A while back I mentioned I’d love some strategy articles from our top players. Well, I got a few but didn’t have the time to polish them and I think I ended up losing most of them. In any case, recently a very skilled Iczer by the name of Arfort sent in this article, and it looks like it could be an interesting read for new and old players alike, so I decided to put it up. He breaks Alteil down into four basic resources, and he’s not talking about the four colors.
Welcome to my first article! For those who don’t know, the GMs started a trainer program recently so that new players could learn the game from veterans. Unfortunately, I lack the time to actively contribute to this program. Instead I decided to write this article so that more players could still learn something from me.
In Alteil there are basically four resources. Spell Points, Life Points, cards and each turn’s card play or “Set Phase.” Each player uses their resources to the best of their ability to cripple the opponent’s resources.
Gaining a resource advantage can mean two things. First, it can mean that you’re spending less SP removing something from the opponent’s board than what your opponent paid to put it into play. The easiest examples are Merciless Death targeting a level 7 or more unit or Witch targeting a level 2 unit. Secondly, if you’re removing from the board something that took your opponent two or more turns to put into play with only one card. For example, if your opponent plays Panther Soul on one of his unit and then you play Return targeting the same unit. You’ve effectively removed two cards from the board using only one card. This is what makes powerful grimoire cards that boost your own unit very risky. These two definitions aren’t exclusive to each other, if you play Cyclone while you have no level 2 or less in play and your opponent has 3 level 2 units in play you’ve taken 6 SP out of him at the cost of 4 SP and at the same time you nullified three of his turn using only one of yours.
Because of revival, there’s also what I call temporary tempo advantage. When you use a grimoire card, such as Fire Arrow to kill a unit you’re only taking it out for 1 round if it can still be revived. If not, then you’re taking 1 Life Point out of the opponent but he does get back his SP. So during the turn when you use such a grimoire card your opponent’s board will have one less body defending him and usually you’re preventing damage going on your own unit at the same time too. But two turns after you set your grimoire card, the SP of the unit you killed is back in his hand and will allow him to play another big unit while the Spell Points you spent on your grimoire card are gone forever. New players more often try to burn down the opponent’s unit during the early to mid game. This does give the illusion that you’re gaining the advantage over your opponent but in truth you’re only gaining temporary tempo at the cost of real tempo. For this reason most players keep their fire arrows for the late game. If playing something only gives you an advantage for two turns but you play it when there’s only two turns before the game is over you’ve actually gained an advantage for rest of the game.
To gain card advantage, you have to destroy two or more cards with one single cards. If you spend two or more cards removing one enemy card you’re giving your opponent card advantage. For example let’s say you have one Haste Soldier in play and your opponent has two Girl Spectres in play all at full health. If you use Magic Weapon on your haste soldier he’ll be able to kill one of the unit on his turn but then the remaining enemy unit will kill your own. This is a two for one gain for your opponent.
Other than the obvious ways to gain card advantages, such as grimoire that can close two or more of your opponent’s unit, you can also try to design your file to make some of your opponent’s cards obsolete. If none of your units are level 3 or below, Return becomes obsolete. It’s the same as if you had removed the card from the opponent’s file, technically at no cost… other than not having level 1-2-3 in your file. It’s less of a stretch to play only or at least mostly cards that ignore the defense statistic when they attack to make your opponent’s LeBeau useless. But then it’s in your opponent’s best interest to not play LeBeau anymore to make your unit’s ability to ignore defense obsolete.
When you’re building your file you can sacrifice Life Points to gain or lose card advantage. Soul skills are very powerful effects but they come at a cost. If a card gives you only 1 Life Point the effect has to be very powerful. The power of these SS varies wildly but you want to put something in there that at least has the potential of giving you a good board advantage for a turn at least. If you’re going for a slow file with high level cards +2 SP is also good but +3 to your Sphere Level is usually even better. In any case, if you put soul cards with 1 LP put them first. This way you’ll gain their powerful effect early in the game and in this game if you get the advantage early it’s easier to keep the advantage for the whole game. Soul cards with 2 LP have weaker effects but you should try to put cards that can still have very positive effect on the game. Damage wise in this category, it doesn’t get better than cards that deal 50 damage to a single card of your choice. There are a lot of cards that weaken one of your opponent’s unit while also dealing some damage to it. These don’t have the same raw power as a card that can outright kill a unit. Finally there are soul cards with 3 LP but these actually hurt you somewhat when they’re triggered. It’s best to put them last since they don’t contribute anything to the field other than keeping you alive in the late game. Obviously try to put in 3 LP cards that have very small draw backs. For example in a file that doesn’t have any defense on any of it’s unit, put a 3 LP card that reduce your unit’s defense to 0 when it is triggered.
Whenever you put a card in your File you have to ask yourself not only what you gain from the card but also what you lose from it. Is there anything else that would be more useful more often? During games whenever you play a card it needs to not only help you win, it has to help you win more than what your opponent is playing. This is obvious but I hope my writing helped you understand how to decide if a card or a decision is strong or weak.