Using my first round CAFS match (Seen here) as an example, here’s a quick turn-by turn guide to teching. It ended up a bit muddled, but I hope it helps show the kind of things I’m considering each turn when making tech decisions. The important thing to note is that when playing PBF style, the correct time to make a decision about what to tech at the end of Turn N is after you have planned out your whole turn (N+1), and just before you resolve any in-turn card draw (or Lawful Search) effects.
Bomber678 ([Feral]/Strength/Truth) vs EricF ([Past]/Peace/Anarchy)
Turn 1 - No tech decisions on turn 1, but going down to 4 cards means my access to my first two Tech cards will be slightly delayed.
Turn 2 - I’m ending my turn with Tech I built, a 3/3 Zane in play, and no patrol zone. There are a ton of things Bomber could play that buff his Panda enough to kill Zane, so I can’t count on having him in play for turn 3, but at the same time he might have something better to spend gold on, so I can’t count on being able to summon a different Hero either. To ensure I get maximum use out of my first set of Tech cards, therefore, I grab two Tech 1 units at the start of the turn.
The main threats from Bomber’s deck are buff spells / big units out of Feral, Birds / Earthquake out of Strength, and Free Speech / Illusions out of Truth. Because Birds’ Nest is the most difficult thing to deal with from him, I grab a Gunpoint Taxman (anti-air) and a Stewardess of the Undone (kills a token, or can bounce a Tech 0 patroller to open up an attack).
I didn’t play a card from hand, so I’ll get to draw 4 out of 7 reshuffled cards (middling access to teched cards compared to the standard of drawing 5 out of 8, or if I had played a card drawing 3 out of 6)
Turn 3 - With Zane down, I don’t have enough attack to kill Rook, so my options are either to build my Tech II, or play Stewardess (bouncing the lookout Spore Shambler, so both plays cost 4 gold). Note that Bomber isn’t in a position to Max-band Rook next turn, so I don’t need to grab Origin Story yet. If I build a Tech II, I’ll end my turn by discarding 3, drawing 3 cards (including the Taxman) from my deck, reshuffling, and drawing 2 out of 5. If I play Stewardess, I only draw 1 out of 4 after the reshuffle. If I want to play Garrison, here are my options:
A. Tech 2x Garrison, build Tech II this turn. This gives me a 7/10 chance to draw at least one Garrison after the re-shuffle
B. Tech 1x Garrison, build Tech II this turn. This gives me a 2/5 chance to draw Garrison next turn
C. Tech 2x Garrison, play Stewardess. This guarantees me a Garrison in my turn 5 hand.
D. Tech 1x Garrison, play Stewardess. This gives me a 3/4 chance to have Garrison in my turn 5 hand, with a 1/4 chance that I’ll have to tech a second Garrison, and have about a 2/4 to 2/6 chance of drawing one on turn 5, depending on how many units Bomber kills on his Turn 4 (since my Turn 4 is going to be Worker + Tech II + Gunpoint Taxman)
Since the second Garrison is basically a dead card, I’d much rather grab a Garrison + Overeager Cadet this turn, which rules out options A and C. Option B gives me a 60% chance of playing turn 5 Garrison (with the other 40% being turn 4), while option D gives me about an 85% chance to have turn 5 garrison, and I get to have a better board position in the meantime (plus, I can plan my tech around not be assured a Garrison if I draw it immediately - for example, I could delay the second Overeager Cadet to increase my Tech II density, or even delay my Tech II another turn, spending the gold on a Hero, and teching in Spells instead).
Turn 4. I did not draw Garrison, so I know it’s coming up next hand. Therefore, I need to leave everything on defense to protect my Tech II building against a Max Rook -> bypass patrol turn. Since I know I’ll have Garrison + Overeager Cadet next turn, I can feel confident that I’ll have access to what I tech in now for turn 5. Since I didn’t play Hardened Mox or Plasmodium this game, I want my final deck to look like:
2x Overeager Cadet
2x Drill Sergeant
Garrison (in play)
Neo Plexus (might get workered eventually)
Battle Suits (in play)
Temporal Research (might get workered eventually)
Possibly additional units like Calypso (cheap) or Air Hammer (flier)
Possibly additional spells as needed
So I’ll just grab Origin Story and the first Drill Sergeant at this point, planning to grab the second Drill Sergeant and second Overeager next turn (When going Peace Tech II, Overeagers are often better played after you have Sergeants and/or Garrisons already in play)
Turn 5 - nothing dramatic happened, so I stick to the plan, and grab the second Sergeant & Overeager. I don’t have enough gold to play the second Sergeant, so I don’t try to draw into them.
Turn 6 - After analysis, I see that I can end the game gauranteed by teching one Chaos Mirror, thanks to Garrison letting me draw my entire deck + freshly teched cards.