have the best tools to force an early T2 (Shielded Drake and Mountaineer are very expensive) and even if he does you can play T1 vs T2 for quite some time to invest more power into your economy instead of getting that extra tech very early.
    3. Ratings
    Competitive Rating
    Pros:
    + Might be the best deck in the game at leveraging tempo leads
    + Enforcer is the best M/M unit in the game
    + Great ladder deck due to low slot demand 
    + Outscales any deck, that has no hard counter to Juggernaut
    Cons:
    - Limited air control options
    - Almost any unit in pure Fire is M sized 
    - Counters for L and especially XL units in T2 are limited
     
    Pure Fire does really well against against many decks, but with certain balance changes the snowball isn't as dominant as before (especially looter has been extremely valuable for pure Fire, because void level went up by default, which is the best thing for a deck with lots of frontloaded burst damage). While it remains as one of the best decks in classic ranked PvP, pure Fire is not as strong in tournament settings due very foreseeable deck structure, that is vulnerable to counter decks and units.
    Final comp. rating: 8/10
    New player experience:
    As a new player pure Fire can be good and bad to start with at the same time. It requires a really extended T1 to make scaling into higher void stages easier, it gets difficult to play in some various situations otherwise. This is not good when you just started playing PvP, on the other hand it can be a great learning experience for someone, who already has a grasp on the basics and wants to improve his micro gameplay. In addition to that pure Fire struggles against L- and XL-units, which often seem overpowered leading to frustration, when you lose against that particular playstyle. Therefore we don't recommend playing pure Fire to learn the basics of this game. That said Rallying Banner centric attacks often are simple to execute and if you reached a basic level you can pick up the deck and use it to improve your understanding of the game as well as training your micro capabilities.
    Final NPE rating: 6/10
     
    [ PURE NATURE ]


    1. Deck description
    Pure Nature is one of the most interesting decks in the game, but it's also one of the weaker ones. This might change within the future as it might receive some improvements in the near future. At least the difficult situation within the T1 has been resolved, where Phasetower and Mortar have been extremely dominant and ended up shutting down Nature in T1 90% of the time. You have much more room during the early game now. Your snowball potential can be really powerful with Deep One + Surge of Light and the huge powergains through power manipulation. On the other side the deck has some inherent weaknesses. You have no M/M counter in T2 which causes huge problems when defending against M-unit based siege attacks. Therefore you mostly try to avoid taking aggressive powerwells at many locations, so there aren't too many spots for your opponent to attack, while you keep yourself relevant through Energy Parasite pressure and maybe a Shrine of Memory. Pure Nature has many unique gameplay elements, a lot of room for skill expression (even though it's not exactly necessary to play the deck at a basic level) and there is quite some room in terms of creative deck building (tunnel deck, root deck etc.), which makes it very fun to play.

    2. Matchup discussion
    Easy matchups: (1) Pure Nature vs Fire Frost This matchup is solid for you to play. Pure Nature is a soft counter to Fire Frost, since it's able to trade well into its units during the early stage of the game and in addition to that Parasite Swarm is a huge threat for the buffed 100+ power cost units. Fire Frost needs to establish good trades by using Stormsinger and Icefang Raptor (which got better after it received a mobility buff), which is something you can shut down. Energy Parasite can always cause some trouble even though you probably won't get to use the ability too often against Skyfire Drakes, but you can slow down the tempo to safely scale up to the later game stage where Deep Ones are available, which guarantees successful trades.
    Skill matchups:
    (2) Pure Nature vs Pure Frost
    Your T2 matches really well against pure Frost. You can neutralize Frostmage spam by playing a very aggressive early game, which is snowballed by a Shaman spam, that always heals up the army for free if the enemy doesn't acquire enough units to burst them down during that healing ability downtime (5 seconds). This is a very micro intensive situation, but keep in mind that you might lose your advantage if you don't keep up the pressure as you mostly stack T1 M units in this matchup. If your enemy has the opportunity to take T2 without losing economy buildings, he will destroy your army with War Eagles. In T2 you really want to use Energy Parasites to force multiple Stormsinger spawns far away from your base. Use the terrain to get a mobility advantage and also synch up your EP movements with your attacks to either bind attention to your Parasite while trading or ensure a successful ability usage because your opponent gets mentally overstrained. Parasite Swarm can be a great tool to deal with War Eagles. Try to fly over cliffs as your units will be immune to any sorts of Gravity Surge at those areas.
    (3) Pure Nature vs Shadow Frost
    Pure Nature does pretty well against Shadow Frost in T2, but needs to close the game at this game stage. If you don't lose tempo during the T1 the odds should be in your favor generally speaking. Energy Parasites can generate a huge amount of pressure and if you micro them very well you often can outplay your opponent simply by controlling them really well. After acquiring a power lead you can use Burrowers to attack the enemies economy, while backing it up with Ghost Spears & Spirit Hunters for solid trading. If you think tempo is in your favour you can add Deep Ones to overwhelm the Shadow Frost player (The question here is: Can I deal with the opposing Nightguard effectively). It is an extremely fun and rewarding matchup to play. Keep in mind you immediately run out of steam once Surge of Light charges are gone. There are different gameplay options in T3, but I really prefer playing Mutating Maniac/Fathom Lord + Disenchant to deal with buffed Grigoris, which usually are the biggest threat considering you can just mind control M and L units to stabilize throughout the T3 stage.
    (4) Pure Nature vs Shadow Nature
    Shadow Nature used to be extremely good into pure Nature as it is the best deck to leverage small leads during the early game. At the time, where Phasetower has been very dominant, the Shadow Nature player had lots of opportunities to generate these small leads very consistently. But with the introduction of cheaper swift units as well as nerfs to Phasetower this setup has changed, therefore pure Nature got more room to play this particular matchup from now on. Shadow Nature still has many tools to apply pressure against pure nature (Motivated Burrowers, Darkelf Assassins/Amii Phantom + Crowd Control) and also hard counters Deep One with Nightguard + cc, but with Energy Parasites pressure you can stabilize more often than not and if you get to use their ability to get a power advantage, pure Nature can utilize the extra void to launch overwhelming attacks. If you are ahead on the power curve, Nightguard loses value at some point as the Shadow Nature player needs some extra power to kill her after the swap goes through to stabilize through having the unbound unit permanently. The T3 matchup can be pretty even, but this also depends on deck building. That said this matchup usually ends beforehand, because both factions do shine more during attacks than in defense.
    (5) Pure Nature vs Fire Nature
    Fire Nature can give you lots of trouble when being played in an aggressive manner. The combination of Skyfire Drakes for air control and Burrower for powerful siege are a deadly combo especially in early stages of the game, where you lack the tools to match the tempo with Deep Ones, who can perform quite well in this particular matchup. Energy Parasite usually needs to be used as a tempo tool early on to force Skyfire Drake summonings far away from the Battlefield as they are the only viable option to burst them before the ability goes through. This might create a time window for better trades or successful counter attacks. You really need to survive as well as you can until you have enough power to set up Deep One + Spirit Hunter and support them with your crowd control and healing spells. Gladiatrix is a decent, but not an amazing L-Counter, so Deep One + Surge of Light is pretty powerful against Fire Nature, especially since you can use the "gifted catch" ability to catch them off guard. But due to your heavy weakness in the early T2 this matchup is still slightly Fire Nature favored.
    (6) Pure Nature vs Pure Shadow
    The Nether Warp glitch fix changed a lot within this matchup. With the removal of permahealing mass Shadow Mages, chain cc + Deep One or Spirit Hunter poison can survive against pure Shadow now. Harvester remains powerful against Nature though, but you can defend against him either with Deep Ones, who pull him away from your orb/well or with cc chains around Rogan Kayle since his ability is not affected by cc-reductions (full duration oink -> rogan kayle ability -> full duration oink works). Deep Ones are really powerful in counterattacks since Knight of Chaos is just a mediocre L counter, but you need a tempo lead to do something since Nightguard exists and she synergizes really well with Nether Warp. Try to remove her in advance or ensure the reswap and you might be able to snowball. Energy Parasite needs to be used carefully since Shadow Mage does oneshot them, but on the other hand you can force these mage spawns far away from map relevant positions and abuse the fact, that they are much slower compared to the Energy Parasites. Voidstorm is really powerful, so T3 definitely goes in favor of pure Shadow (you might get to play a T3 with Abyssal Warder here as a niche soft counter to Voidstorm, but not sure if that's enough to turn the tables). Overall pure Nature performs better in this matchup than before, but still struggles when facing pure Shadow.
    Difficult matchups:
    (7) Pure Nature vs Stonekin
    Stonekin slowly outscales pure Nature during t2 as Stormsinger stacking is more effective compared to other Frost splash matchups since Stonekin has the nature cc sources to support them against Ghostspears, Spirit Hunters or Deep One. If your enemy has a Crystal Fiend on top of this, things can be really difficult. On top of this pure Nature can't deal very well with Burrower spam due to the lack of an M/M unit (Ghost Spears & Spirit Hunter can be perma cc'd). It all comes down to get some Energy parasite abilities off to then overwhelm your opponent with supported Deep Ones (use Parasite Swarm to attack Aggressor if possible). In T3 Mutating Maniac can be a game changer as the poison cloud is a lot cheaper than before, which allows you to counter heavy unit stacking more efficiently. We would still rate this matchup as stonekin favored, but within the bracket of skill matchups.
    (8) Pure Nature vs Pure Fire
    As already mentioned previously in the pure Fire section: Nature often ends up being helpless in the early and mid T2 stage against pure Fire. Your units don't have an outstanding damage output, therefore it takes too much time to remove the high dps pure Fire units. More often than not you end up losing your power well before removing all hostile units. At least Deep One can deal with cliffdancers to an extend due to his ability. If you manage to survive for long enough your late T2 scaling is superior since Deep One has a really high stat efficiency and it gets harder and harder to prevent the Parasite Swarms from reaching the skyfire drakes, but reaching that stage without losing out beforehand is quite a challenge. Splitted Skyfire Drakes will put up a very powerful defence against anything you may try to throw against Fire T2 and after one negative trades you usually get smashed.
    (9) Pure Nature vs Bandits
    With the introduction of new Cards and changes to Windhunter and Bandit Stalker, Bandits now has the upper hand against pure Nature. Rallying Banner attacks are pretty efficient and can overload your cc in no time. On the other hand Minefield can zone away counter attacks, that are based on melee units. On top of that the S-knockback really hurts your trading power considering both Ghostspears and Spirit Hunter suffer from that. Also Windhunters can be a dominant air unit to deal with, which gets really hard to remove upon being buffed. On top of that Bandit Stalker is a counter to beast units, which shuts down your best offensive tools with Deep One and Burrowers. Energy Parasites can generate tempo indeed, but one misstep and you they get blown up by a Bandit Sniper. All things considered, Bandits probably will be the hardest matchup to play against for pure Nature right now.
    3. Ratings
    Competitive Rating
    Pros:
    + Scales really well into later T2 stages 
    + Has unique tools to generate economic long term advantages
    + Powerful tools to shut down L sized ground units
    Cons:
    - Lack of reliable M counter sources when defending in T2
    - Weak defensive capabilities upon falling behind in tempo
    - Lack of burst damage tools

    Pure Nature does have some very clear weaknesses, that will be abused when facing very experienced players, but on the other hand the deck has a lot of tools for skill expression, that allow you to turn the table even in an unfavorable matchup. It has many unique abilities to build up ressource advantages (Energy Parasite, Parasite Swarm, Shrine of Memory) and a very interesting playstyle overall. Even after the T1 changes pure Nature probably remains as one of the weaker decks, but the potential of those pure cards really needs to be respected by any opponent. At least in 2v2 the deck has so much more value considering it gets way more difficult to stop the void manipulation set up in its tracks leading to a huge snowball potential.
    Final comp. rating: 4/10
    New player experience:
    Pure Nature may be a very interesting and micro intensive deck, but I think you should learn something else before getting into pure Nature. The T1 & T2 can be quite complex in many matchups, but the most important aspect here would be the fact, that it's fairly unique. Therefore it's very hard to translate the stuff you learn with Nature when you are playing different decks later on, which might be hindering when switching to other decks, especially with different T1s.
    Final NPE rating: 3/10
     
     
    [ SHADOW NATURE / AMII ]


    1. Deck description
    Shadow Nature is my personal favourite deck. It rewards proactive and aggressive gameplay during the early game and it's playstyle is really fast paced. You've got no L-unit to rely on in offense, neither do you have any building protects or high defensive capabilities. Your strength lies within strong split attacks and aggressive open field skirmishing by combining the powerful shadow splash units with the cheap nature crowd control. At later T2 stages the deck doesn't offer as much as most decks, but you can still rely on a very solid T3 to close out your games once you managed to get ahead.

    Alternative deck

    2. Matchup discussion
    [Reminder: Amii Paladins just got released, so some of these matchup impressions might change a little bit based on how well the unit performs - I will update the overview during the process]
    Favorable matchups
    (1) Shadow Nature vs Pure Frost
    Pure Frost is easy to deal with. As mentioned earlier in the Pure Frost section Darkelf Assassins & Nightguard with the superior nature cc are your key to success. Frost usually dominates due to its strong air control, but you can deal with it by taking the War Eagles away. At this point there isn't a lot left for pure Frost to be a serious threat. Use Amii Paladins to circumvent Area Ice Shield with their reflect damage if necessary.
    (2) Shadow Nature vs Shadow Frost
    This matchup is also Shadow Nature favored. You have the same core units (Nightcrawler/Darkelf Assassins/Amii Phantom (she is similar to Stormsinger)), but your cc support is better, therefore you have the distinctive advantage in open trades. Your early/mid T2 is way superior and you can set up constant pressure to a point where your opponent gets overwhelmed by your units and he loses the power to keep his powerwells up. Lost Reaver + Live Weaving can be a threat, so make sure to use Ensaring Roots + Darkelf Assassins to deal significant damage before he gets close to your power wells. In order to win you have to be proactive and micro your units well, but if you do so there is not a lot your opponent can do to stop you. But if you allow your opponent to scale and just wait for things to happen Shadow Frost will beat you and you'll end up in a T3 where the dynamic of the matchup changes dramatically.
    Skill matchups
    (3) Shadow Nature vs pure Nature
    In order to win this matchup is important to avoid falling behind at any given stage. If you play a very controlled early game you should be able to defend Energy Parasites with Amii Phantoms and shut down any attempt to attack with a Deep One by utilizing your Nightguard and prevent any reswaps by using your crowd control to catch her after the ability got used. Burrower + Motivate as well as Darkelf Assassins + cc can be very powerful tools to apply pressure against the nature player. Once you established a lead through trading you can try to switch into a very aggressive position and aim towards destroying the enemies power wells. Nature does not have access to instant damage spells so it might be easier to destroy the enemies power well instead of extending trades for too long. T3 is even, but rarely occurs in this matchup.
    (4) Shadow Nature vs Fire Frost
    Still a playable matchup for you, but a little bit harder as the previous ones. After recent buffs to Fire Frost the deck's power level increased in this matchup. With Icefang Raptor there is a new trading tool matching your early game pressure. Nevertheless, Shadow Nature has a pretty solid advantage in the early T2 stage due to cheap & strong units with cc support. Nightguard can deal with expensive shielded units, which are the signature combos for Fire Frost. If the game goes to a higher void level you also need to be aware of Lavafield trades as your units don't have a very large hp pool that can be attacked. At this point your opponent might stabilize and you probably require T3 to win the game then, which still isn't a guaranteed success considering you probably face a Timeless One T3 setup.
    (5) Shadow Nature vs Stonekin
    There was a period of time where Stonekin was litereally the hardest matchup for Shadow Nature out of all decks. But 2 things changed, that turned the outcome of this matchup. First of all Razorshard got nerfed. This card used to be able to deal with every S or M unit in the entire game and Shadow Nature doesn't have an L-Unit. The second important thing is the introduction of Amii-Phantom. In it's melee form she's a hard counter against many Stonekin units, because Amii-Phantom is litereally a spammable swift Mauler. In her ranged form she is pretty much as strong as Stormsinger (Amii Phantom has even slighty better stats, but inferior support spells in Shadow Nature). Games would end up in a Stormsinger vs Amii Phantom spam, which is kinda weird, but Frost Bite & Homesoil leave Stonekin with a slight advantage in this matchup.
    (6) Shadow Nature vs Pure Shadow
    Pure Shadow can be rough to play against. Almost any unit Shadow Nature plays loses really hard when they face Shadow Mages. As long as the Shadow Player doesn't run out of charges he will always defend himself against these attacks with great success. He won't be able to attack by himself in the early T2 stage, because Shadow Phoenix offers great AOE damage and Amii Phantom is very strong in this matchup, but honestly the Shadow player doesn't have to launch strong early attacks, because he can just win the game over superior scaling. With his abillity and proper buffs you can't remove Harvester with Aura of Corruption. While Darkelf Assassin spam + cc may be the best way to remove him, you need a big well distance in order to kill the Harvy in time. If you struggle to much with this defence Rogan Kayle is a good addition to create cc chains, that can deal with a Harvester, but apart from that Rogan is an entirely useless card, so decide wisely, if you really want to include him. From a leading position an Amii Phantom spam is able to stop a Shadowmagespam since you can you an oink to set up an engagement. With their melee mode they can disable ranged attacks, which perfectly works against Darkelf Assassins and Shadowmages. Nightcrawlers are a big threat, but for that you can switch some of your units into ranged mode and kite well due to the slow. Amii Paladins can be useful to trade into M oriented compositions as well, while also granting the setup for a strong nasty surprise. T3 is difficult due to Voidstorm/AoC/Netherwarp/ being way too good at shutting down any aggression Shadow Nature has to offer.
    (7) Shadow Nature vs Fire Nature
    Fire Nature has a certain advantage over Shadow Nature. The efficiency of Skyfire Drake & Scythe Fiends increases tremendously in a Fire Nature deck due to their strong synergy with nature support spells. Fire Nature often struggles against larger units, while Shadow Nature doesn't have any of them. Considering Fire Nature almost goes even in early T2 trades, you often don't get substantial advantages before Lavafield is available to shut down any big attack. Burrower + Skyfire attacks are really hard to defend at some point and therefore Fire Nature has an easier time in defense and also during an attack once there is a reasonable amount of power available. Generally speaking a very short and aggressive T1 should fit your needs in order to set up a more successful early T2 stage considering Fire Nature can't match the 50/60 power units on a very low void level. Due to the removal of Looter the void level isn't as inflated as before, so Shadow Nature does have a more realistic chance to utilize Darkelf Assassins during early trades. Your T3 is better as well, but this isn't a reliable win condition considering you wouldn't survive the mid game by just playing for the scaling game.
    Difficult matchups:
    (8) Shadow Nature vs Pure Fire
    As already mentioned this matchup favours pure Fire, but Amii Paladins can be a great help since Enforcer destroys Nightcrawler, Burrower & Amii Phantom in isolated trades. With Amii Paladins you have a much more suitable M counter available now, that matches the raw trading power and dps pure Fire has to offer. With a well timed ability a Wildfire can be even utilized to burn down the Fire player. But Amii Paladins are prone to kiting especially since their powerful ability does have a long cooldown. If you lose tempo at any given point, pure Fire can always use this to immediately deal damage to your economy by taking out 1 or even 2 power wells with Firedancers. All of your other units get countered by Enforcer & Wildfire, your cc is weak against Rallying banner attacks and Wildfire, even though it got nerfed against buildings, can constantly damage power wells during cc periods so there is no chance to repair them in time. This matchup is definitely not as hopeless as it used to be, but should remain in favor of pure Fire. If you manage to reach T3, Brannoc + Heal + Lifeweaving can match a Juggernaut in an open fight, this might help you a lot.
    (9) Shadow Nature vs Bandits
    This matchup changed drastically. With the introduction of Mine Field it got extremely hard to utilize the Darkelf Assassin spam to break through the enemies base, which has been the main tool to overwhelm Bandits in the past. Bandit Stalker outtrades Nightcrawler and demolishes Burrowers in no time and also transitions very well into counter attacks. Rallying Banner setups are powerful and require something like a big Shadow Phoenix + Amii Paladin Nasty to stop them. On top of that you always need to be aware of that Bandit Sniper luring in the corner to snipe one of your M units away. The new tools Bandits got with this patch are a serious threat you need to respect. Always try to split your units against the Mine Field and make use of your cc advantage in order to build leads by winning trades over and over. In T3 Bandit Lancer and Soulhunter are a serious threat and utilizing Cultist Masters to shut them down isn't the easiest task. If you manage to get ahead you can try to use Ashbone + Root to strike back.
    3. Ratings 
    Competitive Rating
    Pros:
    + One of the best decks at early open field trading 
    + Can snowball very quickly in most matchups 
    + Rewards proactive gameplay more than any other faction 
    Cons:
    - Vulnerable to AoE damage due to reliance on low hp units 
    - Gets outscaled by multiple decks
    - Lack of air units
     
    Shadow Nature does well in a lot of scenarios and if you play the deck well you can crush your opponents in the early stage, which really rewarding. It really benefits from aggressive T1 moves, that include cross map trading in order to delay hitting the higher power levels since the decks falls off at some point. With the new addition of Amii Paladins it is a very well rounded deck nowadays, so I would rate it as one of the stronger decks in the current meta, but it requires a very high execution level and reasonable amounts of experience.
    Final comp. rating: 7/10
    New player experience:
    Shadow Nature probably isn't the best deck to start with as it's one of the more complx decks. It requires you to know many concepts about void level, tempo, early game management and decision making. The micro load also can be extraordinary high considering you need to keep up the aggression during the entire game. On the other hand this might teach you how to play aggressive in the first place and investing a reasonable amount of time to learn the deck can be rewarding so if you really enjoy playing around aggressive unit trades you might have lots of fun with the Amii deck.
    Final NPE rating: 4/10
     
    [ FIRE NATURE / TWILIGHT ]


    1. Deck description
    Fire Nature is probably known as one of the most solid decks, because it has pretty much tools for everything. You have a solid counter for all unit types and sizes, instant damage spells to remove spam based attacks, crowd control to ensure good trades, strong siege units to launch attacks and control at both ground and air department. The big variety within its T2 is Fire Natures biggest strength and makes it one of the most well rounded decks overall. That said, Fire Nature might struggle at other Tech levels due to slot issues. In order to play towards its T2 strengths most players prefer cutting slots in T1 or T3 which might hurt the deck.

    Alternative deck

    2. Matchup discussion
    Favorable matchups:
    (1) Fire Nature vs Pure Shadow
    A lot of your strengths comes with Ghostspears / Skyfiredrake + Lavafield / cc support. Pure Shadow tends to struggle against that, especially in the mid T2 stage, because all these low hp units are kinda vulnerable to Lavafield, especially Shadowmage. You need to be aware of flanking units to prevent a nasty suprise against your Skyfire Drake. Your defense against Harvester is also pretty nice due to the highly efficient Root & Disenchant combo. Just leave some Skyfiredrakes and a Gladiatrix behind that and they will take the Harvester down before he reaches your power well/orb. To stay relevant during mid and late T2 you can add Vileblood into your deck to increase the amount of pressure you can apply to the enemies power wells. While this matchup is listed as one of the easier ones keep in mind, that at a really high level of play the odds of this matchup start turning around towards the pure Shadow player, because Netherwarp really has an insane amount of playmaking potential, that is hard to deal with.
    Skill matchups:
    (2) Fire Nature vs Pure Nature
    Your early T2 is superior due to the lack of an M/M counter in the pure Nature deck. This is something you can use to dictate the pace of the game right from the start with Burrower pressure. All you need to take care about are the Energy Parasites. Defending them during the early game is your top priority, because it probably is the only way you might fall behind as you didn't fall behind in T1. Air Control usually pays off, because Skyfire Drake trades well into most units. With the use of crowd control you can easily prevent Parasite Swarms from controlling your units and Ravage should easily counter any attempts of killing important units through poison effects.
    (3) Fire Nature vs Shadow
    Nature In this matchup your defensive capabilities are straight up better, which leaves you in a very comfortable position. You have good ways to counter Nightcrawlers, Darkelfassassins & Burrower and in case your opponent overcommits at some point you can launch insanely powerful counterattacks, that are way harder to defend for the Shadow Nature player. Fire Nature is just a little bit more well rounded in T2 and can attack the fact, that Shadow Nature has no access to large- or air units, which increases the efficiency of Lavafield. Amii Paladins need to be respected here and might be a setup for some strong damage combos (Nasty Surprise), but apart from that your crowd control can keep them in check.
    (4) Fire Nature vs Fire Frost
    A very interesting matchup. With the addition of Icefang Raptor into the Fire Frost deck, Ghostspear spam has been a little bit less efficient compared to the past when it comes down to the early trading patterns within this matchup. To some extend the matchup feels similar to the pure Fire one playstyle wise. Ghostspears + Skyfire Drake can be used to trade very efficiently early, but at the later stages of the game you might start to struggle due to the value of Frost Sorceress in multi unit compositions. Shielded Skyfire Drakes are hard to remove and even Mountaineer despite its nerf is a serious threat. Therefore you need to keep up the pressure and try to attack the enemies units constantly before the Frost Sorceress ends up generating too much value.
    (5) Fire Nature vs Pure Fire
    You shine during the early T2 stage with Ghostspears + Sykfiredrake, while your opponent will outscale you in late T2, where Scythefiends + Ravage + Wildfire take over and delete your power wells one by one. Since I've described that matchup already in the Pure Fire section here is a short, but important tip for your decision making: Since Pure Fire scales with high void power you should actually try to play your T1 accordingly to avoid this game stage. In other words: Play a short, but aggressive T1. Try to get a small advantage, but then don't hesitate and make your fast transition into T2, ideally on 3-4 wells. Your position here is favorable already and if you've got a small lead in T1 you can use this to snowball and finish the game. If you still struggle in this matchup consider the addition of Vileblood in your deck, because pure Fire struggles against L units, especially the ones with high dps against building. This also might force them to bind power into units like Firesworn or Gladiatrix, which are not as threatening as the Scythe Fiends, that also trade well into your Ghost Spears.
    (6) Fire Nature vs Pure Frost
    Pure Frost can give you a lot of trouble. You need to utilize your crowd control advantage at the early T2 stage. If your opponent is too greedy and goes aggressive in the early T2 stage you can outtrade him with Skyfire + Oink. Add Ghostspears into the mix and as long as you split them well against Frostmage knockback you can start to attack and apply a lot of pressure. You need to get a solid advantage in the early T2, otherwise you'll end up getting outscaled. It can be difficult to apply meaningful pressure against White Rangers though. Once you fall behind Defenders can be painful to deal with. If they get mixed up with War Eagle and Area Ice Shield support you have no way to clear these efficienctly. 820hp + 660hp with 60% damage reduction are more effective hp (3700) than a Juggernaut (3550) can offer. If your War Eagle and your Defenders are well splitted your powerwell will get attacked constantly and you have no opportunity to repair it. They also are a tool, that can attack Skyfire Drakes and War Eagle deals with every type of M unit in your deck. Ghostspears don't have enough dps to deal meaningful damage in time and also have to deal with White Rangers. Since your T3 is also not strong enough to crack the pure Frost defense you need to win the game in the early stage or you'll have a problematic matchup, but with the nerfs to Skyelf Templar your odds probably increased by a reasonable amount.
    (7) Fire Nature vs Bandits
    Bandits used to struggle a lot against Burrower with cc support. Now there are Bandit Stalker, Bandit Sniper & Bandit Minefield you need to play around leading to a much harder competition. Usually this leads to the position, where you need to get ahead in the first place before being able to put the enemies powerwell in trouble. Getting this lead isn't too easy, Bandit Stalker outtrades Scythe Fiends and Burrower, Darkelf Assassins shut down any S unit, Windhunter are much stronger than Skyfire Drake & Bandit Sniper will always be a threat. So it's up to your abilities at using crowd control in order to protect your units from running into their hard counters and ultimately achieving good trades and snowball from that point. Gladiatrix can be useful to deal with Windhunter and then stay around to disenchant any Liveweaving.
    (8) Fire Nature vs Shadow Frost
    I think this is one of the most delicate matchups in the game. You have the upper hand in later stages of T2 due to the efficiency of Burrower + Skyfire Drakes during attacks, but once the game reaches T3 Shadow Frost can turn the tides and straight up outscale you with its Timeless One T3 based set up. This really puts a very high emphasis on the early stage of the game, because a small lead can determine whether the Shadow Frost player is able to hit T3 safely or not. Utilizing your crowd control to win open field trades is very important. When attacking, always consider positioning your units in a way so Coldsnap or Nasty Surprise don’t hit your entire army. Once you reach the high void T2 stage, lots of counter unit setups can be cleared with double Lava Field, because Shadow Frost doesn’t have access to air units. This can be a very efficient way to convert your high power income into pressure at later stages of the game. Shadow Frost probably does have the easier win condition, but once your micro is on point and you get to generate early tempo leads consistently you will be able to produce very good results in this particular matchup. 
    Difficult matchups:
    (9) Fire Nature vs Stonekin
    Stonekin can be extremely uncomfortable to play against as there is little to no room to attack it. Stormsinger + Spirithunter + nature cc + building protects is such a brutal combo, that easily wins trades in almost any situation. Stonekin has very powerful tools to increase leads from T1, but there is quite some variance in which of them they end up using. Mauler can help against Stonetempest or Mountaineer to an extend, but you might also face a Crystal Fiend which really needs to be removed by Skyfire Drake + Oink/Eruption. Otherwise it will just generate infinite value by applying the healing auras over and over. Burrowers are another option of attacking powerwells, so your economy rarely ends up being safe. On the other hand it is really difficult for you to strike back. A well executed Burrower spam usually is your best option and really benefits from either a power lead (so your opponent invests all his power into building protects and cc without getting his units onto the field) or a really high power level so you can attack multiple areas at once. Another way of attacking with a power lead would be the Vileblood + Ravage because stonekin lacks burst damage, which makes this type of attack really durable, especially when Aggressor is not available.
    3. Ratings
    Competitive ranking
    Pros:
    + Fairly well balanced deck across most matchups
    + Has appropriate counter options for every unit type
    + Huge mid game spike, where you can accelerate the game with powerful siege setups (Burrower/Vileblood)
    Cons:
    - Very slot intensive deck restricting deck building freedom
    - Falls off during the T3 stage
    Overall Fire Nature is a really good deck for most matchups and situations, because you have a well rounded T2 to deal with many different scenarios and you have a realistic chance at winning in almost any matchup. But for the most competitive moments it often lacks the extra punch to consistently win its matchups. Jack of all trades master of none.
    Final comp. rating: 7/10
    New player experience:
    If you are a new player I would suggest you to play this deck. It teaches you the basics of the game, is quite fun to play and due to its versatility you can learn when to use which cards and also understand how to utilize the counter system to achieve better trades. Fire T1 is really solid and its basics aren't really hard to understand. On top of that you can invest a little bit more slots into T1 when you are starting out, so you don't struggle to much with the early game. The only small downside would be the fact that defending can be a little bit harder to play compared to Frost splashes, but your great, cheap cc makes up for that a little bit. I can really recommend you to at least try playing the deck for a while if you are interested at starting with PvP.
    NPE rating: 10/10
     
    [ PURE SHADOW ]


    1. Deck description
    Pure Shadow is one of the more unique decks, because it has Shadowmage & Harvester in T2, who are vastly different from classic T2 units. This gives pure Shadow big powerspikes, that can then be utilized to win a lot of games. You lack hard-cc in this deck, but you have the highest dps/power unit & the only XL unit in the entire T2 as a trade off. What's more important for the experienced players: Pure Shadow scales extremely well with execution level. It is a deck with a lot of playmaking potential, especially around combinations with Nether Warp. One of the weaknesses in pure Shadow is the T2 charge limitation, since Shadow Mage got only 12 of them. For this reason you shouldn't waste them and also choose your T3 timing wisely. In T3 you have multiple powerful options, which will depend on the element of your T3 orb. Staying pure shadow gives you Voidstorm, a massive global removal tool. Satanael has also been buffed to a very powerful state for more offensive set ups. However, splashing towards Frost in T3 can set up things like Lost Grigori taunt + Nether Warp combos, which can be deadly as well.

    2. Matchup discussion
    Easy matchups
    (Even though we haven't listed any matchups into the easy tier for pure Shadow, it usually scales extremely well with faction mastery. Therefore most matchups end up being listed a little bit lower here, considering we lean more towards the performance level that excludes the extreme elo ranges)
    Skill matchups
    (1) Pure Shadow vs Pure Nature
    Shadowmage + Netherwarp got fixed, so your auto winning tool against pure Nature is gone, making this matchup more even than before. In order to get ahead you need to trade well with Shadowmage and Darkelf Assassins while defending against Energy Parasites. Shadow Mages do one shot them, but Energy Parasite can be very mobile so you usually just get to zone them of dangerous areas. Even so, once you get ahead you can either set up a large attack and try to finish off a power well with Corpse Explosion or set up a Harvester, who also is really good to snowball a lead and close out the game. But keep in mind that cc chains with Rogan exist and therefore it is necessary to be ahead to make a Harvester work. Aggressive T2s might be an option to create power leads, since Shadowmage usually destroys any kind of nature T1 army setup. Nightguard always absorbs the pressure that would've been applied by Deep One otherwise. If you want to play it save you can always try to scale towards T3 and win this matchup there, considering pure Shadow has really powerful options at this stage.
    (2) Pure Shadow vs Fire Frost
    Fire Frost shouldn't be the biggest threat to you. Shield Drakes and Icefang Raptors are okay to play against and as long as you respect the potential of a well placed Lavafield, Fire Frost shouldn't really give you too much trouble. Harvester can be really effective, but this depends on deck building and requires your opponent to play without Lightblade/Lyrish Knight. However, most of the time you will face combinations around Stormsinger, Gladiatrix & Skyfire Drake, which won't stop the Harvester unless it gets cc'd. Coldsnap has a cast animation though which is more than enough time to dodge it with a Nether Warp to get your Harvester in a position to destroy powerwells, maybe even orbs. But in many games you will end up in a T3 position, where you can utilize Cultist Master for pressure and combine the dead Nightcrawlers with either Shadow Insect for strong follow up trades or Corpse Explosion to blow up the economy buildings, even against buildings protects. Works especially well against big clusters.
    (3) Pure Shadow vs Pure Frost
    Shadowmages + splitted Darkelf Assassins are the key to success in this matchup, as long as you can keep War Eagles away by threatening them with a Nightguard. Stay away from Harvester since Lyrish Knight and Lightblade (purple) can be really hard to deal with and utilize Corpse Explosion to ensure succesful attacks. Keep in mind: If you stack a lot of units you need to respect the power of Frosts AoE tools like Coldsnap, War Eagle or the ability from Mountain Rowdy. On smaller maps you can also try to aim for a win at T3, because Cultist Masters are really good at applying pressure across the entire map, with voidstorm functioning as a global reset after investing too much power into attacking the enemies power wells while ignoring the trading units.
    (4) Pure Shadow vs Shadow Nature
    Shadowmage works as an all round counter in this matchup and as long as you don't waste your charges you should be able to control your opponent at most stages of the game. Harvester is pretty hard to defend for Shadow Nature, especially at areas where you can avoid Darkelf Assassin + Root defenses and straight up go for the power wells. Just make sure you don't spawn your Harvester too aggressive; an instant Root + Aura of Corruption will make your Harvester disappear. Even with lifeweaving your opponent just needs to invest 175 power into the aura and the Harvester dies immediately before you get the chance to even use Nether Warp because Ensnaring Roots will keep the Harvester in place. Avoid giving away too much tempo, because Amii Paladins & Amii Phantom can be a serious threat, and with Shadow Phoenix + cc there might be a dangerous snowball tool as well. It is also okay to play the game a little bit slow and scale up, considering Voidstorm does so much for you even after its cooldown nerf.
    (5) Pure Shadow vs Pure Fire
    As we mentioned in the Pure Fire section, this matchup is all about timings. As long as you hit your right timings to attack there is not a lot of counterplay left for your opponent. Pure Fire can't deal with shadow mages in the early T2, pure Shadow can't deal with pure Fire attacks at the mid T2 stage and pure Fire is doomed against Harvester. Since I've already talked about the T2 in the pure Fire section I want to add something about the T3. If the game reaches the T3 stage, pure Shadow is in a favourable position beacuse nether Warp can entirely counter a Juggernaut stampede. In addition to that, you have a lot of counter play against the Fire units, whether you go for pure Shadow to play Voidstorm or play Frost in T3 and use Grigori who can disenchant the Juggernaut. Still this matchup is overall 50/50, because it doesn't reach the T3 stage most of the time.
    (6) Pure Shadow vs Bandits
    Mine Field can be an annoying tool for you to deal with, since it helps defending against Harvester while also threatening all your other units considering they lack hp and mobility to some extend. Therefore you will need to use your nether warp to dodge it as well as you can. The AoE setup from Bandits can be really dangerous. Sunderer + Lifeweaving can be a troublesome combo you need to respect, especially if your enemy still has a Sunderer remaining from the T1 stage. Trading wise you will face many Dark Elf Assassins, maybe even some Bandit Spearmen and the Bandit Stalker. You will mostly end up trading evenly during the T2 stage, but in T3 this changes since Voidstorm deletes Soulhunter and Cultist Master should be a good tool to stop the Bandit Lancer. At this stage you can abuse the fact that Bandits lacks hard cc and has a little bit more restrictions in its slot distribution, allowing you to come out on top.
    (7) Pure Shadow vs Shadow Frost
    Shadow Frost is difficult to play against. Darkelf Assassins & Stormsinger with Frostbite support are hard to deal with, even when you play Shadowmages. Pure Shadow gets into a good spot when you get a temporary advantage at some point and translate this into an immediate Harvester or even double Harvester attack. Since you can dodge Coldsnap with Nether Warp there is no time left for the Shadow Frost player to recover. At that point you can close out the game. You often want to set up a close base scenario against Shadow Frost to reduce the impact of your mobility disadvantage and maximize your combat advantage (Shadowmage vs Stormsinger in T2, Cultist Master vs Silverwind Lancers in T3). If you get to trade in a very aggressive manner it often leads to many corpses lying on the ground, leading to a massive Corpse Explosion set up (try to set this up around well clusters to maximize the AoE value and overload building protects). In T3 it is somewhat similar, you want to play around short distances to maximize your Cultist Master efficiency, while the Souls player will try to outrun you with Silverwind Lancers and attack with Tremors if they find a good opportunity. Try to overload the protects with burst damage if you can. If you manage to take down a power well it leaves you in a great spot, because Voidstorm always allows you to reset the tempo.
    Difficult matchups
    (8) Pure Shadow vs Fire Nature
    Skyfire Drake in combination with cc is difficult to deal with as a pure Shadow player. There is quite a large amount of micro stuff you can do around your Nether Warp to make advantageous trades, like warping out of Lavafield or using Nether Warp on your Harvester to dodge Ensnaring Roots by prediction (if this works you literally win the game off that). Splitting your units against cc & Lavafield is also really important. As long as your Shadowmages are well positioned you can take down the Skyfire Drakes (a motivated Mage oneshots a Skyfire Drake). Defensive Nightguard uses vs 100+ power units can always help to lift the pressure and upon getting a tempo lead you can transition towards very explosive attacks, since Corpse Explosion often leads to many opportunities to finish off a damaged power well. If the match goes to T3 you should be in full control regardless of your T3 color choice (Shadow or Frost). When your enemy uses Vulcan + CC, Lost Grigori + Netherwarp can shut down any attempts of kiting (just activate the ability and port the vulcans towards your Grigori). If you decide to go for triple Shadow, Voidstorm obviously works too and after buffs to Satanael, he might be a very strong alternative to out sustain the opposing trading tools on the long run (ability + bloodhealing is really powerful). This matchup is quite challenging for you to play, but you've still got a very good chance to win it as long as your micro is on point.
    (9) Pure Shadow vs Stonekin
    The difficulty in this matchup is pretty much card choice depended. Stone Tempest & especially Razorshard can give your Shadowmages trouble. Even though Razorshard got nerfed again since the first deck overview was released (splash bug removed), people always find a way to use them in order to dominate this matchup. The high mobility, extra range & M-knockback are a real threat for your slow Shadowmages, especially in the later stages of T2. Teleport and knockback immunity also grant even more power against Netherwarp. Numbers quickly add up and you need to be really good at trading to win this matchup, considering Stonekin has much more breathing room in T1 compared to the past. Removing big Stonekin attacks can be pretty annoying too, because often you can't just use Aura of Corruption against it. The Stonekin player might just use the Aura for himself as protection to build up offensive Cannon towers (Corpse Explosion can be useful as a counter tool there). Forcing a close well scenario in the early stages of T2 should be your best move because it makes Shadowmages much more efficient, similar to the Lost Souls matchup. It is easier to split them during an attack and you can always retreat with low hp units to heal them up quickly. On top of this you can utilize Darkelf Assassins and Nightcrawlers with their active damage abilities in a much more aggressive manner, considering you can react quicker once CC sources are on cooldown since you don't have to deal with the summoning sickness in these scenarios. Since Lightblade (purple) is a more and more established tool in Stonekin due to the increased popularity of pure Shadow, Harvester is a lot less reliable than it used to be in this matchup. Therefore you want to slow down the tempo and look for an economy game leading to a T3 win, since Voidstorm can be a hard counter for T2 only decks (Stonekin often cuts T3 to play around more powerful T2 set ups).
    3. Ratings 
    Competitive rating 
    Pros: 
    + Great burst damage tools to break through most defensive set ups
    + Various tools for playmaking and skill expression
    + Very linear scaling (never falls off once you are ahead on the power curve) 
    + Flexible deck building options to ease the pressure in counter matchups
    Cons:
    - Hardly recovers from early game deficits 
    - Vulnerable to AoE damage due to small hp pool on trading units 
    - Lack of air units 

    In a world where we play perfect BattleForge, pure Shadow probably would be the best deck you can play. The deck has so many tools to turn any matchup in this game. Netherwarp and Shadowmage do require a lot of work to be utilized to their fullest potential, but they really get crazy good once a player managed to figure it out. You have a high variety of tools to pressure opponents at every stage and also adapt to all different kinds of attacks on even power, which makes the deck very well rounded as long as you don't fall behind in tempo early on. But putting this idealistic view of performing perfectly aside, there are some other contenders at a similar power level, that are easier to execute. This still ends up being relevant at the highest gameplay level, so we moved away from a perfect competitive rating.
    Final comp. Rating: 9/10
    New player experience:
    Even though it sounds counterintuitive to play pure Shadow based on the competitive rating, it actually is a solid good deck to start with. The basics of your T2 aren't that hard to learn even though there is so much room to improve from that point on. Shadowmage often secures good trades due to the crazy damage and Harvester is really powerful in lower elo games, because most people are not responding appropriately. In the meantime it's pretty easy for you to execute this basic XL attack. You will end up winning a lot of games in the lower ranks just because of that, which should grant a rewarding experience from the start. The lack of hard cc and missing building protects are the big downside, which can be difficult to play around when lacking experience, but this shouldn't keep you from playing the faction.
    NPE rating: 7/10
     
     
    [ FIRE SHADOW / BANDITS ]


    1. Deck description
    Reminder: Bandits received a huge overhaul with this patch. This list is based on a <50 game sample size from playing it on the test server, so there might be some inaccuracies regarding the approaches for matchups. Either way this should give you a good overall impression of Bandits state in the game, as the deck rose up from being arguably the worst deck in the game to a fairly well rounded top tier deck. It took several buffs and 2 new cards to get to this point, but it really paid off. Bandits still has its explosiveness during attacks, but can now also utilize a variety of tools to win open field trades as well as recovering from defensive positions. With a stronger set of core cards, there is more room for different deckbuilding options so you have more freedom to individualize the deck based on your personal playstyle.

    Alternative deck

    2. Matchup discussion
    Favorable matchups:
    (1) Bandits vs pure Nature
    You have so many tools to deal with pure Nature by now. Minefield can straight up zone units to prevent them from destroying your powerwells, Banditstalker trades really well into Burrowers and Deep One, Bandit Sniper can zone and delete Energy Parasites. The nature basic trading combo of Ghostspears + Spirithunters will struggle against Minefield + Darkelf Assasins. Windhunter can be a useful tool to transition from defense by using them against Deep One to then control the air and add disenchant options throughout the game. Once you get ahead Rallying banner attacks can help you to overload crowd control, which ensures successful attacks and destroyed powerwells. As long as you play well around Energy Parasites, you should be able to control the pace of the game. On top of that your T3 is not vulnerable to Parasite Swarm, because Bandit Lancers are too cheap to control and Soulhunter is immune to it anyways.
    (2) Bandits vs Fire Frost
    With the buffs to Windhunter you have much more air control in this matchup than before to compete with shielded Skyfire drakes. Nightguard is another option to deal with them, but no longer mandatory. With Bandit Stalker + Darkelf Assassins you can trade really well into everything except for Stormsinger and Lavafield, which probably will be your biggest threat. Minefield can zone the Stormsingers aways and isolated targets can be sniped by the Bandit Sniper. Once you get a lead you should be able to snowball it quickly by setting up a Rallying banner and spam Darkelf Asssassins with instant ability activation. Overall a really good matchup for you since your T3 also should perform quite well with Bandit Lancer & Soulhunter.
    (3) Bandits vs pure Frost
    Despite the addition of White Rangers to the pure Frost arsenal, this matchup should be Bandits favored. Windhunter, Darkelf Assassins & Nightguard will be a nightmare for any War Eagle attempt. Pure Frost might have strong defensive capabilities with Stormsinger and White Rangers, but if you get a good trade you can use this position to snowball with air superiority and extra pressure from Minefield, which also works very well during attacks. Adding Bandit Spearmen to the attack might be a good choice considering they counter Stormsingers. You want to accelerate the game as much as you can. Once you set up an offensive position, put down that Rallying Banner, chase down the War Eagles and White Ranges and make sure your opponent has no breathing room until the end. If the game goes to T3, it should be fine due to the buffs to Bandit Lancer. Pure Frost usually lacks a good M counter in T3, which is ideal for you.
    (4) Bandits vs Shadow Nature
    Darkelf Assassins with superior cc support are quite hard to deal with and combined with burrowers you used to lack good answers. Minefield and Bandit Stalker did change this dynamic. Amii Paladins can be dangerous if you don't respect their active ability as your Minefield might backfire, so use your Darkelfs to kite them and bait out the ability as soon as possible to put them onto the long cooldown timer. Currently listing this matchup as slightly Bandits favored, but there is a good chance it might be more of a skill matchup dependent on how well Shadow Nature can trade during the early T2 stage.
    Skill matchups:
    (5) Bandits vs pure Fire
    With Windhunter you can straight up reduce the zoning presence of Skyfire Drakes. As a result you will face a very ground unit oriented unit composition most of the time, which is an ideal set up for your AoE damage spells like Lavafield or Mine field. With Bandit Spearmen as a main trading unit you have a very strong tool to match the Enforcer and with Windhunter in the mix you also keep yourself safe from getting burned down by a really efficient Wildfire. Using Ravage and Liveweaving well to support the units against the high fire dps is crucial. Even though you have the upper hand in T2, you should try to finish the game there considering Juggernaut will win the fight on T3 for sure.
    (6) Bandits vs Fire Nature
    Your advantage lies within the cheaper units. You can quickly break the map wide open by attacking at many locations at once to reduce the impact of cc. On top of this Fire Nature can't respond with ideal counter units at every spot due to the increased bound power per unit. Especially your Bandit Stalker can secure great trades and generate a tempo lead due to his beast bonus damage against Scythe Fiends and Ghost spears. Windhunter should dominate Skyfire Drake, threaten Vileblood attempts and even with Curse of Oink you should be able to put up enough pressure to force the fire Nature player to use the Gladiatrix, which can be one shotted by your Bandit Sniper. Overall you have the tools to win the matchup, but it's up to you to create and use the tempo window and avoid running into a very controlled single area trade field, which Fire Nature loves to play around. In T3 Soulhunter will be a force to deal with, but Giant Slayers + nature cc can also apply respectable pressure onto your power wells and orbs since you have no access to hard cc or building protection spells.
    (7) Bandits vs Shadow Frost
    You do have a lot of tools to neutralize Lost Souls in T2. Bandit Sniper can deal with Stormsinger heavy compositions, Bandit Stalker outtrades Nightcrawler and the Mine Field performs well against heavy Darkelf Assassin compositions. Attacking souls in T2 can be tough on the other hand even though Bandits is really good at it in most matchups. Therefore T3 has a higher priority here. After its hp and charge buffs Bandit Lancer will be a key factor to win this matchup, because even though Shadow Frost has an amazing T3, the faction lacks a proper M counter. Therefore you can put up insane amounts of pressure in T3 by spamming them at multiple locations. Use their ability to block Timeless One from activating their ability and with Motivate you should have the chance of dealing significant damage to buildings. Don't let the void level rise too high, you really need to put up the pressure to win and try to use Soulhunter as a last resort to finish the game. If the souls player stabilizes from that one, you probably lost.
    (8) Bandits vs pure Shadow
    Trading into pure Shadow can be tough, Minefield can help to force the us of Nether Warp and put pure Shadows most powerful spell on cooldown. Bandit Minefield can also be used as a tool to defend your power wells against the Harvester attempt, so the spell has great value here to buy time. You trading units are solid and Lavafield is a another precious AoE spell, that pure Shadow often struggles against since their smaller units usually lack high hp or reliable sustain options. Attacking against well splitted Shadow Mages can be difficult and pure Shadow has many ways to force them into good trading positions across the game, so this probably ends up being one of the more difficult matchups. T3 can be very dangerous though, because voidstorm just oneshots the Soulhunter and Cultistmaster can be really hard to deal with without the access to cc.
    Difficult matchups:
    (9) Bandits vs Stonekin
    In T2 you will have problems to stand chance. Stormsinger stacking + Heal/CC can be really difficult set up to deal within the early game and with Burrower/Mountaineer stonekin has some really brutal options to snowball from winning initial trades. Utilizing your Bandit Sniper & Minefield well will be a key factor to survive this matchup to zone the enemy will getting efficient trades with the snipe ability. Once you get ahead you might be able to set up pressure by Rallying attacks, because Stonekin lacks AoE burst damage options to counter heavy single area attacks as long as you split a little bit against crowd control. That said getting into this position probably requires a T1 win or at least a severe mistake from your enemy. Your best chance probably lies within T3, because Soulhunter with double buff and disenchant might be a tool to put some serious pressure onto stonekin, but getting to this point will again be a tough task.
    3. Ratings
    Competitive Rating 
    Pros: 
    + High variety of tools in T2 to respond to different unit types and attack formations
    + Snowballs very quickly due to high dps units and Rallying Banner synergies
    + Powerful air control 
    + Strong core cards in T2 enabling flexibility in deck buildings
    Cons: 
    - Lack of hard cc making tempo deficits hard to deal with 
    - 3 might fall off in some matchups

    I think it might be too early to consider Bandits an S-Tier deck across the board, because it requires intelligent unit choices as well as good micro to maximize its potential, but with the addition of the new Minefield spell and Bandit Sniper the deck is much more forgiving than it used to be. The deck has a variety of gameplay options and very explosive tools to snowball from a leading position. In the right hands this deck can be deadly and we would rate it amongst the best deck in the game for now.
    Final comp. Rating: 9/10
    New player experience:
    I am glad to say that Bandits also can be picked by newer players nowadays. I think it can be a very appealing deck due to the different options you can play around. It is viable with both T1 starters and has many rewarding tools in T2. Deck building flexibility also increased vastly due to more powerful core cards. But I would still argue there are easier decks to learn at the start of the game. Without the ability to use hard cc and due to the absence of building protects defending well requires solid execution, especially when you aren't utilizing Mine Field very well. So expect to invest a reasonable amount of time to get used to the deck, but I can assure you it pays off by now.
    NPE rating: 6/10
     
    [ FIRE FROST ]


    1. Deck description
    Fire Frost despite having no own faction cards so far is a very unique deck, that lives around its interesting synergy between Frost Sorceress and Skyfire Drake. It has received some buffs towards its current playstyle, which can be really rewarding once you get to play around the bigger shield setups, but with additional improvements to other deck still seems to be on the weaker end as it lacks a little bit of siege potential in T2. Warlock purple received a change to its buff mechanic and now increases damage against Frozen targets, which ends up being a good scaling tool, which synergizes well up to the T3 stage, where Timeless One might take over. Overall Fire Frost is a very unique deck and also has some specific matchups, where it performs exceptionally well making it worth to play.

    Alternative deck

    2. Matchup discussion
    Easy matchups:
    (1) Fire Frost vs pure Fire
    A really valuable strength in this deck is its excellent matchup against pure Fire. Shielded Skyfiredrake gives you superior air control and with mountaineer you have a really strong mid T2 power spike, while pure Fire doesn't have the units to react properly. Stormsinger adds some safety to the matchup, because you can kite Enforcer in the early T2. It is very important to stay proactive within the early and mid T2 to avoid getting outscaled, because once pure Fire starts turning the pressure onto you it can be rough. You might get forced to trade before your units can receive their shield, so you either lose your units to the opposing Skyfire or you Frost Sorceress gets overrun by Enforcers.
    Skillmatchups:
    (2) Fire Frost vs Fire Nature
    Mountaineer nerfs did reduce your potential to put pressure on your opponent in this matchup. On the other hand buffs to Frost Sorceress and Icefang Raptor do help with early trading to transition into an attack with supported Mountaineer & Skyfire Drakes. Stormsinger helps you to defend against Burrowers. Be careful with trading in the early T2 though, if you lose out on tempo you might get into a very dangerous situation, where either Ghostspears + Skyfire or Vileblood can snowball the game. Things also might get a little bit annoying, when Fire Nature gets to attack with a lot of units at multiple positions, because your Frost units aren't high dps tools and the Skyfire Drake has a damage loss against splitted squad units, so you can't deal full damage to Ghostspears or Scythe fiends, especially when they are in combat against one of your powerwells. So try to stay passive up to the point, where some units are on the board so you can create value by supporting the right ones with your Frost Sorceress and shield your army to the point where it can't be stopped anymore. In T3 Mutating Maniac might be difficult to deal with, so try to win this one in T2 unless you play around the Warlock + Timeless One Synergy, which should ensure you a good chance to win this matchup in the late game.
    (3) Fire Frost vs Shadow Nature
    With the buff to Icefang Raptor as a viable and somewhat cheap counter to Darkelf Assassins you are less vulnerable to Shadow Natures early game now, because Nightguard + Darkelf Assassin spam is a little bit less oppressive compared to the times where Scythe Fiends were the go to S counter in Fire Frost. But still with these highly efficient low cost units/spells Shadow Nature gives you a hard time at the early T2 stage, so you are not allowed to fall behind early. Stormsinger isn't enough to compensate from a power deficit. On top of that Amii Paladins need to be respected, because their reflect damage circumvents shields and they can be used for powerful combinations around nasty surprise in this matchup as they can conserve their hp due to the ability. At later stages of the T2 Lavafield should help to ease the pressure though. Timeless one can stabilize the game once it reaches T3, if you play for double Fire T3 (which is a viable choice because it requires less deck slots) you might get to struggle against Ashbone/Cultistmaster + Heal & cc.
    (4) Fire Frost vs Pure Frost
    This matchup got easier than before, but pure Frost needs to be respected because of the powerful presence its air control, but with the buffs to Frost Sorceress aswell you can match this with your shielded Skyfiredrakes. Try to utilize cliffs during combat if possible to avoid being targeted by attempts of Gravity Surge (spell or Stormsinger ability). Rageclaws are less of an option nowadays, because pure Frost has been buffed in regards to the S counter department, but your Shield support also has been strengthened so there is no need to be afraid when trading with your basic trading tools. Once you get to zone or kill the enemies War Eagles your Stormsingers start to shine during trades, which ideally leads to a snowball. If you win trades, but struggle finishing off your opponent consider adding mountaineer to the unit mix to add some extra pressure. Getting into T3 against pure Frost can be really difficult, but in case you play the Warlock+Timeless One you might have a realistic chance now even though the odds should be in favor of the Frost player due to slot availability and the option to splash towards shadow for Ashbone, buffed Unstable Demon or Lost Grigori.
    (5) Fire Frost vs Pure Shadow
    Shield Drakes with Lavafield support are pretty decent against pure Shadow, but with severe scaling issues and lacking siege damage it can be rough to apply enough pressure to destroy powerwells before you end up getting outscaled by a superior T3. Harvester can be a serious threat to deal with, so make sure you don't waste your Colsnap. Wait until the Harvester gets close to your powerwell so he has to warp away from it if he wants to dodge your Coldsnap. Defending Harvester successfully with Skyfiredrakes bears the advantage of having offensive units left, that might allow you to go for a powerful counterattack. With Lavafield and Frost Sorceress you can put up some solid support for them to break the enemies defense and turn this matchup. In T3 your chances decrease due to voidstorm and the high variety of Siege options pure Shadow has. Cultist Master + Corpse Explosion is very dangerous because it might overload your building protects.
    Difficult matchups:
    (6) Fire Frost vs Shadow
    Frost Shadow Frost usually doesn't feel that hard to play against during T2, but its scaling is vastly superior leading to a very uncomfortable position, where you end up being forced to attack your opponent at some point even without an advantage. With nerfs to Mountaineer you need to rely more on shield synergies to get ahead. These ones have been buffed reasonably on the other hand, but the constant micro load around keeping shield up while allocating units towards an ideal position is a tough task. Stormsinger & Darkelfassassins are really strong in a defensive position, because they defend well against the Skyfire drake. Icefang Raptor can help here to deal with Darkelf Assassins, but ulitmately you still need to come out on top in T2 to win this one. In T3 Souls usually has the better card synergies with lower tier cards (Nasty Surprise + Silverwind Lancers; Lost Grigori + Lifeweaving) and more slot freedom to build a very powerful late game setup. Warlock can help to counteract to a certain degree, but isn't enough to turn the current matchup dynamic (might change in the future though).
    (7) Fire Frost vs Bandits
    Used to be the easiest matchup for Fire Frost, now should be really hard to deal with. Stormsinger + Lavafield is your best chance to keep up trading wise, apart from that it will be really difficult to turn the pressure onto the Bandits player. You need to play a really controlled mid game to not fall behind at any given point because recovering from Rallying Banner attacks can be really hard to deal with. T3 scaling usually isn't very promising because Bandit Lancers are very good at overall trading, but if you manage to stabilize at T3, you might have a reasonable chance to strike back. Will update this particular section once we played the matchup a little bit more often.
    (8) Fire Frost vs Pure Nature
    Pure Nature remains annoying to deal with. You can stop early Burrower attacks, but applying pressure isn't too easy either. Your expensive units are vulnerable to Parasite swarm and a combination out of Ghostspears and Spirit Hunters will deal with the rest. You usually have less pressure compared to other Firesplashes when it comes down to pressure the nature player before he starts outscaling you. You can deal well with Energy Parasites, because with Stormsinger and Skyfiredrake you do have 2 viable zoning tools, but trading well into Deep Ones at the later stages of T2 is really problematic. Shrine of Memory can make this slow early game even worse for you. Therefore it can be beneficial to counter this one directly by using suppression against it. This disables the Shrine of Memory effect and definitely is worth the investment, because the nature player did invest the 100 bound power to set it up in the first place. Usually not viable for ranked play due to the deck slot investment, but really powerful in this particular case. T3 can be annoying to play against, because Parasite Swarm can take care of your L units (you might consider adding Gravity Surge as an extra tool to prevent this, but deck slot issues arise again) and Mutating Maniac/Fathom Lord are powerful answers to any XL attempt.
    (9) Fire Frost vs Stonekin
    With the increased power of Nature and Frost T1 you reach the T2 stage from an advantageous position less often. This drastically changes the dynamic of this matchup and without the extra tempo from T1 it turned out to be very stonekin favored. Stormsinger supported by Stoneshards and Spirit Hunters are really hard to deal with and acquired power leads might be snowballed by Burrowers, Mountaineer or Stonetempest. After receiving a cost increase Stonetempest should be easier to deal with by now, but the variety of tools stonekin has in order to generate advantages is really wide. They can play for early T2 pressure, but also outscale you with a large T3. This solely depends on the deck choice your opponent made, because stonekin suffers from heavy slot issues. Therefore identifying the deck structure during the match is a key factor to determine your win condition, because you either might deal with additional trading and siege tools in T2 or a large T3 built around Timeless One and Stone Warrior. A T2 heavy stonekin deck can be beaten by a passive scaling approach, where you use defenders advantage to trade better until you can get to T3. If the T3 choice was made you should be better off by playing aggressive during the T2. Making the right call here is tough and it still doesn't guarantee success, but once you get to know your opponent you might be able to guess what he wants to do dependent on his playstyle.
     
    3. Ratings
    Competitive Rating 
    Pros:
    + Very powerful air control
    + Fire cards synergize very well with Frost Sorceress 
    + very flexible mid game
    Cons:
    - Weak siege options
    - Lack of unique faction cards
    - Deck slot issues
    - Micro reliant across almost all gamestages
     
    Despite its buffs Fire Frost didn't seem to be able to jump into the area of top tier decks. With buffs to Frost Sorceress & Icefang Raptor T2 trading options have been strengthened, the rework to Warlock (blue) enables more scaling oriented options. It definitely has an impact on matchup playability, but it seems like this wasn't enough so far. Especially with Nature and Frost starters rising after their T1s got buffed, Fire Frost got some additional contenders with formidable power in this particular match.
    Final Comp. Rating: 5/10
    New player experience:
    As a new player Fire Frost might not be ideal for you. Fire T1 is a great way to start with, but the Frost Sorceress micromanagement can be really challenging and it requires a certain amount of games played to identify how to utilize your card synergies to its fullest potential. Without that knowledge it might get difficult to snowball leads with the faction, because your Siege unit options are rather limited. If you are interested at learning Fire Frost I would recommend learning a deck, that uses many similar tools, beforehand (i.e. Fire Nature).
    NPE rating: 4/10
     
    [ NATURE FROST / STONEKIN ]


    1. Deck description
    Stonekin probably has been the biggest winner out of all balancing changes, since Frost and Nature T1 are both playable by now. Playstyle wise you have great units and spells to win trades and accumulate small advantages by building up large and powerful armies to the point where you can overwhelm your opponent entirely. It arguably has the most powerful T2 in the game and the combination of crowd control and building protects leaves you with insanely strong defensive options. You only lack burst damage to quickly break free from large attacks when being down in tempo, but that should be the only true weakness I can think off. It also might be an interesting deck for people, that like to experiment with deckbuilding, because stonekin probably has the most amount of viable cards you can play and can play anything from aggressive snowball T2 based strategies up to late T3 scaling variants.

    Alternative deck

    2. Matchup discussion
    Easy matchups:
    (1) Stonekin vs Fire Frost
    This is a great matchup for Stonekin after your T1 options got buffed to secure an even early game. With Stoneshards and Spirithunters can support your Stormsingers in this matchup to outtrade the Fire Frost player in any situation. You need to respect shielded Scythe Fiends and Mountaineer, but the latter one has been nerfed as a trading tool making Lightblade (purple) a great counter for these expensive shielded units. Stoneshards usually trade well into any ground unit Fire Frost can play. Your setup to find good open field trades is excellent and once you find a few good trades you can start leveraging your tempo leads by including L units into your composition. Stonetempest got nerfed, but still is a great option in this matchup due to its powerful M-knockback. Due to the stonekin passive + surge of Light synergy Tempest can also outlast extended trades against shielded Skyfire Drakes to overwhelm your opponent on the long run. Mountaineer would be another great tool in multiunit compositions becuase his shield makes him very durable against Lavafield and the potential Coldsnap. Overall Stonetempest helps overwhelming your opponent by outrading him at his own base while mountaineer brings the true building dps onto the field. Usually one of these two options is sufficient to snowball. If you want to play an even more oppressive unit composition Crystal Fiend can be a great addition as a 4th or 5th unit during an attack. Once your enemy lacks the units to burst your army down, the Crystal Fiend healing will generate great value over time. If you don't like to play aggressive in T2 you can also cut these slots and play for T3, because Stonekin should have the tools to win this one as well by playing around Stonetempest + Timeless One synergies.
    (2) Stonekin vs pure Nature
    Stormsinger stacking is a great tool to deal with nature, because the unit is immune to most of its crowd control sources. Nature often has to rely on Deep One (+ability) to get any good trades done, which rarely ends up being power efficient if you kite well. Zoning Energy Parasites with Stormsingers is the highest priority, because you will need some time until you have a critical mass that can push the nature player back into his base and threaten power wells. You will win or lose the matchup depending on the sole question whether the nature player can keep his units with perma healing alive until they clean up your Stormsinger army or not. If you block the Energy Parasites from getting their ability off you should be able to come out ahead. Crystal Fiend can be a great addition to the unit mix, because pure nature does lack burst damage leading to much higher healing values. Against SoM you can either start Burrower attacks onto the opposing power wells or if you want to be really annoying go for the sneaky Matter Master, which could be game winning. In T3 the player with more slots usually ends up being favored, but Parasite Swarm can be annoying if you play without XL units, so finishing the game in T2 usually is preferred. On a side note: Even though you might start in a mirror matchup in T1, Stonekin T2 is much better at dealing with larger T1 armies than pure nature T2, making it much more flexible and forgiving in the early game.
    (3) Stonekin vs pure Shadow
    With Lightblade (purple) being more and more of a standard pick in Stonekin your matchup against pure Shadow has gotten better and better with every patch. Your most powerful tools with Razorshard got nerfed, but so did Netherwarp (green) + Shadowmage as well as Shadowmage. Due to its basic design Razorshard still is an amazing tool to face off against pure Shadow. It is immune against Netherwarp in its ranged stance, counters unit stacking due to the strong AoE, can outrange Shadowmage & Darkelf Assassins and also ends up being immune against knockback. Since Shadowmage is not as mobile as the Stormsinger it can't outrun the Razorshard attacks really quickly. This also makes the matchup simple to play from a strategic pattern. stack razorshards, add stormsingers against Nightcrawlers and intercept Harvester with Lightblade (purple). At this rate you only have to play around the enemies AoE spells (Aura of Corruption, Corpse Explosion, Nasty Surprise) and accumulate advantages up to the point, where you can set up Sieges. You usually get a time window to collapse on the enemies base once all 12 Shadowmage charges are depleted, because they power level of pure Shadow T2 drops significantly at this rate with void level being too low to take a T3 successfully. If you get ahead you should consider blocking T3 positions (use Icebarrier when starting Frost T1), because Voidstorm can be really annoying to play against in the later stages of the game.
    (4) Stonekin vs Bandits
    Stormsinger + cc support probably is the most reliable way of generating an advantage against Bandits. Bandit Stalker and Spearmen will be kited, Darkelf Assassins can’t be stacked due to Hurricane and Minefield should be too slow to catch Stormsingers in time. Leveraging emerging tempoleads from this trading advantage should be easy by adding Burrowers considering Bandit Stalker will be highly contested. The only threatening tool in T2 will be the Bandit Sniper as he potentially one shots your Stormsinger which might slow you down in tempo until Bandits can spam AoE spells non-stop to reach T3. At that stage you will be favored as long as you play Stone Warrior + Timeless One, but since slot issues are a thing in Stonekin you might face a double buffed Soulhunter, which can be really tough to deal with. The most threatening situation would probably come with a loss in T1 as Bandits have really powerful tools to snowball around Rallying Banner attacks and if these go through unpunished before Stonekin establishes a solid amount of units on the board you might be overwhelmed before you can react appropriately. That said Stonekin should remain clearly superior in the matchup and control the battlefield even though it’s less extreme than it used to be.
    (5) Stonekin vs Fire Nature
    This matchup should be pretty basic for you, because Stormsingerstacking with CC support will be the core feature of your trading patterns. Try to split well in order to avoid getting hit by Lavafield or CC and stack up advantages by using your own spells. Spirit Hunters & Frostbite can provide some extra dps against ravaged units and with either Lightblade or Aggressor you have a solid counters for Vileblood attempts. You usually struggle the most when falling behind in the early T2 stage, because Siege attacks might force you to invest all your power into crowd control and building protects, so you can't really start stacking units to generate value. Once there is 1 Vileblood or 2 burrowers the dps often is high enough to outvalue your defensive capabilities, so playing a safe T1 usually should be the way to go in this matchup.
    Skill matchups
    (6) Stonekin vs Shadow Frost
    This matchup favors you in T2. Considering most trading patterns consist of Stormsinger versus Stormsinger it ends up being beneficial, because you have superior crowd control as the stonekin player. Using this to build up small leads by constant trading you can accumulate these small wins and increase the pressure constantly. Once you get to remove all units from you opponent you can start adding Burrowers for increased Siege potential to finish the game. Shadow Frost often tries to play defensive and utilize undazed Darkelf Assassin spawns as well as Nasty Surprise attempts. Playing with tempo is extremely important, because if you fall behind heavy use of Lost Reaver + Stormsinger can be difficult to deal with. You often lack dps to remove the Reaver in time when utilizing the Aggressor (which might be even zoned by Nightguard). Aura of Corruption needs to be respected (offensive Cannon Tower might be a niche counter for this one) and losing tempo often leads to losing the game, because the Souls T3 often ends up being problematic to deal with unless you invest at least 4-5 deck slots into your own T3. But even then you aren't favored in T3, so opting for a win during T2 usually produces the best results. Try to avoid getting more than 5-6 power wells and attack your opponent if he tries to well up to that range or wants to go even higher. If you get ahead try to contest and block T3 positions, Ice Barrier can be a helpful tool to block orbs and grant ground presence at important areas.
    (7) Stonekin vs pure Frost
    Usually the T2 is played in a very slow manner, which is good for you to establish very powerful unit setups, but also problematic as you might struggle punishing well stacking to a point, where T3 becomes a realistic option. Frost usually has more slots available to build a powerful T3, therefore wins these types of scaling games. Winning T2 is very important due to that and requires very aggressive gameplay at some point, where you ideally contest T3 positions or cut off the Frost deck immediately due to its mobility restrictions. Stormsinger + Spirit Hunters usually do trade very well as long as you only face War Eagle when your CC is available. Once you get ahead or establish map control, Aggressor or Stone Tempest might be valuable additions to deal with War Eagles and Crystal Fiend is a great tool in this matchup to leverage leads, because Frost doesn’t have very reliable tools to burst it down. 
    (8) Stonekin vs Shadow Nature
    The traditional Stormsinger vs Amii Phantom micro war. The M/M ranged unit management really determines the outcome of this matchup and if Shadow Nature gets ahead the deck can be an overwhelming force rather quickly. But as long as you play very controlled, split your Stormsingers against cc and don’t make major mistakes you will be able to win in later stages of T2. First of all Stormsinger does have more charges than Amii Phantom and on top of that a few extra Razorshards get really strong at later stages once many Stormsingers are on the board. The extra range on Razorshard allows you to root down Darkelfs and Amii Phantoms and with heavy unit stack it is so difficult to dodge the AoE damage and M-knockback leading to great trades. With enough Stormsingers to protect them from Amii Phantom’s melee disable mode this usually leads to an overwhelming force that ultimately wins you the game. T3 should be avoided, but unless there is heavy focus into buffed XLs Shadow Nature should be a deck you can deal with.
    (9) Stonekin vs pure Fire
    Pure Fire is listed as the most difficult matchup for stonekin, but it’s still listed as a skill matchup and could be seen as a 50/50 as long as you keep using the Mountaineer in this matchup. Despite its nerf the Mountaineer still performs great in stonekin and with cc support there is not a whole lot pure Fire can do to stop it once the deck falls behind in tempo. This tempo lead can be established by utilizing Stoneshards. They outvalue Scythe Fiends and counter Enforcer, therefore dodge the counter system pure Fire can with. With Frostbite and maybe Spirit Hunter support this can work really well, but it tends to be a low void strategy. If pure Fire manages to survive the early gamestage by utilizing defenders advantage the matchup quickly turns around, because the traditional s-sized melee units lose their value at higher power counts due to limited focus fire options upon being spammed and their weakness against zoning dps spells like Wildfire. At some point you will collapse against the relentless aggression pure Fire has to offer. In T3 you need to stabilize around Stone Warrior and try to match the Juggernaut pressure by playing around the Disenchant cooldown to utilize the Shatter Lance ability. This can work, but isn’t a guaranteed success, because one miss play around the Stampede ability is game over.
    3. Ratings
    Competitive Rating
    Pros:
    + Very powerful trading units and spells
    + flexible deck building options to adjust based on your playstyle
    + wins open field trades most of the time, which enables strong map control
    + No unfavourable matchups 
    + Leverages T2 leads very well
    Cons
    - No area of effect or burst damage options
    - low dps faction (requires more units than other factions before getting value from support spells) 
    - Deck slot issues and limited scaling as a result
     
    Stonekin all things considered does have the best control based T2 in the game. It is so well rounded and has so many flexible tools, that allow you to adapt to every situation and matchup. It is extremely powerful, scales extremely well with time (late T2 is amazing) and also can be rewarding to play. Even though variety is a great upside for sure, you also have to deal with the fact, that you often need to cut some of your options due to deck slot limitations. Based on that different weaknesses in the deck might emerge, that you need to respect and play around.
    Final competitive rating: 10/10
    New player experience:
    After its T1 options received several buffs stonekin's overall performance improved drastically. The T2 has many tools and synergies you can play around, deck building part can be interesting (exploring the impact of adjusting the free PvP deck based on your needs should be a rewarding experience) and with a stationary focus during its attacks it doesn't get micro intensive at all up until you start reaching a higher level.
    Final NPE rating: 7/10
     
     
    [ SHADOW FROST / LOST SOULS ]


    1. Deck description
    Shadow Frost was one of the most played decks in PvP... and for a good reason! The deck is the most solid one with no big weakness and an outstanding defence. You may struggle a little bit in T2 to set up efficient attacks that don't include Mountaineer, but this isn't a serious issue, because your T3 is fantastic and therefore you aren't forced to be aggressive. It's already enough to defend efficiently against your opponents attacks and build another powerwells up to a point where you can afford to switch into the T3 stage, where you'll most likely win.

    Alternative deck

    2. Matchup discussion
    Easy matchups:
    (1) Shadow Frost vs Fire Frost
    Fire Frost is rather easy to play for you, because you aren't forced to make proactive decisions in T2. You just need to defend incoming attacks and scale into your superior T3. As long as you stay even in T2 there is nothing you need to fear in T3. In T2 you can defend Scythe Fiends & Skyfire drakes easily with a combination out of Darkelf Assassins and Stormsinger with Frost Bite support. Mountaineer has gotten less of a threat, but since Shielding power got increased for Fire Frost you need to be careful with extended unit combat. Try to utilize your spells for burst oriented trades (Frost bite, Nasty Surprise) rather than extended ones (Coldsnap) to avoid maximized shield synergy. If you get ahead during these trades, you can try to utilize Lost Reavers to launch powerful counter attacks or just go straight towards T3 and finish the game there.
    Skillmatchups:
    (2) Shadow Frost vs Fire Nature
    You can defend Burrower attacks with a very high efficiency in the early game and establish a very solid lead, that can be used to transition into a T3, where Fire Nature doesn't stand a chance. If you get strong leads you can use Lost Reaver to attack power wells. The only gamestage where you are in danger is the late T2, where double Burrower + Skyfire attacks with massive nature cc support are powerful enough to overload your building protects. Make sure to respect their mobility and try to take down the Skyfire Drake as early as possible. Try to split your units well when defending because once the void level gets really high, double Lavafield is a dangerous tool to remove all your small units (Stormsinger, Nightcrawler and Darkelf Assassins die to it). Try to find a good time window in order to tech up to T3 as this is your main win condition in this matchup. Timeless one can deal with a massive Burrower push, if the Fire Nature player decides to rush you at that point and your tools in T3 are vastly superior.
    (3) Shadow Frost vs Pure Frost
    With Nightguard, Darkelf Assassins and Stormsinger you have many tools, that can deal fairly well with War Eagles, that moves away from the frost players base. Therefore this matchup has a very defensive play pattern within T2 because both factions do have severe advantages when playing around their own power wells. Be very careful with aggressive ability usages on Darkelf Assassins when attacking against Frost. The immobility can be abused by White Rangers, who can snipe the Darkelfs from a great distance. On open field trades you usually do have the upper hand, which can be used to secure map control. Combined with the higher mobility in T1 you might be able to block a T3 position from your enemy, which would almost be a guaranteed victory considering both factions perform rather poorly in offense against each other. In case the game goes into T3 vs T3, it stays rather defensive, you mostly need to watch out for Tremors and keep your buildings alive against it. Most of the time T3 deck slot investment decides this matchup, but if you both invest a lot into T3 you should have a slight advantage, because Nasty Surprise and Life Weaving both scale really well into T3. Since both decks have access to some of the strongest defensive T3 units, a card like curse well can make the difference in this matchup despite its strong nerfs.
    (4) Shadow Frost vs pure Nature
    You are heavily favored in T3, but at a disadvantage in T2, therefore it's important to use the right timings to win this matchup. Deep One is really hard to deal with if you don't play Nightguard in your deck and there is no hard counter to Energy Parasite in your deck so you need to zone them constantly by utilizing your Stormsinger. In addition to that Nature can deal with your S and M units quite well. Ghostspears and Spirit Hunter do a really good job at. Your best chance of dealing with them is utilizing a mix of Darkelf Assassins and Stormsingers supported by Frost bite. Split your units against the crowd control and once you established a lead during trades you want to split your army. Either try to attack multiple power wells at once or attack one power well from multiple angles. This concept is really useful to reduce this efficiency of crowd control and multi angle attacks also allows you to smoothly hunt down any spirit hunters with Frostbite as they want to hit you once and kite back afterwards most of the time. With units all around the power well there is no area left for the Spirit Hunters to retreat to. L units aren't a true option against Parasite Swarm or Deep One, so generally try to stay away against them when facing pure Nature. T3 remains in your favor, but with buffs to mutating maniac, pure nature does have tools to strike back here, so keep an eye on the orb choice, when your opponent goes T3.
    (5) Shadow Frost vs Pure Shadow
    You do have solid tools to deal with pure Shadow, especially when playing Lyrish Knight. He is a great target for Nasty Surprise, an XL counter for the Harvester and also withstands the M-knockback of Shadowmages due to being steadfest. Darkelf Assassins + Frostbite are a solid trading and in combination with Stormsinger you can defend most attack setups. Once you get ahead Lost Reaver is an option for attacking. Try to combine him with Stormsingers, because pure Shadow likes to use the Knight of Chaos as an L-counter and protect the Lost Reaver with Liveweaving from incoming burst damage sources like Shadowmages or activated Darkelf Asssassins. Harvester is also usually not successful against you, unless the Shadow player has a lead beforehand, because Frost Bite is really valuable against him and a combination of buildings protects and Coldsnap usually can buy enough time to kill him before he gets to deal economy damage. Try to avoid having a power well close to the enemies base. In close well scenarios pure Shadow is heavily favored because Shadowmage reaches its maximum potential at these kind of fights. On top of that these trades end up getting really bloody, so there end up a huge amount of dead units for the maximum value Corpse explosion. This spell deals huge damage and also has a very large AoE cap. Therefore it often pays of to avoid building full well clusters and expand at different positions. Your T3 usually is a little bit better, but this usually pays off the most on large maps as they allow you to maximize the mobility advantage your Silverwindlancers grant. If you expect a Voidstorm to be played either try to save some power or force counter units beforehand if possible so you avoid a huge negative trade allowing to apply pressure with your Tremors once the Voidstorm is on cooldown. .
    (6) Shadow Frost vs Bandits
    Bandits is really hard to play against by now. You can't really utilize Nightcrawler against Bandit Stalker, Windhunter + Minefield deals with your L units, Stormsinger might get targeted by the Bandit Sniper and Darkelf Assassins also might struggle with the Minefield. Getting ahead against this type of set up is really difficult. You can use your cc and especially Frostbite to do some good trading, but this is bound to a risk, because once you mess up with your trades you might be pressured by a very powerful Rallying Banner attack, considering your enemy can spam Darkelf Asssassins and activate them immediately. In T3 Bandits stay scary once your opponent gets any kinds of tempo. Bandit Lancer can be really annoying to trade into, because you usually don't have a very powerful M counter in T3 and the active ability can prevent your Timeless Ones from using theirs. With Motivate you might end up with buffed up Bandit Lancers at every spot on the map. If you manage to stabilize from that at some point you will be fine, but reaching that point isn't that easy.
    (7) Shadow Frost vs Stonekin
    Stonekin can be a really uncomfortable matchup, because its defensive capabilities match yours in T2 and with superior cc their Stormsingers usually are even better on open field. Avoiding these type of trades is really important due to that. This matchup can be really hard to play and sometimes you have to make sure to play for full scaling. Utilize defenders advantage to adapt based on the enemies unit composition and set up some efficient trades. If you get to achieve this you can well up as quickly as possible. Reaver attacks usually only end up being an option when your opponent takes a greedy power well. In T3 your odds of winning are higher again, but Stonewarrior + Timeless One does scale quite well too. You might have a hard time in T3 as well, but some people cut their T3 in Stonekin to have a more powerful and flexible T2. Silverwindlancer + Nasty is a huge combo against these type of decks and will grant you incredible value.
    Difficult matchup(s):
    (8) Shadow Frost vs Pure Fire
    Pure Fire is really difficult to deal with, especially when you end up falling behind in this matchup. Enforcer is superior to Nightcrawler and Stormsinger which allows the Fire player to protect a Firedancer who constantly throws here fireballs at your power well and forces you to spend many ressources into your building protects. On the long run this leads to very inefficient trading patterns. In case the Firedancer is able to use a cliff as protection you are in serious trouble so avoid taking these positions when facing a pure Fire player. Your best chance of getting good trades is a powerful nasty surprise and good use of Frostbite during trades. If you get ahead you can try utilizing your L units (either Reaver or Mountaineer dependent on what you like to play) to destroy a powerwell. Lifeweaving might help against Wildfire, but keep in mind, that disenchant might be played as a follow up spell. In addition to that Juggernaut is insanely strong, even strong enough to break through a Timeless One T3. Especially once 2 Juggernauts end up being on the field it gets so difficult to keep up all your buildings against the Stampede.
    (9) Shadow Frost vs Shadow Nature
    Shadow Nature has a distinctive advantage in the early T2 against you. They have similar units (Nighcrawler + Darkelf Assassins + Amii Phantom vs Night Crawler + Darkelf Assassins + Stormsinger) and superior cc which allows your opponent to set up constant pressure against you. Therefore this matchup is pretty much a survival game, because in the later T2 stages low hp unit spam gets countered by huge AoE (Nasty Surprise, Aura of Corruption) and Lost Reaver gets more and more value over time. Try to spawn him very close to the enemies base, because Shadow Nature likes to play Darkelf Assassins or Amii Phantom + Root against them. If your Reaver needs to walk for a long distance he might end up getting rooted twice before he even gets in range of the enemies power well. Shadow Nature doesn't have a direct L counter outside of Nightguard, which usually is to slow to deal with Reaver (you can blow them up with Nasty surprise when a swap gets threatening) and due to the lack of dps you might have a good chance at killing a power well against Shadow nature when combining Reaver with Lifeweaving. In T3 you will simply win the game of Timeless One being able minimize the incoming damage while it's way harder to respond to your attacks (Tremor, Grigori etc.)
    3. Rating
    Competitive Rating
    Pros:
    + Powerful T3 scaling
    + Most forgiving deck in the game (can recover from tempo deficits) 
    + Does have exceptional defensive tools for almost any matchup
     
    Cons:
    - Lack of air units 
    - Weak open field trading tools in T2

    Shadow Frost remains as one of the best PvP decks even though its most oppressive tools have been nerfed (Phasetower, Mountaineer, Curse Well). It does great in most matchups and is very reliable in almost any matchup. On the other hand its very slow and methodic style makes Shadow Frost very predictable and allows opponents to effectively play around your win conditions (i.e. blocking T3 positions). Especially upon facing against a faction with stronger open field trading tools in T2 this can be troublesome. But once you get the slightest lead the deck starts working like a well oiled machine and outscales its counterparts slowly but steadily.
    Final Comp. rating: 8/10
    New player experience:
    Shadow Frost is the perfect deck to play if you intend to climb in the ladder as a new player and even upon reaching higher ranks it stays one of the strongest decks to play with its amazing T3. The very well rounded deck structure and the option to play a viable counter against nearly every incoming attack (few exceptions like cliffdancer) make it really easy to play. The high late game scaling is also really nice, because you don't have to be proactive in T2. The high defensive capability makes the deck really forgiving and it's one of the decks to start with.
    Final NPE rating: 10/10
     
    Conclusion

    At this point the deck overview is finished for now. I hope you can get some valuable information out of it, we put a lot of efford into creating this list (23.000+ words this time).
     
    What to expect in the future and last words:
    We would like to add a little bit of extra information around deck building options later on. Some information already are included in specific matchup descriptions, but don't really put the holistic picture into account, that is necessary to create a reliable deck around the 20 slots available. Free PvP decks will be great to start with, but might require some adjustments to be more suitable to your own playstyle and view about playing the game. If you have any more specific questions about matchups or specific rating changes, feel free to ask. Hope you enjoyed reading, let's keep the PvP community active and see you in the Forge!
    Best regards,
    Hirooo & RadicalX
  5. Metagross31 liked a post in a topic by Dutchy in Community update #16 - December 18th   
    WAUW! 
  6. Dutchy liked a post in a topic by Majora in Community update #16 - December 18th   
    Greetings Skylords!
    Happy Anniversary! Today marks the 1-year anniversary of the Skylords Reborn project. We hope you had a lot of fun reliving your BattleForge memories and are excited to give you a look into the future. 

    • Anniversary Stream
    In case you missed it, we hosted a special anniversary stream yesterday. We celebrated the past, present en future of Skylords Reborn, with news, card reveals, give-aways and more! 
    Sadly, something went wrong with the playback of yesterdays stream that we are not sure we can fix. Since we recorded it live with the 3 of us, and 2 audio tracks are broken, it does not make much sense for the viewer anymore. We are sorry for those who missed the stream and now can't watch it.

    If we cannot fix the video, we plan to do a retake for youtube, adjusting it to be some kind of looking back at 2021, that people can watch to see everything that has been added to Skylords Reborn since release. 
     
    • Patch Reveal + Toggy Stream
    Our biggest surprise from the Anniversary Stream: our Anniversary Patch releases today!
    See the brand new cards and features in action during a special celebration stream hosted by Toggy tonight!
    There will also be a quiz where you can win the new cards, so be sure to check it out!
    The Stream is happening at twitch.tv/dastoggy 
    We are very grateful for Toggy's support over the years and have officially rewarded him with Skylords of Honor today. Well deserved, and to many more years!
     
    • New Cards
    This patch will release five brand new cards into the game! We are excited that you will finally get your hands on the cards we have been working on for the past months. The following cards will be added to the game:
     
    Coat of Protection
    Coat of Protection is a new incentive to play Pure Frost. This tier 4 spell can be seen as the frost equivalent of Regrowth, helping the faction with some lategame support. Check out the full card-reveal here.

     
    Bandit Minefield
    Bandit Minefield is a new tier 2 Spell for Fire/Shadow that should greatly help the faction in PvP. It is a rare and does not have an affinity. Check out the full card-reveal, including the design process, here.

     
    Banzai Lord
    Banzai Lord is a powerful new tier 4 unit that can be splashed into, requiring only one shadow and one fire orb. He collects the corpses of fallen foes and allies to summon his darling birds. The card appears in two affinities, one with destructive birds, one with healing birds. You can find more information in the Bandit Deep Dive. 

     
    Bandit Sniper
    Bandit Sniper is a new, ranged M counter for the Bandits-faction. It is an uncommon that does not have an affinity. It's ability Focus Shot allows the Bandit Sniper to live up to its name, dealing devastating damage to enemies at long range. 


    Amii Paladin
    The shroud surrounding the Amii-faction is slowly lifted. Amii Paladins is our first look at the Amii-faction, after the never followed on tease from Amii Phantom back in the day. It's special ability ''Reflective Armor'' allows the unit to reflect 100% of incoming damage back into enemies, making them a challenging foe to fight. 
    Amii Paladins has the new Amii Passive Ability "Elusive". Units with Elusive have the duration of the immobilizing effects of Freeze and Paralyze reduced by 10%. This ability will be added to all current and future Amii units. 


    Amii Phantom
    While not a new card, Amii Phantom has received a brand new look! Both her artwork and ingame look have been adjusted to fit with the vision of the Amii-Faction. Elusive has also been added, and we plan to change her voicelines (she currently has those from Nightguard) to complete her makeover. 


    A word on Wasteland Terror
    Some of you might be wondering why Wasteland Terror (previously Wasteland Wing) is not included in this patch, even though he was revealed in an earlier communtiy update. Sadly, we were not able to make the anniversary deadline and could not include him in this patch. Rest assured that he we will be implemented in a future patch, though we are not able to tell when just yet. Until then, may you enjoy the clear blue skies while you still can..
     
    • Voice Actors Update
    Now for some disappointing news. With the help of some talented voice actors, we have created some great voicelines to go along with our new (and some old) cards. Sadly, we ran into technical issues. For some reason, the game keeps crashing inconsistently while playing the new voicelines.  Because this did not happen during our initial testing, we could not pinpoint the issue on time to solve it for this patch. Sadly we have to ship the new cards without their matching voicelines. We are really disappointed about this, and we hope to be able to find the solution soon and patch in the new voicelines in all their glory. For this we would love to get your help. 
    Beside the new cards, we will also be adding voicelines for Dryad, Mountain Rowdy and Amii Phantom in the future. There are also already plans for other cards that are currently without voicelines, like Bandit Lancer or Warlock. 
    We would like to give you a sneak peak of what we have been working on and give you a proper first impression of two new cards.

    Here is what you can expect from the sinister Banzai Lord:
    And here is what you will hear leading the Amii Paladins into battle:
    We would love to have the help of the community fixing the issues we ran into implementing these voicelines. If you have any understanding of coding and/or sound, please head over here and join us in solving this issue. 


    • Balance Changes
    Alongside new cards and features, we will also release some balance changes this patch. 

    Following the Bandits Deep Dive, there are a couple of changes in this patch, including Amok, Commando's, Windhunter, Sandstorm and Corsair. Further PvE-focussed balance changes will be implemented for Frost, with adjustments to Ice Age, Battleship, Maelstrom, Northern Keep, Retreating Circle and fan-favorite: Juice Tank. 

    There are also some changes to popular cards like Sunderer, Dryad, Master Archers and Stormsinger, in combination with the new cards you can expect a fresh meta for PvP as well. 

    You can check out all the details and explanations for the changes in the patch notes. 
    Patch_400031_-_December_18_2021.pdf
    • Free PvP Decks Updated
    We expect new cards like Bandit Minefield to shake up the PvP scene and find it important that everyone who wants to play PvP can do so without grinding for cards or upgrades first. We have upgraded our free PvP decks to include the new cards, alongside adjustments to most decks to adapt to the meta changes that have happened since the introduction of the free PvP decks. Please note: to update the decks, we had to reset all the current decks. Sorry about the inconvenience. 
    Here is a quick recap on where you can find the PvP decks: 

    - Select the sword on the top right of the menu to select your 2 free PvP decks.
    - Free PvP decks are fully upgraded decks, that can only be used in PvP. 
    - You can select two new decks every day*, if you want to switch things up.
    - You can freely swap around cards in those decks with cards in your collection to customize the decks to your liking. You can do this by clicking the tab in your inventory on the top left and changing General to Free PvP and vice-versa.
    *We have reduced the timer to change your two Free PvP decks from 7 days to 24 hours.
     
    • Updated PvP Starter Guides
    On top of changes to the standard free PvP decks, RadicalX and Hirooo got together to update their starter guide for PvP. Want to get into PvP but not sure where to start? In this guide you will find everything you need: deck descriptions, tips and tricks for every match-up, an overview of the pro's and con's of your deck and how beginner friendly the deck is to play!
    The guide ended up being longer than your average thesis, but we made sure to provide it with a clear layout so you can easily find your favorite deck and browse through the information you need. 
    You can find the updated starter guide here, and be sure to join the Tutor and Apprentice discord that is specifically designed to help new players get started. Feel free to ask all your questions there. 
     
    • New Fire rPvE Preset
    It is now possible to face the Fire faction in all its blazing glory in rPvE! You can expect a fresh new challenge for rPvE, including new bosses to fight against. While we did a lot of testing, we would love to hear your feedback on the balance of this new enemy.
    Please let us know your feedback on the forum or discord!

     
    • Reforging
    One of our biggest and most requested new features this patch is Reforging. The idea behind this new system is to give players a use for their spare cards without listing them on the Auction House. Players have no use for 40+ copies of the same common, and listing them for 3BFP on the AH has proven to be quite tedious and often unsuccessful. Additionally, the rise of expensive ultra rare cards is becoming a problem. We hope to tackle these issues with this new feature.
    Here is how it works; players can reforge four cards from their collection to create one brand new card, destroying the four cards in the process. The card that is created will depend on different factors such as the rarity and color of the input cards. Players can also increase their odds by selecting cards that have something in common, for example four buildings. Using higher rarity cards will also increase the odds of an ultra rare dropping. Should the odds of reforging into an ultra rare card ever exceed 100%, players will get some spare Forge Shards. These Shards can then be used to get a mini-booster. It is not possible to use or get a promo card when reforging.
     

     
    We expect this feature to have a large impact on the economy as a whole. Being able to exchange rares and cheap ultra rares for the chance of getting one of the more expensive ultra rares should bring their prices down. At the same time, this feature should increase the price of cheap ultra rares, since they are now valuable resources for reforging. While some of you might be worried that destroying four ultra rare cards to create one random one will further decrease the supply; please note that reforging multiple ultra rares is designed to be inefficient, thus discouraging the use of more than one ultra rare at a time, since the odds of getting an ultra rare does not improve over using a combination of rares and ultra rares. After the dust has settled, we expect this will bring a better balance to prices within a rarity. Because of the big shake-up this will have on the economy, we have closed the Auction House between the announcement of this system and the release of it.
     

     
    • Legacy Avatars
    We have added additional features regarding the player avatar you can select. It is now possible to buy the avatar that was previously only selectable with the creation of a new account for 15.000 gold. Additionally, once you have bought one of those avatars, they will be added to your collection, allowing you to swap freely!
    In the future we are also planning to add additional avatars that can be collected through special events or achievements. 


    • Advanced Filtering
    Our developer Kubik has been working on improving the filtering of search results, both for the inventory and the auction house. Some of you showed interest in this progress, so we put together a document explaining how the current filtering works, why it's far from perfect, and how it will be changed. It's a bit more technical than the other documents we have shared with the community so far, but we hope you will enjoy this look behind the scenes! 
    Advanced filtering.pdf

     
    • Booster Discounts + Santa 
    As a special treat for our one year anniversary, all boosters in the game will be 100BFP cheaper between 18-12-2021 and 18-01-2022. 
    Additionally, every player will receive the Santa Claus card after playing a game. Happy Holidays Skylords!

    • Team Changes / Open Positions
    It has been a wild ride getting Skylords Reborn to the state it is now. We still have more new cards and exciting game modes in development, but need help getting them to you sooner. If you love the project, please consider helping us out, we would love to have you on our team. 
    Below are three roles highlighted, but you can find more information, desired traits and all our open positions here. If you are unsure if you qualify, please reach out and have a talk! At the same time, we are sad to announce Carofex has left the team as a balance developer. We want to thank him for his contributions and wish him well! 
    Open Position - Map Tester
    As a map tester you get early access to new maps and gamemodes and are responsible to playtest them and provide feedback to the other map developers about possible issues or improvements. This includes check how balanced the map is, how fun it is to play, if there are any exploits, if areas on the map need to be prettified etc. Map developers/designers/artists should be able to rely on you to make sure maps that are released or changed are done so properly. More information.
    Open Position - Client Developer
    As a game client developer you are responsible to maintain and develop the game client. This mostly includes add new pre-game features (content outside of matches, so no game mechanics) through .pak files used by the game. You will be responsible to create and design in-game interfaces for new features, add networking support for new features that require it, solve bugs etc. using LUA, XML and little bit of Rust. BattleForge uses LUA and XML in their .pak files which are loaded by the client. Communication with the server happens through a proxy written in Rust. More information.
    Open Position - Game Server Developer
    As a game server developer you are responsible to maintain and develop the game servers. This includes add new features, track and fix bugs, optimize code, roll out new server updates, improve server monitoring etc. The servers are written in C++17, use boost asio for networking, MySQL as database, Prometheus and Grafana for monitoring etc. More information.


    • In Conclusion
    And that's it for this Community Update, thanks for reading! 
    Remember; as a special treat for our one year anniversary, all boosters in the game will be 100BFP cheaper between 18-12-2021 and 18-01-2022. 
    We also have a scratch code for you, which will reward you with a general booster: SKYL-ORDS-REBO-RN1Y
    The code is valid until January 8th 2022, which is when our next community update will release.

    We hope you will join us in the celebrations playing this new patch, and we would love to hear your feedback on how you experienced the past year of Skylords Reborn! Please let us know below.  
    Happy holidays!

    Archive
    Community Update #13
    Community Update #14
    Community Update #15
  7. Dutchy liked a post in a topic by Dallarian in Anniversary Stream: Friday 20:00 CET - December 17th   
    I just noticed new logo, really nice attention to detail ^^
  8. Dutchy liked a post in a topic by Majora in Anniversary Stream: Friday 20:00 CET - December 17th   
    Tweeto being Tweeto! 😄
  9. Volin liked a post in a topic by Dutchy in Anniversary Stream: Friday 20:00 CET - December 17th   
    HYPE HYPE HYPE
  10. Dutchy liked a post in a topic by Majora in Anniversary Stream: Friday 20:00 CET - December 17th   
    Greetings Skylords!
    As mentioned in our Community Update, the 1-year anniversary of Skylords Reborn is almost here! 
    Join us for a special anniversary stream on December 17th with news, card reveals, give-aways and more, celebrating the past, present and future of Skylords Reborn! The stream will start at 20:00 CET on December 17th on our official Twitch channel.
    We hope to see you there!

  11. Dutchy liked a post in a topic by Halcyon in Community update #15 - December 3rd 2021   
    AMAZING!!! Can't belive you guys are doing this, hope this game will grow and flourish, at least a bit!
  12. Dutchy liked a post in a topic by Protaygo in Databate of what the cards look like for constructing my deck?   
    Oh yes to both! Both will work! Thank you Dutchy and Majora! Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays!
  13. Dutchy liked a post in a topic by Cocofang in Community update #15 - December 3rd 2021   
    Tweeto continues to do such a bang up job emulating the artstyle.
    As for the name, I would lean a bit into the naming scheme of less serious, rugged names that you can imagine being bellowed across a tent while everyone is getting drunk. Things like "Boom Bomb" from Artillery. Bandit Launchers "Firebug". Corsairs "Big Fat Cannon" and Rioter's Retreat "Uproar". Descriptive, visceral names that you can yell even while drunk on gold and booze. "Treacherous Path" sounds a bit to lofty to catch on with Bandits.
    And a different name would help differentiate the card from "Mine" and Soulhunters "Minefield".
    Name: Desert Carpet
    Ability: Toeclippers
    The idea is based on carpet bombing as the area is similar. It is also something that I can imagine crafty Bandits saying. "Let's lay out the desert carpet for these folks.", making fun of the more civilized nations and their customs.
    The ability itself is the more grounded version and represents a type of dark, macabre humor I see as very fitting for Bandits. Since mines are equally meant to cripple and kill I imagine Bandits might have fun ironically belittling them as Toeclippers. Knowing fully well how devastating they really are. "Harhar, hope they don't mind some Toeclippers."
  14. Kapo liked a post in a topic by Dutchy in Community update #15 - December 3rd 2021   
    HYPE HYPE HYPE!
  15. Dutchy liked a post in a topic by Majora in Community update #15 - December 3rd 2021   
    Greetings Skylords!

    It's been three weeks since our last community update so it's time to bring you up to speed with everything going on in Skylords Reborn.
    This update is kind of a Bandits-Special, with new card reveals, a Deep Dive for the faction and insight in the process of adding a new PvP card. Let's get started!

    Anniversary Stream Announcement
    Mark your calendars because we have some celebrating to do! On December 18th, Skylords Reborn reaches its 1-year anniversary. It has been a wild ride; from resurrecting the game to a playable state, to actively developing new features and even brand new cards. 
    Join us for a special anniversary stream on December 17th with news, card reveals, give-aways and more, celebrating the past, present and future of Skylords Reborn! More details will be shared in the coming weeks. We hope to see you there!

    New Card Reveal
    Please note: We are still testing the card. While we are generally happy about it and feel comfortable revealing it, its numbers and effects might still change. We hope to release this card before the end of the year and will share more information at a later date. 
    Today we are excited to reveal a card that might see play in both PvP and PvE, and solve some of the problems Bandits have in PvP. 
                


    Bandit Minefield is a tier 2 Spell for Fire/Shadow. Upgrading the card reduces its cooldown (up to 10 seconds) and powercost (80 to 70). It will be a rare and won't have an affinity. Here is how the card works:
    Creates 4 clusters of mines in a line of 20m. If a hostile ground unit gets as close as 10m to a cluster, its mines will detonate in 6 bursting waves. Each wave deals 100 damage to hostile units and 25 damage to buildings in a 15m radius, up to 300 in total. If no enemy approaches a cluster within 10 seconds, its mines will disappear again. Affects ground targets only. Cannot damage wall segments, Power Wells or Monuments. Cannot be placed nearby hostile units or structures, excluding walls. Knocks back small units. Reusable every 35/35/35/25 seconds.
    Bandit Minefield requires the selection of source and target location. Mines will be placed in a straight line in the direction you choose. 
     
    Design and expected use
    Because this is our first new card that will see play in the PvP-meta, we asked our designer RadicalX to share some insights about the design process of the card. We cover why the card was created, what role it has in the meta and how it was changed during testing. Bandits has been one of the weaker factions in PvP, so we are very excited to see how this new tool will help them out. 
    Bandit_Minefield_Design_Choices.pdf
     
    Affinity and Rarity
    A quick word about this cards rarity and lack of affinity. Affinities were added to every expansion of BattleForge, mostly as a way to increase the number of cards in each expansion. While there are some cards where the different affinities result in interesting choices, there are also a lot of cards that struggle under this design restriction. The Skylord Reborn team decided that going forward, we will add affinities where they feel right, but leave them out when we can't add a meaningful difference between them, or adding them would undermine what the card is supposed to do. 
    As for the rarity, we actually wrote a document about rarity, and according to those guidelines, Bandit Minefield will be a rare. It is worth noting that Bandit Minefield will be added to the free PvP-bandit deck. We expect this card to be crucial in the PvP scene, and find it important that everyone who wants to play PvP can do so without grinding for cards or upgrades first. 

    Artwork
    The artwork has been designed by our talented artist Tweeto, and we thought it would be cool to share some sketches to show you the progress. 

    As always, a lot of time and changes went into this artwork. A big thanks to Tweeto for constantly accepting feedback and improving the artwork. We are really happy with the final result, and hope you are too! 
     
    Vote for Cardnames
    Just like with Coat of Protection and Wasteland Wing, we need your suggestions for the final cardname. During testing we came up with the cardname ''Bandit Minefield" and ''Treacherous Path" as the effect name. However, part of our promise to our Patrons is to let them help with naming new cards based on suggestions from the community. For this, we will need your help!
    Please reply in the comments below what you feel is the perfect cardname for this card and how you would name the ability.  
    Example:
    Name: Bandit Minefield
    Ability: Treacherous Path
    Please only suggest one name. We will collect all the suggestions and let our Avatar-of-Frost-tier (and higher) Patrons vote for the final name, starting next week. 
     

    Bandit Deep Dive
    Back in July we shared our Deep Dive into Frost; an exploration into what makes the faction tick and how we planned to tackle the issues Pure Frost struggled with. We have since then shifted our focus away from the frosty Lyrish Reaches and moved on to the scorching Southern Wastes; attached you will find the Bandits Deep Dive!
    In this document we will be exploring the Bandits-faction in detail, including upcoming changes and even a tease of another new card! It is our goal with documents such as these to give our players a glimpse into how we think about factions and where we are planning to take the game.
    Bandits_Deep_Dive.pdf
    Upcoming Tournaments & Events
    NEW: Official PvE Contest#4 Winter is coming - Until 17.12.2021
    For this challenge, we want to see you succeed in playing the map Guns of Lyr, while accomplishing several winter and Christmas themed objectives. This event has a point system and boosters for the top performers. Check out the rules and how to apply here and have fun!

    FINISHED: Official PvE Contest#3 Skylords Raid
    Our 3th PvE contest has concluded, thanks to everyone who participated! Originally the idea was to have a stream, but because we are already streaming for our anniversary and most of the runs used the same tactics, the winners will instead be announced through a youtube video in the near-future. We also saw a lot less participants in this style of contest, so we will try to stay away from multiple-map contests in the future.
     
    • Host your own event / tournament
    Want to host a tournament or event? Please reach out to our Event Organisers Hiko or Metagross to have your event prizes sponsored by us. If you have a cool idea for a PvE event, or want to host a PvP tournament, please don't hesitate to reach out to us, we will gladly assist you. 
     
    New Team Members / Open Positions
    We are very happy to announce a new addition to our team: RookieN has joined the team as a Map Designer / Map Developer / Map Artist! You can expect great things from him, and we hope to be able to share them soon. 
    We also added another Event Manager to the team; Metagross will work together with our other Event Manager Hiko to provide you with a steady stream of contests and tournaments. His community contest on King's Ridge was a success, so we are happy to officially welcome him to the team. 
    At the same time we are sad to see Kerkk leave the team as a Web Developer. He unfortunately does not have enough time to help us out anymore. We would like to thank him for his time and all he did for Skylords Reborn! 
    Last Community Update we posted our cry for help for Balance Developers, and we are very grateful for the response. We hope to add new Balance Developers to the team soon, who will help us implement new cards and balance changes. We did experience some delays because of the lack of staff for quite a while now, but we hope this will improve with new members being added to the team. This is always an area that we need help with, so if you are still interested, please let us know. 
    There are still some other areas we would like additional help to expand and grow Skylords Reborn. If you want to help, we would love to have you on our team. Below we have highlighted some roles, but you can find more information, desired traits and all our open positions here. If you are unsure if you qualify, please reach out and have a talk! 
     
    NEW: Open Position - Video Editor
    As a video editor you are responsible for creating exciting video content for Skylords Reborn. This can range from short card reveal videos to exciting trailers and cutting up Twitch-stream content for highlight videos on our Youtube channel. If you have any experience with audio post production, you can also help us out with the process of adding new voice-lines and sound effects into the game. More Information.

    Open Position - Artist
    While we absolutely love Tweeto's output, one artist can only do so much. As an artist you are responsible to create the visuals required for new content. This is a broad position and there are many areas where you could help in, depending on your skills and interests. Think of loading screen artwork for new maps, card artwork for new cards, visual UI elements for new features that involve adding UI to the game, banners for events/tournaments/community challenges/large game updates etc. More Information.

    Open Position - Marketeer / Outreach Coordinator
    As a Marketeer / Outreach Coordinator you are responsible to spread the word and create awareness about Skylords Reborn and to attract veteran and new players alike. This includes actively researching and reaching out to potentially interested streamers, youtubers, Discord channels, game magazines, among others. You will be responsible for the communication to and from interested parties and for any promotion deals (for example involving scratch codes). Please note that Skylords Reborn cannot do any paid promotions. More Information.

    In Conclusion
    And that's it for this Community Update, thanks for reading! 
    As is tradition, this community update comes with a scratch code. 
    The code will reward you with a mini-booster: COMM-UNIT-YNEW-S15B
    The code is valid till December 25th.
    We will update you again on December 18th, during our 1-year anniversary! The next community update will probably stick to the 3 week schedule, meaning it will be posted on the 25th. 
    As always, we are open to feedback so please let us know! 
    Archive
    Community Update #12
    Community Update #13
    Community Update #14
  16. wanky liked a post in a topic by Dutchy in Official PvE Contest#4 Winter is coming UNTIL 17.12.2021   
    Awesome event! I enjoyed reading the objective names a lot as well, very creative!
  17. Minashigo Hiko liked a post in a topic by Dutchy in Official PvE Contest#4 Winter is coming UNTIL 17.12.2021   
    Awesome event! I enjoyed reading the objective names a lot as well, very creative!
  18. Metagross31 liked a post in a topic by Dutchy in Official PvE Contest#4 Winter is coming UNTIL 17.12.2021   
    Awesome event! I enjoyed reading the objective names a lot as well, very creative!
  19. Dutchy liked a post in a topic by Metagross31 in Official PvE Contest#4 Winter is coming UNTIL 17.12.2021   
    Hello Skylords, Skyladies and other Skybeings.
    Welcome to the fourth official PvE event!
    We hope you will have a lot of fun with this event!




    What kind of event will it be?

    PvE - Advanced - Guns of Lyr with a point system
    For this challenge, we want to see you succeed in playing the map Guns of Lyr, while accomplishing several winter and christmas themed objectives.
    The more objectives you accomplish, the more points you get. The team with the highest number of points wins the contest!
    But there is more! You also get points for speed! The faster you finish the map, the more extra points you get.
    Thus, you will need to find the right balance between objectives and time and choose your strategy accordingly.

    So gather a team, polish your strategy and go for the Highscore!


    When will it start?

    We will be accepting entries starting today.
    The event will run for a bit more than 2 weeks, to be specific: 17.12.2021 23:59 CET.
    You can send your replays through DM to me on Discord (Metagross31#1103) or through a PM to me on the forum.
    We will announce the winners on stream on the 2nd of January, 6pm CET.


    How can I participate?

    Everyone with an ingame account can participate in the event - there is no need to sign up separately.
    You just have to send in your best replay, including the player names, the time of the replay and what objectives you accomplished. [Note: Your entry has to be a victory]
    For example: If your team reached a time of 17:23.6, name your replay the following way:

    "Hiko_Majora_Zyna_Metagross31_17:23.6.pmv"

    Additionally, send me a list of all objectives. For example:
    Low points:        A, C, D; Total: 900
    Mid points:             K, L; Total: 1200
    High points:             all; Total: 4000
    Penalty points:           S; Total: -1200
    Total points:                             4900

    You can send in your replays until the 17.12.2021. 

    Please note:
    You are allowed to compete with multiple teams, but only your highest score will determine the rewards you win, meaning you can only get rewards for one submission. You are allowed to compete with a team of less than 4 people or even alone.
    You can find your replays here: Documents=>Battleforge=>replays


    What are the objectives?

    This event will have a point system: points will be rewarded by completing the following objectives. The goal is to get as many points as possible!
    You don't have to complete them all, but of course you should aim for as many points as you can in a single run.
    It is important however, that your final score from objectives is greater than zero. Runs with a negative score do not qualify.
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Low points:

    A:   HoHoHo!: 200p
    Have one player play out Santa Claus*

    B:   You are not alone: 200p
    Have one player build a Stronghold next to Rogan's Castle*

    C :  We are many!: 300p
    Have all players from your team build a Stronghold next to Rogan's Castle*

    D :  Santa's little helper: 400p
    Have Rogan Kayle (Player's card) within a 25m radius of Santa all the time*

    E:   The Ghost of Christmas Past: 400p
    As a team, play at least five different frost cards from the twilight edition*

    F:   The Ghost of Christmas Present: 400p
    Play at least one frost card, that has been buffed by the Skylords Reborn team (See below for a list of cards)*

    G:   The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come: 400p
    Play at least one frost card, that has proposed buffs for the future (See below for a list of cards)*
    H:   Presents for the Kobolds: 400p
    Use one of Santa's gifts next to one of the Kobold Engineers*
    I:    Presents for the King: 400p
    Use one of Santa's gifts next to Rogan's castle
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Maximum low points:    3100
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Medium points:

    J:   Boxing day: 400p
    Open all gold chests

    K:   Presents for your neighbors: 600p
    Use one of Santa's gifts next to one of the big twilight manifestations, before they get destroyed*

    L: Sitting at the fireplace: 600p
    Have a unit sit in front of the top fire trap for 3 minutes without dying or walking away*

    M:   Coming down the chimney: 600p
    Completely destroy all four enemy walls

    N:   First the dinner, then the presents: 600p
    Destroy all minor twilight infestation camps before destroying the final manifestations*

    O:   A time for modesty: 800p
    As a team, do not control more than 10 orbs at the same time*

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Maximum medium points:    3600
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    High points:

    P:   The real deal:  1000p
    Play the map on Expert difficulty instead of advanced

    Q:   Frosty times:  250p per player, maximum of 1000p
    Play a pure frost deck*

    R :   Christmas Peace:  1500p  (2000p if combined with objective P)
    Do not kill any enemy units until the final wave spawns*
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Maximum high points:    4000
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Maximum Total points:    10700
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Penalty points:

    S:   That's not a Christmas tree!:  -1200p
    Using Amii Monument

    T:   Taking your siblings' presents: -1500p
    Using Decomposer

    U:  Got the wrong present: -1000p
    Destroying your starting orb*

    V:  Broken Chimney: -1000p
    One of the Kobold Engineers dies*

    W:   Blocking the way for Santa: -1500p
    Construct buildings past the flames near the map border in the top left or bottom right corner*

    X:   Christmas is over: -1500p
    Santa dies

    Y:   Wrong season, wrong event: -1000p
    Play out easter Egg
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Total penalty points:    -8700
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    * Check the FAQ for clarifications.
    Time Score:
    There will also be points awarded for time. The faster you finish the map, the more points you will get with a maximum of 1500p.
    There are no preset timewindows that determine your time score, instead your time is compared to all entries.
    This means that every second counts when it comes to your time score!
    However, you can not lose any points by having a slow time. So it is up to you to decide whether you want to go for as many objectives as possible or if you want to leave some out in the hope of getting a better time.
    You do not have to calculate the time score yourself, we will calculate the time score for every entry.
    For a detailed explanation on how the time score is calculated, see the FAQ below.
     
    FAQ     
    In order to reduce confusion about the objectives, we have precompiled a list of questions you might have and answered them beforehand.
    If you have any questions about one of the objectives, please check this FAQ first.
    If your question is not yet answered in the FAQ, feel free to ask the question in this thread. That way it can be clarified and added to the FAQ.
    List of previously buffed frost cards:

    List of frost cards with proposed buffs:

    Questions about specific objectives:
    Calculation of the time score:






    Sounds fun! What's the prize pool?

    The following prize pool will be adjusted according to the amount of participants.
    If more than 20 teams submit a run, you can still expect the top 50% of runs to win something.

    The prices are per person. If you compete with multiple teams, only your highest place will be rewarded :
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    1st place                          7 Frost and 5 general Booster packs
    2nd place                         6 Frost and 3 general Booster packs
    3rd place                          5 Frost and 2 general Booster packs
    4th-8th place                   2 Frost and 2 general Booster packs
    9th-10th place                 1 Frost and 1 general Booster pack

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
     
    One more extra bounty... - CLAIMED
    There is one more extra bounty to claim!
    The first team, which sends me a replay in which they complete the objective R: Christmas Peace on any difficulty will get an additional reward of 3 general boosters.
    Note, that the replay, you submit for the extra bounty does not have to be counted for the actual run, you can still submit a different replay with a different time and score as your final submission.
    The extra bounty has already been claimed!
    You can no longer get the reward for being the first to pull it of, but you can still get the points for your run
                                                       
    In conclusion

    This event focuses on your speed, teamwork and flexibility on these different PvE maps.

    To summarize the event in simple steps:
    Look for a team. You can either do this below this topic, on Discord or Ingame. Come up with a strategy for your run. Try to complete the objectives while being as fast as possible. Make sure your score is greater than zero. Calculate your score and determine your final time.
    Satisfied? Send the replay to me! (Metagross31#1103 on Discord) or PM your best replay to me (in the forum).
    When will we stream?

    We will announce the winners on stream.
    Date: 2nd of January, 6pm CET




    Future events
    If you are interested in helping with these kind of events for the community, or want to host one yourself, don't be afraid and simply reach out!
    Send me or @Minashigo Hiko a PM on the forum, or direct message via Discord (Metagross31#1103, Minashigo Hiko#1126).
    We are happy to assist you with upcoming events and with sponsoring your prize pool!
    We hope you have a lot of fun with this event. We are looking forward to seeing all your replays!
    If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask.

    Best regards,
    Skylords Reborn Team
  20. Dutchy liked a post in a topic by Majora in Introducing... Majora, new Community Manager   
    Hello everyone,
    I am excited to announce that I will join the Skylords Reborn team as Community Manager!
    As Community Manager I will be responsible for the communications between the Skylords Reborn team and the community. This will allow the team to focus more on their own positions, bringing you content and balancing patches faster, where I will be keeping you up to date about everything Skylords Reborn. This also includes on our social media channels, such as Twitter and Facebook.
    One of the ways you can expect this to work is with biweekly status updates, highlighting things you might have missed and giving you sneak previews on what is being worked on.
    I will also be making notes on frequently asked questions and the hot topics that are being discussed in the forums, discord or in-game. If you have any questions or ideas, feel free to post them in the forum or discord page, just as you are doing now. I will make sure to forward your ideas and questions to the team.
    I'm happy and honored to join the team, being a Battleforge fan from the very first hour and I look forward in helping the project. If you also want to help, please take a look at the open staff positions here.
    For now, please give me a bit of time to get up to date with the things happening behind the scenes. After that you can expect the very first biweekly status update, which I hope will result in a positive tradition.
    I hope you are as excited as I am about the future of Skylords Reborn, and I look forward to working (and playing!) alongside all of you!
  21. Dutchy liked a post in a topic by MightyKibbles96 in Campaign Incentive   
    Each day have a map which is incentivised to be run that day, by either pure random or some logic like, Monday-Tuesday; solo player map, Wednesday/Thursday; Duo player Map, Fridya/Saturday; Four player Map and then Sunday 12 player Map.
    The incentive can be anything like (not limited to); bounty, a pack, BFP per run or a new meter of 100bfp for the daily map kind of like how reserve works
    Idea I had seeing the map is rarely looking for campaign maps but always 2+ looking for RPvE runs regardless of time of day
    Suggestions/Thoughts on this?
  22. Dutchy liked a post in a topic by Ladadoos in Mercy Counter "Achievement"   
    Definitely easily technically possible. 🙂
  23. Dutchy liked a post in a topic by Volin in Mercy Counter "Achievement"   
    Think we must have more in that 500+ league. Guess I am only the loudest here 😄
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