Card Advantage

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.

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 late game 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

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

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

I hope you find this useful!


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