# Statistical Analysis in SolForge

For those of you who don’t know me, I’m a huge nerd when it comes to numbers and data. Heck, my educational path perfectly exemplifies this! I graduated college with a double major in mathematics and software engineering. My final project was a Blackjack game that tracked stats while using different card counting methods to show which method gave the best odds at winning money. Gathering data and geeking out over numbers is what I do.

After playing many games of SolForge, I yearned for a way to understand what my chances were at drawing my better cards.This is, after all, a numbers game. Finally, instead of hoping and wishing, I went to work. I dusted off my probability book from college. Looks like I made the right decision to keep the \$100 book instead of selling it back for \$5! After many hours of mathematical formulas and VBA coding, I came up with the SolForge Tracker ™.

By using this new tool, I was finally able to see what my chances were of drawing certain hands within the next 5 cards. What were my chances of seeing an all level 1 hand in player level 3? What were my odds of drawing at least two level 3 cards in the first hand of player level 3? I had all the answers, and life was good. This tool gave me some peace of mind…and at the same time enraged me even further. “OMGZROZ! Why is my opponent drawing a 16% chance hand and I swing and whiff on an 88% chance hand?! AAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!11!!1!!” (Add alcohol and magnets for more rage.)

Now that I had the data, I could pinpoint exactly when games started to go awry. If my opponent was hitting his percentage hands and I wasn’t, he started seeing the better board positions (and ultimately wins). The same was true when I saw the better hands. I had a feeling that “bad draw luck” and “card level screw” were playing a part in a number of my games played. But I couldn’t just go around making wild claims and accusations. Time to get back to work.

This time I added some functionality to my SolForge Tracker ™. Now, every game I played would store some data in the background. That data could then be inserted into a database to track every game I played. It tracked how many cards of every level were played, who went first, who won the game, and a bunch of other stats. Once completed, I could start running queries against the data. Now I had meaningful data that I could use to make my case! No more wild accusations; I have data! It was fun watching how the game data shifted as I added more games. For the first 20 or so games that I tracked, the player who went first won about 80% of the time! That number has since changed and is nearer to 50% now that I have over 200 games in the database.

The data I was most interested in, however, was the data based around levels of cards played. Did the person who drew and played more of their level 3s win more often than the player who had bad luck and drew poorly? In the games I played, did I actually have an argument for losing to bad luck? Here’s an interesting visual.

The picture shows a linked scatterplot of the number of times the winner played a certain number of level 3 cards in comparison to the opponent. A normal distribution was added for reference. For example, the winner of 16 games played 3 more level 3 cards than the opponent. Likewise, there was only 1 game played where the winner played 3 less level 3 cards than the opponent. But what does the data as a whole mean?

Certainly there is a positive skew to the data. There are more games where the winner played more level 3s than the opponent versus playing less level 3s than the opponent. Percentage wise, 51% of games were games where the winner played more level 3s than the opponent. This is a stark contrast to the measly 14% of games where the winner played less level 3s than the opponent. If we look at just the games where there is a disparity in level 3s played (meaning both players haven’t played the same number of level 3s), the player who has played more level 3s wins 78% of the time while the player who has played less level 3s wins only 22% of the time. We can take this analysis one step further. If the disparity in level 3s played is 2 or more, the person who has played more level 3s has a staggering 90% win percentage to devastating 10% win percentage for the player who played 2 or fewer level 3s.

The other interesting thing is how the plotted data compares to a normalized distribution. If the data followed more closely to the normalized curve, you’d expect most of the data to be within 2 sigma of the mean. The would mean that for every game where the winner wins with more level 3s played, there is an opposite and equal game where the winner wins with less level 3s played. This is clearly not the case in SolForge where the winner more often than not plays more level 3s than the opponent.

Other notable stats that I’ve calculated show that on average, the winners play 4.8 level 2 cards during player level 2 versus the losers that only play 4.1 level 2 cards during player level 2. Also, for overall game data, the winners on average play 12.17 level 1 cards, 6.98 level 2 cards, and 3.12 level 3 cards compared to the losers who play an average 13.07 level 1 cards, 6.56 level 2 cards, and 2.27 level 3 cards. Now, obviously you can’t play a percentage of a card in a turn of SolForge, but the averages do make a resounding statement: on average, the winner will play more level 2 cards in player level 2 than the opponent, and that player will win the game having played more level 2s and 3s than the opponent.

In conclusion, the games I’ve played and tracked have given me some interesting stats to think about. It’s not just a matter of gut-feeling and drunken rage anymore. I have data that supports the idea that drawing and playing higher level cards will put you at a statistical advantage. But there is a caveat to this data. This data is my data; these are games I’ve played. My play style in SolForge is play for tactical 2-for-1s while taking damage early to give myself a better chance at drawing power later. Perhaps what my data is telling me is that my play style is allowing RNG to have a bigger effect on the game. Maybe my data isn’t a good indicator for what the game is as a whole!Then again, maybe not… Maybe my data is an accurate representation of how SolForge plays out as a whole. Maybe SolForge (as it stands today) is a well-disguised, glorified coin-flip where the winner of a game will most likely be the player who drew better cards. You can do your best to give yourself the best statistical chance at victory, but if the dice come up snake-eyes, you lose.

But that’s where you come in! The more people tracking data based on their games and how they play, the better! Below are links to downloading the updated version of the SolForge Tracker ™ as well as a brand spanking new database to house all your game data!

When you save the database, keep the name SolForgeTracking and remember the location of where you saved it to. Here are the steps to setting up your SolForge Tracker ™:

1. Open up the ProbabilityTracker Document.
2. Click on the LAN button to update the location of the database.
3. Click on Yes.
4. Paste in the location of the SolForgeTracking database.  (Example: C:\Users\Admin\Documents)
5. Click OK.

Now you’re good to go!  Enjoy the tool. Use it to watch how draw percentages are constantly changing. See how your play style affects the RNG in your games. When you’ve collected a lot of games of data, let me know what you’re seeing! Thanks for reading! Forge on!

(For more SolForge drafting, statistical analysis, and drunken raging, be sure to check me out at www.twitch.tv/dehboy333 and www.hitbox.tv/dehboy.)

# Birthday Post – Tracker Released!

Hey everyone, it is my birthday!

Here is the link to my Deck Tracker!  Use it to help yourself understand the probability behind the game of SolForge!

If yo have any questions or concerns, please ask me on stream at http://twitch.tv/dehboy333.  You can also donate there and buy me a beer if you feel so inclined!  But please, don’t feel obligated to do so.  The tracker is free and is there for you to use and learn!

# In Depth Guide to Everything Unheroic!

Hey guys, dehBoy here. I’m back with another guide, and this one comes with a deck tech included! Let’s jump right into it!

What is Unheroic?

Unheroic is a popular format in SolForge in which a player can only construct a deck that consists of only commons (green triangle) and rares (bluish-gray four point star). Much like the pauper format of Magic the Gathering, unheroic in SolForge gives players a chance to competitively play cards they may not use regularly. Even the lowliest of commons might be a blow-out card in unheroic! And that, in part, is why the format is so popular.

Another major reason this format is growing in popularity (to the point where there is a weekly tournament for this format) is because it levels the playing field considerably for everybody. Just by doing your free dailies and slowly adding to your collection, you should have enough cards to build a competitive deck. Whether a player has spent \$100 or \$0 in SolForge, each player has roughly the same card pool from which to build a deck. That makes this format exciting for newer players. They don’t have to worry about going up against 3 Zimus, the Undying!

If there is any flaw with the unheroic format, though, it is that the games are often decided by card luck. You might think that this goes for every format, but let me explain. Yes, there will be some decks that are just better in the match-up and it will not matter what the draw luck is. However, when everyone is playing the same cards (more-or-less), the person who draws the staples more often will ultimately come out on top. That is different from unrestricted formats for two reasons.

First, the “hand-fixing” in unheroic is simply worse than unrestricted. In unrestricted, you can throw in cards that help you draw more cards. This greatly increases your chance of drawing your answers.

Second, the unheroic format doesn’t have many cards that help stabilize a runaway game. What I mean by that is there are cards in unrestricted that can even a game with just one card (for example: Echowisp) if you are behind. In unheroic, if you are behind in board position, there really isn’t any way to swing the game back into your favor with just one card.

Even though the format does have some flaws, it is an incredibly fun and competitive format to play. However, if you’re going to be building a deck, I might suggest you start with some of the best unheroic cards around: the savants.

Unheroic Staples: The Savants

Each faction has its own savant, and each of the savants to something slightly different. Whenever you play a card that is a lower level than a savant you have in play, you activate your savant’s ability. This makes all lower leveled cards in your deck more powerful at later stages of the game. Let’s look at an example.

Let’s say you just reached rank 3 and you have two level 3 Flameshaper Savants in your hand. You play both of them in empty lanes and pass the turn. When you draw your next hand, you groan and scream out in your best Shaggy voice, “Why me, Lord?!” Fear not, friend, for your savants have your back. Your seemingly worthless, all level 1 hand is actually incredibly useful! To your joy, your opponent passes the turn with both of your Flameshaper Savants still alive. That is when the fun begins. You start by playing your level 1 Uranti Bolt. Instead of doing 3 damage, though, it does 17 damage with the ability activations of each savant. Don’t need more than 3 damage to kill a creature? That’s fine! You can use that extra 14 damage to help clear the board or deal direct damage to your opponent.

Certainly you can see how useful the savants are. They allow you to play your lower level cards without losing any momentum in the game. In fact, the savants are so good that they see a lot of play in unrestricted decks! If you are going to build an unheroic deck, the best place to start is with the savants!

Which of the 4 Savants is the Best?

Obviously everyone will have their own opinion, but they are all wrong. Just kidding! In reality, the savants’ strengths depend on the deck they are in. On their own, though, I’d rank them in this order: Flameshaper Savant, Darkshaper Savant, Lifeshaper Savant, Steelshaper Savant.

The Flameshaper is the most versatile savant. He is the only savant that can target either a creature or a player. On top of that, he does 4 damage at level 2 and 7 damage at level 3; that is better than all the savants.

The Darkshaper is next. When playing in match, I find it is better to control your opponent’s board rather than buff your own. For instance, say your opponent just put an 8/1 Marrow Fiend in front of your 7/6 creature. I’d argue that the better option is to kill the Marrow Fiend with a Darkshaper activation and get the 7 damage home. If you were to buff your creature to stay alive, now you have a 10/1 creature that dies to just about anything. Plus, the Darkshaper savants give you some kill potential to make sure your opponent’s best creatures don’t stick around for long.

Third would have to be the Lifeshaper Savant. If you can’t kill your opponent’s creatures, the next best option is to make sure your creatures have enough health to survive! The Lifeshaper does a great job at making sure your creatures can live longer.

Finally, we have the Steelshaper Savant. The armor he gives your creatures definitely help them stay alive longer, but he does the worst job at making sure that you have control of the board. The addition attack power the Lifeshaper gives is completely relevant; giving your creatures a small bit of armor may not even help if they still die and can’t take an opponent’s creature down with them.

Again, the savants all stand out when a deck is built around them. Obviously a Steelshaper Savant isn’t going to be as useful if he isn’t put into a suitable deck that takes advantage of his ability. However, on their own, I find the above ranking of the savants to be true.

So If We Play Savants, We Win Games?

While I wish I could win every game I played my savants, they do have weaknesses. The Flameshaper Savant’s high damage is great for keeping the board clear, but it has a hard time getting through heavy armor decks. The Darkshaper can lower those armored creatures easily, but it has a hard time at bringing down really big creatures. The Lifeshaper Savant can keep your creatures alive through fights with opponent’s creatures, but it can’t get rid of enemy threats on its own. The same goes with the Steelshaper Savant.

So when you are building a deck, keep in mind that while these cards are good, they still have weaknesses. Plan for this to give yourself the best chance at coming out on top!

Building a Savantless Unheroic Deck…With Savants

As part of a challenge for myself, I tried to put together an unheroic deck that didn’t use any savants. Shortly after this, I decided to throw in two Lifeshaper Savants in the deck. I figured their ability was absolutely vital to the survival of the creatures I played in the deck. Here is what we started with:

3x Necroslime, 3x Darkheart Wanderer, 2x Shardplate Delver, 2x Lifeshaper Savant, 2x Necrovive, 2x Hungering Strike, 2x Gemhide Basher, 2x Enrage, 2x Wildwood Sower, 2x Cull the Weak, 2x Grove Huntress, 1x Ghastly Touch, 1x Deepbranch Prowler, 1x Marrow Fiend, 1x Oxidon Spitter, 1x Feral Instinct, 1x Bonescythe Reaver

The deck tried to have a lot of different cards so that I had a variety of cards in my hand. In theory, having 5 different cards in hand gives the best chance at having the answer that turn. Remember, unheroic is a format in which you can’t consistently do any hand-fixing. By playing a lot of 2-ofs, I’m giving myself a better chance to draw some different cards that will give me different options during my turn.

The must plays of the deck include the Necroslimes, the Darkheart Wanderers, and of course, the Lifeshaper Savants. Some of the spells that get weaker as you level up would be given next priority, followed by anything else in the deck. Having level 1 spells at rank 4 or 5 is completely fine when you have savants in the deck.

So how did we do with this savantless savant deck? Well, I forgot to highlight the games and lost the recording of the game play videos. However, I can say that we went 2-1 against random people online, and those people were playing unrestricted decks! That certainly gave me some hope. I found that buffing my Darkheart Wanderer and playing spells to give it regeneration made for a very hard to kill creature. Unfortunately for me, the unrestricted decks had much better removal than other unheroic decks.

That being said, I then played some other players with unheroic decks. My deck was competitive in each game, but I found that the savants in the opponent’s decks were carving up my deck like butter on a hot knife. The savants gave them a better chance at stabilizing and coming back or pressing their lead. After a couple of games, I caved. I modified my deck so that I, too, could enjoy the power of the savants. This was the final deck list for the tournament:

1x Bonescythe Reaver, 2x Cull the Weak, 3x Darkheart Wanderer, 1x Deepbranch Prowler, 3x Enrage, 1x Feral Rage, 3x Gemhide Basher, 2x Ghastly Touch, 2x Grove Huntress, 2x Hungering Strike, 2x Lifeshaper Savant, 1x Marrow Fiend, 3x Necroslime, 2x Necrovive, 2x Shardplate Delver

Tournament 1: The Nekrium/Uterra Deck

The tournament with the Nekrium/Uterra deck went well, but it was certainly an eye-opener. The 3 Darkhshaper Savant really did some work to help keep the opponent’s board under control, but they failed in comparison to the Flameshaper Savants. At level 2 when savants deal damage to each other, they both become 6/4 (assuming no other buffs or anything). That means one Flameshaper Savant activation at level 2 cleans up the enemy savant while a Darkshaper needs two activations at level 2. This can make or break a game!

Another problem that this deck had was that the Necroslime, Darkheart Wanderer, and Shardplate Delver had a hard time trading early. This meant I had to play spells instead of creatures I needed to level for late game. If I got too behind in the early game, I couldn’t muster up enough of a counter to do anything.

All in all, I did alright in the tournament. I believe I went 4-2 and had the highest tie-breaker score (meaning I played against the toughest competition). I did decide to change up my deck, though, after seeing the power of the Flameshaper Savants. I switched to Nekrium Tempys in hopes that the two savants could carry me to victory! This was my deck:

1x Bonescythe Reaver, 2x Cull the Weak, 1x Darkheart Wanderer, 3x Darkshaper Savant, 3x Flameshaper Savant, 2x Ghostly Touch, 2x Hungering Strike, 1x Iceborn Fortitude, 3x Lightning Spark, 3x Magma Hound, 1x Marrow Fiend, 3x Necroslime, 2x Necrovive, 3x Uranti Bolt

Tournament 2: The Nekrium/Tempys Deck

I thought this deck was a lot more consistent than the previous deck. Magma Hounds provided that little bit of extra damage to kill creatures, the Lightning Sparks to the opponent’s face helped me win a couple late games. The tag-team of Darkshaper and Flameshaper really took care of the opponent’s board, while the Necroslime was able to get big and be very tough to deal with.

Another card that I really liked from Tempys was the Uranti Bolt. If I didn’t level it up early, it was able to give an opponent’s creature defender for a turn to buy me some more time. If I did level it up early, it was a single card that one shot the level 2 and level 3 enemy savants. Talk about flexibility in one card!

In the end, I was impressed by the control and damage this deck was able to pump out. I had answers for just about anything I saw…except high health, high armor Alloyin creatures. Decks that ran those Alloyin creatures paired with Technosmith were able to survive the savants as well as level up cards and have a strong late game. They really impressed me!

For the second tournament I went 5-3 after starting out 4-0. Unfortunately, I went up against some tough competition and some really good decks. For the second unheroic tournament in a row I had the toughest schedule and missed out on the top cut. I was very happy with how the deck performed, though, and am excited to keep playing in these unheroic tournaments!

What is Next?

As for my unheroic deck, I think I’m going to switch to Tempys/Alloyin for the next tournament! The level advantage using the Technosmiths is really good, and of course, the Flameshaper Savant’s activation damage is second to none!

If you have any questions or comments, please let me know! Thanks for reading, and may your draws be great as you SolForge your way to the top!

# Guide to Earning More Free Stuff!

In SolForge, you can earn free rewards just by completing different things every day.  I, like many other people, am always looking for ways to add more cards to my collection!  I’ve found an app for Android and iOS that allow me to do such a thing!  The app is called FeaturePoints, and I’ve already used it to successfully buy me packs to add to my SolForge collection.  Basically, this app has a list of others apps, and that list is updated regularly.  FeaturePoints will give you a varying number of points for each app you install.  Once you install an app, all you have to do is open it, check it out for 30 seconds, and then verify you were credited with the points in FeaturePoints.  Then you can uninstall that app for good!  Not only is this an easy way to earn points, but you can also find some really cool games and really cool apps this way!  Once you have enough points, you can trade those points in for iTunes gift cards or PayPal dollars, and you can buy SolForge packs with those!  If you are interested in giving it a shot and seeing what it is about, follow these steps:

2. Once installed, open up FeaturePoints.

3. Enter the referral code L0VU84 (the 0 is the number zero, not the letter o) and click Agree to the Terms.  This will give you a head start to your first reward in the app!  (But wait, what is this?  I stopped at the same point and had to really find out what is going on.  After a ton of searching, I found out that FeaturePoints needs to have some kind of “check function” that you agree to.  What it does is check to make sure you actually downloaded and installed the different apps to try out, and that you aren’t trying to “game the system.”  I’ve been using FeaturePoints for over 6 months and have had no problems what-so-ever.)

4. Start collecting points and get iTunes/PayPal cards to buy packs!

Some of the apps FeaturePoints offers up to you require you to do more than just open them up – I tend to shy away from these.  I don’t connect any of these apps to my Facebook account unless I really want to keep the app, so don’t worry about doing that.  As always, please let me know if you have any questions!  I’d be happy to answer any questions.  Good luck, and I hope that your pulls from the packs you earn have all the legendaries!

# In Depth Beginner’s Guide to Everything SolForge!

Welcome to my guide to everything SolForge.  Here we will discuss just about everything there is about this great game!  Let’s jump right into it!

What is SolForge?

SolForge is a digital card game created by Stone Blade Entertainment in which you build a thirty card deck using cards from your collection and battle other players from all around the world.  While SolForge shows similarities to other great trading card games out there (we will be referencing two of the more popular ones, Magic the Gathering and Pokemon the Trading Card Game), its online exclusivity allows it to be a very unique game.  There is no resource system in SolForge; every turn you are able to play at least two spells (except the first turn, but we’ll cover that in a bit).  One of the most annoying things about Magic or Pokemon was when you couldn’t even play the game due to a lack of land or energy.  In SolForge you will be able to play cards each turn, so no more wasting time stalling in games in which that third land never comes.  The main uniqueness of SolForge, however, is the leveling system of the cards.  Every card in your deck starts at level 1.  As you play, your cards level up become stronger and more efficient.  This leveling system is made possible only because of the online platform, and it brings a new dimension to card games as we know them.

The object of SolForge is to take your opponent from 100 life points down to 0 life points by playing creatures and spells.  Creatures can be played into one of five different lanes, and those creatures will attack the opponent down that lane every attack phase (both on your turn or your opponent’s turn as long as they do not have “summoning sickness”) until they are destroyed.  If there are two creatures in the same lane, those creatures will trade permanent damage to each other.  For example, if you have a 5 attack, 4 health (denoted 5/4) creature and your opponent has a 2/2 creature, your creature will deal 5 damage and kill your opponent’s creature while your opponent’s creature will deal 2 damage to your creature.  This leaves your creature in lane as a 5/2 creature.  But be careful; many creatures have “on death” effects that could be hazardous to your health!

Unlike Magic, you cannot play any cards during your opponent’s turn, just as he/she cannot play spells during your turn.  However, as noted before, every creature that does not have defender or “summoning sickness” will attack its opponent every attack phase.  This means you will have to be a bit careful not to leave a lane undefended because that creature will attack you every chance it gets!

Finally, one of the greatest things about SolForge is that it is 100% free.  There are no cards that you can acquire only by paying real money (so it is not pay-to-win), meaning that if you play the game enough and claim your daily rewards, you can get every card in the game for free!  There are three ways to acquire daily rewards.  First, you get a reward just for logging into the game for the first time during the day!  Second, you get another reward for beating an opponent for the first time each day.  This opponent can either be an online opponent or a computer bot.  The third and final reward you can acquire each day is earned after you beat three opponents.  Again, these opponents can be either online competitors or computer bots.  If you want to build your collection faster, you always have the option of buying packs with real money, or you can follow my guide to free packs that also appears on this website (View Guide Here)!

The Cards

Let’s start taking a look at the cards in your collection.  Cards fall into one of two types: creatures or spells.  Creatures are summoned in lanes and stay there until removed either by an effect or death.  Spells offer game changing effects and are played directly onto the battlefield (not in a specific lane).  Some spells offer permanent effects (for example, target creature gains +3 attack and +3 health) while other spells offer temporary effects (for example, target creature gets -health equal to its attack this turn).

Each card of SolForge (both creatures and spells) has three levels; each level is more powerful and provides you more benefits than the previous level. Every card in your 30 card deck starts at level 1. Once you play a card, it levels up and moves to your discard pile. Once your discard pile is shuffled back into your deck, you have a chance to draw it again and play it with its level 2 abilities. Playing the level 2 card levels it up one more time. Playing cards isn’t the only way to level them up, however. Some cards have effects that allow you to level up extra cards per turn. This is a great way of ensuring you the best chances at drawing the most powerful creatures and spells during the course of a game.

Factions

Each of the two types of cards can be found in the four factions of SolForge.  Factions in SolForge are like colors in Magic, and each faction has its own play style.  Alloyin tactfully levels cards up and aims at lowering your opponent’s chances at dealing big damage.  Tempys plays fast and loose and tries to use battle gimmicks to burn your life total away as quickly as possible.  Nekrium brings dismay to the battlefield by lowering your opponent’s creature’s attack and health while causing mayhem when your own creatures die.  Uterra punishes your opponent with big, powerful creatures, and they can fill lanes instantly to overwhelm your opponent.

Rarities

Each card of SolForge also has a rarity.  The rarity is how hard it will be to collect a certain card.  There are four different rarities.

Common cards are the easiest of the cards to find.  Most commons aren’t the best cards, but don’t overlook these cards when building your deck.  Some commons can be very good in the right deck!  You will most likely be able to find many copies of common cards in your card collecting career.

Rare cards are slightly harder to find.  Rare cards will make many decks better.  You are guaranteed one rare card or better in every Basic Pack.

Heroic cards will be much harder to find and collect.  Heroic cards are often very good, and they will probably be used to make up the back bone of your deck.  You are guaranteed one heroic card or better in every Normal Pack.

Legendary cards will be the most difficult to find and collect.  These cards are often (but not always) the best cards in the game.  You are guaranteed one legendary card in every Legendary pack.

Card Abilities

There are many different card abilities in SolForge.  Each ability can change the game, so it is probably best that you know what each one does!

Aggressive: This ability allows a creature to attack and use abilities/activations on the turn it comes into play.  This is like haste in Magic.  Aggressive is a great way to catch your opponent off guard by getting some damage through to his life total or by taking out a creature that you want off the board.

Armor: This ability gives creatures an initial health bonus each turn.  Any damage points (not loss of health) will be soaked up by armor before lowering your creature’s health points.  The armor bonus a creature has resets every turn.  Therefore, if it soaks up 3 damage on your turn, then it will have a chance to soak up 3 damage again on your opponent’s turn.  A key thing to note about armor is that cards that drain a creature’s health (such as Ghastly Touch: target creature gets -3 attack and -3 health) are unaffected by armor.  In our recent example, armor would not soak up the -3 health of Ghastly Touch because subtracting health of a creature is different from dealing damage to a creature.

Breakthrough: This ability allows a creature’s excess damage to continue through a creature and hurt the opponent.  This is like trample in Magic.  Breakthrough will help your big creatures inflict damage to an opponent’s life total after destroying one of his/her creatures.  For example, say you have 7/7 Deepbranch Prowler with Breakthrough in lane 2 and your opponent tries to stop the damage with his 2/2 Technosmith.  When your Deepbranch Prowler attacks, it will deal lethal damage (damage equaling the amount of the opposing creature’s health) to the Technosmith first and then carry over any excess damage to the opponent.  In our example, the Deepbranch Prowler would kill the Technosmith with 2 damage and deal its remaining 5 damage directly to the opponent!

Defender: This ability keeps a creature from attacking during the attack phase.  A creature with defender will still deal damage to any creature attacking it, however, so be careful!

Mobility: This ability allows a creature to move from one lane into another lane once per turn.  If a creature has Mobility 1, it can move 1 adjacent lane per turn.  Likewise, if a creature has Mobility 2, it can move up to 2 adjacent lanes per turn.  Mobility is a great way to keep an opponent on his/her toes.  It gives you the option of moving your creatures around the board to optimize your lanes and battlefield positions.

Poison: This ability deals damage to a creature at the start of each turn, and it acts very similar to poison in Pokemon.  Poison is a great way of slowly killing an opponent’s creature.  A creature affected by Poison 1 will take 1 damage at the start of each turn while a creature affected by Poison 3 will take 3 damage at the start of each turn.

Regenerate: This ability allows a creature to heal damage from itself at the start of each turn.  Regenerate is quite useful because it keeps your creatures alive longer by healing them every turn.  A creature with Regenerate 1 will heal 1 damage at the start of each turn while a creature with Regenerate 3 will heal 3 damage at the start of each turn.  Note, however, that a creature cannot heal itself for more than its maximum life.  For example, if you have a 6/6 Scavenger Scorpion with Regenerate 1 that takes 1 point of damage that puts him to 6/5, that Scavenger Scorpion will heal 1 damage and become a 6/6 at the beginning of the next turn.  If he takes no damage on that turn, he does not become a 6/7 at the start of the next turn because his maximum health is 6.  To take our example one step further, let’s pretend we played Enrage on our Scavenger Scorpion.  Now he is a 9/9, so he will heal 1 damage point every turn until he is at a maximum health of 9.

Changed: This symbol can mean many different things during the course of a game.  It is used to call out a change to a creature that you might otherwise not have known about during the run of play.  For example, if you play Rite of the Grimgaunt on a creature, that creature gains a new ability.  To show this the game places this changed icon on the creature.

Defensive: This symbol will appear on creatures entering play that do not have the aggressive ability.  This is like summoning sickness in Magic.  This symbol is used to let you know that the creature can’t attack or use activations until the beginning of your next turn.  The creature can still deal damage, though, if attacked.

Deck Building

Deck building in SolForge allows you to take cards from your collection and battle with opponents.  Much like all other card games, SolForge has restrictions to how decks can be built.  First, a deck must have exactly 30 cards, no more, no less.  Second, a deck cannot have more than 3 copies of the same card.  That means no building a deck with 30 Echowisps!  Third, and finally, a deck can only be made up of two factions at most.  You can create a single faction deck if you want, but you cannot create a deck with cards from more than two different factions.  You can save up to 6 different decks at one time in SolForge.

So you want to build a deck?  Where do you start?  First, you should decide what kind of strategy you want to use with the deck.  Do you want a deck that will control the game more and level up your cards, or do you want a deck that will be aggressive and try to defeat your opponent as quick as possible?  Once you have decided your strategy, then you pick your faction(s).  Aggressive creature decks could be just Tempys or just Uterra, but they could also contain some combination of the two factions.  Mono-faction decks can be quite good, but duo-faction decks could give you more synergies in the cards and help strengthen your weaknesses.  Once you’ve decided the basics, it is time to start going over some good deck building strategies.

Deck Building Strategies

As you gain experience in SolForge, you will see for yourself which cards work well with each other.  When deck building, you want build a deck containing cards that synergize well with each other.  For example, Spring Dryad gains attack and health whenever a creature enters your side of the battlefield.  To get the most out of her, you can add cards like Hunting Pack, Ether Hounds, and Echowisp to your deck to make the most out of her ability.  Just don’t try to do too much in one deck.  If your deck has too many plans, there is a good chance it will do poorly at all of them.  One of the most important things in SolForge is the leveling system.  Cards get exceedingly better with every level.  At the same time, there are some cards that become almost useless if not leveled up appropriately.  For example, if you don’t level up an Enrage early in the game, it isn’t too bad because you can still play it as a level 1 card later to give your guy a little boost in attack and health.  On the flip side, Dreadbolt is a card you really need to level up to be useful late game.  At level 1 it says “Target level 1 creature gets -health equal to its attack this turn.”  If you do not level Dreadbolt up early and draw it later in the game, chances are it will be a dead card in your hand because it has no level 1 creatures to target.  With this in mind, you want to build a deck that doesn’t contain too many of those “need-to-level” cards.  Cards in a deck should be placed in three somewhat separate groups: the must-level group, the nice-to-level group, and the don’t-need-to-level group.

Must-Level: Cards in the must-level group should be cards that you will play almost every time (if not every time) you draw them.  This is because they either become useless late game if you don’t level them, or it is because they become game changers late game.  A popular card that is a must-level card is the Savant.  Each faction has a Savant, and each Savant does a lot of work during the course of a game if he is leveled early.  If you draw a Savant late game that is level 1, you won’t be taking advantage of the useful ability that card has at levels 2 and 3.  Each deck can contain must-level cards, but be careful not to put in too many.  Otherwise you will have a lot of dead draws late game.  Since most decks revolve around playing and leveling the must-level cards, you will probably be running 3 copies of each must-level card in your deck.

Nice-to-Level: Cards in the nice-to-level group should be cards that you will play if there is an opportunity to play them without losing tempo in the game.  These cards might fall off late game, but they don’t fall off as hard as the must-level cards do.  For example, a nice-to-level card in a Uterra deck might be Spring Dryad.  The card’s ability can still make it a big creature late game if you play it as a level 1.  That being said, if you get a chance to play it early because you don’t have any must-level cards to play, then you can benefit from its ability even more later in the game.  Nice-to-level cards are often situational cards, and therefore there might only be 1 or 2 copies of a single nice-to-level card in your deck.

Don’t-Need-to-Level: Cards in the don’t-need-to-level group should contain cards that are usable at any point in a game.  Again, take Enrage for example.  It might be useful to level up an Enrage early to keep one of your creatures on the board, but its ability is still useful at level 1 if you don’t get a chance to level it.  Don’t-Need-to-Level cards don’t have to just be spells either.  Seismic Adept says “Activate to move target creature an opponent controls to another one of that player’s available spaces.”  Because this card’s ability doesn’t have a level requirement on which creature it can move, you can still benefit from the ability late game without leveling it early.  Like nice-to-level cards, don’t-need-to-level cards may be situational cards.  They can also be fillers and spells that can help turn a game around at any time.  Because of this, you may only want to add 1 or 2 copies of each don’t-need-to-level card in your deck.

One final strategy when deck building is to give yourself many different options.  Having 3 copies of 10 different cards means you will increase the probability of seeing each card, but it also doesn’t give you a lot of options during the course of a game.  Having 1 copy of a card here and 2 copies of a card there will give you some variance in each hand you draw.  Having many different options may be the difference in a match!

Playing the Game

Now that you have your deck ready, it is time to play the game!  You can jump right into a match against a computer by clicking the Quick Play button.  SolForge will randomly give you a deck from your list of decks and will randomly give the bot a deck from your list of decks.  If you want to choose which deck you play or what bot level you want to go up against, you can create a game and select your desired options by clicking the Create Game button.  If you want to play against a friend in a hot seat game (two people playing a game using the same device/computer), select your deck and choose either the Offline Friend option.  If you want to play against a friend online, click the Online Friend option and choose between a timed game or an untimed game.  A timed game is a live game where each player has 30 minutes to make all his moves.  An untimed game is an asynchronous game where time is not a factor.  You will be notified every time it is your turn to play.  Once you’ve selected a game type, you can choose a friend from your list or search for a friend using the search option.  Finally, if you want to try your deck against a random online opponent, be sure to select the Random Online Match option.

Once the game starts, a player is chosen at random to go first.  The person who goes first has the advantage of getting creatures out before the opponent.  However, he/she only gets to play 1 card that first turn unlike the normal 2 cards per turn.  Once a player has been chosen to go first, the first turn begins.  Each turn has multiple phases.

SolForge Turn Phases

Beginning of Turn Phase: During the beginning of turn phase, creatures lose the defensive de-buff and go on the offensive.   This means that you can use a creature’s activations and abilities, and the creature will now attack the opponent during every attack phase.  After this, any effects that trigger at the start of a turn occur.  This includes (but is not limited to) poison and regeneration.

Main Phase 1: During main phase 1, you have the option to activate abilities or play cards.  You are not required to play any cards during main phase 1.  At the same time, it may be most beneficial for you to play both cards during this phase, and that is perfectly okay too.

Battle Phase: The battle phase begins as soon as the Battle button is pressed.  All offensive creatures will attack and deal damage.  Creatures that die will be removed from the battlefield unless otherwise stated.

Main Phase 2: During main phase 2, you have the option to activate abilities that you have not already activated.  You can also play cards if you have not used up both your plays for the turn.

End of Turn Phase: The end of turn phase begins as soon as the End Turn button is pressed.  First, effects that last until the end of turn expire.  For example, Dreadbolt makes a creature lose health equal to its attack until the end of turn.  If that create wasn’t destroyed, it would regain its health during this part of the end of turn phase.  Next, you discard all unplayed cards from your hand.  You do not get to save any cards in your hand.  Next, you level up if your meter has filled.  If you do level up, all cards that have been put to the discard pile are then shuffled back into your deck.  The cards you leveled up will now be drawable from your deck.  Finally, you draw a new hand of five cards.  This will be your hand at the beginning of your next turn.

Each turn will bring changes to the battlefield.  The battlefield has five different lanes.  Creatures will battle each other and deal player damage.  Spells will be cast to alter the path of the game.  Play continues between the two players until a player’s life has been reduced to zero or below.  In the event of a tie (both players have zero or less life after damage is dealt), the person whose health is closest to zero will be declared the winner.  Winning will require a combination of how well built your deck is, how good your strategies and plays are, and how lucky you are when you draw cards from your deck.  This is a card game after all, so the luck element will always be a hurdle every player has to overcome.  During the course of a game, think about some of these strategies.

Game Play Strategies

Have a game plan…with room for change.  Remember, we spent a lot of time determining what cards in our deck are must-level cards.  If you draw those cards, stick with the game plan!  Level those cards up as soon as possible!  However, don’t be so tied down to your game plan that you don’t even make it to your late game.  If you need to change the game plan slightly because of your opponent’s deck, don’t be afraid to do it.  Of course, knowing when to do this comes with experience, just like any game.  Another key strategy is keeping your core creatures alive.  You have 100 health at the beginning of the game.  You don’t need to trade every creature off.  Some of your creatures will be better if they stay alive longer.  Don’t be afraid to take some early damage by not blocking an opponent’s creature.  Place the creatures you want to keep alive in empty lanes and plan on the creature staying alive for at least one turn!  Taking a couple attacks of a 3 attack creature isn’t too harmful in the grand scheme of things if you are building up and winning all the other lanes.  Keep this in mind!

Inventory/Store

You inventory contains all the product that you currently own.  This doesn’t include cards, which are in the deck builder.  Instead, your inventory will contain any packs you have yet to open.  It will also hold any battlefield skins you own.  If you have enough silver or gold, you can go to the store to buy more product.  Once bought, the product will move to your inventory.

This section is to help keep this post organic, fresh, and up to date.  If you have any questions about anything, please ask.  I will put the questions that I feel need to be called out the most in this section.

What is the Pauper/Unheroic game format?  Unheroic (also known as Pauper) is the format where you can only build a deck using common and rare cards.  You may not include any heroic or legendary cards.  This game format is a great way for newer players to play competitively with their limited card pools.

Selfless Plug

I hope this document has been quite helpful to you!  If you have any questions, please post them and I will be happy to answer them for you!  Do you want more content?  You can follow me on twitter (@dehboyTV)  and twitch (dehboy333) to find out when I stream SolForge!  I’m currently streaming daily.  I will be happy to answer any and all questions regarding SolForge, especially questions about deck building and theory crafting.  Please stop by and check me out some time!  Also, you can bookmark this page for easy access to all updates that happen.  Deck tech articles will be up weekly!  Thanks for reading, and good luck SolForging your way to greatness!

# SolForge Deck Tech: Soul Harvest

Hey guys, dehBoy here with the first article of my SolForge deck tech series!  I’ve been drooling over this game since I first heard about it on Kickstarter, and now that it is here, I can’t put it down.  I play the game as much as I can.  With that, I figure the best way to get better is to hang out and bounce ideas with other members of this awesome community…and that’s really what these deck techs are going to be.  I’m going to take a card or an idea that I like and try to build a deck around it.  I’ll stream as a build and use feedback from viewers to whittle down the extensive card list into a 30 card deck.  From there I’ll play three games, slowly morphing the deck with each game before giving my final thoughts on the last version of the deck.  So without further ado, let’s get down to business (…to defeat the Huns).

This week’s deck tech is on the card Soul Harvest.  Boy, I love me the heck out of this card.  At level 1, Soul Harvest says “Destroy a creature you control.  The next level 1 card you play is free this turn.”  Level 2 says “Destroy a creature you control.  The next card you play is free this turn.”  At level 3 in all its glory, Soul Harvest says “Destroy a creature you control.  The next two cards you play are free this turn.”  So at level 3, playing this card let’s me play two more cards, netting a total of four plays from my hand!  And old Chinese proverb once said about baseball, “Man with four balls no walk.”  While that might be true, the man with four plays in SolForge walks all over his opponent.  The only catch here, however, is how are we going to get this powerful card to level 3 without sputtering out and losing in the first 8 turns?  Well, we’ve got that covered.

In the Nekrium faction, there are many cards that use their death to inflict more pain on their opponent.  With Soul Harvest, we can utilize those “on death” effects to our benefit to level up more cards per turn.  Cards like Fell Walker and Vengeful Spirit are great targets for an early Soul Harvest.  If an opponent has a three health creature in a lane, you can drop a Vengeful Spirit and then Soul Harvest it to kill your opponent’s creature.  You might be thinking that this is a bad strategy since we are using two spells to kill one creature.  Let me channel my inner Billy Mays and say, “But wait, there’s more!”  Since Soul Harvest lets me play another spell for free, I’ve really used the card to level up another card AND kill a creature…AND give me another play.  Talk about some blow outs!

Now, I’m pretty sure there is a government program in the works that will hand out free plays during your turn in SolForge for specific people who qualify.  I’m here to tell you that you don’t have to wait!  Along with our Soul Harvest we take advantage of Static Shock, a card that lets me play the next spell card I play that turn for free.  Static shock killing a creature into a Vengeful Spirit into a Soul Harvest to kill another creature into a Grimgaunt Devourer?  This almost seems too good to be true…but it isn’t!  These plays can happen!  We use Static Shock to help us play more spell cards per turn, and then “control” spells such as Epidemic, Dreadbolt, Cull the Weak, and Ghastly (ghostly, as I like to say because I’m not learned and never was hooked on phonics) Touch to clean up what is left of our opponent’s decimated board.

Now that we have all these free spells to play to control the board we need some creatures to take advantage and put us further ahead.  Enter, stage right, the Savants.  Flameshaper Savant and Darkshaper Savant do work.  They slave away and put in over time for pennies on the dollar.  Imagine yourself having a leveled Savant out and playing three or four spells a turn.  Heavenly, amirite?  Add in a Zimus, the Undying and a play set of Grimgaunt Devourers for super win conditions and you have yourself a deck!  Here is what the first crack of the deck looked like:

3x Soul Harvest, 1x Zimus, the Undying, 2x Fell Walker, 3x Vengeful Spirit, 3x Flameshaper Savant, 3x Darkshaper Savant, 3x Grimgaunt Devourer, 3x Static Shock, 3x Epidemic, 2x Dreadbolt, 2x Cull the Weak, 2x Ghastly Touch

I’ve deemed this deck “Soul Taker” after the amazing 1990 movie that was spoofed by Mystery Science Theater 3000.  That’s right, Gordon Bombay’s uncle plays “The Man” sent to retrieve the souls of some dead teenagers.  Let’s hope we can do some harvesting of souls better than Estevez in the movie!

Soul Taker Match 1

Match 1 went really well.  We had a lot of early card advantage, playing more spells than normal to get to a more consistent (and stronger) mid to late game.  From there, the Savants put in some work to get us the win.  With this game, we really didn’t have any changes to the deck.  Everything seemed to roll so cleanly, so off we go to Match 2!

Soul Taker Match 2

Match 2 went even better.  We played more spells level 1 than our previous match which set up another great mid to late game.  At the end of the match, we had played a considerable amount of cards, way more than our opponent.  Could our Soul Taker deck be the deck of destiny?  So far so good – no changes going into our third and final match.

Soul Taker Match 3

Well, we can’t win them all!  Match 3 was definitely a game we needed to play to start looking at some of the weaknesses of the deck.  Once the opponent had his combos and big creatures online, our Savants shrugged and our deck fell from their fragile shoulders.  Now, I will say the opponent curved really well that game, hitting pretty much every combo piece in succession.  That being said, though, it did highlight some changes that were definitely needed in our deck.  We need to be able to deal some hard damage to big creatures and keep them in check.  Therefore, we substituted the 2x Ghastly Touch (I never called them the right name anyway) for 2x Uranti Bolt.  Not only does this save me from two attacks because of the defender clause on the card, but it also deals 20 creature damage to keep those pesky level 3’s in check.  The next day I was taking a shower and pondering (because I do my best thinking in the shower), and I was trying to figure out how to give my deck a little more control over those huge creatures.  And then it hit me.  When I came to and pushed the fallen shower curtain rod off myself, I raced to SolForge to drop 1 of each Savant to add 2x Scourgeflame Sorcerer.  This necromancer would lead the charge on snatching souls of big creatures, giving my deck the versatility it needed.  Here’s the final deck list:

3x Soul Harvest, 1x Zimus, the Undying, 2x Fell Walker, 3x Vengeful Spirit, 2x Flameshaper Savant, 2x Darkshaper Savant, 3x Grimgaunt Devourer, 3x Static Shock, 3x Epidemic, 2x Dreadbolt, 2x Cull the Weak, 2x Uranti Bolt, 2x Scourgeflame Sorcerer

I piloted this deck during the standard tournament on Saturday, August 24th, and did surprisingly well against a quick aggro deck.  I mean, anytime I can beat back a deck that just throws damage around like candy at a parade is a good time.  Unfortunately, I went up against the guy who took second in round two, and his interesting deck build beat me 2-0.  What was so interesting about?  We will discuss that in the next deck tech!

Thanks for reading guys!  I hope I’ve interested you in SolForge and deck building possibilities.  Do you have any comments or questions?  Post them below and I’ll do my best to get to all of them!  Want more?  Time for a shameless plug (the best types of plugs!).  You can follow me on twitch (www.twitch.tv/dehboy333) and twitter (@dehboyTV) to find out when I am going live and streaming SolForge.  Come hang out as we play games, make fun decks, and just hang out and have a good time!  Thanks again for reading, and have a good one!