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Artifact Fire

Artifact Basics: The Ins and Outs of Tower Destruction

March 8th, 2019 | jscaliseok

Introduction


Artifact is different from other card games because, rather than attack your opponent's life total, you're attacking their towers. To win, you can either destroy two 40-health towers across two different lanes, or you can destroy a 40 health and the 80-health tower that spawns after it. Understanding that is pretty straight forward. What is not is knowing which route you need to take.

We’ve touched upon the idea of aggression in the past, but today’s article expands on it. We’re not just breaking down how and when to be aggressive. This time we're looking at how to win from all different angles in all different archetypes. Going after two lanes or the same lane twice is not an easy decision to make, but it is one you need to analyze in every game.

Choose Your Path



Before we begin, it is first important to note that most decks win the game by destroying two towers in two different lanes. That is the default route to victory, and it is the one you always want to look for first. That, as we'll cover, is not an iron-clad rule, but it is one to always keep in mind.

There will be multiple times throughout every game of Artifact where you need to decide how you’re going to win. Nobody goes into a game knowing if they’re going to double kill a lane or if they’re going to go for two different towers. You might have an idea of what you want to do when the game starts, but plans routinely fall apart.

For that reason, the “tower question” occurs in different stages. The first is knowing how your deck primarily wants to close out games. Aggressive decks and combo often like to push for the double tower kill. That enables them to put all of their focus and resources into one lane. Though they pay attention to all three, being able to consolidate their cards is a great bonus.

In contrast, midrange and control decks like to spread out their cards. That style naturally pushes them towards going for multi-tower wins so that they don't put all their eggs in one basket.

Even so, these rules are not set in stone. They are simply a good place to start when discussing the different ways to win a game of Artifact. Plenty of aggressive decks destroy two towers before their opponent can get set, and there are quite a few games where slower decks lost two lanes only to win in one.

The Art of Aggression



The two most important factors to analyze when pushing for victory are aggression and timing. When it comes to aggression, you need to figure out how much damage you have and the best way to use it. If you’re deck relies on a big army push with Emissary of the Quorum or Assault Ladders it is easy to go for the double-tower win.

However, if all of your damage is spread out across the board, you want to attack in that way. Every deck does damage differently, but they all have a finite amount. Growing cards like Savage Wolf can easily take down a 40-health tower in an abandoned lane, but they are so easy to kill off that it’s often not worth banking on them to go for the 80. In contrast, Red Mist Pillager is a great card to play after you’ve destroyed a 40-health tower because of quickly it can grow out of control.

For these situations, you want to weigh what your deck can do against what your opponent gives you. If they give you a lane and you have a way to pump your board or push out massive amounts of damage, hit them hard. That will not always ensure you win in that way, but at the very least it will make your opponent react.

In contrast, if your opponent is playing a defensive game and slowing down any push you make, it is best to try split their focus by attacking different lanes. Those situations are important because they show that the way you win in Artifact is not always tied to your own play. More often than not it comes from your opponent.

Look at the Time



Timing is also extremely important towards knowing how you want to win.

Artifact is an extremely tight game. Though blowouts do happen every now and then, most games come down to the wire with you and your opponent desperately trying to push through that last bit of damage. Sometimes you’re both fighting in a contested lane, and sometimes it is about who can stack up more open damage.

This goes back to one of Artifact’s golden rules: first lane matters. The first lane always goes first (hence the name). As such, getting the second tower kill in that lane completely invalidates what would have happened on other parts of the board. For that reason, a lot of double tower kills focus on the first lane.

In order to do a double tower kill, you often need to give up on other lanes. That focus of resources can work, but it also leaves you vulnerable. Always be aware that your timing is on when committing to a single lane. In other words, know you can win the race.

Putting all of your resources into lane three puts even more risk on an already risky endeavor because, if your opponent does have a lot of gas in the first two lanes, they have a better chance of getting to victory first. If you can stack up lane one, however, then it is much easier to get your damage in before they get theirs.

That “which lane will finish first” mentality is key to understanding how you need to pace a game. Regardless of what your deck does or how it operates, you have to play to what’s in front of you. If your opponent has the jump on you, don’t be afraid to abandon your assault and take a different route.

Reading Your Opponent



The other part of timing is understanding how the race will play out. Pushing in any lane, even when going for two 40-health towers, does take a certain amount of risk. To stay on top of the game, you need to know what your opponent can do.

Though most players know how to hide their potential plays, the meta is settled enough (and games take enough turns) where you often know what they could have in their hand. Use that information, and always think about it before making a decision.

The color and heroes you’re playing against greatly alter how you attack towers. For instance, it is very hard to go for the same lane twice against Blue due to Annihilation. Though you might be able to sneak one in if you get a lot of early aggression and they don’t draw the sweeper, it is better to spread out your plays. Even if they abandon a lane, they can always jump back in and ruin your day.

In contrast, going for double tower kills against black or red can work well due to their inability to handle wide boards. Pushing hard in one lane early can force them out of it. Once they leave, you are free to do what you want.

Though the above scenarios tend to apply to creep-based decks, they are great examples of how to make decisions on multiple levels. You have the way you want to win when the game starts. From there, you analyze your own board, your opponent’s colors, and the game state. Taking that into account will then give you the correct play.

Conclusion


Every Artifact game plays out in a different way. Some are all about getting damage in as fast as possible, some are about playing slow, and some are about smashing everything you have into lane one before your opponent can win lane two.

There are two different ways to win every game. While most decks will kill two 40-health towers, do not think going for a 40 and then an 80 is out of the question. Wide-board decks and faster builds tend to focus on it more, but even slow decks that play their haymakers on turn nine can get there. It, like everything else in life, is all about adapting to the situation at hand.
(Last Updated: March 14th, 2019)

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