How to Become a Better Player

Discussion in 'Card Hunter General Chat' started by Bluemage, Feb 27, 2015.

  1. Bluemage

    Bluemage Hydra

    This is not about building better decks, that's got plenty of threads and examples already. This is about how to improve your play skill in battles. Something my record and league record show I'm not great at, so I'm looking for tips, on how to make the practice of games work better.

    First a tip I picked up back when I played Magic. Keep a d4 by your computer, every time you make a mistake, increase the count by 1. If you hit 4, you lose, even if you end up winning the game. Eventually this should help you learn to notice the mistakes before you make them.

    So what are other people's tips to stop being a bad player?
    Sir Veza, Mr. Magnifico, CT5 and 2 others like this.
  2. Magic Elves

    Magic Elves Thaumaturge

    Don't rush in too early. One of the worst mistakes I always see new players making is moving their elf wizard too far up, but it can apply to any character. Unless you have a good reason to move near to those two characters that could gang up on you or you can see an escape route, don't move there!
  3. Before I make a mistake, I don't make that mistake.
    - Johan Cruyff

    One thing I have found helpful is spectating MP matches when high-ranked players play. Being able to appreciate what they are doing and being able to replicate it yourself are two different things, but at least it gives you ideas about the kinds of things you should be trying to do. It's especially helpful to watch somebody who know what they're doing tackle a build that I have encountered and had trouble with previously.
  4. Rebel7284

    Rebel7284 Ogre

    Play the least number of cards needed to achieve your goals.
  5. UpstartPuppet

    UpstartPuppet War Monkey

    Great thread idea!

    I'm in no position to speak, as I don't have the most sterling ELO, and I haven't really tried to be competitive.
    There's a big difference for me between messing around and playing competitively. And right now, messing around is more fun. Being competitive requires effort. I'm mainly playing Card Hunter for stress relief and abnegation, vs problem solving and challenge, but eventually that may change. Or I may flit off towards some other pursuit.

    But for what it's worth, in games where I have tried to be competitive, like Magic and Chess, it has always been helpful to have a mental checklist that I work through each turn.
    For Magic, it was easy, as it grew out of the standard turn order - I just divided the phases into a lists of issues to evaluate. This works for a lot of things.
    For Chess, it went something like this:

    Turn begins...
    Am I in danger of Check?
    Is that Check fruitful?
    Will it lead to mate?
    Is my opponent in danger of Check?
    Is it fruitful?
    Will it lead to mate?
    Am I in danger of losing material?
    Is my opponent in danger of losing material?
    Can I develop my position?
    Can I harm my opponent's position?
    Can I steal a tempo?
    What is my opponent's immediate goal?
    Does that necessitate action?
    Now that I have an understanding of the board, what is the most effective move I can make at the moment?

    I suspect this outlook would be very helpful in card hunter, but it requires a lot of mental energy to maintain.
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2015
    Sir Veza, CT5, Bluemage and 1 other person like this.
  6. Flaxative

    Flaxative Party Leader Staff Member

    The biggest thing that changed my playstyle and rocketed me out of the blue tiers was learning to pass.

    If the opponent isn't in a position where they'd be advantaged by acting (e.g., you've got pieces hanging) or ending the round (e.g., they're in control of the victory squares), it's often good to pass. There's no extremely simple rule for this but basically if you don't have a move that clearly helps you win (taking victory safely, getting line of sight for a control wizard, killing an opponent, etc.) then it's almost always better to let your opponent move first so you can respond with more cards.
  7. SirSrsly

    SirSrsly Lizardman Priest

    All situational of course, but in general:

    1. Look at what cards your opponent is discarding.

    If your opponent is discarding Mighty Bludgeons or Sundering Strikes at the end of a turn, chances are the cards they kept are equally strong or stronger. Conversely, just because someone is tossing Weak Chop or Unreliable Block out, doesn't mean their whole hand is weak.

    2. Keep track of how long it is taking your opponent to make a move.

    This goes for both discarding and just general play. If your opponent is taking a sizable amount of time to move, it means they are thinking. They have something that they CAN do if they want to. This probably means your opponent has another move card of some sort-- and when the round ends, keep note of that. Also, when your opponent is discarding and it takes them time to choose which cards to discard, it signals that the card they are discarding is as relatively strong as the other cards in their hand. For example, if they toss out a Consuming Spear quickly, and then take and extra 5 seconds to toss out Invigorating Touch, your opponent probably has something comparable to Invigorating Touch in their hand. (Such as a Parry or Potent Stab). As a rule, I always know what I am going to discard before I end a round.

    3. Save your move cards.

    Movement is everything.

    4. Make sure you understand priority /initiative

    Hitting your opponent with a Weak Strike or using Minor Heal on a healthy character is not a good reason to lose the first turn.

    5. Victory Points are secondary

    Chasing victory points while your character could be out there fighting will lose you a lot of games.

    6. Take the kill

    If you can kill somebody, kill them. Don't let them linger. All characters, even ones with 1hp, can change the game. I've won games before with a Quick Run / All Out Combo with a 1hp warrior and priests can heal/buff from a distance.
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2015
  8. PDXTai

    PDXTai Ogre

    A big improvement for me was emphasizing teaming up on one character. It's often tempting to move your characters to the nearest opponent but that means you spread your damage out. It's much better to try to focus on one weak opponent that you can take out or set up for an easy kill the following round. Teaming up allows you to work around blocks and prevent your target from escaping as easily. Usually, you have to find some way to break up the opponent's formation to do this.

    The other useful tool is looking at card counts to determine who has an advantage. If your warrior has one attack and a move, going after a mage with 6 cards might not be a good idea. You want to press the attack when you have a card advantage, play defensively when you have fewer cards. There are obvious exceptions to this, but it usually pays to make sure you have the upper hand before you charge in.
  9. Lord Feleran

    Lord Feleran Guild Leader

    Or they are bluffing ;)
    ParodyKnaveBob and Vakaz like this.
  10. CT5

    CT5 Guild Leader

    I love watching high-rated players play. You learn so much. One thing I learned, and it ties in with Flaxative's tip (which also helped me a ton!), is that just because you can play a card, doesn't mean you have to. A stand-out moment in my mind was when I was watching PaladinGP play. He had a warrior right next to the opponent, with a Nimble Strike in hand (revealed from Obvious Maneuver, most likely), and he didn't play it! I was watching, and I assumed he would, but he simply passed instead, and it makes perfect sense. Nimble Strike is an excellent gap-closer. He wasn't going to kill the opponent's character with it, and he was already next to the opponent, where he wants to be. Better to save it next round, to 1. make it harder for the opponent to escape, or 2. use it to attack a more vulnerable target.

    Positioning and movement/placement is another huge concept you can learn from watching strong players. I watched a game between Vakaz and BlackSabbath recently, and the positioning was simply impeccable. I was blown away (though as a spectator you don't get to see what's in people's hand so it was extra awesome for me haha). krystalis1 and spionecefalide had a great game which I recorded, and you see a good bit about wizard positioning in this game which I hadn't realized before. This one is related to Magic Elves' (and also Rebel7284's, indirectly) tip, in that I'm fairly sure newer players don't think nearly enough about where to place / move their characters. I agonize about my moves, because it's a huge commitment! If you don't have more moves in hand, you're stuck after using your racial move card! It's scary.

    SirSrsly's tip of priority / initiative is also insanely important.
  11. Fifjunior7

    Fifjunior7 Hydra

    Aye folks, these are all some great tips! To the moderately elo-ed player to the higher-skilled, here is my advice:

    Don't be afraid to lose.

    You'll never go big and find great success if you are afraid of failure.

    I encourage each and every one of you to experiment. Do so in the best of your equipment-wise ability, try new things. They may not work, (often times they don't), but it's what you've gleaned from the experience.
  12. karadoc

    karadoc Hydra

    It has been mentioned already, but I'm going to say again that how you use your movement cards is critical. If you're hoping to hit their wizard with your warrior, it isn't much use moving the warrior right up to them straight away. The wizard will just walk away and leave you in a valuable position. Don't try to charge in unless you're confident that they don't have enough movement cards to escape you.

    You can force the enemy to spend their moves first by using cards like Hot Spot; but generally the best way to chase someone down is to have hidden moves, and let the enemy think you can't move any more. eg. Use your default move card to just put yourself in a defensive position somewhere, and then pass... and when the enemy looks like they've used their moves and done most of what they want to do - then, and only then, bring out your Run, Team!, or whatever other concealed move cards you have.
  13. Zacharianthi

    Zacharianthi War Monkey

    For what it's worth, this topic is why I don't get worked up that much about luck in this game. Yeah, sometimes luck factors in and it helps out or hurts in a meaningful way soon enough that it defines a match. But far more often, I find I made a mistake in the match that was defining in how that match turned out, and whatever missed block or poor draw that happened at the last second was not the major reason the match was lost.
  14. Bandreus

    Bandreus Thaumaturge

    Woah, tons of great suggestions in here. Here's mine

    1) If you are serious about improving your play, then do not stress yourself about winning/losing. As long as you're learning something valuable from a defeat, then count that as a victory.

    2) Be consistent. Try and play at least a few games each day (4 to 6 would be my suggestion).

    3) Find yourself a training buddy (someone to play custom games with, on a regular basis). Playing ranked can be stressfull, especially when you want to try a new, not-yet optimized build and you're worried about losing tons of elo. Ask your buddy to help you test out the new build instead. Sometimes you have problems dealing with a specific build being used by your opponents (nimbus, burfft, whatever). In those cases, ask your training buddy to put said build together so you can train your play vs that build in a safer environment.

    4) Give yourself a goal. What the goal specifically is is absolutely unimportant, as long as you state one clearly. Your goal might be "I want to reach 1200 elo" or "I want to play 50 MP games this week" or "I want to reach 50% winrate with this specific build". Ofc, constantly keep track of how close/far away you are from hitting your goal and review your progress. Do not overshoot with your goals (i.e. your goal should be something you can actually reach, within reason). No point into setting "Reach 1750 rank" if you only played CH for a week :p.

    5) Focus on one build at a time. Different builds are usually played with very different mindsets, as well as featuring different strenghts/weaknesses. You can dedicate different days to playing different builds if you find playing the same build over and over far too boring. But, if you're a new player, I would suggest picking a build and sticking with it until you feel you reached the best possible understanding of what's possible/not-possible within the context of your build (this will take a lot of time, trust me).

    6) Do schedule days for simply fooling around. Maybe you can dedicate saturdays to playing a wacky build which is not really competitive but fun to play. Maybe you saw a cool build in the deckbuilding forum and want to try it out sometimes. If all you do is stressing yourself about improving, you can easily burn yourself off. Pick a day for doing those sort of on-the-side but still fun things, then go back to your usual training schedule.

    I could go on, but I guess these will suffice
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2015
  15. Flaxative

    Flaxative Party Leader Staff Member

    Very good advice right here. I often find that even when I've played a lot and attained a high rank and on paper should just be a good player, there's an adjustment period for new builds. When I switch to a new party my rating doesn't necessarily tank, but I definitely feel like a worse player ... and after a few days or weeks of playing only that build, I've definitely absorbed lessons and learned how to play that new party much, much better.
    ParodyKnaveBob, Vakaz, CT5 and 5 others like this.
  16. Bluemage

    Bluemage Hydra

    Well this has turned into a more awesome thread than I could have hoped. Thanks everybody who's already responded! Hopefully some other people will find this useful too.
    Derek, ParodyKnaveBob, CT5 and 6 others like this.
  17. Pawndawan

    Pawndawan Champion of Cardhuntria

    Agreed! Thanks for @Bluemage for starting this thread and for everyone that has shared some insisght so far. I've been taking notes. :)
  18. Pro tip:

    Try to distribute the damage that you take between all your chars. For this you will need to engage with a unit, then escape for recover at least 3-4 cards (and let your other units absorb some dmg) and then engage again. Try to focus the attacks on a single unit, avoiding blocks.
  19. The best advice I have is to probe for blocks. Does your priest have a Bad Luck or Purge you don't have a need for? Use those to poke at the target you're about to move in on with your warrior. It doesn't work for Parry, but there are many nasty block cards that trigger on any attack, Defender's Block included!
  20. Magic Elves

    Magic Elves Thaumaturge

    This reminds me of another similar tip: If you're already going to go second next round, you may as well use those cards you would discard anyway. Those extra moves could be handy!

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