Competitive Guide

There is no "easy" road to becoming competitive. There isn't really even a "fast" way to become competitive either. Becoming competitive is about the decisions you make inside and outside of the game collectively. This guide will serve as a road map to learning how to travel down the road to becoming a competitive player.

Getting Started
Time vs. Money

Shadowverse, like all card games, has a pool of cards from which you can create your decks.  Acquiring these cards requires an individual choice on whether or not you want to invest more money or more time into the game.  While Shadowverse has one of the easiest paths to collecting cards through its rewards based system, it will still take a long time to gather all of the cards you need for a sizable collection that will allow you to play whatever class and deck you choose.  Investing money into the game is the quickest way to amass said collection.  

If you do choose to invest money into the game I would suggest looking over the preconstructed decks that Cygames has put together.  They offer the best bang for your buck in getting class staples.  I imagine that decks including the Rise of Bahamut and Tempest of the Gods expansions will be on their way shortly, so watch out for those!  Otherwise, putting your money towards packs of the cards you need is another good option.  You can go into the "Cards" section in the Shadowverse client to lookup all of the cards in the game and find out what set they are from.  Find the set that most of the cards you need come from and start there.

If you choose that money is not an option, then you will have to forgo amassing a large collection in favor of crafting the deck or few decks you can with the vials you get after liquefying the cards you do not plan to use.

Choosing Your Class
Choosing Your Class

Starting Shadowverse, or any card game at first can seem like a daunting task.  Figuring out what class and deck to choose to start with define your early stages of building a collection.  Let's ask a few basic questions to help get your feet firmly rooted to the ground:

  • What brought you to Shadowverse?
  • Was there a specific class or deck that stood out to you when you were doing the tutorial missions?

If you have very specific answers to these questions that lead you into your first class, great!  If not, there are a few things you can do to get you started:

  • A popular practice that many competitive card players use to figure our their deck choices is "net decking".  Net decking essentially means that you go online and look for popular decks or tournament winning decks.  Then, building those decks and refining them to your particular play style.  You can find great decks all over our website that fit this mold.
  • Watch players and tournaments on the Shadowverse twitch page.  Get comfortable with the game!  See for yourself how different decks are played by different people so you can use that knowledge to make a decision for yourself.
  • Join a community.  There are many discord rooms, such as the Shadow Nexus Discord, where you can join in, make friends, and ask questions to other players on the same journey as you.  Get involved!  This might be the easiest way to get most of the information you need as there are many players out there with the same questions, and these communities house beginners all the way to tournament winning players that you can ask for help!

Now that you have decided what decks you want to make, let's get to brass tacks.

Optimal Liquefying

The fastest way to obtain your competitive deck is to liquefy the cards you don't need. Assuming you rerolled* your account, you should have a decent amount that you can get rid of.

Okay, before we get started let's make sure we have an understanding:

  • This guide will assume your focus is on the present and less on the future.
  • The nature of card games means decks will change and will not always be viable forever.
  • You will be heavily prioritizing ONE to TWO classes so that you can ladder and play in tournaments.
  • Every player is different, so there will be different priority liquefying tiers if you don't want to trash absolutely everything.

Now that you know what your focus is, let's get straight into the nuts and bolts of what to do.  Bluntly, liquefying every bronze, silver, gold, and legendary not in your two classes will be the easiest way to acquire enough vials to complete your decks.  This will far from future proof your collection should you choose to switch your classes up in the future, but it will get you started with minimal time invested.  If you do not want to liquefy everything not in your two classes there are a few general guidelines that can help you decide what to get rid of.

*Note:  Check out our Rerolling Guide if you are unsure of what that means.

Animated Cards

Animated cards liquefy for more vials than their non-animated counterparts. Simply stated, if vanity isn't a major deal for you trash all of your animated cards as you get them unless they complete the set for a card you need.

Golds and Legendaries

Golds and Legendaries offer more vials for trashing than silver and bronze cards. Generally, when you are looking for more vials to create your cards it is easiest to go into your gold and legendary section in the client to generate vials fast.  Knowing which ones to keep and which ones to trash is an ever evolving situation.  You can find vial guides online, but by virtue of how contemporary card games go those lists become outdated very quickly.  

The best advice I can give you is if you've done your research on what decks you want to make you should have a good feel for what gold and legendary cards are in the top decks.  Make your choice on which ones you want to keep if you feel like that class is something you want to move into in the future.

Bronze and Silvers

If you don't need them trash them.  The difference in making up the vials for a bronze or silver card is much easier than that of a gold or legendary card.  They do not offer much in the way of vials, but in bulk they can get you enough vials to craft a few of the more expensive cards.

Managing Resources
Managing Resources

Now that you've got all those vials, you're probably eager to get started crafting your deck. However, let's hold on a moment and be a little more efficient:

  • Have you completed all of the solo storylines for free arena tickets?
  • Have you finished using all of those free arena tickets?
  • Have you defeated all of the Elite AI bosses?
  • Have you spent most of your gold on packs?
  • Have you completed your daily missions?

If the answer to all of the above questions is "yes", then let's continue. You'll want to claim all these easy rewards and open as many packs as you can before we start crafting. You could start sooner, but it may be a little bit less cost efficient depending on what you open.

If you decided to put money into buying some crystals then check out the daily pack option in the store.  You can only purchase one pack a day, but at a 50% reduced cost.  If you have the patience to wait for your packs, you get a lot more value for your money this way.

Now onto the essentials!

Priority Crafting
Priority Crafting

When you are finally ready to start crafting your first competitive deck, there are a few things you need to consider:

  • How many vials does your deck cost?
  • Do you have enough vials to complete it?
  • Will you have most, if not all of the needed bronze and silvers?

Since you rerolled, you should have at least 1-2 of the legendaries you need for the deck.  In order to make sure your deck functions as intended, let's follow a few general rules:

  • Depending on the amount of vials you have, you'll need to count how many of the golds and legendaries you can actually craft.
  • You should actually have a fair amount of the bronze and silvers you need, and if you don't, it may be better to farm for rewards a bit more.  You generally want to be spending your vials on golds and legendaries.
  • If you need three copies of a few different golds but can't afford them all, you're probably best off crafting two copies of each instead. There are some cases where one card may be significantly more important, but having a spread of 2-of's will still allow the deck to function pretty well.

Assuming that you liquefied everything that you don't need, you should actually have a lot of vials to build what you need.  Depending on how much patience and luck you had with your reroll you may even have enough to complete your deck already.  You may not have the vials to complete your second deck as well, but one deck is all you need to start grinding the ladder for daily and monthly rewards!

Planning for the Future

Eventually, you're going to have completed your first deck. At this point, you've got a 100% functional deck that could climb to Masters if you've got the skills and effort.

When you're ranking up you'll find that the meta could change every day that you play. Some days you may queue into your worst matchup a lot, and that can be really tough. Keeping a few vials around for different tech choices you may want to include in your deck is a good idea.  

Once you have solidified your first deck, you want to start focusing in on following the same path for your second deck.  Having a few decks at your disposal when ranking up on the ladder can lead to a great quality of life improvement.  It can be hard to play the same deck for weeks/months even if you are winning.  You will also need at least two, and in some circumstances three decks to compete in tournaments.

Once you've got two to three decks, and are at a comfortable state, you now have a couple of options. You could start collecting everything for other classes, or save your gold and dust for the future. Assuming you don't intend to put money into the game, you'll probably want to save for the next expansion. Everything can change once an expansion is released. So if you don't save for it, your decks may no longer be competitive.

Keeping Up
Keeping Up

Now that you are in a good place with your deck(s) it's time to understand how to keep that momentum going.  The first thing you should do when you load up Shadoverse is take a look at your daily missions.  Get those done so you can collect some rewards.

Next, simply grinding ladder games will get you closer and closer to your monthly rewards, or score rewards.  Every 2000 points you accumulate on the ladder will grant you a reward of gold, vials, free packs, emplems, and new sleeves.  These rewards reset at the beginning of each month, and are a consistent way to keep your collection growing.

Beyond staying in a good rhythm of collecting your rewards you should also keep a close eye on the metagame (advanced details on this in our Deck Construction For Ranked Play guide).  Doing this will allow you to have a comfortable knowledge of what cards you should further craft or trash to keep your decks competitive.  There is one caveat to trashing cards that are no longer good in the current metagame, and that is that even if a card falls out of favor one week it might be the best card in the deck the week/month after.  So I strongly suggest exercising caution when trashing gold and legendary staples that you worked hard to craft.  They might be gems again in the future!


If you've followed all of these steps, you should be able to go from beginner to competitive in no time!  Rinse and repeat this process for each deck you want to create moving forward.  If you are active and get your games in you will see your collection growing at a reasonable pace.

It can take a long time to rank up from beginner to Master rank, but there is no time limit so go at your own pace.  

We have seen multiple tournament winners that are below master rank as well.  Tournaments are a level playing field where people from all ranks throw down in a best of three match to decide the winner.  Do not let your rank scare you away from entering them!  Get your experience in!  A lot of the time tournament metagames differ from the ladder metagame.  This means that having extra vials for tech choices, as mentioned above, might extend a few cards further if you want to keep up with the tournament scene, so keep that in mind. 

I hope this guide gives you a solid foundation to start from, and if you have any thoughts or questions leave a comment!