Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Deckbuilding 101 - Darkheart Wanderer

Hey guys, this blog is going to be looking into how to build good decks in Solforge. Each post will be looking a different deck archetype, as I explain why certain cards are good in certain decks, and how to play that deck to its full potential. But first, I want to explain how I go about building a deck.

Step 1: Find a card that you think is awesome.

This step is easy! It might be the new legendary you just got, a powerful card that you have a full set (3 of the same card) of, or a card you think is particularly cool. The majority of legendary cards just beg to be built around so they are often a good start, but for new players a powerful rare that you have 3 of like the Savants might be the starting point.

Step 2: Figure out what cards have the best synergy with your card, and make your core.

What makes your card powerful? For example, Savants love when you can play strong level 1 cards later in the game, so Deepbranch Prowler and Lightning Spark are good options. Grimgaunt Predator loves it when you remove creatures, so Dreadbolt and Cull the Weak help him grow. Firefist Uranti becomes very scary when you raise his attack, so Alloyin General and Battle Technician are great additions.

Step 3: Specialize your deck.

How are you going to win games? Are you stalling out the game till your level 3 big guys overwhelm your opponent? Are you trying to mass board advantage by constantly putting large creatures down from the get-go? Are you planning on killing everything your opponent plays? More often than not a well thought out common or rare has a better place in your deck than a random powerful legendary.

Step 4: Round off your deck.

This is the step that differs the good deck builders from the bad deck builders. Putting 3 of 10 powerful cards can and will often work, but it often means you will either lack the cards or not be able to draw them at the right time. Here are some of the things most decks need to reach their full potential:

- Removal. Some players forget that their opponents can play good cards too. You should have some removal in every deck, and preferably the type that can deal with the scariest of monsters like Zimus or Pheonix.

 -Strong Level 1 cards. You can't level all 30 cards in your deck, and you shouldn't try to. Having dead drops because you had "bad luck" can often be solved by having cards that can still be effective even when not leveled. Examples include Deepbranch Prowler, Uranti Bolt, Death Seaker, Fervant Assault, Seismic Adept, among others.

- Alternative Win Clause. Sometimes your opponent's deck is well suited to counter your decks intentions. An example of this might be a Sapling Deck is constantly filling up all the lanes so your Aggro deck lacks empty lanes to get damage through. However, if you have a Grimgaunt Predator in your deck he eats up all the saplings and you win! In the majority of games you don't level GGP because he isn't the focus of your deck, but knowing what decks you have trouble with and adding appropriate counters is good deckbuilding.

Step 5: Testing.

Getting the perfect amount of each card is hard, and playtesting your deck is the best way to find out how many cards you should use. I'm not planning on giving deck lists, often since my decks are non-perfect either because I don't have the right cards or because I have my own personal biases. As a rule though you want a full set of your core cards, one of your alternative win clauses or counters (Oxidon Spitter, anyone?), and two of cards you'd like to see once a round.

Now, for a couple of examples, using my favorite card: Darkheart Wanderer.

Darkheart Wanderer has decent stats, and gets regeneration when you play spells. As a result he is very scary when made bigger, likes turns where you play multiple spells, and can  win games by himself.

Deck 1- Core- Darkheart Wanderer, Lifeshaper Savant, Enrage.

By putting +3/+3 on Darkheart he becomes much harder to kill since Dreadbolt, Cull the Weak, or any Tempys spell struggle to eliminate him. The idea of this deck is grow creatures beyond the point where your opponent can deal with them. Lifeshapers must be leveled whenever possible, and Darkheart Wanderers are a high priority.

Synergy- GGP, Deepbranch Prowler, Unrelenting Dead, Rite of the Grimgaunt, Hungering Strike. 

These creatures already have nice abilities that come with them, so making them larger only makes them scarier. Rite of the Grimgaunt is a spell, so it helps give Darkheart more regeneration, but also makes creatures bigger. Hungering Strike helps make favorable trades, and is very flexible in this sort of deck. Other options include growers like Shardplate Delver or Necroslime, or other support like Grove Huntress.

Support- Epidemic, Dreadbolt, Botanimate, Cull the Weak, Feral Instinct.

Some removal that can be effective if not leveled but is still useful is you do, some hard removal, and Feral Instinct. If you grow a large GGP or Rite of the Grimgaunt it's very effective to have one Feral Instinct that can be the finishing blow in a close game, and it doesn't need to be leveled to be effective.

Deck 2- Core- Darkheart Wanderer, Master of Elements, Static Shock

This core is meant to get lots of spells down, making Darkheart get as much as it has regeneration very quickly. Level these cards whenever you draw them, almost without exception.

Synergy- Lightning Spark, Uranti Bolt, Aquatic Embrace, Rite of the Grimgaunt GGP, Epidemic.

Powerful removal spells that don't need to be leveled, the two best ways to give your important creatures health, and a GGP who loves the heavy removal.

Support- Strong Level 1 Creatures, Hungering Strike, Fervent Assault.

More powerful, flexible spells and general filler. I've been looking at Seismic Adept, Magma Hound, Necroslime, Nargath Bruiser, but the answer may likely be just powerful cards like Lyria and Zimus.

Deck 3- Core- Darkheart Wanderer, Wildwood Sower, Rite of the Grimgaunt

Drop lots of spells to get Wanderer and Sower to do work, watch the saplings die and your creatures grow. Pretty simple deck, and the best thing about it is that every other creature you play appears more threatening while these two do all the work. All of the core doesn't actually need aggressive leveling in this deck to be effective, so you often are playing whichever card is immediately the strongest, which is a nice plus.

Synergy- GGP, GGD, Phytobomb, Epidemic, Ferocious Roar.

Typical Grimgaunt shenanigans, but with extra emphasis on the powerful spells. You'll want to be playing these spells anyways, and getting extra sapling and regeneration as a lovely bonus.

Support- Dreadbolt, Botanimate Ghastly Touch, Feral Instinct, Gemhide Basher and your choice of Grove Matriarch/Fel Walker

Dreadbolt kills things, which is generally better with Grimgaunts on the table. Botanimate is primarily leveled against Zimus. Ghastly Touch is the best removal you have that doesn't need to be leveled, Feral Instinct is for when your giants need a final push, and the creatures give you good late game options when you need to throw creatures to their death.

(P.S I like Grove Matriarch over Death Walker or Fleshfiend in this deck because it doesn't need leveling, but has some threat if left alone in a sidelane)

So there we go, three different ways to build a deck around a single card, all decent but very different decks. Thanks for reading, hopefully I have inspired some deck ideas or have improved your deckbuilding. 

My IGN is pwndnoob, I will continue to make these posts whether people read them or not, but I will appreciate advice or constructive criticism on formatting, and please feel free to comment. This will the longest post, since other posts will just be looking at deck ideas.

1 comment:

  1. Great post! Really interesting - I've never been particularly fond of the Darkheart, but your post has made me reconsider. Maybe I'll try building a deck around him...

    One note - at the end, you have this: "This will the longest post, due to"

    I think there's meant to be more than that to the post?