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Card Ratings: Tech III


#1

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Tech III options are interesting, because they are all good enough to win you the game if unanswered. So, the grading scale here will focus more on resilience and speed than power. Note that if your opponent has access to a better Tech III option than you, you probably don’t want to let the game turn into a Tech III slugfest, and probably need to use a non-standard build order, or leverage some other advantage.

To fairly evaluate Tech III units, we need to look at how they behave in various board states. At the time they are coming out, one, both, or neither player might have board presence (meaning about 10/10 worth of stats among a player’s units and heroes), and the opponent will either not have a Tech III, have a later Tech III (where you build your Tech III building, then he builds a Tech III buildings the very next turn), or have an earlier Tech III. That combines to 12 possibilities.

Winning scenarios - in these cases, you are looking for something to shut the door on an opponent’s comeback. If your tech III can’t even to that, it’s a strong case for an “F” grade.
You have a board, Opponent does not, only you have Tech III
You have no board, Opponent has no board, only you have Tech III
You have a board, Opponent has a board, only you have Tech III
You have a board, Opponent does not, you have the first Tech III
Losing - same as the Winning scenario, but from the other side:

Even scenarios - these are cases where you have a small advantage or disadvantage, and the relative performance of your Tech III options is paramount. These are all fairly commong, and the primary criteria for evaluating Tech III units
You have a board, Opponent has a board, you have the first Tech III
You have a board, Opponent has a board, you have the second Tech III
You have no board, Opponent has no board, you have the first Tech III
You have no board, Opponent has no board, you have the second Tech III

Comeback scenarios - these are the reverse of the first set (leaving out ones where you don’t have a Tech III). The ability to reverse a losing board state is a very important factor in getting a B or an A, as that level of power opens up lines where you can sacrifice board or card advantage to get to Tech III
You have no board, Opponent does have a board, only you have Tech III
You have no board, Opponent does have a board, you have the first Tech III
You have no board, Opponent does have a board, you have the second Tech III

Reverse comeback:
You have a board, Opponent does not, you have the second Tech III

Grading Scale:

A - Best of the best. Very hard to disrupt, even with an enemy Tech III that is already in play, or comes down next turn. Is unlikely to lose a base-race.

B - Above average. Hard to disrupt, unlikely to lose to anything except a specific answer or an enemy Tech III.

C - Average quality. Slow enough that a focused rush could win around it, and unlikely to win against the stronger Tech III options. This is still good enough that if your opponent doesn’t have a specific answer or Tech III of their own, you are almost certainly winning. C level Tech III are a good way to close the door and turn a mid-game advantage (sufficient that you spent 5 gold on Tech III while your opponent couldn’t afford to) into a win.

D - Below average. These probably aren’t winning against an enemy who is doing anything powerful, including some top tier Tech II options. They don’t help you stabalize, and don’t beat other Tech III options straight up.

F - Unplayable. If you are already winning, this can be the means to close the door, but taking the time off to play an expensive Tech III after paying 5 for the building might let your opponent back into the game if this is your choice, and you were close to even before hand.


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#2

Neutral:

Bashing (Trojan Duck) - C. The duck can stabilize you by (with a little help) destroying the opponent’s top tech building. Then, next turn, it destroys the opponent’s board while keeping their tech building down. Or, it races moderately quickly, killing in 2 swings while keeping the patrol zone clear by itself. As with the other Obliterate Tech IIIs, if you get yours down first, it can serve as an answer to the enemy Tech III.

Finesse (Blademaster) - C-. Blademaster is very bad at fighting other Tech III units, but is very good at shutting out an opponent who doesn’t have access to them. He can benefit from Virtuosso cost reduction and haste, but if you have that going, he’s often a “win more.” One specific utility, though, is being able to come down after an Ebbflow Archon bounces your board, and probably reverse the game. Given the power of Ebbflow Archon in general, this use bumps the Blademaster out of “D” range.

Red:

Anarchy (Pirate Gunship) - A+. Trojan Duck, except it kills the enemy tech building without assistance, and has an immediate impact on the enemy unit quantities. Gunship also beats up most Hero focused plans (by killing them) and is all-but-unanswerable (since it has Haste & Flying). Other Obliterate Tech III units can serve as an answer to the enemy Tech III, if you get yours down first. Haste lets the Gunship be an answer even if it comes down second. Gunship is a step above even the other “A” tech III options for being able to not only end the game immediately, but doing so from almost any deficit on board (other than, of course, having your Tech III be destroyed before you can get it out).

Blood (Pirate Gang Commander) - F. Like the rest of the Blood spec, their Tech III is focused on temporary direct damage. The sudden burst of extra damage (from free Crashbarrows + 3 pirates who deal 1 on death) can sometimes reverse a race and finish off an enemy base unexpectedly. However, the Commander here is really “playing fair” and just doing something very powerful, but not unanswerable, especially if you’re behind. And even if you’re ahead, 12 points of stats and some direct base damage isn’t going to shut the door on your opponent recovering and winning.

Fire (Cinderblast Dragon) - D. A large flier that kills something small (or several small things) when it arrives or attacks. This can help stabilize the board, and is bigger than the lower tech Fliers, but this will rarely do enough to turn around a losing position, and will do less to firm up a winning position than most other Tech III options.

Green:

Balance (Tyrannosaurus Rex) - C+. The archetypal average Tech III. If you get one down before the opponent builds their Tech III building, you are almost assuredly winning the game, no matter what was going on before that. Against the weaker Tech III options, including other "C"s, this can be a good answer, since it’s among the largest stats, and breaks units on arrival. However, T-rex doesn’t stand up well to superior Tech III options, and is slow enough that he can fall victim to spell or building based power-plays, which he cannot answer. His one redeeming factor is the relatively low cost of 8, which lets you probably do something else in the same turn.

Feral (Moss Ancient) - C+. Being untargettable and making 3 1/1 blockers/pingers goes a long way towards shutting down non-tech III strategies, but this won’t bring you back from a losing position, especially if you are facing fliers. However, the Ancient will win most parity situations, including against many Tech III options - 3 invisible squirrels a turn go a long way towards protecting your better units from Obliterate, and the Ancient can’t be hit by, for example, T-Rex’s ability.

Growth (Guragum, Eternal Sentinel) - C. The biggest, baddest, most costly Tech III in the game. If you get to attack with Guragum, enhanced by all your Growth spells, Obliterate 4 will probably let you one-shot their base. On the flip side, this does nothing to help a losing position the turn it arrives.

Black:

Demonology (Zarramode, The Obliterator) - B+. Zarramode answers whatever ails you, including max-band Heroes and other Tier III units. Then, he is untargettable, and has Obliterate to ensure you win the turn after he arrives.

Disease (Plague Lord) - D. The Plague Lord operates on a different axis than most Tier III units, in that he is aiming to force a base race, while weakening enemy swarms. Unfortunately, that means he will usually lose to enemy Tech III, or top tier Tech II options. The Plague Lord is conditionally useful for winning board stalls, but he is only marginally better than the Tech II Plague Lab.

Necromancy (Lord of Shadows) - C. Giving your team Invisible will usually win the game the turn the Lord of Shadows arrives, but only if you have a board. If you are behind, then this is just a large hard-to-target body.

Blue:

Law (Lawbringer Gryphon) - B-. Making your base fly will beat most Tech II endgames, though you are still vulnerable to direct damage and Tech building destruction. Obliterate and Flying make him a “next turn win” - which would earn him a C on it’s own. Costing 10 means you often can’t do anything else to affect the opponent’s board, or build up your own board, that turn. At which point your opponent will often have an answer, ranging from “play my own Tech III + other units” to “use a spell on the gryphon” to "just hit the 6 hp gryphon with my Tech II fliers / tech 1 anti-air and accept the loss of card advantage / gain in gold advantage.

Peace (Patriot Gryphon) - D. Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but if you untap with the Patriot Gryphon, it will win you the game. In this case, by halting your opponent’s tech progress while killing them in 2-3 attacks. Unfortunately, his only defense is Flying, and while he isn’t stopped by tiny fliers, any tech II flying stragety can go toe-to-toe with the gryphon, not to mention an actual Tech III, where the Patriot Gryphon doesn’t even out-size the other Tech III fliers.

Truth (Liberty Gryphon) - A. With enough gold, a max-band Quince can deal 20 to an opponent’s base with unstoppable haste Gryphons and their Mirror counterparts. With less than perfect execution, you can “merely” de-tech them 1 or 2 steps immediately and unstoppabbly, effectively winning the game this turn. Or you can base-race, and actually win the game next turn with your untargettable Tech III. The Gryphon is cheap enough and fast enough that it will out-race most other Tech III options, even if they come online before the Gryphon. And, because they are so cheap, you can often execute your Tech II plan alongside the Gryphons, and overtax even robust Tech IIIs like Lawbringer Gryphon or Zzarramode.

White:

Discipline (Hero’s Monument) - F. Giving your heroes +1/+1 is a nice ability, but not worth 10 gold. Diago can’t patrol, which means this does almost nothing when you are behind. And, being a building, it gives your opponent an easy out to avoid a base race.

Ninjitsu (Jade Fox) - D-. Getting 4 1/1 ninjas is nice. Unfortunately, they all have flying, so you can’t block things, and the Headmistress has flying, so she can’t be a brick wall like Blademaster can. If you are in a board stall, and your team is comprised of Ninjas, Jade Fox might let you win, but unlike the Lord of Shadows, she doesn’t protect herself or her troops from removal, and doesn’t go over the top of a Flying based Tech II (although if you are both all flying, then she’s not quite as good as Blademaster at letting you win that fight).

Strength (Oathkeeper) - B-. Oathkeeper comes with a hefty drawback, but he has two big advantages. First, being a 7 (or more) ATK swift-strike wall beats a lot of boards. Second, removing the opponent’s patrol zone, even if untargetable, with “haste” can let you swing for the win, perhaps even easier than Lord of Shadows. Usually the drawback won’t matter, because either the Oathkeeper or your opponent will be dead by the end of your next turn. Pro tip: play whatever else you want to, then choose “I won’t play cards” - if the Oathkeeper survives to your next turn, you should win, and if he doesn’t then there was no drawback.

Purple:

Past (Ebbflow Archon) - A. Bouncing 5-7 of your opponent’s units and/or Heroes, including Tech III, will almost always win you the game, and you have a ~10/10 available to help finish them off if that wasn’t enough. Specifically weak against untargetable/invisible/haste units, especially other B and A level Tier III options, but the economic advantage of the rest of your board, and their inability to keep a hero on the board will usually overcome whatever they were trying to do. Note that you can use the 6th rune to bounce itself, if for some reason you need to bounce more than 7 things to win.

Present (Octavian) - F. Octavian will win you the game if you get to untap with it, the opponent doesn’t have an untargetable/invisible/haste army or Tech III. Or a Tech II plan that doesn’t rely on being untapped (e.g. Garrison + Drill Sergeant). Or an ultimate spell that can deal with the rest of your board. Also, you aren’t progressing your own board while locking down his, so it will take 2-3 attacks before they are finished off.

Future (Nebula) - B. Significantly better than Lord of Shadows. This will give you the same immediate attack for the win opportunity, while also providing significant disruption to Tech II strategies. However, the Nebula isn’t, itself, protected, so if you need to untap with it, you can be disrupted by no-tower + removal or by flying attackers.


#3

I’ve often had the feeling that Pirate Gunship was OP and that most decks can’t do anything against him…
As mono-blue, it’s even worse : no spell affect flying Tech III (even ultimates), most defensive units don’t work against flying Tech III (Law’s Guardian of the Gates, Peace’s Debilitator alpha…).

What are your strategies with Mono-Blue when you expect your opponent to play a Pirate Gunship ?
Guardian of the Gates with anti-air ? Destroying opponent’s Tech III ? Rushing to buy yours ?

Why is Pirate Gunship only 6 gold worth ? :confused:


#4

If your opponent has a Tech III that you can’t overpower directly (this is often the case, especially if your opponent has access to Past or Anarchy), then you have to focus on one of two gameplans:

  1. Deal 20 base damage before they can - with direct spell damage, your window can extend beyond when they are playing their Tech III units, but you still need to get their base down to ~6 before that point.

  2. Prevent them from starting their turn with a Tech III building. For mono-blue, this could mean either establishing your own advanced tech or heroes who can repeatedly destroy the opponent’s Tech III building (Liberty Gryphon(s) or a max-band Onimaru with Art of War and a draw engine to play it every turn). Jurisdiction can help delay the opposing Tech III, to give you more time to get set up.


#5

I don’t have much experience with blue, but Pirate Gunship does seem pretty tough for them to handle. Their best bet is probably to make sure the gunship never comes out in the first place. Peace Tech II is a very strong board-centric plan that creates enough pressure that your opponent probably can’t safely build Tech III.

Besides that, there are TONS of things blue can do to delay the game. Injunction on the Tech II building will prevent them from starting the Tech III for a turn. If they try to stall behind Steam Tanks, you can Arrest or Mind Control them, then go for the tech buildings (Injunction is great at this too). Maybe some seasoned blue players have other ideas…@leontes


#6

We really need more Blue strategy guides, as it is the trickiest color to play IMO. The best defense is a good offense against Gunship though, if you suspect your opponent will go for Gunships you need to either keep them off tech 3 or keep their base near enough to death that you can base race, as EricF said. Law is probably not the way to go in that case, Peace tech 2 can overwhelm the board enough to keep Anarchy off of a tech 3, and Truth can bust up a tech 3 before it comes down as well (or at least keep threat enough to let you get your tech 3 first).


#7

Law’s endgame with Lawbringer Gryphon is pretty troll.

Okay, so you get out Lawbringer Gryphon, which likely takes your entire turn. Your opponent then get’s a huge tempo swing and probably destroys all of your tech buildings. Your job then is to elect not to rebuild them, right? So they’re then compelled to get out their own tech III/fliers/anti-air to contest your Gryphon, so you have to then use Bigby spells to Injunction/Judgement Day away their momentum, all the while not rebuilding your tech buildings so they have no way to damage your base.

I love it, and I’ve pulled this off twice.


#8

holy shit!!!