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Guide to Battle Awareness and Conservation - Adding Depth to your game

A lot of what I'll be writing will be quite theoretical, but I will give as many examples I can think of as possible. In addition, once again, everybody is invited to help me improve this guide. Without further ado, I present wreon's

Guide to Battle Awareness and Conservation - Adding Depth to your game

Battle Awareness

Personal Awareness

Battle Awareness starts with yourself. If you don't know your deck better than anyone, what do you know? Knowledge is power, and here are the things you need to know about your deck.

  1. No. of quantity of each card you have

  2. No. of cards remaining in deck

  3. No. of cards used so far

  4. No. of cards in hand

  5. No. of cards not shown yet (still in deck).

These are so important, especially when you play control. It helps you know what to resource, what to keep, and what you'll most likely draw next turn.

Its a bit like counting the deck, stacking it to your favour, the possibilities of it is infinite. Cheat, as you can check your graveyard to count how many have been played, and how many are in your hand. ALWAYS remember what you have resourced, as they aren't coming back anytime soon.

Always know how many resources your deck needs, resourcing once every turn till turn 15 is very deck consuming: you are essentially burning out your deck options. Learn how many resources you need to be effective. A good guide is that most decks never need more than 10 resources (5cc x2 is a cool move, like double Super Nova).

Opponent Awareness

Opponent awareness is to KNOW what your opponent plays, with the "tide turning" cards being the most important to know about. Tide turning cards are the most powerful cards that the opponent has, and thus the card that they most likely have a quantity of four of. Cards like:

  • Board Wipes (ED, TW, SN)

  • Epic Weapons (Soul Seeker, Black Garb, JD)

  • Counters to your deck (retreat & CB against Elementalist decks, etc.)

These concepts apply doubly important when you're playing against item dependent decks, and you need to calculate the remaining item destruction cards you have available in your deck. But this example is simple; just stack item destruction in hand and try not to resource them while playing other cards.

What about an ally intensive deck, against a deck with a board wipe?

Allied decks Against Board Wipes

  1. Play a maximum of 3 allies at best, using "cheap" allies to take board initially.

  2. Play more ability/item cards. Item and ability counters usually cost 4<, board wipes cost 5cc. Make him make the decision as to which to take.

  3. Resource to a number that allows you to play 2 allies at a go, to play after the boardwipe. Or at least, one character one ability, like a Jasmine+Retreat.

Basically, think like the player with the deck wipe. At crucial turn 5, if he has a boardwipe, and you have 4 allies in play, it doesn't take a genius to realise that HE WILL PLAY IT IF HE HAS IT. It seems obvious, but I have once played against a lance deck (with him starting against my Zhanna), and he literally


  1. Kris

  2. Puwen

  3. Aldon

  4. Sentinel

  5. Earthen Protector

... while I just played:

  1. Nothing

  2. Nothing

  3. Jasmine, Killed by aldon+Kris, Kris died.

  4. Wizent's

  5. Tidal ****ing wave (****= wash)

And proceeded to win the game by a mile, him playing one card at a time (Poverty Mode), which was always simple to counter.


The art of Conservation is a skill, generally using using your advantage to build your advantage. How this works, is very linked to being Battle Aware.

Conservation also means the idea of holding back cards you don't need to win yet, in anticipation of your opponent. To know how to conserve, you need to use Visible threats before your Invisible threats.

Visible threats & Invisible threats

Visible threats are:

  • Allies

  • Weapons

  • Items and Abilities in the Box

  • Hero SE

  • Deck Size below 10

Invisible threats are cards in your hand, yet to be played.

✰ Allies are primarily the MOST visible threats in the game, and the most reliable source of damage. As a result, they are the infantry of the battle field, and absorb the most spells. All decks have some method of handling allies, and as a result, having the "only" ally in play is considered an EXTREMELY powerful position, otherwise known as board.

But because of this, all decks focus on allies first. As an ally dependent deck, you need your opponent to play one card for one card as much as possible. This is the reason why people like to play hefty allies of 4HP minimum, as it usually takes 2 cards to handle that one card. For this reason as well, using allies to kill/neutralise another ally without the assistance of another card is a double advantage.

✰ Weapons are faster than Allies as they always get a chance to attack first. In fact, if you do not use it to attack once, you risk wasting a card without having an effect, which would cost you a double disadvantage.

✰ Items and Abilities generally last long, and the good thing is that they always cost one card. Plus, they will almost always give yourself advantage on your turn, thus having a "use" before being destroyed.

✰ SE is VERY visible to the opponent. I reiterate this point x99. EVERYONE looks at Shadow Energy, if you don't, then DO. It is the most obvious tempo in the game, you need to know when it happens. The cost of SE is free, which is why SE abilities are key to a game's victory as they don't cost you a card, and may cost multiple cards of the opponent.

✰ Having less than 10 cards in the deck calls for a different strategy. Most decks by now have low HP and fewest options to victory. Every card you play now MUST be worthwhile, or you subject yourself to Mill damage. Bad Santa becomes a VERY powerful card, as you can cause your opponent to deck out. DO NOT overplay your hand, especially with allies. Don't even resource cards for fun. Try to hold cards onto cards and keep your hand to a full 7, while making your opponent draw cards. I have won a complete "board" opponent through a Mill death race, as he did not realise that his constant playing of allies made him outdraw himself.

*Special Note: Elementals have the sickest moves at this stage of the game, eternal Renewal + Soul Reaper*

Conservation in Practice

The true example I have of conservation is at end game. The situation when you have board, but you know that the opponent can change it in a moment with a few key moves, but he has very low hp. You have allies in hand, and a few solution cards, but with no one to use them on yet. It's your turn, and you know that you will claim board during this turn by killing all his allies with your own.

Don't play the allies in your hand, ESPECIALLY if you have sufficient damage from your allies in play to take him out the next turn, if he does not respond.

Let him respond, before you respond. This has several advantages, especially if he is forced to boardwipe, you could have lost a few cards for nothing.

It also allows you to have a controlled release of cards from your hand, thus not entering Poverty Mode. In fact, the reason why I wrote this guide, is partially because I wanted to teach players how to avoid Poverty Mode.

Poverty Mode is basically the scenario where you have no board, and you have no cards in hand, and you're basically relying on Top Deck luck (hoping your next card is your counter to whatever is in play). Poverty Mode is EXTREMELY detrimental, and most good players know that being in Poverty Mode is as good as death. It is a simple manner for good players to stock the board with cards, as they know, at best, you can only affect whatever areas your hero can affect.

On that note, the only way to get out of Poverty Mode is to conserve cards, take a bit of damage, and go for a turn changer by casting a few spells in one turn, and hopefully causing more problems for your opponent than they can handle in one turn, which allows you to turn the tide of war.


  • Using allies to kill/neutralise another ally without the assistance of another card is a double advantage.

  • casting a card, that is killed by less than one card, is a disadvantage.Less than one card is like a Tidal Wave killing 4 allies, essentially each of your allies cost 1/4 of a card.

  • SE is good, but very visible.

  • Note when your deck is running low.

Handling Armours, through Conservation and Timing

✰ Simple Scenario:You and your opponent are in Poverty Mode (almost no cards in hand or in play). You (random shadow hero) have a gargoyle in play, and a Acid spray in hand. Your opponent has a Snow Sapphire in play, no cards in hand. You have a truck load of allies in play, so you know that the chances of drawing another ally is meh. You see that your opponent's Snow Sapphire is the first one in play. How would most people play this scenario?

  1. Use gargoyle to attack.

  2. Use Acid Spray.

  3. Wait for gargoyle to unfreeze, and hold your opponent doesn't cast another one before you can attack.

How would I handle it?

  1. Use gargoyle to attack.

  2. Let my opponent laugh at my frozen gargoyle, while I wait for gargoyle unfreeze.

  3. Use Acid Spray when gargoyle unfreezes, and get in one attack.

There is no card usage difference, but because there wasn't a point to destroy it yet, I shouldn't. By holding back, even if he draws another Snow Sapphire, NO PLAYER would cast it after the first attack, as they won't think its worth it. In fact, even if he does, you just do the same thing again (attack first, wait for defrost, then spray and smack). But with this wait, I got in an attack before the opponent could. If I had an ally in hand together with the acid spray, I could have cast an ally first, to look like I'm gonna slowly beat down this Snow Sapphire, but end up getting in cheap shots once it is down.

How many cards do I resource?

✰ This is one of the most obvious, but most puzzling parts of shadow era. The correct answer is "as many as your deck needs", but here I shall state my personal DOs and Don'ts about resourcing.


  1. It is almost always a must to resource till 4, with HBM decks being the only exception.

  2. Only resource above 5 if you have 5cc cards in your hand that need to be played asap.

  3. Try to resource to a number that allows you to do your best deck combo Example Priests8r=TW+Jasmine WarriorsResources in (X x 3)+1, to do Kris attack+ Retreat combo (best with KP, War Banner or Aldon) Elementals8r= casting one ally + Energy discharge (8 resources with Feedback=ED+Feedback,PB+Gargoyle) Mages10 resource=double Supernova (certain death for all, powermove for a death race) Rogues9 resource=Jasmine+Aeon (best used with Lance, using his ability on Aeon) Hunters9 resource=Lily+Soul Seeker (gain one ally + one weapon) WulvernEither 10r for double PB (for MS) or 8r for DC (to allow him to cast BS + spells)


  1. Resource+cast spells without a draw engine, it sends you to poverty mode faster than you think. To put in perspective, if you started first and played a card+resourced without a draw engine:Turn1: 5 cards Turn2: 4 cards Turn3: 3 cards Turn4: 2 cards Turn 5:1 card (Poverty Mode)

  2. Over resource, just for the hell of it. The more cards you resource, the less output your deck has (if you have 10 allies and your opponent has 10 counter ally spells, resourcing your allies may mean you have no more left to play)

  3. Do not resource randomly against a mill deck. When I played DC, I realised that a good 90% of players I went against did not notice my attempts to BS+Bazaar them to an empty deck. In my hand, I was keeping 2 Bazaars and extra Lonewolf just to prevent extra draw.

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