Road to Competitive Play

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Competitve 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 can explain to you some of the things you can do to learn how to walk a long the path of a competitive player. 

Deck Choice
Deck Choice

When learning how to play shadowverse, you should look at some decks that people play. This is a practice known as "net decking". While people often look at net decking as a horrible thing that should never be done ever, net decking is actually a very important thing you should do because it will help you gain insight into the minds of players who are competitive. 

You should follow the following steps to help you become more competitive

  • Select a class you are interested in 
  • Look up that deck and tournament players who play the deck you are interested in.
  • Play that deck until you understand how the deck works. Many times, you won't understand how a deck works just by looking at it. 
  • Do not be afraid to ask questions from other players about how you can improve. Asking questions can help you understand how you could have won a match you lost or help you understand the mindset of someone else's deck. 

Please remember that you can build a competitive deck in shadowverse without "breaking the bank" It just requires you to be more mindful of your resources of which will be explained in further detail below. 

Optimal Liquefying
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 now, and less on the future.
  • The nature of card games means decks will change, and will not always be viable forever.
  • We are heavily prioritizing ONE class, but will keep valuables for a second class.
  • Every player is different, so there will be different priority liquefying tiers if you don't want to trash absolutely everything.

As mentioned in an earlier section, you should already know your main craft at this point. However, you may not have decided upon a second one. Though it is not 100% necessary to keep cards for a second craft, it is recommended you do so you'll have at least one other option in the future. Be wary of deck costs for your second class, as just because you have an Otohime doesn't mean you'll be able to craft Midrange Sword in the future. Midrange Sword is an expensive deck, so owning a single legendary for it won't help you much at all. However, decks such as D-Shift Rune or Aggro Shadow are much cheaper to craft, so owning a legendary for those could be worth keeping.

The following tiers will cover different groups of cards that you may or may not want to liquefy. It's still recommended to liquefy everything on this list, but if you don't want to fully commit then this should help your prioritize your liquefying. Remember.. The more you liquefy, the more of your deck you'll be able to craft. 

Note: Please refer to the reroll guide to determine which gold and legendary cards are worth keeping.

#1 - Trash Golds & Legendaries:

Golds and Legendaries yield the most vials per liquefy, so any bad ones should be liquefied immediately. It doesn't matter which class they are for, if they are bad.. Get rid of them!

How do you know if they are bad? Anything under a 7.0 is not worth keeping.

#2 - Decent Golds & Legendaries:

You won't need any of these if you're not playing those classes. Depending on the class you are going to play, you may not need some or any of the neutral golds and legendaries either.

#3 - "Tier 1" Staple Legendaries:

When I say "Tier 1", I'm talking cards like Cerberus, Otohime, Merlin, etc. These cards are phenomenal and will likely almost always be staples for their class. If you're not going to play those classes, then you'll be missing out on a lot of vials by holding onto these. However, they are all extremely powerful cards so I wouldn't blame you keeping them.

#4 - Animated Cards:

If you like aesthetics, keep 'em. If not, then you're sitting on a gold mine. You'll get more vials from these than their normal versions. So unless you need the card for you deck, liquefy it!

#5 - Bronze & Silvers:

If you aren't playing the class, you may as well get some vials for them. Being more common cards, they won't yield nearly as much as the others. However, you'll still get a decent amount for the bulk of them.

Once you're finished going through all the cards you can liquefy, it's time to move on to crafting your deck. :)

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 for a total of 1400 gold?
  • Have you spent most of your gold on packs?

Note: Please refer to the reroll guide for more details on early achievements.

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.

Let's break this section of the guide into two parts; Priority Crafting and Planning for the Future.

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 much 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. These are obviously important cards, but they are also very expensive. 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, and if you don't, it may be better to farm arena a bit. It's okay to craft around 10-15 of them if you need to, but you don't want to be crafting much more than that unless you've got vials to spare.
  • 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 in most, 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. No, I'm not talking a budget or low-tier deck.. I'm talking about 70-80% of a top-tier, fully viable meta deck. Depending how much patience and luck you had with your reroll, along with the deck you're trying to build, you may even have enough to complete it 100% already. There really isn't any excuse for anyone to call Shadowverse "pay to win", because absolutely anyone can become a competitive player in a very reasonable time frame. ;)

Planning for the Future
Planning for the Future

If you're still short a few cards for your deck, then it may be a good idea to save some gold for the arena. However, if you can't average at least 3-4 wins per run, you're probably better off just buying packs.

Eventually in time, 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. Now that your first deck is complete, you'll probably want to work towards a second deck.

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. Having a second deck can help you avoid this problem. You may even want a third deck later on if you play to take part in some tournaments, as some require you to have a few.

Once you've got 2-3 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.

Learning the Meta
Learning the Meta

One mistake a lot of players make when trying to rank up is that they'll frequently switch between different decks after losing. This won't be a problem for you because you'll only be focusing on a single deck; or at most two decks. Playing the same decks is important so that you get used to the plays; both from your side and your opponent's. Playing a deck to its best potential requires time and experience. It's just as important to know what your opponent can do, as it is knowing what you can do.

Here are a few basic tips you can keep in mind while laddering.

  • Always pay attention to the cards they mulligan. If it said they didn't redraw, then you can expect them to have a good hand.
  • Think before you play. This may sound obvious, but paying attention to your opponent's play points is important. You don't wanna be the guy who walks right into Conflagration on your opponent's turn 7.
  • Mulligan aggressively if you don't have a good early play. This means don't keep that 3-4 drop if you don't have at least a 1-2. Learning how to mulligan properly against different matchups is a skill, and will take time and experience for each deck. Of course, guides can help. (Coming soon!)
  • Try to make reads on your opponent. If they didn't Conflagration your big board last turn, then they very likely don't have it. If your opponent is making suboptimal plays, then question what they could be holding in their hand. This also comes with experience, but it's good even for new players to have this on mind while playing.
  • Keep count of your opponent's fairies. Always know how much of their hand are actual cards.

As you gain more experience and knowledge for the game, you'll understand what cards are better in which matchups. At this time, it's not a bad idea to make small changes to your deck if you feel certain cards are underperforming. Be careful doing this, as you don't want to change too much that your deck doesn't function the same anymore. Also make sure to consider your curve when replacing cards in your deck. You don't want to cut four 2-drops in replacement for late game cards because it'll really mess with your deck's consistency. There's a reason these decks are considered meta-decks after all.


A term you may have heard going around a lot is "teching", or adding "tech" to your deck. This simply means changing your deck and putting in cards to counter a specific matchup or matchups. These cards should usually still be decent, even when you don't queue into the matchup you teched it for.

Angelic Barrage is a great example as it's good versus Forest, and also against other aggressive decks. It's true that it's not great in some matchups.. But being a removal spell you can often find a use for it; even if it's not the optimal use.

Once you've got a good grasp on the meta at your rank, feel free to try adding in some tech. Just be careful not to cut too much from your deck as tech cards are generally situational and will reduce your deck's overall consistency.


If you've followed all of these steps, you should be able to go from beginner to competitive in no time! Depending how much time you spend playing, you could be grinding the ladder with a competitive deck in as little as a few days to a week.

It does take a lot of time to grind up the ladder.. So your road to Masters could be a long one. Don't fret though, as your account's fully able to compete with everyone else out there! Play your best and take it one game at a time; you'll get there eventually. :)