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Shadowverse is a popular free-to-play collectible card game from Japan that has been primarily available to play on mobile devices. With the game recently released on Steam and a new set coming by the end of the year (according to TechRaptor’s interview with Shadowverse development team Cygames and the recent announcement of the Rise of Bahamut expansion set), TechRaptor staff have decided to create a series of competitive primer articles focusing on familiarizing new players with the Steam version of the game.

Much like our Magic: The Gathering competitive primer series, the Shadowverse competitive primer series seeks to introduce new players to competitive archetypes and gameplay, focusing on proven, high-ranking decks and strategies, and overall how to become familiar with how Shadowverse works. Our primary focus is to help players advance up the Shadowverse ladder and win competitive tournaments, and eventually claim the highest game rank, the Master rank.

In our last article in this competitive primer series, we discussed the basics of growing and managing your collection of Shadowverse cards. This week, we’ll be walking our Shadowverse players through the basics of the Take Two draft format, and how it differs from the main game.

Shadowverse – What is Take Two?

Take Two is a “draft” focused format in which players construct a thirty-card deck by choosing between pairs of cards until a thirty-deck card has been constructed. To access Take Two, players will need to click on “Arena” in the bottom toolbar (as seen in the below screenshot).

Unlike ranked multiplayer matches, there is an entry fee requirement to take part in Take Two drafts. Entry fees are as follows:

  • One Take Two ticket (obtained through the Daily Bonus and through completing various chapters of the solo story mode)
  • 150 Rupies (the in-game currency)
  • 150 Crystals (micro-transaction purchase through the Cygames store)
Take Two; Shadowverse Competitive Primer, Cygames

The Take Two landing page

As discussed in our last article, the cards drafted for use in Take Two are not added to the card collection afterwards; they’re only usable for the duration of a Take Two.

Upon registering for a Take Two, players will be presented with a selection of three classes, one of which will be chosen as the class to draft from. Only cards from that class (along with Neutral cards) will be presented to the players in pairs for selection.

Take Two; Shadowverse, Cygames, Competitive Primer

An example of class selection in Take Two

Cards will be presented to the player in pairs, two pairs at a time. Players choose the pair they think is the best, and the other pair is discarded. A graph on screen helps players keep track of how many cards they’ve selected and what the “curve” of their deck is (i.e., how many cards do you have that cost one play point, how many cards do you have that cost two play points, and so on), as well as the breakdown of followers, spells, and amulets in their deck.

Paying attention to the deck curve using this graph is the most important part of constructing a Take Two draft deck. There can’t be too many cards with high play point costs, or the player won’t be able to do anything until the late game, giving their opponent the opportunity to establish a strong board presence. There also can’t be too many cards with low play point costs, otherwise the player will be left with an empty hand and be unable to keep momentum going. Finding the perfect balance depends on what class was chosen to draft cards out of, as well as luck; not every Take Two will give exactly the same cards to select from.

Take Two; Shadowverse, Cygames, Competitive Primer

Selecting your pair of cards to keep in Take Two.

Shadowverse – Take Two Class Rankings

It should come as no surprise that the classes and decks that perform well in constructed ranked multiplayer aren’t the same that perform well in Take Two. The deck builds in Take Two will always be sub-optimal in comparison to those in constructed, as in many cases a particular card will only be represented by one or two copies (instead of the full playset of three), and selection won’t be relegated to only the best performing cards from that class. The below classes are ranked from strongest performing (Swordcraft) to weakest performing (Forestcraft). While individual results will vary depending on the skill of the player and the strength of the selected cards, these are:

  • Swordcraft: Swordcraft is probably the easiest class for new players to build around, both in constructed and in Take Two. While Swordcraft does rely heavily on synergy, that synergy is better spread throughout a larger number of cards, meaning that even sub-optimal builds can have a lot of punch.
  • Shadowcraft: Shadowcraft has access to a lot of high-quality removal spells that only become stronger the later the game becomes, and is also capable of trading with bigger, bulkier followers by using followers with the Bane ability (destroys follower it attacks or blocks, regardless of that followers health).
  • Dragoncraft: Both Shadowcraft and Dragoncraft are fully capable of playing into the late game, but whereas Shadowcraft does so with removal spells, Dragoncraft does so with bulky followers that are able to take a lot of damage before being destroyed. Unless a high number of high play point cards are in the deck, it isn’t worth trying to ramp into more play points.
  • Havencraft: Havencraft also plays a strong late game, but that relies on Havencraft being able to survive into the late game. While constructed Havencraft has many cards that allow the player to stall and regain the leaders health, those cards won’t be available in large, consistent numbers. Adding to this fact is that Countdown amulets will quickly clutter the board, leaving the Havencraft player with no room to cast followers to defend against the opponent.
  • Bloodcraft: Bloodcraft’s more powerful cards rely on having ten or less health available in order for card effects to activate. In both constructed and Take Two this places the Bloodcraft player in a very disadvantaged position that their opponent can easily take advantage of. Bloodcraft does have some strong cards that can be worth the risk, but in general this isn’t a class for new players.
  • Runecraft: Runecraft suffers from overly relying on synergistic cards that won’t be available in large quantities, but it does have some of the best removal and draw options in the game, which is the only reason why it isn’t ranked dead last.
  • Forestcraft: Constructed Forestcraft decks rely heavily on being able to cast low-costed Fairy minions and reap benefits from having cast two or more cards in a turn. This is not the case in Take Two, as more often than not the low-costed Fairy minions (and the cards that add them to the player’s hand) simply aren’t available, or aren’t available in large numbers

Our next article in the Shadowverse competitive primer series will focus on the Forestcraft class, with an example of a high-tier, competitive deck that players can build into.

Stay tuned to TechRaptor for further news and coverage of Shadowverse.

What were your thoughts on this competitive primer? Are you interested in playing Shadowverse? Let us know in the comment section below.

More About This Game

Brandon Bobal

Partner Manager

Brandon writes articles with focuses on video and board games, and Magic: The Gathering. When he isn't doing research for his weekly Magic: The Gathering column, he can be found enjoying the outdoors.