I haven’t written in a while, as I decided I don’t want to advertise my deck choice decisions before the tournament. My regular readership isn’t huge, but I still would rather not face someone that has read up on my deck selection process. I’ll get around to doing a writeup on that after Krakow.
Repetition is key
Most top players will tell you that the key to success in Archon is repetition. Know your deck like the back of your hand, and you will have much higher chances of winning. This always struck me as true, but I couldn’t put into words why. Now I can. After long hours of practice with my deck, I have started to identify reasons why I need to play it more than 20 times.
Lines of play
This can be broken down into two sections, short term and long term. Short term lines of play are about some things becoming second nature. When you have made a play so many times that you already know the order of operations, and thus, are less likely to play it out of order, and also better at doing it faster. But also know which things you should or shouldn’t do based on cards your opponents have.
While Long Term lines of play are about knowing what kind of board state would benefit you on turns down the line.
AoA, just by virtue of having Alpha and Omega cards, greatly benefits from practicing these lines of play. The more times you’ve forgotten to start your turn with an Alpha, or reap before you play a card with Omega, the less likely you are to repeat that mistake.
Wild Wormhole is a card that greatly benefits from repeated play, knowing every card you may play off the top of your deck is important for consistent play. Sure, you could go over your Archon card and find all the different cards you need to be mindful of when playing Wild Wormhole. But there is nothing quite like playing Wild Wormhole into Effervescent Principle when you’re at 10 Æmber to etch it into your brain that you should sometimes just not play it.
One of my recent games I played against a deck featuring two Hypnobeams. I’ve heard plenty of talk about how awesome it is to Hypnobeam a Duskwitch, but it wasn’t until I got my Duskwitch stolen that I really learned I should just discard the Duskwitch if I have not seen my opponent’s Hypnobeams already. The chances of a Duskwitch sticking around are too low to be worth the risk of them taking it and getting immediate benefit.
Experiencing something like your Duskwitch being stolen is also a good way to familiarize yourself with cards you need to look for on your opponent’s Archon card.
I can’t go over all the things you need to learn here, which is why you need to play your deck a lot, and get familiar with all those interactions.
When talking about long term plays I’m not only talking about outs, which I have covered in a previous post, but also about making sure the board state is as receptive to the cards you may draw in the future.
I have a deck with Drummernaut Ganger Chieftain combo. This combo in an of itself has a few things to teach you about creature placement. If you want to pull off the combo, and you draw your Drummernaut first, you needs to keep it on a flank. Otherwise you cannot place the Ganger Chieftain next to it for the repeated attacks or reaps.
The deck also features a Panpaca, Anga, which strongly encourages me to play my Drummernaut not just on a flank, but keeping it on my right flank, so when I do play my Panpaca, Anga, I do not block the location for the Ganger Chieftain.
Two cards that very commonly reward setting up a correct board state are Coward’s End and Save the Pack. While Coward’s End encourages to fight with your creatures sometimes to get some damage on them, Save the Pack encourages you to keep as many creatures as you can at full health, and doing small amount of damage to enemy creatures when possible.
Not only that, if you’ve ever played with Coward’s End against someone with Save the Pack, you may feel it is better to play towards Save the Pack rather than Coward’s End, since Save the Pack only gives one chain, and often does nothing if the board state is not accommodating.
How does this article help you?
Well, aside from me obviously strongly recommending you get those repetitions in, and also explaining why, I want to suggest you find an opportunity to play against as many cards as you can.
Those two cards have major game warping effects, and correctly assessing their threat level is crucial to determining your line of play out of a rough situation. However Ember Imp is a common while Teliga is a rare. If you’ve been playing for a while, you’ve most likely had the displeasure of facing an Ember Imp and can correctly assess how urgent it is to get rid of. However the rarity of Teliga means it is possible you’ve never had the opportunity to learn her threat level. Find someone that has a Teliga, and ask to play against them.
AoA has introduced a card that entirely changes the rules of the game in Heart of the Forest, and allows for a very unique avenue of play. If you’ve never played against Heart of the Forest, you might find yourself in a tough spot if you don’t know how to deal with it.
Likewise Haedroth’s Wall, commonly known as “Oops, wall.” Is also a card you should get some experience against. Make sure you’ve played enough with or against it to remember it’s effect.
Contact and afterward
I hope you find this article useful. It is my plan to write another post or two before I head to Krakow vault tour, but no promises.