It's been a while since I've harped on it and there are a lot of new faces so thought I'd do a quick educational reminder on one of the most fundamental pieces of TESL strategy (and easiest to improve).
- Every single deck, bar none, wants to win the field lane. Some decks only give it up because they have to.
- There is no such thing as winning the shadow lane. You win the field, creatures just exist in the shadow.
When you put a creature into the shadow lane you should consider it as being 'forced' to put it there. This means that you would lose too much by putting it field (probably your opponents creatures would just kill it for cheap, or you want to chase the enemy creature in the shadow). You want reasons to put creatures in the field, the shadow lane is a bad place to be avoided where possible.
Winning the field lane comes with the obvious benefit that you decide how the trades go. It allows your creatures to protect each other. If you have a big creature and a small creature in the field lane then your opponent is in a dilemma. If they want to target your big creature (say… a lethal fighters guild recruit) then the little creature will protect it and clear out the lethal guy for cheap. If they want to target your little creature (say… a 2/5 dark guardian) then the big creature will stomp it out of the way for free and your little guy can keep on fighting. They can only do this if they are together in the field lane, split lanes or together in the shadow lane shuts down your own teamwork.
Winning the field also comes with the hidden benefit that you control the clock. If you decide to attack and break runes your opponent must either wrestle the field lane back (expensive and hard) or race through the shadow lane. If you're favoured in a race then you force your opponent into the dilemma. If you aren't favoured then you simply don't break the runes and enjoy your shadow lane advantages. This gets a little more complex from here but trust me, starting with this view will beat a lot of opponents who don't. There is also the added benefit of you can fit 8 creatures on the board for racing with while your opponent can only fit 4 (the shadow lane).
A very common line I see is a weaker player going 2-drop in the field lane, 3-drop in the shadow lane and then the opponent goes ring hive defender in the field lane. Your 2-drop dies for free and your 4-drop development is stunted and vulnerable, your opponent has won the field lane. If you had played both your creatures field the smaller one would have damaged hive defender and the larger one would have finished it off, probably surviving with 1hp. Now you develop your 4-drop field as well and your opponent is in a dire scenario despite having just played their best defensive tool. Splitting your creatures up for symmetry's sake, or the idea of being ready for either lane, is a misguided instinct you need to suppress to improve.
Thanks all. Also yes I still exist sometimes on twitch.
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© Post "A quick strategy reminder on field lane control" for game The Elder Scrolls.
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