If you've read our review of Ubisoft’s new free-to-play online trading card game Might & Magic Duel of Champions then you’ll have heard it’s a bit good. But getting into any online strategy game can be intimidating for a newcomer, so we’ve compiled a collection of tips, tricks, tactical advice and useful resources to get you up to speed and rocketing up the leaderboards.
Hone your Deck
So you’ve chosen your Faction, and received your starting Hero and Deck. The first thing you’ll want to do at this point is go into the deck builder interface and prune your deck a fair bit, because the way they’re set up by default is, well, a bit rubbish.
You can have up to a total of 200 Creature, Spell and Fortune cards in your deck at any one time, but you really won’t want that many - indeed, nearer the minimum of 50 will be better when first starting out. You also don’t want a wide range of differing cards, but a core set in multiple numbers.
If sorting your deck out sounds a bit overwhelming, don’t stress, because help is at hand. Fansite, as well as having a full listing of the game’s cards, has a section where the community have shared a whole raft of example deck builds, from newbie-friendly to advanced. You can narrow them down by Hero as well. Starting out with good old Garant, Seeker of Discord as my Hero, I found the Common/Uncommon Newbie Deck by Keadlash particularly useful. You can always sub in Creatures with similar stats if you don’t have the exact make up of a build in your card collection.
Types of deck
Decks generally fall into two categories: Rush and Control.
Rush (sometimes also called Aggro or Blitz) deck builds are focused, as the name suggests, on aggression, fast pace and inflicting maximum damage on the opposing Hero as early as possible.
Control decks are based on playing a defensive first half of a match until the Resources count gets high enough to deploy really heavy hitting Creatures (nicknamed “Fatties” in the community due to their high Attack and Health Point totals).
Being defensive as a beginner may seem the natural course, but for those first starting out I’d actually recommend focusing on a Rush style of play while you get to grips with the finer points of the game. There’s plenty of purpose designed deck suggestions suited to this style online.
Points to remember when playing a Rush style:
* Your deck should be loaded towards larger numbers of low-cost Creatures, allowing you to gain numerical advantage on the battleground. * Look to level up your Might to 4 in the initial few turns, but after that concentrate on drawing a new card whenever you have the Resource Point spare. * Look for empty columns to place a Creature in rather than fronting up to an opposite number so that you can directly inflict damage to the enemy Hero. * Double up a Melee and a Shooter on each column wherever possible, so you can maximise damage on higher cost enemies the turn after they are played. * Make maximum use of advantageous card trades, as outlined next.
* Look to level up your Might to 4 in the initial few turns, but after that concentrate on drawing a new card whenever you have the Resource Point spare.
* Look for empty columns to place a Creature in rather than fronting up to an opposite number so that you can directly inflict damage to the enemy Hero.
* Double up a Melee and a Shooter on each column wherever possible, so you can maximise damage on higher cost enemies the turn after they are played.
* Make maximum use of advantageous card trades, as outlined next.
Making cards work for you
Apart from drawing cards as often as possible once your Might has hit 4, there are other ways cards can be used to keep your opponent on the back foot when playing Rush. Certain cards can be traded for far more powerful (and Resource intensive) enemy cards, which can really inhibit Control build players.
The obvious example is area-of-effect spells, which can take out multiple foes for a one-off cost (and another reason that it makes sense for you to spread your own cards out across the board when playing with low Health Creatures), but other spells such as Death Seal and Soul Reaver can take out an expensive Creature for only half the equivalent cost.
Certain Event cards can also be useful for this too, even when they affect both players. The Celebrations card might gift each player a new card, but if your deck is full of low cost cards that you can deploy quicker and more plentifully than your opponent then it gives you an edge.
Hero Health is a resource as well
It may sound counter-intuitive when winning the game is a matter of reducing the opposing Hero’s health to zero first, but don’t be afraid to expend your own Hero’s health points if an advantage can be gained.
A prime example is when your opponent has a low Attack Creature occupying a column. Why place your higher rated Creature opposite it if another column is empty, when you can place yours there and blast chunks out of your opponent’s Health at a faster rate than they are hurting you? Similarly, the Market of Shadows Event card allows you to draw an extra card for the loss of one Hero health point, which is actually a great trade when you still have Health in hand.
For more detailed discussion of Rush and Control builds, gameplay tactics and using card advantage, I thoroughly recommend reading DoC community member, which was a huge help to me when I first started out.
Use a Deck Builder
Once you’ve gained a firmer understanding of the game and your preferred play style, you’ll probably want to get into the nitty gritty of building your own deck to suit your needs, but the deck builder interface in Duel of Champions can make it a bit of a chore to keep on top of things.
Fortunately, DoC community member Drejn87 has come to the rescue by coding a dedicated deck builder program. It runs in Java and the latest version of this handy tool, which includes an automatic cost distribution chart can be. Well worth a look if kitting out your own decks is your thing.
Weighing up your Mulligan
If the opposing player has the first turn, you’ll get a chance to view your opening hand or Mulligan, and elect whether you wish to draw another randomised hand instead. You should spend a few moments thinking this through as it can have a big impact on the game if your hand limits your ability to field cards during the early rounds, especially if you’re going for a Rush play style. If your hand is heavily stacked towards higher Resource units or has too high a concentration of Spell or Fortune cards which won’t come into play until later in the match, take your chances and ditch it for another.
Make the most of the Infernal Pit
The Infernal Pit is a rather neat feature in Duel of Champions: tip your unwanted cards in, receive a set and predictable amount of Gold back based on their class, with the added bonus of the chance to win an Infernal Deal card on top. But wouldn’t it be nice if we could make the chances of winning that bonus card a little more weighted in our favour?
Of course, the DoC community have already put their hivemind into action and lessened the odds considerably. The bonus card on offer in the Infernal Pit rotates every eight hours, and thiskeeps track of which card is currently featured.
Meanwhilehas helpfully posted details of the Gold value of every card class, and the total value you have to sacrifice to ensure you have a 100% chance of being rewarded with the Infernal Deal card in return. For example, if the current Infernal Deal card is in the Common class, you’ll need to sacrifice 1000 Gold worth of current cards to make sure you receive it.
Combine the two and you can ensure that you get exactly the card you want for your burgeoning collection whenever it’s on offer.
Hopefully this collection of tips and tricks will help newcomers to Might & Magic Duel of Champions get a leg up on the opposition and make the most of this excellent online card game. There’s even more suggestions and advice on tap in the official DoC forums, so it’s well worth getting involved in the game’s community.