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RadicalX

Shadow T1 PvP Guide by RadicalX

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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 :bf: 

Edited by RadicalX

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Great Guide :)

I disagree with the Thug running tactik there are some player that force you to run, zone your Units out of the fight and going for the next one, also the disadvantage of 10 Energy is regained if the thugs manage to hit sometimes or manage to let more than 1 Unit run.

The game cDKillRoy vs xHightech was awesome played by killroy (that map awarness and micro ^^), in theory it was that easy, but in reality hard to execute that perfect. Great Replay!

 

but Phasetowerspam doesn't require any micro and these dirty wins weren't really satisfying

 

Its pretty satisfying if you get flamed by Maran or Dekka :D.

Edited by ImperatorSK

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Great Guide :)

I disagree with the Thug running tactik there are some player that force you to run, zone your Units out of the fight and going for the next one, also the disadvantage of 10 Energy is regained if the thugs manage to hit sometimes or manage to let more than 1 Unit run.

I agree with the fact, that thugs can zone multiple units. I didn't want to say it's just a simple "runaway & easy win" situation, thugs are indeed a big threat for shadow. If the fire player heavily relies on them instead of Sunstriders it's considerable to play a second Dreadcharger to deal with the Thugs. 

Its pretty satisfying if you get flamed by Maran or Dekka :D.

I respect that xD

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Update:

- Added the matchup against nature. 

- Fixed at least some grammar/spelling mistakes ^^

Coming soon:

- Last but not least: The mirror matchup

 

And thank you guys for the positive feedback :)

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Update:

- Added the matchup against nature. 

- Fixed at least some grammar/spelling mistakes ^^

Coming soon:

- Last but not least: The mirror matchup

 

And thank you guys for the positive feedback :)

Gonna give you a rep on this post because I can't do the original one twice :)

Would you post your thoughts on maps in my thread about map matchups? Even just for t1, if you don't want to do t2 as well.

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Okay, the guide is finished:

- Added the matchup against Shadow

- Fixed some issues with the youtube links

I was still to lazy to fix all of my grammar mistakes, but I guess I'll do that at some point. If you are interested I will keep writing some stuff about PvP when we get into the beta-stage. Any kind of feedback is still appreciated.

Best regards

RadicalX 

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@RadicalX Just a quick question regarding power wells. So they have 2000 HP, and their max repair cost is 150 Power( for 1999 HP damage), do you know the increments for 140,130,120,110,100 power in terms of at what HP damage the repair cost is? Great Guide by the way!

Many Thanks,

Ultra

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While true Nature does not have any counter against Phase Tower, knowing how the tower works allows great Nature Micro Players to render it almost useless.  However the micro required to do this is great.

 

In essence if the shadow player leaves it to shoot at a single unit till its dead, just move the unit around constantly.  The PT will miss every shot.  It places damage at the exact location the unit it was firing at was when the shot left the tower.  So if the unit moves, the shot lands at the position the unit was at.  So if you can micro the target of the PT well, then you have a chance. 

However its a giant PITA to do it.

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5 hours ago, Ultrakool said:

@RadicalX Just a quick question regarding power wells. So they have 2000 HP, and their max repair cost is 150 Power( for 1999 HP damage), do you know the increments for 140,130,120,110,100 power in terms of at what HP damage the repair cost is? Great Guide by the way!

Many Thanks,

Ultra

Its pretty simple:

Repair cost - healed hp

150 - 2000 (1999, since 2000 is impossible)

140 - 1866

130 - 1733

120 - 1600

110 - 1467

100 - 1333

75 - 1000

1 - 13,33

As you can see these two quantaties are in direct propotion. An important thing to notice is the fact, that 100% of the power you spend goes back into your void pool. Many frostsplash-player made the big mistake to repair their power wells with Kobold trick even if they aren't under pressure and at first it looks fine. Kobold Trick heals 1150hp for 50 power and reparing you power well for that amount costs 86 power. But here is the problem: Kobold Trick just gives 45 power back into the void while you get 86 back if you decide to repair it on its own. You should use Kobold Trick only if you are under pressure. If you do otherwise you just waste your charges and your power.

 

5 hours ago, Darian DelFord said:

While true Nature does not have any counter against Phase Tower, knowing how the tower works allows great Nature Micro Players to render it almost useless.  However the micro required to do this is great.

 

In essence if the shadow player leaves it to shoot at a single unit till its dead, just move the unit around constantly.  The PT will miss every shot.  It places damage at the exact location the unit it was firing at was when the shot left the tower.  So if the unit moves, the shot lands at the position the unit was at.  So if you can micro the target of the PT well, then you have a chance. 

However its a giant PITA to do it.

This is a very good point. It was possible to dodge the Phasetower shots by moving the attacked unit and it was an important to do that to save low hp units and get power efficient heals (I would've mentioned it if I would write this from the nature player perspective). You can use that strategy to an extend in the game for early fights against single phasetowers because at a low power level there aren't many units to micro around and the attacks are very predictable. but there are some problems with that strategy:

1. This only works if your unit are at max distance. Otherwise your units aren't able to walk far enough, because phasetower has got splash damage and pretty fast attacks.  

2. This doesn't work against Phasetower spam. Sad but true, when there are so many phase towers their dps is so overwhelming and will tear your units apart before you can move them around. If you click at your units after the shots go out there is no way to react in time and dodge the attack, because Phasetower sadly shoots faster than stuff like magma hurler or spikeroot. In addition to that there are so many overwhelming high damage attacks, it's impossible to dodge them. 

3. Good shadow players often use a single Forsaken squad to finish off low hp squads and won't even waste the phasetower shot for it. This is way more reliable and helps you especially in the early game (pretty much exactly when you need them) where Forsaken don't get immediatly destroyed by windweavers. 

I remember when I played a ton of sparring games against Hirooo when we used to test if it's possible to rush a power well + phasetower as a nature player I had games where I dodged so many Phasetower hits but still didn't manage to take down the power well. Phasetower just has got overwhelming stats and it's impossible to deal with it as a nature player unless the Phasetower player makes major mistakes. If he makes them you can use your micro to punish him, but a clean execution of Phasetower spamming (which isn't hard to do ... really) just doesn't lose against nature. Saying it is almost useless is just a false statement in every way. 

 

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@RadicalX I just realized that it would make more sense to make the well healed the independent variable, and power cost the dependent. In that case it would be:

Repair cost - healed hp

150- 2000
75- 1000

37.5-500

7.5- 100

3.75-50

0.075-1

That way calculation is easier you just have to figure out damage done x 0.075= repair cost

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@RadicalX

Every time I read this, I lament that I can't give your post multiple reps :(

Btw, if you'd like more replay examples, I can find them for you.

On 11/26/2015 at 5:54 PM, RadicalX said:

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 when I'm able to play the game again.]

I'm not entirely sure what you're looking for here? I'd look for you if I knew what you wanted. Usually I don't see much t1 fighting in Simai, like you said, because usually both players would rather not take that center. But if you tell me a specific scenario you'd like me to find (sounds like you're just explaining how to punish a fire player for poking around with a scavenger?), I'll do it!

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On 13.3.2016 at 5:24 AM, Eirias said:

I'm not entirely sure what you're looking for here? I'd look for you if I knew what you wanted. Usually I don't see much t1 fighting in Simai, like you said, because usually both players would rather not take that center. But if you tell me a specific scenario you'd like me to find (sounds like you're just explaining how to punish a fire player for poking around with a scavenger?), I'll do it!

I'm indeed looking for a scenario, where a shadow player punishes a fire player by killing the scavenger with the nox trooper overload. The Shadow player should take a power well afterwards and defend against an incoming sunderer attack due to bodyblocking with his dreadcharger. 

I always look for some good replay examples, but sadly it is super hard to find high quality games. It would be amazing if you can help me with that ^^ 

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19 hours ago, RadicalX said:

I'm indeed looking for a scenario, where a shadow player punishes a fire player by killing the scavenger with the nox trooper overload. The Shadow player should take a power well afterwards and defend against an incoming sunderer attack due to bodyblocking with his dreadcharger. 

I always look for some good replay examples, but sadly it is super hard to find high quality games. It would be amazing if you can help me with that ^^ 

Hmm... sometimes I do that to prepare for t2. I'll sacrifice a scavenger to provoke a nox trooper and ability, and I use the extra bit of power to t2. It really depends on the situation, and it probably wasn't the best decision most of the time, but I think I allowed the nox to kill my scavenger more than most people did. Unfortunatly, I don't have many replays saved :(. I'll be on the lookout for others though!

Which maps do you think will be the most likely for that to happen on? That would help narrow my search.

 

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Shadow guide, super hyped i can't wait. I was never that of a competitive player but i got Silver shield 4 i think :P I was like wow im really doing good. Looking at some of you guys, acting/being top players :) Im looking into meeting you guys in the forge

 

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yeah, at that point the scavenger gets killed for 25 power. It's really cost efficient and reliable, because the nox abillity doesn't get interrupted even when the scavenger runs out of the initial cast range. Sadly the Shadow player in this replay plays very poorly and doesn't capitalize on his small advantage. Instead of getting a strong position on the map by taking power wells he wastes his entire army for nothing which costs him the entire game.

This kind of play is actually even more efficient on maps with bigger well distances, because nox trooper gets a higher value on these maps since there are less skirmishes, where Forsaken are way more effiicient than Nox Trooper, who gets demolished by Sunstriders. This is why suggest that kind of play on maps like Simai, where Sunderer is the bigger threat and a nox performs better against that.

Thank you very much for the effort you made to find this replay :)     

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- Added some additional information about Thugs 

- Went a little bit more in depth on some map descriptions

 

I will go and look through my replay folder soon to get some replays that showcase some of the things I tried to describe. I will expand this guide on a regular base if I get more useful information or ways to explain how to share some of my knowledge about the game. Also my nature T1 guide will be finished soon! I hope you'll like it! :) 

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