Lessons Learned

I am really enjoying the World of Warcraft Trading Card Game.

Now that I have been playing for a while I am starting to see some of the errors I made when I was just starting the game. When I started the game I saw all these cards that allowed you to interact with your graveyard. There are cards that let you pull allies from your graveyard and put them back into play or back into your hand. Cards that pulled allies out of your graveyard (or better yet your opponents graveyard) for an in game effect.

Early on I focused on this aspect of the game. I loaded my decks with 4 Chasing A-Me 01 quests. I had 2 Call the Spirit in every deck I built. I made sure that the horde decks had Ophelia Barrows and alliance decks had Medoc Spiritwarden.

I also put at least 2 Blueleaf Tubers into each deck because I thought that would allow me to reuse cards that I have put into the graveyard earlier in the game. I was thinking... it doesn't matter that I only have 1 Starfire. IF I use it I can always use Blueleaf Tubers and reuse the same card again.

The first lesson learned: focus on your deck not your graveyard.

Then I shifted my focus to abilities. I saw that the abilities had a really big in game effect. Pyroblast, Chain Lightning, Starfire, Healing Touch, all of these can turn a game around. So I started to remove allies from my decks to allow more of these abilities.

Unfortunately, this justified my original mix of graveyard scouring cards. I could put in just a couple of Sarmoths and keep bringing him back again and again. I added a lot of protectors because I could stall the game with them and have some slow burn (Curse of Agony) or big splash (Pyroblast) abilities for a quick end game.

Finally I started to notice that I was being beaten by decks because I was focused on at best stalling techniques and at worst purely defensive mechanics. Stalling can be a valid game strategy but stalling is best suited to take control of the board and then take some action. My decks were stalling and after I had control of the board I didn't really have anything to act with, so I would gain the upper hand and wait for my opponent to take it back. A purely defensive strategy is likewise fairly weak as you are preventing your opponent from winning but you are not making any progress to winning yourself.

Second lesson learned: focus on your victory conditions, not on blocking your opponents victory conditions.

So I have started to rebuild many of my decks nearly from scratch.

I started by looking at the decks that I play against in local tournaments and casually. In tournaments many of the decks I have faced have been rush decks. Casually the decks are more of a mix with more burn decks than I see in tournaments.

So I started by building a Warlock control deck. I started by stripping out the extra quests and abilities that were not giving me some board advantage. I stacked my deck with some bigger allies for my end game, and dropped quite a few protectors. I kept some early game protectors to allow me to develop the game I wanted. I dropped a few of the slow damage over time abilities and pared down the abilities in my deck looking for viable removal.

What I ended up with is a fairly effective warlock deck. I also built the deck so that it could easily switch to horde or alliance.

The next step was to rebuild my hunter. This deck had been quite effective casually but did not preform well at the one tournament I it in. I looked at the deck and again took out the extra quests and the unimportant abilities. I realized when I started rebuilding the deck that I had built a deck that on paper would perfrom well but that did not match my personal play style. SO I started to pull out allies like Apprentice Teep and replace her with bigger allies that would survive a Frostnova or a Skullflame Shield.

So after a few months of playing I am starting to get of the rust on not playing a CCG in many years and I am starting to see the better strategies of the game. I am focusing on my own victory rather than preventing my opponent form working towards his victory. I am concentrating on my deck rather my graveyard. I am also focusing on the current game rather than trying to force the current game into the pattern of previous games.

I find the game tremendously fun to play and I look forward ot the lessons I will learn in up coming tournaments. I look forward to the new expansion and can't wait to see some of the new cards that will be released with the Dark Portal set.

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