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Shadow Era TCG  »  Articles  »  SE Strategy: Quick Match vs Best Of Three - Part 1
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There are some differences between quick games and the best-of-three (bo3) matches you play in tournaments and leagues. The first obvious difference is that in a quick game your match-up is always a surprise, but with bo3 you will know roughly what deck you're facing in games two and (if applicable) three. Another major difference is that with bo3, you are guaranteed to go first at least one game, and to go second at least one game.

Furthermore, whereas you can get away with certain auto-losses in quick game mode, even assuming your goal is to get a net increase in rating over a couple of games (and especially so when the new rating system will be in place), these are highly problematic in bo3 games. Therefore, for your bo3 decks, the requirements are more stringent, as you cannot afford any auto losses if you want to make it to the top of your league or tournament.

In a bo3, knowing what to expect should affect your choices in what you sacrifice and how you play in games two and three. Some examples:

  • Sacrifice anti-ally or anti-item cards if your opponent runs an ally-less or weapon/item-less deck respectively.
  • If your opponent's deck relies heavily on symmetrical drawing engines (Bazaar, Bad Santa), you can be very sure he/she will play those, and you can actually sacrifice yours. This gives you a significant tempo advantage, as you can play other cards instead.
  • If your opponent's deck is heavy on allies or on items, and your removal options are limited, knowing what is in their deck allows you to make smart decisions on what to use your removal spells on. For example, if, after the first game, you know your opponent runs Jeweler's Dream, Berserker's Edge, and The King's Pride, and you only have 4 Acid Jets, will you use them to remove the first weapons that hit the board? Or will you save them until a specific item hits the board?

If you were thinking a step ahead, you already figured you could use the above strategies in a bo3 to bluff your opponent. For instance, situations may occur where you get to go first in the first game, and you are playing a somewhat favorable match up. You could now decide to alter your play style a little bit from optimal. For example, you could refrain from playing any of your low casting cost (low-cc) allies in the first game, leading your opponent to believe that you only run high-cc allies. Then in the next game, your opponent will gear his/her plays towards the idea that you will again focus on the late game with high-cc allies. You can now completely surprise your opponent by coming out of the gates much more quickly with the low-cc allies that you withheld in the first game. The opponent may have tossed out some critical removal cards that they had in their opening hand, and, better yet, may have made a wrong decision in deciding who was playing the beatdown, or aggro. You can, of course, vary on this example as you see fit.

Now, I would like to set a little challenge, and ask the readers to take the above to the next level: Try and build your deck in such a manner that it will actually allow you to run two (or more) different game plans - a strict aggro plan and a more controlish plan, for example - with which to completely baffle your opponent during a bo3. With the new 40-card limit and people even running viable 50-card decks these days, there should be room enough in a deck to pull this off. I will be interested to see the results posted in this thread. Also, please ask questions or leave comments if you have any!

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