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Dealing with Vandy turn 1

A friend of mine is a real “Power Gamer” type and is only interested in playing the best possible decks. Naturally he spent some time on the internet and will now only play me as [Demonology]/Finesse/Necro.

I like to play mono red and if I go first or if he gets a weaker start T1 I can win but whenever he starts with Vandy -> Haunt, Vandy -> Javelin or God forbid Vandy -> Haunt -> Javelin I just get wrecked. I can barely keep up on the board as he starts playing dark pacts (There’s no killing vandy from this position) and then as soon as he hits tech 2 it’s TQ -> Discord -> GG.

So, assuming I’m playing Mono Red and my opponent drops Vandy + 1 drop turn 1. What’re my good options to respond?

Given that you’re playing mono red and he’s using a lot of Dark Pacts, I’d strongly consider punishing him with extra base damage into an eventual kill - play Pillage if you can get gold out of it, use Crash Bombers as patrollers, that kind of thing.

Honestly, Red vs. mono-black is a pretty tough matchup as P2, because Deteriorate can kill half your starter units, and none of your heroes are particularly great blockers. Drakk will help with base damage if you expect him to die, Jaina is otherwise your best body. Bloodrage Ogre on T1 can help a bit, but not that much.

Also strong consider a Tower on T1. This will kill Haunt/Javelineer and help keep him from killing your stuff without his own stuff dying.

Don’t be afraid to spend a bunch of gold if it means killing Vandy. That could be playing Scorch or Charge T2, or maybe Surprise Attack on turn 3. If you can offset your friend’s tempo advantage, you can probably take control of the game.

If he’s teching 2x Dark Pact as his first tech, he’s not teching T1 units or spells that directly impact board state. You can punish him for this.

Kidnapping is another good choice for spending your extra P2 gold to swing board state in a big way. Kidnapping is also a not-entirely-awful answer to TQ. Sure, you’ve got to pay for the resist 3, but if you can get TQ through to his base, you can probably just win if he’s Dark Pacted himself a few times.

Flame Arrow is a reasonably good hero removal spell - it’ll kill anything but maxband Vandy.

But yeah, I think it’s mostly “use haste, direct damage, and combat tricks to try to clear the board up, and then gain tempo.” Without more specific details of positions, I can’t really give more specific advice. Probably the most actionable thing is “Try building an early tower and putting cheap units in scavenger/technician.”


Let us know how you fare in your struggles! :smiley:

FWIW the really scary play to follow up turn 1 vandy is either. Heroes hall -> River -> harmony -> dark pact x2 -> spell -> two step dancers -> GG

Or heroes hall -> river -> metamorphosis -> GG

Depending on whether or not you were dumb enough to play a (non-rook) hero after they played vandy.

I really think the only safety play here is to hammer as many cards and as much gold as it takes to kill vandy before the S hits the F.

Chaos Mirror on a Shoddy Glidder to switch ATK with TQ and it is pretty much GG for him.


I finally understand why Shoddy Glider exists… That’s a trick I’ll have to try in a game sometime.

If you’ve got a shoddy glider in hand and you’ve got chaos mirror in hand vs TQ you should probably just win if you hit their base. Like, the chances are they’ve done 4 damage with dark pacts by now. You’re playing red so you could easily have done 3-4 more.

Of course if you don’t happen to have Chaos Mirror in your hand the turn TQ arrives he kills you next turn…

Only if he also happens to have discord in his hand that turn.

But as mono-red, the best strategy is just to not let him have a TechII building at all.

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Another strategy is to make a worker and patrol a 1-drop in Scavenger, and just float 3 gold. THen on turn 2 you can spend 9 gold all at once to establish a board presence: RACE #3: zhavier (Mono Black) vs. EricF ([Bashing]/Necro/Demon)

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As red I would go hyper aggression base damage. The biggest problem that strat has is running out of steam and the inevitable counter attack. If he techs double dark pact then he will either kill himself (literally, all in base rush tends to lose by only 1-3 base hp) or his tech is mostly useless, making your base rush easier either way.

[quote=“Fenrir, post:4, topic:1282”]
FWIW the really scary play to follow up turn 1 vandy is either. Heroes hall -> River -> harmony -> dark pact x2 -> spell -> two step dancers -> GG

Or heroes hall -> river -> metamorphosis -> GG
[/quote]So… this is scary, but not that scary. He’s going pretty much all-in on this - teching 2x dark pact first, then two step and harmony. That’s a lot of spells, and no units. If you can disrupt this plan, you’ll have a big advantage. Fortunately, you can disrupt this plan pretty solidily without costing yourself too much!

Flame Arrow will kill River no matter River’s level, getting rid of the Two-Step and Harmony. I’d strongly consider teching Flame Arrow against him until he starts varying his strategy more.

It won’t kill a Demon, but if his strategy is T1 Vandy, Haunt, Javelineer, worker, he’s discarding 2, drawing 4. Then on T2 he builds hero’s hall, makes a worker, and spends his remaining 2 gold on what? Leveling Vandy? Playing another unit? Regardless, you’ve got a reasonably good opportunity on your second turn to do a bunch of damage. If he spends the gold on Vandy, it’s a very good opportunity. If he uses Deteriorate to kill something, that’s an extra card he’s down, reducing his odds of drawing the stuff he needs.

Then on turn 3 he’s probably got to max Vandy (2 or 4 gold) and summon River (2 gold) so he can spend 7 gold on turn 4 to fetch and play Metamorphosis.

My point here is that both of these strategies pretty heavily telegraph themselves, and they sacrifice early board presence. Depending on how draws line up, a turn 1 play of “chump blocker or two and float gold” into a turn 2 play of something like “Zane, Charge something, do serious damage” can be viable counterplay. Or on turn 3 a Flame Arrow or Surprise Attack could seriously ruin his day. Or even a couple of Lobbers.

Early Tower is still going to be generally good against either of these strategies - unbuffed dancers have to die to attack, and it will let you target his demonic heroes if he gets to play Metamorphosis.