I feel like writing another article and subjecting you all to my gibberish and ranting So this time it’s going to be about another of those words that’s thrown around on the forums….. ‘teching’.
What is Teching?
Teching is choosing the right hero and the right cards to give you an advantage against your expected opponents. Almost everyone does this to some extent, probably without realising it. Whenever you say “I need 3 LLN to help with those Lance decks”, you’re teching. Whenever your deck size goes up by 1 because you just NEED to have that Sever Ties in there, you’re teching. Whenever you’re adding 4 Shrine in sheer frustration caused by numerous Millstalker and Stall Darkclaw opponents, you’re teching.
Of course, these examples above are simplistic and rather obvious forms of teching. However, there are more subtle ways to tech your deck, and ones that aren’t necessarily obvious immediately. Say for example I’m playing Lance and I’ve been coming up against a lot of Portal Majiya. The first choice for teching against her is OBVIOUSLY Spelleater Bands. However, I also run 4 x Raven Wildheart. Why? Many Portal Majiya rely on the dreaded “Shadow Knight loop”, where they constantly run Shadow Knight through the Portal, recovering the one you killed in the previous turn to drop through again. A hasted Raven breaks the loop. With only 3 damage, she won’t kill the Knight, however she will reduce it’s attack to 0, rendering it inert. The benefit to this is that even though you may have designed your deck around being a Majiya killer, Raven still causes headaches for almost every other hero.
Another example of more subtle teching is Wrath of the Forest in a Moonstalker deck. Seems counter-productive at first glance, right? After all, how can you get card draw from allies that can’t be killed by attacks? However, this is a way of helping tech Moon to survive his worst matchup, Mages. They bypass his stealth with burn, and thus can kill off his allies quick. However, with WotF out, you get cards back, allowing you to drop more threats and keep the pressure up. Eventually the mage runs out of burn (hopefully before you die), and Moon can go on the offensive.
Teching is more prevalent in tournament play, as the limited sample size makes it easier to scout the meta, determine the most likely/common heroes to be used and build a deck to counter them. A perfect example would be my WC rounds. I came up against no less than 3 Gwen decks in my failed attempt at the top 30. Why? Because Gwen is the perfect hero to counter everyone’s favourite all-rounder, Zaladar. And in tournaments such as the recent TWAIN and Grand Prix where there is hero lock (you must run the same hero) but you are allowed to change cards in between rounds, teching takes on a whole new level of importance, with entire decks being rewritten and retested each round to deal with the next opponent.
However, teching also occurs in Quick Match, just in a broader sense. i.e. you tend to tech for a wider variety of expected opponents, not just 2 or 3.
So how do I tech?
Easier said than done. To tech effectively you need to be very aware of the meta, the heroes and their playstyles. The best way to do this of course is to get out there and play with every hero to get a feel for their strengths/weaknesses. Of course, for many players this isn’t possible, so the other way to get a good feel for the meta is through second hand information, i.e. the forums, guild members, watching tournament replays.
Once you have a good grasp of what each hero can do and what you can expect, then you need to look your choice of heroes. Some heroes are just naturally good against another e.g. Jericho has a natural advantage over Warriors, Gwen over Zaladar, Lance over Gwen. However, teching should go deeper than just the choice of hero, it should go down to the individual cards in the deck. For example in TWAIN, where I had to tech against a Serena while using Boris, I included 3 x Valiant Defender, 4 x Sandworms, 4 x Bad Santa and ZERO weapons and armour. The reason for this was that Valiant Defender would make my allies invisible to the dreaded Anklebreaker, and Sandworms with their damage reduction are invulnerable to an unbuffed Anklebreaker anyway. Bad Santa counters Serena’s ability, and the lack of items renders Stop Thief! and it’s resource acceleration useless. Teching at the card level is far more difficult, and requires more in-depth knowledge of the game.
However in matches where you don’t know the hero your opponent is going to play (i.e. most of them), you need to take some risks and make educated guesses based on your opponent, their playstyle, what they’ve used previously, even what they’ve said in IRC. Sometimes this will blow up in your face, however sometimes you’ll get the favourable matchup and it’ll make your life so much easier. It’s always a good idea not to tech too heavily against one hero at the expense of all others and ensure your deck is still flexible and adaptable. Example, if I’m expecting my opponent to play Lance, I could play Moonstalker. However, what if he surprises me with a Mage? I’m in trouble. Instead I play Zaladar, not as strong against Lance as MS is, however he can also fend off a Mage quite happily.
Teching is one of those vital skills in Shadow Era, something most of us do to some extent. However if we really want to make headway in the game, we need to be able to tech effectively, which brings with it all sorts of other skills, like reading the metagame.
So get out there, have fun, kick some butt!