There has been a massive amount of new players in the Splinterlands lately. I am reading of blockchain newcomers and veterans who finally took the plunge into this fantastic game on a daily basis on Hive and Publish0x. FOMO is arising as Untamed booster packs and land are about to sell out and a huge airdrop was announced for the game.
I remember my first days in the Splinterlands and they were rough. I had to overcome a huge losing streak wall before I eventually started advancing in the leagues. This is difficult for us long-term players to grasp but the auto-battling and real-time deck building is something even experienced TCG players are not used to. Combine this with changing mana caps, different rulesets for each battle and a whole potpourri of abilities and confusion is perfect.
For those who are lost at what to learn first, I recommend to focus on card placement first. In my first battles I used to have melee monsters sitting in the fourth spot of my team not doing anything while my opponent’s monsters were all attacking. I didn’t quite understand what was going on. That is why I would like to give a short introduction to basic card placement techniques. Note that this will change according to ruleset but in the basic ruleset the following points are helpful to keep in mind. Start learning this. When you got the hang of it, continue to read up on the abilities of the cards you own on the ‘How to play’ page.
The tank is the first monster in the team. As most attacks target the first monster and the monsters keep coming to the front as monsters before them die, the tank is what shields your team from the opponent’s monsters. A classical tank is a Melee monster with a strong attack and high HP. A shield may be nice but as magic attacks go through shields, high HP should be your priority over shields.
There are many abilities that can be effective on tanks but I don’t want to overwhelm you with them just yet. If you happen to have a tank monster with the healing ability like the Flesh Golem in the picture, then that would be a great pick as has the potential to remove an entire round’s damage in the lower leagues.
Melee monsters like these can attack only when they are in the first spot of your team.
The Reach Monster
The reach ability allows melee monsters to attack from the second position ‘reaching’ past the tank. Reach monsters are usually strong melee monsters, a bit less powerful than the tank but still something to be cautious of.
Using a reach monster is to be considered optional, you may decide to pass on these in battles with lower mana cap as they can be comparatively expensive mana-wise.
Sneak & Opportunity Monsters
Now let us take a look at melee monster that can attack regardless of their position. They will attack the opponent’s tank spot when in the first place but will otherwise attack the last monster (sneak) or the monster with the lowest health (opportunity) on your opponent’s team.
Both of these kinds are usually cheap in terms of mana-cost but can have quite powerful attacks when levelled up. The low HP these come with make it recommendable to not use these in the tank spot, or in the last spot (where they would be subject to your opponent’s sneak attacks) but to hide them in the middle of your team behind the reach monster.
Not considering possible counters (like magic reflect, void or void armor) magic is the strongest of the three attack types as it goes straight through your opponent’s armor and can be used from any position. I have grown accustomed to using magic in a position after melee monsters with sneak & opportunity. You might as well switch the two, though, they would both still be in a position from which they could attack.
Many magic monsters come with great abilities on the higher level like reducing the health of your opponent’s monsters or slowing them down. I want these to stay in effect as long as possible which is why I hide the magicians behind the wall of melee in front and shield them from sneak attacks with ranged monsters in the back.
I find the wording confusing because magic also attacks from a ranged distance but who am I to judge. Anyways, ‘Ranged Attackers’ are what one would normally call archers.
Ranged attackers can attack from a distance but not from the tank spot. Consequently, if all your monsters in front of a ranged monster die and it reaches the tank spot, it will just be sitting their unable to attack, getting slaughtered by your opponent’s team.
This is why Ranged Attackers should be placed at the backline of your team. They can be very powerful and will prevent sneak monsters from getting at your magicians, so despite their disadvantage they get used just as often as the other types.
The Perfect Team
Now, if you want to see all of this in action, view this battle I fought with my gold card account @kintaro-oe:
Click on the video ^ to play or view the original match on Splinterlands.
Pay close attention to which monsters attack from which positions and which foe they are targeting. As a closing note, I am never playing this to the book anymore now that I advanced to the Diamond and Champions leagues but I think it is good advice to follow this general idea in their first battles until they can start experimenting.
Disclaimer: No financial advice included in this article. Just sharing my personal experience. Do your own research!
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Images courtesy of Unsplash.com / screenshots taken myself.