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  1. WindHunter

    Let's Talk Shrine of Greed

    This is a card near and dear to my heart. I used it as a crutch to get 12th on the ranked ladder at a time where everyone said it was useless. Before I go farther let's remember what it does: Shrine of Greed: Tier 2, Shadow/Shadow, 100 Power Building Transfer half of the void pool to the power pool instantly. For the next 30 seconds, no void power flows into the power pool and any power that would normally flow into the void pool is instead permanently lost. This debuff means that for 30 seconds if you use a spell, lose a building, or let a unit die you permanently lose the 90% power that would normally be refunded. The debuff is so crippling it makes the upside, gaining half of your void pool instantly, not worth it. The lose of a single nightcrawler means permanently losing 54 energy. Lose two nightcrawlers and it is worse for you than building a power well and instantly destroying it. The issue is, the debuff is so bad that you will lose far more than 100 power in the 30 seconds it is active. But, did you know Shrine of Greed's (SoG) debuff is tied to the building itself? If you destroy the building immediately after activating it, you lose the 90 power bound into the building but instead get half your void power instantly. This is clearly a bug but it makes the card incredibly interesting to play and gives Pure Shadow a way to run an incredibly long t2. Rediscovering the bug from another Pure Shadow player Eljyn(?) is what vaulted me into the top 20. It lets you turn a match you are losing into a game where you have 2 buffed harvesters on the field. If you have ever played me and wondered why my micro is below every other top player's, reading this should give you a hint. For 1v1 PvP In my opinion the card is balanced. If given the chance I'd redesign it to bring back Pure Shadow's old school t2 turtle into Harvester or 5-card T3 without requiring the player to abuse a bug every game. Once someone knows you have this in your deck(or is given the impression), they can punish you hard when you build it. I typically had to go one Power-well down when I built it and if I didn't get major value the game was essentially over. It is a true high-risk high-reward card and fits well in the Shadow faction. For 2v2 PvP This is the important part of this post. The widespread use of this bug had a detrimental effect on 2v2 in the later years of BattleForge. The issue is that both you and your ally get back half of your void power instantly and only one of you suffers a -100 power penalty. In 2v2 where there is more power already in the game, this gives a team with a Pure Shadow member an unfair advantage in the mid-to-late game. Assume all four players in a 2v2 match have 1500 power in their void pool. One team is capped at +20 void power per second with 1500 in their void pool while the team using SoG pulls out 750 power instantly and still gets 15-16 per second. This isn't healthy for the 2v2 scene and as time went on and knowledge of the bug grew, more and more teams started incorporating a Pure Shadow member. And that's why I'm making this post. I've seen talk of balancing and if we are going to be making balance changes it is very important for us to look first at cards that hurt the overall playing experience of the PvP communities and this is a card we need to focus on first. Discuss.
  2. How to play Frost T1 a PvP Guide by RadicalX - General talk - Hey everyone, apparently I didn't plan on releasing this guide so early, but since I have this finished guide lying around for such a long time I'll just post it now. This time I will talk about Frost T1. I'll try to do pretty much the same I did with my shadow guide: I'll try to provide some basic informations for new players combined with some deeper analysis of matchups and tips for more experienced players too. The stuff I wrote refers only to 1v1, because 2v2 is different in many ways (I said the same stuff in the other guide). General question: Why should I play Frost T1? Let's start with an essential question here. Why would somebody consider playing Frost T1? Because Frost T1 isn't as reliable as Shadow or Fire T1, since Frost has got 2 major weaknesses: 1. no access to a T1 swift unit 2. Frost does very poorly in open fights without a near power well Those two weaknesses combined make Frost very inconsistent in a way, because the difficulty of your game depends primary on the map you are playing on and not the opponents deck-color like in other matchups. Alot of people consider Frost T1 as too risky and that is a big reason why next to no high ranked players used it (only nature T1 was actually even less common). But lets take a look at the upsides of Frost T1. First of all Frost Units are the strongest T1 units in the game in terms of combat stats. Their cost efficency is amazing and they have such an incredible amount of hp which makes aoe damage useless unless your opponent is already T2. Frost may be weak if you can't get a close well situation, but when you manage to take a favourable power well you can smash your opponent from that point on. Frost T1 is unbeatable in a close well fight as long as your opponents doesn't build turrets or is T2 and even then it's possible to win due to the incredible stat efficency of Ice Guardians next to buildings. In addition to that Frost T1 offers a very strong late T1. There is pretty much no colour that stands a chance against you at the late-T1 stage (not even nature as some people may think). Your units already have got an incredible amount of health and homesoil adds another scaling effect in terms of damage which lets you outscale your opponent easily. I guess you can describe Frost T1 like this: "High risk, high reward" - the Deck - This list is going to be short like the one for my Shadow Guide. It just gives a slight overview about the cards to show what was essential/viable/trash. Group 1 - The "must have" Units (You would suffer alot if you decide to play without them): Master Archers Frost Mage Ice Guardian Ice Barrier Home soil Glacier Shell Group 2 - Very strong additional cards, which provide safety for some matchups: Lightblade (purple) Frost Bite (purple) Ice Shield tower Glyph of Frost Group 3 - Cards that are only useful for higher Tier combinations: Frost Bite (red) Frost Sorceress Group 4 - Cards that are only useful in a single certain scenario (usually not viable): Imperials Lightblade (red) Wardens Sigil (both affinities) Northern Keep (blue) Glaciation (blue) Wintertide (both affinities) Group 5 - Trash Northern Keep (red) Northguards Glaciation (red) Construction Hut Defense Tower Some of you may noticed the surprising fact, that I included Wintertide in group 4 despite the fact that the card used to be pretty popular. I want to talk about it a little bit more in detail, because alot of players rated it pretty highly even tho it was a very unnecessary card and pretty much a wasted deckslot. And this is the reason for it: The only unit, that has any kind of synergy with Wintertide are the Master Archers. The other M Units, don't get anything from the knockback immunity and even if you can give your units insane amount of effective hp for a good amount of time, it wont make a difference due to its self-root. Wintertide + Masterarcher spam is not useful against any deck and there is always a better option for Frost T1. -> Master Archer spam + Wintertide loses against Dreadcharger spam if the shadow-player stops every movement command so he doesn't kill his own units with the reflect damage through stomp and it is not really hard to execute that. Motivate makes it even worse in this matchup. -> Master Archer spam + Wintertide is useless against nature, because you wont have enough burst to kill units effectively. Hurricane will at least do a single knockback before you can react unless you are a master at predicting the enemies actions and even tho it seems like hurricane does no damage at all it can deal up to 500 damage in total against a massive unit spam (10 damage that gets applied 5 times against up to 10 units). That is at least a respective amount for 50 power. -> If you try Master Archer spam against Frostmagespam you are going to have a bad time. A very bad time. Frostmages will just demolish you, because it's an S-counter and has a constant knockback. This means you have 0 damage without the use of wintertide and still less damage when you decide to use it and this is just bad. -> In the matchup against Fire Scavenger is just a better version of Dreadcharger, because there is no stomp-effect, which makes it even more reliable (Therefore the blue affinity of Wintertide would be actually better in this matchup). Apart from Firesworn there is no real knockback (Sunderer doesn't count) that makes Wintertide useful in any way. You may think Wintertide helps you to scale better into the late T1 stages since you get a higher efficency the more units you affect with a buff, but honestly ... you already outscale every deck in the late T1 stage due to homesoil, which is the superior buff in every perspective. Wintertide just doesn't have any kind of synergy that makes it worth a slot for a 1v1 deck. I consider Wintertide a 2v2-only card and this is why I would recommend to take this card out of your Frost deck. - The maps - I want to mention the maps right away, because they are super important as a Frost player. I want to give you a little overview about the strength of Frost T1 on each map, because in case your opponent plays shadow or fire as his T1 (which happens probably around 80% of the time) he will try to prevent you from getting map control and close wells. Against nature things are much different, but I'll talk about that a little bit later. Haladur: It alawys felt a little bit weird to play on this map. The middle of the map was pretty much perfect for you, because the power wells were pretty close to each other and it was not possible to get zoned from the first power well. Sounds great at the first look, but there was a massive downside. The main base was super far away from the middle position. This allows swift unit spam for the shadow/fire player and this is pretty nasty to deal with. Your opponent attacks your power well in the middle, but if you try to play units to defend he can just run down to your main base and leave your slow units on the other part of the map. You have to spend your power very carefully on this map, otherwise you'll end up with a massive amount of bound power, that does litereally nothing for you. Uro: This Map is your worst enemy. If your opponent starts immediatly with his swift unit he can block every spot on the map. You are pretty much forced into a dazed fight, which isn't favourable for you at all. Many Frost-players tried to start with 2 units immediatly and sent them to different positions to aquire at least some sort of mapcontrol, but that only works as long as your enemy doesn't pay attention. If you are in a tournament and your opponent picks this map you should consider playing something apart from Frost T1. Lajesh (standard version): You had a wellcluster next to your main base which is easy to defend. But on the other hand it's very hard to apply pressure due to the walls. Your T3 spot could get blocked pretty fast, but if your opponent takes the position himself it opened up opportunities for you to launch a strong attack. Lajesh (without walls): If both player agree to play without walls this map got just so much more interesting. When the power rises you can take an aggressive power well and force your opponent into a close well situation. Even though you had to spend 100 power into the power well you will come out on top. But take care of mortar & phasetower! Yrmia: I loved playing Frost T1 on Yrmia. The well distance is very short and the map in general is very small, which helps you alot to defend yourself against early aggression. If you get yourself into a safe position you will be able to launch super powerful attacks in no time. In my opinion this is the best map you can get as a Frost T1 player. Simai: A very passive map. It is very easy to defend yourself against aggression and you can take alot of power wells on your side of the map without losing to much map control. On the other hand it was very difficult to attack your enemy if he decides to stay on his side of the map. Pretty much an antifun map, but pretty favourable because it allows you to scale. Elyon: This map causes alot of problems, because it's small and mid centered. Since you wont be able to win dazed fights against fire or shadow you would lose the control about the mid position which means you would lose the entire map control. You have next to no available power wells & no T3 spot which causes serious issues. At least your T2 spot was very save, so it's not as bad as Uro. Whazai: It always felt a little bit weird to play on this map. You have no control about the middle of the map in the early stage of the game and your opponent has the pressure advantage. That said, Whazai isn't that bad for you. The map is small and that increases the power of your Ice Guardians (you can spawn dazed IG's with active shield over the cliff at your starting wells). If your opponent gets a little bit too greedy and takes a power well in the middle you can punish him for that. By way of conclusion I want to remark that Phasetower is broken on Whazai. Generated maps (small): The small maps were very threatening, because they are super mid-centered. The player who controls the mid position (usually 1 orb + 4 wells) controls the entire game, sometimes you could even deny T3 spots. In most cases you had at least a save well spot with a T2 orb, but you lost so much map control and you had to fight really well if you try to reclaim it. Generated maps (big): These maps are just bad designed. You need 2 entire minutes to walk up to the enemy. At least the maps were favourable for you, because no early aggression means you can take safe wells and scale into a T3 which should be not too bad for you since Frost T1 allows you to play a timeless one T3 regardless of your T2 colour. Still not the most enjoyable type of maps ... Frost may be very map dependend which makes the T1 a little bit unreliable for your casual ladder games, but just imagine how strong it can get in tournaments. There were a good amount of players, who used to play only pure fire. In a best of 5 you would get at least 2 free wins by picking a good map for Frost T1, because Pure Frost naturally beats Fire in T2. Mastering frost T1 can help you alot in these situations and can make yourself a way more threatening player even for opponents with superior micromanagement and decisionmaking when they aren't flexible in their deck choice. - Matchups - Frost vs Shadow Time to take a look at the specific matchups. I'll just start again with a short look at the core cards in this matchup: Frost: 1. Master Archers 2. Ice Guardian 3. Ice Barrier 4. Homesoil Shadow: 1. Dreadcharger 2. Nox Trooper 3. Motivate Core Strategy: There are 3 possible scenarios that can happen in this matchup and I'll descirbe all of them. First scenario: You don't get a powerwell If your opponent get's the opportunity to deny you a powerwell and forces you to go into a dazed fight you will just lose. Master archer spam is the best thing you can do here, but you need at least 10-11 units with homesoil to stand a chance, because the Dreadcharger just demolishes Master Archers due to its bonus damage against S units. Ice guardians on an open field won't help you, because they have no iceshield and that leaves them as super squishy units. Lighblade costs too much & even a well placed Glyph of Frost won't save you, because there is just not enough dps early into the game to make good use of it. The shadow player motivates the focussed Dreadcharger and destroys you when he gets out of the cc. This is why you want to avoid this situation at every cost! Even if you have to give up alot of mapcontrol, getting a power well is the first very important step to keep yourself in the game. Second scenario: You get a powerwell and your opponent attacks you immediatly. This is the most common situation in high ranked. The shadow player has a 100 power advantage and alot of strong players will attack immediatly at this point because this is a very micro intensive fight. The Shadow player tries to pick off your units immediatly, because your units are more cost efficient and if he waits to long or doesn't get his picks you outscale him, defend the well with glacier shell and get a massive advantage. This is why you have to micro your units as well as possible to survive up to the point where you can fight back. The units you need to play are Master Archers and Ice-Guardians. How much of each kind is decided by the units your opponent plays. If he plays many Dreadchargers, Ice Guardians are your way to go, Master Archers perform better against Nox Troopers on the other hand. Be careful with the use of spells at that point.Only use Glacier shell if your well drops really low. Otherwise your enemy can just switch his focus back onto your units immediatly and you wasted 50 power which could be invested into another unit. Only use Frost bite if you are 100% sure to finish off the unit & don't use home soil on just 2-3 units. It's better to get more units into the battle and micro them to build up a huge army. If you defend this attack successfully, the game is nearly won. Third scenario: You get a powerwell and your opponent takes one too Unless you are a really high ranked player this will be the most common scenario. And luckily this one favours you. If both players just take a well you are pretty much save due to the high cost efficiency of your units around your power wells. Just don't let your units die for free and wait a little bit up to a point where alot of power is in the game. Because at that point you can take another power well without any risk. Your opponent lost his momentum and can't attack you at a high power level even with his advantage due to the strong stats of your Frost units. This often results in a situation where your opponent decides to take a power well himself. And this is how you can take advantage of this: Try to take your wells in a way to close the gap between yourself and your opponent. If you reach a point where you just have to build 2-3 Ice barriers for your Ice Guardians so they can walk up to the enemies well without losing their shield to crush your opponent. Your unit composition should consist of 2-3 Ice Guardians + Master Archer spam. The Ice Guardians are a big threat to the Dreadcharger and Master Archers naturally outscale a nox trooper spam espcially since Nox Trooper needs so many extra hits to take down an entire Master Archer squad. The last missing piece is the homesoil that gives you the needed boost to wipe out the entire shadow army. In smaller skirmishes it's important to use Frostbite to pick off units and prevent yourself from getting outmicroed by swiftunits. Tips & cards to watch out for: Starting unit: Always start with Master Archers and don't get baited into the Lightblade start. Yes, the card allows you to skirmish well due to the taunt ability if both players take a well, but if the shadow player attacks immediatly, the card is useless, because it gets demolished by nox troopers while binding more power than other units, that would be more useful in combat. This will make a rush much easier for your opponent. Phasetower: This card can stop your aggression entirely, so try to figure out if your opponent plays it or not. Phasetower is strong enough to allow Shadow fighting in close well positions, therefore even at a mid/late T1 stage it can be risky going too aggressive against it, especially when the Shadow-player can make good use of terrain to protect the turrets from your Ice Guardians. But as long as you make sure to avoid being overaggressive there is not too much to worry about, because your units are strong enough to deal with Phastowers when the port ability gets used. Motivate: Not every Shadow player uses it, because Nature & Frost were sort of underplayed! If your opponent doesn't use it you will reach your power spike earlier to punish your opponent harder. So always be aware if your opponent uses motivate in the first skirmishes or not. Replays: - coming soon - Frost vs Nature Core cards: Frost: 1. Frostmage 2. Ice Barrier 3. Home Soil Nature: 1. Swiftclaw 2. Surge of Light 3. Dryad Core Strategy: This matchup is pretty easy to describe. Spam Frostmages ... and win. Honestly, that's pretty much everything about this matchup. Frost mages negate Windweavers & Spearmen entirely, outdamage Shamans & Dryads by a wide margin and outrange Swiftclaws, who are the only real threat to you. In the early game Swiftclaws do a massive amount of damage to M units and therefore you need to keep Distance from your opponent up to the point where you get enough Mages to oneshot the Swiftclaws in one attackrotation (you need around 8 Frostmages with homesoil support to do so -> 930 damage per rotation, which is enough to kill a swiftclaw even with the dryad damagereduction). The most dangerous thing for you is an early T2 from your opponent. Therefore you always have to be in a good position, where you can threaten a T2 rush while being in a safe distance to be not caught out by an early swiftclaw spam. The most popular decks with nature T1 were pure nature & stonekin (nobody played shadow nature or fire nature with nature T1). Executing a rush against pure Nature is pretty easy, because it lacks an M/M counter in T2 and as long as you split up your Frostmages against Curse of Oink there is nothing that can stop you (kiting Deep One with Frostbite is an easy task). Against Stonekin it gets a little bit more difficult, dependend on the cards you are playing against. Stonetempest for example can perma cc 3-4 mages, but Lightblade hard counters him, so try to play one if you see your opponent switching into T2. Razorshard got nerfed, which makes it easier to outmicro them, Stormsinger doesn't have enough dps to stop you and the other cards are also S units, so as long as your micro is on point you can rush against stonekin aswell even with alle the cc & building protects. Tips and cards to watch out for: Treespirit: The honorable nature players wont use him, but you will still encounter this card due its ridiculous strength. But the good thing for you is the fact, that your Frostmagespam can't get caught out by treespirit, because you can build up Ice Barriers pretty fast to block their entire damage. It's a little bit more difficult to build them in an offensive position, but if you manage to do so it isn't a big deal to win a fight against them. Primal Defender: Never underistimate the influence turrets can have on the game in this particular matchup. While bound power is usually a really bad thing, Primal defender can create a huge zoning are & on some maps (Haladur for an instance) your main base is super far away which allows to to stop any type of aggression. Your opponent can switch into T2 safely, which allows him to stay in the game. Primal Defender & Mark of the Keeper map have a big influence on this matchup, so keep that in mind. You probably won't play against Mark of the Keeper, because it's useless against Shadow (outranged by Phasetower), but people definitely used Primal Defender! But if your opponent doesn't use any buildings be confident try to finish your games in T1! Pure Nature does pretty well against frost splashes in T2 and you really want to avoid that unfavourable gamestage. Tip: Keep your Frostmages at one spot in T1 and don't split them up! You want all of them shooting at the same time at the same target (The damage can be bodyblocked by other units otherwise & having delays between the attacks allows your opponent to time more efficient heals betweeen the attacks) Replays: -coming soon- Frost vs Fire Core cards: Frost: 1. Ice Guardian 2. Master Archers 3. Lightblade 4. Ice Barrier 5. Home Soil Fire: 1. Scavenger 2. Sunstriders 3. Mortar Core strategy: To play against Fire T1 you need to follow one golden rule, that will bring you alot of success: Don't get Greedy! It sounds a little bit silly, but it's really important to handle a pure Fire player and I will explain this in detail now. Like in every other matchup you will be in an defensive position right from the start. If you survive the first attacks against fire you will gain a massive advantage and be able to apply alot of pressure or force your opponent into an early T2. So let's take a look at the different type of attacks a fire player may launch at you and how to defend them properly. How to defend a scavenger rush? I mentioned this scenario already a little bit earlier. It is a really dangerous strategy to play against when the distance between your power wells is really high. So I will choose Haladur to explain how to play in this situation, this map is a prime example due to the high distance between the main base & the middle. What's my starting unit? You have 2 viable starting units: Master Archers & Lightblade. Theses units will be needed in the defense. Lightblade allows you to make easy picks & is super tanky against the Scavengers. But I personally prefer to use master archers as my starting unit, because they are more reliable in the other scenarios against fire and if you see your opponent goes for the scavenger spam anyway you can still play the lightblade (pretty much as a surpise spawn to get a free taunt). - Do I even take a power well in the middle? - Yes, definitely. You stand no chance winning a dazed fight and you have to get access to at least 1 spot in the middle. Take the closest well next to your base (don't worry to much about map control, if your opponent takes the aggressive well on Haladur he puts himself into a close well situation which forces him to either bind power into a defensive mortar or he will just straight up lose the game from that point on). - My opponent started spamming scavenger, what shall I do? - Don't panic! You got less power, but way more efficient units, try to taunt one scavenger with your Lightblade! If your opponent runs away you got a very efficient trade, if he tries to attack, play maybe one additional Ice Guardian. Don't play more than 3 units immediatly! And DON'T use homesoil. If your opponent goes for the powerwell and it drops to 66% health start playing more units, only use glacier shell if it drops below 600hp! Your power management is the most important thing here. While it's usually good to play at your power limit it is important to keep some energy in you backpocket, so you will be able to react when the scavengers start moving down to your main base. Don't get too greedy and spend all your power at one spot, your other base will be left entirely helpless. Keep this in mind: If you play your defense perfectly you can ALWAYS defend a Scavenger spam, so stay calm! Second possible scenario: While the scavengerspam is just one possible scenario there is also one big threat, that is really dangerous to you, when you decide to take an overaggressive powerwell. I'm talking about the mortarrush. The threat of an offensive mortar is really big and forces you to make bad trades, which allows the fire player to snowball. Scavengers will rip Masterarchers apart while Sunstriders are a big threat to Ice Guardians. I finally found a great replay to showcase why this is the most dangerous thing you can encounter in this matchup: How to play this scenario properly: Sometimes you need to give up map control as a Frost T1 player due to bad map conditions. Even though you put yourself at a small disadvantage by taking a defensive power well, beeing too greedy may cost you the game against a top tier player and this just isn't worth the risk. Third possible scenario: You can also be lucky and get into a close well position, where your opponent has next to no chance of winning. But be careful at some positions. If the position is protected by terrain your opponent may try to build up a mortar, which can be really annoying to deal with. It's usually wise to have a well distance around 70-80m, which allows you to spam Ice-Guardians & Master Archers (their stats are faaaaar superior to Scavenger & Sunstrider) from a save distance. In later T1 stages you don't even have to worry about that. It is possible to beat out Fire even with a Mortar, your units have a great health pool and don't die immediatly, and with homesoil you can destroy the Mortar in about 3 seconds. Afterwards feel free to kill every unit around you. Tips & cards to watch out for Wrecker: This card is also used from time to time in a rush due to high dps & the rallying ability. But your Ice Guardian are stronger in theory, so keep in mind that you can take a well against a wrecker spam, but if you lose 1 or 2 units in addition for that things may snowball really damn fast. Firesworn: I didn't mention the card at all so far, but the S knockback can be a problem for your Master archers, so don't rely too much on them! Mine: Some people may try to protect their offensive mortar turrets with some sneaky mines for zone control. It's usually not worth it, because it's easily dodgeable (for the majority of people atleast) but always try to think about it so you don't get caught off guard! Replays: -> another mortar rush by Obesity vs freemka - coming soon- Frost vs Frost Core cards: 1. Ice Guardian 2.Frost Mage 3. Homesoil 4. Ice Barrier This matchup is pretty simple in terms of explanation, but pretty difficult when it comes to execution. First of all I recommend starting with frost mage (I know it's pretty uncommon, but that is pretty much because there were next to no experienced frost players around the high ranked ladder, since everyone played shadow & fire due to the high reliabilty). Master Archers don't have any particular use (there are no unitsquads to finish off and also no S units in general) and they get permacc'd by Frost mage. Lightblade isn't too bad, but it's just really useful against careless opponents who let their units get to close to their opponent before the true fight starts. Otherwise the Lightblade is just too expensive (with the taunt ability nearly as expensive as 2 Iceguardians, who have far superior combat stats). Apart from that there are 2 types of possible fights. 1. Ice Guardians vs Ice Guardians This occurs on small maps with close well positions. The winner of this matchup is going to be the player who has better micro management. So make sure to always keep track on your Ice Shields and move your units properly. In addition to that it's important to play at your absolute power limit, otherwise you will ultimately lose out due to lower dps. Try to have homesoil constantly active in combat (An Ice Guardian spam usually involves more than enough units to make it worth is), but don't get baited into using it too early at the start of the fight, otherwise your opponent may be able to retreat without losing any units and that would be a pretty huge loss for you. 2. Magespam This is why starting with Frostmage is so damn important and valuable. On maps without proper wellpositions to fight at, the Frostmagespam outscales Ice Guardians pretty fast. The amount of mages you need is higher than against nature so don't even think about attacking too early, but after 10+ Frostmages you will be able to oneshot Ice Guardians with a single attack rotation (75*10*1,55= 1163 single target burst damage). If you face a magespam with your magespam make sure to get off the first damage rotation. That's enough to win fight, because at some point your opponents counterattack won't deal enough burst damage to kill mages and your additonal splash damage also adds up over time. So make sure to get a clean & fast damage rotation at the start. Tips & cards to watch out for: Glyph of Frost: Just make sure to respect its threat and you should be able to dodge it. But if you walk into it with your entire army, it can be pretty dangerous, because the enemies dps is really high in such a big spam and getting hit by a good Frost-Glyph can possibly cost you the game. Also be careful when playing a magespam, because you will have all of them pretty close to each other since you need to do this for better focusfire. This may lead to a full 7 unit freeze, which is pretty dangerous. So just dodge it & take the free 50 power advantage. T2 timings: Dependend on your T2 colour you should chose your T2 timing wisely. As a pure Frost player you can negate even a big disadvantage by just going T2, if there is at least some void power in your pool. War Eagles demolishe entire M unit armies. Replays: -coming soon- Frost T1 vs T2 This section will be added for Frost T1 specificly, because it's one Frosts biggest advantages over every other T1. It has enough power to even beat some T2's in a close well situation and I'm not talking about just defending with an extra well, I'm talking about straight up aggression. Here are the decks Frost beats in a T1 vs T2 scenario. 1. Pure Nature: I mentioned this already, Magespam can't be stopped by a pure Nature player. Ghost Spears & Spirit Hunter are useless against the S knockback, Deep one will end up getting kited with Frost bite, and pure Nature doesn't have any other swift units. You don't need a close well to do this, but Ice Guardians will also do the job pretty well combined with the additional mages. Careful: Dependend on your opponents deck you may have to play a lightblade to counter a potential Spikeroot. This is especially important against people who used Tresspirit, because it's often an indicator for root decks. 2. Stonekin: Pretty similar scenario. The Frost Mages will do a great job against stonekin and Ice Guardians are almost impossible to kill (Stonekin lacks high dps units, which leaves the deck with no option to kill any units, while beeing forced to spend more and more power for cc and building protects). Having a Lightblade as a hard counter for Stonetempest can be valuable too (even though Stonetempest isn't too popular anymore). Just make sure to split your units as well as possible against cc and aoe knockups (razorshard). 3. Pure Fire: If the pure Fire player goes T2 early into the game you can punish him by taking a close well. Your Ice Guardians have a great hp pool to survive initial Enforcer charges. Pure Fire has no cc and therefore has to rely on a combination out of units & wildfire to defend attacks properly. On a low power level you can just play either units or spells and that lets the efficency decrease by alot. In later game stages you shouldn't rush Pur Fire players because their defense gets much stronger and you don't want to allow the fire player to scale into the late game (Especially when you are playing pure Frost, T2 is such a great opportunity for you to win the game). 4. Fire Nature: This also works really well, because Lavafield doesn't do enough damage to deal with the hp pool of Ice Guardians. Try to split your Master Archers against Hurricane and focus single Skyfire drakes with Frost bite. The lack of cheap & spammable T2 units will allow you to apply alot of pressure in the close well situation. 5. Bandits: Well Bandits has no cc, the aoe spells don't do enough damage and this makes it alot easier for you. But Bandits has spammable high dps units (Nightcrawler & Darkelf assassins), who can punish you really hard if you micro poorly, so try to kite nightcrawlers with Frost bite and play a Frostmage to deal with the Darkelf assassins. 6. Fire Frost: The success against Fire Frost was really dependend on the situation. Most of the time you should look for a close well against a wellcluster to reduce the efficency of Glacier Shell. Otherwise Coldsnap & Building protects may stall the game up to a point with enough room for Skyfiredrakes and Scythe Fiends. Fire Frost has pretty expensive units though, which means you got a big advantage in the early fights. The other decks had some cards that were to strong to allow a favourable close well situation unless you've got a tremendous lead. -> Shadow Nature has the cheapest cc and the cheapest high dps units -> Pure Frost has War Eagle (The Ability is too damn powerful) -> pure Shadow has Shadow Mages -> Shadow Frost has Lyrish Nasty, cheap high dps units & building protects Overall playing pure Frost was always a great experience for me and I hope we see at least some Frost T1 players in the game, when everyone is able to play again. So I hope you like the guide and I hope it will be useful for some of you in the future. I'll update it with replays, when I found some good ones, currently there are sadly no impressive Frost matches on youtube. If you are interested in more content about playing T1 check out my Shadow T1 guide aswell! I guess that's about it, thanks for reading and have a nice day! Best regards, RadicalX
  3. a PvP Guide by RadicalX -General talk- Since some people asked me to do this I decided to make a small guide regarding Shadow T1. This guide provides information for every type of player (from new to experienced). I will try to explain every single matchup and I hope this is going to be helpful for some of you, who want to improve their gameplay when we get to play again. Note: Every statement refers to 1v1-PvP since 2v2 doesn't always works in the same way. First of all: What makes Shadow T1 so attractive? Shadow T1 & Fire T1 were the most played T1's in the game for a simple reason: Both of them haven't got any major weaknesses. Frost T1 often loses Map control due to the lack of swift units and Nature struggles seriously against towers or can get entirely ruined by an instant T2. Meanwhile Shadow doesn't have these issues and it doesn't lack in strenghts either. The early T1 is the strongest out of all colours. - the Deck - (This is just a short list without in depth explanation. For some more detailed information take a look at Eirias' Deck building guide: [http://forum.bfreborn.com/index.php?/topic/917-how-to-build-a-pvp-deck-guide/]) Group 1 - The "must have" Units (you won't be able to compete on a high level without them): Dreadcharger Forsaken Nox Trooper Nasty Group 2 - Strong additional cards, which provide safety for some matchups: Motivate Skeleton Warriors Phasetower Nightguard Group 3 - Cards, that are only useful for higher Tier combinations: Embalmers Shrine Life Weaving Group 4 - Cards that are only useful in a single certain scenario (usually not viable): Snapjaws Witchclaws (both affinities) Wrathblades Soulsplicer (green) Decomposer Lifestealer (For specific information ask @Hirooo) Executor Group 5 - Trash Offering (both affinites) Soulsplicer (red) You should make sure that your T1 has a good synergy with the rest of your Deck. Some examples: - If you play Shadow Nature, Life Weaving would be a trash card, but in a Bandits-T2 Life Weaving is essential to support your skyfire drakes. - Phasetower gets even stronger in a shadow/frost deck, because you can support them in T2 with Kobold Trick & Glacier Shell. - Shadow Nature has a nice synergy with nightguard because the cheap cc allows you easily to catch the enemies units / you can prevent the nightguard from escaping after she used her ability. The average Shadow T1 includes 6-7 cards (I usually played Dreadcharger, Forsaken, Nox-Trooper, Skeleton Warriors, Nasty & Motivate (+ Life Weaving in Bandits & Pure Shadow). In theory Phasetower has to be included since this card is a little bit OP (especially against nature), but Phasetowerspam doesn't require any micro and these dirty wins weren't really satisfying. - Matchups - Shadow vs Fire Lets start with this matchup since it's the most popular one. Most important cards in this matchup: Shadow: 1. Dreadcharger - 2. Forsaken - 3. Nasty - 4. Motivate Fire: 1. Scavenger - 2. Sunstriders - 3. Thugs- 4. Sunderer - 5. Eruption Core strategy: Your first unit is Dreadcharger. Apparently this should be your starting unit in every single matchup, because the Dreadcharger is fast and has the shortest spawn animation out of every T1 swift unit (werebeasts are equal, but they weren't really popular). This means you will always reach important positions like middle orbs on random maps before your opponent. The first thing you have to notice is your map. As long as you play on a large map you are allowed to take a power well without any concern, but on smaller maps like Elyon for example you shouldn't take anything, otherwise you are going to lose immediately against a Sunderer rush. On smaller maps you have to go for a dazed fight. So lets take a look at "How to play dazed fights": 1. Spawn a dreadcharger, walk towards the position you intend to capture. 2. Spam mass forsaken and split your units (as long as your units are dazed you shouldn't have multiple ones at the same position, otherwise the can get erupted. If your Units reach full hp it's okay to have 2 Forsaken-squads close to each other). If you got multiple units in position you are ready to fight! 3. Your opponent will use Scavenger, Thugs & Sunstrider. Your first focus should be the scavenger, Sunstriders may have next to no health and are very vulnerable, but the scavy can slow your unit -> your opponent will kite you to death. The Fire player on the other hand has to focus your dreadcharger, because he won't reach your forsaken with his 540hp Scavenger, who has got inferior stats compared to dreadcharger, but a superior ability and aslong as they focus each other they are even in terms of strength. 4. If your units are close to death try to get them out of combat and heal them up later. Save as many units as you can and always try to have a good focus to catch out your opponent's Sunstriders as long as the scavy is out of the fight. If one of your Forsaken squads is out of position close to your enemies units just frenzy them to force your opponent back to get a positional advantage or - in the case where your opponent doesn't retreat - deal tons of damage (Frenzy Forsaken are devastating for Fire) and motivate them afterwards to get an even bigger damage boost. 5. Many people play thugs since their micro isn't good enough to win a dazed fight against frenzy Forsaken. The most important thing to notice is that Thugs are more expensive than Forsaken, which means the focussed forsaken squad can just run away, the thugs have to chase them, but your opponent has 10 additional bound power which creates an advantage for you. But be careful! Don't get lazy with your micro against thugs, because otherwise they can delete your forsaken and their passive will give your opponent even more power. Your micro has to be on point in this situation. EDIT: Since there was some discussion about thugs I want to expand this paragraph. It's very important to note that 2 Forsaken can kill Thugs, that are played in your backline before they get out of daze. So a very important tip against Thugs is to avoid early engagements and get up a decent amount of Forsaken (at least 4-5). This allows you to burst down dazed squads & full hp thugs from the other side will be easier to kite. Thugs are powerful, but onedimensional cards, so this strategy works with a high consistency to prevent them from destroying and zoning your backline and ensures you to win the early dazed fight. 6. If you get an advantage take a super aggressive power well to gain map control. If you lose the dazed fight try to take a safe position and buy time to recover your temporary disadvantage (but be careful, if your opponent tries to abuse this and starts spamming power wells. Pure Fire benefits heavily from this.). If you get a good amount of practice with this, you should win at least 90% out of your dazed fights against Fire T1. Important notes: Even if Nasty and Eruption can be game changing in the perfect moment they are usually not efficient in dazed fights! They are only good to punish mistakes, aside from that spawning additional units is the better choice. Sometimes you can spawn a single squad Skeleton Warriors with their tank ability they can easily reach good nasty positions, but you still shouldn't rely on the use of Nasty to win the fight. NEVER use lifeweaving on your Dreadcharger. It's just not good to spend 70 power to support a unit without substantial damage. Your opponent can just run away or change his focus and would always win the trade. If you think you really need a tank in your fight choose skeleton warriors. They do have got even more effective hp (1.5k) with their ability and you have to spend only 50 power which is fine. Fake Frenzy is pretty funny ^-^ You have to wait a split second until Frenzy gets activated which means you can easily cancel the animation by walking around -> sometimes your opponent thinks you really activated your Forsaken and retreats immediately. Always try to play at your power limit. It's pointless to hold anything back since the only useful spell in your Deck is Motivate which costs next to nothing. Here is a replay that shows how a dazed fight between two good players looks like: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Cm1gRHwA0U Hirooo made some small mistakes but that was an overall well executed T1. Sadly the commentating isn't always on point since Farrock doesn't have the same game knowledge as the top players (No offense against him, I respect his work & effort alot). The dazed fight is pretty much the most important thing to master in this matchup, because even on alot of the bigger maps you will fight under the same conditions after taking a power well. But lets take a look at another very common scenario: The close well fights This fights are way more aggressive, because Forsaken & Thugs are way more efficient in these situations. The reason for that is very simple: As a fire player you can't just run away from Frenzy Forsaken because otherwise they will just focus your well and delete it in no time. Thugs are super strong to support the fire players' defence. But keep in mind you got the early advantage in this matchup, so play as aggressive as you can. The power of fire scales proportionate with gametime as long as no wells go down, because Sundererspam can get really dangerous in the later stages of your T1. If you have to defend a Sunderer just use a Dreadcharger to block its walkpath as fast as you can (this slows the unit down severely) and focus it as much as you can before it's able to reach your power well (Use Nox Trooper + overload if you need a little bit more burst to finish it of when your opponent retreats). You have to keep calm in these situations, because if you panic and go for something like "mass frenzy" your opponent just walks away, waits 20 seconds and returns with a second Sunderer and this is ... lets say it's not good ... I also found a replay that shows how to abuse the early power of Shadow in a close well fight. Very nice decisionmaking by killroy in this game (he didn't waste any units). He does a really good job in terms of snowballing the game by attacking 2 spots at the same time, it's worth it to watch this game: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XD_n3CbbbMk This is a pretty rare scenario, but some maps do have big well distances and promote passive play (Simai does this because the Shadow player doesn't take the middle since he's scared of cliffdancer, meanwhile the Fire player prefers high well distances). Nox Trooper gets more valuable on maps like this. Usually they are inferior compared to forsaken in this matchup but they can create a high amount of burst and on this maps you don't have to deal with such a high amount of Sunstriders. The Overload-ability does 487,5 damage -> 1 hit + overload kills a scavenger in 6 seconds for sure and creates a little temporary power advantage for you. Just abuse this and take another power well, your opponents' attacks will be predictable since the map is big which allows you to defend well against sunderer. You can create a small, but reliable lead like this and this allows you a safe transition into your T2. [I didn't find a good replay for this, but I'm going to add one as soon as I got one] - Map Advantages - This matchup is the least map dependend one (Shadow mirror doesn't count ^^), but there are still some maps that give you advantages or disadvantges. Elyon: Small map, fast and early T1 fight -> it's easy to secure map control and sometimes you will be able to prevent your opponent from his T3. Yrmia: This is a very small map aswell with close wells next to each other, but the map isn't as fancy for you as it looks. The passages on this map are really really small, you won't be able to split your units unless you attack from multiple areas! Keep that in mind, otherwise Eruptions can be a threat at this map. Haladur: This matchup is pretty balanced on this map and very entertaining aswell. Pretty much one of the main reasons why Haladur was such a popular map in the community. Simai: As explained this map promotes a slow & passive T1. It's usually a solid map for you, but be careful against these nasty pure fire player, who abuses this to get into a high powerlevel T2. Lajesh: Weird map for casual ranked games, since you always have to pay attentions at your walls + it gets really easy to turtle with wallspamming. In tournament maps this can be one of the greatest maps in the game as long as both players agree to play without walls. Whazai: This map is fine for T1 action, but has some risks for you. It has a very small passage before you reach the middle which is a dangerous eruption spot and the small area gives you a hard time microing against thugs at the same time. But if both players take a well in the middle you are at a clear advantage. It's very easy to let your Forsaken attack the well & the main base at the same time and since there is a cliff next to the main base thugs & scavenger can't reach the Forsaken in time. But careful! This map gets really nasty against pure fire, especially if you decide to take that well in the middle. Uro: The most dangerous map for you. Wells are so far away from each other, it's even hard to move your units between your own wells to defend properly against Sunderer without a disadvantage. Sometimes you get forced to trade wells - you can't just sit back and play passive. Calm decisionmaking is even more important on this map. Generated maps: Small maps usually favour you a little bit since they are mid centered and you will most likely win the dazed fight, big maps are really shitty to be honest. T1 doesn't really matter, the better T3 usually wins. Shadow vs Frost The second matchup will be against Frost. I think a very important thing to notice is that this matchup is very map dependend. Most important cards in this matchup: Shadow: 1. Dreadcharger 2. Nox Trooper 3. Motivate Frost: 1.Master Archers 2. Ice Guardian 3. Ice Barrier 4. Home Soil Core strategy: Playing against Frost is always a little bit tricky. You will start with your Dreadcharger as fast as you can! Don't waste time, you have to reach your opponent as fast as possible to force a dazed fight, because Shadow will win that dazed fight against Frost every single time. Dreadchargerspam will always beat Masterarcherspam, just be careful with wintertide. If your opponent plays it just stop any move command and micro your units very carefully. Aslong as you don't suicide your Dreadcharger, Wintertide won't have any impact on the game. If you catch your opponent before he takes a power well, you can deny him access to the entire map, which is litereally game over. But lets get over to the interesting part where you can't deny the power well: 1. Your opponent has to take a well: You get a 100 power advantage and now it's your turn to use that to attack (unless you play on a super big random map). Your core units in this situation are Dreadcharger & Nox Trooper. That's everything you need since Forsaken are very weak against Master Archer (sometimes you can play a single squad, but be careful with the use of Forsaken against Frost). 2. It is very important to notice which starting unit your opponent got. If it's a Lightblade just go for 2 Dreadcharger + Nox Trooper spam. If he got only Master Archers you should think about more Dreadcharger. 3. After that you have to react to your opponents' unit composition. If he chooses to play ice Guardians, play more Nox Trooper - against Master Archers you have to get more Dreadcharger. In the perfect scenario the Dreadcharger take out the Master-Archers without beeing hit by the Ice Guardians, who get smashed by your Nox Trooper in the meantime. But this doesn't always work out perfectly. https://youtu.be/F-uawwk6hRg?t=23m5s At this game it worked out pretty well, even if it's a 2v2 match. That would've worked on a small 1v1 map aswell. 4. If one of your units starts to get very low just pull it out of the fight. It's easy to micro the fast Shadow units. Sometimes you won't be able to kick the power well, but you can take out so many units without losing a single one. 5. If you get around 4-5 low hp units just take your own power well, heal your units and continue to pressure. Your temporary advantage is still massive and even if your opponent got a good amount of power thorugh his extra well he doesn't have that much extra power, because he lost many units already and only 90% of the power returns back into the void. 5 power lost per unit and this adds up pretty fast in this matchup. Especially if you continue your attacked with your healed units. Now it's your time to get a massive advantage. 6. If you think you can take your opponents' power well you can use motivate to give your units some extra punch, but be careful. Frost has already access to Glacier Shell, you have to deal around 3,8k damage in a very short time. It's usually wise to go for the units first & take the well down later when you got an overwhelming amount of units. Important notes: Nasty is usually not very useful against Frost units, because they have just too many hp. In addition to that Ice barrier can be used to block alot of the damage in dangerous Situations. You need at least T2 units like Lyrish Knight for example to make some effective nasties. If you have to wait for some units to heal up or something like that, try to tease a little bit with your Dreadcharger to force a early home soil or maybe even a frost glyph. You need godly reaction to entirely dodge a well placed Frost Glyph, but keep in mind that it's not that bad when you get hit unless your opponent has already 5+ units, which shouldn't be the case as long as you are aggressive. Otherwise just use the focussed unit as motivate-food ^-^ Many people don't consider attacking as the best choice, but that's just a huge mistake. If you just take your own well against frost, the power level will rise and your opponent benefits from that since Frost T1 Units are very cheap and have very good stats. Back in 2011 I lost so many games, because I wasn't aggressive enough in this matchup. Double Ice Guardian + MA spam + homesoil will be way to efficient at some point, there is not alot you can do against then after you played a passive early T1. -Again I would love to add a replay at that point, but I didn't find a decent one. If anyone knows some good Shadow vs X replays on youtube send me a pm please.- Ok lets get through the Map part. Frost is super map dependend due to the lack of a swift unit, so it's really important to abuse your map-advantages. Haladur: The more common "Scavy-spam" works on Haladur aswell with Dreadchargers. Your opponent takes a well in the middle, but the distance between the well & main base are incredible high. So you just have to spam Dreadcharger and run down to the main base, attack there and if your opponent spawns alot of units just walk back to the well in the middle. The Frost units will be to slow to follow and you can overwhelm your opponent. Motivate is essential to this strategy! Aside from that Frost even has an advantage on Haladur if your opponent gets his position in the middle since the power wells are very close to each other and Frost T1 excels at that scenario. So try to zone him from the main entrance to the center of the map. Elyon: One of the easier maps for you. You can get control over the middle wells & orbs, which denies your opponent a T3 spot. You don't even have to take anything there. Just use your units to prevent the Frost player from reaching the area. Later on you just need to stall for T3 and win basically without taking any risks. Yrmia: Very difficult map. Power wells are really close to each other, there is no way to get superior map control or something like that. At least it is a really small map which allows you to attack very early with a strong rush. But if you fail to control the early game you may end up beeing at a bad spot because Frost T1 results nearly every time in a Timeless One based T3 which is very powerful. Simai: Slow Map, you can make an aggressive push to deny your opponent control over the wells at the top of the map. Aside from that the well distances are very high unless you take any stupid power wells which makes it a low pressure map. But if your opponent takes a well at the start you actually get to zone him from his T2, which gives you control over the early game though. Whazai: Great Map for you, you can get immediate control over the mid spot and in addition to that nox trooper can attack 2 of the power wells in the base over cliffs, which makes it sooo difficult to defend against this with Ice Guardians. Keep in mind that Frost can spawn dazed Iceguardian with an active (!) Shield behind the cliff at their main base, so don't rely on a simple Dreadchargerspam. Uro: The best map for you. It's important to do a quick start, because you have to walk very far. This map is litereally an autoloose for Frost because you can deny your opponent every position on the entire map. You will be able to force a dazed fight, that shadow is going to win without any Problems. Lajesh: With walls again very weird to play. Very slow and passive gameplay. If both players agree to play without walls the game gets really great. Small map with alot of potential for aggression, but potential close wells on the other hand. Generated Maps: small maps are nearly a freewin since they are usually mid-centered (as I said before) and you will be able to control the mid-wells. Large maps will be boring & usually end up in a T3 fight, which is not so good against Timeless One decks. Shadow vs Nature The matchup with the potential to be the greatest out of all, but 2 cards influence the balancing in a negative way (Phasetower & Treespirit). Most important cards in this matchup: Shadow without Phasetower: 1. Dreadcharger 2. Nox Trooper 3. Nasty Surprise 4. Motivate 5.Forsaken (!) Nature without Treespirit: 1.Spearman 2. Windweavers 3. Ensnaring Roots 4. Surge of Light Core strategy: There are 2 ways of playing the matchup Shadow vs Nature and I'll start with the easy one. It includes the use of Phasetower, a card that is ridicilously broken in this matchup for multiple reasons: 1. Phasetower has insane stats (900/1200) and is even with his teleport debuff stronger than any unit nature can offer (Primal defender can match him in terms of strength, but Phasetower has his insane teleport ability which makes him way more versitile). His strength is so overwhelming that his transition into T2 is still amazing (especially for shadow frost that can protect the turrets with kobold trick and glacier shell). 2. Phasetower has splash damage which allows him to finish off windweavers squads very quickly (The Nox Trooper for example has to shot at every single unit at the end to kill the entire squad) 3. Buildings are uneffected by crowd control which is a huge advantage against nature, that usually relies on Ensnaring roots in this matchup. 4. Nature doesn't have a counter unit against phasetower (apparently Sunderer is the only unit with Siege damage in the entire T1 -> no nature Unit, that can threaten buildings.). 5. I do consider Treespirit as a ridicilous card, that needs a rework and destroys the beauty of nature T1. But Phasetower is the perfect counter against them, because of superior stats and the fact, that they are unaffected by the poison. 6. Since nature is forced to play slow units against shadow it is possible to take a well on mid centered maps and defend it successfully with a Phasetower to gain map control for free, which is devestating on maps like Elyon. Just overall: Phasetower is op and I will just show a short replay that demonstrates the power of Phasetower without any micro-effort. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i1x8GEMpyAI (Game 3 of a showmatch series between Elendil & Sarlesch - german cast by JMCW) Sarlesch wanted to go instant T2, that's why he started with amazon. He changed his mind after 30 seconds and played 2 Windweaver squads (I guess the reasoning behind this was the fact, that elendil was able to rush his instant T2 in the previous game). And after that his chance of winning went down to litereally 0%. Elendil realized immediatly Sarlesch couldn't go T2 anymore, built up some phasetowers and won the game with no effort. The matchup gets way more interesting without Phasetower or Treespirits (btw. I recommend instant T2 against Treespirit as long as you play without Phasetower) included. The start is pretty interesting against nature because nature has different starting units against different colours. Swiftclaw, which is usually the best choice, is just awful against Nox Trooper and against shadow in general. So as long as your opponent doesn't know you play Shadow T1, you can try to play some mindgames. Just don't play a single unit in the first 10 seconds and see how your opponent reacts. Some people will get impatient and start with the swiftclaw which gives you a massive advantage. Nature needs 4+ units (Spearmen + Windweaver spam) and around 100 extra power to be able to use crowd control and surge of light. If he plays an aditional useless 80 power unit it takes such a long time for him to reach a state where he is able to fight you. A time window that can get abused heavily. At that point you can just go ahead and beat your opponent with a nox trooper spam. If he retreats you can use your temporary advantage to secure map control with an aggressive T2, which is litereally "gg" beacuse nature struggles really hard against T2 since its units are super expensive with low dps. If your opponent doesn't fall for the bait just go ahead with your Dreadcharger and look for an immediate fight because at late T1 stages Ensnaring roots & Surge of light provide way to much power. On the other hand Shadow has the early fight advantage beacuse you've got cheap high dps units, that can overwhelm the nature player easily. Dreadcharger and Nox Trooper are your core units at this stage. How to play a dazed fight against nature: If you get to fight your opponent before he gets a critical amount of units you have to play around 2 things: 1. Ensnaring roots This is why you need at least 2 dreadcharger to run around your opponents' slow units and attack from multiple positions with them and multiple nox trooper. Otherwise your entire army gets rooted and 3+ windweaver squads can easiliy take out 2-3 units in those 15 seconds with a 45 power spell. If your opponent tries to kill the rooted units the other army can attack without interference (maybe even with a motivate boost). 2. Surge of light It is very important to notice, that nox troopers don't finish 6 unit squads immediatly. They have to shoot at every single unit once to kill it. It is really important to finish off the windweaver/spearmen squads immediatly to prevent efficient heals. There are many ways to do this: - Dreadcharger can use his "stomp" to finish them off since it does a small amount of damage when you knock back units - If your opponent plays with Spearmen it's fine to have a single forsaken squad added to your unit composition. They can finish off squads very fast, but be careful with your positioning, Forsaken are really squishy in this matchup - Windweavers can take them out really fast. And don't play 2 squads at the same position otherwise hurricane is going to hurt you - Nasty surprise can outclass heal in this matchup. If your Dreadcharger is in a good position and you can finish a single unit + damage other ones, just go for it. Your opponent can't make an efficient heal against that (150 vs 110 power). In addition to that the power of nature decreases tremendously with every unit loss since this just lowers the efficency of crowd control. How to play if your opponent takes a power well: Just attack at 2 positions at once with the compositions of 1 dreadcharger, 1 nox trooper & 1 forsaken squad. There is no way nature can match this even if you built up your own power well. Just spawn additional Dreadcharger/Nox Trooper over time and apply as much pressure as possible. If one of your attacks seems to go down, just use motivate to start the big push on the other side. You can kick a power well for sure. After that just go immediatly T2 to negate your opponents temporary advantage due to a superior amount of left units. Nature can't use cc at multiple positions, playing around this is your main win condition. Important notes: - This doesn't work against Treespirit! So be careful if you don't know your opponents' playstyle. - You can force your opponent to take a well as long as you play with phasetower, because shadow can just take a power well and defend it without any problems due to phasetower. If your opponent then decides to take his own well you have 2 places to attack, even if he is a smart player who tries to avoid unfavourable early fights. Map specific information: Haladur: Great Map for you! You can split your army really well and threaten the main base & the middle position at the same time. Haladur is really troublesome for nature, your opponnent may think about an instant T2. Elyon: With phasetower an absolute freewin. Without Phasetower it can get a little troublesome because the main base it protected through the wall. Your main approach is winning an early fight in the middle since there is alot of space to play around ensnaring roots. Afterwards you can secure map control with an early T2 Yrmia: Great map to attack from multiple positions, but can get sometimes a little bit tricky because there isn't that much room to split your units that well. But since the map is really small you can apply an insane amount of early pressure. With phasetower it's nearly a freewin. Simai: Very slow map that doesn't really promote early fights unless both players try to go for the middle immediatly. At that point you have a good shot at beating the nature player with a good nasty if you play well around ensnaring roots. Whazai: Ridiculous phasetower map. You need 2 ports from your base to be able to attack your opponents power wells. Without Phasetower it's important to use the side ways to surround your opponent. If you are only focussed on the middle you will get serious trouble against roots. Uro: You can run around your opponent due to the fast Dreadcharger. But keep in mind, Uro is a really big map and it takes time to reach the enemies base which favours the nature player. Your advantage: An early T2 at a good position can be devastating for your opponent. Lajesh: Favours Nature heavily. The Walls just block every kind of early aggression. On lajesh without walls you have a better shot since the map is really small and you can play more aggressive. But there is a wellcluster pretty close to the main base which is easy to defend for the nature player. Pretty balanced map aslong as both players agree to play without walls. Generated Maps: Small maps favour Shadow with Phasetower heavily, because you can just take the middle, build a turret and ... it's gg (okay to be honest Phasetower-Shadow T1 has an advantage on every map). Without Phasetower you can get problems on mid centered maps, but atleast there is alot of space to play around Ensnaring Roots. Large generated maps favour you a little bit, because you can just play super aggressive without anything to worry about. Even if you mess up, your opponent won't be able to reach you in time, because it sometimes takes around 50-60 seconds for remaining windweavers & spearmen to reach their destination. Enough time for your void to come back to you. Shadow vs Shadow The mirror matchup is pretty interesting since small mistakes can get punished super hard (especially with high dps units like Forsaken). The Most important cards for the mirror matchup: 1.Dreadcharger 2.Forsaken 3.Skeleton Warriors 4.Motivate 5.Nasty Surprise Core strategy: In theory this matchup consists mainly of Dreadcharger + Forsaken spam vs Dreadcharger + Forsaken spam and the guy with better micro (or the one who hits the clutch-nasty) wins the game since both players use the same cards. If you want to reach the highest ranks you should practise the mirror match opening, because the first skirmish is super important since you can't avoid it unless you go instant T2. You can't just take an additional power well unless the distance between you and your enemy is incredible big. If your opponent gets greedy and takes a well you can just attack, destroy it and the game is pretty much over. And this is how the rush works: Spawn 2 Dreadchargers to prepare an attack from 2 spots. Your opponent loses his opportunity to defend with a huge nasty. Spawn additional units and focus the power well. There is nothing your opponent can do against this since he just spent 100 power more which is massive in the early game (you can play 2 additional Forsaken squads, which adds more than 2.000 dp20s). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u965vcN2cug Here is an example of a T1 rush against the strongest defence shadow can offer (Phasetower + wrathblades). I made some horrible mistakes in the early T2 stage, but if you can destroy a power well that early in the game you get such a massive advantage. The game was just over. My opponent was more than prepared for an attack (I used the same strategy to beat him in the first game in this bo5 series) but there is nothing you can do to stop the rush. If your opponent doesn't go for a power well things will get a little bit harder. Micro management gets super important, but also the decisionmaking. The way you use the Frenzy ability of your Forsaken often decides who wins the fight. You can increase your dps in the skirmish, but if you activate to many Forsaken your opponent can just retreat and wait for them to die for nothing. More important notes: - Always be aware of nasties. Dreadcharger is very fast and if you leave it at full hp you can get in trouble if your units aren't well positioned - Motivate can be massive. The amount of additional damage you can deal for literally no power is very good for any kind of skirmishes. Use it on the first Forsaken squad that is close to die. - Phasetower can be super useful on maps like Whazai, but usually isn't the best choice, because Shadow has got high dps Units to deal with it. But lets go ahead and talk about one of the most important cards in this matchup. Skeleton Warriors are monsters against Shadow. 50 power and 1,65k effective hp with their ability is huge. Shadow just hasn't got anything to deal with them. They can tank against Forsaken forever, they beat Dreadcharger with their ability and the most dangerous thing: You can't just ignore them and kite because they are a massive nasty threat aswell. Many players would just think of Wrathblades as a solution. But here is the problem: Wrathblades have got only 600hp and can get killed super fast by Forsaken and even if you don't focus them Wrathblades get a dp20s of 1512 against S units with their ability. If you compare the stats (1512dmg/600health vs 600dmg/1650health) you will realise, that Skeleton Warriors win the 1v1 against the Wrathblades. This is why Wrathblades are pretty useless, at least for dazed fights. If you managed to win the first skirmish you can use your temporary advantage to take a power well at a position that gives you map control. Try to make a gameplan from that point, maybe you can use your position to deny a T3 spot, or maybe try to get close to your opponent to push your advantage. If you are even after the first small fights you can also try to take a power well, but maybe at a safe spot. If the power level gets higher it is unlikely to get rushed that easily, because you can spam more units to intercept your opponent. In addition to that nasty gets way more effective at that point since it's harder to split the high amount of units well enough to prevent nasties from beeing power efficient. How to play when both players aquired a power well: Try to play as aggressive as possible. Never be passive, that will lose you the game for a simple reason. If the enemies Forsaken manage to reach your base you'll get a problem. At that point your opponent can just activate frenzy and you can't get rid of them, because it's super bad to frenzy your Forsaken in a defensive position. Even if you kill the enemies units, your own Forsaken will die aswell and you will just sit there with a low power well. You can play more units, but the next attack will finish the well most likely and if you decide to repair your well you won't have enough power to play any units. This is why you have to force skirmishes on an open ground and if you get an advantage due to superior micro just play as aggressive as you can. If you get pressured at some point just don't lose your nerves and activate your Forsaken. You will lose your chance to use a temporary advantage for a counterattack. Attacking at multiple positions is always a good choice. It is just way more difficult to react properly if you apply pressure everywhere even if your opponent has got enough power in theory. If you manage to control and micro your units well you can gain massive advantages because so many players struggle with multitasking especially when they have to react fast and have to prevent you from reaching their power wells. A common strategy: If you get an overwhelming amount of units just go ahead, and frenzy all of them. Just go for the wellfocus, but go T2 at the same time. This will allow you to deal with the counterattack (Darkelf Assassins, Shadow Phoenix, CC vs Frenzy, AoE damage spells like lavafield or lyrish nasty). There aren't many map specific advantages because both players have got access to the same cards so i won't make a map list for this matchup. Just keep this in mind: - Phasetower is super effective on Whazai (I mentioned this earlier aswell) - Big generated maps are just awful, you can't be aggressive on these maps, because if your opponent takes a well you just have to take one aswell. You need atleast an entire minute to reach him, which means your opponent can build up a good defense and even gets around 30-40 power back even before you applied any sort of pressure. But this is just an exception. So keep in mind: Good micro and the ability to be proactive are the most important things you need to master the shadow mirror. Okay, this is the end of my Shadow T1 guide. I hope this will help some of you in the upcoming future. Since I've got some requests I will write something about different colors at some point too, you can find my Frost T1 guide in the new player section and I almost finished Nature T1 too which will be released soon. So thank you for reading this, enjoy your day and stay hyped. Best regards, RadicalX

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