ScrotieMcB

Who's the beatdown?

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Posted (edited)

If you're familiar with Magic the Gathering, I hope you're also familiar with Mike Flores, in particular the article he wrote in the 90s titled Who's the Beat down? The article uses many (very old) Magic references, but the concepts apply very well to Shadowverse, as figuring out your opponent's plan relative to your own is very important. However, for the most part, role assignment in Take Two is simple enough: the player who goes first is the beatdown — that is, advantaged early game and will run out of gas if they don't win early — while the second player is the control — will win on value if they can effectively slow down the tempo of the game. Not a rule without exceptions, but a good rule nevertheless.

I recently had a game as part of a 5-0 Shadow run which I feel really exemplifies these concepts.

My opponent is Shadow and I play first. On turn 2 I lead off with a Dark Conjuror. My opponent plays Wandering Bard Elta turn 2.

On my turn 3 I play Gourmet Emperor and attack face (18). I don't trade because I'm probably the beatdown here, and even if my opponent has Catacomb, might also have another 3PP play — Shadow tends to get thick on that part of the curve. Unless I can outright deny any 3PP play, probably not worth trading. (It turns out my opponent played two 3PP cards, proving I made the correct play.)

On opponent's turn 3 I see Angel of the Word hit my face, as well as Elta. I find it strange that Elta didn't trade. Catacombs in hand? If so, amazingly greedy; instead of Angel could Catacomb then trade, setting up a 1/1 + Angel Fanfare kill on my other 2/2 next turn.

On my turn 4 I play Lurching Corpse and Ultimate Carrot, and go face (14).

On my opponent's turn 4, we finally see Prince Catacomb. Wow! Could have cleaned my board so easy, but was greedy instead. Even more amazingly, Elta and Angel go face while  Catacomb evolves and eliminates a 2/2. How could that possibly be correct? If my opponent is the control, shouldn't the 2/2s trade? If my opponent's the beatdown, shouldn't a 2/2 evolve before hitting face, instead of Catacomb?

On my turn 5 I topdeck Orthrus and play it, hitting my opponent's Catacomb and my Lurching Corpse. Since I have Voices of Resentment in my hand, I evolve Carrot and go face with everything, dealing 9 and taking him to 5 with four followers on my side to his three (one is a Skeleton).

On my opponent's turn 5 I see Goblin Princess, and one Goblin is summoned straight into a banish portal. After evolving, clears my board except for Orthrus.

On my turn 6, I evolve Orthrus and play Voices for exact lethal.

Considering my opponent's draws, I should've lost. Based on just the cards I saw, my opponent had all the tools to counter my early aggression and take things to a favorable midgame. Instead, they lost before their sixth turn.

Edited by ScrotieMcB
Avoiding assuming opponent's gender
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My friend's the exact opposite and always assumes the control position, never risking greedy plays, even if he goes first. This makes him lose far more games than he should. Then again, he only ever plays control decks, so he isn't used to playing anything else. I suppose this is why it's good to try to play every type of style if you want to get better at Take Two, since chances are you're going to get shoved outside of your comfort zone otherwise. You don't always get picks that allow you to play aggressively, just as you don't always gets pick that lets you play control. Only through experience you'll learn when it's better to attack directly, or when to fight for board control.

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Posted (edited)

1 hour ago, Roth said:

You don't always get picks that allow you to play aggressively, just as you don't always gets pick that lets you play control. 

Usually — not always, but usually — your picks don't allow either plan consistently. You end up with a deck that is the beatdown if it goes first, and is the control if it goes second, and it's important that one learns to play differently based off that initial coin flip. Of course, if your opponent's deck is inflexibly tied to a beatdown role you might need to switch gears to card advantage even if you go first, or if your opponent's deck is heavy on board clears and card drawing you might need to go beatdown even if you go second. But if your deck is flexible, you should be too.

1 hour ago, Huck Fearthstone said:

Or maybe your opponent is plainly bad. 

True! But I find how they were bad (as opposed to how much) to be interesting.

Edited by ScrotieMcB

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Yknow, for something so obvious, I don't think I ever really got that mindset. Being flexible is true enough but knowing when and how even more so. Gonna try a run real quick see if I can work some magic.

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