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 took a brief look at the Take Two draft format. This week, we’ll focus our efforts on one of the best performing decks in the current meta, Tempo Forestcraft. Please take note that at the time of writing this primer, only Standard and Darkness Evolved are available for use in deck construction. This primer doesn’t take into account Rise of Bahamut or future sets, and the effectiveness of this deck may change in later meta environments.
Forestcraft – The Basics
We’ll begin our study of Tempo Forestcraft by taking a brief look at the Forestcraft class as a whole, as many of the cards and strategies utilized in Tempo Forestcraft also appear in other Forestcraft class decks like Purgatory Forestcraft.
The cornerstone of the Forestcraft class is the Fairy, a “vanilla” 1/1 follower that requires one play point to cast and becomes a 3/3 follower when evolved. Fairies aren’t a card that can be added to your deck—think tokens from Magic: The Gathering, except they can exist in your hand. Despite having no special abilities or traits, Fairies are absolutely key to the high success of this class in the Constructed format, and there exist a plethora of cards which add those Fairies to your hand .
Aside from these cheap Fairy followers, the other identifying feature of the class are cards that care about the number of cards played prior. Many cards in the Forestcraft class have additional effects that activate when two or more cards were played beforehand. The cheap Fairy followers are used to take full advantage of these effects. Tempo Forestcraft doesn’t utilize this feature of the class much, preferring an offensive “go-wide” approach to the area.
Tempo Forestcraft’s main strategy is to set the “tempo,” or “pace,” of gameplay. The player does this by literally swarming the area with cheap followers, and utilizes both targeted and area wipe spells to keep the opponent from establishing a stable area. In the early stages of the game, the goal is to establish a stable area as early as possible, utilizing our cheap Fairies to trade with the opponent’s followers while our other followers start battering at the opponent leader’s health.
In Tempo Forestcraft, we have two win conditions: either a massive amount of damage dealt by a pumped up Rhinoceroach, or pumping up our basic Fairies through Wind God and Elf Knight Cynthia to swing wide at the opponent leader.
Overall, Tempo Forestcraft, and Forestcraft as a whole with one notable exception, focuses primarily on followers and spells, as amulets take up one of our five available area spots and reduce not only our tempo but the efficiency of our followers.
Tempo Forestcraft Competitive Primer – The Followers
To better illustrate the curve of this deck, all followers and spells are separated by play point cost. When future sets are released, this also gives an idea of what cards can be removed to make room for more efficient followers and spells.
Before getting into the specifics of the followers, however, here is a quick guide on some of the abilities featured throughout Tempo Forestcraft’s followers.
- Last Words: Ability that activates when the card is destroyed.
- Fanfare: Ability that activates when the follower is played.
- Storm: Allows the follower to attack immediately on the turn it was played.
- Ward: Opponent can only attack this follower.
- Evolve: Ability that activates when the follower evolves.
One play point followers:
- Water Fairy: 1/1 follower that evolves into a 3/3 follower, both forms have “Last Words: Put a Fairy into your hand.” Along with one of the spells discussed below, this is an important card to see in your opening hand. If you don’t see it, mulligan an unnecessary card (ideally anything that can’t be played for a few turns).
- Elf Child May: 1/1 follower that evolves into a 3/3 follower, the un-evolved form has “Fanfare: Deal 1 damage to a random enemy follower.” Again, an important card to see in your opening hand, as it can effectively trade with an enemy follower without actually being involved in combat, and thanks to certain cards that return followers to your hand, the Fanfare effect can be repeatable. Elf Child May is also great against other Forestcraft decks or Swordcraft decks in the early stages of the game for this reason.
Two play point followers:
- Fairy Whisperer: 1/1 follower that evolves into a 3/3 follower, the un-evolved form has “Fanfare: Put two Faires into your hand.” This is one of our primary engines for putting Fairy followers into our hand, and while two play points is a bit steep for a 1/1, its Fanfare effect is more than worth the cost.
- Rhinoceroach: 1/1 follower that evolves into a 3/3 follower, both forms have Storm and the un-evolved form has “Fanfare: For each other card played this turn, gain +1/+0 until the end of the turn.” Rhinoceroach is one of our win conditions and probably one of the best cards in Forestcraft at the time of writing this article, period. Dropping multiple Fairies late game and following up with an evolved Rhinoceroach to the face is absolutely terrifying; I’ve seen some games lost despite one opponent having a significant lead over the other due to a well-timed Rhinoceroach. Because Rhinoceroach’s usefulness lies in the late game, it’s a prime target to mulligan from our opening hand.
- Elf Girl Liza: 2/2 follower that evolves into a 4/4 follower, the un-evolved form has “Fanfare: All allied followers can’t be damaged by spells and effects until the end of the opponent’s next turn.” Liza is one of the key cards for maintaining tempo, as it keeps your followers from being damaged or removed by spells and lets you maintain pressure on the opponent.
Three play point followers:
- Ancient Elf: 2/3 follower that evolves into a 4/5 follower, both forms have Ward and the un-evolved form has “Fanfare: Return other allied followers to your hand. Gain +1/+1 for each follower returned.” This is absolutely huge tempo, as not only can we bounce our cheap Fairy followers back to hand for later usage with cards such as Rhinoceroach, but other cards that have important Fanfare abilities (such as Elf Girl Liza, or Elf Child May).
Four play point followers:
- Elven Princess Mage: 3/4 follower that evolves into a 4/5 follower, the evolved form has “Evolve: Put two Fairies into your hand and change their cost to 0.” Elven Princess Mage is the card to play on turn four if we’re going second, as that is the turn that the second player can start evolving their followers. This card is amazing, providing three followers for just four play points and helping to keep your area well-staffed, or if your area is already full, then you have fodder for powering up later Rhinoceroachs or Crystalia Tia.
Five play point followers:
- Wind God: 1/5 follower that evolves into a 3/7 follower, both forms have “At the start of your turn, all allied followers gain +1/+0” and the un-evolved form has “Fanfare: Give +1/+0 to all allied followers.” While Wind God doesn’t have much in the way of offensive capabilities, it provides at the least one +1/+0 buff to your Forestcraft followers
- Crystalia Tia: 1/1 follower that evolves into a 3/3 follower, the un-evolved form has “Fanfare: Summon a Crystalia Eve. Give it Ward and evolve it if at least 2 other cards were played this turn. If your area is already full when you played an Elven Princess Mage, this is one of the opportunities to use those two zero cost Fairies. Getting a 6/6 follower with Ward for free can absolutely turn around the course of an unfavorable game.
Six play point followers:
- Elf Knight Cynthia: 5/6 follower that evolves into a 6/7 follower, both forms have “Whenever another allied follower attacks, give it +1/+0” and the evolved form has “Evolve: Summon 2 Fairies.” Following a Wind God with an Elf Knight Cynthia is pivotal for a “go-wide” approach, allowing us to deal large amounts of damage very quickly. Even un-evolved, Elf Knight Cynthia is big enough that our opponent will have to either waste multiple followers in taking it down or utilize a costly removal spell to do so, which helps to maintain our tempo.
Tempo Forestcraft Competitive Primer – The Spells
One play point spells:
- Nature’s Guidance: Return an allied follower or amulet to your hand and draw a card. Nature’s Guidance is a cheap way to reuse certain cards that have beneficial Fanfare abilities, while also digging into your deck for win conditions or needed followers and/or spells.
- Fairy Circle: Put two Fairies into your hand; this is the cheapest and most efficient Fairy generator, and absolutely essential for maintaining tempo in our area.
Two play point spells:
- Sylvan Justice: Deal two damage to an enemy follower and put a Fairy into your hand. Sylvan Justice is a card we want to see in our hand when we’re playing second, as it allows us to remove any problematic two play point followers the opponent may have played and nets us one Fairy in hand. As the game goes on, it does lose some efficiency simply because bulkier followers will start being played, but against decks that utilize lots of small followers, it works wonderfully.
Three play point spells:
- Angelic Barrage: Deals one damage to all enemy followers. While one damage may not seem like much, if your opponent has multiple weakened followers, this can be critical for wiping them out and creating an open area for you to set up on.
Five play point spells:
- Dance of Death: Destroy an enemy follower and deal two damage to their leader. Dance of Death is by far the most expensive removal spell we have access to in Forestcraft (and Shadowverse as a whole), but it’s also one of the most effective. Two damage can be the difference between victory or defeat in many match-ups, and it takes care of the followers that our other removal spells and Fairy swarms are unable to.
Tempo Forestcraft Competitive Primer – The Match-up
Rather than examine specific decks, we’ll look at how Tempo Forestcraft plays against the various archetypes—Aggro, Control, and Combo, which have different match-ups compared to archetypes of other card games (such as Magic: The Gathering) but perform similar functions—rather than the individual classes or Tiers, as this gives a better understanding of the game overall.
- Aggro: Against Aggro decks (such as “Midrange” Swordcraft, or ourselves), the victory is decided by who can take control of the area the fastest. Both players will be squabbling to establish a stable area as soon as possible, trading followers until a window of opportunity presents itself.
- Control: Against Control decks (such as Control Swordcraft), the match-up is favored towards Control. Control decks tend to utilize lots of followers with Ward, removal spells, and spells that regain the leader’s health, making it difficult for Tempo Forestcraft to gain a foothold.
- Combo: Against Combo decks (such as Spell Runecraft), the match-up is favored towards Tempo Forestcraft. Combo decks take a long time to get all the pieces necessary to “go off,” giving Tempo Forestcraft more than enough time to win. Providing pressure in the area keeps them from being able to set their combo up, forcing them to use spells in less-than-efficient ways to keep us from victory.
TechRaptor’s next article in the Shadowverse competitive primer series will focus on Midrange Swordcraft.
Stay tuned to TechRaptor for more information and news on all things Shadowverse.
What are your thoughts on this competitive primer? Is Tempo Forestcraft something you would be interested in playing? Let us know in the comment section below.More About This Game