This outlines a few quick tips for Shards of Infinity that I have observed when playing the game. Though they are simple, I find sticking by these have helped my game considerably.
Quick Tips for Shards of Infinity
Whenever playing a deck builder game, I find it can be easy to fall into unnecessary blunders because I didn't consider all my options first and my order of play. The main idea for each of these suggestions is to consider your options carefully before playing each hand.
1. Order Matters when Increasing Mastery
I've been stung on this one a couple of times, but you shouldn't rely on the default play order (Play All, Exhaust Champions, and Exchange 1 Gem for 1 Mastery) because it can be more beneficial to order otherwise.
For example, suppose you have a Gem and a Cache Warden in hand, and you have 8 Mastery. It is better to spend the Gem for 1 Mastery first, then play the Cache Warden to draw a card (as it adds 1 Mastery, then checks if you have 10 Mastery to draw a card).
2. Buying Mercenaries/Cards First Can Make a Difference
Sometimes it's possible of falling into the lull of playing all your cards first, then buying, only to miss a Unify or Dominion combo, as playing a Mercenary card (immediately and not put into the deck) counts towards those colors. This also relates to the first point for Mercenaries that increase your Mastery.
It also matters when you're considering a card remover when you have five cards in your hand and none in the discard, as you want to give yourself the option to remove a card from your hand (such as a Gem late game)
Wraethe Skirmisher is an example card that also benefits from buying a Wreathe card first because of its Echo ability to go from 2 to 6 damage.
3. Buying Cards can be a Mistake
You don't always have to buy cards even if you have the gems to do so. This is especially true when building a card removal deck with few cards (say, to rush 30 mastery or aggro before your opponent assembles a freight train of champions).
However, also consider that by not buying a card, you are also preventing your opponent access to the next card in the draw pile. In essence, you can try to push them to pay the "tax" equal to the cost of a card to uncover the next one, only for them to uncover a card they can't afford. It feels bad whenever I uncover an "always good" card because I bought something simply use up my gems.
The counter case to this general tip is if your opponent is denying you card removal cards, in which case you might consider adding as many cards as possible to dilute the chances of drawing too many Gems in a single hand late game.
4. Sometimes You Pick a Card So Your Opponent Doesn't
You can always check what your opponents are building, and what they're going to draw next. If I suspect my opponent is building a Champions deck, I aim to take their Korvus Legionnaires so they can't recur their Champions to use again. If I'm playing Champion-focused, I hope they uncover a Ghostwillow Avenger for me so I can play it as a mercenary so my opponent can't destroy my champions in one sweep with it.
It can occasionally feel bad to buy in order to deny an opponent, as you're not progressing your own strategy, but I think it's necessary to be reactive in order to prevent your opponent from combo'ing or aggro'ing you to death.
5. Don't Sleep on Aggro Strategies
There are occasions which I underestimate buying up Wraethe/Undergrowth to go aggro early game only to defeated by the same strategy. Yes, it's possible the opponent will stabilize with shields and healing, but it isn't a given. Undergrowth Aspirants, Le'shal Knights, Nil Assassins, and Wraethe Skirmishers can end a game before your opponent has a chance to prune their deck with card removal cards, ramp up value with a Portal Monk, or play champions (in which case it's sometimes better to ignore the champions and simply assign all the damage to their face)
These quick tips are not meant to be prescriptive as there are different ways any game can progress, but hopefully I've provided some things to consider to sharpen your play style as you continue to play Shards of Infinity and other games like it.
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