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 Post subject: Playing Scrolls with card advantage in mind
PostPosted: July 8th, 2013, 01:33 
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In-game name: BrTarolg
Hi there, I'm BrTarolg. I'm currently 1944 in ranking and sitting around the top 50 of players. I'm a very theoretical player and I tend to spend more time thinking and understanding mechanics behind games like scrolls than actually playing it!

I first played mono energy, and then now I play mono order, both to a top100+ rating so I feel I have a good grasp on the decks and the meta behind them.

That being said, I've decided to write a short article about card advantage in scrolls.

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What is card advantage?

Card advantage is, simply put, having an advantage in the number of cards you have over your opponent. This is a classic term well known and understood in all TCGs. There is only one thing you need to know about card advantage, and that is card advantage wins games

This is no less true for scrolls - it is no surprise that some of the most powerful cards in the game are cards which provide card advantage - imperial resources, fertile soil, etc.

Perhaps some of you will have faced a GO draw deck before - this epitomises the edge that card advantage brings. By delaying to the late game and only playing the most efficient scrolls (Kinfolk vet, sisters, quake for example), they ramp up a very quick card advantage to the point that in the lategame they have the resources and cards to do literally anything they want.

The reason why card advantage wins you games is twofold. Firstly, it gives you more options - allowing you to play the most efficient cards in the situation to do exactly what you need at that time. Secondly, it in many cases, provides more raw power - you may simply be able to play more cards than your opponent which gives you a raw edge

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Tempo and Implied card advantage

So one thing that i'd like to introduce is playing scrolls with the viewpoint of card advantage. I hope to use this article to help guide players who have a fair grasp of the game (1600+), but lack the knowledge to play their decks correctly. One thing that i'd say on my climb to top 50 is that everyone makes mistakes - even people who are 2000+ still make gameplay mistakes. However, without a framework to build upon, it can be difficult to spot what is a mistake and what isn't a mistake.

So i'm going to introduce 2 key concepts here - the first is implied card advantage, and the second is tempo.

Implied card advantage is a card that gives you some form of card advantage.
The most obvious example would be a card like Kinfolk Veteran, probably the best creature in the game. Kinfolk veteran has the power of 2 cards in one. It kills a creature with 3 hp or less, and then it places a 3/2/4 on the board. Thus it removes one of your opponents cards, and places a card of your own.

Tempo is the idea of having board control. Board control allows your creatures to activate (attack) more often. Every time your creature attacks, it deals damage. If your creature kills an enemy creature whilst doing so, you have gained 1 card's worth of advantage. However, if that creature whiffs and attacks a non-important idol or a dead row, then the card advantage has not changed.
edit:
Dalapin wrote a fine piece much more accurately describing what tempo really is
Quote:
Tempo is a rather complex topic dealing with the efficiency of using resources: it is the rate at which you are playing threats. When you are playing threats (and keeping them on the board) faster than your opponent, that is tempo. Sparking their Kinfolk Brave from last turn and playing your own Gun Automaton is tempoing out your opponent. This act of tempoing out your opponent results in more board control, but the board control itself is not the source of the tempo. Your ability to answer their threats and play your own faster and more efficiently is the source of tempo. You'll notice in my previous example that even though there was no card advantage, tempo was gained because Tempo is not centered on value


Playing scrolls from the viewpoint of card advantage

So I'm going to take this viewpoint of scrolls one step further and turn it into something that can affect our decision making and play.

Bear in mind this is a *very* complex subject, and as such it is difficult to express easily. Thus the way i will do it is simply by example. I'm going to take some replays of games I've played, and show you how I use the concept of card advantage in every situation. I'm currently on a 10(?) game winstreak and basically havn't really lost more than 1-2 games from 1800-1944 so I think my deck has potential to get to a much higher ranking than this, I just havn't had time yet!

So firstly, here is my decklist
http://www.scrollsguide.com/deckbuilder/#5009

I ended up making this myself, but it turns out it's VERY similar to what Slin and Light plays. The theme of this deck is late game card advantage. The simple strategy is to get a huge and overwhelming card advantage without losing the game, so that i can then crush my opponent with 100% success.

The first game analysis we will do is on a game I played vs Light. He played an energy deck here. We have a little bit of chatter but it's all friendly ;)

---

Game 1: http://www.scrollsguide.com/replays/r/4197120

Spoiler: [show]

----

Game 2 http://www.scrollsguide.com/replays/r/4278310

This is a OvO game i played recently to put me back in the top 50 today :). For those of you not familiar, 90% of high level (1900+) OvO looks like this. It is an extremely precise game - most order players run very similar decks here and have very similar strategy.

Before I post my game, I will point you to this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sz3z70-1bkI
This is a video by Atrox which shows exactly what i'm talking about, and it's really similar style to my game. Notice light also plays the same style as me. (lol poor light haha)
Spoiler: [show]

----

By stalling and delaying the game, and keeping in mind the concepts of tempo and when i need or dont need it, i can slowly build up a card advantage over the game without putting myself at risk, until finally my advantage is so great i can simply push it and win the game.

I make many plays during this game which i feel many intermediate order players would do that i would see as a mistake - such as BoH to kill the gun auto early on, or going for the kill too early. By knowing when you need your tempo, you ensure you don't blow out of steam too early, and it gives you a MUCH higher chance of victory.

So that's it. I will do another similar replay tomorrow where i will add to this article where i play vs some order and growth players, though i feel that this game shows (vs a very good player i might add) the key concepts i am trying to show

I hope you find this useful!

edit:


Last edited by BrTarolg on July 8th, 2013, 22:48, edited 3 times in total.
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 Post subject: Re: Playing Scrolls with card advantage in mind
PostPosted: July 8th, 2013, 02:13 
Spearman
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Great article , i feel as this will be very helpful seeing as i usually rely on intuition instead of logic like this. Thanks
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 Post subject: Re: Playing Scrolls with card advantage in mind
PostPosted: July 8th, 2013, 03:19 
Infantryman
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In-game name: Dalapin
Great piece BrTarolg, but I'd like to clarify Tempo as it is not directly related to board control as you've indicated.

Tempo is a rather complex topic dealing with the efficiency of using resources: it is the rate at which you are playing threats. When you are playing threats (and keeping them on the board) faster than your opponent, that is tempo. Sparking their Kinfolk Brave from last turn and playing your own Gun Automaton is tempoing out your opponent. This act of tempoing out your opponent results in more board control, but the board control itself is not the source of the tempo. Your ability to answer their threats and play your own faster and more efficiently is the source of tempo. You'll notice in my previous example that even though there was no card advantage, tempo was gained because Tempo is not centered on value.
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 Post subject: Re: Playing Scrolls with card advantage in mind
PostPosted: July 8th, 2013, 06:07 
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Nice topic, registered in the forum just to post here.

Thanks for the help, i'm sending you a PM, hope you don't mind. Thank you.
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 Post subject: Re: Playing Scrolls with card advantage in mind
PostPosted: July 8th, 2013, 09:35 
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In-game name: BrTarolg
Dalapin is absolutely correct and i'll make sure to change some of the wording when i'm talking about tempo here

There are a few things that i'll be following up from in terms of using this kind of logic to play the game - that being ideas such as using your idols as a resource to be spent , as they give you time and slow the tempo of your opponent down if he is attacking your idols and not your units
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 Post subject: Re: Playing Scrolls with card advantage in mind
PostPosted: July 8th, 2013, 10:03 
Spearman
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In-game name: Sharnt_Gro_Muzo
BrTarolg wrote:
that being ideas such as using your idols as a resource to be spent , as they give you time and slow the tempo of your opponent down if he is attacking your idols and not your units

Idols HPs sure are a ressource in this game, you need only 1hp on three of them not to lose.

Thanks for the post great insight here. I have a really hard time about what to sacc or keep in hand etc. And since I'm running a list close to yours I think it'll help me quite a lot.
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 Post subject: Re: Playing Scrolls with card advantage in mind
PostPosted: July 8th, 2013, 12:08 
Spearman
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*subscribes for great interest*

Great and inspiring work ! Would love to see some more against a growth/aggro deck, if you happen to have an interesting game against one of those.
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 Post subject: Re: Playing Scrolls with card advantage in mind
PostPosted: July 8th, 2013, 12:35 
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Nice read! If I were you, I'd post it on /r/scrolls too, there are many people looking for advice there.

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 Post subject: Re: Playing Scrolls with card advantage in mind
PostPosted: July 8th, 2013, 12:53 
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Nothing new to me as a long time MTG-player but nice to read.
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 Post subject: Re: Playing Scrolls with card advantage in mind
PostPosted: July 8th, 2013, 13:24 
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iScrE4m wrote:
Nice read! If I were you, I'd post it on /r/scrolls too, there are many people looking for advice there.


http://www.reddit.com/r/Scrolls/comment ... w_to_play/

^_^ thanks for the tip. I don't really use reddit at all so it should be interesting

I'm at work now, but i'll write up another replay from an OvO or an OvG point of view (depending on which one you guys want first)
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 Post subject: Re: Playing Scrolls with card advantage in mind
PostPosted: July 8th, 2013, 14:23 
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In-game name: kehmesis
I find a great way to understand tempo is at any point in the game, you count the card/scroll value of each player and then look at board control.

Unit count + resources + scrolls in hand will give you card value. Unit count will show who's ahead on tempo.

If I have 2 units on the board, 7 order and 4 cards in hand, my card value is 13.

If my opponent has 5 units on board, 5 growth and 1 card in hand, his card value is 11. Basically, I'm ahead on card advantage, but behind on tempo. Early game decks will put more emphasis on tempo. An early order deck will be ahead on tempo most of the game vs GO Draw, where Draw will be ahead in CA most of the game, but behind on tempo until their machine starts rolling.

To understand tempo, you can look at a clear card disadvantage like Pushback where the unit count is 3 vs 1. You can pushback, losing a card to have a 3 vs 0 board and destroying an idol.
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 Post subject: Re: Playing Scrolls with card advantage in mind
PostPosted: July 8th, 2013, 14:51 
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I'd argue with the analysis of Pushback's use as being a purely tempo based card, though I think that's because tempo is incorrectly defined and is not the right word. It gives a board state advantage. It's a quasi-removal combat trick that doubles as enchantment removal.

It's an implicit card disadvantage to send a creature back to the opponent's hand, though even just that alone gives board advantage. When used correctly however, it almost always results in an even card trade, if not an outright card advantage and an even bigger board advantage -- ontop of it's other versatile utilities.

(also hi i'm from TL)
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 Post subject: Re: Playing Scrolls with card advantage in mind
PostPosted: July 8th, 2013, 16:35 
Spearman
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kehmesis wrote:
I find a great way to understand tempo is at any point in the game, you count the card/scroll value of each player and then look at board control.

Unit count + resources + scrolls in hand will give you card value. Unit count will show who's ahead on tempo.

If I have 2 units on the board, 7 order and 4 cards in hand, my card value is 13.

If my opponent has 5 units on board, 5 growth and 1 card in hand, his card value is 11. Basically, I'm ahead on card advantage, but behind on tempo. Early game decks will put more emphasis on tempo. An early order deck will be ahead on tempo most of the game vs GO Draw, where Draw will be ahead in CA most of the game, but behind on tempo until their machine starts rolling.

To understand tempo, you can look at a clear card disadvantage like Pushback where the unit count is 3 vs 1. You can pushback, losing a card to have a 3 vs 0 board and destroying an idol.

Although I agree with the general idea, I don't think that regarding who has control of the board, solely focusing on the number of units is a good idea.
Let's take an extreme example :
Player A has a skirmisher, a royal vanguard, and a ducal spearman. That's 3 units.
Player B has one vaettr, one sister, one kinfolk brave and two ragged wolves.

Imo, board control has to be evaluated as a whole, and that "card advantage" also has to be included in said evaluation. Take the situation I described above.
With basic math, we'd say "well, player B has more board presence".
Now taking into accounts unit's individual strength, we say "actually, player A seems to be quite in a good position".
But, we glance at the idols and the position and see that even though player A controls the middle lane, he has already lost an idol, and both his side idols are down to 6 hp. It seems that player B might get a win out of this.
However, player A has 6 cards in hand, and 8 order to his disposal, while player B only has two cards and 5 growth. Player A may actually be able to save one of his idols and finally win the game.

Of course such a weird situation isn't likely to appear, but you get the point.


Last edited by InSovietRussia on July 8th, 2013, 16:37, edited 2 times in total.
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 Post subject: Re: Playing Scrolls with card advantage in mind
PostPosted: July 8th, 2013, 16:36 
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Thanks great guide!
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 Post subject: Re: Playing Scrolls with card advantage in mind
PostPosted: July 8th, 2013, 16:45 
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InSovietRussia wrote:
kehmesis wrote:
I find a great way to understand tempo is at any point in the game, you count the card/scroll value of each player and then look at board control.

Unit count + resources + scrolls in hand will give you card value. Unit count will show who's ahead on tempo.

If I have 2 units on the board, 7 order and 4 cards in hand, my card value is 13.

If my opponent has 5 units on board, 5 growth and 1 card in hand, his card value is 11. Basically, I'm ahead on card advantage, but behind on tempo. Early game decks will put more emphasis on tempo. An early order deck will be ahead on tempo most of the game vs GO Draw, where Draw will be ahead in CA most of the game, but behind on tempo until their machine starts rolling.

To understand tempo, you can look at a clear card disadvantage like Pushback where the unit count is 3 vs 1. You can pushback, losing a card to have a 3 vs 0 board and destroying an idol.

Although I agree with the general idea, I don't think that regarding who has control of the board, solely focusing on the number of units is a good idea.
Let's take an extreme example :
Player A has a skirmisher, a royal vanguard, and a ducal spearman. That's 3 units.
Player B has one vaettr, one sister, one kinfolk brave and two ragged wolves.

Imo, board control has to be evaluated as a whole, and that "card advantage" also has to be included in said evaluation. Take the situation I described above.
With basic math, we'd say "well, player B has more board presence".
Now taking into accounts unit's individual strength, we say "actually, player A seems to be quite in a good position".
But, we glance at the idols and the position and see that even though player A controls the middle lane, he has already lost an idol, and both his side idols are down to 6 hp. It seems that player B might get a win out of this.
However, player A has 6 cards in hand, and 8 order to his disposal, while player B only has two cards and 5 growth. Player A may actually be able to save one of his idols and finally win the game.

Of course such a weird situation isn't likely to appear, but you get the point.


Indeed when i am analysing the board for my decisions, you can kind of "feel" your way as to who has the tempo and board control.

For example, someone with a lot of 1 CD generals on the board will have a lot of board presence and a lot of tempo, and it may be that the other player will either have to
a> sacrifice his idol resources to catch up
b> sacrifice a ton of cards on the field, which may not even gain him tempo (and is generally a game losing position)

I try and analyse the board to decide whether at the moment in time i need more or less tempo, and whether it is important that i deal with imminent threats or not, and consider what i can sacrifice.

Cards like waking stones for example, have a lot of implied *negative* card advantage. This is because people are tempted to place units behind it which results in a huge loss in tempo and cards when it gets pusbacked/pothered away
However, if you use it simply to defend idols, it is a very powerful card which provides a lot of positive tempo, even if it doesn't really grant any card advantage.
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