Shadow Era TCG » Articles » SE Strategy: Race vs Attrition, Control Decks, and Inevitability
As a follow up to the Who's the Beatdown article, and an excellent comment on inevitability by NinjaDucky over on the forum, I figured I'd also do a write-up on this subject. As not everyone in this community speaks Magic: The Gathering (MtG), I have translated it to SE. It is based on articles originally written for MtG, by Jeff Cunningham and Ben Rubin, so credits go to them for initially summarizing the conceptual ideas herein, and any direct quotes come from these articles.
Race versus Attrition
In MtG, generally two types of gameplay can be recognized. The first is the race, where you try to achieve your win condition (a combo, a fatty, quick massive damage, or something else that will win you the game) before your opponent does. The second is a "duel of attrition". Here, players trade threats and counters (e.g., allies and ally removal) until one deck runs out of steam from which point the other player has an easy road to the finish line. Both types of play also occur in SE, but the current rules (such as first strike for all allies, and the ability to decide which ally to attack) and cards strongly skew the game towards the race type of gameplay, which is why the matches are relatively quick, and not drawn out too long.
Control decks focus on the other type of gameplay: attrition. They are built to draw out the early and mid games, and come up with a win condition in the mid to late game. At this point, race decks have usually already run out of steam.
Characteristics of control decks are:
The logic behind characteristics 1 and 2 is explained in an earlier thread.
Control decks are generally more complicated to build and require a lot of experience and skill to successfully pilot, which is why many advanced players like them so much. As of yet, the only thing in SE that we could call control decks are the Killtrend's Zaladar, and other versions that aim to mill the opponent, and some of the priest decks. It is my hope that more control decks will show up in SE in the future.
"Inevitability is the strategic consideration that, all things being equal, one deck will beat another given enough time." This situation may have arisen because of a specific situation on the board, it may due to specific cards in a player's deck or hand, or it may be an intrinsic aspect of the match up between two heroes. In other words, if you do not have inevitability, you will lose the game if you do not take action. Thus, you are on a clock to kill your opponent. It follows from this, that whoever does not have inevitability, inevitably has to play the beatdown.
Which deck has inevitability can be looked at, and may change, at various points during the game:
Observant readers probably already figured out that with the current limited card pool and relatively simple metagame, not having inevitability, and playing the beatdown, is generally a consequence of choices made during deck building, and of whether you are going first or second. This is a major difference from the situation in (far further developed) MtG, where deck building also plays a major role, but where board and hand situations often arise that strongly affect inevitability. Hopefully, with further development and the release of many more cards, similar layers of strategy will be (further) added to SE in the nearby future.
Again, hope this has been insightful, and please leave comments and ask questions if you have any!
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