Written By LUKE MAGNUSON
In this article, I’ll be thinking out loud about Battlefields. How we can evaluate them, and what we should consider when choosing a Battlefield. Ultimately, the following categorization and analysis is bound to be incomplete - not all Battlefields will fit nicely into categories, and there are some weird ones that can have an out of the ordinary impact in specific situations. But I hope this is helpful in organizing your thoughts and helping you to choose a Battlefields that works for your deck.
2. EVALUATING BATTLEFIELDS:
When evaluating a Battlefield, there are three primary traits you want to consider:
- Asymmetry, and
- Effect Type.
When I talk about a Battlefield’s impact, and talking about exactly what you’d expect, I basically consider how much value the battlefield will provide? Some Battlefields are low impact: They do something, but don’t really provide much value. Battlefields like Citadel Landing Zone and Watto’s Shop are both good examples of this.
Choosing a Battlefield with low impact isn’t going to effect the game much - which is probably what you’re looking for if you choose one of these battlefields, because it means your opponent will also not be able to get much value using it against you.
Battlefields like post errata Theed Royal Palace and Comm Tower are good examples of what I would call medium impact battlefields. They provide some consistent value, but they don’t have a huge impact on the game.
Finally, you have high impact battlefields like Mean Streets or Rift Valley, Battlefields that significantly affect the game - so much so that you may find yourself leaving dice in the pool to claim early. Frozen Wastes and Emperor’s Throne Room are good examples of Awakenings Cycle Battlefields that fit into the high impact category.
This Battlefield Trait is a little less intuitive, but it’s important. What I mean by Asymmetry is "how likely your opponent is to be able to use the battlefield against you". A good way to explain this is by considering Echo Base vs Obi Wan’s Hut.
Echo Base is perfectly symmetrical, because whoever claims the Battlefield is getting the same effect: A Shield on a character. Obi Wan’s Hut, on the other hand, is asymmetrical, because opponents who do not have a blue character do not get as good of an effect.
Evaluating a Battlefield’s asymmetry at some level requires knowing what kinds of decks you will be facing off against, and whether or not they will be able to use certain Battlefields. Comm Tower, for example, is very asymmetrical if none of your opponent’s are playing with plots, but is less so if plots are popular.
Ultimately, this can be one of the more important Battlefield traits, especially if the Battlefield is also high on the impact scale. Battlefields that are high in both Asymmetry and Impact are some of the best, because they allow you to play a Battlefield that gives you a significant benefit, without the worry of your opponent using it against you.
5. EFFECT TYPE:
There are three types of Battlefield effects:
- Claim abilities (ex: Mean Streets),
- Power Actions (ex: Theed Royal Palace), and
- Passive effects (ex: Occupied City).
Passive effects > Power Actions > Claim abilities.
Passive effects and Power Actions are generally more meaningful than Claim abilities, because they happen during the round instead of at the end of it. This is especially important for round 1, because it means that you are guaranteed to have the opportunity to get value out of your Battlefield on Round 1, while your opponent will not. This guaranteed value is why these types of Battlefields continue to be the most popular, for both slow and fast decks.
6. CHOOSING THE BATTLEFIELD:
So how do you pick your Battlefield? It’s never as simple as just choosing the most impactful Battlefield, nor is it all about picking a Battlefield that will not benefit your opponent. There are two primary considerations I use when choosing a Battlefield:
- The speed of my deck compared to the meta, and
- What sort of value will I get out of the Battlefield in Round 1.
7. NEED FOR SPEED?
Say your deck is fast, really fast. eHan/eBiggs sort of fast. What Battlefield should you choose? If your deck is REALLY FAST, you want to focus almost exclusively on Impact. If you’re going to be claiming almost every round asymmetry doesn’t matter (your opponent won’t have the chance to use it against you anyway), and effect type is less important (if you’re always claiming, you’re going to get a benefit from your Battlefield round 1 regardless of the effect type). Pick the battlefield that will be most impactful for your deck.
Say your deck is MEDIUM SPEED - a mixed upgrade and support deck, like eBeckett/eIden. What Battlefield should you choose? In these sorts of decks, all three battlefield traits should play a role in your Battlefield decision. Asymmetry is more important than in a fast deck, because your opponent may be claiming throughout the game (you wouldn’t want your battlefield to have negative consequences for you, especially since your opponent already got the Shields!). At this point, Effect Type becomes more impactful as well - if you end up facing a faster opponent, you still want to be able to get value from your Battlefield round 1. But, seeing as though your deck is not THAT slow, you also want to make sure not to ignore Impact, especially if the meta is trending towards slow decks. If you can get away with a highly impactful Battlefield, you can really punish slow decks you might face.
Say your deck is slow - a support deck like Aphra Droids. Which Battlefield should you choose? In this case, Effect Type rises to the top and becomes the most important consideration. Since you’re unlikely to be claiming, and you need to make sure you get something out of your Battlefield (lest missing out on Shields become solely a negative) you want to find a Battlefield with a Power Action or Passive Effect that you can use round 1 to gain an advantage. Asymmetry and Impact do still matter in your choice, but only for this consideration: How could your opponent use this against you the rest of the game? Salt Flats is a good example of what I mean by this - yes, you’ll get value out of it round 1, but it’s a fairly powerful Battlefield with little asymmetry - letting your opponent have it the rest of the game could be a problem. So if your deck is slow, you want an a Battlefield that gives you value round 1, without hurting you the rest of the game.
8. BUT ULTIMATELY...
Ultimately, the most important consideration is this: How much value will I get out of the battlefield round one? This is why Theed Royal Palace (pre nerf) was everywhere in the Across the Galaxy meta. No matter how fast or slow your deck was or what you were trying to accomplish, it was almost always the Battlefield that would do the most for you round one. So at the end of the day, if you’re having trouble finding a Battlefield that really fits your deck, you should almost always choose the Battlefield will give me the most benefit on Round 1! That’s probably the correct choice for your deck.
9. CATEGORIZING BATTLEFIELDS:
The following list is ultimately just my own opinion. But why not? All the current Battlefields (for Standard) categorized based on Impact, Asymmetry, and Effect Type and whether or not you should ever play them.
ALL STAR DIVISION:
ONLY IF YOU ARE FAST DIVISION:
IF YOU'RE NOT FAST AND ALL-STAR BATTLEFIELDS DON'T FIT DIVISION:
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