Join / Log In
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


Artifact Fire

Understanding Artifact's Cross-Lane Cards

December 17th, 2018 | jscaliseok


Artifact is a game played across three lanes. You play your cards in the first, move to the next, play your cards, and so on and so forth. Generally, players will only put their cards into the lane they're on. However, certain cards (cross-lane cards) can break that mold. It is ignoring such plays, as well as the typical rhythm of only focusing on the lane in front of you, that causes one of Artifact's biggest traps: tunnel vision.

It is easy to think that you only need to care about one lane at a time, but there are plenty of cards that break Artifact's fundamental rule. In doing so, they completely change the game in terms of what you can play and what you need to look out for. This guide will go over such powerful options, analyze what makes them so strong, and then break down both how to play with and against them.

Multi-Lane Focus

Of course, one of the most important parts of Artifact is planning ahead. It is a balance of doing what is good for your current lane versus doing something good for a future one. However, there’s more to it than that.

An important part of winning games (especially at higher levels of play) is understanding the way your opponent can jump ahead to take out a hero in a different lane. Keeping track and knowing the existence of such cards is key to winning because it prevents you from getting caught off guard.

In Artifact, you need heroes to play spells. Getting one picked off during the later turns can be a disaster, especially if your opponent picked off other heroes and is making a push for the win. If you do not properly plan or utilize such cards it can leave you open to a quick loss.

Many Ways to Kill

The first aspect of cross-lane cards is knowing which ones your opponent might have. There are quite a few, all with different power levels and impacts. However, the most prevalent (and perhaps most important) are kill spells.

You find these mainly in black, with cards like Assassinate, Steam Cannon, Pick Off, and Gank, but blue gets Zeus’ signature card in Thundergod’s Wrath in addition to Ignite and Conflagration. The ability to stack a lane where the opposing heroes suddenly die is a goal many decks want to hit, and it is what you want watch out for when playing Artifact.

Anytime you face Blue or Black be alert for cross-lane cards. If you see Zeus, Assassin, or Ogre Magi you know you have to keep their signatures in mind. In that same vein, you also know you need to be aware of the other cross-lane tricks available to that color.

This ties a bit into last week’s initiative article because, if you let your opponent go first in a lane while they’re playing the above cards, they can blow you out. Luckily, there are many ways to play around cross-lane kill cards.

The simplest example of this is keeping your units' health at a high level. Almost all popular Blue decks run Ogre Magi (which means Ignite) in addition to Conflagration. Knowing those cards are in your opponent’s deck makes them much easier to play around.

Do your best to never over-stack in a lane and try to stack up armor when you can. There will be times where you cannot avoid going all-in, but the longer you can avoid it, the more you take away those cards' inherent versatility.

This rule also applies to Tinker because it slows down March of the Machines.

Double Trouble

Another, and perhaps even more effective, way to get around the above removal cards is to stack two heroes in a lane.

Say, for instance, it’s turn six, you have one hero to deploy, and the game is wide open. You have a hero in the second and third lane while your opponent has one in each. He's playing Assassin and is on seven mana with a black hero in the first lane.

It can be intuitive to drop into the first lane to try and even the board, but you have to respect Assassinate. If your opponent has initiative, it is better to drop your hero into the second or third lane (whichever one you want to protect) just in case one gets Sniped down. That will still allow you to play spells.

If possible, just make sure your play makes sense outside of Assassinate. That is, if your opponent doesn't have it, you still stacked a key lane that you can push to your advantage.

You may have a plan, but so does your opponent. It is easy to ignore a lane that you don't have a hero in, but you always need to take those into account thanks to cross-lane cards.

This is not always the play (there will be times where you simply need to stretch out across lanes) but it is something to keep in mind when going for a key lane.

Cross-Lane Support Options

Beyond the kill cards, there are many cross-lane cards (mainly improvements) that help players get advantage throughout the game. You may think you have a lane locked down, only to suddenly face something like Burning Oil, Spring the Trap, Cheating Death, Call the Reserves, or Assured Destruction out of nowhere.

It may not be feasible to keep all possible cross-lane cards in mind at all times, but it always helps to know which ones are popular in the meta. Being able to adapt to what your opponent may drop into a lane or two over is extremely important and will enable you to properly sculpt a game.

That is not simply saying “my opponent might play x card into y lane.” Rather, it is about saying “what can I do if my opponent plays x card into y lane?” Just about every cross-lane can be countered in some way, and you want to work hard to find those paths long before they pop up.

For instance, there will be games where you abandon a lane against Sorla Khan. While there is nothing wrong with that, know that when you do there is always a chance your opponent drops down Assault Ladders or The Oath out of nowhere. Even if that lane has already passed, you never know if your opponent might use later mana to buff it for the next round.

Using Cards to Your Advantage

The flip side of the above example is when you have cross-lane cards in your deck. The simplest way to think about this is in terms of initiative. If you want to get use out of a card, you need to be able to play it. The best way to ensure you can play something is to go first.

That is the basis of these cards, but the process goes a bit beyond that.

Perhaps the biggest aspect you need to juggle with these cards is weighing how they will fare in other lanes versus the active one. Many cross-lane cards (especially kill ones) are incredibly powerful. While you may want to use them on other lanes because of that flexibility, there will be plenty of times where you just use them in the lane you’re in.

Balancing this is always tricky, and it largely comes down to what lanes you need to make a push or recovery in. Even so, there is something to say about the element of surprise.

There will be times where you want to play non-cross-lane cards in a lane to catch your opponent off guard. Seemingly abandoning a lane or passing it by only to reach back and set it up for the next round is incredibly powerful in a foresight focused game like Artifact. Look for such opportunities and jump on them when possible.

Do note that, as cross-lane cards are so flexible, you always want to play cards that have similar effects in your own lane if you can. For example, it is almost always better to use Coup de Grace in the active lane over Assassinate because Assassinate will give you more flexibility down the line.

Heroes in Weak Lanes

One other subtle note about cross-lane cards, which plays off of the ideas covered above, is that, unlike other cards, they can both make use of your mana and set up later lanes at the same time.

There are quite a few situations where you want to drop a hero into a lost or abandoned lane specifically to play a cross-lane card. This only works if you have heroes in the other lanes, and it is much better with initiative, but it can be very powerful when set up in the right way.

This line of play is not intuitive, but it is something to watch out for as the game progresses. It may not always be the correct path (depending on if you're pushing/defending or not), but getting extra mana (which would normally go to waste) to double up on spells or free up other cards in your hand for later lanes is extremely powerful.

This idea is easiest to see in the first lane, but you can always use the mana in a second or third lane to shore up your others with key improvements or spells as well. It may seem like a waste of a hero, but being able to do more things, especially in a late-game deck with a lot of powerful cards is incredibly powerful.

This goes double if you have a Blink Dagger on the hero or in your hand ready to go.


There are many key aspects to balance in a game of Artifact. The ones that often come back to bite you are the ones that you cannot readily see. That is the case with cross-lane cards, and it is what makes them so tricky. They are not something you may grasp right away, but the more you plan for and think about them, the better you will get at recognizing their potential.
(Last Updated: January 15th, 2020)

You need to log in before commenting.

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