Beginner’s Guide 3: Gameplay Techniques (Trading Techniques)

Beginner’s Guide 3: Gameplay Techniques (Trading techniques)


Trading refers to interactions between cards that you play and your opponent’s cards during the match. In a typical game of Shadowverse, each player must take turns deciding attack targets and targets for effects, and efficient trading of cards becomes the key to victory. Make trades to your advantage to get an edge on your opponent! Unless your deck is specifically designed to be aggressive and reduce the opponent’s life as soon as possible, you will typically be faced with many ‘trade’ situations and an important focus here is to maintain board advantage through these trades. For example, if you attack an opponent’s follower with your follower in such a way that only your follower survives, that puts you at an advantage because the opponent lost one card (while you lost none) and still has to deal with your remaining follower in the following turn.

So what type of advantage are we looking to gain through trading? Firstly, hand advantage is of importance and this can be achieved, for example, by using a single card to draw two new cards. Or, using a single card to destroy numerous cards on your opponent's side of the field. In both cases, you are ‘paying’ with one card, but the ‘benefit’ is more than one card. This is important because resource, such as cards in hand and in deck, is limited in card games.

Next, let’s look at a few ‘trading’ situations on the board to discuss our options.

Trading based on Card Value

One important concept in trading (in this case, followers) is to trade based on the PP value or stats of the cards. Conceptually, what you are trying to do is gain $10 by paying only $5 (or even less!). In the image above, you have one Mercenary Drifter, a 3-cost, 3/2 card. Your opponent controls one Mercenary Drifter and one Desert Rider (4-cost, 3/2). You have the option of attacking the opponent leader or either of the opposing followers. But how do you decide which to attack? One way you can decide this is by comparing the value of the cards on the board. In this example, the Desert Rider has the “highest value” due to its higher cost and stats. Therefore, by trading your Mercenary Drifter for their Desert Rider, you essentially “lost less” than your opponent from the trade.

Aim for the 1-for-2 trade!

In many follower-to-follower trade situations, one of the followers remain on the board after combat (the other follower did not do enough damage). This, in itself, is board advantage because if your remaining follower can then trade with another follower, then your single follower was able to take out two of your opponent’s cards! In the example above, you control a single Fighter (2-cost, 2/2) and your opponent controls a Fighter and a Goblin (1-cost, ½). So which follower do you attack? Or should you ignore both and attack the opponent leader?

  • If the Fighter attacks the leader, then you get 2 life points closer to victory. However, the two followers on the opponent’s field will remain, which puts you at risk against their attacks.
  • If the Fighter attacks the opposing Fighter, both followers will be destroyed. This benefits you by reducing potential damage to you by 2 (Fighter’s attack points), but leaves the Goblin and your opponent’s life points untouched.
  • If the Fighter attacks the opposing Goblin, the Goblin will be destroyed and your Fighter will remain on the board with stats of 2/1 (Goblin dealt 1 damage to Fighter’s defense). In this case, if your 2/1 Fighter survives the next turn, then it can attack the opposing Fighter the following turn, which means that your single Fighter took out both opposing followers! This sounds like a good deal!

So which is the correct answer? Well, it depends. Typically, the third option is best because you are gaining board and card advantage. However, the first option may be appealing to you if you are playing an extremely aggressive deck that focuses on the opponent’s life points, rather than board presence. The second option may be taken in scenarios in which your opponent is playing an extremely aggressive deck, where you would want to lessen the potential damage on the opposing field, and therefore would take out the Fighter instead.

Don’t make unfavorable trades yourself!

It is impossible for every trade situation to be in your favor. In the example above, the trade is clearly not in your favor, because you are trading a 3/1 against your opponent’s 1/1 follower. In these types of cases, you may want to attack the opponent leader and have the opponent make the trade instead. At first glance, it may not seem like it makes a big difference, but if you “force” the trade on your opponent, you would get 3 points of life point damage to your opponent on top of the trade! Instead, if you made the trade yourself, then that 3 points of damage would not have been dealt.

Consider stats and threat of the opponent’s cards

By now, you probably realized that the difference in stats of the followers is a big factor in deciding whether to trade or attack the enemy leader. So what about this situation above? In this case, your Elven Princess Mage can easily take out the Fairy, but should you? This really depends on your deck’s winning concept, as well as your opponent’s. Most often, it may not be worth the effort to attack a low-stat Fairy and much better to attack the enemy leader for 4 damage. This would force your opponent to make trades, while you go on the offensive. However, cards games is not all about stats and the threat of the cards is most often associated with the cards’ abilities and effects. Therefore, it is highly advised to always take out dangerous followers (most often an important combo piece), even if they have low stats.

Trading with regards to Ward followers

Followers with the Ward ability are great in both offense and defense. Your opponent must attack your followers with Ward before they can make an attack on any other followers or your leader. In many cases, followers with Ward may be better put to use by attacking the leader, since the opponent has to make the attack (or use spells) to get rid of it themselves anyway. However, like anything else, it depends on the situation and the tactic just mentioned may be risky at times.

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