I would like to discuss a concept that wasn’t clear to me when I first started out with cardgames. My first cardgame was Hearthstone and I remember watching TrumpSC play on Twitch. He always used to check the number of cards in his opponent’s hand and make his decisions based on that.
Quick note – This article covers card advantage techniques in Control decks.
Why is card advantage so important?
Let’s get right to it, more cards in your hand means more options to deal with your opponent’s creatures, supports etc. It also means that you have more key cards that contribute to your win conditions. More on that in a later article.
Let’s tackle the first one “more options to deal with your opponent’s creatures, supports etc.”. Cardgames are ofcourse all about the cards. You use your cards to win the game.
Occasionally you will even trade off some of your health points to preserve a key card in your hand. This is called using your life as a resource. You want to play your cards at the most optimal moment in time, so you don’t want to waste your Piercing Javelin on a 3/3 (99% of the time). You want to wait until your opponent plays something like a 5/5 or stronger.
This is all very straightforward. But how does card advantage help you?
Card advantage basically means options. The more options you have the more likely you are control the board. If, for example, you only have one card in hand at any given time and your opponent has 5, you are very likely to lose control of the board. Even if you have 4 creatures on the board, you have no means of protecting them because you have only 1 card in your hand. Your opponent can relax and think about how he is going to deal with each of your minions over the amount of turns he has left (based on his life total).
So, as a Control class you absolutely want to have card advantage over your opponent so that you can keep control of the board.
Ideally you want any 1 card of yourself to deal with at least 2 cards of your opponent. The so called 2-for-1 trade. This is common among creatures in Control decks. The creatures in Control decks will be more powerful and also more expensive than the creatures in an Aggro deck because you want them to deal with 2 cards or more.
So, to conclude this article I would like to go back to the “using health as a resource” thing. I myself use health regularly to preserve key cards in my hand.
For example, I will almost never play a 2 mana 2/2 guard on turn 2 on an empty board (wow that was a confusing sentence). The reason for this is because I do not want my opponent to answer the guard with a 3/3 guard of his own!
Another example might be holding back on using Execute on a 2/4 if I have a 5/5 guard that I can play the next turn. The reason for this is that 2 damage really does not matter that much (unless I am at say, 4 health points). I can nullify that 2 damage taken on turn 3 with a guard that I coin out at turn 4.
Especially since the cards in my deck will allow me to take control of the board before my health points reach a critical level (most of the time).
I would rather wait for my opponent to play a card and react accordingly.
I hope this article explained my view on card advantage clearly and I hope it can help you in your duels!
Thanks for reading and as always, happy dueling!