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RadicalX

Nature T1 PvP Guide by RadicalX

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How to play Nature T1

- a PvP Guide by RadicalX -


 

-General talk-

Okay I'm almost finished with the entire T1 section. I'll say the the same stuff as I did before, with this guide I want to provide information for newer players (Stuff like: Which cards do I use against which color), but also for the ones who are already dedicated veterans (going for in depth analysis here). Again I want to remark that every statement I make here refers to 1v1-PvP since 2v2 works in a different way (especially for nature because in 2v2 you can cover up most of its weaknesses while benefitting even more from the strengths nature offers).


 

Let's just start with a short summary of what nature is good or bad at:

+ Nature T1 has a good scaling in extended T1 fights (it outscales Shadow & Fire units by a wide margin and can get really opressive due to free sustain)

+ Many people, even some of the top players, have no clue how to play against nature T1, because they never play against strong nature players. Since nature has a very different playstyle compared to other factions this can be a massive advantage for you.

+ Nature T1 spells scale well into mid/late T2, which opens up for very strong mid game options

+ Nature T1 is simply fun to play and practicing the micromanagement is really rewarding

- Nature units don't scale into T2 at all with the exception of Dryad (playing T1 vs T2 with nature is also quite hard and requires alot of experience)

- The deck is hard to play as it requires very crisp decisionmaking (can be good for you if you invest alot of time into practicing)

- Nature has no clean answer against Phasetower (resulting in a matchup that is really hard to deal with and you need Primal Defender in your deck to survive). But Phasetower is disgustingly strong in any matchup.


 

Nature has some weak points that can be exposed. The units are expensive, which makes you vulnerable for cross map action and aggressive T2's. You usually just want to avoid playing Nature as Shadow and Fire usually bring up much more stability to your decks. People who mastered their respective T1 could actually abuse nature T1 heavily. That said most high ranked players are very inexperienced when it comes to playing against nature. Even the “average Prime” from the old days would hide himself behind Phasetowers & instant T2's to get throught this early matchup regardless of strategic advantages.


 

Deck building

Let's start to take a look the cards, that are available in Nature T1. I'll simply set up groups like in my other guides to give you an overview of what cards I'd consider as strong or ... well not so strong.


 

S - Tier

Dryad (blue): Super essential card with an insane ability and passive. Definitely must have in the traditional nature deck. Does synergise well with pretty much everything your T1 offers and as an ranged M unit with splash damage almost perfect. Her damage often gets underestimated as her card description is wrong (should be 660 attack and not 550 since the splash damage is not part of the calculation). The additional crowd control can be used to very high value in micro trades.

Ensnaring Roots: Super essential spell, one of the main reasons why you want to play a nature splash - it is useful in every stage of the game against almost every type of melee unit. Synergises really well with the wide arsenal of ranged units, that nature can bring on the table.

Hurricane: Very powerful mid game spell, helps alot against S units in T1 fights and allows you to survive against stronger S units like Darkelf assassins in T2.

Surge of Light: Grants you extra safety against AoE damage and makes your opponent think twice, if he wants to nasty that Dreadcharger into your full hp units. In addition to that this spell is almost always useful throughout the game, especially on open fights. It empowers very simple attacks (Playing Deep One + perma heal can put your opponent onto a massive amount of pressure in the later stages of the game).

 


 

A – Tier

Shaman: Also very important in a good nature T1 deck. The sustain it offers leads to great importance of micro, which gets rewarded heavily (saving these 1 hp units is so damn satisfying). It's super important for nature mirrors and overall useful in many ocasions. Clearly a must have for extended trading.

Windweavers: The double shot ability makes them super useful in big fights and against squad targets. Windweaverspam beats out Nox spam, which is quite important, when playing against Shadow. Just struggles against knockbacks (Firesworn, Hurricane, Frostmage) so spamming it against anything else than shadow is rarely useful.

Swiftclaw: Technically the best swift unit, if you're interested in playing an aggressive T1. If you want to avoid fights or save deckslots for stonekin, a different swift may be the better option. Its high dps is very useful against Frost players (Swiftclawspam can punish greedy early well choices) and also good as a front liner in early (!) nature mirror fights. Useless against shadow though, but still worth a deck slot most of the time as the high dps also brings up potential threatening to early T2s by your opponent.

Spearmen: Very Important in alot of matchups. Their high hp pool makes them easy to micro, which leads to a very high heal efficency. Very good in dazed fights against Shadow and they also make the difference in early nature matchups. Underrated card, which is sort of similar in its function as skeleton warriors are in Shadow T1. In their M-Counter form they also get a little bit of extended range, which allows you to safely attack rooted melee units without taking damage by yourself.

Primal Defender: Helps you alot to slow down phasetower-players on dangerous maps like Whazai and can slow down the game in general. Provides alot of safety and is a very good addition in your deck. I recommend playing it and at a certain point it is even a must have card. It also allows you to stall out at certain choke points against aggressive Frostmagespam in order to survive the early stage of the game.

Treespirit: Destroys every type of healthy gameplay (has arguably the highest cost efficency out of your T1 units), but sadly doesn't help you against the real threats nature has to face (Mortar, Phasetower, Frostmage) as you can soak up damage rotations. Treespirits always just hit the closest target, which is an exploitable weekness, so while I see alot of people try that “only Treespirit T1”, it doesn't work out well. The card is insanely good, if you are weak at T1 looking to slow down the game to survive for later gamestages, but is very slow when it comes to transitioning into offense.


 

B - Tier

Amazon Blue: Very good, if you look for a fast T2, because its an L counter and its ability is deadly against Nightcrawlers (You can swap and activate them immediatly afterwards). Therefore it simply scales better than Swiftclaw, but is inferior in T1 fights. The beast damage reduction can be useful against some creatures (Swiftclaw, Treespirit, Sunderer).

Mark of the Keeper: Defensive Building, which can be very strong in certain spots on the map and deadly against some decks, that rely to much on mid range units & spells. But usually you fall to far behind to protect every single base since 70 power is quite a huge price. Aura radius is too small to block Phasetower from attacking so it doesn't work as a replacement for Primal Defender.

Evenom (red): Very good to support your army in T1 vs T2 fights. Helps alot to bring down skyfire drakes as it is a soft counter to ravage. Can be used to play out and punish instant T2s of fire splashes (don't do this against pure Fire though!).


 

C – Tier

Dryad (green): Synergises well with an endless amount of cards, which is very nice to have, but rarely useful enough to justify the 60 power investement. Can be nice to cheese your opponent with some sort of Darkelfassassins burst combos or and also denies small debuffs and anti magic areas.

Werebeasts: They cost 75 power which is slightly less than the other swift units ... if you want to go instant T2 to safe 5 power this is your choice! Also a potential choice to swift start against Shadow T1 even though their combat ability is still lackluster.

Mumbo Jumbo (both affinities): Cheese card that has to be used on an isolated unit, otherwise it has pretty much no effect. This card belongs to rPvE bossfights.

Manawing: Troll card, which is fun to play and microing the teleport ability is super fun. But its hp pool is just too small to make serious use of it outside of the PvE area. All T1 factions do have good anti air units in their basic composition, which makes the air unit stat malus pretty bad for you. That said you can still use it to bring down annoying cliff mortar attemps (I'm looking at you DasToggy).

Stranglehold: The card has huge damage and provides huge safety, but the cost is too high. Also doesn't hit buildings, which is very bad vs Phasetower/Mortar.


 

D – Tier

Amazon Green: The blue version has a damage reduction, which makes it just straight up better than this version, that does almost nothing.

Evenom (purple): dps is too low to justify its power cost.

Fountain of Rebirth: PvE card, does litereally nothing for you due to its initial cooldown.


 

This is my T1 I use most of the time when playing nature T1:

Swiftclaw

Dryad (blue)

Shaman

Windweavers

Spearmen

Ensnaring Roots

Hurricane

Surge of Light

Primal Defender

Even though 9 slots look like a huge investment you need to keep in mind, that nature has alot of key spells (Root, Hurricane, Surge of Light) that scale very well into later stages and will be strong through the entire game. If you look for higher slot efficency you may consider cutting Spearmen.


 

Matchup Discussion


 

1 Nature vs Shadow

1.1 General matchup discussion

1.2 How to deal with Nox Spam

1.3 how to deal with Dreadchargers

1.4 How to deal with Phasetowerspam

1.5 How to punish beast Shadow T1 players

1.6 What to do against instant T2

1.7 How to rush greedy power wells

1.8 Map advice

2 Nature vs Frost

2.1 General Matchup discussion

2.2 How to deal with Frostmagespam

2.3 How to punish early wells

2.4 How to deal with Ice-Guardians & Master Archers

2.5 How to deal with early T2

2.6 Map advice

3 Nature vs Fire

3.1 General Matchup discussion

3.2 Dryad spam dicussion

3.3 How to play the classic matchup

3.4 How to survive the early game against Wrecker

3.5 What to do against Mortar

3.6 How to deal with early T2

3.7 Map Advice

4 Nature Mirror

4.1 Swift unit starter

4.2 Swift vs ranged starter

4.3 Treespirits

4.4 Playing against early T2

 

1 Nature vs Shadow

I want to start with the matchup against Shadow, because I think it's pretty easy to understand the dynamic from the nature perspective for a basic level.

I want to describe how to beat the average Shadow T1 player:

There are multiple scenarios you will encounter, when playing against Nature T1. I will go through all of them. First of all I will show you how the average Shadow T1 player plays & how to demolish him with ease. Then I'll go further to discuss what to do against dangerous unit compositions and strategies and how to survive against the overpowered Phasetower.


 

1.1 General matchup discussion

Nature has a general strength, when fighting against S Units due to Windweavers double damage bonus & Hurricane. This makes Forsaken less effective, espcially in a spam they are absolutely weak against Hurricane. On the other hand nox troopers make your Swiftclaw/Amazon entirely useless as you want to get off max value out of ensnaring roots. Starting with your swift unit may result into an autolose, which leads me to one of the golden rules, when playing nature T1: Always let your enemy spawn his first unit before you. This gives you the information about his T1 therefore you can react properly. The matchup against Shadow is probably the easist one to learn at the beginning, which is my main reason why I'm starting right here.

1.2 How to deal with Nox Spam

This is quite an easy task. All you have to do is spamming Windweavers and pull back that unit in a fight, which gets focussed. Most of the time your Windweavers will survive, because Nox Trooper need extra hits to kill squad units. Therefore you can save multiple units and heal them with surge of light. Even with motivate there is no way you're gonna lose that fight if you micro properly.

Tip: You can select damaged units on the small screen at the right side. This allows you to pick your targets faster and more precisely.

1.3 How to deal with mass Dreadchargers

Some people may try to circle around you with Dreadchargers, which is a little bit harder to defend. Spearmen do a good job though to protect you. Against a massive amount of Dreadchargers it's quite useful playing a second squad of Spearmen. The important part in this scenario is to avoid open areas in the early stage, because you may get crushed from multiple angles. Just hover around choke points and punish overagressive pushes by using ensnaring roots (best case scenario is to catch 2 units, who are close to each other so multishot of windweavers increases your damageoutput during the cc time).

1.4 How to deal with mixed unit combinations

Probably the most effective way to play Shadow T1 is a combination of 1 Forsaken squad (to finish of S squads, because Nox struggle with this) and an equal amount of spammed Dreadchargers/Nox Troopers. You need to be careful with your micro and a good amount of Windweavers are necessary to eliminate threads quickly. Always try to kite back up until you have a big army and some additional power to support with your spells effectively. It should be easier to stay safe as Nox & Forsaken aren't that fast. Just be careful and don't fall back too far, otherwise a straight wellfocus into T2/Phasetower defence may put you far behind.

1.4 How to deal with Phasetowerspam

This card ist probably your worst enemy when playing nature T1. It destroys windweavers with its absurd splash damage and has an insanely high cost efficency ... pretty much a cc immune long range high dps tank. You will face Phasetowers in 2 possible occasions (Defensive and offensive situations). If you are trying to rush against a phasetower player (because he picked up a greedy power well or something like that), keep in mind that you're still going to lose an engagement. Try to set up your mobility advantage to and walk up to the main base to bait out a Phasetower, then walk back to the extra well. This way you can soak 60 additional power out of your opponent's power pool. Keep in mind it simply doesn't work on large maps like Haladur. Phasetower will always favour the Shadow player unless he makes major mistakes. Maps like Whazai are even worse, because a straight phasetowerspam in the middle can reach your powerwells just after 2 ports. You need to set up a primal defender defence before your enemy gets to port in. Otherwise the game is just lost.

1.5 How to deal with a Shadow T1 Master

This will be really tough. Your goal is early survival. The Shadow player has some ways to create massive advantages within the first minutes to build up big advantages. I'll show one of these powerful early attacks, that will end up with a clean 80+ power advantage for the shadow player most of the time.

I'll give Yrmia as an example (Your opponent starts with a Dreadcharger. You have to respond with Spearmen or Windweavers . The game is over if you make one single missstep. You opponent will just start picking up a power well ...

1) Now you can decide if you want to rush him. If you decide to rush him he plays a defensive Phasetower, that can port to the main base if you try to switch (even though it takes more damage there, fighting at the enemies main base will be hard, because the Monument will also constantly attack you with its splash damage and finish off squads before you can heal them).

2) You take the well by yourself. This lowers the early voidlevel and leaves you open for a split attack which favours Shadow. An immediate double attack at your well and your main base will follow soon with 2-3 units per base. Shadow units are more effective without additional support while the expensive nature units need to synergise with each other and their support spells. In addition to that crowd control is nearly useless (1Dreadcharger, 1 Nox, 1Forsakensquad), because you won't be able to cc multiple units, you don't have enough crowd control in your base to make the cost investement worth it & you lack the units to kills cc'd units. If you try to overwhelm your opponent at one spot, he can just spam units at the other spot and get your powerwell over there (especially when he motivates the unit from the weaker side). You lose at least 1 powerwell.

3) Instant T2. If your opponent mimics your movements early and stays on the same side as you do, there is no way you can reach an orb fast enough with your slow first unit. If you decide to start swiftclaw, your opponent will read your plan in about a second and won't pick up the power well, so he can rush your T2 immediatly if it's needed. You can't go for a dazed fight anymore, because Nox Troopers demolish Swiftclaw/Amazon and winning a fight while being 80 power down this early into the game is just not compensable just by good micro.

Shadow T1 is very powerful at the start of the game and you definitely need to respect that. But don't worry to much, you won't meet such a strong shadow T1 player on a regular base. Most of the time people do make mistakes, so you can pick off some units with your cc or simple do favourable damage trades that keep you alive until you start to scale up. You will still face turrets and instant T2's alot, but you can survive that by using primal defender or picking up instant T2 by yourself. In the best case scenario you may be able to rush your opponent.


 

1.6 Rushing an opponent who plays instant T2:

1.6.1 Pure Shadow

Pure Shadow: Very hard to deal with. Rushing is only a good decision if you're close to your opponent's orb already and even then it may be close. You need spearmen as tanks and M counters to deal with Shadow Mages, who will destroy your units faster than you may think. If you are not in position there is no way to rush that, you need to be in position with your spearmen, when the T2 is finished already.

1.6.2 Bandits

Bandits: Actually easy to rush if you are close. That is a big 'IF' since you can't start swift vs Shadow and this gives Bandits more space. Just split against crowd control, play 1-2 dryads and sleep incoming drakes. Bandits has no crowd control, so you can even rush over a decent distance. If your opponent is to far away, picking up a power well with primal defender (that thing demolishes drakes) is also fine. Just make sure to defend proactively & keep an eye on nightcrawlers aimed for split attacks. you need to catch units before they get close to your power wells (rallying banner attacks are annoying). I recommend practicing this, if you are a pure nature player, because Bandits has the upper hand in this matchup due to cards like windhunter and powerful rallying banner attacks.

1.6.3 Shadow Nature

Shadow Nature: Don't overstay your welcome T1 against Shadow Nature. This deck is probably the deadliest out of all against T1 units. Cheapest high dps units + cheapst crowd control. A common strategy with this deck is to sacrifice entire T1 armies just to get a powerwell and then defend counterattacks with Oink + Phoenix (+Nightcrawler-Nasty). Don't fall for this bait

1.6.4 Shadow Frost

Shadow Frost: Hard to rush, easy to defend against. You can just pick up a powerwell and defend early attacks with good micro. Just don't push to aggressively, as Shadow Frost does really well at defending power wells and orbs (but that should be well known). From a defensive spot you won't be surprised by any Lyrish Nasties or some stuff like that.

1.7 How to rush against greedy power wells

This is a pretty common scenario when facing unexperienced shadow players. Most of them will put up very aggressive extra powerwells without the needed ressources to defend them. If you want to punish that, you still need to keep an eye onto two things. First of all you need to be in range to punish a potential defensive tower. Secondly you still need at leasty 3-4 combat units and some power to make good use of your support spells. Even with a 100 power lead an early engagement may be very bad for you, because Shadow units work much better on a very low power level. So taking like 20-30 seconds to build up your army in the first place might be a wise choice if you don't have enough units in the mix, but as I said you need to be at least somewhat close to


 

1.8 Maps (Tips and spots to watch out for)


 

Lajesh: With the walls it's a great map for you as it blocks any early action and you control the only attack areas with your crowd control. Allows you to scale up to critical points, that allow you to take control over the game.

Elyon: Phasetower or instant T2 by your opponent may lose you mapcontrol right from the start on, you need to fight from an uncomfortable position. At least the wall protects your main base, so you won't be pressured early, which is good for you to scale up safely, especially when playing pure nature.

Haladur: Your main base is far away from the center of this map. This means you are open to get split attacked. Defending that on equal power level can be very tough, escpially due to the strength of motivate. Centered fights will be in your favour unless Phasetower is played.

Yrmia: As seen above, this map gives you alot of trouble due to multiple spots to get flanked from, if your opponent mastered his T1. Phasetowers from the center position are very dangerous. Small entries can be covered by ensnaring roots though, which may a possible opening for you.

Whazai: If you see your opponent starting with Phasetower you need a primal defender at your entrance to the center of the map, otherwise you will be destroyed by phasetowerspam. They just need 2 ports to attack your powerwells. Even T2 isn't enough to stop this. If phasetower isn't played you should be fine though, Windweavers are more valuable than spearmen in this scenario, because they can attack the powerwells at the main base over that cliff.

Uro: Troublesome map. Gives you some issues due to the high distance between wells since you have to start with a slow starting unit, but it's not as bad as the Frost vs Shadow T1 matchup on this map since you've got a chance to win the dazed fights. Fast T2 is valuable for you on this map unless you win early trades.

Simai: The is somewhat fine to play, but you may lose entire map control upon playing an extended T1 agianst Phasetower. So early T2 is somewhat necessary if you see your opponent prepare anything at the center of the map. Apart from that you've got 2 power wells next to you main base, that are somewhat safe to take, which is pretty useful. 

Generated maps (small): Similar problems as on Elyon. You may lose mapcontrol, rushing against instant T2 or phasetower is hard, but not always impossible. You make your decision based on your distance to your opponent if you want to rush or play the game slowly with less mapcontrol

Generated maps (big): Games most likely shift to the T2 stage before anything dangerous may happen. You should be careful about sacrificial well focus strategies by your opponent as you can't counterattack over such a wide distance.


 

2 Nature vs Frost


 

2.1 General Matchup discussion

Frost is an uncomfortable opponent for you, because Frostmagespam is negating your scaling power, therefore you can't sit back and scale up safely like in other matchups. You either need to be more proactive to get early advantages or try to use defensive buildings to stall out up until later stages of the game. That's easier said than done. The Frost player can fall back and also use its Ice-Guardians, but with strong micro plays you can force good early fights and create very nice advantages for yourself.

2.2 How to deal with Frostmagespam

There are 2 options for yourself to deal with a Frostmagespam. You can either go for a Swiftclawspam, that is beating Frostmagespam very early into the game. You can try to force an early fight, if the Frost player oversteps. But you aren't guaranteed to get the fight you want if your opponent stays at his main base up until he scales up. If you play stonekin an aggressive T2 position may be an option due to the high amount of M knockback in, but as a pure nature player I don't recommend doing such things. The Frostmages S-knockback is negating the option of using spirit hunters & ghost spears to full effect. On bigger maps you can take an early well to force a response to create an easier target compared to the main base (keep in mind an orb also does formidable damage). It also lowers the void level which delays the big Frostmage burst breakpoint. A less aggressive strategy would be mass Dryads/Shamans against the magespam and hope, that your opponents splits up his mages a little bit too far. Then you can use ensnaring roots to pick up mages, that are placed too far from the main group to get your advantages. If your opponent picks up to many mages, because he doesn't allow you to outtrade him early, you need to rely on a more defensive strategy. Turrets work quite well in this case, because once the mage army gets to big the turrets will buy you some essential time. Frost units are too slow to run around your bases, therefore you are safe for a while with the option to prepare your next move. If you get to kill some Frostmages early on, you may be able to win this in the late T1, because Frost Mage charges are limited, while you have access to two combat units with the Shaman & Dryad. The mage player is still favoured in this matchup, but the homesoil nerf at the last patch in 2013 was apparently beneficial for the balancing in this matchup (I guess that was the only good thing about that nerf).

2.3 How to punish early wells

On maps with big well distances like Haladur I recommend going for an aggressive early game. Swiftclawspam is an option here. You can switch targets once your opponent spent alot of power into Ice Guardians. They are too slow to follow your units when there is a great distance between power wells. You simply run away from the Ice Guardians while destroying the undefended power wells. If your opponent wants to go for a Frostmagespam, you can simply pick up an early powerwell to open up a spot to attack if the Frost player responds by taking a well on its own in the center. On a low void level the Frostmagespam is vulnerable to heavy aggression.

Tip: Keep an eye onto the Glyph of Frost. Always try to anticipate it and try to bring up less predictable movement patterns on the board. Even though that seems a little random sometimes, it may be harder for your opponent to predict your movements correctly.

2.4 How to deal with Ice-Guardians & Master Archers

This is probably an easy task for you. If Frostmage isn't involved you win the scaling game since you ranged advantage over Ice-Guardians and the Hurricane against a potential Master archerspam are simply way to effective. Just keep in mind that you need a good amount of units on the board to make your crowdcontrol worth its use as Frost units are very tanky. In the early game you need to be on point with your micromanagement in order to keep your units alive (Shaman heals, Dryad cc, kiting) before cc starts winning these trades for you in the late game. Frostbite is very dangerous here, you might lose units, that are out of position! Keep in mind to stay in an aggressive stance when commiting to an attack. Your opponnent might tech up and suddenly your poor Shamans are infront of a War Eagle, which is a situation you probably do want to avoid.

2.5 Playing against instant T2s

I mostly would recommend picking up T2 by yourself in that case because you should have strong T2 options, when playing pure Nature here. Frost Fire, Frost Shadow & Pure Frost are very good T2 matchups for you and instant T2 give you an optimal position to gain leads over Energy parasites. Stonekin is pretty difficult to rush with nature T1 as Stonetempest is super effective against your M heavy unit composition. You need to be very close to be able to rush this effectively (getting a tempo lead by dealing damage to the orb during its construction time).

2.6 Map advice

Lajesh: Again the walls are very valuable to block Frostmages as they can't shoot through them. If you get into a leading position here, you may consider trying to get mapcontrol as this blocks T3 for the late game. You always have the option of playing safe if anything goes wrong.

Elyon: I usually recommend looking for an early T2 in the corner on this map. Your mainbase is safe, but you can't contest the center in an extended trade against Frostmages. If you're playing pure nature your opponent will be forced to go T2 by himself as he can't defend Energy Parasites with T1 and doesn't reach your T2 orb in time.

Haladur: The big distance betweeen the main base and the center are always and advantage against Frost. Taking an early power well is your best bet here. Lowers the void and can't be rushed effectively as long as you've got a defensive building as back up. You've got at least a minute to prepare yourself before the Frost player gets into a meaningful range to do something useful.

Yrmia: Very small map and very dangerous against Frost. It's really hard to safely aquire any position on the map here. The wall segment gives a 75 power boost for both players, which favours the Frostmage spam as your opponent will reach his critical mass earlier into the game.

Wazhai: Keep in mind that melee units are less effective here due to the cliff. Going aggressive with Dryad + Shaman can work out pretty well, as most people will be nervous and overcommit into an early engagement, that nature wins due to the Shaman sustain. Against experienced Frost players a Primal Defender behind that cliff can block early center aggression.

Uro: If you play Stonekin, you can go instant T2 against aggressive magespam. You most likely identify your opponent's itention as he either needs to take the long path in oder to get wells or the short path in order to fight. I think playing against this as a pure nature player is dangerous, because Magespam can rush early T2's and it's hard to defend any position apart from your main base.

Simai: You can take that early well to create a big tempo lead in your advantage. Low void level, big map with walls to intercept Frost players for a good amount of time. Should be fine to play this matchup here.

Generated maps (small): You most likely lose map control on these maps, which is a little unfavourable for you. But sometimes you can go for a swiftclawspam due to the big distance between center and main base.

Generated maps (big): Early advantage for you as Swift units are very valuable here. You can try very aggressive Swifclawspam into T2 as there is no option to counterattack in time for non-swift units. The distance between both players is huge. Keep in mind that Frost T1 players usually play super strong late game decks so getting an advantage pre T3 can be very important for you.


 


 

3 Nature vs Fire
 

3.1 General Matchup discussion

The matchup against Fire is very interesting and there are alot of ways this could play out. There are some easy & effective strategies, but also some advanced ones, that are way harder to execute, but more useful in the end. Fire T1 is often played differently dependend on the deck you are facing because there is a big variety in deckslots that are invested in T1 within the Fire deck. Pure Fire can throw 8-9 cards into its T1, while Fire Nature will simply use 4-6 cards, because it requires way more slots in T2. Some cards like Wrecker & Mortar turn around matches heavily and you need to know and respect their specific power once they are used. Before going into specific T1 fight discussion I need to warn you here. Fire players tend to skip T1 against nature quite often and nature units are very weak against T2. So keep in mind to avoid binding power into to many units while being in a passive stance. This frequently leads to frustrating losses and you want to avoid that.

3.2 Dryad Spam Discussion

I would say this was a very famous way to play the matchup from the nature perspective. Alot of players would simply spam dryads to scale up to a point where they simply outscale the opponent. I agree with the fact, that Dryad is a very powerful card with good stat cost efficency and especially against Fire T1 the damage reduction is huge because of eruption. A double Eruption doesn't kill units anymore and its damage gets reduced to 225 per target (from 300). Anyways you need to be careful when to use this strategy. You lose alot of mobility and versitility, which makes you weaker against early T2 and Mortar tower. These are strategies you will face quite often and this is why I don't consider spamming Dryads in this matchup unless your opponent tries to go for a Fireswornspam. Dryad has a superior stat cost efficency and Firesworns can't use their ranged advantage or S knockback against such an army.

3.3 How to play the classic matchup

The classic unit composition you will face is built around 1-2 scavengers combined with Sunstriderspam and maybe 1 Firesworn. Your opponent will try to fight on an open field or at least attack from multiple spots at once, so you can't use your cc onto all units. On most maps I recommend a Swiftclaw start to match the speed of Scavenger, because especially on mid centered maps Fire can pick up a well + mortar or instant T2 which is very unpleasent to play against. In rare occasions you may consider starting with a Dryad. In order to win this fight you need at least 2 Dryads, because you need the damage reduction against the Eruption on all of your units. Before you manage to do that try to avoid every possible fight.

Tip: Spawn order is an important here. Your Dryads need to get spawned early on, because they need to be undazed to switch their mode for damage output. Shamans on the other hand are incredibly good dazed as they already heal for full value. This is very important to know to win extended trades.

3.4 How to play agianst Wrecker

Wrecker has insane M damage. I think it's the best basic cost stat efficency out of all T1 units if you simply look at its damage output. This is something you need to respect in this situation. Most of the time only pure Fire players will carry Wrecker in their decks, because they do have the slot left to use them. But sometimes Fire Frost also goes for the Wrecker, because it has a weak T2 against pure Nature. They most important part in this case is your use of crowd control. Because Wrecker has the ability to allow undazed summons so your CC can end up being used against you. If you use ensnaring roots onto a wrecker, he can use the ability and spawn undazed melee creatures out of the root range while his sunstriders will be placed inside the root area, because they are immune to knockbacks over there, which is a safe spot against Hurricane. In addition to that Wrecker empowers split attacks by alot. Bringing up an undazed Sunderer or multiple Wreckers right front of your powerwell is a huge threat and you always have to respect that.

3.5 How to deal with early T2s

3.5.1 Pure Fire

Don't rush this. It doesn't work unless you get a big gifted lead. Enforcer and Wildfire are a powerful defense against T1. Pure Fire will completely roll over you, you have to respond with T2 by yourself and avoid having more bound power in your T1 units. The pure Fire matchup is very unforgiving to play, so be on guard!

3.5.2 Fire Nature

Fire Nature is a threat for you, but not as bad as pure Fire. As long as you are close to your opponent's orb, you can attempt to rush it down. If you won a trade beforehand it should be even better. Your biggest task is keeping all units splitted against cc, while keeping the dryad buff applied to all units. Make sure to sleep any T2 unit immediatly. Skyfire Drake is especially Dangerous. Envenom can work as a soft counter to Ravage here, as it is unlikely to kill a skyfire Drake without it. Always try to be ready for a lavafield. The Fire Nature options are powerful, but there is only limited power and time available for him and that can be your advantage. Keep in mind that a missed rush onto a fire nature T2 always means game over. So be careful.

3.5.3 Fire Frost

Probably the easist deck to rush as Coldsnap is useless against nature. The 50% damage reduction is very good for your shamans. Still don't underestimate the power of Skyfire Drake and a potential Lavafield. You need tempo to force protects or cc to keep down the powerlevel in order to prevent a lethal strike. Think twice if you really want to run into the risk of rushing against Fire Frost when having a favourable T2 matchup anyways.

3.5.4 Bandits

Nobody plays Bandits and we talked about that earlier in the guide.

3.6 What to do against Mortar

This card is probably the most dangerous one for you in this matchup. Completely blocks any form of aggression. Once you lose map control and a mortar is up, the position is fone forever. In addition to that Mortar eliminates the ability to basetrade effectively as his damage/cost efficency is even above T2 level. Try to avoid mortar in every way. Cliff mortar attacks also can be difficult to defend once you fall behind, that's why I always recommend playing the game on a low risk level when playing nature in its current state. That said you can't get into a super passive stance as aggressive Mortars may force you into a fight.

3.7 Map advice

Haladur: Bad map for you. Split attacks from the side paths are very dangerous. Defending a Sunderer in your main base isn't just dangerous and expensive, it also leaves alot of bound power in your main base making any center position very exploitable.

Elyon: You can take fights if your opponent agrees on going for a T1 Battle. Center position to fight over, you should win extended trades, but lose early circle engagements. Be careful about instant T2 though.

Lajesh: you can stall, but you won't be able to attack effectively either. Don't lose control over the postion close to your main base. That can end up pretty ugly when playing against pure Fire.

Yrmia: You either have to be aggressive to pressure against potential instant T2 (with extended void power extremely dangerous!) or try to set up T2 at the other side of the map. T1 trades should be manageable, because you should be able to reach your critical amount of units pretty early.

Uro: Big map, so keep an eye onto split attacks. Apart from that you should be fine by contesting the center position. Whoever gets it in the end will be at a massive advantage as it is a great setup for both players (split attacks for your opponent and EP management for yourself).

Wazhai: Cliffmortars everywhere … super tricky to play against it. I would even consider playing manawing in a tournament to prevent this … When Mortar isn't used you should be able to play very aggressively as the wells at the cliff are very vulnerable, even when your opponent picks up early T2.

Simai: Slow starter. As long as you don't lose map control entirely you should be fine for the early stage of the game. Be careful about welling up too much as this leaves you open for split attacks.

Generated (small): Center rush + Mortar is disgusting to play against. Fire is clearly favoured on these type of maps due to this and you should try to bait out an early fight even though it may be difficult to win. Center control is key on alot of small generated maps.

Generated (big): Just make sure you don't bind too much power in T1 units as this makes T2 pickups much more juicy for your opponent. Should be difficult to apply serious pressure here.


 

4 Nature Mirror

I still feel like Nature mirrors are one of the most fun matchups in the entire game. Especially since Treespirit got nerfed and doesn't destroy the faction entirely anymore there is alot of room to show of crazy skills in this matchup. There are 3 ways to play out the game and I will explain the basic concepts right here.


 

4.1 Swift unit start

Probably the most common way to play this. Swiftclaw or Amazon start into spearmen into dryad into shaman spam. This is the most effective unit composition in the early stage. You will try to use your dryad to keep as many units cc'd as possible while Shamans will switch between attack and healing rotations. Keep in mind, that it's your priority to keep your units alive. Important note: Don't use any spells in the early game! Your Shamans are more than enough to keep your units alive in the early game. Spells are wasted power, because once you use them your opponent can just play another Shaman while keeping his other units alive during the cc duration. At some point it may be useful to add a second Dryad to increase the damage output and protect your other Dryad from burst rotations. Shaman & Dryad micro is key in this matchup. Switching between damage and support modes while maintaining correct unit focus is incredibly hard and really allows you to show off your skill with the deck. Keep in mind that Swiftclaw will me more dangerous than Amazon, because Amazon damage reduction doesn't work against other units even though she can take on the Swiftclaw in a simple 1v1. Her damageoutput isn't sufficient in extended trades. Using the ability onto the Swiftclaw is a NoGo by the way! Dryads could just cc the swifclaw resulting in 65 power being almost wasted. In addition to that the unit ends up getting unbound, which is a huge advantage for the

4.2 Swift unit vs ranged start

The second way to play this matchup is the Dryad start. You can't fight your opponent in the early game, because your dps is way to low and Swiftclaw + Spearmen are a huge thread to your units, but once you have 10+ units you can try to burst them down with crowd control. The melee units are somewhat useless, because they don't reach your units anymore while there is no way to heal them against the burst rotations in the late T1 anymore . But as I said if you get into a fight to early you will lose, because the Melee units do way more damage and Shamans will be able to sustain through your damage output, especially with a Dryad in the mix. In addition to that the lack of swifclaw reduces your pressure onto early T2s. EP spam vs Nature T1 can be a huge turning point.

4.3 Treespirits

This is the third and probably the easiest version to play out the matchup is Treespirit spam. Beats out the dryad spam due to the high dps, but struggles alot against Spearmen, because they can soak up the damage early and get healed by Shamans later on. I feel like playing them is less effective after the damage nerf, because the sustained dps version beats them now unless you get enough Treespirits to Burst down Spearmen with one rotation (and you need many of them). Keep in mind, that you need to use your Dryad wisely here. Using the sleep animation just after a Treespirit used his attack is useless, because it has up to 10s cooldown between his attack rotations. Treespirit spam is even worse against early T2s though, that has to be considered here.

Tip: Amazon takes 50% less damage against Green Treespirits and soaks up burst rotations aswell.

 


 

4.4 Rushing an opponent who picks up instant T2

4.4.1 vs pure Nature

This isn't a big deal, because pure Nature doesn't have any high dps units do deal with your natural Sustain. Also you do have good cc tools to deal with Ghost Spears and Spirit Hunters. With many ranged units it should be easy to kite Deep One and apart from that there isn't too much pure Nature can offer in T2. If a pure Nature players goes instant T2 at least somewhat close to you I recommend to attack immediatly. Adding up 1-2 S units into the mix may be valuable as they deal well with the S units pure Nature can bring into the fight. Defensive T1 vs T2 is not recommended as Energie Parasites are impossible to defend with Nature T1. 

4.4.2 vs Stonekin

Way more difficult but still possible if you are close to build up a tempo lead by damaging the orb (preferably with a swiftclaw). Razorshard/Stonetempest can be quite annoying, so you need to make sure, that your unit split is perfect, but in the end there is no “burst combo” that can take you out, so there is nothing you need to be afraid of as long as you play your game perfecly. Spearmen can be really useful to support your unit composition in this matchup. 

4.4.3 vs Nature Shadow

Nature Shadow has huge potential against your T1 and is pretty big in the early T2 stage. Pretty dangerous to play agianst, but pretty unpopular deck.

4.4.4 vs Nature Fire

Rarely played with nature starteres, but somewhat troublesome. At least Natures Swift units are more expensive than scavenger, so your opponent won't be able to use his power as effective as in the Fire T1 version and may be more open to an immediate rush.


 

So that's it for now. I may be able to add some replays for some matchups later on. Thanks for reading this wall of text and I really hope to see some new nature starters in the future! Feedback's always welcome! 

Best regards

RadicalX

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