I am finding I lose a large percentage of my games against players above about rank 30. Sometimes it is because of luck; sometimes it is because I just can't handle a masterful deck construction. But all to often, it is because a timely meteor, flamespike, fire rain, or crushing waves shatters my position. This occurs across a wide gauntlet of my decks which had proven very effective against the AI. Even more frustrating, I rarely find I can use these same cards to such positive effect against my opponents.
So I have several questions:
1. How does one prevent or recover from a devastating minion destroying spell like those mentioned -- especially if playing a faction like water, forest, fire, or swamp that has no spell blocking traps?
2. I can't tell if my problem is power point management (even when I hold good cards, I can't afford to play them fast enough to recover), too many low health cards vulnerable to mass damage, too many high health (and usually high cost) cards to be able to quickly respond to a mass loss of cards, too much focus on a few units whose loss is then hard to recoup, too much focus on stabilizing a few tenuous defenders, or something else. What would you look for to identify the specific problem?
3. When is it better to destroy an enemy minion than to play an additional friendly minion?
I'll try an answer, but would also refer you to your excellent compendium of deck-making basics ;)
I find that winning comes when you manage well the balance of things, hopefully in your favour.
I.e. Minions supremacy (loads of fast ones, killing opposing minions, or big guys for the long run), deck-exhausting strategies (where you actually look forward to a minion balance), or direct damage to opponent (same, minion balance). This is why decks with big minions on both sides can easily "stall", pushing with equal pressure from both sides until someone gets lucky.
That is why a fire deck (most cards annoyingly killing minions are in the fire faction) can rely on hearts of fire and cast its spells at a fast rate, tipping the minions balance in its favour drastically. On the other hand, crushing waves, whirlpool or flood would need specifically-themed decks.
OK, to some precise solutions:
- Not playing a combo deck counting on a specific minion (i.e. aquamancers, sirens, ancient ghosts) against these types of decks. You'd just see the combo dissolved by a quick death of the key minion.
- Variety & speed (fast minions, overpowered and sacrificed to power dive, for example) works fine in these cases I find, or spell-protected minions. the damaging spells won't have the time to stop them before they do what they had to do.
- Hand-tying can work great (a pair of accursed for example) or discards, since the meteor or flamespike must be played before it is discarded, leaving the opponent with much fewer options to tip the balance in his favour. The card can normally stay in the opponent's hand for a few turns as an option, but if there is a threat of imminent discard, options are not an option anymore...
- Make them destroy their own creatures, by stealing them from him with slavers, or a grave robber / flesh golem / rise again / rebirth mix & match combo.
Hope this can help you get over the direct damage decks. That's a big reason why I like variety... if you don't know which deck the opponent will play, you can't prepare specific counter-strategies.