Hard Trials: A beginner's guide

Hard Trials: A beginner's guide

Hello fellow Scrolldiers - today we'll be exploring the wonderful world of Scrolls Trials - challenges where the deck is stacked against you from turn one. This is a quick way to earn gold if you have the right strategy - but a frustratingly slow way of earning gold if you don't.

This guide will make the following assumptions: - You've played the Scrolls tutorial and a few games, and you know the basics of Scrolls game mechanics. - Your collection of scrolls is not very large and you want to beat the trials on a budget. - You've been able to beat a fair number of the easy and medium trials

We're going to address several trials at the hard difficulty to show both how to beat those specific trials - and how to come up with solutions for others. In "On the Rocks" we'll discuss how to find counters for the starting positions of the simpler trials - in "A Minefield" we'll talk about deck reuse - and in "Big Pointy Teeth" we'll talk about more complex multi-part strategies for dealing with more complex trials.

On the Rocks

If you navigate to this trial inside the Scrolls client you'll see this description:

-Destroy three of your opponent's idols to win

-Your opponent begins the battle with five Waking Stones

As you'll see in the screenshot a little farther down the page - these waking stones fill the entire front column. This is rather a problem - because we will need to hit each Waking Stone three times - just to be able to start attacking the opponent's units directly. If you go play the trial once or twice, you will also see that the AI plays a number of high health structures and creatures, like Cannon Automaton, Hellspitter Mortar and Iron Ogre. Since the AI is playing Energy, it also, of course, has Burn and several other removal scrolls. So, we need to address the following problems:

  1. We need to hit at least three Waking Stones three times each.
  2. We need to have high damage output to remove Hellspitter Mortars, Iron Ogres, and Cannon Automatons.

So, what possible solutions are there to this problem? Well, there are multiple viable strategies for every faction, but since I know for sure that you have a Growth Starter Deck, we will discuss how to beat this trial using Growth - while keeping purchases beyond the starter deck to a minimum.

We have two requirements for things that deal damage in this deck - things to do a little bit of damage to the Waking Stones (since it only matters how many times we hit them - not how hard) and things to do a lot of damage to big creatures like the Iron Ogre. Looking through the starter deck, we can see that one scroll in particular would be very effective at damaging a bunch of Waking Stones - Frost Gale. Since this scroll is common, it should be fairly cheap (less than 250 gold) to purchase enough to have a full set of three (since you can have a maximum of three copies of the same scroll in a deck). In order to add in these two extra copies of Frost Gale, we'll have to remove some cards from the starter deck. Personally, I removed the two Outcast Rebels - since they have three base countdown, and the AI has enough removal to make it somewhat unlikely they will survive to attack. Other cheap scrolls you should consider adding to the starter deck are a third Ragged Wolf (to do damage to Waking Stones) and copies of Stag Heart (to help kill high-health units). Cards you might consider removing are the two Junkyards (since you only have one rat) and the Beast Rat (since Ragged Wolves are better for this trial, and you already have enough one cost creatures). I completed the trial in one attempt when I wrote this guide by following all of these suggestions, using this deck.

So, once you have a deck with which you're attempting to beat a trial - you should make careful note of what seems to be working, and what doesn't seem to be working. For example, during the one time I used this deck in "On the Rocks", I noticed the following.

  1. Binding Root is surprisingly useful to create roadblocks for the enemy - if a row has a Waking Stone, a rooted unit, and a Hellspitter Mortar in it, then units can't pass through the row. This can be useful, because enemy units can't move freely behind the wall, allowing you to attack a row they don't have units on.
  2. Kinfolk Braves get killed really quickly by Spark/Burn etc., so consider holding off on playing one for a turn so you can simultaneously boost its health.
  3. Before the Waking Stone in a row has died, high attack units should go in the back of your row (so the lower attack ones can take out the stone), and after the Waking Stone goes down, you should try to shuffle high attack units closer to the front, so they can destroy armored units more efficiently. Keep these observations in mind so that you can tweak your deck if you lose. In my case, I didn't have to - because I won on the first try.

Before we move on to the next trial, I should mention that a Decay deck based around direct idol damage - particularly from Searing Shackles - would probably be more effective for this trial, but most players receive the Decay Starter last, so I didn't center this guide on that particular strategy.

A Minefield

If you navigate to this trial inside the Scrolls client you'll see this description:

Destroy three of your opponent's idols to win Your opponent begins the battle with six Proximity Charges

Problems:

  1. Your opponent has a bunch of mines which will make melee units dead until you destroy them.
  2. They all have one health.
  3. Your opponent has a bunch of removal scrolls.

Does this seem vaguely familiar to anyone? It should. This is another trial where there is one scroll which makes your life immeasurably easier - and it happens to be the same scroll it was in the last trial - frost gale. Go ahead and reuse the deck from the "On the Rocks" trial. It's worth noting that a lot of the trials in Scrolls are rather similar - and fairly often you will be able to reuse decks you made to beat a specific trial.

Big Pointy Teeth

So far, the trials we have addressed have mostly been fairly easy to analyze. Other trials - particularly if you are trying to beat them on a budget, require some lateral thinking.

Your opponent starts the battle with one killer bunny.

This bunny has one base countdown, nine attack, relentless, can move all the way across the board in one turn, has 31 health, is immune to slayer, and also has ward. You could be forgiven for being slightly confused about how to deal with this monstrosity (actually, if it were just a monstrosity it would be way easier). If you play this trial, you also should notice that you have the advantage of the fact that the AI only has spells and enchantments in its deck - the only creature it has is the bunny. This means that we can focus every single scroll of our deck towards defeating the bunny. There are several ways that you can deal with un-targetable boss units in Scrolls.

  1. You can target them indirectly through scrolls that affect multiple units, like Inferno Blast and Thunder Surge. This method is too slow for a 31 HP bunny - particularly since the AI keeps healing it.
  2. You can kill them with creatures. This is unlikely to work, because the bunny can destroy one row completely and utterly every turn, unless you have Waking Stones, Oak Blood, or another really good block.
  3. You can try to keep their countdown from reaching zero. There are only a few Scrolls which can accomplish this without targeting the creature with a spell. Both Magnetizer and Faith Chains require you to be on the same row as the target at the end of your turn though - and the bunny moves. You could potentially make a deck around attempting to paralyze the Bunny this way - but it would be difficult with its high move speed. Pillar of Fatigue would serve to keep the bunny either in place or keep its countdown up.
  4. You can attempt to either kill them with a instant-death effect other than Slayer, or you can try to prevent them from attacking three idols by threatening the Bunny with a death effect that triggers if they do. There are two scrolls which could accomplish this - Crone and Puppet Soldier. Divine Mark might also be able to permanently remove the bunny from the field.

Now, probably the most effective deck to beat this trial would probably be an Order/Decay deck with Divine Mark, Puppet Soldier, Magnetizer, Waking Stones, Pillar of Fatigue, and some Beetle Stones to finish off the idols after the bunny is neutralized. However, this deck would require a lot of expensive scrolls outside of the set of starter decks, so I'm going to present a bunny-killer deck from Order.

On top of the Order Starter Deck - add any combination of Faith Duty, Divine Mark, Magnetizer, and Waking Stones. These cards are all fairly inexpensive at the time of the writing of this article - but I chose to restrict myself to adding only Faith Duty and Divine Mark - to keep cost down. In order to make space, I removed only targeted Order spells that wouldn't work on the bunny. Here is the version of the deck that I used to beat the trial during the writing of this article. It took me two tries - as it requires a fair bit of luck to draw Faith Duty and Divine Mark at the correct times to prevent the bunny from destroying your third idol.

Wrapping up

Hopefully by the end of reading through this guide, you've amassed a decent amount of gold, and have gained some useful ideas about how to go about beating the rest of the Hard trials in Scrolls. Happy trails - and good luck with Pestilence. You'll need it.

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