Hello fellow Scrolldiers!
Today, I will be exploring a very significant element in Scrolls, Sacrificing.
In a match of Scrolls, you have the option to sacrifice one of your scrolls every turn. If you choose to sacrifice, you can either sacrifice that scroll for 2 more scrolls, or a resource type. The scroll that you chose to sacrifice is then discarded to the graveyard.
I think that sacrificing is a key component of Scrolls that sets it apart from some other games. It adds a whole new element to the gameplay. I like the fact that you can sacrifice scrolls in Scrolls because it adds another skill factor into the game. Knowing when to sacrifice, which scroll to sacrifice, and what to sacrifice it for is an extremely difficult concept to master and it often decides the winner of games.
I'm no expert on the subject but I think you may be able to learn something from what I think about sacrificing. I see new, and sometimes old players making bad sacrifices too often, so I hope this article helps. :)
My general suggestion here is simply, "always." I always choose one of my scrolls to sacrifice every turn. In my mind, a turn where you didn't sacrifice a scroll for either scrolls or resources isn't generally a well played turn.
I only refrain from sacrificing if one of the following two circumstances are true:
To elaborate on that second point... the play I'm making better be mind-blowingly awesome to stop me from sacrificing that turn. For example, if I already have two Sisters of the Owl on the field and I just top decked the third one, but it is my only card in hand, then I MAYBE play it. Sure, if you get that board-clearing Quake or Thundersurge then fine, don't sacrifice, but almost anything less than that I would rather sacrifice and not fall behind in cards or resources.
As far as specifically when during the turn do I sacrifice my scroll, it all depends on the situation. I try to sacrifice before I play any scrolls or move my units but sometimes I need to do that first to see what I have to work with that turn. It is generally a good idea to sacrifice before you do anything else during a turn though because if you sacrifice after you may have missed out on a better play.
I often pull my hair out over this question... When you have too many useful scrolls in your hand, but you know you should get rid of one of them, which one should you get rid of? The simple answer here is that you keep the scrolls that will help you the most and the soonest. I know that an Imperial Resource will help me more than a Ducal Infantryman but I can play the Ducal Infantryman sooner than the Imperial Resources so I'll sacrifice that because it isn't useful to me at the moment.
You want early board advantage, so I tend to sacrifice my more expensive scrolls in the early rounds because I know I won't be able to play them soon anyways.
If I have 2 or more scrolls of the same cost in my hand, I'll try to choose one of them to sacrifice because I know that I can play a more expensive scroll the turn after I play the first.
There are some definite "no's" for sacrificing. It would probably be a bad idea to sacrifice Machine Divinators if you are playing structure energy. You also have to look at the situation of the match. If you are behind in a match, I would advise you to keep your Quakes and sacrifice something else. If your board is filled with little rats and wolves then you should probably sacrifice the Quake because you are not going to play it anytime soon.
I like to keep my creatures and sacrifice my spells and enchantments. Creatures win you the games, so I try to keep and play them when I can.
You should also know your matchup. You don't need to know exactly every scroll in your opponents deck, but you should know what cards in your deck are good or bad versus a certain faction. For example, I'll sacrifice my Return to Natures and Soul Steals whilst playing versus energy because I know I probably won't be needing them. Whereas when I playing growth I'll keep them because they are very useful versus growth.
One thing to note with sacrificing: It is a good idea to choose what to sacrifice after you a play scroll drawing card because you may rather sacrifice that. If your only scroll in hand is a Languid then rather than sacrifice it for cards immediately, try playing it on an opponent creature and sacrifice the card that you draw.
A general statement on what to do here would be: Sacrifice for scrolls if you are running out of scrolls and sacrifice for resources if you have a healthy amount of scrolls in hand.
At the start of the game, you should sacrifice for resources for the first 3-5 turns or so if you are playing a standard deck. You never want to get caught in a cycle if sacrificing for scrolls only to not get what you wanted and have to wait even longer to play that more expensive scroll.
Often times, the decision on what to sacrifice for is easy because you may need 1 more resource to be able to play a certain scroll(s). If you already have the amount of resources you need to play the scroll that you want, then I would go ahead and sacrifice for scrolls.
If you are playing a multi-resource deck then I would suggest getting sufficient resources in one color and then going for the second color after. While sacrificing for your main color it is safe to sacrifice cards from your second color because you can't even play them yet.
Earlier in the game you sacrifice for resources, and later in the game for cards. This lets you play things early and continue to play things later in the game. Stopping points for sacrificing for resources can be like at 4 for mono order or 3 and then 6 for mono energy. If you know you have many cards of a same cost in your deck. Sacrificing for cards there may be a good idea because then you can consistently play things every turn whilst maintaining a healthy amount of scrolls in hand.
Know what is in your deck so you can plan/sacrifice accordingly. If I'm playing growth and I'm at 6 resources, I may sacrifice for resources so that next turn I can sacrifice fro resources again and play a God Hand. It is important to plan ahead and be aware of your deck. Know what is possible to top deck so you can plan for that.
Sysp explains some of the nuances behind card sacrificing.