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------------------Disclaimer------------------ I wrote this guide without access to the game and do not intend to update it anytime soon. I apologize for all inaccuracies due to my limited memory. The vast majority of things should be actually correct, but I might've missed a few smaller things that i probably wouldn't now. 1. Introduction Aloha and welcome to my guide for speed running rPVE or as most call it 'Battleground'. My name is Treim and I'm one of the most succesful rPVE speedrun-players ( speedrunners). I played Battleforge since 2009 and started speed running Battleground-Maps since the early 2010 until Battleforge got shutdown. So I have 3 1/2 years of experience. English is not my native language, so I hope you can forgive me if some sentences are a little bit sloppy and my grammar isn't perfect. But that's enough about me. Lets dive right into the action. This guide will contain general aspects of rPVE/Battleground such as spawn mechanics and more detailed information about how to find correct paths through a map for 1 Player, 2 Player and 4 Player Maps and common strategies and energy management against different opponents. If you prefer reading this guide as a pdf-file skip right to the end, where i attached a link to the file. 2. General Information 2.1. Spawn Mechanics First of all: Spawn mechanics in rPVE are very simple, they are following only 4 rules: Whenever you attack a unit from an enemy base (except the spawns), every camp that has a direct path to that attacked camp will start spawning units. A camp has a direct path to another camp when you can go there without facing any other camp on the way, its direct. You can go from camp A to camp C without the need to go through Camp B. When such a unit is spawned, it will always directly attack your monument, that was the last one you have built at the time the enemies spawned, monuments that weren't built up, but were in progress, when they spawned count as a 'full' monument. Any monument you build after they spawned are not relevant for that specific spawn. Whenever a camp started spawning units, it will not stop until you kill the spawn building. A camp can only spawn new units if the complete previous spawn gets killed. Example: In the picture I have named camps: '1','2','3','4','5' The arrow symbolizes your attack, so the following will happen: When you hit the first units from '1', '2' and '3' will start spawning as their is a direct path from '1' to them. Nothing will happen to '4' and '5' as they do not have such a linkage to '1'. After '1' is cleared you could go to '2' or '3'. In this scenario we will go to '2'. When you attack '2', '4' will start spawning units as they have a direct linkage.'3' will still spawn units, as it can't stop; '5' will still do nothing; '1' doesn't exist anymore. Next step would be to clear '4'. As soon as you attack '4', '5' will start spawning units due to their direct linkage. '3' still spawns units, '1' and '2' doesn't exist anymore. 2.2. Base structure & how to find the 'right' spawnbuilding So a base is always built up like this (with more or less paths to it): First of all you need to know that in every base there is always only 1 spawn building, if there is a 2nd one that could potentially be a spawn building as well (just from the way it looks), one of those is fake and will never spawn any units. There's a way to identify the correct and the fake spawn building with 100% security. In order to do so you need to know following things: You will have several entries and one of them is the 'main entry', you can always recognize the 'main' entry on how the base is aligned. In this case the 'main' entry is 'entry 1'. You can recognize it as 2 towers are directly oriented to that entry (they are always on the left and the right of that entry), even though you might get into the base from entry 2, 3 or 4, '1' will always be the main one. With that knowledge the spawn building that spawns units is not random at all anymore, its 100% predictable which of them will be the 'right' one. When you would run into the base from the 'main' entry, it is ALWAYS the spawn building on the right side of the base. If you ever think it's not, well better check if you have the main entry identified correctly. 2.3. The issue of close camps and trapping spawns. I bet most of you (if not any), already had this: you're into a battleground game and you pull the aggro of the t3 when trying to take t2. This often happens (95% of the time), the spawn of the t3 will somewhat pull the whole t3 base to your t2 base. In very rare cases, the aggro range of the t3 includes the t2. In all the other cases the spawn will just 'ask for ally help'. That actually means that you can avoid those attacks from close camps by 'trapping' the spawn in-between t1 and t2. Every fraction (fire/nature/frost/shadow) can do that, some easier some harder: Fire: Get 3 nomads (green), kill the melee part of the spawn and kill the most part of the archers, you want of the squad of 6 archers that maximal 4 are alive, so your nomads always stay healthy. For the last few hp you need to take away from them, you can just through them. It is very necessary to hold position (press 's'), so that the nomads don't attack the archer squad. Demonstration: http://listenonrepeat.com/watch/?v=g52hV...ade_Expert Frost: Kill the melee units, take aggro of the archers with one unit and run to t2 with another one, you can take a well when the archers are NOT in range of it, otherwise its a gamble, if they switch their focus. After that spam some ice barriers and kill the squad you held aggro with. (if you are confident in your skill, you can try to do the same as with nomads, but its much harder as you can not run through them to do damage. You need to use master archers and stop the attack of them at the exact correct time, so that the bolts doesn't finish off the whole squad, but only parts( that works because every unit of the squad needs to get killed by a single bolt) Shadow: Basically same game as with frost, kill the melees, pull the aggro of the archer squad with one unit and take a well at t2 with another unit, kill that one after. Build Soul Splicer in-between t1 and t2 and kill some units next to it to, to fill it up. Then just press 's' with the squad you have aggro. By the time the soul splicer is empty, your aggro unit is dead and the soul splicer is destroyed, you should have enough energy collected to clear t3 easily. (You can try the same as mentioned in Frost, as it will lower the damage of the squad you gain more time) Nature: Kill the melees or the archers, take aggro of the other one with a shaman and build t2.. done. Extra tip: When you face lost souls and the spawn includes a lost dancer you are the luckiest guy in the world. Use any squad unit (windweavers/forsaken/northguards/master archers, etc.,etc.), kill all other stuff but the lost dancer, and press 's' with your squad unit. When the lost dancer attacks it, the squad will split up and stay like that, any following attack of the lost dancer on that squad will do no damage anymore. This also works for close camps at from t3 to t4. 3. rPVE/Battleground 1 Player 3.1. Map structure and general principles First of all I would like to show you the general structure of a lvl 10 1 player Battleground map, you will need to understand this in order to follow some of my thought process. In this case we start at the bottom of the map. That is because it easier to explain it that way, but it doesn't matter if the map is twisted 90°, 180°, or 270°. The principle stays the same. You see that the way will split up right in front of your t1. The t2 will always be at the end of the way that goes to the edge of the mini map. Notice that the way to the camp that is closer to the centre of the map will always be way shorter and you might get problems with pulling the whole camp and or shamans if any exist in that camp. That is important as you want to avoid attacking anything from that base, because it will force another camp to spawn units as well, it makes it way harder to defend. You always want to rush to t2 with the smallest possible amount of energy being used - in other words as soon as possible. At that rank on the map you will always have 2 camps next to your t2, while t3 is always above on the next rank of the map. You always want to clear that as soon as possible as well, without using to much power in defence for the units that will attack your t2. Next to your t3 you will always find 2 other camps and the t4 on the exact opposite of the map. From that point on you will have 2 more ranks on the map with each 3, rarely 4 camps. That means in general you have to clear 6-7 bases after you cleared the 'real' t4 base. Whenever you reach a base you basically want to destroy the 'right' spawn building before it can spawn any units, as those can respawn the whole base. Which would cost a lot of time. 3.2. Common t1- t4 strategies T1: Enemy - Bandits: Fire: Get 3 nomads (green), kill the melee part of the spawn and kill the most part of the archers, you want of the squad of 6 archers that maximal 4 are alive, so your nomads always stay healthy. For the last few hp you need to take away from them, you can just through them. It is very necessary to hold position (press 's'), so that the nomads don't attack the archer squad. Demonstration: There's some additional information I want to mention: This only works when your monuments can NOT attack the spawn, it will kill them slowly but not for sure. That makes it very important to be careful with the positioning of the spawn. Shadow: Almost always your first choice to go. You will need forsaken or Nox Trooper (I personally prefer forsaken because- of their passive and because Nox Trooper aren't very good against squad units, which you will mainly face at t2). Key cards are forsaken, soul splicer and motivate. You basically want to build up the soul splicer at the exact range, where you don't aggro the t2 and then build just enough forsaken to clear the camp. You want to use 3 frenzied forsaken (in some cases with very bad spawns and unit positioning you might need more) to clear the spawn building, while you focus on taking down towers and those annoying mana wings with the other forsakens first. As soon as the first forsaken (not frenzied) hits a point where he has half of his hp left, motivate them. So the soul splicer can heal the rest up in time. Sometimes its worth/necessary to get a skeleton warrior in front of them to tank up a lot of damage. That is the case when you have a t2 base with bunch of units. Defend with 2 forsaken. Spawn behind the monument and don't worry about enemies focussing on the monument. Frost: If shadow isn't working great against the enemy try frost. Key cards are frost mage, ice barrier and homesoil. If you face those annoying spearmen that can't get knock backed summon 2-3 master archers in order to kill the spawn building, as frost mages aren't really good against those due that they cant attack the spawn building properly. Defend with 1-2 frost mages, if the spawn includes spearmen use 1 frost mage and 1 master archer. Spawn behind the monument and don't worry about enemies focussing on the monument. Fire: Only good in very rare cases. Mostly when you have these windhunter thingies AND you're having a close camp. What you want to do is: Spawn 3 nomads (green) set 1-2 mines and use 4 eruptions to kill the spawn building. You can defend with makeshift tower or 1 mine. Key cards: Nomad (green), mine, eruption. If necessary you can add sunstriders against those mana wings. After that you want to set up 3 blaster cannons (red) and build another nomad. So you have 4 nomads. Then set 2-3 mines in front of the t3 base and pull the whole base into your mines and blaster cannons. You run in the t3 base and clear the spawn building with eruptions. Mission accomplished. I got an example video for you: http://listenonrepeat.com/?v=8EkqkzbuLw0..._von_Treim Nature: Never viable, units and spells are just to expensive and following orb order is not better than frost. Basic information: in 95% of the maps you should be fine with spawning 6-8 units to clear the t2. T1: Enemy - Stonekin: Shadow: Same as Bandits, but you will almost always need to have skeleton warriors on top of the soul splicer. If there are those crystal fiends at t2 you should prefer nox troopers over forsaken as well, just to avoid the knock back, as well as being able to kill them very fast with the 'overload' ability. You will need immediate motivate in order to clear the spawn building with nox troopers though. In general 4 should be enough for that. Frost: You will often need some master archers on top of the frost mages, as they're not very good against the crystal fiends with their non targeted damage. You need to focus on them before killing the spawn building as they do so much damage. It's very likely that they respawn if you only use frostmages as well. I recommend using at least 3-4 master archers to kill the spawn building. Fire: not viable Nature: not viable T2: Enemy - Bandits: Your second orb is always shadow. You always want shadow phoenixes to clear the t3. If you started shadow t1 you can even build up resource boosters already. Those are a must in every deck. If you have those windhunters at t3 use spawn 3 shadow phoenixes use the embalmer shrine (you want to build up 2, so you can have the effect up all the time) and clear the base next to your t2, kill the spawn building in 100% of the cases and find the right target to get all 3 phoenixes back. That way you made those 3 phoenixes 'voidless'. That means they're not binding any more energy in them. You get all the energy back (into the void pool) when they attack. That way you can spawn 2-3 more phoenixes relatively fast and attack. You need 5-6 of them as 2 will get paralysed and might get focussed down before they are able to attack. If there are no windhunters just use 3 shadow phoenixes and enjoy to clear your t3 very fast. T2: Enemy - Stonekin: Basically the same as for against Bandits just with some special cases. You will most likely face constructs and tortuguns and t3 that means you need 11-13 phoenixes. In order to get 13 phoenixes very fast, you need to modify the way you get the phoenixes voidless by a little bit. You want to basically get 3-4 (depending on how many you can get back when attacking) and attack the base next to t2 again. But this time use a unit in the base that is far enough away from the spawn building, that the spawn building will NOT die. You will just fly away with your 3-4 phoenixes and let whole base respawn just to spawn 3-4 more phoenixes and now kill the base entirely (don't kill towers or anything if phoenixes wouldn't revive from it). that way you will have 6-8 phoenixes already and can almost instantly build 4 new and your good 2 go. Pro tip: Some of those tortuguns have a ranged anti air attack (just as the normal tortuguns have). Those will destroy a lot of phoenixes if it hits and your attack will most likely fail. In order to prevent that 'stack' the phoenixes on top of each other. If you tell 12 phoenixes at the same time to go to a certain map point they will automatically get in the formation you can see on the left side of the picture. However you can pick small groups or even single phoenixes and all let them go through a certain point and press 's' to stop them from moving right when they're in that point where you want to stack the phoenixes. If you stacked them correctly there should maximally die 1 or 2 of them to the tortugun, as they will fly in basically the same point all the time. If there are windhunters in that base you might want to consider to send 2-3 units in front of the phoenixes to tank their paralyse and damage. If you started frost you can use coldsnap to just freeze them. In some cases you will face something that is even more annoying: you might have to deal with deepgorge towers that will attack your t2 when you try to build it up. Those bases will get pulled when the spawn hits the t2 definetly. You have to trap the spawn in-between your t1 and t2 as mentioned in 2.3.. In those cases you need to get a bit creatively. You do not want to take the wells and only take the monument. You can either defend it with skyelf templar and trap the spawn with ice barrier spam, what is really expensive though (if you are not able to kill the most part of the archer squad and only leave parts of it alive) as you will need some time to get enough power in order to be able to attack t3 OR you use warden's sigil and just shield the t2 over and over with 2 of those and trap the spam with 2 warden's sigil that give each other a shield. I prefer the green one over the blue affinity due to the healing that helps much against the trapped spawn. T3: Enemy - Bandit: Get 3 cultist masters and a Furnace of flesh (if you didnt build one yet, I recommend building one already at t2) + amii monument. Latest point you get your resource boosters is when you hit t3. T3: Enemy - Stonekin: Should be a nature orb. Get amii-monument with nature aswell. Switch the frost orb into shadow if you started frost t1. Do not build t3 shadow just to get the resource boosters, but rather get it for frenetic assault. Its not worth it if you just build them now as you don't need a whole bunch of power anymore until you're totally fine. Enlight Batariel (red). T4: Enemy - Bandit: Spawn Lost Spirit Ship and clear the map. Use heals and buffs to keep them alive. I recommend to only use Lost Spirit Ship (red) so you can use flame crystal and motivate to buff them up. Use rifle cultists and offering (green) to get enough charges. I recommend to send 1 rifle cultist right behind your frontline so you get ground presence close to your main army and you're able to spawn them without them having to run a very long way to your troops. Extra information: If there is a boss with a lot of hit points you can use a fallen skyelf and his 'tainted disease' to kill those faster . You need to be very careful with the timing though at it gets completely reset if you are not able to kill the boss in the time 'tainted disease' is active. I only recommend using this if you have a free slot in your deck that you don't really need. T4: Enemy- Stonekin: Get 2 shrine of war to permanently have the void manipulation active and just buff it with spells. You can get those by switching the amii-nature orb into a fire orb. You also need that to get disenchant against the windhunter paralyse. Extra information: if there is a boss with a lot of hit points on the map, such as command walker (not sure if he was called like that, I mean that super construct thingy): You can use Bloodhorn(s)(purple) with his 'tainted enrage' and unholy hero to basically kill those in few seconds as batariel is very slow against bosses. So your end orbs would be like that: shadow, nature, nature, fire. This being said I would like to present you some very standard decks for a Lost Spirit Ship and a Batariel deck. I did not explain every card in detail but the one I didn't mention pretty much are explaining themselves. One last shot on this topic: Most of the time you will need to learn how much units you minimally need in order to clear t1-t3 just by trial and error. This is especially true for the fight for t2. You will probably need several tries until you find the correct units to focus and when to change the aggro. Just don't get frustrated if it doesn't work in the first few tries ^^ 3.3. Pathing Okay so at this point it starts to get a bit more complicated. In order to find the optimal path to run you need to always keep in mind these 3 basic variables: The strength of each camp The strength and way spawns will try to run down your base Most importantly the general map structure, that includes the ways you are allowed to run (the ways from base to base) as well as the position of certain camps on the map. To 1.: It doesn't really matter to much for Batariel decks, you can steamroll them anyway and you should always have enough power due to shrine of war. You just need to take care that you don't get to the very high damage bosses to fast as you don't have enough power to support 1 or 2 bloodhorns and a batariel early on the t4 phase. Crucial point for Lost Spirit Ship, you really want to kill the easier camps at first, as some camps are just to strong for few Lost Spirit Ship. Either it takes forever or you will just get wiped out. In order to use that time correctly try to kill easy bases at first. You really want to avoid bosses with high hit points until the very end. I'm talking mostly about the command walker as those literally take forever without at least 7 ships and a fallen skyelf. To 2.: As you want to clear bases with your Batariel and only send your bloodhorns in after the base is dead (except the boss) just try and let them sit back on ways where spawns will pass by. This requires you to study the ways certain spawns will go. Basically you want to avoid spawning too many units at your base to defend as that binds power that might be necessary for buffing and healing. Sometimes you can use Lost Spirit Ship that you would use for motivating in your base anyways to defend, but you need a bit of luck to have the power for that at the exact right time. That means you basically want to defend most, if possible spawn the rifle cultist and spawn a Lost Spirit Ship next to him that can then be added to your troops straight away. Sometimes you need to kite a bit in order to have enough power. In both cases you want to prevent that very strong spawns hit at your t3 as you will often times just loose the game by that. To 3.: With both decks you want to avoid going unnecessary ways. That means you need to find the way with the shortest distance to run by clearing all camps. Often times there is not a perfect solution that would include you running every way exactly 1 time and never run out of a base in order to reach the next one. If you remember the picture of 3.1. (or just scroll up to it again) you have exactly that case given. You need to run backwards from at least camp 7 or 10 depending on which one you want to do first. I played exactly that map in this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8EkqkzbuLw0 (you might remember it file:///C:\Users\Niklas\AppData\Local\Temp\OICE_BB1A28E5-6F75-4C7E-BE57-31B96B37F208.0\msohtmlclip1\01\clip_image001.png). Even though I didn't use amii-monument in that game due to a challenge I had with a friend you can see the path I took after I had t4. This ones doesn't really give you a big task of finding the best path just because of the limited amount of Lost Spirit Ship I had and the fact that bases on top (8,9,10)of the map wouldn't be possible for me to clear due to their insane strengths. As well as the point that the chance of pulling the whole base 9 while mainly attacking cap 8 is kind of high due to the fact the whole camp is built up in a very small place and Lost Spirit Ship sometimes move weirdly through that. Even if I made it through that one it is likely that if I attack camp 9 I would pull camp 6. Those risks just shut down the only other efficient route in terms of point 3. To sum this one up: Its very necessary to know a map very good in order to be able to combine the 3 above listed variables well enough to find the optimal path. Often times you will need to gain that knowledge just with trial and error even though it will get much better the more experience you have with combining the variables and overall speed run experience. 4. rPVE/Battleground 2 Players 4.1. Map strucutre and general principles So obviously you have 2 starting bases on a 2 player map. These are basically identical in structure. Both have 2 direct ways away from their t1 to 2 outer camps. In-between those you will face a third camp. A nice little fact to take note of: If the t2 is at the left/right side of his t1, it will be on the same side for player 2 as well. This is always the case. There is no separate bases for t3 and t4, but both monuments are in the same base. The T3/4 bases are always directly linked. On the way you will face 2-3 camps (most of the time 3). Rest of the map is split in 2 rows with each 5 bases. The basic concepts of 1 player rpve and what you want to do and avoid are similar: Destroy the correct spawn buildings as soon as possible and try to not use to many resources in defence. 4.2. Common t1-t4 strategies T1 - Enemy Bandits Basically you are doing the same like in 1 Player rPVE, for both players. T1 - Enemy Stonekin Basically you are doing the same like in 1 Player rPVE, for both players. T1 - Enemy Twilight Shadow: Standard t1 with forsaken, soul splicer and motivate. Attack the spawn with 3 frenzied forsaken and kill the units with the rest of your forsaken. If have got Twilight hags at t2 you can use skeleton warriors to absorb the damage and use knock back with them, 1 should be enough though. If you face those annoying parasite swarms, either take them down very quickly or just start with frost. Frost: Standard t1 with frost mages, ice barrier and home soil. If you face twilight hags I recommend some master archers to have an easier time on focusing on them and the spawn building. Parasite swarms are no problem due to the knock back of frost mages. Fire: super situational. I don't recommend it 99% of the time. Nature: Not viable Extra information: This is the case for both players. I recommend one of them to start shadow, so you get some early embalmer shrines for t2 shadow phoenix. T1 - Enemy Lost Souls Shadow: Only viable for 1 player and only if the t2 doesn't include lost vigils. The other player will need to support the shadow player with massive fire spell spam. Use skeleton warriors only. Frost: Not viable Fire: If one player starts shadow support him massively with 2 mines and 4 eruptions on the spawn building at least. That's 440 energy minimum. You can add a defensive mine to defend the spawn near t1 to that if you wish. Notice that this will slow down the fire player massively but will speed up the other player massively. If there are lost vigils though you are forced to play fire with both players. The concept stays the same though. One player will support the other one with spells. You want to support the other player with at least 2 mines and 2 eruptions on the spawn building. Blaster Cannons are a must have. You want to start off with 3-4 nomads (depending on how good you can pull and how fast you can erupt). Start of with 2-3 blaster cannons (when you build 2 you will most likely need to erupt 1-2 times unless you're a bit lucky with the focus). You want to set up 2-3 mines at the place the ground units will attack your blaster cannons. Placement of those can get tricky, depending on which enemies (trees, manabeasts, lost dancers, etc) you will face. After you set up yourself or your team-mate, pull out the whole base into your blaster cannons and let them switch focus, until you run into the base again and kill the spawn building. In optimal case you want to kill the spawn with the eruptions as well. Set a defensive mine to defend t1. You want to basically support the other player with basically ~60% of the total energy costs for spells that is necessary to clear the base. The supporter should NOT build any units or buildings until the t2 of the other player is cleared. The supported player will go t2 afterwards. The supporter will try to clear his base mostly alone, most of the time he will get only 1 mine and 2 eruptions. Notice that you need sun striders to trap those annoying lost dancer spawns. Nature: Not viable T2 - Enemy Bandits/Stonekin Bandits and Stonekin T3/4 is built up identical, so I'll just sum them up. You will face either 2 constructs, 2 tortuguns or 1 construct and 1 tortugun. Sometimes you will face Windhunter's in addition to that. Most of the time you will have at least 1 guy starting frost t1 so you will have coldsnap most of the time for those annoying dragons. You need again ~12 phoenixes to clear the base 100% calculating that you might 1 or 2 before you can attack the spawn. In order to get them fast you will need to make them voidless again, just as described in 3.2 T2- Enemy Stonekin. When you face that long range attacks from tortuguns just stack them as described in there as well. You will most likely have to defend against a bunch of spawns, you can leave some of them alive to defend against that. The rest you can kill near a furnace of flesh to get some void power back. Clear the dragons with frost mages/ master archers/ forsakens. T2 - Twilight Most twilight t3's aren't really strong, you will most likely need 5-6 phoenixes for an easy clear. Just care about those parasite swarms. If they are able to make your unit beyond control you might screw up. Just make sure you give them right target to attack before you lose control. T2 - Lost Souls So this one can get kind of tricky. You will most likely face a lot of units at t3 and I recommend using around 10 phoenixes. In order to do that you will need to make phoenixes voidless. But you need to take care that they don't die when you fly into a base or leave it. Lost vigils kill phoenixes really fast. In order to do that you probably have to fly from weird angle into them or have to attack units that you wouldn't focus on other wise. For example little squad units. Those die basically from 1 phoenix, you need to make sure that all phoenixes you send in attack that unit. Do that by stacking them, so they all reach that unit at the same time. Those weird angles and unit focuses are sometimes even necessary for t3/4 attack. Especially if you use less phoenixes as possible. Try to clear any air units with either a nomad spear, sun striders or blaster cannons. Use your phoenixes to defend the spawns. T4 - Enemy Bandits In 2 player maps you will often face a major amount of bosses. I recommend at least 1 player uses bloodhorns to kill the big bosses. You will probably need to split that one up from the rest of the troops, so that the bloodhorn can take care of bosses that are alone in their base while Lost Spirit Ship clears the rest of the base and just run from boss to boss. Batariel can be an option here as well. You need to decide individually, what is better --> trial and error. T4 - Stonekin Most of the time Batariels will be faster than Lost Spirit Ship against Stonekin maps. But Lost Spirit Ship can be an option for some maps --> trial and error I recommend Bloodhorns as well. T4 - Twilight Hardest T4 in the whole game. There is basically only shit available and you can get wiped out with everything quite easily. You need tons of crowd control. Both players need to have oink and at least 1 freeze (such as coldsnap or maelstrom) to cc those wrathgazers. In some bases you will face 4-5 of them+ spawns. Personally I play bloodhorn and Lost Spirit Ship against that, you can add 2-3 green gemeyes for the extra crowd control. Earthshaker is a must to get rid of the willzapper buildings. I do not recommend to split up at the last rank of bases. You will need every single unit you can get. Sometimes you can't even clear those easier t4 bases alone. Batariel is not an option. Path finding becomes very important at this map, because you can not defend your base with a single t4 unit, due to wrathgazer spawns. You need to kill every spawn on its way to your base with your main troops or it might get messy. If you want even wheel of gifts can be an option. Shrine of war is a must. T4 - Lost Souls Lost Spirit Ship - Spam. Incredible Mo with yellow ability is a must. It prevents the lost dragon debuff and so you got a pretty easy time with your Lost Spirit Ship. You can add a Bloodhorn and send them behind your ships to clear the bosses. Do not run into bases with it though or it will get just get killed instantly. Shrine of war is not a must, but I highly recommend it. Batariel is not an option as you have the anti-spell aura buildings and any spell you use in advance of entering the base will get deleted by those nasty lost dancers (that's true for wheel of gift, incredible mo, spells, etc --> never build those buildings against Lost Souls unless you have a lot of air units). That will cause your batariel to just get destroyed in later bases. 4.3. Pathing This one gets a bit harder than for the 1 Player maps. So what you basically want is both players to clear their last bases at the exact same time. Then you did everything correct. However in order to find both paths that are optimal you always have to keep the 3 variables in mind: The strength of each camp The strength and spawns that will try to run down your base Most importantly the general map structure, that includes the ways you are allowed to run (the ways from base to base) as well as the position of certain camps on the map. However you need to now keep in mind for yourself and your team-mate that it might be an easier or harder to get to t4 due to probably stronger spawns, bases, etc.. So there might be camps that you can clear at a certain time. The map structure will most likely not be mirrored exactly so that one of you will have longer ways to certain key points of the map. Might be easiest if I just explain with the help of the graphic above in 4.1.. I assume that that map is a bandit map and you both decided for Lost Spirit Ship. The camps in-between got cleared by you with 3 Lost Spirit Ship and you both are back at your t4 with 5 Lost Spirit Ship in total.(That's a typical scenario. You clear the easy bases between the t4's while your waiting for enough power to spawn enough Lost Spirit Ships to start fighting the bigger bases). You have similar power and start at the same time running from t4. Notice that this is just a model. So this is basically the perfect situation to plan routes. In this case Player 1 wants to go clear camp 10 --> camp 9 --> camp 11 --> camp 16 and camp 17. Player 2 wants to clear camp 13 --> camp 12 --> camp 16 --> camp 15 --> camp 14. That is because Player 1 has a sub optimal way to go as they have to run a certain amount backwards (out of camp 9) and has an extra camp before reaching the very hard camps. In order to compensate for having a longer way than player 2, player 1 gets 3 easy camps and 2 hard camps to clear while player 2 gets 2 easy and 3 hard camps to clear. This gets even more complicated if you assume that in certain camps are bosses of different strength or only 1 player has a bloodhorn. I hope that the base concept of this got clear with this easy example though. 5.rPVE/Battleground 4 Players 5.1. Map structure and general principles So as you can see in the image above, you will face again the split way at t1 meaning that as soon as you attack you will get attacked at your T1. Notice that the T2 is for all players on the same side of their T1 (in this case right side). T3 and T4 is pretty standard as 2 players share those bases with each other. In-between the T4's of the 2 sides you will face 1-2 bases, and in the 2 ranks after T4 you will have each 4-5 bases. The spawns that will come from T3 always attacks the outer players (1 & 4). Therefore they will have more of a supportive role in the game as they aren't able to build up their t2 army as soon as the inner players (2 & 3). The basic principles pretty much stay the same: Kill the 'right' spawnbuilding as soon as possible and do not use any more power than necessary for defence. 5.2. Common t1-t4 strategies T1 - Enemy Bandits/ Stonekin/ Twilight Player 1 will support Player 2 and Player 4 will support player 3. Therefore the outer positions will start with fire while inner positions start shadow for early access to resource booster. Depending on the strength of the camp player 2 and 3 will get 1-2 mines & 3-4 eruptions on the spawnbuilding. Depending on the map Dreadchargers might be a thing to destroy the spawnbuilding if you 'only' get 3 eruptions. No need for skeleton warriors. After that outer positions can try and clear their t2 by themselves or wait for the inner players to help clearing them. T1 - Enemy Lost Souls This one can get really tricky. If you only get 1-2 manabeasts or treespirits + only squad units, your good to go and just do the same as against Bandits, Stonekin and Twilight. But most of the time you wont be that lucky and face lost vigils in addition. If that's the case you will have to choose one guy who starts shadow, so either position 2 or 3. Who starts shadow depends on how easy the T3 will be and how well he can reach other parts of the map from his side of the map as this guy will have quite significantly more power than everyone else. The other 3 will start fire and just support the hell out of him. Erupt the spawnbuilding (each vigil needs 5-6 eruptions when buffed up, depending on how fast you can erupt). I recommend 2-3 mines and as many eruptions as necessary while the shadow player will tank the damage with 2-3 skeleton warriors (unholy armour obviously active). After that the other inner player will get supported by the 2 outer players and himself. He can take care of the vigils with help of Blaster cannons. I recommend 3-4 nomads for that + 2-3 blaster cannons. Outer players are just defending themselves against the T3 spawn and gather power. T2 - Enemy Bandits/ Twilight Most likely very easy camps. 5-6 shadow phoenixes should be enough to clear T3 and T4, unless you face a boss at t4 or have those nasty windhunters against you. T2- Enemy Stonekin You will most likely face constructs and/ or tortuguns again. Means you need to summon 12 phoenixes again by making some of them voidless in the first place. Pretty much same as in 4.2. T2 - Enemy Stonekin. I recommend not to clear T4 unless you are 100% sure you can do it as some of the spawns can get really nasty, especially if they are coming from the after T4 camps (bunch of shields and those bandit snipers) and you really want to have some shadow phoenixes to defend against that. T2 - Enemy Lost Souls You will most likely need 10-12 phoenixes to clear t3 and help your team mates on the outer positions to clear their t2. Outer positions will spawn a bunch of sunstriders for lost vigils while shadow phoenixes take care of the big ground units (treespirits & manabeasts). I recommend using 4-6 shadow phoenixes for that depending on if those ground units get shielded or not. (Man beasts die from 3 phoenixes and 5 if shielded, treespirits from 4 phoenixes and 6 if shielded). You will most likely get massive spawns from the camps after T4, those can include 2-3 treespirits/manabeasts, 2 lost vigils, several squad units and those shield lost wanderers. That means you will need several phoenixes to defend against that and something anti air. Sometimes a mark of the keeper is worth thinking about. T3 - Enemy Bandit/ Twilight Basically skipped as T4 is already cleared. Outer players building shrine of war. Against twilight healing gardens and wheel of gifts CAN be built. If you want so outer players will do it. T3 - Enemy Stonekin/ Lost Souls One of the inner players will go amii-monument and clear the t4 of his mate (against Lost Souls most of the time the shadow player). The other side can try ashbone pyros with frenetic assault/ infect/ soulshatter. Shrine of war is build by outer players again. Against Lost Souls incredible Mo with 'benevolent Mo' effect is a must, also build by outer players. T4 - Enemy Bandit Lost Spirit Ship Spam supported by bloodhorns(red) for the outer players (they might have some lost spirit ships in the end as well). I highly recommend using red Lost Spirit Ships only as you can use motivate + flame crystal to increase their damage significantly. Use Bloodhorns for the bosses. T4 - Enemy Twilight Mix of bloodhorn and Lost Spirit Ships. You will need a lot of crowd control to be able to deal with the wrathgazers. I highly recommend earthshaker for destroying willzappers. Always run with 2 people (I recommend 1 inner and 1 outer player) or its very very likely that you get wiped out. Batariel CAN be an option for 1 or 2 players (I recommend 1 maximum). You need the ground presence of the bloodhorns but be careful to keep them alive. Same deal with Lost Spirit Ships and flame crystal. T4- Enemy Stonekin I recommend a mix of Batariel and Bloodhorns as Lost Spirit Ships have huge problems with the high hp buildings and units of stonekin. T4 - Enemy Lost Souls Lost Spirit Ships are the only way to go here. Incredible Mo prevents Lost Dragon debuff from them. Have bloodhorns always 1 base behind them and send them in after the base is cleared to kill bosses (be careful at the hellhound as he can 'eat' your bloodhorns) otherwise your bloodhorns will just get killed by necrofurys and even your ships have a harder time as necrofurys can deal damage to them when they focus a ground unit right under them. Batariel is not an option in here as lost dancers will deny all the buffs you want to send at him and necrofurys killing him super fast then. 5.3. Pathing Basically the same as for 2 player maps but now you have to also coordinate 2 more players, which can lead to some weird routes especially for the outer players. Expect to have a power deficit on one side of the map making that side a bit slower by clearing camps and overall starting to clear camps. It becomes very situational in 4 player maps even though basic concept stays the same. Most of the time you will need to change up your original route to go by quite a bit as its hard to calculate strength of each player at every time in the game correctly and you will most likely have mistakes in there which is changing viable routes completely. Learning by doing is the only way to find correct routes in 4 player maps. 6. Cards that can be very useful but are very situational (mostly for 4 player maps) Netherwarp - Porting over walls. Portal Nexus - Viable with ground units only, makes ways shorter to the next base and avoids long ways back out of bases / dead ends - mostly use for stonekin maps Tunnel + Burrowing Ritual - Having few units that are mostly air and in a dead end? use this - mostly useful on twilight maps Mark of the Keeper - Defending against heavy Lost Souls spawn on your T3 Witchclaws (red) - Sometimes good in 2 player maps to clear out the spawnbuilding when its very far back. Stone of Torment - Avoiding to pull out shamans from bases. Matter Mastery (green) - Some Bandit Maps having this nasty Rioter's Retreat towers, matter mastery can be an option if the rest of the base is very weak and you are getting strong spawns. Frost Bite(purple) - Alternative to Fallen Skyelf when not using 2 shadow orbs and having a free deck slot. Used against bosses to increase the damage they take( mostly used in 2 and 4 player). Mumbo Jumbo (red) - Alternative to Fallen Skyelf when not using 2 shadow orbs and having a free deck slot. Used against bosses to increase the damage they take( mostly used in 2 and 4 player) Constructive critics and comments and improvement suggestions are very appreciated. Feel free to ask any kind of questions as well. Leave a reputation if this was helpful At this point a special thank-you goes to @Kiwi, that helped me with my english for this guide and @ladadoos who made the graphics, you are awesome Thanks for reading. P.s. as the attachment upload doesn't work for me i will add a dropbox link where you can find a pdf with the whole guide: https://www.dropbox.com/s/6kgyobccr9u03hd/Treim's Battleforge rPVE Speedrun Guide.pdf?dl=0
How to Build a (PvP) Deck A Battleforge Guide by Eirias Last update: 6/3/16 This guide is primarily for players new to Player vs Player (PvP) matches. Perhaps an experienced player could gain some information playing an unfamiliar faction, although I would assume he knows the basics already. I will attempt to explain the reasons behind why certain cards are included and why certain cards are not included. In addition, I will provide examples from my own deck illustrating my rise from noobdom to pro (perhaps that was an exaggeration. I was roughly in the top 30 at my best and my PvP rank was usually around Hero. I could complain about my handicaps, but that is neither here nor there). I am totally new to this game. Should I start PvP or will I get stomped and ragequit? Most people will advise you to start PvE (these are the storyline maps, or the random maps that generate enemies). I will do no such thing! Although people love this game for a myriad of reasons, I think it’s the PvP aspect that is the best. Yes, you will get stomped immediately. I’d recommend reading Circadia’s guide before you start, as that is the most prominent one up at the time of writing. Of course, if I write my own, I’ll direct you there instead. J If you don’t know any of the following terms, go read a guide explaining basic gameplay: orb, well, void pool, unit size, unit counters, power pool, bound power, siege, PPD (permanent power disadvantage), t1, t2, t3, BFP, cc. Elendil and Kaldra wrote a pretty good one explaining the basic mechanics of Battleforge. Now answer the following question: What wins matches? If your answer is “skill,” keep reading. If you think cards win matches, correct your misconception and read this anyway. Cards do not win matches—they are the medium from which matches are won, but they don’t do it themselves. Many players hold that one can make Legend with only the tutorial deck. I think that’s hogwash, but you can certainly get somewhere between destroyer and annihilator (14 and 20) with it. Also, you will almost definitely get stomped your first few matches. I shall do my best to prevent that, but if you have a tendency to ragequit, start in the sparring grounds or start with PvE. Why do you keep mentioning these really technical aspects of cards like I’m not a beginner who has no idea what half the cards are? Simply put, I’m lazy and this guide is long enough. I’m doing my best to be beginner-friendly and I’m barely using any abbreviations (and when I do, I make sure they’re clear), but this is a guide to explain the usefulness and synergy of each card in a particular deck, not an explanation of the card itself. I’d highly recommend using this site as your companion: http://allcards.bfreborn.com/. If you don’t know a card, look it up there. This is much better than having to sit through another 50 pages of me explaining that a particular card cost 70 power and requires 1 nature and 1 neutral orb and has swift and can do an acid spit that attacks walls. Just look it up. If there’s still something that’s not clear, comment on it and I’ll add a clarification note on the guide. I’m playing with the F2P deck (starter cards) and Nomads/Frost mage/ Firesworn/other lame card is an insta-win. If I save up to get that card, will I make it to the top 20? Not a chance. You will jump a bunch of ranks, but then you will get shut down. When I was a noob I always got stomped by nomads (get it J). Nomads were the first card I bought when I had money. I just rushed everyone and won a bunch of games. Then I was paired with someone half-decent (maybe rank 11 or so) and I got shut down hard. I’ll discuss lamer counters later in the guide. Suffice it to say for now that no cards are broken, especially in t1. T1 is very well balanced. As long as you do the balancing yourself. So sit tight and pay careful attention to my section on t1. I have no BFP. Does that mean your advice doesn’t apply to me? Actually, no. My advice should be especially helpful to you. Unlike other guides, I won’t just hand you a grocery list of cards you need (I’ll actually do my best to avoid that). I’ll be illustrating guiding principles. Obviously some techniques will be better than others, and better techniques usually arise from better cards, but most decks work just fine with about 15 “free” cards. I’m also a particularly good person to be writing a guide for those with little BFP, because I was completely P4F in the old game. I got no handouts from other players and spent no money in the game. In BFReborn, there will never be another player as destitute as I was. However, I can imagine that many of you will not have earned enough BFP for a list of “ideal” cards yet, so I’ll provide what advice I can so you can keep playing until you can come back and revise your deck with the more expensive, optimal options. So I heard that nobody plays t4 in PvP. T4 is awesome and I’m going to play it anyway! Power to you! Just please don’t rage when you lose. I’m all for people ignoring my advice and doing whatever the really want to do! I’m not here to force you to do anything, only to offer my advice and experience so you can accelerate your learning process. Not using t4 is probably something you would have figured out at some point (even I figured that one out on my own), because it’s really, really obvious when it comes down to it. T4 requires 300 power, and a waiting period. Do you have any idea how fast I can murder someone with 300 power laying around in t3? Your monument that’s about to get built won’t stand a chance if we’re even, and if you’re winning so much that you can safely go t4, why don’t you just finish the game already? Even worse, that 300 power is not eco-friendly. It’s bound, which means it doesn’t get recycled. If it drops that’s a huge chunk of power gone, although it’s still permanently gone even if it doesn’t drop. Additionally, many maps don’t have enough orbs to allow you to t4 safely. Spending 300 power just invites such a massive counterattack that you have no hope of defending it—even if you bring Amii Ritual. And somehow have the power to play it. In fact, you’ll probably lose merely because you’re holding on to 300 power in your pool. Imagine you are building up power for t4 and I cast 2 soulshatters, or a sandstorm, or I just summon a Grigori and nasty it. If that doesn’t kill you (which it totally will, but maybe I was being dumb), I will still get more power than you. That sudden loss of 300 power will bring back somewhere between 100 and 200 by the time your monument gets up. Even then, I’ll be getting power faster than you because my void will have 300 power more than yours. So if you think you have what it takes to play t4 in PvP, go for it. Just don’t hold me responsible for sending you out into the world uneducated. About now I scrolled down to see when the actual guide starts. Then I realized this thing is borderline superlatively HUGE! What’s up with this? Fear not! An actual guide does exist in here, I’m just trying to get the preliminary questions that I anticipate noobs asking out of the way. This guide is so long because I am trying to be thorough and show you guys how to build a deck. I want to give you tools to do it yourself so you can custom-make your own decks and be original. Please don’t take anything I say as absolute law (although you will probably come around eventually, if you disagree with me). I also include a lot of personal comments and stories, because I’d like you guys to learn from my mistakes. I also feel they illustrate points better. If you don’t have time to read this whole thing, here is what I suggest: Take a look at my section on the metagame and figure out which deck fits your play style. Read my fire-nature section for an in-depth analysis of how to build a deck from scratch, then go to the section you want to actually play. You will learn more about all the decks—and especially get a better idea of what to expect when you play against them—if you read the entire thing, but I understand that is too large of a time commitment for some people. Do you have any biases? Absolutely! Due to only being a P4F player, I only played one deck seriously: Fire-Nature. That said, I did have some other “fun” decks that I messed around in the sparring grounds. I played t1 fire almost exclusively, although I also tried my hand at frost. I never bothered to acquire the necessary t1 for nature or shadow, although I’ve played with lots of players who had. So my comments regarding other factions will be from my perspective as a fire-nature player. I also played 2v2 extensively with several very good shadow-frost players, so all together I have strong personal experience with all of the factions. That said, if any other veterans want to chime in with advice or things I missed in this guide, I’ll happily add them in and credit you. Now, on to the meat of the guide. How does the metagame work? · Pure Fire o Your biggest advantage is fire dancers. You are the most aggressive faction, and your primary goal is to set up fire dancer camps; even better if you can do so from behind a wall or cliff. Your strategy is very simple and one dimensional, but highly effective. Rally banner to fire dancers. Enforcers and skyfire drake to defend the dancers. This faction is the most map-dependent faction. Additionally pure fire has an excellent t3 in juggernaut, which is probably the best t3 unit in the game. You will typically struggle more in t2 than t1 or t3 because of your inability to defend: you have no heals, repairs, or cc’s. You live by the adage that the best defense is a good offense, but that is the extent of your defense. If your attack fails, it is often not recoverable. Pure fire is notably bad at preventing its opponent from converting temporary advantages into permanent ones—although it is quite good at the conversion itself. Fire is often fun to play because of its simplicity and sheer power, but many players feel the “cliffdancing” is lame and avoid pure fire because of it. Pure fire has very good matchups against pure nature and pure shadow, but very poor matchups against pure frost and stonekin. · Fire-Nature o Your biggest advantage is the synergy of fire spells and nature spells. Another quite popular deck, fire-nature is known for its hard hitters. This deck has slightly worse offense than pure fire, but better defense. This deck is the best at “brute force” attacks. With enough power, you can spam heals and cc tank through to the well. A massed fire-nature army is particularly dangerous, although it only occurs rarely because of how much power the units cost. Cc can be used for defense as well as offense, and while most player prefer to use it offensively, you need to be careful about expending too much power in an attack. It is often possible to spend an immense amount of power to guarantee a well drops, but the backlash from the defending army will often overwhelm you completely. This deck is fairly good at preventing temporary advantages from converting to permanent ones through judicious use of cc and mortar camping. This deck is too volatile to try accumulating small advantages—just rush. Defending requires a good deal of proactivity, and the most successful defense is usually to counterattack instead of defending. This deck is probably the best deck to have a lot of power at t2, but it is one of the worst to have lots of power at t3. Since the nerf of sun reaver, fire-nature has easily the worst t3 of any faction. Because of the nature of fire-nature t3, it’s often impossible to prevent an orb from dropping in t3. For this reason, it is highly recommended to play the t3 orb the same color as your starting orb. Often the best outcome of a t3 fight is for both of you to lose your orb—if your t3 and t1 are the same color, you will only drop to t2 when this happens, instead of t0. This deck has perfected the strategy of attacking multiple places at once, but is ironically highly susceptible to the same tactic: with equal power, fire nature can defend any t2 attack in one place, but it often requires just a little more power to defend than the attacker needs to attack. The deficit piles up very quickly when many small attacks are initiated. Fire nature is especially good for you if you like long, creative, perilous t2 battles. There are no t2 matchups that are particularly terrible for fire-nature, but the drawback is that it has no particular advantages over any other faction. Stonekin, and fire-frost will probably give you the most trouble, especially stonekin. · Fire-Shadow o You are aggressive and depend on buffs. You’re particularly good at turning an insignificant threat into a serious one. Cc’s are the bane of your existence, but you also possess the tools to strike in many areas at once, mitigating the effect of cc. You can just as easily spam 4 nightcrawlers to 4 different bases buffed 4 different ways as you can put all your energy into one attack with a rallying banner and darkelf assasins, nightcrawlers, rageclaws, or shadow phoenixes. Matches tend to be one-sided: either you dominate, or you get dominated. T1 control is often critical to play a good bandits deck. Your t3 is one of the best, with nigh unstoppable options such as giant slayers, ashbone pyros, sandstorm, soulhunter, and cultist master. Having lots of power in t3 benefits you more than almost any faction. Most players consider bandits to be the weakest faction, but you ignore the opinions of the unenlightened because they don’t understand the meaning of “style.” · Fire-Frost o You are the deck of contradictions. You have the high attack of fire combined with the defense of frost. You abuse ice shields even more than pure frost, because your normally squishy fire units can do absurd damage when they’re not worried about dying. You are the deck of building shenanigans—if anyone is going to pull some mischief with termite hill, it will be you, with your building repairs, cc, and warden sigil. There are quite a lot of interesting building combos at your disposal, but most are just too impractical. Nonetheless, you consider yourself to be the most creative faction, testing ideas that everyone else has written off. You need to be attentive and demonstrate excellent micro to play this deck. Additionally, your t3 is not the strongest because you must pick between giant slayers and tremors. Fire-frost has no particularly good or weak matchups, and is a good deck for preventing random losses. It is probably the most difficult deck to master, as well as being extremely expensive—mountaineer is fairly essential for fire-frost. @Hirrooo disagrees with me here; he states that fire-frost can get almost as much mileage out of rageclaws and that fire-frost is quite viable on a budget. He’s better than me, so you should believe himJ. @YaBro0 mentions that this deck can be played very creatively, or not at all (mountaineer and stormsinger spam). · Pure Shadow o Oh, the combos! You love being needlessly complicated. You have an interesting dichotomy—on one hand you have sheer shadow mage aggression; on the other, you have the tactic of building up power for a harvester. You can choose to take the initiative with cheap units, or you can play passively, conserving power for a harvester. This deck is very good at punishing mistakes, and if you like slowly accruing a power advantage, the harvester allows an easily convertible reward for having all that power. This is the ultimate risk/reward deck, and has many options for combos based on corpse collecting. Your t3 is phenomenal, especially if you go frost t3. Pure shadow is very strong against non-frost splashes, but struggles against frost splashes and pure fire. · Shadow-Frost o You want to win at any cost. Let them call you a lamer! At the end of the day you’ll have the higher ELO. This deck is notorious for its laming ability, but it’s a strong deck even when played like a gentleman. Frost and shadow combo well together, with the high health of frost boosting sacrificial damage from shadow. You have all the bases covered with cc and building repairs. Lost souls has the largest variety of viable t2 units—there are so many good options, it’s hard to choose! You have one of the best t3, and it’s definitely possible to get away with a light t2 to carry a large t3 army. This is the deck that can spare slots for curse well or church of negation. This deck is the best for camping t3, but you can just as viably go aggressive t2 instead of saving those spots for the long t3. Lost souls has the best average matchups of any deck. It has a slight edge against many decks, and a large edge over a few. Stonekin or pure nature is probably its hardest matchup, but this deck has so many strong options that you can easily change it to accommodate if you have trouble against a particular deck. Pure fire is also pretty good against shadow-frost (one of the reasons many top players played pure fire). · Shadow-Nature o This deck is all about those M units. Burrower and nightcrawler are your right and left hands. You are the evil twin to fire-nature, lagging slightly in defense but making up for it in offense. You must rely on a multitude of units because you have no strong solo unit. You excel at keeping your units alive during an attack because of your buffs, heals, and cc. You are great at getting a unit advantage and then keeping it. This is one of the most balanced decks. Stonekin is your worst nightmare because your 2 main attack units (nightcrawler and burrower) get countered by stoneshards and knockback, while hurricane takes out your darkelf assassins. Pure fire will also give you a lot of trouble because you lean heavily on burrowers and nightcrawlers, which are both M units that die to enforcers. You also don’t have building defense. @Hirrooo considers shadow-nature to be the strongest against frost because ghostspears and nightguard are difficult for the frost player to deal with. · Pure Frost o Your biggest advantage is war eagle. Arguably the best t2 unit in the game, your entire strategy hinges on it. This deck epitomizes the “one-hit wonder.” Your goal is to keep your war eagles alive and support it while it kills everything else. The deck is very defensive, but doesn’t launch quick attacks very well. While the war eagle can solo, especially against t1, it moves slowly. You can defend one attack very well because war eagle kills everything and your building repairs take care of the rest, but multiple attacks are hard to fend off because of the cost of war eagle. Often the pure frost battles are determined by who controls the sky. As such you have very good matchups against pure fire and very poor ones against pure nature. Overall it’s a fairly balanced deck with no outstanding weaknesses. · Frost-Nature o This deck is all about standing army control. Attacks are slow, but you definitely have the option to do some t2 rushing with burrowers. They probably won’t succeed because you don’t have offensive spells to assist, but you definitely have the means to add pressure. In general though, you will win by passively accumulating a standing army and then strangling your opponent to death. You have both heals and building repairs, your units take less damage, and many of your units are knockback based. These factors combine to make you the ultimate survivor. Add in the fact that you have OP S/M beast counters and razorshards, and it’s easy to see why nobody likes to play against this deck. Many feel that it takes the fun out of Battleforge because of how long stonekin matches take. Andre Philidor revolutionized chess to show that slow, positional play beats fast-paced tactical aggression, and stonekin player seek to do the same in Battleforge. As far as I’m aware, this deck has no bad matchups (although it does have some unfavorable ones that depend on individual decks—for instance, some players pack mauler explicitly for stonekin matchups), and it does have some very good ones against pure fire, pure shadow, and bandits. Pure nature is probably stonekin’s hardest matchup. · Pure Nature o This deck is all about power manipulation. You have energy parasites and shrine of memory. Deep ones are also quite powerful, but the truth is that you just use them as a distraction to set up your power manipulation. You have Deep Ones and Burrowers to go strong on the offensive, but with no attack spells you are unlikely to make a successful offensive without a power advantage. Your parasite swarms are also a tad overpowered, but they’re difficult to use because they cost a lot (this is a theme with pure nature). Pure nature is unique in that it can be played in two completely different ways—it’s almost as if root decks are a separate faction. Root decks rely on cards comboing with a root nexus to build a large standing army and maintain it. This style of playing is most similar to stonekin. Pure nature has a particularly easy time against pure frost because of energy parasite, but a very hard time against pure fire because of its lack of building repairs or unit damaging options. What do I need for t1? The t1 metagame is pretty advanced, but it’s very balanced. Note that it’s only balanced when the optimal cards are employed. If you need a cheap deck, shadow and frost have the cheapest t1. (For those interested, shadow used to be crazy expensive because dreadcharger was very pricy. Then witchclaws were introduced as a common and now shadow t1 can theoretically be played with only commons). For every t1, you need a SWIFT unit to get as much map control as possible. Note that frost has no swift units in t1—it compensates for this with just being generally OP J. You also need a RANGED unit. Kiting is important, and ranged units spam easier than melee units because melee units sometimes get in each other’s way. Ranged units can also be spread out to minimize the danger of an eruption or nasty surprise. Additionally, you must use each faction’s core spell. That would be surge of light, eruption, glacier shell, and nasty surprise. These are the most important four cards in the game. The entire metagame is based off of them. Furthermore, you must have S and M counters, and units which are not countered by S or M counters. Fire t1: Your essential cards are: Eruption, Scavenger, and Sun Strider. For fun, I’ve played matches only carrying those 3 cards. It’s really not optimal, however, and it forces t2 rushing (which is a terrible habit). With one notable exception, all the pros I am aware of play an extended t1. They try to build a t1 power advantage, and it’s simply not possible to do so with only these cards. Nonetheless, if you play defensively and concede to a map-control disadvantage, you can play with only this. Note that sometimes you will lose to a t1 rush that you just can’t handle. I’m looking at you, MA spam with homesoil and wintertide. The next most important card is Thugs. It’s really hard to fight shadow forsaken spam without thugs. Following these, the usefulness of t1 cards are as follows: Firesworn = Mortar > Sunderer > Mine > Scorched Earth > Wrecker > Nomad. Please don’t use nomads. See below for why. As a general rule of thumb, take the cards in this order. Decide which cards you want in t2 and figure out how much space you need. Allot your t1 cards according to your empty deck slots. For instance, in my most successful deck, I had five spots for t1. I brought eruption, scavenger, sun strider, thugs, and mortar. I think mortar is more essential than firesworn, but I think most players disagree with me. Regardless, I played without firesworn for most of my matches, and I never used sunderer except in some 2v2s and 1v1s when I messed around with pure fire. Commentary on the pros and cons of each card: Eruption: This card. It does 300 damage (U3—assume everything I say is U3) to 3 targets, including air. This card is a primary anti-air defense, as well as generator nuke. If a nature player has an expensive unit <300 health, instantly erupt it. If a frost player has a well <300 health, instantly erupt it. If there are multiple units clumped together, erupt them and finish off with sunstriders. Scavenger: This is a great swift card. It’s cheap, a great S counter, and has crippling bite. Scavengers work great with sunstriders because between the two, you have both S and M counters, and you can slow enemies with the scav and kite with sunstriders. Sunstriders: Not a particularly great t1 ranged unit, but ranged units are essential, and the sunstriders have to be weak because scavenger pairs so well with ranged attack. Despite their low health, they have great attack. If you face a Fire Drake with ravage, make two sunstriders and erupt the drake as soon as it’s HP <300. Other factions have a much harder time defending Fire Drakes in t1. Thugs are a terrific card. They are S/S, so forsaken don’t eat them—this tends to be a problem with scavengers: although scavenger are M/S and forsaken are S/M, the forsaken are cheaper, have longer range, and can frenzy or motivate. Spamming scavengers and spamming forsaken will lead to an easy shadow win. If you don’t have thugs, forsaken spams are very hard to deal with. They also help vs windweavers, but the real reason you need them in your deck is to combat forsaken. Thugs also have a looter ability, which gives you power for attacking units (proportional to the unit’s power, I believe). I don’t really know how it works, but sometimes I send thugs out against grigoris or juggernauts just in case. Firesworn have multiple uses. They knock back small units, which really helps against frost Master Archer and windweaver spam. Unfortunately they cost a lot and have low health, so I generally don’t recommend their use for knockback. They die very quickly to frostbite, and a roots with well-placed windweavers can kill Firesworn without them getting a shot off. If you use them versus forsaken, you need to be able to make one for every forsaken, which is quite difficult. It has more use if you can make it so your firesworn is not dazed while the forsaken are, which makes them good for defending forsaken spams at wells as long as the forsaken have not been pre-summoned. Of course, if you see your opponent making 3-4 forsaken at once, that’s a good cue to make a mortar tower. Generally the red affinity is better. Some prefer the blue (especially fire-nature, to knock back a large unit and root it), but most like red better. Mortar Tower has saved me so many times. It works well in my deck, because I play a defensive t1 with the goal of saving card spots. It’s also useful for punishing laziness. Some maps have areas with wells that really shouldn’t be taken because of mortar tower pressure, but if your opponent takes them anyway, punish. The #1 reason I play this card is to stop frost rushes. I also like welling up more than my opponent, and when he builds a bunch of units to rush me, I build a mortar. The relatively quick build time on this card also helps saves. I even use it in t3 (!) to defend against things like juggernauts. I have a few more secrets with my precious mortar, but I won’t share them because as far as I know, I’m the only one who does this. Sunderer: The only t1 L unit, this card really helps against shadow. Against nature’s amazons or roots + windweaver it’s pretty pointless, and the combination of lightblade and glacier shell makes it practically useless against frost. Fire can generally deal with sunderers easily through eruptions and scavenger bites with kiting sunstriders, or a simple firesworn. It’s still more useful against fire than frost or nature, however. Shadow struggles the most with Sunderers because of its lack of t1 L counters. Simply put, nightguard does very little damage, and the shadow player has usually lost the well by the time nightguard’s swapping ability is ready. For this reason, many shadow players don’t even carry nightguard. For shadow to defend a sunderer, it must usually nasty a dreadcharger while the sunderer is dazed. Alternatively, you can walk the dreadcharger into the sunderer to slow it and kite with frenzied forsaken. In general, the shadow response to a sunderer is to let it get the well down, kill it, and then launch a responding offensive with all the defending units. Mine: Honestly, I think this has more use in t2. The mine does such a ridiculous amount of damage that it basically one-shots anything in t1. The downside is that the opponent must walk into it, and it has a smallish blast range. It’s basically a shot from a mortar tower except you don’t need to wait for the tower to build. It combos nicely with fire-nature’s hurricane or ensnaring roots, and it can be a semi-useful cc (crowd control) for pure fire or bandits. Scorched Earth: It has its uses. I saw it used quite effectively in a match between SchokoPeace and xAragornx linked here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XcFRUgSda7A. Nonetheless, it is a nicety and is useful only situationally. Pure fire is pretty much the only deck that can spend a slot on this card. If you use this, make sure to use the red affinity. Wreckers: I have a deep love for wreckers. They were my go-to unit as a noob. They’re great cards. But they’re not that useful. Not with fire. The thing is just that melee non-swift units are very vulnerable, and wreckers have it even worse because of their low health. They can be quite useful vs frost mages and dryads, but roots or ice guardians usually beats them. Their rally skill is useful, especially for surprise sunderers, but they’re hardly worth the deck slot. I used to carry them instead of thugs to deal with frost rushes, but I learned to just get better at using mortar and scavenger micro. Nomads: The green ones are better, and these cards are notorious for noob-stomping. I remember when I was new, all I wanted was a nomad (or frost mage) because they are great against small units. Right? Wrong. Nomads are M/M units, same as wreckers, and have the same utility. Except worse. Nomads reward spamming the same unit, but spamming is punished harder than Nomads reward it. Eruption takes out a group of Nomads because they are grouped. 6 sunstriders can be made with the same power as 4 nomads (which is pretty much the minimum number needed to rush), and the nomads will drop to 2 sunstriders. Additionally, you can erupt every spawned nomad because they cost the same as an eruption, and the eruption will also hurt the nearby units. If I see someone make a bunch of nomads, I just take a well with the knowledge that my defense will be very easy. Nature can simply root all the nomads and shoot them with windweavers. Shadow can nasty surprise, or just spam forsaken back (forsaken win). Frost probably has the hardest time, but ice guardians are good against them, as well as lightblade and frostbite. Remember that as soon as the number of nomads drops below three, they lose their buff. The switch from nomads to scavenger is the best decision you can make in a fire deck. Two days after I did that, I jumped several rankings (something like 10). Nomads are just not very good as swift units. They cost too much, and they are M/M so they are useless with sunstriders (If fire had Master Archers instead of sunstriders, nomads would be much more useful. But that’s not the case). Makeshift Tower: This can be useful for noobs against noobs, but it’s not useful otherwise. It helps against windweaver or master archer spam, but the tower really isn’t worth the deck slot. Although the tower does great knockback, it does very little damage. Basically thugs and scavengers are better at doing damage to small units than makeshift tower is at knocking them back. If you need the knockback super badly, there is always firesworn, which has utility elsewhere as well. Banner of Glory: I never see this played, but it does have its uses. I once won a bunch of tome matches with this card, but that’s because neither player had the optimal t1. It’s about as useful as makeshift tower. Strikers: Nope. They have the same issue as nomads, but they’re even worse. I have nothing more to say except a warning not to bring them. Suppression, Blaster Cannon, and Other Nonsense: Completely useless. There are no other fire t1 cards even worth considering. Additional thoughts: The order I listed above is actually pretty strict, comparatively. Fire cards don’t have a ton of redundancy or options. Pretty much each card is better than all the cards listed after it. However, there are cases when it is better to bring one card over another. For instance, fire-nature players may take mine instead of firesworn, sunderer, or mortar tower because the card combos really well with roots in t2. You’re more likely to see mortar tower in a fire-nature deck than a fire-shadow deck for the same reason. In theory, you could take all of these cards with you (except nomad, please) and have basically no t2 or t3. I have seen good players take that route—they straight up rush t1 every time. Of course, if your t1 rush fails you don’t stand a chance, so I don’t think these players ever made it into the top 20 this way. Despite my animosity towards nomads, if you ABSOLUTELY cannot afford a scavenger, there are ways to make it work. See one of my noob decks below for an example, but you need thugs 100% (and probably makeshift tower) if you don’t take scavenger. And your best bet is to avoid t1 confrontation as much as possible. @SunWu II commented that he’d rather leave out eruption than sunderer or firesworn. If he has a full t1 I can see where he is coming from. Eruption is sort of the jack-of-all trades; it does a lot of things pretty well (like helping against L counters, knocking back small units, or helping drop a well). If you can do all the other things without eruption, then perhaps I wouldn’t list it as completely essential. But if you’re trying to skimp on t1 slots, eruption is the most versatile for replacing the other options (mortar as well). Eruption also punishes beginner mistakes. It’s not that essential when playing high-ranked players because they rarely allow great eruptions, but it can end games very quickly against noobs. Like my target audience. @Dexirian commented that he played without thugs all the time. I suspect he used firesworn and sunderer though, and would respond to forsaken with a sunderer rush to drop a well. @Hirooo, in response to Dexirian, said, “Thugs give a huge edge vs fire and are even stronger against shadow since both were pretty much 1 swift s counter + s unit m counter spam. Also made welldefense way easier and enabled you to take one well up earlier than without. Not a must have no but I would strongly advise using them at least in every firesplash that isnt fire/nature since that one stretches the cardlimit a bit harder.” All of these are respectable players (otherwise I wouldn’t be quoting them), but Hirooo is especially high ranked. Take what you will from the discussion. Shadow t1: I can’t speak for lower level play, but this faction is the most-played t1 in the upper ranks. FarRock once claimed that 60% of top players played it—I’m pretty sure he just made that number up, but it seems about right. This might also be due to the prominence of shad-frost players, which I’d estimate to make up about 2/5 to 3/5 of the top 200 players (like FarRock, I’m making this up). Shadow t1 rewards good micro, while at the same time it’s a relatively easy faction to play well, even if your micro isn’t that good. You can play with a variety of t1 luxuries, most notably: lifeweaving > motivate > phase tower. @YaBro0 notes that lifeweaving is essential for bandits or pure shadow, while motivate is essential for shadow nature. Your essential cards are Dreadcharger/Witchclaws, Forsaken, Nasty Surprise, and Nox Trooper. I suppose in theory you could get by without nox trooper, but I really don’t recommend it. Lifeweaving and Motivate are also a staple in most decks, but you can manage without them. In general, the only other unit you should consider t1 is Nightguard. Dreadcharger: The most common t1 starting card. It has a smidgen less health than witchclaws, but it has a better ability, tramples small units, and cost 5 less power. Witchclaws: Playable as your 1st unit, but the general consensus is that dreadcharger is better. The reason to take witchclaws over dreadcharger is that it has more health for a better nasty (witchclaws can kill a skyfire drake, but dreadcharger can’t), but it’s not that much of a difference. Witchclaws are much cheaper by rarity, and TBPeti feels they are an acceptable substitute if you can’t afford dreadchargers. @Hiroo feels witchclaws are a “really bad idea” if you can afford the dreadcharger. Windweavers can do double damage to them, their attack halves when one dies (squad probs), they have a longer spawn animation and they cost 5 more power. In return, they get a mere 30 hp bonus and a terrible ability. @YaBro0 said that witchclaws are better in shadow mirrors because when they nasty, they exactly kill a full health squad of forsaken. Nightguard: Although I’ve seen some people play this as their starter unit, I don’t recommend it. They are very weak, and you’ll almost definitely lose a t1 fight without witchclaws or dreadcharger. And if you have those, why would you start with nightguard? Nightguard does have use against L units though. The swap is very nice, but not so useful in t1 because sunderer is the only card worth swapping, and the nightguard’s ability has a large cooldown. Your well will probably be gone if you’re waiting to swap. This card is much more useful in t2 against cards like Deep One, Lost Reaver, War eagle, etc. The choice of affinities is personal preference—swift helps you catch the unit you want to swap with, but it also helps your swapped nightguard get away. I’d recommend the green affinity, but TBPeti preferred the blue in his shadow-nature deck—he would cc the unit he wanted to swap with, and then catch the normal speed nightguard. Forsaken: These guys are amazing, and a necessary addition to every shadow deck. Their frenzy does great damage, and forsaken spams are reliable ways of dropping wells against fire. They have a harder time against frost and nature because of S knockback, but if you drop a well in t1 it will be by spamming these guys or nox troopers. Nox Trooper: I would consider these to be essential for t1. When playing against nature, you will probably need to spam these. (@TBPeti feels spamming isn’t the best idea because S units have better stats, but they’re still needed in judicious quantities.) Nox helps against hit-and-run tactics. They are essential to stay t1 against things like burrower rush. You’ll also need them to take out frost mages so your forsaken can do work. Nasty Surprise: An absolute must. Many of the shadow threats hinge upon a well-placed nasty. Although it is definitely the least used core spell (eruption, surge of light, glacier shell, and nasty), it is completely necessary for t1. Lifeweaving: I thought this card was essential for shadow, but @Hirooo reminded me that its usefulness actually increases as tiers increase. It’s often not used much in t1, but becomes more prominent in t2. As such, if you don’t plan to use it much in t2, it’s often a wasted deck slot for t1. It’s almost always bad to use lifeweaving in t1. The only exceptions I can think of are when a well is about to drop or you need to maintain ground presence. Motivate: This, nightguard, lifeweaving, and phase towers are the four cards that change between shadow players. Almost everyone uses dreadcharger, forsaken, nasty, and nox; these 4 cards switch around, and it’s very rare to see anything else. Most players value motivate more than phase tower, and phase tower more than nightguard. Lifeweaving is different; you’ll do best to treat it like a t2 card when deciding whether to bring it. Phase Tower: This leads to very campy t1 fights, and there are some places where it gets quite lame (certain cliffing maps, for instance). It’s especially strong against nature and frost. Fire tends to do better against it because of eruption. If you struggle against frost or nature t1, this is a good addition to your deck. Skeleton Warriors: I, like most people, thought these guys were trash, but Matos once used them against me when he was ranked #2. They’re basically forsaken, except worse because they don’t have range. On the plus side, they’re super hard to kill with their ability and have great health for nasty surprise, so they can be good at getting wells down, especially against fire. @TBPeti and @RadicalX feel these are the most underrated t1 cards. They can tank 1650 damage over 30 seconds with their ability—TBPeti attributed making it into the top 5 to his use of them. With their ability, they even beat wrathblades. TBPeti suggests using them instead of phase tower. Wrathblades: These can be an answer to fire’s thugs, and can help you in shadow matchups. However, S units are notoriously weak against frost and nature. I don’t recommend them. However, there was player in the top 20 who used them once upon a time, so they’re not useless. Executor: This is shadow’s equivalent of a wrecker, except it doesn’t even have the rally. Don’t bother with him. If you know you’re going to play someone with a frost t1, they add some nice aggressive options (credit @Hirooo) but they are useless otherwise. Decomposer: This can have some use, but not in any sort of classical t1 fight. Don’t bother with it. Embalmer’s Shrine: This has more uses than the decomposer. It works well with some pure shadow techniques, but doesn’t combo well with anything t1 except soul splicer. Rumor has it there’s an interesting combo with this card, soul splicer, and furnace of flesh, but I wouldn’t trust everything you hear. . . . Soul Splicer: The green is much better. It heals quite a bit, and can make a good offensive post to attack from. It’s rare that your opponent lets you get one of these up away from a well though. A more common technique is to pull it up near your well when you and your opponent have wells in close proximity. Then you can attack and constantly pull back for the building’s healing. It’s still an unusual card, although most pure shadow players use it (OP with shadow mages). Snapjaws: I’ve seen good players take these. They’re interesting, and much more useful in higher tiers. The problem is that they’re expensive, and do little to nothing in t1. @Hirooo said they have some use in defending sunderer in high power t1 fights. @TBPeti feels the damage-decreasing ones can have some use against L/XL units, but the defense-decreasing ones are just a worse frostbite. Neither affinity is worth the power or deck slot, however. Offering: It’s rare to lose all of your charges in PvP. This card is not worth wasting a slot on for the rare occurrence. If you have low upgrades, however, this might be useful. Still, it seems like a lot of power to get your charges back. Lifestealer: Don’t bother. If you want a building, take phase tower. Shadow is one of the most common t1s for a reason: it’s good. It’s also easy to play, and doesn’t require a ton of cards. Taking less than 5 cards for t1 is possible with every faction (except frost), but you will really have to avoid t1 encounters away from wells. Shadow can go light and still be fully competitive without phase tower or lifeweaving (motivate is pretty essential if you want to go toe-to-toe with fire or nature, however). The three optional cards are luxuries that give you more options, but good micro can get you through without them. Nature t1: Arguably, this is the “best” t1, although it requires insane micro and a lot of cards. It’s the most efficient faction at high power levels, but it becomes quite difficult to play when you’re desperate for power. I’d generally recommend starting t1 fire or shadow if you’re using those splashes, because you’ll probably save deck space that way. Alternatively, you can join the minimalist movement pioneered by xAragornx. Nature has a lot more options than other decks: there is no unit that you can’t play without. I won’t go into too much detail but rather list the pros and cons of each card. You’ll need a swift unit, a ranged unit, and a medium unit that can stand against hurricane or frost mages. If you really wanted to, you can accomplish that with just 2 units: treespirit and amazon. Your spells are not optional. You must have surge of light and ensnaring roots. I’ve heard of decks that neglected hurricane, but that’s like neglecting thugs for fire. Theoretically possible, but you should really keep it in. Since I can’t really list nature cards by order of usefulness like I can fire, I’ll just give an overview of each card and let you decide what you need. Dyrad: The blue affinity is much better than the green. The primary use of this card is doing damage prevention against eruptions. If this card is not in your deck, you cannot get in an aggressive t1 fight with fire, except in certain specific situations. The dryad is nice because it also puts units to sleep, but my suggestion is not even to bother with the green affinity if you don’t have the blue. Some players have commented that they bring both affinities for fun, because the green has certain highly situational uses in t2. Shaman: Very useful, but not as much as the dryad. I’ve seen good players that prefer not to take him, but he’s a mainstay in an extended t1 fight. If he’s not dazed, he can be very annoying to deal with. Amazon: A swift unit. Blue affinity is better. She is better than a swiftclaw alone, but if you have a large army, the swiftclaw is more useful. She’s a great counter to sunderer, and as a fire player, I like to see swiftclaws more than amazons. Actually, the t1 swift unit that strikes the most fear into my heart is werebeast. Amazons are annoying to deal with as fire because you can’t spam sun striders against her, otherwise your scavenger will kill them. I think the other factions have an easier time with amazon than swiftclaw, however. Swiftclaw: Another swift unit. This one does insane damage (almost 1500), especially against M. The animation to deal extra damage takes a bit of time. 1 scavenger and 1 sun strider typically beat 1 swiftclaw and 1 windweaver because the fire player can also erupt, ending it all. Same with nasty surprise and shadow. Swiftclaws are also fairly susceptible to kiting because of the time it takes to animate. @RadicalX pointed out that swiftclaws are fairly essential to combat nature doubles or frost mage spam. @YaBro0 said that swiftclaw should be the main damage dealer in a nature deck. Werebeast: These cards are often perceived as underpowered, although they can be quite useful in the hands of a good player. They require good micro to use, so that’s probably not you. Maybe in the futureJ. Don’t use them unless they are U3. Their heal ability becomes quite handy then, and you can annoy your opponent with all sorts of hit-and-run tactics. If you use this card, you need to be taking a very large t1. @YaBro0 said that if you have a deck slot for werebeasts, you should probably use spearmen instead. Windweavers: Probably the most important t1 unit for nature, although xAragornx has shown that you can get by on treespirits instead. Their multishot is very powerful, and they combo well with roots. You will probably spam them, especially against shadow. Mana Wing: In short, it’s super cool but not worth it. Spearmen: This is a very nice luxury, but not necessary. They are particularly good against shadow, and it’s not uncommon to start with them (instead of a swift) against shadow on a small map. Recommended if you’re having trouble against shadow. @RadicalX also lists them as quasi-essential against nature. Treespirits: Most people argue that these guys are overpowered. I do too. Spamming them works, which is just wrong. The green ones do especially high damage, but the purple ones are quite good to stay t1 and defend against frost. @RadicalX noted that the purple are also good against Nature dittos because it ignores the dryad damage reduction. You can also kill an Avatar of Frost with one purple treespirit and a root. Purple treespirit also goes through glacier shell. xAragornx plays this card and Amazon as the only two units in his t1. If you play a large t1, this card is probably not necessary. Envenom: I don’t see it much, but I hear that some of the great pure nature players used this to use this to help stay t1 vs t2. There is probably not room in your deck for it, otherwise a good option. I sometimes used it in my fire-nature deck as a counter to L units and especially war eagle or skyfire drake. Fountain of Rebirth is not actually as good as it seems. The reason is because you rarely have large standing armies that would benefit from a slow mass heal, and it’s pretty slow. Your opponent will not give you much opportunity to benefit from this. Mark of the Keeper: I hate this card. It’s not common, but it really helps in defending against factions that use a lot of spells (like fire-nature). I suspect it also shuts down pure frost, because pure frost doesn’t really have good melee units. But this is more of a t2 defense card, and it’s a luxury with a high price. It works really well against noobs, but if you want to get better you’re better off just learning how to defend properly. Mumbo Jumbo seems useful in theory, but it’s not so good. Very rarely do enemies only spawn one unit for a t1 encounter. It’s also 40 power, which is a lot. That said, I have seen it used on occasion. I don’t think I’ve ever lost to someone who employed it against me, though. Primal Defender is actually not bad. It’s a hard counter to phase tower. I don’t think it has much besides that, but phase towers can be very annoying for nature to deal with. If you can’t handle them (especially difficult on Wazhai), put this card in your deck. I don’t play nature much, but my opinion is that you want to avoid needing hard counters to certain cards. But ultimately do what helps you win, and if this card prevents you from being rushed, go for it. Stranglehold: Nah, you probably shouldn’t use this. It can help defend in t2, but if you’re permanently on the defensive, you’re going to have problems. Tunnel: Tunnel is the only nature card I’ve never seen used at some point in PvP (and I have seen it, but only from complete noobs—don’t be like them!). While they are probably the least useful nature t1 card, @RadicalX pointed out that some players like Kyllbuster did use them in t2 to whisk his units away from dying or avoiding coldsnaps. In summary, nature has great spells in t1. If you want to follow in xAragornx’s minimalist footsteps, you can get away with just Amazon, Treespirit, and spells. If you don’t want to avoid t1 conflict, go for a medium-sized t1 (I would recommend this). If you absolutely want to rush t1, I think Nature is the best option because it has so many good cards with many options. The problem is that all those cards are often useful only in certain situations, and the slots are often better used for t2. You can watch any of beijinguy’s replays for full-on nature t1 assault (I don’t even know if he played t2 in some decks). Against frost t1, hurricane is going to be very important against MA. Roots and windweavers can do a good job against ice guardians or frost mages, and treespirits are good as well. Against fire, micro is important, as well as judicious use of roots and hurricane. As long as you keep scavengers or thugs at a distance, you should be fine. Mortar tower makes this matchup much harder for you. Shadow fights often boil down to you spamming windweavers and him spamming nox troopers. Spearmen can help tip the tide in your favor. Frost t1: You have no swift units. Waa, waa. To make up for this, your units generally have the best stats/power cost ratio of any faction. Frost spams are nothing to laugh at because of the sheer power—even if they do arrive late to the fight. Frost is not an especially popular t1 choice, however, because most players dislike the lack of a swift unit. You need to play frost differently than fire and shadow, and most players that are accustomed to the more popular t1’s don’t want to put in the effort to learn frost. As far as I know, MaranV is the best frost t1 player. Because of frost’s great stats, it should win against any faction in an even power situation where both players have a well. For instance, a common frost tactic on Haladur is to try to take a well right next to their opponent’s (if fire or shadow) and then spam units. Frost also has a problem with harassment. Scavengers in particular can hit and run faster than frost can defend. This is defendable, but you really need to be on your toes. You’ll need to use a combination of lightblade and frostbite to make sure the swift units don’t get away, and it requires precise power balancing that you don’t spend too much power in one defense, just for the swift unit to run away to attack somewhere else. To play frost, you must take Master Archers, Ice Guardians, and Lightblade. In theory lightblade is optional, but frost’s lack of swift unit hampers some options and lightblade is really necessary to prevent lameness from your opponent. Ice barrier is an incredibly useful card especially with Homesoil. Glacier Shell is your core spell, but homesoil is probably more useful in practice. Usually it’s the threat of glacier shell that you need, so you would theoretically be fine as long people only assumed you have it. Frost mage is an incredibly useful card, as the second-best S counter in t1. Unfortunately, Master Archers are the best S counters in t1, so frost mages are slightly redundant. Imperials, Frost Sorceress, and Ice Shield Tower are your most-likely-to-use nonessential cards. Master Archers: Stat for power, I’ve heard it claimed that these guys are the best t1 units. That doesn’t mean everything, but MA are certainly good. They have 600 health and they’re a squad, so you can’t be erupted when they’re dazed (each unit survives with about 1 health, runs away, and gets the health back after daze). They’re incredible S/S, combining the best qualities of a spammer—high health, ranged attack, and low cost. Their attack is a bit low, but they still pack a punch when paired with homesoil. Being S units has its pros and cons. They are knocked back quite a bit, but they also do very well against the other spammed units (windweavers, sunstriders, thugs, and forsaken). Most player will start the match with master archers because they are cheap and don’t lose effectiveness over time like ice guardians do. Ice Guardians: These are your melee units. Their attack isn’t so good, but they still do well against M units. With their ice shields, they have over 1000 health—for only 50 power. This health isn’t overpowered (although it certainly is good) because ice guardians are rarely attacked. Typically they are used to defend, when the enemy is trying to drop a well. They do have some use in an offensive, although transporting them without losing their ice shield is a pain. Although they only cost 50 power and have even better stats than the master archers because of the shield, they are a poor choice to start a match with because they will lose their shield by the time they arrive anywhere. Lightblade: One of the best t1 units. He is essential to dealing with sunderer, but he’s so overpowered that he’s still a very viable t2 L counter. His ability is also necessary for making sure units don’t get away and combos well with frostbite. There are just so many terrible things lightblade can do. Both affinities are good, and it depends on your use for which one is better in your deck. The red one is better when you are using the lightblade to kill t1swift units. The purple is better when you are using it as a cc on L or XL units in t2 or t3. MaranV often starts with a lightblade because it has good stats and wins any 1v1 fight. Frost Mage: This is the frost equivalent to thugs. Very useful, but you can get by without it. Frost mages are amazing against unspreaded archers, or things like thugs or skeleton warriors. They are very strong against fire because they take away fire’s M counter. They are good against frost dittos to take out MA, and they are strong against nature because nature’s hurricane takes out MA. They are not necessary against any of these, however, because Master Archers are better—they just don’t have the knockback. MaranV didn’t use them in his deck because the FM’s redundancy as an S counter. Glacier Shell: Similarly to nasty surprise, this card isn’t spammed. It’s more the threat that you can defend a well that manipulates your opponent’s playstyle around it. Still, I’d say it’s fairly essential since the main reason you are playing frost is for your ability to defend your structures, and having this in addition to kobold trick (the spammed spell) increases your defensive options. That said, it is probably the core spell which you can most get away with not using, as it has a better version in t2. You have to know exactly what you’re doing to get away with not using this card, however, so I’m going to consider it essential for you. Frostbite: This card is pretty essential to play frost t1. A lot of players use it for t2 as well, because it makes it much easier to kill strong enemies (especially fliers). The purple is much better than the red. This card and lightblade are all that stand between your wells and a scavenger guerrilla attack. Ice Barrier: For 20 power you get ground presence. If it sounds underpowered, that’s only because you haven’t played enough yet. This card is great for preventing walls from going up, for gaining and maintaining map control (difficult with slow frost units), for giving structure bonuses (homesoil, lyrish knight, ice guardians), and for absorbing splash damage. An essential card, not because it defends against anything in particular but because it is so useful—to skip this card would be like skipping eruption. Homesoil is pretty necessary for frost because frost does such little base damage. Pairing it with splashes such as lost souls (or, heaven forbid, fire dancers in 2v2) greatly increases its effectiveness. You would be remiss in skipping this card—while it is an “optional” card, it’s so much more useful than any other optional card that it may as well be mandatory. Imperials help in certain matchups, but they are not the most useful in t1. S/M units w/o range just don’t have a ton of use because most of the t1 M units are swift. Nonetheless they do have great stats and can be quite useful in a rush because they take so little damage. They also perform well in a scenario where you stay t1 against t2, because of the prominence of M/M t2 units. This is not an uncommon frost t1 card, but not a particularly common one either. Northguards are literally the most useless t1 units in the game. Not because they are especially bad—because their stats are okay—but because they are so redundant it hurts. Frost already has the best S/S and M/S t1 in the game. Why on earth would you need a mediocre melee S/S? Frost Sorceress: This unit is more useful in t2, and is a staple for fire-frost decks. It can still be good in t1, especially with frost mage or lightblade, but the real reason to use her is to get those ice shields onto hard hitters. Ice Shield Tower: This card is better than the frost sorceress for giving out shields, but the problem is that you need to get a tower up. I see this in fire-frost or pure frost decks occasionally, but you will probably not use it for t1, but rather t2. Only use this if you derive sick pleasure from lame camping J. Warden’s Sigil: Another t1 card that is really more useful in t2. You’ll want to use the blue affinity so you can shield buildings under construction. This pairs well with ice shield tower or termite hill in fire-frost decks, and is useful for protecting power wells should the need arise. Again, it’s really only a specialty card. Wintertide is one of the lamest cards. It allows you to get away with MA spams much easier, since they take less damage and can’t be knocked back. It’s really only useful if you’re trying to rush, and that only works against some decks on some maps, so it’s a fairly situational card. Most good players dislike risking a wasted deck slot to get a potentially cheap win, so it isn’t the most common card. Both affinities are good, but the red one works well with lightblade for killing L or XL units quickly (it also insta-kills dreadchargers). All in all though, I think this card just builds bad habits that won’t work on good players that are expecting the rush. Glyph of Frost: I’ve seen some good players take this, but not very many. It’s hard to use against a very good opponent, because perfect micro can trigger the glyph and get out without any units being frozen. I would not recommend spending a deck slot on it, but @Morathyls mentioned that he considered it a core frost card to deal with scavenger spams. @YaBro0 mentioned that Freemka and DragonDave used glyph of frost often because it can catch an unsuspecting opponent off-guard. You can use something like a lightblade to activate it as well (and this combo is even useful against t3 XL units). It can also be used as a way to prevent your opponent from retreating, if you lay the glyph behind them. Glaciation: Pretty much useless. If your opponent makes a mistake and you get a wall up, 1) Do you really want to win like that? 2) Do you really want to make it even more impossible for him to recover? Construction Hut, Defense Tower, Northern Keep: Nope. If you want a building, you can take Warden’s Sigil or Ice Shield Tower. Buildings are inherently suspect because they bind void power, take a while to go up, and your opponent can maneuver around them, so it’s rarely a good idea to make a building without a specific purpose. Frost t1 has some really great cards, and it’s quite tempting to want to take them all. You need to conserve room for your t2 and t3, however, so restrain yourself in your t1. Frost is very strong and has cards that continue to be useful in t2 (frost sorceress, lightblade, frostbite, ice barrier, homesoil…), but most player still dislike the lack of swift t1. Frost t1 is most dependent on the map for what kind of advantage is possible to get. T1 on a Budget: This should not be a large concern in BFReborn, because bfp should be easier to get, but I’d still like to explain some economical considerations for which t1 is the cheapest. Note that approximate bfp values I give are when I was searching for a picky deal, and they may no longer be accurate in BFR. Bfp values I give are also for a single unit, and you’ll need to consider charges. If I don’t list a price, that means it was common (aka: free). Price should really not be your primary concern, but here are the cheapest options. Fire: When I started playing, this was by far the cheapest t1 to play. You can get by with scavenger (~15 bfp), eruption, sunstrider, thugs, and supplementary cards to deal with frost or nature. Mortar tower (~50 bfp) is the best single card to add, although a combination of makeshift tower (~15 bfp) and wrecker does a fair job as well. If you’re really strapped for bfp, you can take nomad, but makeshift tower becomes essential, and it’s really a subpar setup. The only reason I even mention it is because you need a minimum of 2 charges of scavenger to survive, but only one makeshift tower. Verdict: 45 (playable)-100 (slightly more playable)-200 (fully playable) Shadow: Since witchclaws are available, this faction is probably the cheapest to play. You’ll need witchclaws, forsaken, and nasty surprise. Nox trooper is also pretty essential, although I suppose it’s possible to play without them, maybe if you use skeleton warriors. I’m not super sure about the prices, but I believe nox trooper was about 20-50 bfp, and lifeweaving and motivate were in the 50-75 bfp range. It’s quite possible to play without lifeweaving and motivate, although it will limit your aggressive options. Nox trooper needs a minimum of 2-3 charges. Verdict: 0 (barely playable)-100 (mostly playable)-200 (highly playable) Nature: You’ll have to go minimalist for sure. Amazon (~50 bfp), treespirit, hurricane (~50 bfp), surge of light, and ensnaring roots (~40 bfp). No choice. Verdict: 180 (playable)-260 (playable with more charges) Frost: There are ways to play this for cheap, but more than any other faction, it really suffers. Ice guardians are much better than imperials because frost struggles with knockback. You can’t really use wintertide to make up for it because that’s also a few hundred bfp. You might be able to get by with Master Archers, Imperials, Lightblade, Frost Sorceress (~10 bfp), ice barrier, and frostbite. There’s not really any other alternative if you want to keep a pretense of being economical: frost mage, ice guardians, and homesoil are all quite expensive. Verdict: 20 bfp (barely playable)-600 (almost fully playable) What about t2 cards? I’m glad I asked myself this. If I wasn’t, I’d edit it. With t2, it’s important to keep in mind other things. There are more options in t2, so you need to be able to defend more things. For instance, t1 L counters are not essential because you don’t have to deal with all L units, only sunderer (which has low health). In t2, there are many great L units: Lost Reaver, Deep One, Vileblood, Stone Tempest, Mountaineer; as well as flying ones like Fire Drake, War Eagle, and Windhunter. In general, you want to fulfil 3 large categories—a way to drop wells, a way to prevent wells from dropping, and a way to clear enemy units. For some factions (lookin’ at you, pure fire), the way to prevent wells from dropping really turns into “drop more wells faster than my opponent can.” In t2, you need to following: · Counters for S, M, L, and XL units (XL counters are important because of harvester and people that get to t3 earlier than you.) · A way to slow your opponent. Usually cc, but this can also include things like mine or wildfire which force your opponent to leave your wells alone. · Siege units. They don’t actually have to be siege, but you need something whose primary purpose is dropping wells. War Eagle is a good example of this. · Cheap, spammable units · Defensive units · Anti-air. Self-explanatory; War Eagles and Skyfire drakes are common and powerful. · (Optional nicety): Sick combos · Additionally, each faction has inherent advantages that it should take advantage of. I’ll spend the most detail outlining fire-nature and the cards that fit these categories and possible ways of comboing them. I’ll be briefer in the other factions that I don’t know as well, trusting you to take the tools I’ve given you to sort out the basics for yourself. Fire-Nature: T2 Cards Overview: Let’s go through the deck building process. First, I’ll look for the basics—counters and ways to kill units. Note that I’ll only be mentioning cards which are still useful in t2. So thugs aren’t very useful S/S because ghostspears are just better. Also keep in mind that M units are generally worse in t2. That’s because there are a lot of cards that do great damage to M units (like skyfire drake, enforcer, ghostspears, war eagle, and nightcrawler), and those great M/M units are typically spammable. · Small o Deathglider—only the blue affinity is worth anything. They’re flying units that deal extra damage to small and they knock them back as a nice bonus. Plus they’re cheap. Looks good! The immediate downside I see is the low health, but I have cc’s and heals to mitigate that. o Firestalker—listed here because of the knockback. The knockback is not bad actually. o Ghostspears—they have great stats, and they can change to deal extra damage to S or M units. The downside is that they cost a lot (80 power to deal extra vs small) and 90% of the small units you encounter will be Darkelf Assassins, which tear through small units. o Scythe fiends—tremendous stats, and swift to boot! They are a bit expensive for M units though, and stonekin will destroy them for a variety of reasons. o Viridya—she seems good. She definitely has her uses. Pretty low attack, so not that useful as a S counter, but maybe her special powers will help? Except one of them is a slow healing, which is sort of redundant because of surge of light. Also a bit pricy, and has low health. She does knock back small units, but something like a fire drake or a nightcrawler would destroy her. · Medium o Ghostspears—see above. The extra advantage here is that they only cost 70 power to fight M units, and there are few M/S units to counter them. Scythe fiends are really the only M units that ghostspears won’t do well against. o Rageclaws—similar to ghostspears, except they are sturdier and do more damage. Unfortunately they take a long time to build up rage and are extremely susceptible to knockback or cc. They also don’t have the option to counter S. o Rogan Kayle—these are great stats! Much better than Moon or Viridya. Unfortunately, most M/M units have great stats. He will lose to nightcrawler or enforcer in a heartbeat, and he cost much more than them. On the upside, he makes units deal more damage (a plus with an aggressive faction like fire-nat). He also has a cc, although it’s not that good. Fire-nat doesn’t benefit as much from the cc as something like pure shadow or pure frost, because we already have roots and oink, which are quite useful. o Skyfire drake—a flying unit! Wonderful! This will help against things like enforcer or nightcrawler which tend to go berserk and deal tons of damage. Also look at the damage on that thing! Note that it doesn’t have much health though. o Twilight Brute—good stats, like Rogan Kayle but much cheaper. Unfortunately, as we’ve discussed, it loses to other M/M’s like nightcrawler and enforcer. o Twilight Minions—these are ghostspears that cost 10 power less and don’t have the option to counter S units. If you pack hurricane, that should help tip the tide in favor of twilight minions. Commandos will be the only S units you can’t deal with easily, but they aren’t that good and they aren’t used much. You can also oink them if they get buffed too much. Mauler also shuts down commandos, if you’re super worried. · Large o Fire Stalker—they do extra damage vs. large units. They have mediocre-to-poor stats, but they can work. o Firesworn—even though it’s a t1 card, it still does great damage vs L units. Especially with the ability. Note that they can’t hit air though. Also, they die easily and can be cc’ed without much difficulty. They are t1, after all. o Gladiatrix—a ranged L counter that does tons of damage. The green one is swift, which is nice also. The purple has a better disenchant, but both work. It’s not efficient to use the gladiatrix for its disenchant (cost 150 power) but it’s very nice to have if you have a gladiatrix already out. Which you should, because most of the buffed cards will be L anyway. As a general rule of thumb I prefer the green because you’ll usually have 2 gladiatrix to counter a L unit anyway, so if he buffs twice you can disenchant twice. If you pack the purple disenchant, the green gladiatrix is definitely the way to go. o Mauler—very good stats, although the gladiatrix is a better L counter because she can attack from range; it’s even better if you get a root off. If the mauler is attacking a melee L unit, he will probably die because L units just have good stats. HOWEVER, the mauler has a great ability that shuts down ranged attacks and prevents special abilities from being used. This makes him a great counter to ashbone pyros and mountaineers. He’s pretty great all around vs stonekin, because stonekin thrives on ranged attacks with knockback. I make this comment because fire-nature usually has a very hard time with stonekin. He’s also good against defenders or commandos (remember the problem with twilight minions?) because they can camp all they want, but he will prevent them from shooting. There’s nothing better than a frost player who saves up power for a defender spam and then camps outside your base, knowing you can’t do anything about it, until you send one mauler to each defender and waste it all. o Moon—terrible stats. Well, actually, they’re not bad. But she costs a lot and dies pretty easily to M counters. Her necroshade can be good, especially if you paired with a ranged attack like gladiatrix or spirit hunters. Her dark arts can be a situationally useful heal, but fire-nature doesn’t really need it because of surge of light. o Slaver—very expensive, its stats aren’t that good, and because it’s a medium unit, it’s extra squishy. Its ability isn’t useful. While I’m on the subject, none of the twilight transformations are very useful. This card might be in the running for the worst t2 L counter in the game. o Skyfire drake—it has high dps and can’t be hit by most L units. If you’re using it to counter L units it’s basically a glady, but more useful after the L unit has died. · X-Large o Gladiatrix—actually, fire-nat has 0 (!) XL counters at t2. That makes us especially susceptible to harvester or t3 rushes. Gladiatrix is the best thing we have. It’s useful because it can attack at range, and so stay out of the XL’s amazing damage. You need to pair this with cc, preferably roots, so the glady can still attack. o Mortar Tower—Believe it or not, this building has the highest dps of any card at your disposal. Build a mortar tower and try to send a scavenger to slow down the harvester while the building comes up. Then root the XL, bombard it, and hit it with gladies. o Skyfire drake—has good dps and can fly away. Use it for similar reasons as the glady o Rogan Kayle—great because of his cc. It doesn’t prevent the XL from stomping on people, but that doesn’t do near as much damage as the alternative. Credit to @RadicalX for pointing out that his cc is particularly useful because it stacks with cc spells. Your defensive gladies will also benefit from Rogan’s buff because of their high dps, but they will probably be spread too far to do much benefit. · Siege o Burrower—these guys are fairly cheap (read: spammable) and have good stats. They die quickly to M counters. They also have an ability to knock units off walls. This is useful if you don’t have hurricane, not so much if you do. The swift is also nice. o Fire Stalker—Wow! This is the third time he has appeared. He’s been mediocre the other two times, and he is here as well. He just doesn’t do much damage. The upshot is that he stays far enough from your other units that a lavafield or cc won’t do too much to him. The shots are also delayed, so it continues to do about 200-300 (I think?) damage to wells after it has died. This is particularly useful against non-frost factions, but even worse than if it did all the damage upfront when the frost player has time to kobold or glacier shell. Also, in regards to it being good at everything, did I mention it has swift? o Vileblood—a good card, but expensive. It’s not spammable, but it does do a great amount of damage. But if you look at the stats, it seems much better to just make 2 burrowers than a vileblood. That’s not necessarily the case, however. For one, heals work better on VB. If the enemy focuses your burrowers one at a time, you have to heal roughly every 700 health. With a vileblood, you can get away with every 1300 health. Also, ravage is nice on him because it’s one unit vs 2. AoE spells don’t spread to do double damage. Furthermore, if you have a VB already up, it basically takes 80 power to summon each new one (surge of light), which is practically the cost of a burrower. Additionally, L counters are typically much worse than M counters. The downside of VB is that he’s completely useless vs frost (Lightblade). Also, if you were to make 2 burrowers it’s often a good idea to send them different places (unless the opponent has nightcrawlers). VBs can’t go to 2 places. So in short VB is better against non-frost factions and burrower is better against frost factions. o Rageclaws—they don’t technically have siege, but the thing about wells is that you attack them for a long time. This means rageclaws will have rage built up, in which case they’ll deal as much damage as burrowers (I think?) while being hardier and useful M counters. The downside is that you can’t rush wells with them because they take so long to rage up, and they’re very susceptible to cc or knockback. o Termite hill—does great damage against wells and orbs, but the card is hard to use. Fire-nat has an easier time than bandits or pure fire because of cc, but it’s still tough and situational. · Specialty o Spirit hunters—these guys are great at doing damage to many places at once. They’re like a slower lavafield. Take the green ones. The purple do much less damage, but you can use them if you don’t have a disenchant. The problem is that they attack so slowly, and they only do 5 damage per second more than green spirit hunters on a creature with lifeweaving, while doing 10 damage per second less on normal creatures—which will be the majority of what you use spirit hunters for. o Skyfire drake—it’s very useful because it flies. I’ll not go into specific tactics here, but flying counts as a random plus. o Deathgliders—also flies, same as skyfire drake. Note that having 2 fliers can have aspects of redundancy. o Mauler—slam ability. Check out its usefulness above. o Rogan Kayle and Viridya—also useful for more than their ability to deal and take damage. For this deck, Rogan’s abilities are more useful. Check out usefulness above. Now let’s take a look at buildings. In general, buildings are bad because they bind power and are immobile. · Rallying banner—a building, extremely necessary in bandits and pure fire. However, it’s not so necessary for fire-nat because we can usually spawn dazed units without repercussions. A lot of our units have high health, and we can support them until they get out of daze with cc or heals. The card is nice to have, but even if it was in my deck, I wouldn’t use it much. · Breeding grounds—this card is probably more useful than rallying banner, but not a ton. The building binds power and it’s most useful for spamming large amounts of units at once. Usually if you have enough power to make a breeding grounds and spam burrowers, it’s better just to spam them immediately. · Willzapper—sounds great in theory, but I have never successfully used it, nor seen anyone use it. · Mortar Tower—Yep, still useful here. I listed it more above. And most importantly, spells. Unlike units, spells rarely decline in usefulness as you go up tiers. Each spell is different, so it’s rare to see a t2 spell that is just a better version of a t1 spell. · Curse of Oink—a cc, and a great one. It’s more useful for offense than defense, because units will transform back if they are attacked after 5 seconds. It’s still a good way to counteract spam, because you can attack each unit individually while the others are incapacitated. Note that oink combos very poorly with spirit hunters, because the poison wakes the units up. · Disenchant—removes buffs. Generally the buffs you want to remove will be on enemies, so the purple one is better. Note that oink can serve like a disenchant in a pinch by incapacitating the buffed unit. Occasionally this card has use on your own units to get out of cc, but that is only useful in rare occasions and usually on giant slayer. Typically it’s better to make another giant slayer than to disenchant the one you have. It can also be used to get VB out of cc, although it’s generally a better idea to just heal it and wait for the cc to run out. · Ensnaring roots—a great cc. It doesn’t work on ranged units, but it does a great job on melee units. There is no damage reduction and the units will not come out of it when attacked. Combos well with mine, mortar, skyfire drake, spirit hunters, and gladiatrix. This spell is critical for defense, but it’s also useful for offense if your opponent has spammed melee units that haven’t encountered your offense yet. · Envenom—does a lot of damage, but pricy. It’s also easy to ward off. This is the rare case of a t1 spell just being a worse t2 spell (parasite) · Eruption—great for taking down anything that has less than 300 health. Can be used for defense to kill a unit before it does more damage, as anti-air, as a preventative measure against a heal, and as offense to take down a well. It takes 7 eruptions to drop a well, and 10 to drop a monument. · Hurricane—very useful against small units. Sometimes it can be used to prevent a well from healing, although if that’s a concern it’s generally better to simply erupt it. · Lavafield—good AoE damage, especially against spammed units. This is more defensive than anything. It has a few nice combos, however, because of its knockback. This tends to be a card I either find really useful or not at all, depending on the match. · Mine—believe it or not, this does more damage than lavafield. But it’s less useful because it has a smaller AoE and requires the enemy to make a mistake to trigger it. On one hand it’s less useful for fire-nat than other factions because we don’t need its meager cc abilities, but we can also combo it very well with hurricane or roots. · Parasite—does damage to lots of targets. Useless when facing nature splashes. Pretty much spirit hunters in spell form. · Ravage—I’ve heard this claimed as the best healing spell in the game. It’s especially useful because it heals gradually, allowing for heals greater than the max HP of the unit. It’s also super cheap to cast. · Scorched earth—same use as in t1. It helps prevent t3. · Surge of light—a fantastic spell. You are playing fire-nature for this single card. Maybe oink and roots as well, but pretty much for this single card. I’m not going to explain why it’s so useful, because if it’s not in your deck switch factions. I have literally seen people t3 nature for this 1 card. · Ray of Light—when I first started playing, I assumed that Ray of Light was better than Surge of Light because Ray is t2. That’s not true. Surge is instant, while Ray takes a long time, which makes it almost useless in PvP. · Twilight Curse—this can be used like an L counter or anti-air. The only use I can think of for it would be war eagles or windhunters. But fire-nat tends to do a fairly good job at those anyway. The problem is that twilight bugs are actually pretty good. It might actually be better to use on one of your own units, but it’s pricy—just make a vileblood if you want one unit with good stats. It is quite good against mountaineer, which fire-nat can struggle with. So if you want a counter to one specific card, this is the deal. You could use it on harvester as well. (allbfcards claims this does not have a unit with max power cost that it can be used on, but I recall it couldn’t be used on anything that cost more than 150?) · Wallbreaker, Girl Power, and other Shenanigans—Please no. Please. T3 Cards Overview: I’m going to lump t3 with the t2 section, since you shouldn’t have many t3 cards. In t3, your goals are simple: End your opponent without being ended yourself. Cards are chosen which have high offense, especially for fire-nature. In general, you can use your t2 cc for defense. My rule of thumb for t3 is as follows: 3 cards—one for killing wells, one for killing enemy units, and one to be swift and spawn well-killers all over the place. Typically fire-nature takes a light t3, in favor of larger t2. I knew a great player who only carried giant slayers in his deck, and another that doesn’t take t3 at all! · Offensive cards o Backlash—deals a lot of damage, but it’s rarely used because it only does half damage against structures. o Brannoc—extremely powerful. The best XL unit this faction can support. The biggest problem with him is what happens when you rely on him but your opponent pulls him first. Most people think he’s lame. o Curse well—very slow. If you use this card, you need to play a mostly defensive t3 and bleed your opponent dry. Using this card immediately awards you the title “lamer.” Additionally, get out of fire-nature because we don’t have time for that nonsense. o Deepcoil worm—an XL unit, but a bit weak. Fire-nature thrives on its aggressiveness, and it has more options that do faster damage. That said, you have six XL units to choose from as fire-nature, and I’m not going to bother explaining why Santa, Mo, Lordy Cyrian, and Razorleaf aren’t worth playing. o Drones—great stats, and swift to boot! A bit pricy though. o Enlightenment—wreaks havoc with earthshaker. Very pricey though. Fire-nat generally has a more efficient way to dish out the damage, and one 50 power card (shield building) can completely negate all 370 power spent on this combo. This especially stings because the only scenario where you need such massive overkill as earthshaker is against campy lost souls Church of Negation spammers, and they typically pack shield building. o Giantslayer—when raged up, they deal a ton of damage (1000 per charge). They are especially susceptible to cc’s though. In one of the great ironies of the game, it is better to defend giantslayers with t2 cards than t3 cards. Don’t use this card if you rush t3 while your opponent stays t2, unless you also have a power advantage. The biggest plus of this card is that it’s difficult to cost-effectively defend against, making it very spammable. o Inferno—sure, it does a lot of damage. But you’re probably better off just using enlightenment and earthshaker for that much power. o Mutating Maniac—a worse Fathom Lord, that costs more and can’t paralyze. The upshot is that you can use them with giant slayers. Unfortunately, that isn’t such a big plus because both are XL counters. o Shrine of War—a great card, but I doubt you’ll be able to make much use of it. That’s a lot of power to bind and the cooldown is long. The match will probably be over before it’s ready. o Sun Reaver—used to be the fire equivalent of the ashbone pyro. Then it got nerfed to oblivion. It’s hardly worth using now. It takes so long to build up its flame that a giant slayer will kill the well faster. I would like to see this card get buffed so it deals regular damage against structures and slower damage against units. But until this happens, you have a large, slow giant slayer that can’t charge or hamstring. I’d also put the unnerfed one as defensive, but this is useless at killing units. o Swamp drake—useful for attacking, not because it has good stats, but because it’s an air unit. Many people don’t bring anti-air to t3, and this card is difficult to counter. It can also do hit-and-runs, and general annoyance. However, such techniques require a lot of micro, and are generally too slow to be worth it. The cc sleep is also much better for offense than defense. o Twilight warfare—I don’t even know what this does. o Virtuoso—fairly good stats. The ability does a lot of damage to structures. Also a good L/L, although it can’t take advantage of roots. o Vulcan—great attack, but low health. It can be supported with heals, but I’ve generally found there to be better attack options. I would have brought him anyway for shooting air, except he can’t. · Defensive cards o Backlash, to kill attacking enemies. The problem is that backlash is expensive and has a large cooldown, making it inefficient against spammy t3 units. o Fathom Lord—great stats for the price. And their paralyze is good. They’re also great at defending vs XL units. They’re slow though, which limits their offensive capabilities. o Giantslayer—I told you these cards were ironic, right? Despite their name, they’re not the best XL counters. They can do a good job, but you’d think that 240 power of giantslayers would beat 220 worth of a juggernaut, right? Especially since giantslayers counter XL, and juggers don’t? But giantslayers suffer from very low health, so most XL’s 2-shot them before they can get rage built up. If the gs is raged, a single one can take out an XL unit (if you support it with cc and heals and get the 1500 damage charge). But if they aren’t raged, they don’t do so well. I believe it takes 4 giant slayers to kill 1 juggernaut if they start from rest. Nasty surprises, lifeweaving, or wildfires defeat them easily. However, giantslayers are still very useful because of their hamstring effect. It slows enemies down to give you more time to prepare your defenses. It’s also good for defending spammy units, because giantslayers are just as cheap as them. o Magma Hurler—not great stats, but it’s ranged and knocks back M units. They’re pretty good at defending if you play roots. They’re also nice anti-air. Air units are typically bad in t3, but every now and then you have that one guy who uses them and if you don’t have an answer, you start to rage and call him a lamer in the chatbox. Pointed out by @RadicalX: their biggest downside is that they take 4 seconds between shots, allowing your opponent to micro around them and kill the magma hurler without taking any damage. This isn’t that bad an issue, however, because nobody has time to micro one unit obsessively in t3 and 2 de-synced magma hurlers or a cc can prevent the dodging. Also, a magma hurler does not want to attack anything that also wants to attack it. o Magma Spore—good anti-air defenders. Not good at defending much else (actually, they can do a lot of damage to L units with their ability). Also good at spamming. o Swamp Drake—probably the quintessential defensive card for fire-nature. XL counter, especially good with root. It’s ranged, so it can brute force as anti-air with heals and cc. It can also cc sleep, which isn’t that useful for defense unless you’re proactive. o Thornbark—M counter, which has its uses in a large t3, but generally not that useful if you’re going light on t3. Hits air, so good defense there. Gets stronger with root network. Unfortunately, they have very little health and can only really go offensive en masse. Which is not good in t3, because mass concentration in one spot is a good way to lose your entire army. o Thunderstorm—Does lots of damage to units, none to structures. Works well with roots, but really only useful if your opponent spams a lot to one place. He should be smarter than that. o Treefiend—honestly, I’ve never used this or seen it used. Its stats are terrible and they cost an arm and a leg. 150 power for 1200 health? I don’t even know what its upgraded health is, but I wouldn’t pay 150 power for something with twice that health. o Twilight creeper—allbfcards doesn’t have the difference between their affinities. Nonetheless, they have bad stats, and don’t have any real knockback. Just take magma hurler if you want an L/L ranged. o Twilight Hag—also never seen her used, so I can’t comment on her usefulness. Doesn’t seem very useful though, with low attack and health. Her ability seems more like a joke from the developers than anything. o Vulcan—can do massive damage with his ability and roots. Unfortunately, he cost a lot, so it doesn’t defend against cheap spammy cards well. · Spammy cards o Drones—good stats, and swift, but a bit expensive to spam. o Giantslayer—cheap, does a TON of damage, and swift. Also can’t be knocked back. They are very susceptible to cc, however. And they lost to most t3 units 1on1. However, giantslayers should primarily be used to spam 1 to every base, forcing the enemy to waste at least 120 power at each one. This gives you a power advantage, and you push harder at the weakest one with your offensive unit. Spamming 1 to each base also negates the efficiency of cc. o Magma Spore—cheap, and their ability is good. They’re also air units, which makes them especially good against any non-shadow faction (that has no ashbone pyro). The biggest problem with them is trying to micro them. They’re easy to forget about. If memory serves me, it takes 6 to drop a base of 2 wells and 1 orb. And obviously you can branch out even more with t3 than this. The first deck I played, I went t3 shadow for ashbone pyro. That solved problems of anti-air and siege. xAragornx still uses that strategy. However, going three different orbs is very risky because you can’t let your t2 or t1 drop. If you play t3 the same color as one of your first two orbs (far and away the most common choice), you have added tactical options. For instance, I am willing to trade my first orb against xAragornx (fire-nat-fire vs nat-frost-shad) because I’ll be t2 and he’ll be t0. So he can’t attack with reckless abandon for his orb, while I can. Building the Deck: So now let’s build this deck! Let’s start with the easy choices, in t2. Take a look at which cards show up under a lot of categories. We have: Rogan, deathglider, Skyfire drake, rageclaws, mauler, mortar tower, gladiatrix, firestalker, and ghostspears. Notably, 2 cards are weaker than the rest. Deathglider and Fire Stalker serve so many roles that they don’t do a great job at any of them. Rogan Kayle also suffers from a similar problem. The others are good, but some are redundant. Ghostspears and Rageclaws serve the same main purpose. Skyfire drake is also an M counter, but it’s good to have 2 M counters that have different sizes, because M units are the most common in t2. Skyfire is unique in that it can’t be hit by melee, and gladiatrix is similarly unique in our list of multi-functioners. I will add Skyfire Drake and Gladiatrix to my deck as the first 2 cards. Eh, let’s throw in Rogan Kayle, Fire Stalker, and Deathglider as well. I may take them out later. Using Mortar Tower will probably depend on what I do t1, as well as how comfortable I feel my t2 defenses are. Let’s hold on that one. But what about rageclaws and ghostspears? We already have 1 M counter (Skyfire Drake), so 1 more should suffice. It should be cheap, and primarily used for defense. I want to be able to defend against someone spamming 1 nightcrawler/burrower to every base, and I can’t do that with skyfire drake because I won’t be able to sustain it. The cheaper the M counter, the better. So as my M counter, I want to pick one from rageclaws, ghostspears, twilight minions, and twilight brute. I want to shy away from M/Ms, so let’s get rid of twilight brute. Remember, M units are typically the squishiest in t2, and if we keep rogan it will make the M/M redundant. So we have the choice of three S/M units. Which to take? Rageclaws and ghostspears are about equal, except rageclaws do worse at defending and much better at attacking. If we take good siege units (I plan to), this will make the rageclaws ability to drop well unnecessary. So ghostspears or twilight minions? They’re basically the same card except twilight minions cost 10 power less and can’t hurt S units. So my choice of whether to take ghostspears or twilight minion depends on how good the rest of my deck is against S units. For now I’ll take ghostspears and substitute twilight minions in if I feel my S counters are a bit overkill. The deck is now: Skyfire Drake, gladiatrix, (Rogan Kayle, Fire Stalker, Deathglider), and ghostspears. Let’s choose our well-droppers next. We can choose from fire stalker, burrower, vileblood, and rageclaws. Actually, let’s not consider rageclaws. They work in a tight spot, but burrower and vileblood do such massive siege damage that rageclaws won’t be very useful for it. I also didn’t consider termite hill, because it’s a real pain to set up. If I have extra deck slots after I’ve hit the essentials, I might stick it in. So which siege unit is the best? We already have fire stalker tentatively in. If we’re only taking 1 siege unit, burrowers is definitely the way to go. I like vileblood better, but certain cards like lightblade make him useless. There’s no way I’ll have room for all three. If I take 2, however, it’s a bit of a tossup between vileblood and firestalker or vileblood and burrower (note that I’m not considering firestalker and burrower, because then my offense will be particularly weak against decks with good M counters, which is every deck). I decided to take Vileblood and Fire stalker, and if I need more deck slots I can replace both of them with burrower. Also, I decided to make Rogan Kayle a more permanent addition because he works well with vileblood (it forces the enemy to make a L counter and M counter, and the cc is great for attacking). Deck: Skyfire Drake, Gladiatrix, Rogan Kayle, Fire Stalker, (Deathglider), Ghostspears, and Vileblood. Let’s get to S counters. The only card (besides Viridya) we don’t have in our deck is Scythe Fiends. Deathgliders and Fires Stalker do good knockback, but our deck currently depends on ghostspears for doing actual damage to S. If we have Scythe Fiends, we should probably pare down our “semi-S” counters. Or we could leave them . . . I think I’ll leave out scythe fiends for now because I don’t have enough charges (the card is expensive!). In the future, the combination of Scythe Fiends, hurricane, and twilight minions can probably replace fire stalker, deathglider, and ghostspears. If we drop fire stalker, we may as well get rid of Vileblood and/or Rogan Kayle and replace them with burrowers. So much of this is interdependent! But for now, nothing changes except making Deathgliders a more permanent fixture. Our last group of counters are the L counters. We’ve already included 2 L counters, the gladiatrix and fire stalker. We probably don’t need another, especially if we take firesworn in t1. Mauler catches my eye, but he’s so much more useful for his slam ability than for his L counter. If we decide to bring him later it will be because of that, completely ignoring the fact that he is an L counter. Now let’s talk about spells and special cards! Surge of Light goes in, no questions asked. Curse of Oink should be another easy choice. Ensnaring Roots is another great card, but let’s not use it by default yet. If I had 50 slots in my deck, which cards would I take and which wouldn’t I bother with? Then we can sort through the useful ones to fit our 20-slot deck. Reality Check: Let’s rate how good our t2 deck is against certain common enemy tactics! This will help us see if we need to change anything, and maybe influence our t1 or t3. 1. Defending walls 2. Defending t3 rushes (or harvester) 3. Defending cheap spams for spread-out agro 4. Performing cheap spams for spread-out agro 5. Defending a full-on attack at one place 6. Performing a full-on attack at one place 7. Preventing a large standing army 8. Building a large standing army Currently our deck has Skyfire Drake, Gladiatrix, Rogan Kayle, Fire Stalker, (Deathglider), Ghostspears, Vileblood, Surge of Light, and Curse of Oink. 1. We can’t defend walling at all. Hurricane or burrower can solve this, but we’ve already decided not to use the burrower. This may be a large selling point for hurricane, but the truth is that walls are easy to prevent. We already have enough ways for S knockback, and it’s not worth spending a deck slot to bail you out when your opponent builds a wall. Just get better so you don’t give him those opportunities. 2. How about defending t3 rushes? This can be when the enemy builds t3 just a bit faster than you, or when he does it too early hoping that one ashbone will wipe you out. In the second case, you will probably see an ashbone pyro or tremor. Maybe a giant slayer. Giant slayers are easy to deal with. Oink stops their rage, and ghostspears or skyfire drake do a lot of damage. Even in t3, the best way to defend against giant slayer spams is to root + skyfire drake. Tremors are harder, but roots and 2-3 gladiatrix does the job. If he buffs it, the gladiatrix has a ready disenchant. Ashbone pyros are the hardest to deal with. They do so much damage, and they’re ranged so you can’t get them with gladiatrix. Mauler would be a great way to stop it. Otherwise you just have to spam gladiatrix and fire stalkers. Mortar Tower is also a good way to defend against early ashbones, because the opponent doesn’t have enough power for more than one. (That’s why it’s a t3 rush. If he can go t3 and has the same power as you, that’s when it’s time to YOLO it and spam random stuff. You’ve already lost, but sometimes you can save it if you just ignore defending and go full offensive). In response to a t3 rush, this deck also has the ability to send 2 Vilebloods out, which will generally end the game, especially if one is paired with Rogan for that damage buff. VB spam is not as effective as burrower spam, however, because you are limited on the number of bases you can hit at once. What can this deck do about harvesters, or what happens if you’re both going t3 and that pure fire player gets it first and pulls out a juggernaut? Both should be defended with gladiatrix, skyfire drake, and roots. Mortar towers are necessary if you want to kill a juggernaut, but you should really be stalling it. Either way, I’m giving points to mortar tower, and I’m going to say Ensnaring Roots probably just needs to get in here already. 3. A common tactic for attack is so send cheap units to every base, forcing you to spend a bit of power at each one. Then, when you’re out of power, the enemy puts larger pressure on one area. How well does this deck defend that? Typically, the spammed unit will be a nightcrawler or burrower. Skyfire drake will eat both of those units, but if you have 5 different bases, 5 nightcrawlers are much more affordable than 5 skyfire drakes. Their even more affordable than ghostspears, which means that we don’t do too well against multiple small attacks. Even twilight minions, which cost the same as a nightcrawler, is not effective because the nightcrawler can run away. We can, however, be proactive. A roots allows us to bottleneck the road and kill the nighcrawler or burrower before they spawn more. Aren’t you glad we added roots? Nonetheless, I’m going to say this deck scores below average for defending spammed units. On a 1-10, let’s go with 3.5. There’s really not a way to improve it, though. For an additional way to defend this with this deck, see point (6). 4. Can we do the annoying tactic back? Eh, not really. Most of our units cost too much. We could improve our ability to do so with rageclaws (which would involve rebalancing to improve our S counters), as well as burrowers. We can, however, attack TWO places at once very reliably. When facing frost splashes (or shadow, actually, because of Aura of Corruption—actually, this is a fairly valid technique against any faction), it is critical to attack multiple places. Sometimes it’s better to spam lightly everywhere at once, but usually it will suffice to attack in just 2 places. This can be done with Rogan + ghostspears +fire stalker at one front, and VB at another front. You can also vary combinations. If you assist with cc and heals, and support them evenly until you decide which one is more likely to fall and put extra pressure there, you will probably down a well. The added benefit of the cards is that rogan and firestalker, in particular, are very underestimated. I did this type of attack against MaranV (a candidate for the best Battleforge player) when I was a noob, and the attack succeeded! I obviously didn’t win the game, but I did win his respect and he provided me with advice that helped bring me out of noobdom. I’d say this gets a 7.5. If we used burrowers, however, it’s a solid 10 for hitting everywhere at once. There is no deck that can do this more than burrowers assisted with fire and nature. Sometimes that’s not the best tactic though, so it’s a tossup between many weak attacks and 2 fairly strong attacks. For this deck, I’ve gone with the 2 medium attacks, but it’s more a matter of preference (and cost). 5. So we have a bit of trouble defending multiple places at once. Do we do better defending one place? Oh yeah! Err, maybe. If we bring mortar tower, that will improve our score here a lot. That tower keeps getting so many pluses… Seriously though, with roots a mortar tower does fantastic damage. If you play fire t1, but this in. If you go nature t1, it’s a little iffy one whether you want to spend the deck slot on mortar tower, because you can usually get by without it. All that said, I probably used mortar more in t2 than t1. All of our defense comes from having good attack and good cc and killing the enemy before it reaches our wells. Once the enemy is at the wells, we have a much harder time, especially with buffs. We can always cc a buff, but that’s often a waste of a cc. Gladiatrix works will for the disenchant ability, although we will always have trouble with things like lifeweaved nightcrawler. In t3, the threat of buffs are even worse, so Disenchant may be useful to combat that. However, I think we can get along with just the gladiatrix sobering for this deck. We have all the counters except XL, and that can be fairly easily dealt with through roots and ranged attack. How do we do against a massive amount of units, like pure fire or stonekin attacks? That one’s harder, because we don’t have great AoE damage. Although there is a particular spell that helps with that. To improve our defenses, let’s add Lavafield. We could also add spirit hunters, but they’re much slower than lavafield. I’ll say our defense at one place is a 6, or a 7 with mortar tower. 6. Now we get to our true method of defense: attack! As far as dps goes, I think fire-nat is 2nd, right after pure fire. But we have cc and heals. If you realize you can’t defend an attack, compensate for your loss of wells by taking some of your opponent’s! Along with Rogan (not counting his damage), a vileblood can drop a well in 16 seconds (!). If you see cards that are good counters to the VB, use a cc. Additionally, any fire stalkers in the back can do splash damage to different wells, making frost repairs more difficult. Along with surge of light and ravage, makes the vileblood very hard to kill. Let’s add ravage because of its usefulness. Furthermore, eruptions are GREAT for offense. When a unit spawns near a well, you can erupt it dealing 300 damage to the well, and the unit will die faster. If there are a lot of units attacking your offensive, cc or lavafield them. 7. Preventing a large standing army is only a concern versus a few decks. Stonekin, most notably. This is one of the best decks for doing so, because eruption or lavafield can finsh off enemies before they escape or heal. Standing armies are also very important for establishing air dominance. Eruptions are especially good for this since air creature have comparatively low health. An essential combo against fire drakes is to get one shot from a gladiatrix and erupt. Instead of a gladiatrix, you can also do it with your own skyfire drake, but be aware that he will be erupted as well. Time for Eruption to enter the deck. 8. Actually, you can build a large standing army with this deck. It’s more often a bad thing than a good thing, but you have heals and cc to save your units. With good saves, you can field multiple VBs, which gets very hard to defend. Now that we’ve fleshed out the deck, we have: Skyfire Drake, Gladiatrix, Rogan Kayle, Fire Stalker, Deathglider, Ghostspears, Vileblood, Surge of Light, Curse of Oink, Eruption, Ravage, Lavafield, and Ensnaring Roots. I’d like to add Mauler, Hurricane, and Disenchant, but none of them seem necessary. Mauler is probably the most useful of the three, but let’s see. It’s looking like we’ll be low on deck slots. For t3, I’m going to be a bit brief because there are so many possibilities. As long as you have hit all the bases, you should be fine. Let’s bring Giantslayer for all the nice reasons I listed above. I will take Swamp Drake for an additional benefit against XLs, and its anti-air possibilities. Lastly, let’s round it out with Virtuoso for its L counter and good damage against structures. If I have only room for 2 units (like if I put that mauler in), I’d go with giant slayer and magma hurler—magma hurler serving as a sort of compromise between virtuosos and swamp drake. Matchups Check: Now a quick rundown of how we can use this deck against all other factions. · Pure fire o Necessitates defending against one spot. The oink will do you good. Skyfire drakes and ghostspears will also be spammed. To attack, VB is the best option because gladies or firesworn can be cc’d or lavafielded. Pure fire has trouble defending against L units, especially with heal and cc support. Bringing VB tips this match in your favor—if you have burrowers, not so much. · Fire-frost o This is a fairly weird deck. You’ll need to deal with mountaineer, as well as good defenses and fire drakes. Mountaineers are very troublesome without mauler or a large power advantage. Shielded fire drakes and scythe fiends are another huge nuisance. Your best bet is to go offensive on exactly 2 fronts. This is probably one of the worst matchups for the deck we picked, although if it’s a big worry, we can tip the scales in our favor. Mauler makes this matchup much easier. Some top players have also included twilight curse solely for mountaineer. · Fire-shadow o This deck is fairly rare because it has a hard time against frost splashes. We don’t have a frost splash. They will rely on a lot of buffs and single strong units to take you down. Lavafield is essential for dealing with darkelf spams. Gladiatrix is also needed for disenchants, and save your oinks to use on buffed fire drakes. They are surprisingly hard to deal with if your cc is in cooldown. Luckily, if push comes to shove, you can spawn Rogan and use his cc in a pinch. A normal fire-nat deck will have difficulty attacking because nightcrawler will destroy burrowers, but we have vileblood and fire stalker which do much better. This matchup is pretty fair, although in my experience one side tends to demolish the other. Twilight vs bandits don’t tend to have long trench-warfare. · Fire-nature o This deck actually has an advantage against the standard fire-nature deck. You may have figured out by now that I’m using some fairly interesting cards. This deck has a harder time against frost splashes (especially shadow-frost) than the typical fire-nature deck, with some advantages in that it does better against non-frost splashes. VB is a double edged sword, because you both have roots and cc and damaging spells. Generally speaking, however, fire-nature has an easier time countering burrower spams than VB, especially when Rogan gets involved. Fire-nat also has an infuriating time trying to deal with fire stalkers: a well-placed oink or roots will ensure that a well drops. You have all the tools you need to stop a burrower spam. · Pure Shadow o Shadow tends to have difficulty with L units like VB. You need to be careful about spending too much power in one place, because Aura of Corruption kills everything. Shadow mages shred M units. Cc works marvels on shadow mages, and fire-drake is your best friend in this matchup. Ravage is a must. Lava field punishes any large offensives. Try to apply so much pressure that the harvester can’t come. If it does appear, make 2 gladiatrix and a skyfire drake. Mortar as well, if you have it, but make sure the mortar is in a place that the harvy must go through—you’ve wasted 50 power if he just walks around to attack another base. Green gladiatrix is better here, because you can harass the harvy all the way to your base without your unit dying. As long as you keep 2 gladies, you don’t need to worry about lifeweaving + unholy power because you have 2 disenchants. For offensives, fire stalkers work much better than burrowers (!). Shadow mages murder burrowers, but have a much harder time with fire stalkers. Once a very good player (Warchief or Patriarch, I think) who played pure shadow tried to convince me that fire stalkers aren’t as good as burrowers. He made this comment after I beat him with my firestalkers, so we did another match and I still won. (In the end I switched to burrowers because I didn’t need any more advantages against pure shadow, preferring to have them against shadow-frost.) · Shadow-Nature o This is another deck you’ll struggle with. Buffed nightcrawlers or burrowers are a nightmare, and the cost to spawn a glady and unbuff is rarely worth it. This deck is supreme at spamming a little bit to every base. Try to be proactive and use roots often to be on the safe side. Fire drake and ghostspears are immensely useful. Note that shad-nat struggles against Vileblood because their L counter is mauler, which has low range. You can root him. Also be aware that you will be getting cc’d and the enemy units can heal, so apply lavafield and erupt judiciously to take out the last bit of health. Shadow-nature probably has a slight edge, but VB helps. Disenchant might also help. · Shadow-Frost o Most people would argue that this is the best deck in the game. I’m not sure if I agree, but it is very strong. There are also a lot of different tactics shad-frost players can use, making it one of the hardest decks to prepare against. At the very least, be prepared for nightcrawler spams and Reaver-runs. Both of these need to be rooted and sniped with glady/skyfire. Ghostspears are good vs nightcrawlers, but terrible against reavers. If he decides to attack hard at one place, expect darkelf assassins and homesoil. Lavafield works well, and you can use deathgliders against darkelf assasins. VB has a 50/50 chance of working. Lightblades tend to render them useless. However, if you can oink one and get him to spawn 2, he’s wasted a lot of power. If you really want to push, bring a drake to deal with lightblades, but fire drakes die easily to nightcrawler nasty or darkelf assasins. Spamming to multiple places doesn’t really work because nightcrawlers with frenzy are a cheaper counter to whatever you spam. Hitting one well doesn’t work so well because of frost repairs. If you invest too much power in one place, you’ll get an aura of corruption. Also be wary of the cc, although yours are better. This will be a tough fight. In t3, Lost Souls has the advantage against every deck, with the possible exception of pure fire. Giant slayers are a must to combat silverwind lancers. · Pure Frost o Frost splashes are hard. They have great defense, and your deck is built around offense. Pure frost relies almost entirely on war eagles. Whoever controls the skies wins. Glady is good against them, but war eagles are even better against gladies. Cc is critical, as well as eruptions. Lava field has less use. If you can prevent frost mages with rogan or skyfire drake, frost doesn’t really have an answer to small units. · Frost-Nature o Stonekin, the bane of our existence. This will be a slow strangulation to death. You can deal with burrower spams, but a true stonekin player will slowly make engagements with you and keep his units alive until he has a huge army that he can rush you with. Neither of your offensives are likely to be successful unless one of you makes a large mistake. Your best bet is weather out the storm in t2 and go t3 when you have enough power to avoid being burrower spammed to death. Skyfire and ghostspears are a must. Mauler is the easiest way to make this matchup better for you. Scythe fiends and burrowers die very quickly to razorshards, but while you might think this is good for you because of VB, lightblades or aggressors will nullify the VB without an assisting mauler. · Pure Nature o Skyfire drakes are essential to combat burrowers and energy parasite. You have to be super careful of your VB because of parasite swarm. Fire stalker works especially well against pure nature. If the pure nature player goes for a roots-themed deck, mauler secures an easy advantage. If not, deep ones are hard to deal with but spamming gladiatrix and skyfire drakes usually works. Roots are nice, and mortar is a good way to kill them. Side note: When building t2, it’s generally a bad idea to think “Look at this sick combo!” Often that combo will work really well against some factions, but it will be a wasted 2-3 slots against other factions. Look at all the factors I’ve laid out to see if your “sick combo” is worth it. Final Touches: Finally, a note about t1. Ultimately, you should play the t1 you’re best at. That said, let’s try to figure out if a particular t1 works best with this deck. So far we have 16 cards: Skyfire Drake, Gladiatrix, Rogan Kayle, Fire Stalker, Deathglider, Ghostspears, Vileblood, Surge of Light, Curse of Oink, Eruption, Ravage, Lavafield, Ensnaring Roots, Giant Slayer, Swamp Drake, and Virtuoso. If you notice, 1 of the fire cards you use in t2 (2 if you count mortar), is actually a t1. 2 of the nature cards (3 if you have hurricane) are t1. This means we have room to add 4 more t1 cards. If you want more, you can pare back the t2 and rebalance it. Experienced players usually value t1 more than t2. However, most of the fighting happens in t2. So my philosophy is to go bigger t2, and just try to stay alive for t1. For beginners, t2 is much more important, although it is good to learn how to fight t1. T1 is much more technical, however. At any rate, you can do what you want with your deck. In my experience teaching chess, I’ve found that beginners often get hung up trying to memorize openings and miss out on the middlegame experience—where most of the game is played. My advice to them is to stay away from technical openings; learn general principles enough to survive the opening and reach an even middlegame. From there, the better player will win. I think the same advice holds true in Battleforge. Yes, at top play the slightest inaccuracy in t1 can make you suffer all game—if you don’t outright lose (this is also applicable to grandmasters in chess). But if you’re anywhere in the middle ranks, a t1 inaccuracy will not cost you the game. Yes you should know general ideas, but knowing that whether to spawn 2 sunstriders and 2 thugs or 3 sunstriders and 1 thugs when you meet shadow in the center of Simai is not relevant yet: your time is better spent elsewhere. Things like winning a skyfire drake ditto with one shot and erupting are much more useful. Basically, don’t overextend yourself trying for a t1 advantage; just try to “survive” it and learn to play t2. You’ll pick up t1 along the way. I’ve run into countless Legend/Supreme ranked players that play a better t1 than me. Sure they get that small advantage, but they count on winning all their games from that t1 advantage and they just fumble it in t2. Learn your basics first—I’ll improve every game I play with getting slightly better at t1, but these guys need to rework their fundamentals. Here is an excellent example of MaranV being outplayed in t1 but coming back to win in t2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MLvl_hWIvns For the purposes of making this guide easier to follow, I’m going to be stubborn and say that this is all the room I have for t1. If I play fire, the choice is easy: Scavenger, Sun Striders, Thugs, and Mortar. If I play nature, the choice is more difficult. If I wanted to be truly minimalist, I could play just Treespirit and Amazon. You would also need to add Hurricane, and maybe adjust the t2 balancing around S counters. And I could still add mortar tower. However, I would not recommend trying to work with such minimalism as a beginner. If you play nature and want to actually engage in a t1 fight, you need a swift unit (probably swiftclaw), hurricane, dryad, windweavers, and shaman. Treespirits are also nice. Unfortunately, that’s a lot of cards. For this reason, most fire-nat will start fire t1, especially because it gives them an excuse to use the mortar tower. My final demo deck is: T1: Scavenger, Eruption, Sun Strider, Thugs, Mortar Tower, T2: Surge of Light, Ravage, Ensnaring Roots, Curse of Oink, Lavafield, Rogan Kayle, Ghostspears, Skyfire Drake, Deathgliders, Fire Stalker, Vileblood, Gladiatrix, T3: Giant Slayer, Virtuoso, and Swamp Drake. @SilenceKiller99 asked: Could you say some more about nature-fire (with a nature T1) and how it is different from fire-nature? Yes, of course I can! . . . Oh, I suppose you wanted me to actually make those comments. Very well. Fire-nature and nature-fire really don’t have any fundamental differences past t1. There are some t2 strategies that are more likely because of t1 cards, but overall the gameplay is the same. In general, nature has t1 cards that are more useful in t2, but is easier to play and slightly more flexible. I’ve also found that people who start nature t1 (GreatKudi is a good example of this) tend to play more unconventional t2 choices, such as spirit hunters. The biggest concrete difference past t1 is that having dryad can be very useful for t2 offense, while having mortar can be very useful in t2 defense. Also, I prefer the safety of having my 3rd and 1st orbs be the same color, and nature-fire-nature is probably a stronger t3 than fire-nature-fire, so that is another consideration. Evolution of the Deck: This next section of the tutorial will outline how my decks evolved, and why that was better. This section will not be present in my discussion of the 9 other factions, or it will be written by someone else. Despite the negativity that I rain down on nomads, my first complete deck had them. That deck was: Nomad_nature,Sunstriders,Eruption,Wrecker,Makeshift-Tower,Surge-of-Light,Ravage,Lava-Field,Curse-of-Oink,Spirit-Hunters_nature,Twilight-Minions_fire,Deathglider_frost,Rogan-Kayle,Vileblood_nature,Skyfire-Drake,Fire-Stalker,Mauler,Sun-Reaver_nature,Drones,Ashbone-Pyro T1: Nomad, Sun Strider, Eruption, Wrecker, Makeshift Tower, T2: Surge of light, Ravage, Lavafield, Curse of Oink, Spirit Hunters, Twilight Minions, Deathglider, Rogan Kayle, Vileblood, Skyfire Drake, Fire Stalker, Mauler, T3: Sun Reaver, Drones, Ashbone Pryo It’s interesting to note that, while this deck cannot be considered competitive at top play, it’s still remarkably balanced. I could probably achieve Ruler level with it. As it was, I was an archfiend because I didn’t even understand what counters were. @TBPeti told me about that and void power and it changed my life. I jumped to Grandmaster the next day, after changing my t1. As I’m sure you’ve noticed, I have no S counters in there. This is why nomads are bad. I generally avoided large t1 confrontations, and if I needed to defend S, the makeshift tower worked pretty well. Not the best, but it halfway worked. The second thing you should notice, after my ranting about the wonders of gladiatrix, is that she’s missing. That’s because I was completely P4F, and they hadn’t even started giving out daily rewards. I could afford maybe 2 gladies, but I wanted to have the BFP in my pocket so I could continue to make more BFP. My anti-air was fairly coordinated as well. Not ideal, but it worked. Spirit hunters were good. They couldn’t even damage a ravaged drake though, so I would use the nomad spear for that. If I had known better, I would have spawned a drake and shot+erupted, or just double erupted. Admittedly, the nomad spear was pretty good against war eagles and windhunters. I’m not condoning them, I’m just saying that they did a bit to fill in the gladiatrix void. I used deathgliders and fire stalkers against S units. As soon as I learned about unit counters, I subbed in ghostspears for twilight minions. I was using the minions because I thought having stricter orb requirements (1 fire 1 nature, rather than 1 nature 1 neutral) would mean a better unit. That’s not the case. For t3, I went shadow for ashbone pyro. That’s just a great card, and it solved problems of siege and anti-air. I played around with my t3 a lot (staying shadow the whole time), sometimes doing things like soulshatter or sandstorm or unholy power. I didn’t like my drones very much. It’s pretty risky to take a different t3 orb just for one card, even a card as great as ashbone pyro. I had that conversation with TBPeti, and wizened up. I changed my nomad to scavenger immediately, which sort of forced me to get a gladiatrix and drop spirit hunters, but I held off the rest of the changes until I could do them more gradually. The next time I thought my deck was finished, it had Scavenger,Sunstriders,Eruption,Thugs,Mortar-Tower,Surge-of-Light,Ensnaring-Roots,Ravage,Lava-Field,Curse-of-Oink,Rogan-Kayle,Ghostspears,Skyfire-Drake,Fire-Stalker,Vileblood_nature,Gladiatrix_nature,Mauler,Giant-Slayer,Magma-Hurler,Sun-Reaver_nature T1: Scavenger, Eruption, Sun Strider, Thugs, Mortar Tower, T2: Surge of Light, Ensnaring Roots, Ravage, Lavafield, Curse of Oink, Rogan Kayle, Ghostspears, Skyfire Drake, Fire Stalker, Vileblood, Gladiatrix, Mauler, T3: Giant Slayer, Magma Hurler, Sun Reaver Much improved! Pro fire-nature players will disagree with this a lot, but I prided myself on the deck’s A). Originality, and B). Low price. I was ranked about Legend with this deck, and I kept it until I heard the announcement that Battleforge was shutting down. The comments for VB vs burrowers are still valid. I dropped deathgliders, and I relied on ghostspears and fire stalker for my S counter. I did get in the occasional trouble with darkelf spamming or stone shard spamming, but overall it was okay. If the enemy spammed too much S units, lavafield was generally okay. It was a fine line to tread to overwhelm me, but at around Legend level people could do it fairly reliably. I also realized that most of the time I wasn’t using the VB, but rather just charging in with Rogan and a Ghostspear, with Fire Stalker in the back. I used the mauler because I had a lot of trouble dealing with ashbone pyros and stonekin. Sun Reavers were also not nerfed yet. When I heard the game was shutting down, I finally gave up my pride and decided to just try to improve my rank. My deck was: Scavenger,Sunstriders,Eruption,Thugs,Mortar-Tower,Surge-of-Light,Ensnaring-Roots,Ravage,Lava-Field,Curse-of-Oink,Rogan-Kayle-promo,Ghostspears,Skyfire-Drake,Scythe-Fiends,Gladiatrix_nature,Burrower,Mauler,Giant-Slayer,Magma-Hurler,Sun-Reaver_nature T1: Scavenger, Eruption, Sun Strider, Thugs, Mortar Tower, T2: Surge of Light, Ensnaring Roots, Ravage, Lavafield, Curse of Oink, Rogan Kayle, Ghostspears, Skyfire Drake, Burrower, Scythe Fiends, Gladiatrix, Mauler, T3: Giant Slayer, Magma Hurler, Sun Reaver You’ll notice there are only 2 changes. Burrowers and Scythe fiends. The harmony of the rest of the deck still holds, with a bit better of an S counter. Occasionally I would remove Rogan and use an extra t1 card. My deck was becoming more and more the standard fire-nature deck. Ultimately, at the very top levels, it always comes down to the same cards. I will now present to you the “Pro-Player’s Fire-Nature Deck.” I don’t agree with everything in them, but I do know that my results tended to get better the more I conformed to them. Don’t just take this list and copy it, because the reasons for why cards are in your deck are more important than the cards themselves. The following deck differs from the deck I just presented for very small, tactical reasons. It’s not guided by principles, so explaining those reasons will not be of much use to you. I mostly include it so I don’t have pro players pulling out their hair and saying “firestalker? Rogan Kayle? How could you??” If you wanted just the grocery list below, you can ask any player and he could give you one. Really, the only reason I have this is to establish my credibility. Pro decks: T1: Scavenger, Eruption, Sun Striders, Thugs, Firesworn, Sunderer, Mortar, T2: Surge of Light, Ensnaring Roots, Hurricane, Ravage, Lavafield, Curse of Oink, Ghostspears, Skyfire Drake, Burrower, Scythe Fiends, Gladiatrix, T3: Giantslayers, Brannoc Mine also works well, although a lot of players don’t have room for it. Similarly with disenchant. I’ve known some players to even forgo t3 entirely to make room for those cards. Some also drop Mortar/Sunderer.