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KNOWING YOUR GAMEPLAN – Board State, Tempo and Curve

Knowing Your Gameplan
Board state, Tempo, and Curve

Welcome to the competitive world of Metazoo. It’s an exciting and sometimes daunting journey to figure out a new card game and we here at Caster Society strive to help you be at the top of your game. Which is why today I will be diving into more advanced concepts, Board state, Tempo, and Curve.

Understanding your Metazoo spellbook and the game your spellbook plays is a fundamental part of being a competitive caster. Understanding how your spellbook interacts with your opponent’s spellbook will be
the key to victory over the course of long tournaments and will help you to be the best caster you can be. This article will assume you have a basic understanding of Metazoo and how it is played. The concepts we will be discussing are more of guidelines, not rules, so spellbook building and gameplay will not always hold true to them, but understanding them will be extremely helpful in becoming the best
caster you can be. We will also be assuming that the two casters playing are of equal skill, as skill is a large part of what makes a match a win or a loss. So, let us get started!

First and foremost, lets define these terms. What is Board state? Board state is the amount and quality of the pages you have in the arena. The board state often dictates how you can interact with your opponent and how your opponent interacts with you. What is Tempo? In Metazoo almost all pages that are played require an aura cost. Tempo is the rate at which you play and spend that aura. If you are
playing your aura at a steady rate but you are not spending that aura at the same rate as your opponent, you will fall behind in tempo and have a good chance of losing that game. If you are not playing any
aura at all the same thing will happen, you will not advance your board state, fall behind in tempo, and you have a good chance of losing that game. But you cannot just spend that aura on anything, such as
bookmarking, bookmarking is powerful but it does not advance your board state, so what you spend your aura on matters. Generally bookmarking should be held off on until you have expended your aura on things that have progressed your board state and have no other plays to make.

Not all Metazoo spellbooks care about tempo and play a slightly different gameplan, but we will get into that a little later in the article. The tempo at which your spellbook plays will be dictated by your spellbooks curve, so, what is curve? As stated before, almost every page in Metazoo has a cost, whether it is 0 or 100, there is a stated amount of aura that needs to be paid to contract that page into the arena. So, if you breakdown your spellbook based on the cost of the pages, grouping all the pages of the same cost together, and you made a graph with each cost represented, this would be your curve. The curve dictates the rate at which you can play your pages, limiting powerful pages to later turns and allowing the game to progress at a reasonable and steady pace. We will be diving into specific spellbook archetypes and what types of curves these spellbooks generally have. Playing your pages on curve is in most instances the optimal way to play, meaning you play your 1-cost page on turn 1, your 2-cost page or two 1-cost pages on turn 2, and so on and so forth. Understanding these concepts will help you to optimize your gameplay.

So, what is your gameplan? We will be discussing gameplan based on the curve of your spellbook, obviously every Metazoo spellbook will have its own way of doing things, but your gameplan will be determined bythe cost of your pages and how you play those pages. We will be separating spellbooks into four main categories: Aggro, Midrange, Control, and Combo. Each of these spellbook types will have a specificcurve and style of game it will attempt to play based on that curve. Some spellbooks may be a combination of the previously stated archetypes, doing things slightly different then a pure aggro or pure midrange spellbook would. So, lets define these archetypes so that we can better understand what we are talking about.

Aggro

Metazoo aggro Fresno Nightcrawler

As the name suggests, play very aggressively, using lower cost pages to spend all available aura early in the game, generally flooding the arena with 1 to 2 cost beasties in the first few turns looking to close the game out before your opponent has a chance to establish a foothold in the arena. These Metazoo spellbooks tend to be strong against control and slower combo spellbooks but have trouble with midrange spellbooks due to the way midrange plays their game. The curve for an aggro spellbook tends to start out high, with lots of high quality 0 to 2 cost pages, sloping downwards as you move toward the mid 3 to 4 cost pages, ultimately running little to no high-cost pages, pages that are meant to be played later in the game. When playing an aggro spellbook, you generally want to put your foot on the gas and just press it to the floor, putting the pressure on and not letting up. Should you get your board wiped or not have the ability to keep the pressure on, your board will likely be overtaken by your opponent, and you will end up with a loss.

Midrange

Metazoo midrange Quetz

 

Midrange Metazoo spellbooks generally have what is called a bell curve, running a few high-quality low-cost pages, running more 2-4 cost pages, and then running a few late game pages, pages that cost 4 or more. The reason it is called a bell curve is because if you were to graph it your graph would look like a bell. Midrange spellbooks have a decent match up against most spellbook archetypes and therefore tend to be very popular. They have early game pages to help contest aggros aggression, but then have larger pages in the midgame allowing them to overpower and ultimately gain control of the game from aggro spellbooks. A midrange spellbooks weaknesses really show when against a control spellbook, which tends to run a lot of early game removal pages and with the slower game that midrange plays, control spellbooks can get to the later stages of the game, contracting bigger beasties and spells,
ultimately taking control of the board state. This particular matchup is one of the hardest for midrange to play against and requires a lot of game knowledge, patience, and sometimes a little luck to pull out the
win.

Midrange tries to establish tempo over the game after turn 3 or 4 and will from there attempt to keep tempo in their favor for the rest of the game, putting the opponent in a defensive position from that point onward. Should you lose that tempo or not be able to establish it in the first place, your chances of winning drastically decrease. Playing aura every turn is important for a midrange spellbook, especially the first few turns of the game, as it gives you the flexibility to make your plays with the powerful midrange pages you put in your spellbook.

Control

Metazoo Control

As the name implies, attempt to control the early and mid-game with removal pages such as spells that destroy either a single target or wipe the board and powerful status effects like confusion, paralyze, and sleep. Then in the late stages of the game start contracting large and hard to deal with besties with powerful effects. A control Metazoo spellbook curve tends to look one of two ways, either even across the board or sloping upwards, with little to no early game pages and more mid to late game pages. Because of this the control spellbooks weakness can be aggro spellbooks that curve out properly, meaning aggro spellbooks that spend all their aura on turns 1, 2, and 3, and put a lot of pressure on the control spellbook before the control spellbook has any chance of establishing a board.

Control spellbooks also tend to be some of the toughest to pilot since for much of the game you are playing from a defensive position, not necessarily making plays, but reacting to your opponent’s plays. In
doing this, you usually have multiple decisions that can be made and which ones you choose to make and when is going to be the difference between victory and defeat. Control spellbooks rarely have tempo
in their favor until extremely late in the game, but once they do swing tempo in their favor it is almost impossible to take it back from them as they will continue to contract threat after threat and create
ridiculously hard to deal with board states.

Combo

Metazoo combo Gaasyendietha

The last pure Metazoo spellbook archetype we will discuss is Combo. Combo is exactly what it sounds like, it uses a combination of pages to do something that it thinks is going to win it the game. Combo spellbooks tend to not care about curve or tempo and usually does not care about what its opponents gameplan is because they are just attempting to win the game with their combo. These spellbooks have a challenging time against no specific spellbook but more so against a caster that knows the combo the spellbook is attempting to use and either counter plays the combo or runs specific pages for the matchup to counter the combo. Combo spellbooks can be immensely powerful when optimized and it can feel very unfair when losing to a combo spellbook. On the flipside, it is very satisfying pulling off and winning
with your combo, especially when you put in the time and effort optimizing and learning the spellbook. Combo decks are and always will be some of the most powerful decks in any card game and with
Metazoo having many more cards to come the higher the likelihood that combos will be developed that swing the meta in that direction. Being prepared for a new combo spellbook is virtually impossible, but
once established in the meta you have a decent chance if you prepare to play against one specific combo spellbook.

Based on what pages we choose to put into our Metazoo spellbooks, any spellbook of any aura type can fall into one or more of these categories and even changing just a few pages can alter the way the spellbookplays and the way that it should be piloted. This also does not take into consideration the 15-page archive that we are able to utilize to change our spellbooks mid match and give ourselves the advantage over what could otherwise be a bad match up for our spellbook, also changing the way our spellbook is played and should be piloted. So now that we understand the basics of these concepts let us talk a little bit about tempo and the importance of properly curving out our spellbook. Metazoo provides us with a few different resources to utilize during a match, one of which is Life Points. Against most spellbooks you can take a few hits before you would be in the danger zone of getting your Life Points depleted and losing the game and eventually the round. By properly curving out, that means playing aura every turn and spending all your available aura in the early turns, we can protect this resource giving us more flexibility to make risky plays that can swing the game in our favor as the game progresses. Initiating the aggression in the early turns puts tempo in our favor, like a tennis player serving the ball, you get to decide from a safe position which direction you want to take the match at the start. If however you are the one receiving the aggression, you have to eventually make a play to turn tempo back in your favor, when to swing the game in a way that takes the aggression away from the opponent and puts you in the driver’s seat of the game. Often these plays will involve a risk, whether it be a coin toss, dice roll, waiting to bookmark the right page, or hoping that your opponent does not have a page that they can use to stop your play, such as dampen, void spell, or anti-potion potion. Once these types of plays are successful you have taken tempo back into your hands and now you dictate the direction of the game. Sometimes tempo can switch from caster to caster seemingly turn to turn, it all depends on the spellbooks you and your opponent are playing and the way you play them.

I hope that I have explained these concepts in a way that was easy to understand and that you will be able to go forward and apply these concepts to your spellbook building and gameplay. Knowing your
role in a match and what position you are playing from is fundamental to victory and will help you to take advantage of every opportunity presented to you during the game. Remember that these concepts are
not rules and that often the most powerful spellbooks are ones that can fill multiple of these roles at the same time, aggro spellbooks with a built-in combo or midrange spellbooks with late game control
beasties. So, get out there, build some spellbooks, play some games, have some fun, and always remember the magic is real!!!

Join me next time when we discuss other advanced concepts such as Page Quality, Decision Trees, Resources and Overextension, and many many more. Until next time Metazooheads, this is your friendly community caster signing off!

Douglas Haas
Discord – DiRTy / Instagram – Lord__DiRTy

18 replies on “KNOWING YOUR GAMEPLAN – Board State, Tempo and Curve”

Very useful and easy to understand! thank you for all the amazing tips and tricks that we will definitely be using to our advantage mwhahaha!!!

Thank you for your support, I look forward to seeing you at next years Casters Cup ready to battle with the best of them!!!

Thank you for the amazing read, I learned a lot from this article that I was not previously aware of. Looking forward to more articles like this to help me get my game up 🥰

Thank you so much for the kind words! Come back next time for more comprehensive information about Metazoo competitive play and hopefully learn more about this game I have come to love!!!

Yet to be determined, with a game like this it is rare for one play style to emerge as the best, as I said in the article, the pilot of the deck and their skill level determines a lot, there are so many different colors with so many ways to play there will definitely be a period of discovery and even then we will see change to come after that.

Thank you friend, means a lot, I hope this and my future articles can be used to help point new casters in the right direction. The only way we grow the game is by teaching new players the best we can.

Amazing article from an amazing player. This is definitely a must read for anybody looking to play trading card games competitively new and old.

Great article! Tempo is one of those hard to define concepts and I think you nailed it. I’d consider myself a fairly proficient deck builder but I still learned a few things about TCGs from this article. Looking forward to the next one!

Tempo is definitely a hard concept for new players to grasp and that’s what I attempted to do with this article, give new players a starting point to help them best understand what tempo was and the importance of it. I’m very happy I was able to portray that in a way you found helpful and I hope my future articles can do similar things with other advanced topics.

Coming from the Caster Cup Champion that means the world to me! Couldn’t have a better reference or recommendation!!!! Congratulations on the win brother and I only hope my future articles can impress just as much!!! ❤️❤️❤️

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