Join / Log In
X
Cards
Decks
News
Abaddon Icon Abaddon Act of Defiance Icon Act of Defiance Aghanim's Sanctum Icon Aghanim's Sanctum Allseeing One's Favor Icon Allseeing One's Favor Altar of the Mad Moon Icon Altar of the Mad Moon ...And One For Me Icon ...And One For Me Annihilation Icon Annihilation Aphotic Shield Icon Aphotic Shield Apotheosis Blade Icon Apotheosis Blade Arcane Assault Icon Arcane Assault Arcane Censure Icon Arcane Censure Arm the Rebellion Icon Arm the Rebellion Assassin's Apprentice Icon Assassin's Apprentice Assassin's Shadow Icon Assassin's Shadow Assassin's Veil Icon Assassin's Veil Assassinate Icon Assassinate Assault Ladders Icon Assault Ladders Assured Destruction Icon Assured Destruction Astral Imprisonment Icon Astral Imprisonment At Any Cost Icon At Any Cost Avernus' Blessing Icon Avernus' Blessing Axe Icon Axe Ball Lightning Icon Ball Lightning Barbed Mail Icon Barbed Mail Barracks Icon Barracks Battlefield Control Icon Battlefield Control Beastmaster Icon Beastmaster Bellow Icon Bellow Berserker's Call Icon Berserker's Call Better Late Than Never Icon Better Late Than Never Bitter Enemies Icon Bitter Enemies Blade of the Vigil Icon Blade of the Vigil Blink Dagger Icon Blink Dagger Blood Rage Icon Blood Rage Bloodseeker Icon Bloodseeker Bolt of Damocles Icon Bolt of Damocles Book of the Dead Icon Book of the Dead Bounty Hunter Icon Bounty Hunter Bracers of Sacrifice Icon Bracers of Sacrifice Bristleback Icon Bristleback Broadsword Icon Broadsword Bronze Legionnaire Icon Bronze Legionnaire Burning Oil Icon Burning Oil Buying Time Icon Buying Time Call the Reserves Icon Call the Reserves Caught Unprepared Icon Caught Unprepared Centaur Hunter Icon Centaur Hunter Centaur Warrunner Icon Centaur Warrunner Chain Frost Icon Chain Frost Chainmail Icon Chainmail Champion of the Ancient Icon Champion of the Ancient Cheating Death Icon Cheating Death Chen Icon Chen Claszureme Hourglass Icon Claszureme Hourglass Claymore Icon Claymore Cleansing Rite Icon Cleansing Rite Clear the Deck Icon Clear the Deck Cloak of Endless Carnage Icon Cloak of Endless Carnage Collateral Damage Icon Collateral Damage Combat Training Icon Combat Training Compel Icon Compel Conflagration Icon Conflagration Coordinated Assault Icon Coordinated Assault Corrosive Mist Icon Corrosive Mist Coup de Grace Icon Coup de Grace Crippling Blow Icon Crippling Blow Crystal Maiden Icon Crystal Maiden Cunning Plan Icon Cunning Plan Curse of Atrophy Icon Curse of Atrophy Cursed Satyr Icon Cursed Satyr Dark Seer Icon Dark Seer Debbi the Cunning Icon Debbi the Cunning Defend the Weak Icon Defend the Weak Defensive Bloom Icon Defensive Bloom Defensive Stance Icon Defensive Stance Demagicking Maul Icon Demagicking Maul Diabolic Revelation Icon Diabolic Revelation Dimensional Portal Icon Dimensional Portal Dirty Deeds Icon Dirty Deeds Disciple of Nevermore Icon Disciple of Nevermore Divided We Stand Icon Divided We Stand Divine Intervention Icon Divine Intervention Divine Purpose Icon Divine Purpose Double Edge Icon Double Edge Drow Ranger Icon Drow Ranger Duel Icon Duel Earthshaker Icon Earthshaker Echo Slam Icon Echo Slam Eclipse Icon Eclipse Emissary of the Quorum Icon Emissary of the Quorum Empower Icon Empower Enchantress Icon Enchantress Enough Magic! Icon Enough Magic! Enrage Icon Enrage Escape Route Icon Escape Route Farvhan the Dreamer Icon Farvhan the Dreamer Fight Through the Pain Icon Fight Through the Pain Fighting Instinct Icon Fighting Instinct Fog of War Icon Fog of War Foresight Icon Foresight Forward Charge Icon Forward Charge Fountain Flask Icon Fountain Flask Fractured Timeline Icon Fractured Timeline Friendly Fire Icon Friendly Fire Frostbite Icon Frostbite Fur-lined Mantle Icon Fur-lined Mantle Gank Icon Gank Glyph of Confusion Icon Glyph of Confusion God's Strength Icon God's Strength Golden Ticket Icon Golden Ticket Grand Melee Icon Grand Melee Grazing Shot Icon Grazing Shot Gust Icon Gust Hand of God Icon Hand of God Healing Salve Icon Healing Salve Heartstopper Aura Icon Heartstopper Aura Hellbear Crippler Icon Hellbear Crippler Helm of the Dominator Icon Helm of the Dominator Hero's Cape Icon Hero's Cape Heroic Resolve Icon Heroic Resolve Hip Fire Icon Hip Fire Homefield Advantage Icon Homefield Advantage Horn of the Alpha Icon Horn of the Alpha Hound of War Icon Hound of War Howling Mind Icon Howling Mind Ignite Icon Ignite Incarnation of Selemene Icon Incarnation of Selemene Intimidation Icon Intimidation Ion Shell Icon Ion Shell Iron Branch Protection Icon Iron Branch Protection Iron Fog Goldmine Icon Iron Fog Goldmine J'Muy the Wise Icon J'Muy the Wise Jasper Daggers Icon Jasper Daggers Juke Icon Juke Kanna Icon Kanna Keefe the Bold Icon Keefe the Bold Keenfolk Golem Icon Keenfolk Golem Keenfolk Musket Icon Keenfolk Musket Keenfolk Plate Icon Keenfolk Plate Keenfolk Turret Icon Keenfolk Turret Kraken Shell Icon Kraken Shell Leather Armor Icon Leather Armor Legion Commander Icon Legion Commander Legion Standard Bearer Icon Legion Standard Bearer Lich Icon Lich Lightning Strike Icon Lightning Strike Lion Icon Lion Lodestone Demolition Icon Lodestone Demolition Lost in Time Icon Lost in Time Loyal Beast Icon Loyal Beast Luna Icon Luna Lycan Icon Lycan Magnus Icon Magnus Mana Drain Icon Mana Drain March of the Machines Icon March of the Machines Marrowfell Brawler Icon Marrowfell Brawler Mazzie Icon Mazzie Meepo Icon Meepo Melee Creep Icon Melee Creep Mercenary Exiles Icon Mercenary Exiles Messenger Rookery Icon Messenger Rookery Mist of Avernus Icon Mist of Avernus Murder Plot Icon Murder Plot Mystic Flare Icon Mystic Flare Necrophos Icon Necrophos Nether Ward Icon Nether Ward New Orders Icon New Orders No Accident Icon No Accident Nyctasha's Guard Icon Nyctasha's Guard Obliterating Orb Icon Obliterating Orb Oglodi Catapult Icon Oglodi Catapult Oglodi Vandal Icon Oglodi Vandal Ogre Conscript Icon Ogre Conscript Ogre Corpse Tosser Icon Ogre Corpse Tosser Ogre Magi Icon Ogre Magi Omniknight Icon Omniknight Outworld Devourer Icon Outworld Devourer Path of the Bold Icon Path of the Bold Path of the Cunning Icon Path of the Cunning Path of the Dreamer Icon Path of the Dreamer Path of the Wise Icon Path of the Wise Payday Icon Payday Phantom Assassin Icon Phantom Assassin Phase Boots Icon Phase Boots Pick a Fight Icon Pick a Fight Pick Off Icon Pick Off Pit Fighter of Quoidge Icon Pit Fighter of Quoidge Plague Ward Icon Plague Ward Platemail Icon Platemail Poaching Knife Icon Poaching Knife Poised to Strike Icon Poised to Strike Potion of Knowledge Icon Potion of Knowledge Prellex Icon Prellex Prey on the Weak Icon Prey on the Weak Primal Roar Icon Primal Roar Prowler Vanguard Icon Prowler Vanguard Pugna Icon Pugna Rampaging Hellbear Icon Rampaging Hellbear Ravenhook Icon Ravenhook Ravenous Mass Icon Ravenous Mass Raze Icon Raze Rebel Decoy Icon Rebel Decoy Rebel Instigator Icon Rebel Instigator Red Mist Maul Icon Red Mist Maul Red Mist Pillager Icon Red Mist Pillager Relentless Pursuit Icon Relentless Pursuit Relentless Zombie Icon Relentless Zombie Remote Detonation Icon Remote Detonation Rend Armor Icon Rend Armor Restoration Effort Icon Restoration Effort Revtel Convoy Icon Revtel Convoy Revtel Investments Icon Revtel Investments Revtel Signet Ring Icon Revtel Signet Ring Ring of Tarrasque Icon Ring of Tarrasque Rising Anger Icon Rising Anger Ristul Emblem Icon Ristul Emblem Rix Icon Rix Rolling Storm Icon Rolling Storm Roseleaf Druid Icon Roseleaf Druid Roseleaf Rejuvenator Icon Roseleaf Rejuvenator Roseleaf Wall Icon Roseleaf Wall Routed Icon Routed Rumusque Blessing Icon Rumusque Blessing Rumusque Vestments Icon Rumusque Vestments Satyr Duelist Icon Satyr Duelist Satyr Magician Icon Satyr Magician Savage Wolf Icon Savage Wolf Selemene's Favor Icon Selemene's Favor Self Sabotage Icon Self Sabotage Selfish Cleric Icon Selfish Cleric Seraphim Shield Icon Seraphim Shield Shield of Aquila Icon Shield of Aquila Shield of Basilius Icon Shield of Basilius Shiva's Guard Icon Shiva's Guard Shop Deed Icon Shop Deed Short Sword Icon Short Sword Sister of the Veil Icon Sister of the Veil Skywrath Mage Icon Skywrath Mage Slay Icon Slay Smash Their Defenses! Icon Smash Their Defenses! Smeevil Armsmaster Icon Smeevil Armsmaster Smeevil Blacksmith Icon Smeevil Blacksmith Sniper Icon Sniper Sorla Khan Icon Sorla Khan Soul of Spring Icon Soul of Spring Sow Venom Icon Sow Venom Spot Weakness Icon Spot Weakness Spring the Trap Icon Spring the Trap Stars Align Icon Stars Align Steal Strength Icon Steal Strength Steam Cannon Icon Steam Cannon Steel Reinforcement Icon Steel Reinforcement Stonehall Cloak Icon Stonehall Cloak Stonehall Elite Icon Stonehall Elite Stonehall Pike Icon Stonehall Pike Stonehall Plate Icon Stonehall Plate Storm Spirit Icon Storm Spirit Strafing Run Icon Strafing Run Sucker Punch Icon Sucker Punch Sven Icon Sven Temple of War Icon Temple of War The Cover of Night Icon The Cover of Night The Oath Icon The Oath The Omexe Arena Icon The Omexe Arena The Tyler Estate Icon The Tyler Estate Thundergod's Wrath Icon Thundergod's Wrath Thunderhide Alpha Icon Thunderhide Alpha Thunderhide Pack Icon Thunderhide Pack Thunderstorm Icon Thunderstorm Tidehunter Icon Tidehunter Timbersaw Icon Timbersaw Time of Triumph Icon Time of Triumph Tinker Icon Tinker Tower Barrage Icon Tower Barrage Town Portal Scroll Icon Town Portal Scroll Track Icon Track Traveler's Cloak Icon Traveler's Cloak Treant Protector Icon Treant Protector Trebuchets Icon Trebuchets Tresdin's Standards Icon Tresdin's Standards Troll Soothsayer Icon Troll Soothsayer Tyler Estate Censor Icon Tyler Estate Censor Unearthed Secrets Icon Unearthed Secrets Unsupervised Artillery Icon Unsupervised Artillery Untested Grunt Icon Untested Grunt Ursa Icon Ursa Venomancer Icon Venomancer Ventriloquy Icon Ventriloquy Verdant Refuge Icon Verdant Refuge Vesture of the Tyrant Icon Vesture of the Tyrant Vhoul Martyr Icon Vhoul Martyr Viper Icon Viper Viper Strike Icon Viper Strike Viscous Nasal Goo Icon Viscous Nasal Goo Watchtower Icon Watchtower Whirling Death Icon Whirling Death Whispers of Madness Icon Whispers of Madness Wingfall Hammer Icon Wingfall Hammer Winter Wyvern Icon Winter Wyvern Winter's Curse Icon Winter's Curse Wrath of Gold Icon Wrath of Gold Zeus Icon Zeus Zombie Icon Zombie Leaked Artifact Cards and their DotA Counterparts The Basics of Artifact 5 Reasons Valve's DotA Card Game is Good News for DotA Players Artifact Basics: Getting to Know the Card Types Artifact Basics: Letting Your Heroes Die Artifact Basics: The Ins and Outs of Tower Destruction Artifact Basics: Understanding Items Artifact Beta Date Discovered Artifact Deck Builder by ArtifactFire - Create Your Own Artifact Deck! Artifact Deck Tech: 4 Red, 1 Black Decklist Artifact Deck Tech: Black Red Hyper Aggro Decklist Artifact Deck Tech: Black/Blue Economy Decklist Artifact Deck Tech: Blue Green Swarm Decklist Artifact Deck Tech: Blue Green Swarm Decklist Artifact Deck Tech: Green Black Oath Decklist Artifact Deck Tech: Green Black Ramp Decklist Artifact Deck Tech: Mono Black Aggro Decklist Artifact Deck Tech: Mono Blue Control Decklist Artifact Deck Tech: Mono Green Ramp Decklist Artifact Deck Tech: Mono Red Aggro Decklist Artifact Deck Tech: Mono Red Midrange Decklist Artifact Deck Tech: Red Green Ramp Decklist Artifact Discord Bot - The Power of ArtifactFire's Database Right in Your Discord Server! Artifact Hero Tier List - Constructed Artifact Item Cards and Valve's Innovations Artifact Launch Party! Giving Away 50 copies of Artifact Artifact Market Data and Card Page Updates Artifact Mechanics - What We Know So Far Artifact Turn Order - Phases of an Artifact Game Artifact Twitch Extension - ArtifactFire Companion Artifact: Balance, Skill Rating, and Leveling Changes ArtifactFire Media: Video and Images from the Artifact World ArtifactFire Q&A: Questions Answered by the Artifact Community Blink Dagger: Playing to What You Can't See Content Creator Job Opening Deck Building 101 - How to Build an Artifact Deck Game Modes and Growing Your Collection Learning the Colors of Artifact New Artifact Cards Revealed at PAX and PAX Deck Lists Takeaways from the Artifact Deck Builder Leak The Archetypes of Artifact: Aggro The Archetypes of Artifact: Combo The Archetypes of Artifact: Control The Archetypes of Artifact: Midrange The Archetypes of Artifact: Ramp The Importance of Initiative in Artifact Understanding Artifact's Cross-Lane Cards Utilizing Aggression in Artifact What is Artifact? - Differences Between Artifact and Existing Card Games When NOT to play cards in Artifact

Join the leading Artifact deck building
site to share your ideas and passion
with fellow players!

Create an MFN Account






Or

Artifact Fire

The Importance of Initiative in Artifact

December 10th, 2018 | jscaliseok

Introduction


Artifact is a complex game with many moving parts. As such, you need to plan ahead. Looking forward a turn or two is often the difference between winning and losing, and it is an incredibly fine line to walk. That manifests itself in various ways, but one of the most important is initiative.

Initiative is a key aspect of Artifact. However, it is also one of the hardest features to understand. Not only is it hard to properly plan for, but keeping initiative often means sacrificing the “now” for the “later.” That is not intuitive to Artifact newcomers, but it is easy to understand with a little practice.

What is Initiative?



Initiative in Artifact is what decides who goes first in a lane. It is randomly chosen at the start of the match, and from there is passes back-and-forth when players put down cards.

For instance, if you have it and you drop an Iron Fog Goldmine on turn one, priority passes to your opponent. If they then play a card, it goes back to you. If they don’t play a card in response to yours, simply opting to pass by clicking the button instead, initiative stays with them regardless if you play another card or not.

That is important to note because, in the battle for initiative, once you lose it the only way to get it back besides playing initiative-specific cards is for your opponent to play a card or use an ability. As long as they keep passing, initiative stays with them. On the flip side, you can also pass as much as you want once you have initiative.

The reason that is so important is because, with the exception of certain cards that we’ll cover below, you never have to worry about initiative once you lose it. If you’re in a lane and you don’t have initiative, you can play as many cards as you want to without ever losing momentum.

Often, you will find yourself in a lane where you'll be unsure whether or not to play a card. If you already don't have initiative, that choice becomes much easier. That is the first thing to note because it will help you better sculpt your turns and set up future plays.

Long Term Goals



Now that we’ve gone over what initiative is and learned how it operates, the next step is to analyze the best way to plan for it.

Initiative does not switch sides in Artifact when play transitions to the next lane. That is key because it means you can plan ahead by not playing a card rather than playing one. If you absolutely need to go first in the next lane, simply hold back.

You might lose tempo with this strategy, but that rarely matters in a lane you’ve lost or one you’re prepared to abandon. In that same vein, it is also a good route to take if it will allow you to win the game.

For example, if you’re on the right lane and you know you can play Enough Magic! in the middle lane next turn for the win, that should be your main goal. Don’t play cards before getting to that second lane, no matter how tempting it may seem. Even dropping one card or activating one ability can ruin your entire plan.

Even if you aren’t going for the victory, that foresight is key to winning games in Artifact. The example I’ve personally seen the most in my playing of Mono Black is Sniper vs. Tinker.

There have been multiple games where those two are across from each other in the first lane. That makes for an interesting scenario because both heroes take each other out with their abilities. Sniper cleanly kills Tinker, where Tinker completely nullifies Sniper. Whoever goes first wins the battle. As such, if those are the only two heroes in a lane going first can lead to a huge swing.

The above scenario is just one example of initiative's importance, but there are many different plays where it comes up. For instance, being able to use your mana before your opponent kills your hero, or when you’re planning on killing your opponent’s only hero to stop them from taking over a lane.

Just make sure the tempo or push you're giving up is worth the trade off. You never want to keep initiative if it means losing a key lane or falling far behind.

Playing for the Later Turns



As you will note, initiative rarely matters early on in the game. Many opening cards do not have large swing potential, and there are no high-impact hero-killing cards like Thundergod’s Wrath or Assassinate flying around the board.

For this reason, you can typically get away with ignoring initiative for the first turn or two. However, it starts to become extremely important once you start to move into turn five. That does not mean it is the only thing you want to think about, but it needs to be at the forefront of your mind going into the middle turns of the game.

The only large exception to the rule is Duel. Red is quite popular right now, and you need to be careful if your opponent plays Legion Commander. You do not want to get locked out of a key early play because your opponent took down your hero before you could react.

Walking the Initiative Line



Unfortunately, not every game of Artifact will be as easy to break down as the above scenarios. Sometimes (in fact, most of the time) you’ll need to play cards. Either because you have to save a lane, or you simply need to execute your game plan.

Fortunately, your opponent needs to play cards as well.

That is key to understand because it is easy to get too careful and not play on the board enough. There will be many situations where you need initiative for a future lane, but you also need to play a card in the current one. When moving through that tricky play there are different aspects you need to think about.

First, always note the importance of each lane. If you want initiative in the future lane, but it is not vital to your plan, then it is ok to drop a card. However, if this lane is much less important, hold back.

If both lanes are key, you next need to anticipate how likely your opponent is to play a card. If your opponent goes second, you can often run out a card because they will likely counter with something to get use out of their mana. If they go first, always analyze their hand and think about what cards they may want to play or abilities they want to use before moving on.

Remember, just because your opponent uses all of their mana does not mean they are out of things to do. Items and abilities both shift priority, and you need to keep track of what your opponent might have.

In that same vein, you can also force your opponent's hand. Putting down something like Stonehall Pike to give your hero enough attack to kill your opponent's will often force them to respond in one way or another. Those lines are often extremely safe because, even if your opponent does not respond, you get a good push out of your play.

Initiative as a Weapon



Another key note about initiative is that it can be used as a way to pressure your opponent. That may sound odd, but you rarely need to work for it if you're ahead.

Let’s say you've already destroyed one tower and you need priority in the middle lane to play a key spell before your opponent can use something like Coup de Grace on your lone hero. If you have pressure in the left lane you can play cards freely because it puts your opponent between a rock and a hard place.

Either they respond to counter you in the first lane (giving you priority for the second) or they allow you to build up and give up ground for the second tower. Not only that, but if you don't care about the right lane, it truly forces your opponent back because if they don't give up initiative in the first lane you can then pass in the second and third to keep priority for the first lane again at the start of the next round.

Those type of scenarios are critical because they help reinforce the idea that initiative is something both players always want. Yes, you can plan for it, but you can also use it to your advantage by making your opponent work for it in ways they don't want to. Just remember that your opponent can also do the same thing to you, which means you need to be careful when falling behind or conceding initiative a lot during the game.

Gaining Initiative Through Cards



As covered, there are two ways to get initiative in Artifact. Either your opponent does something (activates an ability, plays a card, etc.) or you play a card that specifically reads “get initiative.” Though only a few cards have that ability, it is prevalent in spells like Hip Fire or Kraken Shell. These cards are easy to overlook when deck building, but they should never be underestimated during a game.

The ability to suddenly gain priority when your opponent expects you to pass it back is one of the best ways to ruin carefully laid plans. This is especially useful when your opponent has no heroes in the right lane and expects you to play cards to give them initiative in the left.

A carefully timed Hipe Fire or Arcane Assault can blow your opponent out, which means you should use them wisely. However, don't let them catch you off guard. These cards are strong, and you never want to let your opponent snatch initiative away without you planning for it first. Be aware of when they could have these cards and adjust accordingly.

Conclusion


Initiative is not the end-all, be-all of Artifact. However, it is something you need to keep an eye on as the game progresses. Losing it early is not a big deal, but its importance grows as the game moves on. Always be aware of it when sculpting turns, choosing cards, or setting up lanes. It is easy to lose track of, and it is easy to miss. However, sometimes not playing a card, even across an entire round, is the right move.
(Last Updated: December 20th, 2018)

You need to log in before commenting.

3
Ataxia's Avatar
Ataxia Posted: December 15th, 2018 | 7:52 PM
Great article! Initiative is one of my favorite features of Artifact and this article clearly explains it.
Loading Comments...
Load More Comments

ArtifactFire is a community of Artifact deck builders. Use our card database, wiki, and news to find and create top Artifact decks!

Copyright © 2019 ArtifactFire | All Rights Reserved